Notes for William Wyatt: ILLINOIS SESQUI Illinois became a state in 1818. It was formed from Illinois County which was organized by the Virginia House of Delegates in October, 1778.
St. Clair County was created out of Illinois County in 1790 and Madison County was formed from St. Clair County in 1812. Greene County was formed in 1821. Morgan County was established by an act of the General Assembly January 23, 1823 and included what is now Morgan, Cass and Scott Counties. Cass County was set off from Morgan in 1837 and Scott was set off from Morgan in 1839. The last change in the boundaries of Morgan County occurred in May, 1846, when a "three mile strip" was attached to Cass County. In 1835 the boundary between Sangamon and Morgan was settled.
Morgan County is bounded on the North by Cass, on the East by Sangamon, on the West by Scott and the Illinois River and on the South by Greene and Macoupin Counties. It comprises about 563 square miles and at the turn of the century about one-half was wooded and the rest prairie. The main streams are Apple Creek, Mauvaisterre, Indian and Sandy.
From 1837 to 1843 there was much agitation about the formation of a new county composed of portions of Morgan, Greene and Sangamon. The new county would be named Benton. In August, 1843, two votes were taken by the authority of an act of the Legislature, on the proposition of a new county. The proposition did not carry. If the proposition had carried, Waverly, no doubt would have been named as the county seat.
Morgan County, Illinois, was named for Daniel Morgan of Revolutionary War fame. Daniel Morgan, 1736-1802, was probably born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. He moved to Virginia in 1753. Morgan was a veteran of the French and Indian War and raised a company of Virginia riflemen for the Continental Army (1775). He was taken a prisoner at Quebec and in 1776 was exchanged. He joined the operations that led to Burgoynes surrender at Saratoga in 1777. He retired because of illness in 1781. Later he was in command of the Virginia Militia during the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 and was in Congress 1797 - 1799.
The first court in Morgan County was held about six miles southwest of present day Jacksonville at the home of James G. Swinerton. The first Circuit Court was held by Judge John Reynolds. The commissioners selected "Allison's Mound" (present home of Dr. Walter Frank, Jr.) As the temporary seat of justice. In 1825 it was removed to Jacksonville. The first courthouse was built in Jacksonville on the northwest corner of the square in 1826. It was destroyed by fire on Dec. 6, 1827.
During the Illinois Sesquicentennial it is planned to tell the stories of some of the men and women that played an important part in the history of our county - many of whom are not listed in the Morgan County History Book.
The earliest known white settler of Morgan County was Eli Cox. He settled in 1816 in the area that is now Cass County. He staked out a claim and stayed awhile. He left for a time but returned in 1819 and lived on his claim until his death 1880-81.
In 1812 William Wyatt, of Virginia, a Ranger, came through this area in command of a company of troops chasing a band of renegade whites and Indians. Here he met the noted Indian fighter, Charles (Kitchen, (called "Mad Charlie" by the Indians, because of his daring exploits) and his family. After the war was over Mr. Wyatt came back to the Territory and married the younger sister of his friend, Rachel Kitchen, in the year of 1817 in Madison County.
William Wyatt returned to Virginia and when he returned to Illinois he brought back negro slaves and some blooded horses - probably the first brought to the state. In 1819 William and Rachel (Kitchen) Wyatt came to the present Morgan County and settled at the edge of the present day Jacksonville. Rachel Wyatt was the daughter of Don Lon Kitchen of Missouri. She was a most remarkable woman and noted for her beauty of features, her vivacity and excellent character. She first met Mr. Wyatt at Moore's Fort in Madison County, while he was a Ranger. Mr. Wyatt had also been a Captain of a flat and keel boat on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
On September 1, 1822 the first white male child was born in Morgan County - Wilford D. Wyatt. He was the third child of William and Rachel Wyatt. On the same day Sarah Crain was born and she was the first female born in Morgan County.
William Wyatt farmed and raised fine horses. He put up two cabins on his land besides his own home; one was for newcomers in that section until they made homes for themselves and the other to serve as a "meetinghouse". It was used as a church and school.
William Wyatt was an educated man (for his time) and was a surveyor and assisted in the laying out of the town of Jacksonville. On his return from that labor, when his wife asked him what they named the new town, he answered: "For the greatest man that ever lived, Andrew Jackson."
William Wyatt voted to make Illinois a slave state, saying that he did it to save the white women of Illinois from being worked to death; although his wife opposed slavery.
William Wyatt died in 1836. His funeral was delayed so that his third son, Absalom might be buried at the same hour, he having died a few hours after his father. An infant born the day after his death was buried a day or two later. He and his sons are buried on the farm about three miles east of Jacksonville. It is said that William Wyatt broke the first ground in Morgan County, Illinois.
Rachel Wyatt, born February 15, 1798 at St. Genevieve, Missouri, died February 14, 1849. She is buried at Franklin, Illinois. She was the mother of ten children.
To these rivers, verdant prairies and wooded areas came pioneers. In this sesquicentennial year we pause to honor the men and women that made Illinois a great state.
One of the early families in Morgan County was the Wyatt family and members of that family were "founding fathers" of Franklin, Alexander and Lincoln, Illinois. They also played a large role in the political, military and educational history in the state.
William Wyatt, the Ranger, came to Illinois at the close of the War of 1812. His son John born Sept. 12, 1819, at Alton, Illinois, was a Lieutenant under Captain Bristol, in the Mexican War. He had yellow fever and had to resign from service. While he was recovering from this severe illness he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1849. He also served as editor of a Greene county paper. He married Sarah Wyatt in 1845.
John Wyatt was instrumental in securing the location and construction of the first railroad in Greene county. Later he was one of the "founding fathers" of Lincoln, Illinois. It is said the material growth and prosperity of Lincoln was due to the wisdom and untiring efforts of Mr. Wyatt. He was truly a pioneer in the advancement of public spirit. He died at Lincoln in 1877 and his wife died in 1869.
Wilford D. Wyatt, said to have been the first white male child born in Morgan County, was the second child of William Wyatt. He attended Illinois College. He was licensed to practice law in 1845 and remained a lawyer (with excursions into journalism) all his life. He lived for a time in Mississippi, Arkansas and Illinois. He went from Mississippi as a Lieutenant in a regiment commanded by Jefferson Davis, to Mexico. He later served as Lt. Colonel in the Union Army, and died in 1905.
Nancy Ann Wyatt, daughter of William Wyatt, married Edward Hinrichsen in 1845. He was the son of German nobility. He opened a general store in Franklin in 1840 and in 1857 laid out the village of Alexander. His son, William H. Hinrichsen, was elected as Secretary of State in 1892 and in 1896 was elected to Congress.
Savillah Wyatt, daughter of William Wyatt, married Col. Robert B. Latham. Col. Latham was one of the "founding fathers" of Lincoln, Illinois and named it for his close friend, Abraham Lincoln. Savillah Wyatt was educated at the Illinois Female Academy at Jacksonville. She was one of the seven charter members of the Belle Lettres Society, one of the first college literary societies in the state. In 1876 she established the Lincoln Art Society and in 1881 was the organizer of the Central Illinois Art Union, the first federation of clubs known. She was also prominent in the Daughters of the American Revolution. Many of the Wyatt family were married by the Rev. Newton Cloud.
When William Wyatt, the Ranger, came to Illinois, his younger brother, John, wanted to accompany him. His parents refused to allow him to make the long journey so John ran away and followed his brother. He feared his parents would reclaim him so left Illinois and went to Kentucky. There he met a cousin, Rebecca Wyatt. They came to Illinois and were married in Madison County on August 17, 1817.
John Wyatt was one of the early Morgan County commissioners and was a member of the legislature from 1832-1838. He was one of the three founders of Franklin, the other two were William Woods and Walter Butler.
John Wyatt early conceived a liking for Stephen A. Douglas and was the one that brought the "Little Giant" into prominence. The story has been told that Josiah Lamborn was a brilliant but erratic lawyer, and was at times given to spells of dissipation. Lamborn was scheduled tp speak on a certain occasion, when it was found that he was in no condition to appear in public. John Wyatt said "Little Douglas is the only man I know that can fill his place." Douglas fully justified Mr. Wyatt's confidence and from that time on was in demand as a party orator in a day when oratory was a power in politics. John Wyatt took an active part in the political life of this area.
During the Mexican War a company of soldiers was sent from Franklin and it was raised largely through the efforts of John Wyatt. He gave a barbecue, which was attended by all the people for miles around. His family used seven barrels of flour to make bread for the barbecue. Two of his sons enlisted in the war.
Speeches were made and the fife and drum made music that stirred the hearts of the people. The company was under the command of Col. John J. Hardin. After the Battle of Buena Vista, Capt. Wm. J. Wyatt, son of John Wyatt, was one of the men that recovered the body of Col. Hardin from the battlefield. Capt. Wyatt sat in the tent that night to guard the body of Col. Hardin and the bodies of two more gallant officers. In later years, Capt. Wyatt said "That evening I entered the tent as a boy - I left the tent in this morning a man." Col. John J. Hardin was first buried on Mexican soil and later his body was removed to East Cemetery, Jacksonville, Illinois.
John Wyatt was born Feb. 3, 1795 in Culpepper County, Virginia, and died January 6, 1849. His first American ancestor was Rev. Hawte Wyatt. Francis Wyatt, brother of Rev. Hawte Wyatt, was the first Governor of Virginia. Rebecca (Wyatt) Wyatt, wife of John Wyatt, was born December 14, 1799 and died August 26, 1866. They are buried at Franklin, Illinois. They were the parents of twelve children, several dying in infancy. One of the streets in Franklin was named for the Wyatt family and one of the additions also bears the family name.
It is to such public spirited men and women that we pay tribute in this our Illinois Sesquicentennial year.
(Waverly Journal, Friday, May 3, 1968)
More About William Wyatt: Burial: Unknown, On Farm, Morgan, Illinois. Record Change: 07 Jan 2002
More About William Wyatt and Rachel Kitchen: Marriage: 13 Feb 1817, Madison, Illinois.778