This village, situated on the P., P. & J. R. R., near the center of the northern boundary of the township, was surveyed and platted by James Boggs, Deputy County Surveyor, for James K. Cox, Robert M. Cox and William A. Langston, in 1858. Soon after the laying-out of the town, Hon. Hugh Fullerton, of Havana, acquired an interest for the influence exerted by him in procuring the location of the depot on the village site. The expectations of the proprietors must have been very great, and they possibly may have imagined that in the rearing of the first two or three buildings they beheld a miniature Chicago in embryo arising in their midst. One hundred and ten acres were laid out in blocks, streets and alleys.
Manito did not increase in growth very rapidly, until the close of the war,- in 1865. Egypt Station had been laid out in 1857, on the line of the railroad, about three-fourths of a mile southwest of where Manito now stands, and when the road went into operation, in 1859, from Pekin to Virginia, the contest for the mastery waxed warm. Egypt Station had the advantage in the beginning, in that she’ already had two or three stores and the post office, but Manito secured the location of the depot, and immediately the
scepter departed out of Egypt. The village of Spring Lake, which has already been mentioned as having been established by Col. Robert S. Moore, as early
as 1851, contributed to j;he upbuilding of Manito, by giving her business men and citizenship to swell the population of the newly begun village.
The farm residence of James K. Cox, erected in 1851, stands near the center of the business part of the village, east of the railroad, and may be easily recognized from
the fact that it stands at an angle of about forty-five degrees with the street fronting it. The first business house in the village was erected by James K. Cox, and was occupied early in 1860 by E. A. Rosher, as a general merchandise store. Mr. Rosher is still a citizen, and is the veteran merchant of the village. The second store in the villa.ge was kept by J. P. & Alexander Trent.A. M. Pollard, from Spring Lake, opened a grocery store in 1861. Langston & Havens, Rankin & Luckenburg, had each a general store quite early in its history. J. Mosher opened the first drug store in 1865 or 1866. In 1868, Smith, Hippen & Co., of Pekin, built an elevator, at a cost of $5,000. It has a capacity of 15,000 bushels, and 10,000 bushels cah be handled through it per day. It is operated under the personal supervision of Fred Knollhoff, who is a. member of the firm.
The firm of Smith, Hippen & Co. was the first in tho- place to purchase grain on an extensive scale. Their annual shipments range from 250,000 to 300,000 bushels. Previous to the building of the elevator, a Mr. Cranwill had bought grain for some years, at this point, and shipped in gunny sacks on flats. In 1876, James A. McComas built the Manito ele- vator, at a cost of $6,500. It had a capacity of 20,000 bushels, and, in annual shipments, ranged from 200,000 to 250,000 bushels, making the total annual
shipments from the village from 500,000 to 600,000 bushels. This was operated by McComas one year; afterward by different parties, and, in 1878,
Grier & Co., of Peoria, took charge of it. It was totally destroyed by fire on the 29th of May, 1879. The building contained 5,000 bushels of grain at the time of its destruction. The village of Manito is conceded to be the best grain point on the P., P. & J. R. R., from Peoria to Havana, except Pekin. The business trade of the village aggregates about $500,000 annually. Some of the statements in regard to the history of the village and the dates of their occurrence may not be, in every particular, correct, but this is owing to the fact that the village records have been twice destroyed by fire, and the dates given are those that have been furnished us by the citizens who took an active part in the proceedings.
The village was incorporated under the special act known as theSpringfield and Quincy Act, in 1866. The following named persons were chosen as members of the first B oard of Trustees : R. S. Eakin, Joe W. Brooks, Smith Mosher, Joe Cranwill and E. W. Crispell. The Board selected R.,S. Eakin, President; Joe W. Brooks, Treasurer, and Joe Cranwill, Clerk. Stephen W. Porter was first Police Magistrate. The village continued under this organization till 1875, when the charter was surrendered by vote, and it was re-organized under the general law for cities and villages. The present Board consists of W. B. Robison, Thomas Boon, Joel Cowan, J. S. Pollard, M. Lins and A. J. Roberts. The officers of the Board are : W. B. Robison, President ; J. S. Walker, Treasurer ; W. C. Hall, Clerk ; R. S. Eakin, Police Justice.
CHURCHES, LODGES, ETC.
The Methodist Church was erected in 1867. Among the early pastors, we find the names of Revs. Middleton, Sloan, Shagley and Goldsmith. Rev.
Sloan is remembered as the minister who was accustomed to make the entire round of his circuits on foot. Stephen W. Porter and family, Thomas Boon
and family, Father Nash, P. S. Trent and family, were among the early communicants of the Church. Elders Miller and Page, of the Campbellite order,
held meetings here at an early day, and had at one time an organization, but did not build a house of worship. The Catholic Church was built about 1870.
The building is a neat frame, patterned after the modern style of church buildings. They have a large and flourishing congregation. Sabbath schools are
regularly held at both churches.
In 1861, a petition was presented to the Post Office Department, praying for a removal of the post office from Egypt
Station to Manito, with a change in name to that of the village. The prayer of the petition was granted, and Smith Mosher was appointed first Postmaster.
He was succeeded in office by his brother, John Mosher, in 1865. In 1866, A. M. Pollard was appointed, and, in 1869, E. A. Kosher received the appointment, and still holds the position. In 1870, J. N. Shanholtzer erected a steam grist-mill in the village. This is the first and only mill ever built in the township. The cost of construction was about $6,000. It has two runs of stone, and is capable of turning out about eighteen or twenty barrels of flour per day. It has a fine run of custom,
and manufactures a first-class quality of flour.
Manito Lodge, A., F. and A. Masons, was organized under dispensation from Most Worshipful Deputy Grand Master J. M. Gorin, in 1865. In October, 1866, a charter was issued from the Grand Lodge, over the signatures of H. P. H. Bromwell, Most Worshipful Grand Master, and H. G. Reynolds,
Grand Secretary, to Henry A. Sweet, R. S. Eakin, A. G. H. Conover, John Thomas, Peter W. Gay, B. Ruthenburg, A. A. Griffin, Smith Mosher, Perry
W. Thomas, Hubbard Latham, Zachariah Miller and W. W. Pierce as charter members. Henry A. Sweet was appointed W. M. ; R. S. Eakin, S. W. ; A.
G. H. Conover. J. W. Regular meetings occur on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. In 1878, the lodge room was built by a joint-stock association. In the destructive fire which occurred December 22, 1878, the Lodge sustained heavy loss, the records, furniture and paraphernalia being entirely, consumed. At present it has a membership of twenty-two. The present officers are: R. S. Eakin, W. M.; W. B. Robison, S. W.; E. S. Starrett, J.W.; J. P. Cowan, Treasurer: Fred Knollhoff, Secretary ; J. C. Perkins, S. D.; R.W. Whiteford, J. D.; M. W. Rodgers, Tiler. A Lodge of I. 0. 0. F. was organized about the year 1871, but “has some time since ceased to exist.
The village at present has a population of about 600, and has four general merchandise stores, two groceries, two drug and notion stores, one harness-shop,
two boot and shoe shops, one hardware store and tin-shop, one millinery, notion and fancy goods establishment, three general blacksmithing and repair shops.
Drs. J. S. Walker and J. R. McCluggage are resident physicians, and deal out pills and powders for the pains and aches of the people, while William Maloney
deals out coal in quantities to suit the purchaser. The early settlers of the village were fond of playing practical jokes upon each other, and frequently did not scruple to tackle even strangers. Before corporate powers were conferred, it is stated that a man by the name of Moore came in and desired to start a saloon. He approached Joe Cranwill on the subject, and Joe furnished him the necessary license, for which he charged him the round sum of $25. Joe shoved the money down in his own pocket, and let the boys into the secret, and, as he spent most if not all of it in ” setting ’em up,” nothing was said about it, and it was many moons before Moore found out that
his license was a fraud, and that he had been tricked out of his money.
Many of the early denizens of the village will remember the days when ” High Cod Court,” as it was called, was in vogue. This was not a chartered institution, so far as we could learn, nor do we know that it had the sanction of the powers that be, ordained to meet in solemn conclave at Springfield biennially, in its establishment. But certain it is that it existed. Having charged some individual with an offense against the peace and dignity of the village, the Court would assemble and proceed to try the offender. The person presiding was dubbed the Hon. Judge Advocate, to whom all matters of difference between the lawyers for prosecution and defense were submitted, and from whose decision there was no appeal. Witnesses were called and examined, who were not expected to tell the truth any more than a witness of to-day is expected to testify to facts before a Congressional Investigating Committee. Indeed, the oath administered had a saving clause for the prosecution, couched in these words :
” And you furthermore swear that you will not tell the truth in the case now
No matter how clearly the defendant might prove his innocence, conviction was sure to follow. The penalty was generally drinks for the crowd, and usually cost the accused about $1. But these days have long since passed away, and the citizens of Manito are as staid and sober-going people as are their neighbors. And yet the old citizens love to recount these days of fun and frolic, and, in imagination, live over again the scenes and incidents of their early manhood’s years. The name Manito was undoubtedly taken from the Indian word Manitou, though with just what significance it was applied to the village, we have no means of determining.