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History of McLeansboro, Hamilton County Written
(REPRINT: McLeansboro Times Leader - Wednesday, March 27, 1991)
Written by John B. Kinnear
and published in The McLeansboro Times on December 20, 1883

FIRST INSTALLMENT

This perhaps may not be as interesting to our younger readers as it will be for the older ones who have lived here almost three score and ten years. The once little cast-off hamlet of but a few souls, who strove hard to frame the county, has grown now to a place of business, and bids fair to rival her neighboring towns in Southern Illinois.

We have lived to see it grow in mortality - from what used to be styled second to no place but that of the darkest and vilest pit, where the slime of the serpents would pour - to a thriving temperance town of two thousand. In the place of dram shops and places of violence that are calculated to ruin our rising generation, and bring shame of perhaps thousands yet unborn, we have peering towards the sky six church spires and one from an institution of learning. It has been said (and I am sorry for it) that we sent our Representative to the nation's capitol from a town which had no building of worship. It is true we had none at that time, but thank God the day is passed when such slurs as that can be seen and heard the hideous screams and actions of those who seemed not to regard God or man, there can now be heard the busy bustle and constant hum of those who are actively engaged in the care of a business life; and indeed it is difficult to realize the changes that have taken place in so short a time - what was but a few years ago almost a waste desert of a place and scarcely ever visited by anyone but those of the roughest character, unless business demanded that they should.

ORGANIZATION

In the spring of 1821, by an act of the Legislature, Samuel Leach, Joel Pace and James Ratcliff were appointed to select a location for a county seat in Hamilton county. Hamilton had been struck off from White county only a short time before. This was done as had been directed, and the place selected was a part of the farm of Dr. William McLean, who lived in a little log house near where Peter Carlin now lives. This spot contained twenty acres, the center being what is now the Public Square, and was marked by a big black oak tree which stood near where the fire- proof office now stands. After making their selection, the next thing was to give a name to the town. After thinking of all the great cities of Greece and Rome and other countries, they were still bothered about a name, when some old man came along who had partaken too freely of what they termed "tanglefoot," and listening a few minutes raised his head and said: "Boys, I gad, call it McLeansboro."

After some thought they finally agreed that this should be the name, and it should be in honor of Dr. McLean, who had sold the land to the State (or county) for the purpose of establishing a county seat.

There was at this time no buildings in what was laid off for the town of McLeansboro, as it only included twenty acres of ground. There were a few scattering houses in the neighborhood, but none in town.

April 9, 1821, the Commissions, viz: William Wheeler, Littlepage Proctor and Townsend Tarleton, advertised to let out the contract for building a court-house. The county had only been organized a short time, and what little business that had been transacted had been done at the house of John Anderson. The court-house was to fill the following description: It was to be built of logs hewn on two sides, and was to be sixteen feet square, covered with boards, put on cabin fashion; was to be eight feet high, chinked and daubed; have a plank floor, one window (and this was to be a glass window) consisting of 12 panes of glass, 8x10, and a good plank door, 3 feet wide and 6 feet, 3 inches high.

Such was the rude construction in which our forefathers met to hold their court and lay the foundation on which the laws of our county must stand. On the first day of May the contract was let for building this log cabin; the contract to be given to the lowest bidder, which was Benjamin Hood, an old millwright who lived below Hoodville, and whose name is familiar to many of our readers. Mr. Hood took the contract of building this house for $379, which was completed in due time and accepted by the Commissioners. This was then the finest house in Hamilton county, and many of the old pioneers would wonder if Hamilton would ever need any other public buildings, for many of them were a little out of humor because the Commissioners had been so extravagant in spending the county funds.

Our community at the time was not altogether a paradise, and it was only a short time until they began to feel the necessity of having in their midst a necessary evil in the form of a jail. This was needed to keep people in, and not to keep people out; therefore it would necessarily have to be made more secure than the court-house.

This contract was let in September 1821, to William Hall for the sum of $780. It was to be completed within one year from date, which was done and the contract received. Soon afterwards there was an estray pen built on the north side of the public square. This was built by Robert Moore, at a cost of $12. Thus the county had all the public buildings it needed at the time, and had cost $1,171. There were no other buildings to amount to anything at this time in the town, but soon there were a few log cabins erected and they began business in the pioneer style. The principle article of commerce at that time was whiskey, which every person dealt in to a greater or less degree. What is now known as the Public Square and the place where they had the estray pen, was the place selected for wrestling, fighting, etc., and not a few times would they come away from there with the marks of their brutal fists plain to be seen on their faces.

The business of the county did not amount to very much, and so Jesse C. Lockwood was elected to fill all the offices of the county except Judge. He was the first postmaster, and at the same time held the office of County Clerk, Circuit Clerk, Recorder, Treasurer, Sheriff, Justice of the Peace, and in fact all the county offices, and then he had not enough to keep him busy half the time.

SECOND INSTALLMENT

The matter of education was not entirely neglected, although the rude manner in which it was conducted in those days would lead a person to think it might as well have been overlooked entirely. The first school that was taught here was in an old waste house (log house about 12 x 14 feet) which stood about where Silas Heard now lives. This was before such a thing as a plank had ever been known in Hamilton county, and then the house was protected from the brute creation by piling rails in the door. There was no floor in it, and the fire was built in one corner and the smoke found its escape through a hole in the roof made for that purpose. In this way our pioneer fathers obtained their little education, and even Hon. S. S. Marshall, who represented us at Washington so long, got his start in almost as rude a manner as it above described.

After this old sheep-pen gave way, there was a little log hut built near where Mrs. Lockwood lives and this they intended to put some tone to. So they put in a puncheon floor, and swung a clapboard door to it. On the back side was a log cut out and a greased paper place over the hole to transmit light. They had benches in this, and they were of saplings split open and pins driven in them for legs. Here the young generation would march in for about three months out of the year, and when they had learned to figure to the "single rule of three" they were considered to be as good scholars as could be found in the country, and the idea of their going to school any more was though to be preposterous. When this house was fit for use no longer they built another one just back of Judge Marshall's barn which served their purpose for many years. This was built of logs, and very closely resembled the one above described. Here the young urchins would stick pins, have spelling matches and get their backs lashed until Esq. Heard built the old school house, near T. L. Lockhart's at his own expense. After the Legislature passed a law that free schools should be maintained, the school bought the property at a cost of $800, and soon here were two teachers employed, and the old fashioned way of having sixty or seventy in one of those old Elementary Spelling Books, was at last about to be done away with. From that time the schools have been graded. In 1877 the school board let out the contract for building a new school house which was to be constructed of brick and was to be paid out of the district money. The contract was let to the lowest bidder, and the lucky man was Mr. Hyatt, the father of Mr. A. Hyatt. The house was built in the summer and fall of 1877, at a cost of little over $9,000, including fencing, grounds, coal house, etc. Mr. Leonidas Walker was the first principal who taught in the new building, having begun his school in the old building and completed this term in the new building. The next term was taught by Milton Daily. He held the position only one year when he was succeeded by LaFayette Howard, who had been the first assistant of the year before. In the fall of 1880, the board elected a corps of five teachers, with G. W. Garrison as principal and H. A. Ingram as superintendent. After teaching one year, they were superseded by J. P. Stelle as superintendent and S. H. Ward as principal. In the fall of 1882, Julien L. Frohock was elected superintendent and J. H. Lane, principal. Frohock having resigned in the fall of 1883, J. H. Lane was promoted to the superintendency, and J. B. Kinnear to the high school.

The public building of Hamilton county had gone down to a great extent and about 1836, the people began to think they needed a new court house. The first one was built in 1821, and was afterwards repaired for a new one built in its place. The latter was a two story log house and was not much of an ornament to the county at that.

After a great amount of discussion and talk, the County Commissioners resolved to build a brick court house after the same plan as the one at Carmi. This would have cost them a great deal, considering the wealth of the county at that time, and so it was ordered by the Court, at the March term, in 1830, that the order for a brick court house be rescinded and that there should be a court house built on the public square, in McLeansboro, Ill., after the following description:

It was to be thirty feet square, set on a good stone foundation that was to be but 18 inches in the ground, and two feet above the surface. The building was to be two stories high; the lower one to be twelve feet in the clear, and the upper one to be nine feet in the clear. The roof was to be made round, and was to consist of shingles, which were to be nailed on. On the top there was to be a cupola, which was to be ten feet high. This house was to be ceiled with good substantial plank, and the work was to be done in a workmanlike manner. The cost of this building is not on record, because the contract was never let out. At the December term, of 1839, the order for the above house was rescinded, and now, for the second time, they had agreed to build a brick house, which was constructed in 1840 and 1841. This building has been standing for 43 years and now needs repairing badly - with a new house. The stone that was used for building the court house was quarried in what is now William Rickord's lot. The contract was first taken by James Hall, who began the work, and failing had to give it up. The contract was then given to Isaac Lasswell, who agreed to build the house for $4500. He gave bond to the Commissioners for the completion of the house and they thereby agreed to pay him as the work was going on. This was done and the house was finished according to contract within one year from the date and was receiver by the Commissioners.

THIRD INSTALLMENT

After the old log jail was getting so that it was considered unsafe, the County Commissioners gave the contract to James McGilly and John Murphy to build a rock jail. The exact date and cost of this we do not know, but the first person locked in it was a runaway negro. After a day or so he managed by some means to get a rock loose, and made his escape; thus the new jail was not widely known for its safety, and a story was circulated over the country that the negro butted the rock out and then shamed them for not having made the building more substantial.

This was only use a few years ago when there was an order made by the Commissioners for a new jail, that was to be constructed of brick and lined throughout with sheet iron. This was soon done and the place has proven to be one of safety, and yet stands as a monument of dark deeds for Hamilton county. The old jail was torn down last Spring.

On Monday, August 3, 1868, James Lane, A. M. Sturman and L. L. Moore, County Commissioners, met, and it was ordered by the Court that they advertise in the St. Louis Republican, Chicago Times, Cincinnati Enquirer and the Hamilton County Democrat, for the building of which is now the Fire-proof office. The advertisement was inserted in the above named papers and on the ninth day of September the contract was let to the lowest bidder, that being Rufus F. Stanley, who took the contract to build the house for $6,594. It was to be 72 feet long, 26 feet wide, and both upper and lower rooms to be twelve feet high. The material for the walls was to be burnt brick. The first story was to have a wall sixteen inches thick and the second story was to be twelve inches thick. The contract was to be completed by the first of September, 1869.

After the agreement was made for made for Mr. Stanley to build the office, he was required to give a bond of $13,188, or double the cost of the building, which was soon done and received by the County Court, September 9th, 1868.

The work was soon begun and the contract for laying the foundation was let to John Lane (more commonly known as Stumpy John) and was completed in due time.

Mr. Stanley was backed and assisted by A. G. Cloud, of our town, and on the 23rd day of August, 1869, the building was ready for inspection and the County Board received the same; although it was not yet fully completed. They received it on the condition that A. G. Cloud would agree to put all the floors in, according to contract, and they were to be inspected by Uncomb Graves, and both parties agreed to accept his judgment on the matter. The contract was then accepted and the money paid over.

HAMILTON COLLEGE - The first instigation of this institution was gotten up by John P. Stelle. There had been considerable talk of establishing a school in Ewing Presbytery, and McLeansboro and Enfield were the two towns that were competing for it. There had been about $5,000 subscribed but when the final contest was questioned, Enfield had raised a little larger subscription than McLeansboro, and hereby secured the school. After being beaten in this enterprise, J. P. Stelle suggested the idea that McLeansboro go ahead and secure a charter, and build up a school of their own, independent of the Enfield school. After some consideration, this was agreed upon, and John Coker and J. P. Stelle went to Harrisburg and secured Prof. W. I. Davis to take hold of the school, which he did.

John P. Stelle, John Coker, John C. Hall, Judge Crouch and Judge Marshall were then organized as a Board of Trustees, and in April, 1875, they obtained a charter from the State. Prof. Davis was elected president of the school, and Prof. James Leslie as principal teacher. In a short time there was a commercial department added to the school, and Prof. J. W. Bradshaw was elected as principal of that department. The first meeting of the citizens of Hamilton county for the purpose of taking the necessary steps to secure the establishment of a high institution of learning at McLeansboro, met on the second day of March, 1874, the commit-report. The building was to be constructed of brick, was to be 40 x 80, and not less than 45 feet from ground to bottom of cornice. The probable cost was estimated at not less than $11,000. On this day the citizens determined to name the school "Hamilton College." J. W. Marshall, A. B. Weldin, John P. Stelle, Cloyd Crouch and John C. Hall were then chosen as Commissioners, to make application to the state to be vested with corporate powers. They at once received their powers from the state.

FOURTH INSTALLMENT

HAMILTON COLLEGE (continued) - On the thirteenth day of July, 1874, John P. Stelle, John Coker and A. B. Weldin were appointed as trustees to ascertain on what terms the M. E. Church could be obtained for school purposes. They made arrangements with the trustees of the church, and thereby agreed to complete and finish the building for the use of it for the period of five years. This being done, Prof. W. I. Davis was employed to take charge of the school and they opened up at once. The school soon embraced three departments, viz: Scientific, Teacher's or Normal, and Commercial. The first diplomas was issued from the Commercial department. This was on March 2nd, 1876. There were three granted at the same time and the happy recipients were: Benjamin F. Gullic, Columbus M. Hall and Arthur T. Secor. After this time there were quite a number granted from the teacher's department and two from the scientific department - the first one to Harry Carpenter and the last one to James B. Tate. The last diploma that was granted by the College was from the teacher's department to J. B. Kinnear, July 25th, 1880. At one time here was a fair prospect for the institution to be one of the leading schools of Illinois, but repeated failures in the way of obtaining finances and subscriptions for building a college, soon embarrassed the people and in July, 1880, all hopes of a school were abandoned.

SECRET SOCIETIES - There was no secret organizations in McLeansboro until many years after its foundation. The first one, however was the Masonic Lodge. There had been a Masonic lodge at Mt. Vernon for some time, and some of the citizens of Hamilton county belonged to it. In the fall of 1853 they had agreed to form a lodge of their own, and on the 5th day of October a charter was granted and they organized Polk No. 137, with only a few charter members. The lodge was organized by E. B. Ames, Ben L. Wiley, Isaac R. Diller, J. L. Anderson, H. G. Reynolds, Lorenzo Rathbone, and a few others. Perhaps the only one of the charter members who is now living is old Dr. Rathbone (now deceased). For many years after the fraternity was organized, it grew very slowly, and at different times was near on the verge of discontinuance. Some five or six year ago they began to increase and they now have 58 members and considerable money on hands. The following are the present officers, viz: J. N. Meader, W. M.; S. J. Pake, S. W.; Doug Lasater, J. W.; J. R. Siddall, S. D.; J. S. Hensley, J. D.; A. A. Hyatt, Treasurer; A. M. Wilson, Secretary.

The next permanent secret organization in McLeansboro was the Odd Fellows. This lodge was organized Oct. 17, 1856, with six charter members, viz: M. M. Young, Lorenzo Rathbone, Charles Gilman, John W. Oneal, Chester Carpenter and D. F. Asbury. The lodge consisted of the above named gentlemen, and the first corps of officers was selected from their number. The little fraternity managed to keep together through the harder period of its life, and believing in the old adage, "that the darkest hour was just before the day," they still kept themselves bound together in a brotherhood, and gradually increased in number and wealth; until they at present have forty members and considerable wealth being the wealthiest lodge in the county. The present officers are: J. W. Jones, N. G.; Samuel McNeely, V. G.; C. L. Young, Rec. Secretary; and A. C. Cully, Permanent Secretary.

The next brotherhood that was organized in McLeansboro was the K. Of H. Lodge. This was organized Feb. 14, 1878, by W. H. McCormick, of Beardstown, Ill. There had been a great deal of talk about establishing this lodge, and through the influence of Prof. Davis and others they finally accomplished their design, and organized with sixteen charter members, viz: R. C. Robinson, W. R. Studebaker, Prof. W. I. Davis, W. C. Shaw, Thomas Sloan, W. B. Garner, W. R. Daniel, A. J. Baird, Lafe Howard, J. F. Marshall, Milton Daily, T. L. Lockhart, J. P. Stelle, Arch Faulkner, R. W. Glenn and A. Longworth. Since that time they have gained many members and have of course lost some. They at present number 43. Their first officers were: W. C. Shaw, Dictator; W. R. Studebaker, Past Dictator; W. I. Davis, Vice Dictator; and R. C. Robinson, Assistant Dictator. The present officers are: C. M. Wiseman, Dictator; W. H. Buck, Past Dictator; G. B. Robinson, Vice-Dictator; and L. J. Hale, Assistant Dictator.

FIFTH INSTALLMENT

SECRET SOCIETIES (Continued) - There has been some other organizations that have been let die down. Several temperance societies have had their rise and fall. The Royal Templar of Temperance was organized Oct. 28, 1880, by a Mr. Watson, from Ashley. The first society of the R. T. of T. was instituted and organized in 1870, at Buffalo, N. Y., by P. A. Ross, S. K. Porter and M. A. Kinyun, M. D. Since that time their development has been very rapid and at present they have many active lodges which are doing a good work. At present the lodge in McLeansboro has 38 members and the officers for the year 1883 were, viz: R. H. Stanley, S. C.; T. M. Eckley, P. C.; R. A. Silliman, V. C.; Mrs. Celia A. Harris, Chaplain; Mrs. Jane W. McElvain, Secretary; John Dewitt, Treasurer; Mrs. W. H. Carne, Guard; and J. C. Carner, Sentinel.

The next fraternity in the town was the K. of P. This lodge was organized Oct. 17th, 1883, by the Carmi Lodge, with the following Charter members, viz: C. M. Lyon, J. H. Lane, C. W. Eudaily, J. C. Edwards, J. W. Jones, H. H. Carpenter, I. H. Webb, F. A. Harvey, G. W. Hogan, J. M. Lockett, W. T. Pemberton, J. E. Irvin, R. A. Silliman, G. B. Wheeler, J. W. Coker, J. G. Dickson, G. S. Wilson, W. J. Rice, F. Guthrie, Ed. Ledbetter, J. L. Blades, J. E. Robinson, G. B. Robinson, W. H. Buck, J. C. Asher, J. L. Frohock, I. G. Berridge, C. W. Coker, G. V. Rountree, B. Harris, T. O. Sloan, W. A. McElvain and R. F. Meador.

RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS - The first little band that met in McLeansboro to hold devotional exercises was while the town was in its infancy and, from the best authority we can gather, they were of the Methodist denomination. They would continue to hold their prayer meetings occasionally, and now and then they would enjoy the privilege of hearing a sermon when there chanced to be an itinerant preacher passing through the country. The first class that was organized here was in about 1827. This was organized by old Rev. Simon Walker, who then had charge of the circuit reaching from Carlisle to Carmi. The aged minister would make his way through here occasionally, and would stop and preach them an old time sermon, that would "shake up the dry bones in the valley," and then go on. The M. E. Church here now can trace their origin back to him. For many years they were not able to erect a building and they, like all other public congregations at that time, had to hold their meetings in the court house. This they did for many years and gradually increased in numbers until they felt like they were able to build a house for worship. By some means they obtained property about where the M. E. Church now stands, and by all pitching in and helping to build it - with what little subscriptions they could secure - they soon got the house up, but never had it dedicated. This was built in 1843-4, and was about 40 by 60 feet, and the cost was estimated at $1,200. Before the house was completed, in the spring of 1856, it was burned down, supposed to have been done by an incendiary. Then they were thrown upon the mercies of the world just as they were before, and had to resort to the old court house. This served their purpose until 1870 when they built the present building. The lot was given by John S. Kinnear. R. L. Meador, E. E. Welborn and John S. Kinnear were at once appointed as a building committee, and they at once secured subscriptions and began to make preparations for erecting a church building. L. W. Cremeens, T. H. Edwards, R. L. Meador, John S. Kinnear, E. E. Welborn, T. L. Lockhart and Joseph Carter were appointed as trustees of said church, and in the spring of 1870, they at once began to make the necessary arrangements for letting out the contract, which was taken by P. C. Eudaily. The building was soon erected at a cost of $8,000, and in the spring of 1871 it was dedicated by Rev. Bowen. The ministers who have had the charge of the church from that time until the present are, viz: Rev. Walker, Morris, Bayard, Caughlin, Thompson, Ravenscroft, and Pender. They now have a fine denomination, consisting of something over a hundred members.

SIXTH INSTALLMENT

RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS (Continued) - Perhaps the next organization in the town was by the Cumberland Presbyterians. But there was no other church building except the Old School Presbyterians. This body was organized December 16, 1867, by Rev. John Huston, with only eight members, viz: H. W. White, Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Siddall, John Parkhill, Martha Parkhill, Elizabeth Parkhill, Sarah Parkhill and Julie White. Rev. John Huston was chosen as the first pastor of the church. Soon afterwards there was a committee appointed to see about raising money to build a church. A liberal subscription was secured and the building was soon erected at a cost of $3,500, and in the spring of 1868 it was dedicated. The following are the marriages in the church since the organization: Philip Rearden to Ida Carpenter, July 15th, 1873; Thomas Eckley to Rosalie M. Marshall, May 18, 1875; C. M. Wiseman to Edith M. Marshall, Dec. 30, 1875; A. M Sturman to Rebecca M. Carpenter, April 10th, 1876; C. W. Pape to Irene Gates, July 4th, 1876; Byrd E. Cremeens to Nellie Carpenter, Oct. 8, 1881, and Charles H. Heard to Nahwista Gates. The deaths which have occurred are Mrs. Martha Parkhill, September 23, 1871; John McElvain, March 23, 1873 (he was not a member of the organization, but was a warm supporter and therefore has his name recorded in the church history); Mrs. Claa White, April 22, 1874; Mrs. Frances Leake, 1875; Peter Leake, Jan. 1875; Alexander K. Walcott, March 24, 1877; John J. Powell, July 15, 1877; Mary Allen, April 21, 1878; and Henry E. Carpenter, Oct 1, 1882. They have membership of 22. At present they have no pastor.

C. P. CHURCH - This is the oldest organization in Hamilton county, having been organized in 1822, by Rev. D. W. Mackley. This old veteran continued to preach to his congregation for quite a while after the church was organized. Afterwards, Rev. Jesse Pearce, W. M. Hamilton, J. Alexander and William Davis had charge of the church at different times. They worked along quietly for many years and had quite a congregation, numbering about 80. About 1837 they became disorganized by some means and for some years there was no organization until Rev. Milledge Miller and R. M. Davis reorganized it in the court house where they held meetings for some time. There being some dissatisfaction the church was moved out in the country to what is known as Union Hall. There they moved along pleasantly for some time, but after a while they again became disorganized and in 1874 they were reorganized for the last time, by Rev. R. M. Davis, who continued to be their minister for about eight years. They like all other denominations were compelled to hold their services in the court house until other means could be provided. In 1875, A. Sullenger, A. M. Wilson, A. Weldin and few others gathered together what means they could get by subscription and other means and soon erected the present building at a cost of about $3,000. They soon had the building dedicated by Rev. Hogg, and since that time they have been under the care of R. M. Davis and George Williams. Among the oldest members of that order was Daniel Marshall, John Anderson and wife, old Mrs. Bond, the Baily family and some of the Mauldings.

BAPTIST CHURCH - There has been a Baptist organization in McLeansboro for many years, but want of energy and lack of courage on the part of some of the members, caused it to grow cold and for many years the little band was without a minister. It seems as though there was no church organization for some time. On the thirteenth day of Feb., 1872, Rev. A. DeFoe, James H. Daily, James Braden, Elvira Howard and Julia Gray were called together as a presbytery by Rev. C. Allen and they proceeded at once to organize themselves into a Baptist Church of Christ by calling Rev. C. Allen as their pastor and electing James H. Daily as church clerk. There being no building for worship they were obliged to use the courthouse, which served their purpose for a number of years. On the twelfth day of April 1874, John C. Hall, Dr. A. Defoe and Henderson Daily were appointed as a committee to draw up a draft of the church house, which they were contemplating to build, and the probable cost not to be less than $3,500. This was done and there was a building committee appointed consisting of Jasper Boyd, T. B. Wright, J. H. Daily, and two others. The necessary subscription was raised to insure the payment and they then proceed to let out the contract to the lowest bidder. This they did and A. A. Young, of Hoodville, took the contract of building the same for $2,250.00. The church was completed by the above named gentleman, and in 1876 it was dedicated by Rev. French. Since that time the church has been under the pastoral care of Rev. C. Allen, John Rodman and W. H. Carner. The church is now out of debt and has a membership of over a hundred with C. Allen as minister.

Written by John B. Kinnear
and published in the McLeansboro Times on January 31, 1884.

CHRISTIAN CHURCH - This church organized Feb. 9th, 1876, by Rev. J. T. Baker with 17 members. They held their services in the court house for some time, and until other means could be provided for. They soon made the necessary arrangements for building a house and B. T. M. Pemberton, J. J. Buck and Oscar McGee were appointed as a building committee. They at once began to solicit subscriptions which was very favorably met by the citizens and they soon obtained enough to secure the erection of the church building. In June, 1880, they let the contract for building the church to George Hoffman, who agreed to build for the sum of $1,365. It was soon erected according to contract and has been their place of worship ever since; although it has never yet been dedicated since their organization; they have for the most of the time been under the pastoral care of Revs. T. W. Wall, D. Logan, G. W. Marl and B. R. Gilbert.

The church now has a nice little congregation of about 85 members and is in good working condition.

EPISCOPAL CHURCH - This church was organized as follows: On the 9th day of February, 1880, Mrs. Mary A. Pake visited Mt. Vernon, Ill., by invitation of Mrs. J. J. Beecher, for the purpose of meeting the Right Rev. George Franklin Seymour. The object was to solicit the aid of establishing services at McLeansboro and to invite the Rev. M. Stelle of Cincinnati to take charge of said town. It was proposed by the bishop that the members of McLeansboro get together and see if $500 could be raised for the purpose of paying in part the salary of the clergyman. The meeting was held and the sum of two hundred dollars was promptly subscribed and the Rev. Ingram W. Irvine was invited to take charge of the church. There being no place to hold worship, J. M. Shoemaker tendered his hall for that purpose until other arrangements could be made. The church was organized with the following communicants, viz: Mr. and Mrs. W. Rickords, Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Pake, Miss Annie Jones, Miss Mary Jones, Mrs. John Darley and Mrs. J. M. Shoemaker. In addition to the above they now have belonging, Mr. L. Powell, Mrs. L. Powell (deceased), Miss Lulu Lockhart, Mrs. J. H. Miller, Mrs. S. W. Heard, Mrs. C. G. McCoy, Miss Stewart and Mrs. Geo. P. Foote.

Mr. Charles H. Heard gave them a lot on the fifth day of July, 1880. Mr. Wm. Rickords, J. M. Shoemaker, C. G. McCoy, S. J. Pake and Mr. L. Powell were appointed as trustees of said Church and under their instructions the Church was erected. The corner stone was laid Aug. 19, 1880, by the Right Rev. George Franklin Seymour, assisted by Rev. Irvine, Rev. Stanley, and Rev. Jesse Higgins of Centralia, Ill. The contract to erect the building was let Aug. 13, 1880, to W. S. Thompson, of Mt. Vernon, Ill. and they at once went to work on it. It cost when completed about $10,000 and was finished the following Spring on the nineteenth day of February, 1882. The first sermon was preached in it after the building was completed, it was delivered by Rev. R. B. Hoyt. The Church is now quite an ornament to the town and in fact is about the finest finished Church in Southern Illinois.

THE PRESS - There is no instrumentality, not even excepting the pulpit and the bar, in this broad country of ours, that exerts half the influence as does the Press. It is the lever that moves the world and is the chief means by which the world is carried on. Without it we would simply be a heathenish people and left to wonder and smother away in our ignorance. The minister on the Sabbath Day preaches to a large congregation and in a short time his thoughts are reproduced more than a thousand fold and are read and discussed throughout the whole country. They are the means by which we gather our thoughts and arrive at our own conclusions. The lawyer pleading at the bar in thrilling tones, pleads either for or against the criminal who is arraigned for trial, often causing the jury to bring in a verdict against the law. His words ring in the ears of his hearers and are reproduced a thousand times and are carefully weighed by unprejudiced men and taken for what they are worth. The news of our elections suddenly flash over the wires and is soon chronicled on the pages of our papers and then sent to all parts of our known world where the same channel of thought runs through the minds of millions and reveals to them the changes that are taking place in so short time. The power for the good or evil of the press, is today unlimited. The shortcoming of the politicians are made known through its columns; the dark deeds of the lawless are exposed and each fear and dread it alike. The controlling influence of a Nation, State, County or community is it Press.

Written by John B. Kinnear
and published in The McLeansboro Times on February 7, 1884

(The Press Continued) - The first printing that was ever done in Hamilton County was by James P. Stelle, who made a wooden press and then with his knife whittled out a foot or two of type and thus introduced the first printing in the county. He did not, however, attempt to print any paper because his press was too incomplete to think of doing such a thing. He opened the way for others to take some enterprise in the matter and soon there was a press brought to town in 1855 by Mr. Moudy, who started the first County paper, this was called the Hamilton News," and was run by Mr. Moudy for three or four years, when he was superseded by Jack Alden and the name was changed to the "Hamilton Succor." The paper run in this name for some years, but was like all other county papers - had a hard time for its life. After some years of experience, Mr. Alden sold out to Mr. J. W. Meador who run it under the title of "The Hamilton Express." Mr. Meador's connection with the paper was not very long and he soon sold out, and it then assumed the name of "Vox-Populi" (voice of the people), under which it was edited for some time but did not prove to be successful. C. C. Carpenter, the young Orator of the Carpenter family and whose name will be familiar to most of the aged readers of "The Times," took charge of the paper as proprietor and editor of same; running it under the name of the "Hamilton Democrat." Mr. Carpenter was an able editor and a forcible writer and while the paper was under his editorial care it seemed to be prosperous and was indeed all honor to the party in this county at that day. After his discontinuance with the paper, it was sold to a company and its name was changed to the "Union Eagle." This was strongly a Republican paper, the first that had ever been edited in the county, and John P. Stelle took the place as editor. The Republican party at that time was growing pretty strong in the country and there being no other paper in the county, of course they received quite a handsome patronage. The paper was of course some help to its party and continued to issue its Republicanism for about three or four years when it was sold to Judge Goodridge and T. T. Wilson, of Jefferson county, and the name was changed to "The Hamilton Democrat," thus the two parties were continually throwing sharp hatchets at each other for some time until each of them got a press and both had equal footing. The last named gentlemen run the paper for a short time when they sold out to Mr. R. F. Brown, who was a very able editor, and run the paper very successfully for some years under the name of "The McLeansboro Times," after his connection with the paper, The Times came under the control of Hon. John C. Edwards, and retained its old name which has followed it down to the present date. Mr. Edwards being a talented young man and full of energy, made the paper an honor to the Democratic party, and edited it with skill and good judgment for a short time, when he sold out to Mr. M. B. Friend, who is well known throughout Hamilton County and for a good vocabulary slang could certainly "take the cake." He seemed to make things rather warm for the majority of those who took issue against him and many of his expressions will long be remembered and handed down to generations yet to come. Mr. Friend continued to edit the same until the Spring of 1874 when the office was burned during the fire that swept Walker's block. This left but one paper in the town, "The Era," which had been started in the winter of 1871 and which history we will give in a subsequent article. The Democratic party now felt their need for a press to represent them in the county and by some means, I believe partially by subscription, they raised a sufficient amount to purchase another outfit and the paper soon started again under the editorial care of Mr. Friend, who continued to run the same until he sold the press to J. R. and Charles Campbell, the remainder of which we will give in a subsequent writing. In 1881 Mr. M. B. Friend started another Democratic paper called "The Hearld" and continued to run it some four or five months when it was discontinued. The party was not strong enough to support two organs and therefore it was thought best to suspend the latter for a while at least. The office was bought out by Mr. J. R. Campbell, and Mr. Friend went to Harrisburg where is now running a Democratic paper at present.

THE GOLDEN ERA - This paper was started by John P. Stelle and the first issue was laid before the people Jan. 13, 1871. In this there was quite a little salutary written by the editor in which he set forth his ideas and intentions to the public. In this he said they had named their paper "Golden Era" from the fact that he thought we were just verging on the golden era of our prosperity in Hamilton county and that the future prospects of our town were now shining as they had never shone before. The Republican party, which was almost verging into the greenback, had long been wanting, and in fact were needing a press in the county to represent their causes and advocate their principles. In the campaign the paper made a strong fight for county officers, in behalf of the "Farmers Club" and the entire ticket was elected principally through the warm support that "The Era" gave them. John Coker had an interest in the paper for some time, and in fact furnished a good portion of the means, by which it was run until the paper was self supporting. It was run in the name of Coker & Stelle one year. January 15, 1874, W. W. Davisson bought an interest in it, and it was published Davisson & Stelle, until March 1878, when Stelle was no longer known as a partner. During this time they strongly advocated the Greenback party, and in the campaign of 1876, they took an active part and did all they could for their party. After Stelle's discontinuance with the paper it was still managed by W. W. Davisson.

Written by John B. Kinnear
and published in The McLeansboro Times on February 14, 1884.

(The Press Continued) - The paper first came out a seven column folio but afterwards changed to a five column quarto, in which it was printed until its discontinuance. During its publication it had advocated the Greenback principles for some years and still held to the same until its discontinuance in the early part of 1884, when Mr. W. W. Davisson sold out to J. R. Campbell, publishing his valedictory in the last number of the ERA, Jan. 3rd, 1884.

Mt. Carmel District Advocate - This was a five column folio edited by the presiding elder of the M. E. Church who at the time resided in Enfield. It was published in the ERA office for one year and was then moved to Fairfield.

Progressive Farmer - This was a four column quarto paper, edited by James P. Stelle of Mobile, Ala., and was published by John P. Stelle and W. W. Davisson in the ERA office for about one year. It was only a monthly paper but had a very large subscription - the price being only 50 cents a year. After a year's publication in McLeansboro it was moved to Evansville, Ind., and from there to Mobile, Alabama.

McLeansboro Times - THE TIMES as has already been said was run under the management of M. B. Friend until the fall of 1878. On the tenth of October, 1878, Mr. Chas. Campbell, in partnership with J. R. Campbell, bought of M. B. Friend for $1,200 the McLeansboro Times and continued the same under the old title. The paper had been Democratic since its first issue and during the many changes it had undergone, with the exception of which J. C. Edwards controlled it (and then favored the election of a Democratic president and in fact was almost neutral).

In the first issue of THE TIMES under the management of Campbell Bros., it set forth its views very plainly and strongly in favor of Democracy, which principles they have warmly advocated every since. It has been instrumental in keeping the party well and thoroughly posted on the issues of the day and now has a large circulation than any other paper has ever had in Hamilton county. The paper represents decidedly the largest party in the county and is well supported by those who want to stand by their Democracy. In May, 1883, Charles Campbell sold out to James R. Campbell and was no longer known as a partner. Since that time the latter has been editor and proprietor of the paper and is still running it yet in the interest of the Democratic party.

The Leader - This is not the first but at present is the only Republican paper in the county. The question had long been agitated in Hamilton county as to why it was the Republican party could not be represented in the press. There was undoubtedly enough of the party to give the paper a liberal patronage and really all it needed was for some one to break the ice and give it a start. This was done in the fall of 1882 by Dr. C. M. Lyon and John Irvin, who went to St. Lois and purchased a new press, together with a complete outfit and then for the first time in the history of our town we had three county papers published, representing the three parties in our midst.

The first issue of THE LEADER made its appearance on the 29th day of November, 1882, in which there appears a salutatory putting forth their intentions, while the paper was started in the interest of the Republican party they also advocated the cause of Temperance, in which they say "While it will be a Republican paper it is not strictly in the interest of any faction or clique and will be free to fight corruption or frauds when it should be found in its own party. We expect to take advanced ground on all question affecting the interest of the people, and when the prohibition question shall become a factor in politics - which from present appearance, it will do at no far distant day we shall be found battling for temperance with all the vim there is in us, locally it will at all times be for men and measures that are best calculated to benefit the county, and in no case will be found advocating the election of any man to office in Hamilton county, who is not both in precept and practice a temperance man. In short we wast to publish a paper which will be a credit for ourselves and an honor to McLeansboro, and in doing so we expect to have opinions on all questions which come before the public, and to give those opinions freely and without favor."

The paper is yet in its infancy, but is receiving a liberal patronage. With this we conclude the history of the press in McLeansboro, although we have some omissions in our last issue which we will correct in our conclusion.

Fire of 1874 - In the Spring of 1874, there broke out the most destructive fire that has ever visited our town, which resulted in the burning of what was known as "Walker's block." The fire was discovered in the evening and was thought by some to have caught from a Cigar being thrown into the shavings. As soon as the discovery of fire was made known they at once set to work to suppress and put it out but all in vain. The Hotel known as Goudy House (But then the Longwort house) together with two fine business houses and one dwelling belonging to L. Walker were soon reduced to ashes and the loss was very heavy. The McLeansboro Times office was burned and the press ruined. This added greatly to the dilapidated look of our town, but after some time the space was again occupied by temporary buildings - part of which are yet standing.

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