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Springfield, Ill.: Continental Historical Co.

Page 1072

About 1827, EPHRAIM HARPER constructed a tannery on section 11, which was superintended by George Gordon, an eccentric old bachelor uncle of Mrs. Harper. The bark, at first was prepared in an antiquated method. It was spread upon a floor; a wheel some five feet in diameter, and about two and a half feet of grooved, or rough surface, at the rim, was made to revolve on a shaft, the one end in the center of the track, and propelled by a horse at the other end. The capacity of the tannnery, we think, did not exceed 500 hides per year, at no time. The manufacture of leather here, was considered a great convenience and a decided improvement on the home method, of pounding bark by hand, and tanning in rude troughs. The writer has seen persons as late as 1834 and 35, carrying green hides in front of them, on horseback, from as far off as Montgomery county. Mr. Gordon died in about the year 1837, or 38, and Mr. Harper, in 1844. Shortly afterward, the business was entirely abandoned.

In about the year 1831 or 32, on this same section, Aaron Hicks erected a castor bean mill, which was a financial success, and a benefit to the community, for several years. It was accidentally burned, the writer thinks, in the winter of 1837 or 38. Messrs. Harper & Hicks were men of staunch integrity, and promoters of education, temperance and good morals; pillars in the Baptist church.

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