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kind of law, and citizens were unwilling to take the law into their own hands and make a pound of their own inclosures. This ordinance was the subject of a legal decision, and soon became very effective.
RAILROADING. The center of the old town of Cropsey was, and is yet, about fourteen miles from the nearest railroad station, being about equidistant from Saybrook, on the south, and Fairbury, on the north. This of itself was enough, during the era of railroad-building and bond-voting, to make it of interest to railroad-builders and popular with voters to go into the bonding business. Several propositions were made and votes taken in this direction. None of these propositions were received favorably until the Decatur & State-Line Railroad took form. This road was to run from Decatur, where it would connect with the Decatur & East St. Louis road, of which it was to be an extension, direct to Chicago, passing through Chatsworth. The road would have been, had it been built, an almost air-line route from St. Louis to Chicago-several miles shorter than the shortest line between those two cities. The Boodys, of the Toledo, Wabash & Western Railroad, which controlled the Decatur & East St. Louis line, were very anxious to build it, for it would give them a Chicago connection which they had been, and still have been, unable to get. The proposition really seemed the most feasible of the many railroad propositions then in existence. They were in business relations with the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, and were really dependent on that conpany for the money to build it. When the citizens of Cropsey were shown the magnificent future which such railroad facilities would give them, it is not to be wondered at that they were ready to get all the wealth which this would bring them, and all for just a single vote. It looked like a “big thing," and there could be no doubt that the road would be built.
A special town meeting was held October 25, 1869, to vote for or against a proposition to donate $60,000 of bonds. This was the third meeting which had been held on the matter--the first two resulting adversely to town aid. At this meeting, the proposition was carried by the almost unanimous vote of 44 to 5. A proposition was also carried to donate $5,000 per mile and right of way to the same road. As the town was about eleven miles in length, from the northeast to the southwest corners—the direction the road would take-it was considered equivalent to the other proposition.
January 10, 1870, by a vote of 46 to 31, it was voted to give $15,000 to the D. & St. L. R. R., provided its line touched the town and a station was placed there. The road had the option, of course, of these different proposals. The destruction of millions of dollars of the Rock Island company's property, by the Chicago fire, followed before it had recovered from the loss by the Granger excitement," and general depres. sion of railroad interests alone saved the township from being as heavily in debt as any other in MeLean County.
A railroad is now contemplated, called the Clinton, Bloomington & Northeastern, which is proposed as an extension to the Chatsworth Branch of the Illinois Central. It is projected by the farmers owning land along the line, and is energetically pressed by Mr. D. B. Stuart, a large land-owner in Cropsey and Anchor, H. L. Terpenning and J. T. Tanner, the Supervisors, and other energetic men. The scheme seems a feasible one, and the road is likely to be built without running the town in debt.
SCHOOLS AND SOCIETIES.
D. S. Crum, Esq., is Treasurer for Town 25, Range 6, and lives in Belle Prairie. From his last report the following figures are taken: Number of districts, 9; whole number of children under twenty-one years, 618; number between six and twenty-one years, 425; number enrolled in schools, 380; amount of township school fund, $7,000, about one-half of which is loaned on real estate.
The Belle Prairie Agricultural Society is jointly supported by the two towns. It originated in the Belle Prairie Grange, and was organized in 1874, and has held three annual fairs—that in 1878 in the new hall belonging to the society, which is 28x10, and on the land of D. S. Crum, Esq. The Society pays no money-premiums, but awards blue and red ribbon premiums. No fees for admission are charged. A track, upon which the only “purely agricultural horse-trots ” known in this part of the country take place, is one of the feature of the exhibition. No racing is permitted, but it is doubted whether any horse could carry off the blue ribbon unless he made something better than a snail's time around that agricultural track. The society is largely social in its tendencies and aims, and is worthy of study with a view of extending to similar localities a like institution. Ira C. Pratt is President; H. L. Terpenning, Vice President; William Stickler, Secretary; D. S. Crum, Treasurer.
The Belle Prairie Mutual Insurance Company, a farmer's company of these towns, together with Indian Grove, is in successful operation. There are 126 policies outstanding, covering an insurance of $103,000. H. L. Terpenning is President ; C. H. Benson, Secretary.
Lodge No. 631, A., F. & A. M., was organized in 1869, at Potosi. It consists of eighteen members. H. L. Terpenning is Worthy Master, and Dr. A. W. Green, Secretary.
During the preparation of these pages, the death of John Thomas occurred at the residence of his grandson, H. A. Thomas, Esq., one-half mile southeast of Potosi, in the 98th year of his age. Father Thomas was born in Halifax, Windham Co., Vt., March 5, 1782. He enlisted in the war of 1812, and served until its close. He was a cloth-dresser by occupation, and worked on the farm summers and at his trade winters. He was three times married, and was the father of twelve children, nine of whom survive him. In 1852, he went to live with his son, at Adams, Jefferson Co., N. Y., where he assisted, for a number of years, in carrying on a dairy. In 1868, he came to Illinois, and has since made this place his home. He had, for many years, been a pensioner of the Government. Nearly thirty years ago, a cancer made its appearance on his left cheek, which slowly made its way until the time of his death, The cavity was about four inches in diameter. Though this was not the cause of his death directly, still it may have hastened it somewhat. For some years, he has gradually lost strength, but was only confined to his bed about four months. During his helpless. ness, he was kindly cared for by his son and grandson, and the wife of his grandson. Think of the changes time has wrought in this county during only half of the lifetime of this aged soldier !
There is no church in the present town of Cropsey, though the Belle Prairie Methodist Episcopal Church is just across the line.
Potosi can hardly be called a village, though it has long been a center for the citizens to collect, get their tri-weekly mail, and trade. When the post office was established, it was, for a time, kept by citizens at their houses. Some thirteen years ago, Dr. H. W. Green, a recently-diplomaed physician, came here, looking for a place to praetice, and soon after, started a drug store, which grew into his present large general trade in merchandise. The post office was removed to his store. Dr. Green, in addition to his extensive medical practice and his general merchandise, takes a lively interest in the religious affairs of the surrounding country. He is an ordained Elder of the Christian denomination, and preaches almost every Sunday in some locality within a few miles' ride of his home. In his daily life and labors, he fully exemplifies the great amount of labor and usefulness an educated and earnest man can accomplish even while attending faithfully to his own secular affairs. J. E. Whitney carries on a blacksmith-shop, and A. D. Taylor a shoe-shop, at Potosi.
One of the most exciting occasions in the history of Potosi, was the speck of war over the “ butternut pole” which was raised by the Democrats on the occasion of a political rally during the campaign of 1868. Owing to the color of the Confederate army uniform, which was brown, of a butternut shade, the butternut had come to be accepted by the soldiers of the Union army as a symbol of " secesh ” doctrines.
Some person, either out of pure "cussedness," or for some unknown reason, put a few butternuts on the pole. This was thought, by some returned soldiers, to be a taunt, and was taken in dead earnest, as tending to spread treasonable sentiments, and they declared it should come down. The party who raised the pole, declared they would defend it even unto death. The excitement spread, and there was talk, on both sides, of “enlisting for the war” to bring down or to sustain that pole. Arms were collected and stored in convenient places. Men became as thoroughly in earnest as they ever were on the fields of Dixie. The one side declared that no butternuts should ever be permitted to wave (or shake) over the four corners at Potosi, and the other just as energetically affirming that that pole should not come down while they lived to defend it.
At this juncture, some of the Republicans thought of the company of "Tanners," organized and officered to help carry on the Grant campaign, and went to get their assistance. As Capt. McDowell and his company of Tanners had never been sworn into the State service, he did not feel like volunteering to put down rebellion or butternuts at Potosi without an invitation from the Governor. He consulted Maj. Osman, who was in command of a Democratic Company, and the two agreed to lay the matter before the Governor and be guided by his order. They therefore sent a message to Gov. Oglesby, laying the matter before him, and asking advice or orders; Capt. McDowell, for the Republicans, and Maj. Osman, for the Democrats, agreeing that his orders should be complied with. The Governor was absent from Springfield, and it was not until a day after that he sent his reply, which was to the effect that the Republicans should go home and thus save the majesty of the law, and the Democrats should take down, and thus save, their butternuts. The order was obeyed, and the butternuts were taken down and turned over to Capt. McDowell and Maj. Osman, who expressed them to the Governor, who kept them safely in the archives of State.
Thus ended what bid fair to be at one time a serious riot.