History of Good Farm Illinois

Located on the southern boundary line of Grundy County, Good Farm Township has Mazon on the north, Garfield on the east, Livingston County on the south, and Highland Township on the west. The Chicago & Alton Railroad runs through the southeastern portion, and it is watered by Murray Sluice, Mazon Creek, Brewster Sluice and Wood Sluice, the last two joining to form the west fork of the Mazon River. The township, comprising rolling prairie land, was formerly well supplied with timber, the greater portion of which has been sacrificed in the advance of civilization.

Earliest Settlers

The first settler to locate in Good Farm Township was James McKean, who came here in 1841, and probably enjoyed the distinction of being its only pioneer for several years, for the next recorded settlement, was that of J.M. Clover, who came in 1844, from Indiana, buying land on Section 2. Later Elijah Saltmarsh located on Section 5, but afterward went to Oregon. Elnathan Lewis was the next settler, and Elijah Lewis, David Gleason and E.F. Brewster arrived near the same time. In 1849, E.B. Steven bought the claim owned by Henry Brown, who had located here, but was dissatisfied. However, there was no actual growth in the township, aside from these scattering settlements until 1850, when, the Germans began to come in, and with the sturdy fortitude of their nationality began to make valuable firms out of the land they secured. Their practical ideas found outward expression in public improvements as the time went on, and the names of Leonard Fisher, John L. Meier, Hoffman Hong, Pfeiffer and Buchard are remembered as being those of the German pioneers.

First Schoolhouse

The first schoolhouse erected in Good Farm Township was put up in 1850 by the farmers, who all subscribed something, some contributing lumber, others labor, while six of them each gave $1, which in those days meant much more than that amount would today. Not only was the purchasing power of a dollar more, but actual money was very scarce, the greater portion of business transactions being carried on by trading. The lumber for this primitive schoolhouse had to be hauled from Horse Creek in Will County. It is a remarkable thing that everything needed for the schoolhouse outside of the lumber and labor was bought for that $6. Such facts are interesting today, when contrasted with the vast sums of money expended to educate the young of the rising generation. The first teacher of this first school was Elvira Lewis. In 1856 a second schoolhouse was erected and was taught by Philip Ganzert. Today the schools of Good Farm Township are in a condition to challenge competition, and the people take pride in them and the teachers.

Church Organizations

The Free Will Baptists were the first to organize a church, the society first meeting at the home of David Gleason, February 5, 1850, when the host and his wife, and Elnathan Lewis and his wife, formed the congregation. Later meetings of these earnest people were held in the schoolhouse, but in 1868 the membership died out. The Methodists probably absorbed some of them, and other denominations the rest.

The Lutheran Church was built in 1859 and erected a parsonage in conjunction with it. Salem Evangelical Church was founded about 1857, the members being Messrs. Buckart, Hoag, Pfeiffer and Hoffman. In 1877, another place of worship was built on Section 22.

An organization called the Church of God also had members, the people of this township being generally upright, godly and religious, desirous of spiritual instruction.

Among the people who in more recent years have held property in Good Farm Township, many of whom are still owners of farms here are: John Neville, Amos Parker, Alpha Baker, James Kruse, J.F. Thorpe, John Crocker, E.B. Stevens, John Rein, William Scully, M. Hulsey, A. Burkhardt, Sr., John Both, Cris Klingahardt, Martin Hoffman, John M. Racher, D.M. McWilliams, George Paxton, Charles Fillman, John Hahn, John Fox, Thomas Burkhardt, Walter Roeder, R.L. Frost, Gust Zebel, O.O. Thompson, Jerry Haskins, James Small, John Johnson, George Bush, Leonard Burger, Paul Kime, Leonard Hoffman, George L. Burfer, Nels Knudtson, and Ezra Grosh.

Supervisors

The men who have represented Good Farm Township on the Board of Supervisors from 1850 to the present day, have been: J.M. Clover, 1850-1851; E. Lewis, 1852-1853; David Gleason, 1854; Samuel Cutter, 1855-1856; William Mason, 1857; E.B. Stevens, 1858-1860; J.S. Austin, 1861; Jas. M. Austin, 1862; L.H. Goodrich, 1863-1868; Mathew Johnson, 1869; David Barton, 1870; E.R. Barr, 1871-1880; J.M. Perkins, 1881; Mathew Johnson, 1882-1884; William Constantine, 1885-1895; Alex Preston, 1896-1909; John Shortlesberger, 1910-1914.

 

Source: History of Grundy County, Munsell Publishing Company, 1914

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