Before Perry founded, white settlers knew Alton, Buffalo Grove

Abraham Bennett, left, became the second postmaster after 1858 at Buffalo Grove near present-day Perry. When Bennett was drafted into the Union Army after 1861, his neighbor Hawk Wilson became the third postmaster. Mrs. Bennett is seen at right.

Sometime about 1856, Union Township was organized. The settlers wanted to call it
Buffalo Grove, but Judge John Montgomery of Boonesboro gave it the name Union.

In about 1858, a town was laid out and named Unionville, but it never developed or appeared on any maps that I know of. The dreamers were Edward Vail and Calvin

Now the first school in Union Township was built in 1856 on land in section 27 owned by John Carned. The first teacher was Caroline Palmer, who got $1.75 per week plus board. On June 17, 1861, the township was split into two districts: Number one was named Lincoln and number two was named Douglas.

The Francis Johnson family came to Boone County in 1856 and settled northeast of Perry several miles along Beaver Creek in a spot known as Buffalo Grove. Johnson had a large family of seven boys and five girls, yet he had time to preach in nearby homes and schools.

When the Johnsons or their neighbors had hogs to sell, they would drive them to Moingonia or Boonesboro. The book “The History of Buffalo Grove” tells of a man by the name of Woods and his son, a Mr. Smally, who found a solitary buffalo feeding in a grove. They killed the solitary buffalo and then and there gave the grove the name Buffalo Grove. This was about 1848.

Mr. Moore, one of the first settlers, was always called John D. because later another Mr. Moore settled not far away whose first name was also John. This second Moore was know as John H. and was the father of Fred Moore, longtime Perry dairyman.

Mr. and Mrs. James Morse came with the Moores from Illinois and first settled in Xenia but later bought land where Perry is now and moved to Buffalo Grove to operate a blacksmith shop. Later he moved to the corner of First Street and Willis Avenue and put up a house.

By 1858, settlers believed that they should have a post office, and in due time the government consented. Morse was appointed postmaster Aug. 14, 1858. What to call the new post office was the first question, and Morse, who had been postmaster in Alton, Ohio, suggested the name Alton, which met with government approval.

In early days, the post office operated from his house, with the mail coming by stage coach over the Adel-Jefferson road, part of which is the present Diagonal Road. Later Morse moved backed to Xenia and turned the post office over to his son-in-law, Abraham Bennett, who lived a little south on the Diagonal Road just where it meets Willis Avenue.

After Bennett was drafted into the Union Army sometime after 1861, the job fell to Wilson Hawk, a close neighbor. Soon the office was assumed by Corneltes McKean, who lived where the Alton School was. The mail came by not more than once or twice a week each way.


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