History of Farming in Blue Mound, Illinois
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For some years, the people of all this prairie country suffered great inconvenience in consequence of the expensive fencing necessary to protect their crops from the great herds of cattle which were allowed to roam at will over the prairie. In 1872, the township provided by ordinance against cattle running at large, at their regular town meeting. The ordinance followed the one of the town of Cropsey, which had been sustained and proved successful in its operation.
Since the first experience in wheat, corn has been, and probably will continue to be, the great staple crop. The adoption of the law preventing cattle from running at large, made it possible for men to crop their land without fencing, and hedges were started, although there are many pieces of land in the township which are still open. There is no railroad, marketing of the crops being done at Lexington on the north, and Ellsworth and Holder on the south.
Old settlers tell of a terrible tornado which swept over the town in the summer, which did much damage and caused more fright. The wind had blown from the east all day, and at night came back from the west in a terrible gale. For years, the people at the East had heard heart-rending stories of the awful winds on these treeless prairies. This was the first experience these settlers had after leaving their Eastern homes, and some of them fully expected, when the ” storm center ” should fairly get ” onto ” them, to see their cook-stoves going skyward, their cattle’s limbs flying promiscuously through the firmament, and the fleeces blown clean off the sheep, going to re-enforce the clouds. The damage was comparatively light, but the fright was enormous. They have now lived here long enough to know that we really have no more wind here than they do in Ohio or New York. We now hear the stories coming from Kansas and Nebraska that Eastern folks heard twenty-five years ago from Illinois.
A short notice of some of the larger and more successful farmers is appended:
John Fletcher, of English birth, has a splendid farm of 600 acres in Sections 19 and 20. He has good buildings, farms well, and carries about one hundred head of cattle.
Joshua Brown, who, besides the farm he lives on, owns other large farms, has 460 acres in Section 31. He was from Tazewell County. Has good house, barns, sheds, etc., attends closely to his business, keeps his fields neat and tidy. He carries about one hundred bead of cattle.
Nathan J. Parr, who has lived here fifteen years, has half a section in Section 23, and eighty acres in Section 14. He has good farm-buildings, and is a good farmer.
William A. Golden, an early settler, farms about half a section, situated in Sections 1, 6 and 12. He has a substantial house and barn, and his farm is kept in excellent condition, and his buildings well cared for.
M. S. Sill had until last year what is generally considered one of the best and best appointed farms in Blue Mound. He sold it to Samuel Etnire, and moved to Normal. The farm consists of 240 acres in Section S. The buildings are large and attractive, with good sheds, and all has an appearance of thrift and success.
Daniel Shay, an Irishman by birth, has recently put up a fine, modern house on his farm in Section 27. The farm is 160 acres, and is in excellent culture.
Leonard H. Bender came here from Pennsylvania in 1870. He has a fine farm of 200 acres in Section 22. The house is probably the largest in the town, and everything about it indicates care, thrift and good attention.
On the Mound in the northeast corner of Section 28, John Butler has good improvements surrounded by a good farm.
Zachariah Arnold has a good farm of 160 acres in Section 35, and his brother Thomas a like farm right in the center of Section 27. Both are considered excellent farmers and good citizens.
A. H. Conger, on Section 18, has a fine-farm of 200 acres, with nice house, barn and out-buildings. Several others might be named. Indeed, a trip over the township shows few ill-managed farms or neglected buildings. The general care of roads and hedges is apparent, and it is altogether a good place to live in.