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Jersey County Page     Jerseyville History

Jerseyville 1877From Jersey County Democrat, June 9, 1887. There will be typos.

There is no prettier city of its size in the state of Illinois than Jerseyville, Jersey county, Illinois. It is situated on the highest point between St. Louis and Jacksonville, Ill., and is mid-way betweenthese two cities, 45 miles from either. A barrel of water emptied at the intersection of its two principal streets, Main and Pearl, will run north, south, east and west thus giving perfect drainage and it has been demonstrated that there is no healthier city in the west. For years it has been noted for its fine streets handsome ladies and enterprising men, and it would have grown rapidly during the past ten years only for the stingency of the times all over the country. Things are brighteningup now however and the crop prospect is excellent, the wheat looking as if it would yield 40 bushels per acre and the corn unusually advanced for the time of year, June 1st. The prospect for a bountiful harvest has infused new life into the citizens, and they are looking about to stillfurther add to the beauty and attractions of this paradise of places for a home. To-day arrangements are making to put in a system of waterworks which will supply the city with the purest of water and also give to citizens the comfort of streets well sprinkled and protection fromfire. In addition to this much needed improvement there is a company formed to put in an electric light plant and before the short days of September arrives the city will be lighted by this modern invention. The Odd Fellows have ordered the erection of a beautiful building on Pearl street, the lodge here having lost its building in the January fire. The fire and tiling clay found two miles north of the city has been tested in the kiln and the articles came out in first-class condition,proving the clay of a superior quality. Messrs. SCHWARZ and FULKERSON are now negotiating for drills to sink a shaft for gas, oil, coal or water. A Building and Loan Association was formed last week with a capital of $500,000 and officers elected last evening,. This is one ofthe best moves towards a permanent and healthy business growth that has been made and it will create life and activity in the building line, besides interesting a class which hitherto has never thought of obtaining a home of their own. A vein of good coal crops out from the side of a hill but a short distance from the city and if found to be of good quality will be mined. There is not reason why Jerseyville should not take on a healthy boom, for the natural advantages are superior to thousands of cities which have grown so rapidly in the past year, and we are satisfied that this state of affairs could be easily brought about if the business men will work together, as they are doing and each and the other in advancing the interests of the whole. The following istaken from the St. Louis Republican, the leading paper in this section, and shows what is thought of this city and its prospective future:

“On July 2, 1673, a fur trader, accompanied by five hearty voyagers, while floating down the might Father of Waters on an exploring expedition, came to the confluence of the Illinois river with the Mississippi and rowing to the shore they climbed the overhanging bluffs in order to view their surroundings. Their landing place was the soil of Jersey county and their’s were probably the first white men’s feet that trod upon its rocky cliffs and grassy sward. In 1680 the celebrated Father Hennepin came down the Illinois river and, disembarking on the prominent point of the river above Grafton, set up a sign directing Tonte, his lieutenant, to follow him to the lakes. LaSalle, the French explorer, remained encamped near Grafton about a week in 1682, while on is way to the gulf. A log fort, erected near Grafton and garrisoned by Capt. Whiteside and his rangers was the place of refuge for the settlers, during the Indian troubles in 1812.

The county of Jersey is the finest farming country, acre for acre, that there is in Illinois. Through it in all directions, generally on slight elevations, stand farm houses, the surroundings of which evidence an abundance of this world’s goods. Living streams of running water make music as they wind their way along.

Stock raising is a fine art here, and some of the finest blooded horses and cattle in the United States are found in the county.

In the centre of this land of milk and honey, amid a perfect forest of shade trees, lies the beautiful, charming and progressive city of Jerseyville. Its site is the highest point in the county, and standing on the top of one of its lofty buildings you can see for twenty miles north, south, east and west.

The Main Street

is 100 feet wide and two miles long, with a row of maple trees on each side. All the streets have trees planted along their sides.

There are about 4,000 inhabitants in the place. The people here are moral, industrious and cultured. The court house was burned down here some three years ago, but its place has been filled temporarily by a frame structure. This, however, will in the near future be replaced by apermanent building that will be an ornament to the city and a credit to the citizens of the county. Jersey county has no debt, the city of Jerseyville no debt and the school district no debt. Taxes are only nominal. They have fine schools here, and the graduates of the high school take pride in telling of their alma mater. Prof. PIKE, the president of the State Teacher’s Association of Illinois, is the principal. About 700 scholars attend daily. A jail that cost the county $16,000 stands in one corner of the public square. There are no crimes committed in the county, the jail is empty and such has been the condition of affairs for some time back. The business houses hereare not arranged as in most county seats, around the courthouse square, but line the broad main street and the streets crossing it. There are a great many business houses here, and they are all making money. The wealth of the surrounding country makes business good in the city. Themayor, J. M. PAGE, the editor of the leading paper of the county, Jersey County Democrat, is a pushing live man. Last spring $33,000 was voted by the city to build waterworks, and the committee appointed by the city council are actively engaged in finding out which system will suit them best. An electric light is also being talked of, and a company is being organized to build a new hotel. Some two miles from the city natural gas has been found. This will also be developed. There is an abundance of coal here, and all that will have to be done is tosink a shaft. Potters’ clay of a very fine quality is found about two miles north of the city. It is down about three feet from the surface. A pottery will be built the coming summer, and a tile factory erected. An opera-house, 70 feet front by 110 feet in depth, will be built by the citizens this summer on the corner of Pearl and Main streets. The finest kind of building stone is quarried about 12 miles away, on the line of the St. Louis and Central Illinois railway. A short distance from the city a well of coal oil has been discovered, and specimens of crude petroleum have been submitted to experts, who pronounce it an illuminating fluid of high grade.

The city in connection with its water-works, will construct a permanent system of sewers. A city hall will be erected in a short time. The bonds to build it with have been voted, and the plans drawn, submitted and approved. For a long time the people here moved along slowly, satisfied, it is well they might be, with their city and county; now aroused, a new spirit of life infuses them, and where before a comfortable, easy-going spirit pervaded the community, now you can feel “boom” in the air. The citizens are ready, willing and anxious for it, and by their combinedefforts have succeeded in bringing activity out of sloth. With the numerous public improvements about to be made, the amazing fertility of the surrounding country, the many natural resources, coal, oil, gas, potters’ clay, water, etc., plenty of money and lots of energy and push, there is a great future before this city. The old adage that “God helps those who help themselves” is again about to be demonstrated. The sun as it rises over the horizon one year from to-day will behold many changes, and in no place will the change be greater than here. A fire last January destroyed a portion of the city, but phoenix, like from the ashes new and improved buildings arose. Old houses are repainted and improved, new ones being built and one every hand you can see evidences of awakening. A spirit of improvement pervades the atmosphere. Jerseyville has a future before it, and whether in that future it shall be great or small depends on the efforts of the citizens.

The Population

of the city is composed of Americans, Irish and Germans principally, with the former in the majority. On Sunday morning the musical chimes from the seven church towers call the people to attend religious services. The church buildings are large and well constructed, while the pastors are eloquent men, who are hard and zealous laborers in their chosen work. The pride of the inhabitants here is their cemetery. It is owned by the city, is beautifully located on a slightly rolling piece of ground, has gravel walks and the grass is kept mown, the weeds are uprooted almost before they spring, and the graves are decorated with flowers. There are more fine monuments in this graveyard than in any in the vicinity of a city the size of Jerseyville, in the state. The character of the people is demonstrated by nothing more conclusive than their care of the resting place of the departed one. The citizens are warm-hearted and cordial, and you meet with such treatment here that you will regret leaving. Prominent among the pushing, progressiveelement of the city is Orville A. SNEDEKER. His is in the real estate business and is erecting a fine block of buildings on Main street. Mr. Snedeker has an intimate acquaintance with all the land in the county and can give all the information to strangers that they desire. Another old citizen is the Hon. H. O. GOODRICH, the postmaster. He genial laugh is as good as a long-desired letter. He is very popular. W. P. RICHARDS and H. S. DANIELS assist him in keeping the mail service in order. Jersey county is democratic in politics by about 1,300 majority, and as a natural consequence the county officers are democrats. The county judge, W. H. POGUE, was last fall re-elected, this being his second term. As an indication of his popularity he only managed to squeeze into office by a little over 1,800 majority. Jesse I. McGREADY, formerly editor of the Jersey county Democrat, is the circuit clerk, and his office is well conducted. Jesse J. CADWALLADER is sheriff, D. J. MURPHY is the county clerk and Robert NEWTON treasurer. The Hon. Ad. A. GOODRICH is the state-attorney. He is one of the most prominentand able attorneys in this neck of the woods. Associated with him is Thos. F. FERNS, the city attorney, the style of the firm being Goodrich & Ferns. They do a large business and make a speciality of collections. O. D. LEACH, the county superintendent of schools, is undoubtedly theyoungest county superintendent in the state, being only 26 years of age. He, however manages this office to the satisfaction of the people and to the delight of the “school-marms.”

Walter E. CARLINE, who was a candidate for state auditor on the democratic ticket in 1884, resides here. He was also a candidate for state senator in 1886 in this senatorial district. Mr. Carlin has just returned from Wichita, and says: “Jersey county is a great deal better than Kansas.”

T. S. CHAPMAN, the successful aspirant for the senatorship in the thirty-seventh district, also hails from Jerseyville. He is an attorney here and enjoys the enviable distinction of being the firstrepublican senator ever elected in this district, which is 2,300 democratic.

Four banks holds [sic] the surplus money of the citizens of the county, and as an indication of the wealth of the people you find over $600,000 subject to check at these bands.

The First National bank is an old and reliable institution. Its capital stock is $50,000; surplus, $20,000, A. W. CROSS is president and owns a farm of about 200 acres a short distance from the city. Ed. CROSS is the cashier. Shephard & Co. also run a strong bank, as does M. E. BAGLEY. The bank of Bowman & Ware does a large business. S. H. BOWMAN the seniormember of the firm, has just returned from an extended trip through the west and still thinks there is no better country in this world than Jersey county. Among the many dry goods houses in the city you find Trepp, Schmieder & Co. The business was only established about four years ago, but they are now leading the other houses in the city. Mr. SCHMIEDER is a young man full of push and energy, and it keeps his time fully occupied to attend to the many wants of his numerous customers. M. A. WARREN has also a large dry goods establishment. J. S. HOLMESis engaged in the clothing business and has a large store. He carries a large stock of goods and is a live man. H. Scheffer & Son have a shoe manufactory here. They also have an elegant store on Main street, where they sell their goods. The two principal hardware stores in the city are, Eaton & Crawford and J. E. CORY. These gentlemen are all pushing and trying to do all they can to make Jerseyville a great city.

Charles JACOBS owns a large mill here, and manufactures about 200 barrels of flour daily.

Another Large Mill

and an elevator, belonging to E. O. Stanard & Co. of St. Louis, take all the wheat the country produces, and the competition enables them to receive what it is worth. The drug store of Remer & DuHadway is very tasty. They carry an elegant stock of wall paper and drugs. FredARMSTRONG and M. COCKRELL each have a fine grocery store. They are both young, and are of the men of to day. Their stores are both well stocked, and they do a rushing business. John G. SCHWARZ has a nice place west of the city, where he manufactures the best applejack in the country. He grows grapes and makes a superior quality of wine. There are several cigar shops here. George LAUFKOETTER has the most extensive one, and his cigars are of superior flavor. He is a German, but one of the live, pushing kind. Among the medical fraternity of the city we noticed Dr. A. K. Van HORNE. Although the doctor reads all the leading medical journals of the country, he still finds a spare moment for the Republican. He is the leading physician of the community. The saloon license in Jerseyville is $750 a year. There are eight saloons. Dunphy & McGrath, two leading Irishmen, have a large billiard hall. Fitzgibbons & Skelly also are prominent business men of the city. Patrick DUNPHY was a candidate for the legislature last year, and is the leading Irish democrat of the county. The principal hotel in the city is theCommercial House. Wallace LEIGH, the proprietor, is a pushing man, and is foremost in the enterprise of building the opera-house. About eight miles from Jerseyville is situated Otterville. We had the pleasure of meeting Dr. John S. WILLIAMS and M. E. NOBLE, of that place. If these gentlemen are representative citizens of that place, Otterville is also bound to succeed. Dr. WILLIAMS is the postmaster. Inside the city limits of Jerseyville is situated the extensive stock farm of J. V. STRYKER. This is undoubtedly the largest institution of the kind in the Western country. About four years ago Mr. STRYKER embarked extensively in the business of breeding fine stock and he is succeeding wonderfully, having now about 100 head of very fine horses. His principal stallions are Pangloss, Monon and Lawrence. Pangloss was bred by McFARREN of the Glenview farm of Louisville, Ky., and is a brother of Patron, whose 3-year-old record was 2:19.

What Jerseyville needs is manufactories [sic] and with its progressive people and numerous natural resources it should have them. Almost anything reasonable would be done by the citizens here to induce them to come. Many city people would also come here to reside if they would onlybehold the beauties of the place.

Jersey County Page     Jerseyville History
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