Schools and Societies
The following data is extracted from Cropsey Township, McLean County, Illinois.
D. S. Cram, Esq., is Treasurer for Town 25, Range 6, and lives in Belle Prairie. From his last report the following figures are taken: Number of districts, 9 ; whole number of children under twenty-one years, 618 ; number between six and twenty-one years, 425 ; number enrolled in schools, 380 ; amount of township school fund, $7,000, about one-half of which is loaned on real estate.
The Belle Prairie Agricultural Society is jointly supported by the two towns. It originated in the Belle Prairie Grange, and was organized in 1874, and has held three annual fairs-that in 1878 in the new hall belonging to the society, which is 28x40, and on the land of D. S. Crum, Esq. The Society pays no money-premiums, but awards blue and red ribbon premiums. No fees for admission are charged. A track, upon which the only a purely agricultural horse-trots " known in this part of the country take place, is one of the feature of the exhibition. No racing is permitted, but it is doubted whether any horse could carry off the blue ribbon unless lie made something better than a snail's time around that agricultural track. The society is largely social in its tendencies and aims, and is worthy of study with a view of extending to similar localities a like institution. Ira C. Pratt is President; H. L. Terpenning, Vice President; William Stickler, Secretary ; D. S. Crum, Treasurer.
The Belle Prairie Mutual Insurance Company, a farmer's company of these towns, together with Indian Grove, is in successful operation. There arc 126 policies outstanding, covering an insurance of $103,000. H. L. Terpenning is President ; C. H. Benson, Secretary.
Lodge No. 631, A., F. & A. M., was organized in 1869, at Potosi. It consists of eighteen members. H. L. Terpenning is Worthy Master, and Dr. A. W. Green, Secretary.
During the preparation of these pages, the death of John Thomas occurred at the residence of his grandson, H. A. Thomas, Esq., one-half mile southeast of Potosi, in the 98th year of his age. Father Thomas was born in Halifax, Windham Co., Vt., March 5, 1782. He enlisted in the war of 1812, and served until its close. He was a cloth-dresser by occupation, and worked on the farm summers and at his trade winters. He was three times married, and was the father of twelve children, nine of whom survive him. In 1852, he went to live with his son, at Adams, Jefferson Co., N. V., where he assisted, for a number of years, in carrying on a dairy. In 1868, he came to Illinois, and has since made this place his home. He bad, for many years, been a pensioner of the Government. Nearly thirty years ago, a cancer made its appearance on his left cheek, which slowly made its way until the time of his death, The cavity was about four inches in diameter. Though this was not the cause of his death directly, still it may have hastened it somewhat. For some years, he has gradually lost strength, but was only confined to his bed about four months. During his helplessness, he was kindly cared for by his son and grandson, and the wife of his grandson. Think of the changes time has wrought in this county during only half of the lifetime of this aged soldier!
There is no church in the present town of Cropsey, though the Belle Prairie Methodist Episcopal Church is just across the line.
Source: Cropsey Township, McLean County, Illinois