History of Nachusa

The present village of Nachusa was laid out in the fall of 1853 on land owned by Colonel Alexander P. Dysart and George Baugh. The village was quite a lively trading post. They received at that time 150,000 or 300,000 bushels of grain yearly. Nachusa got its name in honor of Father Dixon, to whom in early times, the Indians applied the name "Nachusa" meaning in their language, "white hair".

In 1855 or 56, Mr. Dysart and another man engaged in the mercantile trade. This building could also be called the general store. In 1860 a large elevator was built. It was operated by John Dysart and Israel Slothower. This elevator was torn down and a new one built in 1947. Storage bins were added in 1950, followed by a large scale. This is a prosperous grain center at the present time.

The first schoolhouse was built in 1868 and was used until 1949 when it was sold to John Sprangler and moved. The teacher in 1868 was John Barnes. This building was a neat little frame structure. Before the church was built it was used for church purposes. The new two-room schoolhouse which was completed in 1950 is modern in every respect. There are two teachers, Mrs. Coral Lambert, who teaches the first four grades with an enrollment of 22, and mrs. Edith Bennett, who teaches the upper grades and has 19 pupils. The first church built was the German Baptist (more familiarly known as the Dunkard) in 1850. This church was located where the former toolhouse stands at the Emmert cemetery. This church had a basement, kitchen and sleeping room above the audience room. They hired different ministers to preach sermons here. When the Baptists had their district meeting, the people came for miles and would stay tow or three days. Some brought their bedding and slept upstairs in the church and others stayed at the homes of neighbors.

The present church in Nachusa was built in November of 1887 with Rev. Bemsberg as pastor. The bell was installed Nov. 14, 1887, but was struck by lightning and burned in 1941. Since the church was built it has had several additions including a basement. At the present time they have an oil burner and an electric organ. Pastor Luther Cooperrider is the minister now. The first blacksmith shop was opened in 1855/56 by Mr. Farwell. There was also a paint shop and John S. Eicholtz manufactured wagons and carriages. In 1868 a blacksmith and repair shop was added. This was located at the present Wesley Hockman residence. In 1867 Israel Slothower ran a blacksmith shop and wa associated with John Dysart in grain trade.

When Colonel Alex. P. Dysart returned home from service he brought a Negro slave back with him by the name of Peter Hatcher. Later Peter was married and lived in a poorly constructed house on the present William Johnson premises. Mr. and Mrs. Peter Hatcher had six children who were all educated in the Nachusa school. They were the only colored people who ever lived in Nachusa. The parents and sons of the children are buried in Emmert cemetery. In the early days cows and chickens ran all over the town and people had their gardens fenced in to keep the animals out. If the citizens needed a doctor, they went to the depot and telegraphed Dixon for one. In the earliest days - 1875 - most of the people were Irish. The ladies went to the Catholic church in Dixon on a a hand car.

In 1873 there was a general store and post office combined across the street west of the present post office. This was operated by Horace Street. The upstairs of this structure was used for Sunday school and the people had their church suppers there. It was also used for a dance hall. The building was torn down and new one built in 1875. This store was larger and also included the post office which was operated by Wm. Dysart. In 1918 this structure burned. George Weyant and Frank Coleman ran a slaughter house in 1889 and peddled meat in wagons around to the farmers.

Most of the Irish worked on the railroad. Then in 1873 they began to leave and the Pennsylvania people began to arrive. Bigger and better homes were then constructed, the first of which was built in 1884 by George Eicholtz for William Dysart. At present this home is owned by Alvin Krahenbuh. The present Charles Spangler home was the second of these home to be built and was to be used as a hotel, run by Mr.a nd Mrs. Dan Eicholtz. The Kelly Bates property was the third home built. The present Mrs. Cora and Mary Eicholtz home was built in 1896 and has always been in the Eicholtz name. Around this time there was a barber shop, implement building, a blacksmith run by W.H. Shaver, and a harness shop run by Miles Johnson. These were all located just south of the tracks on the west side of the road. The present post office was built in 1907 with C.B. Crawford as postmaster. C.H. Strong is postmaster at the present time. The cut-off on the railroad from Nelson to Nachusa was installed in 1909. In 1949 the tower and agent were removed and an automatic system was installed.

Around 1901 Mr. Arbogast operated a shoe repair shop on the present Wesley Hockman property. An ice cream parlor east of the present Joe Suter garage was operated by Guy Eicholtz in 1916. The Nachusa Home was formally opened May 12, 1904, with six children enrolled. This 45 acre tract, was given to the home by Mrs. Mary Shippert. The home was rebuilt following a fire in 1911/12. A second fire occurred in 1928 and it was again rebuilt in 1929/30. This is the present home which consists of three cottages, a two room school building, a three car garage and a group of four farm buildings. At present there are 48 children enrolled and Rev. Leroy Weighe is superintendent. The public buildings of Nachusa now include a modern two room school, church, modern elevator, post office and a grocery and meat market.

Dixon Evening Telegraph 1951 Centennial Issue written by Mrs. Alvin Krahenbuhl

Nachusa Township was formed in 1871. The village of Nachusa was named for "Father" John Dixon, the founder of Dixon. Winnebago Indians had named him "Na-chu-ra-sak," meaning "man with long white hair." Col. Alex Dysart requested the township be formed by carving it from Dixon and China townships. The village of Nachusa was laid out March 1, 1853, by Dysart and George Baugh, who owned the land.

It was on the main line of the former Chicago and Northwestern Railroad and, in its prime, became a lively trading area, shipping 150,000 to 300,000 bushels of grain a year. The Irish who helped to build the railroad eventually left and were replaced by people from Pennsylvania. Nachusa's first school was built in 1868, and the last school closed in 1949. Nachusa is home to St. Paul's Lutheran Church and the Nachusa Lutheran Home which opened May 15, 1904, and is operated by Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. The first blacksmith shop was built in 1855 or 1856. When early residents needed a doctor, they would go to the depot and telegraph Dixon to have one sent to Nachusa.

Sauk Valley Newspapers June 2005 - The population today 497