Families -

Excerpts from the 1919 Latimer - A Brief History and Genealogy of George Griswald Latimer by Madison C. Bates, published by the Wagoner Printing Co. Galesburg, Ill. [Transcribed and contributed by Cynthia Nye.]

Page 29, Part Three. George Griswald Latimer was the seventh child of Joseph and Anna Latimer. He was born Feb. 28, 1810, in Robertson County, Tennessee. His father was a farmer, and he grew to manhood very much as the ordinary farmer lad, receiving only such education as could be obtained in the common schools of a new country.
Jonathan Latimer
He was the oldest of the unmarried children at the time of the move from Tennessee to Illinois, being then a young man of twenty. After the first year, 1830, spent in Sangamon County, Illinois, the family moved to Knox County, reaching there in 1831. Jonathan and Alexander, with their families, had not yet left Sangamon County, so George was his father's main dependence in conducting the moving, selecting the location and getting the family settled. Upon him devolved the responsibility of attending to the legal business connected with securing titles to the land and this necessitated horseback journeys to Quincy and Vandalia, then the capital of the state. It was on a trip to Vandalia, in the fall of 1831, that George Latimer spent the night with Wm. Drennan, a prosperous farmer and citizen of Sangamon County, where he was very acceptably entertained by Mr. Drennan's family, especially his daughter Rebecca. Just a year later he went back to Sangamon County and married Rebecca Drennan [the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a George G. Latimer marrying a Rebecca Dennan in Sangamon County on October 24, 1832], he being twenty-two and she eighteen. Their wedding journey was taken on horseback from Sangamon County to the new home in Knox County. With the romance of the journey was mingled the practical, for the bridegroom and his brother, Jonathan, who, with his family, was at that time making the move to Knox County, brought with them livestock, horses, cattle, and hogs. In some recollections of her father, written by George's oldest daughter, Martha, she says of this journey; "After they crossed the Illinois River at Havana, their stock stampeded and were scattered through the heavy timber, which at that time lined the river bottoms. They were obliged to make camp and remain there until their stock could be again collected. I have often heard my mother speak of this incident on her wedding journey. And also of the fine wild honey which was given them by a settler on the route, who told them to use as much as they desired, as she had a barrel of honey on hand which was just as free as the spring water. In due time they arrived at my grandfather's cabin and remained there until my father could build one of his own, to which they moved early in the following March."
Previous to George Latimer's marriage, the settlers of Illinois, in the northwestern part of the state, had been much annoyed by the depredations of hostile Indians, led by the historic chief, Black Hawk. A military company was formed, composed of men from Knox and Warren Counties, and these men, armed with rifles from Rock Island, ranged the country north between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers and joining with troops from the other parts of the state the famous warrior was defeated. At the formation of this company, George Latimer was chosen lieutenant and was later given the title of colonel. He was always called Colonel Latimer from the days of the Black Hawk War. The defeat of Black Hawk and his warriors drove the Indians beyond the Mississippi and freed Illinois ever after of hostile Indians, although for some time scattering bands of friendly Indians were not infrequent visitors at the homes of the early settlers. The pay for his services in the Black Hawk War was used by Colonel Latimer in building and furnishing their new cabin home.
From its beginning this home was one of marked happiness and influence. Prosperity rewarded hard work as year by year the family grew. I quote again from the written memoirs of Martha Latimer Cable: "My father was a very persevering man in whatever he undertook. Early in the summer following his marriage, he was obliged to take a journey on business which detained him overnight. The next morning after starting to return home, he spied at the roadside, a swarm of wild bees settled. Very much desiring to own some bees, he returned to the place where he had spent the night, procured a box, went back and succeeded in hiving the bees. Here a new difficulty presented itself as he had nothing to cover the hive and prevent the escape of the bees. He, however, quickly solved the problem by removing his shirt, which he used to cover the hive. Then buttoning vest and coat, he mounted his horse with his treasure and returned home. These bees, with their increase and descendants, furnished honey for the family for forty years.
He was a man who always took a lively interest in everything calculated to benefit community, church, or state. My father was instrumental in the establishment of both the church and school at Cherry Grove, and gave liberally of his means for the support of both. He was nearly always the leader of the weekly prayer meeting and the unfailing support of the minister. His house was always the home of visiting ministers, and the temporary home of any pastor who ministered to the church and resided elsewhere. He lived to see the school, small as it was at the beginning, a power for good in the community. My sisters and I received our education within its walls, while our brother, W. D. Latimer, after finishing the course here, was sent to Galesburg and graduated with high honors from Knox College in 1863."
His daughter Martha, may also tell of the sad circumstances connected with his death: "His last sickness and death were particularly distressing to his family and friends. His children, with the exception of one, were stricken with measles. Also, two young men, who were boarding in his family and attending school at Cherry Grove Seminary. On January 26th one of the children died. The night following the burial of this child, the little girl who had escaped the measles, was stricken with some disease which completely baffled the physicians of that early day. She was violently ill from the first, and was cared for almost entirely by my father. On the third day of February, he went out with the physician, who was leaving the house. He stood talking in the wind for a few minutes. The next morning he had a chill. The doctor advised him to remain in bed that day and rest. About nine o'clock in the evening of the same day another chill came on. My mother was very much frightened. He spoke, telling her not to be alarmed, turned over in bed and lost consciousness. He never spoke again, breathing his last the following day at noon, Feb. 5, 1848, aged thirty-seven years, eleven months, and seven days. Two little daughters were taken on February ninth and were buried in one grave. Thus there were four deaths in our family inside of two weeks, taking almost one-half of the family in that short time."
It is almost incredible to add, after what has just been narrated, that within a few days, February though it was, the barn was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. In the barn when it burned were several horses, a bin of wheat and a supply of corn and hay. Nothing was saved.
REBECCA DRENNAN, like her illustrious namesake, Rebecca, the daughter of Bethuel, left her father's home and people and went to live in a strange country and to dwell among her husband's people. When she married George G. Latimer and came with him to Cherry Grove, she said truly in the words of another illustrious Bible woman: Whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God, my God; where thou diest, I will die and there will I be buried.
After reaching the new country, she very soon won the confidence and hearts of his people and of the neighbors, and they remained her friends and admirers ever after. What now concerned Col. Latimer concerned Mrs. Latimer. When he, with a few others, was planning and working to secure both church and school privileges for the little colony, she was not only in sympathy with their purpose, but was cheerfully aiding them in such practical ways as were open to her. Students from a distance soon began coming to the Seminary in greater numbers than was expected. This made it difficult to find boarding places for them all. To such an extent was this true that it threatened the success of the school. It was to help meet this need that Mrs. Latimer consented to take students into her home, when it meant real sacrifice for her to do so. It was when the cherished plans and hopes of Col. Latimer were moving steadily toward realization that his death came. It seemed ever after, in the light of her life at Cherry Grove, that she did everything she could to make the church and the school fulfill their hoped for mission, in loving remembrance of her husband.
After Mr. Latimer's death. she saw, in the midst of her sorrow, that she must now put out of sight, as far as possible, her grief and resolutely take up the increased responsibilities that were before her. Five children were left her that must be comforted and trained. The home must be maintained and this meant that the farm must continue to be successfully managed. Facing these facts her courage rose and her resolution was made. There was no faltering after. Mrs. Latimer took up the management of the farm. The land was not rented out but was put into crops as formerly, but now under her direction and management. She had the entire control of the finances, etc. That she met these responsibilities with notable fidelity and success was always the testimony of her neighbors. It was notably true, also, that during those busy years Mrs. Latimer never for a moment neglected the training and education of her children or her household duties. Though she had more than ordinary business ability, it was in the family circle where her strength and beauty of her character were best seen.
In the fall of 1857, it was the good fortune of the writer of this sketch of family history to be a boarder in Mrs. Latimer's family and to become somewhat acquainted, so that he had a good opportunity to know of their manner of living.
Martha, the oldest child, was at that time married, and living in a home of her own, with two little children. Drennan was nineteen, but much older than that in practical knowledge of business and farming. Though he always deferred to his mother's wishes and never failed to consult her, he was largely in control of the farm and of the business. Everywhere about the house and farm were evidences of good management and thrift. The girls Emma, Myra, and Dulcena, were about eighteen, sixteen, and thirteen years old. They were then living in a nearly new house, standing where the old one had stood, almost in the center of the farm of a little less than two hundred and forty acres. The house for its day was large and well arranged. It was painted white as was also the yard fence. The public road ran north and south, west of the house and between the house and barn. The house fronted south but the entrance most used was the one on the north and opening into the west porch of the ell. North of the house was the wood yard and east, the garden, enclosed with a high picket fence. On the north and east sides of the garden was a row of peach and pear trees, while the apple orchard was across the road and north of the barn. The yard was ornamented with shrubbery, flowering currant, flowering almond, lilacs, snowball, and rose bushes and with evergreen trees. The gate in the center of the south yard fence opened onto an open parkway eight rods wide and forty rods long. There was no fence between this and the road and it extended from the front yard south to the road which ran east and west past the Seminary grounds. This gave an unobstructed view south from the house and by it the beauty of the house was greatly enhanced.
The boarders that fall were were John and Joseph Hensley, cousins, from Kentucky, and the one already mentioned. They had for their rooms a large upstairs room and a small bedroom opening into it - in each room abed. In the large room was the boarders' study room. Drennan generally studied down stairs with the family. There were eight in the family and seven of them were in school and losing no time from their lessons, and Mrs. Latimer with no help except her girls. The fact was she did not seem to need other help. The meals were on time and well served and there never seemed to be hurry and confusion. One of the girls, at least, could be seen helping her mother at meal time and all helped when needed. While saying nothing about order or system, Mrs. Latimer was giving an exhibition of both orderly and systematic living every day in her household management. There was always the most perfect good understanding between herself and her children and between the children themselves. This made it possible to apportion out every day's tasks among the children so quietly that no one but themselves knew about it. Each knew in the morning what her part would be for the day. The children seldom received instructions as to their duties in the presence of others. While anyone in the home could not fail to see the orderly and efficient management of the household, yet Mrs. Latimer's speech was so guarded and her manner so quiet as to leave one in doubt as to who was responsible for it.
Mrs. Latimer's school education was of necessity only such as could be had at the common schools of a new country, but she had in her home for so many years people that were educated or that were seeking an education that her correctness of speech was remarkable.
Busy family that they were, they did not neglect current reading. A weekly secular paper and the church paper were deemed to be essential. At that time the U.S. was fast approaching a mighty crisis. Mrs. Stowe's new book," Uncle Tom's Cabin," the New York Tribune, and other radical papers and books, such as Helper's "Impending Crisis," were playing havoc with old party lines, while Lincoln was leading the forces that were shaping them anew. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had been read by the family as it appeared in serial form in the National Era in 1851-52 and was later read as a book by the younger children. On Saturday evenings, after the lessons for Monday morning were prepared, the school books were laid aside, not to be opened again until Monday morning. Likewise the secular paper was laid away until Monday. The Sunday reading was the Bible, the church paper and books from the Sunday School library.
On Dec. 28, 1859, Mrs. Latimer was married to William Allison [the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a Rebecca Latimer marrying a William Allison in Knox County on December 25, 1859] of McDonough County, Illinois. Mr. Allison was born in Virginia July 25, 1805, and died Aug 14, 1878. His ancestors were from the north of Ireland. In religious beliefs he was a Presbyterian. He served as elder in that church from his majority until his death. He was in every way an excellent citizen. Of his four children living at home when their father was married, Andrew, the eldest, married Miss Louisa Russell in January 1860 and they were left in charge of the Allison farm. Elizabeth married Capt. J. A. James in 1866. Since his death, Mrs. James has lived with her daughter in Chicago, near her two sons and her brother John. Austin and John attended school at Cherry Grove and were members of the home circle for some years. Austin married Mary Jane Campbell. They live at Good Hope, Ill. where her father is president of the bank in Good Hope and his son John is cashier. John married Arta Brown and their home is in Chicago.
The years which followed Mrs. Latimer's marriage to Mr. Allison saw her other three daughters married. All four of her daughters were married in the same parlor. It was in October of 1864 that the news was brought of Drennan's death, the circumstances of which are recorded elsewhere.
Mrs. Allison outlived her husband by many years. Although crippled by rheumatism, necessitating the use of crutches, she spent her old age happily in Abingdon in the home of her youngest daughter, Mrs. Dr. Miller. Her death occurred Jan. 24, 1895, and she was buried in the Cherry Grove cemetery beside George Latimer.
Their children were as follows :

I. MARTHA JANE LATIMER was born at Cherry Grove, near Abingdon, Illinois, Oct. 13, 1833. She died July 8, 1908, at her home in Monmouth, Illinois. She was married to Ezra CABLE by Rev. J. M. B. Roach on April 26, 1854 [the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a Martha J. Latimer marrying a Ezra Cable in Knox County on April 26, 1854]. Mr. Cable was born at Floyd, Oneida County, N.Y. Feb 11, 1821. He died March 20, 1910. they lived on one farm in Floyd Township, near Berwick, Illinois 48 years. In 1902 they sold the farm and after that their home was in Monmouth Illinois, until their death. Six children were born to them.

II. MARY A. LATIMER b. Feb. 12, 1837 at Cherry Grove, d. Feb 9, 1848

III. WILLIAM DRENNAN LATIMER was born Aug. 23, 1838, at Cherry Grove and died at sea, Oct. 9, 1864. He was ten years old at the time of his father's death. He was his mother's only son and grew up to be her main dependence on the farm. He prepared for college at Cherry Grove Seminary and entered Knox College, at Galesburg, Illinois, as a Sophomore in the fall of 1860. In the summer of 1862 he joined Co. E, Illinois Volunteers, 71st Infantry, for ninety days' service. He enlisted July 22, 1862, and was commissioned Second Lieutenant by Gov. Yates. He was mustered out Oct 29, 1862. He resumed his studies at Knox College and graduated with the class of'63. In the fall of '63 he entered Albany Law School, Albany, N.Y., completing the course in one year and receiving his degree in early summer of '64. Without coming home from Albany he entered the Commissary department of the U.S. Army at Fortress Monroe. From there, in the fall, he was sent to North Carolina on board a transport. On account of the prevalence of yellow fever, the troops were not landed but were at once returned. But in some way Drennan Latimer had contracted the disease and died aboard ship Oct. 9, 1864. He was buried at sea off Fortress Monroe.

IV. EMMA MINERVA LATIMER, born at Cherry Grove Jan 18, 1840. Died at her home in Galesburg, Illinois, Jan 24, 1917. She received her education at Cherry Grove Seminary. She was married to Madison Cauby Bates, May 16, 1861 [the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a Emma Latimer marrying a Madison C. Bates in Knox County on May 16, 1861]. He was born in Morgan County, Illinois July 7, 1836, and was educated at Cherry Grove Seminary and Cumberland University. They lived in the Cherry Grove neighborhood after their marriage for 34 years. In 1895 they sold the farm and moved to Oberlin, Ohio. After a little more than four years' residence there, they returned to Illinois, settling in Toulon, Stark County, near which town they owned a farm. They made their home in Toulon about four years when in the fall of 1903 they came to Galesburg, Illinois and built a home at 391 N. Cherry Street, where they were living when Mrs. Bates died. They had five children.

V. MYRA ELIZABETH LATIMER was born at Cherry Grove, Illinois Nov, 1, 1841; died at Chichasha, Oklahoma, Nov. 15, 1915. Educated at Cherry Grove Seminary. She was married Nov. 30, 1865 to William Gowdy PATTEN [the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a Lamira E. Latimer marrying a William G. Patten in Knox County on November 30, 1865]. He was born at Springfield, Ohio, April 14, 1828 and died at Emporia, Kansas, Jan. 15, 1899. He enlisted in the Union Army at Prairie City, Illinois Aug 4, 1861. Made 1st Lieutenant, Co. C, Engineer Regiment of West. Was commissioned Captain Co. C, Jan 6, 1862, and Captain Co. B Feb 4, 1864. Discharged at Atlanta, Georgia, Nov. 12, 1864. They had one child Walter Glen Patton.

VI. SARAH A. LATIMER born Aug. 14, 1843, at Cherry Grove; died Feb 9, 1848 at Cherry Grove.

VII. DULCENA BORODEL LATIMER was born at Cherry Grove, March 1, 1845; educated at Cherry Grove Seminary and was married June 10, 1874 to Dr. J. Hartshorne Miller [the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a Dulena B. Latimer marrying a J. Harts Miller in Knox County on June 10, 1874], of Abingdon, Ill. He was born at Alexandria, Virginia, Sept. 9, 1839. Died at Abingdon, Ill. July 12,1899. He enlisted in Co. B, 84th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, in 1862 and served as a private until mustered out in 1865. Mrs. Miller died March 10, 1917, at Abingdon. They had four children, all born at Abingdon.

1. Mabel Miller, born July 17, 1876; died Dec. 1, 1880

2. Winifred Miller, born March 3, 1878. She was educated at Hedding College. She is principal of Lincoln Public School in Abingdon.

3. Malcom Foote Miller, b. Jan 10, 1880. He graduated from Hedding College in 1905 and from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1908. He married Ethel M. Pease at Abingdon, Illinois June 17,1908. She was born Oct 23, 1885. He is a Congregational minister and is now located at Armour S. D. They have four children

4. Anna M. Miller was born Jan 29, 1882. She was educated at Hedding College and is now engaged in bookkeeping

Winifred and Anna are now living in the Miller home in Abingdon, friends to everybody and everybody their friends.

VIII. JULIA C. LATIMER, born Jan 31, 1847, at Cherry Grove, died Jan 26, 1848 at Cherry Grove.
Other interesting Latimer biographies.
GEORGE GRISWALD LATIMER BATES (son of Emma Minerva LATIMER and Madison Cauby BATES) born on March 21, 1863; single. He graduated from Knox College in 1855. His fondness for Natural History led him to make collections of botanical specimens from the Dakotas to Key West, Florida. These he sent to the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, D.C. Later it led him in 1895 to West Central Africa. From there he sent to the British Museum, London, the results of his work and his specimens. He is a member of the British Ornithological Union. He is also a Corresponding Member of the Zoological Society. In the Cameroon country of West Africa he was the first to put into written form the spoken language of the Bulu people. The grammar and reader and dictionary prepared and published by him are the books now used by the Government officers and by the missionaries of the Cameroon country. Because of the increasing demand he is now revising and enlarging these books. For original work and discoveries he was honored in 1916 by Knox College with the degree of Litt. D.
EULA GOODPASTURE BATES (daughter of Emma Minerva LATIMER and Madison Cauby BATES) born May 28, 1865. She graduated from Knox College in 1887, and went as a missionary to Central Turkey in 1889 where she remained for twenty years. June 9, 1904 she was married to Rev. Lucius O. Lee, D.D., a missionary of the American Board in Marash, Turkey, since 1880. Mrs. Lee is now General Secretary of the Woman's Board of Missions of the Interior of the Congregational Church. Her office is Room 1315, 19 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Lee had three daughters.
MARY DRENNAN BATES (daughter of Emma Minerva LATIMER and Madison Cauby BATES) born Feb. 22, 1867. Graduated at Knox College in 1888. Taught home school one year and was assistant principal of Warren High School for two years. She was married June 25, 1896, in Oberlin, Ohio, to Alvah Isome Sargent, a dentist, then located at Huntington, W. Va. He was born April 26, 1871, near Wyota, in Southern Wisconsin; studied at Beloit and graduated from the Dixon Business College and Chicago Dental College. In December of 1897 they moved to Galesburg, Illinois, where they have lived since. Their address is 418 N. Prairie St. They have two children - Constance Latimer Sargent and Hubert Drennan Sargent.
SUSAN PAULINE LATIMER (daughter of Joseph Latimer b. Jan 8, 1766 and Anna Dobbins b. May 10, 1776, and sister to George Griswald Latimer) was born at Lebanon, Tennessee, July 19, 1817 and died at Farragut, Iowa on Sept. 25, 1844. She married Urban David Coy at Cherry Grove, Nov. 21, 1833, the first marriage in Knox County [the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists a Susannah P. Latimer marrying a Urban D. Coy in Knox County on October 21, 1833]. He was born Sept. 14, 1810, in Nelson county, Kentucky, and died Feb. 10, 1876 at his home in Farragut, Iowa. They had five sons and six daughters. U. D. Coy enlisted in the Mexican War but too late to see active service. He also sought to enlist in the Civil War but was rejected because of age. He was in the Black Hawk War with Lincoln's Command. He had one son and one son-in-law who served in the Civil War. The latter was wounded in the second battle of Fort Donaldson, from the effects of which wound he has ever since been lame. At one time while the Coys were living in their log cabin Mr. Coy's business compelled him to be away over night, leaving Mrs. Coy alone. She heard a scream of a panther and thinking it was Mr. Coy, started to meet him. She met, instead, her brother, John, coming to stay over night with her. He told her to go back into the house as it was a panther that she heard.
An interesting fact in the life of Major Coy is told by his family. When he was twenty years old he left Kentucky and started to go to Illinois. He was traveling alone and on foot when he met Joseph Latimer's family on the road and was hired by them to drive one of their ox teams. Major Coy sold his farm to J. S. Latimer, a son of Alexander Latimer, and in 1867 the Coy family moved to Southwestern Iowa. The next year they bought a farm where later was located the town of Farragut. Here again Mr. Coy's lucky star appeared. He received enough money from the railroad and from the sale of town lots to buy 1,700 acres of fine Iowa land. Here Mr. and Mrs. Coy lived the remainder of their lives. They are buried at Farragut. All their large family of children, but one son, are now dead. This son, W. S. lives just outside the town limits of Farragut.
Move to Illinois (page16)
It was about forty-one years after the Latimers came to Tennessee that Joseph Latimer and family decided to move to Illinois. At the time the settlement in Tennessee was made Joseph Latimer was twenty four years old and single. He now had a family of above twenty, counting somewhat as Jacob's family was counted when he moved down into Egypt. All the family were included in the move except the Wiers. The first year, 1830, they came as far only as Sangamon County, Illinois. Though this is an excellent part of the state, the next year, 1831, the journey was continued, leaving behind in Sangamon County, Jonathan and family and Alexander and family to follow later, which they did, the former in 1832 and the latter in 1833. The direction to the northwest was continued until the Illinois River was crossed at Havana, and finally they had reached what later came to be known as Cherry Grove, Knox County, Ill. So far as is known there was not the least question among them but they had now found the location they were looking for. If any one had gone in advance to spy out the land or to give advice as to where to go there is no record of it. They had now found an abundance of the very best prairie land just rolling enough to drain well, and near by to the northwest lay a fine body of timber of the best varieties Illinois produces, such as oak, hickory, black walnut, sugar maple and cherry (the large trees of the latter that grew near the border of the timber was what suggested the name, Cherry Grove), and with it all, abundance of good water easily obtained. The question of markets at that time was little more than a blind guess. They were on the divide between the Mississippi and the Illinois Rivers, about equally distant from each, and as it proved later right on the line of the first permanent railroad built in the state. The choice of land was then to be had at government price, one and one-quarter dollars per acre. Making selections and procuring titles was doubtless done as quickly as possible, for they had no houses to shelter them until logs were cut and cabins built. The land office was at Quincy, a hundred miles away, Vandalia, the capital of the state, still farther off and the quickest means of travel was on horseback. Many a swift ride was taken in the saddle in those days when a rival claimant for the same piece of land was suspected. Leaving now to the imagination what these real pioneers were doing the first two years after their arrival it will be worth while to note the situation at the end of two years.
In the first place the inclusive family that has been referred to as the family of Joseph Latimer had now become eight separate families, each family having its own home upon land of its own, Joseph, the father, was located on Section twenty-nine(29), Township ten(10), North, one(1) East, Knox County. Mrs. Sarah Boran on the same section eighty rods east of her father, George G. on the same section sixty rods south of Mrs. Boran, Jonathan half a mile southeast of George on section twenty-eight(28), Alexander one and a half miles northeast of his father on section sixteen (16), and the Coys were a mile and a half nearly east of the father on section sixteen (16), all in Cedar Township. These six families were in what came to be known as the Cherry Grove neighborhood and acted together in matters of school and church. The Marshalls located on section thirty-two(32), Cedar Township, a mile and a half nearly south of the father, and John C. was located about two miles south-west of his father, on section six (6), Indian Point Township. These two families were located south of Cherry Grove and not so intimately connected with the Cherry Grove neighborhood in school and church matters. Where they lived, however, in these matters they did their part equally well with the others.
Cherry Grove School and Church
These eight families had in two years secured for their homes about 2,000 acres of this superb farm land and the making of their homes was well under way. Already public and community questions were demanding attention, other families were beginning to settle in or near the neighborhood and they of course shared in whatever was done for the common good. It was true, however, that for almost thirty years these six families were mainly responsible for what was done to build up and keep up both Cherry Grove School and Cherry Grove Church. All schools in Illinois at that time and for many years after were kept up by voluntary contributions. Schoolhouses were built and teachers were paid in this way; so it was that the kind of school any community had was dependent on the enterprise of the people of that community. As soon as the Latimers were housed in their log cabins a schoolhouse was built of logs such as they used in building their own cabins. This building was used for a short time for both the school and church. It was the first schoolhouse built in Knox County and in it the second school taught in the county was held. This was taught by Robert Bell.
In June, 1835, The Cherry Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized in the house of Joseph Latimer with thirteen charter members. Of these seven were Latimers. The officers chosen were: for Elders, Joseph Latimer, John Howard and Alexander Latimer; for Clerk, George G. Latimer. Attention is here called to the fact that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was a branch that separated from the Presbyterian Church in 1810 because of certain points of doctrine which seemed to them to teach Fatalism. They organized what was called the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. This took place near where the Latimers lived in Tennessee and not many years before they came to Illinois. It is not strange that they had strong religious convictions. It is worth while also to remember that in 1905 these two churches were reunited; not, however, until in 1902, the mother church modified or qualified the points of doctrine that had led to the separation.
In 1836 a plain frame church was erected. This was located in a beautiful sugar maple grove about fifty rods west of the east line of Section 29, along which runs the main road from Abingdon to Galesburg, and a few rods south of the road running east and west and connecting with the Abingdon and Galesburg road. The lot on which the building stood contained about five acres. Evidently so large a lot shows that the intention was to use it for school as well as church purposes. This building now became the meeting place for church and school and community gatherings of various kinds.
Regular preaching for a considerable time was not oftener than once in two weeks; beside this, however, there were special services of great importance. One of these was what was called Sacramental Meetings and lasted nearly two days. They were sometimes called Two Days' Meetings. These were held once or more each year. Another was the Annual Camp Meeting. The camping ground was near the church and the meetings were held almost always in the month of August and lasted about one week. Some of the people that attended them and camped on the grounds came from as far as Schuyler County on the south, and Henderson County on the west. Ministers from a distance came also. Thus Cherry Grove people and Cherry Grove Seminary were introduced over an extensive territory. George G. Latimer was clerk of the church as long as he lived and the records he kept are still preserved. They show that from and including 1835, the year that the church was organized, a camp meeting was held every year for ten years. Through these various agencies the church grew and prospered and Cherry Grove Seminary was widely advertised.
It was in this new church building that Cherry Grove Seminary was started, either in 1836 or 1837. The circumstances seem to indicate that it was 1836. It is certain, however, that in 1838 it was known outside of the neighborhood as "a boarding school;" and was called "Cherry Grove Seminary." The need of such a school was very great at that time and from the start it me with favor. An addition was soon built to the church so that the younger classes in the school could have a separate room. In 1840 a charter from the state was secured and in 1847 Rev. Cyrus Haynes became the principal of the school. He was a college graduate and both a good preacher and a good teacher. He was also well acquainted among the churches of the Central west. From the church records we know that Mr. Haynes had frequently been at Cherry Grove from the year that the church was organized in 1835. It is believed that he had been counseled with regarding the school and had given his approval and aid to the enterprise from the start. Under his administration the school continued to grow in numbers and equipment. In 1846 ten acres were added to the grounds on which the church stood. The official records show that in 1846 Jonathan and George G. Latimer each deeded to the Trustees of Cherry Grove Seminary five acres of land. This ten acres, taken together, was nearly square in shape and extended the grounds on which the church stood east to the Abingdon and Galesburg public road. This added ground, as also that on which the church stood, was part of the south half and part of the north half of the southeast quarter of Section 29. Jonathan Latimer owned the south half and George Latimer the north half of this quarter. Whatever of sacrifice and inconvenience it had been to these brothers to have their land thus broken into they seem to have shared it alike. (The record of these deeds and a plat of the Cherry Grove Seminary grounds can be found in the Knox County Recorder's office.) The grounds now consisted of about fifteen acres with a public road on the north and on the east. There was now ample room for other buildings and for recreation and play grounds.
In 1849 a two-story frame building, forty by fifty-six feet, was erected. This also was intended for the use of both the church and the school. It was well arranged and substantially built and stood about twenty-five rods from the road on the east and thirty-five rods from the road on the north. There were two outside doors... These were in the east end. They opened into a vestibule ten feet wide and as long as the width of the building. From the vestibule two doors opened into the two main aisles in the chapel. In the west end was the platform and pulpit. They faced to the east. In the vestibule was also the stairway. The upper story was divided into three rooms, one large and two smaller ones. Every part of the building was perfectly lighted and ventilated. As the number of students increased some way was found to take care of them. The old church building was moved to the south edge of the grounds and made into four rooms which were fitted up for the use of young mend who wished to board themselves. There was also a boarding house on the grounds, which is still standing. Adjoining the grounds were at one time seven dwelling houses (some of them yet there). Some of these were for the teachers; one, a neat little cottage, was for the pastor of the church, and all of them were located there to be near the Seminary. There were also within easy walking distance half a score of houses that boarded students during school time. The price students paid for board was small but other things in those days were cheap. Boarding students was not done as a charity, though it was done sometimes to accommodate. Boarding students came manly from Central Illinois and from Iowa, Missouri, and Kentucky. The local attendance was large from the fact that the school was designed to take all ages, which it always did. A considerable number of students, in the earlier days before the colleges were there, came from Abingdon. It is now not possible to know exactly the average number of students that came to Cherry Grove Seminary during all the years of its existence, but from what is known it is believed that, including all ages, fully one hundred names, as an average, were annually registered.
The teachers were usually the Principal and one or two assistants and a teacher for the children of district school age. As to the men who served as principals and were responsible for the management of the school, Rev. Cyrus Haynes has already been mentioned. Who came before him is somewhat uncertain. The Knox County History says that a man by the name of Seymour taught the Cherry Grove School in 1836. It is supposed that this is the man who taught first after the course of advanced studies was introduced and that he also taught the following years up to the year 1840. Mr. Haynes became Principal in 1840 or 1841. Following Mr. Haynes was Rev. J. M .B. Roach and after him Rev. John C. Wagaman. These three ministers were all men of fine character and good teachers. Their terms of service, taken together, lasted up to 1860 and covered a period of twenty years. The men who followed them were all likewise college graduates, acceptable men and capable teachers. The school from that time on to the close lost somewhat in attendance, caused mainly or perhaps altogether by the Civil War. However, looking now at the conditions that then existed as to schools, the wonder is that it kept up as well as it did. The principals that followed Rev. Wagaman were Charles Caruthers, O. H. Baker, and J. M. Miller. As near as it is now possible to know the facts, the teaching force was paid wholly from the tuition fees paid by the students, supplemented in the later years by the public school money available for common school children residing within the local school district. There was no such fund until after 1847 and from 1847 up to 1855 it was very small.
The equipment, such as grounds and buildings, was provided for by the local church. This seems to have been the method of procedure from the start. It has been said that the school was in a sense under the advice and patronage of the Rushville Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church which was doubtless true, but it is not believed that any financial aid ever came from that source, though it is quite certain that a good many students were influenced by the ministers within the Presbytery to attend the school. The Seminary was always a distinctly Christian school, though not narrowly sectarian.
The following brief extracts are from the History of Knox County: "There came to the school a fine class of young people, earnest and enthusiastic and always loyal to the school. There was a successful Literary Society, The Upsilon, and a semi-monthly paper, The Cherry Leaf, edited by the student. Young men studying for the ministry and others having in view the law or medicine, fitted themselves here to enter the best colleges of the time in the Sophomore and sometimes in the Junior classes; a large number also prepared for teaching."
In the year 1866 there was located at Lincoln, Illinois, a college by the Cumberland Presbyterian Churches of the state. This school was intended to take the place of two or three schools then in existence, similar to the one at Cherry Grove, and make of all one strong college. This action together with the fact that there were at that time two colleges in Galesburg, Illinois, two in Abingdon and one or two in Knoxville, made it apparent that there was no longer a demand for Cherry Grove Seminary and accordingly in 1866 the school was closed. The library that had been collected was sent with the good wishes of the trustees to Lincoln College. Thus, after a career of marked usefulness for a period of thirty years, Cherry Grove Seminary was closed."
The same year the church erected in Abingdon a house of worship. This was dedicated in February, 1867. Also in the same year the Cherry Grove District built the first school house ever built by taxation.

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