HISTORY OF TAMPICO TOWNSHIP
[Source: Whiteside County, Illinois, From Its First Settlement To The Present Time; by Charles Bent; Page 451; pub. 1877]
This township was originally a part of Portland Precinct, then of Rapids Precinct, remaining a part of the latter until 1852, when the Commissioners appointed by the County Commissioners’ Court, defined its boundaries and gave it its name; but until its complete organization in 1860, the east half was attached to Hopkins township, and the west half to Prophetstown, for judicial purposes. It includes all of township 19 north, range 6 east of the fourth principal meridian. A portion of the town is level prairie, interspersed with sloughs, and the balance rolling prairie, with here and there a sand ridge. The “big slough,” about a mile and a half north of the present village of Tampico is probably the best known of any in the south part of the county.
Previous to its being ditched by the county, and by side ditches, it was frequently during the winter and spring and sometimes extending even into the summer, covered with water from a mile to two miles in width, and was a favorite resorting place for all kinds of water fowl found in this section of the country. The water would be from one to three feet deep, and often partially frozen, so that those compelled to pass over the slough had not only to contend with mire and water, but with ice. In early times those unacquainted with it would often get lost,. and wander about until they became mired, and then have to rest as best they could until help came. Mr. Glassburn gives an instance, and such were not of unfrequent occurrence at the time, where a man taking a load of goods from Sterling to some point in Bureau county, got mired in about the middle of the slough, and when found was holding his horses’ heads above the mud and water to prevent their sinking. The wagon was sunk so low that the boxes of goods were half submerged. It was with great difficulty that team. and wagon could be extricated in such cases. In 1862 the slough was piked, and with the work put on it since, is now quite passable. The county ditch draining this slough was dug in 1863-’64 from Swan lake to Coon creek.
The great “blow out,” as it is known, is situated on section 22, a little west of the center of this town. This excavation is the work of whirlwinds, undoubtedly an indefinite series of them, and covers an area of over seven acres. Its depth is about sixty feet, the sand being blown away to the water line. No authentic data can be fixed when the sand was blown from this vast basin, everything relating to it being merely conjecture. When first discovered by the early settlers in this part of the State, a large red cedar tree was growing near the center of the basin, but was cut down by some vandal in 1850. The stump was standing until recently, and many of the inhabitants of the town have pieces taken from it. The species of cedar to which this tree belonged is not indigenous to this section, and it is supposed that it was brought by the Indians from some other part and planted there. Near where it stood is a fine spring of water. This “blow out” is one of the curiosities of the town.
The first settlers of the town were: Nicholas Lutyens, John Lutyens, and Hiram Tompkins, from the State of New York; and Jacob Lutyens from Canada, in 1852. In 1853 came Aaron S. Miller, from Groton, Tompkins county, New York, and Geo. W. Curtis, from Fox River Valley, although originally from New York State. William Aldrich, and Rev. William Gray, came in 1854, the former from Bradford county, Pennsylvania, and the latter from New York. Rufus Aldrich, from Bradford county, Pennsylvania, Daniel Foy, from Cattaraugus county, New York; and James Conroy, from New York City, came in 1856; and J. C. Aldrich, from Bradford county, Pennsylvania; John W. Glassburn, and T. A. Glassburn from Gallia county, Ohio, in 1856. A. M. Smith came from Alleghany county, New York, in 1857; J. P. Badgley also came in 1857, and following them that year came a large number of others.
The first house of which we have any information was put up by Nicholas Lutyens in the southeast part of the town, in 1852. The first school house was built in July, 1856, in what is known as the Aldrich district, and Orlando McNickle taught the first school, commencing in the fall of that year. The first minister who held services in the town was Rev. Mr. Pinkney, a Wesleyan Methodist. He preached in the Aldrich school house, Glassburn school house, and also in private dwellings. Rev. Win. H. Gray, a Protestant Methodist, was the next minister.
The first child born in the town was Emma Aldrich, a daughter of Rufus and Mary A. Aldrich, her birth occurring October 23, 1855. The first death was that of Mrs. Baker, a daughter of Jacob Barney, who died in the summer of 1856. The first marriage dates in 1857, the parties being Mr. Ellery 0. Brown and Miss Susan Gray, daughter of Rev. Wm. H. Gray, the ceremony being performed by the father of the bride.
The first travelled road in the town was the one leading from Sterling to Yorktown and Green River. This road branched at J. W. Glassburn’s farm, the branches running respectively to Yorktown and Green River. In 1850 a road was legally laid out, running from the burying ground, south of the present village, to the south line of the township, and in 1853 it was extended northward all the way through the town. The second road was laid out in 1859, and commences at the south line of the town, between sections 31 and 32, running north two miles to the north line of sections 29 and 30, and then east three miles to Tampico village.
When the call was made to subscribe to the capital stock of the Grand Trunk Railway, now the Mendota branch of the C. B. & Q. Railway, the town voted to subscribe $20,000. Bonds were issued for the payment of this stock, dated March 10, 1871, to run ten years, payments to be made as follows: the first installment of $4,000 in five years from the date of the bonds, and the balance in yearly installments. The installments, as far as they have become due, have been regularly met.
The town furnished its full complement of soldiers to the Union army during the late war of the Rebellion. Its quota in the several calls for troops were promptly called the quota under the last call being seventeen. Of those who went out, Ansel Brown was killed, Wm. Glasby died of fever in camp, and Julias Brown was wounded in the arm.
The first town meeting after the complete organization of the town was held on Tucaday, April 2d, 1861. The principal officers of the town have been:
Supervisors - 1861-'63, Daniel Foy; 1864, J. C. Aldrich; 1865, Daniel Foy; 1866-’69, G. A. Stilson; 1870-73, J. C. Aldrich; 1874-75, M. H. Brewer; 1876-77, T. M. Wylie.
Town Clerks- 1861-'63, Eleary C. Brown; 1864, J. M. Vandermark; 1865,0. A. Stilson; 1866-’69, Eleary C. Brown; 1870-’73, M. H. Brewer; 1874- ‘75, T. M. Wylie; 1876-’77, T. S. Beach.
Assessors-1861, Rufus Aldrich; 1862-’64, A. M. Smith; 1865, Charles C. Ring; 1866-’67, A. M. Smith; 1868-’70, A. S. Pratt; 1871-’72, Rufus Aldrich; 1873, Geo. W. Apley; 1874, Isaac West; 1875-’77, Rufus Aldrich.
Collectors; - 1861, John P. Badgley, 1862, Isaac West; 1863, William Pinkney; 1864, G. T. Marfleet; 1865, John P. Badgley; 1866, J. T. Gray; 1867, Charles A. Lane; 1868-’70, H. L. Denison; 1871, Maurice Fitzgerald; 1872-.’77, W. L. Gowen
Justice of the Peace:-1861, Joseph Rainer, Aaron S. Miller; 1864, Daniel Pay, Eleary C. Brown; 1868, John C. Hunt, George T. Marfleet; 1871, T. H. C. Dow; 1873, J. H. Kane; 1876, Maurice Fitzgerald; 1877, J. F. Leonard, James H. King.
The Assessor’s book of Tampico township for 1877 shows 11,068 acres of improved land, and 11,661 of unimproved. The number of improved lots is 109, and of unimproved 91. The total assessed value of all lands is $205,208. Number of horses, 616; cattle, 1,228, mules and asses, 22; sheep, 30; hogs, 1,535; wagons and carriages, 205; sewing andknitting machines, 109; melodeons, and organs, 33. Value of personal property, $60,414; railroad property, $26,814. Total assessed value of all property, $307,071.
The population of Tampico township in 1870 was 634, of which numbered 565 were of native birth, and 69 of foreign. The estimated population of the township in 1877, is 800, and of the village 450, making a total of 1,250.
Tampico township originally was in Portland until 1852 when the township organization of the county became effective. Why a Mexican or Spanishname was selected is not stated in local histories.
Tampico township is historically known stemming from an account of a "blow out" a storm driven hole of seven acres originally, located about one mile west of Tampico, supposed to have been the result of whirlwinds of annual recurrence for many years. It was one of the curiosities of northwestern Illinois.
Nicholas Lutyens, John Luytens and Hiram Tompkins of New York were the first settlers in the Tampico area. This was in the year 1852, and the following year many other settlers arrived in the area. Nicholas Lutyens built the first house in the Tampico area. The first school house was built in 1856, for the Aldrich district, Orlando McNickle being the first instructor.
In 1856 the Rev. Mr. Pinkey gave the first sermon. The first child born was Emma, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Aldrich on Oct. 23, 1855.
The first death was that of a Mrs. Baker, a daughter of Jacoby Barney, in the summer of 1856.
The first marriage recorded in Tampico was that of Ellery C. Brown and Miss Susan Gray in 1856. Mrs. Gray was the daughter of the Rev. and Mrs. W.M. Gray. Gray was the pastor of the Methodist Church.
The first traveled road in the township was the road from the Green River to Sterling.
The first Tampico town meeting was held Tuesday, April 2, 1861. Daniel Foy was elected the first supervisor serving from 1861 to 1863. The township furnished its full quota of soldier for the federal army during the war of the rebellion (Civil War).
Tampico had two disasterous fires in the early years and the terrible "Tampico Tornado" which struck on June 6, 1874. The tornado almost leveled the entire village, destroying many buildings and seriously injuring 10 of the residents. No fatalities were reported from the tornado.
The village of Tampico is in the northeast corner of Tampico township, built upon the original farm land of John W. Glassburn who came from Gallia County Ohio in 1856 and settled the land. Glassburn built the first house in the village. The next was a frame building built by S.B. Winter in the autumn of 1871 and used by him as a residence, store and post office.
Buying and cribbing corn was the first industry in Tampico, as soon as the railroad had been completed. There were 35,000 bushels of corn handled the very first winter.
Tampico was organized as a village July 1, 1872. Its first trustees were D. McMillan, E.W. High, Alfred Smith, J.W. Glassburn, J.H. Cain and H.I. Denison.
The Tampico post office was established Sept. 1, 1871 and J.S. Kimball was the first postmaster. Previous to the establishment of the post office, John W. Glassburn ran a private mail route between Yorktown and Sterling. Chauncey Dow was the first rural mail carrier.
The weekly "Tampico Tornado" was established May 4, 1876 by A.D. Hill and Charles F. Gifford.
The first churches and the year established in Tampico were: the Methodist Episcopal CHurch in 1871; St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in 1875.
The first public school was built in 1869, a mile south of the present town, however, when the railroad was built, the school was moved to the town proper. A.W. Bastian was the teacher. During the second year of the school, Miss Rosa Laughlin was hired as a teacher.
The Masonic Lodge was instituted in Tampico on July 24, 1875.
In the year 1929, the population of Tampico was estimated at 650. During this same year H.E. Rise was mayor Commissioners that year were C.E. McKenzie, N.E. Denison, L.W. Denison and dean Richardsn, J.M. Olson was the city clerk and R.F. Woods, city treasurer.
F.E. Foy was the marshal in Tampico in 1929, J.M. Olsson was the supervisor, H.E. Cain, Town Clerk; Charles McGonagle and WIlliam McCreedy, justices of the peace; F.C. SHank and Ellsworth PEters, constables and t.A. Pierce, Canada Thistle commissioner.
Tampico school trustees in 1929 included James Kelly, William Frank Jr., and Richard Allen. A.E. Allen was school treasurer.
Jerome E. Robbins was the superintendent of the Tampico Township High School in 1929 along with the following faculty; Miss Nia E. Shaw, English; Miss Verna Gruett, History and Biology; Miss Edyth Kirk, Latin and Mathematics; Miss Maxine Marchwardt, home economics and science; George L. Murray, Agriculture, science and coach of the athletic teams; W.E. Yates, supervisor of instrumental music and Miss Clare McCune instructor of vocal music.
Mrs. C.R. Aldrich was superintendent of the grade school and teacher of the seventh and eighth grades. Miss Jean Sunderland taught fifth and sixth grades; Miss Bernice McKenzie, third and fourth grades and Miss Mary Staack, first and second grades.
In 1929, the Rev. Fr. Joseph P. Lynch was pastor of St. Marys Catholic Church. The Rev. Frank T. Palm was pastor of the Methodist Church. The Rev. Theodore C. Meyer was pastor of the Baptist Church and the Rev. John Cunniff Weir, pastor of the Christian Church.
Mrs. T.F. Dillon was president of the Tampico Womens' Club in 1929.
The lodges of Tampico were the M.W.C. Camp No.9; Francis E. Willard Camp No. 1043; Royal Neighbors of America; Yorktown Lodge No.655; A.F. and A.M.; Morning Star Chapter No. 382, O.E.S.; Mystic Workers, Women's Relief Corps; American Legion Post and Auxiliary and Boy Scout Troup 101.
In 1929, two banks formed the financial center of Tampico. The First National Bank was organized in 1908. The officers wre C.R. Aldrich, president; Arthur Aldrich, vice president and R.F. Wood, cashier.
The Tampico State Bank was originally established in 1882 and incorporated as a state bank in 1918. A.E. Bennett was the president of the State Bank in 1929 along with John L. Wetzell, vice president; Roy Brown, cashier; L.W. Denison, assistant cashier and Ethel Davis, bookkeeper.
The Tampico Farmer Shipping Association record for 1928 was 10,034 hogs shipped, 378 head of cattle, 532 calves and 174 sheep, making a total of some 11,118 head in all, weighing 2,849, 539 pounds and taking 153 railroad cars to make the shipments which was the averagenumber of shipments for the seven previous years.
In 1928 some $253,201.32 was paid the owners of the livestock and the average for the same seven years for the same number of cars was $234,954.44
Shipments for 1929, up to October 1, of that year was 87 cars, composed of 5,356 hogs, 281 cattle, 302 calves and 54 sheep, for a total of 6,083 head weighing 1,704,700 pounds and returning the owners $174, 965.03.
Officers of the Tampico Shipping Association in 1929 included H.A. Maxfield, president; Carl Rasmussen, vice president; R.S. Allen, secretary; and F.B. Potter, J.W. Johnson, Arthur Aldrich, Cecil Wheelock, Tomy Harmsen, George J. Saathoff, directors. Mr. H.J. Russell was the manager of the association. [Source: The Daily Gazette, July 1, 1976]
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