The History of Ransom, LaSalle Co IL

Transcribed by Nancy Piper


Is a small town in Allen township. It was laid out on the 8th and 9th days of December 1875 by George Brumbach, county surveyor, for Marcus J. Lane and Wm H. McIntyre, school trustees, it being on the school section. It is a convenient post office and trading point of this point of the county, there being no railroad near.

[The Past and present of La Salle County, Illinois : containing a history of the county, its cities, towns, &c., a biographical directory of its citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, portraits of early settlers and prominent men, general and local statistics, map of La Salle County, history of Illinois, Constitution of the United States, miscellaneous matters, etc, etc.. Chicago: H.F. Kett & Co., Ottaway & Colbert, printers), 1877. Page 355]

The Village of Ransom

The extension of the Chicago, Pekin & Southwestern Railroad was built through the township of Allen in 1875, giving a direct communication with Chicago. The station was located near the center of section 16 (the "school section"), which, fortunately for the township, had not been sold previous to the location of the road. In December, 1875, the lots for the village of Ransom were surveyed, and Feb. 5, 1876, they were sold at auction by the County Superintendent of Schools. The sales amounted to about $5,000. Since then three other additions have been sold. The first was in the summer of 1876, the second in 1878 and the third in 1880. The depot, which was erected in 1875, was the first improvement made in Ransom, and the east elevator was the next. Adam Gahen built the first residence soon afterward, and G. E. Shackelton built and kept the first store. Soon afterward W. F. Allen opened a drug store. From that time to the present the village has had a steady growth, until now it is a pleasant and prosperous place of some 300 inhabitants.

The directory of Ransom is as follows: General stores, E. O. Whitman & Bro., Cate and Collison and B. M. Boyle & Son; hardware and harness, B. Auschicks; druggists, J. W. Transeau & Co. and Dr. S. L. Brown; boots and shoes, W. F. Baird; furniture, J. F. Hollister; milliner, Miss Emma Helbling; meat market, S. Cleal; barber, Peter Weber; blacksmiths, H. F. Jones, John Ambrose and G. Kestinger; elevators, Charls Verner and M. J. Lane; tile factory, Rufus J. Robinson; carpenter, August Richards; Ranson Horse Company, Robert Steven, President, and R. S. Smalley, Secretary; wheelwrights, B. F. Bosley and John Spink; saloon, James Dwyer; hotels, Ransom House and Nassan House; postoffice, Carrie E. C. Wagoner; express and freight agent, W. E. Jackson; physicians, James MacCay and S. L. Brown; attorney J. C. Boyle. There are Methodist and Catholic churches and one school house.

The tile business was begun in 1883 by Hagi and Hegy and changed into Mr. Robinson's hands in 1884. There are five acres in the lot in which the works are situated. Three kilns are in operation and about fifteen men are employed. The business is quite prosperous.

The east elevator has a capacity of 20,000 bushels and the west one has a capacity of but 10,000 bushels. The latter was built in 1877 by Mr. Hagi.


The Catholic Church was built in 1883 by Rev. Father Byrnes at a cost of some $2,000. Services are now held in it on the alternate Sabbaths by Rev. Mr. Hedges, Curate of Father O'Kelly at Streator. The society numbers about sixty families.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was first located in the country but was removed into the village in 1883. The first pastor in the village was Rev. Green. The present pastor is the Rev. F. M. Hayes. The congregation is a fair one and services are held every Sabbath.


The village is located in School District No. 5, and the school house of that district was used until 1879, when the present building was erected in the village at a cost of $2,600. It has two rooms and is partially a graded school. The school numbers about seventy-five pupils, who are at present under the instruction of Misses Sinnott and Mason. The school is economically conducted for about $800 per year. The School Board is John Ryan, J. W. Transeau and J. Strobel, of which John Ryan is President and J. W. Transeau, Secretary.

Aside from the lots sold to the village of Ransom, Allen Township still owns her school section.

The School Trustees have about $8,000 of money realized from the sale and rents of lots, so that the schools in Allen Township have a great advantage financially over those in other townships. Outside of the village of Ransom there are eight school-houses and one church. The church belongs to the Evangelical Association and is located on the southeast corner of section 21. Services are held at Canard's school-house by the Methodist society. The school-houses are neat little frame structures and as a rule Allen Township has good schools.

[the History of La Salle County, Illinois Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages and Towns, Educational, Religious, Civil, Military, and Political History, Portraits of Prominent Persons and Biographies of Representative Citizens. - Volume II - Chicago Inter State Publishing Co., 1886, Page 34-36]

Ransom Village, incorporated in 1855, has a population of about 400, its increase, though slow, being steady.

[History of La Salle County, Illinois. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1924.]

Back to Lasalle County Illinois History and Genealogy