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From History of Greene and Jersey Counties, Illinois, Springfield, IL: Continental Historical Co., 1885, pp. 301 – 324. There will be typographical errors.
George Finney located near the Illinois river, in the southern part of what is now Quarry township, in 1819. He had been a soldier in the regular army, and after his discharge, in St. Louis, came up and made the settlement mentioned. In the latter part of the year 1826 he entered land on Sec. 15, T6, R13 and Sec. 8, T6, R12.
Sanford Hughes also located in what is now Quarry township in 1819. He had been a companion-in-arms of Geo. Finney, and on their discharge at St. Louis, had come up and located on the Illinois river bottom land.
David Gilbert and John Stafford were also settlers of 1819, locating with their former comrades of the regular service, Finney and Hughes, on the bottom land of the Illinois river, in what is now Quarry township.
A man named Babcock settled in the southeastern corner of what is now Quarry township about 1819. He had been a soldier in the war of 1812. Babb’s Hollow took its name from him. Babcock died at this place.
A man named Copeland also came up with the four mentioned, and settled in the south part of Quarry township. He had also been a soldier in the United States service.
William D. F. Slaten was a settler of 1829, coming in March of that year.
William D. F. Slaten, one of the earliest settlers of Jersey county, was born in Jackson county, Ga. in 1808. He came to Illinois in 1822, locating four miles west of Carrollton, in Greene county. Seven years later he moved to Quarry township, Jersey county, living here until 1831, when he returned to Greene county and remained two years, then moved back to Quarry township, and after two years (in 1835) again returned to Greene county. In 1836 he came back to Jersey county, where he has since resided. He first settled on a farm in Quarry township, but remained there only a short time, moving to Grafton the same year. He lived at Grafton about six years, during which time he held the offices of constable, collector and deputy sheriff. In 1842 he moved to section 36 of Otter Creek township, where he lived until 1848. In the fall of that year he returned to Grafton, and was there partner in a general mercantile business, one year. Then he removed to a farm two miles northeast of Grafton, which was his home until 1852. In that year he moved to section 1, Quarry township, remaining here two years, then again returned to Grafton, but soon after returned to his farm on section 1, where he now resides. He was married in Aug. 1831, to Irene West, born in Kentucky in 1817. They had 13 children born to them, nine of whom are now living. Mr. Slaten was for many years a prominent and leading citizen of this county, and is now held in much esteem.
Woodberry Massey settled on the present site of Grafton about 1830. He afterwards moved to Otter Creek and opened a store.
Nicholas Kesling came to what is now Quarry township in 1832. He was probably the first German settler in the township.
Among other early settlers were also George Pixley, Joseph Marshall, Judah Warner and Joseph Marshaw.
Other Prominent People
A. N. Thoroman is a son of James and Sophia Thoroman, and was born in Ohio in 1848. When a child of four he was brought to Jersey county by Thomas Wedding, who settled at Rosedale. He remained with Mr. Wedding until 24 years of age, working upon a farm. In 1868 he was married to Harriett Richardson, a native of this county. She died in 1869. Jan. 25, 1873, he was married to Laura F. Brown, daughter of William S. and Amanda Brown. They have four children: Alpheus W., born May 12, 1874; Ollie, born March 1, 1875; Ruth A., born Feb. 24, 1879; Mamie, born July 29, 1882, and died Oct. 6. 1883; and Spalding M., born April 24, 1885. Mamie is buried in Hartford cemetery. Mr. Thoroman owns 40 acres of land and carries on general farming. He is a member of the Christian church and his wife of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Seth Burris, an enterprising farmer of Jersey county, came here in 1856, and settled on Coon creek, where he lived four years. He then removed to his present location on section 2, Quarry township. He owns a valuable and well improved farm, comprising 120 acres, 55 of which is improved, and 65 woodland. Seth Burris was born in the state of Kentucky in 1827, and is a son of Job and Sarah (Hendricks) Burris, both of whom died in Madison county, Ill. He was married Oct. 24, 1850 to Rhoda Whitlock, a native of Jersey county. Five of their children are living: Benjamin, who lives in Kansas; John, in Minnesota; Margaret E., wife of Henry A. Kruger, of York, Neb.; Henry Grantus, married, and living at York, Neb.; and Charles Perry, living at home. Mrs. Burris died in 1877, and on the 16th of October 1878, Mr. Burris was married to Sarah Jane Keyser, a native of Kentucky. Mr. Burris opposes the manufacture and sale of liquors, oleomargarine, butterine, glucose, and all such article, and always votes against such when the opportunity offers.
Spalding E. Brown came to Jersey county when quite young, accompanying his parents, William S. and Amanda (Durand) Brown. They settled at Grafton. Spalding E. Brown was born in DuPage county, Ill. in 1849. He received a good education, attending the district schools of Grafton, and later a select school taught by Prof. Atchison, of Chicago, under whose tuition he continued six months. He afterwards attended another select school at Fidelity, fully preparing himself for the important work of teaching, which be began at Deer Plain, Calhoun county, Ill., teaching there two terms of six months each. Since then he has taught one term at Union school; the same at Snow school house, during which the building was destroyed by fire, in the middle of the six months term; one term at Teneriffe school; the same at Rosedale, Farmer’s school house, German school house, Washington and Pleasant Cove schools. He has, most of the time, followed teaching during the winter and farming in the summer seasons. He was married Feb. 1, 1873, to Anna M. Journey, daughter of Samuel Journey, of this county. Mr. and Mrs. Brown are the parents of one child, Carrie E. Mr. Brown has served as road supervisor one term. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, also of the Masonic fraternity. He is the owner of a farm of 90 acres, located in Quarry township. His parents now reside in Fieldon, Rosedale township, in this county.
Samuel P. Dinsmoor, a prominent and leading farmer of Quarry township, is of Scotch, English and French extraction. He is the seventh from John Dinsmoor, who went from Scotland to Ireland, and settled in the county of Antrim, and the sixth from John, who came to America in 1720, and settled in what is now Windham, N.H. He is the eighth from George Little, who came from England in 1840, and settled in Newbury, Mass. His father’s mother was a Little. His mother’s father’s father was a Frenchman and lived in Canada. His mother’s mother was a Cleveland, and he is the ninth generation from Moses Cleveland, the emigrant, and sixth cousin to President Grover Cleveland. He has the genealogies of the Dinsmoor, Little and Cleveland families. His father, William A. Dinsmoor, was born in Chester, New Hampshire, Oct. 3, 1814, and married to Laodicea Tubbs. The latter is now living in Coolville, Ohio. William A. Dinsmoor died in that state Sept. 6, 1884. The subject of this sketch was born in Athens county, Ohio, March 8, 1843, and reared upon a farm near Coolville, where he attended school. When the civil war broke out, he enlisted in the 116th Ohio Vol. Inf., and served three years, participating in 18 battles, among which were: Moorefield, Jan. 3, 1863; Winchester, June 12, 13, 14, 1863; Piedmont, June 5, 1864; Lynchburg, June 18, 1864; Occoquan, Sept. 19; Fisher’s Hill, Sept. 22, 1864; Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, 1864; Hatch’s Run, March 31, 1865; Ft. Gregg, April 2, 1865; Farmville, April 6 and 7, 1865; and surrender of Lee at Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865. He returned from the army to his home in Ohio, where he remained, engaged in farming, one year, then came to Illinois in the fall of 1866, and spent three months in Bond county, after which he became a resident of this county, where he has since lived. He first settled at Rosedale, and during the winter of 1869 and 1870, taught school at the Williams’ school house. He continued teaching five terms. Aug. 24, 1870, he was married to Mrs. Frances (Barlow) Journey, widow of Samuel Journey, and daughter of Martin B. Barlow of Kentucky. By this union there are five children: Charles A., James F., Samuel A., Thomas B., and Laura E. Mrs. Dinsmoor had four children by her former marriage, three of whom are living: William H. Journey, Alice M. Journey, Addie L. Journey, who died in April 1881, and Carried M. Journey. Mr. Dinsmoor owns 341 acres of land, 150 of which is bottom land. His business is general farming. He is a member of the A. F. & A. M., and has been school trustee six years. Previous to the death of Mr. Dinsmoor’s father, in 1884, a death had not occurred in the family for 38 years, the last one being that of his eldest brother, in 1846. Mr. Dinsmoor is a gentleman of superior intelligence, and an honored citizen.
Enoch W. Wallace, of Quarry township, is a veteran of two wars, having served in the war with Mexico in 1846, as a member of the 3rd U.S. Dragoons, continuing in the service until the close of the war, and in 1861, enlisted in Co. D. of the 61st Ill. Inf., and served three years and three months in the war of the Rebellion. He enlisted as orderly sergeant, serving in that capacity till Sept. 3, 1862, when he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. He resigned his commission in February 1865, and during the last month of his service acted as captain of Co. A., of the same regiment. He participated in engagements at Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Vicksburg, Little Rock, Franklin, Nashville, and other points, and was a gallant soldier, never shrinking from duty and always at his post. Mr. Wallace was born in Davis county, Ind., in the year of 1830. He is a son of Coleman C. and Sarah (Chapman) Wallace, the former a native of Indiana, who died in that state, the latter is still living there. Enoch was brought up on a farm and remained with his parents in Indiana until the date of his enlistment in the Mexican war. At the close of the war he came to Jersey county, arriving at Andrews’ Landing, three-fourths of a mile above the mouth of the Illinois. He settled at that time near Otterville, where he lived one year, then moved to Graham Hollow, and remained until the spring of 1852. He then purchased a farm three miles north of Grafton, on which he resided a short time, removing from there to Otter Creek. In 1855 he removed to Christian county, and in 1857 returned to this county and located near Grafton, and has since that time been a resident of this vicinity. He was married in Feb. 1849 to Julia A. Bray, daughter of Isaac Bray, of Quarry township. Mr. and Mrs. Wallace are the parents of nine children: Eli M., living on a farm near Grafton; Elijah S., in Grafton; William T., engaged in farming in this township; Rosa S., wife of Rupert Claridge, editor of the Stockman, at San Antonio, Tex.; Alford J., living in Grafton; Alice J., wife of William Holbrook, of Macoupin county; Enoch W., Perry A., and I. Newton, living at home with their parents. Mr. Wallace owns a good farm of 80 acres, and is a member of the G.A.R.
William Williams (deceased), an early settler and wealthy farmer of Quarry township, was born in Scioto county, Ohio, and was a son of Robert Williams. He came to Jersey county in 1835 and settled at Camden, where he lived three years and then removed to a farm eight miles west of that place. He resided here until his death, which occurred in 1868. He was the owner of 1,000 acres of land. He was married in 1836 to Sidney Darnell, who was born in Kentucky. Three of their children are now living: Nelson, William and Elvira, wife of Martin Fox, of Grafton. Nelson Williams, eldest son of William and Sidney (Darnell) Williams, was born in Jersey county in 1840. He was brought up and educated in this county. In 1862 he was married to Adaline Stafford, daughter of John Stafford, of this county. They are the parents of five children: Lula May, Ollie Bird, Ivy Myrtle, Grace V., and Elva L. In 1878 Mr. Williams went to Pawnee county, Kan., and settled on a homestead which he improved and lived upon one year. He returned to Jersey county in the fall of 1881 and rented the farm of Thomas Thompson, seven miles west of Grafton, where he now resides. Mr. Williams was in the army three years during the war of the Rebellion, enlisting in 1862 in the 97th Ill. Inf. He participated in the battles of Arkansas Post, Vicksburg, Port Gibson, Champion Hills, siege of Blakeley, Chickasaw Bluff, Black River Bridge and siege of Jackson.
J. N. Noble, son of George and Sarah (Swan) Noble, waw born in Quarry township in 1849. His childhood and youth were spent on the farm where he now lives. In 1869 he went to California and remained 14 months, during which time he was engaged in farming. In 1872 he was married to Ida Ellis, a native of this county. Mr. and Mrs. Noble have three children: George E., Clarence, and Ida May. Mr. Noble owns 63 acres of land and carries on general farming. He is a member of the I.O.O.F. His father, George Noble, died in Quarry township in 1856, and is buried near Otterville. His mother, Sarah Noble, died in 1862, and is buried at the same place.
Antoine DeFossa is a native of Canada, and a son of Spray and Rojenia DeFossa, both natives of Canada. He was born in the year 1832, and in his youth worked upon a farm. At the age of 20 years he went to Monticello, Canada, to learn the baker’s trade, at which he worked three years. He then went to St. Paul, Minn., where he spent 18 months, then engaged as cook on board a steamboat, following that occupation three months, after which he came to Jersey county. Here he worked at chopping wood and various employments until 1861, when he moved to Grafton, where he worked by the day about 15 years. He then moved to the farm of Henry Eastman, on which he still lives. He was married in 1858 to Eliza Jane Vanantrop, who was born in Tennessee. They have three children: Josephine, Catherine, and Charles. Mr. DeFossa is at present serving as school director. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, also of the I.O.O.F., and as a citizen is highly esteemed.
Charles M. Chase owns and resides upon a farm of 200 acres, located on section 12, Quarry township, where he settled in 1871. He was born in Meigs county, O. in 1828, and is a son fo Charles C. and Mary P. (Holt) Chase; the former a native of Maine, and latter of Canada. Charles M. lived upon a farm with his parents until 1851. In that year he went to California and remained one year, engaged in a sawmill, then returned east to Ohio, where he lived one year. He next went to Iowa, and two years later to Kansas. He remained ther one year, after which he went to Catlettsburg, Ky., there engaging in the drug business, continuing the same three years; then removed to Clark county, Ill., in the spring of 1862, and there followed farming until 1871. Mr. Chase was married in 1859 to Melinda McKee, a native of Lyons county, O. They have one child, Frank M., who now lives with his parents. Mr. Chase is a member of Masonic order. Charles C. Chase, father of the subject of this sketch, died in Rutland, O., in 1857. His widow, Mrs. Mary (Holt) Chase, survived until 1882, when she died at the same place.
Daniel Davis is a son of John and Elizabeth (Green) Davis, and was born Jan. 8, 1815 in Kentucky. His parents died in Ohio, his mother in 1820 and his father in 1835. Daniel was brought up on a farm, and in his youth went to Cincinnati, where he learned the carpenter’s trade and resided 25 years. He then removed to Lewis county, Ky., and a few years later to Henderson county of the same state. He remained 12 years in the latter county, after which he went to Quincy, Ill., and two years later came to Jersey county, and settled at Grafton, where he now lives. He is engaged in skiff-building and fishing. He ships to St. Louis, annually, aout $800 worth of fish. Mr. Davis was married in 1838 to Sarah Jane Garrett, a native of Ohio. They are the parents of four children: Franklin B., now living in Arkansas; Thomas J., in Little Rock, Ark.; Mary E., wife of Benjamin Suttlis, of Grafton; and Missouri Anna, wife of Sidney Noble, of Quarry township. Mrs. Davis is a member of the M.E. church.
John Hart, deceased, was a native of Pulaski county, Ky., a son of Berry and Nancy (Blankinship) Hart, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. John was reared in that state, and in 1855 went to Iowa, where he remained a few months. In June of the same year he came to Jersey county and settled on Sec. 33, Otter Creek township. He removed to Quarry township, where he resided until his decease. He was married in 1852 to Lucinda Berry, who was born in Lincoln county, Ky. Nine children were born to them, seven of whom are still living: John M., of Jersey county; Lucy, wife of Frank Miller, now living in Kansas; James H., Thomas A., Ernest B., George M., and Mollie L. Those deceased were Margaret C., wife of Henry Noble of this county, and Lillie, who died in 1867. On the 15th of March 1883, Mr. Hart and one of his sons, while returning from Jerseyville to their home in this township, had their carriage upset in driving around a corner. Mr. Hart was thrown out and received internal injuries, which proved to be the cause of his death on June 29 of the same year. He was a man universally beloved and was well deserving of the high esteem in which he was held throughout the entire community. His loss fell heavily, not only upon his family, but also upon all with whom he had business or social relations. He was a loving and indulgent husband and father, a kind neighbor and a Christian gentleman. His remains were laid to rest in the family cemetery. He began life in humble circumstances, and died possessed of a comfortable fortune, leaving his family provided for.
Oliver Dare is a native of Pennsylvania, where he was born in 1832, being a son of James and Rebecca (Richey) Dare, natives of Pennsylvania. He came to this state in 1867 and settled in Calhoun county, and five years later became a resident of this county, which has since been his home. When he was but two years old he was taken by his parents to the state of New Jersey, where they lived 22 years. He was married in 1850 to Rebecca Hartman, of New Jersey. His father died in Calhoun county in 1871. His mother died in New Jersey in 1848.
Ziba Noble, a well known farmer of Quarry township, is a son of George A. and Sarah (Swan) Noble. George Noble was born in Mississippi in the year 1800. His wife was born at Fort Columbus, Ill. in 1811. The subject of this sketch is a native of Quarry township, born in November 1838. His early life was spent upon a farm in his native township. In 1860 he went to California, and there remained, engaged in mining, seven and a half years. While there he was quite successful, and succeeded in accumulating a competency. He returned to Quarry township in 1867, and settled upon the farm where he now lives, which contains 100 acres of well improved land, located on section 1. Mr. Noble was married in March 1870 to Mary McDow, a native of Jersey county, daughter of William McDow, of Otter Creek township. They have one child, Inez. Mr. Noble holds the office of commissioner of highways of Quarry township.
The first settlement was made by James Mason in 1832, who built four split-log cabins and afterward named the town in honor of his native place. Charles Chapman also erected a cabin during that year. Shortly afterward Paris Mason put up a frame structure, which he occupied as a general store, the first in the settlement. This building has since been remodeled and forms a part of W. H. Allen’s residence. Abijah Whiting, John Keys and Brook Stafford were also among the first settlers.
The town was surveyed April 15, 1836, and at that time displayed unusual signs of prosperity and it was fully believed that a large and prosperous city would be built. The town was laid out by Paris and Sarah Mason, administrators of the estate of James Mason. The first sale of lots occurred in 1836, and were disposed of at from $50 to $100. The second sale took place in 1837. This was at a time when speculation was running wild throughout the state; new towns were being laid out by the score and every speculator saw a fortune within his grasp. Grafton shared in the excitement, and lots rose to fabulous figures. The auctioneer easily disposed of them at sums ranging in amount from $400 to $1,500. Lots back of the town on the bluffs, on land now of little value, changed hands at good, round figures; and below the town the Chicago addition was projected on the bluffs, covering a site which has since been almost as destitute of streets and buildings as it was the day Marquette sailed down the Mississippi on his first voyage of discovery. The crash of 1837 came; banks broke, speculators failed, and lots fell rapidly to prices inconsiderable in comparison with their former valuation. The first houses were built in what is still the business portion of the town, the 16th section being thrown into the market, the town extended farther in that direction, and now its length along the river is more than two miles.
The second store in the place was erected soon after that of Paris Mason. John Keys was the proprietor, and he carried on the general merchandise trade, also dealing in grain and pork.
John Armstrong also opened a general merchandise store in 1836.
In the same year two other similar establishments were started, those of W. B. Denby and Lawson & Lucas.
All these, save Keys, felt the effects of the trade depression of 1837-38 to such an extent that they were compelled to close their doors.
Brook Stafford established a blacksmith shop in Grafton in 1836. He was the first in that line in the place.
Carl Albert engaged in the sale of general merchandise Sept. 1, 1884, in Upper Grafton. The building is constructed of brick, 25 x 50 feet in dimensions, two stories high.
Carl Albert, merchant at Grafton, was born in Germany in 1848. He grew to manhood in his native country, where he received a liberal education, graduating from Hamburg College in 1867. He then went into the army, from which he was discharged on account of disability. In 1882 he came to America and settled, then, at Grafton, Jersey county, Ill. Here he was engaged as teacher of the German language two years; then, in 1884, opened a store of general merchandise, which he still carries on, and is doing a thriving business. Mr. Albert was married June 5, 1883 to Rosa Frieman, who was born in Grafton. They have one child, Barbara, born Dec. 12, 1883. Mr. Albert’s father, Andreas Albert, was born in Germany, and now resides here, with him. His mother, Mrs. Laura Albert, also a native of Germany, died at Hamburg in that country in 1871.
The general merchandise business of H. E. Brinton was established by M. Grady & Co. in 1869, who were succeeded by W. S. Brinton & Co. in 1874. In the early part of 1885 it was transferred to H. E. Brinton.
C. P. Stafford has been engaged in the sale of general merchandise since 1883. The store room in which he does business is 50 x 70 feet in size, constructed of brick and two stories high.
Christopher P. Stafford, a leading merchant of Grafton and a prominent citizen of Jersey county, is a son of Brook and Mary A. (Hilliard) Stafford. He was born in the city of Philadelphia in 1831, and removed with his parents to this county in 1836. Here he received his education, and in his youth learned the harness-maker’s trade, which he followed 12 years. He then engaged in merchandising, and has continued in that business since. He was married in 1850 to Charlotte Roe, a native of Ireland. Three children were born to them: Alice, deceased wife of Lewis Slaten, of Grafton; George, who died in infancy; and Bell, who is now a teacher in the graded school at Grafton. Mrs. Stafford died in April 1858. Feb. 29, 1860, Mr. Stafford was married to Angeline Amburg, a native of this county. By this marriage there were seven children: Delia, now assistant postmistress at Grafton; Christopher P., who is now in Texas, engaged in the office of the Texas Stock Journal; John M., in the store with his father; Janes H., Fred Smith and Harry E. Sadie died in infancy. Mr. Stafford served as justice of the peace 24 years, beginning in 1853. In 1881 he was elected a member of the county board, which office he has held continuously since that time. He is at present serving his fourth term in that capacity. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and of the I.O.O.F.
Dr. J. Tidball is engaged in the sale of drugs, paints, oils, etc., which he established in 1881. He has also been practicing medicine since 1876.
The drug and book store, managed by W. R. Hewitt, on lower Main street, was established by Dr. Harriott in 1870. He was succeeded by C. W. Lund in 1875, who ran it until his death in the fall of 1878, since which time it has been owned and operated by Mrs. M. E. Lund. The building is 25 x 40 feet and is constructed of stone.
Charles Walker Lund (deceased) was born in Barry, Pike county, Ill., Oct. 22, 1841. His parents were William and Elizabeth Lund. Charles W. Lund came to Jersey county in April 1873, and settled in Grafton, where he engaged in the drug business, continuing the same until his death, which occurred Nov. 6, 1878. He was married Oct. 27, 1863, to Mary Ellen Hewitt, a native of England. They had five children, three of whom are living: Mary Elizabeth, wife of H. E. Budicell, of Rush Centre, Kan.; Anna Viola and George Curtis. Those deceased are: Joseph H., who died June 15, 1874; and Alma May, who died Aug. 13, 1877. Mr. Lund was a member of the I.O.O.F., and is buried in the Odd Fellows’ cemetery at Grafton.
William R. Hewitt was born in the city of Alton in 1857. His parents were Joseph and Hannah (Read) Hewitt, natives of England, who came to America in 1849 and settled at Alton. William R. received a good education, attending the graded schools of Alton, and later Shurtleff College, at Upper Alton, taking a commercial course. In 1877 he came to Grafton and entered the drug store of his brother-in-law, C. W. Lund, who died in 1878. Since that time Mr. Hewitt has carried on the business, and is now enjoying a thriving trade. As a business man he is popular and successful. He has been a member of the town board one year, and served as township clerk two years. He belongs to the I.O.O.F.
Among the leading firms of Grafton is that of Allen & Rippley, dealers in hardware, stoves and furniture. The members of the firm are W. H. Allen, Jr. and Frank Rippley. They are doing a fine business in these lines, and carry a stock of tinware, cutlery, guns, pistols, ammunition, fishing tackle, pictures, frames in addition, and do the principal business in tin roofing. The business was established Aug. 1, 1881. Their building is 23 x 70 feet, two stories high, constructed of stone.
Frank Rippley, of the firm of Allen & Rippley, is the son of George and Helen (Sume) Rippley, natives of Baden, Germany. Frank Rippley was born in Bonneville, Mo., Dec. 15, 1857. He went to St. Louis Sept. 15, 1873, and learned the tinner’s trade. He came to Grafton, Ill., Oct. 3, 1876, and worked for Brook Stafford at the tinner’s trade until Feb. 4, 1878, when he bought the stove and tin business of B. Stafford, and continued the business for himself. Aug. 1, 1881, William H. Allen, Jr., bought an interest in the business, and became a partner. They then moved in a large building, and opened a general store, consisting of hardware, stoves, tinware, furniture and house furnishing goods of all kinds, and have continued the business up to the present time. They keep a full stock of goods on hand always, and bear the reputation of being one of the best and most accommodating firms in Jersey county.
The carriage and wagon making industry is represented by F. Stinman, who established the same in the fall of 1868.
Bank of Grafton
This monetary institution was established in October 1869 by W. H. Allen and E. A. Pinero, and was operated by them as a private concern until 1873, when W. H. Allen succeeded the above named firm. On the 5th of July, 1883, the present management assumed control. The directors are W. H. Allen, C. P. Stafford and E. Meysenburg.
Ernst Meysenburg, cashier of the Grafton bank, was born in Rhine province, Prussia, and is a son of F. W. and Johannah (Schmitz) Meysenburg; the latter died in Germany in 1853, and the former came to America in 1857, and settled in St. Louis, where he died 10 years later. The subject of this sketch came to America in 1855, accompanying his uncle, Theodore Kimm, who had been a dry good merchant in St. Louis, until 1849; the latter had come to America in 1835. In 1855 he returned to Europe for a visit, and on coming back to St. Louis, brought with him, Ernst, who was then a lad of 13 years. His uncle had settled on a farm, afterwards laid out by him and called Kimmswick, a station 20 miles below St. Louis, on the Iron Mountain railroad. There Ernst remained two years on a farm. He then went to St. Louis and engaged as clerk in a wholesale house. The firm by whom he was employed failed in 1858, and he returned to Kimmswick, and went to work for his uncle, opening a store of general merchandise. In the fall of 1859, he went to St. Louis, and entered the employ of Joseph Gray, a retail hatter, with whom he continued until the fall of 1860. At that date he went to Sulphur Springs, as agent for the Iron Mountain railroad company. A few months later he enlisted as private in Co. E. 2nd Mo. Cav., and served until 1865, the latter two years as 1st sergeant. He then went to work in a wholesale hat establishment in St. Louis, continuing there two years, after which he formed a partnership with Henry Eastman, and engaged in general merchandising at Grafton, Jersey county, Ill. This partnership continued four years, when B. J. Smith took the place of Mr. Eastman, the firm becoming Meysenburg & Smith. In 1876, C. P. Stafford became a partner in the firm, which remained unchanged until 1879, then Mr. Smith retired, the firm becoming Meysenburg & Stafford. In August 1883, Mr. Meysenburg disposed of his mercantile interests, to assume the position which he now occupies, as cashier of the bank. He was married in Grafton, Oct. 7, 1869, to Mary H. Fichner, daughter of James Fichner, of Grafton. She was born at Wheeling, Va. They are the parents of four children: Fannie, Nannie, Edith and Clara. Mr. Meysenburg has served two years on the board of supervisors, and has been school trustee, and president of the town board, two terms. He is the owner of a comfortable residence in Grafton, and is interested in the Grafton bank and quarries. He is a member of the I.O.O.F.
The Valley House was established in 1871 by W. S. Dempsey. At that time the building was a two-story frame structure, 30 x 40 feet in size. In 1873 the building was torn down and rebuilt. It is now a tow-story frame, 50 x 75 feet, and contains about 20 sleeping rooms. It is a well kept house and is situated on Main street, in the business part of town.
William S. Dempsey, of Grafton, was born in the northern part of Ireland, in 1844, and is a son of Hugh and Sarah (Agnew) Dempsey, natives of Ireland. In 1846 William immigrated with his parents to America, and settled in Eastern Pennsylvania, and in 1852 removed to the city of Philadelphia. There they remained two years, then came to Jersey county and located at Grafton, where William S. has resided the greater part of the time since. In 1868 he opened a saloon, and in 1871 built the Valley House and began keeping hotel, which he still continues. In 1864 he drove an ox team across the plains to Virginia City, Nevada. In the fall of the same year he drove the first team ever driven down Prickly Pear Valley, and camped in “Last Chance” gulch, where Helena is now located. His brother, James A. Dempsey, was at that time employed by the government as interpreter on the Snake River Indian reservation. James A. Dempsey was massacred by the Indians in Idaho in June 1874. William remained in Montana three years, then returned home, via the Missouri river, with a party of 52 men, on board the Mackinaw, arriving at Grafton in the fall of 1867. Mr. Dempsey was married in 1871, to Jane Brower, daughter of William and Lucy Brower, of Ulster county, N.Y. Mr. and Mrs. Dempsey have three children: W. H., Gideon, and Christina. His father, Hugh Dempsey, died in 1855, and was buried in St. Patrick’s cemetery in Philadelphia. His remains were in 1874, removed to the Catholic cemetery at Jerseyville. Mrs. Sarah Dempsey died in 1872 and was buried in Jerseyville.
The Ruebel Hotel is a fine three-story brick structure, with stone foundation, 76 x 71 feet in ground area, and is operated by its founder, Michael Ruebel. It contains 32 rooms, in addition to the parlor, office, billiard, store and dinning rooms, the latter being 28 x 38 feet in dimensions. There is also a kitchen 20 x 20 feet in size. The structure was commenced during the winter of 1884, and when completed will cost about $7,000, being the finest and largest hotel in Jersey county. A fine view of teh Mississippi rover is had from two verandas, parlor and several sleeping apartments. The hotel is convenient to business, newly furnished, and is also to be supplied with fire escapes upon completion. It is well kept by Mr. Ruebel, who provides abundantly for the comfort and convenience of his guests.
Michael Ruebel, son of Peter and Barbara (Hoffman) Ruebel, is a native of Bavaria, Germany, born in the year 1834. When 16 years old he came to America and settled at Green point, Long Island, where he remained 18 months; then went to Zanesville, O., and, eight months later, to St. Louis, Mo. He resided in St. Louis till the spring of 1863, at which time he came to Grafton. Here he worked three years at the cooper’s trade, then engaged in keeping saloon. In 1879 he began keeping a hotel, which he still continues. In 1855 he was united in marriage with Margaret Maurer, daughter of Leonard Maurer, of St. Louis. Eight children have been born to them, five of whom are living: Michael, George, Charles, Louisa, and Sherman. Christian died at the age of six and two died in infancy. Mr. Ruebel served four months in the army during the war of the Rebellion. He is a republican in politics, and has been school trustee three terms. He owns 20 acres of land, and hotel property, a saloon, residence and two lots in Grafton. Mr. Ruebel’s parents are deceased, his mother having died in Germany in 1856, and his father in Ohio in 1867.
The Grafton House is operated by Martin Flanigan, who commenced business in 1869. The house at that time was a two-story frame, 12 x 24 feet in size. In 1872 he remodeled the building and enlarged it to 24 x 38 feet, and as his business demanded larger accommodations still, he accordingly built an additon in 1883, 26 x 38 feet in dimensions. At present the house contains 22 sleeping apartment. Mr. Flanigan also operates a livery and feed stable in connection with the hotel.
Martin Flanigan, proprietor of a hotel and saloon at Grafton, was born in county Limerick, Ireland, in 1841, and is a son of James and Jane (Kane) Flanigan, both natives of Ireland. At or about the age of 20 years, Martin came to American and settled in Washington, D.C., where he remained till the spring of 1866. He then removed to St. Louis and remained in that city until 1869, at which time he came to Grafton, and engaged in his present business. Mr. Flanigan was married in 1862 to Mary C. Eight children have been born to them, five of whom are living: Jane, wife of Mr. Fitzgibbons, of Grafton; John, Mary A., Margaret T., and Martin J. Those deceased were: Catherine, Catherine Helen, and Johanna. They are buried in the Catholic cemetery. Mr. Flanigan owns his business property and a residence in the town of Grafton, and is in prosperous circumstances. He and his wife are members of the Catholic church. His mother, Mrs. Jane Flanigan, died in Ireland in 1863. His father, James Flanigan, died in the city of Philadelphia in 1883.
John A. McClintock, jeweler at Grafton, came to this town and established his present business in 1874. He was born in St. Clair county, Ill. in 1845, a son of James McClintock, a native of Bourbon county, Ky. His mother was formerly a Miss Glass, of St. Clair county, Ill. John resided in his native county until 1851, then with his parents removed to Hancock county, of the same state. In 1863 he went to Quincy, Ill., and there learned the jeweler’s trade with E. B. Tobin. Mr. McClintock thoroughly understands his business, and has a thriving trade. In April 1882 he established the News and still owns the office, although it is under the editorial control of C. P. Edsall.
Among the mechanics of Grafton, is R. R. Nugent, the cooper, who is an excellent workman in his line, and has a good patronage.
R. R. Nugent came to Grafton from Williamstown, West Virginia, in the spring of 1865, since which time he has been a resident here. He was born in Ohio in 1833, a son of David and Margaret J. (Eccles) Nugent, both natives of Pennsylvania. He resided in Ohio until he was 28 years of age, there learning the cooper’s trade. He then went to Williamstown, Va., where he remained until the date at which he came to Grafton, and engaged there at his trade. Since coming here he has followed the same occupation principally. He was married Dec. 6, 1863 in Williamstown to Mary C. West, a native of West Virginia. She died Dec. 6, 1864, just one year from the date of her marriage. Mr. Nugent was married to Mrs. Elizabeth J. Grubb, widow of George Grubb, of Otterville, Ill. There is one child by this marriage, Leslie Milton. Mr. Nugent is a member of the Christian church, and his wife of the M.E. church. His mother, Mrs. Margaret J. Nugent, died in Grafton, Oct. 6, 1865, and was buried in the old cemetery. His father, David Nugent, is living, and resides with him at Grafton.
Andrew Young, the barber, of Grafton, was born in Prussia, Feb. 10, 1847, and is the youngest of the five sons of Anthony Young. The latter was bron in Prussia, Jan. 1, 1812. In 1852 Andrew came with his parents to America, landed in New Orleans, then went to Pomeroy, Ohio, where he remained until 1867. He then went to Cincinnati, having acquired the tonsorial art while living at Pomeroy. He followed that business until January 1865, when he enlisted in the 187th Ohio Vol. Inf. He served three months, participating in the skirmish of Resacca. He was mustered out at Macon, Ga., in Dec. 1865, and returned to Cincinnati, where he followed his former occupation until 1870. At that time he engaged as barber on board the steamer ‘Northwestern.’ He was employed in that capacity until the fall of the same year, when he came to Grafton, Jersey county, Ill., where he has since resided. Mr. Young was married to Jane Redd, Feb. 17, 1874. She was born in 1854, and died Feb. 7, 1882. Mr. Young is a member of the I.O.O.F. lodge No. 449 of Grafton, and politically is a republican.
The postoffice at Grafton was established in 1834, and Paris Mason was commissioned postmaster, who held that position until his death in 1851. The succession of postmasters since Mr. Mason are as follows: W. H. Allen, E. Brinton, S. Farrington and G. M. Slaten, the present incumbent, who was appointed in Jan. 1883. It was made a money order office in July 1883. Mail is received daily from Jerseyville by stage. There is also mail three times a week each way by rail.
George Newton Slaten, one of the business men of Grafton, is a son of John W. and Ann (Piggott) Slaten. John W. Slaten was born in Georgia, and his wife, Ann, in Missouri. George N. was born in Jersey county Oct. 6, 1844, and remained with his parents until 21 years of age. He received a good education, attending the district schools, and later, Lebanon College. In 1871 he went west, and spent two years in the states of Texas and Nebraska returning in 1873. The same year he was elected constable, and served in that capacity eight years. In 1878 he was elected to the office of collector, which he filled seven years, and is now the present incumbent. In 1883 he was appointed postmaster at Grafton. He opened the lumber yard, which he now carries on, in 1877. He is the owner of 700 acres of rough land in Jersey county, 220 acres of which is in cultivation, the remainder in pasture. Mr. Slaten is clerk of the board of school directors, also clerk and treasurer of the town of Grafton. He is a member of the I.O.O.F., and permanent secretary of Silurian Lodge No. 449, of such order.
Rev. John T. Huffman was born near Paris, Edgar county, Ill. in 1847, and is a son of James and Phebe (Tiffin) Huffman, the former a native of Virginia, the latter of Ohio. At the age of 20 years, John entered McKendree College, and was for a part of two years a student in that institution. He then spent one year in traveling in the east. In 1870 he was licensed to preach by the Methodist Episcopal Conference, and entered upon his duties in Montgomery county, Ill. He preached 10 years in this state, then went to Arkansas and joined the Little Rock Conference. Six months later he was transferred to the Arkansas Conference, and continued to preach there a few months, when, on account of the ill health of his family, he returned to Illinois. Here he labored with the Free Methodist Conference of Illinois two years. At the expiration of that period he became connected with the Southern Illinois Conference, and began his labors at Grafton, where he now preaches. Mr. Huffman is an able and talented preacher, and a faithful and successful worker in the vineyard of the Master. He was united in marriage in 1870 with Rosa Bell Potter, of Grand Rapids, Mich., who died in 1871. They had one child who died in infancy. Mr. Huffman was again married Aug. 9., 1875 to Elizabeth Funston of Livingston, Ill. She died Dec. 9 of the same year. Nov. 23, 1876, he was married to Rosa Lane of Staunton, Ill. By this union there were four children, three of whom are now living: Nellie B., Phebe Maud, and Lucy C. Sarah A. died in infancy. Mr. Huffman’s father died at Memphis, Tenn. in 1864, while in the service of his country. His mother is still living.
Silas Farrington was born Dec. 26, 1803 at Belchertown, Mass. At the age of 14 years he entered a cotton mill, and spent two years in learning to operate the machinery, then engaged as a spinner. After one year he was placed in charge of the spinning room, as overseer, which position he occupied four years. He then went to Dorchester, six miles from Boston, where he learned the carpenter’s trade, working one and a half years, for which he received the sum of $150. He became in that time a skilled workman, and then commanded the highest wages. In 1825 he went to Roxbury, Mass., where he resided 11 years, engaged in working for different parties. He was there married in 1828 to Elizabeth Kelly. In the fall of 1836 he moved to Bloomfield, Conn., four and a half miles from the city of Hartford, where he purchased a farm, and carried on farming in connection with working at his trade, at which he had constant employment. He continued there four years, then moved to Hartford, built a residence and lived in that city 14 years. In the winter of 1852-53 he went to Washington, D.C., and remained eight months, employed by the Washington Stone Company upon the Washington monument. In 1854 he moved to Trenton, N.J., where he built a residence. Mrs. Farrington died at Trenton, Feb. 5, 1855. The following October, Mr. Farrington removed to St. Louis, Mo., and three years later, came to Grafton, Jersey county, and opened the first stone quarry ever opened at that point. He quarried the stone used in the construction of the bridges at St. Louis, Quincy and Meredosia, also of the first Lindell hotel of St. Louis. He continued this business till 1876, when he was appointed postmaster at Grafton, which position he held seven years, during which he was engaged in the furniture business. The latter he sold in 1883, since which he has run a repair shop, repairing furniture. Mr. Farrington was married in 1856 to Frances Marten, who died at Grafton, July 17, 1873, and Dec. 24, 1875, he was married to Elizabeth Johnston. He had by his first marriage, two children, one of whom, Silas, Jr., is now minister of the Unitarian church, engaged in preaching at Manchester, Eng. Mr. Farrington is a member of the Universalist church, also of Charter Oak lodge, I.O.O.F., at Hartford, Conn., and of the encampment. He is a man of sterling qualities and enjoys the confidence and respect of the entire community.
Brook Stafford, a wealthy and prominent citizen of Grafton, settled here in the spring of 1836 and engaged in blacksmithing, being the first to engage in that business in Grafton. He was born in New Jersey, Dec. 10, 1808, and is a son of David and Sylvia (Eaton) Stafford. Brook Stafford was married in 1826 to Mary Ann Hilliard, a native of Philadelphia, and by this union had seven children: David C., living in Grafton; Christopher P., also in Grafton; Israel, who died in 1855; Mary J., wife of George Thomas, of Grafton; Elizabeth, wife of M. Jones, of Grafton; Sarah L., wife of John Brown, of this county; and Brook, who died in Leadville, Col. in 1881. Mrs. Stafford died in 1850. Two years later Mr. Stafford was married to Arty Ballard of Jersey county. She died in 1853, and the following year he was married to Nancy Parker of Greene county. By this marriage there were two children: Ida Blanche, now wife of Samuel Leggett, of Jersey county; and John P. In 1869 Mr. Stafford was again bereaved by the death of his wife, and in 1871 he was married to Mrs. Maria Leper, widow of William Leper, of Greene county. By this last union there is one child, Lena May. Mr. Stafford owns 500 acres of land, also residence and business property in Grafton. He is a member of the M.E. church and of the Masonic fraternity. For 25 years he has served as justice of the peace, and is a highly respected and useful citizen.
James Mason, deceased, one of the earliest settlers of Grafton, Jersey county, Ill., was born at Grafton, Mass. in July 1783, and died in St. Louis July 5, 1834. When a young man he went to Portsmouth, N.H., and after two or three years, went to sea, being engaged in trade with the West Indies for a number of years. He then went to New York city and became a partner in the wholesale grocery firm of Hancock & Mason. The firm subsequently failed, and Mr. Mason came west, locating at Edwardsville, Madison county, Ill., where he engaged in the real estate business. He was one of the prominent men of this vicinity, and assisted in laying out the city of Springfield. He was married Aug. 15, 1818, in St. Louis, to Sarah Von Phul, a sister of Henry Von Phul, who, at the time of his death, was the oldest merchant in St. Louis, being upwards of 90 years. Mr. and Mrs. Mason were the parents of one child: Martha M., now the wife of William H. Allen, of Grafton. Mrs. Mason died Sept. 18, 1867, at the home of her daughter in Grafton.
William Murphy, son of Jesse and Ellen (Mathews) Murphy, was born in the state of Ohio in 1830. He resided in his native state until Sept. 1857, at which time he came to Jersey county and engaged in farming in Quarry township. In Feb 1864 he enlisted in the service of his country, and served 18 months; then at the close of the war, returned to Jersey county and resumed farming. He continued that occupation until 1882, when, on account of failing health, he retired from active labor and moved to Grafton, where he now lives. He was married in 1857 to Cynthia Lawrence, a native of Ohio, and by this union had seven children: William T., who now resides on a farm in this county; Rachel E., Miner E., Carrie M., James M., Eary N. and Jesse A. April 22, 1879, Mrs. Murphy died, and in 1884 Mr. Murphy was married to Celia Myers, a native of Indiana. Mr. Murphy owns residence property in the village of Grafton, and account of disability, contracted while in the army, draws a pension from the government. He has served three years as school director and is a highly respected citizen.
William S. Brinton, a retired merchant of Grafton, was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania in 1835. He came to Jersey county in 1858, and located at Newbern. Three years later he moved to Grafton, where he has since been a resident. For the first eight years of his residence here, he was employed in teaching school. He then entered the store of Grady & Co. as clerk, with whom he remained until 1874. At that time he purchased their stock of goods, and engaged in merchandising, which he continued until 1885, when he retired from the business. He was married in 1860 to Miss E. J. Spaulding, daughter of Richard Spaulding of this county. They have four children: Harry E., Effie May, William R. and Alford. Mr. Brinton is a member and an earnest worker of the M.E. church, and has been for three years superintendent of the Sunday school. Mrs. Brinton is also a member of that church. He has held the office of marshal two years, and school director 10 years. He is a member of the A. F. & A. M., and the I.O.O.F.
William I. Bray is a son of Isaac and Rosanna (White) Bray. Isaac Bray came to Jersey county in 1831, and located two miles northeast of Grafton, where he improved a farm. He was born in North Carolina in 1792, and married to Rosanna White, who was born in the same state in 1822. Isaac Bray died in this county in 1872, and is buried in the Odd Fellows’ cemetery, near Grafton. His wife survived until 1876, when she died, and was laid to rest beside her husband. They were consistent members of the Baptist church. Isaac Bray was one of the earliest settlers of Jersey county, and assisted in laying out the town of Grafton. The subject of this sketch, William J. Bray, was born in Jersey county in the year 1840. His early life was spent on his father’s farm. He attended the district school, and obtained a fair education. In 1861 he was married to Eliza J. Slaten, daughter of W. D. F. Slaten of this township. She was born here in 1843. By this marriage there are three children: Henry, born Dec. 5, 1863; Ziba, born Nov. 30, 1866; and Rowena, born Jan. 5, 1870. Mr. Bray lives in Grafton, where he owns residence property. He at present holds the office of township assessor. He is a member of the I.O.O.F. and a public spirited citizen.
Nathan T. Veach of Grafton, is a son of William and Ruth (Burris) Veach. He was born in Scioto county, O., in 1824, and there reared on a farm. When 22 years old he began lumbering and rafting on the Ohio river, and continued that occupation until 1861. He then enlisted in the service of this country, joining the 56th Ohio Reg., in which he served one year. He was discharged on account of disability and returned home. Among the engagements in which he participated were those at Fort Donelson, Shiloh and Corinth. He came to Grafton in 1868 and for six years followed the business of stone cutting. Since that time he has been engaged in fishing, shipping from $700 to $1,200 worth of fish to St. Louis annually. He was married in 1846 to Elizabeth Bryson, a native of Kentucky. By this union there were four children: Mary L., wife of Jacob Wise, of Ohio; Australia, wife of Wm. Peck, of the same state; Wm. Thomas, now living in Texas; and Ruth, wife of Hiram McMear, of this county. Mrs. Veach died in 1856. Mr. Veach was again married in 1867 to Mary Douglas, a native of Massachusetts. They have one child, Charles F., who now resides with his parents. Mr. Veach has been a member of the town board five years, and president of the same one year. He is a republican in politics.
This hall is a large and handsome room in the upper story of the massive stone building erected in 1869 by the Grafton Stone & Transportation Co., at a cost of $14,000. The hall is 30 x 70 feet in dimensions, and is used for all public purposes.
The first meeting for the organization of the lodge of A. F. & A. M. was held at the residence of J. L. Beirne, Beirneville, Jan. 7, 1860, and was organized as Full Moon lodge No. 341. During that year the lodge was removed to Grafton, and first met over the store of Jacob Godfrey. The charter members of the society were: J. L. Bierne, Hezekiah Funk, T. K. Phipps, L. W. Bethel, J. H. Hadley, D. M. Highfill, John Piper, G. L. Smith, M. B. Hadley, Freeman Sweet and William Williams. The organization was effected by Hon. A. H. Burke, G.M.; F. M. Blair, D.G.M.; A. T. Kuykendall, S.G.W.; and S. C. Saler, J.G.W. The first officers installed were: J. L. Beirne, W.M.; Hezekiah Funk, S.W.; T. K. Phipps, J.W. The present officers of the lodge are as follows: W. S. Brinton, W.M.; Jasper Tidball, S.W.; J. Larbey, J.W.; C. P. Stafford, treas.; C. Brainard, sec.; L. Foster, S.D.; F. Stinman, J.D.; H. Backster, tyler. Those who have served as masters of the lodge since its organization are: J. L. Beirne, Hezekiah Funk, James Darby, C. P. Stafford, Jacob Godfrey, J. T. Simms, Charles Brainard, Brook Stafford, Jr., Albert Ratzal, Hiram Heath and W. S. Brinton. The present membership of the lodge numbers about 55 in good standing. The financial condition of the lodge is also excellent.
Silurian lodge No. 449, I.O.O.F. was organized in April 1871 by D. P. G. M. James Starr. The date of the charter is Oct. 8, 1872, upon which are the following charter members: James R. Bell, C. J. Lyons, C. P. Stafford, William H. Allen, James Nelson, W. S. Brinton, R. D. Sudduth, F. Steinman, W. C. Curry and L. Foster. The first officers were James R. Bell, N.G.; C. J. Lyons, V.G.; C. P. Stafford, secretary; W. H. Allen, treasurer. Those who have held the office of N.G. since the organization of the lodge are W. S. Brinton, C. J. Lyons, S. Farrington, C. P. Stafford, Ernest Meysenburg, F. Steinman, A. Young, W. H. Allen, B. Stafford, T. A. Reams, C. W. Lund, H. C. Allen, M. Ruebel, Thomas Robinson, Ziba Noble, William I. Bray, E. Brinton, J. Closson, William R. Huitt, Thomas M. Calloway. The present officers are: George Ratcliff, N.G.; Harry Willison, V.G.; C. P. Stafford, R.S.; G. M. Slaten, P.S. The present condition of the lodge is flourishing, with a membership of 41 in good standing. They have leased a neat and comfortable hall, in connection with the Masonic lodge, in which to hold their meetings, the lease extending over a period of 10 years.
Grafton Encampment No. 131, I.O.O.F., was organized Jan. 10, 1872, by E. A. Casey of Jerseyville, with the following charter members: E. A. Pinero, T. A. Reaves, C. P. Stafford, Jas. Nelson, A. H. Barrett, C. J. Lyons, W. S. Brinton. The first officers were E. A. Pinero, C.P.; T. A. Reaves, H.P.; C. P. Stafford, S.W. The membership at present numbers 17, with the following officers presiding: M. Ruebel, C.P.; John Classen, H.P.; Andrew Young, S.W.; C. P. Stafford, scribe; E. Meysenburg, treas. The camp is in a flourishing condition. C. P. Strafford is also the present district deputy.
The first term of school in Grafton was taught by a man name Brock, at an early day, in a log cabin on the site of the present school building. The next term of school was taught in a building 24 feet square, which is now a part of Lewis Johnson’s residence. In 1838 a frame school house was erected, which was 18 x 24 feet in size. This building was superseded by a stone structure erected in 1858, at a cost of $4,500. It amply served the town for school purposes until one night in 1870, when it was burned to the ground. Not only was the building a total loss, but a valuable library, which had been under process of collection for some time, shared the fate of the edifice which contained it. The school books in the building were also consumed.
In 1874, the present building was erected at a cost of $15,000, the contract being let to N. T. Smith. It is an elegant structure, built of the celebrated Grafton stone, with two large rooms in the first and two in the second story. It is a graded institutin and furnishes employment for four teachers.
The first principal was John W. C. Jones, who taught two years. The succession of principals and time they served since then are as follows: J. W. Roberts, one year; M. J. Hoffman, five years; W. H. Gregg, one year; and the present principal, Otis D. Leach. There are about 225 scholars enrolled in the school, and $2,000 per annum is expended in teh maintenance of the same. The present school trustees are: W. D. F. Slaten, M. Ruebel and Charles Brainard. The board of directors are James M. Allen, president; George N. Slaten, clerk, and J. T. Slaten.
The flouring mill at Grafton was erected in 1855, by W. H. Allen, but is now operated by his son, James M. Allen. The building is a large frame structure, 40 x 88 feet in groung area. It originally had three run of buhrs, with a capacity of 125 barrels of flour per day. It is operated by steam, and the machinery is the patent roller process. It cost about $30,000.
James M. Allen, miller at Grafton is a son of William H. and Martha M. (Mason) Allen. He was born in Jersey county in 1847, and was reared here, receiving a good education. He attended the district schools, and later spent two years at the Normal University at Bloomington, Ill. In 1864 he entered the mill owned by his father, and learned the miller’s trade. Four years later he assumed the full charge of the mill, which he still operates. He was united in marriage in 1869 with Alice S. Easton, daughter of C. B. Eaton of Jerseyville. She was born in the state of New York, and came with her parents to this county in 1864. Mr. and Mrs Allen are the parents of five children: Rosalie, Harry E., Mason, Robert Stewart and Arthur Barrett. Mr. Allen has been a member of the town council 12 years, three years of that time acting as president of the board.
The first saw mill at Grafton was built by A. W. Caverly, which ran a short time when it was destroyed by fire. Before the year 1840, and previous to the erection of Caverly’s mill, a saw mill had been built at the mouth of the Illinois river, and was operated by a man named Crandall. In 1845 one was built at Grafton by W. H. Allen, which was operated for some 12 years, and was afterwards torn down.
The stone quarries adjoining the town are the richest and most extensive of Grafton’s resources. These quarries were worked for local purposes from the date of the first settlement of the twon, and small quantities were shipped subsequently to Alton. About the year 1856, the quarries were opened on a larger scale by Silas Farrington and John Loler. The excellence of the stone and the importance of the quarries had already attracted the attention of Giles F. Filley of St. Louis, and through his influence the stone was brought into public notice and use. The first that the quarries were worked to any considerable extent was in getting out the stone for the old Lindell Hotel in St. Louis. Since that time the stone has come into general use, and has entered into the construction of a large number of important buildings and public works, among which are the Quincy bridge, the St. Charles bridge, the great bridge across the Mississippi at St. Louis, and one of the finest government buildings on the island, at Rock Island.
The product is a magnesian limestone, and according to the judgement of competent authorities, possesses the best qualities for building purposes of any stone found in the Mississippi valley. It was thoroughly tested by James B. Eads, previous to its selection for use in the St. Louis bridge, and was found to be of the highest order of excellence. The quarries passed into the hands of the Grafton Stone and Transportation Co., and are now owned by the Grafton Quarry Co., of whom James Black of St. Louis is president, and John S. Roper, of Alton, is secretary. There are two other quarries beside teh one operated by the Grafton Quarry Co. During the years 1866 and 1867, when the quarries were worked to their greatest extent, the men employed reached the number of about 2,000. At present there are only about 100 men employed.
Charles Brainerd, superintendent of the Grafton Quarry Co., is a native of Rome, Oneida county, N.Y., born Sept. 10, 1839. He is the son of J. B. and Laura (Gates) Barinerd. He remained with his parents in Rome until 1854, when he went to Saratoga county, N.Y., where he lived until the war broke out. He then, in 1861, enlisted in the 15th N.Y. Engineers, and served three years, participating in the Peninsula campaign, engagements at Manassas, Fredericksburg, and other points. He was with the Army of the Potomac, and acted as chief clerk in the commissary department of the English Brigade. After the war he returned to Rome, N.Yl, and remained four months, at the end of which time he came to Grafton and assumed his present position as manager of the quarry company. He is also a stock-holder in the company. Mr. Brainerd was married in 1870 to Hattie A. Benner, of Waldoborough, Maine, daughter of Edward Benner, a native of Maine. Mr. and Mrs. Brainerd have four children: Laura Josephine, George Carrington, Carl Edward and Harold Webster. Mr. Brainerd is a member of the Masonic fraternity. His father, J. B. Brainerd, was born in 1804 in New York, and is now living in this county, having come here in 1881. His mother, Mrs. Laura Brainerd, died in Rome, N.Y. in 1853.
The Grafton cemetery is located some two miles north of town, and was laid out by E. Meysenburg, N.G., and Emmor Brinton, R.S., of Silurian lodge No. 449, I.O.O.F., July 23, 1873. It was surveyed and platted by Z. E. Freer, surveyor, June 30 of that year, and filed for record Aug. 20. The first burial was that of William Godfrey, July 12, 1873. The burying ground is nicely located on the bluffs north of the Mississippi river, and is quite well improved.
Grafton was at one time an important point for crossing the river for emigration to Missouri. In the month of June 1833, permission was given by the Greene county court to Paris Mason to establish a ferry. This first ferry was a horse boat, and was subsequently taken off, and an ordinary flat boat substituted, but when business got better again, the horse boat was again called into requisition.
Judge William H. Allen established a steam ferry in 1856, and it was conducted until 1862, when the progress of the war of the Rebellion stopped all intercourse between the states of Illinois and Missouri at this point, and necessitated the abandonment of the boat, since which time there has been no regular ferry.
The first house was built by James Mason in 1832.
The pioneer merchant was Paris Mason, who erected a building and put in a general stock in 1833.
The first newspaper in the county was established in Grafton in 1836 by John Russell.
The first church was built in 1835, and was for the Methodist Episcopal society. The building was a frame structure, 36 x 40 feet in size.
The first school house was built in 1838, and was a frame building, 18 x 24 feet in dimension.
The first religious services were held by the Methodist Episcopal society in 1836 in a warehouse owned by John Keyes. The services were conducted by Rev. Mr. Poole. The second religious services were conducted by Rev. Weldn, in a building owned by Mr. Whitcomb. He afterward held quite a revival, in the spring of 1837, there being about 40 converts.
Paris Mason was the first to be commissioned postmaster in the place.
The first mill was built in 1855 by W. H. Allen and was 40 x 88 feet in size.
This town was laid out by George Finney on the southeast quarter of Sec. 8, T6, R12. The place was expected by its founder to eventually become a commercial emporium, but his expectations were never realized, and there is very little on the site to make one think that it was ever the intention to build a town here.