Head Out On the Highway, Looking For Adventure
Cozy Inn outside G-Burg a few miles was a landmark bar and grill for many years. Heading up 150 at that junction if you turn right you'll end up in Henderson. Turn left and you will find wonderful country roads, surprisingly rolling. With Mr. and Mrs. Wombie we notice an out-of-place fenced enclosure way too close to the road.
PHILLIP NANCE MEMORIAL
HENDERSON WOMEN'S CLUB
ASSISTED BY KNOX COUNTY
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
FOR FIRST WHITE PERSON
BURIED IN KNOX COUNTY 1829
Within the wrought iron enclosure is a single grave. The marker tells us that this is the final resting place of Phillip Nance. His death in 1829 was 187 years ago, a long while around these parts.
So who was Phillip Nance? Naturally, since the social media of the day was virtually non-existent not much is known of the 17 year old buried in a lone plot 6 miles north of Galesburg. What is known is that in 1828 a guy named Daniel Robertson travelled from the east coast and settled in what is now Henderson, Illinois. By building a home shelter he became the official first white man to settle in what would eventually become Knox County. Other settlers would come from the Carolinas, Kentucky and Virginia. They would form a small village. The first preacher was a guy named Jacob Gunn, the first baby was born to Mrs. Zephaniah Gum, and the first death was Phillip. Why was the lone burial in this place? It seems rather lonely. Where are his folks? Where are the other villagers?
And perhaps even more puzzling is the mail box on the gate surrounding Phillip's final resting place. The home that is nearby has its own mailbox so this one seems incongruous, indeed, considering the circumstances.
As always, all you need is a little gas, wheels and the time to go exploring in your own backyard. Of course, a lime green Jeep is a pretty cool way to travel, but anything will do. Your assignment - go unearth the treasures that are all about you. Well, in Phillip's case, perhaps "unearth" is the wrong adjective. You know what I mean.