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PRINCEVILLE TOWNSHIP

BY EDWARD AUTEN AND PETER AUTEN, JR.

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able the village to control its own liquor traffic, and as they hoped, to eradicate the saloons. The anti-license party carried the first election, but failed from 1870 to 1878, when they again came into power, this time for a term of two years. The license party ruled from 1880 to 1883, the anti-license from 1883 to 1885, and then it was a constant struggle, with varying results, until 1895. Beginning with May 1st of that year the anti-license party has been in control continuously to the present time. R. F. Henry, F. B. Blanchard, J. B. Ferguson, Edward Auten, John F. Bliss and Milton Hammer, in the President’s chair, and others, have been “war horses” in the fight against saloons. In the later years there have been different citizens’ leagues, furnishing money and moral support for prosecutions, The temperance people, from the beginning of their efforts to prohibit the sale of liquors, up to the present time, have always found in Frank C. Hitchcock, entrenched in the castle which his father built and denominated “Almost a new Jerusalem,” a foeman worthy of their steel. Affable, gentlemanly, and self-contained, he has combatted the advance of temperance reform both at the elections and as a salesman at his place of business. Often, when the temperance, people felt sure of success as to an election, or as to the result of a prosecution brought against him for selling, have they found his success complete. But notwithstanding his ability and prowess, he has a number of times met defeat. If he has sold in the last few years it has been without legal sanction and to a very limited patronage of men believed to have been long ago confirmed in their habits. It is believed that not many drunkards are now being made from clean young men in the village.


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For a time some of the highly respected business men not only voted against the anti-license party, but ran on the other ticket, and served as license councilmen. Later many changed, and even of the few highly respected ones still voting for license, very rarely is one found to allow his name on that ticket.

The anti-license administrations since 1894 and 1895 have carried on the policy of making permanent improvements in the shape of brick sidewalks and graveled roads. The community has felt satisfied with this method of government, and has given the anti-license party a steadily increasing majority, until in 1901 there was not even any license ticket nominated. The present village officers (May, 1902), are F. H. Cutler, President; S. A. Andrews, F. M. Beal, Geo. Corbet, A. C. Moffit, Peter Auten, Jr., and William Berry, Trustees; F. W. Cutler, Clerk; R. J. Benjamin, Magistrate; and the following appointive officers: J. H. Russell, Treasurer; James Walkington, Marshal; James Cornish, Street Commissioner. The first town hall was the old Christian church, previously mentioned in this article, purchased by the village in 1873. The present brick hall, consisting of council room, fire engine, calaboose and upper hall, was erected in 1891, at a cost of about $5,000. The $4,400 of bonds issued for this hall are now paid off, and the village has an outstanding bonded indebtedness at the present time of $3,300, incurred for part of the cost of brick sidewalks. The old plank walks are being replaced as they wear out by brick, until now there are about 50 blocks of brick walk and an equal amount of plank walk, kept in a fair state of repair. An effort has been made each year to gravel some of the roads leading out of town. In 1901 the


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last of them were completed, in that year about $600 being appropriated by the Village Council, and an equal amount being donated by the business men and the farmers who were benefited. A local telephone exchange was installed in 1901 by W. M. Keck. It is likely that the building of permanent sidewalks will continue and that electric lights and waterworks will only be questions of time.

Just as this article is prepared for the press it is announced that temperance parties ha-ve procured a six years’ lease of the Hitchcock “castle” and made other arrangements which, it is believed, will end a part of the liquor selling in town. Another item of latest news is that parties are now as-king for an electric light franchise and contract from the village board.

The village has issued two editions of revised ordinances, one in the winter of 1877-78, when F. B. Ferguson was President, J. G. Corbet, E. C. Fuller, J. F. Carman and V. Weber, Trustees, and H. E. Burgess,. Clerk; the other, in 1899-1900, when Milton Hammer was President, N. E. Adams, C. J. Cheesman, Peter Auten, Jr., A. C. Sutherland, Thos. Blakewell and W. S. Weaver, Trustees, and F. D. Goodman and F. W. Cutler, Clerks (Goodman resigning and Cutler succeeding). The first fire company was organized in the winter of 1875-76, and continued until 1899. Its first members were John G. Corbet, C. F. Beach, A. D. Edwards, Robert Pfeiffer, William Russell, J. B. Ferguson, Charles Blanchard, C. N. Pratt, H. E. Burgess, William McDowell, H. A. Simpson, H. E. Charles. It had in its charge, first, a chemical extinguisher; and later, a chemical and hand rail force pump, which is still in use by the new fire com-


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pany organized in 1900. The large fires that are remembered now are: The Rowley & Hitchcock hotel,, about 1854, located on the site of the Krebsbach property.. lot 8, block 2, recently purchased by Mrs. R. E. Dickinson; of the Alter store building, probably in the fall of 1874, on the present site of J. B. Ferguson’s store, and that of June, 1875, which burned Thomas Allwood’s store buildings, Hammer & May’s double building and V. Weber’s shoe store on, and south of the present site of German & Friedman’s large store; the burning of Daniel Hitchcock’s steam mill in 1884; of A. C. Sutherland’s grain elevator in 1893; and of the Rock Island & Peoria depot on March 11, 1902.

The first store in Princeville was kept by Elisha Morrow on block 9, probably lot 8, in a little red frame building. This was the first frame in the village, and was covered with siding cut from native logs with a cross-cut saw. William C. Stevens and his brother Amos, were in a hurry to have the store started, and spent three weeks making the siding. Elisha Morrow was no relation to the other well known Morrows, but was a brother of Amos Stevens’s wife. The next store-keeper was William Coburn, in a small building on lot 7, block 2. He sold out his goods to one Ellsworth, who in turn sold to W. C. Stevens. Mr. Stevens-to “hold the village together,” as he said-kept store in the front room of his residence. He would take orders for handkerchiefs and various articles, and then drive to Peoria, getting the goods that were ordered and only a few others. Other very early merchants in the Coburn store building were Greenleaf Woodbury, Myron Prince, Rowley & Hitchcock, and J. W. Gue. Mr. Gue died May 21, 1852, from Asiatic cholera, the only death ever known


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to have occurred from that disease in this neighborhood. His wife, Jerusha T. Gue, continued his business in the east one of the store rooms on lot 1, block 18, now occupied by Blanchard & Sons.

About 1851 a man by the name of Gray commenced a grocery and notion trade, but soon abandoned it. In the summer of the same year Eldridge & Parker built an up-and-down board store building on lot 1, block 17, where the Park Hotel now stands. Among the business men during the decades of 1850, 1860 and 1870, were Thomas Allwood, John T. Lindsay, A. G. Henry, D. W. Herron and George W. Emery, drugs; Hiel Bronson and John H. Russell, groceries; Bohrer & Ferguson and Charles and Joseph German, hardware; Hammer & May, furniture; Isaac Bohrer, grower of Osage Orange hedge plants; John Alter, A. G. Persons, G. W. Hitchcock, Day & Hitchcock, A. D. Sloan, Cecil Moss, Wm. Simpson and Solomon Godfrey, general stores; William DeBolt, shoemaker; Henry Clussman, Weber & Bachtold, shoes; John E. Hensler and J. L. Blanchard, lumber.

The hotel business started in Princeville with Seth Fulton’s tavern, a log building on block 9, probably lot 3, built in the ’30’s. He kept the first tavern in Peoria, and came from there to Princeville. His Princeville tavern, “The Traveler’s Home,” was a “two-roomed log house-one of the rooms above the other,” with a lean-to, also of logs. William Coburn, in 1840, built a part of the “Rowley & Hitchcock” hotel on block 2, and called it the “Rising Sun.” Myron Prince, Thomas Myers, G. Woodbury, Cyrus Beach, a man named Blue, John Moore, Rowley & Hitchcock and Ashford Nixon all kept tavern here Rowley & Hitchcock erecting a large addition, with


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hall above, the building having burned when occupied by Ashford Nixon. A few years later Sanford M. Whittington erected the present building, a much smaller one, on the same site, for hotel purposes but, so far as learned, it has never been used for a hotel.

The site of the present Arlington House, lot 5, block 11, has been used for hotel purposes ever since 1848. Captain John Williams kept tavern in the E. Russell house from that year to 1855. In the latter year William Owens bought the entire south half of the block and replaced the dwelling by a larger hotel building. After conducting the hotel for eight years he sold to John Baldwin in 1863. James Rice became landlord in 1865, and continued until 1889, except such times as he leased to John G. Corbet, Thomas Painter, Lucius Wilkington and James Rice, Jr. Mr. Rice sold out in 1889 to Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Washburn. On the corner to the south, the present site of Conklin’s store, was a hotel run at different times by Solomon Bliss and G. W. McMillen, R. P. Cooper built, for a hotel, the house now owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Bigg, which was then on lot 3, block 17, the site of David Kinnah’s present residence. W. G. Selby, about 1869, built the two-story part to the building on lot 1, setting the Eldridge & Parker store to the south of its old location for an “L.” He first conducted an implement store and later, with Mrs. Selby, operated the Eureka Hotel. After Mr. Selby’s death, Mrs. Selby conducted the business, recently as the “Park House,” until the spring of 1902, when she leased the building for the same purpose to Miss Katie Schneider.

One industry that flourished in Princeville before the days of steam factories and cheap machinery elsewhere was wagon-making. When Daniel Prince came


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TOWNSHIP HISTORIES

back from Missouri in 1842, to collect some old debts, he took home with him a wagon made by John Lewis and ironed by Ebenezer Russell. Later wagon-makers and wood-workers were Beach & Benton (possibly before Lewis), McMillen & Persons, J. T. & J. H. Russell, Williamson Vancil, Wayne Dixon, Joseph German and Aaron Moffit. The Russells and J. L. Blanchard (part of the time in partnership), occupied a large three-story factory built by McMillen & Persons, on the site of the present village hall, with blacksmith or iron shop to the east, and large warehouse to the north. Later, J. A. & O. S. Pratt conducted the blacksmithing part, and Moffit & Dixon made the woodwork of wagons.

Blacksmiths, worthy of mention as old settlers, are Ebenezer Russell, Wm. Owens, Allen & Griffin, Davis Bristol and Nathaniel Mitchell. Ebenezer Russell was the first blacksmith and secured a free lot from Mr. Stevens as the “first artisan” of his trade to come to the town. William Owens spent his life in this village from 1844 to 1902, in his prime playing an important part in the material advancement of the village, and, in his venerable age, wielding the sledge vigorously and industriously-always highly respected. Nathaniel Mitchell was a fine workman of iron and steel, and had a passion for gunsmithing-so much so that he “would make horse-shoeing wait any time to repair a gun.” Other early mechanics were Jonathan Nixon, cabinet and coffin maker, __________ Armstrong, Jehiel Benton and John Dale, carpenters, John Taylor, mason, and James McDowell, painter.

Princeville’s first doctors were Mott, Morrow and Waters. The first two would hardly be called practicing physicians, but would go and attend a neighbor.


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Waters was a “water and herb doctor---chiefly water.” Dr. _______ Moss was the first regular physician, and Dr. Charles Cutter the next. Dr. Cutter’s son writes: “His practice sometimes extended from Lawn Ridge, in one direction, to French Grove in the other; and his meager remuneration, when there was pay at all, sometimes taking the balky form of corn in the ear, and even of labor in his own fields, as return for successfully ushering into the world infant Princevillians, and for other professional services.” The next to come, in order, were Israel G. Harlan, Robert F. Henry, L. M. Andrews, George W. Emery, Watkins Warren, T. E. Alyea, M. S. Marcy, C. H. Wilcox and W. J. Price.

The Postmasters from the earliest time to the present have been as follows, very nearly in the order given, and perhaps with some omitted: Stephen French, William Coburn, W. C. Stevens (at various times), George W. Hitchcock, L. B. Day, John W. Auten, Mrs. Mattie Snediker, M. M. Blanchard, L. A. Blanchard, J. M. Sabin, H. E. Burgess, A. D. Edwards, J. S. Barnum, A. Cowan, Frank Bouton, Marie Henry, H. J. Cheesman.

Peter Auten and George W. Alter established a bank in 1872, under the firm name of Auten & Alter. Mr. Alter dying the same year, Edward Auten became a partner, and the firm has remained Auten & Auten, with no change of partners to the present time. Peter Auten was aged ninety years and seven months on the first day of May, 1902, and is yet clear in mind, though feeble in body. He is the oldest resident of the village, and it is believed of the township.

The People’s Bank was conducted by R. C. Henry and W. B. Kaiser from 1892 to 1893 or ’94.


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TOWNSHIP HISTORIES

The grain and live stock businesses are those which have been an index to the material prosperity of the farmers of Princeville and Akron Townships, and consequently of the business men of Princeville. As is the case with many prairie towns, Princeville’s commercial life depends on the farmers’ corn, oats, hogs and cattle, and Princeville is in the midst of splendid territory. Shipments from Princeville in the year 1901 were 344 cars of grain and 107 cars of live stock, and the Village of Monica, four miles distant, near the center of the township, probably about the same amount of produce. This, too, is with other shipping towns as close as Wady Petra and Stark, 4 and 5 miles respectively, Duncan 5 1/2 miles, Edelstein 7 miles, and Dunlap 8 miles. The poultry and egg business in Princeville in one year amounts to $15,000 to $20,000. Besides the farmers’ produce, which many towns rely on for their prosperity, Princeville has a set of enterprising merchants. The general stores agreed in 1896, perhaps agreed to do so by the stringent times, to sell for cash only. The resulting low prices, combined with the healthy rivalry and hearty spirit of co-operation, have built up a trade for Princeville that draws from the former territory of Toulon, Wyoming, Elmwood, Peoria and Chillicothe.

The brief article on Princeville Township in History of Peoria County (Johnson & Co., 1880) gives a partial list of Princeville business men in 1880 as follows: F. B. Blanchard, Wm. Simpson and Otto Davison, dry goods; J. H. Russell, Garrison & Fuller and Emmet Illingworth, groceries; Peter Auten and son in banking; Solomon Bliss and D. W. Herron in drugs , C. W. Russell in hardware; Valentin Weber in boots and shoes; James B. Ferguson in jewelry; J. G. Cor-


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bet, hotel and livery; Mrs. W. G. Selby, hotel; John D. Hammer, meat market; James Campbell and Hammer & May, cabinet shops; John Ayling, bakery and restaurant; Hitchcock & Voorhees, millers; O. F. Herrick and Geo. Reinhart, harness; B. P. Duffy, attorney; Misses Bouton & Bohrer and Misses Edwards & Godfrey millinery; H. E. Burgess, postmaster.

The business men of 1902 are as follows: M. V. Conklin, Blanchard & Sons, Cheesman Bros., and J. L. Searl, general merchandise; Mrs. Julia F. Middlebrook---“The Golden Rule Store”---dry goods, shoes and notions; G. B. Robinson, clothing; Richard Cox, and Best & Wakefield, grain and lumber; Auten & Auten, bankers; F. B. Blanchard, creamery; D. Kinnah, meat market and live stock; A. C. Sutherland estate, meat market; German & Friedman and Minkler & Harrison, hardware and implements; F. E. Prouty and M. Hammer, furniture and undertaking (Prouty, pianos also); J. B. Ferguson, jewelry and bicycles; Will H. Lamb, jeweler and optician; J. C. Whelpley, harness; N. E. Adams, harness and bicycles; Dr. T. E. Alyea, and Dr. H. C. Young (Miss Jessie Porter in charge), registered pharmacists and book stores; Valentin Weber, shoes; Mrs. Lydia A. Washburn, Arlington House; Miss Katie Schneider, Park House; Richard Heberling, and Joseph O. Husbands, restaurants; O. S. Kopp, bakery; Frank Hietter, livery; Dr. W. S. Hicks, dentist; Drs. R. F. Henry, C. H. Wilcox, T. E. Alyea and W. J. Price, practicing physicians; Dr. O. M. Goodale, veterinarian; Wm. Harrington, carpet factory; Goodman & Harrington, A. M. Marlatt and H. C. Miller, barbers; Higbee & Cutler, coal shaft; W. S. Weaver, wholesale poultry; Aaron C. Moffit, wagon shop; J. A. Pratt and O. S. Pratt, C. M. Gillen, R. J.


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Nichols, and Thos. McDowell, blacksmiths; Mrs. M. Scott and Mrs. N. Gill, milliners; M. L. Sniff, insurance and real estate; Milton Wilson, insurance and Notary Public; J. H. Hopkins, attorney; F. W. Cutler, insurance and Justice of the Peace; H. S. Yates, life insurance; A. A. Dart, H. D. Fast and K. C. Andrews, publishers of “Telephone;" George I. McGinnis, publisher “Republican;" John W. Miller, transfer and dray; W. M. Keck, local telephone exchange; W. W. Wright, mason and contractor; J. Y. Mendenhall, F. H. Cutler and W. H. Simmons, carpenter contractors; R. J. Benjamin, carpenter shop; W. M. Keck, leader and manager of Band and Orchestra; A. L. Parker, agent A. T. & S. F. Ry. Co.; J. W. McEwen, agent R. I. & P. Ry. Co.; H. J. Cheesman, Postmaster.

Fraternal lodges in the village, with their officers, are as follows:

Grand Army of the Republic: J. F. French Post, No. 153; A. C. Moffit, Commander; E. Keller, S. V. C.; John Wilson, J. V. C.; S. A. Andrews, Q. M.; J. A. Pratt, Adjt.; O. S. Pratt, O. D.; J. M. Yates, Chaplain; James Bane, O. G.; Wm. Wisenburg, Surgeon; John Geitner, Q. M. S.; Hugh Roney, S. M.; M. H. Buck, Delegate; Frank Rotterman, Alternate.

Thief Detective and Mutual Aid Association: S. S. Slane, Capt.; John W. Miller, 1st Lieut.; A. B. Debord, 2d Lieut.; Chas. Taylor, 3d Lieut.; M. V. Conklin, 4th Lieut.; T. E. Alyea, Sec.; Joseph Friedman, Banker.

Princeville Fire Company: F. H. Cutler, Foreman; R. Cox, 1st Ass’t-Foreman; C. N. Pratt, 2d Ass’t-Foreman; Geo. Coburn, Sec.; Hanford Harrison, Treas.

Modern Woodmen of America, Princeville Camp, No. 1304: F. H. Cutler, V. C.; A. J. Best, W. A.; J.


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L. Searl, E. B.; C. F. Harrington, Clerk; F. L. Bobier, Escort; F. E. Coburn, Watchman; Gale Nixon, Sentry.

A. F. & A. M., Princeville Lodge No. 360: J. C. Whelpley, W. M.; J. V. Christian, S. W.; S. T. Henry, J. W.; D. Kinnah, Treas.; J. F. Carman, Sec.; F. J. Wilson, S. D.; W. J. Price, J. D.; W. S. Weaver, S. S.; M. L. Sniff, J. S.; Burt Brown, Tyler.

Order of the Eastern Star, Union Grove Chapter, No. 229: Mrs. Mary Cheesman, W. M.; Burtwell Brown, W. P.; Mrs. Dora Carman, A. M.; Mrs. Anna Minkler, Conductress; Mrs. Hattie Blanchard, A. C.; Mrs. Lena Blanchard, Sec.; Mrs. Lena Harrison, Treas.; Mrs. Chloe Cox, Adah; Miss Jessie Porter, Ruth; Mrs. Clara Kinnah, Esther; Mrs. Lizzie Christian, Martha; Mrs. Nellie Searl, Electa; Mrs. Sarah B. Andrews, Chaplain; Mrs. Mamie Morrow, Organist; Miss Nettie Stisser, Asst. Organist.

I. O. O. F., Diligence Lodge, No. 129: P. S. Dusten, N. G.; F. D. Goodman, V. G.; F. H. Cutler, Sec.; N. E. Adams, Treas.; A. H. Sloan, John Kinnah, M. Hammer, O. S. Pratt, T. E. Andrus, Trustees.

Daughters of Rebekah, Princeville Lodge, No. 351: Elsie Gillen, N. G.; Fannie Cutler, V. G.; Sarah E. Parker, Sec.; Alice Eyre, Treas.; Hattie Debord, Fin. Sec.; N. E. Adams, Deputy; May Dusten, Warden; Sadie Smith, Conductor; Nettie Rowe, R. S. N. G.; Edith Fast, L. S. N. G.; Ella McDougal, I. G.; John Kinnah, O. G.

Fraternal Army of America, Princeville Post, No. 96: Geo. Coburn, Capt.; Mrs. L. A. Washburn, Chaplain; Katie Pratt, Lieut.; W. J. Price, Post Surgeon; Wm. Wright, Corporal; Wm. Wright, Otis Goodale, Trustees.

Princeville Village we have given thus fully be-


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cause it is the center of township life. The township has grown in population from 1,335 in 1870, 1,682 in 1880, and 1,663 in 1890, to 1,717 in 1900. The total voting population is nearly 500, and, the required number of 450 having been passed prior to 1896, in that year the township was divided into two precincts, No. 1 embracing a strip two miles in width off the east side of the township, with polling place at Princeville, No. 2 the west four miles of the township, with polling place at Monica. Princeville was raised to be a third class postoffice in 1900, and from it two rural free delivery routes are covered daily, with prospect of more routes in the future.

There are several miles of graveled road, with more gravel being placed each year, largely by donation of hauling, and partly by county and township appropriations. A few steel bridges have been put in each year, as the timber ones have worn out, until now a large proportion of the bridges are permanent ones. In the earlier day the population is said to have been nearly all Democratic. The Republican party started in 1856, when Fremont was candidate for President, but the Democrats were overpoweringly strong then. The recollection now is that the Republicans carried the township by 15 majority in 1860, again in 1864 and at one of the U. S. Grant elections. They also carried it by three majority when McKinley was elected for his first term. The Republicans might carry the township now if they would all vote together, but they are split up, and the result is that the Democrats hold their old time supremacy. The political complexion of the officials, however, has made very little difference with the conduct of town affairs. There have been no disturbing elements in


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local elections, and the officials, as well as the remainder of the citizens, have bent their energies to looking after the material interests of the township.

The township officers after the spring election of 1902 are as follows: M. V. Conklin, Supervisor; J. A. Pratt, Clerk; Henry Debord, Assessor; J. Y. Mendenhall, Collector; Archibald Smith, Frank Harrison and Ezra B. Calhoun, Road Commissioners; George Coon and James Walkington, Constables; F. W. Cutler, Justice of the Peace; Sherman T. Henry, R. M. Todd, and A. B. Debord, School, Trustees; Edward Auten, School Treasurer.

The township is busy at its farms, its trades, and its shops. It is attending to business, although not following the pace for gold. It cares not for the turmoil, knows nothing of the poverty and thinks little of the sorrow of the city. Here the open-hearted, frank American citizen, the bulwark of our nation, is at home. He may be clad in modest clothes, but he is educated, and has a mind of his own. He appreciates the gentleman in his visitors, and, to such, his hospitality is open; to affectation and insincerity he says, “You are in the wrong place.”

With her religion and education, her industry and honesty, her energy and judgment, and her thrift, coupled with her fertile soil, her blue sky, her springs and streams, her gentle rains and protecting forests, with all the beauties of trees and flowers, the singing birds and contented beasts, Princeville is a fair specimen, six miles square, of “The great, the free, the open, rolling West.”

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