This Township is situate in the extreme north-west corner of the county, occupying Town 22, Range 7 east It is bounded on the east by East Bend, on the north by Ford county, on the west by McLean county, and on the south by Newcomb township. It is a high, beautiful tract of land, well adapted to mixed husbandry, as well as being a most excellent stock-raising locality. The Sangamon, which rises just north in the county above, passes through this territory, and it is further watered by a tributary of the same, which traverses the town its entire length from west to east. The prairies are gently undulating, possessing all those rare qualities of soil for which the county generally is so remarkable, yielding rich reward to the farmer for his care and labor.
Unfortunately for the rapid development of the resources of this part of the county, its location in relation to railroads, or other carrying routes, has not, hitherto, been the most advantageous, the nearest point being some ten miles from markets. This drawback will soon be removed by the construction of a railroad, now under contract, from Springfield, Ill, to Grilman, on the Illinois Central R. R. in Iroquois Co., which passes just outside the west line of the township, and which, when completed, will render every facility for the transportation of farm products, desired.
The first entry of land in this township was made by Henry B. King, in 1835, being the south-east quarter of the south-east quarter of Section 4, Town 22, Range 7 east. Mr. King was also the first settler in this township. He came here about the year 1834, and for many years was the only man living there. One Mr. Pitts came shortly afterwards and built a log cabin farther down the stream, but left soon and returned whence he came. Mr. King sold his place about the year 1839, to one Wm. Brown, from whom the town derived its name, it being supposed that he was the first settler. We have not been able to learn with certainty how long he lived there. For a long time the only means of crossing the Sangamon river in that vicinity, was by a floating bridge, which was constructed and kept in repair by Mr. King, near the confluence of the Sangamon and its western tributary in that township.
The town was organized in 1870, and Mr. Frederick Shenberger elected supervisor. This man has a small farm of some 4,000 acres of land, in an advanced state of improvement, with stock thereon, to the value about $16,000. He is a wide-awake farmer, thorough and practical; one of those who study well their business, ready to investigate any new questions that may be presented in relation to the same, applying thereto the tests of intelligence and common sense; he came to the county in the year 1863, from Pennsylvania,
The inhabitants of this township are of the true grit, improving their lands with wonderful rapidity, evincing in their operations a knowledge of the science of agriculture, and an improvement upon the method of pursuing it, that is at once marked and creditable to those engaged. In fact, the whole county of Champaign will compare favorably with any in the State, in regard to the intelligence and practical education of its agriculturists.
Is bounded on the east by Urbana, on the north by Hensley, on the west by Scott, and on the south by Tolono. It occupies Town 19, Range 8 east. It is wholly a prairie town, there being nowhere within its border any growth of forest trees of nature's planting. The name at its organization was West Urbana, and this included the town of Hensley on the north. This latter town was organized in 1867, and in 1870 the name of West Urbana gave place to that of Champaign.
The land upon the northern and eastern portions is remarkably high and rolling; while in the south-western part the surface, though undulating, is more on the level order, though by no means flat. The entire tract of land within the town is susceptible of cultivation, and excels in the advantages offered in the variety of its soils and productions. The Kaskaskia river rises in this township, giving excellent natural drainage to the country, west and south-west, and supplying an abundance of water to the stock-raising farmer.
The Ill. Central Railroad passes through the eastern portion of the town, and the L, B. & W. Railroad through the northeastern portion, while the Monticello road passes through the same from west to east, giving to the inhabitants the choice of a market at Chicago or the East for the sale of their productions.
The first settler in the township was a man by the name of John Philips, who built a house or rather moved a house in 1841, upon the site now occupied by a brick residence on Bloomington road north of Champaign City, owned by Mr. David Baily. This house was moved from a place in the grove north of Urbana, called Byron. Mr. Philips settled in the county in 1837, upon the land now owned and occupied by H. Phillips, in Hensley township, and shortly afterward moved to Byron, and thence to this township as before stated. He was known as a M. E. preacher, though it does not appear that he was engaged in his profession. When he left this last place, and where he went to, we have not been able to learn. In his farming operations he did not seem to be very successful; the migratory habits which had fastened upon him during his ministerial life, had a rather damaging effect upon his efforts in a secular way. He was a native of Ohio.
Vinston Williams was the next to come. He also was from Ohio, and came here in 1842, locating upon the place where the residence of C. F. Columbia now stands. He remained there until about 1852, and then left the county and went west, and died a few years after. His improvements were not very extensive, but of a substantial character, which Mr. Columbia has greatly enlarged and improved upon.
One Bobbet settled in the town in the year 1843, shortly after Mr. Williams, upon the land now owned by Mr. Pierce, at north end of Neil street, Champaign City. We have not been able to learn at what time he left or where he went. It is evident that he did not long reside here, as his improvements were of a temporary character.
The parties above named, at the time of which we write, were the only persons living within the limits of the township as it now exists, and settlements from this to 1852, were slow, the opinion obtaining to a very great extent among the earlier settlers, that the prairies could never become a place for man's habitation. The reason for this is found in the fact, that all of our pioneers were from a timbered country; and in Illinois it was believed that the winds that swept the prairie, would demolish improvements, and in the winter, the unlucky wight whose temerity had taken him to those inhospitable regions, must perish with the cold.
The first entry of land made in the township, was by L. W. Busey, in 1837, being the south-west quarter of the south-east quarter of Section 1, Town 19, Range 8 east.
After 1852, settlements became rapid, and the land improved by substantial and permanent settlers. Among the number came John H. Thomas, in 1852, who purchased a large tract just outside of the present limits of Champaign City, south. This farm contains one-half section of very fine land, beautifully situated. The house built by Mr. Thomas, by whom the farm was improved, is located upon a commanding site, and is a roomy, substantial farm building, giving vivid impressions of thrift and comfort. Mr. Thomas sold this farm to Charles Ells, who is now the proprietor, and in whose hands many valuable improvements have been added to the place. Mr. Thomas, the former owner, after parting with his interest, was engaged in banking in Champaign City, being connected with the First National Bank of that city. He was from Ohio, and died at his residence in Champaign, in 1869. Charles Ells came from Connecticut, and purchased the Thomas farm in 1864. It is enough to say that he is a successful farmer, devoting his energies mainly to stock raising, more especially to swine, in which he has acquired a wide reputation from his success in presenting fine specimens of the best breeds.
The farm and orchard of Hon. M. L. Dunlap is well worth going to see. Rural Home, as it is most appropriately named by Mr. Dunlap, is located on the north half of section 36 of this township. The contour of the ground is rolling, and admirably adopted to the purposes to which it has been applied, that of mixed husbandry, of which fruit culture is a leading feature. At an early day, Mr. Dunlap came to the conclusion that the prairie was the place for an orchard, if properly protected by shelter-belts of forest trees. Accordingly, in 1858, he moved to this new home, and commenced the experiment, his nursery, orchard and shelter-belts dating from that time, and the work has been pressed with such activity and energy, that it is now one of the best managed farms in the State. In proof of this, it is but necessary to say that the State Agricultural Society awarded him the grand gold medal for the best farm in the State in 1870.
This orchard is the first upon a large scale planted upon the prairies, and has fully met the anticipations of its owner. It has been the pattern for thousands of smaller, though similar farms, scattered over the whole Northwest. It is beautifully laid out, with drive-ways to all parts of the premises, and is a common resort for citizens of the city, while acquaintances and strangers ever meet a hearty welcome at the hands of its hospitable owner.
The apple orchard, in 1870, yielded about 6,000 bushels, while in this part of the State generally, the crop was a partial failure Most of the apples are made into cider and vinegar, for which the demand is large and constantly increasing. For a long time, Mr. Dunlap was actively connected with the nursery department of the farm, but this branch is now conducted by his two sons, Merton and Albert Dunlap, who bring to the business the experience of a life-long practical training, under their father. Their nursery is very large, and full of every variety of fruits and ornamental trees and shrubs. They are active business men, such as must ever conquer success.
The farm of J. B. Phinney is another deserving of mention. It contains 800 acres of choice land, and is in an advanced state of cultivation, all improved; about 75 acres of which is in orchard, the most of which is yet too young to bear. Mr. Phinney is from Massachusetts, and gives evidence of superior intelligence in farm management in all its departments, and in all the details there is the most perfect order; and one cannot pass over this farm without being impressed with the apt method of its owner.
John Gr. Clark is another owner of a model farm of about 1,000 acres, all improved, and supplied with commodious and substantial buildings. His farming, heretofore, has been of the mixed class, but he has now turned his attention to the culture of broom corn.
We would continue this, would space permit, for there are many who are bringing or have brought their farms to a high standard, and for their energetic endeavors are deserving of special mention. Among them are : J. T. Everett, 400 acres; John S. Beasley, 860 acres ; E. O. Chester, 200 acres ; J. A. Shaffer, 1,280 acres; John Rising, 1,000 acres; M. Reed, 320 acres; E. E. Chester, 320 acres; S. Houston, 640 acres ; J. A. Hossack, 260 acres; B. Kelley, 640 acres; and many others.
We confess to a feeling of deep regret, as we commence this task; first, that space will not admit of the work that in justice should be done here, and second, our inability to successfully perform the little that may be. Its rapid growth, and unparalleled prosperity, is a subject of wonder and admiration among its friends, and of chagrin and disappointment among those who desire its hurt; and to place upon the pages of history a statement in full of all that is deserving a place, would require more space than we have to devote to it, and the public must be content with but a brief sketch.
The first residence erected within the limits of the city, was by the Illinois Central Railroad Company, near where McFadden's Block now stands, and was occupied by L. W. Walker, the first settler in Champaign City, who has since figured so largely in its history. The next was by one Murphy, (father of our Larry Murphy), in 1853, upon the east side of the Illinois Central Railroad track. The third was built by Mr. J. B. White, upon the spot now occupied by the comfortable, homelike residence of Mr. H. Jefferson, at corner of Neil street and Springfield avenue, in 1851 The next was by Mark Carley, who came to the town in May, 1854, and erected his residence near where the Presbyterian Church now stands.
At this time, the land now occupied by the business centre of the city, was an interminable slough ; from Larned's Block, east and south-east, the land was low, wet, marshy and unpromising; especially as a site for a city. The place where Barrett's Block now stands, was a bog, and all the way down Main street, the liquid mud, in uncomfortable quantities, stood or moved sluggishly along toward boneyard branch. But a few years before this, the ground was made to supply grass, which grew rank and thick here, wherewith to thatch the stable roofs of the citizens of Urbana. The buildings of which we have spoken, were plain, unpretending cottages; comfortable, it is true, but holding no rank among those that may be seen upon every hand to-day.
The city was first organized under the general incorporation law of the State, in 1855. At this time the Legislature of the State was in session, and an attempt was being made by the flourishing and ambitious city of Urbana, to extend, by legislative enactment, the boundaries of that city, to include within them the embryo village but just sprouting upon the prairies, two miles to the west. The citizens of the new settlement, having an eye to future glory, office and emoluments, put in a demurrer, which was sustained by the law makers of the State. When Mr. Pierce, who was the solitary lobbyist upon this occasion, in the interest of Champaign, returned, a meeting was called, and steps were immediately taken for incorporation of the town under the general law. The first election for town officers was held in 1855, at the house where J. Dickerson now resides. In 1861, the present charter was obtained from the State Legislature, and the same year ----- was elected Mayor of the new city. In this charter the boundaries of the city were fixed, and the duties and powers of the officers in the various branches of the city government, described and defined.
The first hotel was erected by J. Campbell, in 1854, upon the east side of the Illinois Central Railroad track, and was called the "National House." It is still standing, in good repair. When first opened, it was kept by Mr. Campbell, but was soon sold to one Burlingame, since which it has changed hands and name frequently.
In 1856 was built the "Neil House," at corner of Neil and Washington streets, and the same year the "Doane House" was completed and occupied by J. Campbell, the original proprietor of the "National." The "Neil House" was kept by Samuel Dean, well known in the history of the city.
The "Doane House" was built and owned by the Illinois Central Railroad Company, and is located close by the track of the same, upon the east side, and used for the purpose of a passenger depot and hotel; and here we find it necessary to go back in the history of our city, to its more early days.
The purpose of the Company building the Illinois Central Railroad was to run the line through, or near, the city of Urbana, but owing to some difficulty in procuring the right of way, and lands deemed necessary for the use of the Company, that route was abandoned, and one determined upon two miles to the west of that city. At the point but little north of west of Urbana, a depot was established. Here the Company built the Doane House, as before stated. Here the Company, of its own land, laid off the first addition of the city, now known as Railroad Addition. Here, too, the Company erected a Round House and extensive repair and manufacturing shops, filling them with skilled mechanics, to hammer life and enduring vitality into the infant city. And thus began Champaign, which, but for the unfortunate disagreement between the Railroad Company and the citizens of Urbana, would never have been known.
The first dry goods house in the city was on the east side of the track, in a frame building on what is now University avenue, and stood opposite the office of Horace Gardner, Esq. It was owned and kept by Gardner & Morris. In 1855 the building occupied was erected by them, and was the first of the kind in the city. This building was afterward moved by Mr. H. Jefferson, to the west side, near the lumber yard of Mr. Beidler, and was burned down at the time of the fire which occurred there in the spring of 1867. About the time that Messrs. Gardner & Morris started, as before stated, J. W. Badley & Co. built and opened another store upon ground now occupied by a portion of Union block, on Neil street. We have said that Messrs. Gardner & Morris were the first, but there is some dispute upon this point; the best information we have, however, is that those parties were the first to start, though both nearly at the same time, and were contemporary, both going out of business in 1858. Mr. Badley resided in the city until his death, which took place in February, 1871.
T. A. McLaurie and J. Leal opened a stove and tin store where Charley's eating house now stands, about the same time of those of the dry goods establishments, and was the first of its class. One L. Lancaster built the store now occupied by J. C. Wright as a grocery store, and opened a hardware and grocery store in 1856. This was fourteen years ago, and those above described were the only business establishments of any kind in the city, save the National Hotel. There were few dwellings, and the population did not exceed one hundred citizens. The business transacted at the places named was of necessity small, and at the time gave little promise of improvement.
The first notion store was kept by A. O. Woodworth, and G & W. Shipley the first grocery store; Ellis Morris owned and kept the first drug store; House & Edwards the first boot and shoe establishment, all in a small way, keeping but a small stock and doing a light business.
Mr. S. G. Peabody was the first blacksmith, and came here in 1856; and the first wagon maker was John Bragg, whose card may be found on page 3 of this book. He has seen the town grow up and oat of its infantile wrappings, into the strength of comparative maturity, and has won for himself the confidence of the community in which he has so long lived : his workmanship cannot be excelled.
One Kennester was the first harness maker, and had a small shop on the east side of the track. He did not remain long, however, and was succeeded by Mr. G. E. Hessle who located in the town on the east side of the track in 1857, where he commenced in a small way, without money and without acquaintances, but by that untiring industry, that conquers all opposition, has worked up to the possessorship of one of the largest harness and saddle manufactories in Eastern Illinois. He is known as a man of uncompromising integrity in his business matters, and it is through this fact that he has remained and prospered, while others have come, had their day, and passed away.
The first tailoring establishment was kept by a Mr. Tobie, in 1857, and the second by George H Case, who now holds forth in Barrett's Block. One Mr. Yearby was the first to sell furniture. He was in the business but a short time, and did but very little of it. He was succeeded by F. R Walker, who commenced in 1856, and followed the same in a small way, manufacturing the more common articles by hand-work, with from two to four hands, until the year 1862, when L. W. Walker, who for ten years had been fuel agent for the Illinois Central Railroad Company, associated himself with F. F. Walker, under the firm name of Walker Brothers. A manufacturing establishment was then erected and supplied with the necessary machinery, employing five or six hands. In 1864, this was enlarged, the building being now 20 by 50 feet, and giving employment to about eighteen men. In May, 1869, they again enlarged, this time to double its former size, putting up an addition of brick, two stories high; in all, 100 feet in length, and employing over thirty men, the first-class mechanics of their craft. October 29, 1869, the entire factory, with all its contents of furniture and machinery, together with over two hundred thousand feet of valuable black walnut lumber, was destroyed by fire. This was but partially insured, and the loss which to the Walker Brothers was most crushing, was felt throughout the community; but appalling as it was, they were equal to the emergency, and on the 29th day of December, 1869, just two months after the fire, a fine substantial brick building, 40 by 80 feet, three stories high, with separate brick engine house, 30 by 40 feet, and a steam dry house, 24 by 30 feet, two stories high, was standing upon the site of the one destroyed, fully completed, and prepared for the machinery which was immediately placed therein, and the yard again stocked with over 125,000 feet of ash and walnut lumber. The mill was set to running January 20, 1870, giving employment to over thirty men, among whom are distributed over $25,000 annually. Persons who have not visited this establishment should not fail to do so, for while its completeness is a marvel, the beauty of the work turned off there is a greater one. The first lumber-yard in the city was established by J. B. Gouch and C. F. Columbia, in 1855, and is believed to have been the only one in the county at that time. Their sales amounted to about 225,000 feet per year.
One William Blanchard, a Congregational minister, preached the first sermon in Champaign City, and established the first church - the Congregational Church of this city, and the first house of worship was erected by that church in 1855, at a cost of about $1,000. It is known as the Goose-pond Church, as it stood near a pond of water frequented by those bipeds. The old building still stands there, but no pond, that having given place to rows of business houses. It is now occupied by the German Catholic congregation. The next church erected was in 1856, by the Presbyterians, the same being now used as a school building by the Young Ladies Seminary Association of this city. The building cost $2,000.
The Lutheran Church was erected the next, on Columbia street, in 1858, at a cost of about $700, and it is still occupied by that organization. The Catholic Church, on the east side of the track, was built about the same time, costing about $700. This has since been enlarged and improved, at a cost of nearly $10,000.
The Methodist Church, at corner of Church and State streets, was built in 1861, costing about $4,000 and about $1,000 in buildings have been added to it since that time. It is a commodious building, yet far too small for the numbers that worship within its walls. The new Congregational Church was the next. It was built in 1862, on Park street, and cost about $13,000; is a neat, substantial building.
The next in order was the Dutch Reformed Church, erected in 1863, on east side of track, at a cost of $2,000. The Colored Methodist Church, in 1864, was next; it cost $600, and is also located on the east side.
The Baptist Church was the next built, at the corner of State and Park streets, in 1865, at a cost of about $1,500. This building was used for school purposes, as well as church, and has since been changed to a residence. The Christian Church was built about the same time, on University avenue, costing about $500. It has since been sold, and remodeled for a residence. The new Presbyterian Church, a fine brick, 105 feet by 60 feet, was next erected, and occupied in 1869, the entire cost being about $40,000, and stands at the corner of State and Hill streets. The same year was built the new Baptist Church, at corner of Randolph street and University avenue, costing about $14,000. It is a very neat, substantial frame building. Also, in that year, which does not appear to have been a very "good year for churches, the Second Methodist Church was built, near the State University, costing about $3,000. The Colored Baptists built their church in 1870, the same costing about $700. Thus it will be seen that fourteen churches have been erected in the city, eleven of which are still being used for church purposes. Others will soon be erected by the Episcopal and other denominations, now worshiping in the public Halls of the city.
The first school taught in the city was in 1854, by one Dr. Shoemaker, in a small frame building on the east side of the track. The first school house erected was the old brick, in District No. 1, on Randolph street, between Church and Hill, in 1855, and at first cost $4,000; since then, frame additions have been made from time to time, adding $2,000 more to its cost.
School District No. 2, on east side of track, built their house in 1860 - a frame building, costing about $1,200. In 1869 extensive additions were made to the old building, which was remodeled; the whole, with furniture, costing about $15,000. This was destroyed by fire in 1870.
To supply the increased and rapidly increasing demand for more school room in District No 1, a new school building was erected - commenced in 1868, and occupied in 1870. This building cost about $80,000, and one more complete in all its appointments, in rooms, finish and furniture, cannot be found in the West (See the cut of this building, and diagram of the school.) We wish we were able to give a full description of this edifice, with the mode of conducting the school therein ; but to do so would occupy too much of our space, and a partial account would not answer the purpose. This much we do say, that the school building and the school, are each models. Great praise is due L. W. Walker for the former, and to J. C. Oliver, the Principal, for the latter.
The Young Ladies' Seminary of Champaign, Ill., organized under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church of this city, commenced its first term Sept. 6th, 1869, and has now been in operation a little more than one year, with flattering prospects of success. The society was organized under the general incorporation law of the State, in July, 1870, with the following officers: President-Rev. R. H. Lilly; Vice President-J. P. Scott; Secretary-J. B. McKinley; Treasurer-E. Miller ; Trustees-3. R. Scott, J. S. Oliver, J. B. McKinley, R. B. Condit, and W. J. Ermentrout. An efficient corps of teachers are employed, and the students have the advantage of full access to the libraries of the Industrial University at this place. Every effort will be made to insure success.
Several disastrous fires have occurred in the city during the last five years. In the fall of 1866, the block of business houses on Neil street, between Church and Hill streets, was mainly destroyed; a portion of the burnt district was rebuilt, and in 1870 the entire block was again swept by the destroying element. These were frame buildings, and the loss in. both fires was about $40,000. The ground is now covered by the magnificent brick blocks known as Larned's and Union Blocks. In 1867 three or four frame buildings on Walnut street and University avenue, and a portion of Mr. Beidler's lumber yard, were consumed; loss about $16,000. In July, 1868, the entire block covered with buildings, between Market and Walnut streets and University avenue and Main street, was destroyed, excepting two brick buildings standing upon opposite corners of the block. We are unable to ascertain the estimated loss, but it was great. The most of this territory has since been covered with fine brick blocks. One of these, that owned by Col. W. N. Coler, was destroyed by fire in 1871. In 1869, the furniture manufacturing establishment of Walker Brothers, and the carriage and wagon shops of Geo. Ely, were destroyed, and upon the old sites there have arisen fine substantial brick buildings that will compare favorably with any in this part of the State.
There are a number of old and dilapidated frame business ranges, but these are fast disappearing, giving place to beautiful blocks of brick or stone; and generally we challenge any city of the State, of its population and years, to show as many equally valuable and beautiful business houses or residences. This is due, not only to the presence of men of restless energy, but also to the energy and thrift of the agriculturists of the county, who have given their countenance and support to the advancement of this young city. As an evidence of the growth and prosperity of the city, we give here a few short notices of the principal business men, and refer our readers to their business cards found in this book.
Dry Goods Merchants. Miller & Toll, in Marble's Block Main street, have one of the finest stores in Eastern Illinois, and one of the largest and best assorted stocks of goods in that line to be found. They are enterprising men of the first class.
C. S. Morehouse, No. 3 Main street, well and extensively known, ranks second to none as an enterprising, successful merchant. Since the advertisement of Mr. Morehouse was printed, he has moved his extensive stock to the splendid store, No. 3 Main street-Beasley's old stand.
Eichberg & Bros., in the old McLaurie Block on Main street, are models of their class, having a large and well appointed store.
S. McFadden, corner University avenue and Market street, is the oldest merchant in the city. The beautiful brick block owned and occupied by him, gives evidence that his labors have been marked with that energy and fair dealing that must ever secure success.
Grocery Merchants. Of these, C. B. Whitmore, No. 4 Main street, takes deservedly high rank, and is too well known to require comment. From exceedingly small beginnings, he has through years of industry, acquired a popularity and a capital enjoyed by few.
E. Ellis, in Wright's old stand, Main street, has one of the neatest stores in the county, and gives promise of abundant success.
J. Rigg & Son, in their new store in Union Block, Neil st, have no superiors as business men, or in the variety of their goods; while-
Pollock & Dodson, at corner of Neil and Hill streets, give ample proof of first class business qualities.
Strong Brothers, in Marble's Block, corner of Main and Walnut streets, do a business second to none in the State outside of Chicago.
Of the Boot and Shoe Merchants, D. Rugg, at the corner of Church and Neil streets, is the oldest in the city, and holds first rank. What he cannot supply in his line, parties need not look for. He is about to build a fine brick block where his store now stands, which will add much to the attractions of his well appointed store.
Of Clothing Merchants, J. Kuhn, next door to National Bank, Main street, ranks among the first in Eastern Illinois; his large stock of goods shows that he is well acquainted with the wants of the public.
S. Bernstine, corner of Main and Market streets, is the oldest clothier in the city, and holds no second place among men of his class in any place, which also may be said of N. Stern & Co., on Main street, near bank of Burnham, Condit & Co. They are business men whose presence would be an honor to any town.
Wm. Roberts, Neil street, merchant tailor and clothier, is also doing a thriving business.
Of the Druggists, we hazard nothing in saying that the store of L. W. Faulkner, in Union Block on Weil street, 3d door north of Church, has no superior in the beauty of its finish, its proportions, its order, and its appointments throughout, in the State outside of Chicago, and would be a credit, both in store and stock, to any city in the Union. Mr. Faulkner is a druggist of twenty years experience, and has no superior in the land.
H. Swannell, in Barrett's Block, corner of Neil and Main streets, is the oldest druggist in the city. He commenced business in a very small way where Howard's butcher shop now stands, and has worked himself up to his present high position among the business men of the State, and in the confidence of the public, in which no one is his superior, which furnishes the best possible proof of his worth.
Nat. Green & Co., corner of Main and Walnut streets, have the neatest establishment of the kind to be found in this or any other city, and those who know "Nat" need no further words from us.
Of our Jewelry Stores we feel to boast. L. C. Garwood's establishment on Main street cannot be excelled in the amount, the worth, and the variety of his stock, in any city of the State out of Chicago; while D. Wingard, in Burnham's old bank building, has a reputation for quality of work and goods second to none.
Of Hardware men, C. G. Larned is king. His fine brick block, corner of Church and Neil streets, with its extensive and varied stock, would do credit to any city in the land; and no city can boast more energetic and more deservedly popular agricultural implement men than ours. Angle & Sabin, Main street, near Illinois Central Railroad track, Hibbard & Finch, Walnut street, north of Main, and Beach & Condit, near depot of I. B. & W. R. R., have no superiors in the State.
Of Millinery, Mrs. E. R. Groom, Main street, near National Bank, is doing a large and extensive business, rapidly increasing.
The Crockery and China Store of Hosford & Spear, at 44 Main street, in the variety and elegance of its stock there offered for sale, has no superior in Central Illinois.
Of Lumber, 8,138,000 feet were received at the yards of R. Peacock, M. E. Lapham, Chaddon & Hesse, and Beidler & Kratz, during the year 1870. All of these men are of thorough business qualities, and an honor to the county. The yard of R. Peacock is the most extensive of any in this part of the State.
M. E. Lapham is doing a large and rapidly increasing business, as is also Beidler & Kratz.
Messrs. Chaddon & Hesse have with their yard a sash and . blind factory, which illustrates well the growth of the town. It was commenced in 1858 by Messrs. Plummer & Chaddon, and a one horse power was used to run the machinery. In 1861 this shop was enlarged, and a ten horse power engine was set up, and a planer and some other machinery placed there. About 1864 another enlargement took place, and the motive power increased to thirty-four horse power, with new and valuable machinery to do the work required. In 1867 Chaddon & Hesse became the proprietors, and again, enlarged, adding new and valuable machinery. They now give employment to about fifteen men, with a business rapidly increasing, demanding additional facilities for the work.
Attorneys at Law. We believe that the county of Champaign can boast a bar equal to any in the State, and at the head of the profession in our city are the names of Chas. Black, E. L. Sweet, C. B. Smith, T. J. Smith, George W. Gere, J. S. Wolfe, and J. W. Langley.
Of the Medical Profession, D. A. Cheever, homoeopathist, and Howard & Martyn, J. T. Pearman, and S. C. Hogue, allopathists, stand the peers of any in the land; while in Dentistry, none excel O. F. Britton (corner of Main and Neil streets, in Barrett's Block), and A. Sherman (in Angle's Block, Main st), in that art.
The Newspapers of our county are second to none. The "Champaign County Gazette," by Flynn and Scroggs, and the "Champaign Union," by Nicolet & Schoff, are models of their class, reflecting credit upon the city in which they are located.
Our Wagon and Carriage Manufacturers are worthy of great credit. John Bragg, on Neil street, was the first to manufacture in the city, as before noted. J. N. Crannell, on Neil street, whose shops would do credit to any city in the State, manufactures only carriages, and his work, for durability and beauty, will compare favorably with that of any establishment in the United States. He turns out about fifty fine carriages per year, with his business rapidly increasing.
J. W. Spaulding manufactures farm wagons as a specialty, and turns out about three a week at his shops on east side of the railroad track; and no better can be found in this or any other State.
We also boast the best Carpenters and House Builders in the country; among them, J. Dickerson, whose shop is on Hickory street, holds high rank as a workman of superior order. Among the many specimens of his work, may be seen the barn of the Industrial University, said to be the finest in the State, and the High School building of our city, our boast and pride. Seeley Brown is an architect and builder of rare merit, of which his work bears convincing testimony. Clark Rush, J. Fleming, and Bullock & Drake, are also men richly skilled in their craft. The latter firm connect with their other business the manufacture of a patent bed spring, which is of superior worth.
Of miscellaneous business, we mention that of Peterson & Turnell, whose extensive book and music store, on Main street, will compare favorably with any in this section of the State; S. C. Edwards, manufacturer of a new and valuable pump; Phillips & Bro., the enterprising livery stable men; S. H. Souder's renovating and dyeing establishment; M. E. Lasher, the house mover; Eads & Wilcox, real estate agents, doing an extensive real estate business in this and all the North-western States; Plank & Sweet, and John Thomas, active and reliable insurance agents; Charles Smith, proprietor of the farmers' eating house, so well known throughout the county; J. W. Keys, a painter of rare merit; P. Coffey, proprietor of the Champaign House, at north end of Neil street; L H. Hess, police magistrate and justice of the peace; and the banking house of D. Gardner & Co. which holds high rank among establishments of its class in this and the Eastern States; all of whom possess, in a very high degree, the confidence and esteem of the county and community in which they live, and show far better than we were are able to do, the enterprise, thrift, and prosperity of our city, where less than eighteen years ago the rank grasses of the prairies waved, untrodden, save by the wild wolf and the deer.
Prominent among the men of our town is the name of W. N. Coler. We have utterly failed to extract from this gentleman the confession that he was ever born, much less the time and place of that event. He is one of those active, energetic men whose native restlessness will not permit him to wait the coming of events, but makes the events suit his purposes. It is to him that our fair city is indebted for several fine business blocks, and one of the finest residences in Central Illinois, a cut of which we give below.
W. C. Barrett is another of our live men, whose energy and public spirit has furnished us with some of the finest blocks and residences of which we can boast. Barrett's block, corner of Niel and Main streets, would be a credit to any city in the land, while those brick mansions on State street, near Springfield avenue, cannot be surpassed in beauty and elegance combined with comfort, by any of the cities of Central Illinois.
Also, S. Richards, S. M. Marble, C. G. Larned, C. F. Columbia, A. C. Burnham, B. F. Harris, Frank Finch, Mark Carley, L. W. & F. F. Walker, D. Rugg, John Mathers, S. McFadden, and many others of whom we would like to make special mention, for their devotion to the interests of the city, and their large-hearted, liberal public spirit, but space (or the want of it) forbids.
Was taken from the east end of Newcomb Township, in 1867. It is bounded on the east by Rantoul, on the north by East Bend, on the west by Newcomb, and on the south by Hensley, and occupies Town 21, Range 8 east
Among the towns of the county, few possess greater natural advantages than this. Along the southern border the prairies are high and rolling, while in other portions of the township, the prairies, though undulating, are more on the level order, giving that variety of prairie soil and surface seldom found within the space of six miles square. This variety of conditions of soil secures a variety of farm productions, without the necessity of mixed farming, each farm having its specialty.
The first settlers in this township were A. Crozier and F. Loyd, who came there about the same time, in 1834, from Ohio. Their improvements were very crude, not extending beyond the log hut and breaking a little prairie. They were brought out by one John Phillipe in 1837, who came from Ohio. Mr. Phillipe was a wide-awake farmer, entering upon the work of reducing the native wilderness to a state of civilization, with an earnest zeal and determined effort. He was born in the State of Virginia, and located, in this town in 1837, as before stated, upon the farm now occupied by John Phillipe, Jr. He died in the year 1846, upon the farm where he had thus early located, leaving to his children, and the farmers of the county, the legacy of a spotless reputation, and illustrations of his practical farming. John Phillipe, Jr., who came into the township at the same time with his father, in 1837, still lives on the old homestead on section 31. His farm to-day contains about 1,300 acres of choice land, most admirably adapted to stock growing, to which purpose it is devoted. Mr. Phillipe is another of those agriculturists who may be classed as business men, that is, conducting the affairs of the farm as a safe merchant does that of his store, keeping close accounts of expenditure and income, and his success shows that his mistakes are few. John Phillips, a M. E. preacher, settled, or rather stopped, in the township, upon the place of Mr. Crozier, in 1837, and moved into Hensley the same year, to give place to Mr. Phillipe, who had purchased the farm,
Stephen Pusey was the next settler. He came from Ohio and settled in Condit, in 1839, and, with the few that were there engaged in agriculture, commenced the life of a pioneer. He died upon his farm about 1847.
C. F. Columbia was the next settler within the town. He came from Indiana in the year 1842, and entered upon the work of improving a farm under the discouraging circumstances of that early day. He remained here until 1853, when he removed to the place now occupied by him in Champaign.
From the date of the last settlement until 1855 there were very few additions to the population of Condit, and the only addition in wealth was what was extracted from the soil by the determined efforts of its hardy inhabitants.
In 1836 one William Lenington came to the township from Ohio, and like many others, commenced life on the wild prairie, and, while gold and silver he had none, yet, what was better, he brought to the work a sound judgment, and a thoroughly practical mind, backed by untiring energy. His farm now contains about 300 acres of choice land, enriched by valuable, substantial improvements. He has for the last three years successively been elected supervisor of the town, showing that those who know him best appreciate his worth.
A. B. Condit and John Condit, both came from Ohio, and settled there in 1856. They were at that time possessed of some means which they employed in the improvement of their lands, and the advancement of the science of agriculture. In this they did much to advance the interest of the farming community of the county, and to place the work of the agriculturist where it belongs,-first in rank among the vocations of men. Mr. A. B. Condit was the first to represent his town in the Board of Supervisors, and his name was given to the new town.
Henry and Luther Putnam, also from Ohio, settled in the township, about the same time, and are among its substantial farmers.
These, with many others whom we .might name, such as E. N. Parker, A. Grulick, M. E. Nelson, W. H. Banner, and others, are furnishing convincing proofs of the rapid progress made in cultivating the soil within the past ten years.
The first entry of land in this township, was by James W. S. Mitchell, in April, 1835, the records showing that he entered Lot 2 of the north-west quarter of Section 5, Town 21, Range 8 east.
This Township is bounded on the east by Tolono, on the north by Scott, on the west by Piatt county, and on the south by Sadorus. It occupies the Congressional Town 18, Range 7 east, and was formerly incorporated with Tolono, bearing that name, but was separated, and the new town formed in 1869. What of history there is of the town, is of recent date.
John Cook was the first settler. He was a native of Ohio, and came here in March, 1841, and located at the north end of Sadorus Grove, in the south-eastern corner of Colfax. Here he made improvements, building a house, and planting an orchard, the first house and the first orchard in the town. From this time to 1865, the improvement and advancement of the town was very slow. It was not until that period, that the real value of the country lying mainly within this township was understood and appreciated. High lands, sharp rolling prairies and commanding locations, had hitherto presented attractions that could not be resisted by those in search of farm homes; while the exhaustless treasures, buried within the dark soil of the prairies of Colfax, were passed by unheeded. Slowly, but surely, the truth appeared, that however early seed may be deposited in the ground, that of itself is no guarantee that the husbandman will secure the return for his labor and care he may hope for. The rays of a summer sun will scorch and burn, and without the attending blessing of frequent showers, must shrivel and blight, in spite of the efforts j of the farmer. While on the more level plains, the rich dark foliage of rank-growing corn, tossing its head in the breezes and laughing in its strength, tells of a wealth in moisture and soil that cannot be found among the more broken or elevated lands.
After Cook came John Hamilton, from Indiana, in the Spring of 1846, and settled near the farm of Mr. Cook. He was born in Pennsylvania, in the year 1800, and died on his farm in 1864.
Benjamin F. James and John Miller were among those who settled soon after, and have done well their part in subduing the uncultivated wilds.
The first school house was built in 1846, near where Isaac J. Miller now lives. It was of logs, and the first school was taught by A. Nesbit
The rapid improvement of the last five years in this town, will be better understood by comparisons. As late as 1865, there were but two school houses in the township, and not exceeding 150 persons, all told. In 1870 there were six school houses, and a population of 634.
The first entry of land was made by James McReynolds, April, 1835, being the south-east quarter of Section 25, Township 18, Range 7 east.
Most of the farms are new, and owned by men whose means are limited, but whose energy is unbounded, and the rapidity with which the improvements are being pushed forward, is truly astonishing. The houses are for the most part small and comfortless, presenting few attractions, but it needs no prophetic eye to see that in the not distant future, the men and women who can with such determined courage endure those self-imposed discomforts of the present, will make this place to blossom as the rose, to gladden the eye of the resident and the stranger, when wealth and luxuries shall take the place of privations and burdens, and palatial residences occupy the sites of cabins.
The farms of George Craw, C. W. Craw and Samuel Craw, are among the best improved. The first two are arranged for stock principally; the latter is conducted upon the mixed husbandry plan, raising the different varieties of cereals and grasses, with cattle, sheep, horses, hogs, etc.
Mr. A. H Gae has the best orchard in the town. About his first improvement was the planting of an orchard, which he has cultivated assiduously, adding to it, until now his orchard contains fifteen acres, and over seven hundred trees, with nearly fifty varieties of apples, besides nearly every variety of other fruit. He is a thorough, practical farmer and agriculturist, working always upon the principle that "time is money," and that "what is once well done, is twice done."
Mr. John E. Hughes also has a farm of 320 acres, remarkably well improved for its age. It will be remembered that farms are not made in a minute, nor in a year, but will always surely show, whether controlled by an intelligent, energetic mind, or otherwise.
There are many of whom we would like to speak, but must close with one more, that of A. J. Bowman, who owns Section seven, including Blue Mound. This mound is a curiosity. It rises abruptly from the prairie, to the height of over 160 feet above the surrounding level, and contains about 80 acres. Upon its top Mr. Bowman has placed his buildings, orchard, and other improvements. His farm is divided into forty acre lots by hedge fences, and though a new farm, is rapidly developing the intelligent plans of its owner.
Mr. D. P. Langley, also a thorough, practical farmer, has been the Supervisor of the town since its organization.
Is bounded on the east by Raymond, on the north by Philo, on the west by Pesotum, and on the south by Douglas county, and was taken from Philo in 1863. It lies in the very center of the richest section of the county. The Embarrass river flows through it from north to south; a large tributary flowing into the same also traverses the township. The character of the prairie is gently undulating, with a deep, rich, inexhaustible soil, all capable of cultivation, and producing, in rich profusion, every variety of cereals and grasses.
The first entry of land made in this township, was by J. and S. Groendyke, Feb. 1, 1836, they entering the north-west quarter of Section 23. They were not the first settlers, however, as that honor belongs to one Mr. Bouse, who settled at the head of the timber bordering the Embarrass river, about the year 1830, and gave to the grove his name. He afterwards lived near Lynn Grove, and was engaged in stock-raising and feeding. The next settler was one George Myres, who also purchased at the north end of the grove, and engaged in stock-breeding.
Since writing the matter above, we learn that there is some dispute as to the time that Mr. Bouse settled in Crittenden; it being contended, on the one hand, that he settled first at Lynn Grove, about the year 1833, and shortly after removed to Section 14, Crittenden, selling this farm, to Mr. Bocock; while others think that he first settled at the grove, and thence removed to Lynn Grove, in which case, it is said, he must have returned to the old farm.
Alfred Bocock, who purchased in Section 14, about the year 1850, planted the first orchard in the town. He was a stockbreeder and an agriculturist. The fruit of that orchard is said to be of rare quality, and shows that Mr. Bocock understood well the different varieties and their character, and made his selections with rare judgment, of those best fitted to this soil and climate.
It was this Mr. Bocock, also, who established the first school in the town, which was taught by one ---- Tomkins, in a small
log cabin, near where the school house in the grove now stands.
This town is most admirably adapted to stock husbandry; the whole surface of the town lying with a face to the south, traversed and drained by the streams we have before mentioned with their numerous tributaries from the prairies, rich in cereals and grasses, presents advantages to the stock grower or fancier of the most tempting character; and it is destined ere long to become one of the points in our county, that above others will attract the attention of men of means and experience in this branch of agriculture.
There are a number of large and very fine farms within this town. Mr. J. M. Helm purchased a farm of one-half section in 1855, which he improved and still resides upon. It is most admirably located for mixed husbandry, as well as capable of being made exclusively a stock farm; a fine large barn, substantial house, an excellent orchard, fruits of all kinds, with shrubbery, hedges and fences, are among the improvements that have been put there by Mr. Helm, and which have cost him and his estimable lady a vast amount of care and hard labor, yielding, however, rich returns to gladden and comfort their advancing years.
John M. Spencer also has a fine farm in the western portion of the town, possessing all those advantages for which the town generally is remarkable. For a number of years past he has been engaged in the dairy business, manufacturing butter and cheese upon a large scale; and those who have had the good fortune to try the quality of the productions of his dairy, need not be informed that he has made no failure. He is a thorough business farmer, attending to the affairs of his farm in all its details, with the prompt, energetic earnestness of a man fully appreciating the value of time, his farm giving evidence of great care and well directed labor, a model worthy of imitation.
We could not close this sketch without reference to the magnificent farm of David H. Jesse. Every one knows "Jesse" and his farm, and we remember the circumstance of losing ourself in his corn field, while traveling the county on business for "Uncle Sam." We had run against his farm upon the east side, and finding no way into it, made one, and then drove our nag through that never-ending field, going this way and that through the rank corn, until, bewildered and lost, we took a row of corn and followed it out to daylight, which fortunately led to the place we were looking for. How much corn we broke down we did not return to ascertain. We met "Jesse" the next day with no little trepidation, but were forgiven upon full confession. The farm contains 640 acres of prairie and timber land, all improved, and well improved, the Embarrass river crossing one corner, and is one of the best stock farms in the county.
Woodson Morgan, long identified with the history of the town, came from Kentucky about the year 1857, and settled near the limits of Crittenden. Perhaps no man has done more to advance the interest of the town than he. Since the town was organized in 1863, he has held the office of Supervisor with the exception of one year, when Mr. Spencer was elected. He is now quite well advanced in years, but with mind and intellect unimpaired, his judgment showing that his past life has been one of vigorous, practical training. He has occupied the chair of the board for many years, conducting the affairs of the county with marked ability.
There are scores of others who are worthy of special notice, but space will not permit further effort in this direction.
As a town, is new in the history of the county, having been organized in 1869, by taking Town 21, Range 14 west, and 21, Range 11 east, from Kerr, and the four eastern tiers of sections from Town 21, Range 10 east, belonging to Rantoul, putting them together. It is bounded on the east by Vermillion county, on the north by Kerr and Ludlow, on the west by Rantoul, and on the south by Stanton.
This is a prairie town, having but one small body of wood land within its borders. It contains 48 square miles of that deep, rich loamy surface, that in the experience of our best agriculturists is by far the best adapted to mixed husbandry. While forest trees are not formed there naturally, yet when planted they grow rapidly, and the farmer has the advantage of having his trees where they best suit his fancy. There is no tree adapted to the soil and climate of Illinois that will not thrive upon the prairies, and there is no labor that the husbandman may engage in, that will yield so rich return. Fruits of all kinds flourish, and repay well the core bestowed upon them.
This town, like many others in the county, has not possessed the advantages flowing from railroad facilities. By reference to the map it will be seen that this hindrance to prosperity will soon be removed, as a road now in course of construction traverses the township from south-west to north-east, dividing the same nearly in half. This road has arranged connections with the Chicago, Danville & Vincennes Railroad, by which a route to Chicago is opened.
The first settler known was Isaac Moore, who located at Buck Grove about the year 1830, and made improvements.
In 1835 he sold out to one Bruffett, who came from Ohio. It is said of him, that after having completed his purchases of land, he killed a hog, and with his family became deeply engaged in eating it. This done, he took a survey of his possessions with a view to finding a suitable location where to unload his wagon, but not finding a place that pleased him for that purpose, he changed front, and immediately returned to Ohio without unloading.
The next actual settler was Caleb Everson, who immigrated to the township from Ohio in 1842, locating at Buck Grove. Here he made valuable improvements, and died upon his farm in August, 1865, at 64 years of age. His son, Caleb P. Everson, is now the oldest settler in the town. He was born in Ohio, June, 1826, and came to this county with his father in 1842. His farm at Buck Grove is well worth going to see. It contains 900 acres and all under cultivation; watered by an artesian well, which throws a continuous stream of pure water two inches in diameter, discharging at least 10,000 gallons per day. If this were all that could be found upon this well ordered farm, the proprietor would deserve the thanks of the agriculturists of the county in demonstrating the fact that broad prairies, far from living streams, present no barriers to successful stock raising and feeding; water, the one grand essential, may be brought to the spot required.
The first entry of land in this township was made by Robert Wyatt, being the east half of the north-east quarter of Section 4, Town 21, Range 14 west, November 10, 1834.
The next were by two persons on the same day, June 9, 1853, Wm. S. Prentice entering the north-east quarter of Section 31, Town 21, Range 11 east, and John McFarland entering the entire Section 23, Town 21, Range 10 east.
In 1856, one Joseph McCormick, from Virginia, entered a section of land in the north part of the township. This he improved, residing upon his land until the year 1864, when he sold out and moved to Kansas.
John L. Lester was the next settler; he was born in Oneida Co., New York, in May, 1827, and came to this county in 1859. His business before coming here was that of a locomotive engineer. He can tell of many exciting incidents and hair-breadth adventures while in this business. He had charge of the engine which drew the excursion train, containing President Fillmore and his cabinet, over the Erie road in celebrating its completion. He is now pleasantly located upon a fine, well cultivated farm of 320 acres, situated about six miles east of Rantoul village. His improvements are of a substantial character, and calculated for mixed husbandry. He was the first Supervisor from his town, being succeeded by Mr. Geo. W. Francis, who recently moved to the town from LaSalle county, but whose farm gives evidence of superior planning, and promises richly for the future.
Another farmer of note is Hamilton Fairchild, who owns nearly a section, cultivating the cereals usually grown, as well as keeping stock.
One Frank White came into the county in 1860, and purchased a farm of 640 acres, which he has since been improving. He is a practical farmer, conducting the affairs of his farm in a business way, reducing the labor in all its branches to a system that places the work in the control of the man, and not the man controlled by the work.
EAST BEND TOWNSHIP
Is bounded on the east by Ludlow, on the north by Ford county, on the west by Brown, and on the south by Condit; and occupies the Congressional Township of 22, Range 8 east. The Sangamon river enters the town from the west, and after winding through the same to nearly its center, bends away to. the south-west, and passes out near the south-west corner of the township, forming in its course an extensive bend, from which the town derives its name. The character of the soil is of a deep rich loam, exhaustless in fertility and productive wealth. For the most part, the land is well adapted to the mixed style of farming practiced so extensively and so profitably in the county generally; yet there are very many farms most admirably calculated solely for stock raising, or feeding. The presence of the Sangamon river flowing through the town, with the heavy body of timber growing upon its banks, presents rare advantages for this class of husbandry, of which the enterprising farmers of the town are rapidly availing themselves.
The first settler in the township of whom there is any knowledge, was Joseph Newcomb, who came to the county from Kentucky in 1831, and settled upon Section 32 of this town, the place now being known as Newcomb's Ford. There is some doubt about the name of this man; some have given it as John New-comb, a larger number as Joseph Newcomb, while the records show that one Ethan Newcomb, in 1835, entered the land where that ford is, and where Mr. Newcomb resided. We have, however, called him Joseph Newcomb, as the weight of testimony is that way.
The next settler was one Byer, who settled in the northwestern portion of the township in 1836. He was from Ohio, but how long he stayed, or where he went, we have been unable to learn; and for this reason we conclude that he must have left the county at an early day.
F. Dobson came from Kentucky and located in the town in 1837, and improved a farm. He also must have left early, as little is known of him.
The first entry of land in the town was by Ethan Newcomb, in September, 1835, being the west half of the south-west quarter of Section 32, Township 22, Range 8 east.
Among the substantial men of the town, is J. G. Campbell, who came to the town at an early day, and improved a farm. He has done much to advance the prosperity of the town in which he lives, and the county in general, and possesses in a very high degree the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens. He has four times been placed upon the Board of Supervisors as the choice of his townsmen, showing how fully the man is appreciated by those by whom he is best known. His farming operations give evidence of careful study of the science of agriculture; and in this he is doing a great work among his co-workers of the soil.
Isaac R. Devore, also an old settler and successful farmer of the township, has done, and is still doing, much in developing the wealth of the country. It is the mission of such men as Mr. Devore, and many others we might name, to demonstrate the fact, that successful farming depends upon a careful study of the business, and that while money without brains may bring additional wealth, brains, even without money, will with greater certainty bring success. Mr. Devore was the first Supervisor from that town.
W. H. Swayze, A. P. Johnson, Isaiah Ferris, Y. Suitor, A. W. Hyde, Phillip Hummel, the Hamets, and others, are all excellent farmers, working with energy and skill in bringing the hidden treasures of the prairie to light, to serve the interests of man.
This town is bounded on the east by Somers, on the north by Condit, on the west by Mahomet, and. on the south by Champaign, and occupies Town 20, Range 8 east. Its organization dates from 1867, when it was taken from the then township of West Urbana. Mr. A. P. Hensley was its first Supervisor, and the new town received his name.
The entire township, with the exception of a small portion in the north-west corner, lies upon the prairie, and is, beyond dispute, one of the finest tracts of land in the State.. A high ridge runs through the town from south-east to north-west, while the land upon either side gently rolls away to the north and south, presenting that rich wavy appearance to the prairie so attractive to the agriculturist. In all this rich country, no better lands may be found for the purpose of mixed cultivation, that style of farming now followed by nearly all of our best farmers.
The first settler in this township was one Robert Childreth, who settled in the north-west corner of the town about the year 1834. He did not stay there long, and it is not known where he came from or where he went.
Isaac and Jacob Hammer were the next. They came from Indiana, and settled near where Mr. Childreth did, in 1836, and entered at once upon the work of subduing the wilderness. Childreth built the first house, and the Hammers the next. In 1837, one John Philips, who had the same year stopped in Condit, came to this town and settled, it is thought, upon the old Childreth place. This man shortly after sold out to one Fountain Busey, from Kentucky. Mr. Philips then went to the little "ville" of Byron, in the grove north of Urbana, and subsequently removed, taking his house with him, to the township of Champaign, being the first settler there. In 1842, Mr. Hezekiah Phillipe, who, in 1837, had settled with his father in Condit, purchased the interest of Mr. Fountain Busey in the land before mentioned, and made there his permanent home. There he has lived and prospered; has seen the county grow and thrive, and by intelligent industry, has added piece by piece to his valuable farm, until it has reached nearly 2,000 acres. This magnificent farm is in the best possible state of cultivation, and is unquestionably one of the best stock farms in the country. Large barns, a roomy, comfortable residence, with extensive orchards of splendid fruit, together with the genial and ever welcoming countenance of its owner, are among the attractions of this place.
The first entry of land was made by Fielden Loyd, who entered the west half of the north-west quarter of Section 6, Town 20, Range 8 east, in February, 1836.
Prominent in the town, is A. P. Hensley, from Kentucky. He was, as before stated, the first Supervisor. He has a large farm, of about 300 acres, which he has brought to an advanced state of cultivation, and has made farming a success; while others, under more favorable circumstances, have failed.
James R. Scott, from Kentucky, settled in this town in 1857, and is not only one of the prominent men of the town, but of the county and State. His farm, of something over 1,000 acres of choice land, is one of the best in the State, and is devoted by its owner to the production of fine breeds of stock. There are few men whose judgment upon cattle could be called superior to that of Mr. Scott He is also a thorough, practical farmer, carrying through all his work a spirit of enthusiasm, betokening a love for and devotion to his vocation, showing how well he understands and appreciates the high calling. He has recently been honored with an appointment from the Governor, of trustee of the Illinois Industrial University.
Henry To Aspern (sic), from Germany, is another wide-awake farmer, doing his farming in a business way, bringing to his aid all the information that he has been able to obtain from others, supported by practical common sense.
J. A. Bellenger, D. T. Brown, Moses Burwell, Sam'l Shaw, Charles Miner, H. C. Lyons, Jas. M. Graham, Jesse Cloyd, Wiley Buckler, and many others of the township, are an honor to the agricultural world and the county in which they live.
Is in the extreme north-east corner of the county, and occupies Town 22, Range 14 west, 2 P.M., and Town 22, Range 11 east, 3 P. M. It is bounded on the north by Ford county, on the west by Harwood township, on the south by Compromise, and on the east by Vermillion county. It contains twenty-four square miles, or 15,360 acres of land. When first organized the name was Middle Fork, from the name of the stream which runs through it, and was then just twice its present dimensions, as it included that part of Town 21 which lies immediately south of the present town. The name was changed in 1861 to Kerr, and in 1869 the town was divided, and the southern half given to Compromise.
Although the least in size among the towns of the county, it is far from being the least .in importance. As the country improves, and farmers have reached a point on the road to competence where they can farm as they desire, their attention will be directed mainly to stock raising, and no locality offers greater facilities for that purpose then Kerr. The prairies are rich, beautifully undulating, and rank with rich grasses, while Middle Fork, a never-failing stream of water, divides the town in twain from the north-west to the south-east, giving prime advantages of water, so essential to the success of the stock-grower. Unfortunately for the town hitherto, the location in the county has not been the most favorable for rapid improvement, being off the line of any railroad, or other carrying route; but this will soon be obviated, as by reference to the map, it will be seen that the new road passes through this township, and were it not so, the superior advantages for stock farming, as stated above, must soon command the attention of farmers seeking desirable locations to invest in farm lands for occupation.
The first lands entered in this township were by Andrew Sprouler and William Brian, the former entering the north-east quarter of Section one, Town 22, Range 11 east, on December 31st, 1833; and the latter entered the north-east quarter of Section six, Town 22, Range 14 west, in October, 1833. Where these men came from, or how long they remained in the town, is unknown to us. The first settler in the township was William McMellen, who came from Columbus, Ohio, and settled at Sugar Grove, in the fall of 1831, purchasing his land at the Government land sales. He was unfortunate at the first in losing some of his stock, a loss not easily repaired in those days. He improved his land, however, living there until 1835, when he sold out to Caleb Davis. One John Manning also settled at Sugar Grove about the same time as McMellen, but died soon after. Samuel Kerr, from Ohio, entered land at Sugar Grove in 1834, and owned part of the grove. He improved his farm, and was engaged quite extensively in stock raising. He died in the year 1854.
Lewis Kuder was from Hocking county, Ohio, and came to Kerr with his father, John Kuder, in 1837, where they settled upon the land, now owned by the subject of our sketch. In 1840 his father died, and the following year - his mother also died. Mr. Kuder then bought out the interest of the heirs and entered at once, as far as his means would permit, upon the stock-raising business. In this he has been successful, and piece by piece his farm has grown, until his inclosure now contains six hundred acres, besides one quarter that is not inclosed. The farm is in an excellent condition, and well arranged for a stock farm, for which it is designed, with a good house and barn, and all things else for comfort and convenience. A beautiful and substantial iron bridge spans the Middle Fork just east of his residence. He has upon his place about thirty head of horses, besides droves of cattle and hogs. Mr. Kuder has twice represented his town in the Board of Supervisors of the county, and is well known over the county as a sound and substantial man.
Levi Wood, Lindley Corbley, Joseph Martin, and Daniel Allhands, are substantial farmers, as are also many others we might name. Those named have done much in improving the county and adding to its material wealth and prosperity. Their farms are large, and models of their kind, being for stock purposes; and while they have grown rich themselves, they have made plain the path they trod, and themselves a guide to those who would follow after. Mr. Corbley, like Mr. Kuder, has twice been elected Supervisor, while Mr. Daniel Allhands, has been returned six times to the Board, showing that he is not only a man of substantial means, but of substantial worth.
LUDLOW AND HARWOOD TOWNSHIPS.
Ludlow Township formerly extended over territory six miles north and south, and twelve miles east and west. It is in the north tier of townships in Champaign county. It has recently been divided, making the township of Harwood six miles square off the east.
The two townships, Ludlow and Harwood, are a splendid body of rich prairie, undulating, and susceptible of the most perfect drainage, being the highest land in the county, and drained by tributaries of the Salt Fork and Middle Fork of the Wabash, Vermillion (which waters flow into the Ohio river), and tributaries of the Sangamon river (which waters flow into the Mississippi river). There is a fine ridge, comprising the greater part of the two townships, running north-west and south-east, of high, rolling and very sightly country. On this ridge are situated some of our handsomest farms, and the view from it, in a clear day, extending for miles in every direction, is truly enchanting. The villages of Loda, Paxton and Rantoul are in full view, and apparently in a great extended valley. The Big Grove at Urbana and Champaign, and the timber far away on the Sangamon, Salt Fork, and Middle Fork meandering in view, amongst the rich farms of the county, form the outline of this great valley. There is no native forest in either of these townships except a few acres in the north-east corner of Harwood township, where the Middle Fork of the Vermillion touches that township.
The Illinois Central Railroad, Chicago Branch, passes north and south through the township of Ludlow.
The village of Ludlow is situated one mile south of the county line, and five miles south of Paxton, the county seat of Ford county. It is quite a business place, large quantities of farm produce being received here for transportation. There are several active commission men; a mill for shelling and grinding corn; stores, two blacksmith shops, and a large district school, requiring two teachers.
First Congregational Church cost $3,000; thirty-six by fifty-six feet A. E. Everest, pastor.
First Christian Church will cost about $3,000 ; thirty-four by fifty-six feet. K B. Roberts, preacher. Over one hundred members.
The Methodists, under charge of Rev. Mr. Dale, are quite a large society, and expect to build next summer. They already have a large subscription.
Jacob Huffman, from Harrison county, Kentucky, was the first settler. He built a dwelling in the year 1852, on the south-west quarter of section one, Town No. 22 north, Range 10 east, near the timber on the Middle Fork of Vermillion. He died in 1857, leaving a widow and two sons. The widow married S. H. Cushing, and they now live in the same house.
James W. Carter and Michael Huffman, (brother of Jacob,) came into the township in 1854. Carter settled in the north part of Section one, also adjoining the Vermillion county line (now Ford county,) and near the Middle Fork. Carter was young, active, persevering, close in trading, and economical. By keeping a variety of stock, colts, cattle, sheep and hogs, the hogs living on nuts, acorns, and such support as they could find along the stream, and by buying timber lands by the acre, and selling the wood and posts, he has added, by several purchases, until he has now a very fine property of five hundred and seventy acres. He is from Kentucky, and is about 38 years old.
Michael Huffman has been one of the most prominent men in this township, serving a number of terms as Justice of the Peace, and for many years Treasurer of the School fund. He bought the south-west quarter of Section three, Township No. twenty-two north, of Range ten, and in 1854 built a good frame dwelling, being the first, man to try the open prairie in this township. He is from Kentucky, and is about forty-nine years old. He traded his farm for a store and stock of goods, at the village of Ludlow, (formerly Pera,) about the year 1860. He carried on the store for three or four years, sold out, bought other property in the village, built four or five houses, the principal of which is the hotel, now owned and kept by John Lamarsna. He is now farming, one mile east of the village. Esquire Huffman has retained the entire confidence of the whole community in his integrity, honesty, and true friendship.
J. D. Ludlow, from whom the township and town derive their present name, was born in the year 1822, near Cincinnati, Ohio, on a farm, and came to Illinois as agent of Michael L. Sullivant, in 1853. He examined lands, surveyed, and purchased for Mr. Sullivant most of the great farm in the south-east corner of Champaign county, known as Broadlands. He also purchased at the Danville land office, for Mr. Sullivant, most of the tract of 40,000 acres, now being improved in Ford and Livingston counties by Mr. Sullivant.
In 1855, Mr. Ludlow bought at Government price the northwest quarter of Section seven, Township twenty-two north, Range ten east, now in Harwood township, half a mile east of the village of Ludlow, upon which he built his present dwelling, in 1856. (Scott & Chaddon, of Champaign, were the carpenters and builders.) He set out trees, and last fall his orchard was heavily laden with as handsome apples as were ever grown. The Esopus, Spitzenberg, Rambo, Early Harvest and Yellow Bellefleur, were the best bearers. Groves of Wild Crab Apple, Walnut and Peach, in bearing, also Hard and Soft Maples, Golden Willow, Elms, Lombardy Poplars, Red Cedars, and other trees in profusion, show that with little care a beautifully variegated forest can soon be made upon these open prairies. Six years ago, he added 160 acres on the west, running into the village, making 325 acres. It is well drained, having several miles of mole and open ditches. Nearly the whole farm is well set in timothy and clover meadow
The two churches in the village are on land donated by him from his farm.
When the county adopted township organization, he was chosen as one of the Commissioners to divide the county into townships.
He lives a quiet and contended life at his pleasant home with his interesting family, an amateur farmer, aspiring to no public honors.
Many good men came soon after, who are worthy of mention for their individual worth, their Christian virtues, and success in business, and devotion to their country during the rebellion.
John Crawford, now seventy-one years old, came in 1857, and located on Section 11, Town 22, Range 10. He was from Kentucky. Two of his sons served in the war with credit. He and his sons are now living on the same farm.
Samuel and J. P. Middlecoff built a store and commenced business in the village, in 1857 - young men of sterling worth, and of smart, active, correct business habits. Samuel gave his life to his country, went with Fremont on his one hundred days march, and died at Warsaw, Missouri. J. P. Middlecoff is now conducting, and is sole proprietor of a very large hardware, stove, tinware and agricultural machinery establishment in Paxton, Ford county, Illinois.
Joshua Emmons, Jas. Barklow, B.F. Dye, Isaiah Estep, (now of Rantoul), Lewis Hicks, (now of Tomlinson & Hicks, Rantoul), Wm. Lenere, Almond Lenere, R. W. Claypool, Isaiah Ferris, L. Chaddon, (now of Champaign), John Lucas, (first station agent) Seth Parsons, Jeremiah Delay, and others, deserve especial notice, but our space forbids. They came here in the years 1855, 1856 and 1857.
The farm of Seth Parsons deserves particular notice for its neat, cheerful aspect, the quick, active, busy appearance of the proprietor, and his success in wheat culture. When everybody failed, Seth Parsons had good wheat, and his corn was clean, and better than that of others. His trees and shrubbery, with which his place is ornamented, grow better than any of his neighbors. He would say, in a joking, earnest way, that his farm was warm and sandy, but he was a live Yankee from Connecticut, and he worked his farm was 120 acres, in Section 17, Township 22 north, Range 9 east, but, poor man, he has left his beautiful home in the hands of strangers, and two years ago took a section to open up in Southwest Missouri. (He will do it or die, but he will most likely die, as they have been sick a great deal since they went out.)
The farm of Judge Phillips is on the southern slope of the ridge before mentioned, in Harwood township, beautifully rolling, interspersed with cornfields, wide meadows, pastures and permanent water, subdivided by young thrifty hedges, with some old hedges doing service. He is a successful farmer. His system of farming might be called mixed husbandry, raising different kinds of grain, timothy and clover meadows, keeping cattle, hogs and colts. His handsome dwelling overlooks the farm and the valley; to the south the cars can also be seen for many miles from his door. In the rear of his farm, about half or three-quarters of a mile from his house, is to be seen a fine large district schoolhouse, nestling in among the hills.
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