Jefferson County
Illinois


The Prairie Historian

 
THE PRAIRIE HISTORIANS
  Volume 28, December 1995, Issue 4
Waltonville 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." Waltonville 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 to them. 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 one child.. 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 a democrat. 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




 

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