Adapted from History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois.


In the year 1803, the first white settlement was made in Union County. This feeble colony thus braving the wilds, the dense forests and it almost impenetrable undergrowth, consisted of two families, namely Abram Hunsacker's and George Wolf's. They had come down the Ohio river, and up the Cache, hunting and fishing, and finally started on an overland route intending, it is supposed, to strike the Mississippi river and ascend the same to the settlements of Kaskaskia and Cahokia. These wanderers camped one night a short distance from where Jonesboro now is, and the next morning the men found that they had to replenish their meat supply, and they shouldered their guns and in a few minutes a large and fat bear, and in a little while after getting the bear they added a fine turkey gobbler to their store. They were so delighted with the land of plenty, both of game and excellent water, that they concluded to rest a few days, and before the few days had expired the men were busy at work building cabins in which to house their families and make this their permanent home. 


In 1805, David Green came with his little family and built his cabin in the Mississippi bottom, about a half mile north of what is known as the Big Barn. He was a Virginian, and had been engaged in navigating the rivers in the early flat-boat days, and in waiting upon the banks of the river and hunting for game he came upon the spot where he afterward lived, and returned to his family and grought them with him to his new home. It was a long time before he knew the Hunsakers and Wolfs were his nearest neighbors. 


George Hacker was the first settler on Cache river; he came there in 1806; soon after John Shaver settled near him. 


In 1807, thomas Clark settled where Mound City now stands. And in a short time a man named Humphrey came and settled where Caledonia now stands. 

Solomeon Hess next came and settled at the mouth of what was afterward called Hess bayou. 


Four families had settled in what is now Dogtooth Bend. They were named Harris, Crane, Wade, and Powers. They built a school house, the first so far as can be now ascertained in this section of the State. The little house was made of a cottonwood tree that had been split into rails, and the first teacher was an unknown Irishman. He took his toddy and shed the light of his birch rods with no scanty or light of hand. One of his pupils was John S. Hacker, who, it seems, here laid the foundations for those political tilts that he was afterward to engage in with John Grammer. 

In the year 1809, in the south part of what is now Union County, the family of Lawrences, three in number, and William Clapp, making four families, settled. They lived on Mill Creek. 

A short time after this, John Stokes, William Gwinn, George Evans, and Thomas Standard settled in the last part of the county in what has long been known as the Stokes Settlement. 


About the year 1810, Rice and William Sams located on the Cache. 


Many of the immigrants into this part of Illinois had fled for safety to these high hills from the great earthquake of 1811. This brought ex-Gov. John Dougherty, a small child at that time; he removed to near Cape Girardeau and afterward to Union County. 


A man named Kennedy was living on Clark's place in 1812, when the Indian massacre occurred. 

Drakeford Gray settled the point of land at the junction of the two rivers. He built his house on posts or stilts, and above the high waters. During very high water, the building caught fire and burned. A boat happened to be passing, and took the people off, otherwise, there is hardly a doubt they would have all perished. 


In 1816, James Riddle, Nicholas Berthend, Elias Rector, and Henry Bechtle entered lands extending from below the mouth of Cache river to the Third Principal Meridian, and by a genera subdivision established Trinity. No town lots were sold, but James Berry and afterward Col. H. L. Webb, in about the year 1817 commenced a hotel here and commenced a trading and supply business. Goods were shipped here for St. Louis, and as early as 1818 a town was laid out on an extensive scale. The proprietors were James Riddle, Henry Bechtle, and Thomas Sloo of Cincinnati, and Stephen and Henry Rector of St. Louis. The agent of the proprietors was William M. Alexander, who then resided in America. The agent of Mr. Riddle was John Dougherty, whose son William is a citizen of Mound City. The primary source for this information appears to come from History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois.


A physician of great eminence, and immediately upon the formation of Alexander County, was elected its first Representative in the General Assembly, and was chosen Speaker of the House. Dr. William M. Alexander was here when Union County did not exist.