HISTORY OF DOUGLAS COUNTY, IL
F.A. BATTEY & CO., PUBLISHERS, 1884.
BY H.C. NILES
REPRODUCED FROM THE ORIGINALS AND CONTRIBUTED
LARRY M. BURMEISTER,
“Remember, I pray you, that you are in partnership with all labor, and that all who work belong to the same family.”
ORIGIN OF NAME.
THE name of this township is derived from that of the village of Newman, which was named in honor of B. Newman, Esq., when it was laid out in 1857.
LOCATION AND BOUNDARIES.
At a voting precinct of Coles County, Newman was called Brushy Fork, and contained all that part of Township 16 north, Range 14 west, which belonged to Coles County, viz.: The west half; all of Township 16 north, Range 11 east; the east half of Township 16 north, Range 10 east; the northeast quarter, nine section, of Township 15 north, Range 10 east; and the northwest quarter of Township 15 north, Range 14 west; also the north half of Township 15 north, Range 11 east; in all, sixty-three sections of land, representing an area at that time of about fifty-six square miles. It had then fourteen sections which now belong to Sargent, and it had eight others, which are now included in Murdock.
The township as now constituted is bounded on the north and east by the county lines, on the south by Sargent Township, and on the west by Murdock. It consists of the west half of Township 16 north, Range 14 west; all of Township 16 north, Range 11 east; the easternmost twelve sections in Township 16 north, Range 10 east; Section 1 of Township 15 north, Range 10 east; Section 6 of Township 15 north, Range 11 east; and Sections 4, 5 and 6 of Township 15 north, Range 14 west. The sections in Township 16 north, of Range 11 east, are only three-quarters of a mile in width, and the whole
Congressional Township consists of six sections only, it appearing that the Government Surveyors, having finished Range 10 in the usual manner, found themselves only three-quarters of a mile from the system of ranges, counting from the Second Principal Meridian in Indiana, and which had been extended west to this point. The surveyor, therefore, having completed Range 10, arbitrarily named this “gore” or narrow township, Range 11. The sections in this part of the narrow range contain about 500 acres each. Those in the same range further south have only an average of about 200 acres, the entire Congressional Township being little over one-quarter of a mile in width. This “gore” or strip may have been forgotten or overlooked until the adjoining work was done.
Newman Township, as now constituted, contains 40.38 square miles, the actual number of acres, according to the Government survey being 25,848.38.
The township remained under the name of Brushy Fork until township organization in 1868. It is almost all prairie; good timber, however, occurs in the south part along the banks of Brushy Fork, which is a tributary of the Embarrass River, and which fork, coming in from the prairie in Edgar County in Section 33, Township 16, Range 14, traverses the south part, and leaves the township in Section 1, Township 15, Range 10.
It is, as to high and low lands, about equally divided, a notable elevation called the “Ridge” extending about east and west in the north part. Culbertson’s Grove, in Section 18, Township 16, Range 11, situated upon high ground, has, as far back as any one can recollect, been a conspicuous land mark, and was known as “Big Tow Head.”
In the way of artificial groves, orchards, and miles of substantial hedges, this division of the county has kept step with the music of improvement, and is well up with the procession.
Under the statute, a drainage district was instituted in the summer of
1880. It is situated in the north part of the township, and running westerly about six miles empties into what is called the Jordan, through which waterway the overflow finds the Embarrass River in Camargo Township. The contemplated expense to the district was $2,500 in an area of about 3,000 acres. This district was organized by Macpherson & Macpherson, attorneys for the Commissioners, and belongs alike to Newman and Camargo Townships, being a joint enterprise; it is also the first district instituted in the county under the Legislature authorizing such work.
The land entries in this township, like most prairie in the county, were generally made in 1852 and 1853. April, 1834, Joseph Winkler entered the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 5, Township 15, Range 14; in 1835, David Winkler entered in March the north half of Lot 1, northeast quarter of Section 5, Township 15, Range 14; in 1836, in October, Eli D. Thomas entered the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 31, Township 16, Range 14, which is now in part of the village of Newman; in August, 1847, Joseph Skinner entered the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 32, Township 16, Range 14, and other lands which are in the hands of his descendants at this day.
The present largest land-owner in the township is C.M. Culbertson, of Chicago, some 2,500 acres, the care of which, and the handling of a large amount of fine stock, has since 1864 been in the hands of J.L. Connolly, of Camargo Township; under Mr. C’s management, a large amount of money has been expended in the way of improvements upon this farm; it has about thirty miles of hedges, fifteen or twenty wells, and forty-five or fifty gates.
THE SCHOOL SECTION.
The school section, Section 16, Township 16, Range 14, was subdivided into lots as required by law, the Government subdivisions being preserved. It was made into eight lots, Lot 1 being east half of northeast quarter, and Lot 2 west of it; Lot 8 was the east half of the southeast quarter; they contained
exactly eighty acres each, and were not sold till 1864. Being reported as exactly eighty acres each, indicates either that the surveyor was not on the ground, or if he was, he was under the impression, which certainly obtained twenty-five or thirty years ago, that Government sections were one mile square exactly, and so he worked accordingly, got his starting point and ran around it, making everything square and even. This is the way it looks to a man “up in a tree,” into which elevated situation the best practical surveyors sometimes get.
Among the first inhabitants of this part of Douglas County may be mentioned Enoch Howell, who was one of the Associate Justices of Coles County before the partition of Douglas. He died in February, 1854, leaving a large estate. The Winklers preceded and sold their lands to the Hopkines, James, Cornelius, William and Robert Hopkins being among the best known of the earlier settlers. James Hopkins settled on his present farm, Section 5, Township 15, Range 14, in October, 1841. Robert Hopkins was one of the Judges of Coles County at the time of the separation of Douglas in 1859, and was elected to fill the same office in the new county. He died in 1863, leaving a large unincumbered estate, and his brother, William, is also lately deceased at an advanced age, and was also a large land owner. James M. Cooley and William W. Young arrived in 1853. Young died in 1869. The father of Isaac Skinner came from Vermillion County, Ind., in 1839, and Isaac is, with one exception, the oldest living inhabitant of the township. William Shute came in 1854.
EFFORT TO CREATE A NEW TOWNSHIP.
In 1871, about three years after township organization, an effort by petition was made to create a new township off the north end of Newman, to be called Ridge Township. The petition was politely escorted to the county seat by another in the shape of a remonstrance, and the later prevailed. The idea of acquiring a tier or two of sections off the south end of Champaign County, to enlarge Douglas, has always had good support—the principal argument in which is, however, the convenience of the border people of the other county.
Newman Township has one railroad, being the St. Louis Branch, of the I. B. & W. Railway, which runs through from east to west along about the center of the south tier of sections in Township 16 north, being, however, generally about twelve rods south of the middle of the sections. This had been a proposed road for about twenty years, and for a long time partly graded. The township took stock in the road to the amount of $12,000, voting township bonds for that purpose, payable in fourteen years with ten per cent interest; with the privilege of paying before.
These bonds, in June, 1880, were refunded, and placed with F. N. Tracy, of Springfield, Ill., at a premium of 3 1/2 per cent, and now bear 6 per cent interest. The refunding was negotiated by Charles G. Eckhart, Esq., of Tuscola. The lowest bid was $12,000; three votes were deposited against the refunding, and consequent reduction of the interest. In all well-regulated communities the laggards are forced along with the progress of the community backward.
A proposed railroad from Homer, in Champaign County, to the village of Newman and beyond, was surveyed in 1872 by the corps of surveyors at the time engaged on the proposed Danville, Tuscola & Western, under H.C. Niles. A preliminary survey across the township and beyond was made for a Mattoon & Danville road, and several other lines have been explored; a large amount of time and money were expended upon each, but the prospect of another railroad in this township is, at present, not encouraging. The desirability of a cross road is beyond question; large shippers find a discrimination in freights, which, as a rule, work against their interests and from which extra toll shippers at crossings are almost exempt. Jo Finney and Billy Goldman, of this township, were active and efficient practical workers on the old Danville, Tuscola & Western, and other proposed roads in the county. “Jo” practiced with the instruments, and after awhile he got so that he could “set ‘em up” for the boys, and whenever he did, there was generally a good time.
Prior to township organization, the roads were petitioned for, by the people to the County Court, so-called, consisting of the Judge and two Associates, who, upon granting the road, or rather before granting it, appointed three Commissioners, one of whom was always the surveyor, to view and report to the next term of the board. These roads were often laid, say, 1859 to 1865, over the best ground, without regard to the section lines, even in the prairie. In those days, men were to be found who stoutly maintained that the prairie would never be settled, and it is well remembered that $8 an acre was considered a fair price for open prairie in 1860. James Hopkins, who settled on his present farm in 1841, was, from his intimate acquaintance with the country and the wants of the people, a frequent and active Road Commissioner. He will doubtless remember the time (1860) when he and the little surveyor started to his house after night, from a road job, with about five miles to go. The surveyor had just learned to ride, being a tenderfoot from the East, but was ashamed to own up to it, so he undertook to ride, stirrup and stirrup, with Uncle Jim. He kept up, loaded as he was with saddle bags and tripod, but it nearly killed him, and it was very consoling, after he had a big share of the supper, and was relaxing near a great log fire, to learn that in the ride, Uncle Jim had been riding himself almost to death also, under the impression that the “little cuss with the saddle bags,” had a grand seat, and was as tough as whitleather. Some of the best things in that little surveyor’s memory today are the big wood fire, the good, plentiful and free fare for man and beast, and Uncle Jim.
That night a big snow storm came up, and in the morning the surveyor started for home, intending to go west to Bourbon Village. There were no fences on the prairie for a guide. He rode south till after noon, when he found a man who told him Arcola was nine miles west and one mile north. It was yet snowing heavily, but he got there, and took in Bourbon the same night at 22 o’clock.
These “goagonal” roads have nearly all been changed to conform to the section lines, some by petition, but many of them on the sole motion of the adjacent owners.
THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.
This sect, too, familiarly called Quakers, do not have a large showing in the county; a meeting house, however, stands in Tuscola Township, at north side of Section 1, Township 16, Range 8, where, on the first day and on the fourth day, there is an attendance of from fifteen to twenty. A few of the persuasion reside in Newman, some of whom regularly attend yearly meetings in other States. It is regrettable that many more of this kind of citizens have not been “moved” to settle in Douglas. The writer had his last four years’ schooling at a Quaker school, and his first and best social experience in Quaker circles, all of which might be readily inferred from his general style.
THE CHURCH ON THE RIDGE.
At a point about three and a half miles north of Newman, a church was built by the Cumberland Presbyterians in 1869, at an expense of about $3,500. It was organized by the Rev. Jonathan Cooley, its first pastor. It has a handsome spire, which, with its elevated situation, makes it a conspicuous landmark in the surrounding country.
A good brother says it is the church. Another good brother says, his is the Christian church, and the Episcopalians, in speaking of a member, simply say he is a churchman, of which all outside Xtians can take due notice and govern themselves accordingly.
PHOENIX POST OFFICE.
Phoenix is about three miles north of Newman, and offers facilities to a busy neighborhood. The building of a permanent gravel road from Newman Village north to the Culbertson farms at a heavy outlay, is now being seriously considered, Mr. Culbertson offering to subscribe about one-third of the expense.
VILLAGE OF NEWMAN.
The original village of Newman is situated mostly in the south half of Section 31, Township 16 north, Range 14 west; consists of about forty acres; is bounded on the north by Van Deren street, on the west by Hopkins street,
south by Lytle street, and on the east by a street un-named, which is one block east of the public square. It was instituted by the same company who laid off Tuscola, and at about the same time, namely, November 26, 1857. Tuscola was surveyed in July, same year.
It was named for B. Newman, one of the original proprietors. Mr. N. was a son-in-law of Peter Cartwright, the celebrated Methodist itinerant. At this time, Douglas County had not an existence, but the proprietors preducted that a new county would be formed, that the east and west railroad would eventually be built, and that Newman would finally take a prominent place among the cities of the world, and the masses believed it, and invested accordingly. The progress of the place from the beginning was very slow, the railroad being waited for fifteen years. In the original plat, a park 260 feet square was reserved, but dedicated to the city in 1857, provided a seminary of learning was erected upon it in four years, worth $5,000. During the long weary waiting for a railroad, much of the lands adjacent to the original plat was sold off in small tracts, many of which subsequently converted into minor additions to the town.
T.R. Coffin made the first addition in 1870, which was surveyed by E. Fish, the then County Surveyor. Mr. C. made a second addition in 1873, surveyed by H.C. Niles, and a third in 1875 by the same surveyor. This third addition, with the exception of two blocks, has been this year vacated, and Tuscola has recently made a similar reduction of town lots.
These additions, situated on the west side, were surveyed by the same surveyor in 1873. There are a great many other small additions.
The streets in the original town are certified in the record to be parallel to and at right angles with the line of the “proposed” railroad. This arrangement was not carried out by the railroad engineers, as the line does not pass through the village on a line parallel with anything except the center of the track. The village of Newman now comprises the greater part of Section
31, Township 16 north, Range 14 west, and, like most of the villages, the place has a plentiful lack of monuments from which to extend future surveys, and the Village Trustees don’t care. Newman is yet a village by choice, and is governed by a Board of Trustees, one of which is chosen as President. The city records, that is, the actual proceedings at meetings, do not seem to be available prior to 1876. In this respect, Newman is just like her sister villages, among which the same discrepancy is found. It is a matter of concern that some patriotic City Council or Board of Trustees has not thought it fit to collate in a compact and readable form all the doings of their “illustrious predecessors,” and in this regard it may not be out of place to suggest that if they ever do so, a fair manuscript history compiled by an expert is the one thing needful, for it is hardly possible that, as nobody knows, nobody cares how the foundation was laid for our present situation.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
In 1876, while Isaac Lewis was President, the board consisted of James Gillogly, William Shute, I.A. Mulvane, George White and W.R. Brown, and 164 votes were cast for and against city organization, of which sixty-five votes were for city organization and eighty against. Eleven illegal votes were thrown out, and the scheme defeated by twenty-three. The Village Trustees of 1883-84 are: President, A. Yeager; Clerk, H. Bane; William Winn, M. Garrison, John Watts and A. McGee.
FIRE LIMIT AND FIRES.
A fire limit was established July 7, 1874, within which the village exercised jurisdiction as to the character of the buildings, and Fire Commissioners were appointed, whose duty it was to examine all extra hazardous risks, and condemn the dangerous ones. No fire apparatus has ever been procured, and consequently no organization for the prompt suppression of dangerous fires. Nevertheless, Newman, as is probable enough, being composed of all kinds of live people, has the usual impromptu fire department which is always found to be on hand when wanted. While their labors have not been great, Newman, like all communities, has had her experience in several interesting fires. In 1876, Gillogly’s Hotel, which was situated on Railroad street, directly east of the present Thomas lumber yard, was destroyed.
Several fires of smaller extent have occurred, but the only great effort Newman ever made to successfully rival Tuscola and Arcola in this respect, was in the fall of 1881, when she incurred a loss of about $5,000 in her “best” fire, north of the public square, in which five dwellings and a stable yielded to the flames, despite the best exertions of the volunteer firemen. Newman and Arcola, both without fire apparatus, may well profit by the example of Tuscola, which has had a fire department and apparatus for two years, and not a real nice fire in all that time. As to the value of a regular fire department, what more can be asked?
BOARD OF HEALTH.
In December, 1872, the Board of Health, Messrs. D.O. Root, J.F. Wells and B.W. Hooe, were requested, in view of a threatened spread of small pox, to quarantine against several families. Some dwellings were declared pest houses, the inmates of which were compelled to keep within the premises, and other prompt action checked the spread of the disease, which, though it appeared elsewhere in the county, did not become very alarming.
THE LIQUOR TRAFFIC.
The saloon business had a short recognition from the authorities, in the way of license, to sell intoxicating refreshment! But public opinion, backed by votes and the ordinances upon the subject, were so amended and reamended until the saloonists, not having a leg to stand upon, yielded to the pressure and moved out. The ordinances in favor of saloons were then repealed along about 1875, since which time temperance measures have prevailed. In February, 1878, license to sell liquors was granted to druggists, which privilege, in fact, has not been much abused, and whether an honest druggist has a moral or legal right to sell liquors in good faith to respectable parties has not yet been decided in Newman or anywhere else. It is safe to say that there is not a respectable druggist who would not gladly eliminate from his current business this very annoying branch of his trade, and the question whether a druggist dare leave liquors out of his stock is not as yet to be settled by those good people who don’t know the difference between spiritus vini gallici and aqua lavandula.
No systematic drainage or establishment of grades has as yet been adopted by the village. The board should establish a sidewalk grade, beneath which a builder would set his floor at his own risk. At a trifling expense, a drainage grade could be established, showing the cheapest line of fall in ditching, to which all such work should tend.
Newman has as yet no organized cemetery. The expense and trouble of instituting such a desirable convenience being a mere “bagatelle,” the neglect of it is born of apathy. The preparation and care of grounds under the control of a few of the best citizens would not only be a labor of love, but would amply pay its way by the sale of lots even at a minimum price.
“Perhaps, in this neglected spot, is laid Some heart, once pregnant with celestial fire— Hand, that the rod of empire might have swayed, Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.”
Newman Lodge, A., F. & A. M., No. 369, was instituted June 27, 1861, Dr. W.A. Smith, W.M.; I.W. Burget, Secretary; and Isaac Howard, Treasurer. Lodge No. 469, I. O. O. F., was begun January 10, 1871, with S.G. Rose, N.G.; A.J. Homer, V.G.; James Farley, Secretary; I.T. Davis, Treasurer; G.G. Rose, D.G.M.
The Royal Templars of Temperance, No. 6, was organized March 19, 1879, by W.F. Murphy, C. Rutherford, O.H. Coppock, James Barr, Joseph H. Finney, W.D. Goldman, T.C. Clendenen, H.C. Elliott, R. Thomas and J.M. Vance, Mrs. Vance, Mrs. Jo Howard, Mrs. Goldman and others. The object of the association is, primarily, the furtherance of temperance principles and social enjoyment. The influence of this institution, though lately exercised under organization, is notably perceptible upon the better class of the rising generation, the active ones of the society making it a point to never neglect an opportunity to give a kindly word of warning or caution to the
young or old who are peculiarly subject to temptation. Mutual life insurance, at a practically optional amount, is also a part of its purposes.
A lodge of Knights of Pythias was organized in February, 1879, and is known on the records as Templestone, No. 76. G.W. Williams, C.C.; J.H. Finney, V.C.; J.C. Watts, P.
Council No. 3, Order of Chosen Friends, was instituted here April 27, 1881, by W.J. Gregg, Council Deputy of Paris, Ill. The charter officers were: Harmon Gregg, C.C.; Albert Ashmore, V.C.; R.W. Sutton, Sec.; L.W. McCown, Treas.; D.R. Madden, Fin. Sec.; R.T. Rose, Medical Examiner; Trustees, H. Gregg, A. Ashmore and R.W. Sutton; the object being mutual aid and assistance, and financial relief.
Lodge 2218, Knights of Honor, was instituted May 12, 1880; T. W. Swigart, D.; M. Hedge, V.D.; J.W. King, Rep.; B.G. Bills, Treas. At the present it has about twenty-three members, the object being social enjoyment, mutual assistance and life insurance on the co-operative plan. The lodge was instituted by Harmon Gregg, Deputy Grand Dictator of Illinois.
The Independent Order of Good Templars was instituted about the latter days of September, 1882, to replace a lodge which had formerly been in operation in the village. The organization was effected with the assistance of Tuscola friends of that ilk, and the officers were C.H. Uhler, W.C.T.; Dora Siler, W.V.T.; Thomas Todd, W. Sec.; J.W. King, F. Sec.; T.W. Swigart, P.W.C.T.
The only published may of the village is that found in Brink & Co.’s atlas, which was issued in 1874. In this map, by an error of the engraver, the numbers of the lots in some of the blocks were reversed, leading to errors. A map, certified by the County Recorder, has never been made.
The banking house of Murphy, Hancock & Co., was established in January, 1873, and furnished facilities to business men up to 1879, when a change in the business of the principals taking place, it was given up and the village remained without a bank until May, 1883, at which time the advantages of
exchange were again offered through the establishment of the Newman Bank by Messrs. Durham, President, and Doolittle, Cashier, from Onarga, Ill. This bank is situated in the brick block north of the public square, and in the short time in which it has been in operation, has been duly appreciated by the live business men of the place. Other banks have been experimentally tried and withdrawn.
The first dwelling in the village was built by Hezekiah Howard, on the southeast corner of King and Yates streets, and directly east of the hotel known as the Pemberton House. No vestige of the building remains. The first grocery store was kept by John Stockton, who, by the way, is the oldest inhabitant, and was the first white man to sleep within the bounds of the village. The first dry goods store was started by John Dickon.
The first brass band was started about 1875, the leader being John Watts. It flourished awhile and was revived in 1880, with C.A. Pettit as leader. It consists of ten pieces, and is in demand upon all public occasions when a little “rhythmic disturbance” is needed to fill up the interstices between speeches. In music, generally, the accomplished are so distributed among the various churches, that it is difficult to select the “prominent.” If they have any ambition to be distinguished they all “alike in trembling hope repose.”
MANUFACTURE OF TILES.
A tile factory was established here in 1882, by William Shute, at an expense of about $3,000, and has a capacity of about 6,000 per day of the smaller sizes. Another, under the control of R. Thomas & Co., situated west of the village, is probably the largest in the county, its shipments requiring a special railroad switch. The demand for the products of this industry is good
at present, and rapidly increasing, the farmers having within the last few years adopted tile drainage after being long convinced of its utility.
NEWMAN’S COUNTY OFFICERS.
Of the various officers in the public service of the county, the township has furnished a liberal share. Mr. Robert Hopkins was one of the first County Judges, having been elected in 1859, the year of the new county. He died in the spring of 1863, leaving a large estate. Daniel O. Root, long time a resident, was elected County Clerk in November, 1873, and re-elected in 1877. Mr. Root served an extra year by reason of a change in the State Constitution, and Mr. J.N. Outcelt was elected to the same office in 1882, after studying the business under Mr. Root.
Mr. Root came from Athens County, Ohio, in 1854, five years before the new county was formed. He was Assistant Marshal in taking the ninth census, 1870; was an Assessor of the township, and is an excellent authority in public matters. Mr. J.W. King was elected County Superintendent of Schools in November, 1875. Mr. Jo Burres was placed in the same office in December, 1882, having arrived in this county from Coles in 1872. William Hancock was made County Treasurer in 1859, being first County Treasurer, and at that time a resident of Sargent.
The Supervisors of the township have been B.W. Hooe, 1868, 1869, also 1871, 1872 and 1873; he died in January, 1875. D. Todd was elected in 1870. He was formerly a large farmer in the north end, removed to the city, and is in the hardware business. F.F. Barber was chosen in 1874 and again in 1875, in which year he resigned and removed, upon which Mr. W.R. Brown was taken to fill out the un-expired term, and was re-elected in 1876. Mr. Brown has the distinction of being the first county officer born within the limits of Douglas County. W.W. Skinner served as Supervisor in 1877-80, four times elected, succeeded by J.H. Finney, in 1881, who was reelected in 1882, and followed by Thomas Shaw in 1883, who was re-elected in 1884.
The population of the township, for the ninth census, 1870, was 1,077, which had increased at the tenth census of 1880, to 2,197, and increase in the decade of 1,120, more than double, the rapid rise and progress being caused by the near prospect and final completion of the east and west railroad, which finally did come, sure enough, in 1872. About this time, Newman, like Tuscola, began to boom, but all alike, there seemed to be a limit to cities along this line which was very soon reached.
D.O. Root took the ninth census and J.W. King the tenth. In 1882, however, Murdock Township came along begging for territory out of the abundance of her prosperous proposed sisters, and under protest Newman surrendered seven sections of land on her west side, containing about thirty votes, or perhaps 100 inhabitants. The number of personal property tax payers in this township in 1883, is 448, which multiplied by five would give a population of 2,220. Mr. King in taking the census found 31 Gilloglys, 21 Chilcotes, 20 Smiths and 21 Skinners.
POLITICS OF THE TOWNSHIP.
The political preferences of the township are shown by a very comfortable majority (for the Republicans) of about 180, to which figure it steadily increased from the beginning and earned for Newman the name of the Banner Township. In this regard, the loss of six or seven square miles of territory to the new Murdock Township has not materially affected the returns. In the old Coles County days, when Newman was Brushy Fork Precinct, all speculation at Charleston, as to how it went, was perfectly useless until Newman was heard from. The Republicans here having always been highly educated, there never seems to have been any necessity for going outside of the party to elect public officers, and accordingly they never did.
The first meeting under township organization was held April 7, 1868. It was called to order by James Smith, and D.O. Root was chosen Moderator. The first Highway Commissioners were John Skinner, W.W. Young and Hy Cutler.
The first newspaper established in the village of Newman is the present Newman Independent, which was instituted in April, 1874, by C.V. Walls the present owner. He experimentally conducted it for six months, and suspended it for a year, when he resumed its publication. For about one year in 1882-83, it was leased by Carl H. Uhler, of Tuscola, during the absence of Mr. Walls. This paper is pronounced, if not aggressively, Republican in its political advocacy, and works hard for the interests of Newman and the county. Mr. W. has an invested capital in the enterprise which, though hardly justified by the surroundings, he is devoting to the building-up of the newspaper business here. He has accumulated for the most part an unsolicited exchange list, which is the admiration of his contemporaries. He is his own paragraphist, and many a pungent two liner goes the rounds of the press and returns home, so worn and battered and grown, that its own father doesn’t know it. The assistant editor, who is relied upon to furnish a large part of the statistical matter, is J.W. King, the Postmaster. Mr. Walls has again, 1884, relinquished his editorship to A.B. Smith, his former assistant.
The First Church was organized and built by the Methodists in 1858, the year following the laying-off of the town, at a cost of about $1,700. The original projectors were John Stockton, William Shute and their wives, S. Leatherman, Isaac Howard and Aunt Polly Hopkins. The Christian Church was built in 1870 at an expense of about $2,500, including a good bell, which cost $140. Harvey Bane, Jere Metcalf, H.S. Haines, W.W. Patterson and O.H. Coppsock were some of the prominent organizers. The church was dedicated by Mr. Haines, assisted by Harmon Gregg, who was also one of the first pastors.
The Cumberland Presbyterians erected a substantial church in the village in the fall of 1882. The Rev. C.P. Cooley, James Morrow, S.C. Cash and James Gillogly and others are credited with its organization.
The Newman Post Office has been in the hands of, first, Frank Wells, then G.W. Smith and Hugh Cook, the present Postmaster being
John W. King. This office issued, in 1883, some $37,000 in money orders, and though the amounts are generally small, the orders are more in number than those of any other office in the county.
The Assessors’ valuation of personal property in the township for 1883 is $102,610; lands are valued at $241,728.
Many interesting facts incident to the daily history of the various townships will be found elsewere in this volume in the personal histories of many prominent men who have kindly furnished the items. The biography of citizens is an important feature of this work, and embodies much of public events, which the compiler of the township notes could not have secured without an amount of labor far exceeding the call for this occasion. Repetitions have, as far as practicable, been avoided. Many items of interest which have been designedly left out in the township minutes will nevertheless be found within this volume. There may be some conflicting accounts, and if so, the best authority will hereafter be taken, and in the course of time some patriotic citizen will arise, who, with these helps added to his own industry, will be enabled to furnish almost perfect annals to the next generation.
The first schoolhouse was an ordinary building, such as is usually found in the country, being put up in 1858, at a cost of about $500.
Miss Howell was the first teacher. The schools passed through the regular stages of development, leading, by the usual course of progress, up to the present seminary, situated in west half of Block 21, Coffin’s Addition to Newman, for which the Township Trustees received a deed dated June 18, 1875, and consideration being $600. The tax for the establishment of the institution was voted April 6, 1875, the building being furnished in 1876. It is District No. 3, of Township 16, Range 14 west, which comprises all of Section 31, the south half of the southwest quarter of Section 30, the west half and the southeast quarter of Section 32, the south half of Section 35, in Town
16 north, and the north lots, four in number, of Sections 3 and 4, in Township 15, Range 14 west, being about 2,000 acres—the greatest distance of the schoolhouse from the exterior bounds of the district being about two and one-half miles.
The present School Directors are J.L. Berkley, A. McKee and T.D. Curd, who is the Clerk.
The Principal is E.S. Smith.
The school building is a substantial two-story brick, with a capacity for about 300 pupils. It is situated in the western part of the village, removed from the noise of business, and is in almost every particular adapted to school purposes; its location is healthy and eligible, and it has all the aids necessary to successful teaching, ready for use on all proper occasions. Parents and guardians in the east end of Douglas County should bear these considerations in mind, and permit those under their charge to spend at least the years of preparation here, where, indeed, every facility is offered for obtaining all the business education the average pupil requires.
As a money-making profession in this part of the State, teaching is very far from occupying a place in the front rank, and promotion, at its best, offers few inducements above a living salary. As regards a comfortable competency, so often the reward that waits on those who labor, this is about the only profession that says to its votaries “Bid farewell to hope, all ye who enter here.” When will the people realize that teaching is work of the hardest kind supported by a morality, a refinement and a tender care for tender youth which is not required of the average farm hand who receives more wages?
Better be a black minstrel, leastways a writer of comic histories, and
“Tickle the public, and make it grin,
The more you tickle, the more you’ll win;
Teach the public, you’ll never get rich,
But live like a beggar and die in a ditch.”
and the public teachers everywhere are what public opinion makes them; they are forced by circumstances to be able to impart ten times the schooling the average pupil requires, who, receiving the ornaments, astonishes his parents and guardians, and himself, with the vast number of different studies he is able to glibly give the names of.
. . . .Dogberry said, “Reading and writing come by nature.” We humbly dissent from the opinion of that erudite and otherwise accomplished philosopher, and suggest that Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic come by teaching, and all the rest come by the nature of the student, who can get all the rest if he will. These three are essential, and beyond them the true principles of scientific government do not extend—more advanced learning is either professional or ornamental, and nobody can draw a line where it should end.
Can we not then pause after a thorough drilling in the three R’s, each in its fullest sense (which we know will make our graduates vastly superior in schooling to the average business man), leaving the advance therefrom to the proposed avocation of the pupil supplemented by his natural bent? Hum, No! educated teachers say No! half-educated school boards say No! and public opinion says no with a little n, and for years to come many an educated poor devil will curse the ornaments that deprived him of so many precious hours, in which he might have been acquiring the art of buying butter for his parsnips.
“Ours is a wise and earnest age,
An age of thought and science, sir.
To error, ignorance and bliss
We fairly bid defiance, sir.
Professors everywhere abound
Both in and out of colleges,
and all agog to cram our nobs
with ‘isms’ and with ‘ologies’.”