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History of Belle Rive and Dahlgren, Illinois And Surrounding Territory

Prepared by Continental Historical Bureau of Mt. Vernon, Illinois
December, 1960

Page SC-6

Herbert Risley Reporting……

 David Risley

David Risley was born in Ohio in February 1832.  He came to the Sugar Camp neighborhood about 1840.

David Risley was married to the former Mary Boster, and they were the parents of the following children:  Sophia, who married Zarachia Sexton; Henry, who married Isabelle Sharp, Helen, who married Philip Boster; Charles, who married Emma Rueffer; Effie, who married Thomas Joplin; Dely, who married Thomas Huffstutler, and James, who never married.

It is not known whether or not Davis Risley was married at the time of the Civil War, but it is known that he served three years and nine months during this conflict with the rebel states.

He enrolled in the Army at the Wilbanks Stand and left from there.  He was in Sherman’s March to the Sea.  Risley said that they did not carry enough rations with them, and they would stop at farmhouses and kill chickens with their bayonets.  They would take the chickens along and cook them whenever they stopped to camp at night.  Part of his service was with a neighbor, Thomas Wilkey, a descendant of one of Jefferson County’s oldest families.  On one occasion he was with Wilkey when a lead ball grazed Wilkey.  Risley was never furloughed during his entire Civil War career.

When he was discharge from service, Risley came home by way of Snowflake, a hamlet in the community where he lived.  He arrived home about dusk, took his discharge money out of his trousers and hid it.  Some one broke into his house during the night with the intention of stealing the discharge money.  Risley was struck with a bullet but it did not go through his clothing.  It made a bruise, however, that affected him the remainder of his life.

Mrs. Risley was a farmer of occupation, and it is believed that he was one of the earlier members of the Sugar Camp Baptist Church.  He settled in the neighborhood of the church and spent his allotted time in this world in its vicinity.  He bought a portion of his farm from the Federal Government.

Mr. Risely lived until the year of 1924, dying at the age of ninety-two, and being buried at the Sugar Camp Cemetery.  Five of his great grandchildren were killed in World War Two.


  Page SC-7

  Mattie Irvin Beasley and H. W. Irvin Reporting……

 John Martin

John Martin was born in North Carolina in the year 1781.  He served as captain in the War of 1812.

When the war was over and it was time for discharge, he was given (in lieu of pay) a grant of land, which at that time was in Indian Country.  It consisted of approximately six square miles from Belle Rive and extending south.  It was so lonely in the new territory that he sent for relatives and friends to come to settle, promising them he would furnish the land.

He was the father of Thomas Martin who was the father of Louis and Martha Martin.  Martha Martin married Willis Irvin, whose father was an early settler from New York State.  Martha and Willis’ home was part of the original land grant of John Martin.  Three children were born to Martha and Willis Irvin:  Emma Yates, Alva and Martin.  All three of their children lived their full lives in this vicinity.

John Martin remained a farmer after moving into the Sugar Camp area, and was one of the early members of Sugar Camp Baptist Church.


Page SC-8

  Mrs. P. A. Smith Reporting….

 Richard S. Compton

Richard S. Compton was born in Tennessee on September 1, 1832.

It is uncertain when he moved to this area, but it is almost certain that it was before the Civil War, as it is known that he often expressed Northern sentiments in regard to that war, despite the fact that he had been born in Tennessee.

Mr. Compton was married to the former Julia Ann Davis.  He settled in Jefferson County, Illinois, near the southeast corner of the county and remained there until his death on December 23, 1897.  Many times when roads were impassable, as they often were, Mr. Compton would have to go the store at the Wilbanks Stand on horseback or walk.  It was several miles to the Wilbanks Stand and would take the greater part of the day to make the round trip.

Mr. Compton was a farmer by occupation, and was a faithful and active member of Sugar Camp Missionary Baptist Church, which he served as a deacon for many years.

Mrs. Smith remembers when she was a young girl at Mr. Compton’s place (she was his oldest granddaughter), the family had some meat they had butchered which was being cured in the smoke house.  The grandchildren were the only ones at home at the time, and Mrs. Smith noticed a lot of smoke coming from the smoke house.  One of the wooden crosspieces that were holding the hams had broken and the meat had fallen in the fire.  The children went after their grandfather, and he came quickly; however, the fire had gotten beyond putting out and the family suffered the loss of both the meat and the building.

  Page SC-9

  Supplemental Information About Patrick Ross

Patrick Ross, according to the official minutes of the Sugar Camp Baptist Church, joined that church in October 1843.  He continued to hold his membership with this church until the time of his death.

The report on p. B-26 of this volume points out that Ross was home on furlough from the Union Army at the occasion of his being killed.  Official records received after p. B-26 was printed proved that Patrick Ross was discharged one year, six months and seven days prior to his slaying.

The official report is as follows:

Patrick Ross joined the Union Army on October 19, 1861, for three years.  His enrollment was in Jefferson County (presumably at Wilbanks Stand, though this is a matter of conjecture).  He was enrolled by Benjamin F. Wood.  He was mustered into service on December 30, 1861, at Camp Butlet, Illinois, by a Captain Watson.  He was discharge at Cairo, Illinois, on September 1, 1862, with the rank of private.  His age was thirty-seven at the time of entering service, and he was a native of Knox County, Tennessee.  (Note that Ross and his slayer were both natives of Tennessee.)

Patrick Ross was married prior to the time that he enlisted in the Union Army.  We are unable to learn his wife’s maiden name and do not know her native state.  She and Patrick Ross had two sons at the time of his death, but we do not know if he had any other children.

William Turner Barbee was the child who was sent to the Ross home to notify them that Patrick Ross had been killed.  Young Barbee was ten years of age at the time.

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