La Salle County IL



Fire at Tonica (December 5, 1867 )

Rattle Snakes (1874)

Severe Storms (June 4, 1874)

Local News (October 8, 1874 )

Water is scarce. (January 23, 1875 )

Horrom's Hall in Ashes (March 16, 1878)

Local News (April 27, 1878 )

Local News (September 1878)

W. H. H. Holdridge Sells Farm (1882)

 The First Issue of the "Tonica News" Newspaper - Letter from the Editor
(April 25, 1874, Tonica News)

Local News (May 21, 1874)

Tonica High School Honor Roll (October 22, 1874 )

Baptist Church is Renovated (October 15, 1874 )

1876 Local News  (March 9, 1876)

Local Items (March 23, 1878)

Local News (July 13 and July 20, 1878 - Tonica News)

New Principal (July 1881)

Tonica bankers, indicted for alleged irregularities (1915)

Rev. Ayling Gives Up ME Pastorate (1915)

December 5, 1867 - State Items

A fire in Tonica last week consumed a drug store, a boot and shoe store, a dry goods store, a jewelry store, a meat market and a dwelling; loss $20,000 - insured $13,000.


April 25, 1874

A word to the Readers of the NEWS

It has for a long time been the desire and wishes of the business men of Tonica, to have a Newspaper printed a home, as the best means of advertising. To supply this demand, I have concluded to publish a small folio paper, and at the present, for gratuitous distribution among their customers and patrons. It will be extensively, but judiciously circulated in this vicinity, Lostant, Mt. Palatine, Magnolia, Granville, Hennepin and the surrounding country. The NEWS will be the cheapest and best advertising medium for persons doing business in the above named Villages, being local, it will command a more thorough examination than papers of a general circulation.

At present the paper will be issued once in two weeks. I shall endeavor to collect, and publish all the news, and items of a local nature occurring from one time to the next, that may interest the reader. Short contributed articles will be thankfully received. I feel grateful to the business men of Tonica, in so generously and promptly filling up the advertising columns of the first issue. Of the arrangement, and mechanical execution, the paper will speak for itself. I ask your indulgence for errors or mistakes that may appear in this number, hoping to do better in the future. Let your criticisms be mild, receive it kindly, treat its faults with forbearance, and by sufficient encouragement, it will be improved, so as to be welcome visitor to all.

Rattle Snakes

Taken From the Tonica News, Tonica, IL
May 21, 1874

Within the last two weeks, John Ong while fishing at Bailey's Falls, has killed two large rattle snakes, one measuring over five feet, and had fifteen rattles, the other nearly four feet and had twelve rattles.  John feels quite tickled at killing such large snakes. He says they are numerous and can be seen nearly every day laying on the rocks sunning themselves.  He is going to try and capture one of these monstrous reptiles alive. All we have to say, is to be careful and not get bitten, for the bite of one of these ferocious reptiles is almost sure to be instant death to any one.  

We would advise all persons to be on the look-out for rattle snakes, and when you see one coming toward you, run and hollow (holler) with all your might.

May 1874 Local News

Taken From the Tonica News
May 21, 1874

Last week, Mr. Knapp's team run away; but did not go far, nor do much damage, only breaking a wagon tongue.

Last week, Charlie McBeth delivered about $1800 worth of groceries to the farmers around Tonica. The delivery was not so large as that at LaSalle and Wenona, which was about $5000 worth at each place.

G. G. Pratt has been to the expense of putting on a new roof. Paper roofing is no account, and the owners of the other bricks had better have Brokaw send at once for tin, and have him put on a roof that you can depend on.

J. A. Underhill has purchased the furniture store formally belonging to Zenas Hall. The store has for a few weeks been closed. Jimmie intends to furnish to customers anything in his line of business. See his advertisement in another column.

Show are numerous. Ottawa has been visited by several this season. Lastly, by Buckley's World's Fair.

A contribution was taken last Sabbath in Sunday School at the M. E. Church, for the benefit of the Southern Sufferers.

The fruit trees have once more ventured forth their leaves and blossoms, and present an appearance as if they would give us a good harvest.

Some person, we don't know who, should have the honor of relaying, and making better crossings at the corner of Oconee and Wauponsie streets. It would be a good plan if the "City Dads" would have all the crossings and sidewalks repaired.

The Storm

Taken From the Tonica News
June 4, 1874

In the past two weeks we have had two severe storms. In the first one, James Kane's cow was instantly killed by the lightening and 13 telegraph poles struck. By the last one, David Grant's house was struck on the corner of the building, entered the inside breaking glass, tearing down doors and burning a few articles; but doing no serious damage. The wind was very strong and upset corncribs, sheds and blew down doors for several of the farmers south-west of Tonica.

The same Thursday, some 10 miles further east, a large tree was struck and pieces of wood as large as a man were thrown six or eight rods. The space occupied by this storm did not extend a very great distance.

October 1874 Local News

Taken From the Tonica News
October 8, 1874

Rev. Applebee, has been appointed pastor of the M. E. Church at Chenoa, Ill. Rev. W. E. Williamson takes charge of the church here in his stead. He moves his family this week to the residence occupied by the former pastor.

A. H. Andrews & Co.'s school desk was awarded the first premium at the Wenona Union Fair. Jno. B. Porter is agent for this deck and other school furniture. It is not surpassed as yet, by any other invention, and is consequently worthy of the "blue ribbon."

The population of the village of Tonica, as returned by the board of Directors, is 510. The number of persons in the district under twenty-one years of age, are 330. Between the ages of six and twenty-one, 220; that being the number entitled to admission in the public school.

Miss French has moved into a room in Mr. Gifford's house, where she will continue to carry on dress making.

When visiting La Salle don't fail to visit the La Salle Art Parlors. You will find in Mr. Sypher's rooms, art productions that are seldom surpassed. Photography and Painting are co-laborers there.

Baptist Church is Renovated

Taken From the Tonica News
October 15, 1874

The Baptist church is now completed and will be ready for services next Sunday, October 18th.

The church now presents a grand appearance on the inside as well as the outside; not gaudy, but plain and neat in every respect.  It has had another coat of paint, which adds much to its color - a beautiful white.  The old cupola taken off, and another built over a new entry, towering seventy-seven feet, a small recess back of a new pulpit, the old partition taken out, the platform on which the pulpit stand extending to the south-west corner, for an orchestra, replastered, papered and grained; these are some of the improvements.

The house will hold more of a congregation than before, on account of the old entry being admitted into the room. The only thing lacking is a bell, which would make the church very complete in itself; this deficiency will be supplied sometime, perhaps.

Tonica High School Honor Roll

Taken From the Tonica News
October 22 1874

Average scholarship of the pupils of the Tonica High School, for the month of September
Lewis Avery -96
Lewis Snedaker -93
Leonida Barton - 77
Hamer Wiles - 68
Eugene Swift - 91
Flora Allen - 98
Alice Keller - 86
Nellie Eaton - 81
Eunice Snedaker - 98
Jennie Vandervort - 96
Alice Galloway - 88
Laura Galloway - 93
Ella Snedaker - 97
Emma Denning - 85
Carrie Leonard - 94
Cora Bassett - 96
Ida Greenman - 84
Lizzie Dryer - 83
Bethia Eaton - 93
Rose Willey - 83
Tillie Ball - 77
Kate Taggart - 85
Mary Kimball - 93
Nolia Borden - 96
Louisa Evert - 98
Ella Wilson - 96
Jennie Newport - 63
Benjamin Hoxie - 90
James Barret - 90
Mina Beck - 86
Janie Porter - 52
Janie Hutchinson - 93
Lewis Fehr - 91

Water Scarcity

January 23, 1875

The scarcity of water is becoming an alarming item among our citizens. The weaker wells gave out long ago, and now most of the cisterns are dry, and the best wells under the increasing draft upon them, are showing alarming symptoms of going dry. Several persons are hauling ice from the river to do washing with. A water famine will soon be upon us. Now if we only had an artesian well.


Taken From the Tonica News, Tonica, IL
March 9, 1876
Local Items

J. K. Brokaw, our hardware man, will start two peddling wagons as soon as the roads permit.

A sidewalk is being guilt on the street leading northeast from the Baptist church to the residence of A. Goings. It is a much needed improvement. The work is done by voluntary subscription.

Levi Green requests us to say that he is still in the land of the living and ready to wait on all customers in want of good groceries and family supplies. He keeps a fine assortment and sells at hard-pan prices.

Mr. Ash Dunbar, who has been a resident of Tonica for the past year intends moving onto his farm as soon as the roads become passable. We shall be sorry to lose him from our midst.

John King and W. T. Leede made a trip to Chicago on business this week.

Miss Manie Beck will soon have on a large stock of millinery goods for the spring trade.

Mr. C. Gifford expects to start for Kansas next Monday, to make that his future home. He has been a resident of this village for a number of years, and will be missed by his many friends in this place.

Mr. Wm. Parker, from Mt. Palatine, has become a citizen of Tonica. He moved in with family last week.

The schoolmates of Virgil Keller surprised him with party last Wednesday evening. They called to bid him goodby before his departure for Kansas, whither he expects to go with his uncle Beniah in the course of ten days.

On Friday afternoon of last week, even on the first day of March, a number of elderly ladies called at the residence of Dr. Gray to surprise Mrs. Louisa Mosher with a knitting party. They had no difficulty in making the gathering a cheerful one for all concerned. The names of these impromptu visitors are Mrs. Goodin, Mrs. Christina Moffat, Mrs. Seely, Mrs. Cassiday, Mrs. Kimball, Mrs. Willis Moffat, Mrs. S. Richey, and Rev. R. D. Russell.

In another column will be found the advertisement of J. C. Burgess. Mr. Burgess is going out of the business, and so says just what he means - to close out his entire stock of goods no matter at what sacrifice.

Horrom's Hall in Ashes

March 16, 1878

About 10 1/4 o'clock last Saturday evening, an alarm of fire was raised and the village thrown into commotion on short notice. Many had already retired for the night, when they were thus suddenly called from the repose of the downy couch to the excitement of a threatening conflagration.  Hurrying footsteps were heard on every street as the agitated people flocked to the scene of what came very near proving a serious calamity to the village.  The flames were already ascending in roaring volumes, lighting up the church spires and house tops with a lurid glare that startled the remotest dweller in the suburbs.

On reaching the scene of the fiery terror, we found Horrom's Hall enveloped in flames, and a large crowd of busy workers carrying pails of water and making the utmost exertions to save the hotel on the north and Bordon's blacksmith shop south. Among the most energetic workers were John King, Mont Perry, Dr. Gray, H. E. Robbins, W. A. Flint, Will Brokaw, Myron Burgess, Peter Vandyck and W. Barker, besides others, who hazarded their lives in their determined efforts to arrest the spread of the fire.  Thanks to all parties, they were successful.

As it seemed for sometime almost a hopeless task to save the blacksmith shop and adjoining paint shop, all the tools and implements were removed to a place of safety and happily, upon returning them after the danger had passed, not a single article of value was found greatly injured.

The hotel also was equally threatened with destruction, and the furniture was hastily taken out by the active hands that were ready for the emergency. Of course many articles were damaged, though Mr. Phelps, the proprietor, estimates his loss at less than $50. To save the building required the utmost exertions.  It was hot work, but the boys stuck to it as bravely as regular firemen accustomed to fight the devouring element.

Horrom's Hall was only a one-story frame building, formerly the old school house standing in the eastern part of the village.  It belonged to the Horrom estate, and was rented with the hotel premises.  The loss can hardly be considered more than $200. The hall had long been used for dances and other public entertainments.

It was fortunate that the hotel was saved, otherwise the whole row of buildings to the northward would undoubtedly have been destroyed.  Our citizens deserve great credit for their coolness and daring energy in the perilous work of arresting the progress of the fire and thus saving much valuable property.

March 1878 Local News

Taken From the Tonica News, Tonica, IL
March 23, 1878 - Tonica Town Talk

John L. Ong has improved his place, corner of Oneco and Hiawatha streets, by putting a new fence around it.

A. L. Hillman has had his house on the corner of oneco and Wauponsis streets painted a French gray color. - John Harkins & Son did the job.

An exciting foot race took place Tuesday morning in which "Spider" showed himself a rapid runner.

Mrs. S. W. Allen and daughter Flora turned in the fore part of the week from a short visit to friends at Minonk.

The Streator authorities have caused their lamp posts to be re-painted and the name of the streets to be painted on the glass.

April 1878 Local News

Taken From the Tonica News, Tonica, IL
April 17, 1878 - Tonica Town Talk

Elder Russell preached on the resurrection last Sunday morning, as a subject appropriate to Easter.  His spiritualistic view of the resurrection excited some comment, particularly from those who hold to a more literal interpretation of certain texts of Scripture.

That rain was a little too much for even the cold water army, and so the temperance meeting on Tuesday evening was a failure in point of numbers, although the essay of Geo. Hinman was full of interest.  Indeed it was so good that the writer will repeat it again, by request, at the meeting next Tuesday evening, when it is hoped the weather will permit a large attendance.

Mr. A. E. Greenfield, at Mt. Palatine, had a swam of bees come off on the 22nd inst. He hived the early honey makers, and reports that they are doing well.  There were no indications of any disturbing cause aside from the forwardness of the season to lead to such an early swarming.  It is truly remarkable - another freak of this wonderful year of our Lord 1878.

Clark Hutchinson is the boss fisherman.  He caught a catfish last Saturday which weighed 15 lbs - the largest prize of the kind taken here in many a day.  On bringing it to town he sold it for 65 cents.

We are informed that the hailstorm last Sunday afternoon was very destructive in the vicinity of Lowell. Hailstones were picked up as large as hen's eggs.  Dr. Frank Bullock, very Vermillionvile, had 130 lights broken in his house.  Nearly all the exposed windows had the glass broken in.

Died - Saturday morning last, at Magnolia, Henry, son of David and Mary Parkin, aged 15 months.

E. S. Foster is erecting a fine barn on his place about 2 1/2 miles south of Tonica.  It is 37x48 feet in size, built of heavy timber, and to be finished in elegant style.  A cupola on top, surmounted by a gilt ball set on a flag staff, will serve to attract the eye of the distant observer.

Prof. R. C. Bibbins, band teacher, arrived Monday night.  He is putting in his time day and evening giving instruction to the members as each may find leisure from his business.  He is engaged to remain here two weeks, and may stay longer.

Tonica escaped the damage done by the storm last Sunday for the most part.  Hailstones fell as large as walnuts for a few seconds, but there was no wind to drive them through the windows.  Nor was the fruit trees injured to any extent worth mentioning.

Streator parties propose to deliver ice in Wenona during the summer at $1 per 100 pounds.  How much in Tonica?

The law has a penalty for killing birds of any kind after May 1.  Boys, look out.

Those Minonk boys who came up to Bailey's falls last week are reported to have taken home 200 pounds of nice fish.

July 1878 Local News

Taken From the Tonica News, Tonica, IL
July 13, 1878 - Tonica and Vicinity

Miss Mina Vandervort is visiting friends in Bureau county.

Miss Anna Hannen from Pennsylvania, and Alpheus Vandervort, for Onarga, Ill., are visiting at Dr. Vandervort's.

The Baptist church in Tonica has got a new organ. It is said to be a splendid instrument.

The band stand is now completed and furnished with a fine illuminator placed in the center. Now let the boys toot away.

The down passenger train was considerably late yesterday and the day before.  As the Doctor explains it, the hot weather caused it - expanding the rails and making the track longer.  Clear, isn't it!

Wm. Bittle has mown the grass in the school house lot, doing the work for the hay.  It is suggested that he might be willing to clear the cemetery on the same terms. It certainly needs a little cropping.

Taken From the Tonica News, Tonica, IL
July 20, 1878 - Tonica and Vicinity

A load of Tonicans go to the river for a swim nearly every afternoon.

Rev. Henry Fisher spent a few days with his sister, Mrs. Henry Gunn, this week.

Moody Little says if this hot weather continues he is going to find a cool nook if he has to go to the north pole.

The band boys went out to Mr. O. Bullock's last Thursday evening to enliven "the old folks at home" with some of their excellent music. They report a good time - plenty of refreshments and a pleasant ride.

The merchants are talking of putting up hitching posts along the park fence.

M. C. Little has got a telephone running from his store to his house over a block away. It works pretty well.

Frank Harkins wells us that he came near being "stung to death" Thursday. While chasing after cattle in Mr. Quick's door yard north of town, he ran over a stand of bees, which so exasperated them that they took after Frank with a vengeance, and stung him on the head and neck severely.  Frank, better you use your eyes when chasing cattle in a person's door yard.

September 1878 Local News

Taken From the Tonica News
September 21, 1878

Grandfather and grandmother McGrew returned home from their visit to Kansas on Wednesday morning. They report a pleasant visit to their relatives, finding them for the most part well and contented in their new home.

Orville D. Barrass started last Monday for his new home in Nebraska. Mrs. Barrass left a few days before for a visit to her sister at Mendota. Friends in writing will please direct their letters to Gilson, Adams county, Nebraska, where they will be located for the present. We wish them all manner of prosperity in their new home in the far west.

Miss Minnie Beck has been in Chicago this week purchasing her fall and winter stock of goods, which will arrive in a few days and be ready for examination by the ladies. She has bought largely, comprising a varied assortment of articles suited to the season. Let the ladies bear this in mind and call next week at the grand fall opening. Miss Beck will be found up with the times in styles and low prices, and means to make her millinery shop a popular place for the ladies to buy wearing apparel - their bonnets, ribbons, and such like goods in particular.

A large number from Tonica and vicinity attended the Friend's yearly meeting near Mt. Palatine last Sunday. They report a gathering of over 2,000, with interesting services. Numerous representatives of the denomination of Friends were present from all parts of the great Northwest.

New Principal

Taken From the Henry Republican
July 14, 1881 - Personal

Ira M. Ong of Varna, is to be the principal of the public schools of Tonica for the coming year. Mr. O. is a fine fellow and a good teacher.

W. H. H. Holdridge Sells Farm

Henry Republican, Nov 2, 1882

W. H. H. Holdridge near Tonica, who has one of the finest farms, park or groves in that section of the state, and who has spent nearly a lifetime in making it in every way a very superior place, has sold the place to a German named Emil for $18,000 or $80 per acre. Although the final papers are not yet drawn, the completion of the sale is believed to be a certainty. The people of Tonica, and their wide acquaintance will be loath to part with these excellent, intelligent and active citizens. Mr. and Mrs. Holdridge spend the winter in Florida carried away by the Dent craze for the Gulf state.

W. A. McGrew Injured in Sleighing Accident

Henry Republican, January 18, 1883
W. A. McGrew of the Tonica News, who has been sick and disabled a portion of the summer, while out sleighing the other day, had a runaway, was thrown out and a broken arm and badly bruised body was the result. He will now lay up some time for repairs.

Tonica Bank Case

Taken From the Henry Republican
April 8, 1915

Tonica bankers, indicted for alleged irregularities in the conduct of the defunct bank, were in court a Ottawa to plead on orders issued by Judge Davis commanding them to either admit or deny their guilt.

Winfield J. Ebner and Benjamin F. Hiltabrand, both of whom held clerical positions in the bank prior to its failure, when arraigned before the court, said they were "not guilty", and George D. Hiltabrand and John F. Hartenbower, held as master conspirators in the destruction of the financial institution, asked more time in which to file their pleas.

Judge Davis granted them ten days in which to complete this legal formula. It is the intentions of the state's attorney to take up their trials as soon as possible. The suits may be disposed of before the June term, unless some unforeseen accident may cause the state to ask for more time.

Rev. Ayling Gives Up ME Pastorate

Henry Republican, Henry, IL June 24, 1915

Rev. C. W. Ayling, a former pastor in charge of the M. E. church here, but now at Tonica, has felt obliged to give up his pastorate there because of continued ill health. His son, Dr. E. K. Alying is located at Tonica in the practice of medicine. Rev. Ayling in September will have completed 45 years continuous service as a minister in the Central Illinois conference.


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