On the 23rd dayof June, 1869, this village was laid out upon the S. E. ¼ of section26, by William Seachrist, and surveyed and platted by J. W. Watts, thecounty surveyor. The town was built along the base of the hill, andpresents a picturesque appearance, as one approaches it. The buildingsare neat and comfortable. It has a station upon the Chicago, Burlingtonand Quincy Railroad, Rushville branch, and offers to the capitalist seekingan investment, a manufacturing site rarely equaled. An inexhaustiblesupply of fine timber, coal, building stone, potters clay, water in abundanceat all seasons, and a mill site not surpassed anywhere. The first housebuilt, where the town now stands was the rude log cabin of William Lamb,one of the pioneers of the township. The first store erected beforethe town was platted, was a small one-story frame structure, built by JamesSkiles, who removed his stock of goods and the post-office there from OilHill; when the name of the office was changed to that of Ray, Mr. Skilescontinued to act as postmaster. The business firm became known as Skiles& Tracy. This was in the spring of 1869. Richard Ashcraft keptthe first hotel. Garret Roberts, and Hoops & Pemberton had thefirst tile factory. Snowden & Aten built the first mill, a waterpower saw mill on Cedar creek, when the town was first located. Thefirst church was erected in 1876, by all the different congregations, andis known as the Union church. It is a neat frame building, and isunder the control of the M. E. congregation, of which the Rev. Ralph Pattersonis pastor. All denominations have the privilege of holding religiousservices beneath its roof. The first school house was completed inthe spring of 1879, the old one previously used being a half a mile southof the village. Mr. Nicholas Pittenger was the first teacher, thefirst session commencing in the fall of 1879. It is a neat and commodiousbuilding, furnished with improved furniture and apparatus, and a term ofseven months duration is maintained.
Tile Works.–Thereare two tile factories in the village. One, now in operation, has a capitalof $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 isa large frame, covered with sheet iron. Its dimensions are 150 feet by32 feet, with an additional width of 10 feet, at the end in which the engineis placed. Four large kilns are now undergoing construction, and the numberwill be increased in the future.
Grain Elevator.–Thegrain 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. Twomen find employment in the business. A good pair of platform scales areconnected with the elevator.
Saw Mill.–The dateof building this mill is given above. It is owned and operated by CorneliusAten, and manufactures large quanities of hard lumber, which finds a readysale. Five men find employment in this industrial establishment.
General Store.–Wilson& Graff.
Drug Store.–Mrs.Sarah Baxter.
Physician.–Dr. R.M. Barnes.
Hotels.–Abner Winnerand Marion Woods.
Carpenters.–DavidS. Moore and Jesse Pemberton.
Excerpted from The CombinedHistory of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882
Transcribed by Carol LongwellMiller for Schuyler County ILGenWeb
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