Welcome to Illinois Genealogy Trails

Chebanse Township


Chebanse Township is one of the original townships of Iroquois County. It was established in 1855. The name is of Indian origin and is believed to have come from a tribe in the eastern part of the United States. The first settlement of Chebanse Township was made at the junction of Langham Creek and the Iroquois River, in 1843, by the Brady brothers from Indiana. Agriculture and its related businesses are the chief industry of the township.

Chronological Table of Chebanse

1818 Illinois admitted to Union
1821 Gordon Hubbard established trading post on Iroquois River
1834 Iroquois County surveyed
1836 Indians sent west by government
1836-37 Land speculation in Iroquois County-railroad begun and abandoned
1843 Brady Brothers, first white settlers, located on Langham Creek
1848 Ostrander built Sugar Island saw mill
1850 Government authorized building of Illinois Central Railroad
1851 98 miles of railroad laid with strap iron absorbed by Illinois Central
1854 Chebanse laid out in 60 acres owned by government and railroad
1855 17 died of cholera - first funeral - first preacher
1856 most land sold in Chebanse vicinity - Chebanse Township organized - malaria epidemic - first 4th of July celebration at Milk's Grove
1857 First child born - shoemaking shop opened - first club organized (no female participation) - Carter Hotel built
1858 First marriage
1859 Chebanse Evergreen Cemetery formed
1860 First grain warehouse - first organized school district - first meat market - King Edward VII, England visits Chebanse on hunting expedition
1861 Civil War quota for Chebanse doubled in error, not rectified
1863 January snow storm destroyed cattle - August frost kill crops - first lumberyard - first hay business
1866 Baptist Church built - first agricultural implement store - wild hay warehouse burned
1867 Catholic Church built - National Hotel built
1868 Chebanse Herald established - Congregational Church built - Chebanse incorporated - Wakeman Nursery established
1870 Flax mill built - croquet introduced as outdoor sport
1872 First telegraph -First bank
1873 Chebanse major shipping point from Chicago to Cairo
1874 First water tower built
1878 Old Settlers reunion
1880 First Fire Department
1882 First Telephone -washing machines manufactured here, also telephones
1884 Milk's barbeque, 15,000 attendance - General Logan campaigning for vice-presidency of United States - 1000 Payne Horse Farm acreage active
1885 Roads shoveled by hand after big snowstorm
1886 Hail storm and tornado caused total destruction in 4 mile wide path through Chebanse Township
1887 First cement sidewalk built - Chebanse Academy opened in Masonic Hall
1895 Lutheran Church built
1898 Special excursion trains from Chicago to Chebanse discontinued as Payne Horse Farm went bankrupt
1901 Harold Gray, creator of "Little Orphan Annie" lived in Chebanse to 1906
1903 Dr. Ennis gained public favor as doctor of cancer - tornado damage
1904 Congregational and Methodist Churches built - National Hotel burned
1908 New Catholic Church built - first car purchased, a two cyclinder Lambert
1909 First Chebanse Homecoming
1910 Brick schoolhouse built
1911 Chemical fire tanks purchased and call issued for volunteer firemen.
1912 Speed limit, 10 miles or $10 - merchants request hitching posts
1914 10 P.M. curfew for pool and bowling alleys - World War I - 3 died in service
1917 Request to operate movies on Sunday denied
1918 Gas lights on streets junked
1923 Cement highway built through Chebanse
1929 Fire destroys business section - bank fails
1933 Community Credit Union organized for loans
1940 Dr. Walker honored by Illinois Medical Society
1941 World War II
1945 Fire in business section
1949 New water tower built costing $99,000
1953 Mayor Wilking, Ella Lane, Virgil Anderson, Louise Timm and Leah Witt select 9 people to plan Chebanse Century Celebration
1954 Chebanse celebrates 100th birthday July 3, 4, and 5 publish "Memories of Chebanse" booklet, historian Alyce Wakeman Nordmeyer
1956 Chebanse Community Building established
1957 Elementary school built
1963 Junior High school built
1971 Old High School became Civic Center housing Village Board room, Police Dept., Library, Senior Citizen's room, Boy and Girl Scouts room, a Historical Society room and an gym for youth recreational programs
1976 First ambulance
1977 New bank built
1980 Cable T.V.
1984 Residents donate treasures for display in Historical Society Room of Civic Center
1985 Town Board: Mayor Merrit Hansen; Clerk Bonnie Potts; Treas., Geo. Witt; Trustees Dennis Clark, Orbert Hilgendorf, Don Cahan, Russell Kuntz, Paul Beherens, Sandra Henson
1985 History contributed by Alyce Wakeman Nordmeyer

Clifton Cemetery Association

In 1861 William A. Viets sets aside a piece of ground in the northeast part of the village for a cemetery. At his own expense he planted trees and shrubbery, laid out the cemetery, and maintained it for years.

In the early days bodies were carried to the cemetery, or transported on stone-boats, or wagons. They were enclosed in rough board boxes.

On March 18, 1869, a meeting was held at the office of Dr. Silas Earle for the purpose of forming a cemetery association under the General Incorporation Act. Officers elected were William A. Viets, President; Dr. Silas Earle, Secretary-treasurer; and Directors William A. Viets, Dr. Earle, and Alfred Van Wyck.

On May 10, 1869, the Association bought from Mr. Viets, five acres of ground for $700.00, to be paid from the sale of lots.

In July, 1902, John O'Neill and A.J. Libert raised funds to procure a site for a Catholic burying grounds in Clifton. On January 3, 1903, approximately, one-third of the eastern part of the ground was sold to St. Peter's Catholic Church of Clifton.

In 1903, Wm. A. Viets donated a lot in the cemetery to the G.A.R. Post of Chebanse. A wooden monument was erected which was dedicated to the unknown dead and to be used in Decoration Day Services

In 1904 a cement walk to the cemetery was completed, a great improvement over the old path and rolling boardwalk.

In 1913 Martin Johnson collected money from the citizens of the town for a well.

On January 3, 1913, the president of the Sorosis Club appointed a committee to oversee the work at the Clifton Cemetery, which was in a neglected condition. a man was hired to clean up the grounds.

On July 7, 1919, a meeting was held in the Clifton Opera House for the purpose of reorganizing the Clifton Cemetery Association. Officers elected were J.H. Schrader, President; Mrs. C.B. Sill, Secretary; J.C. Gleason, Treasurer; and Trustees were Chris Jensen, Frank Sanderson, and Mrs. Mary A. Cummings.

Perpetual care was put into effect during 1920. The Clifton Cemetery Association was made responsible for the perpetual care, whether it be in the Protestant of Catholic Grounds. All lots sold from then on included perpetual care. The Association was put under the jurisdiction of the County Judge. Financial reports are made to him and any officers elected must be approved by the Judge.

In 1929 more land west of the cemetery was purchased for burial purposes. By this time gravel had been placed on the streets of the cemetery.

In May, 1949, the Association was registered and licensed in Springfield. An annual financial repost must be submitted to the state auditor. The same year Mrs. Sill left $1,000.00 to the Association, and a bequest was received from John C. Gleason.

In September, 1955, trees along the north and west side of the cemetery were cut and burned. The Catholic section was cleared of debris and leveled. New roads were put in and graveled.

Some of the monuments in the cemetery are of uncommon architectural beauty and many bear the imprint of John S. Trimble as sculptor.

Upon the death of Soren Jensen, the Association and St. Peter's Church purchased five acres just north of the cemetery.

The Clifton Cemetery Association is a non-profit, receiving no tax money of any kind. All board members through out the years have served without pay, for the love of the town. The current President of the Association is Earl E. Vilven.

(from Iroquois County History 1985 page 57-58)

The Belgian Farm

In 1854 William Farmer, who had settled along the Langham Creek about 1846, sold his land to Adolph Poncelot, then the Belgian Consul in Chicago. Mr. Poncelot put Mr. Harbaville on the land and set about bringing his own countrymen to settle here. Some had means of their own and some were poor and worked for others.
In the spring of 1857, while enroute from Chicago to oversee his possessions, Mr.
Poncelot was drowned. Dr. Fortuna Henrotin succeeded him as Belgian Consul. On December 15, 1866, a tract of land containing about 1500 acres was deeded to a group of about twelve men from Belgium. This group was known as the Belgian Syndicate and was headed by Dr Henrotin.
Descendants of some of these early settlers are the
Dacrosses, Ducats, Mathys, Cnuddes, Lemenagers, Hougardys, Wauthiers, Bergers, and others.

Chebanse Feed Store

In the 1940 s there was a growing demand for a local commercial livestock feed store. A small Purina feed store was opened by Arthur Fruendt and Charles Genshaw in the building presently used as the doctors office in Chebanse. In 1949 the business was sold to Virgil Imhauser, who himself lived on a livestock farm west of Chebanse and fed a large number of hogs and cattle, with the help of his father, Fred Imhauser.
The Imhauser Feed 7 Supply business expanded and in 1951 was moved to the cement block building on the northeast corner of Walnut and Chebanse Avenue. The building is presently owned and used by Ken s Truck Repair.
In 1959 Virgil bought the vacant Geo. W.
Lane lumber yard, east of the railroad tracks, for his feed store and he also erected a grain storage bin to the north of the building. He purchased a portable feed grinding mill to service the local livestock feeders directly on their farms. Clyde Carley was the feed salesman. In 1969 the business was sold to James Pauley who continues to operate the Purina feed business as J&K Farm Supply.
A major catastrophe was narrowly averted in the early 1960 s when a train derailment occurred alongside the main building. A number of coal cars derailed and narrowly missed damaging the building. A huge crane was brought in from Lehigh Stone Co. to upright the overturned cars and their contents.

(from Iroquois County History-1985 pages 57, 59 and 60-transcribed by Carrol Mick carrolmick@yahoo.com)


Back to the Town/Township Pages
Back to the Main
Index Page


©2005 Carrol Mick and Illinois Genealogy Trails