Chapter 23 - The Town of Colchester
A short time previous to the completion of the Northern Cross--now Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad--Lewis H. Little, the owner of the northeast quarter of section 13, then Tennessee township, determined upon that point for a location of a new town, and for that purpose the tract was surveyed by a gentleman by the name of Chester, then an employee of the railroad company. In honor of the surveyor, the new place was christened Chester, but on learning of the numerous towns in the country by that name, he prefixed the term "Col" making it Colchester. That term might very properly be implied to be an abbreviation of the word "coal," then beginning to be an important product of this locality. Mr. Little made no public sale of lots, but placing them upon the market, they were disposed of rapidly and the new town was soon under full headway. D. W. Campbell, still a resident of the place, bought the first two lots and erected the first building.
Since the laying out of the original town in 1855, there have been six additions made to it; the first by Charles E. Gilchrist, the second by Martin Canote, the third by the Quincy Coal Company, two by James Roberts, and one by D. C. Reece. Charles Gilchrist made the first and only public sale of lots. At private sale the first lots sold from $20 to $60 each, and all soon passed out of the hands of the original proprietor. On the completion of the railroad the town grew very rapidly for about two years, when no further apparent growth was made until the time of the war, when immigration again was attracted to the place. As may be inferred, the class of citizens by which the town was settled was principally miners, hard working, intelligent men and women.
In the month of April, 1857, a public meeting was held for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of organizing the town under a special charter. The question was discussed pro and con, and it was determined to submit the matter to a vote of the people. In May the vote was taken, 58 voting for and two against incorporation. So the town was incorporated, and a board of trustees, consisting of five members, was duly elected. The following are the names of the members of the first board: John Patrick, Thomas W. Hunt, John E. Jackson, William Cowan and W. L. Whitson.
Colchester, like all other towns, has had its seasons of prosperity and seasons of adversity. Its most rapid growth was in the years 1856 and 1857, just after the completion of the railroad. From that time until the years 1863 and 1864 but little was done; then the town began to improve again, but soon fell back to a state of apathy, which continued until late years, when it began to take a new life. We now find it rapidly improving; new houses of the most substantial character have been erected and the town now contains a larger number of inhabitants than ever before.
Colchester has many advantages not possessed by other towns of the county. The face of the earth not only yields its fruit to the work of the hands of her people, but the underworld is compelled to yield up her treasures, which go to enrich mankind and administer to the comforts of the race. Even should a drouth occur, these people have a mine of wealth in their coal fields that cannot be effected by it. The demand for this product has never yet been less than the supply; therefore, while other places may feel from time to time the effects of a monetary crisis, Colchester does not suffer in comparison with them.
The first store building in the town of Colchester was erected in December, 1855, by D. W. Campbell, who put in a stock of groceries January 9, 1856. The building, which was 16x18 feet in ground area and constructed of pine lumber, is at present located on Coal street, and is occupied by William Wright as a harness shop.
The second building was the wing of the Chester house. Its construction was commenced about the same time as that built by D. W. Campbell, by John Taylor. Before its completion, however, Mr. Taylor sold it to John Stults, who finished and operated it as the Chester house. It was the first hotel in the place.
John Patrick opened the first general store in the early part of 1856. The building was the third erected in Colchester, and is now occupied by Consenes book store.
Atkinson & Gash were the next to build and open a store, which was in the fall of 1856. They carried a general stock, and in 1858 sold to John Taylor & Son.
Samuel Greenwood was the pioneer blacksmith of Colchester. He established the business during the winter of 1855-56.
C. W. Wettengel opened the first shoe shop in Colchester, May 8, 1857. He rented a small building on the north side for about five months, and afterward operated a shoe store until 1866 where Newland's building now stands. He is at present operating a farm in Hire township.
The first to engage in the millinery business in Colchester, was Maggie Slocum, in 1863. This lady is now the estimable wife of S. D. Mills.
J. W. Webster was the first dealer in drugs in Colchester. He also handled hardware, and was the first in that line.
The first physician to locate at Colchester was M. C. Archer, who came in 1857. Dr. W. H. Weir was the next physician, and is still a resident of the place.
John Whitson was the first station agent at this point.
The store now occupied by J. W. Hendle, druggist, was built by Martin Canote, in the fall of 1856, and rented for dwelling purposes.
The first house built for a private dwelling only, was erected about the same time by William Hopkins, who still resides in the same.
Daniel W. Campbell, who is now engaged in the insurance business, is the oldest settler in Colchester, and was its first merchant. He was born in Jefferson county, Tennessee, on the 28th day of August, 1826, being the son of Daniel and Susannah (Goans) Campbell, both natives of Tennessee, and who were born on the same day of the month and in the same year, September 22, 1800. Mrs. Campbell is still living and resides in Colchester. In 1828 the family removed to Sangamon county, Illinois, and in the winter of 1829, came to McDonough county, settling in Tennessee township. In the spring of 1830, they moved on to section 10, where they resided until fall of the same year, when they located on what is now known as the Widow Harrison farm. In 1832 Daniel Campbell, Sr., enlisted and served in the Black Hawk war, returning home in 1833, and in the following year was elected sheriff. In 1841 he went down the Mississippi and up the Red river, and as he was returning home, he was taken sick and died, August 9, 1842, in Greene county, Illinois. Daniel W. Campbell was reared and educated in McDonough county, and in 1841, engaged in farming with the family. In 1852 he moved to the village of Middletown, this state, and engaged in teaming, etc., which he followed until 1855, when he engaged in business in Colchester, at which point he has been connected with some kind of business interest ever since. He has been conducting his present business, that of insurance agent, for the past 15 years, and has met with deserved success. The marriage ceremony which united the destinies of Daniel W. Campbell and Adeline A. Jackson, a native of the state of Kentucky, was performed on the 9th day of November, 1854. Mrs. Campbell's death occurred January 2, 1864. Three children of that marriage are now living--Frank M., Albert and Eva. Mr. Campbell held the office of constable from 1858 to 1879, and in 1870, was elected coroner, which office he held for two years. He has also served the people in the capacity of township assessor and collector several terms, and has been a school director for the past 15 years, and is at this time supervisor of Colchester township.
The general merchandise business of Stevens Brothers, was established in 1869, by E. Stevens, and his son, E. D. They opened, at that time, with but $1,500 worth of goods in stock, and increased the same, as the trade developed. These gentlemen continued the business until 1872, when the elder Mr. Stevens was succeeded by another son, J. W. Stevens. During the year 1874, these gentlemen closed out the business, and two years later became interested in the firm of A. J. Smith & Company. Five years elapsed and then Mr. Smith retired from the firm and they then resumed the old firm name of Stevens Brothers. In 1881, J. W. Stevens, another brother, became a member of the firm, and in 1882, J. F. Stevens was admitted to the same honor, making the firm now consist of four brothers. They carry a stock of from $35,000 to $40,000 worth of the various lines of goods that go to make up what is known as general merchandise. It is claimed with a good deal of sincerity that they are doing the largest business of the kind in the county, and the claim is justified by the immensity of their stock and the large number of their friends and patrons.
Edward D. Stevens, of the firm of Stevens Brothers, is a native of McDonough county, and was born on the 29th of August, 1848. His father, Socrates Stevens, was a native of the state of Indiana, being born in October, 1824. He came to this county in 1844, and followed school teaching as a profession. Amanda J. Stevens, the mother of Edward, was born in Indiana. Edward attended Abingdon college, at Abingdon, Illinois, for three years, having previous to that attended school in this county. When 18 years of age, he engaged in teaching school in Colchester, which profession he followed for three years, at the expiration of which time, he engaged in mercantile life. In 1874, he, in company with his brother, James W., and A. Horrocks, engaged in the manufacture of fire clay at Bardolph, Illinois, with which he was identified for some eight years, but did not take an active part in the management of the same after 1881. On the 28th day of December, 1869, Edward was married to Jessie M. Cuyler, a native of Canada. Three children have been born to them--Ralph C., Edgar A., and Bertha C. Mr. Stevens is one of the most prominent of Colchester's citizens, and is the present treasurer of the city. He is a member of Bardolph lodge, No. 472, A. F. and A. M., also of the Morse Chapter, and of the Almoner Commandery, No. 32, of Augusta, this state. The firm of which he is a member, has by fair and honorable dealings, built up a reputation second to none in McDonough county, or in the counties adjoining.
James William Stevens, the second member of the firm of Stevens Brothers, is a native of this county, and was born May 25, 1853. He was reared and educated in the county, but attended the Abingdon college, at Abingdon, Illinois, for one term. In 1872, he engaged with his brother, in mercantile business, but had, however, acted as a clerk with the former firm--E. D. & S. Stevens--up to the time of becoming a partner. In 1874, both he and E. D. Stevens, in company with A. Horrocks, established the Bardolph file clay works. In 1876, James W. returned to Colchester, and entered into a partnership with A. J. Smith & Co., under the firm name of A. J. Smith, which continued until Mr. Smith sold his interest to E. D. Stevens, in January, 1881, when the firm of Stevens Brothers was formed. James William Stevens and Jessie L Smith were married on the 26th day of February, 1874. Mrs. Stevens is the daughter of Albert J. and Francis A. (Cuyler) Smith. By their union, Mr. and Mrs. Stevens have been blessed with two children--Raymond W. and Ernest J. Mr. Stevens is one of McDonough county's prominent business men, and is a member of the Masonic fraternity.
John H. Stevens, also of Stevens Brothers, was born, October 12, 1856, in this county, where he was reared and educated. He remained on his father's farm, and followed the occupation of a farmer until March, 1879, at which time he began clerking for A. J. Smith & Co., of Colchester. He continued with that firm, and with its successor--the firm of Stevens Brothers up to the time of becoming a member of the latter firm, in 1881. His marriage with Anna Higbee occurred on the 27th day of September, 1877, his wife also being a native of McDonough county. Mr. and Mrs. John H. Stevens are the parents of two children--Edna and Clyde. Although comparatively a young man, Mr. Stevens' ability as a business man will compare favorably with that of many an older merchant. He is a member in good standing of the Christian church, of Colchester.
The youngest member of the firm of Stevens Brothers, of Colchester, is J. Frank Stevens, who was born on the 22d day of August, 1861, in McDonough county, Illinois. He received his education in the county, and remained on his father's farm, where he followed farming until 1880. He then engaged with J. Smith & Co., of Colchester, in the capacity of a clerk, and continued in that position, with the same firm, until it became the firm of Stevens Brothers. In 1882, he became a member of the last mentioned firm. The marriage of J. Frank Stevens and Lizzie E. Fields was solemnized on the 22d day of January, 1882. One child, Bernice E., has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Stevens. He is a member of the lodge of Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Colchester, McDonough county.
Among the enterprising, wide-awake merchants of Colchester, may be mentioned the general merchandise house of Parnall & Sons. This establishment owes its existence to John Parnall, Sr., and William Parnall, who started in 1880. In June, 1881, the latter partner died, and the firm name was changed to its present form, the sons, R. J. and James, being admitted as partners by their father. They carry a full stock of the various goods usually found in stores of this kind, and valued at about $5,000.
John Parnall, Sr., of the firm of Parnall & Sons, general merchants of Colchester, is a native of England, being born there in 1818. He was there married to Eliza Williams, in August, 1843. They were the parents of seven children. William Parnall, their eldest son, was born in England in 1846, and died in Colchester, McDonough county, June 11, 1881; Richard J. Parnall was, also, born in England, on the 8th day of May, 1860, and was married November 19, 1884, to Ella F. Shirley, a native of Saginaw, Michigan; James Parnall, also a member of the firm, was born on the first of October, 1861, in England, and his marriage was solemnized December 25, 1884, he marrying Cecelia M. Roberts, a daughter of James Roberts. Richard and James became members of the firm in 1881. The Parnall family emigrated to America in 1871, and located in Colchester, McDonough county, Illinois. In 1877, John Parnall, Sr., established himself in business, by starting a flour and feed store. In 1880 the present business was established under the firm name of Parnall & Son (members being John, Sr., and William.) Richard is a member of the Knights of Pythias lodge of Colchester, while James is a member of the Miners' Friendly society, and John, Sr., of the Methodist Episcopal church.
The general merchandise business operated by John A. Stookey was inaugurated in 1872, by Stookey & Park, then on the north side. In 1873, Mr. Park retired from the firm, and with the exception of a few months, Mr. Stookey has continued to run the establishment alone ever since. On the 16th of November, 1881, this gentleman removed his stock to its present location in the Smith building. He carries a stock of about $3,500 worth of goods, and is doing a good business. John A. Stookey was born in Ross county, Ohio, May 22, 1841, his parents being Moses and Hulda (Goldsbery) both of whom were natives of the state of Ohio. In the fall of 1842 the family removed to McDonough county, where John A. was reared and educated. He remained on his father's farm until he reached his 17th year, when he engaged in clerking with Ed. McDonald, of Colchester, remaining with him one year, then going to Blandinsville, where he followed the same vocation for four years. In 1868 he came to Colchester, and engaged as a clerk for one year, at the expiration of which time he engaged in teaming, which he followed until 1872, at which time he entered upon a mercantile career, at which he has been eminently success. Mr. Stookey held the position of justice of the peace in Tennessee township from 1868 till 1872, and, since coming to Colchester, has served both as city clerk and city treasurer, all of which positions he filled with honor to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. John A. Stookey and Elizabeth Stevens (a daughter of Socrates Stevens, of this county, and a sister of E. D. Stevens, of this city,) were married on the 18th day of November, 1871. They have one child living, Bert J. Mr. Stookey is a member in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal church, of Colchester, McDonough county.
The firm of Myers & Cowan, general merchants, commenced business in this place in November, 1882, and carry a stock representing about $5,000.
The grocery establishment of J. D. Trew was established by the same gentleman in August, 1877. He carries a nice stock of groceries, valued at over $1,000.
A. J. Smith & Son, who are extensively engaged in the clothing and gentlemen's furnishing goods business, established the same in the month of November, 1881. The building in which they are located, which was built by them, is 40x80 feet in ground area, and two stories high. They carry a large and well assorted stock of goods in the various lines handled by them, that will invoice about $10,000, and although they are a new firm in this line, they still have succeeded in working up a most excellent trade. In 1871, A. J. Smith engaged in the general merchandise business, and remained in the same until 1881, when the present business was established as above narrated.
Albert J. Smith, Sr.; of the above firm, was born in Lower Canada, on the 16th day of October, 1830, being the son of Joseph M. and Eliza (Westover) Smith, both of whom were natives of Vermont. When Albert was 13 years of age, his parents removed to Franklin county, Vermont, where he received his education. In 1861, he came west and located at Plymouth, Illinois, where he remained until 1863, when he came to Colchester in the capacity of agent for the Chicago Burlington and Quincy railroad company, which position he filled until 1879. He was also engaged in the coal business, and in 1878 took charge of the Union hotel, which he conducted for one year. In November, 1881, he established his present business, that of clothing and gents' furnishing, and by honest dealing and strict attention to business, has built up an enviable trade. Previous to engaging in this business he carried a full line of general merchandise. On the l0th day of March, 1856, Albert J. Smith and Frances A. Cuyler were joined in matrimony, and by their marriage they have been blessed with three children: Jesse L., Herbert W. and Eddie E. Mr. Smith is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and ranks among the substantial business men of McDonough county.
George C. Kratzer, commenced the making of boots and shoes, at this place, in 1875, and worked at that business until 1880, when he built the brick building now occupied by him, and put in a stock of ladies' and gentlemen's foot wear.
G. M. Thompson & Co., are the present representatives of the drug business established by W. A. Wayland in 1872. He had a mixed stock at that time consisting of groceries and drugs. In 1874, the firm was changed to Wayland and Fields, but in 1875, they sold out to G. M. Thompson, who closed out the grocery department. On the 1st of January, 1885, the present firm was formed.
The drug and stationery business of Robert M. Hendel, was established by M. B. Morey, in 1870. In the spring of 1874, Mr. Hendel became one of the partners in the new firm of Morey and Hendel. In the year following the latter gentleman purchased the interest of his partner and has since operated it alone.
Milton P. Agnew deals in hardware, stoves, tinware, agricultural implements, iron and steel in bar, etc. The stand was commenced in January, 1883, by Agnew & Price, who continued in partnership until August, 1884, when the firm was dissolved by the retirement of Mr. Price. Mr. Agnew carries a clean stock of about $4,000 worth of goods, and has a good patronage.
Milton P. Agnew is a resident of Colchester, Illinois, where he conducts a general hardware, house-furnishing and farm-implement business, carrying a full and varied stock of such goods as is usually kept in stores of this kind. Mr. Agnew is successor to the firm of Agnew & Price, by whom the business was established January 1, 1883, of which firm he was the senior member. As a result of enterprise and fair dealing the house now enjoys a large and profitable trade. The subject of this sketch was born in Rushville, Illinois, March 14, 1851, but has resided almost ever since in McDonough county. He received his education in the common schools of the county, with the exception of a course in Baylies' commercial college of Keokuk, Iowa, from which institution he graduated in June, 1874. Before entering mercantile pursuits Mr. Agnew was a school teacher, in which capacity he became pretty generally acquainted all over the county; was for several terms secretary of the county institute, and took a deep interest in all meetings of that association. For biography of his parents, see the sketch of H. C. Agnew, in the chapter relating to the courts of the county.
George F. Hartung is one of the enterprising hardware merchants of the town. The business which he represents was established by Thomas & Erdman, in 1865. Some time afterwards it was run by J. M. Erdman, who sold out to LaRont & Hartung, of whom Mr. Hartung is the successor. He occupies a store room on Front street which is 27x60 feet in size, two-stories high. He carries a well-assorted stock of heavy and shelf hardware, cutlery, stoves, tin and tinners' stock, etc., that will invoice about $4,000, and is doing a large share of the trade in his line, in the city.
G. F. Hartung is a native of Quincy, Illinois, and was horn on the 7th day of October, 1858. He was reared to manhood at the place of his birth. He came to McDonough county December 17, 1877, and located in the city of Colchester, where he worked at his trade, that of a tinner, until March, 1879. From there he went to St. Louis, then to Quincy, March 15, 1880. There he remained until January 1, 1881, when he returned to Colchester and entered the employ of J. S. LaRont, with whom he remained until August 18, 1881, when he became a member of the firm of LaRont & Hartung, dealers in hardware, stoves and tinware; this business having been established in 1865, by Thomas & Erdman. This partnership continued until the year 1871, when J. M. Erdman bought out Thomas, and continued to run the business until December 17, 1877, when Webster & LaRont purchased the business of Mr. Erdman. They continued to conduct the business until January, 1880, when J. S. LaRont purchased Mr. Webster's interest. This business was run by Mr. LaRont till August 18, 1881, when George F. Hartung became a partner with J. S. LaRont and continued until January 1st, of the present year, when Mr. Hartung became sole owner of the business, which has increased until it is now one of the leading interests of Colchester. The marriage of George F. Hartung and Hannah Bastert was solemnized June 17, 1884. Mrs. Hartung is a native of Quincy, Illinois, and is a daughter of Henry C. Bastert, of that city. Mr. Hartung is one of the prominent business men of Colchester, and is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
William L. Consene, dealer in books, stationery, musical instruments, sewing machines, etc., began business in this city in April, 1878, with a small stock of books and stationery, four doors west of his present stand. He has gradually increased his business, and in March, 1880, removed to his present quarters. He carries a stock of about $5,500, and is the leading representative in his line.
Among the active merchants of Colchester, must be mentioned William L. Consene, who engaged in business at this point in April, 1878. He is a native of Oswego county, New York, having been born on the 7th day of July, 1848. He received his education in his native county, where he remained until reaching his majority, when he removed to Missouri, locating in Brookfield, where he engaged in the capacity of clerk with D. C. Strawbridge, with whom he remained some three years. At the expiration of that time he returned to his native state, where he resided until the spring of 1876, at which time he came to Colchester. He engaged in the book and stationery business, in a small way, in April, 1878, and his business has steadily increased until he now has one of the leading business interests in the city. As is noted above, he has added other branches to his original business. William L. Consene and Nancy Snyder, a native of Missouri, were married on the 10th of March, 1872. Mr. Consene is a member of Tennessee lodge, No. 496, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
Ole E. Wold, the present representative of the jewelry business, commenced here in February, 1877, in the store of Samuel Parks. In the fall of 1881, he purchased the property on Front street, now occupied by him, and removed thither. This room is 16 feet 6 inches wide, by 36 feet long. He carries a very large and complete stock of jewelry, musical instruments, silverware, etc., which is valued at $10,000, and is doing the largest trade of any house in this line in the county. He deserves a great deal of credit for his success, as he started with a stock of about $200.
Ole E. Wold, dealer in jewelry, musical instruments and silverware, is a native of Norway, and is the only representative of that nationality in Colchester. He was born in that country January 3, 1853, where he learned the watchmaking trade. In 1871 he emigrated to America, locating in Chicago, Illinois where he was in business at the time of the second Chicago fire, in 1873, and was so unfortunate as to lose his entire stock in that fire. He remained there, working at his trade until 1877, when he removed to Colchester, and engaged in his present business. He then carried a $2,000 stock, but has steadily added to his stock until he now carries one valued at $10,000 and upwards, and is doing the leading business in his lines in the county. Ole E. Wold and Nancy Taylor were married on the 23d of December, 1878. Mrs. Wold is a native of Missouri. They have two children living--Minnie E. and Inga. Mr. Wold is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and of the Knights of Pythias, of which latter lodge he has held the office of master of exchequer. He is one of the original members of the Colchester band and of the Colchester orchestra.
In the fall of 1881, C. A. and W. O. Stevens purchased the meat market owned by William Peck, and in the spring of 1882 they disposed of the same to Midrow and McCrelis, who conducted the business about six months. Stevens and Evans then purchased it, and run the same until the spring of 1883, when Mr. Evans retired and was succeeded by Mr. Simmons, the firm name becoming Stevens & Simmons. In March, 1884, the old firm of C. A. and W. 0. Stevens again assumed control of the business and still conduct the same. They have a capital of about $4,000.
Charles A. Stevens, of the firm of C. A. and W. O. Stevens, proprietors of the meat market in Colchester, is a native of McDonough county, Illinois, and was born June 12, 1840. He is a son of William and Mary (Mylor) Stevens, who were native Kentuckians. Charles was reared and educated in this county, where he followed agricultural pursuits until 1881, when, with his present partner, he engaged in the butcher business at Colchester, and has continued the same ever since. The firm also pays particular attention to the stock business, buying and selling. Charles A. Stevens and Eliza E. Smith were united in marriage on the 16th day of August, 1860. Mrs. Stevens is a native of this state. One child have blessed their union--Ina L. During the years 1862 and 1868, Mr. Stevens served the people in the capacity of township collector. He is a member in good standing of the Colchester lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
William O. Stevens, is also a member of the firm of C. A. and W. O. Stevens, who conducts the meat market at Colchester, and also deals in stock. He was born in McDonough county, Illinois, on the 5th day of July, 1861. His father was Jasper Stevens, a native of the state of Kentucky, and who went west in 1863, and was killed by the Indians, in Idaho territory, while on his way home. William O. was reared by his grandfather, William D. Stevens, and followed the occupation of a farmer until engaging in his present business in 1881. He retired from the firm the following year and again engaged in farming, which occupation he followed until the fall of 1883, when he engaged in the capacity of a clerk with the firm of Stevens Brothers of Colchester, and continued with them until the month of March, 1884, when he again entered into a partnership with Charles A. Stevens. On the 7th day of March, 1883, William O. Stevens and Retta Ellis, a native of McDonough county, were joined in wedlock. One child--Earl, has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Stevens.
S. D. Mills, one of the representatives of the lumber trade, came to Colchester in 1867, and engaged at his trade as carpenter and builder, and in 1872 entered into his present business. Mr. Mills as a contractor and builder, has built many of the best houses in the western portion of the county, his trade not being confined to his own particular village and the country immediately surrounding it. He is regarded as a good carpenter and reliable man. He carries a stock of lumber, lath, shingles, lime, hair and cement, and all other articles usually found in a well regulated lumber yard. The firm is now S. D. Mills and Brother.
Stephen D. Mills, lumber merchant of Colchester, was born in Nova Scotia, January 27, 1837. His father, Peter Mills, was also a native of the same country, while his mother, Jane (Armour) Mills was born in Scotland, but was raised in Nova Scotia. In December, 1842, the family located in Western Canada, where Stephen received his education and learned the carpenter trade. In 1858 he removed to Saginaw, Michigan, and resided there and in other parts of the state until July, 1861, when he enlisted in company D, 16th Michigan infantry. He served in the army of the Potomac, and took an active part in the first Richmond campaign. He served in the army of the Potomac until June, 1864, when he received a wound in the leg at Petersburg, Virginia, and was sent to the Lincoln hospital, at Washington, D. C. In October, 1864, he returned to Michigan, and, on account of his wound, did not return to the field. He received an honorable discharge, which was dated August, 1865. In October, 1865, he went to New Mexico, remained one year and then returned to Michigan. In February, 1867, he went to Leavenworth, Kansas, and from there, in July, 1867, came to Colchester, and engaged in carpentering, and, by close attention to business, he accumulated considerable means and entered into the lumber business in 1872, and his trade has been constantly increasing ever since. Stephen D. Mills and Margaret R. Slocum were married on the 7th day of April, 1867. Mrs. Mills is a native of Pike county, Illinois, and is a daughter of William Slocum, formerly of this county, coming here in 1855. Mr. and Mrs. Mills are the parents of one child--Minnie D. They are members of the Christian church, while Mr. Mills is a member of the Independent Order of Good Templars and of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is also a member of the present board of aldermen.
In 1870, Thomas J, Bowman engaged in the business of dealing in farm and agricultural implements, in this place. In 1880, he also embarked in the sale of furniture. He has two stores, one for each line of business and has some $3,000 invested.
Thomas J. Bowman, dealer in furniture and agricultural implements, was born in Tennessee township, this county. His father, Daniel N. Bowman, was a native of the State of Tennessee, being born in 1814, and who came to McDonough county, Illinois, in 1844, and located in Tennessee township. There he followed the occupation of farmer until 1856, when he entered mercantile life and continued the same up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1858. He was married in Greene county, in the year 1842, to Margaret Parker, a daughter of Thomas Parker, one of the first settlers of McDonough county. They were the parents of seven children. Mrs. Bowman died in April, 1881. Thomas Bowman was raised and educated in this county, and in 1861 engaged in mining and coal dealing, which he followed until 1870, when he established the agricultural business and also wagon manufacturing, in place of which he added furniture in 1880. He was married on the 13th of December, 1883, to Bessie Brent, a native of England. At present he is a notary public, and in 1872, was elected police magistrate, which office he held until 1882. He is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
The livery business of M. A. Murray was established by that gentleman, on the 29th of October, 1877, on the north side of the town. Here he remained until February, 1881, when he built his present building, which is 50x64 feet in size, with a shed 20x34 feet in addition. He has eight horses and six vehicles, in the winter and 10 horses in the summer. He is doing the main business in the town.
Milom A. Murray, the proprietor of the livery and feed stable of Colchester, is a native of Greene county, Kentucky, where he was born December 9, 1842. In 1849, the family removed to McDonough county, and located near Middletown, where they engaged in farming.
Milom's father, William Murray, was a native of North Carolina. When a young man he went to Kentucky, having previously married Margaret Bird. Mr. and Mrs. William Murray are both dead. Milom was reared to manhood in this county, and farmed until 1875, when he engaged in the livery business in Blandinsville. After remaining there some two years, he disposed of his business at that point and came to Colchester. He established his present business in October, 1877, which has grown to large dimensions under his immediate supervision. The marriage ceremony which united Milom A. Murray and Elizabeth Rogers, a native of the state of Ohio, was performed on the 22d day of December, 1870. Mr. and Mrs. Murray, were the parents of five children, three of whom are now living, whose names are--Charlie R., Minnie M., and Eddie B. Two little ones--Jessie E., and an infant daughter, have been called hence, leaving an aching void in their fond parents' hearts.
The Chester House was the first hotel in Colchester and was erected in the winter of 1855-6 by John Taylor. Previous to its enclosure, however, he disposed of it to John Stults, who completed and operated it until 1858, when J. C. Hobart assumed control. In 1859, an addition was built to the house. This gentleman conducted the house until 1882, when Wm. Miller took charge of it. In June, 1883, the present landlord, J. W. Enness, came into possession of the business.
The Union House was built in 1869, by Henry Slocum, who was the landlord of the same for some time. It afterwards passed through the hands of several parties, and on April 15, 1877, J. D. Trew took the house and has since acted as "mine host." The house is well located, has nine sleeping rooms and has a large share of the patronage of the traveling public.
John D. Trew, proprietor of the Union hotel, and a grocery store and restaurant, in Colchester, was born in Wales, July 16, 1845, his parents being John and Jane (Davis) Trew. When John D., was six years of age his parents emigrated to the United States and settled in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania. From the 10th year, until reaching his majority he worked in the mines, and then engaged in the capacity of a clerk in a store at Stockton, Pennsylvania, which position he filled for four years. From there he went to Quincy, Illinois and after a stay of some six months returned to Stockton, and accepted his old situation. He remained there till 1877, at which time he removed to Colchester, McDonough county, Illinois, and engaged in the hotel and grocery business. John D. Trew and Elizabeth B. Ratcliff, a native of Pennsylvania, were united in marriage on the 2d day of August, 1867. They are the parents of seven children--Cora E., Laura L., Charles T., Ida A., Myrtle J., Clara E., and Leroy L. Mr. Trew is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and was the originator of the Colchester lodge of Knights of Pythias, of which he has been the D. D. G. C., for the past three years. He is now serving his third term as school director, and has held the offices of city clerk, city councilman and township supervisor, and is one of Colchester's prominent citizens.
The only monetary institution in the town of Colchester is operated by the brothers, E. D. & J. W. Stevens, who established the bank in 1881, under the firm name of Stevens Bros. This is a strong bank and well conducted, and does a general banking business. The following statement was made and sworn to before T. J. Bowman, on the close of business, January 15, 1885, by E. D. Stevens:
Loans and discounts $55,802.64
Real estate 12,605.74
Store capital and surplus 22,580.58
Furniture and fixtures 1,083.08
Capital paid in $70,000.00
Undivided profits 5,412.72
Deposits, on certificates 17,324.19
Deposits, subject to check 8,154.96
The grain elevator of S. A. Hendee & Company was built in October, 1880, out of an unused building belonging to the railroad company, and formerly used as an elevator. It is in size, 68x48 feet upon the ground, 30 feet to the eaves, with a cupola 3Ox36 feet in dimensions. It has a capacity of 30,000 bushels of grain.
Barton H. Claybaugh, the manager of Hendee & Company's elevator, was born in this county, on the 7th of March, 1850. He is a son of John Claybaugh, a native of Columbus, Ohio, and who was born August 8, 1808, and came with his father's family to Fulton county, Illinois, in 1830. In 1832, he came to McDonough county and located in Emmet township, on Spring Creek, and for three years taught school during the day and made rails at morning and evening. He then located in Industry township, and taught school in the first house that was built on the present site of the town of Industry. He finally located on a farm in that township about a mile west of town, and taught school in different localities for a number of years. He was married to Malinda Osborn, a native of Sangamon county, Illinois. They were the parents of eight children, two of whom are now dead. John Claybaugh was also a regularly ordained minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, and preached some little in the county. His death occurred on the 7th of March, 1863. Barton Claybaugh was reared on a farm in this county, and received his education in the schools of this and Fulton counties. In 1874, he engaged in farming in Hire township, near Blandinsville, and continued there until 1879. He then became the traveling correspondent of the Bushnell Record, which position he filled with credit until August, 1880, at which time he entered upon the management of the Colchester elevator of Hendee & Company's. Barton H. Claybaugh and Margaret Seybold were married on the 12th day of March, 1874. She is a native of McDonough county, and is the daughter of James Seybold, of Blandinsville, an old settler of the county. Mr. and Mrs. Claybaugh are the happy parents of one child, Jessie B. Mrs. Margaret Claybaugh is a member of the Baptist church.
This place of amusement was opened to the public February 5, 1884, by unincorporated stock company composed of H. W. Smith, F. P. Blunt and H. H. Stevens. The building was erected at a cost of about $2,000, and in size is 40x104 feet, with a fine mitered hardwood floor.
The Daisy roller mill, now owned and operated by Trull & Company, was originally built by N. P Tinsley, at Macomb, in the fall of 1850, and spring of 1851. Mr. Tinsley ran the mill until 1856, when he was succeeded by Clisby, Trull & Company. This firm was composed of L. and R. A. Clisby and J. Trull. In 1862 the style of the firm was changed to Clisby & Trull, and in 1877, to J. Trull & Son. In March, 1882, the mill was removed to Colchester, and enlarged, and the roller system of machinery put in. In January, 1883, Arthur B Lightner became one of the firm, and the name changed to Trull & Company. The mill is one of the finest in this locality, and is 38x48 feet in ground area, and 57 feet high, with an engine room 25x38 feet, built of brick, which is 20 feet east of the main building. It is a substantial frame building, with a hip-roof. The machinery is of the latest improved make, and of the best quality, and the flour turned out is of the very best grade. The capacity is about 125 barrels per day, of 24 hours. The energetic and enterprising gentlemen at the head of this industrial institution have some $30,000 invested and are doing a most excellent business.
George C. Trull, the senior member of the firm of Trull & Company, millers, was born in Medford, Massachusetts, on the 18th of March, 1849. His father, Joel Trull, was born in Boston, April 19, 1807, where he was reared and educated. He was married to Elizabeth Clisby, March 16, 1835, in Medford, Massachusetts, of which place he was a resident for a short time previous to that event. By trade he was a brass-worker, and invented the first flat rotary valve on a band instrument. In 1856 he removed to Macomb, Illinois, and bought the mill property, and in 1857, brought his family and settled there. He was a member of the firm up to the day of his death, which occurred on the 24th day of December, 1884. His wife died in 1862. George C., was reared in Macomb, and ever since his fourteenth year, has been engaged in the milling business, working for his father up to the time of being admitted to a partnership. In March, 1882, the mill was removed to Colchester, where Mr. Trull has since resided. He is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Knights of Pythias, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Mutual Aid Society, all of Macomb, McDonough county, Illinois.
Arthur B Lightner, also of the firm of Trull & Company, millers, is a native of Mercer county, Pennsylvania, and was born March 27, 1842. His father, Fahnestock Lightner, was a native of Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, and his mother, Sarah (Mariner) Lightner, was a native of Ohio. Arthur B., is the second child of a family of seven children. In 1850 the family removed to Iowa, and located in Jackson county, where they remained one year, and then removed to Jo Daviess county, Illinois, where Arthur received his education. He was married on February 7, 1864, to Aggie J. White, a native of New Hampshire, and whose death occurred on the 9th of September, 1872. Four children by this marriage are living--Claude O., Oma W., Charlie A. and Ray W. In 1864 Mr. Lightner removed to Council Hill, Iowa, where he engaged in milling, having previously learned that trade at home. After remaining there one year, he went to Iowa City, and from there to Bellevue, same State, at each of which points he followed the same business for one year. He then engaged in the hotel business at Andrew, Iowa, which he followed for 18 months. He then went to Elkport, Iowa, and worked at milling for some nine months. In January, 1869, he removed to Macomb, this county, and engaged with Clisby & Trull, millers, and has been identified with that mill ever since. January 1, 1883, he became a partner in the mill. Mr. Lightner was again married, December 12, 1877, to Lizzie Smith, by whom he has three children--Lew C., Bessie M. and Willie L. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and is the mayor of Colchester.
In 1880 Louis Jeffries built a grist mill in the north-west part of town, which he operated until summer of 1884, when he moved the machinery to Missouri.
Colchester, which began with a very rude school structure, now has a fine and commodious building for educational purposes. The first school house was built in Colchester in 1856-57. It was a rude structure, 20x30 feet, built of boards, barn fashion, with shingle roof. The first school in this building was taught by Cyrus Hoyt. The present building is a good brick structure, erected in 1866-67, at a cost of nearly $8,000. In 1882 a $2,500 brick addition was made, adding two large and commodious rooms; making six rooms in all. D. W. Campbell, A. L. Musson, J. D. Trew are the present directors. C. W. Parker, W. L. Pedrick, Mrs. Bell Young, Clara Berges, Mary Hoyt, Ella Hume are the teachers for 1884-85.
Prof. Charles W. Parker, the principal of the Colchester schools, was born in Botecourt county, Virginia, on the 13th of November, 1838, his parents being William L. and Rhoda C. (Tyler) Parker, both of whom were natives of Bedford county, Virginia. The family removed to Highland county, Ohio, when Charles was only a few days old. In November, 1843, they moved to Hancock county, Illinois, where he was reared on a farm. In September, 1859, he became a student at Abingdon college, in Abingdon, Illinois. After attending this college for two years, he engaged in teaching, which profession he has followed ever since. During the winter of 1860 he held the position of principal of the Abingdon (Illinois) schools. Becoming imbued with patriotism, in August, 1861, he enlisted in company I, 10th Missouri infantry, and after serving for two months was discharged for disability. He again enlisted in February, 1865, in company H, 14th Illinois infantry, and was on detailed duty until September 16, 1865, when he was mustered out. He then became the principal of the Bardolph school, which position he held for two years, after which he went to Herman, Illinois, and taught for two years. In succession, he then taught at Blandinsville for three years, at Colchester for one year, at Plymouth for one year and at Prairie City for three years. He then returned to this city, where he is now teaching his fourth term. The marriage of Prof. Charles W. Parker and Julia A. Cochran, a native of Indiana, was solemnized on the 9th of July, 1863. Four children have been born to them, three of whom are now living--Harry W., Clyde C. and Arda L. Emma A., the third child, is dead. Mrs. Parker's death occurred on the 18th of April, 1883. Mr. Parker is the present master workman of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
Colchester lodge, No.714, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized July 17, 1882, with the following members: John Jack, John Hoar, Jr., John Winship, John Arundel, John Hoar, Sr., John Harper, John H. Lower, Wm. Hoar, I. B. Shippey, Ed. Hall, F. S. White, and Andrew Kent. The first officers of this society were the following mentioned: I. B. Shippey, N. G.; John Winship, V. G.; Samuel Park, S.; F. S. White, T.; J. H. Lower, W.; John Jack, C.; John Hoar, Jr., I. G.; N. Entwistle, O. G. Many of these members had been connected with the order previous to this, having been members of Tennessee lodge, No. 520, but for the convenience of those living in this place, the new one was instituted. There is a present membership of 56, with the following list of officers: J. D. Trew, N. G.; Thomas Moss, V. G.; T. J. Ennis, S.; Andrew Kent, P. G.; Joseph Winship, T.; W. B. Cowan, W.; E. A. Herrin, C.; John Steward, I. G.; Thomas Arundel, O. G. Meeting are held on Monday evenings.
Good Will Lodge, No. 91, Knights of Pythias, was organized June 4th, 1881, with 37 charter members. The first officers were: J. D. Trew, P. C.; J. O. Cowan, C. C.; M. L. Tompkins, V. C.; J. D. Trew, K. of R and S.; W. B. Cowan, P.; O. E. Wold, M. of E., William Park, M. of F.; John Arundel, M. at A,; F. Feuring, I. G.; Thomas Heppenstall, O. G. This lodge was organized through the instrumentality of J. D. Trew, and is in a highly prosperous condition. Meetings are held on the evening of Wednesday of each week in their own hall. There is a membership of over 80 at the present time. The following is the roster of the present officers: W. P. James, P. C.; Joseph Winship, C. C.; Henry Terrill, V. C.; John Harper, P.; O. E. Wold, M. of E.; William Hunt, M. of F.; N. J. Boyd, K of R. and S.; Thomas Wilson, M. at A.; Andrew Laird, I. G.; B. H. Claybaugh, O. G.; J. D. Trew, William Boyd and B. H. Claybaugh, trustees; A. K. Lodge, deputy.
Chester lodge, No. 30, A. O. U. W., was organized November 28th, 1876, with 35 members. The first officers were: C. W. Parker, M. W.; T. J. Bowman, F.; I. Newland, Fin.; G. M. Erdman, R.; A. B.. Newland, P. M. W.; George C. Kratzer, S.; C. P. Whitton, O. The lodge has been in a fairly prosperous condition since its start, and has now a membership of 54, among whom are some of the leading citizens of the city. Meetings are held every Thursday in the K. P. hall. The present officers are as follows: A. Kent, P. M. W.; C. W. Parker, M. W.; James Sherbine, F.; E. Stookey, O.; R. B. Fields, S.; J. C. Arundel, Fin.; G. C. Kratzer, R.
The Women's Christian Temperance Union, of Colchester, was organized on the 15th of January, 1884, with the following list of officers: Mrs. S. D. Mills, president; Mrs. Amanda Stevens and Mrs. A. C. Calkins, vice-presidents; Celia M. Roberts, secretary; Mrs. Delia Underhill, treasurer, and Mary Weir, corresponding secretary. The society was started with 27 members, and has a present membership of 30. Meetings are held on Thursday of every week, at the Methodist Episcopal church. The ladies are doing a good work, and have every encouragement to persevere unto the end. The present officers are as follows: Mrs. A. J. Stevens, president; Mrs. S. A. Mills and Mrs. David Cowan, vice-presidents; Mrs. Celia Parnell, secretary; Miss Alice Fletcher, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Sadie McGee, treasurer.
Colchester lodge No. 272, Independent Order of Good Templars, was organized May 1, 1859, by R. M. Guiford, G. W. C. T., and Rolla A. Law, G. W. S. of the grand lodge. The present officers of the lodge are W. L. Pedrick, W. C.; Luna Reece, W. V.; J. O. Cowan, financial secretary; Mrs. Flora Cowan, worthy secretary; A. L. Baird, marshal; James Parnall, O. G.; Lucy Frederick, I. G.; Cecelia Parnall, chaplain. The society meets every Monday night.
The Colchester Miners' Friendly Society was organized April 8, 1867, through the exertions of Henry Arundel, with the following charter members: Thomas Arundel, William Cowan, Simon Phillips, Richard Pearson, David Mitchell, Henry Arundel, Thomas Terrill, David Cowan and Griffith James. It is a benevolent and beneficiary society, the object being to relieve any member in case of sickness, the relief being $1 for each working day. In case of death the family of the deceased receives $1 per member for every member in good standing at the time of death. The present membership is nearly 200, and the society is in a highly prosperous condition. The officers of the lodge are president, vice president, secretary and treasurer, and two stewards. Henry Arundel was elected first secretary, and Thomas Arundel first treasurer of the society. The present officers of the organization are: William Hulson, president; Henry Arundel, secretary; William Cowan, treasurer; Henry Gerrill and John R. Terrill, stewards. The society has a fund of between $6,000 and $7,000, which they loan to members, and on good security to outsiders. There is a charter committee which looks after the financial interests of the organizations. In 1884 they paid out over $2,000 through sickness and death. The society has done a great deal of good and has been a material benefit to its members and families thereof.
Pearson post No. 408, Grand Army of the Republic, was organized February 23, 1884, with the following charter members: William H. Potter, J. C. Vest, Thomas Kipling, John Sullivan, James Keppenstall, John Terrill, Robert Young, Robert Barber, Milton Eakle, George W. Creasey, W. H. Wayland, H. T. Tandy, Walter Tones, James Garbet, Michael Nolan, John Baglin, William H. Atkinson, Otto Yaap, Clark Harder, George W. Ellis, J. D. Fletcher, Simon Tunsell, Walter Enness, J. J. Eighmey, Fred Feuring. The first officers of the post were as follows: H. T. Tandy, commander; James Garbet, S. V.; William Atkinson, J. V.; Otto Yaap, O. D.; Robert Barber, O. G.; M. H. Champ, adjutant; S. D. Mills, chaplain; W. H. Potter, surgeon. At the last installation the following officers were chosen: R. McMullen, commander; J. C. Vest, S. V.; J. D. Fletcher, J. V.; Otto Yaap, O. D.; William Atkinson, O. G.; H. G. Tandy, adjutant; S. D. Mills, chaplain; Samuel Moss, surgeon. The society meets every second and fourth Saturday evening of each month. The membership has at times been less and sometimes more than the original number. At present, however, a good feeling exists among the old soldiers, and applications for membership are being received more rapidly than in the past.
The town of Colchester was organized on the 1st of May, 1857, under the general laws of the state. The following were the first officers: William Cowan, J. E. Jackson, John Patrick, W. J. Whitson and Thomas N. Hunt, trustees--the latter gentleman being the president; I. L. Bailey, clerk; James Bond, constable; A. Cherry, assessor and collector; Anson Underhill, treasurer; Abraham Pearson, police magistrate; and D. W. Campbell, road supervisor.
On the 16th of February, 1867, the town was again incorporated under a special charter. Under this incorporation the officers were: George Hilliard, Travis Miller, William Egerton, Isaac B. Hunt and William Smith, trustees. These were elected under the old organization, and held over under the charter. This special charter was drawn up by A. M. Champ, who was the clerk at the time. The balance of the officers at this time were: J. L. Bailey, assessor and collector; William Egerton, treasurer; and D. W. Campbell, constable and street supervisor.
Colchester was incorporated as a city under the general laws of the state, on the 5th of May, 1884. The first officers of the newly made city held over from the last administration, and were as follows: Charles Webster, mayor; John Hoar, T. J. Bowman, Abram Underhill and Isaac Newland, aldermen. The first election, under the new administration, was held June 12, 1884, when the following officers were elected: Arthur B. Lightner, mayor; A. L. Musson, W. H. Stevens, Eli Hilliard, S. D. Mills, C. P. Whitten, aldermen; J. C. Arundel, clerk; A. M. Champ, city attorney; E. D. Stevens, treasurer; George W. Milliken, marshal; Thomas Cornelius, street commissioner and pound-master; George Hilliard, sexton. Mr. Milliken resigned the office of marshal, and Rees Gregory was appointed to the vacancy.
The officers for 1885 are as follows: A. B. Lightner, mayor; J. C. Arundel, clerk; E. A. Stevens, treasurer; A. M. Champ, city attorney.
This band was organized August 25, 1879, by W. R. Hampton. The original members were as follows: John Harper, Lee Park and H. O. Arundel, Eb cornet; Thomas Arundel, Walter Smith and John Arundel, Bb; O. E. Wold, Eb clarinet; Martin Johnston and Samuel Rundell, Bb clarinet; William Tompkins, solo alto; Ralph Hall, David Hall and William Arundel, altos; Joseph Winship and Samuel Park, tenors; William Foster, trombone; Edward Tompkins, baritone; F. S. White, double bass; Isaac Newland, tuba; John Park, snare drum; and S. D. Mills, bass drum. The band has met with deserved success, and is composed as follows, at the present: H. O. Arundel and George Penman, Eb cornets; Walter Smith, Walter Arundel and Samuel Park, Bb cornets; O. E. Wold and George Thompson, clarinets; John Harper, J. C. Arundel and William Arundel, altos; West Tandy and Robert Terrill, tenors; G. T. Trull, baritone and leader: F. S. White, bass; Isaac Newland and Richard Laitz, tubas; Arthur Huston, snare drum; and Ralph Hall, bass drum.
IMPORTANT COAL INTERESTS
Until the year 1855 but little had been done in this field of labor. A little coal had been taken out of the drifts, but no systematic work had been undertaken. The first coal ever taken out and used for fuel, is said to have been by the Mormons, between the years 1840-46. In 1853, James Roberts, afterwards president and superintendent of the Colchester coal company, came to this country, bought land in the Welch settlement, and began mining on a small scale, continuing the same until the neigh of the iron horse was heard in the distance, when he enlarged his works, and by the time the road was completed, in the spring of 1855, to Camp Point, he was ready for active operations. Securing about a dozen teams he began to ship to Quincy, hauling to Camp Point, and from thence by rail. This was the beginning of what has since developed into a great enterprise, bringing into the county annually thousands of dollars. From the time he first struck a pick in 1853, Mr. Roberts has continued in the business of mining.
About the year 1855 a partnership was formed under the firm name of Roberts & Company, soon changing to Roberts & Brothers, then Morris & Roberts, then Morris & Company, then back to Roberts & Company, and then Morris & Spencer, and finally the company dissolved, its members forming two separate organizations under the names of Quincy Coal company and Colchester Coal company. These two companies do an immense business. As a general thing matters have always run smoothly between the various companies and their employees, the latter receiving good wages at all times, probably better than could be obtained at many other trades. At present all seems prosperous and contented. An impression seems to have gained credence among many that mining is unhealthy, but investigation reveals the fact that no class of persons enjoy better health than the coal miners, the farming community not excepted.
William Egerton, engaged in mining coal at Colchester in 1856, and has been in that business continuously ever since. His trade being steadily on the increase from that date, until at present he owns and operates one of the leading coal industries in the county. There is mined from thirty to fifty thousand bushels per month, which is shipped mostly to Quincy, although at many local points in this and adjoining counties there is found a ready market for large quantities of the product of the mine. The coal is all mined by shaft at a depth of about seventy feet, two shafts being in active operation, which furnishes employment to fifty or sixty men, at an average of two dollars per day for each miner.
William Egerton, the owner and proprietor of the Egerton mines, came to Colchester in January, 1856, and soon after became a member of the St. Louis coal company. This firm was composed of Thomas Wilson, William Hopkins, John Merrett, Thomas Hunn, John Slater, William Egerton, and others, and conducted operations on section 13, taking out only drift coal. The company finally dissolved, and William Egerton received a one-half interest in the lands, and continued in the business, with Hopkins and Garbett as partners, they sinking shafts as they would get hold of the land. In 1879, Mr. Egerton bought out the interests of his partners, and has conducted the business alone ever since. He now has three shafts in operation on section 13, and mines 1,300 bushels per day, having in his employ sixty men. He now owns 130 acres of good coal land in and about Colchester. Mr. Egerton is a native of England, and was born June 22, 1814. He started to work in the mines in his native country when he was seven years old, and continued the same there up to the time of his coming to America, in 1842. He located in Wisconsin, where he worked at mining for some five months, and then removed to St. Louis, Missouri. In the spring of 1843 he went to Caseyville, Ohio, and three months later to Maryland, where he remained some two years. He then removed to Pennsylvania, and worked in that state some 33 months. In the spring of 1849 he went overland to California, and mined there for nearly two years, then returning to New Castle, Pennsylvania. In 1851 he attended the London (England) exposition for four months, after which he returned to New Castle. A year or so later he went to St. Louis, Missouri, and remained there until coming to Colchester, in January, 1856. William Egerton and Mrs. Barbara Hall, nee Thornhill, were united in marriage on the 12th day of October, 1864. By this marriage there are three children--William T., Mary E. and John O.
Mrs. Egerton has two children by her former marriage--Ralph and Anna Belle. Mr. Egerton is one of Colchester's prominent citizens, and has been a member of both the school board and the town council.
The Quincy coal company is an organization composed principally of Boston capitalists, although some Quincy men also have interests therein. The general office is located at Boston, but the working headquarters are at Quincy. They operate five shafts in Colchester, all the mining of the company being done here, and have a capital stock of $75,000. The shafts number 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25, the latter one being lately opened. The average depth to the seams worked is from 85 to 90 feet, the seam being known as a 30-inch vein. The coal is of an excellent quality and is well adopted for both blacksmith use and gas making, and is known as seam No. 2, of the Illinois section. The seam is worked by the men while laying on their sides, the coal being mined by pick, sledge and wedge. All their shafts are operated by steam power and are all connected with each other, except No. 20, thus giving ample air passages and perfect means of escape in case of accident or fire. All their cages are provided with safety catches and covers, and the company comply with every requirement of the law, thereby providing amply for the comfort, convenience and safety of the miners. They have good top men and use five-eighth screens, giving the workmen the benefit of all the coal they mine. They have on their pay roll between two and three hundred men. The coal is wheeled from the rooms through the entries in reaching the shaft proper, before raising, which are three and a half feet in height and six feet in width. The company own about 400 acres of land, with reserved mining rights under all land which they sell. Their principal market is Quincy, a regular coal train running from the mines to that place daily, the number of cars to the train varying from 12 to 24. They also have a large transient and general trade. The annual production of the mines, as taken from the report of the Bureau of labor statistics, is 71,718 tons, with a capacity of 100,000 tons, the mines being worked the year around. They also have ample sidetrack facilities, with a line of road to every shaft. H. S. Osborn of Quincy, is president of the company, and Charles C. Osborn of the same place, is superintendent. Henry Arundel is the representative of the company at Colchester, and Thomas Terrill is mine boss, with John Terrill as assistant.
Isaac N. Wright, the agent of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad at Colchester, was born in Schuyler county, Illinois, December 14, 1852. His father, William Wright, was born in Ireland, but came to Illinois in an early day, and his death occurred in January, 1865. Isaac N., was reared and educated in his native county, attending school at Plymouth, where, in 1870, he began learning telegraphy, and followed the same there for some two and a half years. He was then employed for a short time in Tennessee, McDonough county, and from there went to Quincy. He served as an extra man in different offices until April, 1877, when he served as night operator. In March, 1880, he was appointed to fill the position he now occupies. He is one of the most popular agents on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad. In the month of August, 1877, Isaac N. Wright and Cora Straub, a native of Adams county, were married. They are the parents of one child--Edna, a bright winsome lassie. Mr. Wright is a member of the Knights of Pythias.
Frank S. White, stock dealer and proprietor of the stock yards and scales, commenced business in the city of Colchester in 1876, and in 1881 inaugurated his present business, to which he gives his personal attention. He is a native of McDonough county and was born in Tennessee township on the 9th day of March, 1854, and is a son of Stephen A. White, an old settler of the county. Frank was reared on a farm in his native township and followed the occupation of a farmer until 1872, at which time he engaged in the lumber business at Tennessee, and so continued until 1872, when he removed to Colchester and engaged in business. He was elected to the office of township clerk in 1882, and filled the office with entire satisfaction to the people of the township. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ancient Order of United Workmen lodges of this city claim him as an honored member. The marriage ceremony which united in the holy bonds of matrimony, Frank S. White and Dora B. Hooton, a native of Tennessee township, was performed on the 3d day of September, 1877. Mr. and Mrs. White are the parents of three children--Grace W., Daisy A. and Bertram L. Mr. White is a noble, wholesouled gentleman, and his friends are legion.
THE COLCHESTER COAL COMPANY
was organized by James Roberts & Sons in September, 1873, with Henry as the active business manager. They continued to work the mine in this way till September, 1877, when the old gentleman retired from the firm, which was changed to H. Roberts & Brother. In April, 1879, H. Roberts & Brother leased the mine to A. Newland for a term of five years. During Mr. Newland's lease the works continued under the name of Colchester Coal Company. At the expiration of Mr. Newland's lease, James Roberts again came into the company, together with his son Henry, and the name and style of the firm was James Roberts & Son. It was owned and operated by them until March 3, 1885, when it was incorporated as a joint stock company according to the laws of the state. The incorporators were C. H. Castle, F. Rupp, Rod Lambert, C. H. Whitney, C. H. Trowbridge, James Roberts and Henry Roberts, with a capital stock of $20,000.
In 1881, Louis Atkinson opened a coal bank on section 6, Colchester township, leasing the land of William Neece. During the winter of 1884-85 about 400 tons of coal were taken from the bank, much more than formerly. He employs from two to ten men, at five cents per bushel, disposing of the product of the mine at seven cents per bushel. It is some twenty yards in to the vein, which averages about two feet in thickness.
John Terrill, a resident of Colchester, is a native of Cornwall, England, born June 17, 1828. When 19 years old, he emigrated to America, landing in New York city in September of that year. He proceeded to Pittsburgh, thence to New Castle, Pennsylvania, where he followed mining till 1851. In that year he moved to Wisconsin, and in 1852, crossed the plains to California, where he engaged in mining gold until 1854. He then returned to Pennsylvania. The following spring he went to West Virginia, and there spent two months in mining, after which he came to Illinois and spent a few months at Rock Island coming in the fall of the same year to Colchester, where he has since resided, with the exception of three years spent in the army. He enlisted in the fall of 1862, in company D of the 124th Illinois infantry, and served until August, 1865, when he was mustered out of the service at Chicago. During his residence in Colchester, Mr. Terrill has followed coal mining, in which he is still engaged. He was married on the 16th day of October, 1856, to Elizabeth Pearson, by whom he has had seven children--Eliza J., who was married to Charles Milligan, and died in 1884; John and Thomas, who are now engaged in mining; Isabel, living with her parents; Thomas and Johanna, who are deceased. The first mentioned Thomas was born after the death of the latter, and received his name. One child died in infancy. Mrs. Terrill was born in Durham, England, March 27, 1837. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Terrill is a member of the G. A. R. post at Colchester, also of the Miners' Friendly Society. He is a republican in politics.
James Hickey, third son of Cornelius and Johanna (Burk) Hickey, was horn in Tipperary, Ireland, January 26, 1842. Cornelius Hickey and his wife were both natives of the county Tipperary, the former born March 12, 1800, and the latter in May, 1803. They were married by the Rev. Father Cachrew in the year 1829. Mr. Hickey, Sr., was a civil engineer by profession, and the owner of 25 acres of land in Ireland. They emigrated to America in September, 1848, and located in Massachusetts. Two years later they removed to the state of Indiana, where they remained also, two years, thence to Kentucky, thence, in July, 1856, to Colchester, McDonough county, where Cornelius Hickey died, August 28, 1875. He was laid to rest in the Catholic cemetery at Macomb. His widow survived until January 9, 1880. They were the parents of seven children--Dennis, Mary, John, James, Cornelius, Johanna and Ellen. The subject of this sketch, James Hickey, came with his parents to America, and resided with them until the death of his father. He is a coal miner by occupation, and has followed that business for a number of years. He is a member of the Catholic church, and a worthy and respected citizen. He is politically a democrat.
Source: The History of McDonough County, together with sketches of the towns, villages and townships, educational, civil, military and political history; portraits of prominent individuals, and biographies of the representative citizens, 1885, pages 598-622. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen