This Owen Family Cemetery, Chili Township is one of the cemeteries burial lists of the project of collecting names of the dead of Hancock County, Illinois for the use of the American people being sponsored by Warren L. Van Dine. This introduction is being written by Warren L. Van Dine March 2, 1972.
Data for this cemetery was obtained from Mr. Donald Parker who wrote the chilly Township chapter of the 1968 Hancock County, Illinois history.
Owen Family Cemetery is located in Section 31 of Chili Township which means it is in the extreme south western corner of the township and just above the Adams County line.
The 1874 Andreas Atlas of Hancock County shows the Owen family name as landowners in Section 31.
According to Mr. Parker there are no longer any traces of the cemetery to be found such as fences, monuments. He stated there would be no objection to making a trip to get as there would be nothing to see. So acting on his advice this introduction is being prepared for notes taken from his talk.
There was aide Mrs.Owen buried there, some children, and a colored woman said to have been brought by the family from Virginia when they came to Illinois. And probably others.
The Atlas mentioned gives the date of 1834 arrival of the Owen family in Chili Township. It is said several families came to Illinois in the early pioneer days from the same locality in Virginia, bringing Negro women with them as servants in each case. At least three families are named, Owen, Forsythe, and Dickerson.
The Forsythe name is shown on the 1874 plat as landowners in Section 32 of Chili.
The Dickerson name does not appear on the Chili Platt, also it is not on the St. Albans Township plant west of Chil St.Albans is but a stone's throw west of the Owen holdings and some of this group of people could have lived over there. Also some of them may have been in residence in Adams County, Also but a stone's throw from the Owen farm land (south of it in this case).
(Quoting from Mr. Parker's Chili Township chapter, page 261, in the 1968 county history now):
"The Civil War meant many things to the people of the area. A number had come from Southern states, particularly Kentucky and Virginia. Some even brought in April Nanny's. One came with the Owen Family. She is buried in an unmarked burial spot in the S.W. quarter of Section 31. Another was a gift to the Forsythe family when they left their Kentucky home. She was buried in the family plot. Another belonged to the Alfred Dickerson Family and was buried in the Chili Cemetery. The last two mentioned live long after the Civil War ended and both remained with their "families" as long as they lived. "
The Negro slave woman with the Forsythe family mentioned above was buried in the Forsythe family burying ground a mile east of the Owen one and in Section 32 where the Forsythe family lived.
It was the Owen and Dickerson families who came from the Virginia area but apparently from nearby Maryland and not actually from Virginia. The Forsythe family was from Kentucky as stated above by Mr. Parker.
The Owen and Dickerson families intermarried. They were people of property, "Heavy landowners", and also slave owners in Maryland. Here in Illinois became owners of substantial tracts of land in both Chili and St. Albans Townships in this county and also in Adams County south of our county. These things about them may be cleaned (I have now ascertained) from of all biological sketch of one of the Dickerson site which appears in page 1187 volume 2 of the 1921 Charles J Schofield Hancock County, Illinois History.
These three Southern families who came here to Illinois were outstanding citizens. One of the Dickinson women and back in Maryland is married to the Honorable Ephraim Wilson who was a United States Senator from Maryland in those days.
The Owen family came first in there was some years later when the Dickerson is arrived. Probably the Forsythe family was in between the two from Maryland in point of arrival in Illinois.
The Forsythe and the Worrell family (a northern states family from New Jersey) intermarried. For the New Jersey background of the Worrell's see the 1874 Andreas Atlas, the Subscriber's section, page 25.
"One gets the impression after scanning the pages of our county history and focusing the light on the Owen Family Orders states Section of the south to participate in the founding of Western Illinois that they were representative of a noble founding past which they felt a deep urge to keep going longer, this on our Hancock County prairies. That they were in spirit and actually a noble generation dedicated to establishing a nation and a civilization beneath the new world skies which almighty God was moving them to do. Children of destiny they might be labeled inheritors or a stately and inspired past, who would hand down to us there Twentieth Century heirs a future so big we will never be able to grasp its magnificence and beauty. This was the breed of the people who launched Illinois as a commonwealth whose like we will never see again here the pioneers.who"
Just what road to take to get to this cemetery the writer of this is unable to state. Probably hard road No. 94 south of Carthage to what is called the West Point "Y" and then continue south CUBA blacktop and gravel about 3 1/2 miles and then about a mile west, as has been indicated you are almost in Adams County when you get to the Owen Family Cemetery, a just on top of Adams on the map at at least.
The writer of this is also unable to state what the place looks like by way of terrain and improvements. It may be an abandoned spot now grown up to brush and weeds or it may be part of the cultivated farm field.
About these dead in of the other cemetery, where requiescat is peace.
The Carthage Republican, March 18, 1891 (in Denver newsletter by Tyro) states:
It is not generally known that the late Senator wilson, who recently died in Washington City was the brother-in-law of our friends, David and A. T. Dickerson, of Chili.
March 4, 1891 gives an account of the death of Senator who at Ephraim
King Wilson and of his career, and the picture of him.