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Donovan's Erie History Pages

History of Erie Township

Exerpts from the Bent-Wilson History of Whiteside County, 1877

History of Erie Township
History of Erie Village
Churches and Societies


The township of Erie was formed from Erie Precinct under the Township Organization Laws in 1852, and contains 14,392 acres. The village of Erie, within the township, contains 195 lots.

The township upon the south and east is skirted by Rock River, the borders of the stream being fringed by timber of a fine quality. The land is usually savanna, which by drainage is being rapidly reclaimed, and is of inexhaustible fertility. Within the borders of the township is a large body of sandy land, portions of which are not valuable for agricultural purposes. Rock Island county borders the township on the west and Newton and Fenton townships on the north. Erie Lake, a considerable sheet of water, as fair as a picture, lies just north of the village of Erie. Wells of living water are easily obtained.

The farmers of the township are principally engaged in stock raising. The luxuriant growth of grass making the breeding of cattle a desirable occupation. Heavy crops of corn are also produced, and large quantities of pork. The yield of cheese and butter is also considerable.

The first settlement made in the territory now Erie, was by Lewis D. Crandall, Peter Gile and Mr. Hunt, in the fall of 1835. Mr. Crandall located upon Section 18. The first farming done in the township was doubtless by him. A large proportion of early settlers of Erie were from Erie county, NY, on Lake Erie, and the name of the lake that washed the shores of their home county was transferred to the fine body of water near their new homes. Naturally and properly the Precinct when organized became Erie, which name descended to the present township.

The following is a list of the first settlers of Erie and their nativity, being as nearly complete as can be secured from memory. None are intended to be enumerated who settled after 1840: John Freek, England; Joseph Fenton, David Hunt, New Jersey; George, Henry and Harvey Steele, Connecticutt; Peter Gile, Lewis D., John and L. Crandall, Orville and Alvin Brooks, Wm. Teats, James Hamilton, Charles R. Coburn, Samuel Carr, New York; Arthur Putney, Ernest Warner, Massachusets.

Mr. Fenton is classed a settler of Erie, but more properly belongs to Fenton, as very soon after locating in Erie he removed across the line into what is now Fenton township.

Erie Precinct was established by order of Commissioners' Court, December 1, 1844. The territory was formerly embraced in Lyndon and Albany Precincts. The boundaries of Erie Precinct are described on the books of the County Commissioners as follows: "Commencing at the town line in town 20 north, range 4 east 4th Principal Meridian, at the southeast corner of section 37, running north to the northeast corner of section 15; thence west to the northwest corner of section 14, township 20 north, range 4 east; thence south to the township line, thence west to the county line; thence to Rock River, thence up said river to the place of beginning." This Precinct included all the present township of Erie and portions of Newton and Fenton townships. When the question "for" or "against township organization" was voted upon, November 4, 1851, Erie was one of two precincts to vote "against organization," casting eleven votes "for" and seventeen "against."

Mr. Alvin Brooks, now of Clyde, Kansas, one of the original settlers of Erie township, furnishes the following in regard to the early settlement of Erie. His statements are confirmed by the surviving pioneers of Erie township. He says:

"The first man who crossed the river to make a claim commenced cutting timber to erect a cabin and was frightened away by the Indians. He was next followed by Lewis D. Crandall, Mr. Hunt and Peter Gile. Hunt made a claim of the grove three miles below Erie, known as 'Hunts' Grove.' Messrs. Crandall and Gile selecting the Erie Grove, Crandall choosing the lower half and Gile the upper. The three men put up a cabin for Mr. Hunt, it being the first house of any kind between Lyndon and the Marias De Ogee. [This was in the Autumn of 1835.] Soon after, Mr. Gile went to work, being anxious to complete his cabin so that his family could be with him, he in the meantime boarding with Mr. Hunt. Giles' cabin was about 10x12, built on the bank of the slough, under a spreading oak. The material used was of the roughest, and the cabin most rudely built. Upon the completion of his domicile, Mr. Gile, accompanied by L. D. Crandall, started for Dixon to receive his family and goods, having two canoes lashed together. The difficulty of rowing against the current to Dixon being at length overcome, the family -- consisting of Mrs. Gile and two children -- and the goods were embarked and the voyagers started upon their return. Their destination was almost reached, when night having fallen, the canoes ran into a tree top and were overturned. The youngest child was drowned. [Other settlers, in speaking of this incident, say dry goods boxes were lashed between the boats, one of which floated away with two children, whom Mr. Crandall found upon his return asleep in the box which was drifting with the current.] Mr. and Mrs. Gile and Crandall saved themselves by clinging to the branches of the tree in a half drowned and chilled condition. Only Mr. Crandall could swim, and he resolutely set about swimming to the shore, to a point from which he must travel several miles for a boat to remove the other survivors. Every hour of his absence seemed a day to the sufferers in the tree top, but at length he came, and the family were removed and taken to the cabin. In the morning the body of the drowned child was rescued and buried. Part of the goods were recovered, but the precious iron, as harrow teeth and chains, probably lie at the bottom of the river to this day. Mrs. Gile had but recently recovered from the measles, and her terrible experience of the night threw her into a fever. There were no sympathetic neighbors nor physician to assist or prescribe in her time of need. Her husband cared for her as best he could, but in a few days death removed her from her trials and suffering. Mr. Gile then taking his orphaned boy upon his back traveled about five miles where he found assistance, and sent for Mrs. Cushman, who then lived two miles west of Sharon. She came, and with her two other women, to prepare the corpse for interment. A shroud was cut out, and then it was found that no needle could be procured, but the best preparations possible were made and the body was buried in the southeast corner of what is now Esquire Weaver's orchard -- at that time prairie. Soon after this John Freek, Joseph Fenton, Orville Brooks and Wm. P. Teats made claims. Mr. O. Brooks built the first house in the now village of Erie. His wife for three months did not see the face of a white woman. I came to Erie in the fall of 1837. There was then three houses in Erie. George and Henry Steele came the same fall. Samuel Carr had settled the year previous. Prior to this year, the nearest Post office had been at Dixon, but then one was established at Prophetstown. I visited the Prophetstown post office about three months after I had been in the country, and received two letters from friends for which I paid fifty cents. The next spring, when five families had come in, a log school house was built without bonds or subscription. A teacher was employed -- Polly Ann Sprague, afterwards Mrs. Reuben Hurd. She was the first teacher in Erie. My wife died in the fall of 1840 and was the first person interred in the Erie Cemetery."

The second school teacher in Erie was Mr. Horace Cole. In 1840 a post office was kept at Crandall's Ferry by Lewis D. Crandall. He had charge of the office until 1848 when Mr. L. Crandall became postmaster. In 1849 he was succeeded by Judge C. C. Teats, and the office was removed to Erie village.

The sand burs now so common upon thc sandy land of Erie, are "old settlers," but strangely enough did not appear until some time after settlements had been made. When the peculiar grass that bears the burs was first seen the settlers cherished it, presuming it might prove of value, but all familiar with a sand bur will appreciate their mistake.

The settlers of Erie were very soon provided with religious instruction. The mission preachers soon sought out the new settlement. Elder Carpenter, a Baptist, preached at Crandall's house as soon as 1838, J.C. Hubbart stating that he heard him at that time. The same minister preached the funeral sermon of Mr. Hubbarts' mother at the Hamilton school house, in Lyndon, in 1839. He also preached in Arthur Putney's house.

The Methodist ministers early made their appearance and in 1839 regular services were enjoyed by this denomination.

The first marriage in Erie was that of Oliver Olmstead and Electa Hunt, and the next was that of James Hamilton and Lucinda Crandall.

The first white child born in Erie was Harriet Coburn, though many per- sons claim that Alfred Fenton was the first, yet from the best evidence it would appear that Mr. Fenton was over the line in Fenton township.

Among the early settlers of Erie was James Cassen, who traded a watch to Levi Fuller, now of Erie, for a claim. Mr. Cassen returned to the east and not coming back the claim was taken by David Martin. Claim jumping was frequent in Erie, and a committee existed to regulate the matter. At the time there was much bitterness, and in the neighborhood wars property was sometimes destroyed, but at last the differences were adjusted, and now are only remembered as incidents of pioneer life.

In 1844 a destructive tornado swept across Erie, the whirlwind having crossed the Mississippi, pursuing a southeasterly direction. No lives were lost in Erie, but several persons were killed in other parts of the county. Large trees were twisted off like pipe stems, cattle blown a considerable distance, and farm utensils and household furniture transported and never recovered. It is said when the hurricane passed over the river the water was parted like the Red Sea of old, and fish and shells were afterwards found that had been carried some distance out on land.

During the Civil War Erie made a splendid record. With a voting population never to exceed 120 previous to the war, the town in August, 1862, had sent 70 men to the field. This fact was published in the Whiteside Sentinel of Au- gust 28,1862. Mr. Samuel Orcutt, a soldier of the 75th Illinois regiment, from memory recalls the names of 85 men from the township. Doubtless others volunteered later, which with re-enlistments would greatly swell the number.

Seven commissioned officers went from the town: F. A. Harrington, Colonel of the 27th Illinois, killed at Stone River; A. B. Seger, Captain company I, 75th Illinois, died of disease; Sherman Ferson, Surgeon 74th Illinois, killed in railroad disaster in Tennessee; Thomas Maloy, Captain in 54th Illinois, killed at Mobile; L. E. Chubbuck, Lieutenant company I, 75th Illinois; Thomas Rhodes and John Rhodes, captains in United States colored regiments. A number of soldiers from Erie were killed in action or died of wounds and disease, while a number of the citizens of the town bear honorable scars made in the line of duty. Large sums of money were raised by the citizens of the township to pay the heavy bounties and otherwise assist in prosecuting the war.

In accordance with the act of 1851, and in pursuance of vote of the Pre- cints of Whiteside county, Erie township was organized in 1852 and defined by the Commissioners to divide the county into townships as "all of town 19 north range 4 east of the 4th Principal Meridian north of Rock river; and also all of town 19 north, range 3 east of the 4th Principal Meridian, north of Rock river."

The first annual town meeting was held April 6, 1852, at the Erie school house James Early, Moderator, and Addison Farrington, Clerk. The voters were W. W. Hubbart, N. K. Chapman, Daniel Morehouse, Charles R. Coburn, Charles W. Case, Alvin Brooks, John Freek, M. G. Wonser, A. J. Osborne, Frank Campbell J. B. Goodrich, James McMillen, Nelson L. Rouse, Thomas Freek, A. Broadwell, James Hamilton, Samuel D. Carr, George Steele, John McLay, John Pinkney, James Earley, C. C. Teats, A. Farrington, Thomas J. Phillips, Abner Bull, Alfred Wood, L. Crandall, Hervey Steele, Orville Brooks. The following officers were elected: Supervisor, Charles R. Coburn; Town Clerk, A. Farrington; Assessor, M. G. Wonser; Collector, James McMillin; Justice of the Peace, Orville Brooks; Overseer of the Poor, John Freek; Commissioners of High- ways, James Earley, N. K. Chapman, L. Crandall; Constable, James McMil- lin; Overseers of Highways, Alfred Wood, T. J. Phillips. The proceedings of the meeting were certified to by M. G. Wonser, an act- ing Justice of the Peace. The Commissioners of Highways met April 22, 1852, and divided the township into two road districts, and defined them as follows: All roads lying north of the north line of section 18 in Congressional township 19 north, of range 4 east, extending on said north line of said section running east to Rock river, and west to the Marias De Ogee, shall comprise district No. 1; and all roads lying south of said line in said township shall comprise dis- trict No. 2.

At the second annual town meeting it was decided by vote that "every man should be his own pound master" also "that hogs taken up shall be proceeded with as in Constable's Sales." Twenty-two votes were cast, and the appropriation for township expenses fixed at $25,00. In 1854, 39 votes were cast and laws adopted regulating stock running at large. In 1855, 53 votes were polled, and a lawful fence defined as "three boards, the fence four and a half feet high. If of rails to number four, the lower to be not more than eighteen inches from the ground, the top rail to be not less than four and a half feet from the ground." It was also resolved "that each man should be fined $1.00 per head for each hog allowed to run at large."

In 1857, 62 votes were polled and a resolution adopted to raise $100.00 to refund money subscribed by certain persons to build the Rock creek bridge. In 1858 the hog law was re-enacted and it was decided that sheep should not run at large; $125,00 was voted for township expenses; num- ber of votes cast, 99. In 1860 it was resolved that bulls be free commoners, and "that line fences be sufficiently built to protect hogs and sheep." A special meeting was held the same year when Ralph Sage was elected Supervisor, and James Collins, Justice of the Peace. In 1861, 109 votes were cast, and at a special election the same year C. C. Teats was elected Supervisor. Votes of 1866, 125; of 1870, 132. It was decided by vote in 1873 to build a town hall, and in pursuance thereof a substantial frame building was erected.

Supervisors: 1852, Charles R. Coburn; 1853-54, C. C. Teats; 1855, T. B. Whipple; 1856-57, Ralph Sage; 1858-60, A. Farrington; 1861, F. A. Har- rington; 1862, C. C. Teats; 1863-64, Wm. H. Allen; 1865, Thomas Freek; 1866, Samuel Orcutt; 1867, Thomas Freek; 1868-69, William H. Allen; 1870-71, A. M. Earley; 1872-73, C. C. Teats; 1874, M. H. Seger; 1875-77, William H. Allen.

Town Clerks: 1852-54, A. Farrington; 1855, L. Barnum; 1856, M. G. Wonser; 1857-59, Samuel Gordon; 1860, James Collins; 1861-62, L. Barnum; 1863, Porteus Barnum; 1864, O. M. Crary; 1865, W. R. Davis; 1866, Seneca Teats; 1867-69, James O. Brooks; 1870-74, H. K. Wells; 1875-77, L. E. Matthews.

Assessor: 1852, M. G. Wonser; 1853, A. J. Osborne; 1854, D. B. Henwood; 1855, A. J. Osborne; 1856, James C. Hubbart; 1857-58, L. Barnum; 1859-62, James Collins; 1863, George Paddock; 1864, James Collins; 1865 -66, George Paddock; 1867, John Freek; 1868-'69, John D. Fenton; 1870-73, A.W. Capen; 1874-76, John D. Fenton; 1877, O. H. Steele.

Collectors: 1852-53, James McMillen; 1854, N. K. Chapman; 1855, A. E. Thomas; 1856, James McMillen; 1857, B. F. Hubbart; 1858, William Frink; 1959, A. A. Matthews; 1860, Samuel Orcutt; 1861-62, Daniel Schryver; 1863, Henry Paddock; 1864, Alexander Johnson; 1865, John D.Fenton; 1866, Alexander Johnson; 1867, Charles Smith; 1868-70, L. E. Matthews; 1871, A. M. Crary; 1872, L. E. Matthews; 1873-74, H. C. Fenton; 1875, O. S. Martin; 1876-77, G. G. Matthews.

Justices of the Peace: 1852, Orville Brooks; 1853, A. Farrington, M. G. Wonser; 1854, A. Farrington, L. Crandall; 1857, James Collins; 1858, A. Far- rington, Joseph Weaver; 1862, William H. Allen; 1864, Joseph Weaver, Wil- liam H. Allen; 1865, Samuel Orcutt; 1868, Samuel Orcutt, John Freek; 1873, J. D. Fenton, M. H. Seger; 1877, M. H. Seger, Samuel Orcutt.

The population of Erie in 1870 was 695, and is, in 1877, estimated at 900. The vote of the township in November, 1876, was 165. The Assessor's book for 1877 shows 3,294 acres of improved land, and 11,098 acres unimproved. In the village of Erie 195 lots are enumerated. Number of horses in township, 276; cattle, 927; mules, 22; sheep, 96; hogs, 990; wagons and carriages, 95; sewing and knitting machines, 76; pianos, organs, and melodeons, 24. The assessed value of the property for 1877 is $198,447.


LEWIS D. CRANDALL was born in Erie county, New York, in 1816, and settled in Erie in the fall of 1835, on section 18. In 1837, he established the ferry still known as "Crandall's Ferry," it being one of the first on Rock River below Dixon. Mr. Crandall was Sheriff of Whiteside County one term, and was also engaged in business at Portland with Mr. Sol. Seely. He was also editor and proprietor of the Sterling Times, now Gazette. His wife's maiden name was Phebe Hunt. She died several years previous to Mr. Crandall, whose death occurred in 1860.

LAFAYETTE CRANDALL is a native of the town of Collins, Erie county, New York, and was born on the 9th of April, 1822. He came to Illinois in 1835, and located first at Grand DeTour, then in Jo Daviess county, now in Ogle, where he remained until 1837, when he settled at Crandall's ferry, in the present township of Erie, his farm lying in section 18. On the 10th of February, 1847, he was married in Portland township to Miss Lovina Rowe, the children of the marriage being the following: Francis Marion, born April. 27, 1849; Ida E., born March 6,1853; Alice A., born November 12,1857; and George W., born September 15, 1863. These children are all residing with their parents. Mr. Crandall is one of the successful farmers of Erie. He has been Justice of the Peace of the town, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Whiteside County Central Agricultural Society.

SAMUEL CARR was born in Vermont, May 27, 1815. Married Elizabeth Emmins, February 22,1843. He died June 22,1861. Mrs. Carr married Mr. James Collins. Samuel Carr settled in Erie in 1836. He commenced keeping a "hotel" in a log cabin in 1843, when the Frink & Walker Stage Line was carrying passengers and the mails. The" hotel" stood near the site of the pres- ent St. Nicholas House.

ARTHUR PUTNEY was born in Goshen, Massachusetts, in 1799. While in Massachusetts he was proprietor of the "Oldtown Stage Route." In 1831 he was married to Lucinda Wood. In 1837 Mr. Putney settled in Erie. He was one of the first Justices of the Peace in the new settlement; his death occurred in 1842. His widow, now Mrs. N. K. Chapman, still resides in Erie, one of the three oldest settlers remaining. The first bread she ate after her arrival in Erie was made from green corn grated by hand. N. K. Chapman was one of the first drivers on the Frink & Walker Stage Line.

HARVEY STEELE and his wife still reside in Erie, where they settled in 1836. Mr. Steele was born in New Hartford, Connecticut, in 1808. When a young man he belonged to the ranks of the irrepressible and energetic "Yankee peddlers," and sold clocks in New England and the British Provinces. Mr. Steele was married to Elizabeth C. Wood, in July, 1841.

GEORGE STEELE was born in New Hartford, Connecticut, in 1800; was married, in 1832, to Miss Mary Ann Pingree, of Nova Scotia. Mr. Steele died December 10, 1871. Mrs. Steele still survives, and is now one of the oldest remaining settlers of Erie township. She has a vivid recollection of the pioneer days. Mr. Steele was a peddler in his younger days, and sold clocks to the New Englanders and Nova Scotia people. Judge Halliburton, the author of the famous satire, "Sam Slick," spent many days riding on Mr. Steele's wagon, gleaning from him incidents of his peddler's life, which he wove into his book.

CHARLES R. COBURN settled in Erie in 1839. He was born in Broome county, New York, in 1804; married Hannah Maxwell in 1827. Mrs. Coburn died in 1860; Mr. Coburn in 1865.

JOHN FREEK was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1806; emigrated to America in 1830, and settled at Geneva, N.Y., but subsequently went to New Jer- sey, where he was married. In October, 1835, he settled in Erie, with his brother-in-law, Joseph Fenton. Their settlement was near the present town line. He was instrumental in establishing religious services and Sunday schools in Erie and Newton townships, and did much to develop the new country which he found a wilderness upon his advent here forty-two years ago. His family experienced the privations of pioneer life, having gone to bed after making a meal of stewed pumpkins, their only food. The early settlers of Erie found many Indians, but they were friendly, and traded with the settlers fish and game. With the exception of their thievish habits, the Indians were not bad neighbors. In 1875 Mr. Freek emigrated to Kansas, where he now resides. Children: William, born March 10, 1834, died December 13, 1859; John, Jr., born in Erie in 1837, resides in Kansas; Samuel, born January 13, 1839, died January 17, 1860; Ann, born July 4, 1843, married Joseph Guthrie; Thomas E., who was in the 8th Illinois cavalry regiment, died January 15, 1865.

JAMES C. HUBBART is a native of the town of Sanford, Broome county, NY, and was born October 12, 1822. In May, 1837, he started with his parents for the then far West, stopping for nearly a year in Michigan, and on e 20th of February, 1838, arrived at Lyndon, Whiteside county. The family remained here only about four weeks, and then moved to a place half a mile east of the present city of Morrison, finally locating on Delhi prairie, in Union Grove Township. Mr. Hubbart remained on the farm in Union Grove until the death of his father in 1842, when he spent the following three years in traveling through Wisconsin and New York States, and returned in August, 1845, again taking possession of the farm. In 1855 he sold the farm, and purchased another in Erie township to which he removed and upon which he has continued reside since. October 14,1855, he married Miss Mariah L. Putney, at Erie, the following being the children of this union: Mary J., born February 15, 1857; Luella May, born June 22, 1861, and James, born February 11, 1866. Mr. Hubbart is an active go-a-head business man, and to him the village of Erie indebted for the erection of a grist mill in 1870, store in 1871, and cheese factory in 1873. He ran the store, keeping it stocked with goods, until 1877. Few such men only are needed to build up a town -- men who do not hold back but push forward every enterprise that will aid the growth and prosperity of the place.


The land upon which the village of Erie stands was entered by James McMillen about 1850, and the old section of the town was laid out soon afterwards by Samuel Carr, M. G. Wonser, James McMillen, and George Marks.

Previous to the laying out of the town there were several log cabins on the site, among them the Brooks', Carr's tavern and a school house. In addition it is stated that on the present town site and the neighborhood, George, Henry, and Harvey Steele, James Early, E. Warner, John Freek, A. Putney, Charles R. Coburn, and William Teats had residences. The regular trips of the Rock Island and Dixon stages enlivened the new village. About 1849 or 1850 the post office was removed from Crandall's Ferry to the village, with C. C. Teats, Postmaster. M. G. Wonser started the first store, he having a general assortment; though it is represented that about the same time, or before, a man by the name of L. Higley offered a small stock of notions for sale. Dr. Grover, now a merchant in Erie, came next year with a considerable stock of goods. Wonser's store, also used for a dwelling house, was the first frame building in the village; the log hotel was next supplanted by a frame building. Frame structures were next erected by Charles Coburn, Tyler Whipple, and Hiram Harmon. The first church edifice was built by the United Brethren in 1854. Henry Bolton started a blacksmith shop in 1850. C. C. Teats was the first lawyer, and Dr. Fetters the first resident physician, he locating in 1849 or 1850. Dr. Lord was in Erie in 1852.

A lively interest was taken in schools and churches, business increased, And the town grew steadily until railroads began to multiply, running to other towns in the county, Erie having none. In 1857 or 1858 the Sterling and Rock Island Railroad was projected, and graded in the latter year. There was much excitement, and selling lots in Erie became an important business. Everybody talked real estate and corner lots, and upon certain days lot sales were made. The farmers along the line mortgaged their property to build the road, and all were sanguine; but, like many other promising enterprises, the end was failure, and ruin was the portion of many who generously and confidently gave mortgages to assist in building the road. The bed was graded a considerable distance, and then the matter ended and Erie did not advance; but in 1869 the desire of the Village was gratified, for January 20th of that year the locomotive steamed into Erie upon the Rockford, Rock Island and St. Louis Railroad. The town at once took a new lease of life, and general activity took the place of apathy. Business houses began to multiply, and the trade of the wealthy surrounding farming country that had gone elsewhere began to pour into Erie, since which time the place has had a steady and substantial growth.

The first sawmill was built in Erie in 1855 by A. J. Osborne and Fain Thompson; the mill was run by steam power. The first steam flouring mill was erected and run by Simonson & Ritchie in 1868. The present grist mill was put up by J. C. Hubbart in 1871. An excellent cheese factory was built in 1873 by the same gentlemen. It is now managed by Robert Shelletto and does a good business.

The following is a list of business houses, etc., in Erie: Three general stores, two hardware stores, two drug stores, two manufacturers and dealers in boots and shoes, one furniture store, two hotels, two saloons, one meat market, two harness shops, five millinery and dressmaking establishments, two grain elevators, one cheese factory, one steam flouring mill, two livery stables, one barber shop, one cooper shop, two blacksmith shops, two wagon shops, three carpenter shops, two paint shops, one windmill manufactory, one agricultural implement house, two pump dealers, one photograph gallery, one florist, two lawyers, three physicians, three churches, one Masonic lodge one division of the Sons of Temperance.

Erie has also a fine public school of three departments -- M. H. Hanna, Principal. The best of teachers are employed; a lively interest is taken by the citizens in the school, and by these combined influences the rising generation of Erie and vicinity is afforded unusual advantages for acquiring an education.

Until 1872 Erie was not incorporated, but in that year the village incorporated under an act of the Legislature, approved April 10, 1872. July 31, 1872, a number of the citizens of Erie presented a petition to Wm. Lane, Judge of the County Court, praying that the village be incorporated, and August 20, 1872, an election was held to vote upon the question of incorporation, at which 53 votes were cast " for" and 21 "against." September 17, 1872, an election was held, when six trustees were elected, viz: A. J. Osborne, James Collins, John D. Fenton, Joseph Grover, W. L. Mitchell and M. S. Johnson. Since organization the question of "license" or "no license" for saloons has annually been the issue, as in other towns. At present licenses are granted to saloons upon payment of $300.00.


Baptist Society: The Baptist Church of Erie was not formally organized until March 24, 1854, although Elder Carpenter preached in Erie prior to 1840; but until the church organization the people of that denomination had worshiped at other points, and with other churches in their own town, receiving an occasional supply. The council met March 25,1854, Rev. Wm. Rutledge, modera- tor, and Rev. J. Van Vleck, clerk. The Baptist Church of Erie was formally recognized the next day. Rev. L. L. Lansing, as the first pastor, served the church one year; the church has since been supplied by Revs. Smith, Terwilliger, Carpenter, Roney, Barden, Stott, Hanna, Burnham, and Geo. H. Brown, the present pastor. In 1869-70 a comfortable and pleasant house of worship was erected, which was dedicated May 8,1870. The present membership is about 80.

Methodist Episcopal Society: The Methodist Church of Erie has long had an existence, dating back to 1839, when the first regular preaching was commenced by Rev. Norris Hobart. Very soon after a Sunday School was organized with John Freek, Superintendent. Prior to that time the handful of believers had enjoyed occasional services from the missionary preachers who traversed the new country. Thos. Freek, now residing near Erie, remembers the following persons as composing the first class: John Freek and wife, Mrs. Hunt, A. Brooks and wife, and Mrs. James Early. Among the first preachers he mentions McMurtay, Kirkpatrick, Buck, Stuff, Campbell, McKean, Cartwright and Philleo. Services were held in the old log school house. Since the first feeble start the Methodist Church has steadily grown, and now has a comfortable church edifice, a membership of nearly 100, and a flourishing Sunday School. A portion of the history of the Erie church, and the name of ministers who sup- plied the people, will be found in the history of the Methodist church of Morrison, as Erie and Union Grove, formerly Morrison church, were long in the same circuit.

Sons of Temperance: Erie Division, No. 999, Sons of Temperance, was organized January 5,1875, with 38 members. A. M. Early, W. P., Luther E. Matthews, D. G. W. P. The Division has met with varying fortunes, but at present is on a substantial footing and doing an earnest work in its proper field. August 1, 1877, the membership was 100. In connection there is a Band of Hope, No. 60, numbering over 100 members, and rapidly increasing in member- ship.

Masonic Lodge: Erie Lodge No. 667, A.F. & A.M., was instituted October 18, 1870. Charter members: Benj. West, R. L. Burchell, A. M. Early, S. C. Teats, Arthur McLane, C. C. Teats, C. M. Teats, J. A. Meighan, J. Meeks, A. M. Crary, W. R. Davis, H. K. Wells, R. Sage, C. C. Smith, J. F. Dickinson, P. Brake, A. Huffman. First officers: A. M.Crary, W. M.; B.West,S.W.; A. McLane, J. W.; R. L. Burchell, Treasurer; H. K. Wells, Secretary; S. C. Teats, S. D.; C. M Teats, J. D.; W. R. Davis, Tyler. The lodge numbers 40 members, and has lately incorporated under the State law, and purchased a substantial hall. Present officers: Samuel Orcutt, W. M.; O. S. Martin, S. W.; Wm. Ritchie, J. W.; A. S. Round, Treasurer; G. G. Martin, Secretary; J. L. W. Grover, S. D.; Geo. Fadden, J. D; W. R. Davis, Tyler.