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How It All Began

How It All Began

When the first white settlers came to this region in 1820, it was inhabited by the Kickapoo Indians who erected their teepees at a point where the stream of Grape Creek flows into the Vermilion River.  This point was also the site of the Piankishaw Indian villages for two centuries prior to the coming of the Kickapoos and the Pottawattomes.  The white man came into this territory by following the buffalo trails.

One of the earliest white settlements in Vermilion County was Brooks Point east of Westville, where the first school stood.  The first white child born here was James O’Neal in 1822.  Brooks Point received its name from Benjamin Brooks, who was among the first white settlers in Georgetown Township.

In 1827 Moses Scott sold his 40 acres of land in Indiana near Rising sun, loaded his family of several children, one of whom was Elizabeth, onto an oxcart with all their worldly possessions and traveled the several hundred miles to the Westville Area.  Elizabeth was born on March 24, 1824.  With the proceeds of the sale of his 40 acres in Indiana, he purchased a tract of land in what is now the South West corner of Westville.  Here he erected a log cabin on the land that was eventually the Big Four Depot.  He also had a blacksmith shop at the same location.

Elizabeth eventually married David Spencer, and they settled in the Northwest part of Vermilion County.  Mr. Spencer was called to serve on the Grand Jury in Danville; and one evening while in Danville, he was taken sick with spotted fever and died the next morning.  Elizabeth was later married to William P. West.

In the meantime, her father had accumulated approximately 700 acres of land in the Westville area, and was considered one of the richest men in Vermilion County.  Upon the death of Moses Scott, Elizabeth inherited a portion of this land in the Brooks Point area.  Since a village was springing up on this land, Elizabeth added “Ville” to her married name of West, and from this came the prosperous mining Village of Westville.

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