Brief Sketches of Magnolia, Mt. Palatine, Florid and Granville Illinois in 1867

Taken From the Marshall County Republican
written by The Marshall County Republican Correspondent

Magnolia and Mt. Palatine
From Our Own Correspondent
April 9, 1867 - Putnam County News

We crossed the river about noon last Wednesday to take a ride through Putnam county and extend your circulation among its inhabitants. A ...?... trip was every pleasant to us, we thought a light sketch of our neighboring county would be interesting to your Marshall county readers. After crossing the river, soil rising over the long cas....... and fine bridge that bears us across the wide and somewhat swampy bottom that inevitably borders the Illinois river upon one side or the other we were and ...?..... confronted by a "Beer" sign and immediately the lines of poetry "Whiskey and Beer, yor .... her" run through my mind, but we felt no interest in find out if much was really the facts and we rode on. We afterwards heard that the man, .....?....... with nothing a couple of years ago, had bought and paid for the quarter section of land he lives one. Verily it pays better in this world to fuel the vises of men than to minister to their necessities.

Our road to Magnolia lay through the timber that stretches along the banks of Sandy creek, making a very pleasant road of ...?.... miles. Magnolia is a beautiful prairie town founded by our old surveyor, Robert Patterson, about ..?.. years ago, and at one time, was a very flourishing place, but the towns that have sprung up on the railroads to the east and west of it, have left it sadly in the decline, but our Magnolia friends hope soon to have a railroad, and then they will be a s proud as any of us. While in Magnolia we spent a very pleasant hour with Dr. Ashley, one of the oldest settlers of Putnam county. We found the doctor in an apple tree, seemingly as spry as a boy of 17, but he soon came down, and after showing us over his orchard and grapes, by the by, the doctor don’t take much stock in the "Concord" - took us out to see his fine Morgan horse, imported by himself from Vermont. Before we left, the doctor promised to give your readers his experience in raising grapes. Our visit to Magnolia will result in 25 families being gladdened by the weekly visits of The Republican.

Bidding, "mine host" of the Magnolia House good bye, and gladdening his eye to the gift of a small greenback, we mounted our horse and took our way across the beautiful prairie that lays between Magnolia and Mt. Palatine. This village is beautifully situated and at one time was the seat of Judson college, where we was first initiated into the mysteries of algebra and geometry, but the school is broken up and the buildings sold to the Catholics and is now used by them for a ..?... We found over there, in a beautiful residence, our fellow townsman Dominic Renz, who will attend to their "understandings" in the most fitting manner. Mr. Palatine does not boast of a public house amount its institutions, as we was kindly cared for by John Laughlin, Esq., and passed a pleasant evening in talking over old times.

After breakfast we started on our road for Henry, taking the road by Clear Creek, stopping occasionally to see the farmers and setting forth the element of your valuable journal, which many of them nobly responded to and as long as you have the interest of Putnam county at heart, your subscription will be graced by such names as Mills, Smith, Griffith, Boyle, Beck, Sunderland, Howard and others. The fine fares, noble barns and splendid residences in this part of the country show the thrift and industry of their owners, while the nice school houses, fine libraries and piles of magazines and papers show that they consider it necessary to cultivate the intelligence and virtue of the people.

At Granville (and Florid)
To the Editors of the Republican
May 7, 1868

Business calling me through Putnam county last week, I thought I would follow the fashion now so prevalent among tourists, of writing an account of my travels. Granville being the point to which my rovings tended, I jogged merrily along till I arrived at the little town of Florid, which is one of the oldest towns in the northern part of the state. Judging by the looks of the houses, I should say the most of it was built by the Jesuit missionaries that first descended the Illinois river, and having been forgotten by them, the present inhabitants were afraid to make any improvements for fear the houses would be reclaimed by their heirs. It was however confidently whispered to me, that a house and lot had been actually sold a week before, which shows that a more healthy feeling is growing among the inhabitants. There is a very fine church and school house in Florid, which stand in beautiful contrast to the residences, and as there is no saloon or other place for obtaining liquor in the town, I was not surprised to find the people intelligent and thriving, and the laying out of a few dollars in paint, etc, would make their little town a desirable a place of residence as any of the inland towns through this part of the country.

There are some residences near town belonging to farmers, which serve to relieve the rusty look of the town very much. We called, and spent an hour very pleasantly with I. W. Steward, who has a nursery on his splendid farm, about one half mile north-west of the town. His fruit nursery is still small, but he has on hand a lot of fine evergreens which are ready for transplanting.

While in Florid, I inquired for David and Jacob Fealer, whose names have graced your columns for some time appended to a certificate of McKenzie’s Insect Destroyer. I heard of one of them, but no one seemed to know anything of the other, and even he had only been in the vicinity some 18 months, and owned no orchard there.

In the morning I left Florid for Granville, stopping awhile with Rev. Mr. Stevenson, the county superintendent of schools. After a very pleasant chat with his interesting family, I took the road again, and a pleasant ride brought me to Granville. I found it a beautiful town, situated upon a rolling prairie about 3 miles from the river, with about 500 or 700 inhabitants, 2 stores that seem to do a fair business, and a very good boarding school. The settlement around Granville is old, as shown, by the old orchards and large barns, but its only communication with the outside world is by wagons, and the want of a railroad is severely felt. But everything is fresh and nice, the inhabitants beautifying their homes and grounds, till the town is as beautiful as any in the state. I called on Dr. G. Boyd, a young doctor who has lately settled there, and will administer to the diseases of the country, by night or by day. The doctor seems to be well qualified for his profession and the sick will find a true friend in him as well as a kind and skillful physician. Though much pleased with our visit to Granville, we remembered that loved ones were expecting us at home, and we bade farewell to the friendly faces and turned our way homeward, where we arrived just as the sun disappeared behind the western horizon.

1870 Sketch of Putnam and Marshall County

The Ottawa free trader., June 04, 1870

Notes by the Way
Editors Free Trader

Having come to the conclusion, not long since, that my presence was not required in Ottawa or its vicinity, unless to answer charges professed against me for getting into debt on account of the existing hard times, I got all my "duds" into one package, and a small one at that, and turned my heels towards sunrise, i.e. struck "out west." Having my choice of modes of traveling, I clambered into a lumber wagon, with a white cover, that was headed in the direction in which the star of Empire is said to have taken its way, and soon lost sight of old Ottawa. Before starting we provided ourselves with a ham, a bushel of potatoes, a frying pan and kettle and several other etcetera, as travelers are supposed to have mouths and appetites as well as any other class of people. Keeping along the bottom road to Utica, thence, on the bluff, to La Salle, which we reached at noon, and which is well known to your readers as a village on the outskirts of Ottawa, where a fellow, by the name of Webster, is trying to edit a newspaper, upholding the principles of the best government the world ever saw. Crossing the new bridge at Peru, we slowly wend our way southward until, arriving on top of a steep hill, overlooking that Dutch settlement, where we pitch our first tent, and proceed to try our ham and potatoes, which we know, by our appetites will disappear in a hurry. Dinner over, it begins to rain, and after a consultation we conclude to wait until morning before going any farther.

Morning dawned bright and clear, and after a hearty breakfast we again shape our course westward. Entering Putnam county we come to a settlement now known as the Fifteenth Amendment, planting corn with hoes, in a clearing made in the woods. One of the aforesaid amendments was perched on a rail fence chewing tobacco with great gusto, and appeared to enjoy the situation immensely. Drawing up our teams we ask him:
"Is this the road to Hennepein?" to which he replies:
"Do you see dat un down dar?" and he pointed with as black a digit as I ever saw, to a lane a short distance south.
"Yes," we answer.
"Well, dat goes dar too."
"Which is the shortest?"
"Well, if you take dis her un you'll wish, afore you git fru, dat you took de oder un; an if you take de oder un you will wish dat you'd took dis hea one."
By this time the other ones had come out to the end, and drawing themselves in line, I counted no less than thirteen, without our men, on a fence, ranging in size from knee high to six feet and a half, in all styles of dress imaginable, each wench being provided with a supply of genuine navy chewing tobacco.

After five hours ride, through a splendid farming country, we come to Hennepin, the county seat of Putnam county, a pretty village of 1200 inhabitants, situated on the east bank of the Illinois river. Just north of the town are the fair grounds, in a grove - a nice shady place with a nice level track, and all other things necessary to add to the amusements of the people of Putnam. The court house is a large brick building, with a yard filled with evergreens and shady trees, everything looking neat and orderly. There are four good churches here, a large school building, a number of nice residences and stores; everybody appearing to enjoy life and take things easy.

Crossing the river on the ferry we are in Bureau Valley, one of the most fertile tracts of land to be found in the state, or the Northern states. All along the valley are fine farm houses, barns, and corn cribs filled to overflowing with bright yellow corn. At one place I noticed a crib made of ten lengths of sixteen feet fencing boards, twelve feet wide and nine feet high, full to the top, all of which was raised last year on a hundred and twenty acres.

Passing down the valley to the southward we reached Snatchwine at six o'clock Saturday evening, and camped a short distance north of that village. Here we found Mr. John Galvin, a former resident of Ottawa, and whose father still lives a few miles north-west of Ottawa. John owns a snug wagon and blacksmith shop here, as also a very pretty residence, and is doing a good business, all of which he deserves, as no more genial good hearted fellow can be found anywhere. We had the pleasure of taking dinner with him and his interesting family on Sunday, and can say that we never sat down to a better dinner in all our lives, all of which we will bear in mind, and when John comes out our way we will do likewise.

Keeping on down the valley, which is a continuation of fine farm houses, big barns and corn cribs, droves of hogs and cattle, and flocks of sheep, we come to Sparland, a small village on the C. & R. I. R. R. twelve miles south of Snatchwine. Passing through Sparland to the south we camped agan resumed our journey, reaching Chillicothe about ten o'clock. This is a town of 2,300 inhabitants. It contains two hotels - the Wood and Will houses - a large school house, some nice private residences, some good business blocks, and the C.R.I & P.R.R. Depot, a magnificent building (?) eight by ten, an inch of dirt on the windows and floor, and a stove that looked as though it had been resurrected from the ruins of Herculaneum. If the R.R. Co. are too poor to erect a decent building to accommodate their customers, the citizens of Chillicothe ought, for shame sake, vote them a bonus of a sufficient sum to build a depot that would not look like the coal shed of some country school house. More anon. - H.

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