Girard History, Macoupin County IL
©1996-2008 Carolynn Bettis
Girard Gazette 8 Feb 1879
Our Town (Girard, Illinois)
Girard is situated on the main line of the Chicago Alton and St. Louis railroad in the northern portion of Macoupin County, seventy miles from St. Louis, 25 miles from Springfield and 110 miles from Chicago. It is located on gently- undulating prairie, skirted at a distance of 2/3 miles by belts of excellent timber on west and north (?) south (?). It contains about 1500 thrifty, energetic and intelligent inhabitants, largely made up of southern and western people. Kentucky and Ohio contributing perhaps the most. The elevation of the town is about 650' above sea level. It is therefore fanned by a pure invigorating atmosphere, leaving it free from malarious influences and rendering it one of the healthiest communities in Central Illinois; this is also abundantly evidenced by the appearance of its inhabitants, the physical vigor of its men, the boisterous athletic sports of its boys, the uncomplaint of its fair and happy matrons and the rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes of its beautiful, bright and joyous maidens. It is doubtlessly an unthrifty place for those who live upon the diseases and deaths of their fellows.
The town was surveyed in the fall of 1852 by B. Bogges and C. H. Fink. The first house in the new town was moved from 4 miles west, during the following March by Dr. Abraham Meller, now of Nilwood and is at present occupied by Jacob Buzal. The buildings occupied by Carr & Lowe and C. C. Armstrong erected in the summer of 1853 and were the first storerooms built in the place. Among the first merchants were Alfred Mayfield, and Brother, James Michaels; William Eastham; J. W. Woodroof and Jones; John Bellamy; J. D. Metcalf; and C. C. Armstrong, other stores were from time to time started until the place has finally grown to its present dimensions. The first steam Flouring Mill was erected in the summer of 1854 but one week before it was completed, it was destroyed by fire; it was again erected upon the same ground during the following winter and spring.
At present the town has 3 steam flouring mills whose brands stand A-1 to any market; a coal mine (coal being delivered in any part of town at 7 cents a bushel); a butter and cheese factory in the course of completion; a tank; numerous stores of general merchandise; a lumber yard of mammoth size and two hotels one of which pays special attention to the accomodations of traveling salesmen, being provided with elegant sample rooms.
The high moral character of its people may be estimated by the number of churches maintained; namel: a Christian, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian & Lutheran; first 3 having largest congragations and last having no regular off. pastor. The buildings are of frame and for a small place, are unsurpassed for size and elegance.
Great care and attention is given to educating our young children; building is 2-story brick, containing 7 rooms. Six efficient lady teachers, under Prof. F. W. Crouch, principal, comprise the facultyl Daily average attendance is nearly 400 pupils.
The town, during summer months, is a very pleasant place; the streets being lined with lovely shade trees, while the roads are as smooth as city boulevards.
Girard Macoupin County IL History
contributed by Carolynn Jones Bettis
Excerpted from "The History of Girard, Illinois, 1855-1955,© by the Historical Committee - Mrs L T Weddle, Howerton Tipton, H V Stutsman, Mrs Edgar Davidson, Advisor.
(This is an extensive writing on the history of Girard. If you are interested in more of the specifics of this writing, email Carolynn Jones Bettis)
In 1852, the Chicago and Alton Railroad Company built a railroad through section 32 of Girard Township. The following year Girard was laid out near the railroad by Barnabas Boggess and Charles H Fink. The plat of Girard was surveyed by Mathew Savage. Girard was incorporated 14 Feb 1855.
With the new town, Girard settlers would no longer have to travel to Stirrup Grove in North Otter Twp to get their mail. The railroad would deliver it right to their town. That did not happen for some years. Girard had not built a side track, dug a railroad well and met some other demands. Although they had a post office, Girard continued to get their mail by horseback from Stirrup Grove and later from Nilwood and Virden. The first postmaster was James Mitchell.
The first addition was added by Thomas Lewis and John Way; the second addition was added by Barnabas Boggess. The first house was moved from Liberty School west of Girard by nineteen yoke of oxen and was occupied by Dr Abram Miller/Dr Abraham Mellar.
The coal mine was sunk in 1869 and closed in 1922. By 1891, the Girard coal mine employed 200 men.
Names of other early settlers of Girard include: Sam Boggess, McManners, W E Eastman, N Branham, J S Warfield, Billie Jones, Alfred Mayfield, Joseph Rafferty, George Wood, Julius Hamilton, William Carlin, George Yerington, Dr White, Andrews, Frederick Macknett, Jesse Metcalf, James Hedges, Sutphin, John J Stowe, Edward Gough, James H Wolfe, Thomas Cherry, George Kemp, Andrew Rathgeber, Henry Stukenberg, Alexander McDonald, Angus Maxwell.
James McCraner, Benjamin Leigh, Charles Evans, H T Chilton, James Harvey, Joseph Wrightsman, M V Kitzmiller, W C Bell, T W McBride, W T Jones, John F Roach, J W Woodruff, A H Cornman, A C Tell, Willare Magoon, John Everly, Alexander Johnson, Thurman, Moore, Nathan, Belle Woods, Kate Eastham, Fannie Eastham, John Ewing, Jacob Deck, O'Reilly, Hoblin, Walker, Miner, John C Beeby, Joseph Filbrun, Lancaster, Ervins, Columbus C Armstrong, Aros K Young, H C Harper, J E Wones, Herzberger, Herman.
Henry K Young, Edward Parks, Sr, Alfred Cottingham, Daniel Cottingham, Dr Clark, Thomas Calhoun Cherry, Bailey, Carr, Lowe, Jacob Bowersox, James Michaels, Jacob Buzal, John Bellamy, Daniel Macknett, Julius Hamilton, Baker Andrews, James Metcalf, Wm S Littlepage, Daniel Delaney, F W Ring, G W Jorns, E W Ruckel, F W Haster, Fred Storz, Henry C Hamilton, G A Donaldson, T C Dodson, Henry Stutsman, Bart Hopson, Edgar Davidson, G G Garretson, George Dohm, John Ruyle, Routzahn, Coverdill, Ball, Boston, Fletcher, Stewart, Lynch, England, Hays, Woolley, Coe, Thacker, Brubaker, Miller, Tietsort.
Gibson, Wm Hindle, B P Andrews, Dr A R Cribfield, W A Soloman, McChesney, Milton, H H Keebler, Wm Snook, Thomas Organ, Wm E Milton, Chas E Fish, Crenshaw, Powers, Stuve, George Tipton, Luke Mayfield, Leroy Mayfield, Carrie Macknett, Thomas Warren, Julius Rutherford, John Roach, David Stead, Davis, Joseph McKinney, Frank Sage, H H Keebler, Babcock, M Randall, Charles Metcalf, Hattie Shepherd, Harris Cherry, Albert Simmons, Charles Gibbons, James Kitzmiller, and Drury.
Asst County Coordinator Kathleen Mirabella
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