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Chapter 30 - The Town of Prairie City

This town is situated on a beautiful rolling prairie, surrounded by a country which, in fertility of soil, is not surpassed in the state of Illinois. The whole country is dotted over with some of the finest and best improved farms in the county. Prairie City is truly a city of the prairie, and its founders could not have selected a more beautiful and eligible location, or a name more appropriate for the town. The place was laid out on the projected line of the Northern cross, now Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad, in 1854, by Ezra Cadwallader, Anson Smith, Ezra D. Smith and Edwin Reed, men of excellent judgment and more than ordinary business qualifications. In the store room of Parker & Barnes, Rev. Truman Grigsby, a Baptist minister, preached the first sermon in the town. Rev. Samuel Dilly, a Congregationalist minister, was next, preaching a short time thereafter in the house of Ezra Smith. The town is laid out with streets running east and west, and north and south. The original town comprised only 40 acres, and lots were made 66x120 feet. Several additions have since been made to the town, and it now covers considerable ground; but the principal portion of it is located on the northwest quarter of section 1, of Prairie city township, 17 miles from Macomb. In 1855, a frame school house was built, in size 20x30 feet, on Clay street. The following year, (1856) the Presbyterians erected a church building, being the first in the town. Ezra Cadwallader erected the first building for hotel purposes—the City Hotel.

In 1856, Alonzo Barnes, James R. Parker and Joseph Drake platted the first southern addition to the town, giving a lot to any one who would build a house thereon, costing not less than $150. This had the desired effect, inducing many to come here and make their homes. The place now grew so rapidly that it became necessary to incorporate as a town. Accordingly, on Saturday, January 10, 1857, a public meeting was held and the question voted for or against incorporation. Thirty-nine votes were cast for and five against. The proposition having been carried, an election was held on Saturday, January 24, at two o'clock P. M., for the purpose of choosing five trustees, when the following were elected: Daniel Negley, L. H. Bradbury, J. B. Robinson, George Hittle and M. T. Hand. A. Fisher was chosen as the first clerk of the board.


The following is gleaned from an article in the opening number of the Prairie City Bugle: "In the spring of 1854 only one house marked the spot where now stands Prairie city. It was in that year that the project of building the Northern Cross railroad through the Military Tract was talked of. The same year Alonzo Barnes, and Major J. R. Parker, of Canton, concluded to remove to those parts. A man named Edward Goldsmith and his family occupied the only house, in what is now Prairie city. It was a frame, and stood on the west side of the railroad, and is now used as a barn by Daniel Marsh. Messrs. Parker and Barnes applied to the Goldsmiths for a room. They were looked upon with suspicion by this worthy family, who could not see what in the world they wished a room away out in the prairie for. They secured the room, however, Mr. Barnes returning to Canton, and from there to St Louis to purchase goods, and the Major remaining to fit the room up as a store. By this time the road was completed. While purchasing goods, Mr. Barnes was asked where he desired them shipped. Here was a question that even puzzled the squire. He knew that at the crossing of the old state road (now Main street) and the Northern Cross (now C. B. & Q.) railroad, was the place he wanted the goods, but it had no name. Ezra Cadwallader, from Ellisville, had staked off a town on the north side of Main street, but had not named it. "Well," said the squire, "ship them to Prairie City, Illinois." The goods came, and the name, like Messrs. Parker & Barnes, stuck to the place. They succeeded. Prairie city became a thriving village; new stores and dwellings were erected; churches and school buildings followed.


Edward Goldsmith and family were the first who resided on the present site of Prairie City. They had been there some time before the town was thought of. About 1862 the family removed to Fulton county, locating on Spoon river. They resided there until 1883, when they went out to Kansas, to live with two of their sons, who resided there. They lived there till March, 1885, when they returned to Prairie City. Here, in the very place where he was the first white resident, he died, within a day or two after his return from Kansas.

The next to come in were Evan Davis and family. Mr. Davis built the first dwelling house erected in Prairie City, after the site was chosen in the spring of 1854. It is now standing in the east part of town, and belongs to the Lyon's estate. It is occupied by Prof. Harris, principal of schools. Ezra Cadwallader and Ezra D. Smith erected the second house in the new town. The first business in the new town was done by Major J. R. Parker and Alonzo Barnes, in a room of Goldsmith's house, in the spring of 1854. They kept a general stock. Mr. Barnes, shortly afterward, erected a store building and increased his stock, and in the spring of 1856, Alexander Fisher entered into partnership, the firm name being Barnes & Fisher. Mr. Barnes afterward sold out and engaged in the hardware trade, which he continued until 1882, when he removed to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he still resides.

The next merchant was Joseph Drake. He built a store, and put in a general stock. The building which he erected is still in use, being occupied by the Prairie City bank. Drake remained in business here until about 1863, when he engaged in buying horses and mules for the army. After the war, he commenced hauling goods across the plains. He is now farming in Fulton county, south of Canton.

Davis Brothers built the next store, in 1855, opening up with a general stock in December, of that year. The post office is now in that building. In the spring of 1856, they sold out to Terpin and Brinkerhoff.

Charles C. Davis, also built a store about that time. His was also a general stock.

E. Cadwallader opened the first furniture store in Prairie City, in 1855, in a portion of the hotel building owned by him, and which was afterward destroyed by fire.

L. H. Bradbury engaged in the furniture business in 1855, on the west side of Washington street He afterward added a stock of dry goods, which he continued a number of years, when he took his son into partnership. He afterward retired from the firm and removed to Kansas. His son, Benjamin F., continued the business until the spring of 1883, when he disposed of the stock to W. F. Wilson & Co. This firm ran the business about a year, when they sold out to Jefferson Louk, who in turn sold to Scott & Scott, the present representatives.

Sanford and Babcock engaged in the sale of general merchandise during the year 1856, and continued the same until February 17, 1858, when they were closed up by the sheriff.

Vanloon and White opened a general store in 1856, which they continued two years, when they closed out the stock, Vanloon moving away. Mr. White is still a resident of Prairie City, and is a member of the dry goods firm of White & Foster.

Moses T. Hand, also, opened a general store during the year 1856. He ran the same a couple of years when he closed out the stock and has since led a retired life, being still a resident of Prairie City.

Moses T. Hand was born in Essex county, New Jersey, on the 4th day of November, 1807. His parents, Henry and Sarah (Davis) Hand, were also natives of New Jersey. His father's ancestors were natives of Holland, and his mother's of England and Holland. When Moses was but a child, his parents removed to New York city, and from there to what was then known as the Genesee country, now Genesee county, where they remained until Moses was 12 years old. They then removed to a point six miles above Mount Morris, known as "White Woman's Tract." There they lived about six years, then moved to Huron county, Ohio, where his father died in 1831. In 1835, Moses went to Greenbush, Ohio, and resided in that township nearly 22 years, all of the time on one place. In the fall of 1856, he removed to McDonough county, Illinois, and located in Prairie City, where he now ranks among the early settlers, and where he has ever since resided. Mr. Hand was married in Ohio, May 4, 1831, to Sarah Ann Squire, who died in Ohio, February 9, 1835, leaving him one child—Henry, now married to Catherine Buckner, and living in Shenandoah, Iowa, where he is engaged in the imported stock business. December 23, 1835, Mr. Hand was married to Mrs. Elizabeth Crawford, widow of Thornton Crawford, and daughter of Alexander Stapp. She was born and reared in Nicholas county, Kentucky, where her father died. Her mother moved to Warren county, in 1835, and died near Greenbush, in that county, November 26, 1860. Mrs. Hand had two children by her first marriage--John and Sarah. John Crawford was married to Rebecca Morris, and died near Walnut Grove, in McDonough county; Sarah Crawford is the wife of Henry T. Park, and lives near Bushnell. Mr. and Mrs. Hand are the parents of seven children—Mary, wife of Richard Silver, living near Seward, Nebraska; Ann Eliza, wife of James F. Hartford, living in Warren county; Giles F., married to Eliza Jane Brink, and living in Fremont county, Iowa; Caroline, wife of John Cope, the hardware merchant at Prairie City; Jane, wife of R. P. Maxwell; Oscar, married to Mary Curtis, and living in Prairie City, and Elizabeth, married to William H. Ferguson, a son of Rev. James Ferguson, a Methodist minister of Avon, Illinois. Mr. Hand has now retired from active pursuits. Both Mr. and Mrs. Hand have always been leading members of the Methodist church, and are now highly esteemed by all.

L. I. Washburn engaged in the sale of drugs on the south side of Main street, in the spring of 1856, which he operated until 1866, when he disposed of the same to D. C. Folsom& Company, going to Gilson, this state, and afterward to Griggsville, where he later failed in business.

John Black came in 1856, being the first dentist in the place. He remained about three years, when he went to Rushville, and afterward removed to Cuba, this state.

The first doctor was Henry Kreider, who came in March, 1856. The next physician was A. L. Kimber, who also came in 1856. He entered into partnership with Dr. Kreider, continuing one year, although he lived in Prairie City, about three years.

W. W. Amos was the first painter. He now resides near Olathe, in Johnson county, Kansas.

The first carpenter was named Daniel Riggs.

Jack and Evans, and McFarland and Lancaster, opened wagon shops in the place in 1855.


In 1884, A. Mead erected a handsome brick building on the north side of Main street, in which he keeps a large and varied assortment of dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, carpets, curtains, etc. His building is a handsome structure, 23x70 feet, and two stories in height, the upper floor being used principally for the storage of goods, and the lower floor for his salesroom. He commenced business here in 1867, in the building now occupied by A. P. Lanphere.

Alfred Mead came with his parents to McDonough county, in 1841, and settled in Walnut Grove township. He was born October 8, 1839, in Macon City, Missouri, and is a son of Nathan and Nancy (Hand) Mead, natives of New York state. Alfred Mead was married November 26, 1865, to Ruth Holcomb, of Plymouth. Four children have blessed this union—Frank, Eva, George and Mabel. Mr. Mend is an ordained minister of the Methodist Episcopal church and was on the circuit two years. He is now, church trustee and Sabbath school superintendent. He is prominent also in county and town affairs, being at present, one of the board of county supervisors, and has served upon the city board seven years, being chairman one year, and seven years school director. He has always been in sympathy with the republican party and is an earnest advocate of the cause of temperance, favoring prohibition. He enlisted during the war of the rebellion, in October, 1861, in company F, of the 55th Illinois infantry, and served three years. He acted as wagon-master of the 15th army corps, and participated in the battles of Shiloh, Russell House, siege of Corinth and Colliersville. He is the owner of considerable real estate in Prairie City. Has been in business the most of the time since 1867, and is now handling a general stock of merchandise.

J. A. Hamilton occupies one of the handsome brick blocks on the north side of Main street, with a general stock. He commenced the business on the south side of Main street, in 1855, and continued there until October, 1884, when his new store building was finished. It is 24x7O feet in size, and two stories high. He carries a large stock of clothing, gents' furnishing goods, hats and caps, boots and shoes, etc. He also handles furniture and undertaking goods. Mr. Hamilton is well known as one of the leading men of Prairie City. Having been connected with the place during, nearly the entire period of its existence, he has always been in the front rank in all public enterprises, as will be seen by a perusal of these pages.

George A. Seeley, general merchant, is located on the north side of Main street, in the brick block. He began the business November 1, 1884. He carries a stock of groceries, hardware, boots and shoes, hats and caps, etc. His store room is 25x75 feet in size.

J. N. Fast, dealer in general merchandise, is located on the south side of Main street, the first door east of the railroad. His building is a two-story frame 20x40. He commenced business in 1882.

A. P. Lanphere, grocer, is located on the south side of Main street, in the first store building west of the railroad. He commenced business here in 1878. He has a well assorted stock of family groceries, canned goods, flour, cigars, etc. His store building is 18x44 feet in ground area, two stories in height.

A. P. Lanphere is a son of Caleb P. and Lucinda Martin Lanphere, natives of New York. The subject of this sketch was born in Oneida county, New York, January 28, 1831. In 1842, he came with his parents to Monmouth, Warren county, this state, where he remained until 1857. In that year he removed to Whiteside county, where he remained until 1862. In that year he enlisted in company I, 112th regiment Illinois infantry, Col. Thomas J. Henderson, commanding regiment. He held the rank of first sergeant and did gallant service for three years, during which time he, with the regiment, was in 18 general engagements and over 100 skirmishes. After the war closed, he came to Prairie City, this county. In 1866, he was married to Julia A. Barnes, one of the teachers in the old academy, in Prairie City, and formerly of Canton, Illinois. They have four children—Frank, Hattie, Albert and Laura. He is the owner of a fine residence and store building, and has been in the grocery business for over eight years. He was formerly in the carriage manufactory with F. A. Woodmansee, of this place. Himself and wife are Baptists in religious faith, and he is a staunch republican in politics. He has been elected three terms as village trustee, and held one term as president of the board.

P. P. Rigdon, dealer in groceries and provisions, is located on the south side of Main street. He commenced business on the 1st of April, 1885. His building is a two-story frame.

L. T. Drake, grocer and butcher, has his place of business on the north side of Main street. He commenced business in February, 1885. His building is 25x70 feet.

L. T. Drake is a son of Israel and Cynthia (Humes) Drake, natives of the state of New York. The subject of this sketch was born in the same state in 1850. At the age of 20 years he left his native home and came to Illinois, and settled in Avon, Fulton county, where he resided 10 years. In the spring of 1880, he removed to McDonough county, and located at Prairie City, where he is now a resident. He was united in marriage February 3, 1875, with Ida F. Sebree, a daughter of Charles W. Sebree, of Fulton county. They are the parents of one child—Luther Harley. Although only a short time a resident here, Mr. Drake has manifested an interest in the growth and development of the young city which he has chosen for his home, and is an estimable and worthy citizen.

J. R. May commenced business here in January, 1884. He handles groceries, queensware, etc. His store is located on the south side of Main street, and is 28x80 feet in dimensions.

Alfred H. Wagner, jeweler, is located near the corner of Washington and Main streets. He commenced business in the fall of 1865.

F. A. Woodmansee has the only livery and feed stable in Prairie City. It is located on the west side of Washington street, between the business center and the depot. Robert Coombs built the stable and commenced business in 1874. He sold out to the present proprietor. His building is 80x44 feet in size.

H. W. Kreider, druggist, is located on the south side of Main street. The business was established by him in 1867. He handles drugs, toilet articles, patent medicines, druggists' sundries, books and stationery, paints, oils and wall paper. A sketch of Dr. Kreider will be found in the Medical chapter.

E. M. L Brinkerhoff, druggist, commenced business in Prairie City in November, 1860. He is located on the west side of Washington street, in a building 20x60 feet in size.

W. T. Magee, dealer in, and manufacturer of harness and saddlery, is located on the south side of Main street, and his building is the last business structure on the east end of that street. He commenced business in January, 1866. He has the only establishment of the kind in Prairie City, and receives a large patronage.

W. T. McGee, the proprietor, is a son of Rev. A. McGee, of Prairie City. He was born in 1835, in New Concord, Muskingum county, Ohio. He came to Illinois in 1856, and settled at Farmington. One year later, he went to Livingston county, Illinois, where he resided two years. August 15, 1861, he enlisted in the 39th Illinois infantry, and was in the service four years and four months. On his return from the army, he came to Prairie City and engaged in harness making. He was married in November, 1866, to Carrie E. Conklin, of Canton, Illinois. They have two children—Andrew and Nina N. Mr. McGee is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and the I. O. O. F.

J. W. Cope & Company, deal in hardware, implements, furniture, and undertaking goods. They commenced business in January, 1884, in their present location, on the north side of Main street. Their building is 24x70 feet, and two stories in height.

The art gallery of N. C. Cox, is located on the south side of Main street. He came here in March, 1885, and has already won a reputation as an artist. He is prepared to do all kinds of photographing and enlarging.

N. C. Cox, son of Samuel and Jane (Hampton) Cox, was born in 1834, in the state of Kentucky. His mother was a sister of the Hon. Wade Hampton. In 1865, N. C. Cox moved to Logan county, Ohio, where he resided 20 years, coming to Prairie City, McDonough county, from that state, in 1885. He was married in 1854, to L. A. Norvill, a daughter of Rufus Norvill. They have two children—John G., and Albert C. Mr. Cox enlisted in 1862, in the 84th Illinois infantry, and participated in all the battles of his regiment, serving as sergeant of company A. He is now a member of the G. A. R., at Macomb. Mr. Cox and all his family are members of the Christian church.

George C. Steach, wagon and carriage maker, has his shop on the corner of Main and Center streets. He has facilities to make carriages and wagons to order, and does all kinds of repairing. His shop is two stories in height, and 18x50 feet in size.

The blacksmithing and repair shop of R. R. Steach, is located on the north side of Main street, west of the railroad. He commenced business in 1872. He does horse-shoeing, repairs agricultural implements, and does general job work.

Robert R. Steach, a son of Adam and Julia (Shaw) Steach, was born in Franklin, Venango county, Pennsylvania, in the year 1836. He came to this state in 1855, and to McDonough county in 1869. January 1, 1863, he was united in marriage with Emily Boman, of Iowa. They are the parents of five children, three sons and two daughters—George, Carrie, Arthur, Grace, and Elden. Mr. Steach is a prominent citizen of Prairie City, and has been for the past four years, a member of the board of trustees, of Prairie City, and still holds that position. He is a supporter of the democratic party. He owns considerable real estate in Prairie City, comprising two houses, a shop, and six lots, and other property.

Thomas E. Bivens, carriage and wagon maker, has his shop on the south side of Main street, west of the railroad. He commenced business here in 1863.

Thomas E. Bivens, a resident of Prairie City, was born August 26, 1833, in Franklin county, Pennsylvania. He is a son of Joseph and Elizabeth (McClure) Bivens. Thomas E. Bivens came to this county, May 10, 1850. March 22, 1860, he was married to Margaret Games, a daughter of Richard S. Games, of Pennsylvania. They are the parents of seven children—Catherine E., wife of Edwin Haw, of Prairie City; Florence E., wife of William Sherwood, of Fulton county; Arnetta V., wife of Robert Hoge, of Ava, Illinois; George S., Samantha J., Roscoe B., and Anna Maria, living with their parents. Mr. Bivens enlisted July 14, 1861, in company C, of the 1st Missouri engineers, and served until October 9, 1862. He participated in four battles. At the siege of Corinth, May 28, 1862, he had his right leg shot entirely off by the explosion of a shell. He is the owner of real estate in Prairie City, consisting of a dwelling house, shop and two lots. He is a republican and a member of the G. A. R.

Hugh Robertson has a blacksmith shop adjoining G. C. Steach's wagon shop. He does horse shoeing and general blacksmithing. This shop was established by J. B. Robinson shortly after the town was started. He afterward removed to Peoria, where he subsequently died.

Hugh Robertson is a native of Scotland, born January 9, 1834, and is a son of Robert and Janet Robertson. He emigrated to America in 1855, and settled in St. Lawrence county, New York, where he remained until May, 1857. At that date he came to McDonough county, and located at Prairie City. On his arrival here he entered the employ of Matthew McComb, and continued working for him until January 1, 1860, when he became a partner of Mr. McComb. July 1, 1861, this partnership was dissolved, Mr. Robertson then enlisted in company G, of the 1st Illinois cavalry. He served three months and nine days and was discharged while a prisoner of war. He was blacksmith of his company. He escaped injury, with the exception of a slight wound received at the battle of Lexington, Missouri. After returning from the army, he bought out the blacksmith shop of his former partner, Mr. McComb, and has, since that time, followed that occupation in Prairie City. He owns in addition to his shop; a dwelling house and 13 lots in Prairie City. In 1863, he was united in marriage with Hattie N. Lupper, a daughter of Joseph Lupper, of Crawford county, Pennsylvania. By this union there are six children living—Joseph L., now engaged in teaching school in Fulton county; Roscoe B., living on a farm in Prairie City township; Robert M., Starr B., Maggie M., and Leslie M. Four children, three sons and two daughters, are deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Robertson are members of the Presbyterian church. He is politically, a republican, and an advocate of temperance. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., and has been for three years treasurer of the lodge. Mr. Robertson is one of the sterling citizens of Prairie City, and enjoys the respect of all.

Heslip Phillips, who combines the business of painter and designer, with that of carpenter and builder, commenced in these lines in Prairie City, in 1858. Heslip Phillips, the earliest settler of Prairie City, now residing here, was born in Coshocton county, Ohio, August 19, 1830. His parents were George and Susan (Lemon) Phillips, the former of English, and the latter of German descent. The subject of this sketch was reared in his native state, and came to McDonough county in 1853. He located at Virgil, a little east of Prairie City, where he resided till 1858, then removed to Prairie City, which has since been his home. July 10, 1861, he enlisted in the 9th Missouri infantry—the call for Illinois being full. The regiment rendezvoused at St. Louis. Their first service was at Cape Girardeau, after which they returned to St. Louis, thence to Lexington, Booneville, Springfield, after Price, culminating in the battle of Pea Ridge. He was then transferred to the 59th Illinois infantry, and reported to General Grant's army, at Corinth, where he took part in the engagement, thence to Shiloh, and was soon after transferred to the army of the Cumberland. On the 14th of April, 1862, he was appointed second lieutenant, his commission bearing the signatures of Governor Richard Yates, Secretary of State C. M. Hatch, and Allen Fuller, adjutant general of Illinois state militia, and read, "Promoted for meritorious conduct at Pea Ridge, March 6, 7 and 8." After the battle of Shiloh, he was in Buell's army of the Ohio, serving in Kentucky, and participated in engagements at Perryville, Stone River, Nashville, Franklin, and many others. He was honorably discharged July 10, 1864, and mustered out at Camp Chase, Ohio. He then returned to Prairie City. Mr. Phillips was married June 1, 1856, to Eliza Dunbar, and by this union, has three children—Hiram, living in Denver; Virginia, living at Hastings, Nebraska, and Heslip. Mrs. Phillips died in Prairie City, March 1, 1875. Mr. Phillips is a member of the Grand Army post and also of the A. F. and A. M.

S. P. Tobie, jeweler and watchmaker, commenced business in this city, in 1860. He handles watches, clocks, silverware, and sporting goods. His building is 14x40.

The bakery business of Prairie City is carried on by Henry Trumpy. Henry Trumpy, a resident of Prairie City, is a native of Switzerland, where he was born in the year 1833. He came to this state in 1848, and settled at East St. Louis. In 1867, he removed to McDonough county, and located at Prairie City, which has since been his residence. Mr. Trumpy was married in March, 1855, to Mahala Cunningham, a native of Indiana. Their union has been blessed with five children—Frederick, living in Havana, Illinois; George, a resident of Avon, Illinois; Mattie, married to Robert Burden, and living in Prairie City; Sophia and Henry, living with their parents. Mr. Trumpy owns residence property in Prairie City. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., in which he now holds the office of past grand.

Crissey & Bostwick were established in the lumber business in Prairie City in 1878. They have a good trade, not only at home, but in the country surrounding, and are the only lumber dealers in the town. Besides lumber, lath and shingles, they handle lime and cement, and carry in stock, doors, sash and blinds.

George L. Bostwick, lumber dealer at Prairie City, is a native of Warren county, Illinois, and a son of Alanson and Abigail E. (Crissey) Bostwick, natives of Connecticut. Alanson Bostwick died in 1876, and his wife, Abigail, died in 1844. George L. came to McDonough county in 1878, and located at Prairie City, where he is now a prominent citizen. The same year he was married to Minta L. Rounds, of Warren county, Illinois. They have two children—Victor A. and Mabel. Mr. Bostwick enlisted in 1862, in the 83d Illinois infantry, and was in the service three years, holding the rank of corporal. He participated in a number of engagements, and at the second battle of Fort Donelson, was wounded in the foot by a musket ball. He has been a member of the village board of trustees of Prairie City, for two years. Mrs. Bostwick is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Bostwick owns a half interest in the lumber yard, also a house and lot in this city.


G. W. Barnett, of Galesburg, built an elevator in Prairie City, in 1878. It is now operated for that gentleman by H. M. Forsman. He buys grain from all the surrounding country, and ships principally to Peoria and Chicago, The elevator building is located on the east side of the railroad track, and conveniently situated for loading and unloading.

H. M. Forsman is a native of Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, and son of Robert J. and Sarah (McCormick) Forsman, both natives of that state. He was born October 4, 1820. In 1847 he went to Paris, West Tennessee, where he was engaged in manufacturing plows, until the breaking out of the rebellion. During the war he was employed by the United States government as inspector of arms, serving in that capacity from 1861 till 1863. The following year, 1864, he came to McDonough county, Illinois, which has been his home since that time. He resides in Prairie City, where he has a pleasant residence. He owns also, 200 acres of land in Fulton county. After coming to Prairie City he was engaged for 15 years, in buying and shipping stock. Mr. Forsman was married in 1855, to Ann Eliza McCormick, a daughter of Samuel McCormick, of Pennsylvania. They have four children living--John W., Sallie, Jessie and Jennie. The family are members of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Forsman is an Ancient Odd Fellow, and politically is a democrat.


A hotel was erected by Westley Cope, in 1856, which was known as the Cope House, and run by J. C. Canfield. It was built on the north side of Main street, west of the railroad. It has been occupied the greater part of the time as a hotel, but is used as a private residence at present.

The first hotel was built by Ezra Cadwallader, in 1854 or 1855, and was afterward known as the McDonough House. Cadwallader occupied it at first, and it was afterward operated by several different parties. The building was destroyed by fire on the 14th day of November, 1870. Mr. Cadwallader also built another hotel near the depot, in 1857, which was known as the Eagle House. It was first kept by Daniel Bear, who failed, in November, 1858. The property was then sold to Samuel Hunter, who operated it as the Central House. The building is occupied at present as a private residence.

The hotel in Prairie City at present is known as the Transient house and receives the greater part of the transient patronage, and is well fitted for the accommodation of guests. Isaac Weaver is the landlord and proprietor. He commenced the hotel business in 1884. His building is 16x28 feet in dimensions, and two stories in height, with an ell 16x26, of the same height. It is located on the south side of west Main street. Mr. Weaver is known as an honorable and upright man in all his dealings, and is an accommodating landlord.

Isaac M. Weaver, son of William and Mary (Cornwell) Weaver, was born July 13, 1819, in Greene county, Pennsylvania. His parents were also natives of that state. He emigrated to Fulton county, Illinois, in April, 1835. He resided there until April, 1857, when he came to McDonough county, located at Prairie City, and engaged in the lumber and grain business, in partnership with Ezra Cadwalader and Milton Foster. This firm erected the first elevator in Prairie City. He continued in the same business until 1870, when he engaged for a short time, in merchandising. In 1865, be was elected justice of the peace, and served in that capacity 16 years, also practiced law. He has been assessor, and commissioner of highways, several years, and a member of the county board four or five terms. In 1872, he was the republican candidate for county judge, but was defeated by a small majority, by J. H. Baker. Mr. Weaver was united in marriage in December, 1839, with Harriet C. Reeve, of Fulton county, Illinois, formerly of New York state. By this union there were five children—Eliza M., wife of George W. Beer, of Fulton county; Mary Emily, who died August 10, 1864; William R., living in Fulton county; Harriet C., wife of Samuel S. King, of Christian, Iowa, and Isaac F., living in Stuttgart, Arkansas. Mrs. Weaver died January 27, 1873, and is buried in a private cemetery in Fulton county. Mr. Weaver was married February 2, 1882, to Mrs. Sarah Opitz, widow of Charles F. Opitz, of Prairie City, and daughter of Joel Nickols. She has one daughter—Mina Opitz. Mr. Weaver is one of the most prominent and highly respected citizens of this county.


This institution was first established in 1866, by H. W. Kreider & Co. It continued as a private enterprise until June, 1875, when it was changed to a National bank, with H. W. Kreider, president, and J. H. Wilson, cashier. In January, 1879, it went into voluntary liquidation, and no business was transacted until April, 1879, when the institution was re-opened as a private bank. G. W. McMahill is president, and J. H. Wilson, cashier. They make city collections a specialty.

James H. Wilson, a prominent citizen of Prairie City, was born in Pennsylvania, in the year 1830, and is a son of Fleming and Sarah (Ten Brook) Wilson, also natives of Pennsylvania. He came to McDonough county in 1856, and located in Prairie City, where he has since been a resident. He is the owner of considerable real estate, in this city, including his residence, which is spacious and comfortable, and three other houses and lots. Mr. Wilson was married in 1856, to Alvina McCormick, daughter of S. S. McCormick, of Pennsylvania, and by this union has had eight children—Julia E., living at home; Fleming McCormick, who is cashier of a bank in Templeton, Iowa; Elmer S., Samuel S., Alvina, Sadie and J. Waldo. Mr. Wilson is a democrat politically, and is at present serving as a member of the board of village trustees. He, with his wife and three children, are members of the Presbyterian church, of which he is an elder, and also superintendent of the Sunday School He is a man of sterling qualities, on account of which he is deservedly held in high esteem.


In the fall of 1881, Robert Davis commenced the construction of the Prairie City tile works, and had things ready to begin operations in the spring of 1882. He carried on the business for about one year, and in May, 1883, he sold the plant to B. F. Bradbury, J. W. Cope and Thos. Leard. In January, 1884, Mr. Cope retired from the firm, Mr. W. W. Shoop taking his place. The firm name is Bradbury and Company. A capital of $24,000 is invested in the business, divided equally among the partners.

The dry house and engine room are in one building, which is 164x36 feet in ground area, and 16 feet in height. The kiln shed is 40x110 feet in dimensions, and 16 feet high.

There is also a coal and clay shaft operated in connection with the works. This shaft has been sunk to the depth of 130 feet. A vein of coal, 22 inches in thickness is met at a depth of 50 feet. Under this vein is found a bed of fire clay three and one-half feet in thickness At a depth of 100 feet below the surface another vein of fire clay is reached. This is 16 feet in thickness, but only eight feet of this is mined.

The works are supplied with two engines, each of 25-horse power. One of these runs the machinery of the works proper, while the other is used as a hoisting engine, for raising the coal and clay from the shaft. The buildings were erected at a cost of $8,000. The expense for sinking the shaft was about $1,000.

When running to their full capacity, they employ a force of about 25 men, and manufacture an average of 1,040,000 feet of tile per annum. This article constitutes the bulk of their product. Their shipment to Illinois points are very extensive, and they have a large Iowa trade. They have an excellent quality of clay to work with, and the excellence of their manufactured goods is shown from the fact that some farmers drive past other factories to get their tiling from these works. B. F. Bradbury is the business manager.

Levi H. Bradbury is a native of Ohio, where he was born in 1810. He was raised in his native state and came to Illinois in 1835. He located in Fulton county and engaged in keeping a store in Troy. He afterwards followed farming in that county. In the fall of 1855 he came to Prairie City, and embarked in mercantile business, which he continued until the spring of 1876. He then sold out to his son, B. F. Bradbury, and went to Osage Mission, Kansas, and there engaged in banking. He is still living at that place, engaged in mercantile business. He was married, in Ohio, to Mary Turner, a native of Indiana. Five children were born to them—James Monroe, living in Texas; William W., living in Fulton county; Nathan, who died at the age of 17 years; Benjamin F., and Jesse, deceased. The mother of these children died in 1849.

Benjamin F. Bradbury was born in Fulton county, November 4, 1844. In the fall of 1855 he came with his parents, Levi H. and Mary (Turner) Bradbury, to Prairie City, where he grew to manhood, and received his education. He has always resided here since that time, and is now one of the leading business men of the place. He was clerk in his father's store seven years, then became a partner in the business, which he continued until 1875, when he purchased his father's interest, and became sole proprietor. He carried on general merchandising until January, 1883, then sold out and engaged in the clothing trade. In the spring of 1883, he purchased an interest in the tile works, and in October, 1884, sold his stock of clothing to A. Mead. He is now business manager of the tile works. Mr. Bradbury was married October 15, 1865, to Sarah M. Winners, a native of New Jersey, and daughter of John Winners. They have four children—Orie, Harry, Earl and Marion. Mr. Bradbury is a member of the Masonic fraternity and treasurer of the lodge. He has been a member of the town council a number of years, and still holds that office. He is the owner of 80 acres of land in Warren county, which he uses for stock purposes. He has held the office of road commissioner one year, and that of constable four years.


About 1862 Dunham & Humphrey were seeking a well for their mill, and when they had reached a depth of 52 feet, they struck a vein of coal 22 inches in thickness. They then squared the well off for a shaft. They mined the coal for a few months and then abandoned it. The shaft lay unused until 1875, when it was again operated by Peter McCann. He ran it about one year, when Charles Millett bought him out. After one year he abandoned it.

On giving up the old shaft, Mr. Millet sank another one not far from it, striking the same vein at an equal depth. He used this shaft in his mining operations for six years, taking out between 24,000 and 25,000 bushels annually. On the 5th day of April, 1882, he commenced sinking another shaft. and, on completing it, used the last one as an air shaft While engaged in sinking the last one, the locality was visited by some pretended experts, who, after boring to a considerable depth, said they had struck a vein 43 inches in thickness. Mr. Millett had taken in two partners, each with a quarter interest, and the firm was known as Millett, Emery and Stearns. They sunk a shaft 7x14 feet, to a depth of 166 1/2 feet, but on reaching the vein promised by the prospectors, found it to be worthless. They drilled it 40 feet more, but found nothing save clay. So their mining was done from the 52 foot level. The work was done at a cost of $2,400, In May, 1883, Edward Hart purchased the interests of Messrs. Emery and Stearns, and the firm is now Millett and Hart They have now got their shaft in such shape that they can take out any amount of coal necessary to meet the largest demands on them, the estimated capacity being 500 bushels per day. The hoisting apparatus is operated by horse power.

Charles Millett is a native of England, born in Cornwall, December 10, 1826. His parents were Adam and Catherine Millett At the age of ten years he left home, and went to sea as cabin boy. He followed a seafaring life for 13 years, working his way up until he was a full-fledged sailor. He was in the coasting trade of England during the summer, and in the winter would sail up the Mediterranean. His last voyage was from Havre to New Orleans. After coming to America, he sailed on the lakes, twelve years. He then came to Warren county, Illinois, and bought 50 acres of land, and engaged in coal mining. He remained there until he came to Prairie City, in 1872. Here he at once engaged in the coal trade, which he has continued ever since. He was married at Two Rivers, Wisconsin, July 17, 1856, to Margaret Rowlands, a native of South Wales and daughter of Edward Rowlands. Mr. Millett is a member of the Presbyterian church. He visited, in the course of his seafaring life, many parts of the globe, and has had much experience and met with many thrilling adventures and hair-breadth escapes.

John E. Dunham sank a shaft in Prairie City in the fall of 1882, striking a 24-inch vein at a depth of about 52 feet This mine gives employment to eight men, and furnishes coal for Prairie City, as well as for the general market


Following are sketches of leading men of Prairie City, not included in the business mention:

G. W. Hamilton, a resident of Prairie City village, is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in Bucks county, September 24, 1829. He is a son of Joseph A. and Mary A. (McCerren) Hamilton. He is of Scotch-Irish extraction, his mother having been born on the "Emerald Isle," and his father of Scotch descent. He was brought up in the city of Canton, Fulton county, where he learned the cooper's trade, and early became familiar with agricultural pursuits, working on a farm each summer. His residence in this state bears date from November 1, 1837, at which time he settled in Canton, Fulton county. He there remained until the spring of 1855, when he came to this county, settling in Prairie City township, and engaging in farming, which occupation he there followed a number of years, then moved to the village. He was first married to Hannah Hays, a daughter of Samuel Hays, of Clinton county, Pennsylvania, in September, 1852. She died in July, 1878, and in April, 1881, he was again married to Mrs. Martha A. Cook, daughter of Ephraim Foster, of Bedford county, Pennsylvania. He was a merchant in Prairie City for 10 years, three years in the grain business, and was among the best business men of the place. He is now retired from the more active scenes of life, and living in peace and comfort. Mr. Hamilton has three sons—C. W., of Clarinda. Iowa; W. A., living in Superior, Wisconsin; and G. F., a resident of Prairie City. Mr. Hamilton has held positions of trust. Among other offices he has held that of supervisor for five years, and chairman of the board of supervisors of McDonough county for two years. He is now president of the board of village trustees. He still owns a farm near the village, and considerable residence property. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity and politically, republican.

J. M. Hamilton, a resident of Prairie City, is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in Morrisville, Bucks county, July 29, 1824. He is the eldest son of Joseph and Mary A. Hamilton. He is of Irish-Scotch extraction; his father was of Scotch parentage, and his mother, Irish. He learned the carpenter's trade in Canton, Illinois. He came with his father to Illinois, in 1836, one year before the family moved west, and settled in Canton. In the spring of 1855, he came to this county and settled in Prairie City, and commenced business as a grain and lumber merchant, being one of the first and most successful business men of the place. He was married to Martha A. Gilmore, daughter of Hamilton Gilmore, of Grant county, Wisconsin, April 16, 1848. Mr. Hamilton has two sons and two daughters—J. A., of Neola, Iowa; Robert E., of San Francisco, California; Addie Trumpy, of Avon, Illinois, and Ella Turpin, of Prairie City. For several years be has been in the grain business in Chicago, retaining his residence, however, in Prairie City.

Rev. H. G. Woodworth is of New England stock, being a son of John and Chloe (Bridgman) Woodworth, both natives of Dorchester, New Hampshire. He was born in Cherry Valley, Ashtabula county, Ohio, July 12, 1826. His parents, in 1822, emigrated from Saint Albans, Vermont, where they at first commenced house-keeping, to the Western Reserve, of Ohio. His father served as a soldier in the war of 1812, participating in the battle of Lake Champlain. Both of his parents died in the Western Reserve, his father, in June, 1860, aged 84 years, and his mother, in August, 1831, aged 51 years. The subject of this sketch was brought up in Ohio, and obtained his education at his home, at Chester, Geauga county, Ohio, and at Hillsdale, Michigan. He read theology as a private study. When in his nineteenth year, he began teaching school. In 1852, he was ordained a minister of the gospel, at the LaFayette quarterly meeting, of the Free Will Baptists, held at Rush, Jo Daviess county, Illinois. His first pastorate was at Fayette, LaFayette county, Wisconsin, where he remained until April, 1855. He then received and accepted a call to Warren, Jo Daviess county, Illinois, where he built up a good church and congregation. The following year he accepted a call to Hudson, Lenawee county, Michigan, and continued there until 1859. His next charge was at Wheatland, Kenosha county, Wisconsin. In 1860, he returned to Warren, Illinois. In 1863, he enlisted in the 96th Illinois infantry, as chaplain. After a few months service he was discharged on account of disability. In September, 1863, he went to Vineland, Wisconsin, where he preached till May, 1864, thence to Hudson, Michigan. He came to Prairie City, first, in April, 1865, and remained till December, 1869, then went to Darlington, Wisconsin, thence in 1871, to Harvard, Illinois, then again, in 1874, to Prairie City, thence in 1875, to Hudson, Michigan, thence to DesPlains, Illinois, thence in April, 1878, to Warren, Illinois, and in March, 1880, to DeSmit, Kingsbury county, Dakota, whither he went for his health, which was impaired. He came again to Prairie City, in January, 1884, and has here presided over a congregation since that time. He was married in Fayette, LaFayette county, Wisconsin, in November, 1847, to Frances J. Jurney, a native of Fayette county, Illinois. These are the parents of 11 children, of whom six are living—Mary C., wife of L. B. Sanford, of Prairie City; Edson S., married to Hattie Lake, of Harvard, Illinois, living at Minneapolis, where he is vice-president of the Citizen's bank, and engaged in shipping grain, flour and feed; James Grant, assistant general agent for the Union Pacific Railroad company, at Portland, Oregon; Benjamin Holland, book-keeper of Peavy & Co.'s elevator at Minneapolis; Walter Scott and Richard Paul, living at home. Mr. Woodworth is an earnest worker in the cause of the Master, and possessed of much zeal and ability.

Rev. S. T. Dodge, is a native of Hardin county, Kentucky, born August 18, 1830, and a son of Josiah and Ann (George) Dodge. When be was 10 years of age, his parents removed to Warren county, where he grew to manhood. He was ordained a minister of the gospel, of the Free Will Baptist denomination, on the 26th day of November, 1871. He had been preaching for two years previous to that time, as an evangelist. His labors, since his ordination, have been mostly in Knox, Warren, Fulton, McDonough and Hancock counties. He did much toward the building up of the Cottonwood church, also the church now known as the North Fandon church. He organized the churches at Webster, Hancock county, and Oak Grove. The latter has since been consolidated with the Prairie City church. Among the most noted revivals which he has conducted, are the following: near Clarksburg, Kansas, where there were 30 conversions; Woodburn, Iowa, where 80 were converted; Warren Chapel, Warren county, Illinois, with 40 conversions; Smithfield, Illinois, with 13, and Haynes chapel, Knox county, Illinois, where 90 were converted. Mr. Dodge was married in Macomb, September 18, 1856, to Mary Elizabeth Cope, daughter of Wesley and Elizabeth (Smith) Cope, who removed to this county from Fulton county in 1854. Wesley Cope died in this county, in May, 1865. His widow is still living. Having no children of their own, Mr. and Mrs. Dodge have taken two children of his brother—Nora E., and Erma Alma. Soon after his marriage, Mr. Dodge located about six miles south of Bushnell, where he resided three years, then removed to a farm west of Prairie City. In 1870, he moved into Prairie City, which has since been his residence. He has been located as pastor in several places. In his evangelistic work he has had much assistance from his wife, who is an earnest and faithful worker in the cause, Mr. Dodge is a man of untiring zeal and energy and also much ability, to which is due his wonderful success as a revivalist

Rev. A. Magee was born in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, near Frenchtown, March 22, 1807, and is a son of Thomas and Charity (Matthews) Magee. When but six years of age, his parents removed to Lewistown, Mifflin county, of the same state. In 1832, the family moved to Cambridge, Ohio. During their residence there, the subject of this sketch began the study of medicine with Dr. John Hull. After a thorough preparation for that profession, he commenced practice at Claysville, where he continued one year, when he decided to abandon the medical profession, and become a preacher of the gospel. From his early youth, he had ever felt a deep interest in the study of theology, but had no expectation until that time, of pursuing a ministerial career. Before going to Claysville, he had been appointed a local preacher by the quarterly conference, and during his stay in that place, had been preaching quite regularly. In 1840, he joined the Pittsburg conference, and was assigned to the Norwich circuit, where he labored one year, then two years on the Barnesville circuit, then at New Washington, Westchester, Summerfield, Deerville, Adamsville, Cambridge, and New Philadelphia, remaining two years at each place. He was then transferred to the Peoria conference, with which he united in 1856. His first appointment here, was at Farmington, then at Canton, remaining two years in each place. He was then, for two years, elder of Macomb district, then again sent to Farmington, two years later, to Galesburg, where he preached three years, then two years at Peoria, one year at Monmouth, two years at Bushnell, and three years at Prairie City. He then, after this prolonged career of active labor, was superannuated, and settled permanently at Prairie City, where he now resides. He has preached alternate Sabbaths here since that time. Thus far, nearly half a century, has he labored faithfully and acceptably in the cause of the Master. He has been four times elected to the general conference—first in 1852, when he represented the Pittsburg conference, and in 1860-64, representing the Central Illinois conference. He attended general conference at the cities of Boston, Buffalo, and Philadelphia. He was elected to attend the same at Chicago in 1868, but resigned. Possessed of much ability and talent, of a high order, Mr. Magee has been abundantly blest in his work, and now, in the evening of his life, while resting from his more arduous labors, he may well feel the assurance that his life has not been spent in vain. Mr. Magee was married January 20, 1828, to Elizabeth Fultz, a native of Germantown, Pennsylvania. She died, January 24, 1879. Eight children were born to them--Sarah, deceased; Edmund and Charity, deceased; William Thomas, one of the business men of Prairie City; John Andrew, deceased; Martha, who died, November 9, 1864, aged 20 years; Susan, wife of W. F. Taylor, of Portsmouth, Ohio, and Mary, wife of Eugene Durst, of Bushnell.

A. B. Cooper, of Prairie City, was born in 1812, in the state of Kentucky, and is a son of Jacob and Sarah (Kenner) Cooper. A. B. Cooper came to Illinois in 1854, locating then in Henry county. In 1858, he moved to Abingdon, Knox county, where he lived five years, after which he came to Prairie City, and engaged in hotel keeping one year, then, in merchandizing, which he continued eight years. He then established his present business, dealing in pictures and frames. Mr. Cooper was married in 1833, to Nancy Rawlings, a daughter of Jonathan Rawlings, of Kentucky. Their union has been blessed with nine children—S. Jacob, living in St Augustine, Illinois; Letha H., wife of James Hanna, of Emporia, Kansas; William F., living in Missouri; Kittie, deceased wife of Marshall Dowdy; Eliza, wife of George Rodecker, living in Missouri; Asa B., living in Lincoln, Nebraska, married to Hattie Barnes, a daughter of Alonzo Barnes; Milton D., and Hickison B., living in California, and Charles A., residing with his parents. Mr. Cooper is the owner of a dwelling house, a store room and three lots, in Prairie City. He is, with his wife, a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and politically, a democrat.

J. W. Davis came to Illinois in 1837, accompanying his parents, who settled near Fairview, in Fulton county. He came to Prairie City in 1855, since which time he has been a resident here. Mr. Davis was born August 7, 1833, in the state of Pennsylvania, and is a son of Evan and Letitia (Conly) Davis, also natives of Pennsylvania. In 1862, J. W. Davis was married to J. A. Harlan, a daughter of Abner Harlan, of Kentucky. They had four children—May, Willie F., Ella, and Gracie. Mrs. Davis died in June, 1883. All of the children are living with their father in Prairie City, where they have a pleasant home. Mr. Davis is a prominent and public spirited citizen. During the war he was appointed provost marshal, to succeed Randolph. He has also held the office of assessor and collector of the township and was postmaster through the last administration.

Robert Burden, Jr., is a son of Robert and Eliza (Byng) Burden, natives of New York city, where Robert, Jr., was born in 1856. They came to McDonough county in 1864, and settled in Prairie City. Robert Burden, Jr., was married in 1882, to Mattie Trumpy, a daughter of Henry Trumpy, of Prairie City. Mr. Burden obtained his education in this city, and was appointed to his present position, assistant postmaster, in 1882, by J. W. Davis. He had previously been engaged as a dry goods salesman. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., and politically a republican. Robert Burden, Sr., is still a resident of Prairie City.

J. A. Jones settled in Canton, Fulton county, Illinois, in 1851. He remained a resident there until 1866, when he came to Lee, Fulton county, where he lived until 1874, then moved to Prairie City, and for three years followed painting, then in 1877, engaged in his present business, keeping a grocery store. Mr. Jones was born in Kentucky, and is a son of Samuel Jones, a native of Pennsylvania. He was married April 8, 1869, to Nancy C. Hulick, of Fulton county. By this union there are four children—Isaac A., Jennie F., Nora B., and Emma A. Mr. Jones enlisted in his country's service, in the spring of 1864, serving six months in the 132d Illinois infantry. In February, 1865, he re-enlisted in the 51st Illinois regiment, and served eight months. He is now a member of the G. A. R., Royal Douglas post, of which he was post commander during the year 1884. He also belongs to the order of the Golden Rule. Mr. Jones was left an orphan at the age of eight years, and from that time was obliged to earn his own living, without assistance. He is now in prosperous circumstances, and one of Prairie City's best citizens. He is a republican, politically.

James Skean, a resident of Prairie City township, was born in 1815, in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. He is a son of James and Elizabeth (Thatcher) Skean, the former a native of Pennsylvania, and the latter of New York. James Skean first came to this state in the fall of 1854, and remained one winter at Pekin. The following spring he settled in Prairie City township, where he now resides. He owns a farm of 80 acres, in good cultivation. He was married in September, 1849, to Eliza Lichtenthaler, a native of Indiana. They have four children—James, living in Prairie City; Mary E., wife of Walter P. Smith, of Quincy, Illinois; Wilbert, living in Prairie City, and Elmer E., in Albia, Iowa. Mr. Skean is a member of the Disciples' church, and his wife of the Presbyterian church. He is, politically, a supporter of the republican party, and a worthy and respected citizen.

Robert M. Cox, teacher of vocal and instrumental music, at Prairie City, is a son of William and Mary (Carver) Cox, and was born in Harrison county, Ohio, in 1845. He lived in his native state till 1856, then moved with his parents to Lee township, Fulton county, Illinois. Two years later they removed to Knox county, and located near St. Augustine. In 1861, Robert M. Cox enlisted in company K, of the 55th Illinois infantry. He served as a private one year, then was promoted to the rank of corporal, in which capacity he served three years. He participated in 27 of the 32 battles, in which his regiment was engaged, and was in Sherman's campaign, including the grand review, at Washington. At the battle of Kenesaw mountain, in Georgia, he was wounded in the left arm, in consequence of which he was off duty 60 days. He was married December 13, 1865, to Sarah Bryte, daughter of Nathaniel Bryte, of Prairie City. Mr. and Mrs. Cox have had seven children born to them—Arminda, Eliza, Jessie, May, Eddie, Charles S., deceased, and Christena. Mr. Cox owns a residence in Prairie City, and is here engaged in teaching music, for which profession he is highly qualified, both by nature and education. He is the present commander of the post of the G. A. R., at Prairie City. His father, William Cox, died in Knox county, in the spring of 1861.

Daniel C. Ackerman came to McDonough county, from New Jersey, in 1866. He had been engaged in New York city. as a commission merchant for six years. He was born May 16, 1822, in Bergen county, New Jersey, and is a son of Cornelius and Elizabeth (Yeoman) Ackerman. Mr. Ackerman, on coming to this county, purchased a farm of 160 acres in Prairie City township, on which he lived seven years, then removed to the village of Prairie City, his present residence. He still owns and carries on his farm. He was married in 1855, to Anna Terhune, of Passaic county, New Jersey. They have four children—Lizzie, wife of Charles Hamilton, of Prairie City, now living in Iowa; Mary, wife of Walter Tobie, of Prairie City, now living in Illinois; Helen and Walter, living with their parents. Mrs. Ackerman is a member of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Ackerman's parents were natives of New Jersey, and they came out here in 1855, but both died in Fulton county, Illinois, his father in 1881, and his mother, in 1872. Mr. Ackerman is a democrat, politically, and a good citizen.

Charles S. Harris is a son of Dr. Ralph and Mary P. (Wilson) Harris, and was born March 24, 1852, in Macomb, McDonough county, Illinois. In 1863, he removed with his parents to Warsaw, Illinois, and remained four years, returning then to Macomb, where he resided until 1872. In that year he went to Mount Sterling, Brown county, Illinois, and engaged as clerk in a store, remaining there four years. In 1876 he was married to Addie B. Anderson, a daughter of John S. Anderson, of Mount Sterling. Soon after marriage he removed to Du Quoin, Perry county, Illinois, where he lived two and a half years engaged in commission business, then returned to this county and followed school teaching, two years in the country and one and a half years in Blandinsville. He then followed the same occupation at Good Hope one year, after which he came to Prairie City, where he now resides. Since coming here he has, for two years, held the position of principal of the public schools. In August, 1884, he was awarded a teacher's state certificate, having passed the requisite examination before the state board of education. Mr. Harris is a lawyer as well as a professional teacher, having been admitted to the bar by the supreme court of the state, at Ottawa, Illinois, in March 1885. He has fitted himself for the latter profession by studying in a law office during his vacation for the past four years, and will undoubtedly be eminently successful, possessing as he does, great energy and perseverance, in addition to his natural ability. Mr. and Mrs. Harris have two children—Nina and Lillian C. Mr. Harris is a member of the I. O. O. F., and politically, a republican.

Hugh S. Steach, son of Adam and Julia A. (Shaw) Steach, was born in Pennsylvania, in 1833. He came to Illinois in 1856, and in the year 1869, settled in Prairie City, where he now resides. He is the owner of real estate in this city, a residence and four lots, also a blacksmith shop. He carries on business in the latter, being a blacksmith by trade. He was married in March, 1862, to Celia Vandyke of Greene county, and by this union, has three children—Ida N., wife of W. E. Lewis, of this city; Charles L. and Maud, living with their parents. Mr. Steach resigned the office of city marshal, after holding the same three years. He has been commissioner of roads also, three years. He is a member of the Golden Rule, and politically, a democrat.

The following sketch should have appeared in the medical chapter:

Dr. D. L. Russell, practicing physician of Prairie City, is a native of Highland county, Ohio, born December 4, 1834, and a son of James R. and Sarah (Lincoln) Russell. In the fall of 1843, his parents moved to Brown county, Illinois, where he was reared. He began fitting himself for his profession in 1854, with Dr. Vandeventer, with whom he continued two years, then entered the office of Dr. Bond, with whom he studied two years, after which he practiced in partnership with Dr. Bond until the breaking out of the war. He entered the army as an assistant surgeon, in the department of General Sherman. The medical department of this state had an army board in Chicago, of which Dr. Brainard was chief. By this board, Dr. Russell was examined and on receiving his certificate, went into the field and made an engagement with the medical staff, by which he was engaged as surgeon until the close of the war, thus having a splendid opportunity for familiarizing himself with actual practice of medicine and surgery, and which he abundantly improved. At the close of the war he returned to Brown county, and practiced his profession at Ripley, where he had an extensive practice, until the fall of 1880, when he moved to McDonough county, and located first at Bushnell, where he remained till 1883, then came to Prairie City. Deciding to make this his permanent home, he removed his family and opened an office. He has an extensive and ever increasing practice in Prairie City and vicinity. He was married in Brown county, October 5, 1875, to Ruth E. Glenn, daughter of William and Polly Glenn, of that county. They have an adopted daughter named—Bertha Frances. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity.

William C. Rush of Prairie City, is a native of Mercer county, Illinois, born February 1, 1843. His parents were Robert Guy and Mary (Castlebury) Rush. The former died in Mercer county, in June, 1883; the latter is still living. William C., was reared in his native county and there enlisted September 21, 1861, in company A, of the 3Oth Illinois infantry. The regiment rendezvoused at Cairo and were assigned to the 16th army corps, under Gen. John A. McClernand. He was with General Grant in the battle of Belmont, November 7, 1861. From there they went down the river, and the next engagement in which they participated, was at Fort Henry, next at Fort Donelson, where Buckner surrendered unconditionally. At Fort Donelson Mr. Rush received a wound in the right hand, in consequence of which he was discharged at Jackson, Tennessee. He afterwards received an appointment as clerk, in the 11th Illinois cavalry. He continued with that regiment till the close of the war. He was mustered out at Springfield in the winter of 1865. He returned from the army to Mercer county, and the following spring, came to McDonough county, where he has since resided. On coming here he engaged for a short time, in farming, then began the practice of medicine, for which profession he had prepared himself previous to the war, spending two years in studying in the office of Dr. Clendennon, of Mercer county. He continued his medical practice until about 1877, then engaged in dealing in stock. He now does a general collection business at Prairie City.

Joel C. Barnes, a prominent citizen of Prairie City, was born in Hancock county, Illinois, December 27, 1857. The same year his parents, Joel S. and Ambrosia (Cutler) Barnes, moved to Fulton county and settled at Canton, where the subject of this sketch remained until he came to Prairie City, in 1864. His father was here engaged in the mercantile business for 15 years but in May, 1882, removed to Englewood, Illinois, where he now resides. Joel C. has a farm of 60 acres, situated within the corporate limits of Prairie City, where he carries on farming. In March, 1885, he was elected city marshal to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Hugh Steach. He was married in August, 1877, to Kate Sanford, who died December 14, 1878. He was married again December 23, 1879, to Martha Morrow, daughter of Thomas B. Morrow, of Prairie City. They are the parents of two children—Vera and Edith May. Mr. Barnes is a member of the I. O. O. F. lodge of Prairie City, and has been through the chair both in the encampment and the subordinate lodge. He was sent as representative to the Grand Lodge session at Springfield, in September, 1883, and to Galesburg in September, 1880. He is a member of the Anti-Horse-Thief society of Prairie City.

Dr. C. H. Pearson, a leading citizen of Prairie City, is a native of New England, born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, June 26, 1832. His parents were John and Harriet (Carleton) Pearson, of English descent, the latter, a sister of Guy Carleton, and a near relative of Sir Guy Carleton, governor general of Canada. Mrs. Pearson died when the subject of this sketch was six years old. When he was 11 years of age, he went with his father to Portland, Maine, where they lived several years, then removed to Newburyport, Massachusetts, Dr. Pearson received an academic and theological education at New Hampton, New Hampshire. On finishing his theological studies he was ordained and served as pastor a number of years, but inheriting from his mother a tendency to pulmonary consumption, failing health compelled him to leave the pastorate. His case baffled the skill of the doctors, till against his medical prepossessions, as a dernier resort he consulted Dr. S. M. Gale, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, a graduate of Harvard University, and a learned physician, but who had become a homoeopathist. Restored to health in a singularly short time under the new system, a slumbering penchant for the profession of medicine was revived, and he began its study under the supervision of Dr. Gale, continuing his studies two years more, in the office of Dr. Wm. H. Lougee, of Lawrence, Massachusetts, a graduate of Jefferson medical college, Philadelphia, but then, also a homoeopathist of repute. Early impressed with the conviction that the compounding of medicines was called to excess, and tended to scientific uncertainty in administering drugs, he soon began a course of independent research into the properties, powers and affinities of drugs singly administered in varying doses, giving much attention to neglected medicinal plants, in which experiments he received invaluable suggestions from Dr. S. M. Allen, a practitioner of the regular school and a medical botanist, whose observations had been turned in the same direction. In this way many beneficent and curative agents were discovered, which years after were introduced into the materia medica as “new remedies.” He then took a course of medical lectures at the Philadelphia university, where he graduated, then took another course at Hahneman medical college, that city, and clinics at Pennsylvania hospital, Blockley hospital and Hahneman hospital. Besides attending the regular, and a spring course at Hahneman medical college, he received a diploma for a special course, each in practical obstetrics and practical and surgical anatomy. He began the practice of his profession in Philadelphia where he remained for a time. His last practice was at Southington, Connecticut, where he resided until he came to Prairie City in May, 1882. He has spent a considerable portion of his life in literary works. He edited the Home Monthly of Boston, besides contributing editorials, sketches, etc., to various papers and periodicals there. He is the author of a number of works published by Lee & Sheppard. The Congregational publishing house also published one of his works. When Dr. Pearson left Southington, Connecticut, he was presented with a written testimonial from 126 of the leading society people of the city, besides testimonials from the physicians, and also from the capitalists, showing the high esteem in which he was held in his New England home, "as a physician, a christian, and a gentleman." He was married in Southington, May 6, 1880, to Julia Hills. Since coming to Prairie City he has devoted the greater portion of his time to literary work. The following article speaking of his venerable father, is from the pen of the son of Rev. Dr. Withington, of the Newburyport (Mass.) Herald. "Deacon John Pearson, now at the age of 90 years, is very low in health from structural disease of the heart. The old gentleman retains his faculties of mind to a very remarkable degree. He is of the best New England stock, and he, and his numerous descendents, of the most substantial character, and an honor to any community."

George W. Bird, is a son of James H. and Amanda C. (Tribby) Bird, and was born in Clinton county, Ohio, April 2, 1857. When he was l4 years of age, his parents removed to Abingdon, Knox county, Illinois, where he completed his education at Hedding college. In 1875 he entered the railroad office of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy company, for the purpose of learning telegraphy, and in the fall of 1876, was appointed night operator. After serving in that capacity some months, he was placed on extra work at a number of different places on the main line and branches, then returned to Abingdon, and again served as night operator, for six months, at the end of that time, July, 1880, he was transferred to Prairie City where he has since had charge of the station as agent and operator, He was married October 20, 1881, to Allie M. Westfall, daughter of Amos P. Westfall. Mr. Bird has, by his genial and accommodating manners, and strict attention to business, won many friends. His father died October 17, 1883. His mother is living at Abingdon.

James A, Rose, police magistrate, has his court room up stairs, three doors west of the railroad, on the south side of Main street. He was elected in April, 1881, for the term of four years. He attends also to collections. In the same building, down stairs, he makes boots and shoes to order, and does repairing,


The population of Prairie City in 1860 was nearly 1,500. This included, however, nearly 100 students of the academy that was then there. In 1875, the population without the academy, was 800. For some time the town was at a standstill, but it is now progressing again, and gaining in population, while the entire aspect of the place is being changed by the erection of new and handsome brick business structures. The building of these new business houses was encouraged by the liberality of the town authorities, who, a few years after the fire, purchased the burnt district and offered 140 feet in depth, with all the frontage desired, to any one erecting a two-story brick building. The first one to take advantage of that offer, was George V. Everly, who erected a handsome structure 22x80 feet in dimensions, with plate-glass front, and of the requisite two stories in height.


McDonough lodge, No. 205, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized October 17, 1856. The charter members were: Samuel L. Stewart, Alonzo Barnes, Solomon L. Babcock, C. H. Wycoff, Abner E. Barnes, Wm. A. Martin, and Andrew T. Irwin. The first officers were: A. E. Barnes, N. G.; Samuel Stewart, V. G.

The lodge was allowed to die out in 1862, caused by the departure of its active members to the war. It was, however, reinstated, August 5, 1875, by Deputy Grand Master Kaiser, of Bushnell, lodge, No. 322, on petition of J. A. Hamilton, Joseph Humphrey, and A. T. Irwin, former members of the lodge; S. T. Young and G. J. Gosselin, of No. 322, and W. T. Magee, of No. 44. Officers were then elected as follows J. A. Hamilton, N. G.; S. T. Young, V. G.; A. T. Irwin, secretary; W. T. Magee, treasurer. The present officers are: W. R. Emery, N. G.; C. S. Harris, V. G.; M. R. Turpin, secretary; Hugh Robertson, treasurer. The membership of the lodge is 45, and the condition is highly prosperous, as a great interest in the welfare of the lodge is shown by nearly all the members. Their hall is 23x70 feet, and is well furnished. Prairie City encampment, of this lodge, was instituted October 10, 1876, with the following charter members: J. Alex. Hamilton, I. F. Weaver, A. M. Stearns, A. N. Davis, J. A. Hamilton, G. W. Smith, C. A. Helm, W. T. Magee, C. W. Hamilton, J. M. Helm, L. Neff, Oliver Reeves, Joseph Humphrey, J. A. Funk, and A. J. De Haas. The first officers were: J. A. Hamilton, C. P.; J. A. Hamilton, H. P.; C. W. Hamilton, S. W.; I. F. Weaver, scribe; G. W. Smith, treasurer; J. A. Funk, J. W. The present officers are; J. B. Kuhn, C. P.; J. B. Grey, S. W.; Edward Singleton, J. W.; Geo. Myers, H. P.; M. R. Turpin, scribe; J. A. Hamilton, treasurer.

Golden Gate lodge, No. 248, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, was organized June 2, 1857. The charter bears date, October 1, 1857, and contains the following names: J. B. Robinson, R. H. McFarland, C. H. Hemenover, J. C. Hamilton, J. C. Brinkerhoff, H. Phillips, S. Lancaster, and C. H. Payne. The first officers were: J. B. Robinson, W. M.; R. H. McFarland; S. W.; C. H. Hemenover, J. W.; J. C. Hamilton, treasurer; J. C. Brinkerhoff, secretary. The officers for 1885 are: G. W. Hamilton, W. M.; W. W. Shoop, S. W.; J. E. Pearsall, J. W.; B. F. Bradbury, treasurer; A. A. Wheeler, secretary; J. T. McGrew, S. D.; E. White, J. D.; A. N. Davis, tyler. The lodge erected a handsome brick block, 24x70 feet in size, and two stories in height, in 1884. They let out the lower floor, and have fitted up the second story in handsome style for a lodge room. The cost of the building proper was $4,000. The furniture cost $300. The hall was dedicated on the 30th of December, 1884, by General J. C. Smith, deputy grand master of the state.

Royal Douglas post, No. 179, Grand Army of the Republic, is the latest society organized in Prairie City. The charter bears the date of January 17, 1883. The first meeting was held on the 24th of January, in Kreider's Hall, and the post was fully organized, with the following charter members: Danford Taylor, G. C. Steach, W. T. McGee, George Wiley Martin, Enos A. Boynton, O. M. Hoagland, J. D. Hughson, Thomas Carroll, C. D. Hendryx, Heslip Phillips, S. W. Dallam, Robert M. Cox, A. H. Wagoner, T. E. Bivens, and W. C. Rush. The first officers were: Danford Taylor, commander; G. C. Steach, S. V. C.; W. T. Magee, J. V. C.; W. C. Rush, surgeon; C. D. Hendryx, O. D.; Heslip Phillips, adjutant; Enos A. Boynton, Q. M.; R. M. Cox, O. G.; Thomas Carroll, chaplain. Danford Taylor resigned at the expiration of three months, and was succeeded by G. C. Steach, who served the remainder of the term. The officers for 1884 were; J. A. Jones, commander; Joseph N. Perry, S. V. C.; Adam Burnell, J. V. C.; A. H. Wagoner, surgeon; William Clovis, O. D.; W. C. Rush, adjutant; Harvey Oatman, Q. M., Thomas B. Moulton, O. G.; R. M. Cox, chaplain. For 1885, the following offices were chosen: Robert M. Cox, commander; J. N. Perry, S. V. C.; G. C. Steach, J. V. C.; Thos. A. Bivens, surgeon; J. A. Jones, chaplain; Enoch Raywalt, Q. M.; Jacob Sanford, O. D.; Stephen Brink, O. G.; W. C. Rush, adjutant. The post was mustered in by William Venable; of Macomb, appointed for the purpose by department commander, Thomas G. Lawler. The membership has increased until it now numbers 28, and a greater degree of interest is beginning to be manifested by the members. Meetings are held in the G. A. R. hall, over White & Foster's store, which is leased by the post. There have been no deaths of members since the organization, nor has there been any demand on the beneficiary fund. The post received its name in honor of Royal Douglas, who enlisted from here, and was the first soldier buried in the cemetery at Prairie City.


This institution was started in 1857, under the auspices of the Free Will Baptist church. The building was erected in that year, and on the 14th day of May, 1858, it was blown down. It was rebuilt in the fall of that year, at a cost of $3,050, the contractor being L. H. Bradbury. The school was opened on the 3d of December, 1859. Daniel Branch and wife were the first teachers. For several years the institution met with good success, students being attracted there from many of the adjoining counties, and a bright future seemed before it, but, for some cause, dissatisfaction arose as to its management, and the town, which had a half interest in it, withdrew its influence and support, and the church not being able to support it alone, it was compelled to suspend. The property was sold, the town becoming the purchaser, and it is now used for the purpose of a public school.


The class of the Methodist Episcopal church, of Prairie City, was organized in 1856.

The Free Will Baptist church, of Prairie City, was organized in September, 1857, by elder John B. Fast, and others.

In 1841, a Presbyterian congregation was organized at the residence of George Kreider, in Fulton county, and from this organization sprang the Presbyterian church of Prairie City.


The following item is taken from a diary kept by Dr. Kreider at an early day. “The first surprise party in Prairie City took place at my house January 26, 1858. This was given by the young people. I received nothing except a large number of sweet kisses from the young ladies, in way of redeeming pawns during the exercises.”

Addie Hamilton, daughter of J. M. Hamilton, and the first child born in Prairie City, was born September 6, 1855.

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 764-790. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen

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