Saturday, April 1, 2017

HANNAH KNIGHT LIBBY - Part 21 - John and Hannah at Morleyville

There are no contemporary records of the location or home that John and Hannah resided in when they lived in Illinois.  It has long been a desire of the extended family to know more about them during this period of time but there just aren’t any accounts that survive to today about this – or are there?  It is the great fortune for all of us that we have reconnected with many of our long-lost cousins.  Well, they weren’t lost but we had lost track with them.  The family that remained in Illinois, when Hannah and six of her children left for the west, have a long and rich history.  They also have many answers to our questions as some of their family were excellent record keepers.

So for a discussion of the location and description of Hannah and John’s home we have to turn to our cousin Joe Irvin Conover.  Joe is our cousin twice as he is the 3rd great grandson of Hannah through Philip Libby Carter and the 4th great grandson through Almira Carter Tripp.  He was raised on the land that Philip Libby Carter purchased and actually lived on starting in 1851.  So to our cousin Joe we are indebted for much of the following information.

There are a couple of excellent references for information on Morleyville that help us to understand the life of our ancestors who settled in early Morleyville.  The first is a book written by William G. Hartley, “The 1845 Burning of Morley’s Settlement and Murder of Edmund Durfee,” (Salt Lake City: Primer Publications, 1998 Reprint), iv. This booklet was written for the descendants of Edmund Durfee, but has historical importance for other Latter-day Saints whose ancestors lived in the area of Morley’s Settlement.  From this book we learn Morleyville was a mostly rural settlement that spread over three square-mile sections of Walker Township in Hancock County, Illinois.  Morleyville had a “downtown” settlement in Section 32.  The Carters mainly settled in a more rural area in the eastern half of section 31 to the west and south of the main Morleyville settlement.

Hartley went on to state that “It is clear that Saints moved onto land and farmed it and lived there before any of them formally purchased the land.  It is also clear that most did not buy land but lived on lands that their fellow-members bought—the Morleys, Hancocks, and Carters, and others.  They leased, rented, or squatted, while they farmed and built their log homes. (Hartley, p. 65)

Another good site is at, specifically at their site on Morleyville.  See:  Though not specifically sited here, it contains good information on Morleyville.

1874 Plat Map of Part of Walker Township

Above is a portion of the map of Walker Township from the Hancock County Road Plat Book, 1874-1893.  Tioga is the modern name for Morleyville.  That is the “downtown” part of Morleyville and is mainly in the northwest part of Section 32.  After 1851 when Philip Libby Carter arrived in the area, he owned two large tracks of land in Section 31.  The two Dooly Est. tracks obviously belonged to Mary Jane Carter and Jacob Dooley.  Almira Carter Tripp and her husband also owned land south of this area in Adams County.

So back to our narrative on Hannah.  It would be nice if we could know what her home was like while in Morleyville.  At one point we thought we might have found information about it.  Joe Conover is a descendant of Philip Libby Carter (and was, in fact, born in the area we know today as Carter Hill which was land originally purchased by Philip.)  His grandfather wrote in his journal about moving an old cabin to the site of the home built on Carter Hill in 1885.  It was at first thought that this might have been John and Hannah’s cabin but in later thinking we determined it was more likely the original homestead of Philip and his wife Martha since it was located on the land he purchased in 1851.

So where did Hannah live?  We can confidently state that she most likely lived about a half mile north of Philip’s land on a track of land John purchased from his son William in May of 1841.  To simplify the various transactions the following have been prepared.  First is a list of known deeds and following that is the Walker Township map overlaid with numbered boxes representing the various deeds as best as we can determine.  At this time doing this is problematic as many deeds appear to be missing.  Record keeping wasn’t as precise as it is today.

Land Deeds:
1. Film 954598 - Hancock Co – William C Wilson to Wm Carter
   Book I, p 227-8 - 27 Oct 1840
   Part of the East half of the NE quarter of Section 31 – 22 acres
   Begins at SE corner – east 71 rods, north 50 rods, west 71 rods, south 50 rods

2. Film 954598 - Hancock Co - Wesley Williams to William Carter
   Book I, p. 198-99 - 1 Mar 1841
   Part of the NW quarter of section 25 starting in NW corner of said quarter
   20 acres

3. Film 954598 - Hancock Co – William Carter to John Carter
   Book I, p. 300-1 - 26 May 1841
   Land from #1 above

4. Film 954282 - Hancock Co – John Carter Jr to John Carter Sr
         Book 93, p. 92 - 17 Feb 1846
         In the SW quarter of the NE Quarter of Section 3   
         Beginning at the SE corner of land of Dominicus Carter
         ?? acres

     5. Film 954601 - Hancock Co – William C Wilson to John Carter
         Book 19-0, p. 505 - 30 Mar 1846
         In the NW quarter of Section 31 (SE corner of that quarter)
         ?? acres

    6. Film 954604 - Hancock Co – John Carter to Jacob Dooley
        Book 5, p. 418 - 8 Aug 1846
        Same land as #5 – called Dooly Est on map

    7. Film 967548 - Adams Co – John Carter to Jacob Dooley
         Book 4, p. 352-3 - 30 Mar 1848
         In Adams Co -  North half of the East half of the SE quarter Section 5 of Township 2

    8. Film 954600 - Hancock Co – John Carter to Adam Snyder
         Book X, p. 215 - 6 Nov 1848
         Beginning at the SE corner of Jacob Dooly’s land – run East on the south line of the NW Quarter of    Section 31 then North (rectangle 20 by 24 rods) – Just west of the original John Carter purchase.

    9. Film 954347 - Hancock Co – George W Pollard to Philip L Carter
         Source? - 6 Sep 1851
         (Copied wrong deed - !!!)  This should be the south half of the SE quarter of Section 31
         92 acres – tax receipt of 1854

   10. Film 954351 - Hancock Co – Wm J Turner to Philip L Carter
         Book 37, p. 89-90 - 4 Mar 1853
         SW quarter of the SW Quarter of Section 32

  11. Film 954283 - Hancock Co – Robert Gillham to Philip L Carer
        Book 96, p. 338 - 20 Oct 1873
3      3 and a half acres – SW quarter of the NW Quarter of Section 31 and
        8 and a half acres of the west end of the SE Quarter of section 31

  12. Film 954789 - Hancock Co – Mortgage
         Philip L Carter & Mary J Gillham to J. M Tr…
         Book 29, p. 291-2 - 22 Sep 1875
         NW quarter of the NE Quarter of Section
         40 acres

  13. Film 954285 - Hancock Co – Philip L Carter to Charles Carter
         Book 100, p. 40 - 8 Jan 1876
         SW quarter of the NW Quarter of Section 31   - 33 and a half acres
         West end of the SE Quarter of the NW Quarter Section 31 – 8 and a half acres

  14. Dominicus Land – from a book – no specific source
         NE quarter of Section 31 beginning at the NW corner of the farm of said Carter – south 21 rods,          East 26 rods, North 21 rods, west 26 rods

Carter Land Holdings

Remember that each of the numbered boxes is a Section of land that is one mile square.  Morleyville (centered at the modern day Tioga) actually covered Sections 29, 31 and 32.  It is easy to see that the colored boxes are predominately in Section 31.  John and Hannah owned two parcels of land – the one in yellow numbered 1,3 and the purple box numbered 7, which was actually in Adams County.  Most likely their home was located in the yellow box 1-3.  Joe Conover remembers as a child walking up White Oak Creek from his home on Carter Hill (Philip’s land at the Green number 9 box.  Ironically the family had forgotten that north of their farm was where John and Hannah had lived.

John and Hannah were surrounded by properties owned by their children.  Hannah surely must have loved this.  Dominicus owned land number 14 (which we couldn’t specifically identify.)  William besides selling his parents number 1-3 also owned the blue number 2.  Son John Jr (John H Carter) owned the red box numbered 4-8.  Hannah’s daughter, Mary Jane Carter Dooley, owned the orange boxes numbered 5-6 and 12.  Not showing is daughter, Almira Carter Tripp, whose family was about 2 miles south in Lima.  When Philip arrived in 1851 he first bought the green box number 9 and shortly afterwards the blue box number 10.  The box at number 9 would be called the main part of the Carter Hill Farm. 

Carter Hill about 1930
Carter Family Cemtery 2009 (after restoration)

When the Mormon part of the family fled Illinois in early 1846 some sold their land to Philip or John.  Others sold to other individuals.  Philip and his descendants, over time, eventually came to own most of the land in Section 31.  The home built in 1885 by Philip’s son Charles on Carter Hill (and Philip’s original cabin) were located at the black dot in box 9.  Adjacent to the home was the Carter Family cemetery where Philip was buried when he died in 1876.  Charles descendants believe Philip to be the first Carter buried in that cemetery so John, when he died, must have been buried elsewhere so tradition that he was buried in the Fletcher Cemetery is probably true. Charles Carter and the others of early days in this area attended an early Mormon school house at the dot just to the west (left of box 9.)  By Joe Conover’s day he had to walk along the lane which was the line at the west edge of box 9 to the center of Section 31 and then across fields until he reached the school house just inside section 30.

Thus Hannah, though living in a largely rural area, was surrounded by her family and resided only a half mile from the settlement at Morleyville.  Unfortunately, her idyllic surrounding remained idyllic for only a couple of years.  Conditions rapidly would deteriorate until they would have to flee Illinois to avoid mobs intent of driving them out or even killing them.

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