Putnam County Villages

The Oxbow

History of Putnam County
by Henry A. Ford
Corresponding member of the Chicago Historical Society
Published at Lacon in 1860

Oxbow Prairie - this prairie takes its name from the semi-elliptical shape given it by the winding of the creeks in the vicinity and the consequent encroachment of forest upon the prairie. The beauty and fertility of the region attracted settlers at an early date, many arriving before 1830. After which it fills up with considerable rapidity. In 1834, it was referred to as all ready overspread with fine farms. The principle early settlers were Aschel Hanom, Jeremiah Strawn, David Boyle, Daniel Gunn, Isaac and George Hildebrand, Emuel Gailer and the Glens and others. The first post office in the county was established here which was kept at Mr. Boyle's during the early part of 1831. A school was also kept the previous winter by George H. Shaw.

Mt. Palatine

"Past And Present Of Marshall And Putnam Counties"
Published 1907

On the county line between Putnam and LaSalle, on the highest point, in the loveliest part of the state, overlooking as it does the beautiful waving fields of grain stretching away to the sylan borders of the Vermillion on the east and the Illinois on the west, beautiful for stiuation stands what is left of what once promised to be the center of education - Mt. Palatine.  

It was laid out in 1849 by Christopher Winters.  Mr. Winters had bought a large body of land in this territory and resold it mostly to eastern settlers designing to start a live Yankee town.  He also purposed to establish an educational institution which when first built was called a seminary but afterward it rose to the dignity of Judson College.  In 1842 the first house was built in the town by Deacon Woodbury.  Otis Fisher, of Granville, became the first teacher in the settlement in 1841.  He had a small frame dwelling erected just outside the limits of the village where he lived for a year.  Dr. Larned Davis first visited Mt. Palatine in July, 1841, but did not take up his permanent abode there until 1843.  There were a few other houses built near and aroung the town in 1842.  

It is strange that at the time of the founding of Mt. Palatine there was not a house within twenty-five miles southeasterly except that of William Johnston, which was a mile away.  The village promised well until the establishment of Tonica, which, on the construction of the Illinois Central, began to grow, taking away the trade and furnishing a railroad market but seven miles away.

The first store opened in Mt. Palatine was that of Boardman Fulson, where were sold drugs, groceries and dry goods.  He began business there soon after the town was laid out and retired fom business in 1879.  The village contained three churches, a good district school, tow general stores, two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, one physician and a postoffice, about twenty-five houses with apopulation of about one hundred people.

The first hotel built was owned by Samuel Puffer.  It was a big brick house which still stands.  Thus like many little villages tis history was greater in the beginning than in the end.  By the establishment of McNabb two and a half miles to the southwest the last flickering hope for Mt. Palatine ever becoming a town of any importance died out.


"Past And Present Of Marshall And Putnam Counties"
Published 1907

In Senachwine township about ten miles to the southwest of Hennepin, situated upon the western bank of the Illinois river is a little hamlet now called Putnam, but formerly known by the name of the Indian chieftian, Senachwine.  Some heartless wretch with no appreciation of the beautiful persuaded the government to change the post-office from Senachwine to Putnam, and Putnam it remains.  

In 1835 a town was laid out by B.M. Hayes, but nothing came of it and the present town was established by Peter Barnhart and Cortland Condit, who owned the land upon which it stand.  In 1855, the Bureau Valley Railroad now a part of the Rock Island system was built through to Peoria.  Then soon after James mcCurdey opened the first store.  He was also postmaster.  Soon after George Ward engaged in the grocery business and Aaron Hines built a hotel.  The town has good gravel streets, an artesian well and several fairly good business houses, a large elevator, two shools and two churches and is the social, religious and political life of the township.


"Past And Present Of Marshall And Putnam Counties"
Published 1907

Just below Putnam, about 1836 or 1837 upon a beautiful plateau with a convenient steamboat landing, a town of considerble pretensions was projected and boomed by energetic business men.  

Lots sold readily; a sawmill and gristmill to be prepelled by steam were contracted for and the machinery brought upon the ground, a blacksmith shop was set up, and a dozen cabins erected and sold, a store was opened by Josiah Hayes, better known from his diminutive stature and certain characteristics as "Little Hayes".  He afterward moved to Kansas and achieved greatness by becoming a colonel in the Union Army and afteward secretary of state.  

The many sloughs and low places covered with decaying matter and the impure water developed chills and fever and malaria, and followed by the death of the principal promoter of the town, caused it to ba abondoned, but not, however, until it had been named in honor of the great Daniel Webster.  All that remains now to mark the place are a few depressions in the soil that show just where the cabins had been.

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Fort Cribs

From Record of Olden Times or Fifty Years  on the Prairie  embracing sketches of the discovery, exploration and settlement of the country  by Spencer Elsworth  
Lacon, IL Home Journal Steam Printing Establishment
Copyright Date MDCCCLXXX (1880)     Page 204

Here* in 1832 was erected one of those border forts or block houses for defense against the Indians known as Fort Cribs for the reason that a number of corn cribs were in the enclosure. It was resorted to by all of the settlers in the vicinity for safety, 98 being here at one time. A memorable event was the birth while in this fort of Milton Shepherd, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Shepherd. William Steward, called Big Billy commanded the fort. No attack was made upon it, though an Indian was seen lurking about in the timber, probably a spy. Among those quartered here during the scare in addition to the families of Willis and Shepherd, was James G. Ross, Hugh Warnock, S.D. Williams, W.M.Stewart, William Stewart, Reverend Mr. McDonald, James Harper, Mr. Rexford, J. Ramsey, William Ham, Mr. Wagner and George B. Willis and their families besides some unmarried men.

*Note:  "Here" means near the village of Florid, Illinois


Taken From the Henry Republican
July 2, 1874

Putnam county Matters - Miscellaneous

Whittaker is a post office just established in Putnam county and John Swaney will hereafter write P. M. after his name. Bully for John.


Taken From the Past and Present of Marshall and Bureau Counties, 1907, Page 81

The advent of the coal industry has brought its accompanying influx of population.  North and west of the St. Paul shaft a village was laid out and named Mark. Many of the foreign-born mining population secured lots and built homes for themselves in this new town site. To the southeast of the shaft coal company itself has built its houses, which differ from the stereotype houses inasmuch as there is a variety of architecture relieving the distressing sameness usually seen in corporate cottages. Being just over the Granville village coporation line this addition seems rather to be part of Granville, although in reality it is "Mark".  An effort was made to prevent its incorporation and to annex it to Granville proper, but the coal company did not move in time and the promoters of the new village succeeded in incorporating it.  In all probability in the near future the two towns will become one.


Taken From the Past and Present of Marshall and Bureau Counties, 1907, Page 81

Joining the Berry plant, F. W. Sucher platted a town and names it Standard and at the close of the year 1906 most of the lots in the new town had been sold and many buildings erected. The Oglesby and Granville road connecting this hamlet with Granville make it practically a suburb of the old town.


Taken From the Past and Present of Marshall and Bureau Counties, 1907, Page 81

After the establishing of Spring Valley about a quarter of a century ago Mr. Mower panned on the south bank of the Illinois river, near the site of the present Spring Valley bridge, a village he called Yosemite, upon which he paid taxes for a number of years. Perhaps a half dozen buildings were erected on the site, but nothing came of it and Yosemite you can not see.


Taken From the Past and Present of Marshall and Bureau Counties, 1907, Page 81

There remains but one other place on the map and that is the station of Moronts in Hennepin township, on Hennepin prairie, and four miles northwest of Granville and the same distance northeast of Hennepin. There is no town here. There is not a house there. Only a station and a grain elevator, but it has become a good shipping point for the farmers in the community and for Hennepin.

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