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Brief history of Cairo in Russell Township

Brief history of Cairo in Russell Township

As county road 1100N goes west from US 231 north of Fincastle, it intersects with county road 375W, near the intersection of sections 13, 14, 23 and 24 of Russell Township. In the mid to late 1800’s a small community named Cairo was located at this crossroad. It does not appear that this community was ever platted out as a town. The focal point of the area was nearby Schoolhouse #6, and a small scattering of homes and businesses.

One of the prominent families in the area in early days were the family of David Pefley, sometimes spelled Peffley. David Pefley (1792-1869), whose great grandfather Jacob Pefley came from Germany to Pennsylvania about 1765. David Pefley Sr. and/or David Pefley Jr. took out land patents in Franklin Township and Russell Township in 1831. A detailed history of this family can be found in "The Peffley--Peffly--Pefley Families in America and Allied Families, 1729-1938, being a historical and genealogical record" compiled, edited & published by May M. Frost and Earl C. Frost, 1938.

Another of the early families in this area was that of Charles Boles Bridges (1800-1879), who came here from Kentucky in 1834. He was a farmer, then later in life a merchant, operating a store at the crossroads known as Cairo. In his will, probated on March 27, 1879, Charles Bridges left a substantial estate to his wife Rachel O. Bridges (daughter of Robert Lockridge of Kentucky), and generous amounts to his children Robert L. Bridges, William Bridges, Milton A., Bridges, James Bridges, Elizabeth L. Darnell, Dulcena Darnell, Dewitt C. Bridges, Amelia Bridges and Rachel A. Bridges. Robert L. Bridges and Milton A. Bridges own substantial amounts of land near Cairo in 1879. Charles and Rachel Bridges are buried at the Brick Chapel Cemetery, as are many of their family. Some of the later Bridges are buried at the Blakesburg Cemetery. A biographical sketch of Charles Bridges can be found on page 723 of Weiks History of Putnam County, 1910.

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