© 2000, Lori Laird for ILGenWeb.

PRINCEVILLE TOWNSHIP

BY EDWARD AUTEN AND PETER AUTEN, JR.

Seeking a free and open country, Daniel Prince came from Indiana, and, in 1822, was the first white man to live among the Indians in what, three years later, was the northern part of Peoria County. In a few years other white men, some of them friends or employes [sic] of Mr. Prince, gathered around the attractive timber, and the settlement became known as Prince’s Grove. Mr. Prince, as he drove into Peoria market in the winter of 1832-33, is thus described by Mr. John Z. Slane, then a small boy living in Peoria: “The men shouted that Prince was coming, and he was a nabob. Clad in a home-spun and home-wove blue-jeans overcoat reaching to his ankles, with an old felt hat, a comforter over his hat, brought down over ears and neck and tied in front, with long, large whiskers, and chewing tobacco, Prince came up with his three-yoke team of oxen. His load was hogs, dressed. Mounting his wagon he slung off, first the hay for the cattle, then quilt after quilt, and then hurried the unloading of the meat. After feeding his oxen in the rail-fence enclosure, and perhaps eating his own lunch there, and perhaps lying on the floor at the Indian store over night, Mr. Prince returned to his home.” Mr. Prince is described as a modest man, tall, but stooping, with brown curly hair, red cheeks, and light eyes, probably blue. At home he was more easy-going than when seen in the Peoria market. He was a farmer on a large scale, furnishing employment to all who needed it, and very generous. Different men, who were then boys, tell of his butchering a steer or a hog and giving a quarter here


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and a quarter there. If any neighbor needed something to eat and had nothing, Mr. Prince furnished it; payment was to be made whenever that neighbor found it convenient, and if it was never made, Mr. Prince did not complain. It is needless to say that it was for Daniel Prince that Princeville Township and Princeville Village were later named. His brother, Myron Prince, was an early settler a few miles to the northwest, later keeping a hotel in Princeville, and Myron Prince’s son, George W. Prince, is now Congressman from the Galesburg District.

Mr. Prince’s log cabin was on Section 24, a few rods west of Sylvester and Elizabeth Slane’s present residence (1902). This was “on the edge of the timber,” and the next three cabins, remembered at this time, were“along the hollow” to the north of Prince’s. One was very near Higbee’s present coal-shaft, on Mrs. Jacob Fast’s land, one double cabin was at a fork in the ravine a few rods south, and another a few rods east of that. All these cabins--and, in fact, the entire west half of Section 24--belonged to Mr. Prince. The cabin near Higbee’s coal-shaft was occupied by Dr. Oscar Fitzalen Mott, of the old “Thomsonian” school. The double cabin had an ox-mill in one end of it for grinding corn.

This was the country in the early day, up to about 1835 or 1836. The Indians had left immediately after the Black Hawk War of 1832. The prairies grew prairie grass, rosin-weed, “red-root,” and “shoestring.” Near the timber and in the timber were often patches of hazel brush, sumach, black-berry bushes and goose-berry bushes. Now and then eight or ten, or a dozen deer could be seen in the edge of the hills. Along Spoon River, tradition says, there were droves


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of deer with sometimes as many as 150 head together. There were also wild cats “as large as lynxes,” and plenty of wolves, both the coyotes or prairie wolves and the gray timber wolves. The timber was of large growth, and had very few small trees. Daniel Prince appreciated the timber, and took means to preserve it. He plowed two sets of furrows and burned the grass between them around both the “North Grove” and “South Grove” to protect from prairie fires.

By 1839 the country was too thickly settled to suit Mr. Prince. His cattle, roaming around, found neighbors’ hay stacks to hook. The neighbors, in turn, “sicked the dogs” on Prince’s cattle, and he would have no more of it. He moved in that year, 1839, (or 1840) to Missouri, where the country was free.

Sometime prior to 1837, Mr. William C. Stevens was riding from his home at the forks of the Kickapoo in Rosefield Township, on horseback toward Rock Island, and admired the present site of Princeville. It was level and high rolling ground, between the two groves. Later he purchased the southeast quarter of Section 13. This joined on the north the northeast quarter of Section 24, which was owned by Benjamin Clark and Jesse M. McCutchen, land speculators. Mr. Stevens and Clark & McCutchen on June 22, 1837, acknowledged and filed for record the plat of original Princeville. The streets received their names in the following manner: North and South Streets, from their location on the plat; Main, because Mr. Stevens thought it would be the principal street, as is evidenced by his choosing it to build on; Spring, from the spring near its east end; Walnut, from the fine trees below its south terminus; French Street, for Stephen French, toward whose farm this street led; Clark, for Mr. Clark of


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Clark & McCutchen, as he wanted each of the three partners to have a street named for himself. Mr. McCutchen and Mr. Stevens, however, did not want their names to appear as streets; so Mr. McCutchen named his street Canton, in honor of the town where he lived. Mr. Stevens named High and Tremont Streets to commemorate a pleasant stay with a cousin of his, Simeon Short by name, whose residence, the finest in the place, occupied the corner of High and Tremont streets, at Thetford, Vermont. Sumner and Stanton Streets, in the later Stevens’ addition, were named for the statesmen of whom Mr. Stevens was a great admirer.

The village grew slowly. John Z. Slane says (1902) that, when he came on January 13, 1841, the families in town numbered nine, as follows- His father, Benjamin Slane, William Coburn, Peter Auten, Samuel Alexander, George McMillen, Moses R. Sherman, Jonathan Nixon, Seth Fulton and William C. Stevens. Mr. Prince, Elisha Morrow, Lawrence McKown and John P. Garrison had just left. Stephen French lived northwest of the village. He was the first man to bring his family to the township, which was in 1828, and his son, Dimmick, was acknowledged to be the first white male child born in the county. Thomas Morrow, a settler since 1831, lived southeast of the village, and George I. McGinnis, a settler since 1835, northeast. The two last named, although living in Akron, belong in Princeville history.

Over the line in Akron Township, about fifteen or twenty rods southeast of the present Rock Island & Peoria Railway station, on the northwest corner of Section 19, was a log school house, very famous in its day. It accommodated as many as sixty scholars, children coming from all directions, as far as Spoon River


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to the northwest, and the center of Jubilee Township on the southwest. The first teacher here was Miss Esther Stoddard, and later ones were Miss Phoebe Stoddard, Mrs. Olive L. Cutter, Jane Hull, Theodore F. Hurd, Peter Auten, B. F. Hilliard, S. S. Cornwell, __________ Newell, Isaac Moss, and Daniel B. Allen. This cabin was also used as a “meeting house” for different church denominations, and as a polling place for all voters in “Prince’s Grove Precinct.” It was burned about 1849.

Democratic and Whig politics waxed warm in the National election of 1840, and one old settler tells of the string of men going all day from the school house to Seth Fulton’s tavern, The “bellwether” of one party carried a jug of whiskey in plain sight leading the men on with his shouts, and voting them in a body. William P. Blanchard and Stephen French had been elected the first Justices of the Peace in 1838, and they, with the help of the three County Commissioners, furnished the government for the precinct.

Princeville Township was organized in 1850, the voting population then numbering 100, The first officials were: Supervisor, Leonard B. Cornwell; Town Clerk, Jonathan Nixon; Assessor, Seth Fulton; Collector, William C. Stevens; Justices of the Peace, William C. Stevens and Solomen S. Cornwell; Constables, John Fulton and John E. Seery; Commissioners of Highways, Wm. P. Blanchard; Wm. P. Smith and Ira Moody; Overseer of the Poor, Solomon Bliss. Benjamin Slane, who lived over the line in Akron, was elected the first Supervisor of that township in the same year. The township wag now rapidly filling up. “Congress land” on the prairie was unlimited at $1.25 per acre. Military claims or “patent lands” had been


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allotted in the timber. Land with timber near Princeville Village sold around 1840 for $200 up to $800 for a quarter section. The open prairie was, by 1850-55, selling for $400 to $800 per quarter. The greater rise in values did not come until after the Civil War and the days of tiling. The early “blind ditches,” made with a “mole” drain machine, were not satisfactory. The mole was a wedge-shaped iron, fastened to the bottom end of a flat and sharp bar of steel, which was fastened to a frame. This implement was drawn through the ground by several yoke of oxen or a capstan. Fences, earliest, were of the worm-rail variety, then of post and rail; on the prairie, later, a machine was used to cut and pile rows of sod, making ditches alongside. Above the sod was sometimes placed a low fence, “staked and ridered,” or stakes were driven in the sod and boards or wire attached. The sod fence was not a marked success, and smooth wire was also a failure. After pine lumber came within easy reach, fences were very largely, especially away from the timber, built of posts and boards. Before many years the osage orange tree was introduced as a fence; then came barbed wire, and very recently woven wire. As the prairie was fenced, the town records show a gradual squaring of the old Rock Island and Peoria State Road, and other angling roads, to north and south and east and west roads, mostly on section lines. It was when the Illinois and Michigan canal was opened, allowing lumber to come from Chicago via LaSalle and the Illinois river, that building began on the open prairie.

In the fall of 1847 the school was removed from the old log cabin in Akron to the new stone school house, which still stands, with a frame part added to it, on


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lot 5, block 13, on Canton Street. This was built by public donations of stone, lime, timber, labor and money, the only way in which it could be afforded, and was then given and owned as a public school house. B. F. Slane taught the first winter here (184748) and John M. Henry the next. Women teachers were hired for the summer months. This house was used until the completion, in 1873 or 1874, of the present brick school house. The records show three school districts in the township in 1847, which were gradually increased in number by subdivision, until the present number, nine, was attained in 1871.

Before the days of “district schools” supported by public funds, were four or five “subscription schools,” for which each family “signed money.” The log school house on Section 19, Akron Township, was run on this plan at first. Another was located in the William P. Blanchard neighborhood on Section 22; another on the northwest quarter of Section 16; one on Section 5; and one on Section 8. All of these schools except the one in Princeville village, were held in cabins built for dwellings. One father paid for a year’s schooling for his children, the total sum of nine dollars and thought this a large sum to pay. He had ten children. After a few years the cabin on Section 8 was superseded by a frame school house, built from lumber sawed at Prince’s sawmill, and having nothing but the thin siding to keep out the cold. This was moved to the present site of the “Moody” or District No. 2 (new No. 94) School.

In this same northwest corner of the township, along the belt of timber bordering Spoon River, settlements had been made almost as early as at Prince’s Grove. Hugh White, Christian Miller, Sr., and his


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sons, Christian, Henry, Dan, James and John, Ira Moody and Robert Colwell were among the earliest residents. James Morrow went from Prince’s Grove to Spoon River in 1832, but the Indians, during the Black Hawk War, molested the settlers there, and he returned to Prince’s Grove. The foregoing are mentioned by Mrs. Jane Smith (widow of John Smith), as residents when she came with her parents, Walter and Rachel Payne, in 1842, to Section 7. Between them and Princeville, a distance of six miles, the only house on the prairie was that of John Miller on Section 16. On a line farther south were the houses of B. S. Scott, Oliver Moody, John Dukes, Boling Hare and James Debord. Coal was not yet known to be here, and some did not know what it was when found a few years later. Timber was held high by those who owned it, and was frequently stolen. Cutting from land of non-residents, and from Government lands, was common. Fifty cents was charged for a small load of wood on the ground, and one dollar for a walnut which would split into four posts for the corners of a small shed.

On the northern side of “White Oak,” the timber which extends into Princeville from Jubilee Township and the region of the Kickapoo, and on the prairie adjoining in the central and southwestern parts of the township, the early settlers were Solomon S. Cornwell, Wm. P. Blanchard, John McKune, Wm. Parnell, Joseph Mendel, John Hill; and, a little later, Wm. Lynch, Wm. Cummins, John Nelson and Lawrence Seery, Reuben Deal, Roger Cook and John O’Brien.

“West Princeville” may be said to have started with the building of the O’Brien wagon and blacksmith shops, in 1856 or 1857. They were located on


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the south side of the road between Sections 19 and 30, about one-fourth mile east of the Millbrook line, Here John O’Brien and his sons, James, Joseph and “Billy” manufactured wagons, cultivators and harrows. Billy O’Brien invented and got a patent on a three-winged iron harrow, which they made in large quantities and shipped far and wide, the famous “O’Brien harrow.” The cultivators were without wheels and their manufacture was soon discontinued on account of the appearance of wheeled cultivators. The O’Briens sold out to Jesse Carey and moved to Kewanee, where they continued to make the O’Brien wagons and harrows on a much more extensive scale. William P. Hawver kept, in one building, a grocery and shop for making and repairing boots and shoes. He was succeeded by ___________ McElhose, who conducted the grocery only. Robert Lovett, father of our present County Judge, was a blacksmith at West Princeville.

In 1858 the Mt. Zion Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in this same neighborhood, meeting in the Nelson School House, now District No. 8 (new No. 100). In 1867 this society built a church on the southwest corner of Section 20, a little east of West Princeville. This was a frame building, 32x45 feet, costing about $2,200. The starting of Cornwell, soon called Monica, on the Chicago, Burlington &Quincy Railroad, was the quitting of West Princeville. Nearly all of the buildings, the church included, were moved to the new town. But we must go back to the ’50’s again to tell of the old “oil works,” and then describe the days of the war.

The oil factory was located on the southwest quarter of Section 27, the farm now owned by Joseph E. Hill, and the “oil company” owned, in addition, the


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square 40-acre tract cornering with this land on the northeast. The refinery was a large stone building in the hollow, with six or eight retorts close by. The company had a house called the hotel, an office and store combined, and many small buildings. Out of the 18-inch vein of cannel coal they made a “coal oil” similar to kerosene, and sometimes had as many as 30 or 40 workmen. The 18 to 24 inches of bituminous coal on top of the cannel was of poor quality and brought little or no return. The oil, barreled and hauled to Chillicothe, although sold at $1.00 or $1.10 per gallon, did not pay for the cost of production, and the discovery of oil fields in Pennsylvania killed the industry at once. This was about the year 1859. The buildings were gradually torn down or removed.

In the northeast part of the township early names were the following: Wm. P. Smith, Moses and Carlos Alford, George Andrews, Henry Adams, Ezra Adams, Frederick Griswold, Joseph Nickerson, James Jackson, Dr. Harlan, John M. Henry and Godfrey Fritz. In the southeast part of the township were the Boutons, Wears, Slanes, Wilsons, Woodbury, Little, Harrisons and Mansfield.

Wiiliam C. Stevens, the founder of Princeville Village, and Dr. Charles Cutter were, perhaps, the strongest Free Soilers in the township. They voted for Van Buren, the first Free Soil candidate for President in 1848, and often stood ill treatment for their principles. Their fences were burned, their trees girdled, their houses egged, and their persons sometimes threatened. Ichabod Codding was an Abolition evangelist. When objection was made to his speaking any more in the Presbyterian Church, Mr. Stevens said, “Thank God, I have a peace of my own where he may speak,” and


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after that the speeches were in Mr. Stevens’ yard. Many runaway slaves were harbored by Mr. Stevens and Dr. Cutter and sped on toward freedom. Dr. Cutter at one time had as many as six black men hid in the cellar of his house, and, on a certain occasion, one such refugee was scarcely half an hour away, under a wagon load of fodder, when his pursuers fiercely demanded him of Mrs. Cutter, only to be told there was “no such man in the house.”

When the war broke out, the “Lucky Thirteen,” who all came back, went from Princeville and joined the “Peoria Battery,” Battery A of the Second Illinois Artillery. In the fall of 1861 two Princeville men joined Col. Ingersoll’s regiment, the Eleventh Cavalry. These two men, Stephen A. Andrews and John Sheeler, immediately came back from Peoria on a furlough and, in two weeks, took down twelve more men with them.

The distinctively Princeville company was started in August, 1862. On that date Congressman Ebon Clark Ingersoll (brother to Bob) came out from Peoria to hold a “war meeting.” Julius S. Starr accompanied him in the hope of getting recruits for a Peoria company, and recruit hunters were present also from Chillicothe and other places. The meeting was held in the old Methodist Episcopal Church, then on the corner southwest of the public square. The crowd was so large that the windows were taken out to enable men to hear on the outside. After the speaking the crowd gathered on the public square, when Clark Ingersoll got on a wagon and proposed a Princeville company. John McGinnis began fifing, indicating that he was going, and led a march around the “liberty pole.” Others fell in, a few at a time, until there were fifty men marching around and around the “liberty pole.” Then


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they paraded to Dr. Charles’s office, got out a table in the center of the room, and signed the muster roll. Within forty-eight hours the roll was increased to 96 men. This was Company K of the Eighty-sixth Regiment, Illinois Infantry. John P. French was elected Captain, James B. Peet, First Lieutenant and H. F. Irwin, Second Lieutenant. The company was soon ordered into camp at the Peoria Fair Grounds and saw, in all, twenty-one engagements, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and Kenesaw Mountain being among the number. The company was in “Sherman’s March to the Sea.” Somewhere near one-half the company still survive (1902), and those residing at Princeville are organized, with their comrades, in J. P. French Post, No. 153, G. A. R. On Decoration Day, 1900, John McGinnis dedicated in Princeville Cemetery, a monument “In Memory of all Soldiers and Sailors who, on Land or Sea, periled Life for Liberty and Law--1861-65.” Princeville always honors her soldiers, and Decoration Day sees the gathering of several townships in memory of the dead and in honor of the living.

An outgrowth of civil war conditions was the organization, in August, 1863, of the Thief Detective and Mutual Aid Association. The demand for horses and resultant high prices caused horse-stealing to flourish to an unpleasant extent, and this society was organized to stop the stealing around Princeville, and to catch the thieves. It accomplished its purpose well at the time, and has continued a strong society to the present. Wm. P. Smith, Solomon Bliss, Charles Beach, Vaughn Williams and S. S. Slane were the originators of the society. Wm. P. Smith was the first captain,, followed by H. F. Irwin, John G. Corbet, Solomon Bliss, J. D. Hammer and S. S. Slane, who is now serving his sixteenth year in that capacity.


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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 Northwest. 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 Bliss-McMillen Hotel.

The public square, now covered with growing trees and familiarly called the Park, was given to the village by its founder, Mr. Stevens. In 1874 an attempt was made by the officials to mar the square by locating on it the village hall and, as was reputed, a calaboose. Injunction proceedings were started by Peter Auten, in company with Mr. Stevens and other citizens, to block the intended purpose, and, on the testimony of the donor that he had given the square to be an open space, park or square, “for light and air, and to be for the beauty of the village and the health of its inhabitants,” a perpetual injunction was granted.

Mr. Stevens was also generous with his land for church and school sites. He gave the lot for the stone school house so long as used for a school site, and the right of reversion he gave up on condition that the new brick school house, then building, should have a front on the north, architecturally equal to the front as planned for the south of the building. He wanted the front on the north side, but the directors insisted on the south front. Main Street, he said, would have no front, and the other and only front would look out on “Mosquito Swale” and “Carrion Hollow;” his reference was to a swampy place suitable for breeding mosquitoes, and a hollow where the dead horses of the neighborhood had formerly been deposited-each of which was south of and not far distant from the new school site.


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Princeville’s markets in the early day had been Peoria, Lacon and Chillicothe. The price of hogs in the Peoria market varied a great deal; sometimes the buyers would say, “Seventy-five cents for a hog, big or little--tumble them off.” Ox teams sometimes drove to Chicago with wheat, bringing back lumber, salt and clothing. The windows, doors and casings for Dr. Charles Cutter’s house were thus carted from Chicago, and also the shingles for the first Presbyterian Church. Other lumber was obtained at saw-mills, on Spoon River and Kickapoo Creek. Grist-mills familiar to all old settlers, were Cox’s Mill and the Rochester Mill on Spoon River, the Spring Valley Mill, Evans’ mill in Radnor Township and Miles’s Mill at Southport, Elmwood Township.

Mills closer to Princeville were “Jimmie” Jackson’s “whip-saw” mill, Erastus and Thompson Peet’s saw-mill, James Harrison’s saw and grist-mill, and Hawn’s Mill, all in Akron Township, and Hawn’s mill within the village limits. Hitchcock, Voorhees & Seed erected a large grist-mill in 1867 or ’68, in the northwest corner of Section 19, Akron Township, which was operated later by Hitchcock & Voorhees, and by Daniel Hitchcock alone. It burned about 1884. John Bowman operated a saw-mill for several years in the triangular piece of ground east of the railroad, north of Block One.

The first railroad assured Princeville Township was the Peoria & Rock Island, now called the Rock Island & Peoria. It was built between 1868 and 1870, the township giving it $50,000 in bonds. The Buda Branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, projected a little later, was, however, completed first, and it received no bonus from the township. The


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Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad crossed the township from east to west in 1887, making a junction with the Rock Island & Peoria at Princeville, and with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy at Monica.

Monica was platted first under the name of Cornwell, in honor of Solomon S. Cornwell. The name was soon afterward changed to Monica. It is located on Section 21, on the divide between Spoon River and Kickapoo Creek, giving it a good drainage. The “Q” Road had been built two years before this station was given. One theory is that the company were angry because no bonds had been voted them, and they gave the township no depot until the competition of the Peoria & Rock Island forced them to it. The postmasters in succession have been W. W. Hurd, L. L. Campbell, P. R. Ford, Etta Lincoln, Jane Ford and G. R. Campbell, the present incumbent. The first general store was built and started by Andrew D. Rogers, on the southwest corner of Block 9. This building was burned in 1890, and the same corner burned again in 1896. The third building is the present large store of Mrs. Wilts. In 1897 one of the three grain elevators burned. But one strange thing- in the history of Monica is that no dwelling detached from stores, has ever been burned. The boarding house at the oil factory was moved to Monica and used as a hotel, and still stands, remodeled, on the northeast corner of Block 14, the residence of Lemuel Auten. The next hotel was P. R. Ford’s, which burned in 1884. The next was R. M. Todd’s, built in 1888, now managed by G. A. Keith as “The Empire.” W. P. Hawver moved from West Princeville when Monica was only surveyed in the oats field, and has been a merchant there ever since.


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The Mt. Zion Methodist Episcopal Church building was moved from West Princeville in 1877, and enlarged and repaired at a cost of about $1,300. The church was a part of the Princeville M. E. charge prior to 1894. In September, 1894, it was organized and, with Laura (of Millbrook Township), became the Monica charge. Rev. Thos. J. Wood was the first pastor, followed in succession by Revs. P. S. Garretson, 1895; O. M. Dunlevy, 1896; H. C. Birch, 1898; H. C. Gibson, 1900; James G. Blair, 1901. The Monica Blue Ribbon Club, in the '70's, was a very large and enthusiastic Temperance Society. Monica's population now is about 225, with the following persons in business, besides those already mentioned: W. W. Day, grain and lumber; J. D. Rathbun and J. F. Kidder, general merchandise; Alice Wilts, general merchandise and hardware; Auten & Auten, bankers (Lemuel Auten in charge); William Saunders, restaurant; D. W. Gross and W. P. Jones, physicians; George Conover, blacksmith; Walter Byrnes, barber; Wm. George, harness; R. M. Todd, livery; J. Duffy, agent Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad; James Curren, agent Santa Fe R. R.; A. J. Hayes and Miss Jennie Burns, principal and assistant, Monica schools.

“White’s Grove,” to the west and north of Monica (named from Hugh White), may be said to have settled rapidly after the coming of Esq. Joseph Armstrong in 1856. The White’s Grove Baptist Church was organized December 9, 1871, with fourteen members. The pastors have been in succession: A. D. Bump, 1872; J. M. Stickney, 1873; E. M. Armstrong, 1876; J. M. Bruce, 1882; E. M. Armstrong, 1883-85; A. R. Morgan, 1886-90; T. Phillips, 1891; S. Gray, 1894-98; E. Quick, 1901. Jackson Leaverton has been


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Superintendent of the Sunday-school. The church now numbers 22 members.

The early Princeville community seems to have been more orderly and law-abiding than the average frontier town. The “Atlas Map of Peoria County” says of Princeville Township: “It is settled mostly by high-toned, moral and religious people, who came from the Eastern and Southern States. Of the nineteen townships in Peoria County, its people rank first in education, religion and public spirit.” It is not known now who may have been the author of this sketch, but his remarks were not far out of the way, even including Peoria Township among the nineteen.

Taking the Civil War as a dividing line between early and present Princeville history, no question of greater import-even to Princeville’s welfare to-day ----could be raised, than the personal character for godliness, integrity and learning of the quiet, determined teachers. They, from time to time, settled and taught, labored and made homes, and left their impress on the young in this now thriving town. Among these teachers there are still remembered the names of Andrews, Aldrich, Allen, Auten, Breese (the first Presbyterian pastor), Burnham, Carlisle, Clussman, Cooper, Cunningham (pastor and teacher), Cutter, Cutler, Egbert, Foster, Farwell, Goodale, Hinman, Kimball, Means, Munson, Noyes, Page, Julia Rogers, Ann Rogers, Stanley, Stone, White, Wright, and others, no doubt as significant but not now recurring to memory. Private schools were conducted at different times by Mrs. Hannah Breese, first in a little building on lot 6 or 7, Block 9---conceded to be the first frame building in Princeville, and near the west end of the large Hitchcock building---and later, in her home, now the resi-


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dence property owned by Mrs. Willard Bennett, on the Princeville-Akron township line about 80 rods north of Canton Street; by Mrs. Lydia Auten at her home; by Miss Julia Rogers in the little house occupied by Guy Bouton on North Street, north of lot 3, Block 1; by Mrs. Ann Rogers at the home of her brother-in-law, Peter Auten; by Miss Lizzie Farwell, at the home of Wm. C. Stevens; and perhaps by others. Mr. Wm. C. Stevens, already mentioned as the founder of Princeville Village, was a gentleman of education, culture and public spirit, and was prominent in all educational and public matters.

It was in the fall of 1856 that the demand for higher education encouraged Mr. Milton S. Kimball to start a school in the Presbyterian church, which later developed into the first Princeville Academy. A two-story frame building was erected on the south side of Main Street on lots 3 and 4, Block 14, just east of the present public school square. Rev. Jared M. Stone and Rev. William Cunningham were other successful principals. The academy flourished with a large attendance, drawn from wide territory. The war, however, virtually killed the school. The building was sold and moved to Canton Street for store purposes, it being the building long occupied by E. C. Fuller, now by J. L. Searl's grocery, located on the west side of lot 7, Block 12.

A number of the pupils of this old academy, with other citizens, some of whom had gone East to college, in later life desired a similar academy for their children. As a result, another Princeville Academy was started in 1887, being conducted until 1900 by changing Boards of Management, who bore the responsibility and constant expense of the school. Sessions were held


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the first year in the old Seventh Day Adventist church; the next two years in the new chapel rooms of the Presbyterian church, and from 1890 on, in the Second M. E. church building, purchased by Edward Auten for the purpose. A still greater number of young people from the later academy were fitted for college study. The principals of the later academy were, in succession: James Stevens, 1887; C. F. Brusie, '88; B. M. Southgate, '90; Edwin B. Cushing, '91; H. W. Eckley, '93; T. H. Rhodes, '94; Ernest W. Cushing, '96; Royal B, Cushing '97; J. E. Armstrong, '99-1900.

The Princeville public schools have grown and improved. A high school course is offered, including Latin and twelfth grade work, under the principalship of William M. Beale. The four large assembly rooms of the brick building are taxed by the ten upper grades, and the primary grades occupy Edward Auten’s academy building, under the able instruction of Miss M. E. Edwards. Miss Mina Edwards, Miss Etta Powell and Mr. Harry O’Brien are the teachers of the intermediate and grammar grades. The Board of Directors is as follows: H, J. Cheesman, President; E. D. Minkler, Secretary, and David Kinnah.

The Presbyterian Church, organized August 16, 1834, as Prince’s Grove church, was the first to have a house of worship. The log school house became too small for the meetings, and a frame structure was built in 1844 in the southeast corner of block 12. This was built at a great sacrifice on the part of Mr. Stevens, Thomas Morrow, Dr. Cutter, Erastus Peet and others. Thomas Morrow, Erastus Peet and William Clussman each hauled a load of lumber from Chicago. It was a great day when the church building was “raised.” The entire community assembled, the men and boys


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to aid in the raising, and the women and girls to provide the refreshments. This house was used by the church society until September 6, 1866, when the main part of the present church was dedicated. The chapel rooms were added in 1888 and $1,000, bequeathed by Miss Mary C. Clussman, was expended for installing new seats, furnaces and other repairs in 1899. The ministers in succession have been: Calvin W. Babbitt, 1835-38; George G. Sill, 1838; Robert F. Breese (first pastor) 1843-51; Robert Cameron, 1851-57; Geo. Cairns, 1857-58; Jared M. Stone, 1858-64; Wm. Cunningham, 1864-71; Arthur Rose, 1871-77; Samuel R. Belville, 1877-86; Charles M. Taylor, 1887-95; D. A. K. Preston, 1896-97; Charles T. Phillips, 1897--. The Sunday-school Superintendent at present is C. J. Cheesman.

Rt. Rev. Philander Chase, Episcopal Bishop of Illinois, preached occasionally in the stone school house. A Congregational organization existed for a short time with the Rev. B. F. Worrell as pastor, sometime in the ’50’s.

The Christian Church society flourished in the ’50’s, with a building on Canton Street (lots 5 and 6, block 14, just east of the present public school square), the building later being removed and used as the old village hall. The membership of this church was largely merged, early in the ’60’s, into the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which was starting new. The latter society purchased the first M. E. church building in 1866 and used it until about 1888. Since then the society has most of the time met at the home of Elder L. D. Santee. Familiar names in this church were the Blanchards, Blisses, Vancils, Merritts and others.

The Methodist Episcopal Church has had services in Princeville almost from the beginning of the settle-


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ment. The “circuit riders” preached first in Aunt Jane Morrow’s fine log cabin (a palace among log houses), on the northwest quarter of Section 30, Akron Township; then in the old log school house, and later in the stone school house. They came once a month and later twice a month, as their circuits were shortened. The first M. E. church building was begun in 1853 and finished in 1854, on lots 1 and 2, block 16, the building later being sold to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and now a barn on the south side of South Street, south of lot 5, block 24. The next church was built about 1867, on lots 7 and 8, block 24 (Edward Auten’s Academy building), and was used until the erection of the present edifice, corner of South and Clark Streets, in 1889. The early preachers up to 1856, some of them circuit riders, were, Revs. Pitner, Whitman, Cummins, Hill, Beggs, Chandler, Luccock, Royal (Sr.), Royal (Jr.), Stogdell, Jesse Craig, Gregg, Grundy, Gaddis, Reack, Morse, Appleby, Dodge, Giddings, Rhodes and Mills. The list from 1856 on, is as follows, the date after each man’s name being that of his coming: Revs. J. S. Millsap, ’56; E. Keller, ’59; W. J. Beck, ’60; G. W. Brown, ’62; S. B. Smith, ’64; S. Cavet, ’66; G. W. Havermale, ’68; M. Spurlock, ’69, E. Wasmuth, ’70; J. Collins, ’73; W. B. Carithers, ’74; W. D. H. Young, ’77; S. Brink, ’78; J. S. Millsap, ’81; M. V. B. White, ’82; H. M. Laney, ’83; F. W. Merrell, ’85, Alex Smith, ’88; R. B. Seaman, ’93; J. D. Smith, ’96; J. E. Conner, ’97; John Rogers, ’99; R. L. Vivian, 1901.

Catholicity came to Princeville with the early Irish and German settlers, At that time there was no Catholic church nearer than Kickapoo or Peoria, to which places they were accustomed to drive. While


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the present Peoria Diocese was part of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Catholic people of Princeville Township were ministered to by priests from Peoria City. On September 7, 1867, the Rev. J. Murphy was appointed first Rector of the Princeville Parish, and his successors have been in turn, Father Albrecht, Rev. Chas. Wenserski, Rev. Father Moore, Very Rev. J. Canon Moynihan, Rev. H. Schreiber (1881), Rev. P. A. McGair (1884), Rev. C. A. Hausser (1891), Rev. C. P. O’Neill (1901) to the present time. It was in Father Murphy’s time that the old Presbyterian church was purchased and made into a Catholic house of worship, Father Albrecht built the present rectory, and, during Father McGair’s time, was erected the present beautiful brick church for “St. Mary’s of the Woods.”

The first paper published in Princeville was the “Princeville Weekly Citizen,” by G. T. Gillman, which started in the summer of 1868 and lasted six months. The next was the “Princeville Times,” by C. A. Pratt, established in July, 1874, and run four months. The next was the “Princeville Independent,” the beginning of the present “Princeville Telephone.” Editors in succession have been J. E. Knapp, March 10, 1877; J. G. Corbet, September 29, 1877; J. G. Corbet and H. E. Charles, October 13, 1877; J. G. Corbet and P. C. Hull, October 18, 1878; J. E. Charles and P. C. Hull (P. C. Hull, Editor), October 3, 1879; J. S. Barnum, B. J. Beardsley, Beardsley Bros. (B. J. and G. L.), and the present owners, Addison Dart, Harry D. Fast and Keith C. Andrews. The “Princeville Republican” was started February 2, 1898, by George I. McGinnis, and has continued a prosperous weekly under his direction to the present time. The “Princeville Academy Sol” ran as a school monthly from 1893 to 1900.


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After the platting of original Princeville in 1837, additions were made and subdivisions surveyed adjoining, as occasion required. The original village is five blocks square, with the park in the center. W. C. Stevens’ subdivision on the south and west was platted in 1864 (plat filed in 1869) ; lot 27 of this subdivision was re-subdivided into several smaller lots in 1877, and some of them, in turn, were included in 1887 in McGinnis & Russell’s addition. Lots 15 and 16 of the first subdivision were platted in 1897 into Hoag & Ward’s addition. On the east of the village, in Akron, Day & Hitchcock’s addition was laid off in 1869. This was at the time of building the Peoria & Rock Island Railroad, and the lots were disposed of at a great auction. People thought that Princeville, having a railroad, was destined to be a city, and paid prices far in advance of values thirty-three years later, in 1902. The promoters of the addition reserved some of the best lots that they might themselves “get the benefit of the rise,” but they missed it in not selling all out at first. W. C. Stevens’s addition on the west (including the school house square) was platted in 1871, and part of it vacated in 1877.

“Timber Subdivisions” of two and one-half and five-acre lots, were made by Stephen French on the northwest quarter of Section 13 in 1854 and 1857; by heirs of Thomas Morrow on the southeast quarter of Section 12 in 1869; and by William Morrow on Section 19, Akron Township, in 1876. The lots in all of these subdivisions were disposed of at public auctions. Farmers found it more necessary then to have timber to use than they do now in the days of lumber yards and wire fences.

The first burying ground in Prince’s Grove was on


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Section 25, near its north line, and about sixty-four to seventy-one rods west of the northeast corner of the section, where a few sunken graves may still be distinguished. The number of people buried here is variously estimated at from ten to twenty-five. In the White’s Grove district a burying ground was located on the northwest quarter of Section 8, about fourteen rods from the north line (twelve rods from the road) and thirty-five rods west of the cast line of said quarter section. Thirteen graves may now be distinguished. The present cemetery in the northwest part of the incorporated village was first used in 1844, the first burial being that of a daughter of George I. McGinnis, named Temperance, who died September 14th of that year. For many years graves were placed at random, when, in 1864, the survey into lots, paths and driveways was made. The original cemetery has been enlarged by three or four successive additions. The Catholic cemetery on Section 7, Akron, was laid out in 1875.

Early stone quarries were those of B. F. and J. Z. Slane, on the southeast quarter of Section 24; of Austin and T. P. Bouton, on Section 25, and the smaller one of Thomas Morrow on Section 12. The Slane brothers quarried both sandstone and limestone, burning the latter into lime. This was a grey lime, suitable for everything but a white finish. Limestone was also used in Princeville from the quarry of James Byrnes in White Oak, Jubilee Township.

During the first few years of the settling of the township, coal was not known to be here, and when it was first dug up or seen lying on top of the ground, its utility was not known. Mr. Archibald Smith remembers very distinctly the first load hauled to the school


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house on Section 8-he thinks in the year 1847-hauled by Sam White from the James Morrow farm on Section 18. It was then called "stone-coal." Charles Plummer later operated a bank on the same farm and Wm. Hughes had a famous bank on Section 7. At some of the coal banks the settlers would go and dig for their own use as they pleased. In the later years coal has been mined in various parts of the township, shafts being the thickest north of Princeville Village. The banks now operating (1902) are those of Jackson Leaverton, on Section 18; of Graves Bros., on Section 10; of W. C. Ricker and of Robert Taylor (on the Alford farm) on Section 11; and of Higbee & Cutler, on Section 24---the last mentioned being within the corporate limits of Princeville, and employing the largest number of men.

Brick yards were operated by Erastus Peet and George I. McGinnis in the early days on Sections 30 and 7, respectively, both in Akron. James Byrnes of Jubilee Township, James Rice and W. H. Gray furnished brick for some of the stores now standing. Gray’s brick yard was in the northwest corner of the village, northwest of the cemetery, where an excavation in the hillside may still be seen. It was brick made by Gray that went into the present school building. E. Keeling started a brick yard in the southeast corner of Section 12 in 1887. He sold out in 1892 to Edward Hill, who has ever since manufactured and sold a large quantity of brick.

Princeville Village was incorporated first as “The Town of Princeville,” under a special charter, April 15, 1869, and again as “The Village of Princeville,” under the general law, March 24, 1874. The incorporation was started by the temperance people to en-

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