History of Arrowsmith, Illinois

Arrowsmith Township was named by the Supervisors after Ezekiel Arrowsmith, who was the first Supervisor and one of the early settlers. It contains thirty-six sections, being a full Congressional township, and is known of record as Town 23 north, Range 5 east of the Third Principal Meridian. It is almost entirely prairie, having originally about one square mile of timber in Sections 31 and 32, where the eastern extremity of Old Town Timber lies along the line of Arrowsmith and West, giving to each a little patch of woodland, which was so highly prized by those who first commenced settlement here. There was in addition a small bunch on Section 24, ” Smith’s Grove.” which hardly grew to the importance of being called timber-land.

Arrowsmith was surveyed and platted in 1871. Railroad communication was opened in 1872. The land upon which it was laid out belonged to Mr. Young, Jones Fry, James Crosson and Mr. Ulmer- ten acres each. The men were required, or permitted, as it were, to convey to the certain persons who had the care of the railroad officials, land enough upon which to start the young town fur 817 per acre, in order to get the station located in the center of township where it naturally belonged.

S. E. Cline put in the first pair of scales here, late in I871, before trains were running on the railroad, so that he enjoys the reputation of being the father of the town. Cline and James R. Larimer at once commenced buying and cribbing g corn. In the spring of 1872, the switch was put in and depot erected. John A. Larimer and Mr. Jones put up the first store north of the railroad and east of Main street. Garrett V. Wall moved in the small house nest north of the drug store adjoining his present residence. W. H. Thompson moved his store in from ” Cross Roads ” in the beginning of 1873, and continued to sell goods; indeed, before this time, he had quite a reputation for selling. The post office had been previously moved. During 1872, Mr. S. E. Cline built the residence now occupied by him, and Mr. Wall put up the one now used by him as a residence-both of these were on Young’s quarter of the town. Mr. R. S. Krum, brother and representative of J. R. Krum, grain-dealer of Bloomington, put up, in the southwest quarter of town, the first residence that was built here, and about the same time put up the small grain office which now stands in the rear of his present store. He has been continuously in the grain trade to the present time, and proposes to stay. No man has done more for the interest of the young village.

In 1873, A. B. Ives and Walter Vanscoyoc built the present large steam cievator, 40×50, which was occupied by Cline & Larimer. It has been in use ever since, and is now in charge of Mr. Ives’ son. Seth Mills moved his dwelling house and blacksmith shop the same year, in from the “Cross Roads.” He still occupies them, and has built. since, a new shop; and Mr. J. A. Larimer built a residence on Main street south of the railroad. W. H. Thompson built a dwelling on Main street north of the railroad, and Walter Vanscoyoc, who now lives at Saybrook, built one which he occupied for some years. Mr. O. G. Atherton, same year (1873) built the store he now occupies, and put in a stock of drugs; books, etc. He has since enlarged the building to accommodate his family residence, and continues to occupy the building yet. Cline A Larimer put up the building now occupied by Cline as a store, and put in a full line of general merchandise for a country store. Mr. Larimer, in the spring of 1875; withdrew from the partnership, and entered into a partnership with Robinson, which continued until 1879.

In 1872, Levi Heller put up a wagon-shop, which he used for a year, and then sold and built another. In 1873, Edward Wright built and occupied the “granger” store on the corner north of the railroad, with a full line of goods, and, after a year, sold to A. H. Webber, who still continues in trade there. Mr. T. W. Maurice, Jr., built the saddler’s shop, and built a dwelling which he still occupies. August Mantle built a dwelling, and in company with Peter Hileman, who built the store used by them, went into the hardware trade. Isaac W. Wheeler built the nice hotel in 1874, and soon •died. Mrs. Westover now owns it and keeps hotel. She is now the oldest resident of the township. A. T. Ives has occupied the elevator since 1874. The following is the business directory of Arrowsmith in the spring of 1879: General merchandise. S. E. Cline, J. A. Larimer; A. H. Webber; groceries and provisions. R. S. Krum : drugs, etc., W. H. Thompson, 0. G. Atherton ; hardware, tin, etc., August Mantle; harness. T. W. Maurice, Jr.; restaurant, Milton Sharpless ; blacksmiths, Seth Mills, John Mills; wagon-maker, Mr. Blake; grain, Sherman Westover, I. R Krum, John Deutsch, J. R. Cundiff, J. R. Larimer; elevator; A. T. Ives; carpenters, Nathan Hawk, William McDaniel, A. Lake; millinery, etc., Mrs. McDaniel, Mrs. Jones; hotel; Mrs. Westover ; physicians, 0. P. Paulding, M. D. Hull; Postmaster, J. A. Larimer; station agent, R. L. Thomas.

The trade of Arrowsmith has been of a more permanent character and more generally prosperous than most of the new railroad towns. Nearly all those who commenced trade here have continued and are prosperous. Only one general assignment, for the benefit of creditors, has been made in the seven years of business. Trade is drawn from ten miles away, on the Mackinaw; and as a grain-shipping point, no station on the line of this railroad has done more one year with another. Only two years in its history has it been exceeded by any.

During the grain year just closing, the trade has not been quite as much as an average. There has been an average of about. 800 car-loads, of 375 bushels each, making, in the aggregate per year, 300,000 bushels, 90 per centum of which is usually corn. Dealers here, as at other points on this road, find themselves compelled to sell on the track, as the system of special contracts, given to large dealers, renders it impossible for them to ship for their own account. Much of the corn goes to Cleveland: but the difference between the rate o£ freight which dealers here would have to pay, and what those parties which buy of them here have to pay, would amount to 8 cents, which would “cut off the profits.”

The village is neatly built, the houses being of a neat, substantial and inexpensive character; but are, in comfort and taste, better than are usually found in new railroad villages. A. H. Webber has, perhaps, the neatest one-one which was built by Mr. Hileman-now deceased. Esquire Thompson and Mr. Cundiff have each very pleasant homes.

  1. Early Settlers of Arrowsmith, Illinois
  2. Township Officers of Arrowsmith, Illinois


Le Baron, William., Jr. & Co. The History of McLean County, Illinois: portraits of early settlers and prominent men. Chicago. W. Le Baron, Jr., 1879.

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