History of Maryville: 1600s to 1800s
1650 to 1700 A.D.
Native Americans of the Illiniwek Confederation (Kaskaskia, Peoria, Moroa, Mitichigamea, and Kahokia) migrated to this area from the northeast to escape repeated attacks from the Iroquois. The Tamoroa and Kahokia indians established their main settlements in the Cahokia area, and the Michigamea settled near Fort Chartres in Randolph County.
The first European exhibition to travel to this area was led by a Frenchman, Louis Jolleit. He was accompanied by missionary Father Jacques Marquette. Their entry into this area marked the beginning of the end for the local Native American culture.
Father Marquette returned to the area to establish a mission at the original village of Kaskaskia, which was located near the present site of Utica. This was later relocated to the confluence of the Kaskaskia and Mississippi rivers. A second mission was started at Cahokia.
The French village of Prairie du Rocher was established.
The French village of Prairie du Pont was established.
September 3, 1763
The Treaty of Paris was signed, which provided that France give up all the territories east of the Mississippi to Britain. This was made possible by General Wolfe's defeat of the French at Quebec.
British troops took over this area.
Chief Pontiac was assassinated by an Illiniwek. This aggression resulted in the war between the northeastern Iroquois and the Illiniwek. The Illiniwek were almost annihilated.
After the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Virginia claimed Illinois as part of its territory. An expedition led by George Rogers Clark (a Kentucky backwoodsman) was sent into this region by the governor and the Assembly of Virginia. Clark's soldiers traveled down the Ohio River and took Kaskaskia by surprise. They then continued northward conquering settlements in Monroe County, Fort Chartres, and Cahokia. Most of the inhabitants in this area were French, with only a few hundred "American" hunters and traders.
February 25, 1779
Clark led troops through the flooded bottom lands of the Wabash River and captured the garrison at Vincennes.
British attacked several Illinois towns. Clark came to the aid of Cahokia and beat them off.
The population of what is now St. Clair County was about 700, most of whom were of French descent and lived in or near the village of Cahokia.
The few remaining members of the Illiniwek moved west of the Mississippi River and eventually south to Oklahoma.
1840 to 1845 A.D.
German farmers started settling in the area near St. John Lutheran Church in Maryville. The area on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River was known as Ridge Prairie. The specific area near the church was called Pleasant Ridge. (Note that the road adjacent to the church has this name!) The first settlers were Henry and William Blume, followed by the Winters and Wittes.
The Germans brought Pastor Lochner to this area. A total of 21 families started this church. German was the spoken language. The church was located behind the school. It was identified as a Lutheran church by its rooster on steeple; whereas Catholic churches had crosses on their steeples.
Pleasant Ridge, the first and only school in this area was opened. There were a total of 18 students and one teacher. Heat was supplied by a potbelly stove. The fire was built in the morning by either the teacher or the pastor. The students worked in teams of four each evening to clean the school.
The present building of St. John Lutheran church was built. This is directly across the street from the old school and church, which are still standing.
1859 to 1867 A.D.
Businesses were built up around what is now Pleasant Ridge and West Main streets. John Schoettle owned a blacksmith shop, which was located where the St. John pastor now resides. A tavern was owned by Charles Avacker. Cobblesmith Friedrich Nordmeyer owned a shoeshop. Mr. Nordmeyer and his wife are buried in the Old St. John's Lutheran Cemetery. There was also a general store, which is currently the blue house located just west of the church. Other buildings and structures such as a post office, bandstand, and a molasses press were also built.
In the year that President Lincoln was assassinated, the Pleasant Ridge School voted to allow black children to attend classes. The school was also the youth center. Buck Road Cemetery located on Highway 162 was established.
Henry Bohn, an ancestor of Walter Bohn, sold land to Pleasant Ridge for a cemetery. This is the old cemetery located across from St. John's church.
St. John's church purchased a bell, which was used to announce deaths, worship time, and the close of the workweek on Saturday evenings.
A railroad was built through the area.
Pleasant Ridge Baptist church was built.
Frederich J. Lange (March 3, 1804 to October 17, 1884) married Christina Blake (June 1816 to December 23, 1894) while still in Germany. In 1843, they immigrated to the U.S. and moved to St. Louis. They had four children: Louise (Mrs. E.F. Mirland) who stayed in St. Louis; Hannah (Mrs. George Link) whose husband served as a pastor at Pleasant Ridge St. John Luthern church (1856-1860) and later moved to Springfield, Illinois; Mrs. E.F. W. Meier of St. Louis (?); and Charles William Frederich Lange who was born on May 3, 1841, while they still Lived in Germany. Charles or C.W.F. Lange was educated in St. Louis where he graduated from high school and from Jone's Commercial School, receiving his diploma on February 15,1858. He worked as a bookkeeper for wholesale dry goods before moving in 1863 to Madison County due to failing health. On September 27, 1863, he married Mary Krome of Pleasant Ridge. Her father was William Krome who was born March 3, 1813 in Hanover, Germany. In 1840 he immigrated to the U.S., first moving to Louisville, Kentucky, then to Madison County in 1851. His wife was C. Anna Wessler who was born May 4, 1826. Together, while living in Pleasant Ridge they had thirteen children. Anna died in October 1885 and William died in 1876.
When Charles moved to Madison County he purchased a small farm, later adding tracts until he accumulated 350 acres. His major crop was wheat. As he accumulated wealth, he became director of the Bank of Edwardsville and also served for twelve years as a supervisor of Madison County. A staunch democrat, he also served for nine years as chairman of the Poor Farm Committee, which aided farmers in need.
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