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,a,NO.S HISTORlCAt SURVEY
In Vermilion County, Illinois
GRAMMAR GRADE PUPILS
of Villages and Rural Schools
Vermilion County, Illinois
Compiled for the School Libraries
By L. A. TOGGLE
County Superintendent of Schools
iLLiWOlS HISTORICAL SllRVEV
L. A. TUGGLE
Qounty e)?<'perJHtenc/en^ of S^^-^^ools
Since August 3rd, 1925
The historical notes written by pupils of the 7th and 8th
grades of the Vermilion County, Illinois, schools in 1932-1933
were so successful that scores and scores of the same type of com-
positions were written in 1934-1935 and submitted to our office.
They were not published because of the lack of the necessary
However, we believe that they are so valuable for future
reference that the publication of these notes is for your perusal.
Although these stories have been gathered by pupils from the
dimmed memories of older people, we have faith that they are
The formation of Vermilion County, the extinct towns, the
duties of County Officers and how towns got their names will be
valuable information one hundred years hence.
L. A. TUGGLE
County Superintendent of Schools
December 21, 1940.
VERMILION COUNTY, ILLINOIS
By Larkin a. Tuggle (1940)
Vermilion County was originally a part of New France from
1682 to 1763. New France was divided into two immense dis-
tricts— CANADA and LOUISIANA. Prior to 1745 the division
line of the "Illinois country" began on the Wabash River at the
mouth of the Big Vermilion River, thence northwest to a few
miles above Ottawa. North of this line was CANADA. South of
it and west of the Wabash River was LOUISIANA. The County
Seat for Vermilion County south of that line was Fort Chartes
and north of that line was "Post of Detroit." If a French trader
living on the Big Vermilion River wished to get married to an
Indian girl legally (in the absence of a parish priest) he would
have to go either to Detroit or Fort Chartes. He seldom went
to this trouble, however.
In 1763, the country between the Mississippi and the Al-
leghenies was ceded to Great Britain. Through the conquest of
Gen. George Rogers Clark in 1778, Vermilion County became a
part of "Illinois County" in the State of Virginia. In 1787, it
became known as: "The territory of the United States northwest
of the River Ohio." In 1800, this territory was divided and Ver-
milion County became part of "The Indiana Territory." In 1801,
counties were formed and part of Vermilion county lay in the
county of Knox, and the other part in St. Clair county.
In 1809, the "Illinois Territory" was formed off the "Indiana
Territory" by a line running from the mouth of the Ohio River
up the Wabash River to Vincennes; thence north to the British
Possessions. By proclamation of the acting governor on April 28th,
1809, Vermilion County fell wholly in St. Clair county. The
county seat was at Cahokia opposite St. Louis.
Then in 1816, Crawford county was formed and Vermilion
county became a part of that county with the county seat at
Palestine on the banks of the Wabash River. Clark county was
formed off the northern part of Crawford in 1819 with the County
seat many miles up the Wabash River at a place called AURORA.
About this time several Indian treaties were made which appar-
ently gave clear title to lands drained by the Vermilion River
and its tributaries. Clark county was soon thereafter explored
and settlements began on the Big Vermilion River near old
"Kickapoo town" (Danville) and the "Vermilion Salines."
Edgar county was formed off Clark county January 3rd,
1823, and the "seat of justice" was established at Paris, April 21,
1823. The northern boundary line of Edgar county was a line
running East and West between Townships 16 and 17 (about one
mile south of Ridgefarm).
VERMILION COUNTY WAS MADE A SEPARATE
COUNTY JANUARY 18TH, 1826, DESCRIBED AS FOL-
"Beginning on the state line between Illinois and
Indiana, at the northeast corner of Edgar county, thence
West with line dividing Townships 16 and 17 to the
southwest corner of Township 17 North, of Range 10
East of the 3rd Principal Meridian; thence North to
the northwest corner of Township 22 North : thence East
to the Indiana state line; thence south with the state
line to the place of beginning."
This original territory did not include six miles of the north end
of the present county, but extended about 10 miles into the
present Champaign county.
For judicial purposes, many present counties were attached
to Vermilion county in 1826 which embraced Champaign, Iro-
quois, and Ford counties, 2 tiers of Townships on the East side
of Livingston, 2/3 of the width of Grundy county south of the
Kankakee River, and nearly 1-1/2 congressional Townships in
the southwest corner of Will county.
Iroquois county was formed in 1833, and by the terms of the
Act of the Legislature, VERMILION COUNTY WAS EX-
TENDED 6 miles farther North; making the line where it NOW
is— making Hoopeston, East Lynn and Rankin in Vermilion
Champaign county was also formed by an ACT in February,
1833, by the terms of which VERMILION COUNTY LOST
half of Range 14 West of the 2nd Principal Meridian, fractional
Range 11 East and all of Range 10 East of the 3rd Principal
Meridian; thus reducing the Western limits of Vermilion county
by 10 miles in its entire length. Thus Allerton is on the western
border line of the county in the southwest corner.
Livingston county was organized in 1837 by which 10 full
Townships and a half of two others were taken from Vermilion
county of the attached judicial territory.
Grundy county was established in 1841 and Vermilion
county lost that attached territory south of the Kankakee River.
Will county was formed in January, 1836, and Vermilion
county lost the attached judicial territory. Ford county took
what was left of the attached judicial territory in 1859.
CIVIL TOWNSHIPS were adopted in 1851 in Vermilion
county as follows: DANVILLE, GEORGETOWN, ELWOOD,
CARROLL, ROSS, MIDDLEFORK, NEWELL (first called
Richland) and PILOT; BLOUNT in 1856; CATLIN in 1858;
GRANT in 1862; BUTLER in 1864; VANCE in 1866; SIDELL
in 1867; OAK WOOD in 1868; JAMAICA July 10, 1899; LOVE
June 10, 1902; McKENDREE Dec. 10, 1912; and SOUTH
ROSS June 13, 1927. At the second meeting of the County Com-
missioners' court ever held in the county, on the 18th of March,
1826, the county was divided into two civil townships. All ter-
ritory south of the center of Township 18 was called CARROLL
and all north of that line, RIPLEY. This was 25 years before
civil townships were adopted. Why these names no one knows.
Since 1833, Vermilion county has remained unchanged in
area. It has 28 Congressional Townships six miles square, com-
monly known as School Townships. These 28 Congressional
Townships are divided into 19 Civil Townships. It operates
under the Civil Township form of government instead of the
commission plan still followed by 17 of the counties in Illinois.
Its business is conducted by a Board of Supervisors instead of by
3 commissioners elected "at large."
VERMILION COUNTY, ILLINOIS, SUPERIN
TENDENT OF SCHOOLS
By L. A. TUGGLE (1940)
The first law providing for a free school in Illinois was passed
January 15th, 1825. The first school taught in Illinois was a
subscription school established in 1783 in Monroe county taught
by Samuel J. Seeley. In 1829, the Duncan Free School Law was
repealed and a new one passed which provided for the sale of
lands which had been donated by Congress for the benefit of the
School Commissioners were elected to take charge of the sale
of this land and keep the funds for use of the schools. In 1855, a
law was passed which is the basis of our present school system.
In 1857, a law was passed which permitted the people of any
school district to vote a tax for school purposes not to exceed two
per cent, in addition to the tax authorized by the law of 1855.
Vermilion county elected Daniel W. Beckwith as its "FIRST"
School Commissioner in 1832. Thereafter, these School Commis-
sioners were "Ex-Officio Superintendents of Common Schools."
They were as follows:
Daniel W. Beckwith 1832-1834
John H. Murphy 1834-1843
N. D. Palmer 1843 1850
William Allin 1850-1852
W. A. Murphy 1852-1854
Norman D. Palmer 1854-1858
Levi W. Sanders 1858-1862
Ebon H. Palmer 1862-1863
M. D. Hawes 1863-1864
The title of "School Commissioner" was changed to that of
County Superintendent of Schools" in 1864.
They were as follows:
M. D. Hawes 1864-1865
P. D. Hammond 1865-1869
John W. Parker 1869 1873
Charles Victor Guy (Died Feb. 23, 1904) .. 1873-1881
John D. Benedict (In 1940 Muskogee, Okla.). 1881-1889
Lin H. Griffith, Danville, 111 1889-1899
Ralph B. Holmes, Indianapolis, Ind 1899-1906
Wm. Y. Ludwig (Died Feb. 18, 1936) 1906-1910
Otis P. Haworth (Died Oct. 26, 1928) 1910-1923
Larkin A. Tuggle, Danville, 111 1923-
COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS IN 1940
By L. A. Tuggle
Part of the work of the county is done by the "Board of
Supervisors," but the greater portion of it is done by elective
officers all of whom serve FOUR YEARS.
COUNTY CLERK.— Naturally the first officer needed in a
county is the County Clerk. He is the Clerk to the "Board of
Supervisors." He keeps a record of all their proceedings. He
is Clerk of the County Court, has charge of all county records
and issues marriage licenses. He canvasses the votes of every
general election, computes the amount of taxes to be paid by
every person, and must keep a complete record of all orders drawn
upon the County Treasurer. He keeps record of all births and
deaths. Dan Miller of Hoopeston is the present County Clerk.
COUNTY TREASURER.— He has charge of all the county's
money from whatever source. The office of township collector
was abolished in 1917 in counties having less than 100,000 in-
habitants, and the County Treasurer was made Tax Collector.
He must give a large bond guaranteeing the safe-keeping of county
funds, and properly paying out same according to law. In coun-
ties having less than 125,000 inhabitants, he is ex-officio Super-
visor of Assessments.
An amendment to the State Constitution was adopted in
1880, providing that the Treasurer cannot serve two consecutive
terms; he is ineligible to re-election till four years after his term
expires. Wm. E. Wayland of Danville is the present County
COUNTY SHERIFF.— The Sheriff must attend all sessions of
the County and Circuit Courts and obey their lawful orders. He
is the chief police officer of the county and has several deputy
sheriffs to assist him. He serves all writs and other legal papers
of the court, makes arrests and enforces the laws. He has charge
of the court house and the jail. The Sheriff is not eligible for
re-election till four years after his term expires. F. W. Ward of
Indianola is the present Sheriff. (1940)
COUNTY JUDGE.— He presides over the County Court
and has exclusive jurisdiction in many cases of tax matters,
special assessments, elections, etc. He has charge of criminal
cases where the punishment is not imprisonment in the peni-
tentiary or death, and all juvenile cases. Harlin M. Steely, Jr.
of Danville is the present County Judge. (1940)
PROBATE JUDCxE.^In counties having over 70,000 in-
habitants, a Probate Judge must be elected. He settles all mat-
ters relating to estates of deceased persons, appointment of
guardians of minors, and conservators of the insane and feeble-
minded and settlement of their accounts.
The first Probate Judge of Vermilion county was Clinton
Abernathy of Danville, elected in 1910, who served one term.
He was followed by Walter J. Bookwalter of Danville who served
for 16 j^ears, or until December, 1930. Ralph M. Jinkins of
Dan\alle was elected Probate Judge in 1930 and served till Decem-
ber, 1938. Arthur Hall of Danville was elected in 1938 for a
PROBATE CLERK.^The Probate Clerk looks after the
clerical duties pertaining to the Probate Court. Miss Mabel
Redden, whose term expired in 1934, from Danville, has the dis-
tinction of being the first woman in Vermilion County elected to
a county office. Robert Edwards is the present Probate Clerk.
COUNTY RECORDER.— His duties are to keep a record
of all deeds, mortgages and other papers pertaining to the title
of lands. Chattel mortgages on personal property are recorded
by him. William H. Carter from Indianola was the Recorder
since its separation from the Circuit Clerk's office in 1900. His
term expired in 1932. Josephine Ray from Rossville is the pres-
ent Recorder. She was re-elected in November, 1940, for a third
term of 4 years.
COUNTY SURVEYOR.^He makes surveys within the
county and must keep a record of all such surveys. Such surveys
are very important in case of disputes concerning property lines,
boundaries for streets, alleys, and roads and in laying out new
roads. Counties maintaining "state aid" roads have a "County
Superintendent of Highways" appointed by the "Board of Super-
visors." He serves for a term of six years and his salary is fixed
by the County Board. He acts for the county in all matters re-
lating to the supervision of the construction and maintenance of
roads and bridges in which the county is financially interested,
either alone or in conjunction with the state or with any town or
road district of Vermilion county. William S. Dillon of Danville
was "County Superintendent of Highways" from 1913 till 1932.
Walter C. Dye of Danville was appointed County Superintendent
of Highways in 1932 and has been repeatedly reappointed. (1940)
COUNTY CORONER.— He must investigate the causes of
all accidental deaths, or any unusual cases other than natural
causes. He selects to aid him a Coroner's Jury and their investi-
gation is known as the Coroner's inquest. He makes a report of
his findings to the County Clerk. He often causes the arrest of
persons suspected of violence or carelessness leading to such death.
He has the power to make arrests. He is the only person who
can arrest a Sheriff. John D. Cole of Danville is the present
CIRCUIT CLERK.— Although elected by the county, and
termed a county officer, the Circuit Clerk is really an office of
the Circuit Court. He must attend all sessions of the Circuit
Court and keep a record of its proceedings. He keeps accounts
of the costs of all suits of the court. These costs are made up of
the fees of the Sheriff, Jury, Clerk, Witnesses, and others. He
issues subpoenas, executions, and other processes of the Court.
Albert D. Alkire of Danville is the present Circuit Clerk. (1940)
STATE'S ATTORNEY.— He sees that offenders against the
law are indicted, arrested and brought into court for trial. He
is the legal adviser of the County Officers and Justices of the
Peace. He represents the county in any law suit brought against
it, or against any County Officers as such. Judge William T.
Henderson of Danville is the present State's Attorney. (1940)
COUNTY AUDITOR.— The office of the County Auditor
was established in Illinois in 1911 in all counties (not including
Cook county) having a population of 75,000 or more. Vermilion
county is one of the 14 counties coming under this law. The first
County Auditor was Chauncey E, Lewis who served from Decem-
ber 1st, 1912 till his death March 19, 1918.
L. H. Griffith who was serving as assistant under Auditor
Lewis was then appointed by the "Board of Supervisors" to fill
the vacancy and continued by re-elections each four years to
serve as County Auditor. His term expired in 1932. Ray C.
Wait of Danville succeeded Mr. Griffith in 1932 and he served
till December 2, 1940.
Briefly stated, the powers and duties of the office are: To
preserve statistical information with respect to the cost of main-
tenance of the county institutions; to audit all claims of whatso-
ever character against the county, recommending to the County
Board their payment or rejection; to approve all orders for sup-
plies issued by the various County Officers before the orders are
placed with the parties to whom the same are to be given; to
keep a record of all contracts entered into by the County Board
and all authorized County Officers for or on behalf of the county;
to make reports of the financial condition of the county at cer-
tain periods. Lawrence E. Newtson of Danville was elected
Auditor in 1940 for a 4-year term.
COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS.— He
supervises the schools of the county, confining himself largely to
the rural schools and village or town schools who elect to come
under his Course of Study. He is the adviser for the local school
officers, passes upon the bonds of township treasurers and audits
their books once a year. Every "Order" issued by any school
official of the county is audited through his office. He holds
examinations for teachers' certificates under the State Examin-
ing Board, but he does not make the questions, neither does he
grade the papers. He holds an Annual County Institute for the
instruction of teachers in methods of instruction. He supervises
the Period and Final Examinations for the 7th and 8th grade
pupils. He issues all certificates of promotion to the 7th grade,
and all 8th grade Diplomas of Graduation. He supervises the
work of the County Truant Officer.
He has charge of the State School Fund and distributes it
according to law to the schools of each Township in the county.
This is done by "Claims for State Aid" based upon Average
Daily Attendance of each pupil. The District gets $11.00 from
the State Fund for each pupil's perfect attendance for the year.
He makes a financial and statistical report of each District and
Township each year to the State Superintendent of Public In-
struction. This report alone in Vermilion county requires the
work of one person continuously for three months.
He has charge of signing all State Limited Certificates and
their Registration each year. He must visit each school at least
once each year, and one-half of his visiting period must be given
to rural schools. In 1939-1940 there were 782 rooms in Vermilion
county and about 100 days in which to visit schools. Can you
figure the number of rooms which must be visited each day to
comply with his duties? He furnishes a bond fixed by law. He
is the official clerk to the Non-High School Board of Education
and must take care of all their clerical duties, such as keeping
records of non-high school pupils, paying their tuition, and other
duties. He is supposed to attend all state and national educa-
tional meetings and bring to his county the best modern system
and thought of the leading educators of the nation.
Each session of the Legislature adds many more clerical
duties, and he is not given any additional help for these new
duties. The recent "MUNICIPAL BUDGET" law and the
"TRANSPORTATION of PUPILS" law add weeks and weeks
of new clerical duties (and no money to pay for them). The office
of County Superintendent of Schools has become a "clearing
house" for clerical and statistical duties for the Township Treas-
urers and to the Superintendent of Public Instruction instead of
being permitted to be an educational leader.
The present County Superintendent of Schools is L. A. Tuggle
of Danville, who took office in August 1923. His term will expire
in August, 1943. Miss Hazel Dodd, Sidell, is Assistant County
Superintendent of Schools; and Miss Ruth Tuggle, Danville,
niece of L. A. Tuggle, is Secretary to the County Superintendent
SALARIES OF COUNTY OFFICERS
Each County Officer in Vermilion county is allowed deputies
or assistants to help perform the duties of the office by the
"Board of Supervisors." The Salaries of the County Judge,
Probate Judge, State's Attorney and County Superintendent of
Schools are fixed by law. The County Superintendent of Schools
receives his salary from State Funds. The salaries of the other
County Officers are paid out of the County Funds. The salaries
of County Officers not named above are fixed by the "Board of
HOW TOWNS AND CITIES IN VERMILION
COUNTY, ILLINOIS, GOT THEIR NAMES
By L. A. TUGGLE, Co. Supt. of Schools— 1940
ALLERTON received its name from a large land owner,
Samuel W. Allerton. The town was planned by Mr. Allerton.
Every deed contained this clause: "It is understood that no
gambling house, pool room, or saloon should be permitted for
the sale of wine, beer or any intoxicating liquor, unless with the
consent of the owner."
ALVIN was first called Gilbert for Hon. Alvan Gilbert, an
early settler and prominent in Township affairs. Later it was
changed to Mr. Gilbert's given name Alvan. The spelling was
changed when the name of the town was recorded. In 1903
momentary oil boom was started at Alvin.
ARMSTRONG was named for Thomas and Henry Arm-
strong. This town was started in 1877.
BELGIUM is east of Kellyville and was named Belgium
because most of the early residents came from Belgium.
BISMARK was built in 1872 and evidently must have been
given its name by the C. & E. I. Railroad.
CATLIN was first called "Butler's Point" in 1920 for James
Butler who was the first settler. It was so called until the railroad
officials called the name of their station Catlin after one of their
men in 1856 at which time Guy Merrill and Josiah Hunt laid
out the village of Catlin.
CHENEYVILLE was laid out by Jake McFerren in 1878.
It was named after J. H. Cheney, Vice-President of the Lake
Erie and Western Railroad. It is said that the land was donated
by Abe Swisher, J. L. Starr and John Dunkalbarger.
DANVILLE was first settled by Dan Beckwith in 1824. At
that time the site was occupied by a village of Piankeshaw
Indians whose trading post was situated within the limits of the
present Ellsworth Park. The Legislature passed an act on Decem-
ber 26, 1826, to appoint a new set of three Commissioners, Wm.
Morgan, Zachariah Peter and John Kirkpatrick of Sangamon
county, to select a "County Seat" for Vermilion county. These
three men selected the lands donated by Guy W. Smith and Dan
W. Beckwith. This land was near the mouth of the North Fork
of the Vermilion River.
The Board of County Commissioners, Asa Elliott, Achilles
Morgan (Mrs. L. A. Tuggle's great-great-grandfather) and James
McClewer, accepted the report of the Sangamon County Com-
missioners. Dan W. Beckwith surveyed the land into 100 lots.
The above Board of County Commissioners decided to honor
Dan W. Beckwith as the earliest settler on the site and named
the County Seat "DANVILLE."
Danville has an impressive group of civic buildings: Elk's
Club, Carnegie Library, Federal Court and Post Office, Young
Men's Christian Association, Wolford Hotel, Young Women's
Christian Association and a large State Armory in one compact
center. Other noted places are "Uncle Joe" Cannon's Home,
Court House, Masonic Temple, Chamber of Commerce, City-
Hall, Salvation Army Barracks, Danville Township Hall, and a
Veterans Facility consisting of 27 buildings built in 1897 (and
recently remodeled) for housing 1800 ex-service men who need
EAST LYNN was laid out in 1872 and was named after the
charming novel of Mrs. Anna S. Stephens.
ELLIS. Ellis was established in 1902. Ellis was named
after Albert Ellis of Penfield, Illinois. The Post Office was estab-
lished at Ellis in 1908. The Post Office was discontinued in 1935,
and this promising village will soon be classed as one of the
FAIRMOUNT was first spoken of as the "Queen of the
Prairies" of Vermilion county, being known as a noted grain
market in an early day, shipping in larger quantities of corn,
wheat, and oats than other towns in Vermilion county. Fair-
mount was first called Salina. It was changed to Fairmount in
1863, by the suggestion of an early settler, Francis Dougherty.
It was here that one of the first churches in the county was organ-
ized, the Goshen Baptist, in 1832.
FITHIAN was named after Dr. William Fithian who owned
vast acres of land in this part of the county.
GEORGETOWN village was named after the township of
that name. It was established in the year 1827, two months
after Danville was laid out. The naming seems to be in doubt.
Some say Mr. Haworth named it for his son George who was a
cripple. Others say that Danville having been named for Dan W.
Beckwith, that Mr. Haworth believed it was a good stroke of
policy to try to divide the sympathies of the Beckwith family
for the two towns by naming his place in honor of George Beck-
with. The probability is that both statements are true. This
son, George, died of Cholera in 1854.
In making the survey of lots in Georgetown, it is told that
for want of more convenient implements the North Star was
used for a compass and a grape vine for a chain.
GRAPE CREEK began its existence with the opening up
of the coal mine in 1866. It was named after a small creek named
"Grape Creek" which flows through the village.
HENNING. When the H. R. & E. railroad, now the Illinois
Central, was built in 1878, a gentleman from Pontiac, Illinois
bought ten acres of land from the E. S. Pope estate for the town-
site and named it Henning, in honor of his wife's maiden name,
which was Henning. The town was incorporated in 1905 and the
first Mayor was Charles Mason. J. W. White was the first Clerk
and J. M. Dusenberry was the first Treasurer.
HOOPESTON was started in 1871 and was named for
Thomas Hoopes, who owned a farm, which the railroad forced
its way through, and hence a city was built.
INDIANOLA is one of the oldest towns in the county. It
was first known as old Chillicothe, which was recorded Sept. 6,
1836. When Chillicothe demanded a post office it was found there
was a town on the IlHnois River by the same name, so it was
changed to Dallas in 1844. It was soon discovered that another
post office in Illinois was named Dallas City. The postmaster
asked the post office department to change the name to Indianola
which was done. For a long time the people of the village would
not accept the name "Indianola" which caused much confusion
in sending of mail, but finally the name became a fixture.
JAMAICA was first platted as "Kingsley" because a village
had grown "up around" the church by that name which had been
erected in 1873. The people petitioned the government to name
the village and post office "Kingsley," but it was refused because
there was another post office by that name in Illinois. It was
finally called "Jamaica."
JAMESBURG— In 1894, the C. & E. I. railroad was built
from Rossville to Sidell. A station and depot was established a
few miles west of Henning. Several of the people living at Hig-
ginsville left that community and moved to this new station. A
name had to be chosen, therefore the station was named "James-
burg" in honor of James Goodwin.
MUNCIE was platted and recorded in 1875, and evidently
named by the surveyors, Alexander Bowman and Edward Corbley.
OAKWOOD was established in 1870 and naturally named
after Henry Oakwood because the township had previously been
named after him.
OLIVET was named after Olivet University which was located
in that village. The beginning of this village was in 1908, three
miles south of Georgetown.
POTOMAC (Marysville) was first settled as a farm by John
Smith (plain) in 1845. Isaac Meneley and others soon came to help
Smith make a town. Both Smith and Meneley had wives named
Mary, so they hit upon the plan of calling the town Marysville,
after the two best Marys then living in town. The post office of
Marysville was suspended for awhile, and when it was reinstated,
the postoffice department changed the name to Potomac because
of the near proximity to Myersville which seemed to confuse the
mail carriers with the name Marysville. Marysville was incor-
porated into a village in 1876 but soon lost its identity as a name
and is known as Potomac. The artesian wells have made Potomac
famous in the county.
RANKIN was laid out in June, 1872 and named after Hon.
David Rankin, the proprietor of a portion of the town and of a
large amount of land in their neighborhood.
RIDGEFARM was platted for record in 1853 and was
named for the name given to the farm of Abraham Smith. In
1849, when he commenced to bring his farm under cultivation
he named it Ridgefarm.
ROSSVILLE was first known as "Liggett's Grove" in 1829.
Later on it was called "Bicknell's Point" and then it became
known far and wide as "Henpeck." Just why it was called
"Henpeck" no one seems to know. The original town of Rossville
was laid out about 1857 and was incorporated in July, 1872.
Alvan Gilbert was the "father" of Rossville.
SI DELL was named in honor of John Sidell at the suggestion
of John C. Short. John Sidell owned 3000 acres along both sides
of the Little Vermilion River. It was incorporated in 1886.
TILTON. Tilton was originally laid out in 1854 and was
called "Bryant." It was named "Bryant" after the Assistant
Surveyor Bryant, working under Mr. Catlin, who surveyed the
Northern Cross Railroad. Mr. L. Tilton of New York was
Manager of the Northern Cross Railroad from 1861 until the
name was changed to that of the Wabash Railroad about 1875.
The name of the town "Bryant" was then changed to that of
Tilton in honor of L. Tilton.
VERMILION GROVE history dates back to 1820. It is
here where stands the "successor" of the first church built in
Vermilion county. Also the first school established. The first
plat was made by Elvin Haworth in 1876, and he called it "Ver-
milion" which name continued until the railroad was built
through the village. When the post office was established in 1873,
it was found necessary to change the name to "Vermilion Grove"
because of another post office named "Vermilion" in Illinois.
Peanuts were kept in stores instead of tobacco, and hence
men who couldn't purchase "tobacco" in Vermilion Grove nick-
named the village "Peanut." This nickname is still known to
the older generation.
WESTVILLE was laid out by William P. West and E. A.
West in May, 1873. "Brook's Point" near Westville was one
of the first settlements in Vermilion county and the first white
boy, James O'Neal, was born there in 1822.
EXTINCT VILLAGES OF VERMILION COUNTY,
ILLINOIS, IN 1940
B}j L. A. TUGGLE, Co. Supt. of Schools
ARCHIE. Once upon a time Archie, located one mile south
of Sidell, was an interesting little village. Today only nine or
ten small residences remain, and the old school house is used as
a barn. The railroad was abandoned about 1936.
BLUE GRASS CITY. A post office was established at Blue
Grass in 1843. A town was platted in 1859. A large general
store and Masonic hall were built. A flax warehouse was oper-
ated and did a thriving business for several years. "Killed by
railroads" is the epitaph that might be written over Blue Grass
because not a single landmark remains today except the Blue
Grass school. It was northwest of Potomac about five miles.
BRONSON two miles west of Oakwood was one time
"looked upon" as a promising village. A lot of money was in-
vested in buildings. Modern roads put it out of business and
business is silent as the grave at that place.
BROOKVILLE was a thriving little incorporated village
just west of Grape Creek during the heighth of the mining in-
dustry in that coal field. All that remains today to locate the
place are a few houses and the dilapidated Town Hall.
BUSEY was a little village one mile north of the McKendree
church about 6 miles northeast of Georgetown. It was the center
of politics for several years. When the writer (L. A. Tuggle)
was a green young neophyte, he was a candidate for Township
Collector of Georgetown Township. Busey was a voting precinct.
He canvassed every farmer in their own homes. His wife had
two uncles living in the Busey precinct — a total of 4 votes amongst
the relatives. Every farmer and all 4 relatives promised to vote
for him. He was gullible enough to believe every one of them
in their fine (?) promises. When the votes were counted, he (L. A.
Tuggle) got exactly "TWO" (2) votes.
Right then, he made a solemn oath never to be so "GUL-
LIBLE" again in politics. He waited and learned "human
nature" for 20 years before regaining confidence in promises.
Busey has all disappeared and all the promises "Have Gone With
CHARITY. Charity was located at the crossroads % mile
west of the present (1940) Craig school. The fine rolling prairie
and the establishment of a Post Oflfice at Charity indicated a
future city. Only beautiful farm houses remain of a once promis-
CONKEYTOWN 75 years ago was quite a cluster of houses
and a lively business was done. It was established in 1851. It
had a postoffice. Today the town site is grown up in weeds. It
was about one mile south of the Cass school house, or two miles
south of Muncie.
DENMARK. This ancient town was settled in 1826 by
Seymour Treat. Denmark was located at the foot of the hill on
the road that now goes across Lake Vermilion northwest of Dan-
ville. By 1835, Denmark was important enough to have an in-
dependent rifle team. Its greatest prosperity was from 1835 to
1842. Denmark became a noted place. It had a bad name and
whisky is alleged to have brought about its ruin. Brawls and
street fights were alleged to be an everyday occurrence. Anyway,
Denmark received a wet and watery grave because today nearly
all the village lies at the bottom of Lake Vermilion.
ELLIS. Ellis was started in 1902 and was named in honor
of Albert Ellis who owned the land on which the village was
located. The Post Office was established in June, 1908, and was
discontinued in May, 1935. Mr. E. R. Philabaum was the Post-
master during the entire operation of the Ellis Post Office.
One of the first real rural Township High Schools established
in Illinois was started at EUis in 1914. The first year of this
high school was held in the Ellis rural school house. One teacher,
Hattie Diemer, was employed with 10 pupils in attendance. The
second year (1915) of school was held in a vacant store building
which was torn down about 1938. One teacher only, Hattie
Diemer Monson, was employed.
In 1916, H. W. Wierman and Esther Johnson, were the
teachers. In 1917, Principal Wm. Birdzell, Jennie Freeman and
Marguerite Funk were the teachers. Principal Wm. Birdzell,
Clara Stiegemeyer and Ruth Patton were employed for 1918-1919,
but plans for a new school building failed to materialize and school
was discontinued. Clark Morris, Guy Judy and Ephriam Driskell
were called to the ''World War" from the Ellis high school in
The "FIRST" and "ONLY" graduating class were Lucile
Duncan, Jack Morris, Rose Auth, Gertrude Weimken and Leone
Goetchius in May, 1918.
The district was divided in December, 1918, and pupils went
to other high schools. The Board of Education refused to order
an election for Board members in April, 1919, and by February
21st, 1920, the Ellis Township High School District No. 224 passed
into oblivion. Thus began and ended a great rural city and a
gallant high school.
FRANKLIN was once a thriving village located just north
of North Fork river near Seaton Hill on the old Dixie highway.
It was laid out in 1837 for Jacob Fisher and Hezekiah Rogers.
Only a filling station is left near the site.
GERMANTOWN was organized July 6, 1874. The residents
at that time were principally Germans so the village was called
"Germantown." It remained a thriving and expanding village
for many years, and became a part of the City of Danville Sep-
tember 28, 1905.
GILBERT was named after Alvan Gilbert, a pioneer resident
of Rossville and who was a prominent member of the Board of
Supervisors for many years. Gilbert was just west of the C. &
E. I. Railroad halfway between Alvin and Bismarck. When the
Illinois Central narrow gauge railroad was built from West
Lebanon, Indiana, to Leroy, Illinois, Gilbert began to die, and
Alvin started on its journey to grow into a fine village.
GLENBURN was platted a long time ago in 1885 but no
important village seemed to be very promising. It was named
after a town in Pennsylvania. It is one-half mile north of the
Webster school northeast of Oakwood. There are several fine
farm houses clustered together today at Glenburn.
GREENVILLE was platted in 1836. It was in Pilot Town-
ship southwest of Charity. Do you know where it was located?
GRIFFITH was in the extreme northwest corner of Pilot
Township. There were 5 streets — Main, Vermilion, Griffith,
Miller and Strickland. There was a post office but long since re-
called. It was later named Gerald when the C. & E. I. Railroad
passed through it.
HIGGINSVILLE. In January, 1837, Amando D. Higgins
laid out some town lots on both sides of the Middlefork river on
section 36, Twp. 21 N. Range 13 W. and called it "Vermilion
Rapids." This town was beautifully platted and taken to New
York to find purchasers. It was too late. The panic of 1837 had
struck the East. The village had a store, post office, blacksmith
shop, and a doctor in 1851 and was called Higginsville. For a
long time Higginsville was a center of considerable population,
but today only the school house by that name is left and the
usual farm houses.
HIMROD. Several years ago Himrod was a thriving mmmg
village of 300 people. The village was one of the first mining
towns, out on the prairie, in the county. All kinds of stores were
flourishing, but today only the dilapidated brick village hall which
was built in 1904 remains. Also the cemetery is a silent monu-
ment. Himrod was two miles east and one-half mile south of
Westville. . i , ,
HOPE. Hope was not a regular village but it had the usual
country stores and the village blacksmith shop. The post office
was established in 1873. Hope will aways be renowned as the
birthplace of Carl Van Doren who wrote an American classic of
biography, "Benjamin Franklin," which was a Pulitzer prize win-
ner. Mark Van Doren, a brother of Carl's was also born at Hope.
Mark Van Doren is a great writer and his poems are excellent.
Carl Van Doren's book, "AN ILLINOIS BOYHOOD," is a
classic story of rural life at HOPE, VERMILION COUNTY,
ILLINOIS. All that remains of Hope in 1940 is a church, school
house, filling station, a village hall, a few farm houses, and a
long line of majestic maple trees on each side of route No. 49 in
LICKSKILLET. Dr. A. M. Hawes came to Georgetown m
1836 and built up a very successful practice throughout the
southern part of the county. In an early day, a store was estab-
lished 2 miles northeast of Georgetown. Dr. Hawes, m making
his rounds, saw how poor the land was around this store and told
the folks in Georgetown that the soil was so poor that not enough
food could be raised to "lick a skillet." Thereafter, whenever
Dr. Hawes was called to that territory, he would leave word that
he was going out to "Lickskillet." That name has "stuck" to
this day (1940), although the village has disappeared.
MUNROE. Munroe was laid out in 1836 by Mayfield and
J. C. Haworth on section 36 in the southeast corner of the county.
They made a sale of lots and sold a few. Isaac T. Hunt opened
up a store there in April, 1879, and did a fine business for a long
time. He was deputy postmaster and the post office was called
"LONG." Today, Bethel school and a church across the road
are all that are left of MUNROE.
MYERSVILLE. This thriving village had first for its start
the Chrisman mill. People came as far as 70 miles away to Myers-
ville to trade and get milling done. Myersville lost the post office
to Bismarck in 1872. The last earmarks of Myersville— that of
an old grist mill— were removed in 1929. It was located 2 miles
west of Bismarck.
NEW TOWN. This village was platted in 1838 and was
once a thriving little town, one time having a post office and a
flourishing Masonic lodge and building. Only a store, blacksmith
shop, filling station, school and church remain today. It is about
four miles north of Oakwood.
O'CONNELLSVILLE was established by O'Connell
Brothers when they had a flourishing coal mine in the valley
near Lafferty Hill. Lafferty Hill is due east of the Big Four
Lyons railroad yards. Only a few homes remain,
PELLSVILLE. This village was platted in 1872. A post
office, stores, Odd Fellows lodge, church and school all prospered.
They even had a depot. Spirited rivalry existed between Rankin
and Pellsville for over ten years, but at last Pellsville succumbed
to Rankin and only the school house, one residence and a ceme-
tery remain today. Pellsville was one and one-half miles west of
PROSPECT CITY gave early promise of a good town. It
was east of Hoopeston. It was laid out for Jane Taft in 1857 by
A. D. Southworth, surveyor. When Hoopeston came into ex-
istence Prospect City passed on to an unknown grave.
RIOLA. Riola was first called Sandusky Station. Levi L.
Dunnihoo built a store at Sandusky Station in 1888 and a post
office was added in the spring of 1889. The post office was called
Riola and hence, Sandusky Station became known as Riola. An
ice house was built in 1888 which furnished ice to the farmers of
the surrounding country. In 1889 a picture gallery was set up
in a tent, which attracted many people to this little community.
M. L. Hill purchased the store and secured the post office
in 1891. Mr. Hill also had a grain elevator built. For many,
many years, Riola was the center of community attractions, but
like many other small communities faded out of the picture
when Mr. M. L. Hill moved to Danville. Today, Riola is only a
SALEM. Salem was laid out in 1840 one mile east of Hig-
ginsville. A store had been kept there as early as 1837. It is all
SOUTH DANVILLE was incorporated as a village in 1874.
The territory being immediately across the river south of Dan-
ville it was named "South Danville." The oflicials of this village
carried on a good government for many, many years till it was
annexed to the City of Danville September 28, 1905. As one
passes through South Danville today, the old "Public Square" is
STEELTON. When a new coal shaft was opened up out
on the prairie on the C. & E. I. R. R. about five miles southwest
of Westville a depot was built and a thriving village soon dotted
the prairie. A two-room school was built. Stores and a post office
were established. For years this mining village prospered but
just as soon as the coal was gone, the village fell into decay.
Today only one house remains, but no depot; no stores; no post
office and only a one-room district school is maintained in the
two-room building. (1940)
WATKINS GLEN west of Woodbury Hill on both sides of
Happy Branch. It was platted by W. J. Watkins. Stores and
mines were the sources of a livelihood. The new "Hungry Hol-
low" pavement runs through the once happy village. All gone
WEAVER CITY was laid out and platted for George Weaver
on his own farm in 1872. It laid on both sides of the "Nickel Plate"
railroad, east of Cheney ville near the Illinois-Indiana state line.
Nothing marks its grave today.
THE HARRISON PURCHASE
By L. A. TUGGLE
Any map of Vermilion county shows a small triangular piece
of land on the south side very near the Indiana State line, which
seems as though it had been driven, like a wedge, up into the
county, and because of its apparent bluntness could not be forced
in with the amount of power applied. This irregular piece of land
is called "Harrison's Purchase." The lines of the point of the
wedge are found to meet a short distance east of Ridgefarm.
The Superintendent of Indian affairs of the Indiana Territory,
William Henry Harrison, concluded a treaty with the Kickapoos,
Delawares, Pottowatomies, Miamis and the Eel River Indians
at Fort Wayne, Indiana, September 30, 1809. He came to locate
the new possession and met the selected Indians at a certain rock
in a grove east of Ridgefarm. The Indians did not know how to
use a compass, so they stipulated that the line bounding the east
side of the land should run in the direction of the sun at 10 o'clock
in the morning, and that the boundary of the western line should
run in the direction of the sun at one o'clock in the afternoon.
It was agreed between General Harrison and the Indians
that all of the land which fell within the boundary of the extent
of a man riding horseback for two and one-half days would be
included in this purchase. The grove from which the riders
started was used as a pilot on their return trip. It was the only
grove of trees in that part of the country and it safely piloted
them back and for that reason was called Pilot Grove.
The west line of "Harrison's Purchase" extends south and
west, passing through Marshall, Illinois. The east line crosses
the Wabash River at the mouth of Raccoon Creek, below New-
port, Indiana, and continues south and east of Terre Haute,
Indiana. The easterly line of this survey has always been called
the "ten o'clock line" by early settlers and surveyors. On ac-
count of the difference in the later United States survey and in
the "Harrison Purchase survey" of three-quarters of a mile, the
boundary lines of Edgar and Vermilion counties on the south,
and Edgar and Clark counties on the north, have always been
irregular. The small part (about two sections) of "Harrison's
Purchase" in Vermilion county was the only part of this territory
which was surveyed up to 1821.
A HUNDRED TWELVE YEAR OLD LOG HOUSE
Michael Weaver came from Brown county, Ohio in 1828 and
built a log house near Indianola close by the Weaver cemetery.
He died in 1875 at the age of one hundred years. He had nine
children seven of whom were daughters. Three became Baums
by marriage, two Fishers, one the wife of James Gains, and one
the wife of John Cole.
Al. J. McMillan who was born in 1855 at Indianola and who
was school township treasurer for over 40 years and was Carroll
Township Supervisor for 40 years "off and on," came into posses-
sion of the old Weaver log cabin several years ago. He concluded
to preserve it as a historical relic of Vermilion county. Have you
ever noticed a nicely painted lonely barn all by itself on the north
side of the road (on Indianola- Vermilion Grove road) about two
and one-half miles northeast of Indianola? This is not a barn.
Mr. McMillan put a shed and roof all around this 112 year old
log house in order to protect the logs from the elements and
weather. The logs are 24 feet long and were hewed smooth by
Adz. Certainly this is mighty grand of Mr. McMillan to preserve
this pioneer relic.
ONLY ONE WOODEN COVERED BRIDGE LEFT
IN VERMILION COUNTY IN 1940
One half mile east of Conkeytown is the only wooden covered
bridge left in Vermilion county. It is across the Salt Fork river.
It was built before the Civil War and crosses the river immediately
north of one of the first mills built in the county in 1826. Aaron
Dalbey built a new mill here in 1837. CM. Berkley bought this
mill in 1873 and ran it for many years. Only the runway is in
evidence in 1940. Some Sunday afternoon pupils should take their
parents directly south of Munice two miles and see this old land-
mark and beautiful scenery surrounding it.
ANOTHER HISTORICAL NOTE
The following citizens have served as Postmasters of the
City of Danville since it was organized:
POSTMASTER DATE APPOINTED
Amos Williams May 3, 1827 (Estab.)
James C. Cravens May 22, 1840
Amos Williams June 25, 1841
Isaac R. Moores July 31, 1845
Othniel Gilbert June 8, 1849
Samuel Frazier June 10, 1850
Alexander P. Chesley December 12, 1850
Charles G. Draper July 14, 1853
Josiah Alexander December 7, 1853
John M. Lesley March 28, 1856
Henry G. Boyce June 23, 1856
Enoch Kingsbury March 16, 1861
William Morgan September 28, 1866
Thomas McKibben April 6, 1869
Samuel H. Fairchild January 17, 1871
Charles W. Gregory January 22, 1875
William R. Jewell February 5, 1883
John P. Norvell July 20, 1885
William R. Jewell April 16, 1889
John Beard October 27, 1894
William R. Jewell March 10, 1897
Clint C. Tilton October 30, 1913
George R. Tilton January 18, 1915
Lawrence M. Birch (Acting) October 1, 1923
Lawrence M. Birch January 7, 1924
William C. Lewman (Acting) June 15, 1927
William C. Lewman December 15, 1927
Charles W. Collings (Acting) December 7, 1934
James H. Elliott July 26, 1935
OLD CEMETERIES IN VERMILION COUNTY
By L. A. TUGGLE
"GOD'S ACRE" was the first cemetery in Vermilion county.
It was known, aside from its title of *'God's Acre," as the Butler
Burying Ground. Its title was vested by the donor, James D.
Butler, in the "bones of those who may find rest here," and
especially he wanted to make sure that his bones, and those of
his good wife, and those of his good friend, Major John Vance
and his helpmate, and others whom he loved, might forever rest
"God's Acre" was set aside for a burymg ground m 1822
and is located south of the Wabash railroad about a half mile
west of Catlin. Today the title to this acre is vested in the Ver-
milion county board of supervisors by virtue of a deed made and
recorded some 70 years ago by Josiah and Elizabeth Sandusky.
James D. Butler and wife, John W. Vance and wife, Noah
Guymon and "Grandma" Guymon are buried in the northeast
quarter of "God's Acre." Marcus Snow and Annis Douglas are
sleeping side by side in the west half of God's Acre."
Every person in Vermilion county should make a visit to
this sacred spot where these hardy men and women who lived
and died as we live and die. who labored and loved, who sacrificed
and suffered, whose hearts beat to the same rhythm of hope and
ambition that human hearts beat to in this modern age yet who
lie unfrequently visited in "God's Acre." , ^
The board of supervisors three years ago repaired God s
Acre" and rededicated it to the sacred memory of these noble
MT. PISGAH three miles west of Georgetown was one of
the early cemeteries plotted. It lies on a gentle sloping hill back
of which is a creek which makes good drainage. Jotham Lyons
first wife was buried here on Christmas Day, 1827. He was buried
August 2, 1843. Absalom Starr was buried in this cemetery on
October 14, 1829. Many of the early settlers were buried at
Mt. Pisgah. The writer went to church and Sunday school sev-
eral years at Mt. Pisgah church and many Sunday afternoons
were spent in contemplating the past activities of the Longs,
Jones, Hewitts, Gepharts, Swanks and other pioneers who lie
buried in this beautiful cemetery.
The beautiful and well kept CEMETERY AT VERMILION
GROVE speaks the story of unselfish devotion of home ties of
the early settlers in that part of the county. The first person
buried in the Vermilion Grove cemetery was Hannah Mills who
died in the summer of 1823. The Haworths, the Mills, the Hesters,
and Holadays, the Mendenhalls, the Rees, the Elliotts, the Cana-
days, the Judds, the Smiths and many others are buried in the
Vermilion Grove cemetery.
The AMOS WILLIAMS BURYING GROUND of Danville
has long since answered the call of modern progress and where
once lay the bones of many pioneers on Washington Avenue
between east Madison and Seminary streets, are modern cottages
and industrial plants. Dan Beckwith was buried in the Williams
cemetery in December, 1835, but his body was later removed to
THE LAMB CEMETERY is located on a beautiful knoll
five miles northeast of Danville near the Lamb schoolhouse. The
oldest marked grave is that of James Duncan who died October 1,
1819. The next is that of Mary Lamb, daughter of John and
Phebe Lamb, who died September 26, 1826.
There are about 75 graves in the Lamb cemetery and are
arranged in family groups. This family burying ground contains
the families of the Lambs, Brewers, Campbells, Makemsons,
Elders, Martins, Delays, Woods, and many others. The Makem-
son family first used this cemetery in 1881, the Campbell family
in 1835, the Brewer family in 1851, the Martin family in 1860,
etc. The Lamb cemetery continued being used as a neighborhood
burying place until in the eighties. The last person buried there
was an infant of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Henson in 1914.
THE OLD KICKAPOO BURYING GROUND near the
mouth of the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River four miles
west of Danville bears the appearance of having been used by
the Indians for many years prior to the time of the cession of the
territory along the Vermilion by the Pottawatomies and Kicka-
poos. It is a level plateau of several acres, at an elevation that
commands a fine view of both streams, and overlooking the bluffs
beyond. The plateau is terminated at the westward by a preci-
pitous cliff, the foot of which, nearly a hundred feet below, is
washed by the Middle Fork. The stream has gradually en-
crouched upon the bluff at the water-hne causing the earth to
slide down from above.
Two young men, John Ecard and Hiram Chester, living upon
a farm nearby, were passing along the water's edge in April, 1855,
and found a skull and some other parts of a human skeleton that
had fallen out of a grave above and rolled down the hill. The
skull was well preserved and had clinging to it the remains of a
rotted band filled with plain brooches. The young men being
curious proceeded to the top of the hill to the grave out of which
the remains had fallen and found a part of the grave still intact.
Ecard took a stick and digging around in that portion of the
grave that yet remained unearthed, two medals were found which
are believed to be none other than the silver medals attached to
the "two large white wampum belts of peace, with a silver medal
suspended to each bearing the arms of the United States" and
which were given to the Wabash Indian tribes at their signing
of the peace treaty with General Putnam September 27, 1792.
Ecard sold these historic medals to Samuel Chester and the latter
disposed of them to Josephus Collett of Terre Haute, Indiana.
THE GUNDY CEMETERY is one of the prettiest places
in Vermilion county and was the burying ground for the pioneers
of Myersville. It is located north of the bridge on the Bismarck-
" Moore's Corner" road. Joseph Gundy settled that part of the
county about 1827. As years rolled along, new parts were added
to this cemetery and today the utmost care is taken with this
"city of the dead."
A Revolutionary War soldier, Jacob Gundy, is buried here.
He died in September, 1845. Ruth Davison was buried in Gundy
cemetery in 1835, Andrew Davison is 1842 and Elizabeth Davison
in 1845. Many Davisons, Gundys, Keers, Carters, Woods and
Wiles of early days are buried here.
THE DALBEY CEMETERY is east of the main highway
between Muncie and Salt Fork River about two miles south of
Muncie. This cemetery was laid out in 1838. It was on the
property of Aaron Dalbey and James Cass. Because it was such
a dreary spot when it was donated for common burial ground,
Richard Cass, Jr. exclaimed, "I would not be buried in such a
place," but he was the first to be buried there. The second grave
was for Elizabeth Cass, mother of Richard, Jr. Richard Cass,
Sr. was buried in 1843 and Aaron Dalbey in 1855. The Casses
Radcliffs, Dalbeys, Meades, Boyles, McFarlands, Drapers, and
many other families were buried in the Dalbey cemetery in the
forties, fifties and sixties. This place was used extensively up to
the sixties but today it is a tract of weeds and grass. Grave stones
and markers are no longer reliable.
THE SHARON CEMETERY is a small pioneer burying
ground about a quarter of a mile northeast of the Sharon school
near Olivet. The writer (January, 1931) saw markers of Smiths
buried there in 1815 and 1819. His eyes could scarcely believe
the dates, but there they were. A great many of the Smith family
were buried here between 1840 and 1849, and different Smiths
have been buried in the Sharon cemetery each decade down to
the present time.
THE LEBANON CEMETERY two miles southwest of
Indianola was started in 1829. David Beard, age 70, was buried
there in February, 1837 and David Beard, age 40, was buried
in September, 1838. John N. McDonald was buried in August,
1837, William B. Dickson in September, 1839, the Dormans in
1838, the Willisons in 1849. This cemetery was the last resting
places for a great many early pioneer families: Barnetts, Beards,
Williams, Gaines, Pattisons, Swanks, Hiestands and Reeds.
THE WEAVER CEMETERY near the Snyder school near
Indianola was laid out in 1836. This pioneer cemetery has a
great many graves in family groups such as the Weavers, Gaines,
Baums, Alexanders, Bairds, Coles, Donovans and Gilkeys. The
last person buried in the Weaver cemetery was 25 years ago.
Some of the writer's relatives are buried in this cemetery. For
several years this cemetery was neglected and allowed to grow
up in wood. In 1924, one of the trustees, Al J. McMillan of
Indianola, took up a subscription of a thousand dollars and put
every marker and monument in concrete and otherwise beauti-
fied the grounds. Trees were planted and the grass has been
kept cut each year since 1924 so that today the old Weaver bury-
ing ground is good to look at. There is only one granite marker
in this cemetery. All of the other markers and monuments are
There are a lot of private cemeteries in the County. The
early pioneers had not laid out burying grounds close enough to
their homes on account of lack of transportation, so they were
compelled to bury their loved ones, when they died, on the family
lot. A splendid example of this is Sandusky family cemetery on
the William (his father was Josiah) Sandusky farm, northeast of
THE HISTORY OF CHENEYVH^LE
By Mary Elizabeth Young. Dist. 2
Teacher, Rosaline Guingrich
Vermilion County History would be incomplete without the
story of Cheneyville.
Years and years ago when Cheneyville was an unsettled
prairie, the "Burr Oak Grove," where William Regan now lives,
was an old Indian trail mark. Indians used to camp under these
very trees. Travelers on the Williamsport and Chicago road
could see these trees as they came over the prairie and knew they
were going in the right direction.
From Mr. M. A. Harbart, freight agent for the Nickel Plate
Railroad at Hoopeston, Illinois, I learned that the LaFayette,
Bloomington and Western Railroad, later called the Lake Erie
and Western and which is now the Nickel Plate Railroad, was
built between 1872-73.
Wood-burning engines were in vogue. The locomotives had
funnel-shaped stacks which made a great roar and the insides
were painted red. The hand rail was of brass. The steam pipes
were copper. The bands around the cylinder head and the boilers
were of brass. The fireman was required to keep these shiny.
The farmers were so anxious to have the railroad put through
that they donated their labor.
Mr. James F. Swarner told me he helped haul ties. Mr.
Tade Layden said he donated two days' labor and graded off
the land where the depot now stands. Of course all the farmers
helped but I do not know their names.
Some children born along this right-of-way and still living
in Cheney ville are Charles Reed, A. A. Carl and Jennie Odle
(Mrs. William Regan). The latter two are grandparents. There
are three generations of Carl's and Regan's living in the village
at the present time.
After reading the following item, (in an old Hoopeston Chron-
icle) I found that the boys of long ago differ very little from the
boys of today. "March 25, 1884. One day last week as the after-
noon freight train was running through the place, three boys
from Hoopeston were seen to jump from the train and two of
them got tumbled, but fortunately without injury. They were
taking their daily ride to the Hoopeston hill and the train gamed
too much speed for them to get off. This should be stopped."
Mr. Harlin M. Steely, now an attorney of Danville, Illinois,
taught the Ziegler School in 1876-77 which stood in the south-
east corner of the farm now owned by Mr. Steely and where I
have always lived. He said that at that time there was a string
of grain cribs along the railroad where Cheneyville is now. I
supposed these cribs belonged to William Moore and he bought
and stored grain, for I read in an old newspaper a notice to the
farmers that a car of seed flax was on the track. The flax was
sowed on virgin soil. It was customary to do this in order to
prepare a good seed-bed for the next crop.
Benjamin Ziegler, though not a resident of Cheneyville, was
a pioneer of the community. His home was one half mile south
of the village. He had purchased his land from the government
at $1.25 an acre. The deed recorded on buckskin is still in posses-
sion of his heirs.
Not long after the railroad was built, Jake McFerren and
William Moore built an elevator. When it was completed a big
dance was given. Some of the men got drunk and it ended in a
fight. Shelba Starr was hired by Moore and McFerren to operate
this elevator. The elevator was run by horse power, for I read
the following in an old Hoopeston Chronicle: "William Moore
is building a fence around his property which is to be used as a
pasture for his elevator horse." This elevator was later purchased
by the farmers of this community and operated by Miles Odle
assisted by his daughter, Hattie (now Mrs. Reason Alkire).
The village of Cheneyville was laid out by Jake McFerren
in 1878. Mr. Tade Layden said that the land was donated by
the following: Abe Swisher, 2}4, acres; J. L. Starr, 5 acres; and
John Dunkalbarger, 10 acres. It was named after J. H. Cheney,
vice-president of the Lake Erie and Western Railroad. At first
the village was named Cheneyville, but the post office was called
Cheneysville. Later this was changed to Cheneyville. There is
only one other Cheneyville in the United States. It is in Louisiana.
The first station agent was Jessie E. Marvin. His wife,
Ollie Marvin, told me she remembered well when they came to
Cheneyville. Their oldest child, Ida (now Mrs. Chad Smith),
was one year old. They lived in the first house built in Cheney-
ville. It was built by a man by the name of Youngblood. It
had three rooms. It was later bought and enlarged by Miles
Odle before he with his family moved into Cheneyville from the
farm. This house is still known as the Odle House. Marvins
built a cottage where John Gregory's house now stands. Mrs.
Marvin also showed me the original platt of Cheneyville and I
noticed the town had changed very little. From an old news-
paper I quote the following: "March 27, 1883. Our general
operator, J. E. Marvin, felt very well remunerated for his services
when he found he was over paid $20. But like the honest boy he
is, he made it all right on the return of the pay car."
Mr. Ben Guest kept a boarding house which is now the
parsonage. He also sold tile to the farmers for draining purposes.
When I interviewed Mr. Ben Guest he laughingly told me
about Zachariah Fetters, the first blacksmith. His shop stood
where A. A. Carl's garage now stands. He also had a hotel.
A. A. Carl's house is part of this hotel. To get to bedrooms a
ladder was used instead of a stairway. The young men who
boarded there had good times, but when the pillow fights became
too noisy, Zachariah Fetters called the noisy ones to come down
the ladder until the others had gone to sleep. There was no argu-
ment for they all feared Zachariah's brawny muscles. But they
liked him I know, for while looking through an old scrap book
made by Elta Swarner, now Mrs. John Parson, I found this
There's Zachariah Fetters,
A man of great renown
Who runs a little blacksmith shop
In the northern part of town.
He also keeps a boarding house
And his meals are all in style,
And while he has his troubles
He greets you with a smile.
The young men had other good times, too, as I found in an
old Hoopeston Chronicle; "April 19, 1883. The Cheneyville Band
consisting of a fife and drum are preparing for the 4th of July."
Mrs. Reason Alkire (Hattie Odle) said she would never forget
when her father (Miles Odle) came home one day from the ele-
vator and said there was going to be a post office in Cheneyville.
He could now get daily market reports and a daily newspaper.
He told the children they could go for the mail each day. They
lived a mile and one half from Cheneyville.
The first postmaster was John Beaver. The next was J. W.
Underwood. He lived in the property now owned by Charles
Reed. The next was John Leach. Mrs. Leach said they moved
to Cheneyville from Talbot, Indiana in April, 1888. Mr. Leach
had a drug, paint and hardware store in Cheneyville. Mr. Leach
was postmaster from 1892 until his death in May, 1923, when
his wife, Tillie Leach, who had served as assistant to her husband,
became postmistress. She has served eleven years. Mrs. Leach is
78 years old and is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, postmistress
in the United States. The Cheneyville post office is fourth class
and Mrs. Leach is under civil service, so she will serve indefinitely.
Besides operating the elevator, Shelba Starr and his brother,
Leece, owned and kept the first general store. Mr. Flowers bought
them out. Miles Odle later bought the general store from Mr.
Flowers and his daughter, Hattie, clerked for him.
As I read the old newspapers furnished by the Hoopeston
Library, I found that the old town pump was mentioned quite
often. It seemed that water was scarce in Cheneyville. "February
19, 1883. Our town pump is laid out for repairs and our citizens
are compelled to use rain water." Another time, "The old town
pump is out of whack again," and still again, "The old town
pump is taking a rest and a new one has taken its place."
Perhaps this scarcity of water was why a man by the name
of John Bridges thought a saloon would be profitable in Cheney-
ville. His saloon was located where John Prickett's garage now
stands. He later sold it to two brothers, Joe and Douglas Cooper.
As they had no license the good people reported them and they
landed in the Danville jail.
Some other items of interest are:
"March 6, 1884. Cheneyville voted at home and don't you
forget it." Mr. William Cooper said the first election was held
in the elevator grain office.
"May 29, 1884. An umbrella repairer, a scissors grinder and
a jewelry peddler were among our visitors this week."
I laughed when I read this item, but after talking to some
of the old settlers I felt ashamed of myself. These peddlers were
very welcome. They brought the news and gossip from other
localities, which they related while they were selling their ware.
A tile factory was operated by Mr. Flowers. It stood where
John Prickett's house now stands. It didn't last very long ac-
cording to an old newspaper item. "February 27, 1884. The
tile factory is defunct. Parties from Bismarck have bought the
mill and will take it to that place."
The first child born in Cheneyville belonged to Mr. and
In 1885 a schoolhouse was built on the same lot where our
schoolhouse now stands. William Moore dug a well and donated
the land for school purposes. The objectors were Ziegler and
Dixon. Of course the Ziegler School was more convenient for
them. Jessie E. Marvin and James Smiley were two of the first
directors. Carrie Owen of Hoopeston was the first teacher. This
schoolhouse burned in 1900. Our present schoolhouse was built
Church was held in the schoolhouse but the people of Cheney-
ville felt they needed a church in their little village. Carrie
Starr, wife of Shelba Starr, and Mollie Butt, wife of John Butt,
circulated a subscription paper to raise money to build a church.
The Christian Church was built in 1891. Mrs. William Gamble
said that the land was purchased from Mrs. Emma Harris
(now Mrs. Tomamichael of Chicago) for $50. The first deacons
were James F. Swarner, Holmes Duffin and George Hoof. There
were 100 members and most all of them married. The first minister
was James N. Lester. He helped organize the church. He was
well acquainted as he had held church services many times at
the Ziegler School House. Mrs. Tillie Leach and Ina Duley Ogden
at one time were getting up a Children's Day Program and they
lacked songs. Mrs. Ina Duley Ogden said they must have some.
So she wrote some. Later she wrote, "Brighten The Corner
Where You Are," which has been sung in Sunday Schools all
over the United States.
The Odd Fellow Lodge of Cheneyville was organized in 1891.
William Cooper, W. E. Alkire and David Stevens are the only
living charter members. They are not living in Cheneyville.
The first and only doctor in Cheneyville was O. P. Klotz.
He also had the first automobile in Cheneyville. It was a two-
cylinder chain drive. Dr. Klotz is not living in Cheneyville.
I wish I could tell all the interesting things that have been
told to me and all the news items from the old Hoopeston Chron-
icle I read. There surely was not a more interesting community
in Vermilion county.
THE HISTORY OF HOOPESTON
B7J Mary Martin, Dist. 2
Teacher, Rosaline Guingrich
Hoopeston had its beginning with the building of the two
railroads which intersect at that point. The LaFayette, Bloom-
ington and Western (now the Nickel Plate) reached the point
first in 1871 and in May, 1872, the Chicago, Danville and Vin-
cennes (now the Chicago and Eastern Illinois) was built to what
is now Hoopeston.
Adjacent to the railroads were forty acres of land known as
"The Lost Forty," because of the difficulty in finding the previous
owner. It was then owned by Joseph M. Satterwhaite, who with
Thomas Hoopes, in 1871 laid out a part of this tract and on land
owned by the latter; the original town of Hoopeston, This con-
sisted of only lots facing West Main Street and a section facing
what is now Penn Street.
At this time land was selling for six dollars or less an acre.
Mr. Alba Honeywell, an agent for the Hoopes land, had at-
tempted to buy forty acres at twenty-five dollars an acre, but
a misunderstanding arose which prevented this. Mr. Honeywell
then secured an interest in the Thompson land, adjoining the
above mentioned tracts, and proceeded to survey and plat north
Hoopeston. Adjoining the tract on the east at about this time,
William Moore and Noah Brown laid out Moore and Brown's
addition to the city of Hoopeston.
Snell, Taylor and Mix of Chicago Railway Construction
Company bought 1000 acres of land on the west side of the
Chicago Railway and in November, 1871, laid out the lots and
called their town, Leeds. Strife broke out between the two rival
sections of the city, in an effort to name the entire city. Leeds
scored the first victory in this battle when they obtained the
Post Office and named it Leeds.
The first post office was established in 1871, and Mr. Spin-
ning was appointed postmaster. He held that office until 1878.
The first store building was built and occupied on lot sixty-
nine, Main Street, by David Bedell, who stocked it with mer-
chandise in 1871. This soon was followed by the first hardware
store of Moore and Brillhart.
In October, 1871, religious services were first held in Hoopes-
ton in the store of Mr. McCracken. The Methodist Society was
organized in 1872 by Reverend Hyde of Rossville and presiding
Elder, Reverend Preston Wood. The United Presbyterian and
the First Presbyterian Church were established in May, 1872.
The Baptist Church was established in 1873. The First Church
Of Christ was established in 1873 by Elder Rawley Martin and
In 1874, Hoopeston had a population of one thousand in-
Some of the early pioneers were: Alba Honeywell; William
Moore; Dale Wallace; Peter Levin and James A. Cunningham.
The first newspaper was issued November 11th, 1872, by
Dale Wallace and Gideon W. Seavey. The paper was called
"The North Vermilion Chronicle." It was published under this
name for a year and then changed to "Hoopeston Chronicle."
Hoopeston was incorporated as a village in 1874 and as a
city in 1877.
In the summer of 1880, Stephen McCall, an experienced
canner from the State of New York, came west to find a place
where sweet corn would grow sufficiently. A factory known as
"Illinois Canning Co." was estabhshed.
Influenced by the success of the canning factory established
by Mr. McCall, in 1882 J. S. McFerren, A. H. Trego and A. T.
Catherwood incorporated Hoopeston Canning Company.
Attracted by the large quantities of tin cans needed by the
two factories, the Union Can Manufacturing Company was es-
tablished and later became a branch of the American Can Com-
The First National Bank was incorporated in 1882 by Mr.
McFerren, a pioneer who had come to Hoopeston as a settler.
It was the city's first financial institution.
In 1905, Mr. Wakeman was granted the privilege to manu-
facture and furnish the city with illuminating gas.
Then, the McFerren Park was laid out.
Mary Hartwell Catherwood Club, Masonic Lodge, Ira Owen
Kreager Post of American Legion, also Hoopeston Business Men's
Association, were organized.
Later, schools, library, stores, churches, and residences were
added to Hoopeston.
THE ORIGIN OF THE CHENEYVILLE TELE-
By Lyle Pricket, District No. 2
Teacher, Rosaline Gingrich
J. E. Leach moved from Talbot, Indiana where he had been
Railroad Station Agent for six years, to Cheneyville, Illinois in
He put a small stock of hardware and drugs in a small
building at the site of the present Post Office.
During his residence in Talbot, he had a short telegraph
line from his house to the Depot, and brought the wire and in-
struments with him to Cheneyville to connect his store and resi-
dence. J. E. Marvin was Station Agent at that time, and soon
decided he would like telegraph instruments at his home and the
depot. Later other residents of the town and a few farmers caught
the telegraph fever and there were eight or nine instruments in
There was no Doctor in Cheneyville and no way of getting
one quickly at night, as the Western Union office at Hoopeston
did not keep open nights.
The two banks. First National and Hoopeston National,
each had a former telegraph operator among their employees as
did also the two newspapers. The banks offered if the Cheneyville
people would secure a franchise to run their wires into Hoopeston
and put a telegraph instrument into each bank, they would de-
liver calls for Doctors during the daytime and the newspaper
offices made the same offer for night calls.
The offers were thankfully accepted, the instruments in-
stalled, and Cheneyville people were able to get a Doctor with-
out driving to Hoopeston over muddy roads. That was before
we had any knowledge of telephones.
The first telephones we had were installed by J. E. Leach
to connect his residence with that of John Baker several years
later. Those phones were not much like the ones we now have.
We talked through the receivers and did not find it very con-
A few years later there had been improvements in phones,
and a telephone system was established in Hoopeston, so it was
decided to substitute them for our telegraph instruments. Mr.
Leach made a switch board and connected the hnes.
Josiah Rusk of Hoopeston, had several farms near Cheney-
ville, each one occupied by one of his children. He offered to
pay for phones and wire to connect with Cheneyville. Next,
J. D. Brown, E. A. Strader, N. E. Ross, and some others bought
phones and wire to connect their farm with Cheneyville, finally
extending a line to Rossville. Others followed at intervals of a
year or more until after awhile a Company was formed and stock
sold. J. E. Leach was Manager until his death in May, 1923.
After that the switch board was moved to its present location
and other arrangements made.
EARLY HISTORY OF DISTRICT NO. 22
By George Myers, Dist. 22
Teacher, Minnie Burt Foster
As early as 1852 some of the land near the present site of
Bristle Ridge School was purchased from the government for
only one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre. This land had
never been cultivated. There was not a tree or shrub upon the
whole area. Wild game was plentiful. Deer, elk, and wolves
roamed the district. The only wagon road through these parts
was the Chicago Road, now known as the Dixie Highway. By
1862, there was a field here and there enclosed by a hedge or
Sometime before 1860, a subscription school was started in
a lean-to of the farmhouse on the farm which is now the McFar-
land farm. This school house was one-fourth mile north of the
present site of Bristle Ridge.
One of the first teachers was Lizzie Brazier, who was a New
York orphan girl. She could read and write and do a few sums in
The school benches were made of boards with four or five
bricks under each end, to hold them up. The furniture was com-
pleted by a rude home-made desk for the teacher. The walls
were roughly plastered, not having the finish coat. No grades
were organized, and the books generally used were McGuffey's
Reader and Speller. School terms were very short in those days.
They were only about two to three month terms.
The school was moved to its second site in about 1862.
This was about one-fourth mile north of the subscription school
and on the opposite side of the road. Here it was called the
Tilton School. The first blackboard in this school was made of
floor boards nailed over the plaster. This was painted with black
paint. In writing on these crude boards the writer had to be
careful to keep the chalk from sliding down a groove between
the boards. They used dampened woolen rags for erasers.
One teacher had the plaster coated with paint, making
blackboards all around the room. This was thought to be a
In this school the benches or desks were not fastened to
the floor and so could be moved about. The main recreation for
the community, it seems, was dancing. The desks would be
pushed up against the wall to make room. Music was usually
furnished by a violin — better known as the fiddle.
In about 1884, many disagreements arose over a proposed
plan of moving the school house one-half mile south to the center
of the district at the cross roads. People living at the north side
of the district objected. Many heated arguments commenced
and grew to hostility. They decided to vote to settle the dis-
pute. The "Southsiders" had the most votes and so won. The
election was declared illegal, but the "Northsiders" finally gave
in and the building was built on the present site.
One dark night, before much progress was made on the
building, some boys spiked two twenty-five foot floor sills to-
gether, and a barrel painted to resemble a beer keg was nailed
to one end. This was raised to a standing position and then
stones were piled around its base to make it solid.
The next morning the country folks came to see the insult
to civic pride. The keg, high in the air, had written on it, "Beer
Corner," "Beer will buy votes," etc. No one at that time sus-
pected the culprits. The insult was torn down but "Beer Corner"
threatened to be the permanent name of School District No. 22.
Tradition says that the school got its name from William
Shively, an early settler, known as "Bill Bristle." He was called
that because of his shock of black bristly hair.
HISTORY OF SCHWARTZ SCHOOL
Bij Lillian Word, Dist. 25
Teacher, ViVA Vaught
Schwartz School was built in 1861 on the farm where Mr
H. N. Seymour now lives — northeast quarter (14) of section 29
in township 23 North, range 13 West of 2nd Prime Meridian.
The school house was 23 feet long and 17 feet wide. The water
was obtained for the school out of a dug well seventy feet deep.
It was lined with those big round stones called "Nigger Heads."
The well has been filled up recently. Some of the early directors
of Schwartz School in 1862 were James H. Meharry, 0. S. Height,
and Mr. Rigles. 0. E. Gilbert started teaching school October 16,
1861. He had seven pupils to teach. He also taught school three
months for $45. It was then in district No. 1, but in 1875 they
changed it to district No. 9. April 17, 1875, three women were
elected directors, but one refused to serve her term. The books
that they used were Wilson's Reader and Spellers, Ray's Arith-
metic, Pinnco's Grammar, Electer's Geography and Harper's
history of the United States of America.
March 19, 1877, an order was signed to H. Frankeberger
for $60 for moving the school house where it now stands. The
school house was moved in 1877 to where it now stands in the
northeast quarter of section 32. The ground that the school
house stands on was given to the school for school purposes. As
long as the school house is left where it is the ground will be for
the school. But if it is torn down or moved away, it will go back
to the owner.
The land was managed by John Campbell. "He was the
first man to act as land agent in this neighborhood." The people
that owned the place did not live here at that time.
Mollie Wright was hired to teach in the new location at
$30 a month. In 1880 Emma Allen taught for $25 a month.
She had 54 pupils, and 3 pupils had to sit in each seat. July 1,
1901, from district No. 9 it was changed to district No. 25.
January, 1911, the district paid $25 for a stove. The following
year, January, 1912, a No. One furnace was bought for $117.00.
Later, after the school house was moved over where it now stands,
there were 10 feet added on the west end of the school house.
The reason that the school house was named Schwartz was
because Mr. Schwartz was the first settler in this neighborhood.
His son, Mr. Danny Schwartz, was one of the early teachers.
Some other early teachers were Lorinday McCune, Lodema A.
Brown, Mary Burch, Lizzie Jones, Mary Anne Jones, and John
The children used slate and pencil then, and the black-
The subjects that they taught were reading, spelling, arith-
metic, geography and history.
The games that the children played were Tom Ball, Ante
Over, and Blackman.
At the end of the term of 1934, there were 19 pupils enrolled
in the Schwartz School.
The directors now are Mr. Joe Schaeffer, Mr. Clarence
Eighner, and Mr. H. N. Seymour. (1934)
HISTORY OF SQUANKUM
Bij Lloyd Smith, Dist. 31
Teacher, EvA Mansfield
When Squankum School was first built in 1850, the land
was open prairie, treeless and fenceless. The first building was
made of logs with a fireplace. For desks they had benches to
sit on and do their work. The first building was built a quarter
of a mile south of where it now stands. It was built on Mr.
Bloomfield's land. It went by the name of Bloomfield School.
There were about sixty pupils enrolled when it was first built.
Church and Sunday School services were held in the school
house before the building of Prairie Chapel in 1862.
In 1858 the present school building was built. The old
school was sold for a granary and the new school house was
built a quarter of a mile farther north.
In 1875 Mr. Jimmy Sharp taught one year at Squankum
school. He received sixty-seven dollars for teaching one term.
He received twenty-seven dollars for teaching the first two months
of school. For the last six months of school, he received forty
Squankum school had a Literary and Debating Club. The
club had very good debators. John Donning Benedict, one of
Squankum's best debators, became County Superintendent of
Schools. The club would meet in the evenings. They would
hold their Literary meeting first, and then they held their debates.
They were very important events.
Squankum is an Indian name. Mr. Sharp said that he was
told that the school got its name from one of its debators. A
debator's voice was changing; it was squeaky and squaw ky.
The people called him "Squawkum," and then changed it to
"Squankum," which came to be known as the name of the school.
THE EARLY HISTORY OF ROSS TOWNSHIP
Bij Mary Mackenzie, Dist. 32
Principal, Helen Burgess
This township got its name from Jacob Ross who once
owned a water mill on East Fork, which was a kind of center
where the people met on business errands and for an interchange
of ideas. Thus "Ross's Mill" became the prominent locality in
the surrounding communities, and when the township was or-
ganized, Jacob Ross's name was given it. About 1829, Andrew
Davidson, James Davidson, Joseph and Thomas Gundy, Joseph
Kerr, Daniel Liggitt, John Bean, John Demorist and Thomas
McKibbean, his father and family, arrived from Ohio, and took
locations within the limits of this township. Most of these set-
tled a little north of Myersville, Liggitt and Bean within the
present town limits of Rossville, and the McKibbean family
about 3 miles east of Mann's Chapel, Robert Horr lived near
where this chapel was afterward built in 1830. John Ray, Abram
Woods, and a man by the name of Wills, an old bachelor, settled
southeast of Rossville about 2 miles in 1831. Wills boarded with
Woods, opened a farm, and for a year or two pretended to be a
cripple from frozen feet and hobbled around, creating for him-
self a large amount of sympathy. He had James Newell and
James Cunningham be his securities for $1500 which he borrowed.
The way he got out of Vermilion county was a wonder. He
proved himself to be one of the most limber-jointed and sure-
footed men of his age. Supposing him to have been murdered
for his money, which seemed to be confirmed by his horse re-
turning riderless, and the discovery of the saddle hidden away
under a log, nearly all of the entire male population of the coun-
ty turned out and spent about a week in search, dragging the
mill pounds and "deep holes" in the creeks. He was never dis-
covered until after the Civil War when a settler found him in
In 1832, Alvin Gilbert bought out Robert Horr, where he
made a settlement which was named Henpeck and later changed
In 1834, George and William Bicknell, of Massachusetts,
settled 2 miles north of this town. Abram Mann, from England,
settled in 1835 near Mann's Chapel, after whom it received its
name and who was largely instrumental in its erection. Dr.
Richard Brickwell come to Rossville in 1836 and practiced medi-
cine here. Clark Grean, who resided near Mann's Chapel, came
in 1835, and Albert Comstock came about 1837. Lyman Kings-
bury, Lewis Thompson, Matthew Bailey, Henry Kite, John
Windsor, Joel Helmick, and Noah Messic were all in this town-
ship before 1840. The Methodists had "circuit preaching" as
early as 1831, and they erected Mann's Chapel in 1858. Rev.
Enoch Kingsbury organized the first Presbyterian Church at
Rossville, at the residence of Alvin Gilbert about 1840 and
preached until about 1869. The first school house was erected
near Mann's Chapel about 1856, and Mr. Lyman Kingsbury was
the first school teacher. He was succeeded by Lewis Thompson.
Samuel Gilbert, the father of Alvin Gilbert, was the first post-
master and also the first Justice of the Peace.
This township is principally prairie. It has a sufficient
amount of timber. In the opinion of the state geologist, coal
underlies the surface everywhere at a depth of from 150 to 200
feet. There were plenty of good schools, and three Methodist
and one Presbyterian Churches in this township in 1875. The
soil of the township is rich and deep, with good drainage. Here
is an abundance of stock, water, and many large farms.
This township was originally called North Fork, and was
changed to Ross in 1857.
EARLY HISTORY OF ROSSVILLE
By Ora Lee Borders, Dist. 32
Princvpal, Helen Burgess
In 1824, Colonel Hubbard came west from Montreal to en-
gage in business for the American Fur Company. He abandoned
the water route, and by following an Indian trail leading from
Chicago to Vincennes, Indiana, established what was known as
Hubbard's Trace. He introduced pack horses instead of boats
for transportation of goods. This trail passes through Rossville
and was used mostly by the pioneer settlers. It has been marked
by a stone monument which now stands in the yard of Mr.
Harve Brackin. This trail gave place to the old Chicago road
or the present Dixie Highway. Along the timber that skirts the
North Fork and its branches, and near the state road, the settle-
ments were made. Very soon after the organization of Vermilion
county, the village of Rossville sprang into existence. The
corporation limits include what was known as Liggitt's Grove
on the south and Bicknell's Point on the north. The North
Fork ran through its western border and the beautiful rolling
lands were unusually attractive. For awhile the place was called
Bicknell's Point, then it was changed to Henpeck.
In 1829, John Liggitt came to this vicinity, entered land,
and lived and died on the place where Mr. Harve Brackin now
lives. His place was on the Chicago road and was a place for
the travelers to stop, although he did not call it a hotel. Alvin
Gilbert had moved from near Mann's Chapel to a farm with-
in the northern limits of the town, and which is now the home
of Galyens on Chicago Street. Upon the death of Mr. Liggitt in
1838 he bought his farm in the southern limits of the town.
The post office was called North Fork and was established
near Gilbert's in 1839. Once, the mail, which was brought by
stage coach from Danville, was delayed for six weeks on account
of high water. The post master, Mr. Gilbert, called in some men
to help him sort and distribute the mail which proved to be one
letter. In 1853. the post office was moved to the village and
was located in a north room adjoining the home of Joseph Sat-
terthwait, who was the third post master. He lived on the farm
he had bought of Mr. Gilbert in the northern limits of town.
This farm was sold to Dr. Michail T. Livingood in 1866.
About 1857, Alvin Gilbert and Joseph Satterthwait laid out
the town of Rossville, and the name of the post office was then
changed. They named the town after Jacob T. Ross, who owned
a tract of land from which the timbers for the old mill were cut
and hewn. He afterward became owner of the mill. For a long
time it was known as Ross Mill. The original town contained
two blocks at the crossing of Chicago and Attica roads. The
two streets were named from this fact.
In 1872 W. J. Henderson came to Rossville and immediately
became identified with its business interests, being engaged in
the mercantile and grain business. He also farmed a large place
partly within the northern limits of the town, which had been
the home of James R. Stewart, It was known as the Townsend
House and had been built in 1847. This house is the home of
Mrs. Susie Smith.
The building of the railroad in 1851 and 1855 filled the
prairies around the groves with hardy settlers. It became evi-
dent that someone must keep a store at Henpeck; and so, Samuel
Frazier of Danville put in a stock of goods in 1856, and continued
in business for four years. In 1857 the two-story frame build-
ing, which stood on the southeast corner of the crossroads, be-
fore the fire of 1866, which destroyed all that part of the village,
was built. The lower floor was used as a storeroom, and the
upper floor was used by the I. 0. 0. F. and Masonic lodges as a
lodge room, and also a public hall. Here, for years, church serv-
ices were held.
In 1859 Gidern Davis built the south part of the old hotel
property that stood on the northeast corner of the crossroads.
It was destroyed by fire in 1910. Alva Cronkite's residence is on
the spot now.
In 1872, Garret J. Pendergrast and his brother, Patrick, the
husband of Mrs. Laura Pendergrast who now fives with Mrs.
Susie Smith, built all the brick business houses in Rossville at
that time. They were Deamude's, Henderson's, Putnam's and
The Putnam and Albright building which was bufit m 1873
was on the northeast corner of Attica and Chicago Streets. This
building was replaced by the new bank in 1920.
In 1875, W. J. Henderson had the brick buildmg built
where the A. & P. and Bailey's Meat Market are located. The
lower floor was a storeroom and the upper an opera house or
public hall. . .
In 1876, Mr. Deamude had the building adjoining the
Henderson block on the south. It is now occupied by C. E. Ross.
The first school house was on the site where Postmaster
Young now lives. I think Miss Campbell, who was later Mrs.
Wolvertine, was one of the first teachers. Phillip Reynolds at-
tended his first school days there. The building was one large
In 1868, a two-story brick school building was built on the
east side of North Chicago Street, the place where the present
Grade Building now stands. In 1874, the building was too small,
so a two-story addition was built. The land had been given for
the school by Dr. Livingood, one of Rossville's first physicians.
In 1879, this building burned and v/as replaced in 1889. In
1889, it was again burned to the ground. The building we now
have was built in 1889. In 1898, the need for more room called
for another building which was built on the eastern part of the
ground, and which is now used for the High School.
Rev. Enoch Kingsbury was the pioneer Presbyterian preacher
in Vermilion county. They had church once or twice every two
or three months. He preached at Rossville from the time of its
settlement until he died. When Mr. Gilbert left Danville, he
carried the devotion of the Presbyterian Church. The Presby-
terian Church was organized at his house in 1850 by Rev. Kings-
bury. There were six members who united to form the church.
Church services were held in Mr. Gilbert's house until the Odd
Fellows built their hall. The building was neat. This ground was
given by Mr. Gilbert and cannot be used for any other purpose
The Methodist Church was built in 1869. It was made of
brick and was dedicated in July, 1870, by Elder Moody, the
fighting parson who got his name by praying by night and fight-
ing by day with the same spirit and faith. This church and the
Presbyterian have been replaced by modern buildings.
The Christians built a church which they afterward sold to
the U. B. people. This building was just north of the beautiful
church the United Brethren have now.
The building of the Chicago, Danville and Vincennes rail-
road boomed Rossville. It ran through the eastern part of the
town and is called the Chicago and Eastern Illinois. The old
depot stood at the foot of Gilbert Street for a number of years.
Then a new brick building was built where the depot now stands.
In 1873, the first newspaper was published in the town. It
was a six-column folio which was published once a week. Mr.
J. H. Moore established the Rossville Observer. John C. Cromer,
almost immediately after Mr. Moore left in 1876, started the
Enterprise. For three years he published this paper, then moved
In 1879 the Rossville Press was established. It is still pub-
lished for the town's demand, a home paper and one of the
best. It is now published by Mr. Reinhardt.
The land where I live and all west of the Presbyterian
Church was all fenced in and fixed as feeding pens. At one time
Mr. Henderson had 1000 hogs in the pens to take to market.
The trees which have been cut down in this vicinity had many
nails in them where the early settlers had nailed the pens and
feed boxes to them.
The hogs were kept until they were fat enough not to run
away, but not fat enough to butcher because they could not
stand the trip to Chicago and elsewhere.
Turkeys were also driven to market. The turkeys would go
to roost in the trees at night and the men would have to wait
until morning so as they could go on their way.
Here are a few of the hardships of the settlers. Mr. Alvin
Gilbert with his men were crossing the prairie from Bicknell's
Point to Sugar Creek with a large drove of hogs. Before the
storm arrived, the hogs and horses were uneasy. The hogs, at
last, refused to go farther. They piled themselves up in one heap
in order to protect themselves from the storm. During the night
six of them died and the outside ones were so frozen they had to
be cut loose.
Mr. Gilbert and his men rode five miles farther. All had
their fingers, toes and ears frozen and the harness was so frozen
that they could scarcely be taken from the horses.
Two men were coming from Chicago during the same storm.
They tried every way to keep warm but could not, so they
killed one horse, removed the entrials, rolled his back to the wind
and put their hands and feet inside while they lay on the warm
body. Before morning one man was frozen to death. The oiher,
although badly frozen, rode the other horse to the nearest house
five miles away.
There is an odd legend which tells the death of an Indian
woman, near the Indian settlement north of Barlow Mill. The
woman had come frcm the place which is now Rossville to visit
the members of the tribe. She had a little baby with her, and a
horse in switching flies accidentally kicked and killed the baby.
It's cries excited the Indians and one struck the woman and
killed her. He ran away but the Indians found him and said
they made a real Indian out of him.
Many, many a hardship and many a trial was endured in
order to give us our beautiful little city of Rossville.
By WiLMA Foster, Dist. 32
Principal, HELEN BURGESS
In March, 1913, the E. J. E. Railroad Company moved
their terminal from the intersection of Railroad and McKibben
Street at the south edge of Rossville to the new terminal, one and
one-half miles south, near Rossville junction. At that time, there
were about 135 men employed in all departments who were
permanently located here, and about 100 men in trains and
engineers who came into the terminal from Joliet and Gary and
laid over for a rest period. On account of the terminal being so
far from town, it was decided to build a building so the men could
be fed, and a place to sleep. In the spring of 1914, one year
after the opening of the terminal, the E.J. E. railroad decided to
build a Y. M. C. A. Three acres of ground was purchased from
the Thompson real estate and the building was erected thereon,
at a cost of approximately $40,000. It was opened for business
in December , 1914. The first secretary was Mr. Harold Stevens
who was a trained secretary in Y. M. C. A. work, and he served
in that capacity about two years. During the period from 1914
to 1931 there was a number of secretaries in charge of the build-
ing, the last of whom was J. W. White and wife, who served the
longest in this capacity.
During the spring of 1931, business fell off and on account
of so few men using the building and the excess cost of hold-
ing it open, the Railroad Company decided to close it indefinitely.
On July 11, 1931, it was closed and all furnishings removed.
The building was owned by the E. J. E. Railroad Cornpany
and was operated under the auspices of the Young Men's Christian
Association, the general secretary being located at Gary where
the E. J. E. Railroad Company own and operate another Y. M.
THE HISTORY OF DISTRICT THIRTY-EIGHT
By Bessie Hanson, Dist. 38
Teacher, Louie Jimerson
Albright School was named for the Albright family headed
by Alanson and Samuel, brothers, who came here from Ohio in
1844 to herd cattle on the eight mile prairie. They both entered
homesteads in 1852.
The school house was built in 1858, but burned in 1888.
Then the present building was built.
All of the Homesteaders' children went to this school. Among
them were Albright's, Coon's, Cork's, Haas's, Smith's and
Chamber's. Two families have sent three generations: Mrs.
Sue Albright, her daughters, Edna and Jennie Braden, and grand-
daughters, Margaret and Bonnie Braden; also Mrs. Ella Coon
Hillard, her daughter, Florence Hillard Reynolds, and the three
Reynolds children, Helen, Leona and Raymond, who are attend-
ing the school at the present time.
Many years ago, Mrs. David Albright taught the school.
Then her daughter, now Mrs. Orrie Cunningham, taught this
same school twenty years later.
Tom Campbell and his sister Lizzie taught the school for
four years. She taught the time he had to work on the farm.
One year on account of sickness, we had three different
teachers, Blanche Borders, Helen Bennett and Boyce Borders.
As there was but one pupil of school age living in the district
in 1920, there wasn't any school and this one pupil attended
Bean Creek School. There are nine children attending school
Some of the teachers besides the ones I have already men-
tioned were Elmer Moreland, Sherman Littler, Carrier Littler,
Nellie Stepp, Carrie Foster, Georgia Stepp, Ada Runyon, Etta
Smith, Sarah Galloway, Celesta Barr, Ira Evans,?and Margaret
Our present teacher, Mrs. Louie Jimerson, has taught here
EARLY SCHOOLS OF VERMILION COUNTY
By Geneva Goodwin, Dist. 52
Teacher, ROBERTA LANE
The early schools of Vermilion county were much different
than they are now. But the schools we have now are much better
than they were then.
The first school built in Vermilion county was in Elmwood
Township in the year of 1824 and 1825. It was a Log school
house one mile west of Vermilion Station. Reuden Black, eighteen
years old, came from Ohio and secured enough subscriptions to
make it worth while to open a school. John Mills sent four chil-
dren, Joseph Jackson sent two children, Ezekial Hollingsworth
sent four children, Henry Canaday sent one, and John Haworth
sent three; making fourteen in all. They were taught reading,
writing, spelling, and some were taught arithmetic.
Few more schools were built until 1827 when one was begun
at Butler's Point. It was south of the well-known Thonias
Keeney home. Then, a school was built in Newell Township.
The schools of 1824 and '25 were made of round logs. The
floors were covered with sawed puncheons. Their windows were
made of logs sawed out over which the piece of greased paper
was put, through which the light had a hard time to come. For
their desks they used slabs, and they had no seats. A rude fire-
place at one end reached from one corner to the opposite one.
In the other end of the room an opening had been made by leav-
ing out a log, and in this, upright pieces were placed at intervals,
and on these, oiled paper was pasted to admit the light. Under
this improvised window, a long board was put up with proper
pitch, and along it a long bench was put. Here in this "flood of
light" the children practiced their copies, using a quill pen which
the teacher made.
The lessons they had were ''Readin', Ritin', and Rithmetic."
Later they took up Grammar, History, Geography and Physio-
The first school house was destroyed by fire. Mr. Henry
Hunt had collected some two hundred venison hams and stored
them in Haworth's smokehouse where he was smoking and drying
them to ship to New Orleans by a flat boat. For a joke (a sorry
joke it appears) some men attracted the attention of Mr. Hunt
while others fired the building. The market was gutted with
venison partially cooked, since the fire was discovered too late
to save the meat.
The High Schools of Danville were not legally incorporated
into the system of schools until 1887.
The schools now-a-days have stoves or furnaces. The
windows they now have are much better. We also have a good
system of ventilation.
SOUTH ROSS TOWNSHIP
By Robert Gore, Dist. 52
Teacher, Roberta Lane
At first there was only Ross Township. The North Fork
of the Vermilion River runs through the center of it. There are
the Jordan and Bean Creeks, making Ross a well-watered region.
Most of the timber is cut off.
The first people were Gundy's, Green's, Dorison's and
Mann's. The first man to enter Bicknell's Point was Joseph
Lockart, about 1874.
Ross was named after Jacob T. Ross, who owned a tract of
land and also a timber mill.
The early people kept close to the timber line and had plenty
of wild game. Wild deer and prairie chickens were plenty. The
hogs were kept in the timber till time to market them, then they
were driven out, and then to market. They were very wild.
Rossville was on the dividing line of Ross and Grant. The
village was at a point on the state road from Danville to Chicago.
The hmits of Rossville were Liggitt's Grove, Bicknell's Point.
It is eighteen miles from Danville and six from Hoopeston. The
North Fork runs about 1 mile west of it. It is on rolling land
and makes the village unusually attractive.
Another town, Alvan, sprang up from the village of Gilbert.
Later, it was spelled Alvin by the post office department, but
it is named in honor of Alvan Gilbert, an early settler.
Henning was built later due to the putting through of two
railroads, the I. C. and C. & E. I. branch lines.
In 1927, due to continual opposition between the towns of
Henning and Alvin on one side, and Rossville on the other, the
township was divided. The south half containing Henning and
Alvin became South Ross, while the northern part remained Ross.
THE HISTORY OF THE MIDDLEFORK SCHOOL
By Junior Brown, Dist. 58
Teacher, Freeman McConnell
In 1882 the Middlefork School, District 58, was built in
Middlefork Township, near Potomac, Illinois. There was no
porch in front then, but there were two steps in front of the
The school house was used as a Baptist Church two years.
Meetings were held every Sunday with people attending from
several miles around. The building was small, and people found
conditions very crowded. They had five oil lamps in the build-
ing, and two still are in the school house. In the front there was
one big seat that reached across the room and several smaller
ones behind it. Mrs. William Nixon, who still resides in the
district, was Secretary and had one class. Some of the early
ministers were: Mr. Silas Rayls, Mr. William Dodson, Mr.
Bucklew, Mr. Finer, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Snyder, and Mr. Beedles.
This school was formerly spoken of as "Hawbuck" and still
is referred to by that name. During early years of the school's
existence, the enrollment was quite large, but attendance was
irregular because the older boys would stay out to help at home
during corn husking time and when the spring work began.
Two of the early teachers were Shelby Starr (1899-1900)
and Charles Wyman (1900-1901). The school board in 1899-1900
was as follows: Mr. M. W. Haskett, Mr. William Simpson, and
C. B. Alexander. Mr. Alexander was clerk. The scholars enrolled
in 1899 were: Algie, Harley, Jess, NelHe, Flora, Sam, Homer,
and Lemuel Alexander; Grace, Everett, and Harrison Chapman;
Blanche and Clifford Simpson; Anna and Mattie Haskett; Dora,
Nellie, and Ethel Wallace; and Jess, John, Gertie, Edna, and
The school board of today consists of Jess Alexander, Wil
Ham Nixon, and Bert Perry. A porch has been added to the
school since its early days and a good ventilating system ; a garage
has been built adjacent to the coal house and cob house. The
present teacher is Freeman McConnell, and thirteen pupils at-
tend the school.
Middlefork School, or "Hawbuck," though small and un-
pretentious in its picturesque setting on a hill among the woods,
still holds a warm place in the hearts of many.
PIONEER DAYS OF CENTRAL SCHOOL
By Thelma Elliot, Dist. 67
Teacher, Daisy Tillotson
The first schoolhouse was built on the east side of the road.
It was called the Stipp schoolhouse because it was on Stipp's
land. It was later moved to the west side of the road, but closer
to the south fence than the one standing now.
In this schoolhouse there were long seats, and a hand-made
recitation bench with no back. Sometimes the pupils would often
take a tumble. It burned January 3rd, 1882, because of bad
flue. Alford Holoway was teaching then. He wore his boots to
school because of muddy roads, and then put on his shoes. His
boots burned in the schoolhouse.
It was later named the Central school because it was in the
central part of the congressional district.
Some who attended this school are:
Billy Wyman Riley Hoskins
Billy Baber Linda Fairchild
Christopher Baber Pheba Fairchild
Malissa Baber Nellie Fairchild
David Clem Ed Fairchild
George Albert Emely Cosatt
Maggie Albert Martin Cosatt
Alice Albert Dora Cosatt
Theodore Stipp Julie Cosatt
Union Stipp Nellie Cosatt
Annie Stipp Don Stipp
Rell Stipp Sarn Stipp
Sarah Hoskins , Lillie Wyman
Harriet Hoskins Austin Wyman
Some who attended and are living near the schoolhouse now
are: Riley Hoskins, Austin Wyman, Julie Cosatt, Emely Cosatt
and Dora Cosatt.
They held Church in the old schoolhouse before it burned.
The preacher was Rev. Stipp.
THE PUMPKIN VINE RAILROAD
By Howard Leland Smith, Dist. 73
Teacher, Kenneth Wilson
In the year of 1869 when the Chicago, Evansville and Terre
Haute (now the C. «& E. I.) railroad was running full force, there
was a cut off on the railroad. It ran from Bismarck southeast to
Covington, then south to what is now Stringtown, Indiana, and
north to a coal mine along Coke Creek. Here coal was loaded
into the little cars, which were about ten feet long and four feet
wide. The coal was hauled to Bismarck and put on the Chicago,
Evansville and Terre Haute railway and hauled on to Chicago.
When the railroad was being built, my Grandmother lived
one-fourth mile east of where the Price school house now stands.
At the time the railroad was being built, Grandmother's folks
kept eight of the men. The men were Swedes. Grandmother
said the Swedes had wooden spoons for their silverware. One
night Grandmother's folks had rice for supper. The folks passed
the rice to the Swedes, but they did not want any, so they passed
it on. Grandmother took some rice and put sugar on it. The
Swedes wanted to do like the rest. One of them had an onion
and a potato on his plate, so he covered it with sugar because
he thought Grandmother did this. But he got fooled.
On Saturday afternoons and on Sundays, other men who were
boarding in the neighborhood came to my Grandmother's home,
and waltzed in the yard to music made by an accordion which
one of the men played. Sunday morning, they held religious
services in their rooms upstairs in Grandmother's home.
My Grandmother, who was at that time just a little girl,
now lives in Bismarck, Illinois. It is very interesting to hear
her tell of this old railroad.
The old road bed can still be traced clear across the country.
A deep cut, which is near the school house of District 73, furnishes
a skating place for the school children during the winter months.
THE HISTORY OF SANDBAR SCHOOL
Bij IRMA Bloomer, Dist. 88
Teacher, DoRis Howell
Sandbar school, district 88, was built in about 1865. It was
named Sandbar because it had a roof of sand and tar. It was
about the only schoolhouse in the country. Children for several
miles around came there for a few months in the winter. They
walked through the cold.
After several years the first schoolhouse was torn down.
Another was built in its place. This one stands where ours does
now. It faced the east and had a large porch on that side. Some
of the most common residents were the Scott, Kirkpatrick, Rice,
Vinson, and the Ludwig families. Of these, Kirkpatricks, Vinsons
and Ludwigs still live near here.
They would have old fashioned spelling matches at the
schoolhouse. Many people would come there to the spelling
matches. They would have literary debates. They would debate
with other schools such as No. 9 (Fowler School) and among
themselves. The young men liked these debates very well.
The old school building was torn down in the eighteen
nineties. It was again rebuilt. The schoolhouse built then still stands,
although the country around it is changed. It stands about one-
half mile east of where the old town of Charity stood, on Charity
SYDNEY ROUTE CORNER
By Curtis Montgomery, Dist. 90
Teacher, Maude Juvinall
One mile and a quarter south of Red Oak School, where I
now attend, is one of the early landmarks in the eastern part
of Pilot Township.
This corner has been known as the Sidney Route Corner
for over a half a century.
The old house on this corner was built about eighty years
ago. The frame was built of walnut timber hewed and cut to
the proper size with an adz. It was put together with wooden
pins and braces of the same material, and even the weather-
boarding was made of walnut also.
Mrs. Sarah Rout, pioneer settler of this part of Pilot town-
ship from whom the corner was named, came to Vermilion county
when she was about ten years old with her parents, Mr. and Mrs.
About 58 years ago, Mr. Rout left with a neighbor m a
covered wagon to go to Kansas to take up claims. Mr. Rout
owned the team and wagon that they took. He also had two
hundred dollars in cash with him. He left his wife and two baby
daughters, intending to stake a claim in Kansas and return for
Months after months passed and Mrs. Rout failed to hear
from him. Finally the man with whom he had gone came back
telling Mrs. Rout many stories which later proved untrue. For,
not long after his return, authorities in Kansas sent part of the
clothing from the body of an unknown murdered man. Mrs.
Rout identified the clothing from the patches she had put on
it, and from the wrist bands that she had knitted.
People became suspicious, and finally the man that had gone
with Mr. Rout was arrested for his murder. On the way to
town with the officers, he took his own life by taking poison.
Mrs. Rout lived on in this house until her daughters were
married. Her struggles living alone and keeping the place were
known for miles around.
During all these years the corner on which her house stood
was known as the Sydney Route Corner.
HISTORY OF RED OAK SCHOOL
By John Chesnut, Dist. 90
Teacher, Maude Juvinall
Years ago. Red Oak School was known as the Brush School.
This school house stood across the road and south about a mile
from the present site.
The Brush School was typical old-fashioned school building,
with benches which were made by boring holes in the floor, stakes
were driven into the holes, and planks were fastened to the stakes.
A wide shelf built around the sides of the room held books, papers,
slates, etc. A fireplace furnished the heat.
This school was built in 1852, and the first teacher was
Miss Cooper. There were between 50 and 65 pupils attending
all the time.
In 1884 a new school house was built where the present
school building stands.
This new school was named Red Oak because of the numerous
red oak trees growing near. A few of the teachers during this
time were as follows: J. C. Trout, Lester D. Harrison, Mabel
Bailey, Willie Steinbough, Sam Richardson and J. F. Dodson,
In December, 1914, while Mr. J. F. Dodson was teaching,
the building caught fire from a defective chimney and burned.
A new building was built by Brown Bros, of Bismarck as
soon as possible.
This is the present building of Red Oak School, District
No. 90, where I have attended school for the past eight years.
HISTORY OF DANVILLE HIGH SCHOOL
By Jimmy Drollinger, Dist. 101
Teacher, B. C. Beck
Before Danville had a High School they had two Seminaries,
one located where Washington School is now, and the other on
the corner of Vermilion and Seminary.
Then after a few years, the first High School was started
in the space above Yeoman Shedd's Hardware on Main Street,
After two years the High School was moved to the third
floor of Washington school.
In 1872 the school used but four teachers and the principal
of Washington. Before 1890 they had only six teachers.
The High School was not legal till after the people had a
special election in 1880. After the election, the school expenses
were paid by taxes.
The school library at this time had obtained about 1000
books, and when they moved into the new building they had no
library and the books were partly lost.
When the new school was entered in 1890, athletics were
not neglected. The first football team was organized in 1890,
and the first game was played at Terre Haute. Baseball and
cross country was also a part of the activity.
In 1895 Adarian and Athenaeum literane societies were
organized which gave other students active work.
When the new school was rebuilt in 1899 more room was
added to the Washington school. Then in 1921 the annex was
built to the Washington building. The demand for High school
education by the boys and girls became so great that the old
building was not large enough to accommodate the demand. A
new building was completed in 1924.
In 1890 there were six teachers, and in 1910 there were 14.
In 1920 there were 30, then in the present High School there
are 69 teachers and 1700 students enrolled.
HISTORY OF BURR OAK SCHOOL
By Annabelle Johnson, Dist. 100
Teacher, Margaret Beck
According to an old-time resident and one-time pupil of Burr
Oak School, the first school building was and still is located
about one-half mile north of the present site.
Later this building proved to be too small for the number
of pupils, so another building was built on the present school
grounds. For several years, the first school building was used as
a residence. However, it has been vacant in recent years.
The second building was also a wood building. It too was
small but larger then the first one. It was later enlarged. At
this time the district was called District No. 3. Even then there
were too many pupils for the size of the building. They divided
the southern part of the District into another school District.
The number of the District was changed from District 3 to
District 100. The new District was called District 101. This
new school was called Liberty School. It is located on the S
curve of the Dixie Highway about one-half mile south of the
This last year, the Liberty school building was enlarged, hav-
ing at present a larger enrollment than Burr Oak. It now is
brick and has two rooms. It is all modern.
In this second Burr Oak school the ages ranged from 6 to 18.
In some of the remarks of the teachers, they said that the
pupils didn't all have the same kind of books. Others mentioned
that the directors didn't visit School very often to see if school
was being kept. This implies that teachers might not show up
at school at all times.
In 1918, a modern brick building was erected on the same
site as the second building. The second building was moved
across the road. This third school had more modern equipment
than the other two.
Some of the first pupils that have sent children to the same
school and still remain in the district are: Mae Campbell, Lloyd
Olmstead, Ruth Blair, Clara Scieter, Orville Prather and Pauline
THE HISTORY OF LIBERTY SCHOOL
By Forrest Sloan, Dist. 101
Teacher, B. C. Beck
In 1886 Liberty School District belonged to Burr Oak.
But the people thought that they should have a school district
of their own. So in 1886, W. Story and W. Bowman, who was
then Justice of Peace, went out at night with a lantern to get
the people to sign a petition that they would have a school dis-
trict of their own. After they had everyone's name on the peti-
tion they filed it.
After the petition was filed, Mr. Bowman offered a site for
the school which is now the Belle property. Mr. Story offered
the original site. They then called a meeting and voted on which
site they wished to choose. The Story site was chosen by the
In 1887 they started to build the school. It was built where
the Chicago Trail and the Salt Works to Lafayette Trail crossed.
After the school was built, they could not decide what they
were going to name the school. After several names had been
suggested they decided to call the new school, Liberty. They
wanted to call it this because it had received its liberty from
Burr Oak District. They then called it Liberty and it still bears
About three-quarters of a mile south on the Hubbard Trail
from where the school was being erected, there was a village
which was known as String Town. The closest school at that
time was the old Tincher Town School. The people now had a
new school to send their children to where they would not have
so far to go.
The Liberty School District then extended as far south as
the Willow Tree on the Kimbrow property, east to the C. & E. I.
railroad, north to the Boiling Spring Road, west to the North
Fork River. The children coming from the west to school had
to cross the river on a little foot bridge.
There are three very interesting land marks in the Liberty
School District. One is a Hitching Barn owned by Mr. Meyers.
It was located north of where Hegeler's Barn is now located.
Mr. Meyers charged the people twenty-five cents to leave their
horses and wagons in his care while they went to the city to
shop. They would leave their horse and wagons in his care be-
cause they were afraid that the horse would become afraid of the
street cars and run away with them.
The second land mark was the Pinkeshaw Indians' camp,
which was located west of the school on the property now owned
by Mr. Jake Miller. The Indians had a camp here because there
was an abundance of water coming from a spring for their horses.
The land was very fertile for them to grow their crops. The white
settlers also stopped on the Miller property to water and feed
their live stock. This stop was on the Chicago Trail which went
north to Chicago. The settlers sometimes camped here many
weeks and months. Here the settlers had a burial ground. Many
skeletons have been dug up by Mr. Miller in his gravel pit.
Each time he reburies the skeletons. The Indians also had a
grave yard on the Miller property. Many of their belongings
have been found including arrows, a tomahawk and a war club.
The first teacher that taught at Liberty School was Miss
Ada Cunningham. There have been sixteen teachers who have
taught at Liberty School. Mr. Charles Keesler, who is now
Secretary of the School Board, taught at Liberty School forty-
two years ago.
One of the amusements they had m those days was the
forming of Debating Societies. These Societies would go to
different schools to debate. The Liberty School Debating Society
won many honors. These Societies were made up of the students
and people of the community. They also had the old-fashioned
spelling bee contests. They would meet two or three times a
year and have the contests. Other times they would go to a
different school to have the contests.
There have been three buildings built on the original site.
The third building was built in 1933. It has two rooms. The
teachers are Mr. B. C. Beck and Miss Alta Tyler. The Liberty
School today is considered one of the most beautiful and modern
schools of Vermilion County.
OLD TIME GRADUATION
By Leone Liggett, Dist. 107
Teacher, Maxine Payne
In May, 1908 the graduation of the eighth grade pupils of
Newtown School was held in the Newtown M.E. Church. This
school is a little white school building situated a few miles north
of Oakwood and almost in the noted old village of Newtown,
which I think everyone has heard of, for though very small, it
is over a century old.
In these days many schools did not have graduating exer-
cises, but this teacher, having a large class and being very good,
arranged for her pupils to graduate.
The seven members of the class were: Bertha Joiner, Nellie
Burton, Marie Clem, Julia Corbin, Birdie Osborne, Nellie Graham
and Glen Doney.
Special music was furnished by the Muncie orchestra.
During the exercises the graduates presented their teacher
with a gold locket and chain to remember them by.
After the diplomas were distributed and the exercises were
over, the class adjourned to the teacher's home where delicious
refreshments were served. They were entertained here also by
the orchestra. The teacher, Miss Bertha Michaels, was enter-
taining her pupils for the last time.
By Vivian Frederickson, Dist. 116
Teacher, Zola Dye
The mill at Barlow Park is the oldest mill in Vermilion
county. It is located on the North Fork River west of Alvin.
It is a two-story mill and was first built in 1832 by Mr.
Clawson, as a saw mill. Later it was turned into a grist mill.
It was first run by a time wheel and later by the old water wheel.
It is over 100 years old and the only water power mill left in
this part of the country still in use. Farmers still take their
corn there to be ground and some of this is sold to local and
Danville stores. This mill was used to grind flour, corn meal and
The burrs used in it came from France, and were brought
down the Wabash River to Attica, Indiana, and hence over land.
These burrs are still used.
Around this mill has been placed a park with cabins along
the river. This land is now owned by the Barlow Estate, and
some of the family still live in the home by the mill.
This mill with the water wheel turning and the trees around
it in their hues of autumn would make a beautiful picture.
THE HISTORY OF PLEASANT GROVE HALL
By Mary Foley, Dist. 122
Teacher, Jessie Gossett
Nearly fifty-five years ago, about 1878, the Pleasant Grove
Hall was built. It was at a funeral in the cemetery nearby that
the people first got the idea of building it.
A burial was in progress when rain started to fall. When
the people tried to get inside the old Baptist church that is still
standing, they found all the doors locked. After investigating
they found one window unlocked. A man from the crowd then
opened the window, climbed in and opened the door for the rest.
This made the Baptist people of the crowd angry, and the
others decided to build what is now the Pleasant Grove Hall.
Before this, people had held their meetings in the Pleasant
Grove School close by, but now that the Hall was built they held
them there. Gradually its members decreased in number, some
joining the churches at Oakwood, south of it, and others joined
the one at Newtown, north of it. Now it has few members left.
The Hall is a public one and stands open to every kind of
meeting except dances.
I obtained the material for this story from Mr. George P.
Vinson, north of Oakwood.
THE STORY OF GLENBURN
By Marion R. Van Allen, Dist. 122
Teacher, Jessie Gossett
Little would one guess that the small, sparsely settled district
commonly referred to as Glenburn was once a flourishing village.
The region first came into existence as a milling town. A large
grist mill, owned by John Swift, was operated by power. Then
Samual Swisher opened a mine near Glenburn. The air com-
pressor was run by steam. Later, the mine was purchased by
C. M. Swallow, who also was the proprietor of a creamery nearby.
An amusing story is linked with the buttermilk well in which
buttermilk was kept. An ordinary pump was placed above the
well, and it was a tired stranger who stopped to quench his
thirst with the supposedly cool and tempting water. Imagine
his surprise and chagrin when a gushing stream of buttermilk
In the meantime, Glenburn had grown in size and popula-
tion that extended east of the rock cut, a passage cut through
solid stone through which passed a railroad to the mine. There
were in all one hundred twenty-three houses within its limits.
The post office was owned and managed by R. M. Rogers. The
St. James Hotel, a two-story building owned by the coal com-
pany, was located just across the road from the post office.
An unsuccessful attempt was made in drilling for oil, but
salt water was discovered, and salt wells were sunk in 1911.
There are many streams nearby, also an artesian well, probably
supplied by the underground stream supposed to run between
Danville and Potomac.
In 1898 a flood occurred, during which three houses were
washed away. A cyclone about thirty-three years ago did con-
O. M. Van Allen runs the only business establishment in
Glenburn now. A few houses remain, but the mine has long
ceased operation. Only a mere skeleton of its former self, Glen-
burn stands a monument of its former prosperity.
GLENBURN IN OAKWOOD TOWNSHIP
By Maudeane DeMoss, Dist. 132
Principal, C. F. Huddelson
C. M. Swallow started what is known as Glenburn in 1885.
Mr. Swallow named the village Glenburn from a small town in
Mr. Swallow first started a creamery, but as this was not
a paying proposition, Mr. Swallow converted it into a feed mill.
While Mr. Swallow was still in mill business he bought and
operated a coal mine which employed several men. Both C. &
E. I. and Big Four railroads had tracks leading to the mine.
This was a successful mine until the tipple burned down in 1896.
Mr. Swallow later moved to Mississippi and died there.
Mr. 0. M. Van Allen carries on Mr. Swallow's work, having
a general store patronized by neighbors. The rural route has
also dispensed with the post office.
The scenery around Glenburn is very grand. The stone cut
is a very picturesque place. Also there are flowing springs which
are very unique, one furnishing salt water and another pure,
fresh spring water.
There are two churches very close to Glenburn, also the
old hall known as Pleasant Grove Hall, which is located on a
beautiful spot. In the yard of the cemetery is what is known as
the old Primitive Baptist Church. Later, a stucco church was
built below the hill.
There is also a little red schoolhouse near Glenburn con-
taining one room and an ante-room. This schoolhouse has been
attended by quite a few pupils in the past; however, there are
only a few pupils attending there now. There is only one teacher
Glenburn is situated between the villages of Newtown and
Oakwood. Glenburn and Newtown are not quite as large as the
village of Oakwood.
THE OLD GLENBURN MINE
By Dorothea Arthelene Lomax, Dist. 122
Teacher, ARIZONA MONTGOMERY
Mr. C. M. Swallow started this mine about 1885. His son»
Howard Swallow, is now living in Danville. It was located about
three miles northeast of Oakwood.
Mr. Swallow intended to make a local mine and sell coal to
the farmers, who would haul it with teams for miles, even as
far as Armstrong and Potomac.
The coal was hoisted with a gin. This is a drum with a
long sweep and a horse hitched to the end of the sweep, pulling
it round and round.
The coal was dumped in large sheds where thousands of
tons were stored, then sold to the farmers in the fall. The coal
was shot or blasted out, dug by the miners and loaded in small
cars drawn by mules.
Mr. Swallow later converted it into a railroad mine. He
had a track laid to his mine by means of a switch connecting
with the Big Four at Oakwood. In order to do this they had to
cut a road for the track through solid rock for a distance of about
one hundred feet and to a height of about thirty-five feet. He
shipped coal to markets for a short period.
Finally they had a disagreement with the Big Four, dis-
connected the switch and connected with the C. & E. I. at
Brothers Station, a distance of five miles from the mine.
During a keen competition in the 90's, Mr. Swallow was
furnishing the Illinois Steel Mill in Chicago its coal. In 1898,
he put in his bid to the Steel Company at fifty-three cents a
ton and the Mike Kelly Coal Company bid fifty-one cents and
got the contract.
Soon afterward, Mr. Swallow abandoned the mine, took up
the tracks and quit business. If he had continued for two months
longer, coal would have been a better price, as it went up to
two dollars a ton.
Most of the miners lived in the houses built by Mr. Swallow.
Many of them were near the mine. Nothing much remains now
of the mine. One would hardly think such a large and flourishing
mine ever existed there.
THE HISTORY OF UNION CORNER SCHOOL
By Lois Marjorie Langley, Dist. 140
Teacher, Pauline Meade
Over one hundred years ago, there was a schoolhouse in the
woods about one-half mile east of the present school. A log
schoolhouse was built in 1848 on the present lot. It had a clap-
board roof. In 1865, a one-room schoolhouse was built just south
of the present one. Church and Sunday school were held in
The name of the school was Union. About 1890, the en-
rollment being eighty-two, another room was built on the east
side with double doors between the two rooms. Daniel Stipp
was the first principal, and Miss Leona Langley the first primary
In 1891, a church was built across the road. As there was
a church by the name of Union between here and Danville on
the Rileysburg road, the new church was named Union Corner,
and the name of the school was changed to Union Corner.
In 1911, the building was sold. The west room is now used
as a barn on the Peare Dye farm, and the east room stands
across the road from Butternut School. Mr. Joiner of Newtown
and Miss Lida Fairchild of near Snider were the last teachers.
The present school was built in the summer of 1911. Mrs.
Minnie Kemma Martin and Miss Lida Fairchild were the first
teachers. The directors at that time were J. M. Kerby, W. W.
Raine, and J. A. Jones.
Some of the pupils who became teachers are Frank Hauser,
Charles Evans, Oscar Wilcoxen, Tilman Breezley, the Misses
Sadie Houser, Margaret Laura, Nora and Leona Langley, Min-
nia and Alice Kemma, Matilda Breezley, Claudia Ashcraft,
Edith Lindley and Emelyn Martin,
Some of the other teachers were Rev. Mathix Coleman,
William Neal, J. F. Geddles, Augusta Atherton, Mr. Campbell,
Arthur Allison, Minnie Kiyger, Gertrude Lyman, Alice Rigdon,
Ida Hay, Northcatt Thomas, Wilber Swem, Bessie Swank, Elsie
Elder Breezely, Joseph Sailor, Sam Richardson, J. D. Dove,
Mr. Robert Henry Brown, Alice Dukes, Helen Wait, Mr. Myers,
The present teachers are Miss Pauline Meade and Miss
By Frances Ellen Rohour, Dist. 144
Teacher, Dorothy Gilkison
One hundred and twenty-eight years ago, the first prairie
land in what is now Vermilion county was cleared and planted.
This work was done by a pioneer farmer, James D. Butler,
native of Vermont. He came here in 1820.
In the fall of 1822, James Butler's oldest daughter died
and she was buried at God's Acre, the first cemetery in the
The land then passed into the hands of Josiah and Elizabeth
Sandusky. On August 6, 1850, they deeded it to the Vermilion
County Board of Supervisors. This was not recorded, however,
until November 24, 1855. It is now owned by Mr. C. W. Wherry
After a time, the old cemetery was forgotten and became
a tangle of weeds and vines. Tombstones were overturned and
some were broken by livestock.
During the year of 1926, when Vermilion county was cele-
brating her centennial, the cemetery was repaired. Mr. Frank
Carrigan, Walter Dysert and W. F. Baum were responsible for
much of this work. After the work was finished, services were
held and a public road built to the cemetery.
Tombstones have been ordered for these old graves such as:
Lura Guyman; Major John W. Vance and his wife; Asa Elliot
and his wife; Noah Guyman; and several others.
EARLY HISTORY OF WESTVILLE
By Margaret Petrus, Dist. No. 154
Teacher, Donald J. Williams
The first settlers named the present town of Westville,
Brook's Point, after John Brooks, the second white baby born
here. James O'Neil was the first baby born.
When the first settlers came here there were many Indian
tribes, the chief one being the Kickapoo Indians. These Indians
sometimes went on the warpath and to keep them in good humor
the settlers used to give them little things. One day one of the
early pioneer women had baked some fresh bread and placed it
on the side board. Some had raisins and some was plain. One
of the numerous tribes soon came, and the chief said he wanted
some bread. She asked which kind he wanted. He replied, "The
one with the flies in it." This shows that the Indians knew very
little about the white man's ways.
The early settlers found only mud roads and the Dixie
highway was no exception to the rule. Where the C. & E. I.
tracks are now was once a large stream crossed by a log bridge.
Where the square is now was then called Scott's Corners.
Here the girls and boys ran races. Scott's Corners was named
after a man named Scott, who came from Ohio in a home made
wagon pulled by an ox team. Scott built the first building. It
was on the southwest corner of the square. This was a long, low
rambling structure with a large veranda. The house was a frame
On the northwest corner of the square was a blacksmith
shop. It was run by a negro named Wright. On the southeast
corner was another long rambling frame building built by Harry
Cotton. On the northeast corner was a large pair of scales set
up by a man named Dukes. These were called Dukes' Scales.
The farmers weighed hogs before hauling them to Chicago or
Other early settlers were the Brooks, O'Neil, Dukes, Scott,
Graves, Sconce, Blakney, Ellsworth, Black, and Stevens families.
Isaac Taber was the first man to build a home east of West-
ville. James Ashbey was the first home maker south of Westville.
West of Westville, William Stevens built the first home. The
first home in North Westville was built by George Watson about
51 years ago. This building still stands today. It is west of the
Some of the early settlers started the early stores and places
of business. Where the C. & E. I. depot is now, a brick and tile
factory was run by John Dukes. Elliot Wade had a shoe cobbling
shop near the Big Four depot. Mike Kelley ran a Company store
on the southeast corner of the Kellyville Square. This was the
first store in that vicinity. Some of the other early storekeepers
were Scott, Rabern, John Lockes, Jim Scottin, and George
The first mine. No. 1, was sunk 60 years ago, the second.
No. 2, around 50 years ago, and 40 years past. No. 3. About
1889 there was a mine strike. The State Militia was called out.
In the fighting Mrs. Glennan and a daughter of Jack James
were killed accidentally by the militia. This strike occurred in
Around 60 years ago, the Big Four Railroad came to West-
ville, and nearly 8 years later the C. & E. I. was put in. More
recently — 35 years ago — the street cars came.
The earliest Doctor was Dr. Balch, followed by his son,
Samuel Balch. Then came Dr. Taylor and Dr. Hickman.
Nearly forty five years ago, the first saloon came. It was
combined with the first hotel. Mrs. Haggardy ran this saloon.
Soon Riggles, Tuvuada, Highnol, Warnakey, Minnecoes, and
Boswell came. In Kellyville came Raye and Moyer. These are
only a few because there were nearly 67 saloons in Westville.
The first school was a log cabin east of Westville. John
Myers was the teacher. In this schoolhouse, Rawley Martin
preached many sermons. The second school, a brick building,
was built in 1870. Billy Brinkley was the first teacher, followed
by Eva Wells. The first school in town was a building rented
from Isaac Taber. Neb Hartley was the teacher. Where Central
school now stands was a frame school taught by Charley Morlin.
John Olmstead was the second teacher.
Some of the early churches. The Christian was where the
frame building in Edison school yard. This was built in 1874.
In 1875, a Presbyterian Church was built where the St. Procopius
church is now.
The old Lodges were the Temperence — a lodge for young
people, and the Odd Fellows for men.
This story was given through the courtesy of Mrs. Neis of
HISTORY OF WILLOW SPRINGS SCHOOL
By Marguerite Reffett, Dist. 157
Teacher, Merle Houston
A school, among the first things of real importance in the
early settlements, always has been given about first considera-
tion. Many have interesting and unique histories in the beginning.
After many conferences and a careful survey of the general
situation, a location for a schoolhouse was finally decided upon
in the valley, a place rather ideal, having plenty of good water,
shade and play grounds.
A small tract of land was purchased from Lewis Stevens and
the school grounds cut off from the Stevens estate. The school-
house was erected in the summer of 1877. A man by the name
of Bishop built it by contract.
A big willow tree, at the time and for many years after,
stood near the present home of Erie Huffman, and there was a
very fine spring of water near the tree. After many ideas were
advanced, it was finally decided to name the place "Willow
Springs," in honor of the big willow tree and a number of fine
springs in the vicinity. The school got drinking water at the
spring for many years.
A school district was marked out and it was known for a
number of years as No. 10. After several years, the districts were
renumbered and district No. 10 given No. 157.
W. J. Boone, Hugh Blakeney and Uriah McArdle were the
first school directors, elected in district No. 10. They were re-
elected from time to time, and served in that capacity for many
years, as the School Board. David Smith taught the first term
of school and gave general satisfaction. Some of the pupils that
went the first year were— Mary Boone, Lily Trosper, Janey
Bishop, Dill Bishop, Sarah Ellen Shoman, Nancy Reffett, Lettie
Reflfett, Haile Bishop, Lisa Trosper, Hattie Galbreth, Mollie
Galbreth, Clara Boone, Cora Boone, Mary Bishop, Nancy Ellen
Stevens, Elva Nier, Ed Trosper, Jeneral Trosper, Joe Snyder, Bob
Snyder, Lee Stevens, Harve Blakney, and Frank Collins. The
schoolhouse for about twenty-five years was used for various
educational purposes, the headquarters and meeting place for
the community, and a civic center.
The house served for school, church, elections, literary meet-
ings, spelling bees, shows, exhibitions, Christmas programs, box
socials, ice cream festivals, political and temperance meetings.
It was a public place for all.
Many terms of school have been taught there, and they
have always graded fairly well in efficiency.
John H. Martin, a resident preacher, conducted many stir-
ring revival meetings in the original edifice.
Several National Elections were held there, one in Fall of
1888 a very memorable event. A number of old-time literaries
have been organized there. Various questions were argued at
length, and many hot debates have been staged.
Occasionally, a magic lantern show of the old-time pattern
would drop in. They were very wonderful a few years ago, and
always showed to a full house. Many good exhibitions of home
talent have been staged in the old schoolhouse. A number of
Christmas celebrations have taken place there with a big Christ-
mas tree and program. Box socials and ice cream festivals were
always well attended. Several political and temperance meetings,
of varied significance however, have been held there. Some
celebrated orators of the day made speeches, all usually very
After a time, population increased and it became necessary
to build an addition to the old schoolhouse. Two rooms were
needed and two teachers. In due time, two rooms were provided
and two teachers employed. The whole structure, old and new,
was overhauled in the summer of 1931. The building was placed
on a good concrete foundation, cleaned up and re-painted. The
grounds were given a good going over, and the trees trimmed.
It all helped wonderfully and the place presented an up-to-date
appearance in general. There are about forty pupils going there
CENTER POINT CHURCH
By WiLINORE MOREMAN, Dist. 170
Teacher, Edna White
I have chosen this subject because I am one of the fourth
generation of my family to attend the Center Point Church.
This church is located about six miles southwest of Fair-
mount and three miles of Jamaica. In the year of 1891 this
church was dedicated by Reverend Brooks of Paris, Illinois.
Prior to this time, the people worshipped in the Center
Pomt schoolhouse. It was in the year of 1891, while a revival
meeting was being held, that a young lady. Miss Ada Hedges,
now Mrs. Ada Smith of Homer, Illinois, desired to enlist in the
services and work of her Lord. Her parents, being members of
the Church of Christ, sought to start their daughter in the
Gospel training and their own faith. A preacher of the New
Testament was then called. This minister was the Reverend
B. N. Anderson, who held a three weeks' meeting in the Center
Point Schoolhouse, and in which building Sunday School and
Church were held until February 14, 1891. Sunday School and
Church had been held in the schoolhouse in former years oc-
casionally, but there was no organization until 1891.
Then the disciples named below met and organized them-
selves into a congregation of the New Testament teaching:
Mr. and Mrs. James A. Hedges, Mr. and Mrs. Richard
Elliott, Mr. and Mrs. Robert McKee, Mr. and Mrs. David
Sconce, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Greer, Mrs. Matilda Hitchcock,
Mrs. Jennie Hopper, Mrs. Lucy Hedges, Mrs. Anna Elliott Sul-
livan all now deceased.
Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Ellis of Macy, Indiana
Mrs. Emma Elliott Carrington of Georgetown
Mrs. Ada Hedges Smith of Homer
Mr. Harvey Elliott of Sidell, Illinois.
Elders of the church chosen at the time the church was
organized were: Richard Elliott, James A. Hedges. Deacons of
the Church when organized: Ed. Ellis, Harvey Elliott.
Thirty-two members were received in the first revival meet-
ing, many of whom have "crossed the bar" but whose children
and grandchildren are still carrying on the work.
The Sunday School attendance on each Sunday is from 35
to 50. There is one man attending who has not missed Sunday
School in five years. This man is George Hedges of Fairmount,
Illinois. Many have a one year record.
Reverend I. L. Cummins of Danville has been the minister
of the Church the last five years, and it is thought that his good
work has kept the Church thriving and growing.
THE OLD UNDERWOOD SCHOOL
By IMOGENE Onley, Dist. 180
Teacher, Dale Robinett
In the year 1850, there was built an old school about a mile
and a half east of Meeks named the Underwood schoolhouse.
It was made of thick logs and wasn't very big. All of the floor
was made of hand hewed timber. It didn't have very many
windows, and had old-fashioned seats in it. It was heated by
Martha Sigler was teacher during the Civil War. She was
the mother of 0. C. Robinett, superintendent of the George-
About 1875, Doc Richardson was the teacher. Some of the
children who went to school during this time are: T. J. Smith
(Deceased), Phillip Dickerson, Silas Underwood (Deceased),
Alfred Calhoun, Mrs. T. J. Smith.
When Silas Underwood went to school he wore a beard and
always chewed tobacco. Doc Richardson would not let him chew
tobacco on the school ground. Every evening after school, he
would chew his tobacco after he got ofi" of the school ground.
All of them lived around here at this time.
In 1915, this schoolhouse was rebuilt and made into a nice
big one. This one had a coal house in it, and had a nice library
in it which contained about 450 books. It was a modern school-
house. In 1934, this schoolhouse burned down. Mr. Sanks was
the teacher at this time. Some of the children that went to this
school when it burned are: Mary DeLattre, Celestine DeLattre,
After this schoolhouse burned down, they built a small shed,
and had school in it. At the present time, they are building a
new one. It is going to look like the other one only it is not go-
ing to have a coal house in it. They have the frame and all but
one side finished.
THE "OLD LINCOLN HOUSE"
Bij Stephen W. Coate, Dist. 183
Principal, Bessie Grose
The house that bears this name is located in the small town
of Olivet, which is on the Dixie Highway about fourteen miles
south of Danville.
This house was built in 1870. It stood where Mr. Luther
Allen has his house and where the Olivet College Inn is located.
It was a one-room house, and was moved to where Mr. and Mrs.
Joe Anderson live at the present time. Some people moved in
this room and built more rooms around it. It is situated between
the kitchen and the dining room. The log floor that was in the
house was not removed when the one-room house was moved,
but a better floor was laid over it.
At the time this one room was moved, Abraham Lincoln was
holding court in Danville and Paris. He walked or rode horse-
back from one city to the other. In making this circuit, he would
nearly always stop over night at this house. This is why they
named it the "Old Lincoln House." And to the people of Olivet
and near vicinity, it still goes by this name. And, as I have stated
above, it is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Anderson.
HISTORY OF CONKEY TOWN
By Ransom Beers. Dist. 187
Teacher, HELEN H. BENNETT
My great-great-grandfather (John Shephard) built the first
grist mill at Conkey Town about 1826, bringing the burrs by
ox team from Ohio.
He died soon after the building of the mill, and the place
of his burial is unknown.
The mill was located about two hundred feet south of the
covered bridge. A large cut was made through the solid rock,
a large well inserted in the cut, and a dam farther north forced
the water that ran the mill. The mill changed hands several
times, but was last owned by the Berkley Brothers. The mill was
torn down about 1900.
The village, at one time, consisted of several dwelling houses,
one distillery, a blacksmith shop. Doctor's office, one saw mill,
and a store, all of which moved to Ogden when the Big Four
Railroad came through.
My Grandfather Beers lived near Conkey Town, living
when a child in the village. He helped build the covered bridge
about 1867, and is probably the only man living who helped
build the bridge.
THE ALLERTON RANCH
Bij Melba Craddock, Dist. 192
Teacher, Oma Patterson
In the extreme southwest part of Vermilion county lies a
large tract of land known as the "Allerton Ranch." This unusual
name in the heart of Illinois corn belt applies to almost 3800
acres of highly cultivated land belonging to the Samuel W.
Allerton heirs. Mr. Allerton purchased this land in 1880 from
J. H. Clark of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, who fore-
closed the mortgage on the celebrated Joseph Sullivan farm.
In earlier days this was called by settlers, "Twin Grove
Farm," because of two groves of about one hundred acres each
on this tract of land, that looked so much alike. Mr. Michael
Sullivan was appointed a trustee of a large estate in Kentucky
and Ohio since his son was an heir. He invested this inheritance
in lands purchased from Robert H. Ives, who emigrated to this
country in 1853. Mr. Ives purchased this land at government
prices, later giving a quit claim to Michael Sullivan.
In 1881 Mr. Allerton placed Mr. W. G. Herron in the en-
tire management of this farm. The firm of Allerton and Herron
was a successful business venture. They induced the Chicago
and Eastern Railroad to forward its work, and Mr. Allerton
donated the right-of-way through his land and laid out the town
of Allerton. Because of its location Allerton became a good
point for shipping grain, cattle and horses. Later, Mr. Allerton
caused a large steam elevator to be erected which was operated
by Mr. John Herron. He built all of the business buildings. He
gave ten lots and $5000 besides for a school to be built.
After the school was built, Mrs. Allerton gave a library,
carefully chosen, to meet the school needs. She also gave a
Domestic Science room to the school, and bought all the equip-
ment that was needed, and paid the teacher's salary. In January,
1892, the Allertons dedicated the M. E. Church to Allerton,
Illinois. Mrs. Allerton purchased many song books for the church.
Mr. Allerton established the bank at Allerton, Illinois, which
was known as Allerton State Bank. Mr. John Herron was the
first cashier. The Allerton Estate also donated a park to Allerton.
The people paid a park tax each year for the upkeep of it. Mr.
Allerton put in the water system of Allerton, mainly to give
fire protection to his buildings. He made it possible to have gravel
placed on the main street in Allerton.
Mr. Herron, who was the first manager, was an outstanding
cattle man and farmer. He managed the farm from 1880 to 1897.
In 1897 Mr. John Phalen became manager. In 1898, Mr. Michael
Phalen became manager. Under his management it became one
of the finest farms for fertility, and well kept improvements,
well fenced and well drained. It is rented in large tracts and is
farmed with a rotation of wheat, beans, corn and clover. After
the death of Michael Phalen, in 1927, his son, Joseph Phalen,
THE PIONEERS OF GERLAUGH DISTRICT
By Billy Walters, Dist. 192
Teacher, Oma Patterson
The Gerlaugh District is located in the southwestern part
of Vermilion county, half-way between Sidell and Allerton. It
is one of the best cultivated and improved sections of the county.
This region was not always so highly productive or well
drained as it is today. It was a raw prairie without trees or
shrubs. The early pioneers journeying west were often dis-
couraged at the bleakness, and not being favorably impressed,
passed on. Many cattle men who had traveled on horseback
over this land, expressed their opinion that this land "would
never be worth a dime." But other men, being far-sighted and
thrifty, settled here, buying up large tracts of land for only a
few dollars an acre.
Among these far-sighted men was Mr. John Sidell, who
became owner of almost 7000 acres. This tract was admirably
suited to stock raising, and many horses were raised. Later
about 1872, Mr. Sidell decided to open up a portion of this land
to settlers who would come and take up homes. He chartered a
train from Columbus, Ohio, for the benefit of those deciding to
make homes in the west.
This offer attracted Mr. Jacob Gerlaugh of Dayton, Ohio.
He purchased about 1100 acres of land. In the same year, 1873,
Mr. Jacob Black came also to make his home. Mr. Lyman Terry
of Chicago, catching a vision of the future, decided to trade his
holdings in valuable city lots for a homestead. Later he invested
in more land.
Another pioneer, who saw possibilities in this land, was Mr.
Isaac Rowand. Believing that proper draining would reclaim
it into valuable corn land, he purchased an extensive tract known
as the "Rowand Homestead." These men have labored early
and late in the improvement of their homes. They watched the
development and aided the growth of this section. There was
abundance of wild game, a great many snakes, and in the spring-
time the horizon was darkened by smoke of prairie fires.
The Gerlaugh farm was operated in two divisions by Mr.
Hanes Gerlaugh and Mr. Taylor Gerlaugh, sons of Mr. Jacob
Gerlaugh. They made many improvements, built comfortable
homes and commodious barns and sheds. Mr. Hanes Gerlaugh
was the first farmer to install a windmill. Mr. Jacob Black was
the first person in the community to possess a spring wagon,
and it was often pressed into service as a hearse.
The children of these early settlers were compelled to walk
almost three miles to attend the Highland School. In 1888,
Mr. Hanes Gerlaugh gave a site for a school called Gerlaugh
District No. 192. A neat schoolhouse was erected, and Miss
Ida Ames of Sidell was secured as teacher. At that time there
were about 25 pupils. Some other teachers who have taught
were Mr. Asa Gulp, Catlin; Mr. J. A. Heaton, Hoopeston; Dr.
A. G. Gillogly, Newman; and Mr. A. B. Quick, Danville.
The roads were made of dirt and in the winter were very
hard to travel; yet, Dr. Martinie of Palermo always managed to
reach his patients. Mail was obtained either at Homer or Hume,
whenever the people happened to visit either town.
These public spirited men and women have made it possible
that I might travel with ease and comfort, receiving benefits
from well drained, highly cultivated lands, and to obtain an
education that will enable me to carry on the task they have set
A PIONEER PHYSICIAN
(DR. HENRY C. HOLTON)
By AiLEEN Erickson, Dist. 194
Superintendent, B. H. Spicer
As we look over the annals of Vermilion county and look
over all the professions, there is none which surpasses the medical
profession. No profession comes more into contact with the
daily lives of the country's people and no greater good can be
accomplished than by the medical profession. In the early days
of our country, physicians suffered great hardships. Their work
was not commercialized and all people rich and poor alike were
served by our early physicians.
In our own community we find the life of a physician who
filled the needs of the community. Dr. Henry G. Holton.
Dr. Henry G. Holton was a son of Leonard G. Holton and
Helen Dudley. He was born on October 23, 1853, at Indianola,
Illinois, in a house that stood just west of where the Baptist
Ghurch now stands. When he was eight years old an attack of
infantile paralysis left him a cripple for life. This affliction caused
him to be often left alone by his companions in games and sports.
Dr. Holton was reared at home, acquiring his education in the
public schools of Indianola. At the age of eighteen he entered the
University of Illinois, but for lack of funds he attended but one
year. He then took up the profession of teaching which he fol-
lowed ten years. In 1881 he entered the JelTerson Medical Gol-
lege of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in
1883. He first opened an office at Homer, Illinois, practicing
medicine there for a short time, but not finding the practice he
wanted, he later came to Archie which was a thriving \illage at
that time, remaining there about four years. In August 1887
he opened an office in Sidell where he practiced medicine 44 years.
In 1883 Dr. Holton was united in marriage with Miss Ura
Ames of Palermo, Illinois. They had six children. Three died
in infancy, and three are living, Max C, Wade A., and Garyl A.
They reared three adopted daughters, Frankie L. Holton, Garnet
L. Dickinson, and Ruth M. Dickinson.
Dr. Holton was affiliated with several fraternal organiza-
tions: I. 0. 0. F. lodge, I. 0. O. F. encampment. Patriarch Mili-
tant, Rebekah Lodge, Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen,
Elks, Illinois Society, and Sons of the American Revolution.
Dr. Holton passed away Thursday, March 5, 1931, in St.
Louis, Missouri. His funeral services were held on Sunday after-
noon, March 8, 1931, at the Christian Church of Sidell. He was
laid to rest in Woodlawn Cemetery near Indianola.
THE HISTORY OF THE SIDELL JOURNAL
By Helen Jane Hooker, Dist. 194
Superintendent, B. H. Spicer
No doubt the early settlers thought the building of a rail-
road from Danville to Villa Grove would be inevitable, and that
what is now Sidell, a point on the old Danville, Olney, and Ohio
River Railroad, would be a logical point for the extension of
such a road westward. This doubtless was one of the factors
which caused John Sidell to lay out the town in 1884. The rail-
road mentioned was built some four or five years later, and in
1888 a man by the name of Thomas Morgan, a school teacher,
started a publication which was known as the "Sidell Reporter."
Sidell at the time of the first issue was a town of two or
three hundred people. At this time there were few publications
in this section. Fairmount no doubt had one and so did George-
town. But there was no paper in either Indianola or Allerton.
The "Reporter" therefore served southeastern Vermilion county
as a source of news.
The print shop was first housed in a frame building located
across from the C. & E. I. depot. The building, owned by G. W.
Gulp, has been torn down in recent years. After a period of about
fourteen weeks under the first management the publication was
bought by Charles Allen Wright.
Charles A. Wright was born at the old homestead one mile
north of this place, April 15, 1860. In 1888 he took over the
management and published the paper for seven years. A hand-
some residence on North Gray Street and a new business building
now occupied by the Sidell Hatchery were but a part of the
material improvements which he added to our city. The "Re-
porter" flourished under his care from an uncertain venture in
a very small village to a successful local paper on a paying basis.
Wright was a stalwart Democrat. He was recognized as one
of the leaders of his party and had the confidence of a large
number of politicians of his party throughout this section of the
Charles Wright died in 1895 and following his death his
wife, the present Carrie E. Jenkins of Sidell, edited the paper for
a short time and then it was given over to H. R. Rogers.
At the time of Charles Wright's death, the building now
occupied by the Sidell Hatchery was being built by him but was
unfinished. Pending its completion his presses and office equip-
ment had been moved to temporary quarters above J. M. Miller's
implement store. (Now F. M. McCauley's undertaking parlors).
In 1898 the paper, still the Sidell Reporter, was edited for
one year by Fielding and Lester Coggeshell. The print shop
during this time was located in the brick building in what is
now the M. W. A. hall. In 1899 it was sold to Al Smith who
gave a chattel mortgage on it to John Herron and Nick Keller.
They closed the mortgage and stored the presses and other equip-
ment in the building where Frank Gilroy now has his blacksmith
shop. ^ „ „
In 1900 T. B. Williams bought the equipment from Keller
and Herron and moved it to what is now the Woodmen's Hall.
It was here that Williams published the first issue of what has
since been known as the Sidell Journal, December 8, 1900. He
maintained his print shop in this location until the summer of
1909. At this time Williams became postmaster. The post office
was then where Lowell Myers now has his poultry and feed store.
Early 1910 the pest office and "Journal" were moved to the pres-
ent post office building on Gray street just south of the C. & E. I.
Railroad. Here Williams published his last issue September 1,
When Williams took over the paper in 1900, there was a
great deal of competition in this and surrounding towns. The
greatest circulation during his management was about nme hun-
dred. The circulation area was some two hundred square miles.
Early in 1932 Williams sold the newspaper to Charles Lane, an
experienced newspaper man, wlo came from French Lick,
Indiana. The paper is now flourishing under his care and the
present circulation is about five hundred. The shop is now
housed in the Sawyer building just north of the C. & E. I. Rail-
road. Some new equipment, including a linotype machine, has
been added. These additions make it an entirely modern news-
THE STUNKARD GRAVEYARD
By Janice Weaver. District No. 194
Superintendent, B. H. Spicer
The Stunkard Grave yard, which lies about two miles east
of Sidell on the east bank of the Vermilion river, was started
over one hundred years ago. The only reason that can be found
why this cemetery was called the Stunkard Cemetery is because
a large family by the name of Stunkard lived near there when
it was laid out.
One half of the land occupied at the present by the Cemetery
belonged to Mr. James Spicer, and the other half was owned
by Mr. Koonrod Zeltener. Mr. Zeltener came from Germany
to the United States in a sailboat. He settled down in a little
log cabin just a short distance west of the present Cemetery,
and when the cemetery was to be laid out he gave one half an
acre of land for this purpose. Mr. Zeltener was the grandfather
of Mr. Fred Lucas, one of the rural mail carriers of Sidell, Illinois.
One of the oldest graves that can be found in this cemetery-
is the grave of Miss Mildria Hutt, who died July 12, 1842. Corbin
Hutt, a veteran of the War of 1812, was buried here in 1846.
The latest inscribed monument that can be found there is the
one of James Pendred who died May 26, 1917. There are many
other monuments in this cemetery. Some were inscribed in 1846,
1847, 1849, 1851, 1853, 1854, 1855, 1856, 1859, 1860, 1861, 1862,
1863, 1864, 1866, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1872, 1873, 1875, 1877, 1878,
1879, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1892, 1895, 1896,
1904, 1910, 1914, and 1917. There are many other graves in this
cemetery that are not marked by monuments. Some of the
people who were buried here have since been removed to other
This cemetery has not been properly cared for the past
several years, and many of the monuments have been broken or
have fallen over from lack of care.
AN OLD VERMILION COUNTY HOMESTEAD
Bij Charles Carter, Dist. 194
Superiyitendent , B. H. Spicer
Mr. John Sidell was born in Washington county, Maryland,
on the 27th of June, 1816. His father died when he was eighteen
years old. He remained in his native county until he was nine-
teen years old. He worked on a farm for twelve dollars a month,
and as soon as he had saved enough money he came west on
horseback, passing through Illinois and on into Iowa. Not find-
ing a location at that time he went to Ohio, this time taking a
contract to cut cord wood for thirty three and one-third cents
per cord. This was his starting point of success.
He came to Illinois and bought a farm in Vermilion county
in 1860. The farm contained three thousand acres on both sides
of the Little Vermilion River. He added to this about six thousand
acres more, buying some of this land from the government.
He first built a log cabin which burned while he was away.
It stood in the orchard just south of the brick house that he
built after the log cabin burned.
The bricks used to build his new house were made north-
east of the house in the little grove called "The Towhead" on
the south bank of the creek bottom. The house has a basement
with eight rooms and one hall in it. The first floor has six rooms
and three halls. The second floor has seven rooms and two halls.
It has a large attic and an observation tower. The house had
nine fireplaces. The house is still standing about one mile north-
west of Sidell.
The southeast room of the first floor was the post office
and Mr. Sidell's office. The house was surrounded by a large
grassy yard which had a high fence around it. All around the
fence were tall poplar trees at an equal distance apart.
There was a cow barn, horse barn, a machine shed, a corn
crib, and other buildings on the farm.
The land was very fertile. Mr. Sidell raised wheat, corn,
rye, barley, oats, tobacco, broom corn, flax, and hemp in great
abundance. For clover, timothy, and all the hays the land was
unsurpassed, and produced blue grass equal to that of Bourbon
county, Kentucky. Mr. Sidell also had many cattle. One time
he bought some Texas longhorn cattle. The cattle had some
disease but they did not get sick and die. When any other cat-
tle came near them or walked over the ground that the Texas
longhorn cattle had walked over they would take the disease
and die. There were not very many fences and everyone's cattle
roamed together. Cattle belonging to many different people
took the disease and died. The owners of the cattle that had died
sent bills to Mr. Sidell for the damage his cattle had done. Mr.
Sidell always paid these bills. The land was a rolling prairie with
many groves, the soil being a deep, rich black alluvium.
Mr. Sidell decided to sell off a portion of his land. The sale
began at 10 o'clock, August 21, 1873. John Loucke and D. B.
Stockton were the auctioneers. A free lunch was served for all.
Mr. Sidell was a Whig in politics until that party died out.
Then he became an ardent Republican, standing firmly with
Lincoln during the Civil War, and being elected a member of
the Lower House of Illinois for one term, 1874 to 1876. He
remained a steadfast Republican, but took little part in later
demonstrations. He was a shrewd business man, careful in mak-
ing contracts. When once made, however, he took pride in
promptly fulfilling them. Mr. Sidell was a busy man. So many
people came to go with him over his farm that he built a carriage
with a seat just large enough for himself to sit in, so he would
not have anyone bothering him. He had a favorite riding horse
that he would not let anyone else ride. The sire of this horse
was a wild horse that Mr. Sidell had caught and tamed on the
Mr. Sidell laid out the town of Sidell. He planned the town
to be built around the park, but it was not.
Mr. Sidell gave the C. & E. I. Railroad the right to come
through his land. In return the railroad company offered him
passes for himself and his family. He would not accept passes
for his children because he thought they would travel too much.
Mr. Sidell gave the land for the Methodist Church, and he
also gave $500 for the church building fund. Mr. Sidell died
January 29, 1888 after a few months of illness due to Bright's
disease. He was taken to Danville to be buried in Springhill
Cemetery by the C. «& E. I. railway train free of charge.
The remaining one thousand five hundred acres of land was
divided among his children. Some of the children sold part or
all of their land and it is in the hands of other people today.
TRAILS AND EARLY ROADS OF VERMILION
By Marjorie Mills, Dist. 198
Teacher, Hazel Dodd
The modern road, which leads from place to place, is an
evolution of the trail of an Indian which, in turn, was the evolu-
tion of the track made by some wild animal. The instinct of
all animals is to go from one good feeding spot to another and
to the nearest and best drinking places.
The buffalo made the first roads, and they left these paths
as a guide to their almost equally untamed successor — the
The Danville and Fort Clark road was surveyed and laid
out as a legal road in 1834. In 1828 Runnel Feilder had been
made supervisor of the construction work. This road is referred
to in the following description written by a traveler, "After
safely crossing the state of Indiana which was then a wilderness,
I entered Illinois where Danville now is, here I found a settle-
ment of friends. I made a short stay here, then I continued my
journey, with only a map and compass for my guide. I usually
put up where night found me. Striking a light with my flint and
steel, I wrapped myself in my blanket and slept soundly. My
horse became very cowardly, so that he would scarcely eat the
grass; he would keep close to me, following wherever I went
and sleeping by my side at night. With no well defined trail;
only a faint Indian trail through high grass and bushes and over
the limitless prairie, it is not surprising that a lone horse and
rider should be lonely, suspicious, and fearful."
Later the "Ottawa Road" was built through Vermilion
county. It ran north of the present site of Danville. The "Hub-
bard Trace," a pack horse trail ran a short distance west of
These three roads, the Fort Clark road, Ottawa road, and
Hubbard Trace, filled all the requirements of travel in those
By Geoege Gose, Dist. 200
Teacher, Helen Coggeskall
No section of the country in this part of Illinois presents.
more attractive view than that occupied by Pilot Township.
Pilot is bounded on the north by Middle Fork township, on
the east by Blount, on the south by Oakwood, and on the west
by Champaign county. It occupies the middle of the western
side of Vermilion county.
The surface of this land is gently rolling in the central
part. In the south and southwest portions the tendency is to
flatten out and become too level. Along the eastern side there
is a high portion of the township which is known as California
Ridge. It is the water shed between the waters of the Salt and
Middle Forks. It is high ground for this country, and has on
it some of the most desirable farms in the state of Illinois.
Nearly all of the land is prairie. There is some timber on the
eastern side along the Middle Fork, though not much of the
Middle Fork timber extends into Pilot township, and there is a
small grove near the center of the township known as Pilot
Grove. This point of timber away out in the prairie, away
from any stream, and on the highest portions of land in the
country, attracted the attention of early settlers. It was called
Pilot on account of its peculiar situation, making it a kind of
guide as a beacon-light to explorers of the prairie. The town-
ship got its name from this grove.
There is no village within the borders of Pilot. It has one
post office and store, but a village has not been laid out. The
soil is black, deep and fertile. Corn, wheat, oats, flax and grass
are the principal products. Cattle and hogs are grown in large
numbers. There is an unusual amount of grazing and cattle-
growing. Sheep are kept quite extensively by some farmers.
It is said to be the best paying business that can be followed in
this country. Very little of the vast acres of corn are shipped.
It is generally bought up by cattle-feeders in the neighborhood.
A good thing in Pilot is the herd law. People fence in
their stock instead of their grain. This they found easier and
less expensive. Vast areas of corn and other grain may be
seen growing by the roadside, with nothing in the shape of a
fence anywhere in sight. Pilot, like some other portions of
west Vermilion, suffers socially from a number of large land-
owners. When this country began to be settled, men who
realized the importance of the movement strove to get posses-
sion of large areas, that they might have the advantage of rise
in value. The prairies of Pilot offered as attractive farms as
any in the country, and accordingly we find here a number of
farms, each of which includes vast areas. These would not
have been as detrimental to the best interest of the community,
had the owners been able, in every case, to improve them and
keep them up with the progress of the times.
THE RIDGEFARM CHRISTIAN CHURCH
By Oma Lucille Smith, Dist. 207
Principal, Clyde Williams
The Christian Church was organized by Rev. Evans and
Hev. S. S. Jones in 1897 in the old armory hall. It was moved
from the armory to the Interurban Station while the church
was being built, which was completed in 1900 and dedicated in
November of the same year. The first Trustees were Charles
Clayton, J. J. Smith, Charles Hathaway. The first Elders were
Robert Bratton, Charles Clayton and J. J. Smith. In 1900
after the church was completed, Rev. Hale was the first min-
The debt was paid off and the mortgage was burned by
S. S. Jones, who was always considered as the father of the
church, and during his life often came down to Ridgefarm to
give advice and encouragement.
THE FIRST AUTOMOBILE OF RIDGEFARM
By Bluford Edmiston, District No. 207
Teacher, Clyde Williams
The first automobile of Ridgefarm was owned by Grand-
father Bines. It was a Ford made in 1901.
He kept the car for twenty-seven years.
It was a curiosity of the countryside to see Mr. Bines rid-
ing down the road in the car sitting under the steering wheel
as straight as a pin. The car had a square back, a square radi-
ator, and the hood which covered the engine was square. It
was a two-seated car.
When the people of Ridgefarm first saw the car they
flocked out like sheep to take a ride in the car.
In 1928 his son, Robert Bines, of Ridgefarm, sold the auto-
RIDGEFARM CARNEGIE LIBRARY
By Betty Ann Newby, Dist. 207
Principal, CLYDE Williams
The original library was founded early in the century by
the Chautauqua Circle, composed of Mrs. H. J. Cole, Mrs. J. B.
Morton, Mrs. W. R. Julian and Mrs. Joseph Burgan. It was
located in the rear of W. R. Julian store, and later it was moved
to the rear of Monroe's jewelry store. At first there were only
a few volumes, assembled by donation, but the collection grew
as money for an expense fund was raised through entertain-
ments and socials.
Finally Mrs. Cole suggested that Mr. Carnegie be asked
for a $6,000 donation. To the request, Mr. Carnegie's secre-
tary replied that it would be necessary for provision to be
made through taxation for the support of the library. A cam-
paign was started and that same year a two-mill tax was voted
by Elwood township, resulting in a revenue of about nine hun-
dred dollars a year. Mr. Carnegie was notified, and he replied
that his donation would be $9,000 instead of $6,000.
There were 1,400 books on the shelves of the beautiful new
library that was dedicated January 14, 1911. The first libra-
rian was Mrs. Florence Newlin Carmack. She served until
April, 1934, when Mrs. Esther Ensor succeeded her and is now
serving. The library is supported by the tax rate of 1.9 mills.
There are now 7,083 books in the hbrary.
The members of the library board are: President, Mrs.
Rosa Woodyard; vice-president. Miss Aurilena Ellis (de-
ceased) ; secretary, Mrs. Florence Rees; Miss Clyde Williams,
Mrs. Ola Pierce, and J. W. Foster.
A PIONEER SETTLER OF RIDGEFARM
By Martha Mae Larrance, District No. 207
Teacher, Clyde Williams
Miss Mary Jane Baker was born in 1844. When sixteen
years of age she came from Pennsylvania to ChilHcothe, Illi-
nois, later called Dallas and now Indianola, in a covered wagon
pulled by oxen. At Indianola she went to school and they only
had benches to sit on with no backs or desks. They also wrote
Later her parents bought a farm south of Indianola and
lived there until 1875, when they came to Ridgefarm.
When she was eighteen, she was married to Perez Barker.
They had four children. Mr. Barker died and she married Mr.
Smith, this family consisting of two children. Of Mrs. Smith's
seven children, five still survive, three of whom live in Ridge-
Mrs. Smith died in 1932. She was 80 years old.
THE ADVANTAGES OF RIDGEFARM'S
By Virginia Banta, District No. 207
Teacher, Clyde W^illiams
Ridgefarm has a good location. She has a bus line run-
ning north and south. This line is a branch of the Greyhound
bus line, which is one of the best bus lines in the United States.
This branch of the line runs from Chicago to Louisville, Ken-
tucky. It furnishes a means of transportation for the people
at a low fare.
There are two railroad lines on the outskirts of Ridge-
farm. The Nickel Plate runs east and west, and the Big Four
runs north and south. They are both well equipped and exten-
sively traveled. They both furnish ways for the transportation
of goods and raw products.
The city of Ridgefarm is located along the Dixie Highway
in Illinois, the most extensively traveled highway in Illinois.
She also has a county highway which is used quite a lot.
Ridgefarm draws the attention and trade from quite a number
of tourists who travel these roads.
Ridgefarm is situated about midway between two good-
sized cities. They are Danville and Paris. She gets all the
trade of people traveling between these two cities because of
being midway between them. Ridgefarm is also on the direct
route to Chicago. The city of Ridgefarm is located close to the
corn belts, the greatest corn producing section in the world.
The land around Ridgefarm is very rich and with favorable
seasons she produces very rich crops. Her principal occupa-
tion is agriculture, in which she thrives very well.
HISTORY OF JAMAICA
By Cecil Burton, Dist. 211
Principal, J. W. NiswONGER
The fifteen divisions of Vermilion county remained the
same until in 1893 when Jamaica township was formed. This
new township was laid out from the corners of Catlin, Sidell,
Carroll, and Vance townships where the corners came together.
Some of the early settlers were James A. Dickson, Richard
Miller, Thomas Hughs, the Stockers and others.
The first church was in a small log schoolhouse somewhere
close to where the Ross school now stands.
They decided they wanted a real place to worship so they
built a frame church. They used it for several years.
The church that now stands is a large brick structure
called Kingsley Chapel.
The two-room schoolhouse is a fine frame building. It is
about twenty-five years old.
The C. & E. I. railroad was built through Jamaica. The
first telegraph operator was W. I. Baird, who still resides in
Carter and Lucas ran the first store in Jamaica. Jamaica
was a thriving village until the Fairmount rock quarry shut
Some of the most prominent people at present are the
Bairds, Darrs, Carters, Moodys, Williams, and Dicksons.
ALLERTON FIFTY YEARS AGO
Bu Kathleen Purdum, Dist. 213
Superintendent, James Talbott
S. W. Allerton owned thousands of acres of fertile land in
Illinois. There was no town convenient to his farm from which
his produce might be shipped. Mr. Allerton, thinking the situ-
ation over, decided to build a town of his own.
He chose for the spot an area located southwest of his
ranch between Danville and Tuscola. Mr. Allerton encouraged
settlers to come in. They came till the town had a population
of five hundred. The town was carefully planned by Mr. Al-
Mr. Allerton, having in mind the creation of an ideal town,
had this clause put in every deed : "It is understood that no
gambling house, pool room, or saloon shall be permitted for the
sale of wine, beer or any intoxicating liquor, unless with the
consent of the owner."
Buildings began to appear on Main street. These build-
ings consist of the bank, general and hardware and the drug
store. All of these were situated along a street of crushed rock
which cost Mr. Allerton $5,000.
Mr. Allerton, to protect his properties from fire, installed
a private water system.
Some of the people were Methodists and others were Pres-
byterians. They were united until 1891. Mr. Allerton donated
several lots for building of each church.
Mr. Allerton prepared for the education of the children.
School was held in a building moved from one mile north of
town until a new brick building could be erected. That build-
ing burned in 1921.
Mr. Allerton wanted his town to be beautiful. A land-
scape gardener was brought in from Chicago. Mr. Allerton
added to the beauty of the town by giving a little park in the
I think everyone in Allerton appreciates Mr. Allerton very
much and tries to keep the little town as he would have liked
it to be kept, were he living now.
TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH
Bi) Eleanor Mae Ervin, Trinity Lutheran School
Principal W. C. Poll
Trinity Lutheran congregation was founded on February
15, 1863. A constitution was drawn up and signed by fourteen
members. The official name adopted by them was "The Evan-
gelical Lutheran Trinity Congregation U. A. C. at Danville,
Illinois." Soon after the founding, a lot was bought on Jack-
son street near Harrison for $125.00. At the same time, a Bap-
tist congregation offered its church building for sale and the
Lutherans bought it for $185.00. The building was moved and
they dedicated it to the service of the Triune God.
Rev. H. Schoeneberg of Lafayette, Indiana, preached once
a month. Gottfried Markworth accepted a call on April 3,
1864. The number of members had by this time increased to
Owing to the rapid growth of the congregation, the build-
ing soon proved too small. A new church was erected on the
corner of Jackson and Harrison streets. The old building was
utilized for parochial school purposes. Mr. G. Bernthal was
called to take charge of the school.
The following year, the pastor broke down and the congre-
gation accepted his resignation. Rev. R. Biedermann was
called as his successor. He resigned from office on October 6,
1872. Rev. G. Reinsinger was then installed. The old church
building was sold and a new two-story school building was
erected at a cost of $3,000.00 ; likewise a parsonage for
$1600.00. Mr. Zachow was now called to assist Teacher Bern-
Rev. Ernest Martens was now called. He took charge on
October 20th, 1878. G. Albers and A. Theiss were called as
teachers. In the early eighties a large number of immigrants
from Pommerania, Germany, were gathered in by Lutheran
Church. On the 3rd of September, 1893, Trinity Congregation
celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the dedication of
The congregation had by this time grown wonderfully. It
was deemed advisable to divide the charge and to erect a new
church building at Germantown. In the meanwhile, the health
of the Rev. Ernest Martens began to fail. He resigned in June,
1912. Rev. J. E. Elbert was called as his successor.
The 18th of May, 1913, was a red letter day in the history
of the Lutheran church at Danville. All the Lutherans of this
city and a large concourse of visiting Lutherans from neigh-
boring congregations joined hands to fittingly celebrate the
golden jubilee of the Lutheran church at Danville. A week
later Trinity congregation resolved to purchase the so-called
Mayers property on East Main street as a building site for the
new church and school.
On the first day of April, 1914, ground was broken for the
new school. The laying of the cornerstone of the church oc-
curred August 2nd, 1914. August 30th, the new school was
dedicated, and April 25th, 1915, the church.
In 1924, Rev. Elbert accepted a call to Oshkosh, Wiscon-
sin, and Rev. T. J. Mehl was called. Rev. Mehl served the con-
gregation until 1930, when he resigned on account of illness.
Rev. A. C. Bernthal was called as his successor and is now
serving the congregation. At the present time, the three up-
per grades of Trinity school are taught by Mr. W. C. Poll, the
three intermediate grades by Mr. H. G. Schroeder, and the two
lower grades by Miss Renate Martens.
THE DANVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
By LaVerne Dobels, Trinity Lutheran School
Teacher, W. C. Poll
The first location of the public library was on the second
floor of the McDonald building on West Main street, adjoin-
ing the First National Bank building. In 1883, this organiza-
tion became known as the Danville Public Library, which title
it still holds.
More room being needed, the library moved to what is
now known as the Tobin building, at 132-34 Vermilion street,
occupying the entire second floor.
It remained in this location 16 years, when it was moved
to the Fera building, on the northeast corner of Walnut and
North streets. The next move was in 1904 to the present build-
ing, the money for which was given by Andrew Carnegie, the
lot being purchased by the city.
The first floor of the building contains reading, reference,
stock rooms, off"ice and catalog room, also a small room hous-
ing the historical collections of the Daughters of the American
A large addition to the stock room has recently been com-
pleted through the generosity of the late A. L. Webster, who
left a sum of money for this purpose.
The children's room has a large south room in the base-
ment, across from which is a lecture or assembly room. This
is used by various clubs, High School students, etc.
The librarian's report for 1929 gives the total number of
volumes in the library as 48,769, 11,190 of which are in the
The library does a great deal of reference work for clubs
and organizations of various kinds, the most, however, being
with high school pupils.
In the past ten years, the circulation has more than dou-
bled, and nine are on the staff" in place of four in 1930.
By Harvey Dettman, Trinity Lutheran School
Principal, W. C. Poll
That part of Illinois now known as Vermilion County was
orig-inally a portion of New France. It, together with all the
immense territory lying west of the Alleghanies and north of
the Ohio, belonged by right of discovery and occupation to the
king of France. New France was divided into two immense
districts, the one known as Canada and the other as Louisiana.
In 1819, the year after Illinois was made a state, the
county of Clark was formed off the northern part of Crawford,
with the county seat established some miles higher up the
Wabash at a place called Aurora, which in turn became the
county seat of all that region bordering on the Indiana line,
and extending north as far as the Illinois and Kankakee Rivers.
When Vermilion county was a part of Clark and while Aurora
was a county seat, the first permanent settlem'snt was begun
within the present limits of Vermilion County. In less than
a month after the treaty at Fort Harrison, August, 1819, the
Vermilion River was explored. The inducement was the hope
of discovering salt. Captain Blackman set two or three men
to work with spades, and by digging two or three feet into
the saturated soil, saline water was procured. This was boiled
down in a kettle brought along for that purpose.
About two gallons of water yielded four ounces of good,
clear salt. An experimental well was dug a few rods from the
former where the brine was much stronger. It was agreed by
Captain Blackman that Treat, Whitcomb, and Beckwith should
be partners in the discovery of the salt water and each pay his
portion of the expenses. In the latter part of November, 1819,
Treat returned, coming up the Wabash and Vermilion Rivers
in a pirogue with tools, provisions, his wife and children. With
the assistance of Beckwith and Whitcomb, both good axemen,
a cabin was quickly erected and Treat's family took immediate
possession. In this way and at this place began the first per-
manent settlement within the present limits of Vermilion
THE INFLUENCE OF THE RAILROADS ON THE
EARLY GROWTH OF VERMILION COUNTY
By Kenneth H. Davis, Dist. 9
Teacher, Jewel Perry
Some of the fairest, most productive countries of the great
Prairie State lie upon its eastern border, and among the chief-
€st of these is Vermilion county. Although settlers came in
here at an early day, yet the commencement of its rapid growth
was not until many years later. It was the railroad that did so
much toward the encouragement of sturdy tillers of the soil
to come to the fair and fertile prairies.
Since then the county has enjoyed a steady growth ; and
today it stands among the foremost counties of the great North-
west. In the growth and development of her vast resources
in her agriculture and stock-raising, in all departments of
labor, in her churches and schools, in civilization and culture,
Vermilion county has taken first rank. Within a half century
a wilderness has been converted into beautiful farms and thriv-
ing, populous cities, and a community estabhshed, commanding
the admiration of the country.
The Wabash Railway was the pioneer road of Vermilion
County and contributed most to the development in the early
days of Danville and the extensivz coal and agricultural in-
terest of the county. At Danville, connection is made with all
the main roads. Centering there, it has about fifty miles of
road, including side tracks, in the county.
The Ohio, Indiana and Western, including side tracks,
has about twenty-eight miles of road in Vermilion county.
The Chicago and Eastern Illinois road has more miles of
track than any other line in the county, and extends through
the county on the east side from north to south. This is the
great coal road of the county, and has exercised a large influ-
ence in the development of that industry in eastern Illinois.
The most important station is Danville, where connection
is made with several roads centering there.
The Toledo, Cincinnati and St. Louis railroad has about
eleven miles of road in the extreme southeast corner of the
county, the most important station being Ridgefarm.
The Lake Erie and Western traverses the extreme north-
ern part of the county from east to west and has contributed
in a large measure to the building up of the thriving town of
Hoopeston, the second town in the county. At that point it
crosses the line of the Chicago and Eastern Illinois railroad.
By Dorothy Maxine Liggett, Dist. 132
Principal, C. F. HUDDELSON
Dan Beckwith was one of the first settlers of Vermilion
county. Dan was a native of Bedford county, Pennsylvania.
He was born there in 1795. He had six brothers and two sis-
ters who went with their parents into New York State, while
Dan was yet a lad. Three brothers came west and settled in
Vermilion county for a time.
George Beckwith and Dan Beckwith left New York State
together and came to Fort Harrison in 1816, the year Dan was
twenty-one years old. Two years later, they went to North
Arm Prairie and lived with Jonatha Mayo's family. They
stayed here until 1819, and then they went to the Vermilion
Dan Beckwith was a man of pleasing appearance. He
was six feet, two inches tall. He was broad shouldered, was
straight, and when in good health weighed 190 lbs. He was
an expert axe man and a shrewd Indian trader. After two
years, he had everything an Indian would want. He had a
cabin built on a hill at Denmark, to trade with the Indians.
Later, Danville was selected county seat. Danville was
named after Dan Beckwith. He built a cabin near the end of
West Main street and continued to trade with the Indians.
Later, he built a cabin farther west on West Main street and
formed a partnership with James Clymer.
■ Dan Beckwith died while still a young man. He did not
live beyond pioneer days of Vermilion county. He died in Dan-
ville in December, 1835. He was buried in the old Williams
burying grounds. The city bought the privilege of opening a
street through this cemetery of the heirs of Amos Williams,
and Dan Beckwith's remains were moved to Springhill. Both
children of Dan Beckwith are dead now.
THE THOMPSON FARM
By Lowell Macy, Dist. 128
Teacher, Gladyne Boggess
The John R. Thompson farm was owned and improved by
the late J. R. Thompson, founder of the famous restaurants
which bear his name. He was born and lived to manhood on
this farm, going to Chicago during the World Fair in 1893 and
operating a small grocery store and restaurant which was the
beginning of his career.
In the early days when his father owned this farm, it was
tended by oxen. The road past this farm was the way Abra-
ham Lincoln traveled when he served on the circuit of the
Eighth Judicial District, 1847-1857. He was a friend of Mr.
Thompson, and spent many nights with him. How dear their
friendship was is shown by the erection of a statue at the en-
trance of the Thompson farm.
At the death of his father, Mr. J. R. Thompson purchased
the shares in the farm owned by the other heirs, which gave
him possession of the entire farm, which was at that time three
hundred fifty acres. Later, he bought other land adjoining
the old homestead and there is now seven hundred and fifty
acres in the farm. When he first possessed this farm, there
was a pleasure resort having a deer park and race track. Later,
he built a large cattle barn and began raising pure breed cattle.
In 1926, the noted Shorthorn Show herd was started which
became famous over the United States and Canada. After
death of Mr. Thompson, the show herd was sold in 1930. In
the summer of the same year, a fire destroyed all the buildings
except the house. During the next few months the buildings
were replaced. Since that time the farm has been used for the
production of grain and livestock. The Thompson farm is in
the Biddle district southeast of Fithian.
THE LONE TREE PRAIRIE
Bij Robert Howard, Dist. 51
Teacher, BURL Foote
The country I am writing about is the lone tree prairie,
and happenings on the lone tree prairie.
The lone tree prairie is and was a country within a radius
of ten miles of the village of Alvin, Illinois. It was called Lone
Tree Prairie because there weren't any trees, only this one. It
was an enormous hackberry tree, about four feet in diameter
and about sixty feet tall. There were names carved on it as
high as a man could reach on horseback, and completely around
it. Everyone that came along that way would carve his name
upon the tree. The tree was located about four and one-half
miles southeast of the village of Alvin, Illinois.
The children of the early settlers of this neighborhood
had few toys, and they would gather the tumbleweed. It was
a weed that grew everywhere. On a windy day they would
take the weeds out and they would start rolling, and roll till
they could not be seen, for in those days there were no fences
on the prairie.
In those days, the snakes were very thick on the prairie
for it was in the 1860's and 70's. The snakes of that time
weren't the common garter snakes as we see now. They were
poisonous snakes, practically all of them.
The country of the Lone Tree Prairie was full of swamps
and marshes, and people going any place would have to wan-
der around on the high places so they would keep out of the
The people would turn their cattle and horses out on the
prairie. Many times the horses or cattle would get in the
swamps and marshes and couldn't get out. Everyone in the
country would come and help them out.
There were high knolls in the prairie in those days and in
these knolls were dens of wolves and foxes. The country was
full of wolves but not so many foxes.
Another occurrence of the Lone Tree Prairie was in the
70's. A g-roup of men brought out a lot of Texas longhorn cat-
tle. The cattle had some kind of a disease. It didn't hurt or
affect the western cattle. The native cattle took the disease
and died. Almost all of the cattle died from this disease. The
men were ordered to take the cattle away, then the disease
MY GRANDFATHER'S LIFE
By Allen Larry Fox, Dist. 5
Teacher, Elsie Cox
My grandfather, George W. Fox, was born in Shoals, In-
diana, in 1846. He had very little education. In 1860 he sold
a load of his father's wheat and enlisted in the army.
His father, who had already enlisted in the Civil War,
was going to make him go home. But the other soldiers begged
him not to, so my grandfather stayed in the army. His father
was killed in a battle. He was wrapped in a red blanket and
buried in a pine box.
In 1893 my grandfather moved to Davis county, Indiana.
In his early life he used to cut logs and dump them into the
river, where they were chained together. Sometimes many
hundreds of logs were floated down the river at a time. They
were floated down White River and out into the Wabash river,
down to Grayville, where they were sold.
My grandfather and his friends used to get powerful flash-
lights and go out coon hunting. When they had spotted a coon,
one would hold the flashlight, and grandfather would go up the
tree after it.
Grandfather was married in 1867 to Emiline Zollars. He
was the father of sight children, five boys and three girls.
In 1910 he moved to Dexter, Missouri, where he is still
living at the age of eighty-eight. He was engaged in farming
until recent years. My grandmother died February 20, 1930,
at the age of eighty-one.
THE STORY OF MY GREAT-GREAT GRAND
By Josephine Hughes, District No. 52
Teacher, Roberta Lane
My great-great grandfather was born in Russellville, Ken-
tucky on a southern plantation, which he owned that consisted
of a thousand acres. He ov^oied at one time a hundred slaves
and was considered a wealthy man, but after the Civil War he
lost his wealth because his money, the Confederate, was put off
The family consisted of him, his wife, two sons and a
daughter. My great-grandfather, of whom I'm writing, was
youngest of the three children. Richard was his name.
The southern people were very cruel to the slaves. My
great-grandfather did not believe in such treatment to the
slaves. One day he was asked to whip a woman slave, which
he steadfastly refused to do. This angered his father, who
then disinherited him, and ordered him to leave his family
He came north to Vermilion county to a village named
Denmark, before Danville was a city.
In 1830 he married a northern girl by the name of Eliza-
beth Thrasher. He became the father of eleven children, of
whom there are now four living, the oldest being 91 years. My
grandmother is the youngest at 62. At his request, he was
buried at Gordon Cemetery, in 1879, on the banks of what is
now Lake Vermilion, near his old home.
MY FATHER'S LIFE
Bij Lorraine Moore, Dist. 65
Teacher, Irma Dodson
My father, Albert Moore, was born in Waverly, Ohio, in
1893. He lived there among the hills of southern Ohio with
his father, mother, and two younger sisters, for several years.
He did not get to go to school very much, as the schools in those
days were not like they are now.
Many interesting things happened while my father lived
there. One of them happened one time when my father was
taking a wagon and team of horses with a load of oats to the
elevator. He was going down one of the steep hills when some
of the harness broke. The tongue came down. The horses
were running away and, as my father feared his life was in
great danger, he leaped to safety. No serious damage was
caused by the runaway.
Another time, my father and a friend were hunting. The
other man was out hunting ahead of my father, when my
father shot at a rabbit. Instead of hitting the habbit, he hit
the other man in the shoulder. He had to be taken to a doctor,
but he recovered from the wound that was made.
When my father was eighteen years old, he decided he
would leave Ohio and come to Illinois. He and a friend, Mr.
Triggs, came to Illinois together. My father did not return to
his home again until five years later. After he returned to
Illinois this time, he went back only once, when his father died.
He was married after he returned to Illinois, and began farm-
A few years later, the United States entered the World
War. My father enlisted in the army and was sent to work at
the Rantoul airport. He was there when the first airplane
landed on the field. An American flag was set up on the field
and the pilot tried to see how close he could land to it. He
landed within twenty feet of it.
While he was working here, there was a cyclone that
swept over the country, destroying buildings and tearing up
trees by the roots. After a storm such as this, or when it was
rainy, the men had to stand in deep water to do their work.
When they ate, they stood up around tables to eat what food
was given them.
At night, many times he had to sleep on wet ground. I
know it was not only my father that had to endure S'lch ex-
posures, nor the men at Rantoul during such times of war.
The war ended before my father was sent to any other place.
Since that time, my father has been a farmer living near
Potomac or Armstrong, Illinois. Now, my father, one sister,
three brothers and my mother are living on the Tillotson farm,
which is located southeast of Potomac.
MY GRANDFATHER'S LIFE
By Dorothy Strong, District No. 73
Teacher, Kenneth Wilson
My grandfather's name was John N. Badewitz. He was
born in Germany in the year of 1854. He crossed the ocean in
1870 and came to the United States when he was sixteen years
of age. When he came to the United States he could not speak
English. It took him five weeks to get across the Atlantic
Ocean and he landed at New York. He took the train and went
from New York to Chicago in 1871. When he first came over
here he took out his naturalization papers and that made him
an American citizen.
During the time he was in Chicago the fire broke out,
burned all of his clothes, and then he came to the northern part
of Illinois. When he came to Illinois he stayed at the home of
Mr. Alph Duncan. It was while he was there that he learned
to speak English. He made that place his home for about three
years. During this time he worked on the farm. Then he got
a job in the tile factory and worked there for about two years.
He boarded at the home of Lester Leonard, who at that time
lived in State Line, Indiana. Before he worked in the tile fac-
tory he stayed with Frank Cunningham.
In 1885 he went back to Germany to see his mother. He
was gone about one year. Then he returned to the United
States in 1886. When he came back he started farming. On
March 9, 1887, he was married to Miss Clara J. Andrews.
After they were married they went to housekeeping on the
farm of her mother. After her mother's death they bought
the home place. There were four children in the family. In
1893 he was elected road commissioner. He held this office
for three years. He was school director of Price school for
fifteen years. He held this office until his death.
In the year of 1905 he built a new home. After that his
health began to fail and he was not able to carry on with active
work. He was a member of the Odd Fellows lodge and he was
a member of the German Lutheran church.
My grandfather died on September 25, 1908. He was
buried in Walnut Corner cemetery.
MY GRANDMOTHER'S LIFE
By Sarah Jane Jackson, Dist. 114
Teacher, Pearl Rubottom
About 63 years ago my great-grandfather and his family
lived in England. He wanted to come to America but his wife
and children did not want to leave England. Without their
knowledge he boarded a ship and came to America.
He got work in a granite mine where he earned more
money than could be earned in England.
After he was here a month or two, he sent his family
enough money to come to him in New York State. They came
as soon as possible in a sailing vessel on a steerage ticket. It
took three weeks for them to come. They brought all they
had to eat in a carpet bag.
After they wiere here about a month, a slab of granite fell
on him and killed him. This left his wife and children without
anything except a small sum of money, which did not last long.
She then went to her dead husband's brother's home in
Fowlerton, Indiana, but he was too poor to keep them. The
mother was then forced to turn her children out.
Her only daughter, Jane, was only ten years old when she
went to work for an old blacksmith, where she remained for
eight years. She later went to work in a hotel in Tilton.
She still corresponds with her relatives in England, but
none of them ever came to her except a cousin and his two boys.
They came in a steamship, making the journey in three days.
Jane later married. She has five children, one of whom is
MY GREAT GREAT-GRANDMOTHER
By Lucille Mendenhall, Dist. 122
Teacher, Arizona Montgomery
One of the most noteworthy women of her day was Lura
Guymon, who is better known as "Grandma" Guymon. Many
people will remember her for the work she did while on earth.
She was a woman doctor, or midwife, as they were more com-
monly called. She spent the greater part of her life in the
vicinity of Catlin. Her ashes are now at rest in "God's Acre'*
burial ground, the pioneer cemetery west of Catlin,
"Grandma" Guymon was a Connecticut Yankee, being
born in Connecticut in 1794 and came to Ohio about 1812,
where she was married to Noah Guymon.
Believing there was a future for them in Illinois, she and
her husband came to Vermilion county about 1830. He came
on foot, bringing his wife, "Grandma" Guymon, on horseback,
which conveyance also served to pack what earthly possessions
the two owned. He took a claim on Section 29, which is north-
west of Catlin. They built a little cabin, which served the
double purpose of residence and a place of shelter for the faith-
ful old mare, which had transported his plunder from Ohio.
Butler's Point was the end of their destination. In the
place of the old log cabin, a tidy house of brick was built, which
for nearly half a century stood as one of the show places of
Catlin township. This house was destroyed by fire in 1928.
It was and still is owned by a grandson, Milton Payne, who is
my grandfather, residing in Catlin. My parents, Carlos and
Gertrude Payne Mendenhall, lived in this house 15 years. Five
of their seven children were born there.
There were several hundred Indians in this county when
the Guymons came here. The white woman, with her knowl-
edge of medicine and herbs and their uses, appealed to the
redskins and she soon became their friend. She had studied
medicine in Ohio, and while there were no licensed physicians
at that time, her knowledge of medicine placed her on equal
ranking with the men doctors of that day.
The day or night was never too bad or stormy for the
"white medicine woman" to answer the call for help. She
would ride horseback over the trackless prairie or thr^u^h the
forests to bring a new babe into the world. It is said that she
officiated at approximately 1,000 such events.
She was not a home woman in the sense understood by the
pioneers, and even today she would no doubt have been termed
a modern woman. She was much criticized by her neighbors
for going out and doing a work which was generally conceded
to be a man's work.
"Grandma" Guymon came from a fighting family, her
father having been a lieutenant in the American army under
General Washington. Washington once spent the night in the
home of her parents in Connecticut. She died in 1884 at the
age of 90 years.
OUR COUNTRY IN MY GRANDMOTHER'S TIME
By Doris V. Coffman, District No. 213
Teacher, Minnie Davenport
My grandmother was born in Ohio. When she was a
young girl, her father bought a piece of land in Illinois. He
had it for several years before they got ready to move. They
traveled on a train to near Homer, where they were met by a
wagon to take them to their new home. They traveled a long
way, and finally reached their farm, only about four miles
southeast of what is now Allerton. They then moved out into
a log cabin which had already been built. They soon set out to
make a real home in Illinois.
It was time to plant crops so they set about doing it.
There were no trees or fences as far as you could see. They
had to cut the hedge balls off the hedge trees and plant the
seeds. In a few years they had a good hedge fence. There
were no shade trees so a few trees had to be planted.
In the summer it was extremely hot, and in the winter it
was bitterly cold.
My grandmother's father taught school in the winter for
a few months. On the way to school, the children would see
strange animals. The prairie chickens would get under the
house ; and, if at night you heard a strange bumping sound, it
was the prairie chickens bumping their heads on the bottom
of the house.
The roads were extremely bad. In winter they were knee
deep in mud and about that bad in dust in summer. If you
wanted to make a long trip, you went to Newman or Homer.
The whole family would start out early in the morning. You
would eat your lunch in a grove. You got to town finally and
spent about an hour ; then you would start home.
There was plenty of excitement about this time. The
world's champion heavyweight boxer lived in Newman. If you
wanted to move to Illinois you usually bought the land a
couple of years before. It took brave people to make homes in
this new land.
MY GRANDFATHER'S SCHOOL DAYS
By Annabel Miller, Dist. 158
Teacher, Matilda Breezely
My grandfather, George W. Miller, came to Vermilion
county from Indiana with his parents in 1846. He was five
[ 83 ]
years of age. The family settled on the banks of the East Fork
of the Vermilion river, three miles east of Rossville. They
lived in an old house for a time, but a few years later built a
new home, hauling the lumber for it from Attica with ox teams.
This house still stands in good condition, although it has been
built for more than 80 years.
The first school which grandfather attended was con-
ducted in the various homes of the community, taking turns.
Later, a log school was built, such as was used in most parts of
For the first school, the settlers met with a yoke or two
of oxen, with axes, saws and an auger. Trees were cut, rough-
trimmed and unhewn, and they were put together to make a
log house about 16 ft. square. A hole was cut on one side for a
door and a larger hole on the other side for an outdoor chim-
ney. The roof was made of clapboards, held in place by weight
poles laid on the ends of the clapboards and secured by pins.
The next step was "chinking" and "daubing" to fill the
cracks. On one side the space between two logs was left open
to admit light, but covered by greased paper to exclude the rain
and snow. The door was made of clapboards, put together
with wooden pins and hung on wooden hinges which creaked
distressingly. A floor of puncheon was laid.
A ceiling was laid under the roof, clapboards stretched
from joist to joist, and earth spread on these to keep out the
cold. The chimney was 6 feet in width. It was built of small
poles and topped with sticks split to the size of two inches
square laid up in log house fashion ; then its chinks were filled
with mud. The fire was kindled by the aid of flint, steel and
tinder or coals must be brought from the nearest house. Fire-
wood was cut four feet in length, green and fresh from the
The seats were made of puncheon with 4 legs set into
auger holes. There were no desks except for the older pupils
who took writing lessons. Stout pegs were driven into the wall
to slope downward. On these supports was fastened the
smoothed puncheon. Thus the writing pupils sat or stood
facing the wall. A pail of water with a gourd was part of the
furniture. It was a reward of merit to be allowed to go to the
spring or well to fill the bucket or piggin.
Grandfather received no other education except that pro-
vided by the primitive country school of his time, but was a
great reader all of his life. He lived the rest of his life within
a distance of three miles from his childhood home. He passed
away at his home in Rossville on October 18, 1927, at the age
of 86 years.
THE FIRST BRICK HOUSE IN VERMILION
By Beulah Lingley, District 2, Cheneyville
Teacher, Rosaline Gingrich
The First Brick House in Vermilion county is located on
my great-grandfather, Isaac Knox's farm. It was built to replace
a log cabin in the year of 1853.
The farm, on which the house is placed, is located 6 3/^ miles
northeast of Danville or 1 mile east of West Newell.
The bricks which were used were being prepared for the
State House at Springfield, Illinois, but because they were soft,
they were used to build houses in Vermilion county and for other
building purposes. The brick yard was known as the Fairchild
Brick Yard on North Oak Street in Danville, Illinois.
The house was a two-story structure and was not as strong
as it might have been if solid bricks had been used.
During the years past, the farm was inherited by my grand-
father from my great-grandfather.
Because of the soft bricks the house met its destruction in
a windstorm in the year 1927, having stood for seventy-five
THE COAL INDUSTRY
By Herbert L. Frederickson, District No. 116
Teacher, Zola Dye
The coal industry is also called "The Black Diamond In-
dustry." Coal is of a plant origin. It has been formed by slow
changes of vegetation which grew in ancient swamps and bogs
changed into coal. The first stage is a spongy material called
peat. . 1 1 •
By continual pressing of accumulated material, this peat was
slowly changed to lignite, a woody coal. The pressing out of
some of the gas and moisture caused a harder material called
bituminous coal. .
Coal was first seen, it is believed, by Father Hennepin along
the Illinois river near the present site of Ottawa, Illinois.
The use of coal was discovered by accident by an iron com-
pany who was determined to make it burn. They bought a load,
and put some in a furnace, and kept poking it, and wasted a
whole load without results. They bought another load to try
again, and worked all night without making it burn. The work-
men left it in the furnace with some burning wood under it.
After breakfast they came back and were astonished to find an
intense fire in the furnace. This proved that it would burn.
Before railroads came, transportation was the biggest prob-
lem in the coal industry.
Although coal is mostly mined with shafts, there are three
other popular ways in use in this country.
One way is an open pit called a strip mine. The surface
dirt is removed by small team scrapers or by steam shovels,
thus exposing the coal bed. This is the simplest type of mine.
Another way is by drift mining. This is done by digging
one or two sloping tunnels until the coal is reached, and the
coal being hauled out through these tunnels. Slope mining is
similar to this method.
Still another, which is used mostly, is a process called,
"shaft mining." This shaft mining is done by digging a large
hole straight down into the earth from the surface till the seams
are located. Sometimes three or four seams are mined at the
When miners are below the surface of the ground, they
niust be supplied with plenty of good air. This is done by dig-
ging another hole or shaft some distance away from the hoisting
shaft, this one being called an, "air shaft," which is also dug
down to the lowest seam being mined. At the bottom of this
shaft is located a fan, either drawing bad air out or forcing good
air into the mine. The fan is run generally by an electric engine.
The opening used for forcing the fresh air into the mine is called
the "downcast." The opening drawing the bad air out is called
"up cast." A tunnel must be first made to connect these two shafts
to make a circulation of air possible.
The hoisting shaft might be used for either the "upcast"
The other mines are "slope" and "drift" mines have this
same system of ventilation.
After the shafts are completed and properly lined to prevent
entrance of water, the actual mining is started mostly in "room"
and "pillar" method. One or more tunnels or so called, "en-
tries," about six or seven feet wide are first made from the bot-
tom of the shaft, used for hoisting the coal. These are the main
streets of a mine and along these are laid steel tracks over which
the coal cars travel. Other entries branch off and gradually there
is built an underground town with it's blocks and streets.
Pipe lines are also layed to remove any water which naturally
accumulates in a mine. These lines lead to a hole in form of a
reservoir, which is called a "sump." Pumps are used to remove
the water from here and it is pumped to the surface of the ground.
Fi'om the entries other tunnels branch off, and places are
opened called "rooms" where the coal is mined in a space from
eighteen feet to thirty feet wide, and the rooms are sometimes
worked from one hundred feet to two hundred feet long. Be-
tween each room there is a pillar of coal from seven to ten feet
in thickness left to help support the rock and other overhead
ground. Timber is also used for this purpose in the room to
support the overhead earth. The track is then made into the
room so that the "loader machine" or the miners can load the
coal into cars holding from one to five tons of coal.
The coal is then "shot from the solid," that is to say, with-
out being cut to the side or bottom of the seam. Cutting under-
neath before blasting is popular among small mines to get bigger
The cutting is often done with machines and sometimes by
hand "picks." The "cutting of the coal" is making a groove in
the coal so as to allow the coal to crowd out when blasted.
To blast a small hole about 1^ inches in diameter, is drilled
above or to the side of the groove with a machine, and this hole
is charged with powder, and then the hole is plugged up with
fire clay or the drill dust. The charge is set off by lighting a
fuse inserted into the powder which is wrapped with tape. The
fuse burns about two feet a minute allowing about three minutes
for the miner to get to safety after lighting the fuse. This blast-
ing is usually done at night just before quitting time, so that the
powder smoke can be drawn out before morning. In the morn-
ing, miners are loaded in the cages and let down into the miners'
working places. These cages are elevators used to hoist coal,
and let men up and down to work.
The miner and his helper, or "buddy," load the coal into
cars, and they are drawn away by electric engines and about
ten cars already loaded form a trip when linked together. These
are drawn to the bottom of the hoisting shaft and then separated.
The loaded cars are then elevated to big tipples or enclines
which are a net work of screens. It is there weighed and the
screen called "shaker" screens, shake the coal through the screens
is either loaded on railroad cars or sold to men operating trucks
which haul the coal to its destination. After the coal cars are
emptied, they are let down the shafts and drawn to the miners
Besides using coal for heat and power, many more things
can be made or partly made from coal. From the tar in coal comes
baking powder, flavoring for cakes, picric acid explosive, radio
parts, cresoles, photodeveloper, paraffin, T.N.T. explosive, ink
solvent, rubber solvent, naptha, perfumes, aniline dye, artificial
silk, benzol, heavy oil for wood preservations, pitch.
From the coke comes graphite lubricant, i)riquets, carbon
electrodes, lamp black, and black paint.
From the gas we get heat, illumination and anesthetic.
From the gas liquor comes ammonium, sulphate fertilizer,
nitrate explosives and salammoniac for batteries, soldering, etc.
By Gail Green, Dist. 122
Teacher, Stella Brothers
In order to make Sorghum you have to have seed and plant
it about the same time that you do corn. It has to be hoed
about two times. In September, the cane is ready to be made
Some people say, "Only clay ground makes good Sorghum."
But we have disproved it at R. E. Green's, i-i of a mile west
and ^ of a mile north of Bronson, on black ground.
The cane is stripped which means taking the leaves or blades
off the stock. The top or head which has the seed in it is cut
off about 12 inches from the top. It is cut at the bottom and the
cane is put on the wagon to be hauled to the mill. At the mill it
is crushed between three big rollers driven by an engine. The
stock, after the juice is squeezed out it, goes out into a pile to
be hauled away. The juice runs into a tank and runs over into
the evaporator after it is settled, then it is cooked and skimmed
constantly. It runs between fins to the other end where it is
taken off and put into the finishing pan, where it later is sorghum.
This year, we made 464 gallons of sorghum, and it takes
about 3 hours to make a 15 gallon batch.
MY OLD HOME IN ALABAMA
By Deola Clark, Dist. No. 90
Teacher, Maude Juvinall
Before moving to Illinois in 1929, I lived in the Sunny
South in the state of Alabama. My home was in the northern
part of the state about one hundred miles from Birmingham.
In the section of the country in which we lived most people
were engaged in farming. Near our home was some timber land
the most of which was pine and oak. So my father's work con-
sisted of farming and running a saw mill.
My father's lumber camp was situated about a half of mile
from our home. The logs were hauled to the saw mill on log
wagons which were pulled by teams. My father used a seventy-
five horse power steam engine. There were about eight men
employed in cutting the timber into lumber and ties. And about
eight or ten men employed in cutting and hauling the logs to
the saw mill.
The ties and lumber were hauled in trucks to the nearest
railroad at Decatur. Some were sold for use in this city and
some were shipped by railway to other towns. Some of the
best lumber after being sent to Decatur to the planing mill was
used in the building of houses.
On the farm we raised cotton, corn and vegetables. We
planted cotton about the last of April or the first of May. When
the cotton plants were well started, Negroes were hired who
went into the fields and thinned the plants so as to make them
grow better. When that was over the cotton was left for about
a week, then Negroes went into the fields with hoes to destroy
the grass and weeds. After it had been gone over two or three
times it was left until picking time.
By July 4th almost every one had gone over their cotton
the third time. About October the first the cotton was ready
to pick. Then more Negroes were hired who went into the fields
with long sacks and picked the cotton. From October to Novem-
ber the twentieth is the busiest time of the year. By Christmas
almost every one has their cotton out of the fields.
After the cotton was picked it was loaded on wagons and
trucks and taken to the cotton gin where the seed was separated
from the cotton. The cotton was then pressed into bales usually
weighing about five hundred pounds. After it was made mto
bales we could sell it there or take it home and wait awhile be-
fore we sold it. Some people took their cotton home and held
it for some time hoping to get a better price for it. The seeds
could be taken home for seed the next year or sold to be fed to
cows or made into cotton seed oil.
HOW I HAVE LIKED THE DRAWING THIS YEAR
By Donald Harry Hosch, Dist. 113
Teacher, Cecil Lafferty
I have liked the drawing very much and I have drawn some
nice pictures. We traced some pictures and then we colored
them and we put them on the wall, and they look very pretty.
We colored the pictures with crayons and made them look very
nice. We traced little boys and girls from foreign countries and
a good many birds, and we colored them different colors and made
them very pretty. Some of the pupils drew their favorite pictures
yesterday, and they all looked very nice. The pictures were
colored different colors and they were so pretty I could hardly
stay away from them. Some were pictures of rivers and some
were of houses. When we were in the other school we drew some
awfully pretty pictures and they all burned up. Before the other
school burned down, we were going to have an exhibit and invite
all our school patrons and show them all of our pictures, and when
the school house burned down all of our pictures burned up.
HOW I HAVE LIKED THE MUSIC THIS YEAR
I have liked the music very much. I have liked the way we
studied different kinds of keys. We have sung many different
kinds of songs. The songs we sang were very pretty. We have
learned the syllables and we like it very much that we learned
them. We have a lot of good singing and it sounds very pretty.
Our teacher taught us the music and we think she is a good music
teacher. The little folks are doing better in music than some of
the bigger folks.
By Mildred Irvin, Dist. 11
Teacher, DOROTHY Griswold
In 1859 John S. Hewins started to break prairie in Iroquois
county. Before he had accomplished much he enlisted in Com-
pany E, 76th Regt. Illinois Volunteer Infantry during the Civil
War, and was mustered into the service the 22nd of August, 1862,
at Kankakee, Illinois. He was made a lieutenant after several
months of service. He was mustered out July 22, 1865 at Gal-
veston, Texas. Then, he was brought back to Chicago where he
got his pay and final discharge.
After coming out of the army, he taught school, in the win-
ters, in Vermilion county, and broke prairie with oxen during
the summers for about five years. He had twelve yoke of oxen,
and used six yoke on a twenty-four inch braking plow. He
hired a man to run the other six yoke to another plow. He broke
prairie in Vermilion, Iroquois and Ford counties.
A nephew of John S. Hewins, J. H. Irvin, used to enjoy
very much seeing those cattle yoked. They would put the yoke
on one ox and hold the other end up and call his mate to come
under. They usually didn't want to but would do it.
At that time, there were great sections of land that were
in wild prairie and large herds of cattle were herded on them
each summer. There were deer and plenty of wolves in this
part of Illinois. Almost any night you could hear the wolves
howling. Ducks, geese, brant, crane and prairie chickens were
The farm implements were very crude. At that time the
sod plow, the walking plow, the walking cultivator and the two
horse harrow were practically all the implements used.
The sod corn planter was used with four horses. A boy
sat on it and dropped the corn. All the oats and wheat were
sowed by hand.
A few years later, the mower and reaper combined were
used. The reaper raked off the bundles and they were bound by
hand. The flax was done the same way, only not bound. My
Grandfather, a nephew of Mr. Hewins, has stood on the back
part of the reaper and raked flax and oats off the reaper.
The schools were not very well equipped. Any child, who
had a book, brought it and used it, regardless of the name.
They seldom used two books alike. A few years later, there was
a uniform set of books for the children to use. The grammar
and history were not used until the children were about 13 or
14 years of age. Every child used a slate and slate pencil instead
of a tablet and pencil. The Bratton School is the oldest in Butler
Township. The Schwartz School is the second oldest, and Murphy
the third oldest.
THE STORY OF THE BOY SCOUTS
By Thomas White, Dist. 76
Teacher, Oleeta French
Scout is a word which means watch. Many years ago they
liad scouts to watch in war and to watch against Indians. In
late years the meaning has been widened.
In 1905, Daniel Carter Beard founded a society. It was
called Sons of Daniel Boone. About the same time Ernest Thomp-
son Seton, a great naturalist, formed an organization called the
Woodcraft Indians. In 1910, the Woodcraft Indians decided to
unite with the Sons of Daniel Boone and form a larger organiza-
tion called the Boy Scouts of America. Meanwhile, Sir Robert
Baden-Powell had founded the Boy Scouts of England.
The Boy Scout society began to spread and it is now in the
United States, England, Canada, Germany, France, Italy,
Australia, China, and in several more countries. In the United
States alone there are 550,000, and in other countries there are
800,000 or more.
The method has been summed up in the term scoutcraft.
Scoutcraft includes first aid, life-saving, tracking, signaling,
cycling, nature study, swimming, rowing, and many other ac-
All these things give great physical exercise. Many of the
organizations have summer camps in which they have drills in
tent pitching, fire making, and cooking. They teach boys how
to be comfortable in woods without the luxuries of home.
In Vermilion county, there is a summer camp for boys near
Potomac. I have often seen boys on bicycles on roads of Vermilion
county who were Scouts.
Anyone between the ages of twelve and eighteen can be-
come a Scout. Before you become a tenderfoot or a Scout of the
lowest rank, you must take the Scouts' oath. The Scout law
includes honor, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, kindness to
animals, and obedience. In order to become a second class
Scout, a first class Scout, a star Scout, an Eagle Scout, and a
life Scout, you must pass certain requirements.
In form, the organization is semi-military. It does not
have gun drills. Eight boys form a patrol and three patrols are
a troop. A troop has a Scoutmaster and a patrol has one of its
own boys to be a patrol leader. They have simple uniforms. The
Scouts have a motto which is Be Prepared.
A TRUE PIONEER STORY
By Marie Miller, Dist. 145
Teacher, Daphne Cromwell
Back in the year of 1872, my grandmother's father, John
Dobson, went to Minnesota and took up a claim near Wadena,
Several months later, he went back to Janesville, Wiscon-
sin, for his family, where preparations were made for the trip
back to the claim. The ten-day trip in covered wagon was
made without seeing anyone. At night, the women and chil-
dren slept in the wagon while the men and older boys took their
blankets and slept under the wagon. To the wheel was tied a
larg-e deer hound which was to guard against Indian or wild
animal attacks at night. They lived in the covered wagon until
enough trees were cut down to build a one-room log cabin, in-
cluding a loft and a large fireplace at one end of the room. In
the loft the men and boys slept. To get to the loft, a ladder
was nailed to the side of the room. Soon the land was cleared
of stumps and undergrowth and crops were planted. Many a
wintry morning they awakened to find snow had sifted in on
the beds through the chinks between the logs.
Game in the woods and fish in the streams were plentiful.
They had many a visit from the Indians, who were friendly
with the white people at that time. When they came to a house,
they never knocked but walked right in. If it was near meal-
time, they would walk up to the table and sit down without an
invitation. One winter morning an Indian chief and two
squaws walked into the house while grandmother's mother was
baking pancakes. The old chief wanted sugar to eat on his
cakes but was refused because of the scarcity of white sugar.
One old squaw reached over and took a piece of fat side meat
in her fingers and handed it over her shoulder to a papoose tied
on her back. The smaller children were frightened and hid
behind the stove until they left. When the Indians wanted
their dogs to come to them, instead of whistling they called,
My grandmother, Mrs. Catharine Elliott, was a resident
of Danville for twenty-three years until her death two years
THE BIRTH OF THE CHURN
Bij Louise Johnson, District No. 101
Teacher, B. C. Beck
It is a known fact that the churn was first founded in Ver-
Few people know of this, as there are few markers in Dan-
ville. Many historical events which have occurred in Danville
have been forgotten.
In 1837, Mr. and Mrs. Caleb Pottle came from Ohio early
in the spring. They made a settlement in the prairie where
the vacant lot at the corner of Harrison and Pine streets now
Mr. and Mrs. Pottle had a cow for their own use. One
summer morning as Mrs. Pottle was milking their family cow,
a very funny incident happened.
As the flies bothered her cow very much, the cow kicked
at a fly. The cow got its foot wedged in the milk pail. Mrs.
Pottle began to kick at the cow's leg to make it change its po-
sition. Her leg then became wedged in the pail with the cow's
The cow began to run, and Mrs. Pottle had to run, too.
This five-legged race lasted for fifteen minutes.
Mrs. Pottle's screams finally reached the ears of her hus-
band at the public square, where he was peacefully whittling.
When Mrs. Pottle's leg was removed, a half pound of but-
ter was found in the bottom of the pail.
Mr. Pottle wanted his wife to make butter every week by
this method, but she rebelled. Mrs. Pottle then made her hus-
band whittle out a crude churn from a log.
The milk churn has been adopted by all foreign countries
but yet no marker or monument has been placed on this lot to
show where the churn was first discovered.
OLD TIME CANDLE MAKING
By LaVerne Ruth Miller, Dist. 145
Teacher, Daphne Cromwell
In olden times, about the time of the Revolutionary War,
this is how they would make their candles.
The women would put on a great pot of tallow to melt.
They had been saving this tallow a whole year to make candles.
While the tallow was melting, they would cut strings about
thirty-two inches in length, then they would double the string
and tie them to a long pole.
When the tallow was melted, they would take the pole and
dip the strings into the tallow. They then would hang the pole
over the back of two chairs to dry. They would repeat this
process until the candles were the size required.
They would cut the candles off of the pole, and put them up
in a cool place to keep them hard. These candles would last
the whole year.
In later years, about the time when my grandmother made
candles, they had candle wicks instead of string, and later still
they had candle molds.
These molds would make about six candles at one time.
They would cut the wick, and thread it through a hole in the
bottom of the mold. They would pour the mold full of tallow.
When the tallow was hard, they would cut the knot, tap the
mold, and the candles would fall out of the molds.
They would put the candles away in a cool place so the
candles would keep hard.
Now, candles are made in factories, and people use electric
LIFE IN THE WORLD WAR
By Robert Martin, Dist. 140
Teacher, Pauline Meade
A Vermilion county soldier told me this story. Shortly
before the United States entered the World War, men were as-
sembled into temporary camps to do guard duty at ammuni-
tion factories and important bridges. Later on, they were
assembled in several camps in different parts of the country.
All kinds of buildings were being built. After this was
completed, a period of intensive training had to be gone
through with, to get every man thoroughly acquainted with
the different weapons of war, and how to use them. After this
training was over, men and equipment were loaded on trains
and started for the east, where they were held in quarantine
and examined to be sent to France, where the major part of
the war was going on.
Men were all loaded on giant ocean liners and secretly set
sail. No lights were allowed on the ships. When out, they
were met by small ships which were known as submarine
After a week on the ocean, land was sighted. After land-
ing in the harbor, the men were loaded in smaller boats manned
by English and French. They were taken to the shore, where
camp was made by using the shelter half, sometimes called pup
tents. Francs is sometimes called sunny France, but to the
average doughboy this is not true, for some rain seemed to be
falling every day.
After a short period in these camps, the men were loaded
in funny little box-cars. After four days and nights riding in
these cars, they arrived at their destination and unloaded.
After a greeting by a Scotch band, they were given tea and
small cakes by the English. After this, most of the traveling
was done by foot. Each move brought the men closer to the
war zone. First, it sounded like a distant thunder, which was
the long range guns firing. The men were so anxious to go in
the lines that sometimes at night they would steal out and go up
to see what it was like.
In a short time, order came to go in the lines and take their
part in the war. The trenches were full of mud and water,
which came about knee deep.
No firing was done in the day time and the men used the
time to sleep. At night, under cover of darkness, patrols were
sent out to get information from their enemy. Often, they
met one another and a short battle resulted. The victor took
the prisoners for information. After a time in this sector,
these men were moved and others took their place. After a big
battle, one could see men lying on the ground dead. Some-
times, these were gathered up and buried, but if the firing was
too much, men were allowed to lie until there was nothing left
but the bones.
The last big drive was at Verdun, a city built mostly under
ground. It was centered on a hill named Dead Man's hill, as
this hill had been in no man's land for two years. So many
men had been killed on this hill that a pick could not be put in
the ground without striking bones.
This proved to be the deciding battle of the war. It was
a complete success for the allied armies.
On November 11, 1918, an armistice was signed which
ceased all hostilities. Everybody was happy to know that soon
they could come home. Some divisions were called to the army
Soon the order came to prepare to start home. Back to see
the camp from which they first came about a year before. They
started home in a storm and were seasick about half way
home. The rest of the ocean journey was good.
The men were all sent to the camps from which they came,
to be discharged and take their place in civilized life again.
Some returned well and healthy, and others are crippled who
are still fighting the world war but not noticed by the masses.
THE LIFE OF THE CO. SUPT. OF SCHOOLS,
MR. L. A. TUGGLE
By Jackie Crist, Dist. 101
Teacher, B. C. Beck
Larkin A. Tuggle, with whom all school children arc fa-
miliar, was born in a log cabin about fifty-nine years ago, July
29, 1875, in Indianola, Illinois. Until the time when he started
to school young Tuggle's life, like most boys and girls of his
dav, merely consisted of the usual routine, of seeing that the
special chores assigned him were done, and a short period daily
for recreation which was not nearly as long as the children of
Following the passing of his seventh birthday, young Lar-
kin Tuggle was marched off daily to Snyder school. The boy
was so bashful that more often than once his mother found it
necessary to use a stick on the young fellow in order to per-
suade him to hurry off to school. The boy was always bright
at school, for his keen and alert mind soon realized the neces-
sity of a good education. It might interest the boys and girls
of today to know that Mr. Tuggle had as a boy a licking at
school in his early days. In those early days after the small
children had stumbled through a lesson of A B C's, the teacher
would pass on to another class, leaving the small youngsters
with empty hands, ideal for mischief. The story goes that dur-
ing such a period of the day, young Tuggle produced his slate,
and with chalk drew a truly queer animal. Unfortunately his
school teacher caught him in the act, and there ensued a pain-
ful moment, while Tuggle received his first, and last, school
licking, and learned the evils of wasting school hours in idle
After graduating from grade school at the age of fourteen
years, there followed a four year course of schooling at various
Finishing this course of learning, he entered Westfield
College, in Westfield, Illinois. The college is a United Brethren
College, and but for this fact Mr. Tuggle's schooling might not
have been sufficient for his later undertakings. As Mr. Tug-
gle's father was a United Brethren clergyman, the off'icials of
the school helped him, Larkin Tuggle, financially. He gradu-
ated in 1895. Throughout his college years Mr. Tuggle showed
a fine personality and splendid dependability, as well as an in-
telligence rarely surpassed.
His amusements during his younger years were of the sort
that did good rather than destroyed the property of others.
From fourteen to twenty-one years of age, Mr. Tuggle dur-
ing intervals between school terms, hired out as a workman to
the rich. They all would hire him because his dependability
and sound determination to work thoroughly were known facts.
In after years Mr. Tuggle always says that these years were
the years in which his life's ambition became that of a school
teacher, for he hoped in the future to oversee others, rather
than be overseen by others. Why he, with such intelligence,
should choose to be a school teacher is easily answered. Of
course it might seem that he would have followed in his fa-
ther's footsteps and been a clergyman, but when he was young
the hardship and hard work of a minister's life became appar-
ent to Mr. Tuggle. Later in life Mr. Tuggle did feel a desire
to become a lawyer, but financial conditions prevented any such
In 1897 Mr. Tuggle procured his first position as teacher
of the Snyder school, the same one that he first attended. This
was followed by two years at Pleasant Grove as teacher. In
short, we might say six years were spent in teaching country
schools. We need not think that Mr. Tuggle was fickle in keep-
ing a position, for he wasn't. He actually resigned from each
position, contrary to the various school boards' wishes, in order
that he might procure a bigger and better position. For some
years Mr. Tuggle had been trying for a teaching position in
Danville. At last he obtained such a position at Collett school.
He followed this up with a position as principal at Batestown.
This position he kept for two years, when he resigned in favor
of being principal at Lincoln school. Seven years here brought
him the popularity necessary to obtain a position as superin-
tendent of manual training in the Danville city schools. After
eleven years in this position Mr. Tuggle was elected to the of-
fice of County Superintendent of Schools. This position he has
kept for eleven years and has shown himself an efficient and
Mr. Tuggle hopes to serve one more term as County Su-
perintendent. If he does, he will hold the record of having held
the position longer than any one man ever has in the history of
the superintendent position. The boys and girls of Vermilion
county all hope he will win the next election, as Mr. Tuggle's
splendid personality has made him popular among the students
of the county. They all feel that no one else is, and ever could
be as efficient for the position as Mr. Tuggle.
Mr. Tuggle is a World War veteran, having served two
years and four months in the war. Few people realize, how-
ever, that Mr. Tuggle was a captain in the army. He was in
the Houston, Texas, camps when the negro soldiers of Uncle
Sam's army caused the great riot. Under the captainship of
Mr. Tuggle, his men succeeded in quieting the riot. After this
riot, his company was sent to Europe, where they landed at
Brest, France. Following their arrival he was put in the
Amiens trench. He hadn't been there one hour before a ter-
rific battle began. This was on July 4, 1918. This battle, as
all World War battles were, was dangerous yet thrilling to the
utmost extent. He was in several more battles before he re-
turned in July, 1919. This was several months after the re-
turn of the rest of his company. He landed in New York,
where his wife and family joyously met him. You can well
imagine how he felt to be home from foreign lands.
When asked what he intended to do in the future, Mr.
Tuggle replied that he intended to devote his time serving, if
possible, another term as superintendent of the county. He
likes school students, and therefore to his utmost skill intends
to do everything possible to forward an excellent educational
system for the students of the county.
Mr. Tuggle is easily pleased when it comes to food. He
.eats almost everything. However, if he should ever eat where
some of you readers plan the menu, see, if it's possible, that
some good green lettuce is included in the menu, especially if
it's spring or summer time.
Mr. Tuggle hopes, and expects, to live another score of
years. As I feel sure all the county students hope he will live
that long, let's drink to his health ! And so, "Long life to Mr.
Tuggle, may he live long and happily!"
WHY I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MR. TUGGLE
FOR OUR SUPERINTENDENT FOUR
By Charles Perry, Dist. 9
Teacher, Jewel Perry
I would like to have Mr. Tuggle for our superintendent for
four more years because when he walks in our school I always
feel just like I do when I am at the circus waiting for the show
to begin. He always says, "Hello, boys and girls", as if he is
so glad to see us. He always looks so nice and says nice things
about us, and he always tells us good-bye. He always has
something funny to tell us, and he tells us about his trips and
what he saw.
I think Mr. Tuggle has done more for the schools of Ver-
milion county than any other superintendent we have ever had.
He has sent out so many things to help the boys and girls. I
think the questions he sends out for each pupil make it easier
for us. The questions are always just what we have studied
because we have followed his state course.
About every time I read the Danville Commercial-News I
see where our superintendent is going to speak at some meet-
ing, so I think he must be a busy man.
He always says how much he likes to come to this school
and how nice our school looks, that I always am sorry after he
has been to our school for the year.
So I hope that Mr. Tuggle gets to be superintendent of
Vermilion county for four more years.
THE SNYDER SCHOOL
By Lucy Tuggle (1934)
The Snyder school is located two miles northeast of In-
dianola, Illinois. The land on which the schoolhouse sets was
deeded by Josiah Sandusky on August 6, 1873 and filed Octo-
ber 11, 1873. The land was to be returned to Mr. Sandusky if
at any time it was no longer used for a schoolhouse site. The
schoolhouse was built near the home of Emanuel Snyder, and
he helped to build it. This is the reason why the school is
called Snyder school.
The first directors of the school were Emanuel Snyder,
Abraham Sandusky, and James Branam. For several years
there were two school terms, one winter term and one summer
term. In those days the teacher received from $25 to $50 per
month salary. Mr. Alonzo Hunt was the first teacher of Sny-
der school. Some of the other early teachers in Snyder school
were J. T. McMillan, J. A. McMillan, Louie Adams Glick, Anna
Knipe McClellan, Simon Gibson, Alice Clinkenbaird Spicer,
Mrs. Laura Gray Baird, Malen Sanders, Grace Downey, L. A.
Tuggle, Bert Sheppard, Charles Lenhart, Daisy Spry, and
In the spring of 1874, Emanuel Snyder wanted Mrs. Louie
Adams Glick to teach school in the summer term, but her fa-
ther refused to let her teach because she was only 14 years of
age. However, the following spring of 1875, she went to Dan-
ville, Illinois, and took an examination for a second grade cer-
tificate. She then taught the summer term of 1875 as she was
16 years of age then. She only taught in the summer terms
as the larger pupils, who had to work in the summer months,
went to school in the winter and were very hard to manage.
Teachers had to have either a first grade teaching certifi-
cate or a second grade teaching certificate in that tinie. For a
second grade teaching certificate, they took an examination in
reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, grammar, spelling and
United States history ; and for a first grade teaching certificate
they added physiology, botany, philosophy, and zoology.
Ray's arithmetic, Pinneo grammar, and McGuffey's reader
and speller were the books used then. The McGuffey readers
are the most wonderful series of readers that have ever been
published, and a few years ago Henry Ford had several books
of this series published and gave them out to his friends.
Soon after J. T. McMillan was hired as teacher of the
school, he took sick and his brother, J. A. McMillan, substituted
for him. While he was sick, J. T. McMillan secured a position
in Mr. Grace's store. J. A. McMillan was then hired as teacher
for the rest of that term, and taught the following summer and
winter terms. J. A. McMillan has been and still is treasurer
of Township 17 North, Range 12 West of the second principal
meridian since 1894.
Some of the people who used to go to Snyder school are
well known and still living today. Some of them are Collie
Billings Jackson, Rosie Billings Wilcox, Matilda Homes
Thompson, Cornelia Homes Jordan, Philip Homes, Nerve Ref-
fitt Demond, Mollie Reffitt Seekers, John Snyder, William Sny-
der, Urma Snyder Shultz, Perry Snyder, Susan Branam Jor-
dan, Bell Branam, Charlie Branam, Josephine Jordan, Charlie
Jordan, William Gilman, Pitsie Smith Kincaid. Frank and
Grant Ward attended school there one term. Larkin Tuggle
and Carrie Tuggle Ward, and Addie Moser Tuggle went there
for one term also.
Some of the younger generation who went to the Snyder
school where their parents attended school are Mrs. Addie
Mosier Tuggle's children, Elvin, Emery, George, Collie, and
Laura; and George Tuggle's children, Ivan, Mary, Imogene,
Ruby, Joy Love, Mae, and James Robert. This makes three
generations of Tuggles all going to the same little country
school for their education.
Some of the children going to Snyder school at the present
are Robert Knight, Franklin Knight, Thelma Taylor, Joseph
Taylor, Stanley Allison, Otis Allison, Louis High, Merle Ste-
vens, Lester Hugg, Robert Almy, Ruby Tuggle, Joy Love Tug-
gle, and Mae Tuggle.
County Superintendent of Schools L. A. Tuggle attended
and taught the Snyder school, and he is now superintendent
over all the schools in Vermilion county.
In the early days, church and Sunday school was also held
in the school building. Some of the preachers were Rev. Mer-
ril, a faith healer, Rev. Phettiplace, Robert Ellis, James Tug-
gle, father of Co. Supt. L. A. Tuggle, and B. F. Duncan. Mr.
Duncan held a writing school there during its early days.
In the year of 1883, B. F. Duncan married Mr. and Mrs.
Glick. Mrs. Click was formerly Louie Adams, one of the first
Mr. Asa Butler, grandfather of Louie Adams, met B. F.
Thomas at a Baptist Association meeting. He was a poor,
Kentucky boy who wanted an education and to learn how to
preach. John Lawler and Egbert Willison, Benson Willison's
father, agreed with Asa Butler to help board Mr. Thomas and
let him go to school at Indianola. Later, Mrs. Abe Sandusky
took an interest in Mr. Thomas, and as they had no children,
they took him into their home and treated him as their own
son. Mr. Thomas went to school and later made a very fine
John Frainer made the first course of study for schools in
1881, which was used in many counties of the state. There
have been seven revisions of the State Course of Study of 1903,
and Mr. L. A. Tuggle, our present county superintendent, uses
a course of study made by himself in this county.
Some of the men who have been county superintendents,
in Vermilion county are John Parker, Vic Guy, son of Asa Guy,
who v/as county surveyor for many years, John Benedict, L. H.
Griffith, R. B. Holmes, W. Y. Ludwig, 0. P. Haworth, and L.
In the early days, schedules were used and were turned in
by the teacher to the school township treasurer to receive their
salary. Michel Fisher was then treasurer of Carroll town-
ship. Nothing was known about grades or examinations in
that day, but a few of the leaders were trying to introduce it at
the institutes, which were held for about six weeks each sum-
mer at the county seat.
Old wooden buckets were used for water buckets, and
[ 100 ]
long-handled dippers used to drink out of. The teacher would
take turns in dismissing two pupils to let them carry the water
from Emanuel Snyder's home, and when they returned the
water was passed around to all of the pupils to give them a
drink. The boys and girls thought it was a great treat to carry
the water from Mr. Snyder's to the schoolhouse. Later heavy-
glazed, paper buckets were used in which to carry the water.
In a few years, Charlie Parker dug a well at the schoolhouse.
Mr. A. P. Jackson, John Tuggle, and Emanuel Snyder, who
were directors at that time, let the bricks down to Mr. Parker
to build the well.
In the center of the schoolroom stood an old cast iron
stove with the chimney in the center of the building. In 1913,
a new heater and ventilator costing $128 was bought. Orvill
Cundiff built a new chimney at the right side of the door, and
this cost $42.85. The old stove was sold to Claude Williams
A new floor was put down in August, 1916. In 1909 Ed
Miller put down a cement walk, which cost $54.
Double seats were used in the early days. The pupils had to
march orderly to the front to recite their lessons on a long
recitation bench. New seats have been bought for the past
several years, and now all of the seats are modern style seats.
A recitation bench is still used, but it has a back rest on it, and
the one used in the olden days did not have a back rest.
New blackboards have replaced the old blackboards. Dou-
ble and single slates were used in the olden days instead of the
writing tablets used today. A cloth or sponge was used to
wash the writing off of the slates.
The school girls wore long-sleeved dresses with high col-
lars, and lots of ruffles, ribbons and lace. The dresses were
also full and long. They wore copper toe shoes, and the boys
wore leather boots with copper toe shoes. Some of the pupils
wore yarn mittens made by their mother or grandmother.
Some of the girls wore apron dresses which were buttoned
down the back.
In 1893, a small porch was built on the schoolhouse, so that
the pupils could clean their shoes before going into the school-
house in stormy weather.
A new bookcase was bought in February, 1920, and the
old one was sold to Opal Jordan for $5 on March 8th, 1920.
Some of the more recent teachers of the Snyder school are
Samuel Lanover, George Sanders, Nellie Pollitt, Marie Lough,
C. A. Bradfield, Flora Mosier, Kate McKee, Gwen Coggeshall,
Forest D. Gibson, Violet Larrance, Etta Donley Kraft, Amy
Ruth Jordan, and Dora Sanders.
Some of these teachers' pupils were Opal Knight, Dale
INTERSTATE PRINTING CO., DANVILLE, ILL.