Monroe County, Illinois
This history was extracted from the following book on:
Combined History of Randolph, Monroe and Perry Counties, Illinois
Published by J. L. McDonough & Co.
Columbia precinct, formerly called Eagle, had in
1880 a population of 2,242. It
occupies the extreme northern part of the county.
The bluffs that separate the bottom from the upland divide its
territory into two nearly equal areas.
The greater portion of the precinct is in tp. 1 S., ranges 10 and
11 W. The northern
triangular part is in tp. 1 N., ranges 10 and 11 W.
Carrel Island, so named from Samuel Carrel, who was once its
owner, containing about one hundred and fifty acres of land, lies in the
Mississippi, and is a part of Columbia precinct.
Drainage and water supply are afforded by streams and lakes; the
latter in the bottom. The
largest of these, Fish and Long lakes, lie in a line with each other,
nearly parallel with the river. The former, so called from the large
quantities of fish that inhabited its waters, receives through Trumbull
and Carr creeks and the greater part of the drainage of the highland.
It is a resort of some importance for lovers of piscatorial
sport. In 1857 an outlet
from it to the river was formed to prevent overflow.
Hill lake, partly in St. Clair county, is a small body of water
lying in the bottom. The entire territory of the precinct was originally
wooded. The timber in the
bottom was heavy and of different varieties both of hard and soft wood.
The staple production is wheat, although corn is quite
extensively cultivated west of the bluffs.
Coal has been mined to some extent in the vicinity of the town of
Columbia, but is believed not to exist in regular measures.
Limestone rock of an excellent quality for building purposes is
quarried near the village, and shipped to St. Louis and other points.
The St. Louis & Cairo R. R. extends northwest and southeast
through its territory, and affords convenient shipping advantages.
The inhabitants are principally of German nativity and descent,
and the language of the Fatherland is principally that of the fireside
and social life.
The oldest permanently settled place is what is now
Columbia precinct was Whiteside station, which was established by the
Flannaries. James Flannary,
in 1783, was killed by the Indians.
This was three years prior to the first decisive Indian war waged
against the Americans, in Illinois.
This war began in 1786, and continued till 1795.
The dangers, sufferings and hardships of the settlers were almost
with out a parallel. Not
least conspicuous among those who shared and endured them, were the
Whitesides. The original
pioneers of that name were Davis, Samuel, William and John L., brothers
of John D., a cousin of the latter. William and Mary his wife, in the year 1793, settled in
section 26, Township 1, south, Range 10, west on the St. Louis and
Waterloo road, a little southeast of Columbia village.
He came to Illinois, as captain of a company of mounted rangers
and immediately began the protection and defense of the settlers.
His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, the next year after arrival of
the family at the station, became the wife of John Moore.
Their first child Sebastian, was born there in 1795.
In this same year, General John D. Whiteside, youngest issue of
William and Mary, was born. The
births of these children are presumably the first (white children) in
the precinct. General
Whiteside was reared at the station, and his early educational
advantages were necessarily limited.
Nevertheless he was a man not only of strength of intellect but
of refined tastes. During
his life, he held several official positions of State and National
importance, and was once tendered the nomination for governor by the
Democratic party, but declined the honor.
President Polk appointed him Commissioner to confer with the
Government of Great Britain relative to complications that existed,
concerning the Illinois State bonds.
He held the rank of Adjutant General, and at the outbreak of the
Mexican war, entered the service and did duty in the work of organizing
and training the volunteer troops. Bolin Whitesdale was born in North Carolina, in 1717, and
came to Illinois with his father, in 1793.
He grew to manhood at the station homestead.
He was a natural soldier and served as a captain of mounted
rangers throughout the war of 1812, and Black Hawk war. About the year 1800, he married a Miss Randall, of St. Clair
county. Sarah Whiteside was
born in North Carolina, in 1790, and came with the family to the
station. She married John
F. McCollum, Elvira Marshall, who resides near Sacramento city,
California is the sole survivor of the family.
The Whitesides and their early connections were
born and raised on the frontiers of North Carolina, and immigrated to
Kentucky. They had been
inured to Indian hostilities and other hardships incident to frontier
life from their early years to manhood.
The patriarch and leader, William Whiteside, had been a brave
soldier in the revolutionary war, and was in the celebrated battle of
"King's Mountain." To
be a soldier in the battle of King's Mountain is an honor of itself.
The Whiteside family were of Irish descent and inherited much of
the Irish character. They were warm-hearted, impulsive and patriotic.
Their friends were always right, and their foes always wrong in
their estimation. William
erected a fort on the road from Cahokia to Kaskaskia, which became
celebrated as "Whiteside's Station."
At this station Whiteside raised a large family of children.
In 1795, Captain Whiteside gathered to his standard
his small but trusty company: Samuel and William L. Whiteside, Samuel
Judy, Isaac Enochs, Johnson J. Whiteside and others, to the number of
fourteen, and attacked and killed a camp of Indians of considerable
number, who, the French at Cahokia had informed him, had assembled at
the bluff in pursuance of a meditate attack upon him or his property.
In this battle he was wounded as he supposed mortally.
He fell to the ground, but still exhorted his men to fight
bravely. His son Uel, whose
arm was disabled so that he could not use his gun, examined the wound of
his father, and found that the bullet had not passed through the body,
but having been deflected, was lying near the skin. He took his butcher knife and cut it it out.
The old warrior sprang to his feet and said: "Boys, I can still
fight the Indians." The
"evil wind" of this bloody encounter blew fruits of gladness and
good cheer. The captain's
sons afterward married the two accomplished daughters of the Widow
Rains, and American lady in Cahokia, at whose house they dressed their
From this time forward till 1811, the settlers
enjoyed the blessing of peace and security.
But at this date the Indians again commenced depredations, and
Captain Whitside, was elected Colonel of St. Clair county militia, and
held that office for many years. After
peace with the Indians, he turned his attention to his farm, at the
station, and improved it. He
cultivated a fine apple orchard, which in days gone by was quite
celebrated, as there were very few orchards in the country.
In 1812, he organized the militia of St. Clair county, and
prepared them for active service. He
attended personally at Camp Russel, near Edwardsville, in carrying out
the military operations in defense of the frontiers.
He died at this residence in the year 1815.
He and his wife were both buried at the station.
A number of improvement claims lie scattered over
the precinct, indicating permanent settlements, prior to the year 1788.
Claim 228, was improved by Jacob Stillman, and comprises the
southeastern portion of the territory of Columbia, while Claim 2058,
improved by Thomas Winn, embraces the northwestern part.
Claim 501, was improved by Joseph Lacoutouer; claim 408, Robert
Watt; claim 505, Francis Bellew; claim 487, James Piggott.
These claims lie in the northern part of the precinct, adjoining
one another on the north and south, and embrace the Mississippi Bluffs
throughout their point of extent. Souteast
of these and less than a half mile south of Fountain creek, lies claim
607, improved by Jacob Groats. South
of this lie adjoining claims 521, improved by Nicholas Smith; 573,
Charles Wood. Claim 571,
improved by Leonard Harness, lies in the western part, and claim 543,
improved by Charles Gill,
some distance south of it. Claim 520, is the seat of the celebrated
The Wilsons were originally from Maryland.
They moved to Kentucky, and about the year 1800, came from that
State to Illinois. There
were three brothers, Otho, Edward and William.
Otho married Elizabeth Biggs, and settled on section 7, a mile
and a-half northwest of Columbia. Here he improved a farm, and lived and
died. His children were
Zeborah, Nancy, Edward, William and Sarah.
He served as a soldier in the war of 1812, and also in the Black
Hawk war. Edward married
Catherine Ryan, and settled in St. Clair county.
William married Matilda Wallace, and settled on section 9,
three-fourths of a mile northwest of Columbia. Here he improved a large
farm and made it his home ofr life.
He served in the war of 1812, and in the Black Hawk war.
His children J. H., Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary, Deborah, Louis M. and
George W., are all living but Mary. J.
H., has served the county at different times, for the period of ten
years, as Sheriff, and is the present incumbent of the post-office.
William Biggs owned a farm a little north of Columbia.
His advent probably antedated that of the Wilsons.
He kept a place of public entertainment, on the old Kaskaskia
road, one half mile north of Columbia, near a spring of lasting water.
This was one of the first stopping places between Kaskaskia and
St. Louis, and existed as early as 1800.
George Ramsay came from Virginia about the year
1803. He married Nancy
Chance, in 1805, and settled on Fish Lake in the bottom. In 1816, he
bought land one and a half miles north of Columbia, of Joseph Ogle.
Benjamin Ogle owned land adjoining, where he resided permanently
and died. The Ogles were from Virginia, with families of several
children and were very old settlers.
James Bradshaw and his wife, from Kentucky, settled on the S. E.
¼ of section 35, in 1814. Here
he resided for life and died about 1845.
His children were, Mabel, Mary, John and Sylvester.
Jacob Neff, was of German descent.
In 1814, he settled on the W. ½ of the S. W. ¼ of section 25,
Township1, south Range11, west. He
was a plain, industrious farmer and had a family of four daughters and
two sons, who moved to Missouri. Mr.
Neff died on his farm at an advanced age.
Thomas Porter, was a sporting man and lover of horseracing.
He lived on Fish Lake, in the bottom in 1814.
He died on his farm. John Beaird was a prominent and influential
business man as well as farmer. He
settled in section 24, Township 1 south, Range 10 west, in 1817, and
became a large land owner and kept ten or twelve slaves.
Thomas Nelson, in the same year, settled on the N. W. ¼ of
section 26, and built a cabin, still standing, in which he lived till
about 1830. He reared a
family of six sons, all above six feet in stature, and one or two
daughters. He died near
Nashville, Washington county. Richard Aklas lived on Fish Lake, in the
bottom, some time prior to 1817. He
had a family of several children. One,
McKann, a surveyor, was a large land owner, married Mrs. Sarah Scott
mother of Levi and George. He
lived on Fish Lake, in the bottom, as early as 1817. Samuel Hill, came from Virginia and brought a family, and
settled on land he entered, being the W. ½ of the n. W. ¼ of section
4. He was an influential
man, and became a large land owner, and also kept a number of slaves. In 1818, he entered land in section 4, and resided there
until his death. Leonard
Carr, a German, lived on the creek that now bears his name, formerly
called by the French, Gran Risseau, in section 20.
Here he entered land in 1818.
He reared a large family. John Divers, came from Baltimore,
Maryland, about 1822, and settled one mile west of Columbia.
Mr. Divers was the owner of slaves.
He became a successful and wealthy farmer, and was also
interested in milling. His
death occurred in Columbia, in 1849.
George Divers, his son, is at present mayor of that town.
William Morgan with a wife and several children,
arrived from Kentucky about the same time.
He lived all his life in the vicinity of Columbia, and died
there. James Shepherd,
about 1826, came to the precinct, with his wife and two children, and
settled in section 25. Here
he improved a small place and lived a number of hears.
John Ryan was a single man, and married Susan Gall.
About 1826, he settled on section 25, township 1 south, range 10
west. He reared two
daughters. His death
occurred in Waterloo. Dr.
Shoemaker came to the precinct from New Orleans in 1833, and settled on
the E. ½ of the N. W. ¼ of section 26.
He was educated as a physician, in Philadelphia.
Rev. Nolan, father of Dr. James Nolan, during his life a
prominent and influential citizen of Columbia village, was among the
very first preachers in the precinct.
A school was taught by Levi Piggott in a log house that stood in
the timber near a spring as early as 1817.
This spring still discharges its waters into Biggs' creek, a
little north of Columbia. The
Palmier graveyard is the oldest burial place in the precinct.
It was laid out on the Ogles' estate not far short of a century
ago. The remains of
surveyor general William Rector lie buried there. The Germans began immigration about 1835.
In this year arrived Robert and Peter Frierdich, brothers; Joseph
Platz; john Beckele and Valentine Jansen, brothers-in-law; John Pfeffer,
John Bohlman, Elmer Horner, Daniel Kline and Godleib Huck arrived in
1836. The following are the
first land entries: The
estate of N. Jarrott entered May 1, 1815, the fractional section 31,
township 1 south, range 10 west: A.
Bradshaw entered September 7, 1814, the S. W. ¼ of section 24; Thomas
Nelson, February 10, 1817 the E. ½
of the N. W. ¼ of section 26; Adlada Perry May 1, 1815, in the N. W. ¼
of section 7, one hundred and forty-five acres; January 24, 1817, Samuel
Hill, the W. ½ of the N. W. ¼ of section 4, eighty-one and
seventy-four hundredths acres; January 16, 1818, Edward Wilson, one
hundred and four and forty hundredths acres in the S. W. ¼ of section
It is situated in the northeastern part of the
precinct, near the center of township 1 south, range 10 west. In size and importance it ranks second in the county only to
Waterloo, and has a population numbering 1,308. The southeastern part is the oldest, and was laid out on land
of Louis Nolan in the year 1820. Several additions have been made to the
town, among which was one made by Wilson and Gordon, near the center,
about 1849. It was surveyed
and platted by John B. Whiteside, but never recorded.
The first building within the corporate limits of the town was a
log cabin that stood southeast of the village proper, on the west side
of, and not far from Waterloo road.
Charles Walker taught a school here as early as 1815.
And the building was probably used for this purpose at an earlier
date. A double log house
was put up by David Robinson and used as a dwelling and hotel, probably
as early as 1825. About 1828 Robert Coleman built an ox-mill. It is
still standing, repaired and improved, and is doing duty as a hotel.
J. B. Smith and one Steward sold the first goods in a log
building that stood near the mill. Joshua Parker had the first
blacksmith shop. The
post-office was established as early as 1830, and probably a little
earlier. About 1840 Philip
Smith made beer in a frame brewery building, still seen in a condition
of half dilapidation. The
Methodist Episcopal church was built in 1843 at a cost of $600.
About 1865 it was remodeled at a cost of $1,200.
It was originally designed and used for school as well as church
purposes. It is a frame
building 30 by 40 feet. The Old Lutheran church is a brick edifice, and
is in size 36 by 44 feet. It
was built in 1849, at a cost of $2300. The Evangelical (Lutheran) church was built of brick, in
1850, at a cost of $2500. The
school-house appurtenant to the church is a brick building, and was
raised about 1862. School
was maintained in it till five years since.
The Methodist church, south, is a brick building and was erected
in 1866, for a school-house and Masonic hall.
Shortly after it was purchased by the congregation, and the
second story, which had been the hall, was converted into an audience
room, while the lower part continued to be used for a public
school-room, and served for that purpose until the present public
school-house was erected.
The (Catholic) Church of the Immaculate Conception
is a handsome brick edifice with sandstone trimmings, and was built in
1867, at a cost of $24,000. Associated
with it is a school, taught in the former church, which was built in
1848 or 1849. There is an
average daily attendance f about one hundred pupils, who are under the
charge of three of the Sisters. The
priest's house, a tow story brick, was built in 1858 or 1859, and cost
The Gardner Roller Mill was originally built of
brick by John Divers, William H. Gaile, and Stephen Gardner, about 1835.
It was burned in 1844, and was immediately rebuilt by Mr. Gardner
alone. In 1856 it again
fell a victim to the flames, and was a second time rebuilt.
The property changed hands in 1864, and came into the possession
of Afflick and Phelps. The
latter died about a year after the purchase, and Afflick became the
owner. He afterward sold
the property to Switzer, who owned it till 1874, when it was purchased
by Thomas Koenigsmark, its present proprietor and operator. It is at the present writing a five story brick structure,
whose foundation is 40 by 70 feet in area.
The floor of the engine and boiler-room is 20 by 65 feet.
Above them, on the same foundation, is the packing room.
The mill contains a complete roller system, consisting of
thirteen sets of rolls, two pairs.
Above them, on the same foundation, is the packing room.
The mill contains a complete roller system, consisting of
thirteen sets of rolls, two pairs of middling burrs, six scalping reels,
and sixteen flouring reels, four middling purifiers, also a bran duster,
three flour packers, and one bran packer.
The wheat cleaning machine consists of three wheat brushes, two
shakers and two screen reels. The capacity of the mill is 250 barrels in
twenty-four hours. Shipment
is effected by means of two private switches connecting with the St.
Louis and Cairo Railroad, upon which the company run their cars.
The cooper shop attached turns out from six hundred and fifty
seven hundred flour barrels weekly.
The Columbia Star Mill was built in 1865, by James
and William Nimerick, at a cost of about $25,000. It had four run of
burrs, and produced about 150 barrels of flour a day.
It was built of brick, four stories high, on a foundation 40x50
feet. An addition 20x50 feet was built in 1880, and another, 20x60 feet,
in 1882. Its present
capacity is three hundred barrels a day.
It was seven run of burrs, three sets of rolls and twenty reels.
The warehouse is of brick, three stories, and forty-five feet
square. Its storage
capacity is fifty thousand bushels of wheat.
The cooper shop connected with the mill employs fifteen men, and
turns out three hundred barrels daily.
Mr. Henry Huck is the present proprietor and operator.
The Monroe Brewery is a brick building, erected in
1856, by John Jundlach at a cost of about $30,000.
It is now occupied by the Klausmann Brewery company, of South St.
Louis. Its annual capacity
is six thousand barrels of beer. Underneath the building there are beer
caves, capable of receiving in storage about 3500 barrels of beer. There is also a malt hosue and mineral water establishment
connected with the business.
The Public School building was erected in 176.
It is a handsome brick structure with limestone trimmings, and is
an ornament to the village. It
cost about $13,000; it contains six school-rooms in which as many
schools are taught, by male teachers.
An effort is now being made looking into a higher and more
efficient scholarship. The
first newspaper in the village, the Gazette, was established February,
1880, by E. H. Ellis. It
had an existence of only five weeks.
The Voice of Monroe was founded by its present proprietor, Peter
W. Baker, May 5, 1880. Ground
was broken Oct. 12, 1882, for the new Masonic Hall, now in process of
erection. The building, a brick with limestone trimmings, three stories
and 33x70 feet floor, will cost when completed the sum of $7000.
The third floor will be used as a Masonic and the second as a
public hall. The first will be devoted to business.
Within the territorial limits of the village there is a mineral
spring, containing sulphur and magnesia.
Its owner, August T. Weinel, purposes to erect a bath house in
connection with it the following season.
The growth of the village, though not rapid, has been of a
substantial character. The
buildings are well constructed, of brick and limestone rock, and the
streets well paved and drained. The
charter of incorporation, approved February 19, 1859, was granted to the
following trustees: Stewart
McKee, Lafayette Warnock, John Gundlach, John Ferkel and John Jost.
Officers: President, Stewart McKee; Clerk, H. A. Boreman;
Treasurer, John Ferkel.
Pysicians – M. G. Nixon, William Rose, William Grippenburg, John Pflueger.
Justice – Lafayette Warnock.
Notary – Henry Riebeling.
General Stores – Henry H. Siemens, Edward Heiligstedt, Reid & Schuler, John Pfeffer & Son, Henry Schaiper, Henry Voges, Frederick Meyer.
Drug Store – Wm. Rose, L. E. Seyffardt.
Hardware, Farming Implements and Machinery – C. Breidecker.
Tailors _ John Petera, Henry Beck, Ferdinand Haberloch, John Ehret.
Shoe Makers – John Deitrich, Fred'k Herold, Edward Fiege, J. Fruka.
Harness Makers – Frank Fahney, Wm. Kremmel, John Kolb.
Blacksmiths – Jacob Lotz, P. W. Miller, William Schaeffer, Joseph Rauch, Daniel Kraus, Joseph Wuest, Frank Riebeling.
Wagon Makers – George Schmidt, John Schmidt, Henry Schmidt, Henry Riebeling, Jacob Schaffenberger.
Carpenters – Frederick Kock, Joseph Brandt, August Walhausen.
Milliner – Mrs. Ellen Smith.
Dressmakers – Mrs. Sophie Schneider, Miss Minnie Timmermann.
Livery Stable and Lumber Yard – August F. Weinel.
Hotels – John T. Angerer, Jacob Weinel.
Boarding Houses – Jacob Ferkel, John Eichmueller, Charles Juengling.
Saloons – P. C. Schneider, Henry Siemens, E. Heiligstedt, Henry Reichenbach, Hnery Schuerman, John B. Schmidt, Jacob A. Schmidt, Joseph Vahle, P. C. Schneider.
Cabinet Makers – Charles Schneider, Frederick Litzenberger
Tinware _ Philip Wilde, Louis Kuehner.
Barbers – Charles Reis, Louis Ritter, Paul Wilde.
Machinery Agents – James Warnock, John A. Gray.
Butchers – James Stephan, Augustus Rohm & Bro., Frederick Illgner
Cigar Makers – H. Kunz, G. Pentzler.
Post Office – C. Breidecker.
Jeweler – J. Bersche, Max Seybeck.
Brick Yards – Henry Heullinghorst, William Dankenbring.
Foreman Star Mills Cooper- Shop – James Habermehl.
Foreman Gardner Mills Cooper Shop – Joseph Tolar.
Columbia Turnverein was chartered May 24, 1866. Its membership at present numbers 26. Turner's hall, owned by the society, is its place of meeting.
Columbia Lodge, No. 477, A.F.& A. M. was
chartered Oct 3, 1866. Jan.
6th following was the date of the first meeting.
The names of 61 active members appear at present upon its rolls,
and it is in a sound financial condition.
The Columbia Singing Society was organized about
18448. It became a body
corporate by grant of charter August 19, 1871.
It has 44 members and meets in Liberty Hall.
It has control of the books (about two hundred volumes) belonging
to the Library Association, which was chartered about 1870.
Columbia Lodge, No. 379, D.O. H., was chartered in
1875. It has about 75
members, and $900 in the treasury.
The Hall in which its meeting take place is held by the society
under a five years lease.
Masonic Lodge, No. 165, A. O. W., was chartered Mar 31, 1880. It has 54 members and $250 in the treasury.