Source: Judge Lawrence B. Stringer’s “History of Mt. Pulaski”
I have highlighted my family’s surnames in GREEN. Most I have
connected directly to my family tree, but some remain
unconnected until I find actual documentation. This article
contains MANY names of the Mt. Pulaski area.
The beginning of Mt. Pulaski can be said to be enveloped in the mists of pre-historic times when the polar world was a desolation of icy wastes. From these dreary realms of enduring frosts, vast glaciers, moving southward with irresistible power, grooved and planed down the rocks, gathering up and carrying with them the abraded material and later melting in the warmer latitudes, distributing this detrital (sic) matter upon the bottom of an inland sea. The track of these ice-formed navies have been indelibly stamped upon the surface of Central Illinois even to this, day, are scientifically known as moraines and the terminus of one of these ancient moraines was Mt. Pulaski hill, now towering gracefully above the surrounding plains, an eminence of beauty surrounded by fields as fertile as the valley of the Nile and as productive as Eden's magnificent bowers. For three-quarters of a century Mt. Pulaski, first settlement, then village, then municipality has occupied this beautiful summit, as a "city set upon a hill, whose light cannot be hid."
The first government patent to land in what is now Mt. Pulaski township was made to James Turley, in 1824, this being the first year of the establishment of the land office at Springfield, and the land so patented was about four miles southwest of Mt. Pulaski hill. About the same time, Jeremiah Birks and Robert Buckles received patents to land a short distance to the southeast. By 1836, land entries had been made in present Mt. Pulaski township by the following settlers of early days: William Everly, John Vandeventer, John R. Burns, John Lucas, Robert Cast, Thomas R. Skinner, Isaac L. Skinner, Lewis Barney, Luther Barney, Michael Mann, George Girtman, Robert Downey, John Williams. George W. Turley, Charles Barney, Abraham Lucas, Carter Scroggin, Peter Buckles, Charles Brady, Champney Pendleton, Rial Birk, John Voshall, John Turner, William Copeland, Larkin Johnson, Barnabas M. Blue, Solomon Blue, Roland Birks, John D. Copeland, James Morrow, James Wade, John Shoup, Isaac Constant, Abraham L. Mann, David Birks, Benjamin Constant, J. W. Carrico, Charles Morgan, Cornelius Durham, Thomas J. Scroggin, Landon Key, Berry Constant, John Mann, Lucien Barney, James Powers, John Johnson, Stephen Lloyd, Bailey F. Bell, Leonard K. Scroggin, Abraham L. Copeland, Hiram H. Hedrick, Samuel Myers, Riley Barber, Hiram Starr, Adam Starr, Moses Patterson, Edmund Sams, Ninian R. Cast, J. C. Morgan, William Buckles, Robert C. Lawrence, Isaac Copeland, John Sinclair, Nathan V. Skinner, Elvanah Glover, Isom Birks, Abraham Myers, John Skinner, H. B. Truett, William Mason, Granville Patterson, Samuel Martin, David Winter, Thomas Shoup, John Capps, W. S. Bradstreet, Andrew Hughes, A. G. Burnett, George R. Spottswood, Squire Foster and William Armstrong. [Editor's Note: This list is incomplete.] James Turley, above mentioned, was born in Virginia, migrated to Kentucky about ten years after the close of the Revolutionary War and came to what is now Logan County (then Sangamon), at an early date, among the very first settlers. He brought with him fourteen children, one of the eldest of whom was George W. Turley, who also entered land in 1829 about four miles west of the present site of Mt. Pulaski. Here he subsequently laid out an embryo town to which he gave the name of "Georgetown."
The real history of Mt. Pulaski, however, begins with the departure of Jabez Capps from the land of his birth in 1817. He was born in London, England, Sept. 9, 1796, and embarked for the United States in the year before mentioned, landing in Boston, Oct. 7, 1817. Remaining a few weeks in Boston, he walked to New York. In New York, he remained a short time and then walked to Philadelphia. After a short stay there, he walked westward over the Alleghany Mountains to Pittsburg, where he arrived in January of 1818. Here he remained until the Ohio River opened in the spring of the year, when he worked his passage on a flatboat to Cincinnati. After about a year's stay in Cincinnati, where he was employed in pottery making, he was joined by his brother. Ebenezer Capps, who had subsequently come from England. Together they left Cincinnati and walked to St. Louis. Having heard a great deal about the "Sangamon Country" in Illinois, they started, in the spring of 1820. They first stopped at Clark's old mill on the south fork of the Sangamon River and here Jabez Capps taught the first school ever taught in Sangamon County. In 1822, a town had been laid out in Sangamon County by the name of Calhoun. Early in 1824, Springfield was laid out adjacent to Calhoun, with streets corresponding to those of Calhoun, and a few months later Calhoun became part of the new town of Springfield. In 1823, Jabez and Ebenezer Capps moved to Calhoun, where the former taught the first school in Springfield. In 1824, he abandoned school teaching and purchased a log house of Stephen Stillman, the first postmaster of Springfield, and opened up one of the first stores in Springfield, in which he kept an assortment of the various articles needed by the pioneers. In 1828 he married Prudence A. Stafford, daughter of Oliver Stafford, who had located in Sangamon County in 1825. She died May 13, 1836, three children surviving her, namely, Charles S., born in 1830; Ebenezer S., born in 1834, and Oliver T., born in 1834.
In 1828, Nicholas Moore had entered land north of the present site of Mt. Pulaski, in what is now Chester Township, near what was known as Hurricane Point, later as Yankeetown, on the present Lincoln-Mt. Pulaski road. Some time in the early part of 1836, some of the members of Mr. Moore's family were in need of a physician's services and Mr. Moore rode to Springfield and brought back with him Dr. Alexander Shields on a professional call. Dr. Shields boarded with Jabez Capps at Springfield. He afterwards married a sister of Jabez Capps. On Dr. Shields' return to Springfield he spoke to Mr. Capps in the most glowing terms of the country he had passed through and referred especially to a beautiful hill or mound between Lake Fork and Salt Creek, in the midst of the prairie, which in his judgment was an ideal spot for a town site. In another part of the primitive home lived Dr. Barton Robinson. Dr. Robinson had come from England about 1830, with his brother, James T. Robinson, and had first located at Buffalo Hart Grove. In 1832, he went to Springfield, where he married Mahala Barber. Dr. Robinson overheard the conversation between Mr. Capps and Dr. Shields and became interested. Mr. Capps was not well satisfied with his location in Springfield and the idea of founding a new town on the site proposed met his hearty approval. He proposed to Dr. Robinson that they make a visit to the "mound" and if found satisfactory lay out the town site. Dr. Robinson agreed and in a few days they made the trip, first stopping with George Turley at his place east of the "mound." Mr. Turley accompanied them to the proposed location and all were highly pleased with the prospect. Mr. Turley agreed to join the enterprise and abandon the "Georgetown" venture.
Returning to Springfield, Dr. Robinson and Mr. Capps organized a company to boom the new town. The company consisted of Barton Robinson, Jabez Capps, George V. Turley, George McDaniel, James Scott, J. F. Davis, Wm. L. Hatch and W. A. Knight. Ringrose D. Watson and Ebenezer Capps were also interested. On July 5, 1836. Barton Robinson, on behalf of himself and the company, entered 480 acres of land in what is now Mt. Pulaski Township and on July 20, 1836, he brought with him to the "mound" Thomas R. Skinner, afterwards County Surveyor and later County judge, who surveyed 140 acres of said land into blocks and lots. As an evidence of the loyalty of the new proprietors to the land of their adoption, they named the new town "Pulaski," in honor of the Polish nobleman who came to America during the Revolutionary War and offered his services as a private soldier to General Washington, afterwards rose to be general in the Colonial army and was killed in battle, Oct. 11, 1779. Later in December of 1836, the word "Mount" was prefixed to the name, making it Mt. Pulaski, although in official documents and otherwise the name Pulaski was used until in the forties. The time of the change of name is indicated by the fact that in dividing up the town lots among the members of the company, Barton Robinson deeded to George McDaniel, on Dec. 10, 1836, certain blocks in the "town of Pulaski;" to George W. Turley, on Dec. 17, 1836, certain blocks in the "town of Mt. Pulaski," and subsequently to James Scott, W. L. Hatch, J. F. Davis and W. A. Knight blocks in the "town of Mt. Pulaski."
After completing the survey, Mr. Capps rented a small log cabin of Jeremiah Birks, who resided on the Lake Fork, and arranged with Mr. Birks to have the cabin removed to the south side of the public square as laid out on the plat of the town, this being the same as the present public square. Reference has already been made to the death of Mr. Capps' first wife. Upon his return to Springfield after the survey, he was remarried to Elizabeth Baker, of Rochester, Ill. Preparatory to his removal to his new home, he secured a retailer's license to sell goods and conduct a tavern in the new town, from the Commissioner's of Sangamon County, of which Logan County was then a part, as the following, taken from the records of the County Commissioners of Sangamon County, will show: "Sept. 5, 1836; Jabez Capps came into court this clay and applied for a license to retail goods, wares and merchandise in the town of Pulaski, in Sangamon County, and states the amount of his stock in trade; it is therefore ordered by the court he have license therefore, by paying to the treasurer the sum of five dollars for one year from date and it is farther ordered that the said Jabez Capp, have license to keep a tavern in the town of Pulaski for the term of one year, upon his producing to the clerk the treasurer's receipt for five dollars and entering into bond as required by law."
Soon after, Mr. and Mrs. Capps and three sons left Springfield for "Pulaski." Mr. Capps loaded into his wagon the necessary furniture, some provisions and a few goods and started out on the road leading to the Lake Fork settlement. From this settlement to the "mound" was only a trail, which instead of leading to the summit of the hill passed around the base and on to Salt Creek. Arriving at the "mound" the family moved into the log cabin, the first white settlers in Mt. Pulaski. In the meantime, Mr. Turley had erected a temporary log store room for Mr. Capps on the west side of the square, the location of the same having previously been a wolves' den burrowed in the sand. Into this store room Mr. Capps unloaded what goods he had brought and then returned to Springfield for more supplies. Soon after, he purchased a story and a half frame building, which had been built for Bealer Webster to be erected on a proposed town to be laid out on the present farm of R. H. Templeman. This latter town was abandoned and Mr. Capps erected this building on lot ten, block fourteen, on the west side of the square. In 1838, this building was enlarged and made full two stories, Mr. Capps and family moving into the upper story and the store being conducted in the lower story. The stone for the foundation came from Rocky Ford, 16 miles away. The building was 30 feet square, with attic and cellar. For many years it was known as "Capps' Headquarters." It was torn down in 1867 to make room for a more pretentious structure.
Mr. Capps' stock contained a miscellaneous assortment of merchandise suitable for a pioneer store. Trade developed rapidly. Settlers from the present sites of Clinton, Decatur and neighboring territory came to Mr. Capps' store to purchase their goods, many coming a distance of forty miles. Those who could not pay in money brought pelts of various kinds, which Mr. Capps took to Springfield and exchanged, for goods. He made most of his purchases, however, in St. Louis, his goods being shipped up the Mississippi and Illinois to Pekin, where he received them and hauled them through Postville to Mt. Pulaski in a wagon. During the first two years of his life at the "mound," he and the adjacent settlers often drove their hogs to Pekin, where they were slaughtered and the pork shipped to St. Louis by the rivers. Occasionally, he would exchange goods for dressed pork. Mr. Capps continued in the mercantile business in Mt. Pulaski until 1858, when he retired and established the Mt. Pulaski nursery in connection with his son, Charles C. Capps. On the organization of Logan County, in 1839, he was elected Recorder of the county, which position he held for eight years. He was appointed postmaster of Mt. Pulaski, March 2. 1838, and served until Jan. 7, 1854. In addition to his three children by his first wife, he had ten children as a result of the second marriage. He died in Mt. Pulaski in 1896, lacking three months of being a century old. It might also be stated in this connection that his compatriot in the founding of Mt. Pulaski, Dr. Barton Robinson, also located in Mt. Pulaski in 1836 and practiced medicine there from that time until 1858, when he moved to Kansas, where he died. George W. Turley, another one of the proprietors, built a large residence at the northwest corner of the square and lived in Mt. Pulaski until his death, Feb. 28, 1865. He was continuously a justice of the peace from 1835 to his death and tried several law suits in which Abraham Lincoln was a contesting attorney.
Referring to life in Mt. Pulaski in 1836, Charles S. Capps in a letter to the Old Settlers' Association in 1878 said: "In 1836, father removed with his family to Mt. Pulaski, where he was the first, and in fact for several months, the only settler. He had located a log cabin on the site of the present post office building and put in a small stock of goods. The cabin when I first saw it was not chinked or daubed and as he lacked clapboards enough to cover the roof, there was a space about a yard square left open. My uncle, John Stafford, and I were left in charge of the store. Prairie grass was cut in front of the store and placed in a heap on the floor and this with some blankets constituted our bed. There came up a storm one night, which wet us thoroughly. Our cooking, until mother came, was done in a sand hole, over which some lumber was put to season; this sand hole had formerly been a wolf's den. Our nearest neighbor lived two and a half miles north on Salt Creek. My father had a sugar hogshead, which he used, as a smoke house. One night a pack of wolves, smelling the meat, gathered around the smoke house and howled for hours. I remember seeing mother, sweeping the floor one day, stoop hastily to pick up what she thought was a calico apron, but which on closer inspection proved to be a large rattlesnake coiled. She dispatched it speedily with the broom handle. One night while father was away from home, a prairie fire ran over the hill and set fire to our cabin. Mother had considerable difficulty in saving the `city,' the fire department not having yet been organized and there being no water nearer than the spring, a quarter of a mile away. The fire consumed our hay stack, which was on a platform on forks, six or seven feet high."
In 1838, Mr. Capps was joined by two carpenters, Horace Bowe and a Mr. Miles, who boarded with Mr. Capps and worked at their trade. They found plenty of work for the surrounding settlers. They were joined in 1839 by Willis Rowe, who afterward lost his life by the fall of a beam in a building on which he was working. In the fall of 1839, Andrew Danner came from Pittsburg to Springfield and then to Mt. Pulaski. In Springfield, he purchased a set of blacksmith tools and opened up the first blacksmith shop at the "mound." The next year he was joined by his brother, Christian Danner, who went into the blacksmith business with him. Christian Danner built the second building in the town, the same being a frame dwelling house, which he erected on the south side of the square. The Danners were the only blacksmiths between Clinton and Springfield. There were no roads or bridges in the county and price for labor was low. In the fall, farmers would take their pork to Mr. Capps, who paid them $1.50 per hundred pounds for it, deducting the amount of their blacksmith bill, from which Mr. Capps would deduct what the Danners owed him for iron and then pay them the balance. The Danners made the first iron plows in Mt. Pulaski, buying the pattern in St. Louis and doing the work themselves. Prior to iron plows, the plows were wooden moldboards and attached to the plow-point was an iron shoe, in which a socket was made for the insertion of the wooden plow-point.
The second store in the town was built by Benjamin Davis near the corner of the square, on the ground upon which the Scroggin Hotel was later erected, west of the present bank building of Scroggin & Son. About this same time Jefferson Scroggin also built a house, in which he accommodated travelers. About 1837, Frank Schick located in the town and opened a boot and shoe shop, he being the first shoemaker at the "mound." In 1842, he opened a general store. The only tannery in the vicinity was at Carter Scroggin's, south of the town. It was what was called a "trough" tannery. Later Mr. Schick started a tannery in the town. The Mt. Pulaski Hotel, the first brick structure in the village, was built on the northwest corner of the square by Alexander Morgan in 1843, and he conducted the same until 1848, when a D. B. Wright became landlord. Mr. Wright was succeeded as landlord by Ninian R. Cass about 1850. In 1852, Col. N. M. Whitaker bought the hotel of Mr. Morgan and conducted it until 1859, when he sold it to Martin Spitly, who disposed of it to Henry Shriver, Mr. Spitly moving to Lincoln. About 1841, Dr. John Clark located in the village and built a residence.
In 1844, the first schoolhouse was built, a small frame building, and until the courthouse was erected in 1848, it was the public hall of the town, religious services being conducted therein by the early church societies. In 1846, the third store in the town was built by Thomas Lushbaugh. The first brick store building was erected by Dr. Barton Robinson for rental purposes. Among those who purchased lots in Mt. Pulaski up to 1848 were Jacob Jackson, Champney Pendleton, George R. Spottswood, Frank Schick, Henry Vonderleith, Adam Schick, Alexander W. Morgan, Leonard Albert, Michael Finfrock, T. J. Scroggin, C. Harper, Horace B. Rowe, Samuel Dement, Timothy Leeds, James J. Snyder, B. F. Dickinson, John H. Horn, I. R. Braucher, Samuel C. Beam, Richard S. Spencer, Thomas P. Burnett, John Rohrer, Alexander Rigdon, John M. Handsbey, Charles Capps, John M. Downing, Christopher Mason, John A. Harry, James G. Cox, Christian Danner, Andrew Danner, Henry Krieg, D. B. Wright, J. M. and R. D. Tomlinson, J. O. Turley, William Frederick, John T. Clark, George and John Mayers, Wm. Stallings, N. M. Whitaker, Mathias Lohr, Christian Schick, Gotlieb Schafer, Dorothea Buiter, David S. Clark, R. V. Paranteau, C. Crockett, John Capps, George Meister, Gotlieb Seyfer, Wm. C. Snyder, Wm. Gibbs, John Huston, A. J. Turley, John W. Gibson, Adam Bierlein, Luther Hill, George Snyder, J. M. McIntosh, Emery C. Ross, Cyrus Tinkham, A. Alexander, L. D. Briggs, Ezekiel Bowman, John R. Thomas, Wm. Mitchell, Isaac Tomlinson, John Martin, W. M. Marshall, Dietrich Suedmier, George W. Smith, Frederick Spitzenmyer and others.
By 1846, Mt. Pulaski had outgrown Postville, the county seat, and a movement was organized looking to the removal of the seat of justice to Mt. Pulaski. Mt. Pulaski at this time had over 300 inhabitants. Michael W. Swing, representative in the General Assembly, was prevailed upon to introduce a bill in that body providing for the submission to vote in Logan County of the proposition to remove the county seat from Postville (then called Camden) to Mt. Pulaski. This bill passed Feb. 23, 1847, and provided for an election on the first Monday in April. The removal was conditioned on the citizens of Mt. Pulaski erecting a courthouse building. At the election a majority favored the proposition of removal. The following year the courthouse was erected in the center of the public square, where it still stands today in complete preservation, the lower story being utilized for the post office and the upper story for the library. Particulars with reference to this courthouse and the history of the county, during the period the county seat of justice was at Mt. Pulaski, have been given in the chapter on "County Government." [Editor's Note: This and other chapter references are to volume one of Judge Stringer's 1911 history which is out of print.] The courthouse building cost $3,000, all but $300 having been contributed by the citizens of Mt. Pulaski. Mt. Pulaski continued to be the county seat until 1855 and during that period the town experienced a substantial growth. During court terms it was an exceedingly lively place, Lincoln, Douglas, Swett, Trumbull, Stuart and other great legal luminaries of former days being frequently in attendance. During the county seat period, many business buildings were erected around the square and in Mt. Pulaski as well as many private residences. In 1849, George Meister established a brickyard in the town and in the same year George and John Mayer opened up a store. In 1851, Samuel C. Beam built a sawmill and six years later erected a flouring mill in connection with the same. The first churches erected in the town were the Methodist and the First Lutheran Zion's church, both erected in 1852. New edifices have since been erected. By special act of March 4, 1854, the boundaries of the town were extended to include the additions platted and laid out subsequent to the original survey.
The removal of the county seat from Mt. Pulaski to the new town of Lincoln, by virtue of a vote on the proposition submitted at the general election in 1853, has already been noted at length in the chapters on "County Government" and the "City of Lincoln," and need not be recounted here. It was, of course, a great disappointment to the citizens of Mt. Pulaski, but still did not daunt their civic pride and courage, and in a few years, the "mound" had substantially recovered from the shock.
By act of the Legislature in 1857, the old court house was turned over to Henry Vonderleith, Jabez Capps and George W. Turley as trustees for two years, to be by them turned over to the Board of Education and soon thereafter, the building was utilized as a school building. In 1861, the Evangelical association erected what was the third church building in the town. In 1865, the First Lutheran society sold their church building to the Catholic denomination and one block from the old site erected their present house of worship, at a cost of $21,000.
An incident connected with the history of Mt. Pulaski, worthy of note, is the fact that the world's great singer, Emma Abbot, made her professional debut at Mt. Pulaski in the summer of 1863. She was then to fame unknown and in rather straitened financial circumstances. A troupe was organized at Mt. Pulaski with Miss Abbott as the star, she being assisted by a Miss Frazier of Peoria. O. T. Capps, of Mt. Pulaski, was the advance agent. The troupe made dates at "Yankeetown" in Chester Township and at Lincoln, but failed to draw at either place. It is stated that at "Yankeetown" the troupe was pelted with mud. Twelve years later, Emma Abbott's reputation as a cantatrice was international in scope, the musical world ranking her with Patti and Neilson. She appeared at Springfield in 1878 and over 200 Logan County people who had refused to hear her at their own homes in her earlier days, paid their fare to Springfield and paid exorbitant prices for seats. Among these were a number of the "mud-pelters," although they vociferously denied the charge.
Up to the year 1871, Mt. Pulaski was entirely an inland town, a stage line connecting it with Lincoln. The first railroad came in 1871, connecting Peoria with Decatur, passing through Mt. Pulaski and being known as the Peoria, Lincoln and Decatur railroad. Mt. Pulaski citizens gave this enterprise hearty encouragement from the start, one of its citizens, S. C. Beam being one of the first directors. Work began on the road at Pekin in 1869, was completed to Mt. Pulaski in August of 1871 and to Decatur in October of the latter year. The road is now a part of the Illinois Central system. (See chapter "Transportational.") A second railroad, known as the Gilman, Clinton & Springfield railroad, was also built through Mt. Pulaski in 1871. The road was so far completed on Oct. 12, 1871, that an excursion was run to Chicago that passengers might view the ruins of the great fire. The road is now part of the main Chicago to Springfield line of the Illinois Central system. The coming of the railroad ushered in a new era to Mt. Pulaski and for a number of years thereafter it experienced a substantial growth.
In 1870, the Christian church building was erected and in July of the same year, the first Mt. Pulaski newspaper, the Sentinel, was established. In 1872, the Scroggin & Sawyer bank was established, being the first banking institution, and several additions to the town were laid out.
Many business buildings were erected in 1873, the improvements of that year amounting to over $35,000. The St. John's Evangelical Lutheran church building was also erected in 1873. The Mt. Pulaski Music Hall Association was incorporated May 22, 1874, and the first hall erected in the town as a result of the organization. The Schick brick structure was erected in 1875, in addition to other building operations in the same year. The Scroggin hotel, opera house and bank building were erected by Leonard K. Scroggin in 1878 at the southwest corner of the square. In the spring of 1877, the school system was reorganized and a commodious brick school building was erected that year in the eastern portion of town at a cost of $16,000. (See chapter on "City Schools.") The Masonic Hall association was organized in 1876. On Dec. 16, 1880, the first large fire occurred in the town, the McFarlin & Woods elevator being consumed. It was rebuilt in 1882 as the Junction elevator. In 1881, the Mt. Pulaski mill and elevator were erected, with a capacity of over 200 barrels of flour per day. This made three elevators in operation in the town in 1882. The Mt. Pulaski mill and elevator was destroyed by fire Jan. 17, 1885, together with 6,000 bushels of wheat: loss, $40,000. The first telephone exchange was installed in the town in 1881, being connected with the Lincoln plant. In 1881 C. E. Snyder established a sawmill and a barrel and lath fence factory in connection with the same. The Meister block was erected in 1882 and the Jenner building, including the present Jenner hotel property, was built in 1884. In the latter year a new Methodist church was erected on the old site and in 1886 a new Catholic Church edifice was built. Boring for coal was begun in 1883 and an excellent vein of the mineral discovered. An account of this industry has been noted in the chapter on "Commercial and Industrial."
The citizens of Mt. Pulaski take special pride in their fire department, it being the first regular permanent organization of that kind in the county. It was organized as the Phoenix fire department March 13, 1885, it’s eighteen charter members: J. F. Schick, F. E. Danner, J. G. Jenner, Andrew Bertrang, H. W. Stafford, D. J. O'Brien, George Wynd, Philip Schweigckhardt, B. F. Peltz, J. M. Hopkins, George Schafer, John Klotz, H. F. Gordon, Edward Meads, J. H. Newton and Otto G. Bekemeyer. The department is the possessor of a gold medal, which they hold as the champion hose team in the State Firemen's Association. The following members of the department have served as chief: W. H. Stafford, March to July 1885; J. M. Hopkins, 1885-93; J. G. Jenner. January to April, 1893; M. J. Myers, 1893-95; John Zah, 1895-96; M. J. Meyers, 1896-98; F. E. Danner, Feb. 4, 1898 to the present. Claude Holler is the present secretary and J. G. Jenner, treasurer.
On Sept. 15, 1886, Mt. Pulaski celebrated its semi-centennial with a magnificent demonstration, the estimated attendance being 15,000. In 1890, the electric light plant was established. The present water supply system was established in 1895, at a cost of $30,000. The source of supply is four wells, which are spring-fed and inexhaustible. At the apex of the hill is a steel tank reservoir holding 60,000 gallons. The tank furnishes gravity pressure. There are five miles of water mains and 37 fire hydrants. The pump has a capacity of 500,000 gallons per day. The water works system is under the management of W. H. Stafford. The city hall and fire engine room was built on the east side of the square in 1899. It is a two-story brick with Bedford stone front, has slate roof and a bell tower. The lower story contains the engine house and the city jail, the upper story being council room and fire department headquarters. The building cost $3,500. In 1902, a new Catholic church was erected at a cost of $4,000. In 1904 St. Agnes Episcopal chapel was erected; in 1906 the Christian society built a new edifice at a cost of $9,000. A new Methodist structure was also built in 1907. A new Odd Fellows' Hall is in the process of erection. The Obermiller pasture southeast of town was the scene of the descent and subsequent flight of the first airship to pass over Logan County soil. This event occurred Sept. 29, 1910, the aviator being Walter Brookins, who on that date made a flight from Chicago to Springfield and who lighted near Mt. Pulaski to obtain needed supplies for his machine.
Since the original laying out of the town in 1836, the following additions have been made from time to time: Shields' and Capps' addition, April 22, 1837, 16 blocks; S. C. Beam's addition, April 10, 1872, 4 blocks; C. C. Mason's addition, Nov. 6, 1871, 6 blocks; R. E. Turley's first, second, third and fourth additions, from 1877 to 1883; Turley's and Beard's addition. Nov. 27, 1883; Clark's addition, May 22, 1900: Girtman's addition, April 28, 1899. The city has a population of about 1,750.
Jabez Capps was the first postmaster of Mt. Pulaski, receiving his appointment March 2, 1839. The government records, however, show a post office by the name of "Scroggin," prior to that date, with Thomas J. Scroggin as postmaster, but it is likely that this was located at the town of "Georgetown," referred to before. Mr. Capps was postmaster until Jan. 7, 1854, when J. L. Ream held the office from that date until Oct. 31, of the same year. Following Mr. Ream the postmasters and dates of their appointments have been as follows: Ezekiel Bowman, Oct. 31, 1854; John Clark, Oct. 15, 1855; N. M. Whitaker, Jan. 12, 1858; S. Linn Beidler, Feb. 12, 1858; J. H. O. Matfeldt, Sept. 20, 1866; S. Linn Beidler, March 23, 1869; J. W. Seyfer, May 16, 1882; J. H. Beidler, May 25, 1886; F. V. Nicholson, April 12, 1890; X. F. Beidler, April 11, 1894; Fred W. Obermiller, 1898; John Lincoln, the present incumbent, 1902.
The records of the early incorporation of the town of Mt. Pulaski have been completely lost and unfortunately no data of same has been preserved. In 1876, the town was organized as a village under the general law and the boundaries of the town were for the first time correctly stated in the petition for organization. An election for town officers was held April 26, 1876, at which the following trustees were elected: Uriah Snider, William A. Schafer, John W. Seyfer, Alexander Fisher, John Krieg and Charles S. Capps. The board met April 28 and elected Charles S. Capps as president of the board. From that date until 1893, when Mt. Pulaski was reorganized as a city, the following were town officers in the respective years:
PRESIDENTS: Uriah Snider, 1877-78; David Vanhise, 1878-79; Uriah Snider, 1879-82; Charles S. Capps, 1882-83; Uriah Snider, 1883-86; John F. Schick, 1886-87; George P. Zeiss, 1887-88; W. A. Schafer, 1888-89: J. F. Schick, 1889-90; A. O. Vonderleith, 1890-93.
CLERKS: Charles S. Capps, 1877-81; John H. Capps. 1881-84; Charles S. Capps, 1884-87: G. J. Schweigckhardt, 1887-89: Frank Fiegenschuh, 1889-93.
ATTORNEYS: S. L. Wallace, 1877-80; A. G. Jones, 1880-83: W. H. Ambrose, 1883-85; A. G. Jones, 1885-88; F. L. Tomlinson, 1888-91; Joe A. Horn, 1891-93.
TRUSTEES: William A. Schafer, 1877-78; Uriah Snider, 1877-78: John W. Seyfer, 1877-78; C. J. Hurt, 1877-78; J. N. Pumpelly 1877- 78; S. C. Beam, 1887-78; Peter Reinders, 1878-79; Charles S. Capps, 1878-79; J. R. Ayres, 1878-80; J. H. Masten. 1878-79; I. N. Rankin, 1878-79; David Vanhise, 1878-79; Henry Vonderleith. 1879-81; Uriah Snider. 1879-87; William A. Schafer, 1879-80; John W. Seyfer, 1879-80; S. L. Wallace, 1879-80; Charles S. Capps, 1880-83; Horace B. Rowe, 1880-84; W. H. Ralston, 1880-82; George P. Zeiss, 1880-81; J. F. Schick. 1881-90; G. L. Schafer, 1882-93; Jacob Mayer, 1882-92; L. B. Scroggin, 1883-85; H. C. Philbrick, 1884-86; E. A. Danner, 1885-87; George P. Zeiss, 1886-88; S. Linn Beidler, 1886-88; Frank Hoyle, 1887-89; John Lipp. 1887-89; A. O. Vonderleith. 1888-93; P. H. Oyler, 1888-90; F. V. Nicholson, 1889-91; E. A. Danner, 1889-91; W. H. Ralston. 1890-93; Jacob Seyfer, 1890-93; George W. Connelly, 1890-93; William Hunter, 1891-93; W. H. Stafford, 1892-93.
On Jan. 3, 1893, an election was held to ascertain the wish of the voters as to reorganization under city government. There were 198 favorable votes cast and 34 negative votes and the town of Mt. Pulaski became the city of Mt. Pulaski. The following is a list of city officials:
MAYORS: A. G. Jones, 1893-95; John W. Mayer, 1895-97; A. G. Jones, 1897-98; John M. Rothwell, 1898-1901; George Rupp, 1901-03; W. H. Clear, 1903-07; F. I. Tomlinson. 1907-09; R. D. Clark, 1909-11.
CLERKS: Frank Fiegenschuh, 1893-94; H. B. Capp, 1894-97; Frank M. Schuler, 1897-1905; Claude Holler, 1905-09; John T. Downing. 1909-11.
TREASURERS: George W. Vonderleith, 1893-95; T. A. Scroggin, 1895-97; F. W. Meister, 1897-99; T. A. Scroggin, 1899-1901; E. O. Mayer, 1901-03; H. W. Schafer, 1903-05; L. F. Myers, 1905-07; J. P. Fowler, 1907-09; W. A. Drobisch, 1909-11.
ATTORNEYS: J. A. Horn, 1893-95; F. L. Tomlinson, 1895-97; J. A. Horn, 1897-99; Carl Bekemeyer, 1899-1905; F. S. Wilson, 1905-06; F. L. Tomlinson, 1906-07; A. F. Reinders, 1907-09; George J. Smith, 1909-11.
ALDERMEN FIRST WARD: Jacob Jenner, 1893-94; George W. Connelly 1893-94; G. L. Schafer, 1894-98; W. J. Hagel, 1895-1901; Jacob Jenner, 1898-04; F. B. Snyder, 1901-03; G. L. Schafer, 1903-05; F. W. Obermiller, 1905-06; Jacob Roemer, 1906-08; W. J. Hagel, 1907-11; A. T. Zimmerman, 1910-12.
ALDERMEN SECOND WARD: M. T. Vaughn, 1893-94: Jonathan Combs, 1894-98; Frederick Dittus, 1895-97; J. B. Gordon, 1897-99; N. A. Jones, 1898-1902, A. C. Wilson, 1899-1901; Frank Shoup, 1901-03; Wm. Clobes, 1902-03; T. O. Snyder, 1903-05; G. A. Huck, 1904-08; F. M. Schuler, 1905-09; R. D. Clark, 1908-10; A. H. Tomlinson, 1909-11; E. J. Anderson, 1910-12.
ALDERMEN THIRD WARD: P. H. Oyler, 1893-94; J. M. Whitney, 1893-94; Z. K. Wood, 1894-96; F. E. Danner, 1895-97; S. Linn Beidler, 1896-97; J. P. Fowler, 1897-1901; John Zah, 1898-1900; John Roth, 1900-06; C. D. Snyder, 1901-11; John Zah, 1906-08; Fred J. Roth, 1908-12.
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