History and Reminiscences Vol. III
FROM THE RECORDS OF
OLD SETTLERS' UNION
Material comprised in
Reports of Committees on History and Reminiscences
for years 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922
Published under the auspices of
Old Settlers' Union of Princeville and Vicinity
ODILLON B. SLANE
MRS. ETTA EDWARDS
THE OLD SETTLERS' UNION OF PRINCEVILLE
Organized August 22, 1906, and first picnic held September 19 of same year.
Object, "To perpetuate the memories of pioneer days, foster a reverence for our forefathers, and encourage the spirit of fellowship and hospitality."
Annual picnic and reunion last Thursday in August, unless changed by Executive Committee.
Eligible to membership: Any person 21 years of age, having resided within the State of Illinois one year; dues $1.00 per year.
Townships included: Princeville, Akron, Millbrook, Jubilee, Hallock and Radnor in Peoria County; Essex, Valley and West Jersey in Stark County; Truro in Knox County; and LaPrairie in Marshall County.
Committees on History and Reminiscences:
1916: Peter Auten, A. A. Dart, G. I. McGinnis.
1917: Peter Auten, A. A. Dart, O. B. Slane.
1918: Peter Auten, A. A. Dart, O. B. Slane.
1919: Mrs. Etta Edwards.
1920: O. B. Slane, Mrs. Etta Edwards.
1921: O. B. Slane, Mrs. Etta Edwards.
1922: O. B. Slane, Mrs. Etta Edwards, Peter Auten, Stewart Campbell.
This book, a companion to Vol. I issued in 1912, and Vol. II issued in 1915, is a reproduction with a few corrections and additions of the various sketches as transmitted by the respective committees to the Union in years 1916 to 1922, inclusive, and the year of writing is indicated on each sketch. Articles on general subjects are given first, then family histories in alphabetical order, then lists of the World's War service men from the different townships, and finally lists of the burials in Princeville's two cemeteries. Lists of burials in other cemeteries within the territory of the O. S. U. P. V. are suggested for the next Volume.
Special attention is called to the lists of service men by townships. The committee felt that these lists should be compiled and preserved while available.
Each of the Reminiscence Committees has realized that the families named in its sketches are but a few taken from among the many worthy the pen of a historian. The Publishing Committee therefore hopes that this volume will be an incentive to the writing of additional family sketches, and also of additional sketches on memorable events or subjects of a general nature, which may in due time be published in another volume similiar to this one.
The families whose history is herein printed are urged to preserve enough copies of this volume for each of their children. Several have indicated their intention of purchasing Vols. I and II, also, in order to have a complete set of the books from the start; and some are planning to have all three volumes permanently bound together.
Price of this Volume, postpaid: 60 cents.
A limited number of copies of Vols. I and II may be had while they last at the same price as Vol. III. Send orders for either volume to Miss Mary Smith, Princeville, Ill.
By Odillon B. Slane, 1921.
Mother of the pioneers,
Queen of the cabin home, Out where the dark forest clears,
And where wild Indians roam; Where the back-log's blazing tongues
Warm up the hearth of stone; And where the scout devours his meal
Of venison and pone.
Mother of the pioneers,
Where frosted prairies wild, Reach to the far off frontiers;
Where the sun of morning smiled On ranch and hut of western peers,
(As these are often styled) Like as a mother's smile that cheers
The heart-throbs of her child.
Mother of the pioneers,
Next to Nature's own,
Memories of the years aglow Are with us in the gloam;
Only in the yester year,
When shades of evening shone, Lingering herea presence near We are not all alone.
Mother of those pioneers, Who turned the virgin loam,
Where harvests of the after years Now gladden the modern home.
The halo of a sunset nears, Where truest love is known;
Mother of the pioneers,
We worship at thy throne.
Mother of the pioneers,
A future blessing see;
Thine throughout the coming years A hallowed name shall be;
A powera glory shall be thine, A kingdom that is free,
And offspring from the parent vine Shall rise to honor thee.
PRINCEVILLE'S FIRST BAND.
By S. S. Slane 1922.
The organization of Princeville's first band was planned in 1849. The money to purchase the instruments was raised by subscription. The instruments when purchased were shipped to Princeton, Ill., and B. F. Slane and William Clark drove to Princeton with a team after them. Members of this band, together with their instruments were:
Graham Klinck, Leader, post horn,
Dr. Robert F. Henry, tenor trombone,
Benj. F. Slane, bass drum.
John Z. Slane, ophicleide,
George W. Hitchcock, bass trombone,
Albert Rowley, clarinet,
Thomas Clarke, cornopean,
Mr. Bowers, cornopean.
The first director of this band was a Mr. Mills from Galesburg, Ill. On July 4th, 1850, the band played for a celebration at Brimfield, Ill. There were but few houses between Princeville and Brimfield at that time, and in passing by each house the hand would play a tune. On arriving at Brimfield they met their former director, Mr. Mills, who was surprised and delighted to note the progress made since he had last played with them.
On July 4, 1851, this band played for a celebration at Chillicothe, Ill., whither they went riding on a 'hayrack. Some of the pieces played were: "Washington Crossing the Delaware", "Star Spangled Banner", "Hail Columbia", "Old Virginia", and "Washington's Grand March".
PRINCEVILLE CORNET BAND.
(Otherwise known as Klinck's Cornet Band)
By F. M. Klinck 1922.
The Princeville Cornet Band was organized in the fall of 1873 by William F. Bettis who served as leader and instructor for six months. Business calling him away at this time, at his suggestion F. M. Klinck, more commonly known as Marion, was chosen leader and instructor, which position he held with the band for fifteen years, or until the spring of 1889 when the Klinck brothers removed to Nebraska. During this period the band was never disorganized but was always ready to fill engagments at the shortest possible notice, having many special calls to Peoria. In politics the band was neutral and many of our citizens will remember the good old times when the band headed delegations, Republicans and Democrats alike in presidental campaigns to Peoria, Elmwood, Galesburg, Galva and many other towns in this part of central Illinois.
PERSONELLE OF THE BAND.
- M. Klinck, Director, Eb Cornet,
- Melvin Klinck, Cornet Soloist,
- Douglas Klinck, Solo Bb Cornet.
- C. Petitt, 1st Bb Cornet,
- Charles Roweliffe, 1st Bb Cornet,
- Charles Blanchard, Solo Eb Alto,
- Augustus Sloan, 1st Eb Alto,
- Wallace Sloan, 2nd Eb Alto,
- William McDowell, 1st Bb Tenor,
- Russell, 2nd Bb Tenor,
- Newton Pratt, Bb Baritone,
- Leonard Klinck, 1st Bb Bass,
- S. Pratt, 2nd Bb Bass,
- Klinck, Eb Bass,
- Pratt, Bass Drum and cymbals,
- Aquilla Metzel, Tenor Drum.
Since the band was disorganized in 1889 the following members have died: Charles Blanchard, Jonah Pratt, O. S. Pratt, Newton Pratt, William McDowell, H. C. Petitt, Leonard Klinck.
SINGING ORGANIZATIONS OF PRINCEVILLE.
By Mrs. Etta Edwards, 1922.
In conversing with our pioneers whose memories go back to our earliest days, we find the stories of the old-fashioned singing school among the most interesting. During the long winter evenings the young people of the neighborhood would gather in the old schoolhouse, church, or some home, reaching there by way of the lumber wagon, sled, on horseback, or on foot, and spend many happy hours in song, led by a teacher with the aid of nothing more than a tuning fork. Among the early teachers were George Houston, F. B. Blanchard, John Seery, and Ellis M. Burgess. Much melody, rare good times, and ability in singing by note was the result, and incidently not a few matches were made, there being keen rivalry in the selection of "pardners". On one occasion a young man who had outwitted his rival in securing the company of his girl informed his rival scathingly, "You can go 'long with the cows." At parties the evening was finished by a circle of happy young people singing a farewell song and night was made melodious as they made their way homeward.
Children in school were taught geography and the multiplication table by song, and song was a part of family worship in many homes. One lady said "Why, when I was a little girl I could read music by note before I could read words."
Among the names of Princeville people whose love of music has made them of great benefit to our community, life, that of Ellis M. Burgess is prominent. Be-
sides his gift as a singer he was an expert snare drummer. He was choir leader in the Presbyterian church for many years, and taught singing school in the various social centers in and around Princeville, spending most of his evenings in the work. Arriving 'here in the stirring times of recruiting for the Civil War, his talent and gift of leadership were immediately utilized. He organized a glee club for the singing of war songs and they won great popularity throughout this part of the country. On one occasion when Governor Yates was speaker at a grand rally in Peoria, this Glee Club was invited to sing at an open air meeting at the Court House Square. The Glee Club was met outside the City by a delegation of prominent citizens and escorted to the Court House Square. They sang from a stand on one side of the Court House and were then taken to a stand on the other side where they sang again, so that all this throng of people might hear. During the singing of one of the choruses which contained the words "Look out there now, I'se gwine to shoot" revolvers were discharged on the word "Shoot" and the effect produced wild enthusiasm from the audience. The popularity of the Club became so great that Clubs which had been singing before the arrival of the Princeville Club were heard no more, and the Princeville Club was forced to sing again and again. They were taken into the most prominent homes of Peoria and were entertained royally. It was said no other influence touched the hearts of the people and did more for the good cause than the songs sung by this Club. At a Fourth of July Rally in Princeville when Reverend Dick Haney had delivered an oration which was followed by a song from the Club, he rose, swung his silk hat in the air and shouted "Three cheers for the best singing I have ever heard in my life." The names of these singers were Lydia Owens, Robie and Diana Packer, Dr. Cutter, John Seery, and Ellis M. Burgess. Others who sang from time to time were John French, Charlie Stevens, Charlie Brocket, Maggie Nixon and Maria Stevens.
Another Club, calling themselves the Awkward Squad, was organized after the War. This Club, which became popular, was composed of Allen Fast, Jim McGinnis, Charlie Cutter, Maggie and Fida Edwards, Emma Bliss, Phronia Owens, and Dora Burgess. One of their number when but a little girl sang at a concert given in Princeville by the afterwards world-famous Emma Abbott. While practicing at the Owens' Hotel previous to her recital, Miss Abbott heard the voice of a little girl in the distance, imitating her with such sweetness and purity of tone that she sought her out and arranged for her appearance on the platform that evening. The little girl was Phronia Owens, and of her, as well as her sisters, Princeville became very proud. Lydia Owens, who has devoted her life to music, began teaching singing in Princeville and vicinity at the age of seventeen. She has studied music in Chicago, London and Paris. She led the sopranos in the chorus of "The Creation" when it was given by Parepa Rosa at her last appearance in Chicago. She led the quartette in the People's Church in Chicago for years and is still successfully following her chosen work. Carrie Bell Owens, a younger sister, also studied abroad and, like her sister, has been a successful teacher of piano and voice in Chicago.
Another line in which Princeville has been unusually rich is in her male quartettes. Many can remember the one composed of Jim Carman, Frank Slater, Paul Hull, and Harry Burgess. Their popularity soon became so great that no entertainment was complete without them as a drawing card. Then there were Willis Hoag, Eden Andrews, Walt Fast, Mervin Hoag (whose place was filled when he left Princeville, by Sherman Henry), who were sought after from far and near, and who loved so much to sing that they were known to sit on the cemetery fence and sing to an imaginary audience at midnight. Clarence Phillips, Otto Rogers, Byron and Emmett Fast formed another group which made an indelible impression on the peo-
ple who heard them. The next quartette to delight the public was composed of Carl B. Moore, Addie Dart, XV. M. Keck, and Dr. Hawkes. The people of to-day never fail to show their appreciation of our present quartette composed of Dr. Hawkes, W. M. Keck, W. O. Foster, Harry Rose; and our present high school male quartette composed of Orvis Hoag, Armond Foster, Luther Mansfield and Lester Hawkes, may make them all take a minor place when they reach the zenith of their power.
As a community, we owe much gratitude to the Improvement Society, for a line of work adopted by them in the year 1908. Several attempts had been made to put a musical instructor into our school, but finances were low and music uncertain, so the Improvement Society voted to assume the responsibility of paying the instructor's salary. They continued to do this until the year 1918, when the Board of Directors were able to assume the responsibility. Besides the payment of the instructor's salary the Improvement Society bought and donated to the school a piano, several organs, paid for much of the music used, and gave a donation for the purchase of victrola records.
Nor do we forget our Church Choirs which have always been in their places through fair or foul weather to cheer or encourage us, or to soothe and make us forget our sorrows. Their cooperation with such faithful persons as Maggie Edwards, who played the organ and led the singing in the Presbyterian Church for years; Mrs. Maria Auten who, undaunted by family cares brought her little ones into the choir with her and played the organ while she sang; and Hattie Blanchard Wear, who began playing and singing in the Methodist Church at the age of fourteen, and who has served through regular services and revivals unceasingly; and Alice Peters, who sang her way into the hearts of the people here and in foreign lands, and finally into Heaven; and Marie Henry, whose voice was never more powerful than when uplifted in song
for the cause of humanity; and others as devoted; has had an influence for good which cannot be estimated. Edward Auten Jr., with the assistance of Marie Henry, through persistent effort among the people succeeded in raising by subscription enough money to buy and place in the Presbyterian Church, in June 1905, our first pipe organ, and Mr. Auten has been pouring forth his soul through his beloved organ ever since, to the appreciation of his hearers.
On the evening of the dedication of the organ Miss Edith Campbell, who has become one of the best pipe organists in Peoria, gave a recital which delighted the audience and recalled ber faithful work as organist and leader in musical work of the church while she lived in Princeville.
As we come to the present time, we cannot fail to pay a tribute to Miss Fern Parents who for several years played and sang, first in the Catholic Church, 'and later in the Methodist Church, and who has given her wonderful gift of song and leadership so freely to the people, that we feel she is our very own.
Through the cooperation of the many people who love to use their voices in the praise of God, Princeville has had some wonderful treats in oratorios, cantatas, and other musical entertainments, the excellence of which has brought audiences which tax our Churches to the limit.
May we never lack for singers in our Churches, and may there always be someone to honor and cherish the singers of each generation as their accomplishments shall also become reminiscences.
ODE ON A PAIR OF OLD ANDIRONS.
By Ruth E. Perkins, a grand-niece of Elizabeth A.
Slane ("Aunt Betty") of Princeville who
had owned these Andirons. 1917.
Dignified, solemn, antiquely modern, the old hand-wrought iron andirons stand guard in the old-fashioned
fireplace. On the evenings when no fire leaps and grasps at the shadows in the fireplace they seem only what they actually are, marvelously preserved relics of the past; but when there is a fire in that fireplace they change, slowly, mysteriously, and through the medium of the ruddy flames, become the romantic historians of over a hundred years ago.
Against the glowing background they stand, black sentinels, while between them, as through an open portal, go the spirits of our imaginations to find, in the glowing embers, pictures of the long ago.
Where are the infinitely skillful, work hardened hands which fashioned from the native metal those everliving monuments to his memory?
What giants of the forest have lain, shorn of their beauties, pathetic in their helpless strength, cradled on their black arms, then to be wrapped forever in the warming blanket of the flames?
What scenes of household work and pleasures have they witnessed? What sumptuous Christmas dinners cooked within the fireplace's cavernous mouth? What stories told around the fire on a winter's evening while the children cracked nuts and roasted chestnuts and apples in the glowing coals? What apple parings and quilting bees? What candy pulls and jolly kitchen dances, while the winking, twinkling, dancing flames kept time as did the dancers to the music? What tender lover's sighs, and mother's crooning lullabyes? What swarthy Indian faces, giving back a redder hue to the crackling, snapping fire of an early settler's log cabin? What scenes of want, and hunger and stubborn courage and hope and faith? What pictures of thanksgiving and joy and love?
Over a hundred years, and the faces and forms, the sorrows and pleasures of those people of long ago are gone to return no more. Still those old black, hand-wrought andirons stand, silent sentinels, content with their memories.
REMINISCENCES BY PHRONIA OWENS HALL
1920, 1921 and 1922.
Stephen A. Douglas Visit to Princeville
During the Lincoln and Douglas campaign a wonderful experience came to the little Owens children. They heard their father say, "The Little Giant will be here to supper tonight. He's going to make a speech in the hall." The only giants they knew were in the circus which occasionally visited Chillicothe, so they could hardly wait for the night to come. The bands began to play, and cheers could be heard on all sides. They kept out of sight as much as possible, fearing they might be sent to bed early. Finally they stole down the stairs and peeked into the sitting room and there, lying on the lounge, was a man. And at the sight of that God-like head, they whispered, "Yes, that's a giant's head." Just as they had reached that far in their whispering, a pair of the dearest, kindly eyes looked at the little culprits, and the richest voice said, "Little ones come in and talk to me won't you?"
They went in at once, and up to the lounge, placing their hands in the outstretched ones of the Little Giant. He asked the name of each. Then he said, "Willie you'll give me a kiss, won't you ?" Willie did without hesitation, as did Eddy. The little girl did not respond. Then he said, "Phronia aren't you going to give me a kiss ?" "Oh no," said the little imp, "Girls mustn't kiss giants." The wonderful Douglas understood, and laughed, and laughed, as he still held the hand of the little girl. Then baby Eddy spoke up, "I like you !" "Do you now ?" said the Douglas, then looked expectantly at the other two. Willie promptly responded, "I do too !" Phronia hesitated, thenas the kindly eyes looked into hersshe said, "Oh yes, I like you, but I must not kiss you." He looked at her then"You dear little woman, you !" Then the Mothers voice was heard calling, and they bade good-by to their "Little Giant" and went up stairs to bed;
but not to sleep for some time, for the wonderful Douglas had impressed himself on the minds and hearts of those children forever. They longed to follow him. The receding notes of the band seemed to be bearing their loved friend away, far away from them. The morning came, and with eager faces they came down the stairs with a longing in their hearts to greet their "Little Giant" again. And many tears were shed when they were told that he had gone.
Todaythe only one left of that little company kneels at the tomb of Stephen A. Douglas. More than sixty years have passed since the little girl of the Yesterdays looked into his dear kind eyes, and placed her hand in his. Wonderful indeed is a personality which will stamp itself so indelibly on the heart and mind of a child. He rests from all trouble and care, in the city of Chicago. His tomb is surrounded with beautiful foliage, trees, and flowers, while to the East, great Lake Michigan washes her waves in a requiem at his feet. His majestic figure in bronze tops the great shaft of his monument; but in the heart of the little girl he builded a monument which time, nor space, can ever destroy. Gaze on, kindly eyes across the waves to the distant shores; and in "the Land where our dreams come true," may the little girl of the Yesterdays find you.
PHRONIA OWENS HALL.
Note. S. S. Slane says: The reception Committee on the occasion of the Douglas visit to Princeville in 1857 or '58, was Benjamin Slane, Col. James Henry and Esq. Ira Moody. Mr. Slane, as President of the meeting, introduced Mr. Douglas, who spoke from the South porch of Hitchcock's hall.
Friday afternoons at the old stone schoolhouse were given to speaking. The first time the little Owens children attended, they heard an orator in embryodeclaim "Mary had a little lamb." "Its
fleece was white as snow." They enjoyed the masterpiece immensely; but could hardly wait to get home. Then began a search for a most wonderful insect. Every dog and cat in the neighborhood was thoroughly investigated. Their dog Ponto's experience was especially tiresome. Even though there were six little hands busy, it took some time to go over the body of the huge mastiff. He bore it patientlyas do all great souls bear the trials and vexations of this life. Columbus could not have been more enthusiastic over discovering the new world, than were these children in pursuit of the new insect. When asked by the mother what they were doing, they said "Why, we're huntin' for white fleas." "A little girl in school spoke about a little lamb that had white fleas." The mother could hardly keep from showing what she thought, but quietly explained to the would-be discoverers the difference in the words which sounded so much alike. But oh, the disappointment to the energetic little workers! Ponto was perfectly satisfied with the explanation.
PHRONIA OWENS HALL.
Few of those in Princeville know that one of the fiercest battle of the 60's was fought in that town. When the news came of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the children were coming from school across the public square. Two girls were walking side by side. The older said with a sneer, "I'm glad old Lincolns' dead!" The little red head beside her looked at her in amazement, then got busy. When she had finished, the enemy lay yelling on the ground, minus two handfuls of hair, several pieces of epidermis, and the blood of a traitor to our glorious Lincoln was moistening the soil of the patriotic town. When the little red head arrived home, her mother exclaimed, "What's happened to your new sunbonnet?" The little brother spoke up, "She was fightin' with a girl
all cross the square." "What for?" said the Mother. The reply came like a shot. "Cause that girl said she was glad old Lincoln was dead!" The Mother looked at the red head, picked up the new sunbonnet, went into the next room and closed the door. There were no lickens in the family that day.
Thomas Alwood kept the dram shop of Princeville in the 50's. Every Saturday afternoon many would come from miles around to celebrate. Two most interesting characters would, after filling up, engage in a fight. They would seldom hit each other. Having imbibed so freely, their eye sight was poor. They would strike what looked like knockouts, miss, then fall over on the ground. After tiring of that, they would stagger to some tree or side of a house, and sleep off the effects of their spree. Many times a little girl would find Bill leaning against the tavern kept by her father. The drunkard was a friend to the little child who often sang to him. He would call to her, "Come my lil' friend, shing to me." "Shing, Do they mish me at home, do they mish me." The little girl would sing the old song.
"Do they miss me at home, do they miss me,
'Twould be an assurance most dear
To know that this moment some loved one
Was saying, I wish he were here."
Bill, joining in a word or two, shedding a few tears, and joining in again, would finally roll over on the ground and go to sleep. No matter how much under the influence of liquor, Bill was always the courteous gentleman to his little friend. She loved him, as did her dog Ponto. They would have fought 'til they died for old Bill. Why is it a child, and a dog, always love a drunkard? A mystery unsolved.
I think we can all look back to some time or place where a word was spoken, or an act performed, which
helped us along the difficult path of life. Mine came one day at the old Academy, when Maggie Edwards read her most helpful essay, "Nil desperandum," (never despair!) I thrilled, and thrilled, as she read it. A short time after that, in my thirteenth year, I left Princeville. In all the years following, that splendid motto has remained with me. When sorrows and trials have comeas they do to all mortalsI have said, Nil desperandum! I still repeat it! And shall do so until the battle shall be over.
PHRONIA OWENS HALL.
The "Travelers Rest" kept by William Owens was a stopping place for many of the noted men of Illinois on their hunting trips up Spoon River way,Clark and Bob Ingersoll, Oglesby, Yates, Tom Cratty, many, many who made Illinois famous for her statesmen. 'Twas no small task for Mrs. Owens to prepare the wonderful suppers which were served at midnight for those ravenously hungry hunters on their homeward way, their hunting bags filled with game from the great forests around Princeville. Oh the clashes of wit, and the jolly laughter, as they would gather at the long table set for them. And many were the words of praise bestowed on Mrs. Owens and her very capable helpers. Mary Umbaugh and Sarah Chambers. My, what strong, brave souls, were the women of those days! Hardly an hour in the twenty-four they could call their own for rest or recreation. No age, past, or present, can surpass them.
So, old Illinois, when yer a hearkin back
To the days o' huntin', fishin', an' swimmin',
In yer words of praiseNow don't be slack,
Jest take off yer hat to them wimmin.
In the days when ye was sore beset,
An the situation was a grim un,
Did they holler, an fret? No, ye jest bet,
Not a squeal from them gritty wimmin.
They picked up the ax, they picked up the hoe,
They made supper when light was a dimmin',
From morn til night they was on the go,
My! What was they made ofthem wimmin?
We know, when they was drawin' near "The Gate", Good St. Peter 'd keep the light a glimmin',
An' at "The Entrance" he'd patiently wait
Til they was all therethem faithful wimmin.
PHRONIA OWENS HALL.
Oct. 10, 1920.
- MARION KLINCK, THE ORATOR, HAS A RIVAL.
One of the young scholars at the old stone school house was not satisfied with the soft little pieces given to the girls to speak on Friday afternoons. She would hear the boys, Marion Klinck, Allen Fast, Warren Bouton and others speak such perfectly thrilling and bloodcurdling pieces, that she determined 'twas not fair to make the girls speak "Twinkle, twinkle little star" and "Sing little birdie, sing." One memorable afternoon Marion Klinck spoke "Rienzi's Address to the Romans." Talk about oratory! They knew his efforts could not be equalled in the world. When he came to the lines, "Rouse ye Romans !" "Rouse ye slaves !" they were all roused and were slaves at his bidding. The little girl, however, felt that she too, could rouse them, if she could speak that piece. So the next day she determined she would go where she could practice undisturbed, and prove that a girl could rouse 'em too. Selecting Cap. Williams field, she wended her way to the stadium. The woods were full of birds and squirrels, which pleased her immensely, as they were her friends, she knew. Mounting a huge log which stretched across an old path, she began the greatest effort of her life. As she progressed, the forest friends began to show uneasiness new to them when their little friend was near. When
she reached those incomparable lines, "Rouse, ye Romans !" every bird took flight, and the squirrels disappeared as if by magic. The successful oratress stood erect with hands stretched forth as if in the real presence of the Romans, and said, "Haven't I proved that my speech is as good as Marion's?" "Didn't I rouse 'em ?" She went home, dancing and skipping all the way. Of course she did not mention that she wished to cross swords with Marion on next speakin' day for the prize. She knew 'twould be no use. The judges were men! The teacher was a man! They, of course, would be shocked at a small girl speaking such a "piece." Those days 'twas women sufferin'. Today, 'tis Women's Suffrage!
Marion, I challenge you!
Steve Bunker drove the stage between Peoria and Toulon in the 60's. One day a man spoke slightingly of his wife to Bunker. Steve turned on him and said, "Mr. if an angel from heaven was to come down here, and tell me your wife wasn't a good woman, I'd say, 'Mister angel, you get back to Heaven mighty quick, before you get your wings clipped!'"
Good old Steve!
PHRONIA OWENS HALL.
BABY DAYS: A TRIBUTE TO S. S. SLANE.
When William and Mary Owens took possession of "the old tavern" (parts of it still stand) they called it "The Travellers Rest", and many noted men of Illinois found the name appropriate. Their daughter Sophronia had arrived at the mature age of four and a half years. She enjoyed the new home immensely, for at that time there came into her life her first sweet-heart. He passed by on the path which led 'round the old corner many times a day, and she would watch for him. He came from down by the old saw-mill, where the great walnut trees were. Every
child in Princeville knew that walnut grove, and the winter evenings were made glorious, as the family and friends would gather around the huge fireplace, and partake of unmatchable walnuts.
Every day Sophronia would take her stand on the old porch at the corner, to watch her Knight pass by. Soon, from down the road, he would appear. Head up, shoulders back, fearless eyeslarge and steadfast
looking straight forward. Then, when he had passed, she would tip-toe behind him, and follow as long as she dared. She would look away up to that lofty head, and wonder, and wonder how long it would be before her head would be as near to the sky as his.
The years went by, many changes came. And the little girl of the yesterdays became a woman,with all the perplexities which have attended woman since she first partook of that treacherous Apple, in her earnest desire to please Mr. Adam.
After more than sixty years Sophronia returns to the old home town. She wanders about trying to find the old familiar places. They too are gone, like the gold from her hair. She goes down where the old saw-mill used to stand. Not a trace of it! The glorious walnut trees have vanished! The little creek, which used to bubble so merrily, looks as though it too was tired, oh, so tired waiting for the little feet of by-gone-days to come and patter in it. The home of her Knight is gone, taking with it the dear, sweet memories of her baby days.
With tears suffusing her eyes, she turns and wanders back to the old Alwood place where she was born. The railroad had taken off all the beautiful garden, trees and rose-bushes, but part of the house still stands, as if in defiance of "the advance of progress." Its spirit renews the courage of Sophronia as, with book and pencil in hand, she stops by the East fence to note the hop-vine which seems a brave descendant of the by-gone one which used to furnish the yeast for many a loaf of matchless bread.
Then she wanders on toward Cap. Williams' field. Where, where is that wonderful place? A modern ball ground and modern homes have driven away the blue-bells, Jack-in-the-pulpits, and violets, and the marvelous number of singing birds, and squirrels and rabbits. That field really belonged to the children in those days. No one disputed their rights. For they did not go forth to destroy as in the present age.
With the rebellion of childhood filling her heart she returns, with lagging step, to the town. She comes to "the old public square" (now a modern park) where there is a gathering of old settlers for their annual picnic.
Suddenly she beholds a figure, tall, with only a slight stoop to the shoulders, approaching. As he comes nearer, she looks into a pair of keen gray eyes looking straight forwardunconquerable. Then she boldly puts out her hand, and speaks his name. He looks into her eyes while courteously holding her hand, but alashe does not know her. She has par-taken freely of life's tragedies in the great world, while he has remained in the old home town. Her hair is whiter than is his e'en though she came to the world many, many years after his arrival on this planet.
Then she speaks the name of her baby-hood days, and those wonderful eyes light up with the same kindly look they held away back when she used to trot along behind him to admire his wonderful height. His keen intellect has stayed with him. And one knows, when she looks into those eyes, that the indomitable courage is still back of them. When he reaches St. Peter's Gate that look will still be there, and the Great Door will swing upon at once, to receive himthe Knight of her baby-hood days. "Clean, fine, honest, faithful !" will come The Voice from within. "Enter thou into the joys of Paradise, and greet those whom thou hast loved in the olden days, but who preceded thee into my Kingdom !"
And when I too shall come to that Gate, may we grasp hands just as in the olden days.
For Auld Lang Syne.
PHRONIA OWENS HALL.
- DAYS: A TRIBUTE TO MR. AND MRS. PETER AUTEN SR.
Away back in the "old stone school-house" days, a little girl used to wander along the great osage hedge which marked the property of Peter Auten Sr. adjoining the school-house. There never was such a fine hedge in all the wide world, thought the small one, as she would stop to visit with the birds and butterflies. The Katy-dids, crickets, and modest old toads, all enjoyed the glorious play of light and shade underneath its branches. The glimpses of a wondrous garden, the other side, made her think of the Heaven her grandmother used to tell about. And every time she would go there, as the sun was near setting, the crimson and gold lights would play on the hollyhocks. They swayed to and fro, making ber think of the Angels in that beautiful place grandmother never tired of recalling.
Her mother had taught her never to intrude on neighbor's gardens. So she had to content herself, for a while, just peeping through the hedge. Then came the wondrous day when she was invited to come in and view its beauties. She came along where the fence joined the hedge, then onto the porch which was near the path in front; all the time gazing wistfully at the glories beyond. The wistfulness must have been apparent to the kind faced lady who sat on the porch, for she said, in such a friendly tone, "Phronia, would you like to come in and see the flowers ?"
Would she! It was as if Heaven's gate had opened to her. She was past speaking but bobbed her little red head in acquiescence. Then followed one of the
most wonderful experiences of her life. Walking beside her Kind Lady, as she ever after called her in her heart, they wandered through those enchanting paths. She did not touch a flower. They were too sacred.
On and on they went from one glory to another. Phronia was spellbound! Her little breast seemed ready to burst with the joy of it all. She will never forget her amazement when the Kind Lady said, as she grasped the little hand, "Phronia, you love flowers, I know, and I'm going to pick some for you."
O little child heart! Born with a love for all things beautiful. 'Twas more than she could comprehend. A tear boldly stood on her cheek as she stammered "Oh, ohYesYesplease!"
She will never, never forget those kindly eyes looking into hers as the flowers were placed in her hand. Then they walked back to the gate. The little feet passed through. The kindly hand held hers for a moment as she said "Come again, Phronia!" When the little red head bobbed again, Kind Lady understood that the wee one's heart was too full for utterance.
From that time a sweet friendship held them both. And in a short time Phronia had the joy of meeting her Kindly GentlemanMr. Peter Auten Sr. He too seemed bent on giving joy and happiness to the little red head. She loved to steal along the fence, then bob her head in front of the gate just to hear her Kindly Gentleman call, "Well, well, there's Phronia!" "Come in, come in!" And many times she sat at the table with them, and "remembered her manners" the very best she could, in honor of those she revered and loved.
The years have come and gone, Phronia is no longer young. The red locks are now white. Her Kind Lady and Kindly Gentleman have long since gone to roam in God's Beautiful Garden. And as Phronia sits and museswhen the sun is throwing
its crimson and gold rays over allher thoughts fly back to those happy days of her childhood with those dear old friends.
And she prays in her heartO, Blessed One, help Phronia to be worthy so that she may come to walk in Thy Beautiful Garden along with those who were so dear to ber hereAnd when she reaches Thy Gate may she hear the dear voices calling "Phronia, come in, come in !" Amen.
PHRONIA OWENS HALL.
Written this seventh day of September, 1921, in loving remembrance of those never-to-be-forgotten friends.
REMINISCENCES OF CIVIL WAR DAYS.
By Lydia Owens Streeter, 1920.
One of the bright spots in memory of the 60's is a trip of the Princeville Glee Club to Peoria to participate in the exercises of a Republican mass meeting, where, after a solo by the narrator, Gov. Yates took off his cloak and placed it on the shoulders of the young singer. At the close of the meeting Editor Emory of the Peoria Transcript invited us in a body to spend the night at his home where he and his charming wife dispensed a never-to-be forgotten hospitality.
During the war, Maud Charles and I on our saddle horses scoured the country for miles around Princeville, raising bounties to encourage young men to enlist. Scraping lint for the dressing of wounds was a common occupation for women and girls. One day as the writer started out on patriotic duty intent, the sound of fife and drum on the public square, where the militia was drilling, attracted the attention of Billy, the Arabian horse who had formerly belonged to a traveling show. The embarrassment and consternation of the rider, when Billy galloped directly in front of
the marching men and stood on his hind feet and performed several tricks, can be better imagined than described.
LYDIA OWENS STREETER.
THE APPLE TREE ROW.
By Odillon B. Slane, 1920.
The Old Apple Tree Row which stood so many years on the South line of the South West Quarter of Section 24, Princeville Township and also the row of apple trees on the West line of the same quarter due North from Wear's corners, were planted by Daniel Prince in 1824. This date is based upon a statement made by Josiah Fulton, a pioneer settler of Peoria Co. and who was considered reliable. Mr. Fulton with several companions following an Indian trail from Rock Island to Ft. Clark, Peoria, in 1826, found this apple tree row and from his best judgment the trees had been set out about two years. They also found a small nursery North on this same section and several trees of this nursery are still standing in what is known as Auten's pasture .Ac cording to S. S. Slane, Daniel Prince started this nursery from apple seeds obtained from a traveler passing through the country.
OLD PRAIRIE TRAILS.
By Odillon B. Slane, 1920.
Years before white men saw the Illinois country, there were numberless trails leading from one distant point of interest to another; there were Indian trails, War trails, Buffalo trails and later, trails of the French and English explorers. Many of these trails were used for years by the early settlers, as means of communication; and later many of them became stage and mail routes. Time and space will not permit us to give a
detailed account of these trails, but those interested are referred to "Randall Parrish's Historic Illinois" pages 115 to 128. This author says: "The old roads growing out of these dim traces across the wilderness, were the arteries through which flowed the life blood of Illinois."
May we mention one Indian trail leading from Rock Island to Ft. Clark, Peoria. This trail passed through Stark Countyonand near the Princeville Cemetery, through Blanchard's timber South West of town and through the Auten and Slane land,thence South Easterly to Ft. Clark.
The Kellogg trail extended from Peoria to Galena, via Dixon, Illinois. There was also an army trail (1832) from Dixon to Ottawa. The Kellogg trail was laid out by an early settler of that name in 1825. It crossed Marshall, Bureau, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson and Jo Davies Counties. The Kellogg trail followed an old Indian track ("Historic Illinois," page 172.) The natural instinct of the Indian as a path finder was beyond question and the principal trails in an early day show very few mistakes of judgment. So far as possible large rivers were avoided, but when they had to be met and crossed, shallow fords were selected. High rocky hills were penetrated by natural passes, while the best camping grounds were selected for the end of the day's journey. It seems that Peoria Lake was a favored meeting placethe end of many a long, long Indian trail.
THE EARLIEST ROADS.
By Peter Auten, 1922.
Location of the new state hard roads has brought up discussion as to the most logical route from Peoria to Princeville, and those contesting for the Mt. Hawley Road point back to the route chosen by the early stage coaches, as proof that theirs is the natural and logical route.
Asked whether the stages came by way of Mt. Hawley or by way of Dunlap, Mr. S. S. Slane said at once, "There was no Dunlap on the map until the railroad went through and put it on the map." The stages, according to Mr. Slane, after reaching the site of Keller Station, whether they came out by the "old fair grounds" and Prospect Avenue road, or whether by Knoxville Avenue, had only the one route to Princeville, via the Mt. Hawley road,stopping at Southampton, West Hallock, and often times at Wm. Houston's at the center of Akron Township, and thence straight West into Princeville. This road skirts the brow of the Illinois River bluffs and the edge of the timber, and has no hills to speak of. Southampton, to be exact, was located two miles South of West Hallock, on the East side of the line between Hallock and Akron Townships.
"Mt. Hawley" from which the road was named, was a point on the brow of the bluff, passed by the stage route, on the "John Holmes" farm, South West quarter of Sec. 29, Medina Township. Some rods East of the present Holmes house was an old log house built by an elderly Mr. Truman Hawley, where he and one of his boys kept Post Office, known as Mt. Hawley Post Office. (One mile East and one half mile North of present site of Alta.) All Princeville mail came through this Mt. Hawley Post Office.
In Judge David McCulloch's History of Peoria County, published in 1902, the Chapter on "Early Roads, Ferries and Bridges" discusses various roads and ferries, and then refers to the "County Commissioners Court", the body which appeared to run the County before the days of township organization and before there was a County Clerk. The County Commissioners Court appointed viewers from time to time who laid out roads in various directions from Peoria, and those different roads were later, to all intents and purposes, adopted as state roads. From Page 86 we quote the following, which probably refers to the
road that we are discussing: "At the March term, 1829, viewers were appointed to locate a road from Peoria to the West bounds of the County by way of Prince's Grove and in the direction of Rocky Island At the June term, 1830, these viewers made their report and the road was established."
On Page 88 is reference to a road laid out from Peoria in the direction of Stephenson, now Rock Isand, which was made a state road by Act of Legislature Feb. 7, 1837. "It came by way of Lafayette and Princeville, thence diagonally to Mt. Hawley.
On Page 89 the same paragraph continues, "In addition to these, there was also a state road laid out by Act of Feb. 10, 1837, from Peoria to Hendersonville in Knox County, by way of Prince's Mill (near Slackwater Bridge.) This road occupied substantially the same route as the one which had been laid out, in part at least, by the County Commissioners." Field notes of this and other roads as finally laid out, may be found in "County Road Book" in Recorder's Office, Peoria.
Again on Page 89 we read, "By the First of April, 1839, communication by stage had been established from Peoria over the following routes: To Stephenson (Rock Island) by Wyoming, Wethersfield (near Kewanee), etc."
In the chapter on Princeville Township, Page 770, we read as follows: "Before railroads were built, Princeville was one of the stopping places on the stage routes running from Peoria and Chillicothe, through Southampton to Princeville and to the West and North West. The stage, which carried the mail as well as passengers, came at first once a week, then twice, and later three times a week, stopping at the BlissMcMillen Hotel."
Also in the Chapter on Radnor Township, Page 793, written by Napoleon Dunlap, we read the following:
"The only Post Office in Radnor Township before the building of the Rock Island and Peoria Railroad, was kept by Enoch Huggins on Sec. 35. The mail was
carried from Peoria three times a week. This office did not continue long. There was a mail-route from Peoria by way of Lafayette, through Medina and Akron, but most of the people received their mail at Peoria until the building of the railroad. In the first settlement of the country the wagon road took a straight course from Mt. Hawley to Princeville; but, as the prairie became settled, every one would turn the travel around his own land, but was anxious to have it go straight through his neighbor's. An attempt was once made to open up a state road from Peoria to Rock Island, but the opposition to its going diagonally through the farms was so great it had to be given up."
The "Kellogg Trail", later called the Galena Road, and still called by the latter name, goes from Peoria right up the Illinois River for several miles, past "the narrows", and then heading for Northampton. In the early day, this Galena Road continued to Princeton, and to the lead mines at Galena in the extreme North West corner of the State of Illinois. Princeville, however, had a Galena Road of its own, coming up from the direction of Canton and Farmington over our present Jubilee road, crossing the original platted town of Princeville in a Northeasterly direction and continuing Northeasterly towards Princeton. There, presumably, it intersected the other Galena Road which came up from Peoria through Northampton (see Map of Early Princeville, Vol. II, History and Reminiscences.)
The Indian Trail referred to in the article on Old Prairie Trails elsewhere in this volume, was the route for the stage coaches and mail from Princeville Northwest to Slack Water Bridge on Spoon River, and continuing Northwest to Toulon, Lafayette and Rock Island.
THE APOSTOLIC CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
By Peter Auten, 1922.
This church, composed wholly of some of our best German population, was organized about 1870, on the "Streitmatter Prairie". In fact, the history of the Streitmatter family and those whom they have married, is largely the history of this church.
Mr. Christian Streitmatter, one of the six Streitmatter brothers, was working at his trade as a shoemaker in Peoria, when he learned of the new religion which had been started in Switzerland by Samuel Fralich and spread through Hungary, Wurttemburg, Baden, and finally to the United States, by journeymen tradesmen who were believers. The Church was first organized in the United States in 1848 at Croghan, N. Y., and has spread until it now has organizations in all parts of the United States. Mr. Christian Streitmatter joined the church of this faith in Peoria, then came out and told his brothers of the principles and beliefs which appealed to him, and most of the brothers adopted the same faith. The Apostolic Christian Church resembles the Dunkards and Mennonites in many ways, but is entirely distinct from them, and the name Amish, sometimes applied to them, is not correctly used.
The Apostolic Christian Church of Akron, or the Streitmatter Prairie, as its members often spoke of it, when first organized, had Mr. Christian Streitmatter is the first minister. Services were held for a number of years at the homes of the members in gographical rotation, benches or seats being moved from house to house. In 1880, just East of the Christian Streitmatter residence in the South West corner of Section 3, Akron Township, they erected their first house of worship, on ground donated by Jacob Streitmatter. This house, is afterwards enlarged, was provided with vestibule, audience room and a large and commodious kitchen
fully equipped with range, dishes, tables and chairs. Two services were held each Sabbath, and between services a simple meal was served in the kitchen. One thing worthy of mention and imitation in the days of horse vehicles, was the splendid provision made for the comfort of teams driven to the church. They had more expensive and a greater number of horse sheds than were to he found around any other public building in the county. The sheds still standing, 1922, are the second set that was built.
The "teachers" or ministers of the organization have been as follows:
Christian Streitmatter, from organization to 1895;
Karl Wirth, who shared the ministry for a time with Mr. Christian Streitmatter, died 1888;
Louis Herbold, from 1895 until his death in 1901;
Frank Wortz, until his death in 1905;
Gottlieb Hermann, until his death in 1906;
Fred Rager, until he moved to Ohio in 1916;
Gottlieb Herrmann, until the present writing, 1922;
Wm. Feucht, sharing the ministry at the present time.
The first five named ministers all lie buried in the cemetery of the Church located two miles East and one and one-half miles North of Princeville.
With the older generation retiring to town and making room for the younger men on their home farms, the need of a new Church in some town became apparent. Princeville was chosen as against two or three other towns under consideration, and in the season of 1920-1921 the present fine new church was built, at a cost of approximately $60,000.00 on Akron Avenue, just inside the Princeville village limits. A large stable and auto shed is in the rear of this building, keeping up the tradition of ample shelter for teams and vehicles. Five acres of ground were purchased for the site of this church, in order that there might he ample room for a cemetery, and there has been one burial to date in this new plot, that of
Gottlieb Herrmann's mother, Mrs. Rosine Herrman, who died on Nov. 23, 1920.
The Apostolic Christian Church members are to be commended for their uniform industry and masterful intensive farming. It is one of the teachings of their church that even the ministers must work at their trade or their farming, and get no salary. They have contributed in large measure to the material development of Akron and the adjoining townships.
SKETCHES OF "MONICA" BEFORE THE
By Stewart Campbell. 1922.
This group of sketches is intended to present local views of the prairie around the present site of Monica prior to the Civil War. It is not a history, though history is the material with which the sketches are drawn. The sketches do not confine themselves to the prairie or entirely to the immediate neighborhood: no picture can be presented without the necessary lights. This little bit of prairie lived not unto itself, but is part of a whole, which whole is often brought in to make he part more vivid. The writer trusts, however, that he has localized his pictures; that the reader will get some conceptions of how the people here lived prior :o the Civil War, why they came, what ideals and motives ruled them, what material environment they had, how they and the environment shaped each other.
Materials have been drawn mainly from personal interviews with early settlers or their sons and daughters, or from records of such interviews preserved by Mr. Edward Auten Sr. and Mr. Peter Auten, from old school schedules and other original papers. For the larger setting the reader is referred to "Township Histories reprinted in 1906 by Auten & Auten from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of
Peoria County" (Munsell Publishing Co., Chicago 1902), "History and Reminiscences" Volumes I and II published by the Old Settlers' Union of Princeville and Vicinity, and some good Student's History of Illinois. (A very good one has been written by George W. Smith of the State Normal School at Carbondale.)
The actual settling of our part of Illinois may be said to have begun in 1817. Prior to that time there had been explorers, missionaries, and traders with Indians, but the settlement of the state had been mostly in the parts farther south.
Soon after the close of the War of 1812-14, Congress set aside for the benefit of soldiers a large tract of land between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, now known as the Military Tract. In 1817 Peoria County was surveyed, and the soldiers and their heirs began to take up the land. The southwest quarter of Section 29 was patented October 6,1817, to one John Cady (the first in Princeville township), and others followed. Not many of the patentees settled on the land, but some did, and many sold their titles and thus the land was available for settlement. But the Indians were still here and often they were hostile, so that there was little development of the country for some time.
In 1832 the Indians were finally defeated in the Black Hawk War and expelled from the country. The settlers poured in rapidly, and soon filled up all the land that they considered available. They lived in and near the groves near Princeville, near Spoon River near Jubilee, anywhere that they could find both timber and promising soil. But they did not like the prairie. One of the men who recalls those times vividly says he did not know of a house more than eighty rods from timber. (S. S. Slane) The prairie was undrained, lacked a safe supply of drinking water since they did not know then that they could get good water by digging (Mr. Slane); prairie fires were to be feared, and above all there was neither fuel nor building material for all that vast prairie. And so it comes
about that the history of the open country around Monica does not really begin until there was already considerable development around it.
About 1847 a very important use for the mysterious "stone coal" was discovered, and in 1848 the Illinois and Michigan canal was completed and the lumber of the Great Lakes region was at our door. The treeless prairies had come into their own.
WEST PRINCEVILLE plays a large though short-lived part in the neighborhood history. This village was begun in 1856 or '57 when James and Joseph O'Brien established their "wagon shop" and began to make wagons, harrows and wheel-less cultivators. Much of the land around had been taken up. Mr. O'Brien Sr. had the East half of the South West quarter of Sec. 19; old Mr. John Seery, father of Miles, had the West half and lived in a brick house thereon. Wm. Lynch and Joseph Armstrong owned and lived on the North West and North East quarters respectively of the same Section. The O'Brien shop was on the South side of the road, where the proprietors had eighty acres of the North West quarter of Sec. 30. Joseph O'Brien had a house on this eighty, "Billy" O'Brien built on the South West corner of his father's eighty. (John McKune says the land South of O'Brien's was not occupied. but I do not think he meant it was not "taken up". Records would show about this.)
In 1858 the people of the neighborhood organized the Mt. Zion Methodist Church, which met in the Nelson School house on the West side of the North East quarter of Sec. 29, nearly two miles from 'West Princeville. In 1867 a church building was erected on the South West corner of Sec. 20.
William P. Hawver went to West Princeville near or after the close of the Civil War. About 1870 the houses from West to East were (1) a brick house on the corner, (2) Hawver's house, (3) Pigg's house, (4) Hawver's Grocery store and shoe shop, (5) and (6)
Covey's wagon shop and Covey's house (Now Dr. Dicks' house in Monica), (7) Lovett's blacksmith shop, (8) Henry Cummins' house (now Mrs. Ayers' house in Monica), (9) Onias Cummins' house. The school house was across the road from and North of the present Nelson school house (Mrs. A. B. DeBord).
The O'Brien wagon shop flourished and shipped wagons and harrows far and wide. After Monica was laid out on the newly built railroad, West Princeville ceased to exist. The O'Brien's went to Kewanee.
SCHOOLS. My earliest authentic record of the Nelson School is a schedule by Elizabeth Sabins, teacher. John Nelson and Reuben Deal directors. This schedule is in modern form, covers the period from May 9 to September 9, 1859, which is four years after the legislature first provided for a REAL SYSTEM of public free schools. The teacher was entitled to "forty fore dollars and47 cents". There were thirty four "scholars" from the families of Nelson, Deal, Aten, Lits, Hill, Cook, Duffy, Parnell, Myers, Mendel, Jewel, Murdock, Walkington, Brenklimker, Lincoln, Welch, and O'Brien. There were seventy-seven days of school and most of the pupils attended very regularly.
In 1860 the school was taught from May 7 to August 24 by Josephine Munson, directors John Nelson and Clark Hill. The salary for the term was $56.50. There were 32 pupils from the home district besides eight from other districts.
District No. 7 (afterward Monica school) was "in the Blanchard neighborhood". Private or subscription schools had existed from a very early day in this neighborhood, and a public school seems to have been organized about as soon as the law allowed.
Our early settlers always had a wish for good schools but the strong pro-slavery element of southern Illinois succeeded until 1855 in preventing any but the most meager public schools. About all that was permitted by the legislature was what was necessary to
administer the state school fund which arose from the sale of land granted by Congress for schools. This fund seems often to have paid the teacher about two cents per day per pupil in actual attendance. Because of this little fund each township was a school township with school trustees who received the state pittance and had some very meager powers.
As soon as the law of 1855 permitted it, our people began to better their schools and District No. 7 did not lag behind the rest. The school house was located on the East side of the North West quarter of Sec. 27, was later moved to the North East corner of the same quarter, after Monica was established it was moved to near the site of the home of Mrs. Meara (date 1922) which is just south of the CB&Q railroad and near the North East corner of the South West quarter of Sec. 21. Still later when the two story house was built in Monica, this peripatetic school house was moved to the North West corner of the South West quarter of Sec. 22 by Henry C. Calhoun and made into a home for his son, E. B. Calhoun, who still occupies it. (E. B. Calhoun).
Louisa M. Pickering taught this school from April 8 to July 3, 1856. in the spring following the enactment of the law of 1855. Henry C. Calhoun and Samuel Irwin, directors, paid ber $36. There were 28 pupils, most of them regular in attendance. The families were Blanchard, Calhoun, Albertson, Irwin, Phelps, Riel, Cornwell, Stowell. The text-books used were McGuffey's Readers, First to Fifth, Webster's Elementary Spelling Book, Thompson's Practical Arithmetic, Thompson's Mental Arithmetic, Colburn's Intellectual Arithmetic. Mitchel's Primary Geography, Mitchel's Modern Geography, Well's School Grammar, Goodrich's History. The book list and schedule show after all these years that the teacher wrote a hand like copper plate engraving.
Josephine Munson taught the school later in the same year, July 17 to October 4,1856, for $36. There
were 25 pupils. Either heat or farm work seems to have made the attendance from two or three families less regular than in the preceding term, but for the most part the attendance was good. Miss Munson taught the school again in 1857, from April to August. Sarah J. Chase taught from April 10 to June 30, 1860, for $48, showing that the salary had risen some.
The next records are after the school was in Monica. At different times during the years of 1875 and 1876, Wm. P. Hawver and James D. Purcell, directors, paid $40 or $45 per month. There were about forty pupils.
We also have records of some of the very early schools in surrounding neighborhoods. In the White's Grove district the private school became a public school so far as the law allowed. "On the first Saturday of October 1841" at a meeting of legal voters, a school district was formed out of "that part of the township lying nearest to Spoon River", and directors were elected. One of the directors signed the legal reports with "his mark". The teacher whom they employed the next year taught fifteen pupils from five families, from August 8 to October 29, 1842, "in the house formerly occupied by John Miller, now occupied by Samuel Irwin". The teacher claimed in her schedule $13 for the term, but the director who could write, after doing some figuring on the margin of her schedule, finds that she is entitled to "$4.74 and 2 mills" from the state fund, "$11.75 and 9 mills" from the township fund, and that her compensation "would amount to $3.50 over the demand". The attendance was very regular and school kept six days per week, so that we are impressed less by any scholastic shortcomings of director or teacher than by their thirst and hunger after the best they could get. The school was continued in November and December of the same year "in the house owned by Mr. Skinner". The attendance was pretty bad, but we have abundant circumstantial evidence that there was good excuse for this.
About 1844 this district built on the North East corner of Sec. 8, back forty rods in the field near a spring, the first PUBLIC school HOUSE of any kind in that region. This antedates by more than a decade the surrender of the slave power to the demand for public schools. The house was about thirteen feet square, and was built of lumber sawed at Slackwater. The walls were of thin siding only, and it was unplastered. It was heated by a stove which burned wood, until about 1847. Then Sam White brought in from Joseph Morrow's farm on Sec. 18 (near where Ernest LaMay now lives) a load of the mysterious "stone coal", and the fuel question of the treeless prairies was settled.
Miss Elizabeth Mary Campbell, afterward Mrs. Seery, taught here in the spring of 1856. The salary seems to have been at the rate of about $25 per month. The text books were Webster's Orthography, McGuffey's Readers, and Thomson's Arithmetics. Penmanship was taught, but no text book is mentioned. (Archibald Smith, and Miss Campbell's schedules.)
There were schools in Princeville even before the ones above mentioned, but their history is very fully covered in books above referred to.
The First Princeville Academy is well described in the books referred to. Mr. and Mrs. Lemuel Auten recall (Jan., 1922) that attendance was probably thirty to fifty. Studies were the three R's, Latin, Greek, Mathematics," a U. S. History the size of Webster's dictionary." Miss Marguerite Edwards recalls that the studies were Greek, Latin, Algebra, Geometry, three R's. There were single desks, and chairs that were screwed to the floor till the pupils had time to jerk them loose.
Jubilee College cannot be forgotten in mentioning the schools of this time. It was founded in 1839, chartered by the state legislature in 1847. Its history has been well published. Besides the records of the Old Settlers' Union, there are official college sources from
which can be gathered many interesting details. The expense was $125 per 40 weeks, for board, room, tuition, and other things. Bedding etc. were furnished by the student; the college furnished certain enumerated furniture. The college regulated the pocket money of students. It prided itself with that delightfully modern boast on its seclusion from town vices. The college paper condensed a whole volume on the philosophy and religion of the period when it said of Bishop Chase's death in 1852 that it was "an event to which he had long looked forward with joyful satisfaction as a release from the toils and trials of this life".
THE OIL COMPANY. In 1858(?) men from some point unknown to the people here, bought the South West quarter of Sec. 27 and the South East quarter of the North West quarter of Sec. 27, erected buildings of frame or stone, and brought machinery from Newark, O. "Toward spring in 1859" they began distilling illuminating oil from cannel coal, which was mined on the "forty" near the South East corner where a sunken place can still be seen, so local tradition says and no doubt truly. The oil was extracted by distillation in retorts, which were large iron kettles with clamped lids, in which the coal was coked. The oil was hauled to Chillicothe for shipment.
The discovery of oil in Pennsylvania killed the industry. The buildings were moved away or torn down. They included the refinery, the office and store, and a boarding house which was later moved to Monica and used as a hotel and as residence for different people, among others Lemuel Auten who lived in it for many years. The retorts were broken up and sold for old iron. Some people said the promoters were Pope and Slocum, ship chandlers from Nantucket or somewhere else in New England, some thought they were from Chicago. (Interviews with S. S. Slane, Lemuel Auten, and others.)