Cumberland County, Illinois

Barbour Inn

1831 to 1977

Cumberland County
Photo1  Looking toward the N.E. corner of The Conzet House. 
Photo 2  Conzet & wife in buggy.

Photo 3  Construction of the 100,000 Gal. water tank described in Bobbie's article.  1896-97
Photo 4 Captain Ed Talbott's Home
Photo 5
Captain Ed Talbott's Home
Photo 6  Sam Loomis and Jay Hayden
Photo 7  There is a street between the Hotel and Greeks named South Mill St.
I think the barn style bldg west of hotel was the Ewart Lumberyard   My estimate is this was
taken after 1909  (theatre built) and we have electric street lights, (1889).
Photo 8 Tower Closeup picture
Conzet Hotel
Conzet Hotel
Conzet Hotel

1831: Joseph Barbour buys 160 acres for $1.25 an acre from U. S Govt; establishes the Tavern/Inn.

1832: The settlement “Embarrass” (“Natchez under the Hill”) was west near the river. Usher F. Linder’s mother operated a Saloon here.  The Linder’s were from Hardin Co. Ky. and lived 10 miles from Abe Lincoln’s uncle. Usher knew Uncle Mordicai well. 

1834: Barbour donates 12 blocks causing platting of a town.  The Barbour Inn was on Lot 6 Town was named for W. C. Greenup who also donated land for the village.

1835: Usher had married and moved to Greenup and met Abe Lincoln for the first time in Charleston.  As circuit riding lawyers they became fast friends, and tried law cases as partners many times. The Linder family became the first permanent residents “Up the Hill.”

1835: The Inn was sold to Greenup, and Lot # 7 to Sam Cissna who sold out within 6 months to a Mr. Harrison

1836: Harrison, who in turn, sold to Wolfe’s within 2 years. The Wolfe family along with James and Charlotte Ewart emigrated to Greenup from Ohio.  When the Sig Lustre murder trial was conducted in the old school (Court of Justice), located on the Admiral K. Bosworth site, (now Ted Latta’s home) Usher F. Linder stayed with the Bosworths, since he was a cousin of Mrs. Sarah Cook Bosworth.  Lincoln lodged with the Ewarts.  James Ewart had a son named James who married Laura Bosworth.  As a wedding gift, Charlotte gave Laura, her daughter in law, the quilt/cover that Lincoln used.  James II ran off and left Laura and she removed to live with her daughter Mrs. S.L. Levering in Terre Haute.  In hopes of tracking down their family and perhaps getting so much as a picture from a successive owner, I visited the Terre Haute Historical Society. I located them in the city directories, but lost them in the 1920’s, thus no further stories about the quilt Lincoln used.

1838: A judgment against Mr. Greenup resulted in a Sheriff’s sale and Lot # 6 went to the Porter family. 

1839: The Ewarts donated 40 acres of land as an addition to the town.  The Nat. Road is on its way to heavy traffic.  No one can prove the authenticity of tales from the old times that the Barbour Inn was a Stage Stop, but plausible, of course, was due to the “Old Pike’.  However, I have heard of two others in town, one a few miles east, and the one in Jewett.  With stops being in stages of around 10 mile apart, we might ask “Who’s on First”? 

1847: At some point, in the intervening years, the corner property was acquired by Ed Talbott who had married the widow Jane Wolfe.  In the early day’s properties and businesses changed ownership with great frequency, being sold and returned then resold; mainly due to taxation and mortgaging.  With the unity of Wolfe’s and Talbotts, Ed undertook the Hotel business and constructed the “Greenup House”.

1852: “Room and Board” was evidently not Capt. Ed’s cup o tea for after 5 years he sold out to John and Amanda Sheplor. Talbott always retained his title of Capt; due to the fact that he assembled and led the Illinois Volunteers of Co. B of the 123rd Infantry during the Civil War. Talbott was a man of means and influential, often monetarily, in the securing of most every important Greenup enterprise, including the railroads and schools. Following the hostelry he constructed the “Cumberland Mills” where the Palestine Road entered Greenup, near the railroad crossing and Depot. “Talbott’s Addition” to the Village of Greenup included everything from the York Road south to the railroad crossing and east of the second road, to be named Mill Street. His magnificent home was erected where the Ettelbrick home now stands.  In all my recollections, I was apparently too young, or too interested in boys, to remember it when it burned down, possibly in the late 1920’s or mid 1930’s. However, it was a show place and the most impressive of any Greenup home that I have pictures of, or have seen. What we think of, today, as being the place where the Palestine Road entered Greenup known now as Ettelbrick Drive and, when it was laid out, crossed the tracks at the foot of the hill, winding its way south easterly past the old Arch Feltner (later Bob Kingery’s) homestead appears to be in error.
    Several years ago, in hopes of finding some semblance of the old Mill’s existence, John and Martha Neese and I made two treks down there. We feel it was located on the North hillside but found no proof, however my history chronology notes that a dam was built to hold water in for operating the Mill.  What we did find, a few feet west of Ettelbrick Drive, was a creek bed, with parts of the old Palestine Road bridge foundation, a dump site, an old swimming hole, and a 6 foot deep concrete flume, that we used to walk through when playing in the neighborhood as children. What we came home with was a few rusty spikes, a handful of rocks, sore feet, a bad case of poison ivy and an unsolved puzzle.

1854: Sheplor’s also had a short reign at the hotel. In two years time they sold out to Charles Conzet Sr., except for a 33 x 15’ frontage, divided off the northwest corner of Lot 7; purchased by Robert W. Houghton, a former Terre Haute journalist and practical printer.

1856: Houghton edited a small weekly paper for a brief period, then moved to, and helped develop, and establish, the city of Mattoon. Here, he started its first paper, “The Weekly Independent Gazette” in a small shack at 1800 Broadway. I believe this site on Lot # 7 held other succeeding newspaper concerns, probably the “Greenup Tribune” published by Daniel Marks. The press for this paper was brought overland by Ox team in 1855.  It was moved to Toledo where it lasted one year and our County was without a paper until 1859 when James E. Mumford came from Ohio and founded the “Greenup Expositor”. The Proprietor engaged a “Knight of the Stick” (typesetter) who made up a list.  He solicited subscribers by wandering through Cumberland, Clark, Jasper and Effingham Counties, taking as payment coonskins, other pelts and anything that could be swapped into money.  My notes of 1860 states that the Expositor was sold to Flavius Tossey and re-named “Cumberland Democrat”, located one door west of Sheplor’s Hotel. I also believe that there was a well here and the site of one of our first Post Offices.  To continue with lot # 7, in less than a year it went to John W. Williams; then to Ed Meeker, who along with John and Benny Sheplor were Stage drivers on the National Road.  Meeker married Henrietta, Conzet’s daughter, thus bringing the two lots together.  Henrietta recalled serving, as a girl of sixteen, Abraham Lincoln, Usher F. Linder and several other associates and noted persons of the day.  Platters of food were heaped on the long dining room table and served family style at a charge of .25 cents for adults and .15 cents for children. As to Lincoln signing the guest register, I was told this book came into the hands of Floyd Jobe.  So drove to Charleston for information from his son Byron.  He had not heard the story; another dead end.

1870: In addition to 13 or more hotels I have located in Greenup, plus rooming houses and the many individuals who rented a room to a lodger, we have our sister city of Pleasantville with a relay stop in the west end of town at the large home of Isaac Jewett.  As the settlement moved eastward and was named for Jewett, “The Jewett Inn” became the Stage stop.  Simon and Abigail Lyons were proprietors here, and, for a time, leased the Greenup establishment.  In my mother’s day the “Jewett Inn” was known as “Bersig Hotel.”  In 1888 a boarding bill for 46 days with 64 meals was $10.00.

1889: The succession of Conzet’s had a 48 year reign with Uncle Charlie and Charles Jr., assisted by various other family members.  In 1889 Eliza Conzet employed S. M. Harper as proprietor.  Harper also had a Hack Line and met all trains.  Fare to the Depot or other places in town was .15 cents; round trip .25 cents  Drummers arrived by rail and merchants could view their wares displayed on the dining room table or in the Sample Room.

1891: Conzet undertook an extensive remodeling project, moving the original portion of the Inn to the rear and designing an entirely new front of white weatherboard with scroll work trim, a veranda and scalloped awnings.

1895: Hitching posts lined the street and by 1895 the historic old well on the corner had been pumped nearly dry and there was talk of opening one to the west of the Ewart Lumberyard which was just west of the Hotel.

1897: We got the 100,000 gallon “Big Kettle” (water tower).

1899: Feb 9 and Aug. 22 Cyrano de Bergerac signed the Hotel guest register.

1901: My mother in law and sixteen siblings of the John Pinkney Ewart family have passed away, and with them has passed the knowledge of “Pink” being a downtown hotel keeper, however, I’m satisfied that he owned the remainder of the block west of the Conzet Hotel.  In addition to his lumberyard, one of my notes reads: “Ewart Hotel,” corner of Cumberland and Franklin, the theater building. (in 2009 Wilson’s antique Storage site).  Ewart did own the “Junction House” located across the railroad tracks from the original Depot.  Our Historical Society has a picture of it, courtesy of Bill Wylde, on our restored Depot wall

1902: The “Conzet House” became the property of J. B. and Sarah Bell, owners of the “Bell House” in Casey; they ran it for ten years.

1908: Although it had suffered several fires and was rebuilt throughout the years, the “Junction House” burned down for the last time in 1908.

1909: Pink Ewart built the “Ewart Opera House” on the western corner where his downtown hotel stood.  Was this hotel also consumed by fire?  No one will ever know.  “Wait for the Wagon” and we’ll all take a ride.  The order of the day was:  Load up the wagon with the wife and “young’uns, drive to town, register for a nights lodging at the hotel, board the horses at the Livery Stable across the street, take in a show at the Opera House and, next morning, shop for supplies and return to the farm.  The average number of roomers during this period was 20-25 daily.

1912: In 1912 the Garrett family, who owned two hotels in Mattoon, moved to Greenup and bought out the Bells.  The establishment operated under the name “Garrett Hotel” for 32 years.  It became a favorite meeting and dining place for clubs and organizations.  The food service remained available until the late 1930’s.

1914: Rough cement was laid to replace the board walks.

1915: A dedication ceremony was held to commemorate and mark the site of the old “Barbour Inn” with a monument sponsored by the citizens of Greenup.  The date of the Inn is incorrect, however.  The citizens did not do their homework, for they missed the mark by two years; the stone’s face reads that Greenup was founded in 1836.  The date should be 1834.

1943: Ina Winnett sold her “Coffee shop” café and bought the “Garrett Hotel” which, after six months, turned over to her brother Lee and Isa Winnett, and it became “Hotel Greenup”.  Additions to the two story structure could be ascertained through various kinds of lumber, masonry and workmanship,.  In investigating the building and removing wallpaper in Room # 4 crayon markings of “Hall-1837” were seen, according to Mr. Winnett, who believed this was a relative of Abe Lincoln.  One room was named the “Lincoln Room” which featured a solid maple antique bed that, it is said, Lincoln slept in.  All of the 17 upstairs rooms and some on the first floor were rented, with portions of the five downstairs apartments being converted into the Winnett’s living quarters.  Upon purchase, the white weather-board was covered with red brick veneer siding.  The last meal consumed in 1969 in the old dining room was Thanksgiving dinner for a large family gathering.  Lee Winnett retired in 1977.

 The members of the Cumberland County Historical Society were extremely desirous of preserving one of the most historic sites on the National Road however, lack of funding prevented the salvation of the 146 year old structure, and with its demise the distinction of being the oldest hotel west of the Appalachians fell to the Archer House in Marshall.  For a time the lot became an automobile display lot and is now owned by the Village.  It is now the site of the restored 1870’s Depot and 1895 Johnson Hotel and Livery, containing the Historical and Genealogical Museum. It is the focal point of Greenup, as witnessed by tourists and shutter bugs worldwide.  But nostalgia prevails.  The destruction of the original building, felled by the machinery of modern man is call “progress”.  The memory left of old “Barbour Inn” within its walls is called “history”.
 This is a work of many hours of research.  Any errors I leave to a future historian to disprove.

Contributed to Genealogy Trails by
Bobbie Claire Goodman

Greenup, IL
July 22.  2009
Some photos Contributed by Bobbie Goodman
Some photos are from a batch taken at the same time. 
Presumed to be 1896-97. Submitted by Bill Wylde

The village of Greenup established its town around the old Barbour Inn. With its demise Monday, October 30, 1972, many citizens interested in historical lore were reluctant to see the 141-year-old landmark go.
Viewers reminisced about the days when Concord Coaches, drawn by six horses covering ten miles per hour, stopped to pick up passengers at the old roadside tavern and inn.
Many fascinating stories are told concerning the celebrated stagecoach stop on the old Cumberland Trail. According to tradition, when Tom and Sarah Bush Lincoln's 13-member family group left their Indiana home in 1830,  the caravan traveled via the Palestine Road and made their overnight encampment nearby. Al one time 21-year-old Abe offered his services lo assist a
group of men building a well a native rock on the northeast corner of the premises.
According to an old guest registry, Lincoln was a visitor at the hotel on several occasions. He gave a campaign speech, when running for state office, under a poplar tree on the old Ely place
which adjoins the hotel site on the south.
Hitching posts along the street, as well as a horse watering trough under the pump at the historic well, were a necessity.
Old wallpaper in room four, removed in redecorating, turned up the Crayola markings of an autograph reading: "Hall— 1857," thought to he a relative of Lincoln's.
Old-timers claim it was a stage stop as early as 1815. The destruction of the building, felled by the machinery of modern man. is called progress. The memory left of the old Barbour Inn within its walls is called history.
(Excerpt from the Book Cumberland County 1843-1993)

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