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Early Mills of Downs, Illinois

There were several mills put up on the stream; none Of them lasted a great while, though. The difficulty was to get a dam which would stand the pressure of spring freshets and the rainy season. John Rice had a mill which, by constructing a long ” race,” had about seven feet fall. It was built about 1840, and had the old-fashioned “flutter” wheel and gate. Hon. John Cusey run this mill for some time. He says that he has sawed as high as four thousand feet in twenty-four hours, though this was far above the average capacity of the mill. It was customary to saw logs for the half, or small lots for 50 cents per hundred feet. Much of the lumber went to build Bloomington, and some of the houses stand there yet. In the absence of pine, which now forms every portion of the houses built, the buildings were made entirely of hard wood-home-sawed lumber. The clapboards and casings were of black-walnut, the frame of oak, hewn out, and the joints, braces, etc., sawed. No ” balloon” buildings were built in those days. The floors were ash, and the lath either basswood or oak, split with an as by laying the pieces on a plank, so that the entire board would hang together when put on the wall, and separated to the required distances by driving wedges in until they were nailed. The shingles were of oak or black-walnut, shaved. Such shingles. if properly laid, would last forty years, or until they were, like the ” Deacon’s Masterpiece,” worn out. Severe Stringfield had a grist-mill further...

The Village on Downs, Illinois

There seems to be a difference of opinion in regard to the true name of this station. Priceville is the name by which the neighborhood was known for several years; when the station was established near the center of Section 4, in 1870, the railroad officials called it Downs. The same year, the Downs Post Office, which was for several years at Mr. Peasley’s house, was transferred to the station, and the post office authorities have since known it as such. Soon after, the small office of” Delta,” in Old Town; was discontinued, and all mail matter for that place was ordered sent to Downs. The reader will please take his choice. P. B. Price, son of old Father Price, laid out the town and platted fifteen blocks north of the railroad. It is nine miles from Bloomington, on the Indianapolis, Bloomington & Western Railroad, and is the only station and the only post office in the township. C. D. Bellville, as soon as the place was laid out, built a store on the block north of the depot, and filled up with a general stock of goods. He now lives at Weedman, where he is engaged in trade. In the fall of the same year, J. A. Davis and Amos Allen built a store and put in a stock of merchandise- The following spring, the Killian brothers built and occupied another. These three were more than the trade would support, and this latter firm bought out the stock of Davis & Allen; and consolidated with their own. In 1874, the Killian Bros. sold to Craig & Rodman, who...

Town Officers of Downs, Illinois

The following figures, taken from the last report of School Treasurer E. Homer, show the condition of the schools: Principal of Township Fund, $3,683 ; whole number of children under twenty-one, 607 ; whole number between six and twenty-one, 397 ; number of districts, 9 ; whole number enrolled, 370; average number of months taught, 7.l ; whole amount paid teachers, $2,268; whole amount paid for other purposes, $868 : total amount paid, $:3,136. In addition, is the Independent Kickapoo School District, which is located partly in this and partly in Old Town. The following is a list of those who have been elected to the township offices from the date of township organization. DateSupervisorClerkAssessorCollector 1858Sylvester PeasleyJ. HedrickJ. CuseyN. McDaniels 1859N. McDanielsC. E. BarclayJohn CuseyC. H. Rutledge 1860N. McDanielsA. M. SavidgeC. E. BarclayC. H. Rutledge 1861C. H. RutledgeA. M. SavidgeWilliam BenjaminP. C. Eskew 1862C. H. RutledgeE. R. YoungP. BrickeyN. McDaniels 1863C. H. RutledgeGeorge WaddingtonJohn CuseyN. McDaniels 1864E. HornerS. McTeerJohn CuseyJ. J. Hancock 1865John CuseyJoseph NullJohn CuseyEber Horner 1866John CuseyJoseph NullJ. J. HancockJ. B. Weaver 1867J. B. weaverJoseph NullA. P. LottJ. J. Starkey 1868Sylvester PeasleyJoseph NullJohn CuseyA. Daniels 1869Sylvester PeasleyA. P LottJohn CuseyG. W. Downs 1870Sylvester PeasleyA. P LottJohn CuseyJohn Lott 1871Sylvester PeasleyA. P LottJ. McConnellJ. Savidge 1872Sylvester PeasleyA J. McCombA. P. LottM. O. Stanwood 1873Sylvester PeasleyA J. McCombA. P. LottS. Smith 1874Sylvester PeasleyA J. McCombC. E. BarclayWilliam Johnson 1875Sylvester PeasleyA J. McCombJ. McConnellJ. R. Pogue 1876Sylvester PeasleyA J. McCombJames FultonCharles Allen 1877Sylvester PeasleyA J. McCombE. LandersM. O. Stanwood 1878Sylvester PeasleyA J. McCombC. E. BarclayM. O. Stanwood 1879John McConnellA J. McCombBryon CoveyM. O. Stanwood Justices of the Peace: A. P....

Early Churches of Downs, Illinois

Elder 1. D. Newell, a home missionary of the Baptist denomination, was in this field at work, holding meetings as early as 1836. He organized a church, and a building was erected at Lytleville about that time ; and soon after him, Elder Elijah Veatch preached there and in the surrounding country. There was a church organized, and preaching maintained by it for a time, at the Macedonia Schoolhouse, in this township; but it has disbanded. Rev. Joel Hulsey, of the same denomination, came from Kentucky and preached at Lytleville awhile, and, in 1835, came to this town and bought land on Section 19, and remained here for some years. There was an organization of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and meetings were regularly maintained along the Grove; and a union church was built by that denomination, co-operating with the Methodists, on Section 2, and was occupied by those two denominations in harmony for several years. Rev. R. D. Taylor, Revs. Neat and Archie Johnson and James McDonell were the preachers of the former, and Father Shepherd, Father Royal and Rev. Miflin Harker were the Methodist preachers. Rev. William Bishop; a minister of the Cumberland Church, lived here a few years, preaching and teaching. He went to Mexico in 1846. The United Brethren early held meetings, and formed an organization very early. In 1844, that terribly rainy season, when it rained so much that people could [lot work their land, and they had not much else to do but attend to their religious interests, Rev. Mr. Zook came here and held meetings around in the schoolhouses, and re-organized the church....

Early Settlers of Downs, Illinois

Henry Jacoby took up a claim here about the same time, and was for years a neighbor of Downs. These early adventurers did not find all the conveniences here which would make life pleasant. The hunting was better than now, but all those things which are now thought to be necessaries were wanting. Money was so scarce that it was hardly talked of as a commodity. In place of the short-horns and Berkshires, which you see now in every pasture and feed-yard in this magnificent county, were the black, brindle, piebald, polled, streaked and speckled cattle which, for want of a name, we usually call natives. They were as uneven in quality as variegated in colors, and lacked all the finer beef-qualities for which their successors, the short-horns, are so famous. They answered the purposes for which they were wanted, however, perhaps full as well, perhaps better, than the present popular breed would have done. The working cattle were lively, and endured fatigue and heat well ; and even after they were fatted, they stood the long drives, which the then system of marketing demanded, much better than the cattle of the present day would. They could hardly have been called handsome, but they were in all ways the main help and chief profit of the farmer. As much can hardly be said of the wind-splitting prairie-rooters that were the only hogs then known in these parts. But then, they were hogs, and did not like to be trifled with. They lived on roots and nuts, and could outrun a horse. When the farmer went to feed them, he...

History of Downs, Illinois

Downs Township occupies, in the southern tier of townships, the fourth from the eastern border of the county, and is described as Town 22 north, Range 3, and the northern two tiers of sections of Town 21 north, Range 3 east of the Third Principal Meridian. Downs was principally a prairie town, having no timber except Diamond Grove, a small collection of timber on the Kickapoo, in Sections 5, 6 and 7, and skirting of ” Old Town Timber,” along the northern border of Sections 1, 2 and 3, and “Johnson’s Point,” a small grove in Section 25-covering in the aggregate scarcely four sections of the forty-eight which constitute the town. The Kickapoo is the only creek in Downs, running for about three miles across its northwestern corner. °’ Blue Branch ” and ” Jacoby’s Branch ” run through the -town, and the Long Point Creek, a branch of the Kickapoo, forms in the southern part. The land in the northern half is high and considerably rolling, containing some of the finest farms in the county. The southern portion is more flat, and contains fewer which attract the pleasurable attention of the traveler. The timber here was good, and several mills were built early along the Kickapoo for sawing it into lumber. Before any mills were built, the hardy pioneers whittled out the first lumber with whip-saws, a process slow enough, and so gone out of date in this part. of the country that many of the readers of these pages will wonder what whipsawing is. The log to be sawed was first hewed to a partial square, so...

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