Dead Man’s Grove

“The tradition is that many years since and before the settlement of the prairies, a band of regulators from an Indiana settlement, having found the trail of a horse thief, who had successfully carried his stolen animal as far as the Tow-Head, overtook the thief there, finding him fast asleep under the shade of this little grove. Without the form of a trial the offender was promptly executed by being hung by the neck to one of the trees until he was dead, where his body was found by the next passerby. This grove of timber was near the road which led from Salt Fork timber westward to Sadorus Grove and the Okaw. “About one mile north of the village of Philo, in the early times, was a tuft or small patch of timber and brush along the margin of a small pond, which protected it from the annual prairie fires of less than one acre, which, from the earliest settlement of the country, was a noted landmark for travelers, and which was known far and wide as the Tow-Head from its supposed resemblance to something bearing that name. Its position upon a very high piece of prairie made it visible for many miles around. It. has long since yielded to the march of improvement, and its foster guardian, the pond, has likewise given way to the same enemy of the picturesque, and now yields each year fine crops of corn. “A little distance north of the village of Ivesdale is a grove of small timber, formerly known as Cherry Grove by early settlers. Its name, perhaps now obsolete, was probably derived from the kind of timber growing in the grove, or most prevalent, as was the case with other groves heretofore named. These groves and belts of timber served the early comers here as landmarks, so conspicuous were they on the horizon, and, in the absence of trails to guide the traveler, they served an excellent purpose as such. “Adkins Point referred to a point of timber reaching to the north from the northwest corner of the Big Grove in Somer Township, and got its name from the residence there of the family of Lewis Adkins. “Nox’s Point meant the locality of the village of Sidney, and received its name from the first settler in the point made by the Salt Fork timber in its eastward trend. The settler was William Nox. “Pancake’s Point called to mind a point of timber reaching west-ward from the Sangamon timber in Newcomb Township, and owes its name to Jesse W. Pancake, who lived there more than fifty years since. “There was Sodom, a neighborhood above the village of Fisher, which was afterward used as the name of a post office established there. Why the location got this name so suggestive of evil reputation is not known. “So, Wantwood was applied to a treeless expanse of prairie reaching north from the head of Sangamon timber, the early settler knew not how far.

Source: A Standard History of Champaign County, Illinois, by J. R. Stewart, published by The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago And New York, 1918.

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