On the 23rd day of June, 1869, this village was laid out upon the S. E. ¼ of section 26, by William Seachrist, and surveyed and platted by J. W. Watts, the county surveyor. The town was built along the base of the hill, and presents a picturesque appearance, as one approaches it. The buildings are neat and comfortable. It has a station upon the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Rushville branch, and offers to the capitalist seeking an investment, a manufacturing site rarely equaled. An inexhaustible supply of fine timber, coal, building stone, potter’s clay, water in abundance at all seasons, and a mill site not surpassed anywhere. The first house built, where the town now stands was the rude log cabin of William Lamb, one of the pioneers of the township. The first store erected before the town was platted, was a small one-story frame structure, built by James Skiles, who removed his stock of goods and the post-office there from Oil Hill; when the name of the office was changed to that of Ray, Mr. Skiles continued to act as postmaster. The business firm became known as Skiles & Tracy. This was in the spring of 1869. Richard Ashcraft kept the first hotel. Garret Roberts, and Hoops & Pemberton had the first tile factory. Snowden & Aten built the first mill, a water power saw mill on Cedar creek, when the town was first located. The first church was erected in 1876, by all the different congregations, and is known as the Union church. It is a neat frame building, and is under the control of the M. E. congregation, of which the Rev. Ralph Patterson is pastor. All denominations have the privilege of holding religious services beneath its roof. The first school house was completed in the spring of 1879, the old one previously used being a half a mile south of the village. Mr. Nicholas Pittenger was the first teacher, the first session commencing in the fall of 1879. It is a neat and commodious building, furnished with improved furniture and apparatus, and a term of seven months’ duration is maintained.
Tile Works.--There are two tile factories in the village. One, now in operation, has a capital of $4,000, and employs ten men, using one kiln. It is owned by Winner & Pemberton. Another is now being built by Rufus Porter at a cost of $5,000, and when in operation will employ twenty-five men. The tile building is a large frame, covered with sheet iron. Its dimensions are 150 feet by 32 feet, with an additional width of 10 feet, at the end in which the engine is placed. Four large kilns are now undergoing construction, and the number will be increased in the future.
Grain Elevator.--The grain elevator is a frame building 24 feet by 24 feet, two stories high, and was built by Messrs. Wilson & Graff, in 1879, at a cost of $1,000, the present proprietors, who ship 40,000 bushels of wheat annually. Two men find employment in the business. A good pair of platform scales are connected with the elevator.
Saw Mill.--The date of building this mill is given above. It is owned and operated by Cornelius Aten, and manufactures large quanities of hard lumber, which finds a ready sale. Five men find employment in this industrial establishment.
General Store.--Wilson & Graff.
Drug Store.--Mrs. Sarah Baxter.
Physician.--Dr. R. M. Barnes.
Hotels.--Abner Winner and Marion Woods.
Wagonmakers.--Bowers & Markell.
Carpenters.--David S. Moore and Jesse Pemberton.
Cooper Shop.--Calvin Boyles.
Shoemaker.--James H. Dunn.
Excerpted from The Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882
Transcribed by Carol Longwell Miller 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.
Return to Oakland Township index