Historical Articles - Omega Twp., Marion Co., Illinois
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“Brinkerhoff’s History of Marion County, Illinois - 1909” - by Prof. J.H.G. Brinkerhoff; "Omega Township" and "Village of Omega"
“Brinkerhoff’s History of Marion County, Illinois - 1909” by Prof. J.H.G. Brinkerhoff
OMEGA TOWNSHIP (pages 206-208)
Town 3 north, range 4 east, is known in the civil law as Omega. Why the name of the last letter of the Greek alphabet was given to this township is hard to imagine, unless for its sound, for Omega is not the last place by any means. It is a well watered tract, the streams being Skillet Fork, Dumbs creek, Bee Branch, White Oak creek and Mountain branch. In this township Skillet Fork has made bottoms of low land, which often overflows and thus enriched there is no more fertile lands in the county than are found in Omega. The township is well timbered, only one-fourth being prairie, but like the other townships, is largely cleared and where the native wood shaded the ground are now fine farms.
Henry T. PYLES, of Tennessee, came to this county in 1820 and settled in Stringtown in Iuka. In 1829 he married Rachael TINKLER and the next year settled in Omega township. He raised a family of nine children, of whom three are still living: Josiah at Odin, Lidia JONES at Iuka and T.B., editor of a paper at Fountain, Colorado.
Marcum C. LOVELL came from Kentucky with his father in 1829, and stopped at Walnut Hill Prairie, where he married Polly HENSLEY, daughter of Joseph HENSLEY, first settler of that section, in 1831, and moved to this township, where he died in 1879. His wife, Polly, had died in 1873. Four of their children still live in the county: Woodson and Mrs. Frances FARSON in Omega, Mrs. Julia LACEY in Meacham, and Mrs. Mary HAMMOND in Salem.
Daniel LOVELL moved to this township in 1832, and David ENGLAND the same year; Thomas T. JONES in 1834, Thomas C. SMITH in 1837. Henderson HENSLEY came in the same year.
Nicholas VAN DUSEN, of Massachusetts, moved to Ohio, then to Illinois and in 1840 settled in this township. The late Henry A. VAN DUSEN, the noted Christian preacher, was his son. Andrew BEARD and his brother, John, came in 1840, and John WANTLAND from Tennessee, first settled in Red Lick Prairie in 1826, and in 1841 moved to this township. Thomas CHAPMAN also settled in this township in 1841. Blackburn BROWN, son of Alexander BROWN, who was living at Stringtown as early as 1831, came to Omega in 1845, and died here in 1908, about ninety years of age. There are no railroads touching Omega and the township is strictly an agricultural one. Henry PILES built the first house in the township.
John PORTER and Mary E. LOVELL were married by Squire Samuel HENSLEY in 1837. This was the first wedding. The first death was a young daughter of Richard PYLES. She was the first person buried in the MILLICAN graveyard. Small stores were opened by Charles O’NEAL, Wesley BEASLEY, Levi ROLLINS, and Captain ELDER. They were small and kept only the necessaries. Most of the business was barter.
The first school was taught by William HADDEN in the Lovell school-house. This was a log house with an opening on the north side to admit light. It stood on section 20. A log cabin with a dirt floor next served as a school-house. It stood on section 27. A subscription school was taught here two terms by Silas LITTERELL. He charged two dollars per pupil per term of three months.
The Presbyterians, Methodist Episcopal and Christians now have churches in the township and each has a large number of communicants in the township. All of the early preachers of the county preached in this township, among them Doctor MIDDLETON, Joseph HELMS, Cyrus WRIGHT, John A. WILLIAMS, and David R. CHANCE.
A small water mill was built on Lost Creek, and was the first in the township. The next mill was on Skillet Fork, and was both grist and saw mill, and sawed the first lumber cut in the township. Both are now only a memory.
The first crime was that one so peculiarly attached to rural districts, horse stealing. Reuben and Robert BLACK stole a horse from Richard CLAFIN. They were caught, but one broke out of jail, and was retaken while trying to cross the Illinois River. He had stolen a gun to pay the ferryman and this led to his re-arrest. Both were sent to the penitentiary for eleven years. This was as late as 1874, since which time only a few penal offenses have occurred in the township.
VILLAGE OF OMEGA (page 208)
In 1856 Timothy BALDWIN laid out the village of Omega, and built the first house. Dr. Lewis ROGERS was the first doctor and Captain ELDER the first storekeeper. Ralph F. BALDWIN was the first postmaster. He was appointed when the office was established in 1855, before the village was laid out. A frame schoolhouse was built in 1856 and William DUNCAN taught the winter term and Kate ELDER the spring term.
The village of Omega is a good point for a country store, two being there at present, but the village has not grown and has now less than one hundred inhabitants, but some day a railroad will be built through Omega, which will make it one of the good shipping points of the county.
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