pub Chas. C. Chapman & Co..

History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws online

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Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 57 of 79)
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ery of the latest modern improvements, for their manufacture.

The firm of T. & H. Smith & Co., now confine themselves
exclusively to the manufacture of wagons and buggies. Their


business is steadily increasing, and by employing first-class work-
men and using only the best material they have won a reputation
second to no manufacturing firm of the kind in the United States.

Hon. Teis Smith, the original founder of the above works, was
born in Hamswerum, Hanover, Germany, March 21, 1827. He
was the first-born son of Conrad and Margaret (Velde) Smith,
descendants of a long line of German ancestors. Conrad Smith had
a strong love for his native country, but his love for his children,
and his anxiety for their welfare, induced him to leave his Father-
land and come to the New World, where better chances for their
success and advancement in the road to fortune and honor were
aiforded. His decease occurred in June, 1850, and his wife died in
April, 1851. Teis Smith was married to Miss Elizabeth Neef, a
native of Germany, and daughter of Deiderich Neef, in the spring
of 1852. They had six children, only one of whom, Maggie C, is
now living. Mr. Smith became a member of the German M. E.
Church about the time of his marriage, and took an active part in
the erection of the German M. E. Church, in Pekin. He was a
gentiine and consistent Christian gentleman, and honored and res-
pected by all with whom he came in contact. His wife died in the
spring of 1862. He was married the second time to Miss Dinah
Neef, daughter of Frederic Neef, and a cousin of his former wife.
By this union three children have been born to them, of whom one
son and one daughter are living. In politics Mr. Smith was identi-
fied with the Republican party. He was public spirited, and was
active and earnest in promoting the advancement of the interests of
the city of his adoption, and the financial welfare of Tazewell Co.
He was called away from the cares of earth on the 12th of Septem-
ber, 1870, and was followed to the grave by a host of friends, who
felt that in his demise they had sustained a loss which was practi-
cally irreparable.

Luppe Luppen, manufacturer, another member of the firm of T.
& H. Smith & Co., is a first-class mechanic and one of the sterling
men of Pekin. He was born at Hamswerum, Germany, Aug. 20,
1823, and was educated in the common schools of that country.
His parents were Peter and Juste (Lutjcns) Luppen. He was mar-
ried to Catharine Smith in 1846, and came to Pekin June 21, 1850,
and in the same year united with the German M. E. Church. They
have had four children — Margaret, born Sept. 18, 1849; Conrad,
Dec. 6, 1851; Louisa, Aug. 11, 1852; and Peter, Nov. 24, 1855.







Conrad is the only one now living. Mr. L. has been financially
successful, and now owns a fine residence on the corner of Fourth
and Catharine streets.

Frederick C. Smith, another member of the above-named firm,
was born in Hanover (now incorporated with Prussia), Germany,
June 20, 1829. His parents were Conrad H. and Margaret (Velde)
Smith. He was educated in the public schools of Germany, and
came to this city in August, 1849, and afterwards became associated
with the firm of T, & H. Smith & Co., manufacturers. On the 6th
of May, 1855, he married Miss Louisa Grondenberg. Nine chil-
dren were the fruits of this marriage, seven boys and two girls, as
follows: Conrad, born Oct. 2, 1856, died Oct. 23, 1857; Fred. F.,
born Jan. 26, 1859; Conrad F., Aug. 29, 1861; Charlotte Louise,
Oct. 1, 1863; A. Lincoln, Sept. 12, 1866; George A., March 8,
1869; Louis Teis, Aug. 13, 1871; Teis H., Dec. 30, 1874, and
Maggie Centennella, Oct. 3, 1876. Mr. Smith became connected
with the German M. E. Church in September, 1849. In polities he
is a Republican. By untiring industry and strict attention to busi-
ness he has been financially successful, and regards his coming to
this country as a stepping stone to fortune, and is enthusiastic in
expressing his gratitude to his adopted country.

Hon. Dietrich C. Smith, banker, a member of the firm of Teis
Smith & Co., was born in Hanover, Germany, April 4, 1840. His
parents, Conrad and Margaret (Velde) Smith, were also native Ger-
mans. He came to Pekin with his parents and brothers in 1849.
His education was obtained in Germany and at the college in
Quincy, 111. During the Rebellion Mr. Smith was Lieutenant of
Co. I, 8th 111. Inf, and was also Captain of Co. C. 139th 111. Inf.,
and was wounded in the battle of Pittsburg Landing, April 6, 1862.
He has held the offices of Alderman of the city of Pekin, Super-
visor of Pekin township, member of the 30th General Assembly of
Illinois, etc. He was married, in 1863, to Miss Carrie Pieper, by
whom he has had six children — Walter, born in 1864; George L.,
in 1866; Ernest, in 1868; Mary in 1870; Dietrich, in 1872; and'
Carrie, in 1875. George L. died, the other five are still living. He
has been financially successful, and is now the owner of a fine brick
residence on the corner of Newhall and Willow streets. He is a
member of the M. E. Church. In politics he is a Republican. INIr.
Smith is a public spirited man, and is largely interested in the I., B.
& W., and other railroads in this county.


Weyhrich & Co. The firm of P. Weyrich & Co., manufacturers
of the Weyrich Headers, employs a large number of hands in the
manufacture of that machine. They run an 80 horse power engine
at their works, and turn out from 600 to 700 machines annually, at
an aggregate valuation of at least $100,000. On the 20th of May,
1879, they had one hundred machines in their yard, some of which
were finished and packed ready for shipment, while the finishing-
touches were being put upon others, every one of which were
already contracted for. The business of the firm is steadily increas-
ing, and under its present management bids fair to surpass any
other establishment of the kind in the West in the amount and
excellence of its work.


The banking interest has for a long time been, and must always
be, a very important factor in all commercial centers, and the large
amount of money-transactions carried through without the inter-
vention of coin or bank notes, in a country like ours, is inconceiva-
ble to those not engaged in business pursuits. The manner in
which these transactions may be effected without money would be
at once apparent, if all persons in the same locality dealt with the
same bank, and all banks throughout the country were branches of
the same institution, and in reality, the business is managed by the
operations of the clearing house, as if this were true. The checks,
bills or other drafts which come into the hands of the banker, drawn
on (that is, payable by) other banks, are set off and liquidated by
drafts, which they have received, drawn on him. The balance or
difference, only, is paid in money.

The largest banking house in the world — the Bank of England
— was started by William Patterson, a Scotchman, and was char-
tered in the year 1694, and since that time the banking business has
steadily grown in volume and importance until now, it has reached
such magnitude that the collossal business transactions of our coun-
try could scarcely be carried through without the use of banks.

The first banking house in this county was opened under the
name of the Shawneetown Bank, in 1839, and was a branch of the
Bank of Illinois, with Col. C. Oakley as its President ; Charles C.
Wilcox, Cashier; and William C. Docker, Clerk. The bank was
located on the southeast corner of Court and Second streets. This
institution had but a short run, as the collapse of the great internal


improvement system, inaugurated in 1836-7, so efFectecl its ojiera-
tions that in June, 1842, it closed its doors. The old safe used by
the bank is still in existauce, and in possession of Peter A. Brower,
step-son of Colonel Oakley. It is a quaint old relic of antiquity
that the skilled burglar of to-day would delight to meet.

For many years after the close of the Shawneetown Bank the
business men of Pekin were without a bank, and not until 1852,
Avhen Rupert & Haines organized the Platte A^alley Bank, was this
want supplied. This institution had a run of about nine years,
when it went down, causing quite a flutter in business circles in
Pekin, depositors and others losing heavily by the failure. After
the collapse of the Platte Valley Bank, Greigg c^' Smith did a bank-
ing business just east of the Bemis House, in a ])uilding now occu-
pied by George Greigg. On the 15th of March, 1860, the First
National Bank was opened. This bank was organized by the Leon-
ards, and did business as a bank of issue for about ten years, when
it called in its bills and surrendered its charter as a National bank,
and was then conducted by Leonard & Blossom for a short time,
and is now known as the Banking House of F. W. Leonard & Co.
About the time of the organization of the First National Bank the
Banking House of Teis Smith & Co. was inaugurated. This bank
is located in the block occupied by their extensive wagon factory, but
is conducted as a distinct and separate enterprise. They do a gen-
eral banking and foreign exchange business, with D. C. Smith as
General Manager, and H. B. Whitefoot as Cashier and Clerk. The
Farmers National Bank was organized June 9, 1875, with a jiaid up
capital of ^50,000, Jonathan Merriam and A. C. Hoblit l)eing the
])rincipal movers in the enterprise. The bank opened with Jonathan
Merriam, President, S. H. Jones, Vice President, and A. B. Hoblit,
Cashier. Mr. Merriam still occupies the position of President, with
C. R. Cummings, Vice President, and B, R. Hieronymus, Cashier.
A large number of the solid business men of the county are inter-
ested in this institution, which occupies one of the finest brick
buildings in Tazewell county, erected and fitted especially for it,
and located on the northeast corner of Court and Capitol streets.
Its fire-proof vaults and burglar-proof safes are of modern
build and the very best make. The present Cashier, INIr. B. R.
Hieronymus, is widely known throughout the county for his cour-
tesy and fair dealing, and his known business qualifications and in-
tegrity of character, so characteristic of the man^ eminently fit him


for the most important office in one of the leading' lianking houses
in Central Illinois.


The M. E. Church. — Fifty-two years ago a little band of movers
might have been seen wending their way from Ohio, with faces bent
on the prairie wilds of Illinois. At nightfall the weary oxen were
loosened from their yokes and left to lazily graze and rest, while
this little colony, as it were, prepared their evening's meal and
couches for the night. Nor did they forget, on bended knees, to
thank their maker and preserver for guiding them aright in that
great wilderness of wild waving grass and dense woods, by the Avay
side, where crouched in ambush lay the red men of the forest.
Little children sleeping in the calm moonlight, the cattle resting
from the toilsome march of the day, chewing their cud as they lay,
the smoke slowly ascending from the camp fires which smouldered
close by — when, hark! what sounds echo through the still woods:
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow," comes up in deep and
earnest tones from grateful hearts, and, they retire for the night,
with the wild wolves of the forest howling about them, and the red
eyes of the catamount glaring upon them.

Methodism was the pioneer Church of Pekin and of Tazewell
county. In 1826, Jacob Tharp and family pitched their tents on
the banks of the Illinois river, and on the present town site of the
city of Pekin. In 1823-4, Sangamon Circuit was laid out, which
comprised all territory lying between Springfield and Lake Michi-
gan. Rev. Samuel Thompson was appointed Presiding Elder, and
Rev. Jesse Walker was appointed as a missionary, taking in Pekin
and Fort Clark. Jesse Walker is therefore booked as the first
Methodist preacher in Tazewell county. We quote from the diary
of Jacob Tharp :

"However, in the same season, but I cannot now remember
whether before or after Dillon and Hinkle's goods arrived, the
Methodists had established a mission or circuit for this part and
range of the country. Religious services by that persuasion were
first held at my friend's, Gideon Hawley, on Sand Prairie, when I
first met our preacher, Jesse Walker, and invited him to give us a
discourse at the 'Town Site.' He thought it unnecessary, as no
body but myself and family, and my son Jonathan and family, re-
sided there, but I insisted and he complied. We had quite an


aiulionre. Pokin then giving promise of being something in the
future. Some came to examine tlie site, .'iome to do some trading,
and some to h)ok at the river and to Jisli, etc. The meeting was
hchl in my house."

Thus the first j)reaching and" meeting was hekl in the cabin of
Jacob Tharp. During the same year, 1(S26, the first ckiss was
organized, with Jacob Tharp and Hendricks as leaders. The
foHowing persons comprised that class: Jacob Tharj^ and wife,
Phoebe, and her mother, whose name was Winans; Jonathan Tliarp
and his wife, Sarah ; N. B. Tharp and Avife, Margret ; Wm. Tharp
and wife, Jane ; Gideon Hawley and wife, Elizabeth ; Geo Hinkle
and wife; Mr. Clark and wife, Mr. Hendricks and wife, and John
Rylander. This class met from time to time, giving in their relig-
ious experience, singing their hymns of praise, and thanking God
for His great mercy and goodness vouchsafed unto them. Preaching
occurred occasionally in Mr. Tharp's cabin and that of his son Jon-
athan's. The circuit extended from Chicago to Springfield, and it
generally took from two to three months to make the trip. The
circuit rider's equipmentj|i(Ras a horse and a pair of saddle bags, to
contain his Bible and discipline of the Methodist Church.

The next minister we can find any account of, is Rev. Lord, and
he, in turn, was succeeded by Rev. John Sinclair, in 18.'j1. He and
Zadock Hall (then a young man in the full vigor of his manhood)
formed the first regular organization. Old Peter Cartwright had
then formed, for himself and family, a little habitation at a place
called Pleasant Plains, this side of Springfield. At his home the
weary and exhausted circuit rider found rest and encouragement in
labors. Quarterly Meetings, in those days, meant a big time.
Extra cooking and preparing went on for some days in advance of
the meeting. Men, women and chikh'en came from miles about
prepared to stay the meeting through, which generally lasted three
days. The Rev. John T. Mitchell followed Rev. Hall. He was a
man of great power and eloquence, and eccentric to a great degree.
His fiights of )[)ratory at times were truly sublime. He began his
labors as the first regular installed minister, in 18o4, in a little
room, about twenty feet square, in the old barracks or stockades,
which stood on the ground now occupied by the old frame residence
of Joshua Wagenseller. In this little room Judge David Davis, of
the Supreme Bench, and now U. S. Senator, made his maiden speech,
the room being occupied as a kind of court-house during the week.


We will give one or two illustrations which, in themsolvcs, will
speak for the plain-tongued man of God, John T, Mitchell. One
of his congregation, and a widow, who had but recently laid off her
weeds, sold a cow and purchased what in those days was termed an
elegant cloak, and she disposed of a brass preserving kettle and
bought a bonnet (we presume a love of a one). This piece of whole-
sale extravagance had gone the rounds of the village, and loud were
the censures for this wanton outlay, when to wear a bow or an arti-
ficial flower was ecpiivilent to receiving sentence with the damned.

Well, one Sunday morning when Father l^.Iitchell was coming
down on the pomps and vanities of the world, and earnestly hoping
that none of his congregation would be guilty of putting on the
flippery and flummery as worn by the worldings, just as his eloquence
waxed warm on the subject of dress, in walked the widow M'ith her
new clothes, whereupon the sight of her was too much for him, and
he said (pointing his finger directly at her,) "Yes, and there comes a
woman with her cow upon her back and her brass kettle on her
head." The rebuke and the lesson must have been severe, and in
ruminating over those days and fashions we have wondered what
Father Mitchell would say if he were to wake up and open his eyes
in the chapel of to-day. We think he would find many cows and
kettles decorating the devout of the present age.

Rev. Richard Haney, as Presiding Elder, figured conspicuously
in the early history of the Church. But more of Father Mitchell.
In those days all the excitement the populace had, by way of break-
ing the monotony, was the landing of the steam-boats, and we are
told that more always came on Sunday than any other day. Father
Mitchell was exceedingly annoyed, from time to time, by many of his
congregation jumping up and running to the river every time a boat
whistled. Once, when the stampede began. Father Mitchell, with
voice raised in tones of thunder, cried after them, "The wicked
fleeth when no man pursueth." Whcreu])on a waggish fellow turned
in the doorway, hat in hand, and, looking calmly at the divine,
answered back, "and the righteous are as bold as a lion."

In 1839 the old brick church was founded. It was commonly
called, in after years, the old Foundry Church. For this Father
Mitchell labored hard and zealously. The Church was, in its incep-
tion, to be quite a grand and imposing edifice, built of brick, with
basement for schools, and an auditorium above. Grandfather Tliar2>
went back to Ohio to raise money to finish it, and raised $100 and


spent $200 of his own in getting it. The basement was compk^tecl,
but the dreams of the vast auditorium, which was to hokl the com-
ine; multitudes was never fullv finished, and their visions and dreams
remained as castles in air. The old Foundry Church was situated
immediately west of Crittenden's livery s,table.

We think Father Mitchell must have been a firm believer in total
depravity. There was a Universalist minister by the name of Carey,
from Cincinnati (who was afterwards sent to Congress), came to
Pekin and held a series of meetings in the two-story frame house
directly opposite the old Foundry Church. This preacher, Carey, was
brilliant and fluent of tongue, gathering about him, apparently, the
whole village, to the disgust of Father Mitchell and his meml)ers.
This was something new to them, it being the first time the broad-
guage religious track had struck Pekin, and many there were who
were charmed with the doctrine. Still, some of the young men felt
an innate sense of delicacy in openly and glaringly cutting old faith-
ful Father Mitchell's teachings, and they would walk about and
reconnoitre until they would get to the corner of the building, and
then stand and look around them for a few minutes, to see who was
looking at them, and then like lightning dodge in. Father Mitchell,
across the way, was of course taking in the full imi)ort of the scene,
and feeling just a little bit of human chagrin at the boys leaving
him for that glittering faith, he would walk up and down his church
aisles, with his arms crossed behind his back, and as another and
another would dodge in to hear Carey, lie would say, very audibly,
" there 's another one gone to hell."

The following persons composed the first choir : Samuel Rhoads,
John W. Howard, James White, Daniel Creed, John M. Tinney,
John Rhoads, and Henry Sweet, who acted as leader. This band of
"ye singers" met in Creed's room for practice, and sometimes "took
a hand," to pass the time until service. One morning one of the
members (still surviving in Pekin) felt the conviction that the boys
had pinned a card upon his back. So deep was the conviction, and
so annoying was the sensation, that he reached his hand over his
shoulder in hopes of grasping it, and then rubbed his back against
the wall, but there was no card there; it was only another instance
of " the guilty conscience needeth. no accuser." This choir did
valiant service in waiting on the sick during the fearful scourge and
epidemic, called putrid sore throat, or black tongue, which swept
over this part of the country during the winter of 1843 and 44.


Tliey paired off, night about, in watching the sick. But one even-
ing Creed did not put in his apperance, and some of the boys sug-
gested that he might be sick, and went to his room where they were
wont to sing, but poor Daniel Creed had sung his last song on earth,
and passed to the anthem choirs in the courts of Heaven, for they
found him dead in his bed. The poor fellow had passed away in the
loneliness of his own chamber, all alone, " to that bourne from whence
no traveler returns." This fearful disease swept off, seemingly, half
the village. The dead and the dying were in almost every house ;
men and women were aroused to a sudden sense of their oblijiations
to their God, and with death apparently staring them in the face,
they were crying out, " What shall we do to be saved '?" During
this panic was started what was always afterwards termed the " sore-
throat revival." Shops were shut, stores were closed, and all voca-
tions for the time suspended, while the sick were nursed, the dead
laid away, and the souls of the living presented to God for mercy.
A pall hung over the infant town. A doom, at once dark, and deep,
and solemn, seemed to settle oyer the citizens. Everybody joined
the Church,

Lucus Vanzant, the editor of the Pekin Gazette, and one of " the
b'hoys," took sick early one night, and during the progress of the
meeting, that same evening he sent his name down to the minister
to be enrolled on the Church books. Vanzant got well.

Old Father Wolston was a local preacher who did much good in
his time. In his own language he always " whittled his sermons
down to a pint." In 184G, the first regular Methodist Sunday-
school was organized with Father Wolston as Superintendent. In
1847, the old brick church was sold to Messrs. Jewett & Baker for
a foundry, and Rev. James Olliver came on the field and commenced
the work and plans of the old frame church, which stood north of
the residence known as the Holmes property, and where now stands
the Farmers National Bank. This Church was burned in 1870.
The sleepers and sills of the church were taken from a little Method-
ist Church, which stood for a while near the. farm of Wm. Davis,
and close beside what is known as the Myers grave yard. This
church they pulled down, and with oxen hauled the timbers into
Pekin, to helj) form the frame of the new church. He was followed
in turn by one Rev. Bristol, one of the finest built and most splendid
looking men who ever graced a Pekin pulpit. His manner and style
was courtly and engaging. His dress was of the old martial day.


with knee breeches, and big steel buekk's on his shoes. ^Ivu nud
women in turn raved over him, and in ])assin<>; turned and k).oked

Timothy Crosby was the next ])astoi'. OKI Father Ledterman
rendered vahuible assistance in the comph'tiou of the Chureh.buikl-
ing, and in 1847 it was dedicated.

The bell, which for years was mounted in the tower of the old
frame church, and which rung and tolcd alike in joy or sadness, for
marriage or funeral, was presented to the Trustees of the Church
by the following gentlemen : Samuel Rhoads, Colonel Frank L.
Rhoads, William Tinney, and John ISI. Gill, and was captured by
them Avhen in Mexico, in the Mexican War. They took it from the
tower of a Roman Catholic Monastery, at Vera Cruz, ])afked it in a
flour barrel with straw, and brought it liome with them to Pekin,
and presented it the Methodist Church oi" this city, where it, with
its old cracked chimes, made singular music for the masses in its
rino-iuir for service or fire. But the old bell wearied of in'otestant-
ism, and in the year 18G7 was sold, with its full consent, to the
English Roman Catholic Church, of Pekin, where its peculiar tones
may be heard at five in the morning, calling its devotees to the

Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 57 of 79)