A BRIEF REGIONAL HISTORY


The History of Greene County relates that at the beginning of the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States, the settlers in the Territory of Illinois were scattered over a wide area. A few improvements had been made along the western border of Wabash River and there were settlements in southern Illinois, “but the Wood River, near Alton, was the northern frontier.” “After the close of the war in 1815, the first pioneers to leave the Wood River neighborhood halted and built their cabins south of the Macoupin, opposite to Taylor’s Creek.” These were the families of Daniel Allen and the two Harriford brothers, all from Tennessee. The next year the Allens moved six miles west, the Harrifords moved to Missouri, and Thomas Daniels of Georgia arrived. These were the earliest settlers of what is now Greene County. The real tide of immigration did not start until after the treaty of Edwardsville, which was signed July 30, 1818. The purchase of ten million acres of land and the formation of the state of Illinois December 3, 1818, brought a flood of pioneers into the area. They came by way of canals, lakes, and rivers or overland in ox-drawn wagon trains. They found a land that had rich, dark soil and a diversity of plant and animal life. It was rugged land that they settled along the creeks where stands of timber were adjacent to the open prairie. After the settlement of the Macoupin Creek bottom and the general area of Carrollton and Kane, some pioneers crossed the Macoupin and settled in the Rockbridge area while others pushed north of Apple Creek. When Greene County was formed in January of 1821, its territory included the present counties of Jersey, Macoupin, Scott, and Morgan. Morgan County, which took Scott with it, was separated from Greene County in 1823. Macoupin and Jersey both separated in 1829. The 1821 Act that formed Greene also provided for a five man commission to choose the location for the county seat. The men wee Thomas Rattan, John Allen, Thomas Carlin, John Green, and John Huitt Sr. Since land owned by Thomas Carlin was one of the prime possibilities for a county seat, he supposedly took part in the discussions but not the vote. The four men made their decision while they were standing on the east side of what is now the Carrollton square: “John Allen paced fifty yards to the west, drove a stake, and said, ‘Here let the Court House be built.”. Compiled by Alice Bartelli

Greene CountyILLINOIS