Grand Tower, ILL. Fri. Dec. 17, 1926
History of Grand Tower by:
Henry C. Crow, Staff Writer for G. T. Free Press
Typed and Donated by ©Vicky Cripps
In writing the history of Grand Tower the writer of this article has no intention of writing a complete history of the city. Our intention is only to relate some of the most interesting events connected with the foundation of the town, and to give an account of how and by whom it was founded.
Perhaps it would be well to begin this history by relating a very interesting event that happened 123 yrs. ago, on the ground part of which is now Grand Tower.
But so that our readers will understand the facts that led to this event, we will have to go still farther back to the year of 1725. At this time all of the land on the opposite side of the river was Spanish territory, all the way from New Orleans to the MO. River. Steam or railroads had not been heard of, and all the commerce was carried on by flatboats, which had to be propelled by the hand of man with sails, and oars. Valuable cargoes were brought across the ocean to New Orleans, and brot up the river to St. Louis, which city at that time was only a small trading post under a Spanish flag and commander.
The cargoes being of great value, it was not long until bands of river pirates collected, and began to rob and murder the crews of the boats. They finally became so bad that the Spanish government sent the Spanish soldiers out and killed a great many, and drove them off of Spanish Soil. Then a very large and desparate band of them collected at G.T. and committed some of the worst cruel murders and robberies that had ever taken place on the river, for the yr.1803. ILL. was a territory, and in the vicinity there were no settlers hardly, and there was no one to stop them, and it got so bad that the U.S. took matters in hande and sent a regiment of Cavalry here to break up the band. The writer will now take the liberty of quoting a page from C.W. Radcliff history. Early days of commerce which will give a better account of the event than the writer could. Page 109 Radcliffe early days of commerce days: The United States Cavalry arrived early in the Summer of 1803, and went into camp at the Devil's Bake Oven, and at once got into action. They remained in camp until the following Sept, and by that time had succeeded in capturing and killing most of the band, and scattering the rest of them so there was no more trouble after that incident, and the river became safer for navigation. Perhaps it may be of interest to state here, that the regiment was in command of Jeff DAVIS who afterwards became president of the Confederate States during the Civil War.
The writer will now give a short history from that time up to the founding of Grand Tower. All the land north of Maple St., was first entered as a homestead from the government by a man by the name of WALKER. The original grant took in all of the land back of the WALKER HILL. The hill takes its name from WALKER. In 1820 Elisah COCHRAN came to what is Grand Tower and purchased WALKER'S interest.
He built him a house at the end of the Devil's Back Bone, and the first night he lived in it a panther came down off the hill and killed his cow. The writer mentions this fact merely to show how wild the country was here then. Mr. COCHRAN lived in that house for a number of years then built another house on the ground where Tiffin JENKINS has his residence and coal office.
He lived there till the year of 1866. Then the G.T.M.M.& T. Co., was organized, and purchased all the land north of the HUTHMACHER Store. Up till that time what is now G.T. had three names, while there was not a half dozen houses anywhere near; Yet there was three small landing on the river. The most important one was EVAN's Landing, by which the name of the town was generally known. That landing stood just south of the present City Hall in fact the division line runs thru the center of the hall, between that and the COCHRAN estate was the T.W. JENKIN's land which also has a small landing called the JENKIN's LANDING.
Then Elisha COCHRAN had a wood yard just north of where the Merchant's Basket and Box Factory's pier is now, called Wood Yard Landing. Elisha COCHRAN died in the year 1870. He left a very large family of children, most of whom are still living. The most widely known one to the citizens of G.T. is Geo. COCHRAN who still resides on a part of the original estate, and is himself of very old age being in his 76 yr. The G.T.M.M. & T., Co., were the founders of what is now the city of G. T. the Co. at once commenced operation by getting the way and building the G. T. and Carbondale railroad, it being the 5th railroad built in the state of ILL. The railroad was finished to Mt. Carbon now part of the M on Xmas day 1866. The following spring it was finished to Carbondale, and opened to the public. The writer came to G. T. on the 1st train run over the road. The co. then erected two large pig iron furnaces on the Devil's Back Bone on the west side, and build a large ship yard on the ground where the C.I.P.S. Plant now stands. They then built a large coal dump at the south end of the Devil's Back Bone, and built 60 coke ovens, a few hundred yards north of it. The Co., erected 80 houses for living quarters for the men. They built a very fine house for the president of the Co. which was said to be the most costly house in Southern Ill. The house was fitted inside with hot and cold water, all fittings being copper and brass, the first president of the Co. for whom the house was built was named Gen. Henry FITZLINE. He was a Brigadier Gen. in the Civil War, and on several occasions distinguished himself. The sad part of it is the fact he never got to enjoy the comforts of his splendid home, only 6 wks. there was a cholera epidemic raging here, and he and his wife went to visit a dying sister in Ind. And both contracted the disease and died. The Co., also built just north of that house, another costly house was over 50 yrs. old, and was destroyed by fire just recently. It was the property of Sam BLANDFORD, who is a brother in law of the writer.
Another very beautiful house built by the Co., stood on top of the Oven Rock and was probably the best known house in the Miss. Valley. When it was illuminated at night it could be seen for miles around up and down the river. The Co. soon developed the largest coal trade ever carried on the river between this part and New Orleans, ever carried on the river. There was at one time 8 large tow boats transporting coal between here and the Gulf of Mexico. Among them some of the most powerful boat of the day. This fleet consisted of the following boats: Grand Lake, Eva No 8, Comet, Beaver, Petrell and Ajax. There was such a large number of men employed that there was not boarding room for them in G.T. so the Co. purchased a large passenger steamer named E.L. Woodward and removed her machinery and established a floating hotel. The boat was anchored to the bank where Capt. BECKER's pier is and Jr. Jas. CROW of Carbondale, Ill. was brot here by the Co., to manage it. The hotel had accommodations for 250 guests and was continually crowded. Mr. Jas. CROW was the father of L.M. CROW who is the Post Master here and who has held that office for 30 yrs. Jas. CROW was also the father of the writer of this article. He lived close up to the nineties before he died. The tow boats mentioned above, were in command of some of the most prominent Captains on the river, two of them commanded GUN BOATS during the Civil War.
Probably the one that was most interesting to G.T. Citizens was Capt. Wm. HAYDEN. Capt. HAYDEN was the commander of the 1st boat owned by the G.T.M.M. & T. Co., He was the father of the wife of Dr. C.D. GARDINER a prominent physician and druggist of G.T. also the father of Mrs. Jennie POST, who was the wife of Geo. POST, Bro. Of P.M. POST, who was the conductor on the 1st train ever run over the old G.T. and Carbondale R.R.
Capt. HAYDEN was also the grandfather of Dr. Wm. GARDENER, a prominent physician if Herrin, Ill. and also the grand father of C.D. GARDINER, Jr. of G.T. Ill.
Capt. HAYDEN was killed in discharging his duty while he was first officer of the Steamer Henry Lowery. The writer was a subordinate officer under Capt. HAYDEN, at the time, and accompanied the body to G.T. for burial.
His widow, Mrs. Eliza HAYDEN, still alive, and while up near her nineties is still hale and hearty quite often makes long railroad journies by herself to visit relatives and friends, of whom she has many. The writer has known and numbered her among his friends for 57 years.
Other prominent men who were officers of the old Co. some of whom afterwards became nationally known, were: H. V. OLIPHANT, 2nd Pres. Of the Co., Andrew C. BRYDEN, Thos. WILLIAMSON and Henry HARSTIE. There are a few interesting facts that will be well to mention here, about the old G.T. and Carbondale R.R.
The crew that pulled the first passenger train over the road was Peter M. POST, Conductor, Thos. W. NESBITT, Engineer, Horrace TEETERS, Brakeman, Peter M. POST afterward became the leading druggist of Murphysboro, Ill.
The 2nd conductor was Horace TEETER, other conductors were Ike FARNER, Cecur SPENCE, and Wm. BRYAN.
Other ingineers on the road were Lem WILSON, Gene GALLIGHER, Bob KELLY, and Wm. ELLIS, all the above mentioned men are long since dead.
Some of the iron for the road came from England and was brot up the river on the steamer Magnet No., 1, and was unloaded in front of the present site of the HUTHMACHER Store.
One of the locomotives was also unloaded there, the iron and the locomotive was then loaded on a barge and towed up Muddy River to Mt. Carbon by the Steamer Beaver. At that time there no bridges on the Big Muddy River, and a great many boats used to go up Muddy River. It will probably interest our readers to know that there was at one time a very large trade in lumber, chair timber, ties, stave timber, and logs on Muddy River. All of it was done by boats, the boats that were engaged in that trade were named Little Jim Reese, Mab, Beaver, Mary Michel and several others.
Other interesting things about G. T.: At one time all the ground on which G. T. stands was planted in cotton starting on the north where the light Plant is now, it extended down to the southern limits of the city. There was at Sand Ridge a cotton gin where it was ginned, and hauld to the river and shipped. Some of it was also hauld to Carbondale and shipped via the I.C.R.R. it being the only road in So. Ill. at that time. G.T. gets its name from the famous G.R. Rock, a large rock which is over 100 ft. high, entirely surrounded by water. This rock stands in front of the town, and is a National Park, being the smallest National Park in the world. Behind this rock in high water is the most dangerous whirl pool on the Miss. River, and it has taken a large number of lives.
Probably the saddest occurrence was the drowning of an entire wedding party which occurred on the 9th of Apr. 1839. The writer has copied the following account of it from an early history of Perry Co, Mo. page 86 says the party was composed of ten persons as follows: Miss Penelope PIKE, who was the bride, Mr. John Randolph DAVES, who was the groom, the father and mother of the bride, the mother of the groom, a sister of the bride and 3 negro slaves, and the Rev. Josiah MAXWELL who performed the ceremony.
The wedding took place on top of the rock and when they got into the boat to return to the side of the river, it was caught by the whirl pool and the entire party, with the exception of one of the negro slaves were drowned. He clung to the boat and came up out in the middle of the river and was rescued by some fishermen.
After the G.T.M.M.T Co. came another Co called the Lewis Iron Co., erected what at that time was the largest iron furnace west of Pittsburg, It had a casting capacity of 40 tons at one casting. It stood just south of Elmer OCONNEL's store, it had a high stack for burning the surplus gas and burned day an night, At night the light could be seen 10 miles in any direction.
Following is an account of the leading industries and business that were formerly here: The city of G.T. had at one time a population of 3500, While there was no Government census taken while it was at its peak, but a County Commission placed it at that figure, 700 of the population were Negroes.
A large negro quarters was build by the company where most of them were housed. It stood on the East side of the railroad, about half between the depot and the light plant on the ground of what is now part of Mr. EVAN's farm.
Among the pioneer business men who located here was Mr. C. SCHULSE, R.H. MORGAN, and J.W. CHAPIN.
Mr. SCHULSE was probable the most prominent one. He did the largest business in the town at that period. His sales have probably never been equaled even down to the present time. He was the father of Mrs. Emma HUTHMACHER, wife of C.C. HUTHMACHER, Pres. Of the First National Bank, and also the father of Mrs. Ida BLAKE, wife of Prof. E.L. BLAKE, who is Supt. of the G. T. Pub. Schools. Another prominent business man was R. M. MORGAN who built a store where Harry GAERHART is now in business. J. M. CHAPIN then came and built a store just north of that corner, in front of where the residence now is. He bot Mr. Morgan out and for many years did a very large business. Then Mr. Thos. EAST a very prominent and wealthy farmer became associated with CHAPIN and purchased all of the CHAPIN interest. Mr. EAST died a number of years ago, his widow Mrs. Laura EAST still lives in the old CHAPIN residence and owns all of the original CHAPIN and MORGAN interest. Mr. EAST was the father of Mr. Jno. EAST owner and editor of the G.T. Free Press.
G. T. had at one time the following industries, a saddle and harness factory, a large jewelry store, a cigar factory, two gunsmith shops , a large brick factory, where thousands of brick were made and shipped monthly.
It stood about where the farm tenant house of Prof. BLAKE now stands. Just north of it was a large rock quarry. There was 3 other large quarries on the Devils Back Bone, all in operation at the same time, also a large lime kiln that stood at the South end of the Back Bone that were in operation day and night. There were 3 large hotels, the St. James, a large 3 story frame, which stood where the store of J. M. BREWSTER now is, The Oniel Hotel stat stood east of where the HUTHMACHER store now is. This hotel at the time was one of the most popular hotels in Southern Ill. It was headquarters for all the travelling men and the most prominent people who came to town were its guests. among some of its guests were Gov. Shelby McCULLEN, Gen. LOGAN, Gen. DODGE, Capt KING and Capt. J. H. KADA, all of whom are spoken of elsewhere in this story. This hotel was run by Frank BARROSOWSKY, who was the 2nd Mayor of the city, and one of the early commisioners while the City was yet a Village. He served 6 yrs. both Mr. and Mrs. BARONOWSKY were famous for their hospitality to all. Mr. B. died 38 yrs. ago, his widow conducted the hotel until its destruction by fire which occured on the 19th of July, 1913. She is still alive and altho 77 yrs. old is still in the best of health and a very interesting person to talk to. The writer of this article is proud of the privilege he has of numbering her as one of his best friends, and quite often calls upon her to talk over old times, we have been friends for 57 yrs. Beside the Hotels spoken of above there was several smaller hotels, the most prominent ones being the Tower Hotel, and the Cover Hotel, of course, there was several large boarding houses too numerous to mention. Perhaps one of the most interesting spots in the city is where Mr. Tiff JENKINS lives, for this reason when the old G.T.M.M.T. Co. was at its peak, the payrolls for all their business, both for the mines, railroad and furnaces, were made up here. At that time it amounted to over $100,000 a month. There was no bank here to protect the money, so the Co. built a fire proof vault to protect the money, and they allowed the citizens to place their money and valuables in the vault for safety. The old building in which the vault was situated was destroyed by fire the vault was not injured. The Co. then erected the building which is now Mr. JENKINS residence and coal office. The old vault is still in first class condition and anyone wishing to see a relic of old times can call and Mr. JENKINS will take pride in showing it to them. The writer wishes to say here that when he started out to make his own way in the world he chose the Miss. Steamboating. The first boat on which he shipped Mr. Tiff JENKINS was his partner, and was in the year 1859/we were both mere boys, neither being out of his teens, and it so happened that the boat on which we shipped was the Little Jim Reese, and was commanded by Capt. Wm. HAYDEN, spoken of above. Capt. HAYDEN's widow is a sister to Mr. Tiff JENKINS.
Grand Tower has been the host for several famous men that have been high up in Gov. affairs. In 1868 the War Dept. sent out a commission of Military Officers to inspect the different Soldiers Barracks in the country. The Commission was headed by Major General John A. LOGAN, who was later U.S. Senator and also candidate for Vice Pres. Maj. Gen. Greenfield DODGE, Capt. Jas. E. WADE, who later built the Wade bridge at St. Louis and also Jetties at the mouth of the Miss. River. Capt. John M. THOMAS, who designed the famous dynamite cruiser Vesuvieus, which rendered such good service in the Government during the Spanish Am. War. After this commission inspected the Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, they came to G.T. and were the guests of the City for one day. Another famous Gen. entertained here was Gov. Shelby M. CULLEN. Capt. Isaac CLEMENTS, and several members of the state Senate, at that time, they were thinking of locating the Chester Penitentiary here and they came here to inspect the ground. A man of some note, who for a great many years was a citizen of G. T.- Dr. B. W. BOND. Dr. BOND was brot here by the founder of G. as the official Physician and Surgeon for the Co., We have an aged citizen here, Philip HINTON by name whose foot was amputated by Dr. BOND. The old negro is proud of the fact that he can say that the 1st Gov. of the State was his surgeon. The oldest grandson of the gov. was named SHADRAOB in honor of the Gov. and taught school in Grand Tower. Three of the grandsons married G. T. girls. Edward BOND married Miss Mae ELLIOT. Thos. BOND married Miss Clara DAVIS, Chas. BOND married Miss Libbie JENKINS. Another famous Gov. of Ill. lived near G.T. for several yrs. We refer to Gov. DUNCAN was Gov. in 1836. He lived west of what is now Fountain Bluff Station, about 2 mi. north of the Light Plant.
Old building of Grand Tower, the oldest building in G. T. is old stone building standing back of the residence of C.C. HUTHMACHER. It is nearly 100 yrs. old. It was built in 1840 by Marshall JENKINS. It was the old family residence of Thos. JENKINS family. We will have something to say later about the Thos. JENKINS. The next oldest building is the house where Mr. Homer CAVANESS lives in. It was built 1 yr. Before the Civil War and is now 67 yrs. old. It was built by Dr. ROGERS who also built the brick building that the Daniel Groc. Co. is now in. It originally stood on the ground where the residence of Ralph C. HUTHMACHER now stands. That ground was part of the original COCHRAN estate. Dr. Rogers married a daughter of Elisha COCHRAN. The building was recently purchased by the negro Odd FELLOWS and moved to its present site.
The brick building spoken of above is over a half century old. The L.M. CROW residence is over half century old. Mrs. BARONOWSKY's home is over 50 yrs. old. Part of the house of Mr. Frank BUTZ is 54 yrs old and a number of others which we will speak of later in this history. The first Post Office Grand Tower had was in the old COCHRAN farm house.
A.B. PARMISE was the first Post Master, the 2nd. One was John DILLINGER, father of Henry DILLINGER, other Postmasters were: Thos. JENKINS, W.C. ANDERSON, Liffen JENKINS, Jas. CROW, L.M. CROW, son of JAS. CROW, L.N. CROW probably has the record in Jackson Co., for number of years served, as he has been P.M. for nearly 30 yrs. G.T. had at one time 3 large dance halls, - The Rodgers Hall, G'Sell Hall and D. Rall Hall. The most prominent one was the Rodgers Hall. It is still standing. It was upstairs over the Daniel Store. It contained a stage and all the traveling theatrical companies played there. All society affairs were held there. There was a social club here that gave many entertainments in that hall. The young society people of G.T. used to produce a good many amateur theatricals here in those days. There was considerable talent here then, and a good orchestra and flats of some note were produced there. One of them was a member (John JENKINS by name) a brother of Liffin JENKINS is now in the movies in Hollywood, Cal. The town used to give a great many masquerade Balls and parties. A costume Company from St. Louis would come down and bring hundreds of costumes and rent them out. The balls were attended by people from Carbondale and Murphysboro, and other nearby towns and the hall would be filled to its capacity. The G'Sell Hall was run in connection with the G'Sell Hotel spoken of above, and a great many entertainments of some note were given there. It stood on the ground where Mrs. Evans residence now is. The D. Rall Hall stood in the south end near the Lewis Iron Furnace was located, and was headquarters for all the employees of that Co. and some fine entertainments were given there. In the late sixties and early seventies there was an immense flow of immigrants moving to the West and South-West. They travelled in covered wagons drawn by horses and oxen, and at that time this place was a favorite place to cross the Miss. River and hundreds of wagons passed thru here every summer. There was a steam ferry boat here called the Ida May, plying between here and Wittenberg, Mo. and it made several trips a day transporting the wagons across the river. It was nothing uncommon to see as many as 20 wagons a day waiting to get across. The Ferry was owned and operated by Capt. Jas. ROBISON, a very prominent citizen
Of G.T. he erected and owned the home where Prof. E.L. WAKE now lives and owns. He reared a large family there, some of whom are dead, but a few still live, but have all moved to other places and are all very old. Capt. ROBISON died a great many years ago at the age of 87. Capt. R. was an expert rifle shot and a hunter of great experience and brot in many deer and other game, he was sometimes called the Daniel Boone of G.T. He was also an expert gunsmith and often made his own fire arms. He was also an expert river engineer, and served as chief engineer under Capt. HAYDEN mentioned above.
Another well known man who was born here and lived here all his life many yrs. before G.T. was ever thot of, was Mr. Thos. JENKINS, a son of Marshall P. JENKINS, who built the old stone building mentioned above.
Mr. Thos JENKINS did a great deal toward the developing of G.T. He owned all the land bounded on the North by the COCHRAN estate, on the South by a line running East and West from the river thru the center of the City Hall, back to the East line of the farm of Prof. E.L. BLAKE including the BLAKE farm and all the ground that the Central part of G.T. stands on. He held several positions of trust in G.T. He served as Treasurer, Police Magistrate, City Marshal, Post Master and Justice of the Peace. He erected the residence which is now the home of Mr. C.C. HUTHMACHER. At the time he built it. it was one of the finest homes in this part of Jackson Co. It was built a half century ago. He had a large grist mill where the HUTHMACHER barn and pump house is, where he ground hundreds of bushels of grain. He died many years ago. One of his daughters is the wife of a grandson of the 1st Gov. of the State. Another old citizen was M.A. EVANS who did much for G.T.- He made the EVANS addition to G.T.- all of the south end of G.T. stands on what was formerly his ground. He for many years was official coal agent for the old company. He was the father of Joe EVANS, formerly in business in Carbondale, Ill. And later a prominent business man of G.T. both father and son are now dead. It will no doubt be of interest to our younger readers to know that during the construction days G.T. contained a large number of saloons and 3 very large beer gardens.
The most prominent one was on top of the Walker Hill, south of cemetery. It had a long dancing pavilion that would accommodate 100 couples at a time. A restaurant, a shooting gallery, and an athletic filed where one could box, punch the bag, run foot races or any other sports of the kind. There was a large silver cornet band and orchestra connected with it, and it was one of the most popular places of amusement in Southern Ill. Quite often they would run excursion trains from Carbondale, Murphysboro, and other cities and on sundays and holidays, and sometimes there would be 2 or 3 thousand people on the ground. Prizes were given for the best rifle shots, runners, junpers, boxers, and best dancing couples. It stood on the ground which is now a farm owned by T.W.Rowe. In the early days there were a good many crooks and gamblers came here, and like a frontier town always are, a peace officers life was not an easy one. There were some murders, many robberies and many other crimes that were never cleared up. One such murder that occurred was the shooting of City Marsha Geo. D. CADY. He attempted to arrest 2 drunken desperadoes and was shot by one of them, the shooting occurred north of where the I.C.R.R. Depot now is. Altho mortally wounded, he walked back to the Tremont Hotel and collapsed. He was taken home and lingered for a few days and died. He was a fearless officer, noted for his bravery and tact in handling situations. A Posse was organized and the desperadoes who were in a sleigh were captured a few miles from town and brot back, to avoid a lynching, were taken to Murphysboro and while awaiting trial broke jail and escaped. One was recaptured and served a long term at the Chester Penitentiary. The other was never heard of again. Geo. CADY was the father of D.H. CADY who has been Deputy Sheriff of the Co., City Marshall of G.T. and has himself been under fire and like his father showed no fear and both times acquitted himself with credit. He has lived here all his life being born here down in the 1st Ward. He now resides in his new home in the 2nd. Ward and has a large family, one of 2 of his girls are teachers in the public schools at G.T.- he still has the vest his father wore when killed. The bullet hole still plainly shows and he quite often wore the vest when making arrests. The writer will venture to say it will not be a healthy meeting for the murderer of his father if they ever meet, althow he was only 4 yrs. old when it occurred.
37 yrs. ago on the 27th. day of Mar. the city of G.T. was visited by a terrific cyclone, which destroyed 60 houses and caused the death of 3 persons, and the wounding of several more.
The houses that were destroyed were the large double houses built by the Co. to house their employees, but it so happened there were not many people in them at the time or the loss of life would have been great. G.T. had a very disastrous fire on the 19th day of July 1913, which destroyed a large block of valuable property. The famous Tremont Hotel spoken of above was destroyed in that fire. In that hotel, a very valuable oil painting of the City of G.T., the old pig iron furnace, the famous Grand Tower Rock and all of that stretch of the Miss. River in front of the town was shown in the picture. It was painted by Mrs. Mary CHAPIN, who was an artist of great ability. She was the wife of Jas. CHAPIN spoken of above and as far as the writer knows, both she and her husband are still alive and are residing in Washington, D.C. There was also destroyed in this hotel 2 valuable prizes that were voted to the hotel by the travelling salesman association as being the most popular hotel in Southern Ill. This hotel won the contest twice competing against Carbondale, Anna, Murphysboro and Duquoin.
Another fire destroyed a valuable flour mill occurred about 22 yrs ago. It stood on the ground where Miss Anna GUSTINO residence now is. It was owned and operated by Mr. Tiffin JENKINS and some very fine flour was made there. It will probably be a surprise to a great many of our readers to know that the pig iron that won the Gold Medal at the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia in 1876 was made by the old G.T.M.M.T. Co. in G.T. It also took 1st. prize at the Berlin Steel and Iron Fair in Berlin, Germany in 1878. The iron ore from which it was made came from the famous Iron Mt. over in the Ozark Mts.
Other interesting facts about the old G.T. Carbondale R.R.
For the 40 yrs. after it was built it ended at G.T. The Round House stood a few yards Southeast of where the office of the Merchants Basket and Box Co., now is. The hole which contained the turn table can still be plainly seen although it is nearly filled. The forman of the round house was Michael O'CONNEL, who was the father of Elmer O'CONNEL, now the Mayor of G.T. The original depot stood north of the present residence of Mr. Tiff JENKINS. The road extended down front street to about where the bank now stands. Then it went down to the water edge to a transfer cradle where a large transfer steamer would land. The locomotive would back down the loaded coal cars and push them on the boat, the boat would then take her cargo up to the Crystal City Glass Works which is 36 mi. south of St. Louis. The cars were then pulled off the boat, the coal dumped , the empty cars returned to the boat and she would return to G.T. for another cargo. Then the I. Central purchased the road and extended it to Cairo.
Other Things of Interest
The 1st steamboat that ever ascended the Miss. R. north of Cairo (therefore the first to ever pass G.T.) was the Zebolon M. Pike (Gould's History of Early Navigation on the Missippi, Page 102). She made the trip from louisville to St. Louis in 6 wks. She landed at the foot of Market St. in St. Louis on the 2nd day of Aug. 1817. She was in command of Capt. Jacob HEAD. Page 106 says: The inhabitants of the village were all down to see the boat land, among them were a group of Indians, the fire, smoke and noise made by the boat frightened them and they took to the woods, and could not be induced to return. The first steamboat to ever ascent the Big Muddy River as far as Murphysboro was the Walk in the Water, which event took place about 17 yrs. before the Civil War. The Engineer on that boat was John D. ELLETT who was the father of John ELLET, Jr. who is the oldest citizen now living in G.T. He is not but a few yrs short of 90. He was on the boat himself althou only a very young boy. John ELLET, Jr. is the father of a large family, and served thro the Civil War, took part in numerous dangerous engagements, and was twice wounded and for one of his age is very well preserved. After the "Walk in the Water" was wrecked Mr. Jack LYRLEY secured her boilers and put them in a large saw-mill near where Aldridge Station now is and sawed thousand of ft. of valuable walnut timber into lumber and shipped it to St. Louis. Mr. LYERLY was the father of Adam LYERLY now a prominent citizen of G.T. and also the grandfather of Mr. Fred LYERLY, cashier at the 1st Nat. Bank. There is another thing that will interest our readers, the fact that Samuel CLEMENTS, a writer known to the whole world as "Mark Twain" was often in what is now G.T. He was formerly a river pilot and many times landed his boat to put off freight at the old Evans Landing, as that was the principal landing for G.T. at the time. A place of some interest used to be the old Circus Grounds. It was where the residence of Mrs. Laura EAST now is, also part of the old CHAPIN and MORGAN interest spoken of above was included in said grounds.
The 1st. Circus that ever exhibited on the grounds and the 1st. that ever came to G.T. was the famous DAN RICE Circus, which came Apr. 11, 1868. Next came VAN AURBORGEN then followed in order named JNO ROBINSONS, ADAM FOREPAWS, YANKEY ROBINSONS, COL. DRIEBATCH's German Circus and D.W. BOWER's Animal Show. DAN RICE made yearly visits here for several yrs. This ground finally being for the business houses spoken of above, the Circus grounds were moved to another locality. While writing of Circusses it will be interesting thought for readers to know that a G.T. boy became one of P.T. Barnum's best acrobats and was known in all the principal cities in the world, having made the trip around the world with Barnum and Bailey's shows. He was known to the public as the "Flying Irishman"- to us in G.T. as plain Tommy HALLIGAN. He got his 1st training on the sawdust pile left from an old saw mill that stood in front of the present site of the City Hall. This mill was owned by M.A. EVANS. The G.T. School boys erected an old fashioned spring board and a turning pole and used to practice athletics there. HALLIGAN soon became the leader and even when a boy could vault over several heads of horses. He is or was still living the last time the writer heard from him. He and the writer were classmates in Mathematics at school in 1872. There was another G.T. boy who went around the world with Barnum, but as a clerk in the Business Dapartment. His name was SAMUEL MORGAN, Jr. His father was proprietor of a large saloon and boarding house here during the seventies. Thos. EAST, father of John EAST, owner of the G.T. Free Press, thot seriously of adopting the acrobatic profession for his business. He became quite good, he could easily vault over 4 or 5 horses. Perhaps it will be of interest while writing in this connection to state that the highest price that was paid for a horse in G.T. Township was paid by the above mentioned Dan Rice Circus to Jas. EAST (uncle of Thos. J. EAST) for a horse raised and trained on the breeding farm of J. EAST. Mr. Jas. EAST followed the profession of horse breeding and owned a large farm. The horse alluded to was a large white stallion that Mr. EAST had named Dan Rice in honor of the circus man. When Dan Rice Circus played here a few yrs. later, Mr. RICE heard of the horse, he sought Mr. EAST and when he saw the horse he at once. became attached to him and purchased him. It has been stated that the price paid was between $800 and $1000. This was at that time a race track here and horses from all over the state were brot here and raced. Mr. EAST had a fine string of horses and won many races. A noted racinggman who was known to every horse racing man, who owned a string of fine racing horses was Thos. LOGAN, bro. of Maj. Gen. John A. LOGAN. He often raced his horses on the Grand T. Track. The above mentioned Jas. EAST was the grandfather of Leonard EAST, one of the engineers at the light plant and the great uncle of J. EAST, owner and editor of the Free Press. The race track stood on the river bank starting north of residence of A.A. BLANDFORD, Jr. and ran due north, being a straight away mi. track. It was cut away and destroyed by the Miss. R. many yrs ago. There is one old building that deserves special mention for 2 reasons. It was built by the husband of Mrs. Mary GASKINS , who was one of the earliest of the teachers of the public schools in G.T. and the other reason is, that it was the home of the HUTHMACHER family for many years. Mr. Chas. HUTHMACHER, now Pres. Of the Bank for many years conducted the largest meat market that was ever in the city. Sometimes he would butcher 2 or 3 head of cattle, several head of sheep in a day, besides handling wild deers, turkeys, and other wild game, which was plentiful in those days. He died in 1875, his widow, Mrs. Josephine HUTHMACHER, then took over the business and ran it for several years. She deserves a great deal of credit for her success for she was left with a very large family of very young children. The oldest boy, Chas. being only 15 yrs. old, she recently died being in her 90th yr. The building we refer to is now the home of Mr. Henry DILLINGER son of Jno DILLINGER who was the 2nd Postmaster of G.T. There are a number of old people living in G. who were very early citizens.
Among those mentioned above in Dr. M.W. BAYSINGER, who came in 1870, Judge W.C. ANDERSON, who came in 1874, and who has held several positions of trust, having been Postmaster, City attorney, Police Magistrate, Justice of Peace, and Notary Public.
Dr. C.D. GARDINER, came in 1879, has served the City as Mayor, Treas, Alderman and School director. There are a few old citizens still living in the City who worked for the old Company that founded G.T. a few who worked for them a half century ago is: Tiff JENKINS, age 57, L.M. Crow, age 51 yrs, Frank SHOEMAKER-51, The following is list of all the men who have served as Mayors of the City from its 1st Mayor in 1875, down to 1914. Anything later than that cannot be considered History.
1st Mayor Geo. MURRAY 1873-1874
2nd " Frank BARONOWSKY 1875-1880
3rd " B.B. BROWNLEY 1881-1882
4th " J.D. PETERS 1883-1884
5th " John DILLINGER 1885-1886
6th " Chas. GOODWIN 1887-1888
7th " R.C. WOLF 1889-1892
8th " C.D. GARDINER, M.D. 1893-1894
9th " Tiffen JENKINS 1894-1895
10th " C.D. GARDINER, M.D. 1896-1897
11th " B.H. WEBSTER 1898-1900
12th " Fred MONTE 1901-1905
13th " C. C. HUTHMACHER 1905-1910
14th " E.P. BECKER 1911-1914
It would not be well to close this history without saying something about the early churches of the City. Probably the most historic and interesting church building in all Jackson Co. is the First Prs. Church of G.T. It was built by the G.T.M.M.T. Co. 56 yrs ago. The 1st Pastor was the Rev. J.G. BUTLER, a man well known all over the state of Ill. He was a well educated and most lovable man. He served thro the Civil War and was promoted on the field for bravery shown under fire. The Church stood originally in center Red Town in the 3rd. Ward. It was moved to present location in the 2nd. Ward. The next oldest church is the Methodist Church. It originally stood west of where the I.C.R.R. now runs. Opposite to where the BLAKE farm residence stands. The writer has no record of the 1st Pastor, but a very early one was A.D. GRABO, a well known pastor was Rev. LATHROP. He was also the landlord of the old Tremont Hotel, now the residence of W. HUFFMAN. He also was the great great grandfather of Mrs. Harry BARTON, now living down in the 1st. Ward and he also was the grandfather of Mrs. R.P. WILLIAMS who now resides in Baton Rouge, La. She was formerly a G.T. Girl, another very prominent pastor of this church was the Rev. SPIEAR who came a great deal later and who was also a soldier. Not in the U.S. Army, but in the English Army. He had a fine record for bravery He was stationed in India during a native rebellion and led his Co., in a desparate Battle, for which act he was bervetted on the field and was later presented with a Gold Mounted Sword by the Eng. Government. The writer had the pleasure of once examining the sword. It was beautifully engraved and a very costly weapon. These two old churches are very dear to the Christian men and women of G.T. for the reason that when they were young children, they with their departed parents worshipped there, and now they are old and gray and have their own children going with them to the same old church and probably some of them sitting in the same pew that they sat in over a half century ago, and we doubt when they enter the doors of these churches their memories carry them back to those old days and thots of that beautiful old poem backward.
Backward turn backward, Oh time in your flight.
Make me a child again, just for tonight Mother come back from that echoless where, Smooth from my forehead the wrinkles of care. If time could only do this dear readers, we would have a happy old world.
In bringing this history to a close, as we stated at first, we have not in any way attempted to write a complete or a detailed history of G.T.
We have only mentioned some of the most interesting facts and events for the benefit of the younger readers who had not yet come into existence when G.T. was in her glory.
There are a great many interesting and historical events we have not mentioned. The writer wished to say that he has tried to be as accurate as possible and tried not to make any mistakes. We only hope that the younger generation will live to see G.T. come back to all the glory of long ago. The writer is long past his 3 score and ten and will not be here to see it, but he is glad to have been here and to have seen what he has seen, that is the old town in all its glory. We will close by wishing you good luck to you all and may fate so will it, that all the younger generation will live as long and see old G.T. in all the glory that the writer has seen it in.
Signed H.C. Crow (Writer)
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