Precincts were those areas of the county that later became townships in 1884. Precincts defined the boundaries of polling districts for local and state elections. Justices of the Peace were elected for each precinct and carried out some civil legal functions. For example, a Justice of the Peace could peform a marriage and hear legal disputes between two parties. While all marriages were to be recorded at the county level, the J.P. was only required to keep a docket of minor civil disputes, not a full record of the proceedings. Very few dockets survive to this day.
The first blow struck toward civilization in this vast solitude, was in the year 1770, by one Richard McCarty, familiary known in those days as English McCarty. He obtained an improvement right or title, to four hundred acres of land, extending on both sides of Cahokia creek, and now included within the present limits of East St. Louis. Here he erected a grist mill on the bank of the creek, and for a time it did quite a flourishing business, but on account of the banks being so easily washed away, a permanent dam could not be constructed. He left the country for Canada in 1787, where he died, leaving heirs to this property. The United States Commissioners appointed by Congress in 1805, to pass upon claims to ancient titles in Cahokia and other French villages, confirmed this tract to the heirs of McCarty. No vestige of the old mill site exists at this time. Another mill was constructed in 1805, by Nicholas Jarrot on the creek not far from where McCarty's mill was located. It has long since disappeared. As late as
1855, the machinery was utilized in a mill at Brooklyn by Morris & Son. The oldest house, now standing in the precinct, was built by Nicholas Boismenue in 1817, and is situated about one mile south of the city limits, on the road leading from what was formerly called Papstown, to the village of Cahokia. It is built after the old French style, with upright hewed walnut logs, and weatherboarded, with porch extending around the entire building. It is occupied by Joseph Boismenue, and is the oldest house in St. Clair county, outside the village of Cahokia and Prairie du Pont[.]
The founding of the present city of East St. Louis, is due to the foresight of the pioneer, Capt. James Piggott. He. was an officer under General Clark, who had command of the Virginia militia stationed on the frontier. Capt. Piggott was one of those who remained after the treaty was made in 1783, and cast his lot with the hardy pioneers of the west. At this time St. Louis was but a small trading port, and Cahokia the metropolis.
No doubt Capt. Piggott's keen business perceptions led him to believe, from the natural surroundings, and other advantages, that in future time the little village of St. Louis would some day take the lead among the few towns then settled along the Mississippi. Accordingly he located a militia claim of a hundred acres on the east side of the river opposite the village of St. Louis, and by his own exertions succeeded in constructing a bridge across Cahokia creek, near the road leading to that village. This was in 1795. In 1797, he had erected two small log cabins near the shore, where he had established a rude ferry system across the river, by the consent of the Spanish Commandant at St. Louis. Thus the first ferry was established, out of which grew one of the wealthiest monopolies of the west. Capt. Piggott died in 1799, scarcely dreaming of the magnitude his enterprise in after years would assume.
The first house of any pretensions built on the present site of East St. L mis, was erected by Etienne Pensoneau, in the year 1810. It was a two-story brick building, and situated on what is now the corner of Main and Menard streets, in the first ward. It was constructed for a dwelling, but was afterwards utilized for a hotel, to afford accommodations to the immigrants, who were then rapidly pushing to the frontier. It has long since passed away with the things that were.
The oldest house now standing within the city limits is situated in the First ward, near the corner of Second and Market streets, and was built about 1818, by the" Old Man" Rail, for a dwelling, and is still used as such. Its structure is of the primitive style, with hewed logs placed upright a few inches apart, and filled between with cement or mortar. The outside is weather-boarded for the better protection from the winter blasts.
The following, relating to the first laid-out town in East St. Louis, we glean from Reavis' history of " The Future Great City:" "In 1815, Etienne Pinconeau (now spelled Pensoneau), ventured to layout a town on his adjoining land, with his brick tavern on the road to the ferry, thence occupied by one Simon Vanorsdal, as a nucleus. He called it 'Jacksonville.' The plat of the town cannot be found; but there is a deed of record for a lot in it. It bears the date 17th of March, 1815. Etienne Pinconeau and Elizabeth, his wife, by it convey to Moses Scott, merchant of St. Louis, in the Missouri territory, for $150, all that certain tract, parcel, or lot of land, being, lying, and situated in the said county of St. Clair, at a place, or new town called Jacksonville, containing in depth one hundred feet, and in breadth sixty feet, joining north-wardly to Carroll street, facing the public square, and southwardly to Coffee street."
“Later conveyances by McKnight & Brady, merchants and land operators at that time in St. Louis, referring to this lot of Moses Scott, locate it as lot 5, in block 8, of the town of Illinois, at the south-east corner of Market and Main streets. Scott at once erected a store upon the lot, and at that corner conducted the first mercantile establishment in this city. This was the only sale made of lots in this ' Jacksonville.' On the 20th of January, 1816, Pinconeau sold the entire tract of land he had on Cahokia creek (including Jacksonville), extending in breadth from near Railroad street to Piggott street, to McKnight & Brady.
"The immediate result was the consummation, by McKnight & Brady, of Pinconeau's project of a new town. They platted the 'Town of Illinois' upon the site of Pinconeau' s Jacksonville. They re-located the public square, widened the streets and enlarged the lots, and put the plat on record. They advertised and held a great sale of lots in the town of Illinois. The sale took place at the auction-room of Thomas T. Reddick, in St. Louis, November 3d, 1817. Thus was made the first record evidence of a town-plat in East St. Louis."
The first railroad constructed in the state was built from Illinoistown to the bluff, a distance of about six miles. It was constructed in 1836, under the personal supervision and efforts of Governor Reynolds, Vital Jarrot and a few others. It was expressly built for the purpose of transporting coal from where it cropped out at the bluff (now Pittsburg) to the St. Louis market. This was an enterprise of no small dimensions at that day. They were obliged to bridge over two thousand feet across Big Lake, which was performed by driving down piles spliced together to the length of eighty feet, upon which the track rested. At times they employed one hundred hands, and so vigorously was the undertaking prosecuted that it was completed in one year. Thomas Winstanley was the first engineer and conductor of the road; that is, he drove the mules that hauled the cars over the route. It proved a non-paying investment, and in 1841 they sold out the concern to the St. Clair Railroad Company.
Captain Trendley built the first school-house in 1840, and the cost was $:l40. It was a small frame building, 14x16, and was situated on the public square. William Singleton established the first church in 1845. It was of the Methodist denomination, and located on Brundy street, between Second and Third. It is yet standing, and is owned by the colored Baptists. The first blacksmith-shop was built by Francis Delorem [Delorme] in 1826, and was situated on what is now known as the Rock road. It was a very meagre and unpretentious affair, but answered the wants of the people at that time.
This island was made in about 1800. Its first appearance was a small sand-bar, below Bissels Point, near the Illinois shore. At this angle in the course of the Mississippi, the force of the current gradually wore into the mainland, and left a corresponding deposit upon the bar extending southward. In course of time this bar developed into a considerable island, with half the river flowing between it and the Illinois shore. The first to inhabit it was a man by the name of Duncan, who built a small log house within its solitude, and lived there for some time afterwards. The exact date of his location is not known. The next to settle here was a Mr. Lindsey, in 1842, who built two or three little shanties, and kept a small dairy and garden. He named his place" Hoboken Garden." The island now constitutes the Third ward of the city. The early history of the island is stained with human blood; hence the name, Bloody Island. For several years it was not definitely established to which shore the island belonged. It was therefore considered neutral ground, and was the favorite resort for settling differences
by mortal combat, according to the then prevailing code of honor. The first duel fought here was in 1817, between Col. Thomas H. Benton and Judge Charles Lucas. Col. Benton was the challenging party, Their differences grew out of harsh invectives employed by them in the trial of a case in which they were opposing attorneys. This challenge Judge Lucas declined, on the plea that he would not respond in deadly combat for words uttered in a professional capacity. They, however, met afterwards, in the same year, when the duel was fought, and Lucas was the unfortunate victim.
In 1823, another duel occurred, between Thomas C. Rector and Joshua Barton, United States District Attorney. The trouble grew out of a newspaper attack made by Barton against Gen. Wm. Rector, brother of Thomas C. Rector. They met June 30th, in the above-named year, when Barton fell and died shortly afterward. The most. disastrous meeting was between Maj. Thomas Biddle and Hon. Spencer Pettis, both of St. Louis, and occurred the 27th of Aug., 1830. The trouble was engendered in the heated political canvass of that year. Maj. Biddle was the challenged party, and having the choice of distance, named five paces, on account of his being shortsighted. At the giving of the word, they wheeled and fired simultaneously. They both fell mortally wounded. Capt. Trendley was an eye-witness to this sad affair, and helped to convey the body of Pettis to St. Charles county, Mo., where it was buried. The name, Bloody Island, having many unpleasant recollections connected with its memory, has long since been dropped, and is now simply known as "The Island,"
No place in the United States has had more to contend with to prevent its growth and prosperity than the city of East St. Louis. Nothing but the natural advantages of being situated opposite the great city of St. Louis, and the indomitable perseverance of its inhabitants, have kept it from perishing from the earth long ago. What with numerous floods and the encroachment of the river upon the banks, it has nearly yielded up its existence several times to the fates that be. The first flood that did damage to the little hamlet of Illinoistown occurred in 1826. The town was inundated to the depth of several feet, and the malarial fevers that followed nearly depopulated the village. It, however, struggled lor existence, and up to 1844 had gradually increased to a town of considerable thrift and importance, when the most vital stroke it ever received almost blotted it from existence. The flood which occurred in June of that year inundated the American Bottoms so that large steamers plied from bluff to bluff. But few of the houses of Illinoistown were to be seen above the water, while no dry land was observable for miles toward the eastern bluff, except a few mounds and high knolls to the east and south of the village. So complete was the destruction that the town never recoverd [sic] from it until the general centralizing of the railroads at this point about fifteen years ago. It is said at the time of this flood that the steamer, called " Little Bee," plied between the city of St. Louis and the coal mines on the bluffs at Pittsburg, the captain of which, if living at this time, would be presented with a medal from the" Humane Society," for being the most tender-hearted man on the continent. When the rush of waters came, a sow and her brood took refuge on the top of a mound, situated not far from the farm now owned by Abraham Jones, south-east of the city. The captain of the Little Bee stopped his steamer at this point every day, and gave the refugees a bountiful supply of food for their wants. Thus were the lives of the porkers preserved until the flood receded. Mr Abraham Jones tells us of keeping a dairy at this time of eighty cows on Gov. Reynolds' farm, near the bluff, and marketing the milk in the city of St. Louis. The flood came and he was cut of from his customers. He remedied this, however, .by loading his cows on a flat boat, and conveying them to St. Louis, where he remained until the river was again within its banks. The floods of 1851-8, and 1862, did much demage to the town, and for a time nearly disheartened the people, the details of which would fill a volume. The erection of the dikes, which will be noticed in the proper place, have been auxiliary in protecting the city from subsequent overflows.
The outline of the city of East St. Louis is in the form of an irregular pentagon, and acquired its present limits in time and manner as follows: Illinoistown was laid out by McKnight and Brady, May 14, 1818. Reavis, in his history of The Future Great City," places the date as 1817; but the records at Belleville show that the former is the correct date. Illinois City was formerly a part of the Cahokia Commons, and was laid out by the Cahokians in the fall of 1818. John Hays, John Hay, and Francois Turcott were appointed commissioners to plat and name the new town by the inhabitants of Cahokia, which proceedings were legalized and confirmed by a special act of Congress in 1820. It became a part of the city in May, 1875. The towns of St. Clair and East St. Louis, the Ferry divisions, the Oebike and Kase addition, are also included within the city limits. The city obtained its charter by a special act of the Legislature in the spring of 1865. The charter was prepared by J. B. Bowman and S. M. Lount, under the direction of a committee of the town council. At the first election Hon. J. B. Bowman was elected Mayor. The following named officers were elected aldermen: First ward, Michael Murphy and John O'Connell; Second ward, James S. Hazen and Henry Schall; Third ward, Capt. John Trendley and J. B. Lovingston. Wm G. Kase was elected City judge.
As will be seen from the above, the city was divided into three wards. It is now divided into four wards, bounded as follows: The first ward includes all the territory extending east from Cahokia creek to the city limits, and south of Broadway. TheSecond ward lies between Broadway and Illinois avenue, and extends from Cahokia creek east to Tenth street. The Third ward includes all the territory lying between Cahokia creek and the middle of the Mississippi, and the city limits north and south. The Fourth ward embraces all the territory lying north of Illinois avenue and east of Cahokia creek to the city limits including Illinois City.
At this writing, March 21, 1881, the following are the city officers:
Maurice Joyce, mayor; James Shanon, clerk; John W. Renshaw, marshal. Aldermen: First Ward--John C. Prottsman and Earnest W. Wider. Second Ward--Thomas Hanifan and John J. McLean. Third Ward--Patrick H. O'Brien and Henry Sackmann; Fourth ward--Levi Baugh, Jr., and James J. Rafter. These constitute the officers and members of the sixteenth Board of Aldermen of the city since its incorporation.
There is no city of its size in the United States that has the railroad facilities of East St. Louis. No less than eleven roads, by the conditions of their charters, terminate here, which are as follows: The Chicago and Alton; Indianapolis and St. Louis; Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific; Rockford, Rock Island and St. Louis, now known as the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy road: St. Louis, Vandalia and Terre Haute (Vandalia Line); Ohio and Mississippi; St. Louis, Alton and Terre Haute; (Cairo Short Line); Louisville and Nashville, formerly St. Louis and South Eastern railway; Cairo and St. Louis; East St. Louis and Carondelet; Illinois and St. Louis; Union Railway and Transit Company. The latter was organized in East St. Louis in 1874, and a like organization was also effected in St. Louis under the laws of Mis
page 301 souri. These, united, act as agents for the lllinois and St. Louis Bridge Company in transferring cars and merchandise from city to city. All of tbe above roads centre at the Relay depot, except the Cairo and St. Louis railway.
The city contains several miles of excellent paved streets; the following are macadamized entire: Dyke avenue, Front street, Broadway and Main streets, Collinsville, Missouri and Illinois avenues, and Market street. Fourth and Summit streets and St. Clair avenue are partly graded and macadamized. There has been some agitation upon tbe question of adopting a high-grade system of building and paving the city. The cost would necessarily place a heavy indebtedness upon the people, but the reward would undoubtedly more than recompense them for the outlay. The health and future prosperity of the city hang upon this improvement. We predict that it is only a question of time when the people will with one accord act upon tbis line of policy.
WIGGINS' FERRY AND THE BRIDGE.
Believing that no more complete history of the above could be given than that rendered by Dr. Isaac N. Piggott before the Literary and Historical Society of East St. Louis, in August, 1871, we take tbe liberty to give our readers an extract:
"From the commencement of the ferry, it was carried on under the immediate supervision of Piggott, until the 20th of February, 1799, when he died, leaving his wife the executrix of his will. She first rented the ferry to Dr. Wallis for the year 1801-2; then to ---- Adams for the year 1803-4. This Adams was the husband of the distinguished Sarah Adams, of Duncan's Island notoriety. About this time the Widow of Piggott married Jacob Collard, and removed from Illinois to St. Louis. Before leaving she leased the ferry to John Campbell, for ten years. This Campbell proved treacherous, and procured a license for a ferry in his own name during the time of the lease; and hence, for a short time, it was called "Campbell's Ferry." But after a lawsuit, Campbell and confederates were beaten, and the ferry re-established to the Piggott heirs, one of whom, assisted by men named Solomon, Blundy and Porter, operated the ferry. until part of the heirs sold out to McKnight & Brady. The other heirs of Piggott conveyed to Samuel Wiggins their share of the ferry. He soon succeeded in buying out his competitors, and thus obtained the whole ferry, which he afterwards superintended in person."
This was in 1818. The following spring Mr. Wiggins was authorized by an act of the legislature to establish a ferry on the Mississippi adjacent to his lands, near the town of Illinois. This act also provided that Samuel Wiggins should have the right to one mile of the shore extending along the river bank at this point.
Capt. Piggott's means of transportation was a rude affair, composed of canoes or "dug-outs," lashed together, over which was constructed a platform convenient for storage. The propelling power was by means of paddles or sweeps. Wiggins, however, soon improved upon this mode of conveyance, by building a fairsized ferry-boat, and propelling it by horse-power, until 1828, when the first steam ferry- boat was launched upon the river, and called the"St, Clair." In 1832 another boat, the"Ibex," was put on the line," and on account of the increase of business, and therefore a demand for capital, Mr. Wiggins sold an interest in the ferry to several parties, thus forming a joint-stock company. In 1853 they obtained further privileges by an act of the legislature, and the business grew and prospered beyond the most sanguine expectation. To this enterprise is largely due the growth and prosperity of East St. Louis. Since the completion of the St. Louis and Illinois bridges the business of the ferry has necessarily diminished to some extent, but at this time the possession of ferry stock is by no means a poor investment. " The construction of the bridge was commenced in the spring of 1869, aud was completed in June, 1874. It was formally dedicated to the public on the 4th of July following. Its total length, including arches and abutments, is 2,046 feet, and is connected with the Union depot in St. Louis by means of a tunnel, 4,866 feet in length. The cost of the bridge and tunnel was nearly $13,000,000. The sum total of the weight of metal in its construction is upwards of 5,000 tons, On the top of the arches is roadway for the convenience of vehicles and foot-passengers, while underneath rolls the merchandise and human freight from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. For a more complete history of the bridge and the railroads see chapter on Internal improvements.
We glean the following history relating to the construction of
from Reavis' History of East St. Louis: Before the advent of the great flood of 1844, the channel of the Mississippi opposite the city of St. Louis, though uncertain and troubled with shifting bars, was never seriously threatened with destruction. Thereafter bars formed from the head of Bloody Island, then a little further north than now, to the Missouri shore, almost entirely closing the channel washing the St. Louis shore. The whole current of the river, aud the only available and safe channel between St. Louis aud the town of Illinois, was between the Island and the town of Illinois, Under the greatest of difficulties only, and by circuitous routes, could boats at all land at the St. Louis levee. Navigation then being the chief, if not the only means of communication between commercial points and from a common centre, as St. Louis then was growing to be, was the mainstay of the importance, present and. prospective, of tbat city. Realizing this fact, public meetings were held, at which the terrible fate of St. Louis was the subject of consideration. In 1847 ordinances were passed by the city council of St. Lou'is, appropriating money, and directing work to be undertaken on the Illinois shore, as the only means of salvation. Nothing less than a permanent dike across the then principal channel of the Mississippi to the east of Bloody Island, promised sure relief. This, of course, meant destruction to the harbor of the town of Illinois, and its ferry landings on the main shore. Alton, then a rival of St. Louis, calculated that what was to the disadvantage of St. Louis was ipso facto a benefit to Alton. The feeble complaints of the Town of Illinois were fanned into a flame of fearful excitement. The laborers upon the dike about being built by St. Louis across the eastern channel of the river, were driven away by force. Cannons were planted upon the banks, the state militia turned out, and thus state sovereignty and Alton policy were victorious, for a time, at least.
In 1848, an injunction was sworn out in the St. Clair Circuit Court, enjoining the authorities of St. Louis against any attempt. to re-open like projects. Early in 1849, the legislature of Illinois was waited upon by a large delegation from St. Louis, and after due consideration, becoming a question of such magnitude and importance, by a joint resolution, it granted to the city of St. Louis for the fullest possible relief, all the authority necessary for the construction of cross and wing-dikes upon the Illinois shore opposite, so as to thoroughly protect and secure its harbor, with this promise, that St. Louis should construct upon some of these dikes, road ways, especially upon the main dike across to the to-be-closed channel of the Mississippi from the Illinois main shore to and across Bloody Island.
Under this enactment, the work pushed rapidly to completion, so that in the spring of 1851, the main dike was finished except the road upon the embankment. It was built of rock throughout, and for a large part of the way, in the channel to be closed, in more than forty feet of water; but strong as it was, the fearful flood of that year swept the most of it away In the fall, however, another dike was projected which was situated a fourth of a mile north and nearly parallel with the former dike. This was finished in 1856, and cost $175,000. It is still standing as a monument to the perseverance and genius of its builders. Thus the channel on the east side of the river was diverted from it course, and the pier of St. Louis re-established. Other dikes have since been constructed, and the city is now comparatively safe from future inundations.
The East St. Louis Fire Company, No.1, was organized in December 1872. Its first officers were as follows: ",William O'Neill, president; Charles Hauss, vice-president; James W. Kirk, secretary; John V. Tefft, treasurer; Benedict Franz, captain; Adolphe Donard, first engineer; John Easton, second engineer. The company was furnished with the largest kind of Babcock engine, on trucks, and was supplied with 500 feet of hose.
Island Fire Company, No.1, was organized November 25th, 1874. The officers elected in 1875 were: Nicolas Colgan, president; Wm. L. Johnson, vice-president; Maurice F. Tiissier, secretary; Geo. W. Shields, assistant-secretary; Adolphus Lovingston, treasurer; Henry Sackmann, captain; John Keiflin, lieutenant. Weare informed that since 1878, these companies have partially disbanded.
This was quelled in 1873, through the united efforts of the city and county authorities. Much is due to the prompt efforts of Captain Renshaw, chief of police, Ex-Mayor Bowman, Michael Walsh, and the then sheriff of the county. The warrants were sworn out by Captain Renshaw, the ringleaders were arrested, and the whole gang bound over to await the action of the Grand Jury. This wholesale onslaught and determined action on the part of the authorities, had the effect of breaking up the clan, since which time there have been no attempts to revive the prize-ring once so formidable in this part of the West.
The permit for the construction of this railway was obtained by city ordinance in 1872. The company was duly organized with Harry Elliott as president, and Thomas Winstanley, manager. By the conditions of the charter the company was authorized to build the road with single or double tracks, and all necessary switches for the convenience of the road. The first line of rail extended from Bowman's Dike, near the levee, to the corner of Missouri and Collinsville Avenues. Its terminus is now at the approach of the National Stock Yards on St. Clair Avenue. It contains upwards of two miles of track, and cost, including rolling stock, etc., about $20,000. It is at this writing under the special management of Mr. Winstanley, who, by giving the enterprise his main attention, is labouring to make it a convenience to the public and a profit to the company.
EAST ST. LOUIS PUBLIC LIBRARY.
This noble enterprise was created under a city ordinance. July 16, 1872. It was organized August 13, 1872, and opened to the public February 5, 1874.
The following is gleaned from the published report. made by R. Lee Barrowman in 1876: The total number of persons enrolled and furnished with cards is 495, which are in constant daily use. The total number of volumes on hands are 4,437; of this number 433 are in the German language, 3 in the French, 9 in the Spanish, and 1 in the Hebrew. The number purchased was 1,409. The number of books donated was 67, pamphlets, 37. The percentage of the circulation is as follows: Novels, 69; historical and miscellaneous, 20 ; juveniles, 11.
The library also contains eighty-nine American newspapers and periodicals, among which are (dailies) Philadelphia, Times, Baltimore Sun, Boston Post, Chicago Times, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, New York Herald, Cincinnati Enquirer, etc.; (weeklies) Appleton's Journal, Irish World, Danbury News, and many others; (monthlies) Aldine, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's and Scribner's Magazines, and twenty-seven other first-class journals.
There are fourteen British publications, and nine German, among which we find the following: London Times (daily), Dublin Nation, Blackwood's Magazine, London Quarterly Review, Edinburgh Review, St. Louis Westliche Daily Post, Berliner Kladderadatsch, and the Ueber Land und Meer.
The whole number of visitors attending the rooms were 30,954, making an average daily attendance of 86. The attendance on Sunday was upon an average twenty-five per cent. more than upon other days of the week, although open only from 2. P.M. to 10 P.M. The number of books loaned out in the time was 12,924 volumes, making a daily average of 36 volumes.
Mr. Barrowman in the closing of his report gives the following gratifying information: "An extra and successful effort has been made to bring within the influence of the Library, the many boys and youth who stroll about our streets during evening hours. Let me here state the result. They were first kindly invited to come to the Library, and by supplying them with such books and papers as they took an interest in, they were thus induced to continue and renew their visits. There were some unruly ones among them, but by reproof, and expelling some of the worst, the others have remained, and at present are as well behaved as any that attend the library and give promise of becoming useful,and bright members of society." And we will add, may the Reading Rooms of East St. Louis ever exist and grow in importance and influence to the last generation.
The first interment made within what is now the city limits, was on survey No. 116, in the First ward, where the Pittsburg railway crosses said survey. This was abandoned after the flood of 1844, on account of the liability to overflow. Many a ghastly skeleton, by that flood, was washed from its resting place, to meet the gaze, perhaps, of the friends that had but a short time ago followed it to its lonely abode. To make secure from further disasters of the kind the inhabitants selected for their burial place the old Indian mound, then situated between what is now Collinsville avenue and Fourth street, and at the foot of Ohio avenue. It is said that the Indians had used it for centuries, so far as anyone knew to, the contrary, for a place of burying their dead. The mound was about four hundred feet in diameter at the base, and forty feet in altitude from summit to base. At that time (1844) and for years afterward it was covered mostly with heavy oak timber. In 1871-2, it was removed and the earth utilized to fill up a slough in the Second ward, and to make the ground at the south-east round-house. Nothing but a vacant lot now marks the spot. When the earth was removed, human bones and many kinds of shells were found to the depth of thirty feet. These were no doubt the remains and trinkets of a pre-historic
race, called mound builders. The most of the remains of those who had been buried in our own times, were cared for by their friends and conveyed to the new cemetery. For months, however, a grinning skull might have been seen peering from the fresh cut bank of the mound at the passer-by, and so close to the street that the hand of the pedestrian could touch it as he passed.
The city at this time contains two cemeteries, both situated in Fourth ward, not far from the National Stock Yards. These were laid off for grave-yard , when the Cahokians first established Illinois city; but were not used as such until about fifteen years ago.
THE NATIONAL STOCK YARDS.
Prior to 1845, the live stock trade of St. Louis was carried on at what was formerly known as Papstown or New Brighton, and situated in the south-eastern portion of the present city of East St. Louis. About this time yards were established on the west s:ide of the river at St. Louis. Here the business was conducted until the opening of the National Stock Yards on the east side of the river in 1873. The subject of constructing these yards was mooted as early as 1871. The agitation of the question culminated by the united efforts of several prominent Eastern and Western capitalists, who proceeded at once to purchase six hundred and fifty acres of land on the east side of the river near the city liniits of East St. Louis. In July, 1872, mutual covenants were entered into between the company and the city authorities. The former were to construct a hotel to cost not less than $100,000, and to contain commission offices, brokers' offices, telegraph and post-offices, with all modern conveniences for transacting business. The stock yards were to exceed in completeness and magnitude any institution of the kind in the United States.
The city on its part covenanted to refrain from infringing, by constructing streets, or any city improvements whatsoever upon the survey, No. 627, and owned by said company. To all of which was attached the city seal and signature of A. M. Allerton, manager and attorney of the company. The yards were opened for business in the fall of 1873. One hundred out of six hundred and fifty acres purchased, are enclosed arid laid out with all the convenient appurtenances of a first-class live stock market. The form of the enclosure is a rectangle and describes nearly a square. It is laid by avenues which intersect each other at right angles. Four of these avenues extend entirely through the enclosure from east to west. The floors of the yard are paved with stone, and the sheds are comfortable and well arranged for the convenience of stock. The arrangements for receiving and shipping the same are complete. No less than seventy cars can be loaded and unloaded at the same time. It contains one mile of cattle pens, which can accommodate upwards of 10,000 head of cattle. The hog and sheep houses are models of convenience and cleanliness. Over the entrance to the hog-house is inscribed the words, "Hotel de Hog," and of the sheep house, "Hotel de Sheep." The hog-house is eleven hundred and twenty-two feet in length, and capable of accommodating upwards of 20,000 head. The sheep-house is upwards of five hundred feet in length, by a hundred in width, and has the capacity of holding, if necessary, 10,000 head. The stable is a fine building, two hundred and eighty-five feet long, by eighty wide, and fitted with stalls for the accommodation of three hundred head of horses. The racks and mangers are constructed of iron; the former are supplied with hay by wooden cylinders, and the stalls are well arranged for drainage. There are two hog barns, and each has capacity to hold eleven hundred tons of hay and fifteen thousand bushels of corn. At the approach of the yards from the south-east, on St. Clair avenue, is situated the"Allerton House," a magnificent building of brick with free-stone facings, and all the belongings of first-class material. It is two hundred and fifty feet in length, by one hundred and forty in breadth, and has one hundred rooms for the accommodation of guests. There is a telegraph communication with the exchange building, and every other convenience to the drovers or traders. Its cost, including furniture, was upwards of $150,000.
The Exchange Building is centrally situated, and conveniently arranged for the transaction of all business connected with the yards. It is a large brick building, plain in architecture, and three stories in height, including basement. In the north wing of the latter are the offices of the railroad stock agents, and in the center and south wing are a bar, billiard hall and refreshment room. The first floor is occupied by the officers of the yard company, bank and commission firms. On the second floor is situated the telegraph office printing office, etc.
The Stock Yards Bank, situated in this building, is one of the important features of the concern. It materially facilitates the business of all who have transactions at the yards, its daily business aggregating upwards of $300,000.
The water-works of the yards are situated on the east bank of Cahokia creek, near the packing houses. Along the avenues are placed watch-boxes, each containing a hydrant and fire-hose, and so arranged as to cover any fire with one or two hydrants. The tankhouse is a substantial building seventy feet in height, and contains three tubs, each thirty-two feet in diameter by thirty feet deep, alld capable of holding 600,000 gallons of water. The total expenditure in establishing the yards, including lands, buildings, etc., is upwards of a million and a half dollars. They are complete in every arrangement, and the rapidity with which stock can be transferred from the Missouri side to the yards, or from point to point, is a matter that every shipper is interested in, as "time is money to the live business men. Hon. Isaac H. Knox, vice-president and manager for the company, is the right man in the right place. He is a clear-headed business man, combined with affableness and rare executive ability. Under his management the business has materially increased, and become one of the most important stock markets in the country. The following is a table showing the receipts of the yards since their opening:
OTHER BUSINESS AT THE YARDS.
St. Louis Beef Canning Company.-This company was organized in the fall of 1876, with a capital of $200,000, and promises to be in time the largest establishment of the kind on either continent. It is situated on St. Clair Avenue, and occupies eight acres of ground. The main building is 324x100 feet, and four stories high. The slaughter house is 240x76 feet, two stories high, and is adjoined to the main building. The warehouse is also two stories in height, and 176x100 feet on the ground. In addition to these there is an engine room 60x61, tank-house 76x30, and smoke-house 24x60. The establishment furnishes employment to nearly one thousand persons, two-fifths of whom are boys and girls. One thousand head of cattle are slaughtered daily, and the annual value of manufactured products is between four and five millions of dollars. Hon. Isaac H. Knox is president of the company, but the establishment
is under the immediate supervision of Mr. Patterson, secretary and treasurer. East St. Louis Packing and Provision Company.- This enterprise was established in 1873, under the firm name of W. E. Richardson & Co , and merged into a stock company in 1875. The grounds, on which this packing house stands, contain ten acres, seven of which are covered with the buildings. They are mainly three stories in height, and all of them are constructed of brick. It is one of the most extensive packing houses in the West, and when worked to its full capacity, gives employment to seven hundred men. The nominal capacity of the works is 8,000 hogs per day, and the value of its annual shipments is from three to five millions of dollars. It is under the efficient management of D. L. Quirk, president, and W. E. Richardson, vice-president.
Francis Whitaker & Sons.-This packing house was erected in 1877, at the expense of upwards of $100,000. The main building is 185x185 feet, and is three and a half stories high, with a cellar under the entire building. A tank-house 80x90 feet joins the main building, and adjacent to the former is the slaughter-house, 30x60 feet. Besides these there are eight pen-houses, all under one roof 120x120 feet, and a platform packing apartment 40xl85 feet- The average capacity of the house is 3,000 hogs per day, and employs about three hundred hands.
North-Western Fertilizing Company.This is a branch establishment of a well-known Chicago firm. The works commenced operations here in the fall of 1877. The building is a frame structure, and covers one acre of grouud. The machinery of the factory is run by a one hundred-horse power engine. Fifty hands are employed daily to conduct the works. It has the capacity of manufacturing, annually, 15,000 tons of fertilizer, which, when thrown upon the market, will bring upwards of $400,000. Within the last year the company has added machinery for the purpose of manufacturing "Plant-Food," specially adapted for house plants and lawn use, on account of its being entirely odorless. Large quantities of both the Fertilizer and Plant-Food find a demand in the eastern markets.
McCarthy Live Stock and Packing Company, situated on the corner of Provision street and the plank road. The building was erected in 1877-8, by Arch. Allen, but is now owned by F. G. Rowe, and the business is conducted by John McCarthy. The building is a snug two-story brick, and with the attachments, covers nearly an acre of ground. It has the capacity of slaughtering and packing daily 1000 head of hogs and fifty head of cattle. It gives employment to twenty men.
St. Louis Carbon Works.-These works were established in 1875 at a cost of $10,000, and are situated on the National Stock Yards railroad. They were first known as the "Western Fertilizing and Chemical Works," and in 1878 again changed the name to "Keeler's Carbon Works." They afterwards assumed the former title, and are so-called at this time. The company owns three acres of ground, upon which the factory is. situated. The building is a frame, 150 by 300 feet, the main portion of which is two stories high. The machinery consists of a fifty horse power engine, a bone mill and bone kiln. It manufactures from five to six thousand tons of bone yearly, and employs from thirty to forty hands. The annual manufactured product is upwards of $600,000. Max Dietrich is the superintendent of the works.
Carey's Beef and Pork Packing House is situated on Provision street, and north of McCarthy's packing house. It was established by Richard Carey, sole owner and proprietor, in the year 1880, at a cost of $10,000. The building is a snug two-story house, with stone basement, the upper portion being built of brick, and in size is 48 by 55 feet. There is also a boiler and tank-house, 30 by 40 feet, which is detached from the main building. This is also built of brick. and is two stories in height. When worked to its full capacity, it can pack 600 hogs and 100 beeves daily, and gives employment to forty persons.
St. Louis Rendering Works Levi Baugh, jr., proprietor. These were established in 1872, and located on the east side of Provision street and the Stock Yards railway. The building is a frame twostory structure, 68 by 80 feet on the ground floor, with a side room for cooling purposes 16 by 30 feet. The engine-room, attached to the main building on the north, is 30 by 30 feet. The cost of the works was $2,500, and they give employment to about twelve men. The establishment, under the efficient management of Mr. Baugh, is capable of rendering 150 hogs and 50 beeves per day.
George Murrow & CompallY, Pork Packers.This institution is situated between the East St. Louis Packing House and the National Stock Yards enclosure, and was established in 1880. The building is a frame, two stories, and 50 by 150 feet in size, and cost, including machinery, etc., $3,000. It has the capacity of slaughtering and packing 300 hogs per day, and employs on an average fourteen hands. James Lillay, foreman.
Baugh's Catch Basin is situated just across Cahokia creek, outside of the limits of the Stock Yards. It was constructed in 1880, at an expense of about $600, and is utilized to catch the superfluous grease that escapes through the sewer from the packing houses. Formerly the sewer opened into Cahokia creek, but the city authorities made complaint; hence at this point a flume was built across the creek, and Mr. Baugh erected this basin. It is 30 by 40 feet in size, and contains eight vats, four on each side. Here the water is retained and cooled, when the grease floats, it is skimmed from the surfuce and deposited in barrels arranged for that purpose. When the packing houses are all in full blast, from fifteen to twenty barrels of grease are caught daily.
St. Clair Rendering Company. This institution is owned and operated by M. E. Richardson and Capt. Clubb, and is situated on St. Clair avenue, between the National Stock Yards and the town of Brooklyn. It was established in the spring of 1880 by Rogers & Mullholl, and passed into the hands of the present proprietors the fall following. The main building is two stories high, frame, and in size 76 by 76 feet, and cost, including necessary machinery, $5,000. It has the capacity of pressing ten tons of tank stuff, and drying one ton of blood daily, besides rendering three hundred and fifty hogs per week. It employs on an average fifteen hands, and manufactures $100,000 worth of products annually. Foreman, Wm. H. Courtney.
St. Louis Bolt and Iron Company.This is the largest manufacturing establishment in the city, and is situated near the Cairo Short Line railroad. The officers of the company are T. A. Meysenburg, president; O. W. Meysenburg, superintendent; Geo. S. Edgell, treasurer. The works contain six puddling furnaces, three heating, six spike, and two bolt furnaces, besides all the necessary machinery peculiar to the works, such as planers, lathes, etc. Street rails, T rails, bolts and spikes are made a specialty of manufacture by the company. The works are in operation day and night, the laborers being divided into two sets or watches. These works employ about one hundred and fifty men, and have the capacity of manufacturing daily forty tons of finished iron, ten tons of railroad spikes, and several thousand strap or trace bolts. From three to four thousand dollars are paid to the employees every two
weeks. The company own two-and-a-half acres of ground and two railroad switches where the works are situated. The products are shipped to points both east and west.
Grape, Sugar, and Glucose Works, O. W. Heyer & Co., proprietors. These works are situated in the Third ward, on the river front, and were erected in 1869 by Brotherton & Morse for milling purposes. The present company purchased the property and remodelled the building suitable to their wants. They commenced operations of manufacture in the spring of 1875. The present factory, as remodelled, is made up of three departments or buildings. The main building, or manufactory proper, is four stories high, and 45 feet square. The engine house is 20 by 36 feet, besides a starch room, used exclusively for the manufacture of starch. The whole structure on the ground covers 50,000 square feet. The cost of the building and appurtenances thereto was $150,000. It has the capacity of grinding 3,000 bushels of corn daily, and can manufacture in the same time one hundred and fifty barrels of syrup. From seventy-five to one hundred persons are constantly employed in the works. The approximate value of manufactured product is $100,000 annually. The business is under the immediate supervision of Louis Strehl.
Railroad Frog Works.-This establishment dates from 1874, then under the sole supervision and management of George and Henry Elliot. In 1875 Mr. George Elliot died, and the institution passed into the hands of the present owners, H. & H. Elliot. The works were established for the purpose of manufacturing rail way crossings, frogs, switches, and track tools, and are located on Main and Broad streets, near the East St. Louis and Carondelet railway. The main building, or machine shop, is 39 by 90 feet, with other convenient attachments. The works were constructed at a cost of $10,000, and give employment to about sixty men, who receive for their labor from $1.75 to $3 per day. The capacity of manufacture is about 4,500 frogs and 100 crossings per annum. Value of products, $150,000.
Heim's Brewing Company.This is the only Brewing Company in East St. Louis. It was established by Nick Spannagel in 1856, and was afterwards purchased by the present company. It is situated on the corner of Tenth street and Belleville Turnpike. The buildings occupy the identical site of the old hotel, built and kept in an early day by Mr. Condit, and the place known as Papstown. The main building is a splendid three story brick structure, and with the attachments covers nearly an acre of ground. The cost of the building and machinery aggregates $150,000. Its capacity is from fifty to sixty thousand barrels annually, and gives employment to about forty persons. The annual value of manufactured goods is over $500,000. The company is attaching an ice machine for the purpose of cooling the cellars, which is an entirely new departure in the brewing business.
East St. Louis Gaslight Company was established in 1874, and situated at the junction of the Illinois and St. Louis railroad, near Cahokia creek. The size of the tank is sixty feet in diameter and twenty feet in depth. It has the capacity of supplying 58,000 feet of gas, and is supplied with seven-and a-half miles of pipe. The capital invested is about $125,000, and at present receives an income of upwards of $7,.000 from the annual manufactured material. W m. H. Watts is the efficient superintendent of the works, and has under his supervision the employment of eleven men.
East St. Louis Flouring Mills.St. Louis has been one of the most unfortunate cities in the country with regard to the destruction by fire of her flouring mills. Many have been built, and but one is now standing. This was first constructed in 1855, by F. H. Krite and A. De Clansel for a saw-mill near the old Belleville depot. In 1861 it was sold to a company who transformed it into a grist-mill; this was torn down in 1865, and a large four story brick erected in its place. The latter was a first-class mill in every respect, and was built and operated by Notley, Krite & Co. In the fall of 1866, it was destroyed by fire, involving a heavy loss to the owners. The present building was erected in 1868-69, on the old site, and is the only flouring mill in the city. It is a four story brick building with basement, and in size 40x80 feet. The cost of construction exceeded $80,000, having all the modern machinery and improvements for manufacturing flour. The mill has the capacity of making four hundred barrels of flour per day, containing seven run of stones, three for meal and four for flour. It employs about twenty-five hands, and handles annually nearly $500,000 of manufactured material. Mr. F. H. Krite is the secretary of the firm, and has the general supervision of the mill.
City Planing Mill.This factory was originally located at Litchfield, Ill, and was removed to this city in 1877. It is now owned by Theodore Wiegreffe, and situated on Fourth street, between Missouri and St. Louis avenues. It is a frame building, mainly two stories high, and 86x1l2 feet, on the ground. The cost of the factory, including all the appurtenances, was upwards of $6,000. From twelve to fifteen hands are constantly employed, and manufacture over 8,000 pork-packing boxes annually, beside making a large quantity of doors, sash, blinds, etc. The amount of manufactured goods is $15,000.
East St. Louis Elevator Company.This institution is one of the leading industries of the city, and was established in 1867, by an act of the legislature, approved March 6th of that year. It is situated on the river front below the bridge, and occupies the ground on the line of the dike, which was built to improve the harbor in 1842, by Capt. Robert E. Lee, then Chief Engineer of the United States army. The company owns five hundred feet front on the river, by four hundred feet deep, and by the conditions of the charter it may extend these boundaries to one thousand feet front by the same in depth, and occupy by purchase any other lands within three miles of Bloody Island. The capacity for storing grain is upwards of one million bushels. The cost of the grounds, building, machinery, etc., was nearly $1,000,000.
The Advance Elevator and Warehouse is situated on the island, near Front street, between the Chicago and Alton, and Ohio and Mississippi railways. It was established in 1872, by Messrs. McCormic, Adams and Armington, at a cost of $125,000. In 1880 it passed into the hands of the present company. The elevator and warerooms covered 20,400 square feet of ground. The elevator proper is 50x60 feet, 130 feet high, and has convenient connections with the river and all the roads leading into East St. Louis. It has an engine of eighty horse-power, and all necessary machinery for handling grain. From twelve to fifteen men are employed daily, and seventy car-loads of grain can be elevated in one day. Three tracks pass through the entire building. It has the capacity of storing 400,000 bushels of grain. The present company are R. S. McCormic, C. W. Isaacs, D. P. Slatery, Jno. Jackson, and H. Rogers.
Pioneer Warehouse.This was established by Benj. F. Horn in the spring of 1880, and is situated east of the East St. Louis Flouring Mills, and south of the Illinois and St. Louis railway track. The building is a frame, one-story, and 20x60 feet. It has the. capacity of manufacturing 270 flour barrels per day, and gives employment to twenty men. Richard Zimmerman, foreman.
Hall & Co's. Manufactory was established in the spring of 1880, with the following officers representing the company: Giles Hall, President; J. M. Macdonald, Vice-President; Ferdinand Heim, Treasurer; W. P. Launtz, Secretary. The machines manufactured by this company are for the purpose of separating or extracting gold and other precious metal from auriferous deposits. This process is ingeniously effected by means of compressed air in connection with chemicals (see cut above -[not shown on this web site] ). It is entirely a new invention, and if it succeeds in performing what the inventor claims for it, the company has certainly struck a bonanza. The capital stock is $12,000. The factory is situated on Collinsville avenue, between Broadway and Missouri avenues.
C. B. & Q Elevator Company. This is a new enterprise, and the elevator is now in process of construction. It is owned by, and will be conducted in the interest of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railway Company. It is situated at the terminus of the road, and a little north of the company's freight-house. The foundation is composed of seventeen piers besides the outer walls, and the size of the main building is to be 87x177 feet, and 148 feet in height. The cost of its construction, machinery, etc., will exceed half a million dollars, and it will have the capacity of storing 750,000 bushels of grain. Four tracks are to be laid through the building.
Turning Factory, Henry Sternkopf, proprietor. This factory was established in 1876, and is located on Brady street, between Main street and Cairo Short Line railway track. The building is a frame structure 24x30 feet, and cost, including machinery, $1,500. Mr. Sternkopf has in his employ from four to six men, and manufactures all articles in wood work. Wooden faucets are made a specialty, turning out from fifteen to twenty gross per week. The annual sales of manufactured goods are from two to three thousand dollars.
Soda Factory.- This enterprise was established in 1870, by C. Lutt &. Co. The business is carried on in a fine two-story brick building,40x80 feet in dimemions, and it is located on Main street, between Broadway and Railroad street. The cost of construction, with the necessary appliances, was $4,500. The factory is capable of manufacturing three hundred boxes of soda-water per day. It gives employment to four persons, and handles a manufactured
product of $25,000 per annum. Seltzer-water is also manufactured to some extent by this firm.
Lumber Mill is situated south of the Cairo Short Line Roundhouse, and was built in 1878, by J. H. Modrell, owner and proprietor. It is driven by an engine of thirty horse-power, and is capable of sawing $75,000 worth of lumber annually. Its construction cost the proprietor $3,000. Six hands are kept in employment the greater portion of the year. There are two circular saws, one arranged above the other, for the purpose of handling, properly, the largest sized logs: The timber for sawing is mo tly shipped from Tennessee, and is manufactured into lumber suitable for bridge building.
Schroeder's Soda Factory. These works were established by John Kerns in 1862, and became the property of Edward Schroeder in 1864. It was the first establishment of the kind built in East St. Louis, and is located on Illinois avenue, between Ninth and Tenth streets, and west of Heim's Brewery. Both soda and Seltzer are manufactured, having the capacity of making daily upwards of four hundred boxes of the former. The building is a substantial brick structure, and is supplied with all the necessary machinery and apparatus peculiar to the business.
Ice Houses. Smith & Sons own three of the largest houses in the city. They are situated just south of the river bridge. They each have room to stow upwards of 7,000 tons of ice.
C. Lutt & Co., have fpur ice houses near the Relay Depot. They have the capacity of 4,000 tons each.
There are two banking institutions in the city, besides the one in the Exchange building at the Stock Yards, which has already been mentioned.
Working Men's Banking Company.-This Bank was organized August 15th, 1870, by John McMullin, George W. Davis, Henry Schell, E. W. Wider and others, and has a capital stock of $50,000. It is located on the corner of Broadway and Fourth street, and is one of the finest buildings in the city, and is the only house in East St. Louis built above high-w atermark. President, R. J. Whitney; Cashier, Geo. W. Dausch.
East St. Lcuis Bank was established in 1865, and has a capital stock of $100,000; surplus, $26,000. The bank is situated on the corner of Missouri and Collinsville avenues. Thomas Winstanley, President; Henry Jackiesch, Vice-President; Theodore Meumann, Cashier.
Besides the foregoing, the city contains nine round-houses, some of which are equal to any institutions of the kind in the state; five large warehouses, with several others of smaller dimensions. The following is a condensed showing of other industries represented in the city: Bakeries, 6; cigar manufactories, 5; harness, 2; wagons, 1 ; blacksmiths, 5; tinners, 4; tailors, 2; jewelers, 2; carpenters, 44; printing offices, 2; shoemakers, 15; butchers, 9; undertakers, 1; dentists, 1; painters and glazers, 2. There are upwards of thirty hotels, and over seventy-five places where liquors are sold. There are three wholesale grocery houses, two dry-goods, two hardware establishments, and one wholesale liquor house. The retail business of every kind is well represented. The various churches are also numerous, there being two Catholic (Irish, and German), one Methodist, one Presbyterian, one Lutheran, and two Colored churches. There are eight distinct schools in the city as follows: First ward, two; Second ward, three; Third ward, one; Fourth ward, two. For further information on schools, churches, ,and printing offices, see special chapters relating to the same. [not reproduced on this web site]. The following is a tabular showing of the number of inhabitants, families, and buildings that the city contained (with a slight discrepancy) in 1880:
|1st Ward 2,047||451||380|
|2d Ward 2,930||0||0|
|3d Ward 1,959||380||350|
|4th Ward 2,263||457||383|
East St. Louis Lodge, No. 504, A. F. &; A. M., was organized in October, 1866, with 28 charter members. Its place of meeting is in Masonic Hall, over Schaub's hardware store, and meets the first and third Thursday evenings in each month. The Lodge has a fine hall and is in a prosperous condition.
East St. Louis Chapter No. 156, R. A. M., was chartered in October, 1873, with a membership of 31, since which time it has materially increased. Meets in Masonic Hall every second Thursday night in each month.
Golden Rule Lodge, No. 374 I. O. O. F.This Lodge was instituted June 16th, 1868, and chartered October 13th, 1868. The number of charter members were 8, and the present membership is 55. Meets in Odd Fellows' Hall every Thursday evening in each week. The Lodge is in a prosperous condition and good working order.
Pride of the Valley Lodge, No. 435, I O. O. F., was chartered the 11th of October, 1870. Number of charter members, 10, present membership, 51. Meets every Monday night.
Harmony Encampment, No. 102.This institution was chartered the 12th of October, 1869, with a membership of 12. It meets in Odd Fellows' Hall the second and fourth Thursday nights in each month.
Helvetia Lodge (German), No. 480, I. O. O. F., was instituted February 22d, 1872, and chartered October 8th, 1872. Charter membership, 11; present number of members, 55. Meets every Friday night.
Naomi Rebecca Degree Lodge, No. 5. Chartered October 11th, 1870, with a membership of 27, since which time it has largely increased. Meets in Odd Fellows' Hall the first and third Thursday evenings in each month.
Eureka Lodge, No. 81, K of P, was organized December 26, 1878, and chartered October 23d, 1879. Number of charter members, 24; present membership, 55. The Lodge is in a flourishing condition. Meets in Schaub's Hall every Monday evening.
Illinois Lodge, No. 268, Kof H. This Lodge received its charter Dec. 5th, 1876, with the names of nineteen members. It has had an unprecedented growth, having a present membership of 160. Convenes in Odd Fellows' Hall every Wednesday evening.
Catholic Knights of America. This institution was organized March 19th, 1880, with a membership of 8 Knights; present membership, 53. They meet the first and third Sundays of each month in St. Patrick's Church Hall. This is a wide-awake and prosperous organization.
Olive Branch Lodge, No. 335, K. & L. of H., is under dispensation, granted May 28th, 1880. Charter membership, 46; present membership, 54. The Lodge meets at Fink's Hall the first and third Mondays in each month.
F. W. Arnold, No. 44, B. of L. &; F., was chartered May 2d, 1880. Number of charter members, 18; present membership, 23. Meets the first and third Tuesday nights of each month in Fink's Hall.
East St. Louis Saengerbund was instituted March 23d, 1872, with 25 members; present membership, 50. The organization meets at Jackiesh Hall every Wednesday night.
There have also been organized in times past the following orders: Knights of St. Patrick, Independent Order of Foresters, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, St. Clair Gun Club, and Workingmen's Party.
First Land Entries(1). Joseph Pepin entered the south-east quarter of sec. 4,160 acres, Sept. 16th, 1814. Joseph Gonville entered, September 28th, 1814, 320 acres of the west half of the same section. Dec. 15th, 1814, William Russell entered 131.92 acres on section 6.
The city of East St. Louis has made an eventful history. From its infancy it has withstood many reverses that would have totally discouraged a less enterprising and plucky people. Five times has it been washed by the floods and barely escaped annihilation. The fire fiend has likewise been a frequent and destructive visitor, having once--1872--wiped out a considerable portion of the business part of the city. Political convulsions have also swept through its midst and shaken the municipal fabric to its foundation. Yet, with all these misfortunes to retard its progress, it lives and grows and prospers. The manufacturing facilities of the city are unsurpassed; it has the coal, the water, the advantages of cheap labor, and last, but not least, the ready capitalist, who is shrewd enough to comprehend the advantages of the situation and to invest accordingly. With future peace and harmony among the citizens of East St. Louis, it can be but a question of time when it will take rank among the first cities of the west.
TOWN OF BROOKLYN.
This village is situated in the extreme north-western part of East St. Louis precinct; the northern boundary being the, Madison county line, and the Mississippi river forming the western limits. It was laid out March 17th, 1837, by the following parties: Thos. Osburn, James P. Morris, Charles Collins, Joseph Tabor, and W. J. Austin. The town plat was placed on record the 1st day of May following. July 14th, 1874, it was incorporated under the general law, when it established village ordinances and prepared to govern its own municipal affairs. The first house built within the limits was a small log dwelling, but has long since given place to later improvements. Among the first inhabitants were J. R. Stites, Thos. Osburn, Daniel 'Wilson, Geo. H. Lewis, John Baltimore, Charles Wood worth, Hardy Roberts, Alfred Sparks, Nicholas Carper, Mrs. Newell, and Mrs. Wyatt, some of whom are still residents of the village.
The town, at this writing, contains between five and six hundred inhabitants, seven-eighths of whom are colored people. There are four small grocery stores, the most extensive of which is kept by Frederick Archer. This store is a snug two story frame building, and is situated on Fourth street. The village contains a fine twostory brick school-house, so arranged as to employ two teachers, and is thus partially graded. It was built in 1879, at an expense of three thousand dollars. It is exclusively a colored schoo1. There are also two churches, both colored, one Methodist, the other Baptist. The former was built in 1879, and cost $2,500; the latter was constructed at an earlier period, and cost $1,500.
Brooklyn is so closely situated to the city of East St:Louis, on the south, with Venice almost touching it on the north, that it has but little chance for its life, so far as a trading point is concerned. Indeed it might be considered as a suburb of East St. Louis; and the time is not far distant when it will be such in fact.
The following are the present officers of the village: President, J.R. Stites; Trustees, James Maffit, William Weyh, George Bachelor, Charles Jennings and Frederick Archer. Clerk, Henry Rountree; Treasurer, Joseph Archer; Marshal, James A. Pettiford.
(1) These lands are the Public Domain Land Sales which began in 1814. Some may be lands granted as Preemption (Squattors’) Rights. The Illinois State Archives has an online index to all Public Domain Land Sales in Illinois and can also provide documentation for Preemptions.