History of Stanford, Illinois

The original survey of Stanford included the southwest fourth of the northwest quarter of Section 21, together with forty acres off of the north side of the southwest quarter of Section 11. George P. Ela was the County Surveyor at that time, and he laid off the town. His certificate of survey is dated October 7, 1867. The village was surveyed for John Armstrong. It was then called Allin. Since the first, there has been an addition. This includes five acres from the northwest corner of the southeast quarter of Section 21, and is called Maurer’s Addition.

Stanford is located in the prairie, two miles north of Brooks’ Grove. It is on the Jacksonville Division of the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad, twelve miles from Bloomington. This railroad was the cause of its birth. It was begun with the railroad, and does considerable business. The village is surrounded by a comparatively level prairie, which renders the approach in rainy weather somewhat difficult. The distance from Bloomington is sufficiently great to give the place a very lair local trade. The large elevators attest the amount of grain annually shipped. There are a number of farmers, situated to the south and west of Stanford, that have no other convenient market for their corn, oats, etc., and the days when men haul produce long distances to market are passed.

John Armstrong, the man for whom the town was surveyed in 1867, is still a resident, and one of the most prominent men of the village. John Rockhold, who is still engaged in the business, was the first to start a store. He runs a large grocery trade. The first station agent was Henry Daniels. There have been a number since his time. The agent that remained longest, and was best known, was A. M. Berkholder. The present obliging agent is Jasper Morgan. The first Postmaster was Dr. Lackey, and the present official is William Rufwiler. The first school was taught before the erection of any building for educational purposes. This was taught in a dwelling-house, by a Mr. Loomis. For some time, schools were taught in various dwelling houses. In 1869, a brick schoolhouse was erected, which has served the purposes for which it was built until the present. It is two-story, with the usual arrangements. Although it is somewhat worse for ten years’ wear, it will probably answer the purposes until the growth of the village demands a larger house. Two teachers are employed; generally a gentleman above and a lady below.

There are two churches in the village-a Methodist and a Christian. The Christian Church was organized by James Robinson, in 1S70. The first meetings of the men of this persuasion were held in Bozarth’s Hall. Presley T. Brooks, Dr. Lackey, G. M. Wright and others, were among the prominent men of the first organization. The church is 30×46 feet. The cost of building was $3,200. This church is, perhaps, the strongest society in the village, but is not equal to the Cumberland Presbyterian Society, whose church building stands just northeast of town a short distance. The present membership of the Christian Church is about sixty. Their Pastor is the Rev. W. B. Berry.

The efforts of the Rev. Mr. Pilcher secured the erection of a Methodist Church in 1875. Prominent among the members whose purses secured the church edifice, may be mentioned Messrs. George Bunney and Joan Barnett. The building is 30 by 46 feet. Rev. Mr. Shinn is the present pastor. The building was not paid for at first, and for some time the society were troubled with the debt.. As a result the present membership is not large.

As a business directory, we note the following: S. B. Wright & Co., dealers in drugs and medicines ; L. A. McReynolds and B. F. Bowling, contractors and builders; C. Roth, dealer in hardware and stoves ; Martin Lewis, agricultural implements ; Rockhold & Gerbrick, grocers ; also C. A. Naffziger, grocer ; W. C. Rusmisell, grocer and dealer in hats, caps and dry goods ; D. C. Dossett, wagon and blacksmith-shop ; C. W. Naffziger, lumber yard ; A. Jewett and Mr. Morgan, boots and shoes ; Murphy & Hennershotz, dealers in live stock; William Ruf, painter; C. H. Wick, harness-maker: Martin Lewis & Co., meat market; J. N. Tryner, painting and grinning; Libbie Cole’ dress-maker; Joseph Bachman, wagon-shop; Roth & Brock, dealers in agricultural implements and farm machinery: Linebarger & Bro., grain dealers. From the foregoing it will be seen that Stanford has representatives of nearly all the trades. She has her physicians, but we found no lawyer’s sign. Another item that is missing is a hotel. So far as we could learn, there never has been one in the village. But should the weary traveler find it necessary to remain over night. he will find himself comfortably eared for if he should stop with Mr. Morgan, the boot and shoe man.

As every little town must advertise its trade, it became necessary that measures be taken to cheapen the process. This is usually done by the establishment of a local newspaper. On the 8th of February, 1879, appeared the first issue of the Stanford Tribune. It is a very fair country paper, and is well patronized by the local advertisers. Linebarger & Son are the editors and proprietors. It is not particularly partisan, being run in the business interests of Stanford and vicinity. The journal is still in its infancy, and will, no doubt, increase in strength and influence as it grows older and the village increases in population.

Stanford has had its experience with saloons and the intoxicating bowl. At times there have been licensed saloons in the village. but at present these do not exist. A very remarkable temperanee sermon was preached by an accident which occurred during the time that the village gave licenses. Harry Moore was running a saloon at the time. A young man by the name of Woodrum was working for a farmer near the village. In the afternoon on a certain day, this young man ran out of tobacco. He concluded that it was not possible to get along without a bit of the weed, so he left the team in the field where he had been at work, and intended to step over to the store to get a plug of tobacco and return immediately. He had not been in the store long, until he concluded that be must go by the saloon and get a drink. Unfortunate man ! That was his last drink ! Some one got up a drinking spree. The question was, who can drink the most without its hurting him? The young man from the farm was ambitious and determined not to be outdone. He drank fourteen glasses. This was enough to upset any man, especially as they were taken at once, without any rest. After the drinking, he went out of the saloon and walked a short distance only when he fell. On approaching him, it was found that he was very seriously affected, and in a very short time he was dead. Only a half hour before, he had been in the field working away, with no intention of taking a drink even, but now he was a cold corpse lying in the street – a dead man – one who had killed himself by the foolishness of over-much drinking of strong drink.


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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