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hour that he spent trying to cut wood without freezing to death will never be forgotten. He remembers as but yesterday seeing the mail-carrier going by on his way to the next post office east, which was more than five miles away. He felt sure the man could not stand the trip, but believes he did, for he never heard of his death. When he arrived at age, he entered eighty acres of land where he now lives, in Sections 34 and 35. He owns 147 acres here and has seen eight of his eleven children grow up around him.
The year 1844, all the flat land of this country was afloat all summer ; not corn enough was raised to feed the teams on, and small grain was cradled in the standing water.
Mr. Owen says that the county road before spoken of was laid out on the halfsection line to accommodate those who were trying to build up Saybrook, which was also the fact in regard to the settlers at Indian Grove, directly north of Saybrook.
Ethan Newcomb came to Newcomb's Ford, a kind of a half-way place of entertainment down the river, twenty miles from Cheney's Grove, in 1828. In 1835, he removed with his family to Section 17, Cheney's Grove, where he made the first frame house that was built here. The lumber was sawed with a whip-saw as there was no mill then running here. He bought the claim of Henry Pitts; the same on which John Newcomb lives. One of his daughters married 0. H. P. Vanscoyoc; one, Jacob Smith, of Arrowsmith, and one, William Arbogast, of the same township. His son John lives there yet on Section 17. His son Joseph split rails and made a farm on Sections 18 and 19, where he still resides. Nine of his eleven children live, most of them near him.
James Vanscoyoc came from Ohio to Old Town Timber in Padua in 1829. After living there some years, he came to Cheney's Grove and settled on the Means place. Five of his seven children are living either in this or the adjoining townships. One son, Walter, was for some years in business in Arrowsmith, and did much to build up that village and often occupied positions of trust in the official matters of the town. The family is recognized as one of the most enterprising and successful in this part of the county--not in the sense of acquiring large property, for none of them have become wealthy, but as strong, good citizens and valuable accessions to any new neighborhood.
John Prothero came from Canada to Cheney's Grove in 1840. He located on what is part of the Haines Cheney farm, and entered the land in 1842. In 1857, he went to Bloomington and returned here in 1873. He owns a good farm north of Saybrook, but lives in the village now. He was elected Justice of the Peace in 1875, and is giving his best endeavors to keeping up the reputation which Saybrook has always had for peace and quiet.
Benjamin Prothero followed him in 1848. He lived with his brother awhile, and then took up land south of the Grove and east of Cheney's land. He has about five bundred acres of as fine land as there is in the town, and is a prosperous farmer and a careful manager.
Both these men married daughters of Jonathan Cheney.
Elijah Ellsworth came from Ohio in 1856, and settled out on the prairie, on the northeast quarter of Section 24. He has upon his place the identical log house which Return J. Cheney was born in after his father returned from Ohio.
J. W. Bowie has a fine farm on the same section, and Jack Cunningham has a farm on Sections 24 and 25, which he improved in 1859. James Vanscoyoc improved
farm in that part of the township in 1860. About this latter date, the township filled up, and its history has since been one of continued prosperity. Their crops, their fruits and their berds have been good—success has waited on the farmer's labors everywhere. A few of her best young men put out their young lives in their country's service. Many have gone West, and a good many yet live among us.
A number of nice farms and good farm buildings dot the township. The Haines Cheney farm, now occupied and owned by his widow, just south of Saybrook, is a beautiful one, with a nice two-story brick house, probably the finest country residence in the township
Mrs. George Cheney has 200 acres adjoining, with a large, sightly farmhouse, excellent barn and good outbuildings and appointments.
Hilleary Ball has a fine farm of 300 acres north of town. He is a neat farmer, has good buildings and extensive orchards. Mr. Ball has been engaged in cattle-raising largely.
G. W. Rigys, northwest of town, has a fine farm of 300 acres, well fixed with fine buildings, and every appointment as though he calculated to live there.
Ben Prothero is a good farmer. He has 450 southeast of town, with comfortable buildings, excellent stock and good crops.
Below will be found, in tabular form, the township officers elected since 1861, the records failing to show who were elected before that time :
1861 W. H. Cheney 1862 W. H. Cheney 1863 D. Harrison....... 1864 D. Harrison....... 186-5 D. Harrison....... 1866
C. W. Atkinson... 1867 H. Warford..... 1868 J. L. Ballard. 1869 174 W. H. Riggs.. 1870 259 F. Mechling.. 1871 250 F. Mechling.. 1872 285 F. Mechling 1873 189 F. Mechling..... 1874... 'J. B. Henderson... 1875 J. B. Henderson... 1876
J. R. Means.. 1877 J. R. Means. 1878 177 W, A. Stewart. 1879 ......... J. Thompson...
Thomas Newland..... T. Newland.. T. Newland.
R. Palmer.... C. W. Atkinson.
W. H. Ball.
W. K. Stansbery. ... James Thompson.
James Thompson. D. B. Hereford........ W. K. Stansbery...... E. Coile.
The following have been elected Justices of the Peace : M. C. Young, J. T. Voss, John Clark, George A. Black, Thomas Kendall, T. F. Rhea, J. B. Henderson, E. B. Dyer, J. Prothero. J. R. Means.
The following have been elected Commissioners of Highways: G. W. Riggs, George Cheney, Benjamin Prothero, J. S. Vanscoyoc, Otha Owen, J. J. Follick, W. H. Riggs, J. W. Pugsley, F. Mechling, H. Warford, C. Palmer, John Newcomb, James Rowland, R. J. Cheney, W. A. Stewart, O. Springstead, P. W. Zook.
SAYBROOK. For nearly twenty years, the settlements around had looked to other places for trade, and no attempt had been made to "start a town,” as the more modern parlance has it. In 1846, Eli Blakesley built a steam saw-mill a little east of where the present mill stands, and built two houses. Soon after this, a blacksmith-shop was built, and these convenient and useful things constituted the beginnings of Saybrook.
But it was not until 1854 that J. B. Beckwith commenced the first grocery store which was known here. He started with about $300 capital, but
$with abundance of push and energy He soon added dry goods to his stock in trade. About 1858, together with his brother, he put up a steam saw-mill at Lyons, Iowa; but, a year later, took it down and moved it to Saybrook and ran it several years. The lumber was mostly for buildings and fences, and the building of neighboring towns. For a while. a good deal of black walnut was sawed into silling and lumber for the finishing-off of houses ; but latterly, it was only made into merchant lumber. A large amount of blackwalnut logs have been shipped away to Indianapolis, to be sawed up there for Eastero market.
Mr. Beckwith was very successful in business, and is popularly supposed to have left here with a hundred-fold more than he brought, when he went to California in 1876.
William Beckwith and T. J. Warren formed a partnership for the mercantile business, which continued until 1865, but continued in trade until 1870.
Gallager & Harrison opened trade here in 1859, and continued till 1867, when Harrison bought out the interest of his partner and remained in trade here until 1877.
Burford Brothers commenced selling goods here in 1869, and, in 1874, went to Farmer City.
When the railroad was built, grain and lumber became, of course, the two important lines of trade. Rev. Mr. Baldwin began buying grain in 1871, before the road was built. Thomas Kendall entered into the grain trade here in 1872. J. P. Wheeler, of Boston, bad buyers out here. Rhea & Lowery bought for him; and James R. Means was in the market as a purchaser for some time. W. H. Beckwith and A. Vincel commenced soon, and still continue large buyers, the latter having recently made arrangements to buy and ship from Taylor's Station, a point half-way between Saybrook and Gibson City. Overhall & Co. also bought for awhile.
Dr. J. E. Davis, the present hotel-keeper at Gibson, was the first practicing physician here. He came here before Saybrook was booked, and lived at William Riggs'. He remained here eight or ten years, when he retired from practice and purchased a large farm at Drummer's Grove, and for several years was a successful and prosperous farmer. Dr. Crain was here a few years and then sold out his practice to Dr. Ballard.
For the two last years, Saybrook has exceeded any other station on the line of this road in the amount of grain shipped on this road. The average for these two years has been greater than any years before and has been about as follows: 300,000 busHels of corn, 100,000 bushels of oats, 60,000 bushels of rye and other grains.
The disposition of many of the wealthy farmers to feed less of their grain to cattle will account for part of this increase. From the peculiar nature of her position, the range of country tributary to Saybrook has not been tapped by any of the new railroad enterprises which have taken form during the past year or two. Formerly, the grain here went through to New England; now the buyers find themselves compelled to sell on track.
The post office was established in 1831, and was held some years by Jonathan Cheney. It was then called Cheney's Grove. It was served once a week by the route running through from Danville to Pekin. In 1843, Mr. McMackin was appointed
Postmaster; he lived farther west, but was on the same route. The mail used to come Saturday, and he would carry it over to church and lay it on the table. When the service was over the people would come around the table” and select their own without the newsboys cry of " 'ere's your Sunday Tribune !" "She-cago Times! All about the latest scandal.”
M. C. Young was appointed in 1845, and, about 1850, it was brought to Say brook. David Polk laid out the town in 1854, and W. H. Beckwith named it. Beckwith was appointed Postmaster in 1865, and got the name changed to correspond with that of the village.
W. K. Stansbery was appointed in 1870, at which time, mail was carried twice a week to and from Bloomington, and once a week east to Ludlow, until the railroad was built, and then daily each way.
The present record of the business of Saybrook is :
Dry goods, etc., T. S. Collins, D. B. Hereford & Co., Elliott & Bryant; groceries, S. H. Jennings, Means & Collins, W. H. Scott, E. A. Stansbery; hardware and implements, J. W. Pugsley; implements, J. F. Walker; drugs, E. H. Shores, C. McDaniel; bankers, W. H. Schureman & Co.; lumber and lime, David Hurley ; grain, A. Vincel, M. Lucas, W. H. Beckwith, L. Reddick, J. A. Myers ; miller, M. Lucas; physicians, J. L. Ballard, H. A. Winter, C. T. Orner, G. W. Barton; lawyers, William Van Voris, 0. C. Sabin, E. B. Dyer; publishers, T. J. Horsley ; dentists, J. M. Crigler, B. T. Harrison, William Galloway; millinery and dress, Mrs. 0. J. Simmons, Miss Hattie Stansbery, Mrs. Anderson, Miss Galloway ; tailor, J. W. Rodman; jeweler, G. W. Morris; hotels, J. W. Fendersmith, Thomas Halloway; livery, R. Palmer; photographer, C. 0. Smith ; blacksmiths, Sohn & Williams, J. W. Tear, William Cosgrove, Ben Sprague; wagon-makers, M. W. Blair, Heller & Nelson ; harness, boots and shoes, C. E. Moran, S. Carey; eating-house, W. E. Stansbery; butchers, Magee Brothers; barber, W. T. Mason ; gunsmith, Samuel Fendersmith; R. R. agent, M. M. Stewart ; express agent, W. L. Means; trackmaster, Patrick O'Grady; teachers in public schools, Prof. O. Springstead, Miss Alice Crisswell, Miss Sallie Hogan.
The Saybrook Lodge, No. 468, Free & Accepted Masons, was organized in 1863. The charter members were P. H. Hart, La. F. Grant, J. G. Davis, W. H. Guthrie, T. F. Rhea, H. Warford, G. W. Wheeler. The first officers were: P. H. Hart, W. M.; L. F. Grant, S. W.; T. F. Rhea, J. W.; H. Warford, Treasurer; W. H. Guthrie, Secretary. There are now sixty-five members. The Masonic Building Association is a trustee for the lodge for the purpose of building and holding its property. This association owns the upper story of the double brick three-story store in which the Masonic and Odd Fellows' Halls are. The present officers are: P. W. Hart, W. M.; T. S. Collins, S. W.; J. Moran, J. W.; 0. Springstead, Secretary; J. A. Myers, Treasurer ; T. J. Horsley, S. Deacon ; S. R. Wills, J. Deacon.
The Saybrook Lodge, I. 0. O. F., was organized in 1871. Charter members, T. B. Crigler, William Van Voris, 0. C. Sabin, G. W. Barton, C. W. McCord. Ten were added at the first meeting. The officers are: 0. C. Sabin, N. G.; C. W. McCord, V. G.; William Van Voris, Secretary. The Lodge has always been prosperous. The hall which it uses belongs to the Masonic Association. Meets Thursday evenings.
Among the first of that pioneer advance-guard of religious teachers, the Methodists, who labored for the good of souls here, the names of Messrs. Zadoc Hall, Maynard, Brittenheim, Bird, Norman Allen, Mr. Hindal and S. H. Martin are remembered. Father Riggs, who was the first Class-leader here, thinks Mr. Beggs was the first preacher, and that Mr. Duty, who organized the class, followed him. This class was organized, probably, in 1833, possibly a year earlier, in the schoolhouse which stood by the cemetery, and consisted of five members-Mr. and Mrs. Riggs, Mrs. Pitts, Mrs. Eliza Myers and Mrs. Sarah Thomas. Of this number, only the now venerable leader and his wife remain to continue the good work they then assumed to perform. Fortysix years of fitful changes have not changed their “ relations" with the church militant.
For many years, the servants of God, the pioneer preachers, held their services around in houses, and it was not until 1843 that the first M. E. Church was built on the land of Mr. Edward Stansbery. The circuit then used to embrace the Big Grove (Champaign), Middletown (Mahomet), Cheney's Grove, Indian Grove, Mackinaw (Lesington), Blooming Grove, Hurley's Grove (Farmer City), and required four weeks to make the circuit. The new church was a great triumph for the people, and they naturally felt proud of it. It was framed, 30x40, and it never will be known how much it cost. A "bee” was made to hew, frame and inclose it, and the plastering was done rainy days. Not much money was contributed or handled in this primary affair. It answered the purpose very well for twenty years, when it was sold and the large new one was put up in the village under the preaching of Rev. C. G. Bradshaw. The Saybrouk charge became a station in 1862. The new building was 40x60, framed, two stories high, and was built by a queer kind of partnership between the church and state, or, rather, the school district. By this partnership, the lower story was used for the school. The church, through its constituted authorities supplied a well-qualified principal to conduct a high school, and two assistants were provided by the district. This partnership did not work smoothly, and was, indeed, a very unnatural one. After a few years, the Methodists sold out their interest in the building to the district, and it is now occupied for school purposes only. Five departments are maintained in the fall and winter terms, and three in the summer, under the efficient management of Mr. Oliver Springstead an experienced and thorough educator.
The present fine brick church of the Methodists was built in 1876, at a cost of $7,000. It is 40x70, with belfry and towers running up from the corner. It is handsomely done off, carpeted and pleasantly seated. Rev. John Kumler was in charge of the church when it was built.
The United Brethren Church, next to the Methodist, was the pioneer religious organization here, sending its patient and laborious workers into every nook and corner of these early settlements.
Rev. Mr. Parks, from Lexington, preached here, irregularly, as early as 1853, and some of the other brethren before him. Rev. M. T. Chew, now of Decatur, commenced traveling this circuit in 1855, and was followed by the veteran, Hiram Stoddard, in 1857. Mr. Stoddard has been preaching forty-two years, formerly in Ohio, most of the time as a circuit preacher.