Rock Island County, Illinois Genealogy Trails


Gager Blacksmith Shop
Cordova Township
Gager Blacksmith Shop

Gager Blacksmith Shop - owned by George H. Gager who came to Cordova from New York.
Later it became garages run by Reynolds, Del Prater and Bob Dhamer.
Most recently it has served as a New York Life Insurance office.

There was another blacksmith shop on the east end of Main Avenue run by James Ong who came to Cordova from Ohio prior to 1877.


An invoice
Invoice from the Brettun and Black General Store

The 3rd floor. The 3rd floor.

Brettun and Black General Store

Brettun and Black General Store
Hampton Township

3rd floor bedroom
3rd floor bedroom.

Another mystery involves Black's store itself. On the south end of the second floor, are 3 rooms, outfitted as living quarters, plastered and with mopboards and other amenities. The middle room had a hole into the chimney and we're pretty sure housed a stove. It had no window so it's unlikely anyone lived there. The rooms were not there when the store was built.

In Black's records is a letter he wrote enquiring about insurance in 1852. In it he describes the building and its uses. He does not mention these rooms and says the second story was used for storing grain. Our restorer, Ron Nelson, looked under the plaster and found clean walls, indicating the rooms were made early on. We have examined the records a little but were unable to find anything about these rooms. Hopefully, we will come up with information with more research. Speculations about use includes the conjecture that the rooms housed Black's clerks. Clerks in that era worked sun-up to sun-down and would have found it good to live there. Another speculation is that steamboat Captains and Pilots might have stayed there on layovers. This is a dangerous spot on the river and boats might have not wanted to shoot the rapids at night or in bad weather.

Another mystery is why Henry McNeal and Joel Thompson decided to build their cabins here in 1828. They went into business supplying wood for the growing steamboat business but as to why this particular place was chosen is not known. Perhaps Hampton Historian Morris Heagy had the answer. He believed they stopped here because of the beauty of the surroundings, which was the same reason Heagy returned to his old home town after years of working as a banker in Rock Island, and built the house on 1st Avenue now occupied by the Clarks. Heagy called it "Sunset View". Take a walk by it some evening and you'll see why.


Rock Island County, Illinois
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