VERMILION COUNTY DURING THE CIVIL WAR.
Source: "History of Vermilion County, Illinois: A Tale of Its Evolution, Settlement, and Progress for Nearly a Century"
By Lottie E. Jones, 1911
Transcribed for Genealogy Trails by Barb Ziegenmeyer
To a reader of history who studies causes and effects, Vermilion County, at the beginning of the Civil war, presents interesting conditions. The entire country was in an unsettled state, none the less was this section. Nearly a hundred years had passed since the founding of the new government in America, and the people subscribing to the constitution by which it should be enforced had yet the same disagreement in the interpretation of this organ which met it at first and they were not satisfied. The country was extensive and conditions of living differed in different sections. One part of the country was rich in natural products and another facilities for manufacturing. Little means of transporting the raw product from the southern part of the country, or of intercourse, each section with the other ; ideals of all sorts diverse and strong, and constantly growing more intense ; all these things tended to separate the states on the geographic lines. Such were the conditions which naturally led the United States toward sectionalism. Below the Mason and Dixon line there was but one expressed opinion. The institution which their neighbors to the north hated, seemed to them of absolute importance to their life. Anyone who did not like the system of slavery must leave that section; and people with these sentiments developed in rising generations, did leave, coming often to the nearest free state, which was either Indiana or Illinois. That a state had a right to do anything it desired, was accepted doctrine in the South. Above this imaginary line of division a man held more independent ideas. Generally speaking, the majority agreed that the government of the United States was for each and every citizen equally; that slavery was unconstitutional, as well as subject to a higher standard of judgment, and protested against its extension; The wealth of the South came as the result of another's labor, while that of the North came as the reward of each man's efforts. Sectionalism increased constantly, the Southern states carrying the matter of state rights so far as to the right to dissolve the union of all states at the will of any one. This the people of the North would not admit, even to the length of taking up arms in defense of the existing government. In the Eastern states the people were, by descent as well as other conditions, liberty -loving and independent of thought, and the views of the South were appalling to the majority of them. In the Western states,or rather, those which at the time were the Western states (particularly Indiana and Illinois), the people had such a recent inheritance of these same views, that the position of the South to them was different. Southern Illinois was settled from the Southern states. This was true of the central part of the state. Vermilion County, it has been seen, was settled largely from Kentucky, Virginia, the Carolinas and Tennessee. While some of these people came to get away from the institution of slavery, more of them came with prejudice in favor of the Southern ideas and institutions. During the fifties immigration came from the East, and northern Illinois was dominated by the ideas of that section. A close observer of settlements in Vermilion County will see this new force coming in, like the entrance of a different stream into a flowing river, and like the onrush of a second mighty stream, where the meeting took place, there were turbulent waters. The land of central and southern Indiana and Illinois was a perpetual battlefield. Public sentiment in Vermilion County was not all given to either side without conditions. This warfare was not without its advantage, however; such opposition always makes the individual opinions the stronger.
When the struggle actually came on, when the flag of the country was fired upon and the President of the United States called for volunteers, the men and boys of Vermilion County responded in a goodly number, ready and willing to defend the honor of their land, even with their lives. Business interests were laid aside, family obligations were suspended, and there was no waiting to be forced into the service of their country on the part of the men of Vermilion County. The many belonging to the Society of Friends who had largely come into this county from Tennessee to get away from the institution of slavery were, of course, kept from taking up anus by reason of their faith, yet many enlisted and of those who remained at home their help was freely given to their neighbor who could go to the battlefield, and his family was sure of friends while he was gone. The first call for men was to service for three months. To this call many made response, and when the time passed and their term of service was over they reenlisted. There were several regiments in which many of the volunteers were men from Vermilion County.
A history of Vermilion county was published in 1879, while yet many of the returned soldiers were living who could tell the story of those years of Civil war, and lengthy reports of the various regiments were available from the pen of participants. This history was written by Mr. Beckwith, and has now been out of print several years. Because it is out of reach of so many, it is deemed best to quote these reports directly from its pages with additions or changes where the writers are yet living. The regiments under consideration were the 25th, the 37th, the 73d and the 125 Illinois Volunteers. Of the writers of these reports, Capt. Achilles Martin and Col. William Mann are dead. The others are living.
TWENTY-FIFTH REGIMENT ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS. [Contributed by Captain Achilles Martin.]
The 25th Ill Vol. Inf., three companies of which (A, B and D) were from Vermilion County, mustered into service at St. Louis, Missouri, August 4, 1861, and from there transported by rail to Jefferson City, Missouri, and thence to Sedalia, Missouri, and marched to Springfield, Missouri, under General Fremont, in pursuit of General Price's army, and from thence to Rolla, Missouri, where, with a portion of Fremont's army, it spent the early part of the winter of 1861 and 1862, but returned to Springfield, Missouri, in February, 1862, under command of General Siegel, and pursued General Price's army to Bentonville, Arkansas, where, on the 6th, 7th and 8th of March, 1862, the memorable battle of "Pea Ridge" was fought. The 25th Reg., having been held in support until early morn of the third day, took the front under the immediate command of General Siegel, in support of the artillery, which opened the engagement. After a fierce contest with grape, canister and shell at short range, the enemy's batteries were silenced, and the memorable order, "Up, 25th, Minutes ! Col. Minutes !" was given by General Siegel in person, and the next moment the regiment, under the most terrific fire of musketry, with other troops, charged the enemy in a thick wood, where, after a fierce and deadly contest, the enemy's lines gave way, and the whole army was soon in full retreat, and thus was victory brought out of what but a few hours before was considered, by the general commanding, a defeat. The regiment was highly complimented for its gallantry in this (its first) engagement. Then, in connection with the army, it took up the line eastward, where, after a long and tedious march, it arrived at Batesville, in Arkansas, and was there detached from the army, and, with nine other regiments under command of Gen. Jeff. C. Davis, marched eastward to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, a distance of two hundred and fifty miles in nine days, having made an average of about
twenty-eight miles per day. The regiment then, by river transportation, joined Gen. Halleck's army in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi, which place was soon evacuated by the enemy; and after a short stay in Mississippi marched eastward under command of Gen. Buell by way of Nashville, Tennessee, to Louisville, Kentucky, a distance of nearly five hundred miles in the month of August, in the most extreme heat and drought. Here a few| days were spent in reorganizing the army, when it was ordered in pursuit of Gen. Bragg's army, then invading Kentucky. Later, the battle of Perryville, or Chaplain Hills, was fought between a portion of the two armies, wherein the 25th Reg., and more than sixty thousand other well-equipped soldiers were compelled to act as spectators in the slaughter of a portion of our army under command of Gen. McCook, because the general commanding said that McCook had brought on the engagement without his orders. After this battle the regiment returned to Nashville, Tennessee, and Gen. Rosecrans was put in command of the army, then known as the Army of the Cumberland, which remained at Nashville until the last of December, 1862, when it was advanced to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and met the enemy under command of Gen. Bragg at Stone River, Tennessee, on the 30th of December, 1862, and at the dawning of the 31st the enemy attacked in great force. The 25th Reg., being in the unfortunate right wing of our army, was soon sharply engaged, when the charge grew fierce and deadly. The line on the left of the 25th gave way, and being fiercely assailed in front and left, the regiment was compelled to change front under a most withering fire. Here the color-bearer was stricken down and the flag lay on the ground, when Col. Williams, of the regiment (than whom no more worthy patriot has died), raised the colors with his own hands, and having indicated the new line to be formed, he planted the flag firmly, and uttered in loud tones his living and dying words : "Boys, we will plant the flag here and rally around it, and here we will die !" The next moment, with flagstaff in hand, he fell. The regiment, after twice repulsing the enemy in front, finding itself flanked on both right and left, retired from its position and fell to the rear, leaving more than one-third of its number dead and wounded on the field. The enemy was finally checked, and the battle continued sullenly until the 26. of January, 1863, when Gen. Breckenridge made his celebrated assault on the left wing of our army. The charge was brilliant beyond comparison. The shock of battle was terrific. Our left was broken, defeated and driven back. Fresh troops were in like manner swept away like chaff before the wind. Fifty pieces of artillery were brought to bear on the enemy's right. The earth trembled and shook as a leaf in the storm beneath the iron monsters, as they poured their storm of death into the advancing column, and yet their onward march was as the march of destiny, until the shout from Gen. Negley rang out, "Who'll save the left?" "The 19th Ill.," was the reply— the 25th Ill. being close in their support. They did save the left, and the 25th held the front thus carried until the retreat of the enemy, while the heaps of the enemy's
dead testified to gallantry worthy of a better cause. The regiment, in connection with the army, next marched south in pursuit of Gen. Bragg's army till it reached the Tennessee River, near Stevenson, Alabama. To cross this river in the face of the enemy and lay the pontoon bridge was given in charge of this regiment alone; consequently, at early morn our shore w(as lined with skirmishers and a battery of artillery, while the regiment embarked in pontoon boats and rowed away to the opposite shore a mile distant, drove the enemy back, laid the bridge and was crossing the entire army over by eleven o'clock A. M. The sight of this little circumstance was extremely grand, but the danger great. The regiment next crossed over Sand Mountain and Lookout Mountain and entered into the valley, again engaging the enemy in the terrible battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, where it left more than two-thirds of its number among the dead and wounded on the field, all of whom fell into the hands of the enemy. This battle, for severity, stands second to none in the history of the war, and no regiment in the engagement suffered greater loss than the Twenty-fifth Illinois. The regiment was next called to meet the enemy at the battle of Chattanooga, under command of Gen. U. S. Grant, and when the order came to storm Mission Ridge, the Twenty-fifth Regiment was assigned the front, or skirmish line, where it advanced slowly until within a few rods of the enemy's guns, when, with a simultaneous charge, in connection with the Thirty-fifth Illinois, carried the enemy's works, captured their batteries, broke their lines on Missionary Ridge, and made way for a magnificent victory. Along the entire line here again the carnage was great, but the achievements brilliant in the extreme. The regiment was then ordered to east Tennessee, where it spent the winter in various unimportant campaigns, and in the spring of 1864 rejoined the Army of the Cumberland, near Chattanooga, under command of Gen. Sherman, and started on that memorable campaign to Atlanta, Georgia, at which place it terminated its service and returned home to be mustered out.
During the months of this campaign, the endurance of both officers and men of the regiment was taxed to its utmost — it was one long and tedious battle, often violent and destructive, then slow and sullen, both armies seeking advantage by entrenching, maneuvering, flanking and by sudden and by desperate charges, the Twenty-fifth Illinois, bearing its equal burden of the toils, the dangers and losses, as will more fully appear from the following order or address, delivered by Col. W. H. Gibson, commanding the brigade, on its taking leave of the army, at Atlanta, Georgia, August 20, 1864, to wit: "
"Soldiers of the Twenty-fifth Illinois Volunteers: As your term of three years' service has expired, and you are about to proceed to your state to be mustered out, it is fitting and proper that the colonel commanding should express to each and all his earnest thanks for the cheerful manhood with which, during the present campaign, you have submitted to every hardship, overcome every difficulty, and for the magnificent heroism with which you have met and vanquished the foe. Your deportment in camp has been worthy true soldiers, while your conduct in battle has excited the admiration of your companions in arms. Patriotic thousands and a noble state will give you a reception worthy of your sacrifice and your valor. You have done your duty. The men who rallied under the starry emblem of our nationality at Pea Ridge, Corinth, Champion Hills, Stone River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Noonday Creek, Pinetop Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain, Chattahoochee, Peach Tree Creek and Atlanta, having made history for all time and coming generations to admire, your services will ever be gratefully appreciated. Officers and soldiers farewell. May God guarantee to each health, happiness and usefulness in coming life, and may our country
soon merge from the gloom of blood that now surrounds it and again enter upon a career of progress, peace and prosperity."
THIRTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS. [ Contributed by Gen. J. C. Black.]
The regiment was recruited in the counties of Lake, La Salle, McHenry, McLean, Cook, Vermilion and Rock Island, and was organized at Chicago, and mustered into the United States service on the i8th of September, 1861. Its colonel was Julius White, since major-general ; its major was J. C. Black, now of Danville, Illinois, who recruited and took to camp Company K, from Vermilion County. The muster role of Company K showed representatives from many of the old families of Vermilion County: Fithian, Bandy. English, Morgan. Clapp. Brown, Henderson, Allison, Conover, Black, Culbertson, Johns, Canaday, Lamm. Myers, Payne, Songer, Thrapp, Delay, Folger, Gibson, Liggett, and others. Some of these representatives died in service; some returned home full of the honors of a well rendered service, and are today prominent among our business and professional men. Peter Walsh, the late prosecuting attorney; William P. Black, of Chicago ; William M. Bandy, editor of the "Post," Danville ; W. H. Fithian, of Fithian, Illinois; George H. English, and many are farming in this vicinity. These are of the living. Among the dead we recall Fitzgerald. Marlatt, Reiser, Snider, Adkins, Barnard, Hyatt, Henderson, Stute, Brewer, Cono- ver, George Johns and James Culbertson. These died without fear and without reproach.
Company K was distinctly the boys' company ; its recruits were most of them under age at the time of enlistment. In the Memorial Hall at Springfield, Illinois, are found only two captured flags, one was taken from the Mexicans at Buena Vista, the other was taken from the rebels at the battle of Pea Ridge by the Thirty-Seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry. "The boys" did their share wherever they went. Mustered into service on the i8th of September, they entered the Department of the Missouri the next day, and took part in Hunter's campaign against Price in southwestern Missouri, marching to Springfield and back to Laurine Caulmint. In the dead of winter, breaking up their encampment, they joined in Pope's campaign against the guerrillas. In the spring of 1862 the Thirty-seventh set out on the route for northwestern Arkansas, and participated in the bloody battle of Pea Ridge on the 6th, 7th and 8th of March, which raged with especial fury on the 7th near Lee town, when the Thirty-seventh received the charge of McCullough's and Mclntosh's column, and when in thirty minutes it lost one hundred and twenty men out of an effective present force of seven hundred and fifty ; but the charge was broken, and the enemy withdrew.
After this battle General Custer was ordered to Batesville and Helena with the entire force, except the Thirty-seventh Illinois, one battalion of the First Missouri Cavalry and one section of the Peoria battery; and until June this force was kept in the extreme front in the enemy's country, fifty-five miles in advance of any assistance, feeling the pulse of rebeldom beating daily in this its farthest extremity. Marching and counter-marching over one hundred miles frontage of mountainous region, ambushed and bushwhacked day and night, it kept the flag at the front, and always flying. In the summer of 1862 the Thirty- seventh joined the larger forces. It bore its share in the marches and skirmishes in southwestern Missouri, and finally, on the 7th day of December, assisted in the terrible fight and brilliant victory at Prairie Grove, where, in the capture of a battery and the assault upon the enemy in their chosen position, the Thirty-seventh, reduced to three hundred and fifty men, lost seventy-eight, killed and wounded; but they took the battery. It returned to St. Louis from there, and was sent to Cape Girardeau, whence it started after Gen. Marmaduke, overtaking him on the banks of the St. Francis River at Chalk Bluffs. The fight at this point freed southeast Missouri of all rebel forces, and won for the Thirty-seventh high praise in the reports of the commanding general. They then returned to St. Louis, and joined the forces under Gen. Grant, and participated in the siege of Vicksburg.
From this time on, the path of the Thirty-seventh was away from its Vermilion County comrades, the Twenty-fifth, Thirty-fifth. Seventy-ninth, One Hundred and twenty-fifth Infantry, Fourth Cavalry, and the old Twelfth Regiment, some of whom swung across the continent, via Chattanooga and Atlanta, to the sea. The Thirty-seventh marched to the south; it fought and beat the rebels at Yazoo City, joined in the campaign after Forrest from Memphis, and after chasing him out of Tennessee via Mississippi, returned and took part in the Red River campaign ; in the meantime bearing a light share in the fight near Morganzia Bend. From Duvall's Bluff the regiment was sent, via New Orleans, to Barrancas and Pollard ; thence to Mobile and participated in the last great siege of the war, and in its last great battle ; for Lee surrendered at 10 o'clock A. M., and at 5 145 P. M. of the same day the federal troops assaulted and captured the Blakeley batteries. The time occupied from the firing of the first gun until they were in possession was ten minutes ; the loss was six hundred men on the Union side; captured, three thousand prisoners, forty-two cannons and the city of Mobile. In this charge the Thirty-seventh was the extreme left regiment, and Company K was the extreme left of the entire line, which advancing in a semicircle, struck the rebel works almost at the same instant along the whole front, the right and left being a little in the advance. After this engagement the Thirty-seventh was removed to the Department of Texas, where it remained until August, 1866, being among the last of the United States Volunteers discharged from service.
The Thirty-seventh veteranized in 1864. It was in the service five years from the time of recruiting; it marched and moved four times from Lake Michigan to the gulf; it moved on foot nearly six thousand miles, and journeyed by water and land conveyance nearly ten thousand miles more; it bore its part in thirteen battles and skirmishes, and two sieges. The survivors of Company K are in Oregon, California, Texas, Missouri and Illinois. They, like the vast mass of their fellow volunteer soldiers, are, most of them, respected and useful citizens.
SEVENTY-THIRD REGIMENT ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS. [Contributed by W. H. Newlin and W. R. Lawrence.]
Under the call of the President for three hundred thousand volunteers, July 6, 1862, Illinois was required to furnish nine regiments. Upon this call the Seventy-third regiment was organized, of which companies C and E were from Vermilion County. Six days after the call, Patterson McNutt, Mark D. Hawes and Richard N. Davis began to recruit a company of infantry in and about Georgetown, and, soon after, Wilson Burroughs, Charles Tilton and David Blosser commenced raising a company near Fairmount. McNutt's company, consisting of eighty-five men, were assembled on the 23d at Georgetown, where they were sworn in by 'Squire John Newlin. After this ceremony, McNutt, Hawes and Davis were elected captain, first and second lieutenant, respectively. The next day the men went to the Y, the present site of Tilton, where they were furnished transportation to Camp Butler, arriving there the next morning. With the exception of a few squads, this was the first company in this camp under that call. Early in August twenty-one recruits arrived from Georgetown, making the total number one hundred and six. About this time Capt. Burroughs, having organized his company, arrived with seventy men, which, being recruited
from Captain McNutt's company, made their complement.
The first military duty done at this camp was guarding about three thousand prisoners, who had been captured at Fort Donelson.
Toward the latter part of August steps were taken to organize the regiment, and this was accomplished on the 21st, the regiment numbering eight hundred and six men; James F. Jaques being chosen colonel, Benjamin F. Northcott, lieutenant-colonel; Wm. A. Presson, major; R. R. Randall, adjutant, and James S. Barger, chaplain. This has been known as the "preachers' regiment," on account of the fact that all of the principal officers were ministers of the gospel. The regiment was the second mustered into service under the call. Of this regiment McNutt's company was designated C, and was the color company, and Burrough's company, E. On the 27th the regiment was ordered to the field, and, without arms, they were transported to Louisville.
The first camp was in the outskirts of Louisville, near the L. & N. R. R. depot. After awhile the regiment was armed, and in the early part of September the camp was moved to a point some four miles from the city, where a division was formed with the Seventy-third and One Hundredth Illinois and the Seventy-ninth and Eighty-eight Indiana as one brigade, under the command of Col. Kirk. While in this camp, great commotion was caused by the defeat of the Union troops at Richmond, Kentucky, and the division was ordered under arms, and made a rapid advance of near a day's march, when, meeting the retreating forces, they returned to camp.
About the middle of September the Seventy-third was sent to Cincinnati, to assist in defending it against the threatened attack of Kirby Smith. The regiment returned to Louisville in the latter part of September. A reorganization of the army now caused the Seventy-third to be brigaded with the Forty-fourth Illinois and the Second and Fifteenth Missouri, making a part of the division under General Phil Sheridan. On the 1st day of October the army of one hundred thousand, under Gen. Buell, moved from Louisville to meet Gen. Bragg, who with Kirby Smith was overrunning the country in that vicinity. The weather was very hot and dry, and here the experience of all new regiments, of disposing of superfluous accouterments such as overcoats, knapsacks, etc.. began, and the line of march was strewed with a variety of handy, though dispensable articles. On the 8th Sheridan's division neared Doctor's Fork, a fine stream of water near Perryville. The Union soldiers were anxious to reach this point, and the rebels were determined to check their advance, and, from a skirmish, this grew to be a desperate battle. Through some blunder the Seventy- third was advanced nearly a quarter of a mile in front of the main line, up to the very jaws of a rebel battery, and near the columns of the main rebel infantry. In the nick of time it was ordered to fall back, and the rebel battery immediately opening upon them, they obeyed with alacrity, and gained the main line without serious loss. In the fight that ensued the Seventy-third was in the front line. Company C had in this fight about seventy men engaged, of whom John J. Halstead, Zimri Lewis, Josiah Cooper, James E. Moore, Samuel Boen, John S. Long, F. M. Stevens and D. W. Doops were wounded, Cooper and Lewis subsequently dying of their wounds. In Company E, John Murdock lost his life, and J. M. Dougherty and John L. Moore were dangerously wounded.
From here the army was marched to Nashville, which place was reached on the 7th of November, and the army went into camp. By this time Gen. Buell had been succeeded by Gen. Rosecrans. The campaign through Kentucky and part of Tennessee, though but of five week's duration, was an eventful one to the new troops. It had been almost a continual round of marching, counter marching,marching, skirmishing and fighting through a rough country that had already- been stripped of almost everything in the shape of forage. This sudden baptism into the rugged experiences of war told sadly upon many whose lives had been passed in the quiet scenes of the village or farm. During the six weeks' encampment at Nashville and Mill Creek, eleven men of Company C died and thirteen were discharged for disability ; and of Company E, ten died and ten were discharged for disability. Hawes and Davis, of Company C, resigned on account of sickness, and T. D. Kyger and W. R. Lawrence were promoted to the vacancies. Lieut. Blosser, of Company E, resigned, and one Presson was promoted from another company to fill the vacancy. Less than three months had elapsed, and the two companies had lost fifty-four men.
On the 26th of December the camp at Mill Creek was broken, and the march for Murfreesboro' was begun in further pursuit of Bragg, who had greatly reinforced his army. On the 30th the vicinity of Murfreesboro was reached, and almost immediately skirmishing began. This was a most hotly contested field. in which, however, the Federal troops proved victorious. The Seventy-third lost in this severely, and the two companies from Vermilion were sufferers, John Dye and James Yoho being killed, Lieutenant Lawrence and Daniel Laycott taken prisoners, and George Pierce severely wounded. Rosecrans was proud of this victory and of the men under his command, and made a special order providing for a roll of honor, to be composed of one name from every company, to be selected by the members of the company. Company C selected Sergeant William H. Newlin.
In June our regiment came in contact with the rebels at a point near Fairfield, and Alexander Nicholson, of Company C, was wounded. In August, Captain McNutt resigned, and Lieutenant Kyger was promoted captain, Second Lieut. Lawrence to first lieutenant, and David A. Smith succeeded to the second lieutenancy. Lieut. Lawrence had returned in May after a five months' absence in Libby Prison.
On the l0th of September, the army again advanced toward Chattanooga, to dislodge Bragg from that position. In the many engagements in the vicinity of Chattanooga the Seventy-third took active part, but in the one at Crawfish Springs, on the 20th of September, the brigade to which the Seventy-third belonged played a most important part, and displayed a degree of bravery seldom equaled ; contending with and holding in check the massed columns of the rebels at a most critical moment. Companies E and C suffered severely. Sergeant John Lewis, of C, and color bearer, fell, but held the flag aloft. It was taken by Corp. Austin Henderson, of Company C. but he carried it only a few steps.
when he was wounded. Each of the color-guard, who took the flag, was either almost instantly killed or wounded. In this engagement at least a fourth of the brigade had been left on the field, either dead, wounded or prisoners. Lieut. D. A. Smith, Artemus Terrell and Enoch Smith, of Company C, were killed. Lieutenant Lawrence, Sergts. John Lewis and Wm. Sheets, Corp. Henderson, privates John Burk, Samuel Hewit, John Bostwick, Henderson Goodwine and H. C. Henderson were wounded. Sergt. W. H. Newlin, Enoch Brown, W. F. Ellis and John Thornton were taken prisoners. All of these prisoners, except Newlin, died at Andersonville prison. Newlin was taken to Danville, Virginia, and about six months later made his escape to the Union lines. Of those of Company C who went into this battle, more than one-third were killed, wounded or captured. Company E lost Wm. C. McCoy, killed, and H. Neville, wounded. The activity of battle was not the only hardship our heroes had to bear, for at this time, on account of scarcity of rations, and the long continued foraging by both armies on the surrounding country, the soldiers were not only often hungry but in many cases half starved. On the 241)1 of October Lieut. Lawrence resigned, leaving Capt. Kyger the only commissioned officer in the company.
In November the fights of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge took place, and as usual the Seventy-third was in front. The flag of the Seventy- third again fell from the hands of the new color-bearer Harty, to be snatched up by Kyger, and by him and Harty, who had risen, was one of the first planted on the heights of the mountain. In this engagement Stephen Newlin and Nathaniel Henderson, of Company C, and Wm. Hickman, of E, were wounded. In March the Seventy-third marched to Cleveland, Tennessee, where it remained in camp until called into the Atlanta campaign. The movement of Sherman's army on the memorable campaign began with the month of May, 1864, and that part to which the Seventy-third belonged broke camp at Cleveland on the 3d of that month. It is safe to say that from this date until September 4, the Seventy- third was under fire eight days out of ten, Sundays not excepted. It was a continuous fight from Caloosa Springs to Lovejoy Station. During the Atlanta campaign, and until the end of the war, the Seventy-third was in the First Brigade, Second Division and Fourth Army Corps. In the battles of Buzzard Roost, Dalton and Resaca, the regiment was engaged and suffered some loss. At Burnt Hickory, Dallas and New Hope Church, the regiment was also engaged. The actions at Big Shanty, Pine and Lost Mountains, brought the regiment by the middle of June in full view of Kenesaw Mountain. The enemy's works at this place were very strong, and well-nigh impregnable ; but when the order came to advance and take them, the lines swept forward and occupied them with comparative ease, but just as the federal soldiers were fairly in possession, the rebels were strongly reinforced, and the Union forces, embracing the Seventy-third, fell back to their original position. In this engagement, though this regiment was in the line of the heaviest firing, but being on the lowest part of the ground, the shots from the enemy passed harmlessly over their heads. On the 1 7th of July the regiment crossed the Chattahoochee River, and on the 20th was engaged in the battle of Peach Tree Creek. In this battle the Seventy- third occupied a very dangerous position, and did most splendid execution, having but one man killed and a dozen slightly wounded. Shortly after this the army had settled down in front of Atlanta. After the capture of Atlanta, a siege of six weeks, the army marched toward Chattanooga, arriving there about the 20th of September. From Chattanooga the line of march lay through Hunts- ville and Linnville, arriving in due time at Pulaski, where the skirmishers began to come in contact with those of Hood's army. In the vicinity of Columbia the Seventy-third took an active part, in one instance sustaining the shock of cavalry. This was about the 24th to a8th of November. All the way to Columbia, whither the Union forces were retiring, followed closely by Hood and his army, there was continual fighting, in which the Seventy-third was almost constantly engaged. This was the last stand of any consequence made by the rebels in Tennessee. It was an obstinately contested field, and seemed to be the destruction of the last hope of the rebels to maintain their cause in this part of the country. The hardships endured by Thomas' army in the last few1 days of this struggle were extreme, but not more so in the actual conflict than in the forced marches, hunger and loss of sleep ; and to accord equal bravery and endurance to the Seventy-third, is only to repeat what has already been written by some of the most critical historians of the country. A few days later the regiment made, in the assault on the enemy at Harpeth Hill, in the vicinity of Nashville, their last charge, which proved to be one of the most splendid in their experience. As if indicating that the Seventy-third had reaped sufficient glory, the remnants of the rebel army withdrew from Tennessee, and left "our heroes in possession of the state and twelve or fifteen thousand prisoners.
The Union army marched now to Huntsville, Alabama, arriving there on the 5th of January, 1865 ; the Seventy-third remaining here until the 28th of March, at which time it left by railroad for East Tennessee. While encamped near Blue Springs the war closed, and the regiment was ordered to Nashville, where, on the i2th of June, it was mustered out, and in a few days started for Springfield, going on the same train with the Seventy-ninth Illinois. Two trains conveyed the Seventy-third as it was going to the theater of war ; the war over, one train, no larger than either of the two mentioned, conveyed both the regiments from Nashville to Springfield, indicating that the hardships of army life had dealt severely with their ranks. At Springfield the boys received their final pay and discharges, and dispersed to their several homes, having been absent from the county within a few days of three years. The heroic dead of this regiment, whose absence was most notable on the home trip, lie buried, some in graves dug by friendly hands ; but were tombstones erected for those whose bodies were hastily pushed into the unwelcome soil of Kentucky and Tennessee, they would almost be equivalent to the milestones to mark the road of the army through the country, which they fought to retain in the Union. Twenty-six men of the Seventy-third were made prisoners, and of these sixteen died of hunger and ill-treatment.
THIRTY-FIFTH REGIMENT ILLINOIS INFANTRY.
This regiment, nearly five companies of which were from Vermilion County, was organized at Decatur on the 3d of July, 1861, and was one of the very first to go forward to defend the country from the rebel hordes who were not only threatening the life of the nation, but whose grasp seem to be already encircling it.
Companies D, E, F and I were almost wholly from this county, and also a large number of Company A, the last named being under the command of Captain Philip D. Hammond, of Danville. Company D was raised in Catlin, and had for its officers William Timmons, captain ; U. J. Fox, first lieutenant, Ind. Josiah Timmons, second lieutenant. Company E was officered by William L. Oliver, L. J. Eyman, and George C. Maxon, captain, first and second lieutenants, respectively. This company was raised in the townships of Georgetown and Carroll. Company F was a Danville company, and had for captain, A. C. Keys; first lieutenant, John Q. A. Luddington, and second lieutenant, J. M. Sinks. Company I was raised in the vicinity of Catlin and Fairmount. Of this company, A. B. B. Lewis was elected captain ; Joseph Truax, first, and Joseph F. Clise, second lieutenant.
In the organization of the regiment, W. P. Chandler, of Danville, was elected lieutenant-colonel ; and, by the disabling of Col. Smith at the battle of Pea Ridge, Colonel Chandler was put in command, and was afterward promoted to the office.
On the 23d of July the regiment was accepted as Colonel G. A. Smith's Independent Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, and on the 4th of August left Decatur for the theater of war. The regiment arrived at Jefferson barracks, Missouri, the next day, where it remained one week, and then removed to Marine Hospital, St. Louis, where it was mustered into service. On the 5th of September it was transported by rail to Jefferson City, Missouri, and from thence, on the 15th of October, to Sedalia, to join Gen. Sigel's advance on Springfield, arriving at that point on the 26th of October. From November 13 to 19 the regiment was on the march from Springfield to Rolla. From January 24, 1862, the army to which the Thirty-fifth was attached was in pursuit of Gen. Price, and here our regiment began to experience a taste of real war. At the memorable battle of Pea Ridge the regiment took active part, and lost in killed and wounded a number of its bravest men, among the wounded being Col. Smith. At the siege of Corinth the regiment took an important part, and was at that place upon its evacuation on the 30th of May. At Perryville and Stone River the regiment was also engaged, at the later place losing heavily in killed and wounded. This was during the first three days of January, 1863. The regiment was the first on the south side of the Tennessee River, crossing that stream on the 28th of August. At the battle of Chickamauga, September 20, the regiment was engaged, and again suffered severely. By the 22d of September the regiment was at Chattanooga.
In the battle of Missionary Ridge, on November 23-5, the regiment was placed in a most dangerous and important position, being in the front line, and displayed great valor and coolness, being led to within twenty steps of the rebel works on the crest of the hill. In the assault all of the color-guard were shot down, and Col. Chandler carried the flag into the enemy's works, followed by his men. By December 7 the regiment was at Knoxville, from which point it was sent on various important and dangerous expeditions. The regiment was assigned to duty next in the Atlanta campaign, and to recount all of the incidents, skirmishes and fights in which the Thirty-fifth took part would be only to repeat what has been said over and over again in regard to other regiments. The reader will simply turn to the story as related elsewhere, and appropriate it here. Suffice it to say that at Rocky Face, Resaca, Dallas, Mud Creek and Kennesaw the regiment was fully tested in coolness and bravery, and never disappointed its commanders. On the 31st of August the regiment started to Springfield, Illinois, where it was mustered out on the 27th of September, 1864.
ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIFTH REGIMENT. [Contributed by Col. William Mann.]
The One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Regiment Illinois Volunteers was raised under the call by President Lincoln, and was organized and mustered into the service of the United States on the 3d of September, 1862, at Danville, Illinois. It was composed of seven companies, (A, B, C, D, G, I, K) from Vermilion, and three companies (E, F and H) from Champaign.
The regiment was organized by the selection of the following officers ; Oscar F. Harmon, Danville, colonel; James W. Langley, Champaign, lieutenant-colonel; John B. Lee, Catlin, major; Wm. Mann, Danville, adjutant; Levi W. Sanders, chaplain, and John McElroy, surgeon. The principal officers of Company A as organized were : Clark Ralston, captain ; Jackson Charles, first lieutenant, and Harrison Low, second lieutenant. Of Company B, Robert Steward was captain; William R. Wilson, first, and S. D. Conover, second lieutenant. Of Company C, William W. Fellows was captain; Alexander Pollock, first lieutenant, and James D. New, second. Company D had for captain, George W. Galloway; James B. Stevens, first, and John L. Jones, second lieutenant. John H. Gass was captain of Company G, Ephraim S. Howells, first and Josiah Lee, second lieutenant. Company I was officered by Levin Vinson, John E. Vinson and Stephen Brothers as captain, first and second lieutenants, respectively. The officers of Company K were: George W. Cook, captain; Oliver P. Hunt, first lieutenant, and Joseph F. Crosby, second.
Immediately on its being received into the service, it was sent to Cincinnati, where it was placed in the fortifications around Covington, Kentucky, but was in a few days sent to Louisville, Kentucky, which at that time was threatened by Bragg, and upon his retreat was connected with the pursuing forces, and received its "baptism of fire" at the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, assisting in driving the rebel army out of the state. After the battle above named it took up the line of march for Nashville, Tennessee, which will long be remembered by its members as being the most severe campaign of their service, owing to their inexperience in such duties, and many of the regiment contracted diseases that resulted in death or complete disability. During the winter following the regiment did duty in the fortifications, and on patrol and picket service in and around the city. Owing to the ignorance of camp life and the scarcity of supplies, this period was more disastrous to the organization than any of its subsequent battles. Severe picket duty, tiresome drills, and the dull routine of camp life, made up the sum of the regiment's duties until they were ordered to report to Gen. Rosecrans, who was about to take up the gauntlet throw*! by Bragg at Chattanooga.
Proceeding by a circuitous route through western Tennessee and northern Alabama, driving the enemy at Rome and other minor points, the brigade to which the regiment belonged, then connected with Gen. Gordon Granger's Reserve Corps, the command found itself in position in front of the enemy on the eve of what proved to be a disastrous battle to the federal forces, the day of Chickamauga. In that battle the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth took a prominent part, by defending and holding positions of importance. On the retirement of Rosecrans to Chattanooga after his comparative defeat, the brigade, then commanded by Col. Dan McCook, was placed to defend Rossville Gap, an important pass, while Gen. Thomas collected the remnants of the army, to resist the farther advance of the victorious foe. In the defense of this important position the regiment was under a severe fire, and met with loss ; but held its ground through the day, and checked the enemy in its front. After nightfall it was ordered to retire, and was among the last to leave the field, marching to Chattanooga, where it took part within the fortifications, and awaited the approach of the enemy. Here it remained until it was determined that Bragg did not intend to push his successes farther, when the regiment was sent to a point up the Tennessee River known as "Caldwell's Ford," at the mouth of Chickamauga Creek. Here it experienced an incident which was one of the most startling and trying of its career. The camp was pitched about one half mile back from the river, on the hillside, an exposed position, but rendered necessary by the nature of the ground. On the opposite side of the river was a rebel picket post, and a hill of some dimensions. The opportunity to attack was deemed so favorable by the rebels, that, on the night of the 16th of November, 1863, they placed a heavy battery of eight guns in position, and at the break of day opened fire on the camp. The bursting of shells and the crack of solid shot through the tents was the first sound heard by the command in the morning. It was truly a grand reveille, and certainly the men never responded more quickly than they did on that memorable morning to roll-call. Amid the thunder of the rebel guns, and the quick and gallant response of our battery (two guns placed to assist the regiment), the command was formed in line of battle, expecting the river to be crossed and the camp attacked. The execution of our guns, however, soon informed the enemy that they had undertaken a difficult task, and as was afterward learned, finding that they were experiencing loss, retired. The only loss sustained by the regiment was the death of the chaplain, Levi W. Sanders, who was struck by a round shot in the head and instantly killed.
At Caldwell's Ford the regiment remained until the advance was made which culminated in the battle of Missionary Ridge, and the defeat of the enemy. In this battle it did not take an active part until the enemy was in full retreat, assisting in driving him beyond reach. Learning of the threatened attack of Knoxville by a portion of the forces from the eastern army, it was sent to the relief of that post. Accomplishing that object, it returned and went into camp on Chickamauga Creek, at a place known as Lee and Gordon Mills, Georgia. Here it awaited the reorganization of the army, and was placed in the Third Brigade, Third Division of the Fourteenth Army Corps, Gen. Jeff C. Davis commanding. And now commenced the most vigorous part of the regiment's career. On the advance of the grand army on what is known as the "Atlanta campaign," it was under fire many times, and participated in several battles in approaching that city. In the battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Tennessee, and other engagements, the regiment suffered severely, and at the end of that campaign nearly or quite one half of the command that entered upon it were numbered among the dead or wounded. At Kennesaw Mountain, on the fatal 27th of June, 1864, it lost one half of the command. Just previous to the order to charge being given, the regiment mustered two hundred and forty guns. After the charge and when the list was made of the casualties, it was found that over one half had been killed or wounded. Here fell Col. Harmon, Capt. Fellows, Capt. Lee, Lieut. McLean, and many a brave private, whose names are embalmed in the hearts of friends, and referred to with sadness after a lapse of fifteen years. Col. Harmon had been chiefly instrumental in raising the regiment. He had left honors and a lucrative profession at home, to respond to his country's call and gave his life in its defense. His name will be remembered so long as a member of the command lives, and venerated by them.
This campaign ended in the battle of Jonesboro, in which the regiment suffered severe loss, as they did at Peach Tree Creek, and the subsequent capture of Atlanta.
At Atlanta a reorganization of the army occurred, and the concoction of the great campaign known in history as the "March to the Sea," under Sherman. With that army the regiment took up the line of march toward the coast, and without any startling incidents aside from skirmishes, etc., reached Savannah about the 20th of December, 1864, and participated in the honor attending the capture of that important post. It lost many men in this campaign, through capture, sickness, etc. Crossing the Savannah at Sister's Ferry, at the commencement of the campaign which culminated in the surrender of the Confederate forces and the suppression of the great rebellion, after the evacuation of Richmond, it advanced with the left wing of the army and participated in its last battle at Bentonville, a small town in North Carolina, losing quite heavily. On the surrender of Johnston it marched to Washington, where it remained several weeks, and was then sent to Chicago, where it was mustered out, paid and discharged from the service of the United States after nearly three years of active service, with hardly one-half of those who had started with it from Danville remaining. Many had died or had been killed in action, others had been discharged from disability arising from wounds or disease contracted by exposure and the severity of campaign life, and a few, a very few, had been lost by desertion. And thus ended the services of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth regiment Illinois Volunteers in the "Great Rebellion."
The statement has often been made that the people of the South were all who suffered during the years of the Civil War ; that the people of the North hardly knew there was any conflict going on. There never was a greater mistake of the conditions of the times. While there were no battles and no burning homes, there was not a village of the northern states where the life was not decidedly changed by reason of the conflict going on in the south. Almost every home had some one in the service and the first question when neighbors met was a query about the news from the army. Business was in changed conditions and social life was influenced by the friends being in the hardships of war.
The women and children were not idle. Danville was not an exception to other towns. One company after another had been recruited from the men of Vermilion county, and news of a battle brought anxiety and a desire to help on the part of all. The necessity for help was urgent. All the appliances for care of wounded which can now be bought without trouble, were unknown at that time. The women of Danville would gather in the basement of the old North Street church and spend days in making bandages, scraping lint, and sewing on garments needed in the hospitals.
All the old tablecloths and linen sheets and anything made of that material were donated and the children busied themselves scraping the lint from this cloth. When the linen was used up, cotton was brought into use. Many were the yards of cloth cut up into strips and wrapped into bandages. New cloth was bought and dipped in scalding water to shrink, and then wound carefully to make the desired rolls of bandages. Then there were the garments needed to put on the men as they lay in the hospitals tossing with fever or groaning in pain. Life was serious in those days and men, women and children vied with each other in plans to help those who were "at the front."
There were but few new comers to the county in the years from 1860 to 1864. It was not a time men were looking for new homes. The large part of those at the sections which had hitherto turned their faces to Vermilion County were, during these times, engaged in the war on one side or the other. Virginia and the Carolinas, together with Tennessee, all had their attention taken with the great struggle, and Ohio, whence the large immigration had before this time come, was sending her men to the front. There were a few families, however, came into this section, during these years and some of these made a deep impression on the life of the county. Among these can be named Dr. Winslow, Mr. D. Dale, Detective Hall, Mr. Freeman, Alexander Bowman, Judge Evans and others.
Dr. J. C. Winslow, a native of Vermont, located in Danville in 1860. He was a man of rare knowledge and perhaps was attracted to this section by the geological wealth along the Vermilion river. When he first left home he was a maker of musical instruments but he was a man of science before he was of trade and he left that mechanical work to others. He taught music and later was attracted to railroading. This led him to be a Master Mechanic. He came to Vermilion County to accept the position of assistant Master Mechanic on the Wabash (Great Western) Railroad. But he tired of that employment and took up the study of dentistry, and in 1886 he came to Danville to practice that profession. He found congenial companionship in the way of Mr. Will Gurley, who although but yet a boy was authority on all geological matters. Dr. Winslow established the Vermilion County Historical Society.
It is a great pity that this society was let to disband so completely as to leave no trace. Dr. Winslow was the first Mayor of Danville, being elected in May, 1868. Dr. Winslow was identified with everything of public improvement and was a great force toward making Danville and Vermilion County. Dr. Winslow died, and was buried in Springhill cemetery.
John J. Dale, the father of John W. Dale, who has been identified with so many affairs of Vermilion County, came to Vermilion County in 1860 and located about six miles south of Rossville. Mr. John W. Dale enlisted in the army from his home going as a private in Company B, Twenty-fifth Illinois Volunteers. He was wounded in the elbow at the battle of Chickamauga, and lost his arm in consequence. Mr. Dale has held many offices of responsibility in the county and city of Danville, Mr. Dale married Miss Hicks of Perrysville, Indiana.
The life of the detective T. D. Hall has always seemed to be of unusual interest He has a good record of success in ferreting out crime and its doers. Mr. Hall is an Englishman, but when he came to Danville in 1861 he came directly from Indiana. He found his ability as a detective first, when he filled the office of deputy sheriff under Joseph M. Payton in 1865. Mr. Hall has spent much of his time in the employ of the railroads. An account of his experiences would make a fascinating book to read.
Mr. A. C. Freeman was one of the newcomers to Vermilion County in 1871. He came from Edgar county at that time, but was a native of Pennsylvania and had come west but a short time before that time. Mr. Freeman was in the employ of the Wabash Railroad, both at Fairmount and State Line for eleven years. He came to Danville, and in 1874 was elected city clerk. He held that office for many years and was released only when failing health compelled him to give it up. Mr. Freeman was a very popular man and had a host of devoted friends. He was twice married. His , first wife was Miss Newkirk, and his second wife was Miss Mary W. Dustin of Enfield, N. H. Mr. Freeman was too ill to attend to business for a long time before his death. He was the father of seven children. The first wife was the mother of two children, only one of whom lived.
Other newcomers in the sixties were: S. B. Holloway, in 1862; J. A. Lewis and L. B. Wolf, in the same year, and D. D. Evans and Alexander Bowman in 1864. M. A. Harrold came in 1861, and S. R. Tilton and G. W. Tilton and W. J. Henderson came in 1862. Of these, Mr. S. B. Holloway was connected with the omnibus line for many years. He came from Ohio, where he was born and where he married his wife. Mr. Holloway had run steam sawmills in various towns before he came to Danville, and came here directly from Indianapolis. Mr. Holloway lived in Danville the remainder of his life.
Mr. Lewis came from England and was a contractor and builder. His home has always been in South Danville. L. B. Wolf came to Danville and for some time kept a bakery, but in the course of time became one of the Danville Lounge Factory Company, where he is at present.
D. D. Evans, school teacher, editor and attorney, was always a credit to Danville. After practicing law for some time he was elected county judge, and after that known as Judge Evans. Mr. Evans married Mrs. Elwilda (Cromwell) Fithian and their home was a pleasure to enter.
Alexander Bowman came to Danville from Champaign. So intense was the public feeling when he came that when he was looking around on the public square, he was very near to being arrested as a political spy. Mr. Bowman laid out more towns in Vermilion county than any other man.
M. A. Harrold settled in Ridge Farm in 1861.
The Tilton brothers came to Catlin in 1862 from Indiana. Samuel came first, but enlisted in the service and was severely wounded in the battle of Kenesaw Mountain. A ball entered his right breast and it was some time before it came out of his back. He was incapacitated for service, but he returned to his regiment and remained until the close of their term of service. Then he went to his parents' home in Indiana and later came back to Catlin. Mr. Tilton married Miss Vance, the daughter of Maj. Vance.
George Tilton came to Catlin about the time his brother did, but he remained there all the time. He taught school, was bookkeeper and salesman, and then formed a partnership with J. C. Sandusky under the name of Sandusky & Tilton. They sold general merchandise. The Tilton Bros, have been associated together in the mercantile line during all the years they have lived in Vermilion County.
The great amusement at Conkeytown in the later fifties and early sixties was the debating club, which held its meetings at the Cass school house. There were some eloquent and convincing debates, in which William Milton and John Lee, Samuel Rawlins, Hiram and Alex. Catlett, William Davis and Z. C. Payton took part.
An interesting document was not long ago discovered by Mr. Hole, the postmaster at Ridge Farm. It evidently belonged to his father and bears date of August 23, 1862. It is the charter of the Union League of America; number of local chapter, 1054. The eight charter members who signed are as follows : Jonah Hole, E. Goodwin, A. B. Whitney, James Price, Elisha Hamilton, T. D. Weems, D. J. Hunt and Thomas Henderson. This organization was a counter one to the Knights of the Golden Circle, and the fact that such a council existed is proof of an organization of the latter in the county. It is well known that over the state line in Indiana the Knights of the Golden Circle were strong. This Union League of America had passwords, signs, and the grip, and the members were oath bound. This charter is printed on parchment and is signed by Mark as G. Pres., and George H. Harlin as G. Sec.
There were two riots in Danville which tell the state of public feeling better than multiplied words could do. While the state of sentiment was intense all over the country, yet on the borders, as it might have been called, the conditions were a little different. Danville was near to the people who felt most keenly the ravages of war and at the same time it was in touch with those who felt as intensely the necessity of the struggle to preserve the Union. Other localities let men wear a butternut pin unmolested and had men mustered out of service and go about their business without arousing the desire to kill.
The first riot was on August 24, 1863, and was a disgraceful as well as lamentable affair. John Payne was the father of several boys and was himself a man who sympathized with the South. On the other hand his son-in-law was a stanch upholder of the Union. One of his sons wore the emblem of the Northern sympathizer in the shape of a pin on his coat that was made from a butternut. Such an ornament was not unusual to see on men's coats at this time. Lyman Guinup, a business man of Danville and Colonel Hawkins, a soldier from Tennessee, were together. Mr. Guinup was himself a soldier. Seeing this pin when particularly impatient with the ornament, these men snatched it from the coat of John Payne. A fight followed, and in the struggle Payne was shot. Later a preliminary investigation was held in a magistrate's office on West Main street, about where the King block is now located. A crowd assembled, and William M. Payne, who was the sheriff, hastened to the scene. As he passed the store of William M. Lamm, which stood where the Danville National Bank now stands, or on the southwest corner of the public square, he called Mr. Lamm, who was at the store door, to go with him and assist in quelling the disturbance. They hastened on together. This was about one o'clock p. m. As they came within bullet range, a shot was fired and Mr. Lamm fell mortally wounded. No demonstration was then made, although the Southern sympathizers gathered on the corner of Hazel and South streets. The reports were circulated that the friends of John Payne of the same views were intending to burn the town that night. The next morning the courthouse grounds were full of horses which had been ridden into town during the night by the farmers who had strong Union sentiments. George Barker was arrested, tried and convicted for shooting Mr. Lamm, and was sent to the penitentiary. William Lamm was one of the leading business men and a member of the board of trustees of the North Street Methodist Church. His death was a severe loss to the community. His sons, John M., Stamper Q. and Edward C. Lamm are living in Danville now and are among our prominent citizens.
The other riot in Danville occurred on the evening of October 1, 1864. This was on the evening of the day of a big republican rally. The election, which was to give President Lincoln a second term, was not far away, and politics ran high in Vermilion county, as elsewhere in the country. It was but the day before this that the Twenty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry was mustered out of service in Springfield. The soldiers had come home and not yet put aside their suits of blue, and of course we're very conspicuous in the streets. Among these returned soldiers were three of the sons of Thomas McKibben, Capt. Jeff McKibben, George McKibben and Henry McKibben. George McKibben was not an aggressive young man, but rode into town that morning with his friend Francis Gundy in good health and spirits. They put up their horses in the Pennsylvania House, says Mr. Gundy who lives in Bismark, in Newell township, and went about town. The day passed without any disorder, although many threats were reported to have been made. About half past five o'clock, Mr. Gundy went to the place where the horses were in waiting and took them both out, riding his own and leading that of George McKibben to the public square. Finding his friend, Mr. Gundy told him it was time to go home. But George McKibben excused himself with the remark of having anxiety for his brother Jeff, and said he thought he would not go home that night, but look out for his brother. He did not seem to be in the least uneasy for his own safety. So it was, Mr. Gundy took George McKibben's horse back to the stable and went on home by himself. This is the story as told by Mr. Gundy, the friend of George McKibben.
The story is taken up at this point by Mr. Hiram Ross, who was an eye witness of the shooting. Mr. McKibben and Mr. Ross, together with George McKibben and Henry McKibben, were all standing about six o'clock p. m., on the southeast corner of the public square across the street from where the Interurban station is now located and they were called across the street by Dr. Paris and Dr. Lemon, who were on the opposite side of the street. The men called to them to come over and shake hands and make up friends. The boys went over without thought of fear, and the men backed into the store, the boys following. No sooner did they get in than the door was closed behind them and the two men stepped behind the counter and the shots began to fly in the direction of the McKibben boys. The air was full of smoke and all was confusion for a minute, when Henry McKibben called out that he was hurt. The men who did the shooting made their escape through the back window and Mr. Ross looked about for George McKibben to find him shot dead with a bullet in his temple and Henry McKibben sure he was mortally wounded. Mr. Ross hurried Henry McKibben to Dr. Fithian's office, and does not know anything about what happened afterward, excepting as hearsay. An examination of Henry McKibben showed the bullet had not penetrated his body, but was lodged in his clothing and fell to the floor when his body was badly bruised on the left side where the ball had struck him in the region of the heart.
Mr. Hiram Ross who lives in Danville, tells this story, as nearly as possible, as it is here given: Mr. J. W. Giddings was at that time a young man, the son of William Giddings whose home was on South Hazel street almost opposite the home of Dr. Lemon. He takes up the account at this place, telling of the distressing scene he witnessed. He tells how he was at the gate of his home and saw men running down the alley, among whom was Capt. Jeff McKibben, with others of the returned soldiers. He was at the gate of Dr. Lemon's home when the crowd reached there and he saw Capt. McKibben with some other man go into the house and appear presently with Dr. Paris between them. Dr. Paris had their promise to protect him until he could have the benefit of the law. That this promise was made in all good faith there could be no doubt in the minds of those on the outside of the house. That Jeff McKibben thought he could give this protection is equally as certain to anyone who heard him speak that night. But Capt. McKibben was not dealing with his company of disciplined soldiers: it was a mob he faced and a mob growing more and more furious every minute. A mob that could not reason, nor yield obedience to orders if these were in the direction of law, and a consideration of another's rights.
Before the act could be prevented, the helpless prisoner was struck, and the mob had closed around him and hastily fired shot after shot into his body, thus taking another life to pay for the one already lost, and all done in blind, unreasoning passion. How far this mob would have gone will never be known had not Mr. Thomas McKibben, the father of the dead boy, held them in check as no other man could have done. The mob would listen to him, and it is well they would. He stepped on a box on the street so that all could see him as he reminded them that his loss of a son was greater than could be that of any of them ; and he pleaded with them and demanded that the men forming the mob would disperse and do no more harm.
Captain Jeff McKibben, who is yet living, tells the story of the scene at the home of Dr. Lemon in his own words as follows:
"It was the evening of Oct. 1st, 1864. There had been a big republican rally in Danville on that day. In the evening I had just ordered my horse from the barn of the old — Hotel to start home when some person (can't call to memory who) called, "Captain, your brother is shot." I says, "I haven't heard any shooting." This man pointed down the street on the public square. I immediately ran down to where the crowd was gathering. As I came up to the crowd, my brother Henry and Hiram Ross came forward and met me. Hiram Ross said, "George is killed." They were on their way to Dr. Fithian's office. I saw that Henry was shot. I asked him who shot him. He said, "Dr. Ferris and don't let him get away." I says, "Where did he go?" Some person called out that he went down to Dr. Lemon's house. I said that I would get him. I immediately started for Dr. Lemon's house. A large crowd followed. When I arrived at Dr. Lemon's home, I went to the south entrance. Dr. Lemon opened the door with a revolver in his hand. He told me to halt. I did so. I says, "Dr. Lemon is Dr. Ferris in your house?" He said that he was hut I could not enter his house. At that I stepped forward and told him that I would give him just ten minutes to deliver me Dr. Ferris or down would come him and his house. He said that he would deliver to me, Dr. Ferris in ten minutes. I told the people that were there not to molest Dr. Lemon nor his property, that he had agreed to deliver me Ferris. While standing there some one supposed to be Dr. Ferris opened the upstairs window and fired a shot down at me. The bullet went into the ground close to my left foot. In a few moments Dr. Lemon came down stairs to the front door and called for Capt. McKibben. I immediately answered him. He said that Dr. Ferris wanted to see me up stairs alone. I ran up stairs and Ferris met me at the head of the stairs, jammed his gun against my chest. I knocked it aside and grabbed his arm with my left hand and my gun was against his head in a second. I told him to surrender. He dropped his pistol on the floor and commenced to beg for his life as I started down the stairs with him. I told him he had forfeited his life but that he should have a hearing in his case. When I got to the foot of the stairs out on the porch some person struck him with a piece of wood and he fell forward on the walk. As he fell a number of shots were fired into the body. I called out to them to cease firing — not to shoot a dead man. The firing stopped and someone called out to haul the rebel up the street and some parties grabbed him by the legs and up the street they went.
I immediately crossed the street and met my father standing there alone. I said, "Father, I thought you had gone home." He said, "I had started and heard of this trouble so came back." At that moment some person came up, (can't call to mind who) and said, "Capt. your brother is dead." I said, "I think not, that was only a flesh wound." At that father says, "Poor George is dead." That was the first knowledge of my brother's death. I am glad that I did not know he was dead at the time. If I had known it, I would probably have killed Dr. Ferris. I did not kill him nor I did not shoot at him. Now I have given the account of the killing of Dr. Ferris as I remember it. I think it is correct."
Dr. Ferris had been taken through the streets and left on the side of the walk by the courthouse, and no one went to him, although he was yet living, until near midnight, when he was taken into the courthouse dead. Dr. Faris was a Virginian, and he felt very bitterly the results of the war. It is now claimed that he had served in the Union army, but this claim has not yet been proven, and though he might have once been pledged to the cause of the union, that can make the circumstances of his death in the way it was only the more sad.
AFTER THE WAR
The division of the history of Vermilion County by the date of the Civil war is not an unreasonable one as can be seen by a careful reader of any record of events before that time and since.
Changes in conditions were the inevitable following of the end of that struggle, not only in the South, but all over the country, and Vermilion County was no exception to this universal state of matters. Apparently the army was disbanded and its members went back home to take up the life laid down three or more years ago. But in reality that was impossible. The intervening years had been filled with experiences which changed plans and ideals, and even modes of life. The people of this country were not the same people nor could they regain their former condition.
In Vermilion County, up to this time, the increase in population had mainly come from the increased families. While some new comers had found their way to this section, the affairs of the towns and of the county were managed by the descendants of the early settlers. The natural increase of values had made certain distinctions in the communities, and certain men had found themselves in power because of the wisdom of the choice of their fathers or grandfathers in the selection of land when first coming to the west. There was more of a community of interest than is possible under any other circumstances. Men knew each other better when their fathers had known each other; it was easier to calculate what a man would do when his father's life was as an open book to read. But there is more danger of a concentration of power in a community when generation after generation lived in the same place. Deeper friendships are developed, but on the other hand, more bitter enmity is always engendered, and a community misses the chance of growth while having the privilege of intimate association. Those who had gone to the service had met new experiences and met new people. They had found that the world was not bounded by the limits of their own community. The entire country had grown less narrow and found that the world had something in it other than own interests. Vermilion County boys were not the exception.Home had perhaps grown more dear because of Contrast, but never again would it hold the place it had before. The nation had grown from its period of dependence and provincialism. Where men had gone, they came back with a wider outlook. Old plans of work for one or another were put aside, it may be, on account of some one who went away but did not come back.
Immediately following the close of the war, many new comers made their homes in Danville. Unlike the early settlers these were largely from the eastern states. The south came to the county in its infancy, and when the next time of change came it brought the east to Vermilion County.
The newcomers differed in another way from the early settlers in that they sought the towns rather than the country, and the villages and county seat increased in size more rapidly than did the country districts, at this time.
Mr. J. G. Holden came from Ohio, being a native of New Hampshire and having spent his youth in that state and New York. His fathers family came to Illinois in 1851, when he was sixteen years old. They settled in northern Illinois and he remained in New York state clerking in a grocery store. Later he went to Ohio and went into business of his own as a merchant. There he remained until 1865, when he came to Danville and made it his permanent home. Mr. Holden later went into the lumber business with his yard on Hazel street, just north of Main. He built up a fine business, which he kept as long as he lived, and since his death has been carried on by his eldest son, Nathan.
Mr. Holden was prominent in the affairs of the city. He was at one time a member of the city council, a member of the board of education of Danville, and held all prominent offices in the Agricultural Society. He was sent to the state legislature and while on the county board of supervisors was chairman of the committees which had the building of the new court house to see about. Mr. Holden died at his home, corner of Walnut and Williams streets.
Edward S. Gregory was another eastern man who came to Danville in 1865. He went into the drug store of J. Partlow, where he remained for five years. He was elected marshal of Danville in 1868 and held that office for six years. He was then elected sheriff of Vermilion County and remained in that office for six years.
Mr. Gregory married Miss Anna Maxon. Dr. George Wheeler Jones and his brother James located in Danville about this time. Like many other young men they had gone into the army before they had selected their locations for homes. Dr. Jones had begun his practice of medicine in Terre Haute from which place he enlisted, but the younger brother went into the service when he was but eighteen years old. Coming back, the most promising location appeared to be Danville, Illinois.
Dr. Jones opened a practice in the city and surrounding territory, and at the same time they formed a partnership under the firm name of Jones Brothers, and carried on the business of a drug store. Their store building was on the corner of Main and Hazel streets. The building yet stands in good condition, having housed a drug store for forty-five years. In the store diagonally across the street on the southwest corner of Main and Hazel streets, Yates & Murphy had a dry-goods store.
The Danville Lumber & Manufacturing Co. was the outcome of the partnership made by Mr. Holden and Mr. E. A. Leonard, when they came from Defiance, Ohio, in 1865, and went into the lumber business. It is true that it was many years after they made and gave up their partnership that this establishment was organized, but the beginning was made when Mr. Holden and Mr. Leonard came from the same town in Ohio in the same year and together went into the lumber business under the firm name of Leonard & Holden. In one year he bought Mr. Holden's interest and conducted the business alone until 1871, when the firm became Leonard & Yeomans. In 1873 the Danville Lumber & Manufacturing Co. was established and continued until the death of Mr. Leonard. They did a good business for the times and it was one of profit. Mr. Leonard was born in St. Lawrence County, N. Y., in 1828. and died in Danville, Ill.
During these first years after the war, the list of attorneys was increased by William A. Young, J. B. Mann, E. Winter and F. W. Penwell. Mr. Young came from Indiana. Mr. Mann is a native of New Jersey. Mr. Winter was born in Kentucky, but came to Indiana while very young, coming to Danville in 1870; and Mr Penwell was a native of Indiana. All of these men have become successful lawyers and made themselves known outside their own county. Mr. Young did not begin the practice of his profession until he had spent much time in other employment. He taught school rather extensively in southern Illinois. He enlisted for the term of three months, but soon had enough of army life. He was engaged as recruiting officer in Indianapolis, and at last began his practice. 'At first it was under the firm name of Penwell & Young, where they both made their reputation, and were considered the rising lawyers of Vermilion County.
Mr. Joseph B. Mann is one of the best known lawyers of the state. He is well read, clear in his statement of a case, and is generally on the winning side. He was born and spent his youth in the east, coming west to the Michigan University to study law in 1865. and graduating from that school in 1866. He then came to Danville and went into the office of O. L. Davis. He was admitted to practice law in the courts of Illinois in the following year. He was taken into the firm with Judge E. S. Terry. When that partnership was ended he went into the firm with Judge O. L. Davis. Since then he formed the firm of Mann, Calhoun & Frazier, which was one of the strongest in eastern Illinois. Mr. Mann married Miss Lucy Davis, daughter of Judge O. L. Davis. Mr. Mann changed his residence, his new location being Chicago, but he afterward returned to Danville. Mr. Mann has perhaps a wider acquaintance throughout the state and surrounding territory than any other resident of Vermilion County.
Mr. E. Winter is but one generation removed from England, his father being an Englishman. He was born in Indiana. In 1864 he enlisted in Battery F, First Indiana Heavy artillery, although but seventeen years old, and was in several heavy engagements. After he came to Danville he helped organize Battery A, and soon was made captain of it, since which time he has familiarly been called Captain Winter.
Mr. Penwell moved to Illinois with his parents in 1853, but did not come to Danville until 1873. He enlisted from Shelbyville, the home of his parents. He was in the service for three years, after which he went to the Michigan University and studied law, and was admitted to the bar. When he came to Danville he went into partnership with Judge Henry under the firm name of Henry & Penwell. Three years later the firm was changed to Penwell & Young and remained that. It was about this time that the Abdill brothers came from Perrysville and opened a hardware store. The firm of Abdill Bros, was dissolved in time and Mr. E. C. Abdill carried on the business. When he died his sons, Charles and Harry, carried it on for some time under the name of E. C. Abdills' Sons. In about 1898 the store passed into the hands of another firm and the name of Abdill, which was connected with the hardware trade for so many years was lost to Danville. Mr. George Abdill is and has been a broker in Danville since going out of the hardware business. D. M. Gurley came to Danville from Michigan, being a native of Vermont, in 1867. He was in the hide and leather business until he retired. He was fifty-nine years old when he came and did not have many active years before him when he made the change of residence."
Judge Stansbury came to Danville with a grown family in 1867. They were a great addition to the social life of Danville. Mrs. Stansbury was an unusual woman and the two daughters were unmarried and very accomplished women. The son was a citizen of Dallville for many years. Miss Elizabeth Stansbury became the wife of Mr. W. T. Cunningham and the young daughter was married to Dr. O. LeSeure, and went to Detroit to live. In 1867 Mr. A. L. Webster and Mr. George Yeomans opened a hardware store in Danville. They continued in this partnership until 1871, when Mr. Yeomans sold his interest to Mr. Charles Yeomans, his brother. The firm name of Webster & Yeomans continued until four years later, when it was dissolved, Mr. Webster taking the heavy hardware and Mr. Yeomans the light hardware. Mr. Webster kept this sort of stock for four or five years, when he sold out to Mr. J. W. Giddings and retired from the trade altogether. He afterward went into the grocery business, eventually being in the jobbing trade. Changes of firm and company names have placed him at this time in the large wholesale business of Webster Grocery Company. This business, which is extensive, is housed in a fine building which the company owns at the corner of East North street and Washington avenue. Mr. Yeomans formed the company of Yeomans, Shedd & LeSeure, which remained the same until the death of Mr. Frank LeSeure, one of the firm, in 1884, since which time the firm has been Yeomans & Shedd. The death of Mr. Shedd last spring makes another change. L. T.
Dickason came to Vermilion County in 1867 from Ohio. He had been in the army and had a very severe wound, after which he was discharged. This was when he had almost com- pleted his term of enlistment. Mr. Dickason went first to Fairmount and was engaged in buying and selling grain. He later came to Danville, where he was interested in the coal and timber trade very extensively. He was very popular and was elected mayor for three terms. Mr. Dickason's extensive business interests made his residence in Danville no longer possible, and he removed to Chicago, where he has since made his home. His health has been very much impaired during these last years. He was associated while here with Mr. C. L. English, in the coal and lumber trade, and this business association continued after he changed his residence.
The coal business of Vermilion County attracted Mr. W. C. McReynolds to Danville in 1867. He did not remain in this business for long, however, but went into the mill. He was booker in the Danville mill, which was one one of the largest in the county. It was built by Daniel Kyger. In 1875 he married Miss Elizabeth Pearson, the daughter of Hon. John Pearson. Mr. H. K. Gregory was one of the prominent business men of that time. He made good contracts to get out railroad ties, being associated with his brother Charles for a time and later with Mr. James Knight. Mr. Gregory went to the Pacific slope and has been for some time in the railroad interests. His residence is now in San Francisco.
A' leading dry-goods firm in Danville for years was that of C. W. and J. R. Holloway. This firm did business on the northwest corner of Main and Walnut streets. The firm was organized in 1869. Mr. C. B. Holloway came to Danville from Ohio and Mr. Jesse Holloway was a native of Virginia, coming to Danville from Georgetown, Illinois, having gone when young. He was a dry-goods merchant in Georgetown for twenty years and then moved to Danville, where he went into the Vermilion County Bank for a time, but resumed the dry-goods business when this firm was established.
E. C. Winslow, a native of Massachusetts, came to Danville after the war and opened a fine drug store on Main street, between Vermilion and Hazel, on the south side. Mr. Winslow was an experienced druggist, having had a drugstore in Boston for twelve years before he came to Vermilion County. Mr. Winslow afterward went to California to live. He was a relative of Dr. Winslow, the dentist and geologist. Dr. Gillette, of Massachusetts, came to practice his profession in Danville and vicinity about this time. He was a skillful physician who spent his life in this community, well loved by a host of patrons and friends. When he came back to the St. Elizabeth Hospital, an incurable invalid, the people found their greatest pleasure in doing what they could to make his last days comfortable. Dr. Gillette died in the early spring of 1810 (?).
William P. Cannon was a prominent factor in the business affairs of Danville during his life in that city. He came from Tuscola, where he had been first in the practice of law and later interested in the private bank of Wyeth, Cannon & Co. Yet later Mr. Cannon organized the First National Bank of Tuscola. In 1873 he moved to Danville and organized the Vermilion County Bank, of which he was made president. This later became the Second National Bank, and Mr. Cannon was president of this bank when he died, in 1893. His death was the result of an accident. In drawing the curtains of the window of the bank, he slipped on the tile floor, and falling, sustained internal injuries which were of so serious a nature he could not recover from them.
In 1867 the old charter of Danville was burned in a fire which destroyed the records of the city, and a new one was granted. The city was operated under this charter until 1874, when it was incorporated under the general act of 1872. A hook and ladder company was formed in 1867, when the first protection from fire was made. This organization gave its service without compensation of any kind. D. A. Childs was made the foreman of this company, M. Redford the assistant foreman, Charles Eoff secretary, and C. Y. Yates treasurer. That same year, under the administration of Dr. Winslow as mayor, a second-hand engine was bought and 299 feet of leather hose at a cost of $1,200, and for a time the fire department of Danville gave good service. This plan of a volunteer fire department, which has been the pride in the east, was not the continued success in Danville. So it was that in 1872, while T. H. Myers was mayor, the council determined upon buying a steam fire engine. The committee to attend to the matter consisted of N. S. Monroe, W. H. Taylor and W. A. Brown. An engine and an additional hose cart with 500 feet of the best rubber hose was bought and the company was reorganized. This time there was a fixed number of sixteen members, and a salary was paid to each. In 1875 another of the Silsby engines was bought. W. H. Taylor was made chief of the department when this office was created in 1879. A list of officers and salaries received in 1880 is interesting in comparison with those of the present : Chief, W. H. Taylor, $55 per month ; first engineer, George Lupt, $50 per month; second engineer, Putnam Russell, $50 per month. .Members: W. D. Dearing, $50 per month; Isaac Hurlacker, $20 per quarter; E. Peables, $20 per quarter; A. Brant, $15 per quarter; C. Lindsey, $15 per quarter; William Dallas, $13 per quarter; J. Peables, $13 per quarter; E. Brant, $13 per quarter; M. Yearkes, $13 per quarter; Charles Adams, $13 per month; Frank Wells, $13 per month; James Harrison, $13 per month; Jackson Brideman, $13 per month; George Cox, $13 per month.
It was in 1872 that a station was made on the Chicago & Danville Railroad a mile south of the present site of Alvin. This was named for the progressive citizen of that part of the country and called Gilbert. L. T. Dixon laid out the town of Gilbert on section 8 (21-11) and Bruce Peters and D. McKibben started a store. Peters was made postmaster. Soon after this the store was sold to J. D. Williams and he was appointed postmaster. John Davison afterwards bought it and put in a stock of dry-goods. Dr. G. W. Akers started the drug business in 1875 and remained there for a year, when the narrow gauge road made a crossing a mile to the north and the post office, station, stores and all moved to this point. Gilbert became an abandoned town, but the new town built in its place must be named. So great was the appreciation of his neighbors for Mr. Gilbert that his name was kept for the other town, and it was called Alvin. Now Mr. Gilbert always persisted in the spelling of his given name with an "a" and the devotion of those who named the new town went to the extent of spelling it in the same way. The post-office department knew how to spell and refused to accept this spelling, but spelled the town Alvin. So it is that this town in Vermilion County has the spelling of Alvan as a railroad station and of Alvin as a postoffice. Any one can give it either spelling as he may choose and be correct. Alvan Gilbert had lived in this neighborhood for ten years and had large landed interests there, and if he demoralized the orthography of the community, it is too late a day to make any change. Mr. Gilbert was the man who made a settlement at the site of Rossville possible in 1862. That was the date of his coming to this place, which was then called Henpeck the reason for which is unknown. This included the settlement made first by Mr. Bicknell in the earlier history of the county. There was a point of timber running into the prairie at this place where Mr. Bicknell had settled.
It was in 1871 that Hoopeston was laid out. The fight over the possession of the site of this by the two companies who were building the two railroads was a bitter one and ended in the platting of three towns: Hoopeston laid out in July where Main street is now ; Leeds laid out where later the Hibbard House was built, and North Hoopeston comprised all the land north and east of the railroad. The first town was platted in the spring of 1871, the next was platted in November of that year, and the third was platted in the same year. A great factor in the growth of Hoopeston was the organization of the Hoopeston Agricultural Society. This was formed in 1873 and the stock was fixed at $5,000, and afterward raised to $10,000.
The Hoopeston Library and Lecture Association was organized December 30, 1872, and Hon. Lyford Marston elected president. After the car shops of the Eastern Illinois Railroad were built near the junction, the demand for an incorporated village of the territory lying to the northeast of that locality. A petition was filed in the county court June 25, 1874, asking the court to direct the holding of an election to vote for or against village incorporation, setting forth that there were over four hundred people living within said limits. The petition con - tained the names of sixty voters who lived within said limits. The petition was granted and an election was called for July 6, 1874. At this election there were thirty-one votes cast, thirtyfor and one against the incorporation. An election was held on July 31 for six trustees to perfect the organization. At this election there were thirty-four votes cast. In 1875 there were sixty-one votes cast. When the village was incorporated the people living there were largely Germans, but that did not last long, since the working men who have come into the shops are by no means all Germans, and other nationalities find their way to this village. .While the employment of its citizens were men who had little farms and truck patches, there were conditions which attracted the German settler who remained the German all his life.
South Danville lies on the south side of Vermilion river, and has been the home of the miner more than of any other man. This village was incorporated in 1874. In February of that year Mr. John Lewis and thirty-five others petitioned the county court to order an election to vote for or against incorporating under the general act with the following boundaries: commencing at the Wabash railroad bridge, thence southwest with said railroad to a point where the state road from Georgetown to Danville crosses the railroad; thence west to the Paris & Danville railroad (now the New York Central lines;) thence north to the Vermilion river; thence along said river to the place of beginning. The petition set forth that there were five hundred people living within said limits. The election was held March 14, at which time and place seventy-seven votes were cast, fifty-one being for and twenty-five against corporation. An election was held to elect trustees in which seventy-three votes were cast.
At an election held in 1863 a proposition was voted upon which was called upon a system of bridges. As the vote stood 515 for and 2 against, there is reason to conclude that there was some public spirit at that time. It was in 1864 that a new cemetery in Danville was shown to be a pressing need of the times, and Spring Hill was incorporated. Up to this time the old Williams burying grounds were used, but it was beyond use, and a new one was an urgent need. Mr. J. C. Short was, as he showed himself to be, very much interested in anything to promote the welfare of Danville, and in connection with Mr. English, Mr. LeSeure, Dr. Woodbury and Mr. A. S. Williams, an association was formed under the laws of the state and fifty acres of land was 'bought north of town for which $2,000 was paid, these gentlemen advancing the money, knowing it would prove a means of profit when the lots were sold. The land was a happy choice. It is dry and well located, having natural advantages tending to make it a beautiful burial place. Mr. English was elected the first president of the association, and Mr. Short secretary and treasurer, while Messrs. Williams, LeSeure and Woodbury were the directors. Mr. Bowman was given the work of laying it out. This work was admiringly done. Taking advantage of the natural lay of the land, the landscape was' given all the beauty of lakes, ravines, graveled and grassy roads and paths. It is one of the most beautiful cemeteries of Illinois. As the years passed the place made improvement or not as the men in charge took more or less interest in it. The present superintendent, Mr. Anderson, has done much to beautify it and to make it an attractive place to visit.
The seventies brought many changes to Danville in the way of new buildings being built. The old court house was destroyed. There was no doubt that it was set on fire and no one had the heart to investigate the matter nor the disposition to censure, for it had long been a disgrace to Vermilion County. There is record made that one of Danville's favorite citizens, in the abandon of youth, drew a pistol and said he would shoot any one who would attempt to put the fire out. The present building was erected in 1876. The building cost, complete and ready for occupancy, the sum of $105,000. The architect and the committee who had charge of its building took great pride in the shape of the building. They never thought that their building would show the effects of wear and weather to the extent it does at present, but it is rapidly growing to the place its predecessor held in the minds of the people thirty-five years ago.
The first jail stood in the rear of the courthouse, but the fire which destroyed the one refused to burn the other. The old jail was made of hewn logs which dove-tailed together and were pinned together through the corners. It was about thirty feet long and had a partition put across it near the center to separate the two classes of people who were liable to be put in jail, viz., the prisoners for crime and those for debt. When the jail was built these latter were put in jail. Large river stones were put on the ground and a floor was placed on that. It was covered over with a floor like this of hewn logs. There were two windows in this building about eighteen inches square.One man who has had charge of the jail for some time, Hiram Hickman, said there was no trouble to catch a horse thief, but the trouble was to keep him, since everyone could dig his way out before the next term of court. The jail refused to burn at the time the courthouse was destroyed, but it had to get out of the way of the new building and the old jail was removed in 1873. The new jail was built in 1874 and has always been a credit to the county. The material used in building it was Joliet stone and brick and the plan has always been pleasing. It has a front on South Vermilion street of forty-four
feet and is one hundred and two feet deep and cost $52,292. The building committee was the same as that of the courthouse, J. G. Holden being chairman.
Battery "A," First Regiment Illinois National Guards, was organized in 1875. It was reorganized in 1876. The Danville Guards was organized in 1876. A very valuable association to a country was formed in 1877. This was called Vermilion County Historical Society. This society was made up of men of all the characteristics most to be admired in citizens of a growing community. Yet with everything to make an effective organization, it must be admitted that the society not only disbanded, but all the valuable matter collected and the priceless relics disappeared to never be found where they could be of use. Danville is rich in relics of Indian life and the collection was of particular value in that line, which is all too rare now.
Another force for the improvement of the citizen was the Danville Lyceum, established about that time. It was organized July 4, 1878. Its object was mutual improvement of its members. It numbered forty members when first started. This was some time before the Danville Public Library was started. Mr. Culbertson had made his bequest of $2,000 to be used in the purchase of a library, one-half of which should be for the permanent benefit of the members of the Presbyterian church, and the other half for the benefit of the public. The books were bought by a committee and were kept in the library room of the old Presbyterian church, and it was the avowed desire and intention of the lyceum to secure the books and make them a part of a circulating library. The officers of the Danville Lyceum were : J. D. Benedict, president ; W. L. French, vice president; W. C. Johnson, secretary. The board of directors were: W. J. Calhoun, J. D. Benedict, J. B. Samuels, P. E. Northrup and J. W. Whyte.
The Vermilion Opera House was built on the corner of North and Vermilion streets, on the northeast corner opposite the old North Street church. It was built by J. G. English, Col. Chandler and John Dale, in 1873. It was built of native brick with Milwaukee brick trimmings; 50x110 feet, with two storerooms on the first floor and a hall on the upper floor. The cost of this building was $20,000. This building was used for its original purpose for a time and after it was no longer needed for that purpose it was converted into a building for the use of the Illinois Printing Company. The Illinois Printing Company located in Danville in 1874. It was first housed in the building on North street, between Vermilion and Hazel, where the Daniel House furnishing store has been so long. The Great Western Machine & Engine Shops were opened near the Wabash tracts in 1865. Frisbie & Williams began this business in 1865, and in 1869 J. V. Logue bought out Williams interest and the firm name was Frisbie, Logue & Co. until 1874.
Five building and loan associations were organized from the time of the act of 1872 until the last one chartered in June, 1874. The Moss Bank park was laid out by John C. Short while yet he owned the property west of Danville, and promised to be a place of pride and pleasure to the citizens. The Ellsworth park was laid out in the eighties and the Lincoln and Douglas parks were made a part of Danville in the nineties.
H. A. Coffeen was a factor in the literary and business development of the county, that should not be overlooked. Mr. Coffeen's parents lived in Champaign, coming there in 1852. They were Ohio people. Henry A. was their second son and early set out in life as a school teacher. He was in this employment until he was twenty-seven years old, the last two schools being in Hiram College, in Ohio, and as superintendent of schools in Bement, Illinois. Mr. Coffeen at .last concluded to be a merchant instead of a school teacher, and started a bookstore in Danville. He kept up a fine store, where he sold books, pictures, wall paper and all that is ever found in a store of that kind. He opened the store in about 1868 and for a time carried it on by his unaided efforts, but later he took as his partner Charles Pollock, the son of Dr. Pollock. Mr. Coffeen was the author of the first history of Vermilion County. It is a small book, which gives many facts, valued because they were gleaned while yet it was possible to get information of the early settlers at first hand.
Mr. J. M. Clark was a dry-goods merchant who came in 1871. His store was on Vermilion street, next door to the Aetna House. He was a man who had done good service for his country during the bloody sixties, and was welcomed as a citizen of the growing Vermilion County.
William F. Henderson came to Georgetown in 1878 and went into the bank of E. Henderson & Co. as cashier.
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