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Champaign County, Illinois

History of Sadorus Township

Sadorus township is situated in the extreme southwestern corner of the county, and is described as town 17, Range 7, and consists of 37 sections, the odd section having been received from Pesotum, and is the one where Sadorus village stands.

Most of the Sadorus Grove is in this township, giving it an agreeable variety of surface. The principal streams are the Kaskaskia and its several tributaries. The Kaskaskia enters the township near Sadorus village, and flows southward into Douglas county. The land adjoining this stream is heavily timbered, and affords an excellent opportunity for stock husbandry. The surface slopes westward and southwestward from the centre of the town, until it forms quite a basin known as "Lake Fork." The first settler was Henry Sadorus, after whom the Grove was named. Mr. Sadorus settled on the Kaskaskia in the fall of 1824, after having spent the summer higher up the stream. Although not the first, this was the first permanent settlement in the county. Mr. Sadorus made the first land entry in December, 1834, it being the southeast quarter of Section 1, Town 17, Range 7.

It was nearly ten years after Mr. Sadorus came before he had a neighbor besides the Indians. In 1833 one Marcur located farther down the river, but remained only a short time. Not long after this Wm. Rock settled on the farm where he still lives, and was soon followed by others; among whom were the EIlars, Beavers, Bryants, Rogersons, Browns, Quicks, Robinsons and a few others. Until within the last twenty-five years, the settlements were confined almost exclusively to the timber; but in time the new comers began to push out upon the prairie.

The first settlers of this township experienced great hardships. For many years they were forced to go to Attica, Indiana, a distance of nearly one hundred miles, to mill, and the flies were so bad that traveling was mostly done at night. The shingles first used in the township were brought with ox-teams all the way from Chicago, a load of wheat having been taken there and exchanged for them.

The woods were full of wild beasts, and many times they would besiege the home of the pioneer, and often do serious damage. It is related that when Mr. Rock was moving to this country, he was compelled to abandon a portion of his load and return for it. He had previously come and built a small cabin; but the door for it was among the articles left behind. In this cabin with nothing but a quilt for a door, Mrs. Rock and her children were left, with two or three dogs for a guard. As darkness settled around them the fierce howl of the wolf was heard in the surrounding forest. The faithful dogs would chase them some distance away, when all would turn and come pell-mell against the quilt which served as a door. At last Mrs. Rock placed the children in the loft and in that condition patiently awaited the dawn and the return of her husband.


in the township was Wm. H. Rock, Jan. 8, 1837. Mrs. Sadorus had given birth to one or two children prior to this; but she was not in the county at the time. Wm. H. Rock is still living in that vicinity.


took place between Samuel Suver of Monticello and Melissa Sadorus. The wedding was at the cabin of Henry Sadorus, and was an old-fashioned one, attended by most of the settlers in that vicinity, besides several from Piatt county. Among the guests were the Lewises, Piatts, Marcuses and Bryants.


was that of a child of Henry Sadorus in 1830, and about eight years after that a child of Wm. Rock died and was buried in the Grove, which was the commencement of the first cemetery in the township.

Dr. Catron came to the township about '56, and is still living in Sadorus. He has long since retired from practice.

The first school was taught in 1838 in a log hut by James Outen in 1842. Wm. Rock, Mr. Beaver and others built a log school-house, greased paper for window-glass, and hired Margaret Patterson, at the rate of one dollar per week and "board 'round." Besides those already _____ the Earlys and Munns attended this school. The old cabin still stands near Mr. Rock's.


was preached by Rev. John Villars, of the United Brethren, in Wm. Rock's house about the beginning of 1839. Rock has since become a Universalist. There is at present but one church outside of the villages, and that is the Union church near John Robinson's. There is a M. E. Church just in (the?) edge of Douglas county, which owes most of its membership to this township.


was built in 1856 in Parkeville by Dr. Marshall. J. J. Brown of Sadorus placed the engine in it. The mill is still running as a saw and grist mill.

When the Wabash Railroad was completed, a village sprang up in the extreme northeast corner of the township; in fact it was built upon the section cut off from Pesotum. The first building erected in


was a boarding-house owned by the Wabash company. Judge Tenbrook built the first residence in 1850. In 1856 Captain Andrew and John Rogerson (brothers) erected the building now used as the Foster house, and opened a store in it. They also erected a grain warehouse about the same time. The business was afterward conducted by John Rogerson and Norman C. Wilson, and still later by John himself, altogether being about fifteen years. John Rogerson has since moved upon a farm near Sadorus, and the Captain has gone to Washington, D. C.

There are at present two dry-good stores; one conducted by A. Craw, and the other by H. S. Nichols & Co. J. W. Field, the postmaster, has been conducting, in connection with that office, a grocery and notion store. A first class country drug store is being conducted by Mr. Smith. There is also a millinery store, a shoe shop and some other small establishments.

The first school building in Sadorus was built in 1858. It was a plain room, and stood a short distance east of where O. C. McConny's residence now stands. The first school was taught soon after the building was completed by James H. Leal, brother of T. R. Leal, county superintendent for several years. Mr. Leal afterward studied medicine, and died a few years (hence?). Sadorus now has a large rectangular two-story building, which has taken place of the first. The old school-house has seen many changes since being abandoned by the school. It has been

Used as a church where souls were saved, Used as a saloon where souls were lost,

Used as a shoe-shop where soles were made, To keep the feet from snow and frost.

The new building has been well furnished with all the modern conveniences. The school has been graded, and under the efficient management of Mr. Wright has already taken its position among the best schools of the county.


is the leading religious organization in town. On the 28th of December, 1861, the society was organized under the leadership of Elder Elliot, pastor of the church at Tolono, of which the society was at first a branch, but became separate in June, 1863. The first meetings were held in the school-house; but they have at present as fine a church edifice as can be found in the county. The work was begun by Eld. Graham, who was elected pastor in 1870, and completed by Eld. Griffing, the present pastor. The following ministers have had charge since the society was organized: Elders C. Elliott (died in 1871), E. S. Graham, G. B. Walker, A. L. Farr and N. L. Griffing, who still preaches for them. Elder Griffing is a man of great earnestness in his labors, and has done much to advance the cause of his Master.


society has been organized but a short time, but is rapidly increasing. They have an excellent church-building and a neat and comfortable parsonage. It is at present in charge of Rev. E. Martin, who also conducts a school part of the year, using nothing but German. Mr. Martin is doing good work for the cause.


has been in existence a long while, and has a good, substantial house of worship. Rev. Austin, the present pastor, is an efficient workman; but the rules of that church will not permit the pastor to remain in one place long enough to build up a congregation.


have not as yet effected an organization, but up to this time has been confined principally to the family of A. Craw.


is situated west of Sadorus on the Wabash road, and takes its name from the Grove near it, with its beautiful dales. The surrounding land was owned by a Mr. Ives. The first building Was a boarding-house for the use of the employees of the railroad. W. H. Johnson opened a store in 1864. Gallivan and Donavan also began selling goods about the same time.


was organized in 1865, and Miss Rena White was employed to teach the first school. A room in S. K. Donavan's residence served at first as a schoolroom; but in 1867 a neat little building was erected at a cost of $1,000. This building was replaced in 1876, with a large two-story school-house supplied with all modern conveniences. The new building cost $2,500. The school has been recently graded, and in the hands of James Graham, than whom the county affords none more competent for the position. The school is sure to be a success.


has the leading society in the village. Rev. Father Toner was perhaps the principal cause of the organization being effected. A neat building was commenced by Father Toner, to which the present pastor has made some very important changes, making it a very excellent house of worship. Father Shanly, the present pastor, is a gentleman well suited to the duties which devolve upon him. Under his ministry the church has continued to increase in numbers and influence.


was organized by Rev. Pertoff in 1866. They have erected a very neat little house of worship. Revs. Randolph, McFadden, Buckner and others have assisted to cultivate the seed sown by the first.


is a small village in the southeastern part of the township. It was originally called Soonover, because the founder failed in a short time, and the town was supposed to have been at an end. There is a mill in the village which, perhaps, adds most to the influence of the burgh.

Sadorus is equal to any rural township in the county in point of wealth, natural resources and the enterprise of her citizens. Besides the graded schools already named, there is one in the country south of William Rock's house, which is doing very good work.

We beg to return thanks for above information to Judge Tenbrook, Wm. Rock, J. J. Brown, John Rogerson, J. W. Field, Wm. Ellar, H. J. Robinson and others.

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