HISTORY
OF
MENARD & MASON COUNTIES, ILLINOIS
1879

Chicago: O.L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers
186 Dearborn Street
Chicago

VILLAGE OF SWEETWATER

Transcribed by: Ellen Booth.

Page 364

Sweetwater was laid out by William Engle and the Alkires on Sections 31 and 32, of Township 19, about the year 1838. It is located in Sugar Grove, a beautiful body of timber, some three miles from the village of Greenview. It is surrounded by a fine farming community, and has a large trade for so small a place. The first store was opened by the Alkires, and about the same time William Engle moved his store from his farm, and opened up in the village. A post office was established with William Engle as Postmaster. Just here arises the name Sweetwater. P.M. Harris was the representative of this district in Congress at the time, and through him the post office was obtained, and designated in the petition Sugar Grove. But it was found that there was already a Sugar Grove in the State, and Harris wrote Mr. Engle to select another name. After some deliberation with those interested, Sweetwater was decided upon as being nearest Sugar Grove---the water of the sugar maple being sweet, and thus the name of Sweetwater was obtained. The present Postmaster is Joseph Schofield. When the office was first established, the mail was received on the line from Petersburg to Elkhart, mostly on horseback. It is received now from Greenview. Jacob Propst, Jr., was the first blacksmith in the village, and Dr. John H. Hughes was the first physician. A mill was built soon after the village was laid out by Deal & Hughes. It is still in operation and doing excellent work, though the building shows the ravages of time. The firm name of Deal & Hughes has never changed since the mill was first built; the present Hughes, however, being a son of the one concerned in its erection. It is a frame edifice, operated by steam, with two runs of buhrs, and it is said makes as good flour as any mill in the county. The business of the village may be thus summarized: Two general stores, including in their stocks dry goods, groceries, drugs, hardware, etc., etc.; one shoe shop; one blacksmith and wagon shop; one post office; one mill; one schoolhouse; one physician (Dr. Hurst) and two churches.

The schoolhouse was built about 1868 or 1870, is an elegant two story brick, and cost something like $4,500. James Steele taught the first school in it. Prof. Ayers has been the teacher for the past two years, and is engaged for the coming year. It is conducted as a graded school, and is fully up to the average standard of that class of schools.

If we could write the church history of Sweetwater in the same language in which it was told us, it would be highly entertaining, no doubt, to many of our readers, at least. But we feel inadequate to the task, and hence we give it in our own words. The first church built in village was that of the Christians, or New Lights, and is a sort of continuation of the one mentioned in the history of the precinct as erected near Gregory Lukins'’ It is a spacious brick edifice, and cost about $3,500 at the time it was built. There is no regular pastor at present, but transient ministers frequently call and preach to the flock who are wont to worship within its walls. The original society underwent several changes, as we understand it---that is, New Lights, Campbellites and then Apostles or Christians. It finally became somewhat stirred up as Adventists, or a part of the congregation did, when they sold their interest in the building and erected the present frame church, at a cost of about $2,500. When the Adventists went up, or, more correctly speaking failed to go up, some got disgusted, and, as a result, the church was sold to the Methodists, who worshiped in it for a time, with services held occasionally by the Presbyterians. The Methodists, eventually, broke down, and, as our informant expressed it, “all went into the mush-pot together.” The church was again sold, and this time was bought by the Old-School Presbyterians, who still own it and hold regular services, though the congregation is composed of several creeds. It was re-organized under the Presbyterians by Rev. Mr. Crosier, of Indian Point. A union Sunday school of the two churches is carried on, but the Superintendent’s name we did not learn.

This village used to go by the pseudonym of Chloeville, and when we inquired of an old gentleman why it was so called, he said it was for an old lady who once lived in it, whose first name was Chloe, “and some one, in acknowledgment,” said he, “of her general cussedness, as a burlesque, called the town after her.”


1879 Index

MAGA © 2000, 2001, 2002. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data and images may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or for other presentation without express permission by the contributor(s).