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Enloe's ledger records early Bond history

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By The Staff

A couple of weeks ago, I received a telephone call from John Coleman, president of the Bond County Historical Society. His organization had been given an old ledger book, with the title, "Account Book A – Asahel Enloe."

Members of the society thought it to be one of the old books discarded 50 years ago by the Bond County Clerks office. John asked if I would like to see the book.

The first entry is dated 1817, when Illinois was still a territory. It was a deed between Simon Lindly and his wife, Ann, to John Lindly of Madison County, Illinois Territory. The 160 acres being deeded had originally been purchased for $80 at the Kaskaskia Land Office on April 4, 1816.

Many of the entries span two or more pages. In each case, when the landowner was married, his wife was taken apart from her husband and questioned whether she agreed to the sale of the land, because of her dower interest in the property.

I have years of experience in reading old script, and decided, for historys sake, to take the time to transcribe this old 146-page ledger.

Many of the entries were more run-of-the-mill (deed transfers and such), but the one that tore at my heart was the "Bill of Sale" for a 13- or 14-year-old boy named Spencer, formerly in possession of Green P. Rice to keep to age 35. Chatham Ewing of Logan County, Ky., is mentioned, and the witnesses were Robert Lathen and William B. Whiteside.

Asahel Enloe has an interesting history. He came to Madison County, Illinois Territory, in 1816 from York District, S.C. Two years later, he settled with his wife, Sarah Stewart, and their children on the highest spot near Greenville, the current site of the old city cemetery.

Perrins 1883 Bond and Montgomery County History said that he settled near the spring with Paul Beck and Samuel Davidson, the three receiving first settler status. Perrins history does not name Asahel as a justice of the peace, but the ledger proves that he held this office.

Asahel and his sons are credited with clearing off a tract of land near the courthouse square in Greenville, planting it in corn in 1818. In addition to his wife, Sarah, his family included 10 children: Mary, Violet, Cynthia, Ezekiel, James, Hannah, Louisa, Enoch, Nathaniel and Isaac Enloe.

Illinois first governor, Shadrach Bond, appointed Asahel to the surveyor's job, a position he held for 40 years. He was described as a scholarly man for his time. He taught school and was clerk and chorister at the Presbyterian Church for years.

During the years represented by this ledger, Asahel Enloe surveyed and platted the villages of Ripley and Perrysville, and their plats are recorded in his account book.

Ripley was 24 blocks in size, with a public square. All lots had 66 feet of frontage and were 148 feet deep. Streets were 66 feet wide. Written into the lower margin was "10 lots devoted for purpose of raising funds for religious purposes and schools."

Perrysville also had a "publick square" and streets named Niagary, Erie, Main, Eliot and Back. Lot owners were I. Revis, Martin Jones (he ended up owning most of the town), R.P. Winchester, F. Mason, William Jones, T. Finley, N. Buckmaster, J. Conway and Samuel Houston.

On page six, the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church were granted part of the southeast quarter of Section 16, T 5 North, Range 3 West, beginning at a stake near the spring northeast of the meeting house. The church constitution and how it was to be conducted is included in the deed.

Many of the names in Asahel Enloes account book are also found in the early Bond County history books. Simon Lindly, mentioned above, came to Bond County in 1808 and built a blockhouse 1.5 miles southwest of Greenville. He also helped build both Hills Fort and Jones Fort.

Ive read a lot about Martin Jones, but didnt know the name of his wife. It was Kerenhappuch T. Jones. More research on this couple should prove interesting.

James Dennys will was recorded by Asahel Enloe on April 21, 1823. Genealogically, this is great because he named his wife, Mary, and his children: George, John, Polly, Jenny, James, Alexander, Robert and Samuel. Their descendants populate Bond County today.

This old ledger book is much more than a list of deeds, wills and bills of sale. It represents the beginning of recorded history in Bond County.