Written by Nancy Piper
Evans Township is located in the Northeast Corner of Marshall County. Sandy Creek is the main waterway. The first settler in the future Evans Township was Thomas Brooks, who built a cabin at the east edge of Sandy timber in 1824 but did not stay. That same year, Benjamin Darnell built his cabin on ground which is now the Cumberland Cemetery. A stockade was built on the Darnell property, during the Black Hawk war. It was 10 feet high and could hold 100 people. A well was dug in the enclosure and some 20 families gathered there at certain times. The stockade was removed after the war.
Joshua Evans, for whom the township was named, arrived in the spring of 1830 and had a cabin built on the north side of Sandy Creek. Among the first arrives were Reynolds, Dixons, Hents, Jones, Darnells, Judds, and Griffins.In 1831, Thomas Brooks and Thomas Dixon organized the first religious society with Rev. Dixon, a Methodist preacher. Also in 1831, the first schoolhouse was built on land known as the Martin farm. Ira Jones was the teacher.
In 1833, the area which later became Evans Township was organized as Sandy Precinct in LaSalle County. In 1834, Evans Township was the most populated areas in the future Marshall County. In 1843, the township voted to attach to Marshall County since the LaSalle county seat, Ottawa, was too far away for convenience. It was 1845 before anyone left the woods and settled in the prairie. by 1848, some of the timberland had been cleared for growing crops. Sawmills were begun and blacksmith shops were opened.
The first township meeting was held on April 2, 1850. Joshua Evans was Moderator and Alfred Judd was clerk. Three commissioners of highways were elected. They were David F. Griffith, Samuel W. Jones and Alston Bowman.
In 1852, at the eastern edge of the township a route was marked for the Illinois Central Railroad which would run north and south from LaSalle, Illinois to Bloomington, Illinois. The line was completed in 1853 and a station established at present Wenona. The village of Wenona was established in 1855 and is the only settlement is Evans township. In 1870, the Chicago and Alton Railroad was completed from Wenona to Lacon. Below are the farmers of Evans Township in 1890.
1890 Historical Directory of Marshall and Putnam Counties - Evans Township Name Residence Date/Place of Birth Year Came to County Allen, S.G. Sec. 14 1828, Illinois 1853 Algoe,George Sec. 32 1858, Illinois 1858 Applaton, August Sec. 14 1846, Sweden 1879 Axline, C.A. Sec. 14 1862, Illinois 1862 Beckwith, P. Sec. 8 1842, Illinois 1854 Beckwith, Albert Sec. 31 1848, Illinois 1854 Bishop, A.J. Sec. 27 1832, Pennsylvania 1853 Boyce, Daniel Sec. 17 1834, Ireland 1858 Burrus, Richard Sec. 33 1823, Ireland 1859 Branting, J.E. Sec. 22 1861, Sweden 1871 Carrithers, A.B. Sec. 33 1866, Illinois 1866 Chalfant, J.W. Sec. 35 1846, Pennsylvania 1883 Clifford, S.D. Sec. 11 1836, Ohio 1859 Connall, Barney Sec. 23 1838, Louisiana 1856 Cusac, Chas. G. Sec. 26 1864, Illinois 1872 Cusac, Sherman Sec. 26 1866, Illinois 1873 Dean, John Sec. 9 1838, Pennsylvania 1886 Defenbaugh, P.G. Sec. 6 1821, Ohio 1851 Dunlap, Joseph Sec. 32 1860, Illinois 1860 Dunlap, W.J. Sec. 19 1866, Illinois 1866 Downey, Clark Sec. 24 1833, Ohio 1858 Evans, Douglas Sec. 2 1858, Illinois 1858 Evans, John Sec. 2 1860, Illinois 1860 Everley, A.G. Sec. 22 1837, W. Virginia 1868 Everley, S.E. Sec. 23 1849, W. Virginia 1870 Foster, Benjamin Sec. 29 1844, Illinois 1844 Foster, J.P. Sec. 22 1850, Ohio 1856 Garvin, Austin Sec. 2 1845, Indiana 1874 Groscup, W.C. Sec. 35 1842, Germany 1857 Griffin, G.W. Sec. 5 1845, Illinois 1845 Griffin, Charles Sec. 7 1842, Illinois 1842 Grimes, R.S. Sec. 14 1847, Indiana 1880 Guderjan, Herman Sec. 31 1857, Germany 1865 Hall, D.M. Sec. 2 1838, Pennsylvania 1865 Hall, J.M. Sec. 8 1858, Pennsylvania 1882 Hamilton, Wm. J. Sec. 3 1840, Ohio 1854 Hanson, A.P. Sec. 12 1859. Denmark 1890 Hannah, James Sec. 28 1846, Ireland 1889 Holton, J.W. Sec. 21 1845, Ohio 1857 Horner, D.W. Sec. 21 1859, Illinois 1882 Judd, A. Sec. 6 1822, N. Carolina 1831 Judd, Thomas Sec. 20 1827, N. Carolina 1831 Judd, John T. Sec. 18 1862, Illinois 1862 Kemp, Wm. Sec. 2 1836, Pennsylvania 1865 Kemp, Jacob Sec. 15 1821, Pennsylvania 1856 Kirpatrick, J.M. Sec. 10 1862, Illinois 1862 Lawless, P.W. Sec. 24 1850, Ireland 1855 Mann, Robt. Sec. 7 1848, Scotland 1865 Martin, Michael Sec. 27 1827, Ireland 1848 McAdams, G.G. Sec. 21 1843, Ohio 1857 McAllister, John Sec. 16 1830, Ireland 1860 McAllister, Charles Sec. 16 1838, Ireland 1860 Merritt, H.P. Sec. 12 1818, Pennsylvania 1884 Miller, Joseph Sec. 17 1851, Ohio 1865 Moore, David Sec. 10 1813, New Jersey 1857 Parkinson, W.H. Sec. 20 1842, Ohio 1856 Quaintance, J.C. Sec. 9 1852, Ohio 1880 Riggs, Chas. F. Sec. 15 1858, Ohio 1877 Schwanke, J.G. Sec. 15 1840, Germany 1868 Shipley, W.H. Sec. 13 1856, Illinois 1856 Shipley, Abe Sec. 13 1860, Illinois 1860 Swartz, Wm. Sec. 4 1814, Kentucky 1835 Thiery, A.L. Wenona 1846, Ohio 1865 Turner, A.L. Sec. 22 1856, Illinois 1857 Turner, C.M> Sec. 21 1860, Illinois 1860 Wells, D.B. Sec. 15 1847, Ohio 1869 Winter, H.A. Sec. 17 1856, Illinois 1877 Wright, Frank Sec. 16 1861, Illinois 1861 Wright, Edwin Wenona 1861, Illinois 1861
Grange Hall To Be Sold At Auction
May 31, 1928
Taken From the Henry News Republican
The affairs of Evens Grange, an organization sponsored by farmers of the community and which flourished west of Wenona for many years are being wound up for apparently all time. The hall, a two story framed building is to be sold at public auction on Tuesday June 5. The ground where on the building already stands and the adjacent there to has already been disposed of. R.N. Barns of Lacon, whose farm adjoins being the purchaser. The Evens Grange Hall was built in the mid 80s. For many years it was quite a community center and the seat of many notable gatherings. During the period when the organization was at its peak, a fair was put on each fall. But it, not unlike many others went by default many years ago. Its sale and removal will constitute the passing of one of the long time institutes in Evans Township.
Transcribed by Nancy Piper
Wenona was established as a shipping point for the Illinois Central Railroad. Before the railroad was built in 1852, the area was uninhabited. The first house was a shack for the track men on the Illinois Central Railroad that was put on on the site in 1852 along the eastern edge of the township.
In 1853, after the railroad was completed to LaSalle, the passenger station and freight house were built on the site. The home of G.W. Goodell, the station agent and first postmaster was also built in 1853. The post office was also established the same year. In June of 1854, the first church in the future Wenona, the Presbyterian church was organized. The winter of 1854, William Brown opend the first store.
Wenona was laid off on the 15th of May 1855, by the Illinois Central Railroad company, on one of the altenate sections granted by congress for the construction of the road. The site was on low, wet ground. When the town was laid out in May 1855 it had nine houses and a population of 50. The land was drained and trees were planted and the town began to grow.
By 1856, there were twelve hundred people, three hundred homes, two churches, three schools, a hotel and a sawmill. The town was incorporated in 1859 by a vote of 28 to 3. The first trustees were Solomon Wise, George Brockway, John B. Newburn, F.H. Bond and Emanuel Weltz.
Coal was discovered in 1865 and for many years a valuable community product. The mine employed an average of 200 men and a nearby zinc smelter employed 50 more.
In 1870, the Chicago and Alton Railroad was completed from Wenona to Lacon. Wenona now had four grain elevators, a stockyard, a brickyard, flour mill, wagon manufacturing store, drygoods store, drug store, grocery store, hardware store, furniture store and implement store. One of Wenonas early showpieces was the Union Township Fair, organized in 1871, which for a decade rivaled the State Fair.
On May 18, 1870, the center block of the business district was destroyed by fire and 45 business establishments were lost. By 1873, new brick buildings were built to take their place. The Wenona Fire Department was organized in 1884. In 1890, the entire south block of Wenona's business district burned. It was rebuilt with brick buildings and a fire wall was placed between every 2nd building.
1890 Historical Directory of Marshall and Putnam Counties - Wenona Name Business Date/Place of Birth Year Came to County Allen, O.G. Coal Dealer 1854, Illinois 1854 Anthony, Charles Retired Farmer 1825, Pennsylvania 1876 Barrett, Frank Hardware Merchant 1863, Illinois 1873 Bayne, M. Bridge Builder and Contractor 1831, Ohio Bayne, W.M. Bridge Builder and Contractor 1860, Illinois Bayne, L.M. 1869, Illinois Beecher, E.G. Lumber Dealer and Milling 1840 Wales 1870 Beecher, R.F. Grocer and Postmaster 1845 France 1875 Burke, John Saloon 1860 England 1864 Burgess, Robert E. Importers and Breeders of Shire Horses 1853, England 1874 Burgess, Charles Importers and Breeders of Shire Horses 1855, England 1874 Bridge, J.H. Railroad Agent 1848, New York 1889 Brown, Alonzo Carpenter 1854, Indiana 1879 Cahoon, Geo. W. Lumber Dealer and Milling 1858 New York 1862 Case, J.W. Grain Dealer 1847 Massachusetts 1861 Chewning, J. Physician 1837, Illinois 1888 Decker, Wm.C. Furniture Dealer 1848 New York 1873 Dunham, J.B. Physician 1854 Illinois 1882 Dunne, Jas. J. Grocer 1857 Illinois 1881 Dunne, Mr. Margaret 1840 Ireland 1886 Downey, Dr. W.L. Druggist 1837, Ohio 1858 Erwin, C.E. Jewelier 1862 Illinois 1862 Ervin, R.E. Liveryman 1841 Ohio 1849 Farnsworth, J. Jewelier 1850 Massachusetts 1879 Fosbender Horse Dealer and Breeder 1840 Germany 1854 Fulks, S. Merchant 1850 Germany 1870 Gallaher, Milo A. Insurance 1846 Ohio 1865 Gants, Edwin Grain Merchant 1850 Illinois 1850 Gould, E.L. Contractor and Builder 1834 New York 1865 Grable, H. Proprietor of Meat Market 1845 Illinois 1865 Hagen, Peter Saloon 1845 Germany 1879 Helfin, A.A. Merchant 1853 Illinois 1882 Hinman, Burt Dealer in Wagons and Carriages 1865 Illinois 1865 Hoge, T.J. Hardware Merchant 1840 Pennsylvania 1889 Hoge, C.F. Grocer 1853 Illinois 1883 Howe, Jerome Banker 1848 Illinois 1859 Howe, Charles Commission Business 1852 Illinois 1859 Hudson, Dr. Physician and Druggist 1837 Ohio 1863 Jackson, J.H. Attorney 1835 New York 1850 Judd, John Grocer 1825 N. Carolina 1831 Kane, J.D. Liquor Dealer 1860 Missouri 1860 Kendall, J.G. Merchant 1866 Pensylvania 1870 Kohler, A.J. Breeder of Fast Horses and Roadsters 1847 Ohio 1855 Lanigan, O.J. Veterinary Surgeon and Dentist 1862 Illinois 1888 Lauf, William Proprietor of Windsor House 1834 Germany 1888 Lauf, Frank Liquor Dealer 1867 Illinois 1888 Martin, Dr. F.K. Physician Ohio 1884 McCall, James Real Estate and Loan Agent 1836 Ohio 1856 McKenney, S.S. Editor and Publisher of Gazette 1847 Iowa 1890 Monser, E.L. Supt. of Wenona Coal Co. 1842 England 1849 Morgan, Prof. J.E.W.. Principal of Public Schools 1858 Ohio 1878 Morris, James Liquor Dealer 1859 Illinois 1859 Moulton, N.T. Merchant 1820 New York 1882 Moulton, F.M. Merchant 1847 New York 1873 Munson, E. Jeweler 1860 New York 1889 Ong, C.H. Dealer in Horses 1850 Illinois 1879 Parker, Charles Machinery Agent 1812 Massachusetts 1836 Parrett, Jas. B. Photographer 1857 Illinois 1866 Payne, B.H. Restaurant Proprietor 1860 Illinois 1889 Rich, Dr. K.E. Physician 1824 Massachusetts 1845 Riedt, C. Merchant 1836 Germany 1864 Smith, Rev. J.J. Pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church 1857 Ireland 1882 Southwell, Thomas Merchant 1839 Ireland 1873 Southwell, Henry Merchant 1850 Ireland 1873 Stateler, A.H. Merchant 1838 Illinois 1838 Sullivan, M.J. Liquor Dealer 1853 Ireland 1888 Sullivan, J.B. Assessor 1858 Illinois 1887 Taylor, H.L. Editor and Publisher of Index 1852 Illinois 1856 Tisdale, C.H. Grain Buyer 1829 New York 1864 Tisdale, M.N. Ice Dealer 1866 Illinois 1866 Vaughn, Isaac Druggist 1831 Ohio 1857 Weller, S.H. Grocer 1819 New York 1880 Weston, P.B. Blacksmith 1847 Pennsylvania 1885 Whitaker, I.H. Proprietor of Whitaker's Hotel 1823 Pennsylvania 1885 Woolf, Charles Merchant 1863 Illinois 1863 Zimmerman, Peter P. Prop'r. of Meat Market and Stock Buyer 1852 Germany 1878
In 1895, the Wenona Light and Power Company was formed and the first city water well was dug. The Union Telephone Company built its first line in Wenona in 1896. The coal mine closed in 1925 and people moved away. By 1933, the population was about one half of what it had been at its peak.
Transcribed by Nancy Piper
Evans Station was a shipping point of the Chicago and Alton Railroad sometime prior to 1890. In 1890 the following people had an Evans Station Post Office
Name Residence Business Birth Nativity Year Moved to County Beckwith, Albert Section 31 Farmer 1848 Illinois 1854 Burrus, Richard Section 33 Farmer 1823 Ireland 1859 Connall, Barney Section 23 Farmer 1838 LA 1856 Foster, Benjamin Section 29 Farmer 1844 Illinois 1844 Groscup, W.C. Section 35 Farmer 1842 Germany 1857 Hannah, James Section 28 Farmer 1846 Ireland 1889 Holton, J.W. Section 21 Farmer 1845 Ohio 1857 Johnson,G.W. Section 30 Farmer and Prop. of 1861 Sweden 1886 Thresher & Sheller Martin, Michael Section 27 Farmer Ohio 1884 Packingham, F.A. Evans Station Postmaster and Rail- 1842 Pennsylvania 1875 road Station
Transcribed by Nancy Piper
Custer was a train station that was located 4 miles east of Varna in Evans Township at the point where the Toluca and Eastern (later Toluca, Marquette and Northern (TM&N)) railroad crossed the Chicago and Alton (C&A) railroad. A side track and depot was completed on March 14, 1901. In 1901 an elevator used to hold grain was constructed at Custer and named "The Ball and Twist" elevator. The elevator could hold 85,000 bushels of grain. Will Stratton was the first elevator manager. There was also a general store and post office.
Charles Delvin, the owner of the TM&N railroad died in 1905. The railroad tried to carry on but was sold to the C&A railroad in 1910 and eventually to John Cox in 1927. The railroad finally was abandoned in 1937. By July of 1937, all that was left of Custer was the Ball and Twist elevator. This was purchased and torn down to use as lumber by Leno Capponi of Toluca.
Transcribed by Nancy Piper
November 6, 1873
Taken From the Henry Republican
Frances H. Holeton has been appointed post master at Evans, the station between Wenona and Varna. The post office to be established about January 1st.
June 26, 1879
Taken From the Henry Republican - Evans
N. J. Bishop took a migratory wandering Henrywards not long since and brought home a new carriage. We presume Ken. McNeal made it as he does for most of us here. Barbed wire of clothes lines without any stickers on, thats the rub.
A 60 year old boy without any painters pretentions, went over his house 32x40, in four days. How is that for painting for a little boy.
The commissioner is making road work lively, and it may be hoped that we are to have better roads.
Wenona is to celebate the fourth. Will she allow the grangers to manage and a fizzle of it as they did last year on Sandy?
Any one who reads The Republican, knows it is a newsy, spicy paper, and not so little either.
We resume a grand time was had by the correspondents last Saturday week, and am sorry we could not be there.
Pioneers of Evans Township
Transcribed by Nancy Piper
Taken From The Henry Republican
January 15, 1880
Mr. Thomas Judd, who is writing a series of articles for the Index of "Ye Olden Time in Evans." Gives the pioneers of that township. He writes:
"In 1829 - just a half century ago - we find the inhabitants of Evans township to consist of the following persons: Patrick Cunningham, G. B. Hollenbach, Thomas Brooks, Benjamin Darnell and family, (consisting of himself, his wife, and James, Larkin , and sons Enoch and Benjamin and Lucy, his daughter. The latter sickened and died that year, and was buried in what is now known as Cumberland cemetery. And here the pioneer's "ax," was again called into requisition. Her coffin was made by cutting down a walnut tree, splitting out slabs and hewing and fitting them together. It is said by those present that the coffin made in this rude manner looked very respectable. Joseph Smith, Horace Gaylord, Alva Humphrey, Abel Estabrook, William Hart, and Samuel Hawkins. Few of these names are familiar to the present generation.
Of the inhabitants of 1829, we believe that Patrick Cunningham claimed and built a cabin on the Edward Clifford farm, at the head of Sandy. The old man Darnell and his sons built their first cabin within the present enclosure of Cumberland cemetery, and claimed and improved the farm now owned by Robert Mann, and the Wilson estate. Thomas Dixon, on the Adams farm, Richard Hunt (now a well-known citizen of Whitefield township in this county,) purchased this claim, and afterwards sold it to Samuel Cox.
The twenty-niners were very few in numbers, and were followed in 1830 by James Reynolds, Joshua Evans, Thomas Dixon, George Martin, John S. Hunt, John Darnell, Lemuel Gaylord, John Griffith, Stewart Ward, Mr. Kimly, and Jeremy Hartenbower. Those who came in 1831 were Justus Jones, Ira Jones, Barton Jones, Abram Jones, Thomas Judd, Mr. Rosenbarger, Mr. Simpson, and Abram Darnell."
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