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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 1. History
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Wheeling township was organized May 6, 1867, on petition of Augustine Wiley, John Wiley, and others, out of the territory belonging to Chillicothe township. At first it comprised all of Congressional townships 57 and 58, in range 22, a portion of the township lying south of Grand river, but in March, 1871, the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad became the southern boundary as at present. The first justice of the peace was Augustine Wiley. The township was named for the town of Wheeling. At the first township election the total number of voters was 72.
Wheeling township comprises the west half of township 58, range 22, and that part of the west half of township 57 in the same range lying north of the center of the track of the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad; it contains about 29 sections of land, and is one of the smallest townships in the county. Its general surface is prairie and bottom land. The famous Wheeling prairie is a fine body of land, renowned for its fertility and general excellence. Medicine creek flows along the western border of the township and a considerable portion is taken up with its bottom lands, not all of which have been reduced to cultivation.
Like the other townships of the county the principal productions of Wheeling are grain and stock, to the raising of which it is well adapted. The principal varieties of timber are oak, hickory and elm, and there is a sufficiency for general purposes.
The town of Wheeling stands on the east side of section township 57, range 22, one mile from the Linn county line. It was laid out October 7, 1865, by Henry Nay, and by named for Wheeling, West Virginia. The first house was completed by Mr. Nay in May, 1866, and was occupied by E. C. Williams, who became the first merchant. The next to come were E. Collamer and C. Marden, the former a son of Jacob Collamer, of Vermont, who was postmaster-general in 1849 and United States senator afterward. The second house was built by Isaac W. White. Soon after the town began to improve and fill up with something of rapidity, The town was not regularly platted until June 1, 1866.
The first preacher in the town was Rev. Burr, a "Northern" Methodist who held the first services at the same place until, 1868 when the old schoolhouse was built. The first church was the Methodist Episcopal (North), which was completed in the fall of 1874.
In 1866 the first depot was built and a station established. This burned in 1881, when a temporary one was built, and this was succeeded the next year by a better building. The first practicing physician to locate in the village was Dr. James Gish, who came in 1868. A Mr. Nash was the first blacksmith. The first burial in the cemetery was that of Mrs. Linnie C. Barkley, who died near town on February 4, 1868, aged 27 years. She was the wife of the late James Barkley, the well-known Chillicothe printer.
Although there were settlements in the township as early as 1839, and probably in 1838 or 1837, yet the greater portion was not settled until twenty years later, and indeed many locations were made after the Civil war. At the latter period many persons from the Northern States came in, forming an enterprising population and a most valuable accession to the neighborhood.
The Baptist people of Wheeling and vicinity met in Wheeling, May 3, 1875, for the purpose of organizing a church. S. N. Goldsby was elected moderator and Abram Onderdonk, clerk. A joint letter was then read from the Parson Creek Baptist church containing the names of twenty-seven members, also two letters from the Bethlehem Baptist church, making twenty-nine members for the new church. The following are the names: G. M. Brassfield and wife, Eli Kendall, wife and daughter, Sue J. Coffendaffer and wife, James Coucher and wife, Geo. Kesterson and wife, William, Eliza and Rachel Wasson, Dr. James C. Gish and wife, Miss Nannie Gish, Mrs. Mary Babb, George W. Gish and wife, Miss Mary Gish, James L. Wiley and wife, Joseph J. Littrell and wife, Mrs. Rachel Billingsley, Silas, Emeline and Eliza Philips. Four of these people are members of the church at the present time. They are Mrs. Eli Kendall, James Coucher and wife and Mrs. George Gish. Many of the others have gone to the great beyond.
Not having any church building of their own the meetings were held in the old schoolhouse for some time, then arrangements were made with the Methodist people to hold meetings in their house one Sunday in each month. The first pastor was R. H. Moody. The officers elected were James Coucher and Eli Kendall, deacons, Dr. J. C. Gish, treasurer and Abram Onderdonk, clerk. On May 12, 1888, S. W. Haynes, J. R. Wright and J. T. Mitchell were appointed a committee to prepare a subscription list and take the necessary steps preparatory to building a church. July 14, 1888, J. A. Wiley, S. W. Haynes and Samuel Forrester were elected trustees and given power to have a building erected on a lot purchased from Abram Onderdonk. The church was completed and dedicated January 25, 1889. The church at the present time has a membership of one hundred and fifty. The pastor is Rev. Jesse H. Jones of Meadville. The officers of the church are: Deacons, James Coucher, J. R. Wright, E. M. Tanner, J. S. Littrell and H. S. and F. L. Smiley. Mrs. J. S. Littrell is the clerk. Among the names of the pastors who have served the church we find R. H. Moody, W. W. Walden, N. M. Allen, F. M. Wadley, T. D. Penn, W. D. McPhetridge, Job Ingram, William Bibbs, L. M. Marks, J. E. Denham, W. A. Biggart, O. P. Bishop, C. H. Mastin, M. B. Baddock, R. M. Webdell, F. C. Truex and Jesse Jones.
Minerva Chapter No. 209, Eastern Star, Wheeling, was organized February 2, 1891. The organization exists for the purpose of giving practical effect to one of the beneficent purposes of Free Masonry, which is to provide for the welfare of the wives, daughters, mothers, widows and sisters of Master Masons. The first officers were Sylvia F. Haynes, worthy matron; Silas W. Haynes, worthy patron; Lizzie R. Adams, secretary. The officers for 1913 are Cecile Snow, worthy matron; Manford Tompkins, worthy patron; Jennie Walby, assistant matron; Eva Beckwith, secretary; Dora Hawer, treasurer; Addie Whitebread, conductress; Agnes Brenneman, chaplain. Number of members, forty-five; regular meetings Monday evenings preceding the second and fourth Saturdays in each month.
Royal Neighbors of America Wheeling. White Rose Camp No. 3968 was organized December, 1904. The camp is a fraternal and life insurance order. he first officers of the camp were Mrs. Rebecca Davis, oracle; Hallie Castle, V. O.; Belle Silvey, P. O.; Mary Littrell, Chan.; Nettie Robinson, recorder; Nannie Wright, receiver; Alice Shiflet, Mar.; Susie Glore, I. S.; and Managers J. H. Robinson, Pearl Coleman and Minnie Gish. Present officers: Nellie Glasgow, O.; Hattie Castle, V. O.; Rebecca Davis, P. O.; Gernza Gillispie, Chan.; Nannie Wright, recorder; Nettie Robinson, receiver; Lena Boone, Mar.; Mary Seidel, I. S.; Mollie Tompkins, O. S.; and Managers, J. H. Robinson, Anna Phipps and Pearl Coleman. The camp consists of thirty-five active and five social members. Date of meeting second and fourth Saturdays each month.
Rebecca Lodge No. 331, Wheeling. The Rebecca Lodge of Wheeling was instituted March 2, 1903. The object of this order is the elevation of the race, the promotion of peace and harmony, the practice of that fraternity which teaches us to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. The first officers of this lodge were: Mrs. C. O. Wilson, N.. G.; Mrs. Maggie Theioff, V. G.; Miss Lena Buckner, recording secretary; Miss Amanda Taylor, financial secretary; Miss Maude Albertson, treasurer; Miss Laura Bird, chaplain. Present officers: Mrs. Josie Buster, N. G.; Miss Ida Littrell,V. G.; Miss Emma Dimmitt, recording secretary; Miss Ruth Lowe, financial secretary; Miss Carrie Glore, treasurer; Mrs. Nancy Fort, chaplain; Mrs. Maggie Smiley, Con.; Mrs. Hattie Castle, warden. This lodge has thirty-six members. Date of meetings, second and fourth Tuesday nights of each month.
A. F. & A. M. Lodge, No. 434, was organized October 17, 1873, with the following officers: S. W. Haynes, master; W. W. Edgerton, senior warden; T. C. Hayden, junior warden. The present officers are F. E. Snow, master; J. M. Gallatin, senior warden; R. A. Tharp, treasurer; Charles Hawker, secretary; C. H. Byler, chaplain; H. W. Shiflet, senior deacon; B. A. Swope, junior deacon; Monford Tomkins, senior steward; B. F. Forte, junior steward; P. M. Russell, tyler. Number of members, sixty. Date of meeting, second and fourth Saturdays in each month.
M. W. A. Camp No. 4499, Wheeling. This camp was originally organized on the 30th day of January in 1877 and reorganized ten years later. The first officers of the camp were J. H. Collins, venerable consul and J. G. Littrell, clerk. The present officers are W. L. Warren, venerable consul and J. H. Robinson, clerk. The present membership of the camp is ninety. Date of meeting, the first and third Thursdays in each month. The camp owns its own hall and is now in a thrifty condition.
Subordinate Order No. 63, A. H. T. A., Wheeling, organized in 1888. The first officers chosen were W. J. Littrell, president and P. Pugh, secretary. The present officers are W. L. Warren, president and H. J. Warren, secretary. Number of members, fifty-six. Date of meeting, Tuesday night on or before the full moon in each month. The object of the order is for the better protection of ourselves against the depredations of thieves, robbers, counterfeiters, incendiaries, tramps and all criminals and to cooperate with and assist the civil authorities in the capture and prosecution of all such offenders, and to aid each other in the recovery of stolen property.