From Bent-Wilson History Book, 1877
Posted by Bob Mosher
The Township of Clyde is situated in the north part of Whiteside
county and contains 22,925 acres. The land is rolling prairie and bluffs, interspersed with numerous groves
of timber, especially along the water courses. The soil is a mixture of sandy and clayey loam, exceedingly
fertile, and well adapted to the production of most varieties of grain and vegetables, common to this
climate. The timber is now largely second growth. The pioneers found an excellent quality of timber, but it
has been largely cut off. The township is well watered by Rock Creek, which flows in a southerly and
southwesterly direction through the entire township. Little Rock creek also flows nearly across the township.
Numerous brooks and fine springs also afford unlimited supplies of water. The farmers are now largely engaged
in breeding stock and raising corn. Formerly large quantities of wheat were produced, but this industry has
been abandoned for the more lucrative business of corn and stock raising. In Clyde, as in most other towns of
the county, "Corn is King." The first settlers produced magnificent winter wheat. This crop gave way for
spring wheat, and now neither, in point of quantity, compare with the production of years gone
The township is now densely settled, since 1860, in addition to the pioneers, a
substantial class of farmers having made improvements upon the rich prairie land. It was the rule for the pioneers
to locate in the groves and along water courses, thus leaving what has proved the finest lands, the prairie, for
more recent settlers; as a consequence the farms of those first to locate are not so fine as the farms of those who
followed when the way was broken.
Clyde was originally a part of Union Precinct, the voting place of the people being
at Unionville. When township organization was adopted Clyde was formed, and is described as township 22 north,
range 5 east of the 4th principal meridian. The name was chosen from a post office of that name. About 1844 a post
office was established and the name agreed upon was "Watertown," but there being a post office of that name in the
State, the Post office Department conferred the name of "Clyde" upon the new office. This office was at Milnes'
Mill, and Thomas Milnes was the postmaster. An office was subsequently established at Brothwell's Mill, and called
"New Clyde." The township was surveyed in 1839, and in 1842 the land came into market. The town was originally
settled by English and Scotch people, many of them coming from Canada to Clyde. A few Americans made improvements
in the neighborhood of Brothwell's Mill, notable, Jesse Hill. his sons, and Mr. Wick, natives of North Carolina,
who were then settled in what is now Genesee township.
Probably the first claim was made in the northeast part of the
township. Mr. Jesse Bill carved his initials on the trees on a certain tract of land in 1835, making a "Jack Knife
Claim." Subsequently, Wm. Wick plowed furrows around a body of land, claiming all the territory within its
boundaries This claim embraced the "Jack Knife'' territory of Mr. Hill. The dispute the land was afterwards
About 1838 settlers began to come into the town, among others Henry
W. Daniels and Hugh Hollinshead. A Mr. Wing of New York, and Dr. H. H. Fowler of Indiana, then residents of Fulton,
built a saw mill where the Brothwell Mill now is. This was managed by Butler E. Marble and his son Levi. Hugh
Hollinshead, a millwright, and H. W. Daniels were engaged in erecting the concern. In connection with it was a
grist mill or "corn cracker," which worked so slowly that it is said a man waiting for his grist could eat all but
the toll while the grinding was being done.
In 1838 Wing laid out a "city" at the mill which was called "Genesee City." The
"city" was great in its immensity. Lots were sold to eastern people, and several came on to inspect the new
metropolis. They found a magnificent array of stakes, and but little else to speak of. Butler E. Marble, the
miller, went to Oregon where he died. The next mill erected was by Wm. P. Hiddleson, who had a carding machine in
connection with it. The mill is best known as Hough's Mill. The mill now known as the Little Rock Mill, and owned
by Joseph Milnes, was the next built. Early in 1840 some adventurous spirit put up an oil mill, and the general
opinion was that all would make their fortunes from castor oil. The castor bean was extensively planted, but the
early frost hurt the crop, and no great amount of wealth was realized, and Clyde added but little to the general
supply of physic. The flax fever seized the settlers also, but proved no better speculation than the castor
Among the first settlements was that of Samuel Wressell in the east
part of the town, on Section 19. He made his claim in 1838 and sold out to Z. Dent. The same year H. W. Daniel made
a claim and built a cabin. The Hollinsheads came about this time. In 1839 Richard Beswick made a settlement in the
south part of the township. Samuel Carrie made a claim the same year on Section 30. In 1839 also came Wm. Wilson.
Donald Blue and John Wilson; the two last named gentlemen located pretty well north ill the township, on Section
17, and were for a long time the only residents of their part of the town. Not until after 1880 did settlers begin
to rapidly take up the valuable lands in the parts of the township, remote from the groves of timber.
The pioneers of Clyde experienced the incidents common to the
pioneers. Wheat and oats were threshed out with flails and the chaff winnowed by the prairie breezes. Large sieves
were made from tanned hides of sheep through which the grain was also passed. The markets were at Albany, Fulton,
Galena, Savanna and Chicago. Bowman & Jacobs, at Savanna, purchased much of the grain. Pork was sold at Galena.
Religious consolation was obtained at Genesee Grove where church services were maintained after II fashion. There
were but few claim fights, although an organization to prevent claim jumping was in existence. The law of honor
prevailed among the pioneers of Clyde, and but little difficulty was experienced: All were neighbors, and the first
settlers of the town frequently refer to "tile good times of old" that they enjoyed with the hardships.
The first child born in Clyde was George R. Beswick, son of Richard
and Belinda Beswick; he was born February 10, 1840. Hiram Hopkins had a child born to him about the same
The first marriage is supposed to have been that of Samuel Currie, who was married
September 17, 1840, to Julia Thomas. A. C. Jackson, Justice of the Peace, performed the ceremony, it being the
first marriage at which he officiated.
The first deaths in the settlement were those of John and Margaret,
child of Donald and Margaret Blue, both of which occurred in the fall of 1839. The former was seventeen years old,
and the latter eleven. The deaths occurred shortly after Mr. Blue came to the settlement.
The first school in the township was taught by Miss Lucy A. Exley, at her father's
residence on section 28, in the summer of 1846. The first school building was erected about the year 1848. At the
present time there are eight school districts in the township, each district having a good school house.
A Sunday School was organized in Clyde, in 1841, the exercises being
held at the residence of William Wilson. This was the first Sunday School held in the township. The school was
continued at the same place for several years.
The early settlers of the county were many of them professors of religion, and
brought with them deep-seated and lasting reverence for the Bible, the Sabbath, and the ordinances of the church.
Nor were they long without religious services. The Methodist circuit riders--men who were full of zeal and faith,
pressed forward to the very outposts of civilization, preaching the word of life, gathering the scattered settlers
into churches, and administering the ordinances of the church. The services were generally held in the cabins of
the settlers, and sometimes at a stated place. Those religiously inclined in Clyde, besides their home meetings,
generally attended worship at Genesee Grove, Unionville, or at the grove where Morrison now stands. In 1869,
however, a Methodist Episcopal Society was organized in the town, and during the same year a church edifice was
built on section 7 at a cost of $2,500. Rev. L. C. Conant was the first pastor to whom this charge was given. Rev.
J. Kellogg is the present pastor. There are now twenty-five members belonging to this church, and the Sunday School
numbers about fifty members, with Thomas Gulliland as the Superintendent. When the Sunday School was first
organized, J. M. Snyder was the Superintendent. A church building was also erected several years ago by the
Adventists, in the southeast part of the town, but was afterwards purchased by the Dunkards, who refitted it, and
now hold regular meetings in it.
The first annual town meeting in Clyde under township organization
was held April 6, 1858, with Thomas Exley as moderator, and Thomas Milnes, clerk. Twenty-one votes were polled.
Officers elected: William P. Hiddleson, Supervisor; Thomas Milnes, Clerk; Thomas Exley, Assessor and Collector; Eli
Wick and William Wilson, Justices of the Peace; Commissioners of highways, Eli Wick, William Aldritt and Robert
Wallace; Constable, John McKinley. Simon Stapleton and Joseph Milnes were afterwards appointed to the office of
Constable. The township was divided into four equal road districts, and Wesley Robinson, David E. Brown, Richard
Aldritt and W. P. Hiddleson, appointed overseers. Richard Aldritt was appointed overseer of the poor. It was voted
that hogs should not run at large, and that a Pound should be provided, with William Wilson as Pound Master. A
lawful fence was defined to be five feet high, with no space between boards of more than eight inches, except
twelve inches under the top rail or board, and fifteen inches at the bottom. In 1853 a tax of $680,00 to pay
township expenses for that and the preceding year was voted. in 1854 $50,00 was voted for annual expenses. Town tax
voted in 1855 --$675,00. A lawful fence was defined to be four and a half feet high with no space between or under
the rails larger than ten inches. Fifty-two votes were polled. The Supervisor's office for 1855, becoming vacant,
Thomas Milnes was appointed Supervisor. Mr. Milnes dying soon after his appointment, the office was then conferred
upon William Wilson. Joseph Milnes was appointed Clerk in the place of Thomas Milnes. In 1856 a tax of $200,00 was
assessed for township purposes. Fifty-six votes were polled. In 1857 a fence four and a half high of four rails or
four poles was declared to be lawful. In 1858 $125,00 was voted for town expenses. In 1859 fifty-seven votes were
polled and $150,00 voted for township purposes. In 1860 sixty-three votes were polled, and $200,00 voted for the
annual township expenses. Appropriation for town expenses in 1861, $100,00; for 1862 the same amount. In 1863 a tax
of $100,00 was voted for township purposes, and $100 for building a bridge across Rock creek near the west line of
section 27. The town auditors were asked to levy a tax of $300,00 for the same bridge, and requested to lay the
same before the Board of Supervisors of the county. Fifty-one votes were polled. In 1864, 104 votes were polled,
and $100,00 appropriated for township expenses.
In 1865 it was voted to levy a tax of $300,00 to build a bridge
across Rock Creek, near Hough's mill, also $100,00 for township purposes. In 1866 it was voted that the Supervisor
be allowed one and a half per cent, on the amount collected as a town bounty tax for 1865. Fifty dollars was voted
to pay township expenses in 1867. In 1869 a tax of $150,00 was voted to defray general expenses of the town, and
$150,00 for building a bridge across Rock creek between sections one and twelve; also $400,00 to build a bridge on
the road running east and west past Steinmyer's mill. In 1870, 84 votes were polled, and $150 voted for town
expenses. In 1871 it was resolved that horses, mules, cattle, hogs, sheep and asses, should not be allowed to run
at large. In 1873, $100,00 was voted for town purposes. The proposition to levy a, tax of $300,00 to build a bridge
at Huffman's ford was lost. In 1874, $200,00 was voted for township purposes. In 1875, $250,00 was voted for town
expenses. In 1876, $250,00 was voted and 84 votes polled. ln 1877, 94 votes were polled, and town appropriation
placed at $250,00. Twenty-five cents was assessed upon each $100,00 of real estate and personal property for road
purposes; also two day's labor upon each man subject to road labor.
The following is a list of town officers from 1852 - 1877:
Supervisors: 1852-53 Wm P. Hiddleson; 1854 Joseph H Brothwell; 1855 Benj. West,
Thomas Milnes, Wm Wilson: 1856 J B Van Court; 1857 - 58 Wm P Hiddleson: 1859 - 72 Richard Beswick; 1873-77 Joseph
Town Clerks: 1852-55 Thomas Milnes; 1855-63 Joseph Milnes; 1864 J B Van Court;
\1865-66 Joseph Milnes; 1867 P J Kennedy; 1868 W B Roberts; 1869 Joseph Milnes; 1870 George F Goodell; 1871-72 John
B Platt; 1873 - 74 George W Platt; 1875 C S V Millard; 1876-77 George Janvrin
Assessors: 1852-53 Thomas Exley; 1854 Zachariah Dent; 1855 Daniel Roberts: 1856-57 Wm
P Hiddleson; 1858 - 62 William B Wooley; 1863-70 Wm P Hiddleson; 1871 John S Peck; 1872 Wm B Wooley; 1873 - 75 John
B Platt; 1876-77 R M Kennedy
Collectors: 1852-53 Thomas Exley; 1854-55 Joseph Milnes; 1856-57 thomas Exley Jr;
1858 H G Salisbury; 1859 Lemuel P Laybourne; 1860 Joseph Wood; 1861 Howland Head; 1862 L P Laybourne; 1863 Benjamin
West; 1864 Wm Roberts; 1865 Joseph Milnes; 1866 J D Law; 1867 John Kennedy; 1868 W P Hiddleson; 1869 John B Platt;
1870-71 Frankl Milnes; 1872 J D Law; 1873-75 Wm Beswick; 1876 Frank Milnes; 1877 Wm Milnes
Justices of the Peace: 1852 Eli Wick, Wm Wilson; 1854 Wm Wilson; 1856 Eli Wick; 1858
Wm Wilson, Wm B Woolley; 1860 Wm Alldritt, Wm B Wooley; 1864 J B Van Court, Wm Alldritt; 1866 J F Demmon; 1868 Wm
Alldritt, J S Peck; 1869 Wm B Wooley; 1872 Wm B Wooley, J D Law; 1873 WM B Wooley, George F Goodell; 1875 A A
James, Charles Demmon; 1876 George Sawyer; 1877 Wm D Hayes, J H Carlton.