Bushnell is a rural town located in west central Illinois, about 50 miles east of the Mississippi River. It is in the Bushnell Township of Montcalm County, Illinois. It was founded in 1854, before the completion of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad.
John D. Hail of Macomb sold a two-thirds interest in the northeast quarter of section 33 to D. P. Wells and Iverson L. Twyman, also of the city of Macomb, and the three together determined the establishment of a town on that site. William H. Rile, then county surveyor, under the direction of Hail, Twyman, and Wells, laid off the town on a plat map, running the streets parallel with that railroad, which had been graded through the proposed site, and which extended across the quarter, entering 35 chains (a surveyor's chain = 22 yards) south of the southwest corner, and passing out the same number of chains north of the northeast corner. The quarter was divided into 48 blocks of 12 lots each, the blocks being 360 feet square. Two streets, running parallel with the railroad, one on either side, were made 70 feet wide, and all others 60. The first public sale of lots was made in May 1854. About 70 lots were sold, realizing about $6,000 ($205,360 today), the prices varying from $30 to $120 each.
The town was named for the Honorable Nehemiah H. Bushnell (1813-1873). At that time, the president of the Northern Cross railroad, the name of the present Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad, was known by then. Bushell accepted a nomination for the Illinois House of Representatives in 1872 and was elected to the 28th General Assembly. However, on January 31, 1873, two weeks into the first legislative session, Bushnell died from erysipelas (a relatively common bacterial infection of the superficial layer of the skin (upper dermis) in Quincy.
When the town was laid out, there was nothing on its proposed site but a large "wolf pole," a pole erected on the highest eminence in the neighborhood where it could be seen by the parties engaging in the wolf hunt and to which all would attend, meeting in one common center. The nearest houses were those of M. B. Robinson, Joseph Crawford, and J. H. Spicer, some three miles west. For miles around, not a rod of land (1 rod = 5½ yards) was enclosed by a fence, and not a road was located in the neighborhood. The country was just as wild as when created by the Author of the Universe, and upon the trackless prairies, there was as much danger of being lost as in a dense forest.
Scarcely was the town laid out before the town's proprietors erected a small store, built of slabs, which on completion they sold to Hiram Markham, when he and his brother, Daniel, moved into it a small stock of goods as related further on. Shortly after this, Hiram Conover, John Beach, William Ervin, and William Vickers made a settlement here, erecting houses to place their families. These were the first settlers in the town. John Crawford commenced the erection of the first hotel but, before completion, sold it to John D. Hail, who, in the summer of 1855, completed the same and opened it for the accommodation of the traveling public.
The growth of the town was not very rapid in the first year. The railroad was not being completed, and the people were not accustomed to pushing things through with lightning speed. But in the second year, as the locomotive's whistle could be heard in the distance, they began to pour in. By the time the merry call of the conductor "all aboard" was heard, the town was fairly alive, and the spirit of young America seemed to pervade every citizen of the little village and dreams of future growth and greatness pervaded the minds of all. A class of citizens came to the village possessed of indomitable perseverance and grit and determined to make the town one of the best in the state of Illinois. Among the early settlers who worked for the best interest of the place were Hiram Markham, James Cole, James Kelly, Dr. Clarke, Daniel Negley, James Smith, S. West, A. Everett, and A. Hess.
The original proprietors of the place, imbued with a spirit of liberality, gave the town two blocks of land—one on the east side of the railroad and one on the west side. They also gave lots to such religious denominations as they would build houses of worship. There are, therefore, today, two beautiful parks and several beautiful and pleasant church edifices, and the community is a moral and intelligent one.
The first three or four years were disastrous to the town's welfare, in consequence, principally, of the failure of the crops. Many farms had been opened, but the farmers had used up all their means in improvements, trusting they would be rewarded with good crop yields, which, failing them, left them in debt to the merchants of the place. The consequence of this state of affairs was that the merchants could not meet their bills, which caused several to close. Notwithstanding all this, improvements were constantly made, buildings for stores and dwellings were being erected, and the population rapidly increased.
In 1867, the Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw railroad company surveyed a line through this place, and the city and the citizens subscribed to its capital stock to aid in its completion. This road, which is now a part of the Wabash system, crosses the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad at this point, making this a railroad center, added to the several manufacturing establishments that have been instituted here, promise a future for the town that certainly is bright enough for its citizens. Two branches of the C. B. & Q railroad furnish facilities for freight as well as the Wabash, placing Bushnell in a favored position toward offering inducements to manufacturers to locate here.
Hiram and Daniel Markham were the pioneer merchants of Bushnell, commencing business in the summer of 1854 in a small building constructed of slabs on the site of the present normal college. They had a small stock of general merchandise, which comprised a small amount of most everything. At that time, the town consisted of a couple of shanties, only. They erected the store building now occupied by Ball & Son's carriage shop, where they did business for a couple of years. They then discontinued it, and after a few years, Hiram moved to Kansas.
The second merchant here was James Cole. He commenced business in December 1855 in a building on the site now occupied by the store of T. F. Seibert. The building was framed in Quincy and brought here by Mr. Cole, who also brought a carpenter with him to complete it. It was 16x48 feet in size on the ground, one story high. It was afterward removed to New Philadelphia. In this structure, when it was finished, Mr. Cole placed about $2,000 worth of general merchandise, which he had purchased in Quincy, on credit. He has been identified with the business interests of the town ever since and is now engaged in the grain and banking business, having closed out his general merchandise business, and merged the capital invested into his banking operations.
James Cole, of the firm of J. Cole & Co., merchants, and bankers of Bushnell, is a native of Berkeley County, West Virginia, and was born on August 20, 1824. His parents were William and Mary (McNally) Cole, the former of whom was a native of Maryland and the latter of Virginia. Mrs. Cole died when James was an infant, and her husband died in 1835. In 1832 James Cole was apprenticed by the overseer of the poor to a man named Philip Stone, who took him to Highland county, Ohio, where he remained until 15 years of age when he ran away and engaged in steamboating. Cole was hired as a second cook on the Arkansas River and gradually worked himself on different boats until he became captain of a small boat. In 1846, he engaged in the confectionery business at St. Louis, Missouri, which he conducted for one year. Cole then moved to Chicago, where he resided until 1849, then moved to Quincy and engaged in the confectionery business there. He remained in business until 1855, when he came to McDonough county and located at Bushnell, establishing the second store in that city. In 1878, he engaged in the banking business connected with his store and grain. He has now closed out his stock of goods, intending to make banking his permanent business. He has also been engaged in the grain trade ever since opening up in that city. James Cole and Eliza J. Peckham, a native of Indiana, were united in marriage, at Quincy, Illinois, on March 25, 1854. They now have three children living—Lucy L., Harry E., and George W. Mr. Cole also have one child living by a former marriage—Frances A., now Mrs. D. C. Neff. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., as is also of the Methodist Episcopal church. He held the office of mayor of Bushnell in 1878 and has also been a member of the board of education and of the city council, having been elected alderman to the first council. Mr. Cole, owing to the hardships of his early life and the loss of his parents, had no chance to obtain an education by the usual method, having only attended school for about three months in Virginia. By sheer hard work and personal application, he has attained more than a common education, and that is a good practical one.
About April 1856, Negley & Angle, from Canton, Fulton county, came to this place and opened a store to sell general merchandise in the building where Ball& Son are now situated, erected by Hiram Markham and first occupied by him. Negley afterward sold out to William Aller, and the business was continued for a time under the firm name of Aller & Angle. Mr. Aller died, and the stock was disposed of by his surviving partner, James Cole.
About the same time, in 1856, Wykoff & Shreeves opened a store on the site now occupied by Elliot& Brewster. They came to the city of Bushnell from Fairview. Some time afterward, Wykoff disposed of his interest in the business and later moved to Iowa. Mr. Shreeves took in a partner named Joseph Parks, and the firm failed after a time. He moved to Kansas, his present home.
From this time forward, the immigration to this part was quite large and followed rapidly until, at the close of 1856, when there were 125 buildings on the townsite, including residences, stables, barns, etc.
The mercantile establishment of S. A. & J. W. Hendee was commenced in April 1860, on the east side of the railroad, by Wilson & Co., S. A. Hendee being the latter. In 1861, the firm became S. A. & C. A. Hendee, but the following year it became Hendee & Wilson, and so remained until 1865, when the name was changed to Hendee & Clarke. In the fall of 1867, this firm was dissolved, and S. A. Hendee operated it singly until 1872 when by the admission of J. L. Griffiths and D. F. Chidester, the firm name and style were changed to Hendee, Griffiths & Co. In 1874, Griffiths and Chidester retired, and S. A. Hendee & Co. continued. In 1880, D. F. Chidester became a member of the firm, which was continued as S. A. Hendee & Co. In 1882, Mr. Chidester retired from the firm. Mr. Hendee continued the same under the firm name of S. A. Hendee until in January 1885, when J. W. Hendee entered the firm, which was then changed to S. A. & J. W. Hendee. They carry a stock of about $10,000 and are doing a good business.
S. A. Hendee was born in Windham County, Connecticut, on March 9, 1830, and was a son of Amasa Hendee, who was a native of Vermont. When Stephen was nine years of age, his parents moved to Fulton County, Illinois, where he was reared. In 1852, he went to California, and, after a stay of some two years, went to Central America, and remained four months, then returning to Fulton county, Illinois. In 1854, he engaged in merchandising at Marietta, Illinois, which he continued for two years. He then engaged in trade at Bardolph, in McDonough county, remaining until 1860, in which year he removed to Bushnell, and became a member of the firm of Wilson & Company, as above stated. In addition to merchandising, Mr. Hendee is interested in the grain business with D. F. Chidester. They have elevators in Bushnell, Colchester, Bardolph, Swan Creek, Youngstown, Roseville, Table Grove, Adair, and Epperson. On the second of November, 1858, Stephen A. Hendee and Sarah N. Groenendyke, a native of New Jersey, were united in marriage, and their union had been blessed with six children—Luan B., Adrienne G., Nathan B., Leo N., Edgar, and Fannie. Mr. Hendee has given his entire attention to his business interests. He is a member of the Masonic order and also of the Knights of Honor.
Joseph M. Parks embarked on the general merchandise trade in Bushnell, in partnership with William Shreeves, in 1864, under the firm name of Shreeves & Parks. This continued until 1867, when they sold out to James Ayres. Mr. Parks entered their employ as a clerk and with G. S. Nevins, who later bought the stock, but three months after this transfer, Mr. Parks bought the stock and has, since then, carried on the business. He carries a stock of about $4,000.
Theodore F. Seibert has a storeroom 20x86 feet in size, where he carries about $8,000 worth of general merchandise. This store was established in March 1870 by Aller, Seibert& Co., but after about two years, became the property of Mr. Seibert and has been carried on by him ever since.
John W. Haynes, a dealer in general merchandise, clerked for S. C. Haines for a time and afterward had an interest in that house. In 1874, he bought out E. Chidester and has continued to carry on the business alone ever since. He carries a stock of about $9,000 worth of goods.
Samuel C. Haines, dealer in dry goods, etc., in the Opera House block, began business in August 1864 as the successor of Wilson & Simonson. He continued in this business until 1876, when he sold out and entered into the real estate business, but in 1881, bought out M. F. Hunt and has continued in this business since.
Kaiser & Brother, dealers in dry goods, carpets, cloaks, shoes, etc., are among the heaviest dealers in the city. This stand originated in March 1866, as a general store, on the east side of the street. In the fall of 1869, they moved to their present location, having previous to this, in January, admitted a partner in the person of Stockton West, and the firm name changed to West & Kaiser. In 1875, by the admission of S. H. Greenbaum and Joseph Katsenstein, the firm changed to West, Kaiser & Co. While this firm did business, it occupied three stores, separating the various stocks of dry goods, groceries, and clothing. In 1877, Messrs. West and Greenbaum retired, and the firm made Kaiser Brothers & Co., and so remained until February 16, 1885, when the firm dissolved, Kaiser Brothers taking the dry goods department and Joseph Katsenstein the clothing. Kaiser Brothers carried a stock that is valued at $15,000 and occupies both floors of their store building, which is 24x65 feet, and which they own.
Louis Kaiser, the senior member of the above-mentioned firm, is a native of Saxony, Germany, having been born on July 29, 1842. He remained there until he had attained his 17th year, then emigrated to this country, located in Burlington, Iowa, where he was engaged as a clerk for two years. In April 1861, he engaged in merchandising in Kirkwood, Illinois, which he continued until 1866, at which time he removed to Bushnell and established himself in business, as heretofore mentioned. He has taken a very active part in the building up of Bushnell, and to him is largely due to the success of the city high school. As one instance of the high esteem in which he is held by his fellow citizens, we will mention the fact that he was elected to the office of mayor from 1879 to 1883, his election being almost unanimous, each time having a larger majority than any other man who has ever been elected to that office. This certainly speaks volumes for Mr. Kaiser. He takes a leading interest in the mechanical and agricultural affairs of the county and has served as president of the Bushnell Mechanical and Agricultural Fair Association. Louis Kaiser and Nannie Simmons were united in marriage, at Monmouth, Illinois, in September 1863. They are the parents of three children—Glady B., Gustavus E., and Cordia. Mr. Kaiser is a member of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the Ancient Order of United Workmen lodges of Bushnell. He was again elected as mayor this spring for the term of two years.
Gustavus A. Kaiser, the junior member of the firm, is also a native of Saxony, Germany, and was born July 7, 1845. He received his education in his native country, where he remained until his 17th year when he emigrated to America. He landed in New York City and made his home there for two years, then went to Burlington, Iowa, where he was engaged as a clerk until 1862. He then went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and accepted a position as a bookkeeper with a wholesale clothing firm, remaining with them for two years and then going to Kirkwood, Illinois. Here he remained, in the capacity of a clerk, until the month of April 1864. At that time, he enlisted in Company E, 138th Illinois infantry, and served till the November following, when he received an honorable discharge. He then returned to Kirkwood, Illinois, and engaged in business with his brother, which he continued until 1866, then coming to Bushnell and establishing himself in business, as noted above. Mr. Kaiser is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows lodge of Bushnell and is, at present, the grand senior warden of the grand encampment of the state of Illinois. He is also an honored member of the A. O. U. W. and the K. of H. lodges of this city. He is one of Bushnell's prominent and enterprising merchants and, as a citizen, is highly prized for his many good qualities.
Lemuel Aller, dealer in dry goods, etc., began business here in 1867, in connection with his brother, under the firm name of J. H. Aller & Co. In the fall of 1869, he purchased his partner's interest and has since carried it on alone. He has a stock of about $4,000 and has a fair share of trade.
Melville M. Aller, a native of Bushnell, engaged in business in this place in April 1880 and carries a stock of about $5,000 worth of dry goods and notions.
The firm of West Brothers, dealers in groceries, crockery, and queens ware, was composed of A. Appleton and L. and C. West. They commenced this business in March 1879. They occupied both stores of a building 24x100 feet in size, in which they carried about $6,000 worth of goods. Their store was the finest in internal fitting, and they were the heaviest dealers in this line in the city. On March 1, 1885, the firm dissolved. Lewis West continued the business, however.
G. W. Alexander, a dealer in groceries, began business in 1880 as a member of the firm Logsdon & Co. In 1882, he purchased the interest of his partner. He carries a fine stock valued at $3,500.
Miller & Krouser established the first store for the sale of furniture about the year 1859, a little east of the Bushnell house.
The hardware, stove, and tinware business, now conducted by the Hoover Brothers, was established in the month of August 1875 by Dyer & Amos, who continued the business until 1877, the firm then becoming Griffith, Amos & Co. In 1879, M. L. Hoover bought an interest, and the firm name then changed to Griffith, Amos& Hoover. P. C. Hoover bought the interest of Mr. Griffith in 1881, the title of the firm then becoming Hoover, Amos & Hoover, which was again changed in September 1882 to Hoover Brothers. They carry a $7,000 stock and are the principal merchants in their lines in the city of Bushnell.
Martin L. Hoover of the above-mentioned firm is a native of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, being born there on August 13, 1854. In 1866, his parents moved to Bushnell, where they still reside. In 1873, Luther returned to Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and served an apprenticeship to the tinner's trade, returning to Bushnell in the fall of 1875, where he worked at his trade until 1879. He then became a member of the firm, as heretofore stated, and, being particularly adapted to the business, has been very successful. He is an honored member of the Knights of Pythias lodge of Bushnell.
His father, Joseph Hoover, now living a retired life, was also a native of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, born on November 3, 1813. He was reared and educated in his native county, where he followed agricultural pursuits until 1866. At that time, he moved to McDonough county and was located in Bushnell, still an honored city citizen. He has served as a representative of his ward in the city council and at present, is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons Lodge of that city. He was united in marriage, in 1839, with Martha Cotterman, a native of Pennsylvania. They were the parents of seven children, named respectively—Amelia, Benjamin, Perry C., Ella, Joseph, Angelina, and Martin Luther. Mrs. Joseph Martin died on March 30, 1885. Mr. Hoover is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
The grocery, crockery, and queens ware business, now conducted by Squire Logsdon & Son, was established in the year 1879 by the gentleman who is now the head of the firm. In connection with different parties, he has been in the business ever since. In 1882, his son Elmer became associated with him in the business. They carry a $6,000 stock of goods and have a very large trade, which keeps constantly increasing.
Squire Logsdon, of the aforementioned firm, is a native of Kentucky, having been born in Madison county on January 5, 1838. When our subject was six years of age, his parents removed to Illinois and settled in Brown County, where he received his education and was reared on a farm. He was there united in marriage with Mary A. Mobley on April 25, 1856. In 1870, Squire Logsdon and his family moved to Illinois. They were located near Prairie City, McDonough county, where he followed agricultural pursuits until 1878, in which year he removed to Bushnell and established himself in the manufacturing business. This he continued for one year and then engaged in the grocery trade, as heretofore mentioned. Mr. Logsdon is now one of the leading merchants of Bushnell and has built up a reputation for fair and honorable dealing, of which he may justly feel proud. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, as well as of the Knights of Labor. Mr. and Mrs. Logsdon are the parents of four children—Elmer, Belle, Ruth, and Lulu.
In February 1879, Alexander and Haines established a furniture store in Bushnell, which they operated until August 1883, when Mr. Alexander disposed of his interest to Mr. Tainter, and the firm of Haines & Tainter was formed. They carried a large stock of furniture that invoiced about $5,000 and did a large trade in this line. They were also the leaders in the undertaking line in this section of the country. In April 1885, the business was disposed of to Dean, Fisk & Co., who continued the same.
Oblander Brothers, furniture dealers, succeeded J. F. Cowgill in 1869 and have been in trade ever since. They carry a stock of about $5,000.
In the hardware line, the first institution devoted to it exclusively was opened by E. P. Kinney and Co. in the year 1857.
Elliott & Brewster, in August 1884, came from Ellwood, Peoria county, and opened a stock of about $8,000 worth of hardware and furniture. The firm consists of T. E. Elliott& G. A. Brewster.
The pioneer drug store of Bushnell was opened by B. F. Pinkley in the fall of 1856 in the building now occupied by Mr. Craig as a cigar manufactory. Prior to this, drugs had been sold by the general store of James Cole, but this was the first devoted to this line exclusively.
Albert S. Clarke & Co. are engaged in the sale of drugs. This establishment was initiated in 1857 by the senior partner, who was a practicing physician.
Among the dealers in drugs, paints, oils, and wallpaper in Bushnell is the firm of Zook & Johnson, who commenced business in March 1876 as the successors of J. B. Bell. They carry a stock of about $4,000 and own the brick store occupied by them, which is 20x60 feet in size, and two stories high.
Joseph Katsenstein came to Bushnell in 1875 and formed the firm of West, Kaiser & Co., as has been already related. In February 1885, he dissolved connection with the Kaisers and continued the clothing department lately carried on by the late firm. He carries about $15,000 worth of goods and does a good trade.
The first to engage in the lumber trade was Dickhut & Meisser, of Quincy, in the early part of 1856. They carried an immense stock, one of the largest ever in the county. They operated for four or five years.
J. C. and A. W. Miner, who were among the early pioneers in the lumber trade in this town, engaged in the sale of agricultural implements and machinery in April 1856, which they continued until the breaking out of the war when the business was suspended, they both entering the service. In 1865, J. C. Miner, on his return, engaged in this business which he has continued ever since. He occupies a large brick building erected by him in 1882, which is 50x190 feet in size.
E. D. C. Haines, a dealer in lumber, lath, and other building material, began this business here in the fall of 1865. In January 1866, he sold out his stock of lumber and purchased an interest in another yard, then run by Alexander & Mills, when the style of the firm was changed to Alexander & Haines. It so remained until January 1882, when Mr. Haines purchased his partner's interest and has continued alone ever since. He carries a stock of about $6,000 and is the leading merchant in this line. He is also a member of the firm of Haines and Tainter.
E. D. C. Haines, lumber merchant and also a member of the firm of Haines & Tainter, dealers in furniture and undertakers goods, is a native of Chester County, Pennsylvania, and was born on January 28, 1822. His parents, William E. and Maria (Cheyney) Haines were also native Pennsylvanians, the former of Lycoming county and the latter of Chester county. Young Haines was reared and educated in his native county, where he worked on a farm during the summer months and taught school through the winters until March 1851. At that time, he came to McDonough county and settled on section 17, Eldorado township, where he farmed until 1864, then came to Bushnell and engaged in the grocery store business for one year. He then engaged in the lumber business, which he has ever since continued, now being the leading dealer in that line in Bushnell. In addition to this business, in February 1879, he established, in connection with Mr. Alexander, the furniture and undertaking house in which he is still interested. With Mr. Tainter as a partner, he had bought out the interest of Mr. Alexander. During the early period of his life, Mr. Haines imbibed those habits of sturdy industry and inflexible integrity that have since marked his business career. In addition to his other business, he is a member of the Bushnell Creamery company and is the possessor of 160 acres of as fine land as can be found in the county. He has been quite active in the township and city affairs, having been a member of the city council for several terms, a supervisor of this township for one year, and justice of the peace of Eldorado township for several years. Margaret Bailey, a native Virginian and the daughter of E. Bailey of Fulton County, Illinois, became the wife of Mr. Haines in June 1854. As a result of this union, they have four children living—Ella E., Emma C., William E., and Winifred E. Mr. Haines is a member of the Bushnell Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) lodge.
Brown & Son began the lumber business here in February 1882 with a new stock of lumber. The firm is composed of William Brown and his son Oscar. They carry about $3,000 worth of stock.
M. L. Walker, the leading jeweler of the town, began business here in 1872, since which time he has been identified with the business interests of the town. He occupies part of the room with W. J. Frisbie, druggist, and carries about $3,500 worth of stock.
Rogers Brothers, dealers in musical instruments, sewing machines, sheet music, etc. This firm succeeded J. S. Perrine & Co., which was one of Bushnell's old business firms. In November 1883, J. S. Rogers became a member of that firm, and on January 1, 1885, A. B. Rogers bought the interest of Mr. Perrine, the firm name than being changed to Rogers Brothers. They occupy a storeroom one door east of the post office and are the most extensive dealers in their lines in the county, carrying a stock valued at over $2,500. The storeroom in which they carry on their business is 24x60 feet in dimensions.
John S. Rogers, the senior member of this firm, is a native of Harrison County, Ohio, having been born there on December 18, 1853. He received his education and was reared in his native county. After reaching a suitable age, he engaged in farming, which he followed until attaining his majority, and then entered mercantile life as a clerk at Smyrna, Ohio. In 1878, he came to McDonough county and was located at Adair, where he remained until 1880, then went to Bardolph, where he worked in the potter's trade. In September 1882, he engaged with Perrine & Co. as a clerk and later became a member of the firm, as heretofore noted. On October 16, 1878, John S. Rogers and Luella W. Phipps, a native of Ohio, were united in marriage. As a result of their union, they are now the parents of two children—Horace B. and Gladys Fern. Mrs. Rogers is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, while Mr. R. is claimed as an honored member of the Bardolph lodge of the A. O. U. W.
A. B. Rogers, the junior member of the firm of Rogers Brothers, was born on April 23, 1856, in Harrison County, Ohio. He became a resident of McDonough county in 1875 and followed agricultural pursuits until January 1, 1885, at which time he became a member of the present firm. A. B. Rogers and Anna Ritter, a native of McDonough county and a daughter of William Ritter, were united in the holy bonds of matrimony on February 20, 1879. They are now the parents of two children—William R. and Clyde E. The Ancient Free and Accepted Masons claim him as an honored member. The Rogers Bros. are among the leading businessmen of Bushnell and, as citizens, are highly respected.
J. M. Campbell, the veteran pioneer of the county, is the proprietor of the fancy goods, book, stationery, and notion store. His sons operated it principally when Mr. Campbell retired from active life. The stock is full and complete, much too large for the town, and they do a good business.
Nessel & Klein, who are engaged in carrying on a meat market, are the successors of the Nessel Brothers, who established the business in 1869. These parties ran it until November 22, 1882, when Mr. Klein became a member of the firm. The building they occupy, and their slaughterhouse are both owned by Conrad Nessel.
Conrad Nessel, of the above-mentioned firm, is a native of Bavaria, Germany, and was born on February 5, 1845. He was reared and educated in his native country, where he also learned the shoemaking trade. In 1866, he came to America, located in Galesburg, Illinois, and worked in his trade. In July 1868, he moved to McDonough county and located at Bushnell, where he worked at his trade until 1869, then engaged in the butcher business. Starting in a small way, he built up a large trade and has been eminently successful. With limited education and relying on his own resources as he did, he certainly is worthy of much praise for his rapid advancement. On June 3, 1868, Conrad Nessel and Anna B. Kline, a daughter of Peter Kline, were united in the holy bonds of matrimony. Their union has been blessed with three children—Frank C., Katie E., and Anna M. Mrs. Nessel's father is one of the early settlers of McDonough county. Mr. Nessel is a member of the German Methodist Episcopal church, as is he also of the I. O. O. F. and A. O. U. W. lodges of Bushnell.
Peter Klein, of the firm of Nessel & Klein of Bushnell, is a native of Germany and was born May 6, 1843. His father, Clemens Klein, was one of the early settlers of Bushnell and was born in Germany on May 7, 1800. He came to America in November 1853 and was located at Pomeroy, Ohio, from whence he moved to Quincy, Illinois, in 1854 and, from there, to Bushnell, in the winter of 1855. He was a tailor by trade, which occupation he followed up to the time of his death, which occurred on January 2, 1869. He was married in Germany to Catherine Roeser, by whom he had two children, Peter being the only son. Mrs. Klein was born in Germany on March 14, 1818, and was a resident of Bushnell in her 67th year. Peter Klein was reared on a farm and received his education in this county. In 1861, he enlisted in Company F, 43d Illinois Infantry. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant and served in the 15th army corps under General Steele until September 1865, when he was honorably discharged. After his discharge, he returned to Bushnell. He engaged as a railroad laborer but gradually worked himself up until he was made roadmaster of the St. Louis division of the Chicago, Burlington& Quincy railroad. He retained his position until November 1882, when he became a member of the firm of Nessel & Klein. On March 23, 1868, Peter Klein and Maria Slock, a native of Pennsylvania, were united in marriage. They are now the parents of three children—George C., Edward, and Katie. Mr. K. is a member of the German Methodist Episcopal church, as is also of the Knights of Honor, Knights of Labor, I. O. O. F., and the G. A. R.
Among the grain dealers of McDonough county, probably the heaviest are S. A. Hendee & Co. In 1861, Stephen A. Hendee embarked in this line of business and continued it until 1865. In 1869, he again engaged in it, and in 1880, when the present firm was formed by the admission of D. F. Chidester, the elevator at this place was built by them. This edifice, which is strongly and compactly built, is 42x66 feet on the ground and has a capacity of 27,000 bushels. Besides this building, they own elevators and do grain business at Colchester, Bardolph, Swan Creek, Youngstown, Roseville, Orion, Table Grove, Adair, and Epperson. They do immense business using a capital of over $40,000 in their operations.
Among the prominent dealers in grain at this point is Stockton West, who commenced this business in 1859 in connection with James Cole, a partner, and has followed that line, both with him and other partners and alone ever since. He has been, also identified with several mercantile firms in the town, as is noted in the histories of the different firms. He is one of the leading businessmen of the town, both enterprising and public-spirited, and hence nearly always successful.
Among the leading businessmen of Bushnell, we will mention Stockton West, previously a dealer in grain and merchandise but now dealing in grain, wood, and coal, the second son of seven in a succession of Charles and Rebecca (Sparks) West. He was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, on July 26, 1817. His father was a native of New Jersey, and his mother of Maryland. When Stockton was nearly three years of age, his parents emigrated to Dayton, Ohio, thus becoming an early settler of that section, but soon moved again to Hamilton county, about nine miles north of Cincinnati, where he was reared to manhood. At that time, land could be bought at from five to nine dollars per acre. His father bought 80 acres. Some few acres were cleared, and some were called "deadening," on which were cabins or buildings for the stable and house. The house was built of logs, much too long for its size, some of the logs extending some three to four feet beyond the corners. The inner finish was a puncheon floor, there being no sawmills in the country. The outside was ornamented with a horrible mud and stick chimney. But Mr. West's father was, no doubt, proud of his new home. His first ownership of land, inspired with hope and ambition, enabled him to add more acres and build brick buildings in place of the primitive logs. He lived to his 83rd year. It was at this early home that Stockton made his first effort to help his father in his agricultural pursuits, consisting chiefly of clearing new land and holding the plow among roots and stumps. But Mr. West's father added coopering to his business, and Stockton became a mechanic. He manufactured a great deal of the good timber, in which that county abounded, into vessels, to contribute to the Cincinnati pork business, then the largest in the world. In 1853, Mr. West moved to Dayton, and engaged extensively in the coopering business in connection with merchandising, which he continued for over two years, then came to Bushnell in 1856, engaging in business, as heretofore mentioned. Mr. West has taken an active part in everything tending to the advancement of Bushnell's interests. He has been chosen three times to fill the office of mayor. In the discharge of the important duties connected with that office, he gave entire satisfaction to the members of both political parties. Mr. West was united in marriage on May 12, 1843, to Catherine Bevis, a native of Ohio. She died in June 1849, in the 26th year of her age, leaving four children—Harriet, Alice, Martin, and Catherine. In March 1850, Mrs. Mary Applegate, nee Stout, became the wife of Mr. West. As a result of this union, they are the parents of four children—Lewis, Thomas, Charles, and George. Mrs. West, by a former marriage, had two sons—Ira and Albert Applegate. Mr. West's life has been marked by a restless activity and energetic and enthusiastic devotion to whatever he has become interested in. He can look over his past life without any regrets of bad conduct.
The livery stable operated by John Roach is located on the corner of West Main and First streets. The main building is 45x80 feet in size, with a shed 15x80 feet, in addition. It will accommodate 65 horses. Mr. Roach makes a specialty of buying and selling this kind of stock, shipping large numbers, besides managing the livery. The barn was erected in 1885.
John Roach, the accommodating and popular liveryman of Bushnell, has been carrying on his present business in that city for about 10 years. He came to the county from Fulton County, Illinois, where he was born on December 29, 1844, and was engaged in farming up to the time of his moving to Bushnell. He has been very successful in business and now has one of the best livery barns in the county. His animals and rigs are always in good condition, and he takes special pains to please his patrons and is very accommodating. John Roach and Elizabeth Cunningham were united in the holy bonds of matrimony in 1869. Their union has been blessed with three children, all of whom are still living at home with their parents. They are named, respectively—William T., Cornelius A., and John L.
J. M. Varner & Son are engaged in keeping a fine lunchroom, which they started in February 1882. In March 1885, they suffered severely from fire, but their loss was largely covered by insurance.
John J. Varner, the junior and active member of the firm of J. M. Varner & Son, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on June 9, 1854. His father, John M., is a native of Pennsylvania, being born in March 1817. The family removed to Fulton County, Illinois, in 1857, and in 1867, came to Bushnell, McDonough county, where the father engaged in the restaurant business. John learned about the foundry trade in this city and continued at the same until going into partnership with his father in the depot lunch room. They have been very successful in their enterprise, and are doing above average, a business amounting to at least $7,000 per annum. On September 7, 1879, John J. Varner, and Sophia Pettingill, a native of the state of Maine, were united in marriage. As a result of this union, they are now the parents of three children, who are named, respectively—Chas., Clyde, and Roy. Mrs. Varner is a member of the Baptist church of Bushnell, while Mr. V. is a member of the A. F. and A. M., being at present one of the officers of the Bushnell lodge.
Henry D. Spaulding opened the Opera House restaurant on December 10, 1883, and has one of the finest fitted-up places in this part of the county.
James Cole, one of the representatives of the banking business, established this in connection with his general merchandise trade in 1878 and has continued it ever since. He recently closed out his stock in trade so that he might enter into this line without being hampered by the other business, which adds to the amount of capital at his disposal.
Ball and Sons' carriage and wagon manufactory is one of the industrial institutions of Bushnell. In the month of April 1861, Ira D. Ball established a wagon shop at Bushnell, and his business kept constantly increasing and finally drifted into its present large proportions. Mr. Ball has taken his four sons into partnership, and they carry quite a large stock of carriages and wagons and have a very extensive trade. They manufacture an average of 100 buggies per year and employ 12 hands during the busy season. They are the owners of the property where they carry on their business and have two repositories, every 28x48 feet in dimensions and two stories high. In the back part of each of their depositories, there is a blacksmith and wagon shop. They have invested in this business some $12,000.
It is not the province of the biographer to indulge in the fulsome eulogy but to present in a faithful outline the history and character of the subject of this sketch. With this fact in view, we may simply say that wherever true greatness is measured by the benefits conferred by individuals of the human race, the name of Ira D. Ball will be awarded a place among the prominent men of McDonough county. He is a native of Newark, New Jersey, and was born March 4, 1818. He was reared and educated in his native state, where he learned the trade of a millwright. At the age of 19 years, he went to Newark, Ohio, where he worked at his trade for 10 years, then went to St. Louis, Missouri, where he remained for four and a half years. His next location was Hannibal, Missouri, where he engaged in business as a member of the firm of Snyner, Ball & Co., which partnership continued for four years. For three succeeding years, he was a member of the firm Fast & Ball of Canton, Illinois. In 1861, he removed to Bushnell and engaged in business, as before mentioned. In the month of September 1844, he was united in marriage with Anna Dean, a native of Pennsylvania. They are now the parents of nine children—Mary and Miriam, twins Julia, George, Manford, Lydia, Carrie, Frank, and James. The four boys are now engaged in business with their father.
The first blacksmith shop was instituted by Augustus Downey in 1856. He is still a resident of Bushnell but not actively engaged in the pursuit of his trade.
A man by the name of Clemens also engaged in the trade about the same time but did not remain long.
John Leib, the dealer in harnesses, saddles, whips, carriages, buggies, etc., is the leader in his line in Bushnell. The harness department was established by George Duncan. In January 1874, Mr. Leib became a partner in the business, which partnership continued until the following October when Mr. Leib became the sole proprietor. He continued the harness business until 1880, then added a line of carriages, buggies, etc. He carries a $4,500 stock and does a very extensive business, owning the building in which he conducts his enterprise. The building is two stories in height and is 26x60 feet in dimensions. He occupies the upper floor.
Mr. Leib is a native of York County, Pennsylvania, and was born November 1, 1848. He was reared and educated in his native county, where he learned the trade of a harness maker, following the same there until 1869, in which year he removed to McDonough county, Illinois, and located at Bushnell. He accepted a situation with Mr. Duncan and continued working for him until January 1874, then buying an interest in the business, of which he is now the sole proprietor. John Leib and Addie Hay, a native of this state, were united in marriage in the month of December 1876. As a result of this union, they are now the parents of two children—Flora and Ella. Mr. and Mrs. Leib are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and Mr. Leib is also a member of the A. F. & A. M., and of the I. O. O. F., both subordinate and encampment.
James Cole purchased the first load of grain ever brought to this market to sell. It was wheat brought here by John C. Ross, who resided near Vermont. Mr. Cole was also the first to buy cattle and hogs at this point.
E. H. Fehr leads the business as an artistic sign painter. He also makes kalsomining and graining a specialty. He commenced operations in Bushnell in 1877 and has won the confidence of those requiring this class of work done.
Among the many enterprises that have made Bushnell quite famous throughout this section of the state are the Agricultural and Mechanical association fairs, which are held here each year. A full account of this society and the various fairs has been given in chapter XVI, to which the reader is referred.
The first hotel building in Bushnell was commenced in 1855 by John Crawford, but before its completion, it was purchased by John D. Hail, who at once finished it and opened it for the accommodation of the public.
The leading hotel in the town, if not in this portion of the state, is the Hendee house. This edifice was erected in the summer of 1871 by S. A. Hendee, after whom it is named. When it was finished, it was opened by J. S. Clarke & Son, by whom it was run for about two years. After this, it passed through several hands, but it is now kept by Boyington & Son, who evidently know "how to keep a hotel," as their house is well known to be the best on this line of road from Galesburg to Quincy. Mr. Boyington, being an old commercial traveler, knows just the wants of that class of trade and supplies them.
The Bushnell house is another example of a prominent hotel.
S. S. Bradfield, the landlord of the Bushnell house in Bushnell, Illinois, was born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on February 17, 1828. He lived with his parents until he reached his 21st year. He was then married to Nancy Gardner, a native of Franklin County, Ohio, born October 25, 1827. After marriage, he engaged in farming which occupation he followed for three years, then moved to Fulton County, Illinois, where he resided for 15 years on a farm that he purchased and improved. He next removed to Avon, Fulton county, and there kept a hotel and livery stable, four years after which he came to Bushnell, McDonough county, and bought the hotel property known as the Bushnell house, which he has since owned and kept. His house is well and neatly kept and a favorite stopping place for the traveling public. Mr. Bradfield is a member of the Masonic fraternity and, politically, a Republican. Mr. and Mrs. Bradfield have had eight children born to them—Zachariah T. married to Alice Sebra; James A., married first to Ella Cole but now living with a second wife; Esthmareld, wife of Hiram Hunter, of Table Grove, Illinois; Sarah S., wife of R. S. Harris, of Chicago; Margaret, Enala, wife of O. K. Deliker of Omaha, Nebraska; Mary Ella, wife of Charles West, of Bushnell; William W. and Charles L., living at home with their parents.
THE FLOUR MILL
The Excelsior steam flouring mill was erected by the Nevious Bros. in 1866. It was run by them, and by G. A. Nevious, until July 1881, when it passed into the hands of Chandler& Co. These latter parties operated it until the fall of 1884, when it passed into the hands of the receiver, being involved in the failure of the Farmers National bank, of which Chandler & Co. were the managers. The building is 36x56 feet in the ground area and 36 feet high, with the addition of a capacious boiler and engine room. It is fitted up in a most complete manner with first-class machinery and is a fine piece of property valued at about $14,000. At the time of the trouble, it was doing a good business, but now is doing little, if anything.
ROSEVILLE MANUFACTURING COMPANY
The establishment now owned by the company with the above name was instituted by Pierpont and Tuttle, who put in the plant during the winter of 1873, and the spring of 1874. They engaged in the manufacture of plows until June 1882, when the present company became the owners, and have continued the same line of manufacture. The building is a two-story brick one, 75x100 feet in ground area, with the addition of a foundry 30x60 feet in size, besides warehouses and lumber sheds. The company had some five acres of ground and capital stock of $40,000. The officers are the following named: Eli Dixson, president; Eli B. Dixson, secretary and manager; Eli Dixson, Eli B. Dixson, A. C. Slens, W. H. Lee, G. W. Malcolm, and Seth F. Pratt, directors.
Eli B. Dixson, the manager of the Roseville Manufacturing Company of Bushnell, is a native of Greene County, Indiana, and was born on October 17, 1851. When Eli was three years of age, his parents moved to Warren County, Illinois, where he was reared and educated. From 1868 to 1873, he attended the Hedding college at Abingdon, from which institution he graduated. He then engaged in farming and, from 1875 to 1878, was doing a manufacturing business in Roseville, Illinois. From there, he went to Maysville, Missouri, and engaged in merchandising, which he continued until 1881; then returned to Roseville, Illinois, and again became connected with the manufacturing business. In 1882 the company, of which Mr. Dixson is a member, bought the plant and removed it to Bushnell, where now it is one of the popular institutions of that city. Besides being the manager of the company, Eli B. is also one of the directors as well as secretary. Although a resident of Bushnell but a comparatively short time, he is already acknowledged to be one of the leading businessmen of that city. He is one of the present city councilmen and is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen lodge of Bushnell. On September 24, 1873, Eli B. Dixson and Laura Doane were united in the holy bonds of matrimony, and as a result of their union, they are now the parents of three children—Mabel, Earl S., and Ethel.
In 1878 a company styling itself Cleveland, Morton & Company, started the Bushnell tile works. They soon took in Mr. Logsdon, and the firm name was changed to Cleveland, Morton, Logsdon & Company. In 1880 the concern was incorporated and was known as the Bushnell fire clay, tile, and brickworks, with a capital stock of $12,000. The first officers chosen were—J. E. Chandler, president; T. B. Morton, secretary and vice-president. The present officers are—T. B. Morton, president; C. C. Cummings, secretary; and J. B. Cummings, treasurer. The dimensions of dry rooms are 36x128 feet, two stories in height, with a factory adjoining a 30x40 foot. Drain tile is the principal feature.
BUSHNELL PUMP COMPANY
The works operated by the above company were established in Bushnell in 1872 by the firm of Nelson, LaTourette & Company. It was run by them for a number of years, when it was changed to a joint-stock company, under the above name, with a capital stock of $40,000. They occupy a large frame building opposite the site of the old Wabash depot and manufacture wooden pumps, windmills, croquet sets, ornamental stands, and various other pieces of furniture. The officers of the company are—James LaTourette, president, and R. W. Wheeler, secretary, treasurer, and superintendent of the works.
A history of the late Farmers' National bank of Bushnell is given in the biographical sketch of J. B. Cummings, which here follows:
Prominent among McDonough county's citizens is John B. Cummings, who settled at Macomb in the fall of 1851, coming from Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. He is a native of Maryland, having been born there on January 17, 1824. His father died in that state, and subsequently, when John B. was 12 years of age, his mother removed with her family to Ohio and, three years later, to Pennsylvania, where our subject was engaged as a clerk in Centreville, Butler county, the family residing on a farm. Eleven years later, Mr. Cummings moved to Illinois and, in the fall of 1851, came to the county as heretofore mentioned. On March 3, 1847, he was united in marriage with Evaline W. Pearson, a native of Pennsylvania. By that union, there were six children, five of whom are still living—Clarence B., born December 27, 1847, now engaged as bookkeeper and dealer in real estate, in Rio Grande County, Colorado; Leonidas B., who married Georgie Westgate of Quincy, and now resides at Bushnell; James E., who married Matilda J. Perrine, and is now a resident of Bushnell, where he conducts a job printing office; Charles C., who resides at home, and is a stockholder and book-keeper for the Bushnell fire clay, tile, and brickworks; Eva, the wife of C. W. Dickerson, of Chicago, at present, the cashier for Lord, Owens & Company, wholesale druggists; Minnie, the sixth child, died in infancy. Mrs. Cummings departed this life on November 16, 1862. Mr. Cummings was again married on April 19, 1864, to Mrs. Mary E. Parkinson, nee Chambers, a native of Kentucky and who was born near Lexington. Her parents moved to Sangamon County, Illinois, in October 1844. By her first marriage, Mrs. Cummings was the mother of two children, now deceased—Charles Henry and Ann Elizabeth. Her father, William Chambers, was one of the early settlers of Macomb, and a sketch of whom will be found elsewhere in this volume. Mr. and Mrs. Cummings are the parents of one child—William C., who was born on January 16, 1865, and resides at home. On April 19, 1865, Mr. C. removed to Bushnell, bought residence property and engaged in the private banking business with Charles Chandler. They doing business under the firm name of Chandler & Cummings. They continued this business until 1871 and then organized the Farmers' National bank, with Charles Wilson as president; and Mr. Cummings as a cashier. Mr. Wilson died in March 1884, and J. E. Chandler succeeded him as president. Mr. Cummings continued in this business until the present year when the bank was closed. He is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, as well as of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
The edifice known as Randall's opera house was erected in 1883 by R. S. Randall, S. Houghton, and H. L. Randall. It commenced in June 1883 and was completed on January 1, 1884. It is one of the finest and most complete halls of amusement in this part of the state. It is 60x90 feet on the ground and 60 feet high. Two storerooms are on the ground floor, while the opera house proper occupies the second story. The stage is 25x60 feet in dimension and is handsomely fitted with a drop curtain, scenery, stage fitting, and all other accessories of a well-kept theatre. The building is valued at $22,000. The auditorium is fitted with opera chairs, and everything is arranged for the comfort of the patrons.
In the spring of 1884, a company was incorporated, under the state law, which is known far and wide as the Bushnell creamery association. It commenced with a capital stock of $10,000, and with the following officers: J. E. Chandler, president and treasurer, and H. T. Clark, secretary. They at once invested some $5,000 in buildings and the necessary machinery, the latter of which is of the most improved character. It is situated just north of the town and will prove one of the leading industries of this place. It has a capacity of turning out some 2,500 pounds of butter per day, and from May to December 1884, the actual output was 80,000 pounds, most of which was exported, the balance sold in the east. They paid out last year to the farmers for cream over $15,000.
Henry T. Clark came to McDonough county, Illinois, in 1857, from New York City. He is a native of Pennsylvania, having been born in that state on May 7, 1836. He was brought up to mercantile pursuits in a small town in his native state, where he remained until 1857, at which time he went to New York City. Shortly afterward, he came to this county and engaged in agricultural pursuits, as did he also in the dry goods business. He has ever since been engaged in farming and stock-raising, having since disposed of his interest in the dry goods store. He is now the possessor of 400 acres of good land, all of which, with the exception of 20 acres, is located in Fulton county. In addition to farming and stock-raising, he is also interested in the Bushnell creamery. During the year 1879, Henry T. Clark and Susan Livingston, a native of New York state and who was brought up on the Hudson, were united in the holy bonds of matrimony. By this union, three children have been born to them, two of whom are living—B. G. and Sallie, now the wife of J. A. Lyons of Bushnell. Mr. Clark is a very valuable citizen and is highly prized by all who know him for his many good qualities. He is still in the prime of life and bids fair to enjoy many more years of usefulness.
Bushnell cemetery was laid off on May 12, 1863, by J. T. Sanders, A. S. Clarke, Stockton West, William Shreeves, and E. P. Livingston, trustees. The land which it occupied, six acres in extent, was purchased by Joseph McConnell, the consideration paid being $360, or $60 per acre. This city of the dead was surveyed and platted by David Shreeves on the 2Oth of November 1863. It is located south of the town, in section 34. The first interment was that of Providence, wife of Joseph Wells, who was buried in the spring of 1863 before the survey was made. Four additional acres have been added to the original cemetery, the land being purchased by Emanuel Aller, on February 15, 1877, at $125, per acre. This burial place is nicely improved, well-fenced, and free from debt.
David Kepple is one of the well-known early settlers of McDonough county. He was born in Botetourt County, Virginia, in 1815 and was the son of Jacob Kepple. When David was a child, his father moved to East Tennessee, and from there to McDonough county, in 1832. He lived with his father in Mound township until 1837, when he was married to the daughter of James King. He then removed to section 20, Mound township, on land belonging to his father. A portion of his time he spent working on the farm, and the remainder he occupied in hauling goods to Macomb from Quincy, St Louis, and Beardstown. He had been engaged in this business to a greater or less extent before his marriage, for four years, and continued it for one year after his marriage. By his earnings in this way, he paid for a piece of land, the west half of the northeast quarter of section 36. In 1839, David was removed to a farm in Lamoine township, which was given to him by his father-in-law. This farm consisted of 120 acres in section 8. In 1845, he again returned to Mound township and, having bought the south half of section 17, settled on it. He improved this land and bought other tracts in the vicinity until he had 700 acres. The first money he ever made was by raising wheat, hauling it to Browning, and shipping it to St. Louis when the river opened. As soon as he got a little start in this way, he invested it in cattle and hogs, and in 1861, he brought the first shorthorns into the township, which he bought from J. H. Spears of Menard county. He was very successful in his stock-raising business. When he left the farm in 1882, he sold $7,000 or $8,000 worth of stock. He was then removed to Bushnell, where he and his wife are living a retired life. While in Lamoine township, his home and possessions were destroyed by fire, and as it was butchering day, and they could save nothing from their house, Mr. and Mrs. Kepple lost everything except the clothes they had on, which were the poorest they possessed.
Edward Dyer came to McDonough county, in September 1837, from Warsaw, which place he had removed from Philadelphia the previous April. He is a native of Pennsylvania and was born on February 8, 1815. His parents, Samuel and Elizabeth (Kein) Dyer, resided on a farm in Pennsylvania, where they departed this life. At the age of 16 years, Edward was apprenticed to a wheelwright for five years, but before the expiration of that time, the master died, and Edward was free. He then worked as a journeyman in his native state until 1837, then came to Illinois, as noted above. Upon coming to this county, he located at Macomb and opened the first wagon shop in that city, where he also followed the business of a wheelwright. He there continued in business until the spring of 1844, when he improved the farm known as "Dyer's Mound," and the present township of Mound was named in his honor, having been one of its first settlers. He bought 75 acres of wildland, improved it, and there followed agricultural pursuits until about 1852, then selling. He then bought 160 acres of land in section 15, which was partly improved, and continued to live there until 1865, when he moved to Bushnell. Two years later, he removed to Bardolph and engaged in the hardware business, and seven years later returned to Bushnell, bringing his stock with him. Here he continued the business for three years, then sold, and now leads a retired life. April 18, 1838, Edward Dyer and Jane Kepple were united in marriage. She is a native of Tennessee and, with her parents, came to McDonough county in 1834 and settled in what is now Mound township. They were among the earliest settlers of that township, where they have since died. Mr. and Mrs. Dyer have been the parents of 11 children, three of whom are still living—Jane Maria, now the wife of G. W. Amos, of Kansas; Elizabeth, the wife of N. H. Jackson, of Bardolph, who is engaged in the hotel business and merchandising; David, who married Amanda McDonough, and now resides in Mound township. The names of the deceased children are as follows: Margaret, Jacob, Susan, Samuel, Edward, Mary Ann, George W., and an infant. Mr. and Mrs. Dyer were the first couple married in Mound township, the officiating clergyman being Rev. John P. Richmond, pastor of the M. E. church of Macomb. They are members of that denomination. He had joined the church when 17 years of age, and she when 18. Politically, Mr. Dyer was a democrat up to the time of the repeal of the Missouri compromise, from which time until 1884, he acted with the republican party. On account of the failure of that party to put a prohibition plank in their platform, he now votes with the prohibition party. At the time of Mr. Dyer's settlement in Mound township, he erected a log cabin, 16x18 feet in dimensions. The country was then in a wild state, and from his door, he often saw as many as 50 deer grazing in the vicinity.
J. L. Griffith came to McDonough County in the fall of 1864 from Fulton county and engaged as a clerk with S. C. Haines, with whom he remained for 18 months. He then engaged with S. A. Hendee, subsequently becoming a partner in the business, the firm name being Hendee, Griffith & Co. He continued as a member of this firm for a number of years, finally selling his interest to Mr. Hendee. He then engaged in the lumber business with D. F. Chidister. They were also members of the hardware firm Griffith, Amos & Co. The lumber business was sold to Haines and Alexander some six years later, and, at the same time, Mr. Griffith disposed of his interest in the hardware business to Mr. Hoover, who was a clerk for the firm. Mr. Griffith had previously bought a farm of 170 acres in Bushnell township, which he still owns, and is engaged in farming and stock raising. He also speculates to a considerable extent in land, south and west, and stock. He is a native of Pennsylvania, having been born in that state on March 25, 1835. When our subject was six years of age, his mother died, and he was thrown upon his own resources. He remained on a farm until attaining his 17th year and then worked in the carpenter trade for 27 months. His education has been obtained chiefly by his own effort, he only being able to attend school for three months out of the year. In 1854, he left Pennsylvania for Canton, Illinois, from which place he removed to Bushnell in 1864. On August 2, 1860, J. L. Griffith and Martha E. Heister, a native Pennsylvanian, were united in marriage. They have been the parents of four children, three of whom are still living—Boyd, Leslie, and John; Bennie, the third child, is now dead. Mr. and Mrs. Griffith are members of the Baptist denomination, while he is also a member of the I. O. O. F. and the A. O. U. W. lodges of Bushnell. He affiliates with the democratic party and is a Canton Lodge of A. F. & A member. M. From boyhood up, Mr. Griffith's life has been marked by strict integrity and close attention to business. Conscientious, benevolent, and warm in his affections, he has endeared himself to a large circle of friends and presents an example of self-culture well worthy of emulation.
Not many genuine examples of sturdy western self-made men come to public notice. Born and raised in indigence and obscurity, they have fought the battles of life so earnestly and well that they seldom think of congratulating themselves upon their ultimate success, and, in general, they are unwilling to believe that they deserve any consideration for the notable examples of honest, healthy, and successful life which they have given us. S. J. Alexander came to McDonough county, in March 1854, from Ohio. He was born in Wayne County, Indiana, on July 10, 1821. When our subject was one year old, his father died in Wayne county, where the mother has since died at the advanced age of 84 years. S. J Alexander spent his youth on a farm in his native state and received a fair common school education. When he attained his 23rd year, he removed to New Westfall, Ohio, and engaged in the mercantile business. One year later, found him in the same business in Boston, Wayne County, Indiana. Here he remained for one and a half years and then went to Darke county, Ohio, where he was engaged in business up to the time of his coming to McDonough county and locating near Bardolph. One year later, he moved to Walnut Grove township, where he resided until the spring of 1863, at which time he came to Bushnell, bought the property, and went into the grocery business. This not being to his liking, one year later, he sold out and entered into the lumber trade, in connection with others, having a good yard and doing a very extensive business. January 1, 1880, he retired from the firm, selling his interest to E. D. C. Haines, one of the partners. He now owns a fine stock farm of 240 acres in Walnut Grove township, having a tenant on it, and is engaged in the stock business. S. J. Alexander and Hannah Cowgill, a native of Warren County, Ohio, were united in marriage on August 24, 1845. They were the parents of five children, all of whom were deceased. At present, Mr. Alexander is engaged to a considerable extent in loaning money and in speculation. Politically, he is a republican, having belonged to that organization since reaching his majority. He is also a member of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons.
George P. Seibert came to McDonough county, in the spring of 1856, from Fulton county. He is a native of Maryland, having been born in Washington county on April 17, 1828. His parents were Henry and Catharine (Butterbaugh) Seibert, both of whom departed this life in Maryland. George was brought up on a farm and received only a limited common school education. He remained on the old homestead until his 17th year, when he started out on the voyage of life for himself, engaging in stock buying and various other kinds of business. On December 20, 1849, he was united in marriage with Elizabeth Martin, a native of Pennsylvania. After his marriage, he again resided on the old farm for some three years and then moved to Fulton County, Illinois. Here he was engaged in various occupations up to the time of his coming to this county and settling at Bushnell. He had bought a farm of 60 acres near that city and at once engaged in agricultural pursuits. He still owns this land, to which he has since added 100 acres, and has a man running it for him. He managed the farm personally up to a few years ago, since which time he has been engaged in buying grain and stock in Bushnell to a considerable extent. Mr. and Mrs. Seibert have no children of their own but have raised two children—Lou Claybert, who now resides with them, and Maria L. Angel, now the wife of Ira Applegate of Bushnell. Mr. Seibert is a member of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, while his wife is a Baptist church member. In politics, he is a Democrat but votes for men, not a party. The crowning success of the subject of this biography is that while as a child he was left to drift upon the tide of society, even to his manhood, without apparently a guiding star, he was never lured to soil his character by the siren song of temptation, but evenly maintained his integrity, and today bears an unblemished reputation for honor, and as a gentleman, has high moral purposes of life.
Benjamin M. Coleman, of Bushnell, is a son of Jeremiah and Margaret Coleman, natives of the state of New Jersey, who came to Canton, Fulton County, Illinois, in 1839, and to Bushnell township, McDonough county, in 1854, and located then, in this township. The subject of this sketch was born in Bushnell township on February 28, 1859. He was brought up in his native county, attending the district schools and, subsequently, Prairie City academy. February 13, 1881, he was united in marriage with Sarah Campbell, and by this union, has two children—Gracie and John Walter. Mr. Coleman is a public-spirited young man and a worthy citizen.
Lee H. Greene is of French and Spanish descent and was born in Montgomery County, Kentucky, on April 13, 1850. In 1857, he came with his parents to Illinois and settled on a farm, where he remained until 1868. His father died on September 7, 1862. In the fall of 1868, he went to Galesburg, Knox county, and began learning the trade of an engineer with Engineer Fields, who was in the employ of the Frost Manufacturing company of that city. From that time until 1873, Mr. Greene followed engineering. He came to the city of Bushnell, where he has since resided. September 19, 1883, he entered the employ of the American Express Company as master of transportation, in which occupation he has since been engaged. Mr. Greene was married on December 15, 1872, to Lizzie Morgan and, by this union, had one child—Thomas E., born in September 1874.
Alexander H. McGahan, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad agent at Bushnell, came to that city in 1861 as an agent of that company. He is a native of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and was born December 7, 1840. He was reared and educated in his native state and, at the age of 14 years, entered the office of the Waynesburg, Pennsylvania Messenger as an apprentice, where he remained for some three years. From that time until 1861, he worked in printing offices in Pittsburg and New Brighton, Pennsylvania. He then came to Prairie City, McDonough county, where for four months, he was engaged as an employee for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad. He was then given a position at Oak Hill as an agent of the company and was there engaged until coming to this city, as heretofore mentioned. He has been a member of the board of education for the past four years, now serving a second term as president of the board. On October 27, 1864, Alexander H. McGahan, and Alice West, a daughter of Stockton West of this city, were united in the holy bond of matrimony. As a result of this union, they are now the parents of two children—Willie L. and Walter L., Mr. and Mrs. McGahan, and the children are members of the Presbyterian church. He is also a member of the Knights of Pythias lodge of Bushnell, being the present grand representative to the Grand lodge.
The first marriage in the town occurred on November 6, 1858. At that time, W. H. Oglesbee, a justice of the peace, performed the ceremony that united the destinies of Augustus Downey and Matilda Lindsey.
The first death was that of Edward, a son of Mr. and Mrs. James Cole, who was called to better land in the fall of 1856.
The second child born in the village was William B., son of John and Harriet Beach, who first saw the light on February 9, 1856. The first was a child of Hiram Markham, born in 1855.
McDonough encampment, No. 79, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized on October 23, 1867, with the following charter members: J. B. Cummings, J. P. Dimmitt, G. C. Ridings, I. N. Pearson, S. L. Abbott, J. A. James, G. A. Kaiser, F. C. Grimm, J. Cole, and J. E. Miller. The first officers chosen to fill the chairs were: J. B. Cummings, C. P.; G. C. Ridings, H. P.; J. P. Dimmitt, S. W.; I. N. Pearson, J. W.; J. A. James, scribe; and S. L. Abbott, treasurer. The camp, which is well attended, now has 60 members, governed by the following officers: J. D. Murphy, C. P; Thomas Fairman, H. P.; S. C. Sperling, S. W.; H. C. Haines, J. W.; and G. A. Kaiser, scribe and treasurer.
Bushnell Lodge, No. 322, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized at Bushnell, in November 1865, with the following 12 original members: G. C. Ridings, J. B. Cummings, I. N. Pearson, Charles West, W. W. Travis, John Willis, Fred Seibert, E. J. Dunlap, George Schaffer, F. C. Grimm, Thomas Fairman and John Stokoe. The first officers were duly elected and installed with the proper ceremonies. They were: J. B. Cummings, N. G.; G. C. Ridings, V. G.; I. N. Pearson, R. S.; Charles West, P. S., and John Willis, T. This lodge is now in a most flourishing condition, having a membership of 118, and own a beautifully furnished room for a meeting, and over $3,000 in the lodge treasury. The present officers are E. D. C. Haines, N. G.; B. W. Ervin, V. G.; John Leib, P. S.; A. H. Cleveland, R. S.; G. A. Kaiser, T., and R. to Grand Lodge.
Bushnell uniform degree encampment No. 15 is a new lodge of the I. O. O. F. and was duly constituted and organized in January 1883. The first officers were the following named: J. B. Pearson, commander; Thomas Fairman, vice-commander; J. D. Murphy, an officer of the guard; J. E. Cummings, secretary; and G. A. Kaiser, treasurer. The camp now has a membership of some 27 and is healthy. Its officers for 1885 are the following: G. A. Kaiser, commander; W. E. Haines, vice-commander; J. D. Murphy, an officer of the guard; Thos. Fairman, secretary; and E. D. C. Haines, treasurer.
Carter Van Vleck's post, No. 174, of the G. A. R., was duly organized, on January 3, 1883, with 46 charter members. The first officers were the following named comrades:, J. B. Pearson, C.; C. C. Morse, S. V. C.; A. E. Barnes, J. V. C.; E. F. Currier, Adj't; H. H. Nance, Q. M.; John Livingston, O. of D.; and W. F. Wilson, chap. Commander Pearson died before his term of office had expired, and the senior vice commander was promoted to the vacant place. The lodge of battle-scarred veterans meets in its own hall twice a month and has a membership of 101. The post was called after the gallant Colonel Van Vleck of this county, who so bravely commanded the gallant 78th Illinois infantry and was killed at Atlanta. The present officers are J. H. Johnson, commander; L. S. Mills, senior vice commander; R. B. Sperling, junior vice commander; J. H. Laney, adjutant; J. C. Young, an officer of the day; J. M. Gale, quartermaster; and J. P. Yoder, chaplain.
T. J. Pickett Lodge No. 307, A. F. & A. M., which holds its convocations in the city of Bushnell, was duly constituted and organized on January 15, 1859, with the following members: J. H. Smith, J. Seaburn, Hiram Conover, J. W. Kelly, J. Ewald, J. Wells, William Keims, R. Lindsay and E. P. Livingston. J. H. Smith was the first worshipful master. He was succeeded by J. W. Kelly and by John Neff. The masters from him up have been: W. J. Frisbie, 1873 and 1874; J. H. Smith, 1875; D. D. Pierce, 1876 and 1877; W. J. Frisbie, 1878; J. C. Cadwallader, 1879; J. F. Cowgill, 1880 and 1881; W. J. Frisbie, 1882 and 1883; J. W. Haynes, 1884, and D. D. Pierce, the present one. The balance of the officers are at present: Ira Applegate, S. W.; J. W. Haynes, J. W.; W. J. Frisbie, T.; J. C. Cadwallader, S. The present membership of the lodge is about 85, and in a healthy condition. Their lodge room, which is one of the most handsome in this part of the state, is 45x50 feet in size and is located in a building that they own. It is fitted up elegantly and with more regard for artistic taste than is usual, and the "brothers of the mystic tie" can well feel proud of their lodge room in Bushnell.
Chevalier lodge, No. 101, K. of P., was organized under a charter which bears the date of October 18, 1882, with the following charter members: J. Herring, W. J. Frisbie, J. H. B. Camp, L. O. Gould, M. L. Walker, T. F. Seibert, J. E. Chandler, J. Varner, G. M. Rose, T. J. Sorter, A. H. McGahan, M. J. Johnson, J. V. D. Kelly, D. E. Zook, A. T. McElvain, J. C. V. Kelly, M. L. Hoover, H. H. Roman, J. W. Parks, E. K. Westfall, A. W. VanDyke, L. Schamp, T. B. Morton, J. C. Thompson, I. Applegate, H. T. Clarke, J. C. Cadwallader, H. M. Harrison, S. H. Parvin, C. T. Coulter, A. B. Cooper, J. F. Cowgill, W. M. Scott, A. Reed, W. Pontifex, C. S. Bird, G. M. Ball, J. M. Ball, H. Kaiser, E. Durst, W. H. Wilson, J. W. Hayes, C. C. Branson, C. J. Mariner, H. L. Benson. The following were the first officers of the lodge: A. H. McGahan, P. C.; T. I. Sorter, C. C.; Jacob Herring, V. C.; Rev. S. H. Parvin, P.; T. T. Seibert, M. of E.; M. L. Walker, M. of F.; T. H. B. Camp, K. of R. and S.; J. F. Cowgill, M. of A.; M. L. Hoover, I. G.; C. F. Coulter, O. G.
The present condition of the lodge is excellent. The membership is 148. Meetings are held twice a month, and much interest is felt in the work. The present officers are as follows: L. O. Gould, C. C.; T. H. B. Camp, V. C.; A. H. McGahan, P.; A. I. Hewes, K. of R. and S.; T. F. Seibert, M. of E.; G. M. Rose, M. of F.
Harmony Lodge, No. 867, Knights of Honor, was duly organized on September 4, 1878, with the following charter members: G. A. Kaiser, H. Kaiser, J. W. Sparks, A. H. Roman, J. Ayres, J. C. Thompson, T. F. Capp, George Kuhn, H. E. Tippit, D. T. Morgan, J. C. Cadwallader, H. Darnielle, H. E. Whittier, A. Peterson, S. A. Hendee, E. F. Currier, A. C. Decker, H. L. Goudy, A. Logan, and J. R. Sperling. The first officers were: J. C. Cadwallader, dictator; T. F. Capp, vice-dictator; W. E. Whittier, assistant dictator; E. T. Currier, reporter; John R. Sperling, financial reporter; G. A. Kaiser, treasurer; and J. C. Thompson, past dictator. The present is G. W. Fox, dictator; Robert Orr, vice-dictator; J. Bowie, assistant dictator; W. E. Whittier, reporter; G. A. Kaiser, financial reporter; and J. C. Cadwallader, treasurer.
Phoenix Lodge, No. 17, Ancient Order of United Workmen, located at Bushnell, was organized on October 2, 1876, with the following members: G. A. Kaiser, Charles West, Thomas Fairman, J. Leib, O. C. Hicks, W. A. Spader, F. Craig, H. D. Brooks, C. Nessel, C. E. Weyman, A. Applegate, S. A. Greenbaum, L. Kaiser, J. V. Sorter, G. Kuhn, R. Fees, H. T. Walters, F. Nessel, J. Fees, J. Stephenson, L. Mills; J. W. Sparks, J. E. Moore, H. T. Clarke, J. J. Hosselkus, J. A. Gardner, J. B. Seeley, W. E. Whittier, L. Applegate, C. A. Davy, A. Schamp, and G. A. McElvain. The first officers of the lodge were the following named: G. A. Kaiser, P. M. W.; Charles West, M. W.; Thomas Fairman, F.; J. Leib, O.; O. C. Hicks, recorder; W. A. Spader, financier; F. Craig, receiver; H. D. Brooks, G.; C. Nessel, I. W.; C. E. Weyman, O. W. The present membership is now about 56, and meetings are held in the I. O. O. F. hall. The present officers are J. D. Murphy, P. M.; H. T. Walters, M. W.; C. A. Baldwin, F.; W. D. Shrader, O.; Thomas Fairman, recorder; M. S. Walker, financier; T. F. Seibert, receiver; J. A. Carson, G.; W. E. Whittier, I. W.; S. L. Duntley, O. W.
At an election held on March 24, 1869, for or against the adoption of a city charter, there were polled 284 votes 24 against the proposition. At the first annual election for city officers, held April 5, 1869, the following named persons were elected: J. B. Cummings, mayor. Aldermen, First ward, Manning F. West, one year; James W. Kelly, two years. Aldermen, Second ward, James Ayres, one year; James Cole, two years. Aldermen, Third ward, William H. Oglesby, one year; I. N. McElvain, two years. Aldermen, Fourth ward, Fisher Brown, one year; A. E. Barnes, two years. M. A. Luce, attorney and clerk; Joseph Parks, treasurer.
Almon Tainter, the present mayor of the city of Bushnell and a member of the firm of Haines & Tainter, furniture dealers, at Bushnell, Illinois, is a native of Genesee County, New York, born September 20, l817. He is the son of John and Rachel (Hendricks) Tainter, natives of the same state. In 1820, John Tainter moved with his family to Huron county, Ohio, where they remained until 1836. In that year, Almon came to Illinois and was located in Fulton County, where he was a very early settler. The following year he returned to Ohio, and two years later, went to New York state, where he remained till 1840. He then came back to Fulton County, Illinois, where he engaged in farming until 1871. At that date, he moved to Independence, Kansas, and there followed merchandising for three years, after which he came to McDonough county, located in Bushnell. Here he embarked on the grocery trade, which he continued for four years, then sold out and engaged in his present business. He was elected mayor of the city in the spring of 1883. He was married in May 1871 to Ann Boyle, a native of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity.
EDUCATIONAL [By Arthur Loomis]
In writing a short history of the Bushnell public schools, I will briefly mention the condition of the schools first established in all western states. The privileges of having good schools were formerly very scarce. And in tracing the history of any of the western villages at the present time, one cannot fail to notice the wonderful progress that has been made in the school department.
The first school that was built in Bushnell was located on what is now Sperry street, block 57, in the year 1856. Dan Markham was the first teacher. The school was then transferred to Temperance hall, now the Normal eating house, in the year 1860. The first teacher here was Mr. Snyder. Mr. Frisbee next conducted a school in what is now the Catholic church building from 1864 to 1867. In 1868 a graded school was established, of which Mr. Hyde was the first principal. From this time down to the year 1875, there were four schools, one in each ward, but the people, feeling their need for a better school, determined to build and found a high school. In 1875, the walls and foundation of the present school building were made, and in 1876, the building was completed. It is located in the northwest part of town, on block 20. At this time, the board of education was composed of four men, viz: C. M. Baldwin, J. L. Griffith. R. S. Randall and J. W. Sparks. On approaching the building, a person beholds an elegant structure. It is built of brick on a foundation of stone and is two stories high. The basement walls extend about 10 feet above the ground, thus giving the building the appearance of having three stories. In ascending the steps in front of the building, a person enters through double doors and an outer hall about 15x10. At the further end of this hall, there is a raise of three steps, where a person again passes into a hall through double doors. On both sides of this hall, there are two doors, opening respectively into rooms 3, 4, 5, and 6. At the extremity of this hall, there is a flight of stairs that brings you onto a small platform, from which proceeds another flight of stairs in the opposite direction. At the head of this flight of stairs, there is another hall, or corridor, from the sides of which, as below, proceed four doors, opening respectively into rooms 7, 8, 9, and 10. At the extremity of this hall, there is a door opening into the superintendent's room. Besides the rooms already mentioned, there is a small cloakroom to each room, where hats and wraps are deposited during school hours and a small closet where necessary articles are stored. The building is heated by steam, which is conveyed along the sides of the room by a number of pipes.
There is also a smaller building on the north side of the main building, which was built for the convenience of the primary scholars. This building is composed of two rooms, but as I have never had the privilege of entering this building, I cannot further describe it.
The expense of finishing and furnishing such a building was, of course, quite considerable. The building and furnishing, in the first place, amounted to $22,000. The furnace, pipes, etc., which have been obtained since the building has been in operation, amounted to $1,750. The expenses for teachers, fuel, etc., amount to $600 per month. Incidentals to about $400 per year.
The school possesses a small library containing 16 volumes of an encyclopedia, several dictionaries, etc.
Among the branches taught in this school are physiology, philosophy, algebra, rhetoric, geometry, English literature, botany, etc., besides the lower branches.
Good and competent teachers are employed, so considering the size of the town, Bushnell has schools of which she may well be proud.
John P. Yoder, who has so acceptably filled the position of superintendent of the Bushnell schools since 1880, is a native of Pennsylvania, having been born in that state on September 4, 1846. When John was 3 years of age, his father removed to McLean county, Illinois, and was located on a farm, following farming and carpentering. John remained at home, assisting his father on the farm and at his trade, until reaching his 17th year. He then enlisted in the 150th Illinois volunteer infantry for one year, "or during the war," and received his discharge after serving 14 months. He then returned to the old homestead and attended the State Normal University at Bloomington. Previous to attending the university, his education had been obtained in the district schools and by personal application at home. He was ambitious to have a good education and, as a consequence, was very studious. While attending the university, he occasionally taught to procure the money necessary to pursue his studies and finally graduated therefrom in 1871. He then accepted the position of principal of the Blue Island, Cook county schools, in which position he gave entire satisfaction. He then engaged in business in Chicago, but one year later resumed his profession at Danvers, McLean county, where he continued for seven years, then came to Bushnell, as before stated, and took charge of the city schools. This position he has filled with credit to himself and satisfaction to all, and to his efforts is largely due to the high position which the schools of the city have attained. John P. Yoder and Rebecca Lantz, a native of this state, were united in marriage on December 28, 1874. They have been the parents of four children, three of whom are now living—Jennie L., Arthur E., and Hattie J. Politically, Mr. Yoder is a republican, and has been a member of that party since reaching his majority. He is also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic organization.
Edited by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.
Source: The History of McDonough County, published in 1885.