To The
Carroll County Biographies


From the Goodly Heritage

One of Milledgeville's most progressive businesses recently passed the three-fourth century mark. Started on Sept. 1st of 1886 by A. B. Puterbaugh was the original business known today as Gene Litwiller and Son.

Mr. Puterbaugh, grandfather and great grandfather to Gene and Lester Litwiller respectively, the present owners, came from Lanark to establish a grain and livestock buying business. The office was located in the same area it still occupies. The area surrounding the office was filled with livestock pens and corrals. In that day everyone drove his livestock on the hoof to town to sell. Puterbaugh shipped the first carload of livestock on the C. B. & Q. Railroad to Chicago. The railroad had come to Milledgeville in 1885 just a year before. After he shipped his first load of grain (also the first one shipped) railroad officials proposed that he build a grain elevator. If he would build on their right-of-way the railroad would haul in the lumber free. Mr. Puterbaugh went to La Crosse, Wis. and purchased lumber for his new elevator and the railroad delivered it as agreed to a siding where the elevator was built and still stands.

At this time grain was hauled with teams and wagons. Unloading was done by hand with the help of a horse on a horsepower sweep to elevate the grain into the bins. A blind horse was used for this job but in a few years the horse was replaced by a gasoline engine. It was a common sight to see loaded wagons lined up for two blocks south and a block or two East and West waiting to unload grain some chilly morning when the engine wouldn't start. In 1919 when electricity came to Milledgeville two large 24 x 24 foot storage bins were built in the place formerly occupied by the horse and engine.

The founder of the business owned land and was always interested and had first hand knowledge of agriculture in the community. In 1902, Puterbaugh purchased his third farm, known as Elkhorn farm, and a parcel of land from this farm was used by the village when it put in the first sewage disposal system in l9l9; another parcel was taken for the new plant in 1960. The old mill owned by Adam Knox and torn down in 1908 was also on Elkhorn farm.

Mr. Puterbaugh's success in breeding Percheron horses including his grand championship two year old mare at the 1902 International Livestock Exposition, Chicago is covered in the chapter on agriculture.

During the years 1911 through 1921, Harry Puterbaugh operated an automobile dealership for Overland cars. After Harry sold his car business the building was rented to Wm. Ewers for a garage and gas station and later to Arthur & Jake Hart.

In January, 1921 Ruth Puterbaugh and Wm. Litwiller were married and came to Milledgeville to operate one of the Puterbaugh farms. In 1927 they moved from the farm to their newly constructed home where they still reside. At this time Bill Litwiller went to work for Mt. Puterbaugh at the elevator. In 1931 he purchased a half interest in the business and went into partnership with his father-in-law when the business became the A. B. Puterbaugh Grain Co.

In 1932 the business was expanded by purchasing the lumber yard across the street and in 1940 Wm. Litwiller purchased the other half of the partnership from the Puterbaugh heirs when the name was changed to W. A. Litwiller Lumber and Grain Co.

In 1947 Mr. and Mrs. Gene Litwiller while residing on the Elkhorn farm, mentioned previously, built their new home on two lots adjacent to the old Mill race property where now is the Rocky Gulch Pony farm. In 1949 Gene came to work for his father at the elevator. The mill was remodeled using the latest in custom feed milling equipment for farmers in the Milledgevillee area, Oat and seed cleaning and treating equipment was installed recently and farmers from a wide area are using these modern facilities. In 1963 alone enough oats were cleaned and treated to sow some 10,000 acres. Today the elevator business launched by Mr. Puterbaugh in 1886 is the oldest family business still operating in Milledgeville

Back home

Illinois - "Our Way"