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

Mason County

Village Of Kilbourne
Page 623

Kilbourne was laid out in 1870 by John B. Gum, the proprietor of the land, on portions of Sections 28 and 29. It is on the Springfield & North-Western Railroad, quite an energetic little place, and contains about one hundred and fifty inhabitants. The first store in the village was opened by William Oakford, soon after it was laid out. A saloon had been kept by "old Billy Martin" before Oakford opened the store, but he kept nothing but "bad whisky." Calvin Atterberry bought out Oakford, and, about the same time, Dr. Field opened a store. A post office was established in 1873, with Edward Bigelow as Postmaster. C. L. Newell is the present Postmaster. The schoolhouse was moved into the village after it was laid out-probably about 1873-74. It is also used for church purposes, there being no church edifice in the village. The Baptist and Methodists have societies here. Rev. Mr. Low is the Methodist Pastor, and Rev. Mr. Curry is Pastor of the Baptists. A Sunday school is also held in the schoolhouse, of which S. M. Rollins is Superintendent. There is no school going on at the present writing, but we believe the teachers for the coming session are engaged. The school employs two teachers, there being over one hundred children in the district who are entitled to school privileges. The business of the place sums up about as follows: Three general stores, one drug store, one family grocery, two blacksmith-shops, shoe-shops, two practicing physicians (Dr. Root and Eldridge), etc., etc. An excellent grain elevator was built in 1873 by Low & Foster and McFadden. At present, it is owned by Low & Foster, of Havana. It is well equipped, having patent grain-dumps, and is operated by steam. Low & Foster and McFadden & Co. handle grain extensively at this point.

Kilbourne has quite a handsome, well-kept little cemetery. The first burial within its ghostly precincts was Jennie Holmes, a girl about thirteen years old. Most of the early settlers, however, continued to bury their dead in what is known as Pratt's Graveyard, some distance from the village. It is a large burying-ground, and was laid out in the early days of the settlement of the country, and contains the remains of many of the pioneers who have gone to their last rest.

Long Branch is a summer resort on the banks of - Ruggles' ditch. As a popular watering-place it was not much of a success-except in a very wet season. The summer cottages have been moved away, and it now presents a rather lonely appearance on the wide prairie. It is situated on the Springfield & North-Western Railroad, a few miles from the village of Kilbourne, and was laid out in 1871, by Gatton & Ruggles. At present, it consists of merely a side-track, for shipping grain and stock. A post office was established in 1872, with N. S. Phillips as Postmaster; but that, in a few years, was discontinued, and nothing now remains but the side-track above referred to. It is, perhaps, needless to say that, in point of interest or popularity, it never equaled its Eastern namesake. It never did.

Cuba was another village of the town of Kilbourne, but doubtless there are few who now remember it. Its existence was merely on paper, and short-lived at that. Indeed, it is indebted to the following circumstance for having any existence at all: During the exciting war between Havana and Bath for the county seat, and while the latter place was the seat of justice, the Havana people succeeded, by a little adroit wire-pulling at Springfield, in securing the necessary legislation for bringing the question up, and having it decided by a vote of the people (which they did in 1851), well knowing that when it came to counting noses, they could out-count Bath. The Bath people thought to offset this sharp manueuver by establishing the county seat upon a new spot, and for this purpose bought eighty acres of land of Dr. Mastick, on Section 9, which they figured out to be the geographical center of the county, though what mathematical rules they employed to do so we are unable to discover. This eighty acres of land they surveyed and laid out in lots, with a handsome public square, streets, alleys, etc., etc. The election came off, the people voted the county seat to Havana, and thus ended the hopes and anticipations of Cuba. The proprietors paid Dr. Mastick $100 to take back the land, and the plat was never admitted to record.

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