Salem News August 21, 1924
HENRY COUNTY OLD TIMERS
The New London Journal is running a series of articles on old timers, and we take the following published in regard to William Shannon whois quite well known in Salem.
William Shannon was the third white man to make his home in Henry county. There is no mistake about this for Mr. Shannon at the age of 95 still lives in Mt. Pleasant where almost a century ago when he came to Lowell was only a prairie.
During these ninety years this old settler has made his home in Henry county, first living in Lowell, in 1880 conducted a grocery and hardware store in New London and later moved to Mt. Pleasant, where he still lives, and hopes to spend his last years.
Mr. Shannon came to Lowell with his brother-in-law, in the fall of 1834 from Hamilton county, Ohio. The first white man to settle there during the spring of the same year. They traveled by boat and landed in Burlington, when there were only three log cabins there. In the pioneer days the settlers sought water and timber, so they located a short distance up the river from Lowell.
In the early days it required a strong constitution to survive the hardships. Their first cabin was 10 by 12 feet with a loft upstairs. As a boy Mr. Shannon had the room in the loft. His bed consisted of dry grass. The first three years the only food was corn pone. During these years they never tasted sugar, coffee, milk, butter, meat, salt, flour or lard. They went to Burlington where they bought the only two sacks of corn obtainable, of this they made corn pone and lived on it until they raised a crop of corn the following year. it was Shannon's job to crush the corn before each meal.
Each year more settlers came and the third year four families somehow got fifty dollars and sent a man back to Illinois to buy cows. He was gone six weeks and returned with four cows, costing eight dollars each, one bull costing two dollars. They then had a feast with corn pone,milk and butter. For six years they had no gun with which to kill wild game. The sixth year they sent east for a gun, and Mr. S. with it killed the first two deer shot in Henry county. From that time on they had plenty of wild chickens, turkeys, and deer. All the neighbors used the gun. His brother-in-law had cleared what he called two acres. In the fall the deer would jump over the fence and eat the corn before it ripened enough to pick. They tried to get a deer by placing the handle of a large knife in a hole drilled in a post. A rail was dropped to entice the deer to enter there. The knife was placed where they thought the deer would land, hoping it would stab the deer. During the night the deer would enter the patch without coming near the knife.
The cooking utensils consisted of one skillet, frying pan, iron kettle and one pone oven. The dishes consisted of tin cups.
In those days there were no papers. The Burlington Gazette whichis now in its 78th year had not issued its first number. To mail a letter at Burlington cost 25 cents. There were no wagon roads or railroads. Mr. Shannon worked on the first plank road from Burlington to New Londonand also the first railroad. He built the first fence in Baltimore township. Each year the Indians would come and camp near Skunk river at Lowell. Mr. .Shannon saw the famous chief, Black Hawk three different times. Laws and police officers were unknown. The whites were so glad to see each other they had no desire to quarrel. The Indians were also as sociable as the whites are now.
In 1845 the first mill was started at Lowell and from that time on settlers flocked into the county. Of the 25 families coming here after Mr. Shannon, only two are living. Mrs. Kilbourn and Mrs. Sarah Archibald. At the age of 14 Mr. Shannon ran away from his brother-in-law because of cruel treatment. Up to that time he had never possessed a pair of stockings or shoes. He had an old shirt and ragged pants. His parents died when he was a child. When he was 22 was married and at25 doctors said he had tuberculosis and could not live. He was unable to walk without assistance. An old gray haired colored woman cured himby placing a salt pork over his chest at night, giving him cold sage tea and a blood purifier. Believes this is the best cure even today.
Created by Dan Pidcock's GedcomToHTML v1.5.2.
Data compiled, maintained, and hosted by Jay Hannah <jay(at)jays(dot)net>. http://jays.net/genealogy/