Modesto History - North Palmyra Township Macoupin County
©1998 Robert Fletcher

History of and Charter for the Village of Modesto

contributed for use by Robert Fletcher

"The Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railroad was laid out in 1878 and completed in 1881. A group of men, namely I. B. Vancil, R. T. Allyn, H. M. Shumway, John Hodges and Robert Horton purchased a strip of ground from Mr. Shumway and laid it out in lots. They offered to give a lot to anyone who would erect a business building or a home on the lot that would cost at least $500. Some of these men built residences, rental homes, or business buildings." Source: HISTORY OF MACOUPIN Co. Illinois, 1879. Pages 163-164.

The Modesto post office was established 6 Mar 1882. Modesto was incorporated in 1896 and named by I B Vancil for Modesto CA. By 1875, the St Louis, Chicago, and St Paul Railroad had been built in the area. Modesto is located in Sections 15, 16, 21, and 22 of North Palmyra Township. In 1980, Modesto's population was 260 residents. In 1990, the population was 240 residents. Source: Illinois Place Names, Illinois Historical Society, 1989.

"The postal records in the National Archives show that the Modesto Post Office in Macoupin County, Illinois was established on March 6, 1882 with Alexander Nevins as the first Postmaster. John Q. Fletcher was Postmaster June 28, 1897." Source: National Archives, Archives I Reference Branch, NNR1, 97-0188. Washington, D. C. 20408. Letter of Nov. 31, 1996.

"The first telephone was a homemade affair and connected the I. B. Vancil home with the bank in town. In 1894, James A. Fletcher put in a phone system that was largely homemade. He sold out to a company in Waverly. A local company was organized and bought out the Waverly company in 1909." Source: HISTORY OF MACOUPIN Co. Illinois, 1879. Pages 163-164.

From Macoupin County IL Probate Records: Petition for Village Organization in Macoupin County Probate Order Book Q, pages 178, 194, 328, 344, 345, 365, and Fee Book E.



STATE OF ILLINOIS, ss. in County Court, March Term, A. D. 1896. Macoupin County,

Pleas, before the Honorable Balfour Cowen, Judge of the County Court of Macoupin County, in the State aforesaid, and at a term thereof begun and held at the Court House, in the City of Carlinville in said County, on the First day (being the second day) of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety six and of the Independeence of the said United States the one hundred and twentieth.

Present, Honorable Balfour Cowen, Judge of the County Court of Macoupin County in the State of Illinois. E. C. Knotts, State's Attorney Fred G. Oeltzin, Clerk P.C. Davenport, Sheriff

Attest: Fred G. Oeltzin, Clerk. (Charter for Village of Modesto, Illinois)

And heretofore to wit: on the 15th day of February A. D. 1896. The Same being one of the days of the February term A. D. 1896 of Said Court held at as aforesaid: and present as aforesaid: A Petition was filed in Said Court and the following order was Entered of Record in Said Court Viz:

In the matter of the Petition of: Thirty Legal Voters Residing in the Territory Bounded as follows: Beginning at the Center of Section Fifteen: Running thence West to the Center of Section Sixteen: Thence South to the center of Section Twenty one: Thence East to the Center of Section Twenty two: Thence North to the point of beginning all in Township Twelve. North of ?????/. Eight West of the Third principal Meridian in the ??? County and State of Illinois: to organize as the "Village of Modesto" under the General Incorporation Laws of the State of Illinois in Relation to Cities, Villages, and Towns:

It is ordered by the Court that an Election be held at the "Grange Hall" in Said Territory on Saturday the 14th of March A. D. 1896. And that Jelk Allyn, J. Q. Fletcher, and L. G. Brown be and the Same are hereby appointed Judges to hold Said Election: at which Election the Legal Voters residing within Such Territory Shall Each be Entitled to Cast one Ballot: "For Village Organization under the General Law" -or- "against Village Organization under the General Law."

And Afterwards to wit: on Monday the 16th day of March A. D. 1896 the Same being one of the days of aforesaid March Term A. D. 1896 of Said Court "Held at" as foresaid: and Present as aforesaid the following proceeding were had and was ordered to become a part of the Records of Said Court:

In the Matter of the Petition Petition for Village Organization of Wm. M. Curley. Et als

And now on this day comes J. M. Allyn and Returns into Court the Ballot Poll Books and Returns of an election held for Village Organization under a Previous order herein. Whereupon it is ordered by the Court that A. J. Duggan and C. T. Bouillon, Justices of the peace, in and for Said County of Macoupin be called in to canvass the Votes now Returned into Court by the Judges appointed to hold Said Election under the General Laws of the State of Illinois: Such Canvasses finds the Returns of Said Election Regular and the Results being: Fifty one votes for Village Organization and Nineteen Votes against Village Organization: Seventy one Ballots Cast, one being a Rejected Ballot: A majority of the Votes being in favor of Village organization under the General Incorporation Laws. It is therefore Ordered that such Village be Recorded as the Village of Modesto, Illinois.

It is further ordered by the Court that an Election be held in Grange "Hall" in Said Village on Tuesday the 21st day of April A. D. 1896 for the Election of one President, and six trustees, one Clerk, and one Police Magistrate, in and for Said Village and that Hiram Drum, R. J. Allyn, Robert Conlee, be and are appointed Judges of Such Election and L. G. Brown and J. Q. Fletcher, clerks, thereof, and Afterwards to Wit: on Wednesday the 22nd Day of April A. D. 1896 the Same being one of the Days of the April Term A. D. 1896 of Said County Held at as aforesaid "and Present" as aforesaid the following proceedings were had and become a part of the Records of Said Court.

In the matter of the Organization of the Village of Modesto, Illinois: And now on this day came R. J. Allyn, one of the Judges of the Election for Village officers of the Newly Organized Village of Modesto held April 21st 1896 as messenger for Said Board of Election Judges, and Return into Court the Poll Book Tally list and Ballots of Said Election. (Identifying them under his oath.) Z. Harris and A. J. Duggan, Justices of the Peace, were Called in Open Court Canvassed Said Returns and Certify the Election of Hiram Drum as President; R. K. Alderson, J. G. Nead, R. J. Allyn, J. Q. Fletcher, R. L. Conlee, and L. G. Brown as Trustees. C. W. VanWinkle as Clerk and W. T. Brown as Police Magistrate. Ordered that Said Person be Certified as Elected be and they are hereby declared Elected to the Said Several Offices Respectively: the Said President, Trustees, and Clerk to hold their offices until the next annual Elections for such offices and until their Successors are Elected and qualified: and the Said police Magistrate for the term of four years and until his successor is Elected and qualified.

I, Fred G. Oeltzin, Clerk of the County Court of Macoupin, County, in the State aforesaid do hereby certify the above and foreging to be a true, perfect, and complete copy of the Record and proceedings had in a certain cause Late pending in said Court, on the Probate side thereof, in the Matter of Organization of the Village of Modesto in the County of Macoupin and State of Illinois.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and Affixed the Seal of Said Court, at City of Carlinville This Seventh day of May A. D. 1896. Fred G. Oelfin, Clerk SOURCE: Office of the Secretary of State, Index Dept. Springfield, Il. 62756. Letter of Sept. 29, 1995.

On Sept. 8, 1898 John Q. Fletcher applied for a Post Office in Modesto, Illinois. "The ( P. O. Dept. ) name of my Office is Modesto. The P.O. is situated in the S. W. quarter of Section No. 15, in Township 12 (north), Range 8, (west), County of Macoupin, State of Illinois. The name of the most prominent river near it is Illinois. The name of the nearest creek is Panther Creek. This Office is 40 miles from said river, on the East side of it, and is 5 miles from nearest creek, on the East side of it. If on the line of or near the railroad, on which side and how far from the track is your Office located? 24 Rods west of the St. Louis, Chicago & St. Paul RR."(Signature of Postmaster) John Q. Fletcher (Date) Sept. 17th 1898 Source: National Archives and Records Administration. Washington D.C. 20408.

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