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On October 31, 1889, the Jersey County Democrat devoted the entire twelve page newspaper to an early history of Jerseyville and to Jerseyville of 1889. Accompanying the narrative were engravings of Jerseyville, public buildings, homes and businesses made by the Sanders Engraving Co. of St. Louis. This “grand sovenir edition” was written by Col. Edgar. The engravings were published in a “Hand Book of Jerseyville,” compiled by Col. Edgar for the Jerseyville Business Mens Association. The text of this history has been transcribed and the engravings have been scanned from microfilm. The transcriber capitalized surnames. There will be typos.
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part 15
A Pen and Pencil Sketch
Her Fine Business Blocks and Solid Public Improvements.
Her Churches, Schools and Societies, and Industrial Enterprises.
A Tree-Embowered City, with Tasty Private Residences, Charming Drives, and Many Physical Attractions.
Her Capabilities, Possibilities and Advantages Herein Set Forth. What Push and Energy will Do.
“Its but a span,
From the cradle to the grave of man.”
And to the “old timers” who are still hungering on this portion of the footstool, and they glance backward, it seems but yesterday when they saw the smoke curling over the old “Red House” cabin – the home of James FALKNER in 1830, and drifting away towards another and better world. The retrospect is thrilling and full of historic interest; the skies were blue and cloudless as they are to-day; the sun shone with the same genial warmth; the stars twinkled in their accustomed spheres; the breezes came from the balmy south-land or swept down from the frozen seas of the North as they do at this day; the season came and departed with the same uniformity. The virgin plains were all aglow with innumerable flowers, and the feathery songsters warbled their sweet notes of harmony from every tree top; all nature speaking with her “thousand tongues” then as now, proclaimed the glory and majesty of the great creator, and the sturdy pioneer as he stood in his cabin door scanning the boundless and billowy plains, little dreamt of the possibilities and actualities of the future. But the transformation came with the speeding years.
David STOCKTON, John W. HUITT, James WHITESIDE, Jacob LURTON, John BROWN, Phillip GRIMES, John G. LOFTON, John D. GILLHAM, the CARROLLs and CUMMINGS, Gersham PATTERSON, William BATES, John THORNTON, William and Joseph RUSSELL, were among the first to enter land in Jersey County, and in a short time after their advent all the tillable lands contiguous to Jerseyville were taken up, and under a high state of cultivation. The soil was fertile and rewarded these early settlers with bountiful crop, and in due time the primitive cabins were supplanted with more pretentious farm residences, and the country was on the high road to prosperity. A market place was needed for the surplus of wheat, corn, cattle, hogs and other farm products of the surrounding country.
A town site was selected on the land entered by Linsey H. ENGLISH in the year 1831, which afterwards fell into the hands of Messrs. LOTT and DALY, two men of great energy and sagacity, and the town was laid off in October 1843, and through the influence of Dr. Lott, the town was called Jerseyville, not however until the matter had been fully canvassed at a meeting of the citizens. Lott and Daly established a store soon after the survey, but soon sold out the same to George COLLINS and Benjamin YATES, who carried on a general merchandising business for several years thereafter. Adam GLENDENNING and Edward COLES also had a store on a small scale at this early day, and S. M. HERREN, it is said, was the first to start a blacksmith shop. The town was incorporated in 1837, and the first officers were, John W. LOTT President, E. M. DALY clerk, and Samuel L. McGILL, George W. COLLINS and Richard GRAHAM, board of trustees.
In 1839, Jerseyville was selected as the county seat, an important item in its prosperity, and from which date its growth has been steady and substantial. Among the principal business men in 1840, were Richard JOHNSON, William SHEPHARD, David DUNSDON, Isaac HARBERT, Samuel L. McGILL, Richard GRAHAM, Edward HOLMAN, W. B. NEVIUS, D. G. WYCKOFF and George W. BURKE, while about ten years later came A. B. MOREAN, C. H. KNAPP, John FROST, David BONNELL and others. In the interim between the years 1840 and 1867, the date of the incorporation of the city of Jerseyville, the foundation was laid deep and strong for future growth and prosperity. During this period came commodious and comfortable school houses, flourishing churches, the Chicago & Alton railroad, capacious steam mills and elevators, facilitating the handling and disposition of grain, hotels, banks, fine business blocks and many costly and attractive private residences. A bright future for Jerseyville was an assured fact. As the hardy Argonauts vanguards of civilization, had made the wilderness round about to blossom as the rose, and emerge from a state of nature into a well developed and thrifty land, with growing villages and fertile farms dotting the landscape over – pioneers, whose rough hospitality and hearty feeling of brotherhood were the spontaneous overflow of hearts full of regard for humanity, so the founders of Jerseyville were rugged men, men with nerve and muscles of steel, men of sagacity and sterling integrity, with hearts bold as the Vikings of old. They saw with prophetic vision what we to-day realize – a beautiful tree-embowered city, supplied with modern public improvements, splendid schools, flourishing churches, fine business blocks, ornate private residences and people with a live, energetic, intelligent and progressive people. The mild and equable climate was a favoring condition; the high and healthful position was a favoring condition; the unsurpassed fertility and versatility of the surrounding country was a favoring condition. These fortuitous conditions and circumstances, the early comers and workers, clearly foresaw, and we repeat they did their part well in the after fulfillment of the prophecy.
In 1867, the city was incorporated and the first city election resulted in the choice of M. E. BAGLEY for Mayor, and J. S. BLYTHE, Andrew JACKSON, John L. WHITE, George EGELHOFF, for Aldermen, with Geo. H. JACKSON, clerk, and J. S. DANIELS, marshal. Since 1883, the date of organization under the general law, these officers have been chosen biennially, since 1869 the city having eight aldermen in place of four.
The story of the rise and progress of the City of Jerseyville has been so frequently told in the columns of the Democrat and elsewhere that it seems unnecessary to recur to it here. We make the foregoing allusions to our early history that we may in this paper bring out in clearer outlines the contrast between the Then and Now; between the unpretending cabin of the long ago and the luxurious home of to-day with its comforts and conveniences and modern appliances; between the country store of the early days with its primitive business methods, and the elegant and commodious business establishments of these modern days with their enlarged facilities and improved methods; and between the social, religious and educational deprivations of the early settlers and the advantages, opportunities and improved facilities enjoyed by the people of to-day. We have referred to the time when Jerseyville had but one house – the old Red house, within its limits; to-day we have over four thousand inhabitants and a city unsurpassed in its physical and material attractions by any of its class and size in the state, and possessing business, social and educational advantages of the highest order – a city with broad and well shaded avenues flanked on either side by beautiful lawns and costly private residences, with public buildings of modern architectural design and finish, with attractive business blocks adorning the business district, with a splendid system of water works, with Electric lights, with two railroads, with five steam elevators and mills, with car and machine shops, in short a city well supplied with all the accessories for increased future wealth and population.
The city has been fortunate in its municipal management; the officers elected from time to time have been men of practical business judgement, and the affairs of the city have been conducted in a business like and judicious manner. We append here with a roster of the city officers from 1868 up to date:
- 1868: Mayor, Henry O. Goodrich. Aldermen: William Embly, Thos. J. Selby, George Egelhoff and P. Kennedy. Clerk, Geo. H. Jackson. Marshall, Jas. S. Daniels. Attorneys, Pinero and Herdman. Constable, Jno. C. Murphy.
1869: Mayor: Henry O. Goodrich. Aldermen: Smith M. Titus, Wm. Embley, John E. VanPelt, Thos. J. Selby, Peter Dolan, E. L. H. Barry, George Schwarz and Wm Shephard. Clerk, Morris R. Locke. Attorney, Robert Sayers. Marshal, Jas. S. Daniels.
1870: Mayor, Benjamin Wedding. Aldermen: L. P. Squier, H. C. Massey, D. R. Herdman, T. J. Selby, Caleb DuHadway, Peter Dolan, George Egelhoff and Lewis Grosjean. Clerk, Wm. J. Herdman. Attorney, J. W. Merrill. Marshal, A. D. Erwin.
1871: Mayor, Robert M. Knapp. Aldermen: C. M. Hamilton, Geo. I. Foster, Samuel Hess, Geo. S. Rue, Joshua Allen, Ezikiel Davidson, Wallace Leigh and Jas. S. Daniels. Clerk, Jos. G. Marston. Attorney, H. Calkins. Marshal, Jas. S. Blythe.
1872: Mayor, Robert M. Knapp. Aldermen: Andrew Jackson, Jno. E. Sanford, John M. Smith, O. M. Paris, E. L. H. Barry, R. A. King, Jno. W. Vinson and Jas. A. Locke. Clerk, Geo. H. Jackson. Attorney, H. Calkins. Marshal, James McKinney.
1873: Mayor, John E. Van Pelt. Aldermen: C. M. Hamilton, J. C. Tack, N. F. Smith, Robert Newton, E. O. Hartwick, Peter Dolan, Thos. Erwin and Wallace Leigh. Clerk, Geo. H. Jackson. Attorney, none appointed. Marshal, W. H. Anderson.
1874: Mayor, Henry O. Goodrich. Aldermen: J. Knox Smith, D. M. Houghtlin, Jas. M. Young, F. X. Schattgen, George Egelhoff, Wm. Embly, R. C. Gledhill and James A. Barr. Clerk, Geo. H. Jackson. Attorney, A. A. Goodrich. Marshal, John e. Sanford.
1875: Mayor, Geo. E. Warren. Aldermen: C. M. Hamilton, W. S. Bowman, Jos. M. Page, L. M. Cutting, Peter Dolan, W. Pittenger, C. T. Edee and R. C. Gledhill. Clerk, C. W. Teitsort. Attorney, O. B. Hamilton. Marshal, J. S. Blythe.
1876: Mayor, Robert M. Knapp. Aldermen: S. H. Bowman, Wm. Hall, James M. Young, L. J. Casavant, C. DuHadway, E. L. H. Barry, J. S. Daniels and Jas. S. Blythe. Clerk, Henry Nevius. Attorney, Thos. J. Selby. Marshal, Robt. H. Whyte.
1877: Mayor, Thos. J. Selby. Aldermen: S. H. Bowman, W. E. Carlin, James M. Young, L. J. Casavant, C. DuHadway, E. L. H. Barry, Henry D. Fields and Jno. A. Shepharad. Clerk, Henry Nevius. Attorney, JP. Kennedy. Marshal, Robt. H. Whyte (resigned) Jos. M. Page.
1878: Mayor, Thos. J. Selby. Aldermen: M. E. Bagley, Wallace Leigh, N. F. Smith, Jno. W. Vinson, E. L. H. Barry, A. Holnback, R. C. Gledhill and H. O. Goodrich. Clerk, W. H. Callender. Attorney, W. M. Jackson. Marshal, Jos. M. Page.
1879: Mayor, J. I. McGready. Aldermen: S. H. Bowman, J. M. Young, John Fox, John Sweeney, H. Holnback, E. L. H. Barry, Jno. A. Shephard and Henry D. Fields. Clerk, Jas. R. Colean. Attorney, P. Kennedy. Marshal, Jos. M. Page.
1880: Mayor, Jesse I. McGready. Aldermen: S. H. Bowman, C. W. Enos, Jno. Fox, John Sweeney, Charles Jacobs, A. Holnback, J. A. Shephard, Henry D. Fields (resigned) Geo. W. Ely. Clerk, Jas. R. Colean. Marshal, Jos. M. Page.
1881: Mayor, Jesse I. McGready. Aldermen: A. B. Hall, W. H. Lynn, R. N. McClure, John Wiley, Henry Nevius, Charles Jacobs, W. E. Carlin and George W. Ely. Clerk, Jos. M. Page. Attorney, A. A. Goodrich. Marshal, Henry Whyte.
1882: Mayor, Jesse I. McGready. Aldermen: R. A. King, a. B. Hall, C. DuHadway, Jno. Fox, Wm. Embley, Wm. Eads, W. E. Carlin and Jno. A. Shephard. Clerk, Jos. M. Page. Marshal, Henry Whyte.
1883: Mayor, E. L. H. Barry. Aldermen: S. H. Bowman, A. K. Van Horne, Jno. Fox, C. DuHadway, Henry Nevius, Ludoric Laurant, Jas. S. Daniels and Jno. A. Shephard. Clerk, Jos. M. Page. Marshal, Henry Whyte.
1883: City organized under general law, April 17th, with new election. Mayor, S. H. Bowman. Aldermen: Geo. M. Eaton, A. K. Van Horne, John Fox, C. DuHadway, George Egelhoff, Henry Nevius, C. W. Enos and Jas. Daniels. Clerk, Jos. M. Page. Marshal, Henry Whyte.
1885: Mayor, E. L. H. Barry. Aldermen: Geo. M. Eaton, Jno. H. Richards, John Fox, and Fred Bertman. Clerk, Will Hanley. Marshal, Henry Whyte.
1887: Mayor, Jos. M. Page. Aldermen: Geo. M. Eaton, John H. Richards, Fred Bertman, L. S. Hansell, Ed Slattery, Jas. S. Daniels and J. A. Shephard. Clerk, Thos. W. Butler. Marshal, Henry Whyte.
1889: Mayor, J. M. Page. Aldermen: Geo. M. Eaton, J. Scott Homes, Fred Bertman, L. L. Hansell, Charles Neumeyer, Wm. Embley, Jno. A. Shephard and Jas. S. Daniels. Clerk, Thos W. Butler. Marshal, Henry Whyte.