Sunday, December 18, 2016

Lost Towns of Illinois - The Goshen Settlement.

In the beginning, there was Peters Station to the west of today's Glen Carbon, Illinois, Mont Station to the east and the original Goshen Settlement.

The Goshen Settlement was an early American pioneer settlement in what at the time was in the Indiana Territory. The settlement was located about one mile southwest of modern Glen Carbon, Illinois, at the point where Judy's Creek emerges from the bluffs into the American Bottom, on its way to the Mississippi River.

In 1799, David Bagley, a Virginia Baptist minister passed through the area and determined that it was a land of such expanse and luxuriant vegetation, rivers open prairie land that he compared it to the Biblical Land of Goshen. It was, in truth, a land of promise; and some years after, it was the largest, and best settlement in Illinois' portion of the Indiana Territory. References to the "Land of Goshen" have persisted since that time.

Samuel Judy became a colonel in the Illinois Militia taking part in expeditions against the Indians.

In 1801, Colonel Samuel Judy received a military grant of 100 acres near the base of the bluffs, just north of what was known as Judy's Creek. Squatter Ephraim Connor built a cabin on this land. Judy and Connor agreed on a fair price for the land and the cabin. Therefore, Col. Judy became the first permanent settler, not only of the Goshen Settlement but also what would become Madison County, making Col Judy the first permanent settler of what would become Madison County. 

The area became known as the Goshen Settlement. While its boundaries were never clearly defined, it was centered on Col. Judy's property at the junction of Judy's Creek and present-day Illinois Route 157.

In 1808, still in the Indiana Territory, the Goshen Road was built as a wagon road across Illinois, from the Goshen Settlement to the salt works near Shawneetown, Illinois. The trail crossed the state diagonally following a route from Peter's Station to the north and west of Glen Carbon, east to Troy, and then in a southeasterly direction, eventually ending at Shawneetown on the Ohio River. 

The area became a part of the Illinois Territory in 1809. Fort Russell (named after Col. William Russell), established on the Goshen Settlement land by Governor Edwards early in 1812 in the Illinois Territory. The exact location of Fort Russell in not known, but many details have survived time.

In 1814-1815, Col. Judy served in the Illinois Territorial Council of the Illinois Territorial Legislature. He also served as county commissioner for Madison County, Illinois. Col. Samuel Judy was a slave owner. There are bills of sale in the Madison County Recorder's Office recording his purchase of slaves in 1816.

Goshen Township was established after Madison County was created in 1812. Sometime between 1820 and 1830 Goshen township was divided into five smaller townships; Edwardsville, Silver Creek, Big Prairie, Six-Mile Prairie, and Wood River.

The Goshen Settlement was renamed to the Village of Glen Carbon to reflect its coal mining heritage. Glen Carbon was then incorporated as an Illinois village in 1892. Two depots for the railroad were erected, one running east and west and the second running north and south. People wishing to travel to Saint Louis, found it quite easy to do by boarding the Illinois Central and Clover Leaf railroads, as they made several trips a day to Saint Louis and back.  Rail travel was equally important to the businesses and mining company; as it was the easiest and most significant way to carry coal and other goods to various locations.  Main Street was a bustling mercantile center with various merchants, slaughterhouses, saloons and restaurants.  And in 1898 our first volunteer fire department was created.

It operated many coal mines until the last one shut down in 1934.

Today, the existing Goshen Road running from Route 159 to the intersection of Route 143, south of Edwardsville, is part of the original road. The Goshen Settlement is mostly remembered by a line of short road segments named "Goshen Road", across Illinois, and many places named "Goshen" that was once adjacent to this long lost road to a long lost place. These names are all the more confusing because the modern towns of Goshen, Illinois, and Goshen, Indiana are nowhere close to the old settlement. 

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.


  1. One of my interns at the museum wrote his senior thesis at SIUE about the Whiteside Family, the Goshen Settlement, and the economic/environmental/social impact of American settlement in Madison County.

    It was an excellent study. I can't wait for him to get it published.

    -Will Shannon.

    1. I have read his study with particular interest, as the Whitesides are direct ancestors of mine.

      Angela Agles-Kempfer


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