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Champaign County, Illinois

History of Condit Township

This township was formerly part of Newcomb township. In 1867 Newcomb township was divided and the east half called Condit, in honor of Mr. A. B. Condit, who was the first to represent his town in the Board of Supervisors. It is bounded on the north by East Bend, on the east by Rantoul, on the south by Hensley and on the west by Newcomb, and occupies Town 21, Range 8, east.

The township is mostly prairie, and is mainly drained by two streams, Wild Cat Slough and Big Slough. These flow through the township in the general direction of from north-east to south-west, running nearly parallel. The largest and most easterly is the Big Slough which enters in section one, and leaves the township in section thirty. Wild Cat enters in section four and leaves in section eighteen. The Sangamon river flows through the extreme north-western position, and its banks are heavily timbered, as are the lower portion of the other streams mentioned, while above, the open prairie descends to the streams. Wild Cat Slough derived its name from the great number of Wild Cats found along its banks in an early day.

The first settler in this township, and one of the first settlers in this part of the state was Ethan Newcomb. He settled with his family in this township in the north-west corner of Sec. 5, in 1828, some say it was on the south line of East Bend where he settled, but after a thorough investigation we find it was about five rods south of the East Bend line, where he built his house. His father, whose name was Ethan Newcom, was a Jersey Yankee, and his grandfather whose name was also Ethan Newcom, was a Jersey Yankee and a Revolutionary soldier.

In the fall of 1828, the Newcom family came to Sangamon Timber, Illinois, to what was afterwards called Newcom's Ford. There they arrived one evening tired, and hungry and the next morning Ethan Newcom found a bee-tree before breakfast. The family went on to Blooming Grove, but after staying there for two weeks, went back to Newcom's Ford, which took its name from them. During their first winter at the ford they hauled corn from Blooming Grove, forty miles distant. Newcom's Ford was a stopping place for travelers, and the Newcom's kept a house of entertainment. Sometimes in the fall of the year, twenty-five or thirty teams would stop there at once. The price of entertainment, was eighteen and three fourth cents per meal, and fifty cents for keeping a man and horse over night. They went to Eugene, on the Big Vermillion river, near the Wabash river, for their flour and groceries.

Ethan Newcom had a family of eleven children, and of these five lived to have families. The Newcom's made maple sugar, as that was the only sugar used. During one spring, Mr. Newcom with the assistance of his oldest son Joseph--who was fourteen years of age when his father settled in this county--made two thousand pounds of sugar and a barrel of syrup. In October, 1835, the Newcom's removed to Cheney's Grove, in McLean county.

The next settlers in this township, were A. Crozier and Fielding Loyd, who came in 1834 from Ohio. They built a double log-house on Sec. 31, with an entry between, and in one end of this building they opened up a pioneer store with a very limited stock of groceries. They also started to improve a farm by breaking a little prairie. But the store was a failure in a financial point of view, although their stock was a limited one, the settlers were still more limited at that time.

They sold out the improvements to John Phillipe, Sen., in 1837, who came from Ohio. Crozier and Loyd immediately left the county; it is not known where they went, but in after years Loyd returned to this county and built a saw and grist mill--water power on the Sangamon river, at Mahomet. Mr. Phillipe was a native of Virginia, and a wide-awake farmer. He had a family of six children. He died where he made his first settlement in the county, Dec. 20th, 1845. His son, John Phillipe, Jr., now lives on the old homestead. Stephen Pucey was the next settler; he first stopped at Pancake's Point, one year, then removed to this township, and settled between Wild Cat and Big Slough, in the year 1839; he was from Ohio. He and his wife died on the place they had improved in the year 1847 or 1848, within two months of each other; the old gentleman was the first to go.

The next settler was Lewis Adkins, who came in 1840, and settled on section 30; he remained there for many years; then removed to Iowa.

C. F. Columbia, was the next settler; he settled on section 29 in 1844, where he improved a farm and lived until 1853. He then removed to Champaign, where he still resides.

The early settlers that followed, were Abraham and John Fisher, David and William Hawk, William Levington, Henry and Luther Putman. In about 1856, the Condits settled here; they came from Ohio. In 1856 N. Lax settled in the east part of the township, section 25; he was the first to venture far out into the prairie to undertake an improvement. In the same year Hale A. Johnston settled near the center of the township, on section 21.

The first school was taught by C. Taylor, in an old log-house near the residence of John Phillipe, in 1848 or 1849.

Miss Betsey Banes taught the second, and last term in this structure. And the first school-house was built on section 30, in about 1850. It was a log building. It was replaced by a much better building in 1856, and F. B. Sale taught the first school in the new house.

The first preaching in the township was at the residence of John Phillipe, in about 1841 by the Rev. Brittingham, M. E denomination. Church services was held at the residence of John Phillipe regularly, until the first school-house was built.


There are three churches in the township; Wesley chapel on section 17, M. E. denomination. Beulah, on section 12, also M. E. denomination and the Presbyterian Church on section 28.

The first marriage was Lewis Adkins, to Miss Mary A. Phillipe, in the year 1838.

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