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

. (page 74 of 79)
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 74 of 79)
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George Straut, formerly of Delavan, is now the President of the


No other of the several railroads traversing this county seem so
closely identified with the interests and history of Tazewell county
as the P., L. & D. It is a road in which every one takes a com-
mendable local pride. While they love to see all of their roads
prosperous, more especially do they desire to see this road weather
the storms of hard times, and successfully encounter the struggles
incident to new corporations. There are feelings of a peculiar na-
ture ; ties of kindred sympathy that bind the good will and interest
of the people to the P., L. & D., and, we believe, deservedly so.
The present management of the road has successfully guided it over
the critical period of its history and placed it upon a solid footing.
The first charter for the road was obtained in 1867. The charter
members were B. S. Prettyman, Ties Smith, Peter Wevhrich, R. B.
Latham, A. M. Miller, John Wyatt, M. Wemple, J. F. D. Elliott,
S. C. Beau, Henry B. Durfee, and Lu])er Burrows. The first offi-
cers were : President, B. S. Prettyman ; Vice-President, R. B.
Latham; Secretary, A. M. Miller; Treasurer, J. F. D. Elliott.

The roadway w^as first surveyed by J. Edward Baring in 1867,
He followed the line indicated at first in the charter, and the one
upon which the organization was based. The final location of the
road, however, varied from the original survey as the necessities of
the location required. Soon an interest began to be manifested by
the people along the line of the proposed road. Meetings were held
and the people grew very enthusiastic over it. So zealous w^ere the
people at Delavan, and so anxious were they to secure the road for
their town, that all the lots it touched passing through were freely
given. A prominent man there, who grew over-zealous, perhaps, said
he would give the company the right of w^ay to run through his
library if they wanted to. Elections were held along the line for the
purpose of voting for or against subscribing to the road. In this
county the result of these elections were : Pekin voted $75,000 ; Del-
avan, $50,000; and Tazewell county, $100,000. In Logan county it
was voted upon to give $300,000, but the measure was defeated by 17
ballots. In November, 1867, another election was held, and the
proposition carried. The county authorities refused to issue the
bonds, however, and it was finally compromised by the issue of
$150,000 of bonds to the company. Macon county gave $100,000.


The election at Pekin was held March 2, 1867, and the vote stood
698 for, and 12 against, the subscription.

In the spring of 1869, the Directors advertised for bids for the
construction of the road. After holding a succession of meetings,
and considering propositions from various parties, the contract was
finally awarded to a company known as the Pekin Railway Con-
struction Company. This company, which consisted of Teis Smith,
C. R. Cummings, G. R. Cobleigh, Peter Weyhrich, Bergstresser &
Gill, and D. C. Smith, commenced work in September of the same
fall (1869). The construction company elected Teis Smith, Presi-
dent ; G. R. Cobleigh, Secretary and Superintendent ; and Peter
Weyhrich, Treasurer. The idea of organizing this company origi-
nated in the mind of Mr. Cobleigh. Several of the gentlemen who
afterwards composed the company, were on their road to Lincoln to
attend a railroad meeting, when it occurred to Superintendent
Cobleigh that if any set of men could profitably construct that road
they certainly could. He proposed to his companions to form a
company and take the contract for building it. This they regarded
as a happy thought, and heartily entered into the enterprise, and
the company was formed, and the road successfully built by it.

The company claimed the right and privilege of locating the road,
and for this purpose employed Mr. Edward Powers as chief engineer.
Under him the line was re-located. He had charge of the work
until the spring of 1870, when B. C. Smith, the construction com-
pany's engineer, was appointed chief engineer, and continued in
charge until the road was completed. Grading through Tazewell
county was completed early in the year 1870; the first work on
the road being done in 1869, between Pekin and Delavan. The
contractors made contracts in England for iron sufficient to lay
the track through this county ; owing to unavoidable delay, how-
ever, the iron did not reach Pekin until the latter part of Au-
gust. The people along the line were growing anxious for the
completion of the road, but the unflagging energy with which the
contractors pushed the work, and the character and standing of the
men in charge, plainly told them that no unnecessary delay would
be made. On the arrival of the iron, track laying was vigorously
commenced, and that jxirt of the road between Pekin and Delavan
was completed that fall. That portion of the road was then oper-
ated by the construction company for passenger and freight traffic.
The first engine was purchased in Chicago by Mr. Cobleigh.

Early in the spring of 1871, work was again commenced, and
as fiist as track was laid, trains for the accommodation of the
public were run, and so considerable was the traffic that it was evi-
dent the enterprise would be a paying one. In 1871 the road was
leased to the Toledo, Wabash & Western Railway Company ; lease
to take affect upon the completion of the road by the contractors.
The road was completed to Decatur on the 6th day of October,
1871. Mr. Cobleigh, the present General Superintendent, had entire



GENt- SUPT P. L a D R'


charge of the construction of the road, and the management of the
trains. By his request the contract for grading was sub-let. In
making the sub-contracts, the Construction Company reserved the
privilege of paying the laborers before giving sub-contractor any
money. The reason for this was, at that time many roads were
being constructed, and the sub-contractors would not pay their
laborers, thereby swindling poor men, and bringing the road into
disrepute. To avoid this, Mr, Cobleigh in person paid every labor-
ing man in this branch of the work, and also matle every pavment
in the construction of the road througout. He also did nearly all
of the purchasing, and it seems remarkable that one man could
attend to so much, and perform his work so well as he did, during
the building of P., L. & D. Railway.

The T., W. & W. Ry., ran the road for four and a half years.
The road was mortgaged for $16,000 per mile, and the lease held by
the T., W. & W., required them to pay the interest on this indebt-
edness, and to maintain the road. In the spring of LSTG, the T. W.
& W., being behind about two years in the payment of interest, the
bondholders foreclosed the mortgage and sold the road. It was bid
in by them for $500,000, and re-organized as the Pekin, Lincoln &
Decatur Railway Company. C. R. Cummings was chosen Presi-
dent ; J. B. Cohrs, Secretary ; R. A. Bunker, Treasurer, and John
S. Cook, General Manager. The road Avas operated under this
management until the fall of 1878. Mr. Cook resigned as General
Manager, when that office was abolished, and G. R. Cobleigh aj)-
pointed Gen. Superintendent, Avhich position he now holds. Before
the time of his electiod to his ])resent position, which was Dec. 1,
1878, Mr. Cobleigh was Purchasing Agent and Supt. of Track.
The present officers of the road are, President, C. R. Cummings ;
Secretary, J. B. Cohrs ; General Superintendent, G. R. Cobleigh ;
Treasurer, R. A. Bunker; General Freight Agent, G. L. Bradbury;
General Ticket Agent, L. M. Rupert.

The P., L. & D., extends from Pekin to Decatur, a distance of
68 miles. It has a lease, however, of the Peoria & Springfield Road,
running from Pekin to Peoria, Avhich it operates and controls all
roads running over it, and makes the time-cards. These roads are,
besides their own, the I., B. & W., and the C, P. & S. W. It con-
nects at Decatur Avith roads running south, east and Avest. The
road-bed is good, well drained, level and uniform. The rolling-
stock is first-class ; conductors, agents and employes accommodating
and courteous, and the general management is all that could be
desired by the public, employes and stockholders.

Columbus R. Cummings, President of the P., L. & D. Railway, is
the son of James P., and Clarissa (Wilson) Cummings. He Avas
born in St. Lawrence county, N. Y., Oct. 14, 1834. He came to
Chicago, Ills., in 1853, and entered a mercantile house as clerk and
in the fall of 1859, came to Pekin, Avhere he embarked in the dry
goods business in company with his brother, C. B. Cummings. Since


his advent into Tazewell county, ]Mr. C, has been actively identi-
fied with all the leading; enterprises of the county. He was married
June 26, 1862, to Miss Sarah C. Mark, daughter of David Mark, an
early settler of this county. President Cumniings has served the
citv of Pekin as Mayor, and is an honorable citizen and a judicious
railroad man.

Gordis R. Coblcigh, General Superintendent of this road, and
whose portrait will be found in this volume, was born in Lisbon, X.
H., Dec. 22, 1838. He is the sou of Royal E., and Mercy (Yilas)
Cobleigh. His mother was a native of Vermont, his father of Xew
Hampshire. The latter died when the subject of this sketch was
ten years old, and since that time he has been obliged to look out
for himself. It took all the money he had to get out West, and he
started here with absolutelv nothina:, and he is one of the most re-
spected men of the county and has acquired considerable property.
He came to this county Dec. 19, 1856, and taught school for two
winters, and worked on a farm in summers. In the fall of 1859, he
entered the mercantile trade at Pekin, in company with H. Mont-
gomery. He continued in this, the grocery business, for about two
years, Avhen, in 1862, he entered a wholesale grocery house in Chi-
cago as book-keeper. We find him next in Peoria, actively engaged
in the commercial business, where he remained until 1864, when
he came to Pekin and embarked in the dry goods business in com-
pany with C. B. Cummings. He continued in this line for eight
years, when he commenced railroading, wliich business he has since
continued to follow, and his labors are mentioned above in this ar-
ticle. He is a judicious railroad man and keeps in view the accom-
modation of the general public as well as the interests of the stock-
holders. He is esteemed by all the employes and has the best
wishes of the community. In 1864, Feb. 25, he was united in marriage
with Mary V. Smith. Their children number five, only three of
whom are living, tw(» having crossed the Jordan of Death. The
names and dates of births of children are as follows: Royal E., born
April 23, 1865, died Nov. 4, 1865; Francis A., born April 10,
1867; William S., born Aug. 30, 1868; Gordis R., jr., born July
7, 1870, died Xov. 24, 1873; Mary Y., born March 2, 1875. Sui)t.
Cobleio;h has served as Alderman of the citv of Pekin for three
terms, and at present represents the fourth ward in the City Council.
He was Enrolling Officer in 1863 for recruiting for the U. S. army,
and Postmaster in Peoria county. He is a Universalist in religious
belief, and politically a Republican. Residence, corner of Colt and
Washington streets, Pekin.


One of the principal arteries by which the produce of the Xorth-
west is transported to the seaboard, is the T., P. & W. R. R. Under
its present able management it has taken rank with the greater lines
of our countiy. Its road-bed is level, well ironed and smooth.


Its rolling stock, both frei<>lit curs and coaches, is equal to that
run by the oldest and most prosperous of roads.

The T,, P. & W. was formerly the eastern extension of the Peoria
& Oquawka road, which was constructed in about 18(30. It was
changed to the T., P. & AV. in about 18G4, and in February, 1875,
was given into the hands of A. I^. Hopkins, as Receiver, who is one
of the ablest railroad men in the United States. The road crosses
the Illinois river at Peoria, runs through Fond du Lac and AVash-
ington townships, passing througli the city of A\ ashington. There
are 16 miles of this road in Tazewell county.


This is a consolidation of the Peoria, Atlanta & Decatur and the
Paris & Decatur Railroads. The road was constructed in 1872.
Its line extends from Terrc Haute, Ind., to Peoria, 111., a distance
of 176 miles. There are more miles of this road in Tazewell county
than any of its other seven roads. It leaves Peoria, entering the
county at Fond du Lac, running diagonally through Morton, touch-
ing Tremont, passing south through Mackinaw, Little Mackinaw
and Hittle. There are 29 miles of track in this county, of the Illi-
nois Midland, valued at §57,000.


The C, P. & S. AV. R. R. Co. is the successor of the Chicago
& Plainiield Railroad Company. The first charter of the C. ct P.
R. R. Co. was approved Feb. 24, 1859. The corporators named
therein being Lyman Foster, I). AV. Cropsy, K. J. Hammond, G.
AV. Bradley, John Moore, John Letsey, A. K. Wheeler, AVm.
Thurber and Benj. Pickertson. They were empowered to lo(;ate
and construct a railroad from Chicago, by way of Plainfield, to or
near Ottawa. Afterwards, on th(> 25th of Feb., 18(37, an amend-
ment was approved to the charter, which jirovided that said com-
pany be allowed "to extend their line of railroad from some eligible
point therein near the southern line of Kendall county, thence
southwesterly into the county of Peoria." Again, on the 29th of
March, 18(59, an amendatory act was passed to the above charter,
providing "that said corj)oration, heretofore known as the 'Chicago
and Plainfield Railroad Company,' shall hereafter be known and
called the 'Chicago, Plainfield and Pekin Railroad Company,' " and
in this act it was provided that the said company have the right to
locate and build their line of road through Groveland township,
Tazewell county, to Pekin, and that it should be authorized and em-
powered to receive subscrij)tions and donations to aid in the con-
struction of said road, and also to borrow money and to issue bonds
to the extent of ^i^l 5,000 jK'r mile, to obtain funds to construct
and equip the line. April 19, 1869, the name was again changed to
the present one.

The first Board of Directors of the Company was elected


June 29, 1869, and consisted of B, S. Prettyman, P. Weyhrich,
George Greigg, C. R. Cummings, John M. Dougherty, W. A. Ross,-
B. H. Harris, C. Sharp, H. R. Kiff, J. R. T. Overholt, J. Dieven-
baugh, E. T. Pierce, and R. Clark. The first contract for building
the road was made between the C. & P. Co. and Richard P. Morgan,
who was afterwards joined by E. T. Pierce. This contract was de-
clared forfeited by the first Board of the C, P. & S. W. Railroad Co.,
and another contract entered into by said Board and Messrs. Roder-
ick Clark of LaSalle Co., Cragie Sharp, of AVoodford Co. and Edgar
T. Pierce, of LaSalle Co. Pierce, Clark and Sharp did some grading
on the line and purchased some materials but became cramped and
embarrassed in the work and failed.

On April 14, 1871, the contract of Pierce, Clark & Sharp was,
with consent of all parties interested, transferred to Col. Ralph
Plumb, of Streator, in order to more vigorously prosecute the work.
On June 29th, 1871, on the resignation of R. Clark, F. E. Hinckley
was elected a member of the Board of Directors. On Jan. 9, 1872,
F. E. Hinckley was elected President and F. Plumb, Secretary.
From the last date forward the work was prosecuted with vigor
rnd determination and results began to show, although hindered and
harrassed by litigation caused by former mismanagement. On Dec.
18, 1872, the contractor. Col. Plumb, announced to the Board of
Directors that the track was laid from Streator to Pekin, 64 miles,
and a few days later, Jan. 6, 1873, that portion of the road was
opened for business, and continued to be operated between these
points until Feb., 1876, when an extension of the road from Streator
to Mazon river was turned over by the contractor to the company,
and by the acquirement of a few miles of road from the Mazon river
to JoHet the C, P. & S. W. R. R. now have a short direct line from
Pekin to Joliet, with mutual running arrangements with the Chi-
cago & Alton R. R., forming a through Chicago line.

Francis E. Hinckly has remained President of the road since his
election in 1871, and has managed the property vigorously, and
through this and other roads under his management, acquired a high
reputation as a skillful railroad manager. The road has been
■ thoroughly equipped with freight cars, coaches and engines, and the
business developed and encouraged.

The Superintendent of this road, Mr. D. H. Conklin, is located
at Streator. He is a railroad man of thorough experience and intel-
ligence. He is a telegraph operator, and can watch the running of
his trains at all points, and is always ready, when necessity requires,
to run an engine over the road, or conduct a freight train. P. B.
Shumway, the General Freight Agent, is a man of ability and
shrewdness, and alive to the necessities of the business of the road
in that department. B. T. Lewis is at the head of the passenger
department, and although a young man, has had much experience
in railroading, and displays an ability and tact fitting him for the
responsible position. The general offices of the company are located
at Chicago.



The courts recognize two kinds of law, Statute and Common.
Statute law is that which is enacted by the Legislature. Common
law consists of all the law of England, — whether Statute, or Com-
mon, which was in force in that country at the time of our inde-
pendence, and recognized by our courts, and which has not since
been repealed or disused.

We have what is called established law. For this branch of
common law there is no authority excepting the decisions of the
courts; hence the value of the reported decisions which are pub-
lished by official reporters. The law presumes that every body is
acquainted with it. Mistakes of fact can be corrected by the courts,
but not mistakes of law; no man being permitted to take advantage
of a mistake of tbe law, either to enforce a right, or avoid an obli-
gation; for it would be dangerous and unwise to encourage igno-
rance of the law, by permitting a party to profit, or to escape, by his
ignorance. One is required at his peril to know the law of his own


Justices have jurisdiction in all civil cases on contracts for the
recovery of moneys for damages, for injury to real property, or tak-
ing, detaining, or injuring personal property; for rent; for all cases
to recover damages done to real or personal- property, by railroad
companies; in actions of replevin; of actions for damages for fraud;
in the sale, purchase, or exchange of personal property, when the
amount claimed as due is not over $200. They have also jurisdic-
tion in all cases for violation of the ordinances of cities, towns, or
villages. A justice of the peace may orally order an officer or a
private person, to arrest any one committing, or attempting to com-
mit a criminal offense. He also, upon complaint, can issue his
warrant for the arrest of any person accused of having committed a
crime, and have him brought before him for examination.



Have jurisdiction in all matters of probate (except in counties
having a population of one hundred thousand or over ), settlement
of estates of deceased persons, appointment of guardians and con-
servators, and settlements of their accounts; all matters relating to
apprentices; proceedings for the collection of taxes and assesments,
and in proceedings of executors, administrators, guardians, and
conservators, for the sale of real estate. In law cases, thej have
concurrent jurisdiction with Circuit Courts in all cases where jus-
tices of the peace now have, or hereafter may have, jurisdiction
when the amount claimed shall not exceed $1,000; and in all crim-
inal offenses, where the punishment is not imprisonment in the pen-
itentiary or death, and in all cases of appeals from justices of peace
and police magistrates, except when the county judge is sitting as
a justice of the peace.

Circuit Courts have unlimited jurisdiction.


The commissioners of hiffhwavs in the different towns, have
the care and superintendence of highways, and bridges therein.
They have the power to lay out, vacate, regulate and repair all roads,
build and repair bridges, and divide their respective towns into as
many road districts as they shall think convenient. ' This is to be
done annually, and ten days before the annual town meeting. In
addition to the above, it is their duty to erect and keep in repairs
at the forks or crossing-place of the most important roads, post and
guide-boards, witli plain inscriptions, giving directions and dis-
tances to the most noted places to which such roads may lead; also
to make provisions to prevent thistles, burdock, cockle-burs, mus-
tard, yellow dock, Indian mallow, and jimson weed from seeding,
and to extirpate the same as far as practicable, and to prevent all
rank growth of vegetation on the public highways, so far as the
same may obstruct public travel; and it is in their discretion to
erect watering places for public use, for watering teams at such
points as may be deemed advisable. Every able-bodied male inhab-
itant, being above the age of twenty-one years, and under fifty, ex-
cepting paupers, idiots, lunatics, trustees of schools and school di-
rectors, and such others as are exempt by law, are required to labor
on highways in their respective road districts, not less than one,


nor more than three days in each year. Three days' notice must
be given by the overseer, of the time and phxce he requires such
road labor to be done. The labor must be performed in the road
district in which the person resides. Any person may commute
for such labor by paying the equivalent in money. Any person
liable for work on highways, who has been assessed two days or
more, and has not commuted, may be required to furnish team, or
a cart, wagon or plow, with a pair of horses or oxen and a man to
manage them, for which he will be entitled to two days' work.
Eight hours? is a days' work on the roads and there is a penalty of
twenty-five cents an hour against any person or substitute who
shall neglect or refuse to perform. Any person remaining idle, or
does not work faithfully, or hinders others from doing so, forfeits
to the town $2, Every person assessed and duly notified, who has
not commuted, and refuses or neglects to appear, shall forfeit to the
town for every day's refusal or neglect, the sum of $2; if he was
required to furnish a team, carriage, man or implements, and neg-
lects or refuses to comply, he is liable to the following fines: 1st,
For wholly failing to comply, $4 each day; 2d, For omitting to
furnish a man to manage team, $2 each day; 3d, For omitting to
furnish a pair of horses or oxen, §1.50 each day; 4th, For omitting
to furnish a wagon, cart or plow, 75 cents each day. The commis-
sioners estimate and assess the highway labor and road tax. The
road tax on real and personal property can not exceed forty cents
on each hundred dollars' worth. The labor or road tax in villaires,
towns or cities, is paid over to the corporate authorities of such,
for the improvement of streets, roads and bridges within their lim-

The legal voters of townships, in counties under township organ-
ization may, by a majority vote, at their annual town meeting,
order that the road tax may be collected in money only.

Overseers. — Their duties are to repair and keep in order the high-
ways in their districts ; to warn persons to work out their road tax
at such time and place as they think proper; to collect fines and
commutation money, and execute all lawful orders of the commis-
sioners of highways; also make list, within sixteen days after their
election, of the names of all inhabitants in his road district, liable

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 74 of 79)