Historical Articles about Kinmundy, Illinois

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The following articles are typed below in their entirety:   

"Centralia Sentinel”; Centralia, IL  July 27, 1865 - “What I Saw in Kinmundy” - "Kinmundy - July 18th, 1865"


"Centralia Sentinel" – Dec. 21, 1865 - "Kinmundy"

(Unknown newspaper date from the late 1800's) - "Village of Kinmundy"

 “Origin of station names” - “Early Ill. Railroads “(Fergus Historical Series, No. 23) pp. 130-31; Ackerman, W.K.   

“Brinkerhoff’s History of Marion County, Illinois - 1909” - by Prof. J.H.G. Brinkerhoff;  Kinmundy Township and Village of Kinmundy (pages 201-203)

"The Centralia Sentinel"; Centralia, IL; Aug. 6, 1910; p. 102 - "Kinmundy, One of Marion County’s Best Towns"

"The Kinmundy Express" - April 18, 1912; "A Brief History of Kinmundy by Leon Hanna"

"The Kinmundy Express" - "Facts on Early Kinmundy History" (contributed by Frank Hicks)

"The Kinmundy Express"; Kinmundy, Illinois; Oct. 26, 1916; "Early Settlers of Kinmundy; Brief History of Early Days Prepared by D.C. BEAVER with Assistance of others"

"The Kinmundy Express" - 1972 -  "4th of July scene on 'Main' Street in Kinmundy 59 years ago" 
A letter sent from Irene See Brasel when the Kinmundy Centennial was being planned - Oct. 25, 1956

"The Centralia Sentinel"; Centralia, IL; Dec. 13, 1956 - "Kinmundy Prepares for Centennial" - by Earl C. Jupin

Kinmundy Centennial Booklet - "Kinmundy - Railway to Thruway; 1857 - 1957"

Oct. 11, 1966 – "Salem Times-Commoner"; Oct. 11, 1966; "The Times-Commoner Reporter Visits KINMUNDY" By Diana Smith

"Sesquicentennial of Marion County, IL (1823-1973)" - "Kinmundy"

“A Peek at Our Past” – "Kinmundy: The Early Years" – by Dr. George Ross


"Directory of Marion County Businesses and Industries - by George E. Ross, Marion County Genealogical & Historical Society Footprints - 1986

“Golden Business” - Kinmundy National Bank anniversary - local Marion County, Illinois newspaper - circa 1992

Kilmundy original name of Kinmundy; by Anne McCarty - "Village platted 122 years ago in 1867"

“The Kinmundy Express” - "Calendar Rohrbough Home Dedicated in Ceremony Held Sunday Afternoon"

“Golden Business” - local Marion County, Illinois newspaper - circa 1992

“The Centralia Sentinel” -  “The historic Captain Calendar Rohrbough house has been home to three of Kinmundy’s mayors”
By Judith Joy – Features Editor

"Kinmundy Hopse visitors will take advantage of various local activity spots" - "The Sentinel" - April 27, 2012

 “Centralia Sentinel”; Centralia, IL  July 27, 1865

“What I Saw in Kinmundy” - "Kinmundy - July 18th, 1865"

Friend Fletcher:  Thinking about a few lines from this place would be acceptable, I take the liberty of scribbling a little.

            Arriving here on the train last evening, I was met at the depot by hosts of friends, who, from the cordiality shown have as warm hearts as any that can be found either in our out of Egypt.  After passing a most pleasant evening and a good night’s rest under the hospitable roof of W.T. SPROUSE, Esq., I availed myself of what little time I had to spare, and called upon some of the business men of the place, and find them all thoroughly awake to the interest of the town as well as their own and proud of the progress that has been made in the place during the past two years.

            I find Kinmundy to be a very pleasantly located town of about 1,000 people, with a little more than the usual amount of business for a town of this size.

            There are eight Dry goods and General merchandize houses, viz: L.C. BUDLONG, C.P. ROHRBOUGH, EAGAN & MUNGER, C. SPAFFORD, W. CULLY, SWEENEY & DYSART, HALL & WILSON, and POLLARD & JONES, all of whom seem to be doing a thriving business.  One General Grocery and Provision Store, that of COLEMAN & JOHNSON, and while the above named firms furnish the outer and inner man with the necessaries of life, the doctors, either of the following: L.D. SKILLING, WEATHERFORD, T.O. II, P. HATTON or ELDER & HUMBLE are ready and willing to drive away your aches and pains, while the two latter or D. WHITE will furnish you with anything you want in the line of Goods usually found in Drug Stores, from a piece of chalk to a dose of Calomel.  And D. KELLY  and S. RUSSEL will attend to keeping the soles of the people in good repair and their feet well shod.

            Our friend, F.H. GREEN will repair the broken hopes of the dear ladies, that is their rings, brooches, pins and jewelry in general.  F. RUSSEL or J. O. DUMOND will furnish the young house-keepers with a complete outfit of Furniture, or the old with anything they may need to keep the children from sitting or sleeping on the floor or eating their supper from the top of a Dry Goods box.

            Messrs. MOON & EAGAN, J. WOLF, or N. MAXFIELD are always on hand to supply the Farmer or “any other man” with all sorts of Blacksmithing or Wagon-making or repairing.  And if you want a harness or saddle just stop into the shop of J. HAWORTH or R. WARSLAND, where you will be sure to find whatever you may want in that line.

            Messrs. EAGAN & MUNGER have purchased the fine new mill, erected last season by W.T. SPROUSE, Esq., and will furnish you with lumber to build you a house, or Breadstuff to use therein.  The older Mill of W.R. BOOTH will also do the same. 

            Among the improvements of the past year, not to mention a large number of fine residences, I notice a large Machine Shop, for the manufacture and repair of Agricultural implements, which when furnished with the machinery will be very complete establishment, and one that is much needed in this section of the country, and reflects touch credit upon the enterprise and public spirit of the proprietor, Mr. B. CHALFANT, who has at the cost of about $2,500 done much towards the future prosperity of the town.

            I also notice a fine School building, two stories in hight, surrounded by a fine park or playground of three acres.  The building is somewhat similar both in size and style of architecture to our Centralia school houses, and when completed will cost about $5,000, is an ornament of its educational progress and enterprise, of which every citizen of the place may justly feel proud. 

There have been during the Spring and summer thus far three private schools in successful operation.  And from appearances I should judge that the “young idea” of Kinmundy and vicinity would be likely to put forth “shoots” of a very promising growth in the time to come.

And while the physical and mental wants of the denixens of this pleasant little town are so amply provided for, the moral and religious are by no means forgotten.  The Methodist Society, under the charge of Rev. P.P. HAMILTON, the Cumberland Presbyterian, Rev. Mr. SHARP, and the Baptist, Rev. Mr. DALE, are all in a flourishing condition.  The Methodist and Presbyterian Societies have fine churches, the latter of which was built last season.

After a pleasant sojourn I leave this place with regret.  And returning thanks to W.R. HUBBARD, Esq., the gentlemanly Land Agent of the I.C.R.R., Dr. U.W. HUMBLE, W.T. SPROUSE, Esq., and B.H. PEARSON, the jolly old P.M. for favors received, I bid adieu to Kinmundy, trusting that era long I may have the pleasure of another visit.

Yours truly.


"Centralia Sentinel" – Dec. 21, 1865 - "Kinmundy"

 Last Friday we paid a visit to this fine little village.  We passed through Kinmundy in ’62, when we went for a soldier, and but few places have improved more since that time.  One of the most conspicuous improvements, is the fine new school-house.  We made our first visit to this building, and found about 250 pupils, under the charge of Prof. Simeon WRIGHT, and his Assistants, Miss ELDER, Miss WOODRUFF, and Miss HITE. The building is an ornament to the place, and very well planned, except that the rooms should have been ten feet longer, so as to give more room for recitations around the teacher’s platforms.  People never make a worse mistake than to make their school-houses too small through false notions of economy.  We were particularly pleased with the school.  The pupils have enjoyed the advantages of their new house, and good grading but ten weeks, and all could see in the system and thoroughness of organization and drill, that the teachers clearly understood their business, and that the pupils worked readily and intelligently in their new duties.  Prof. WRIGHT has been long identified with the educational enterprises of our State, and the people of Kinmundy have been very fortunate to secure the advantages of his long experience and his enlarged views.  He has his school well arranged, and by his thorough drill, he will soon have them prepared for their classes, their deficiencies romved and the whole school moving in the clock like regularity, so characteristic of the efficient graded school.  In this work he is ably seconded by his Assistant teachers.  The people of Kinmundy have reason to feel proud of their schools.  It is by the establishment of such schools, that our country is to assume her position among the intelligent counties of the State.  No better evidence of enterprise and public spirit can be given than such a school, as the Kinmundy School.  Strangers seeking for places to invest capital, or start business, will always look at such evidences of intelligence and enterprise.

In the Post-Office we found our earnest patriotic Union friend, PIERSON.  Wide-awake, shrewed, and ready for a joke, he makes a capital Postmaster, and is one of the wheel-horses of the persevering Union men of Kinmundy.  W.R. HUBBARD, was absent, or we should have given him a call.  Judge SNELLING, we learned was away on business.  The way our new county Court has taken hold of business is sufficient evidence that Kinmundy was right in her confidence in Judge SNELLING.   Our Court is composed of clear headed, practical men of business, who transact county affairs as they do their own.

We stopped at the hotel kept by Mr. GRAY, and we have not for some time sat down to as excellent a meal.  Our Yankee friend, Mr. GRAY knows how to keep hotel, and we hope he may have that abundant success his accomodations deserves. If you go to Kinmundy, do not forget Mr. and Mrs. GRAY.

During the evening we enjoyed a social visit with the teachers – and thus closed a visit which was, to us at least, and we think to all the teachers from Centralia – a source of much pleasure and profit.

Week after next we hope to visit Kinmundy again, and to extend our circle of acquaintances, and to hear of her business facilities, and to see her business men, and any whom, for want of time, we could not call on this time, we will then visit.

We design to visit the various precincts of the county, and become acquainted with the Union men of each locality, and to call the attention of our business men to the advantages of supporting a Union paper, and advertising in it.  Our businessmen should have a means of reaching the public, and our people should, ALL, by reading the paper, keep posted on their interests.




"Guide to the Illinois Central Railroad Lands - 1868"


800,000  Acres of the Best Farming Lands for sale by the Illinois Central Railroad Company

In Tracts to suit Purchasers, and at Low Prices

Chicago; Land Department; Illinois Central Railroad Company opposite the Great Central Depot - 1868

"Kinmundy: 15 miles north of Odin, is a thriving town of 2,000 inhabitants, having a good country trade, and growing as rapidly as any place in this section of the State.  Upwards of fifty houses were erected last year.  The land in this vincinity is highly esteemed for wheat, and for fruit is especially productive; 200,000 fruit-trees are already in bearing.  Within a mile and a half of the station are two good nurseries.  Kinmundy contains three churches, having houses of worship - Methodist, Cumberland Presbyterian, and Congregational - and a Baptist society has also been organized; a graded school (a first class building) of 600 scholars, and two selct schools; twenty-three stores, to wit, ten dry-goods, four grocery, two drug, two hardware, two furniture, two fancy-goods, and one book store, two hotels, two combined grist and saw mills, an extensive tobacco-factory, two lumber-yards, a woollen-factory, several sorghum mills, and mechanics' shops - blacksmith's, carpenter's, cabinet-maker's, cooper's wagon and harness maker's, etc.  A larg four-story brick flouring-mill was erected last summer.  Fifty new farms were put under cultivation in 1867.  Two hay-presses are kept busy the year round.  Large numbers of horned cattle, sheep, and mules are raised in this vicnity.  During the last year, the shipments from this station included 24,000 bushels of corn, 11,200 bushels of oats, 2,600 bushels of wheat, 140 tons of hay, 3,000 lbs. of wool, 5,300 hogs, 975 sheep, and 450 beeves."


"Village of Kinmundy"

(unknown author from unknown source, however looks to be from an old newspaper from the late 1800’s.)

            This enterprising and flourishing town was laid out by W.T. SPROUSE, on the tenth of April 1857, on Section 22, northwest and southwest of the railroad, containing 15 blocks of various form and size.  Isaac EAGAN laid out an addition in 1858.  Joshua GOODWIN and D.P. SELLING  (DFM note: should be SNELLING) laid out additions in 1868; Isaac EAGAN, several additions.  JOHNON’s addition and J.O. DUMOND’s addition were laid out in the year 1867 and other additions have been laid out since.

            The place was named after a Scotchman who was a stockholder in the Illinois Central Railroad.  W.B. EAGAN built the first house in 1857.  In which he put a general stock of goods, he was also the first postmaster; he lived above the store; the building became the residence of David HASELDEN.  Three years before the town was laid out, he began selling goods where his mother, Mrs. Isaac EAGAN lived, at the old EAGAN homestead.

            The depot building was erected in 1856.  Willis WILBURN built a small house south of the town in 1855 in which he sold goods; he also built the first hotel which stood southwest of where the squire’s house stands.  Dr. L.D. SKILLING had the first drug store here.  Dr. W.W. ELLIOT was the first resident physician.   The town was first built up on the east side of the railroad.  C. SPAFFORD was the pioneer to commence business on the west side.  He opened a restaurant and subsequently merged it into a general store.

            L.S. HART was the second merchant on the west side.  He had a store south of the town plat in the Wilburn building before he moved to the west side.  Henry EAGAN was the first blacksmith.  In 18__, W.T. SPROUSE erected a saw ___gist mill that ran for a time, ____ was afterwards sold and moved away.  He built another mill in 1864.  This machinery was removed, after the brick mill was built in 1868 by the SONGER Bros.  This is a good substantial brick building, four stories high, with five run of burrs.

            Kinmundy Mills were built in 1877, in 1881 run by C. ROHRBOUGH.  The building was a frame structure with four run of burrs.  T.W. HAYWOOD & Co. bank was organized in January 1870, cash capital $45,000 all paid in; Tilman RASE, president; T.W. HAYMOND, cashier.  Eight stockholders, from farmers and business men.

            The two story frame school building of four rooms was erected in 1864 where six teachers are employed eight months the year.  There were five neat church buildings, Cumberland Presbyterian, Methodist, M.E. South, Presbyterian and Catholic.  The following is a list of the business houses of that place in 1881; Physicians, L.D. SKILLING, E.G. FORSHEE, W.O. SMITH, J.D. CAMERER, J.W. MITCHELL.

            Dentist – W.W. BRADLEY and A. Homer HAYWOOD.

            General Stores – C. ROHRBOUGH, J.W. WILSON, T.W. BAGOTT, James B. McBRIDE, HERRICK & YOUNG and Adolph FRECHS. 

 “Origin of station names” - “Early Ill. Railroads “(Fergus Historical Series, No. 23) pp. 130-31; Ackerman, W.K.    

 Kinmundy – The town was named after the birthplace of William Ferguson, a native of Scotland, who visited Ill. in 1856.  On his return to England he wrote “America by River and Rod”.  He was a member of the firm of Robert Benson and Co. at that time the Illinois Central Co.’s agents in London.  Laid out by W.T. Sprouse, April 10, 1857, on Section 22.  Isaac Egan laid out one addition in 1858.  The first settler was John W. Nichols, who came from Wilson County, Tennessee and located on the east prong of Howell’s Branch in 1823, where he lived until 1827.  Henry Howell, also a Tennessean, came here in 1826, and settled on the west bank of Howell’s Branch where he resided until his death.  He raised a large family of children, some of whom are living in Texas, some in Missouri, and three live in this county.   “History of Marion County.” 

“Brinkerhoff’s History of Marion County, Illinois - 1909” - by Prof. J.H.G. Brinkerhoff

 KINMUNDY TOWNSHIP (pages 201-202)

                        Town 4 north range 3 east, is known in civil law as Kinmundy.  Its north line is also the dividing line between Marion and Fayette counties.  The watershed between the Kaskaskia and Wabash rivers extends from Alma through this township, the west side being drained by the East Fork, and the east side by the Skillet Fork.  The prairie of Alma extends through this township, while heavy timber was originally along the above streams, making the township about half timber and half prairie.

            The first settler was John W. NICHOLS, who settled on Howell’s branch in 1823, but went north in 1827, but soon returned and died.  Henry HOWELL came in 1826 and settled near the NICHOLS claim, where he died after several years residence.  He raised a large family, one of whom is still living.  Abner STEWART came to the township in the latter part of 1828, and in 1829 entered the first land entered in this township.  His cabin stood in what is now the corporate limits of Kinmundy city.  He built a horse mill, and after three years moved to Missouri.  In 1828 three brothers by the name of GRAY, James, Joseph and William, came to Kinmundy.  (These settlers were all from Tennessee.)  James GRAY settled on section 10, but died in 1835, leaving a widow and eight children.  The widow entered eighty acres of land in section 10, Feb. 13, 1837, and in the fall forty acres more.  She lived until 1844.  Her son, the late James H. GRAY, lived until about 1899, and died one of the wealthiest citizens of the county.  He lived and died on the old homestead.  Joseph GRAY settled three or four places in the township, but died in 1844.  William GRAY built a home on section 21, but sold out and went to Missouri in 1833.  Isaac EAGAN, a single man, came to the township with James GRAY in 1828.  He drove stage for several years, but married and bought the William GRAY place of Abner STEWART, who had bought it of John EAGAN, who had bought it of GRAY, two sales before anyone had title but Uncle Sam.  Abner STEWART entered the land in 1837, the same day that the widow GRAY entered her eighty.  Hugh EAGAN came in 1829, but afterward bought the Ross JONES claim north of Salem, where he died.  Harrison EAGAN, a noted Cumberland Presbyterian minister, was his son.  John BEARDIN came in 1838 and located in Kinmundy.  All these settlers came originally from Tennessee.

            The first schoolhouse was built in 1837, and Samuel WHITESIDE was the first to teach in it.  Although schools had been taught in cabins before this date.  The Baptists built the first church.  It was of hewed logs and was in the HOWELL neighborhood.  The Cumberland Presbyterians, however, held meetings frequently in private houses.

 CITY OF KINMUNDY (pages 202-203)

             Kinmundy, a city of about fifteen hundred inhabitants, is situated on the Chicago branch of the Illinois Central Railroad.  It was laid out in April, 1857, on section 22, which brings it near the center of the township.  W.T. SPROUSE laid out the city.  Isaac EAGAN laid out an addition in 1858.  Other additions have been laid out from time to time.  In 1895 the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad, then the Chicago, Peoria & Memphis, was built through the township, and passed through the western part of the city.  The city and township are said to be named after a Scotchman, who was a stockholder in the Central when it was built, and visited this part of the county.  W.B. EAGAN built the first house in 1857, in which he kept a general store and was the first postmaster.  The house was two stories and EAGAN lived above the store.  EAGAN had kept a country store two or three years at the old homestead before Kinmundy was laid out.  The Illinois depot was built in 1856, and like most Illinois Central depots of that day, was a big barn-like structure.  Later a neat little depot was built and the old one used as a freight room.  Kinmundy, like nearly all towns along the Illinois Central, is built on both sides of the railroad, and the crossing is dangerous, and deaths from being struck by trains are too often the result of this building of the towns.  Several deaths at Kinmundy have resulted, among them that of Miss CAMMERER, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. CAMMERER, about twelve years ago.  Miss CAMMERER was walking with her mother, and stepping around the end of a car standing on the track, was struck by a fast train, the mother barely escaping the same fate.  About the same time and entire family, except one child, were killed at the crossing in Alma.  At the south side of the town Willis WILBURN built a small store room and sold goods for a time in 1855.  He built a hotel south of the present depot, about the same time.  Doctor SKILLING kept the first drug store, and Dr. W.W. ELLIOTT was the first medical practitioner.  Henry EAGAN was the first “village blacksmith”.  In 1858 SPROUSE built a saw and grist mill, but it was moved away in a short time, but he built another in 1864, and in 1868 SONGER Brothers built the present brick mill.  It too, was moved away.  Another mill was built in 1877 and passed into the hands of C. ROHRBOUGH, but it has long since gone out of business.

            The first bank was the W.T. HAYMOND & Company’s bank, organized in 1870.  The capital stock fully paid in was forty-five thousand dollars.  This bank was a good business proposition, and was a stable institution.  On the death of Mr. HAYMOND in 1899 a National bank was organized and is at present one of the safe banks of the county.  There is a private bank called The Warren Bank, doing a good business.

            The building of the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad gave an impetus to business of Kinmundy, and several good brick business houses were built, but an extensive fire in 1904 destroyed about one-half of the business part of the town.  It has, however, been rebuilt.  A short time later another fire destroyed a large part of the remainder of the town.  It too, has been rebuilt.

            Kinmundy has six churches, the Methodist Episcopal, and Christian churches are fine, modern structures; the others are old style frame buildings, and are used by the Cumberland Presbyterians, Presbyterians, Methodist Episcopal, South, and Catholic.

            The schools of Kinmundy are good, with energetic teachers, and a high school course of three years, but the building is old and unsuited for modern school purposes.

"The Centralia Sentinel"; Centralia, IL; Aug. 6, 1910; p. 102

Kinmundy, One of Marion County’s Best Towns

     Kinmundy is one of the larger towns of Marion county, and also one of its most prosperous and thriving. It has about 1,500 people, is situated on the Chicago line of the Illinois Central railroad, and has many modern stores and a large number of most progressive people.

    Kinmundy was laid out in April, 1857, near the center of the township of that name in the northern part of Marion county. W.T. Sprouse laid out the city, and Isaac Eagan laid out the addition in 1858. In 1895 Kinmundy got its second railroad, the Chicago & Eastern Illinois. W.E. Eagan built the first house in 1857, in which he kept a general store, and was also postmaster. The Illinois Central erected a depot in 1856. Another of the earlier stores was that of Willis Wilburn, in 1855, built in the south side of town. Dr. Skilling kept the first drug store and Dr. William Elliott was the first physician. Henry Eagan was the first village blacksmith, and a Mr. Sprouse added a saw and grist mill in 1858, which was later moved away and another took his place in 1864. Songer Bros. built the present brick mill in 1868. This too, was moved away, and 1877 saw the needs again supplied, which is now operated by C. Rohrbough. The first bank was that of W.T. Haymond & Co., organized in 1870 with a capital stock of $45,000. On the death of Mr. Haymond in 1899, the bank was reorganized as a national bank. There is also a private bank operated in the city. Kinmundy suffered two disastrous fires, one in 1901, destroying about half of the town, and the other some time later, taking more of the town. In place of the buildings burned, better buildings grew, Phoenix-like, out of the ashes, and today Kinmundy presents a most thriving appearance with it’s modern buildings. Six churches give Kinmundy it’s places of worship; good schools are there for the children, and a high school gives a finishing course.

     Kinmundy is enjoying steady growth and is a good, solid business community.   (A picture of Kinmundy Streets accompanied this article.)

E.A. Snelling; Kinmundy, Illinois; Confectionery. Home Made Candies. Best Ice Cream in the City.

   Mr. Snelling is a living representative of one of the oldest families, coming here, from New Hampshire when a mere child. His family consists of his wife and two sons, of whom they are very proud, and who are mechanical draftsmen of Chicago.  He is now and has been keeper of records and seals in the Knights of Pythias lodge for seventeen years, and is also a member of the order of Modern Woodmen.  Being a man of genial disposition and easy of approach, he has made many warm friends during his business career. (A picture accompanied this article/advertisement.)

Kinmundy Milling Co.: Kinmundy, Illinois; Manufactures Gold Seal, Songer’s Best and Oven Lifter Flour

   W.C. Ingram, the president of the above company, is happily assisted by his two sons, R.L. and J.D. Ingram, who have the positions, respectively, of vice-president and secretary-treasurer.Inquiring into his history, we find he was at first a farmer and carpenter. He erected his first sawmill and began the production of lumber more than thirty years ago. Besides Kinmundy, he at different times conducted his business as a wood sawyer in Louisiana and Oklahoma. In each instance, we find him returning to Kinmundy. Subsequently for a period of five years he had a mill in Brubaker, six miles from Kinmundy, but upon buying out A.W. Songer in 1907, he returned to his place, where his flourishing business goes forward with the able assistance of his two sons. This firm, as you see from the business card, manufactures three brands of flour. The Gold Seal is a high patent and first class flour. Oven Lifter is a second patent and is considered as good as the first patent made by many firms. Songer’s Best is a straight grade flour and equal to many patents, and is a leader, giving perfect satisfaction wherever sold.  William Holeman is the traveling salesman for this firm, and has built up a good trade in Marion and Fayette counties. Mr. Holeman is a gentleman of rare qualities and believes in honest methods in business.  (A dark picture of the mill accompanied this article.)

E.S. Combs & Son; Kinmundy, Illinois; Lumber Merchants; In fact, in everything in the Building Material Line, we are a Step Ahead in Quality, a Step Behind in Prices; Estimates Cheerfully Furnished

    Messrs. Combs & Son, whose business card appears above this paragraph, have been for twenty-five years identified with this business in this state. Mr. Combs successfully engaged in the lumber trade in Finly, Ill. before moving to Kinmundy. Since establishing himself here, both the capital stock invested and the territory reached has largely increased, until he has at present an invested capital approximately $15,000.   The senior member of this firm maintains his implement store at Finly, and in addition is a stockholder and director in O.H. Paddock Lumber Company, with headquarters at Pana, Ill. He is also president of the Paddock Lumber Company, with headquarters at Pana, Ill. He is also president of the Paddock Sawmill Company of Nokomis, Ill., and also has a mill at Caddo Gap, Ark. He is president of the First National Bank of Finly, Ill.  Mr. Combs is a self-made man, who made all from nothing, a fact largely due to his energy, careful business training and honest business methods.  E.S. Combs was married to Miss Ida M. Merris of Macon, from which union seven children were born - six boys and one girl, namely: Clarence, 26 years; Earl, 24 years; Edmund, 22 years; Mabel, 18 years; Claud, 12 years; Albert, 6 years; Clyde, 4 years. Edmund, who is married, lives at Finly, where he is bookkeeper for his father’s buggy and implement business. C.A. Combs, the junior member and a son, was raised in a lumberyard and knows every detail of his father’s growing business, and though a close student of business, Mr. Combs as a young man is a social leader and a popular young man of the town.  (Pictures accompanied this article.)

C.L. Williams: Kinmundy, Illinois; Kinmundy’s Photographer; Also Keeper of a Restaurant, Ice Cream Parlor, and Confectionery

     Mr. Williams was formerly a farmer in the vicinity of Laclede, coming there from Newman, his former home. His first venture in business was in buying out a restaurant from E.L. Foster. His brother took a half interest with him, but afterward sold out to Lewis Lacey, who in turn sold out to the present owner. He further added a photograph gallery upstairs over the restaurant the past year.  He began has successful career with about $150. His motto has been to "Give every man a square deal", like our President.  His wife is manager of the restaurant and ice cream parlor, where three assistants are required.  Both he and his wife will be found courteous and agreeable to all who enter their place.  Mr. Williams has now invested in his business about $2,000, which fact, considering the short time in business and small capital at first invested, shows he is a business man of no mean ability.  (A picture of Mr. Williams accompanied this advertisement/article.)


T.M. Smith; Hay and Grain Stock Buyer and; Livery Stable

Mr. Smith represents one of Kinmundy’s leading industries as a hay and grain dealer and stock buyer. He ships by the carload, and by fair dealings with all the farmers in the vicinity of Kinmundy he has built up an immense trade. He solicits your patronage on the merits of his past record as a business man and gentleman of the highest standing.  (A dark picture accompanied this article/advertisement.)


F.J. Nirider; Pharmacy; Kinmundy, Illinois; Drugs and Medicines, Toilet Articles, Paints, Oils, Etc.

     The subject of this sketch, Mr. F.J. Nirider, who was born in Fort Wayne, Ind., formerly agent for the I.C. Railroad, later postmaster under Cleveland’s administration, is now a prosperous druggist, well known as an energetic, courteous and successful business man.  The large constituency of friends was made during his career as agent at Farina and Kinmundy, who have remained steadfast as patrons to the present.  Mr. Nirider, who is himself a registered pharmacist, is ably assisted by his son Gilbert, who is a very valuable asset to his father’s growing business.

"The Kinmundy Express" - April 18, 1912

"A Brief History of Kinmundy by Leon HANNA"

            It now becomes the pleasure of the Senior Class of 1912 to have the privilege of presenting to the public an authentic history of our native city. 

            The History of Kinmundy will take us back to the early pioneer life amid the picturesque scene of primeval forests and verdant undulating prairies.  The life history of the ordinary individual finds its multitude of interested readers, but the thought of having the pleasure of perusing the history of the city in which we share alike as well wishers for its continued growth and prosperity is far superior.

            The stimulus of the early of Kinmundy was the survey and construction work on the Chicago branch of the Illinois Central railroad.  In 1856 the depot was erected and the station named Kinmundy, this being the only point in the United States bearing a like cognomen.  There is some dispute about the origin of the name, and several theories are advanced, but what seems to us the most authentic and authorative is the following extract taken from the Illinois Central Employees’ magazine.  “Kinmundy was named after the birthplace of Wm. FURGURSON, a native of Scotland, who visited Illinois in 1856, and who was a member of the firm of Robert Benson & Co., at that time the Illinois Central R.R. Co’s agents in London.”

            In April 1857, Kinmundy was laid out east of the railroad by W.T. SPROUSE, WATSON and BARNARD and contained 15 blocks of various forms and sizes.  The first addition was platted by Isaac EAGAN in 1858.  The first store was built and owned by W.B. EAGAN, and was erected in 1854 on the site of the present residence of Mrs. Sarah PARRILL.  It was a 2 story building, the first floor being a grocery store and also the first post office in Kinmundy, while the upper story served as the residence of the store keeper.  In 1858 he and MONGER erected a store room near what is known as the ELDER corner, the spot now occupied by C.B. ROHRBOUGH’s clothing store.

            The first church was a Cumberland Presbyterian, erected in 1858, Rev. Wm. FINLEY being the first pastor.  Four or five years later the M.E. Church was built.  The M.E. South in 1869, Roman Catholic in 1870, Christian in 1902, and the Baptist in 1904-5.

            The first saw and grist mill was built by W.T. SPROUSE in 1858.  He used it for some time, then sold it and it was moved away.  In 1864 he erected another mill, then in 1868 SONGER Bros. built the present brick mill, making the brick themselves.  The “Kinmundy Mill” was built in 1877 by Robert McCREARY, who sold it to Capt. ROHRBOUGH in 1878, who operated it until it was destroyed by fire in 1885.  The city has now in successful operation a large three story grist mill, with full roller system, capacity of one hundred barrels per day, with local and foreign reputation for first rate flour.

            The first blacksmith was Henry EAGAN, first physician and druggist Dr. W.W. ELLIOT, and the first lawyer Wm. HUBBARD.

            The first school building erected in this vicinity was constructed of round, unhewed logs, on or near the spot known as the John CARMAN property; but the first school built since the town was founded, was located in 1858, between the residences of Chas. FRENCH and Mrs. R.F. PORTER, the lot being donated by D.P. SNELLING.  The first teacher was James Parker SMITH.

            The town of Kinmundy was incorporated as a city and given a charter of its own in 1876.  The first officers of this new born city were: Mayor W.R. HUBBARD; Treasurer, C.H. MUNGER; and City Clerk, W.M. HUMBLE.

            It would seem that the press has had the most varied experience of any business in Kinmundy.  The Kinmundy Telegram is credited with being the first newspaper established in 1867 by Col. J.W. FULLER.  During the campaign of 1868, the name was changed to Kinmundy Democrat.  After the election it was again changed to Kinmundy Independent.  At frequent intervals it has changed names and owners.  In 1875 it was the Kinmundy Bulletin, then the Register.  The Reform Leader, and on Nov. 8, 1883 what is now The Express was originated by Richard F. LAWSON.  In 1898 it came into the hands of Mr. F.O. GRISSOM from Patoka, and in May 1900 was merged into the Express.

            The banking business was begun here sometime early in 1867 by Messrs. McCREARY and MONGER who continued banking and brokerage for about 2 years.  On Nov. 1, 1899 the Merchant’s and Mechanic’s Bank was established with a capital of $45,000; later it became the Haymond State Bank.  The First National Bank came into existence in 1902 with Mr. Calendar ROHRBOUGH as the first president.  In 1906, Mr. Henry WARREN & Sons started a private bank, but it has since changed into the Farmer’s & Merchant’s Bank and has a capital stock of $50,000 with individual liabilities amounting to $1,000,000.

            The completion of the C. & E.I. railroad in 1895 gave an impetus to business and several large brick buildings were erected, but unfortunately nearly one half of the business part of the town was destroyed by fire in 1904.  It was soon rebuilt but not long after a large part was swept away by a second fire, and now, as all has been rebuilt again, we are determined to take all precaution against a third disaster.

            The citizens of Kinmundy are proud, not vain.  We are proud of our city on account of its past achievement, present prosperity and future prospects.  We are proud of our location, being in the northeast portion of Marion county and by logical deduction we can prove to our own satisfaction that Kinmundy is the garden spot of the world.  The soil in this vicinity is very productive and in raising wheat, corn, oats -in fact all the cereal, our portion is the peer of any other.  Our attitude is the greatest of any in this part of the state being located on the Apex of the great watershed between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.  These natural advantages make Kinmundy the most picturesque place in “Egypt”.

            In the governmental affairs of both county and state, Kinmundy has sent her representatives.  She has furnished the following county officers: Associate Judge, D.P. SNELLING; County Judges, Tillman RACER and C.H. HOLT; County treasurers: J.L. SMITH, J.P. STEEN, W.W. NEIL, and J.T. ARNOLD.

            Among the visitors to Kinmundy are some very important personages.  There have been some noted temperance lecturers, among whom were Gov. P. ST. JOHN, of Kansas; Geo. W. PAINE or the silver tongued orator of Kentucky; and Colonel John SOBIESKI, who were entertained at Capt. ROHRBOUGH’s home.

            The buildings and edifices of our city are not so grand and magnificent as some, but are modern and substantial.  Our water supply is unlimited, the veins are strong and contain pure and healthy water.  Kinmundy is illuminated by electricity and has an excellent fire department.

            This pleasant and growing city has over a thousand inhabitants comprising some of the best men and women in the world.  We say best because of charity without manifestations, beneficence without display, and sympathy without flourish; our people cannot be surpassed anywhere.  Kinmundy commands the trade of a large section of country and her business men are very energetic and enterprising.

            But with all its abilities for business Kinmundy is not surpassed in facilities for modern education in minds and morals.  We have a new school building erected in 1910, which has all the modern improvements and in which and taught all the common branches, with an up-to-date High school with ambitious pupils and competent teachers.

            Kinmundy has, as we have heretofore mentioned, six large, imposing churches, representing as many denominations and in the stillness of a Sabbath evening can be heard harmonious chimes of the many pealing bells.  “Here’s to Kinmundy; Place of my birth; May she ever remain; ‘Mong the fairest on earth.”

"The Kinmundy Express" - "Facts on Early Kinmundy History"

(The following information was contributed by Frank Hicks.)
Kinmundy was laid out by W.T. Sprouse on April 10, 1857, on Section 22, northwest and southeast of the railroad, containing 15 blocks of various form and size.  Isaac Eagan laid out an addition in 1858.  Joshua Goodwin and D.P. Snelling laid out an addition in 1866 and J.O. Duncan’s addition was laid out in 1867. 
The place was named after a Scotchman who was a stockholder in the Illinois Central Railroad.
W.B. Eagan built the first house in 1857.  He put in a general stock of goods and lived above the store.  He was also the first postmaster.  Three years before the town was laid out he began selling goods at the old Eagan homestead.  The depot was erected in 1856.  Willie Wilburn built a small house south of the town in 1855, in which he sold goods.  He also built the first hotel.  Dr. L.P. Shilling had the first drug store and Dr. W.W. Elliott was the first resident physician.
The town was first built upon the east side of the railroad.  C. Spafford was the pioneer in commencing business on the west side.  He opened a restaurant and later made it into a general store.  L.S. Hart was the second merchant on the west side and Henry Eagan was the first blacksmith.
In 1858 W.T. Sprouse erected a saw and grist mill that ran for some time and was afterwards sold and moved away.  He built another mill in 1864.  This mill machinery was removed after the brick mill was built in 1868 by the Songer brothers.

"The Kinmundy Express"; Kinmundy, Illinois; Oct. 26, 1916

Early Settlers of Kinmundy

Brief History of Early Days Prepared by D.C. BEAVER with Assistance of others.

At the request of a number of the older citizens of Kinmundy, I have endeavored to present a little of the early history of Kinmundy as I remember it. I am indebted to Grandma NEIL, MILLICAN, and GRAY and others for assistance. I have endeavored to present the facts fair and impartial; mistakes and omissions are regretted. - D.C. BEAVER.

We are indeed grateful to Mr. BEAVER for his permission to print this history which as been prepared at a great cost of time and labor. Those wishing extra copies of this issue may have the same by calling or writing this office. - G.A. SPITZE, Editor.

The City of Kinmundy is located on the N.E. 1/4 of the S.E. 1/4 Sec. 22, T. 4, R. 3, east of 3d Prin. Mer., Marion County, Illinois.

Laid out in April 10, 1859, by Barnard, Watson, and Sprouse, Barnard and Watson were non-residents, SPROUSE was a resident and owned part of the land on which the town was located. The first plat consisted of 15 blocks of about 170 lots to which the following additions have been added: Isaac EAGAN’s first and second addition on the north; GOODWIN’s addition on the east; SPROUSE’s on the west; SNELLING’s on the west; DUMOND, STUART and JOHNSON on the west, and Mary E. EAGAN’s on the north.

First Businessmen (General Stores): W.B. EAGAN, E. HALL, J.W. BOOTH, L.S. HART, Robt. RULE, W. ROCKHOLD, SWENEY & BUDLONG, C.H. MUNGER, and C. SPAFFORD.

The first hardware store proper was conducted by C.H. MUNGER & Co., the firm consisting of C.H. MUNGER, D.C. MOORE, and J.W. POWER.

The first furniture store was conducted by J.W. ROBB and D.C. MOORE. The first drug store by Dr. I..S. SWEENEY and L.D. SKILLING. First grocery by POLLARD & COLEMAN. The first harness and saddle maker was J.C. HAWORTH. The first milliner, Mrs. Martha WOLFE. The first shoe shop was conducted by Stoddard RUSSELL.

The first doctors were Drs. E.W. BOOTH, I.S. SWENEY, R.M. and U.M. HUMBLE, W.W. ELLIOTT, and T.O. H.P. HATTON.

The first mechanics were:

Carpenters - John D. YOUNG, John S. HILL, A.M. YOUNG, Tillman RASER, Elias NEIL.

Blacksmiths - Bayard CHALFANT, Clinton WOLFE, Jas. WOLF, Henry EAGAN, Hugh PUFFER, Rilan WELCH, John ARMSTRONG. These were the days when they made almost everything the farmers used. Woodworkers, Jefferson CHALFANT, J.C. MOORE, and G.A. MILLER.

The first tailors were John CLARK and Martin SCHOENBORN. The first barber was Chas. MISSELBROOK, the second was Dan LOVELL.

Post Office: The first postoffice in this part the county was located about four miles east of Kinmundy and was called Mount Liberty, but was generally known as Crackers Neck. H. GIBSON was postmaster; he also conducted a general store on the north side of the road and H. ROCKHOLD one on the south side. After the railroad was built, this office was discontinued and moved to Kinmundy and W.B. EAGAN was appointed postmaster. He was succeeded in 1861 by L.D. SKILLING and he by Elder B.H. PEARSON, and he by W.O. BRYANT and others.

Mills: The first was a horse mill located near the old EAGAN residence and operated by Barney EAGAN, father of Isaac EAGAN. He ground corn only.

The first flouring mill was built and run by JACKSON & CHASE, was built about 1858 or 9. They run this mill for a few years, sold out to Col. BOOTHE and returned to their first love, preferring the hills of New Hampshire to the broad prairies of Illinois. Capt. SPROUSE and Capt. RENO each operated a corn and saw mill for a time on the site where the light plant is now located. About the year 1867 or 68 the SONGER Bros. came to Kinmundy, burned the brick, and built the large brick mill now owned and operated by the Kinmundy Milling Co. This mill has been a great boom to Kinmundy.

Schools: The first school house was a log structure located near the EAGAN homestead, without windows, with clap board door, puncheon floor, large fire place and stick chimney. The first school house built in town proper was located in the west part of town about 1858. Among the first teachers we recall was a Mr. PAYNE, N.S. (Put) HUBBARD, Miss Carrie HERRICK, now Mrs. Guin WILSON who taught here in 1861-2. In the fall of ‘62, W.J. POLLARD and wife taught a school in the C.P. church, the school house becoming too small for the number of pupils. They taught two years and were succeeded by Mr. VINCENT and Miss Anna BUTTS of Farina. In 1865 the new school house was built. Judge SNELLING and Capt. SPROUSE were the directors; Tilman RASER was contractor.

In 1865-6 Simeon WRIGHT was principal of the school; he was a man of culture, well educated, a fine instructor, but this was the last school he ever taught.

Churches: The first church built in town was the Cumberland Presbyterian built in 1859, Isaac EAGAN being the principal mover in the enterprise. Among the first ministers to occupy the pulpit were J.W. WOOD, Wm. FINLEY, W.E. McMACKIN, M.C. GASTON, H.W. EAGAN, F.A. WITHERSPOON, F.M. GILLMAN, J.E. SHARP, J.N. HOGG, and others. Among the first ministers of the M.E. Church who preached in town were Rev. WAGONER, John THATCHER, P.P. HAMILTON, J.H. LOCKWOOD, and others. In 1863 the first M.E. church was built, during the pastorate of P.P. HAMILTON who gave $500 of his own means for the enterprise. The house was dedicated by T.F. HOUTS, then presiding elder.

The Presbyterian Hall was built about 1865 and among the ministers who served this church were Revs. SHRLOCK, THOMPSON, BUCK, Adam JOHNSON.

Sunday Schools: A Union Sunday School was organized in the C.P. Church about 1859 with Hiram CHAPMAN as superintendent.  In the fall of 1862 the M.E. brethern moved their appointment to the old school house and a Sunday school was organized with Eliss NEIL as superintendent.  A Sunday School was organized in the Presbyterian Church about 1865 with John B. KING as superintendent.  The M.E. Church South and the Catholic churches were built about 1868.

County Offices: Among those who have been honored with county offices are Judge ROSER, County Judge SNELLING; Associate Judge D.J. DOOLEN; H.R. HALL, Sheriff and Circuit Clerk; C.R. HOLT, County Judge; W.W. NEIL and J.T. ARNOLD each County Treasurer; J.S. KNISLEY and M.A. THRASHER each County Superintendent of Schools. Tillman RASER and W.R. HUBBARD served a term each in the State Legislature, and W.R. HUBBARD was the first Mayor.

A Call to Arms: Col. RANSOM of Farina raised a regiment of 90 days, men and a number of our boys joined this regiment which was the11th Ill. Vol., Elder B.H. PEARSON was Chaplain. In August 1861, Col. BOOTHE raised a regiment made up from Kinmundy, Loogootee, Omega and surrounding country. They joined the 40th Regt. under Col. Stephen G. HICKS. A number of our brave boys joined this regiment. Col. BOOTHE was elected Lieut. Col. and was a brave and efficient officer. He served for little more than a year when he fell sick, was sent home and soon died. A number of our boys joined other regiments and did faithful service for their country, but most of them have answered the last roll call.

The first newspaper was launched by Col. J.W. FILLER, of Effingham, about the year 1866 and was called The Kinmundy Telegram. Since then a large number of persons have engaged in this business. We may mention a few of them, A.W.O. BRYANT, Edw. FREEMAN, G.W. RUTHERFORD, J.F. DONOVAN, R.F. LAWSON, N. LINGENFELTER, Jas. BARNES, F.O. GRISSOM and the present incumbent.

"The Kinmundy Express" - 1972
This week, we give you a 4th of July scene on “Main” Street in Kinmundy 59 years ago.  We cannot identify any of the individuals in the picture.  The Hensley store, mentioned in the picture, stood  across the street from our office, which is now a vacant space between the former Crain’s Café and the former Dunlap Building.  You will note the Dunlap, or Matthews Building as it was then called.
The Hensley Store was formerly known as the “Company Store” and was owned by C.E. Hull, who also owned the coal mine.  Frank Hensley managed the store and afterwards took it over.
Above the Hensley store can be seen cross-arms and insulators which reminds us that Mr. Hull built the first telephone system in Kinmundy and the central office was in the upper story of this building.  At the time of this picture, the central office had been moved to the second story of the Masonic building by William B. Ross.  In 1920, the Hull building collapsed one Sunday afternoon.  It was unoccupied at the time save for an upstairs apartment being lived in by Mr. and Mrs. Claude Parker, who were uninjured in the collapse.  They were sitting in rocking chairs at the time and after the collapse, they were still sitting in their chairs, only down lower.
The barber pole on the extreme right stands on the sidewalk in front of the Otis Peneton Barber Shop, now the Kinmundy Building & Loan Association. 
The building in the background is the Matthews & Dunlap Seed House.  It was the only firm around these parts to buy redtop seed from the farmers.  They cleaned the seed and shipped it to market.  After serving its purpose as a seed house, the building stood vacant for a few years and then purchased by Dr. H.L. Hanna, who remodeled it and had his veterinary office therein.  After moving his office to his home, he razed the building and erected two houses on the site.  These homes now belong to Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Doolen and Mrs. George Cole.  The scene was evidently only a small portion of the crowd in Kinmundy on that day.  The following article will verify this.  It was taken from our files, dated July 10, 1913, and written by the editor, F.O. Grissom.
As advertised, Kinmundy celebrated the National Holiday in a patriotic, safe and sane manner.  The day was an ideal one for the celebration and the crowd in attendance was the largest in the history of the city.  The day passed without an accident of any importance and the crowd was in all respects civil and the police were not needed.  The people commenced to arrive from the country and surrounding towns by five o’clock in the morning and by nine o’clock the streets were crowded.
At ten o’clock the St. Peter Band headed the procession and marched to the beautiful shady park, where everything was in readiness for the comfort of the visitors.  After the usual opening ceremonies, Uncle Thomas E. Merritt, of Salem, addressed the large crowd in his usual good natured and able manner.  Our people are always glad of an opportunity to hear this speaker, as he is so well known to the older ones that they expect him on days of this kind.  Mr. Merritt has passed his eighty-first milestone and says he has not missed making a 4th of July address in fifty years and on some years he has made two.  He enjoys unusually good health for a man of his age and says he is about as good as ever with the exception of his eyes.
In the afternoon, Congressman Martin D. Foster, of Olney, was the principal speaker.  For an hour or more he spoke in a very able and earnest manner.  Mr. Foster has made other addresses in this city, but this time he had an opportunity to be heard by more people than ever before.  His talk was entertaining, instructive, and enjoyed by all.  This was the first time in five years that Congressman Foster had addressed a Kinmundy 4th of July crowd and he enjoyed the day very much meeting his many friends.  Our people were fortunate in securing such an able man for this occasion and he came all the way from the National Capitol to be here on that day and deliver the afternoon address.
At five o’clock the crowd assembled around the big balloon to see the ascension and parachute leap.  The manager, C.N. Hunt, of Springfield, had some trouble in filling the balloon on account of the wind and the ascension was not made quite on time, but the crowd waited patiently and at 5:30, the ascension was over and Prof. Jones, the rider, was landed in safety.  This was one of the prettiest ascensions ever made in this part of the country and the best part of it all was that no one was hurt and nothing happened to mar the pleasure of anyone.  An attraction of this kind is old, but at the same time is always new and attracts the crowd.  It seems that the majority of the people yearn to see something dangerous.
In the evening, the fireworks committee entertained the crowd before dark with a large number of small balloons.  The fireworks display was one of the best ever witnessed in Kinmundy and the thousands who remained were well pleased with the exhibit.  During this part of the program, a horse was frightened and a buggy broken and this is the only accident that happened during the day to our knowledge.
Taking everything into consideration and the amount of money that was available for the celebration, the program was one of the most successful ever held in Kinmundy.  The music furnished by “The Big Eight” was enjoyed by the crowd and the people were very surprised to know that Kinmundy afforded such talent.


"Centralia Sentinel"; Centralia, IL; Dec. 13, 1956

"Kinmundy Prepares for Centennial" by Earl C. Jupin


In Kinmundy this week people were going about their quiet ways thinking of Christmas.  Tinsel decorations appeared in store windows, and the soft glow of Yule trees whispered the ageless story of Bethlehem.  Like other communities throughout the Christian world, Kinmundy was looking forward to the holidays.  The joyous season just ahead was the town=s first concern.  But many were thinking of other Christmases which have come and gone during almost 100 years of community history.Everybody in Kinmundy is aware of the special significance of this Yule season.  They know that next year when they meet in homes and churches to retell the Christmas story their community will have passed the 100th year of its existence.  They know that the year ahead is the Centennial Year, the year which may set the course of the town=s second century.


Ponder Celebration Plans

However that may be, the coming spring will mark an important milestone in the life of Kinmundy, and its citizens haven=t yet made up their collective mind what to do about it.  Should the community plan a celebration to formalize the event?  The latest word is that Mayor E.E. JAHRAUS will appoint a special committee of three to consider plans for formal observance.  Recommendations of this committee will be presented later at a town meeting to which the entire community will be invited.  From this meeting will come the decision for a centennial celebration if one is to be had.  Appointment of this committee has been delayed because of the mayor=s illness.  He is presently in the veteran=s hospital in Marion with the date of his return home uncertain.

Meanwhile, historical data of Kinmundy=s first 100 years is being collected by the local Woman=s Club.  This data will be preserved in booklets to be given to citizens and filed in the school library.  Helping with this project are students of Kinmundy High School who are spending leisure hours interviewing oldsters and scanning town records.


Name From Scotland

Some may be surprised to learn that the community derived its name from a town in Scotland and that the old story about the load of wood is more fiction than fact.  For years the story has gone the rounds that a farmer delivered a load of wood to one of the early settlers.  When the farmer asked for his pay the old settler replied, AI can=t pay today but kin Monday.@  Understandably, this bit of fancy got mixed up in the town=s lore. The historical account of the christening is almost as hard to believe as the old settler story is easy.  The town was named for the birthplace of a Scotchman who visited the area in 1856.  The visitor was a London agent of the Illinois Central railroad during the period of its construction.


Settlers from Tennessee

The inhabitants of Kinmundy in 1856 were virtually all from Tennessee, still they chose a town name from far-away Scotland rather than one from their native state.  This fact seems to indicate the vast importance attached to the coming of the railroads in those early times.  The Illinois Central station in Kinmundy was erected late in 1856 and on Jan. 1, 1857, through passenger and freight service was opened between Chicago and Cairo. All previous trains between these terminals had bee routed part way over other lines.

The construction of this railroad through the heartland of Illinois provided the drive and impetus which built many new towns and cities along its right-of-way.  So on April 10, 1857, W.T. SPROUSE laid out the first streets on both the east and west of the Illinois Central tracks.  The original town was bounded on the north by First Street, on the south by Fourth Street and on the east by Washington.  The west boundary was one block west of Monroe Street.  Blocks of the original site were formed by Second and Church streets running east and west; and Monroe, Madison, Jefferson, and Adams streets running north and south.  These streets formed 12 full size blocks and 5 part blocks due to the railroad.


Isaac EAGAN addition

In 1858, the Isaac EAGAN addition just north of First Street was added.  Later EAGAN second and third additions were annexed.  In 1867, the large W.T. SPROUSE and the smaller J.O. DUMMONDS and Johnson additions were taken in.  The Joshua GOODWIN and D.P. SNELLING tracts became part of Kinmundy in 1868.  To these have been added at one time or another, the Mary E. EAGAN first and second additions in the northwest part of Kinmundy; and the Charles H. WEST subdivision in the southeast sector.  But even before the formal survey of Kinmundy was made, hearty settlers from Tennessee were drifting onto neighboring lands.  The first of record was John W. NICHOLS from Wilson county, Tenn.  NICHOLS built a small cabin on the east prong of Howell branch in 1823.


Early Day Settlers

Three years later, Hy HOWELL, another Tennesseean, located on the west bank of the stream which now bears his name.  On Dec. 21, 1828, Abner STEWART from Maury County, Tenn., built the first cabin on a lot which later became part of the original town site.  This same Abner STEWART built the first sawmill in about 1830.  The mill was located in the northeast corner of section 21, if early records are correct.  The same year that STEWART arrived in the Kinmundy area, three brothers arrived from Maury County, Tenn., floated north and disembarked on neighboring land.  These were the GRAY brothers, Joseph, James and William, who were destined to play a leading role in Kinmundy=s early history.  With the GRAYs came Isaac EAGAN, a Tennesseean, who left an indelible mark on the town=s history.  Hugh and William B. EAGAN, relatives of Isaac, arrived from Tennessee shortly after Isaac. These hearty pioneers began immediately to hew out homes for themselves and families.  Streams in the area were heavily wooded and the surrounding prairie untouched by plow was ready for cultivation.  Other sawmills began to spring up and the ring of hammers against solid oak timbers spoke loudly of their need.  Jim and Joe GRAY put their mill in operation using a whipsaw as the cutting tool.  William GRAY took advantage of this brotherly windfall to build himself a house in 1857.


Eagan Built First House

Since William EAGAN=s house was built after the town was surveyed and within its limits, this structure holds rightful claim to being the first house built in Kinmundy.  The Abner STEWART cabin and perhaps others were built on town plots prior to the SPROUSE=s survey.  Word soon traveled back to Tennessee that Kinmundy and the neighboring area was a new land of Caanan full of hope and promise.  Thereupon, the exodus from Tennessee began afresh.  Among the new arrivals were Hugh EAGAN, John BEARDIN, John and Hinton BLURTON, Barney EAGAN, Roger and Thomas WILLIAMS, Sam WHITESIDE and Williams HOWELL.  These Tennesseeans began immediately to build homes and establish themselves in business.


Early Day Merchants

A country store was being run by W.B. EAGAN before the town was laid out and his brother, Henry, became the first village blacksmith.  In 1868, W.T. SPROUSE built a saw and grist mill and when this one was sold and moved away, SPROUSE built another one in 1864.  Willis WILBURN, one of the early settlers built a home and converted part of it into a general store.  He also built the first hotel.  Dr. L.D. SKILLING established and ran the first drug store in Kinmundy; and Dr. W.W. ELLIOT became the first resident physician.  A business section was now being established east of the I.C. tracks and a little to the south of the depot.  It was years later that the business district gradually moved to the west of the tracks where it is now concentrated.

The names mentioned above were all closely associated with the growth of Kinmundy during that first decade.  During this period, Kinmundy was still just a settlement having no corporate existence.  Then on Feb. 25, 1867, the community received its first certificate of incorporation.  A booklet published in 1955 by the secretary of state, Springfield, giving an official listing of counties and municipalities in Illinois does not make clear the exact nature of this incorporation.  But it is presumed the Kinmundy was first incorporated as a village.  Later on April 23, 1875, the community was incorporated as the City of Kinmundy.


Business District Moves

The second stage of growth might well be identified with the date of its first incorporation, for it was along about then that the rough-hewn cabins of the early pioneers gave way to more modern dwellings, the general stores replaced by others of a more specific character.  The business move to the west side of the tracks also began at about this time.  A restaurant was opened by C. SPORFFORD in the new business district, and shortly thereafter H.S. HART established a store west of the tracks.

By 1860, the people from Tennessee were being joined by arrivals from Virginia, Indiana and other states.  And the second decade in the life of Kinmundy was one of expanding population and much industrial growth.  New industries were started, new businesses established.


New Industries Started

A flour mill and brick mill were added to the roster of industries operated within the village limits.  These enterprises were established in 1868 by A.W. (Abe) and Giles SONGER who moved to Kinmundy from a nearby farm. The mills gave great stability to the thriving community, providing not only employment but much-needed building material and a basic food item.  The flour mill also attracted farm trade to Kinmundy since it provided a cash market for farm grains.

Community growth had now reached the point where banking facilities could be established.  This was done in 1870 when a private bank operated for business.  The new institution was called the W.T. HAYMOND & Company Bank and was capitalized for $45,000.  Tilman RASE was elected President and W.T. HAYMOND cashier.  The bank had eight stockholders.  During its history, Kinmundy has had several bank but in August, 1906 the State Bank of Kinmundy was consolidated with the First National Bank which now serves the community.

Closely associated with the financial institutions of Kinmundy is the Kinmundy Building and Load Association organized in 1887.  Capt. Calendar ROHRBOUGH, a colorful officer of the Union Army, played a leading part in this organization.  ROHRBOUGH, who came from West Virginia, serviced as first president of the association and later became secretary.  The popular captain was interested in other enterprises in the area during this period.


1900 Population was 1221

Kinmundy at the turn of the century was enjoying its greatest growth and prosperity.  In 1900 the population was 1221 and still growing.  People were busy, prosperous and contented.

At the north edge of town, a coal mine was now in operation.  A thriving coal industry was thus added to flour, brick and saw mills.  Agriculture had also come into the community picture in a big way.  Farm trade was on the increase with fruit playing a major role.  Apple, peach and pear orchards ringed the town in all directions.  Strawberries were grown, and the Alma Gems, a muskmelon, was sweeping the country.

Closely associated with agriculture at this time was Edward G. MENDENHALL.  This popular fruit grower operated a dried apple plant in Kinmundy for several years around 1900.  For 25 years prior to 1915 he served as secretary and treasurer of the Illinois Horticulture Society.  An added lift was given then community in 1895 when the Chicago, Peoria & Memphis railroad - now the Chicago & Eastern Illinois - ran its tracks through the west part of town. 

Just after the Twentieth Century was ushered in, one historian called Kinmundy Aone of the largest towns in Marion County and one of the most prosperous.@  Population in 1905 was estimated at about 1500.


Town Had 5 Churches

The spiritual, educational and cultural growth of the community was trying hard to keep abreast of the industrial and population growth.  Religious sects which first held services in homes of settlers built church homes; education was taken out of the cabins and into a regular school; fraternal orders were organized.

The Baptists built the first log church near Hy HOWELL=s cabin in the northwest part of Kinmundy before the town was laid out.  The date of this construction is not disclosed in early histories.  Shortly after the Baptist Church, Isaac EAGEN donated ground for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

By 1881, according to an early history of Marion and Clinton County, five church congregations were active in the community.  These were the Cumberland Presbyterian, Methodist, Methodist Episcopal South, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic.

Today in Kinmundy, four churches are operated.  These are the Methodist, Christian, Church of God, and Roman Catholic.  The Presbyterian building in recent years has been taken over by the Church of God.  A second Baptist building which replaced the old log church, was only recently converted into a dwelling after many years of disuse.


Educational Facilities

Nothing in Kinmundy had more steady growth than its educational facilities.  These facilities have kept pace with the changing times and with modern educational thinking.  On hundred years ago, children of the area were taught in cabins of the settlers.   Even before Kinmundy was a wide place in the road, James GRAY, one of the three GRAY brothers from Maury County, Tenn., held school in homes in the neighborhood.  When GRAY was unable to teach, a Mr. STEPHENS took his place.  The GRAY brothers as indicated earlier, came to Kinmundy in 1828 so it may be assumed that these early classes were held about 1830.

In 1837, the first school house was built in Section 16.  Sam WHITESIDE was the first regular teacher.  This crude building was replaced in 1864 by a two-story frame structure containing four rooms.  Six teachers were on the faculty and the school term ran for eight months.  The building was located near the site of the present Methodist church.  The present brick high school was erected in 1910 and a brick gymnasium followed ten years later.  These facilities served both the grade and high school until 1955 when a new modern elementary school was built at the northeast edge of Kinmundy.


High School Buildings

On the high school campus in the south part of town additional building have been added as need arose.  In 1947, a combination cafeteria and home economics building was constructed.  This was followed in 1954 by an agricultural building housing a modern shop and class rooms. This year a new ultra-modern high school gymnasium was put into service.  The old gym built in 1920 is now used for physical education and a spare gymnasium.  The construction of the new gymnasium this year wound up a $300,000 building program begun in 1954.  The modern trend to larger school districts through consolidation of multiple rural and urban districts has made possible these major forward steps in education at Kinmundy.  In 1941, the Kinmundy Community District was organized; and in 1953 the Kinmundy-Alma Unit District was voted in.  Superintendent Lewis J.T. O=DELL today directs a school system which as a grade school enrollment of 485 and a high school enrollment of 148.  The grade school faculty numbers 19 and the high school 11.


Fraternal Societies

The first fraternal society in Kinmundy was the IOOF Rosedale Lodge No. 354 chartered Oct. 9, 1867.  The Royal Templars of Temperance called Fidelity Lodge No. 24 was instituted in 1880.  These were followed by Kinmundy Lodge No. 1091 Knights of Honor on May 31, 1878, and Kinmundy Lodge No. 398 A.F. & A.M. on Oct. 1864.

The community has had a newspaper since 1867 when the Kinmundy Telegram made its first appearance.  Later, in 1878, the Kinmundy Register took up reporting the news.  Then on Nov. 8, 1883 the Kinmundy Express was established.  The Express, a weekly paper, has served the community since that date.  For a time the town had two papers, the Kinmundy Express and the Kinmundy Journal.  But the later was merged with the Express to form a bi-weekly.  The first editor of the Express was R.F. LAWSON and Owen SCOTT as co-publisher.  Fred O. GRISSOM, who still lives in Kinmundy became editor in 1898 and served for 18 years until he became city postmaster.  After two earlier sales, the paper was purchased by J.N. VALLOW on Dec. 1, 1921.  VALLOW who celebrated the paper=s 50th anniversary in 1933 is still editor.


Peak Population 1500

Figures of record show that Kinmundy=s population has had some rather sharp ups and downs.  Peak of the rise came shortly after the turn of the century when an estimated 1,500 inhabitants lived there.  The census of 1900 lists the population at 1,221, a growth of almost 200 from 1890 when the population was 1,045.  With the closing of the coal mine about 1904, the decline in population began.  The valley was reached in 1920 when the census reported a total population


(This was a letter sent from Irene See Brasel when the Kinmundy Centennial was being planned.)

609 So. 5th St.; Hoopeston, Ill.; Oct. 25, 1956

 Dear Mrs. Franklin,

            Last month while at my brother’s, Otis See in Monmouth, they mentioned that you were trying to find something on the origin of the name of Kinmundy to use in the observation of the town’s centennial.  I recalled having run across the story somewhere years ago, but couldn’t find it in my notes nor at our public library.  So I wrote to the State Historical Society and am enclosing their reply.  I also wrote to Mr. John Allen of Carbondale, but have no response as yet.

            I am very glad Kinmundy is making preparation for a celebration and shall look forward to coming to it.

            I did find an interesting report on Ill. Newspapers at the library, covering the Kinmundy newspapers from the first, the “Telegram” in 1867 to 1907 when Mr. Grissom took over.  If interested I can make a copy for you.

            There seemed to be no settlement back as far as 1844 when my great grandmother, Nancy Greenlee See and family came from W. Va. Settling on land south of Kinmundy, around Alma and Omega townships.  They farmed rented land the first year.  Uncle Mike (Clara Sue’s father) and my grandfather plowed ground for corn from the site of the present Methodist Church west to the former Ed Doolen home.  Deer came to drink in the branch that runs along there. 

            It is sad cousin Clara’s once vivid memory is so impaired, for she could have been a great help to your committee.


                    Sincerely yours,   Irene See Brasel (Mrs. G.D.)


           Have you seen the Marion Co. map (Historical) from the Historical Div. of History.  The Salem Republican offered these at $1.00 about 3 years or so ago.  It shows locations in early Kdy township.



Kinmundy Centennial Booklet


Railway to Thruway; 1857 - 1957


To those early Kinmundians who founded this community, and to those who continued building it; to those whose names are listed here; and to those whose names did not reach us in time to be included, we dedicate this book. To those present day citizens, who have joined in making this hundredth birthday party a time to remember, and whose wonderful spirit of cooperation promises much for the future of our community, we dedicate this book.

William Warren and Minnie Headley Lowe, David and Hannah Cole Headlev. Michael and Nancy J. Carrigan See, E. C. Huggins, William and Effie Ford, Calvin Chester and Imogene Ford, Charley Chester and Magdalene Ford, John and Lillian Ford, Byron and Minnie Parrill Siple, Frank Howell, John A. Holt, Hubert Morgan Fisher, Dr. H. L. and Martha Jane Gray Hanna, B. L. (Bud) Hanna, Gray Davis, David and Mary Williams Hanna, Ben and Fina Garrett, William Gramley, Frank and Jane Howe, Martin and Margaret Gramley, Barnett W. Blakeslee, Rev. John and Frances Morgan Ballance, Tom Ballance, James and Mamie Songer Brown, Charles F. Pruett, Walter S. Pruett, J. Lem and Stella Ballance, Eli and Josie Robb, J. T. and Hattie Arnold, Anton J. Young, Robert J. Smith, Mary E. Shriver, Thomas J. and Gertrude Dillon Wade, William Smith & Agnes Morgan Conant, George Selby Conant, Richard Smith Conant, John Bart and Martha Doolen Morgan, H. Clay Devore, Helen Devore Brownrigg, Dr. W. O. and Amelia Songer Smith, Matthew and Mary Rowan Humphrey, John Mac Humphrey, Arthur and Florede Eagan Humphrey, W. B. and Mary Haymond Eagan, Ellis Wainscott, David and Polly Ann Hatton Shultz, E. Oliver and Julia Steen Shultz, Thomas C. and Elizabeth Osborn Killie, Henry (Joe) and Fannie Killie Eagan, John B. and Rebecca J. King, Thomas and Anna King Bagott, John F. and Ellen King Donovan, Alexander and Mattie Hart Millican, Lou R. and Amanda Millican Davis, Daniel P. and Margaret O'Brien, The William Rooney Family, Mr. and Mrs. Tolley P. Mendenhall, Dr. J. D. and Annetta Bradley Camerer, Dr. and Mrs. W. W. Bradley, I.T. and Sarah Wilson Dillon, T. M. and Bessie King Smith, Fred J. and Elizabeth Tomlinson Nirider, Mr. and Mrs. F. A. Pruett, Miss Mollie A. Songer, Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Songer, Christian J. and Elizabeth Feller Hiller, Leander C. and Elizabeth Lydick Matthews, John M. and Martha Tucker Rotan, Martin and Barbara Phillips Schoenborn, Charles E. and Kate Schoenborn Buswell, R. C. and Hannah Robb, Mr. and Mrs. Eli Conant, Mr. and Mrs. James Harvey Gray, Clarence and Virginia Gray Hanna, Clarence Schooley, Capt. and Anna Moore Rohrbough, Edwin and Katherine Groves Wormley, The Melvin Downs Family, Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Mendenhall, Mr. and Mrs. John Merchant, Gilbert Ward Morgan, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hargrave, Mr. and Mrs. James T. Sexton, Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Warren, Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Bosley, Louis M. and Jennie B. Rotan, Mr. and Mrs. Denton Gray, Elroy and Jennie Hallett Snelling, David P. and Hannah A. Snelling, George and Emma Snelling, F. D. P. and Martha Rutherford Snelling, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Banning, Lew A. and Ethel Wantland Alderson, Barney Alderson, Charles B. and Annie G. Rohrbough, Rev. and Mrs. William R. Bradley, John H. Nelms, Dr. Charles H. Dennis, D.A. and Susanna Fairall Porter, Charles E. and Hazel Dennis Siemer, Moses and Elizabeth Green Swift, Charles M. and Mary Elizabeth Neavill, Frank V. and Brenice Young Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Harry E. Miner, A. S. and Ellen Doty Schermerhorn, A. V. and Belle Dillon Schermerhorn, Gottlieb and Rachel Hope Fenster, S. R. Wooley, Roy Fenster, Gustin L. and Jennie D. Eagan, Charles H. and Rose Dillon West, Jesse and Louisa George, Owen and Dovey Gray George, Walter S. George, Ray George, William and Elizabeth Holt Morris, Pleasant F. Robnett, Anna Chalfant, Mr. and Mrs. Noah Robnett, James E. Williams, Riley Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver P. Vallow, W. W. and Frances Gunn Neil, Xon Harlan, Charles and Adora Lowry Schufeldt, Henry and Ida Shriver Warren, J. Oscar Cox, George and Elizabeth Brammer West; James B. and Elizabeth Parker McBryde; J. P. and Sallie McBryde Steen; Richard P. and Mary E. West McBryde; Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Wilkinson; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Telford; William L. and Harriett Forshee King; Will and Nellie Reynolds; Oscar N. and Gertrude Tyner; M. A. Snelling Babcock; William Coleman; Erasmus and Mary Jane Jones Eagan; Isaac and Athaline Eagan; J. F. and Mary C. Hockaday; The Storrs Family; A. M. and Sallie Howel Allen; Edwin Charles and Nellie Holbrook Bargh; George Holbrook Bargh; John and Mary Fancher Hammer; Dick Atkins; George Dillon; John R. Dillon; Howard L. Robb; John and Lois Nelms Robb; F. M. and Julia Lowe Robb; James Harvey Gray; Mary Gray Ingram; Robert Lee Ingram; Jennie Bascom Grissom; Levi C. and Sarah King Rohrbough; The Emmett Porter Family; Dr. A. J. G. and Julia Gould Hall; George P. and Anna Foster Tomlinson; S. J. and Elzora Ray Allen; James O. and Anna Humphrey Fish; The Scawthorn Family.


to Mrs. Harriet DeVore, "Aunt Harriet," who was born in Ohio in 1852. She remembers as a little girl, the Civil War and. Morgan's raiders, and recalls the day when a neighbor told her family of Lincoln's assassination. After the death of her husband in 1891 she brought her nine children to Kinmundy, where her parents had moved in 1872. She was the baby nurse of the community and most young mothers of this area asked her to be with them when their babies were born. July 24 is her 105th birthday, and if her health permits, she will receive old friends during the Centennial, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Florence Franklin, where she now lives.

to Miss Luella Parrill, who celebrated her 94th birthday by baking her own cake and inviting the neighbors in. She is the only one of these ladies who have been able to participate in the Centennial activities, and has been an honored guest at the Fund raising dinner, and other celebrations. She lives alone and does her own house keeping. Born in Meacham township, she moved with her family to Kinmundy in October 1907. She worked in Chicago for many years and returned to her old home in 1930.

to Mrs. Elzora Dennis Nelms, who was born in Zanesville, Ohio, in October, 1863 and came to Kinmundy with her family, the Alec Porters, when she was a year and a half old. She was in the millinery business for 20 years, a milliner for 10 years in the shop of Miss Mollie Songer and then in her own shop in her home, on Madison street. She now lives near the Methodist church, of which she is a lifelong member, with her brother, Frank Porter and her daughter, Mrs. Hallie Combs.

to Mrs. Nan Whisnant, who would have been 97 on August 26, and intended to celebrate before that by riding in the Centennial parade. She was born in Jennings Co., Indiana in 1860 and moved with her parents to a farm near Salem when she was about a year old. After her marriage in 1879 to David C. Whisnant, she moved to a farm near Kinmundy and later to town where she lived alone after Mr. Whisnant's death in 1926. A few years ago she was forced by failing health to give up her home and live with relatives. A recent serious illness caused her to be moved to a nursing home, tho she was able to go to a family reunion on June 15. A short time later she fell, breaking a hip and arm. She did not recover.

to Mrs. Sara McGee Miller, who was born in Carol County, Virginia, on March 11, 1859. Her family came west in a covered wagon when she was a child. When one of their horses died, they stopped at a small mining town near Washington, Indiana where they lived for some years, her

father working as a miner. Later they moved to Sandoval, where she married Theodore "Pete" Miller in 1888 and moved to Kinmundy where Mr. Miller worked in the mine till it closed. She died on March 1, 1957, at the age of 98.

Board of Directors: (Picture was included) Members of the Centennial Board, left to right, standing, Rodney Schooley, Carl Dunlap, Lewis O'Dell, Mrs. Maxine Robb, treasurer, Jesse George, Dr. Dwight Hanna, president. Seated, Mayor E. E. Jahraus, Mrs. Lura Robnett, secretary.


FINANCE: Harvey Hanna, Mrs. Effie Grain, Ray Vandeveer, Emmett Gray, Bud Robnett, C. R. Alderson.

GOVERNOR'S: E. E. Jahraus, Mark Arnold, Arno Miller, Elwin Ingram, Robert Marshall, Ellis Johnson, Fred Miselbrook.

PARADE: Mrs. Pola Robb, Pauline Bagott, Mrs. Marge Boyd, Gene Ernst, Jesse George, Rev. Rufus Gerkin, Dwight Ingram, Mrs. Maxine Robb, Glen Johnson.

HOSPITALITY: Mrs. Lillian Grissom, Eino Brown, Miss Dorothy McCulley, Orous Leach, Mrs. Amelda Vallow, Mrs. Dorcas Miller, Alta Bagott, Mrs. Pearl Fisher, Mrs. Mildred Brown, Mrs. Ferdie Leach, Fred Grissom, Arno Miller.

CONCESSIONS: Fred Gammon, Fred Kleiss, Dan Hicstand, Roy Doolen, Wayne Robb, R. R. Atkins, George Feather

PUBLICITY: Mrs. Adina LeMa.y, Elizabeth Killie, Mrs. Phyllis See, Orous Leach, Arno Miller, Mildred Kleiss, Russell Williams, Mrs. Bertha Johnson

FIREWORKS: Jesse George, Ray Vandeveer, Virgil See, Wayne Robb, Dwight Day, Virgil McKitrick, Orville Gordon Jr., Robert Geiler.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND PARKING; Harvey Brown, Tom Helpingstine, Norman Blackburn.

VETERAN'S: R. R. Atkins, Roy Doolen, E. E. Jahraus, Mrs. Roy Doolen, Merle Jackson, Wyett Colclasure, Fred Boyd.

I.C. R.R.: F.O. Grissom, Ray Maulding, Dwight Ingram, R.R. Lee.

GUEST ACCOMMODATION: Mrs. Ruth Alexander, Mrs. Louise Feather, Mrs. Bernice Alderson, B. F. Linton.

CENTENNIAL DINNER FUND RAISING: Mrs. Ferdie Leach, Mrs. Maxine Robb, Bill Green, Jesse George, Dwight Hanna, Wayne Robb, Cecil Bailey. Harvey Hanna, Lloyd Bailey.

FUND RAISING DINNER: Mrs. Huffy Hanna, Mrs. Maxine Robb, J. N. Vallow, Katherine Wormley, Mrs. Effie Crain, Mrs. Lura Robnett, Mrs. Tillie Hulsey, Fred Kleiss, Mrs. Pearl Hanna, Mrs. Wanda Eagan, Mrs. Edith Hammer, Mrs. Millie Bassett, Mrs. Imogene Hammer.

FUND RAISING DINNER DECORATIONS: Mrs. Alice Lewin, Mrs. Maud Holt, Mrs. Lou Neathery, Mrs. Alma Ernst, Wilma Boughers, Mrs. Lora Ingram, Mrs. Virginia Montgomery,

Mrs. Mary Esther Jones, Mrs. Florence Weiss, Mrs. Fern Ballance.

FARMERS DINNER: James Eagan, Howard Hammer, Wayne Robb, Gilbert Doolen, Bill Green, John Phillips, Gene Ernst, Dwight Hanna.

HISTORICAL DISPLAY: Mrs. Elizabeth Lux, Mrs. Ruby Linton, Mrs. Bertha See, Mrs. Huffy Hanna, Mrs. Grace Mendenhall. Elizabeth Killie, Glenn Jahraus, Mrs. Dorothy Schooley, A.C. Dunlap.

RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES: Jamie McGee, Fred Kleiss, Fr. Strzelec, Rev. Earl Phillips, Rev. Rufus Gerkin, Rev. A.C. Martin, Mrs. Bertha See, Mrs. Lewis O'Dell, Mrs. Dorothy McCulley, Mrs. Lillian Grissom, Mrs. Ferdie Leach, B. J. Rotan, Mrs. Margaret Shuteldt, Mrs. Thelma Bailey, Leland Brasel, Emmett Gray, Gilbert Doolen, Russell Williams, Mrs. Amelda Vallow, Gene Ernst, Mrs. Maxine Robb, John Wm. McCulley, Tom Helpingstine, Fred Gammon, Fred Alexander, Ray Ingram, Paul Montgomery.

HOMECOMING: Mrs. Margaret Shufeldt, F.O. Grissom, J.B. Maxey, J.R. Mahan, Mrs. Bertha Pruett, Mrs. Florence Franklin.

CENTENNIAL BALL: Wayne Robb, Mrs. Alecia White, Mrs. Pola Robb, Merle Jackson, Bill Lux, Charles Bassett, Ray Olden, Frosty Jones, George

BEARD AND COSTUME: Charles Bassett, Mrs, Alecia White, Glenn Doolen, Mrs. Fola Robb, F. A. Motch, Harry Boyd, Wayne Whitney, Harry Geiler.

CITY CLEANUP: B. F. Linton, D. J. Alexander, Emmett Gray, Bill Doolen, Mrs. Thelma Bailey, Chris Jasper, Edgar Jones, Mrs. Lillian Grissom, Mrs. Erma Ingram, Mrs. Mildred Bargh,

Mrs. Mildred Brown, Marshall Williams, F.O. Grissom.

PAGEANT: Mrs. Thelma Bailey, Mrs. Kathleen Day, E, E. Brown, Katherine Wormley, Mrs. Alma Ernst, Glen White, Mrs. Alice Lewin, Enno Lietz, Bill Pottebaum.

MUSIC: Bill Pottebaum, Rev. Vance Comer, Mrs. Rufus Gerkin, Lloyd Bailey, Mrs, Erma Ingram, Mrs. Jessie Vallow, Mrs. Louise Feather, Mrs. Pauline Johnson.

QUEENS: Mrs. Nora Olden, Mrs. Marge Boyd, Mrs. Effie Crain, Mrs. Thelma Bailey, Mrs. Mildred Bargh, Mrs. Pola Robb.

ENTERTAINMENT: Cecil Bailey, Katherine Wormley, Dwight Day, Herbert Vandeveer, Dwight Hanna, Mildred Kleiss, Mrs. Maxine Robb, Mrs. Ferdie Leach, Tom Helpingstein, Raymond Swift, R. R. Atkins, Gene Williams.

SOUVENIR: Mrs. Lura Robnett, Mrs. Vera Maxey, Mrs. Stella Pruett, Mrs. Grace Mendenhall, Byron Sill, Mrs. Jessie Vallow, Gilbert Doolen, Ina Mac Tate, Mrs. Ann Jackson, Mrs. Mary Hechler.

TEEN AGE: Butch Boyd, Charles Boyd, Carolyn Alberson, Kaye Hammer, Ruth Rohrbough, Mrs. Bernice Alberson

SI'EAKERS PLATFORM CONSTRUCTION: Ivan Devor, Oran Alderson, Don Rogerson, Fred Collett, Bd Green, Gene Helm, Winifred Yearin, W. R. Wisher.

STREET DECORATION: R. R. Lee, Alva Olden, Clifton LeMay, John Wm. McCulley, John Phillips, Harry Suggett, John Ilg.

RESTROOM CONSTRUCTION: Rodney Schooley, Gene Jahraus.

AGRICULTURAL EXHIBITS: Carroll Garrett, Bill Lux, Fred Wilson, Leland Brasel, Merle Kllne; Glen Brasel, Bob Green, Glen Jahraus,

CONDUCTED HISTORICAL TOURS: Mrs. Lillian Grissom, Elno Brown, Mrs. Mildred Brown, B. J. Rotan, Harry Dennis, Mrs. Olga Alderson, Mrs, Pearl Fisher, Mrs, Maud Holt, Pauline Bagott.

HISTORICAL HOUSES: Ray Suggett, Mrs, Florence Franklin, Mrs. Erma Ingram, Mrs. Ferdie Leach, Lloyd

STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL: Mrs. Lillian Grissom, Emmett Gray, Fred Kleiss, Fred Alexander, Bert Garrett, Mrs. Olga Alderson, Mrs. Ferdie Leach, Mis. Ruby Linton, Mrs. Ruth Doolen, Mrs, Florence Franklin, Mrs. Alecia White, Mrs. Lols Alderson, Mrs. Dorothy McCulley, Mrs, Georgia Soldner, Mrs. Marjorie Green, Mrs. Fern Ballance, Mrs. Margaret Shufeldt, Mrs. Mildred Brown, Mrs, Bertha See, Orous Leach, Virgil See, Eugene Shufeldt, Eino Brown, Mrs. Sam Lowe, Mrs. Bert Garrett, Mrs, Maud Holt, Mrs. Bessie Diss, Mrs. Emma Ballance, Mrs. Effie Robb, Leiand Brasel, Tom Helpingstine, E. E, Jahraus, Harvey Hanna, and George Feather.

A long time ago, the Woman's Club planned a history of Kinmundy for the Centennial and almost a year ago, they asked me to take over the job. It has been difficult, but rewarding, and we hope it will preserve the memories of earlier days for those who did not experience them, and show the changes that have occurred in. the century passed. Our deepest thanks to everyone who helped us with their scrapbooks, old pictures, memories, and other valuable material.

We have used the given names of everybody, married or single, since in our town, that is the custom.

Bill Larimer gave us the data on real estate, Carl Dunlap did wonders with old photographs, including prints from some 50 year old plates made by the late Hugh Spencer, and Bill Sechrest did the new photographs.

Some material is from the History of Marion and Clinton County - 1881, Atlas of the United States, 1876, and Atlas of Marion County, 1915. We hope you'll forgive the mistakes and enjoy the rest.  - Elizabeth Killie

Early History

Mr. Byron Rotan has an atlas of Illinois that was published in 1876. Toward the front is a map of this state in 1822. It had then been a state four years. The southern counties that bordered on the rivers were organized but Marion county would not be formed till the next year. Trails or coach roads cross the lower part from Vincennes to St. Louis - from Shawneetown to Alton. Vandalia had been chosen state capitol in 1819 and would bear that title for twenty years, when it would be moved to Springfield.

As you can see in the little drawing, all land above Clark County was Indian territory. Between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers were bounty lands to be awarded to soldiers from the Revolution and War of 1812. Chicago was Fort Dearborn, and Melwakee, an Indian camp. Kaskaskia, originally an Indian village, a French Mission in 1685, was even then over 100 years old. It was incorporated as a town in 1725 by Louis XV, and was the chief settlement between the French in Canada and New Orleans.

The wide territory fanning out through Southern Illinois was known as the American Bottoms and there were large prairies between the stretches of woods. Our area was part of the Grand Prairie.

In 1762, the French ceded it to the English; in 1778 the English surrendered to George Rogers Clark, and it became part of Virginia, and that state ceded it to the United States in 1784. After being part of the Northwest territory, it was created the 22nd state in the Union by an act of Congress on April 18, 1818. Kaskaskia was the seat of the first civil government in Illinois.

Marion county was organized on January 24, 1823, and named after General Marion, the Swamp Fox, famous in Revolutionary War. It’s settlers came from Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia and Pennsylvania, and were protestants in contrast to the French Catholics of Kaskaskia. The first land entered in the county was the west half of the southeast quarter, section 9, T2N, R2E which would be near Texas Corner. It was entered by non-residents, Smith, Lee and Lambert on Dec. 8, 1819. Between this date and January 23, 1823, 1,040 acres were entered in four different townships, however 95 of the 100 families in the county, remained squatters, whose average possessions were worth about $27 per person. Scarcely any land was entered between 1823 and 1836.

The first census was taken in 1825 and showed 557 persons, 104 were heads of families, five of these being widows. There were 117 voters. Of the 557, there were 273 white males, 282 white females, 1 colored male slave, and 1 colored female slave. Hardy Foster, who founded Fosterburg on the old Post Road and for whom Foster township was named, was listed in the census, and also John Nichols who seems to have been the first to settle near the Kinmundy townsite, according to the History of Marion and Clinton County. He later moved to Meacham. Another list shows Arnolds and Jones in Foster township in 1823.

In 1826 Henry Howell from Tennessee settled on Howell’s branch. He raised a large family; some of his descendants still live in this area. Moses Garrett, who was born in 1805 and Hannah Morris, born 1811, were married in Georgia, and also came to Illinois in 1826. He drove a team of oxen and she rode horseback, with her baby in her arms. They settled in section 10, Foster township and had 9 children.

It is said that Sandy Branch is one of the oldest cemeteries in this area and that it dates back before Illinois was a state. That site was one of the earliest settled and some say it would have been a town, if the railroad had not passed by it, both to the east and to the west. Daniel Doolen Sr., who was born in Ireland in 1765, married Mary Bridges in Georgia, moved to Kentucky, had 9 children and died. His widow and sons, Jesse and Dan Junior, came to Illinois and settled near Fosterburg, about 1830. Northwest of Kinmundy is the Shanghai district and in its cemetery are men who fought in the Mexican War. One of these is Eli Robb, ancestor of numerous Robbs, and Fishers. He died in 1854.

To the east in Meacham, Mt. Liberty was a Post Office in 1840 tho it was generally called Cracker’s Neck. (Who knows why?) H. Gibson was the postmaster and also kept a general store. Across the road was another store run by H. Rockhold. After the railroad was built, the postoffice was moved to Kinmundy.

Others in Meacham were the Dillons; George, born in 1808 and his wife, Sally McKee, who came from Kentucky. The earliest land grant to that family was Oct. 10, 1840. Their second son, Isaiah Tevis, who served in the Civil War, and wife, Sara Wilson lived to celebrate their golden wedding in 1905. They moved to Kinmundy when they retired.

Also to the east was the Cockrell settlement in the 1840's and the Scrutchfields at Miletus in 1835. Near Omega was Capt. Elders store before he and his family became early settlers of Kinmundy.

James K. Craig was born in Kentucky in 1824 and came to this area in 1836. His father and mother were John and Savilla Craig, and Savilla was the sister of Nancy Hanks, who was Abraham Lincoln’s mother. James K. and wife settled southeast of Kinmundy, on what is now the Kline farm. They had 8 children, the youngest, John E., was the father of Eula Craig of Kinmundy.

Robert Pruett entered the land west of the present Illinois Central reservoir, east half, northeast quarter of section 28 in 1839. His wife was Minerva See of Mason County, Virginia (now West Virginia), and she wrote her mother about the fine land available for $1.25 per acre, so the See and Shelton family came too. They are said to have plowed corn right thru what is now the town site. Samuel Robb also entered land just southwest of the present town, probably about the same time tho the dates are not shown in the entry book in the courthouse. It is said that this house was where the Methodist church now stands, and his family saw the Headley family arrive, driving their team of oxen. One ox was white which was very unusual.

In 1828 three Gray brothers came from Tennessee, James, Joseph, and William. James settled on section 10 acquired more land in section 15 and other sections. He was the first J.P. in the township and filled that position till his death in 1835. This farm was known as the Harvey Gray place and was the scene of many wiener roasts in the 1910-20 era, when it was occupied by the Luther Davis family. It is now the property of Lewis O’Dell, principal of Alma-Kinmundy High School. Sons of James Gray were James Harvey and Isaac D. both married Hanna girls. The Robert Hanna family went to Kentucky from South Carolina in 1820 and in 1848 came to Marion County. The youngest son, David was the grandfather of Dr. Dwight Hanna who is president of the Centennial board. A descendant of Isaac and Dovey Elizabeth Gray is Jesse George, also of Centennial Board.

In 1828 Abner Stewart, another Tennesseean, built a cabin on land which is now part of the town of Kinmundy. He entered the second tract of land in Kinmundy township on Dec. 21, 1839, west half of the northeast quarter of section 22 or from route 37 north to and including Harvey Hanna’s farm, and from the C&EI to Monroe Street. He had eight children but they all moved away.

Isaac Eagan came from Tennessee with James Gray in 1828. He drove a stage for a while, married and bought a farm on Feb. 13, 1837 which was the first land entered in the township. He bought more land, some being the Stewart tract in section 22. For awhile he operated the horse mill started by Stewart. He had eight children and in the Illinois State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1864-65, Marion County lists 12 organized townships; one called Eagan. W.B. Eagan, the oldest son, built the first house in the original plat of Kinmundy, and ran a store there. The original Eagan homestead was out in the Stewart tract east of the C&EI and across from the cemetery, and the Eagans ran a store there before the town was laid out. Isaac died in the old home in 1873. The place was still standing until the C&EI railroad was built. Hugh Eagan from Tennessee spent 1829 with Gray but moved near Salem.

Other early entries near town are part of section 27 by Charles Floyd Jones in 1852, George Ehenger also in section 27 in 1853, Chester C. Ford in section 22 in 1856, and Capt. Wm. T. Sprouse, the part just below the town in 1860. One of the largest land owners was Isaac Eagan, who held nearly all that adjoining the townsite.

An other early entry was made by Wiley Burton in section 28, March 1, 1839 and there were doubtless many other settlers whose names were not encountered in compiling this book. It does not appear just how the transfer was made when the Illinois Central was given the land grant, but the site of the present town was sold by the I.C. to John Blurton on June 23, 1853, and he sold it to Wm. T. Sprouse in March, 1857. Sprouse then laid out the original 15 block plat on April 10, 1857.

On Sept. 20, 1950, President Millard Fillmore signed the bill making the first grant of public lands to help construct a railroad. The land in Illinois was fertile and had fine prairies and timber lands but except near the rivers it was sparsely populated. There were few roads and no way of marketing your crops after you raised them. Some older people today remember hearing their grandparents tell of hauling grain to St. Louis by wagon.

This land grant bill gave the State of Illinois certain areas of government land to be sold, and the money to be used to build a railroad. This land was to revert to the government if a railway was not started within 2 years, and finished within 10 years, of the enactment of the bill. Word of this was sent by the new invention, the telegraph. The state of Illinois lost no time in turning this land over to the Illinois Central Company, who set about building the railway. Much difficulty was encountered but the main line was completed in 1855.

It reached from Freeport to Cairo. The Chicago Branch had been started to connect Chicago with Centralia and on September 27, 1856, those building from the north, met those from the south at the site of the present town of Mason. This was named in honor of Col. Roswell B. Mason who had been in charge of the work since its inception. This completed the "Charter Lines" of the railway, making 705½ miles of railway reaching from Dunleith on the Mississippi west of Galena, to Cairo where the Ohio & Mississippi meet and from Chicago to Centralia where the branch joined the main line on to Cairo. This was the longest railroad in the world at that time. At the same time the railroad was being built, the Illinois Central Telegraph Co. was formed and its lines ran along the rail lines, dispatching the trains and making communication possible between the settlements.

Stations were made every few miles so that all areas would be able to ship their produce north to Chicago, or south to the Mississippi and then on to New Orleans and world markets. These stations were named for railroad officials and other persons. Kinmundy was named for the hometown in Scotland, of one of the London representatives of the I.C. It is supposed to have originally been Kilmundy, and in the 1868 Guide book put out by the railway is spelled that way in some instances. It is the only town in the United States to have the name.

On June 23, 1853 John Blurton purchased from the I.C.R.R. the north half of the southeast quarter of section 22, town 4 north, range 3 east. On March 1, 1957, William Sprouse purchased the tract from Blurton, and on April 10 of that year, platted the original town of Kinmundy.

This contained 15 blocks and extended from First Street now Highway 37, south to 4th street and from Washington street on the east to ½ block west of Monroe street on the west. These were divided into 169 blocks. The first purchaser was Jerry Bissonnet who bought on July 1, 1857 lots 123, 124, 163, 164 and 165. Nothing further is mentioned about him, whether he built or not. On July 14, Lorenzo Hart bought lot 137. He was the second merchant to settle on the west side of the railroad. He had had a store in a building built by Willis Wilburn on the east side, south of the town plat in 1855. C. Spafford opened a restaurant on the west side and later a general store in connection. His name is not on the original plat so perhaps was below it.

Then in October, W. B. Eagan with Samuel and Augustus Bond bought lots 119, 125, 126, 127, and 128, On lot 119 he built what is listed as the first building in the new town. It was house, general store and post office as he was the first postmaster. The house now occupied by Miss Luella Parrill is built around the original building.

Willis Willborn bought lot 133 at the same time. He is credited with keeping the first hotel but it was probably in a building south of the townsite. Other purchases in 1857 were lots 144, 145, 146 and 147 by Chase, Goodwin, Jackson and Halsted in November; and lots 148 and 149 bv James Nevils, and 151, 152 by Lorenzo and John Allmon, 162 by W. C. Mitchell, these later ones in December.

1858 saw many purchases - Jan. 27, lot 156 to Chas. A. Montross, Feb. 1, lot 161 to W. B. Eagan, March 10, lot 154 to Canada Allmon. In June of that year James W. Booth bought lots 1, 4, 37, 43, 46, 49, 56, 62, 89, 101, 103, 113, 120, 166, 167, and 168. D. P. Snelling bought part of lot 2, he later in 1866, opened his own addition, and built the big house on the hill where Suggetts now live. George Watson bought part of many lots, 35, 36, 39, 42, 50, 57, 59, 69, 93, 105, & 141. John F. Barnard bought parts of lots 5, 16, 41, 44, 53, 90, 94, 97, 102, 107, 138, 139, and 142. John Tuder lot 158 and Geo. P. Hull lots 159-160 in July. Wesley Bockhold bought lot 121 in October and thal finished the season for the year.

In 1859 Wm. Willard purchased lot 153, Jan. 5, and Chas. Montross lot 169 Jan. 25. April 12, lot 154 to L. S. Hart, June 6 lot 138 to same man. Also on June 6 Presley Wilborn bought lots 134-5-6, and Ed Stiles, lot 99. On Aug. 24, lot 140 was sold to John Robb, and on Oct. 4, lot 143 to Isaac and Thos. Sweney. On Oct. 10, lot 67 to J.F. Barnard and Georgia Watson Cormick; Oct. 29 to the Watson estate and Elias Ferguson, lots 129-30-31-32, B F. Fallon, lot 39; on Nov. 12, lots 113-118 to Mary Locke and the last for that year - lot 15 to Clinton and James Wolfe on Dec. 7.

There were only 3 lots sold in 1860, lot 18 to John Moon on Jan. 2, lot 96 to Simeon Bishop on Jan. 19 and lot 14 to James Wolf on Feb. 23. In May, 1860. Sprouse bought the tract adjoining the town plat to the south and later sub-divided it. 1861 saw the beginning of the Civil War and then were few lots sold that year; lot 19 to John Moon or July 31, and on the same day ½ lot 95 to J. R. Smith; lots 115-116 to W. B. Eagan on Aug. 3.

In 1862 Tilman Raser bought the other half of lot 95. He was a man who would be very active in the new town. In 1863 Abram Elder bought lot 108.

In 1864, April 25, lot 100 to James Nevins; May 23, lot 91 to Frederic Emmet; June 10 the Trustees of the Methodist Church bought one third of lot 59 and that is where the church still stands; Oct. 13, lot 102 to A. J. Swan and lot 104 to F.H. Green. Nov. 27, lots 69 and 70 to Matison P. Tilden, and lots 77, 78 to Bayard Chalfant, also lot 52 to D.C. Moore; on Nov. 28, lot 105 to Daniel Kelly.

The Civil War ended in April 1865 and people began to come home from the front and others to move west and north. On Jan. 28, Mary Eagan bought lots 109, 110; Feb. 2, lot 141 to Henry Eagan; on July 5, Thomas and Washington Culley purchased lots 87 and 88. Aug. 5, lot 86 to John Steinman and Geo. Eger; Aug. 18, 117 to W. B. Eagan, 122 to Wesley Rockhold, and lot 51 to David C. Moore; Aug. 25, lot 64 to Martin Beaver; Nov. 18, lot 13 to J. O. Dumond; Nov. 22, lot 84 to James Barrett, lot 85 to John Steinman; Nov. 23, lot 71 to William Becker and lot 50 to Moses French. On Dec. 28, Munger and Moore bought lot 83.

In 1866 on Jan. 2, lot 44 to Claris Grott; Feb. 12, lot 81 to Charley Misselbrook; Feb. 17, lot 42 to James H. Gray, Sr.; March 16, lot 41 to Isaac D. Gray; March 19, lot 61 to C. B. Hollister; April 9, lots 106 and 107 to A. C. Elder; April 16, lot 3 to Michael Hoar and lot 114 to L. D. Allmon; June 22, lot 72 to Edward Freeman, lot 80 to J. C. Haworth, and lot 82 to Mary A. Valentine; July 10, lot 98 to Christopher Houts; Oct. 27, lot 93 to Stoddard Bussel; Nov. 23, lot 94 to Tillman Raser; Dec. 6, lot 68 to Nelson Graves and H. C. Freeman; and on Dec. 13, lot 97 to Tillman Raser.

In 1867 Chas. Montross bought lots 73, 74, 75, and 76 on Jan. 3; lot 45 to Claus Grott on Jan. 5; Jan. 16, lots 7 and 8 to Rob't. Sprouse; lots 9 and 10 to Sam’l McCloud; lots 11 and 12 to Amos Jackson and lot 79 to James Barratt. On April 2, lot 34 to Joshua Goodwin and lot 37 to Ed. Herrick. On May 8, lot 60 to David W. Johnson; on July 24, lot 48 to Mattie Kepley; on Oct. 23, lot 57 to Henry Hall, lot 157 to J. W. Howard and Franklin Russell, and on Oct 30, lot 23 to Thos. H. Parker and lot 55 to Anna Marie Schmidt.

In 1868 only three lots were sold, lot 47 to Mary Ann Valentine in Feb. 19; lot 24 to Wilber Deuel on Aug 29; and lot 22 to Fanny Miselbrook on Dec. 8.

In 1869, June 29, Washington Culley bought lots 5 and 6, and John B. Elder bought lots 111 and 112; on Sept 20, lots 29 and 30 to Martha Hart, lot 31 to James M. Kenton, and lots 32 and 33 to Geo. L. Brenner.

Only 2 lots were sold in 1870, lots 27 and 28 to Isaac Eagan, and in 1871 the last 2 lots of the original townsite were sold, lot 57 to Ed. Herrick and Henry Hall and lot 58 to J. F. Barnard, both sold on April 14.

Meanwhile other subdivisions were being opened on all sides, Sprouse to the south, Goodwin to the east, Eagan to the north, and Snelling to the southwest. On Fremont street in Snelling addition were some the early homes, Snelling, Thrane, Nelson, Porter, and French. The French family are the only ones of the original settlers who still live there.

In the early days before transportation became so swift, a small town had to be pretty much self sufficient. There were mills, Bakeries, Barrel and basket factories, banks, mines, brickyards and casket makers. Early bakers were Bill Cawrey and Chas. Swander. The Ross brothers had the first bread mixing machine, about 1910 in the building where the Express now is. The last bakery here was Ener Zimmer’s where Crain’s café is now.

McCreary and Monger had a banking business in 1867, and T.W. Haymond & Co. was organized Jan. 1870. Tilman Raser, president. In 1899 the Merchants & Mechanics Bank was established and later became the Haymond State Bank. R.P. McBryde had a small private bank but went with the First National as cashier, when it was organized in 1902. Capt. Rohrbough was first president. In 1906, Henry Warren & Sons started a private bank, later changed to Farmer’s & Merchant's Bank. The Building & Loan Co. was organized Aug. 12, 1887.

A brickyard was started by Jonathan Walls in 1891; the Kinmundy creamery began operation Dec. 23, 1892. The Coal mine was organized in Feb. 1884 with $12,000 capital, and in April Zard Frost contracted to sink the shaft. The engine house burned in Feb. 1886, but on March 25, "the diamond drill strikes coal" said the Express. This was a shallow vein but on June 3 they struck a vein 5 ft. thick at a depth of 867 ft. and the Express got out a special edition. About 1900 operations became too costly and it was abandoned.

When the city hall burned in 1903 it was thought that all city records were lost but this year the council found the minutes of the first meetings, from the time of organization on April 10, 1867 to June 17, 1874. This book, written in several Spencerian hands, provided much information. It gives a picture of a small community, building board walks and plank roads to get up out of the mud, making fire prevention laws, building a jail, and in general having all the struggles that city councils have.

From the first there was a battle between the temperance group and those who favored saloons. We have handbills advertising huge temperance meetings sponsored by Royal Templars of Temperance, and one time, a lady took her hatchet, like Carrie Nation, and went down and wrecked a saloon. Histories tell us that drinking was a great problem in the middle west in pioneer days. There was an attempt every year to vote the town dry but it didn't really make it till about 1908, and since then liquor licenses have not been issued.

On April 10, 1867, just ten years after the town had been platted the city council met to organize. The oath of office was administered by Tilman Raser, a Justice of the Peace, in and for the County of Marion and the State of Illinois, to the following officers: W.R. Hubbard, Mayor; U. M. Humble, City Clerk; A.R. Swan, City Marshal; Robert Nevins, Street Commissioner; Alderman for 1st ward, Clinton Wolf and I.C. Haworth; for 2nd ward, T. O. Hatton and Tilman Raser; for 3rd ward, I.S. Sweney and C. H. Munger, and for 4th ward, W. B. Eagan and W.T. Sprouse. A seal with the words "City of Kinmundy" and "Incorporated March 26, 1867" on it was ordered. It was voted that all ordinances of the old town which were consistent with the city charter should remain in effect until revised or repealed.

On April 13 the council met at Tilman Raser's office, appointed committees, passed ordinances concerning tie votes, and bonds of city officers. The mayor suggested that a map or chart of the city be drawn and street corners established. Stated meetings were to be held on the first Monday of each month, and ordinances were to be published or posted, whichever was deemed best. On April 22, C. H. Munger was elected City treasurer. They proceeded to meet very week for some time and the most frequent business to be considered was building streets and sidewalks, unsanitary conditions of streets and alleys, the licensing of places where liquor was sold, animals running at large in the city, and boys jumping on and off moving trains. A frequent expense was paying for the removal of dead hogs. No wonder Dr. Skilling called attention to the unsanitary conditions, this was referred to the Committee on Health.

On May 27 the financial report of W. C. Dorris, (town treasurer) was accepted and he turned over to the city $759.63. On May 31, Aid. Raser presented a resolution that the Mayor appoint a committee to "investigate and inquire into the propriety of erecting a city prison." The mayor agreed and appointed Sprouse, Haworth and Raser.

On June 17 the council voted $3 each to 4 special policemen for their work on the day of the circus, June 13. The resolution to build a city jail carried and a committee was appointed to deal with specifications and contracts. It was also voted to pay Aid. Raser $36 for the year for the use of his office and furniture as a council meeting place. Madison street was to be graded from the south side of Second st. to the north side of Third.

On June 21 the committee on the jail was authorized to negotiate for a lot. On July 8 Aid. Raser reports lot purchased and negotiations with Wm. Fuqua to build. At a special meeting on Aug. 12, Aid. Raser presented a bill for $100, for the lot for city jail, which was paid. A resolution was passed to enclose the jail grounds with a suitable fence. On Sept. 6, Wm. Fuqua presented his bill for building the jail, $395.00, plus $36.08 for extras. W. M. Motch presented an order for $18.00 in favor of James Haworth for painting the jail. The marshal was instructed to get a table and two chairs for the use of the marshal at the city jail. The council minutes do not give the lot's location, so we do not know where the first jail was situated. Raser was not the first owner of lot 144 where the "calaboose" was.

In November a petition was offered asking for a sidewalk on the south side of Third street between Monroe and Madison. D.P. Snelling petitioned a sidewalk on Fremont street and citizens of the second ward wanted one on First street. These sidewalks were, according to one set of specifications, "good lumber not less than 1" thick, laid on 3 stringers not less than 2"x4". walks to be 4' wide." The druggists were praying for the repeal of the druggist's license and 3 liquor licenses were issued.

In December they were ordering sidewalks on east side of Monroe from First to Third street, and south side of Third from Madison to Monroe. In January the street commissioner reported names and number of days delinquent on labor on streets and it totaled 100 days. Only those who worked the required number of days on the streets were allowed to vote. On March 7, 1868, L. B. French presented a bill for $5 for 2 tubs for the jail. The city assessor presented his bill of $12.50 for taking census. A motion was made to publish the reports of the council, treasurer's report and census in the Kinmundy Telegram. Mayor issues proclamation of city election to be the 2nd Monday in April 1868.

On April 6 the bids for laying street crossings were opened and John B. King, who bid 19c per foot, was awarded the job. April 20, 1868 - election results: I.S. Sweney, mayor; Montgomery Wilson, treas.; U. M. Humble, clerk; J. L. Smith, marshal; Robt. Nevins, street comm.; John Robb, surveyor; H. H. Chesley, assessor; aldermen, D. C. Moore, H. R. Hale, E. Freeman and W. B. Hubbard. They wanted the I.C.R.R. to make a crossing on First street and change the Third street crossing to accommodate Jefferson, too. In June they passed an ordinance regarding shade trees and it seems that you could plant trees instead of working on the streets. (These are the trees that have about reached their prime and are breaking down all over town.)

In the following months they tried in vain to open Van Buren street. (Where it was we don't know but from the map it might have been the alley between the Christian church and Arno Miller's. That was the boundary of the original plat.) They spent $4.60 for stars for the policemen to wear, these must have been the special police for 4th of July and Circus day. They fenced the jail, built wells, complained to the I.C.R.R. about the north-bound freight blocking the crossing. Thirty citizens petitioned for an election to vote on the question of subscribing for $50,000 worth of stock in the proposed Kinmundy & Pana railroad.

In 1869, N. S. Hubbard, mayor. There were petitions for gravel crossings; to open Sycamore from Monroe to Madison; make a sidewalk on the east side of Madison from 2nd to 3rd; and always the problem of cattle and hogs as well as dogs running at large. Tilman Raser agreed to be city attorney and represent the city in all except the supreme courts, for $100 per annum. The property owners of Madison street requested that it be graded and macadamized from 2nd to West street.

In 1870, I.S. Sweney, mayor, they hired a night watch for $10 per month. They accepted the deed from the cemetery trustees and voted $50 for improvements, later they recorded the deed, surveyed and platted it and had deeds for the lots printed. They voted to allow permanent residents to sell lemonade, ice cream and soda water on the 4th of July, for payment of clerks’ fees only. The finance committee was to have control of who should erect stands on the grounds where the celebration was held. They voted to dig a good deep well at the corner of 2nd and Madison and furnish it with a pump and good substantial cover.

In 1871, Haworth mayor, they got costs for building a bridge over the railroad at 2nd street. They moved that the cemetery committee should buy a bier and other articles necessary to bury the dead. Appointed a special committee to confer about buying Shelton's grove for a city park. The mayor "called attention to the approaching national anniversary", appointed a committee to license ice cream and other stands on the grounds and instructed the marshal to see that there were no stands on the city streets. On Aug. 7, the finance committee showed a balance of $27.95 after defraying the costs of celebration and moved to hold it for future celebrations.

More petitions for sidewalks; a well built by D. C. Moore opposite his property on 3rd street (this should be the one in the picture on page 20). They rented a lot to build a city pound. (This was for all stray animals and later Capt. Reno was sued for breaking in and recovering his animals). A resolution to license a bowling alley at $5 per year was decided out of order. Wetter asked permission to move his saloon to new brick building on corner of 2nd and Madison.

In 1872, D. C. Moore, mayor, but resigned and was succeeded by E. Freeman. Petition for sidewalk to extend to M.E. Church south, on Adams street.

In 1873, Mayor Haworth. Ordinance passed licensing groceries. Extra land was purchased for cemetery; resolution to purchase new pump for public well, paint the fence around it, and clean the yard for "as little expense as possible." Groceries petitioned against heavy taxes. Street commissioner was instructed to work out all who have not paid or worked, within the next 30 days.

In 1874, G. M. Songer, mayor. Opening of South street was referred to committee. Resolution that the board "should pledge united and individual influence against selling or giving away of intoxicating liquor to minors or habitual drunkards." The city to spend not more than $300 on repairing and building sidewalks. Ald. Raser moves to procure lamp posts and lamps before fall and they vote to procure not more than 10 street lamps, provided they cost not more than $10 each erected. This is the last entry in the minutes of the book recording the first meetings of the Kinmundy City Council.

The Illinois Central Directory for 1868 writes very glowingly of Kinmundy. (It still had lots of land to sell in the vicinity for from $7 to $13 per acre.) The following people advertised in the book so we have their names: N. S. Hubbard, American Express and I.C. R.R., H. H. Chesley and Tilman Raser, attorneys; C. Miselbrook, barber; B. Chalfant, blacksmith; W. Graves, carpenter; Scott Shrigley, dentist; (full sets of teeth, $10) ; J.O. Hatton and Price & Denby, druggists; W. B. Eagan, A. C. Elder, John Brenner, Rohrbough & Moore, Solomon & Co., C. Spafford, Wilson & Elder, dry goods and general merchandise.

Capt. Reno and Songer Bros., flouring mills; Herrick & Hall, W. A. Howell, Hume & King, Geo. K. Jenkins, J. H. Landrum, groceries; W. B. Eagan, D. C. Moore, hardware; E. Eagan, hotel ($2 per day); J. H. Robb, J. P.; W. Culley, livery stable; C. A. Montross, lumber; Miss M. M. Hart, Mrs. A. Parker, Mrs. J. B. Smith, Songer & Leever, millinery; E. Freeman, house and sign painter; T. W. Forshee. J. M. Fox, U. M. Humble, L. D. Skilling, physicians; J. C. Haworth, saddles & harness; A. W. O’Bryant, Kinmundy Telegram; Pat Mullins, H. H. Robertson and C. Wetter, saloons;

John Coleman and Winnie James, shoemakers; E. Mendenhall, stationery; wagon & carriage makers, William Becker, J. C. Moon, and F. Seiser. Besides these, they say, there are sawmills, tobacco factory, woolen factory, sorghum mills, cabinet makers and coopers, and more than 50 homes were erected in 1867.

The Kinmundy Independent for 1876 has ads for: Geo. Craig and S. VanArnam, shoemakers; Dan Lovell, barber; Eagan & Porter, livery stable; Mrs. V. A. Brown, dressmaking & tailoring; B. Blakeslee, plows & cultivators; Songer Bros., flour; Edward Freeman, real estate, newspaper; Wm. B. Fish, Kinmundy market; Spring & Reeder, hardware, tinware, etc.; J. H. Gray and W. C. Squier, hotels; Dr. W. O. Smith and E. G. Forshee, M.D.; J. F. Donovan, B. B. Smith, attorneys; Wilson & Boothes, McBryde's gen. mdse.; Hollister's drugs, Simpson’s groceries.

The Kinmundy Express got out a special Christmas edition in 1889, with a glowing word picture of Kinmundy and drawings and short biographies of prominent citizens. We have space to list them and birthplace, only: Geo West, from Philadelphia, farmer; James C. Haworth, merchant, Ind.; James H. Gray, farmer, Tenn.; Mrs. Elizabeth Boothe Gray, Ind.; Thos. Williams, farmer, Tenn.; Giles Songer, mill, Ind.; John M. Rotan, Tenn., real estate; A.W. Songer, miller, Clay co.; O.N. Tyner, photos, Dr. E. G. Forshee, Ohio; J. F. Donovan, mayor, New York city; J. P. McBryde, merchant, Ala.; J.M. Brenner Bavaria, lumber yard; S. J. Allen, A. M. Allen, carpenters, Ohio; W. L. King, merchant, Ohio; Rev. W. T. Brannum, M.E. Church, St. Clair co.; G. W. Gillmore, merchant, Ky.; M. Deiwert, merchant, Effingham co.; Dr. Charles Dennis, dentist, Ohio; J. F. Croft, boot & shoemaker, England ; B. F. Lawson, editor; Chas. Ryan, New York, livery man; S. M. Stokely, Pa., salesman, machinist; Mrs. M. K. Lawwill, hay press; Dr. W. O. Smith, Ind.; J. N. Street, Montgomery co., School Supt.; F. A. Pruett, Anna Chalfant, Katie Grove, Mrs. A. B. Whittaker, teachers;

E.S. Mendenhall, England, nursery; J. Nelson, watchmaker, Denmark; P.O. Thrane, tailor, Denmark; G. Fenster, restaurant, Germany; Miss M. A. Songer, merchant, Marion co.; H.F. Green, Ohio, druggist; W. M. Chapman, grocer, Marion co.; Mrs. M. B. Hollister, Wayne co., druggist; E. C. Bargh, druggist; D. Gunn, Richview, grocer ; C. H. West, farmer, Ind.; Dr. J. D. Camerer, Edgar co.; Rev. J. D. Brown, Ind.; M.E. Church south; J. G. Wilson, Scotland, Supt. coal mine.

A clipping in an old scrapbook tells of the discovery of natural gas about 50 years ago 6 miles west of Kinmundy on the farm of Samuel Holt. He was drilling for water with a steam drill and at 83 feet the water began to bubble and boil. When they discovered what caused this the family decided to use it for cooking and lighting. Mr. Holt said he had found the same thing when he dug his well 30 years before but didn't know what to do with the gas. In spite of much exploration in this area no oil boom has developed here but the big field near Salem gave Kinmundy the lift it needed after the depression. New people came to live here and have helped much in the town's life.

The small towns of today are suburbs of the nearest large town or city. They have their schools and churches, their groceries and general stores, their drug stores, post office and filling stations just as the shopping centers in the cities. There is no need for the clothing stores and other businesses which were important when towns were isolated and self sufficient. Since the closing of the mine, Kinmundy depends on agriculture and not on industry. Larger factories elsewhere now make the baskets for the fruit so there are no basket factories or cooperages.

There are pleasant homes, lovely gardens, and friendly people. All around us are prosperous farms and beautiful countryside. New homes are being built and old ones remodeled and in this Centennial year we can be pleased and proud of the only Kinmundy in the U.S.A.

In an old scrap book we found obituaries of early citizens who should be mentioned, since they were unusual people and since they left no descendants to remember them. Dr. A.J.G. Hall was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1819 and died in Kinmundy April 1, 1909. He was graduated from the Medical College of Bochas, Germany, and spoke seven languages. He came to the United States in 1849 and married Julia Gould in Washington Territory in 1865. They came to Kinmundy in 1869. Mrs. Hall was born in London and went on the stage at the age of five. She was a pupil of Balfe and appeared in his "Bohemian Girl" and other operas. After coming to this country, she made three trips to the west coast, appearing on the stage in the early days of California. She taught music and painting in Kinmundy and there are still paintings around that were done under her instruction. Mrs. Hall died at 68 but Dr. Hall lived to be almost 90.

Also, Mr. W. H. Brewer, who always carried the flag in the Decoration Day parade because he was six feet seven inches tall. He was born in 1841 in Bear Creek, Alabama, and came to a farm near Eastland cemetery southwest of Kinmundy, shortly after the close of the Civil War. Later he moved to the last house on East Fourth street, in Kinmundy, where he lived many years. He died in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the age of 92, and was buried in Eastland cemetery which he had helped to found.

In an old part of the cemetery near the graves of Col. Booth and Capt. Sprouse is a grave with a plain headstone, and the inscription reads, Ennis Taylor, Hampshire Co. Virginia. A confederate soldier. This was for a long time Kinmundy’s unknown soldier. The story goes that during the Civil war a prison train stopped in Kinmundy on its way to exchange prisoners, and one young lad, who had died en route, was buried hastily in a shallow grave by the tracks. Isaac Eagan, discovering this, had the boy properly buried and the grave marked. Many years later a Kinmundian, who had come from West Virginia, recognized the name and got in touch with the family.

In a letter, received by Mrs. Pearl Fisher, in 1941 when she was head of the Cemetery Association, a sister-in-law wrote that a cousin had been on the same prison train and had told the family of the death and burial and they expected never to be able to find the grave. They were overjoyed when they were told and could come to Kinmundy about 1920 and find the grave. They were touched by the kindness shown them and their loved one and later sent money to have the grave put in perpetual care. On Decoration day it is not forgotten by people who know the story.


The earliest entertainments were the husking bees, barn raisings, quiltings and such. Candy and box suppers were continued until the present. Taffy pulls were popular in the early 1900s, as a way to raise money for a lodge or church, and then there were the church dinners and ice cream socials.

The Eureka Reading Club was founded in 1875 and gave private readings until 1877 when they began to give plays and public entertainments. They disbanded in 1883 with a banquet at Squires Hotel.

Top row, E. R. Hensley, F. W. Killie, Homer Foster, Paul Sandhofer, O. N. Tyner. Second row - J. H. Nelms, Ellis Vallow, Chas. Beaver, Hershel Vallow. Third row, Chas. Vallow, J. B. Brenner, E. A. Snelling, G. W. Snelling, B. Bruce. Bottom row, W. D. Reynolds, F. S. Songer, Orval Foster, J. B. Garner. Picture taken about 1896.

The location of Eagan’s Hall has not been discovered, but it was the site for the early graduation ceremonies, and other meetings and entertainments. Then there was Hayworth’s Opera House which burned in the fire of 1903. It was rebuilt on the same lots and again burned in 1916. This last one was the scene of class plays, graduations, and the stock companies who used to tour in the days before radio, movies, and television. The Reynolds and Tyner Stock Companies were welcomed as artists and hometown folks. They played in the Opera House in the winter and in tents in the summer. Speaking of tents, remember the Chatauqua? It was held in the Park and for one week gave afternoon and evening performances which ranged from famous speakers, preachers, and chalk talks to music of all kinds. One of the favorite acts was the Swiss Bell Ringers, a group who performed behind a long table on which bells were arranged harmonically. They would play anything from Poet and Peasant to Annie Laurie, dashing up and down to ring the bell or group of bells with the proper notes.

About 50 years ago "Uncle T" (Mr. Tyner) showed colored lantern slides at the K.P. Hall. The K. P.s also had a wonderful contraption which could be placed in front of a piano and by inserting a roll and pumping the pedals you could play a tune. This was replaced by a player piano and those syncopated numbers - "Eileen", "Florene", "Nights of Gladness". "Uncle T" also played them for us in his music store while we danced outside on the sidewalk. There were movies, too, with colored slides of songs, and "The Perils of Pauline" or "The Million Dollar Mystery" every Saturday afternoon.

From earliest days Kinmundy seems to have had bands and orchestras. In the oldest papers there are piano advertisements, music teachers, and recitals. E. A. Snelling was one of the early band directors and the old band stand, which was recently torn down, was built in 1883. Mr. Snelling and the merchants of Kinmundy were amateurs in the true sense of the word, they played for the love of it, practicing after they closed their stores for the evening, and giving a concert on Saturday night. Ben Phillips, with his cornet, was the leader about the time of the first war, and he always closed the program with "Till We Meet Again."

A high school band was organized in 1930 by Mr. Tessman. In 1935 Mr. Frank Hickman created much interest in bands and there have been been bands since then. In 1951 music was added as a school course, a chorus was organized and the band reorganized. The students have done well in competition and have given very good concerts under the guidance of Bill Pottebaum, this last season. He has composed a Kinmundy Centennial March which will be used in the Celebration. He leaves this year to continue his studies at the Eastman School of Music.

The BAND BOOSTERS were organized on May 19, 1953, with 40 charter members. Carl Broeker, who was band instructor at the time, was the first president. (Mrs. Nila Colclasure, vice president; Mrs. Lura Robnett, recording secretary; Mrs. Elizabeth Lux, corresponding secretary; and Virgil See, treasurer.) They work to earn money for band activities and provide new instruments and other necessities. Under their auspices the band presents three concerts, one at Easter, one at Christmas, and the summer ice cream social and concert. The membership has increased to 80 and they meet once a month. Mrs. Alta Diss is president, Mrs. Bertha See, secretary.



In his trip through the United States during the Civil War, Anthony Trollope was amazed at the number of newspapers which were printed. Everyone read newspapers. Kinmundy has had its share, too. The Kinmundy Telegram was started on March 13, 1867 by Col. J.W. Filler who sold it to H.H. Chesley and in 1868 it was bought by two printers, O'Bryant and Pyles. O'Bryant bought out Pyles and changed it to the Kinmundy Democrat and supported Seymour and Blair in the campaign but after the election, in November it was changed to the Kinmundy Independent. Edward Freeman bought this in 1873 and continued it for at least 10 years as we have copies of one dated 1876 and another dated 1883. The latter carries his obituary and notes that his sons will now continue the paper. The Pastoral Visitor, a religious monthly edited by Rev. N. B. Cooksey for the M.E. church, was also printed by the Independent. During this time Pyles started the Kinmundy Bulletin on Jan. 1, 1875, advocating retrenchment and reform in government, and democratic principles for the country at large. This published 13 numbers only.

W. L. Arnold started the Kinmundy Register in 1879 and it lasted 26 issues. In 1881 G.W. Rutherford moved the Reform Leader from Sandoval to Kinmundy. It had quite a circulation as an advocate of the greenback policy.

R. F. Lawson started the Kinmundy Express on Nov. 8, 1883, as he stated in the paper’s slogan - "in the interests of Dick Lawson and Kinmundy." In 1890 he bought the double brick building which was later to house the company store. He crusaded for a bridge over the I.C. R.R. on 2nd street. Miss Evelyn Killie remembers setting type for him. She and Mrs. Pearl Fisher later worked for Grissom when he bought The Express. In 1898 F.O. Grissom came down from Farina to help get the paper out one week and never went back. He bought the Journal which had been brought from Patoka and for a while published both till he merged them after the fire of 1903. His shop burned again the following July in the block where the filtering plant now is.

He then moved into a house east of the Illinois Central depot (now Arnold’s.) There he sold it to Gus Spitze, formerly a teacher in Kinmundy high school. Spitze moved it down to the old Wetter building (now gone) and sold to Lem Ballance who sold to Norris Vallow. Vallow moved it one door south into the building he still occupies. Besides the Express, Vallow prints a Methodist paper, a Gideon paper, and the Marion Co. Farmer.

Early newspapers were large sheets of paper folded in half and then folded again making 8 pages, or folded once making 4 pages. In the 1900s they were still made in the same way and only part was local news, in hand set type, the rest, being more like magazine articles on world affairs, jokes, home remedies and recipes. They received these large sheets, already printed on one side. Since type is set by linotypes and not much by hand it is now possible to make up the entire newspaper locally.


The first mention of telephones found when compiling this history was in an 1883 paper which stated that on Nov. 15 E. Herrick and B. Blakeslee had gone to Salem to work up a telephone. For the rest of this information we are indebted to Will Ross. The earliest phone he remembers connected Andy Young's hardware store with his house. The store was the now vacant room south of Jesse George's and the home was on the north side of the highway across from the park where Frank Davis lived, and Glenn Doolen now lives.

Eb McBryde had also rigged up some sort of speaking arrangement between the McBryde store (now Jesse George’s) and home (now Harvey Brown's). Whether it worked by wire or not is not known. The apparatus of Young’s used wire and batteries and the speaker signalled and then hung up till the person at the other end signalled back, then the conversation was carried on. In these early days there was a local long distance line from Mt. Vernon to Effingham with a booth in the Ryan Hotel, a phone in the Company Store and probably one at the mine which were both projects of Chas. Hull at that time. Mr. Hull built the first local exchange in 1898. It was located over the Company store (empty lot south of Dunlap’s).

About 1904 Mr. Hull moved his exchange to the Hultz home (now Harvey Brown’s). He had perhaps 15 lines running in to this switchboard and Katie Hultz was the operator. Hull at one time owned or controlled all phones of Marion County except Centralia Bell. About 1905 Will Storrs started a new mutual exchange which he built up to180 phones and went into competition with Hull. This was on the second floor of the Masonic Temple.

In this era you bought your own instrument, strung your own wire to the city limits and the exchange did the rest. This was the age of Mutuals and there were groups in Salem, Odin, Patoka, Sandoval, Vernon, luka, and Omega, the latter being one of the big ones and having 400 members. A salesman would come through and sell everyone in the area a phone and the new company would be started.

On October 11, 1910, Will Ross bought out Storrs, and continued operating in the same building. In1913 the first real toll line from Salem Commercial Telephone and Telegraph Co. was installed. Before this open wires were used and service was not very clear but this was a No. 9 metallic circuit which was a big improvement. The Bell Company brought in a toll line from Centralia about the same time.

In 1920, Ross sold his exchange to the Commercial Telephone and Telegraph Company of Salem and went to Salem as Manager for their Salem and Kinmundy exchanges. In 1924 this company sold out to Bell. They moved the Kinmundy exchange to the first floor of the now vacant building on Madison Street just below Dunlap’s. There it remained until 1955 when the dial system was installed and a new building was built on Jefferson street next to the Fire Department.


In the late 90s when Leander Matthews was mayor, the city of Kinmundy set about to build its own light plant. They inspected plants in other towns and then built one of their own on the site of Reno’s mill on Jefferson and 4th street. This furnished DC current made by a dynamo which was turned by a coal-fired steam engine. They had about 100 customers and the streets were lit at the corners by the old carbon lamps. W. G. Sims was the first superintendent. About 1909, J. C. Lee bought the plant from the city for $10,000 to be paid in Installments for ten years. During the first war coal cost five times what the price had been when the contract was made, so Mr. Lee was unable to fulfill his agreement and sold it back to the city. He continued to operate it for them until 1937 when it was sold to Central Illinois Public Service company and the city signed a 25 year contract to buy power from that company.

In the 1920s the plant was overhauled and changed to AC current. More electric equipment was being used and it became necessary to standardize current so that irons, fans, etc. could be used anywhere. The many electrical appliances that we now use did not become practical in small towns and country until the big power lines went through.


In 1953 Kinmundy built its own water plant. This was especially useful last year when many wells were dry because of the drought. The water is pumped from the I.C. reservoir to the filtering plant (used to be the old calaboose) and then to the tank which stands where Washington and East street join. There are 250 customers.

Fifty years ago houses with running water had tanks in the attic and water was pumped from well or cistern up to these, and then fed by gravity into the water system. Later windmills, then gasoline engines and finally electricity did the job.

Fraternal Organizations and Clubs

KINMUNDY LODGE NO. 398, A.F.&A.M. was chartered on October 5, 1864, and held its first meetings in the home of Col. Booth on West Fourth Street. There were nine charter members, B. H. Bodwell being Worshipful Master. As more members were added the meeting place was changed to the hall over Blakeslee's Store on the southwest corner of Third and Madison. After several other meeting places on Madison Street, they built a temple of their own on the site of the present temple and dedicated it on Jan. 10, 1902. This burned in the fire which destroyed that block on Dec. 2, 1903. They met temporarily in the K.P. hall but planned to rebuild and moved into the present building in September, 1904.

They celebrated their Diamond Jubilee in 1940, with 135 members. The present membership is 178. James Stricker is Worshipful Master.

The MAYFLOWER CHAPTER OF THE ORDER OF EASTERN STAR was founded Sept. 11, 1891. All of its records were lost in the fire of 1903. On Feb. 11, 1908, a meeting was called in the Masonic hall by 20 dimitted members of the Mayflower Chapter asking for a charter for Kinmundy Chapter No. 606. A.M. Allen acted as chairman, and Bessie King was secretary. The charter was granted April 7, 1908, and Farina Chapter No. 112 O.E.S. instituted the new lodge. The first officers installed were Worthy Matron, Ellen K. Donovan; Worthy Patron, Raymond Walters; secretary, Bessie King; treasurer, M. A. Babcock. This chapter is still active having a membership of 125. Mrs. Marge Boyd is Worthy Matron.

The MODERN WOODMEN was established August 30, 1889, but it no longer holds meetings. Their women's affiliate, the ROYAL NEIGHBORS OF AMERICA was organized March 13, 1897, by Deputy Supreme Oracle D. C. Kingsley and was one of the first camps ever organized. They still meet, though they are not a large group any more. Mrs. Betty Wagoner is Oracle.

The I.O.O.F. ROSEDALE LODGE NO. 354 was chartered Oct. 9, 1867, with eight members. It was very active for many years and owned its own building, but that was lost in the fire of 1903. It no longer meets in Kinmundy, members from here go to the Farina or Salem Chapter.

The ROSEDALE REBEKAH LODGE NO. 371 was instituted Nov. 20, 1895, by the Salem Lodge with 34 charter members. Miss Mary Shriver was the first Noble Grand. Lois Heaton of Pueblo, Colo., and Lib Humphrey Gramley of Westwood, Calif., are the only charter members now living. The group still meets and takes care of its organizations. It is now the oldest organization in Kinmundy. Mrs. Carrie Yeager is Noble Grand.

Organizations in the early days were the Royal Templars of Temperance, Fidelity Lodge No. 24, organized in 1880, and the Kinmundy Lodge 1091, Knights of Honor, organized May 31, 1878, with 13 charter members. In the early 1900s the Knights of Pythias Clipper Lodge No. 413 with its Pythian Sisters took a most active part in the town's social life. None of these meet now.

The AMERICAN LEGION POST 519 was first organized about 1921 but the records are lost and they seem to have disbanded after a few years. They reorganized in November, 1929, and have been active ever since. In 1954 they bought the first floor of the Masonic Temple building and occupied it, as their first permanent home, in August 1955. They have been most generous in lending it for meetings and activities for the Centennial. With the Ladies Auxiliary they maintain several wheelchairs and hospital beds which are available free to any person in the community who needs them. The present Commander is Gilbert Doolen, and there are 110 members.

Kinmundy has had soldiers in all wars, Indian, Mexican, on both sides of the Civil War, Spanish, World Wars I and II and the Korean conflict. These graves are remembered each Decoration Day by the Legion.

The LADIES AUXILIARY OF POST 519 was organized on Oct. 16, 1947, with 33 charter members, 27 new and 6 who transferred their membership from Salem, where they had belonged while there was no Auxiliary in Kinmundy. Mrs. Pearl Fisher acted as temporary chairman till the new officers were elected. The first president was Mrs. Maxine Robb. The present president is Mrs. Lela Mae Doolen and there are 83 members.

The KINMUNDY WOMAN’S CLUB was organized about 1911. Mrs. George H. Mayer was its first president. She was treasurer of the Illinois State Federation that year and in 1914 was delegate for the 23rd district to the Biennial Convention of the General Federation in Chicago. It was a very active club in those years and seems to have continued till 1940.

The present club was organized on July 12, 1946, with Mrs. Richard Broom, president, and 46 members. Throughout the years they have accomplished much for the community. In 1951 the children’s choir, under the direction of Mrs. F.O. Grissom, won honor for the club and Kinmundy at the State convention in Chicago. Mrs. Eugene Shufeldt served as recording secretary of the 23rd district for 1952-54 and Mrs. W. A. Franklin was county president in 1956. This Centennial Book was a club project originally and they have done much for the Centennial Celebration. Mrs. Huffy Hanna is president. The Junior Woman's Club, which was organized in 1955, is also known for its civic work. Mrs. Henry J. Steinlicht is president.

The PARENTS AND TEACHERS ASSOCIATION, with 188 members this year, is one of the strongest organizations in the community. It is believed to have begun about 1914 and was instituted by the late Mrs. Fannie Simpson Schwartz (originally a Kinmundian) who started the PTA in Marion county. Mrs. Annie Young was the first president. About 1936 it became very active and began its fine health program, giving diphtheria and scarlet fever shots in the schools; and its Summer Roundup, which is a medical examination, including eyes and teeth for children of pre-school age. It was instrumental in getting the equipment for the school cafeteria, and the latest project was the handsome new curtain for the stage in the new High School gymnasium. Mrs. Margaret Shufeldt is the outgoing president and Mrs. Lura Robnett, the new president.

4-H CLUBS train young people in homemaking and agricultural pursuits and are under the direction of the County home and farm advisors. Pioneers in this work in Kinmundy were Katherine Wormley and Mrs. Jessie Vallow, who were group leaders for many years, and organized the Menuettes. From this group Kay Greenwood won recognition at the State Fair for her clothing projects.

This year the Kinmundy Menuettes 4-H Club is a group of 25 girls whose leaders are Mrs. Dorothy McCulley and Mrs. Lora Ingram. Sue Ernst is the president and Carol George the secretary-treasurer. They meet twice monthly at the Home Ec room in the High School. This year they all have food projects and will study all phases, from baking to freezing foods, and meal planning. A demonstration and talk is given at each meeting.

The Wide Awake 4-H club has agricultural projects and was organized in 1949 by Gene Ernst. The first club had 9 members and Betty Ernst was the president. Members of this group have won recognition at various fairs: Nolan McKitrick for public speaking on safety, and Warren and Robert Shufeldt for their entomological display at the 1956 State Fair. Carry Ernst had Grand Champion Angus steer in Marion County in 1956 and 8th place for an Angus heifer in the Land 'o Lincoln contest.

The PLEASURE HOUR CLUB was organized March 27, 1923 by a group of young married couples who met once a month at each others' homes for an evening of pleasure. It is still very active and is fortunate that in its 34 years it has lost only three members by death, A. J. Young, Hubert M. Fisher and Walter S. Pruett.

The JOLLY GIRLS CLUB was first organized in 1944 by Mrs. Clifton Lemay and was called the Friendly Circle. It was abandoned about 1946 but reorganized in 1948. At present it has 14 members, who, at each meeting, help their hostess with household tasks, such as ironing, mending, quilting or such tasks.

The WEST SIDE THIMBLE CLUB was a social and fancy work club (started by Mrs. Dora Brenner and Mrs. R. P. McBryde it is said) which flourished in the early 1900s when ladies had time and inclination for things embroidered and crocheted. The membership was kept to 24, and at the Christmas party, each member gave, and received 24 presents, perhaps a chamois with ribbon and lace, hand whipped around the edge. (For those who don't remember, these were the fore-runners of the powder puff.) The ladies were always willing to teach any child how to make the things they were making and are part of the past we remember fondly.

The SIX G'S (whose name was never explained) was also a social club but this one was noted for the elegance of its entertainments and members vied with each other for unusual decorations and refreshments. It is believed to have originated with Mrs. Will Gray, and its members were the social leaders of the town. It is no longer active.

This community was settled as an agricultural community, and has remained so, though many changes have come about. When the early settlers came, the prairie was covered with 6 foot high grass that had never been cut. They settled near the creeks, and cleared spaces in tile woods for cabins, and fields to grow only what they, or their neighbors would consume. If they did grow any surplus, it was hauled by wagon to St. Louis, to be sent by boat to New Orleans, or back up the Ohio to the east. It was the custom, they say, for farmers in this area to have "drives" in the fall. Neighbors would collect all their livestock, poultry, butter, anything they had to sell, and set out for St. Louis. The chickens were in coops, the butter in barrels, and these were hauled by wagon, while cattle and other livestock, even turkeys, would be driven on foot, the whole party camping at night along the way. The railroads changed all that. They made it possible to get produce to market, so it became profitable to raise some to sell. Railroads were useless without freight to haul, so they early encouraged agricultural pursuits.


With the invention of reapers and mowers, and plows strong enough to break the prairie sod, more farms were opened. In the 1850s a great tide of people from Europe came to the United States. With the building of railroads they were able to settle on farms throughout the middle west and many settled near Kinmundy, and their names: Kolb, Mettzgar, Stock, Nachmann, Bilek, Jessmann and Tschudi are old names around this area.

Early crops were hay, grain and wheat. Timothy was important as hay and was first grown by James H. Gray in Section 15. Hay was shipped in great quantities, there being several "hay presses" in Kinmundy which baled the hay before shipping. Now it is done by the farmer as he cuts it. In the 80s orchards and small fruit began to be important. Apples, peaches, pears, strawberries, cherries, and mushmelons, as well as vegetables were raised for the market. Later refrigerated ears were developed which rushed the produce to the markets.

One story, explaining how Southern Illinois came to be called "Little Egypt", tells of the 2 or 3 year drought and crop failures in Northern Illinois, which caused the upstate farmers to come south for grain. This was in 1818, the year Illinois became a state, and the wagon train went as far down as Clinton and Jefferson Counties, some say down the Effingham-Kinmundy road which later became the Egyptian Trail, then Route 37.

In 1818 there was no Marion County; it was still part of Jefferson, and Clinton was part of Bond and Washington. This area was then the land of plenty, but by the early 1900s, the soil was becoming overcropped and poor. There had been no need for rotation of crops or conservation when there was plenty more land to use as the first became worn out. Fifty years ago it was the saying around Kinmundy that we didn’t need any college boys to tell us how to farm, but after some of the farm boys went to college and came back with ideas that were pretty helpful, and as new ideas were spread through Farmer’s Institutes and County Fairs, practices were changed and the land built up again. The Limestone Club was formed and its members subscribed for 100 carloads of limestone. This was one of the early steps in what now is regular procedure, putting back into the soil what you take out.

Modern equipment has made great changes in farming in this area. Before combines were used, a threshing crew, with a steam engine, toured the countryside. The neighbors helped one another, men on the wagons, bringing the grain from the field to the machine; women in the kitchen, cooking wonderful meals for the men (and assorted children who were lucky enough to be there). Who can forget the fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, and country ham; and the pies and cakes which topped off the meal?

Tractors have probably changed things most, by speeding up the work. Fields can be cultivated, planted, reaped, and brought to town in much less time than with horse drawn equipment.

One man alone can accomplish what used to take many. So farming this area reflects the great changes that have come during a century: from a bare sustenance for each family to vast quantities for world markets; from hay and wheat to corn and soybeans as cash crops; and about every 20-25 years a return of strawberries.

F.A. Pruett and sons, Charles and Walter, shipped produce from Kinmundy starting in 1892. In the 1920s they specialized in eggs and in one peak year shipped 300 carloads. They also shipped fruit and jobbed flour, feed, etc. The 1956 assessor's census shows 153 farms in Kinmundy township, 4681 acres of soybeans, 3826 acres of corn, 1279 acres of wheat, 1135 acres of oats, 777 acres redtop, 585 acres clover hay, 259 acres rye, and 40 acres of barley. Ingram’s elevator shipped 374 carloads of various grains that same year.

There have been Agricultural fairs in Illinois since the early 1850s according to old record books. Kinmundy organized one on Oct. 1, 1894, and held one annually for many years. Old clippings in scrap books tell of the great success of these affairs. In the years before the first World War, the Farmers Institute was an event looked forward to by all. New ideas in farming and homemaking were demonstrated by people from Illinois University, and from these came the ideas for the Farm Bureau, Home Bureau and 4-H movements. From the pioneer with his poor hand tools to the modern farm and farm house in one hundred years is an amazing step. From oxen to crop-dusting with airplanes!! Changes come more rapidly each year - and who can say what comes next?

Some of the members of the Limestone Club, who were the first to start rebuilding the worn out land around Kinmundy. Left to right: front row, George Snelling, Harmon Lenhart, Billy Maxey, I.R. Widdis, George Spies, Jerome Embser, Billy Morris, Russell Lenhart, Will Gray, Chas. Hull, Lish Hammers. Back row, John Holt, T. Wilkinson, Chas. Shufeldt, Will Shriver, Ed Dillon, Fred Kleiss, J. T. Arnold, George Newell, Percy Blake, Lloyd Hammer.

The Marion County Farm Bureau began in 1918. A committee was appointed on Jan. 21 of that year, two members from Kinmundy being Wm. Gray and J. Lem Ballance, and on Feb. 4 it was organized with 79 members. C.W. Vursell was acting secretary at the meeting. Joe Schwartz of Salem was elected president. Its purpose was to hire county agents or farm advisors for counsel on technical problems which were increasing as farming became more scientific. They also founded cooperatives, insurance groups, etc. The first county agent was Fred Blackburn and one of the early problems was control of chinch bugs which were a menace at that time. John Holt of Kinmundy and Frank Norris of Meacham were members of that committee. The Farm Bureau works with Illinois University which is a land grant college. This means that it was founded with money from the sale of public lands, and in return must foster agriculture and mechanic arts. The bureau has no local chapters but embraces the entire county, with directors from each township. It now has 1,998 members. Roy Doolen was president for last year. The Kinmundy Unit of the Home Bureau was organized in 1945. Only four of the original number are still in the group - Mrs. Wilma Vandeveer, Mrs. Jessie Vallow, Mrs. Margaret Shufeldt and Katherine Wormley - and since Katherine has just moved to California, that leaves three. They meet one evening each month and a lesson is given on some household subject, cooking, sewing, crafts, homemaking, health, etc. These lessons are first given by instructors from the University of Illinois Extension bureau, at the Country headquarters, to two or more from each unit and they in turn, instruct their fellow members. The ladies suggest a list of subjects they would like to study and the programs are made up from the most popular items. The present president is Mrs. Huffy Hanna, and the unit has 18 members from both town and country homes. Last year a group of young women organized another unit called the Joy Belles, with the assistance of Mrs. Ruby Shatter, then County vice-chairman. They have 8 members and their chairman is Mrs. Jane Lowe. They study the same lessons as the other groups. Both clubs work with the 4-H clubs, the Kinmundy Menuettes, Wide Awakes, Meacham Worthwhile, and others.


Like many other towns in the mid west, Kinmundy has been greatly affected by changes in transportation. The pioneers came in covered wagons and used oxen for heavy work. In the minutes of the early city council there are payments listed for working on the city streets with ox team. Our grandparents remember when produce was shipped in wagons to St. Louis or some river port and then on by water to New Orleans or farther. After the covered wagon, the stagecoach was the method of travel, unless you walked or rode horseback.

With the coming of the railroads that was changed. People were able to get from one place to another, and more important, were able to send their produce to market and get finished goods in return. From the peddler who sold what he could carry on his back, as he walked through the country, or traveled in a wagon with a little bit of everything to sell, we changed to the frontier store, then to the general store.

The Illinois Central created little towns all up and down its length wherever it put stations, though the stations were probably placed where there was a settlement or a good location for one. It had lots of land to sell and did lots of advertising to get people to settle in Illinois. In its guidebook for 1868, which has descriptions of all towns on the railroad, it lists Kinmundy as having 2,000 population, which seems exaggerated; no other listing found was more than 1,200. Tonti was built to service Salem which as yet had no railroad. Freight was hauled by wagon between Salem and Tonti.

After 1850 the whole country went wild building railroads. Many small ones were built which were afterwards acquired by the larger companies and merged into networks. In the city council minutes for May 19, 1869, there is a petition from 30 citizens, asking that the council order an election to vote on subscribing $50,000 worth of stock in a line to be called the Kinmundy Pana railroad. The Chicago, Paducah and Memphis railroad passed through Kinmundy in 1896 when tracks were laid from Altamont to Marion. This road was acquired by the C. & E.I. in 1887, and that company proceeded to connect Shelbyville and Altamont, and in 1899 extended its line to Thebes on the Mississippi, thus the length of the state.

Mail order houses sped the decline of the small town store. Then the railroads offered excursions for shopping. If you bought about $25 worth of merchandise the merchants of Centralia would buy your ticket both ways. You could go down at 9:30 in the morning, return on old 8:22 in the evening. Gradually the stores in small towns were not able to compete with the larger places which had become so accessible.

Changes came to the railroads, too. An 1876 newspaper lists one mail train north and one south daily except Sunday, and express and three freights both ways daily. In 1883 the listing shows not only the Illinois Central, but the Vandalia Line connections in Effingham for St. Louis or New York, Cincinnati and Louisville; and the Ohio and Mississippi connections in Odin for both east and west. After 1896 when the C. & E. I. was built you could go to Centralia on the I.C., return to Salem on the M.& I., ride across town in a horsedrawn hack, and come home on the C. & E. I. In these years the hacks met all the trains in Kinmundy too, and brought people to town and to the hotels.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s the drummers (salesmen they call them now) came to town by train and stayed at one of the hotels. They hired a rig from the livery stable and made their calls on small stores in the surrounding territory, that were not on a railroad. In those days there were morning and evening trains, both north- and south-bound that stopped here. If you wanted to go to Chicago the fast train would stop, or you could leave at 9:30 with your lunch (fried chicken and deviled eggs) and get to Chicago in time for supper.

During this era the railroads were growing, more traffic meant bigger locomotives and that meant more water for steam. A larger lake was built, (the present one), and most trains going south or north stopped for water. That grade from Tonti to Kinmundy is still one of the toughest ones on the route, and gives the diesels trouble, too. This waterstop caused one of the bad wrecks which people still remember: one midnight train plowed into the other one which had stopped for water, and killed 4 railroad officials whose private car was at the rear. At this time a block signal system was being installed to prevent just such occurrences. When the first autos came to Kinmundy there were no roads except dirt ones. After the fall rains started, you put your car up on wooden jacks in the garage (it was still called the barn) and you left it there till next summer. Dr. Miller and Dr. Camerer each had cars about 1912, the kind you cranked. These models had acetylene lamps which had to be lit with a match at dusk. It was a long trip to Centralia and a real journey to St. Louis, and Chicago. There were no marked routes and it was easy to loose your way in strange territory. Then two men in a buggy came along one day, down the road from Effingham and painted black and orange triangles on every other telephone pole. This marked the Egyptian trail which became Route 37, in 1931.

Then came the trucks and buses. Gradually they took business from the railroad, especially passenger and short hauls, and now the streamliners go roaring through without stopping and the small town depends on truck, bus and private car. Many people have never ridden on a railroad, which was true long ago but for a different reason, Nowadays they don't need to. With good highways and faster cars you can live in Kinmundy and work elsewhere, so people who are not on the farm, do not have to move to the city for employment, and the small town is again a nice place to live. You can drive to St. Louis for a show or ball game or shopping. With the new thru-ways, places even farther away will become more accessible. At least one resident has his own plane, and several fly planes from the Salem Airport. Perhaps the plane will do for the automobile what the automobile did to the railroad. The next hundred years will tell.


The first settlers in this community were of English or Scotch and Irish protestant groups and came from southern and southeastern states: Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians. Catholicism was brought by the French to Kaskaskia as early as 1685, but it did not reach Kinmundy till the Irish and German settlers came in the 1840s.


The first Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized at the home of James Eagan, Sept. 7, 1840 by William Finley. It was called Mt. Carmel but took the name of Kinmundy after the town was founded. In 1842 a camp meeting grounds was established near the townsite .and out of these meetings grew most of the Cumberland Presbyterian congregations in the country.

After the town was platted, Isaac Eagan gave to the congregation lot 5 block 3 in Eagan’s first addition for a church site, and was instrumental in organizing the group, affiliated with the Mt. Vernon Presbytery. This church was erected in 1859 and is said to be the first church built in Kinmundy. The building still stands, and is now used by the Church of God.

On August 19, 1865 the First Presbyterian Church was organized by the Alton Presbytery. This was a different group from the Cumberlands. They bought lots 64-65 in the original town and the building on them which had been used as a school house till the new building was built. This building known as Presbyterian Hall was later moved to Madison and Second street where it stood for many years. The congregation united with Cumberland Presbyterian, and the united congregation was known as the First Presbyterian Church of Kinmundy. When it became too small to support a church, they disbanded in the 1920s and the members went to other churches.


The Baptists are one of the earliest sects in the county. The Liberty Baptist church was a log house 4 miles northwest of Kinmundy. Elder Dickens, a pioneer in this county, probably organized this church before 1826. According to the History of Marion and Clinton Counties they were still holding church in the log house in 1881.

Harmony Baptist church was located about 1½ miles southwest of Kinmundy and was named, by the settlers who came from Mason County, Virginia, for their church back home. This group of See, Shelton and Martin families met in the See schoolhouse on March 13, 1852 and organized, and later built a church on a lot donated by R.E. Shelton. This church was damaged by a tornado about 1902. It was dismantled and rebuilt in Alma later that year. When the congregation grew too small to support a church they sold the building to the Primitive Baptists who now use it.

In 1866, 8 members organized a church in Kinmundy but it was dissolved in 1873 and several reunited with Harmony. On April 9, 1904 the Trustees of the First Baptist church bought a lot on south Fremont street from W.B. Ross and wife. There a church building was erected. After using it for several years it proved to be too far from the congregation and they moved to the Southern Methodist building on, Adams Street to hold their services. In 1922 the building was sold to T.M. Smith. In the last year the building was torn down and a dwelling building on its foundation. There is no congregation now in Kinmundy.


Circuit Riders were preaching Methodism in this area before Kinmundy was a town. Their stations were Sandy Branch, Fosterburg, and Pleasant Grove. James Harsha was pastor of the Salem Circuit in 1833, and preaching was held at the station as well as in private homes. In the summer of 1858 Dr. Elliott, of Salem Circuit, preached occasionally in Kinmundy. Rev. James Wollard, of the same circuit, was the first regular pastor. He organized the first class whose members were Waller Hensley and wife, Samuel Lawrence and wife, George Marshland and wife, Melinda Sprouse, Clara Russell, Sarah Fish, Marshall Gee and Wm. Blurton.

In 1863 the Kinmundy Circuit was formed, P. P. Hamilton, became pastor, and through his efforts the first church, a white frame building, was built, on lot 59 in the Original town plat, and where the present church now stands. Elias Neil was the first superintendent of Sunday School. In 1904 plans were made for a new building and the following committee was appointed: Capt. C. Rohrbough, Chairman; F. A. Pruett, Miss Molly Songer, W.W. Neil and W.H. Gray. In July the contract was let and Samuel Ingram, the oldest member, turned the first spade of dirt.

The new brick building with beautiful stained glass windows, was dedicated the next year. It is still a fine church and has been improved during the years by the congregation.

This year, 1957, a new parsonage was built across the street from the church and the old one was sold, to be torn down. A worthy project of this church is "God’s Acres," forty acres of land bought by the Methodist Men and farmed by them for the benefit of the church.

A Southern Methodist Church was active from 1869 to the early 1900s but they disbanded and the members joined with Cumberland Presbyterians or Methodists. Their church, which stood on block 9 on Adams Street was torn down after having been used by the Baptist congregation for some time.


Many Catholic families came to this area when the railroad was built and as early at 1866 Father Killian Schlosser was saying mass in the homes. In 1870 a church was begun, Isaac Eagan donated 2 acres of land and Patrick Carrick on his death bed bequeathed a note with interest amounting to $809 which was to be used for the building. This is the old building in northeast part of the town, and the summer festival is still held on its grounds.

The first trustees were Martin Schoenborn and James Mahon. For the first ten years it was in charge of the Franciscan fathers of Teutopolis, then in 1878 the Diocesan clergy were sent once a month to hold mass. In 1931 with the completion of Route 37 more people were able to attend and one pastor was able to serve the church at Salem, as well as Kinmundy, and hold mass every Sunday.

In 1940 the congregation grew larger with the coming of people attracted by the oil boom. In 1945 it celebrated its 75th year Jubilee and plans were begun to build a new church. This lovely brick building was dedicated in 1951 and stands on a site donated by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Kleiss.


About 1900 the Christian congregations of Centralia and Salem lent their ministers. Rev. Smart and Rev. Rowe to hold a meeting in Kinmundy. The results were very encouraging and a congregation was organized. On July 4th of the next year, E. C. Bargh bought the lot on the corner of Third and Monroe from D. C. Beaver, whose house was located there. The house was then moved to the lot on the south of the High School Ag building, where it now stands. They immediately set about building a church, and on June 1, 1902 the present brick building was dedicated. According to old records there were about 41 charter members; Mercer, Bargh, Lovell, Lynch, Nelms and Matthews families being among them.

Rev. F.O. Fannon was the first minister and served for about twenty years before accepting a call to Centralia.

They have always been active in mission work and at present are helping to support Kiamichi Mission, working with the Indians in Talihina, Oklahoma, and the Burnside family who are near Honolulu, Hawaii. The present minister is Rev. Rufus Gerkin.


The Church of God was organized about, 1925 with a membership of 20, by Rev. Sam Miller. The first trustees were Noah Robnett, Harry Warren, Frank Kline and Mrs. Albert Maxwell and they bought the Cumberland Presbyterian church building which had not been used for some time, since that congregation disbanded. The new church grew to about 40 members but there was a change in membership, some original leaving, others joining with 45 or 50 for Sunday School. The present minister is Rev. A. C. Martin.


The first settlers taught their own children or one, who was more educated than the rest, taught all the neighboring children. The first school in this area was a log house with a puncheon floor, large fireplace with stick chimney, and no windows. It was built northwest of Kinmundy in 1837 and was taught by Samuel Whiteside. It was later moved to the lot, just west of the C.&E.I. railroad and south of the cemetery turn, and classes were held there until 1857. Miss Annaline Pruett taught in 1856.

After the town was laid out, Judge D.P. Snelling donated a lot on Fremont street, just north of the French home, and a new building was erected there. This was frame, 36'x24' with a hall. Classes were taught by James P. Smith of Hudson, New Hampshire. Later teachers were W.R. Hubhard, Dr. L. S. Skilling, N. S. Hubbard and Miss Carrie Herrick.

This building became so crowded in the 60s that the directors rented a hall on lot 64 in the original town, and held classes there for the older pupils. Professor Pollard was instructor and he was followed by Professor Vincent of Farina. When the new school was finished this hall was bought by the Presbyterians who used it as a church and Sunday school.

In the 80s "Select School" was held here. This was a spring term in March and April after the Public school closed in February. Pupils paid $1.00 per month tuition. The hall was later moved down town to the corner of Second and Madison street, where it stood many years.

In the fall of 1865 a new four-room frame building was erected on the site of the present high school. This opened in October, with Prof. Simeon Wright, ex-soldier of the Civil War, as principal. He came from Bloomington, Illinois. Miss Permelia Elder taught the grammar department, Miss Amelia Woodruff the intermediate, and Miss Matilda Young, the primary. The contractor was Tilden Raser; W. C. Smith was one of the carpenters. In 1883 it was necessary to enlarge this and two rooms were added on the north, making six rooms in all.

This was torn down in 1910, and a two-story brick building erected, which served both grades and high school until 1955, when a new grade school was built on the Kinmundy-Louisville blacktop east of town. High school and junior high continue in the old building.

In 1912 our school was accredited by the University of Illinois so that our pupils can enter university without entrance examinations. In 1924 a gymnasium was built at the north end of the school grounds and served for all school functions, as well, as town affairs, until the new and larger one was finished this last year.

Early rural students walked miles through snow and mud, rode horseback or stayed during the week with townspeople, and were the baby sitters of that era. After the automobile became standard equipment, country roads were improved and in1940 school buses were instituted to bring country pupils to school.

This was the death knell for the one-room country school, and now North Fork, Arnold Chapel, Maple Grove, Shanghai, Wilson and other country school pupils ride in to Kinmundy school. The buildings have been sold and are converted into town-houses, community centers or even dwellings.

In 1941, High School District 25 was enlarged into Community High School District 500, and in August, 1953, the Kinmundy-Alma Consolidated District 301 was formed. With all this growth, new buildings have been added, a cafeteria and home economics building in 1949, and an Ag building in 1954. The newest addition is the new gym.

Fires and Fire Department

The first mention of a fire department is in the City Council minutes of a special meeting Sept. 16, 1867, when the mayor was instructed to procure 5 dozen buckets, either india rubber or leather, also half-dozen ladders and half dozen poles with hooks for fighting fire. In Sept. 1870, the mayor appointed a committee to inspect all flues in the business part of the city, and report on defective ones, and in October, a special committee was empowered to enter any house or building in the city, between sun up and sundown, on any week day, to examine any hearth, chimney, stove, oven, boiler, etc., and notify owner of the danger and that he should correct it. Failure to comply was subject to $50 fine and costs and $5 for every day the danger continued.

In December, 1873, an ordinance to establish fire limits was introduced and 2 dozen buckets, a 30 ft. ladder and necessary rakes and poles and other implements were ordered. In March, 1874 they voted to procure a wagon, and a place to keep it, and the implements ready and safe for use in case of fire. There were many bad fires - the lumber yard - the Mendenall Evaporator and others in the 90s.

In 1903 the business section was destroyed from the Masonic Temple to the bank and west to Dr. Camerer's office. The list of losses were: the Masonic temple, Weisberg clothing store; Gunn and Killie Grocery; M. A. Songer, drygood and Millinery; First National Bank, their safe remained in the fire but the contents were found to be unharmed; the offices above the bank, the I.O.O.F. and Rebekah halls on the third floor; John Spillman barber shop; C. T. Middleton grocery; J. P. Whitson Harness shop; Haworth Opera House; Gramley Bros., Meat market S. L. Bundy, clothing and shoes; Express Journal newspaper; S. R. Woolley, real estate; C. W. Witwer, real estate and building; W. H. Gray, building ; and the City Council who lost all the town records, or so they thought, till this year when the minutes of the very first meetings were found and lent us for this book.

The bucket brigade saved the buildings on the opposite side of the street, but were powerless to stop the blaze, till they tore down Dr. Camerer’s office and the building' next to it. The Effingham fire department came down on a freight train, and made the run in 35 minutes but arrived too late to save the buildings. The next year the buildings to the south burned, and the Express was again destroyed.

In 1916 the Opera House which had been rebuilt, burned again, and this time there was a pump cart and hose to aid the bucket brigade, but it was not enough. Those buildings have never been rebuilt since that time. About 1919 a small Ford truck was purchased and that was used til 1940, when the city got a bigger Ford pumper. Almost immediately, there was another big fire which took the whole south side of the block of Third street between Madison and the alley. At this time the fire companies came from St. Peter, Farina and Salem. This block was never rebuilt.

In 1955 the Kinmundy-Alma fire protection district was organized. This takes in quite a bit of territory outside of the two towns and acts to lower the insurance rates for farmers living in the district. In addition to the old pumper the department now has a new and bigger Ford triple combination, low pressure, high pressure and combination ladder. A siren has replaced the old bell and light plant whistle, whose frightening sound we remember so well.


OFFICERS: Jim Alexander, Pres.; George Feather, Vice Pres.; Gilbert Doolen, Secy.-Treas.; Carl Dunlap, Fire Chief; Jesse George, Assistant Chief; P. H. Robnett, Captain; James Lane, Lieutenant

MEMBERS: Vernon Allen; R.R. Atkins; James Brasel; D.C. Day; Lowell I. Devore; Edward Elston; Fred Gammon; Robert Geiler; E.B. Jahraus; B.R. Lee; John W. McCulley; Everett Tate; O. Yates Jr.; E.O. Zimmer



The Parrill residence is said to be the first house built after the was platted in 1857. It was used as a house and store and post office by W.B. Eagan. It is mentioned in the minutes of early City Council meetings when W. B. petitioned to build scales in front to weigh hay and grain. He sold it when he built the larger home to the east and it passed through several hands before it was bought in October, 1907 by the Parrill family when they moved to town from Meacham. It has been their home ever since. It has been extensively remodeled several times. Miss Luella lives here alone since the death of her sister, Evangline.


This hundred year old house, which stands east of Kinmundy, was built by Michael Wolfe of Louisville, Ky. about 1857. It's outside walls are 18" thick and made of brick. Most of the material was brought from Kentucky. Some think it might have been planned for a hotel, since all the rooms had outside entrances and were large enough for several beds The custom in those days was for a family to stay in a hotel until their home was built on the newly claimed land. It was first occupied by Wolfe and his sister’s family, the Absalom Tuckers. She was the grandmother of Byron Rotan and the great-grandmother of numerous Boyds and Rotans and Wades. Wolfe died a bachelor, leaving no will, so the property was sold to settle the estate, and in 1868, George West, who came from Indiana by way of Galena, III., bought and remodeled it for his family home. In 1885 he sold it to his son, Charles, who added many acres, named it Hereford Park and raised fine cattle there until 1903. It went through many hands, Henry Greening, Wm. H. Meeks, Ayers Conant, John Merchant, and finally in 1920, Tony Young, who had extensive orchards in the neighborhood bought it. After his death it was sold by his widow to O.I. Leach, the present owner. The first purchaser of the land was Isaac Eagan who bought it from the government in 1852 sold it to W.J. Sprouse, in 1856, and one month later it was bought by Michael Wolfe. Eleven owners since it was government land.


This house built by Judge David P. Snelling nearly a century ago is now the residence of Helen and Ray Suggett, formerly of Chicago. Judge Snelling was born in Maine and worked in the ship building business in New Hampshire as a youth, which may account for the cupola with windows on all sides which in the old days adorned the roof. After joining the gold rush, going to California by ship and across the Isthmus of Panama on foot and horseback, he returned home the same way and decided to settle in the middle west. He chose Kinmundy, and built this fine old home, which is one of the community’s showplaces, since the Suggetts bought and remodeled it.


This house was originally the home of Capt. Calendar and has been lived in by those two families only. Capt. Rohrbough came to Kinmundy with his family after he returned from the civil war. He built this house about 1877. The lime for the mortar was burned near Omega and presumably the brick were made here as there as a brickyard in Kinmundy in the early days. Capt. Rohrbough died in 1909, and was buried from the Methodist Church across the street, whos new building he had lived to see completed. After Rohrbough’s death, Mr. Grissom acquired it from the estate about 1923, and has lived there ever since. It has been modernized and remodeled but looks much the same. Mr. Grissom formerly edited the Kinmundy Express and is now the Mayor of the town. Mrs. Grissom teaches voice and is directing the chorus for the centennial.


This house, now the residence of Mr. and Mrs Elwin Ingram was built by Abram Songer for his bride, Margaret Nelms, when they came to Kinmundy from Xenia soon after their marriage in 1868. Mr. Songer was a prisoner in Libby Prison during the Civil war, and was one of a group who tunneled out, and made their way home. Mrs. Songer was a school teacher in Marion and Clay county during the war and received her education from the Southern Illinois Female College in Salem. With his brother, Giles, Mr. Songer built the Songer Mill which is nearby, from brick they made themselves. This house originally was a small one-story affair but in 1893 the two story part was added in front and the whole house remodeled. After Mrs. Songer’s death, her daughter, "Miss Mame" (Mrs. James Brown) lived there with her husband, father and aunt, Miss Mollie Songer, who was one of Kinmundy’s early storekeepers. After they were all gone, it belonged to Bert Garrett who sold it to the Ingrams. It has been remodeled and modernized but still has the look of the old place. Mrs. Ingram is a collector of antiques and has filled her home with them.


The home of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Bailey is about 100 years old and was originally the home of the George Rutherford family. It is said to have been put together with wooden pegs instead of nails, but has been extensively remodeled since them. The southeast room is where Mr. Rutherford taught shorthand to the many young people of the town, who then went to Chicago to get jobs. In the 80s he published the Reform Leader, an early newspaper, devoted to the Greenback party, and later the Kinmundy Register. He was also an osteopath and was known as the "rubbing doctor". The daughters, Sue and Ida, both went to Chicago, but later came back and remodeled and landscaped the place. It was bought by the present owners in 1943 when they came here at the time of the oil boom. They have modernized and improved the house and grounds.

Oct. 11, 1966 – "Salem Times-Commoner"

"The Times-Commoner Reporter Visits KINMUNDY"

By Diana Smith

                If the Kinmundy-Alma School District is a typical example of the benefits available to all through the unit system, then there is much to be said in favor of this type of school system.  Many services enjoyed by the system, such as sharing the music teachers, the guidance counselor, and a remedial reading teacher among the schools, are made possible by this unit arrangement.  Perhaps the smallest members of the unit system are the ones which profit the most, such as the Alma grade school, but probably all members profit together, interdependently.  Many outstanding features of the Kinmundy-Alma system are surprising to find in so small a system.

                Diversity of subject matter is remarkable in the high school, for example.  In this four-year school, with it’s student population of 163, the curriculum includes a Civics, Economics, Sociology, and Psychology, in addition to the other courses one usually expects to find.  In the Math 4 course for seniors, college-level algebra is offered which has enabled students who have taken it to go right into Calculus in College.  At least 49% of the graduates from the 1964 high school graduating class went on to college, a high percentage for a community this size.  (And none has flunked out since.)

                Five buildings in all comprise the Kinmundy-Alma school district, four of these in Kinmundy.  Three are on the high school campus – the high school building, occupied by grades 7 through 12, the gym and vocational building.  The other two are of course, the Kinmundy and Alma grade schools.

                Built in 1910, the high school is a strong, sturdy, solid brick building with fine hardwood floors, steps and woodwork that gleans with good care and the mellow tone of the years.  Classrooms are light and spacious.  The building is in excellent repair, has served the community well, provides adequate facilities, and will continue to do so for many years ahead.

                The gym, an attractive modern structure built in 1956, offers some contrast in architecture for the high school, but otherwise the two blend well together on campus.

                Behind the high school is a concrete block building that houses the vocational agriculture department, which includes both classroom and shop.  Most students in vocational ag these days, we learned, are not going into farming but rather into farm-related occupations, in chemicals, fertilizers, mechanics.  This is a new development that has taken place gradually over the years.

                Extra-curricular activities offered the high school students, are besides sports, the National Honor Society, the newspaper and yearbook, F.F.A., F.H.A., G.A.A., Pep Club, the Library Club, the Science Club.  The sports program encompasses baseball, basketball, track, and cross country.  Many shining sports trophies are displayed in front of the gym and can be seen from the street.

                Thirty-three teachers are in the Kinmundy-Alma system.  Twelve are at the high school, four in the Junior high, 10 in the Kinmundy Elementary and four in Alma.  Two full-time remedial reading teachers are on the staff one shared with the two elementary schools.  The two music teachers, both band and vocal, serve all the schools, as does the guidance counselor who handles testing and counseling for the system.   A speech correctionlist is also provided.  It is hope that another remedial reading teacher will be added.

                The junior high population is 95, the Kinmundy elementary 213, and Alma 104.  Thus, the pupil-teacher ratio is very good, less than 20 students per teachers.

                In his third year as superintendent of the district, Harold Jones came in as a combination superintendent-principal-guidance counselor.  Now the high school has a new principal, Don Jones, and a guidance counselor, so Harold Jones is able to devote full time to his job as superintendent.  The Joneses are old settlers who’s family has been in Kinmundy community for more than 100 years.  Jones’s mother was also a teacher and taught in this area.  Harold Jones is an intelligent, enthusiastic and efficient young man.  He has been an elementary school principal, a classroom teacher in social studies in the junior high for five years, and has spent most of his professional life in these schools.  He has, however, taught also at Farina some years earlier.  Jones received his degree from Greenville College, with major in social studies and education, and his master’s degree at University of Illinois in school administration and supervision.  There are three Jones children.  The oldest girl is a high school senior, the next girl is a sophomore, and the youngest is in third grade. 

                No building plans are in the offing for the district, but there seems to be no need.  There is no crowded condition, the buildings are in excellent shape, and the schools offer a well-rounded program.  Since the district has a low assessment valuation, it is fortunate that what they have is substantial, has been well-maintained, and does not need replacement.

                School board members are: Floyd Jones, President; John Shaffer, Secretary; Ivan DeVore, Dale Hulsey, Edward Jones, Eugene Mulvaney, and Andrew Winks.  All but Jezek and Winks are from Kinmundy.

(A photo was included of “Kinmundy-Alma Superintendent Harold Jones”)


"Sesquicentennial of Marion County, IL (1823-1973)"


An early entry was made by Wiley Burton in Section 28, March 1, 1839 and there were doubtless many other settlers whose names were not encountered in compiling this book. It does not appear just how the transfer was made when the Illinois Central was given the land grant, but the site of the present town was sold by the I.C. to John Blurton on June 23, 1853 and he sold it to Wm. T. Sprouse in March 1857. Sprouse then laid out the original 15 block plat on April 10, 1857.

On Sept. 20, 1850 President Millard Filmore signed the bill making the first grant of public lands to help construct a railroad. The land in Illinois was fertile and had fine prairies and timber lands but except near the rivers it was sparsely populated. There were few roads and no way of marketing your crops after you raised them.

This land grant gave the State of Illinois certain areas of government land to be sold, and the money to be used to build a railroad. This land was to revert to the government if a railway was not started within 2 years, and finished within 10 years, of the enactment of the bill. Word of this was sent by the new invention, the telegraph. The state of Illinois lost no time in turning this land over to the Illinois Central Company, who set about building the railway. Much difficulty was encountered but the main line was completed in 1855.

It reached from Freeport to Cairo. The Chicago Branch had been started to connect Chicago with Centralia and on September 27, 1856, those building from the north, met those from the south at the site of the present town of Mason.

This completed the "Charter Lines" of the railway, making 705 and one-half miles of railway reaching from Dunleith on the Mississippi west of Galena, to Cairo where the Ohio and Mississippi meet and from Chicago to Centralia where the branch joined the main line on to Cairo. This was the longest railroad in the world at that time. At the same time the railroad was being built, the Illinois Central Telegraph Co. was formed and its lines ran along the rail lines, dispatching the trains and making communication possible between the settlements.

Stations were made every few miles so that all areas would be able to ship their produce north to Chicago, or south to the Mississippi and then on to New Orleans and world markets. These stations were named for railroad officials and other persons. Kinmundy was named for the hometown in Scotland, of one of the London representatives of the I.C. It is supposed to have originally been Kilmundy, and in the 1868 Guide book put out by the railway is spelled that way in some instances. It is the only town in the United States to have the name.

On June 23, 1853, John Blurton purchased from the I.C.R.R. the north half of the southeast corner of section 22, town 4 north, range 3 east. On March 1, 1957, William Sprouse purchased the tract from Blurton, and on April 10 of that year, platted the original town of Kinmundy.

This contained 15 blocks and extended from First street now Highway 37, south to 4th Street and from Washington Street on the east to one-half block west of Monroe Street on the west. These were divided into 169 blocks. The first purchaser was Jerry Bissonnet who bought on July 1, 1857 lots 123, 124, 163, 164, and 165. Nothing further is mentioned about him, whether he built or not. On July 14, Lorenzo Hart bought lot 137. He was the second merchant to settle on the west side of the railroad. He had had a store in a building built by Willis Wilburn on the east side, south of the town plat in 1855. C. Spafford opened up a restaurant on the west side and later a general store in connection. His name is not on the original plat so perhaps was below it.

Then in October, W.B. Eagan with Samuel and Augustus Bond, bought lots 119, 125, 126, 127, and 128. On lot 119 he built what is listed as the first building in the new town. It was house, general store and post office as he was the first postmaster. The house now occupied by Miss Luella Parrill is built around the original building.

Willis Wilburn bought lot 133 at the same time. He is credited with keeping the first hotel but it was probably in a building south of the townsite.

Between the years of 1857 and 1869, the original lots which were platted in Kinmundy were gradually sold. Families moved from near and far and lots were resold as others moved away. Only 2 lots were sold in 1870, lots 27 and 28 to Isaac Eagan, and in 1871 the last 2 lots of the original townsite were sold, lot 57 to Ed Herrick and Henry Hall and lot 58 to J.F. Barnard, both sold on April 14.

Meanwhile other subdivisions were being opened on all sides, Sprouse to the south, Goodwin to the east, Eagan to the north, and Snelling to the southwest. On Fremont Street in Snelling addition were some of the early homes, Snelling, Thrane, Nelson, Porter and French. The French family are the only ones of the original settlers who still live there.

In the early days before transportation became so swift, a small town had to pretty much self-sufficient. There were mills, bakeries, barrel and basket factories, banks, mines, brickyards, and casket makers. Early bakers were Bill Cawrey and Charles Swander. The Ross brothers had the first bread mixing machine, about 1910 in the building where the Express now is. The last bakery here was Ener Zimmer’s, where Crain’s café is now.

McCreary and Monger had a banking business in 1867, and T.W. Haymond & Co. bank was organized Jan. 1870, Tilman Raser, president. In 1899, the Merchants & Mechanics Bank was established and later became the Haymond State Bank. R.P. McBryde had a small private bank but went with the First National as cashier, when it was organized in 1902. Capt. Rohrbough was first president. In 1906, Henry Warren & Sons started a private bank, later changed to Farmer’s & Merchant’s Bank. The Building & Loan Co. was organized Aug. 12, 1887.

A brickyard was started by Jonathan Walls in 1891; the Kinmundy creamery began operation Dec. 23, 1892. The Coal mine was organized in Feb. 1884 with $12,000 capital, and in April, Zard Frost contracted to sink the shaft. The engine house burned in Feb. 1886, but on March 25, "the diamond drill strikes coal" says the Express. This was a shallow vein but on June 3 they struck a vein 5 ft. thick at a depth of 867 ft. and the Express got out a special edition. About 1900 operations became too costly and it was abandoned.

When the city hall burned in 1903 it was thought that all city records were lost, but this year the council found the minutes of the first meetings, from the time of organization on April 10, 1867 to June 17, 1874. This book, written in several Spencerian hands, provided much information. It gives a picture of a small community, building board walks and plank roads to get up out of the mud, making fire prevention laws, building a jail, and in general having all the struggles that city councils have.

From the first, there was a battle between the temperance group and those who favored saloons. We have handbills advertising huge temperance meetings sponsored by Royal Templars of Temperance, and one time, a lady took her hatchet, like Carrie Nation, and went down and wrecked a saloon. Histories tell us that drinking was a great problem in the middle west in pioneer days. There was an attempt every year to vote the town dry but it didn’t really make it until about 1908, and since then liquor licenses have not been issued.

The Kinmundy Express got out a special Christmas edition in 1889, with a glowing word picture of Kinmundy and drawings and short biographies of prominent citizens. We have space to list them: Geo. West, farmer; James C. Haworth, merchant; James H. Gray, farmer; Mrs. Elizabeth Boothe Gray; Thos. Williams, farmer; Giles Songer, mill.; John M. Rotan, real estate; A.W. Songer, miller; O.N. Tyner, photos; Dr. E.G. Forshee; J.F. Donovan, mayor; J.P. McBryde, merchant; J.M. Brenner, lumber yard; S.J. Allen, A.M. Allen, carpenters; W.L. King, merchant; Rev. W.T. Brannum, M.E. Church; G.W. Gillmore, merchant; M. Deiwert, merchant; Dr. Charles Dennis, dentist; J.F. Croft, boot and shoemaker; R.F. Lawson, editor; Charles Ryan, livery man; S.M. Stokely, salesman, machinist; Mrs. M.R. Lawwill, hay press; Dr. W.O. Smith; J.N. Street, Supt.; F.A. Pruett, Anna Chalfant, Katie Grove, Mrs. A.E. Whittaker, teachers.

E.S. Mendenhall, nursery; J. Nelson, watchmaker; P.O. Thrane, tailor, G. Fenster, restaurant; Miss M.A. Songer, merchant; H.F. Green, druggist; W.M. Chapman, grocer; Mrs. M.E. Hollister, druggist; E.C. Bargh, druggist; D. Gunn, grocer; C.H. West, farmer; Dr. J.D. Camerer, Rev. J.D. Brown, M.E. Church south; J.G. Wilson, Supt. Coal mine.

A clipping in an old scrap book tells of the discovery of natural gas about 50 years ago 6 miles west of Kinmundy on the farm of Samuel Holt. He was drilling for water with a steam drill and at 83 feet the water began to bubble and boil. When they discovered what caused this, the family decided to use it for cooking and lighting. Mr. Holt said he had found the same thing when he dug his well 30 years before but didn’t know what to do with the gas. In spite of much exploration in this area, no oil boom has developed here, but the big field near Salem gave Kinmundy the lift it needed after the depression. New people came to live here and have helped much in the town’s life.

The small towns of today are suburbs of the nearest large town or city. They have their schools and churches, their groceries and general stores, their drug stores, post office and filling stations just as the shopping centers in the cities. There is no need for the clothing stores and other businesses which were important when towns were isolated and self sufficient. Since the closing of the mine, Kinmundy depends on agriculture and not on industry. Larger factories elsewhere now make the baskets for the fruit so there are no basket factories or cooperages.

There are pleasant homes, lovely gardens, and friendly people. All around us are prosperous farms and beautiful countryside. New homes are being built and old ones remodeled. We can be pleased and proud of the only Kinmundy in the U.S. A.

(Pictures included were as follows:

- Last family picture of the Eagan clan at the old home before torn down for the C. & E.I. railroad between back door and smoke house. Located near the cemetery in Kinmundy.

- Public school, Kinmundy, Ill. (pre-1911)

- Picture of Kinmundy before the fire destroyed the downtown

- The home of Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Humphrey, 1902. They were parents of the late Harriet DeVore and Grandparents of Mrs. Florence Franklin who still resides in Kinmundy. The home place was located 3 miles south of Kinmundy and is now owned by Dan Hiestand. The original home burned many years ago. The home had eight fireplaces and four chimneys like the one in the picture. The Humphreys came to Kinmundy from Cincinnati, Ohio in 1872.

- 1957 Winner of the beard contest at the Kinmundy Centennial.)

Sesquicentennial of Marion County, IL (1823-1973)

Historical Sketch of Kinmundy Methodism

Among the early settlers of Illinois came many Methodists, from eastern states and from the old world. The "Circuit" system of Methodism made it peculiarly adapted to the situation in those days and the "Circuit Rider" was a familiar figure in this and all other communities in the state while yet the settlers were "few and far between". It is therefore impossible to tell just when or by whom the first Methodist meeting was held in this vicinity.

According to our best information, "The Grand Prairie Mission" was formed in 1830, "including all of the territory between the Little Wabash and the Okaw from Maysville to Vandalia", and Rev. Simeon Walker was placed in charge. It is said that he preached the first Methodist sermon ever delivered in Salem by a regularly appointed pastor and also organized the first society there.

The portion of country now occupied by Kinmundy and surrounding villages was for years a part of the Salem Circuit.

Before the railroad was built or the town of Kinmundy located, there were a number of regular "preaching places" in the adjoining territory. One of these was the home of Mr. Hugh Gibson at Mr. Liberty, 3 miles east of where Kinmundy now stands. Here "Uncle Jimmy Woolard" and others proclaimed the Word of God to the early settlers and some meetings were held at the home of his brother, John Gibson.

Meetings were also held in the home of Mrs. George Dillon in the same neighborhood, Sandy Branch, Fosterburg, and Pleasant Grove were among the early preaching points.

Dr. Elliott, a local preacher from Salem, preached in Kinmundy in the summer of 1858. In the fall of the same year, a "class" was organized in 1862 with Elias Neil as Superintendent. His widow still lives within a block of the new church and his son, ex-mayor, W.W. Neil, is one of the building committee.

Kinmundy Circuit was formed in 1863 and Rev. P. P. Hamilton was appointed pastor. During this year the frame house was erected which still serves as a house of worship and is to be replaced by the present brick structure which is being built. The church was dedicated by Rev. T.F. Houts, Presiding Elder.

Kinmundy charge at first comprised several outlying appointments among them Pleasant Grove and Alma, Mt. Liberty, Parrills, Asbury Chapel, Omega, Siloam, and Doolen’s. In 1867 it was made a station, Rev. I.N. Stagg being appointed pastor and Rev. J.S. Barnes placed in charge of the circuit. The next year Rev. Winfield Scott Sly was placed in charge.

The following year the circuit was once again attached and thus remained until the second year of Brother Brannum’s pastorate when Kinmundy was again made a station and so remains to the present time.

Presley P. Hamilton, the first pastor of Kinmundy charge, was a young man of great energy and zeal. Much credit is due him for the success of the first church building enterprise. On the day of dedication, in order to free the building from debt, he advanced $500 out of his own personal means. This sum, however, was later returned to him with interest by the church. He died at Litchfield, Ill., in 1869.

Kinmundy St. Philomena Church

"Sesquicentennial of Marion County, IL (1823-1973)"

The centennial of St. Philomena’s Catholic Church in Kinmundy was observed Sunday afternoon, November 8, at 4:00 p.m. with a concelebrated mass.

St. Philomena, like most all churches, has had her good years and her lean years. Just twenty-five years ago, there was a problem whether the church should be continued or discontinued. But through the insistence of Bishop Althoff’s encouraging words to the congregation to continue in the labor of love and his personal donation toward the building of a new building, gave the parishioners new hope.

At that time, the building was old, having been built in 1870, in the northeast part of Kinmundy on land donated by Isaac Eagan. Before the building was erected, as early as 1866, the Franciscan Fathers from Teutopolis were holding religious services in the area, in private homes.

The present structure, a beautiful brick building, was erected in 1951 under the pastorate of Fr. A.B. Schomaker. In 1968, under the pastorate of Fr. Arthur Niemeyer, the catechetical building built adjoining the church on the south. This building is being used for religious instructions and as a fellowship hall. The land for the new church was donated by the late Mr. and Mrs. Fred Kleiss and the land for the catechetical building was donated by their daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Kleiss.

(A picture was included: Greetings from the churches of Kinmundy with scenes from earlier days in the town.)


“A Peek at Our Past” – "Kinmundy: The Early Years" – by Dr. George Ross
According to the standard county histories, the first settler of Kinmundy Township was John W. Nichols who arrived in 1823.  He was followed by Henry Howell (1826), Abner Stewart (1828), James, Joseph, and William Gray (1828), Hugh Eagan (1829), and John Beardin (1838).  Samuel Whiteside taught in the first schoolhouse built in 1837.  The Baptists built the first church.  Abner Stewart built a horse mill in the late 1820’s.
The city of Kinmundy was born with the arrival of the Chicago branch of the Illinois Central Railroad, being laid out in 1857.  The Isaac Eagan addition was laid out in 1858.  “W.B. Eagan built the first house in 1857 in which he kept a general store and was the first postmaster … The Illinois Central depot was built in 1856 and like most Illinois Central depots of that day was a big barn-like structure.  Later a neat little depot was built and the old one (was) used as a freight room.”  The earliest businesses in Kinmundy included Willis Wilburn’s general store and hotel, Dr. L.D. Skilling’s drugstore, Henry Eagan’s blacksmith shop, Sprouse’s saw and grist mill and the Songer Brother’s brick mill.  Dr. W.W. Elliott was the first medical practitioner.  The Salem Advocate of January 25, 1860, reports that Kinmundy had a lyceum and a library.
The following account of a visit to Kinmundy was published in the July 27, 1865, issue of the Centralia Sentinel.  “After passing a most pleasant evening and a good night’s rest under the hospitable roof of W.T. Sprouse, Esq., I availed myself of what time I had to spare and called upon some of the businessmen of the place … I find Kinmundy to be a very pleasantly located town of about 1,000 people, with a little more than the usual amount of business for a town this size.
“There are eight Dry Goods and General Merchandise houses, viz: L.C. Budlong, C.P. Rohrbough, Eagan and Munger, C. Spafford, W. Cully, Sweeney and Dysart, Hall and Wilson and Pollard and Provision Store, that of Coleman and Johnson, and while the above named firms furnish the outer and inner man with the necessaries of life, the doctors, either of the following: L.D. Skilling, Weatherford, T.O.H.P. Hatton, or Elder and Humble are ready and willing to drive away your pains while the latter two or D. White will furnish you with anything you want in the line of goods usually found in Drug Stores, from a piece of chalk to a dose of Calomel.   And D. Kelley and S. Russell will attend to keeping the soles of the people in good repair and their feet well shod.
“Our friend, F.H. Green, will repair the broken hopes of the dear ladies, that is their rings, brooches, pins and jewelry in general.  F. Russell or J.O. Dumond will furnish the young housekeepers with a complete outfit of Furniture, or the old with anything they may need to keep the children from sitting or sleeping on the floor or eating their supper from the top of a Dry Goods Box.
“Messrs. Moon and Eagan, J. Wolf or N. Maxfield are always on hand to supply the Farmer or any other man with all sorts of Blacksmithing or Wagonmaking or repairing.  And if you want a harness or saddle, just step into  the shop of J. Haworth or R. Warsland where you will be sure to find whatever you may want in that line.
  “Messrs. Eagan and Munger have purchased the fine new mill, erected last season by W.T. Sprouse, and will furnish you with lumber to build you a house or breadstuff to use therein.  The older mill of W.R. Booth will also do the same.
“Among the improvements of the past year, not to mention a large number of fine residences, I notice a large Machine Shop, for the manufacture and repair of agricultural implements, which when furnished with the machinery will be a very complete establishment and one that is much needed in this section of the country and reflects much credit on the enterprise and public spirit of the proprietor, Mr. B. Chalfant.
“I also notice a fine School building, two stores in height, surrounded by a fine park or playground of three acres.  The building is somewhat similar both in size and style of architecture to our Centralia schools … There have been during the spring and summer thus far three private schools in operation successfully.  
“And while the physical and mental wants of the denizens of this pleasant little town are so amply provided for, the moral and religious are by no means forgotten.  The Methodist Society, under charge of Rev. P.P. Hamilton (also a Salem lawyer); the Cumberland Presbyterians, under Rev. Mr. Sharp, and the Baptists, under Rev. Isaac Dale, are all in a flourishing condition.  The Methodists and Presbyterians have fine churches, the latter of which was built last season.”  Others visited by this writer were W.R. Hubbard, the land agent for the I.C.R.R., and B.H. Pierson, the postmaster.  December 21, 1865 issue of the Sentinel telling us that the new school is in operation with 250 pupils.  Prof. Simeon Wright is in charge assisted by Miss Elder, Miss Woodruff and Miss Hite.”  Judge D.P. Snelling was away on business.  The way our new county court has taken hold on business is sufficient evidence  that Kinmundy was right in her confidence in Judge Snelling … We stopped at the hotel kept by Mr. Gray, and we have not for some time sat down to so excellent a meal.”
On August 9, 1866, the Sentinel published a letter from the following is taken: “Kinmundy, if not already, is rapidly becoming a place second only to Centralia in Marion County.  Business facilities have doubled within the last year … Trade in Kinmundy seems to be quite brisk – Messrs. Moore and Munger are having a large run in their line – hardware and furniture.  Drs. Forshee and Humble are supplying the people with drugs, paints, oils, etc.  B. Eagan is leading off briskly in the line of dry goods.  Mr. Hume is behind the counter and a permanent fixture to that establishment.  Wilson’s and several other places are well supplied with dry goods and a general assortment of groceries.   S. Tilden is doing a large business in the lumber trade.  There are ten physicians.  The city fathers contemplate enlarging the cemetery grounds, Capt. Sprouse is the ‘live man’ of the town, He keeps the corners all tucked in and the machinery of life and business in good running order.”
This rounds out the first decade of the history of the city of Kinmundy.  The continuing development of this town and its contributions to the history of Marion County will be the subject of several future columns.
Sources: (1) Salem Advocate: July __, 1858; November 10, 1858; January 25, 1860.  (2) Centralia Sentinel: July 18, 1865; December 21, 1865;
               August 10, 1866.  (3) Brinkerhoff’s History of Marion County, 1909.
Editor’s note: Readers with questions concerning our local history can write to him at 19 Orchard Drive, Sandoval, IL  62882.  Writers should include their mailing address and phone numbers in their letters.

Directory of Marion County Businesses and Industries;  Contributed by George E. Ross, Sandoval, IL

"Footprints in Marion County"; Vol X; No. 2; Fall 1985; Vol. X; No. 3; Winter 1986;Vol. X; No. 4; Spring 1986;Vol. XI; No. 1; Summer 1986;Vol. XI; No. 2; Fall 1986;Vol. XI; No. 3; Winter 1987;

Marion County Genealogical & Historical Society


    "The following is a listing of Marion County businesses and industries from its inception to the days of the Great Depression. It was gathered from sources too numerous to mention. Dates given were those of references and are seldom inclusive. When dates are not given, the reference may have referred to someone as an area long-time grocer or a pioneer miller. An addendum is already underway so any reader may send me additions or corrections.


(Kinmundy-Alma area)


ALLEN, A.M. & S.J.; Carpentry; Kinmundy - 1889

ALLMON and McNEIL; Millinery; Alma - 1906

ALLMON; H.L.; General Merchandise - 1881

ALLMON, H.L. and McCULLOUGH, S.M.; Hay Barn and Grain Dealers - 1881

ANDREWS, R.J.; Grocery and Meat Market; Kinmundy - 1925

ARNOLD, J.W.; General Store; Fosterburg - 1860's

ARNOLD, James W.; General Store; Lester (Foster Twp.)

ARNOLD, John; Horse Mill; Foster Twp. - 1844

BABCOCK, I.N.; Groceries and Provisions; Kinmundy - 1876

BAGGOTT, T.W.; General Merchandise; Kinmundy - 1881

BAKER, Leander; Saw Mill; Omega

BARGH, E.C.; Drug Store; Kinmundy - 1889

BARGH, Joseph; Blacksmith; Kinmundy - 1881

BARNES, R.D.; Blacksmith Shop; Omega - 1881

BARTLEY, Verl; Store; Omega

BASOM; General Store; Brubaker - 1925

BEARD, Claude; Auto Service and Garage; Omega

BEASLEY, Wesley; Dry Goods; Omega Twp. - ca. 1830's

BECK, John; General Store; Alma Twp. - 1851

BLAKESLEE, B.W.; Hardware; Kinmundy - 1881

BLURTON, George; Livery Stable; Kinmundy - 1881

BONSER, Porter; Saw Mill; Omega - 1880's

BONSER, Porter & PHILLIPS, John A.; Saw and Grist Mill; Omega - 1880's

BOOTHE, L.T.; Grocery; Kinmundy - 1881

BOSTON, Gale; General Store; Omega

BOYCE, Mrs. Alice; Restaurant; Alma - 1930

BOZARTH, Israel; Grist Mill; Omega - before 1850

BRADLEY, J.W.; Grocery; Kinmundy - 1881

BRANCH, Cecil and Betty (SIMER); Restaurant; Omega

BRANSON, J.Q.; Store; Alma - 1860

BRENNER, J.M.; Lumber Dealer; Kinmundy - 1889

BRIGHT, J.M.; Store; Kinmundy - 1928

BROOKS, Levi; Hotel; Kinmundy - 1892

BROOM, J.W; General Merchandise; Alma - 1910

BROWN, E.E. and BANCROFT, V.V.; Service Station; Kinmundy - 1932

BRUBAKER, Edgar F.; General Merchandise; Brubaker (Alma twp.) - 1895

BUDLONG; General Store; Kinmundy - 1867

BUTLER, Samuel; Carpenter; Alma - 1860

CASE, J.B.; Carpenter; Kinmundy - 1860

CAWREY, William; Bakery and Restaurant; Kinmundy - 1881

? CHANDLER, Guy; Store; Possum Trot (Tonti Twp.) - 1928

CHAPMAN, Hiram and Luther; Carpentry; Kinmundy - 1860

CHAPMAN, W.M.; Grocery; Kinmundy - 1889

CHASE, D.S.; Miller; Kinmundy - 1860

CHRISTENSE, C.A.; Boot and Shoe Maker; Kinmundy - 1881

Citizen’s State Bank; Alma; 1906, 1913

CLOW and TELFORD; Cannery; Alma - 1899

CLOW, J.R.; Fruit Basket Factory; Alma - 1898

COCKRELL; Stone Quarry; Meacham twp. - 1840's

COCKRELL, Felix; Grist Mill; Meacham twp. - 1844-1851

CONANT; Farm Implements; Kinmundy

COPPLE, Samuel G.; General Store and Hotel; Omega - ca 1888, 1909

CORRELL, Oscar; Sorghum Mill; Omega

COWDEN, James W.; Carpenter; Alma - 1860

COX and LOCKES; Blacksmith Shop; Omega - 1881

CRAIG, Benjamin; Farm Implements and Machinery; Kinmundy - 1909

CRANDALL, W.C.; Livery Stable; Kinmundy - 1881

CROFT, J.F.; Shoe and Boot Maker; Kinmundy - 1889

CULLY, Washington; Dry Goods; Kinmundy - 1865

DAVIS, Robert; Grist Mill; Omega - 1868

DEIWERT, M.; General Merchandise; Kinmundy - 1889

DOOLEN, William; General Store; Fosterburg - 1860's

??DORRIS, Thomas; Store; Possum Trot (Tonti Twp.) - 1928

DUNLAP, Carl; Gem Theater; Kinmundy - 1928

EAGEN, A.I.; General Store; Lester (Foster twp.) - 1891, 1909, 1913

EAGEN, Albert; Blacksmith Shop; Kinmundy - 1881

EAGEN, Erasmus; Milk Delivery Wagon; Kinmundy - 1889

EAGEN, Gustin L.; Hotel; Kinmundy - 1908

EAGEN, Henry; Blacksmith; Kinmundy - 1877, 1881

EAGEN, Isaac; Flour Mill; Kinmundy - 1833

EAGEN, Isaac; Shoe and Boot Maker; Kinmundy - 1881

EAGEN, W.B.; General Merchandise; Kinmundy - 1854

EBLIN, Leslie; General Store; Omega

ELDER, Capt.; General Store; Omega twp - ca 1830's

FENSTER, G.; Restaurant; Kinmundy - 1889

FICKESS, John W.; Blacksmith; Omega - 1860

FISK, George; Store; Omega

FISH, Lloyd, Store; Omega

FISH, William R.; Groceries and Provisions; Kinmundy - 1876

FLYNN, James; Sold spectacles throughout county; Omega - ca1876-1916

FOSTER, Hardy; Grist Mill; Fosterburg: 1833-1850

FRENCH, John R.; General Store; Alma - 1894, 1902

FRENCH, L.B.; Cooper Shop; Kinmundy - 1860, 1881

FROST and MUNGER; Farm Implements; Kinmundy - 1867

FROST Lumber Yard; Kinmundy - 1893

FUCHS, Adolph; General Merchandise; Kinmundy - 1881

GAMMON, Granville; Blacksmith Shop; Alma - 1881

GAMMON, H.; Druggist; Omega - 1892

GARNER, John B; Barber Shop; Kinmundy - 1881

GERARD, W.N.; Brick Factory; Kinmundy - 1881

GIBSON, Thomas; Stone Quarry; Omega - Before 1850

HALL, Henry R.; Grocery Store; Kinmundy - late 1860's

HALL, Henry R.; Lumber Yard; Alma - 1918

HAMMERS, John; Coal - Strip Mine; Alma Twp. - ca 1840

HAMMERS, William; Barber Shop; Kinmundy - 1927

HAMMOND and HENSLEY; Dry Goods and Groceries; Omega - 1881

HAMPSTEN, Lewis; Restaurant; Omega

HANKS, Charles; Fishing Equipment and Bait Shop; Omega

HARLAND, George; Country Produce; Kinmundy - 1881

HART, L.S.; General Merchandise; Kinmundy - 1859

HATTON, Drug Store; Kinmundy - 1867

HATTON, Dr. T.O.; General Store; Alma - 1853

HAYWORTH, James C.; Hardware, Harness and Saddle Shop; Kinmundy - 1881, 1889

HENSLEY, Clark and Frank; General Store; Omega

HENSLEY, Henderson; Stone Quarry; Omega; Before 1850

HENSLEY, Mark; General Store; Omega

HERRICK and YOUNG; General Merchandise; Kinmundy - 1881

HERRINGTON, Edward; Restaurant; Omega

HICKS, Benjamin; Carpenter; Kinmundy - 1860

HOLLISTER and BLAKESLEE; Drug Store; Kinmundy - 1881

HOLT, Roy; Service Station; Alma - 1930

HOWE, Forrest; Cleaning and Pressing; Kinmundy - 1925

HULL, Josiah; Carpenter Shop; Alma Twp. - 1850's

HURLBUT, N.S.; Shoes, Saddle and Harness Shop; Kinmundy - 1881

HUSTER, Solomon; Carpenter; Alma - 1860

INGRAM, William C.; Saw and Grist Mills; Kinmundy - 1880, 1905

JACKSON, J.H.; Groceries and Meat; Kinmundy - 1925

JACKSON, John; Miller; Kinmundy - 1860

JOHNSON, E.D.; Painting; Alma - 1881

JONES, Charles; Saw Mill; Oklahoma (Omega twp.) - 1898

JONES, Grover; Restaurant and Confectionary; Kinmundy - 1925

JONES (Sam’l), EAGEN (Wm.) and FOSTER (A.H.); Saw Mill; Fosterburg - 1853

JONES, Thomas S.; General Store; Fosterburg - 1860's

JONES, Zilpha (SEE); Store; Omega - 1947

JUNKINS, E.K.; Store; Kinmundy - 1928

KAGY, John A.; General Store; Brubaker - 1925

KAGY, John A.; Store; Omega - 1922

KELLER, Charles S.; Country Store & Grist Mill; Meacham twp.; 1910-1925

KING, Jeremiah; Carpenter; Fosterburg - 1860

KING, W.L.; General Merchandise; Kinmundy - 1889

Kinmundy Building & Loan Association; Kinmundy - 1887

Kinmundy Creamery; Kinmundy - 1892

Kinmundy National Bank; Kinmundy - 1931

Kinmundy State Bank; Kinmundy - 1931

Kinmundy Township Mutual Fire Insurance Co. - 1918

KLINE, A.F.; Shoemaker; Alma - 1881

KLINE, Loren; Restaurant; Kinmundy - 1926

KNISELY, Scott; General Store; Omega

LARSON, Henry; Cabinet Maker; Omega - 1860

LARSON, William; Watch Maker; Omega - 1860

LAUX, M.J.; Pickle Factory; Alma - 1925

LEAR, I.D.; Hotel; Kinmundy - 1906

LEWELLEN, Perry; Red Front Grocery and Novelty Store; Kinmundy - 1921

LONG, Chester; Saw Mill; Omega - 1929

LOVELL, Dan R.; City Shaving Saloon; Kinmundy - 1876

LOWE, W.E.; Grocery; Kinmundy - 1888

LUTTRELL, Joe; Store; Omega

LUTTRELL, Ronnie; Store; Omega

LYNCH, Miss Lottie & ANGLEN, Mrs. Ann; Ladies Hats & Clothing; Kinmundy - 1932

MAHAN, J.R.; Groceries & Meat; Kinmundy - 1921

MAJOR, John; Saw Mill; Kinmundy - 1930

MARLOW, Douglas and Irene; Restaurant; Omega

MARTIN, John S.; General Store; Alma - 1855

MATTHEWS, Leander C.; Hay, Grain & Implements; Kinmundy - 1909

MAULDING, Isaac; Butcher Shop; Alma - 1894

McBRIDE, Thomas M.; Carpenter; Kinmundy - 1860

McBRYDE, James B.; General Merchandise; Kinmundy - 1880, 1889

McCOLM, E.E.; General Merchandise; Brubaker

McCONNELL, Daniel; General Store; Fosterburg - 1860's

McCONNELL, Francis; Carpenter; Alma - 1860

McCREARY and MONGER; Private Bank; Kinmundy - 1867

MEEKS, I.N. - Chairmaker; Kinmundy - 1881

MENDENHALL, E.S.; Fruit Evaporator; Kinmundy - 1893

MENDENHALL, E.S.; Nursery; Kinmundy - 1889

Merchant’s & Mechanics Bank; Kinmundy - 1899

MERRITT, Ira; Sawmill; Meacham twp - 1929

MIDDLETON, Bert; Restaurant; Kinmundy - 1888

MIDDLETON, Roy; Cream Station - 1928

MILLER, S.J.; Saw Mill - 1930

MILLICAN Hotel; Omega - 1894

MILLICAN, Charles; Maple Syrup Factory; Omega - 1923

MILLICAN, Ford See; Greenhouse; Omega

MILLICAN, Robert J.; General Store; Omega - 1901

MILLICAN, Roy; General Store; Omega - 1919-1939

MORGAN, R.N.; Men’s Store; Kinmundy - 1930

MORRIS, Ira & HELM, J.P.; Grocery & Meat Market; Kinmundy - 1925

MULVANY, Andrew; Blacksmith; Omega - ca 1949-50

MULVANEY, Eugene; Grocery Store; Omega

MULVANY, Howard and Buron; Store; Omega

MULVANEY, Lester and Marie (BRANSON); Restaurant; Omega

MUNGER, C.H.; Store; Kinmundy - 1860

NAUERT, Gertrude; Restaurant; Omega

NEIL, W.W.; Undertaker & Furniture Dealer; Kinmundy - 1923

NEIL, William W.; Furniture; Kinmundy - 1881

NELSON, Jacob; Jewelry; Kinmundy - 1881, 1889

NIRIDER; Fred J.; Drug Store; Kinmundy

O’LOVER, John W.; Well Digger; Kinmundy - 1876

O’NEAL, Charles; Dry Goods; Omega Twp. - ca1830's

ONSTOTT, John; Saw & Grist Mill; Omega - before 1850

PARKER, Miss & FOX, Mrs.; Millinery; Kinmundy - 1881

PARKS, P.E.; Jewelry; Kinmundy - 1924

PHILLIPS & ELDER; General Store; Omega - 1851

PHILLIPS, John A. and Sons; Saw & Grist Mill; Omega - 1880's

PINDAR, Thomas; Miller; Meacham Twp. - 1860

POPE, R.F.; Nursery; Kinmundy - 1876

POPE, S.S. & SELBY; Furniture; Kinmundy - 1867

PORTER, Albert G.; Livery Stable; Kinmundy - 1908

PULESTON, John & NICHOLS, Coleman; General Store; Fosterburg - 1878

PULLEN, R.G.; Barrel & Fruit Packing Co.; Alma - 1899

RAINEY, C.E.; Store; Alma - 1931

RAVENS, George E.; Cabinet & Coffin Maker; Omega - 1853

RAY, George; Wagon Shop; Kinmundy - 1881

REEDER, W.C.; Stoves, Tinware, Queensware; Kinmundy - 1881

RITTER, Wm. & ARNOLD, James; Sawmill; Fosterburg - late 1850's

ROBNETT, P.F.; Gasoline & Ice - Star Garage; Kinmundy - 1922

ROCKHOLD, W.; Store; Kinmundy - 1860

ROGERS, R.M.; Blacksmith; Omega twp. - 1858

ROHRBOUGH; C.; Flour Mill; Kinmundy - 1877

ROHRBOUGH, C.; General Merchandise; Kinmundy - ca1866-1891

ROHRBOUGH, C.B.; Men’s Furnishings; Kinmundy - 1888

ROSS and Son; Nursery; Alma - 1895, 1898

ROSS, John; Saw & Grist Mill; Alma - ca 1870's

ROSS, W.S. & PULLEN, R.G.; Fruit Evaporator; Alma - 1899

ROTAN, John M.; Real Estate; Kinmundy - 1889

RULE, Robert; Store; Kinmundy - 1860

RYAN, Charles; Livery Stable; Kinmundy - 1889

SANDERS, Charles; Store; Omega

SCHMEDTOWNER, Art; Cheese Factory; Kinmundy - 1932

SCHOENBORN, Martin; Merchant Tailor; Kinmundy - 1881

SCHOOLEY, Milt & Frank; Saw & Grist Mill; Omega - ca1900

SCHOOLEY, Mrs. Myrtle; Gem Theater; Kinmundy - 1928

SCHOOLEY, Ray; Blacksmith; Omega

SCHOOLEY, Robert M.; Blacksmith; Omega - ca 1920's & 1930's

SEE, Leroy; Store; Omega

SEE, Virgil; General Store; Omega

SHAFFER, Frank; Restaurant; Kinmundy - 1926

SHAW, J.A.; Butcher Shop; Kinmundy - 1860

SHIELDS, Andrew; Blacksmith; Meacham twp. - ca 1830's

SHRIGLEY; Saw Mill & Crate Factory; Alma - 1904

SHRIGLEY, H.S. & COFFIN, A.; Hay, Grain & Fruits; Brubaker

SHRIGLEY, W.; Cannery; Alma - 1904 - 1908

SILLS, Robert; Store; Omega

SIMPSON, William; Butcher; Kinmundy - 1881

SKILLING, Dr. L.D.; Drug Store; Kinmundy - 1859

SMITH, J.; Blacksmith; Kinmundy - 1881

SMITH, Jacob L.; Blacksmith; Alma twp. - 1841

SMITH, R.W.; Barber Shop; Kinmundy - 1881

SMITH, T.J.; Churn Factory; Omega - 1890's

SMITH, Thomas M.; Blacksmith & Wagon Maker; Omega - 1881

SMITH and HAWKINS; Blacksmith Shop; Alma - 1855

SNAVELY, Abraham; Lime Kiln; Alma - 1860's and 1870's

SNELLING, G.W. & W.; Egyptian Garage; Kinmundy - 1925

SOMMERVILLE, James R.; "Trading Post" or "Gun Shop"; Omega

SONGER & SMITH; Fancy Goods & Notions; Kinmundy - 1881

SONGER Brothers; Flour Mill; Kinmundy: 1865-1907

SPAFFORD, C.; Restaurant & General Store; Kinmundy - 1859, 1867

SPROAT, Harry; General Store; Omega

SPROUSE, W.T.; Flour & Saw Mill; Kinmundy - 1858, 1864-1868

SQUIRES, W.C.; Squire House - Hotel; Kinmundy - 1881

STAFFORD, C.; Store; Kinmundy - 1860

State Bank of Kinmundy; Kinmundy - 1920

STEWART, Abner; Flour Mill; Kinmundy - 1830-1833

STODDARD, Russel; Shoemaker; Kinmundy - 1860

STORMENT, Perry; Grocery; Kinmundy - 1928

SUDDETH, Tom; Barber Shop; Omega

SUGGS, Frank; Grocery; Kinmundy - 1922

SWANDER, Charles; Bakery; Kinmundy

SWENEY, J.M. & Isaac; Store; Kinmundy - 1860

THRANE, Peter; Merchant Trailor; Kinmundy - 1881, 1889

TILDEN, Samuel; Lumberyard; Kinmundy - 1886

TOMLINSON, A.A.; Hotel; Alma - 1875, 1881

TUCKER, H.M.; Drug Store & Soda Fountain; Kinmundy - 1931

TULLY, William; Grist Mill; Alma twp. - 1836

TYNER, O.N.; Photographic Studio; Kinmundy - 1881

VANDELOW, Joe; Barber Shop; Kinmundy - 1927

WAGONER, Hugo; Auto Service & Garage; Omega

WALKINGTON, John; General Store; Omega - 1901

WALKINGTON, Nellie; General Store; Omega

WALLS, Jonathan; Brickyard; Kinmundy - 1891

WARNER & MAZANEK; Grain Dealers; Alma - 1892

WARREN Banking Co.; Private Bank; Kinmundy - 1897, 1909

WELLSBOROUGH, W.J.; Blacksmith; Fosterburg -1860

WEST & LAWWILL; Hay Press; Kinmundy - 1881

WETTER, Charles; Confectionery; Kinmundy - 1881

WHITE, George W.; Miller; Kinmundy

WHITE (L.B.) & PERRIN (W.); Flour Mill; Alma - 1880's

WHITE, Maurice; Cream Station; Omega

WHITE, Silas; Mill; Alma - 1860

WHITE, W.H.; Blacksmith, Carriages & Wagons; Kinmundy - 1876, 1881

WHITNEY, Wayne; Grocery; Kinmundy - 1873

WHITSON, Mrs. Edward; Millinery; Kinmundy - 1881

WILBURN, Willis; General Merchandise; Kinmundy - 1855

WILBURN, Willis; Hotel; Kinmundy - 1850's

WILKERSON, Les; Saw Mill; Meacham Twp. - 1830

WILLIAMS; Café; Kinmundy - 1928

WILLIAMS, Mrs. Gertie; Gem Theater; Kinmundy - 1923

WILLIS, A.H.; Bake Shop; Kinmundy - 1925-1927

WILSON & BOOTH; Groceries & Provisions; Kinmundy - 1876

WILSON & DAVIS; General Store; Kinmundy - 1888

WILSON, J.C. & M.; Feed Store; Alma - 1929

WILSON, J.W.; General Merchandise; Kinmundy - 1881

WILSON, R.; Sorghum Molasses Mill; Alma - 1889

WINKS, H.P.; Fruit Basket Factory - 1899

WINKS, Nathaniel; Carpentry; Alma - 1860

WOLF, Clinton; Blacksmith; Kinmundy - 1860

WRIGHT, Margie; Ice Cream Stand; Omega

YOST, Lester; Saw Mill; Omega - 1930

YOUNG, Andrew; Store; Kinmundy - 1860

YOUNG, J.D. & D.H.; Carpentry; Kinmundy - 1860

ZIMMER, Ener; Bakery; Kinmundy - 1927


"Kilmundy original name of Kinmundy; by Anne McCarty"


"Village platted 122 years ago in 1867"

(DFM note: The story that the original name of the town was "Kilmundy" has not been proven, however it is one of the theories that has crept up during the years.  There is some evidence to prove that this may have not been the case.)

Much of Kinmundy’s history can be learned by looking at the city’s architecture. The old houses built by some of the area’s early settlers seems to reflect the character and ancestry of it’s builders. Influenced by the separate cultural backgrounds brought from European countries, the early builders sought to create masterful structures.

The first to settle in and around Kinmundy were English, Scottish and Irish Protestants who came from the southern and southeastern states in the 1820's. In the 1840's Catholicism was brought to Kinmundy by the later Irish and German settlers.

The advent of the railroad proved to be the key in the opening of the Illinois prairie land for the pioneers. On September 20, 1850, President Millard Fillmore signed a bill which provided for the first grant of public lands to help finance a railroad. This land grant bill gave certain government land to the state of Illinois to sell and the proceeds to be used to construct a railroad.

On September 27, 1856, the Chicago Branch railroad which connected Chicago with Centralia was completed. The branch joined the main line of the railroad which reached all the way to Cairo. This was the longest railroad in the world at that time.

To provide communications between the many settlements which mushroomed along the railroad, the Illinois Central Telegraph Company was established. The telegraph lines ran the entire length of the rail.

On June 23, 1853, John Blurton purchased a parcel of land from the Illinois Central Railroad which consisted of the north one half of the southeast one quarter of Section 22, Township 4 north, Range 3 east. On March 1, 1857, Blurton sold this land to William Spouse who platted the original town of Kinmundy on April 10, 1857. The original plat contained 15 blocks and was divided into 169 blocks.

The origin of the name "Kinmundy" is shrouded in clouds of doubt and misconceptions. The old story of "I kin’t Sunday, but I kin Mundy", is dispelled by an 1868 Illinois Central Directory of towns along the railroad. The directory lists the town as "Kilmundy". This was the original name given the settlement by a London representative of the railroad who named the site after his hometown in Scotland. Somehow the name was transformed into "Kinmundy". However, this change came about, Kinmundy has the distinction of being the only community in the United Sates with that name.

The city of Kinmundy was incorporated on March 26, 1867. In 1868, the IC Directory wrote well of Kinmundy possibly because the railroad still had plenty of land for sale there at $7 to $13 per acre. The directory listed Kinmundy as having a population of 2,000. This may have been exaggerated since no other town along the railroad had a population of more than 1,200.

The directory also attributed Kinmundy with having a railroad office, two attorneys, a barber, a blacksmith, a carpenter, a dentist, two druggists, seven dry goods and general merchants, a flour mill, five grocers, two hardware stores, a hotel, three livery stables, a lumberyard, four millineries, a house and sign painter, four physicians, a saddle and harness shop, a newspaper, three saloons, two shoemakers, a stationary, and a wagon and carriage maker. Also listed in the directory were a sawmill, a tobacco factory, a woolen factory, a sorghum mill, cabinet makers and coopers.

Ten years after Kinmundy was originally platted, a city council was organized on April 10, 1867. At that time a Justice of the Peace administered oaths of office to a Mayor, a City Clerk, a City Marshal, a Street Commissioner and two Aldermen for each of the four wards.

Kinmundy had all the makings of a city. To promote culture, Kinmundy boasted an Air-Dome (an open-air movie) and Hayworth’s Opera House. Class plays and graduations were held at the Opera House. Also performing there were stock companies who toured in the days before radio, movies and television. Over 70 years ago, colored lantern slides were shown at the K.P. Hall to the delight of Kinmundy residents.

The first newspaper in Kinmundy was the Kinmundy Telegraph which started March 13, 1867. Also a religious monthly, the Pastoral Visitor, was printed there. On January 1, 1875, the Kinmundy Bulletin was organized. This paper was quite popular for awhile in its advocation of retrenchment and government reform. However, the Bulletin was only published 13 times.

The Kinmundy Register followed in 1879, printing 26 issues. Advocating the greenback policy was the Reform Leader from Sandoval in 1881. The Kinmundy Express started printing on November 8, 1883, and is still published weekly.

An agricultural fair, very popular in the 1890's, was organized at Kinmundy October 1, 1894. The event was a great success with demonstrations by the University of Illinois. The fair was held annually for many years. From agri-fairs such as this, came the ideas for instituting agencies such as the Farm Bureau, the Home Bureau, and the 4-H Club.

In the late 90's, Kinmundy had a ‘light plant’ which furnished electricity from dusk to 10 or 11 p.m. Since at that time, residents heated their irons, cooked on coal or wood and cooled with ice, electricity was not needed during the daytime. It only was needed to furnish light until bedtime.

The light plant provided DC current made by a dynamo which was turned by a coalfired steam engine. One hundred customers were served by the plant. The city of Kinmundy also had electricity to light their street corners with carbon lamps.

In the late 1800's and early 1900's, north and southbound trains stopped in Kinmundy both morning and evening. This was the common mode of transportation. Many passengers traveled the rails. Also, salesmen brought new merchandise into rural areas by train.

A large lake was built in Kinmundy to provide water for the steam powered locomotives. This further enhanced the Kinmundy train stop.

As the railroad helped to build the small towns such as Kinmundy, the railroad also aided the decay of these same towns. Shopping excursions on the train became the rage. Centralia merchants would buy a round-trip ticket with the purchase of $25 or more in merchandise. The train would go down at 9:30 a.m. and return at 8:22 at night. Not only did the shopper get the goods he wanted, he also was treated to the excitement of a journey. Mail order houses also were offering a more extensive line of merchandise at cheaper prices than the local stores. The small towns could not compete.

In 1903, Kinmundy was ravaged by fire. Almost all of the downtown area was destroyed. Some of the businesses rebuilt, but others already failing, gave up in defeat. Still enough people remained in Kinmundy to rebuild and form a city again.

Today Kinmundy lies in the center of agricultural productive land. It has hung on its root, but is ever progressing due to the hard work by its loyal citizenry. Kinmundy with eyes toward the future stands as a tribute to its early pioneers.

(A picture of the Cheatum home accompanied this article with the following caption: "The Home of Elwin Cheatum originally belonged to the Captain Calendar Rohrbough family who came to Kinmundy after the Civil War. The house was built around 1877. The bricks used in construction of the house are said to have been made in Kinmundy’s own brickyard and the lime used in the mortar was burned near Omega. Although the house has been modernized, it has still retained its original appearance.")

“The Kinmundy Express” - "Calendar Rohrbough Home Dedicated in Ceremony Held Sunday Afternoon"


"Sunday, October 3rd started out as a dreary day with a light misting rain in the early afternoon.  Shortly before the dedication of the Capt. Calendar Rohrbough home, the clouds drifted away and the sun came out making the afternoon most perfect for this special day in Kinmundy’s history.  As the 2 o’clock dedication neared, the Kinmundy-Alma Band played while marching up the hill on South Washington Street.
After the band reached their destination and were seated, Kinmundy Woman’s Club President, Mrs. Rebecca Bassett introduced the band and their director, Suzanne Andes.  The band played several selections before the Chorus Director, Dean Russell, was introduced.  Mr. Russell introduced the names of the vocal selections that they would be singing.  Both the Band and Chorus were enjoyed by all and added to the day’s festivity.  Mrs. Bassett then introduced Rev. John Hartleroad, of the Kinmundy and Wesley United Methodist Churches, who asked the audience to bow their heads in prayer.  “The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag” was also led by Rev. Hartleroad.  Dr. George Ross, Vice-President of the Marion County Genealogical and Historical Society, gave a brief summary of early Marion County life, especially that relating to Kinmundy.  He stated that in 1823, the first man to come to Kinmundy was David Nichols.  He stayed approximately two years.  In 1828 the Gray brothers, James, Joseph, and David Gray came to Kinmundy and played a most important role in the early settlement here.  Among other names mentioned in the history of early Kinmundy were Eagan, Blurton, Stewart, and Sprouse.   W.T. Sprouse in 1857 laid the city streets of our town out.  Dr. Ross after giving the brief history asked the President of the county Genealogical & Historical Society, Kathryn Daniels, to help in presenting Mr. Elwyn Cheatum with a plaque from the county society designating it as a County Historical site too.
Mr. Cheatum, after greeting the audience, stated that just one many earlier many of the same faces that he was seeing today for the dedication had also been at the slide presentation.  While Cheatum enjoyed sharing his slide presentation with the public, he was even more pleased to see them at the dedication of the Capt. Calendar Rohrbough home as a National Registry Historic Site.  “Although the home is no different than it has been for years,” Cheatum explained.  “The thing that makes today special is the fact that the U.S. Government now says that the home has historic significance resulting from the National importance of the man who built and lived in this home – Capt. Calendar Rohrbough.”  (More can be read about him on Page 2.)
The home was built in 1875 and has only two additions since it was built: the fireplace and bay window in the living room were added in 1925 by Mr. F.O. Grissom.  Mr. Cheatum outlined some of the unusual features of the home which would be observed as it was toured later.  He stated that the 107 year old home, which lacks modern conveniences, is an Italian Southern Villa design and originally had an arch over the front sidewalk entry and picket fence enclosing the yard.  Both of these items will be replaced in the future to get the home back to its original look.  He wanted everyone to notice the cabinets on the north wall of the kitchen.  They are the original cabinets which he and his wife, Louise, have refinished.  Wooden verandas eight feet wide extend the full length of the south and west sides of the house and are ornamental with scroll brackets, as is the cornice.  Four over four sash windows feature original wooden shutters, sandstone sills, and radiating brick lintels highlighted in white.  A cast metal plate at the threshold of the main entrance bears the date of construction as 1875.  Original roofing material has been replaced by asphalt shingles except over the verandas where a tin and zinc alloy material remains.  The main roof has its original box guttering.  At one time, an overhead reservoir tank built into the ceiling of one room received water from the guttering.  This was heated by a metal roof, then used for bathing purposes.  The system is no longer in use.  The exterior of the house is painted red which Mr. Cheatum warned against touching.  It seems as though the paint has never dried and comes off.  A barn once stood on the property on the back of the lot.  A garage has since been built from the material of the barn.  Cheatum has added six white pillars to the garage from the Harvey Brown home. 
Mr. Cheatum stated that although his home was on the National Registry – that it did not mean that they would pay the bills or even give him a tax break.  Grants are available but none have been applied for as of yet.  What it does mean is that the government has placed it on a list of historic locations they deem important to be preserved for the education and enjoyment of future generations.
Approximately 300 persons from five states were in attendance Sunday including the granddaughter of Calendar Rohrbough, Mrs. Virginia Rohrbough Green.  Also present were great-grandchildren.
As the crowd toured the Rohrbough home, members of the Kinmundy Woman’s Club were seated in various rooms to help explain about the antiques.  The Rohrbough family had brought many personal belongings and keepsakes of Capt. Rohrbough for the dedication.  Included in this was his sword, a 18” tall sterling silver pitcher, as well as many pictures, quilts, and clothing.  Also among the items was a silver water goblet dated 1883 that was given to Capt. Rohrbough by the church.
As one left the enclosed porch adjoining the summer kitchen on the east side, cookies and punch, furnished by the Kinmundy Women’s Club, were served by some of the members.  Kinmundy has many things, both in the past and present, for which it can be very proud.  Not many towns the size of Kinmundy can say that they have the many things which Kinmundians  should be proud of: Pioneer Village, also a county historic site; our new school and gym; the new bank; Community Center and City Hall.  And now to this list we add the Capt. Calendar Rohrbough home.
Our community gives the Cheatum family a big “Thank You” for their many hours of hard work so our city (one of the very few its size) to receive such national notoriety (more on page 2)...  "                

“Golden Business” - local Marion County, Illinois newspaper - circa 1992

             One local business recently celebrated it’s 100th year of service to the area.  The charter for the First National Bank of Kinmundy was issued on Feb. 19, 1902.  One month later, March 19, 1902, the bank first opened for business at the corner of Madison Street and Third Street.  In 1903, that building was destroyed by fire.   However, it was rebuilt.

            Over the years, there have been six different banks in Kinmundy.  In 1906, the Hammond State Bank consolidated with the First National Bank of Kinmundy.  Then, in 1931, the First National Bank of Kinmundy acquired the State Bank of Kinmundy.

            Of the six banks that have operated in the city during the past 100 years, the First National Bank of Kinmundy is the only one still in business, surviving the Great Depression and buyout attempts by other parties.

            In 1976, construction began on the building that currently houses the bank.  The bank moved to its current location at 201 South Madison in early 1977.  When the new building first opened in 1977, it included a walk up, one drive up lane, a night deposit and a parking lot.  A second drive up lane was added in 1980.  In order to continue to meet the needs of its customers, the bank added an ATM/debit card program in 2000.  At that time, an ATM machine was installed in the south wall of the building, next to the walk up.

            The First National Bank of Kinmundy continues to be an independent bank with the majority of it’s stock owned by local individuals.  The size of the bank has increased from $25,000 in capital, two employees and nine directors at its inception, to $27 million in assets, 12 employees, and eight directors today.

            Bank Vice President Larry Ritter noted that it takes a great deal of community trust for a bank to remain in business for 100 years.  “It’s an honor to be around that long,” says Ritter.  “Not many businesses last for 100 years.  Ritter credits the bank’s longstanding commitment to good service and taking care of the needs of its customers for the success that the First National Bank of Kinmundy has seen during its first 100 years.

“The Centralia Sentinel” -  “The historic Captain Calendar Rohrbough house has been home to three of Kinmundy’s mayors”
By Judith Joy – Features Editor
             "Kinmundy - “I didn’t know if the house met all the criteria for the National Register”, said Elwyn Cheatum, when he and his wife Louise decided to try to enroll their home on the National Register of Historic Places.  Built in 1875, the elegant Calendar Rohrbough was the home of a Civil War soldier, who fought for the Union at Vicksburg and later became president of the Kinmundy Building and Loan Association.  “There are two criteria you have to meet,” explained Cheatum, “to get the house listed on the National Register.  The first is the architectural design and the second is its historic significance.
The Calendar Rohrbough house is in a style known as Italian Southern Villa and its builder merits several pages in Brinkerhoff’s History of Marion County, Illinois.  Fortunately a previous owner of the house had left his copy of Brinkerhoff’s History in the house, which helped the Cheatums prepare the lengthy application form to get the property listed on the National Register in 1979.  In the 134 years of the home’s existence, it has only had three owners.  The first of these was Capt. Calendar Rohrbough, who was born in 1834 in West Virginia and moved in 1857 to Hancock County, Ill., where he taught school.  By 1860, Rohrbough was keeping a store in Basco, Hancock County, but he gave up his business career in 1862 and began organizing Company H, 118th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
Mustered in as a second lieutenant, Rohrbough rose to the rank of Captain and was in command of his company through the Vicksburg campaign and thru various other encounters in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi.  In all, he participated in more than 50 battles and skirmishes and survived having two horses short out from under him.  Prior to his enlistment, Rohrbough had married Anna M. Moore, “the refined daughter” of Andrew and Abigail (Tweed) Moore, who grew up in Carthage, Ill.  The couple had six children, two of whom died in infancy. Reading Brinkerhoff’s History today is always amusing, as there isn’t a man listed who’s not a pillar of the community, successful in business and a regular church-goer, while the women are all refined, charming and devoted to their families and domestic duties.  Aside from these ordinary virtues, Capt. Rohrbough, according to Brinkerhoff, was a faithful worker in the cause of temperance and helped organize the Grand Council Royal Templars of Temperance in Illinois in 1880.  His wife, Anna, was active in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and served as treasurer of the local chapter.
The present owner, Elwyn Cheatum, never knew the Rohrboughs but he did grow up in a house across the street and knew the next owner, Fred O. Grissom, who according to Brinkerhoff, was “essentially a man of the people, a true American of the period in which he lives and possessing the esteem of his fellow citizens.”
Grissom, who was born in 1876 in Meacham township, began his printing career with the Farina News and later purchased the Kinmundy Express.  In 1899, he married Jennie A. Bascom, “the refined and accomplished daughter of the Rev. S.B. and C.M. Bascom” of Ramsey.  Fred Grissom, like Capt. Rohrbough, was a mayor of Kinmundy.  Strangely enough, all three owners of the house, including Elwyn Cheatum – who served two, four-year terms – have been mayors of the town.  Cheatum was still in grade school when his folks moved from Mason to Kinmundy around 1936.  After graduating from high school, Cheatum began working for the Illinois Central as a telegraph operator and train dispatcher.  During the 17 years he worked for the Illinois Central, he and his wife, Louise, to whom he has been married for 59 years, lived in Effingham and Arcola.
Founded in 1857, Kinmundy’s early prosperity was largely due to the fact that two of the state’s longest railroads, the Illinois Central and the Chicago and Eastern Illinois (earlier known as the Chicago, Peoria and Memphis) crossed in Kinmundy.  Although there are several stories about how Kinmundy got it’s name, Cheatum believes it was because one of the I.C. officials came from a county in Scotland called Kinmundy (sic) and there is also a town in Scotland called Kinmundy.  Brinkerhoff, however, says the town was named for a Scotsman, who was a stockholder in the I.C. and visited Illinois at the time of the railroad’s construction.
Cheatum recalled the days working for the I.C. with pleasure, as he and his wife were able to travel all over the country on passes, even though they were often required to take second class passenger service instead of the crack trains.  In 1975, the Cheatums were living in Peoria when they came home to Kinmundy for a visit and Elwyn took some photos of the house and gave them to Fred Grissom, who was then getting on in years.  “One of these days, I’d like to buy your house,” Cheatum told Grissom.  To his surprise, Grisssom expressed a willingness to sell the home – with the understanding that he could live there until his death.  “My mom had always wanted to live in a big house,” recalled Cheatum, and so his parents, Ervin and Nina Cheatum moved into the home while Elwyn and Louise continued to live in Peoria.  “There was a question in our minds as to whether we’d ever get to live in it ourselves,” says Cheatum, “but when the opportunity came, we took it.”
During the 50 years that Fred Grissom lived in the house, several changes were made to the interior – among them moving the location of the stairway and removing a hall partition.  Grissom also added a fireplace – originally the house was heated with coal stoves.  The house was one of the first in Kinmundy to having running water, which was collected in a large trough on the second story.  The water collected in gutters drained into this trough, which is concealed within a porch, and flowed by gravity to the kitchen.  The house sits on a 2.5 acre lot, so there is plenty of room for a garden and a small fruit orchard, where Cheatum has planted apples, peaches, pears, and one apricot tree.  Although the apricot sets fruit, Cheatum says the squirrels always beat him to the harvest and he has never tasted a single apricot.  The original carriage house was torn down before the Cheatums purchased the property and the boards used to build a garage.  One of the great improvements Cheatum has made are the brick walks that replaced the old cement ones.  The bricks were purchased when the village of Kinmundy replaced it’s old brick sidewalks, some years ago.  Last year, when the Cheatum’s oldest son was scraping the old white paint off the porch pillars, he discovered they were originally painted cream color and green.  The original color scheme has now been restored for, as Cheatum says, ‘We want to keep it as original as we can.”
Kinmundy’s other National Historic Landmark is the old cypress water tower, which serviced locomotives on the I.C. during the age of steam and was used from 1885 to 1953. Following it’s service with the I.C., the tower was used by the village for the water supply until 2000 when it was abandoned after 115 years of service.




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