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

Mason County

Village Of San Jose
Page 609

This village, situated in the extreme northeast corner of the township, on the Jacksonville Branch of the C. & A. R. R., was surveyed and platted by E. Z. Hunt, County Surveyor, in 1857, for Daniel Dillon, Alexander W. Morgan, Silas Parker and Zenas B. Kidder. The original plat contained fifteen blocks 300 feet square, and eleven fractional blocks; these were subdivided into 235 lots and fifteen fractional lots. The lots adjoining the railroad were donated to the company to secure the location of the station and the building of the depot. After the laying-out of the village, a public sale of lots was held, at which some $3,000 was realized. Private sales were made until the sum realized was from $4,000 to $5,000. The investment, in many instances, proved a financial loss, inasmuch as the town failed to grow as rapidly as purchasers had anticipated, and many feeling that they had made a bad investment of means, sold their interest at a sacrifice. Moses C. Hicks made an addition on the south in 1868. At a later date, Willis Crabb and John Linbarger made additions on the east. These last are just across the line, in Logan County. Moses C. Hicks erected the first building in the village, a residence and business house combined, in the summer of 1858. In this he opened a stock of general merchandise. He came from Atlanta, Logan County, at which point he had been engaged in the same business. This building is at present occupied by N. Wool as a boot and shoe shop. The second building was erected on the corner of Second and Main streets, and was occupied as a hardware store by Messrs Morgan & Leeper. Dillon & Morgan soon afterward became the proprietors, and, at the end of six months, Dillon purchased the interest of his partner and for some time conducted the business alone. This building is now occupied by Stuart Hight as a dwelling. With the exception of two or three small dwellings, erected by different parties during 1858 and 1859, the village took a rest for about ten years. On the prospective completion of the railroad, new life was infused into the well-nigh defunct village, and a number of dwellings and business houses were erected. Nat Beardsley, from Jerseyville, opened out a stock of general merchandise, in 1862 or 1863, and, after operating it about two years, sold to Dr. Knapp and returned whence he came. In 1865, Dr. Charles D. Knapp built and opened a drug store in the room now occupied by E. S. Linbarger. Hull & Morrison, from Henry, Marshall County, came in 1866, erected the building now occupied by Chestnut & Thomas, and started a hardware store. Others came in from time to time, and San Jose was soon established upon a firm footing. The first grain merchants in the village were Buck & Scott, who began the purchase of grain in 1866. A warehouse, built by Peter Defries, was converted by Buck & Brother into an elevator, about the same date, and was the first in the village. In 1866, Moses C. Hicks built a steam elevator, which was destroyed by fire in 1868. Thomas Little operated a warehouse here for some time, which was finally taken down and moved to Teheran. In 1874, D. G. Cunningham built an elevator on the site of that formerly occupied by Hicks. This he at present operates. E. W. Nelson, of Natrona, is also engaged in grain-buying at this point. The amount of grain shipped from this point ranges from 200,000 to 250,000 bushels annually. Before the building of the P., D. & L. road a much greater amount was handled. During the summer of 1868, two very important additions were made to the town in the way of buildings. Moses C. Hicks erected a large and commodious hotel, at a cost of not less than $6,000. At one time, he had as high as forty-two regular boarders, in addition to a large transient custom. The same year, C. B. Vanhorn moved the machinery of his grist-mill from Atlanta, Logan County, to San Jose, erected a mill-house, and began the manufacture of flour. It has two run of stone and can turn off twenty barrels per day. The machinery was originally put in use at Waynesville, De Witt County, by C. Livingston. In 1857, Vanhorn purchased and moved it to Atlanta and from there to San Jose, as before mentioned. This is the first and only grist-mill that has ever been erected in Allen's Grove Township. In 1869, A. Jacobs & Co. removed their wagon and general blacksmithing shops from Pekin to this point. They manufacture from thirty to forty wagons annually and do a large amount of general blacksmithing. They have also a branch establishment in Mason City. Zenas B. Kidder was, perhaps, the first blacksmith in the village. The post office was established as early as 1858, and Moses C. Hicks was appointed first Postmaster. Albert McCollister at present occupies the position and is also a Justice of the Peace. Among the early practitioners of the village, we find the names of Drs. Parker, Voke, Rider and Fain. Just which was the first to locate we are at a loss to determine. Dr. Charles W. Knapp, now of Chicago, was formerly a merchant and practicing physician of the place. Dr. Fain is still a resident of the place, but the accumulated weight of years has largely disqualified him for the active pursuit of his profession for some years past. Drs. Wathan, Holmes and E. P. Crispell are the present resident physicians.

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