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Jackson County, Illinois

History of Ava Township


The name of Ava Township was selected form Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.  It was organized in 1876.  The early settlers of this portion of the County have been noticed in the accounts given of the settlements in the several Townships out of which this was formed and hence need no notice here.

The chief occupation of the people is agriculture, and some finely cultivated farms are found here.  The southern and western portions are broken, and in the hills is found fine varieties of limestone and sand stone.  The eastern and northern parts are quite level.  the greater portion of the surface of the Township is susceptible of cultivation.

The entire surface was heavily timbered in an early day, and the primeval forests in some places yet remain.  The people of Ava Township are thrifty, enterprising and moral.  The school districts of the Township are commodious and comfortable.  A good quality of coal is mined on the farm of Mr. Henry CHEATAM, who supplies the town of Ava with that article.  The DEANS, CHEATAMS, CALLAHANS, WRIGHTS and STEPHENS are prominent citizens.  Ava is bounded on the west by Bradley and Degognia Townships, on the north by Bradley and Ora, on the east by Ora and Levan, on the south by Kinkaid and Levan.

It contains within its limits the thriving village of Ava, which possesses a population of about 350.

For a great many years there had been at this point, a hamlet called "Headquarters", but it was not until the building of the Narrow Gauge Railroad, on which Ava is situated, at a point 16 miles north-west of Murphysboro, that attention began to be directed to it.  Its distance from any considerable town is so great as to give it a wide circle of trade.  It has, since the completion of the railroad, "sprung into newness of life" and there can scarcely be a question, but that it is destined to be, in the near future, one of the really important towns in the County.  Its citizens seem to be aware of its advantages, and to possess great confidence in its growth and coming prosperity.  It will eventually be for the north-western part of the County what Murphysboro is for the central district, and what Carbondale is for the eastern, the centre of trade.

The public school building is neat and comfortable, and the number of children in attendant makes it possible to grade them into two divisions, thus facilitating the important work of education.  There are two hotels in the place, where the traveler may, in the language of old Jack  FALSTAFF, rest and "take mine ease at mine inn".  Mr. BOWERS is the proprietor of one, Mr. BURKE of another.  DISHON & Co. have a good flouring mill, while DEAN Bro's have a custom mill.  There is also a saw mill at this point.  WAGGONER Bros sell drugs and notions and Jesse JOHNSON, drugs only; GORDON & BIGELOW deals in dry goods and general merchandise, as also do HUSBAND & RUSSEL; the firms of A. E. DAVIS and CLENDENEN & Co., deal in dry goods and notions.

Mr. Samuel DESBERGER, the great merchant of Murphysboro, recognizing the fact of the growing importance of Ava, has lately established a branch store here.  There is a good cooper shop and three blacksmith shops.

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