Newton Bateman.

Historical encyclopedia of Illinois online

. (page 134 of 207)
Online LibraryNewton BatemanHistorical encyclopedia of Illinois → online text (page 134 of 207)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

factor against her. A wholesome provision of
the new law permitted, in every precinct within
the towns from which and to which removal
was proposed, a challenging board from the
rival town. The election was fairly conducted,
and resulted in a majority against removal.

As the time limiting the obligation of the
city to provide for the county approached, a
feeling of Jealous distrust appeared. There
were apprehensions that the city influence
would attempt to secure expensive buildings.
Involving the county in debt, with a burden of
taxation to be borne for years. The Galesburg
Supervisors felt that the county was not suffer-
ing for accommodations, and were willing to
wait the development of a better sentiment. At
the expiration of the term of the city's liability,
the same rooms were reoctfupied. but at the
expense of the county. On September 22, 1881,
partly with a disposition to make the necessity
for a court house appear less, the Board ordered
that a contract be let for adding a second story
to the building occupied by the clerks' offices,
one half of it to be used as a court room.

In 1883, a majority of the Supervisors favored
building a new court house, some of the country
members being desirous of proceeding at once.
Mr. Sansbury, of Victoria, prepared a resolution
for the appointment of a committee to report
plans to the Board at its next meeting. Yet
many doubted whether they would be sustained
by their constituents in favoring such action,
anil it was the prevailing sentiment that it was
not safe to raise the issue, since it might endan-
ger the return of some members. In 1884, the
members came back, reporting a more favorable
sentiment than they had expected. A committee
to investigate was appointed April 15, 1884,
authorized to procure plans for a suitable court
house, the cost not to e.xceed $100,000, If the
outlay could be possibly kept within that limit.
The committee was selected with care; one
member from Galesburg, one from Knoxville,

and one from each of the four quarters of the
county. It was constituted as follows: 'W. S.
Gale, of Galesburg; A. G. Charles, of Knoxville;
William Robson. of Sparta; John Sloan, of
Salem; M. B. Hardin, of Indian Point; and
William H. Leighton, of Copley. The next year,
Mr. Charles having ceased to be a member of
the Board, his place on the committee was filled
by R. W. Miles; and a year later L. A. Town-
send succeeded M. B. Harden, who was no longer
a Supervisor. It was intended to have every
interest in the county represented on the com-
mittee. Old members, accustomed to take
prominent parts in the Board's proceedings, in
whom their townsmen had shown their con-
fidence by frequent re-elections, were named; it
being supposed that, when they agreed, their
conclusions would be sustained by the entire
Board and approved by the people.

After taking due time jointly to examine the
newest and best court houses in this and other
States, and to investigate the questions of new
building methods and materials, they pro-
cured plans from several prominent architects
and submitted their report. On their recom-
mendation the plans of E. E. Myers, of Chicago,
were preferred. Bids were called for, and
opened October 3, 1884. None of the proposals
proving satisfactory as to price, the Supervisors
advertised for others, which were opfened Octo-
ber 24, 1SS4. The contract for the construction
of the building was finally awarded to Dawson
und Anderson, of Toledo, Ohio, for $114,311..52.
the entire work to be completed by September
1, 1886. The corner stone was laid June 24,
1885, under the auspices of the Masonic Grand
Lodge of Illinois. The edifice was partially occu-
pied in November, 1886, but not fully completed
until January 26, 1887, when the Board held a
public reception in it.

It is a handsome building, of solid masonry,
with iron beams, and practically Are proof, no
timber entering into its construction. The ex-
terior is of Cleveland sandstone. Its interior
arrangement and furnishing are well adapted
for the uses for which it is designed. The
original plan as to dimensions and arrange-
ment of rooms was devised by the committee,
and few departures from their scheme were
made. In matters of construction, however, the
architect was given virtually full control. The
style was a new departure in court house arch-
itecture. It was proposed by the committee,
with a view to allowing greater irregularity in
outline, in order to permit the desired interior



arrangement. The cost, including all furnish-
ings and outlay on grounds, was $156,261, and It
was met from the ordinary tax levies made
during the time of construction. The amount
thereby added to the taxes of these years was
so small a per cent, of the total levies, and
so little felt, that there was some incredulity
expressed when the people of the county were
told that there was nothing more to pay. The
building was immensely popular, and nowhere
more so than among those who had opposed
Its erection through fear of debt and taxation.
It stands a monument to the judgment and good
taste of the people of Knox County.


The first jail in Knox County was built at
Knoxville by John G. Sanburn. The County
Commissioners, at their June meeting in 1832,
determined that a jail must be constructed. On
September 14, 1S32, Mr. Sanburn contracted to
build one for ?240. It was soon finished; but,
as may be judged from the price, it was not a
very pretentious prison. It was a square build-
ing, two stories in height, with a door leading
into the upper story only. There was a trap
door in the floor and through this the prisoners
were let down to the lower room, then the trap
door was closed, and the prisoner was supposed
to be safely incarcerated. This temporary
structure sufficed for a time; but in 1840, the
Commissioners ordered the Clerk to advertise
for bids for a new jail. The successful bid was
made by Zelotes Cooley and the contract was
closed January 26, 1841, the cost to be $8,724.
But the Commissioners, after due reflection,
considered this amount too excessive, so they
gave Mr. Cooley $300 for his plans, and made a
new contract with Alvah Wheeler, the price
being $7,724, which, however, proved too small
to insure first class work, and the building soon
became dilapidated, causing the county large
expense for repairs and the hire of men to guard
the prisoners.

After the removal of the county seat to Gales-
burg, the Board of Supervisors appointed a com-
mittee to prepare plans for the construction of
a jail on a lot on Cherry street, which had been
purchased by the city. The committee visited
other counties for the purpose of inspecting
their jails and procured the plans upon which,
with some modifications, the county building
^as since been constructed. These plans were
a Hipted, and on March 18, 1873, bids were re-

•jivod On that same day, an injunction, grant-

ed by Hon. Thomas F. Tipton, Circuit Judge of
McLean County, at the instance of Knoxville
citizens in anticipation of an election to be
held to decide on the removal of the county
seat back to Knoxville, was served on the Board
of Supervisors, prohibiting them from proceed-
ing with the building. The election, however,
having been determined adversely to Knoxville,
bids were received on January 15, 1874, and the
contract awarded to Ira K. Stevens for $34,900.
To extend the grounds the Board, on January
16, 1874, bought of A. Burlingham an adjacent
lot fronting on Cherry street and another lot of
A. N. Bancroft, adjoining but facing South
street, a part of which was afterward sold. The
building was well planned and very substanially
constructed, and presents a good appearance.
It is of red brick, with foundations and trim-
mings of gray limestone, two stories in height,
with a high basement. The sheriff's residence
is in front, and the main prison is in the rear.
The floors and ceilings of the latter are con-
structed of large slabs of limestone, and similar
slabs line the walls. Corridors the height of
the two stories surround the room on three sides,
and on each side of the center is a row of cells,
back to back, in three tiers, comprising thirty
in all. The back, the sides, the floor and ceiling
of each cell is a single slab. Besides these cells,
there is a dungeon, rarely used, and five cells in
the front part of the building used for the insane
women and for boys. The structure has proved
secure and is well arranged for the supervision
and control of prisoners, and is well heated,
ventilated, and drained. It was first occupied
by Sheriff A. W. Berggren, October 3, 1874.


For twenty-five years after the organization
of Knox County, the paupers were farmed out
to the lowest bidder; but after township organ-
ization was adopted, this system was thought
inadequate, and the Board of Supervisors, find-
ing a convenient tract of land for sale cheap,
determined to purchase a county poor farm. On
March 5, 1856, they purchased of M. G. Smith
for the sum of $3,000, the west half of the south-
west quarter of Section 21, Knox Township.
The farmhouse already on the land was con-
verted into a poorhouse; but it furnished
wretched accommodations, and the complaints
that ensued were loud and frequent, even the
committee of supervisors exclaiming against it.

Finally, in 1S66, the Board determined to erect
a new almshouse and R. W. Miles. L. B. Con-


ger, and Cephas Arras were appointed a commit-
tee on building. The people of Knoxville, being
naturally a great deal interested in the matter,
prepared plans and submitted them to the Board.
But the plans were for a building as large as
the present one, which rather dismayed many
of the supervisors and temporarily stopped the
project. Then the Galesburg members proposed
a committee, appointed in April, 1S66, to secure
a location for the building. At the instance of
W. Selden Gale, L. E. Conger bought for this
committee Jne northwest quarter of Section 24,
Galesburg Township, for $8,000. On behalf of
Galesburg, W. S. Gale offered the Board $10,000
to locate the almshouse on this site. But the
Knoxville people rallied their friends, asked that
only a portion of the proposed building be built
and secured the erection of the almshouse on
its present site. The Board sold the Galesburg
property for $9,000 and purchased, on June 15,
1866, thirty-six acres adjoining the old poor
farm, from William Y. Miller, for $2,340; and
two days later, thirty-three acres from .John
Eads. for $3,000.

The contract for the main building and west
wing was let to William Armstrong, for $20,000.
The furniture, heating, and the stocking of the
farm brought the total cost to $39,037.21. The
east wing was built by Parry and Stevens, of
Galesburg, in accordance with the original plans,
the contract being let August 21, 1876, for $17,-
400. The design was by W. W. Boyington, of
Chicago, in Gothic style. The building is con-
structed of brick and limestone, 166x80, with two
stories and a basement.

In 1890, the number of insane in Knox County
was larger than the state asylums would take
from the county, so the erection of an annex
for the insane became necessary. W. S. Gale,
J. S. Simpson, William Robson, H. M. Sisson,
and James Rebstock were appointed a commit-
tee to consider the matter, and they adopted
plans of I. A. Coleman (really their own plans
approved by Mr. Coleman) for a three-story
building, corresponding to the almshouse, to be
attached to the west wing by a corridor. March
18, 1890. P. O. Munson, of Galesburg, contracted
to build it for $26,459. In 1898, the building was
again found inadequate, and the Board deter-
mined on an annex for insane females, to be
erected at the east side of the building, accord-
ing to plans prepared by Gottschalk and Beadle.
The contract was awarded to Munson and Ting-
leaf for the sum of $20,000, exclusive of heating
and lighting, which will probable be $6,000 more.

The contract was let in the latter part of July,
1898, and the annex was finished in the sum-
mer of 1899. A new laundry building also be-
came a necessity, and the contract for this was
awarded F. W. Hawk, of Knoxville, on Septem-
ber 27, 1898, for $16,000, the work to be done as
soon as possible. It was finished early in 1899,
and, with these improvements, the almshouse
was one of the handsomest and most convenient
in the state. The poor farm comprises about one
hundred and fifty acres.

When thg almshouse was built. Dr. L. J. Cleve-
land and his wife took charge. Soon after Dr.
Cleveland died, and Dr. M. A. McClelland was
appointed to the place. Mrs. Cleveland
(afterwards Mrs. M. A. McClelland) was a
most efficient matron and superintendent, and
retained her position until March 1, 1886, when
M. P. DeLong was appointed superintendent,
which position he filled until February, 1892.
The Board at that time appointed John Cook,
the present superintendent, the change being
made on account of Mr. DeLong's ill-health.


Six companies own the railroads in Knox
County. To the Chicago, Burlington and
Quincy Company belongs a line running from
Galesburg towards Chicago, originally built by
the Central Military Tract Company, crossing
the northern line of the county five miles from
its northeastern corner; the line from Gales-
burg to Quincy, crossing the southern line of
the county at St. Augustine, first built by the
Northern Cross Railroad Company; the lines
built by the Peoria and Oquawka Railroad Com-
pany, from Galesburg towards Burlington and
towards Peoria, crossing the eastern line of the
county between Yates City and Elmwood; the
line running south from Yates City, built by the
company itself under the Jacksonville and
Savannah charter; the line built by the Rock-
ford, Rock Island and St. Louis Company in
1870, crossing the northern and western lines of
the county in Rio Township; and the line
from Galesburg to Rio, which the company

The main line of the Atchison, Topeka and
Santa Fe Railroad (running into Chicago), built
in 1887, crosses the county from east to west,
passing through Galesburg and through the cen-
tral tier of townships.

The Iowa Central, entering the county in
Cedar Township, two miles west of Abingdon,
and running through the city of that name, as



well as Indian Point and Chestnut Townships,
and crossing the southern line of the county at
London Mills, was built in 1880 by the Peoria
and Farmington Railroad Company.

The Fulton County Narrow Gauge Railroad,
from Galesburg to the Illinois River at
Havanna, crossing the corner of Cedar Town-
ship and running through the townships of
Orange and Chestnut, and leaving the county at
London Mills, was built in 1882.

The Galesburg and Great Eastern Railroad
was built in 1894, from Wataga to the coal
mines in the southeastern part of Copley Town-
ship; and in 1898, a branch was built, extending
the line into the village of Victoria.

The Rock Island and Peoria Railroad enters
and leaves the township of Lynn, a mile and a
half from the northwestern corner of the county.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad
Company had traversed the country from the
Missouri River to the Pacific with its trunk line
and branches, its vast system centering and
terminating at Kansas City. It became apparent
that its great volume of business demanded an
outlet of its own to Chicago. For two or three
years it was known that the engineers of that
company were employed, at intervals of relief
from other duty, in unostentatiously making
surveys, and it was presumed that its officers
might be in possession of knowledge that might
materially assist in prompt selection of a route
when the time for action came.

In the summer of 1S85, it was understood in
Galesburg that the construction had been deter-
mined upon and that surveys were in progress,
looking to a definite location.

A straight line from Kansas City to Chicago
would run close to Fort Madison and Galesburg,
and avoid the crossing of the Illinois River,
passing close to the great Hennepin Bend. It
seemed that Galesburg might reasonably expect
to be a point on the best and most available

Correspondence was opened and interviews
had by Colonel Carr with Mr. Strong, the Presi-
dent of the road. The policy of the company
was declared to be to secure the best possible
line for through traffic; local traffic to be a
minor consideration. The most direct line with
low grades to be obtained, without an unwar-
ranted expense, was to be sought and adopted.
It was agreed that the situation and the im-

portance of Galesburg was likely to secure it a
place in the line. Assurances were asked for
and given that the citizens of that place would
assist in exerting an influence friendly to the
road and in procuring the right of way.

The result of surveys fixed the Mississippi
crossing at Fort Madison, but showed the coun-
try northeast of Galesburg, on the direct line,
impracticable in view of the low grade deter-
mined upon.

A route most nearly fulfilling the conditions
of distance, grade and cost, ran north of and
nearly parallel with the line of the Chicago,
Burlington and Quincy road, which was from
sixteen to eighteen miles shorter than the line
as it now runs. The purchase of the Hihkley
road, covering more than one-third the distknce
from Fort Madison to Chicago, made a more
southern route, crossing the Illinois River, a
necessity. At no point can the valley of that
stream be directly crossed without great diffi-
culty in reaching the upland, on one side or
the other.

After much time given to thorough surveys.
Chillicothe was selected as the most available
point. This threw Galesburg off the direct line
between the rivers, and in September the con-
fident expectations of the people of that place
were dashed by information given to Colonel
Carr by Mr. Strong that the road could not
come there. Mr. Strong said that Mr. Robinson,
the chief engineer, had found a route twelve
miles south of Galesburg, which was three
miles shorter and not more expensive in con-
struction. Expressing his personal sympathies
and regrets, he believed Galesburg would be
taken care of. would be provided with a branch
after the building of the main line, and he hoped
the company would still enjoy the good will and
assistance of the citizens. It was, apparently,
a final blow, but after consulting with Mr. Gale,
it was determined to make an effort to bring
pressure to bear on Mr. Robinson. Writing to
Mr. Strong, Colonel Carr insisted that a road
crossing the county which avoided every town
in it could have no friends and could expect
no local business; that its construction would
be a menace to, and earn the hostility of, Gales-
burg. The road could not afford to lose the
business and the friendship of the city, whose
population was rapidly increasing and already
included one-third of the whole county of which
it was the center of influence. In strongest
terms he urged that Mr. Robinson should visit
Galesburg, and make a personal examination



of the situation, the knowledge of which he pos-
sessed only through reports of subordinates and
from maps and profile drawings.

He said: "Is it not possible that your splen-
did engineer has heretofore built through an
unsettled country? I fear he does not appreciate
the difference between a new country, where
centers of business are to be created by the
railroad, and one where the centers are already
established." Colonel Carr further appealed for
assistance to. and received assurance of sym-
pathy from, officers of the road, his personal
friends, George R. Peck. General Solicitor; C.
W. Smith, Traffic Manager, and J. E. Frost,
Land Commissioner. A visit from Mr. Robin-
son was promised, and on December 4, he came
to Galesburg. He was able to appreciate the
appearance of its population, business and
thrift, and withal the unexpected and extraordi-
nary opportunity afforded by the Cedar Fork
Valley for a cheap and direct route through the
very heart of the city. He promised to report
the situation to the Directors, and held out the
encouragement that a decision in favor of Gales-
burg would be rendered, but only on condition
that the necessary depot grounds and right of
way through the city should be donated by the
municipality or private owners. He added that
it would be impossible for the company to form
any reliable estimate of their cost, and said
that in any case there would be a further addi-
tion to the outlay necessary for the construction
and future operation of the longer line.

A committee had previously been appointed
to look after the interests of the city with the
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Company, at a
meeting in the rooms of the Galesburg Club,
Mayor Foote presiding. W. S. Gale, Clark E.
Carr, E. P. Williams, J. T. McKnight and A. C.
Clay composed the committee. At their call, a
large audience assembled in the Princess Rink,
then the largest hall in the city, on December
9. Mayor Foote presided. The citizens were
already aroused, and the object of the meeting
well understood. Mr. Gale, for the committee,
submitted a full statement of the correspondence
with the offlcers of the road, and explained the
terms upon which a station on the line was
practically assured to the city. He urged that
the citizens of Galesburg should not forfeit the
most favorable opportunity ever presented, and
probably the last to be offered, to secure that
for which they had so long hoped and labored
in vain, a good railroad, fairly competing with
the one line on which the city then depended.

After addresses from several prominent citizens
a series of resolutions were adopted, presented
by D. H. Frisbee. calling on the citizens to pro-
vide the means required, and on the City Council
to render all necessary aid possible by ordi-
nances, or otherwise. A canvassing committee
was appointed, by whom subscription papers
were prepared and actively circulated, the sub-
scriptions being liberal and promptly made.

In the meantime, the line as located inter-
fered, more than had been expected, with valu-
able improvements, and was evidently to be
more expensive than had been contemplated.
It was feared that the load would prove too
heavy to be carried, as the money must all be
raised by private, voluntary subscriptions, no
hope for return being offered the subscribers
except through the general improvement of the

On December 17, the committee informed Mr.
Robinson that they would be able to give the
company a written guarantee, executed by re-
sponsible men, that upon the building of the
road through the city the depot grounds
required would be conveyed, with right of way
west of Broad street, and one-third the cost of
right of way east of Broad street. Three days
later, a dispatch was received from Mr. Strong,
from Boston, addressed to Messrs. Carr and
Gale. It read as follows: "Directors are in
session; road will be located through Galesburg
if right of way and depot grounds are furnished;
otherwise on the line south of Galesburg; till
three p. m. next day given for reply." Calling
for explanation, a second dispatch told that
"nothing but the entire cost of depot and right
of way would be accepted."

The situation was serious. The subscriptions
were incomplete; there was more or less uncer-
tainty as to the cost of the ground demanded;
the most public-spirited citizens might be
expected to hesitate about assuming personal
obligations to an indefinite amount, relying on
voluntary aid of others, prompted by sympathy
only, after the object had been secured.

A circular was at once sent to sixty of the
most responsible and public-spirited citizens,
informing them that the committee had matters
of supreme importance to communicate, and
calling on them to meet at the court house at
ten o'clock next morning, promptly and without
fail. The committee spent the evening of
December 20 in consultation and preparation
for the work of the next day. A draft of an
Instrument of guarantee, presented by Mr. Gale,



was carefully and critically considered, that it
might be seen that every essential point was
fully covered and that there was no ambiguity
*n expression, or room for doubt in construction.
The meeting of the twenty-first was fully
attended. The situation was thoroughly ex-
plained and the proposed guarantee presented.

Online LibraryNewton BatemanHistorical encyclopedia of Illinois → online text (page 134 of 207)