itive injury upon Galva as the great fire in Chicago. More than forty
places of business, with their contents, were swept away, and many
citizens turned homeless and houseless out into the night. The morning
following was the gloomiest that had ever dawned upon the town, and
men might well have been disheartened by seeing the fruits of years of
toil blotted out of existeiice in a few hours. The fire was discovered a
little after midnight, having originated in the Post-office, which was then
kept in a wooden building just north of S. P. Johnson's store, on the site
of his present tailor shop, or between the two buildings, which is a dis-
puted question. If, as some allege, it was the work of an incendiary, he
must have had the spirit of a fiend of the pit to have looked with satis-
faction upon the work he did that night. A strong southerly wind pre-
vailed at the time, and the flames soon caught upon the Mansard roof of
Beck's block, upon the opposite side of Exchange Street, and then leaped
across to the north side of Main Street, leaving only charred ruins in its
track. The three -story building of Mr. Beck's had just been newly
roofed, and Music Hall, which occupied its upper story, furnished the
finest assembly rooms between Galesburg and Chicago.
THE BUSINESS AND SOCIAL INTERESTS.
Gcilva is situated at the crossing of the Peoria, Rock Island and C.B.
& Q.R.R., and contains a population of about thirty-five hundred. The
business of the town is chiefly trade with the surrounding people, there
being but two manufacturing establishments in the place. The older of
these was established about the j r ear 1848 by Thomas S. Guthrie, and is
now carried on by his sons, William and Thomas. They are founders, and
deal especially in engine and boiler material. A manufacturing company
now occupy the brick building erected in the early life of Galva, and are
engaged principally in making windmills and farm machinery.
The town supports a large number of stores, all well fitted up, and
bearing a very neat appearance.
The first bank was started by Claudius Jones about 1858 or '59. In
1862 he sold to L. W. Beck, a merchant who carried on an exchange
business until the First National Bank was organized in 1865. He was
Cashier of this bank about nine months. Two or three years later he
started another bank a private institution. This he owned until the
Spring of 1876, when he sold to the present proprietors, E. A. Lynd and
L. M. Yocum, who are now engaged in a most successful business. The
First National Bank was organized in 1865, the Wiley family, so early
identified with the history of Galva, being the principal projectors. It
has a capital of $50.000, and a surplus of' $30,000. Mr, D. L. Wiley is
President, and W. F. Wiley, Cashier.
The town is now entirely temperate, no license for the sale of spirit-
uous liquors being given, and saloons are not allowed.
172 HISTORY OF HENRY COUNTY.
The- schools are in an excellent condition, are held in two buildings
known as the North and South buildings, and are under the able superin-
tendence of Mr. E. E. Fitch.
The first school-house was built by the founders of the town, Messrs.
J. M. and Win. L. Wiley, near where Dr. A. C. Babcock now resides, and
was 12x20 feet in size. This building was also used as a church, and it
was here that the first Baptist Church of Galva was formed, consisting
of seven members. Mrs. Thomas Getty and Mr. Wm. L. Wiley being con-
stituent members. The Congregational and Methodist Churches were
also organized during the same year, 185.5, and met in the same building.
The Congregational Church was organized on the fifteenth of September,
with thirteen members.
The original school building on the north side of the railroad, known
as the North School, was commenced during the Autumn of 1855, and
was soon completed, the money being borrowed for that purpose, all in
gold, J. M. Wiley, William L. Wiley and Geo. Farr giving a joint note
therefor until a tax was levied and collected for the amount required.
The building contained two rooms. These were afterwards divided into
two rooms each, and in this manner the building was used until 187G.
That year it was enlarged and remodeled, three rooms being added mak-
ing a very commodious seven-room building.
The South School building Wcis erected in 1865. It originally con-
sisted of one room, but that soon proving inadequate, in 1867 it was
enlarged and remodeled and made a building of four rooms, and as such
is still used.
In the Galva schools there are now employed, including the Super-
intendent, thirteen teachers, whose names and stations are as follows :
E. E. Fitch, Superintendent; North School : Mrs. E. B. Humphreys,
Principal ; Niss Lucy Magu, Grammar ; Miss Rebecca Watson, Inter-
mediate ; Miss Frankie Smith, First Prim.; Miss Mary Maddox, Miss
Anna Gladding, Primary. South School : Miss S. B. Littlefield, Princi-
pal ; Miss Matilda Watson, Intermediate; Miss Anna E. Ayres, First
Primary ; Mrs. Emma J. Day, Miss Jennie Dyson, Primary. There are
about 260 pupils in the North School, and nearly 200 in the South, and a
regular attendance of over 400. The annual outlay for educational pur-
poses in the city is about 10,000.
There are six congregations of religious worshipers. These occupy
neat, commodious churches, and are in a very prosperous condition.
The oldest religious organization in Galva is that of the Methodist
Episcopal. It was organized June 26, 1855, in the school-house. Meet-
ings had been held here to complete the organization, and for some time
after. At this time the first Board of Trustees were elected. This Board
consisted of the following persons : I?aac M. Witter, John T. Carran,
Isaac E. Dennis, Amos Dennis, William Pierce, John B. Nixon, and Nor-
man E. Pomeroy. They were the most active members then in the church,
which in addition to these men, possessed but few members. In 1857
Capt. OLOF JOHNSON (deceased),
HISTORY OP HENRY COUNTY. 175
they erected their present house of worship, costing f 3,000. Among the
prominent ministers of the church have been the following divines : Rev.
John Morey, who called the meeting held to organize ; Rev. W. P.
Graves, Rev. A. D. McCool, Rev. A. H. Hepperley, Rev. G. W. Arnold and
others. The present pastor, Rev. B. C. Dennis, is now serving his third
year. The church is in a prosperous condition. The membership is over
200, and an attendance of more than 100 scholars is regularly maintained
in the Sunday-school.
The Congregational Church was organized in the school-house, Sept.
15, 1855. The constituent members were the following persons : George
Farr, Rebecca Farr, Charlotte M. Cholette, George Fairlamb, William H.
Fairlamb, Henry H. Parker, Mary Fairlamb, Hannah Carrigan, Thomas
Harrison, M. E. Harrison, Elizabeth J. Hill, and George Hill, Jr.
Rev. S. G. Wright was soon called to the pastorate of this congrega-
tion, serving one-half his time. He remained until April, 1864, when he
resigned. In November following Rev. R. B. Guild, the present pastor,
was installed. From a membership of twelve, the church has grown to
one hundred and fifty, and sustains a Sunday-school of nearly the same
number of scholars. The congregation erected a church-edifice in the
Autumn of 1856. In 1866 this was sold to the Free Methodist Church,
and the present commodious building erected. This latter was dedicated
May 29, 1869, and cost about $12,000.
The Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church was organized on the fifth
of January, 1866, with fifteen members. Two years afterwards, they
erected their present house of worship, costing $3,000.
Their pastors have been as follows : Rev. A. J. Anderson, three
years ; O. C. Simpson, one year ; A. P. Wigren, one year ; H. W. Eklund,
one year ; C. A. Wireu, two years ; and A. T. Westergren, two years.
Charles A. Stenholm is the present pastor. There are now 87 members,
47 probationers, and 100 Sunday-school children.
The Free Methodist Church. In the Autumn of 1866, seventeen
persons, principally from the M. .E. Church, formed themselves into a
separate body, under the care of this church. For some time they met
for worship at Mr. D. P. Reed's, one of the main members, and often at
the residences of other members desirous of promoting the welfare of the
church. In 1866, they purchased the Congregational Church, and have
since occupied it. The membership is now about 20, sustaining a Sunday-
school of 80 scholais.
The first pastor of this church was Rev. D. W. Drake, who remained
two vears. He has been succeeded by Rev. William Cooley, Rev. J. T.
Terry, Rev. G. C. Coffee, Rev. W. W. Kelley, Rev. J. Whitney, Rev.
James Thaxter, and the present pastor, Rev. James Kelso, who is also
pastor at Kewanee.
The Swedish Lutheran Church. The people professing this faith held
meetings several years before effecting a regular church organization.
This was accomplished in December, 1869, with forty-four members. In
1873 they erected their present house of worship, a comfortable brick
building, costing about $3,000. At present there are over 90 members,
and a Sunday-school of about 40 scholars.
The t Rev. P. M. Sandquist was the first pastor here. He was followed
by Rev. N. Nordgren, who remained about one year, and he by Rev. A.
176 HISTORY OP HENRY COTTNTY.
Lindholm, the present pastor. This latter lives at Altona, and is not
often in Galva, the pulpit being generally supplied by students from the
College at Rock Island.
The First Baptist Church of Galva. The earliest meetings were
held in the school-house. The first meeting for the transaction of busi-
ness was held in the school-house June 28, 1855, at which time the pre-
liminary steps were taken to organize a Baptist church. The church was
organized Aug. 14, 1855, the meeting being held in the school-house. The
original members were : Wm. L. Wiley, and Mrs. Louise Wiley, from
the Baptist Church, Saxton's River, Vt. ; H. D. Ward and Mrs Angelina
Ward, from Canton, 111. ; J. M. Corson and Mrs. Ann D. Corson, from
Brimfield, 111. ; Mrs. Margarett Bushnell, from LaFayette, 111. ; Mrs. Dor-
athy Getty, from Brimfield, 111. ; Henry H. Clark, from Alden, N. Y. ; O.
P. Bigelow, from Boston, Mass.
The first church building was erected in 1856. It was located near
the business center of the town, and cost about $2,000. The second
building, and the one which the church now occupy, was built 1867 and
1868. It is located on the east side of, and fronting, College Park, and
cost, carpets and bell included, about $25,000. The bell in the tower
of the present church building was also used in the old church, and rung
for public service the first time January 24, 1864.
First pastor was Rev. M. H. Negus, from organization until Decem-
ber, 1856 ; second, Rev. A. Gross, between two and three years; third.
Rev. J. T. Westover, between two and three years ; fourth, Rev. J. D.
Cole, D.D., about three years ; fifth, Rev. L. D. Gowan, five years ; sixth,
Rev. C. W. Clark, three years ; seventh, Rev. J. M. Coon, now in his
The present membership is a little over two hundred.
Sabbath-school was organized in 1856 ; the number of scholars is
about one hundred and fifty.
The church is now free from debt, and expects to remain so, and is
in a flourishing condition.
The Church of the Holy Communion (Episcopal). The first relig-
ious meetings held in Galva were in a room in Union Block, 1866. About
that time the Ladies' Church Aid Society was formed, and through their
efforts a small church was built, called the " Holy Communion " (Episco-
pal). The building and lot cost a little over $800, and was erected on
the northeast corner of Railroad Square, in the year 1868. Mr. and Mrs.
Moore, Mr. and Mrs. Whipple, S. M. Etter and wife, Mrs. Somers, Mrs.
Trowbridge, Mrs. McKane, C. J. Whipple, Mrs. Rednell, Mrs. Hoyt, L.
P. Edson, were among the original members. Its pastors were Rev. Mr.
Tifford, Rev. Dr. Floyd, Rev. Dr. S. Chase; also Rev. Mr. Russell, who
officiated over two years ; C. J. Whipple, now rector at Manville, R. I. ;
and S. M. Etter, superintendent of the State Schools, were both prominent
in the religious affairs and doings of the church. The present member-
ship is fourteen ; Sabbath-school scholars, twenty.
In 1857 a paper called the Galva Watchman was started. This was
published but a year or two, and probably discontinued. The Galva
Union was started Dec. 5, 18( 2 bv B. W. Seaton. Some time afterwards
HISTORY OF IlKNRY COUNTY. 177
it was controlled by Capt, Erick Johnson, and after that by John I. Ben-
nett, proprietor, and J. M. Edson, editor. It was changed to the Galva
Republican, the first number of which was issued about 'October 1, 1867.
At the same time the Illinois Swede was in circulation, being printed by
the proprietors of the Republican, and suspended about the same time.
On the 9th of February, 1872, the present paper, the Journal, was started
by W. J. Ward, editor and proprietor. In April of 1873, he sold to his
brother, F. P. Ward, who conducted the paper until March 20, 1874, when
he sold the one half interest to J. J. Balch. In September, the latter's
interest was purchased by the present editor, H. W. Young, who on the
20th of February, 187G, purchased the share of F. P. Ward, and thus
became sole owner. Mr. Young is now conducting a paper which is a
credit to any town, having enlarged the Journal, and added many import-
Present officials : Pres., G.W. Butters; Sec., T. Atwood; Treas., L.
M. Young. Councilmen, Peter Herdien and Charles Williams. Police
Marshal, E. F. Short,
The land on which the town of Cambridge now stands was, prior to
the year 1843, the property of Rev. Ithamar Pillsbury, so well known in
the early history of the New York and New England 'Colonies' finding
homes in Henry County. As soon as the site received legislative sanc-
tion the act having passed that body February -1, 1843, he deeded to
the Board of County Commissioners, at a special meeting held on April
19, 1843, the fractional parts of two forty-acre lots. These were at once
accepted, and steps taken to lay out a town. A contract had been made
between the county and Geo. Brandenburg and Corey for construct-
ing a jail and court-house at Morristown. A small frame court-house was
already built, but at this time was still unfinished, and but little work
had been done on the jail. By consent of these parties this contract was
annulled, the settlement being left to Marcus B. Osborn, N. W. Wash-
burn and Luke C. Sheldon, as referees. They gave their decision at the
regular term of the court, held on the 6th of June following. This was
to pay the contractors fl27.2(>, and keep the building. A day or two
after the court met again, at the cabin commenced by J. Tillson and fin-
ished by A. H. Showers, in Sugar Tree Grove, for the transaction of any
business relating to the new town.
On June 9th the Court proceeded to lay out the town of Cambridge
a name suggested by Judge Tillson and ordered a sale of lots to take place
on the 26th of tin- same month ; to which date it was adjourned. The
town is laid out on two fractional quarters, N. W. and S. W. 7, 15, 3,
some 3G acres on each. It has two public squares, which, including the
streets, extend the breadth of the town from east to west. They were
recorded as Court Square (west) _ ( > by 40 rods, and College Square (east)
20 rods square. The lots facing the squares were 10 by 20 rods, the
others were 20 rods square, save two on the north end of town, which
are 20 by :!6. and tin- cemetery, which is ll! by 20 rods.
On the 28th of June the Court met and "appropriated fourteen dol-
lars to Charles C. Blisli for surveying town of Cambridge! one dollar and
178 HISTORY OF HENRY COUNTY.
fifty cents for services rendered at same time, and two dollars to Sullivan
Howard for specifications and plan of a court-house."
It was ordered that the Court proceed forthwith to the sale of lots in
Cambridge, on the following terms : One-third to be paid in six months
after date of sale ; one-third in twelve months, and the remainder in
eighteen months ; and that purchasers have the privilege of paying in
building materials, on or before the 1st day of the September following.
George McHenry, being in his place as auctioneer, a full board, and a
good attendance of citizens, the sale proceeded. Twenty lots were sold
on that occasion, aggregating the sum of $558. For the benefit of those
interested, the list of purchasers and number of lot, and amount of sale,
in the order in which they appear on record, are given: Joseph Tillson,
I, $20 ; John Russell, 4, $23 ; Joseph L. Perry, 7, $21 ; Jas. Roe, 12, $25 ;
Albert Jagger, 3, $26 ; Wm. H. Lockwood, 14, $40 ; Lennau Thurston,
13, $39; Thos. K. Thompson, 10, $26; Wm. A. Ayers, 18, $23; Jos.
Tillson, 9, $15 ; Wm. H. Lockwood, 16, $39 ; Alex. Qua, 17, $33 ; Wm.
H. Lockwood, 16, $31 ; Jas. Montgomery, 15, $35 ; Thos. K. Thompson,
21, $15; Wm. Dawson, 5, $30; James M. Allan, 20, $40; John Jones,
II, $30 ; Alexander Qua, 8, $21. There were thirteen purchasers, and
out of that number but few are known to be living in the county or in
the state. Qua lost his life in a stone quarry, one-half mile northeast of
Cambridge, where he was crushed by a bank he had undermined.
The 'growth of the town was not at all in proportion to the necessi-
ties of some of the purchasers, and instead of paying for their lots, either
in materials or money, as the payments became due, several of them
begged off, and their lots went back to the county.
To effect a healthy growth in the new town, roads must be opened,
post routes established through it. and a post-office in it, and public build-
ings had to be erected and population invited. The sequel will show
that many opposed to the growth of the place scarcely ceased to under-
rate the locality and its facilities for a healthy growth, and the idea of
settling in it or about it was often derided. A mail route leading from
Wethersfield to Geneseo was established through the place, and for a
while the few inhabitants enjoyed the luxury of a semi-weekly mail from
Peoria. By some means the route was altered so as to leave Cambridge
out. Previous to the change of route by the department, the carrier
refused to go to Cambridge, but would throw out a bag of mail matter
put up at Wethersfield expressly for Cambridge, at the " Corners," ten
miles east of town. No office being there, a boy employed for the pur-
pose would proceed at his leisure, pick up the bag and take it to its des-
tination. More than once mail matter has been sent from Cambridge for
the east and returned at the end of the weeTc with other mutter designed
for Cambridge. Those who had important business to transact were
afraid to mail their letters at the county town, because of the delays to
which its mail was subjected. Many and unsuccessful were the efforts
to have that route re-established through the village, nor till 1856 had
the tardy justice of a tri-weekly mail from Geneseo to Kewanee been
accorded to the county town. A weekly mail from Princeton, in Bureau
County, to Millersburg or New Boston, on the Mississippi River, was the
only one from which, for several years, news from the east could be
obcained. A weekly mail running from Rouk Island to Cambridge was
HISTORY: OF HENRY COUNTY. 179
also established for the particular benefit of the settlements between the
two places. For a short time, about the year 1853, a route was estab-
lished from a point on the Illinois River, known as Lancaster, to Cam-
bridge ; but it afforded no conveniences for any office on the route, and
was soon discontinued. The mail to Rock Island was carried for many
years by a Mr. Robinson, familiarly known as " Uncle Bobby." He was
a very honest, trusty man, and made more money by attending to errands
at Rock Island for his neighbors than by carrying the mail.
The growth of the town was remarkable only for its slowness. The
impression that the county seat would certainly and speedily be removed
gave way with great difficulty. People were afraid to venture in, and
but little improvement was made for several years. The county had a
court-house, but it was unfinished and in Morristown. At that place
courts were to be held till suitable arrangements could be made for their
accommodation in Cambridge. They were then being held in the dwell-
ing-house made over to the county by the proprietors of Morristown. It
was argued by many citizens about Cambridge, among whom are found
the names of Stackhouse, Hanan, Mascall, Cady, Osborn, Malcolm, and
others, that the unfinished house might be moved to where it was
wanted. These gentlemen made a proposition to the Court to the effect
that if it would give them the house outright they would move it to
Cambridge, finish it off, and furnish room in it for the use of the courts
till the new court-house should be built.
On the 5th of September, 1843, the Court contracted with them to
move the house to Cambridge, and 'to finish it, giving them ten dollars
and the use of the house for schools and other public purposes when not
wanted for courts, for the term of three years. The building was placed
upon runners, and in two days hauled or moved, by ox teams, to Cam-
bridge, a distance of more than twelve miles, and placed on southeast
corner of College Square. Several terms of the county court and two
terms of the circuit court were held in it the first term of the latter
in September, 1844. It was afterwards sold to the Messrs. Gaines, who
put a small addition to it, and placing their families and a stock of dry
goods and groceries in it, did a good business on a small scale for several
On June 18, 1844, notice was given that a contract for building a
court-house, according to a plan and specifications, drawn by John G.
Wilcox (for which the Court paid him 22), would be let on the 29th of
July following. A contract was made with Sullivan Howard, September
3, 1844, and the building was completed and accepted July 28, 1845.
From that time, at least for several years, the court-house was open for
schools, lectures, debating societies, stump speeches, three-penny shows,
class meetings, prayer meetings, Masonic meetings, singing and dancing
schools (the benches were movable) and preaching. Presbyterians, Con-
gregationalists, Methodists, Baptists and Universalists all worshiped
there, often three of them in one day, at different hours.
The first building erected in the new county seat was a small un-
hewn log house, put up by John Russell commonly known as " Lord
John ' : and was used by him for a blacksmith shop. For a short time
after its completion, he occupied it as a dwelling, until he could erect a
cabin for his family. This small structure was covered with "shakes "
180 HISTORY OF HENRY COUNTY.
clap-boards held down b3' weight poles, and stood on the site now occu-
pied by Medbury's grocery ; his dwelling occupied the site of Mr. S. D.
Alfred's present residence.
Judge Tillson erected the second house in the town. It was a hewn
log building, and many additions were made to it, as liis wants required
and means allowed.
A log cabin was erected almost opposite the stable connected with
the Cambridge House, by W. Augustus Ayres, the following Summer
1844. Here the Indian, known as John, was confined for the murder of
a half-breed by name of Jim. " John " escaped from this insecure "jail"
and joined his tribe, the Pottawattomies at Shabbona Grove. He was
immediately followed by the officers, who, on coming to the camp, and
addressing the chief, who was none other than the noted personage Shab-
bona, inquired for "John" who killed "Jim." He was at once pointed
out by Shabbona (this name was pronounced Sliah-pan-nee, or Sha-pa-
nee, by the Pottawattomies), and again taken into custody. At the pre-
liminary examination before Justice Tillson, he was committed for trial
before the circuit court ; but the grand jury, failing to find a bill (they
stood eleven for and (?) against), he was set at liberty.
The first hotel built in town was erected by A. H. Showers, about
the year 1848. He kept it for some time, and rented to others until
it was finally converted into a residence, and as such is now the property
of Michael McFadden. Mr. Showers, several years after, erected the
present Cambridge House, which in 1856 he sold to A. and N. B. Gould,
who added the third story. They kept it five years, and sold to James
M. Wier, who in turn sold to Joshua Bushnell, about February, 1864.