This being the capital of the county and one of the first points settled therein, it necessarily follows that a large protion of this chapter must consist of history. It was located as the seat of justice, March 6th, 1826 by the commissioners appointed for that purpose. It is situated in the southwest quarter of section thirty, township two north, and range one west. It was first named Rushton, in honor of Dr. Rush, an eminent physician of that city of Philidelphia. But for some cause, on the 24th of April, 1826, an order was made to change the name to Rushville. The commissioners appointed David Blair to proceed to Springfield and obtain a patent of the aforesaid quarter section of land, for which service the records show that for compensation he was allowed $250. After having procured the patent, the comissioners sold the east half of the quarter for the sum of $150, which half is now that part of the town lying about eighty feet east of the public square, and within certain prescribed limits north and south.

The first house built in the town was constructed by John B. Terry for a dwelling.  It was a small log house, situated just across the street, south of the school-house grounds. Hart Fellows built a log dwelling about the same time as the above. It was situated on the northeast corner of the square, on the lot now occupied by the firm of Delap & Dace. This was early 1826. The first town lots were sold July 4th, of the same year. The first merchandise sold in the town was in 1828 or 1829, by a party from Jacksonville. His stock consisted of a few groceries, dry-goods, and notions. They were kept at the house of Hart Fellows, and there retailed. This was only temporary. The next to engage in the business was Benjamin Chadsey. He purchased his goods in St. Louis, and shipped them up the river in keel boats, and thence from the Illinois river to Rushville.  His goods were kept in the house of Hart Fellows, who acted as his clerk one year, and then became a partner, under the firm name of Chadsey and Fellows. In the meantime, Mr. Fellows had erected a little frame storehouse near his dwelling, in  which the business was then conducted.

The first tavern license was granted to Orris McCartney, Nov. 3, 1825, upon paying the sum of three dollars into the treasury, and one dollar to the clerk. The following is the table of rates he was allowed to receive:

For diet, per  meal………………………………18 ¾
For horsekeeping over night……………………25
For horse feed…………………………………..12 ½
For lodging…………………………………….6 ¼
Whiskey, per half-pint…………………………12 ½
Foreign spirits, per half-pint……………………25
Whiskey, per gill……………………………….6 ¼
Foreign spirits, per gill…………………………12 ½
Cider, metheglin, and beer, per quart…………..12 ½

The first brick house built was the court-house, finished in 1830. The school-house was the second brick building, and the third was the old Methodist church. The first frame house was built by Hart Fellows, and was situated on the lot where his log dwelling stood.

This chapter would be incomplete without recording some of the first efforts towards making Rushville a point of some manufacturing importance. The firm of Hodge & Hunter established a wool carding factory in 1831. It was situated on Congress street, on the lot now occupied by J. Foote & Sons’s knitting factory. It existed for several years. In the same year, Greer Brothers established a shop for the manufacture of horn combs. It was located on the lot where the blacksmith shop of Peter Fox is now situated. It was a non-paying investment, and the factory soon relapsed into silence. James Blackburn erected a tannery as early as 1830, on Lafayette street, not far from the present residence of John C. Bagby.  In a few years he sold out to George Baker, and commenced the practice of medicine.

A ludicrous scene, common in those days, is described by Thomas W. Scott, who was then in the mercantile business. Most of the pioneers were dressed with a hunting shirt and buckskin breeches. In the winter season their pantaloons would become saturated with water by wading through the snow and slush. On coming into the store their unmentionables would be stretched out all proportions, and the bottoms would be dragging under their heels. After sitting by the fire awhile to warm, the buckskin would dry and shrink, so by the time they were ready to leave, their pants had crept up to near their knees, and in this manner would they file out, each with a small purchase under his arm. Another incident is related of the peculiar manner adopted to make it unpleasant for the worshippers of the Cumberland Presbyterian congregation, during the services one Sabbath of those early days. The church building was a frame, and one of the first in town. Someone becoming offended at the society, or someone belonging to it, conceived the idea that, with the numerous stock running at large, if the lower part of the building were washed with brine, there would be a large a congregation outside as inside. Late Saturday night, or early Sunday morning, the thing was accomplished. The congregation had hardly assembled, before all the cows in town had scented the delicate morsel. The preacher commenced the services and the cattle on the outside commenced the disagreeable rasp, rasp, rasp, with their barbed tongues. The reader can probably imagine the result; the sermon was spoiled, and the congregation went home disgusted.

Cemetery - The first interment was made here, as before stated. From this has grown the present beautiful cemetery, that now is one of the best-kept grounds in the State. Many a costly monument adorns this city of the dead. It is situated in the southeast part of the town, on lots thirty and thirty-one, and contains about fifteen acres. The early history of its existence is, that in 1859, the county court passed an order that John Ritchey be authorized to purchase of Abram Louderback, one of two acres of land, suitable and convenient for cemetery purposes. He selected two acres of ground where the old sand head-stones now stand. We have visited many a town cemetery, but the Rushville place of the dead stands equal to any that it has been our privilege to inspect. A few of the first interments are marked by small slabs of sand-stone, two of which were nestling among the roots of quite large trees, evidences of the thoughtful care of the dead, when these forest trees were but mere shrubs, or perhaps had not even generated from the acorn that produced them.

Incorporation - Under this head we desire to recapitulate, in order to make the organization of the town more complete. As already stated, the site was chosen in the spring of 1826, but it was not until December 5th of the same year that it was surveyed and platted, Jonathan D. Manlove being the surveyor. In June, 1829, a petition was laid before the Board of Commissioners, to have the town resurveyed, and the streets reduced from one hundred feet in width to eighty feet, which was accordingly done. On the 23rd of April, 1831, a notice was posted, calling upon the citizens to meet at the clerk’s office on the 10th day of May following, for the purpose of taking steps toward incorporating the town under an act of the General Assembly, approved February 12th, 1831, entitled “An Act to Incorporate the Inhabitants of Towns,” etc. In pursuance of said call, the people met at the time and place mentioned. John C. Scripps was called to the chair, and John Mitchell was elected clerk. The following are the names of those voting, all in favor of incorporating:

John C. Scripps, Hart Fellows, William C. Ralls, I. J. C. Smith, Richard Redfield, Andrew Ross, William Layton, N. E. Quinby, Samuel Brazzleton, Samuel Beattie, William Putnam, Proctor P. Newcomb, Thomas W. Scott, E. Grist, Joel Decamp, John M. Jones, John Mitcheltree, B. V. Teel, James A. Chadsey, and Luke Seeley.
May 25th, a meeting was called for the election of officers, with the following result:
Trustees-John Mitcheltree, B. V. Teel, John Scripps, William McCreery, and I. J. C. Smith.
B. V. Teel was chosen chairman of the board.
John B. Watson was appointed clerk;
Treasurer-I. J. C. Smith
Constable-Thomas Hayden

In 1839 another charter was obtained, and again in 1869, granting further privileges as an incorporated town. The present officers are:

Trustees-R. L. Greer, John A. Harvey, Augustus Nell, John S. Bagby, Charles H. Wells, Augustus Peter, and George W. Smither; the former is the President of the board, and the latter clerk.
The other officers are:
Attorney-David H. Glass
Street Commissioner-George C. Yoe
Marshal-L. W. Sloat
Town surveyor-John S. Bagby
Police Magistrate-William Speed
Since the organization of the town, it has been of a slow, but healthy growth, having at this time a population of nearly 2000 inhabitants.

Business of the Town

The Rushville Woolen Mills, as an industry, stand preeminently ahead of any other manufactory in the town. They are situated on Madison street, between Congress and Monroe streets, and were built by a stock company, in 1867, at a cost of about $50,000. The building is of brick, eighty by one hundred and twenty feet on the ground, and three stories high. The lower floor is occupied by the looms, dyeing apartment, finishing, etc. The second floor contains the several jacks, cards, and pickers. This industry is now leased by the firm of Slack & Gavit, who have in their employment about fifty hands. The factory is what is known as a four-set mill, containing twelve broad looms, six jacks, four sets of cards, and furnishing complete for the same. The principal manufactured articles are flannels and blankets, the number of yards manufactured in one year being about 30,000. The annual product is valued at $100,000. The firm pays for labor, every month, about $1,200, and for stock $6,000. The works are driven by an eighty-horse power engine, having three four-foot boilers twenty feet in length. The whole building is heated by steam.

Rushville Knitting Factory, J. Foote and Sons, proprietors. This industry was established by the present proprietors in the spring of 1876, and is situated on Congress street, between Madison and Clinton streets. The building is a frame, two stories in height, and 20x68 feet on the ground. The capital invested is $5,000. Twelve machines are employed, and the whole works require 16 hands, 11 of whom are females. The business is confined to hosiery, of which about 5,200 dozen pairs are manufactured annually. The stock finds a market in Chicago, Peoria, and other points of the west. Upwards of $300 is paid out by this institution every month for labor.

Rushville City Flouring Mills-These mills are situated on Congress street, three blocks north of the court-house. The business was established by the firm of Little & Ray, in 1847, since which time it has more than once changed hands. In 1874, it came it came into the possession of the present firm of,  Ramsey & Co. The building is a frame 36x60 feet in size, and three stories high. It has three run of stone, and a double set of rolls, with a capacity of manufacturing 75 barrels of flour daily. Six men are employed. The machinery is driven by a fifty-horse power engine.

Elevator of Little and Ray is situated on the switch of the C. B. & Q. Railway. It was built by this firm in 1868, at a cost of $3,000. The structure is of the regular elevator style, and is about 28x36 feet on the ground, 56 feet in height. It has a capacity of elevating 2,500 bushels of grain daily, and can store 15,000 bushels. It is operated by horse power arranged in the basement.

Rushville Brick and Tile Works are located in the south part of town, about three blocks from the public square. The proprietors are McCabe & Sons. The brick yard was established in 1866, and the tile factory was added about ten years later. The capital invested is $5,000. The number of bricks manufactured annually is about 1,000,000, and the number of feet of tile is 300,000. The entire shedding covers nearly 10,000 square feet of ground. Twenty-five men receive employment, and the annual manufactured product is estimated at $15,000. Between six and seven hundred dollars are paid out every month for labor.

Rushville Marble Yard, owned and operated by Crosier & Hutton, and situated on Liberty street, east side of the public square. This industry was commenced in the town by Mr. Crosier, in February, 1859, being the first to establish the business in the village. In the spring of 1877, Mr. Hutton became a member of the firm. The good work performed by this company has given the business a constant and healthy growth, so that at this time they employ five men, and manufacture $8,000 of product annually.

Carriage and Wagon Factory of J. & J. Knowles. This is one of the oldest manufacturing establishments in this part of the State, having been established as early as 1849. It is situated on the corner of Washington and Morgan streets, in block 19. The works occupy the whole block. The buildings are frame structures, containing machine shop, wood-work department, blacksmith shop, depository, sheds for material, etc. The capital invested is about $12,000, and the annual value of manufactured product is estimated at $15,000. Ten men are employed by this industry. All the work is manufactured by machinery driven by a fourteen-horse power engine.

Schuyler Flouring Mills are situated on the Macomb highway in the northwest part of the corporate limits, west of the railroad. This mill was built in the fall of 1867, by George Moench, the present proprietor. It is a frame building, 30x40 feet in size and three stories high. The engine room attached is 18x30 feet. The mill has three runs of stone, and a capacity of manufacturing 50 barrels of flour in twenty-four hours. It is both a merchant and custom mill, and gives employment to three men. The engine is thirty-horse power.

Wagon and Carriage Factory, Hocking and Parker, proprietors. This industry was established in 1878, and is situated on Monroe street, near Washington street. The house is a frame building, three stories high, and 40x50 feet on the ground. It was formerly the old Presbyterian church building. Eight men receive employment, and the estimated value of manufactured product and repair work is $7,000 annually. All the work is hand-made.

Rushville Tannery was established in 1862, by August Peter, and is situated north of the school-house grounds. The building is a frame, two stories high, and 24x48 feet in size. Nine vats are arranged in the building, and it has other conveniences for the business. Mr. Peter is also engaged in the traffic of hides.

The Rushville Library Association was established the 5th of April, 1878, with fifteen charter members, the officers being as follows:
President:  L. R. Caldwell
Secretary and Librarian: John Beatty
Treasurer:  Dr. M. Ayers
It was started by the subscription of the members, there being 441 volumes at the outset. The number has increased at this writing to 1384 volumes. The literature consists of histories, biographies of eminent men, travels, fiction, etc., etc. To become a member, it is requisite to pay a fee of three dollars and fifty cents as quarterly dues. At this time the membership consists of about 120 members. The library is situated on Washington street, near the post office, and is open Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

The School House is one of the institutions of the town of which the people may well feel proud. It was built at a cost of about $55,000 and is situated two blocks northwest of the court house square. The grounds occupy two and a fourth acres, and are well kept, with shade trees adjoining the play ground and the street surrounding the building. The district is two miles square, and the institution is operated  under a special charter, entitled the Rushville Union School. The building is a fine brick structure, three stories high, with basement, and about 70 feet square. Its architecture is of the modern style, and it is warmed by steam. All the belongings are of the best, and the conveniences are modern. Nine teachers are employed besides the principal and the attendance is upwards of 500 pupils.

First National Bank of Rushville was established in 1865, it being a joint enterprise conducted by several of the leading citizens, among whom were the firm of Little and Ray, W. W. Wells, Warren Brothers, E. M. Anderson, E. C., and B. Ray.  The capital stock was $65,000, but was subsequently increased to $100,000, and afterwards reduced to $75,000.  It has a surplus, at this writing, of $20,000. The vault is fire proof, and the safe is provided with a time lock. President: George Little; Cashier: Augustus Warren.

Coal Banks-There are two shafts situated in sections 19 and 20. The vein lies about 40 feet from the surface, and will average 5 ½ feet in thickness. The quality of coal is unsurpassed by any in the State. The only wonder is, that capitalists have not taken the matter in hand and developed the industry in this part of the state. As the mines are now worked they only supply the local demand. Two tramways are built from the shaft to the town.

Besides the foregoing the town contains two newspapers, Times and Citizen; six churches, two Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Christian, and Catholic. There are also two hotels, the City Hotel, Ezra Jackson, proprietor; and the Fry House kept by Mrs. Fry. A new court-house is nearly completed, and will be one of the finest buildings of the town.

Present Business

General Stores--Wilson & Graff, G. W. Metz & Son, J. H. Parrott, Nelson Brothers, Little, Ray & Co., Warren Brothers.
Dry Goods Boots and Shoes, etc.--Jackson Brothers, E. D. Leach, J. L. Parrott, J. N. Roach & Co.
Hardware and Agricultural Implements--Augustus Nell, R. H. Griffith & Co., George E. Hall.
Drugs, Books, etc.-- E. M. Anderson, A. M. McCreery, M. M. Prentiss.
Furniture and Undertaking--A. H. Seeley, William Speed.
Clothing, Hats, Cops, etc.--Wells Brothers.
Harness and Saddlery--Martin Ryan, August Peter.
Groceries, Queensware, etc.--R. L. Greer, D. W. C. Goodwin, William Fowler, Robert McCreery, W. S. Irwin, Delapp & Dace, Ford & Tutt, H. Clarke, Z. L. Underwood.
Cigars--J. B. Thomas
Broom Makers--C. P. Neill, W. B. G. Putman.
Watches, Clocks and Jewelry--George Hanna, J. H. Knowles.
Physicians--N. G. Slack, Thomas Monroe, Mortimer Ayers, J. N. Speed, R. N. Worthington, L. W. Clark, A. B. Clark, E. Clark, M. M. Prentiss, L. C. Seeley, J. H. Ewing, John A. Harney.
Dentist--T. H. Downing.
Livery and Feed Stables--George Branstool, R. B. Greer.
Feed and Sale Stables--Crandall & Son, James Montooth.
Photographers--E. W. Bags, J. W. Baird.
Merchant Tailors--Samuel Heitz, A. J. Goodwin.
Contractors and Builders--Amos Sylvester, J. W. Morris, Thomas Keegan, C. T. Thomas.
Masons and Bricklayers--Stout & Rippetoe, John Laughlin, John A. Leezer.
Painters and Glaziers--James Seeley, J. Seeley, Samuel Leezer, J. F. Bowen, D. G. Prentiss, A. W. Davis.
Grain Dealer--Thomas Wilson.
Stock Dealers and Shippers--J. L. Danner, Worthington & Putman, Wells & Boyce.
Lumber Yards--Caldwell & Ray, Fry, Graff, & Monroe.
Blacksmiths--Peter Fox, James Beatty, Skiles & Beckerdite.
Shoemakers--Cilbert Ingraham, M. L. Demoss, Christian Moorck, Anderson Goodwin, Jr.
Meat Markets--William Thompson, Hoskinson & Yates.
Restaurants and Confectionery--Daniel Webster, Mrs. A. Lee, Mrs. E. Lee.
Millinery and Dressmaking--Anna Ryan, Betty Stover, Mrs. William Fowler, Kitty Goodwin, Mrs. J. Washabaugh, Libbie E. Erwin, Mrs. L. Roberts.
Sewing Machine Agents--Charles Putman, -- Tellis.
Barbers--Henry Neiman, Henry Riefling, Allen T. Hill.
Postmaster--Jacob Hammond.


Rushville Lodge, No. 9, A. F. and A. M. This Lodge was chartered October 3, 1842, being one of the oldest lodges in the state, and it has had the honor of furnishing two Grand Masters, Levi Lusk and James L. Anderson. The fire fiend has also been a visitant of this lodge three times since its organization, and yet it is in fair financial standing. The original number of charter members was 20. The present membership is 82. The Lodge meets in Masonic Hall the Tuesday evening on or before the full of the moon in each month.

Rushville Chapter, No. 184, R. A. M., was orgainzed August 11th, 1881, with sixteen charter members. The present membership is forty-five. The condition of the society, financially, is good. The regalia and equipments of the chapter are among the best of the order, outside of the large cities. High Priest, William H. H. Rader; Secretary, John C. Scripps.

Rushville Commandery, U. D., K. T., was organized February 13th, 1882, with eleven swords.  At this writing, the number has increased to thirty.  It meets in Masonic Hall, the second Monday night in each month.  It is well fitted for duty, and is now preparing to build a hall, in every way suitable for commandry work.  Eminent Commander, William H. H. Rader; Recorder, John C. Scripps.

Friendship Lodge, No 24, I. O. O. F.  This is one of the oldest Lodges of the State, being organized February 24th, 1847, and chartered the 15th of July following.  The charter members were, John Todhunter, Charles M. Ray, Samuel Lambrot, Simon Doyle, and James L. Anderson.  The present membership is eighty.  The first charity was dispensed.  March 24th, 1847, being four barrels of flour to the relief of the distressed Irish, since which time the order have contributed thousands of dollars for charity.  It is in excellent condition financially, owning its own hall, and has about $1,000 in the treasury.  Rep. to Grand Lodge, John B. Metz; Secretary, Augustus Fuller.

Willard Encampment, No. 64, I. O. O. F., was instituted April  2nd, 1866, and chartered October 9th, 1866.  It has a membership of eighteen, and meets semi-monthly.  The present officers are, J. D. Skiles, C. P.; John Heit, S. W.; Samuel J. Leezer, H. P.; J. B. Metz, Scribe; Henry Koostian, Treasurer; R. E. Hocking, J. W.; A. K. Smither, O. S. S.; H. A. Neimann, I. S. S.; Rep. to Grand Encampment, J. B. Metz

Security Lodge, No. 18, I. O. M. A.  This Lodge was organized November 12th, 1878, and chartered December 10th following.  There were twenty-six charter members.  The whole number enrolled is thirty-seven. Present membership, fifteen. The society meets in Odd Fellows’ Hall the first Monday in each month.  This order is purely a charitable  institution, its object being to aid the poor and destitute in case of sickness, etc.

Band of Hope.  This is a children’s society, organized for the purpose of promoting the cause of temperance, and morals of the young.  It meets every Friday evening at the Methodist Episcopal Church. Its organization took place about one year ago.

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.

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