Contributed by BobKuhn
HISTORY OF FREDERICK TELLSOF ITS IMPORTANCE IN EARLY DAYS
[Author’s Note] I recentlyobtained the family bible of Henry Clay O’Neal and his wife Martha EckroyO’Neal. Inside the cover of that bible was a
very fragile sheet of newspaperdated March 24, 1937. This copy of page five of the Schuyler News of RushvilleIllinois contained an article
written by my very own grandmother,Viola Adkinson Kuhn.
It would seem that Violawas a student of history as well and had the honor of having her researchprinted not only in the newspaper of her day
but to also have it publishedin booklet form as an unofficial history of the City of Frederick.
I have attempted to transcribethat article here so that it will be preserved and so that all who followwill have a greater appreciation for a grand
lady who had an obviousgift for research. I never knew this article existed until I came uponit in the bible. You can find Viola Kuhn in the
History of KUHN family viamy homepage <http://www.novagate.com/~kuhnhunter>.
I hope you all enjoy it.
March 24, 1937 SchuylerNews of Rushville
HISTORY OF FREDERICKTELLS OF ITS IMPORTANCE IN EARLY DAYS
Farwell and Company Did aThriving Business in This Town in Early Days When People Came For MilesAround to Ship Their Products by Water
Editor’s Note: Livingtoday are those who can remember when Frederick Illinois was one of themost important towns in the Military Tract. It was important as a locatingplace for steamboats when most all of the products found their way to consumersand markets by being transported on water and it became such through theenterprise of Farwell and Co., who had built a dike from the high landto the boat land and all were assured of service regardless of high water.It was important because it had no real competition between this pointon the Illinois River and to the northwest until Warsaw on the Mississippiriver was reached a distance of over sixty miles. Some to the older peoplecan remember during marketing days of seeing teams lined from the loadingdocks at Frederick for miles up to the road., waiting their turn to beserved.
According to records Warsawmade large bids for business and was a strong competitor, then a city ofabout five thousand with packing plants. Back in the days before the adventof railroads in order to tap the rich prairies between Frederick and Warsaw,Warsaw enterprise organized what was known as the Augusta-Warsaw PlankRoad Corporation (one of the shares of this capital stock in the possessionof the editor of the News) Only a section of the plank road was ever built,being along the highway near the village of Basco, and the company wasa failure, but this shows how in those days everything circled around thewater shipping points.
Mrs. Viola Kuhn gave beforethe Parent-Teachers association recently, a most interesting paper on thehistory of Frederick and we are given it in its entirety. As it is of somuch interest the News believes many would like to preserve it and we areprinting a number of little booklets which will be given free to our subscriberswho wish one.
Following is the paper:
HISTORY OF FREDERICK ILLINOIS
BY MRS. VIOLA KUHN
Frederick is thesmallest township in Schuyler County and the most irregular in shape, twoof its triangular sides being bounded by the Illinois River and Sugar Creek.North and South of township measures nine miles while its greatest widthis three and one-half miles, and it contains but twelve full sections althoughthere are fractional sections lying along the boundary streams. The landsurface is broken and a portion of the township is subject to overflow.
Frederick Township was thegateway to Schuyler County in the first years of its history. All of theearly pioneers crossed its borders and mounted the high bluff, which makesit difficult to name any person as the original settler in the township.Among the first to make a permanent home within the bounds of FrederickTownship was James Lammy who settled about one-half mile north of the presentsite of the village of Frederick in 1825. Andrew Vance and Timothy Harrisand Edward White were also early settlers. Abraham Hollingsworth made hisfirst permanent home in the county in Frederick Township, locating herein the spring of 1827. He was one of the early Justices of Peace and HollingsworthBranch was named in his favor. Other pioneers who were early settlers areas follows: J.D. Wren in the year 1829, Lyman Utter in 1830, Anthony Messerin 1832, Jesse Darnell in 1834, Thomas Bellomy in 1835, and John Utterin 1838.
In the early thirty’s soonafter the first steamboats began to ply the river George Frederick Jonteand Frederick Merchant, two Frenchmen located on section 17, in FrederickTownship and decided to found a city that would be the shipping point forall the rich inland country to the north and west.
Allen Persinger was employedto plat the town, which he did May 12 and 13, 1836, and in honor of itsfounders it was named Fredricksville, and is so recorded on the Court Recordsbut the United States Post Office department in 1892, shortened its nameto the name of Frederick.
(The following paragraphhas some unreadable sections)
Samuel P. Vail was the firststore ….in the village in the year of ……..Farewell and Co. …..mercantilebusiness in …..grew to large proportions. They had a large slaughterhouse just inside what is now Herman Rebman’s pasture just beyond the gate.Maro Farewell came here from the east in 1848 and joined his brother andin 1852 they built a large store building on the present site of Mr. WillHinderer’s store. They also built a large warehouse on the Illinois Riverwhich stood until about twenty years ago. They engaged in merchandising,pork-packing, and steam boating and had probably the largest business ofany firm on the Illinois River.
1n 1853, the developmentof the pork-packing business in Rushville and Frederick created a demandfor highway improvement and a local company was organized to build a plankroad from the two towns. The road was built and toll gates were establishedand a charge for every vehicle or animal that used the road. With the declineof the pork-packing business the road was abandoned in 1866, though itserved well its purpose during the years it was in use.
Steamboats loaded at Pittsburg,Pennsylvania, brought their entire cargo to Frederick, and on return wouldtake back east their valuable cargo of pork and lard. These ships wouldstay all day in the landing and wagons stood in line for a mile or so waitingfor their turn to load or unload.
In those days it looked asif Frederick was destined to be one of the big towns along the IllinoisRiver. At one time Frederick was larger than Chicago. Not Chicago today,but the Chicago in 1837.
The first ferry license wasissued in 1826 to Thomas Beard, the founder of Beardstown, Illinois, whodesired to establish means of communication across the river where Beardstownis now located, charging the following rates: wagon and four horses oroxen, 75¢; wagon and two horses, 50¢; wagon or cart and horse,37¼¢; man and horse, 12½¢; loose, 6¼¢;footman, 6¼¢; cattle, per head 5¢; sheep, hogs, goatsper head, 2¢. The ferry was maintained until 1889.
[The first railroad was builtby] (Author’s note: Newspaper has deteriorated at his point and it is difficultto read) Rock Island and Alton road in 1836. It was to pass through Rushvilleto Littleton. They had a road bed graded and bridges built but decidedto follow the river to Browning. They sold out to the Burlington systemand is known as the Rock Island and St. Louis division.
The first telephone linewas built in 1894 by Frederick Avery of Industry. The terminal stationwas in the Cottage Hotel at Rushville and there were toll stations at Frederickand Pleasantview.
The winter of 1830 and 1831was known as the winter of the deep snow. Snow began falling on the nightof December 20, 1830 and continued steadily for three days, and it wasnot until the middle of February that the skies cleared and the snows ceased.The whole central and northern part of Illinois was covered with snow toa depth of four feet on a level and in places it was banked to a depthof 20 to 25 feet. To the settlers living in their rude cabins with onlyscant shelter for their stock the snow was a calamity that was disheartening.
The winter of 1836 was knownas the winter of the sudden freeze. The most remarkable freak of weatherrecalled by Frederick pioneers occurred in December of this year. A suddencold wave suddenly swept down on central Illinois and caught the settlersunaware. Although in mid-winter it was seasonably warm that day and a drizzlingrain had soaked the ground. It cleared up about noon and farmers were abouttheir outdoor work when about two o’clock it began to grow dark and a strongwind sprang up from the northwest. It was a cold bitter wind and the temperaturewent down with a rush. Within a very short time everything was frozen solidand chickens, pigs, and other small animals were frozen in the muddy groundbefore their sharp instinct promoted them to seek a place of shelter. Menwho had driven to the fields in the mud an hour before hurried home overfrozen ground hard enough to hold a loaded wagon. As to the extent of thetemperature however no instrument has left any record, but ice was frozenin the streams as variously reported, from six inches to a foot in thicknessin a few hours.
The year of 1884 is knownas the time of the mighty flood. In the spring and summer of that yearthe Illinois river was raised to a height far in excess of any prior periodknown since the settlement of the town and the high water marks in theIllinois river are based on the stage of the water that year. The rivervalley country was then sparsely settled in Schuyler and property losseswere not as heavy as they have been in the most recent years but more thanone town site along the river received the death blow.
Frederick Township has abandonedthe village Erie which was located on section 20, located on the river.It was founded about 1834 but the great flood of 1844 blasted the hopesof this village.
Schuyler City was anotherriver town which was laid out in 1836 on section 4 near the mouth of SugarCreek. One of the pioneers in reciting the story of Schuyler City saidthe ground on which it was built was so low a fog on the river would makean overflow. After the flood of 1844 Schuyler City was heard of no more.
Mosco located on the northwestquarter of section 6 also gained distinction as a government Post Office,and Anthony Messer was postmaster, but the town was never platted and whenFrederick was founded the Post Office was moved down the bluff.
In July 1848 the price ofwheat was 50¢, corn 15¢, and oats 15¢.
In June 1851, wheat was 60¢,corn 30¢, potatoes 65¢, beef 5¢, bacon 7¢, ham 10¢,lard 6v, butter 2¢, and eggs were 5¢.
In September 1850 wheat was47¢, corn 75¢, ham 12¼¢, chickens $.15, eggs 5¢,butter 10¢, and cheese 10¢.
In November 1865, wheat was$1.25, oats 20¢, corn 30¢, lard 20¢, and potatoes 20¢.
The first school in Frederickwas held in a private cabin built by Horatio Benton in 1845. The firstschool house was built in 1846, a small one-story frame building whichwas afterwards used as the town hall.
In 1871, a two story brickschool building was erected which burned down in 1929. The present schoolbuilding was built in 1929 and was nearly completed when the old one burneddown.
An old pottery plant waslocated on what is now called the Frank Brown property. They made jugs,jars, and most all things in pottery.
We also have the popularknown gravel pit. The railroad needed gravel to ballast their track sothey leased the hollow for three years and built a switch track and hauledgravel off by the train loads. The railroad company wished to buy the hollowafter the lease ran out. The papers were drawn up and the agent came witha check to pay for it. The owner of the hollow was made angry as he wantedthe cash. He was not used to the banking system and thought he might beswindled out of it so he refused to sell. The tracks were then torn upand work at the gravel pit ceased.
Little is known today ofthe grist mill only that there was one located on the same site as whereFrank Rayborn now lives. The actual starting of the brickyard is not knownnow but it has been working continuously since it was started and was neverabandoned as nearly all other enterprises which started here. When Frederickwas first founded nearly all of the town lay below the railroad tracksclose to the river. The almost annual floods each year tended to be themain reason why they moved closer to the bluff.
In 1896, the Coal Creek Drainageand Levee district was formed reclaiming a large body of rich land in Frederickand Bainbridge townships. It included 7,000 acres in all. The old roadto Beardstown from Frederick followed the river banks all the way. Theroad in spring of the year was almost always covered with water so thisroad was abandoned and the present road site was formed in 1910.
In 1923 a new hard road wascompleted on this same route. In the same year the railroad made what wecalled the high-line, cutting through the heart of Frederick taking a lotof the old buildings, making the town an entirely different town.
The first church servicesany record is made of was held in the town hall or the school house asitwas then called. The minister was a Methodist circuit minister. The oldChristian church was built in 1890 and served the city of Frederick fornearly half a century. This building burned down only last year.
The “Church of God” was builtin 1897 but was closed a few years later and the building was bought bythe Modern Woodmen and Royal Neighbors for a lodge hall and then laterwas torn down when the newly completed hard road to Browning was completed.
In 1900, the population,according to the U.S. Census, was 628 while the present population is approximatelyonly half of that.
But while Frederick had itsmost prosperous years in the early sixties, it is still home sweet hometo many a person who was born here.
Copyright 1999,2000 Bob Kuhn; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial useof the information contained in these
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