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

Mason County

Churches, Lodges, Etc.
Page 599

The Methodist Church was erected in 1867. Among the early pastors, we find the names of Revs. Middleton, Sloan, Shagley and Goldsmith. Rev. Sloan is remembered as the minister who was accustomed to make the entire round of his circuits on foot. Stephen W. Porter and family, Thomas Boon and family, Father Nash, P. S. Trent and family, were among the early communicants of the Church. Elders Miller and Page, of the Campbellite order, held meetings here at an early day, and had at one time an organization, but did not build a house of worship. The Catholic Church was built about 1870. The building is a neat frame, pattered after the modern style of church buildings. They have a large and flourishing congregation. Sabbath schools are regularly held at both churches. In 1861, a petition was presented to the Post Office Department, praying for a removal of the post office from Egypt Station to Manito, with a change in name to that of the village. The prayer of the petition was granted, and Smith Mosher was appointed first Postmaster. He was succeeded in office by his brother, John Mosher, in 1865. In 1865, A. M. Pollard was appointed, and, in 1869, E. A. Rosher received the appointment, and still holds the position.

In 1870, J. N. Shanholtzer erected a steam grist-mill in the village. This is the first and only mill ever built in the township. The cost of construction was about $6,000. It has two runs of stone, and is capable of turning out about eighteen or twenty barrels of flour per day. It has a fine run of custom, and manufactures a first-class quality of flour.

Manito Lodge, A., F. and A. Masons, was organized under dispensation from Most Worshipful Deputy Grand Master J. M. Gorin, in 1865. In October, 1866, a charter was issued from the Grand Lodge, over the signatures of H. P. H. Bromwell, Most Worshipful Grand Master, and H. G. Reynolds, Grand Secretary, to Henry A. Sweet, R. S. Eakin, A. G. H. Conover, John Thomas, Peter W. Gay, B. Ruthenburg, A. A. Griffin, Smith Mosher, Perry W. Thomas, Hubbard Latham, Zachariah Miller and W. W. Pierce as charter members. Henry A. Sweet was appointed W. M.; R. S. Eakin, S. W.; A. G. H. Conover, J. W. Regular meetings occur on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. In 1878, the lodge room was built by a joint-stock association. In the destructive fire which occurred December 22, 1878, the Lodge sustained heavy loss, the records, furniture and paraphernalia being entirely consumed. At present it has a membership of twenty-two. The present officers are: R. S. Eakin, W. M.; W. B. Robison, S. W.; E. S. Starrett, J. W.; J. P. Cowan, Treasurer; Fred Knollhoff, Secretary; J. C. Perkins, S. D.; R. W. Whiteford, J. D.; M. W. Rodgers, Tiler. A Lodge of I. O. O. F. laws organized about the year 1871, but has some time since ceased to exist.

The village at present has a population of about 600, and has four general merchandise stores, two groceries, two drug and notion stores, one harness-shop, two boot and shoe shops, one hardware store and tin-shop, one millinery, notion and fancy goods establishment, three general blacksmithing and repair shops. Drs. J. S. Walker and J. R. McCluggage are resident physicians, and deal out pills and powders for the pains and aches of the people, while William Maloney deals out coal in quantities to suit the purchaser.

The early settlers of the village were fond of playing practical jokes upon each other, and frequently did not scruple to tackle even strangers. Before corporate powers were conferred, it is stated that a man by the name of Moore came in and desired to start a saloon. He approached Joe Cranwill on the subject, and Joe furnished him the necessary license, for which he charged him the round sum of $25. Joe shoved the money down in this own pocket, and let the boys into the secret, and, as he spent most if not all of it in "setting 'em up," nothing was said about it, and it was many moons before Moore found out that his license was a fraud, and that he had been tricked out of his money. Many of the early denizens of the village will remember the days when "High Cod Court," as it was called, was in vogue. This was not a chartered institution, so far as we could learn, nor do we know that it had the sanction of the powers that be, ordained to meet in solemn conclave at Springfield biennially, in its establishment. But certain it is that it existed. Having charged some individual with an offense against the peace and dignity of the village, the Court would assemble and proceed to try the offender. The person presiding was dubbed the Hon. Judge Advocate, to whom all matters of difference between the lawyers for prosecution and defense were submitted, and from whose decision there was no appeal. Witnesses were called and examined, who were not expected to tell the truth any more than a witness of to-day is expected to testify to facts before a Congressional Investigating Committee. Indeed, the oath administered had a saving clause for the prosecution, couched in these words; "And you furthermore swear that you will not tell the truth in the case now pending, wherein," etc. No matter how clearly the defendant might prove his innocence, conviction was sure to follow. The penalty was generally drinks for the crowd, and usually cost the accused about $1. But these days have long since passed away, and the citizens of Manito are as staid and sober-going people as are their neighbors. And yet the old citizens love to recount these days of fun and frolic, and, in imagination, live over again the scenes and incidents of their early manhood's years. The name Manito was undoubtedly taken from the Indian word Manitou, though with just what significance it was applied to the village, we have no means of determining.

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