Cantrall: First church, first marriage

Founded and named: The village of Cantrall was originally named Antioch, but the name was changed to honor the Cantrall family, who were among the first European settlers of the area. In unusually precise fashion, the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Vol. 2, reports that Levi Cantrall began building a cabin in or near what is now the village of Cantrall on Dec. 8, 1819. Levi Cantrall set up a horse-powered grist mill the next fall and then established a tannery that he operated for another 40 years. Cantrall was platted in 1872 by eight men, including Joseph Cantrall.

Second Antioch Christian Church building (from 1874 county atlas)

Second Antioch Christian Church building (from 1874 county atlas)

More: The Cantrall/Antioch Christian Church lays claim to being the first church in Sangamon County; it was organized on May 15, 1820 by Stephen England. A church history at the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library also identifies the first marriage in the county – at Antioch Christian Church – as that of Lucy England Scott to John Cline, an employee of Levi Cantrall. The Historical Encyclopedia identifies the date as July 20, 1820. The first church building was constructed of logs in 1823.

A tornado struck the Cantrall area on May 9, 1995, destroying three homes and damaging 10. Cantrall Elementary School, part of the Athens School District also was extensively damaged. Total path length of the tornado was 40 miles. Damage estimates in Sangamon County were $1 million. A striking video of the tornado is here

Today: Cantrall, which is on Illinois 29 11 miles north of Springfield, had a population of 139 in 2010.


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11 Responses to Cantrall: First church, first marriage

  1. Andy Wasilewski says:

    I find conflicting records for the first marriage in Sangamon county, Antioch Church: Cantrall. In an editor’s post of 10/31/2013 the first marriage is identified as taken place November 2, 1820 between Philo Beers and Martha Stillman. A second post by the editor on 4/22/2013, the first marriage, again at the Antioch Church, is claimed to take place May 15, 1820 between Lucy England and John Cline. I have seen other references that agree to the latter of these two dates/events.
    I am writing a story of Cantrall; and while my focus will be my days growing up there in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s; but have found myself digging into history and finding a lot of fascinating information from which I am formulating a better understanding of the evolvement of the village.

    • editor says:

      Mr. Wasilewski: What you’re seeing are my original entry for Cantrall (April ’13) and a revised version (October) meant to replace the first one. It’s a quirk of WordPress that lets you see both when you put “Cantrall” in the Search box.

      However, you’re raising a very good question, and at this point, more than two years after the second version, I can’t remember what influenced me to revise the entry. (One note, though: The first entry gives a date of July 20, 1820 for the Cline/Scott wedding; the May date you cite actually was the date when Antioch Church was founded.) In a quick look, I found that the 1881 “History of Sangamon County” (link in the revised Cantrall entry) gives the July 20 date for Cline/Scott but also reports that the Beers/Stillman wedding “was for a long time supposed to be the first in Sangamon County.” I apparently omitted mentioning Cline/Scott when I redid the Cantrall entry; I need to update that entry, and I will. (There’s also some question about the site of Beers/Stillman; I’ll see what I can figure out about that too.)

      In any case, however, “The Sangamon Saga” by Bruce Campbell (1976) identifies the March 20, 1820, marriage of Gideon Vancil and Phoebe Wilson of Auburn as the first ever in the county. Campbell isn’t always reliable, but his “first marriages” entry is pretty detailed, so I think I need to look into it some more.

      Good luck with your story and your research, and thanks very much for alerting me to my own confusion. I’ll try to get it sorted out in the next week or two.

    • Donna Brown says:

      Raymond, Jack, and I are very interested in Cantrall history and would love to have a copy of your Story of Cantrall.

    • Gary R Beyer says:

      I’d love to see your story on the village of Cantrall as well. I’m a descendent of Hiram’s brother Wyatt and their parents Joshua E. Cantrall and Ann Graham. I read a fascinating story last night about Wyatt and Hiram braving deep snow and having to fashion a canoe to cross the Sangamon.

      I’ve traced the Cantrall family in the U.S. back to William Cantrill, who in 1608 arrived in Jamestown Colony (12 years before the Mayflower) and with Capt John Smith discovered the Chesapeake Bay, and the rest of the family from there back to John Cantril b. 1420 in Derbyshire, Eng. Lots of great stories…

      • Gary R Beyer says:

        Meant to say brother Levi, not Hiram…

      • Nicole Cantrall says:

        I as well am a decedent of Joshua Cantrall and Ann Graham! I have just started looking into my genealogy and have always been fascinated by there being a town with my family name, so have started to look into Cantrall, Illinois too. I would be very interested in learning more about the history!

        • Gary R Beyer says:

          Nicole, I tried to post a reply to you but it was added after the last editor note rather than below your note. See below. ;>)

        • Jason Cantrall says:

          Hi Nicole, there are some Cantralls up here in the Chicago area too! Do you go to the family reunion they have in August?

    • Frederick Williston wright says:

      hello, I am the great great grandson of Levi Cantrall my mother’s mother was Lillian E Cantrall. her parents are Jacob Ernist Cantrall and Jeania Mable king. .my grandad was William roe prim they were I believe 5th cosines. You should real the Cantrall family history there is a book printed way back on it.
      Good luck with your Book .

  2. editor says:

    Ms. Brown: You can print out anything on SangamonLink. If you want to see the other SangamonLink entry about Cantrall, simply type “Cantrall” into the Search Entries box at the top right of this entry. (I never have figured out a way to delete the earlier entry mentioned above.)

  3. Gary R Beyer says:

    Hi Nicole! I’d love to share what I have along with some photos. My email address is – shoot me an email so I can reply directly with what additional information I have!

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