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Livingston County, Illinois
Genealogy and History

Agriculture News

Ottawa vs. Pontiac
A writer in the Pontiac Sentinel is trying to convince the farmers of Livingston county that it is to their interest to sell their grain in Pontiac, rather than in Ottawa, and by way of argument figures in this way. A load of corn, (20 bushels ear,) at Ottawa, at 35 cts. a bushel, he says brings $7.00; deduct from this use of wagon and team $3.00, expense at hotel in Ottawa $1.00, tolls 35 cts., and there is left $2.75 net. The same farmer selling in Pontiac at 28 cts. gets $5.97, from which are to be deducted but expense of wagon and team one day, $1.50, leaving the farmer $4.75 net. This would be a demonstration but for the unfortunate circumstance that the figures are not correct.  For instance he has put corn in Ottawa some 10 cts. below the actual market figure, (making a difference of $2.00 in favor of the farmer,) while the hotel expenses are also greatly exaggerated, as most of the farmers bring their provisions and feed with them, and the expenses of wagon and team are double the actual cost, as all farmers will readily admit. Taking in consideration, in addition to all this, that farmers can buy their salt, groceries, lumber, &c., [Sic]  in Ottawa for about 30 per cent cheaper than in Pontiac, and the reason is plain enough why nearly all the farmers of Livingston county living north of Pontiac will persist in doing their trading at Ottawa in spite of the scoldings they get in the Pontiac papers. [The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 20, Number 19, 31 December 1859; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Esmen Farmers Union
Such is the name of a club formed in Livingston county, "for the purpose of selling produce most advantageously, and procuring groceries, farm implements, &c ., as cheap as possible." The club meets the last Saturday of each month. Messrs. Apollos Camp, W.R. Babcock and Henry Curtis are Directors, and Dr. B. J. Bettelheim is Secretary of the club. [Prairie Farmer, 8 December 1859; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


Beet Sugar -- a fair article of the white loaf -- is manufactured at Chatsworth, Livingston County, Illinois. There can be no doubt that Illinois has more acres emmently adapted to the production of the sugar beet than all Europe. The manufacturers are encouraged by their experience to hope for a very rapid and profitable extension of the manufacture, which we hope they may realize. [Date: 1865-05-16; Paper: Milwaukee Sentinel; tr. by T.C.]


The beet sugar enterprise has proved a success in Chatsworth, Livingston County, Illinois. Four thousand tons of beets were raised last year on four hundred acres of prairie land, at a cost of four dollars a ton, yielding 400,000 pounds of refined sugar. The returns are as large as are obtained from the rich soils of Belgium and France. [Date: 1867-03-07; Paper: New Hampshire Sentinel; tr. by T.C.]


Twenty years ago, a farm eight miles square in Livingston County, Illinois, was entered by its present owner at $1.25 per acre. It is now subdivided into thirty-two farms of 1,280 acres each, every farm being run by separate sets of hands, the whole under the direction of the owner M. L. Sullivant. There are 15,000 acres under the plough; 250 miles of hedge fences; 150 miles of ditches for draining. One hundred men and hour hundred work horses and miles are employed on the farm, besides two book-keepers, four blacksmiths, and eight carpenters. An accurate account is kept with each sub-farm, and with each man, horse and mule, the animals being all named or numbered and charged with the amount paid for them and their food and credited with their labor. The entire farm with improvements and person property on it is now valued at about $2,000,000.   [Date: 1871-07-04; Paper: Macon Weekly Telegraph; Date: 1871-07-06; tr. by T.C.]


Livingston County, Ill. -- The following resolutions were adopted at a meeting of Bethel Grange, in that county, on the 20th:

WHEREAS, We have noted with surprise the course pursued by the Pontiac Sentinal as against the farmers' movement and the platform of principles, being characterized by that paper as gotten up by a parcel of "dead beats" and "scalawags."  
Therefore be it--
Resolved,  By this Grange now in session, That we utterly condemn the action of the Pontiac Sentinal in its scurrilous articles on the farmers' movement; and be it further

Resolved,  That we hereby agree with and endorse the action of the committee men of this county who met in Pontiac on the 31st of May 1873, for the purpose of effecting a more perfect organization of the farmers' movement in this county.

At the meeting of  the farmers' club of the townships of Waldo, Pike, Rooks Creek and Nebraska, June 14, 1873 the following was adopted unanimously:

Resolved,  That we heartily endorse the anti monopoly platform that was adopted by the farmers' committee men in Pontiac May 31, 1873. And that we will support the candidates nominated by that convention and no others.

Resolved,   That the action of the Pontiac Sentinal in calling said committee a set of "political hacks" is by us heartily condemned. [The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 33, Number 47, 28 June 1873; tr. by Pam Haag Geyer]

The Livingston county Agricultural Board met at Pontiac on Tuesday and decided not to hold a country fair this year. Poor crops all over the county are assigned as the cause. [The Ottawa Free Trader, 19 August 1876 -- Page 4; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


The Illinois State Department of Agriculture has prepared a table, by counties, showing the number of hogs marketed last year, their gross weight, and value. The number marketed aggregates 2,115,804, the average gross weight 253 pounds, the total gross weight 536,969,071, and the value of the entire product $22,738,881. Livingston County has of this 62,322 hogs, with a gross weight of 16,515,330, and a value of $696,947. [Date: 1878-01-30; Paper: Inter Ocean; tr. by T.C.] 


Another Heavy Failure in Illinois.
Chicago, No. 19. -- J. & W. Hossack, of Odell, Illinois, made an assignment yesterday to John McWilliams and P. W. Kenyon. This is the heaviest failure ever known in Livingston County, the liabilities being from $250,000 to $300,000. The Hossacks are large grain dealers, and owe nearly everybody in this vicinity, and their failure causes great dismay. They will not pay this estimated amount by over 50 cents on the dollar.
[Date: 1880-11-20; Paper: Sun]


Quite a crop of tobacco has been planted near Pontiac, by an enthusiastic farmer who thinks it can be made an important and profitable crop in central Illinois. [The Ottawa Free Trader,  July 11, 1885, PAGE 8; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


Lord William Scully has purchased for $45,000, 1,500 acres of land near Cayuga, Livingston County, Illinois.  (Transcriber Note: $30 per acre)  [Date: 1887-04-01; Paper: Daily Inter Ocean]


The Peoria cigar manufacturers who purchased the crop of tobacco raised by E.H. Parks near Pontiac last season, have sent him a box of cigars that were made entirely from the leaf, and as good a judge as the Senitel editor pronounces them in looks and flavor equal to many of the so-called Havana fillers. No doubt about it. Forty years ago and more a favorite cigar in this region was the "Rock River Regalia," made of tobacco raised in Ogle county, and wholesaled at 25 cents a hundred.  But the tobacco obtained such a reputation that it was gobbled up by the heavy dealers to be doctored and sold as an [Sic] Havana filler, and the local manufacture of this celebrated brand ceased. If a quality of tobacco has been struck in Livingston county equal to that of Ogle county forty years ago, and cigars can be made from it and placed upon the market at the old price, then good by [Sic] to Cuba and her tobacco supply!  Livingston county will become the world's Cuba! [The Ottawa Free Trader, Saturday. March 22, 1890; Sub. By Pam Haag Geyer]


An example of rapidly increasing farm land prices was illustrated this week by the sale of the 240-acre Schertz estate in neighboring Woodford County near Minonk, for $416.67 an acre.



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