Compiled by Mrs. Chalon T. (Margaret Davis) Land, Enfield, Illinois

FIRST EDITION  Centennial -- 1953


(Scanned in 1998 by L. B. Conley , Carmi, Illinois, and used with permission of Barry Cleveland, Publisher, of the Carmi Times, Liberty Group Publishing Company, Inc.)


Mrs. Chalon T. (Margaret Davis) Land is a descendant of one of the early pioneer Enfield families and long has been interested in the history of the area. This is not her first historical sketch for she has been called on and has written numerous other findings as to the early families of the county.

A member of the State Historical Society and the Wabash Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Mrs. Land has been the author of articles in the national D. A. R. magazine and the State Historical Journal. She has made the study of genealogy one of her hobbies and is one of the best informed residents of the county on tracing family trees. This Centennial history of Enfield is not only quite thoroughly documented but has a number of human interest anecdotes that make it personalized and interesting. Coming as it does on the hundredth anniversary of the founding of Enfield, the history is particularly timely for 1953.--ROY CLIPPINGER, President, Carmi Times Publishing Company


This history of Enfield is based upon the recollections of many of the older people of the town, some of whom have crossed the river to that fairer land beyond; upon stories and traditions that have long been current in the town; and upon extensive research in the White County History and Atlas, Church records and courthouse records.

Many of you will recall incidents that are not related here. Won't you please write me about them. All the events of one hundred years could not be told in so small a volume, but some day a supplement may be written including your reminiscences.

I can name only a few of the people to whom I am indebted for material in this book -- Reverend and Mrs. John (Ethel Miller) Newman, Mrs. Zeke (Adelaide Orr) Jordan, Mrs. J. W. (Ella Gowdy) Davis, Mrs. Mary B. Campbell, Miss Allie Goudy and Mrs. B. D. (Grace Mitchell) Pickering; but I wish to thank everyone who has contributed in any way.--MARGARET LAND


IN THE SPRING OF 1850, the site of Enfield was almost completely covered by the original forest. There are perhaps a dozen of the fine old oak trees still standing, and their mighty girth indicates that the acorns from which they grew sprouted approximately 250 years ago.

On May 1, 1840, Thomas Crabtree received a grant from the government of the S. E. 1/4 of the S. E. 1/4 of Section 8 at the land office in Shawneetown. The patent was made during the term of President Zachary Taylor. This tract of 40 acres included the original site of Enfield plus the Western Addition and the Southern Addition. Roughly, it extended from the L & N Railroad track to a line drawn east and west between the Methodist Church and the Grade school yard from a line drawn north and south west of Charles W. Land's house to a line drawn north and south west of Chalon Land's.


The original site of Enfield as in the northeast corner of the 40 acres bought by Doctor Martin Johnson from Thomas Crabtree. The northern and eastern boundaries of the original site coincided with the northern and eastern boundaries of the 40 acres as described, but the site of the first village extended south only far enough to include one row of lots south of Main Street and west to Third Street--the street that is east of the Southern Illinois Lumber Company.

Thomas Crabtree had married Minerva Garrison March 10, 1840, so he probably began to make improvements on the land immediately. We do not know where he built his log house, but it may have been on top of the hill near the soft water spring that gushed from the hillside when Doctor Thomas Long had a house on this site. I found an old iron stone cup, made without a handle, just below the hill and I call it "Minerva's cup."


In Section 8, the earliest settler was David Calvert, who took up the N. W. 1/4 in 1817. There was a large family of the Calverts--Joseph Calvert, Senior and his sons David, John, Robert, Joseph, Jr., and William, and his daughters, Nancy and Deborah Calvert, and Margaret Cheatham and Margaret's husband, Edmond Cheatham. The will of Joseph Calvert, Senior, was made in February, 1815, when this was still a part of Gallatin County, and his legacies were expressed in terms of English pounds and shillings. The next will on record is that of David Calvert's daughter, Rachel, who had married Edmund R. Morgan before the family came to White County. Edmund R. Morgan died in March, 1815, leaving his wife, Rachel, and a small daughter, Mary N. Morgan, called "Polly."

The White County History states that a man named Morgan was killed and scalped by an Indian in March, 1815, while cutting sprouts near what is now the junction in Enfield. Tradition tells us that he was not dead when found but was carried to the shelter of a tree in what is now Roscoe Young's yard where he died. It seems improbable that two men named Morgan died in March, 1815, in so sparsely settled a region, so it must have been that Edmund R. Morgan was the man who was killed by the Indian. Several years ago the base of an old marker was found near the flag pole, and on it was carved, "Killed by Indian." Despite careful search, the piece that once fitted upright in the aperture in the base has never been discovered. In April, 1815, Rachel Morgan held a sale, and the appraisement list shows clearly what things were found in the log cabin of one of the earliest settlers--bed and its furnishings, $30.00; flax wheel, $2.50; table, $1.00; 2 chairs, $1.25; 2 piggins, $.50; 1 lot of books, $3.00; 1 trunk, $1.50; 6 pewter plates, $3.00; 5 tin cups and 3 tumblers, 75c; 1 Dutch oven, 75c; 1 pot, $2.00; 7 Delft plates and bowl, 75c; 1 candle stand, 12 1/2c; other articles included a man's saddle, which sold for $4.47 1/4, a woman's saddle, a Bar shear plow, falling ax, tar bucket, rifle and shot bag and shot gun. Edmund R. Morgan owned a large amount of stock. A cow and calf were appraised at $5.00, a black steer and white steer at $5.00 each; a yearling at $1.00, eleven hogs at $10.00. Thomas Rutledge "cried the vendue" and the list of buyers included Thomas Fields, Peter Miller, Thomas Dagley, William and Samuel Davidson, Thomas Mayes, James Rutledge and John Cameron.


John Upton had a mill as early as 1826 near where the B. & O. tracks are now, and obtained an original grant of land there in 1836. He had taken up land south of where the L. & N. tracks are now in 1819 and nearly all of what is now Enfield east of Charles W. Land's in 1836. William Fields and his wife, Sally, took up the S. W. 1/4 of the S. E. 1/4 of Section 8 in 1844, adjoining the land of Thomas Crabtree, and then in 1851, the heirs of Robert Hawthorne, Jr.,--Polly, John, James and Robert Hawthorne and Mary Ellender York took up the N 1/2 of the S. E. 1/4 of Section 8.  These grants cover the site of the original village and some of the additions.


The first movement to run a railroad through White County began in 1853, and speculation in land along the proposed right of way began. So many towns are celebrating their centennials this year in Illinois because the talk of a railroad fostered the laying out of towns along its course.  On May 27, 1853, Thomas and Minerva Crabtree sold their 40 acres to Dr. Martin Johnson and his wife Comfort (Garrison) Johnson. Dr. Johnson was a son of Arthur Johnson, Revolutionary soldier, from Brunswick County, Virginia, who is buried in the Johnson Cemetery northeast of town.

William H. Johnson wrote a letter in 1905 to the Editor of the White County Democrat--"I was born on the old farm adjoining Enfield on the east March 3, 1840. . . .  There are no people anywhere better than those of the`old Seven Mile Prairie neighborhood. My father, the late Doctor Martin Johnson, laid out Enfield, and I was one of the "Captains of Industry" that cleared off the original site.  On September 16, 1853, the first lots were sold at auction with the Honorable Patrick Dolan, that witty and eloquent Irishman at the bat as auctioneer. He made what his friends all called the best speech of his life." William H.  Johnson later attended the Carmi Free School, studied law with Colonel John E. Whiting, and was admitted to the bar in 1867.


Legend and authentic facts concerning the early history of Enfield have become traditional so that sometimes it is difficult to separate fact from fancy. There are three distinct stories about the naming of Enfield, each with its firm adherents. I can only tell them as they were told to me, but with my own interpretation.

One story goes that when a discussion was held as to what to name the new little village, some one suggested, "Well it's at the end of a field, let's call it Endfield or Enfield." Some credence is lent to this but the topography of the site hardly justifies such a suggestion. The original site was on an elevation affording a beautiful panorama  of rolling country side in nearly all directions. In fact the streets slope so steeply to the south that the one east of Miss Mattie Connery's was called "Tumbling Street."

The second story introduces a Colonel Enfield who is supposed to have surveyed the land, but John Storms was the County Surveyor from 1825 to almost 1860, and all the plats of early Enfield were certified by him. There is no mention of Colonel Enfield in any of the county records; his name does not appear on the census records of 1850, nor 1860; and the family in Carmi to whom he was supposed to be related has no knowledge of him. So I am forced to the belief that Colonel Enfield was purely a mythical character.

The third story was told by Miss Lillian R. Johnson, daughter of Arthur Lewis Johnson, who was a brother of Doctor Martin Johnson and one of the co-founders of Enfield. Miss Johnson died in Denver, Colorado, in 1951 at the age of 88, and she retained until the last her keen memory and gift for painting vivid work pictures. "Uncle Martin wanted to name the town Johnsonville," she said, "but since there was already a town of that name in the state, they decided against naming it for any of the pioneer families, but chose 'Enfield' after a town in England mentioned in McGuffey's Reader." (This must have been from the first edition of McGuffey's Reader published in 1844.)


No history of our town is complete without the story of the Seven Mile Prairie Community that was the forerunner of Enfield. During the decade following 1810, the tide of immigration flowed slowly from Kentucky and Tennessee into Illinois Territory, the tempo growing faster with the years. The wooden wheels of the ox carts creaked complainingly as the patient oxen plodded slowly along the Indian trails from the Shawnee Ferry that plied across the Ohio River. Bearded men, with rifles slung from their shoulders, were ever alert for danger in this wilderness where they had come to make their homes. There were women too--some of them trudging sturdily along beside their men, others on horseback with a baby in their arms and a toddler mounted postilion behind, holding firmly to Mommy's dress; others enjoyed the doubtful comfort of riding in the carts. Little boys clad only in long-tailed shirts, big boys in jeans and deer skin jackets, and girls in linsey-woolsey dresses and bonnets were leading cows or coaxing pigs and sheep along the trail. There were boxes holding chickens and geese along with the other things piled high in the carts -- feather beds, quilts, coverlids, homespun blankets and pillows; a few precious Delft plates and bowls, pewter plates and cups, iron pots, large and small and the little copper tea kettle; chairs bottomed with hickory; Grandma's rocker and perhaps even a treasured four poster and bureau if the husband was indulgent. But the spinning wheel, loom, dye pots and candle molds were musts with the pioneer house keeper, and room had to be made for the farming implements and the falling ax. Then there were the seeds, the young fruit trees and cuttings from the roses left behind in the door yard in Kentucky.

In November, 1813, this was the vanguard of the army of immigrants who came to Illinois Territory after the War of 1812. There were Thomas Rutledge and his wife, Sally, and a large family of children, James Rutledge and his wife, Mary Ann, and John, Jane and Ann-the same Ann Rutledge whose name is immortal because she was loved by Abraham Lincoln. There were James Miller and his wife, Jane, who was a sister of James Rutledge, while James Miller was a brother of Mary Ann Rutledge. There were three small Miller girls-Sally, Louisa Ann and Lucinda.

There were Robert Hawthorn and his wife, Mary, and their family; and Mary's brother, Thomas Cameron and his wife, Nancy, who was a sister of James and Peter Miller. The Camerons had a large family. And Isaac Veatch whose wife, Mary Ellen, was Peter Miller's daughter. These people were of Scotch-Irish and English stock. They were not the shiftless, unlettered class, but capable, industrious, intelligent and devoutly religious. Some of the older ones had come across the ocean to the Carolinas before the Revolutionary War. We have a letter written in 1884 by Sally Rutledge Sanders, sister of Ann Rutledge--"It seems that I remember Mother telling how Grandfather Miller crossed the water from Ireland. Uncle Tommy Cameron was a baby and he fell overboard, but some one caught him by his big toe." The families had intermarried in South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky.

About 35 miles north west of Shawneetown, they gained the top of a hill and when they emerged from the gloom of the forest into the sunshine, there spread out before them was the promised land--a level valley about seven miles long and three miles wide with a tree bordered stream meandered through it. Sumac blazed scarlet along the edge of the prairie, and tall gum trees were like torches against the blue of the sky; the timber was a tapestry of color woven by oak, maple, dog wood and evergreen. One would think that with the land there for the taking, they would have chosen the prairie, but the early pioneer preferred the clear woodland. The "Bar shear" plow was not strong enough to break the prairie sod, and they feared the miasma of prairie and swamp land would cause chills and fever.

On that first night, they made their camp near a spring on the hillside. The fires were soon kindled and pots set to boil. The stock and poultry were fed and made safe for the night. While the men were attending to these duties, the women prepared a supper of venison and johnny cake. There was no need to worry about filling the larder, for there was plenty of wild game in the forest--Seven Mile Prairie was noted as a deer country. And a great deal of smaller game was there. There were pigeons that flew over in flocks so dense that they darkened the sky and when they alighted on trees, their weight was so great that large branches were broken. The timber was full of wild turkeys.

Soon trees were felled for building log houses, clearings were made for planting, and a village of scattered houses grew on the edge of Seven Mile Prairie that must have resembled the restored village of New Salem. Rail fences were built to enclose the fields and gardens while the stock was allowed to roam the woods. Hollyhocks and flags were planted and roses bloomed again in the door yards.

The Reverend James McGready came up from Henderson County, Kentucky, and in 1816 organized Sharon Church. A little log church was built about a quarter of a mile north of where Edmond Fields now lives. Thomas Rutledge started a subscription school in 1818 that was taught later by Enos T. Alien and Peter Miller. When night school was held, the tuition was 25e and "bring your own candle." This story is told of a small boy in Thomas Rutledge's school. One day, in a brash moment, he ventured to say that sometime men would fly across the ocean, and Thomas Rutledge thrashed him soundly.

James Rutledge built a horse mill on the brow of the hill overlooking Seven Mile Prairie and this is where Jesse Lockwood came to take the census in 1820.

Reverend McGready died in 1818 and about this time the Gowdys, Orrs, McLins, Trousdales, Andersons, Roelossons, Knights and Craigs came up from Kentucky and from Davidson and Sumner Counties in Tennessee. They had embraced the Cumberland Presbyterian belief and in 1819, Reverend David Wilson McLin organized Hopewell Church, and another log church was built--this time just west of where Paul Appel now lives.

As more settlers came up from the south, the need of a Post Office became apparent, and in 1833, Edmond Hawthorne, whose father, John Hawthorne had been drowned at the mill dam in Carmi in 1818, was appointed Postmaster at Seven Mile Prairie. Leander McKnight followed him.


The majority of the early settlers at Seven Mile Prairie were farmers, but mills and tanneries were needed. After James Rutledge, John and Robert Miller had a mill, somewhere on Seven Mile Prairie and John Upton had a mill in 1826 on Section 8. In 1843, Mark A. Miller built a mill and added improvements so that the team both pounded and bolted the flour at the same time. The first tannery was built by James Nelson on Section 7 in 1830. Charles Parkhurst had a cotton gin on Section 25 in 1827, and Samuel Abbott had a wool carding machine on Section 1 in 1824.

When the village of Enfield was laid out in 1853, many of the first settlers in Seven Mile Prairie were dead, for it had been forty years since they had crossed the Ohio into the Illinois Territory--but the nucleus of the early population of Enfield was made up of the descendants of these people.


The year that Enfield was founded saw the wedding day of John Parnell Dartt and Talitha Catherine Harrell, parents of John P. Dartt, Enfield's most venerable citizen. "Aunt Cassie" Dartt was the daughter of Joel Harrell, Revolutionary soldier, and she was Illinois' last "Real Daughter." She described her wedding dress to me so I can tell you what was an authentic style in 1853. The material was alternate stripes of pink and white with tiny pink roses and green leaves in the white stripe. It was made Empire style with a high waist, long sleeves, and a long, full skirt that hung straight to the floor. With it she wore a deep bonnet with a tail so long it formed a cape. She made her husband's wedding suit by hand. In order to escape the merry making of their friends, the young people eloped to McLeansboro in an ox-cart.


According to the White County History, "The first houses in Enfield were built by Nance and Wallace. Each built a house the same day. They were log cabins and the one Wallace built stands near the M. E. Church, is weather boarded and occupied by Robert Johnson." (Written in 1883.) "The first frame house was built in 1854 by Orr Brothers, in which they kept the first store. Uncle Robert Orr hauled the first stock of goods from Shawneetown in a two horse wagon. The first blacksmith shop was built by Nance and Wallace in 1854. The first saddle and harness shop was built by William M. Gowdy in 1855. He was born in 1833 and was educated in the early subscription schools. When he was 19, he learned the saddle and harness maker's trade. and in the spring of 1855 went into business for himself with only three saddles, a few scraps of leather, some tools and 50e in money. He sold the saddles to Mark A. Miller, William Fields and John A. Nation. To get his leather, he had gone with a neighbor to Shawneetown driving a team of oxen."

John Dennison built a tannery in 1860. Later it was owned by William Henn and then by Wilson Storey.

The first grist mill and saw mill was built in 1859 by J. H. Jameson and run by steam power. It was burned in 1871. The same year it was rebuilt as a sawmill by Stewart Benham, who also built a grist mill on the opposite side of the railroad. In 1878, Harry Wood had a flour mill added. The City Mills were erected in 1865 by Pleasant A. Orr and Company. Do you remember the night about forty years ago that the old mill burned? The blaze seemed to start on an upper floor about 11 p. m. by spontaneous combustion. Long after the outer walls were gone the great oaken beams stood blazing against the sky until they too fell with a crash.


Enfield was incorporated as a town in 1868. F. H. Willis was the first President and James H. Gowdy, the first Clerk. Other early presidents were A. L. Johnson, Mark A. Miller, Jonah Morlan, W. H. Johnson, Tolliver Rice, J. E. Willis, William May, J. H. Miller, and J. P. Campbell. Early clerks were W. H. Johnson, J. E. Willis, Martin W. Fields, E. N. Miller, James H. Gowdy, C. A. Oldham, J. B. Odell, W. H. Hollinger, T. C. Ross and J. T. Vaught.


When Enfield was 30 years old, the population was 800, and the following description of the town appeared in the White County History--"Although but a few years have passed since Enfield was founded, it is difficult to realize the changes that have taken place ... stately public buildings, school houses and churches, spacious stores and business houses, busy mills and work shops, elegant residences surrounded with evidences of refinement and culture, tasteful cottages, the homes of thrifty and contented people, miles of sidewalks filled with all the busy life of an energetic and prosperous town."

There were three general stores at this time,--A. K. Tate's General Merchandise in a frame building where Niccum's is now located, Captain William May's Store on the Bank corner, and 8 store owned by J. E. and R. C. Willis near the B & O station. They had taken over the store owned by their father, F. H. Willis--the same building that now houses the Newman store. Major Stephenson, the father of Mrs. Lawrence Taylor, had a store on West Main Street, in a two story frame building west of the present Marlin Store, and her mother, Mrs. Stephenson, had a millinery shop in their home--the house recently razed south of the Southern Illinois Lumber Company.

There were four grocery stores in 1883. There was Kuykendalls, also handling boots and shoes, tin ware, wooden ware and Queen's ware in what is now the Marlin Store. Erected in 1882, this was the only brick store in Enfield at that time. Orr Brothers, J. B. Odell and John Garrett had grocery stores. There were four blacksmith shops, two with wagon shops connected, and one shoe shop. Mrs. Julia Pearce and Mrs. Adaline Gowdy had millinery shops. A. G. Foster had a livery stable and sold farm machinery. There was one restaurant owned by Tolliver Rice and his son, Will. Males and Tyner were owners of a furniture and undertaking establishment. Doctor John Campbell had a drug store owned lately by Doctor Samuel Latham. The hardware store was owned by Wm. C. Watkins, and Captain Thomas Sheridan ran the only hotel, The Sheridan House. Tom Ross was the barber and his sign was painted on the plank fence at Orr Brothers' Mill--"Tom Shaves for a Nick."

Enfield had three newspapers in 1883, "The Enfield Republican" devoted to local and political views; Rev. E. T. Bowers published a paper for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Elder John E. Cox put out a paper for the General Baptist Church.

In 1883, Enfield had five resident physicians, Dr. John Campbell, Dr. Latham, Dr. Alfred Baker, Dr. A. M. McClain and Dr. Thomas Long-also a dentist, Dr. Perry LaMarr. These early doctors were followed by others whose names should be remembered--Dr. Eddington, Dr. Hedge, Dr. A. S. Artin, Dr. Clinton Staley and Dr. Felix Long.

There were four churches all built in somewhat the same architectural design, simple and unpretentious, with belfry and tall steeple and all painted white. The Methodist Church congregation that later moved to Enfield was organized in the yard of Samuel Kirk, about one mile northwest of Enfield, in 1859, by A. Ransom, preacher in charge. The church in Enfield was built in 1865. Bethel M. E. Church, east of town, was organized in the home of Robert Hawthorne about 1850. Wesley Chapel, south of town, was organized in 1866. The Enfield Presbyterian Church, called the "Old School" was organized by Rev. B. C. Swan and Elder C. S. Conger in the Cumberland house of worship in 1865. Many of the members were from Sharon Church then in its third building near Sacramento. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was built in 1866 and was the fourth building to house the congregation of Hopewell Church organized by Rev. David W. McLin in 1819. The Methodist and Christian churches have been replaced by new churches on the same sites, and many ministers have come and gone   since Rev. S. Green and Rev. W. H. Crow preached in the respective churches in 1883. The Old School Church across the street from the Alden Baker residence was torn down about 25 years ago. Rev. Benjamin C. Swan was the minister in 1883 and his home was where Will and Charlie Rooks live now. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church on top of the hill was replaced by the First Presbyterian Church in 1908. Many were grieved to see the old church torn down, with its steeple so tall that Dr. McClain jokingly remarked that "it tickled the ribs of Heaven." There is a story about Uncle John Orr who was never reconciled to the union of the churches. My mother's cousin, D. M. Proudfit, came to visit and said to him, "Well, Uncle John, I suppose you are still sitting in the Amen corner and leading the choir in the church on the hill." "No, Marrow," he replied sadly, "I have hung my harp on the willows."

The General Baptists had a congregation under Elder Cox, and since then they have built one church and replaced it with a new one.


Two organizations that were influential when Enfield was 5O years old and are here no more, were the Odd Fellows Lodge, of which Doctor Thomas Long was the first Noble Grand, with their sister lodge, the Rebekahs, and the G.A.R. Encampment. Taps has now been sounded for the last members of the Grand Army of the Republic. In other days, the "Old Soldiers" reunion was the important event of the year, when old "comrades in arms" met for a renewal of old friendships. Many, many years ago one reunion ended in stark tragedy. That was the day of the sham battle. The primitive cannon they used had to be carefully swabbed after each shot to guard against a lurking spark. Somehow when the gunner rammed home the charge, there was an explosion that blew the ram rod out with such force that the hands and arms of Comrade Sullenger of McLeansboro were terribly mangled. He died because of his injuries. Comrade John Brockett of Brownsville had one hand and part of an arm practically torn off and Comrade Robert Johnson lost a thumb. Others were injured but not so seriously.

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Last updated 9/21/99.