The Illinois River divides Erienna Township into two almost equal portions, entering somewhat north of the middle point of the eastern boundary, and flowing to the southwest. The township is Congressional Township 33 North, Range 6 East of the P. M. It is bounded on the north by Nettle Creek and Saratoga Townships, on the east by Morris Township and on the south by Wauponsee and Norman Townships. In addition to the Illinois River, Long Creek, Nettle Creek and other smaller streams drain it. The remainder of the township, aside from the high plateau in the northwest which descends abruptly to a rich alluvial bottom, is flat with sandy soil, underlaid with valuable coal deposits. Walnut and other natural growth trees are still to be found, although what was once heavy timber has been practically cleared away. Corn is the heaviest crop raised, although stock is also produced, and some of the farmers are engaged in dairying.
One of the earliest settlers in Grundy County was Isaac Hoge, who came to Erienna Township and took up land along Nettle Creek. Probably the only other one was William Marquis, who preceded him by a short time. Finding it possible to make a comfortable home here, Mr. Hoge married, settled on his first selection of land and later bought extensively, becoming one of the very large landowners of this section.
Columbus Pinney located on Section 12, this township, in the spring of 1880, and founded what was known as Castle Danger, one of the very first hotels of this region. He also kept the stage line station, and the stable in which he housed the horses stood for many years, although the hotel did not outlive the period of its usefulness. Considerable interest has been shown in trying to discover the reason for giving the hotel that name. Some hold to the theory that it was so called because some of the prairie bandits, who infested the region in the early days, found here a safe refuge, but no authentic confirmation of this can be gained.
Other Early Settlers
O. Cone came here in 1840, making the trip by wagon, and rented land from Isaac Hoge, but later bought property of his own on Section 2. The year 1842 brought Messrs. Kennedy and Kendricks, who came with the idea of working on the canal, but they were so pleased with the locality that they settled on Section 7. Abraham Holderman arrived in 1845 or 1846. Charles Moody came in 1848, becoming one of the early developers of the township.
Permanent Land Owners
Among those who have owned land in Erienna Township at a later date, the families of many of whom still retain their holdings, were: John Rooney, Mrs. Cecelia Boyd, Simon O’Donnell, A.H. Holderman, S.D. Holderman, P. McNellis, Dan O’Connelly, Jr., Nellie Brady, M.E. Holderman, Robert Callaghan, M. Barry, Aug. Perrett, Joseph Dawson, M.B. Wilson, William Herlihy, M.B. Wilson. L.M. Mulligan, C.E. Hatcher, John Connea, J.F. Hatcher, Joshua Hoge, Jr., Mrs. Patrick Moran, G.H. Weitz, Jr., James Reardon, L.A. Peacock, William Reardon, George Hoge, Joshua Hoge, Jr., James Reardon, Ben Jacobson, John Underhill, Halver Johnson, Nels Nelson, Hans Sampon, A.D. Walper, C.E. Munson, Ole N. Nelson, Albert Hoge, Alcinda Ridgeway, Clara Gore, Knute Rasmunson, Halver Johnson, O.M. Johnson, John More, Morton Osmundson, Ben Benson, J.A. Johnson, Joseph Oswood, Nels Nelson, Halver Salverson, James Ashton, Lars Thornson, F.S. Stephen, P. Oakes, Thomas Buck, Ed F. Peterson, Weir Peterson, John A. Taylor, Sampson Everson, M.J. Granville, J.P. McEvilly.
Horrom City was staked out in 1836 by Doctor Horrom, for whom it was named. It existed chiefly on paper. A stage line which lived but a short time passed near it, but as this did not pay, the place was really nothing but a name told except in records of this name, it is forgotten.
Clarkson grew up about Castle Danger, and it was hoped by its projectors that it might become the county seat, but they were disappointed. During the time that work was done on the canal, a few little cabins were built here, but with the completion of that work, the people drifted away, and Clarkson is another village that lives but in memory.
Stockdale is a station in Erienna Township on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad. Although it practically consists of nothing but the railroad station and stock sheds, it is a place of great importance. Here immense consignments of cattle and sheep from western shippers are unloaded and kept until sufficiently recovered from the hardship of the long trip across country, and restored to their original weight by careful feeding and watering. From Stockdale these consignments, when in proper condition, are forwarded to the Chicago stock yards.
Two cemeteries are found in this township, one on Section 5, known as Hatcher’s Cemetery, and the other known as Hoge Cemetery which is located on Section 7.
The schools of Erienna are conducted under the magnificent system that prevails throughout Grundy County, and pupils and teachers are united in their efforts to bring the work of the township up to standard and maintain it at that high point.
The men who have served as supervisors have been: John O’Brian, 1850-2; Abe Holderman, 1853-4; A. McMillan, 1855; Daniel O’Connell, 1856; William West, 1857; A. McMillan, 1858-00; Daniel O’Connell, 1861-5; William Riney, 1866; Daniel O’Connell, 1867; Isaac Hoge, 1868-70; Daniel O’Connell, 1871; Isaac Hoge, 1872-3; Daniel O’Connell, 1874-90; Edwin Bartley, 1891-2; M.T. Anderson, 1893-4; Joseph Dawson, 1895-6; S.D. Holderman, 1897-1914.