Hampton Township, Illinois
This township is situated north and east of Moline Township, the Mississippi River forming the northwestern boundary, and the Rock River the southern. The township consists of bluffs along its northern and southern boundaries, with wide rich bottoms along the rivers and a broad valley running east and west through its center, extending from the Mississippi River to Rock River. Martin Culver made the first land claim in 1826. Rev. John Kinney and two brothers made the next claims in 1827. During 1828 Henry McNeal, Joel Thompson, Michael Bartlett, Asaph Wells and Joel Wells, Jr., settled in the same vicinity. The first birth, was the daughter of Henry McNeal-Mary Ann-born October 5, 1832. The first death occurred in 1829 or 1830, on board the Steamer Josephine, on her way to Galena; a lady from England coming to Galena to visit her son, died just as the boat was landing, and she was buried at Hampton. The first couple married in the town was Joel Wells and Mary Mc-Murphy, by Jonas Wells, justice of the peace, in 1835. Within the township are six villages: Hampton, Watertown, Silvis, Carbon Cliff, Barstow and Rapids City, all incorporated villages but Barstow. The township contained some rich coal beds; some of which have been worked for many years. Charles Ames opened the first coal mine. Heagy and Stoddard, and Taylor Williams operated quite extensively in coal on sections 15, 16 and 22, where was located the mining town of Happy Hollow, now extinct, having at one time a population of 1,000 hard working, busy people. A railroad connecting these mines with the Western Union Railway, now the C., M. & St. P., at Watertown, was built in the winter of 1872 and 1873. Taylor Williams and H. M. Gilchrist & Co., operated in coal at Rapids City; Samuel Bowles, D. G. Porter and Silvis Bros. operating in the southern part of the township. Joel Thompson was the first postmaster, -and received his appointment in the winter of 1837. Lucius Wells taught the first school, in a log cabin, in 1833 and 1834. Elihu Wells was the first teacher under the school laws. In the years of 1833 and 1834, Henry McNeal furnished all the wood for the Mississippi River steamboats above the Des Moines rapids, and for forty years thereafter Hampton was one of the principal points for furnishing coal and wood to the river steamers. Henry McNeal owned the first tax receipt issued in Rock Island County for taxes paid. Hampton Township is well supplied with railroads: Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific.; the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul; the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, and the Davenport, Rock Island & Northwestern traversing her territory.
Tippecanoe Village was platted and filed for record the 2d day of September, 1839; the formality of going through the necessary forms of recording was done, and on February 18, 1840, was approved by the county commissioners. The plat was six blocks long an two and one-half blocks wide; recorded by Joseph Cox, Samuel Cox and David Jennings the 17th day of February, 1840. It was located between Rapids City and Hampton, on the Mississippi River, about opposite Sycamore Chain. A very few people know of its ever having had an existence. It evidently was a paper town.
Village Of Hampton
The Village of Hampton, in Hampton Township, was surveyed and platted soon after the organization of Rock Island County. Among the earliest business men were Joel Thompson, Alonzo P. Clapp, Dower and Hammond, Samuel and David Lambert, M. W. Wright and Francis Black, followed by L. F. Baker, H. F. Thomas, H. O. Norton, Dr. George Vincent, S. L. Brettun, and Wm. B. Webster. The first post office was established in the winter of 1837, Joel Thompson being commissioned postmaster, followed by Francis Black, Samuel Heagy and L. F Baker. From the earliest settlement Hampton was one of the principal points for sup-plies for the farmers in the upper end of the county, and even considerable territory in Henry County. Here they brought their grain and sold their pork, which was packed by M. W. Wright and Francis Black, and shipped down the river by the steamboats. In after years the coal interests were the principal business reliance; Heagy and Stoddard and Taylor Williams being extensive operators. In 1884 Heagy and Stoddard were succeeded by the Northern Mining & Railway Company, who ceased operations about fifteen years ago. The educational interests of the village are well attended to, having a good school house and good instructors. The oldest person born in the township, if not in the county, now living, is George McNeal,- who was born in 1834 in a log cabin which stood just south of the town hall in the same block in which he now resides. The assessors’ plats show there exists in the Village of Hampton, an old village called Milan, which was platted in 1837. The plat showing about thirty blocks. In this district at the present time are only four or five houses. In that year the post office department at Washington, D. C., was petitioned for a post office at this place to be called Milan. There being a post office of that name already in the state, the department established the post office under the name of Hampton, from which name the township and village derive their names.
Barstow is not an incorporated village. When the Sterling branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad was completed through Hampton Township, a station was established on land owned by Joel G. Franklin, and named Franklin Crossing, a post office being soon after established and given the same name as the railroad station, and Mr. Franklin being commissioned its first postmaster. When the main line of the railroad was run to this place, the name was changed to Barstow, and shortly afterwards the name of the post office was likewise changed. A large transfer in mail, passenger and freight business is done here, to and from the Sterling branch, and despatched and received to and from the main lines to St. Paul and St. Louis. The village now comprises about twenty-five buildings and houses, an eating house, depot, restaurant, a general store, blacksmith shop, school house and post office.
Village Of Watertown
Is located in Hampton Township, and was platted in 1857. The first store was started that year by Lucius Curtis, who became the first postmaster. The Western Illinois Hospital for the Insane is located there. On the 14th day of March, 1905, fifty-one legal voters . of a district prescribed, petitioned the county court for the organization of the Village of Watertown. The 15th day of April, 1905, was set apart for an election to be held at the M. W. A. hall to vote for or against village organization; the result being sixteen votes for incorporation and forty-four against. April 24, 1905, another petition was presented to the county court by forty-five petitioners for village organization and an election day appointed for the 13th day of May, 1905; the result being sixty votes for village organization and thirty-eight votes against organization. An election held the 17th day of June, 1905, for village trustees, resulted in the election of Frank H. Sovey, John Rah, Henry C. McNeal and David Y. Allsbrow. A tie vote occurring of forty-nine votes for Eric Bowman and Henry Hillberg. Each came into court on the 23d day of June, 1905, and agreed to decide by lot. One of the officers of the court was blindfolded, two slips of paper with each candidates names written thereon were placed in a hat, and the officer drawing therefrom, Eric Bowman was declared elected the sixth trustee.
Village Of Carbon Cliff
The village of Carbon Cliff lies in the south part of Hampton Township, and is principally noted for its pottery and tile works. November 13, 1906, thirty-seven legal voters of Hampton Township, desiring village incorporation, petitioned the county court for same. The court ordered an election to be held on the 8th day of December, 1906, for or against village organization, the election to be held at Hennegan’s store. The result of said election was fifty-five votes for village organization and twenty-eight votes against same. An order was issued calling for an election for six trustees of the village the 12th of January, 1907. W. R. Carey, William Gearhardt, J. A. Hennegan, Claus F. Hansen, R. V. O’Donnell and P. N. Hennegan being elected.
Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908