History of Hume Township
From Bent-Wilson History Book, 1877
Posted by Dana Fellows
The territory now comprising the township of Hume at first formed a part of Portland and Prophetstown Precincts. In 1852 the boundaries of the township were defined, and its name given, by the Commissioners appointed by the county Commissioners Court to divide Whiteside county into townships under township organization law. Hume includes all that part of Congressional township 20, north of range 6 east of the Fourth Principal Meridian, South of Rock river, and contains twenty-five full sections, and eight fractional sections. The whole surface of the township was originally prairie, with not a tree to diversify the scenery, but since its settlement groves have been planted, and almost every farm has its large orchard. Now the township presents a beautiful contrast of broad fields and wood land. Every acre is susceptible of cultivation. A small portion needs more draining than it has received, but when that is done the soil will yield abundantly. One-third of the township is bottom land, the remainder a rich table land, and about all enclosed either as cultivated fields, meadow, or pasture lands. A part of the county ditch runs through sections twenty-five and thirty-six in the southeast part of the township. Rock river forms most of the boundary of the township on the north, but there are no streams running through it. This lack, however, is abundantly made up by numerous wells which furnish an excellent quality of water. Hume did not become fully organized until 1857, the east half being attached to Hopkins, and west to Prophetstown, from 1852 until that time, for judicial purposes.
The first settler in what is now the township of Hume, was Leonard Morse, who came from Lee county, Illinois, and made a claim on section sixteen, in 1836. Upon this claim he built a log cabin, the first house of any kind put up in the town, and lived in it with his family until 1843 when he sold out and went to McHenry county, Illinois. The next settler was Uriah Wood who came in 1839, and settled on section sixteen, where he built a house with sods, and besides occupying it with his family, consisting of a wife and seven children, kept boarders. Where the boarders came from, and what they did in Hume at that day, the ancient chronicles do not state. The most probable supposition is they came into this new Canaan to spy out the land. If so, they could pave failed to make a good report upon their return to their brethren.
Hume being comparatively a new township, the number of those denominated settlers who have resided, or do now reside within its limits, is quite small. Those who came previous to July, 1840, were Leonard Morse, and Uriah Wood, already mentioned, David Ramsey, and Charles Wright. Those coming shortly afterwards were William Ramsay, Lyman Baker, J. S. Scott, and David Scott, and still later David Cleaveland, R. F. Stewart, J. G. Peckham, J. D. Bean, S.D. Perry, Austin Morse, G. W. Curtis, and those elsewhere mentioned.
As yet there is no church edifice in the township, although the Wesleyan Methodists have a Parsonage near Mr. J. Vandemark’s on section thirty-five. Religious services are held by the Methodists, and some other denominations, in school houses. Those who belong to religious organization, however, usually attend church at Sterling, Rock Falls, Prophetstown, or Tampico.
A Postoffice was established at South Hume in 1874, and S. D. Perry appointed Postmaster. It was run for about two years, and then discontinued. That was the only Postoffice that has been established in the township.
Mr. William Ramsay has the credit of first stepping “down and out” of the ranks of the bachelors in the township of Hume, and participating in the delights and assuming the cares of a Benedict. His choice was Miss Lucy Ann Church, and a fortunate one it has proved. The marriage took place Feb. 3, 1845.
The first birth was a child of Leonard Morse, one of the original settlers of the township, and occurred in 1838, and the second a daughter of Sidney Barker, in 1841.
The first person to depart this life was Miss Ann Maria Ramsay, a sister of William Ramsay, her death taking place in the fall of 1842. After that there was not a death in the town for a number of years, and the mortality list has been very small from that time to the present. There is probably not a healthier town in Whiteside county, than Hume
The first school in the township was taught by Miss Jane Griffith in 1857, in what is known as the Cleaveland school house. This school had just been completed when Miss Griffith commenced her school, and was the first one erected in the township. Now there are six school - school buildings, known as the Hume, East Hume, Hume Center, Morse, Perry, and Cleaveland. All of these are good offices, and well furnished with improved seats and proper school apparatus. Schools are taught nine months during the year.
The old stage road originally leading from Beloit to Rock Island, afterwards from Chicago to Rock Island, but better known in this section as the Dixon and Rock Island road, was the first traveled road in the township. It is now known as the Sterling and Prophetstown road. The first legally laid out road in the township is the one running through Hume Center.
The following have been the Supervisors, Town Clerks, Assessors, and Justices of the Peace, of the township of Hume, from its organization in 1857, until the present time:
Supervisors:-1857-’65, Charles Wright; 1866, S. M. Elliott; 1867 John C. Paddock; 1868-’70, Austin Morse; 1871, John H. Plumley; 1872 - 74 John C. Paddock; 1875-’76, M. C. McKenzie; 1877, R. C. Crook.
Town Clerks:-1857-’58, Joseph G. Peckham; 1859, J. D. Been; 1860-63 John R. Barr; 1864, Wm H. Johnson; 1865, Wm. F. Nichols; 1866 J.H. Johnson; 1867-’68, W. H. Johnson; 1865, Wm. F. Nichols; 1866, J.H. Johnson; 1867 = 68 W. H. Johnson, 1869-’72, Joseph G. Peckham; 1873 George C. Ely; 1874-’77, J. H. Vandemark.
Assessors:-1857, R. S. Stewart; 1858, Joseph G. Peckham; 1859-60, Austin Morse; 1861, J. J. Morse; 1862-’63, James Sheppard; 1864, Joseph A. Spencer; 1865, James Lang; 1866, John C. Paddock; 1867, Adam Spotts; 1868, S. M. Elliott; 1869-’72, S. D. Perry; 1873, M. C. McKenzie; 1874, S. D. Perry; 1875, H. H. Witherwax; 1876, J. B. Loomis; 1877, H. H. Withermax
Collectors:-1857-’58, Harmon Cleveland; 1859, A. H. Scott; 1860 Jerome G. Morse; 1861, J. J. Morse; 1862-’63, James Sheppard; 1864,.-’ 1865, Edwin Holcomb; 1866, A. J. Treadwell; 1867, J. R. Barr; 1868, George Haven; 1869-’71, G. W. McNair; 1872-73, John W Wright; 1874, John Mee, 1875, M. L. Lee; 1876, E. F. Nichols; 1877; W.A. Ransom.
Justices of the Peace :-1857. Austin Morse, G.W. Curis; 1860, Austin Morse; 1864, Charles Wright, Austin Morse; 1868, W H Macomber, E.F. Nichols; 1871, David Cleveland; 1876, John W. Wright, G.P. Ross
The township of Hume contains 18,484 acres of improved land, and not an acre of unimproved, as appears by the Assessor’s books. It is the only township in the county that makes such a showing, and the figures speak more emphatically and pointedly than words can possibly do of the fertility and splendid situation of its eighteen and a half thousand acres. The township next to it in regard to unimproved lands is Coloma, that township having only one hundred and thirty acres of such lands. The Assessor’s books also show that the number of horses in the township of Hume in 1877 was 573; of cattle, 2,002; mules and asses, 17; sheep, 55; hogs, 3,439; carriages and wagons, 194; watches and clocks, 103; sewing and knitting machines, 77; melodeons and organs, 23; total value of lands, lots, and personal property, $342,053.
The population of Hume in 1870, as shown by the Federal census of that year, was 634, of which 565 were of native birth and 69 of foreign birth. The population in 1860 was 195. The estimated population in 1877 is 850.