Blairsville Township, or congressional township numbered eight south, one east of the third principal meridian, was first known by travelers along Big Muddy river. The French traders came to visit Indian camps along its banks, and built a rough shelter for their periodic visits. The township was heavily wooded, save for the section of Six Mile prairie that extended into the northwest corner, and the north edge of Eight Mile prairie that crossed the southern line of the township.
Charles Humphreys was the first American to settle in the township when he built a ferry at what is more commonly known as Humphreys’ ford. The mill and village of Blairsville followed. The settlers of the township voted first in Crab Orchard precinct, then in that of Eight Mile.
Sparse settlement gave the township no officers save school trustees until the county division. December 3, 1838 the Franklin county commissioners’ court named Isham Tyner to succeed Henry Perry in that office. James Russell and William Nolin acted with him to supervise the school lands, section 16. When the Williamson county commissioners’ court had its first meeting, Mr. Tyner was also named road commissioner for the township.
Only with the railroad and coal development did Blairsville Township assume its modern aspect. The Illinois Central and the Missouri Pacific brought the development of mines and towns at Cambria, Dewmaine, Colp, Clifford and Bush. Weaver is another coal village, while Hurst is the only city in the township.
(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939, on sale at the Williamson County Museum)