Peoria County, Illinois Genealogy Trails
Est. Nov. 6, 1849
Princeville Township History [from "The History of Peoria County, Illinois; Johnson & Co., 1880. Transcribed by Karen Seeman]
Princeville 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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BY EDWARD AUTEN AND PETER AUTEN, 2D.
(The writers acknowledge obligations to "Atlas Map of Peoria County: A. T. Andreas, Chicago, 1873," and to "History of Peoria County: Johnson & Co., Chicago, l880." but much more to friends who have kindly given the benefit of their recollections. Wherever in the following pages certain individuals are named, they may or may not be the only ones or the most important ones who might have been named. They are such as have come to memory or have been brought to notice. The writers request additions, corrections and suggestions, which they will carefully preserve for possible future use.)
Seeking a free and open country, Daniel Prince came from Indiana, and, in 1822, was the first white man to live among the Indians in what, three years later, was the northern part of Peoria County. In a few years other white men, some of them friends or employes of Mr. Prince, gathered around the attractive timber, and the settlement became known as Prince's Grove. Mr. Prince, as he drove into Peoria market in the winter of 1832-33, is thus described by Mr. John Z. Slane, then a small boy living in Peoria: "The men shouted that Prince was coming, and he was a nabob. Clad in a home-spun and home-wove blue-jeans overcoat reaching to his ankles, with an old felt hat, a comforter over his hat, brought down over ears and neck and tied in front, with long, large whiskers, and chewing tobacco. Prince came up with his three-yoke team of oxen. His load was hogs, dressed. Mounting his wagon he slung off, first the hay for the cattle, then quilt after quilt, and then hurried the unloading of the meat. After feeding his oxen in the rail-fence enclosure, and perhaps eating his own lunch there, and perhaps lying on the floor at the Indian store over night, Mr. Prince returned to his home." Mr. Prince is described as a modest man, tall, but stooping, with brown curly hair, red cheeks, and light eyes, probably blue. At home he was more easy- going than when seen in the Peoria market. He was a farmer on a large scale, furnishing employment to all who needed it, and very generous. Different men, who were then boys, tell of his butchering a steer or a hog and giving a quarter here and a quarter there. If any neighbor needed something to eat and had nothing, Mr. Prince furnished it; payment was to be made whenever that neighbor found it convenient, and if it was never made, Mr. Prince did not complain. It is needless to say that it was for Daniel Prince that Princeville Township and Princeville Village were later named. His brother, Myron Prince, was an early settler a few miles to the northwest, later keeping a hotel in Princeville, and Myron Prince's son, George W. Prince, is now Congressman from the Galesburg District.
Mr. Prince's log cabin was on Section 24, a few rods west of Sylvester and Elizabeth Slane's present residence (1902). This was "on the edge of the timber," and the next three cabins, remembered at this time, were "along the hollow" to the north of Prince's. One was very near Higbee's present coal-shaft, on Mrs. Jacob Fast's land, one double cabin was at a fork in the ravine a few rods south, and another a few rods east of that. All these abins— and, in fact, the entire west half of Section 24—belonged to Mr. Prince. The cabin near Higbee's coal-shaft was occupied by Dr. Oscar Fitzalen Mott, of the old "Thomsonian" school. The double cabin had an ox-mill in one end of it for grinding corn.
This was the country in the early day, up to about 1835 or 1836. The Indians had left immediately after the Black Hawk War of 1832. The prairies grew prairie grass, rosin-weed, "red-root," and "shoe-string." Near the timber and in the timber were often patches of hazel brush, sumach, black-berry bushes and goose-berry bushes. Now and then eight or ten, or a dozen deer could be seen in the edge of the hills. Along Spoon River, tradition says, there were droves of deer with sometimes as many as 150 head together. There were also wild cats "as large as lynxes," and plenty of wolves, both the coyotes or prairie wolves and the gray timber wolves. The timber was of large growth, and had very few small trees. Daniel Prince appreciated the timber, and took means to preserve it. He plowed two sets of furrows and burned the grass between them around both the "North Grove" and "South Grove" to protect from prairie fires.
By 1839 the country was too thickly settled to suit Mr. Prince. His cattle, roaming around, found neighbors' hay stacks to hook. The neighbors, in turn, "sicked the dogs" on Prince's cattle, and he would have no more of it. He moved, in that year, 1839, (or 1840) to Missouri, where the country was free.
Sometime prior to 1837, Mr. William C. Stevens was riding from his home at the forks of the Kickapoo in Rosefield Township, on horseback toward Rock Island, and admired the present site of Princeville. It was level and high rolling ground, between the two groves. Later he purchased the southeast Quarter of Section 13. This joined on the north the northeast quarter of Section 24, which was owned by Benjamin Clark and Jesse M. McCutchen, land speculators. Mr. Stevens and Clark & McCutchen on June 22, 1837, acknowledged and filed for record the plat of original Princeville. The streets received their names in the following manner: North and South Streets, from their location on the plat; Main, because Mr. Stevens thought it would be the principal street, as is evidenced by his choosing it to build on; Spring, from the spring near its east end; Walnut, from the fine trees below its south terminus; French Street, or Stephen French, toward whose farm this street led; Clark, for Mr. Clark of Clark & McCutchen, as he wanted each of the three partners to have a street named for himself. Mr. McCutchen and Mr. Stevens, however, did not want their names to appear as streets; so Mr. McCutchen named his street Canton, in honor of the town where he lived. Mr. Stevens named High and Tremont Streets to commemorate a pleasant stay with a cousin of his, Simeon Short by name, whose residence, the finest in the place, occupied the corner of High and Tremont streets, at Thetford, Vermont. Sumner and Stanton Streets, in the later Stevens' addition, were named for the statesmen of whom Mr. Stevens was a great admirer.
The village grew slowly. John Z. Slane says (1902) that, when he came on January 13, 1841, the families in town numbered nine, as follows: His father, Benjamin Slane, William Coburn, Peter Auten, Samuel Alexander, George McMillen, Moses R. Sherman, Jonathan Nixon, Seth Fulton and William C. Stevens. Mr. Prince, Elisha Morrow, Lawrence McKown and John F. Garrison had just left. Stephen French lived northwest of the village. He was the first man to bring his family to the township, which was in 1828, and his son, Dimmick, was acknowledged to be the first white male child born in the county. Thomas Morrow, a settler since 1831, lived southeast of the village, and George I. McGinnis, a settler since 1835, northeast. The two last named, although living in Akron, belong in Princeville history.
Over the line in Akron Township, about fifteen or twenty rods southeast of the present Rock Island & Peoria Railway station, on the northwest corner of Section 19, was a log school house, very famous in its day. It accommodated as many as sixty scholars, children coming from all directions, as far as Spoon River to the northwest, and the center of Jubilee Township on the southwest. The first teacher here was Miss Esther Stoddard, and later ones were Miss Phoebe Stoddard, Mrs. Olive L. Cutter, Jane Hull, Theodore F. Hurd, Peter Auten, B. F. Hilliard, S. S. Cornwell, ———— Newell, Isaac Moss, and Daniel B. Allen. This cabin was also used as a "meeting house" for different church denominations, and as a polling place for all voters in "Prince's Grove Precinct." It was burned about 1849.
Democratic and Whig politics waxed warm in the National election of 1840, and one old settler tells of the string of men going all day from the school house to Seth Fulton's tavern. The "bell-wether" of one party carried a jug of whiskey in plain sight, leading the men on with his shouts, and voting them in a body. William P. Blanchard and Stephen French had been elected the first Justices of the Peace in 1838, and they, with the help of the three County Commissioners, furnished the government for the precinct.
Princeville Township was organized in 1850, the voting population then numbering 100. The first officials were: Supervisor, Leonard B. Cornwell; Town Clerk, Jonathan Nixon; Assessor, Seth Fulton; Collector, William C. Stevens; Justices of the Peace, William C. Stevens and Solomon S. Cornwell; Constables, John Fulton and John E. Seery; Commissioners of Highways, Wm. P. Blanchard, Wm. P. Smith and Ira Moody; Overseer of the Poor, Solomon Bliss. Benjamin Slane, who lived over the line in Akron, was elected the first Supervisor of that township in the same year.
The township was now rapidly filling up. "Congress land" on the prairie was unlimited at $1.25 per acre. Military claims or "patent lands" had been allotted in the timber. Land with timber near Princeville Village sold around 1840 for $200 up to $800 for a quarter section. The open prairie was, by 1850-55, selling for $400 to $800 per quarter. The greater rise in values did not come until after the Civil War and the days of tiling. The early "blind ditches," made with a "mole" drain machine, were not satisfactory. The mole was a wedge-shaped iron, fastened to the bottom end of a flat and sharp bar of steel, which was fastened to a frame. This implement was drawn through the ground by several yoke of oxen or a capstan. Fences, earliest, were of the worm-rail variety, then of post and rail; on the prairie, later, a machine was used to cut and pile rows of sod, making ditches alongside. Above the sod was sometimes placed a low fence, "staked and ridered," or stakes were driven in the sod and boards or wire attached. The sod fence was not a marked success, and smooth wire was also a failure. After pine lumber came within easy reach, fences were very largely, especially away from the timber, built of posts and boards. Before many years the osage orange tree was introduced as a fence; then came barbed wire, and very recently woven wire. As the prairie was fenced, the town records show a gradual squaring of the old Rock Island and Peoria State Road, and other angling roads, to north and south and east and west roads, mostly on section lines. It was when the Illinois and Michigan canal was opened, allowing lumber to come from Chicago via LaSalle and the Illinois River, that building began on the open prairie.
In the fall of 1847 the school was removed from the old log cabin in Akron to the new stone school house, which still stands, with a frame part added to it, on lot 5, block 13, on Canton Street. This was built by public donations of stone, lime, timber, labor and money, the only way in which it could he afforded, and was then given and owned as a public school house. B. F. Slane taught the first winter here (1847-48) and John M. Henry the next. Women teachers were hired for the summer months. This house was used until the completion, in 1873 or 1874, of the present brick school house. The records show three school districts in the township in 1847, which were gradually increased in number by subdivision, until the present number, nine, was attained in 1871.
Before the days of "district schools" supported by public funds, were four or five "subscription schools," for which each family "signed money." The log school bouse on Section 19, Akron Township, was run on this plan at first. Another was located in the William P. Blanchard neighborhood on Section 22; another on the northwest quarter of Section 16; one on Section 5; and one on section 8. All of these schools, except the one in Princeville village, were held in cabins built for dwellings. One father paid for a year's schooling for his children, the total sum of nine dollars and thought this a large sum to pay. He had ten children. After a few years the cabin on Section 8 was supercedcd by a frame school house, built from lumber sawed at Prince's sawmill, and having nothing but the thin siding to keep out the cold. This was moved to the present site of the "Moody" or District No. 2 (new No. 94) School.
In this same northwest corner of the township, along the belt of timber bordering Spoon River, settlements had been made almost as early as at Prince's Grove. Hugh White, Christian Miller, Sr., and his sons, Christian, Henry, Dan, James and John, Ira Moody and Robert Colwell were among the earliest residents. James Morrow went from Prince's Grove to Spoon River in 1832, but the Indians, during the Black Hawk War, molested the settlers there, and he returned to Prince's Grove. The foregoing are mentioned by Mrs. Jane Smith (widow of John Smith), as residents when she came with her parents, Walter and Rachel Payne, in 1842, to Section 7. Between them and Princeville, a distance of six miles, the only house on the prairie was that of John Miller on Section 16. On a line farther south were the houses of B. S. Scott, Oliver Moody, John Dukes, Boling Hare and James Debord. Coal was not yet known to be here, and some did not know what it was when found a few years later. Timber was held high by those who owned it and was frequently stolen. Cutting from land of non-residents, and from Government lands, was common. Fifty cents was charged for a small load of wood on the ground, and one dollar for a walnut which would split into four posts for the corners of a small shed.
On the northern side of "White Oak," the timber which extends into Princeville from Jubilee Township and the region of the Kickapoo, and on the prairie adjoining in the central and south-western parts of the township, the early settlerwere Solomon S. Cornwell, Wm. P. Blanchard, John McKune, Win. Parnell, Joseph Mendel, John Hill; and, a little later, Wm. Lynch, Wm. Cummins, John Nelson and Lawrence Seery, Reuben Deal, Roger Cook and John O'Brien.
"West Princeville" may be said to have started with the building of the O'Brien wagon and blacksmith shops, in 1856 or '57. They were located on the south side of the road between Sections 19 and 30, about one-fourth mile east of the Millbrook line. Here John O'Brien and his sons, James, Joseph and "Billy," manufactured wagons, cultivators and harrows. Billy O'Brien invented and got a patent on a three-winged iron harrow, which they made in large quantities and shipped far and wide, the famous "O'Brien harrow." The cultivators were without wheels and their manufacture was soon discontinued on account of the appearance of wheeled cultivators. The O'Briens sold out to Jesse Carey and moved to Kewanee, where they continued to make the O'Brien wagons and harrows on a much more extensive scale. William P. Hawver kept, in one building, a grocery and shop for making and repairing boots and shoes. He was succeeded by McElhose, who conducted the grocery only. Robert Lovelt, father of our present County Judge, was a blacksmith at West Princeville.
In 1858 the Mt. Zion Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in this same
neighborhood, meeting in the Nelson School House, now District No. 8 (new No.
100). In 1867 this society built a church on the southwest corner of Section 20,
a little east of West Princeville. This was a frame building, 32x45 feet,
costing about $2,200. The starting of Cornwell, soon called Monica, on the
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, was
the quitting of West Princeville. Nearly all of the buildings, the church included, were moved to the new town. But we must go back to the '50s again to tell of the old "oil works," and then describe the days of the war.
The oil factory was located on the southwest quarter of Section 27, the farm now owned by Joseph E. Hill, and the "oil company" owned, in addition, the square 40-acre tract cornering with this land on the northeast. The refinery was a large stone building in the hollow, with six or eight retorts close by. The company had a house called the hotel, an office and store combined, and many small buildings. Out of the 18-inch vein of cannel coal they made a "coal oil" similar to kerosene, and sometimes had as many as 30 or 40 workmen. The 18 to 24 inches of bituminous coal on top of the cannel, was of poor quality and brought little or no return. The oil, barreled and hauled to Chillicothe, although sold at $1.00 or $1.10 per gallon, did not pay for the cost of production, and the discovery of oil fields in Pennsylvania killed the industry at once. This was about the year 1850. The buildings were gradually torn down or removed.
In the northeast part of the township early names were the following: Wm. P. Smith, Moses and Carlos Alford, George Andrews, Henry Adams, Ezra Adams, Frederick Griswold, Joseph Nickerson, James Jackson, Dr. Harlan, John M. Henry and Godfrey Fritz. In the southeast part of the township were the Boutons, Wears, Slanes, Wilsons, Woodbury, Little, Harrisons and Mansfield.
William C. Stevens, the founder of Princeville Village, and Dr. Charles Cutter were, perhaps, the strongest Free Soilers in the township. They voted for Van Buren, the first Free Soil candidate for President in 1848, and often stood ill treatment for their principles. Their fences were burned, their trees girdled, their houses egged, and their persons sometimes threatened. Ichabod Codding was an Abolition evangelist. When objection was made to his speaking any more in the Presbyterian Church, Mr. Stevens said, ''Thank God, I have a place of my own where he may speak," and after that the speeches were in Mr. Stevens' yard. Many runaway slaves were harbored by Mr. Stevens and Dr. Cutter and sped on toward freedom. Dr. Cutter at one time had as many as six black men hidden in the cellar of his house, and, on a certain occasion, one such refugee was scarcely half an hour away, under a wagon load of fodder, when his pursuers fiercely demanded him of Mrs. Cutter, only to be told there was "no such man in the house."
When the war broke out, the "Lucky Thirteen," who all came back, went from Princeville and joined the "Peoria Battery," Battery A of the Second Illinois Artillery. In the fall of 1861 two Princeville men joined Col. Ingersoll's regiment, the Eleventh Cavalry. These two men, Stephen A. Andrews and John Sheelor, immediately came back from Peoria on a furlough and, in two weeks, took down twelve more men with them. The distinctively Princeville company was started in August, 1862. On that date Congressman Ebon Clark Ingersoll (brother to Bob) came out from Peoria to hold a "war meeting." Julius S. Starr accompanied him in the hope of getting recruits for a Peoria company, and recruit hunters were present also from Chillicothe and other places. The meeting was held in the old Methodist Episcopal Church, then on the corner southwest of the public square. The crowd was so large that the windows were taken out to enable men to hear on the outside. After the speaking the crowd gathered on the public square, when Clark Ingersoll got on a wagon and proposed a Princeville company. John McGinnis began fifing, indicating that he was going, and led a march around the "liberty pole." Others fell in, a few at a time, until there were fifty men marching around and around the "liberty pole." Then they paraded to Dr. Charles's office, got out a table in the center of the room, and signed the muster roll. Within forty-eight hours the roll was increased to 96 men. This was Company K of the Eighty-sixth Regiment, Illinois Infantry. John F. French was elected Captain, James B. Peet, First Lieutenant, and H. F. Irwin, Second Lieutenant. The company was soon ordered into camp at the Peoria Fair Grounds and saw, in all, twenty-one engagements, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Kenesaw Mountain being among the number. The company was in "Sherman's March to the Sea." Somewhere near one half of the company still survive (1902), and those residing at Princeville are organized, with their comrades, in J. F. French Post, No. 153, G. A. R. On Decoration Day, 1900, John McGinnis dedicated in Princeville Cemetery, a monument "In Memory of all Soldiers and Sailors who, on Land or Sea, periled Life for Liberty and Law—1861-65." Princeville always honors her soldiers, and Decoration Day sees the gathering of several townships in memory of the dead and in honor of the living.
An outgrowth of civil war conditions was the organization, in August, 1863, of the Thief Detective and Mutual Aid Association. The demand for horses and resultant high prices caused horse-stealing to nourish to an unpleasant extent, and this society was organized to stop the stealing around Princeville, and to catch the thieves. It accomplished its purpose well at the time, and has continued a strong society to the present. Wm. P. Smith, Solomon Bliss, Charles Beach, Vaughn Williams and S. S. Slane were the originators of the society. Wm. P. Smith was the first captain, followed by H. F. Irwin, John G. Corbet, Solomon Bliss, J. D. Hammer and S. S. Slane, who is now serving his sixteenth year in that capacity.
Before railroads were built, Princeville was one of the stopping places on the stage routes running from Peoria and Chillicothe, through Southampton to Princeville and to the West and Northwest. The stage, which carried the mail as well as passengers, came at first once a week, then twice, and later three times a week, stopping at the Bliss-McMillen Hotel. The public square, now covered with growing trees and familiarly called the Park, was given to the village by its founder, Mr. Stevens. In 1874 an attempt was made by the officials to mar the square by locating on it the village hall and, as was reputed, a calaboose. Injunction proceedings were started by Peter Auten, in company with Mr. Stevens and other citizens, to block the intended purpose, and, on the testimony of the donor that he had given the square to be an open space, park or square, "for light and air, and to be for the beauty of the village and the health of its inhabitants," a perpetual injunction was granted.
Mr. Stevens was also generous with his land for church and school sites. He gave the lot for the stone school house so long as used for a school site, and the right of reversion he gave up on condition that the new brick school house, then building, should have a front on the north, architecturally equal to the front as planned for the south of the building. He wanted the front on the north side, but the directors insisted on the south front. Main Street, he said, would have no front, and the other and only front would look out on "Mosquito Swale" and "Carrion Hollow;" his reference was to a swampy place suitable for breeding mosquitoes, and a hollow where the dead horses of the neighborhood had formerly been deposited—each of which was south of and not far distant from the new school site. Princeville's markets in the early day had been Peoria, Lacon and Chillicothe. The price of hogs in the Peoria market varied a great deal; sometimes the buyers Wbuld say, "Seventy-five cents for a hog, big or little—tumble them off." Ox teams sometimes drove to Chicago with wheat, bringing back lumber, salt and clothing. The windows, doors and casings for Dr. Charles Cutter's house were thus carted from Chicago, and also the shingles for the first Presbyterian Church. Other lumber was obtained at saw-mills on Spoon River and Kickapoo Creek. Grist-mills familiar to all old setters were Cox's Mill and the Rochester Mill on Spoon River, the Spring Valley Mill, Evans's Mill in Radnor Township and Miles's Mill at Southport, Elmwood Township.
Mills closer to Princeville were "Jimmie" Jackson's "whip-saw" mill, Erastus
and Thompson Peet's saw-mill, James Harrison's saw and grist-mill, and Hawn's
mill, all in Akron Township, and Hawn's mill within the village limits.
Hitchcock, Voorhees & Seed erected a large grist-mill in 1867 or '68, in the
northwest corner of Section 19, Akron Township, which was operated later by
Hitchcock & Voorhees, and by Daniel Hitchcock alone. It burned about 1884. John
Bowman operated a saw-mill for several years in the triangular piece of ground
east of the
railroad, north of Block One.
The first railroad assured Princeville Township was the Peoria & Rock Island, now called the Rock Island & Peoria. It was built between 1868 and 1870, the township giving it $50,000 in bonds. The Buda Branch of rhe Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, projected a little later, was, however, completed first, and it received no bonus from the township. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad crossed the township from east to west in 1887, making a junction with the Rock Island & Peoria at Princeville, and with the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy at Monica.
Monica was platted first under the name of Cornwell, in honor of Solomon S.
Cornwell. The name was soon after changed to Monica. It is located on Section
21, on the divide between Spoon River and Kickapoo Creek, giving it a good
drainage. The "Q" Road had been built two years before this station was given.
One theory is that the company were angry because no bonds had been voted them,
and they gave the township no depot until the competition of the Peoria & Rock
Island forced them to it. The postmasters in succession have been W. W. Hurd,
I.. L. Campbell, P. R. Ford, Etta Lincoln, Jane Ford and G. R. Campbell, the
present incumbent. The first general store was built and started by Andrew D.
Rogers, on the southwest corner of block 9. This building was burned in 1890,
and the same corner burned again in 1896. The third building is the present
large store of Mrs.
Wilts. In 1897 one of the three grain elevators burned. But one strange thing in the history of Monica is that no dwelling detached from stores, has ever been burned. The boarding house at the oil factory was moved to Monica and used as a hotel, and still stands, remodeled, on the northeast corner of block 14, the residence of Lemuel Auten. The next hotel was P. R. Ford's, which burned in 1884. The next was R. M. Todd's, built in 1888, now managed by G. A. Keith as "The Empire." W. P. Hawver moved from West Princeville when Monica was only surveyed in the oats field, and has been, a merchant there ever since.
The Mt. Zion Methodist Episcopal Church building was moved from West Princeville in, 1877, and enlarged and repaired at a cost of about $1,300. The church was a part of the Princeville M. E. charge prior to 1894. In September, 1894, it was organized and, with Laura (of Millbrook Township), became the Monica charge. Rev. Thos. J. Wood was the first pastor, followed in succession by Revs. P. S. Garretson, 1895; O. M Dunlevy, 1896; H. C. Birch, 1898; H. C. Gibson, 1900; James G. Blair, 1901. The Monica Blue Ribbon Club, in the '70s, was a very large and enthusiastic Temperance Society. Monica's population, now :is about 225, with the following men in business, besides those already mentioned: W. W. Day, grain and lumber: J. D. Rathbun and J. F. Kidder, general merchandise; Alice Wilts, general merchandise and hardware; Auten & Auten, bankers (Lemuel Auten in, charge) ; William Saunders, restaurant; D. W. Gross and W. P. Jones, physicians; George Conover, blacksmith; Walter Byrnes, barber; Wm. George, harness; R. M. Todd. livery; J. Duffy, agent Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad; James Curren, agent, Santa Fe R. R.; A. J. Hayes and Miss Jennie Burns, principal and assistant, Monica schools.
"White's Grove," to the west and north of Monica (named from Hugh White), may be said to have settled rapidly after the coming of Esq. Joseph Armstrong in 1856. The White's Grove Baptist Church was organized December 9, 1871, with fourteen members. The pastors have been in succession: A. D. Bump, 1872; J. M. Stickney, 1873; E. M. Armstrong. 1876; J. M. Bruce, 1882; E. M. Armstrong, 1883-85; A. R. Morgan, 1886-90; T. Phillips, 1891; S. Gray, 1894-98; E. Quick, 1901. Jackson Leaverton has been Superintendent of the Sunday-school. The church now numbers 22 members.
The early Princeville community seems to have been more orderly and law-abiding than the average frontier town. The "Atlas Map of Peoria County" says of Princeville Township: "It is settled mostly by high-toned, moral and religious people, who came from the Eastern and Southern States. Of the nineteen townships in Peoria County, its people rank first in education, religion and public spirit." It is not known now who may have been the author of this sketch, but his remarks were not far out of the way, even including Peoria Township among the nineteen.
Taking the Civil War as a dividing line between early and present Princeville history, no question of greater import—even to Princeville's welfare to-day—could be raised, than the personal character for godliness, integrity and learning of the quiet, determined teachers. They, from time to time, settled and taught, labored and made homes, and left their impress on the young in this now thriving town. Among these teachers there are still remembered the names of Andrews, Aldrich, Alien, Auten, Breese (the first Presbyterian pastor), Burnham, Carlisle, Clussman, Cooper, Cunningham (pastor and teacher), Cutter, Cutler, Egbert, Foster, Farwell, Goodale, Hinman, Kimball, Means, Munson, Noyes, Page, Julia Rogers, Ann Rogers, Stanley, Stone, White, Wright, and others, no doubt as significant but not now recurring to memory. Private schools were conducted at different times by Mrs. Hannah Breese, first in a little building on lot 6 or 7 block 9—conceded to be the first frame building in Princeville, and near the west end of the large Hitchcock building—and later, in her home, now the residence property owned by Mrs. Willard Bennett, on the Princeville-Akron township line about 80 rods north of Canton Street; by Mrs. Lydia Auten at her home; by Miss Julia Rogers in the little house occupied by Guy Bouton on North Street, north of lot 3, block I; by Mrs. Ann Rogers at the home of her brother-in-law, Peter Auten; by Miss Lizzie Farwell, at the home of Wm. C. Stevens; and perhaps by others. Mr. Wm. C. Stevens, already mentioned as the founder of Princeville Village, was a gentleman of education, culture and public spirit, and was prominent in all educational and public matters.
It was in the fall of 1856 that the demand for higher education encouraged Mr. Milton S. Kimball to start a school in the Presbyterian church, which later developed into the first Princeville Academy. A two-story frame building was erected on the south side of Main Street on lots 3 and 4, block 14, just east of the present public school square. Rev. Jared M. Stone and Rev. William Cunningham were other successful principals. The academy nourished with a large attendance, drawn from wide territory. The war, however, virtually killed the school. The building was sold and moved to Canton Street for store purposes, it being the building long occupied, by E. C. Fuller, now by J. L. Searl's grocery, located on the west side of lot 7, block 12.
A number of the pupils of this old academy, with other citizens, some of whom had gone East to college, in later life desired a similar academy for their children. As a result, another Princeville Academy was started in 1887, being conducted until 1900 by changing Boards of Management, who bore the responsibility and constant expense of the school. Sessions were held the first year in the old Seventh Day Adventist church; the next two years in the new chapel rooms of the Presbyterian church, and from 1800 on, in the Second M. E. church building, purchased by Edward Auten for the purpose. A still greater number of young people from the later academy were fitted for college study. The principals of the later academy were, in succession, James Stevens, 1887; C. F. Brusie, '88; B. M. Southgate, '90; Edwin B. Cushing, '91; H. W. Eckley, '93; T. H. Rhodes, '94; Ernest W. Cushing, '96; Royal B. Cushinp. '97; J. E. Armstrong, '99-1900.
The Princeville public schools have grown and improved. A high school course
is offered, including Latin and. twelfth grade work, under the principalship of
William M. Beale. The four large assembly rooms of the brick building are taxed
by the ten upper grades, and the primary grades occupy Edward Auten's academy
building, under the able instruction of Miss M. E. Edwards, Miss Mina Edwards,
Miss Etta Powell and Mr. Harry O'Brien are the teachers of the intermediate and
grammar grades. The Board of Directors is as follows: H. J. Cheesman,
President; E. D. Minkler, Secretary; and David Kinnah.
The Presbyterian Church, organized August l6, 1834, as Prince's Grove church, was the first to have a house of worship. The log school house became too small for the meetings, and a frame structure was built in 1844 in the southeast corner of block 12. This was built at a great sacrifice on the part of Mr. Stevens, Thomas Morrow, Dr. Cutter, Erastus Peet and others. Thomas Morrow, E. Peet and William Clussman each hauled a load of the lumber from Chicago. It was a great day when the church building was "raised." The entire community assembled, the men and boys to aid in the raising, and the women and girls to provide the refreshments. This house was used by the church society until September 6, 1866, when the main part of the present church was dedicated. The chapel rooms were added in 1888 and $1,000, bequeathed by Miss Mary C. Clussman, was expended for installing new seats, furnaces and other repairs in 1899. The ministers in succession have been: Calvin W. Babbitt, 1835-38; George G. Sill, 1838; Robert F. Breese (first pastor) 1843-51; Robert Cameron, 1851-57; Geo. Cairns, 1857-58; Jared M. Stone, 1858-64; Wm. Cunningham, 1864-71; Arthur Rose. 1871-77; Samuel R. Belville, 1877-86; Charles M. Taylor, 1887-95; D. A. K. Preston, 1896-97; Charles T. Phillips, 1897—The Sunday-school Superintendent at present is C. J. Cheesman.
Rt. Rev. Philander Chase, Episcopal Bishop of Illinois, preached occasionally in the stone school house. A Congregational organization existed for a short time with the Rev. B. F. Worrell as pastor, sometime in the '50s.
The Christian Church society flourished in the '50s, with a building on Canton Street (lots 5 and 6, block 14, just east of the present public school square), the building later being removed and used as the old village hall. The membership of this church was .largely merged, early in the '6os, into the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which was starting new. The latter society purchased the first M. E. church building in l866 and used it until about 1888. Since then the society has most of the time met at the home; of Elder L. D. Santee. Familiar names in this church were the Blanchards, Blisses, Vancils, Merritts and others.
The Methodist Episcopal Church has had services in Princeville almost from
the beginning of the settlement. The "circuit riders" preached first in Aunt
Jane Morrow's fine log cabin (a palace among log houses), on the northwest
quarter of Section 30, Akron Township; then in the old log school house, and
later in the stone school house. They came once a month and later twice a month,
as their circuits were shortened. The first M. E. church building was begun in
1853 and finished in 1854, on lots 1 and 2, block 16, the building later sold to
the Seventh Day Ad- ventist Church, and now a barn on the south side of South
Street, south of lot 5, block 24. The next church was built about 1867, on lots
7 and 8, block 24, (Edward Auten's Academy building) and was used until the
erection of the present edifice, corner of South and Clark Streets, in 1889. The
early preachers up to 1856, some of
them circuit riders, were. Revs. Pitner, Whitman, Cummins, Hill, Beggs, Chandler, Luccock, Royal (Sr.), Royal (Jr.), Stogdell, Jesse Craig, Gregg, Grundy, Gaddis, Reack, Morse, Appelby, Dodge, Giddings, Rhodes and Mills. The list, from 1856 on, is as follows, the date after each man's name being that of his coming: Revs. J. S. Miillsap, '56; E. Keller, '59; W. J. Beck, '60; G. W. Brown, '62; S. B. Smith, '64; S. Cavet, '66: G. W. Havermale, '68; M. Spurlock, '69; E. Wasmuth, '70; J. Collins, '73; W. B. Carithers, '74: W. D. H. Young, '77; S. Brink. '78; T. S. Millsap, '81 ; M. V. B. White, '82; H. M. Laney, '83; F. W. Merrell, '85; Alex. Smith. '88; R. B. Seaman, '93; J. D. Smth, '96; J. E. Conner, '97; John Rogers, '99; R. L. Vivian, 1901.
Catholicity came to Princeville, with the early Irish and German settlers. At that time there was no Catholic church nearer than Kickapoo or Peoria, to which places they were accustomed to drive. While the present Peoria Diocese was part of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Catholic people of Princeville Township were ministered to by priests from Peoria City. On September 7, 1867, the Rev. J. Murphy was appointed first Rector of the Princeville Parish, and his successors have been in turn. Father Albrecht, Rev. Chas. Wenserski, Rev. Father Moore, Very Rev. J. Canon Moynihan, Rev. H. Screiber (1881), Rev. P. A. McGair (1884), Rev. C. A, Hausser (1891). Rev. C. P. O'Neill (1901) to the present time. It was in Father Murphy's time that the old Presbyterian church was purchased and made into a Catholic house of worship. Father Albrecht built the present rectory, and, during Father McGair's time, was erected the present beautiful brick church for "St. Mary's of the Woods."
The first paper published in Princeville was the "Princeville Weekly
Citizen," by G. T. Gillman, which started in the summer of 1868 and lasted six
months. The next was the "Princeville Times," by C. A. Pratt, established in
July, 1874, and run four months. The next was the "Princeville Independent," the
beginning of the present "Princeville Telephone." Editors in succession have
been J. E. Knapp, March 10, 1877; J. G. Corbel September 29, 1877; J. G. Corbet,
and H. E. Charles, October 13, 1877; J. G. Corbet and P. C. Hull, October 18,
1878; J. E. Charles
and P. C. Hull (P. C. Hull, Editor), October 3, 1879; J. S. Barnum, B. J. Beardsley, Beardsley Bros. (B. J. and G. L.) and the present owners, Addison Dart, Harry D. Fast and Keith C. Andrews. The "Princeville Republican" was started Feburary 2, 1898, by George I. McGinnis, and has continued a prosperous weekly under his direction to the present time. The "Princeville Academy Sol" ran as a school monthly from 1893 to 1900.
After the platting of original Princeville in 1837, additions were made and subdivisions surveyed adjoining, as occasion required. The original village is five blocks square, with the park in the center. W. C. Stevens' subdivision on the south and west was platted in 1864 (plat filed in 1869); lot 27 of this subdivision was re-subdivided into several smaller lots in 1877, and some of them, in turn, were included in 1887 in McGinnis & Russell's addition. Lots 15 and 16 of the first subdivision were platted in 1897 into Hoag & Ward's addition. On the east of the village, in Akron, Day & Hitchcock's addition was laid off in 1869. This was at the time of building the Peoria & Rock Island Railroad, and the lots were disposed of at a great auction. People thought that Priniceville, having a railroad, was destined to be a city, and paid prices far in advance of values thirty-three years later, in 1902. The promoters of the addition reserved some of the best lots that they might themselves "get the benefit of the rise," but they missed it in not selling all out at first. W. C. Stevens' addition on the west (including the school house square) was platted in 1871, and part of it vacated in 1877.
"Timber Subdivisions" of two and one-half and five-acre lots, were made by Stephen French on the northwest quarter of Section 13 in 1854 and 1857; by heirs of Thomas Morrow on the southeast quarter of Section 12 in 1869; and by William Morrow on Section 19, Akron Township, in 1876. The lots in all of these subdivisions were disposed of at public auctions. Farmers found it more necessary then to have timber to use than they do now in the days of lumber yards and wire fences.
The first burying ground in Prince's Grove was on Section 25, near its north line, and about sixty-four to seventy-one rods west of the northeast corner of the section, where a few sunken graves may still be distinguished. The number of people buried here is variously estimated at trom ten to twenty-five. In the White's Grove district a burying ground was located on the northwest quarter of Section 8, about fourteen rods from the north line (twelve rods from the road) and thirty-five rods west of the east line of said quarter section. Thirteen graves may now be distinguished. The present cemetery in the northwest part of the incorporated village was first used in 1814, the first burial being that of a daughter of George I. McGinnis, named Temperance, who died September 14th of that year. For many years graves were placed at random, when, in 1864, the survey into lots, paths and driveways was made. The original cemetery has been enlarged by three or four successive additions. The Catholic cemetery on Section 7, Akron, was laid out in 1875.
Early stone quarries were those of B. F. and J. Z. Slane, on the southeast quarter of Section 24; or Austin and T. P. Bouton, on Section 25, and the smaller one of Thomas Morrow on Section 12. The Slane brothers quarrted both sandstone and limestone, burning the latter into lime. This was a grey lime, suitable for everything but a white finish. Limestone was also used in Princeville from the quarry of James Byrnes in White Oak, Jubilee Township.
During the first few years of the settling of the township, coal was not known to be here, and when it was first duff up or seen lying on top of the ground, iits utility was not known. Mr. Archibald Smith remembers very distinctly the first load hauled to the school house on Section 8—he thinks in the year 1847—hauled by Sam White from the James Morrow farm on Section 18. It was then called "stone-coal." Charles Plummer later operated a bank on the same farm and Wm. Hughes had a famous bank on Section 7. At some of the coal banks the settlers would go and dig for their own use as they pleased. In the later years coal has been mined in various parts of the township, shafts being the thickest north of Princeville Village. The banks now operating (1902) are those of Jackson Leaverton, on Section 18; of Graves Bros., on Section 10; of W. C. Ricker and of Robert Taylor (on the Alford farm) on Section 11; and of Higbee & Cutler, on Section 24—the last mentioned being within the coporate limits of Princeville, and employing the largest number of men.
Brick yards were operated by Erastus Peet and George I. McGinnis in the early days on Sections 30 and 7, respectively, both in Akron, James Byrnes, of Jubilee Township, James Rice and W. H.Gray furnished brick for some of the stores now standing. Gray's yard was in the northwest corner of the village, northwest of the cemetery, where an excavation in the hillside may still be seen. It was brick made by Gray that went into the present school building. E. Keeling started a brick yard in the southeast corner of Section 12 in 1887. He sold out in 1892 to Edward Hill, who has ever since manufactured and sold a large quantity of brick.
Princeville Village was incorporated first as "The Town of Princeville,"
umder a special charter, April 15, 1869, and again as "The Village of
Princeville," under the general law, March 24, 1874. The incorporation was
started by the temperance people to enable the village to control its own liquor
traffic, and as they hoped, to eradicate the saloons. The anti-license party
carried the first election, but failed from 1870 to 1878, when they again came
into power, this time for a term of two years. The license party ruled from 1880
to 1883, the anti-license from 1883
to 1885, and then it was a constant struggle, with varying results, until 1805. Beginning with May l of that year the anti-license party has been in control continuously to the present time. R. F. Henry, F. B. Blanchard, J. B. Ferguson, Edward Auten, John F. Bliss and Milton Hammer, in the President's chair, and others, have been "war horses" in the fight against saloons. In the later years there have been different citizens' leagues furnishing money and moral support for prosecutions. The temperance people, from the beginning of their efforts to prohibit the sale of liquors, up ito the present time, have always found in Frank C. Hitchcock, entrenched in the castle which his father built and denominated "Almost a new Jerusalem," a foeman worthy of their steel. Affable, gentlemanly and self-contained, he has combatted the advance of temperance reform bath at the elections and as a salesman at his
place of business. Often when the temperance people felt sure of success as to an election, or as to the result of a prosecution brought against him for selling, have they found his success complete. But notwithstanding his ability and prowess, he has a number of times met defeat. If he has sold in the last few years, it has been without legal sanction and to a very limited patronage of men believed to have been long ago confirmed in their habits. It is believed that not many drunkards are now being made from clean young men in the village. For a time some of the highly respected business men not only voted against the anti-license party, but ran on the other ticket, and served as license councilman. Later many changed, and even of the few highly respected ones still voting for license, very rarely is one found to allow his name on that ticket.
The anti-license administrations since 1894 and 1895 have carried on the policy of making permanent improvements in the shape of brick sidewalks and graveled roads. The community has felt satisfied with this method of government, and has given the anti-license party a steadily increasing majority, until in 1901 there was not even any license ticket nominated. The present village officers (May, 1902) are F. H. Cutler, President; S. A. Andrews, F. M. Beall, Geo. Corbet, A. C. Moffit, Peter Auten (2d), and William Berry, Trustees; F. W. Cutler, Clerk; R. J. Benjamin, Magistrate; and the following appointive officers: J. H. Russell, Treasurer; James Walkington, Marshal; James Cornish, Street Commissioner. The first towm hall was. the old Christian Church, previously mentioned in this article, purchased by the village in 1873. The present brick hall, consisting of council room, fire engine room, calaboose and upper hall, was erected in 1891, at a cost of about $5,000. The $4,400 of bonds issued for this hall are now paid off, and the village has an outstanding bonded indebtedness at the present time of $3,300, incurred for part of the cost of brick sidewalks. The old plank walks are being replaced as they wear out by brick, until now, there are about 50 blocks of brick walk, and an equal amount of plank walk, kept in a fair state of repair. An effort has been made each year to gravel some of ithe roads leading out of town. In 1901 the last of them were completed, in that year about $600 being appropriated by the Village Council, and an equal amount being donated by the business men and the farmers who were benefited. A local telephone exchange was installed in 1901 by W. M. Keck. It is likely that the building of permanent sidewalks will continue, and that electric lights and waterworks will only be questions of rime.
Just as this article is prepared for the press it is announced that temperance parties have procured a six years' lease of the Hitchcock "castle" and made other arrangements which, it is believed, will end a part of the liquor selling in town. Another item of latest news is that parties are now asking for an electric light franchise and contract from the village board. The village has issued two editions of revised ordinances, one in the winter of 1877-78, when J. B. Ferguson was President. J. G. Corbet, E. C. Fuller, J. F. Carman and V. Weber, Trustees, and H. F. Burgess, Clerk; the other, in 1899-1900, when Milton Hammer was President, N. E. Adams, C. J. Cheesman, Peter Auten (2d), A. C. Sutherland, Thos. Blakewell, and W. S. Weaver, Trustees, and F. D. Goodman and F. W. Cutler, Clerks (Goodman resigning and Cutler succeeding). The first fire company was organized in the winter of 1875-76, and continued until 1899. Its first members were John G. Corbet, C. F. Beach, A. N. Edwards, Robert Pfeiffer, William Russell, J. B. Ferguson, Charles Blanchard, C. N. Pratt, H. E. Burgess, William McDowell, H. A. Simpson, H. E. Charles. It had in its charge, first, a chemical extinguisher; and, later, a chemical and hand rail force pump, which is still in use by the new fire company organized in 1900. The large fires that are remembered now are: The Rowley & Hitchcock hotel, about 1854, located on the site of the Krebsbach property, lot 8, block 2, recently purchased by Mrs. R. E. Dickinson; of the Alter store building, probably in the fall of 1874, on the present site of J. B. Ferguson's store, and that of June, 1875, which burned Thomas Allwood's store buildings, Hammer & May's double building and V. Weber's shoe store on, and south of the present site of German & Friedman's large store; the burning of Daniel Hitchcock's steam mill in 1884; of A. C. Sutherland's grain elevator in 1893; and of the Rock Island & Peoria depot on March 11, 1902.
The first store in Princeville was kept by Elisha Morrow on block 9, probably lot 8, in a little red frame building. This was the first frame in the village, and was covered with siding cut from native logs with .a cross-cut saw. William C. Stevens and his brother, Amos, were in a hurry to have the store started, and spent three weeks making the siding. Elisha Morrow was no relation to the other well known Morrows, but was a brother of Amos Stevens' wife. The next store-keeper was William Coburn, in a small building on lot 7 block 2. He sold out his goods to one Ellsworth, who, in turn, sold to W. C. Stevens. Mr. Stevens—to "hold the village together," as he said—kept store in the front room of his residence. He would take orders for handkerchiefs and various articles, and then drive to Peoria, getting the goods that were ordered and only a few others. Other very early merchants in the Coburn store building were Greenleaf Woodbury, Myron Prince, Rowley & Hitchcock and J. W. Gue. Mr. Gue died May 21, 1852, from Asiatic cholera, the only death ever known to have occurred from that disease in this neighborhood. His wife, Jerusha T. Gue, continued his business in the east one of the store rooms on lot 1, block 18, now occupied by Blanchard & Sons.
About 1851 a man by the name of Gray commenced a grocery and notion trade, but soon abandoned it. In the summer of the same year Eldridge & Parker built an up-and-down board store building on lot 1, block 17, where the Park Hotel now stands. Among the business men during the decades of 1850, l860 and 1870, were Thomas Allwood, John T. Lindsay, A. G. Henry, D. W. Herron and George W. Emery, drugs; Hiel Bronson and John H. Russell, groceries; Bohrer & Ferguson and Charles and Joseph German, hardware; Hammer & May furniture; Isaac Bohrer, grower of Osage Orange hedge plants; John Alter, A. G. Persons, G. W. Hitchcock, Day & Hitchcock, A. D. Sloan, Cecil Moss, Wm. Simpson and Solomon Godfrey, general stores; William DeBolt, shoemaker; Henry Clussman, Weber & Bachtold, shoes; John E. Henseler and J. L. Blanchard, lumber.
The hotel business started in Princeville with Seth Fulton's tavern, a log
building on block 9, probably lot 3, built in the '30's. He kept the first
tavern in Peoria and came from there to Princeville. His Princeville tavern,
"The Traveler's Home," was a "two-roomed log house—one of the rooms above the
other," with a lean-to, also of logs. William Coburn, in 1840, built a part of
the "Rowley & Hitchcock" hotel on block 2, and called it "The Rising Sun." Myron
Prince, Thomas Myers, G. Woodbury, Cyrus Beach, a man named Blue, John Moore,
Rowley & Hitchcock and Ashford Nixon all kept tavern here— Rowley & Hitchcock
erecting a large addition, with hall above, the building having burned when
occupied by Ashford Nixon. A few years later Sanford M. Wittington erected the
present building, a much smaller one, on the same site, for hotel purposes but,
so far as learned, it has
never been used for a hotel.
The site of the present Arlington House, lot 5, block 11, has been used for hotel purposes ever since 1848. Captain John Williams kept tavern in the E. Russell house from that year to 1855. In the latter year William Owens bought the entire south half of the block and replaced the dwelling by a larger hotel building. After conducting the hotel for eight years he sold to John Baldwin in 1863. James Rice became landlord in 1865, and continued until 1889, except such times as he leased to John G. Corbet, Thomas Painter, Lucius Wilkington and James Rice, Jr. Mr. Rice sold out in 1889 to Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Washburn. On the corner to the south, the present site of Conklin's store, was a hotel run at different times by Solomon Bliss and G. W. McMillen. R. P. Cooper built, for a hotel, the house now owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Bigg, which was then on lot 3, block 17, the site of David Kinnah's present residence. W. G. Selby, about 1869, built the two-story part to the building on lot 1, setting the Eldridge & Parker store to the south of its old location for an "L." He first conducted an implement store and later, with Mrs. Selby, operated the Eureka Hotel. After Mr. Selby's death, Mrs. Selby conducted the business, recently as the "Park House," until the spring of 1902, when she leased the building for the same purpose to Miss Katie Schneider.
One industry that flourished in Princeville before the days of steam factories and cheap machinery elsewhere was wagon-making. When Daniel Prince came back from Missouri in 1842, to collect some old debts, he took home with him a wagon made by John Lewis and ironed by Ebenezer Russell. Later wagon-makers and wood- workers were Beach & Benton (possibly before Lewis), McMillen & Persons, J. T. & J. H. Russell, Williamson Vancil, Wayne Dixon, Joseph German and Aaron Moffit. The Russells and J. L. Blanchard (part of the time in partnership), occupied a large three-story factory built by McMillen & Persons, on the site of the present village hall, with blacksmith or iron shop to the east, and large warehouse to the north. Later. J. A. & O. S. Pratt conducted the blacksmithing part, and Moffit & Dixon made the woodwork of wagons.
Blacksmiths, worthy of mention as old settlers, are Ebenezer Russell, Wm. Owens, Allen & Griffin, Davis Bristol and Nathaniel Mitchell. Ebenezer Russell was the first blacksmith and secured a free lot from Mr. Stevens as the "first artisan" of his trade to come to the town. William Owens spent his life in this village from 1844 to 1902, in his prime playing an important part in the material advancement of the village, and, in his venerable age, wielding the sledge vigorously and industriously—always highly respected. Nathaniel Mitchell was a fine workman of iron and steel, and had a passion for gunsmithing—so much so that he "would make horse-shoeing wait any time to repair a gun." Other early mechanics were Jonathan Nixon, cabinet and coffin maker. ——————— Armstrong, Jehiel Bouton and John Dale, carpenters, John Taylor, mason, and James McDowell, painter.
Princeville's first doctors were Mott, Morrow and Waters. The first two would hardly be called practicing physicians, but would go and attend a neighbor. Waters was a "water and herb doctor—chiefly water." Dr. ————— Moss was the first regular physician, and Dr. Charles Cutter the next. Dr. Cutter's son writes: "His practice sometimes extended from Lawn Ridge, in one direction, to French Grove in the other; and his meager remuneration, when there was pay at all, sometimes taking the bulky form of corn in the ear, and even of labor in his own fields, as return for successfully ushering into the world infant Princevillians, and for other professional services." The next to come, in order, were Israel G. Harlan, Robert F. Henry, L. M. Andrews, George W. Emery, Watkins Warren, T E. Alyea, M. S. Marcy, C. H. Wilcox and W. J. Price.
The Postmasters from the earliest time to the present have been as follows, very nearly in the order given, and perhaps with some omitted: Stephen French, William Coburn, W. C. Stevens (at various times), George W. Hitchcock, L. B. Day, John W. Auten, Mrs. Mattie Snediker, M. M. Blanchard, L. A. Blanchard, J. M. Sabin, H. E. Burgess, A. D. Edwards, J. S. Barnum, A. Cowan, Frank Bouton, Marie Henry, H. J. Cheesman.
Peter Auten and George W. Alter established a bank in 1872, under the firm name of Auten & Alter. Mr. Alter dying the same year, Edward Auten became a partner, and the firm has remained Auten & Auten, with no change of partners to the present time. Peter Auten was aged ninety years and seven months on the first day of May, 1902, and is yet clear in mind, though feeble in body. He is the oldest resident of the village, and it is believed of the township.
The People's Bank was conducted by R. C. Henry and W. B. Kaiser from 1892 to 1893 or '94.
The grain and live stock businesses are those which have been an index to the
material prosperity of the farmers of Princeville and Akron Townships, and
consequently of the business men of Princeville. As is the case with many
prairie towns. Princeville's commercial life depends on the farmers' corn, oats,
hogs and cattle, and Princeville is in the midst of splendid territory.
Shipments from Princeville in the year 1901 were 344 cars of grain and 107 cars
of live stock, and the Village of Monica, four miles distant, near the center of
the township, probably about the same amount of produce. This, too, is with
other shipping towns as close as Wady Petra and Stark, 4 and 5 miles
respectively, Duncan 5 1/2 miles, Edelstein 7 miles, and Dunlap 8 miles. The
poultry and egg business in Princeville in one year amounts to $15,000 to
$20,000. Besides the farmers' produce, which many towns rely
on for their prosperity, Princeville has a set of enterprising merchants. The general stores agreed in 1896, perhaps forced to do so by the stringent times, to sell for cash only. The resulting low prices, combined with the healthy rivalry and hearty spirit of co-operation, have built up a trade for Princeville that draws from the former territory of Toulon, Wyoming, Elmwood, Peoria and Chillicothe.
The brief article on Princeville Township in History of Peoria County (Johnson & Co., 1880) gives a partial list of Princeville business men in 1880 as follows: F. B. Blanchard, Wm. Simpson and Otto Davison, dry goods; J. H. Russell, Garrison & Fuller and Emmet Illingworth, groceries; Peter Auten and son in banking; Solomon Bliss and D. W. Herron in drugs; C. W. Russell in hardware; Valentin Weber in boots and shoes; James B. Ferguson in jewelry; J. G. Corbet, hotel and livery; Mrs. W. G. Selby, hotel; John D. Hammer, meat market; James Campbell and Hammer & May, cabinet shops; John Ayling, bakery and restaurant; Hitchcock & Voorhees, millers; O. F. Herrick and Geo. Reinhart, harness; B. P. Duffy, attorney; Misses Bouton & Bohrer and Misses Edwards & Godfrey, millinery; H; E. Burgess, postmaster.
The business men of 1902 are as follows: M. V. Conklin, Blanchard & Sons, Cheesman Bros., and J. L. Searl, general merchandise; Mrs. Julia F. Middlebrook—"The Golden Rule Store"—dry goods, shoes and notions; G. B. Robinson, clothing; Richard Cox, and Best & Wakefield, grain and lumber; Auten & Auten, bankers; F. B. Blanchard, creamery; D. Kinnah, meat market and live stock; A. C. Sutherland estate, meat market; German & Friedman and Minkler & Harrison, hardware and implements; F. E. Prouty and M. Hammer, furniture and undertaking (Prouty, pianos also); J. B. Ferguson, jewelry and bicycles; Will H. Lamb, jeweler and optician; J. C. Whelpley, harness; N. E. Adams, harness and bicycles; Dr. T. E. Alyea, and Dr. H. C. Young (Miss Jessie Porter in charge), registered pharmacists and book stores; Valentin Weber, shoes; Mrs. Lydia A. Washburn, Arlington House; Miss Katie Schneider, Park House; Richard Heberling, and Joseph O. Husbands, restaurants; O. S. Kopp, bakery; Frank Hietter, livery; Dr. W. S. Hicks, dentist; Drs. R. F. Henry, C. H. Wilcox, T. E. Alyea and W. J. Price, practicing physicians; Dr. O. M. Goodale, veterinarian; Wm. Harrington, carpet factory; Goodman & Harrington, A. M. Marlatt and H. C. Miller, barbers; Higbee & Cutler, coal shaft; W. S. Weaver, wholesale poultry; Aaron C. Moffit, wagon shop; J. A. Pratt and O. S. Pratt, C. M. Gillen, R. J. Nichols, and Thos. McDowell, blacksmiths; Mrs. M. Scott and Mrs. N. Gill, milliners; M. L. Sniff, insurance and real estate; Milton Wilson, insurance and Notary Public; J. H. Hopkins, attorney; F. W. Cutler, insurance and Justice of the Peace; H. S. Yates, life insurance; A. A. Dart, H. D. Fast and K. C. Andrews, publishers of "Telephone;" George I. McGinnis, publisher "Republican;" John W. Miller, transfer and dray; W. M. Keck, local telephone exchange; W. W. Wright, mason and contractor; J. Y. Mendenhall, F. H. Cutler and W. H. Simmons, carpenter contractors; R. J. Benjamin, carpenter shop; W. M. Keck, leader and manager of Band and Orchestra; A. L. Parker, agent A. T. & S. F. Ry. Co.; J. W. McEwen, agent R. I. & P. Ry. Co.; H. J. Cheesman, Postmaster.
Fraternal lodges in the village, with their officers, are as follows:
Grand Army of the Republic: J. F. French Post, No. 153; A. C. Moffit, Commander; E. Keller, S. V. C.; John Wilson, J. V. C.; S. A. Andrews, Q. M.; J. A. Pratt, Adjt; O. S. Pratt, O. D.; J. M. Yates, Chaplain; James Bane, Q. G.; Wm. Wisenburg. Surgeon; John Geitner, Q. M. S.; Hugh Roney, S. M.; M. H. Buck, Delegate; Frank Rotterman, Alternate.
Thief Detective and Mutual Aid Association: S. S. Slane, Capt.; John W. Miller, 1st Lieut.; A. B. Debord, 2d Lieut.; Chas. Taylor, 3d Lieut.; M. V. Conklin, 4th Lieut. ; T. E, Alyea, Sec.; Joseph Friedman, Banker.
Princeville Fire Company: F. H. Cutler, Foreman; R. Cox, 1st Ass't.Foreman; C. N. Pratt, 2d Ass't.-Foreman: Geo. Coburn, Sec.; Hanford Harrison, Treas.
Modern Woodmen of America, Princeville Camp, No. 1304: F. H. Cutler, V. C.; A. J. Best, W. A.; J. L. Searl, E. B.; C. F. Harrington, Clerk; F. L. Bobier, Escort; F. E. Coburn, Watchman; Gale Nixon, Sentry.
A. F. & A. M., Princeville Lodge No. 360: J. C. Whelpley, W. M. ; J. V. Christian, S. W.; S. T, Henry, J. W.; D. .Kinnah, Treas.; J. F. Carman, Sec.; F. J. Wilson, S. D.; W. J. Price, J. D.; W. S. Weaver, S. S., M. L. Sniff, J. S.; Burt Brown, Tyler.
Order of the Eastern Star, Union Grove Chapter, No. 229: Mrs. Mary Cheesman, W. M.; Burtwell Brown W. P.; Mrs. Dora Carman, A. M.; Mrs. Anna Minkler, Conductress; Mrs. Hattie Blanchard, A. C.; Mrs. Lena Blanchard, Sec.; Mrs. Lena Harrison, Treas. ; Mrs. Chloe Cox, Adah; Miss Jessie Porter, Ruth; Mrs. Clara Kinnah, Esther; Mrs. Lizzie Christian, Martha; Mrs. Nellie Searl, Electa: Mrs. Sarah B. Andrews, Chaplain; Mrs. Mamie Morrow, Organist; Miss Nettie Stisser, Asst. Organist.
I. O. O. F., Diligence Lodge, No. 129; P. S. Dusten, N. G.: F. D. Goodman, V. G.; F. H. Cutler, Sec.; N. E. Adams, Treas.; A. H. Sloan, John Kinnah, M. Hammer, O. S. Pratt, T. E. Andrus, Trustees.
Daughters of Rebekah, Princeville Lodge, No. 351: Elsie Gillen, N. G.; Fannie Cutler, V. G.; Sarah E. Parker, Sec.; Alice Eyre, Treas., Hattie Debord, Fin. Sec.; N. E. Adams, Deputy; May Dusten, Warden: Sadie Smith, Conductor: Nettie Rowe. R. S. N. G.; Edith Fast, L. S. N. G.; Ella McDougal, I. G.; John Kinnah, O. G. Fraternal Army of America, Princeville Post, No. 96: Geo. Coburn, Capt.; Mrs. L. A. Washburn, Chaplain; Katie Pratt, Lieut.; W. J. Price, Post Surgeon; Wm. Wright. Corporal; Wm. Weight, Otis Goodale, Trustees.
Princeville Village we have given thus fully because it is the center of
township life. The township has grown in population from 1,335 in 1870, 1,682 in
1880, and 1,663 in 1800, to 1,717 in 1900. The total voting population is nearly
500, and, the required number of 450 having been passed prior to 1896, in that
year the township was divided into two precincts, No. l embracing a strip two
miles in width off the east side of the township, with
polling place at Princeville. and No. 2 the west four miles of the township, with polling place at Monica. Princeville was raised to be a third class post-office in 1900, and from it two rural free delivery routes are covered daily, with prospect of more routes in the future.
There are several miles of graveled road, with more gravel being placed each year, largely by donation of hauling, and partly by county and township appropriations. A few steel bridges have been put in each year, as the timber ones have worn out, until now a large proportion of the bridges are permanent ones. In the earlier day the population is said to have been nearly all Democratic. The Republican party started in 1856, when Fremont was candidate for President, but the Democrats were overpoweringly strong then. The recollection now is that the Republicans carried the township by 15 majority in 1860, again in 1864 and at one of the U. S. Grant elections. They also carried it by three majority when McKinley was elected for his first term. The Republicans might carry the township now if they would all vote together, but they are split up, and the result is that the Democrats hold their old time supremacy. The political complexion of the officials, however, has made very little difference with the conduct of town affairs. There have been no disturbing elements in local elections, and the officials, as well as the remainder of the citizens, have bent their energies to looking after the material interests of the township.
The township officers after the spring election of 1902 are as follows: M. V. Conllin, Supervisor ; J. A: Pratt, Clerk; Henry Debord, Assessor; J. Y. Mendenhall, Collector; Archibald Smith, Frank Harrison and Ezra B. Calhoun, Road Commissioners; George Coon and James Walkington, Constables; F. W. Cutler, Justice of the Peace; Sherman T. Henry, R. M. Todd, and A. B. Debord, School Trustees; Edward Auten, School Treasurer.
The township is busy at its farms, its trades, and its shops. It is attending to business, although not following the pace for gold. It cares not for the turmoil, knows nothing of the poverty and thinks little of the sorrow of the city. Here the open-hearted, frank American citizen, the bulwark of our nation, is at home. He may be clad in modest clothes, but he is educated, and has a mind of his own. He appreciates the gentleman in his visitors, and, to such, his hospitality is open; to affectation and insincerity he says, "You are in the wrong place."
With her religion and education, her industry and honesty, her energy and
judgment, and her thrift, coupled with her fertile soil, her blue sky, her
springs and streams, her gentle rains and protecting forests, with all the
beauties of trees and flowers, the singing birds and contented beasts.
Princeville is a fair specimen, six miles square, of "The great, the free, the
open, rolling West."
From Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria
County, Edited by David McCulloch, Vol. II; Chicago and Peoria: Munsell
Publishing Company, Publishers, 1902.
Princeville Township History
Daniel Prince came to Princeville in 1822, and settled on section 24, built a log cabin 14 x 14, being the pioneer of civilization in this part of the country. He was a native of the northern part of Vermont. The first settler who moved his family into the township was Stephen French, a native of Connecticut, who emigrated to Sangamon county, Ill., some time previous to 1828. He came to Peoria county and settled near Peoria that year, and soon afterwards became a resident of Princeville, and was the first justice of the peace and first postmaster in the place. Mr. French has a son, Demmeck French, living in the township, who was the first white child born in the county. The first school was taught in a log house near where Hitchcock & Voores mill now stands, by Miss Esther Stoddard. The first male teacher was Theodore F. Hurd, now a successful merchant and farmer of Galva, Ill. The first sermon was preached by Rev. Robt. Stewart, a Presbyterian minister. The first death was that of the father-in-law of Isaac Essex (name unknown). The first birth was a child in Mr. S. French's family.[from "The History of Peoria County, Illinois; Johnson & Co., 1880. Transcribed by Karen Seeman]
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