Drury Township, Illinois

Drury Township was named in honor of the Drury family, the earliest pioneers of the township. It is situated in the southwestern corner of the county and embraces one full congressional township and parts of three others. It contains some very rough and broken upland and some smooth bottom land; much of it, however, is of the best quality as to soil, and there are as some fine farms in this township as can be found in the county. Some of the early settlers were: Miles, Isaiah, Reynolds, Eli, Silas and James Drury, William and Ithamar Reynolds, Jacob A. Seiver, William Huff, I., B. Elijah and James Essex, Matthew and Jeremiah LeQuatte, William Womacks, Solomon Simpson, Anthony Ricketts, John Ballard, John Harbaugh, James McPherson, Harry Hampton, S. Prentiss, William Hays, John Boruff, Joseph and Antoine Blair, L. V. Reed and M. H. Johnson. The settlers who came to this country in the thirties and the early forties to carve homes for themselves and families found they had undertaken no light and easy task. They had many difficulties to overcome, many hardships to endure. They indeed lived the “simple life,” in rude log cabins and with few comforts, while luxuries were not thought of. All settlers were neighbors, although they might be miles apart. All were on a common level as to mode of life and largely as to resources. All were “homey handed sons of toil.” Their opportunities for mental growth and culture were of their own creation, and evolved from their own individualities. Nature was their teacher and nature’s lessons were well learned. In those early days there were no schools for the children, no churches, no doctors, no mills, no stores, no roads, no bridges; just the rich soil, groves of timber, pure air and water, and a healthful climate. But they were hopeful, energetic, industrious and persevering. Years rolled by, other settlers came, schools and churches, roads and bridges, railroads, cities and villages were built, and those who have lived until the present day have witnessed a growth and development that has been indeed marvelous. Other reminiscences would undoubtedly find, many times, almost similar occurrences. Mr. John L. Wray, when a boy, worked from six in the morning until sundown for fifty cents a day, which was considered good wages. Mr. J. A. Seiver speaks of “planing” corn; that is, took ears of corn, before getting too hard, and shaved them across the bottom of a jack plane and shaved off the kernels. The corn shavings making good mush and very good bread. Shortly after he was married he went to Cambridge, Indiana, for a housekeeping outfit. He got a Dutch oven, a skillet and an iron kettle, and these amounted to their cooking utensils for some time. School teachers received so much a pupil instead of a salary. A log cabin on the Miles Drury place was used for a school house, and another one on Section 29, commonly known as the ” bull pen.” Miles Drury’s barn was used as a church. The people were obliged to go to Drury’s Landing, six miles away, for their mail, and paid twenty-five cents postage on every letter. Mrs. Rosman says when they went visiting, oxen and a lumber wagon was their carriage. They sheared their sheep before they sold them in Indiana, and cloth was made from this wool by her mother, who carded, spun and wove it by hand. Reynolds Drury settled at Drury’s Landing, where he opened a general store, bought grain and pork and did a flourishing business. A post office was established there at an early day and it became for a time the principal market place for this section of the country. But the building of railroads changed business centers and residents of the town now trade at Muscatine. Isaiah and Silas Drury had a grist mill, a saw mill and a wool-carding machine, located on Section 20, on Copperas Creek, built as nearly as can be recalled, in 1837 or 1838. Dr. Reynolds was the first physician in this township and in the lower end of the county. Residents of Drury Township boast of having some of as good, and as fine bred live stock as can be found anywhere, but to Buffalo Prairie Township belongs the distinction of raising “Alex,” known for many years as the fastest horse in the world. Daniel Hayes had the honor of breeding and raising this speedy animal. Her time was 2:03%. There is one rural free delivery mail route in the township and three post offices. The latter are located as follows: Ferdinand, in the southeast corner of the township, with Mrs. Ryan as postmistress; Foster, on Section 17, with J. H. Foster as postmaster; and Wrayville, in the center, with Helen Wray as post-mistress. The name ” Wrayville,” was suggested by James Britton, who was teaching school at that point, when a name was wanted. The educational advantages of the town-ship are fully equal to those of any agricultural community. We have nine schools whose districts are wholly within the town-ship, and two union schools, one being in the district reaching into Mercer County.Drury’s Landing Was nothing but a steamboat landing, and at one time in the early days, considerable shipping was done from its old warehouse. Just back of the Landing a village named Richmond was platted by S. R. Drury, and filed May 7, 1843, and affirmed by the County Commissioners. It was five blocks long, only one block deep, with one side street sixty feet wide, running back from the Mississippi River, a slough bordering the place on both east and west sides.Illinois City Is situated in both Drury and Buffalo Prairie Townships. It is not an incorporated village. Has a church, two stores, a hotel, blacksmith shop, post office with two rural mail routes, public school and public square, and about fifty houses, with a population of a little over two hundred. Illinois City was laid out at an early date, and quite extensively platted, its owner anticipating great results. For some years the village thrived nicely, but when the railroad came a few miles away, trade was diverted, and ruined the prospects of Illinois City.

 

Township Organization 

 

Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908