The village of Browning is situated on the W. 1/2 of section 26. It was surveyed and platted by Leonidas Horney for R. Dilworth. The plat was recorded in the office of the circuit clerk, May 11, 1848. Its position on the Illinois river made it at an early day an important shipping point. Vessels from Pittsburg discharged their cargoes here and regular lines of packets run to it from St. Louis. Long lines of teams might be seen every day awaiting their turn at the warehouse. The town also obtained an early importance in a mercantile point of view.
The first settler on the present town site was John Lippencott, who located as early as 1829. The next settler was Peter Holmes, in 1830, after whom the place was at one time called Holmes' Landing.
James Austin sold the first goods from a small general stock kept in a log cabin about 1849. A year or two later Benjamin Kirkbride sold goods from a more complete stock kept in a frame building. In 1850 A. L. Wells had a store and freight house at what was formerly called Vermont Landing, a short distance up the river. R. R. Dilworth kept store on the present site of the ware-house. It was destroyed by fire in 1853 and the present ware-house soon followed. George McEvans then built a store in the town and did business for three or four years, when he sold to Albert and Marion Bates. In the meantime, G. B. and Wiley Hollingsworth built a store and sold goods for a few years. Among the early merchants may be mentioned the names of J. G. and H. H. Lassater, Charles Early, Charles Dilworth, S. F. Wallace, and E. M. and T. H. Bradley.
The first school in the village was taught by Miss Dilworth. The first school-house, a small frame building, was built in 1854. In it was taught the village school until 1874, when the present school-house was built. It was a two story brick building, and was erected at a cost of $2400, including equipments.
The town is at present in a thriving condition, and besides the handsome school building it has a neat frame church edifice of the Christian denomination and a lodge building, also frame.
Browning Flouring Mill was built on a former mill site in 1878. It is owned and operated by M. L. Justus. It does a combined custom and merchant business, and has three run of burrs with a capacity of two barrels per hour. The other business of the town is as follows:
General Merchandise.--S. B. Dray, Thomas H. Bradley, and George W. Fowler.
Groceries and Hardware.--James M. Carlock.
Drugs and Medicines.--J. S. Blackenship.
Physician.--J. S. Blackenship.
Postmaster.--S. B. Dray.
Blacksmith.--Turner R. Miller.
Hotel.--W. C. Ballman and J. P. Campbell.
Browning Lodge No. 309 I. O. O. F., was chartered in April, 1864, with William Bader, Daniel Ivins, Elias Gibbs, George W, Garrett, Henry Ventors and others as members. Its present membership numbers about twenty-five. Its financial condition is good.
Excerpted from The Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882
Transcribed by Carol Longwell Miller for Schuyler County ILGenWeb
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