Iman family notes


David Badgley - preacher friend



The Return of Jacob Stookey


  Inventory of Illinois Eymans


dot Early Illinois Census Findings


  Abraham's Land












To the right is the Daniel Stookey homestead built 1802 as it appeared in 1835 - from "Descendants of Simion Stookey I, II and Daniel I", by Walter C. Stookey, 1936

Eymans to Illinois

Imans and Eymans were early pioneers arriving in Illinois near the turn of the 19th century. In 1796, Abraham is thought to have made his first journey to explore the area for possible homesites. That summer it seems he stayed over while others scouting the area returned to Hardy with positive reports. It's thought that Abraham stayed in order to plant parts of the land he was to claim. He settled first somewhere near what was then called "American Bottom", a lake-filled region of the Mississippi river which changed considerably with subsequent engineering. The area was in Southwest Illinois, quite near the spot where St. Louis Missouri emerged.

Abraham was not the only Eyman to head to Illinois in the early 1800s. There were others in quantities we don't know precisely. It's thought that Imans were involved in a fateful migration of the Reverend David Badgley who sheperded over 100 settlers to an area he called New Design, and where an early Baptist church was soon organized. Over half of the parties to that fateful expedition are thought to have perished.

By 1815 though, one finds records of a Christopher Iman and a Henry Iman listed as farmers with livestock in the area. They seem to have remained in the area which is today called Monroe County, while Abraham seems to have migrated toward an area SouthEast of Belleville, an emerging German town in St. Clair County. Other Imans appeared on the scene, including Samuel, who appears to have migrated from Rockinham Virginia. In 1828, a Christian Iman born about 1799 married a Mary Whiteside in Monroe.

Little is currently known about the precise relationships among Eymans though they obviously knew of one another and were likely closely associated. Children of Henry and Abraham inter-married and were described as "second-cousins". Samuel was a buyer at estate sales upon the death of Christian in 1850. A child of Christian was raised in Henry's family upon the death of his parents. At the death of Abraham, the estate includes notes held in common between Henry and Abraham.

One suspects that there is much to be learned about the relationships beween these people as records are discovered



Abraham Eyman was perhaps one of our most colorful ancestors, though not enough is known about his origins. He lived with Virginia Eymans, married into the Whetstone family like so many Imans, and hailed from Lancaster. He filed for 100 acres of land in southwest Illinois after an early expedition to American Bottom (the St. Louis area) and may have had links to the Reverend David Bradgley, an early 'primitive baptist' and founder of an anti-slavery community called "New Design". He was elected by local farmers to represent them in efforts to get a closer seat of government and later was elected as a Whig Representative for Illinois. A farmer, Blacksmith, carpenter, he was quite literate and we should find some correspondence if we look in the right places. He re-captured and took home to the father a Jacob Stookey who had been captured by Indians nearly fifty years before.

There were other Imans in the area. Christopher and Henry are both listed as farmers with livestock as early as 1815-18. It's thought that our line comes from Christian Iman, born about 1800 (probably Hardy) who married Marry Whiteside in 1828. Mary's family was very prominent in the area, and in American history. General Whiteside had come to Illinois to protect settlers in native uprisings. His family was a member of the first Baptist congregation inland from Eastern territories. (Eymans who went to Ohio and Indiana were sometimes prominent in the emerging Church of the Brethren.)

Missouri Cousins

Imans of Illinois often felt a need for more land, and so families tended to move North in Illinois, or into Millouri, with some family members joining them directly as late as 1815. In the 1830s and after, Imans and Eymans were migrating to America in great numbers and often heading out to settle land wherever they could find it. Many were Mennonites, most farmers, though some laborers. They came from the Rhine in Germany through Holland, or down the river from Switzerland. Some came from the Alsatian part of France, from Prussia, or even from Ireland. They sometimes came as families, but more often as men, women, or children alone. They came to America in steerage and were rarely "cabin class".