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Champaign County, Illinois

History of Compromise Township

Compromise township was organized in the year 1869, and was made up of the southern half of Kerr township and four eastern tiers of sections previously included in Rantoul. It is almost entirely prairie, only one small body of timber existing within its limits. The township was destitute of railroad facilities till the construction of the Havana, Rantoul & Eastern road, in the year 1876. Since then Gifford and Penfield, two flourishing and growing towns in the northern part of the township, on the line of railroad, have sprung into existence, and the advantage to the farmers of the township, in the way of giving them nearer markets for their grain, has been of material benefit.

The first settler known to have located in this township was Isaac Moore, and settled at the Buck Grove in the year 1830. Moore, five years afterwards, is said to have sold out his improvement to a man named Bruffett, who came from the State of Ohio with a view of settling in Illinois. The story goes that Bruffett, after having bought his land, killed a hog, on which he and his family fell to feasting. Having succeeded in appeasing his appetite, he next took a survey of his possessions, for the purpose of finding a suitable location where to unload his wagon. No spot suited his taste; the longer he looked the less he was pleased, and at last he came to the conclusion that he would like the old place in Ohio better after all, and, without unloading his wagon, turned his horses' heads toward the east and started back for the place he came from.

An Englishman, by the name of Robert Wyatt, entered the land containing the Buck Grove (the northeast quarter of section 4, township 21, range 14 west) on the 10th of November, 1834. Wyatt settled there, and after his departure rented the land, until Caleb Evertson came, in the year 1842, and settled at the Buck Grove. He was from Ohio, made extensive improvements on that section, and died in August, 1865, at the age of sixty-four years. Caleb P. Evertson, his son, was sixteen years of age when he came to the county with his father in 1842. For several years after his father's death he was the oldest settler in the township, but a few years ago removed to the State of Kansas. He had a farm of nine hundred acres, on which he bored an artesian well, throwing a constant stream of water two inches in diameter, and discharging at least 10,000 gallons each day.

There were no entries of land from 1834 till 1853, when, on the 9th of June, William S. Prentice entered the northeast quarter of section 21, township 21, range 11 east, and John McFarland all of section 23, township 21, range 10 east. Joseph McCormick was an early settler on the farm now occupied by Joseph Wells. He came to the township in 1856, was a native of Virginia, and in 1864 removed to Kansas. Hamilton Fairchild, a son-in-law of Caleb Evertson, came to the township in 1857 or '58. John L. Lester settled where he now lives on section 31, township 21, range 10, in the year 1859. He had been a locomotive engineer before coming to the county, and had charge of the engine which drew the excursion train, carrying among other distinguished persons, President Fillmore and his Cabinet, over the Eric Railway on the completion of that work. Mr. Lester was the first supervisor from Compromise township. George W. Francis was his successor in that office. Frank White, who is still living on the place he settled, in section 21 (township 21, range 14) became a resident of the township in 1858. He was Justice of the Peace for a number of years. Jeremiah Butz was one of the next to arrive, and came in 1860.

In Congressional [Compromise?] township 21, range 14 west, the first improvement on section 8 was made by Edwin and Edward Foreman; on section 9, R. Crawford; on section 16, Christian Wolf; on section 17, Henry C. Bear; on section 18, N. B. Odell; section 19, E. Dickerson; section 20, E. S. Obenchain and B. J. Gifford. The following are persons who made actual settlement in the township between the years 1860 and 1870: In township 21, range 14 west, on section 28, A. S. Houghtaylen, M. Jenkins, and E. R. Michener; on section 29, L. Nabecker, A. J. Clifton, Job Clifton and M. Swartz; on section 30, Joseph Ambler, T. Y. Thompson, and John Hannessey; on section 31, J. H. Ellis and J. Horton; on section 32, Charles Haines; and on section 33 W. J. Booker, R. M. Eyestone, M. Jenkins, and T. D. Cundiff. In township 21, range 11 east, on section 18, I. Turner and J. I. Davenport; on section 19, James Cambers; and on section 31, W. B. Horton and Hewlett Smith.

In Congressional [Compromise?] township 21, range 10 east, the following persons had made actual settlements and improvements previous to the year 1870, the greater part of them coming at about the same time, along in the period following the close of the war: On section 1, C. H. Willard and Alexander Craigmile; on section 2, George A. Jackson, J. L; Buxton (in 1870), F. J. L. Newburn, T. B. Barnes; H. M. Spencer, J. J. Bricky, and two Swedes by the name of Lindeleaf; on section 3, John L. Lester and James Cambers; on section 4, Brown Matthewson and B. Suffield; on section 9, Frank Boon; on section 10, T. P. Barnes and J. H. Tilghman, T. S. McMasters and E. Buck; on section 12, J. M. Morse, Hiram Lennox, J. W. Dillsworth, Wm. H. Smith, William Stewart, James Peirce, and J. Peoplow; on section 13, J. C. Sheldon and A. Stanley; on section 14, Charles F. Guyer, A. Rutherford, M. Wisegarver, and J. M. Morse; on section 15, Charles F. Guyer; on section 16, M. Dooling, D. Barry, L. Martin, and A. Miller; on section 21, a man named Skillman and John B. Perry (Perry about 1857); on section 22, J. Gruising and Philip Mutter; on section 24, G. E. Cook, C. Wright; T. T. Wright, J. M. Wright, E. Williams, and J. Despain; on section 26, Alexander Wilson and R. Knudson; on section 27, J. Shaw, N. Johnson, and H. Gerbers; on section 28, T. Y. Thompson, William Niskch, H. Loschen, and G. Dennerlein; on section 33, S. Willcox (about 1857); on section 34, J. Buhr, William Flesner, and E. Henrys; on section 35, Mrs. A. Price, and on section 36, Wm. Raber, Demas Judd, O. P. Ice, and F. Owenson.

The town of Gifford, on the Havana, Rantoul and Eastern Railroad, was laid out by Benjamin Gifford and Harvey E. Bullock in the year 1875. An addition was made in the spring of 1876 by Charles H. Willard. It was given its name in honor of Mr. Gifford. On the present site of the town formerly lived F. J. L. Newbern, and on the same tract was a house owned by Charles H. Willard, and rented by him to other parties.

The first house after the laying out of the town was built by Henry G. Flesner. A blacksmith shop was shortly afterward erected by Jesse H. Hull and Daniel Cummings. The first store was opened by Henry G. Flesner. John H. Fritzen started a grocery and restaurant in a building put up by B. M. Behrends. On the north side of the railroad track a whole block of buildings was erected by Harvey E. Bullock. For several months these remained unoccupied; subsequently they were used for various other purposes, and in the spring of 1878 were sold to Samuel Smith, moved to the south side of the railroad track, and are now used for store and residence purposes. A building, designed for a store, was constructed by Charles H. Willard in March, 1876, and was occupied as a residence till the spring of 1877, when a store was opened in it by Samuel Smith. The second store, however, was built and opened in June, 1876, by John Collison and Edward West.

A drug store was established in March, 1876, by H. D. Corlies, of Rantoul. Since January, 1877, the store has been carried on by J. M. Morse. An elevator was built in the summer of 1876 by Charles H. Willard and Mr. Caywood, of Urbana. The first physician to locate in the town was Dr. Salmons, who remained only a few months, and was succeeded by Dr. T. J. Berry. A Methodist Church was built in the summer of 1877, at a cost of eighteen hundred dollars. A Baptist society has been organized, but no church building has yet been erected; the society at present worship in the Methodist Church.

The business houses of the town are as follows: General Stores---Flesner & Bohlen, West Bros., Selena Smith. Drug Store---J. M. Morse.
Blacksmith Shops---Cummings & Hall, J. W. Heffington. Shoe Shop---George Rupp.
Hardware Store---William McLain.
Elevator---Charles H. Willard.
Wagon Shop---C. Nelson.
Grain Dealers---Tomlinson & Hicks, John Penfield. Hotel---J. M. Gray.

Henry G. Flesner has occupied the position of Postmaster since July, 1876, when the office was established. The physicians now living in the place: are Drs. D. R. McKinney and William Van Camp. A. B. Vallandigham, when occasion requires, acts as attorney. The town has had a rapid and prosperous growth. An important section of country is tributary to it, large quantities of grain are shipped annually, and the future success of the town is assured.

The town of Penfield was laid out by S. H. Busey in the year 1876; an addition was also made by him in 1877. It was named Penfield after John Penfield and brother, of Rantoul. On the present site of the town formerly lived Caleb P. Evertson, who had a stock farm, which he sold in 1875 to S. H. Busey.

The first house built after the laying out of the town was a grain office, erected by Tomlinson & Hicks, and conducted by C. W. Ellis, who was compelled to go to Rantoul for board, the nearest house being three-quarters of a mile distant, and the mud being so deep that it made daily travel through it impossible. The farmers had to use four horses in hauling the bushels of corn to market, and in coming to get coal and flour. W. P. Marvel built the first store, opened it, and carried on a general mercantile business. The next store was erected by S. H. Busey, and occupied by Busey & Riley. A blacksmith shop was built by R. W. Chambers, and one by F. Blain, in the summer of 1876. The succeeding fall a lumber yard and agricultural store was built by the Hamilton Bros. C. W. Ellis built a drug store, and soon after sold it to N. B. Odell, who is still carrying on the business. The same fall (1876) a warehouse was built by C. W. Ellis, who carried on the grain business until May, 1878, and then sold the house and cribs to Tomlinson & Hicks.

The first physician to locate in the town was Dr. M. M. Hazel, who is still engaged in successful practice; the next was Dr. W. S. Higgins, and the third Dr. William Van Camp, who only remained a short time. A Baptist Church was built in the summer of 1878, at a cost of $1500.

The business houses of the town are as follows: General Stores---Shaw & Charlton, J. B. Condit & Son. Drug Store---N. B. Odell.
Blacksmith Shop---Martin & Blain.
Shoe Shop---P. Peterson.
Hardware---J. B. Condit.
Elevator---Tomlinson & Hicks.
Wagon Shop---E. Whiteman.
Grain Dealers---C. W. Ellis, Tomlinson & Hicks. Hotel---F. M. Danerow.

The post-office has been under the charge of O. Riley since the summer of 1876. C. W. Ellis has creditably filled the position of Justice of the Peace, and W. A. Albert is acting as attorney.

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