The Lusk Ferry – Kaskaskia Trail crossed Saline River in section 17 of Creal Springs Township. Thomas Griffith settled here about 1800 and became a legend in Williamson County. He was the first man in Williamson County records to commit murder. It happened on the knoll where Marion Square is now located. Griffith spied a bear and while preparing to shoot it he saw an Indian aiming a bow at the same animal. He shot the Indian, then the bear and took the bear. After this murder the Kaskaskia Indians did not hunt in the Saline River or Crab Orchard Creek bottoms, although hunting was excellent there.
Griffith was alive during the 1818 Franklin County census and was registered. The national census of 1820 shows his widow and six children.
Griffith was joined by a man named Parker, who hated Indians. Parker hunted Indians like one would hunt ground hogs. He killed them for pleasure; the pleasure of seeing them die. He also shot one white man and excused himself by saying he thought the man was an Indian. Milo Erwin describes this man as, “heartless, having no feeling for his fellow man”.
Richard Ward was the next settler at the ford crossing the Saline River. He erected a water powered mill on the Saline. This mill served the community for a number of years and became the gathering place for farmers in the area on Saturdays, Mill Days. These neighbors of Ward petitioned for a post office and Ward’s Mill Post Office was opened August 11, 1874 with Daniel M. Lewis as postmaster. The post office was closed October 24, 1887, when New Dennison Post Office was opened.
(Ghost Towns of Southern Illinois, by Glenn J. Sneed, published 1977)