Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

September 30, 2013

Residents dedicate new tombstone honoring Effingham County's first settlers

BEECHER CITY — If Griffin Tipsword, the first white settler in Effingham County, had walked up on the large gathering that celebrated a tombstone dedication for him Sunday afternoon, he would have turned around and walked away.   

Kevin Robertson, who has studied Griffin’s life extensively, says his great-great-great-great-grandfather was a simple man who would have shied away from such a spectacle.    

“He would have thought the first headstone put up for him was too elaborate,” said Robertson, referring to the small headstone that signified his burial site.

Griffin settled in the area in 1815 and passed away in 1845, the same year as his wife, Ruth, added Robertson. Referring to the simple times of the day, such festivities or the designation as the first settler in the area would have been beyond the scope of Griffin’s day-to-day life.    

“He would’ve walked on past if he saw all this,” said Robertson. “I don’t think he knew at the time that he was the first settler. People back then didn’t put a lot of thought into that kind of thing.”    

Tipsword has often been described historically as an outdoorsman after his time serving under General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. Their path to settle in Illinois stretched from the East Coast, winding through Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky. During his time in the wilderness hunting deer and co-existing with various Indian tribes, Griffin is said to have known Daniel Boone, according to Robertson. After encountering some resistance from Indians in Southern Illinois, the family fled north to where they settled just south of Beecher City, said Robertson, whose mother was a Tipsword. Having to change the family name from Sowards to Tipsword, which was necessary to evade identification by hostile Indians, actually led to a unique historical pinpointing of all people currently named Tipsword, he added.    

“If your last name is Tipsword, you came from Ruth and Griffin Tipsword,” he said.    

According to Charla Fischbach, who led the fundraising effort to buy a new headstone and is also a Tipsword descendant,  the name Tipsword was also taken because “Griffin always saw himself as the tip of the sword for the western migration.” With the cemetery near where Griffin settled down a gravel road in a remote part of the countryside, the natural setting would probably still appeal to the frontiersman. The area around his family’s burial site is heavily wooded, which would have been perfect for Griffin, who “enjoyed the solitude of nature,” said Fischbach.    

Many re-enactors, including Illinois Society Sons of the American Revolution and those who dressed in early 1800s attire, made it quite easy for the large crowd to step back in time.    

“In school, I was always a history buff,” said Robertson. “This made history personal.”   

The headstone that now identifies Ruth, Griffin and their children has an engraving on the back that signifies their trek across the country — from the Appalachian Mountains they crossed, to the Ohio River they floated down into Southern Illinois, to the log cabin they built from Central Illinois timber upon settling the area.    

“Griffin always liked living on the edge of wilderness,” said Fischbach. “His family put everything in a wagon and took off for parts unknown.”    

Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or tony.huffman@effinghamdailynews.com.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 2 in court on meth charges Jackson Adams Daily News Two individuals arrested on methamphetamine charges in Shumway appeared in Effingham County Circuit Court Tuesday. Tara L. Devoe, 18, of Shumway and Nathaniel S. Sparks, 23, of Beecher City both appeared with counsel before a

    April 16, 2014

  • Effingham eager to attract Pinnacle TONY HUFFMAN Daily News Pinnacle Foods is considering an expansion its operation into the former Fedders building. The project will bring up to 25 full-time jobs to the area. The City of Effingham is looking to make that expansion more appetizing wit

    April 16, 2014

  • Dieterich school meals to cost more Jackson Adams Daily News DIETERICH -- Parents can expect to see some higher costs at Dieterich schools in the next school year. Dieterich Superintendent Carrie Jackson said one of the more notable changes in fees will be noticeable in school breakfas

    April 16, 2014

  • Cathy-beach closed.jpg Beach conditions worry EWA

    Effingham Water Authority is putting the operator of Lake Sara beach on notice after health code violations have kept the beach closed for the past couple of years.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Soybeans favored over corn

    The United States Department of Agriculture is projecting that farmers nationwide will plant more acres of soybeans this year than ever before.

    April 15, 2014

  • Water service to be interrupted for some Effingham residents Tuesday

    Water service will be interrupted along the following streets, starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday to repair and replace water main valves.

    April 14, 2014

  • Grant to make Dieterich sidewalks more accessible

    A Dieterich pedestrian accessibility project will receive $800,000 as part of transportation grants being given throughout the state.

    April 13, 2014

  • Farming accident claims life

    A Mulberry Grove man was killed instantly Saturday when a tractor he was driving flipped over on him while working on his property.

    April 13, 2014

  • Hodge.jpg Drug enforcement focus of new ISP commander

    Illinois State Police  Zone 7 Investigations Interim Commander Kelly Hodge will now head two districts as commander of Effingham-based District 12 and Carmi-based 19.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nicole Dominique.jpeg Opinion: A pointed lesson

    Kids, gather around. I want to tell you a story about why you’re not being careful enough with knives.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.