Peoria County, Illinois Genealogy Trails
Est. Nov. 6, 1849 - First
Settler: Maylin Supton came
Chillicothe Township History [from "The History of Peoria County, Illinois; Johnson & Co., 1880. Transcribed by Karen Seeman]
Chillicothe Township History [From Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Edited by David McCulloch, Vol. II; Chicago and Peoria: Munsell Publishing Company, Publishers, 1902. ]
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Chillicothe Township is the only one in Peoria County that lies in range Nine East of the Fourth Principal Meridian. It is composed of two fractional congressional townships, 10 N., 9 E. and 11 N., 9 E., the first named being a very small fraction. The northeast corner of this township is the northeast corner of the county, its northern boundary being the south line of Marshall County, and its eastern and southeastern boundary being the Illinois River, which separates it from Woodford County.
Could the early history of this township be written, it would doubtless prove little less interesting than that of Peoria. It was here the eyes of Joliet and Marquette last rested upon the soil of Peoria County, and here LaSalle and his companions first entered Lake Pimiteoui. We can well imagine all the celebrated voyageurs and missionaries to have camped here in their voyages up and down the river, and to have established mission stations or trading posts within its borders. Here, also, dwelt Gomo and Senachewine, two Chiefs of the Pottawatomies. It was in this township that Captain Samuel Levering visited Gomo in the year 1811, and slept in his cabin just before the great council at Peoria. It was doubtless at the Indian village between Rome and Chillicothe he halted and was obliged to engage a new crew to complete his journey. Into this township the Indians of Black Partridge's village fled when the village was attacked and destroyed by Governor Edwards in 1812. It was here that General Howard halted his army of nearly 1,000 men in his march against the Indians of Gomo's tribe in 1813, and it was from this point they returned to Peoria to assist in the building of Fort Clark. All these events, however, occurred long before the modern history of the township began.
LaSalle Prairie, a portion of which lies in this township, is about ten miles long and from three to four miles wide, and is one of the most fertile spots in the county. This fact, coupled with its nearness to the river, as well as to the timber land surrounding it, early attracted an enterprising and industrious community of farmers. In fact, it was regarded as one of the centers of population, so that, in the assessment of property, those living there were designated as residents of LaSalle Prairie, the same as were those of Farm Creek, Ten Mile Creek, Mackinaw and other places. In 1837 it had obtained a place and name in the Gazetteers of the day, and the settlement is said to have contained one hundred families. It also gave its name to election precincts and school districts. This community furnished a goodly number of public officers and other public-spirited men, who did much towards the organization and development of the county. It was here the "Farmers' Exporting Company" was formed, which is elsewhere mentioned. At an early day, also, a State road was laid out from a point on the Galena road, near Mossville, then along the river through Rome and the village of Chillicothe to points farther north, which became part of the stage-route from Peoria to Chicago. The northern part of the Township, which was originally timber land, has been cleared and now contains many fine farms.
The Senachewine Creek is the largest stream in the northern part of the county flowing into the Illinois River. It divides the township into two nearly equal portions. It derived its name from Senachewine, the last Chief of the Pottawatomies in this section, whose village was located on its banks. In an early day the flow of water was much greater than at present; affording, as it did, water power for the driving of both grist and saw-mills. Although it is said that William Moffatt had a mill in this township as early as 1834, yet it appears that, on March 7,. 1836, William and Jeremiah Moffatt petitioned the County Commissioners' Court for a writ for the assessment of such damages as might be occasioned by the erection of a mill-dam on the northwest quarter of Section 18. On the same day Ashbel Merrill obtained a similar writ for the erection of a mill-dam on the northwest quarter of Section 17. At the April term 1836, the writ in favor of Ashbel Merrill was returned allowing Henry Pepper $50 damages, caused to his land by the erection of the dam. The return to Moffatts' writ found the dam to be upon their own land and that no injury would be caused to the neighborhood. The Moffatt mill was a grist-mill much resorted to by the people for many miles around. It had probably no competitor nearer than Rochester, on Spoon River, and the mills on the Kickapoo near Peoria. Merrill's mill is said to have been a saw-mill located about one-half mile lower down the stream than Moffatts'.
About this time, or a little later, there were three rival villages in what is now Chillicothe Township; Rome, Allentown and the Village of Chillicothe—the first having 25 houses, the second 3, and the third 30 houses. There is no plat of Allentown on record, but the ferry licenses granted to George Allen, in the year 1832, located it on the southeast quarter of Section 29, T. 11 N., R. 9 E.
The first attempt to locate a village upon the present site of the city of Chillicothe was made by Samuel T. McKean, who, on November 28, 1834, caused a plat to be surveyed by Charles Ballance, County Surveyor, on the southwest quarter of Section 21, and the northwest quarter of Section 28. It consisted of four entire blocks and four extra lots, which were doubtless intended to be included in a subsequent plat. It was acknowledged, December 18, 1834, before Andrew M. Hunt, Justice of the Peace. On June 6. 1836, Harrison H. Jamison and Joseph Hart platted a village on the southwest quarter of Section 21, and the southeast quarter of Section 20, covering a much larger territory, which they named Chillicothe, apparently ignoring the former plat, and possibly including it in theirs. The streets were 66 feet wide; alleys 18; lots 66x165 feet.
On October 21, 1836, James H. Temple and Harrison H. Jamison laid out an addition to Chillicothe which they named Temple & Jamison's Addition. It was located on the northwest quarter of Section 28 on the river. It was of an irregular shape, consisting of three fractional blocks on the river, three full blocks and two other fractions. Several other additions have since then been annexed, but these were the original plats of the city.
On December 24, 1832, Jefferson Taliafero placed upon the record of deeds in the Recorder's office of Peoria County, a plat of the village of Rome. It consisted of twenty-three blocks and a public square, but not being accompanied with any survey or description, its location cannot be definitely fixed. That it was the original plat of the village of Rome cannot be doubted. It is one of the very earliest village plats recorded in Peoria County, being contemporaneous with the first plat of what is now Mill's Addition to the city of Peoria. The streets running parallel with the river were named Front, Second. Third and Fourth Streets, while those running at right angles to those mentioned bore the distinguished names of Caesar, Pompey, Anthony, Octavius, Cato, Cicero and Brutus.
On October 10. 1835, Isaac Underhill laid out a village which he also named Rome, which may have covered the territory occupied by the former one; but, inasmuch as the land is not specifically described, this must rest upon conjecture. It consisted of 44 blocks and a public square, 10 lots of 82 1/2 by 132 feet to a block. As already seen Rome was a dangerous rival of Chillicothe, and is said to have been, at one time, an aspirant for the location of the county-seat.
June 20, 1837, Samuel Bell laid out a village plat named La Salle on the northeast quarter of Section 32, surveyed by John McFadden, Deputy of Thomas Phillips, County Surveyor. The tract is a fractional one containing about seventy-five acres, of which about sixty-four acres were embraced in the plat. Little is known of this village, if it ever had any existence in fact. It was vacated, March 6, 1849, by Hiram Cleveland, who was then owner of all the lots.
In 1840 Mr. Underhill began the cultivation of his farm at Rome by the breaking up of 200 acres, to which were added 500 acres more in the following year. It subsequently grew to 2,000 acres, which was doubtless the largest farm in the county. In the fall of 1841 he sowed 300 acres in winter wheat, from which he had an excellent crop, harvested with the old-fashioned cradle, and sold at 32 cents per bushel, the highest market-price of that year. The next year he put 1,000 acres into winter wheat, which was so badly winter-killed that he did not harvest one bushel. In 1846 he set out on his land at Rome ten thousand grafted apple trees and six thousand peach trees, which he cultivated for seven years. On April 1, 1853, he sold his farm to Dr. Ela H. Clapp and Butler for $40,000.
While extending his farm at Rome Mr. Underhill had a house built to run on wheels, somewhat similar in construction to a sleeping-car. It was drawn by oxen to different parts of the farm, which consisted wholly of smooth prairie. He had about twenty yoke of oxen used in breaking the sod. He had thirty-five families of renters, among whom was a preacher, who got free of rent all the land he could till in consideration of his preaching to the tenants on Sunday. Another was a fiddler, who furnished the music for the balls that were of frequent occurrence at the Rome Hotel during the winter season, on which occasions Mr. Underhill would be a frequent guest.
After the completion of the Peoria & Bureau Valley Railroad, of which Mr. Underhill was President, a controversy sprang up between it and the city of Peoria in regard to the use of the streets or some other terminal privileges, to connect with the steamboat landing, in consequence of which Rome was for a time, made the head of navigation as to all freights going by rail and river. A spur-track was built to connect the main track with the river, and a large ware-house was erected on the river bank (there being a good landing at that point), through which all freight to and from the boats and the rail-road were passed, thus avoiding the complications at Peoria. Rome has, however, not grown much in population, it being at the present day but little larger than it was sixty years ago. The Rome fraction constitutes a school district by itself, having a good schoolhouse in which a good school is maintained.
Prior to township organization that portion of territory known as Township 11 North, Range 9 East, constituted an election precinct by the name of Senachewine. When the re-organization took place the fraction known as Township 10 North, Range 9 East, was attached and the name of Chillicothe was given to the newly formed township.
CITY OF CHILLICOTHE.
Prior to 1830 there were a few settlers in what is now Chillicothe Township. Mahlon Lupton and John Hammett, with his family, had settled north of the creek on Section 9 as early as 1830. The first cabin erected on the site of Chillicothe was that of Jefferson Hickson, a blacksmith, on the bank of the river, near which he also erected his shop. The second was that of Edwin L. Jones who was the pioneer merchant of the place. His store occupied one room of the cabin in which he lives. He was the first Justice of the Peace and was a man of prominence in the county, he having also served for some years as a member of the County Commissioners' Court. In 1838, a Mr. Lehart erected a small frame house of one room, which his family occupied while he kept store in a cabin on Water Street.
The first tavern was opened in 1835 by James M. Brown, which was called the "Dunlap House." It was a one-and-a-half-story house situated on First Street, but the name was subsequently changed to the "American House." It was kept by William Dunlap for about five years, during which time it was the stopping place for stages to and from Chicago. The next is said to have been "The Illinois," subsequently changed to the "Buckeye."
"The Chillicothe House" was a frame building containing ten to fifteen rooms, erected and kept for some years by John Hayes. It was destroyed by fire in 1873.
"The Transit Hotel" was erected about 1850. Thomas Kitts was the first proprietor. It is at present operated by J. H. Humes. The "Union Hotel" was erected about 1865 by O. G. Wood, and was at first called Wood's Hotel. It was subsequently changed to the "Commercial" and later to "Union Hotel." D. McKeel is the present proprietor.
From its position on the river, and its proximity to the fertile lands in the northern part of Peoria and the southern part of Marshall Counties, Chillicothe has, from an early day, been a prominent market for grain, pork and other products of the farm. This trade was also enhanced by the running of a ferry to the opposite shore, which enabled it to command the custom from a large portion of Woodford County, as well as from that portion of Marshall County lying east of the river. Of such importance was this trade considered that, on March 4, 1867, a charter was obtained from the Legislature for the "Chillicothe Ferry Road and Bridge Company," with power to establish and run a ferry, to build a bridge, to make roads approaching the same on both sides of the river and to purchase or condemn lands for that purpose; these rights to be exclusive for a distance of three miles along the river. The company had a capital of $30,000. It established the ferry, constructed the road, across the bottom lands on the easterly side of the river and has been operating the same ever since.
John A. Moffitt built the first grain warehouse on the river bank in the year 1847, the trade at that time being confined to the river. Henry Truitt erected a grain warehouse about the year 1853, and in company with Samuel C. Jack started the first extensive business in grain. The firm and its successors have done a very large and flourishing business for many years. Soon after the completion of the Peoria & Bureau Valley Railroad, its lessee, the Chicago & Rock Island Company, erected an elevator at the depot which was consumed by fire in 1864. It was re-built and an elevator has ever since been maintained at that point for the shipment of grain. It is at present operated by R. Truitt and L. Carter under the firm name of the "Chillicothe Grain Company." An extensive business in milling was formerly carried on, but unfortunately one of the finest mills, that of Wood & Hosmer, was destroyed by fire in 1869. The year before that event "The Farmers' Mill." with a capacity of grinding fifty barrels of flour per day, had been erected by Adam Petry and A. C. Thomas. The River Elevator, or Old Star Elevator, which had been lying idle for many years, is now operated by the Turner, Hudnet Company, of Pekin, Illinois, who do their shipping entirely by the river, as there are no railroad tracks reaching it.
From February 22, 1861, to February 22, 1873, Chillicothe had been governed as a village by a board of trustees. In April of that year it adopted a city government and elected Henry Hosmer Mayor, William McLean, Levi Booth, Joseph Bailey. William H. Barbour and Richard Hughes Aldermen. According to the census of 1900 it had a population of 1699, and contains the number and variety of business houses usually found in cities of its size; among which may be mentioned several dry-goods, grocery, drug and hardware stores; establishments for the sale of farm machinery and furniture, grain elevators, lumber yards, etc.
There are two banks; the first (Truitt, Matthews & Co.) was organized in 1868 by Henry Truitt and Samuel C. Jack. Later the firm was composed of Henry Truitt, P. T. Matthews, Harvey Holman and A. D. Sawyer. The present proprietors are Mrs. Eliza A. Truitt, P. T. Matthews, William M. Mead and Rollin H. Truitt. It has a capital stock of $40.000, surplus $30,000. Frank L. Wilmot is cashier.
The "First National Bank" was organized December 10, 1900, with a capital of $25,000, B. P. Zinser being President, Ira D. Buck, Vice-President, and Eugene Moffitt, Cashier. The present Cashier is L. R. Phillips. Its stockholders are among the most prosperous business men of Peoria, Pekin, Washington and Chillicothe. On February 10, 1902, its resources were $111,778, and its deposits $79,557.
There are two weekly newspapers, the "Chillicothe Bulletin" and the ''Chillicothe Enquirer," the first started July 4, 1883, by the present proprietor, Frank W. Bailey, the second, in 1891 by Messrs. Day & Bates. The present proprietor of the latter is Mr. H. A. Bates, one of the founders of the paper.
The city is supplied with telephone service by "The People's Telephone Company," of which B. T. Zinser is President, and E. Moffitt Secretary and Treasurer. The company was organized in 1891. It now has 150 phones in operation. It furnishes country service in Peoria County and cable service across the river, connecting with lines in Woodford, McLean, Marshall and Tazewell Counties.
North Chillicothe, situated about one mile north of the present city, was organized as a village May 2, 1890. It now has a population of 417.
The Baptists were the first to hold religious meetings in Chillicothe, probably under direction of Elder Gershom Silliman as early as 1837. In the spring of 1838, they organized a Baptist Church with the following members: Peter Temple and wife, James H. Temple and wife, James Hammett and his wife and mother. Elder Silliman ministered to the people for a short time, when Alexander Rider, a Scotch clergyman, became pastor and remained for two years. In the same year James H. Temple started a Sunday-school, which was held at the residences of the members. The church was then without a pastor for several years, there being occasional preaching from time to time. In 1850 Elder C. D. Merritt began preaching semi-monthly and a re-organization took place with fifteen members. Elder Thomas Bodley became the first pastor in 1850 and was succeeded in 1851 by Rev. C. D. Merritt. Through a revival of that year the congregation increased its membership to 92, and in 1851 and 1852 it erected a comfortable brick house of worship with a seating capacity of 400. By l857 the congregation had increased in membership to 102. The church then suffered a great decline for some years and its church building was sold for debt, but, through the exertions of its members aided by the citizens, it was redeemed and from that time the church took on new life. In 1866 the building was repaired at an expense of $900, and on December 2d of that year, was rededicated. From that time until now it has been one of the permanent churches of the city. It is located on the corner of South Second and Elm Streets. It maintains a Sunday-school of about fifty in average attendance, George H. Sanders being Superintendent.
The Methodist Episcopal church.—On account of the loss of the records it is impossible to ascertain the date of the planting of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Chillicothe. As early as 1851 there was a flourishing circuit of which Chillicothe was the preaching point. It is related that the church became organized in 1850 with about twenty members. In 1852, the congregation had procured a lot on the corner of Beech and Fourth Streets, upon which, in that year, it erected a parsonage, and in the following year commenced the erection of a house of worship, which was finished in 1856 at a cost of about $2,500. The parsonage continued to be used in its original form until the year 1892, when it was remodeled and still continues to be used as the pastor's residence.
In the year 1898 a new church edifice was erected on the corner of Chestnut and Sixth Streets, at a cost of about $8,000. It is the largest and finest church in the city.
Although there may have been pastors prior to the year 1852, their names are unknown. In that year Rev. William Atchison and Rev. I. B. Craig preached to the people, since which time the church has been served by nearly forty ministers, only a few having remained more than a year. The longest pastorate was that of Rev. U. B. Johnson, who served from 1896 to 1899 inclusive. It was during his pastorate the present church building was erected. He was succeeded, in the year 1900 by the present pastor, Rev. T. A. Beall. This church has always maintained a Sabbath-school, of which the now venerable G. W. Clapp was the first Superintendent. The present Superintendent is Mr. O. A. Proctor. The average attendance is about 125. The church is in a nourishing condition.
The Reformed Episcopal church.—This church is, in one sense, the successor of St. John's Parish of the Protestant Episcopal Church, which was organized about the year 1865. The first rector was Rev. Dr. Chamberlain, under whose pastorate a church building was erected, which was used for several years. He was succeeded for a short time by the Rev. Mr. Russell and he by a Rev. Mr. Johnson.
On October 25, 1874, Rev. J. P. Davis, as missionary of the Reformed Episcopal Church, commenced holding services in the church, it having been for some time vacant. On September 12, 1875, by vote of its members, the parish severed its ecclesiastical connection with the Protestant Episcopal Church and united with the Reformed Episcopal denomination, but still retaining its name of St. John's Parish. About 1880 the church building was sold and a new one was erected at a cost of about $2,000. This was also sold to the Roman Catholics and, in the year 1890, the present building was erected at the cost of $4,000. The first official board under the new organization were Solomon Stowell, Stephen Martin, and Elias Entz.
Rev. Jesse P. Davis was rector from 1874 to 1884; Rev. Frederick Walton from 1885 to 1888; Rev. H. L. Gregg from 1888 to 1889; Rev. Joseph Lewis for six months in 1889; Rev. B. T. Lampblugh, 1889-90; Rev. G. Stroud Vail, 1890-93; Rev. E. H.Huston, 1894-98, and Rev. Frank V. C. Cloak, the present rector, from March, 1899 to the present time. There is a Sunday-school maintained numbering about fifty-six, of which the rector is Superintendent.
Plymouth Congregational church was organized August 12, 1891, with nineteen members. The original Board of Trustees were Henry Will, G. W. Harbaugh and Mrs. Henry Truitt. The first pastor was Rev. Elbert G. Collins, who served in that capacity from March 7, 1892, to April 30, 1900. He was succeeded on June 1, 1900, by the present pastor, Rev. J. Charles Evans. The present Board of Trustees are L. A. Wood, Benjamin Warren and Harrison Reed. This church building, situated at the southeast corner of Fourth and Pine Streets, was erected in the year 1892, and was dedicated February 19, 1893. Its original cost was $4,500. The congregation has also a parsonage which cost the sum of $1,500. A Sunday-school having an average attendance of eighty is maintained, Mr. E. F. Hunter being Superintendent.
Chillicothe has always occupied an advanced position in regard to her public schools. The first school taught in the village was in the winter of 1838-39. It was kept in a vacated log cabin.
In 1845 a frame school house of one room was built on the public square. This served its purpose until the adoption of the free-school system in 1855. As soon as public funds could be raised by taxation a commodious brick school house, 30 by 56 feet, two stories high and containing four rooms, was erected and supplied with all up-to-date furniture and equipments. It was erected in 1856.
The authorities were greatly encouraged and stimulated into activity by the holding of the Peoria County Teachers' Institute in their new school house, in the month of October, 1856. During its session night meetings with public lectures were held in one of the churches. In 1870 it became necessary to enlarge the building, which was done by adding two school rooms, two recitation rooms and a hall. The exterior of the building was also greatly improved and beautified. It was located on the corner of Elm and Fourth Streets, and, when first erected cost about $4,000. The additions and improvements cost about $6,000 more. This building was destroyed by fire in 1890, and, in the following year, a new one containing thirteen rooms was erected on North Sixth Street, between Cedar and Chestnut. It accommodates about 500 pupils, and at present has twelve teachers.
From Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, Edited by David McCulloch, Vol. II; Chicago and Peoria: Munsell Publishing Company, Publishers, 1902.
Chillicothe Township History
[from "The History of Peoria County, Illinois; Johnson & Co., 1880. Transcribed by Karen Seeman]
This township is triangular in shape, situated in the northeast corner of Peoria County, and is composed of the fractional towns 11 north, 9 east, and 10 north, 9 east. It contains thirteen whole sections, and seven or eight fractional parts of sections. Marshall county bounds it on the north, the Illinois river on the east and south, and Medina and Hallock townships on the west. The south end of the township, comprising a part of LaSalle prairie, is but slightly undulating, lies beautifully, has a soil composed of sand and vegetable loam, and is well adapted to the growth of the cereals. The north part, which was originally timbered land, is considerably broken in some portions by the Senachwine creek and its branches, though there are fine agricultural lands interspersed.
The first white settler in the township was Mahlon Lupton, who located on section nine, in the Fall of 1829. John Hammett and family, who came June 10, 1830, and settled in the same section, were the next, followed soon after by others. This township contains the towns of Chillicothe and Rome.
The Baptist Church, of Chillicothe, was organized in the Spring of 1838 with the following members: Peter Temple and wife, James H. Temple and wife, James Hammett and his wife and mother. Elders Thomas Powell, Thomas Brown and Gersham Silliman officiated. Elder Silliman preached for the young society occasionally, and there were three additions to their number during that Summer. In 1838 Alexander Ridler, a Scotch clergyman, assumed pastoral charge and preached for the church till his death in 1840. After Mr. Ridler's decease the church was without a pastor for a number of years. J. H. Temple established a Sunday school in 1838, and held the sessions at private residences.
Mr. Bristol, a Congregational clergyman, and others preached occasionally. In 1850 Elder C. D. Merritt began preaching semi-monthly, and a re-organization of the society took place in June of that year, with 13 members. The first regular pastor of the church was Elder Thomas Bodley, who began his labors in June, 1850, and was succeeded by Rev. Merritt in 1851. An extensive revival was held that year, resulting in 49 baptisms, and an increase of membership to 92. In 1851 and '52 the society erected a comfortable brick edifice, with a seating capacity of 400. Through another revival effort in 1854, by Rev. Barry, the church was increased to 98 members. In 1857 the society numbered 102. During the war the interest declined, and the membership decreased to a few persons. The house was used for entertainments, given in behalf of that interest. In 1864 the church had become involved to the amount of $300. The building and property was sold at sheriff's sale for debts. Through the efforts of some of the members, and the generosity of the citizens, the amount was raised and it was redeemed. The building was put through a course of repairs in 1866, at a cost of about $900; and in December of that year Rev. G. E. Prunk was called to the pastorate. The edifice was re-dedicated, and the church took a new lease of life. Several clergymen have ministered successively to its spiritual wants since. From May, 1876, till the close of 1879, Elder L. D. Gowan served as pastor. The present officers are J. L. Keener and N. F. Bancroft, deacons; J. L. Kenner, acting clerk, and Henry Truitt, treasurer. The society now numbers about 80 members. The church supports a flourishing Sunday school of 100 scholars.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Chillicothe was organized about 1850, with the following constitutent members: Mr. Siddons and wife, Elijah Hoyt and Elizabeth Hoyt, Thomas Aspinwall and wife, J. W. Gates, Henry Truitt and wife, Mrs. Sarah VanMeter, G. A. Hoyt and Amanda Hoyt, John Hammett and Elizabeth Hammett, L. H. Thomas and wife, and some others. The church began the erection of a house of worship in 1853, while Rev. G. D. Miller was pastor, and completed it in 1856, during Rev. A. H. Hepperly's pastoral charge. It is a neat frame structure, with a seating capacity for about 300 auditors. The society also built a comfortable frame parsonage in 1852. The church now numbers 70 members, and supports a Sunday school of 85 scholars. Rev. J. A. Windsor is serving his second year as its present pastor.
The Reformed Episcopal Church, St. John's parish, was organized about the year 1865. The organizing clergyman and first rector was a Rev. Dr. Chamberlain, who was a clergyman of acknowledged ability. Under his administration, the church edifice now occupied by the parish was built and dedicated. The parish has never been numerically strong. Dr. Chamberlain was succeeded for a short time by a Rev. Mr. Russell, and he by a Rev. Mr. Johnson, a very highly esteemed clergyman. On the 25th of October, 1874, as a missionary of the Reformed Episcopal Church, with the consent of the authorities of the parish, Rev. J. P. Davis commenced services in their church, it having been for some time vacant.
On the 12th of September, 1875, the communicants of the parish, with the exception of four, voted to unite with the Reformed Episcopal Church, and since that date the parish has been known as St. John's parish of the R. E. Church. The few members who declined coming with the majority have nevertheless kindly co-operated with them in parish work, and have rendered generous and efficient assistance. The new organization commenced with 27 communicants. Owing to the pressure of the times, it was decided, in April, 1877, to suspend pastoral services, and to close the church. By removals and deaths, the number of communicants was reduced to 21. Quite recently, in consequence of a remarkable religious awakening in the community, the house has been re-opened, services have been re-established, and for the present Mr. Davis is once more in charge of the parish. On the 15th of April, 1880, 18 persons were received by confirmation (Bishop Cheney officiating), and one by letter. The society expect to organize a Sunday school at once, and hopes soon to have the ordinary parish machinery in efficient operation, under encouraging prospects.
Schools--The school of Chillicothe city, like the country and the place, has been progressive. The first one-room school-house on the square, became inadequate to the wants of the growing town, and the first portion of the present brick structure was erected in 1856, 30 x 56 feet in size, two stories high and containing four rooms, at a cost of about $4,000. In 1870 the south wing, containing two school, two recitation rooms, and a hall, was added, which with some repairs upon the other part, cost $6,000. It occupies three city lots, is handsomely located in the central part of the town, and presents an imposing and pleasing appearance.
The school consists of a first and second primary, intermediate, grammar and high school departments. The course embraces ten years of attendance, and when completed fits the pupil for entering the freshman class in college. J. W. Moffitt is principal, and has an efficient corps of assistant teachers. The method of instruction is thorough, and one of the best in Peoria county.
There are three district schools in the township, beside the Chillicothe and Rome schools, each having a good house, and all carefully provided for by the local school officers and in a flourishing condition.
Temperance Reform Clubs -- The Chillicothe Red Ribbon Club was organized Sept. 23, 1877, by Brother Bonticau, of Jackson, Michigan, with a membership of about five hundred. The following is a full list of the officers: Captain Adam Stuber, president; J. W. Fuller, 1st vice-president; J. L. Pond, 2d vice-president; Robert Menzie, 3d vice-president; N. S. Cutright, secretary; J. L. Kennen, Jr., assistant secretary; James Kenlock, financial secretary; Henry Truitt, treasurer; William Story, steward; Dr. J. F. Thomas, first marshal; Thomas H. Oakford, second marshal; Warren McFarland, sergeant at arms. Executive Committee: William Colwell, J. G. Johnson, A. H. Raney, Thomas Ashworth, and A. J. Story. Finance Committee: Stephen Martin, P. T. Matthews and C. W. Carroll. The club rented Slinn's Hall at two hundred dollars per annum.
The club has been the means of doing a large amount of good in the place. They hold a gospel temperance meeting every Sunday night, and their business meetings once in two weeks on Wednesday evening. The first Sunday evening in each month is given up to the children, and the hall is always crowded to its utmost capacity, the exercises consisting in school readings, singing and recitations, etc., by the children. One year ago there was a probability of the building being sold for saloon purposes, when the members of the club formed a joint stock company, and purchased it and lot, ran a partition through the lower story and rented it, receiving $200 per annum for the lower story; giving the club the use of the upper story for the insurance and taxes on the building. The first year the expenses of the club were quite heavy, as it cost them about $400 to fit up their rooms, which, together with the rent was a heavy tax. Soon after renting the hall, the club fitted up a neat free reading room and smoking room. Sociables and entertainments are given by the club which are fruitful of much good, in improving the moral and social status of the community.
The club has paid out about $1,400, part of which has been to secure speakers and for charitable purposes. The White Ribbon Club is composed of the temperance women of Chillicothe. They have proved a noble band of workers, and have aided and strengthened the Red Ribbon Club financially, and by their words and deeds have done valiant service in the temperance work. The club is in a good working condition at this time. The present officers are: Dr. J. F. Thomas, president; Stephen Martin, 1st vice-president; Wm. J. Story, 2d vice-president; J. W. Moffitt, 3d vice-president; Dr. O. F. Thomas, secretary; E. A. Mitchell, financial secretary; Henry Truitt, treasurer. Executive Committee: Levi Booth, Capt. A. Stuber, Elias Entz. Finance Committee: L. A. Wood, P. J. Matthews, Thos. Ashworth.
George Washington Lodge, No. 222, A. F. & A. M., was organized by dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Illinois in 1855. In the following year a charter was granted, dated October 7, 1856, empowering the following brethren as officers for the ensuing masonic year to work, viz.: Wm. McLean, W. M.; L. A. Wood, S. W.; H. A. Raney, J. W. The balance of the charter members were: D. B. McMasters, Samuel C. Jack, Nathan Chapin, Hiram Goodsell. Wm. B. Herrick was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, and Harman G. Reynolds was Grand Secretary.
Chillicothe Royal Arch Chapter, No. 123, received their charter dated October 9, 1868, appointing Wm. McLean, H. P.; Henry Hosmer, King; John L. Kenner, Scribe. The balance of the charter members were, viz.: J. W. Fuller, J. W. Hurst, Isaac Lewis, Geo. M. Gibbons, John Ungar, Geo. P. Lester, H. F. Hyde, C. W. Carroll, Robert Will and Obadiah Eads.
Order of the Eastern Star, Wreath Chapter, No. 143, was organized by charter dated February 7, 1873. John L. Kenner, Worthy Patron; Sarah V. Fuller, Worthy Matron; Dorcas Lester, Associate Matron.
There is also a flourishing lodge of the I. O. O. F. in Chillicothe, the promised matter of which has not been furnished.
Fire Department-- In 1876 the first organization for the protection against fire was effected. The company consisting of ten members was formed and named the Champion, with G. P. Lester as Fire Marshal. It only existed a few months; and there was no further effort made until the Fall of 1878, when another company, called the Rocket, was organized, with James Kenlock as Capt.; G. B. Temple, Lieut.; Wm. Story, Foreman and twenty members, G. P. Lester being appointed Fire Marshal by the city. During the existence of the Champion company a large, two-cylinder chemical engine was purchased, at a cost of $2,000; but finding it too heavy and unwieldly, it was exchanged for two single cylinder engines of 100 gallon and 70 gallon capacity. The Rocket company is still in flourising condition. In September, 1879, it competed at the State tournament, in Peoria, and won the first prize; but from a hitch in the distribution of the premiums, the company failed to receive its award.
The Press -- Like most country towns, Chillicothe has had a newspaper experience neither flattering nor profitable to the town nor the journalistic aspirants. Several papers have been started in the place and continued for a longer or shorter period, and died from lack of sustenance.
The Review, its present representative in the newspaper world, was started in the Fall of 1879 by George Holton, a practical printer, and still lives. It is issued weekly, and the half of the paper printed in the home office is entirely devoted to local matters.
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