Nestled in a pretty and romantic valley, upon the east bank of Crooked creek, in the northeastern corner of the township bearing the same name, is the pleasant little village of Birmingham, with its neat little houses, well-kept lawns, and quiet beauty. The bridge spanning Crooked creek, and below, the old mill dam, over which the clear waters flow with a ceaseless roar, add to its beauty and break what would otherwise be a painful silence; while south of the village lies the silent city of the dead--the Birmingham Cemetery--on a beautiful knoll, shaded by the trees of the forest, and ornamented with white monuments, marking the resting place of the departed loved ones. The cemetery was located in 1835, and is handsomely kept.
The waters of the creek rush past the village with great velocity and with sufficient volume to make the place one of the most desirable manufacturing sites in the state. The site of the village was surveyed and platted by county surveyor Allen Persinger, July 1st, 1836, for David Graham, David Manlove and Moses Manlove, the original proprietors. It is situated on the northeast quarter of section 11. The village at one time gave promise of reaching some prominence, as there were located some years ago, a large tannery, a harness shop, employing five hands, two large stores, two cooper shops and a large fanning mill manufactory, but they have long since disappeared, and no sounds of manufacturing interests now greet the ears of the residents. The first house built in the town was the double log-cabin of David Graham and Robert Wilson, which they built and occupied together while constructing the mill in 1835. Harrison Graham, in 1838, opened the first store, and had for a partner either Elihu or Cyrus Meredith. The first post-office was established about the year 1839, and William Noel was the first postmaster. The first hotel was kept by Jonathan Tucker, in 1845. The first school was taught by William Noel, in a small log building in the village, in the year 1837. The first church ever built in the township, was the small frame building erected by the Protestant Methodists in the village, in 1852.
Present Business, Churches, Schools, Etc.
General Store.--Wilson & Myers.
Postmaster.--G. W. Howell.
Blacksmiths.--Groves & Casey.
Shoemaker.--Solomon C. Sell.
Justice of the Peace.--David Sapp.
There is a handsome, little frame church in the village belonging to the Protestant Methodists, and was built in 1865. The present pastor is Rev. Winans.
The school-house is a neat frame building, and the annual session of school is seven months. But one teacher is employed.
Excerpted from the Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882
Transcribed by Robin Petersen for Schuyler County ILGenWeb.
Copyright 1999, 2000 Robin L. W. Petersen; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with the information.
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