Transcribed by Nancy Piper
L'Ostant or Lostant, is a town of some 400 inhabitants. It is situated on section 24, in the eastern part of Hope Township, on the Illinois Central Railroad. In 1837 John M. Richey, from Mushingum County, Ohio, came to Putnam County. In 1849 he entered section 24, in Hope Township and in September, 1861, he laid out the village of "L'Ostant."
There seems to be a difference in memory as to who made the first improvement in the village, but the preponderance of proof seems to establish the fact that a man by the name of Peter Johnson erected a small building in 1861 on what is now Front street. It was used for a blacksmith shop, but was afterward moved back and is still used as a blacksmith shop by O. T. Efverberg. The property, however, still belongs to the heirs of Peter Johnson. The next improvement was a wagon shop, built by W. S. Robison. The building now stands opposite the Fairchilds House and is used as a boot and shoe store. About this time John Fraher built a small "shanty" in what would be now the north west part of the town. A man by the name of Boutmen built another shanty about the same time. The first permanent dwelling was built by Peter Johnson in 1862. Mrs. Ashmen now lives in the house. The first store was a small shanty in which a man by the name of Kemper kept a saloon and a small stock of groceries; but the first permanent store was erected by John M. Richey in 1862. Messrs. William Richey and S. P. Massey were the first to place a stock of goods in it.
At first there was no station-house, only a small flag-station.
Mr. B. D. Clark, the first station agent, moved the first stationhouse from a neighboring locality. Mr. Clark was also the first Postmaster, an office being established as early as 1862. After B. D. Clark, J. T. Spring was appointed Postmaster ; then Spring's brother served until Sept. 29, 1874, when Hugh Goheen was appointed, and he has served in that capacity ever since.
L'Ostant was incorporated as a village under the general incorporation law in 1867. A public meeting of the citizens was held in Wood's Hall, on Aug. 2, when fifty votes were cast in favor of incorporation and none against it. On the 12th an election for Trustees was held which resulted in the choice of the following persons: E. Altman, N. Dugan, W.W. Reynolds, A. Fisher, and A. C. Schermerhorn. These soon after met, were sworn into office. and organized by electing as President of the board Mr. Altman, and as Secretary, Mr. Schermerhorn.
The 1886 business directory of Lostant is as follows: Three general stores, owned by Thomas Drew, E. D. Whipple and A. L. Hillman; two groceries, owned by Hugh Goheen and McCaleb & Son; two hardware stores, owned by Thomas Drew and Rhodes & Reiferscheid; furniture store, George Spring; two druggists, E. R. Atwood and Robert Schoenneshoefer; two millinery stores, owned by Mrs. Deaver and the Misses Cliffords; three saloons, kept by Peter Rheinhart, Godlet Harry and Casper Swanberger; restaurant, by Mrs. Reifercheid; boot and shoe store, by Henry Fabreinheim ; two shoemakers, Henry Fahreirheim and Nick Stark; two harness shops, owned by William Page and W. Meihir: wagon shop, by Henry Hartberg; two blacksmith shops, by Samuel Taylor and O. T. Efverberg; two grain elevators, operated by N. Dugan and G. L. Blanchard; two barber shops, by Joseph Hannum and O. S. Hannum ; mill, by J. L. Barton; two tile factories, by P. Barber and McShane & Bros; two meat markets, by G. B. McCaleb and F. Woodard; carpenter and contractor, W. F. Wiley; lumber-yard, by A. Osgood, Jr. ; broom factory, by .Allen Taylor; music store, by S. L. Eberly; two physicians, E. R. Atwood and Dr. Schoenneshoefer; lawyer, S. P. Massey.
It is stated on good authority that there is more grain shipped from Lostant than any other station on the Illinois Central Railroad between Bloomington and Freeport. The two large elevators ship yearly between 600,000 and 700,000 bushels of grain. The first elevator was built in 1864 by N. Dugan.
L' Ostant Lodge. No. 597, A. F. &: A. M., was organized in 1868.
The first officers 'were as follows: A. B. Fisher, W. M.; H. N. Robison, S. W.; E. F. Dougan, J. W.; W. F. Spring, Treasurer; .A. C. Schermerhorn, Secretary; L. M. Moulton, S. D.; G. M. Wood, J. D.; E. C. Wood, Tyler. Present officers are: ,William Henning, W. M.; J. Skeet, S. W.; N. Dugan, J. W.; C. Weber, Treasurer; G. C. Spring, Secretary; S. T. Dougan, S. D.; M. Barnhardt, J. D.; J. Page, Tyler. The lodge first met in the hall over Dr. Reynold's store, then moved in the hall over Phillips Bros. store, and afterward, in 1878, moved to their present quarters in the hall over Schoenneshoefer's drug store.
The first school-house was built in 1863. It was a small frame building Atterward it was sold to the Catholics for a church and the present building was erected. The latter is a frame structure and is sufficiently large to accommodate 150 pupils. Four teachers are employed.
The Baptists were the first to organize in the village. They formed a society in 1868 in a cottage now owned by Rev. A. Osgood, and for a while worshiped in the school-house. The following year they erected their presen t house of worship. At the organization there were twelve members received. This number has been increased until there are members sufficient to support a minister a portion of the time. Rev. Pratt was the first minister. The pulpit is now filled on alternate Sabbaths by Rev. M. Baskerville. Sunday-school is held at 10 o'clock. Isaac Wright is the Superintendent.
The Methodists occupied this country prior to the commencement of the village. They had a congregation at Cedar Point, a few miles from Lostant, which they still sustain, and from that and other localities near the site of the village had enough members to form a society about the same time the Baptist church was formed. They were organized with nine members, which number has since been more than quadrupled. They first occupied the school-house, then the Baptist church until, in 1869, they erected their present church. Rev. Springer was the first minister , Rev. J. G. Blair occupies the pulpit at present on alternate Sundays. Sabbath school is held at 10 o'clock, R. Goheen being the present Superintendent.
The Catholic church was formed about 1867. For a while they used a room in the upper story of the pioneer store in town. In 1868 they purchased the old school-house which they fitted up fur a church and used until 1883, when they erected a new church in the eastern part of the village. They have: a handsome building and a membership of almost 150. Services are held every Sunday at 9 o'clock.
[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 329-332 - Transcribed by N. Piper]
Is a small village in Hope township, in the southwest part of the county. It was laid out by John M. Richey, whose portrait appears elsewhere, early in September, 1861. He had purchased the section of land, including- the village site, many years before this date, and resided here from that time. The earliest residents in this part of the county, located near Wenona, Marshall county, anlong whom were Horace Graves, Capt. Dillman, and others. Rev. A. Osgood selected his farm in 1850, when there was not a dwelling in sight, and no thoughts of the village of L'Ostant. The land in this section of the county was partly composed of soldiers' claims, and it was these which Mr. Richey purchased when locating here in 1849. In 1862 he built the first building for a. store, in which Mr. Wm. Richey, and a Mr. Massay, of Marseilles, placed the first stock of goods in town. The building is yet occupied for the same purpose, by Messrs. Belford, Solon and Berry. Shortly after the town was laid out, a post office was established, and Daney D. Clark, the first station agent, made postmaster. He brought the first station house to town, moving it in from some near locality. A shop or two was soon added to the houses of the town; other stores were built, and in a year or two there were a goodly number of buildings in the young village. As this was a good shipping point an elevator was among the first structures of prominence. To this, two others have since been added, until more grain is shipped from this point than from any other of its size in the county, The main growth of the town has been since the war. In 1866 the grist mi ll was erected by Mr. Richey, Dr. Reynolds and others, and continues in a good trade. The majority of produce shipped from town goes to Chicago, but a moderate share finding its way directly to St. Louis.
At present, L'Ostant contains about three hundred inhabitants, is well supplied with stores and shops of various kinds, almost the entire trade being with the surrounding country.
The next summer after the town was laid out, a small frame house was erected, which served for two or three years as church, school house and town hall. It was used until 1868, when, becoming too small to accommodate the school population, it was sold to the Catholics, and by them converted into a church, which they still use. In 1868, steps were taken to secure a graded school, and the present comfortable school house was the result. It was built that year, and a good graded school opened in the autumn. The school still maintains its standard. The building contains four rooms, and will accommodate two hundred scholars. Nearly that number attend in the winter season.
The Baptists were the first to organize in the village. They formed a society in 1868, in a cottage now owned by Rev. A. Osgood, and for a while worshipped in the school house. The following year they erected their present house of worship. At the organization there were twelve members received. This number has been increased until there are forty, and able to sustain a minister a portion of his time. The Rev. Williams, pastor at Tonica, is at present supplying their pulpit. The attendance at Sunday school is about equal to the membership of the church.
The Methodists occupied this county prior to the commencement of the village. They had a congregation at Cedar Point, a few miles from L'Ostant, which they still sustain, and from that and other localities near the site of the village, had enough members to form a society about the same time the Baptist church was formed. They were organized with nine members, which number has since been increased to nearly or quite forty. They first occupied the school house, then the Baptist church until in 1869, they erected their present church. The Rev. E. B. England is the present pastor. The attendance at Sunday school is something over fifty scholars.
The Catholic church was formed about 1867. For awhile they used a room in the upper story of the pioneer store in town, In 1868 they purchased the old school house which they fitted for a church, and are still occupying it. They have now about one hundred and forty members under the pastoral care of Father Burch.
L'Ostant was incorporated as a town under the general incorporation law in 1867. A public meeting of the citizens was held in Wood's Hall on August 2d, when fifty votes were east in favor of incorporation, and none against. On the 12th an election for town trustees was held which resulted in the choice of the following persons: E. Altman, N. Dugan, W. W. Reynolds, A. Fisher and A. C. Scherrnerhorn. These soon after met, were sworn into office, and organized by electing as president of the board Mr. Altman, and as secretary, Mr. Schermerhorn.
[The Past and present of La Salle County, Illinois : containing a history of the county, its cities, towns, &c., a biographical directory of its citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, portraits of early settlers and prominent men, general and local statistics, map of La Salle County, history of Illinois, Constitution of the United States, miscellaneous matters, etc, etc.. Chicago: H.F. Kett & Co., Ottaway & Colbert, printers), 1877. Page 346-347]
In 1865 the village of Lostant was incorporated. In 1900 its population was 480, in 1910 was 458, but in 1920 had grown to 911. [History of La Salle County, Illinois. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1924.]
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