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Champaign County, Illinois

History of Ludlow Township

On the construction of the Illinois Central railroad, a station was established on the site of the present town of Ludlow, and called Pera by the Illinois Central Railroad authorities. The post- office, on its establishment, was also called Pera, and when a township came to be organized, it was likewise given the same name, and embraced the territory now comprised within the limits of the present townships of Ludlow and Harwood. The name Pera, when written, was frequently confounded with Peru, and a large amount of mail and freight matter found its way, in mistake, to the latter place, causing great inconvenience and annoyance to the inhabitants. The railroad authorities were at first averse to making a change; but as the post-office department substituted Ludlow as the name of the post-office, the township was likewise given the same appellation, and finally the railroad station was also re-named Ludlow. This name was fixed upon in compliment to Mr. James D. Ludlow, who has been actively identified with the interests of the place, and whose residence adjoins the town in the township of Harwood.

Harwood township was taken from Ludlow in the year 1869, and the township thus reduced to its present dimensions.

In the north-east part of Ludlow township, one of the first settlers was Dr. Emmons, who, about the year 1856, located on the north half of section 14. On section 10 Benjamin Dye settled the same year, buying his land from Adam Smith. Section 3 was owned by a man named Whitehead, and occupied by several renters--the first of whom was a man by the name of Young, and in 1869 was sold to Cyrus Holmes, who has since occupied it, made improvements on it, and developed it into a valuable farm.

Section 13 was first owned by Milton Payne, of Danville, and the first improvement on it was made by his sons. This improvement was made before the year 1855, and was about the first in the township; subsequently Joseph Dye lived on the same place for several years.

In the south-east part of the township, one of the first improvements was made by L. L. Hicks, on section 25, and by his brother-in-law, whose name was Martin.

John Roughton, in the fall of 1855, pre-empted the north-east quarter of section 27, and moved on it, with his family, in 1856. Esquire Roughton is still one of the leading citizens of the township, and for a number of years has been justice of the peace.

In the year 1855, a colony from Ohio pre-empted over three thousand acres of land, the greater part of which lay in sections 7, 17, 19, 29 of Ludlow township, and remaining portion in East Bend township. The members of the colony were from Summit county, Ohio. They made their pre- emptions in October, 1855, and the following November made their purchases at the government land sale at Danville.

On section 29, J. W. Dodge, who still owns land in Ludlow township, but for many years has been a resident of Rantoul, was the only one who settled in the year 1856. Dr. S. F. Selby made a settlement in the same section in 1861.

On section 17, the first settlers were John Hart, on land owned by his cousin, John M. Hart; a man named Parsons, on the land bought by Hiram Hart, and Isaac Cross, who has since removed to the State of Kansas.

The first to locate in section 19 were Abial Stevens, O. B. Dodge (on land belonging to his father, J. W. Dodge), and Michael Amhrein. On section 7, William C. Bissel made a settlement in the year 1856, and Charles Gonyon at the same date. All the above were members of the Ohio colony.

On part of section 17, Isaiah Estep began making an improvement in 1856; and Herbert Reed on section 31 in the same year.

In the fall of 1855, Isaiah Ferris pre-empted the north-west quarter of section 7. On section 15 a man named Martin made the first improvement.

Elisha N. Genung, in 1855, settled on section 35, where his family still reside. Mr. Genung was a native of the State of New Jersey; he made the first improvement on section 35, and died in 1867.

There were comparatively few settlements before the war, and the township settled up mostly in the years 1864 and 1865.


Reference has already been made to the fact that the town of Ludlow was formerly called Pera. The depot and freight house erected by the railroad company in the year 1854, were the first buildings ever erected in the town. They are still standing, and in use for their original purpose. A man named Lewis was the first station agent. The next building to be erected was a store, by Richard Claypool--an old building still standing east of the passenger depot. Claypool opened the first store ever established in the town, and also succeeded Lewis as station agent. He subsequently sold his goods to Wm. Jordan and James Canady.

Samuel and Jonathan Middlecoff established the second store, in a building erected by them, and which is now occupied by Wm. L. Braden, as a hardware store.

The first dwelling-house was built by David Buntin. Claypool's store-building passed into the hands of Thomas Gallagher, now of Harwood township, who used it as a dwelling. Wm. Jordan built a dwelling-house which was considered in that day quite pretentious, and is now owned by James D. Ludlow.

The first blacksmith was John Springstein, who carried on the trade for several years, and is still living in the town.

Among the business men who at different times have resided in Ludlow, were Robert W. English, who carried on a heavy lumber business; Augustus and James Crawford, who built the store now occupied as a dry-goods store by John L. Braden; Timothy L. Pratt, who dealt in the lumber business; Michael Huffman, who carried on a general mercantile business; Augustus Bear, dealer in provisions and groceries; John L. Braden & Sons---William L., Robert J., Richard F., and Oscar Braden, who have all been in business in the town; James M. Eddy, who had a dry-goods store, and sold to Braden and Swinford, and is now living in Smith county, Kansas; Charles Pratt, general merchant; U. R. Clark, dealer in flour, lime and salt; and George Cook, dealer in general groceries.

The present business establishments of the town are enumerated as follows: Dry-Goods Store.---Braden Bros. (Oscar and Richard Braden.) Grocery Stores.---Augustus Bear, George Cook. Drug Stores.---Ezekiel Gill, A. E. Scovill. Hardware Store.---William L. Braden.
Blacksmiths.---Jesse Lingo and Joseph Bartons, J. C. Flemings. Wagon Shops.---J. C. Flemings, Ezekiel Osborne. Flour, Lime and Salt.---William Clark.
Grain Dealers.---Gideon Camp, Mr. Condit, agent for the Buckinghams of Chicago; Abraham Claypool.
Physician.---Dr. M. A. Glennan.
Postmistress.---Mrs. H. E. Harnit.
Station Agent.---E. Hewitt.
Collection Agents.---J. M. Harnit, and J. W. Cole. Justice of the Peace.---Michael Huffman.

The population of the town is about 400. A large two-story building furnishes ample room for school purposes.

The first Church society organized was the Christian Church, in the year 1857 or 1858. It worshipped in the school-house. The Rev. Mr. Dudley and other ministers preached to the society until the Rev. Mr. Roberts took charge of the congregation, and under his ministry the church was built in 1871. The building was erected on land given by Mr. James Ludlow, and cost about $3,000. The Rev. Mr. Matthews and the Rev. James Morgan were subsequent pastors. The congregation is now under the pastoral care of the Rev. John M. Smith.

The first church building ever erected in Ludlow, was the Congregational, on land given by James D. Ludlow. It was constructed in 1868, at a cost of about $3,000. The pastors have been the Rev. George Slosher, under whose direction, and chiefly through whose activity and influence the church was erected; the Rev. A. E. Everest, and the present pastor, the Rev. Mr. Worrell.

The Methodist church was built in the year 1872, at about an equal cost with the others. It stands in the western part of the village. The Revs. Mr. Dale, Johnson, Finnity, Gasner, Goodspeed and Muirhead have been pastors, the last the one now in charge of the congregation.

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