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The county's first white settlers - 1836


Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 5/23/2011 at 15:08:23

"The Fairfield Ledger"
Thursday, January 16, 1958


Only an old pump located in a field on the Lloyd BLUCHER farm southeast of Glasgow marks the location of the first frame home erected in Jefferson County. South of that spot is the location where the first log cabin was erected in the county in 1836. It was built by James TILFORD who had come to this territory on a prospecting tour from Morgan County, Illinois.

But TILFORD and his party were not the first white people to explore and visit Jefferson County. According to a history of Jefferson County published in 1879, that distinction belongs to John HUFF and a group of five men who "came over from the Skunk River settlement in Henry County on a prospecting tour, and spent two or three days in what is now Round Prairie Township." That was in August, 1835.

The men were so pleased with the lay of the land in Round Prairie Township and thereabouts, that each of them selected a claim. HUFF marked for his own the land on which Thomas LAMBIRTH settled in May, 1836. After their short stay in the new territory, they returned to Henry County to improve and occupy their claims there.

But while in Jefferson County, HUFF had failed to make such "marks" or improvements on his land to give evidence that it had been taken. This neglect resulted in his loss of the land.

In February 1836, James TILFORD, Samuel Scott WALKER and Thomas LAMBIRTH came over from Morgan County, Ill., hunting land for new homes. When they reached what is now Round Prairie township, they were so pleased with the land that they decided to locate there. LAMBIRTH selected the same ground that HUFF had chosen. LAMBIRTH erected a cabin on the land. TILFORD and WALKER chose land nearby. After completing their cabins, they returned to Illinois for their families. On May 16, the same year, James TILFORD, the father of Mrs. LAMBIRTH; his son Joseph, then a lad of 10, and Thomas LAMBIRTH and his wife; and Samuel Scott WALKER and his wife with two children, came to occupy their claims. They were actually the first settlers in Jefferson County.

When the LAMBIRTHs arrived at their cabin, two corners of the building had been burned away and had to be repaired. No one ever knew what started the fire. Some believed it was the work of Indians and others thought it to be the work of claim jumpers.

In the meantime, HUFF returned to Jefferson County in April, 1836, to build a home on his new claim for his new bride. But when he arrived he found the LAMBIRTH cabin already erected on the land. Realizing it was his own fault that he lost the location, he traveled on to what is now Cedar Township and made out another claim. In June the same year he brought his wife from Henry County and they erected their cabin in a grove of young hickory trees.

Thomas LAMBIRTH and his family continued to live and prosper in their new home. A few years after completing their log cabin, they constructed a frame home nearby. It is claimed that the LAMBIRTH home was also the first frame home erected in the county.

Thomas LAMBIRTH died in 1857. His widow and children remained on the farm. When the wife and mother passed away the estate was divided among the children. A daughter, who had married J. P. CHEZUM, acquired the homestead and continued to make her home there. J. P. CHEZUM died in 1924, and Mrs. CHEZUM passed away in 1933. Upon her death the land was handed down to two daughters, Mrs. James BLUCHER and Mrs. Axel W. ANDERSON. After the death of Mr. and Mrs. BLUCHER their share of the estate was acquired by their son, Lloyd BLUCHER, present owner. Later the ANDERSONs sold their share to BLUCHER. Thus the land has been in the same family since it was first acquired in 1836. BLUCHER still has the original land grant, written on parchment paper and signed by President John Tyler.

*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I am not related to the person(s) mentioned.


Jefferson Documents maintained by Joey Stark.
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