Chatsworth Township

            Chatsworth is in the eastern tier of townships, and is known as Town 26 North, Range 8 east of the Third Principal Meridian. It is fine rolling prairie, with the exception of Oliver’s Grove in the southern part, a grove of, perhaps as fine natural timber as Livingston County can furnish. In Oliver’s Grove was a Kickapoo Village of ninety-seven wigwams, one large council house, several small encampments and 630 Indians in all, men, women and children. Originally, Chatsworth embraced Forrest and Germantown, and was known as Oliver’s Grove Township. Many citizens didn’t like the compound name, so they petitioned the Board of Supervisors for a change.  William H. Jones, supervisor at the time, gave it the name of Chatsworth. The name is said to have been taken from an English story he had read, in which “Lord Chatsworth” figures as a principal character.


franklin%20oliverFranklin C. Oliver

            The first settlement made in what is now Chatsworth Township was by Franklin C. Oliver, who, at the age of 92 years, still occupies his original claim. He came from the State of New Jersey in 1832, and settled here among the Indians, with whom he ever remained on the most friendly terms. Unlike some of the other early settlers who were frightened by warlike reports of the Black Hawk campaign, Franklin Oliver moved in and out among the Indians without molestation. Mr. Oliver and his family were the only white people in the township for many years.  The first birth and death are supposed to have occurred in Mr. Oliver’s family, as he was here so long before any other white people settled in the area. Franklin Oliver was a very colorful settler.  For a full biography of Franklin Oliver.


Other settlers

            A number of settlements were made in Indian Grove and other timbered localities, but not until away up in the “fifties.” In 1855, Job H. and George S. Megquier settled in this township. They were from Maine, and the former now lives in the village of Chatsworth and the latter died in 1871.

            David Stewart came here from the State of New York in 1856. He bought land and settled in the town, where he remained for a number of years, when his wife died, he became dissatisfied, sold out and moved away.

            Romanzo Miller was a Vermonter and settled here in 1855. He finally sold his land and moved to Iowa.

            John Snyder and Trueman Brockway were from New York. Snyder came in 1856 and made a settlement, upon which he died about 1863. Brockway had settled in El Paso in 1855, but came here in 1857. He was a single man when he came to Chatsworth, but after permanently locating, went back to New York, married and brought his wife here to share his Western home.

            Addison Holmes came from Indiana in 1855. After remaining for several years, he sold out and moved to Champaign County, in this state, where he still resides.

            John P. Hart was from the blue-grass of Kentucky, and came in 1856. A young man named James Greenwood came with him, and worked on his farm as long as he remained here. Hart owned a large tract of land, but finally sold it and removed to Arkansas.

            Peter Van Weir came from the “Faderland” on the banks of the Rhine. He settled here in 1858, but had lived for a while in Panola, Woodford County, before coming to this settlement. He finally removed to Charlotte Township.

            William H. Jones came here from LaSalle County in the fall of 1857. His family still reside here, but he, at present is doing business at Burr Oak Station, in Ford County. He was the first Justice of the Peace in the town, and held the office when the Forrest and Germantown were included in Chatsworth.

            The first marriage particularly remembered was Samuel Patton and Miss Nellie Desmond in 1861, they were married by the Baptist minister, stationed, at that time, at Fairbury.

            Dr. D. W. Hunt was the first resident physician. He came and still resides in the village of Chatsworth and practices his profession in the township.

            Father Walker was the first preacher in this section, establishing a mission among the Indians. He came out occasionally and held meetings with them. They had a great respect for the Sabbath. This ministry was the first known to have existed in Livingston County.

            The Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw Railway was completed through the township and trains commenced running regularly in 1857.