History of Yates, Illinois
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Yates Township, known officially as Town 3.5, Range 5, was, until 1862 a part of Chenoa; at that date it was separately organized, and by resolution of its citizens, took the then popular name of ” Union,” at their first town meeting in 1863. This is easily accounted for, for at that time fully two-thirds of her fighting population were ” at the front ” doing their full duty in carrying the tattered flag ” on to Vicksburg and the “sacred soil” generally; while fully three-fourths of those who remained at home were praying and paying to help on the glorious cause. No stronger friends of the Union could be found on any six miles square of contiguous and compact prairie anywhere, than here. The name was objected to on account of its having been frequently adopted of late by other townships nearby ; and on the following year was changed to Yates. after the then Governor of Illinois. Nothing could better show the tendency of public sentiment in the young township than the successive selection of these ” radical ” names. Yates is the northeastern township in the county, and forms, with Chenoa and Gridley on the west, the northern tier of townships which “cap” the county of McLean on the map, not unlike the mansard roof of a house. Like the other townships in this vicinity, some of the land is flat, but at least ninety per cent of it is rolling, and almost every acre capable of the highest cultivation. There is little difference in the lay of the land in the different parts of the township, except that that portion along the railroad (first tier of sections) is more level, and that portion farther south more rolling; the northern portion shedding toward the Vermilion, and the southern half toward the Mackinaw. Yates is a full Congressional township, the Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw Railway running across its northern tier, upon which is Weston, the only post office in the township; the soil is rich and deep, capable of a wealth of production far beyond anything yet accomplished; free from township debt; settled with sober, industrious, economical people, giving a large place in their minds to religious and educational improvement; it would be indeed difficult to find its superior in all respects in this or any other State.
The principal interest of the citizens of Yates is, of course, farming, their principal crops being corn, oats, rye, and hogs. Very few have attempted cattle-feeding, and have escaped the financial disasters which have overtaken so many in the older and richer portions of the county. The richness of the soil, and its suitableness for cultivation in any kind of season, has given a healthy success to the farming community, while the absence of great wealth on the part of any has kept out a tendency to extravagant living and inordinate display, which, sooner or later, must affect the entire community. There are many good f run -no large ones-in Yates. Some of the best it may not he amiss to name, even at the risk of leaving out some quite as worthy of notice.
C. C. Wright, who, for several years, has ably represented this town on the Board of Supervisors, has a firm of 240 acres, in the northwestern portion of the township, which is well managed and in excellent condition. Abram Stevens has 320 acres, extending back front the village of Weston, a portion of it being in Livingston County, which, though rather flat, is well drained and very productive. He has a fine residence near Weston, and everything about him looks neat and comfortable. John Rupp owns a half section in Section 22, which is regarded one of the best in Yates. 0. T. Phillips bas a fine farm of 330 acres, three miles west of Weston, which is a very good farm and well cultivated. Simon Beckler farms 250 acres on Section 1′.”, which is excellent land and well cared for. John T. Green has a fine farm of 450 acres, just west of the village, which is one of the largest and best in the township.