By Charlene Shields
Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."
Copyright ©1998 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Laurel Crook and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."
Aug. 17, 1998
Last week began an article which T.W. Hay had written for the April 2, 1914, issue of the White County Democrat. He discussed early White County land owners. His article continues:
"In looking over records of lands within three or four miles east of Carmi (in the good lands), the name of Staley appears very frequently, which goes to show that the Staleys were people who knew good soil when they would see it. The Staley family, of which George S. Staley is the last surviving member, were pioneers who have done more for that part of the country lying east of Carmi than any other family, unless possibly the McHenry family could be shared with part of these honors.
"At the time of the bank failure in Carmi, known as the Hay & Webb bank, they were compelled to sell the lands they had got from Mr. Staley, and the following creditors took over the Staley farm: W.A. Raglin; George M. Beck, now of Houston, Texas; William Beck, now of Mt. Carmel; George R. Williams, at that time circuit clerk but now deceased; John C. Brown ("Watermelon John"); Fred Roser of Maunie; Charles R. Wittmer of Carmi; and John S. Burris of Crossville. Finally, W.A. Raglin bought out all the rest and became the sole owner of this tract of land.
"At the time of the bank failure in Carmi (above mentioned), which was in July 1893, Hay & Webb gave to Benjamin and Thomas Garner the west one-half of the southwest quarter for a consideration of $10,375. This piece of land is now in the Garner family, and on Aug. 14, 1901, the Garners bought from Mr. W.A. Raglin the east part of the quarter section, together with that part of the northwest quarter which is south of the Little Wabash River for a consideration of $10,000.
The Garners have, of late years, purchased the Luther McHenry farm, which is in the same section and which has been mentioned above as having been entered by Daniel MeHenry in 1815. The only fault the writer can find with this particular section of land is that he has no deed for any part thereof, and no way of getting the same.
"Clifton E. Garner, a grandson of Thomas and Betsey Garner, bought it on Nov. 2, 1909, and it is safe to predict that this land will be in the Garner family for the next 100 years.
"As stated above, George S. Staley made the first purchase of the southwest quarter at $10 in 1857, and at the present time it might be valued at $200 per acre, thus you will see that the difference is more than $30,000. If you are not a holder of a piece of White County dirt, you had better be getting it before it gets any higher, as there is nothing better on the earth than a piece of it.
Yours truly, T.W. Hay"
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