THE PRAIRIE HISTORIANS
One of Jefferson County's Prosperous Towns
The article on Waltonville was found by Mrs. Marjorie Williams in a book
that belonged to her grandmother, Mrs. Cora Hartley.
This is a copy of the article as it appeared in the newspaper probably in 1897
or soon thereafter. This date was decided by clues under J. D. Norris and J. W. Robinson.
J. W. Robinson whould be I. W. Robinson. The article states that J. W. Robinson was born
July 20, 1845. Dr. J. W. Robinson (1874-1929) was the son of the late Isaac W. Robinson
of Waltonville who died Feb. 28, 1928. Isaac's stone in Knob Prairie Cemetery reads
"Isaac W. Robinson 1845 - 1928, Co. F. 44th Ill. Vol."
One of Jefferson County's Prosperous Towns
A brief biography of those who are engaged
in building up its mercantile interests
Waltonville is situated about ten miles Southwest of
Mt. Vernon in the southeast corner of Blissville township.
The site of the county recorder's office March 31,
1893, by S.S. and R.W. Mannen and O.P. Norris. Those who
are now identified with its interests, with a few exceptions
were once residents of Williamsburg, a small place in the
same township and remote from any railroad. The Wabash, Chester,
and Western established a situation at Waltonville and the result
was the business of Williamsburg began to move towards the
railroad causing the depopulation of that place and the
transfering of the post-office to Waltonville. The history
of the town therefore can be told in a few words. The name
of the town was given it in honor of John Walton, a brother
of Mrs. Sidney Mannen, the mother of the elder Mannens now
living near the town. The site is on the forty acres given
by John Walton and main business portion of town is a strip
of ground containing about one and one-half acres, that
has been laid out into a park. This was donated to the town
by Geo. Evans, O.P. Norris and R.W. and S.S. Mannen. It has
been set out in trees and before many years may be the scene
of many as enjoyable occasion.
The amount of business transacted here is wonderful,
considering the age of the town and country tributory to it.
Each month finds the traffic growing. In exports we might
mention castor beans, of which there were about 5000 bushels
shipped this fall; wheat, hard lumber, railroad ties, and
cord wood. At present writing there are about twelve car loads
of cord wood awaiting cars. In the matter of stock there is
from one to two car loads shipped from here each week. We predict
for the town a future that will in every way compensate those
who have began its building up.
The Waltonville Creamery company one of the industries
of Waltonville is no small factor in the business whirl of
Waltonville. It was first started about four years ago and
has been running ever since with a fair profit. It has a
capacity of from 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of milk daily, but
since its inception has not been taxed to that extent. The
present season has been very disastrous to its welfare, about
2,000 pounds of milk being all that has been handled. This has
found it picking up, and it is expected it will again push
to the front A. A. Brown, who has charge of the creamery, was
born in Perry county in 1855 and lived there all of his life.
He was raised on a farm. He was worked as a coal miner. About
seven years ago he began his present business. Aug. 1895 he
moved here with his family. He is thoroughly conversant with
all the details of creamery and should this winter and next
Spring prove fine weather the income from this industry will
prove profitable. The company is comprised of many members,
whose names we have been unable to obtain. A short time ago
at a meeting of the stockholders, directors were elected but
no organization was perfected otherwise. Jerome Mannen, however
who is largely interested has taken the management and under
his guidance it is progressing very satisfactorily.
J.D. Norris, dealer in general merchandise, drugs,
undertaker and farm implements, was born in 1850, in Bracken
County, Ky. near the Ohio and Kentucky line. In 1852 he moved
with his parents to this state, and located within a quarter
of a mile of Waltonville and vicinity. His business career, in
a mercantile way, began in 1875 in Williamsburg, the old town.
There he held forth until 1893 when he moved to Waltonville.
He was appointed postmaster of Waltonville by Cleveland in
1893 and was succeeded by I.W. Robinson in August of this
year. His democracy is unquestioned and the news of his party's
victories this year throughout the United States was to him
ample solace for this time. He was married to Miss. D.J. Gilbert
of Blissville township in 1875, three boys and one girl coming
O.P. Norris, physician, a brother of J.D. Norris was
born in Bracken county, Ky. in 1843, and came to this country
with his parents in 1854. The trip was made in a wagon and
the doctor says but on railroad was crossed and seen during
the entire journey. His entire life has been spent in Blissville
township and Waltonville, with the exception of two years spent
at medical school. He spent one term at the Ohio Medical College
and one at the Cincinnati College of Medicine, graduating there.
After graduating he located in Williamsburg and later at Walton-
ville. His experience as a physician dates over a period of
30 years. He served as a soldier in the late war, becoming a
member of the Thirty Second Illinois Volunteer Infantry in 1864.
He was married 24 years ago to Miss. Sarah M. Smith of Shiloh
township near Woodlawn. He is the father of seven children,
four girls and three boys. A democrat from principle and has
been honored by his party with a number of positions, serving
as supervisor for his township. Altogether his life has been
success mainly through his dealing with his fellow men, which
have been fair and equitable in all transactions.
Jerome Mannen was born in 1857, in Bald Hill township,
where he has lived all his life engaged in farming and stock
raising. He lives almost one half mile from Waltonville and is
a daily visitor to the village in which he takes considerable
interest. He has been identified with all of its advancements,
and whenever any thing of a nature tending to push the town
to the front is brought forward, he is always on hand with a
helping hand, both by word and pecuniary assistance. He is a
democrat in politics and has been elected to several township
offices, serving as supervisor of his township three terms.
He was married in 1857 to Miss Belle Ingraham of Franklin
county. They have two children, a boy and a girl.
S.S. Mannen and S.C. Mannen are the principal stock
buyers of this place, at present they are engaged in buying
hogs for feeding purposes, for northern men.. Success has
attended them in their dealings to an unusual degree. This
year owing to the dry weather and short crop but very few fat
hogs will be sold.
J.W. Robinson, present postmaster, an appointee of the
Mc Kinley Administration, was born in Franklin county, July 20,
1845. He moved to this county with his parents when about two
years old. He dealt in stock much of his early life, and at
one time concluded to take up the profession of law, studing
toward that end. He however went into partnership with J.D.
Norris in the general merchandise business and was burnt out,
causing him considerable financial embarrassment. In 1878 he
opened up a general store for himself, in which he carried a
line of drugs. At present his business is almost exclusively
drugs, and everything that goes with a well regulated drug
store. As a side line he handles farm implements. He was the
first notary public in this vicinity. He enlisted in the Fory
Fourth illinois Volunteer Infantry in 1864 under Col, Opdyke,
and was engaged in a number of heavy battles. He was married
to Louvina J. (McConnaughy) Gilbert, widow of James McConnaughy
of this county. Two children were born to them, a boy and girl.
J.W. Jeffries, physician, was born in Warren county, Va.,
1849, and moved to Missouri in 1856, in which state he resided
until 1876 when he came to Williamsburg, the old town. He moved
to Waltonville in 1893 where he has continued in the practice
of medicine which he began in 1876 at Williamsburg. In 1875
and 1876 he attended the Missouri Medical College at St. Louis,
and graduated in the America Medical College in 1879. Miss
Malissa Gilbert of near Williamsburg became his wife in 1881,
and lived but a short time. He again married to Miss Sarah
Jones of Pike county, she living but a few years. His present
wife, who was Miss Florence Corn, of Ewing, became his helpmate
in 1889. He is the father of three children. In politics a democrat.
_ .C. Bruner, station agent for W.C. & W. railroad and also
dealer in grain, coal, bricks, and feed is a native of this
state, opening his eyes to the world at Belleville, in 1863.
At the age of five years he left there with his parents
settling on a farm near Mascouta. At 18 years of age we find
him again at Belleville as a agent for farm machinery. After
a short time there he began traveling for the McCormick
Harvesting Company, in whose employ he remained eight seasons,
attending school in the winter. During this time he learned
telegraphy. In 1880 he began railroad work, devoting the time
in winter to it, the spring and summer months being devoted
to the interests of McCormick Harvesting Company. He
worked at different places during the winters and on Nov.
1, 1890, secured his present position. His capacity for
business may be seen in the lines he handles. On Sept. 29,
1894 he was married to Miss Effie Dudly of Sheller. They have
E.C. Atkins, blacksmith and wood worker was born in
Elk Prairie township, 1847. He lived there until the age of
6 years when he moved to Winfield with his parents, living
there until 1895 then moving to Ina, and from there to Bonnie,
working at his trade at both places. He has followed the
business seven years, settling here a short time ago. He has
been married twice, the first time to Miss Marthine Baker of
Elk Prairie, who died after three years of married life. He
again married to Miss Wastella Wallace of Bald Hill in 1894.
He is the father of three children. Two children by first wife
and one by his present wife. Mr. Atkins is a first class
workman and if you are in need of anything in the line of
blacksmithing or woodwork call and see him.
Mrs. Gertie Herrin, Milliner, was born in southwest Kansas
in 1873, and came to this state with her parents, Mr. and Mrs.
Wm. Walls, settling near Dix. She was married to W.F. Herrin in
1895 at Mt. Vernon. She began the millinery trade with Mrs.
J.W. Herrin of Mt. Vernon. At present she is only engaged in
that work but expects to add a dressmaking department in the
near future. W.F. Herrin, carpenter and painter, was born
near Ashley in Jefferson County in 1881. He moved to Texas
with his parents when he was four years old. For three years he
lived there when his parents moved back to Tamoroa, this state
and then to Mt. Vernon, where they have since resided. W.F.
was married to Miss Gertie Wall of Dix, in 1895, and August
of this year moved to this place. He is a first class workman
in his line and work done by him will bear the closest investigation.
David Baker physician, was born in Elk Prairie township
Aug. 22, 1871. He has lived in that and Bald township all
his life and received his education in the common schools
of Jefferson county. When 19 years of age he went to St. Louis
and entered the Barnes Medical College, taking the terms of
'91, '92, and '93. He returned here and began practice. In
politics he is a republican.
Jas. W. Robinson physician associate with Dr. Baker, was
born in 1874, near Woodlawn, and attended the common schools.
He took a two year course at Carbondale. In medica materia he
is a graduate of Barnes Medical college, St. Louis. He began
the practice of medicine last April. A republican in politics.
W.H. Whitlock, school teacher, was born in Dickerson
county, Kan. Aug. 11, 1874. His parents moved form that place
to southwest Missouri where they resided for two years. The
year 1881 finds the subject of this sketch, in this county.
For two years he lived here, when he moved with his parents
to Fayette county, where he lived eight years. He again moved
with his parents to this county, settling in Rome township
where he has since made his home. His early education was
acquired in the Farina and Kinmundy public schools, with one
term in the Southern Normal University at Carbondale. He has
been teaching five years, his first school being Belmont;
second, , Pisgah Grand Prairie township; third Utah, Elk Prairie
township; fourth, Copple, Rome township; fifth, Waltonville.
There are fifty four scholars enrolled and the school is prospering
under his guidance. During the summer he is engaged in the
culture of strawberries on his fathers farm. In politics he is
E.E. Murray, Broom Manufacturer, was born in Elk Prairie
township, April 19, 1866, where he lived until four years of age
when he moved with his parents to Lower Gun Prairie. At the
age of nine years he moved back to south part of Prairie
township, living there until he was fourteen years old. The
year 1880 found him in this vicinity where he has lived ever
since, with the exceptions of a few intervals, when he worked
on the farm and was engaged in learning the manufacture of
brooms. His present occupation dates back eight years ago when
he first began to learn the business. He now makes about
seventy five dozen brooms a month. Last year turned out 700
dozen, doing all the work himself. He was married to Miss
Sarah Crider of Franklin, Sept. 9, 1892. They have two children,
two girls, A democrat in politics.
H.H. Davis, of the firm of Davis & Fry general merchants
was born in Randolph county, near Red Bud, in 1863. He lived
there until 1892 when he moved to this place in November of
the first year, this being the first store to open up in
Waltonville. The partnership dating from that time. Previous
to this time he had clerked at Red Bud and Bunker Hill this
State. The building occupied by the firm was moved from Williams-
burg to its present site. John Fry, the other member of the
firm was born about thirty five years ago near Spring Garden
where he was raised to manhood. He carried on a general store
at Williamsburg alone for two years, when he entered into
partnership with his present partner. Two years ago the firm
started a branch store at Ina where Mr. Fry now is. He was
married to Miss Brooer of Spring Garden about nine years ago.
They have four children.
W.T. Sawyer, general merchant was born in Washington
county in 1861, lived in Nashville all his life. The most
of his life has been engaged in mercantile life. He has spent
six years in California, clerking, ranching, and roughing
it in the west. The present stock of goods was opened up in
1891 and the building it is now in was the first business
house erected in Waltonville. The store is conducted by C.H.
Sawyer, a brother of W.T. who was married to Miss Minta Christian
fifteen years ago in Anna, Ill. They have four children, three
girls and one boy.
J.W. McAtee, blacksmithing, and wood worker was born in
Dec. 1854 in Dodds township, south of Mt. Vernon four miles. He
lived on the farm until 20 years old. In 1859 his parents moved
to Elk Prairie township and in1862 Blissville township. He
commenced blacksmithing in 1875. He moved here in 1893. He was
married to Miss Belle Bravard in 1884 who died in 1893. He is
the father of four children, all boys.
Submitted by: Stacey Jones
Volume 28, December 1995, Issue 4