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Henderson County, Illinois


Benjamin Franklin Cloud moved with his wife, Eliza Jane, to Henderson County sometime around 1867. John Franklin Cloud was born, to them, in Biggsville, Illinois on 15 September, 1868. It is possible that Benjamin lived in the townships of Stronghurst and Terre Haute sometime before 1879. Their daughter, Mary Lillie, was born in Terre Haute on 17 September 1879 according to her birth certificate. LaDora was living in Stronghurst when Eliza Jane died. She apparently met her husband, Adam Newton Kern, in the Terre Haute Township where he lived. As Stronghurst and Terre Haute are only 20 or so miles apart, it's possible the families met without Benjamin ever moving there, but since Mary Lillie was born in Terre Haute it's likely Benjamin lived there for a while. No other record has been found of him living in Terre Haute. Eliza Jane's parents, the Pearces, also lived and died in Henderson County.

Biggsville's first settler seems to have arrived early in 1829 and raised crops there that year. The village was formally laid out on October 3, 1855. It was named in honor of John Biggs who was born in Manchester, England in 1802 and is buried in the Cumberland Cemetery 5 miles northwest of the village. Biggs purchased the Grain Mills near what is now Biggsville in 1843.

At first, people buried their dead on their own claims with the intention of transferring their remains to cemeteries at a later date. At the southwest end of the point in the bend of the South Henderson Creek can be seen two lonely graves, with small rough stones at their head, on which no names are inscribed. Many others are thought to exist in the township and this may be the reason Benjamin's grave, to our knowledge, has not been discovered.

Stronghurst was platted November 18, 1887 on land purchased by the Sante Fe Railroad. It was the "metropolis of the southern part of the county, located on rich farm land and noted for its business enterprise".

Terre Haute could have been settled as early as 1835, but the oldest settler on record was Mr. Steven Genung who came here in 1842 with his family from Terre Haute, Indiana. The village was platted in 1854 by William C. Rice and the first brick structure was erected the same year. During the time of the Mormon troubles, which resulted in the killing of Joseph Smith at Carthage, Illinois, several Terre Haute people were members of the impromptu army that was raised in this section of the country to resist an anticipated uprising of the Mormons, who were charged with indulging in "raping, theft, and murder" through this section. This episode lives in local history under the name of "The Mormon War". A citizen of Terre Haute was one of the soldiers who was on guard at the jail in Carthage the night before Joseph Smith was killed.

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