This pleasant little village is situated on the southwest quarter of section 17, and was laid out by Robert Brown and Joseph N. Ward, January 28th, 1831, and surveyed and platted by Samuel McHatton, Deputy County Surveyor. It has never had a village organization. The first building erected was the one referred to in a previous part of this article as built by Robert Brown in 1830; and the first store was established by John and Jasper N. Ward in 1838. The post-office was established in 1839, soon after the laying out of the town, the first post-master being Alexander McHatton; R. A. Williams is the present incumbent. Joseph N. Ward built and kept the first hotel. The first mill was built in Camden by David Campbell in 1856, and was a steam saw-mill, with corn-cracker attached. The first church, built in 1868, belonged to the M. E. congregation, and was a neat frame building. The first school-house was a rude log cabin, built in 1839.
Flour Mill.--This mill was built in 1865, by Mr. E. Cady, Joseph N. Ward, John A. James, and William Clarkson at a cost of $6,000, and is a frame building, steam power, with a 3 1/2 foot wheat burr, and a 3 foot corn burr, doing a strictly custom business, grinding on shares. It is now owned by David Loop, and operated by Barnett and Wells. Its capacity is fifteen barrels a day, and is valued at $4,000.
Hotel.--Dr. Wm. Parker.
General Store.--J. N. Rigg & Son.
Groceries.--W. H. Rader & Co.
Drugs.--R. A. Williams.
Groceries.--W. T. Morris.
Blacksmith.--W. H. Cady.
Blacksmith and Wagonmaker.--R. G. McHatton.
Wagonmakers and Undertakers.--Daly & Evans.
Produce Dealer.--W. B. James.
Carpenter.--Isaac G. Cady.
Physicians.--B. P. Watts, W. L. King, William Parker, and J. J. Rigg.
Milliners and Dressmakers.--Mrs. Hattie Upson, Miss Nellie Fields, and Miss Melissa Allphin.
Camden Lodge, No. 648, A. F. and A. M., was organized in 1869, and worked under dispensation when they received a charter. The original charter members were John A. James, Dr. John A. Harvey, John Anderson, Theodore Hetrick, J. N. Ward, A. Murphy, R. G. McHatton, James McHatton, Dr. B. P. Watts, E. B. West, and W. H. Cady. The first officers were E. B. West, W. M.; John A. James, S. W.; R. G. McHatton, J. W.; Theodore Hetrick, S. D.; John Anderson, J. D.; Joseph A. Ward, Secretary, and Dr. B. P. Watts, treasurer. This lodge owned its own temple, a neat frame building, which was destroyed by the tornado of September, 1881, and which took fire after being blown down, and was, with everything belonging to the lodge destroyed. They held an insurance policy of five hundred dollars, but received only two hundred and fifty dollars. They now have a new temple under course of construction. The present officers are I. P. Melvin, W. M.; Charles King, S. W.; M. E. Cady, J. W.; W. H. Rader, S. D.; Vint. Anderson, J. D.; E. L. Fuller, Secretary; George Anderson, Treasurer; and James Hendricks, Tyler. The present membership is sixty-five, and their regular night of convovation is the Saturday night on or before the full of the moon.
The general appearance of the town is one of neatness; there are two handsome churches, the Methodist Episcopal, Rev. N. A. Kane, and the Christian; both were destroyed by a terrible cyclone, which desolated the town on the 24th of September, 1881, but have been rebuilt since then.
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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