Published 1909, Edited By. C.C. Strawn.
Transcribed from book form to digital by David Weis, 2008.





The geological formations are not unlike those common to the central portion of the state with the important difference that in this county, coal and stone are found in abundance, although the early settlers were in ignorance of the fact. In the earlier days the residents lived in or adjacent to the timber, and no fuel was needed other than the forest supplied.

In the latter ‘50s coal was discovered cropping out of the ground in Reading Township. The coal was gotten out of the ground by the owner of the land, and it was sold at $1.00 a load - big or little.

The county was beginning to be rapidly populated in the early ‘60s, two railroads passing through it, and it was self evident that there would not be enough timber left in the county at the rate it was being consumed.

In 1862, Henry L. Marsh, of Fairbury, began the sinking of a shaft on his tract of land, a mile west of Fairbury. After three attempts, a five-foot vein of coal was struck in 1863 at a depth of 180 feet. A few years later, two more shafts were sunk in that village and also one at Pontiac. Shafts were also sunk at Forrest, Chatsworth, Odell, Cayuga and Dwight, but they proved failures. There are mines now in opera­tion at Pontiac, Fairbury, Cardiff, Cornell, Coal­ville and in Reading Township, south of Streator, from which thousands of tons of coal are being taken out daily.

The total output of Livingston County mines, in 1907, was 269,811 tons.

Ledges of limestone, suitable for building pur­poses, are found on Indian Creek, southwest of Fairbury, and in some parts along the banks of the Vermilion river. In the vicinity of Pontiac, calcereo-siliceous stone is found. In sinking the mine at Fairbury, a dark sandstone of peculiar color was found. The front of one building in that city was built with it, but it did not with­stand the storms.

Sand and gravel can be found in abundance in a major portion of the townships.


When Martin Darnall first settled with his family in this county in the fall of 1830, there was a band of Kickapoo Indians located near Selma, in McLean County. During the previous year, the tribe came over into Livingston County, and pitched their tents in what is now known as Oliver's Grove, south of Chatsworth. They num­bered 630 men, women and children. Their in­tercourse with the earlier settlers was friendly, and there is no account of any white man having been killed by them within the limits of the county. The Indians raised some corn, beans, potatoes and tobacco, but the area under culti­vation was small, as the crop was grown in patches here and there. They were great traders, and ready to swap at any time, and quick to see when they obtained the best of a bargain. Dur­ing the winter of the deep snow (1830), they, as well as the few settlers, suffered severely from the intense cold and scarcity of food. Their council house was a large one, in which they always assembled when they had any business.


of a public nature to transact. During the con­tinuance of the storm, they did all of their cook­ing in this house.

Father Jesse Walker, a pioneer Methodist minister, then located at Ottawa, established a mission among these Indians. He came out oc­casionally and held meetings with them, making the trip on horseback, and appointed and or­dained a missionary minister of their own tribe, who always held religions services on the Sab­bath when Father Walker was not there. They used some kind of characters - cut or printed - on a small board, as a prayer book. Every one of them had this same kind of a "book,” and they held it almost as sacred as they did their own lives, always using it before retiring to bed at night. It was their universal custom to return from their hunting grounds on Saturday evening of each and every week, and to be in attendance at church on Sabbath morning. Their usual cus­tom on the Sabbath was to prepare for a public dinner in the morning, which, by the way, was always a boiled dinner. This was placed in their camp kettles, hung in a long row through the cen­ter of the grounds where their meetings were held. Fires were built under them, which kept the kettles boiling while the Indians held their service. During the hours of service, the Indian men were seated on one side of the dinner ket­tles, the women, or squaws, on the other, the children at one end, and the minister stood at the other end. Thus the congregation was ar­ranged while the minister was performing his duty. During all this time, there were two of the Indian men who stood near the children, to see that perfect order was kept. After the ser­vices were all over, the dinner kettles were set off, and all partook of the dinner thus prepared. It was served out in wooden bowls and trench­ers, with ladles, spoons, etc., of the same ma­terial. The dinner generally consisted of veni­son, 'coon, opossum, turtle, fish, or any kind of meat they had, and corn, beans and potatoes, all cooked together in the same kettles and at the same time, generally leaving a quantity of soup.

On the breaking out of the Black Hawk war in 1832, Livingston County was a border county in this part of the State. There was great fear of Indian raids. It was known that Black Hawk's emissaries had solicited the Kickapoos to join him in the attacks on the whites. On May 24th they were waited upon by a deputation of whites, several being present from McLean County, for the purpose of ascertaining their intentions. Those present at the meeting from this county were Martin Darnall and the McDowells, William Popejoy, Abner Johnson, Uriah Blue, Isaac Jor­don and John Hanneman. At this meeting, Franklin Oliver, after whom the grove was named, presided. The Indians treated the whites with great courtesy and made a feast for them. The leading chiefs told them they had been im­portuned to join Black Hawk, but had declined; but that some of the young warriors wanted to go on the warpath, while the older chiefs were endeavoring to hold them back.

In the evening, the visitors witnessed some strange religious ceremonies by the Indians who had been converted to Christianity. "All were seated on the ground, except the leader, and they sang and exhorted for a long time. At last the leader took his seat and then occurred a singular ceremony. An Indian stepped forward and asked to be whipped for his sins he had committed during the week, and he drew his garment over his head, exposing his bare back. Fourteen stripes were given him by these Indians, with smooth hickory rods about three feet long. The stripes were received without a movement to indicate pain. This example was followed by fifty others, who received fourteen to twenty-eight stripes laid on with such force than any one of them left a mark. The stripes were administered by three Indians. When fourteen stripes were called for, the first Indian gave seven, the second four, and the last, three. When twenty-eight stripes were called for, the first Indian gave fourteen, the second seven, and the last, seven. When each applicant for stripes had been whip­ped, he turned around and shook hands with the men who bore the rods. The interpreter told the whites who were looking on that these stripes were given because of disobedience to the com­mands of the Great Spirit during the week."

The whites, however, distrusted their pacific intentions. On their return home from the coun­cil, the members of the deputation stopped at the McDowell cabin in Avoca, which had been erected but a few weeks previous, and took din­ner, and they advised the settlers either to aban­don their homes or erect fortifications. There were but two rifles and little or no ammunition in the whole settlement, and this scheme was impracticable. The following day, all the men of


the settlement held a council and it was decided that they return to Indiana, from which they had emigrated. On the following morning (May 26th) some volunteered to go to the timber for wood. When the teams and volunteers returned, within about half a mile of the camping ground, two Indians appeared on the ridge. Some of those at the camp were so badly scared at the appearance of the Indians, thinking perhaps they (the Indians at the village) were gathering for an attack on the whites, that they were leaving without giving time for the wood party to come up - some, however, declared their determination to have their breakfast, Indians or no Indians. The party was too small for fight, although they had been traveling without their wives and little ones, that they would not have been disposed to run on such a scare. But the feelings of our frontier men were as strong, if not stronger, for the protection of the feebler portion of their fam­ilies, than nowadays. They, however, waited for the wooding party to come up, and although the camp was still in commotion and many fears expressed for the safety of the party, they con­cluded to get and eat their breakfast. It was soon ascertained, however, that the two Indians were friendly Kickapoos, who had come to bid their white friends farewell. On the evening of May 28th, the entire population around Avoca camped in and around the McDowell cabin, pre­paratory to the march the following morning. In the party were the families of Hiram McDowell, Abner Johnson, Uriah Blue, Nathan Popejoy, Isaac Jordon and John Hanneman, and their families, some thirty in all. The following morning, the whole company, consisting of seven families in six wagons, and pulled by ox-teams, left for Indiana. On the second day of their march, a daughter was born to the wife of Isaac Jordon. The next day the mother and child were left at the home of Philip Cook, of Cook's Grove, and the remainder of the party pushed on to their native state.

Martin Darnall, A. B. Phillips and James Spence found it necessary to remove with their families to Mackinaw for safety. They remained there until peace was declared. Mrs. Darnall's father had had some experience with the Indians in Kentucky. He was captured by Indians, and was held in captivity for seven years, during which time he suffered almost untold hardships. Upon three separate occasions he was compelled to run the gauntlet, and upon occasion was black­ened and condemned to be burned at the stake, but while pinioned, a few moments before the fire should have been lighted, there stepped for­ward a man who offered a price for his life, and he was released from the stake.

The McDowells and the Avoca contingent re­turned some time in November. Franklin Oliver did not leave, but went among the Indians when­ever he pleased and without fear of molestation. It is said of Mr. Oliver that at the Kickapoo village there was a squaw who had a bright little pappoose which she called Joe. Taking an inter­est in the little chap, Mr. Oliver requested her permission to give him another name. She con­sented, and handed him a piece of buckskin, on which he wrote "Joe Oliver." In February, 1869, the celebrated chief was one of an Indian dele­gation which met in Washington.

In September, 1832, the Kickapoos were re­moved by the government west of St. Louis, on lands reserved for them by the government.


Livingston County is bounded on the north by LaSalle and Grundy counties; on the east by Kankakee and Ford; on the south by Ford and McLean; on the west by McLean, Woodford and LaSalle counties. It embraces ranges 3 to 8, east of the third principal meridian; and townships from 25 to 30, north of the base line of the State, being thirty-six miles from east to west, and twenty-four from north to south, with an addition of eighteen miles (east to west), by nine and three-fourth miles (north to south), constituting the southern portion of the eastern half of the county. It contains twenty-seven full congression­al townships, namely: Reading, Newtown, Sun­bury, Nevada, Dwight, Round Grove, Long Point, Amity, Esmen, Odell, Union, Broughton, Ne­braska, Rooks Creek, Pontiac, Owego, Saunemin, Sullivan, Waldo, Pike, Eppards Point, Avoca, Pleasant Ridge, Charlotte, Indian Grove, Forrest and Chatsworth; and three fractional townships, to-wit: Belle Prairie, Fayette and Germanville.

Livingston County is one of the largest, richest and most fertile and productive counties in the State. The forty-first parallel of latitude passes through the second tier of townships in the north­ern part of the county. The area of the county is 1,026 square miles. In size, it ranks fourth in the state, the counties of LaSalle, McLean and Iroquois being slightly larger.

The Vermilion river has its rise in the extreme


southeastern portion of the county and is fed by the following tributaries: South Branch, Indian creek, Turtle creek, Wolf creek, Rooks creek, Mud creek, Long Point and Scattering Point creeks, most of which have their rise in the county. All of these streams are living water, fed by springs, affording ample water for stock, and splendid drainage for all parts of the county.

In the early days of the county, the Vermilion and the larger branches were well stocked with fish, of which the pickerel, bass and catfish were the predominating varieties. Since the county has become thoroughly settled and the sloughs along the river drained out, the pickerel have entirely disappeared, being supplanted by the German carp and different species of bass which were planted by the State Fish Commission.

The Vermilion is a tributary of the Illinois, emptying into that river about one mile above LaSalle, in LaSalle County, cutting the south part of that county from southeast to northwest. It is a rapid stream, with high bluffs and narrow bottoms. The scenery along its banks, from its source to the mouth, is very grand and imposing. The strata which compose its banks are rich in fossils and the geologist and lover of nature will be well paid for a trip along its rugged banks. After the river enters LaSalle County, there are many points of interest along its route. The fa­mous grotto of Deer Park is on the right bank, a mile or two from its mouth. It is in the St. Peter's sandstone region, which shows itself on the Vermilion. It is cut in the bluff, on a level with the river at low water, winding somewhat like the letter S, and extending some one hundred rods or more. The sides are perpendicular and, at the extreme end, about ninety feet high. At that point, the aides project or shelve over about sev­enty feet on each side. In wet weather there is a pretty waterfall, and at times a clear pool of water and fine spring. The opening at the top is about one hundred feet, and is fringed with pines and other trees. It is a great curiosity and a very popular place of resort, and is visited an­nually by many citizens of this county.


The soil of this county is a deep black alluvial loam of almost inexhaustible fertility, with a por­ous subsoil of clay and gravel. The drainage is effected by the Vermilion river and its branches. The county is completely covered with beautiful and productive farms. Farming lands in the county range in price from $125 to $250 per acre, according to the location and improvements. Farm lands, even at these prices, are considered a safe investment, as few farms are now being offered for sale.

In the later '50s land in Livingston County could still be bought for one dollar and twenty­-five cents an acre. It took care of itself. By renting it, it speedily paid for itself. The thrifty souls in those days, foreseeing the result, bought acre after acre and, adding one tract to another, speedily laid the foundation for an immense for­tune. There was a tradition current then that the raw prairie would not raise crops, that the soil was sour and that it was unadvisable to lo­cate far from the streams, both on account of the non-fertility of the soil and so as to be near the fuel supply. Settlers from the Eastern states had this belief, and before they could buy prairie soil they would dig a portion of the soil out and then throw it back into the hole. If it more than filled the excavation, they judged that the land was fertile and they purchased. If it did not, they went elsewhere.

In those days agriculture was not taught in the schools and colleges of this country and "seed and soil specialists" were unknown. And then, too, money in this county commanded two percent a month. The sums loaned on farm lands were not large, but there was a pretty constant call for money at this rate. A man could afford to pay even this when he was getting his land for a dollar and a quarter an acre.

Livingston County is the greatest corn produc­ing county in the State of Illinois. More acres are planted and more bushels are raised than in any other county in the State. It likewise sur­passes all others in acreage of oats. It has few, if any, equals in the world, in the production of these valuable cereals. It has more arable land than any other county in the State. The total area of cultivated land in the county is about 600,000 acres, of which two-fifths is annually de­voted to the raising of corn. The acreage of corn in the county in 1907 was over 285,000 acres, and the yield was nearly 12,000,000 bushels. Besides all that was used for home consumption, there was more corn shipped out of Livingston County in 1907 than the amount raised in the following 16 States and Territories: Maine, New Hamp­shire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah, New Mexico,


Arizona and California. And it wasn't a very good year for corn, either, the rainfall during the season being quite heavy and frost earlier than usual.

Of oats, there were in the county over 195,000 acres, nearly one-third of the area of cultivated land, the largest acreage of oats of any county in the State. The yield was over 7,000,000 bushels. At thirty-five cents per bushel, the value of the oats produced was nearly $2,000,000. Over three­-fourths of the cultivated land in the county is devoted to raising these two cereals. One-eighth of arable land is devoted to hay and pasture. Beef cattle to the number of 5,000, valued at $200,000, and 25,000 hogs, worth $300,000, were marketed during the year.

Poultry raising is extensive in the county, ex­ceeding any other county in the state. The busi­ness is profitable, the product of two good hens being equal to the receipts of an acre of oats. Over nine million eggs and about 300,000 chick­ens are annually marketed.

A large portion of Livingston County was, in the early settlement of the state, composed of low, wet land, known as swamp land. The pres­ent productiveness of the county is largely due to the extensive use of drain tile. There are laid in the county nearly 12,000 miles of drain tile, an amount exceeding any other county in the state, surpassing any other county of its size in the United States, equal to the length of all the rail­roads in Illinois, and greater than the combined length of the three greatest rivers in the world, the Nile, Amazon and Mississippi.

Forty years ago, only 220,732 acres of land in the county was being cultivated, 38,540 being in wheat, 140,977 in corn, 41,215 in other grains.

THE "SQUATTERS." - The first settlers were gen­erally denominated "squatters." They were said to "squat" on any piece of land that suited their fancy. If they remained until the land came into market, and went to the land office at Dan­ville to enter it legally, they were always allowed the first choice in securing the claim they had chosen. It was unsafe for speculators to pur­chase and endeavor to hold such a claim. The squatters were a kind of law unto themselves, and dealt with such persons in a summary man­ner, seldom, if ever, allowing them to occupy a claim thus obtained. These measures, vigorous as they were, almost always secured them the homes for which they had labored, and, consider­ing the times and the known greed and rapacity of the speculators, the measures may be looked upon as just.


Anyone familiar with the Vermilion river re­gion sixty years ago, will recall the heavy timber setting which lined the banks of the streams and the bottom lands. At the period named, there was no finer favored timber section in the State of Illinois. The banks of the Vermilion and its tributary streams were thickly set with giant trees, the growth of centuries, especially those of the harder species - oak, ash, sugar tree, etc. On both banks of the Vermilion was the home of the oak, more especially, and from these lofty eleva­tions their massive, shapely, sturdy forms were lifted high in the air, their spreading branches would meet over the center of the stream, and then in their summer glory of verdure forming a leafy canopy, defying the penetration of the sun's rays except in glintings here and there. To make this point very plain and emphatic, the banks of the Vermilion on which the business portion of Pon­tiac is now situated, were thus crowned with giant oaks, and the banks on the south side of the river, now the finest residence section of the city, were oak-crowned, the growth of centuries. All is gone now, except here and there an occasional specimen in some residence lot.

For forty years, the early settler along the Ver­milion river and its tributaries found ample tim­ber for his wants of fencing and buildings. In the early settlement of this county along the streams, log cabins were the only houses in use, and for many years they were built entirely from the material taken directly from the forest, in the following manner: Trees were chopped down, logs measured off to the length desired for the size of the cabin, generally 16 by 18 or 20 feet, and the number was governed somewhat by the height of the cabin, which was generally ranging at from eight to twelve logs high. They were drawn together with oxen, by hitching to one end of the log and drawing it on the ground. Large trees were cut and sawed in four-feet lengths, split into bolts, then rived into clapboards for the purpose of covering the house. Other large trees were cut and split into broad puncheons, then leveled on one side and flattened at the ends, so as to lay them down for floors. Then the en­tire settlement of men were called together to raise the house, which was generally done in one day, men going from two to twenty-five miles to


raise the cabin. Then came the process of chink­ing and daubing the cracks or spaces between the logs. The chimneys were made of what was called "cat and clay," made of sticks and mortar, with straw mixed in to hold the mud together around the sticks of which the chimneys were built. The cracks of the house between the logs were daubed or plastered over the chinking, so as to make them tight and shut out cold weather and rains. Doors were made of clapboards or puncheons hung with wooden hinges and fas­tened with a wooden latch, a string fastened to the latch, put through the door and hanging on the outside to pull down and unfasten the door.

In 1854, the "iron horse" with its "breath of stream" and "heart of fire," entered the county from the north. His heart of fire said "feed me," and all the early locomotives were wood burners. His rumbling feet said. "Build me a road-bed of ties and construct that bridge pretty quick." And, as they were then, - are now, and seemingly ever will be - of wood, and as the early bridges and trestle work and piles were of necessity of wood, the oak-crowned banks of the Vermilion gave up their glory. Swept with more than cy­clonic force by axe and saw, the giant trees fell to earth. The shapely trunks were wrought into timbers for bridges and ties and the remainder into wood to feed the "heart of fire." Tossed from the banks, the fragmentary giants lined up in the lumber yards, and ricks of wood planking the tracks for miles.

When the Chicago, Alton and St. Louis Rail­road entered Pontiac in July 1854, the little ham­let was made a wooding station for the engines, and remained so until coal was brought into gen­eral use for this purpose along in the late '60s. Thus, for over ten years, every engine along the line of the road between Chicago and St. Louis would stop at Pontiac for wood, all cut from the banks of the Vermilion near the line of the road. A large wood shed was erected by the company along the tracks of the road between Livingston and Prairie streets for this purpose, where the farmers would bring in their four-foot wood and throw it into the shed to be cut up into one and one-third lengths ready for the fire box. William Googerty and his son, William Googerty, Jr., were the contractors to supply the road with wood at this point, and they held it as long as wood was used for fuel. While it lasted, it was the only "industry" in the hamlet at the time. Two band saws, run by horse-power, were kept running almost constantly night and day, and it was the means of giving many people employ­ment, which in those days was hard to find.

The next railroad to use the timber along the banks of the Vermilion river was the Fairbury, Pontiac and Northwestern, now the Wabash. The line was first built from Streator to Fairbury, a distance of thirty-two miles, and every tie and culvert was made from the oak trees which lined the river from Streator to Fairbury.

But this was not all. From the time that Mar­tin Darnall first sunk his axe into a tree in In­dian Grove in 1830, preparatory to the erection of his cabin, down to the present time, a lapse of nearly eighty years, the forests along the Ver­milion and its tributaries in the county supplied the lumber for various uses. For twenty-five years from the first settlement down to the time of the first railroad, most all the houses in the county, including the first court house, were built from lumber taken from the banks of the streams. There are some houses in the county still standing today in a good state of preserva­tion, the frames of which were hewn from the timber along the banks of the different streams. Most all the rude furniture of the early settlers was made from the trees and the first furniture stores in the county manufactured all their prod­uct, including coffins, from the beautiful black walnut, oak, etc., which abounded in great quan­tities.

The timber was the only source of the fuel supply for the early settlers on the prairies, until coal was discovered in large quantities in Read­ing township, protruding from the banks of the Vermilion river along in the early '60s.

In the early days, the huge maple trees sup­plied the sap from which the settlers made their sugar. Both the hard and soft variety of this beautiful tree was found in abundance then, but only a few are standing today. About the finest specimen now can be seen on what is known as the Algoe farm in Amity township. The black walnut is fast disappearing and is now being eagerly sought by the buyers for the large furni­ture factories throughout the United States. Great quantities of the trees are chopped down every year in this county, the logs of which are shipped to the factories to be made into different articles of furniture. The hickory trees, which grew in abundance along the banks of the Vermil-


ion, have disappeared almost entirely. About twenty-five years ago, this variety of tree was attacked by a variety of bugs which killed them by the thousands.

Walking for miles along the Vermilion and its tributaries today, and seeing these now denuded banks with no more fringe of brush than of hair on a billiard ball, and remembering how it used to be, makes one sigh at the destructive forces so easily set going for gain, and no effort made in any direction to restore the waste places.

Reaching from the Ford County to the LaSalle County line, a distance of nearly sixty miles, stretches the Vermilion river timber line from one-quarter to two miles wide - once a magnifi­cent forest all the way - deducting therefrom the surface of the river. This immense timber tract has been invaded extensively during the past twenty-five years by the constant pressure of farms into the river bottoms, the rich warm soil making it profitable to take chances on high wa­ter, as three crops out of five will more than equal in yield the ordinary five crops on the prairie farms. Nearly one-half of this timber bottom land has been brought under the plow, and every year adds to the farm area. As the plow comes in the timber goes out, and it is now no uncommon sight to see corn growing right on the banks of the river, where grew a margin fringe of stately elms, oaks, walnuts and maples but a few years ago.




When the pioneer farmer and home-seeker ar­rived in this county to "spy out the land" and se­lect a place to make his future home, his first thought was to provide a shelter for his family and his team. He found along the streams an abundance of good hardwood timber, such as black and white walnut, white, red and burr oak, ash, elm, hickory, hackberry, wild cherry, etc., but no sawmill to convert this timber into lumber for building purposes. The early settler, how­ever, usually came prepared to meet just such an emergency and was equal to the occasion. A hand-ax, a broad-ax, a cross-cut saw, hand-saw, an auger, adze, draw-shave, a frow and two or three iron wedges were the tools necessary for the construction of a comfortable log cabin. With a team and his outfit, which was sufficient for building purposes for a whole neighborhood, the pioneer farmer would begin the construction of his house and stables. Having selected the spot upon which to build his cabin, and determined the size he wished to make it, he would go into the timber and select a sufficient number of trees of the proper size, cut and with his team drag the logs to the place determined upon for the build­ing. When he had enough logs on the ground he would cut them the proper length, notch the ends and place them around the spot where the house was to stand. Then, with the assistance of a few neighbors, the logs were soon put together in the shape of a house or log cabin. The rafters to support the roof were logs or poles, six to seven inches in diameter at the butt and laid length­wise of the building and pinned with wooden pins, to the logs forming the gable ends, thus sup­porting the gables in place as well as forming rafters for the clapboard roof. The clapboards that were then in general use for making cabin roofs were made from logs cut in two and a half and three feet lengths from large straight-grained white or burr oak trees; and it required an exper­ienced woodman to select trees that could easily be worked up into good clapboards. The logs were split into bolts with a maul and iron wedges, and with a mallet and frow soon worked up into clapboards that would make a roof as near water­tight as a good shingle roof. After the first course of clapboards had been carefully laid, a pole was placed over the lower end of the course and se­curely pinned with inch wooden pins to the lower rafter supporting the clapboards. After the sec­ond course had been laid, lapping the first course eight to twelve inches, another pole was laid on immediately over the second rafter and held in place by three short sticks of wood with the lower ends resting against the first pole. In this manner the entire roof was laid and secured in position without the use of a hammer or nail and did good


service for many years. The floors of these cab­ins were usually made of puncheons resting upon heavy sleepers made of logs, and fastened to the sleepers with wooden pins and then dressed down smooth with the adze. The door, window and fire­place openings were cut out after the cabin logs were in place. The jambs were made from straight grained split timber, dressed down straight with an adze and pinned to the ends of the logs where they had been cut out. The door was made of split slabs of timber and was hung on hinges made of oak or hickory wood. The fire-place was made large enough to take in four to six foot wood, was built of rock, with common clay for mortar, up about five or six feet high, or above the opening cut in the wall, and from there up as high as desired with split sticks about the size of lath, plastered outside and in with clay. The sash and window glass were about the only articles in the entire building not found or made upon the land. These were usually procured in Ottawa or Peoria, and came up the river from St. Louis by boat. The writer of this sketch lived in this county during the years 1847-1848 in a double log cabin built as above described, that did not contain an ounce of hardware in its en­tire construction, and it was not an uncomfort­able habitation.

Stables for the horses were built of logs, as were the cabins, but with roofs thatched with slough grass. This slough grass grew six to seven feet high, and made a splendid roof for stables, cribs and sheds, as well as for "topping" off grain and hay stacks.


The many hardships experienced and difficul­ties met and overcome by the early settlers of Livingston County were, perhaps, no greater than those endured by all pioneers in a new country; and while raids and massacres by Indians were not feared, there were other foes to life and property that had to be reckoned with and combated and subdued, that were as troublesome and dangerous as Indians ever were. Every new settler in this county from the earliest period until as late as 1850, and a great many who located on our prairies after 1850, had to endure a siege of fever and ague, a malarial disease that was, of itself, rarely fatal, but fever and ague victims became so emaciated and weak­ened that they were easy prey to other more dangerous diseases that often followed. Another disease that the early settler was subject to, and which was more dreaded than fever and ague, because it so often proved incurable, was known as milk sickness. It was supposed that cows pasturing on the river bottom lands ate a certain noxious weed that poisoned the milk; and as milk has always been a staple article of food and drink, all the early settlers were sub­ject to attacks of milk sickness, and many deaths resulted from this disease.

Besides suffering from the diseases above men­tioned, which are rarely heard of to-day, the early settler had other foes to contend with that were a great menace to property. Prairie and timber wolves abounded all over the country during the early history of the county, and often made havoc among the many flocks of sheep and other stock. The larger grey or timber wolves would kill young calves and kill and carry off small pigs. For the protection of their stock as well as for procuring game for food, the early settlers all kept good rifles and they knew how to use them. They were a race of sharp-shooters. Another great danger to the pioneer was the fearful grass fires that would sweep the prairies every fall, destroying everything in their path. Fences, houses, and sometimes live stock were consumed by these resistless flames. The prair­ies during the early settlement of the county were literally alive with deer and prairie chick­ens. So numerous were the deer, that they would enter the farmers' fields by hundreds dur­ing the winter months, and eat and destroy great quantities of corn that still remained ungathered in the field. The corn at that time, however, was hardly worth the gathering, and the farmer would get even by supplying his family with good fat venison whenever he wanted it, and by decorating his fence with deer skins, which al­ways found a ready market when the peddlers made their regular rounds through the county.

And still another nuisance, and quite a loss, that the pioneer farmer had to put up with, was from the innumerable numbers of prairie chick­ens that would daily visit the wheat and corn fields after the crops had ripened; and had the grain been worth one-fifth the price received for it now, the money loss from the depredations of deer and prairie chickens would have been enor­mous. As late as 1848 and 1849, in the late fall and winter months, the writer of these remi­niscences has often seen herds of twenty to fifty deer leave the corn-field one-half mile east of


Pontiac and cross what is now East Howard street, and run north into what was then a vast, uncultivated and unfenced prairie. And during the same years, the prairie chickens would come to the corn fields along the timber in such great numbers that about or just after sunset, when they would fly from the fields to their roosting places in the tall prairie grass, the rustling of their wings would sound like distant thunder.

After the completion of the Chicago & Alton Railroad in 1854, and a market was found for the deer and prairie chickens, local hunters and sportsmen from St. Louis, Chicago and other large cities flocked to this county and soon ex­terminated the deer and left but few prairie chickens where there had been hundreds of thous­ands a few years before. From the earliest his­tory of Livingston county until 1850 this certain­ly was a "hunters' paradise." In addition to the deer and prairie chickens on the prairie, wild ducks and geese in the streams and ponds, wild turkeys, quail, squirrels and rabbits were very plentiful in the timber.

In the early settlement of Livingston county, the farmers all located in and along near the timber and near the streams of water. This was done for several reasons. Fuel and fencing were indispensable, and wood was the only fuel to be had. Coal had not yet been discovered in the county. Log houses and stables had to be built, and rails made to fence the fields, as all stock was permitted to run at large - hence the necessity of all early settlers owning timber land. Some of the first farms cultivated in the county were lands cleared up in the timber. Several farms were located in the timber south east of Pontiac. During the years from 1840 to 1848 these farms were abandoned, so far as cultivation was concerned, and wild blackberries and raspberries grew up and covered the land that had been denuded of timber and underbrush. These abandoned farms that have not again been brought under cultivation or been converted into pasture lands, now show no indication of ever having been cultivated, as they are again covered with large trees. The pioneer farmers knew that the prairie lands were as fertile as the timber lands, but the great danger from prairie fires, the desire to be located near their fuel supply, and to get the friendly shelter of the trees from the severe winter winds, prompted them to lo­cate near and in the timber. When the timber lands had all been entered and were owned by individuals, and the settlers increased in numbers so that they were able to protect themselves from the devastating fires that annually swept the prairies, then they began to venture farther out on the rich prairie lands to make their farms and abandoned their fields in the timber.

All early settlers found it necessary to keep flocks of sheep, as the farmers' wives and daughters had to spin the wool, knit the socks and stockings and weave the cloth from which the winter clothing was made for the entire family. The spinning wheel and the loom were just as common and necessary articles in the pioneer farmer's house during the years of 1835 and 1850 as the range and heating stove or fur­nace are in a modern farmer's house to-day.


One of the greatest inconveniences the first settlers of this county had to contend with was the long distance they had to go to mill and market. Up to the year 1851, there was not a grist mill in Livingston County, and the farmers had to go to Ottawa, or rather Dayton, a few miles beyond Ottawa, to get their corn and wheat ground. There was also a woolen will at Dayton where the farmers could take their wool and have it scoured and carded into rolls ready for the spin­ning wheel. Ottawa was at the head of naviga­tion on the Illinois river, and was the market town for Livingston County farmers. There they disposed of such produce as they had to sell, or rather exchanged their produce, peltry, deer skins, etc., for such necessary articles as salt, sugar and coffee; and when they went to mill they usually loaded their wagons with all they could carry, going and coming, in addition to their regular grist. Four days, and sometimes five, were required to make the round trip, and these journeys had to be made at least twice a year - once in the summer or early fall, and once about the holidays. In the early spring, and sometimes during the late fall months, the roads leading from Livingston County to Ottawa were impassable for loaded teams, or the streams not fordable. When such conditions prevailed, the neighborhood that ran short of breadstuff was, to say the least, unfortunate, and resort had to be made to graters, a crude utensil made of a piece of perforated tin about 12 inches long and 8 or 10 inches wide, curved like a nutmeg grater, and nailed to a board. In 1848, the


writer of this sketch, then a small boy, often operated such a device to provide material for the "staff of life," and it would surprise the uniniti­ated to see how quickly an ear of corn can be reduced to meal by this primitive process and sufficient corn meal made for the dinner of an ordinary family.

When a farmer found it would soon be neces­sary for him to "go to mill," the neighbors were duly informed of the fact, and he would have orders for all the necessaries and notions he could possibly carry on his return trip, such nec­essaries as tobacco (always tobacco), powder and lead, and quite often a gallon or more "snake bite medicine," for the men; and for the women, knit­ting needles, buttons, hooks and eyes, needles and thread, dye stuffs, such as madder and indigo, and some simple medical remedies. The farmer usually had ample time to dispose of his produce, purchase his supplies and do the shopping for his neighbors while waiting for his grist to be ground and his wool scoured and carded. He was lucky indeed if he did not have to wait a day or more for his turn at the mill.


During the present rapid growth and develop­ment of Livingston County, it is interesting to refer to the past and see at what a comparatively recent period the first settler located in each of the different townships and also to preserve the name of the pioneers, but very few of whom are still living. To this end we give below the name of the first settler in each township in the county and the time at which he located:

1830 Belle Prairie Valentine M. Darnall

1830 Avoca Isaac Jordan

1830 Rooks Creek Frederick Rook

1831 Indian Grove Joseph Moore

1832 Chatsworth Franklin Oliver

1832 Reading Jacob Moon

1832 Newton Emsley Pope

1833 Amity Thomas Reynolds

1833 Owego Daniel Rockwood

1834 Eppards Point John Eppard

1835 Esmen John Chews

1835 Sunbury Andrew Sprague

1836 Forrest Charles Jones

1837 Nevada James Funk

1837 Pontiac Henry Weed

1838 Long Point Andrew McDowell

1843 Pleasant Ridge Nathan Townsend

1845 Saunemin David Cripliver

1850 Round Grove John Currier

1853 Odell William H. Odell

1854 Broughton William Broughton

1854 Dwight John Conant

1855 Pike Alonzo Huntoon

1855 Nebraska Isaac Sheets

1855 Sullivan Alexander Harbison

1855 Germanville Thomas Y. Brown

1856 Union John Harbison

1857 Waldo James McFadden

1858 Charlotte William and Patrick Monahan

1863 Fayette Reese Morgan


Jeremiah F. Cooper of Fairbury, claims to be the oldest resident of Livingston County now living - not in point of age, for Mr. Cooper is but 76 years old, but in point of years of con­tinuous residence in the county. Mr. Cooper was born in Overton County, Tennessee, October 29, 1832, and two years later, in 1834, he came with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Cooper, to Belle Prairie Township, locating on section 5, his parents being among the second settlers in that township. Mr. Cooper resided in that town­ship until 1864, when he moved to Indian Grove Township. He was married to Miss Louisa Davis, January 19, 1854. Mrs. Cooper died January 17, 1906. Mr. Cooper moved to Fair­bury in March, 1907, and has since remarried.

Mr. Cooper talks very interestingly of the early days in that locality. He says there were but four other families there in his early recol­lection. They lived at the "Grove," and were Uncle Barney Phillips and family, Uncle Martin Darnall and family, who was also the first white settler, James Spence and brothers and Richard Moore and family. They lived in log cabins through which the snow drifted in the winter season. The food was home-made and jeans fur­nished the only outside wearing apparel, while underclothing, overcoats and overshoes were un­known. Despite this fact, there was not much sickness, a little ague now and then, but doctors and medicines were almost unknown. Blooming­ton, Ottawa and Chicago were the trading points. A trip to one of these points was made about once a year, chiefly for the purpose of procuring salt. Mr. Cooper made a trip to Chicago with his father in 1847. That city looked pretty big to him at that time and it was a great trading point. There were no railroads there then. The chief hotels were the Sherman House, which


stood then on its present site, and the American Temperance House. Mr. Cooper and his father camped on the streets in their covered wagon, as did hundreds of others who were trading in Chicago. There were but few stores in Bloom­ington. Ottawa and Pontiac were not started un­til 1837, when the county was organized. Mr. Cooper's father was on the first jury drawn in this county, and they held their deliberations on a saw log out of doors.

AMUSEMENTS. - A popular amusement in the early days was to assemble the community for a "grand circular hunt." Having selected the ter­ritory, which embraced as large a tract as the number of hunters could command, they placed themselves in a circle, on the outside, and drove the game toward a common center. The game thus encircled consisted mainly of wolves and deer, which were always captured or killed in great numbers. The state paid a bounty for wolf scalps in the early days, and this was a source of revenue to the settlers. There were deer in this county up to 1865. An occasional stray wolf is found now or then, but the foxes are still said to be plentiful in some of the townships north of the Vermilion river.

EARLY CHURCH MEETINGS. - It was several years before the pioneers erected a church edifice in their various settlements. For many miles around the community would assemble on a Sunday at the cabins of some of the neighbors. In the fall of the year, the pioneers would yoke up their ox-teams and go south over to Mackinaw, in McLean County, to attend camp meeting. This was considered the event of the year, and was eagerly anticipated by the younger people, who had not many opportunities of enjoying each other's society and forming new acquaintances.




Farming in the early days was vastly different from that of the present time. There were no reapers, mowers, cornplanters, sulky plows or harrows. The breaking plows of the pioneers were long and strong affairs, with a capacious mold-board, and required two to three yoke of oxen to draw them through the tough soil. As soon as the field had been turned in this way, "sod corn," as it was called, was planted. The ground was first "marked out" both ways, one way with a small eight-inch mold-board plow, and the other by a marker made of a four by four scantling - if they had one. The marker had attached to it a pair of shafts, and a bowed sap­ling for a handle. After marking, the children would drop the corn. The corn was taken from little tin pails or baskets held in the hand, or buttoned into the clothing in front, or fastened to a belt around the waist. The covering was done with a hoe, and was a tedious job compared to our present plan, and the harvesting and se­curing of the small grain was even more tedious.


In the early times, the settlers hauled wheat to Chicago, often taking ten days to make the re­turn trip, and they congratulated themselves if they were so fortunate as to receive 50 cents a bushel for it. That city had not yet risen from the bogs and marshes of Lake Michigan, and the great grain market was not what it is today. Some farmers would join in a company, and, with their wagons loaded with wheat, drive through to Chicago, camping out at nights, as their load of wheat would hardly have justified the paying of the tavern bill. There was at that time not even an Indian trail leading to Chicago, but those pioneers took their way over the un­broken prairie, guided by signs and indications which never led them astray. They rarely made more than two such trips a year.


The years 1876 and 1877 were wet ones in this county and thousands of acres of the low lands were untillable in consequence. In many places, water stood in the ponds nearly the whole year, thus robbing the farmer of the use of many acres of the best producing land on his farm. About this time, farmers and land-owners were begin­ning to learn that, by systematic drainage, their lowest lands could be utilized as well as the highest, and as much, and perhaps more, grain


could be raised on an acre of the "swamp" well drained, than on the best upland on the farm. The finest illustration seen at that time of the benefits of drainage was on the 900-acre farm, known as the Marsh farm, situated west of Fairbury. The method adopted on this farm, as well as other farms in this vicinity, was as follows: There was a large ditch cut through the lowest part of this farm, into which smaller ditches led, that were piped with fencing boards nailed to­gether and placed in the bottom in the shape of an inverted V. Upon these boards hay, straw or long grass was thrown, after which the earth was filled in. The water was carried off in the main ditch through the farm and finally found an outlet in the Vermilion river. There was of this system of drainage on this farm about 1,000 rods, which cost 35 cents per rod. The present mode of tiling in the county was not commenced until 1878, thirty years ago, but has been pushed forward rapidly until there are now in the county but few, if any, farms not thoroughly- drained.


At the time Illinois was admitted into the Union, the lands of what now constitutes Livingston County were government lands, subject to entry by claimants or "squatters" when the gov­ernment land office was established at Danville. The prairies of this county were known to be as fertile as any land in the state, and the soil as good and productive as that of McLean, Peoria or LaSalle Counties, but the conformation of the country is different. The land is not so "rolling" or so well drained naturally as the land in McLean, Peoria and LaSalle is. A large portion of Livingston County is so flat and level that it was classed as swamp or overflowed land, too wet for cultivation. For this reason, Livingston County was not settled up as early or as rapidly as adjoining counties that are better drained nat­urally, or had navigable streams that afforded cheap transportation for produce and merchan­dise. While there was a large area of fine, tilla­ble land in the county open for settlement from 1835 to 1855, the larger portion was considered as being better adapted for grazing purposes than for cultivation as farms. Since the general in­troduction of tile drainage by the farmers of this county, these flat, swampy lands have been thor­oughly drained, and are now the richest and most productive corn lands in the State, and are selling at $150 to $200 per acre. As late as 1850 to 1855, these swamp lands could not be given away, as they were not considered as being worth the taxes.

The wonderful fertility of the soil of Livingston County is not surpassed by the favored delta of the Nile. There are farms in this county that have been under constant cultivation for the past seventy years without any more fertilization than the scant supply of barnyard manure pro­duced on the place, that last season (1908) pro­duced 50 bushels of corn per acre. The Rollins' farm, for one, two miles east of Pontiac has been under cultivation for fully seventy years and seems to be about as productive as it was in 1838, when the wild prairie sod was first turned under, and it has had but little artificial fertili­zation. The Daniel Rockwood farm, now the Bruer place, has been under cultivation three­-quarters of a century and produces as large crops as it ever did. There are many old farms up and down the Vermilion river and around Indian Grove, that have been under cultivation seventy to seventy-five years but show no loss of fertility.


Some of the implements of agriculture used in the early times were as primitive as the methods of education. At first, it was not supposed that the vast prairies would ever be utilized. The little bar-share plow, with the wooden mold­board in common use in the Eastern States, was not to be thought of to turn over the prairie sod, matted thick with grass roots as hard almost as hickory withes. But soon the inventive genius of the Yankee supplied an article with which most of these plains have been brought under cultiva­tion. The original sod plow" is seen no more, as it has long since outlived its usefulness. It consisted of a large share, cutting a furrow of two feet in width, with iron bars for a mold­board. The beam of the machine was fifteen feet in length. No handles were needed, though some­times they were attached, but were used only for the purpose of starting or throwing it out of the ground. To this immense plow was hitched five to eight yokes of oxen. The breaking was usually done late in the spring and with the turning of the sod was deposited seed, which produced an inferior crop of corn the first year, which grew and ripened without further attention. Hay was cut with cradles. These ancient land-marks have all passed away and but few who wielded them


still remain to tell us the story of these and the many other peculiar institutions of the olden time. Here and there is seen a whitened head, here and there we behold a tottering frame, and ere long they, too, will have passed from earth, and their places will be filled by the more modern style of humanity.

The past fifty years has witnessed some won­derful improvements in the construction and op­eration of farm machinery in this country, and the decided changes in the ideas that prevailed a half century ago respecting the management and control of the various operations connected with the planting, cultivating and harvesting of the great crops of the different kinds of grain, are no less noteworthy.

Perhaps the most noticeable improvement along these lines has been made in the matter of planting, harvesting and threshing implements. The improvements in cultivating implements, however, have also been decidedly manifest and worthy of due notice. The complicated and highly improved self-binders and threshers as they exist today, are vastly different from the first machines that were devised for that purpose. In fact, if a man who had been accustomed to using one of the latest of these machines, had never used or seen one of the first ones, he would hardly be able to tell for what use it was intended.


The grain was cut with the old straight-­handled cradle and raked into bundles with a hand rake. It was then loaded on wagons and taken to the barn. The most primitive means of threshing small grain was to pound it out with a flail. The flail was a very simple instrument consisting of two pieces of wood, one about eighteen inches in length the other about 4 feet long, each with a hole bored through one end, and the two lashed together by having a piece of raw­hide leather pass through the holes in each piece and tied. The short piece was about two inches thick at the end opposite the one which had the hole bored through, rounded like a club and tap­ering slightly from the other end, the long piece being similar in shape to a modern pitchfork handle. The bundles of wheat or rye, etc., were laid down in a row upon the threshing floor or placed prepared for threshing out the grain, with the heads of the grain all in one direction. The threshers stood at one end of the room and swung the flail over so that the club or short piece of the flail came down upon the heads of the grain with great force. About a dozen or more bun­dles were placed upon the floor at a time, the number of bundles threshed at one time depend­ing on the size of the threshing floor. This means of threshing grain was only used to very limited extent in this locality and in very early times and only by men who had a small quantity of grain to thresh. Those who raised larger crops of small grain made a larger threshing floor and tramped out their grain with horses.


With the crude implements used by the pioneer farmers of Livingston County, the cultivation of the rich black soil was an exhaustive and dis­couraging occupation. The polished steel mold­board plow had not yet been invented, and the disc, so generally used now, had not been dreamed of. The plows used prior to 1847 had steel or cast iron shares and wooden moldboards, and the man behind the plow had to carry a paddle and every few minutes was compelled to stop his team and dig the dirt from the share and moldboard before the plow would enter the soil. Every farmer knows what it means to undertake to plow a field with a plow that will not scour. In the spring of 1847 there was not a plow in Livingston County that would scour in the black prairie soil of this state; and at that time Henry Jones, a pioneer, a blacksmith and plow maker, living two miles east of Pontiac, in a con­versation with Philip Rollins, a pioneer farmer, declared that he could make a plow that would scour in any field in the state. Rollins assured Jones that if he could do so it would double the value of every acre of land susceptible of cultiva­tion in Livingston County. Jones went to Ot­tawa, procured the steel and made two plows. After cutting and shaping the shares and mold­boards, and grinding them down on a grindstone as smooth as possible, the different parts were put together, and as a finishing touch the plows were run for a half day in a hard beaten strip of road northwest of the Rollins' homestead, two miles east of Pontiac. The hard clay soil put a fine polish on the steel share and mold­board, and when tried in the black soil of the field the plows scoured and proved a great suc­cess.

In January, 1848, Jones went to Chicago with five sled loads of dressed hogs - about 10,000


pounds. After leaving the Rollins farm, the party took a northeasterly course across the prairie. The snow was six to eight inches deep, with just enough crust to keep it from drifting. For the greater part of the way there was not the sign of a road. They encountered no fences or settlements until they reached the Kankakee river, which was crossed on the ice. The next farms and fences to obstruct their way were en­countered east of Joliet. From that on into Chicago the party had a well beaten road to fol­low. Arriving in Chicago the pork was soon disposed of and the proceeds invested principally in material for making steel moldboard plows. In February, 1848, Jones began the manufacture of plows warranted to scour in any soil in Liv­ingston County, and continued making them until the spring of 1849, when he quit the business to pilot a party of gold-seekers to California.


The early settlers of this county and state, as a matter of course, had to fence their fields against the depredations of their own as well as their neighbors' stock. First, the brush fence was quite common where the farms were made by clearing up the timber land, but later the stake-and-rider fence was generally used. These fences were made of rails, usually ten feet long, built in a zig-zag fashion, five and six rails high. At the angles, or where the rails lapped, stakes were placed in the ground on each side and two to three feet from the bottom rail, leaning against the top rail and forming a cross or crotch in which the last rail, or rider, was laid. The stakes braced the fence, and the rider held the stakes firmly in place. This made a very strong and durable fence, "hog-tight," and with strength to turn or hold the most breachy cattle and horses that ran at large. Walnut, oak, hickory and ash made the best rails, while the honey locust was generally used for stakes. Black walnut was the favorite tree for rails, because it was durable and split easily. Millions of feet of the finest black walnut timber that ever grew, that would sell today for $40 per thousand for veneering purposes and for gunstock material for the arm­ies of the world, were cut and split up into fence rails to fence Livingston County farms.

After the prairie lands began to attract the attention of homeseekers, timber became too valu­able to be cut up and split into rails for fencing, and farmers began to look for other and less expensive material for enclosing their fields and other improvements. For several years after 1853, there was a craze for osage orange hedge, and thousands of miles of this fence was set out on the farms. Hedge fence proved unsatisfac­tory for several reasons. It required much at­tention in resetting plants that died out, patch­ing up with poles, old rails and boards where it burned out, trimming, etc. It would catch and hold all the weeds, leaves, and corn blades that the strong winds would bring in contact with it, and a spark of fire from burning corn stalks or a pipe or any other source would soon destroy rods of it; but the greatest objection to osage hedge as a farm fence was that it would sap the moisture or fertility for a rod or more in width from the soil along its entire length, and ren­dered that much otherwise valuable land en­tirely worthless. This made osage orange hedge fence intolerable to the enterprising farmer, and it has nearly all been grubbed out or pulled up by the mile with traction engines and burned.

After the completion of the Chicago & Alton Railroad, pine boards, with cedar posts, were used extensively for fencing. This made a good though expensive fence, and when it began to be generally used all over the broad prairies of the west, the price of lumber began to advance, and the cost of pine boards and cedar posts became so high as to be almost prohibitive, and the fence question became a burden to the farmer. Barbed wire for fencing was then introduced, and to a great extent was used all over the country. This, also, made a good fence but, like pine boards, was expensive, and proved quite dangerous to stock where used for fencing pas­ture lands, and a wire fence without the dan­gerous barbs was substituted and is still used.

When the county had become pretty well set­tled up, the greater portion of tillable land brought under cultivation and the "man with the hoe" largely in the majority, more attention was paid to the production of grain and less to raising stock. The farmers then came to the conclusion that it would be cheaper to fence their stock than to fence their fields of grain, and begun to discuss and agitate the question of a "no fence" law. In the winter of 1866-67 a "no fence" law was passed by the Legislature at Springfield, and has been in operation since that time. This law prevents stock running at large and effectually settled the fence question to the


great advantage of the agricultural interests of the state.




Livingston County contains 1,026 square miles of territory. It was formed by act of Legislature, February 27, 1837, out of McLean and LaSalle counties. In size, it is the fourth county in the state, being exceeded only by LaSalle, McLean and Iroquois. Some of the founders of Bloom­ington in McLean county, figured considerably in getting the boundaries fixed, as their object was to divide the prairie nearly equally between the Mackinaw and Vermilion rivers, and their branches, and it cannot be denied that McLean county secured the larger share of the fine district south of the Vermilion river. The territory which is now a part of Livingston County, was in the first division of the state a portion of Cook county. After that it became a portion of Vermilion county and hence the name of the river which flows through it. Its name was sug­gested by Jesse W. Fell after Edward Livingston, a member of one of the prominent Livingston families of New York state, in consequence of his being the reputed author of President Jack­son's famous proclamation to the South Carolina nullifiers, in their first unsuccessful attempt to disrupt the Union.

The law directed that the first election for county officers be held, (as was also the first session of the court) at the house of Andrew McMillan until the county commissioners should provide a more suitable place. The entire popu­lation of the county at that time did not exceed 450 inhabitants - men, women and children.

In the act of organization, Thompson S. Flint, of Tazewell county; William B. Peck, of Will county, and James W. Piatt, of Macon county, were appointed commissioners to locate the per­manent seat of justice. These commissioners met at the home of Mr. McMillan on the Ver­milion river, about four miles northwest of where Pontiac is now located, on the first Mon­day in June, 1837, for the purpose of arranging for the location. The county seat was to be located on government ground, or if upon private ground, then the owners of the same should be required to donate twenty acres or the sum of $3,000, the proceeds of the land, or the money in lieu thereof, to be used in erecting county buildings. These gentlemen were assisted by several of the citizens who were either inter­ested as speculators, or to point out the ad­vantages of various crossings or fords on the Vermilion river. And, after making satisfactory examinations, they reported in favor of the present site of Pontiac, or rather on the south­east quarter of section 22, with the express un­derstanding that the provisions of the law should be complied with, which were, among other matters, that a donation of $3,000 should be made by the owners of the land, which, how­ever, it appears should be arranged by the county commissioners' court.

The land upon which the court house was to be erected was owned by Henry Weed, Lucius Young and Seth M. Young, and besides the dona­tion of $3,000, they also agreed to donate a block of land 200 feet square on which to put the court house; also a tract of one acre, not more than twenty rods from the square, on which a jail was to be built and for a stray-pen lot; and they also agreed to build a wagon bridge with suit­able capacity across the Vermilion river. They gave bond signed by themselves as principals, and C. H. Perry, James McKee and Jesse W. Fell as sureties.

The law authorized an election to be held at the home of Andrew McMillan on the second Monday in May, 1837, for sheriff, coroner, re­corder, county surveyor and three county com­missioners, but the returns show that the elec­tion was held by precincts (Pontiac, Indian Grove, etc.), on June 6, 1837, and the total vote as shown by the records is 110.

The election was held and officers duly elected, as follows: Sheriff, Joseph Reynolds; county commissioners, Robert Breckenridge, Jonathan Moore and Daniel Rockwood. The first clerk


was Abraham W. Beard, who was appointed by said commissioners, and his bond was signed by James Holman and Robert Recob as sureties. The court also appointed John Recob as treasur­er. From the records in the county court, we find that the first county commissioners' court was held at the home of Mr. McMillan on May 18, 1837. The reason of the discrepancy between the date of the election and the date of the hold­ing of the commissioners' court, is not clearly shown by the returns. The county commissioners held their meetings at the home of Mr. McMillan for several years.

At a special call of the county commissioners' court held at the dwelling house of Andrew McMillan on the 18th day of May, 1837, it was ordered that this county be divided into election precincts, three in number; also, that all they portion of country west of the old county line, commencing at the range line between sections 27 and 28, thence east to the range line between sec­tions 5 and 6, thence north to the county line be designated or known by the name of Bayou precinct; ordered by said court, that all elections to be held in said precinct be opened and held at the dwelling house of Alexander W. Brecken­ridge; ordered that Jacob Dickson, James Walker and Albert Moon be appointed judges of election in and for said precinct.

Ordered that all that portion of the county south of the old county line, including Eppards Point, also all the settlement on the west side of the river as high up as said river as to the mouth of the little Vermilion and extending up the little Vermilion as far as to include Isaac Burgitt, also including all the east side of the big Vermilion and the Five Mile Grove, to be known by the name of Center precinct. Ordered that the dwelling home of Isaac Whicher be the place to open and hold elections for said Center precinct. James Holman, Matthias B. Miller and James C. Milan were appointed to serve as judges in and for said Center precinct.

Ordered that all the country south of the above mentioned precinct to the county line, including the Indian Grove, constitute the third, which is called the Indian Grove precinct; ordered that A. B. Phillips, at the lower end of Indian Grove, be the proper place for holding elections for said precinct; ordered that Robert Smith, Nicholas Hefner and John Darnall be appointed judges of election in and for said precinct.

Taxable Property. - All horses over three years old, all horned cattle over three years old, all sheep over one year old, all wagons, carriages, clocks, watches, jacks, jennies, mules, etc., are considered by the court of commissioners as being taxable property upon which there shall be a tax cost of one-half per cent.

Time of Holding Meetings. - Ordered by the County Commissioners' Court that the judges of the several precincts shall open and hold an election in their respective precincts on Saturday, the 24th day of June next, for the election of justices of the peace and constables.

The commissioners at their June term, 1837, decided that "in accordance with the act of the Legislature passed February 27, 1837, the county seat should be located on the southeast quarter of section 22, town 28 north, of range 5, east, on condition that Messrs. Weed and Youngs should pay $3,000 into the county treasury, donate a square for a court house, 200 feet square, also a tract for jail, build a bridge across the Ver­milion, etc. After this, the contract for building the court house was let.

At the March term of the county court held March 5th, 1838, the first grand and petit jury for Livingston County was ordered.

The names of the grand jurors are as follows: Martin Darnall, Jeremiah Travis, Isaac Wilson, Nathan Popejoy, James Spence, James Weed, Isaac Burgit, Francis J. Moore, Burnett Miller, Samuel Boyer, William G. Hubbard, A. W. Breck­enridge, James McMillan, Garrett M. Blue, Mir­ack D. Edgington, Jacob Moon, Samuel Norton, James Campbell, John S. Chew, Daniel Barrack­man, Emsley Pope, James Dickinson and Amos Lundy.

The petit jurors were as follows: Hugh Steers, Moses Allen, Richard Moore, William S. Jones, W. Y. Donoho, William Springer, Samuel Bruce, William K. Brown, Charles Brooks, Rich­ard Ball, John Miller, Thomas Hudgin, Caleb Mason, Isaac Whicher, Elias Brock, Myron Ames, Truman Rutherford, Isaac Hayes, Philip Deane, Thomas N. Reynolds, Elsey Downing and Thomas Moorehead.

The records show that no term of court was held in October of this year, and it is doubtful if either of these juries performed any duties. So far as we have been able to ascertain, none of the above parties are now alive.

The first term of circuit court was held October 21, 1839, in the log house erected in 1832, on the banks of the Vermilion river, just east of the line


of the town of Pontiac, in what was then, and for several years after, known as the Weed residence, and was held by Judge Samuel H. Treat. The bar was composed of David B. Campbell, state's attorney; David Davis and George F. Markley. The court appointed Mr. Campbell as clerk pro-tem, Henry Weed, the clerk-elect having returned to New York state. Nicholas Hefner was sher­iff. The records of the court show that no jury had been summoned, and it appears that all the cases had been tried by the judge. There were twenty-eight cases on the docket, a large number for the first court, although it is a fact that these had been "brewing" quite a long while.

At the time the county was organized, it was placed in the First circuit, but the judge sitting in that circuit did not have time to come to Pon­tiac; no law had been passed fixing the time for holding circuit court in this county, and the clerk had moved out of the state. By the act of 1839, we were placed in the Eighth circuit, and Oc­tober fixed for the time of holding court.

At the old settlers' meeting held at Fairbury in 1877, Judge W G. McDowell, the historian, said "that the first regular term of circuit court was held in the spring of 1840, in the Weed log house, and that the jury held its deliberations on a lot of saw-logs which lay on the banks of the river." Mr. McDowell further said that "the first trial by jury in the circuit court was between Isaac Wilson and Nathan Popejoy, in which Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas were attorneys, after which they spoke on the political issues of the day. . . . They spoke in the street, or rather open prairie, from the top of a dry-­goods box. The late Judge David Davis of Bloomington was also there as one of the prominent attorneys. The judge and all attorneys came across the country from Springfield and Bloom­ington in buggies and on horseback. Circuit court seldom lasted over one or two days at each term, and yet all the cases were disposed of."


The first general election in the county was the state election, held the first Monday in August, 1838. The vote on county officers was as follows: For County Commissioner: Uriah Springer, 90; Albert Moon, 60; William Popejoy, 59; Robert Breckenridge, 41; Robert Smith, 29. For Sher­iff: Nicholas Hefner, 65; Joseph Reynolds, 41. For Coroner: Simeon Mead, 45; Ambrose Sprague, 17. For Clerk: James S. Munson, 58; Matthias Ross, 34. For Recorder: James S. Munson, 60; Truman Rutherford, 34. For Sur­veyor: Isaac Whitaker, 59; Franklin Oliver, 41. For Governor: Cyrus Edwards, 45; Thomas Carlin, 59. For Member of Congress: Stephen A. Douglas, 62; J. T. Stuart, 46.

On April 9, 1839, the court appointed the first assessors, one for each precinct - Robert Smith for Indian Grove precinct, Andrew McMillan for Centre, and John Downey for Bayou. The court ordered that 70 cents on each $100 be levied and collected on certain property, among which appears this item: "Slaves and servants of color." Robert Smith of Indian Grove was also appointed school commissioner.

In August, 1839, at a general election, Lemuel White was elected county commissioner; C. W. Reynolds, recorder and clerk of the county court; Jacob Moon, county treasurer; Isaac Burgit, cor­oner; Franklin Oliver, surveyor; Truman Ruth­erford, probate justice of the peace, an office which had jurisdiction of all probate business; W. G. Hubbard and J. C. McMillan, justices of the peace.

By virtue of an act passed March 1, 1839, it was directed that a vote be held in August fol­lowing, for and against re-locating the county seat, by which it was provided that, if two­-thirds of the votes cast were for removal, and a majority were for a removal to any place named, then the county seat should be removed. Sites for a location were offered by Messrs. Rockwood, Hubbard and Weed, at a point four miles up (southeast from Pontiac) the Vermilion river, where fifty acres of land were offered. The vote showed 81 votes were given for and 56 against removing the county seat from Pontiac, and that 78 votes were given for removing to the location offered by these gentlemen. It lacked a few votes of the required two-thirds, though a major­ity favored Rockwood.

On December 3, 1839, the county commission­ers entered into a contract for the erection of a court house, which is given in detail on another page.

The following was the result of the vote of the general election held in August, 1840. There is no record on file of the vote at presidential or congressional election: For state senator, John Moore, 62; David Davis, 38. For representa­tives, Welcome P. Brown, 62, I. T. Gildersleeve, 61; Asahel Gridley, 38; Isaac Funk, 38; A. R. Dodge, 14; L. W. Leek, 32. For sheriff, Garrett


M. Blue, 66; John Foster, 29. Davis M. Pendell was elected coroner and Nicholas Hefner and Andrew McMillan county commissioners. John W. Reynolds was appointed school commissioner and Robert Smith and John Blue, assessors.

After the census of 1840, showing a population of 759 inhabitants, the state was apportioned for congressional representatives, giving seven rep­resentatives instead of three, as heretofore.

In 1841, Daniel Barrackman was elected county commissioner; Samuel Boyer, school commissioner; S. S. Mead, assessor; W. G. McDowell was appointed collector and D. S. Ebersol was ap­pointed clerk of the court. At the election held in 1843, the following vote was cast: For Con­gress, John Wentworth, 111; Giles Spring, 66. For county commissioner, Charles Jones, 84; Augustus Fellows, 50. For county clerk, D. S. Ebersol, 122; W. K. Brown, 28. For school commissioner, Samuel Boyer, 136. For recorder, D. S. Ebersol, 121; S. C. Ladd, 16. For probate jus­tice, Truman Rutherford, 82; W. K. Brown, 16. For treasurer, Truman Rutherford, 92; Lyman Bergit, 45. For surveyor, Amos Edwards, 67; Orin Phelps, 39; Franklin Oliver, 38. Mr. Eber­sol resigned as clerk and recorder in June, 1845, and S. C. Ladd was appointed. This county was in the fourth district, which first elected John Wentworth to congress. He was our representa­tive as long as this county remained in that dis­trict. Previous to this, John T. Stuart, of Springfield, had been our representative.

At the special election held in November of this year Andrew McMillan was elected probate justice and also county treasurer and assessor. His opponents were Augustus Fellows and S. S. Mead.

The election in 1844 resulted as follows: For members of congress, John Wentworth, 110; B. S. Morris, 61. For state senator, S. G. Nesbit, 106; G. W. Powers, 66. For representative, James Robinson, 106; E. B. Myers, 63. For county com­missioner, Andrew McDowell, 104; Walter Cor­nell, 65. For sheriff, R. P. Breckenridge, 97; Thomas Sawyer, 71. For coroner, John Blue, 113.

At the presidential election, James K. Polk car­ried the county by 43 votes, receiving 109 votes to Henry Clay's 66. Not a vote was cast for Birney. In 1845, Andrew McMillan was appointed to take the census. His returns showed a popula­tion in the county of 1,011 inhabitants.

At the election held in August, 1845, Murrell Breckenridge was elected county commissioner, Augustus Fellows as school commissioner, S. C. Ladd as clerk and S. S. Mead as coroner. In De­cember following, Mr. Ladd was elected recorder.

The election held in August, 1846, resulted as follows: For governor, A. C. French, 124; T. M. Kilpatrick, 60. For congress, John Wentworth, 124; John Kerr, 58. For representative, James Robinson, 122; Bissell Chubbuck, 42. R. P. Breckenridge was elected sheriff, Charles Jones, county commissioner and John Blue, coroner.

In 1847, Isaac Hodgson was elected commis­sioner and S. C. Ladd, clerk.

In March, 1848, was held an election to vote upon the new constitution and separate articles. The vote stood: For the constitution, 71; against it, 25. For the separate article in rela­tion to colored people, there were 89 votes for and 12 votes against. For the two mill tax, which was intended to pay off the state debt, long past due, there were 71 votes for and 35 votes against.

The regular election held in August, 1847, re­sulted as follows: For governor. A. C. French, 135. For congress, John Wentworth, 108; John Y. Scammon, 62. For senator, William Reddick, 131. Murrell Breckenridge was elected sheriff; Henry Jones, county commissioner, and John Blue, coroner.

At the judicial election held in September fol­lowing, under the new constitution, John D. Ca­ton received 80 votes for supreme court judge; Lorenzo Leland, 77 votes for clerk of the supreme court; B. F. Ridgley, 63 votes for judge of the ninth district; T. Lyle Dickey, 47 votes for judge; Burton C. Cook, 80 votes for state's attorney and S. C. Ladd, 80 votes for circuit judge.

At the presidential election held in November, 1848, the Democrats carried the county, Lewis Cass, the Democratic candidate, receiving 130 votes, and Zachary Taylor, the Whig candidate, receiving 82 votes. But 4 votes were cast for the Van Buren electoral ticket.

At the election held May 20, 1849, M. B. Patty and L. E. Rhodes were elected county commis­sioners. In November following, J. C. McMillan was elected county judge; S. C. Ladd, clerk; James Bradley, county justice of the peace; Franklin Oliver, surveyor; Walter Cornell, school commissioner and Jerome P. Garner, cor­oner. Fifty-six votes were given for township


organization out of a total of 164 votes cast - not a majority. The salary of the county treasurer at this time was $5.00 per year.

The county court under the new organization organized December 31, 1849, with J. C. McMillan as county judge, Philip Rollins and James Bradley as county justices, and S. C. Ladd as clerk.

At a special election held in September, 1850, Murrell Breckenridge was elected county judge. In November following, Henry Loveless was elected sheriff and Joseph Springer, coroner.

At the regular election held in 1852, 379 votes were cast. The vote for secretary of state was: Alexander Starne, Democrat, 209; B. S. Morris, Whig, 161; Erastus White, Anti-slavery, 11. For representatives: C. I. Starlech, 207; C. R. Pat­ton, 203; A. A. Fischer, 156; William Strawn, 26. For state senator, Burton C. Cook, 207; William Paul, 10. D. P. Jenkins was elected state's attorney. We are unable to find a record of the presidential or congressional vote for this year, but it probably did not differ materially from the vote for secretary of state.

The election in 1853 resulted as follows: For county judge, Billings P. Babcock, 243 votes; John Hoobler 133. For county clerk, George W. Boyer, 221; O. Chubbuck, 118. For associate judge, Eli Myer, 278; John Darnall, 228; Jerome P. Garner, 74; D. McIntosh, 4. For treasurer and assessor, Walter Cornell, 272; Philip Rollins, 94. For county surveyor, James Stout, 156; Charles Hustin, 73; Nelson Buck, 58; Amos Edwards, 48; E. B. Oliver, 21. For school commis­sioner, H. H. Hinman, 134; James A. Hews, 118; Eli Myer, 103. At this time, the voting precincts had been increased by the addition of Avoca, Reading, New Michigan and Mud Creek pre­cincts.

At the election in 1854, the county for the first time gave majorities for the Whig and Anti-slav­ery candidates. The vote for congressman was: Jesse O. Norton, 319; J. N. Drake, 207. For rep­resentatives, David Straw, 331; F. S. Day, 317; George W. Armstrong, 201; J. L. McCormick, 185. The vote on county officers resulted as follows: For sheriff, W. B. Lyon, 187; Murrell Brecken­ridge, 133; Jerome P. Garner, 104; M. B. Patty, 69. For coroner, Laban Frakes, 178; Jacob Streamer, 171; Ira Loveless, 118. For surveyor, T. F. Norton, 267; Nelson Buck, 115; I. R. Clark, 80.

In 1855, Walter Cornell was elected treasurer and assessor; H. H. Hinman, school commission­er; I. R. Clark, surveyor; Thomas Croswell, coro­ner. Dwight precinct had been added during this year.

At the election in 1857, Nebraska and Days precincts had been added, the latter embracing what is now Broughton and Round Grove town­ships. This was the last election held under the old county organization, as the township organi­zation went into effect the following year. The vote on township organization was 738 votes for and 40 against. The vote for county officers was: For county judge, Henry Jones, 510; O. Chub­buck, 436. For associate judges, J. P. Morgan, 497; John Darnall, 469; Decatur Veatch, 453; Jacob Angle, 473. For county clerk, S. S. Saul, 525; S. L. Manker, 427. For school commission­ers, J. H. Hagerty, 480; J. W. Strevell, 465. For surveyor, Nelson Buck, 493; James Stout, 444; for treasurer, J. R. Woolverton, 488; James Gib­bons, 447.

Prior to township organization in 1857, there were but ten voting precincts in the county. When the county was organized in 1837, three voting precincts - Indian Grove, Center and Bayou - were established. In 1853, Reading, New Michigan, Mud Creek and Avoca were added, followed by Dwight in 1855 and Nebras­ka and Day's, the latter embracing what is now Broughton and Round Grove, in 1857,

The first county officers under township or­ganization were: county judge, Henry Jones, (Dem.); sheriff, James W. Remick, (Rep.); clerk of the circuit court, Benjamin W. Gray, (Dem.); treasurer, Joseph R. Woolverton, (Rep.); county surveyor, Nelson Buck, (Dem.); school commissioner, James H. Hagerty, (Dem.).

In 1858 occurred the memorable Lincoln-Douglas campaign. There were at that time twenty­-three townships in the county. The county gave a Republican majority of about 200. The vote was: For state treasurer, James Miller, 1,001; William B. Fondy, 789. For superintendent of instruction, Newton Bateman, 998; A. C. French, 790. For congress, Owen Lovejoy, 986; G. W. Armstrong, 794. For representatives, Alexander Campbell, 1,003; R. S. Hick, 1,001; S. C. Collins, 784; William Cogswell, 776. For sheriff, Wil­liam T. Russell, 987; Joshua C. Mills, 806.

In 1859 at a special election, W. G. McDowell was elected county judge, and in November fol­lowing, Philip Cook was elected county treasurer;


I. T. Whittemore, school commissioner, and E. W. Gower, surveyor.

At the presidential election held in 1860, the vote of the county polled was 2,563, of which Lin­coln received 1,475 and Douglas, 1,088. For con­gress, Owen Lovejoy received 1,450, and R. N. Murray, 1,097. The vote for state senator was, Washington Bushnell 1,464; John Hise, 1,074. For two representatives, Andrew J. Cropsey, 1,­474; J. W. Newport, 1,475; Daniel Evans, 1,097; H. H. Brown, 1,092. For circuit clerk, James W. Remick, 1,345; Benjamin W. Gray, 1,229. For sheriff. Edward R. Maples, 1,547; James M. Perry 1,023. For coroner, Thomas Croswell, 1,475; T. B. Norton, 1,043. For state's attorney, C. H. Wood. 927; G. H. Watson, 859; Joshua Whitmore, 829. There were 1,743 votes cast for the constitutional convention and 120 against.

In June, 1861, the unanimous vote of the county was given to Hon. C. R. Starr, of Kankakee, for circuit judge. He remained upon the bench until he resigned in 1866.

In November, 1861, there were three county tickets in the field - Republican, Democratic, and a Union ticket composed of equal number of Republicans and Democrats. The candidates on the latter were elected. The vote stood: For delegates to the constitutional convention, Perry A, Armstrong, 1,153; Alexander Campbell, 1,115. On county officers the vote was: For county judge, Jonathan Duff, 918; N. S. Grandy, 191; W. G. McDowell, 245. For clerk, R. B. Har­rington, 822; J. F. Culver, 511. For treasurer, Samuel Maxwell, 818; J. R. Woolverton, 312; T. W. Brydia, 224. For surveyor, Nelson Buck, 925; T. F. Norton, 403. For school commissioner. J. W. Smith, 1,096; C. M. Lee, 217.

At the November election, 1862, the vote stood: For state treasurer, W. O. Butler, 1,099; Alex­ander Starne, 938. For Congress (at large), E. C. Ingersoll, 1,096; J. C. Allen, 954. For con­gress (Eighth district). Leonard Swett, 1,110; John T. Stuart, 938. For members of the leg­islature, Franklin Corwin, 1,098; Albert Parker, 1,097; A. A. Fisher, 1,085; M. B. Patty, 976; T. C. Gibson, 950; J. O. Dent, 950. This county and La Salle County at that time composed the Eight district. Job E. Dye was elected sheriff and Thomas Croswell, coroner.

In 1863, M. E. Collins was elected treasurer, Nelson Buck, surveyor, and O. F. Pearre, school commissioner.

In the presidential election of 1864, Lincoln received 1,746 votes and George B. McClellan, 1,100. The county went Republican by a majority of 650. The townships of Belle Prairie, Sullivan, Owego, Nebraska, Nevada, Reading, and Rooks Creek gave Democratic majorities. In the county, William T. Ament was elected state's attorney, E. W. Capron, coroner, and Amos Hart, sheriff.

Jason W. Strevell was elected Representative in the General Assembly this year from Livings­ton County, while Franklin Corwin and John Miller were elected from the LaSalle portion of the District.

The election in 1865 was an exciting one. There were two county tickets in the field - the Republican and the Soldiers'. Nearly all the candidates on both tickets were soldiers who had taken part in the late Civil War. The Dem­ocrats throughout the county supported the Sol­diers' ticket. The vote was: For county judge, J. F. Culver, 1,034; James Stout. 575. For clerk, R. B. Harrington, 969; George W, Rice, 840. For treasurer, Hugh Thompson, 1,077; B. F. Hotchkiss, 729. For superintendent of schools, H. H. Hill, 910; Hugh Pound, 895. For surveyor, A. C. Huetson, 1,013; Nelson Buck, 772.

At the election in 1866 the county went Repub­lican by an average majority of 1,100. Over 3,300 votes were cast. William Strawn, Frank­lin Corwin and Elmer Baldwin were elected to the Legislature from this district over M. L. Payne, James Clark and Douglas Hapemar. James H. Gaff was elected sheriff and Thomas Croswell, coroner.

At the judicial election in June, 1866, Charles H. Wood defeated George B. Joiner for judge of the Twentieth circuit.

In November, 1866, William B. Fyfe was elected county treasurer, and A. C. Huetson re­elected county surveyor. A vote was also taken by which the county was to determine whether it would permit cattle to run at large or not, as but few fences at that time had been erected on the various farms. The vote stood 1,249 votes for and 977 against.

At the presidential election in 1863, U. S. Grant received 3,448 votes and Horatio Seymour 2,132. The vote for congressman was, Shelby M. Cullom, 3,447; B. S. Edwards, 2,134. J. W. Strevell defeated Julius Avery for state senator. William Strawn, Franklin Corbin and Samuel Wiley were elected representatives, Mason B. Loomis was elected state's attorney; J. E. Mor­row, circuit clerk, and George H. Wentz, sheriff.


Mr. Strevell, of Pontiac, was the first citizen of the county to be elected to the state senate. At this election 5,595 votes were cast, the average Republican majorities being about 1,320. But four towns in the county gave Democratic major­ities: Nevada, 33; Belle Prairie, 6; Reading, 2; Sunbury, 7.

At the election in 1869, there were three county tickets in the field - Republican, Dem­ocratic and Temperance. The vote was as follows: For county judge, Lewis E. Payson, 1,896; A. E. Harding, 1,126; James Parsons, 108. For clerk, Byron Phelps, 1,806; Robert B. Hanna, 1,224; Eben Norton, 124. For treasurer, Aaron Weider, 1,844; James McIlduff, 1.227; R. G. Morton, 103. For superintendent of schools, H. H. Hill, 1,655; Myron Woolley, 1,182; A. D. Jones, 21. For surveyor, A. H. Huetson, 1,922; Charles Smith, 1,127; James McCabe 105. N. J. Pillsbury, Joseph Hart and George S. Eldridge were elected delegates to the constitutional con­vention from this district (Livingston and LaSalle).

At this election, eight townships voted for or against township subscription to the proposed Fairbury, Pontiac and Northwestern Railroad Company (now the Streator branch of the Wa­bash, running from Streator to Fairbury). The vote resulted as follows; Pontiac, 374 for and 6 against; Indian Grove, 273 for and 211 against; Amity, 90 for and 9 against; Eppards Point, 67 for and 25 against; Newton, 76 for and 49 against; Avoca 65 for and 63 against; Owego, 90 for and none against; Esmen 75 for and none against. The latter township ignored the vote entirely, on the ground that the 75 votes cast were not a majority of all the voters of the town. In November, 1870, John W. Hoover was elected sheriff; J. J. Wright, coroner; R. W. Babcock, county judge. John Stillwell was elected a mem­ber to the Legislature. State's Attorney, M. B. Loomis having removed to Chicago. Gov. Palmer appointed C. C. Strawn to fill out the unexpired term.

In 1871, Aaron Weider was re-elected treas­urer and A. C. Huetson, surveyor.

At the election held in 1872, the presiden­tial vote stood: Grant, 3,110; Greeley, 1,888; O'Connor, 201. For governor, Oglesby, 3,153; Koerner. 2,062: J. G. Strong of Dwight was elected to the state senate and Lucian Bullard of Forrest to the Legislature. The county officers elected were: state's attorney, James H. Funk; sheriff, B. E. Robinson; circuit clerk, John A. Fellows.

At the judicial election held in 1873. N. J. Pillsbury received the unanimous vote of the county for circuit judge and was elected, being the first citizen of this county to receive that honor.

There were two tickets in the field in 1873 - Republican and Anti-monopoly. At the election held in November, the latter swept the county by a majority of nearly 1400. R. R. Wallace defeated L. E. Payson for county judge; G. W. Langford was elected over W. H. Jenkins for county clerk; Joseph Stitt defeated A. G. Goodspeed for treasurer; M. Tombaugh defeated J. W. Smith for county superintendent of schools. Republican majorities were given only in the townships of Pontiac, Indian Grove, Avoca, For­rest, Odell and Eppards Point, and in several townships not a vote was cast for that ticket. In 1874 B. E. Robinson was elected sheriff and E. G. Johnson, corner. In 1875, Joseph Stitt was re-elected treasurer, and B. F. Hotchkiss, surveyor. In 1876, S. T. Fosdick of Chatsworth was elected to the state senate and George B. Gray of Rooks Creek to the Legislature. The county officers elected were: State's attorney, D. L. Merdock; coroner, Darius Johnson; sheriff, B. E. Robinson ; circuit clerk, W. H. Jenkins. In August, 1877, Franklin Blades was elected as an additional county judge, receiving nearly a unanimous vote.

The following are the county officers elected up to the present time:

November 5, 1878: Sheriff, James A Hunter; Coroner, H. E. W. Barnes. November 4, 1879: Treasurer, Arnold Thornton; County Surveyor, D. J. Stanford. November 2, 1880; Circuit Clerk, Zeph Winters; Sheriff, James A. Hunter; State's Attorney, Robert S. McIlduff; Coroner, C. H. Long. November 2, 1882; County Judge, R. R. Wallace; County Clerk, Alvin Wait; Sheriff, S. M. Witt; Treasurer, A. W. Cowan; County Su­perintendent of Schools, George W. Ferris. November 4, 1884; State's Attorney. C. F. H. Carrithers; Circuit Clerk, James A. Hoover. November 2, 1886; County Judge, R. R. Wallace; County Clerk, Alvin Wait; Sheriff, John T. Wilson; Treasurer, Alex. McKay; County Su­perintendent of Schools, G. W. Ferris. Novem­ber 6, 1888: State's Attorney, H. H. McDowell; Coroner, John A. Fellows; Surveyor, D. J. Stanford; Circuit Clerk, James A. Hoover. No-


vember 9, 1899: County Judge, R. R. Wallace; County Treasurer, W. E. Baker; County Clerk, John C. George; County Superintendent of Schools, Henry A. Foster. George F. Kline was appointed Coroner, February 9, 1892. November 8, 1892: Circuit Clerk, Hugh Thompson; State's Attorney, Edgar P. Holly; Surveyor, D. J. Stanford; Coroner, John Zimmerman. November 6, 1894: County Judge, C. M. Barickman; County Clerk, Fred Duckett; Treasurer, James B. Par­sons; Sheriff, Edward O. Reed; County Super­intendent of Schools, C. R. Tombaugh. No­vember 2, 1896: Circuit Clerk, Erastus Hoobler; State's Attorney, Ray Blasdel; Coroner, W. E. Slyder; Surveyor, D. J. Stanford. November, 1898: County Judge, C. M. Barickman; County Clerk, Fred Duckett; Treasurer. E. O. Reed; Sheriff, W. L. Talbott; County Superintendent of Schools, C. R. Tombaugh. Barickman, after serving three years, resigned as county judge and Gov. Yates appointed Fred G. White to the vacancy. C. R. Tombaugh resigned as county su­perintendent of schools in September, 1901, and the board of supervisors appointed W. E. Her­bert in his stead. November, 1900: Circuit Clerk, Erastus Hoobler; State's Attorney, A. C. Ball; Coroner, W. E. Slyder; Surveyor, D. J. Stanford. November, 1902: County Judge, C. F. H. Carri­thers; County Clerk, Fred Duckett; Treasurer, W. L. Talbott; County Superintendent of Schools, W. E. Herbert; Sheriff, C. H. Hoke. November, 1904: Circuit Clerk, R. G. Sinclair; State's At­torney, A. C. Ball: Coroner, W. E. Slyder: Sur­veyor, D. J. Stanford. November, 1906: County Judge, U. W. Louderback; County Clerk, W. W. Kenny; Treasurer, A. L. Mette; Sheriff, James W. Morris.




The county having township organization in 1857, the county commissioners appointed John Darnall, Robert Thompson and Absalom Hallam, as commissioners to lay out this county into townships. The commissioners divided the county into townships, and in 1858 they gave the inhabitants of the carious towns notice that they would meet with them and give them an op­portunity to name the towns in which they re­sided. The township and range, date and place of meeting, and name given the township, are as follows:

Township 27 and 28, Range 3, at home of Sa­lathiel Hallam on January 25 - Nebraska.

Township 29, Range 3, school house in district No. 2. January 26 - Long Point.

Township 30, Range 3, at village of Reading, January 26 - Reading

Township 30, Range 4, at village of New Michigan, January 27 - Newtown.

Township 30, Range 5, at home of T. F. Nor­ton, January 28 - Sunbury.

Township 30, Range 6, at Kyle's school house in District 3, January 30 - Nevada.

Township 29, Range 6 and 7, in village of Odell, January 29 - Odell.

Township 30, Range 7, in village of Dwight. January 30 - Dwight.

Township 29 and 30, Range 8, at house of Ste­phen Potter. February 1 - Round Grove.

Township 27, Range 7 and 28, Range 8, at home of T. W. Brydia, February 2 - Saunemin.

Township 26, Range 7 and 8 and 25, Range 8, at home of Franklin Oliver. February 3 - Oliver's Grove.

Township 26, Range 6, at village of Avoca, February 4 - Avoca.

Township 26, Range 6, at school house on sec­tion 16. February 6 - Worth. (On May 11, 1858, upon petition to the board of supervisors. the name was changed to Indian Grove.)

Township 25, Range 6 and 7, at Walton's school house. February 6 - Belle Prairie.

Township 27, Range 5, at home of Eli Myer, February 8 - Eppards Point.

Township 27 and 28, Range 4, at home of John Johnson, February 9 - Rooks Creek.

Township 29, Range 4, at Springer's school house, February 10 - Amity.

Township 29, Range 5, at home of Apollos Camp, February 11 - Esmen.

Township 28, Range 6, at school house near John Foster's, February 12-Owego.


Township 28, Range 5, at court house in Pon­tiac, February 13 - Pontiac.

At the meeting held in the court house, the commissioners added two more townships. Township 27, Range 4, was separated from town­ship 28, Range 4 (Rooks Creek) and organized under the name of Pike, and township 29 in Range 8 was separated from township 30 in Range 8 (Round Grove) and named Broughton­ville.

Belle Prairie included what is now Fayette, the latter being separated in 1871. Oliver's Grove was composed of the townships now known as Chatsworth, Forrest and Germanville. Saune­min included the townships of Sullivan, Pleas­ant Ridge and Charlotte. Union was a part of Odell until 1864 Waldo was separated from Nebraska in 1861.


INDIAN GROVE. - Was named by Francis J. Moore. The township was first called Worth. Six mouths later it was changed to Indian Grove.

ROOKS CREEK - Named after Frederick Rook, the first settler, who located in that township in December, 1830.

EPPARD'S POINT. - Named after John Eppard, one of the first settlers.

PONTIAC. - Named by Jesse W. Fell of Bloom­ington, after Pontiac, the Indian chief.

SUNBURY. - Named by William K. Brown, who came to this county in 1836, after the town in Pennsylvania where he formerly resided.

ESMEN.-Given its name by Billings P. Bab­cock. who located in that township in 1848. There was quite a strife in the town, Litchfield, Deer Creek and Campville being the names suggested, but Esmen carried the day.

OWEGO. - Was named by Daniel Rockwood, the first settler, for his former residence in New York state.

NEBRASKA. - Named by Reuben Macy, from the then prominence of "Nebraska Bill."

SULLIVAN. - Named after Michael L. Sullivant, the Ford county land king, who also owned several sections of land in this township.

WALDO. - Named by Parker Jewett, from his old town in Maine.

GERMANVILLE. - Named after the German set­tlement in that township.

AVOCA. - Named by the McDowells, who were the early settlers. It means "the meeting of the waters," two branches of the Vermilion river meeting in this township.

BELLE PRAIRIE. - Named by R. B. Harrington. The township at that time was largely Demo­cratic, and some wanted it named Douglas, but a majority decided in favor of its present name.

BROUGHTON. - Named by William Broughton, the first settler in the township.

CHARLOTTE. - Named by Louis W. Dart, after a girl that he courted in Vermont, his native state, in his bachelor days.

READING. - Named after Reading, Mich., although the first settlers came from Ohio.

PLEASANT RIDGE. - Named after a "ridge" or high knoll in the township.

NEWTON. - First settled by people from Michigan. A little hamlet was located in the township, called New Michigan. When the township was organized, it was called Newtown.

LONG POINT. - From the stream and timber in it.

NEVADA. - Named by Stephen Kyle. He had been to the far west in his younger days and had worked in Nevada. When the township was named, he gave it the name it now bears.

DWIGHT. - Was named for Henry Dwight, builder of the Chicago & Mississippi Railroad (now the Alton), who was supposed to have been wealthy, but lost it all in the failure of the road.

Odell. - Was named by S. S. Morgan for Wil­liam H. Odell, chief engineer of the same road when it was built. He died at Braidwood in 1907.

CHATSWORTH. - Was named by W. H. Osborne, former President of the Illinois Central Railroad, for the country seat of the Duke of Devonshire, in Scotland, who was largely interested in that road.

FORREST. - Was named by Mr. Frost, then Pres­ident of the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad, for his former partner, Mr. Forrest of New York. It was first called Forrestville, but later changed to Forrest.

SAUNEMIN. - Given its name by Franklin Oli­ver, after the old sachem of the Kickapoo Indians. Oliver settled among the Indians in the spring of 1832, and knew the chief well.


The following table presents a list of the in­corporated cities, towns and villages of Livings­ton County, with rank and date of incorporation, and population according to census of 1900:


Campus. Village June 10, 1892 226

Chatsworth. Town March 8, 1867 1038

Cornell. Village June 18, 1873 521

Cullom. Village July 28, 1852 456

Dwight. Town March 24, 1869

Dwight. Village July 23, 1872 2015

Emington. Village December 20, 1885 206

Fairbury. Town August 8, 1864

Fairbury. Village February 3, 1890

Fairbury. City March 12, 1595 2187

Flanagan. Village August 3, 1882 509

Forrest. Village March 24, 1874 952

Long Point Village July 27, 1899 284

Odell. Town February 1, 1869

Odell. Village August 5, 1872 1003

Pontiac. Town February 10, 1857

Pontiac. City August 16, 1872 426

Saunemin. Village June 30, 1882 350

Strawn. Village December 1, 1879 224


Scarcely a township in Illinois but contains the site of what was once thought to be a "future great" city, and this state has the unique distinction of possessing more instances of disappointed hopes relative to boom towns than any other in the Union. Illinois was settled more rapidly during the pioneer era than any other state of the middle west, and hundreds of villages were founded which were believed by their enthusi­astic progenitors to bid fair to become the me­tropolis of the west. Now the plow grates upon the forgotten stones of their foundation.

The village of Richmond was once a rival of Pontiac. It was laid out in 1851 for Henry Jones and Henry Loveless, and with prospects of the Chicago & Alton Railroad going through it, it boomed and became one of the most im­portant towns in Livingston County. The railroad, instead, passed two miles to the west and there is no trace of the once populous and thriving village, although at one time there were several stores and shops and a school house erected there.

The village of Avoca in Avoca township, passed out of existence when the town of Fair­bury, three miles south, was laid out in 1857. The little village was laid out in the early 40's. It attracted attention through a revival meeting in which nearly all those who attended were afflicted with the "jerks."

New Michigan, in Newton township, faded away when coal was discovered at Streator, some six miles to the northwest. The little town in the later '50s had the only academy in the county where the higher branches of education were taught.

Sullivan Center, in Sullivan township, ceased to exist after the towns of Saunemin, Chats­worth and Cullom were started. At one time it did a thriving business.

Murphy Station and Norman were two small towns on the Chicago & Paducah Road, between Fairbury and Strawn. The railroad track be­tween the two last named towns was taken up over twenty years ago. Murphy and Norman are now waving corn fields.

The village of Potosi, on the south line of Belle Prairie, was quite a town in the '70s. Not a vestige of the place is left to tell where it once was located.

Zookville and Windtown are two villages of the past. Both were located in Nebraska town­ship. Zookville was located on section 10 and Windtown on section 19. Seymour Thomas for­merly conducted a store at the former place and John Linneman at the latter. Windtown re­ceived its name from the fact that a windmill had been erected there at an early day. A Lutheran church still stands there, and besides having a resident pastor, it has a large congregation.




The first board of supervisors under township organization was elected in April, 1858, the mem­bers and the townships they represented being: Pontiac, William T. Russell; Esmen. W. R. Babcock; Avoca, Aaron Weider; Odell, S. S. Morgan; Nevada, S. H. Kyle; Owego, Daniel


Rockwood; Newtown, Eben Norton; Belle Prairie, V. M. Darnall; Nebraska, Reuben Ma­cey; Broughton, William Broughton; Pike, G. M. Bedinger; Rooks Creek, William T. Garner; Dwight, Isaac G. Mott; Long Point, James P. Morgan; Round Grove, Robert Eldred; Amity, Reason McDouglas; Saunemin, Isaac Wilson; Sunbury, J. O. Corey; Indian Grove, John Cumpston; Eppards Point, Eli Myer; Oliver's Grove, J. T. Hart; Reading, I. S. R. Overholt. Isaac G. Mott was elected chairman of the board at the first meeting held on May 10.

At this session, S. S. Morgan, Robert Eldred and Isaac Wilson were appointed a committee to report a plan for a county jail, with a probable cost for erecting one; J. R. Wolverton was ap­pointed commissioner to sell and convey swamp lands; a proposition to loan the Agricultural Society of Livingston County (Pontiac fair society) $200 until the next meeting of the board in September, at the rate of ten per cent annum, was defeated by 12 nayes to 5 ayes; it was or­dered that hereafter no license for the sale of ardent spirits in this county shall be granted; the sheriff was instructed to procure a chandelier for the court room at a cost not to exceed $50. The board then proceeded to select the following grand and petit jurors for the September term of circuit court, as follows:

Grand Jurors: Francis Moore, R. B. Foster, William R. Manlove, William Ellis, John Garry, D. B. Harlin, Jacob Bussard, David Breckenridge, L. W Richmond, Thomas Campbell, Jeremiah Hoobler, William Farmer, Joseph Finley, A. J. Collins, Robert H. Smith. Samuel Pack­wood, John Currier, Shope Rogers, E. H. Rob­bins, John Veatch, John Harper, Jacob Angle, Daniel Garrach.

Petit Jurors: John Travis, C. M. Lee, Robert Aerl, R. P. Finley. I. P. McDowell, A. J. Ewart, Joshua Mills, Albert Parker, John Lilly, Henry Lundy, E. Breckenridge, William Perry, David Ross, Asa Blakeslee, R. G. Crouch, John Benham, A. A. Streeter, James George, Samuel Hillery, John Ridinger, George Whitlock, Thomas Broughton and Stephen Potter.

At the sessions of the board held during No­vember of the same year, the following resolu­tions were adopted: "That the special com­mittee on swamp lands shall have the power to employ an attorney to commence suit to re­cover lands fraudulently preempted, or to sell at reduced prices such lands to actual purchasers who will undertake to contest the same with the supposed fraudulent preemptors, at the com­mittee's discretion, and that each supervisor be requested to report all such cases that shall come to his knowledge to the chairman of said committee, together with all information he can procure on the subject.

"That one-half of the interest arising from the sale of swamp lands be divided equally among the various towns of this county, for the purpose of constructing roads and bridges.

"That one-half of two successive years’ interest, to accrue on swamp land sales made by the county, be appropriated toward building a county jail.

"That the school commissioner is hereby authorized to appropriate annually, until other­wise ordered by this board, any sum that may be necessary, not to exceed $200, of money that may come into his hands arising from the sale of swamp land, for defraying the expenses of a Teachers' Institute.

"That the board of supervisors will not allow any claims for reduction of the price of swamp land, unless, in the opinion of this Board, such reduction can be obtained by an action at law.

"That the swamp land commissioner be or­dered to make a division of all cash in his hands appropriated to the different towns for roads and bridges, and that he use due diligence to collect all notes now due this county for interest in swamp land sales.

"That S. S. Saul (county clerk) be allowed for service in swamp land matters and extra labor in making up assessments and tag books, and for services connected with township or­ganization, the sum of $40.

"That the school commissioner be required to publish a full report of the total amount of money received from all sources since the first day of October, 1857, to the same time in 1858, together with a statement of the amount paid to each township treasurer.

"That the clerk of the court be requested to pay over to the county treasurer all jury and docket fees now in his hands."

The following orders and matters, also appear of record at this session of the Board:

"On the recommendation of the Committee on Public Buildings, it was ordered that Joseph R. Wolverton, county treasurer, be authorized to procure a safe for his use at a cost not exceeding


$100, and that County Clerk S. S. Saul do what may be necessary to the court house chimneys to prevent their smoking.

"The special committee (Ruben Macey and Aaron Weider) to whom was referred the sub­ject of granting license for the sale of spirituous liquors to John B. Ostrander of Reading town­ship, having consulted together, would recom­mend that no license be granted in the county.

"Ordered that Sheriff James W. Remick be authorized to contract for coal for the use of the county for the coming winter.

"Order that the assessment of money to the amount of $2,200 to John Cumpston, by the as­sessor of Indian Grove, be abated.

"That hereafter no more than $1.00 per foot shall be paid for coffins for paupers.

"Supervisors W. T. Russell, Samuel Kyle, I. G. Mott, S. S. Morgan and William T. Garner were appointed a committee to contract for the building of a suitable jail, the cost of which shall not exceed $8,000, to be paid for out of one-half of the interest to accrue after the first of June, 1859. Said committee shall also employ some one to finish the out-house, and have an or­namental cornice put around it, have the house raised about two feet, and a stone wall put around it. That Nelson Buck, the county sur­veyor, be authorized to put up two stone monu­ments to set compasses by, at his own expense, as per his proposition filed with the clerk of this board, and that the committee to build a jail be instructed to furnish the said Buck with two good stones suitable for the said monuments."

The Committee on Town Accounts recom­mended that the following rates of taxes. on $100 valuation, be assessed on the property of the following towns; Pontiac, 4 cents; Dwight, 7 cents; Avoca, 10 cents; Long Point, 7 cents; Amity,12 cents; Owego, 12 cents; Sunbury, 5 cents; Reading, 7 cents; Indian Grove, Belle Prairie and Eppards Point, 3 cents; Nevada, 2 cents; Nebraska, 6 cents; Saunemin, Esmen and Newton, 4 cents; Oliver's Grove and Broughton, 5 cents; Round Grove, 25 cents; Odell, 6 cents. The amount levied for road and bridge taxes were: Sunbury, 10 cents; Read­ing, 30 cents; Odell, 34 cents. For burial ground, Esmen, Avoca, Long Point and Owego were each assessed 13 cents. After selecting the following to serve as jurors at the March term, 1859, of circuit court, the board adjourned.

Grand Jurors: Long Point, William Eaton; Rooks Creek, Samuel Anderson; Pontiac, David Cox and William Gore; Belle Prairie, Martin Travis, Indian Grove, John Kring; Owego, John Whiteman; Dwight, John Eaton; Sunbury, James P. Headley; Pike, W. L. Woodbury; Amity, Chester Morris; Saunemin, John Smith; Oliver's Grove, Nicholas Wilson; Nevada, R. C. Adams; Round Grove, William P. Johnson; Odell, William Brown; Reading, Samuel Thomp­son; Broughton, Edward Hammond; Avoca, John McDowell; Eppards Point, John Richard­son; Esmen, John Campbell; Newton, Otis Whaley; Nebraska, Daniel B. Kenyon.

Petit Jurors: Long Point, O. B. Wheeler; Rooks Creek, Robert McClellan; Pontiac, H. G. Challis; Belle Prairie, Marion F. Steers; Indian Grove, Isaac Vail; Owego, William Street; Dwight, Nelson Cornell; Sunbury, Andrew Sprague; Pike, Daniel Okeson; Odell, John Har­bison; Amity, Thomas McReynolds; Saunemin, James Madden; Oliver's Grove, John Harper; Nevada, John Thompson; Round Grove, Daniel Mulford; Reading, Peter Kyser and Caleb Mathis; Avoca, J. J. Veatch and John Bodley; Broughton, Thomas Broughton; Eppards Point, A. A. Minier; Esmen, B. P. Babcock; Newton, Walter Cornell; Nebraska, James B. Dakin.

At the sessions held in October, 1859, the fol­lowing orders appear of record:

"Ordered that W. T. Russell build a coal house for the court house at a cost not to exceed $100; that $30 be appropriated to remove one Jacobs, a pauper in Odell, to his friends in Iowa; that the sum of $1,000 be donated to the Livingston County Agricultural Society of Pontiac, to be paid out of the first money received from the in­terest on swamp land sales, not otherwise ap­propriated; that the valuation of the track of the Chicago, Alton and St. Louis railroad in this county be raised to 70 cents per foot, for pur­poses of taxation, in the year 1859; that the name of the town of Oliver's Grove be changed to Chatsworth; that taxes be levied for town ex­penses as follows: Pontiac and Amity, 12-1/2 cents; Nebraska, 6 cents; that the county will pay one-half the expenses of putting the pump in the court house yard in good order, if the people of Pontiac will pay the remaining one-half; that the county taxes for the year 1859 be raised from 30 cents to 35 cents on $100 valuation; a motion to appropriate $300 to re­pair the bridge over the Vermilion river at Pontiac, provided the corporation of Pontiac


shall appropriate a like sum for the same pur­pose, was carried.

The following were elected as jurors for the March term, 1860, of the circuit court:

Grand Jurors: Benjamin Walton, H. H. McKee, John Carlisle, Hiram Young, William B. Lyon, Leander Morgan, Ewin Houchin, Rea­son McDouglas, Aaron Chambers, Samuel Marsh, Israel J. Krack, Philip Clover, George Skinner, Hilliard VanDoren, Joel Anderson, William Forsythe, Eli Myer, Robert Elmore, Edwin Lathrop. Moses Ross, Ansel E. Gammon, C. Eisenhower, William Fugate.

Petit Jurors: William Brooks, Jesse Legg, John Benham, William Joyce, John Hammond, R. F. Norton, M. B. Patty, William Taylor, William C. Johnson, Robert Miller, Benjamin H. Blue, John Dearborn, M. E. McKee, Aaron Weider, William E. Thompson, William Veatch, Orson Shackleton, Samuel Silleck, James McIl-duff, James Whalen, Dudley Laycock, Z. Schwartz, Simeon Dunham and William R. Tan­ner.

At a special meeting held on Tuesday, Novem­ber 29, 1859, it was ordered that a committee of three be appointed to employ a mechanic to sup­erintend the repairing of the court house, same having been damaged by the storm three days previous (see Destructive Storms); that the committee have the repairs made on the original plan, with the exception of a wooden gable on the south end of the building, similar to that on the north end, and that S. L. Frost be employed to superintend the said repairs, and that he employ all the mechanics that can work to an advantage upon the job, until the building is enclosed; that said Frost keep an accurate ac­count of the number of days worked by each hand employed.

At the election held in April, 1860, the follow­ing supervisors were elected: Indian Grove, E. Tracey; Pontiac, Henry Hill; Esmen, W. R. Babcock; Avoca, Samuel Morrison; Odell, Hial Hamlin; Nevada, Robert Thompson; Newton, Otho Pearre; Owego, Daniel Rockwood; Belle Prairie, Jesse Hanna; Nebraska, Reuben Macey; Broughton, James Wray; Pike. G. M. Bedinger; Rooks Creek, William T. Garner; Dwight, Rob­ert Young; Long Point, Edward Allen; Round Grove, Jesse Slyder; Amity, Moses Allen; Saune­min. Truman W. Brydia; Pleasant Ridge, Isaac Wilson; Sunbury, John Gower; Eppards Point, Otis Richardson; Reading, Joshua Mills; Oliver's Grove, William H. Jones.

At the meeting of the Board held May 4 and 5 of that year, the following, among other pro­ceedings, were had:

"That the overseer of the poor in the town of Amity be authorized to advertise for propos­als for the keeping of James Winters, and that he shall give the keeping of the said Winters to the lowest bidder who will give security for his good treatment.

"That the school commissioner be and he is hereby permitted to draw from the school fund $1.00 for each annual visit he may make to all the schools in the county, not more than two visits to be made in one day.

"Jesse Hanna, Hial Hamlin and Moses Allen were appointed a committee to report to the Board at the September term the expediency of establishing a poor asylum, and that they be em­powered to correspond with the board of super­visors of Woodford and Marshall counties in re­gard to the propriety of uniting with them in establishing one common asylum at some central point for three counties.

"Upon the recommendation of the Committee on Town and Town Accounts, it was ordered by the Board that the action of the Board hereto­fore in changing the boundaries of Newton township be reconsidered, and that the Vermil­ion river shall be the line between that town and the town of Reading, as established by the commissioners who divided the county into towns or townships."

Following persons were selected as jurymen for the September term of circuit court:

Grand Jurors: H. M. Gillette, E. L. Stratton, Jeremiah Mathis, Albert Parker, John Lilly, E. Breckenridge, John Hoobler, Louis W. Dart, Robert Eldred, D. W. Young, Hiram Young, E. G. Rice, John Place, R. B. Harrington, Joshua Chesebro, John Lindley, Isaac P. McDowell, John Foster, George Berkley, Jacob Angle, Louis Ken-yon, Job McGuinn, William Broughton.

Petit Jurors: Willard B. Tucker, J. P. Mor­gan, M. M. Trimble, A. H. Boyd, B. P. Wilson, Thomas M. Campbell, Ira Peck, J. W. Day, J. B. Lamb, R. W. Babcock, James Dunham, S. H. Gammon, V. Currier, John Holman, Samuel Hoah, Lanson E. Ross, E. H. Snyder, Charles Crawford, Oliver Smith, G. M. Allison, John Mc­Clerland.

At the September term, 1860, the board of


supervisors divided the township of Nebraska. It was composed of two congressional towns. The northern half retains the original name of Nebraska. while the southern half was called Kansas. (The latter name has since been changed to Waldo).


The total value of all the property in Livings­ton county for the year 1907 was $84,181,185, the total assessed value being $16,836,277 - the full value being five times the assessed value. The amount of taxes assessed in the county for the year 1858 was but $36,244.93. In 1907 it was $519,253.57. A comparison of the taxes for these years will probably be of interest, as shown by the following:


Waldo $9,672.08

Nebraska 16,256.68 $1,696.68

Long Point 12,321.26 1,143.68

Reading 11,453.14 241.99

Pike 9,931.44 948.38

Rooks Creek 11,600.21 689.96

Amity 14,623.74 1,172.07

Newtown 9,184.07

Eppards Point 10,365.44 1,630.02

Pontiac 79,020.27 3,078.42

Esmen 9,219.37

Sunbury 9,981.08 1,352.44

Belle Prairie 6,192.56 1,678.85

Indian Grove 35,958.08 1,242.17

Avoca 9,095.59 1,958.49

Owego 10,152.07 1,465.63

Odell 23,431.89 3,843.22

Nevada 8,264.28 826.55

Fayette 7,398.65

Forrest 18,651.17

Pleasant Ridge 8,091.16

Saunemin 14,970.75 1,985.46

Union 8,181.29

Dwight 32,820.71 1,645.78

Germanville 5,655.32

Chatsworth 19,806.17 1,498.51

Charlotte 8,859.53

Sullivan 16,455.19

Broughton 9,869.01 345.15

Round Grove 16,611.72 1,631.64

Total $464,103.93 $36,244.93

Railroads 53,393.10

Telegraph and Telephone. 1,756.45

Total $519,253.5

The total taxes extended for the year 1907 were as follows: State, $84,235.83; county, $67,355.23; town, $14,143.86; road and bridge, $71,092.27; corporation, $63,261.43; township high school, $15,308.31; district school, $191,733.16; district road, $8,889.19; dog tax, $2,971; back tax, $263.29.-Total, $519,253.57.

The railroad taxes for 1907 were; Chicago and Alton, $18,021.36; Wabash, $14,390.03; Kankakee and Southwestern (Illinois Central), $7,122.33; Toledo, Peoria and Western. $4,220.06; Santa Fe, $2,913.98; C. I. & S., (formerly the Three I.) $4,978.15; Bloomington, Pontiac, and Joliet (electric line) $1,747.28.-Total, $53.393.19.

Telegraph and telephone, $1,756.45.


Prior to township organization (1857) the taxes in this county were collected by the sheriff, who was ex-officio collector. The county at that time was none too well settled, and the roads to the county seat at Pontiac were few and far between. To accommodate the settlers, the sher­iff would mount his horse, take the books and visit every precinct, remaining two days. The taxes on unimproved tracts in 1857 were as fol­lows: 160 acres, $5.14; 320 acres, $10.27; 640 acres, $20.54. The last sheriff to perform this task was James W. Remick, who, during January, 1858, made the rounds as follows: Reading precinct, at the store of D. B. Shackleton; New Michigan, at the store of Collins & Dice; Mud Creek, at the home of Andrew Sprague; Dwight, at the store of David McWilliams; Day's, at the home of Sylvester Potter; Avoca, at the office of W. G. McDowell; Indian Grove, at the home of John Darnall; Bayou, at the home of the late Joseph Reynolds; Nebraska, at the home of Moses Hopwood; during the month of February at the office of the sheriff in Pontiac. Persons not quite familiar with the numbers of their lands, were "requested to bring their title papers or old tax receipts, as this will facilitate busi­ness." The delinquent tax list published in June, 1858, showed that 1,427 persons had failed to pay their taxes on farm lands, due to the panic and poor crops.


COMMON LAW CASES. - On the January (1908) docket of common law side of the circuit court, there were 146 cases against 170 a year ago and


112 two years ago. On the May docket there were 168, against 144 a year ago and 119 two years ago. On the October docket there were 184 cases, 158 a year ago and 139 two years ago. The January (1908) docket contained 31 new cases against 69 the year before; the May docket, 70 new cases against 40 a year ago, and the October term 43 new cases against 60 a year ago. The January (1909) common law docket contained 48 new cases.

CHANCERY CASES.-The January docket con­tained 175 cases against 186 a year ago and 144 the year preceding. On the May docket there were 208 and 104 the year before that. The October docket contained 160 cases, while that of the same time in 1907 contained 144 and 157 the year previous. During the year 1908 there were 95 new cases instituted on the chan­cery docket, with 98 in 1907. On the January docket there were 34 now ones, on the May docket 28 and on the October 33. The January (1909) docket contained 22 new chancery cases.

The new cases started on the chancery docket during 1908 are as follows: Divorce, 33; remove ????, 7; partition, 8; foreclosure, 15; quiet title, 10; miscellaneous, 19; injunction and relief, 1; accounting, 1; specific performance, 1. Total, 95.

CRIMINAL CASES.-The number of indict­ments returned during the year shows a slight falling off over the number returned during 1907. The total number of indictments returned by the several grand juries of 1908 was 79, while that of 1907 was 89.

The indictments returned during the year are as follows: Malicious mischief. 8; burglary and larceny. 14; larceny, 3; forgery, 2; assault to murder, 2; habeas corpus, 2; attachment, 8; false imprisonment, 1; assault with a deadly weapon, 5; confidence gain, 2; arson, 1; con­spiracy, 1; criminal appeals, 4; robbery, 1; as­sault to kill, 2; selling liquor to minor, 1; selling liquor without license, 7 ; manslaughter, 1 ; debt, 1; homicide, 1; false pretenses, 1; murder, 1; embezzlement, 2; violation of medical practice act, 1; gaming, 5; abduction, 1. Total, 79.

DISPOSITION OF CRIMINAL CASES.-On the crim­inal side of the circuit court the following cases were disposed of in the manner mentioned: Verdict of not guilty, 10; nolle, 6; indictments quashed, 2; fined on a plea of guilty, 6; fined for contempt of court, 2; sentenced to county jail, 10 -i.e.- killing dog, 1; larceny, 4; assault with deadly weapon, 3; assault to rape, 1; malicious mischief, 1; sentenced to Reformatory -i.e.- burglary and larceny, 1. Sent to asylum for criminal insane, 1. Sentenced to the peniten­tiary, 10 -i.e.- burglary and larceny, 4; confi­dence game, 1; arson, 1; robbery, 1; embezzle­ment, 2; abduction, 1.

DAYS OF COURT.-During the year 1907 circuit court was in session 288 days. The October term was the longest of all, it being in session 144 days. The longest session last year was that of the October term, which was in session 46 days. The total number of days during which court was in session during the year 1908 was 113.

DIVORCES.-1902 -3 6 granted; 8 dismissed; 1903 - 41 granted; 34 continued; 1904 - 24 grant­ed; 51 continued; 1908 - 21 granted; 8 dismissed. 1906 - 25 granted; 6 dismissed; 1907 - 47 grant­ed; 51 continued; 1908 - 21 granted; 8 dismissed.

WORDS TRANSCRIBED.-The number of words transcribed on the criminal docket during the year 1908 shows an increase of 27 per cent over 1907; the common law shows a decrease of 6 per cent, and the chancery an increase of 25 per cent.

INSTRUMENTS FILED.-The total number of in­struments filed during 1908 was 3,231, while a year ago there were 3,364 filed and two years ago 4,071, which was the highest since 1902, when 4,007 instruments were filed for record in the office. The following gives the number of instruments filed during the year 1908 and in what month they were filed: January, 245; Feb­ruary, 431; March, 504; April, 250; May. 253; June, 256; July, 194; August, 223: September, 219; October, 211; November, 172; December, 273.

The following is a summary of filings made in each year during the past seven years: 1902, 4,007; 1903, 3,301; 1904, 3,370; 1905, 3,870; 1906, 4,071; 1907, 3,364; 1908, 3,231.

NATURALIZATIONS.-The matter of becoming a citizen of the United States has become much more difficult during the past two years than formerly, on account of the new laws placed in effect. On this account the number of naturali­zations, of course, is lower, but foreign born residents are becoming better acquainted with the law, and the applicants are increasing. During the year 1908, four persons recieved their final papers in Livingston County as against one a year ago; 33 declared their intentions of be­coming citizens, against 22 a year ago. Eleven


have filed their petitions for final papers against four a year ago.

CORONER'S INQUESTS. - During the year 1908, Coroner W. E. Slyder conducted twelve in­quests as follows:

Martha A. Handley, Pontiac, April 15, shock superinduced by falling into cistern.

John E. Brown, Dwight, April 27, killed by cars.

Frank Cichowlas, Dwight, May 14, killed by cars.

Michael Zaropewski, Cullom, May 23, heart failure superinduced by old age.

Emil Honegger, Wing, June 8, injuries re­ceived by fall from wagon.

Paul Glinn, Reading, June 16, accidental drowning.

W. H. Brace, Pontiac, July 4, run down by freight train.

Ephraim Dockham, Pontiac, July 8, gunshot wound, self-inflicted.

A. H. Haag, Cullom, July 28, gunshot wound.

Carl Dahlback, Flanagan, November 1, burned to death while sleeping in residence of Albert Park, which was destroyed by fire.

Samuel McCauley, Dwight, August 2, killed by cars.

Mary Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, Pontiac, Decem­ber 11, heart disease.

MARRIAGE LICENSES.-During the year 1908, County Clerk W. W. Kenny and his deputies is­sued 282 marriage licenses, against 276 in 1907 and 313 in 1906. The banner month was Feb­ruary, when 39 licenses were issued, while Jan­uary and December were close on its heels with 26 and 35, respectively. May was at the foot of the column, with but eight licenses issued. The following is the number of licenses issued during the year month by month: January, 36; February, 39; March, 17; April, 14; May, 8; June, 30; July, 12; August, 18; Sep­tember, 22; October, 25; November, 26; Decem­ber, 35.

BIRTH RECORD - The total number of births in the office of the County Clerk from 1, 1908, to September 1, 1908, is 362. Of this total 176 were boys, 195 were girls, while sex of one was not reported. Of the total, 356 are reported as white and 6 colored. Of the parents of the children, 239 of the fathers gave their place of birth as Illinois, 21 as the United States, 42 as foreign born while the birthplaces of fifteen are not given. Of the mothers, 254 were born in Illinois and 27 gave their place of birth as the United States, while 31 were born in foreign countries.

WILLS PROBATED. - In the county clerk's office during the year 1908, there were 56 wills filed for probate, as follows: January, 3; February, 3; March, 6; April, 6; May, 5; June, 6; July, 7; August, 10; September, 3; October, 3; Novem­ber, 2; December, 2.

COUNTY AND PROBATE COURT. - On the probate docket in the court of Judge U. W. Louderback there appear 144 cases during the year 1908. Of this number 19 were insanity cases, 1 was for adoption, while the remainder were for appoint­ment of guardian, conservator, executor. etc.

On the law docket, criminal side, there ap­peared thirty-six cases, as follows: Incorrigible, 2; dependent, 3; larceny, 3; delinquent, 3; as­sault with a deadly weapon, 2; criminal libel, 2; miscellaneous, 3; selling liquor without license, 4; selling liquor to minors, 5; appeal, 4; scire facias, l. On the common law side there ap­peared twenty-nine cases, as follows: Appeal. 9; condemnation, 1; miscellaneous, 8, assumpsit, 5; rights of property, 1; attachment, 3: confession,

THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE. - Sheriff J. W. Morris and his deputies report a very busy year during 1908. In the matter of serving papers relating to suits in courts, etc., the work is increasing greatly from year to year. During the year there have been 251 prisoners under the care of the sheriff. The largest number at any one time was 37 and the smallest number was 7. Dur­ing the year, 6 prisoners were taken to Joliet to serve sentences in the penitentiary, 3 were taken to the Reformatory. 1 to the institution for the criminal insane at Chester, 12 to Kankakee Asy­lum, 2 to Bartonville, 2 to St. Charles, and 1 to the state institution for dependent girls at Gen­eva. During the year 117 prisoners served jail sentences.






The first regular term of circuit court was held by Hon. Samuel H. Treat, in the spring of 1840, in an old log cabin erected by Henry Weed in the fall of 1832, on the bank of the Vermilion river, east of Williams' mill. The jury held its delib­erations on a lot of saw logs which lay on the bank of the river. Nicholas Hefner officiated as sheriff and James Campbell as prosecuting attorney. The log cabin cannot be what is pro­perly termed a court house nor the saw-logs a jury room any more than the Odd Fellows' hall, Dehner's hall or the Methodist church could be so called, because the courts were held there while the present court house was being built in the years 1874-75.

The first court house building was erected in Pontiac in 1839-40. Messrs. Henry Weed, Lucius Young and Seth Young were the owners of the townsite of Pontiac, and entered into an agree­ment with the county commissioners to donate a block of ground on which a suitable building should be erected for that purpose. They also agreed to give the county the sum of $3,000, an acre of land not more than thirty rods from the court house for the erection of a jail and an estray pen, and to build a good and substantial bridge across the Vermilion at or near that point. The commissioners accepted the proposition of the Messrs. Youngs and Weed, and they gave bond for their faithful performance of the contract, signed by themselves as principals, and C. H. Perry, who was the first merchant in the county, James McKee, who was then part owner of the mill property, and Jesse W. Fell, as sureties.

On December 3rd, 1839, the county commis­sioners entered into a contract with Messrs. Weed and the Youngs for the construction of the court house, which was to be 20x30 feet, two stories high; to be built and completed within twelve months after "there is sufficient rise in the Vermilion river to allow the proprietors of the saw mill to put said mill in operation."

John Foster, who arrived here in 1836, was the builder, and the price agreed upon was $800. The building was erected in due time, being completed in 1841, and occupied for the first time July 23rd, 1842. It was a very modest and unpretentious affair, but fulfilled every require­ment in those days, and there was no dissatisfac­tion expressed. The building was removed to the lot on which now stands the First Methodist church, in 1856, to make room for a larger and more pretentious one, as the county had settled up rapidly.

Court was held in the old building and it was regularly used until the new one was completed. After the completion of the new building, the old one was used for many years as a school house and, in the late '60s, was used as a city hall and headquarters of the volunteer fire depart­ment. When the Methodist church bought the property, the old court house building was re­moved one block east, where it was transformed into a dwelling house, and a few years ago it was again placed on rollers and moved to the northeastern part of the city on Hazel street, and is now occupied as a dwelling. The frame of the old structure is still in a good state of preservation.

Judge Samuel H. Treat of Springfield, who afterwards became quite a noted man, presided as judge in this court house, as did also Judge Edwin S. Leland of Ottawa, one of the leading lawyers of Illinois for some time afterwards.

During this period, only a few lawyers were located in Pontiac, most of the attorneys coming from Bloomington and Ottawa. Simeon DeWitt and McGregor and Dart were the leading attor­neys of Pontiac at that time.


The second court house was erected in Pontiac in 1856, at a cost of $14,000. After the building was completed, there was considerable dissatis­faction manifested by the people, not alone in Pontiac, but all over the county. It was built of brick, and many thought it larger and more expensive than necessary. It was openly charged at the time that the building could have been erected for less than $10,000, provided the pro­posals were put in the usual form. Besides being the court house, it was used for entertainments of all kinds, including traveling companies, and many people who afterwards became famous as entertainers before the people of the country have given exhibitions there. The court room was used as a hall, and those denominations of Christians without houses of worship, found it a


very convenient place to hold their services. Like the preceding court house, all public meeti­ngs of citizens were held within its walls, as were also the exhibitions given by the public schools of Pontiac, many of the scholars, who are now considered old settlers of the county, making their debut before the public there. In one room was located the Pontiac post office, while some of the practicing attorneys occupied the offices in the building not occupied by regularly elected officials.

After the Civil War the county began to settle up rapidly, and it was soon realized that the building was all too small and insignificant look­ing for a county which was now certainly des­tined to be one of the leading in the state. Lo­cated on the southeast corner of the square were the closets in connection with the building. This was an eyesore to every one in the county, and particularly so to the citizens of Pontiac who lived near the square, and when the build­ing burned to the ground on July 4th, 1874, a large majority of the citizens of Pontiac viewed the ruins with feelings of joy and gladness.

While this court house was being erected Judge Lee, one of the prominent men of the county and who held the office of county judge, planted the trees in the yard which at the present time are so much admired by our citizens and visitors to the county seat. The Judge secured the services of Luke Jordan, who still resides in this township on a farm west of the city to assist him. The judge and Mr. Jordan repaired to the timber on the bank of the river and selected the trees and in time they were duly planted. The trees were planted in straight rows along the sides of the square while on the inside they were scattered about promiscuously. They were planted thick, and as they grew in size they shaded the yard completely. On the day the court house burned, most all of the trees on the east and north side of the building were destroyed, but those on the west side were saved and stand to-day as a living monument to the great foresight of Judge Lee and his valued assistant, Luke Jordan. Judge Lee and Luke Jordan never received a word of thanks or a word of mention from the county officials in those days - in fact, the people of that time (1856) made light of their efforts and they were ridi­culed for their trouble. How different it is to-day! And when it is generally known who did this great work for posterity, the people will surely extend their heartiest blessing.


All three of our court houses have been erected on the square bounded by Main, Madison, Mill and Washington streets. After the fire of July 4th, 1874, court was held in the basement of the Methodist church (since destroyed by fire), Deh­ner's hall (which has been entirely remodeled) and the Odd Fellows' hall on South Mill street. All the records of the various offices were saved from the fire and remain to this day intact. The various offices of the courts were distributed about town and business went on as usual in a few days after the fire occurred. The work of re­building the court house was immediately begun after the fire, and in nearly a year's time It was ready for occupancy. The building committee appointed by the board of supervisors to take charge of the work, consisted of James E. Morrow of Pontiac; Captain W. S. Sims of Pontiac; C. G. Greenwood of Charlotte; Edsom Wilder of Waldo; Jacob Phillips of Newton; and Colonel James B. Parsons of Dwight. To these gentle­men the people of Livingston county owe a debt of gratitude for the honest and conscientious dis­charge of an onerous public trust. If the board was wise in the selection of the plans, their wisdom did not then leave them, for, through their building committee they held the contractors to the exact line of their contract, permitting no changing of plans for the sake of increasing their bills. They started out with the motto, "No extras allowed here." and hung to it faithfully. They had, particularly Messrs. Morrow and Sims, who resided in Pontiac at that time, both of whom are now dead, who gave constant and care­ful examination of the work, seeing every piece of timber which went into the building and inspect­ing the work daily. The board of supervisors at once advertised for plans. Ten plans were offer­ed, the estimated cost of which ranged from $35,­000 to $65,000. The most difficult portion of the committee's labor was to decide which of the plans ought to be accepted; none of them answered the requirements exactly. A building was wanted which would accommodate the increasing popu­lation of one of the largest counties in the state, a county which at that time, it was thought, would soon be inhabited by over 75,000 people. Another difficulty was found in the fact that the blocks in the city of Pontiac are so small that


the proposed building would constantly be in danger of fire from the surrounding buildings. This fact, not generally known, called for ad­ditional thousands to render the building fire­proof. The selection of the plan furnished by Architect J. C. Cochrane, of Chicago, was the result of long and careful study, and a belief that while it cost more money it was the only one which for size. fire-proof qualities and solid­ity, would answer the purpose, and was, indeed, in the matter of taste and elegance, much in advance of any other, which, with the assurance from the architect that the building could be put up for less than $70,000, settled the question.

On the second day of October, 1874, the con­tract for the building was let to Colwell, Clark & Co., of Ottawa, upon good and sufficient bond signed by the Hon. Washington Bushnell. The work was at once commenced, and with the ex­ception of the three winter months, was con­stantly pushed to completion. The supervisors accepted the court house from the contractors an Friday, November 5, 1875, and the building was thrown open to the public on Saturday afternoon. As there was a large crowd in Pontiac during the afternoon the building was filled by an ad­miring throng. (See cut of Court House.)

A description of the building and grounds as it stands to-day would not be amiss in these pages. The right hand front is the west side of the building, having an extreme length, from the corners of the corner towers, of 140 feet. The left hand front is the north end, being eighty­-six feet. The east and south fronts are identical with those in view. The height to the top of the flag-staff is as follows: Basement, 9 feet; first story, 17 feet; second story, 26 feet; and above this, including attic; approach to the belfry, look­out, dome and flag-staff, 98 feet; total 150 feet.

The exterior of the building presents a beauti­ful and neat appearance. Six feet of the base­ment is of stone; above that to the eaves, is of pressed brick, with cut stone corners and win­dow trimmings, the brick work painted and tuck­-pointed. The cornices and protections of dormer and roof windows, as well as the corners of the roof, are of galvanized iron, neatly painted in stone colors, which when first completed were capped with fancy iron fence work. The roofs are slate. All the work around the windows of the dome is of galvanized iron, and presents the appearance of cast iron.

The basement is divided into numerous large rooms for the use of boilers, storing coal, and for extra vaults for records. In the basement on the south is located an elegant rest room for the women, while at the north end is located the toilet rooms for the men.

The ground story is approached by stone steps leading through the porticos into the main halls, which are ten and twelve feet wide, respectively. Passing in at the north door we have on the left, first, the county clerk's office and its vault; sec­ond, the board of review's office and vault, these two occupying the northeast quarter of the build­ing opposite; occupying the northwest quarter are the offices of the county judge and state's attorney. The southwest quarter of the building, consisting of two large rooms and a vault, is occupied by the circuit clerk's office. The southwest quarter of the building, consisting of two large rooms with vault and closet, is occupied by the sheriff and county treasurer. These eight main offices are about 20x40 feet, and are beautifully light­ed, are high, and the doors are all wood work, neatly trimmed with heavy black walnut moulding. The vaults are thoroughly fire-proof, the windows being protected by heavy iron shutters, and the entrance by steel doors. Passing from the north, and passing the county court room, you meet the broad winding stairs by which you reach the second story at the north door of the large court room, one of the finest court rooms in central Illinois. There is also a similar flight of stairs leading to the south door of this room. The stairways are wide and nice, finished in ash and walnut, the wainscoating being in pine and walnut. The court room occupies the center of the building and is 46x78, and 25 feet high, with three windows in either end, which are about 5x20 feet, giving a pleasant light from the east and west, with no noon-day sun. The judge's bench is on the east side, with the desks of the sheriff and clerk adjoining on the south.

The court stenographer's desk adjoins the judge's bench on the north in close proximity to the witness stand, while the seats for jury are just next, being separated by a railing. The seats occupied by the jury are models of excel­lence and very comfortable.

The bar occupies about twenty feet of the space in front of the bench, the remainder of the room being seated on the floor with up-to-date opera chairs. Just back of the auditorium are the sleeping rooms of the jurymen, in which are placed twelve iron beds. North of the court room


the space is divided into two large rooms for the use of the grand and petit jurors and supervis­ors, and four small rooms for the use of the court stenographer, juries and witnesses. South of the court room are, first, the ante-room and then the library and judge's room. Just across the hall is located the office of the county super­intendent of schools.

A more admirable division of space could hardly be made. All these rooms are fitted up in the very nicest style in hard wood finish. The entire building is now lighted with electricity, but when it was first occupied gasoline was used.

When the building was completed, the com­mittee intrusted with the work of purchasing fur­niture contracted with A. H. Andrews & Co. of Chicago, for black walnut furniture to supply the entire building and the seats for the court room for $3,485. They also contracted with J. David­son of Joilet for stone walks from the gates to the steps. Since that time, however, the benches in the court room have been replaced with up-to-­date seats and the furniture and fixtures in the various offices have been taken out and removed, and in their stead now one finds modern equip­ment. The stone in the yard has been taken up and cement walks have been added, greatly beautifying the square.

The building cost, including furniture and heat­ing apparatus and gas lighting, when accepted from the contractors, in round numbers, $75,000. Only $50 was allowed for extra work.

A singular commentary on the building is, that no sooner was it accepted and paid for, than the contractors were called into a court of bank­ruptcy. It is believed that they lost $15,000 on the job.

In 1906, the board of supervisors passed a resolution forbidding the use of the building for public assemblies and conventions, which had been in vogue ever since the completion of the first court house.

Court convened in this court house January 3rd, 1876, the following officers of the court being present: Nathaniel J. Pillsbury, Judge; James A. Fellows, Clerk; James R. Wash, Deputy; Benja­min E. Robinson, Sheriff, and James H. Funk, State's Attorney

The first trial before a jury was held on Jan­uary 5, 1876, it being an appeal case in forcible entry and detainer - Isabel Harbison vs. Christian Stine. R. S. McIlduff and L. G. Pearre of Dwight were the attorneys for the plaintiff, while S. S. Lawrence and C. C. Strawn appeared for the defendant. The jury was composed of the following gentlemen: A. G. Goodspeed, Charles Chalker, J. H. Beaks, Edward Tucker, Samuel McCormick, David Wright, Thomas C. Kidder, Alexander Algoe, Jacob Vreeland, W. B. Tucker, L. K. Wescott and A. C. Roelts. W. E. Baker, the present city collector of Pontiac, and one of the early settlers of the county, was the first wit­ness sworn to testify in behalf of the plaintiff. The case had not proceeded far when Judge Pillsbury ordered a recess of a few minutes that a picture could be taken of the assembly, which was done. A very few of the photographs are now in possession of the original owners.

The following is the present official list of Livingston County:

Circuit Judge, Hon. George W. Patton; County Judge, Ulysses W. Louderback; State's Attorney, Bert W. Adsit; County Clerk, W. W. Kenny; deputies, J. F. Langford and Fred Dewey; Cir­cuit Clerk, J. G. Whitson; deputies, Fred Lud­wick and Carl Scatterday; County Treasurer, Albert F. Mette; deputy, Lewis S. Henderson; Sheriff, James W. Morris; deputy, W. H. Patter­son; Court Bailiff, James H. Gaff; Coroner. W. E. Slyder; County Surveyor, D. J. Stanford; Super­intendent of Schools, W. E. Herbert; assistants, Alice Herbert and Gertrude Gregg; Master-in­-Chancery, Herbert E. Torrance; Court Steno­grapher, Miss Ada Herbert.


Although Livingston County was organized in 1837, not until 1866, just thirty years later, was a jail constructed and ready for occupancy. Previous to this time, all persons arrested in the county for a crime were taken to Bloomington and lodged in the jail there. The exterior of the building was quite attractive and presented the appearance of being one of solidity. It was two stories high, 35x50 feet upon the ground, and was built of massive stone, the walls being eighteen inches thick, and cost the county some­thing near $32,000. The interior was divided into two portions, the front of the building being occupied by the sheriff and his family, but many years later the family quarters of the sheriff were moved into a substantial brick house ad­joining the jail on the west, and that portion altered and made into rooms for women, boys and the insane.

The rear portion was divided into cells, twelve


in number, six below and six above, with an iron staircase leading to the upper tier. The floors and ceilings were of stone, the furniture of the cells was of iron, and the building was thoroughly fire-proof. The windows were pro­tected by heavy double iron grates. The entire accommodating capacity was twenty-four in­mates, and the prisoners were allowed to mingle together freely during the day and have ample exercise in the corridors. Notwithstanding the solid appearance of the building outwardly, the interior was faulty in construction and many prisoners confined therein made their escape, some of them never after being heard from. Those defects were remedied at intervals at no small cost to the taxpayers, but prisoners made their escape just the same and continued so to do until the jail was partially torn down and remodeled during the year 1906-07 at a cost of over $30,000. An additional story was added, separate apartments for the insane, women and boys also provided, the whole being made sanit­ary throughout.




There are 240 miles of railroad in Livingston County, more than any other county in the state, with the exception of three. There is not a place in the county that is over six miles in a direct line from a railroad track, or over eight miles from a station.

The Wabash railroad has the largest mileage in the county, sixty-five and one-half miles, of which thirty-six and one-half miles are on the Chicago branch and twenty-nine miles on the Streator branch. The Chicago branch enters the county at the northeastern corner and crosses the entire eastern portion of the county. The sta­tions along this line are Campus, Cardiff, Eming­ton, Scovel, Saunemin, Wing, Forrest, Risk and Strawn. The Streator branch extends from Streator to Fairbury, from which point the trains use the road-bed of the T. P. and W., connecting with the main line at Forrest. The stations on this branch are Manville, Cornell, Rowe, Pontiac, McDowell, Lodemia, Fairbury and Forrest.

The Illinois Central has sixty-two miles of its road in Livingston County. The Kankakee branch, or Middle Division, extends through the center of the county from east to west, thirty-six miles. The stations on this line are Flanagan, Graymont, Rooks Creek, Pontiac, Swygert, Rugby, Eylar, Spires, Scovel and Griswold. This line joins the Bloomington branch at Kempton Junc­tion, near the county line. The Bloomington branch runs in a southwesterly direction through the southeastern part of the county, twenty-six miles. The stations in the county on this line are Cullom, Charlotte, Chatsworth, Risk and Rosalthe.

The main line of the Chicago & Alton Rail­road, crosses the county in a southwesterly dir­ection from Dwight to Chenoa, twenty-nine miles. The Peoria branch runs along the northern edge of the county from Dwight to Streator. Twenty-­two and three-fourth miles of this branch are in this county. The stations on the main line in the county are Dwight, Odell, Cayuga, Pontiac and Ocoya. The stations on the Peoria branch are Nevada, Blackstone and Smithdale.

The Indiana, Illinois & Iowa Railroad, a short line running from Streator, Ill., to South Bend, Ind., passes through the county from Streator to Reddick. Thirty miles of its line are in this county. Its stations are Missal, Budd, Adams, Sunbury, Dwight and Wilson.

The Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad, passes in almost a due east and west line through the southeastern part of the county, a distance of eighteen miles. Its stations in this county are Fairbury, Forrest and Chatsworth.

The line of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad crosses Livingston County diagonally in the northwestern part, passing through the townships of Reading and Long Point, the total length of its main tracks in the county being fourteen miles. Its stations in Livingston Coun­ty are Reading, Ancona and Long Point.




Prior to 1871, Pontiac had one private bank, but there was urgent need of a national bank in the county, and in the spring of 1871 several of the citizens of Pontiac made an application to the bank department for starting a nation­al bank there, under a new law to equalize the distribution of currency. The permit was granted, after some skirmishing as to who should have control of it. On the 24th of April, 1871, the organization was effected by the elec­tion of the following directors: Elbridge G. Keith, J. L. Woodward, and Henry Greenebaum of Chicago; Joseph M. Greenebaum, John Deh­ner, William B. Lyon, Stephen C. Crane, Joseph F. Culver and Jacob Houder of Pontiac. At a subsequent meeting of the directors, Elbridge G. Keith was elected president; Joseph M. Greeuebaum, vice-president; Henry G. Greene­baum. cashier, and D. C. Eylar, teller. The capital stock of $50,000 was all paid in and on Monday July 3, 1871, having received their cur­rency from Washington, the Livingston County National Bank opened its doors to the public. All of these officials, with the one exception of D. C. Eylar, are dead. In time, Mr. Eylar be­came president of the bank and served as such until 1908, when he was superseded by Curtis J. Judd, of Dwight, who now holds the majority of the stock. The present officials are: Curtis J. Judd, president; J. M. Lyon, cashier; Eras­tus Hoobler, vice-president; board of directors: E. Hoobler, D. M. Lyon, C. J. Judd, A. C. Nor­ton, A. Fischer, J. M. Lyon and James A. Hoover.


During the years 1872-73, business of all kinds was good in Pontiac and the surrounding coun­try. Some of the leading business men of the community got together and circulated a peti­tion to start another national bank. The capi­tal stock was soon all subscribed for and at a meeting of the stockholders held on Tuesday, March 24, 1874, for the purpose of effecting a permanent organization, elected the following officers:

President, James E. Morrow; vice-president, Lester E. Kent; cashier, Ogden P. Bourland; board of directors, James E. Morrow, L. E. Kent, Albert Lawrence, Joseph C. Morrison, Billings P. Babcock, Dr. S. E. Holtzman and O. P. Bourland. All of the first officials of the bank, with the exception of two, O. P. Bourland and S. E. Holtzman, are dead. On April 3, 1874, the National Bank of Pontiac opened its doors to the public. O. P. Bourland has been with the bank from the day it opened its doors and is now president, James T. Croswell is vice-president; C. R. Tombaugh, cashier; board of directors: O. P. Bourland, J. T. Croswell, S. A. Rathburn, H. Landauer, C. A. Rollins and C. R. Tombaugh.


The Pontiac State Bank was the first bank organized in Pontiac to receive its charter from the state of Illinois. The organizers were among the leading financiers and business men of Pontiac, which assured its success from the start. The bank was organized in January, 1899, with a capital stock of $30,000, the stock­holders all residing in Pontiac. At the first meeting of the stockholders David S. Myers was elected president; C. W. Sterry, vice-presi­dent; W. F. Van Buskirk, cashier, and the fol­lowing board of directors: C. W. Sterry, D. S. Myers, Harriet Humiston, A. M. Legg, C. E. Legg and W. F. Van Buskirk. Since the bank was first organized but two changes have been made in the officials, A. M. Legg being elected vice-president on the death of C. W. Sterry, and William J. Butler advanced to cashier on the resignation of W. F. Van Buskirk, in 1907. The present officials are: D. S. Myers, president; A. M. Legg, vice-president; W. J. Butler, cash­ier; Charles E. Myers, assistant cashier; board of directors: Mrs. H. Humiston, C. E. Legg, A. M. Legg, John S. Murphy. D. S. Myers, S. F. Slyder, Dr. Charles H. Long.


The Illinois State Savings Bank was organ­ized in Pontiac, on May 12, 1903, and opened its doors for business on the 15th day of June. At the first meeting of the stockholders, E. M. Johnson was elected president; A. W. Cowan and H. G. Greenebaum, vice-presidents; M. H. Greenebaum, cashier; Jacob C. Greenebaum, as­sistant cashier; board of directors: R. S. McIlduff, E. M. Johnson, A. W. Cowan, A. C. Nor­ton, Dr. J. A. Marshall, H. G. Greenebaum, E. O. Reed, J. C. Greenebaum, Rudolph Fox and M. H. Greenebaum. Since the organization of


the bank, no changes have been made in the officials.

The pioneer bankers of Pontiac were Duff and Cowan, who commenced business in the early '60s. In 1870 this firm met with reverses and the bank was closed. James E. Morrow was appointed receiver, and a few years later settled with every depositor in full.

Joseph F. Culver and his brother, Charles, were also among the pioneers in the banking business in Pontiac, commencing business in the early '70s. During the panic of 1877, the firm closed its doors, and shortly afterwards an amicable settlement was made with the credi­tors.

Since 1877 there has not been a bank failure in Pontiac. During the panic of 1893-94, there was not a dollar withdrawn from the bank, and its effects were in no ways noticeable in this com­munity. During the financial flurry of 1907-08, the people had no fears as to the safety of their money and every bank in the city paid every check in full, not one of the four banks putting a limit on the amount to be withdrawn, as was done in many places all over the state of Illinois. All four banks are conducted along conservative lines and have the confidence of the entire community.


Prior to the advent of railroads in this part of the state, mail was received in the post offices es­tablished in the home of one of the settlers in each township. The principal mail routes in an early day were the ones from Danville to Ottawa and from Danville to Bloomington. What few mails were then brought to this part of the country were brought on horseback, and though postage was three to five times what it is now, the mails were carried for a very small salary. The postboy, with his fleet horse and shrill horn to apprise the community of his approach, has become almost legendary, his place having been usurped by the steam horse and his fiery driver.

Among the first to carry the mail on the Dan­ville-Ottawa route was William K. Brown, who came to this county in 1836 and located in the northwest corner of Esmen Township. It took him a week to make the trip. The only post offices in this county at that time on his route were New Michigan, Sunbury, Pontiac, Avoca and Oliver's Grove. He died on the old home­stead in 1850.

Martin A. Newman was the first mail carrier on the Ottawa-Bloomington route. This was as early as 1837. At that time he was living in Ottawa. The country between these two places was but sparsely settled, there being but two post offices in this county on his route at that time, one at Pontiac and one in Newton Town­ship. He moved to this county in 1850 and in June of that year laid out the town of New Michigan, where he erected a store and engaged in merchandising, later moving onto his farm in Newtown Township.

George W. Rice, who located in Esmen Town­ship in 1847, was also carrier on this route for many years. He moved to Pontiac in 1872, and since that time has been engaged in the furniture business.

In June, 1869, a mail route was established from Pontiac east to Clifton, Iroquois County, the post offices supplied in this county being Owego, Saunemin and Sullivan Center. Jeremiah Sylvester was the first carrier, leaving Pontiac on Tuesday and Clifton on Wednesday.

In September, 1871, a weekly mail route was established from Pontiac to Minonk. Miles Calkins was the first carrier.

James H. Nichols was postboy from 1851 to 1854, starting in at the age of fifteen years. He carried the mail from Ottawa to Oswego, Peoria and Bloomington, by way of Pontiac and Indian Grove. He did not become a resident of this county until 1875, when he removed to McDowell.


It has been but a few short years since the rural residents of Livingston County have been placed in touch with the city through the med­ium of rural free delivery of mail, yet the new order of things has grown so rapidly into the every-day life, that it would be difficult, indeed, to readjust their affairs and manner of living to the old system, were the postoffice department to suddenly order the discontinuance of rural free delivery. The first route established in Livingston County was in 1900, out of Fair­bury, William E. Smith, being the first carrier, who mode his initial trip September 1. Fifteen days later, Ford B. Johnson started out of Pon­tiac, covering a route of twenty-five miles, and at present there is scarcely a rural home in the entire county that is not reached every day by the rural letter carrier, placing the farmer who resides twenty miles from a postoffice on an


equal footing with the resident of the county seat, so far as keeping in touch with the affairs of the world are concerned. The introduction of rural free delivery has had the effect of dis­continuing a few minor postoffices in the county, but the volume of mail handled through the postoffice department for farmer residents has been vastly increased. Put into plain figures, it is hard to grasp the vast growth of the rural free delivery system of the county since its es­tablishment eight years ago.


Following railroad construction, came the con­struction of telegraph lines, partly as an al­most indispensable and, in railway operation, largely as a commercial enterprise. Now all railroad towns and some towns remote from railways have telegraph service. From the first introduction of the telephone in Livingston County in 1884, its growth, considering the great advantages to be derived, was slow, in­deed. The first exchange was established in Pontiac, but was a failure, and the system was abandoned. It was owned by local capitalists, who sold the plant at a sacrifice. About 1890, the Central Union Telephone Company secured control and commenced to install its system, and had full control of all the lines in the county un­til 1900, when the different farmers' lines were organized. The Independent Telephone Company was given a franchise in 1906, and one year later commenced the installation of their sys­tem, which was completed and ready for serv­ice during the month of March, 1908, Pontiac being the only point at present where both the Bell and Automatic phones come in competi­tion. Commencing in 1900, the development of the farmers', or rural lines, has been rapid. Lines now cover the entire county, penetrating even to otherwise isolated neighborhoods and affording immediate communication between se­questered farm houses and the centers of trade, finance and manufacture. The telephone has brought about a merging of city life and country life, that has materially benefited the towns and brought the people of rural districts into touch with the bet elements in the commercial, finan­cial, social and intellectual life of the cities




Livingston County has no cause to feel proud of its political record, inasmuch as not one of its native sons was ever called upon by any political party to fill any office within the gift of the people higher than that of Congressman - ­Lewis E. Payson serving five terms from this district, being first elected to that position in 1881.

From the earliest settlement of the county in 1830 to the advent of the Chicago and Alton Railroad in 1854-'55, the population was small, the newspapers were few and poor, electioneering was almost entirely by personal solicitation and public address. Previous to 1857, the county was about evenly divided between the Whig and Democratic parties, and a politician in those days doubtless knew by name every voter in the county, and for the Legislature and other local offices people voted largely on their personal liking for the candidate, but as the population became larger and the political questions be­came more exciting, the voters clung more tena­ciously to their party. This was eminently so during the war and the period immediately fol­lowing, but as the war passions cooled, party al­legiance slackened and independent voting, es­pecially in local elections, became more common.

Although Livingston County was organized as a county in 1837, the settlement was slower than almost any other county in this section of the state, notwithstanding the fact the other coun­ties were not organized until some years after­wards. At the first election held in the county in August, 1838, but 108 votes were cast, there


being but three election precincts in the county - Indian Grove, Center (Pontiac) and Bayou.

Not until 1856 was there anything of a polit­ical nature in Livingston County worth record­ing. Previous to that time, the people always voted for what they considered the best man, but the county was now advancing, and in 1857 the proposition to organize by townships was carried by a large majority.

After the Republican State Convention in Bloomington in 1856, the Republican party was organized in Livingston County. James Stout, a radical Abolitionist, and a rising young attor­ney of Pontiac, was one of the leaders, while Orlando Chubbuck, Walter Cornell, William B. Lyon, Decatur Veatch, Jason W. Strevell, S. L. Manker, James W. Remick, W. G. McDowell, Joseph Wollverton, Eli Myer, John Dehner, Edwin R. Maples, Charles L. Paige, George Olmstead, John R. Wolgamott, Aaron Weider, Thomas Crosswell, David McWilliams, Robert Aerl, Jerome P. Garner, Ira Lovelace, George W. Boyer, William R. Fyfe and Andrew J. Cropsey were always prominent in the councils of the party and leaders in the various town­ships at that time.

The Democratic party was well organized in the county about this time, all of the county officials and post-masters being members of that or­ganization. They were men of prominence and were among the early settlers of the county, in­cluding such men as V. M. Darnell, John Foster, Philip Rollins, Samuel C. Ladd, Jonathan Duff, A. E. Harding, Otho Pearre, Morris Johnson, Captain Morgan L. Payne, J. W. Youmans, Darius Johnson, William M. Brooks, Hugh McKee, William Spence, Jonathan Moore, Judge Henry Jones, T. W. Brydia, Caleb Patton, John L. Marsh, Robert B. Amsbary, Rufus W. Bab­cock and A. W. Cowan.

At the Republican State Convention held in Bloomington in 1856, there was a small repre­sentation from Livingston County in attendance, and when these returned. efforts were at once made to perfect a party organization and to es­tablish a newspaper which would represent their views. The following year the paper was estab­lished (The Pontiac Sentinel) the money for the purchase of the material, etc., being subscribed by the leaders of the party throughout the county.

At this state convention, Abraham Lincoln was the guiding spirit, delivering what is now termed the famous "lost speech," that rose to the heights of prophetic power, so carrying the audience away by his eloquence that the reporters, en­tranced, forgot to take notes.

Those present at the convention from this county brought back an entirely different ver­sion of the "lost speech," which has never here­tofore appeared in print. While the speech in its entirety had the hearty approval of everyone present from the county, it was thought by a majority of the delegates present from all over the state, that the speech was too radical and would only result in the breaking up of the party at once. The reporters present were ap­proached about the matter and agreed to destroy their notes of the speech, which was done, mention only being made of the proceedings of the convention.

In 1856, Livingston County was in the Third Congressional district, which was composed of the counties of Will, Kendall, Grundy, LaSalle, Putnam, Bureau, Livingston, Iroquois, Ver­milion, Champaign, McLean and DeWitt. On July 2 of that year the Republican convention met at Ottawa to nominate a candidate for Congress. Owen Lovejoy of Princeton, was nominated, his opponents being Leonard Sweet of Bloomington, and Jesse O. Norton of Joliet.

The northern part of the district was settled principally by northern people, who were strong­ly anti-slavery of the Lovejoy type. The south­ern part was settled largely from the South. Its anti-slavery opinions were more conserva­tive than those of Henry Clay. Lovejoy was what might be called a constitutional Abolition­ist. He did not believe with William Lloyd Gar­rison that the constitution was a covenant with the devil and a league with hell, but that prop­erly interpreted, it was a document of liberty, while his principal opponent before the conven­tion, Leonard Sweet, represented the conserva­tive element in the party. A bolting convention was called to be held at Bloomington on the 16th of the same month, and Judge T. Lyle Dickey of Ottawa, was nominated and a committee for an active canvass was selected. In the evening, there was a ratification meeting held in that city, which was addressed by Churchill Coffin of Peru. Judge Dickey and General Gridley. General Gridley was the last speaker to address the meeting and denounced Lovejoy as an Abolition­ist, nigger thief, etc., and the meeting was de­clared adjourned, but immediately Lovejoy was


called and to the surprise of the audience, who did not know he was present, he took the stand. He had spent his life in the advocacy of an un­popular cause, often speaking before unfriendly and hostile audiences. He quickly proved him­self an unrivalled orator. He acknowledged that the General Government had no power to interfere with slavery in the States, but claimed it had full control over that subject in the terri­tories, that the fugitive slave law ought to be amended by giving the fugitive the right to testify and the right of trial by jury. As to being a "nigger thief," he said if by that was meant that he went to Kentucky or Missouri and induced slaves to run away, it was false, but "if it is meant when men and women come to my door and ask a crust of bread, a cup of water and point them to the North star, and I have had women come as white as your wife or mine, if you mean by that charge that I did give them bread and drink and point them to the land of liberty, if that is what you mean, I plead guilty." Then rising to the full height of impas­sioned eloquence and power, appealing to his audience, he said, "And who of you would not do the same?" The hearty applause showed that the appeal to the better nature of his audience had been successful. His speech was a masterly effort, the greatest of his life and had an elec­tric effect upon his hearers. It was intensely dramatic, full of wit, declamation and pathos.

It killed the bolting convention, which was never heard of afterwards, and nearly all who participated in it became ardent supporters of Mr. Lovejoy. During the campaign following, Mr. Lovejoy visited this county and addressed the people from a platform erected in the court house yard. Pontiac has since then heard Doug­las, Lincoln, Ingersoll, Tilton, Carey, Tillman, the great masters in public speaking, but never such an orator as Owen Lovejoy. Lovejoy car­ried Livingston County in 1856-'58 and '60, always by good majorities.

At the election held in Livingston County on Tuesday, November 3, 1857, the Democrats elect­ed every member of their ticket, with the one exception of Joseph Woolverton of Reading Township, who defeated his Democratic oppon­ent, James Gibson of Newton Township, for county treasurer, by a majority of 41. Henry Jones was elected county judge and Jonathan Darnell and J. P. Morgan assistant judges, defeating Orlando Chubbuck, Decatur Veatch and Jacob Angle, Republicans. S. S. Saul was elect­ed county clerk, defeating S. F. Manker; James H. Hagerty defeated Jason W. Strevell for school commissioner, while Nelson Buck de­feated James Stout for county surveyor.

In 1855 George W. Boyer was elected as a Republican to fill the office of county clerk. His health failed him and, instead of putting in a Republican as deputy, gave the office to S. S. Saul, a Democrat. thereby weakening the party to a great extent. Such an oversight enabled the Democrats to make capital out of the office. The swamp lands came into market, and all the energy of Saul, Jonathan Duff, A. E. Harding and others, was put forth to curry favor with the Republicans, knowing that their party was a minority in the county. It succeeded admir­ably, for the Republicans went down to defeat with the one exception noted.

At this election, there were but ten voting precincts in the county. With the total number of votes cast they were as follows: Indian Grove, 104; Avoca, 148; Center (Pontiac), 260; Mud Creek, 58; Bayou, 33; New Michigan, 88; Reading, 129; Nebraska, 18; Dwight, 84; Day's, 24.

The following spring there was a noticeable split in the Democratic party in the county, the administration wing headed by Jonathan Duff, postmaster at Pontiac, C. M. Lee, ex-­County Judge, and C. J. Beattie. The Douglas wing was headed by Samuel C. Ladd, Drs. Johnson, Perry and Hulsey, Messrs., E. B. Oli­ver, and F. H. Bond. The administration wing secured control of the convention to nominate candidates for township offices, the first to be elected under township organization in the county. Judge Duff was nominated for super­visor; John W. Chappel for town clerk; Sam­uel McCormick for tax collector; C. M. Lee for assessor; Dr. G. J. Sweet for overseer of the poor; A. A. Eylar, Philip Rollins and Nelson Buck, commissioners of highways; Jacob Stream­er and Philip Rollins, justices of the peace; E. C. Jones and A. J. Platt, constables. The Re­publicans presented a solid front and succeeded in electing their entire ticket, with three excep­tions - justice of the peace, one commissioner of highways and one constable. Judge Duff was defeated. The split in the party at the county seat extended throughout the county, and at each succeeding year thereafter the party pre-


sented a divided front on the day of election and went down to defeat by large majorities.

After the township elections throughout the county came the Lincoln-Douglas campaign throughout the summer and fall. The Republi­cans were thoroughly organized from one end of the county to the other, and were rapidly re­ceiving recruits from the democracy. Sena­tor Douglas addressed his followers in Liv­ingston County at Pontiac on August 19th, and was followed on September 21st by Owen Love­joy.

At the election in November the Republicans carried the county by good majorities, Richard­son S. Hick of Ancona being elected Representa­tive from this (then the 43d) district. This was the third time that a citizen of this county was elected to either house of the General As­sembly, Andrew McMillan being the first in 1842, Judge Eli Myer, the second in 1844, Will­iam T. Russell was elected sheriff and Dr. Thomas Croswell, coroner, while Lovejoy was given a good majority.

The county convention to select delegates to the State and Congressional conventions was held in Pontiac, June 3, 1858. The State con­vention was held in Springfield and the Con­gressional in Joliet. William Russell, C. J. Beattie and Jerome Garner were selected for the State convention and Isaac G. Mott, Philip Cook and George W. Boyer to the Congression­al. Jason W. Strevell, Jerome P. Garner, Charles J. Beattie, Philip Cook and John R. Wolgamott were appointed as the County Cent­ral Committee. The following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

"Resolved, That the Republicans of Living­ston County stand with unwavering fidelity up­on the platform and principles adopted at the conventions which assembled in Philadelphia and Bloomington; that we regard those princi­ples as best adapted to the general welfare of the whole country, without regard to local or sectional differences.

"Resolved, That we heartily endorse the hon­orable and fearless course pursued by our faith­ful Senator in Congress, the Honorable Lyman Trumbull, and those Republicans who acted with him in opposition to the Lecompton and other Democratic frauds.

"Resolved, That the attempt to prostitute the national judiciary to the support of the institution of slavery, through the means of ex­tra judicial decisions, deserves the condemna­tion of all honest men."

The convention of the anti-slavery or Aboli­tion party was held in a grove near Bruce, La Salle county, on July 3, 1858. The conven­tion was large and earnest, and characterized by great unanimity of views and feelings. It was not a political meeting, and was not called either to endorse or oppose any political party, but to give expression to the great cardinal truths of democracy according to the true mean­ing of that much-abused word. The convention was organized by choosing Moses Rummery, president, and H. H. Hinman, secretary. The following resolutions were presented and adopted:

"Resolved, That the immediate and entire abolition of slavery throughout the United States is the constitutional right and most imperative duty of the general government.

"Resolved, That the government of the United States, as at present administered, is in direct antagonism with the principles upon which it was founded and the purposes for which it was instituted, and every principle of justice, every impulse of humanity, and every instinct of self-­preservation demands that it be radically re­formed or utterly abolished.

"Resolved, That we repudiate all compro­mises with slavery, and every settlement of the slavery question other than by its immediate and entire abolition are an `agreement with hell and a covenant with death,' and we pledge our­selves to labor unceasingly until liberty is pro­claimed throughout the land to all the inhabi­tants thereof.

"Resolved, That until the people of Illinois shall wipe out their foul black laws, and secure personal liberty to all fugitive slaves, they are directly responsible for the existence of slavery with all its inhuman wrongs.

"Resolved, That a religion that has no remon­strance against slavery, and no real sympathy with the slave, is a gross caricature of Chris­tianity and deserves the execration and contempt of all believers in Christ."

The convention then listened to an able ad­dress by I. G. Mott on the general aspect of the slavery question. He was followed by Mr. Buckley in a good speech, after which the meet­ing adjourned to partake of a very good dinner, which had been made ready in the adjoining grove. After dinner, the resolutions were taken


up separately and discussed, and Otis Richard­son made a very able and excellent speech, fol­lowed by William B. Fyfe, Rev. M. Harker, Mr. Buckley and Mr. Mott.

On Saturday evening, July 31, 1858, the first Republican club was organized in Livingston County at Pontiac. John Dehner was ap­pointed chairman of the meeting and E. R. Maples, secretary. The object of the meeting was stated by the chairman, and on motion the "Lincoln Republican Club" was adopted as the name of the organization. The following named persons were then duly elected permanent offi­cers: President, John Dehner; vice-president, Joshua Whitmore; secretary, E. R. Maples; as­sistant secretary, George W. Boyer. On motion, a committee of five was appointed by the chair to confer with the different townships in the county and to perfect a more thorough organiza­tion of the Republican party, whereupon the chair appointed the following gentlemen such committee: Jerome Garner, C. J. Beattie, John R. Wolgamott, George W. Boyer, Joshua Whitmore.

At a meeting of the Republicans of Avoca held at the school house Tuesday evening, Aug­ust 24, 1858, for the purpose of organizing a club, Thomas G. McDowell was called to the chair, whereupon the meeting proceeded to elect officers, and the following gentlemen were chosen: President, Aaron Weider; vice-president, J. Barr; secretary, W. G. McDowell; township committee, T. H. O'Neal, R. B. Foster, M. Weider, M. Pearson, J. L. Crull.

On Saturday, August 21, 1858, the Republi­cans of Livingston County met at the Court House in Pontiac to nominate delegates to at­tend the assembly convention to be held at Ottawa on Thursday the 26th. A. J. Crop­sey was elected chairman and Philip Cook, secretary. The following delegates were re­ported present: Dwight - I. G. Mott, John Eaton, O. Van Vrankin, Lewis Kenyon. Eppards Point - Otis Richardson, Thomas Virign, D. W. Young, Thomas B. Cartwright. Pontiac - John Dehner, C. J. Beattie, R. D. McDonald, Philip Cook, E. R. Maples, H. G. Challis, Joseph R. Woolverton, Delos Robinson, J. W Strevell. Belle Prairie - R. B. Harrington, B. Walton. Long Point - Orlando Chubbuck, Thomas Mills, C. Zeilman, James Albright. Indian Grove - A. J. Cropsey, William Mitchell, Decatur Veatch. Rooks Creek - William T. Garner, R. W. McClelland, William Johnson, D. M. Breckenridge. Sunbury - Isaac Ames, Enos Thatcher, William B. Fyfe. Reading - C. R. Kyser, E. Evans, D. S. Byers, Jeremiah Mathis, William Stacy. Avoca - Aaron Weider, S. G. Crull, R. B. Foster, J. C. Dever, William Virgin, Perry Wallace. Newton - John Hoobler, C. M. Follett, Otis Wheeling, Michael E. Collins, C. G. Cusick. Nevada - Samuel H. Kyle. Amity - ­Joseph Blake. Richardson S. Hick received the endorsement for representative, was nominated and elected. The delegates chosen were Orlando Chubbuck, I. G. Mott and C. J. Battie.

At a meeting called by the Republicans of the town of Rooks Creek held in Ruggle's school house, August 28, 1858, the following gentlemen were elected to act as officers of the Rooks Creek Republican Club: President, William T. Gar­ner; vice-president, D. M. Breckenridge; secre­tary, R. W. McClelland; committeemen, Joseph Smith, R. D. Clark, F. Gorbett, William John­son and James Marks.


The first county election was held on May 2. 1859, for the purpose of electing a County Judge to fill the vacancy caused by the removal of Judge Henry Jones from the county. W. G. McDowell of Avoca was nominated by the Re­publicans and Charles M. Lee by the Democrats. The campaign was bitterly fought and was personal in the extreme. McDowell was elected by a majority of 39.

The county convention to nominate candi­dates for County Treasurer, School Commis­sioner and Surveyor met at the court house in Pontiac on August 27, 1859. Dr. C. M. Follett of Newton was chairman, and R. B. Harring­ton secretary. Every township was represented, and Philip Cook was nominated for treasurer, Rev. I. T. Whittemore for school commissioner, and Eben W. Gower for surveyor.

The Democratic county convention met in Pontiac on Saturday, September 10, 1859. T. W. Brydia of Saunemin was elected chairman, and George W. Blakesley secretary. J. S. Gumm was nominated for county treasurer, T. F. Nor­ton county surveyor, and A. E. Harding school commissioner.

The election resulted in a victory for the Re­publican ticket. Cook receiving 119 majority, Whittemore 112, and Gower 56.



The Republicans of Livingston County met in convention at Pontiac on Saturday, April 21, 1860, to select four delegates to attend the state convention to be held at Decatur on May 9. The convention was largely attended, delegates being present from every township in the county. J. W. Strevell, A. J. Cropsey, R. P. Morgan and William Gagan were selected as delegates, and the following resolutions were adopted:

"Resolved, That Abraham Lincoln is the choice of this convention for President of the United States.

"Resolved, That the Hon. Leonard Sweet of Bloomington is the unanimous choice of this convention as their candidate for Governor.

"Resolved, That this convention endorses in full the course of Owen Lovejoy, our represen­tative in Congress.

"Resolved, That Lyman J. Trumbull's course as United States Senator from this state meets with our unqualified approbation.

The news of the nomination of Abraham Lin­coln for President of the United States was re­ceived in Livingston County with unbounded enthusiasm. As soon as the news came over the wire, the Republicans of Pontiac commenced congregating in the court house square, an anvil was secured from Challis' blacksmith shop and one hundred times did it boom forth over our prairies, each time carrying with it the enthu­siastic shouts of the Republicans. Evincing that a brighter day would yet dawn on our country, as soon as the first glorious shock had subsided, it was agreed on all hands that a ratification should be held at the court house in the even­ing. The boys "shelled out" liberally, and at an early hour the court house presented the appearance of a solid blaze, illuminated in every nook and corner, many people living away from the square supposing the building to be on fire, rushed to the scene. But the light of the candies was not all that added slendor to the occasion The court house was full of spirited Republicians, whose greatest difficulty was to suppress the outbursting of overflowing feelings. Speeches worthy of the occasion were made by Jerome Garner, J. W. Strevell, R. B. Harrington and "Uncle" John Dehner, who was president of the meeting. The following resolutions were adopted:

Resolved, That we endorse in full the plat­form and nominees of the National Republican Convention.

"Resolved, That in the selection of our chief­tain the convention expressed our first choice and greatest desire."

The resolutions were greeted with the wild­est enthusiasm, and after three loud and long cheers for "Honest Old Abe," the meeting ad­journed. In the meantime, a large bonfire had been kindled at the northwest corner of the square, and it was far into the night before the celebration was over.

The next evening, a Young Men's Republican Club was formed by electing Dr. Thomas Cros­well president; George W. Wolgamott and J. P. Garner, vice-presidents; M. E. Collins and John A. Fellows, secretaries; John Dehner, treas­urer; and H. G. Challis and Fred Joerndt, stew­ards.

A Republican club was organized in every township in the county at once, and prepar­ations were made to carry on the campaign.

The club in Esmen Township was composed of the following gentlemen as its officials: Wil­liam R. Babcock, Samuel Kirkpatrick, Mr. Van Valkenburg, B. P. Babcock, James Day, Henry D. Marsh, C. W. Sterry, and Aaron Ross.

The officials of the Dwight Club were R. P. Morgan. Jr., J. G. Strong, W. H. Bradbury, John Staff and Jared B. Moss.

Indian Grove organized with the following officials: R. B. Amsbary, J. L. McDowell, Aaron Weider, J. F. Blackburn, R. G. Crouch, C. N. Baird, S. P. Kimball, W. G. McDowell, A. J. Cropsey, Decatur Veatch and William Bull.

Charles Hallam, Robert McKee, James Bradley, Liberty Louderback and James McKee were the officers of the club in Amity.

Thomas Mills, E. L. Stratton, Frederick Ver­ner, officiated at Long Point.

T. B. Craycroft, A. H. Wagner, J. P. Stanard, Bishop Young and George Birch were officers at Ocoya.

The Republican county convention to nominate candidates for circuit clerk, sheriff and coroner and to select delegates to the congressional, senatorial and representative conventions met in Pontiac on Monday, June 18, 1860. S. L. Manker, of Pontiac, was made chairman, and E. J. Udell secretary of the convention. A. J. Cropsey of Fairbury was selected as Livings­ton County's choice for representative from the


district and was allowed to select his own delegates. Mr. Cropsey selected R. P. Morgan of Dwight, Joshua Whitmore, J. W. Strevell and William Gagan of Pontiac. David McWilliams of Dwight, Decatur Veatch of Indian Grove, J. W. Strevell and Philip Cook of Pontiac were selected as delegates to the congressional con­vention, and instructed to cast their ballots first, last and all the time for Owen Lovejoy. The following gentlemen were placed in nomination for circuit clerk: John R. Wolgamott and James W. Remick of Pontiac, G. S. Glenn of Dwight, William B. Lyons of Reading, and R. B. Har­rington of Belle Prairie. Mr. Remick received the nomination on the fourth ballot. Edwin R. Maples was nominated by acclamation for sheriff. Dr. Darius Johnson was placed in nomination for coroner, but having recently be­come a convert to Republican principles, stated that he desired to serve the usual period of pro­bation before aspiring to office, and nominated Dr. Thomas Croswell, which nomination was made by acclamation.

A ratification meeting of the Republicans of Livingston County was held in Longnecker's Grove in Sunbury Township on Saturday, June 23, 2,000 people being present. Early in the morning Pontiac seemed astir, everybody appar­ently partaking of the enthusiasm, and many up to that moment who calculated upon remain­ing at home, changed their minds and com­menced looking around in search of a convey­ance. The procession from Pontiac was as­sembled and arranged in regular order under the direction of Joshua Whitmore, who was selected as marshal of the day. The great feat­ure of the Pontiac procession was a large flat boat, built for the occasion under the superin­tendence of Job E. Dye, which was arranged on a wagon bed. The boat was fitted up with seats capable of accommodating about thirty persons, in which was seated the glee club under the direction of Messrs. Olmstead, Stanard, Brucker and Daman, who enlivened the ride by singing appropriate songs.

A splendid American flag was flying from a flagstaff placed in the center of the boat, a rail-­fence being neatly fitted midway upon the staff. The boat was twenty feet long, on the sides of which was painted in large letters. "Lincoln and Hamlin, 1,000,000 of rails, Old Abe's Boat," and on the rudder the words, "Our way is clear." Job Dye and Seymour Bennett navi­gated the concern safely to the place assigned for the meeting. The procession was quite lengthy, and with numerous flags and banners thrown to the breeze, made quite a brilliant ap­pearance upon leaving town. The time of departure was about 8 o'clock, and after a pleasant ride of over three hours across the prairie, the Pontiacers came in sight of the grove, where they were joined by the Nevada Republican Club, who were drawn up in wait­ing. They had a very fine banner on which was inscribed "Nevada Republican Club, Lincoln."

In a few minutes after starting from this point, the delegates were met by Messrs. Fyfe, Gower and Cummings, who came out to meet and escort them to the grove. Arriving on the grounds, three rousing cheers were given by the cast assemblage for Lincoln and Hamlin and the whole Republican ticket.

The Esmen and Sunbury clubs were on the grounds in full force, having arrived some time in advance of the Pontiac Club. The energy and determination of the Sunbury people were visible in the excellent manner in which their arrangements were completed, and a debt of gratitude was certainly due them from every friend of the Republican cause. It required no trifling amount of labor to prepare the grounds, arrange the tables, erect a splendid platform, and decorate it in the manner in which they did. But whatever may be due to the gentle­men of Sunbury for their efforts, the ladies of the town and vicinity, upon whom the heavy burden fell of preparing an excellent dinner for the multitude present, deserved a double amount of thanks. It was no small task for a thinly-settled town like Sunbury to feast a crowd such as was assembled on that day, and the example they set is really worthy of all praise. The committee who had charge of the affair were Asa Blakeslee, Isaac Ames, Eben Wicks, Eben Gower, assisted by their ladies.

Washington Bushnell, of Ottawa, was to have addressed the gathering, but he failed to show up and the Hons. A. J. Cropsey and J. W. Stre­vell were substituted to address the people at the forenoon meeting. After these gentlemen were through, the crowd then adjourned to two monstrous tables, each 125 feet long, ranged side by side and completely loaded down with the good things of life, and everyone went away satisfied, sufficient being left to supply another meeting. Other prominent speakers of the


county addressed the afternoon meeting, the proceedings of which were greatly enlivened by the singing of the Pontiac Glee Club, the whole audience joining in on the chorus.

On Monday, July 16, 1860, the Republicans of Pontiac held a grand ratification meeting. The meeting in the afternoon was addressed by the Hon. Leonard Sweet, of Bloomington, and was held in a grove where now stands the homes of Mrs. C. W. Sterry and Dr. Charles H. Long. During the meeting the Bloomington "Wide Awakes," under Captain Brown, arrived in town and were met by the marshals and escorted up to the grounds where Mr. Sweet was speaking, and upon their arrival three rousing cheers were given by the audience for them, which were returned by the "Wide Awakes" in three more for Abe Lincoln.

The Pontiac Glee Club under J. W. Daman sang a spirited campaign song, after which the Bloomington "Wide Awakes" followed suit with another. Mr. Sweet ceased speaking during these proceedings but recommenced immedi­ately after, and continued for perhaps an hour longer in his usual strain of eloquence. In the evening General Scott, of Bloomington, ad­dressed an immense crowd in front of the court house. General Scott's effort was a brilliant one, indeed, carefully prepared and well digested, and delivered in excellent style. The Bloomington "Wide Awakes" went through their drill in the court yard just previous to Mr. Scott's speaking, and showed themselves to be thoroughly drilled and disciplined. The marshal of the day was Joshua Whitmore, assisted by the following aides: John R. Wolgamott, John A. Fellows, James W. Remick, W. H. Stevens, L. E. Kent, Wallace Lord, Joseph R. Woolverton and William Garner.

The following week a company of "Wide Awakes" was organized in Pontiac.

Jonathan Duff, the leader of the administra­tion forces of the Democratic party in Living­ston County, was elected county judge in 1861, while his able assistant, Nelson Buck, was elected county surveyor. Samuel Maxwell, a comparatively new settler of the county, also a Democrat, was elected county treasurer. Rob­ert B. Harrington was elected county clerk, and John W. Smith school commissioner, they being Republicans and among the early organ­izers of the party in Livingston County.

Job E. Dye was elected sheriff and Thomas Croswell coroner, in 1862, both being active Republicans and leaders in the "Wide Awake" movement in 1860.

In 1863 the Republicans elected Michael E. Collins county treasurer, while the Democrats secured the election of Nelson Buck as county surveyor, and O. F. Pearre school commissioner.

Lincoln and Johnson carried Livingston County in 1864 by a good majority. William T. Ament was elected state's attorney, Dr. E. W. Capron coroner, and Amos Hart sheriff, all being Republicans. Six weeks after his in­auguration Lincoln was assassinated and An­drew Johnson became President. Johnson made a tour of the North, accompanied by General Grant and Admiral Farragut. The military and naval heroes of the war were everywhere received with the greatest demonstration of joy, while the President was jeered and scarcely allowed to speak at all. At the request of Jonathan Duff and other leading Democrats of Pontiac, Dr. J. W. Youmans, also one of the leaders of the Democracy in the county, was appointed postmaster of Pontiac by President Johnson. The appointment of Dr. Youmans met with decided opposition from all directions and he never assumed active charge of the office, C. A. McGregor and Hugh L. Miller being designated by the leaders of the Democracy for this purpose. In 1866 Dr. Youmans became involved in serious trouble, left Pontiac never to return, and Mr. McGregor was appointed to fill the unexpired term.

Joseph F. Culver, who became a Republican in 1864, casting his first vote for the party that year, was elected county judge by the Republi­cans in November, 1865. R. B. Harrington was re-elected county clerk-, H. H. Hill, county superintendent of schools, and Alfred Huetson county surveyor, all being Republicans. Hugh Thompson, of Dwight, was elected by the Demo­crats as county treasurer, by a small majority.

In the campaigns of 1866-67 the Republicans were successful, James H. Gaff being elected sheriff; Thomas Croswell, coroner; William B. Fyfe, treasurer; and A. C. Huetson, surveyor.

In 1868 the national convention of the Repub­licans nominated General Grant, and the Dem­ocrats Governor Seymour of New York. Grant was elected, carrying Livingston by a good majority, the, following county ticket being elected: state's attorney, Mason B. Loomis;


circuit clerk, James E. Morrow; sheriff, George Wentz.

In 1869 the Republicans were again success­ful, electing their entire ticket. Byron Phelps, county clerk; A. C. Huetson, surveyor; Aaron Weider, treasurer; Lewis E. Payson, county judge, and H. H. Hill school commissioner,

In 1870 the Democrats were successful, elect­ing John W. Hoover sheriff and J. J. Wright coroner, by small majorities. Mr. Hoover was a farmer of Nebraska Township and proved a most capable official. On assuming charge of the office he became a citizen of Pontiac and has resided here since that time. After his retire­ment from the sheriff's office he engaged in the grocery business, became chief of the fire de­partment and supervisor of Pontiac Township, the duties of which he has discharged to the general satisfaction of all concerned.

Aaron Weider was re-elected county treas­urer, and A. C. Huetson county surveyor, by the Republicans in 1871, M. K. Wright being elected coroner.

James H. Funk was elected state's attorney, Benjamin E. Robinson sheriff and John A. Fel­lows circuit clerk in 1872, all being Republicans.

In December, 1872, a movement took form which, within a year, politically revolutionized the county. The year had been a bountiful one in the production of the staple crop of the county - corn. During several preceding years the crop had been meager, and prices had ruled high. With this year's extraordinary yield, the prices fell to the lowest known since the general settlement of the county.

It was believed that in justice the railroads ought to reduce their rates, and at least divide the losses which the farmers, their chief patrons, were meeting in selling their chief crop at ruinous prices. About this time the Legislature had passed a law re­quiring all railroads and warehouses to reduce their rates. The law was openly defied, and suits were at once commenced on the part of the people of the state to compel a compliance with the law. It took two bushels of corn to pay the freight on one to tide water. With foreclosures staring many citizens in the face and inability to pay their just debts, with the largest crop they ever raised in their possession, their minds were naturally led toward political action. While in other counties the matter was hardly thought of, in this the entire com­munity was aroused to seek any relief they could find. A few citizens of Pike Township met together and called a county convention to demand a redress of grievances.

The convention met in Pontiac on Monday, January 6, 1873. Joseph H. Stitt, of Nebraska, was made chairman; S. T. K. Prime of Dwight, and E. M. Johnson and A. W. Kellogg, of Pon­tiac, secretaries. Delegates were present from twenty-one townships, and the convention pro­ceeded to resolve itself into the Livingston County Farmers' Association. J. H. Stitt was elected president; William B. Fyfe, vice-pres­ident; S. T. K. Prime, secretary; executive com­mittee - S. S. Morgan, William Colon, J. P. Houston, George H. Wentz, and S. C. Ladd.

The resolutions adopted were strong in their denunciation of monopolies, and granges of the Patrons of Husbandry were formed in every township in the county. Co-operative stores were started in many towns throughout the county, probably at a great financial loss to the promoters, and the grange movement was soon lost sight of. At the November election in 1873 the Anti-Monopoly party carried the county by a majority of 1400, electing R. R. Wallace, county judge; George W. Langford, county clerk; Joseph Stitt, county treasurer; M. Tom­baugh, county superintendent of schools. In some townships not a Republican vote was cast.

The Democrats placed no ticket in the field, their organization for the time being extinct, their vote being generally given to the new party. In the fall of 1874. however, the Anti-­Monopoly county ticket met with defeat, and B. E. Robinson was elected sheriff and Dr. E. G. Johnson, coroner, on the Republican ticket, but the neat year the Republican ticket headed by Martin Dolde, of Pontiac, for county treas­urer, was defeated by a small margin of thirty-­four votes. J. H. Stitt being re-elected treasurer.

The Anti-Monopoly party gradually grew into the Greenback party, and in the Presidential campaign of 1876 the leaders of the Anti-Mo­nopoly party were first and foremost in the organization of the new party. At the elec­tion in November they polled 1,170 votes for Peter Cooper for President, the largest vote cast for that ticket in any county in the United States. Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican candidate for President, carried the county by a good majority, and notwithstanding the fact that the Democratic and Greenback parties united on their state and county tickets, the


entire Republican ticket was elected by good majorities.

In 1877 the Democrats again organized in­dependent of the Greenbackers and placed a county ticket in the field, J. T. Bullard, candi­date for county treasurer, receiving the highest vote of his party - 650. The Greenback party elected their candidates for county judge and superintendent of schools, while the Republi­cans elected the county clerk and county treasurer.

In the elections for county officials in 1878-­79 the Republicans were successful, electing their candidates for sheriff, coroner, treasurer and surveyor. James A. Garfield received the Republican nomination for President in 1880, uniting those opposed to General Grant. Gar­field was shot by an assassin July 2, 1881, and was succeeded by President Arthur. Livingston County was in the Republican column this year, all the county ticket being elected with the one exception of state's attorney. In 1882 the Democrats elected county judge and county treasurer, the Republicans, the county clerk, sheriff and superintendent of schools,

The long supremacy of the Republican party was now at an end. In 1884 the Republicans nominated James G. Blaine for President, the Democrats nominating Grover Cleveland. Blaine, though the idol of his party, was defeated mainly because he was alleged to have used his official position for private gain. The Cleveland administration was distinguished by a revenue tariff, adherence to civil service re­form and to the gold standard. Livingston County went Republican by a good safe major­ity, electing their candidates for state's attorney and circuit clerk.

During the Cleveland administration M. A. Renoe was appointed postmaster at Pontiac, he being the first Democrat to fill that position since the appointment of Charles A. McGregor by President Johnson in 1866. John C. George was appointed at Dwight. Charles Axt at Odell, W. E. Baker at Fairbury and W. W. Sears at Chatsworth.

In 1886 the Republicans elected their county ticket with the exception of Judge R. R. Wal­lace.

In 1888 the Republicans were again returned to power in the national administration, Livingston County being carried by the Republi­cans, who elected their entire county ticket.

There was a Democratic landslide in Livings­ton County in 1890, they electing every member of their county tickets with the one exception of T. W. Coe, Republican, who was elected sheriff by a majority of over 500. R. R. Wallace was elected county judge; W. E. Baker, treasurer; John C. George, county clerk; and Henry A. Foster, county superintendent of schools.

In 1892 Mr. Cleveland was again returned to the Presidential chair, the Democrats carrying the county by a large majority, electing every member of their county ticket. During Presi­dent Cleveland's administration Dr. J. J. Pearson was postmaster at Pontiac, James Kelagher at Dwight, Charles Axt at Odell, Thomas D. Karnes at Fairbury, and William H. Messler at Chatsworth.

Before the election in 1894 there was con­siderable disaffection in the Democratic ranks in Livingston County. By President Cleve­land's steady adherence to the gold standard, he antagonized and displeased a large part of his party throughout the nation. The disaf­fection was notable in this county, the majority of the party being in favor of a more elastic currency. The Republicans carried the county at the November election, every member of their county ticket being elected by good majorities. Since this time not a Democrat has been elected to fill an office in the court house of Livingston County.

In 1896 gold had become the standard money of the country. The Republican national ticket was headed by William McKinley of Ohio. The Democratic party under the leadership of Mr. Bryan declared for the unlimited coinage of sil­ver. A gold Democratic ticket with General John M. Palmer was also nominated. The Re­publicans carried Livingston County.

In 1900 the same presidential candidates were nominated by both parties as in 1896, with the same issues and with the same result. In August 1901, President McKinley was assassin­ated and was succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1904 the conservative Democrats secured control of the Democratic national convention which nominated Alton B. Parker for President. The extraordinary personal popularity of President Roosevelt swept everything before him and, notwithstanding his incessant activity, fre­quently antagonizing powerful political and com-


mercial interests, his personal popularity with all parties has increased day by day.

From 1840 until the passing out of existence of the Whig party Livingston was reliably Democratic, and from its organization to the present time the Republican party has carried the county, with the one exception of 1892, at all national elections.


Soon after the nomination of Abraham Lin­coln in 1860, the young Republicans of the village of Pontiac met and organized a "Wide­ Awake" company, which, perhaps, as much as any other thing, shows how deep an interest was taken in the political struggle then going on in this county. At the first meeting held for the purpose, over forty enrolled themselves, paying down the price of their uniform. The week following the company numbered ninety. The officers were: Captain, Edwin R. Maples; first lieutenant, Jerome P. Garner; second lieutenant, Job E. Dye; third lieutenant. Sey­mour Bennett; fourth lieutenant, J. M. Mar­ble; sergeant-at-arms, Wallace Lord.

One of the first events this company took part in was the erection of a Lincoln and Hamlin pole in the court house yard on Saturday after­noon, July 14, 1860. The pole stood 115 feet out of the earth, proudly waving from the top of which were the names of Lincoln and Ham­lin. The enthusiasm manifested on the occa­sion of the raising exhibited the intense feel­ing in favor of the Republican cause with which the people of this region were then ani­mated. All Republicans in town were vying with each other in erecting the symbol of lib­erty, but prominent among the active ones might be mentioned the names of Seymour Ben­nett, John and George Wolgamott, W. H. Stev­ens, George Olmstead, Wallace Lord, E. R. Maples, who rendered efficient service on the occasion, when a rail fence was built up around it, and a splendid American flag was flung to the breeze. Challis' anvil was brought out and made to belch forth in thunder tones. Joshua Whittemore was called out, and, mounting the fence, made some exceedingly appropriate re­marks, congratulating the Republicans upon the success with which their efforts in erecting the pole was crowned, and augured a similar termination to the campaign in November. After giving three hearty cheers for the whole ticket, the crowd dispersed.

On July 29, 1860, the Hon James C. Allen, candidate for Governor of Illinois on the Demo­cratic ticket, addressed the people of the county in the court house yard. There was a great outpouring of the people of the county on this occasion, and uniformed bodies of the "Ever Readys," as the Democratic clubs were named, were out in full force, acting as an escort for the speaker. Captain Morgan L. Payne, Wil­liam Myers, Samuel C. Ladd, Henry O'Neill, Jonathan Duff, Thomas Kelly, L. B. Perry, Capt. John A. Hoskins and George Goodwin were the marshals for the "Ever Readys" from Pontiac, while Thomas Little headed the dele­gation from Dwight. Large delegations of Re­publicans were present and the Pontiac "Wide Awakes" were out in full force, and by noon it was ascertained by those who had made a can­vass of the people present, that a majority of the crowd were Republicans. It was well known by the Republicans that unless some mode was adopted to get an expression of the crowd, the Democracy would claim that the whole assemblage belonged to their party, and hence a proposition was made to one of their leaders to take a vote after Mr. Allen got through speaking. This was not accepted, and it was resolved by the "Wide Awakes" that when the speaking was terminated, and the pro­ceedings of the Democracy were wound up, three cheers be given for Lincoln and Hamlin by the Republicans. This course was adopted, and when, after the Democrats had given six cheers for Allen and three for Douglas, a young man by the name of Green mounted the plat­form and proposed three cheers for Lincoln and Hamlin. These were given with a will, the proceedings so exasperating the Democrats that a free fight, nearly terminating in a riot, soon followed, but, fortunately enough law-abiding citizens were present and these stepped in be­tween the excited crowd and by judicious ap­peals put a stop to the further spread of the row.

On Friday, July 28, 1860, the Pontiac "Wide Awakes" visited Bloomington, on the occasion of the discussion between Lyman Trumbull and James C. Allen. A special train was chartered from Pontiac and at Lexington they were joined by forty "Wide Awakes" from that


town, and on the arrival of both companies in Bloomington, they were received and escorted up town by the Bloomington "Wide Awakes." The Pontiac delegation was in evidence in the parade and received the following compliment­ary notice in the Pantagraph the following week:

"We were much pleased to see so many of the Pontiac 'Wide Awakes' in Bloomington last Friday. In a few days they have raised a company of over a hundred men, and quite a number of others intend to join. Taking all things into consideration, this is the most spirited movement of the kind we have heard of in the country. They have done nobly, and for their visit to us on the occasion of our re­cent demonstration, and the large share of in­terest which they contributed to the meeting, we thank them on behalf of our citizens. They will doubtless do much to awake the right spirit among their fellow citizens."

On Thursday morning, September 6, 1860, the Pontiac and Fairbury "Wide Awakes" started on a forty mile trip from Pontiac over the prairies of Livingston and La Salle counties to be present at the Republican demonstration to be held in Ottawa the next day. The day was very warm and dusty, making it impossible for the teams to get along very fast, and it was 9 o'clock at night before they reached the camping ground at Covell Creek, some three and one-half miles this side of Ottawa. Owing to a slight misunderstanding, the Ottawa "Wide Awakes" turned out Thursday evening for the purpose of receiving the Pontiac-Fair­bury boys, but the greater portion of the com­pany understood that they were not to go into Ottawa until the next morning, and they pitched their tents at the creek for that purpose. Dur­ing the night a heavy shower came down, drenching the boys to the skin, but, notwith­standing this fact, early the next morning the company took up its line of march and arrived in Ottawa about 8 o'clock, where quarters were provided for them in a large hall.

A meeting of the citizens of Ottawa had been held the precious evening for the purpose of making arrangements to take care of the boys, and upon the arrival being made known, invi­tations from all quarters came in to have those as it were take their choice of the houses they were desirous of stopping at. The universal good treatment which all seemed to receive while in Ottawa stamp the people of that beau­tiful city as a whole-souled and generous people. No favors were too good to shower upon the Livingston County boys, and the recollection of the hospitality bestowed upon them was not soon forgotten. About 10 o'clock the Pontiac­Fairbury "Wide Awakes" were received in a military style by the Ottawa "Wide Awakes," under Captain Gray, and both companies marched to the depot, where they received the Peru "Wide Awakes." The Ottawa company, with snow-white trousers and new uniforms, made a handsome appearance as was ever wit­nessed by the Pontiac-Fairbury delegation dur­ing the entire campaign. The Livingston County boys, owing to their tiresome journey, camp­ing out over night, and a smart shower of rain in the morning, which almost saturated them, did not make as showy an appearance as some of the other companies, but their sunburnt countenances and soiled uniforms only reflected credit on men who were thus willing to brave a scorching sun and a forty miles' journey to aid in the great battle then being fought be­tween freedom and slavery. Everyone felt proud of them as they marched along the streets of Ottawa, and cheer upon cheer greeted them from every direction.

The Ottawa demonstration was the largest and most enthusiastic political gathering ever attended during the Lincoln-Douglas campaign by the delegates from Livingston County. The number of people in the city was estimated at from 20,000 to 25,000, who were addressed by the Hon. Cassius M. Clay, of Kentucky, and other noted speakers from all parts of Illinois, from stands erected in a grove near the city. The parade, both at noon and in the evening, was a long one, being participated in by delega­tions from La Salle, Grundy and Livingston counties, the whole being headed by the Great Western Band of Chicago.

Part of the delegates from this county started on their return journey soon after the speaking, while the remainder took part in the torchlight procession at night, returning the next day, being well repaid for their long and tedious journey of eighty miles.

After the Ottawa meeting, the different or­ganizations of "Wide Awakes" all over the county were in demand continuously. Special


attention was paid to drilling the companies and no person without the full uniform was per­mitted to march with them.

The uniform consisted of a black cap and cape made of oil cloth, and they were always referred to as "the black Republicans." Each member carried a torch, painted red, on the staff of which, directly under the lamp, hung a small American flag with the pictures of Lin­coln and Hamlin printed thereon.

The company in Pontiac numbered one hun­dred strong, and were composed of men rang­ing in age from 21 to 35 years. They met regularly for drill and were put through their evolutions by Captain H. B. Reed, who had arrived in Pontiac in August, 1860, and Wallace Lord, who, previous to his coming to Pontiac, was a member of the famous Ellsworth Zouaves of Chicago. When the war broke out, every member of this company, with the exception of six, volunteered and went to the front.

The "Ever Readys" in Livingston County, as the Democratic marching clubs were called, were also actively engaged during the campaign of 1860. They were a splendid body of young men, well drilled and presented a fine appear­ance. The company from Pontiac were in de­mand at rallies all over the state. On Satur­day, October 5, 1860, they went to Chicago, where they took part in a large demonstration in honor of Stephen A. Douglas. They also visited Bloomington and attended every rally of importance in the county. John A. Hoskins was the captain of the Pontiac company, being ably assisted by Joseph F. Culver, then deputy county clerk, George Goodwin, Captain Morgan L. Payne, William Myers, Thomas Kelly and L. B. Perry.

The organization and drilling of the "Wide Awakes" in 1860 created considerable excite­ment in the south. Many of the young men prankfully drilling in 1860, shortly put to good use the military knowledge they acquired on the bloody battlefields of the South. Wallace Lord, one of the drill masters of the "Wide Awakes," went into the army with a commission of lieu­tenant, H. B. Reed with a captain's commis­sion, while John A. Hoskins and Joseph F. Cul­ver of the "Ever Readys" were both captains of companies in the 129th when that regiment left Pontiac for the front in 1862. A great ma­jority of the "Every Ready" marching club went to the war, at the first call for men, and stood side by side with their old political enemy, the "Wide Awakes." Many never re­turned to their homes and are now sleeping in unknown graves on Southern battlefields. Wal­Iace Lord, John S. Lee, Martin Dolde, Benja­min Barney, R. D. Folks, James H. Gaff, and "Uncle" John Balmer are the only members of the Pontiac "Wide Awakes" organization liv­ing at the present time, while David P. Murphy resides in Owego, the remainder having passed away. Time has dealt harshly with the "Ever Readys," there not being a member left to our knowledge, to tell the tale of the hard fought political campaign of 1860, and only one - Henry J. Babcock, of Kansas City, Kans., sur­vives.

The features during the campaign of 1864 were small as compared to those of 1860, most of the men being at the front in the war. In 1868, during the Grant-Seymour campaign, the Republican marching clubs were known as "Tanners," while the Democrats had a similar organization called the "Hickory Boys." These organizations continued with diminishing grand­eur in the county until 1896, when the Repub­licans began the formation of McKinley march­ing clubs. The marchers were, as a general rule, fully uniformed and presented a handsome ap­pearance and attracted great attention. Since 1896 the campaign features have been few, and during the campaign of 1904 in this county they were almost lost sight of, Pontiac being without a marching club for the first time since 1860.


The following letter from "Long" John Went­worth (deceased), of Chicago, written to a friend in Pontiac under date of June 6, 1882, gives some idea of the manner in which a political campaign was conducted in Livingston County at an early date. In 1843, this county was in the Fourth congressional district and Mr. Wentworth was the candidate for Congress. His trip through Livingston County is thus de­scribed:

"The State Legislature adjourned March 6, 1843. It was this Legislature which made the congressional apportionment under the census of 1840. It should have been made at the pre­vious session, but a delay in the census returns kept the matter back. This caused an election to be held for the 28th congress in that year, instead of the year previous, and for the 29th


congress the next year. About the 1st of April, 1843, I took a one-horse buggy and drove via DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties to Ottawa. From Ottawa I started for Pontiac, Blooming­ton, Urbana and Danville, tarrying for the first night at the home of Rees Morgan in LaSalle County, who was at that time one of the most prominent men in that region. (Mr. Morgan was the first person to locate in Fayette Township.) The next day I passed for the first time into Livingston County, stopping at William K. Brown's, on Mud Creek. Here was one of the two post offices in the county, called Sunbury. Ever afterwards I made his hospitable home my headquarters when in that region. I would always send word to Mr. Brown when I was coming, and he would get together a number of the farmers up and down the creek, and we would talk over the affairs of the nation in a social manner. I do not remember that I made any speeches in the county while a member of Congress, unless it may have been at Pontiac, and I am not certain about that. If I ever did, it must have been in the house of Augustus Fellows, where I ever remained over night when in that region. On my first visit, Mr. Brown pointed me out the proper route to the home of Hon Andrew McMillan, one of the members of the Legislature for the senatorial district composed of McLean and Livingston counties. Mr. Brown gave me the names of all the men living along the route and I made them a short call. I found Mr. McMillan a very interesting gentleman. He was quite ad­vanced in years and a native of Virginia. Dur­ing the last of my congressional term, 'Father' McMillan manifested some anxiety in my wel­fare, fearing that the Abolitionists were having too much influence over me. After dinner he mounted his horse and introducing me to all the settlers along the road, accompanied me to the house of Mr. Fellows in Pontiac. There was no man more highly respected in all Liv­ingston County than Augustus Fellows and no one who more deserved to be. There I had quite an ovation. The people had heard of me as the coming congressman and came to see and hear. No candidate for congress had ever before visited the place. I leave it to Mrs. Fellows, now living, although having remarried, to give the number. There must have been about fifteen present in all. I wish I could remember the names of all I became acquainted with on that day. There was a Mr. Blue, who went with 'Father' McMillan and myself to Pontiac. I have an indistinct recollection that he or one of his sons afterwards was a candi­date for some office upon the ticket with me, probably sheriff. There was Samuel C. Ladd (now deceased), a brother of Mrs. Fellows, and Daniel S. Ebersoll, the postmaster. There were large families of Darnalls, McDowells and Blues whom I remember, also Murell Brecken­ridge, Andrew Sprague, L. E. Rhoades, John Bradley, John K. Demoss and others whom I might think of in time. The next morning I set out for Bloomington, my friends in Pontiac having given me a list of names of men to be called upon on the way. I had so many calls to make that I only got as far as Lexington the next day.

"I can remember of no bridges in Livingston County during my entire term. All the streams had to be forded and they were very treacher­ous. Sometimes I would find them quite dry and sometimes I would fear for my safety in passing them. At my second nomination in Ottawa, in 1844, Albert Dolde, a very promising young lawyer at Bloomington, a delegate, was drowned on his return home, while trying to cross a stream on horseback between Pontiac and Bloomington, which had suddenly risen after he had passed over it on his way to Ottawa.

"At one of my early visits in the Mud creek region, my friends asked me to take a young lady home who lived on my road across the creek, which was then about two feet deep. I asked her how she calculated to get across the creek if I had not come along. `Ford it.' said she, at the same time throwing one of her feet upon the side of the buggy so that I could see her bare ankle. I said: 'It don't cost you much for stockings down here in Livingston County.' 'There's where you are mistaken, but we put them in our pockets when we ford the creeks,' said she, and pulled out a pair of clean, white ones. I was telling one of my Livingston County friends that when I reached Washington, I was intending to frank home to her a pair of silk stockings. 'Don't you do it,' says he, 'as her father don't vote our ticket and it will dis­please the daughters of our friends and they will put their fathers against you. You would have to send to all if you sent to one, and there are more than a dozen such girls in the county.


I suppose your streams are all bridged now, as it cannot be possible that all the handsome stockings sold from Chicago into Livingston County are put on or taken off at the depots in consequence of having to ford the streams.

"Milk sickness was very prevalent among the cattle and fever and ague and bilious fever among the people. There were great complaints among the people because they could not have all the milk and butter they wanted when they had so much grain and corn to feed their cat­tle upon. There were a great many places in Livingston County where splendid crops of corn could be raised, but the roads were so poor that it would not pay to haul it to market and there was so much disease among the cattle that there was nothing to which the settlers could feed it except hogs and there were then too many hogs for the people. I always found the best pork, ham and bacon in Livingston County and there were eggs and honey in abundance to go with them. There were good potatoes and all other vegetables.

"My early sympathies were excited for the people of Livingston County, and I wondered how people would settle there when so much better land could be purchased in other places. Their only mail facilities consisted of a horse­back mail once a week from Ottawa to Bloom­ington. Here is the way the only two post­ offices stood when I was first elected, taken from the United States Blue Book and Reg­ister, which is published once in two years, and so the receipts are given for two years:

"Pontiac, Daniel S. Ebersol - $42.78

Sunbury, John Bradley - 7.50

"I bent my first efforts in behalf of Livingston County toward securing better mail facili­ties. The Postmaster-General said the pro­ceeds would not warrant it, and I told him they never would as long as the people could have their letters and papers forwarded quicker by ordinary teams. There was a semi-weekly two ­horse mail from Peoria, via Bloomington, to Danville. North of this and east of the canal towns the country was all about in the same condition as to mails, and the nature of the land and the diseases of the people and cattle were about the same. My first thought was to break down the one-horse with public docu­ments from Washington. The documents were printed at public expense and my constituents were entitled to a fair share of them and the, Government ought to furnish transportation.

"There were a great may documents that had been encumbering the document room for years, members of congress not thinking them of sufficient interest to send away; and some of them were very large. There were a great many seeds to be distributed also. I ordered an extra supply at my own expense at the place where the department purchased. Then there was the great seal of sealing-wax, now out of use; 'United States of America' sealing-wax was heavy and you could put on as much as you pleased. It was used all through my district by children to cut their front teeth with. Every package had its great seal upon it, and the more wax the heavier it bore on the horse. I secured the appointment of several clerks in the depart­ment from my district, all of whom would come to my room evenings and help in writing letters, putting on the sealing-wax and directing docu­ments. Among these clerks was General Merritt L. Covell, of Bloomington, at one time clerk of the Illinois State Senate. He was a plain and rapid penman and was acquainted with almost every man in the one-horse region, and he en­abled me to send something to persons whom I might otherwise have omitted. I wish I could reproduce a picture he drew of a horse strug­gling under one of your weekly mails with a driver on top of the whole. While doing all this, the Whig papers were attacking me for getting all the documents, garden seeds, sta­tionery, and scaling wax there was in Washing­ton. There was to be a Whig meeting at Bloom­ington and one of the invited orators was tell­ing, before the meeting began about any operations in this respect, when the late General Gridley, one of the most respectable and in­fluential Whigs, said to him: You will make nothing by such statements. Long John is the only man that ever noticed our people; and what you want to do is to advocate Whig principles and tell them that if we can elect a Whig con­gressman, he will beat Long John in franking public documents.' General Gridley and Judge Davis were always my friends as against any other Democrat, but they never voted for me be­cause I was a General Jackson and Colonel Benton man, while they were ardent support­ers of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.

"When I ceased to represent Livingston County, you had a tri-weekly mail and your post-


offices were increased as follows with the yearly receipts:

"Avoca, James McDowell, $18.40; Billings' Grove, Joseph Sedgwick, $1.04; Indian Grove, John Darnall, $19.43; Long Point, William Eaton, $14.98; New Michigan, G. W. Richards, $25.97; Pontiac, Jerome P. Garner, $66.56; Reading, Thomas A. Hill, $28.84; Rooks Creek, Peleg Edwards, $6.05; Sunbury, George W. Boyer, $9.58.

"There were a great many very respectable members of the Whig party in Livingston Coun­ty. I am indebted to them for a great many hospitalities in passing through the county. Many of them told me they had known Mr. Clay per­sonally and their admiration for him knew no bounds. It is a remarkable fact that the Aboli­tion candidate for Congress never received a vote while I was a candidate. In the bitter con­test of 1848, when Lewis Cass, Zachary Taylor and Martin Van Buren were candidates, the lat­ter received four votes. I suppose, if living, these will claim to be the 'seed of the church.' If the politicians of your county are like those of most counties, there will be at least one hundred men who will claim to be one of the four, and perhaps the real four are all dead. I will give the state of the vote at each of the four elections, my name being in the first col­umn:

Dem. Whig. Total.

1843 111 66 177

1844 110 61 171

1846 124 58 182

1848 108 62 170

"The most exciting election we ever had had up to that time in Illinois was the Presidential election of 1848, when Livingston County for the first time raised her vote above 200. General Cass had 130, General Taylor 82, Martin Van Buren 4: total 216, I lost some votes that year because some of the emigrants from the South feared that I was drifting toward Abolition, but they would not vote for the Whig candidate. Livingston County had two delegates in the conventions that nominated me. 1843, Andrew McMillan and Augustus Fellows; 1844, Augustus Fellows and William K. Brown; 1846, William K. Brown and Garrett M. Blue; 1848, A. A. McDowell and John Blue.

"I learn that these delegates are all dead now."


Livingston County has been honored by hav­ing the following citizens to represent it in the State Senate and House of Representatives, the dates noting the year of their election:

State Senators: 1868-1870, Jason W. Strevell, Pontiac; 1872-74, James G. Strong, Dwight; 1876-78, Samuel T. Fosdick, Chatsworth; 1876-86, George Torrance, Chatsworth and Pontiac; 1904-08, Ira M. Lish, Saunemin. All the above were Republicans.

Representatives: 1858, Richard S. Hick, Read­ing; 1860, Andrew J. Cropsey, Fairbury; 1862, Mercy B. Patty, Owego; 1864, Jason W. Strevell, Pontiac; 1866-68, Wm. Strawn, Odell; 1870, John Stillwell, Chatsworth; 1872, Lucian Bullard, Forrest; 1874, David McIntosh, Newtown; 1876-­78, George B. Gray, Rooks Creek; 1880, A. C. Goodspeed (rep.) Odell. Leander L. Green (dem.) Odell; 1882-4, A. G. Goodspeed (rep.) Odell, Michael Cleary (dem.) Odell; 1886, O. W. Pollard (rep.) Dwight, Michael Cleary (dem.) Odell; 1888, O. W. Pollard (rep.) Dwight, N. J. Myer (rep.) Ocoya, James A. Smith (dem.) Chatsworth; 1890, Rufus C. Straight (rep.) Fairbury, N. J. Myer (rep.) Ocoya, James A. Smith, (dem.) Chatsworth; 1892, Rufus C. Straight (rep.) Fairbury, Bailey A. Gower (rep.) Odell, James A. Smith (dem.) Chatsworth; 1894, Bailey A. Gower (rep.) Odell; 1896, Oscar F. Avery (rep.) Pontiac; 1898, M. C. Eignus (rep.) Forrest, Michael Cleary (dem.) Odell; 1900, M. C. Eignus (rep.) Forrest; 1902, Ira M. Lish (rep.) Saunemin, John P. Moran (dem.) Fair­bury; 1904, John P. Moran, (dem.) Fairbury.


Following is the total number of votes cast for each candidate in Livingston County at the election. November 4, 1908. The total number of votes cast were 9,692. Of this number, 5,358 votes were cast for the Republicans, 3,778 for the Democrats, 346 for the Prohibition party, 77 for the Socialist party, 9 for the Socialist Labor party, 27 for Hearst's Independence party, 4 for the United Christian and 8 for the People's party. The totals are as follows:

For President -

William H. Taft (Rep.) 5,358

William J. Bryan (Dem.) 3,778

Eugene W. Chafin (Pro.) 346

Taft's plurality 1,580



­Charles S. Deneen (Rep.) 4,324

Adlai S. Stevevson (Dem.) 4,609

Dan Sheen (Pro.) 471

Stevenson's plurality 285


John A. Sterling (Rep.) 5,234

C. S. Schneider (Dem.) 3,772

William P. Allin (Pro.) 418

Sterling's plurality 1,462


James M. Lyon (Rep.) 5,187

John C. Corbett (Dem.) 3,857

Thomas L. Buck (Pro.) 383

Lyon's plurality 1,330


Ira M. Lish (Rep.) 4,995

John P. Moran (Dem.) 4,009

James B. Parsons (Pro.) 460

Lish's plurality 986


Harrison T. Ireland (Rep.) 7,599

Josiah Kerrick (Rep.) 7,372

Michael Fahy (Dem.) 11,071

John F. Shepard (Pro.) 2,267


­Bert W. Adsit (Rep.) 5,050

Clyde H. Thompson (Dem.) 4,059

George F. Knapp (Pro.) 343

Adsit's plurality - 991


Jersey G. Whitson (Rep.) 4,891

D. C. Eylar (Dem.) 4,197

Roy M. Baker (Pro.) 338

Whitson's plurality 694


W. E. Slyder (Rep.) 5,255

Daniel Eagan (Dem.) 3,790

W. Logan Kring (Pro.) 360

Slyder's plurality 1,465


David J. Stanford (Rep.) 5,242

John Whalen (Dem.) 3,822

George C. Nettleton 355

Stanford's plurality 1,420


­For Deep Waterway 6,315

Against Deep Waterway 1,535

For Banking Amendment 4,584

Against Banking Amendment 1,396


For State Senator -

­ Lish Morgan

Livingston 4,995 4,009

Marshall 1,793 1,810

Putnam 809 431

Woodford 2,156 2,167

Total 9,753 8,417

For Representatives

LIVINGSTON - Ireland, 7,599; Kerrick, 7,372; Fahy, 11,071; Shepard, 2,257.

MARSHALL - Ireland, 2,544; Kerrick, 2,526-1/2; Fahy, 5,198-1/2; Shepard, 791.

PUTNAM - Ireland, 1,138-1/2; Kerrick, 1,227; Fahy, 1,266; Shepard, 253-1/2.

WOODFORD - Ireland, 2,972; Kerrick, 3,270; Fahy, 5,288; Shepard, 1,543.

TOTAL - Ireland 14,253-1/2; Kerrick, 14,395-1/2; Fahy, 23,363-1/2; Shepard. 4,844-1/2.

For Congressman­ -

Sterling Schneider

Livingston 5,234 3,772

McLean 8,877 5,873

Ford 2,412 1,347

Woodford 2,132 2,147

Logan 3,555 3,364

Total 22,210 16,503

Sterling's plurality 5,707

State Board of Equalization­ -

Lyon Corbett

Livingston 5,187 3,857

McLean 8,803 5,924

Woodford 2,171 2,143

Logan 3,410 3,539

Ford 2,575 1,224

Total 22,146 16,687

Lyons' plurality 5,459


According to statistics just compiled (January 1, 1909), the membership of the Masonic frater­nity in Livingston County numbers 628, divided among the nine lodges, as follows: Forrest, 79; Pontiac, 135; Fairbury, 126; Dwight, 93; Odell, 47; Chatsworth, 28; Long Point, 23; Saunemin, 70; Cornell, 27.


FAIRBURY. - Aaron Weider Woman's Relief Corps No. 53 was organized March 3, 1900, by Mrs. Bessie Jenkins, of Pontiac. Past Presidents - Mrs. Sarah Robinson, Ruth A. Carter, Elizabeth E. Stevens, Julia Furguson, Louisa Mires, Mary Watts, Louise Filley.

CHARTER MEMBERS. - Sarah Robinson, Dora M. Thatcher, Edith B. Lewis, Emma J. Babcock, Elizabeth E. Stevens, Ruth A. Carter, Franc W. Finley, Margaret Huntoon, Elizabeth Robinson, Ann Day.




During the Civil War, this county bore a con­siderable part, hundreds of the young men en­listing in the various companies. Several who thus exchanged home and family comforts for the hardships and sufferings of camp and field, in addition, sacrificed their lives for the prin­ciples which they loved better than fireside, and even better than existence. Some of them were killed outright in the affair; others received wounds of which they died after a lingering illness; and others, though never receiving a saber cut or a musket shot, received the seeds of disease, contracted from exposure and hard­ships which finally terminated their existence. The census of 1860 showed there were 15,576 inhabitants in Livingston County. Scarcely one­-fourth of this number were subject to military duty, yet this county sent 1,444 Soldiers to the field. A number went singly and in twos and threes, and enlisted in various batteries and regiments, which cannot find separate mention in this book.

TWENTIETH INFANTRY. - Away back in 1861, when the dark cloud of rebellion rose in threat­ening, angry tempest and when the shot which "echoes round the world" was heard from Fort Sumter and Lincoln called for 75,000 men to maintain the unity of these states, then it was that the men (100 from this county) who afterward were mustered into Company D, of the 20th Illinois Infantry, enlisted in the service of their country to die, if need be, that the Union might be preserved. Just twenty-two days after Fort Sumter was fired upon, the 20th was organized and went into camp at Joliet, and one month later (June 13) was mustered into the service and on its way to active service. October 21, 1861, found it engaged in its first battle at Fredericktown, Mo., and after camp life and various marches, in February of next year was in front of Fort Donelson, engaged in three days' battle, where many of them gave up their lives. The regiment was engaged in the battle of Shiloh on April 6 and 7 and at Corinth on June 3. In May, 1862, it took part in the battles of Port Gibson, Champion Hills, Black River Run and then through the siege of Vicksburg. The next year after Kenesaw Mountain, the regiment was engaged in the battles at Atlanta. After the fall of Atlanta, this regiment joined Sherman in his march to the sea, and after the fall of the Confederacy, took part in the grand review at Washington. The regiment was mustered out July 16, 1865, at Louisville, Ky., and arrived in Chicago three days later for final payment and discharge. The officers of Company B were as follows: Captain, Charles L. Page (promoted to sergeant major, then to captain, killed at At­lanta); Captain Frederick Shearer (enlisted as sergeant, promoted to captain, mustered out as first sergeant); First Lieutenant Joshua Whit­more (resigned March 28, 1862); First Lieu­tenant George McFadden; Second Lieutenant Henry B. Reed (enlisted as sergeant); First Sergeant Charles W. Clark; Sergeant Albert S. Jones (died Nov. 28, 1861); Sergeant Warren Robinson; Corporal Pleasant Zeph (died at Pontiac, March 4, 1862); Corporal Jacob Gilmore; Corporal Anthony Knight (sup­posed to have been killed at Shiloh, April 7, 1862); Corporal James G. Lord (killed at Raymond, Miss., May 12, 1863); Corporal Theo­dore Higgins (disabled June 13, 1864); Cor-


poral Thomas Kelly (died at La Grange, Tenn., May 12, 1863); Corporal H. McArthur (died at Avoca, Ill., March 4, 1862); Musician Esam Johnson (died November, 1861); Musician John R. Garner (died February 14, 1863); Wagoner John Mossholder (died at Pontiac, December 4, 1861).


President Lincoln had issued his call for three hundred thousand volunteers, and loyal men, all over the North, were enlisting in the service of their country. The idea that seventy-five thousand men could crush the rebellion in three months had exploded, and the call of the President met a hearty response in Livingston County. Profes­sional men, mechanics and farmers left their families and their business, and enrolled their names "for three years or during the war." Company A was raised in Pontiac, Reading, Odell, Long Point and other towns; Company B in Dwight and vicinity; Company C largely in Rooks Creek, Nevada, Odell, and other town­ships; Company E in Fairbury, and Company G mainly in Pontiac and vicinity. Of course it will not be understood that other townships are excluded from the credit of representation in this regiment; but, on account of an unfortunate method which prevailed, of giving the name of the post office, instead of the township, the act­ual residence of a large number was not re­corded. The balance of the regiment was raised in the counties of Scott and Rock Island.

John A. Hoskins, who was subsequently pro­moted to the office of Major, was elected Captain of Company A; J. F. Culver, who afterward, by promotion, succeeded Hoskins as Captain, was elected First Lieutenant, and John W. Smith subsequently promoted to the First Lieutenancy, was elected Second Lieutenant. To the last named office C. C. Yetter eventually succeeded.

Company B was officered as follows: Samuel T. Walkley, Captain; George W. Gilcrist, First Lieutenant, and Elihu Chilcott, Second Lieuten­ant. John B. Perry was elected Captain of Company C; Robert P. Edgington was chosen First Lieutenant, and A. A. McMurray, who on the resignation of Perry was promoted to the Captaincy, was elected Second Lieutenant. To the office made vacant by the promotion of McMurray, S. H. Kyle was advanced.

The officers of Company E were: C. N. Baird, Captain; John F. Blackburn, First, and B. F. Fitch, Second Lieutenant. To the last mention­ed office W. H. H. McDowell succeeded, on the resignation of Blackburn, Fitch being promoted to the First Lieutenancy.

The officers of Company G were H. B. Reed, Captain; Lemuel Morse, First, and John P. McKnight, Second Lieutenant, which offices they respectively held, without succession, until they were mustered out.

The regiment was organized September 8, 1862, with George P. Smith, of Dwight, as Colonel; Henry Case, of Winchester, Lieutenant Colonel; A. J. Cropsey, of Fairbury, Major; Philip D. Plattenburg, of Pontiac. Adjutant; W. C. Gwinn, Regimental Quartermaster; Dr. Darius Johnson, of Pontiac, Assistant Surgeon, and subsequently promoted to Surgeon, with Dr. O. S. Wood as his Assistant, and Rev. Thomas Cotton, of Pontiac, Chaplain; and non-commissioned officers, I. G. Mott, of Pontiac, Hospital Steward, to which office John A. Fellows, of Pontiac, succeeded on Mott's death; W. H. H. McDowell, of Fair­bury, Sergeant Major, and George W. Quacken­bosh, Quartermaster Sergeant.

The regiment remained in camp, at Pontiac, until the 22nd of September, when it was order­ed to Louisville, Ky., where it joined the Thirty-eighth Brigade of the Twelfth Division, under Maj. Gen. Gilbert. On the 3rd of October, they were ordered forward, in pursuit of Gen. Bragg, who was threatening Louisville. His retreat led them by way of Frankfort and Danville, to Crab Orchard. On the 20th of October, the bri­gade having been transferred to the Tenth Divi­sion, commenced a return march to Bowling Green, arriving at which place, they remained until the 21st of November, when they were ordered to Mitchellville, to guard the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. In this duty the regiment, being stationed in detachments at Mitchellville, Buck's Lodge, Fountain Head and South Tun­nel, continued until June 9, 1863, when they were ordered to Gallatin, where they went into camp and remained until August 20, when they received orders to move forward to Nashville. Here the regiment remained for six months, when, on the 24th of February, 1864, tents were struck, and they again took up the line of march, this time to make their way to Chatta­nooga, to join the army under Gen. Sherman. From this point to Atlanta, Ga., the regiment was engaged in almost a continuous fight with the enemy. On the 14th of May, the regiment


came in contact with the rebels at Resaca, which was a continual fight of two days, ending in the capture of the place. On the 25th, they came upon the enemy at Burnt Hickory, where a bloody battle was fought; and from the 18th of June till the 3rd of July, they were engaged at Kenesaw Mountain and Marietta. On July 17th, they crossed the Chattahoochie River, and con­tinued their march to Peach Tree Creek, where they were confronted by the rebels under Gen. Hood, who had superseded Johnson. After a hard fought battle, lasting through the day, the rebel army fled, the Union army pursuing to­ward Atlanta, which place they reached on the 22d. After a siege of six weeks, the rebels abandoned Atlanta; and the Union army took possession. This was one of the most important victories of the war. On the 13th of November, the army began to move forward, further into the interior of the enemy's country, from here until the entrance of the army into the City of Savannah, their progress was in a measure, with­out opposition, though the fatigue and privations to which the soldiers were subjected were severe in the extreme. They reached the neighborhood of Savannah on the 10th of December, and entered the city in triumph, just as the last of the enemy were retiring. Their sore feet and tired limbs were permitted to rest here, until the last of January, 1865, when they commenced the march through the Carolinas. Their route now lay through Columbia, Fatyetteville, Bentonville, and Goldsboro to Raleigh, reaching the last named place on the 13th of April. Their advance to this place, with the exception of the sharp conflict at Bentonville, in which the One Hundred and Twenty-ninth took a prominent part, met with no opposition of importance, and the work of the army consisted mainly in destroy­ing railroads and bridges, and foraging on the country. While resting here, negotiations were in progress for the surrender of the rebel armies; and on the 30th of April, the army was on its way to Washington, where it arrived without incident of importance, on the 24th of May. After a few days, the One Hundred and Twenty­-ninth was mustered out of service, and on the 8th of June, took leave of the city, and arrived at Chicago on the 11th. On the 19th, the men re­ceived their discharges and final pay, and, at once, those from Livingston County took the train for Pontiac, having been absent from their homes two years and nine mouths.

THIRTY-THIRD INFANTRY. - About one-half of Company F of the Thirty-third were from this county and enlisted from the northwestern townships. It was organized at Camp Butler, Ill., in September, 1861, by Col. Charles E. Hovey and mustered into service by Capt. T. G. Pitcher, U. S. A., September 20, the regiment moved to Ironton, Mo., where it remained during the winter. In 1863, the regiment was ordered to St. Genevieve, Mo., where, with the command, it embarked for Milliken's Bend, La. Attached to the First Brigade, First Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, it was engaged in active service, participating in the battles of Port Gibson, Champion Hills, Black River Bridge, assault and siege of Vicksburg, and the siege of Jackson. January 1, 1864, the regiment re-enlisted as vet­erans and March 14 reached Bloomington, Ill., and received veteran furlough. April 18, 1864, the regiment was reorganized at Camp Butler and proceeded to New Orleans, September 17, 1864, the non-veterans of the regiment were started home, via New York, in charge of rebel prisoners and were mustered out at Camp But­ler about October 11, 1864. March 2, 1865, the regiment joined the Sixteenth Army Corps. Three weeks later it was after engaged in the battle of Mobile. After the surrender of Mobile, marched with the Sixteenth Army Corps for Montgomery, Ala., thence to Meridian, Miss., afterward to Vicksburg, where it remained until mustered out of service, Nov. 24, 1865.

THIRTY-NINTH ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS. - Company C (88 men and 6 musicians) was raised in this county in August, 1861. This regiment was better known as the "Yates Phalanx," so named after Gov. Richard Yates. John Gray was captain, but he resigned on May 26, 1862, and James Wightman was promoted from first lieutenant to captain. Wightman died May 16, 1864, and John H. Johnson was elected captain. He was killed in battle and James Hannum was made captain. Wallace Lord was first lieutenant, but reigned January 24, 1862, and Simon S. Brucker was promoted to that office. Brucker resigned April 20, 1864, and Daniel Guisinger was elected in his stead. Upon his resigning, Henry H. DeLong was elected first lieutenant. The company was mustered into U. S. service, October 13, 1861, and moved to St. Louis, Mo., October 29th, received orders to move to Williamsport, Md., where it was fully armed and equipped. The following are the most impor-


tant events in the history of this celebrated regiment: Held a force of 10,000 rebels under command of Stonewall Jackson, for twenty-four hours. Participated in battle of Winchester. Four companies, under Major S. W. Munn, cap­tured thirty prisoners at Columbia Bridge. Was in Gen. McClellan's seven days’ fight. Was at Suffolk, Va., September, October and November, fortifying the place and making frequent raids, capturing, on one occasion, two cannon and forty prisoners; January 5, 1863, broke camp and marched to Chowan River, where it took trans­ports and reported to Gen. Foster, at Newburn, N. C. Here its Colonel, T. O. Osborn, took com­mand of the Brigade. Moved on expedition to Hilton Head. Was in Gen. Hunter's expedition against Charleston. At Morris Island, was as­signed to Gen. Terry's expedition, and participated in capture of Fort Wagner. Was first in the fort. Left Hilton Head on veteran furlough, January 1, 1864, via New York. Returned 750 strong, and was on Butler's expedition up James River, the entire loss being nearly 200. At Wier's Bottom Church, May 20th, the Thirty­ninth was ordered to dislodge the enemy, which it did most gallantly, losing forty, but captur­ing many prisoners, including Gen. Walker. On the 16th of May, had an engagement with Long­strett's command, losing some thirty-five. On the 2nd of June, the regiment was again called into action, on nearly the same ground as on the 20th of May, in which engagement it lost, in killed, wounded and missing, some forty men. Lieutenant Albert W. Fellows was killed soon after the action commenced; and Lieutenant Al C. Sweetzer was severely wounded in both legs, losing one by amputation above the knee. Au­gust 14th crossed James River and operated with Army of the James. On August 15th, the regiment lost 104 men, among them several val­uable officers. October 13th, in a charge, the Thirty-ninth lost sixty out of 250 engaged. Cap­tain George Heritage, commanding the regiment, was severely wounded in two places, Lieuten­ant C. J. Wilder was killed, and Lieutenant N. E. Davis mortally wounded. The regiment now fell under command of First Lieutenant James Hannum, Company C, there being but two other officers besides himself left - one the adjutant the other a second lieutenant - the balance killed, or absent, wounded. Several, however, had pre­viously been mustered out, by reason of expi­ration of service. March 27th, about 100 re­cruits joined. Took part in movements that re­sulted in capture of Petersburg and Richmond. In engagement at Fort Gregg, which was mostly hand to hand, the loss was sixty-five out of 150 engaged. For this gallantry Gen. Gibbon, their commanding General, had a magnificent brazen eagle cast and presented to the regiment. After various maneuvers and surrender of Lee, the Thirty-ninth was mastered out at Norfolk, Va., and received final pay and discharge at Spring­field, Ill., December 15, 1865.

FORTY-FOURTH VOLUNTEER INFANTRY. - Thirty-eight men from this county enlisted in Company C, eight men re-enlisted as veterans, and five en­listed in Company B. The Forty-fourth was or­ganized in August, 1861, at Camp Ellsworth, Chicago, under the supervision of Charles Knoblesdorff, and was mustered into service Septem­ber 13. On March 29 was assigned to Gen. Sigel's division. The following February, Gen. Curtis assumed command. The regiment took part in the battle of Pea Ridge. April 5, the regiment was placed in Col. Osterhaus' brigade. In September the army was reorganized and the Forty-fourth assigned to the Army of the Ohio, under Gen. Buell and was in the battle of Perryville, October 8, in a division commanded by Gen. Phil. Sheridan, Marched to Crab Orchard and Bowling Green, where Gen. Rosecrans took command. At Stone river, the regiment lost half its number in killed and wounded. July 26, was engaged at Hoover's Gap, Shelbyville and Tullahoma, Tenn. Took part in the battle of Chickamauga. In the battle of Mission Ridge, soon after, Gen. Sheridan gave the Forty-fourth the praise of raising their flag among the very first in the rebel works. After many marches and hardships, the Forty-fourth arrived at Chat­tanooga, February 3, 1864, and, for the first time in four months, drew full rations from the Gov­ernment. Here the regiment re-enlisted and went home on veteran furlough, arriving in Chicago, March 1, having marched during its term of enlistment over 5,000 miles. April 14, it arrived at Nashville, and immediately marched to Chattanooga, and from thence entered on the memorable Atlanta campaign, and participated in the following skirmishes and engagements: Buzzard Roost, Rocky-Faced Mountain, Resaca, Adairsville, Dallas, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, Gulp's Farm, Chattahoochie River, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta and Jonesboro. Its movements then were to Chattanooga, Tenn.,


Athens, Ala., Pulaski, Tenn., and from thence gradually fell back on Nashville, closely pursued by the enemy, and took a very prominent part in the battle of Franklin. Thence proceeded, via Nashville. to Huntsville, Ala., arriving January 5, 1865. March 28, was ordered to Knoxville, thence to Blue Springs, Tenn. After the sur­render of the rebel armies, the Forty-fourth was ordered to New Orleans, arriving June 22. It then moved, by steamer to Port Lavaca, Tex­as, where it remained until September 25, when it was mustered out and proceeded to Springfield, Ill., arriving October 15, 1865, and received its final payment and discharge.

FIFTY-THIRD VOLUNTEER INFANTRY. - In January, 1862, Capt. Morgan L. Payne recruited a company of men (42) at Pontiac, which entered the service as Company G of the Fifty-third Illi­nois. The Fifty-third was organized at Ottawa by Col. W. H. W. Cushman in the winter of 1861-62, and on February 27 moved to Camp Douglas. Ill. Ordered to Savannah, Tenn., March 23. Arrived at Shiloh on the night of April 7 and placed in the First Brigade, Fourth Division. Brig. Gen. J. G. Lauman commanding brigade, and Brig. Gen. S. A. Hurlbut command­ing division. Engaged in the siege of Corinth. In 1863 was engaged in siege of Vicksburg. July 12, 1863, the Fifty-third participated in the gal­lant but disastrous battle of Jackson, Miss., go­ing into the fight with 200 men and officers and coming out with but 66. Col. Earl fell, pierced with four bullets, Captain Michael Leahey and Lieutenant George W. Hemstreet were killed, and Captain J. E. Hudson mortally wounded, the entire loss being 88 killed and wounded and 46 missing. On February 1, 1864, the regiment, hav­ing re-enlisted, was mustered as a veteran or­ganization. Was engaged in the siege of Atlanta, and in the engagements of July 21, 22 and 23, 1863, lost 101 men, killed and wounded. Was mustered out on July 22. 1865.

THIRD CAVALRY. - Company K was raised in the vicinity of Fairbury, and was officered as follows: Aaron Weider, first lieutenant; Byron Phelps, second lieutenant (upon the resignation of John Zimmerman); Walter Scott (disabled), Thomas Davis, Frederick Joerndt (disabled), Julius F. Gould, sergeants. This company of 118 men served during the entire war. The regi­ment was known as the Carr regiment, being officered by three brothers - Eugene A. Carr, of the regular army, colonel; Horace M. Carr, chap­lain; Byron Carr, quartermaster. The regiment was organized at Camp Butler, Ill., in August, 1861, and mustered out of service October 13, 1865.

SIXTY-NINTH INFANTRY (three months). - The Adjutant General's reports do not give any history of this regiment. Sixty-one from this county enlisted in Co. G.

One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Infantry (100 days). - Organized at Camp Wood, Quincy, by Col. John R. Goodwin on June 21, 1864. Reg­iment was assigned to garrison duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Major Tunison, with Com­panies C and F, occupied the post of Weston, Mo., from July 7 to August 3. Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Davis commanding. Was mustered out of service October 14, 1864. Company F was or­ganized in Pontiac with David M. Lyon as cap­tain. Sixty-four Livingston County boys en­listed, and but one (Fred Fraley) deserted.

Livingston County contributed nineteen men each to Companies A and D of the Seventeenth Cavalry; thirty-nine to Cogswell's Battery; six­teen to Company D, Seventy-third Infantry; twenty-two to Company D, Fifty-second Infan­try; sixteen to Company F, Fifty-eighth Infan­try; sixteen to Company H, Seventy-seventh In­fantry; sixteen to Company C, One Hundred and Thirty-third Infantry; ten to Company F, One Hundred and Fiftieth Infantry; ten to Company B, Twelfth Infantry; sixteen to Company D, Seventy-first Infantry; eleven to Company B and seven to Company K, Fourteenth Cavalry; nine to Battery M, First Artillery Regiment.

(Portions of the above are taken from the Adjutant General's Report and from a record compiled by O. F. Pearre and W. G. McDowell.)


Company F was first organized in 1892 as the Pontiac Cadets, with A. J. Renoe as captain. This independent organization continued until 1896, when it was mustered into the Illinois National Guard, with A. J. Renoe as captain, L. F. Strawn as first lieutenant and Guy E. Whitson as second lieutenant.

In April, 1898, the company was ordered to Springfield, Ill., to be mustered into the United States Army for service in the Spanish­-American War. Left Springfield May 14, 1898, by rail for Chickamauga Park, Ga., arriving at Camp George H. Thomas, May 16, 1898. Remained until July 21, 1898, when company


left by rail for Newport News, Va., arriving July 23, 1898. Embarked on auxiliary cruiser St. Louis; at Hampton Roads, July 28, 1898, for Porto Rico as a part at General Brooke's expedition, being assigned to General Peter C. Haines' second brigade of General J. H. Wilson's First Division. Arrived and landed at Arroyo, Porto Rico, August 2, 1898, under cover of fire from the battleship Massachusetts, converted cruiser Gloucester and auxiliary cruis­ers in transport fleet. Immediately after landing, each platoon of the company was or­dered to occupy a Spanish outpost several miles from the town. The flag presented by the citi­zens of Pontiac was the first American flag raised in the Gauyama and Cayey provinces of Porto Rico.

Relieved the second day and held as reserve force at English consulate, Guayama. Rejoined regiment and marched in the advance on Guayama with General Peter C. Haines' brigade. Oc­cupied and marched through city with Major Jackson's battalion of the Third Illinois, Col. Fred Bennitt commanding. Assigned to out­post duty August 5 to 13, 1898. Marched as advance company in the advance on Spanish fortifications on road to San Juan in Cayey mountains. August 13, 1898, until recalled by peace protocol. Established headquarters in the vicinity of Guayama and was engaged in polic­ing mountain district and disbanding guerilla forces until October, 1898. Relieved by the 47th N. Y. Infantry, camped near Arroyo. Embarked for New York, November 2, 1898, on transport Roumania. Mustered out of the United States service January 21, 1899, at Pontiac, which ended the existence of the company, as while absent on foreign service, the regiment had been mustered out of the Illinois National Guard.

Later on, a new company bearing the same name was organized by First Lieutenant L. F. Strawn; First Sergeant J. A. Sutherland; hos­pital steward, F. L. Eastman; sergeant, George M. Cairns; wagonmaster, Harry Herbert: musician Lon Hill; and sergeant, R. B. Wallace. This company is still active as a part of the state militia.

The following were the officers: Captain, Alexander J. Renoe first lieutenant, Louis F. Strawn, second lieutenant, Guy F. Whitson; first sergeant, John A. Sutherland; quarter­master sergeant, James D. Marks; sergeants: James F. Scouller, Carl J. Ross, James L. Reed, Jesse Duckett; corporals: Albert M. Witt, Albert E. Holland, Auguston H. Young, Michael Prandy, Charles Rinn, Charles Jenkins, Albert Jackson, Henry Graeber, Will­iam Thornton, John O'Dea, Clement Bell; mu­sicians; Alonzo Hill, Milton Whitham; wag­oner: Harry Herbert; artificer, Lemuel Holmes.

Privates: Carl Anderson, Ross Arnett, Otis Atteberry, Walter Begg, Frank Beamer, Valdis Beamer, Frank Bobzin, David Boyd, Lester Brewer, Clyde Brown, Edward Bruce, George Brumbach, George Cairns, Eugene Carrithers, Frank Chamberlain, George Chamberlain, Har­ry Chamberlain, Henry Chapman, Frank Comp­ton, Albert Conover, Richard Cornell, Clarence Cox, Frank Dean, Herbert DeMoss, William De Voe, Frank Durflinger, Frank Edgington, Joseph Estes, Louis Falk, Frank Foulk, James Foulk, James Hall, William Henderson, Byron Herbert, Harry Herzberg, Louis Hill, William Hull, Louis Joerndt, Charles Jones, Emanuel Kirkeby, Frank Kneeland, George Leeds, David Lewis, William Lord, Reinhard Mattlin, Frank Megquier, George Megquier, Charles Miller, Calvin Mitchell, Thomas O'Hara, Benjamin Patterson, Chris Page, Charles Pearsall, George Pember-ton, William Pepperdine, William Phelps, Peter Plowman, Paul Ramey, Frank Reichardt, Louis Schifler, George Shreve, Alexander Skean, Al­bert Smith, George W. Smith, Frank Speicher, Thomas Stanley, Gaious Tallett, Everett Tate, Robert Wallace, Henry Wallis, Albert Wilson, William Wilson, Emmett Wood, Lee Wolfe, John Worrick. Transfers: Frank Eastman, Martin Kavanaugh and William Replogle to Reserve Ambulance Company, First Corps; John Daugherty to regimental band. Dis­charged before muster out of company: First Sergeant Edwin Miller July 21, 1898; Sergeant James Bowers, September 29, 1898; private Ray Eignus, December 30, 1898; private Charles Nagle June 8, 1898. Deaths in service: Cor­poral Emanuel Landmann, at Philadelphia, Pa., September 28, 1898, from disease contracted in Porto Rico; private William Matheny, at Guayama, Porto Rico, September 10 1898. Land­mann's body was interred in South Dakota and Matheney's at Chenoa. (For some reminiscen­ces of the Black Hawk War, See Chapter 1, of this volume; and for a more extended history of that war see Historical Encyclopedia, (VOL I), pp. 608-615.



In January, 1886, the first move was made by the old soldiers of Livingston County looking to the erection of a monument to the memory of its soldiers who rendered such noble service during the Civil War. When the first call to arms was sounded through the patriotic North for volunteers to crush the slaveholders' rebellion, 600 brave sons of Livingston County responded to the call. This number was largely increased by subsequent volunteers and recruits until the number was swelled from 600 to nearly 2,000. Of this large number, comparatively but few returned to their homes alive or without having contracted sickness which greatly shortened their lives. Many lie buried in the Southern soil where they fell fighting for their homes and country. It was thought at that time that the county should show its gratefulness to the heroes by the erection of a monument.

At the meeting of the board of supervisors, February 1886, a committee from the board consisting of E. L. Stratton, Charles W. Rollins and William R. Marvin, was appointed to confer with a committee of soldiers of whom W. S. Sims, W. B. Fyfe, J. B. Parsons and H. H. McDowell were members. At that meeting of the board the following resolution was adopted:

"Resolved, That we, the board of supervisors of Livingston County at the February meeting, 1886, order that a proposition he submitted at the April election of 1886 to be held in the several town­ships of the county to be voted upon by the legal voters thereof, viz.; whether they are in favor of the erection by this county of a soldiers' monu­ment, the cost not to exceed one mill on the dollar of the taxable property of said county; that on each of the ballots there shall be printed or written the words, 'For Soldiers' Monument­ - Against Soldiers' Monument, the party to erase the portion he is opposed to; that the board here­by order the county clerk to take the proper steps to carry out the above resolutions."

In the meantime, considerable discussion arose, principally among the old soldiers throughout the county in regard to the monument. Many were in favor of a monument in each township, while others favored a memorial of some kind. A meet­ing of the veterans of the county was held at the court house in Pontiac on Friday, February 27, 1886. The meeting favored the erection of a county soldiers' monument, but the opinion was expressed that any town in the county could raise a monument to its deceased soldiers if it so wished, but a county monument seemed an ab­solute necessity, and the tax was very light. The proposition was voted on at the election held for township officers on Tuesday, April 6, 1886, and was defeated by a large majority.

From that time on but little attention was paid to the erection of a county monument in Livingston County. By an act of the legislature passed in 1899, boards of supervisors were granted power to levy a tax for such purpose on petition of the tax payers of the different counties. After the act became a law, petitions were immediate­ly put in circulation in every township through­out the county. H. H. McDowell, S. M. Witt, E. T. Wilson, C. C. Strawn, J. B. Parsons and James A. Hoover were instrumental in circulating the petition, the same being filed by them in the office of the county clerk on the 12th day of August, 1900. At the September meeting of the board, the prayer of the petition was granted, and at the general election held on November 6, 1900, the people again voted on the proposition to erect a county soldiers' and sailors' monument. This time the proposition carried by a vote of 4,074 for and 3,596 against.

At the meeting of the supervisors in June, 1901, a committee was appointed looking to the erection of the monument consisting of James Bergan, M. Cleary, John W. Hoover, J. C. Diemer, A. H. Haag, M. De F. Wilder and Ira M. Lish. This committee visited several cities in the state where monuments had been erected. At the September meeting of the board, D. C. Avery was added to the committee. The location was also determined upon and the contract let to the Merkle & Sons of Peoria on their bid of $12,153.50, the total cost of the monument. The monument was erected in the spring of 1903, and ready for unveiling on the 3rd day of June. It is one of the most beautiful soldier and sailor monuments in the state, the total height being fifty-six feet. The bottom base is 14x14, one foot eight inches, and the statue at the top is nine feet high, the whole weighing 337,255 pounds, or 168 tons.

After the completion of the monument, com­mittee from the various Grand Army posts all over the county were appointed to look after the unveiling. President Roosevelt was invited to deliver the address on this occasion and promptly accepted. The date was set for June 3, 1903. On that day Pontiac was crowded with old soldiers


and citizens from all over the county and the people of Pontiac had made great preparations for the event, but the weather was against the pro­ceedings, a severe rain storm, accompanied by thunder and lightning, having set in about two hours previous to the arrival of President Roose­velt. When the special train bearing the presi­dent arrived at the Alton depot, the storm was at its height. Rain was pouring down in torrents and the streets of Pontiac were a sheet of water. Notwithstanding this, President Roosevelt alight­ed from the train and asked for the mayor of the city. Mayor Rathbun was soon at his side, a carriage was provided, and the President driven up town to the stand erected on the east side of the court house. Mounting the platform and facing an audience of less than a dozen people, President Roosevelt delivered the following ad­dress:

"Mr. Mayor and Fellow Citizens: I shall not try to make an extended speech. In the name of the people of Livingston County, by whom it has been erected, I dedicate this monument to those who have deserved it. I greet you all, and thank you for coming out in this rain; and I especially greet the members of the Grand Army of the Republic and these National Guards."

The address being finished, the President was escorted to his carriage and driven to the depot, not having been in Pontiac over fifteen minutes. The unveiling having been completed, the crowd soon dispersed.


In the city cemetery at Pontiac, there is a granite monument about sixteen feet in height, consisting of a shaft surmounted by a statue, erected by T. Lyle Dickey Post, G. A. R., and dedicated by these veterans May 30, 1902, to the memory of the missing comrades of the Civil War. In Forrest Township, in the rural ceme­tery, there is a gray granite shaft, sixteen feet in height, erected in 1883 at a cost of $400, and dedicated to the memory of Captain Otis Asa Burgess of the Seventeenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. At Fairbury, in the city park, cannon have been mounted on a stone foundation and dedicated August 20, 1902, to the memory of the soldiers and sailors of the Union. The work was done under the auspices of Aaron Weider post, G. A. R., at a cost of $150 contributed by the members of the post. A fine monument was erected in 1905 to the memory of the old soldiers in the new cemetery at Cullom.


The annual reunion of the One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry was held in Pontiac, Thursday, October 8, 1908, and was largely attended by the surviving members of the regiment, who had an enjoyable experi­ence talking over old times. The reunion took on the form of a reunion of all old soldiers, ir­respective of regiment or company. This feature added to the interest of the occasion although such had not been planned by those having the matter in charge.

The business sessions were held in the club­rooms of the Elks, who kindly donated the use of the same. Following a short preliminary ad­dress at 1:30 P. M., the meeting got down to business. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year:

President, Delos Robinson.

Vice-President, A. P. Pemberton.

Secretary, Hugh Thompson.

Treasurer, R. D. Folks (since deceased).

Executive Committee: William Thompson, Jacob Farr, Delos Robinson, Hugh Thompson and James H. Gaff.

Following the closing of the business meeting the members of the regiment and the visiting old soldiers were given a carriage ride about the city by the citizens. About twenty-five autos were furnished and the old soldiers shown about the city. At the head of the auto parade was a fife and drum corps, which furnished music all along the route. Following the auto ride, the members of the regiment, as well as the other old soldiers present, organized in parade formation and marched around the court house square headed by the fife and drum corps. The parade ended at the soldiers' and sailors' monu­ment, where a brief memorial service was held. The speakers were C. C. Strawn and L. C. Wright, both of Pontiac.

The following members of the regiment were present and registered:

Delos Robinson, of Sheridan, Ill.; Hugh Thompson, George Worthington, A. P. Pemberton, James H. Gaff, R. D. Folks and D. J. Lyons, of Pontiac; T. St. John, J. W. Whiteside, Eli L. Lower, of Lanark, Ill.; O. O. Leonard, of Manville. Ill.; J. S. Johnson, of Sibley; Jacob Farr, of Onarga, F. M. VanDoren, of Flanagan; L. Morse, William McLoud, of Odell; Nathan


Springer, of Graymont; Eben Perry, of Ur­bana; D. W. Blake, of Cornell; C. L. Dunham, of Avoca; S. McQuinon, of Streator; William Thompson, Curtis J. Judd, of Dwight; William Jencks, of Ottawa; J. E. Fitzgerald, of Fairbury; Andrew Stuart, of Kempton.

Other veterans attending the reunion were: L. C. Wright, P. Hendershott, J. B. Parsons, W. H. Hessin, R. C. Huntoon, A. Harrison, S. M. Witt, Robert Watts, I. H. Miles, D. C. Stock­ham, E. H. Ferguson, H. L. Ogden, D. Worthley, James W. DeMoss, D. B. Walker, Chas. Peppard, J. C. Huetson, R. E. Jacobs, S. C. Breckenridge, J. B. Cummings, H. M. Carney, H. Hierth, J. W. A. Lilly, Z. F. Carroll, W. H. Blanchard, R. C. Ross, E. C. Zeilman, Hugh Fitzgerald, D. C. Avery, C. A. McGregor, David Murphy, J. A. Hoover, A. Des Voigne, B. Schaub, J. C. Antrim, R. Kingore, S. J. Prisk, C. McClellan and B. F. Meyer.

The ranks of the old soldiers are thinning out, and the survivors, who meet in reunions, are for the most part showing plainly the marks of time and the effects of their service in behalf of the union. It was from Pontiac that the One Hun­dred and Twenty-ninth, in the full vigor of youth and patriotic impulses, went to the front in 1862 amid the prayers and tears and fears of those left behind. Today, but comparatively few are left, but Pontiac in years past has given them a cordial welcome, and shows that they are not forgotten, but are held in loving remembrance.




The early history of education in Livingston County is not unlike that of the average. The early pioneers were a hardy lot, and lived up to their ideals, quite as closely as do their descend­ants and successors today. After providing the necessary food and clothing for their families, they took measures for the improvement and development of the mind. Then, as now, they evinced a laudable pride in their schools, and did not stint themselves in their support.

In those times the school laws were almost inoperative because of their crudeness, and in­stead of the state or county directing affairs, it was largely left to the whim of the district of­ficials. Political pull prevailed then as now, whereby incompetents, measured by the short and scanty requirements of the times, were able to secure positions for which they were unfitted, as is evidenced by the following true story (ex­cept that the actual names of the commissioner and teacher are not given) :

Richard Roe wished to teach school in Dis­trict One, Indian Grove. He had been examined by John Doe, Commissioner, and found unfit. He went back to District One, and reported his failure. His friends, with a pull, got busy, and sent Mr. Roe back to Commissioner Doe, armed with credentials. Mr. Doe finally issued a per­mit which read as follows:

"This is to certify, that Richard Roe is quali­fied to teach in District One, Indian Grove, and no other d--n spot this side of Hell.



Things are changed now. The Superintendent may bow to the party boss, and there are no doubt, modern instances of it, yet the certificate granted is valid in any district in the county and may be so used, hence being likely to cut both ways, operates as a brake on pulls.

The early school house was built of logs, with split logs for seats. The idea of a back seat, or a desk or a shelf for the deposit of books had, as yet, not been evolved. The transition from that condition to the comfortable and scien­tifically constructed school room equipment of today has been gradual, but has ever had the loyal support of the people. The sentiment seems to have prevailed that nothing is too good for our schools. This is generally true. How­ever, there are a few exceptions. There are a few houses that appear like huge dry-goods boxes, and are about as attractive and con-


venient. Happily, like the dews of the morning, they are fading away, and are rapidly becoming memories.


At the very beginning of her development, Liv­ingston County took steps to provide for higher education. In 1856, New Michigan Academy was established by the following gentlemen: Wash­ington Houston, William Strawn, Otis Whitney, C. P. Paget, Eben Norton, G. C. Cusick and Moses Rumney. A building was soon provided and a faculty secured, of which E. B. Nevell was the head or President. The school was in Operation one year, but not having a sustaining attendance.

Course of Study, New Michigan Academy.

"Music - Tuition $8 per quarter: rent of piano, $3 per term.

Literary Course-Reading - McGuffy; Geography - Mitchell's; Arithmetic - Ray; English Grammar: Algebra - Ray; Composition - Parker; History - Goodrich; Physiology - Cutler; Latin Grammar - Anton; Cornelius Nepo - Anton; Caesar's Commentaries - Anton; Painting and Drawing; Tuition per term $5 to $7; Board, including room rent and fuel $2.

The first term begins the second Monday in September and continues 21 weeks; second term the remainder of the season. Vacation, second Wednesday in June, to second Monday of Sep­tember; Xmas to New Year, - Another about April 1st.

This school is located twelve miles northwest of Pontiac and eight miles west of Odell. Ad­dress all communications to New Michigan Acad­emy, Livingston County, Ill."

The academy was closed for two years, when it was again put in operative condition with Otho F. Pearre, as President. Under his ad­ministration, it was very successful for a period of three years, when he withdrew and moved to Pontiac, and for a few years the effort was made to continue it, but being badly located, it soon became one of the institutions that were.

Such, in brief, is the history of the only academy (parochial excepted) that has ever flourished in this county. At the present time the county is well provided with schools. A very complete education may be had at the various public schools, the best of which is the town­ship High School located at Pontiac. The fol­lowing history of it will be of general interest and value:


The Pontiac Township High School was or­ganized in 1894, school opening in September of that year. The first Board of Education was composed of R. R. Wallace, President; James A. Hoover, Secretary; Charles H. Tuesburg, George B. Gray and W. F. Cook, members. Since that time the following gentlemen have served as efficient members of the Board and have been untiring in their efforts to make the school what it now stands for. Presidents, George B. Gray, George Torrence, S. A. Rath­bun, Dr. J. D. Scouller; Secretaries, W. F. Cook, S. A. Rathbun, Dr. John Ross, E. A. Simmons, C. E. DeButts; Members, Edgar Cook, Peter Munson, J. W. Marks. C. R. Tombaugh, C. E. Legg, Dr. J. A. Marshall, George Crawford, F. G. White.

The original faculty of the school was com­posed of the following instructors: J. E. Bangs, Principal; C. E. DeButts, Assistant; Mary E. Jones, Margaret Stewart, Frances Simpson, Mrs. M. A. Vaughan. The following instructors have since been employed at different times: Alice A. Blanchard, Margaret M. Bangs, Margaret Power, Lydia McDougall, Cora M. Hamilton, J. Milton Vance, Arthur F. Wallace, Isaac Mitchell, H. E. Longnecker, David B. Thomas, Amanda Hubbard, Margaretta S. Easly, Ida M. Tindall, Kenneth G. Smith, Wm. G. Turnbull, Mary Kirk Rider, Margaret McKibben, Mary E. Powell, Mrs. U. W. Louderback, Emma A. Bar­ry, Ada E. Herbert, John A. Brittenham, Mabel F. Barr, Hallie Chalfant, Hattie Wasmuth, Rob­ert Parr, J. T. Kirk, W. W. McCulloch, George W. Dowrie, Lloyd Dancey, E. B. Wells, George Sype, Myrtle Ballard, Esther Mohr, Helen Mar Scouller.

The original value of the building and grounds of the Pontiac High School was about $30,000, to which additions have been made aggregating $20,000.

The whole number of students enrolled since the school started is 1,436. Of this number 266 have completed the four years' course and re­ceived the diploma of the school, besides the large number who have received certificates from the two-year courses and have gone out to oc­cupy responsible positions as teachers or in the professional or business world.


The enrollment and attendance of the students for the different years is shown by the follow­ing table:

Year Boys Girls Total Av.

1894-5 ................ 97 134 231 186

1895-6 ................ 93 137 230 180

1896-7 ................110 125 235 189

1897-8 ................101 135 236 191

1898-9 ................112 133 245 181

1899-00................ 114 104 218 167

1900-01................ 102 136 238 177

1901-02................ 99 134 233 185

1902-03................ 119 165 284 232

1903-04................ 107 160 267 218

1904-05................ 104 173 277 231

1905-06................ 124 176 300 245 1906-07................ 115 150 265 226

The school has been patronized not only by the students of Pontiac Township, but by a large number of ambitious young men and women who have come from outside the town­ship and have added in no small degree to the standing of the school.

The amounts received in tuition fees have been as follows:

1894-1902 (First eight years) .....$7,300

1902-1903 .............................. 1,476

1903-1904 .............................. 1,554

1904-1905 ............................... 1,626

1905-1906 .............................. 2,506

1906-1907 .............................. 2,263

From the start the spirit of the Pontiac Township High School has been entirely democratic as is shown by the fact that students have come to us from the family of the professional man, and from that of the business man, mechanic, farmer, laborer, in fact from almost every walk of life. The influence of the school on the com­munity is felt in the immediate life of the town­ship, in the higher education of very many of our young men and women and in the other parts of the county through the large number of our students who have become teachers.


Pupils who have completed the work of the grammar department of a graded school of good standing, or who hold a diploma issued by the County Superintendent, certifying that they have completed the work outlined for the common schools for the first eight years, or who hold a teacher's second grade certificate, will be admit­ted without examination.

Advanced standing in any course will be granted upon the presentation of satisfactory evidence of work done in a high school of good standing, or upon examination in those subjects for which credit is desired.


All students who are bona fide residents of Pontiac Township will be admitted free. Non­resident students will be required to pay a tui­tion fee of $15 per term. The tuition may be paid by the month, term or year, in advance, to the secretary, who will receipt therefor. In case of doubt as to the residence of the student, the parent or guardian may be required to furnish an affidavit setting forth the facts in the case.

The course of study is a good one, and we give it in detail. It will be interesting to compare it with that of New Michigan Academy.



First Year-English, Latin, Algebra, Physiol­ogy-2-3, Zoology-l-3.

Second Year-Ancient History, Caesar, Plane Geometry, Zoology-l-3, Botany-2-3.

Third Year-English, Cicero, English and American History, Physics.

Fourth Year-English, Virgil, Algebra-Geom­etry, Political Economy, Chemistry.


First Year-English, Latin, Algebra, Physiol­ogy-2-3, Zoology-1-3.

Second Year-Ancient History, Caesar, Plane Geometry, Zoology-1-3, Botany-2-3.

Third Year-English, German, English and American History, Physics.

Fourth Year-English, German, Algebra-Ge­ometry, Chemistry, Political Economy.


First Year-English, Physical Geography­1-2, Political or Commercial Geography-1-2, Al­gebra, Physiology-2-3, Zoology-1-3.

Second Year-Ancient History, Bookkeeping, Plane Geometry, Zoology-1-3, Botany-2-3.

Third Year-English, German, English and American History, Physics.

Fourth Year-English, German, Algebra-Ge­ometry, Chemistry, Political Economy, Reviews.



First Year - Grammar, Physical Geography -1-2, Political Geography-1-2, Arithmetic, U. S. History.

Second Year-English, Pedagogy, Civics-His­tory of Illinois, Algebra, Physiology-2-3, Zool­ogy-1-3.

Third Year-English, Ancient History, Plane Geometry, Zoology-1-3, Botany-2-3.

Fourth Year - English, English and American History, Algebra-Geometry, Bookkeeping, Politi­cal Economy, Physics, Reviews.


First Year - Grammar, Physical Geography­-1-2, Commercial Geography-1-2, Arithmetic, U. S. History.

Second Year - English, Bookkeeping, Algebra, Ancient History, Physiology, Zoology.

Third Year - Bookkeeping-2-3, Commercial Law-1-3, German, Plane Geometry, Zoology and Botany, English and American History.

Fourth Year - German, Political Economy, Physics, English, Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry.

All students are required to take the follow­ing general work: Spelling until carried at 95 per cent; Rhetorical equivalent to four exercises a year; Music, Drawing, Elocution and Physical Culture for an equivalent of two lessons a week for two years. Extra credit will be given for advance work in any of these branches. No ex­tra charge for lessons in any of the regular classes. Manual training work may be elected in any course.

OTHER HIGHER INSTITUTIONS. - Of the many very excellent schools, we call attention to the Academy at Chatsworth; Academy at Odell; Academy at Loretta; Academy at Pontiac - all Catholic. The Lutheran school at Flanagan, and the Amish schools of Pike and Waldo Townships.


The common district schools are of unusual efficiency, and their beginning was fully as crude as was that of the early academy, and their advancement has been as marked as that shown by the high schools.

From teaching six days per week, building their own fires, about which was often serious controversy, the teaching time is now five days and, by construction of law, the teacher is de­clared not to be a janitor, hence not a fire­builder or floor-sweeper.

The following is a list of Commissioners and Superintendents of Schools who have served in Livingston County, with date of appointment or election.


James C. McMillan, appointed by court December 4, 1838.

Robert Smith, appointed May 9, 1839.

John W. Reynolds, appointed August, 1840.

Samuel Boyer, elected August, 1841, and again in 1843.

August Fellows, elected August, 1845.

Walter Cornell, elected November, 1849.

H. H. Hinman, elected November, 1853 and 1855.

James H. Hagerty, elected November, 1857.

I. P. Whittemore, elected November, 1859.

John W. Smith, elected November, 1861.

O. F. Pearre, elected November, 1863.


H. H. Hill, elected 1865 and served eight years.

M. Tombaugh, elected 1873 and served nine years.

George W. Ferris, elected 1882 and served eight years.

H. A. Foster, elected 1890 and served four years.

C. R. Tombaugh, elected 1894 and served seven years.

R. E. Herbert, appointed by Board of Super­visors, September, 1901, still serving.

Many of these officials had a strong desire to improve the schools, but the limited power con­ferred on them by law, to enforce measures of betterment, blocked success for a long time. It is probably true that all were impressed with the necessity of a uniform book system as the first necessary forward step. At the teachers' institute of 1858, an abortive effort was made to make the books in the county uniform. The conditions of the times are well expressed by an educator of that day. Under the present sys­tem - rather no system - the influence is equally deleterious both to the advancement of the pupil and the pockets of the parents.

Superintendent H. H. Hill secured pretty nearly uniform books, under his administration, but there the work ended, and soon things drift­ed back to old conditions. Matthew Tombaugh, his successor, strove to secure the systematiza-


tion of school work, and held school examinations, but the multiplicity of books defeated ultimate success.

G. W. Ferris, the successor of Mr. Tombaugh, put forth strong effort for the advancement of district schools, but the same conditions operated to block success. Both of these men wrought well, spent their best efforts and none today are held in higher esteem than they.

Henry A. Foster, was the successor of G. W. Ferris in December, 1890. Then strenuous times in educational affairs began. In 1901, Mr. Foster took a stand for better things, and declared that what the law did not bar him from doing he had the right to do in the advancement of education. This was the reverse of former conditions and practice. Six things were declared necessary by him to bring about desired results: (1) A uniform system of text-books; (2) A course of study; (3) Monthly and term reports from teachers; (4) Monthly and term examination of district schools; (5) The education of the teachers - how to use the course of study and conduct the examinations; (6) The annual issuance of county diplomas and holding of graduation exercises for the country schools. He boldly announced his plan and determination, and, through the medium of township meetings, presented the matter to the people for their approval, and the wonder of it all, secured it. The people having chosen their delegates to the county convention to consider the matter and select the books, instructed each delegate, if he found himself in the minority at any time, to change his vote to the majority, thus making the action of the convention unanimous.

Thus a uniform system was provided, the books chosen, terms arranged, and the day set - December 1, 1891 - when the exchange should be made. The people did not wait for the directors to sign contracts, but changed anyway. Thus, in ten days the exchange was effected, and school books were uniform in Livingston County.

It was now up to the County Superintendent to make good. Institutes were called and careful papers prepared, instructing teachers how to use the new books. These papers were published in one of the county papers and freely distributed to teachers and directors. All this was ably seconded by "The School News," a monthly publication issued from the Superintendent's office. Then came the building of the course of study, which was placed in the teachers' hands in August, 1892. The teachers were now plainly told their fitness to teach would be measured by their success in using the course of study, holding examinations and making prompt report to the Superintendent. Thus was a long forward step taken - a step that riveted the eyes of the entire State on Livingston County. The Superintendent was ably supported by the following persons, as well as by a host not mentioned: C. R. Tombaugh, C. A. (Assistant County Superintendent), C. Slaughhaugh, C. E. DeButts, Margaret Powell, J. E. Bangs, Ada Peart, Amanda Hubbard, and the entire county press. Everything worked out as planned, and the success was more complete than the most ardent had hoped for.

Mr. C. R. Tombaugh succeeded Mr. Foster, and he ably carried on the work, thus firmly established, and improved it in such degree as to leave nothing for his successor to do but to follow the well marked and beaten pathway.

Now note changed conditions. In announcing the Institute, the Superintendent, following the precedent established in 1891, says: "Every teacher is expected to be present, only illness excusing." All are present to the individual and general profit.

At the present time, everything is working nicely, profitably, under the county course, which has been found so good, so practicable, as to be adopted for use in the eighth grades of nearly all the city and village schools of the county.


The first teachers' institute to assemble in Livingston County was held at New Michigan Academy in Newton Township, on January 8, 1858, the following being the published call for the same: "Feeling the want of a more general system of co-operation in our endeavors to impart instruction to the youths that attend the various schools, and being of the opinion that the meeting of the teachers and friends of education, and a free interchange of views on the mode of teaching would conduce greatly to improve our schools, we therefore call attention of the teachers of the county to a meeting to be held at the New Michigan Academy on January 8, 1858, for the purpose of organizing a Teachers' Institute. Let nothing prevent your coming. Provisions have been made for as many as may


come - E. B. Neville, Principal, New Michigan Academy."

The meeting was very poorly attended, caused, no doubt, by its location in the extreme northwestern part of the county, and the sessions were therefore necessarily short. The committee on resolutions, in submitting their report for adoption, had embodied in them the following: "That we will consider every teacher unworthy the profession, that may not attend these meetings." This resolution excommunicating every teacher that did not attend the meeting, was afterwards the subject of much comment by the teachers throughout the county.

At the second County Teachers' Institute, held in Pontiac, April 1-3, 1858, M. Gower, S. L. Manker and E. B. Neville, the committee appointed to select a series of text-books to be used in the public schools, was reported as follows, said report being unanimously adopted:

"Resolved, That the cause of education in Livingston County demands of the teachers of the county a warmer interest in its behalf and a more thorough qualification for their duties, and that, to promote these objects, our teachers' institute is earnestly commended to their attention.

"Resolved. That a uniform system of text-books, the extended circulation of 'The Illinois Teacher,' and other papers on education, and the frequent meeting of teachers' institutes are the most important prerequisites for the promotion of common school education.

"Resolved, That we are of the opinion that McGuffey's Speller and Reader, Ray's Arithmetic, Mitchell's Geography, Pinneo's Grammar and Sander's Speller, are the best adapted to our common schools, and would recommend them to be used."

The officers elected were: President, James H. Hagerty; vice presidents, S. S. Saul, Pontiac; T. A. Jones, Indian Timber; W. G. McDowell, Avoca; Eli Myer, Eppards Point; J. L. Peck, New Michigan; E. G. Rice, Sunbury; Orlando Chubbuck, Long Point. At this time there was no County Superintendent of schools. James H. Hagerty was the School Commissioner. Not a female teacher was in attendance at this institute.

Pursuant to previous notice, the third teachers' institute, assembled at the court house in Pontiac on Monday, December 27, 1858, at 2 o'clock P. M., under the charge of Dr. C. C. Hoagland of Tazewell county, and organized by choosing Reuben Macy permanent secretary, and John W. Smith and Miss Mary Murphy a committee of reception. The following persons enrolled their names as members of the institute: John Peck, S. L. Manker, N. W. Pearson, John W. Smith, L. Swett, A. G. Pratt, E. Finley, Reuben Macy, Mary Murphy, A. E. Hanley, George W. Knapp, Ann E. Eths, Marietta E. Bennett, Ellen M. Johnson, William J. Murphy, Emily F. Bailey, Pontiac; R. Springer, Isaac G. Mott, Dwight; S. B. Johnson, Eben W. Gower, B. A. Gower, Sunbury; M. C. Kingsbury, E. J. Udell, Rev. H. H. Hinman, Elizabeth A. Walton, New Michigan; Jane M. Pearson, Cayuga; J. L. McDowell, Fairbury; J. W. Richmond, Chenoa; Ann E. McDowell and Mary A. White, Avoca. The institute was in session five days, adjourning on Friday evening, Dr. C. C. Hoagland of Tazewell county and M. T. Hutchinson of Cheming were the conductors. The first and second days, proceedings were given over to the conductors, who made appropriate addresses on education in the common schools. A "court of errors," for the purpose of correcting ungrammatical expressions dropped by any member during the session, was held, the name of the teacher making the error being omitted. The ready lesson came first in order, particular attention being directed to articulation. Exercises in critical reading were had, followed by exercises in the vocal and consonant sounds and their combinations. Then came lessons in arithmetic, and the different methods of teaching geography and grammar. We note from the proceedings of the institute that a pleasant and instructive lesson was had in astronomy, almanacs being used as text-books. Much good was accomplished at the institute, every teacher enrolled being present at each session, and the lecturers were given close attention. After thanking the people of Pontiac for their hospitality in entertaining the teachers free of cost at their homes, it was re­solved, "That our thanks are due to the Board of Supervisors for the liberal appropriation ($100) which they made for the support of the institute," and "That we return to our several schools with an ardent desire to improve our­selves as teachers, according to the valuable sug­gestions of our instructors; and notwithstanding that we feel more than ever our imperfections, we are encouraged to press forward towards a higher standard of excellence in our arduous


and responsible stations, and we have learned charity and sympathy for each other."

The fourth institute convened in Pontiac on December 26, 1859. Reuben Macey was chairman and E. J. Udell secretary. Motion to elect officers for the year 1860 was carried, upon which the following officers were elected: President, Otho Pearre; vice president, S. S. Saul; secretary, J. W. Smith; treasurer, J. L. McDowell. The following were appointed as the executive committee: I. T. Whittemore, E. J. Udell, N. J. Pillsbury, L. K. Westcott, J. H. Coe, John Peck and Reuben Macey. On motion, Webster's dictionary was adopted as the standard authority of the institute during its session. Some of the schools of the county were conducted six days in the week previous to this institute, but at this session it was resolved, "that a careful investigation has convinced us that scholars will advance faster in their studies with five days' school each week than with six." Soon after this, the system of five school days each week was adopted all over the county.

The fifth institute met at the Bureau school house in Nebraska Township September 24, 1860, with a small attendance. Those present were: Otho Pearre, Jr., Nathaniel J. Pillsbury, E. J. Udell, J. W. Smith, H. H. McDowell, J. H. Hotchkins, Miss L. Macy, S. C. Pillsbury, D. L. Murdock, Miss M. E. Porter, J. P. Herrick, John Peck, Miss S. J. Peck, Miss L. Maxwell, Mrs. Mary J. McGregor, Mr. Craig, Miss E. J. Miller, Miss J. C. Smith, N. Darnall, J. J. Doolittle, Miss M. E. Pillsbury, M. Peck, B. F. Fitch, Mr. Kenyon, J. M. Groves, Miss Brown, M. M. Tremble, Reuben Macy. The following officers were elected for the next year: President, Prof. Otho Pearre, Jr.; vice president, Nathaniel J. Pillsbury; recording secretary, John W. Smith; treasurer, I. T. Whittemore. During this session, Prof. Otho Pearre, Jr., read his celebrated poem on "Folly," which was well received. The following resolution was offered and discussed at length: "Resolved, That corporal punishment should not be used in school." Affirmative, E. J. Udell, A. J. Anderson, Reuben Macy, J. W. Smith and D. L. Murdock; negative, N. J. Pillsbury, I. T. Whittemore, Otho Pearre and I. P. Herrick. Many differences arose when the question. "Which is the oldest permanent settlement in the United States of America?" The majority said "Jamestown," in Virginia; the minority and the conductor said, "St. Augustine," in Florida.

The following question was offered, discussed and laid on the table:

"Resolved, That the School Commissioner should not grant a certificate to anyone who chews tobacco."


Livingston County in 1908, had 8,592 children of all ages enrolled in its public schools. The total number of persons between six and twenty-one is 11,296, so that it will be seen that the bulk of the children are where they should be, in school. In round numbers the county pays a quarter of a million dollars for the education of its younger generation, the average annual cost of schooling last year for children of all ages being $25.64.

If the people nowadays had large families as they used to have, it would almost bankrupt the people to keep up their school taxes, but the chances are that, if the average family was quite large, the per capita cost would be considerably lower, for in many districts there could be a very considerable increase in the pupils and they could be cared for by the same number of teachers now employed.

The school population of Livingston County has increased, but not as some might think, for the migration from this county westward and to large cities, like Chicago, has been going on steadily for many years, and this has served to keep down the population and naturally the number of children of school age.

Reports from all over the county show that there are 8,162 boys under twenty-one years of age and 7,906 girls, a total of 16,068. Taking the total population of the county at 47,000 - for that is just about what it is - it will be seen that the youngsters form no inconsiderable part of the whole. Boys between six and twenty-one years of age number 5,696 and girls 5,600, a total of school age of 11,296. The boys in graded schools are 1,991, girls 2,073; boys in ungraded schools, 2,318, and girls. 2,210, or a total in all public schools in the county of 8,592.

The county has twenty-six graded schools and 235 ungraded. Graded schools were in session 231 months and ungraded 1,921-1/2, a total of 2,152-1/2 months. The total months taught by teachers was 3,066. The days attendance in graded schools was 626,702 and in ungraded schools 543,232. The county has eighteen brick school houses and 243 frame buildings, the


buildings, houses and grounds being valued at $587,695.

Two hundred and forty-two districts have libraries, and the new books purchased during the year were 852. The total number of volumes now in school libraries in the county aggregate 22,067. and the value of the libraries is given at $13,360.

Nine private schools are reported. In these schools are 666 pupils-320 boys and 346 girls. The highest wages paid any male teacher was $244.44 and the best received by any woman teacher $133.33. The lowest wage for men was $37.50 and for women, $30.

District tax levy was $199,851.37, the income from township funds was $13,750.11 and from the distributable fund $8,792.23. All school treasurers had on hand, June 30, 1907, $111,312.29 of district funds, against $123,693.11 on the same date this year.

Special taxes, including railroad and back taxes, amounted to $209,426.71.

Men teachers in graded schools earned $17,087.46, and women, $52,174.37, a total of $69,262.83 paid in salaries to graded school teachers.

Men in ungraded schools earned $8,468.69, and women, $71,148.13, a total of $79,616.82.

Outside of teachers' salaries there was paid out for fuel, janitor. insurance and incidentals, $27,384.67, and principal on district bonds, $12,631.78.

The total bonded indebtedness of all schools is $85,900.

The amount of sixteenth-section school lands still retained by School Trustees, is but 660 acres. Fayette owns all of its sixteenth section and Chatsworth owns twenty acres in an adjoining township.



The library movement in Pontiac began in 1881. Its promoters were Dr. J. J. Stites, Willlam B. Fyfe and Byron Woolverton. These gentlemen made an active membership and money canvass, which resulted in the establishment of the Pontiac Library Association with a membership of forty and a fund of $100. One hundred volumes were purchased and placed in the drug store of Dr. J. W. Filkins, with Byron Woolverton as librarian. The membership grew and books were gradually added, always with the end in view that this library might form the nucleus of a public library whenever the city council deemed it wise to establish one.

In 1892, Mrs. H. A. Foster and Miss May Waters, representing the society of King's Daughters, accompanied by Henry A. Foster, called upon the city council individually, laying the matter before them so successfully that the desired ordinance was soon passed and a library board appointed according to statute and organized with Mrs. Henry A, Foster. president; Mrs. O. P. , secretary. The other members were Charles Barickman, Edgar P. Holly, Edward O. Reed, J. A. Marshall, A. E. Harding, Charles A. McGregor and Dr. J. J. Stites, who afterwards became secretary.

The King's Daughters promply donated $50. Later some of the young men of the city donated $42.25, the proceeds of an entertainment given by them. A bicycle tournament was held during the summer and ten per cent of the gate receipts were donated.

One of the most public-spirited men of the com-munity was Judge Billings P. Babcock. Dr. J. J. Stites and Charles A. McGregor, believing that Mr. Babcock would gladly give substantial help, told him of the efforts being made and asked him to join in the work. Mr. Babcock deeded to the board the two blocks of land now occupied by the township high school. This was then sold to D. S. Myers for $3,200, Mr. Myers at the same time donating $400. The present library site was then purchased of Miss Eliza Gilroy for $800. Bonds for $5,000 were now issued in order to get the amount necessary for the building. Plans and specifications drawn by Weschelberger & Janowitz of Peoria were approved by the city council and accepted by the board, and H. C. Miller, also of Peoria, received the contract. The building was finished in the spring of 1894, and was formally opened on the evening of May 24th. Prayer was offered by the Rev. D. K. Campbell, special music rendered by Vaughan's orchestra, a ladies' quartet, a stringed quintet, and addresses given by Mrs. Henry A. Foster, Major R. W. McClaughry and Rev. Thomas Doney. During the evening, Pontiac's artist, George E. Colby, presented a picture called "Pontiac in 1794," Mr. Colby painted this picture especially for the library. It is on a 2-1/2x4foot canvass and represents that portion of the river just below the bridge. An Indian encampment is pictured on what is now the


county jail site. A party of Indian hunters bearing their game is seen crossing the lowland on the opposite side and fording the river. The work is beautifully executed and is much admired even by those who know nothing of Pontiac's early days. The older residents especially like it, declaring it to be a very true reproduction of the river and its banks as known to them in their youth.

The library furniture was purchased with money raised by subscription. Mrs. Harriet Humiston giving $50, many others smaller amounts.

In July, 1904, Miss Nell Thornton was appointed librarian, and Miss Irene Warren of Armour Institute was engaged to work with her for one mouth to instruct her in library methods.

The reading room was supplied with a dozen monthly periodicals, four weeklies, several Chicago dailies and the local papers. For the first year most were given. The barbers gave the Cosmopolitan, the Clionian society the Century, the Vermilion Club, Harper's, and other societies, churches and individuals subscribing for others. The running expenses until 1897, were met by appropriation made by the city council from unappropriated funds. At the 1897 session of the legislature, Oscar F. Avery, representative from this district, presented a bill which was passed providing for the levy of a tax of two mills on the dollar for the special maintenance of libraries and reading rooms in towns of over 2,000 population. Under this law, the city council passed an ordinance directing the annual levy of one mill on every dollar of taxable property within the city, this to be independent of the regular two per cent levy allowed by law for this purpose and known as the library fund. Up to this time, the number of volumes increased slowly, but with the steady growth of the city the library fund has also steadily grown, which means an increased outlay for the purchase of books. In the beginning. the Pontiac library association gave its 800 volumes. For a number of years lecture courses and other entertainments were given, which materially increased the amount for book purchasing. Liberal donations. either in books, or in money for the purchase of books. were made by the Clionian society, the kindergarten board, Major R. W. McClaughry, Mrs. D. S. Myres, the Misses Hamilton, Mrs. Harriet Humiston, Miss Mayme Brydia, and other societies and individuals. The most constant donor has been and is Dr. J. J. Stites. Money, books, time and labor have all been given freely by him. No personal sacrifice has been too great, if by making it he might be enabled to further the interests of the library. Besides the donations, about 4,500 books have been purchased out of the library fund, there now being over 5,500 books owned by the library.

In the fourteen years since its establishment more than 3,600 members have been enrolled and over 300,000 books drawn for home reading. Improvements have also been made in the building. The wooden steps have been replaced by iron; the plastered ceiling by steel, the board floors in the basement by concrete, and over 600 feet of shelving has been added to the original 300 feet.




As Woodford G. McDowell is so celebrated in the early history of Livingston County, we are interested in every detail we can get concerning him. Without doubt, Mr. McDowell was the first resident attorney to practice the profession of law in the county, although there is no record that he was ever admitted to the bar. While operating a sawmill, running a store and farm in Avoca Township, he found a few spare moments to study law in which he became proficient, as not one of his decisions during his fourteen years as justice of the peace was ever reversed when taken up on appeal. In 1844, he was appointed master in chancery by Judge T. Lyle Dickey, of Ottawa, and in 1859


was elected county judge. In 1858, Mr. Mc­Dowell formed a partnership with the Hon. Greenbury L. Fort, of Lacon, and engaged in the practice of his profession as occasion re­quired. In 1860 he moved to Fairbury, thence to Washington, D. C., where he died several years ago.

Judge Billings P. Babcock settled in Esmen Township in 1848, and engaged in farming. He studied law in New York and was regularly admitted to practice in that state. Mr. Babcock devoted but little of his time to the practice of his profession in this county. In 1852 he was elected county judge, serving three years, resign­ing as he could not be absent from his office, when he so desired. He devoted the remaining portion of his life to farming, with the excep­tion of the last few years, when he moved to Pontiac, at which place he passed away.

John H. McGregor was the first practicing attorney to locate at the county seat, arriving in 1852. He found but little work in his pro­fession, and shortly after arriving engaged in the mercantile business with I. P. McDowell and Samuel C. Ladd. In a few years, Mr. McGregor retired from the firm, devoting all his time to the practice of his profession. He was a very able lawyer and his ability as such is highly spoken of by the people in the early days. He died in Pontiac in 1856.

Joel H. Dart. also a lawyer of ability, came from the state of Vermont in 1854. Shortly after his arrival he formed a partnership with John H. McGregor, which continued until the death of Mr. McGregor. In 1857, Mr. Dart re­turned to his native state; where he died the same year.

Richardson S. Hick, of New York state, located in Reading Township in 1852. Besides being a farmer, Mr. Hick engaged in the practice of law and had considerable business in the north­western portion of the county. He was elected justice of the peace and served one term in the House of Representatives, being elected in 1858. He took an active part in polities and was one of the leading orators of his day in the county. He moved to Kansas about the year 1865.

Orlando Chubbuck engaged in the practice of law at Long Point Township in the early '50s. He figured largely in the politics of the county during the period preceding the Civil War. Soon after coal was discovered at Streator be moved to that village, where he died several years later.

Charles J. Beattie located in Pontiac in 1856 and a few years later entered into a partner­ship with Jerome P. Garner, practicing until about 1870, when he removed to Chicago.

Alfred E. Harding came from New York state and located at Pontiac in 1857. After his arrival, Mr. Harding took charge of the Livingston County News, which he edited until 1859, advo­cating the cause of Stephen A. Douglas, of whom he was an enthusiastic admirer. In the early days of Pontiac, Mr. Harding was a leader in the Democratic party, always taking an active part in politics. He was one of the leading lawyers of the county and has served the city of Pontiac as mayor and alderman. About ten years ago he received a stroke of paralysis and was compelled to retire from his chosen pro­fession. A few years ago he published a book of his poems, which were well received by his old time admirers, one of them, "Outside the Gates," deserving special mention. At the age of 78. Mr. Harding is still a resident of Pontiac.

Jason W. Strevell located in Pontiac in 1855, coming from Albany, N. Y. Besides practicing law, Mr. Strevell engaged in merchandising, con­ducting the first exclusive hardware store in Pontiac. He was an able lawyer and was the leader in the early days of the Republican party in Livingston County. He was intimately ac­quainted with Abraham Lincoln and entertained him at his home in Pontiac after his lecture, which was delivered in January, 1860. In 1864, Mr. Strevell was elected to the lower house of the General Assembly serving two . In 1868, he was elected to the State Senate, being the youngest man in the body at that time. He was on the most important committees in that body and served the people with marked ability. He moved to Miles City, Montana, about thirty pears ago, where he met with deserved success. Ten years ago he passed away and his remains were brought to Chicago for burial beside those of his daughter Nellie.

Jonathan Duff, one of the able advocates at the Livingston County bar, arrived in Pontiac in 1856 and engaged in the practice of law with Hon. A. E. Harding who came one year later. Mr. Duff engaged in the real estate business in connection with his practice. He was post­master at Pontiac during the Buchanan admin­istration and was elected county judge in 1861.


In 1866 he engaged in the banking business with A. W. Cowan, and was instrumental in locating the first industry of any size in Pontiac in 1867 - the Pontiac Woolen Mills. He was a leader in the Democratic party and was always at the head of everything which went to the upbuilding of the county. He passed away about twenty years ago.

John B. Perry arrived in Pontiac about 1860, from Bloomington. He was the youngest member of the bar at that time, being 21 years of age. In 1862, he enlisted and went to the field as captain of Company C, of the 129th Regiment. In the fall of 1864 he was obliged to resign and come home, resuming the practice of his profession. As soon as his health was restored, he returned to the army where he remained un­til the close of the war. After his return to Pontiac he became a member of the law firm of Collins, Perry & Payson, and at once took a leading position at the bar. Although the youngest member of the bar, Captain Perry was always considered the leading orator. He was distinguished most of all for his kindly dispo­sition, great heart and persuasive eloquence. His popularity was great among all classes, but especially with those who had occasion to employ him in the line of his profession. With an entire freedom from egotism, so often the bane of talented public speakers, and a voice so pleasantly and musically modulated as to carry delight; with a grace of manner and an elegance of diction which we have seldom seen exceeded. he was the idol of his hearers on the forum or on the stump. So great was his popu­larity at that time, that whenever it was known that he was to sum up an important case in court, people would flock to the court house until it was crowded to its full capacity to hear him. And not in manner alone was he delightful. Often would the eloquence of his discourse rise to such brilliant strains as to eclipse, for a time, his incomparable style. Captain Perry died in Bloomington in October, 1869, aged 30 years.

Simeon DeWitt was another of the pioneer attorneys of Livingston County, arriving in Pon­tiac in 1854 from the state of Pennsylvania. Mr. DeWitt was an able lawyer. He built the first house on the south side of the river at the corner of South Mill and West Reynolds streets. where he died in 1860.

Joshua Whitmore came to Pontiac in 1858 from Ottawa and opened a law office. He was one of the leaders of the Republican party in Livingston County in 1860, and a lawyer of marked ability. At the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted in Company D, Twentieth In­fantry, and was commissioned first lieutenant, resigning in one year on account of ill health. He came back to Pontiac to practice his pro­fession but only remained a short time, moving to Ottawa, where he died in 1864.

Joseph F. Culver came to Pontiac in 1859 from the state of Pennsylvania, having studied law in his native state. On his arrival he entered the office of the county clerk as deputy, continuing his legal studies at the same time. During the campaign of 1860 he took a promi­nent part in the political affairs of the county, being a leader in the Democratic ranks. At the breaking out of the war he was made captain of Company A, 129th Regiment, and served throughout the rebellion. In 1865 he was elected county judge serving four years. April 28, 1866, he was admitted to the bar. In 1869 he engaged in the loan, real estate, insurance and banking business, continuing also in his profession. Mr. Culver was a leading member of the Methodist church and one of the best pulpit orators of his time in this county. He did more for Pontiac than any one man who has ever lived within the limits of the city in more ways than one. In his business dealings he was lax, and when the crash came in 1878, he was left penniless. But his friends stood by him, and he soon left for Kansas to recuperate his fortune. In this he was partially successful. He died there about twelve years ago. Draw the mantle of charity over his faults; forget, if you can, whatever you would not like to remember, but you cannot forget his kind. beaming face, the superlative grandeur of his eloquence, and his friendly love.

J. G. Strong was among the early practitioners of the Livingston bar, locating in Dwight. He represented this district in both branches of the Legislature, and in 1866 started the first bank in Dwight. Mr. Strong moved to South Dakota in 1879.

L. G. Pearre, Joseph I. Dunlop and R. S. McIlduff were the leading lawyers of Dwight in the early days. Pearre and Dunlop are dead, the former being killed in a railroad wreck on the C. B. & Q. in 1884. Mr. McIlduff moved to Pontiac in 1881. having been elected state's


attorney, serving four years, and at once took rank with the leaders at the bar, which position he still maintains.

Samuel T. Fosdick came to Livingston County in 1858, locating on a farm in Germanville Town­ship where he remained until 1864, when he moved to Chatsworth and opened a law office. In 1876 he was elected senator from this dis­trict, the duties of which he performed in a faithful manner. Mr. Fosdick was a man of acknowledged ability and a leading citizen of the southeastern part of the county until the day of his death.

R. R. Wallace located in the village of Chats­worth in 1867. During the Civil War he was captain of a company from Ohio, his native state. In 1874 he moved to the county seat, having been elected county- judge in 1873, a position he held for twenty--one consecutive years. He was nominated by the Democrats of this district for congressman, but was de­feated by L. E. Payson. Mr. Wallace is still engaged in the practice of law in Pontiac.

George Torrance came to Chatsworth from Danville, Ill., being a native of Ohio, where he was born in 1847. In 1864 he enlisted with the 149th Illinois Volunteers and served until the close of the war. After coming to Chatsworth he served as justice of the peace and studied law in the office of Fosdick & Wallace, being ad­mitted to the bar in 1875. He engaged in prac­tice at Chatsworth until 1881, when he moved to Pontiac, becoming a member of the firm of McIlduff & Torrance, and when that was dis­solved he was alone for some years. Mr. Torrance was elected to the State Senate from this district in 1880 and served in that capacity for eight years. He would never accept criminal cases, but as a civil lawyer met with most excellent success in his chosen profession. In 1897 Mr. Torrance was appointed by Governor John R. Tanner superintendent of the Illinois State Reformatory at Pontiac, which position he held for four years making a good executive officer. On his retirement from this position he started in Pontiac a weekly paper called the Commonwealth, which he published until his death in October, 1905. He also served as master in chancery for four years and was a member of the township high school board for six years being president of the board for five years.

Samuel L. Fleming, one of the greatest legal minds to practice the profession of law in Liv­ingston County, arrived in Pontiac about 1860. Mr. Fleming was a successful lawyer, a brilliant orator, and several of the leading attorneys, who afterwards became members of the bar in this county, read law in Mr. Fleming's office, among whom were Judge N. J. Pillsbury and O. F. Pearre.

L. E. Payson came to Pontiac about the year 1864 from Iroquois County. He was then a young man of ability and formed a partnership with M. E. Collins and Captain John B. Ferry. This firm at once became leaders at the bar, every member being noted for his ability in some particular line. Mr. Payson as a lawyer ranked high and his professional services were in de­mand all over the county. In 1869 he was elected county judge, serving one term. At the urgent request of his many admirers in Livingston County he became a candidate for Congress from this district in 1880. He secured the nomination and was elected in 1881, serving five terms, be­ing the only congressman ever elected from this county since the date of its organization down to the present time. As a legislator in the halls of Congress, Mr. Payson at once gained prominence, and during his first term became a member of the committee on public lands. The next term he became chairman of that important committee and introduced several bills declaring forfeited thousands of acres of unearned grants all over the United States. In 1891 he was defeated for re-election by Herman W. Snow, and at once moved to Washington to practice his profession, where his ability was recognized, his services be­ing in demand by the large corporations through­out the United States.

William T. Ament, one of the leading criminal lawyers of the state, came to Pontiac in 1860, from Ottawa, where he had previously practiced his profession. Like Captain John B. Perry, Sir, Ament was an orator, and several noted criminals in the early days of Pontiac were set free owing to his ability as a pleader before the jury. On one occasion he was employed by a lady as coun­sel in a breach of promise case, the damages be­ing laid at $10,000. The defendant was one of the leading citizens of the eastern part of the county, one of the first settlers, and a man held in high esteem by everyone who knew him. In summing up before the jury, Mr. Ament present­ed such a horrid picture of the man that may of his old neighbors, who were present at the trial,


gathered at a school house the next evening for the purpose of mobbing the defendant and driv­ing him from the country. Better counsel pre­vailed, however, and the mob was dispersed. The jury found for the plaintiff, but on taking the case up to the supreme court that body changed the whole situation by finding for the defendant. Mr. Ament died in Pontiac in 1897.

Since the retirement of the Hon. A. E. Hard­ing and Judge N. J. Pillsbury from active prac­tice, C. C. Strawn is the oldest living member of the Livingston County bar in point of service. Mr. Strawn is a native son of Illinois, being born at Ottawa in 1841, his father being one of the early settlers of La Salle County. In 1861 he enlisted as a private in Company I, 11th Illinois Volunteers and served three months. On his re­turn he read law in Chicago and was admitted to the bar in 1863, practicing in Chicago and Omaha, and arrived in Pontiac in 1867. In 1870 he was appointed state's attorney for this Judi­cial district by Governor Palmer and performed the duties in a creditable manner. Since coming to Pontiac, Mr. Strawn has always taken an ac­tive interest in political affairs and several times was nominated for office. As a civil and crim­inal lawyer, Mr. Strawn ranks high, as his con­nection with several of the most important cases ever tried in Livingston county will attest. For many years he has been attorney for the Chi­cago & Alton Railroad in this county, and is now actively engaged in practice with his son, Major Louis F. the firm name being Strawn & Strawn.

William B. Fyfe, a native of Scotland, came to Livingston County in 1856 and followed mer­chandising two years at New Michigan and then went to farming. In 1862 be moved to Pontiac and entered the law office of A. E. Harding. He was always a stanch Abolitionist, and while located at New Michigan was associated with Moses Rummery, Otis Richardson. Rev. H. H. Hinman and others in the early days of the anti­slavery movement, and kept one of the depots of the underground railroad. In 1862 he enlisted and went to the front with the 129th Regiment and remained until the close of the war. On his return he was appointed deputy county treas­urer and county land commissioner, and in 1867 was elected county treasurer, serving two years, since which time he engaged in the practice of law until his removal from Pontiac about twenty years ago. Mr. Fyfe died in the state of Nebraska about ten years ago.

H. H. McDowell came to Livingston County with his mother and brothers in 1850, locating at Avoca. In 1860 he was engaged in teaching school in this county, and was in attendance at one of the first teachers' institutes held in this county. At the outbreak of the Civil War he en­listed in the 17th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and was discharged by reason of ill health the following winter. He returned to Pontiac and six months later recruited and drilled a com­pany of men which afterwards became a part of the 129th Regiment, became sergeant major of the regiment and afterward promoted to lieuten­ant, remaining with the regiment until the close of the war. On his return from the war he en­gaged in the hardware business in Fairbury, studying law at the same time. He was admitted to the bar in 1869, removed to Pontiac in 1872, and in 1888 was elected state's attorney, serving one term. He died at his home in Pontiac, Au­gust 13, 1908.

Alonzo P. Wright came to Odell in 1867 from the State of Maine. He served his village as clerk and attorney for several years, and had a large practice in the vicinity of Odell. Mr. Wright was an able attorney and now resides in Streator, Ill.

James H. Funk came to Odell in 1866 from Ohio. He engaged in farming, pursuing the study of law at the same time. In 1871 he was admit­ted to the bar and became a partner of Alonzo P. Wright. Mr. Funk was elected state's attorney in 1872, serving four years. He was a man of ability in the legal profession and a politician of note. About twenty-five years ago Mr. Funk re­moved to the State of Iowa where he became a power in polities, being elected a Representative in the General Assembly and Speaker of the House, a position he filled with honor to himself and the people. Mr. Funk is still engaged in the practice of the law in Iowa Falls, Iowa.

O. F. Pearre, teacher, writer, poet and lawyer, settled in Newton Township in 1859, coming from the State of Ohio. He engaged in teaching in this county and in 1860 took charge of the New Michigan Academy as principal, remaining two years. He next spent two years as principal of the public schools of Dwight and in 1865 was elected county school commissioner, serving in that ca­pacity for two years, in the meantime reading law with Samuel L. Fleming of Pontiac. Mr. Pearre was admitted to the bar in 1866 and at once engaged in practicing, making a specialty of


collections. For ten years, from 1865 until 1875, he was engaged as local editor for either the Pontiac Sentinel or Free Trader. As a local ed­itor, Mr. Pearre never had an equal in Livingston County from the date of the first publication down to the present time, but as a poet he will be remembered longer, perhaps, than any citizen of the county who lived during his time. No gathering of the old settlers, the old soldiers or, in fact, any meeting of importance, was consid­ered complete without his presence on the pro­gram with a poem. Competent critics pronounced many of his poems classics, and he was urged time and again by prominent publishers of the state to compile and publish a complete volume of his writings; but this was impossible, for the most part the files of papers in which they were published, as well as the manuscript, being de­stroyed. Fifty years ago, while engaged in teach­ing in this county, he made a tour of the ad­joining counties, delivering lectures and was everywhere greeted with good audiences, who were delightfully entertained by his droll philos­ophy and the recitation of his poems. Mr. Pearre died at Pontiac in 1897.

James T. Terry located in Pontiac in 1869, be­ing a native of the State of New York. Mr. Terry is a man of ability and at once secured a good clientage. He was elected mayor of Pon­tiac in 1885, serving two terms, and again in 1895, serving one term. During his last term as mayor the first paving in Pontiac was laid, Mr. Terry being heartily in favor of the improve­ment. As an executive officer of the city he dis­charged his duties faithfully and to the satis­faction of the citizens. Mr. Terry is still en­gaged in the practice of law in Pontiac.

J. M. C. Lisenby was one of the early attor­neys of Fairbury, locating there in 1862. As a lawyer, he possessed naturally the best legal mind of any man who practiced that profession in that city. Before going to Fairbury he was a prominent member of the legislature of Ken­tucky, and was honored by a position on the gov­ernor's staff. He was found dead on the side­walk in front of the Arcade block in that city on the morning of August 11, 1871.

George E. Ford was one of the prominent at­torneys of Fairbury during the '60s. In 1870 he suffered the penalty of the supreme court in hav­ing his name stricken from the roll of honorable attorneys of the state.

Among the early practitioners at the Liv­ingston County bar were E. B. Neville, E. M. Johnson, John Campbell, S. S. Lawrence, M. S. Robinson, James W. Remick, Martin I. Brower, R. B. Harrington, John R. Wolgamott, M. E. Collins and Smith M. Garrett of Pontiac, and Joseph Hamer, Elijah Plank, Jackson B. Young, Thomas Black, Charles Fanning, Romeo T. Perry and David L. Murdock of Fairbury.

Of some of these mentioned but little is known as they were engaged in practice but a short time in the county, while others moved away and have been entirely lost sight of.


From the time of its organization down to the present time Livingston County has had but two representatives on the circuit bench - Judge Nathaniel J. Pillsbury and Judge George W. Patton.

Judge Pillsbury was born in York County, Maine, in 1834, received a good common school education, taught school and in 1856 moved to Illinois, locating in Bureau County. In 1857 he came to Livingston County, purchasing a farm in Ne­braska Township, where he operated until 1863. Moving to Pontiac he entered the law office of Samuel L. Fleming and was soon admitted to the bar. He formed a partnership with Mr. Fleming and in a short time had acquired a lucrative practice and excellent reputation as a sound and honest lawyer. In 1869 he was elected a member of the constitutional convention, which met the following year, and in 1873 was elected judge of the thirteenth judicial circuit, then composed of Livingston, Kankakee and Iroquois counties. Four years later the circuit was enlarged by adding McLean and Ford counties and became the Eleventh. He was re-elected in 1879 and again in 1885, serving in all, eighteen years to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. He was also one of the first judges of the appellate court, being on that bench ten and a half years from 1877, and an undeniable proof of his popularity was found in his re-election. He wrote many opinions that are to he found in the first sixteen volumes of the appellate court reports of the state of Illinois. In 1891 Judge Pillsbury was urged to become a candidate for a fourth term by the bar and people generally, but on account of injuries received in 1882, while returning to Pontiac from Chicago, he declined. The judge was a passenger on a Chicago & Alton train leaving Chicago. On board were a few non-union men, and when the


train reached Bridgeport it was fired into by union men, the judge receiving a painful wound from which he has never recovered. On his re­tirement from the bench the bar, together with the citizens of Pontiac, tendered him a banquet at the Odd Fellows' hall. During the evening the following poem was read by a fellow member of the bar. O. F. Pearre:

Most noble Judge, and dear old friend,

And neighbor, tried and true,

'We meet this evening to extend

Our best respects to you;

To you who never thought to swerve

From the plain path of right;

So, Judge, take what you will deserve,

"Hands with our hearts" tonight.

You knew no party, clique or clan,

But kept the balance true,

With equal rights for every man

So. Judge, we honor you.

May honor, health and wealth attend

Your footsteps day by day;

May heaven all its blessings send

To cheer you on your way.

But if, sometimes, like all mankind,

You're feeling melancholy,

Then take a rest and fix your mind

On Barrickman and Holly;

On Norton, and on Brown and Ball,

Who sure renown are winning,

And then your memory will recall

The days of your beginning,

And as your willing fancy plays.

Soon, soon you will be merry

In happy thoughts of other days,

With Harding, Strawn and Terry;

With Wallace, Payson and Ament,

When life was all before us,

Hope sang a song as on we went,

And we joined in the chorus.

Torrance and Woodrow, McIlduff -

They all are here to meet you;

And Johnson, he will print a "puff"

About the way we greet you.

And if you want to hear a speech,

One which you can grow fat on,

(That thing is far beyond my reach).

Call on McDowell or Patton.

But if you wish to hear a tale,

Both witty, wise and savory,

Just press the point till you prevail

And hear from Brother Avery.

But I, with Cowan, will sit down­

I speak for self and Gus­

We both are very modest men.

And never make a fuss.

But, Judge, if we should really try,

You know not what we'd do;

Our fancy, it would soar so high,

We would astonish you.

So we, in silence, will sit down -

I speak of self and Gus -

Men of such eminent renown

Need never make a fuss.

For eighteen years, all spotless white

The ermine you have kept,

You've always dared to do the right,

Suspicion never crept

Into your mind that you could swerve

From the plain path of right;

So, Judge, take what you will deserve,

"Hearts with our hands," tonight.

Judge George W. Patton is a native of Penn­sylvania, and during his infancy was brought to Woodford County by his parents in 1851. Reared on the home farm in Woodford County, Judge Pat­ton attended the common schools of the neigh­borhood until twenty years of age, and then took a three years' course at Normal, Ill., completing the same in 1871. During the following two years he taught school in Secor and El Paso, Woodford County, and with the money thus earn­ed he commenced the study of law with Hay, Green & Little at Springfield, Ill., and was ad mitted to the bar in 1875. Subsequently he again taught school and engaged in other pursuits until 1881, following farming for three years, to regain his health. In 1881 he com­menced the practice of law in Fairbury and two years later located in Pontiac, where he formed a partnership with C. C. Strawn, which was dissolved in 1888. After that he was alone and succeeded in building up a large and lucrative practice. In 1897 he was elected one of the judges of the Eleventh judicial district and re­elected in 1903, and is now most creditably filling that office. In 1907 Judge Patton was honored by his home county in receiving the unaminous en­dorsement of the Republicans as their candidate for judge of the supreme court to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge Wilkin.




The Livingston County medical pioneer of fifty or more years ago did not have the smooth sailing enjoyed by their more fortunate follow­ers who came later, after the rough corners of border life had been rounded off and some of the comforts of civilization established in their place. The early settlers of Livingston County were remote from each other, frequently twenty


or thirty miles, and always in the edge of the timber, consequently the pioneer life was a lonely one, as well as one of danger and frequent­ly of great suffering. There were no bridges, and during the spring the doctors were compelled to ford the swollen streams with great danger to their lives. The roads connecting the settlements were very indifferent; in fact, were trails, and remained so up to a very late date. It was im­possible to travel in a direct line over the prairie from one settlement to another on account of the numerous impassable sloughs and boggy places, making it necessary, at times, to travel a mile out of the way in order to head one of these sloughs and cross over on the long grass and weeds. One great difficulty the pioneer doctor had to contend with in traveling over the prairie was the absence of landmarks-so much sameness. Then, again, at certain times, great districts in the neighborhood of sloughs were enshrouded in dense fog, making it impossible to locate one's self, especially at night. Every pioneer medical man has had more or less of this ex­perience. They became lost and wandered around until daylight, and frequently were obliged to alight and feel for the roads, especially when riding a strange horse, as they would in­variably take to the grass when given the reins. The doctor's usual mode of travel in those days was on horseback with saddle bags strapped on behind the saddle.

Our pioneer women were especially gifted in the care of the sick, and some of the remedies used in the early days have been handed down from mother to daughter, and are still declared to be efficacious even in the most severe cases of sickness. A system which was depended entirely upon was sweating and the use of native herbs, especially lobelia, elder bark, thyme, madder, comfrey, elecampane, catnip, hoarhound, slip­pery elm, burdock, sassafras and various other nauseous plants which were to be found in the timber along the banks of the Vermilion.

Of Dr. John Davis, who was the first physician in the county, but little else is known except that he came to Pontiac township about the year 1833, and settled just east of the city on what is now known as the Rollins' farm.

Dr. Cornelius W. Reynolds was the first physi­cian who was an actual resident of the village. He had settled in Amity Township in 1836, but in 1837 came to Pontiac, where he resided about four years.

Dr. James S. Munson settled in Pontiac about 1837, being appointed clerk of the commissioners' court in 1838 in place of M. I. Ross. How long Dr. Munson resided in Pontiac is not known, all record of him being lost.

A physician by the name of Dr. Holland re­sided in Rooks Creek, coming there about 1845. His practice extended to Pontiac and during the cholera season of 1849 he was called there to attend several cases, was stricken with the disease and died the day following.

Dr. John B. Hulsey and Dr. C. B. Ostrander came to Pontiac about 1850, and were soon followed by Drs. John M. Perry, Darius John­son, John W. Youmans, Thomas Croswell and G. J. Sweet. Dr. Hulsey remained in Pontiac until Fairbury was laid out and the settlement started, being the second physician to locate in that village. After residing in Fairbury for ten years, Dr. Hulsey removed to the state of Oregon, where he died. Dr. Ostrander remained in Pontiac two years, moving to Avoca, where his practice extended to the extreme south end of the county for many years after. The doctor was also engaged in farming, more or less, and retired in 1885, moving to Fairbury, where he died in 1905. The doctor was always noted as being a good story-teller, was a good physician with a wonderful memory, and, in his day, was acquainted with every one in the county.

Dr. John M. Perry located in Pontiac about 1852, remaining here until his death, which occurred twenty years later. Dr. Perry was an ideal citizen and a splendid physician, and enjoyed a large practice. He was a thoroughly Christian gentleman and one of the organizers of the Christian church in Pontiac.

Dr. John Youmans located in Pontiac soon after Dr. Perry. In after years the doctor be­came a leader in the Democratic party, and met with success in his profession. He was appoint­ed postmaster by President Johnson in 1866 and shortly afterwards left for California, where he died about ten years ago.

Dr. Darius Johnson settled in Pontiac in 1853, coming from New York, and practiced his pro­fession for twenty-four years, passing away in 1877. During his practice here in the early days he became acquainted with nearly all the first settlers of the county and was widely known. From the day he settled in Pontiac until his death, he was always engaged more or less in politics, merely for the love of excite-


ment which arose from it, and was never a seeker after office. He always kept himself thoroughly posted in his profession, being a graduate of four of the leading medical schools in the United States, besides serving three years in the civil war as surgeon of the 129th Regi­ment. He always took a leading part in the schools of Pontiac and for many years was a member of the board of trustees. He was ap­pointed by Governor Beveridge as trustee of the Illinois State University at Champaign in place of R. B. Harrington, who removed from the county, and was coroner of Livingston County when he died.

Dr. Eben Norton was the first physician to locate in New Michigan, arriving in 1854, re­maining there until 1871, when he moved to Cornell, being the first physician to locate in that village. At Cornell he opened the first drug store and continued in business there until his death. Dr. Norton was one of the first board of super­visors sent from Newton, serving three terms, and was also a member of the board from Amity Township five terms.

Dr. Thomas Croswell located in Pontiac in 1855, coming from the state of Maine. The doctor was the pioneer druggist of Pontiac and a learned physician. He always took an active interest in the political affairs of the county and served several terms as coroner. He was a progressive business man and his store was always stocked with everything up to date. In 1859 he introduced the first soda fountain in Livingston County and in 1860 brought to the county the first coal oil lamp. At that time these two inventions were just coming on the market, and from newspaper accounts at that time of their appearance in Pontiac one would judge that they were the greatest inventions of the age. Dr. Croswell continued in business in Pon­tiac until about thirty-five years ago, when he moved to Streator, where he died October 6, 1908.

Dr. Sheldon also came in 1855. He formed a partnership with Dr. Johnson, but only remained in Pontiac for a short time, returning to his home in the East.

Dr. S. S. Cowan, a botanic physician, located in Pontiac in 1857, remaining but a short time, former home in the East.

Dr. E. W. Capron located in Pontiac in 1860, coming from the state of New York. He was a fine physician and surgeon, and was instrumental in organizing in Pontiac the first county medical society, in 1868. Dr. Capron was made secretary of the society. At the second meeting of the society, a motion carried to the effect that no physician would be entitled to membership who was not a regular graduate of a school of medicine. This motion excluded the president and several of the most prominent members, and the meeting adjourned to meet no more. Dr. Capron is now living in retirement in New York.

Drs. D. S. Stewart and G. J. Sweet located in Pontiac in 1857. They became partners, but Dr. Stewart soon became discouraged with the country and located elsewhere. Dr. Sweet con­tinued in practice until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he enlisted in the navy as surgeon and was killed by the bursting of a shell in Mobile bay.

Dr. J. Hill was the first physician to locate at Ancona, arriving there about 1853. He was soon followed by Dr. Edward Evans, who be­came quite prominent. Soon after Dr. Evans' arrival, he opened the first drug store in that village.

Dr. James H. Hagerty was the first physician to locate in Dwight, arriving there shortly after the town was laid out. Dr. Hagerty was a man of progress and one of the leading politicians of the north end of the county. He took a deep interest in educational affairs and in 1857 was elected school commissioner of the county on the democratic ticket. He erected the first brick building in Dwight. Dr. Hagerty died in 1873.

Dr. C. D. Chalfant was another pioneer physi­cian of Dwight and was a very able man. He now lives in retirement at Streator, and is still consulted by many of the leading physicians of that city.

Dr. M. K. Wright located in Pontiac during the war and secured a lucrative practice. He was a splendid physician and a highly educated man, but in later years his mind became unbalanced and he was sent to an asylum. He was returned to Pontiac as cured, but in a few years the malady returned and the doctor was taken to the poor farm, where he died about ten years ago.

Dr. J. J. ????Stites???? came to Pontiac in 1864 and at once began the practice of his profession, which he continued with success until about fifteen years ago, when he retired. Dr. ????Stiles???? has been health commissioner of Pontiac ever since the


board was organized and has always taken an active interest in his work.

Dr. Samuel Stewart also located in Pontiac during the war. He was a man of many sterl­ing qualities of head and heart and a fine physi­cian. Dr. Stewart had many friends throughout the county and his professional services were always in demand. He died in Pontiac about fifteen years ago.

Dr. Orlando S. Wood commenced the practice of medicine in Pontiac in 1865. Before he grad­uated. Dr. Wood was a resident of Pontiac, but in a few days after the first call for troops in 1861, he left for St. Louis and enlisted in Bol­ton's battery. After the fall of Vicksburg he graduated from Rush Medical College and at once re-enlisted, becoming assistant surgeon of the 129th Regiment and later surgeon. Dr. Wood died in 1868, aged 31 years.

Dr. John W. Filkins located in Pontiac about 1865. He was a very progressive man and did much toward the upbuilding of the city. He was a good physician and secured a fine prac­tice. About twenty-five years ago he moved to the state of Washington and engaged in the real estate business, where he still resides.

Dr. Sabin P. Kimball, a graduate of Cassel­ton (Vt.) Medical College, was the first physi­cian to locate in Fairbury, arriving in 1858. He followed his profession for twelve years, and afterward engaged in the drug business. The following year, Dr. J. B. Hulsey located in the village, followed by the Wright brothers, Drs. J. J. and H. B. They opened up the first drug store in the village. In 1870, Dr. J. J. Wright was elected coroner of this county. Then came Dr. James F. Fraley from Indiana. Dr. Fraley was a very popular physician, his specialty being diseases of children. For several terms he served as president of the village board and was always counted among the progressive citizens of his time. He was also a member of the board of supervisors several terms. Dr. N. T. P. Rob­ertson was also one of the pioneer medical men of Fairbury. His reputation as a surgeon extended from one end of the county to the other, and his practice was large. Among other physicians to locate in Fairbury in the '60s were Drs. Love, Thurber, Loar and Fulton, all of whom have since moved to other states.

Dr. John B. Baker was the second physician to locate in Dwight, arriving in 1865. Dr. Baker had just been mustered out of the service of his country, having spent about four years as captain of Company B, Third Illinois Cavalry. He opened a well appointed drug store in the village and continued in practice there until about 1878, when he removed to Pontiac. In 1891, when the State Reform School, located at Pontiac, was changed into a reformatory, Dr. Baker was appointed the first physician of the institution, remaining in charge for six and one-half years, when he was let out to make room for a Republican. Dr. Baker is now living in retirement in Pontiac.

Dr. Leslie E. Keeley located in Dwight in 1866, having just graduated from Rush Medical College in Chicago. He soon won an enviable reputation and a large practice. In 1880, Dr. Keeley abandoned general practice and began giving his entire attention to the cure of those who had become slaves to alcohol, opium and other injurious drugs. He associated with him Major Curtis Judd and John R. Oughton, and the connection was maintained until the doctor's death. Drs. Heath and Thole were also early physicians of Dwight.

Dr. Walden was the first physician to locate in Odell, arriving soon after the town was laid out in 1855. Dr. T. O. Bannister, after serving three years as physician and surgeon, located there in 1865, and still continues in the practice of his profession.

Dr. Peter Eppler located in Cayuga in 1867. The doctor opened a drug store and commenced practicing his profession, from which he has since retired, now living in retirement near Cayuga.

Dr. D. W. Hunt was the first physician to locate in Chatsworth, arriving in 1861. During the civil war he was engaged as hospital surgeon stationed at Mound City, Ill. Dr. William C. Byington, another army physician and surgeon, located in Chatsworth in 1868. Both are now dead.

Dr. Daniel Duckett was the first physician to locate in Forrest, arriving in 1867, soon alter the town was laid out. Dr. Duckett also opened the first drug store in the village, and was successful both in professional and business life.

Previous to 1865, there is no record of any


homeopathic physician and surgeon locating in Livingston County. All were of the allopathic or eclectic schools. About this time. a young man arrived in Pontiac who had just graduated from a homeopathic school, opened an office and com­menced practicing. He met with poor success and moved away. From this time on down to 1878, many other young men of that school located in Pontiac, but with the same result. In 1878, Dr. Charles H. Long, a homeopathic physi­cian and surgeon, came to Pontiac and opened an office. At first, Dr. Long met with poor success as far as building up a practice was concerned, but success finally crowned his efforts and it was not long before his ability, both as a physician and surgeon, were recognized. Dr. Long is still a resident of Pontiac, although retired from the active practice of his profession.

Dr. Joel Allen located in Nebraska Township soon after the close of the war and began to practice medicine. Dr. Allen met with success and afterwards moved to Pontiac, where he is now living in retirement at the age of 81,

Every school of medicine known to the pro­fessional world has had at one time or another a representative in Livingston County. John Alexander Dowie gained many converts here, while Christian Science healers have been numerous, more especially in Indian Grove Town­ship, where they have a very nice church, which is well attended. Magnetic healers and osteopaths are also represented, and it has been a favorite resort for visiting specialists. If Livingston County has not been healthy, it has not been from a lack of a multitude of counselors.


The first dentist to locate in the county was O. Easton, who settled in Pontiac in 1857. Dr. Easton secured room for his chair in the front of Dr. Thomas Croswell's drug store, but soon his business increased and he was compelled to look for better and more congenial quarters. Soon after Dr. Easton arrived, came Dr. H. Sweet, who had an office with his brother, Dr. G. J. Sweet, over John Dehner's store. Then came Dr. H. H. Townsend and Dr. Matthews. There are about ten in Pontiac now, with probably as many more in the rest of the county.




Livingston County has cause to be proud of this part of its history. The county press num­bers twenty-one newspapers, nearly every village having one and some three. They give particular attention to local news, many of them having no editorial. "Patent insides" furnish readable general matter, usually including a sermon or Sunday school lesson. Nearly all are neutral in politics and non-sectarian in religion. They are neat, clean and enterprising in their sphere, a credit to their publishers and to their patrons who sustain them. The newspaper published in an early day contained little or no local news, now so great an item in all modern newspapers. Important events occurring fifty years ago were treated with the greatest indifference. When the Prince of Wales passed through Pontiac in 1860, the Sentinel mentioned the fact in a five-line local item. A few months later, Abraham Lincoln lectured in Pontiac, and the notice of his being here and a write-up of his lecture did not exceed one quarter of a column. Today, either of these events would be good for nearly a page of the local press. Fights and drunken brawls or a good joke on some prominent citizen would be treated at length, which to-day is con­sidered by the press as not worth mentioning. The papers then were made up for the most part of miscellaneous reading matter, editorials and lengthy communications on political and religious subjects, but never contained what the people of this day and age want - local news. It was far easier then to start a newspaper than at the present time. A few cases of type, a bundle of paper, a Washington hand press and a "devil," was all that was required.

The first newspaper published in Livingston County was in 1853, by the Rev. Thomas Cotton, a Methodist minister. The name of the publica-


tion was the Vermilion Herald and was pub­lished at New Michigan in Newtown township. Mr. Cotton was a great writer, and the paper started off with a good list of subscribers, but as for finances he had none, and after careful consideration of the profits of the concern, he came to the wise conclusion that he could not swing it, and the second number never appeared.

The second newspaper published in the county made its appearance in Pontiac on March 14, 1855, and was called the Livingston County News. J. S. France, a lawyer from Ottawa, was editor and proprietor. It was independent in politics, but Mr. France lacked the necessary capital to keep the paper afloat, and after a hard struggle of less than three months, the publication of the News was abandoned.

But the people of the county at that time wanted a newspaper, and a few months later, M. A. Renoe and Philip Cook, two first-class newspaper men, arrived in town. They had but little capital, but were given encouragement by the business men and at once resurrected the News. They continued the publication of the paper until the fall of 1857, when Cook withdrew to engage with William Gagan in the publication of the Sentinel. Mr. Renoe continued with the News until it was sold to James G. Allbe, a printer from Bloomington. A. E. Harding was made editor of the News, and continued as such for about two years, when he retired to give his whole attention to the law. Frank Streamer was made editor, and as the paper was strongly Democratic and against the prosecution of the war, then so strongly favored by the people of this county, the paper was given little or no support and its publication was abandoned.

On the 9th of October, 1857, the first issue of the Sentinel appeared under the management of Cook and Gagan. The paper was owned by a stock company, composed entirely of the leading Republicans of the county, and was a success from the start. They continued the paper until 1860, when Mr. Cook was elected county treas­urer, and Michael E. Collins was installed as editor. Collins was two years later elected coun­ty treasurer and the Sentinel was then sold out­right by the stockholders to Henry S. Decker, a printer from Chicago, and James Stout. In 1866, Frank Denslow purchased a half interest, remaining with the paper about one year, when James Stout secured full control. In 1867, Henry C. Jones and M. A. Renoe commenced the publication of the Free Press in opposition to the Sentinel. In 1869 they purchased the Sen­tinel from Mr. Stout, and merged the two papers into one, calling it the Sentinel and Press. A short time after the latter part of the name was dropped and the old name Sentinel was retained, and by that name it has been known ever since. In 1875 Fred L. Alles of Belleville, Ill., bought the paper and ran it with success until 1884, when, on account of failing health, he sold out to Messrs. Lowry and Clark of Gibson City, and moved to California. H. J. Clark became editor and manager, Mr. Lowry remaining in Gibson City, where he was engaged in the publication of the Courier. In 1897 the Sentinel was sold to Charles R. Truitt, who continued its publication until 1903, when the paper was sold to a syndi­cate. In the meantime, the plant of the Pontiac Daily News had been purchased by the syndicate and the Sentinel was issued as a daily. During this time, M. F. Bovard, R. M. John and C. C. Strawn had editorial charge of the paper. In March, 1907, the syndicate sold out the paper to a stock company headed by Dustin & Holbrook, of the Dwight Star and Herald, who are now in charge.

Quite a number of papers were founded to compete with the Sentinel, but none were suc­cessful until the Free Trader was established by Charles A. McGregor and E. M. Johnson in 1871. Among these were the Constitution in 1864, published by E. B. Buck, as a Democratic paper to support McClellan and Pendleton; the Pontiac Republican started in October, 1865, by T. B. Harper; the National Union, a Democratic paper published by Dr. J. W. Youmans in 1866; the Democrat by Milton & Organ in 1868; the Weekly Monitor, a temperance paper, published by T. B. Harper; the People's Advocate, a pro­hibition paper, by Thomas Wing in 1870; the Pontiac Herald in 1871, by John H. Hewitt; Ford's Livingston County Democrat in 1878; the Pontiac Gazette by C. M. Cyrus in 1880; the Pontiac Observer in 1881 by M. A. Renoe; the Pontiac Daily and Weekly News in 1901 by E. P. Holly; the Commonwealth in 1902 by S. W. Strong and George W. Torrance, the latter being discontinued in 1905 on account of Mr. Torrance's death.

In 1870, the Free Trader was established with A. L. Bagby as editor. It was a Demo­cratic paper, and under the management of Bagby it was a failure, and in October, 1871,


Messrs. Johnson & McGregor took charge. Under their able management, the paper went to the front and soon circulated all over the county. McGregor sold out to M. A. Renoe, who continued with Mr. Johnson until 1877, when he sold his interest to John Stuff, who retired in a few years, leaving Mr. Johnson in full control until 1883, when the paper was consolidated with the Observer, a Democratic paper published by Mr. Renoe for about a year. Johnson & Renoe continued the publication of the paper until 1907, when it was sold to Charles R. Bruer, who is now in charge.

The first daily paper to be issued in Pontiac made its appearance in 1896, and was published by J. S. Saul and B. L. Stinson. The paper was not a success financially and in a short time was sold to Clarence B. Hurtt. Mr. Hurtt was a young man of ability along newspaper lines and soon had the paper established on a sound foot­ing. Having large financial interests in Idaho, he soon sold the paper to B. F. Shankland of Fairbury, who in 1901 sold the plant to H. J. Clark, formerly publisher of the Sentinel. Mr. Clark later disposed of a part interest to L. Victor Pearre, who at once assumed charge of the mechanical department, and these gentlemen are now publishing the paper, meeting with success. It is Republican in polities. The Weekly Leader was first issued in 1883.

Fairbury. - The first paper published here was the Intelligencer, which made its appear­ance in 1863, its editor being John Harper. The Journal was published in 1866 by H. S. Decker, who sold it to Isaac P. McDowell, and he to Otis Eastman in 1867, who continued to publish it until 1873. In April, 1871, O. J. & L. W, Dimmick commenced the publication of the In­dependent, and in 1878 the Blade was started by C. B. Holmes. These papers were consolid­ated on January 12, 1877, when John S. Scibird became the proprietor. Later the name Inde­pendent was dropped, and C. E. Carter purchased the paper and continued as its editor until 1889, when he sold it to Thomas E. DuBois. Since then the publishers have been D. A. Fraley, B. F. Shanklaud, and the present proprietors, Ful­ton & Sutton. It is a Republican paper. The News was started by Baker Bros., in 1886, but the plant was destroyed by fire in 1887. The Local Record (Democratic) was started by C. E. Carter in 1889, and a year or so later it was sold to E. W. Wilson. The paper then passed into the hands of C. S. Brydia, who continued its publication until 1907, when he sold it to M. A. Anderson. The Livingston County Democrat made its first appearance May 5, 1908, published by Fred F. Brydia. It was continued until July, when the subscription list was sold to the Pon­tiac Free Trader and Observer.

DWIGHT.- In June, 1868, Smith & Rutan be­gan the publication of the Weekly Courier, which after six months was discontinued. May 5, 1868, Charles L. Palmer commenced the Star at Dwight. The paper when first published was a small affair, but Mr. Palmer was a thorough newspaper man and soon enlarged his paper, and it was well supported. For a short time, his brother was a partner in the paper. After pub­lishing the Star for twenty years, Palmer sold out to C. A. Stuck, who changed the name of the paper to the North Star. In 1889, L. D. Plum­mer began the publication of the Dwight Herald and by request of Palmer changed the name of the paper to the Dwight Star and Herald. In 1890, W. G. Dustin started the Daily Messenger as a campaign paper, and after the campaign was over the publication ceased. In 1890 the Star and Herald was purchased by A. R. Zimmerman and in 1891 W. G. Dustin purchased a half interest. October 10, 1891, both the Star and Herald and North Star plants were destroy­ed by fire, and in 1892 Stuck moved the North Star to Odell. In 1893 J. F. Wassell purchased Zimmerman's interest in the Star and Herald, and continued with Dustin for about one year, when Dustin secured entire control, and con­tinued until twelve years later, when he disposed of a half interest to A. S. Holbrook, the firm now being Dustin & Holbrook. In 1904, W. H. Ketcham began the publication of the Dwight Sun as an Independent paper, but later changed it to Democratic.

CHATSWORTH. - In 1873 Dimmick Bros. of Fairbury commenced the publication of the Pal­ladium at Chatsworth, which they sold to George Torrance, he to C. B. Holmes in 1874. The paper was afterwards changed to The Plain­dealer by R. M. Spurgeon, who sold the plant to James A. Smith in 1880, who still continues the publication. The Chatsworth Times was first is­sued in 1902 by the Chatsworth Printing Com­pany, composed of the following named gentle­men: Stephen Herr, A. F. Walter, George J. Wal­ter, J. Q. Puffer, Dr. G. T. Carson and Marion Roberts. The Times is Independent in politics.


CORNELL. - A. E. Tiffany issued the first num­ber of the Cornell Journal in 1890 and is still at the head of the paper. The Journal is In­dependent in polities.

CULLOM. - The Chronicle was started in 1895. S. J. Porterfield is now sole editor and propriet­or. The Chronicle is Republican in politics.

SAUNEMIN. - The Saunemin Gazette was first issued in 1888 by C. S. Brydia of Fairbury, who disposed of his plant to M. A. Anderson in 1907. The paper is issued from the Local Record office in Fairbury. The Saunemin Headlight was es­tablished in 1904 by Miss C. M. Manhood. The plant was sold to S. J. Porterfield of the Cullom Chronicle in 1908, and the Headlight is now is­sued from Cullom.

CAMPUS AND CARDIFF. - These towns are sup­plied with weekly editions of the Journal from the office of the Dwight Star and Herald.

EMINGTOM. - The Joker was first issued by the Schultz Bros. in 1903, who still continue the pub­lication. The Joker is Independent in politics.

FLANAGAN. - The Home Times was first issued in 1885 by J. M. Breen, later by W. W. Kenny, now County Clerk of Livingston County, who sold the paper to W. E. Galvin, the present proprietor.

FORREST. - The Rambler was established in 1883, since which time several newspaper men have had charge of the plant. Louis Wingate is now editor and proprietor. The Rambler is Republican in politics.

ODELL. - Since J. H. Warner's first issue of the Independent in 1869, Odell has witnessed the rise and fall of several newspaper publications. The present publication is the Gazette and Re­porter, of which C. A. Stuck is the publisher.

LONG POINT. - The Advocate was established in 1883 at Ancona by G. W. Mathis. In 1904, the plant was moved to Long Point, where the paper is now issued. W. E. Goldsmith is the present publisher. The Advocate is Independent in poli­tics.




Rev. Jesse Walker. the pioneer of all Methodist preachers, left St. Clair County in 1824 and first located at Peoria. The following year be took up his abode at Ottowa. In the spring of 1826, he established a mission among the Potta­watomie Indians at what is now called Mission Point, in La Salle County. He labored faithfully there, preaching to the Indians and keeping a school for some thirty-five Indian children. He preached the Gospel to the Kickapoo Indians in Livingston County before a white man had en­tered its borders (See Indian history.) In 1832, he was appointed to the Chicago Station. Doubt­less in his great circuit from Chicago to Peoria and east to the state line, he preached the first sermons in Livingston County at the log cabins of Rook or Darnall or McDowell. He remained two years in Chicago, when he retired to a small farm twelve miles west of Chicago, where be died October 5, 1835, and was buried near Plain­field, Will County. The Methodist conference held at Plainfield in July, 1850, appointed a com­mittee of their body, who removed his remains to the cemetery at Plainfield, and erected a monu­ment to his memory.

The first Illinois conference appointment to this region was in 1833, when Rev. William Roval was sent to the Ottawa Mission, in the Chicago district. This mission reached from the Illinois river east to the state line, and from Ottawa to the Mackinaw in McLean County, and included Livingston County. He made the cir­cuit every four weeks. He organized the first Methodist society in this county in Widow Mc-Dowell's log cabin in Avoca Township in the fall of 1834, although Rev. James Eckles had preached the first sermon there in the spring of 1833.

Rev. Royal was followed by Rev. Leander T. Walker in 1835, Rev. Harvey Hadley in 1836, Rev. R. F. Moffett in 1837. Rev. A. F. Rogers in 1838, Rev. Henry Menard in 1842, Rev. John A. Buttenham in 1843. Rev. S. B. Smith in 1844, Rev. B. W. Fidler in 1846, Rev.


T. F. Royal in 1847, Rev. Mr. Gorbett in 1848, Rev. Mr. Beedle in 1849.

In 1850, Avoca circuit was formed to include all the preaching places in Livingston County, and appears first in the minutes of that year for the Rock River conference. Rev. William C. Royal was appointed as circuit rider. In 1851, Rev. B. W. Fidler was appointed to the circuit. In 1852-53, Rev. George C. Holmes was on the Avoca circuit, and doubtless preached every four or six weeks, although no record remains other than the name in the conference minutes.

Rev. George W. Murphy was appointed in 1854 and Rev. Jacob Matthews in 1855. The central Illinois, or as it was then called for four years, the Peoria conference, was organized September 6, 1856, from the southern part of the Rock River conference, and Rev. Thomas Watson was ap­pointed to the Avoca circuit under Presiding Elder Zadoc Hall, and also preached at Pontiac. At the conference in 1857, Rev. W. J. Stubbles was appointed to the Avoca circuit and assisted in the erection of the new church. The church at Pontiac was built the same year. Rev. J. Mendell was appointed in 1859, and again in 1860. He resigned in June of that year, and Rev. M. Scurlock was appointed.


The history of this parish is like the history of most Catholic congregations in Illinois, a record of small beginning, of heroic struggle and sacrifice on the hart of a religious and de­voted people. The first Catholic church was built here in 1873. Before that time the spirit­ual wants of the Catholics were attended to by priests from Dwight and other neighboring towns. Services previous to 1873 were held in a public hall. At this time Odell was in the Chicago diocese, and the Right Rev. Thomas Foley was bishop. His diocese was quite ex­tensive, and it was impossible for him to give that attention to the smaller parishes which they deserved. Moreover, his efforts were mainly directed to the rebuilding of the churches and schools of the city of Chicago, which had been destroyed by the fire of 1871. Hence in many of the country districts it became a necessity for the people themselves to take the initiative in erecting churches and schools.

March 1, 1873, the Catholics of this commun­ity decided to erect a church. A committee was appointed and incorporated under the state law. The gentlemen composing the committee were Messrs. Michael Cleary, Edward Collins, Thomas E. Lyons, Bernard Lyons, Frank Craven and John Harbison. These were among the wealthi­est and most respected members of the congre­gation, and after the untiring efforts of sever­al months, they succeeded in raising $6,000 for the new church. A substantial frame church was erected, proclaiming to all the undying faith of these good people in the religion of their martyred forefathers, and their ardent desire to have that religion handed down to their children.

There was not yet a resident pastor in Odell, and the Right Rev, Bishop Spalding, the newly appointed bishop of Peoria, and whose name is now honored throughout the Catholic world, promised to send a resident pastor if the peo­ple would erect a parochial house. The com­mittee were not slow in getting the necessary funds for the erection of the rectory, and in September, 1877, Rev. Father Boylan was ap­pointed first pastor of Odell Catholic congre­gation.

The members, who compose the congregation today do not forget the zeal and foresight of these good men, who, unaided by bishop or priest, carried to a successful issue these under­takings. They laid the foundation of a congrega­tion which has grown to be one of the largest and most influential in this part of the state.

Father Boylan was pastor until 1882, when he was succeeded by Rev. Father Halpin. Fath­er Halpin was much beloved by his congrega­tion, and during his pastorate, owing to the in­crease in the membership, it was found neces­sary to enlarge the church. Father Halpin died here in 1893, and his successor was Rev. L. Selva. He remained until September, 1899, when the present pastor, Rev. P. Griffy, took charge. Father Selva did a grand work in this parish when he erected a beautiful brick school (costing $12,000), for the Christian education of the children of the parish.

In 1901, the congregation decided to build a new church. They naturally hesitated to sever their connection with the old sacred edifice, which was endeared to them by many holy as­sociations, where many of them were baptized, or married, or received the other ministrations


of a church that they loved; but the building was no longer adequate to accommodate the congregation, which now numbers 1,000 souls.

The building with its decorations, statuary, altars, etc., cost about $70,000, and it is a cred­it not only to the members of the congregation but to the town of Odell. Rarely does one see such a church with its artistic windows, its magnificent statuary, three altars of Carrara marble, its beautiful paintings and fresco­ing in a town of this size. The people are justly proud of it, and believe it will be an in­fluence for good for many centuries to come.

The building committee of the new church was composed of Messrs. Michael Cleary, James Murphy, Joseph Bellot, Sr., P. H. Langan, Owen Feehan, Joseph Verdun, Frank Erchen and S. J. Lyons, who acted as secretary.

A rectory was built in 1904 at a cost of $12,000. It is one of the finest parochial houses in the diocese of Peoria. The Catholics of Odell are proud of their buildings and pardonably so.

In conclusion, it might well be said that, in some particulars, St. Paul's Church of Odell is a credit not alone to Odell, but to the county and state, and more especially to Rev. Father Griffy, its present pastor, whose artistic taste directed and designed it. There are many handsome religious edifices in America, but none has more harmony of color in its interior deco­rative scheme than St. Paul's Church. So pleasing, so quieting, one feels at ease with all the world, and his thoughts turn to things of good. The stained glass windows are real gems of art by Italian artists, depicting scenes in the life of Christ. The fourteen statuesque groups illustrating the Savior’s journey to Calvary and his ignominious death on the cross, are wonderful in their conception of pose and expression. All were sculptured in Italy. The three beautiful marble altars all indicate a most delicately refined taste, as well as religious fervor. The people of St. Paul's Church are to be congratulated upon having a pastor of such rare artistic ability and who has such a high re­gard not alone for their spiritual welfare but their temporal comforts. The publishers and editors of this work regret that they are not able to publish a personal biography of Rev. Father Griffy. In response to a request for data for the same, he said "My life is for my people. Whatever I do or accomplish is for them and the glory of God, and that well done, I am content."


In a paper of reminiscences, the work of the present generation is too new and apparent to be mentioned, so let us forget ourselves for a moment and go back to the beginning of Meth­odism in Pontiac, back to the time when the circuit rider came to bring the message of salva­tion and the comfort of the gospel to the set­tlers scattered over the prairies. In that day Pontiac was but a name upon the map. Then neighbors lived miles distant and their onerous duties kept men and women too busy to be neighborly. The arrival of the circuit rider was a veritable God-send from a purely social standpoint, if no other. Word having been sent ahead and some energetic lad having been found to spread it in the neighborhood, the announce­ment that preaching services would be held at such a farm-house usually brought a number of people from their tasks to enjoy rest for their bodies and refreshment for their souls. The points in the neighborhood of Pontiac where services were most frequently held were at John Foster's, later at Philip Rollins and north at the Perry place. After 1852, when the Remicks settled at Rudd's mill, west of Pontiac, this place became a gathering point for Methodists, and was more of a center because the farmers came for many miles to bring their grist to mill. Pontiac was not very pious in those days. One of the mill hands at Mr. Remick's mill was sick and his life was desparied of. There was no man at the mill to pray by his sick bed, so Mrs. Remick sent in to Pontiac for the only man who had the reputation of ever having been re­ligious, and he sent word that he was not fit to do it. The man died and was buried without a word of prayer either at the bedside or the open grave.

The opening of the railroad in 1854 brought new settlers, and in 1855 or 1856 the first school house was erected on the bank of the Vermilion river in the jail yard. This was a better loca­tion then than at first thought it might seem to be, for until 1866 Pontiac was without that valuable adjunct to civilization known as a county jail. As the town grew the desire for a dedicated place of worship grew; accordingly, a subscription was taken and a sufficient sum


of money promised, when an ugly rumor began to circulate that the Presbyterians intended to have the new edifice dedicated as a Presbyter­ian church. Talk about waving a red flag at a bull! Six active, energetic, zealous Metho­dists had a conference, pledged $75, and each taking a subscription paper started on the war path. Money was raised, some if it being di­verted from its Presbyterian course, and the M. E. Church became an assured fact.

Unfortunately in the criminations and re­criminations which followed an ugly feeling was engendered, which required years to eradicate. Indeed, it was not until most of those who had fought and bled on the battle field had passed away.

The timbers were cut, the saw mills were kept busy. Messrs. Gunsel and Maples, the carpenters, were urged to make haste, for the spirit of old Adam still lingered in good Meth­odists and made them hope to have their church finished before that of the Presbyterians, but alas, they were four weeks behind, and on December 13, 1857, the presiding elder, old Father Hall, dedicated in Pontiac the first Methodist Episcopal church.

That was a notable building and worthy of a description, for it cost $1,400. It served the Methodists as a place of worship for nine years, when it was sold to the Catholics. It stood were the Catholic church now stands fronting to the west. It was in the Colonial style of architecture, 28x40, with a portico in front, surrounded by Greek columns, rising to sup­port the gable. A cupola where hung the his­toric bell adorned the roof. It was painted white without and white within; instead of hav­ing a vestibule there was a recess in the mid­dle of the front, with a door at either side, opening directly into the church, besides the choir, who occupied the back seats. At the other end was the pulpit, with its chancel rail, at either side of which were two benches, which at protracted meetings became the mourners' seats. These seats were uncompromisingly straight and hard. On either side, about the middle, were two cannon stoves, which in winter scorched those who came near them, without warming those a few feet away.

A few weeks after the dedication a revival was held. The pastor in charge of the church was one who belonged to that class of men who mistake perspiration for inspiration. He was tall, raw boned, black-haired, a magnetic, im­passioned and powerful preacher, but an abusive, quarrelsome, coarse-fibered sensationalist. He was returned to Pontiac for the second year, but Pontiac would have none of him, and upon their absolute refusal to receive him, he was compelled to seek greener pastures.

This revival was accompanied by a manifes­tation of "the jerks." This manifestation was not peculiar to Pontiac nor to Methodists, for the most remarkable instances occurred among the Presbyterians of the Western states.

The revival began in Avoca and continued there for about three weeks and was then trans­ferred to Pontiac, continuing two weeks.

The first night of the meetings in Pontiac, the "Jerkers," numbering between twenty and thirty, came from Avoca to help arouse enthus­iasm. Adjoining the church to the south was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Remick, who had a short time before moved into the village, and upon them descended the whole outfit for their supper. The tables were stretched out and loaded with eatables, though how Mrs. Remick managed it remains a mystery. After hand­ling their chairs like people with the St. Vitus dance, they managed to seat themselves, and then began a scene that rivals description. Imagine thirty people trying to put food into their mouths, and half of them sending it onto the floor, or raising a cup of coffee to their lips, when a spasmodic jerk of the arm would send it across the table. Imagine, too, the state of Mrs. Remick's carpet when they had adjourned to the church, for more victuals were on the floor than had been eaten, and the stove, un­able to stand up under such repeated jarring of the floor, had gone over. Outside the disorder was almost as bad, for in the attempt to feed the horses, the entire haystack was scattered around for rods. In the church one man jerked so violently that he knocked the plaster off the wall at the end of his seat. Children were frightened, the "boys," of course, were amused, and many were greatly alarmed. It was rumored that those who scoffed would certainly be afflicted, and in many cases this fear acted as a bridle, but the Livingston County News lampooned the preacher, and the editor the fol­lowing night was the target of denunciation, expressed in very muscular English. This was the first time in Pontiac the newspaper was accused of being the "work of the devil."


To the credit of Pontiac people their self-possession and common sense carried the day, and but few persons became victims of the malady.

It was at this time that Elder Stubbles and Mr. Remick came into open conflict, and the elder revenged himself for all time by con­temptuously referring to Mr. Remick and his official associates as "court house rats," a name which still sticks and is likely to continue to do so so long as the court house stands.

The events which have most thrilled our people, which have stirred them to their very hearts' depths, were at the breaking out of the war. Some of our citizens and church mem­bers had already gone to the front, when in 1862 was held the great war meeting in the old court house, and the 129th Illinois Volunteers was organized. Among those who enlisted was Thomas Cotton, pastor of this church, who be­came the chaplain of the regiment. Speaking of this event, he says: "A. E. Harding made a ringing speech in presenting a sword to the veteran Capt. Payne. When brother J. F. Cul­ver was called for to make a speech, he re­sponded: 'I can not make a speech until I have first signed the muster roll;' then the patriotic fire blazed beyond control."

Every male member of the M. E. Church but two enlisted. Of these two, one was a cripple, and the other a physician. And strange to re­late, every Methodist of the 129th returned. In­deed the church lost during the war but two men, Anthony Knight, who was killed at Shiloh, and Francis Penfield, who was killed at Peach Tree Creek, Georgia. Those enlisting who were members of the church or congregation were: J. F. Culver, John Lee, T. W. Smith, G. W. Bay, Amos Clark, John Harper, Thomas Cot­ton, Anthony Knight, Robert Kingore, James E. Bastien, D. J. Lyon, James Gaff, H. C. Achurst, Isaac Aerl, D. P. Murphy, John Evans, Richard Evans, Francis Penfield.

The subscription for the new church was taken June 21, 1866, and amounted to $7,011.75, according to the original copy on record. Mor­ris Johnson was treasurer and with W. S. Lacey, Charles Knight, E. W. Capron and William Manlove, had charge of the work. The plan was for a two story brick church 40x80 feet, with corner towers, an audience room above seating 325, and Sunday school and class rooms below. The basement was completed and dedi­cated with appropriate services by Rev. Joseph S. Cummings, assisted by Revs. M. F. Havermale, J. G. Evans, Thomas Cotton and W. A. Cumming, Nov. 10, 1867. The question of rent­ing pews was brought up in a report of a com­mittee in favor of it in 1868; the matter was laid upon the table, and this church has always had the glory of a free pew, a people's church. For four years the audience room had stood unfinished, so W. S. Lacey, at the head of a committee, was directed to complete it at an es­timated cost of $5,000. Three thousand dollars was subscribed and a loan of $2,000 was effected. The church was completed and known as the "Centenary church," from being commenced in 1866, the centennial year of the Methodist Epis­copal church. It was dedicated by Rev. J. M. Reed, of New York, assisted by Revs. F. M. Chaffee, R. D. Russell, R. G. Pearce and others. This was a proud day. The church was esti­mated to have cost in all nearly $22,000 and it is equal to any in the conference

July 4, 1874, was one of the darkest days in the history of Pontiac. A beautiful, new, solid brick hotel had been erected and Union Block was the city's pride. On that day, at noon time, a carelessly thrown fire-cracker caused one of the buildings to burst into flames, which instantly swept from building to building till in one short hour naught remained of the blocks, the Phoenix Hotel and court house, but heaps of smoking embers. This great fire swept away in a few minutes thousands of dollars, the savings of years, much of it belonging to members of the church. This loss, following the panic, almost paralyzed the church for the next five years. Court for the next term was held in the basement of the church until better quarters could be provided. Early in 1874, Mrs. Alice Tindall and Ruth Carlon solicited subscriptions and collected $400 for a bell for the church and the bell was ordered with the names of the two ladies east in raised letters upon it. In the tower it rang its tidings of joy and sorrow, and warned the city when the fire-fiend was abroad until it shrieked with terror its last warning in February of 1885, while the flames were climbing its perch on high in the church tower to silence forever its clang­ing tongue.

In 1879 the failure of the banking house of J. F. Culver and the results of the panic find fire loss accumulating, threw the church into great gloom. This was perhaps the most crit-


ical year in the history of the church, either before or since. The financial disaster, involv­ing so many leading men, affected the credit of its management at a time when no effort to raise the debt seemed possible, or even to re­new the loan, which was now due and which must be paid or the church sold. Frantic efforts were made to prevent the foreclosure of the trust deed, but in vain.

The brick church, erected at an estimated cost of $22,000, was advertised for sale to sat­isfy the mortgage of $2,000 and interest for one year. The church was sold at the court house door in May, 1879, and bought in by the agent of Mr. T. J. Bunn, of Bloomington, who held the mortgage. The members were in despair and there were wringing of hands and shedding of tears, which were of avail, as they doubtless aided in securing thirty days' grace in which to redeem the property. The remaining $2,500 above this amount of debt, not secured by mort­gage, was for the time forgotten.

Mrs. Mary M. Culver and Mrs. Ruth Carlin started around with a subscription paper can­vassing everybody for something to redeem the Methodist church, and by persistent efforts, with the aid of others, raised the amount and paid off the judgment and the trust deed was released June 9, 1879.

Wednesday night, February 15, 18S5, the great calamity of that day occurred, when the cry was heard, "The Methodist church is burn­ing." The furnace had been used and the fire caught in a defective chimney. It was about 11 o'clock at night when the alarm came and John S. Murphy and several others were first on hand, but nothing could be saved and the Methodist church bell tolled its own knell. The insurance was only $5,000.

Pastor McVety and his officials were sorrow­ful, but not disheartened, and plans for rebuild­ing were immediately under consideration. On March 8, 1885, the subscription was taken in the services held in the circuit court room. The building committee - T. W. McVety, J. T. Gibson, C. E. Legg, William Watt, N. Q. Tanquary and J. S. Voight - were appointed March 11. The adjoining lot was purchased, plans were secured and bids opened June 1, ranging from $14,000 to $19,000. The cornerstone of the present structure was laid by the lamented Bishop S. M. Merrill, June 29, 1885.

The dedication of the new church (the pres­ent edifice), was held on April 4, 1886. Since that time a beautiful new parsonage has been erected on the lot adjoining the church on the south, a new pipe organ has been installed in the church, and the membership increased to one thousand, while the Sunday school numbers 500. The present pastor is Rev. John H. Ryan, assisted by the Rev. E. Wasmuth.


The first preaching by a Presbyterian min­ister was in 1852 by Rev. Amasa Drake of Chi­cago. The services were conducted at the Buck Hotel and were at irregular intervals. Rev. Mr. Day, of Morris, preached a few times in the old court house, as did also Rev. Mr. High. The first regular preaching was by Rev. L. H. Loss, of Joliet. in 1855, when he organized the Presbyterian church of Pontiac. Public notice was given early in the month of October, 1855, for a meeting to be held at the school house to consider the subject of organizing a church on the basis of the Congregational or Presbyterian order. At the time appointed thirteen persons were assembled. Consultation was then had in regard to whether the church, which it was proposed to form would be Presbyterian Old school, Presbyterian New school or Congrega­tional. A strong effort was made to form one of the last named - a church whose leading feat­ure should be the entire and immediate aboli­tion of slavery. With direct reference to this Dr. H. H. Hinman had been laboring here for the year previous. Some present, however, although anti-slavery in principle, were some­what more conservative in principles. They consulted what they regarded as the highest interests of the cause of Christ, and believed the plan proposed would militate against that end. As no plan could be adopted the meeting adjourned. At the adjourned meeting not as many were present as at the former one. This also adjourned without their deciding with which of the above named bodies to connect. During the month of November, 1855, the third meeting was held, at which, owing to the preva­lence of sickness and other causes, but five persons assembled. These were Rev. W. J. Murphy and Mrs. Adeline C. Murphy of the old Style Presbyterian church, Abel C. Kidder and Nancy Kidder of the Congregational church, and


Mrs. Maria Buck of the Methodist church. After prayer and consultation these persons, feeling imperatively the necessity of the forma­tion immediately of a church and of sus­taining the institution of the gospel, were cast by the hands of Divine Providence into the crucible of Christian expediency. The result was a new school Presbyterian church. Abel C. Kidder was elected elder. A resolution was passed that the church apply for admission into the Presbytery at Ottawa. Rev. L. H. Loss being present a few weeks subsequent and sug­gesting good reasons for connection with the Presbytery of Chicago, the resolution referred to was rescinded and a resolution passed re­questing admission into the last named Presby­tery, which was presented and granted at their session in March, 1856.

On the Sabbath following the formation of the church, Mrs. Jane Smith was received into the church by letter. Rev. L. H. Loss min­istered to the church until April, 1856, when Rev. I. T. Whittemore became pastor. The school house in which the church was organized stood on land belonging to the county just west of the jail lot and opposite the Lutheran church. Later it was occupied by the colored Baptists, who moved the building to a lot on east Prairie street. They sold the building and again it was moved further east on Prairie street, where it still stands in a good state of preservation, being occupied as a dwelling. After Mrs. Jane Smith came many others who united with the church, and in the spring of 1857 work was commenced on the erection of the first church building in Pontiac (with one exception, the first in the county). The church building was dedicated on Sunday, November 15, 1857, Rev. L. H. Loss preaching the dedicatory sermon. This edifice cost $3,000 and in its day was Con­sidered an extensive structure. A few years later came John W. Daman, who organized the best choir of its size that has ever been heard in the history of Pontiac down to the present day. The members were John W. Daman, Leander Utley, James E. Morrow and the Misses Mary and Margaret Murphy. Henry G. Greene­baum presided at the organ. In 1870 came George W. Perkins, the first superintendent of the Pontiac Reform School, who in later years was at the head of the New York Life Insurance Company. He had always taken an active part in Sunday school work, and shortly after coming here was elected superintendent of the Sabbath school. Through his peculiar efforts, which were largely on the mission order, the school was more than doubled and the attendance became so large that Mr. Perkins at once commenced talking of building a larger church. He set on foot a church fair in which the whole community became interested. The fair was held in a large tent adjoining the church, and the net results of the fair were nearly $1,500. This was the nucleus of the fund that built the present church, which was commenced in 1872, but not finished until the winter of 1874, at a cost of something over $16,000. In 1899 the church was entirely remodeled on the inside and in 1901 an elegant pipe organ, costing $2,000, was added. The pastors in charge since Rev. Whittemore have been: Revs. Adams Johnston, Alonzo P. Johnson, J. S. McConnell, J. A. Gardner, R. Kessler, Benjamin L. Swan, L. C. Lit­tle, D. G. Bradford, E. I. Davies, D. K. Camp­bell, James H. Hatfield, Orlando Hart, and James A. Liggitt. The first superintendent of the Sunday school was Jason W. Strevell.


Rev. Washington Houston was the pioneer preacher of the Christian church in Pontiac. Rev. Houston conducted services at the differ­ent homes of the members and in the court house and school house, beginning his ministrations in 1854. The primary organization consisted of Dr. J. M. Perry, Wilson Hull, Robert Sample, William Perry and their wives. Irregular serv­ices were held at the places noted until 1865, when they united with another denomination called "New Lights," an off-shoot of the Chris­tian church, in the erection of a church building. The house was put up at a cost of $4,000 and occupied by both societies. Like any church or social organization where the members hold to different views in regard to religious forms the two societies did not dwell together in unity, and a few years later most of the "New Lights" had either withdrawn from the congregation or moved away. The Christians kept up a sem­blance of an organization with irregular preach­ing services until 1870, when a feud broke out in the church which almost rent the body in twain. Some of the more progressive members had installed an organ and proceeded to organize


a choir, which did not meet with the approval of a large number of the older members of the church, who characterized the new instrument as an emissary of his satanic majesty, and would have none of it. For a time the church was hopelessly divided, those in favor of the organ attending one Sunday, and those opposed to it the next. Finally an open rupture occurred over the matter at a church meeting held for the purpose of deciding the organ question. Strong language was used on both sides, the result being that one of the most prominent members was brought into court with a $10,000 suit for slander against him. The parties to the suit, however, got together and the whole affair was settled amicably, the main cause of the trouble - the organ - being allowed to remain. Thus united, the church extended a call in 1874 to Elder Charles Rowe, who ministered to the con­gregation for one year, followed by the Rev. W. F. Richardson, who remained about four years, until 1880. During the next twenty years the services were irregular, being conducted by young men sent out from the college located at Eureka. In 1899 the membership became more vigorous and a call was extended to the Rev. Harry Holmes. Rev. Holmes was a brilliant young man and a good organizer and soon had the church on a solid footing. At the end of two years he resigned, to be followed a short time later by the Rev. Andrew Scott, who served two years. Then came the Rev. W. G. McColley. Mr. McColley was also an organi­zer and soon after his arrival steps were taken for the erection of a larger and more commo­dious church edifice. The old church property was sold and a lot on the corner of Chicago and Washington streets purchased. Pledges for the erection of the new church were started and the work of building commenced. It was dedi­cated December 17, 1905, and is now one of the leading church organizations in the city, having a large membership, with only a small debt. Rev. McColley having completed his good work in Pontiac, resigned in November, 1907, to be succeeded by the Rev. Allen Shaw, the present pastor.


Co-incident with the laying out of the village of Fairbury was the foundation of the First Bap­tist church, and the record of each has been so interwoven in the past half-century, that the history of one would be incomplete without the history of the other. Fairbury has just passed the half-century mark, and Saturday evening and Sunday, October 3 and 4, 1908, the members of the First Baptist church celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its organization. It was but fit­ting that the people of the city as a whole should participate in this event, and with the exception of the social function Saturday evening (the an­niversary supper), the public was invited.

At the banquet held on Saturday evening in the dining room of the church, about 300 guests were present, and as souvenirs of the occasion, a card bearing in gold letters, "First Baptist Church of Fairbury, Oct. 3, 1858 - Oct. 3, 1908," and a book containing a synopsis of church history were placed beside each plate. After the delivery of an address of welcome by J. H. Carter, chairman of the evening, Mrs. Carrie Karnes-Eckhart, of Weston, read a paper prepared by herself under the title, "Fifty Years of Retrospect," of which the principal part is here given:

"Looking down the long vista of searchlight of the present, into the years through the power­ful electrical romantic candle-light of half a cen­tury ago, we find the same seasons of joy and sorrow, tragedy and comedy; the same moun­tains and rivers and oceans; the same God guarding and directing all, just as He was the Guiding Star and the Piolt of those simple­hearted Pilgrims who sought a happier home under more friendly skies, and hence were drawn to our own beautiful America. And hither, also, came a few years later, a young man, whose love of God was only equaled by his love for humanity - Roger Williams. He, after many hardships and much persecution, became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Providence, R. I. This was in 1639, but his teachings and influences have been, through all the generations down to the present, as lasting as time, and as broad as the world. Influences which have been borne on the pinions of eternity, and which may yet sweep over vast and immeasurable fields of space in their results for good, and tell upon the destinies of men and nations while the ages of eternity roll their ceaseless cycles for­ever onward. The golden chain which binds to­gether this vast assembly tonight, was forged in the hearts of a very small number of the follow­ers of the invincible Roger Williams, and for the improvement of themselves, spiritually and so-


cially, and as an inheritance for their posterity-, they met by common consent, one September evening, fifty years ago, to speak of organizing a Baptist church in Fairbury. This meeting was held in a school house, situated in the vi­cinity of the present home of our esteemed townsman, Patton John. After a sermon by Elder Branch, it was decided to meet on the first Saturday in October, for those who so desired, to organize a Baptist church. Elder Branch con­vened a council of neighboring Baptist churches, but when the day arrived only a few were pres­ent and the work of organizing was postponed until the next morning. On Sunday morning Oct. 3, 1858, only three members of the council were present from the Smith Grove church; but, with the intrepid spirit and dauntless courage of Roger Williams behind them, they proceeded to organize, and the following presented their letters and formed themselves into the first Bap-tist church of Fairbury, these being: Caleb and Orpha Patton. Jesse Hanna, Richard and Johan­na Hanna. Elder Branch then preached a ser­mon of counsel and advice to the new church, after which the New Hampshire confession of faith was adopted, and the covenant read and accepted. Elder Branch continued to preach ev­ery other Sabbath. On March 5, 1859, brother A. W. and sister M. A. Higbee were received by letter: Caleb Patton was chosen deacon and Richard Hanna, clerk. On Saturday, March 15, of the same year, Jacob and Pleasant Cumpston were received as candidates for baptism, and the ordinance was administered the next day. These two were the first members received into the church by baptism, and are with us tonight together with two others. Mrs. Elhanan Morris and Mrs. Susan Shephard, earnest and faithful, and find their greatest pleasure in doing the Master's work, now in the peaceful sunset of life, just as it was in the glorious heydey of youth.

"On April 3, Rev. Skinner commenced his pas­torate, and on that date - April 3, 1859 - the first communion was held. Mr. Skinner's stay was brief, making his home alternately with Hugh McKee and Caleb Patton. On the 30th of April, Hugh McKee was accepted for baptism, and Ephraim Hanna on May 14th, and both were bap­tized on the same day. In two weeks. Jemima McKee followed her husband in baptism, and on that day Thomas Edwards was also received by baptism. June 26th, Decatur Veatch of Randolph Grove was accepted on his experience. and in July-, George B. Conn joined by letter. The church was now supplied for three months by Elder Freeman, who was succeeded for a few Sabbaths by Elder Benton. At this time the members voted to co-operate with neighboring Baptist churches in forming an association. The delegates met at Metamore, Woodford County. September 12. 1859, and the "Illinois River Bap­tist Association East" was organized. At a meeting held August 6th. a most important step was taken-a committee was appointed to secure lots on which to build a church. On April 7, 1860. a call was given to Rev. B. F. Scrivens, which was accepted on his experience, and in July, George B. Conn joined by letter. The church was now supplied for three months by Elder Freeman, who was succeeded for a few sabboths by Elder Benton. At this time the members voted to co-operate with the neighboring Baptist churches in formting an association. The delegates met at Metamore, Woodofrd county, September 12, 1859, and the “Illinois River Baptist Association East” was organized. At a meeting held August 6, a most important step was taken - a committee was appointed to secure lots on which to build a church. On April 7, 1860, a call was given to Rev. B. F. Scrivens, which was accepted and Mr. Scrivens became the first regular pastor. At this time William Edwards was received into the church, on experi­ence. At the first anniversary of the association, which met at Panola, Woodford County, the re­port from the new church was as follows:

"Increase by baptism, 6; by letter, 6; by experience, 2 - total membership 19. In the follow­ing year 15 were received by baptism and 4 by letter, making a total membership of 38.

"About this time everything became unsettled owing to the difference of opinion between the citizens of the northern and southern states in re­gard to several questions. The national flag floated over a divided people, and in a short time the clash and din of contending armies marked the advent of a civil war. The progress of the church was slightly retarded - four of the mem­bers (names not given), having gone "where duty calls," while others were willing and ready to go. Church services were held during this time and, up to 1865 or '66, in a hall situated near the present site of the Fred Werling meat market. Notwithstanding these gloomy and un­settled years, the church kept steadily on, and seemed to span the dark clouds of civil strife with the rainbow of Hope, and during Rev. Scrivens' pastorate of three years, he baptized 27, received 17 by letter and 3 by experience, making a total membership of 47, and in 1863 the church felt strong enough to entertain the association. During this time, meetings had been held in a school house at Indian Grove, with several con­versions, and here was erected what is known as the Union Meeting House.

"The subject of building a church was again agitated, and Caleb Patton donated four lots for the purpose. Two were sold to help pay for the building. A thousand dollars was loaned


from the 'Church Edifice Fund' and work was begun. Rev. Hempstead was pastor for a short time when the building was commenced. It was the intention of the committee to erect a frame building, and the timber was donated and deliv­ered, but after careful estimates it was found that a brick structure would be less expensive, so the lumber was sold and a brick building erected. During this period many difficulties were encountered and the members were often discouraged. Money was scarce, and materials and wages were high. When the church walls were finally up, they stood without cover for six months, and a long weary year passed ere the building was completed. The church was with­out a pastor, and the lines seemed very hard, but the members pulled together, and sent an earn­est and urgent request to Rev. James Carnes to come and undertake the guidance of the church. Mr. Carnes visited them, went carefully over the ground, and finally accepted the call, commencing his labors on June 25, 1865. A former historian says this of Bro. Carnes: 'He was a man of great spiritual power and ability, and his ministry was blessed with what may be termed a continuous revival.' During his pastorate of less than five years, 189 persons were received by baptism, and the church numbered 260 members. During 1870 a mission was established at Forrest, others at Potosi and Weston having been previously estab­lished, and in the next year Weston became an independent church, 41 persons taking letters from here."

Others who served as regular pastors or temporary supplies - among the latter being a number of students of Morgan Park Theo­logical Seminary and the University of Chicago - were Revs. Jones, Gross, J. C. Read, C. D. Merit, I. S. Mahon, E. R. Pierce, Robbins, Gill, S. A. Perrine and J. J. Crosby. Of these the pastorate of Rev. C. D. Merit was the longest, covering a period of six years. During the pas­torate of Elder Crosby in 1888, the erection of a new church building was begun, which was com­pleted at a cost of $5,479.19, but there being a deficit of $147.45 at the opening services, sub­scriptions were immediately taken to the amount of $300.13, and the house was dedicated, Dr. A. A. Kendrick of Shurtleff College, Upper Alton, preaching the dedicatory sermon. The Woman's Missionary Society took a prominent and active part in all the work, raising and donating $610 for the furnishing of the church. The pulpit was filled later by Rev. J. W. Neyman, and Rev. J. Coker, during the pastorate of the latter a parsonage being built. The pulpit was again filled by students from the University of Chicago, and owing to misunderstandings some unpleas­antness was developed, but this was overcome by the accession of Rev. W. R. Riley to the pastor­ate, who served most acceptably from 1892 to 1897, during that time receiving 150 additions to the church, of whom 101 were by baptism. He was succeeded by Rev. E. S. Story, and other students, until November, 1897; when Rev. H. H. Hurley was ordained as regular pastor, followed by Revs. F. F. Whitcomb, Reynolds, Betts, James Ryan, E. Lewis Kelly, J. W. Bailey, and C. S. Burns of the University of Chicago, who entered upon his duties in March, 1907, and has remained to the present time. The church now has a total membership of 187, while the church property is valued at $18,000. The church sustained a heavy loss in 1908, in the death of Mrs. Harriet Newhall ??????, who had been a faithful and liberal member for 43 years.


Previous to 1867 the colored people of Pon­tiac attended church and Sabbath school along with their white brethren, being divided among the Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists. During the year the school building on the banks of the Vermilion on Water street was abandoned for school purposes and the colored people at once took possession. The colored Methodists withdrew in 1872 and purchased the Turner Hall on West Washington street, which was transformed into a house of worship, and they have remained there to this date. The colored Baptists worshipped in the old school house for many years, until the building was ordered moved by the board of supervisors. They now have a commodious church at the corner of North Hazel and West Prairie streets.


If there was any one thing that the people of the long ago took more interest in than another, it was religious exercises of all kinds. To say aught against any one's belief on the subject of foreordination or baptism was to


invite an argument that might end in lifelong enmity, as there is nothing a man will fight for any quicker than his particular brand of re­ligion. So the boys and girls were always sure to be at Sunday school each Sabbath morning, rigged out in the best garments they had, and loaded with a small, sometimes a very small, number of verses of the New Testament, "by the heart" - that is, so they could say them without being prompted more than twice or three times in each verse. The Sunday school in the winter was poorly attended, as the winters were generally very severe, but in the spring and good old summer time the seats in the meeting house were well filled. There were no "Gos­pel Hymns," or other song books, except the hymn book used in church services, in the back of which were a few songs for the Sunday school. There were no lesson leaves, or other helps; but the youth had to sit straight up and guess off such answers to questions asked by the teacher, who was usually some one who knew but little more than they did, out of the Testament, and which the scholar, if he was a boy, had hardly looked at. Then, when the lesson was done, the teacher would ask how many had committed verses. Any prepared was given a chance to shine his light. The first chapter of John was a great favorite, and seven or eight verses was generally the limit without prompting; and if by virtue of much thought one got through ten of them, he got a blue ticket, one for each two verses recited. Ten blue tickets equaled a red one, and ten red ones got a yellow one, and ten of these got a Testament worth probably a quarter. But the amount of money tied up in Testaments held in readiness as prizes was never great, as but few were ever needed. Little children, going to Sunday school in these days, dressed like a fashion plate, with rings on their fingers, a gold watch, silk and satin and broadcloth clothes. Lesson leaves and all sorts of helps are given them. An organ and plenty of books help entertain them. And then it takes all sorts of prizes to get them out. Their grand­parents who run barefoot all the time in warm or partly warm weather, on Sunday put on their "other clothes" - which, for boys, was only a pair of heavy trousers, a pink waist to which the trousers were attached by a row of but­tons, and which did duty as a shirt as well; a little straw hat, maybe homemade, and, as though life was not already burden enough, his feet, swollen by a forced contact with the earth, were forced into a pair of long stockings and well-greased pair of shoes that pinched him every step. The girls, of course, looked better, with long curls hanging down their backs, wide hats with bangles around the edges, calico or lawn dresses with big hoops; low, flat shoes and gingham pantalets. When Sunday school was over, preaching began. And those children who did not have to stay were allowed to go home and read the Sunday School Advocate. To go forth to seek pleasure was a sin, deserving and receiving a good whipping. But they were as happy as the "kids." of today.




What seems almost beyond the realm of possibility, probability even, has been effected, a remedy discovered, and its efficacy indisputably proven, for drunkenness, that curse of all ages since Noah's sons scoffed at their father when he forgot himself and lost his senses from overindulgence in wine. Two thousand years ago the source of such a discovery would have been attributed to Divine intervention, and the dis­coverer worshipped; two hundred years back he would have been burned as one who held com­munication with spirits infernal; fifty years ago the world would have laughed and pointed significantly to their foreheads, had anyone been brave enough to assert that such a remedy did exist; but today the public are more intelligent and appreciate that, although there may be "nothing new under the sun," new hiding places


for wonderful scientific facts are being constant­ly discovered, and that because of this, old burdens of doubt, dread and superstition are rolling away.

While Illinois furnished a Lincoln to the na­tion, this State has rendered another far-reach­ing service to the world; for, as it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln to free the millions of black slaves bending under the yoke of their white taskmasters, so Leslie E. Keeley was raised up to break the shackles which bound millions of white slaves in a servitude equally revolt­ing, to drink and drugs. Abraham Lincoln promulgated his Emancipation Proclamation and the black slaves were free. Leslie E. Keeley, through his one sentence, "DRUNKENNESS IS A DISEASE AND I CAN CURE IT," freed those white slaves whose bondage was so much more pitiable. The black man knew no real li­berty; the white man, bending under his load of sorrow, had once been upright, able to look the world in the face, and to hold his place in the world among his equals. Little by little he had fallen a victim to the hardest taskmasters the world knows, until he was shackled hand and foot.

For centuries denunciations had been thun­dered against the man who had looked upon the "wine when it was red," who had forgotten that "wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging." The clergy had always declaimed against it, the physician had doctored the ills drunken­ness occasioned, and the lawyer legislated and litigated because of the evil deeds that were its outcome, but it remained for an obscure country doctor to discover the greatest truth given to mankind since the Sermon on the Mount, "DRUNKENNESS IS A DISEASE AND I CAN CURE IT."

Dr. Keeley had a large country practice, and during the course of it he often was called upon to attend those who were suffering direct­ly because of over-indulgence in liquor or drugs. Little by little the idea grew upon him. He differed from his fellow practitioners in that he did not believe a man incurable because he had lost his will power. He also saw many times over that it was entirely useless to tell a man whose will had been held in subjection for years, to call upon that will to free him from the most abject condition of slavery. His experiments along other lines taught him that, if the blood be cleansed of impurity, it is no longer diseased but whole. He recognized the fact that, be­cause a patient has once had smallpox is no argument that he must forever be attainted. He, as a good Christian, admitted the moral regeneracy of a sinner. Suddenly he realized the truth that drunkenness was a disease as much as any set down in the pharmacopoeia, and he sounded his tocsin that has been heard the world around.

Prior to his wonderful discovery, Dr. Leslie E. Keeley practiced at Dwight; after that he practiced the world over, and his great work will never end, although he himself has passed from the scene of his earthly activities. No his­tory of Livingston County would be complete without mention of its most important claim to hold a place in the records of great places of the world. The Leslie E. Keeley Company of Dwight, Livingston County, Ill., U. S. A., is a name which, seen from one pole to the other, from the Oriental shores of Asia across the three continents, two of the oceans back to China and Japan again, brings memories that hold deepest gratitude towards the one who made possible so much.

Few families there are that have not some member afflicted with this pitiful "disease." for just as the appetite for drink prevails, so will drunkenness, and happy may he be who escapes. For centuries moral suasion was tried. There were cases, fortunately many of them, where the "invalid" was brought under the influence of a will so much stronger than his own, that he had strength to keep up the constant struggle. Still there was no surety that a relapse would not occur at any time. There was no real perma­nent cure, for the diagnosis was incorrect. As well try to cure typhoid by appealing to the will power as to seek health for the drunkard through the will power.

Dr. Leslie E. Keeley began his investigations upon the theory already given, and argued that he was right; for, as is admitted, disease is caused by imperfect circulation, impure blood, disorganized nerves and a consequent derange­ment of one or more of the delicate and com­plicated organs of the human body. Working up­on this premise he knew that, having decided that the disease existed, a remedy could be found. The discovery of this remedy became his life work, and his success was but the natural result of intelligent effort directed along scientific lines. Not only was it his task and pleasure


to discover this remedy, but to devise some method by means of which "patients" could be given its effects without any loss of time. After years of patient research, deep study and count­less experiments, success crowned his efforts and the results are almost beyond any description.

Of course, like every other great reformer - for truly Dr. Keeley must be regarded as one of the greatest reformers the world has ever known - he was forced to endure great humilia­tion and submit to be held up to the scorn of those many of whom afterwards very gladly be­came his patients. Never for a moment did he allow himself to be discouraged, but kept steadily on, repeating his astonishing declaration and sticking to it. At that time there was a great newspaper in the great city of the Central West, edited by Joseph Medill, a broad-gauged man who simply, because he did not understand, did not condemn. The world well knows of the historic test Mr. Medill made of the remedy and through it the proof of Dr. Keeley's conten­tion. Five men selected by the great editor were placed under treatment, and the great discoverer and humanitarian was vindicated, for each one of these men was cured and lived to see many years of happy usefulness.

This was a quarter of a century ago. Since then so many have profited by Dr. Keeley's dis­covery that the entire viewpoint with regard to drunkenness has changed. Before he lifted the burden, freed the bound, the drunkard was a pariah, an outcast, constantly humiliated and shunned. His wife gradually withdrew from her social connections. Then she began going to church early in the morning, and later in the evening, first through shame and later because, oftentimes, she had no appropriate clothing, for, as the drunkard sunk lower, his powers of earning diminished. His children grew able to detect his staggering step and thickened tongue, and avoided his bloodshot eyes. Where once they had given respect and love, they now were forced to feel disgust and shame. Among other houses on the street, the one occupied by the drunkard could be distinguished because of its run down appearance. When, at last, wasted by disease, crushed by the terrible burden, the drunkard sunk into an untimely grave, he was not truly mourned; and yet he had been martyred, sacri­ficed to the ignorance of those who ought to have known better, the medical profession. Today, the unfortunate who has allowed drink to create the disease of drunkenness, is not al­lowed by the enlightened to grow dangerously "ill," but is quietly taken to one or other of the Keeley Institutes which are conveniently situa­ted all over the country, and through scientific treatment he is once more brought back to health and moral tone. From the home institute at Dwight has grown the magnificent system which includes one or more institutes in nearly every State in the Union, two in Canada, one in Mexico, one in England, and plans are being effected to establish them in other countries. The Parent Institute and its branches have restored to health more than 350,000 men and women.

Unfortunately for the human race, drunken­ness and the use of drugs is not confined to the stronger sex, for women, too, have been thus "diseased" from earliest days, although owing to popular prejudice they have never been as open about their drinking as men. Soon after he began to treat men, however, Dr. Keeley recog­nized the fact that women needed his help also, and he accordingly made arrangements for their treatment under circumstances satisfactory to them and their families.

The beautiful little town of Dwight is the home of the parent institute, and is proud of the fact. Through the agency of one great man it is known the world over, and many who are not in need of the Cure, flock to see the sur­roundings of that system which gives back to the world those deemed lost as far as this life is concerned. The setting of the scene is beau­tiful. Stately buildings are set in the midst of the charming town, undefiled by any smoke­-bearing chimneys of manufacturing plants. The most beautiful of these buildings is the new Livingston Hotel, named in honor of the County, which was rebuilt to take the place of the hotel destroyed by fire in February, 1902. On June 3, 1903, when it was completed, the manage­ment was distinguished in a way perhaps never accorded another hotel establishment, for Presi­dent Roosevelt pressed the button which former­ly opened it to the public, and it is worthy of the honor done it, for it is without doubt the finest hostelry in Central Illinois. No expense or pains have been spared upon it. On account of the fire, although no one was injured or suf­fered any loss, the management decided to pro­vide against a similar accident in future when all might not be so fortunate, and built this new structure entirely fireproof. Where tile or marble


has not been used, the floors are of monolith, which is entirely fire proof. The other materials are brick, stone and steel, and the general effect is not only entirely safe, but charming and com­fortable. As many of the relatives of the "pa­tients" accompany them, the Livingston affords them all a delightful, homelike resort where, surrounded by congenial society, invigorated by the cheerful atmosphere, encouraged by physi­cians and attendants, the sufferers and their loved ones gain in mental and physical health, and go back home feeling as though many years had been lifted from their shoulders. One of the points of interest at Dwight is the water works tower marking the spot of the artesian water, which is alone used at the Livingston.

The laboratory and office adjoin the hotel, and are much admired, and certainly are points of interest to those who realize what an effort for good the remedy manufactured in the laboratory has had. In the second story are the club rooms, reading room and auditorium, and here are to be found "patients" from all classes of life, and of all ages. Experiences are freely ex­changed and encouragement given.

This much famed Cure is, after all, simple. It consists of regular doses of remedy taken in­ternally in liquid form, and hypodermic treat­ment at the treatment hall at 8 A. M., 12 M., 5 and 7: 30 P. M., and living according to specific hygienic rules. From the beginning the "patient" realizes that he is going to be cured. He knows that, as have the thousands before him, he is going to be released from his disease and made whole once more. He is not reproached, re­proved and urged to "be a man." He is not deprived of liquor or drugs until he is able to get along comfortably without them.

The question is often asked, "Is the patient really cured?" The answer comes surging back from pulpit, bench, bar, and physician's office. It gathers force at the chair of the college pro­fessor, the desk of the captain of industry, the merchant prince. It rings true and tried from the throats of soldiers and sailors, from clerks and mechanics, from rich and poor, old and young, from men and women, and it is, "Yes!" The man, who has suffered for years from some once-called incurable disease, knows if he is free of it. He realizes when its terrible symptoms are gone, and he rejoices in his deliver­ance and goes back to his old life with renewed vigor, with hope for the future and charity to­ wards all men because of the mercy vouchsafed him.

J. R. Oughton Is President of the company; Dr. Milton R. Keeley is Vice-President; while Major Curtis J. Judd is Secretary-Treasurer. Major Judd and Mr. Oughton were associated with Dr. Keeley from the inception of the com­pany, and to their business sagacity is due much of the present success. Mr. Oughton is the chemist of the company and purchases all the drugs himself. All of the remedies used at the different institutes are compounded under his supervision. Dr. Keeley died February 21, 1900, at Los Angeles, Cal.; and, although his loss was deeply mourned, his death was not entirely unexpected, and it did not interrupt the business of the corporation. Dr. Milton R. Keeley is a nephew of the late Dr. Leslie E. Keeley and under his instruction and supervision, was thor­oughly established in the Keeley work.


While the citizens of Livingston County have provided generously and well for the spiritual and intellectual wants of all who choose to live here, they have not forgotten the physical wel­fare of those whom sickness or poverty or old age has made helpless or miserable. With churches and schools in abundance, a splendid home for the poor was built by the county, a home which stands as a monument to the wis­dom and foresight of the men who planned it, as well as to the generosity of the citizens in general.

But with the growth of the county in popula­tion and wealth it was felt that there was still needed an institution where the sick could be cared for. More and more it was seen that this county should have a modern hospital, centrally located, where the afflicted could re­ceive skilled care and at the same time be near their friends and relatives. Several attempts had been made to provide such an institution, but success was not attained. However, the ef­forts of those who had labored in behalf of the project were not to be in vain, for a favorable public opinion was created which was to bear fruit more abundantly than was ever expected.

In the summer of 1904 a resolution was adopt­ed and signed by thirty physicians and sur­geons of the county, emphasizing the need of a hospital, and inviting the Franciscan Sisters of the Catholic Church to establish such an insti-


tution, at the same time calling upon the citi­zens of the county to give the movement their encouragement and financial assistance. At their June meeting of the same year the members of the county board of supervisors approved the plan.

The matter was brought to the attention of the Right Rev. J. L. Spalding, Bishop of Peoria, who at once commissioned the Rev. James A. Dollard, assistant pastor of St. Mary's church, Pontiac, to take charge of the matter. Father Dollard, assisted by a committee of Catholic ladies, began the work of securing a bonus from the citizens of Pontiac and other parts of the county. The members of this committee were Miss Cora Bond, Miss May Bradley, Mrs. A. J. Braunberger, Mrs. J. E. McCarty, Miss Anna McManus, Mrs. Michael Menton, Mrs. James Murphy, Mrs. A. J. Renoe, Miss Ella Scanlan, and Mrs. J. W. Thornton. The sum of twenty thousand dollars was raised.

The site chosen for the hospital was the beau­tiful property on East Water street, owned by Mrs. Mahala Bradish. It was at one time the home of her uncle, Major Cairns. It is con­ceded by all to be the most desirable property in Pontiac for hospital purposes. The price was $12,500.

The hospital was nobly befriended at this time by the late Mrs. Mary Gaylord and her husband, Dr. Edwin Gaylord, who purchased the site for Father Dollard and held it until the following year, when they deeded it to the Sisters at the same price and without inter­est.

The Franciscan Sisters of Peoria, Ill. accepted the invitation to take charge of the hospital in the autumn of 1906, and on January 29th, 1907, they moved into the old mansion and began their work of mercy. They gave the new institution the name "St. James" in recognition of the work which the Rev. James A. Dollard had done in its behalf.

Plans had been prepared for a new and lar­ger building by R. A. Young, an architect of Pontiac, and the contract was awarded to W. H. Sipe, also of Pontiac. The corner stone of the new building was laid July 21st, 1907, by the Rt. Rev. P. J. O'Reilly, auxiliary bishop of Peoria. The exercises began with a parade from the city hall to the hospital grounds, in which the city and county officials, clergymen, members of the hospital committee, the G. A. R., and the W. R. C., Company F, I. N. G., and several fraternal societies took part. At the hospital the ceremonies were very impressive and were witnessed by more than two thousand persons. Addresses were delivered by Bishop O'Reilly, the Hon. J. M. Lyon, Mayor of Pontiac, Mr. Thomas Walsh, chairman of the board of supervisors, Dr. J. D. Scouller and E. A. Simmons, Esq.

The new building is a handsome structure, four stories in height, built of buff pressed brick and red sandstone. The interior is finished in red oak, with metal ceilings and white maple floors. It is up to date in every particu­lar, having a splendid operating room, which was furnished by the physicians of the county, an electric elevator, a system of call bells and house telephones, gas and electric light, a hot water heating system, and bright rooms, many of which have been luxuriously furnished by individual citizens and societies. Ten of the rooms have private bathrooms attached. Sister M. Alberta, O. S. F., is in charge.

Besides caring for the sick, the new hospital will provide a comfortable home for old per­sons of both sexes, who can here pass their de­clining days in sweet peace and quiet, their wants attended to by the gentle Sisters.

For the great good that it will do in the years to come, for the money which it will save to the citizens by enabling them to avoid long jour­neys in times of sickness, for its architectural beauty, which makes it an ornament to our already beautiful county seat - for these rea­sons, and many others, St. James Hospital is an institution of which all the citizens of Liv­ingston County may well feel proud.


Livingston County has become the home of the Defenceless Mennonite Church of North America, the articles of incorporation having been filed for record in the office of the circuit clerk at Pontiac. The incorporators are Benjamin K. Slagle, Nich­olas B. Stuckey, Andrew Roth and David N. Claudon, all residing in Nebraska Township, with headquarters at Flanagan. The purpose of the corporation is given as "the support of religious worship by the promotion and maintenance of home and foreign missions, religious schools, sem­inaries, orphanages, old people's homes, and oth­er church institutions, including church and Sunday school literature." The control and


management of the corporation is under the con­trol of nine trustees, of whom the following were the first: Benjamin K. Slagle, Andrew Roth, Moses Roth, Nicholas B. Stuckey, Silas J. Mills, Christian Gerber, Andrew M. Gerig, David M. Zimmerman and David N. Claudon.


The records show that as early as 1859, Liv­ingston County made provision for an almshouse for the incurably insane and unfortunately poor by procuring a farm of 160 acres in Eppards Point township, four miles southwest of Pontiac, for that purpose, and providing a house which was at that time ample for the purpose. As the years went by, other frame buildings were added, but it became evident that the unfortu­nate of the county were not provided for in a way at all suitable to the wealth and pre­cedence of the county, and further, that should fire break out, there was every prospect that a holocaust would ensue. The increasing popu­lation of the county made greater the number of incurably insane, and the need of new quarters for these was imperative. These matters were frequently discussed by the Board of Supervis­ors and others, the newspapers of the county advocating new buildings, and at the February meeting of the Board in 1894, the committee on Poor House and Farm, in its annual report, urged that action at once be taken toward pro­viding new buildings. The committee making this report was J. E. Morrow, W. E. Thompson and Archibald Crabb. At this same meeting of the Board, Chairman Michael Cleary appointed a special committee to obtain plans and pro­ceed at once with buildings to cost from $40,000 to $50,000, this committee consisting of J. E. Morrow, Michael Cleary, W. E. Thompson, J. W. McDowell, and Archibald Crabb, and the work was at once begun. The committee started out on a tour of inspection and was not long in settling upon a plan. The committee secured the services of an architect, and a plain but substantial, yet sufficiently ornamental build­ing, of brick, was planned. Out of eleven bids, the contract was let to W. H. Hamilton, of Kankakee, for $36,250. This included all but heat­ing and furnishing. By the date of the July meeting of that year the work was under way.

On Tuesday, September 18, 1894, the corner­stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies. The exercises were under the direction of J. E. Morrow, chairman of the special building com­mittee. Most of the members of the Board of Supervisors were present, beside the county of­ficials and 500 residents of the county. The ex­ercises were opened with prayer by Rev. Fr. P. Lyons of Pontiac. The principal address was by Hon. G. W. Patton, who gave an eloquent portrayal of the great work of philanthropy in the past and present. Short addresses were made by Hon. A. E. Harding, Rev. D. B. Camp­bell, E. A. Sweet, and Superintendent Kerr of the McLean County house. At the opening of the exercises, Mr. Morrow gave a brief historic sketch of the efforts in county house building in this county. The first was erected in 1859. Thirteen years later the second building was erected and in 1878 the third was built, the lat­ter being for the insane.

The structure is a substantial three-story brick building with general shape of a T. The ell runs to the rear and forms the insane depart­ment in the second and third stories. The ex­terior is of La Salle pressed brick and the roof is of slate. The interior finish is of hard pine in natural grain and white walls. Every room and hall is supplied with ventilation and regis­ters and radiators for heat. The front part, as the visitor ascends the steps, is for the Su­perintendent and family, with his office on the second floor, bed rooms above the third and kitchen and dining room below on first. The laundry, general kitchen, bakery and store room are located on the first floor of the rear wing. At the left of the main part, first floor, are the men's dining and sitting rooms, while at the right are similar rooms for the women. On the second and third floors of the right main part are the dormitories for the men, while at the right are those for the women. The second floor of the wing is for insane women and the third floor for insane men. Each of these de­partments has a dining room, well lighted halls, comfortable settees, and the rooms are provided with every necessary comfort. In each of the several departments are lavatories, bath tubs and closets, while the building is lighted by electricity furnished by the plant at Pontiac. With­in the past year, a portion of the insane ward has been transformed into a hospital.

The power house contains fuel, boiler and en­gine rooms, and also the fan. There is also a standpipe as part of the power house, and the whole building is supplied with hot and cold


water, and also plugs and hose for fire protec­tion. The laundry machinery is run by a ten­-horsepower engine and the plant is very com­plete. The furnishing of the main building is plain, but substantial and comfortable. The en­tire cost of the building was $57,636.08, but since it was first built, improvements amounting to many thousands of dollars, have been made. The building was first occupied on December 10, 1895, the superintendent at that time being N. J. Myer. Mr. Myer died in 1908, when he was succeeded by Clay D. Parker. Mr. Hamilton, the contractor, became financially embarrassed before the building was completed, and it was finished under the direction of the special build­ing committee.

THE COUNTY FARM. - Superintendent Clay D. Parker, of the county farm, and the matron of the same, Mrs. Parker, have not found the work at that institution by any means light during the year 1908. The farm is a big institution, and as it is conducted at present, requires much time and attention. On December 31, there were fif­ty-two persons being cared for there by the coun­ty. The largest number there at any one time was in November, when there were 55, and the smallest number was 49, the total running down to the latter number about the middle of the summer. During the year there occurred eleven deaths at the institution. Nineteen persons were received and eight discharged. There is one person at the farm 107 years old.


By an act of March 5, 1867, the General As­sembly provided for the establishment of the in­stitution known as the "State Reform School," and authorized the Governor to appoint a board of seven trustees to select a site and construct the necessary buildings. The trustees selected Pontiac, as the site in 1869, proceeded with the construction of the buildings, and on Wednesday, October 12, 1870, appointed George W. Perkins, former warden of the state penitentiary, as the first superintendent, and in his charge the school remained until 1872, when Dr. J. D. Scouller was appointed superintendent, who continued in charge until 1891. Until that year, the institu­tion was for boys under 16 years of age. By an act of June 18, 1891, the institution was reor­ganized, a board of managers substituted for the old board of trustees, and the legal designation changed to the Illinois State Reformatory. Under the act of 1891 the age of admission was raised to 21 years; resulting in a great increase in the number of inmates and necessitating an entire reorganization of the institution and an enlargement of its operating plant.

B. F. Sheets was the first general superinten­dent and was succeeded in 1893 by R. W. McClaughrey, who was in turn succeeded by George Torrance, who held the office until July 1, 1901. The present superintendent is M. M. Mallary. The institution is under the control of a board of managers, consisting of five members, ap­pointed by the Governor. The general superin­tendent is ex-officio secretary.

Special attention is given to the educational feature and inmates are required to attend school during one-half of each school day. The schools are equipped with the latest and most approved appliances and are conducted by ten teachers under the charge of a superintendent. The curric­ulum includes all the branches of a common school education. Industrial training includes instruction in printing, bookbinding, blacksmith­ing, carpentering, baking, cooking, electrical en­gineering, knitting, masonry, laundry work, tin­work, barbering, tailoring, cabinet making, paper hanging, farming, gardening and photography. At the session of the Legislature in 1904, $10,000 was appropriated for the establishment of a reg­ular manual training school. This department is used principally for the boys between the ages of 10 and 16 years.

The operations of the various departments are carried on in 26 buildings, with an aggregate floor space of 425,000 square feet. The build­ings, except those connected with the farm, are contained in an enclosure of twenty acres, which also includes drill and parade grounds and play­grounds for the younger inmates. A regular military organization is maintained and the in­mates are carefully drilled in United States army tactics and enrolled in the reformatory regiment. In addition to the regular military drill, about thirty minutes of instruction is given daily in callisthenic exercises.

All clothing worn in the institution is manu­factured by the inmates. The library contains several thousand volumes. The administration building contains the dining room, and the chapel, which seats over 1,000. In this chapel, Dr. Morron, the chaplain of the institution, presides each Sunday. A band, the members of which


are institution boys, provides music at chapel meetings.

The farm is located south of the buildings. It consists of 200 acres, but unfortunately only a limited number of inmates can be worked on so small a tract. The reformatory also leases sev­eral hundred acres of neighborhood land.

Surrounded by beautiful lawns which are shaded by great trees, the reformatory is the handsomest spot in Pontiac. It heads one of the main residence streets of the town which is shaded by a quadruple row of fine shade trees and the institution as viewed from this avenue, with its wide spreading lawn, strung with elec­tric lights used for the lighting of the grounds in the summer, is most attractive. For all of its handsome appearance, however, the reformatory is a prison. The buildings themselves form two Sides of a great quadrangle. The other two sides are enclosed by a rude board fence topped with barbed wire and guarded at intervals by board shacks, in which sit guards with rifles. Outside of the stockade lies the Institution farm on which the "trusties" and farm hands are worked. With this exception however, the lives of the in­mates are spent in the buildings, which form the quadrangle and are contained in it. They sleep in locked cells at night, though in the day time the fact that they are all working, receiving in­struction or engaged in military drill, gives them more freedom than the average prisoner re­ceives. The life, however, is one of enforced reg­ularity, and so closely are the boys guarded that escapes are rare. From the time the youth enters the barred door of the institution, passes the guard, leaves his clothes and receives the reform­atory uniform, he is not only a ward of the state, but the state has him under lock and key. The world, made beautiful by parks and lawns, lies just without and often in sight of his longing eyes. Perhaps the fact that only his long con­tinued good behavior can get him through the barred gates to freedom again, may account for the remarkable records made by some of the boys.




The following is a list of Posts of the Grand Army of the Republic and related organizations in Livingston County, with dates of the organiza­tion of each:

PONTIAC. - T. Lyle Dickey, No. 105, organized July 29, 1881. Past Post Commanders: H. H. McDowell, H. B. Reed, John C. Keach, Charles L. Bigelow, James H. Gaff, Edward L. Wilson, James Fenton, John S. Lee, R. R. Wallace, Oscar F. Avery, James T. Croswell, H. L. Frisbie, S. E. Holtzman, S. M. Witt, W. H. Jenkins, John T. Wilson, J. B. Parsons, James A. Hoover, J. B. Baker.

DWIGHT. - Dwight, No. 626, organized May 17, 1887. Past Post Commanders: G. A. Seymour, E. F. Wright, C. W. Ayling, J. C. Lewis, James B. Parsons, John Buffham, Henry Fox, W. B. Brown, Henry Spellman.

FAIRBURY. - Aaron Weider, No. 75, organized March 25, 1880. Past Post Commanders: Emory Gregg, D. W. Hilsabeck, Rufus C. Huntoon, John Virgin, B. E. Robinson, John Zimmerman, A. H. Mundt, H. S. Eckhart, J. E. Lewis, A. F. Filley, J. H. Carter, Thomas Day.

CHATSWORTH. - E. C. Trask, No. 38, organized January 16, 1884. Past Post Commanders: G. H. Maines, J. E. Brown, Charles True, Stephen S. Hitch.

SAUNEMIN. - Saunemin, No. 486, organized October 17, 1884. Past Post Commanders: Ward Righter, Allen Mosier, W. W. Porter, T. M. Thornton, J. D. Palmer, H. P. Swan, A. Robin­son, Louis Holloway, John Byrne.

CORNELL. - John H. Johnson, No. 769, organ­ized February 14, 1905. Past Post Commanders: J. B. Cummings, H. M. Cornell, J. W. A. Lilly, R. E. Jacobs.

FORREST. - Forrest, No. 114, organized October 11, 1881. Past Post Commanders: W. M. Moulton, P. M. Hoyt, Fred Duckett, H. B. Watson, A. C. Cain, B. M. Bullard, Joseph Francis, W. D. Lee, W. H. Clow, M. C. Eignus.

ODELL. - Wightman, No. 163 (now disbanded). Past Post Commanders: James A. Hoover, M. J. Bosworth and W. F. Weed.


LONG POINT. - Long Point. No. 784, organized July 7, 1897. Past Post Commanders: W. P. Marshall, J. C. Huetson.


PONTIAC. - T. Lyle Dickey, No. 5 organized October 13, 1884. Past Presidents: Elizabeth Blackmore, Eliza Torrance, Mary K. Holtzman, Sarah M. Bradford, Louise D. Scouller, Martha A. Gray, Malinda Hemstreet, Bessie Jenkins.

DWIGHT. - Dwight, No. 144, organized Novem­ber 10, 1889. Past Presidents: Margaret Leach, Kate A. Dustin, Hattie A. Fox, Lizzie Huey, Lucie Lewis, Alice Howe.

CORNELL. - John H. Johnson, No. 72, organized April 4, 1906. Past Presidents: Elizabeth Mc­Vay, Alida Shackleton, Eliza Myers.


DWIGHT. - Dwight Camp, No. 270, organized July 16, 1889. Past Captains: W. T. Scott, Ernest D. Seymour, James E. Seabert, W. G. Dustin, J. K. Buffham, H. F. Boyer, A. A. Boyer, Orville Brown, Fred Mowbray.

LONG POINT. - A. Deedrick Camp, No. 35, or­ganized April 15, 1898.

ARMY NURSES. - Mrs. Elizabeth Blackmore, nurse With Haughtaling's Battery, First Illinois Light Artillery from October, 1861, to August, 1862; Mrs. Addie Emery, nurse at general hos­pital at Jefferson, Ind. Commissioned August, 1863; honorably discharged, October, 1865. Both reside at Pontiac.


The following report of the first Bible society organized in the county is taken from the orig­inal record book now in the possession of A. W. Cowan, one of the early settlers of Pontiac:

"At a meeting of the citizens of Pontiac held at the court house on the first day of September, A. D. 1851, for the purpose of organizing a Bible Society for the County of Livingston, State of Illinois, on motion of Rev. Mr. Day, C. H. Hart was called to the chair and Jerome P. Garner chosen secretary. The meeting was opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Day.

A motion was made by Mr. Syms to organize a county Bible society, to be called the Livings­ton County Bible Society, auxiliary to the American Bible Society.

"A constitution was then offered by Rev. Mr. Day and on motion was adopted.

"On motion of Mr. Day, a committee of three was chosen to select persons for the necessary offices of the society. The committee reported the following named persons as officers:

For President. - Thomas G. McDowell.

For Vice Presidents. - C. H. Hart, M. Breck­enridge and John Foster.

For Secretary. - Nelson Buck.

For Treasurer. - Samuel C. Ladd.

For Directors. - Henry Loveless, Willet S. Gray and Jerome P. Garner.

"Voted that the treasurer be authorized to pro­cure the necessary books and pay for them out of any money in the treasury.

"Voted that the executor appoint suitable per­sons to organize local societies in the different parts of the county.

"On motion of Mr. Day, the meeting ad­journed; meeting closed by prayer by Mr. Symes."

At a meeting held on Tuesday evening, Sep­tember 2, 1851, the following proceedings were recorded:

"Voted that the Rev. Mr. Day act as our agent to canvass Livingston County.

"Voted that Samuel C. Ladd be appointed to draft resolutions explaining to the executive com­mittee of the La Salle County Bible Society the reasons of the executive committee of the Liv­ingston County Bible Society in appointing the Rev. Mr. Day as our agent," etc.

Resolutions were passed thanking the La Salle County Bible Society for the donation of $50 worth of Bibles and Testaments.

There is no record in the book of any meeting of the society after the dates above mentioned until August 21, 1852, at which meeting Thomas G. McDowell, Nelson Buck, Jerome P. Garner, Samuel C. Ladd and Rev. Mr. Day were present. The only business transacted was the following report which was presented by the Rev. Mr. Day:

Bibles and Testaments sold, $28.07; Bibles and Testaments given away, $7.93; sold and given, $36.00; number on hand, $13.87; Bibles and Testaments paid for, $22.17; Bibles and Tes­taments not paid for, $5.90; subscriptions amount to, $110.40; subscriptions paid, $9.95; total cash received for Bibles and Testaments paid over to association, $32.19; twenty-four days spent in canvassing, for which we allow $1.00 per day, $24.00; number of families canvassed, 348; number of inhabitants, 1,736; number of Bibles, 488; number of Testaments, 415; number of families without Bibles, 13; number


of families without Testaments; 26; number of families not having either, 39.

No more proceedings of the society were writ­ten in the book, and it is not known whether the society lasted very long after the meeting held on August 21st, but the report of the Rev. Alva Day shows at that time there was a healthy religious sentiment existing in the county.


One of the buildings in which Pontiac citizens take delight, and which attracts much attention from visitors, is that of the Young Men's Chris­tian Association of Pontiac, located at the cor­ner of Main and Howard streets. The track of the Bloomington, Pontiac, and Joliet Electric Railroad passes in front of the building, the city hall is just across the street to the west, St. Mary's Catholic Church to the north, while the public library occupies the corner to the northwest.

The building itself is of Streator pressed brick faced with Joliet stone, and presents a most substantial appearance. It is two stories high with a good roomy basement, and covers a space sixty feet by one hundred feet.

In the basement is a swimming pool fifteen feet by forty feet, with a depth of water of four feet at one end and eight feet at the other. Here also are located two bath tubs and seven shower baths. Fifty lockers are provided for the use of the members of the association. Ad­joining the rooms just mentioned and in the northeast corner of the basement is located the steam heating system of the institution. This plant also furnishes the heat for supplying warm water for the natatorium, baths and wash rooms.

The south side of the basement is given over to two excellent bowling alleys of regulation size.

Spacious reading and reception rooms oc­cupy this front part of the first floor.

Here are arranged tables with an abundance of well-selected magazines and newspapers, and opportunity is afforded indulgence in such games as chess, checkers, dominoes and other similar amusements.

Comfortable chairs and settees are provided for members and visitors, and the association parlors are a favorite place for the meeting of friends for a social time, and for business en­gagements.

Just east of the reading room on the north side of the building are the offices of the Gen­eral Secretary and the Physical Director so lo­cated that they may see and greet all who may enter.

On the south side is the association kitchen, where are prepared the refreshments served on social occasions.

The entire east end of the building is de­voted to the gymnasium, which is admirably equipped for athletic purposes.

A gallery extends entirely around the gym­nasium, which serves not only as a running track, but as a place from which to view games of basket ball, indoor base ball, and all other forms of athletics.

Under the direction of Mr. Roy Horton, the first physical director of the association, con­siderable interest was awakened in this feature of the association work, and this interest has not

only been maintained, but widened under capable direction of Mr. L. A. Pottinger, present deservedly popular physical direc­tor.

At the present time over one-third of the membership are taking advantage of the op­portunities offered by the physical department.

The greater part of the second floor is oc­cupied by the dormitory rooms - consisting of fourteen well-appointed rooms together with tub baths.

These rooms are well lighted, well ventila­ted, comfortably furnished, and being conve­niently located are in great demand by young men of moderate means, who desire to enjoy comfortable quarters under congenial and whole­some surroundings.

Facing Main street on this floor, are three fair sized rooms, where the educational and Bible classes and special meetings are held.

For religious meetings these class rooms are all thrown into one room and do satisfactory service as a chapel and lecture room.

From the beginning the educational classes have been under the immediate direction of Mr. W. W. McCulloch, whose ability and faithful work as an educator have been most helpful to those who have turned their attention to this feature of the association work.

The religious meetings held Sunday after­noons have been under the direction of the gen­eral secretary. These meetings have been most interesting and helpful, and have contributed


much to the development of the members along spiritual lines.

The building was dedicated May 7, 1906, by Rev, William A. Sunday at the close of a series of services begun on May 3.

From the program of the Dedicatory Exer­cises, we take the following:


The revival services conducted by Rev. Will­iam A. Sunday in Pontiac, in the late fall of 1904, resulted in the conversion of more than one thousand persons, and the Christian peo­ple of the city were confronted with the ques­tion as how best to surround the young people (and especially the young men) with the most helpful influences. Many were convinced that a Young Men's Christian Association, or some similar organization, was imperatively needed. Among these was Miss Anne Lord, who felt called upon to present the importance of such work to Mrs. Harriet Humiston. Mrs. Humis­ton had for some time been seriously consid­ering how she could best invest a portion of her means for the benefit of the community, and the presentation made by Miss Lord and Rev. Mr. Sunday, who had been called in to advise on the subject, appealed strongly to her. After getting such information as she could, she took the matter under consideration and shortly thereafter authorized the announcement that she would give $20,000 for the erection of a Young Men's Christian Association building, pro­viding the citizens of Pontiac would furnish a suitable site and equip the building. Subscrip­tions were accordingly taken for this purpose and on December 6th, 1904, under the direction of A. M. Bruner, of the State Association, a temporary organization was effected with C. E. Legg, W. F. Van Buskirk, A. L. Cook, G. D. Lockie, H. J. Clark, Robert Sass, W. H. Church and C. R. Tombaugh as members of the Pro­visional Committee. The Young Men's Chris­tian Association of Pontiac was permanently organized on February 16th, 1905, and the members of the Provisional Committee, together with A. F. Mette, A. H. East, E. H. Phillips and E. M. Johnson, were elected directors of the association.

The officers from the beginning have been: President,C. E. Legg; vice-president, G. D.Lockie; secretary, H. J. Clark; treasurer, C. R. Tombaugh.

G. W. Hartley was selected as general secre­tary on December 28th, 1904, and entered upon his duties January 7th, 1907. Temporary quar­ters were soon thereafter opened in the Tate building on North Mill street; reading matter was provided; educational Bible classes or­ganized; a boy's cadet corps formed and such other work undertaken as was deemed advisable under the circumstances.

Religious meetings for men have been held in the city hall each Sunday afternoon and for several months similar services for boys have been conducted alternately in the Baptist, Methodist. Christian and Presbyterian churches.

After considerable discussion the R. W. Bab­cock property on North Main street was selected as the location of the association building and R. A. Young was chosen as architect. The gen­eral contract for the building was let to John H. Michel; that for the brick and stone work to Henry Davies, and for the plumbing and heat­ing to G. H. Miller.

The corner stone was laid August 17th, 1905. The cost of the lot, building and needed equip­ment has been approximately $40,000, a sum considerably greater than the first estimates. Mrs. Humiston has donated several thousand dollars in addition to her first subscription.


After being connected with the association about two years, and having labored earnestly in its organization, General Secretary Hartley tendered his resignation to take effect Feb­ruary 15, 1907. After mature deliberation the board of directors selected as his successor Mr. O. E. McLaughlin of Galva, Ill., who entered upon his duties immediately upon the retire­ment of his predecessor, and who has since served the association most acceptably.

Mr. McLaughlin is thoroughly in lore with his work, he believes in young men, and has a happy faculty of winning their confidence and esteem and of impressing them with the im­portance of Y. M. C. A. work, as it relates to them individually.

The officers remain the same as at the first organization, except as to the General Secre­tary.


The present directors are:

C. E. Legg G. T. Moulds

S. A. Rathbun E. M. Johnson

E. A. Jamison P. O. Enslow

H. J. Clark C. R. Tombaugh

R. R. Wallace J. M. Holferty

G. D. Lockie A. F. Mette



Pontiac Lodge, No. 294, A. F. & A. M. was instituted in October, 1858, the charter members being Aaron Weider, J. R. Wolgamott, William Manlove, Samuel B. Norton, S. C. Ladd, A. E. Harding, I. T. Whittemore and George P. Olm­stead. The first officers were: Master, Aaron Weider; Senior Warden, S. C. Ladd; Junior Warden, William Manlove; Secretary, A. E. Harding. Their present quarters are located on the third floor of the Rathbun building. The meetings are held on the first and third Tues­days of each month.

Pontiac Lodge, No. 262, I. O. O. F. was in­stituted in October, 1858. The charter was granted to Rufus W. Babcock, Jacob Streamer, Benjamin W. Gray, John A. Fellows, Ferdinand H. Bond. In 1870, their lodge room was de­stroyed by fire. Their present building is a brick structure, thirty by eighty feet, three stor­ies high. The first story is used for a store room, the second for other secret societies, and the third is their lodge room.

Vermilion Encampment, No. 54, I. O. O. F. was instituted in 1864, the charter members being George Wolgamott, Alexander Hinsey, J. B. McCleary, Ferdinand H. Bond, Peter John­son, W. W. Stinnett, and others.

Pontiac Chapter, No. 310, Order of the East­ern Star, was organized August 6, 1895, the charter members being J. E. Colburne, George E. Warren, Fred Duckett, J. J. Pearson, G. W. Patton, L. B. Stinson, Lora Dunn, Mesdames Mary Duckett, Fannie Colburne, Kate Kay, Minerva Linscott, Mary E. Pearson, Flora Patton, Eliza Stinson, Cora Scrivens, Margaret Swygert, Misses Jeanette Duckett, Effie Dunn, Elva Swy­gert. The Chapter has a membership of 124. Mrs. Mary E. Pearson was the first Worthy Matron.


Tarbolton Lodge, No. 351, A. F. & A. M. was instituted October 3, 1860. The charter members were Aaron Weider, Henry L. Marsh, J. B. Hulsey, O. P. Ross, S. C. Roberts, Robert Rum­bold and Henry Remington, Mr. Rumbold, now of Chatsworth, is the only surviving charter member. The first meeting was held in Mr. Remington's house. The lodge hall was burned March 29, 1875. They later built a two-room two-story brick building.

Fairbury Chapter, No. 99, R. A. M. was insti­tuted at Fairbury, October 6, 1866, J. W. Peck was the first High Priest and Henry Reming­ton the first Secretary.

St. Paul Commandery, No. 36. Knights Temp­lar, was chartered at Fairbury, October 26, 1870. Dr. J. J. Wright was the first Eminent Com­mander and John Zimmerman the first Recorder.

Livingston Lodge, No. 290, I. O. O. F. of Fair­bury, was organized August 15, 1860. The char­ter members were John F. Blackburn, John J. Young, W. H. Strevelle, John T. Bowen and John Zimmerman. The lodge has the finest building in the county.

Fairbury Encampment, No. 71, I. O. O. F. of Fairbury, was chartered October 8. 1867.


Odell Lodge, No. 401, A. F. & A. M. was or­ganized October 5, 1864. The charter members were Z. Supplee, E. G. Putnam and L. H. Cordry, who were the first three principal officers. Odell Chapter was organized October 7, 1870, the charter members being Z. Supplee, A. E. Gammon, John E. Williams, A. P. Wright, A. P. Dunlap, James Martin, C. H. Ellenwood, R. G. Morton, J. Ford, Charles Finefield, E. Will­iams, A. G. Goodspeed, J. B. Garwood, H. H. Hill and R. B. Harrington.

Odell Lodge, No. 464, I. O. O. F. was insti­tuted October 10, 1871, by N. J. Pillsbury of Pontiac, deputy grand master. The charter members were James A. Hunter, E. P. Utley, Jeremiah Clay, I. H. Scobell and W. Dalley, B. F. Pound was the first Noble Grand.


Chatsworth Lodge, No. 539, A. F. & A. M. was organized October 1, 1867. The charter mem­bers were D. W. Hunt, Charles L. Wells, W. H. Jones, E. L. Nelson, George R. Wells, D. E. Shaw, E. A. Simmons, A. E. Anway, James Davis, J. H. Dalton, Ira W. Trask and J. S. McElhiney. D. R. Wells was the first Master.

Chatsworth Encampment, No. 339, I. O. O.


F. was instituted October 9, 1866. The charter members were Peter Shroyer, G. W. Blackwell, Arthur Orr, M. A. Wheeler, T. L. Mathews and H. J. Roberts, Livingston Encampment, No. 123. I. O. O. F., was chartered May 31, 1871. These two lodges have surrendered their charters.


Cornell Lodge, No.--, A. F. & A. M. was instituted in December, 1877, the charter being granted to John P. Guernsey, H. M. Cornell, Eben Norton, J. J. Reeder, A. K. Brower, H. H. Brower, Philip Arman, I. P. Santee, John Green and H. Bolt.

Beacon Lodge, No. 618, I. O. O. F. was in­stituted June 23, 1876. In 1907, the members erected a two-story brick building, the upper floor of which is used for lodge purposes.


Saunemin Lodge. No. 738, A. F. & A. M. was organized October 23, 1875, and chartered Octo­ber 11. 1876. The first officers were: W. W. Porter, Master: Samuel McGoodwin, Senior Warden; Thomas W. Chandler, Junior Warden; R. F. Griffing, Secretary. This lodge when or­ganized was called Sullivan Center Lodge.


Livingston Lodge. No. 371, A. F. & A. M. was organized March 1, 1862, and received its char­ter October 2, 1862. The first officers were: E. N. Jenks, Worshipful Master; W. L. Gross, Senior Warden; J. W. Rockwell, Junior War­den; C. S. Newell, Secretary.

Dwight Lodge, No. 513, I. O. O. F. was in­stituted May 22, 1873, and is probably the rich­est and strongest society in Dwight. The first Noble Grand was C. C. Gilbert, and M. W. Tambling, Secretary. In October of the same year a charter was issued to the following charter members: C. C. Gilbert, W. S. Sims, M. W. Tambling, John L. Clark, Thomas Weld­on, Hugh Stevens and E. P. Utley.

Dwight Chapter, No. 166, Order of the Eastern Star, was organized October 31, 1890, with thirteen charter members.

Prairie Queen Lodge, No. 370, Daughters of Rebekah, was organized January 29, 1895.

Pacific Encampment, No. 126, I. O. O. F., was instituted October 16, 1880, the charter members being Henry Fox, J. J. Gore, Alexander McKay, Benjamin Wait (by cards); W. H. Ketcham, Sr., J. C. Lewis, Martin Wilks, Moses Wilkin­son, Thomas Liddiscott, Charles Stevens, M. J. Cullen, John Leach, Dewitt Scutt, W. H. Con­rad (by initiation).

Hebron Lodge, No. 175, Knights of Pythias, was instituted January 18, 1888, with twenty-­five charter members, Eugene Flagler was the first Chancellor Commander.


Long Point Lodge, No. 552, A. F. & A. M. was organized in 1866. This order was or­ganized at Ancona and was known as Ancona Lodge. The lodge was removed to Long Point, in 1873, and in 1877, its name was changed to its present one. Abel Bradley was the first Worshipful Master.


Forrest Lodge, No. 614, A. F. & A. M. was chartered October 5, 1869, William D. Lee was the first Master.

Good Will Lodge, No. 379, I. O. O. F. was instituted January 9, 1869, by J. W. Ellis, Grand Master, and Samuel Willard, Grand Secretary. John A. Fulwiler was the first noble grand and Stephen A. Hoyt the first Secretary.

Modern Woodmen of America - Camps of this order are located as follows: Pontiac, No. 5; Fairbury, No. 6; Ancona, No. 1835; Blackstone, No. 1845; Campus, No. 2619; Chatsworth, No. 1829; Cornell. No. 1664; Cullom, No. 1886; Dwight. No. 1777; Emington, No. 1361; Flana­gan. No. 3682; Forrest, No. 1046; Graymont, No. 3617; Long Point, No. 1842; Nevada. No. 4070; Odell, No. 1673; Saunemin, No. 1105; Strawn, No. 3000.

Knights of Pythias: Chatsworth, No. 264; Forrest. No. 154; Long Point, No. 534; Pontiac, No. 118; Strawn, No. 458.

Court of Honor: Chatsworth, No. 732; Cor­nell, No. 528; Dwight, No. 508; Fairbury, No. 206; Odell, No. 454; Pontiac, No. 158.

Odd Fellows: Ancona, No. 762; Strawn, No. 705; Cullom, No. --, Daughters of Rebekah, Cornell, No. 388; Fairbury, No. 112; Forrest, No. 416; Odell, No. 442; Pontiac, No. 41; Saunemin, No. 364.

The Royal Neighbors have lodges at Dwight, Pontiac and Fairbury.





The first county fair in Livingston county was held in the month of October, 1856, in the court­house square in Pontiac. Previous to this time, however, small exhibits were made annually in the court-house and square by the leading farmers adjoining the village of Pontiac, the streets adjoining the square being used for the display of live stock, while the square proper was used for the display of agricultural im­plements, products of the soil, etc. These fairs were managed by what few merchants then were in the village at the time and no premiums or diplomas were given, and at the close of the day the hat was passed around to collect money to pay expenses. The interest in these small events grew every year and finally, in 1856, a meeting of the leading citizens of the county was held at the court-house for the purpose of or­ganizing an agricultural society. The meet­ing was well attended and an organization to be known as the Livingston Comity Agricultural Society was perfected by electing William J. Murphy, president; M. D. Edgington, Dr. C. B. Ostrauder, and Samuel McCormick, vice-presidents; Otis Richardson, secretary; and James M. Perry, treasurer.

The fair under this organization was also held in the court-house square, there being a large attendance and a great deal of interest mani­fested. Only diplomas were given this year, but the following year the society was more thor­oughly organized, a constitution and by-laws adopted, together with a set of rules and regu­lations.

Five acres of ground were secured on the south side of the river, just west of where the residence of Samuel Herbert now stands. The ground was fenced, and buildings suitable for the display of machinery, household articles, etc., were erected.

Samuel C. Ladd was secretary, and the fair was held on October 7 and 8, 1857. Both days were beautiful, both overhead and underfoot, as could be wished, giving life and activity to ani­mal and vegetable nature. A large concourse of people was present, some few from abroad, but mostly citizens of Livingston County, and much interest was manifested.

The awarding committee on cattle consisted of Isaac Wilson, M. D. Edgington, Moses Allen, W. R. Tanner and William Manlove. Exhibits in this department were made by W. Hallick, G. W. Guthrie, A. L. Hinman, Walter Cornell, Joseph Morrison, Joel Anderson, F. Umphenour, Robert Aerl, William Manlove, James Nelson, Henry Hill and Aaron Weider.

Exhibits of horses, mules and colts were made by Hiram Young, J. S. Gilbreath, D. Barrick­man, M. Spence, R. Smith, J. Mills, John Morton, John Wolgamott, E. B. Titus, M. D. Edgington, D. M. Breckenridge, Thomas Wilson, James Bright, S. Vanster, John Foster, Thomas Baker, Darius Johnson, William A. Myer, J. Hoobler, John St. John, James Cox and Joel Anderson.

Those who participated in equestrianism were the Misses Setzer, Rebecca Rockwood and Louise Cannon. Miss Rockwood secured the first prize.

Only two exhibits of poultry were made, these being shown by John Milham and Mr. Byes.

Farm products were shown by C. B. Ostrand­er, C. G. Udell, Decatur Veatch, Benjamin Wal­ton, Daniel Rockwood, O. P. McDowell, Samuel Herbert, Otis Richardson, Isaac Wilson, W. Guthrie, D. Chapin, Albert Moon, John Johnson, James Bright, J. W. Boyer, John Morton, E. B. Titus and R. Lawrence.

Exhibits of needlework were made by Mrs. C. U. Bennett, Mrs. Z. N. Nettleton, Mrs. E. R. Maples. Mrs. Mary E. Ladd, Miss S. G. Powell, M. H. Peterson, Mrs. I. G. Whittemore, Miss Mary Murphy, Miss Aldin, Miss Stafford, Miss S. Nichols, Miss H. Downing, Mrs. C. G. Udell, Miss Alden and Miss W. Thomas.

In the floral department were exhibits by Mrs. Mary Tracy, Mrs. William Manlove, Mrs. S. L. Manker, Miss Albina Russell, Mrs. Nettleton, Miss Margaret Ellis, Mrs. C. B. Bennett and Mrs. Dr. Thomas Croswell.

The next county fair was held in Pontiac Oc-


tober 6 and 7, 1858. William Manlove was president; Austin Hensless, vice-president; Samuel C. Ladd, secretary; Robert Aerl, treasurer. The board of directors consisted of William T. Russell, James W. Remick, Jerome P. Garner, Edwin R. Maples and William Perry.

The next fair was held in Pontiac on September 28, 29 and 30, 1859, it having been lengthened out one day. S. L. Manker was elected president; William Perry, vice-president; B. P. Babcock, secretary; John Dehner, treasurer. The following directors were chosen: Dr. C. B. Ostrander, Hickory Point; G. M. Bedinger, Chenoa; T. W. Brydia, Five-Mile Grove; M. B. Patty, Pontiac; Thomas Mills, Long Point; William B. Lyon, Reading; and Benjamin Walton, Fairbury.

During the session of this fair, the first exhibit in the speed ring was made and consisted of a race between Leander Utley's stallion, Pittsfield Black Hawk, and Dr. John W. Youman's mare, Jenny Lind. They were first started off together, but after two or three rounds, the drivers commenced taking the "short cut" on one another. The judges, of course, could make no decision as to their relative swiftness, under such circumstances, so they decided to time the animals. The mare got the first premium, having out-trotted the stallion by two seconds. The sporting fraternity were all on tip-toe over this event, and in future years horse racing was introduced and continued with success until the fairs in Pontiac were abandoned.

The county fair of 1860 was held on the 18th, 19th and 20th of September. The directors had greatly improved the grounds by purchasing an additional two acres, and erecting buildings more suitable for the display of products from the farm. Judge Starr delivered an address, after which the society met and elected the following for the ensuing year:

President, S. L. Manker; vice-president, G. M. Bedinger; treasurer, John Dehner; secretary, John Wolgamott. Four additional fairs were held at these grounds, and during the summer and fall of 1862, the grounds were used as a camp for the One Hundred Twenty-ninth Illinois Volunteer Regiment, then organizing for the Civil War.

In 1865, the organization purchased a strip of land adjoining the city cemetery on the north, and the buildings and fences were moved to that location, a half-mile track was laid out, and other substantial improvements made. Annual meetings of the society were held every year thereafter until 1878, when the grounds were disposed of and a tract of fifty-five acres east of the city limits purchased. That year, the Livingston County Agricultural Society changed to the Livingston County Agricultural Board, in compliance with a law passed by the Legislature in 1872. It was decided to form a stock company, and accordingly one thousand shares of stock were disposed of at $10 each, creating a fund of $10,000.

Before the location was changed, however, interest in the annual fair of the society had commenced to wane, and this step was taken in order that the people would become more interested, and notwithstanding the fact that the new board bad secured one of the finest locations in the county and had paid out thousands of dollars for improvements, the next fair was a failure, the receipts not paying the expenses, and many of the exhibitors went home without securing their premiums. The grounds were disposed of and the corporation dissolved, and Pontiac, as a fair town, had passed out of existence.


The Fairbury Union Agricultural Board was incorporated January 19, 1876. It was organized and officers duly elected on March 25, as follows: President, John Virgin; vice-president, John G. Steers; secretary, Smith Olney; treasurer, C. C. Bartlett. The first board of directors consisted of Robert Elmore, John F. Myers, Henry Kingman, Benjamin Cumpson, Daniel R. Potter, Henry Skinner, D. L. Murdock, Owen Finnegan, Stephen Herr, R. E. Norman, George W. Myers, James F. Earnheart and Jacob Bailey. The first exhibition was held in September of that year, and continued four days. The grounds consist of twenty-one acres of land, located just across the south line of the city limits, and were purchased at an aggregate cost of $2,800. Although the fair has been conducted with the strictest economy during the past thirty-two years, the society has never been entirely free from debt. The original grand stand and stalls have been torn down and modern ones erected in their stead. The trees which were planted on the grounds in an early day have now grown to large dimensions, and afford ample shade. The fair is each year attended daily by thousands of people, special trains being run for the occasion.


It is the only fair in the county at the present time. Hiett B. Taylor is president and G. B. Gordon, secretary.


The Belle Prairie Agricultural Society was or­ganized April 11, 1883. The first set of direct­ors were William Brooks, S. W. Vawter, Malcolm McNabb, S. E. Kent, H. L. Terpening, Elhanan Fitzgerald and Samuel Weeks. Ira C. Pratt was president and Wright M. Crum, secretary. This fair was held for several years in the grove ad­joining the residence of Ira C. Pratt, and was attended yearly by thousands of people from this and adjoining counties.

Although being called a fair, it was more in the nature of a family gathering of the residents of Belle Prairie township, who took dinners with them and had a spread, to which everybody was invited. Some prominent citizen of the county delivered an address. The fair lasted two days, the first day being devoted to making entries. No admission fee was charged, the ex­penses being defrayed by the residents of the township. The premiums awarded consisted of ribbons. The fair continued until 1903, when it was abandoned, but was revived in 1907.




King Edward VII, the present King of Eng­land, paid Pontiac a short visit on Wednesday, September 26, 1860. The king at that time was a young man and bore the title of Lord Renfrew. His Highness spent five days near Dwight on a hunting trip and was on his way to St. Louis. The prince and his party were aboard a special train on the Alton road, and it was announced the day previous that the party would pass through Pontiac at 8 o'clock the next morning. The entire population of the village congregated at the depot to pay their respects to the future king of England, and he was the recipient of a splendid ovation at their hands. As the train stopped for wood and water at this point, the as­sembled multitude had the pleasure of gazing at the future king of England for five minutes, as he appeared on the rear platform of the train and bowed his acknowledgments to the cheering throng that had congregated. The Prince's easy and modest appearance predisposed everyone in his favor, and quite a few are living in Pontiac today who remember the occasion very well.


Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the greatest man of our time, visited Pontiac on three differ­ent occasions. The occasion of Mr. Lincoln's first visit was the trial of a lawsuit in the early '40s, and the memorable occasion, together with the date, has long been lost sight of. There is now no one living who remembers the event, but it has been handed down from father to son, and to this day is often referred to by the early set­tlers of Pontiac with pride, from the fact that their ancestors once had the pleasure of meeting the martyred President on his visit here at that time.

The next time the President visited Pontiac, it was not of his own choosing. During the month of February, 1855, while journeying from Chi­cago to his home town of Springfield, over the Chicago & Alton, the train on which he was traveling became snow-bound just this side of where the village of Cayuga now stands. When the train crew became convinced that all efforts to proceed further were useless, a messenger was sent forward to Pontiac to inform the agent of their predicament. The agent at once went among the citizens with the information, the re­sult being that enough volunteers were secured who offered their services, together with their teams and sleds, to bring the belated passengers to Pontiac. The storm that was raging at the time was one of the worst in the annals of the county, and the suffering was great. The day was intensely cold, with a strong wind blowing over the prairies from the northwest. The res-


cuing party was made up as quickly as possible and soon started for the relief of the snow­bound train. After much difficulty, every person aboard was placed in the sleds, being wrapped up in blankets from the beds of the citizens of Pontiac. Upon the arrival, the passengers were distributed around among the settlers, to be cared for the best they could until the blockade was raised. Mr. Lincoln and several others were assigned to the home of John McGregor, the first attorney to locate in Pontiac, and who lived then in a new house at the corner of West Madison and North Oak streets. There Mr. Lincoln, who was then little known to fame, spent the time until the blockade was raised, and he was allowed to proceed to his home in Springfield. Before taking his departure, however, he prof­fered Mrs. McGregor money for his keep, but this was positively refused. As Mr. Lincoln and the other guests were leaving the hospitable home for the depot to take the train for their several homes, they were accompanied to the gate by Mr. McGregor' s two daughters, the Misses Emma and Elizabeth. Reaching down into his pocket, Mr. Lincoln secured two gold dollars, and placing them in the hands of the thoroughly surprised young ladies, passed through the gate on his way to the depot, not, however, until he had bade them a hearty good-bye.


One of the first societies to be organized in Pontiac was the Young Men's Literary Associa­tion. The association met in the old court house and organized in the early '50s, and the organ­ization was kept up long after the Civil War. It was composed of young men who would meet and debate on subjects then prominently before the people and give literary and musical enter­tainments. Their debates and entertainments were about the only recreation that was elevat­ing in those days, and besides being well attend­ed, they were very instructive.

The association was composed always of men of education and refinement and included in time all of the professional men in Pontiac. Many men who afterwards became famous throughout the United States have appeared under the auspices of the Young Men's Literary Associa­tion of Pontiac, but the most famous of these was Abraham Lincoln, who appeared under its direction on Friday evening, January 27, 1860, at the Presbyterian Church.

The Hon. Jason W. Strevell, who was a prom­inent young attorney of Pontiac at that time, as well as being engaged in the hardware business, was president of the association at that time, in­troduced Mr. Lincoln and entertained him during his stay at his home at the corner of West Liv­ingston and North Oak streets. It was totally unknown to the association up to noon of the evening of the lecture that Mr. Lincoln intended coming to Pontiac, but being in Bloomington, and having previously received two invitations to lecture here, Mr. Lincoln thought this a fav­orable opportunity to fulfill it. He telegraphed Mr. Strevell that he would be on hand that even­ing. Notwithstanding the little time interven­ing (some five or six hours) until the lecture was delivered, a crowded house greeted the dis­tinguished speaker.

By many, the lecture delivered by Mr. Lincoln was a severe disappointment, but before he started, by way of introduction, he said that he was very, very tired; that he had just returned from the East, visiting New York and Boston, and had been on the road continuously and was worn out talking on political subjects and at­tending banquets in his honor, which probably accounts for the way his lecture was received by his audience. And, then, too, Mr. Lincoln never mentioned the great question then confronting the American people. His subject was what might be termed a medley - a variety of topics, mostly of a philosophic nature, being treated. The whole thing was new to the people present, but the ideas conveyed by the lecture were couched in simple and beautiful language, so clear that no difficulty was experienced in com­prehending them.

In conversing with one of the early settlers of Pontiac, who was present at the lecture, and who was a young man of professional ability, he stated the matter thus clearly and his remarks on that occasion are herewith given in full:

"Fault was found with the lecture by some of the literary critics about town, they contend­ing that little originality, if any at all, was contained in it. In other words, the critics say, in so many words, that Lincoln spent one hour in telling what they knew before. It certainly follows that they must have pondered on these self-same ideas, else how could they know that they were not original. The amount of the mat­ter is just this - a more satisfactory subject, doubtless, could have been selected-one that


would have suited us all much better. But while this is true, no unprejudiced listener will deny that the manner in which he treated the subject matter in hand was well worthy of Mr. Lincoln. We are all of us very prone to expect that when a man of Mr. Lincoln's reputation spoke on any subject whatever, he would carry us completely away.We should reflect that new ideas are not discovered every hour, they are not the creation of a day, nor a month, nor a year; and there are few men today, even in one of their most brilliant and captivating lectures, can advance half a dozen original ideas. This is quite noticeable in Pontiac every year at the annual gathering to listen to the distinguished speakers who appear here under the direction of the Pontiac Chautauqua Association. This difficulty can readily be recognized by us all, when we consider our own limited knowledge. How many of us, and especially how many of those who so sharply criticized Mr. Lincoln's lecture, even throughout our whole life time, promulgate a single new idea. We are too much inclined to find fault with the productions of others, without considering our own diminutive intellectual attainments. Let us consider but for a moment how little we ourselves know, and we will not be half so quick in detecting the deficiencies of others."

After the lecture, Mr, Lincoln was tendered a reception at the home of Mr. Strevell, and many of the audience took advantage of this and pro­ceeded to his residence, one block and a half west of the church, and met Mr. Lincoln personally. Mr. Lincoln remained here until midnight of the 27th, when he took the train for his home in Springfield. In less than four months from the time Mr. Lincoln delivered his lecture in Pon­tiac he was nominated for President of the United States by the republican convention in session in Chicago, on May 19, 1860.

The news of the assassination of President Lincoln was received in Pontiac with feelings of abject horror. Never in the history of Pontiac was there such universal mourning. True, most all of the male population of the village were in the army, but their wive's and children remained, and when word came that the special train bear­ing the body would pass through Pontiac on the af­ternoon of May 2, 1865, business was entirely suspended, schools were dismissed, and the entire population of the village and of the surrounding country marched to the Alton depot to pay their last respects. After remain­ing at the depot for about two hours, word came over the wire that the funeral train would not leave Chicago until 9 p. m., and the assemblage broke up and wended their way homeward. However, when the special train bearing the body of the martyred President arrived in Pon­tiac at midnight, there was a large gathering at the depot, as there was at nearly every station between Chicago and Springfield, giving evidence of his hold upon the heart of the nation and the universal sorrow which his revolting assassina­tion had produced.


While conducting his campaign for the United States Senatorship throughout the State of Illi­nois in 1858, the Hon. Stephen A. Douglas paid Pontiac a visit, delivering one of his character­istic addresses from a stand erected in the court house yard. It was on Thursday, August 19, 1858. In the morning, the weather was stormy and bid fair to throw "cold water" on the grand reception which the "Little Giant" was to re­ceive. Notwithstanding this fact, a large crowd gathered in the court house and proceeded to the depot to welcome Mr. Douglas. After being re­ceived at the depot by his friends, he was es­corted to the stand in front of the court house from which he was to speak. To the Hon. A. E. Harding, then one of the leading young lawyers of Pontiac, and who had just arrived here the year previous, was given the honor of introducing the senator, which he did in a few well-chosen remarks. The champion of popular sovereignty then stepped forward and was greeted with vocif­erous applause by the immense gathering in front of him. The address was well received by his followers here and was about the same as that delivered in his tour of the state. During the delivery of his speech, Senator Douglas was thrice interrupted, once by W. G. McDowell and twice by Philip Cook, then editor of the Senti­nel. The Senator by way of introduction stated that anyone in the audience was privileged to ask him questions and he would give them an­swers the best he knew how. When the senator was about half through with his address, Mr. McDowell stepped upon the platform and read from a paper which he held in his hand, the following questions:

"You say in your speech at Freeport that the people of a territory have the power to exclude


slavery by non-action. Do you mean by exclud­ing slavery they have, through their territorial legislature, the power to declare that slaves brought in voluntarily by their masters, shall, by that act, become free? If not, how can they ex­clude slavery; and if so, how will that tally with the supreme court decision?"

The Senator, in replying to Mr. McDowell, gave him a severe castigation, and that gentleman at once took his seat and remained silent throughout the delivery of the speech. Seeing that Mr. McDowell did not care to ask any more questions. Mr. Cook stepped upon the platform and pro­pounded the following:

"If a person holds a slave in a territory by virtue of the Constitution of the United States, in which there are no `police regulations' enforc­ing his right to hold such property, and that slave goes into a free state, can he be recovered as a fugitive slave, under the provisions of the fugitive slave law?"

To this question, the senator answered: "Yes, sir; he can be recaptured under the fugitive slave law!"

The Senator then paid his respects to Mr. Cook, calling him an "Abolitionist; that he was in the habit of going around lecturing in church base­ments, making Abolition harangues, after the fashion of Owen Lovejoy and other pin-cushion orators.

Not Withstanding the severe drubbing Mr. Cook received at the hands of Senator Douglas, he still occupied the platform, and after the ap­plause had subsided, stepped forward and pro­pounded the following to the senator:

"Would not the spirit of the Dred Scott decision annul all the acts of the territorial legislatures in case they enacted laws unfriendly to the hold­ing of slaves in a territory, while a territory?"

But the Senator refused to be interrupted fur­ther and, amid the hissing and cat-calls of the Senator's many admirers present, Mr. Cook re­tired from the platform.

Senator Douglas made a good impression on the people of Pontiac and surrounding country by his able address, for his admirers here at that time were many, but sentiment in those days was rapidly changing. Although he failed to secure an endorsement at the hands of the voters of Livingston County in the election of 1858 by a vote of 1,001 to 789, in favor of Abraham Lin­coln, in the election two years afterwards, when he ran against Mr. Lincoln for the presidency, the vote of the county stood 1,475 for Lincoln, while Senator Douglas received 1,088, showing that the Senator and the principles he stood for were endorsed by many of our citizens.

When the reception committee met Senator Douglas at the Alton train, he refused to ride in a carriage, which had been provided by the reception committee, but instead walked up Madi­son street surrounded by his hundreds of ad­mirers.

Senator Douglas again visited Pontiac on May 21, 1861. While traveling over the Alton, word was received, in advance of his com­ing, and a request was forwarded to him stating that the people of Pontiac would again be pleased to hear him, if for only a few minutes. Mr. Douglas replied that he would be pleased to comply with the request, and accordingly word was sent broadcast, and when the train arrived the Senator was welcomed by a very large crowd. He spoke but a short while from the rear platform of the car, and complain­ed then of feeling ill. When he reached Chicago he was taken to the Clifton house, from the bal­cony of which two days later he delivered his last address. After this address he was taken suddenly and severely ill and took to his bed from which he never arose, dying on the 3rd day of June, 1861, just two weeks after his visit to Pontiac.


Owen Lovejoy, one of the organizers of the Republican party, and one of the most pronounc­ed Abolitionists of his time, delivered an address in the court house in Pontiac on Tuesday, Sep­tember 15, 1858, before a large and appreciative audience. It was during the campaign of that year and Mr. Lovejoy, having been nominated by the Republicans as their candidate for Con­gress in this (then the Third) district, was here advocating his cause. He was such a pronounced Abolitionist that there were many in this county who called themselves Republicans who did not vote for him. But he was an orator and for three mortal hours held the audience spell-bound, now laughing, now crying, then calm, then again fired up with indignation at the wrongs which freedom was made to suffer at the hands of that worst of all despotism, American slavery. From Republicans on an early day, who heard the ad­dress delivered by Lovejoy on this occasion, all agree in saying that it was the best speech ever delivered in Pontiac, with the one exception of


that delivered by Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll a few years later. Captain Morgan L. Payne, who was marshal of the day when Senator Douglas visited Pontiac one month previous to this time, acted in a like capacity on the day Mr. Lovejoy spoke. Captain Payne was one of the most pronounced Democrats of his time, but believed in fair play.

Congressman Lovejoy again visited Pontiac on Monday, October 9, 1860, the occasion being the last grand rally in the county before the elec­tion. This was the largest assemblage of peo­ple ever congregated in Livingston County up to that time. Delegations of "Wide Awakes" were present from every township in the county, also from Lexington and Pleasant Hill in McLean County. Douglas J. Lyon, Job E. Dye and Wil­liam T. Russell were the marshals of the day, while Edwin R. Maples was captain of the Pon­tiac Wide-Awakes. The county delegations came in wagons across the prairies. William T. Garner was marshal of the Rocks Creek delegation, D. W. Young for Ocoya, while the Pleasant Ridge, Avoca, Oliver' s Grove and Fairbury delegations came in under command of Captain Macy. The Dwight Wide-Awakes, under the command of Captain Case, made their appearance at noon with the delegations from Nevada and Sunbury.

Mr. Lovejoy's last visit to Pontiac was a mem­orable one. The address was logical and con­vincing and delivered in such a way as to con­vince the people of the deep earnestness which the speaker felt for the cause which he was ad­vocating.


Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll of Peoria, deliver­ed a political address before a large assemblage in the city park in Pontiac during the month of September, 1863. It was during the campaign and the Colonel's address to this day is often referred to as the best ever delivered in Pontiac to this date. At that time he was but little known in Pontiac, but in after years people who heard the speech delivered in the city park, be­came great admirers of Mr. Ingersoll, and would travel many miles to listen to one of his speeches.


On Tuesday, May 4, 1880, General U. S. Grant, ex-President of the United States, visited Pon­tiac. Shortly after his return to his old home in Galena, the citizens of Springfield sent him an invitation to visit the state capital, the home and burial place of Abraham Lincoln, and par­take of its hospitality for a few days. He ac­cepted the invitation, and announced that he would visit his son, Colonel Fred Grant in Chi­cago, and then go down the Chicago and Alton road to the capital. On the publication of this news, Arnold Thornton, H. H. McDowell and a few citizens decided to invite the General and party to stop over in Pontiac on the way and take dinner here. On Saturday, May 1, a dis­patch was received from Colonel Grant saying that his father had accepted the invitation, and would take breakfast in Pontiac on Tuesday morning. The gentlemen who had written, had expected that he would not be down until the next week, and anticipated having ample time to prepare for the distinguished guest, but were determined to make the matter a success even on such short notice, so a meeting of citizens was hastily called at the Phoenix hotel that evening, at which Arnold Thornton presided, and after discussing the matter the following committees were appointed to superintend the affair:

General Arrangements. - James E. Morrow, S. S. Lawrence, Charles A. McGregor, Fred L. Alles, A. E. Harding, P. M. Schwarz and J. W. Wood­row.

Finance. - P. M. Schwarz and Charles A. McGregor.

Correspondence. - H. H. McDowell and Fred L. Alles.

Reception. - Arnold Thornton, Judge N. J. Pillsbury, Mayor E. M. Johnson, Martin Dolde, Henry G. Greenebaum, L. E. Kent, John A. Fellows, William T. Ament, Fred J. Maxwell, D. M. Lyon, C. C. Strawn and J. A. Hunter.

It was wisely decided that, inasmuch as the time was short and a breakfast was the desig­nated affair, no attempt at a public display would be made, but simply that the citizens of Pontiac, irrespective of party, desiring to honor a dis­tinguished citizen of the state, would meet him at the depot, conduct him to the hotel, give a few words of welcome, and then partake of a quiet meal in his company. There had been so much ostentatious display in every city where General Grant had stopped that it was thought a quiet affair of this kind would afford a happy con­trast. It was at first intended to have about forty guests at the breakfast, but the death of the mother of John Stafford, landlord of the hotel, made it impossible for him to entertain such a


company in proper fashion, and the party was accordingly limited to twenty. It was expected that the party would reach here about 10 o'clock, but it was exactly 12 when the train pulled into the Alton depot. Messrs. Thornton, Harding, Strawn and McDowell had gone up the road and met the party, and the remainder of the recep­tion committee met them at the depot and rode up in carriages. Those who came up o the hotel were General Grant, Hon. E. B. Washburne, General John A. McNulta of Bloomington, James C. McMullin of Chicago (of the Chicago and Alton) and Byron Andrews of the Chicago Inter Ocean. The party was preceded by the Cornell martial band, which discoursed most excellent music, and the Livingston County veterans, one hundred strong, who turned out to honor their old commander. On reaching the hotel the party alighted, General Grant stepping out with a light and active step, and an address of wel­come was then delivered by Mayor E. M, John­son, as follows:

"General Grant: - On behalf of the citizens of Pontiac, I bid you a cordial welcome. I assure you, sir, that although our demonstrations to­day are not so great as have greeted you so often the past few months, that our welcome is none the less hearty. We feel honored to-day in extending courtesies to the renowned military chieftain of the age. Your services to our country are sufficiently known to entitle you to the respect of every American citizen, and especially a citizen of the state of Illinois. Where ­ever the American flag floats, the name of Grant is received, and although you have been the recipient of honors from the most eminent men of other countries, yet we cannot but believe that you are still one of us, a citizen of the United States. Now that you are closing your travels, it is certainly fitting that you close them by see­ing the citizens of your own state. Surrounded to-day by veterans that served you as soldiers, it is certainly due to your illustrious career that their plaudits should not weary you, that the flag which your genius carried to victory and made this indeed a free country, should over wave to your honor. Identified as you are with the interests of the great prairie state, you have reason to be proud that you are one of its cit­izens, and we, in turn, proud that you are a citizen. Again, sir, as the representative of this city, I bid you a hearty and cordial welcome."

At the conclusion of Mayor Johnson's address General Grant replied in the following words: "Mr. Mayor and Citizens of Pontiac : I take great pleasure in appearing before you to-day. It is but for a short time, as we are in some­what of a hurry, and the time will not warrant more than a few minutes. The train was de­layed much by the people, and having so ar­ranged the time table as to reach Springfield this afternoon, which place I left nineteen years ago for the war. The services I rendered in that were satisfactory and the results of which are happy, as spoken by your Mayor. The country has now returned to peace and prosperity, which we should all be glad to note. I am happy to see you all."

Then a few moments of introductions took place and the party entered the dining room and took seats in the following order:

General U. S. Grant. Byron Andrews.

N. J. Pillsbury. E. M. Johnson.

H. H. McDowell. B. P. Babcock.

S. S. Lawrence. John J. Taylor.

Arnold Thornton. Fred L. Alles.

E. B. Washburn. C. C. Strawn.

A. E. Harding. J. A. Hunter.

P. M. Schwarz. D. M. Lyon.

R. R. Wallace. J. C. McMullin.

General McNulta. W. T. Ament.

In describing the personal appearance of Gen­eral Grant and the Hon. E. B. Washburne the day they were in Pontiac, a writer of that time has the following to say: "Though General Grant was the center of all eyes, the hearty form and commanding presence of the Hon. E. B. Washburne commanded much attention. He is a man old in years, but young in heart and health, good for twenty years of rugged life yet, and very possibly will be the man called on to lead the Republican party in the great fight in 1880. He is altogether a magnificent man and com­mands the respect of every person, without refer­ence to party. In appearance, General Grant is rapidly growing old. Not so fleshy as he was four years ago, when last seen by the writer. He betrays age and weariness in the lines of his face and in his speech. Never a public speaker, General Grant has always been noted for his ability to sit down and chat in a lively manner with his friends. He does so now in a graver manner and with less freedom than of old. Though he is Washburne's junior by many years,


he is his senior in the effects of age and by a score of years."

The conversation at the table took on nothing of a political character, save once when the Hon. C. C. Strawn remarked to Mr. Washburne, "We are going to fight for this greenback question if it takes all summer," to which Mr. Washburne replied quietly, "You are likely to have occupa­tion all summer, my friend."

At the close of the meal, the party filed out into the hotel office, where an informal reception was held, the crowd passing along shaking hands and making occasional remarks. Several little girls were kissed by the general, who was fond of them. The school children were all on hand, many of them with bouquets, and all seemed de­lighted to see the great man.

At the depot were Mrs. Grant and several other ladies, who took dinner in the dining car, and a number of Pontiac ladies and gentlemen, including Mrs. Camp, who was an old friend of Mrs. Grant, paid their respects to them there.

The entire affair here was a pleasant one and everything passed off smoothly and quietly, there being quite a crowd in the city considering the short notice and the busy season. Flags and decorations were somewhat scarce, but would have been fuller had a longer notice been given. General Grant and party remained in Pontiac one hour and twenty minutes.


William J. Bryan, candidate for President of the United States in 1896, and again in 1900 and 1908, paid his first visit to Pontiac on Tuesday, October 27, 1896. Mr. Bryan was given an enthu­siastic welcome by his many admirers in Pontiac and Livingston County. He addressed the peo­ple from the stand in the city park and talked for one-half hour on the political situation of the day, his address being well received. Mr. Bryan has since that time been in Pontiac on three different occasions, delivering addresses under the auspices of the Pontiac Chatauqua Associa­tion. His admirers here are many, as his audi­ences at the Chautauqua grounds attest.


President Theodore Roosevelt paid a visit on Thursday, June 3, 1903, the occasion being the unveiling of the Livingston County soldiers' and sailors' monument, an account of which is given on another page.




The early settlers had very hard times during the first year or two on account of the deep snow which fell in December, 1830. There were but three families in the county, V. M.Darnall in Indian Grove Township, Isaac Jordon, who lo­cated on the north banks of the Vermilion river, southeast of Pontiac; and Frederick Rook, who settled on a creek, which still bears his name, some five miles west of Pontiac. This fall of snow was phenomenal, and its like, probably, had never occurred before and certainly has not since, within the limits of the state. Snow began falling on the morning of December 28th, and it con­tinued for three days until it had reached a depth of five feet. This was followed by a driz­zling rain, which turned to sleet, the weather be­came intensely cold, and the whole face of the country was covered with a sheet of ice. The storm was very destructive to game. It is said that deer by the hundred starved to death, and those that survived were so emaciated that they were unfit for food. Quail and grouse also per­ished in great numbers.

The day before this snowfall commenced. Mr. Darnall started for the home of John B. Thomp­son, his brother-in-law, on the Mackinaw to pro­cure a supply of pork for his family, going in a wagon; and, although it was but eight miles distant, on account of this extraordinary snow­fall he was prevented from returning home for nearly a week. Taking half a hog, he started home on horseback. He had no compass to guide him. The snow was so deep that the horse would sink to the saddle girths. It was a perilous un­dertaking and many times he thought it useless to proceed. But he continued on his journey, and just as the sun was setting, he noticed smoke


curling from the chimney of his cabin which was nearly buried by the snow. There was a happy meeting around the family table that evening.

At the end of the snowfall, Mrs. Darnall dressed herself in her husband's trousers and cleared a path to the rail pen where there were three calves, which she drove into the cabin to keep them from perishing. Mr. Darnall succeeded in killing two wild hogs which roamed near his cabin; and this helped to fill the family larder. The snow lay on the ground for nearly three months, and during that period he cut down enough timber to make 3,000 rails. The branches he gave to his stock to browse on and on this, together with a small allowance of corn, he win­tered nine heads of cattle and fifteen sheep. For two months he saw no human being, except his family, until his brother-in-law, John B. Thomp­son, came over from Mackinaw.

When Isaac Jordon and Frederick Rook and their families came to this county, but a short time before this snow, they brought with them a few cattle. The chance to cut hay for their stock was very slim, and their dependence was upon spots of buffalo grass. But the winter coming on earlier than was expected, all hope for stock to live was cut off, unless they could find sufficient bass or linwood to cut down for their cattle to browse upon. Then came the deep snow, fol­lowed by the heavy sleet, which formed such a heavy crust that the cattle could not be driven through the snow. This crust continued for sev­eral months and most of their stock died of star­vation and cold. Their supplies for the house­hold ran short during the deep snow, and famine stared their families in the face. The nearest place for provisions was across the prairie south­west toward Mackinaw. No team could travel, even if they had had one, so they made a sled and started on foot, first making and putting on snow shoes, as was then the custom of the In­dians, and then they made for the Mackinaw settlement, some thirty miles distant. There they obtained two bushels of corn each, shelled it, and started for home in the same way as they had gone, arriving home on the evening of the second day. Mills for grinding corn and wheat were not available in those days, so they made mortars out of the boulders found on the banks of the river, and pounded the corn sufficiently to make samp, or made hominy. When this supply was gone, they made the same trip over and over again until spring opened.


It is not within the memory of men who have resided in Pontiac since the town was laid out, that so severe a rain and so disastrous a flood has been known, as visited us during the last three days of June and the first four days of July, 1869. Being aware that the human mind is subject to extravagance, and is apt to think every severe rain the hardest, every cold day the coldest, and every hot day the hottest, and it is possible that some one has seen a heavier rain than that of Friday and Saturday, June 26 and 27, 1869, yet we don't believe it. Old citizens of Pontiac, whose word is as good as an oath at any time, tell us that the river never was so high before or since at this place, and we believe them. When it commenced raining Fri­day afternoon, people in town waited until the rain should be over before attempting to go home, but they finally concluded they would not wait for it to stop; in fact, it did not stop, but if possible, rained harder and harder each hour through the night. When daylight broke Satur­day morning, all the sloughs and low places were full, and by actual measurement the rain had fallen from ten to fifteen inches during the day and night. Many chimneys in Pontiac which had never been known to fill up with water so as to run out of the stove-pipe hole, had poured out great streams of sooty water upon the floor and carpet of the unfortunate occupants. At intervals during the day Saturday, heavy falls of rain came down, increasing the prospect for a general flood. The water in the small streams and low places throughout the county had be­come so high that railroad travel was considered dangerous, and all freight trains were stopped. On Saturday, the river was rising rapidly, and before night the water was running across the south side of the wagon bridge in Pontiac. Dur­ing the night, the river rose to an unprecedented height, and Sunday morning the sight was most terrifying. Every house south of the river, with the exception of a few on the hill, was surround­ed by water, and in some near the river the water nearly reached the second floor, while all of the houses situated on the low ground north and northeast, and northwest of the Central school building on the north side of the river, were surrounded by water, many of them having


two feet of water on the floor. The road leading east of Pontiac was one uninterrupted sheet of water to the timber, where boats might have plied the whole distance. The north slough run­ning from the Duff farm at the east across the town and along the north boundary of it, pre­sented the appearance of a navigable river. Lots and farms, which had been considered exempt heretofore, now paid tribute to the flood. The damage to fences, gardens and crops in that lo­cality was immense, and every bridge was swept off the slough. But along the Vermilion river the damage was the most severe. No dwellings were swept off, very few trees and logs came down, but out-houses, fences, sheds, etc., were swept away in great numbers. On the south side of the river, the water covered all the high table land to the extreme limits of the town, the old fair grounds, the cemetery, and extended up considerable distance to the west and south. All day Sunday, boats were in requisition helping those out of their houses who were in danger of getting drowned out. Pigs, chickens, horses and cattle that were turned loose from the stables, were circulating around to find dry ground. At the Vermilion bridge, Street Commissioner Wil­liam Perry was at work, and with the assistance of Seymour Bennett, Captain Wheeler and George Pullman and others, succeeded, after an almost superhuman effort, in saving the bridge. At the railroad bridge, a large number of laborers were engaged in carrying iron and stone on for weight, cutting away the Siding to allow the water to pass through, and warding off the flood-wood that made its way down the river. L. E. Kent's cattle sheds were inundated, and several head of live stock were drowned. Taken altogether, Sunday, June 28, 1869, was the most exciting day Pontiac has ever witnessed, and we shall not be deemed irreverent if we put in a petition that the like may not be known again. John Geiger, who lived on Water street, where the home of Charles St. John is now located, was drowned while attempting to save his fence on Sunday afternoon. He asked one of his little girls to go to the house and get a chain for his use, and she returned just in time to see her father sink to his death. The body was recovered an hour later. Geiger was a harness maker, a member of the Masonic lodge, and a good citizen. His family consisted of a wife and six small chil­dren.

Elijah Morris, who was compelled to remain in Pontiac from Saturday on account of the flood, started on horseback for his home in Owego township on Monday morning, and rode his horse into a deep hole just east of the village and was drowned before help could reach him.

Daniel Markle, a farmer living near Chats­worth, was also drowned in the Vermilion about four miles above the Chatsworth bridge, while attempting to ford the river with a team of horses.

The Pontiac Woolen Mills company were quite severe sufferers, the water coming up some five feet on the first floor, stopping all the machinery for over one week.

N. B. Kindred lost 40,000 brick at his yards east of Pontiac. All the ice houses along the Vermilion in Pontiac were flooded, and the citizens were compelled to do without this necessary article during the remainder of the summer.

A portion of the bridge over Indian creek near Fairbury was swept away, but was soon repaired. The bridge over the south branch of the Ver­milion at Forrest was so badly damaged that trains were not permitted to cross it for three days.

In the vicinity of Odell and Dwight, the flood was accompanied by hail, resulting in great damage to the growing crops.

The village of Pontiac, during the flood, was an island and a small one at that. The waters of the slough from the east reached a point this side of where the Kipp lumber yard is now lo­cated, and extended west along Prairie street to the Alton tracks. Citizens living on the high ground north of the slough constructed a large raft holding fifteen people and came to the vil­lage to do their trading in this manner for over a week. The raft was landed near the Central school building.

One of the grandest celebrations of the Fourth of July was to have been held in Pontiac on Monday, July 5, 1869. It was a county affair, and delegations from all over were to be present. The fair grounds were to be used for that pur­pose and the War Governor of Illinois was to address the people. The celebration had to be abandoned, as not enough dry space could be found in the village for the people to congregate.


A hurricane passed over this county, on May 26, 1859, demolishing houses, tearing up trees, prostrating fences, and making complete wreck


of everything in its path. It swept over a belt half a mile wide, and traveled in a northwester­ly direction over the county, the principal damage being done in Pike, Rooks Creek, Esmen, Avoca and Pontiac townships. In Rooks Creek town­ship, it blew down the house of M. D. Edgington. Striking the timber below Remick's mill, it tore down the largest trees, and sent limbs flying over the prairies to a distance of three miles. Further on, it struck the house of Delos Robin­son, scattering the boards of the house, furniture, cooking utensils; clothing, etc., in every direc­tion, leaving nothing but a stove and floor to mark the spot where the house stood. Three feather beds were blown away. A wagon stood near the house, the tongue of which was driven under the corncrib with such force by the storm that three men were unable to draw it out, and a team had to be used for that purpose. The home of Samuel Schlosser was made a perfect wreck, and strewn all over the prairie. William Bruckner's house was blown to pieces, not a stick of it being left within half a mile of where the house stood. Two miles of fence on the farm of Hiram Young was scattered in all directions. The dwelling house of Arthur Chambers in Rooks Creek was destroyed, not a stick being left on the place. Alva Potter had a part of the roof of his house blown off, together with ten acres of timber. E. Stratton's house, in Pike township, was blown off its foundation and his corncrib sent flying some eighty rods. Pres­ley Breckenridge had an orchard destroyed and David Breckenridge had a general distribution of his fence all over the prairie. So violent was the storm that it bent two lightning rods on his house almost double. Joseph Perry had 160 acres of timber almost totally destroyed. No lives were lost, although some of the escapes were miraculous.

One of the worst hurricanes which ever passed over this county occurred at 4:45 o'clock on the afternoon of November 26, 1859, the most damage being done to the town of Pontiac, although that place at that time was not largely inhabited. The tornado came from the southwest and lasted but a few minutes. The roof of the court-house, cupalo and gable end were blown down, involving a loss of $1,500. A two-story house belonging to Frederick Sinsel was torn to splinters, burying Mrs. Sinsel, her little son, and Miss Margret Gibson beneath the ruins, but fortunately none was seriously injured. The roofs of J. W. Strevell's hardware store, John Geiger's harn­ess shop, Babcock's new warehouse, Martin Dolde's carpenter shop and H. C. Challis's black­smith shop, were blown off. The dwellings of Mrs. Hull and John Sheets were scattered to the winds, and dwellings of Charles Barker and Charles Knight were blown from their founda­tions and turned around. Barns all over the vil­lage were demolished.

ODELL. - On Wednesday, May 12, 1886, at 3:45 in the afternoon, Odell was struck by a terrific hurricane which demolished business houses, dwellings, unroofed half of the principal busi­ness block, laid waste fences, trees, sidewalks, and spread general havoc in its track. For sev­eral hours a heavy black cloud had hung in the west and later two clouds rose from the east and northeast, and these and the dark cloud seemed to be attracted to each other, and meet­ing, developed into the tempest which bore east­ward toward the town, demolishing Hoke's livery stable; crumbling into a mass of debris the hard­ware store of Samuel Cole, burying six persons in the ruins, and injuring two children; hurling the old mill off its foundation, demolishing into fragments the hay sheds and hay press adjacent; unroofing the Eastern Hotel and half of the buildings in that block, as well as blowing in the end of the Angell brick building; unroofing the Alton elevator and Vincent's two warehouses; the old school house was completely demolished; the Congregational church was moved from its base; one corner of Matthiessen's brick building was blown off; Frank McGinley's cottage was taken from its foundation and set bottom side up; Kelman's photograph ear was blown into splinters; Buchanan's carpenter shop was destroyed; the barns of John McWilliams, Jeremiah Clay, Frank Finefield, R. R. Puffer, E. Vaughan, Capt. Salters, Hial Hamlin, James A. Hunter, were de­molished. Lottie Zwiefel, a girl aged six years, was caught by the wind and hurled onto the railroad track, inflicting fatal injuries from which she died the following morning. The loss to buildings and damage to stock of goods by the rain, was estimated at $50,000.

FAIRBURY. - On Monday June 25, 1877, a de­structive wind and rain storm passed over Fair­bury, entailing a loss of $25,000. The storm struck the city at 11:30. It came from the southwest and traveled in a northeasterly di­rection. The west coal shaft building was blown to pieces, but the main part of the building, tip-


ple, and machinery were left intact; Walton's grain storehouse was turned over onto the T. P. & W. railroad tracks; and Free Will Baptist church was shattered, the outer course of brick having been torn out nearly the entire length of the building; the regular Baptist church had the west end of the north side of the roof blown away, the interior of the building being dam­aged by the downpour of rain; the amphitheater at the fair grounds was shoved from its moor­ings about sixteen feet at one end, and eight feet at the other; Isaac Kerr's paint shop was totally demolished; Michael McDonald's house, in the east part of the city, was lifted six feet away from its foundation; the Methodist par­sonage was lifted from its foundation pegs and set over east about five feet, breaking the floor and otherwise rendering the house untenable. The most terrible wreck of all was the Metho­dist church building, a two-story brick structure, which had been dedicated on Sunday, December 31, previous. The wind seemed to lift the whole upper story bodily from the lower portion of the building, and carried roof, brick and timbers in every direction. The main part of the roof fell on the two lots east of the church, a portion of the falling timbers striking the dwelling house of A. R. Carmen, demolishing a part of the kitchen. The south gable of the church building was left standing, as was also a portion of the lower story of the west wall, upon the inside of which was seen the motto, "In God We Trust." The walls were afterward torn down. In a number of instance, trees two feet in diameter were torn out by the roots and caried some distance away. The Methodist church congregation held serv­ices in McDowell's hall until January 20, 1878, when their new church was dedicated.

AMITY TOWNSHIP. - A destructive storm passed through Amity Township on the afternoon of June 20, 1870. The cyclone formed three miles southwest of Cornell, and taking a northwest course carried almost everything before it. The first house in its path was Joseph Long's. It was slightly damaged, but his barn was de­stroyed. Ira Cook's house, occupied by Samuel Plymier. was totally demolished. Plymier was in the house at the time, but only received slight injuries. William Van Camp's barn was torn into shreds. It then crossed Vermilion riv­er and tore large trees up by the roots and piled them in every shape imaginable. William Sut­cliffe's house was moved ten feet. David Pond's kitchen was torn to pieces. Ezra Parker's kit­chen was carried thirty feet and the east half of the roof was torn away. Richard Connor's house, barn, shed and every building was swept from the place. Mr. Connor and wife were both badly injured. The school house near Mr. Con­nor's place was torn to pieces. School was in session at the time, and the teacher, Miss Net­tie Myers, got the children around her by the door, and a little son of Douglas Morrison was the only scholar injured, C. C. Leonard's house was partially wrecked, and one horse killed in his barn.




The first emigration from Norway to the United States was in 1823, just five years pre­vious to the time the first settler arrived in Liv­ingston County and erected his cabin. Cling Pearson, of Hesthamer, Norway, came over in 1822, and on his return gave a glowing picture of America, and finding the people of Stavinger, a small town of his neighborhood, dissatisfied with their minister, appointed by the govern­ment, and desirous of changing their location, he persuaded them to emigrate. They pur­chased a small vessel, a two masted fishing sloop, for $1,500, and fifty-two emigrants set sail in their little craft for the western continent. They sailed through the North Sea and English Chan­nel to Madeira, where they got short of provi­sions, picked up a pipe of wine, which they en­joyed hugely, and there laid in a stock of pro­visions. They left Norway July 4, reached Funchal August 18, and New Fork the last day of October, 1825, fifty-three in number, an in-


crease of one. In New York, they sold the ves­sel for $400 and the company divided, twenty-­eight going with Cling to Orleans County, New York, where they purchased land and formed a settlement, the first Norwegian settlement in America. But Cling Pearson was a restless spirit. He again rambled West and explored Illinois, and fixed on a location in La Salle County, near the border of Livingston. Cling stated that when exploring the country after­ward occupied by his countrymen, becoming weary, he lay down under a tree, slept, and dreamed, and in his dream he saw the wild prairie changed to a cultivated region, teeming with all kinds of grain and fruits, most beauti­ful to behold; that splendid houses and barns stood all over the land, occupied by a rich, happy people. He awoke refreshed, and, nerved anew by his dream, went back to his countrymen in New York and persuaded them to emigrate to Illinois. Cling's dream may have been dreamed awake, but it has been fully real­ized. The early days of the Norwegian settle­ment were days of poverty and toil, and they re­peatedly suffered terribly by Asiatic cholera, but they have surmounted their trials, and are now, as seen in Cling's dream, a wealthy, prosperous and happy people. Cling Pearson afterward went to Texas and died there. The first Norwe­gian colony from New York came to La Salle County in 1834, being part of the fifty-three who came over from Norway in 1825. Since that, oth­ers have followed from Norway, and the first fifty-three emigrants have welcomed many of their old neighbors to the land of their adoption.

Some of the Norwegian settlers of Livingston County came direct from Norway, but the first ones came from La Salle County here, which was known in the early days among the Norwe­gian people as the "country of frogs," due to the great amount of lowlands and swamps. But the land was cheap, as low as $1.25 per acre, Government price, and grass and pasture were plentiful. Markets, however, were poor and money was very hard to get. The principal markets which they visited at times were St. Louis and Chicago, which were reached mostly by boats through the Illinois and Mississippi riv­ers and the Illinois and Michigan canal. The local market was at Ottawa and the milling was done at Dayton, La Salle County. The distance was traveled by oxen over the prairies and around the swamps as best they could. They usually went to La Salle once or twice each year to do their trading and milling. Later, Pontiac became their local market, and still later, Rowe, Graymont, Cornell, etc.

Owing to the great amount of swamps and stag­nant water evaporating, the country was un­healthy, especially for those coming from the far north, and a great deal of malarial disease, with consequent hardships, was encountered by the Norsemen. It was a very common thing for the farmers to be taken down in the midst of their summer work with what they called the ague and other malarial diseases. These lowlands are now all drained out by tile drainage, they have a healthy climate, and are supposed to be the best land in the world, worth from $125 to $200 per acre. A considerable number of the Norsemen and their descendants have managed to retain a good portion of it.

In politics, with few exceptions, they are Re­publicans. A large number have served and are now serving in different capacities as township officers, and, as far as known, with honor and in­tegrity, but no county or higher office has yet been held by a Norseman. The reason is per­haps that nearly all who have settled here have come from country districts in the old country where a liberal education was hard to get, and the younger generation has not availed itself of the opportunities afforded here for higher education.

However, the Norsemen are awaking in Liv­ingston County along political lines for the first time in their history. On several occasions one of their number has aspired to a county office, only to meet with defeat at the hands of the conven­tion. On Monday, February 24, 1908, they met at the city hall in Pontiac and organized a branch of the Scandinavian League by electing the fol­lowing officers:

President, Dr. J. M. Mitchell; Vice President. P. G. Sjoborg; Recording Secretary, Ole A. Erick­son; Corresponding Secretary, J. C. Diemer; Treasurer. L. B. Shay; Sergeant-at-Arms, Peter J. Peterson.

There are about 750 residents of the county who are Norsemen, the great majority being farmers and well to do.

The first church work done among the Norse settlers of Livingston County was in Amity Town­ship by a Methodist missionary by the name of John Brown. He baptized a number of children and preached among them with good success un-


til the year 1862, but without having organized a congregation. About this time, a Lutheran congregation was organized and they called a pastor by the name of Peter Asbjoraon, belonging to the Lutheran Augastana Synod. The work went on nicely for some time and a wealthy American by the name of Bronson Murry, who came to the county in an early day and bought up land, offered to give them forty acres of good land on which to build a parsonage. While this was pending, a difference of opinion concern­ing the church liturgy caused a division, as some adhered to the old state church of the Norwegian Synod, and the Murry offer was withdrawn. The remnant proceeded, however, and built what was known as the Augustana Church in the western part of Esmen Township. Later, the oth­ers, known as the Norwegian Synod people, some­how connected with the Missouri Synod, built a church at Rowe Station. Both of these congregations have lately been merged, forming the St. Paul Lutheran Church at Rowe, now belong­ing to the United Lutheran church, and under the charge of Rev. Mickelson.

In 1872, a preacher by the name of Herman W. Abelson became known by some families and was engaged to take up the pastoral work in the locality. Being a resident of La Salle County at the time, he came to Amity quite frequently and preached, and performed pastoral work be­tween the years 1872 and 1880, but no organi­zation was effected by what was called the Hague people until February 3, 1880. On that date a congregation by the name of Abel's Evan­gelical Lutheran Church was organized. Pastor H. W. Abelson was called and the congregation adopted formally a Lutheran creed as accepted and set forth in Hague's Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and a subscription was taken up for its school in Red Wing, Minn. About the same time the pastor took up the work in a small settlement near Mud Creek, which was kept up a number of years by him and his successor, Rev. Theo­dore Hansen, and later taken up by a minister from Rowe, and which is now under the charge of Pastor Mickelson of the United Lutheran Church.

Pastor Abelson about the same time, or a little later, took up work in what was known as the Rooks Creek settlement, a congregation being or­ganized there in 1880, known as the Rooks Creek Evangelical Lutheran Church, which later joined the Hague synod, but owing to poor health he had to resign shortly afterward and, as his successor, Pastor Theodore Hansen was called and served eleven years. After him other ministers of the same synod have continued the work in the congregation, which now also has a church and services in Pontiac.

The Abel Evangelical Lutheran Church above referred to, having diminished in numbers, later on joined in with the Rooks Creek church.


Throughout the southern portion in the coun­ty, especially in the townships of Pike, Indian Grove, Pleasant Ridge, and Forrest, are lo­cated many German Mennonites, more commonly known as Amish. The largest colony is in Waldo Township. They first settled In this county in the early '60s, and at the present time there are at least 1,000 heads of families with­in its borders. They are an industrious, frugal class of people and fond of their church and customs. They profess to be followers of Amah, a noted preacher in their country, who made many converts from the original Mennonite body. There are four denominations in this county - the Old Amish, New Amish, Eggli and Stuckey. The people are simple in their habits and dress, and wear no jewelry. The male members are shorn of their mustaches and do not vote - The rules of one faction of the church are as follows:

No member of the sect shall have his photo­graph taken.

There shall be no sumptuous furnishing of homes, even wall paper with figures in it, and pictures on the walls being prohibited.

No carpets are allowed upon the floors. The church is a severely plain building and very plainly furnished.

Hooks and eyes are allowed on the clothes, buttons not being allowed on articles of person­al wear.

The members are forbidden to go to law. Property, although in the name of individ­uals, is held by the community, and if a member of the community is without money or lands, all must help to secure them for him.

Bearing arms, tale bearing and taking of oaths are forbidden.

Even courtship and marriage are provided for by the church.

A man or woman must allow the church com­munity to select wife or husband.


After the marriage ceremony has been per­formed, the couple must separate for a week, and not see each other during that time. After­ward they must live together.

No man may be admitted to the church until he has confessed all his sins as far as possible and made atonement.

At the celebration of the Lord's Supper, the feet of the participants must be literally washed.

Bishops, preachers and elders are chosen by lot, and they are not allowed to accept pay for their services.

Idleness on the part of any man, woman or child of the community is prohibited.

And it is prohibited that any man shall kiss or fondle his wife or children in public.

The leading features of Amish, or more prop­erly speaking, Mennonite bodies, have been bap­tism, or professing of faith, refusal of oaths, of civic offices and of the support of the state in war and a tendency toward asceticism.




On Friday morning, November 11, 1858, the dead body of Mary Murphy was found about two and one-half miles south of Pontiac, lying within a few feet of the Alton tracks, by Wil­liam Cleary, section foreman for the Alton rail­road, at Pontiac. Three weeks previous, the girl hired as a domestic in the house of Mrs. Mary McGregor of Pontiac, and returned in a few days to her father's home on Rooks Creek, near the village of Ocoya, to get her clothing, with the intention of returning Sunday evening. It seems that she left her father's home Sunday afternoon on her return, and the supposition was at that time that some villain or villains met the girl on the road, and after violating her person, mur­dered her in order to prevent detection. Her face was perfectly black, evidently from being choked, her skull fractured, and one of her arms badly bruised. A negro by the name of "Bob," who was employed at the Alton pump house in Pontiac, was arrested the next day after the dis­covery of the body and charged with the mur­der, but after the preliminary examination con­ducted before Justice Streamer in Pontiac, he was discharged. Sheriff William T. Russell, un­der the direction of the board of supervisors, at once offered a reward of $250 for the apprehen­sion of the murderer or murderers of the girl, and a diligent search was at once instituted. A negro was seen to pass through Pontiac about the time the girl was murdered, stopping at the water tank to wash some blood from his face and hands, then proceeding on his way northward, following the Alton tracks. Captain Bradley of the detective force of Chicago became interested in the case, and at once placed a "shadow" on the track of the negro answering the description of the one who passed through Pontiac, as above mentioned. The negro was seen walking along the track by a Mr. Birch, and Sheriff Russell at once sent him to Chicago to assist Captain Brad­ley in his search for the suspected man. Later on, Sheriff Russell employed a negro in Chicago to work on the case, and he at once started for Wisconsin, where a clew to the man suspected of the crime had been seen. About the last of May, 1859, a negro giving the name of John Morrison, alias Robert Munson, was arrested by the au­thorities of Whitewater, Wis., having been found by the negro detective employed by Sheriff Rus­sell. The sheriff at once went to Whitewater, and securing the man under arrest, brought him to Pontiac for examination. On Saturday, June 11, 1859, just seven months to a day after the finding of the body of Mary Murphy, John Mor­rison, alias Robert Munson, alias Wiley J. Morris, was given his preliminary hearing before Jus­tice Streamer. A. E. Harding was appointed to defend the prisoner, while Prosecuting Attor­ney C. J. Beattie took charge of the state's case. After the introduction of many witnesses on be­half of the state, who gave damaging testimony against the negro, Mr. Harding, counsel for the


prisoner, said he had no witnesses to offer, but contended that the evidence was insufficient to justify the prisoner's committal. There was no use of denying that the prisoner was on the railroad near the time when the murder was supposed to have been committed, the prisoner himself admitting it, but because he happened to be seen in the vicinity of the murder, it did not necessarily follow that he was the murderer. C. J. Beattie then followed in behalf of the people, claiming that not a link was lacking in the chain of evidence which pointed to the pris­oner as being the murderer of Mary Murphy. Justice Streamer decided to commit the prisoner for trial and he was at once taken to Blooming­ton. The case came up in the circuit court of this county in the fall of 1860, and it was shown on the part of the prosecution that Morris had been seen walking on the railroad track, about a mile behind the girl afterward found murdered; that the rate at which he was walking, as compared with her pace, would cause him to overtake her at the point where the body was found, and that he had just been in a murderous brawl at Bloom­ington and was a desperate character. The evi­dence was wholly circumstantial, but quite strong, the people of his own color giving the most damaging testimony against Morris. He was ably defended by A. E. Harding, who labored greatly under the disadvantage of a popular feel­ing which then existed in the community against the color of his client. The jury, after an absence of an unusually long time, failed to agree, stand­ing eleven to one for conviction, and Morris was again sent back to Bloomington to jail to await a new trial. In the meantime, Mr. Harding made application for a change of venue from Livings­ton to Kankakee county, and the case went there for trial. The case came to trial in April, 1861, but in this, Morris was more unsuccessful, for he was found guilty of murder in the first de­gree and condemned to hang in May. Mr. Hard­ing, being convicted of the entire innocence of his client, tried in every manner known to the law to save his client from the gallows, but to no avail, and Morris went to his death shouting, "You murder me, you murder me." Dr. Darius Johnson and Dr. O. S. Wood of Pontiac officiated as physicians at the hanging in Kankakee, and for their trouble obtained the body of Morris after it was pronounced dead. Dr. Wood, who was then a medical student in Dr. Johnson's of­fice, secured an excellent skeleton from the body to pursue his studies by. During the war, the skeleton was disposed of to Prof. O. S. Fowler for $23 and taken to New York to be hung up in a museum. Subsequent revelations, however, show that Morris was an innocent man, and not guilty of murdering Mary Murphy. In 1877, one of the Hildebrand brothers, notorious in the early days in this section of the state as being a member of one of the most daring bands of thieves, desperadoes and cut-throats then at large, lay dying in a hospital in the city of Bal­timore, Md. Being aware that death was near, he made a clear confession of all his crimes, the one for which Morris was hung being upper­most in his mind. Hildebrand stated that he and his gang were operating in Livingston county at that time, being camped in the timber near the railroad track, at Pontiac; that Mary Murphy was seen approaching them from the south, and it was at once made up to capture her and take her to the camp. This was done, and for two weeks the poor girl suffered every indignity at their hands. When it came time for them to move, the girl was taken to the railroad track and there murdered by the outlaws, the body being found the week following by William Cleary, who notified the proper authorities. This fact was published in the Baltimore papers at the time, together with dates and other circum­stances given by Hildebrand, and was largely commented upon by the press throughout the United States.

On the night of April 1, 1872, another hor­rible murder took place in Owego Township. John Soter killing William Rollins, one of the early settlers of the township. The explanation of this willful murder takes us back some years. Many years ago, James Thomas left his wife and brother in South Wales and came to Illi­nois. After having been here some years he mar­ried again, without being divorced from his law­ful wife, and after having lived with his last one some years, died, leaving, as she supposed, his property to her. Soon after this, in 1858, she married John Soter, a German, then about 50 years of age. The heirs of Thomas, deceased, his former wife and two brothers, through at­torney Franklin Dennison of Chicago, laid claim to the property, 160 acres of land in Owego Township and 40 acres in La Salle County, and after much litigation got an order of court to oust Mr. and Mrs. Soter from the premises, but in way of compromise assigned to them the forty


acres in La Salle County. The attorneys, Mr. Dennison and C. C. Strawn, believed that after come parley the Soters would leave their prem­ises and go quietly to their place in La Salle County, and hesitated about ousting them, al­though Deputy Marshal Gilman was in Pontiac three times for that purpose. In the first week in March, 1872, Soter went to La Salle County to see his place, but came back, and Gilman finally set them out in the road. In the meantime the land had been rented, half of it to William Rollins, the murdered man, and half to a Ger­man named Cachline, the two men occupying different houses on the premises. On the Mon­day night already mentioned, Soter, who had moved into a portion of the house occupied by Cachline, asked John Rollins, William’s son, to come over and fiddle for a dance. While the dance was going on, Mr. Rollins came in and placed the fiddle awhile, and Soter, without a word, came around behind him and took up a gun which was there, and shot Rollins in the breast. He lived but two hours. Sheriff John W. Hoover went out the next day and brought in both Soter and his wife and lodged them in jail. It was said at the time that Soter had fre­quently made threats against Rollins, who being himself quite an inoffensive man, had paid no at­tention to them. Soter and his wife were regu­larly indicted and tried for the murder, at the May term of the circuit court, and on June 1, Soter was sentenced to be hanged. C. C. Strawn prosecuted the case, while L. E. Payson was for the defendant. During the latter part of the month, Judge Payson, counsel for Soter, and State's Attorney Strawn went to Springfield, the former to present a petition for commuting the sentence of Soter, and the latter to oppose the commutation. Judge Payson carried with him the certificate of several physicians of Pontiac that Soter was insane, whatever he may have been when he committed the murder. Governor Palmer commuted the sentence of death against Soter to life imprisonment at Joliet on June 26, and the day following he was taken to Joliet, where he died three years later.

On the night of January 23, 1872, a young Prussian Pole named Ponwitz, generally known as the "Count," was killed by his partner, a young man of 28 years, by the name of Schaeffer. The "Count" and Schaeffer were both in Dwight that day, and had been drinking before leaving the town for their home, which was on a rented farm of R. C. Adams, five miles west of Dwight. The "Count" was supposed to be the son of respectable and titled parents in Prussian Po­land, as on several occasions he had cashed drafts for large sums of money at McWilliams' bank in Dwight. Ponwitz was missed by his neighbors, and Schaeffer was seen to drive away the next morning after the murder was com­mitted, wearing the clothing of his partner. He was traced to Chicago and was arrested while disposing of the team of horses which he drove. He confessed to having killed Ponwitz in a quarrel on the night they returned from Dwight; that the "Count" had kicked him while he was putting some coal in the stove, and that he turned around and struck him with a stove iron. He said he had buried the body in a manure pile near the house, and there the body was found in a nearly naked condition by the officers. Schaeffer was brought to Pontiac and lodged in jail. On Tuesday, February 6, a special grand jury was summoned and Schaeffer was indicted for murder, and on the day follow­ing, just two weeks after the murder was com­mitted, his trial commenced in the circuit court, Judge Wood presiding. He entered a plea of not guilty, but the jury, which was composed of John Milligan, of Reading, George A. Murphy, James Murphy, A. C. Huetson, Samuel McCormick, A. Saunger and Daniel Siverling, of Pontiac; William Wedgebury, of Esmen; Hiram Vanderlip, of Sullivan, G. B. Vansum, of Oswego, and Joseph M. Callin, of Amity, found him guilty, assigning him to the penitentiary at Joliet for eighteen years. The prosecution was in the hands of State's Attorney C. C. Strawn, assisted by Joseph I. Dunlop, of Dwight, while William T. Ament and H. H. Brower appeared for Schaeffer. In less than three weeks after the murder was committed, Schaeffer was in Joliet.

On Sunday morning, August 31, 1873, Joseph M. Marlott was killed in his own door yard in Long Point township. There was a plow­ing match at the farm of Thomas Barrett on the Saturday preceding the murder and arrange­ments made for a dance in the evening, and Homer Marlott, the brother of the murdered man, was expected to play the violin for the occasion. There was also a dance on that even­ing at the house of Mr. Flanigan, a neighbor of Barrett's, and Homer Marlott was induced to play for the last named dance. The conse­quence was that the party at Barrett's were


without music and were greatly incensed at Marlott for disappointing them. The musician played at Flanigan's and returned to his brother's house at about 1 o'clock on Sunday morning. About an hour later, some men came to the house and called Homer Marlott and his brother Joseph, to the door and began to quarrel with them in a violent manner, until finally one of the men, who was recognized as Thomas Barrett, seized a club or stake about four feet long and struck Homer Marlott a blow that laid him senseless. His brother sprang to his assist­ance, when Barrett dealt him a blow on the left side of the head and neck that dislocated the neck joint and produced almost instant death. Sheriff Robinson was at once notified and went to the scene and arrested Thomas Bar­rett, Patrick Barrett, Jeremiah Shannon and William Tobin. Previous to the sheriff's arrival, the citizens of Long Point had taken the matter in hand, and when he came the prisoners were under a guard of fifty men, the law and order loving citizens of the township being determined that full and complete justice should be given the accused parties. Thomas Barrett and Jeremiah Shannon were indicted for the murder by the grand jury in October, and a change of venue to McLean county was granted. The case came to trial at the March (1874) term of court in Bloomington. The people were represented by Joseph W. Fifer, State's Attorney S. M. Garratt, of Pontiac, and M. Shallenberger, of Toulon. W. W. O'Brien and Lawrence Harmon, of Peoria, appeared for the defense. After a trial lasting three days the jury disagreed, standing nine for conviction and three for acquittal. At the next trial, they were acquitted.

On the night of Monday, February 8, 1875, Cyrus S. Jones, a prominent farmer of Esmen Township, was assassinated. About 3 o'clock that night, a son of the murdered man, about twenty-two years of age, came into the house and told his father that there was some one at the crib stealing corn and Mr. Jones went out to investigate. His son followed him as far as the gate, and when his father reached the corn crib he heard a report of a pistol, and ran back to the house and told his mother that his father had been shot. Henry Roberts, a neighbor, was sent for, and when he arrived found the lifeless body of Jones lying by the crib. He had been shot in the back of the head, the ball coming out of his mouth. The next day Coroner Johnson and Sheriff Robinson were notified and went to the scene of the murder. After a lengthy session, the coroner's jury found that Jones came to his death from a gunshot wound inflicted by a person or persons unknown to the jury, and from that day until the present time the cold-blooded murder of Cyrus B. Jones has never been avenged. On Sunday evening, February 15, just one week after the murder was committed, an affair took place in Esmen Township that would have disgraced a band of border ruffians. A party of three men visited the residence of the murdered man and called for Jones' son, William H. The young man presented himself, and one of the party told him he was a deputy sheriff, and had a warrant for him for killing his father, and that he had better go quietly along with them to Pontiac, where he would be safe, as there was a mob raised in Cayuga to lynch him. The pretended officer then read the warrant to him and proceeded to handcuff him and place him in the sled, and started, as the family supposed, for Pontiac. But when the party reached Babcock's Grove they were met by another party of three men, and young Jones was taken from the sled, thrown over a fence, and marched into the timber. He was then told if he did not confess that he had killed his father they would hang him. Twice he was suspended, but the limb over which the rope passed, not being sufficiently strong to bear his weight, he was marched further into the woods and told that if he had anything to say to say it quickly, as his minutes were numbered. The boy told them to tell his mother to take his team and use it in farming the land, and also to take his part of the estate and sell it and use the money in finding out who it was that killed his father. He then knelt in prayer, but the ruffians again passed the rope over a limb and three times drew him up, so long each time that animation was suspended, the boy begging them in the intervals to hang him at once, and not put him to such torture, to which they replied that he was too mean to die like anybody else and that they would kill him as they pleased. After they found that they could not extort a confession from him, they proceeded to kick and cuff him, and took from him his overcoat, over­shoes and cap, and, maimed, as he was, told him to make his way home on foot. The boy started and reached home about midnight in a deplora­ble condition. One of his feet was frozen as


hard as a board, and his hands and ears were not in a much better condition. When the facts in the case came to the knowledge of Judge Pills­bury, he at once ordered a special grand jury impaneled. Three people residing in Esmen were indicted for this outrage, being identified by young Jones. They were never tried for their part in the affair, the suit being finally stricken from the docket.

On Monday morning about 9:30 o'clock, July 21, 1890, William Hodge, city marshal of Pon­tiac, was shot by Daniel North, receiving wounds from which he died at his home the following day. North was a blacksmith by trade, 27 years of age, and when under the influence of liquor was considered by all who knew him as being a dangerous character. He had lived the greater part of his life in the vicinity of Pontiac and was well known. North arrived in Pontiac on Sun­day morning from Wing, where he had been working at his trade, and, meeting a few friends, started on a drunk. The next morning while walking north on Mill street, when near the cor­ner of Madison, North dropped a revolver from his pocket, which was noticed by Alderman Joseph T. Kay, who informed City Marshal Hodge of the fact. Hodge started in pursuit of North, whom he overtook two blocks further on. The city marshal accosted North and de­manded the revolver in his possession. North whipped out the revolver and without a word shot Hodge in the stomach. Hodge did not fall, but dealt North a blow over the head with his club and rushed at him. North fired again, but the bullet went wild. At that moment, George Hannaman came up; North and Hodge had clinched; Hannaman seized North, and all three came to the ground, when Hannaman got the revolver away from North. By this time, several others, attracted by the shots, came on the scene. North was turned over to the sheriff and Hodge removed to his home, where he expired at 12:30 the day following. The news of the shooting caused great excitement in Pontiac at the time and there was some talk of lynching, but better counsel prevailed and such talk soon died out. The grand jury at the October term found an indictment against North for murder and on Monday morning, November 17, 1890, the case went to trial, Judge Sample presiding, with the following jurors in the box: G. W. Madden, Char­lotte; Cephas Coe, Long Point; W. S. Clark, Ancona; Thomas Mathis, Fairbury; George Dykes, Long Point; Henry Jones, Reading; Joseph Brumfield and M. H. Gilman, Newton; James Russell, Rowe; Charles H. Schrontz, Fair­bury; Philip Hendershott, Pontiac, and William Schaffer, McDowell. The defense was conducted by C. C. Strawn, and A. C. Norton appeared for the people. The trial lasted for over a week and was hard fought on both sides. The jury received the case Wednesday. November 26, and after a few hours deliberation, brought in a ver­dict of guilty and fixed the penalty at death by hanging. Mr. Strawn made a motion for a new trial, and on hearing the evidence presented, Judge Sample overruled the motion, and Thurs­day, December 18, North was sentenced to be hanged on Friday, January 19, 1891. Judge Wilkin, of the supreme court, granted a supersedeas a few days prior to the date for the hanging of North, and after reviewing the evidence, granted a new trial. On Friday, January 8, 1892, North was arraigned in court, having expressed a desire to withdraw his plea of not guilty. This he did, and then entered a plea of guilty of man­slaughter. Judge Tipton stated that he was prepared to dispose of the case at once, having examined the testimony and arguments of counsel on both sides, and was fully of the opinion that this was a case of manslaughter and not murder: that if the case was brought to trial again a jury would so decide. The question then in his mind was to determine on the sentence, which could not be less than one year and might extend to life; he reviewed the fact of North's suspense while for a year he was under the sen­tence of death and that this was a severe punish­ment. He said the responsibility of the length of time of punishment was wholly upon him­self, and he had determined to make the term thirty-three years in the penitentiary, and it was so ordered.

On August 8, 1870, Michael Haley died from the effects of a blow received at the hands of Michael Whalen. Haley was section boss at Ocoya, and Whalen, with others, was at work under him. While they were unloading a gravel-­train, some dispute occurred and Haley told Whalen that he had orders from the division superintendent of the Alton railroad to discharge any man who gave a disrespectful reply to him. Whalen told him that he had no such orders, which brought on a dispute, and Haley told him to put down his shovel, which Whalen inter­preted to be equivalent to a discharge. Whalen


then sprang at Haley and struck him a blow on the head with the shovel which felled him to the ground. In the fall. Haley's head struck on the rail and fractured his skull, from the effects of which he died. Soon after the occurrence Whalen took his departure and was never heard from.


The only legal hanging in the county was that of Johannes DeBoer, who was executed in the county jail at Pontiac on Wednesday, March 17, 1880. DeBoer plead guilty to the charge of murder. The crime was a most brutal one and occurred one mile south of Minonk in Woodford County, in the fall of 1879. The trial was held in the court house in Pontiac before Judge Blades at the January term, 1880, of circuit court, the suit having come to this county on a change of venue from Woodford County. From the evidence it was shown that DeBoer, aged 19 years, had met Ella Martin, aged 16 years, in a cut on the Illinois Central Railroad track one mile south of Minonk, had caught and choked her and cut her in seven places with his pocket knife, and left her, as he supposed, dead. She lay in a field, where he drew her, and recov­ered so far that the next day she crawled back to the railroad track and was found there by her brother. She lived eight days. There was in­tense excitement at the opening of court, as Pontiac was filled with citizens of this and ad­joining counties, 100 being present from Minonk. So intense was the excitement that Gov. Cullom had placed at the disposal of Sheriff Hunter, Company A, Ninth Battalion, National Guard. It was a novel sight, one never before seen in this county, to see a prisoner march from the jail into the court room between two files of soldiers, to prevent him from receiving violence from the infuriated mob. DeBoer was sen­tenced to be hanged on February 14, 1880. Later it was brought to the knowledge of the court that the time given was too short and the prisoner was again brought before the court and the date of his execution fixed for Wednesday, March 17, 1880. He was hanged in the county jail on this date.




(By Henry C. Jones, Pontiac. )

FIRST EXPEDITION. - In the fall of 1848 and the following winter, there was great interest among the early settlers of Livingston County, as well as throughout the entire civilized world, con­cerning the wonderful discoveries of gold in California. The "gold fever" became an epidemic all over the Western country, and many of the most hardy and adventurous victims were car­ried off by the "yellow peril." This county, al­though sparsely settled, contributed its quota of these overland argonauts who "went the plains across" to the Pacific coast. In the spring of 1849, James Blake of Avoca, and Henry Jones and G. B. Foster of Owego, started out with an ox team on the perilous journey of 2,000 miles through an almost unexplored wilderness. The Indians were hostile from the Missouri river to the Pacific Ocean, and while many of the gold seekers were killed by the savages or perished on the way from disease or thirst and starvation, the contingent from this county landed safely in the Sacramento valley in the fall of 1849, and continued on their journey to the mines in north­ern California. The mines were rich, and in eighteen months the three partners - Blake, Jones and Foster - had accumulated over $25,000 in gold. Jones and Blake had families in this county, and Foster's people lived in Pontiac, and having about as much gold as they could con­veniently carry - not a very large fortune, but enough to have bought at that time an entire township of thirty-six sections of the best land in Livingston County, worth to-day over $4,000,000 - they began making preparations for the re­turn trip. They went to San Francisco, and with


several other returning miners, engaged passage on a schooner to Panama. The passengers were so poorly fed and brutally treated by the officers and crew of the schooner that they revolted and compelled the captain to run the ship into the harbor of Acupulco, Mexico. The matter was taken up by the American consul at that port, and after a settlement with the captain, the ves­sel was allowed to continue her journey to Pan­ama. The miners then bought fifteen horses, for riding and packing, bought food and camp equipage, engaged a guide and interpreter, and started over the mountains for the City of Mex­ico, over 200 miles distant. This was soon after the close of the war with Mexico, and there was very bitter feeling against the "gringos," as the Americans were called. The mountains through which the trail passed were infested with ban­dits and outlaws, and it was necessary for self protection to not only go well armed but to keep a vigilant guard over their treasure day and night. The gold belonging to the company from this county was divided into three parts, sewed up in buckskin bags, and Blake, Jones and Fos­ter each took possession of a part to carry and protect on the journey. On the third day out from Acupulco, the trip so far having been sur­prisingly delightful, the men began to get care­less and less vigilant, and Foster allowed him­self to lag behind. Before he was aware of his dangerous position, he was surrounded by armed bandits, overcome, disarmed and robbed of his share of the gold. The robbers made a hasty retreat back over the trail, and by the time Fos­ter could ride forward, overtake his comrades and give the alarm, the bandits had left the trail and entered the rocky, wooded canyons where their capture was impossible. The party then concluded that the best thing to do was to make all haste possible to reach the City of Mexico, and from that time on be more vigilant than ever. Six days after leaving Acapulco, the party arrived in the City of Mexico. There they dis­charged their guide and interpreter, and began making preparations to continue their journey to Vera Cruz, on the gulf of Mexico. By this time, one of the party had picked up enough of the Spanish language to make their wants known, and as the roads were better, they de­cided to dispense with the services of a guide and interpreter. After a rest of two days in the capital of Mexico, they again started on their journey to Vera Cruz, over 300 miles dis­tant. Without further adventure, they arrived at Vera Cruz in seven days. There they disposed of their horses and camp outfit, and engaged pas­sage on a sailing vessel to New Orleans, and be­ing favored with fine weather they made the trip across the gulf in six days. Arriving in New Orleans, the party went direct from the ship to the mint to deposit their gold for coinage, and to leave it there where it would be safe until they were ready to resume their journey to their homes in this county. Their stay in New Or leans was brief but exciting. After securing pas­sage on a boat for St. Louis and getting their baggage on board, they went to the mint to get their money. They learned that their gold had not been coined, but that the dust and nuggets had been melted down to bricks, assayed and the value ascertained. The cashier at the mint informed the men that they could then have the coin for their gold bricks, and counted out and paid the party $17,400 in new $20 gold pieces The three partners then counted out $1,400, divided it among the three for the necessary ex­penses of the remainder of their journey, placed the balance in their canvas bags supplied by the mint, and started with the coin to the boat, which was to start up the river that night or the next morning. After boarding the boat, they went immediately to their state room, deposited the bags of coin in a strong trunk, and agreed that at least one of the party should be in the room with the trunk until they arrived at St. Louis. When supper was announced, Jones and Foster went to the dining room and left Blake to guard the trunk containing the money. When the two were almost through with their meal, they were surprised to see Blake come into the dining room. Jones and Foster at once jumped up from the table and hurried to their room. They found the door unlocked, the trunk broken open and the three bags of coin missing. The alarm was given and the officers of the boat notified that their state room had been robbed. The police were put on the trail of the two rob­bers who had been seen leaving the room carry­ing heavy loads and hurrying down the gang plank. The boat did not start until the next afternoon, and during the night and day follow­ing the robbery, every effort was made to cap-


ture the thieves, but without results, and the matter was left with the police, who never did anything. The men were anxious to get home, did not care to lose the passage money they had paid, and concluded to stay with the boat. The only excuse Blake could make for violating their agreement to guard the trunk was that he thought they were again in a civilized country and that there was no danger. Besides, he said, he was thirsty and hungry, and had locked the state room door, gone to the bar and from there to the dining room. The three men arrived at their homes a little over two years after start­ing for California, with only a few hundred dol­lars each, but rich in experience.

SECOND EXPEDITION. - Jones was dissatisfied with the results of his first trip to the gold mines of California, and in the spring of 1852 organized the second expedition of gold - seekers, and left Richmond, two miles east of Pontiac, with an ox team for the gold fields of the Pacific coast to make their fortunes. This second party consisted of Henry Jones, John Popejoy, Theo­dore Popejoy and Edwin Jones. Henry Jones having made the trip across the plains in 1849 and having experience with Indians on the way and afterwards in California, was made the lead­er of the party. There had been such a large emigration across the plains in 1849, '50 and '51, that the road had become plain and easy to fol­low and the Indians made less trouble. This party met with but few adventures and arrived at the mines the fall following. They at once located mines and were quite successful as gold miners. After two and a half years spent in the gold mines, Henry Jones and Edwin Jones re­turned via Panama and New York to Pontiac in 1855, and built the first brick building ever erected in Pontiac and engaged in general mer­chandising. John and Theodore Popejoy never returned to this county, but remained in the mines on the Pacific coast.

THIRD EXPEDITION. - In 1858-59 another gold craze spread over the entire country, and while the fever was not as wide-spread nor the excite­ment as intense as that created by the discovery of gold in California ten years before, yet throughout the Western states and territories many thousands of fortune hunters prepared to visit the newly discovered gold fields. The dis­covery was made near Pike's Peak, in Western Kansas, (now Colorado,) and fabulous stories about the great quantities of the yellow metal that could be shoveled up in the new mines were printed in the newspapers throughout the land. Of course the young men of Livingston County, as well as many of the older ones, became afflict­ed with the contagion, and began to look about for ways and means to make the trip to the Pike's Peak gold mines. Judge Jones of Pon­tiac, being an experienced gold miner, and hav­ing become familiar with the route across the plains, was persuaded to resign the office of County Judge and pilot a third expedition from this county in the search for gold. This party, which left Pontiac on the 6th day of April, 1859, with two ox teams, was made up of the follow­ing named persons: Judge Henry Jones, Rob­ert Aerl, Jesse Green, C. L. Paige, J. E. Morrow, Isaac Aerl, S. L. Frost, H. C. Jones, Charles Hughes, William Earp, Elias Thompson, Ly­man Smith, Eli Morlage, Joe Millham, D. Conk­lin and Daniel McArthur. Later the party was joined by John Johnson, Oliver Johnson and William Cherry of Rooks Creek, with their ox team. The party from Pontiac was governed by a set of rules, one of which was that every man should walk the entire distance, if he was able to walk, and carry his gun, if he had one. It was known to be a dangerous practice to climb in and out of a wagon with a loaded gun. An­other rule was that the men should not shoot at or molest stock or poultry while passing through the settlements, nor fire at an Indian without orders from the Judge. This rule was necessary because reckless shooting had involved previous expeditions in serious trouble. Each one had his work allotted to him, and the Judge saw that all performed their respective duties. The expedi­tion crossed the Mississippi river at Fort Madl­son, Iowa, and the Missouri at St. Joseph, Mo. There were no railroads west of St. Joseph and Kansas City at that time, and after leaving the Missouri river there were but few settlements. The broad prairies of Kansas and Nebraska were still the hunting grounds of the "untutored savage." Deer, antelope and countless thousands of buffalo still roamed the verdant plains. In May, the roads having become more settled, the party made rapid progress, considering the mo­tive power, and by the exercise of caution and vigilance met with no trouble from marauding bands of Indians, as many other parties did. After passing Fort Kearney, Nebraska, many gold seekers were met returning from Pike's Peak, declaring that the stories about the great


gold discoveries in Western Kansas were un­founded; that there was no gold there, etc., etc. So many of these disappointed people were met, a great many of whom had never reached the mines, all telling the same doleful story, that some of the Livingston County delegation began to feel discouraged, but they continued on their journey. The party reached the crossing of the South Platte, where the Pike's Peak road branched off from the old California road, and there they went into camp. For three days they met and talked with disappointed gold seekers, returning from the mines, and then discussed among themselves as to what course they should take - go on to Pike's Peak or cross the river and continue the journey on to California where there was no doubt about the gold. It was agreed finally to take a vote on the question, with the result that all voted to go on to the Pacific Coast. The next day the party replenished their stock of provisions by purchasing supplies from returning gold hunters, and in the evening crossed the Platte river and pulled out for a long, tedious and dangerous trip across the mountains and plains to California. Many ad­ventures and dangers were met with by the ex­pedition that would be tedious and out of place to narrate here, and will be omitted. In October, just six months after starting from Pon­tiac, the party arrived at the mines in Northern California. In 1861 Robert Aerl, Isaac Aerl and C. L. Paige returned, via Panama and New York, to Pontiac. In 1862, J. E. Morrow and Jesse Green returned and in 1863, H. C. Jones re­turned, via Nicaragua, on a visit, and later re­turned to stay, all having been reasonably suc­cessful in the mines. Judge Jones and the other members of the expedition remained in Califor­nia. Soon after his return from California, C. L. Paige enlisted in the 20th Illinois Volunteers, and was killed in battle at Atlanta, Ga. Isaac Aerl enlisted and served over three years, and was through the siege of Vicksburg. On his re­turn to Pontiac. J. E. Morrow enlisted and march­ed with Sherman to the Atlantic Ocean, having, previously walked from Pontiac to the Pacific. After the war was over, Mr. Morrow was elected circuit clerk for Livingston County, and after the expiration of his term of office he organized the National Bank of Pontiac, and was its president until his death. Isaac Aerl, Jesse Green and H. C. Jones are still (1908) respected citizens of Pontiac. It may not be known, even among his most intimate friends, that Isaac Aerl is a veteran of two wars. In 1860 a bitter war raged between the gamblers, saloon keepers and their following, of Shasta, Cal., on one side, and the gold miners on the other, over some rich gold mines, Mr. Aerl, of course, was with the miners, and taking his trusty rifle in one hand and his life in the other, he went into the rifle pits, built on what is still known as Bunker Hill, and there assisted in the defeat of the enemy, over 100 strong, and well armed, when they made an at­tack on the miners, and helped drive them back to the city. It is generally believed that an ox team cannot be successfully managed unless the driver is profuse in the use of profanity, but Jesse Green drove an ox team from Livingston County to California without using a profane word that anybody ever heard.




The early settlers of Livingston County all remember James Stout, who came to Pontiac in the year 1858. Mr. Stout was a lawyer by pro­fession, and while living in Ottawa practiced considerable in this county, where he was always referred to as an "Abolitionist," which was in those days a name applied to all who in any way sympathized with negroes and were con­ductors on the "Under-Ground Railroad," the object of which railroad was to send all run­away slaves from the Southern states to freedom in Canada. Mr. Stout was one of the "con­d