Page 309Transcribed by: Jeanie Lowe
The Harris Guards, comprising Co. E. of the Fifth Regiment of I.N.G., with headquarters at Springfield, was organized originally, in October 1874, and reorganized under the militia law, in July 1877. The commissioned officers under re-organization, and who still maintain their positions, are C.E. McDougall, Captain; John M. Walker, First Lieutenant; and James H. Carman, Second Lieutenant. The three commissioned officers served in the late war. Capt. McDougall entered the army as a private, and, after nearly four years' service, retired as Captain of his company. The Harris Guards consist, at present, of about fifty-five rank and file, and are well drilled, and present a very soldierly appearance. In connection with the Masonic Fraternity, of Petersburg, they are, at the present writing, erecting a building, the first story of which belong to them, and will be so constructed as to equally adapt it to their use as an armory, or, with a few minutes' work, change it to an elegant Opera House. The building, when completed as designed, will be not only an ornament to the town, but an honor to the Harris Guards, and the Masonic Fraternity. The estimated cost of that part of the building belonging to the military including the ground, is about $5,200, while the Masonic part will cost nearly as much more.
Petersburg was incorporated as a village a number of years ago, but, as we were unable to get hold of the early records, cannot give the exact date of its first organization. Although it now claims a population greater than many incorporated cities, it is still under village organization. The question of incorporating it as a city was agitated some years ago. The project, however, was voted down, and thus it still remains a village, subject to village laws, and governed by a Board of Trustees. The following is a present Board: Dr. F.P. Antle, Philip Rainey, D.S. Eicher, John F. Miller and Isaac McDougall. F.P. Antle is President of the Boar; Philip Rainey, Treasurer; and ___ Black, Clerk. W.P. Elam is Police Magistrate; W. B. Vaughn, Town Constable; and A.J. Bless, Night Policeman.
The first bank was established in Petersburg by Brahm & Greene, in 1866. The bank is still in operation, and in the hands of the original proprietors, who conduct a general banking business in all is branches. Another bank is carried on by D.S. Frackelton, so that the town and surrounding country have no lack of facilities of a financial character.
The bar of Menard County is represented by a body of gentlemen who, in ability and legal lore, will compare favorably with any of the surrounding counties. In a work of this character, we cannot devote space to extravagant panegyrics, however deserving, nor to criticisms, as one might indulge in in a newspaper article. But we may mention in connection with the bar of Petersburg, the name of Hon. T.W. McNeely, who has represented his district two terms in Congress, and Hon. N.W. Branson, who has served with distinction in the State Legislature. There may be others who have served their country with honor and ability, but of whom we failed to obtain the facts. The health of the city and neighboring country, is in charge of a corps of able physicians, who are zealous in their chosen profession, and watchful of the welfare of the people, whose health is trusted to their care.
There are four cemeteries around Petersburg. The first is known as "The Old Burying Ground," which is free to all, and is supervised by the Town Board. It contains the remains of many of the pioneers, who reduced the country from a wild and savage wilderness and laid the foundations of the present state of civilization. The Calvary Cemetery is under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church. Oakland Cemetery is a lovely spot adjacent to the city. But the most beautiful of all is Rose Hill Cemetery. It was laid out in 1858, and incorporated in 1859, with the following officers; J.M. Greene, President; Directors, Tilford Clarke, W.M. Cowgill, W.P. Elam and W.S. Conant. The present officers are: N.W. Branson, President; W.P. Elam, James Robbins, Con. Rourke, Directors; and W.S. Conant, Treasurer. To the latter gentleman, more than to any other, is the town indebted for this beautiful little city of the dead.