Genealogy Trails - Greene County, Illinois

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GREENE COUNTY - cut off from Madison and separately organized in 1821; has an area of 544 square miles; Population in 1900, 23,402; named for Gen. Nathaniel Greene, a Revolutionary soldier. The soil and climate are varied and adapted to a diversity of products, wheat and fruit being among the principal. Building stone and clay are abundant. Probably the first English-speaking settlers were David Stockton and James Whiteside, who located south of Macoupin Creek in June, 1817. Samuel Thomas and others (among them Gen. Jacob Fry) followed soon afterward. The Indians were numerous and aggressive, and had destroyed not a few of the monuments of the Government surveys, erected some years before. Immigration of the whites, however, was rapid, and it was not long before the nucleus of a village was established at Carrollton, where General Fry erected the first house and made the first coffin needed in the settlement. This town, the county-seat and most important place in the county, was laid off by Thomas Carlin in 1821. Other flourishing towns are Whitehall (Population, 1,961), and Roodhouse (an important railroad center) with a population of 2,360.
[Source: "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois" ©1901 - Transcribed by K. Torp from the orginal book]

Sometime previous to 1830, a man named s Scroggs from Morgan County came into this county and settled very near where Athensville was afterward located. Others made improvements east of Athensville about 1831 or 1832, among whom was Mr. Rigsby. He took possession of a place which had previously been occupied by Sandy Wiggins. It was about a mile east of the present town. John Ruyle settled two miles east of this place about 1831, and near him was a man named Jackson. Orphy Shepherd made his home a mile northeast, and Mr. Morton settled about the same distance west of Athensville. Not far from his cabin were the improvements of Mr. Musgrove and Alexander Robinson. Just north was Benoni Banning, who had made an earlier settlement near Hickory Grove. The first building in Athensville was probably erected in 1832 or 1833, by Greene Weaver. Mr. Weaver had been sent from Carrollton by John Evans with a stock of goods, which he first undertook to sell at Mt. Airy. This stock he brought to Athensville with him, at the date above mentioned. After a time Mr. John Armstrong, from near Carrollton became the proprietor, in part at least, and continued the business for several years. Hon. Alexander King was for several years a partner of Mr. Armstrong and continued with him until the death of the latter some fifteen years since. Mr. Armstrong was an Englishman by birth, but emigrated to this county during the early history of Greene County. He was well acquainted with the early settlers and few men have been more generally esteemed by those around them than John Armstrong. The town of Athensville was laid out by Greene Weaver in October, 1834. The Christian denomination erected a church at an early day, in which Mr. Weaver, who was a minister of that denomination, took an active part. It was used for many years, but when the school house was erected the old church was abandoned. The Baptists now hold meetings in the hall over. The people of that part of Greene County are more inclined to agricultural pursuits than to town building, and for that reason Athensville has not grown to the dimensions of some other towns in the county. Nevertheless it is a place of same business. There are three stores in the town. John English sells dry goods, etc., and Chas. Mason and W. D. Hardcastle keep a general stock. There are besides three blacksmiths and one shoemaker. Tilmon S. Patterson is the postmaster and has acted in that capacity for some years. Rev. John Johnson is the Baptist minister.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 427-28; - transcribed by bmt

Barrow is a small village of about one hundred inhabitants, situated on the St. Louis branch of the C. B. & Q. railroad in the northern part of Greene County. The place was originally laid out by Robert Thompson in 1869, as a result of a contract, whereby, the railroad company built a side track at this point and agreed to maintain it in return for the right of way freely granted through Mr. Thompson's land. The next year the first dwelling and first blacksmith shop were built by James Ashlock. John Williams erected the first store building and the residents in the vicinity, put up a depot costing about $500. In 1871, Mr. Thompson sold out his farm and his entire interest in the town to Mr. Alfred Barrow, by whom it was again laid out, platted, and for whom it was named. Mr. Barrow donated one acre of land for stockpens and two acres for other depot grounds. Very soon Mr. Barrow erected a fine residence in the town for himself and several smaller buildings for rent. The people united in the erection of a neat and commodious church which is used by the Methodists and by two Baptist Churches. There is also a good church building about half a mile south of the village. It was during 1871, that the first warehouse was erected by Smith, Edwards & Barrow. The growth of the town has been very slow, although the richness of the soil about it is a guarantee of steady increase; seventy thousand bushels of wheat have been shipped from Barrow during one season. The village now contains about twenty-five dwellings, one church, one town hall a first class building, one saw and grist mill, one elevator, one blacksmith and wagon shop, two stores, one boot and shoe shop, one tile factory, one boarding house, etc. Only one or two deaths have occurred in the town during its existence.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 428; - transcribed by bmt

Berdan, a small town on the Chicago and Alton Railroad, was laid out by Kellogg, Olmstead, and Worcester, in September, 1865. It was named for Judge James Berdan, of Jacksonville, who occupied a prominent position in connection with the railroad. The place now contains about fifteen houses, and within its limits and in the immediate vicinity are the homes of an upright and enterprising class of people. George Sleight is postmaster and railroad agent; Joseph Blackshaw is deputy postmaster and merchant; Miss Mattie Lynn is the teacher; Rev. R. M. Smith is pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 430; - transcribed by bmt

Bluffdale, in Greene County, Illinois, received its name from the late John Russell, one of its earliest settlers. It was the third post office established in the county. Carrollton with Skidmore, postmaster, was the first and White Hall with Holiday as postmaster, was the second, then came Bluffdale, with John Russell for postmaster, who gave it its present poetic name. This commission bears date November 2, 1829, and is signed by W. T. Barry, postmaster-general, and has been held continuously by father and son up to the present date. The topography of this quaint little region, presents, more than any other place that I have seen, a union of all that is most striking and peculiar in western landscape. Almost overhanging the homes of the settlers are the bluffs, in many places a solid perpendicular wall of Burlington limestone, rising sometimes to the height of two hundred feet. Immediately back of this wall and not unfrequently at its very brink, rises a series of conical hills from one to two hundred feet higher. During the Summer season, these cones are crowned to their very summit with the very richest verdure, presenting a fine contrast with the brown, rugged cliffs below.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 424; - transcribed by bmt

CARROLLTON - the county-seat of Greene County, situated on the west branch of the Chicago & Alton and the Quincy, Carrollton & St. Louis Railroads, 33 miles north-northwest of Alton, and 34 miles south by west from Jacksonville. The town has a foundry, carriage and wagon factory, two machine shops, two flour mills, two banks, six churches, a high school and two weekly newspapers. Population in 1890 was 2,258; in 1900, 2,355.

Columbiana, a landing place on the Illinois River, was laid out as a town in September, 1835, by Solomon Bushnell. A. J. Stone owns a warehouse and small store. "There are a few houses in the immediate vicinity, but no post-office. The place was once quite important, when a large portion of all the goods brought into the county came by the river. Little business is now done here, save the shipping of grain and cattle from the western part of the county.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 430; - transcribed by bmt

The proprietors of Fayette were Manoah Bostick, James Metcalf and William Blair. Mr. Metcalf 's land lay along the county line, as did Mr. Bostick's, just south of the former, and Mr. Blair's lay west of Mr. Metcalf 's and north of Mr. Bostick's, so that the two tracts of Messrs. Blair and Metcalf joined along the north side of Mr. Bostick's. The town was located at this point, Mr. Bostick furnishing the ground for one-half and each of the others one-fourth of the town; several buildings were soon erected in the town of Fayette, among which were three brick buildings, of which Mr. Bostick and Mr. Metcalf each built one for a store, and Mr. Hall one for a dwelling. Two stores were soon put in operation in the place under the style of "Metcalf & Woodson," and "Blair & Brother." One of the principal streets of the town passed along the dividing line between the land of Mr. Blair and Mr. Metcalf; it was soon lined on both sides with small frame houses, and the place began to look quite town-like. On the very day that the proprietor of Rivesville applied to a machinist for a carding machine to be erected at Rivesville, the machinist also received an order from one of the proprietors of Fayette for a carding machine to be put up in that place, in which the applicant stated that he wanted the first one that went from the shop. These men were all very highly esteemed by those who knew them, and were among the first men in point of reputation in our county. Mr. Metcalf eventually left the county and resided at or near Alton. Mr. Rives removed to Greenfield, where he was well and favorably known by nearly every person in the eastern part of Greene County. Mr. Bostick has been dead many years. During his residence in Fayette he displayed a great amount of business talent, gained the esteem of a large portion of the community, served the people of our county in the State Senate, much to their satisfaction, and died much lamented. Fayette now contains three stores. Archibald Lee deals in drugs and a general variety of goods. He formerly lived in Greenfield. John Teaney is postmaster, preacher and dealer in general merchandise. R. W. Carr also sells drugs. There are also two blacksmith shops. The church building is occupied by both the Baptist and the Christian denominations.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 426-27; - transcribed by bmt

GREENFIELD - a city in the eastern part of Greene County, on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and the Quincy, Carrollton & St. Louis Railways, 12 miles east of Carrollton and 55 miles north of St. Louis; is an agricultural, coal-mining and stock-raising region. The city has several churches, public schools, a seminary, electric light plant, steam flouring mill, and one weekly paper. It is an important shipping point for cattle, horses, swine, corn, grain and produce. Population in 1890, 1,131; in 1900, 1085.

The village of Jalappa is situated in Township 9, Range 11, and contains about thirty inhabitants. It was originally laid out in August, 1867, by Fred Sunkel & Bro. This village contains a very fine grist mill owned by Enoch Littlefield and under the superintendence of J. T. Briggs. The only blacksmith shop is owned and occupied by Matthew McGlasson the pioneer smith. J. G. Gardiner sells groceries in the only store in the place. There was formerly a post office at this place but it has been removed.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 430; - transcribed by bmt

KANE - a village of Green County, on the Jacksonville Division of the Chicago & Alton Railway, 40 miles south of Jacksonville. It has a bank and a weekly paper. Population in 1880 was 408; 1890, 551; 1900, 588

New Providence, a small place located near the center of Greene County, was laid off May 5, 1867, by F. M. Bell, John Bell and Jesse S. Allen. The place is often spoken of as Belltown, from the name of one of its most enterprising citizens, through whose influence a new name was given it, and is an old landmark. It was a center of trade forty years ago, and was at one time a very ambitious village. Messrs. F. M. and John Bell were originally farmers, but subsequently became owners of the grist and saw mill built by Thos. Allen very early in the history of the county. F. M. Bell was afterward sheriff of the county, and Bell Brothers built the new mill. They were succeeded by Jesse Allen, and later F. M. Bell and H. Tunison owned the establishment. The present proprietor is Mr. Thomas Johnson. Mr. Finis Bell owns the only saw mill in the place. The first store in the place was probably built by the late B. F. Baldwin, who sold goods here until he removed to White Hall. The postoffice was also in the building and Mr. Baldwin was the first postmaster. When the C. & A. road was opened the postoffice was removed to Berdan. The first church of which we have mention was a frame structure, erected for the Presbyterians. The first pastor of this organization was Rev. H. Knowles. Rev. R. M. Smith is the present incumbent. P. R. McFarland is the blacksmith of the village. New Providence contains probably nearly one hundred inhabitants, who are distinguished for their sobriety, industry and respect for religion.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 428-29; - transcribed by bmt

Randolph, Greene County, Illinois
Dated: Alton, March 1st, 1837
The town of Randolph is advantageously situated on the Mississippi River, on fractional sections 25 and 26, in Township No. 6 North and Range No. 11, west of the third principal meridian, about equidistant between Alton and Grafton, in Greene County, Illinois, on a beautiful bench of land, from ten to twelve feet above the highest known floods of the River, and stretching back a half mile in extent. Nature has been abundantly lavish, in bestowing advantages on this spot, for a great commercial city, in many respects superior to any other on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, between the mouth of the Ohio and the Illinois Rivers. The soil of Randolph is a black sandy loam, dry and free from excessive mud in rainy weather, and inconvenience from which but few towns in the section of the county are exempt. Building stone, of a superior quality, is found in abundance at the western extremity of the town site, and can be readily quarried. Rich limestone beds, abound in the immediate neighborhood. Timber suitable for building and of the largest growth, is within half a mile of the town. Two superior water power privileges, (superior for this section of country) are located within one and a half miles of the river, directly back of the town, and several never failing springs of pure water are within its limits. The shore of the river that stretches across the Southern boundary of Randolph is for the most part bold, and at the western extremity affords an exellent natural landing for steamboats of the largest size at any stage of water, and all the remaining portoin of the bank of the river is susceptible of such improvement, that is can be readliy be made at a small expense, both safe and eligible for landing of merchandize from steamboats of any size. The Piasa empties into the Mississippi at the southeastern point of Randolph, and is navigable for small steamboats a portion of the year, as far as the east end of the town. This creek is navigable several miles from its mouth on half of the year for flat boats and it affords a safe and convenient harbor for freight boats and will be admirable calculated for boat building, as materials for their construction may be obtained in the immidiate vicinity. Besides the named above intrinsic advantages that Randolph enjoys for a commercial town, there are other of an external character, which should not be overlooked. In the first place it is situated near the hightest navigable point on the river, for steamboats of the largest class at the lowest stage of water, and this circumstance alone, has a direct and important bearing on its commercial importance. It is nearly opposite to Portage de Sioux, a town on the Missouri side of the River, a long established crossing place, heretofore esteemed superior to any point on the Mississippi, between teh head of the great American bottom and the Illinois River, enjoying ferry privileges at all seasons of the year, unless obstructed by the ice. It is directly opposite to that point, where the two great rivers of the west approach each other within one and a half miles distance and where it is had in contemplation to cut a stearmboat canal, to unite two streams, thus avoiding some part of the most danerous navigation of the Missouri River, an examination of this route, having already been made bya competent Engineer, and an estimate had teh expense of constructing a canal with a guard lock, on the Missouri river, which will not exceed eighty thousand dollars. In the event of this grand operation being brought to a successful issue, Randolph must at once fall an heir to a large share of the trade of the upper Missouri, as steamboats navigate that river will take this in preference to the natural and more dangerous channel. It is so situated in reference to the adjoining country, as to admit of the easy construction of a railroad without a degree of inclination that will require a stationary power, in the respect, it is the most eligible point above the American bottom. There is another circumstance which has a more direct ind important bearing on the commercial prospects of Randolph, that the one to which we have just alluded. The government surveyor, in locating the northern route of the great Cumberland or national road through Illinois to Jefferson City, in Missouri, run his line to this point on the river, as being the most eligible for crossing into Missouri and thus avoiding the extensive bottom land which stretches from the mouth of the Missouri to Portage de Sioux, and which is subject in a great measure, to inundation, and which could not be oherwise avoided, should the crossing place be lower down the river. When the national road shall be graded and opened, as it necessarily will be in a few years, it will enter front street, on the east, and continue through its whole length, to the western extremity on the river landing, as indicated in our Lithographic map, where it is intended to establish a ferry to Portage. This street has been so constructed in the survey of the town, as to embrace the line of the government survey for the national road, and is marked by a corresponding width, viz, 80 feet, reference being had to the plot of said town referred above. The town of Randolph is situated in one of the richest counties in the state, abounding in good timber, and prairie lands, a large portion of which is settled by intelligent and industrious farmers, many of whom are decidedly in favor of this location, and in point of population, it ranks the third largest in the state, containing according to the last census, 12, 274 inhabitants and rapidly increasing. The question is already too trite, whether town making in the west has not reached its acme? And whether those towns now being and hereafter to be located, will not prove abhortive efforts altogether on the part of the original proprietors? We answer in relation to those on the great western waters, NO. For we have only to cast our eye on the map of the United States along the course of the Hudson or Ohio rivers, and behold the entersprising business town which skirt the margins of the streams and then trace the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, from their source to their termination and observe their length when compared with the two above named, and let the eye carry the mind over the vast tract of country these western waters are destined to supply through the commercial cities, that now and hereafter shall line their shores, and compare the same with the extent of country that depends almost exclusifely for here supplies and trade on the Hudson, in the state of New York, and on the Ohio River in the state of Ohio. Again, run the eye along the whole extent of these two majestic Rivers of the west, comprising a distance of upwards of seven thousand miles, and we cannot but be struck with the sparseness of the towns which dot their shores, more paricularly the small number between the mouth of the Illinois River and the Ohio on the Illinois side, a tract of country on which the trade of the upper Missouri and Mississippi will eventually concentrate. It may not be deemed improper in this circular to state, that abundant advantages will be offered to mechanics and other arizans, who contemplate an immediate and permanent settlement in the west, so as to make Randolph worthy of their attention. For Further particulars, application may be made in person or by letter, to either of the following proprietors. Williams Silliman, of East Feliciana, Louisana, John James, of Alton, Illinois, Samuel Marsh, New York City, John Bostwick, of Alton, Illinois, Hail Mason, of Monticello, Illinois, Henry James of Waterford, N. Y.,, Dated: Alton, March 1st, 1837
Burlington Free Press. (Burlington, Vt.), March 31, 1837, Pg. 3

The town of Rockbridge is situated in the southeast part of the county, on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, in what has long been known as Taylor's Prairie, having derived the name from John and Ambrose Taylor, who with Benjamin Allen settled here in the year 1819. They were the first white men who settled north of the Macoupin Creek in this part of the county. The first building that was put up was the mill on the creek, now known as the Rockbridge Mills. This was built about the year 1826 by John Hardcastle and Moses Stephens, and was run by water power. These parties sold out to a Mr. Tegard, he to Mr. Andrews, and in the year 1836 it came into the possession of John Barnett. In the year 1840, Mr. Barnett sold to George D. Randle, who improved it considerably. It was also under his influence in the year 1849, that a post-office was established here and called Rockbridge. Mr. Randle, who was postmaster, kept the office in his residence, a hewed log house, which still stands on the hill near the mill, a relic of the town in its infancy. There is one school building, forty feet square, two stories high; two churches. Baptist and Catholic; two halls, the Masonic and the Town Hall. There are four religious organizations: Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Catholic. The school is now under the charge of Benj. Wiley and Miss Hattie Van Arsdale. The Rockbridge Band is a musical organization which owns a fine set of instruments and a handsome band wagon. Its members are: Geo. D. Hudson, J. H. Vallentine, John Russell, Franklin Taylor, John Williams, J. M. Vallentine, Philip Jacobi, J. M. Clark, John Milnes, Kennett Williams. Dr. A. E. Miller and Dr. E. Wilson are the physicians. William M. Rhoads, Baptist minister; W. L. Spear, notary public; Edward Wooldridge, constable; G. B. Craine, R. T. Dawson, and C. H. Weaver, carpenters and builders; Robt. Leton, plasterer and mason. This town is not incorporated. Its population at this time is 200. It is well known for the energy of its business men, who claim that there is a greater amount of business done at this place in proportion to its size, than at any other town in the county.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 429; - transcribed by bmt

ROODHOUSE - a city in Green County, 21 miles south of Jacksonville, and at junction of three divisions of the Chicago & Alton Railroad; is in fertile agricultural and coal-mining region; city contains a flouring mill, grain-elevator, stockyards, railway shops, water-works, electric light plant, two private banks, fine opera house, good school buildings, one daily and two weekly papers. Population in 1890 was 2,360; 1900. 2,351.

Walkerville is a small village, of about one hundred inhabitants, situated in Township 11, Range 13. It was laid out by John Walker, who was one of the early settlers of the county, and who conceived the idea and founded the town in 1835. He was the first to settle in the new village. 'Squire Vinyard erected one of the first residences in the place, Jason C. Lewis built the first store, where he subsequently dealt in dry goods and groceries. He was appointed the first postmaster. 'Squire Vinyard also sold goods, and afterward was placed in charge of the postoffice. He sold out his goods to Kinser & Brantlett, who became bankrupt and do not now live in the place. Their successor was Ezra Swank, who now keeps a small store and is the postmaster. 'Squire Vinyard also presides over a stock of goods; and John Painter is the justice of the peace. No church building has been erected, but religious services are often held in the school house. The school building was erected in 1858 or 1859 by Newton Cox. Andrew Kelly built the first blacksmith shop and worked in the village for a number of years. He was succeeded by his son, Doctor Kelly, and the present proprietor is William Brubaker. Walkerville was once a flourishing village, and built up rapidly, but like many towns not on a railroad was forced into a decline.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 429; - transcribed by bmt

WHITEHALL - a city in Greene County, at the intersection of the Chicago & Alton and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroads, 65 miles north of St. Louis and 24 miles south-southwest of Jacksonville; in rich farming region; has stoneware and sewer-pipe factories, foundry and machine shop, flour mill, elevators, wagon shops, creamery, water system, sanitarium, heating, electric light and power system, nurseries and fruit-supply houses, and two poultry packing houses; also has five churches, a graded school, two banks and three newspapers -one daily. Population in 1890 was 1,961. 1900, 2,030.

Woodville a small village, situated in the southwestern part of the county, was platted as a village on the 10th of October, 1835, by Anion Wood, Seanright Wood and others. Mr. Poindexter built the first frame building and opened a small store for the sale of whiskey, which flowed perhaps more abundantly than at the present day. Not long thereafter George Rice opened a general merchandise store and conducted a prosperous business; his successors were Allen Wood and John Bronough. Shortly after the town was laid off, Esquire Wood erected a two-story frame building for use as a store, but it was never used as such and it is now the property of Dr. M. F. Kelley. About 1837, Russell Rice erected' a small building which was used as a grocery. Benjamin Powell built the fourth primitive establishment, a log cabin. Henry C. Sieverling was the first blacksmith of the town, and afterwards came Andrew Kelley and Thomas Lyle, who built the second shop of the kind, and is still a resident of the place. Although the town never boasted a drug store, Allen Wood was to some extent a dispenser of drugs in this locality. Edward Pegram in 1877, built a substantial brick building, where he transacts a successful business in groceries. In 1870, Dr. Bruner became a resident of the main village. In 1875, he built a handsome residence east of E. Pegram's store. Several attempts have been made to establish a post office at Woodville. Some twenty years ago, while William L. Greene officiated as justice of the peace, William Scott, through the united efforts of Messrs. Greene, Harvey Trimble and others, was employed for a short time to carry the mail, making one trip per week to Carrollton; but this was discontinued. Woodville has grown slowly and contains about thirty inhabitants.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 429-30; - transcribed by bmt

Wrightsville, a small town on the C. B. & Q. R. R., was laid out June 18, 1872, by A. J. Wright. Mr. Wright for some years almost constituted the town. He built the first residence and first warehouse, started the first lumber yard, was the first postmaster, first justice of the peace and notary public. The first lot was sold in March, 1873, for $60. Mr. Wright has donated building sites to several parties. He was appointed the first railroad agent, in 1872. The first blacksmith shop was built by William Ickes, which he occupied for a year and a half; H. C. Stout was the first carpenter, A. L. Brannan the first wagon maker. Dr. John Harris was the first physician, and he was also a clergyman of the Christian denomination. Kissinger Bros, first shipped hogs and grain. The first marriage was that of George W. Rhodes to Jane Davidson, and the first birth was a son to Mr. and Mrs. Mansfield. The vicinity is particularly noted for the extra quality of its wheat, of which 40,000 bushels are annually shipped from Wrightsville depot.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 420-424; - transcribed by bmt

Wilmington is situated in Township 12, Range 12, in Northwestern Precinct, in the northwestern portion of the county, and was laid out in 1836, on the 18th day of May, by Lucius S. Norton, Thomas Groce, Thomas Hanks, Young, Henderson, Lane, and Higbee. It is six miles from the Illinois River and one and a half miles north of Drake Station, on the Louisiana branch of the C. & A.R.R. John Coates (the father of eight sons and two daughters, all of whom still live in the county, except Chester, who resides in Scott County), was among the early settlers in this section, and was one of the largest money lenders in the country. He was killed in 1874, by being knocked from the railroad track by an engine. The town was incorporated in 1869, under the State law, and was organized under the village act in 1875. Town Council are: President, George W. Collister; Clerk, Dr. J. Arnold; Treasurer, W. B. Coates; J. Madison Linder, John House, C. C. Eaton, L. J. Patterson, Thomas Marsh, and A. Thomas being members. Our village is surrounded by a beautiful scope of country, with an exceedingly fertile soil, enterprising farmers, stock raisers, etc.; and being situated within easy reach of the railroad, and not far from the river, and considering the facts that we have a daily mail, that old buildings are being replaced by new and better ones, we see nothing to prevent it from, some day, becoming a town of commercial and manufacturing importance. In 1837 the Baptist Church consisted of John Davidson, James McBride, Mashack Browning, William Wells, Jane Wells, William Short, Sylvania Carriger, and Joshua Marsh. Rev. Charles Kitchens was pastor, and served in that capacity for several years, preaching frequently in the private residence of Thomas Groce, which stood on the spot now owned and occupied by Dr. G. W. Burns. Gorden Swanson raised the first field of corn, and that without a fence, that was grown in this vicinity. Ezekiel Marsh and Dr. Joe Garrison were the first school teachers in the town, Garrison teaching and practicing medicine alternately. John Coates, above mentioned, was the first to sell dry goods, groceries, etc. After a season Mr. Coates sold to Isham Cranfil, who, in connection with his store, did an extensive business in packing beef and pork, paying for beef $1.50 and for pork $l.25 to $1.75 per hundred. He also bought grain, all of which he had transported to Alton in wagons. Cranfil sold to L. D. Morris, and afterwards removed to Portland, Oregon, where he still lives. About the same time, 1836, Peter Gibbon established a tannery in the south part of town, where he did a remunerative business, shipping his leather to St. Louis, Missouri. He employed several hands, and, for that day, made business lively. During the same period, Wickliff Post ran a blacksmith shop, and continued in business for several years. Ira Clark was another of the business men of that period; he managed a grocery store in a building which still stands, and was erected by Leonard Carriger and Thomas Groce. Mr. Morris, above mentioned, did no business, but sold property to L. J. Patterson. In 1849 Dr. Gosnold lived and practiced here. At this time Delaha sold goods for a short season, then removed. Charles Wiggins ran a cooper shop from about 1847 to 1849, since which time nothing in that line has been done here. Wm. Flemmings preceded Wiggins in the cooper business. We must not forget to mention "The Rising Sun," which was the name of the first tavern, and the inscription, we are informed, was printed with pokeberry juice. A good sized and noisy bell swung above the building, and many were the pleasant evenings spent by the sturdy pioneers, listening to the funny tales told by the jolly landlord, Thomas Groce. Rev. Slocum H. Culver worked at the cooper's trade, three miles southwest, and frequently filled the rude pulpit, in this village, on Sundays. Thomas Groce, who owned a large tract of land, including that on which the village stands, sold the tract to George W. Collister and L. T. Whitesides. Mr. Collister still owns the land he then bought. Whitesides sold to John Hicks, who still owns it. The town lots owned by Groce were bought by Dr. Charles Hardt, who practiced medicine here for several years with good success. Dr. Hardt sold to Dr. Burns and others, and removed to southwestern Missouri, where he now resides. G. W. Collister is one of our oldest citizens, and in consequence of his skill in veterinary surgery, is frequently dubbed doctor. This gentleman was also a blacksmith, and plied his vocation from 1840 to 1852, since which time his first son, Alfred B. Collister, has done the principal part of the work turned off at his shop. In 1847 A. J. Whitesides put up a wagon shop, and did a paying business for some time, then took C. C. Eaton in as a partner, and continued in the same business till 1859, when Whitesides & Eaton put up a steam saw mill, with stationary boiler. This greatly facilitated the erection of buildings, and gave home improvements a new send off. This mill was finally sold to a party who took it to Glasgow, where it now is. The next saw mill was put up by George W. Crayne, who, after a number of years, sold to John Taggart, who subsequently removed the mill to Pike County. About the year 1853 Dr. Lucian Higbee located here; had an extensive practice for several years, and was finally drowned in attempting to cross Hurricane Creek, during a freshet, near Schutz' Mills. In addition to the blacksmiths already mentioned, may be added the names of James Buck, Hiram Williams, A. L. Steelman, James Ashlock, Jack Adkins, Loot Wells, Geo. Amos, Hank Saunders, A. B. Collister, William and Thomas Taylor, and J. Madison Linder. Taylor Bros, began in 1878, and are still at work here. Mr. Linder began in 1867, more than twelve years ago; has done an immense business, has a new and roomy shop at the present writing (1879), and is known as an excellent smith. Milton Watt, a most excellent wagon and buggy maker, located here in 1877, remained one season, did considerable work, and then removed to Carrollton. In remote ages, saloon keepers flourished here, but lately, finding that their customers had forsaken them, they departed, and to-day we have a quiet, sober, orderly village, with a large per cent, of the inhabitants sporting the "blue" and "purple." The doctors who have resided and practiced here at different periods are: Messrs. Cruse, Knott, Bowles, Torn, Darley, Morrison, Carter, Linfoot, Burns, and Arnold. G. W. Burns came from Pennsylvania, and located here about 1868, and still resides and practices here. Dr. J. Arnold, a native Illinoisan, and a young man of considerable ability as a physician, came to this place in the Fall of 1876, and still remains. It has frequently been said of him, by the older physicians, that he is unusually bright and well posted, for one of his age.
Source: "History of Greene County Illinois"; Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd, Publishers, 1879, page 420-424; - transcribed by bmt (NOTE: Although the paragraphs contain what was written, some paragraphs have been ommitted or rearranged for brevity)