Villages of Cumberland County
From "The Counties of Cumberland,
Jasper and Richland, Illinois"
Historical and Biographical, ©1884
There was little at an early day to mark any particular site as especially advantageous for a village. There was a great rage in platting villages throughout the West during a few years preceding 1837. The system of internal improvements projected by the State gave rise to the most extravagant estimate of the immediate development of the country to follow, and villages were platted in the most isolated situations on the banks of streams that now have scarcely an existence, and wherever one of these enthusiasts happened to have a plat of land large enough to hold the possible village. At this time there seems to have been but little conception of what changes the ordinary development of the country would bring, and none at all of the wonderful influence of railroads. It was therefore natural that the first beginning should be along the National road.
Greenup [The editor is indebted for the principal matter for this sketch from a contribution to the columns of the Cumberland Democrat] .....Ira B. ROSE was a resident of Martinsville, and impressed with the advantages likely to accrue from the national road secured land just west of the village of to-day, and in November, 1833, laid out the village of Embarrass. This little town consisted of thirty-eight lots, spread out on either side of the road. Rose was not calculated to be successful in such an enterprise, and while temporarily promising future growth it was eclipsed by its stronger neighbor laid out in the following year. It continued for some years, however, jocosely called Roseville, or Natchez under the hill, and at one time boasted of a store by BRAGG & SOLENBURG, a saloon by W. STALLINGS, and the first tavern, which was conducted by the mother of the celebrated lawyer, Usher F. LINDER. The LINDERS became citizens of Greenup in 1833, coming from Hardin county, Kentucky, in a one-horse wagon.
In 1834, Joseph BARBOUR, caused the village of Greenup to be platted. It is located on the national road near the point where it crosses the Embarrass River, 45 miles west of Terre Haute.
It assumed the title of Greenup from a man of that name, who owned a large part of the land, upon which Greenup now stands, and who donated quite a number of lots to the original town, in order that a town might be established here. And he it was, it seems who laid off the first lots in Greenup. But Thomas SCONCE was the first Surveyor who laid off and reported a plat of this town, which he did on the 5th day of March, A.D. 1834. Greenup and BARBOUR, EWART and AUSTIN, also AUSTIN and COOK respectively, made additions to this town, by way of granting lots. The first lot that was laid off in Greenup is in Block one, now known as the "New Public Square," on the northeast corner of said block. From the original town plat, as made out by Mr. Sconce, who was then County Surveyor of Coles County, we obtain the following description of the original town of Greenup, viz." ... beginning at the east side of the new public square, the lots number respectively 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., westward, reaching lot No. 25, when they change to the north side of Cumberland Street (it being that part of the "National road" which runs through Greenup), commencing in the west at lot No. 26, numbered eastward to lot No. 50. There is but one tier of lots south of Cumberland Street on the original plat. Just north of the tier mentioned which lies north of Cumberland Street, and running east and west, is an alley fourteen feet wide. North of this alley is another tier of lots, beginning on the east at lot No. 51, running westward to lot No. 70. Then north of these is Pleasant Street, north of Pleasant Street are four more lots, through which running east and west is another alley, except the block farthest west, known as the "Old Public Square;" the last mentioned alley does not run through this block. Still north of the last mentioned tier of blocks, running east and west, is Elizabeth Street. North of Elizabeth Street is one more block. The whole number of lots in the original plat is 102. Then commencing on the west side of the "New Public Square," and running northward, is Mill street. One block west of Mill Street and running northward is Franklin Street. One block west of Franklin Street and running northward is Jefferson street. One block west of Jefferson Street and running northward is Washington Street. The constitutes the original Greenup. But as has been stated, since this was made out several additions have been made to the town, some of which have been mentioned.
The following references appear on the original plat, as made out by Mr. Sconce, viz.
1st. The town is situated on the southwest quarter of Section No. 2, Township No. 9 north, of Range No. 9 east, of the third principal meridian, as designated on the plat.
2d. The survey of the lots was made according to the magnetic needle, the variation at the time being considered at 70 degrees and 30 minutes east.
3d. The length and breadth of the public square and the several lots are given in feet, on some one of the lines in figures.
4th. The corners of the blocks or squares have stones firmly set in and visible above the surface.
5th. The width of all the streets and alleys are expressed in feet on the plat.
6th. The lots, streets and alleys are laid down on the plat on a scale of half and inch in a chain of 100 links, or 132 feet to an inch.
7th. The number of each lot is expressed on the plat, near the centre thereof, and each is made regularly neumatical, amounting to 102 lots.
This plat was recorded by J.P. Jones, on the 7th day of May, 1834, he being at that time Recorder of Coles County, and on it appears a certificate of Nathan ELLINGTON, dated May 21, 1852, who was at that time Circuit Clerk and ex-officio Recorder of Coles County.
For many years Greenup slumbered in the bosom of its woodland home, among the hills, in apparent solitude and oblivion, making but few and small improvements. Considering the distance to general markets, and the fact that Greenup merchants were compelled to haul their goods in wagons from those far distant points; and the further fact that this country was so thinly settled, the progress of Greenup, from a village to a city must of necessity be slow and tedious. Away back in that early day, when Cumberland and Douglas counties formed part of Coles County, all that vast region of country was so thinly settled that there were but five voting points in the entire county of Coles. Somewhere near Arcola on Okaw River was the northwestern point of holding elections; Ashmore was the northeastern, Charleston the center; Woodbury the southwestern and Greenup the southeastern. On the day of a county election the voters would assemble at these respective places for the purpose of casting their votes. On the erection of Cumberland County, this village was the most important point in the new division and for a number of years was the de facto county-seat. A store was established here and many a pound of coffee, sugar and the like were carried away from Greenup by the early settlers, who purchased these articles with the pelts of the various wild animals that infested the forests of southwestern Illinois, owing to the scarcity of money, and the market value of these peltries.
As county-seat, the village drew large numbers from the various parts of the county, and as Greenup could boast of no "Town Ordinances"then, or police force with which to control the fury of those who saw fit to enter into pugilistic combat, it often witnessed bloody noses and black eyes, on those election days, occasioned by supernumerary decoctions of home-made whisky. Greenup knew Jim EATON in the prime of his manhood, and in Greenup many of his notable feats were performed, which, to an ordinary man, would seem an impossibility. Greenup was a favorite point with EATON, and often while there he has held up a barrel of whisky in his hands and drank from its bunghole. EATON had many a combat there in early days, and was never but once unsuccessful. He disposed of some of George WALL's fingers with his teeth. But he met his fate one day in the person of a showman who struck him in the forehead with a two-pound weight. He did not live long afterwards.
But the elections were not all that drew people to Greenup, for it will be remembered that people had to eat in those days as well as do they at this time. And owing to the scarcity of mills then, and to the fact that Greenup afforded one, many a man made visits to Greenup for the purpose of having corn converted into meal. The mill to which we allude was built by Messrs. Greenup & BARBOUR in 1832, and was run by water power. It was a grist and a sash saw mall, and was located on the river bank, near where the Charleston and Greenup road crosses the river northwest of town. This remarkable old mill was run respectively and successively by Messrs. Greenup & BARBOUR, Mr. WILLIAM, Mr. HELLEMS, Mr. R. STINSON, Mr. John SNEARLY and lastly, by Traders. It ran on and did work until 1856. It fell down sometime afterward, and some of the old mill stones are yet to be seen about the site. In those days it was a very common thing for a man to throw a sack of corn upon the back of an ox, and hie to the Greenup mill. Big boys, who were compelled to wait a day or two for their grinding, were frequently seen sitting around a little fire with their bare feet in the ashes, eating parched corn, the while. It was in the fore-bay of this old water mill that James B. FREEMAN fell, during the time that John SNEARLEY was running it.
Mr. GREENUP, it seems, was an engineer on the Cumberland road about the time it was laid out, and after the road was duly located, he took a job of furnishing the government with bridge timbers, and particularly for the bridges across the slough and river, west of Greenup. Mr. BARBOUR put up this mill, the primary object of which was to saw out these timbers. But the mill and its builders, as well as those bridges, are now known only in the past.
The greater part of the history of Greenup, up to the time it became the county-seat of Cumberland, is pretty much the same old oft repeated story, of rough western pioneer villages, such as is so well known to many of the people of the West. From this time forward the village prospered. The National road brought new life with its increasing travel, and it grew to be a noted point to travelers far and near. There is no doubt but Greenup is well remembered by hundreds of persons who were on their way to the golden hills of California, in search of their hidden treasures, whose good fortune it was to partake of the hospitalities of Greenup, on their wearisome journey. Charles CONZET, Sr. is undoubtedly remembered as the landlord of the Greenup House. Doubtless meals obtained from his well loaded table, by the hungry traveler, thirty years ago, have helped to establish that reputation as a landlord which Uncle Charley so justly deserves.
He came to this country from Philadelphia, in 1848, and located three miles east of Greenup, where he pursued the occupation of a farmer for about five years. He then bought the Greenup House from John SHIPLOR, and entertained the public here for years. The building was erected by Captain Ed. TALBOTT, who sold it to John SHIPLOR. It is located on the southwest corner of Cumberland and Franklin streets.
Closely connected with this house is a rather laughable anecdote, for an account of which we are under many many obligations to its hero, Mr. J.W. LATTA. The incident to which we allude occurred a short time before Mr. CONZET became proprietor of the house, and during the time that Simon LYONS was running it. Mr. LYONS, it seems, was entertaining a temporary boarder, who was at the time a citizen of Missouri. This boarder was projecting a portable photographic office, which was to be carried on wheels. Some short words passed in a little unpleasantness in the bar-room, between the boarder and Mr. Harvey GREEN, who was then driving stage. Whereupon Mr. LATTA said "no gentleman or Christian will insult me, and a blackguard shall not." At this, Mr. GREEN informed him that he could not step out upon the porch and say that. Out they went. But when Mr. HARVEY saw hands placed upon pistols, in casing pockets, performed a series of back steps, the other the while advancing, until Mr. LYONS cried out "Harvey! Harvey!" Whereupon the latter threw up the sponge and said, "now you quit and I will." Of course, his prudence at this juncture was commended. And while joked for his bravery, in apology he said "I didn't know but the d*****d old flint lock might go off." Hence the origin of "flint lock" in this locality.
Among the early prominent men of Greenup, should be mentioned A.K. BOSWORTH. He came to this village in 1841, with a small stock of saddlery and harness, and began business here. He made the first set of harness that was ever made in Greenup, and sold them to Mrs. ROBINSON who took them with her to Kentucky. He was married to Miss Sarah L. COX, a cousin of Usher F. LINDER, in 1842, and for several years taught school in Greenup for 8 and 9 dollars a month, to which we have already alluded, in another chapter. He removed to Alton in this State in 1847, but did not remain there long, and came back about the time this county was organized. After he went out of the office, to which we have alluded, he went into the mercantile business in a house on lot No. 15, in the old town of Greenup, and frequently sold goods for coon skins, and bought "buck horns" for 25 cents per pair. And, says he, "I lost money like blixen on them, too, at one time." He afterward bought a lot just south of the EWART House, lot No. 10, where he put up a shed and sold goods in it; afterward went in with Clark S_ARKWEATHER, and sold goods in the house now occupied as a Lodgeroom by the Masons, who afterward built the old frame house on lot NO. 2, which soon fell into the hands of A.K. himself. In 1860 he took sides with Mr. Lincoln, and was beaten for County Clerk by M.B. ROSS. He then turned his attention to the dry goods business, and continued in the same until about 4 years ago, when he took in his son Ross. They run the business under the firm name of A.K. BOSWORTH & Son, until recently when they sold out to Harrison JONES and John J. KELLUM. Mr. BOSWORTH visited the armies during the war. He relates many interesting anecdotes of earlier times, and particularly of things that occurred in an early day in Greenup. And when the county-seat was removed to Prairie City, the records, of course, being in Greenup Mr. BOSWORTH, at that time being Clerk, entertained an idea that the records could not legally be removed and he disputed the right of removal in some hotly contested law suits. But they availed nothing, and when they came over from the City with wagons after the records, it was indeed a fearfully exciting time, which very nearly resulted in a battle. Mr. BOSWORTH refused to go over to the City to act as Clerk, but was willing to act if the records were left in Greenup. Consequently, A.G. CALDWELL was appointed to fill the vacancy, which he did. But Mr. BOSWORTH's passions subsided, and he was elected to the same office afterward.
In 1852, a railroad line was surveyed through from Terre Haute to Saint Louis, nearly coincident with the Vandalia line, which was called the Bruff road. This road slept on for 17 years, during which time the citizens of Greenup and of the various points along the route were often highly elated at their prospect for a railroad, and quite as often discouraged. This line passed through Greenup, on what is known as Railroad Street, in Addison's addition to the town of Greenup, and is about 4 blocks north of where the railroad now is. This railroad prospect failed and the hopes of a railroad died out until the present road was surveyed, and other and better men assumed the contract for its construction. It will be remembered that the Saint Louis, Vandalia & Terre Haute Railroad was built in 1868-9, and that the first train of cars that ever visited Greenup, was during the holiday of that winter. It was a proud era in the history of Greenup, and the anticipations of many of Greenup's citizens knew no bounds. New additions were made to the town, new lots laid off, large increases of population, buildings went up daily, and Greenup for once was aroused from her long, deep slumber, and to a newness of life and activity. And as the number of trains increased and their screams echoed up and down the valleys of Cumberland and Jasper, a new disposition seemed to settle over the people, and to assume the place of the dull monotonous despondency that had so long lowered over them. New farms were cleared up, and a spirit of industry, energy and enterprise shown that had never before been manifested in this locality.
Greenup has always been a good milling point, and its later business has taken this direction and pioneered the way to steam mills. In 1854, J.& W. MADISON established a saw mill in Madison's addition to the town. This was the first steam saw mill ever established in this part of the country. The MADISONS run this mill until the latter part of 1857, when they sold it to Mr. Henry STUMP. STUMP ran it until 1861, when it was sold to other parties and removed to other parts. During the time Mr. STUMP ran the mill, Puny PHELPS attached to it a carding machine, which (with great credit to Mr. PHELPS) performed admirably, and called to Greenup considerable wool trade. This carding machine, it will be remembered, was no small enterprise, for the reason that flax hackles and spinning wheels were the principal means of obtaining clothing, and no very great attention was devoted to the raising and improvement of sheep. Hence, Mr. PHELPS might very justly be denominated the hero of the new era of the clothing department in this county. But the mill and PHELPS' carding machine have passed away and others have taken their places.
Some time in the latter part of 1853, Captain Edward TALBOTT built what is now called the "Cumberland Mills." They are situated on the St. L., V. & T.H.R.R., at the point where the Greenup and Palestine road crosses the railroad, in the south part of town. Mr. TALBOTT ran them himself until 1855, at which time he took in Warren COVILL as a partner. This partnership continued about two years, when Mr. COVILL sold his interest back to Mr. TALBOTT. In 1859 Mr. TALBOTT took in Mr. Benjamin TALBOTT as a partner, which partnership continued until the latter part of 1864. Mr. Edward TALBOTT went into the 123rd regiment of Illinois Volunteers, as Captain, in 1862. During the time the Captain was in the army, the mills were leased to William LESLIE, of Marshall, who managed them for about 2 years, the remainder of which time they were managed by a Mr. STUMP, who ran them nearly a year. Sometime in the fore part of the year 1865, Messrs. HUFFCUTT and MILLER rented the mills and managed them for nearly 2 years. Mr. TALBOTT now runs the mills himself. For some considerable time after their construction, a carding machine was attached to the mills and did excellent work.
In 1854 a saw mill was built in the northeastern part of town. This mill was built by Philip WOLCHIMER and Mahlon VOTAW. These men ran this mill until some time in 1858, when it was purchased by Mr. ARTHUR. Immediately upon the purchase by Mr. ARTHUR, he attached to it a carding machine, and has since then continued to run it, doing excellent work, and much of it.
A famous fishing resort in an early day was near Greenup, and so wonderful a place could hardly be omitted in a sketch of this village. Just west of the village and east of the old bridge near the Cumberland road, is the "slough" or the "Greenup fishing rink" in which thousands of pounds of fish are sometimes left, after the abatement of high waters. An incident is mentioned of a fishing-party to this slough, organized by Dr. RHODABOUGH, during the time he was a citizen of Greenup. The Doctor is very fond of fish and as fond of the sport of catching them; and is never without a seine. So the Doctor, in company with Mrs. RHODABOUGH, William WYLDE and lady, A. CARSON's lady, George DAY and others started for the slough. The Doctor being affected with rheumatism concluded he would not go into the water (the greater part of which was mud of the worst character), and that he would look after the unlucky fish when caught. So it was arranged that Mr. WYLDE and George DAY do the seining (the seine being small and easily managed), so in they went and made a drag taking over a hundred very fine buffalo fish and other kinds, some of which weighed thirty pounds. But before they reached the bank (the water being shallow), the Doctor beheld the fish and forgetting his ailments, plunged into the mud and water over his knees, and began slinging the fish on the bank, with an eagerness incomprehensible to any but those who have had experience in such business. And it is said that the eager Doctor slung them quite often against the excited ladies who stood upon the bank. After taking nearly a thousand pounds of fish from the slough, they repaired to their homes with high anticipation of the morrow's breakfast. This fish story would not perhaps compare with those of the New Testament, but it is nevertheless affirmed to be true, and such is the oft repeated history of the "slough," by various parties, from year to year.
Owing to the great increase of population in Greenup, occasioned by the establishment of Greenup as a railroad town, and to the independent dispositions of the sons of Erin, who worked upon the road in 1868-69, it became necessary to establish a guardian of the public peace in Greenup.
Accordingly on the 23d day of January, 1870, a meeting was called in Greenup, for the purpose of taking steps toward the incorporation of Greenup, as a town, and to take the vote of the people for or against incorporating. On motion of John J. KELLUM, S.W. QUINN was elected President of the meeting, and upon motion of David CARSON, Jr., Peter SHADE was elected clerk of the same. Officers were then sworn who proceeded to take the yeas and nays on incorporation, which vote resulted in 47 years and 4 nays, giving yeas a majority of 43. It was determined at this meeting to hold an election on the 30th of January, 1869, for the purpose of electing a Board of Trustees. On that day the following persons were elected Trustees for the town of Greenup, constituting Greenup's first Town Board, viz.: A.J. EWART, P. SHADE, Charles CONZET, Jr., T.L. NORMAN, and G. MONOHON. This Board held its first meeting on the 4th day of February, 1869, and elected G. MONOHON, as its President, and P. SHADE as its Clerk. On the following day, viz.: February 5, 1869, the first code of ordinances (7 in number) were drawn up and passed. On the last mentioned day it was determined to hold an election on the 18th day of February, 1869, for the purpose of electing a police magistrate, on which day A. COOK was elected to that office, and shortly afterward Z. DAVEE was appointed police constable.
The village is now greatly disturbed over the question of the relocation of the county-seat. The constitutional requirement of a three-fifths vote seems to put it beyond the power of Greenup ever regaining the distinction of being the seat of justice, and yet its enterprise seems to be waiting for this improbable event. A large public square is left unfenced and unimproved; business is generally satisfied with rather inferior frame buildings,and the spirit of Micawber seems to have possessed the larger part of the community.
Woodbury -- This village lives now only in the memory of the older citizens and in the name of the township. It was platted on land belonging to William C. GREENUP and George HANSON, in 1835. It was named for George WOODBURY, who built a cabin here as early as 1831. In 1833, Levi BEALS came here, built a cabin and was soon after appointed postmaster. The mail carrier stopped at his place, and occasionally travelers. Subsequently, D.T. WISNER settled here and kept a small store and post office for years, but the place is no more recognized as a village. Originally, it consisted of fifty-two lots, 26 on each side of the National road, and divided into 5 blocks by 3 cross streets, 33 feet wide, denominated First, Second and Third streets. There is some prospect now that certain railroad shops may be located at this place and the abandoned site, or the near vicinity, once more assume the importance of a village.
Johnstown. [Many of the facts for this sketch are derived form a publication by George E. Mason] -- This is one of the oldest settlements in the country. As far back as 1827-28 John TULLY had a little water-mill and distillery above Johnstown on the Muddy. To this mill the few settlers of the country repaired to get their grists ground and their jugs filled with whisky. About the year 1835 TULLY started a horsemill, which he ran when the water was too low to run his water-mill, and he had to go out among the settlers in search of corn to grind, and David BRUSTER says that when he was quite a small boy he remembers TULLY coming to his father's (Mr. Davis BRUSTER's) house on the old THRALDKILL place in Kickapoo Point for corn. TULLY staid at Johnstown until about the year 1837 or 1838, when he sold out his mill and distillery to Bob DIXON and Walter PATTERSON, who laid out a town and named it "Sheffield." They also opened a small store, buying their goods to stock it from Bill TODD, of Charleston. DIXON and PATTERSON remained in Sheffield until about the year 1840, when they were closed out by MORTON & DECKER, of Charleston, into whose hands the land upon which is the town is located, the mill, distillery, etc., fell. The town then went down, and the people moved away to other localities. About the year 1846 Alfred ALEXANDER purchased the town site, and shortly after his son, John W. ALEXANDER, revived the town, changing its name to "Johnstown," after himself. About the year 1851 or 1852 DEAL & JOHNSON brought a stock of goods to Johnstown and commenced business, and from this small beginning our friend "Zay" has risen to be president of the First National Bank of Charleston, and a wealthy and influential man. Here Abe HIGHLAND also formerly cut quite a figure. At the time DEAL & JOHNSON opened their store a post office was established at the place. The early days of Johnstown is replete with historic interest. It was at TULLY's mill that the early settlers met to decide their differences and hear the news from the outside world. And later, it has been the scene of many fiercely contested political battles between contending candidates, and Ed NORFOLK relates that in 1860 when Uncle Jimmy CUNNINGHAM and Jim ROBISON were candidates for Congress, and Henry RHOADS and Phil WOLCHIMER were candidates for sheriff, he went to Johnstown on election day and found all the "groceries" chartered by the Whigs; so seeing that the day was lost unless something was done to check the current against the democracy, at once purchased several gallons of whisky and some cups, and, placing a table in the middle of the street, opened a "free grocery," and triumphantly carried the day for his party.
Originally the village was platted on the northeast corner of the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 27, Township 11 north, Range 8 east. It consisted of 12 blocks of 8 lots each, and a public square the size of one block. the streets were 60 feet wide, and in its beginning was planned for a thriving village. The character of modern development, however, has left the village stranded in the interior. It has a store, a few shops, and two or three members of the professions to keep up the character of a village.
Jewett [Many of the facts for this sketch are derived from a publication by George E. Mason] -- This village dates from the old town of Pleasantville, which originally was situated on the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 24, and the east half of the northeast quarter of the same section in Township 9 north, Range 8 east. It consisted of 116 lots, 3 rows deep on the north side and four on the south side of the National road. Pleasantville was platted in 1844; Thomas SCONCE, surveyor; plat recorded June 12, 1844; Otis PERRIN, recorder. Jewett is on the Cumberland, or National road, is five miles south of Prairie City, and five miles southwest from Greenup. Hull TOWER, the proprietor, an old-time Methodist preacher, lives at Oakland, Oregon, having emigrated about 1850. The town was once noted as a great stage station, stopping place, etc., when Owen TULLER had the line from Terre Haute to Saint Louis. Until recently the widow BEALS occupied the old homestead a short distance from town, which was once an "ancient hostelry."
After the "Brough Survey" collapsed and the T.H.A. & ST. L.R.R. was built, the stage and telegraph line was discontinued, property became almost worthless, and many of the old settlers abandoned the town for more prosperous localities. DR. L.C. CHURCHILL, Levi BEALS, Joseph RUSSELL and John LAUGHTER, the LAWSONS, old John GILLHAM, Dan MARKS, B.R. RUSSELL, now in California, Meredith and Wiley ROSS, of Prairie City, were old settlers in or near Pleasantville. The HAMILTONS, John IVENS, 'Squire CULLUM, the RUSSELS, Jim MORRISON, W.L. TROSTLE, "Old Jack PICKERING," John HOLLINHAN, RUSSELL, MORRISON and LAUGHTER, and others are among those remembered as early citizens who abided by the old place.
In the early days the surrounding country was heavily timbered, and many a buck fell beneath the unerring aim of Uncle Jo RUSSELL, John TALBOTT, "Old Jack PICK," and others. Pioneer sports were freely indulged in, consisting of shooting matches, horse and foot races, pitching quoits, etc., interlarded with practice in the "manly art of self-defence." The junction of the National and now Prairie City roads, on the east bank of Muddy, one and one-half miles from town, was a great stamping ground for the pioneers from all parts of the country in the olden time. Among the names of the champions in pugilistic encounters were John KINGERY, Joseph BERRY, Sr. (both dead), and old Dan NEEDHAM, who yet lives to recount the history of their exploits. David T. WISNER, at Woodbury, two miles southwest of Pleasantville, occupies a prominent place in the history of those times. He removed to Missouri and died there in 1872. Old Jo KIRKPATRICK, who dropped dead in the streets of Charleston about 1859-'60, formerly resided about one and one-quarter miles west of town, and was burned out by his enemies who were too cowardly to seek revenge by other means. The old landmarks have many of them disappeared. The Churchill buildings have lately become a wreck. The LAUGHTER Mill, which was so prolific of litigation in 1859-'60, has long since disappeared, as has also the old log church and schoolhouse.
Among the early business men were Daniel MARK, Colonel and Morgan RUSH, Benjamin RUSSELL, Meredith ROSS, and some others, but the change of the county-seat and the development of railroads elsewhere sapped the prosperity of the place, and it was almost deserted. Up to the advent of the Vandalia Railroad everything had about flattened out and dilapidated, until its building revived things in 1869-70. In 1870 Jewett was platted; W.H. RISSLER, surveyor; E.S. NORFOLK, recorder. Addition (connecting the town to Pleasantville) platted 1873; recorder, Andrew CARSEN. Millions of feet of lumber have been manufactured and shipped at this point, walnut and white oak being the principal kinds shipped. Until the building of the P.D. & E.R.R. was the shipping point for Toledo and the western portion of Jasper County, and the town rapidly took on an appearance of business thrift. This road, however, made some change, but Jewett is a pleasant village, with several good stores, churches, schoolhouse, and the usual complement of shops.
Toledo - The county-seat was platted in 1854 by Nelson and John BERRY, Lewis HARVEY and Wm. P. RUSH. Its site covers the geographical center of the county, and was originated for the purpose of accommodating the seat of justice. The site was not especially adapted for a village, but its location made it more desirable than other locations which were competitors for the distinction. The early growth of the village was rapid. The courthouse was erected in 1857 and the county records removed in that year. This necessitated the presence of the County officers at least, and the town rapidly built up. Wm. P. RUSH was the first storekeeper, and LEE and NORFOLK the second. Business gradually increased, but not with large strides until after the building of the Peoria, Decatur and Evansville Railroad in 1877. Three years before this the village business and inhabitants are given in the Democrat as follows: "The village contains twenty business houses, namely, BRUSTER & Sons, two stores, dry goods, clothing, etc., and provisions and groceries; Rono LOGAN, groceries, etc.; Miles MOORE, liquors and confectionaries; Mike BARRETT, dry goods, groceries, etc.; Mrs. Mary BRADSHAW, milliner and dress maker; Charles HANKER, furniture dealer; Mat HURST, saddler; E.B. JONES, drugs, medicines and groceries; D.H. WOHLER, boots and shoes and boot-maker; Levi ROSS, groceries, provisions, confectionaries and ice-cream saloon; R. BLOOMFIELD, dry goods, clothing, notions, groceries, etc.; Sam HARVEY, groceries, provisions, restaurant, etc.; LOGAN & ESKRIDGE, dry goods, clothing, notions and groceries; R.M. & C.O. RAY, liquors, confectionaries, tobacco and cigars, etc.; DR. J.H. YANAWAY, drugs, medicines, paints, oil and groceries; A.A. LOVINS, hardware, tinware, farming utensils, stoves, etc.; MRS. MCCARTNEY, milliner. We have one No. 1 hotel, the 'Brown House,; two printing offices, the Cumberland Democrat and the Mail, six physicians, ten lawyers, and four preachers. We have one excellent grist mill, with as good a miller as there is in the State. There are 82 families inside the incorporate limits of the village, namely, those of William SHAW, H.B. DECIUS, L.L. LOGAN, J.H. YANAWAY, Thomas WHITE, Rev. J.. BAKER, Charles SELBY, Wiley ROSS, Harris ORR, Josiah WHITE, Lewis BROOKHART, Alfred PAYNE, Andrew CARSON, W.H. MCDONALD, R. BLOOMFIELD, Joseph MORGAN, C. WOODS, H.T. WOOLEN, Henry RHOADS, J.L.B. ELLIS, M. HURST, G.E. MASON, W.D. MUMFORD, A.J. LEE, A.G. CALDWELL, Amos STEAD, R. LONG, Wm. BROWN, Wm. PETERS, M. BARRETT, Mary BRADSHAW, Chas. HANKER, E.B. JONES, D.H. WOLERS, Levi ROSS, D. BRUSTER, Polly WHITE, N.. SCRANTON, John PRATHER, A.A. LOVINS, Mary BRIGHT, John LEE, D.B. GREEN, J.W. MCCARTNEY, Betty MCCARTNEY, Samuel HARVEY, Al ROSENCRANS, Henry GREEN, D. CORDERMAN, Joel SMITH, W. HUMPHREY, Simony LEE, Wm. LOGAN, Flavius TOSSEY, Ed. MILES, Vol CLARK, Chas. AKINS, John BERRY, F. BAICHLEY, W.H. SHULL, Anna HANNAH, Bob RAY, Mary CROY, M.B. ROSS, W.L. BRUSTER, Sam MCMAHON, R.E. & M.L. MUMFORD, Elias ARMOR, Wiley SHAW, Rev. SCHLOSSER, Tom BREWER, Tom SHIPLOR, Coleman RAY, Lewis HARVEY, D.B. GREEN, Wm. RICHARDSON, Geo. STARGER, --- [sic] HAYS, Perry COX, Wm. COTTENHAM, Levi BREWER.
On the 10th day of June, 1866, a public meeting was held at the courthouse to determine whether the town should be incorporated or not, and a viva voce vote taken, which resulted in the affirmative. Whereupon, R. BLOOMFIELD was chosen president of the meeting and James E. MUMFORD, clerk, who were duly qualified to poll the legal vote of the town, which resulted in the unanimous voice 'for incorporation.'
The Clerk then posted up notices of election for the election of 5 trustees of said town, and upon the 23d day of July, 1863, an election was held, and the following persons chosen trustees, viz..: R. BLOOMFIELD, M.B. ROSS, Joel SMITH, J.H. YANAWAY, and L.L. LOGAN. Upon the first meeting of the Board, which took place on the 28th day of July, 1866, it was found that L.L. LOGAN was ineligible to serve as trustee on account of not having resided in the town long enough, and that R. BLOOMFIELD was also ineligible on account of being Probate judge of the County; whereupon a new election was ordered to take place on the 8th day of August, 1866 for a new Board, which resulted in the election of Joel SMITH, M.B. ROSS, D.B. GREEN , James E. MUMFORD and A.G. CALDWELL, as trustees of said town, who were duly sworn in as such, and on the 21st day of August the Board met, organized and elected D.B. GREEN, President, A.G. CALDWELL, Clerk, and M.B. ROSS, Treasurer, and appointed C.S. MUMFORD, street commissioner, and Thomas WHITE, town constable.
The village has been considerably embarrassed to secure a name that would harmonize all interests. The original name of the town, Prairie City, was found to conflict at the post-office department with another village in the Sate, and in establishing an office here hit upon the name of Majority Point as its designation. This, of course, became to the outside world the name of the village, but to the citizens there was a distinction which legal forms required to be maintained. In the early part of 1874, a meeting of the citizens was had to remedy this defect. There was a wide difference in the choice of names, but the issue was finally narrowed down to a choice between Toledo and Majority Point, the final vote being 39 in favor of the former and 17 in favor of the latter. A few weeks later the postoffice of the village was named in harmony with the new name adopted. Subsequently when the railroad was put in operation, by some grave carelessness the material for this station was printed Majority Point, and now the three names of Prairie City, Toledo, and Majority Point vex the citizen and confuse the stranger.
In reporting this change of name, the Democrat takes pains to give the significance of the new name as follows: "The word 'Toledo' is of Hebrew origin, and in the original language, is pronounced "To-le-doth', the interpretation or meaning of which is 'generations,' families,' 'races.' The Latin pronunciation of the word is 'To-le-dum,' the Spanish pronunciation of the word is 'To-la-do' the English pronunciation of the word is TO-LE-DO, and means that the generation of men now inhabiting this town and vicinity have changed the uncouth and inappropriate name of our town and post-office, to one of historical note, that is easily spelled, easily pronounced, and will be easily adopted.
"The Spanish City of TOLEDO is noted for its superior swords and its famous 'TOLEDO BLADES' have a world-wide reputation. The Spanish Republic recently presented President Grant with one of these elegant swords, through its former patriotic President, Senor Castelar. So we have a name for our town not only of ancient and significant origin, but one of historical interest." The editor seems to have overlooked the special appropriateness of the name, if another legend which is asserted with a good deal of assurance be true. It is said that when the "oldest inhabitant" arrived at this spot, he said to himself, as he gazed upon the heaving mass of green, emerald-gemmed, as it were, with frogs: "Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, since I have seen this great country, flowing with mud and frogs." Suddenly addressing himself to the little frogs, who had been sitting on their hunkers, gazing at him in unaffected astonishment, unable to speak a word, he said: "My children, what do you call this land?" And as he turned, each little frog flipped its hinder-parts into the air and chippered gleefully, "T" leedo!" "T" leedo!" And ever afterward the name of that place was called Toledo.
The village is now showing evidences of rapid improvement. The business houses are disposed about the courthouse square. Thus far, frame buildings have satisfied the merchants, some of which are of a somewhat antiquated pattern, but the coming year will see considerable improvement in this direction. One or two fine brick blocks are projected and material now being placed preparatory to building. The grist-mill is to be replaced by a fine brick one, near the railroad, with all the modern improvements. A fine iron fence about the public square will soon add to its attraction,a and with the impetus given by a new courthouse and jail, urgently needed and certainly soon to be built, the county-seat will not only be the capital, but clearly the metropolis of the county. In the matter of internal improvements, but little has been attempted. Sidewalks have been built, and are in fair repair; the streets have been "piked" and drained by open ditches; stock is allowed the liberty of the city, and hogs are especially numerous and annoying. There is now a movement to abate the latter nuisance, and when effected there will be at least more inducement to ornament enclosures and keep the margin of the walks in neat appearance.
Neoga - This village is pleasantly situated on the Illinois Central Railroad, upon the western confines of the county, and boasts of being the largest town in population in the county, as well as one of its principal commercial centers. Situated, as it is, in the midst of one of the finest agricultural regions in the State, with an energetic, go ahead, intelligent farming population to back it, it has all the material advantages abundantly supplied to contribute to its commercial and social prosperity. The village was platted in 1856, on land owned by the Illinois Central Railroad, and BACON & JENNINGS, speculators, who had purchased the land. The name is of Indian origin, and signifies "a deer." The station bore this name before the town was thought of, but is quite appropriate to the region where deer were once so numerous. The first train of cars ran through the place August 1, 1854, and killed a bull belonging to S. PARKS. It appears that the bull was of a belligerent disposition, and had learned to lock horns with everything that crossed its pathway. But this was an untried experiment, and he found himself worsted and set to the pastures of his fathers to graze in pieces. The first dwelling-house erected in the village was built by Dr. G.W. ALBIN. The first business house was built by Wm. HOUSE, who also opened the first store; the first hotel was built and kept by C.D. GREEN, Sr; the first postmaster was G.W. ALBIN; the first Justice of the Peace was Philip WELCHEIMER, the first sermon ever preached in the place was delivered by Rev. Joseph WILSON, of the Presbyterian Church; the first station agent was Capt. HEUTIG; the first church was built by the Presbyterians in 1854; and the first saloon ever kept in the village was owned by T. PATTERSON. In 1868, the Methodist denomination erected a fine place of worship, and the Baptist in 1872. The following interesting sketch of the Presbyterian Church is written by Rev. Mr. WILSON, and is given place, as follows:
"The Presbyterian Church of Neoga originated in two parts. The first part was organized April 5, 1851, by the Rev. John H. RUSS, of Alton Presbytery, at the house of John G. MORRISON, at Long Point, about 4 miles southeast of Neoga. The spot was central to the population and had begun to be a center of business. The original ten members of the church were, Jno. G. MORRISON and Eliza N. MORRISON, his wife; James H. MORRISON and Sarah C. MORRISON, his wife; Nathan GOULD and Martha R. GOULD, his wife; Sarah MORRISON, Margaret MORRISON, Tirzah MORRISON and Mary Ann PARKERSON. Nathan GOULD and John G. MORRISON were chosen elders. The church voted to be called "The Presbyterian Church of Long Point", and to apply to the Wabash Presbytery to be taken under its care. Rev. John H. RUSS supplied the church for two years, one fourth of the time; Rev. Joseph WILSON was supply for one-half of the time, from the Spring of 1854 till October, 1866, with the exception of a few months between September 1857 and April, 1858, during which Rev. Samuel WARD was supply for the whole time. During the ministry of Mr. WILSON, a church building was erected at Neoga, in size 53 feet by 36, at a cost of nearly $3,000. It was dedicated April 29, 1860, during a session of Wabash Presbytery with that church. The sermon on the occasion was preached by Rev. W.R. PALMER, of Danville. The Presbytery changed the name of the church to "The First Presbyterian Church of Neoga." The change was made because Neoga had been established as a station of the central Railroad, and was the more promising church center, as well as business center. October 1, 1865, Rev. James B. BRANDT became supply pastor.
"The other part of the Neoga church was organized September 30, 1857, by Rev. James MCDONALD and Elders I.J. MONFORT and David DRYDEN, committee of Palestine Presbytery, with these 13 members, viz.: James WILSON, Ann WILSON, Jonathan B. DRYDEN, Nancy F. DRYDEN, Hannah m. DRYDEN, Andrew H. GRAY, Mary GRAY, Joseph GIBSON, Maria J. GIBSON, John H. MCQUOWN, Robert M. HUNTER, Sarah HUNTER, Sarah C. GREENE, James WILSON. John H. MCQUOWN and Joseph GIBSON were chosen elders. Rev. R.K. LILLY, of Champaign, supplied the church one-half the time during the first year; Rev. John ELLIOTT, of Pleasant Prairie, one half the time for about 3 years. Rev. Nathaniel WILLIAMS, of Mattoon, was supply when this church united with the First Church.
"Up to June 9, 1866, 15 years, the First Church of Neoga, N.S., had received 110 members, and the Church of Neoga O.S. had received 48 members. At that date the 2 churches became one, anticipating the re-union of the two branches of the Presbyterian Church by about 4 years. According to previous arrangements, the elders of both churches resigned; the united church voted to connect with Wabash Presbytery. Seven elders were chosen, four from the N.S. part of the church and three from the O.S. part. They were: John. G. MORRISON, Edie STEWART, Alexander B. EWING, William CLARK, Joseph GIBSON, John R. MITCHELL and James EWING. Rev. John B. BRANDT was chosen minister. He remained until October 1867. Rev. Wm. B. FARIS succeeded him in December 1868, and remained until his death, November 4, 1871. December 28, 1871, Rev. N.S. DICKEY was engaged for one year. December 31, 1872, Rev. J.M. JOHNSON became pastor, and still remains. The rotary system of eldership was adopted by the church. The present number of members is 142."
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Neoga is contributed as follows:
"The first class was formed in the village schoolhouse, about the year 1856, by Joseph BISHOP, a local preacher from the Long Point neighborhood, 4 miles southeast of the village, and who died in 1862, and J. WESLEY TURNER, an exhorter from the same neighborhood, who is now a physician in Fairmount, Ill. The class was quite small at the beginning, but soon increased in numbers. Among the first members were: J.T. WALLER, now an engineer on the Louisville & Nashville Railway; Fletcher CLEM, Miss Maria WALLER, Mrs. Wm. BELL, Miss Sarah E. BELL, Miss Hannah BELL, Mrs. Lucretia DAVIS and Wm. HIGGINS. S.T. ALLING, a physician, came to Neoga about this time, and became station agent for the Illinois Central Railroad, which position he continued to hold for about 20 years. Mr. and Mrs. ALLING were members of the Methodist Church, and may truly be said to have been the mainstay of the church in Neoga for many years.
"Rev. O'NEIL was the first preacher in charge, and preached in the village schoolhouse every two weeks. After the Presbyterian brethren erected their house of worship, it was allowed to be used by the Methodists for some years, but afterwards, for some reason, its use was denied them. They then used the schoolhouse, the hall and the Illinois Central railway depot until the building of their present house of worship in 1868. The following ministers, among others, have served the Neoga Methodist Church: Rev. Wm. MITCHELL, two years; Amos WEEDEN, one year; J. MUIRHEAD, one year; J.T. ORR, one year; Charles VANTREESE, one year; Isaiah VILLARS, two years; Rev. MORGAN, one year; J.F. MCCANN, one year; R.C. ST. CLAIR, one year; Salem HEDGES, two years; Peter SLAGLE, one year, J.W. ANDERSON, two years; Uriah WARRINGTON, one year; Frank POORMAN, one year; J.O. COLLINS, two years. H.C. TURNER is the present pastor, who is just closing up his second year. The Methodist Sabbath-school was begun in 1868, with Dr. S.T. ALLING, now of Champaign, Ill., as superintendent, which position he continued to fill very efficiently for about 10 years. C.D. GREENE was his successor, and he in turn was succeeded by Hamline JONES, the present superintendent. The school is in a flourishing condition.
"During the pastorate of the Rev. Isaiah VILLARS, 1867-1869, the present house of worship was begun and completed. It is a substantial brick structure, situated on the west side of the village; dimensions, 36 feet by 60 feet, and cost $5,000.
"The society numbers at the present time about 75 members, and is in a prosperous condition. It is only just to record the fact that in the erection of the church building, DR. ALLING, Henry REYNOLDS, uncle "Jacky" YOUNG and others bore a leading part in bearing the financial burdens incurred in the enterprise. The present Board of Trustees consists of the following gentlemen: Joseph M. YOUNG, C.D. GREENE, Wm. H. SINGER, Hamline JONES and Wesley HICKERNELL."
Neoga takes the lead among the villages of the county in neatness, in the moral tone of its community, and in business thrift. The men who first pitched their tents here, and were principally instrumental in forming the early character of the community, were men of culture, and the popular taste leads to the support of schools and churches, of public improvements, and to oppose those institutions that lead to a contrary result. Stock is closed out of the streets, the sidewalks are in good repair, and the village has a thrifty appearance. Among the earliest citizens of the village are named: P. WELCHIMER, G.W. ALBIN, S.D. PARKS., Wm. BELL, John YOUNG, C.D. GREEN, H.G.M. REYNOLDS, Thomas TEMPLETON, James HART, Simson KINGERY, James KINGERY, James EWING, J.G. MORRISON, Wm. HIGGINS, S.T. ALLING, J.R. ROGERS, N.C. GREENE, S.D. TAYLOR, Samuel DRYDEN, Thomas LACY, etc.
Situated upon the earliest line of railroad constructed through the territory of the county, the village had unrivaled advantages to grow, and considering that its origin was more of a speculation than a demand of the situation, it has made the most of its advantages. In 1875, the business of the village was summed up as follows: "2 drug stores, 3 dry goods stores, 1 hardware store, 2 confectionery stores, 2 millinery stores, 1 furniture store, 1 banking house, 2 grain establishments, 1 tailor shop, 2 shoe shops, 4 blacksmith shops, 1 silversmith, 1 mantuamaker, 2 wagon shops, 2 steam flour mills, 2 hotels, 1 livery stable, 1 printing office, 3 sewing machine offices, 1 jail house, (not very often used), 3 lawyers, 4 ministers.
"Neoga can boast of two as good grist-mills as there are in the country. The Neoga mill, owned by SINGER, WALLER & CO., is a fine establishment, and has a capacity of 50 barrels of flour, and 100 barrels of meal, per day of 12 hours run. It is supplied with a steam dryer for corn meal, a flour packer, and other modern improvements. The Neoga City Mills, owned by D.W. RAGSDALE, is also a very fine mill, and is noted for its good. work." There are now 12 business houses, and a grist-mill with a capacity of 60 barrels of flour, and 120 bushels of meal per day. It is provided with the roller process. The village was incorporated April 17, 1869, by an act of the legislature.
Rainsburg -- This was located near Shiloh Church, in Sumpter Township, in 1854, by Henry WILLIAMS. It consisted of 80 lots, and was projected as a competitor for the county-seat in the election of 1855, but it failed of this notoriety and lapsed into its original rural simplicity.
Centerville -- was another of the competitors for the suffrage of the people in the county-seat contest of 1855, and was platted on the northeast quarter of Section 26, in Township 10 north, Range 8 east, in 1854. The ambitious village had its site in Sumpter Township, near the "Muddy Bridge," and is often referred to as "Bildad," though Ichabod is written over its history.
Hazel Dell -- Following the chronological order mixes the living with the dead; those whose existence was only in the records, and others that remain to this day. Of the latter class is the village mentioned. It was platted in 1866, on the D., O. & O.R. Railroad, in Crooked Creek Township. It consisted of some 60 lots originally, and has in the meanwhile grown beyond the original limits somewhat, and is a thriving village with its complement of stores, shops, churches and grist-mill.
Janesville - is a village on the county-line, in Cottonwood Township. It was laid out in 1879, by John FURRAY, on the line of the railroad - P., E. & E., on land belonging to him, in Coles County. At the same time, S.P. REED laid out an addition in Cumberland County.
Diona -- is another village grown up on the county-line in Union Township. It has never been platted, but it is one of those spontaneous growths that arise in response to the demand of an agricultural community for a rallying point. A post-office and store, with a cluster of houses, mark the spot.
Bradbury -- is the name of a post-office
in the central part of Cottonwood Township. A store, two dwellings and
a blacksmith shop, mark the spot.
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