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John Wood Opened Road From ...
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Newspaper Date:

Newspaper Article: JOHN WOOD OPENED ROAD FROM SOUTH CALHOUN TO WARSAW FOR PIKE COMMISSIONERS

On June 5, 1822, John Wood, famous early-day settler in what is now Pleasant Vale township and later the founder of Quincy and lieutenant-governor and governor of Illinois, was appointed by the Pike County Commissioner’s Court sitting at Coles’ Grove, then the capital of the vast county, as supervisor of that part of the Fort Edwards Road from the section line just north of present Atlas to Fort Edwards (site of present Warsaw), which had been erected by Zachary Taylor in the 1812 war.

The commissioners desired that this road, which started at Ferguson’s Ferry on the Illinois River, at the lower end of what is now Calhoun county, be opened to the northern fort. Viewers had been appointed to lay out this northern extension of the road and their report had been accepted Jan. 12, 1822.

Pursuant to his appointment, John Wood set out in the fall of 1822 from his cabin on Keyes (now Kiser) creek and blazed a cart-road to a point on the creek (now known as Fall creek), two miles south of the present site of Quincy, where he stopped at the house of Justus J. Perrigo, near modern Marblehead. Perrigo and Daniel Lile were then the only white men within the borders of what is now Adams county. Perrigo, as may be observed by consulting the petition of 1820 for erection of a new county on the bounty lands, reproduced on Page 4, Section C, of this edition, was a signer of that petition.

Wood, on this journey, traveled in a truck wheel cart, drawn by a yoke of oxen. The cart was made by his own hands, from timbers hewn in the native forests. The wheels were circular cuts from a sycamore log, with holes burned in their centers for the insertion of the wooden axles. The wheels were held on the axles by wooden pins. Wood, traveling in this rude ox-drawn vehicle, cut the road as he went, reaching the house of Perrigo in November, 1822.

From Perrigo’s, Wood, after a brief rest, set out again in the direction of Fort Edwards, cutting out the road as he advanced, until he came at last in December 1822, to the site of an old Sauk or Sac village, the beauty of which had attracted his attention on an earlier visit to this locality. There, on a spot he had explored and admired on a trip with two others by the names of Flinn and Moffitt in February, 1821, he stopped and built a cabin in December, 1822, this being the first white habitation within the present bounds of Quincy. Wood, appointed by the Pike county commissioners to open and supervise the northern half of the Fort Edwards road, thus, in the performance of his task, became the founder and first settler of Quincy.

Wood’s cabin was built near the river, on the east side of what is now Front street, and a short distance south of the point where Delaware intersects Front.

Resembling, somewhat, the first log court house at Coles’ Grove and Atlas, but, rougher in design and of two feet larger dimensions each way (18 by 20 feet), Wood’s first Quincy home was built with-out a nail or bit of iron or any sawed timber. Logs from the neighboring forest were dragged to the scene with the aid of the ox-team and cart and the “raising” was accomplished possibly with the aid of some trapper, trader or hunter. It should be remembered that the site of modern Quincy was at this time in Pike county.

The following spring (March, 1823), Major Jeremiah Rose and his family moved from Atlas to the site selected by Wood for his home. They lived in Wood’s cabin, Wood continuing as a bachelor therein. Mrs. Rose and her little daughter were the first white women to abide where now is Quincy.

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Submitted: 01/26/08

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