Early History of Oblong

Transcribed by Barbara Dix

The Range Road was surveyed in 1812 which intersects with the Vandalia Road at the corner in Oblong where the bank and B. & L. Association have there offices.

The S. E. & S. E. Ry. was completed in 1880 through Oblong.

D. W. Odell built a store room in 1853 at the intersection of the Vandalia State Road and the Range line in the center of Oblong where he engaged in the Mercantile Business. Others located near this corner were John R. Smith and Joel Zeigler, and Lucas & Pearson erected a store building in 1855. In 1858 William Wood erected a two story brick building which he stocked with General Merchandise, who later sold the store to John Smith and in 1867, he sold to William Parker and later he was succeeded by Wood, Arnold and Mutchmore.

The village of Oblong was regularly laid out and platted in 1872 and surveyed by A. W. Gordon for D. W. Odell, proprietor and named Oblong.

Another early business man was Zachariah Wirt. Two Hotels, the Cottage House and the Oblong Hotel were established about 1872, kept by William J. Odell and William Runkle, which were the first Hotels in Oblong.

The first Physicians in Oblong were T. J. Edwards, H. C. Kirby, M. E. Rafferty, and W. R. Dale.

Oblong Post Office was established in 1854 with D. W. Odell as Postmaster, later D. C. Condry succeeded him.

Just when or where the first church building was arected in Oblong we can find no record.

About 1860 Joseph Johnson donated ground for a M. E. Church building where a log structure was erected and used as a meeting place for some twenty years and the early Pastors of this church were William St. Clair, C. C. English, Rev. Noll, J. P. Rutherford and ------ Wallace.

The Baptist's erected a church home in 18-- with about 40 members.

The Prairie M. E. Church in the north part of the Township dates its history from the year 1857, their first church building being erected at a cost of $1500. Organized by John Leeper with about 60 members, and continued until 1879 when it was abandoned. Most of the members joined up with the Dogwood and Prairie Churches.

Oblong and Oblong Township: In the western part of Crawford County lies a prairie which on account of its peculiar shape was named Oblong, by earlier settlers who located near Oblong and the same name applied to both Village and Township. The township contains an area 56 square miles, being 8 miles in extent from North to South, and 7 miles from eastern to western limits. Waterways in the Township are Big Creek, North Fork, Dog Wood, Willow and Muddy Creeks.

The settlement of Oblong Township dates back to the year 1830, when Lot Watts arrived from Tennessee, locating in the South part of the township and made the first entry of land in section 6 about a year after his arrival, being a man of considerable note and recognition in his community and as a compliment to him it was called "Watts Precinct" at the first election he was called to the office of a Justice of the Pease and later he was elected Associate County Judge. His brother Robert Watts, came about a year later and located in the same community on what was later the William Wood farm where he lived until 1871 when he died.

With Robert Watts came Jeremiah York and later came Jesse York, who was a pious member of the Methodist Church and his home was open for the first religious service ever held in the Township. Jeremiah York owned and occupied what was afterwards known as the H. Larabee farm.

Jesse Eaton was a minister of the Old School Baptist Church and preached at different places in the Township in its early history.

George Miller settled as a squatter in the north east part of the Township in 1834 coming from Kentucky.

James Watts, a son of Robert Watts married a daughter of William Wilson.

In 1836 others came adding to the population of the Township, Greenbury Eaton, John Salisbury, Elijah and John Smith and James Smith, a brother came about the same time and settled east of Oblong where he bought forty acres.

Joseph Wood came in 1839 from Virginia. During the trouble with the Indians he served as a "Ranger" along the Wabash Valley. He settled southeast of Oblong near Big Creek in section 3 where he made his first entry of land and afterwards he became the owner of more than 2000 acres of land. His old homestead was later owned by his sons, J. H. and Robert Wood. Later William Wood came to this township and settled on a farm about 1 mile east of Oblong. Other settlements were made in 1839 by Richard Lackey, son in law of Wood. Hale entered land in the north east part of the Township and Abraham Walters located in the same vicinity, John Hollingsworth in Section 32 and Reily York in the southeast part of the township in Section 18. Later came George Jeffers who entered land in Section 27, who afterwards sold to William Hill. James Boatright of Tennessee located in Section 23 in the east part of the Township.

Ira King, a native of New York, settled where the widow Henry later lived in Section 27. William Wilson settled in section 31, east of Oblong. Other settlers came from time to time from Ohio and Indiana. Those were the days when they lived in rude log cabins with stick chimneys and puncheon floors, the spinning wheel and loom. The first mill was erected by George Miller in 1832.

In the very early 1840's Joseph Wood entered about 2000 acres from the government. The west line of this land adjoined what is now the east incorporated line of Oblong and extended eastward to what is now known as the Stoy Cross roads and the south line extended to a little south of the I. C. Railroad. The sons of Joseph Wood are William A. Wood, J. H. Wood and Robert R. Wood who cleared this land and developed it into good farmland. This early pioneer family in addition to developing the farm land had done much to charting and developing the---- of Oblong which already ---- under a seperate heading.


This page last updated on February 05, 2015.