Marshall County

1976 Deep Are the Roots

Steuben Township

[Page 94]

This unique home is not quite antique by some authorities' standards, being built as recently as 1886. Robert Waugh built the house as a home for his family begun with Lina Stephenson whom he married in 1877. He was born in Selkirkshire, Scotland in 1838, came to the United States in 1850 to Ontario City, New York and Marshall County in 1853. He worked on a farm in LaPrairie Township for three years and farmed on his own account there until moving to Steuben Township in 1862 where he worked one year. Then he worked in Livingston County two years when he entered Baker's 1st Calvary of District of Columbia in January, 1865. Waugh served until December, 1865 when he was mustered out through diseases. He came home to peddle dry goods in 1867 and established his business in 1870, located next to (now) Franks' Hardware on Ferry Street. He carried a full stock of boots, shoes, and clothing and dry goods suitable to his trade. He was known as a liberal, reliable man. Robert and Lina, a native of Woodford County, had James, Joseph, Edith, Leslie and Robert.

Waugh lived above the store until 1887 when he moved into the octagonal house built earlier. He purchased the land from John Martin in February, 1886 for twenty-five dollars. Edith Waugh Monier, the late Mrs. Halsey Monier, remembered the day they moved into the house. She had been sent to the care of friends, for she was about three years old. When they took her home, it was the wrong house and she cried bitterly.

Working with Robert Waugh in his business was Andrew Aitchison. He was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in April, 1857, and came to the United States when he was nine months old. He peddled goods from a wagon throughout the township. He lived with the Waughs above the store for a time.

Andrew bought the business in 1912, but in the meantime he married Elizabeth Jane Pringle in October of 1880 and they moved into the octagonal house about the same time as Andrew bought the store. He paid $3,000 for the house and property in 1913 to Carolyn Waugh Dunlap. The Aitchisons had six children: Grace, b. December, l888; William, b, August, l892; George, b. February, 1894; Dean, b. May, 1902; Fred, b. (?), and Nelle, b. (?).

The house was sold in 1973 to Gary D. and Nancy Hendrick Coker. It was in quite poor repair and now the long restoration begins. Gary is an illustrator with Caterpillar, while Nancy is a retired Montressori directress and artist. In June of 1974, Sara Jane was born, the first child born in the house in over sixty years. November of 1975 brought Joshua Hendrick Coker and a new era of history to the Octagon House on Steuben Township.

Mrs. Gary D. Coker


Herridge Homestead

The house located on the farm four miles west of Sparland on Route 17, Steuben Township is over one hundred years old.

This dwelling is believed to have been built in the middle 1800's by Albin Gallup, an early settler in Steuben Township.

The farm was acquired by the Alice Herridge family in 1925.

The west portion of the home has changed little since it was built by the Gallups. A corner window with a window seat adds charm to the dining room of this modest home.

An original fireplace with delicately carved wooden mantel and mirror helps heat the living room of the present occupants, Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Herridge.

[Page 96]

Mr. and Mrs. William Monier purchased the Oak Glade Farm in 1868 from Jabez Fisher, the old pork packer of Lacon.

William Monier was born on the Isle of Man, May 1, 1834, and came with his parents to America in 1850. It took 21 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a sailing vessel. The journey from New York to Illinois was up the Hudson River by boat, the Erie Canal to Buffalo, thence by the Great Lakes to Chicago. They came down the canal to LaSalle then by river boat to Peoria and settled near Brimfield. In 1857, the family moved to Saratoga Township.

Willmina Doran, who would become his wife later, was born in New Brunswick, Canada, July 5, 1841. In 1848, the Doran family moved to Boston. There they became acquainted with the Fisher family, who in turn persuaded them that the Illinois farming country had a promising future.

So in the summer of 1850, they came to Illinois by the same route that the Monier family came. They arrived in Lacon October 31, 1850. After living in Lacon that winter in a two room house with four adults and ten children, a little crowded by today's standards, they moved to Jabez Fisher's "Oak Glade Farm," the present residence of Halsey and the late Edith Monier, Robert W. and Myrtle Monier, Joe and Donna Monier, and their families.

On December 23, 1860, William Monier, age 26, and Willmina Doran, age 19, were married and began farming in Saratoga Township.

In 1868, William and Willmina Monier sold their 160 acre farm in Saratoga Township and purchased the 327 acre "Oak Glade Farm" from Jabez Fisher.

Now in 1976, Rodney Monier, the son of Robert W. and Myrtle, has an interest in a cow and calf herd on this farm. It is the fourth generation of Moniers to have a working interest in "Oak Glade Farm" and the fifth generation to live there.

The old horse barn that was built before Willmina Doran's parents moved to "Oak Glade" is still standing.

At the present time, Joe Monier's family lives in the house pictured. It was built by William Monier in 1878. The original home is basically like it was constructed ninety-eight years ago.

Mrs. Robert W. Monier

[Page 98]

Norin-Guigler Farm

In l889, Mr, Rathbun, an unmarried man, purchased 40 acres in Section 17, Steuben Township from Barsillia Ridgway and Rosetta, his wife, for $l600.

Mr. Rathbun never rnarried, and at his death in 1921 his property, consisting of several farms and property in Chillicothe, Illinois, was inherited by his several nieces and nephew. This nephew, John Norin, died less than a year later and thus his holdings then came into the possession of his four daughters, Julia (Norin) Guigler, Alverna, Mary, and Ida Norin.

The four were co-owners of this acreage and another acreage until the late 1930's when Alverna sold her holdings to one of the sisters. The three remaining sisters owned the property until about 1964. At this time the two younger sisters, Mary and Ida, sold their share of the farm to the oldest sister, Julia. All other farms and rental property had also been disposed of from time to time.

This last forty acres was owned and occupied by Julia, the remaining family member until her death in 1971.

At the present time, it is owned by her three remaining children, a son, Walter Guigler, and two daughters, Alba McDonald and Mary Lou Winkler of Lacon. A grandson, Gary Guigler, also shares in this acreage.

Since its purchase in 1889, it has been continuously occupied by family members, with the exception of a short time when it was rented during a two-year period.

Today's occupant, Larry Guigler, is a son of Walter Guigler, one of the present owners. None of the original buildings remain today.

Mrs. Alba McDonald

[Page 99]

Methodism has played an important role in the Sparland community for more than a century. In 1837 the Rev. Zodac Hall of the Central Illinois Conference traveled through here and organized the First Methodist Society. The members were the Thompson, Tanquary, Drake and Watkins' families.

Preaching services were held in the Samuel Thompson cabin, just west of the present site of Sparland. One year later a log cabin house was built in which the second Sunday School in Marshall County was organized. Children from many Protestant families attended; some walked while others came from Lacon crossing the river in canoes.

In 1845, Frank Smith, a young man of nineteen was sent to serve the Henry Mission. He preached in Henry, in the Thompson School and in the home of John Hammett on south Yankee Street. The first Quarterly Conference recorded was held in 1847 when Rev. W. C. Cummings preached in the schoolhouse and in the cabin of George Sparr.

The next year, under the leadership of Rev. J. K. Kirkpatrick, money was raised to build the Bethel Church. Asa Thompson was given a contract to erect the building on his farm; this farm is presently owned by Ezra Rumbold. Specifications called for a stone foundation, oak or walnut frame, oak sheeting and pine shingles. It was to be built in a substantial manner and at a cost of $650. The Presiding Elder, Rev. Horey, dedicated the building December 1, 1849. Trustees of the church were John Hoskins, James Tanquary, Jehiel Watkins, Leonard Timmons and I. Q. Tanquary. Great revival meetings were held every winter, sometimes lasting as long as six weeks.

In 1857, J. T. Wilson began preaching in the village of Sparland every Saturday evening. The name of Washington Gehr appears as the first class leader.

In February, 1864, the trustees, S. R. Hurlbut, Zelmon Johnson, S. H. Williams, James Callen, W. E. Gehr, Charles Savell, A. J. Baughman and Samuel Tuttle purchased Lots 6 and 7 in Block 3, Cotton's Addition to Sparland, from John Y. Cotton and Sarah Cotton for the sum of $150.

In 1867, Reverend William Leiber was sent to this charge and he spent a year raising the money to build the Sparland Church in 1868. Two years later the parsonage was built. At this time the Whitefield Church was also a part of this charge.

Bethel Church was now considered to be located too close to the Sparland Church and not centrally located for its own membership, so it was moved one and one half miles farther west in 1875 and located on a site owned by James Bussell. In a few years a vestibule was added and new windows, furniture and decoration made it adequate for the increasing membership.

Sparland church members were growing and a parlor, belfry and bell were added at a cost of $700. During the pastorate of Rev. Franklin Rist, the church underwent a complete remodeling at a cost of $2,700 and the parsonage was modernized for $2,000.

Men of high ideals and great vision served the Bethel-Sparland charge.

In keeping with the times, Bethel Church joined forces with Sparland in 1922 and the old Bethel Church stood as a silent tribute to her many years of faithful service until 1932 when it was torn down and the material used to enlarge the Sunday School room and build a kitchen for the Sparland Church. At this time church services were in the morning with Sunday School in the afternoon.

In 1928 the Sparland and Henry Methodist Churches were put on one charge.

From 1932 to 1940 the church was at its peak in Sunday School and church attendance. The county award for high Sunday School work was won for several years in succession.

A member of this church has been serving as a missionary in Chile. Miss Lucille Jacobs has been in South America for the past thirty-five years.

In 1944, Sparland, LaPrairie Center and Blue Ridge joined together as a three point charge.

On Easter Sunday, 1953, new pulpit furniture was dedicated in memory of those who have meant so much in building the Kingdom of God.

A new organ was purchased in 1957, in 1961 a new heating system was installed. These improvements have added to the beauty and comfort of the old building which continues to serve well since 1868.

Currently the church is served by the Reverend LaRoss Fistler.

[Page 101]

The handsome brownstone house, which for nearly one hundred years stood as a landmark in the village of Spar land (where the Shell station is today), was known by all the local folks as the Tesmer House.

The house on the hill was built in 1869 by an eastern financial tycoon, John Y. Cotton. Mr. Cotton brought a St. Louis architect to Sparland to design his new home. The splendid home patterned after those found in the Chateau country of France was erected. Mr. Cotton realized his dream of transporting a hillside in France to Sparland on the Cotton Hill overlooking the Illinois River.

After the completion of the home it was sold to an immigrant German, Dr. Tesmer, who had recently married Lizzie (Elizabeth) Shaw, daughter of George and Penelope Shaw, the owners and builders of one of Marshall County's best known landmarks, the old brick home at Shaw's Point just west of Varna.

In the late 1950's the heirs of Dr. Tesmer sold the property. The old home was torn down and the site became the location of a service station.

[Page 102]

As visitors enter Sparland from the east on Route 17, a fainiliar landmark to their left is the “Whiffle Tree Place."

It was constructed by Frank O'Leary for his residence when he acquired the 40 acres of reclaimed river bottom land around 1890.

In the early 1930's, Mr. Charles S. Jackson, a wealthy Chicago mortician and insurance executive purchased the property. He remodeled and redecorated the home into his summer home and hunting lodge. Because of Mr. Jackson's interest and love of fine trotting horses the name "Whiffle Tree" (singletree) was chosen for the house at this time. He was the owner of many prize trotting horses. Racing friends, entertainment stars, and sports figures were often guests of the Jacksons for duck hunting on the Illinois River.

Miss Elizabeth Hexter recalls the times she assisted the famous Joe Louis when he stopped in Hexter Brothers Department Store in the early 1930's.

After the death of Mr. and Mrs. Jackson (they had no children) the property was left to Mr. Marshall Byumn of Chicago and eleven years (1965) ago, the Larry Wilkins family purchased the farm. Their five daughters have grown and today Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins reside in Whiffle Tree Place.

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