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History of Annawan Township & Village of Annawan

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County Illinois, 1885

Copied by Linda Lang; Transcribed by Susie Martin-Rott

 

Annawan Township

What is now Annawan Township presented no inviting grove to tempt a settlement of either the earliest lone pioneer, or the advance agent of the different colonies that were organized in the old States, and hence it was only when the railroad became a fixed fact that immigrants began to turn their attention to this part of the county.

I.G. Heaps, the present Supervisor of the township, came to the county in 1848. He is a native of Pennsylvania. He has been a respected and valued citizen; was among the first to commence the breeding of Short-horn cattle and Norman and Clydesdale horses. He was in the late war, in Co. I, 27th Ill. Vol. Inf., was twice wounded in battle, and was for some time a prisoner in Andersonville.

The real settlement commenced in 1853, and continued in an uninterrupted stream until Annawan became one of the populous townships of thrifty farmers. Of those who came in 1853 and early in 1854, we note William M. McDermond, John Troyer, Joshua Matthews and his son Thomas, Charles Tinker, Daniel Blinn, Silas Morton, J.C. Webb, John Burns, Daniel Morton, Isaac Croft, Mr. Dingham and his sons Joseph and William, Charles Dunham, G. W. King, James Carroll, Thomas Piper, John McNeeley, William B. Heaps, Henry Patterson, Joseph Frock, Isaac Shellenberger, "old man" Benson, Fred Benson, William Benson, Mr. McCanney, William Hodges, John Hags, Mr. Hunt and his son Lewis.

Solomon Minard came in 1860, George McChesney in 1854, John McNeeley in 1852, Erastus Kelly in 1856, H.F. Humphrey in 1856, Stephen Moon in 1853, C.V. Holdridge the same year, William Haxby, 1855; William Gochenouer, 1856; Damuel Pettit, 1853; G. H. Mumford, 1856. Daniel Morton, one of the earliest settlers in Annawan, and Charles Dunham, another one, reside in Geneseo.

John C. Ward returned to Bergen N.Y. and died in 1868. His widow is living in Galesburg. Philo S. Ward's grandfather married Rufus Hubbard's mother.


Village of Annawan

Annawan village was platted and dedicated to town purposes by Charles Atkinson, now of Moline. This action was taken as soon as it could be ascertained that the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad would want a depot at or near this point on the road, then being constructed. The rapid settlement of the surrounding country indicated this as one of the natural important shipping points on the road.

The earliest settlers in the new town were Joseph L., T.T. and Silas Morton, Almon Baker, Absalom Blinn and Joseph Dingman. The two last named were probably the first to take up their abode in the village boundaries. Solomon Minor lived just north of the village. Philip J. Wintry came in 1854, and at once commenced actively his trade of house-builder.

The first house was put up by Silas Morton, which was a small frame store, now owned bny B.C. Sargeant as a residence. The first residence was by Almon Baker, and very soon after this Philip J. Wintry had his residence completed and moved into it. Then in quick succession the houses of Samule Pattorf, Miram Barber, Absalom Blinn and Daniel Blinn was soon up and occupied. Daniel Blinn built the first warehouse, in 1854. He operated it for about two years Joseph L. Dow erected the first hotel, and Tristam T. Dow built the next hotel in the place. Josiah Dow, Asa Prescott and Philip, Joshua, William and Philip, Jr., Locks, all built about this time.

The first school-house was built in 1854, and it is said, though not certain, that William Cole was the first teacher.

William Romine and Peter Hillman came in 1854. Mr. Berkey came at the same time and opened a tinner's shop.

The Daw Brothers, who put up the first hotel and kept a store, and built the elevator, are now living in Davenport. They still own the elevator in Annawan.

B.C. Sargeant is the only one left of the very first house-builders in the place. The first grain-buyers were Jared Sexon and Henry Hutchman. The first railroad agent was William Lamb. Zebulon Jones was the first "village blacksmith" of the place. He is now in Galva.

The first mill was built by William and Ebenezer Hard in 1856. It was burned to the ground in 1866. When burned it was the property of White & Andrews, who had purchased of Hard. It afterwards was wrecked by a boiler explosion. In 1859, robbers burned Daw's store.

 A public meeting was called Jan. 30, 1860, to consider the question of incorporating the village, F.H. Slater, president, and G.W. Lewis, clerk of the meeting. The election was held on Feb. 11, 1860. Sixty-one votes were cast; fifty-one for incorporation and ten against.

The first Board was F. H. Slater, President; William W. Cole, Clerk; W.C. Carroll, Josiah Daw and D. L. McChesney.

 There are at present in the village four dry-goods and grocery stores, one drug store, a hotel, lumber yard and one feed store, and several small shops.