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Ridott Village

Ridott Township
Stephenson County IL

When the Galena & Chicago Railroad was completed through the township, a station was established about one mile west of the present village, and a town surveyed and platted. The place was named Nevada, after Nevada City, Colo., at which point Daniel Wooten, who owned the ground upon which the former place was located, died in 1849, while en route to California. A post office was established here, of which William Wright was the Postmaster. Considerable improvements were made, and for several years appearances seemed to indicate that Nevada would, in a brief time, become a thriving town.

This condition of affairs remained unchanged until the summer of 1860. At that time, J. S. Cochran and brother, of Freeport, purchased 60 acres of land upon part of which the village of Ridott now stands. It seems that prior to the purchase of the town site, the Cochrans had concluded a contract with the rail- road company, by the terms of which the former were to grade the side tracks, plat and lay out the town, in consideration of the company's removing the station to the point now occupied. Accordingly, the side tracks, etc., were completed, thirty acres of land were surveyed and platted into lots 30x120, and on the 10th day of July, 1860, the station was removed. Immediately thereafter, G. W. Loveland, Postmaster at Nevada, in obedience to instructions from the Department, removed the post office thither, and completed his present house on Adams street, the first house in the village, which was at that time known as " Cochranville." Improvements were made without delay. The Cochrans built the large frame building on Adams street, now known as the " Farmers' Store." A man named Oscar H. Osborn erected a house near the track, and adapted the same to residence and saloon purposes. In 1861, Samuel Irvin built a shoe- shop on Adams street ; James Clark, a residence on the same thoroughfare, and W. E. Moorhouse a dwelling on Jefferson street, these constituting the improvements made until the close of the war. The period intervening between 1861 and 1865 was not noticeable for enterprise ; some little building was carried on, but nothing of note is remembered to have occurred. Quite a number of soldiers enlisted from Cochranville and vicinity, a limited number of whom returned, the remainder yielded to the fortunes of war and were buried in the trenches, or settled elsewhere.

During the fall of 1861, through the agency of a petition prepared by the residents and addressed to the Department at Washington, the name of the village was changed to " Ridott," by which name it has been known to the postal authorities, the commercial world and the general public, ever since. After the peace at Appomattox Court House, an impetus was given to building up and improving the village. Ross Babcock erected the brick block on Adams street, containing two stores, office rooms and "Ridott Hall," a commodious audience-room dedicated to "free speech," wherein the Free Methodists hold services, lectures are delivered, soirees are given, and the cheerful minstrel warbles his melodies. Isaac S. Shirey put up a handsome residence on Washington street ; J. A. Kerr followed the precedent on the same street, and later, Josiah Deimer, Mrs. Lewis Getchell, Reuben Clark and Hezekiah Porfenberger, on the same thoroughfare; Henry Gibler, one on Adams street; Dr. M. W. Walton moved a building into the village and reconstructed it, making an attractive residence out of its frame, etc., etc.

In 1867, the church edifice of the United Brethren Association on Adams street was commenced, and completed during the year following. In 1869, the old red schoolhouse on the Waters place was vacated, and the base of operations changed to the handsome brick schoolhouse on Jefferson street, completed that year and since occupied. The past ten years have been years of prosperity, though not fruitful of events or replete with accidents or incidents calculated to inspire ambitious youth or create a fever in the blood of the age. In 1875, the town was incorporated as a village, under the general law, with the following list of officers. It should be observed, however, that the first birth was a son to Oscar and Mary Osborn, named Irwin, and who now resides in Iowa. The first death was Elizabeth Leech, and the marriage of Brock Mullen to Mrs. Mary Hill was the first matrimonial venture concluded in the town. The village now contains a population of about 350, has three stores, two blacksmith-shops, two saloons, two religious congregations, and one wagon, shoe and harness shop, also one livery stable.

Official Roster:

1874 F. D. Coolidge, President; H. P. Waters, Samuel Moyer, 0. M. Doty, W. A. Kerr and J. L. Robinson, Associates.

1875 Reuben Clark, President; Samuel Moyer, J. L. Robinson, C. L. Christie, H. Poffenberger and W. A. Kerr.

1876 Isaac S. Shirey, President; C. L. Christie, Reuben Clark, 0. M. Doty, H. Poffenberger and Samuel Moyer.

1877 H. Poffenberger, President; Samuel Moyer, Terrence Griffin, H. Gochenour, F. W, Kerr and Robert Shirey.

1878 Henry Gochenour, President; C. W. Warner, C. A. Dibble and G. W. Moyer. At a special election held November 5, 1878, Isaac S. Shirey and 0. M. Doty were selected as Trustees.

1879 Isaac S. Shirey, President ; Reuben Clark, W. K. McGilligan, Samuel Moyer, 0. M. Doty and H. B. Dibble.

1880 H. Poffenberger, President; R. Clark, W. K. McGilligan, H. Gochenour, 0. Knickenberg and James Hotchkiss.

Clerks. W. A. Kerr, 1874 ; I. S. Shirey, 1875 ; W. K. McGilligan, 1876-78; G. R. Loveland, 1879; George E. Bennett, 1880.

Treasurers. S. Moyer, 1874-76; G. W. Loveland, 1877-80.

Police Magistrates. G. W. Loveland, 1875; resigned and was succeeded by M. W. Walton, who still serves.

The first school taught in this portion of the township, was a select school in a log house on the farm of Horace Colburn, now owned by Samuel Moyer. Here Miss Laura Colburn and her successors in office sowed the seeds of knowledge and administered the birch for about ten years. At that date, or in 1855, a frame schoolhouse was erected on the farm of Harvey P. Waters, and for fourteen years the " Old Red Schoolhouse," by which term it was known, did duty as a church, lecture-room and house of entertainment, in addition to the object for which it was erected. In 1869, the brick schoolhouse on Jefferson street was completed, the " Old Red " vacated, and moved to the Moyer farm, where it supplies a varied want, graphically expressed as "long felt," being a washhouse, butcher shop, and what not peculiar to settlements provided with limited resources. The present school edifice is 40x60, compactly built, two stories high, and cost about $5,000. The premises contain two departments, employ two teachers, and enjoy an average daily attendance of seventy-five pupils. The schools are conducted at an annual expense of $1,200, a portion of which is obtained from the State, and are under the control of a board composed of Wesley Johns, J. A. Kerr and Marvin Hammond.

United Brethren Association. This society, the largest and most influential in Ridott, was established in the township before the village was laid out, with a small membership, under the pastorate of the Rev. James Johnson. The congregation was composed of residents of Nevada principally, as also members of the denomination residing in other portions of Ridott Township, and services were conducted in the schoolhouse, first on the Moyer farm, and, finally, until the church was built, in that on the Waters farm. In 1867, the frame edifice on Adams street was commenced, its completion and dedication being postponed until the following year, when it was taken possession of and has since been occupied. It is of frame, 28x48, handsomely equipped, capable of seating an audience of two hundred. The congregation at present numbers forty-five members ; the church property represents an estimated valuation of $2,500, and the following have officiated as Pastors : Revs. James Johnson, Mr. Frazer, Mr. Dodds, Mr. Davis, L. B. Peck, G. B. Walker, J. H. Phillips, Mr. Thayer, P. Hurles, I. K. Statten. J. H. Grimm, F. Reibel, H. D. Hesley, and W. S. Hayes, the present incumbent. Free Methodists Numbering about thirty communicants, was organized in 1875, under the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Ferns. The association worships in Babcock's Hall, the Rev. Mr. Frink being the Pastor in charge.

RIDOTT CEMETERY, located on the farm of Samuel Moyer, and laid out about 1868 or 1869, is a handsome inclosure of one acre, devoted to burial purposes, and under the control of Mr. Moyer. The cemetery contains some elaborately carved monuments, commemorating the virtues of those who sleep beneath the sod, and is a spot of beauty, if not a resort for joyous pleasure, that will be regarded with sympathetic interest until the world is rolled up like a scroll.

POST OFFICE. Was removed from Nevada in 1860, to the depot in Cochranville, with G. W. Loveland as Postmaster. In the fall of 1861, it was changed to Ridott. Mr. Loveland remained in charge until 1863, when he was succeeded by Samuel Irvin, who removed the office to his store on Adams street. He was followed by William Carroll, Jr., who continued in possession from 1865 until 1870, when Jacob D. Schmeltzer took charge, and acted until I. S. Shirey was appointed. Mr. S. discharged the trust until the fall of 1879, when he resigned and G. S. Babcock was appointed his successor, and is still serving.

RIDOTT BAND. The village boasts a band, composed of the young men residing in the vicinity, which was organized in 1878, and on all occasions when its services are called into requisition, discourses most excellent music.