The History of Farm Ridge, LaSalle County, IL

Transcribed by Nancy Piper

Farm Ridge

In 1855 the people of the western part of the township built a “union store,” which was the beginning of the little village of Farm Ridge. It was sold to Garrison & Hornick, who afterward sold to M.F. Southgate. He in time disposed of his business to John H. Walley, who now runs the store. The post office of Farm Ridge was established at the house of Elmer Baldwin, in 1843 or 1844, Mr. Baldwin being the first Postmaster. His commission was from President Tyler. He held the appointment for twenty-one years; but during the latter part of this period the office was located at the store above mentioned, half a mile distant. The second Postmaster was H. J. Hornick; the third M.J. Southgate; the fourth and present one (1886), John H. Wailey. The first physician here was Dr. Elder, who resided at the village for ten years. Dr. Ives at present attends to the people who need medical attendance.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church was organized in 1851, and Rev. Charles V. Kelley was the first rector. He served this charge at the same time with the one at Ottawa, as did his successor, Rev. C. P. Clar, who came in 1852. He was followed by Rev. A.J. Warner in 1854 an d1855. Next came Rev. James A. Woodward in 1857 and 1858 and in the latter year Rev. Henry T. Heister commenced his labors, which have continued in this field up to the present.

The first blacksmith at Farm Ridge and the first in the township was Philo C. Hinman, who built a shop near Mr. Baldwin’s residence and remained in business there for fourteen years. He then removed to the village where he has since been continuously at work, except one year when the shop was run by his son and one when it was leased to a Mr. Coles.

The Farm Ridge Seminary was originated by Hon. Elmer Baldwin. It was built in 1850 and occupied in the fall and winter of 1850-’51; was built by subscription of the people in the vicinity. The first Trustees were Elmer Baldwin, Beebe Clark, and J. P. Wiswald. At first two teachers were employed E. M. Jenks and Miss Marian Moulton. The attendance for the first two or three years was from fifty to ninety pupils. Mr. Jenks was superseded by Prof. Rinaldo Williams. Prof. Williams continued in charge of the seminary for three years. Since Prof. Williams left the school several transient teachers have had charge, but on account of the establishment of high schools in other parts of the county, school at the seminary has been kept only in the winter season. It has never been discontinued since 1860. The building was built as follows: At first $750 were raised by subscription, which was about one-half sufficient to build it and Hon. Elmer Baldwin expended $750 more to furnish it and he owns the land on which the building now stands. The building is now used for public gatherings in the vicinity.

[Source: History of La Salle County, Illinois : together with sketches of its cities, villages and towns, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history, portraits of prominent persons, and biographies of representative citizens : also a condensed History of Illinois, embodying accounts of prehistoric races, aborigines, Winnebago and Black Hawk wars, and a brief review of its civil and political history.. Chicago: Inter-State Pub. Co., 1886.Page 222-223]

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