Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

up the frame and Mr. Smith inclosed it, after which, Mr. Gibbs and his son put in the seats.

No one seems to be found to father the architecture of this old church, which, from all accounts, was one of the oddities of the age. It was forty feet square, and the entrance was at the side, under the eaves, back in the alley. The windows had about fifty lights of glass each, which were square. The pulpit way up to the ceiling. Rev. A. J. Thomas, who ior a long time was supply, and afterward Pastor, first came here in 1851, and while living at Atlanta, came here frequently to preach. In 1857, he moved here on account of the advantages of the seminary which was constructed here under the auspices of the Cumberland Church. Mr. Thomas had been educated in Indiana. He served the Church as stated supply until 1858. For a year, R. D. Taylor and William M. Taylor, now of Macon County, preached, and Mr. Thomas was installed Pastor, which relation he maintained for twelve years. During his pastorate, the present neatbrick church was built, in 1863. It is 36x50, with spire 72 feet high. Downey & Hardy were architects and builders. It cost $3,600, and is free from debt. Mr. Thomas still lives here, and is now in the employ of the Bloomington Chair Company as purchasing agent. He was a preacher of more than ordinary force, and under his pastoral labor, the Church increased in numbers to 230 members, built their fine church, maintained a good Sabbath school, and grew in strength and efficiency.

Since the close of Mr. Thomas' labors, Rev. R. T. Marlon, Rev. J. D. Best and Rev. M. H. Kimberlin have preached, each for a year or two. Rev. J. R. Laurence, of Lincoln, supplies the pulpit half of the time.

Connected with the Church, as really a part of its work, was the Le Roy Seminary, an institution for higher education than the common schools of that day furnished: Rev. Robert Patten, from Tennessee, had charge of it from 1854 to 1859, and had sereral assistants. Miss Maltby, Mr. Roach and Miss Conkling were engaged in teaching. The Seminary was a success until the building-up of the graded common school, when it was abandoned. The building stood in the north part of town, and was used by the graded school until the new brick edifice was completed, and then moved to and became a part of the hotel.

The Le Roy graded school, which is the successor of the Seminary, occupied that building for a few years, when the citizens decided to have something better.

In 1864, E. E. Greenman, Dr. Cheney and B. F. Park were Directors, and they purchased Block 112 of Conkling's Addition, paying $150, and built the two-story brick schoolhouse, 34x18, at a cost of $1,200.

W.A. Munroe was first Principal, then J.W. Barley, J. X. Wilson, C. A. Barley and M. Jess. The school officers have been fortunate, perhaps attentive to their trust is a better term, in the selection of principals for this school. Mr. C. A. Barley, who taught the school for five years previous to the five-years term of the present Principal, was a thorough teacher, with peculiar fitness for management, and excellent judgment in all that appertains to efficiency and welfare of the school. When Mr. Jess, the present Principal, took the school, he found it in first-rate condition. He pays a high tribute, evidently a just one, to Mr. Barley's administration of the schools. Since he left the school, Mr. Barley has been in business in Le Roy, as insurance and real estate agent, and, with the useful disposition which possesses him, is often called into serving the public in ways almost innumerable. No one in Le Roy ever thinks of starting a society, company or any

public undertaking, without Charley Barley's assistance. Really a useful man in the community and one who is willing to be so. In clerical work he has few superiors.

Mr. M. Jess, who has, since Mr. Barley's close five years ago, had charge of the schools, was educated in New York, has taught ten years in Champaign County and at Farmer City, giving everywhere good satisfaction. He grades the school in eleven sections from the primer through to the graduation from the high school, without reference to the time employed. When the pupil has performed the work in one section, he is promoted to another, making the teacher responsible for the proper conduct and instruction of the pupil.

The course embraces languages, higher mathematics, civil government, the sciences and history. Each pupil who passes a satisfactory examination is given a diploma, certifying his or her completion of the prescribed course. The graduating classes average about nine; and most of the graduates have made successful teachers.

Mr. Jess is an accomplished educator, seeming to control without an effort, with a wealth of resource without limit for interesting and leading his pupils up the hill of knowledge. From the estimation in which he is beld, it seems as though his tenure is certain,

The average attendance for the winter term was 275. The teachers are, First Assistant, Miss Anna Sutherland ; intermediate, Miss Susan E. Irwin ; second primary, Miss Alice King; first primary, Miss Nora Kline.

Le Roy Lodge, No. 221, F. & A. M., was instituted by dispensation granted January 28, 1856. Charter dated October, 1856. The charter members were: D. Cheney, W. M.; Hiram Buck, S. W.; S. D. Baker, J. W.; J. M. Downey, E. E. Greenman, S. W. Noble, J. W. Hagel. Three of them are still members. The Lodge numbers now about sixty. Dr. Cheney has held Master's chair for a long time. The present officers are : C. M. Davis, W. M.; A. Sigler, S. W.; A. D. Davis, J. W.; R. S. Howard, Treasurer; T. F. Hamand, Secretary; Dr. J. F. McKensie, Senior Deacon; T. J. Baddeley, Junior Deacon; J. W. Humphrey, H. I. Barnum, Stewards.

The Lodge can hardly be called a dark-lantern affair, for its night for meeting is the Tuesday before the full moon. Thus, if almanacs can be relied on, having moonlight for their meetings.

Lodge No. 149, 1. 0. 0. F., was organized in 1854, with sixteen members. Of the original members, B. F. Parks is the only one left in the Lodge now.

Present membership, fifty-three. More than two hundred and fifteen have belonged at different times. The Lodge has been very successful. It owns the lodge-room, and has funds besides. James Wright is N. G.; W. C. Cochran, V. G.; Z. Chick, Secretary and Lodge Deputy. Meets each Thursday evening whether there is a moon visible or not.

Le Roy Encampment No. 32 numbers twenty-three members. Alexander McIlfresh, C. P.; James Wright, H. P.; W. C. Cochran, S. W.; J. H. Cochran, Scribe; G. S. Crumbaugh, Treasurer. Meets second and fourth Fridays of each month. The Encampment is joint-owner of the hall with the Lodge.

The Empire Building and Loan Association was organized under authority of an act of the Legislature “to enable associations of persons to become a body corporate to loan money to their own members,” June 3, 1874. C. A. Barley, B. Brinley, J. M. Stearns, S. F. Barnum, A. R. Arbuckle, are the corporators. S. F. Barnum, President; C. A. Barley, Secretary; J. Keenan, Treasurer. The capital stock is 1,000 shares of $100 each. There are now 100 members, and about $55,000 in the fund. Interest is

holders pay,

payable monthly at six per centum. In its workings it has proved a complete success. The object is to enable laboring men to own their own homes for just about what they would otherwise pay for rent. So far, about forty have been assisted to get homes. The charter is limited to eight years.

The Le Roy Library and Reading Association was organized in May, 1875, by Dr. T. D. Fisher, C. A. Barley and .C. M. Davis. The capital stock is $3 a share. There were eight to commence with. Subscriptions to the capital stock could be paid in books. Mrs. N. T. Humphrey, President; Dr. Fisher, Vice President; G. L. Sheldon, Secretary; Mrs. T. A. Taylor, Librarian. There are 700 volumes. Loan tickets are $2 per year, or 75 cents per quarter. Stock$100 per year.

The affairs of the Association are under the management of an Executive Committee. Mrs. Taylor has been Librarian from the beginning. From her last report it appears 1,500 books had been taken out during the year. While

yet in its infancy, no one can estimate the influence of this in the present, or on the future. There are already many valuable books upon its shelves. We notice sets of“ Chambers' Miscellany,” Rollins' and Macauley's histories, Wilson's "Rise and Fall of the Slave Power,” “Plutarch's Lives,” and many of the standard works of travel, history, fiction and poetry. The citizens can well afford to give it a wider influence, The Havana, Rantoul & Eastern Railroad is, or at least the recently built section from Fisher to Le Roy is, a Le Roy enterprise, and its history belongs here.

March 24, 1876, the company was organized here to build a narrow-gauge road from Fisher to Le Roy, an extension of the road already built from Rantoul to Fisher. James Bishop was elected President, C. A. Barley, Secretary, and J. Keenan, Treas

This action was taken because the people of Empire Township, which had donated $75,000 to the I., B. & W.R. R., felt that they had been discriminated against in the matter of freights, and they had assurances that if this road was built, their grain could be shipped off at less freight than they were paying.

Fifteen thousand dollars was subscribed to the stock, when the death of Mr. Bishop put a stop to the matter for awhile. In the spring of 1868, B. J. Gifford, of Rantoul, was elected President, the capital stock was increased to $30,000, the right of way was mostly donated, and in ten months from his election, the road was built and in running order. Two-thirds of this stuck was subscribed in Empire Township, creating no debt. The road thus built is twenty-three miles long, and has eight stations on it. It has already met all expectations, freights are lower than ever before, and the road is doing a good business. It has good Eastern connections, and will, probably, in time, he continued west to Havana.

The successive Postmasters of Le Roy have been Hiram Buck, Dr. S. J. Weldon, S. D. Baker, James Kimler, S. A. Moore, G. D. Crumbaugh and J. W. Brown.

urer.

CITY ORGANIZATION.

The town of Le Roy was incorporated in 1853, and remained under town organization until the spring of 1874, when the fire which burned out the corner opposite the Le Roy House, burned up the town records. In this fire, two stores, Sill's drug store, a hotel, ten-pin alley, Dr. Fisher's office and two other wooden buildings were destroyed. A petition was presented to the Board to permit a city organization. A census was taken, which showed a population of 1,018.

men.

men.

On the 16th of July, an election was held to vote for or against city organization. B. F. Brinley, L. H. Parks and H. M. Phillips were Judges of Election. The vote was 99 for to 11 against city organization, and 91 for to 14 against " minority representation.” On the 10th of August, an election was held for a Mayor, Clerk, Attorney and six Aldermen, at which electiou A. J. Thomas, M. S. Stout and C. Howard acted as Judges ; 179 votes were cast, and the following officers were elected : M. S. Stout, Mayor; J. W. Brown, Clerk; A. R. Arbuckle, Attorney; James Wright, A. B. Johnson, J. M. Stearns, William Buckworth, John Kline and A. T. Bishop, Alder

For license, 97 ; against license, 81. August 14, the new officers assumed the duties of their offices, and J. Keenan was appointed Treasurer ; J. F. McIlfresh, Marshal and Street Commissioner.

At the election in 1875, J. W. Wright was elected Mayor; C. A. Barley, Clerk; G. D. Crumbaugh, Police Magistrate; John Kline, Z. Chick, J. W. Brown, I. N. Kaughman, H. Murray and C. Wamsley, Aldermen. In 1876, C. A. Barley, Clerk; S. A. Moore, Attorney ; T. L. Buck, B. F. Brinley, A. B. Johnson and J. B. Patterson, Aldermen. J. Keenan was appointed Treasurer. The Council this year

established the fire limits, including within such limits Blocks 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, original town, and 136 in Conkling's Addition. T. J. Barnett was elected Alderman to fill a vacancy.

In 1877, J. M. Suggett was elected Mayor; Barley, Clerk; Keenan, Treasurer; Moore, Attorney, and J. B. Patterson, R. C. Hallowell and I. N. Kaughman, Alder

Rev. R. D. Taylor was appointed Marshal and Street Commissioner. In 1878, A. B. Johnson was elected Mayor, to fill a vacancy; T. L. Buck, J. F. McKinzie and E. M. King, Aldermen.

The city is provided with a Champion fire extinguisher, in charge of a regularlyorganized fire department, of which George Phillips is Foreman.

Directory.—The following are the men and firms now engaged in business : Dry goods and clothing, Joseph Keenan, L. H. Parks, W. W. Reynolds & Son; groceries, Brinley & Stout, I. N. Humphrey & Son, Murray & King; hardware and implements, Beeney & Galusha, G. W. Potts; clothing, boots, etc., D. Young, J. W. Humphrey; drugs, etc., William Buckworth, A. C. Fisk ; boots and shoes, J. Stearns ; books, etc., Maxwell & Co., J. W. Brown; haruess, W. Braselton, J. C. Corcoran & Bro.; bank, J. Keenan; butchers, Clark & Longbeck, George Yost; millinery, etc., Mrs. M. C. Hampton, Mrs. T. A. Taylor; physicians, T. D. Fisher, J. F. McKenzie, G. W. Keys, George Espey; lawyer, J. M. Stillwill; insurance, C. A. Barley; wagonmakers, Z. Chick, N. L. Robinson ; grain and lumber, Barnum & Keenan, J. O. Peckham & Co.; milling, Barnum & Keenan ; newspaper, C. M. Davis ; blacksmiths, James Wright, L. Wilcox, B. F. Ayton, William Jones, Henry Alters, John Moss, L. Kazar; hotels, Le Roy House, Sam Bevens; Cottage House, Mrs. A. R. Arnold; jewelry, C. C. Mayer, J. W. Veatch ; restaurant, Albert Miller; livery, A. Murray; furniture, etc., Howard & Hallowell; dentists, T. G. Erskine; photographer, J. Hammond; tilemaker, Kelley; nursery, L. A. Pike; saw-mill, J. S. Young; live-stock dealer, J. V. Smith; carpenters and builders, A. B. Johnson, George Simpson, Charles Wamsley, I. N. Kaufman, J. Patterson.

Empire Station, on the line of this road, four miles southeast of Le Roy, is a hamlet of a few houses and a fair, small business.

CHENEY'S GROVE TOWNSHIP.

The wealth and magnificence of McLean County grew from its beautiful groves as much as from any other one thing. These goodly forests in their primeval beauty drew the pioneer as surely as the magnet does the needle. No other considerations overbore the generous shelter which these islands of shade and their accompanying cool streams gaveabout the only comforts which the early settlers found in their new homes. All other were surroundings of discomfort. The cramped cabins, the absence of schools and markets, sickness—always the attendant on new locations-severe storms, depredations of wild beasts, fires, snakes, poorly paid toil, and the uncertainties of the future, all gave way to the supporting shelter of a grove of timber.

When Jonathan Cheney first saw the grove, which took its name from him in 1825, it covered nearly all of Sections 19, 20, 28 and half of 27 and 21, something more than four square miles in all. The Sangamon River, here large enough to be of good value for watering stock the year around, ran directly through it, and the timber was of good strong growth for lumber. Cheney gave his name to this grove, and in turn the grove gave the name to the voting precinct, where, until 1858, the people assembled to perform the glad, glorious duties of Americans—to vote without the modern inventions of “bulldozing" or bribery. This in turn gave the name to the township when it was organized; but a little incident will show how near this last scheme came to failing. When the name Cheney's Grove had been decided on and sent to the Auditor's office at Springfield, the chirography as may well be supposed, was not perfect, and the official mistook the name for Cherry Grove, which name had already been pre-empted by a township in Knox County, and he informed the Board of Supervisors that another name must be selected; but the error was discovered in time to save the name.

Cheney's Grove is in the eastern second tier from the southern line of the county, and has Anchor on its north, Belleflower on its south, Arrowsmith on its west, and Ford County on its eastern boundary. It is a full Congressional Township, and is described as Town 23, Range 6 east of the Third Principal Meridian. The Sangamon River touches it at the center of its western boundary, and passes through in an east-southeasterly course, passing out at the extreme southeast corner, the grove lying along both sides of this, with Saybrook nearly in the center of it. The high rolling prairie which marks the northern boundary of the Sangamon Valley, all through eastern MeLean extends through the northern portion of the township, and out into Ford County, toward Gibson City, forming the delightful variety frequently alluded to in this work. The land in the Grove and most of that south of it is also sufficiently rolling for good drainage and the highest cultivation.

The La Fayette, Bloomington & Muncie Railroad runs through the township from east to west, having on it the only village or post office in the town—Saybrook. Jonathan Cheney with his wife and eight children, Mary, Thomas, Owen, Keturah, Emilia, George, William Haines and Catharine, came here in 1825. Two little twin girls and one other whose stay was not long, were left buried at their old home in Ohio, and two children, Return Jonathan and Rebecca, were born here. Of these thirteen, all but the three above mentioned lived to grow up, and all but one of them married. The grandchildren

« AnteriorContinuar »