This thriving village, now so favorably known throughout this section of the State, made its first start in the world under a different banner. The name by which it first appeared to the public was Hat Grove, and it covered a piece of ground but a little way from its present site. Its commencement may be dated from the establishment of the post-office, with Truman Eldridg as Postmaster. Not until after the completion of the Rockford, Rock Island and St. Louis Railroad, however, was there much progress made toward a business town. Lancaster and Ellison, in what is now Ellison Township, were having a fine local trade, which continued to increase until the railroad came through the county, making the station at Roseville.
A small store was first opened at this place by John Adams (a very historical name) were Pierce's brick building now stands. Adams did not remain long in business, but was succeeded by E. P. Emans, who opened a general merchandise establishment with a very liberal stock of goods, and who is at present one of the leading merchants of the place. After the completion of the railroad, the business of Lancaster was moved over to Roseville. Ellison had been ruined years before by the great tornado and the trade which this place at one time had also come here.
The first train came into Roseville July 4, 1870, and as made quite an event by the people of the village, who celebrated the day of our independence with the advent of the railroad. From this time on Roseville has had a steady growth. There is no richer farming country in the county than that which surrounds this village. Like all the towns in the county, it labors under the disadvantage of not having a water power for manufacturing purposes; yet, the site is a very pleasing one and reasonably healthy. But we have anticipated a little and we return to an earlier period.
The town was platted in 1868, by Solomon Sovereign, and the surveys were made by that energetic citizen, John A. Gordon, who has stood by this town all these long years. The plat was laid out on the northeast quarter of section 31, ad contained 40 acres. The next addition to the town was by Truman Eldridg, embracing 60 acres, and laid out on the southeast quarter of section 30. This as in 1870, and also surveyed by Mr. Gordon. The town continued to grow, and dreams of a future large city were had by many of Roseville's speculative citizens, and even by the conservative-minded. Reeve's addition came next and as platted the same year, so also was that of Pratt & Dilly, containing 60 acres on section 31. Munford's addition was the next and last. It was platted December, 1875, and embraced the south half of the southwest quarter of section 30. With all these blocks and streets laid out, the town had ample room to grow. But as there is a Divinity that shapes the ends of individuals, it may be stated with the same degree of logic, that there is a Divinity that also shapes the ends of towns; and it remains for the future to disclose whether Roseville will ever occupy as a town all the ground laid out for her.
Business houses and dwellings increased, and it looked to the more sanguine citizens that in the no distant future all the blocks would soon be covered with fine buildings of one kind or the other. Some of the most progressive people were in favor of an incorporation.
The movement, however, failed for want of sufficient support. Subsequently, another attempt was made with like results. The movers for incorporation were persistent n agitating their projects and finally an election was ordered for the purpose of voting on this subject. This election was held May 30, 1873, and resulted in the defeat of the movement of incorporation. Two years later another election was held, May 4, 1875. At this election, the moves for incorporation were successful, winning by 75 votes against 42, which made them very jubilant. An election for Village Trustees was then called for June 8, 1876, which resulted in the choice of J. C. Turnbull, Sr., Ezra P. Emans, John A. Gordon, James S. Reed, and J. T. Lothrop. On the 14th of June following, the Trustees met at the office of John A. Gordon and completed their village organization by the election of Ezra P. Emans, President of the Board; Benjamin R. Ostrander, Clerk; R. L. McReynolds, Treasurer. On motion, J. S. Reed, John A. Gordon and E. P. Emans were appointed a committee to prepare an ordinance for the city government. Under the incorporation the village has gone along very smoothly, and there has been no occasion to regret the action of the majority.
There are some good business houses here, and fine dwellings; and taking the town altogether, it is a pleasing and attractive one. The population is estimated now to be between 900 and 1,000.
The principal manufacturing industry of this village is that of Daniel Bird & Sons Tile Factory, which was started in 1879. They employ on an average 12 men and three kilns. They also manufacture brick which is of a good quality. Mr. Bird found a two foot vein of coal near his clay beds and also an excellent quality of fire-clay. This firm through their manufactory are contributing no little to the business and prosperity of Roseville.
Messrs. Blazer & Steninger, proprietors of the Roseville Creamery are doing a good business in their line. They gather their cream from an extended area of territory, and make during the season about 500 pounds of butter per day.
As above stated, Truman Eldridg was the first Postmaster of the town, then known as Hat Grove. He resigned in favor of Benjamin Morford who held the place until 1861. E. P. Emans then took charge and held the office until 1866, and was followed by Amos Pierce, who served until 1871, when W. T. Gossett was appointed, and is the present incumbent.
The first paper started at Roseville, was the Roseville Gazette, by that enterprising and successful newspaper man G. G. McCosh, now proprietor of the Monmouth Gazette, May 24, 1876, who was at that time foreman of the Monmouth Review. It was that time a six-column folio, published every Wednesday, and was independent in politics. The printing was done at The Review office. In June, 1877, Mr. McCosh moved his paper to Monmouth and changed the name to the Monmouth Gazette.
The Roseville Gazette was a lively, spicy sheet and attracted no little attention in the newspaper field, the result of which was the starting of an opposition paper at Roseville, by Wilson Bros, called Wilson's Weekly. The editor of the Gazette having accomplished what he desired, modestly withdrew from the field to Monmouth, where he could have a more extensive scope for his abilities.
Wilson's Weekly was too weak to stand after the Gazette had departed, or withdrew its aid, and was soon changed to the Roseville Times, under a new management. This paper was subsequently purchased by C. Elliott, who continued in publication until the spring of 1885, when he sold out to C. H. Hebbard, present proprietor and editor. Mr. Hebbard has enlarged the Times to an eight-column folio, and also extended the job office. The Times is independent in politics, and has a liberal circulation, and is a well conducted paper.
Present officers of the Village Government; Trustees, J. W. Connelly, J. W. Malcomb, George Meacham, N. G. Taft, S. H. Tuttle and W. B. Ditch. President of the Board, J. W. Connolly; Clerk, J. B. Lozier; Treasurer, E. P. Emans.
Roseville has the credit of having the best school building in the county, and one of the best graded schools. The building is a large two-story brick structure, solid and handsome in its architecture, and containing six apartments. It was erected in 1880. C. A. Hebbard is the Principal of the school, who is an experienced teacher and a gentleman of education. He has Mrs. M. E. Higgins for First Assistant; Miss Bertha Taft, Second Assistant; and Miss S. A. Ragon in the Primary Department. Enrollment, 188 pupils. This school is thoroughly graded, and all of the English branches are taught here.
Roseville Lodge, A. F. & A. M., No. 519, was chartered Oct. 4, 1867, with 18 members. First officers: D. Adams, W.M.; W. Clayton, Sr. W.M.; J. B. Wilsey, Jr. W.M.; B. Ragon, Secretary; D. N. Taliaferro, Treasurer; T. Bradley, S.D.; Wm. Stanfield, J.D.; Israel Gared, Tyler. Present officers: J. W. Connelly, W.M.; N. G. Taft, Sr. W.M.; A. C. Stem, Jr. W.M.; R. L. McReynolds, Treasurer; T. B. Bohen, Secretary; J. W. Bockus, S.D.; C. J. Danielson J.D.; J. L. Davenport, Tyler. The Lodge has a fine well furnished hall, with a membership of 33. The hall is neatly decorated, well equipped and in good working condition.
G. A. R., A. C. Harding Post, No. 127, was chartered Mach 17, 1882, with 30 members, J. W. Coates, C.; F. B. Davis, V.C.; J. Whitenack, J.N.C.; T. S. Fowler, Chaplain; Dr. N. A. Griffith, Surgeon; J. M. Tucker, O.D.; J. J. McClen, Agt.; R. L. McReynolds, Q.M.
The present membership of the Post is 50. It is in a good working order, and increasing in numbers. They have a good hall, which is well furnished. Present officers: D. M. Fay, C.; T. S. Miller, S.V.C.; M. G. Taft, J.V.C.; Ellis Scott, Secretary; James Chapman, Chaplain; Sylvester Bryner, O.D.; George C. Murphy, Adj.; R. . McReynolds, Q.M.; John T. Bragg, O.G. They meet on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.
I.O.O.F., Roseville Lodge, No. 537, was instituted Jan. 21, 1874, with five charter members. J. W. Kennor was the first N.G.; H. G. Simmons, V. G; J. S. Greer, Secretary; R. B. Tredmore, Treasurer. This Society was first organized at Youngstown, and was known as the Youngstown Lodge, and was so chartered. In June, 1874, it was moved to Roseville. The Society occupies the Masonic Hall, has money in the Treasury, is well equipped and in good working order. They intend to erect for themselves, in the near future, a hall for lodge purposes. Present membership about 50, with the following officers: A. C. McPeak, N.G.; J. H. Morningstar, V.G.; J. E. Hartley, Secretary; A. C. Stem, Treasurer.
Selected Knights of the A.O.U.W., was instituted Nov. 8, 1883, with 28 members. Present officers are: R. L. McReynolds, S.C.; E. D. Patch, V.C.; G. C. Murphy, Lt. C.' T. B. Bohn, Recorder; S. P. Stem, Treasurer; C. A. Anderson, R.T.; S. N. Edwards, S. B.; J. L. Davenport, Chaplain; S. Roseberry, Marshal. Membership, 35. This Society holds its meetings in Masonic Hall.
A.O.U.W., No. 112, was organized May 15, 1878, with C. S. McDonough P.M.W.; J. W. Coates, M.W.; W. T. Gossett, Recorder. Present membership of the Lodge, 61. Present officers: J. S. Roseberry, M.W.; L. D. Patch, M.W.; John Powell, Treasurer; S. N. Edwards, Overseer; T. B. Bohn, Recorder; G. R. Davenport, Financier; W. H. Buckley, Recorder; R. B. Davenport, G.; M. N. Anderson, I.W.; D. F. Morningstar, O.W. They meet in the Masonic Hall, and are in a prosperous condition.
The Congregational Church was first organized with 12 members, at Hat Grove, in the old school house, November, 1851. Rev. J. Blanchard, Moderator, and L. E. Sykes, Clerk. This school house is now used as a dwelling. In 1855, they erected their new church building costing $3,000. It is a very neat frame structure with a seating capacity of about 300. It was dedicated Mach 5, 1856. Supplies were furnished by other congregations for awhile.
In the latter part of 1856, they secured their first pastor, Rev. J. R. Rodgers, who was ordained at the time the church was dedicated. Revs. A. Moore, T. H. Johnson, A. R. Mitchell, L. S. Morgan, Aldred Morse, Cyrus H. Eaton, A. E. Arnold A. J. Drake, followed in succession, serving from one to two years. In 1868, Rev. James D. Wyckoff accepted a call, and served the Church for nine years, or until 1877. He was followed by Rev. R. A. Woods, who served one year. Rev. S. Goodenow then took charge, and remained until 1880, when Rev. R. B. Guild became pastor, remaining until 1883. In August, 1883, Rev. F. C. Cochran was called, who served until August, 1885.
The pastorate is at present vacant, but the Church is negotiating for a minister. Present membership 79. A Sabbath-school with about 60 members is connected with this Society.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was formed in the year 1841. It had its beginning with a membership of seven. The first preaching place was in the house of Solomon Sovereign. Subsequently they secured the school house, in which they held their meetings, and next they worshipped in the Congregational Church. In 1864, the Methodists built their present church edifice, which was during the pastorate of Rev. J. A. Windsor. The church building was dedicated by the Rev. O. S. Munsel, President of the Bloomington University. The structure cost $4,000, and is a substantial building, with a seating capacity of 350. In 1881, the building was thoroughly repaired at a cost of $750, and is now in good order. This appointment once belonged to Oquawka Circuit, and most of the records of this Church are still with that circuit.
Roseville became a part of Ellison Circuit in 1855, and in 1869 became the head of the circuit, and remains so at the present time.
The following is a list of the names of the pastors in their regular succession, as sent by the Conference: Revs. William Clark, H. Pressan, A. D. McCool, William Haney, A. Fisher, Josiah Kerns, W. J. Beck, A. E. Higgins, W. B. Morse, Amos Morey, H. H. Crosier, B. C. Swartz, J. T. Windsor, G. C. Woodruff, W. B. Caruthers, Thomas Watson, J. W. Coe, Abram Beeler, C. B. Couch, J. W. Coe, N. T. Allen, J. Q. Adams, T. F. Fowler, D. McLeish, the present pastor. The present membership of the Church is 102; the entire circuit has 175 members. Attached to this society is a prosperous Sunday School, presided over by C. J. Boyd. They have had many revivals of religion in this Church from time to time, which have increased its membership, though many have died and moved away.
The Christian Church was organized in 1860, with about 20 members. In 1871, the society erected a house of worship, which cost them $1,500. At a later period they secured a parsonage at a cost of about $600. This congregation was organized from the Downing School-house Society, in Swan Township, and afterward the Ellison Township Church united with them. Rev. M. Jones is the present pastor of this Church, which has now about 100 members.
During the past season Mr. Jones, by his zeal and earnest preaching, got up quite a revival in the Church, which resulted in adding many members to their faith. On account of the early records being lost, the full history of this organization cannot be given.
The Baptist Church was first organized in February, 1852, with 25 members, and was called the Hat Grove Baptist Church. Rev. G. S. Minor presided over the organization. Rev. Joseph Elliott was the first pastor installed, which was in 1853, and served the Church 18 months. During the early history of the society, Rev. William T. Bly got up a very extensive revival, and added largely to its membership.
A church building was erected in 1863, at a cost of $1,500, and was dedicated in the fall of the same year. They have also a good parsonage, which cost $1,200, including lots. After Mr. Bly, they had alternates for a while. In May, 1855, Rev. Winthrop Morse took charge, remaining one year, and was succeeded by Rev. Joseph Elliott. In June, 1858, David Deland became pastor for a few months. Succeeding him for short terms was Revs. Henry B. Johnson, Daniel B. Gunn, William Storrs, A. Jones, Jr., Elijah Russ. Mr. Russ was succeeded in 1872, by Rev. George D. Kent, who remained with the Church until 1876, when he was followed by E. C. Cady, who served until 1881. Rev. J. E. Ladd then served one year, and was succeeded by Rev. Isaac Fallis, the present pastor. They have about 150 members, and a thriving Sabbath School of about 80 members.
The Evangelical Swedish Lutheran Church was organized in 1876, by Rev. Charles Anderson, of Ansgari College, Knoxville. Rev. George Wieburg was installed as the first pastor, in the fall of this year. He remained two years with the Church and was succeeded by Rev. Charles J. Lundell, who remained until 1880, when Rev. Charles Bargstrum took charge, serving one year. Rev. J. W. Carlson followed, serving one year. After Mr. Carlson came Rev. N. A. Blomstrand, the present pastor. The church building as erected in 1876, at a cost of $1,000. Present membership about 30, and a Sabbath School numbering about 20. Preaching every third Sunday.
The Union Baptist Church is located on section 2, and was organized in 1841, by Rev. John Logan and Robert Wilbur, with the following members: Thomas, Elizabeth and Asmeth Brooks, John and Rosina Murphy, Hasula, Jane and Elizabeth Smith, Julian Shirley, Wilson M. and Malvina Gunter, William M. and Ann Brooks, David and J. A. J. Smith, Nancy Fields, Harriet Ray, Elizabeth Robb and William Hiet. First regular pastor was Rev. John Murphy, who served from 1841 to 1845. He was followed by Rev. John C. Ward, who remained with his flock until February, 1851, when he was succeeded by John James. Mr. James served the Church until 1854, and was succeeded respectively by Revs. William Whitehead, Mr. R. Newton, Tronier, H. H. Parks, R. W. Welsh and S. Peckard. The latter is the present pastor, and has been with the society since June,1876. In 1860, they erected their house of worship, costing about $1,900.
Truman, Eldridge, who now occupies one of the most inviting farms and homes within the Corporation, came, in 1836, from Hancock, Mass., and took 240 acres, a part of which is embraced in the northwest portion of the village. Shortly after he returned to his home and spent two years, and in 1838 returned, and in 1839, built a home and commenced the improvement of his land. In 1848 he took up, at the government price, 80 acres more, directly north, and in 1850 bought 160 acres more, embracing the northeast portion of the Corporation. The southwest quarter section was bought thirty-four years ago by Solomon Sovereign, and thirty years ago the southwest by John Reeves. The Corporation, one mile square, laid out in streets at right angles, embraces equal portions of these four quarter sections.
The first store was opened on a small scale by John Adams, in 1856, a little south of where it now stands, on the southwest corner of Penn avenue and Main street. The brick building owned by E. Pierce occupies it's original site. Soon N. W. Baker succeeded John Adams, and not long after, Dally and Arter, and these were succeeded by E. P. Emans, who now owns and occupies a two story frame on the northwest corner.
The first township meeting was held in the the old Union Church, on April 4, 1854. Truman Eldridge presided at the meeting, and at its close the first township officers were chosen.
Until the advent of the C. B. & q. R. R., almost all the produce was taken to Oquawka, there to be shipped to St. Louis by the Mississippi River. When the railroad was completed trade was changed to Monmouth, and a local trade was started in Roseville.
New Lancaster and Elliston, a few miles west, were enjoying quite a local trade, which continued until 1870. During the summer of this year the Rockford, Rock Island & St. Louis Railroad was completed through out the county. This was the beginning of the prosperity of Roseville. It was now properly platted and the plat recorded by John A. Gordon, in the name of Mr. Eldridge and others of the most active residents, and an active trade at once opened.
The Stores and shops at New Lancaster were moved here, and the town from being a "corners," as it was commonly called, rapidly arose to a "town," with its attendant privileges. Mr. John A. Gordon opened the depot and held the position several years.
Mr. Eldridge gave several lots to those who would erect shops or stores there on, not a few of which liberal offers were accepted.
On May 8, 1874, the town had attained a population of 514 inhabitants, wan was incorporated. Since then the population has increased to nearly 900. In 1856, Mr. James G. Reed located at the school house, about a mile east of the village. Here he commenced to work as a blacksmith. Shortly after, he removed his shop to Roseville, where he added to his small shop a room about sixteen by twenty-four feet.
He soon purchased an engine to aid him in his rapidly growing trade, and increased the number of his employees. About a year ago the present firm was organized, and a still further increase in the buildings and machinery made. Their specialty is windmills, plows, and tongue-less cultivators. Qui9te a number of shops are maintained, good stores, one bank and an excellent flouring mill.