Annuals of Knox County, Illinois

typed by Ann Maxwell the whole book for publishing here at American History & Genealogy Project


Municipal Notes:

     Yates City

 In Salem Township are Yates City, Douglas and Uniontown. The last was surveyed and platted in 1839. It was in the earlier days a point of much importance. Luther Carey opened the first store there and Jacob Booth and Moses Shinn a blacksmith shop, and they made plows and wagons. Thomas Griggsby began brick burning in 1845. The first school opened in 1843. The building of the railroad elsewhere killed its prospects. 

Douglas, sometimes called Summit, was laid out October 17, 1856 and it developed from the building of the Peoria line of the Burlington. It has been a lively trading point and has maintained a number of stores, and had excellent facilities for handling grain. It maintains a good school. 

Yates City is the principal municipality of the southeast part of the county, and is at one of the Burlington junctions. It was laid out in 1837 by William and A.C. Babcock, Thomas Maple, Rufus H. Bishop, Bostwick Kent and James Burson. James Burson erected the first business house; John Donnemaker opened the first hotel, and Isaac West erected the first dwelling. Buffum and Knable established a grain warehouse. A good flouring mill was built in 1868. Brick and tile were formerly manufactured in large quality. 

The Harvest Home Association, which has made Yates City famous for its annual celebrations, was established in 1886, largely through the efforts of Editor McKeighan of the Banner. 

The saloon which from 1857 had fastened itself on the city was wiped out in 1875 had fastened itself on the city was wiped out in 1875 and with the exception of 1888 and 1895 was kept out. Good banks have for years furnished excellent financial facilities. The city has a first class line of business houses. 

The first post office was opened in February 1859, with J.M. Corey as postmaster. 

Yates City was chartered on March 4, 1869

For many years, Yates City has maintained a high standard of schools. Among those who were its principals were the late W.L. Steele, so long superintendent of the city schools of Galesburg, and W.F. Boyes, present county superintendent of schools. 

Of the Yates City churches, the First Presbyterian was organized November 16, 1866, and the Methodists completed an edifice in 1868. 

Also fraternally, Yates City is strong and it has witnessed the organization of Masonic, Odd Fellow and Modern Woodmen lodges, and a Grand Army Post. 

Yates City has for many years maintained a strong political influence in the county, and one of its best-known young men, Frank L. Adams, has for years served efficiently as county clerk. 


The village of Maquon is situated on or near the site of the old Indian village at the north line of the township and was surveyed by Parnach Owen in 1836, who assisted by several others laid out the village. For several years, it had neither religious or educational institutions, but was the site of a distillery and racetrack, according to Gale’s history of the county. Both these long since disappeared and years ago Maquon took its place as one of the model communities of Knox. The village was incorporated March 4, 1857, and its population by 1880 had reached 548. The first building in the village was Cox’s tavern, built by Benjamin Cox, and for twenty years used as barracks, kept by Nathan Barbero. John Hipple conducted the first store in a building erected by Matthew Maddox in 1839. For forty years, there has been no saloon in Maquon. Foxie's Note: Doesn't sound right as Maquon as always been known for it's taverns.  The business interests are well represented by well-conducted stores and banks. 

The business portion of Maquon has experienced six disastrous fires all of them of doubtful origin. 

Prior to 1848, Maquon schools were held in rooms furnished by Nathan and Calister Barbero, but in that year a substantial brick building was erected. The initial attendance was 175 pupils. The Maquon School for many years has been considered one of the best in the county. 

Maquon has responded nobly to all patriotic demands.  In the Civil War a full quota of 250 came from the village and township. 

The village is well supplied with fraternal organizations, which provide a congenial social life. 

Rapatee, also in Maquon Township, was founded in 1883, with the building of the Iowa Central in 1883. It was laid out by Benjamin Adams and A. B. Stewart was its first merchant. 


Rio, in Rio Township, was platted in 1871 by William Robinson, and was first called Coburg. The pioneer store was built by Messrs. Schroeder and Owens. Nelson Coe was the first postmaster. Rio has always had enterprising merchants, and has been a good trading center. Since its founding, there have been organized there Masonic, Odd Fellow, Modern Woodmen, Eastern Star and Home Forum lodges. The place also maintains religious worship. 

An Early Inventor 

Some mention has been made elsewhere of the inventors of the county who contributed to its agricultural development. Mention should be made of Riley Root, who seemed to be the inventive genius of the colonists. Among other things, he produced the rotary snowplow, a device for clarifying cane or corn syrups, and a surveyor’s level. Foxie's Note: my 3rd great Uncle George Washington Brown invented the corn planter & had a big factory in the city of Galesburg, IL. just wanted this noted here as they tend to forget about him.  

Ambassador to China

A Galesburg and Knox County boy, Edwin Hurd Conger, rose to high distinction after graduating from Lombard College in 1862 and serving through the war, where he was brevetted as major for gallant service. In 1880, he was elected state treasurer of Iowa. In 1886, he was elected to Congress and was twice re-elected. President Harrison appointed him minister to Brazil serving until 1893. In 1897, he was reappointed to the Brazil post but in 1898, was transferred to China, where he served with distinction for a number of years and where during the Boxer uprising he was a conspicuous international figure.


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