Jefferson County



Bald hill Township is situated in the extreme southeast part of jefferson
county.  It is bounded on the south of Franklin County, on the west
by Perry County, on the north by Blissville Township and on the east by
Elk Prarie Township.  Its official government designation is Township
4 South Range 1 East. 

It took its name from a large hill just west of the town Scheller.  The township was formed out of Elk Prarie Precinct during township organization. 

It is a good farming region given the generally flat lay of land.  Horse Prairie lies mostly in the southeast corner and Knob Prairie lies in the southwest section. 

Settlement was slow in developing compared with the rest of Jefferson County.   Wall's History of Jefferson County lists the following names: McGinnis, Turman, Bellows, Hardwick, Smith, Scroggins, Irvin, Morgan ans Goddard. 

Early schools were organized in Sections 2, 8, 23, 29 and 36. The first church was called the Bald Hill Methodist Episcopal Church, a1so called Immanuel Chapel and was located near the north line of the township. 

In 1896 St. Barbara's Catholic Church was built was built on  land donated by Gertrude Scheller and family. A school was also organized at the time. In 1958 a new church was dedicated. It is of contemporary Gothic design with a beautiful rose window located over the double entrance doors. 

Early roads included the Tamaroa-Winfield road whch ran through the south part of Bald Hill Township. It was a winding road many travelers used for migration to Missouri and Arkansas. Dust was terrible, often being five inches deep in dry weather. Gypsies often travelled the Tamaroa-Winfield road and camped on the banks of the Little Muddy River. 

Tiimber was plentiful and sawmills cut up many logs for fencing, mine props and railroad ties. 

The first railroad, the Wabash, Chester and Western Railroad (later Union Pacific, then Missouri Pacific), aided in the establishment of township: Waltonville and Scheller. The railroad entered the township at Section 1 at Waltonville and angled southwest through Scheller, exiting fron Section 19 into Perry County. Later, another rai1road, the C. B &Q., crossed the southeast corner of the township. 

In the late 1940s the Chicago, Wilmington and Frankiin Coal Companyed the Orient #3 mine south of Waltonville in Bald Hill Township.  The mine operated for nearly 40 years, providing jobs for hundreds of people of area. It closed in the early 1980s and the reclamation project has been completed. 

It was the largest slope mine of its kind, hauling coal out of the mine on an endless belt stretching up a 16 degree slope 3,169 feet long. Instesd of men undercutting, drilling, blasting and shoveling each ton of coal by hand, 40-ton continuous-mining machines combined all four operations. These machines  mined under 14,000 acres in Jefferson County. 

Three other towns once existed in Bald Hill Township. Meso was established with a post office in 1900 and discontinued in 1904.  It was na med for Cornellius Meso, a Civil War soldier. The spelling changed, depending  on what you read: it is "Mezzo" in land records, "Mezo" on the school named for Cornellius, "Meso" on the post office and maps. The viliage was located in the northwest quarter of Section 13. 

Dryden was located in the southeast quarter of Section 14 near Dryden Cemetery also known as Black Jack Cemetery. The post office existed 1886-1910. 

Emmerson/Emmersonville/Emmerson City was located on the C.B. & Q Section 25. It was named for one of the surveyors, Louis L. Emmerson, who later served as governor of Illinois from 1927-1933.  The post office excisted  from 1907 to 1910.


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Jefferson County Coordinator Cindy Ford
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