Strawn, Ill. History

            Strawn is situated on the Chicago & Paducah Railroad, about ten miles south of Fairbury, and was laid out June 6, 1878. It was surveyed by Alfred C. Huetson, County Surveyer, for David Strawn, the original proprietor, and for whom the village was named. The original plat contained 30.09 acres, in Section 3, of Town 25 north, and has since had some additions made to it. In order to induce settlers to locate in the village, and in building it up, Mr. Strawn adopted the plan of giving every alternate lot to such as would erect houses, under certain specifications, by the 1st of Sept following its laying-out.  The house might be as large as the proprietors chose to build, but must not fall below certain dimensions. No shanties, either as business or dwelling houses, were to be erected.

            The first business house enclosed in the village was that of E. H. Roberts, who selected the first lot, on the day the village was laid out. The business houses of H. McCormick, T. H. Aaron and Brownlee Brothers were under process of erection at the same time.  The first dwelling was erected by John Colfer, now owned by Hampton McCormick, and operated as a hotel.  About the same time dwellings were put up by L. L. Graves, James Stevenson and a Mr. Welch.

            Strawn, like hundreds of other railroad towns and villages, has sprung up in the last few years like a hot-house plant. It is, however, a flourishing little place, full of energy and enterprise, and does a large amount of business. It is increasing in importance each year and will soon overtake some of the elder neighbors, unless they rub off the rust of years, and, like Dickens’ Little Joe “move on.”

            E. H. Roberts, now of the firm of Aaron, Roberts & Co., sold the first goods in the village. His store was opened about 1st of July, 1878. At the present time there are eight stores in Strawn also harness shops, blacksmith shops, shoe shops, grain firms and one saloon. Indeed, the village seems to have completely risen above the swamps and marshes.

            The post office was established October 6, 1878, and E. H. Roberts was appointed Postmaster. The first freight received at Strawn station was July 1, 1873, and was a barrel of meat for S. K. Mitchell, who kept a boarding house. The first shipment of freight was a carload of hogs, and was made by Walter D. Strawn, July 7, 1873. The amount of grain shipped from this point during the year is not far short of 250,000 bushels. The first corn bought here for shipment was by W. Reed, agent for Hoyt & Beebe, of Forrest.

            The first school was taught in Strawn by Sarah Hanagan, of Ottawa, in the summer of 1874, and a temporary school house built the same year. The village at present supports a good school, which is well patronized and maintained about eight months in the year.

            The Methodist society was organized in the village in the summer of 1874, under the ministerial care of Rev. R. D. Russell. The membership at the date of organization did not exceed eight persons, and the church now numbers on its roll some twenty active members, and is in a flourishing condition.