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VERNON S. TODD

MILLEDGEVILLE'S OLDEST NATIVE
Vernon S. Todd, 95, has the distinction of being Milledgeville's oldest native. He was born April 29, 1880 east of Milledgeville in the house that still stands on the family farm, although it is no longer used as a home.

Mr. Todd remembers seeing the first train go through Milledgeville as he was seated behing the dashboard of his father's buggy. The tracks for the Chicago-Burlington and Quincy Railroad were laid through Milledgevile in 1885. "The tracks were laid with teams of horses, and the men working on them ofter came to our farm to buy meat and eggs," he said.

The Todd family was one of the earliest to settle in this area. Mr. Todd's grandfather, Eliakim Todd, came here from Pennsylvania in 1837, walking almost the entire distance, and settled a claim on the farm which is now designated with a Centennial marker.

Indians are known to have headquartered on the farm, and had built a dugout, measuring about 50 feet deep and 70 feet across, on a knoll northwest of the house. "For years that hole was there and we farmed around it, but I finally had it filled in so we could plant it to crops," Mr. Todd said.

Mr. Todd also recalls the building of Milledgeville's present business district. The original settlement was clustered around the corner of Route 88 and the Polo blacktop, and the old town well is under the highway at that spot. After the coining of the railroad, businessmen wanted to be closer to the tracks, and stores were built at their present location.

Mr. Todd graduated from the Milledgeville High School in 1898. He worked in a real estate office in Minneapolis until the panic came. He rode a bicycle all the way back to Milledgeville, unsuccessfully looking for work along the way.

He started farming on his own in 1903 on what is now the Woessner farm south of Milledgeville at a time when cattle were selling at $4 a hundredweight. He recalls having the team he was driving frightened by one of Milledgeville's first cars, owned by Joe Wood.

After retiring from farming, Mr. Todd was a real estate broker in Milledgeville for about 25 years. He was also active in community affairs. He served on the Milledgeville School board and remembers making the motion to erect the present school building on the site where it is located. Mr. Todd was the first Farm Bureau director in this territory, and has been recognized as a 70-year Mason of the Milledgeville lodge. When he was over 80 years old, Mr. Todd wrote a book "Growing Up With Agriculture" which was published by Vantage Press. It dealt with the changes in agriculture through the years and his concern with the loss of small farms. Mr. Todd is a world traveler and his hobby of taking slides (he has over 1000) is proof of this. He has traveled through Europe twice, to Asia, the Philippines, all across Canada, and to South America as far south as Buenos Aires.

His only son, Dr. Stanley Todd, lives in Thurlock, California. There is also a grandson, a granddaughter, and five great-grandchildren, all living in California. A sister of Mr. Todd's, Mrs. A. H. Wagner, lives in Milledgeville.

Source: A Goodly Heritage Supplement #1 Spring 1975

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