Probably no other township in the county numbered, in its earliest days, so many men of earnest and stern purpose, or of such positive character, as did these. Their goals in life seem to lean heavily toward the betterment of all humanity, not just themselves. You would not think that pioneers coming to a new frontier, whose every minute must be consumed with forging out a life for their families, could have been involved in such social issues and forward thinking ventures. In morals, education and religion, this community took the lead. We find its first settlers engaged in such enterprises that would be of mutual benefit to all the citizens of the little settlement.
attempt at newspaper publishing was made here; the first church
erected in this township; the first and only school designed for a
course of instruction was organized in
to the development of the peculiarities of the community, two or three
had come into the neighborhood and located, the first of which was Emsley Pope, from
Ewin Houchin was the second settler. He came in 1835. Houchin claimed he was the only man who had built a house or cabin before Fall of 1835. He was a successful farmer and has accumulated a large property. He said he had worked many a day sunrise to sunset for 25 cents a day. He split more than 100,000 rails; has hauled oats to Chicago for 10 cents per bushel and pork at $1.50 per hundred and went to mill twenty-four miles distant, waiting five days for his grist.
M. A. Newman
came to the country in 1838 and was a traveling merchant.
He was personally acquainted with every
family in the county. In 1850, having
frequently visited this neighborhood, he located at the place now
Enoch, John and
Amos Lundy and their brother-in-law Thomas Copes, came from
From 1840 to 1850, Charles Paget, John and M. A. Smith, Charles Dixon, Zephaniah Schwartz, James Calder, William Bowman, James and Malley Brown, Charles, Harvey and Samuel Thompson. made their appearance. Charles Paget’s advent into the township marks the beginning of that decided agitation of the Abolition movement which has not only made this town notorious, but has had great influence in molding the public sentiment of the whole county. He was perfectly fearless, and made assaults on the institution of slavery in every place and under all circumstances; and neither threats nor bribes were sufficient to cause him to hold his peace. The ground of his agitation has now passed away and Paget’s voice is not heard advocating the cause of the down trodden race; but the work of liberation is credited to him, with others who were bold enough to speak his sentiments at the time.
Zephaniah Schwartz came here from Magnolia, lived here a dozen years, then moved to Streator and opened a hotel now known as the Streator House. James Calder came during this period along with his father John. The Brown’s with their father were from Magnolia. Charles Harvey was a trapper and hunter, making this his only occupation. In this time, game of all kinds was very plentiful. Wild turkeys and prairie chickens were so plentiful as to become almost an annoyance.
Moses Rummery came in 1853. He is known as one of the old “wheel horses” of anti-slavery, and has never been known to let an occasion slip of punishing his opponents when words would tell upon them.
Sardinia and Xenophon Richards, their sisters and
brothers-in-law Russell Nelson,
made the first settlement on the prairie. They
were from the state of
The plains people proposed to build a school for the benefit of their own children and the children who might settle near them. A few years later, a move was made to establish a public school at this place, that met with direct opposition, as it was believed it would injure the one in operation at the edge of the timber. However, gradually the opposition wore away and this neighborhood became popular to such an extent that it was proposed to lay out a town at the place. This was done by Martin A. Newman. The town was platted and it became known that a trading post was to be built there, settlements in the vicinity were frequent.
They had found out the land was of a better quality than what was found in the vicinity of the river. Coal was beginning to be mined also. M. A. Newman started a little store in the new village; others opened blacksmith shop, shoemaker shop and other branches of business, and soon New Michigan began to thrive
In 1854, the Great Air Line Railroad which proved to be all that its title suggested, was projected and thus a further impetus was given to the prosperity of the village and township. Before 1854 a large number of families had made their appearance in all part of the township, among which are remembered Otis Whaley, son-in-law of Moses Rummery, C. G. Cusick, Otho and son Ortho F. Pearce, Horace H. Hinman, Flavius Manley,Alexander Savage, James and Thomas Gibson, Eben Norton, Charles Decker, George, James and William Applegate and Joshua and son David McIntosh. Whaley and Hinman were both of the Abolition school, not only as pupils but as teachers; and they never let a picnic or meeting of any kind pass that a good word was said for the negro. Hinman was a man of education, as well as of ideas, and enforced his doctrine in such a manner as to almost overcome opposition. He was the first School Commissioner after the adoption by the State of a school system.
Otho Pearre was a man of intelligence, and highly respected by the citizens of the town. Joshua McIntosh was a local Methodist preacher, a man of much native talent and an impressive talker. David McIntosh is one of the best business men in the county, twenty years as School Treasurer; and as Representative in the Legislature from this district.
existed no doubt in the minds of the inhabitants of New Michigan and
that this would be a town of more than ordinary importance. The Air
Railroad had been surveyed through the township, and reports had it that capitalists were
interested in making this a national east and west railroad. It is not surprising then, with this prospect
in view, and with the intelligence and culture of the community, that a
should be made to establish in their midst an institution of learning
higher grade than that afforded by the common schools.
The first year, E. B. Neville was put in charge of the institution. Though the founders were enthusiastic in regard to the enterprise, they left out of account a few necessary elements of success, among which was the necessary growth of the town, which was dependent on the completion of the railroad and from which would come in great measure the support of the Academy. The school was kept up one year; and then, for two years the building was idle. In the Fall of 1859, O. F. Pearce was employed and took charge of the school for three years. During his administration through a good deal of hard work, the school was quite prosperous. However, at the end of the period named, Mr. Pearce accepted the position of Principal of the Dwight school; and then the academy drooped, and finally died.
other railroads, the Illinois Central and the
building erected in
Brethren also had a comfortable house of worship in the
attempt at newspaper publishing was made here in 1853. Thomas Cotton, a
Methodist preacher was the projector of the scheme.
The name of the publication was the Vermilion
Herald. He obtained quite a number of
subscribers and issued the first number. It
is said to have been a sprightly little
paper, but Cotton concluded that it would break him up, so he didn’t
second number. He returned all the money
to his subscribers. About three years
later, the first copy of the Livingston County News, published at
One of the most sad and mournful accident occurred here in the county September 13. 1877. Three young men, Clark Cusick, Isaac Rummery and James Scovell undertook the job of cleaning out an old well on the farm of C. G. Cusick, formerly owned by Otho Pearce. The well was about 35 feet deep. Rummery was let down by means of a rope, and when within ten feet of the bottom, he let go of the rope and fell. Cusick hastened down to his relief, fearing the worse but had not been let down more than 15 feet and he also fell. Then young Scovell, who was a grandson of C. G. Cusick, was let down; but he fell before he had proceeded 10 feet. Assistance was obtained as soon as possible and some of the old well-diggers coming upon the spot pronounced the well infected with “damps” or carbonic acid gas. Burning straw being thrown into the well, and instantly being extinguished proved their theory correct, and that the persons at the bottom were dead. Grappling irons were used to bring the bodies to the surface. The accident cast a deep gloom over the whole community.
Formation of Township
Formation of Schools
the present system of schools was adopted (which indeed was the first
school system adopted in the State),
expected from the sentiments which had prevailed in this township for
years prior to the war which liberated
the slave population of this country, many of the young men
their muskets and marched off to the scene of action, thus proving by
acts their belief in the doctrines taught them by their fathers. Some
returned alive. The names of a few are
given as remembered: Henry F. Houston
was killed at
consists of a little less than a full congressional town, the west line
township being the Vermilion River, which cuts off all of Section 30
and 31 and
parts of 7, 18, 19 of Township 30 north, Range 4, east of the Third
Meridian, and throwing this territory into Reading Township. The river, however, flows through the
northeast corner of Section 30, Range 3 and these add about two
that township to
from 2004: I believe this to be the settlement in SW south Streator
Vermilion where the old route 23 went through years ago, now a bridge
above that property and crosses the river into
This is only a station on the western extension of the Chicago & Alton Railroad. William Shepard laid out a town here in 1870. The plat consists of thirty-two acres, from Section 8, but has never been improved, and the stationhouse is all that exists to indicate the presence of a town.
would be my
guess that Manville was originally known as
The following information concerning Manville was taken from the 1898 Livingston County Business Directory:
village of about 100 inhabitants, situated on the Streator branch of
Railroad, fifteen miles northwest of
Manville is one of the oldest settlements in the county. Two town plats were laid out, one known as Collins and the other known as Newtown, while the original settlement was called New Michigan, about two miles distant. The first house in the village was moved from the farm of M. A. Newman, and the first storeroom was moved from New Michigan. In the fall of 1874 the Methodist Episcopal Church was also moved to the station. The church is still maintained at this point in connection with the Cornell charge. The village has a large local trade and is a shipping point for grain and stock. The shipments for 1897 were 100,000 bushels of corn and 75,000 bushels of oats.
1898 Manville Business Directory
Gillman & Burton, dry goods, groceries, shoes and shelf hardware
C. C. Leonard & Son, dry goods, groceries, shoes and shelf hardware
A. N. McCord, Drugs and Farming Implments
Middle Division Elevator Co., Grain, Gus Wenzelman, L. Goddard, Manager
C. C. Leonard, postmaster
Andrew Fout, Blacksmith
W. Hoobler, buggies
W. Hoobler, railroad and Express Agent