The village of Eagleville is situated about fifteen miles northeast of Bethany in the townships of Marion and Union, and is the site of an early settlement in that part of the county. Among the pioneers who secured homes in the vicinity of the village in an early day are remembered the following: Allen Bridges, Thomas Shain, George Davis, John Poynter, Icabod Jinks, Dr. Oatman, Mrs. Hulse, H.O. Neville, Daniel Shirley, James Grinstead, Thomas Patton, William Anderson, Samuel Anderson, Simpson Montgomery, Moses Shirley, Dr. Skinner and Aquilla C. Barber.
After the year 1850 the influx of settlers increased to such an extent that the propriety of establishing a local trading point began to be discussed. In August 1851, Robert Bullington donated ten acres of ground for the purpose of starting a town, and upon the 28th of the month a plat of the same was surveyed as follows: "Commencing at the northwest corner of Section 6, Township 65, Range 27, running east 38 rods and south 42 rods, being 38 rods across east and west, and 42 rods long north and south, each block 12 rods square with 12 feet alley, and each lot 66 feet wide by 93 feet long." Several additons were subsequently made to the original plat, and the territory embraced within the town limits at this time is sufficient for a city of at least 2,000 inhabitants. Near the central part of the town is a large public square; running east and west are six streets, crossed at right angles by nine streets running north and south.
The lots in the first surveys were offered for sale in 1851, but no improvements of any kind appear to have been attempted for a year or two later. One of the first residents of the village was John Haynes, who, as early, perhaps, as 1852, erected a small frame building, and engaged in the mercantile business which he carried on for about two years. James Anderson, Sr. and James Anderson, Jr. purchased lots soon after the survey and erected residences on the same in an early day.
James Anderson, Sr. brought a small stock of goods to the town, and was for a short time identified with the mercantile interests of the place. He subsequently erected what has since been known as the Central House, on which he kept the first hotel in the town. James Anderson, Jr., a little later erected a large two story frame building on North Main Street, known as the Eagle hotel, which was run as a place of entertainment for a number of years. He afterward sold goods in the building, and seems to have done a fairly good business. The house passed through a number of hands from time to time, and was destroyed by fire about the year 1883. Aquilla C. Barber, in 1857, erected a business house on the west side of the public square, in which for some time he sold goods in partnership with Joel Hall, who subsequently purchased the whole interest. Dr. C.M. Gilkey located in the town soon after it was founded, and engaged in the practice of medicine which he carried on fro some time in connection with the mercantile business, his partner being James B. Brower, who early erected a building in the north part of the village. From 1852 until 1857 the following persons purchased real estate in the town: Thomas Patton, L.G. Jones, John S. Haynes, William Anderson, J.P. King, William Hodgin, Joseph Bridges, John Spencer, William R. Allen, William Owings, J.W. Hasp & Co. B.F. Fletcher, Henry Sweeten, Nathan W. Tripp, Hezekiah W. Herring, John Martin, W.D. Horton, Henry O. Nevill, Joseph Huntseck, Robert W. Memford, William Mallett, William B. Needham, Thomas H. Poynter, James J. Dale, William Ballew, Ellen Barber, George W. Johnson, M.L. James, J.D. Tall and S.J. Tall. The following were early purchasers of lots in Hall's Addition to the town: B.A. McClure, Elisha Meeker, A.W. Allen, James H. Poynter, Thomas E. Beach, John R. Colwell, Noah Coons, William R. Allen, W.J. Skinner, M.S. Berks, M.P. Wills, and Willis Owings.
Business Men-Additional to the early merchants already named was Thomas Poynter, who engaged in the mercantile trade about 1856 or 1857 in a small frame building which stood near the northern limits of the town. After continuing alone a few years he went into partnership with Horace H. Fitch, and erected a store building on the public square, which is still standing. Messrs. Poynter & Fitch were very successful merchants, and amassed a comfortable competence during the years they remained in the town. The following men and firms were engaged in the mercantile business from time to time: Amos Poynter, William Poynter, George Young, Young & Wren, Young & Shirley, George Norris, Peter McCall, Downing & Moore, Briggs, Hall & Pearson, Elisha Meeker, Hugh Munson, John Spencer, Hillman & Allen, Hillman & Dunn, Boham & Lockwood, Ewart & Nevill, Officer & Edson, Stonum Bros., Dr. Tilton, Elisha Banta and John Hampton.
Among the early mechanics of Eagleville were William Robbins, carpenter; Andrew Kreamer, shoemaker, James Beech, cabinet-maker; and William Hodgin, Samuel Moore & Son, blacksmiths. These men all came to the town in an early day, and worked their respective trades for a number of years.
The following physicians rracticed the healing art in Eagleville at different times: Drs. C.M. Gilkey, H.J. Skinner, S.B. McClellan, Charles Oatman, Dr. Newman and A.H. Vandivert. The present physicians are Drs. J.L. Downing and T. Bohannon.
The only manufacturing enterprise of any note in Eagleville is the large flouring-mill erected in 1870 by Robert Huffman. The building is a three story frame with basement, supplied with machinery for the manufacture of a superior grade of flour. It is operated at this time by Messrs. Huffman & Miller, who do a good business.
F.T. Harvey for several years carried on a furniture factory in the town, which he operated with encouraging success. he subsequently moved to Bethany, where he is still engaged in the trade.
During the first few years of its history Eagleville progressed but slowly, a variety of causes combining to retard it progress, one of which was the unsettled condition of the surrounding country, which at that time was scarcely developed. The town took a new life soon after the war, and from about the year 1866 until 1870 it was by far the most prosperous trading point in Harrison County. Six or eight large stores were in operation during that period, and business of all kinds was well supported. It drew trade from all parts of Northern Harrison, and for several years the rival of the county seat. The completiton of the Chicago, Burlington & quincy Railroad through the county, and the springing up of the thriving towns of Ridgeway and Blythdale, a few miles distant, proved a death blow to its prosperity, since which time it has been on the downward grade. A general decay fastened itself upon the once flourishing little city, and at this time the town is but a shadow of its former self. It still commands a fair proportion of the current trade, however, and will doubtless remain a local business point for years to come. The business of the town at this time is represented by the following directory: George H. Lockwood, druggist; Pearson & Wyant, general merchandise; A. Cramer & Sons, general stock; John A. Anderson, groceries; T.B. Schaeffer, hardware; W.L. Hoffman, furniture; John W. Moore, drugs; Miss M.C. Welch and Mrs. Brower, millners; John Wylie, photographer; George F. Moore, livery stable; James Terry, blacksmith; James Cross and Perry Muma, butchers; Charles C. Hall, harness maker; James Cross, proprietor of the Central House; John Moore, plasterer.
There are three churches in the town, Methodist, Baptist and Christian, all of which have substantial frame houses of worship.