John Wilkens was the pioneer settler of Piasa townhip. In 1818 he took up a location on the southwest quarter of section 31 and made improvements. He was a native of Maryland, where he was reared. Brought up to sea life, he became a captain of an ocean vessel. He commanded on ship-board for five years, after which he gave up his seafaring life and came to Illinois. He was twice married and reared a large family of children, all now deceased save three. He had made a number of improvements on his first location on section 31, this township, but in 1824 left them and removed to section 19, near Delhi, where he kept a stage station and a tavern for the accommodation of the travelers. For 20 years he remained at this place, and then went to Jerseyville to stop for a short time with a daughter, Mrs. Harriet Silloway. Then he went to Paw Paw Grove, Ill. and spent his remaining days with another daughter, Mrs. Sarah Baker.
Levi McNeil first settled in this county in 1825, selecting a home on section 22, this township. He first saw the light amid the 'old granite hills' of New Hampshire, but came here from Ohio. The farm which he settled is now owned by John G. Ortle. He lived on this until Jan. 1852 when he died. He was a well-to-do and influential citizen, and was highly respected and well thought of by his many friends and neighbors. He surveyed the greater part of this township at an early day, although not an educated surveyor. He reared three sons, two of whom have since died. The surviving member of the family, Henry, now resides in Weld county, Col.
Nelson R. Lurton settled on the site of the town of Delhi in 1827 or 1828 and afterward laid out that place. He kept a stage station and tavern there for a number of years, and as it was situated on the stage road, a large business was carried on there during those days. He was the first postmaster of Delhi, holding that position until 1844, when his death occurred. He also operated a large farm in that vicinity, and it is said that the sale of his personal effects, after his demise, was one of the largest in the county. Mr. Lurton was born in Kentucky in 1803, where he was reared and educated. He attained considerable of a fortune in the lead mines of Galena, being among the first to engage in mining at that place. He was married to Adeline Sumner in Missouri, of which state she was a native. They had a family of seven children, only one of whom is now living, Joseph, who resides on the old homestead.
A carpenter by the name of William Barnhardt also settled in the town of Delhi about the year 1830. He was one of the first carpenters in the town and lived there until his death.
James B. Pinckard made a settlement on Sec. 24 in the early part of 1830, he having entered the land in January of that year. He was a Virginian by birth, but came here from Ohio, where he had resided some years. He was widely respected for many excellent qualities of head and heart.
Joseph Richardson and Samuel Clarke came to this township in 1830 and settled on Sec. 14, where they put up dwellings and resided some time.
John Hart made a settlement in Piasa township during the year 1830. He was a native of Tennessee.
About the year 1830 Benjamin Draper settled on the place now owned by Thomas Edwards, where he resided many years. He came from the state of Tennessee to this county and afterward went to Macoupin county, where he subsequently died.
William Hackney settled at Delhi about the same time that Draper came, opening up a blacksmith shop, which was the first in the village and township. He came from Troy, N.Y. He raised quite a family of children and during the latter years of his life resided with them. He died at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Margaret Brown in the village of Brighton.
S. T. Kendall settled the James Parish farm about the year 1830. He was a native of Tennessee, but came here from Missouri, being married to Catherine Sumner in the latter state. In 1836 he represented Greene county in the state legislature, Jersey and Greene being one county at that time.
George and David Settlemier, natives of Pennsylvania, came from Missouri to this township in 1830, settling the farm now owned by Phineas Eldredge. They remained until 1848, when they sold to Mr. Eldredge and removed to Oregon with their families, where they now reside. Both served through the Black Hawk war. They were good farmers and were well known in the county.
During the year 1830, Bartholomew Downs located on section 22. He was a native of England, and had lived here a number of years, when his death occurred.
In the spring of 1837, James Howell settled on the farm now owned by Frank Knapp on section 33. He came from Somerset county, N.J., where he was born in 1774. He was married in 1801 to Anna De Hart. They were the parents of 10 children, only one of whom is living in this part of the country. The name of this one is Isaac, who lives just over the line in Madison county. Howell reside here until his death, which occurred in a peculiar manner, Sept. 20, 1846. He set fire to a dead tree and then went to his house. Soon the flames sprang to a great height, and fearing that the falling brands would ignite a fence nearby, he went out to protect it. The exact manner of his death is not known, but when his dead body was found his breast was badly bruised and one foot had been burned off.
Thomas Marshall came to Delhi in 1837, where he resided until 1844, when he moved on a farm on section 30. He lived there until Aug. 1881, when he removed to Jerseyville, where he now resides. He was born in Wilmington, Del., Nov. 21, 1814. He was married to Agnes McFarland. They were the parents of one child, Agnes.
Robert McFarland came in 1838 and settled on section 30. He did not live there much of the time at first, as he was then following railroading. He left at the time of the outbreak of the Mexican war, serving through the same. After the close of that war he remained in Mexico one year, and died there in July 1848. This widow afterward married Thomas Marshall, who now resides in Jerseyville.
Andrew Edwards came to Piasa in 1849, and during that season raised a crop. In October of that year he moved to section 19, where he purchased 120 acres of land of James Hixson. He continued to reside there until his death, which occurred June 4, 1867. He was born May 11, 1808 in Mercer county, Penn., and moved to Scioto county, O., when 11 years of age. He was a son of David Edwards, whose wife was Catherine George, daughter of Jacob George, of Germany. Andrew Edwards married Mary Darlington, a native of Scioto county, O., Dec. 24, 1835. They continued to reside in Ohio till 1849. They had four children, all natives of Scioto county: Henry D.; Minerva, wife of A. Randolph, of Montgomery county; William H., and George W., living in Piasa. The Edwards were farmers by occupation, but Andrew Edwards was a 'jack-at-all-trades' and a very industrious man. He was a member of the M.E. church.
Henry D. Edwards, son of Andrew Edwards, was born Feb. 24, 1837. He was educated in the country schools, and subsequently attended McKendree college. After completing his education, he followed teaching school and surveying for six or seven years in Jersey county. He made his home with his parents until Nov. 9, 1872, when he was married to Mary Howeller. He engaged, the same year, in the mercantile trade, buying a store and goods of E. Tillotson in Delhi. In 1873 he became associated in business with M. V. Hamilton, with whom he continued in trade until 1882. He then sold his interest to Mr. Hamilton and has since been engaged in attending to his duties as station age, having been appointed in 1872. Mr. Edwards owns 200 acres of land in Piasa township, 40 acres in Mississippi township, and a residence in Delhi. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, both of the blue lodge and chapter of Jerseyville, also of the K. of H. and the M.E. church. Mr. and Mrs. Edwards have two children: Frederick M., born Aug. 25, 1873; and Jerome Y., born May 20, 1875.
John Christian Bauer, a native of Germany, was born May 21, 1843. He remained in that country until 20 years of age. In March 1866 he embarked for America and arrived in New York on Easter Monday. After stopping a few days in New York, he proceeded west to Alton, Ill., where he followed the blacksmith trade two years. He then went to Litchfield, Ill., and stayed six weeks engaged in the same business, then returned to Alton and came soon after to Piasa township, Jersey county. Here he worked for a time, by the month, employed by Mr. Robinson, of whom he later rented land, which he cultivated one season. He then rented the farm which he now lives on, of his brother, Philip Bauer. April 17, 1873, he was married to Isabella Down, who was born in 1848. They are the parents of five children: Isabella, born Feb. 28, 1874; Willie, born Aug. 30, 1875; Annie, born June 17, 1878; John, born Oct. 4, 1879; and Alice, born Dec. 13, 1881. Mr. Bauer is the owner of two fine stallions, of one-fourth Norman stock, one being a bright bay, three years old, and a little more than 16 hands high; the other, a dapple gray, seven years old, and 17 hands high. Mr. Bauer is a member of the Lutheran church, and politically a democrat.
George Cairns is a native of Scotland, born July 1, 1820. He remained in his native county until 26 years of age, there following the occupation of farming. He then went to England, where he lived six years, working for a wholesale merchant. He was married in Scotland, in 1842, to Agnes Fairbairn. In 1852 he immigrated to America, and settled in Zanesville, Ohio, where he remained 18 months, engaged in blacksmithing. He then removed to Alton, Ill., where for three years he followed mining, then moved to Jersey county in 1857. He located on his present farm in 1860. He has 121 acres of land, upon which he has made all the improvements, and which is nicely situated. He has a coal mine on his place, which he works. He was bereaved by the death of his wife in 1881. Mr. and Mrs. Cairns have had 13 children, 10 sons and 3 daughters. Five of the former and two of the latter are now living, the eldest being 41 and the youngest 15 years of age. Mr. Cairns has served as justice of the peace of this township four years, and at present holds the office of township trustee.
Charles Bruce Bartlett was born in Seneca county, O., in Sept. 1845. When 9 years of age he removed with his father to Jersey county, Ill. After coming here he attended school in Jerseyville one year, after which he lived with his father on the farm known as the 'old Bartlett farm,' (on which he now resides) until 21 years of age. He then left home, attending McKendree College, Lebanon, Ill. for three years, then one year at Michigan University where he studied law. While there he was the friend and room-mate of the Hon. Henry Seiter. Being obliged to abandon law on account of ill health, Mr. Bartlett has divided his time between teaching and farming. He has taught at Delhi for the past two years, and is engaged to teach in the same place the coming term. Mr. Bartlett's father, William Bartlett, was born in Maine in 1802. In early life he followed the occupation of ship carpenter, but during his latter years was engaged in farming. His death occurred in 1876. His widow, who is still living, was born in 1819 in the state of Ohio. She resides with her son, the subject of this sketch. Mr. Bartlett has held the office of town clerk two terms. He is a member of the K. of H., Delhi lodge No. 1129. As a teacher he is popular and successful.
William H. Bartlett came with his parents to Jersey county in 1853, he being then 13 years of age. He was born in Seneca county, O., July 3, 1840. On coming to this county the family located in Jerseyville, where they resided one year, and then removed to the farm in Piasa township, on which William H. lives, and where he followed farming until 1862. In September of that year he enlisted in Co. C of the 124th Ill. Inf., serving as musician. After spending six weeks at Camp Butler, near Springfield, his regiment went south, to Memphis, participating in Grant's campaign against Vicksburg. He took part in the engagements of Champion Hills, Jackson and Raymond, arriving at Vicksburg, May 19, 1863. He was present at the capture of Vicksburg on the 4th of July, and subsequently took part in other engagements. After the war he returned home and resumed farming on the homestead farm, which has been his residence since, with the exception of two years, during which he lived two miles west of his present place. Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett have four children: Minnie, born Nov. 12, 1869; William, born May 7, 1871; Ethel, born April 8, 1874; and Albert, born Sept. 7, 1875. Mr. Bartlett was highway commissioner three years, and at present holds the office of supervisor. He is a member of the K. of H., Delhi lodge No. 1129.
Frank Schoeberle was born in Bohemia, Austria, Oct. 20, 1830. He remained in his native country until 1853, then to avoid being drafted into the military service, he came to America, landing in New York city in June of that year. He proceeded west to Milwaukee, Wis., then soon after to Watertown in the same state, where he remained two years, engaged in farming and brickmaking. He then went south to New Orleans, his object being to learn the French language. He had, during the first six weeks of his residence in this country, obtained a practical knowledge of the English language. He stayed in New Orleans two months, and while there was sick in a hospital two weeks. On his recovery he came to Illinois, and stopped in Madison county, where he followed farming two years, then went to Dubuque, Ia., there working at brickmaking, and next to St. Louis, where he was married, Nov. 9, 1858, to Annie Gaitman, who was born Oct. 12, 1834. He remained in St. Louis 15 months, then moved to Mason county, Ill., and 16 months later to Jersey county. He located on section 34, Piasa township, purchasing 40 acres of land, to which he has since added 40 more. This land he improved and lived on until March 1884. He then sold his farm and moved to Brighton, where he purchased residence property, and now makes his home. Mr. Schoeberle is a republican politically. He has held the office of school director two terms, and is at present assessor. He is a member of the Catholic church, while his wife holds connection with the German Lutheran. On the 1st of July, Mr. Schoeberle started on a trip to Germany, and is, at the time of this writing, enjoying a delightful time there. He was to return about Oct. 1.
Charles P. Long, a farmer of Piasa township, was born in the city of St. Louis, Sept. 12, 1850. His early life was spent in that city, where he received a good education. In 1874 he came to Jersey county an purchased a farm of 63 acres in Piasa township, to which he has since added 26 acres, making altogether 89 acres, on which he now resides. His farm is in a good state of cultivation and highly productive. Mr. Long was married in 1874 to Ella Bording of Detroit, Mich., and by this union has five sons: Charles Sylvester, born Sept. 26, 1875; Willard D., born March 30, 1878; Frederick A., born Oct. 7, 1879; Leonard, born Jan. 7, 1882; and Walter, born Nov. 30, 1883. Mr. Long now holds the office of justice of the peace, school director and road commissioner, having held the first, eight years, the second, four terms, and the last a few months, this being his first term. His farm is underlaid with a 3 foot vein of coal of excellent quality.
George Tunnard is a native of Lincolnshire, England, born in 1835. He is a son of John and Ann (Holden) Tunnard. In 1853, George Tunnard came to America, and settled in New York, where he resided 18 years. At the expiration of that period he removed to the state of Illinois, locating in Piasa township, Jersey county, which has since been his home, and where he now owns a well improved farm of 90 acres. He was married in 1864 to Elizabeth Weaver, a native of the state of New York. Two children have been born to them, Sarah and John. Mr. Tunnard carries on general farming, raising grain and stock. He is a member of the Baptist church. His father, John Tunnard, died in New York in 1855, and his mother, Mrs. Ann (Holden) Tunnard, in the same place in 1880.
Charles Stieren, deceased, was born in Germany in the year 1822, and was a son of Charles and Anna Stieren. He resided in his native land until 1857. In the fall of that year he came to America, settling on section 20, Piasa township, Jersey county, Ill. He was married the same year to Elizabeth Stelta, a native of Germany. Eight children were born to them: Frederick; Elizabeth, wife of George Springerman, of Bunker Hill, Ill.; William, in Jerseyville; Joseph, Charles, Francis, Kate and Lena. Mr. Stieren died in Nov. 1883, and was buried in the Brighton cemetery. His widow still resides on section 20, Piasa township, where she owns 40 acres of land. Mr. Stieren was a member of the Catholic church. All of Mrs. Stieren's children, except Elizabeth and William, reside with her on the farm.
Horace Lindley was born in Godfrey, Madison county, Ill., Aug. 18, 1853, being a son of William and Mary Catherine Lindley. The former was born in England in 1808, and died in Madison county, Ill. in 1870. The latter was born in Germany in 1819, and is still living. The subject of this sketch was reared in his native county, where he resided until 1883. In that year he located in Piasa township, Jersey county, where he now lives. He owns 260 acres of land, and is engaged in general farming. Mr. Lindley was married in 1884 to Tracy Knapp, who was born July 24, 1867.
John Allen Goodman is a son of James R. Goodman, an early settler of this county. The latter was born in 1816. His wife, the mother of the subject of this sketch, Mrs. Frances Goodman, was born in 1820, and is still living. James R. Goodman died July 6, 1862. John Allen Goodman was born in Piasa township, Jersey county, Ill., Dec. 25, 1851, and was here reared on a farm. June 21, 1874, he was united in marriage with Abbie Thomas. They are the parents of six children, four daughters and two sons, the oldest being ten years of age. Mr. Goodman is a farmer, owning 40 acres of land, all under good cultivation. He is engaged in raising corn, principally. He is an enterprising farmer and a worthy citizen.
Frederick Haag, of Piasa township, was born in Germany, March 23, 1828. He was reared on a farm in that country, where he remained until he was 28 years of age. He came to America in 1856, landing in New York in September of that year. He then went to Alton, Ill., stopped for a few weeks, after which he worked at a place about three miles from Alton one year, receiving $1 per day. At the expiration of that time he entered a brewery, where he was employed three and a half years. He then purchased 40 acres of land on section 28, Piasa township, which has since been his home. In Dec. 1861, he was married to Lizzie Keile, who was born Jan. 24, 1842. They were the parents of seven children, four sons and three daughters, all of whom are living except one son, who died in June 1880, aged four months. Mrs. Haag died the 17th of Feb. 1880. Mr. Haag has at different times added to his real estate, until he now owns 186 acres of valuable land. He is an industrious and enterprising farmer, and has accumulated all by his own industry. He is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran church.
Herman Oehler, son of William and Henrietta (Darby) Oehler, was born in Prussia in 1842. In 1867 he emigrated to America, and settled in Brighton, Macoupin county, Ill., and has ever since resided in Macoupin and Jersey counties. He now owns 92 acres of land, and is engaged in farming. In 1869 Mr. Oehler was married to Augusta Brummer, a native of Germany. Five children were born to them: Charles, William, Herman, Louis and Mollie. Mrs. Oehler died in 1881, and in 1883 Mr. Oehler was married to Louisa Hitterman, who was born in Prussia. By this union there is one child, Hattie. Mr. Oehler has held the office of road commissioner. He is a member of the Mutual Aid society, and, with Mrs. Oehler, holds connection with the Lutheran church.
Mary Agnes Nugent, formerly Mary Harrington, was born in Manchester, Eng. in 1819. At the age of 20 years she was married to James Nugent, who was born in Manchester in 1818. He at the time of his marriage was an overseer in a cotton factory. In 1843 Mr. Nugent immigrated to America and settled at Albany, N.Y., where he learned the stove moulder's trade, and where in 1845, he was joined by his wife, who then came over from England. They remained eight years in Albany and Mr. Nugent became a skilled workman at his trade, commanding the highest wages. In 1851 they moved to St. Louis, Mo., where he followed the same business until 1859. He then came to Jersey county and purchased 60 acres of land, but soon after, leaving the farm in charge of his oldest son, Edward, he returned to St. Louis and followed his trade in that city five or six years, returning to this county in 1864. He died here in 1876, on the farm now known as the Nugent place. He left a widow and nine children. Edward, the eldest, was born in Manchester, Eng. in 1841; James was born in the same place in 1843, and died in November 1843; Sarah Ann, born in Albany, N.Y. in 1846, is now the wife of W. H. Bartlett, of Jersey county; Mary Ellen, born in Albany in 1848, is now living in St. Louis; William Joseph, born in Albany in 1851; James D., born in St. Louis in 1854; Rupert Moseley, born in St. Louis in 1856; Elizabeth A., born in 1858; and John Robert, born in 1860. Of these children, William Joseph, John Robert and Elizabeth A. are now living with their mother on the homestead farm, which contains 240 acres. The brothers, Wm. J. and John R. carry on the farm, wheat-growing being their principal occupation. They also raise considerable stock, and are enterprising and successful farmers.
James G. Goodman is a son of James R. and Frances (Fuller) Goodman, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Tennessee. They came to Jersey county in an early day, and were here united in marriage in the year 1836. They lived two years on section 10, Piasa township, then removed to Madison county, where they remained until 1842. In that year they returned to Piasa township, locating on the west half of the northeast quarter of section 29. Here Mr. Goodman, Sr. improved a farm and resided until his death, which occurred July 6, 1862. His widow still survives, and is now living with her son, John A. Goodman. James G. Goodman was born and brought up on Jersey county. Aug. 22, 1862 he was married to Martha Davis, a native of Macoupin county. He settled on the homestead farm which he bought in company with his brother, William C. Goodman, and which then contained 200 acres. To this has been added 240 acres, the farm now comprising 440 acres. Mr. Goodman, in addition to farming, is engaged in threshing and grinding feed, using for that purpose an 'American Mill Co.' steam engine, and does quite an extensive business in that line. Mr. and Mrs. Goodman have seven children: Annie L., Addie M., Ira E., Mary E., George A., Edward E., and Nellie May. Mr. Goodman served as justice of the peace from 1880 to 1884. He is a member of the I.O.O.F., Brighton lodge No. 366.
William Chappell is a native of England, born Jan. 28, 1816. He is a son of Bartholomew Chappell, an English farmer. They immigrated to America together in 1833, landing in New York city. William remained in New York state, living in Genesee county until 1837, but his father, Bartholomew, came directly to Jersey county, Ill., locating in Mississippi township where he died May 15, 1869. Bartholomew Chappell was married in England to Elizabeth Bendle, who died in that country, leaving six children, three sons and three daughters, William was the youngest of the family. Mr. Chappell was subsequently married again, and had by his second marriage six children. William Chappell, during the time he lived in New York, worked out by the month and managed by strict economy to lay by $100 of his earnings, with which, on coming to Jersey county in 1837, he purchased 120 acres of land in Piasa township. He now owns 610 acres, with good and substantial improvements. About 300 acres of this land is under cultivation, and the remainder in pasture. April 1, 1840 he was married to Mary King, who died soon after her marriage. In the fall of 1842 Mr. Chappell was married to Elizabeth Hooper, and by this union has four sons: William H., Charles F., Chevalier S., and Chester John. Mr. Chappell began life without financial capital, and has accumulated his large property by his own energy and industry. He is now one of the substantial and well-to-do farmers of Jersey county.
Diamond district, or No. 3, was organized in the summer of 1883. In the fall of the same year a school building was erected on the southeast quarter of section 30, at a cost of about $400. Mary Keeley was the first to teach a term of school in this building. The present teacher is Florence Compton.
The first cemetery in the township was that which is located on section 19, on the farm now owned by G. W. Edwards. The first burial occurred in 1827, and was that of the body of Jacob Lurton, Sr. The graveyard has some time since been abandoned.
The first death was Elizabeth, wife of John Wilkins.
The pioneer school was taught by a daughter of Horace Landon, and who afterwards became the wife of Dr. Snell. The school was taught in a room of a dwelling house, which was only partially completed, in the summer of 1837.
The first cemetery was established at an early day on section 19.
There are seven school districts in the township, and two union districts.
The first birth in Piasa township was a son of Mr. and Mrs. John Wilkins named Frederick.
The board of school trustees at present is composed of the following: Geo. Cairns, pres.; Phineas Eldredge, treas.; Geo. Weld and James W. Parish.
The permanent school fund of the township now amounts to $3,500.
The school house in district No. 1 was built in 1884 at a cost of $600. It is a frame structure, 18 x 26 feet in size. George North was the first teacher in this building. A school house was erected within the borders of this district in 1840. It served the district until the winter of 1883-84, when it was destroyed by fire. The present teacher in this district is Miss Hufford. The directors are: James Burke, William Edwards and Godfried Gotter. The first school house in district No. 2 was erected in 1840. It stood on the southwest quarter of section 14. It served the district until 1856, when the present edifice was created at a cost of about $600. It is located on the northwest quarter of section 22, and is 18 x 28 feet in dimensions. Fannie Davis taught during the winter of 1884-85. The directors are: John G. Ortel, George Springman and Charles P. Long.
The first settlement and building within the present boundaries of Delhi was in 1831, when N. R. Lurton came, erecting a double long cabin on the west half of section 18. The first store was established during the year, but no further effort was made to establish a town until about the year 1851, when other business enterprises were attempted, as noted further on in this chapter. The town was laid out by Sarah A. Lurton, Joseph N. Lurton, Jacob M. Early, Caroline S. Early, William A. Scott and Sarah A. Scott, and was surveyed and platted by George I. Foster, county surveyor, May 5 and 6, 1868. Delhi is located on the southwest quarter of section 18, and is on the Chicago & Alton railroad, about 40 miles north of St. Louis.
The first store at Delhi was opened by Dr. McClosky in 1831. He continued the business but a short time, when he closed it out.
After this there was no other business established until 1848 when Edward Tryon opened a general store. His wife managed the business and he taught school. They continued some time, when the stock was closed out in October of the above named year.
L. C. McNeil put in a stock in 1854, and a year later sold out to William V. Eldredge, who operated the business about a year, and then sold to William A. Scott. Scott was succeeded a year afterward by J. N. Lurton, who continued the business about 13 months, when he was succeeded by Elias Tillotson, who took in J. L. Compton as partner. The latter gentleman disposed of his interest afterwards to Tillotson, who in turn sold it to Albert Hoyt, and he was succeeded by Terrell & Clapp. Two years later the firm name was changed to Clapp Bros., and later reverted to Tillotson. H. D. Edwards afterwards bought the stock, and in 1873 consolidated with M. V. Hamilton.
A. Myers & Co. engaged in business in 1868. They continued one year, when they removed the stock to Newbern.
In 1850 John Adamson put a stock of good, but only continued a short time.
A saloon was opened by John Gregory in 1872, who sold out to Matthew Watson in 1873. In 1876 William A. Garry merged the business into a drug store, which he operated until 1880, when the store was closed.
In 1882 H. N. Ford opened a grocery store. In October 1884 he removed the stock to McClusky.
In 1857 Messrs. Hamilton & Hixon opened a meat market, which was run about four years. It was the only market ever in the place.
The first blacksmith shop was established in 1836 by Wm. Hackney. He continued the same until 1875, when he closed it out being too old to work.
Patrick Duffy opened a shop in 1875, which he continued until 1880.
The first shoemaker was John Hopkins, who established a shop in 1851. He remained only about three years.
John Smith opened a shop in 1875 and remained about a year.
The only general store at present at Delhi is operated by M. V. Hamilton, who purchased the same of W. T. Dowdy in 1865. In 1873 he erected the present store building, which is 24 x 40 feet in ground area, two stories high. He carries a stock of about $4,000.
Martin V. Hamilton, one of the leading business men of Delhi, was born in Hunterdon county, New Jersey, Dec. 26, 1832. His parents, John G. and Dorothy (Crique) Hamilton, were of Irish extraction, but born in the state of New York. In 1836 the family removed to Madison county, Illinois, settling near Godfrey, on a farm, where Mrs. Hamilton died in 1855. John G. Hamilton died in Virden, Macoupin county. The subject of this sketch came to Piasa township in 1859, since which time he has been a resident here. He was married, March 13, 1859, to Mary J. Lurton, a daughter of Jacob Lurton. She died Feb. 29, 1876. She was an estimable lady, and a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. Nov. 6, 1878 Mr. Hamilton was married to Lillie Bell, of Jerseyville, and by this union has two children, Mabel and Edith. Mr. Hamilton was elected supervisor in 1880, and served until the spring of 1885. He is a member of the Baptist church, also of the Masonic fraternity and the Knights of Honor at Jerseyville.
John Myers opened a blacksmith shop in 1878, and is the present representative in that line.
The drug business is represented by Dr. J. F. Gary and E. D. Griggs. They also carry a small stock of confectionery, tobacco, etc. They engaged in this line of trade in March 1885.
William Brumhead is engaged in making boots and shoes, etc., and also in repairing the same. He came to Delhi in 1853, learning his trade with John Hopkins.
Another representative of the shoemaking business is John Snyder, who entered into that line in 1884.
A postoffice was established at Delhi in 1831, and N. R. Lurton was commissioned postmaster. He occupied that position until his death in 1844, though the post office was continued in his name until 1847, and was kept by Joseph Pennifield. Since that time the following has been the succession of postmasters: William Hackney, 1847-50; William Scott, 1850-62; E. Tillotson, 1862-66; M. V. Hamilton, 1866-69; S. B. Clapp, 1869-73; H. D. Edwards, 1873-83; H. N. Ford, 1883-84; at which time the present incumbent, E. D. Griggs, was appointed. The postoffice is kept in the store of M. V. Hamilton.
In 1831 Nelson R. Lurton erected a building in Delhi for hotel purposes, which he operated until 1844, when his death occurred. His widow continued the business until 1846, when she leased the building to Mr. Buffon, but afterward took charge of it again. In 1848 William Scott became landlord, and was succeeded in 1852 by William Smith, who conducted the house until 1855, when it again reverted to Scott, who operated it until 1858, when it was discontinued as a hotel and became a private residenc.
A hotel was opened in Delhi about the year 1857 by Harry Spaulding. He conducted it until 1869 [sic 1859 ?], when Elias Tillotson took charge. In 1861 he was succeeded by M. V. Hamilton. James L. Pennifield became its landlord in 1866, and so continued for two years. It then ceased to be a hotel and was used for a residence. After a time, Mrs. Myers re-opened it as a hotel. There were hotel accommodations in Delhi until 1880, since which time John Kent and James Pennifield have kept boarders. M. V. Hamilton now provides for the transient trade.
Springs Hotel at Piasa Chautauqua, photo from Stan Shaw.
The first school at Delhi was taught in 1838 in a small log cabin, 16 feet square, which stood within the present limits of the village. The next building was erected in 1840, where the present school house now stands. It was a frame structure, and was used until 1866, when the present house was built. It is 26 x 34 feet in size, and was completed at a cost of $1,500. John Henderson taught the first term of school in this building. Lena Ross is the teacher at present. The board of directors is composed of H. D. Edwards, M. V. Hamilton and Dr. Gary.
Delhi lodge No. 1139, K. of H. was organized July 8, 1878 by John W. Vinson of Jerseyville. The charter members of the society were: Henry D. Edwards, Spencer Wycoff, C. M. Cummings, William O. Langdon, James P. Walker, Henry B. Rothweiler, J. F. Gary, Horatio M. Ford. The first officers of the organization were: Henry D. Edwards, D.; J. F. Gary, P.D.; C.C. Cummings, V.D.; James Walker, A.D.; C. M. Wilson, R.; H. N. Ford, F.R.; M. V. Hamilton, T.; Dr. W. O. Langdon, C.; Spencer Wyckoff, G.' Henry Rothweiler, Gn.; Dr. J. F. Gary, M.E.; W. O. Langdon, M. V. Hamilton and Spencer Wyckoff, trustees. The present officers of the lodge are W. H. Bartlett, P.D.; Theodore Oscar, D.; John Rue, V.D.; John Long, A.D.; J. F. Gary, R.; H. D. Edwards, F.R.; M. V. Hamilton, T; D. Sunderland, C.; John Myers, G.; J. C. Reid, Gn.; S. Wyckoff; S.; Dr. J. F. Gary, M.E.; H. McCloskey, A. J. Evarts and H. N. Ford, trustees. The present membership numbers 22. They meet in the hall owned by M. V. Hamilton, where the I.O.O.F. society also meet.
Delhi Lodge No. 659, I.O.O.F. was organized in 1879, and its charter bears the date Nov. 19 of that year. The charter members were: Joseph Chambers, William Herring, George H. VanHorn, J. S. Powell, E. T. Francis, Elon Cooke, James P. Walker, Arthur M. DeBow and Darwin Wales. Hon. Walter E. Carlin conducted the organization.