Virginia Blair Presentation, April 28, 1974 - Page 2 of 3.
|The first William had come to America in 1738
from Ireland settling in Albermarle County, Virginia. Here he acquired land, but
disposed of it when he moved his entire family to North Carolina in 1741. Locating
in Tryon County, they immediately became involved in activities against British
domination. They were part of the Tryon Committee of Safety organized in 1775.
There were 48 members; two of them were Whitesides. On April 19, 1775, the
same date on which Paul Revere took his famous ride, these patriots signed the "Minor
Declaration of Independence".
The colonies were faring badly in the northern area in the Revolutionary War. Muzzy says "It looked as if the southern states were lost in the patriots cause, but on October 7, 1781, several regiments of backwoodsmen from both sides of the Alleghenies caught the British force of 1200 loyalists at King's Mountain near the northern border of South Carolina and annihilated in the bloodiest battle since Bunker Hill". There were seven Whitesides in that battle and numerous other relatives. Jefferson said of it: "King's Mountain was the turn of the tide. It struck terror in Cornwallis' army and led eventually to his defeat and surrender at Yorktown, October 19, 1781".
And so, in 1793, they came to New Design. William, the father and leader, built a fort on the road from Cahokia to Kaskaskia and called it Whiteside Station. Here his large family lived and some of them spent their lives there.
Immediately the family became involved in local activities. Some of them moved from Whiteside Station, John coming to St. Clair County where he homesteaded land. His grandson, William Lot Whiteside, was granted land adjoining this in 1817. At that time, he lived on the Old Collinsville Road, not far from the Messenger Cemetery. In a tiny house, since razed, a group met on June 14, 1806, to organize a Baptist congregation. In 1809, a log meeting house was built on the northwest corner of the cemetery and called the Richland Creek Baptist Church, the oldest Protestant church in St. Clair County, [the] Pastor was David Badgley. A small branch of Richland Creek flows at the foot of the hill and I'm sure it was used by the congregation for religious rites. The members included many well known pioneers. A list reads: