History of Irving Township
During the early eighteen hundreds, pioneers from the East were settling in the prairies between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.   Farming was the main industry in the beginning but not for long.   Other industries and educational advantages followed as settlers continued coming.   As a result of these migrations, Irving  Township and the Village of Irving came into being.

The first white settler in Irving Township was one John Lawrence Franklin who moved to Illinois from Kentucky in the year 1826 and settled in the Southwestern part of Irving Township.   It was here that the first cabin was erected

A brief description of this primitive domicile, as taken from the book “1882 History of Bond and Montgomery Counties by Robert R. Bliss,” is as follows.     The dimensions of the structure were about fifteen by eighteen feet.   One room was the sum total of apartments it contained, which answered the fourfold purpose of kitchen, bedroom, dining room and parlor.   The floor was made of split logs called puncheons.   These had been smoothed off with a common chopping ax until they composed a surface which was tolerably level.   A large open mouthed fireplace, capable of receiving a log of almost any dimensions, occupied very nearly an entire end of the building.   The furniture of the room was of the most primitive kind and in perfect harmony with the interior of the apartment as we have described it.

Yet from this humble cabin home, no way worn traveler was permitted to go hungry or sleepy.   A place was always allotted the stranger at the frugal board and a shelter for the night assured him if desired.   Hospitality was a trait cultivated to a high degree of perfection by the early pioneer and a part of his religion was to welcome with open doors any way-farer who might happen to wander near his little mansion.   With Shelly he could say to the stranger:

                            IN MY POWER TO HONOR YOU.”

Mr. Franklin resided upon the farm he settled till the year 1858, when he sold the place to Mr. Hughes, and moved to the city of Hillsboro, where he died the following year”

John Lawrence Franklin was born 1790 in North Carolina and died in Hillsboro, Il. In 1859.   His wife Winnie was born 1797-1800 in South Carolina.   They had six  children.

John was born 1820 in Tennessee

Elizabeth was born 1826 in Tennessee.   Married first time April 8, 1851 to Bailey Osborne and had one daughter Winnie born 1854.   Second marriage was September 19, 1860 to Preston Jennings.   Had two daughters, Martha born in 1862 and Morning born 1864.

Dillard was born 1829 in Irving Township, Illinois.   Married first time October 12, 1858 to Annie or Hannah  O’Rouque who was born in England in 1842.     They had four children.   It is believed that she died in 1868 giving birth to son Thomas.    Married again June 5, 1870 to Sarah Cress and they had two children.    Sarah was born 1850 in Illinois a school teacher - unmarried - still in Irving in 1870.

Morning was born 1835 in Illinois.   Married John M. Petra June 16, 1861.

James was born in Irving, Il. 1837 and died November 29, 1913  also in Irving.  James' obituary reads that he died at 1:40 a.m. at the home of D. W. Burton in Irving at the age of 76 years.    He was youngest son of Lawrence and Winnie Franklin.   He was the last ;of eight children called home.  He spent all his life in Irving.   Being afflicted the past two years, he spent much of his time on meditating over his Bible and during his last sickness, he said he was going home.    The nearest relatives left to mourn their loss, are four nephews, John, Will, Edward and Jesse Franklin, Six nieces Mrs. Winnie Davis of Parson, Kansas, Mrs. Milton Wheat, Witt, Il., Mrs.  Kate Knight. Keifer, Okla., Mrs. Belle Pruitt, Litchfield, Il., Mrs. T. R. Coffey and  Mrs. D. W. Burton, Irving, Il..   Also ten great nephews and six great nieces.     Funeral services were held at the Irving Methodist Episcopal church Sunday Nov. 30th at 11:00 a.m. and were conducted by Rev. F. P. Boonefon, pastor, assisted by the choir.   Burial was in Irving cemetery.

To continue with Dillard and his family tree,  his obituary reads “Dillard Franklin who has been sick at the home of his daughter Mrs. Emma Wheat, in Paislaey, died early Wednesday morning.   Mr. Franklin was one of the old timers of this county and at an early, when ones education consisted in being able to read and write and spell, and Webster ‘s blue back spelling book was the only book used in school till the pupil had mastered it.   Dillard was a speller of renown and it is said he could spell the book through without missing a word.   Mr. Franklin was a soldier in the war of the rebellion (civil war) and for several years he has drawn a pension for services rendered the government.   His family consisted of eight children.    They are -

Thomas born April 1, 1868 died March 26, 1939.  Married Rosa Martin in Kansas September 21, 1891.  She was born in Indiana the daughter of Mr.& Mrs. Hennis Martin and died May 31, 1933.   Thomas married again on July 30, 1935 to Ruth (Jones) Hudsbeth from Hillsboro, Il.
Thomas and Rosa had six children .   They are listed below.

Ernie,   Born  ????- died 01-11-1963.        Married Dora F. Welch 06-20-1914.   She was born 01-08-1889 & died 08-25-1966.   They had no childdren.

Earl,  Born 11-09-1894 - died 10-16-1978.    Married Nellie ???? (date unknown)   She was born 01-19-1901 & died 10-29-1967.      They had two children, Ronnie & Yvonne.

Thomas H.(Bud),  born 11-28-1902 - died 12-11-1964.    Married  Bernice St. John Buck 08-01-1938.   They had one daughter, Evelyn.

Ida,  Born 12-20-1899 -died 02-06-1986.   Married Henry Hartman 08-26-1918.   He was born 10-16-1886 & died 06-10-1979.    The had seven children.    They are listed below.
Sylvia, Thomas, Lamar, Melvina, Russell, Patsy and James Earl who died in infancy.

Dollie Mae, born May18,1906, Irving Township, Illinois.   Died December 19, 1990 Couer d Alene, Idaho.   Buried Irving, Illinois cemetery.     Maried Calvin Shaul on June 11, 1929.        They had 3 children, Raymond, Robert and Ronald.  Calvin was killed on  October 2, 1945 when a train hit the motor car that he and 3 other men were riding to work on near Edwardsville, Illinois.   Calvin is also buried in Irving, Illinois.   

Vina who was burned to death when her dress caught on fire while they were burning brush.

Continuation of Dillard's children........

Minnie born 1872.    Married - - -  Davis.
Martha I. Born 1875
John born 1877
Emma born 1879.   Married Milton Wheat
Jesse born January 29, 1889.   Died January 1, 1962.    Married Renatha Fricke, born at Emma, Missouri on May 11, 1893,  in Parsons, Kansas on June 28, 1911 and she passed away on October 12, 1957.  Mr. Franklin served in World War  I in Co. C, 27th Eng. serving from June 27, 1918 until his discharge on April 4, 1919.


Ezra Bostick, another early settler of Irving Township came from Kentucky to Illinois some time prior to the year 1824, in company with his two sons-in-law, William and Joel Knight.   They stopped for a couple of years in the southern part of the county, near where the little village of Donnellson now stands, in East Fork Township.   Mr. Bostick settled in Irving Township in the year 1826, but at just what place could not be learned.   He was an old Revolutionary soldier, and many were the thrilling stories he told of that memorable struggle while seated with his gr and children around the blazing hearth of the little cabin home.   He was in nearly all the battles of the war, and received a severe wound in one engagement, which so disabled him that he remained a cripple during the rest of his life.   (He is buried in McCord cemetery)

Joel Knight, who accompanied Bostick to Illinois, located the farm known as the Harmon place, about two and one-half miles northeast of Hillsboro, in section 29.    He was a Presbyterian preacher  of considerable ability and assisted in the organization of nearly all the early churches of his denomination through-out the county.    He traveled extensively from settlement to settlement, preaching in groves, barns and in private dwellings, and many are the stories told of the wonderful power of his eloquence and logic over the audiences that used to assemble to greet him on his regular preaching tours through the country.    In the year 1877, Mr. Knight died at a ripe old age, and was buried in the old Bear Creek cemetery, near the place where he first settled.
                                         AND LOVELY AS A LAPLAND NIGHT,
                                         LED HIM TO AN HONORED GRAVE.”

Two brothers, Mark and James Rutledge, came into this township sometime in the year 1826, and settled in the western part, near the boundary line.   The farm on which they built their first house is now owned by Mrs. Hogsett, whose husband purchased it the same year in which James died.   Mark did not remain a great while in Irving Township, but moved to Hillsboro Township in 1827, and bought a farm, on which he resided until the year 1858, at which time he disposed of his land and moved to the city of Hillsboro, where he died a few years ago.

John Lipe settled in the Northern part of the township as early as the year 1828.    He was a staunch old German.   Well fitted to encounter the many hardships which beset the pioneer settler in a new country.    Lipe came to this state from North Carolina in company with quite a number of German families that located in different places throughout the county.    The farm on which he first settled is in section 3, and is at present owned by Trimper Hefley, a relative, who purchased it shortly after Mr. Lipe died.
     The date of this old pioneer’s death was not ascertained, though it occurred a number of years ago.    His wife survived him many years.    She died in 1881, and was followed to the grave by over four hundred descendants and relatives, probably the largest number of relations that ever attended the funeral of any one person in the state.
James Kelly was one among the earliest settlers, and located on section 27 in the year 1829.    Just how long Mr. Kelly lived in the township is not known.    Though it can be said that he lived long enough to see the wilderness where he first located his humble home changed to a very garden.   Six sons of Kelly are now living, five of them in this state and one in Utah.

Andrew King was prominent among the first settlers of Irving Township, but in what year he came into the township is not known, though we may be safe in saying the it was prior to the year 1830.    He came from Tennessee, from whence came many of the early settlers of southern Illinois, and located on locust fork, about one and a half miles northwest of the town of Irving, in section 16.    The land on which King settled was prairie, covered with a thick growth of sedge grass.    This grass furnished the material out of which the first brooms used by the early settlers were made.    King died in the year 1862.    His descendants living are two sons, S. F. and William T., both of whom reside in the Village of Irving.
The Berrys are also an old family of this township, and were among the first settlers of Montgomery County.    James Berry moved here in 1829 and improved the farm in section 16, now owned by Thomas Black.    He owned the greater part of the land where the town of Irving now stands, and was one of the principal projectors of that village, which he helped to lay out in the year 1856.    He moved into the town a number of years ago, where he has since resided.    He is one of the oldest citizens of the township.    His brother William S. Berry, though not an actual settler in Irving Township, was among the first pioneers in the county, having settled in Hillsboro when it was but a mere niche in the surrounding forest.    He moved to this township a number of years ago, and purchased a fine tract of land.    His son is one of the leading business men of the town of Irving.

John Christian was also an old settler, who emigrated from Kentucky, and settled in Irving Township in the year 1830.    The original homestead of Christian is at present owned by a Mr. Mitz.    Christian was one of the first Baptist preachers in this part of the state.    He assisted in the first religious services ever conducted in the township, and was instrumental in founding several churches of his denomination in the county.

In 1850, John Grantham also appeared, and purchased a farm in the southwestern part of the township.   This farm now belongs to Seth Washburne.   Grantham was a Methodist preacher, and for a number of years supplied the pulpit of the Hopewell Church, of which he was an original member.   He died in the year 1842.   Three sons are still living in the township, all of whom are prominent members of the Methodist churches of Irving.

Many other early settlers of this township might be mentione4d in connection with those already named, but the date of their settlement and facts connected therewith have been forgotten, and they have long ;since passed into that silent palace of the dead whose doors open not outward.   To the ;;energy and perseverance of these sturdy, strong-handed pioneers is the township indebted for much of its present prosperity.
The early settlers in this township, like the first settlers in many other parts of the county, were obliged to go long distances to obtain flour and meal.   The nearest mill for several years was the little rude affair in the southern part of the county known as Fogleman’s Pepper-Mill.   This mill ground so slow that many went by it to Edwardsville, a distance of thirty five or forty miles.   A mill was built in Butler Grove Township, in an early day, by George Cress.   This mill was extensively patronized by the first settlers of Irving Township till one was erected ;nearer home.   James T. Paden built a mill in the year 1831, about three and a half miles southwest of the village of Irving, on the Hillsboro road.    The machinery of this mill was operated by horse power, ground both corn and wheat, and was patronized by the citizens of this and the adjoining; townships of Witt and East Fork.   This mill was purchased by Ezekiel Grantham, after it had been run about eight years, remodeled and supplied new machinery.   The machinery was removed a short time afterward to the town of Irving, and used in the construction of a mill at that place.   The old building was torn down and hauled away about two years ago.

A saw mill was built in the southwestern part  of the township, in an early day, by a Mr.Hickman.   It was situated on shoal creek, from which it;  received the power that operated it.   This mill was run but a very short time, and does not appear to have done a very extensive business.   The first steam mill was built by Kelly & Harris in the year 1864, at a place two miles southwest of the town of Irving.;   They sold it in the following year to a man by the name of Stevens, who in turn disposed of it to H. M. Kelly two years afterward.   Kelly moved the mill to the town of Irving, and operated it several years.   The machinery was finally taken out and used in the construction of another mill at that place, of which we will speak more fully further on.   The old building was purchased by S. F. King, who moved it on his lot, where it answers the purpose of a barn.

Schools were opened in Montgomery County in an early day, and the; necessity of educating the pioneer children forced itself upon the minds of the first settlers, and many schools were at once established.   The first building used for school purposes in this township was a small cabin in the southern part, built as early as the year 1827.    It was used as a meetinghouse also.   The room was furnished with a few rough benches made of small logs split once, and hewed smooth with a common chopping ax.   These rested upon a dirt floor that required no sweeping.   A broad board extended around the apartment next   to the wall, and served the purpose of a writing desk during certain hours of the day.   A large fireplace occupied the greater part of one end of the building, in the construction of which neither brick nor stone were used.   A bank of earth being merely thrown up against the logs to keep them from taking fire.   A small rough stand was provided for the teacher ;near the center of the room, from which he could issue his decrees, give his commands or mete out condign punishment to any juvenile offender who had the temerity to violate any of the iron-clad rules of the school.
The first pedagogue who wielded the birch in this primitive college was Joseph McEntire, an old man of three-score and fifteen years, though possessed of a wonderful amount of vitality and strength, as many unruly urchins learned to their sorrow.   In those days it   required  muscle as well as brain to conduct a school successfully, and Mr. McEntire seems to have given universal satisfaction, as he could strike as hard a blow as many younger brethren of the profession.   This school was supported by voluntary subscription, and lasted but three months.   The teacher “boarded around,” as was the custom of that day, and received $1.50 per scholar for his compensation.    Among the first schools in the township was one taught by John Grantham in the Hopewell church house, shortly after the building was erected.   No preparation had been made for this school in the way of fitting up the room, and there were neither desks nor seats for the pupils.    No floor had been laid, nor fireplace built.    The room was warmed by a fire in the center of the dirt floor, around which the scholars seated themselves upon the sleepers of the building.   In the spring the house was abandoned for a grove, where the school was continued during fair weather.    When it rained, the exercises were conducted in a large tent which Mr. Grantham had prepared for that purpose.

The first frame schoolhouse was built in 1848, on locust fork, near the place where the residence of Mr. Ault now stands.   This house is still standing in the town of Irving, where it was moved in 1860.    It is still used for school purposes.    The first public school of the township was taught in this building by William F. King, in the years 1848 and 1849.   As time passed, the number of school houses increased.   The little log cabins disappeared, or were replaced by more comfortable and commodious brick and frame buildings.    There are at present seven schools in the township outside of the town of Irving.   The school houses are all well built, and furnished with latest improved furniture and fixtures.    Four of these houses are frame and three brick.   The present school board is composed of the following gentlemen:   Joseph Platt,  W. W. Webber and J. E. Knight, trustees;  A. J. Huestis, township treasurer and clerk of the board.    The Schools last about seven months in the year.