contributed by Mary McKenzie
Excerpted at the Carlinville Public Library and from the Medora Messenger dated October 15, 1897, by Cindy Leonard
Additional information about the 1897 Medora fire from Linda R F Arnold
Jesse Rhoads came from KY in 1829 and settled south of Macoupin Creek near the present day Medora. In 1830, Jesse's brothers Jacob, John, Henry, Josiah, and William came to the area. Henry was a doctor. Thus the area became known as Rhoads Point.
Before 1850, mail came to Summerville and people from Rhoads Point would ride out and bring the mail back. The Post Office of Rhoads Point was first located at Judge Rice's home. Mail came once a week. The postmaster, Wm R Summers would call out the names and each person would step forward and get his mail. After 1870, the railroad station brought mail daily.
In 1859, the Village of Medora was laid out by T R McKee and Thomas B Rice. But it wasn't until the plat map was filed in 1870 by Judge Thomas Rice that the name was changed to Medora. In 1870, the population of Medora was 700.
In 1870, Judge Rice gave ten acres to the Rockford and Rock Island Railroad for a depot and yard and when the railroad was surveyed and graded he filed the plat of Medora.
It was written that a young man named Rice and called "Uncle Wash" in his later years had a fancy for the romantic verse of Lord Byron and upon the incorporation of Medora, the young man took up his copy of the "Corsair" and turned to the third Canto, 19th verse and read, "The Lights are high on beacon and from bower, And midst them Conrad seeks Medora's tower.
Early settlers of the Medora area were Lewis Elliott (1831), W H Carson, G B Carson, Gideon Blackburn, John Carson, and James Carson (all 1832); Dr Coward (1839); Thomas B Rice (1835): Dr Joseph Hunter (1858).
Other early names include Dr Woods, Dr Ray, John a Payne, Andrew Steed, Prof George Walker, Stroud Keller.
A choral society list of 1885 includes many more names from the Medora area: Prof J A Carson (director), Mark Keller, Edward Simpson, Charles Payne, Carey Brewer, George Skeen, George James, N B Challacombe, Henry Wilson, C E Hunter, Alonzo Rice, C C Carson, W A Challacombe, Myra Simpson (Mrs Myra Cook), Mollie Simpson (Mrs J E Walton), Cora Jones (Mrs Fred Baughman), Lucy Kemper (Mrs Lucy Carter), Julie Simpson, Emma Keele (Mrs Edward Simpson), Adah Hunter (Mrs Adah Tietsort), Amelia Artman (Mrs Harry Chenoweth), Mable Payne (Mrs Robert Reeves), Kitty Parker (Mrs L O Hayward), Myrtle Payne (Mrs Stanley Sanders), Maggie Rice (Mrs George Forward), Effie Hunter, Ella Bush, Anna Ellis, Will James, Ves Snow, Will Squier, George Burns, Charles Corey, Sabin Loper, Leo Parker, Rose Carson, Mrs Y J Montague, Ethel Carter (Mrs Thomas Burns), Trude Carson (Mrs Warren F Goff) and Nellie Steed (Mrs C H Day).
In 1897, Medora lost all of its businesses and a few fine homes to a fire. Al Robbins discovered the fire early in the morning on his way to work. Names mentioned in relation to the fire were Robing, Sanders, Whitfield, A Artman, Dr Erwin, T A Loper, C H Day, Nettie Heintz, C N Ore, T A Loomis, Dr Walton, French Farrow, W A Price, A R Moore, Mrs Date Stone, Simon Gruhn, Joseph Drennan, W T Roach, Jos Hill, W F Keller, E E Peebles, C W Tietsort, A R Moore, W A Price, Wilkerson, A Steed, Dr Ewin, Story, Victor Heintz, Ronkley.
Linda R F Arnold was researching the Newspaper Archive from FHC for Macoupin surname Cherry when she came upon this article:
The Graphic newspaper of Postville, Iowa October 14, 1897, Vol. VI. No. 39, p.2 had the following little article:
"Twenty Buildings Burned.
Carlinville, Ill., Oct. 7.--A fire yester-
day morning nearly wiped out the busi-
ness portion of Medora, a thriving
town of 1,200 inhabitants in the south-
west portion of Macoupin coutny.,
Twenty buildings in all were consumed."
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