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Founding of Club, Lodges, and Business Firms in Minonk - 1896

The final installment of the history of Minonk from its founding in 1854 to 1896, as printed in the Big Bend Reunion book of 1896, is herewith presented. This final chapter tells of the founding of Minonk's various business firms, and its clubs, lodges and other social organizations. This article was prepared by Donna Rae Eilts. Rob Morris, A. F. and A. M.
Modern Woodmen of American
Knights of The Maccabees
L. G. Keedy Post, No. 160
Home Forum No. 272
Priebe and Simater
Minonk Library
Oldest Business Men
Minonk Electric Light and Power Company
Home and Loan Association
Chicago and Minonk Coal and Tile Works
Water works

Club, Lodge and Society

That fraternal feeling of good fellowship so much to be desired, which in all lands and in all conditions of life draws men together, is very strong in Minonk. There are but few cities of its size that have so great a number of secret organizations. It is with pleasure that the News presents a brief sketch of each order, regretting the lack of space, which makes it impossible to give them the attention they deserve.

Rob Morris, A. F. and A. M.

Rob Morris Lodge, A. F. and A. M., was organized October 7, 1857, with J. B. Garrison, worshipful master, and Samuel C. Carithers and Richard Chenwith as wardens. It was named after Robert Morris of La Grange, Ky. The present officers are: Jacob McChesney, W.M.; O. D. Head, S.W.; Grant Christians, J.W.; D. Filger, treasurer; E. Harris, secretary, F. J. Simater, S.D.; John Goodwin, J.D.; J. C. Wickler, S. Steward; S. L. Zinser, J.S.; R. Spires, tyler.

I. O. O. F.

Minonk Lodge No. 377 organized October 28, 1868. S. W. Allen, John Morris, John Stoner, John Gmelich, and S. W. Barger, officers and charter members. The lodge officers now are:

J. S. Gerdes, N.G.; B. Newsome, V.G.; H. Henkell, B. Sec.; Geo. W. Morris, per. sec.; J. Stoneman, treasurer; Wm. Myer, J. Kerrick, J. Andrews, L. G. Harper, George DeFries, trustees. Membership 67.

Modern Woodmen of America

Minonk Camp No. 952, M. W. A. was organized in May 1889, with fifteen charger members. The first meeting was held on the eve of May 2, 1889, when the following officers were elected:

Thos Kennedy, V.C.; Rufus H. Parks, W.A.; H. A. Millard, E.B.; C. A. Menefee, clerk; George H. Ogle, escort; R. E. O'Connor, W.; Grant Williams, sentry; P. M. Evans, local physician; Rev. J. C. Shipp, Wm Minshall and Jas A. Pickard, managers. The other charter members were W. O. Pope, Henry J. Cook, Walter S. Ward and Charles Kirk.

The first few years after organizing, the camp was at a standstill and on January 1, 1895, had a membership of only twenty-one. At that time the members made up their mind to rent a new hall, thinking it would have a tendency to get new members. So they rented the Odd Fellows hall and from the day they went into the new hall they have been steadily increasing their membership until they have now 76 members in good standing, which is the largest organization in the city. The present officers of the camp are:

Frank H. Hewitt, V.C.; N. L. Davison, Jr., W.A.; Charles E. Morgan, clerk; Homer A. Miller, banker, Wm. H. Golden, escort; W. E. Dutoit, watchman; Harry S. Fuller, sentry; Dr. Perry M. Evans, local physician; D. A. McDaniel, M. Gulshen, Jacob S. Gerdes, managers.

Meetings are held second and fourth Wednesday evenings of each month.

Knights of The Maccabees

Minonk Tent, No. 177 was organized May 6, 1894, with 25 charter members. This popular order is only in its fifth year and has over 240,000 knights and lady Maccabees in America. In connection with its life benefit, it has sick, funeral, accident, disability and old age benefits.

The following are the present officers:

Josiah Kerrick, past commander; F. W. Horneman, Commander; M. H. Pfaffle, lieutenant commander; J. Hertschuh, record keeper, H. A. Miller, finance keeper; E. Remmers, Chaplain; F. W. Wilcox, physician; J. von Nordheim, sergeant; C. E. Morgan, master at arms; C. N. Porch, sentinel; H. Meyers, picket.

Meets at Odd Fellows hall.

L. G. Keedy Post, No. 160

Under the above heading we give the following bit of history concerning the patriotism of Minonk in 1861-65 from the pen of our townsman, J. T. Taylor.

The summer and fall of 1860 was campaign year, when Douglas and Johnson were candidates on the democrat ticket and Lincoln and Hamlin on the republican ticket. The republican candidates being elected caused a good deal of excitement around this country. Early in the spring of 1860 one of the first military companies was organized, as there was strong talk of war between the north and the south, and the military company was known as the "Minonk Minute Men," and when war was declared and the President had called for 75,000 three months' men, there was quite a number of young men of Minonk and vicinity enlisted. The organization of the Minonk Minute Company was still kept up, and they elected officers as follows: Captain, S. S. Jackman; First Lieutenant, Jas Tisdale; Second Lieutenant, Chester A. Andrews. The company met once a week for drill, and at the call for 300,000 in August 1861, the company enlisted for the war, and went to the front. What few was left of them served their time and were mustered out in October 1864, at Springfield, with Chester A. Andrews as captain. Company H. of the 77th, enlisted in 1862, and was mustered out in 1865. These two companies went from Minonk, besides many others that enlisted in different regiments in the state, of which one-half probably returned. In June 1868, the first Grand Army Post was organized in Minonk, known as McPherson Post No. 320, with the following charter members:

W. D. Wardlow, Dr. J. Stoner, N. L. Ross, D. Frisbie, C. E. Dunham, S. J. Johnson, H. Henkell, J. H. Hill, J. K. Huntoon, A. B. Pouge, S. T. Robinson, W. Weir, C. H. Robinson, H. Livingston, T. J. Taylor, W. L. Lovell, J. S. Raney, H. Smyth, E. B. Washburn, J. H. Mitchell, J. A. Simpson, D. Filger, S. W. Allen, H. K. Ferrin.

This Post disbanded some time in 1874 or 1875 (the writer is not certain which date). The second G. A. R. Post, known as L. G. Keedy Post No. 160, was organized in November 1882, with the following charter members:

C. P. Waterman, T. J. Taylor, J. C. Wickler, L. C. Pray, C. E. Webber, W. Juelg, A. Brock, H. Henkell, J. W. January, G. S. Foote, C. E. Dunham.

Following is the list of officers elected for the year 1896:

S.V.C. - Fred Holmes J.V.C. - R. T. Bulkley O.D. - P. M. Burton Q.M. - G. W. Cushing Surgeon - P. M. Evans Chaplain - J. T. Taylor O.G. - J. W. Baldwin Adjutant - Wm. Minshall Q. Ser. - Robert Burns Sr. Maj. - D. W. Davison Delegate - J. L. Jenkins Alternate - George Schilling

W. R. C.

The ladies of Minonk met Wednesday, April 2, 1890, at 1 p.m. at the G. A. R. hall for the purpose of organizing a Woman's Relief Corps. Mrs. Mary Davison of Bloomington was presented and organized the Corps and initiated the following persons:

Mrs. Lizzie M. Cushing, Mrs. Emma Cushing, Mrs. Maggie L. Taylor, Mrs. Mary Dunham, Mrs. Ella M. Pray, Mrs. Sarah J. Zinser, Mrs. Sadie E. Waterman, Mrs. Ellen Rowell, Mrs. Elizabeth January, Misses Mayme Wickler, Mabel Loucks, Luella B. Taylor, Phenie Martin.

The officers elected at that time were: President, Mrs. Waterman; S.V.P., Mrs. Zinser; J.V.P., Mrs. L. Cushing; treasurer, Mrs. Pray; Chaplain, Mrs. Dunham; conductor, Miss Loucks; guard, Miss Taylor; assistant guard, Miss Martin; secretary, Miss Wickler.

The time of meeting was arranged for every second and fourth Fridays in the months. The time of meetings has been changed to the second and fourth Saturdays. The present officers are:

President, Mrs. E. Cushing; S. V. P., Miss Wickler; J.V.P., Mrs. Taylor; Chaplain, Mrs. Dunham; treasurer, Mrs. L. Cushing; conductor, Mrs. Rowell; guard, Mrs. Vance.

The Relief Corps is an organization banded together for the purpose of helping the needy soldiers and sailors of our late war, and not only do they help the soldier and sailor, but all needy deserving people; it is a noble band of patriotic woman, and has done more good the world over, than any other organization of any kind.

Home Forum No. 272

The Home Forum No. 272 was organized in Minonk, October 1, 1895, and the first meeting held October 5, with a membership of 23. The officers are: President - H. A. Miller Vice President - O. H. Head Second Vice President - Mrs. D. H. Remmers Secretary - Mrs. Ella M. Porch Treasurer - Henry Schneider Historian - John Squires Orator - Ed Danner Assistant Orator - C. N. Porch Porter - Nick Krause Guard - E. Remmers Medical Examiner - H. A. Millard Board of Directors - H. A. Miller C. E. Morgan E. Reemers


In 1869 Ed. Goodwin started a brickyard and has continued the manufacture of brick ever since. He makes a splendid quality of brick, which meets with ready sale.

Joseph Stonier and Thomas Wiley established the Eagle brick works April 1, 1889. They employed sixteen men and made 1,500,000 brick the first year. In 1890 Mr. Stonier bought out the interest of Mr. Wiley; and in 1893 Mr. Stonier sold the yard to T. P. Clarke and Daniel Nellinger, who conducted the business until 1896 when Mr. Nellinger sold his interest to Joe Pickard. The new firm is doing a large business.

Priebe and Simater

Among other enterprises in Minonk that pay out a large amount of money every year to the farmers in this locality, is the produce firm of Priebe & Simater. Mr. Priebe started this business seventeen years ago. On January 30, 1885, he and F. J. Simater formed a partnership and increased the business. They afterwards put up a large building. In 1892 they put in a cold storage plant, and built an addition to the building. In 1895 they put in the ammonia system of cold storage, and added another room to their building. They are the heaviest shippers of poultry and eggs in the state of Illinois, and have branch houses in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri, and sell poultry all through the east, and in Europe.

Minonk Library

Private parties paying $5 each into a fund established the Minonk library about 1881. The membership fee was afterwards raised to $10. The books were kept in the Minonk bank until 1885, when they moved into the post office and John M. Golden appointed librarian. The library contains a large number of standard works and is a worthy enterprise.

Oldest Business Men

The men doing business in Minonk today that were here twenty-five or thirty years ago are easy to count. Dr. E. A. Wilcox came here in 1859 and opened up his office as physician. He is still in active practice.

B. M. Stoddard came in 1865 and engaged in the general merchandise business with G. R. Newton. For eleven years he sold goods, then went into the grain business and is so engaged at the present time.

Fred Holmes came in 1859 and worked at the carpenter trade, which business he still follows.

Philander Welch settled here in 1860 and worked at his trade of plasterer and bricklayer. While not actively engaged now he still does a little in that line.

James A. Simpson started in the general merchandise business in 1865, but afterwards went into the grain business, and is still engaged therein.

Tom Pickard started a blacksmith shop in 1867, and although his business has branched into other lines, he still runs a blacksmith shop.

J. M. Fort opened his law office in 1870, and is yet engaged in the practice of his profession. He is also our present city attorney.

Champ Newton opened up a lumberyard in 1861. In 1863 H. R. Kipp came to Minonk and entered into partnership with his brother, but has been sole proprietor of the business for many years.

C. W. Goodrich and Son bought the lumberyard owned by Revilo Newton in 1873 and Frank Goodrich now conducts the business.

In the hurry of getting up this sketch, we may have omitted mention of some deserving person, but from the information at hand this is as correct a possible to be obtained.

Minonk Electric Light and Power Company

The Minonk Electric Light and Power Company was incorporated in February 1890, with a capital stock of $15,000, and has done a general lighting business. The plant consists of two boilers, two engines, two incandescent dynamos, one municipal dynamo and one arc machine, with several miles of pole line. It is a well built and equipped plant, with everything conveniently arranged, and the company is doing everything in its power to give their patrons a good and satisfactory light; and its constant increasing patronage is the best evidence they can present that their efforts are appreciated by citizens and businessmen of the city. The officers of the company are: president, A. B. Kipp; secretary, N. L. Davison, Jr.; treasurer and general manager, Josiah Kerrick. The stockholders are the same as when first organized, with the exception of Hon. M. L. Newell and George W. Webber. Mr. Webber moved to California, and Mr. Newell to Springfield, Illinois. B. M. Stoddard purchased their stock.

Home and Loan Association

The Minonk Homestead & Loan Association was organized March 14, 1888. The association has prospered and has been the means of enabling many of our citizens to obtain homes on the payment plan. Following is a statement of the business on June 15, 1896:

Loans in force: $24,985.00 Shares in force: 646 Shareholders: 81 Directors: H. Hesse, H. A. Miller, J. Stonier, J. Erbland, Josiah Kerrick, Ed Jordan, C. M. Golden, W. F. Priebe, S. L. Zinser President: W. F. Priebe Secretary: C. M. Golden The Association has never had a foreclosure, and is in a most flourishing condition. The expenses have only been 2 percent per annum.

Chicago and Minonk Coal and Tile Works

The Minonk Coal Company was incorporated in 1869. Dr. Samuel Ewers originated the project. The first board of directors was: Frank Burt, Horace R. Kipp, M. L. Newell, J. D. Webber, H. C. Dent, Charles Whitaker and Dr. Samuel Ewers. Dr. Ewers was president and manager. The stock was fixed at $6,000 at $25 per share. Coal was found at a depth of 314 feet and was four foot thick. The quality was poor and it was not thought advisable to work it, so the stock was sold and the company reorganized with the following directors: H. R. Kipp, C. Sharp, Sr., Harrison Simpson, Samuel Work, Frank Burt, Rev. Thompson, Milton Davison and Charles Whitaker. The new company found a second vein of coal from two and a half to three feet in thickness at a depth of 553 feet. The company found themselves unable to proceed with the work, so a partnership was formed with Miner T. Ames of Chicago, who furnished enough capital to proceed with the work for a time. The old stockholders could not keep up their share of expenses so they sold out to a company known as the Chicago and Minonk Coal and Coke Company, with Miner T. Ames as president and general manager in which capacity he continued up to the time of his death January 13, 1890.
After the death of Mr. Ames the property passed into the control of Irene C. Ames, who retained the management until June 25, 1892 at which time adult heirs, consisting of Knowlton L. Ames, Jane R. A. Ross and Harriet C. Ames took charge of the property with K. L. Ames as general manager, in which capacity he is acting at the present time.

A new cable engine has been placed in the mines, and about three hundred men are employed in mining coal. The tile and brick works employ 100 men and turn out an immense quantity of vitrified drain tile, paving brick, sidewalk brick and hollow brick every year.

The big store at the mines was burned in 1889, and then the store was established uptown. During the present year Mr. Ames erected a handsome department store of three rooms on the corner west of Stoddard's elevator. The building is 80x100 feet and handsomely fitted-up with oak counters and fixtures and contains a $40,000 stock of merchandise and a refrigerating machine for meats, butter, eggs, etc.

Water Works

In 1887 the question of putting in a system of water works was agitated. On July 6 of that year the city council took the matter up. M. Gulshen made a motion to bond the city in the sum of $10,000, (the bonds to draw 5 percent interest) for the purpose of erecting a system of water works. The motion carried, all the aldermen voting for it as follows: M. Gulshen, Joe Stoneman, J. E. Sangster, N. L. Davison, Jr., E. A. Ewen and D. W. Davison. Josiah Kerrick was mayor at the time. Appropriation Ordinance No. 172 was passed, and the contract for putting in the works let to Fairbanks, Morse & Co., of Chicago, for $9,825.
The system was defective, and was not accepted and paid for until September 2, 1889. The old wooden mains have been mostly replaced since with iron pipes. The tower is also in bad shape and the city council now contemplate putting in a new modern style tower of brick and steel this fall. The water works have saved the town in several instances from disastrous fires, and are worth many times their cost.