1879 History of Menard & Mason Counties
Published by: O.L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers
186 Dearborn Street

Mason County

Manito Village
Page 598

This village, situated on the P., P. & J. R. R., near the center of the northern boundary of the township, was surveyed and platted by James Boggs, Deputy County Surveyor, for James K. Cox, Robert M. Cox and William A. Langston, in 1858. Soon after the laying-out of the town, Hon. Hugh Fullerton, of Havana, acquired an interest for the influence exerted by him in procuring the location of the depot on the village site. The expectations of the proprietors must have been very great, and they possibly may have imagined that in the rearing of the first two or three buildings they beheld a miniature Chicago in embryo arising in their midst. One hundred and ten acres were laid out in blocks, streets and alleys. Manito did not increase in growth very rapidly, until the close of the war, in 1865. Egypt Station had been laid out in 1857, on the line of the railroad, about three-fourths of a mile southwest of where Manito now stands, and when the road went into operation, in 1859, from Pekin to Virginia, the contest for the mastery waxed warm. Egypt Station had the advantage in the beginning, in that she already had two or three stores and the post office, but Manito secured the location of the depot, and immediately the scepter departed out of Egypt. The village of Spring Lake, which has already been mentioned as having been established by Col. Robert S. Moore, as early as 1851, contributed to the upbuilding of Manito, by giving her business men and citizenship to swell the population of the newly begun village. The farm residence of James K. Cox, erected in 1851, stands near the center of the business part of the village, east of the railroad, and may be easily recognized from the fact that it stands at an angle of about forty-five degrees with the street fronting it. The first business house in the village was erected by James K. Cox, and was occupied early in 1860 by E. A. Rosher, as a general merchandise store. Mr. Rosher is still a citizen, and is the veteran merchant of the village. The second store in the village was kept by J. P. & Alexander Trent. A. M. Pollard, from Spring Lake, opened a grocery store in 1861. Langston & Havens, Rankin & Luckenburg, had each a general store quite early in its history. J. Mosher opened the first drug store in 1865 or 1866. In 1868, Smith, Hippen & Co., of Pekin, built an elevator, at a cost of $5,000. It has a capacity of 15,000 bushels, and 10,000bushels can be handled through it per day. It is operated under the personal supervision of Fred Knollhoff, who is a member of the firm. The firm of Smith, Hippen & Co. was the first in the place to purchase grain on an extensive scale. Their annual shipments range from 250,000 to 300,000 bushels. Previous to the building of the elevator, a Mr. Cranwill had bought grain for some years, at this point, and shipped in gunny sacks on flats. In 1876, James A. McComas built the Manito elevator, at a cost of $6,500. It had a capacity of 20,000 bushels, and, in annual shipments, ranged from 200,000 to 250,000 bushels, making the total annual shipments from the village from 500,000 to 600,000 bushels. This was operated by Mc Comas one year; afterward by different parties, and, in 1878, Grier & Co., of Peoria, took charge of it. It was totally destroyed by fire on the 29th of May, 1879. The building contained 5,000 bushels of grain at the time of its destruction. The village of Manito is conceded to be the best grain point on the P., P. & J. R. R., form Peoria to Havana, except Pekin. The business trade of the village aggregates about $500,000 annually. Some of the statements in regard to the history of the village and the dates of their occurrence may not be, in every particular, correct, but this is owing to the fact that the village records have been twice destroyed by fire, and the dates given are those that have been furnished us by the citizens who took an active part in the proceedings. The village was incorporated under the special act known as the Springfield and Quincy Act, in 1866. The following names persons were chosen as members of the first Board of TrusteesS: R. S. Eakin, Joe W. Brooks, Smith Mosher, Joe Cranwill and E. W. Crispell. The Board selected R. S. Eakin, President; Joe W. Brooks, Treasurer, and Joe Cranwill, Clerk, Stephen W. Porter was first Police Magistrate. The village continued under this organization till 1875, when the charter was surrendered by vote, and it was re-organized under the general law for cities and villages. The present Board consists of W. B. Robison, Thomas Boon, Joel Cowan, J. S. Pollard, M. Lins and A. J. Roberts. The officers of the Board are: W. B. Robison, President; J. S. Walker, Treasurer; W. C. Hall, Clerk; R. S. Eakin, Police Justice.

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