by Ralph S. Harrelson
MANY OF HAMILTON COUNTY'S ANCIENT PIONEERS: Mauldings, Cokers, Bond, Echols, Stelles, Huffstutlers and others, lived on or near 'Possum Creek. The land adjacent to the creek was once considered part of the home and hunting grounds of the Shawnee.
Some early settlers reported the "Indian Charley", a medicine man of great reputation among the red race, was the last of the Shawnee to leave the banks of the 'Possum. He reluctantly removed from its waters and the graves of his ancestors. Indian Charley was resigned to go, believing the Great Spirit had given the country to the "Paleface".
Ennis Maulding, son of Ambrose, settled in an early day in the west part of White, which in 1821, was organized into Hamilton County, Illinois. The 160 acres purchased in 1819 from the government by Ennis, was the north-west quarter of Section 12, Township 5 South of Range 5 East. 'Possum Creek, a tributary of Big Creek, flowed eastwardly through this tract of land.
Ennis Maulding served as senator in the seventh and eight General Assemblies of Illinois, 1830-1834. In 1834 Maulding sold the west one-half of the above mentioned tract to Isaac Shirley, at which time he gave his address as Wayne County, Illinois. In 1840, Shirley sold the same land to pioneer Thompson Stelle, who lived on the purchased tract.
After the founding of Hamilton County, at the June, 1821 term of the County Commissioners' Court, Ennis Maulding, Henry Wheeler, and John Ferguson were appointed to view a new road. This road was to begin at the Gallatin County line and run from a road laid off by Elias Chaffen through Gallatin, (Goodspeed). The latter, ostensibly, is the road reported at the September, 1820 term of the Gallatin County Commissioner's Court as viewed by Elias Chaffen, surveyor; William Strickland and George Parker (Gallatin County Court Records, pg. 353,354).
The new Hamilton County road was to run from section 13, Township 7, Range 7, on the nearest and best ground to McLeansboro, thence to the county line in a direct line as nearly as the ground would permit toward Vandalia. Is it any wonder that this road, west from McLeansboro, ran through the Ennis Maulding tract, and by his home site?
On a bluff forming the south bank of 'Possum Creek, a part of the land purchased from the government by Maulding, one finds the remains of an old home site. The McLeansboro-Vandalia roadway, also designated in the county commissioners' record as the Old Mt. Vernon Road, ran northwesterly and forming the south border of the grounds of the home site. The present buildings are old, but evidently of more recent date than Maulding's original domicile.
Near the old home site, on the present township road running north and south, there is, for Hamilton County, an unusual crossing. It is a concrete ford-culvert combination crossing. The creek on either side of the ford is extremely rock strewn and very picturesque.
The old state roadway, the Vandalia (alias Old Mt. Vernon Road), running in front of the old home site, and on the near south side of the ford, is deeply cut into the bluff. The road runs parallel with the south bank of the 'Possum as it courses northwestward toward the location of the old Shady Grove Schoolhouse, and from thence toward the Oliver Hills. It made intersection with the Goshen Road near the pioneer Abram Irvin home site, approximately where the new road now runs north from the Goshen Road to Dahlgren.
From: Goshen Trails, Vol. 15,
No. 3; January, 1978
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