Knox Township


Sadie Swain Tells How Her Family Found Knox Township When They Came In 1892

Sadie Swain, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Tom H. Swain, has written about her recollections of their arrival in Osceola and the people they met as they settled themselves in their new home near Groveland.

The Swains and J.R. Pucket came to the county from Douglas County, Ill. both using the same freight car for their effects. They arrived in Osceola in February, 1892 and it was two weeks before they could move to the 160 acres Mr. Swain had bought near Groveland.

"There were seven in our family and another coming in June," Sadie writes, "When we drove over to the place from Groveland mother found the house and its surroundings far beneath her expectations. Only two rooms and a smokehouse for a family of seven. There was another house near which father moved up and joined on as soon as he could get time."

The log houses were not all gone. Several farms had new houses, but there was enough of newness about the country that the newcomers could feel they were in a new land. The timber was rich in wild crab apples, gooseberries, etc. On cold winter nights the sharp, quick bark of the wolves could be heard in the distance. Our well had the old rope and pulley with a bucket at each end. The barn was thatched with wild slough grass. A spring of delicious water was at the bottom of a long hill in our north pasture.

A number of people came from Douglas County, Ill. about that time. Among them were our grandparents and a widowed aunt; Thomas Horton, Elwood Carter, James Puckett, Frank Rayl, Joel Pound, Gussey Pound, George Carter, Sam Bell, Will Bell, Harry Mullen, Perry Fogle, Allen Brady. Vache Mullen bought nearer Leslie and James Drennen and Vincent Stoneburner near Jamison.

Groveland at that time consisted of the depot, a store, and several dwellings. PhillipMiller sr., owned the store and several of the houses. Dr. McNichols owned a farm and a dwelling in Groveland.

The road to Osceola was often in very bad condition and many took their produce and bought their groceries at the little store.

Many of the earlier pioneers were still living in the vicinity at that time. I mention a few: Jane Johnson, George Crew, Wm. Emery, Ed Montgomery, Mrs. Orr and family, Frank Turk, John Hughes, Thos. Pollock, Silas Thurlow, Carter Yates, Granville Coffee, Matthew McCann, Walter Bonham, Will Gardner, Thos. Wilson, Frank Wilson, Wm. Leeson, Billy Bond, Thos. Norton, Robert Pitts, Fred Emery, Walter Emery, Ash Entsminger, Charley Johnson, Bill Johnson, B.F. Price, John Tabler, Piersons, John Shorts, Sharps and others.

Joseph Polly lived in Groveland and was the section boss. His little handcar was a familiar sight and quite a contrast to the motor powered ones that buzz along the tracks today.

The Methodists finally decided to build a church at Groveland and the elder Phillip Miller donated the ground on which the church was to stand. A number contributed time, labor and money and the M.P. church of Groveland was built. The church stood until a few years ago in fairly good condition. For many years it was a part of a circuit, East Chapel, Green Bay and Groveland. People went to church on Sundays in those days, often going home with one another.

Few would have chosen a spot right near a church for a watermelon patch but one man did, much to the humiliation of one group of boys, some of whom went back and apologized. Many things, small in themselves, yet meaning so much, relative to the community life of those early settlers, are fast passing into oblivion.

My father and mother were the last to pass on of those old Douglas county people who settled near Groveland. Some of those early settlers had great hardships but love was there and life was just one day at a time, as it is today. The joy and happiness people had through God's mercy and grace was mostly just the common, every-day happenings, good deeds, kind words, friendly greetings, just as it is today.


Source: Osceola Centennial Issue 1851-1951, section 3, page 4.

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