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each fine cattle-farms. By the year 1860, the lands in this township had pretty generally been brought into cultivation. Very little fencing was done except on the older farms. Hedges came into general cultivation. At first, wheat-raising was the general business, but this soon was abandoned, and corn is now the staple crop.

Those living in the southern part of the township trade at Lexington, on the Chicago & Alton Railroad, or at Kappa, on the Illinois Central; in the northern part, principally at Gridley or at El Paso. The coal supply for the northern part of the county comes from the Vermilion or from Mapleton, no coal having been raised at Gridley. Several attempts to reach coal have been made, but without success.

Township organization was effected in 1858, but the township records have been so shockingly kept, or rather have not been kept at all, that there is nothing to show who have been township officers for the first twelve years of its existence. Taylor Loving was first Supervisor-one of the oldest residents—after whom there was an endeavor made to name the township at the time of its organization. There followed him as representatives on the Board of Supervisors, George W. Cox, James McNaught, C. K. Drum, H. F. Freed, F. D. Callsen, T. W. Lock, John Slown and M. F. Vineyard. The names of H. F. Freed, F. D. Callsen and D. L. Hoover appear in the list of Clerks. As Assessors, Joseph Houseman, J. T. Tarman, A. W. Skinner and T. W. Lock. As Collectors, C. W. Ballinger, Joseph Wetherby, John Socks, L. G. Russell, H. G. McCord, A. W. Shepard. There are no records of any election prior to 1873.

The soldier record of Gridley is a noble one. At that time there were 162 voters in the township, and the record shows 137 enlistments. All the regiments that were raised in the county, and the separate companies raised in the neighborhood, had representatives from Gridley. The zeal and activity with which her citizens responded to the several calls for troops was unsurpassed in the county. All through the trying ordeal for the preservation of the integrity of the government against organized treason, her citizens carried the banners of their country to the final triumph.


The village-or town, as it is legally known-of Gridley, the only village in the township, is eight miles from Chenoa, on the Chicago & Alton Railroad, and six from El Paso, on the Illinois Central, on the Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw Railroad.

Early in 1856, it was known that the Peoria & Oquawka Railroad would locate a station in this vicinity, and Mr. G. W. Kent, who had for years been in the employ of Geu. Ashael Gridley in assisting purchasers of Illinois Central Railroad lands to locate their purchases on the boundless prairies which stretched from a few miles south of La Salle to Bloomington, thought that he saw a lively speculation in buying the section of land which the station would stand on, and build a town. The financial crash of 1857 partially relieved the mind of Mr. Kent from these oppressive day-dreams of wealthy accumulations. Taking Thomas Carlisle into partnership, they purchased the entire Section 4 of Township 26, Range 3, and proceeded to lay out their town. The first thing which worried the new landed proprietors was a proper name for their town. The worthy names " Kent ” and “ Carlisle” had been pre-empted by other towns in the State. Carlisle wanted to call it " Gardner,” for his old friend, the then Governor of Massachusetts; but it was learned that that goodly name had recently been given by the late Henry A. Gardner, then a civil engineer on the Chicago & Mississippi Railroad, to

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a place on that road. They then decided on giving the place the name it bears, in honor of their long-time employer. The town plat embraces all of the east half of the southwest quarter and the west half of the southeast quarter of the section, 160 acres, the streets running at right angles by points of compass. The right of way for the railroad and its side-tracks was given, and an open spot on either side, aggregating eleven acres, was left open to public travel and convenience, but not legally “ dedicated to the public" by the deeds of these proprietors. This vacant land, a few years later, became the cause of long and expensive litigation, of which more hereafter. There were thirty-eight blocks besides the grounds mentioned.

The first passenger-train passed through here February 28, 1857. The next month, the first lot was sold to James T. Acklin, and, a little later, the proprietors built a small house and blacksmith-shop south of the railroad, where Mrs. Listen now resides. The first dwelling-house was built the same year by Charles Cochrane, which is now occupied by J. C. Boies. The first store was built this year for J. M. Mitchell, corner just north of the depot, and is still occupied by him for that purpose.

Mr. M. is the pioneer merchant, having been the first to bring a stock of goods into the town, is a gentleman of quiet habits, a descendant of the French Huguenots, and retains many traits of character common to those heroes. These, as were the other buildings put up at this time, were built by S. J. Lock, a gentleman then recently from Boston, seeking a home and work in this new field. He still resides in Gridley, though he has wandered some in other places, and still wields the hammer and shoves the jack-plane. About the same time, and during the season of 1857, were built the houses of Philo Sleezer, Mr. Whitney, Mr. Wilbur and Mr. Preston. Mr. Lock, soon after this, " took to the country,” and his mechanical skill was kept fully employed, summer and winter, putting up the small farmhouses which were needed by the unprecedented influx of farmers for the next two or three years.

The first depot-building, put up this year, also has a “ history.” For some time after the Peoria end of this railroad was built, there was no railroad bridge. Passengers came out of Peoria on foot or by Parmely's buses across the bridge, and took the cars at this end of the bridge. The depot was built at that place for the convenience of passengers. When the railroad bridge was made, there was no further use for the building there, so it was taken duwn and removed to Gridley. It was placed in a mudhole east of the present building, and enjoyed all the privileges and immunities of a depot until the tornado of May 13, 1858, sent it kiting. The corner of the building hit against the north rail with such force that it was bent out of parallel several inches, and, for a year, trains ran around it on the switch. The rail has since been straightened, however, and trains can now run regularly.

Messrs. Carlisle & Kent, in July of this year, transferred their entire interest in the town and in Section 4 to Gen. Gridley, and he remains the owner of a considerable number of the lots. Mr. Kent moved his family here in the spring of 1858, into a house which was near enough completed by the time of the tornado to get the full benefit of whatever wind could reach it.

The first schoolhouse was built in 1859, by private contributions of Messrs. Mitchell, Cochrane, Manning, Kent and Young, and cost $105. For some reason not now fully understood, the citizens living in Gridley Station could not get public funds for building, although, after the building was up, they could get the teachers' wages,

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and Charles Cochrane, who came here as Station Agent, was put into the school as teacher.

a young man of good education, superior to many who got “ 'stificates” in those days. Born in New Hampshire and educated there, he had taught in Kentucky, and at Mount Hope, in this county. The first school had sixteen scholars.

Mr. Cochrane also kept the first lumber-yard. Lumber came from Chicago via Chenoa for some years, and principally via Gilman, as the railroad company now is in closer business relation with the Illinois Central than with the Chicago & Alton.

The first hotel was built in 1859 or 1860, by C. K. Drum. Gen. Gridley donated two lots and $200 toward it, on condition that Drum should put up a house worth $1,000. The “Gridley House” actually cost several hundred dollars more than was stipulated.

The first commercial venture engaged in to make Gridley a shipping point” was the cutting and baling of several hundred tons of prairie-hay. It proved reasonably successful. The grain trade has been, since 1859, the principal commercial business of Gridley. During the earlier years, it was principally wheat. There were no warehouses to hold the grain for shipment, and the grain was shoveled directly into the cars, that is, all that did not scatter on the ground. This was a wasteful method, and men began putting up small buildings to hold a carload or two. When the load was procured for the car and a car could be secured for the load, the grain was carried out in baskets or wheelbarrows. Wheat gradually disappeared as a shipping commodity, and corn became king. Great, long lines of cribs stretched out all around the depot-grounds to hold the hundreds of thousands of bushels that annually seek a market here. The men who have engaged in this business here, and have annually held the market price up to a point where they could command as much grain as is bought at any point on the line of this railroad are the men who have really conserved the prosperity of this place. A short notice of these men is appropriate.

James M. Mitchell commenced the purchase of wheat and country produce in 1858, soon after opening his store here, in fact as soon as there was any to buy. He bought for Boies & Van Vleet, a grain firm then doing business in El Paso. G. W. Kent, in 1859 and 1860, engaged in the business, and during the latter year built the first grainhouse in town. It was 16x24 feet, and answered the purpose very well in those times. George A. Coburn built a warehouse the following year, and Mr. Mitchell continued buying for John Dehner, of Pontiac and Chenoa.

In 1862, Silas E. Brooks commenced to buy corn here for a Boston firm. The ruling price was 10 cents. They allowed him to buy all he could for 12 cents, he to make his commission out of that, and they to furnish him lumber for cribs. He employed Kent to buy for him on a commission, and the two continued buying as long as they could get it for 10 cents. The corn remained here until 1864–65, and sold for an average price of $1.03 per · bushel. It seems that some others than “ bloated bondholders ” made something in those days.

William H. Boies, who had been in the grain trade in El Paso for a few years, to which place he had come from Livingston County, N. Y., was appointed station agent here at this time, and commenced in a small way the business which has grown on his hands until he is now one of the heaviest shippers on the line of this road. He rented the Coburn Warehouse to begin with, and his business soon outgrew that. In 1866, he built his present large steam elevator, which has a capacity of 20,000 bushels. Io 1869, he formed a partnership with Richard Breese, an Englishman who had for twelve years been largely engaged in stock farming and feeding. A little incident shows the transmutations of things in this changeful country: One of this firm recalls how he bought 400 bushels of corn in 1862 of N. J. Pillsbury, now a Judge of the Appellate Court in this State, for 10 cents a bushel. It seemed to be a big job for the future Judge, for it took him nearly all summer to draw it in with a yoke of steers.

In 1863 or 1874, Sykes & Smith were in the grain trade, and built a horse-power elevator, which was burned in 1878.

C. P. Ayers, for several years a farmer in Livingston County, has been for two years engaged in buying grain.

F. D. Callsen, at present Justice of the Peace and insurance agent, was engaged, during several years, in buying grain. This does not claim to be a complete list, but gives the names of those who have been instrumental in making the Gridley market one of the very best in the county, and aggregating shipments of from a quarter to half a million bushels per year.

In 1860, the present schoolhouses were built, and the present depot.

One of the “ seven wonders ” of Gridley is the wind-mill built in 1874 by Mr. Martin, of Peoria, for the Franzen Bros. It is patterned after the old Dutch mills that for ages have pumped the waters and ground the grist of the industrious race which have made the sea to blossom like the rose. It is octagonal in shape for about 18 feet in height, 32 feet in diameter on the ground, tapering up to about 26 feet at the top of this first story, which is surrounded by a platform 8 feet wide, upon

which the “engineer" operates the machinery which shifts the wings to the breeze, there being no fan-tail, as there is on our common American wind-mills, to throw the wings to windward. Above this, the building is conical, running up to a sugar-loaf top. This section is shingled. Above this are attached the huge wings, four in number, 33 feet long and 8 feet wide, made of strong timber frame, covered with high boards and sail-cloth. Within the wonder increases. The huge timbers, so placed as to give great strength to withstand the terrible strain which would rack and tear in pieces any

ordinary frame in a moment, give to the unpractical eye the impression of a chaos of heavy beams, braces, posts, girths, girders, sills, in endless number. You dodge and twist around among

them and wonder how or where the architects of this structure expected to have the grists piaced or the stones run. In the second story are three runs of stones, smut-mill, etc., and all the machinery usually found in any well-regulated gristmill, in the amount of space that in most mills is allotted to the stone and a few old boxes for customers to sit on and warm themselves. In an L are the bolts, meal-bins,

All the shafting, gearing, etc., are of wood, with a few trifling exceptions. By an ingenious device, the “governor,” which is used on all steam-engines to regulate the escape of steam, is made to raise or lower the upper millstone, according as the motion of the mill is slow or fast.

The proprietors find the wind of late years so uncertain that they are now putting in a thirty-horse-power upright engine so as to be able to about double the working capacity of the mill.

The town of Gridley was incorporated under the general incorporation act in 1869. The first election resulted in the choice of H. E. Sieberns, President; W. H. Boies,


George Jewett, D. Sloan and S. L. Martin, Trustees; M. C. Prescott, Treasurer. These men put the machinery in motion and adopted such ordinances as were found necessary to do the business of the town. In 1870, the Board elected consisted of W. H. Boies, President; H. E. Sieberns, George Jewett, S. Archer, H. Drum, and M. C. Prescott, Treasurer. 1872, George Jewett President; W. H. Boies, S. C. McConnell, B. F. Van Dolah, and J. E. Jewett, Clerk. 1873, W. H. Boies, George Jewett, W. C. Mack and F. D. Callsen. 1875, H. Drum, President; J. D. Webster, Clerk; W. C. Mack, H. A. Platt and V. Meininger. 1876, F. D. Callsen, President; J. D. Webster, Clerk; Joseph Gilmore, E. P. Gibbons, Richard Breese, Trustees; D. L. Hoover, Treasurer. 1877, J. D. Webster, President; J. A. Taylor, Clerk ; R. Breese, H. A. Platt, C. H. Newhauser, Trustees; D. L. Hoover, Treasurer. 1878, George Frank, President; R. Breese. C. H. Newhauser, E. Lugeanbeal; J. A. Taylor, Clerk; D. L. Hoover, Treasurer, 1879, George Frank, President; W. H. Ruckle, Clerk; E. Lugeanbeal, Isaac Sheets and Ham. Franzen, Trustees; D. L. Hoover, Treasurer.

The only official salaries paid by the town are for Clerk, $10 per annum; Treasurer, 3 per centum.

J. M. Mitchell was appointed the first Postmaster, and continued in office until the administration of Andrew Johnson, when he was removed and Upton Coomes was appointed. In 1869, Mitchell was re-appointed and has served ever since.

The gentlemen who have in turn served as agents at the depot are Charles Cochrane, G. W. Kent, H. H. Soper, S. E. Brooks, W. H. Boies, E. C. Shearer, W. G. Messler and George A. Parmely, who is agent at present; baggage-master, Thomas Liston; trackmaster, William Lynch ; engineer, Joseph Hoffman.

Among the earlier business men of Gridley, who has quietly but energetically attended to his business in such a manner as to make a success of it, is Mr. H. E. Sieberns, who, in 1863, put up a building and stocked it with a complete stock of goods, on the corner east of the post office corner. He has been universally successful in his engagements and has acquired a competency.

The first child born in the village of Gridley was Willie Sleezer, who arrived at his majority in September, 1878, and feels almost as though he had “grown-up with the country.”

The first death was that of the excellent wife of James M. Mitchell, who died soon after he commenced business here.

Maj. Houghton is one of the characters who, a few years since, was well known along this road as a resident of Gridley. He frequently passed back and forth on the trains, selling his photograph, and interesting the passengers with his bright and intelligent conversation. He was less than four feet in height and well-proportioned, with fine head and interesting features. He was just large enough to look out of the car windows by standing on tip-toe, carried a gold-headed cane and dressed the style of a gentleman of leisure. For several years, he has been traveling with a Lilliputian troupe, of which he is the chief attraction.

The schoolhouse is not, perhaps, as attractive, nor is it as expensive, as many more ambitious villages can show, but the school itself is a good one. Under the charge of B. F. Howard, the pupils are being attended to properly, and are acquiring a thoroughly good and useful education. Pupils enrolled, 120; daily average attendance, 103. Miss Luella Barnum is assistant, having charge of the younger scholars. The course of

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