HISTORY OF FLORID, ILLINOIS

The Village of Florid

Florid is the name of a one time flourishing country village 3 1/2 miles north from Hennepin, laid out in 1836 by Thomas W. Steward and Eric Thompson. It attained its greatest growth soon  after having some stores, steam mill, church, school house and a couple dozen houses. The place has since gone to decay.  This locality seems to have attracted some of the earliest settlers of Putnam County. In 1827, Thomas Gallaher Sr. made his claim north of and James W. Willis put up the first cabin in the town of Florid.  Thomas Gallaher Jr. built a cabin there and returned for his family who came here in the spring of 1828.  Nelson Shepherd came and located a mile south of Florid in 1828. James G. Ross and W.M. Stewart arrived in 1832.

Another settler worthy of special notice was Samuel D. Laughlin, who made his claim adjoining that of Nelson Shepherd south of Florid in the spring of 1827. Steven D. Willis put of a cabin for Mr.  Laughlin and laid or broke about 10 acres of ground that season. He remained here until 1830 when he brought his family consisting of himself and wife and John W., James G. and his wife, and Mrs. Doctor Davis, all living in Mt. Palatine, Mary wife of H.P. Leep of Princeton, William M. at Granville, Sara A. now Mrs. William McCord of Ontario, Addison born in Putnam County, April 11, 1832, now living in Wisconsin and Caroline born here but now dead. It is worthy to mention that during this long journey, Miss Mary Laughlin, afterward Mrs. Babbett, rode on horseback all the way and helped drive the cattle and sheep.  

During Mr. Laughlin’s absence after his family, a claim jumper named Ely undertook to jump his improvements but the neighbors at the head of whom was Jeremiah Strawn sat down on him so effectually that he never showed himself again. Samuel D. Laughlin remained upon his farm until his death in  February 1849. His wife, formerly Miss Rebecca Dunlavy died three days before him and both lie together in the Union Grove cemetery which encloses the remains of Mrs. George Ish, Mrs. McComb, Mrs. Hugh Warnock, the latter probably the first of the old settlers who was buried here.

From Record of Olden Times or Fifty Years  on the Prairie
 embracing sketches of the discovery, exploration and settlement of the country.
by Spencer Elsworth   Lacon, IL Home Journal Steam Printing Establishment
Copyright Date MDCCCLXXX (1880)     Page 204


Florid

In 1836, Thomas W. Stewart and Aaron Thompson laid out a village, three and a half miles southeast of Hennepin which they named Florid. It attained its greatest growth soon after. The extent of its development has been a little hamlet nestling in the woods, built upon the road that leads from Hennepin to the settlements in the Ox Bow, Strawn’s and Magnolia, with no cross streets. For about sixty rods the villagers built their houses on either side of the road. At one time it had two churches, both of which are closed now, which with a Woodman Hall and the school house, constitute the public buildings. This community was made up of some of the best and strongest characters of pioneer days. A few rods east of the village is the site of the famous Fort Cribs which was erected in 1832 as a block house for defense against the Indians. It takes its name from the fact that a number of corn cribs were within the enclosure. It was resorted to by all the settlers in the vicinity for safety, as many as a hundred being there at one time. A memorable event was the birth, while in this fort, of Miton Shepart, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Sheperd. We personally remember while teaching at Florid in 1881 and 1882 that a part of this fort still stood but has been torn away. Florid contains one good general store at present and a number of good, substantial dwelling houses, with its honorable citizens, mostly retired from the active duties of life.

“Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties”
Published in 1907


Florid was founded by William M. Steward and Aaron Thompson on the 10th of December 1835. It is situated about 3 miles south-east of Hennepin where there is the smallest prospect of ever building up a considerable town. It attained some growth however at an early day. In 1841, there were 27 buildings in it, and a number were in progress. It had a tavern, a store, a steam mill, and six or eight shops for manufacturing.  At present, it is much dilapidated and exhibits no business activity. One of the handsomest and best country school houses in the county stands in the immediate vicinity. A small edition was made to the town many years ago by W. White.

“History of Putnam County” by Henry A. Ford
Corresponding member of the Chicago Historical Society
Published at Lacon in 1860


Putnam County - Florid and Mt. Palatine

Taken From The Herald and Review, Hennepin, Illinois
August 23, 1845

In a recent number of our paper, we published the first part of a short sketch of a visit through Putnam County. We will now continue our visit to Florid and Mt. Palatine, but should our brief account be uninteresting to our readers, then the fault will be ourselves, for not having taken wayside notes.

The day preceding our visit to Granville, we again bade adieu from our sanctum sanctorum and took an easterly direction from Hennepin. After passing numerous prairie cottages and passing through a handsome grove of timber, the outskirts of Florid presented themselves. Florid is a small village situated 4 miles from the county town on the main road from Hennepin to Magnolia and in a view of the grand prairie.

Florid was founded by William F. Stewart and settled by industrious and enterprising mechanics and farmers from Pennsylvania about 8 years ago. And who led on by indomniable spirit of enterprise, which generally pervades immigrants from the Keystone state, soon built up a village of comfortable homes. There are now we think between 40 and 50 families in Florid. The people of the town are particularly noted for their strict religious principles, Methodism and Presbyterianism are the predominant religions.

After spending a short time in Florid, we passed on to the grand prairie toward Palatine, and we were again overwhelmed by the astonishment at the beauty and grandeur of this prairie. We were now out on a prairie which extends from the lower part of the state of Illinois to Lake Superior, occasionally interspersed with tracts of timber, designed no doubt by nature to aid the immigrant in cultivating this prairie. This ocean of wealth (for we may truly call it such), abounds in all the advantages that immigrant may have any desire for - A rich and fertile soil, healthy climate, good markets etc.

While viewing this noble plain of fertile soil, we seriously reflected on the pitiable conditions of thousands - aye millions of human beings in Europe and even our own country, who are struggling continually merely for the common necessaries of life. Here we thought are thousands of acres as rich and fertile soil as can be found in the United States, idle and open to the winds and with but little cultivation would afford a livelihood to an immense number of the poor classes of mankind. The scene before us presented a wide scope for the reflecting mind.

Unfortunately the greater part of this prairie of Putnam county is owned by non residents and the question naturally arises: Who owns all this land? The answer is, (and we regret to have to state), speculators. Men who have had capital to invest, having purchased those lands at government prices, but not for the purpose of cultivating them, but to speculate on them, thereby depriving the poor classes from settling on them.

These speculators are we believe principally eastern capitalists and do not let their whereabouts be known. In this particular, they stand in their own light, where they might frequently dispose of some of their lands at reasonable rates. We are glad however to hear that some of the speculating gentlemen are becoming tired of their investments. Every now and then, a straggling speculator comes along, and apparently uneasy about his land in the west, and offers his land as cheap and sometimes cheaper than it costs him.

But pardon us reader, we were wandering off our track into the speculative mania of ‘36 and ‘37. We continued on our road after we left Florid about 4 miles and stopped in front of the hospitable residence of Christopher Winters, Esq. We were in Mount Palatine!  Palatine is as yet quite a small place, but it is regularly laid out as a town. The residences are neat and comfortable, containing we think about 20 families in a thriving and prosperous condition.

Palatine was founded by Mr. Winters, who emigrated to this county about 14 years ago from the state of Ohio. Mr. Winters is possessed of a splendid farm, having an excellent peach and apple orchard, (probably the largest in Putnam county) large portion of his farm in cultivation, a comfortable dwelling, a grove of locust timber. He laid the foundation of an academy and has founded a town - all within 6 years. We wish Mr. Winters and his lady a long and happy life. There is a congregation of Baptists in Palatine with the Rev. Mr. Powell as pastor.


Putnam County Teachers Institute (At Florid)

Taken From the Hennepin Tribune
October 22, 1858

The following from the talented editor of the Home Journal, Professor Eberhart is but a just tribute to the interest and zeal felt in the cause of education by the citizens of Florid and vicinity.

The institute held there some two weeks since eclipsed in numbers and interest anything of the kind yet held in this county. May the good cause progress until every child in the county will receive a thorough education. Little Putnam County has felt the throb of intellect. Thoughts on common schools have electrified the people and set them to work in earnest. Last week we attended an institute at Florid and in some important features it surpassed any we have ever yet attended in this state. Nowhere have we seen a deeper interest manifested by an attendance and attention on the part of the citizens and nowhere a more kind and generous hospitalityexhibited towards all the guests from abroad and they were many.

Our pleasant ride to and from the institute and the overflowing and unmistakable generosity of our entertainers, we and all who enjoyed them will treasure with fondest memory. Florid is not a large place but it will hereafter be an important place in Putnam county. For there was given an impulse to the great cause of education, such as the county never before felt.

Florid, although not proud in appearance, may well be proud of this one act. And we cheerfully accord to it the boast of us true people, in and about it, as ever breathed the air of heaven or write the “Home Journal”. And by the way, we would suggest that one of above is about as necessary as the other. Our firm and reliable old friend, Elder Cross, the school commisioner, was at the head of the institute with his heartwarm zeal, not in the least abated, and his admiring teachers stood by his side with strong hands and encouraging words to move matters on.

Most efficient aide was also brought to the institute by Mr. C. P. Allen of Princeton. His words were keen and critisizms pleasant. He won many friends. The night lectures were delivered by Dr. Taber of Hennepin, Mr. Etter of Lacon, Mr. Stone of Ottawa, ourself and Mr. Cross, and in the above order. The night audiences were entirely beyond the capacity of the church, which could well accomodate about 300. The house was also generally full in daylight. Such interest in a community and among teachers is truly encouraging.

Putnam, although a small county, of only 35 school districts will yet assume a marked prominence in this state if she continues to love and labor as she has begun. May a more throwing interest arouse her every citizen who is yet unawakened and a good school house ornament every district in her borders. And that too, before Elder Cross ceases to be her school commissioner. We would yet notice one peculiar feature of this institute, which we would also recommend to others. We have referenced to the attendance of pupils of the Granville seminary in a body and under the charge of Mrs. Cooley. This shows true interest. The Rev. Mr. Cooley of Granville, also added to the interest of the institute. The next institute will be held in the spring at Magnolia and we intend to be there.


The Trial of A. B. Gurnea

Taken From the Henry Republican, Henry, IL
January 18, 1872

Putnam County News - Florid

On Saturday through the courtesy of P. S. Perley, Esq., and J. P. Worrell, Esq., ye editor saw, for the first time, the village of Florid, tucked in the edge of a wood in the southern part of Hennepin township. It embraces one store, which is the post office and loafing place of the town, a good school house and two churches - Wesleyan Methodist and German Reformed. Our lawyers were called there to defend A. B. Gurnea, Esq., of Magnolia, from the charge of receiving stolen goods, which proved to be in a stray horse, about which there was a dispute of ownership, the suit being brought to bind Mr. Gurnea to next term in court.

A great deal of interest had been gotten up, and the court room (that school house) was densely packed with the citizens of that region - Granville, Hennepin, Florid and Magnolia, who stayed until the examination was closed from 11 a. m. until 10 p. m. The evidence was not sufficient to warrant Justice I. W. Stewart to bind, but there was much irregular practice shown in the management of and running off of the horse. Friend Gurnea got clear, and we guess of all time, of all similar “complications.” Messrs. Frank Whiting and A. Cassell were the attorneys of the “persecutors,” and Messrs. Perley, Worrell and Allen for the defense. The trial was conducted in an honorable and fair way, and with an impartial hearing. We believe the verdict “was in accordance with the facts”.

Mr. Stewart is a young man, one of our old schoolmates and shows himself well qualified to set upon a trial. His management of the suit was excellent, and his many decisions just and well taken. He promises to equal any of his older county contemporaries. We spent the night at his house. He has a beautiful home and family, wife a wife, (an estimable daughter of Williamson Durley) quite as hospitable and generous as he. Hi is newly fixed and well-to-do in the world, and is one of Putnam county’s best citizens.

On Saturday at dinner we sat down to a table of D. Yerger, as well loaded and as nice a meal as we have indulged in for many a day. He only charged 25 cents each to about 20 of us, and certainly he could not have got his money back. This township has many nice farms in it, and is inhabited by as hardy and industrious people as one will find anywhere.




Dr. Bickel Moves Practice To Florid

Taken From the Henry Republican
July 1, 1880

Hennepin

At the urgent solicitation of many friends, Dr. J. S. Bickel of Sprinkleburg removes his office to Florid this week, where he will live in the house formerly owned and occupied by Dr. Vanderslice and where he may be found at all hours of the day or night, when not otherwise professionally engaged. We congratulate the people of Florid on their prospect of long life and happiness.

Dr. Bickel Moves Back to Pennsylvania

Henry Republican, Henry Illinois, Hennepin, May 18, 1882

Dr. Bickel in Florid has gone to his old home in Pennsylvania for his health and to visit friends. No man needs to go further than Hennepin for his health cause there's no sickness here at all and our doctors depend for business entirely on accidents and fights. What town can show a better record.



Dr. O'Neal a Delegate from the Illinois State Eclectic Medial Association

The Henry Republican, Henry Illinois, July 18, 1882

Dr. J. F. O'Neal of Florid returned Monday evening from an extended trip through New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and other states. He was a delegate from the Illinois State Eclectic Medical Association to the National Eclectic Medical Association that commenced its season at New Haven, Ct., June 21. It was an interesting meeting, largely attended and richly enjoyed by him. While absent, he visited Niagara Falls, New York, Philadelphia and his old native heath on the banks of the Blue Juniata.


The 1879 Teacher Institute at Florid

Taken From the Henry Republican
January 30, 1879

The teacher's institute at Florid on the 18th inst., was well attended. The Record has a full report. At 11 a.m. A. B. Sill opened the exercises with the subject of reading, which occupied the morning hour, and at the request of some of the teachers, was continued for half an hour of the afternoon session, when penmanship was introduced by J. G. Rauch, the discussion of which was continued by Henry Stouffer, and Jas. Smith, principal of the Magnolia school. Arthmetic was then introduced by W. H. Ham, upon which a long discussion ensued, being participated in by Messrs. Sill, Bettler, Smith, Stouffer, and Misses Lenora Beck and Josephine Tomlinson.

The study of language was then presented by Chas. McMurry, teacher of the Clear Creek school, who treated the subject with conciseness and ability, showing himself ot be a young man of study and sholarly attainments. History, the last subject on the programme, was then taken up by A. Robinson, upon which remarks were also made by Miss Ware and Willis Mills. In the evening, a large audience assembled in the church to hear an address by Mr. W. H. Ham, on the subject of "The Problems of Life," which was listened to with much interest, as the speaker proceeded to (?) the possibilities that were within the reach of all to win, by courage, and perseverance, both fame and fortune.


Florid Burglary

September 1, 1881 - Hennepin

Taken From the Henry Republican

Florid is having a small sensation in the way of a burglary or two. Two of the parties accused have skipped out, they being well known citizens of Florid. We are fully informed of the alleged particulars, but do not think best to give them now in advance of the arrest of the parties. Levere Cramer was the sufferer to the amount of about $58 in cash.


Taken From the Putnam Record
January 19,
1882

Dr. J. L. O'Neal pulled the bobbin at our sanctum door on Monday. The doctor is one of our successful Henry boys. Here he read medicine, and from here his medical practice commenced. He located at Florid, Putnam county, and has built up a wife and permanent practice. He is an honorable member of the profession and worthy of all he has achieved.

The Putnam Record
April 20, 1882

We are told that Florid is all shook up over their school election. Dr. O'Neil was re-elected director.


1898 and 1899 News

Taken From the Putnam Record, December 15, 1898
Local News - Florid - Dec. 13

Della Davis visited school Monday afternoon.

Walter Kessling started to school Monday morning.

Skating is very fine, but the boys take a lantern so they won't get lost.

C. Ross, of LaFayette, is visiting here, the guest of his sister, mrs. E. Bliss.

Vinnie Bliss visited friends here last week and called on us Friday afternoon.

Miss Stella Gardner visited in Henry, the latter part of last week, returning Sunday evening.

George Mead and Henry Hyler, of Hennepin are plastering Have Allen's new house.  The family can soon move in.

John Clemens, who had his foot hurt by a horse jumping on it, confining him to the house for a few days, is out again.

The Pletsch boys are the happy owners of a double-barrel shot gun.  Their father of course is the general guardian of the armory.

Quite a number of people from here attended the funeral of David Deck Sunday afternoon.  Ther services were conducted under the auspices of the Hennepin Post, Mr. Deck bing an old soldier.

Taken From the Putnam Record, January 19, 1899
Local News - Florid, Jan. 2

George Hawthorne was a Florid Visitor Sunday.

Joe Beck and Miss Lillie Beck entertained the grippe most of last week.

Miss Anges Dennis, of Henry, spent part of last week with Miss Stella Garder.

Mrs. Walborn, of Granville, is visiting here, the guest of her sister Mrs. Fulmer.

There will be services in the church next Sunday morning and evening, Rev. Findley officiating.

The young people planned for a big skating party Saturday night, but for some reason they failed to skate.

Jacob Willis is moving to Hennepin, where he has purchased the Scott Thomas property, and will reside in the future.

County Superintendent Hawthorne was a welcome visitor at school last Friday. Frank Hetrick, of La Salle, also called in the afternoon.

Report of Florid school for the month of December. Number of pupils enrolled, 39. Number days in school month, 23; average daily attendance, 28. Pupils present every day: Harry and George Pletsch, Arlie and Julia Fulmer, Maud, Edna, Florence and Mabel Clemens, Ione Odekirk, Florence Seibert, Bessie and Lelia Allen, Maud Rudy, Pearl Hetrick.

Cora Whitaker, Tchr.

The Putnam Record
February 23, 1899

Feb. 16

Mollie and Floyd Allen are on the sick list.

Miss Hannah Biever spent Saturday with friends in Florid

Mrs. James Chance and Miss Carrie Springer spent Wednesday in Henry.

Miss Lizzie Shields of Ottawa, is the guest of Miss Sada Hatrick this week.

A little daughter came to gladden the home of Earnest Bliss and wife last week.

J. E. Allen is hauling tile from Tonica for Mr. Leech, who will use it draining a fiend on his farm in the spring.

Quite a number from Florid attended the Stehl sale Wednesday, Sam Clemens took the usual supply of cigars and confectionery for the coppers and comfort of the bystanders.

Feb. 21

Frank Hetrick enjoyed (?) an attack of the grippe last week.

Mr. and Mrs. Walborn, of Granville spent Sunday with friends here.

Mr. and Mrs. Gallaher of Spring Valley visited his parents the past week.

Edith Whitaker of Hennepin visited with Florence Seibert Saturday afternoon.

J. E. Allen's little daughter Mollie is under the doctor's care, and Floyd has been out of school for about a week.

Mrs. Rebecca Fulmer who was quite ill the latter part of last week, is able to be up again.  Her little daughter Julia is now on the sick list.

Joe Willis, of Nebraska formerly of Florid, came last week to visit his siter, Mrs. Peter Clemens and to assist in caring for his brother, Jake, whose condition remains about the same.

The Hennepin Herald
March 9, 1899

Uncle D. B. Moore, one of our goood farmers living near Florid, was in town Monday and will read this railroad agitator in the future.  Mr. Moore says he has resided on the home place since 1857, and is sure no one will enjoy more a road into the county.  Like all the rest, he wants to see it built into Hennepin, the county seat.

Mr. and Mrs. Gus. Deininger, Mrs. James Chance, Mrs. Harrison Edwards, Mrs. Henry Alleman of Florid, H. B. King, Fred Flaugher and Edward Zenor, were initiated into the Royal Neighbors Monday night.  Henry King slipped off the "Wiliam G." the third round.

The Putnam Record
May 4 1899

George Hawthorne, of Florid, who lived in Hennepin, a few years ago, met with quite a serious accident last Saturday.  He was on the road with the stallion Highland Duke, and when near the O. B. Davis farm, met James Bosley with another stallion. The men stopped to chat a little while, and the horses became angry at each other and Hawthorne used the whip on his hourse, but the animal remained in an ugly mood until the Davis farm was reached, where Mr. Hawthorne stopped.  He got off the cart he was riding in, and while in the act of opening the gate, the enraged stallion rushed at him and grabbed his arm with his teeth, braking both bones of the forearm.  Dr. Taylor of Florid attended the injured man and made him as comfortable as possible.  Only a year or two ago, Mr. Hawthorne had the hand on this same arm terribly crushed in a threshing machine.



FLORID SCHOOL HOUSE BURNED

TAKEN FROM THE PUTNAM RECORD
FRONT PAGE, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 1908

Last Friday evening about 6:00 the schoolhouse building in Florid, 4 miles southeast of Hennepin took fire and so rapidly did it burn that the entire structure and its contents were a mass of glowing embers almost before its citizens could reach it. The fire was first discovered by Mrs. Samuel Clemens living across the street north of the building, who was in her kitchen doing her evenings work when she detected the smell of smoke. Thinking it was in an adjoining room where the children were, she called to them and asked them what they were burning. They answered that they were not burning anything and one of the older children went to the window and discovered that the school house was on fire and stated the fact to her mother. Mrs. Clemens ran to a neighbors where there was a telephone and phoned downtown and gave the alarm. The alarm was sounded and in a few minutes the entire population was at the scene. But it was evident from the first, that to save the building or any of its contents was out of the question and all the people could do was stand by and see their property destroyed.   It is not clearly know just how the fire started but as the roof was in massive flames when the fire was discovered, it was thought to have caught in the upper building - either from a defective fuse or from a spark that might have fallen on the roof. But from the fact that the school had been closed for over 2 hours, the fire could not have originated from overheating of the stove, unless it had smoldered for 2 hours before breaking out.  The building was erected over 40 years ago and was entirely of wood and was valued probably at about $1200, being a well built structure and well adapted for the purpose for which it was used. The property was covered by insurance in the amount of $800 - $400 on the building and $350 on the furniture. A few of the pupils had taken their books home with them and all that were left in the building were destroyed besides quite a large library belonging to the district and these as we understand were not covered by insurance and are at a total loss. The teacher Mr. Robert Halligar of Putnam also had about $50 worth of books in the building which were also destroyed.  It being Friday evening, Mr. Halligar had gone home to Putnam immediately after closing school for the week, but on learning of the fire, came back the next morning and lent what assistance he could straightening up matters preparatory to continuing the school. It was arranged to open the school Monday at the M. W. A. hall and do the best they can as it will take sometime to replace the books that were destroyed and arrange seating and other matters but it is intended to continue the school right along with as little delay as possible under the circumstances. The destruction of the building at this time of year and the loss of books is a severe blow but the people of Florid have energy and pluck that knows no defeat.


1835 Plat of the Town of Florid in Putnam County and State of Illinois.

Mike O'Neal writes: "Hi Nancy. I copied this from the original Plat at the Putnam County Courthouse."

A Plat of the Town of Florid in Putnam County and State of Illinois.

Situated on the North quarter of Section twenty four in Town Thirty two North, in Range two west of the third principal Meridian, County and State aforesaid.

The data or Starting point in the present survey of said Town, is a Stone planted or fixed at the South west corner of a Wheelwrights Shop. (Standing on the South west corner of Lot No. One.) and now owned by Mr. Aaron Thompson being on the North line of Main Street and from which point the present Survey extends due East on the said north line of Main Street.  Twenty eight rods, or 462, and due West from said Stone or Starting point on the line of said Street Sixty two rods, or 1023 feet, making the East and West lines of the present Survey, 90 rods in length, And due North from said Starting point two hundred feet, being the length of the lots of the said Survey. Also from said Starting point due South two hundred and seventy five feet, making the North and South lines of the present Survey four hundred and seventy five feet.

Further description as follows to wit. Width of Main Street 75 feet. Streets running North and South 30 feet each in width. Alleys 10 feet wide Each. Length of lots 200 feet each. Width of same 60 feet. Except the two east lots which is 32 feet wide each and Also the two west lots which is twenty three feet wide each. N. B. On the end of each Lot on Main Street is marked in figures the width thereof, On the back part thereof the length. And in the Center of Each Lot is marked the number, by which it is known and designated. Stewart.

Aaron Thompson. B. M. Hayes, County Surveyor.
State of Illinois, County of Putnam Il.

J. Hooper Warren Clerk of the County Commissioners Court of said County, do hereby Certify that William M. Stewart and Aaron Thompson, personally known to me as the same persons as here named are subscribed to the annexed Plat, and acknowledged that they signed the same as their free act and deed, for the uses and purposes therein expressed,

< Given under my hand and seal of said Court, at Hennepin this 10th day of December 1835,

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