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Historical encyclopedia of Illinois online

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to magazines, his works include: "Letters of
Peregrine Pickle" (1869) ; "Memories, a Story of
German Love," translated from the German of
Ma.x MuUer (1879) ; "Woman in Music" (1880) ;
"Lives of German Composers" (3 vols. — 1883-84);
besides four volumes of standard operas, oratorios,
cantatas, and symphonies (1885-88).

URBANA, a city, and the county-seat of
Champaign County; situated on tlie Cleveland,
Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis, the Illinois Cen-
tral and the Wabash Railways. It is 31 miles
west of Danville and 50 miles east-southeast of
Bloomington. Agriculture and coal-mining are
conducted in the surrounding region. The city's
mechanical industries include two flouring
mills, a foundry, a machine shop, and manufac-
tories of farm implements and of furniture.
There are five churches, two banks (one
National) , and one daily and two weekly news-
papers. Urbana is the seat of the University of
Illinois. Population (1880), 3,942; (1890), 3.511.

OSREY, William J., editor and soldier, was
born at Washington (near Natchez), Miss., May
16, 1827; was educated at Natchez, and, before
reaching manhood, came to Macon County, 111. ,
where he engaged in teaching until 1846, when
he enlisted as a private in Company C, Fourth
Illinois Volunteers, for tlie Mexican War. In
1855, he joined with a Mr. Wingate in the estab-
lishment, at Decatur, of "The Illinois State Chron-
icle," of which he soon after took sole charge,
conducting the paper until 1861, when he enlisted
in the Thirty-fifth Illinois Volunteers and was
appointed Adjutant. Although born and edu-
cated in a slave State, Mr. Usrey was an earnest
opponent of slavery, as proved by the attitude of
his paper in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska
Bill. He was one of the most zealous endorsers
of the proposition for a conference of the Anti-
Nebraska editors of the State of Illinois, to agree
upon a line of policy in opposition to the furtlier
extension of slavery, and, when that body met at
Decatur, on Feb. 22, 1856, he served as its Secre-
tary, thus taking a prominent part in the initial
steps which resulted in the organization of the
Republican party in Illinois. (See Ant i- Nebraska



Editorial Convention.) After returning from
the war he resumed his place as editor of "The
Chronicle," but finally retired from newspaper
work in 1871. He was twice Postmaster of the
city of Decatur, first previous to 1850, and again
under the administration of President Grant;
served also as a member of the City Council and
was a member of the local ^ost of the G. A. R.,
and Secretary of the Macon County Association
of Mexican War Veterans. Died, at Decatur,
Jan. 30, 1894.

UTICA, (also called North Utica), a village of
La Salle Coimty, on the Illinois & Michigan
Canal and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
Railway, 10 miles west of Ottawa, situated on the
Illinois River opposite "Starved Rock," also
believed to stand on the site of the Kaskaskia
village found by the French Explorer, La Salle,
when he first visited Illinois. "Utica cement" is
produced here ; it also has several factories or
mills, besides banks and a weekly paper. Popu-
lation (1880), 767; (1890), 1,094.

VAN ARNAM, John, lawyer and soldier, was
born at Plattsburg, N. Y., March 3, 1820. Hav-
ing lost his father at five years of age, he went to
live with a farmer, but ran away in his boyhood ;
later, began teaching, studied law, and was ad-
mitted to the bar in New York City, beginning
practice at Marshall, Mich. In 1858 he removed
to Chicago, and, as a member of the firm of
Walker, Van Arnam & Dexter, became promi-
nent as a criminal lawyer and railroad attorney,
being for a time Solicitor of the Cliicago, Burling-
ton & Quincy Railroad. In 1862 he assisted in
organizing the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh
Illinois Volunteer Infantry and was commissioned
its Colonel, but was compelled to resign on
account of illness. After spending some time in
California, he resumed practice in Chicago in
1865. His later years were spent in California,
dying at San Diego, in that State, April 6, 1890.

VANDALIA, the principal city and county-seat
of Fayette County. It is situated on the Kas-
kaskia River, 30 miles north of Centralia, 63
miles south by west of Decatur, and 68 miles
east-northeast of St. Louis. It is an intersecting
point for the Illinois Central and the St. Louis,
Vandalia and Terre Haute Railroads. It was tlie
capital of the State from 1820 to 1839, the seat of
government being removed to Springfield, the
latter year, in accordance with act of the General
Assembly passed at the session of 1837. It con-
tains a court house, six churches, two National
banks, three weekly newspaper offices, a graded



HISTORICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ILLINOIS.



school, flour, saw and woolenmills, carriage and
wagon works, brick works and a furniture fac-
tory. Population (1880), 2,056; (1890), 3,144.

TANDEVEER, Horatio M., pioneer lawyer,
was born in Washington County, Ind., March 1,
1816 ; came with his family to Illinois at an early
age, setthng on Clear Creek, now in Christian
County ; taught school and studied law, using
books borrowed from the late Hon. John T. Stuart
of Springfield ; was elected first County Recorder
of Christian County and, soon after, appointed
Circuit Clerk, filling both oflices three years.
He also held the office of County Judge from 1848
to 1857; was twice chosen Representative in the
General Assembly (1843 and 1850) and once to the
State Senate (1863); in 1846, enlisted and was
chosen Captain of a company for the Mexican
War, but, having been rejected on account of the
quota being full, was appointed Assistant-Quarter-
master, in this capacity serving on the staff of
General Taylor at the battle of Buena Vista.
Among other oflices held by Mr. Vandeveer, were
those of Postmaster of Taylorville. Master in
Chancery, Presidential Elector (1848), Delegate
to the Constitutional Convention of 1863, and
Judge of the Circuit Court (1870-79). In 1868
Judge Vandeveer established the private banking
firm of H. M. Vandeveer & Co., at Taylorville,
which, in conjunction with his sons, he continued
successfully during the remainder of his life.
Died, March 13, 1894.

VAN HORNE, William C, Railway Manager
and President, was bom in Will County, 111.,
February, 1843 ; began his career as a telegraph
operator on the Illinois Central Railroad in 18,i6,
was attached to the Michigan Central and Chi-
cago & Alton Railroads (18.58-73), later being
General Manager or General Superintendent of
various other lines (1873-79). He next served as
General Superintendent of the Chicago, Milwau-
kee & St. Paul, but soon after became General
Manager of the Canadian Pacific, which he
assisted to construct to the Pacific Coast; was
elected Vice-President of the line in 1884, and its
President in 1888. His services have been recog-
nized by conferring upon him the order of
knighthood by the British Government.

VA8SEUR, Noel C, pioneer Indian-trader, was
bom of French parentage in Canada, Dec. 35,
1799; at the age of 17 made a trip with a trading
party to the West, crossing Wisconsin by way of
the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, the route pursued
by Joliet and Marquette in 1673 ; later, was associ-
ated with Gurdon S. Hubbard in the service of
the American Fur Company, in 1830 visiting the



region now embraced in Iroquois County, where
he and Hubbartl subsequently established a trad-
ing post among the Pottawatomie Indians,
believed to have been the site of the present town
of Iroquois. The way of reacliing tlieir station
from Chicago was by the Chicago and Des
Plaines Rivers to the Kankakee, and ascending
the latter and the Iroquois. Here Vassem- re-
mained in trade until the removal of the Indians
west of the Mississippi, in which he served as
agent of the Government. While in the Iroquois
region he married Watseka, a somewhat famous
Pottawatomie woman, for whom the town of
Watseka was named, and who had previously
been the Indian wife of a fellow-trader. His
later years were spent at Bourbonnais Grove, in
Kankakee County, where he died, Dec. 13, 1879.

VENICE, a village of Madison County, on the
Mississippi River opposite the city of St. Louis
and 4 miles north of East St. Louis. It is touched
by four or five lines of railroad, and is nearly
opposite the western approach to the new "Mer-
chants' Bridge" across the Mississippi to St.
Louis; has some manufactures and a newspaper.
Population (1880), 612; (1890), 933.

VENICE & CARONDELET RAILROAD. (See
Louisville. Evcjiitrilli' &• St. Louis (Consolidated)
Railroad.)

VERMILION COUNTY, an eastern county,
bordering on the Indiana State line, and drained
by the Vermilion and Little Vermilion Rivers,
from which it takes its name. It was originally
organized in 1836, when it extended north to
Lake Michigan. Its present area is 936 square
miles. The discovery of salt springs, in 1819,
aided in attracting immigration to this region,
but the manufacture of salt was abandoned
many years ago. Early settlers were Seymour
Treat, James Butler, Henry Johnston, Harvey
Lidington, Gurdon S. Hubbard and Daniel W^.
Beckwith. James Butler and Achilles Morgan
were the first County Commissioners. Many
interesting fossil remains have been found,
among them the skeleton of a mastodon (1868).
Fire clay is found in large quantities, and two
coal seams cross the county. Tlie surface is level
and the soil fertile. Corn is the chief agricultural
product, although oats, wheat, rye, and potatoes
are extensively cultivated. Stock-raising and
wool-growing are important industries. There
are also several manufactories, chiefly at Dan-
ville, which is the county-seat. Coal mining
is carried on extensively, especially in the vicin-
ity of DanviUe. Population (1880), 41,588; (1890),
49,90,5.



544



HISTOEICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ILLINOIS.



VERMILION RIVER, a tributary of the Illi-
nois; rises in Ford and the nortliern part of
McLean County, and, running northwestward
through Livingston and the southern part of
La Salle Counties, enters the Illinois Eiver
nearly opposite the city of La Salle; has a length
of about 80 miles.

VERMILION RIVER, an affluent of the Wa-
bash, formed by the union of the North, Middle
and South Forks, which rise in Illinois, and
come together near Danv-.lle in this State. It
flows southeastward, and enters the Wabash in
Vermilion County, Ind. The main stream is
about 28 miles long. The South Fork, however,
which rises in Champaign County and runs east-
ward, has a length of nearly 75 miles. The
Little Vermilion River enters the Wabash about
7 or 8 miles below the Vermilion, which is some-
times called the Big Vermilion, by way of
distinction.

VERMONT, a village in Fulton County, on the
Chicago, Burlington & Quincj- Railroad, 34 miles
north of Beardstown and 15 miles northeast of
Rushville. It has a manufactory of carriages,
flour and saw mills, brick and tile works, as well
as a private bank, three churches, a graded
school, and two weekly newspapers. An artesian
well has been sunk here to the depth of 900 feet.
Population (1880), 1,133; (1890), 1,158.

VERSAILLES, a town of Brown County, on
the Wabash Railway, 48 miles east of Quincy ; is
In a timber and agricultural district ; has a bank
and weekly newspaper. Population (1890), 517.

VIENNA, the county-seat of Johnson County,
situated on the Cairo and Vincennes branch of
the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis
Raib-oad, 34 miles north -northeast of Cairo. It
has a court house, several churches, a graded
school, banks and two weekly newspapers. Popu-
lation (1880), 494; (1890), ,828

VIGO, Francois, pioneer and early Indian-
trader, was born at Mondovi, Sardinia (Western
Italy), in 1747, served as a private soldier, first at
Havana and afterwards at New Orleans. When
he left the Spanish army he came to St. Louis,
then the military headquarters of Spain for Upper
Louisiana, where he became a partner of Com-
mandant de Leba, and was extensively engaged
in the fur-trade among the Indians on the Ohio
and Mississippi Rivers. On the occupation of
Kaskaskia by Col. George Rogers Clark in 1778,
he rendered valuable aid to the Americans, turn-
ing out supplies to feed Clark's destitute soldiers,
and accepting Virginia Continental money, at
par, in payment, incurring liabilities in excess of



$20,000. This, followed by the confiscation policy
of the British Colonel Hamilton, at Vincennes,
where Vigo had considerable property, reduced
him to extreme penury. H. W. Beckwith says
that, towards the close of his life, he lived on his
little homestead near Vincennes, in great poverty
but cheerful to the last He was never recom-
pensed during his life for his .sacrifices in behalf
of the American cause, though a tardy restitution
vs^as attempted, after his death, by the United
States Government, for the benefit of his heirs.
He died, at a ripe old age, at Vincennes, Ind.,
March 32, 1835.

VILLA RIDGE, a village of Pulaski County,
on the Illinois Central Railway, 10 miles north of
Cairo. Population, 500.

VINCENNES, Jean Baptiste Bissot, a Canadian
explorer, born at Quebec, January, 1688, of aris-
tocratic and wealthy ancestry. He was closely
connected with Louis Joliet — probably his
brother-in-law, although some historians say that
he was the latter's nephew. He entered the
Canadian army as ensign in 1701, and had a long
and varied experience as an Indian fighter.
About 1735 he took up his residence on what is
now the site of the present city of Vincennes,
Ind., which is named in his honor. Here he
erected an earth fort and established a trading-
post. In 1726, under orders, he co-operated with
D'Artaguiette (then the French Governor of Illi-
nois) in an expedition against the Chickasaws.
The expedition resulted disastrously. Vincennes
and D'Artaguiette were captured and burned
at the stake, together with Father Senat (a
Jesuit priest) and others of the command.
(See also D'Artaguiette; French Governors of
Illinois. )

VIRDEN, a village of Macoupin Coimty, on the
Chicago & Alton and the Jacksonville, Louisville
& St. Louis Railroad, 21 miles south by west of
Springfield, and 31 miles east-southeast of Jack-
sonville. It has four churches, a bank, two
newspapers, flour mills, brick and tile works, a
machine shop and extensive coal mines. Popu-
lation (1880), 1,608; (1890), 1,610.

VIRGINIA, an incorporated city, the county-
seat of Cass County, situated at the intersection
of the Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis, with the Spring-
field Division of the Baltimore & Ohio South-
western Railroad, 15 miles north of Jacksonville,
and 33 miles west-northwest of Springfield. It
lies in the heart of a rich agricultural region.
There is a flouring mill here, besides manufacto-
ries of wagons and cigars. The city has two
National banks, five churches, a high school, and



HISTORICAL ENCYCLOrEDIA OF ILLINOIS.



545



two weekly papers. Population (1880), 1,420;
(1890). 1,002.

VOCKE, William, lawyer, was born at Min-



Online LibraryNewton BatemanHistorical encyclopedia of Illinois → online text (page 114 of 207)