Chapter 11 – Richard Arterbury II’s Legacy

Richard Atterbury Gravemarker, Atterbury Cemetery, Barnhill, IL

Richard Arterbury II was a son of Richard Arterbury I and Rebecca [possibly Bennett], born 24Feb1786 (see grave marker in Figure 11-1[1]), probably in Chester County, South Carolina.  His family was reported in the 1790 census records of Chester County showing four males under 16, one male over 16 and two females.  Presumably one of the males under age 16 was Richard II, who would have been about 4 years old.  His father owned at least two tracts of land in Chester County, one of which was situated on the waters of Brushy Fork Creek.  In Mar1794 Richard II’s father purchased a 100 acre tract of land situated on Welches Fork from William Rainey.  In the deed Richard I was described as already living on the tract on Welches Fork.  The Welches Fork location would place Richard’s family in close proximity to several other members of the Attebury family.  The family was not found in any census record in 1800, but may have been included in the household of Charles Atterbury, which appears to exhibit members composed of multiple families.  Richard II probably was about 19 years old when his father moved the family to Hardin County Kentucky around 1805.  The date of that migration can be generally inferred from the reported date and place of birth of Nathan Atterberry, brother of Richard II, who, according to Nathan’s obituary, was born in South Carolina on 10Aug1803.  Also suggestive of the 1805 date of the migration to Kentucky is the Chester County land record dated 7Dec1804 in which Richard Atterberry [I] filed a plat map for 142 acres on Brushy Fork.

However, it seems quite clear that the family was in Hardin County KY by 1Oct1805 when Mary [Bennett?] Atterberry was recorded marrying William Watkins.  Another indicator of Richard Atterberry I’s presence in Kentucky is the LWT which he wrote in Hardin County dated 4Oct1806.  Further evidence of the family’s migration may be found in two further marriages: Richard Arterbury II and Patsy Moore in Ohio County on 19Apr1807 and David Arterbury and Sally Moore in Ohio County on 8Apr1809.  This Richard and David Arterbury are believed to have been brothers, and to have married sisters, daughters of Edmund Walker Moore

Richard I’s LWT named his wife, Rebecca, whose maiden name has been presumed by many researchers to have been Bennett, based on the given middle name of female descendants.  Also named in the LWT were “his trusty friend” Charles Arterbury (presumably his brother), and Richard Arterbury II as executors, and was witnessed by Pridy Meeks, John Wright and Robert W. Dorsey.  No other children, other than Richard II, were named in the Will.  The Will was proven at Court on 13Jul1813 by the testimony of Pridy Meeks.  On 10May1813 summons were issued to Thomas Arterbury [Richard II’s older brother] of Grayson County, and Rezin Blissit [Richard II’s brother-in-law, husband of Anna Atterberry], Benjamin Meeks [son of Priddy Meeks, and husband of Richard II’s sister, Rebecca Atterberry], and William Watkins [presumed husband of Richard II’s sister, Mary Atterberry] all three of Hardin County to appear July, next, to show cause why administration of Richard’s estate should not be taken from them.  This suggests that these four men had previously filed a petition with the Court for issuance of Letter of Administration.  12Jun1813 further probate action was laid over, pending summons for Robert Dorsey and John Wright to appear.  9Aug1813 Robert W. Dorsey appeared, and on his oath, as a subscribing witness, the LWT of Richard Arterbury was proven and entered into record.  That same date appeared Richard Arterbury Jr. and Charles Arterbury, the named executors, along with Reason Blissett and filed their security bond. 

It is not known exactly when Richard I died, but almost certainly before 1810, as he was not found in the census in that year.  At the time of Richard I’s death, he had fourteen living children, at least four of whom were already married.  Included among these children were nine sons under the age of 21 years.  In the 1810 census no record could be found for Richard I’s widow, Rebecca Atteberry.  However, a review of households of the married children, suggests that Rebecca Atteberry may have been living with her eldest son, Thomas Atteberry at Elizabethtown, Hardin County KY, as there was one female over age 45 in that household.  The six eldest children: Anna [Blissett], Thomas, Rebecca [Meeks], Mary [Watkins], Richard II and David can all be found heading their own households in Kentucky in the 1810 census.  Assuming that Rebecca Atteberry was living with her eldest son, Thomas, the question then arises regarding the whereabouts of her eight youngest sons, who would have been aged 5 to 19 years.  Presumably, they would have been living with other next-of-kin households, probably in Hardin County.  However, a review of the households of the six married children does not disclose the presence of anywhere near this number of unaccounted males.  It seems possible that these eight male children may have been divided among the households of several different families, possibly including a few of their elder married siblings.  Some of these male children may also have been placed into apprenticeships, much like Nathan Atteberry, who was apprenticed to John Turney.

Charles Atteberry, the presumed brother of Richard Atteberry I, was reported to have had 14 members in his household in 1810 in Hardin County.  It has already been reported that the Charles Atteberry household contained 22 persons in the 1800 census in Chester County SC.  The author even speculated that the family of Richard Atterberry I may have been living with Charles Atterberry in 1800, as he was not recorded elsewhere.  Further, Richard I named Charles Atterberry as a co-executor to his LWT.  This fact suggests a particularly close relationship between Richard Atteberry I and his presumed uncle, Charles Atterberry.  Consequently, it is entirely possible that Charles Atteberry may have assumed guardianship of some of Richard’s children after his death.

Richard Atteberry II appeared in the 1810 census record living in Ohio Township, Ohio County KY with a son, under age 10 [probably Walker Atterberry], Richard, aged 26 to 44, and Martha [aka Patsy] aged 16 to 25.  In 1810 Ohio County was abutted to the east by Breckenridge and Grayson Counties, and to the north by the Ohio River and Illinois Territory.  In 1815 Ohio County was divided roughly in half, with the northern part constituting the newly formed Daviess County.  In 1810 there were no other persons with the surname of Atterberry living in Ohio County.  The nearest known Atterberrys were all living in nearby Grayson or Hardin Counties.  However, there were the families of Abraham Myres and his sons, Michael, Levi and Elijah, all living in Ohio County.  Abraham Myres had married Patty Arterbury, widow of Nathan Arterbury, on 2Aug1805 in Hardin County.  If the author’s genealogical analysis regarding the ancestry of Nathan Arterbury is correct [i.e., brother of Richard I, and son of Michael], then Abraham Myres would appear to have married Richard Arterbury I’s sister-in-law.  Such kinship would make Patty Arterbury-Myres the aunt of Richard Atterbury II, which might explain the reason Abraham Myres may have settled so close to the family of Richard Atterbury II in Ohio County KY.

In 1820 the Richard Atterberry II family was recorded in two different locations.  One record was in Ohio County KY on 7Aug1820 and reported three sons under 10 [Christopher James, John Warren and Unknown], one son 10 to 15 [Walker], head of household aged 26 to 44, one female under age 10 [Jane], and one female 26 thru 44 [Patsey Moore].  The other record was from Waconteby Township, White County, Illinois, and reflects an identical household composition to the Ohio County household.  It is difficult to explain the reason that Richard’s household would be reported in two different jurisdictions, except that he may have been attempting to establish himself in White County IL at the same time that he retained his residence in Ohio County.  Another person by the name of David Atterberry was also recorded living in Ohio County in 1820 in relatively close proximity to Richard Atterberry II.  This David Atterberry household was reported to contain one male under 10 years, head of household aged 26 thru 44, three females under age 10 and one female aged 16 thru 25.  This David Atterberry very likely was the same person recorded as head of household in 1810 in Hardin County, and the same person who married Sarah Moore on 9Apr1809 in Ohio County.  It seems probable that David Atterberry was a younger brother of Richard Atterberry II.  Further, some genealogical researchers claim that Patsey Moore [wife of Richard II] and Sarah Moore were sisters, the daughters of Edmund Walker Moore and Martha Wilson.

It should also be noted that there were marriages recorded in White County around this same time period abstracted as follows:

  • Charles Atterberry, 1822, White County IL, married Sally Collard.  This Charles Atterberry very likely was a younger brother of Richard Atterberry II.  It seems probable that Charles Atterberry, James Atterberry (next record) and Richard Atterberry II had all planned to establish residency in White County IL sometime around 1818, about the same time that Rezin Blissett and Anna Atterberry Blissett, and William Watkins and Mary Bennett Atteberry Watkins relocated from Kentucky to Wayne County, which abuts White County to the northwest.
  • James Atterberry, 1824, White County, married Jane Boone [aka Bain].  James Atterberry is believed to have been another younger brother of Richard Atterberry II.  James very likely moved to White County at about the same time as Richard II and Charles Atterberry.  By 1830 James Arterberry had relocated to Greene County IL where he was recorded in the census record, and in neighboring Jeresy County in 1840.  By 1850 James had moved back to the eastern part of the state where he was recorded living in Franklin County in 1850.  James acquired several tracts of land in Franklin and Hamilton Counties in the early 1850’s.  His LWT was recorded in Franklin County in Aug1854.
  • Sally Atterberry, 1825, White County, married Peter O’Neil.  The identity of Sally Atterberry is not known with certainty, but she very well may have been Sally Collard, widow of Charles Atterberry.  If that were the case, then it would appear that Charles Atterberry likely died in White County around 1824/5.  There is a census record of a Peter O’Neal living in White County in 1820 with a young female of about his same age (16 thru 25), suggesting that he may have been previously married, and that his first wife had died shortly before he married Sally Atterberry.

In 1830 Richard Atterberry II was again reported living in Ohio County KY with the following household composition: two males under 5, two males 5 to 9, two males 10 to 14, one male 15 to 19, one male 40 to 49, one female 15 to 19, and one female 40 to 49.  The eldest son, Walker Atteberry was already living as head of his own household in Wayne County in 1830.  Also, four of Richard II’s younger brothers: Asa Atteberry, John Atteberry, Nathan Atteberry and Reuben Atteberry, were also recorded living in Wayne County in 1830 (see Table 11-1).  Five households removed from Richard Atterberry II was listed the household of another presumed brother, David Atterberry.  Also, next to David Atterberry was the household of E. W. [Edmund Walker] Moore, the presumed father-in-law of Richard II and David Atterberry.  On the succeeding page was the household of another brother, Stout Atteberry (more on Stout later).

It is believed that Richard Atterberry II moved his family to Wayne County IL within the year after the 1830 census, as land records commenced for Richard Atteberry in Wayne County in 1831.  There were a total of nine land records recorded in Wayne County for Richard Atteberrys between 1831 and 1853 as listed in Table 11-2.  Most of these records are believed to have been filed by Richard Atteberry II, but at least one was by his son, Richard Atteberry III [shown as Richard Jr. in the record]. 

The approximate location (within 100 feet) can be computed from the rather precise Township, Range and Section descriptions which accompanied each filing.  The location of each tract has been plotted on a section grid layout of each of the three abutting townships in which these tracts were contained, such layout is presented in Figure 11-2 below.  The first filing on 10Dec1831 was for a 1/4 section tract of 160 acres about 1.5 miles northeast of present day Barnhill, situated in the southwest quarter of Section 4, Township 3S, Range 8E.  The next filing was on 12Aug1836 for a 40 acre tract in the extreme southeast corner of the same section as the first filing.  The third filing was on 18Aug1836 for another 40 acre tract in the same section, which abutted the first tract to the northwest.  So, within the first five years of moving into Wayne County Richard Atteberry II had acquired three tracts of farmland totaling 240 acres situated in close proximity to each other immediately northeast of the community of Barnhill.

Illinois received statehood in 1820.  Prior to that date it had been only sparsely settled by Europeans, and still had a relatively large population of Native Americans.  The first white settlers in the area that ultimately became Wayne County were a family headed by Isaac Harris, who over-wintered in 1812-3 in an encampment on the bluffs of the Little Wabash River about six miles southeast of Fairfield.  The following year he moved his livestock from Big Prairie township in nearby White County, and build the first known dwelling within Wayne County.  Isaac Harris’ land was located in Section 29, Township 2S, Range 8E, about one mile northwest of Richard Atterberry II’s tracts, and in the same Section in which Nathan Atteberry lived (Nathan’s tracts shown in blue).

Much of what is known of the Atterberry settlers in Wayne County can be traced to the recollections of Nathan Atteberry, who was interviewed and his memories set forth in a book entitled History of Wayne & Clay Counties Illinois, published by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1884.  At that time Nathan was in his 80th year of life, and the oldest surviving Atteberry still living in Wayne County.  Nathan was born in Chester County SC on 10Aug1803, the 2nd youngest of fourteen children born to Richard Arterbury I and Rebecca Bennett.  Sometime around 1816/7 two of Nathan’s sisters: Anna Atteberry Blissett and Mary [Polly] Atteberry Watkins migrated to Wayne County with their husbands and children.  It appears that Nathan and two of his brothers may have followed their sister’s families within the next year per the following narrative from History:

“Nathan Atteberry came to Wayne County and settled in Turney’s Prairie in the fall of 1819 (probably 1818).  In the party were the two brothers of Atteberry and their families.  Their nearest neighbors were Reason Blissett [Nathan’s brother-in-law] and his family of four children, George Close [William Watkins’ brother-in-law], William Watkins [Nathan’s brother-in-law], Green Lee, Henry Coonrod, Michael Turney, Isaiah Turney, Thomas Turney and John Turney [Nathan’s master].  They were all here when the Atteberrys came, and had been on the grounds the most of them long enough to have gone to keeping house in their rude cabins.”[2]

There are several inaccuracies in the foregoing account, but it may be taken as a general guide to the timing and circumstances of the community into which Nathan Atteberry migrated with his brothers.  First, it must be admitted that the identity of the two brothers, with whose “families” Nathan purportedly migrated, is unknown to the author.  The reference to these brothers having “families” suggests that they were already married and had children by 1818.  If that were in fact the case, then this would be suggestive of Nathan’s oldest brothers: Thomas and Richard.  The other known brothers, except for Solomon, were not old enough to have been married with children, and Solomon Atteberry is not known to have moved outside of Kentucky.  We do know from the 1820 census that Richard Atteberry was reported living in both White County IL and Ohio County KY, so he conceivably could have been one of the referenced brothers.  From History we also have a reference to Stout Atteberry suggesting the he may have been one of those brothers:

“The father [Stout Atteberry] came to this county in 1818, with his brother, Nathan F. Atteberry, and settled in Barnhill Township.  He, however, only remained in the county for a short time, and then returned to Kentucky.”[3]

Another hint of the identity of the other brother may be found in the following extract from History:

“During the year 1818, there was added to those first comers: Andrew Kuykendall…George Close, John Atteberry, Samuel Bain, etal.”[4]

If this account of Stout having been one of the brothers, who migrated to Wayne County with Nathan Atteberry in 1818 is correct, then it should be recognized that Stout would have been only 18 years old, and unmarried.  It does make sense that Stout and Nathan may have traveled to Wayne County in 1818 with an older brother.  However, whether that other brother was John Atteberry seems doubtful.  John Attberry would have been only 19 years old in 1818, and was also not yet married at that time.  So John Atteberry could hardly be described as having had his own “family” in 1818.  It is possible that John Atteberry could have come to Wayne County in 1818 with his brothers: Nathan and Stout, but the records do not support this possibility, one way or the other.  Although an adult male of age 21 years in 1820, John Atteberry was not recorded as a head of a household in the 1820 census records.  Further, he was not recorded anywhere in records until the 1830 census, when he was reported a head of household in Wayne County, married and with several children.  His eldest son, Charles W. Arterberry, is recorded in later census records having been born in 1824 in Kentucky.  Consequently, it seems doubtful that John Atteberry was one of the brothers, who accompanied Nathan Atteberry to Wayne County in 1818, unless perhaps, he too had returned to Kentucky similar to the report about Stout Atteberry.

It does seems possible that the third brother, who accompanied Nathan Atteberry to Wayne County in 1818 may have been his older brother, Richard II, who possibly was attracted to that region by the earlier migration of his older sisters.  The account of Stout’s return to Kentucky seems to fit with the apparent return of Richard Atteberry II to Ohio County KY, after only a brief stay in Illinois.  In fact, both Richard and Stout were still living in Hartford Township, Ohio County KY in 1830, within relatively close proximity of each other.

Another discrepancy in the History description of Nathan’s migration to Wayne County may be found in the reference to the household of Reason Blissett containing “his family of four children”.  Reason Blissett and Anna Atterberry are believed to have been married in Chester County SC in about 1802/3.  The actual date and place of their marriage is undocumented, but the purported place and date does comport with the probable location of Anna Atterberry’s family at that time.  The 1810 census of Rezin Blissett’s household in Elizabethtown, Hardin County KY showed the following composition:

  • Head of household = one male 26 thru 44, two males under 10, one male 10 thru 15, one female under 10, two females 16 thru 25, and one female 26 thur 44.

The 1810 census indicates that there were perhaps as many as six children in the family.  However, if these younger persons were in fact all children of the head of household, and if the marriage date of 1802/3 is correct, then at least three of these children (over age 10) could not have been born of Anna Blissett, but perhaps of an earlier, unknown wife.  It is also possible that these older children may not have been Reason and Anna’s children, but may have been other relatives.  It is known that Richard Atterberry I had died by 1808.  His widow, Rebecca Atterberry did not appear in the 1810 census in her own name.  Consequently, it is not known with any certainty where her younger children (siblings of Anna Blissett) may have been living in that year.  At the time of Richard I’s death, he is believed to have had nine sons below the age of consent.  It is possible that some of those younger siblings may have been living with their eldest sister, Anna Blissett.  Reason Blissett is believed to have died in Wayne County IL in about 1818/9, and his widow’s household was reported in the 1820 census as follows:

  • Head of Household = one female 26 thru 44, two males under 10, one male 10 thru 15, two males 16 thru 25, two females under 10, and one female 10 thru 15.

First, it would appear that the two females aged 16 thru 25 shown in the household in 1810 were no longer in the household in 1820.  Next, the female aged under 10 in 1810 appears to be still in the household in 1820, aged 10 thru 15.  Next, there appears to have been two new males and two new females under age 10 added to the household after 1810.  Lastly, there appears to be one male aged 16 thru 25 in the household in 1820, who does not appear to have been in the household in 1810.  Unless there was an error in the ages reported for the young males in the 1810 census vs. the 1820 census, it seems possible that the apparent added male in the 1820 census may have been Anna’s younger brother, Nathan Atterberry, who is believed to have been in Wayne County as early as 1818.  Nathan is reported to have been apprenticed to John Turney in about 1818 at the age of 15 years.  Nathan would have been only 17 years old in 1820.  He does not appear to have been in the John Turney household in 1820, so it seems reasonable that he may have been living with his older sister, Anna Blissett.

On 9Dec1818 Rezin Blissett filed for an 80 acre tract in West Half, Southwest Quarter, Section 5, Township 3S, Range 8E (shown in green in Figure 11-2).  By 23Jul1819 Rezin Blissett was dead, and his widow, Anna Atterberry Blissett, filed for an additional 80 acre tract situated in the East Half of the same Quarter Section (also shown in green in Figure 11-2).  Thirteen years later, Anna’s brother, Richard II filed his first tract for the Southwest Quarter of Section 4, Township 3S, Range 8E, abutting westerly on the tract of his sister, Anna Blissett.

By 1820 the Atterberry sisters were quickly integrating into the sparse society of their region.  Pioneering life on this southern Illinois frontier is recalled by Betsey Harris Goodwin and Nathan Atteberry in History as follows:

“The first cabin had a dirt floor and its size is shown by Mrs. Goodwin’s statement as to the carpet used.  Four bear skins, cut square, filled the cabin and made a luxurious carpet.  The daily food of the pioneers was corn meal, hominy, bear meat, venison, honey and sassafras tea…  she remembered many times of seeing a hundred gallons of honeyed sweetness in a rude wooden trough…  The pioneer’s luscious bill of fare was served on pewter plates, sometimes accompanied by milk poured from a gourd…  Bears were so bold they have been known to come within twenty steps of the house and carry off pigs.  Mrs. Goodwin said she would enjoy wearing a pair (bear skin moccasins) even in 1880…  The young ladies of the pioneer period wore deer skin dresses…  “Daddy loaded a lot of deer skins and venison hams on a sled and took ’em to Carmi and bought us gals each a calico dress.”…  The Indians seem not to have had any permanent village in our county, but were frequently camped here in large numbers.  Mrs. Goodwin remembered seeing about 300 camped near Nathan Atteberry’s present home…  Fairfield then consisted of two cabins, and the patriotic observers of the day (4th of July) we celebrate numbered about thirty persons, prominent among whom were the Barnhills, Slocumbs, Leeches and Jo Campbell…  The dishes and spoons used were almost wholly pewter and were sold by peddlers.  There were no stores in the county, and men and women wore buckskin clothing…  The first school which Mrs. Goodwin attended was taught by Uncle George Merritt.  There was not an arithmetic or slate in the school room, the studies being confined to the Testament (Bible) and spelling-book…  Archy Roberts was one of the first preachers in this part of the State.  He was a Methodist, as were most of the early ministers…  It was very difficult to raise wheat in the early days.  It looked well enough, but failed to mature and make perfect heads.  Corn was the sole reliance for bread…  The first mill in the county was built by Jo Martin, who hauled the stones from Barren County KY…  the creek which crosses the Liberty road just beyond Nathan Atteberry’s farm, four miles south of Fairfield.  It is now perfectly dry nine months of the year.  It will be astonishing information to many of the present generation that on this creek was built the first water mill ever in the County.  Mr. Atteberry said the dam across the creek furnished water power enough to run a small pair of corn stones two feet in diameter…  It was universally recognized as one of the most valued public enterprises of the day…  During the year 1818, there was added to those first commers: Andrew Kuykendall…George Close, John Atteberry, Samuel Bain [kinsman of Charles Atteberry?], etal.”

The Baptist Church was one of the first to be organized in Wayne County.  Its first organization is summarized as follows:

“The earliest organization of the Baptist Church in this county which we have been able to gather, was at what was then and still is known as Hopewell, in the southern part of Barnwell Township.  This church was organized 5Aug1820, by Elders William Hanks and Benjamin Keith.  The persons entering into this organization at that time were James Bird, Susan Bird, William Wadkins, Polly Wadkins, Stephen Coonrod, Anna Blissett and Naomi Close [wife of George Close], all of whom most likely have long since passed away.  The church records from which we gather these facts, after giving the organization, articles of faith, and rules of decorum, makes a skip of 20 years, that is from 1820 to 1840, and this interval we are unable to supply, except from what few stray items we have been able to gather from persons who were living here at that time.  We presume this congregation had no house of worship at the date of their organization, as we find in their record at the time of their organization this entry: “Done at the place of George Close’s, Wayne County, State of Illinois.””[5]

So the first Baptist Church in Wayne County was organized on 5Aug1820 at the home of George Close which was located in Section 9, Township 3S, Range 8E.  Founding members included William Wadkins [aka Watkins] and his wife, Mary [Polly] Atteberry, Anna Atteberry Blissett, widow of Reason Blissett, and Naomi Watkins Close, wife of George Close.  As shown in Figure 11-2 the homesteads of George Close, William Watkins and Reason Blissett were clustered within Township 3S, Range 8E, all within a 1/2-mile radius of each other.  Ten years later, Richard Atteberry II would purchase several tracts in Section 4 of that same township, within less than 1/2-mile of his sister’s homesteads.  William Watkins was one of the first preachers of the Hopewell church, and would continue as one of their leading ministers until his death in 1850.  A more detailed description of the Hopewell Church is as follows:

“Hopewell Church was organized August 5, 1820, at the home of George Close, with nine members, viz., James Bird, Susan Bird, Anna Blissitt, Stephen Coonrod, John Coonrod, Naomi Close, James Taylor, William Watkins, and Polly Watkins. Elders Benjamin Keith and William Hanks composed the presbytery which organized Hopewell Church.

The messengers, chosen in 1821, to petition for membership in the Muddy River Association, were James Taylor and William Watkins. This church was a member of the Muddy River (1821), Little Wabash (1825) and Skillet Fork (1840) Associations during its existence.

Elder William Watkins was serving as pastor in about 1840. The only records of the church which have been discovered begin in 1845, with an account of trouble resulting in a division in the church caused by Elder John Kimmel. In July 1846, Elder Isaiah Walker was ordained, and served the church as pastor or moderator. He was followed by Elders Felix Potter, William Thomas, John Hunsinger, Nathaniel Williams, Lewis Hunsinger, James D. Jones, Isham Caudle, and Jeremiah Wooten, up to the year 1874.

In 1845, the church was meeting in a schoolhouse near William McCullough’s. In March 1850 the church agreed to build a meeting house after the model of Mt. Pleasant’s, and appointed members to select a site. Jacob Baird and wife gave two acres of land, in 1855, on which the church erected a building. It was located about a mile east of Barnhill, in Barnhill township.

A three-day centennial service was held in August 1920, with Elder M. L. Gwaltney (the pastor), and Elders A. J. Coale, Charles Jones, A. D. Hancock, and others in attendance. The church was shown as a member of the Skillet Fork Association as late as 1934.

Surnames that appeared in the Hopewell Church records included:  Atterberry, Baird, Bird, Blissit, Buckels, Butler, Carter, Caudle, Churchwell, Clark, Close, Coonrod, Copeland, Corley, Day, Doris, Eskridge, Felix, Friend, Gray, Hall, Harl, Hodge, Hodges, Howard, Jerrels, Kennedy, Kimmell, King, Lock, Martin, McCullough, Meeks, Murphey, Murphy, Musgraves, Nunn, Odell, Palmer, Pendleton, Potter, Reed, Rentfro, Reynold, Rhodes, Simpson, Smith, Taylor, Tombs, Upchurch, Wade, Walker, Watkins, Wheeler, Wilson, Wood (very incomplete list due to loss of most of the records).”[6]

In the first half of the 19th century several Atteberry kinsman filed plat maps within Wayne County, most within less than five miles distance from Richard II, including four of his brothers: John, Asa, Reuben, and Nathan, as well as Richard II’s sons: Richard III, Walker, John Warren, and Allen.  A list of all tract filings by Atteberrys and some near kinsmen in Wayne County from 1817 thru 1853 is presented in Table 11-3.  Although the census record presented in Table 11-1 indicates that Asa, Nathan, Reuben, John and Walker Atteberry were all in Wayne County by 1830, Table 11-3 shows that they were a bit slow in their acquisition of land: Reuben acquired 80 acres on 30Dec1830, Nathan acquired 40 acres on 4Jan1833, John acquired 44 acres on 24Nov1836, Walker acquired 40 acres on 26May1836, and Asa acquired 40 acres on 12Jan1837.  Further, that Richard I acquired 160 acres on 10Dec1831, Richard III acquired 40 acres on 3Jan1838, Stout acquired 80 acres on 5Jun1840, Solomon [son of Nathan] acquired 40 acres on 16Mar1848, Allen [son of Richard II] acquired 80 acres on 26Dec1850, Henry [son of Nathan] acquired 80 acres on 1Jul1851, Jacob S. [son of Reuben] acquired 40 acres on 26Jul1851, Eli [son of Asa] acquired 40 acres on 2Mar1853, and William A. [possibly son of Asa] acquired 40 acres on 26Mar1853.

Table 11-4 contains a list of all of the households in Wayne County in 1840 headed by a person surnamed Atteberry, or near facsimile.  The persons are identified as follows: Asa Atteberry [brother of Richard II], Kitty Atteberry [Catherine Meeks, widow of Reuben Atteberry], House [sic] [Stout] Atteberry [brother of Richard II], John Atteberry [brother of Richard II], John W. [Warren] [son of Richard II], Nathan Atteberry [brother of Richard II], Richard Atteberry [Richard II], Richard Atteberry [Richard III], and Walker Atteberry [son of Richard II].

It is of interest to this analysis of the Richard Atteberry lineage to note that on 3Jan1838 there were two tracts acquired, one by Richard Atteberry Sr., and the other by Richard Atteberry Jr.  Based on the grave marker shown in Figure 11-3 Richard Atteberry III was born on 24Nov1820, and would have been only 18 years old when he acquired his first tract.  That tract was located in Section 32, Township 2S, Range 8E, and is identified as Tract No. 4 in Figure 11-2.  This tract was situated within about one-half mile of the first tracts acquired by his father.  The fact that Richard Atteberry III was only 18 years old when he acquired this tract of land suggests that he probably was contemplating marriage.  The 1840 census record indicates that Richard III was in fact married at the time that that census was taken, as he was reported as the head of his own household, aged 15 thru 19, with one female, aged 15 thru 19.  Richard III is reported to have married Eliza Close, daughter of George Close and Naomi Watkins in about 1839 in Wayne County.

It is interesting to note that of the fourteen known children of Richard Atteberry I and Rebecca Bennett, eight settled and lived out their adult lives in Wayne County IL; these included: Richard II, Nathan, John, Asa, Stout, Anna, Mary, and Reuben.  Two others initially migrated from Kentucky to White County IL; these included Charles (who is believed to have died in White County around 1824/5), and James (who initially settled in White County, moved to Greene County, then to Jersey County, and finally to Franklin County).  Two others appear to have migrated directly from Kentucky to Macon County; these included David and Thomas (Jockey).  Of the final two: Rebecca settled in Spencer County IL, and Solomon remained in Kentucky, where he died in Grayson County in 1859.

Richard Atterberry II and Patsey Moore are believed to have had…

Law and Courts

“On 26Aug1837 the nuncupatice Will of Reuben Atteberry was probated.  It was attested by Nathan Atteberry and John G. Meeks.”

Other early settlers of Barnhill were William Watkins, Asa Hayes, Walker Atteberry, Nathan Atteberry, Renfro brothers, Archibald Roberts, William Simpson Jr., Daniel, etal…  William Watkins settled in the southeast part of Section 9, on the place now owned by Gideon Gifford.  He came from Kentucky, and was a zealous preacher in the Baptist Church, as well as an enterprising farmer…  Walker Atteberry settled in Section 8, and Nathan Atteberry settled on Section 29, on the west border of the township.

County Supervisors – J. W. Atteberry, 1856-66.

Commissioner of Highways: [J. W.] Atteberry, Holtzhouser and Shelton 1868-9.

Collectors: R. F. Atteberry 1872-3.

Post Offices: Although the town was never laid out, the neighborhood in the vicinity of Mr. Keen’s residence still bears the name of Keenville.  In 1881, the post office was, however, moved a mile south of the old location, where Mr. A. F. Atteberry is now running a store.

Schools: The first schoolhouse was built as early as 1845, in Section 29.  It was of hewn logs, with puncheon floors, and was erected by the people of the neighborhood on land donated by Harvey Braddy.  School was held in this building every season until 1879, when the building finally burned.  Among persons who taught there were Asa F. Atteberry, A. K. Atteberry and T. M. Atteberry.  A short time before the building burned it was decided to divide the district, as the school was becoming large.  In consequence, after the fire it was decided to erect two buildings.  Accordingly, one building was erected in Section 28, on land donated by Stout Atteberry.

“Nathan Atteberry was born in South Carolina 10Aug1803, and in childhood was removed from there by his parents to Kentucky, where he remained until 1820, when he came to Wayne County, where he has remained ever since.  He is a hale and cheery old man, whose mind and body are strong, virgorous and active.  His biography may be found in another part of this work.  At the house of Mr. Atteberry, on the 10th day of August, was gathered some of the friends and old settlers to celebrate his 80th birthday.  Among the guests: Richard L. Boggs, Pardi S. Meeks, Margaret Ann Blissett, wife of Mr. Meeks, was born in Wayne County 14Jun1819, Sarah Renfro, widow of Asa Atteberry, who died many years ago, born in Georgia 12Sep1812, came to Wayne County in 1829…  Nathan Atteberry came to Wayne County and settled in Turney’s Prairie in the fall of 1819.  In the party were the two brothers of Atteberry and their families.  Their nearest neighbors were Reason Blissett and his family, and George Close, William Watkins, etal…  These were all here when Atteberrys came, and had been on the grounds the most of them long enough to have gone to keeping house in their rude cabins.  Isaiah Turney taught a school in this prairie in 1820…  Mr. [Nathan] Atteberry remembers attending a general muster and election in 1820, where the militia officers for the county were elected…  Mr. Atteberry afterward became a Captain and then a Major in the militia, where he served two years.  Nathan Atteberry was a bound boy to old John Turney, and by the terms of the indenture was sent to school three months, and this was the total of his facilities in this line.  His recollection is that George Close raised the first wheat ever grown in the county.”[7]

Early Baptists

“The earliest organization of the Baptist Church in this county which we have been able to gather, was at what was then and still is known as Hopewell, in the southern part of Barnwell Township.  This church was organized 5Aug1820, by Elders William Hanks and Benjamin Keith.  The persons entering into this organization at that time were James Bird, Susan Bird, William Wadkins, Polly Wadkins, Stephen Coonrod, Anna Blissett and Naomi Close [wife of George Close], all of whom most likely have long since passed away.  The church records from which we gather these facts, after giving the organization, articles of faith, and rules of decorum, makes a skip of 20 years, that is from 1820 to 1840, and this interval we are unable to supply, except from what few stray items we have been able to gather from persons who were living here at that time.  We presume this congregation had no house of worship at the date of their organization, as we find in their record at the time of their organization thise entry: “Done at the place of Geroge Close’s, Wayne County, State of Illinois.”  As to who their early preachers were we are not informed.  We find in 1840 that William Wadkins was their pastor, and Asa Atteberry, clerk.  This parent church flourished and prospered for some years, and the membership lived in harmony until probably from 1830 to 1835, when one Daniel Parker, from somewhere in Illinois, came amongst them and began to preach doctrines which some of the members could not relish.  Just what those doctrines were we were not advised, but one thing we find they were induced by Parker and his adherents to take upon themselves the name of “Regular Baptists.”  Carter J. Kelly: “The churches were then known universally as United Baptist, the original having emigrated from Kentucky and Tennessee, where they were uiversally known as United Baptist.”…  We find, however, that the breach already made continued to widen, until March 1845, it culminated in a division of the church, one party taking the name of United or Missionary Baptist, the other taking to themselves the name of Regular Predestinarian Baptists.  Both factions claim to be the genuine original Baptist Church, and to have descended in a regular line from the Waldenses, and the contest has been long and bitterly contested, and is still unsettled (1884)…”

“After the organiztion of the Hopewell Church, we have no record of the organization of any other church of this denomination until Jul1846; at this time there was organized by Elders Richard Gardner, Jeremiah Doty and C. S. Madding, a church in Mt. Erie Township, then and still known as Providence Church…  The next church organized was in Dec1848, in Hicory Hill Township, and known as Little Flock Church.  This church was organized by Joseph Hartley, John Martin, Barnes Reeves, Solomon Blissett, and Brady Meeks.  The persons entering this organization were Sarah M. Crask, Stout Atteberry, Fanny L. Atteberry, Alfred Wilson, Joseph Crask, Nancy Crask, Abraham P. Witter, Sarah M. Wilson, Enos K. Wilson, Wilkins Dewees and Eleanor Dewees; of this number only three are now living, to wit: Fanny L. Atteberry, Joseph Crask and Abraham P. Witter.”

“As a people the “Old Baptists,” as they style themselves, are honest and sincere; and whatever the world may think of their doctrines, manners and customs as a church, still all must admit that they are honest in their views… One of the main reasons for the split in the Baptist Church, not only in this county, but elsewhere, was on the missionary question.  The “Regulars” claim to be the true missionary church as organized by Christ and his apostles.  They maintain that when God calles a man to preach, that the man so called feels that a necessity is laid upon him, and that he feels as did the Apostle Paul, “Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel,” and that feeling thus, they are compelled to go wherever the Lord directs, and that without “stave the script.”  So taking their own version of the matter, they are not opposed to missions, but to the manner of sending them out; or, in other words, they believe a preacher should go and preach, and not be sent out by a board.”

United Baptists – Pleasant Grove Church, organized 25Sep1853, with 12 members, might properly be called the mother of the Baptist Churchesin the southern part of Wayne County and the northern part of White County.  The following deacons were ordained: B. S. Meeks, J. R. Carter, D. W. Atteberry and D. K. Felix.  Clerks included: D. C. Walker, D. K. Felix, J. R. Carter and D. W. Atteberry.


[1] https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22126013/richard-atteberry, accessed 1Oct2018.

[2] History of Wayne & Clay Counties Illinois, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1884, p. 56.

[3] Ibid., p. 141.

[4] Ibid., p. 47.

[5] Ibid., p.

[6] http://www.pblib.org/FamHist-Wayne.html, accessed 3Oct2018.

[7] Ibid., pp. 55-6.

Leave a Reply