Monroe County, Illinois

This history was extracted from the following book on:


Combined History of Randolph, Monroe and Perry Counties, Illinois

Published by J. L. McDonough & Co.

Philadelphia 1883



 Pages 395-397

Received its name from the Mitchegamie Indians who at one time inhabited the bottom in the extreme south part of Monroe county. Three ancient grants of land were made by the French within the limits of the precinct. One of these, claim 1753, survey 706, was conceded to Francois Hennett dit Sauschagrin, and is described as ten arpents in front, extending from the hills to the Mississippi, situated at the Prairie Apoequois. Chalfin bridge is on the upper end of this grant. Claim 1283, survey 707, was granted to Francois Noyze dit Labe, and also extended from the Mississippi to the hills, and is described as situated in the Prairie Apoequois. Claim 1753 was owned, in 1809, by Joseph Hennett, and claim 1283, at that dated had passed into the possession of John Rice Jones, a prominent lawyer, of Kaskaskia. Claim 26, survey 769, was an old French grant to Deville, (or Villiers), and in 1809 was owned by Peter Menard. That part of the bottom, between Chalfin bridge and the river, was called by the French the Prairie Apoequois, from the Indians who lived there in early times.

The old French grants were not necessarily founded on the improvement, or cultivation, of the soil. It is evident that a Frenchman, named Louis Pillet Lasond, made a settlement at an early day on the river in the neighborhood of the present Ivy landing. Claim 2046, survey 736, was granted to him on account of an improvement he had there made. Claim 633, survey 484, at the bluff, near Chalfin bridge, was granted to Louis Villard, in right of his improvement. Other grants show the early American settlements. The first improvement on claim 828, survey 467, was made by James Scott; on claim 557, survey 655, by Raphael Drury; on claim 769, survey 486, by William Howe; on claim 770, survey 483, by Elizabeth Labushe; on claim 768, survey 448, by Charles Gill; on claim 2623, survey 697, by Henry O' Harra; on claim 615, survey 485, by Isaac Chalfin; on claim 1618, survey 698, by William Chalfin, and on claim 495, survey 701, by Josiah Ryan. Claim 316, survey 704, on part of which Maeysville is now built, is an improvement right granted to James McRoberts.

One of the most noted of the pioneer settlers, of Mitchie precinct, was Nathanial Hull. He was born and raised in Massachusetts, and acquired a good education. About the year 1780, in company with several other young men, he came to Illinois. He descended the Ohio, and landed at a place afterward called Hull's landing, from which he opened a road across the country to Kaskascia, which afterward became the main traveled way. He bought the improvement right of Elizabeth Labushe, claim 770, survey 483, at the foot of the bluff, just below the present Chalfin bridge, and there settled. A few years after his arrival he married into the O'Harra family. The place of his settlement was where Christopher Fults now lives. He bought a farm of considerable size under cultivation, and built a block house. He was commonly the leader of the companies raised in the neighborhood to protect the settlement from Indian depredations, and soon acquired the title of Captain Hull.  A post-office and small store were established at the block-house. This post-office was probably the first within the limits of Monroe county. He became a Justice of the Peace, and Judge of the Randolph County Court. In 1794 he revisited Massachusetts. On his return his brother, Daniel Hull, came with him, and settled in the bottom. He died in the year 1806.

The Worleys came to Illinois with the first American immigration. Joseph Worley made and improvement north of Bellefontaine, and received a grant of four hundred acres of land, included in claim 562, survey 640. This is the farm on which Joseph W. Drury now lives, and was in the ownership of the heirs of Worley till September, 1809, when his sons, John, Joseph, and William, sold it to Enoch Moore. James Worley was killed by the Indians in the American Bottom in Mitchie precinct in 1789. From Bellefontaine the Worleys moved to the bottom, and made early settlements at the foot of the bluff. John and William Worley lived at the mouth of the hollow at Chalfin bridge, and there raised families. Their farms were in claim 633, survey 484. The stream which flows out of the hollow, now known as Maeysville creek, was then called Worley's creek. Joseph Worley, Jr., settled a couple of miles below Chalfin bridge, near the bluff, on what was afterward known as the Masterson place. The old house, now standing on this place, was built by Benjamin Masterson, who moved here from Harrisonville. He gave his name to Masterson Lake, now mostly drained and under cultivation. At this place, also, lived Dr. Carrivine, and Irish gentleman, who lived here many years and practiced medicine. At this point, Masterson, at one time, kept a small store.

The Chalfins (the name is commonly spelled by early members of the family "Chaffin") settled in the bottom, where Chalfin bridge now is, in the year 1796. They came from England, Issac Chalfin and his son William, and first settled in Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, and from there came to Illinois. Issac was an old man at the time he left England. He was blind for several years, but regained his eyesight previous to his death. James Chalfin, a brother of William Chalfin, removed from Pennsylvania to Illinois about the same time with the other members of the family. Coming up on the Mississippi they got out of provision, and landed, sending a man to Hull's fort for assistance and provision. On his return to the boat the whole crew was found massacred. The Indians had mangled the bodies cruelly, and some of the tongues had been cut out. This is said to be the same massacre in which Mrs. Neff, the mother of John Moredock, was killed. James Chalfin and his while family were among the victims. Seth Chalfin son of William Chalfin, was born on the old Chalfin place, lived there during his life, and died in 1838. He built the Klein house near Chalfin bridge. Nathaniel Chalfin went to California in 1849. Five generations of the Chalfins are now buried in the old graveyard, under the bluff, near Chalfin bridge. The first settlement made on the upland in this precinct was by James McRoberts, claim 316, survey 704, but the settled permanently, at an early day, on claim 315, survey 703, which was given him as a militia donation. He was born near Glasgow, in Scotland, in May, 1760. He emigrated to America at the age of twelve, and settled in Philadelphia. When eighteen years old he became a soldier on the side of the colonies in the war of the Revolution and served until the close of the war. He was married in the year 1787, and the next year settled in Kentucky on the Ohio river. In 1786 he came to Kaskaskia, where he remained till 1797. During his first visit to Illinois he settled temporarily on claim 316, and made some attempt to place land under cultivation, which entitled him to the grant of land he subsequently obtained. He came back to Illinois and settled on claim 315, a mile north of where Maeysville now stands, which was afterward his home for nearly half a century. The same year of his settlement here (1798) he built a dwelling-house, which is still standing and is probably the oldest house now in the county. In this house his children were born, among them Josiah McRoberts, who became a prominent member of the bar, and Samuel McRoberts, the first native-born citizen of the state elected to the United States Senate from Illinois. Judge McRoberts devoted himself with much industry to his farm. He served as a justice of the peace for many years, and was also elected county judge. His death occurred in 1844, and his widow survived him several years. His son, Samuel McRoberts, was born in 1799. He attended a school kept by Edward Humphrey in the bottom near Chalfin bridge. At the age of twenty he became clerk of the Monroe County Circuit Court, and in 1824 Circuit Judge by the State Legislature. He filled several other public positions, and in 1840 was elected United States Senator. He died at Cincinnati in 1843, while on his way home from Washington. Two children of James McRoberts are still living. Josiah McRoberts is a resident of Joliet, and the youngest daughter, Mary, the widow of Major Xerxes F. Trail, lives in the county.

David Waddle owned claim 768, survey 448, at the beginning of the present century.  On part of this claim, Isaiah Levins, who married a daughter of William Chalfin, lived for some years in early times.  About a mile below Nathaniel Hull's place, under the bluff lived Colonel William Alexander.  He acquired his military title in his service against the Indians.  He was a justice of the peace, and a man of some wealth and standing in the community.  At Hull's old place, Gilman Jewett once lived.  He married a daughter of Colonel Alexander.

One of the oldest places along the river is the farm now owned by Louis Ihorn, a mile above Ivy Landing.  It is included in the old French grant, made to Deville or Villiers, and from him passed into the possession of Colonel Pierre Menard, of Kaskaskia.  In 1803, Thomas Marrs located here.  He came to Illinois from Kentucky in the year 1797, accompanying Judge James McRoberts in a boat down the Ohio.  He first lived near Cahokia, and then between Waterloo and Whiteside's station.  During the Indian troubles in 1811, the family found refuge in Whiteside's Fort.  He subsequently returned to Kentucky.  He only had one son who died at the age of twenty, and twelve daughters.  Abigail married Abner Carr.  Lucinda, now Mrs. Eli Wiley, is lining in Jefferson County, Missouri.  Phoebe married Robert Miller in the year 1822, and is still living, and is one of the oldest residents of the county.  She was born below Cahokia, in the American Bottom, on the twenty-fifty of December, 1800.  Her husband, Robert Miller, whom she married in 1822, came from Kentucky, and the family settled in the northwest part of Mitchie precinct, on the river near where Austin James now lives. Rueben Miller made the first improvement here, and it was the earliest settled place on the river between Harrisonville and Ivy landing.  Mrs. Miller remembers the first steamboat that ascended the Mississippi.  It was the "General Pike," and reached St. Louis on the second of August, 1817.  She was married to Robert Miller in 1822.

Along the bluff in this precinct is a spacious cave known as Saltpetre cave. Saltpetre was collected here for manufacture of powder, and hoppers were arranged to catch the drippings from the rocks. This was one of the last places of resort for the Indians in this part of the State.  When they moved away from Kaskaskia several frequented the cave, and used it for a shelter and sleeping place. 

One of the early school teachers in Illinois had a school in the neighborhood of Chalfin Bridge.  This was Edward Humphrey; he taught school here as early as 1805.


Maeysville may be said to have begun its growth as a town form the year 1852, when Jacob Maeys here built a saw mill.  The site of the town was known as the McRoberts meadow tract, and was purchased by Mr. Maeys in 1848.  For a year after its construction the mill remained idle on account of there not being sufficient water to drive it.  Steam engines were then put in place, and the mill successfully operated. The first store was opened in 1858 by Jacob Maeys in partnership with Judge Abraham Poston.  By this time some half a dozen houses had been erected in the place.  A town had been surveyed and laid off in 1856 by Mr. Maeys, and called Maeysville.  A post-office was established in 1860 by the name of Maeystown.  Jacob Maeys was appointed postmaster and has retained the office ever since.  Mr. Maeys purchased Judge Poston's interest in the store and became sole proprietor in 1867.  A steam flouring mill was built by JacobPilger and Mr. Coleman.  It passed into the possession of Anton Zeitinger who owned it at the time it was burned down in 1868.  The building was then purchased by Jacob Maeys, William Maeys, Jacob Hoffman, Jacob S. Jobb, George Hoffman, William Hoeft and Dr. Charles Wilhelmy.  The mill was rebuilt in 1880 and made ready for machinery, but has never been put in operation.  St. John's Evangelical Church was completed in 1866.  The Rev. Edward Jacob Hosto is the pastor.  There is no public school nearer to the town than a mile, and most of the children attend a school carried on under the care of the pastor of the church. Dr. Charles Wilhelmy has been engaged in the practice of medicine in the village since 1858. His son, Dr. Charles Wilhelmy, Jr, is now also established here as a physician. The town contains about twenty-five dwelling-houses. There is one store of which Jacob Maeys is proprietor. The other business interests are represented by Charles Siebermann, wagonmaker; Henry wippemann, merchant tailor; Jacob G. Jobb, saddler and harness maker; Lewis Krone, shoemaker; and George Hoffman, blacksmith.

Chalfin Bridge

In the neighborhood of Chalfin Bridge is the old Chalfin farm and the small bridge that crosses what is now called Maeysville creek, but what was know to the pioneer settlers as Worley's creek, gave the post-office established at this point its present appellation. There is a store of which Nicholas Kohnz and William Keckritz are proprietors. Nicholas Kohnz owns a blacksmith shop, and William Bade carries on business as a wagon maker. The post-office is supplied with the mail three times a week, and Mr. Kohnz is postmaster.

Ivy Landing

Ivy Landing, formerly known as Goodman's Landing, is on the Mississippi in the extreme south part of Mitchie precinct, and is an important shipping point. A post-office by the name of Ivy was established in 1874. George W. Cavanaugh was the first postmaster; Smith H. Brickey now has charge of the office. Mr. Brickey and Zeno Aubuchon have carried on the mercantile business since 1874. There is a blacksmith shop, and the place in all contains about half a dozen buildings.