City of Belleville – 1881

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THE site of Belleville was selected as the county seat of St. Clair county in the year 1814. As the American settlers on the highlands east of the American Bottom began to outnumber the old French residents along the Mississippi, the idea was entertained of removing the county seat to a more eligible and central location than the village of Cahokia. This question was one of the issues which entered into the election of members of the legislature in 1813. In December, 1813, the legislature, in session at Kaskaskia, appointed John Hay, James Lemen, Isaac Enochs, William Scott, Jr., Nathan Chambers, Jacob Short and Caldwell Cains [Cairns], commissioners to select a new seat of justice, The commissioners met at the dwelling-house of Col. William Whiteside on the twenty-fifth of January, 1814, but, “by reason of not being thoroughly informed, as to their legal duties, and that no proper officer was present to administer the necessary oaths,” they adjourned to meet at Cahokia on the following fourteenth of February. At the latter meeting no decision was reached. The commissioners desired further consideration of the subject, and a personal view of the proposed location. Their next meeting was ‘at the house of Geo. Blair, on the site of the present city of Belleville. At this meeting considerable diversity of opinion was shown, and they adjourned without being able to come to any conclusion. At a subsequent meeting held at Blair’s house on the tenth of March, 1814, all the commissioners being present, the majority fixed the county seat on Blair’s land, and a site for the county buildings was marked in Blair’s corn-field, about twenty-five rods north-east of his dwelling-house. Blair agreed to give one acre of land for a public square, on which to erect the public buildings, and to relinquish twenty-five acres adjoining, of which every fifth lot of land, exclusive of the streets, he gave as a donation for the use and benefit of the county of St. Clair. The report was signed by all the commissioners except William Scott, Jr., and Caldwell Cains. Blair agreed to have suitable arrangements made so that the June term of court, 1814,. could be held at the new county seat.  Back to top

Such was the beginning of Belleville. The locality was previously known as Compton Hill. It is said that the name of Belleville, “beautiful city,” was given to the place by George Blair. A survey was made in the summer of 1814, by John Messenger. This survey was completed some years afterward by Gov. Ninian Edwards, who placed it on record. An old plat is now on file made on a scale of four chains to the inch. The names of the streets were given by Mr. Blair. The most eastward street was called Church street, and westward were Jackson, High, Illinois, Spring and Hill streets. North and south from the public square the streets were numbered First, Second and Third. The street extending east and west through the public square was called St. Clair street, but by common usage, it has become known as Main street. This and Illinois streets were laid off sixty-six feet wide, and all the others forty-nine and a half feet. In the summer of 1814, Etienne Pensoneau was given the contract to build a court­house. This was an unpainted frame building, two stories high, and stood in the public square east of the site of the National Hotel, and north of the present court-house. The court room occupied the whole lower floor, and in the upper story were the clerk’s offices and jury rooms. The records show that for hauling to Belleville the benches, seats and tables, from the old court-house, at Cahokia, Mr. Blair was paid six dollars. A new brick court-house was begun in the year 1829, and finished in 1831. It stood in the public square north-east of the old building. This in turn gave place to the present court-house, which was erected about 1859. The first jail, of which a man named Henry Sharp was the architect, was built of logs, and stood in the public square, about one hundred feet south-east of the site of Hinckley’s bank. The second jail was a two story brick building on Illinois street, east of the old log jail. The third jail was built on Illinois street, above First North street, and the building is still standing. It was used for the confinement of prisoners till the erection of the present jail.  Back to top

George Blair, the original proprietor of the town, was the pioneer citizen of Belleville. His dwelling was the first erected in the town. For several years he kept a hotel. Gov. John Reynolds says of him, that he was a man of no extraordinary talents, and that his name was magnified into some fame and notoriety simply from the fact that he owned the land on which the city of Belleville was built. He says: “The first time I saw Mr. Blair was in the fall of 1806, and I was well acquainted with him from that time until his death. He then resided in a log cabin, covered with split boards and weight poles, and occupied a point just north of Hinckley’s mill. This log cabin and this man were somewhat similar in their humble position at this time, in 1806, and were the primitive specimens of the men and houses that then appeared in Belleville. Mr. Blair located at this place to enjoy the fine spring water that at this time- is used in Mr. Hinckley’s steam mill. In 1814 he was a man of middle size and medium age, and possessed nothing attractive about him. He as not wealthy at the time; but he had purchased two

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militia rights of one hundred acres each, and located them on the land whereon Belleville is built. He had a small farm, extending from his log cabin to about the north side of the public square, and it was not well cultivated. Mr. Blair, like many other persons, had a natural and inborn hatred to work, and scarcely ever permitted his peace of mind to be disturbed by any kind of labor whatever. He immigrated with his father to Illinois in 1796, and had not the means of any, or much, education. He was no scholar, but supposed he was, and he had the imprudence on all occasions, in and out of order, to use words of wondrous length and mostly inapplicable. I was always a guest of Mr. Blair’s hotel when there was no other; and I can testify that the landlord was blessed with a good nature and a benevolent spirit, but ‘mine hostess’ was pretty much the reverse of her husband, as the truth of history will not permit me to call him ‘her lord and master.’ “

West of Blair, his nearest neighbor was Henry Miller. In 1806, William Phillips settled in what is now South Belleville, about one hundred and fifty yards from Reuss’ mill.

With the removal of the county seat John Hay came to Belleville, though his family still, for some years, continued to reside at Cahokia. He was the son of Major Hay, the English Governor of Upper Canada. He had received a liberal education, was industrious, and on his settlement at Cahokia, was chosen to all the offices that required talents, writing and good penmanship. A will or contract never carried with it quite so undisputed an authority as when in his handwriting. He filled at different times the positions of circuit clerk, county clerk, recorder, probate judge, notary public and commissioner of deeds. He returned to his home at Cahokia every Saturday evening, but was promptly at his post on Monday morning to begin the duties of the week. After some years he removed his family to Belleville, where he died in 1843. In 1810 the first mill was built at Belleville, by Elijah Chapman. This was a water mill, and stood on the western side of Richland .creek, not far above the bridge, on the road leading to Centerville. It was subsequently purchased by Etienne Pensoneau, but ceased running for lack of water. In the year 1814, the first store was opened in Belleville, near Chapman’s mill, by Joseph Kerr. He was a brother of Matthew Kerr, of St. Louis, from whom he obtained his stock of goods. Among the other early merchants of Belleville were Messrs. Lindell, Ringgold, Wilkinson and Pensoneau.  Back to top

In the year 1815, Reuben Anderson moved from Cahokia and settled in Belleville. He lived in a small log cabin on Illinois street. He afterward opened a hotel, was soon elected constable, and likewise served as deputy sheriff. He was agreeable and social in manner, but too fond of gay and mirthful company. Among the most noted of the early citizens of Belleville was James Tannehill. He was a wagon maker by trade. He became a resident of Belleville in 1817. He built a large house on the south side of Main street, adjoining the public square on the west, where now stands the National Hotel. This house, when built, was the largest in town. It was constructed of frame work and hewn logs, the logs placed above the frame work. The main building was two stories high, but additions and sub-additions were made to it, until the whole structure, as Gov. Reynolds remarks, looked like a French village. Here Tannehill kept a hotel, which, in those early days, was famous. It was probably the largest hotel in southern Illinois. The building was standing for about forty years, till at last the National Hotel was built on the site. Here, at different times, many prominent men were entertained, and many stirring scenes were witnessed. Tannehill was a kind and attentive landlord, and was anxious to afford his guests any accommodation in his power. He was not a good business man, his guests paid their bills only when it suited their convenience, and though he and his family labored hard, and he, at the same time, carried on his trade, he could accumulate no money, but kept about even with the world. So he disposed of the hotel to Judge Latham, of Edwardsville, and purchased a half section of land on the High prairie, where he opened up a farm. Tannehill started the first distillery at Belleville. It stood near the mill, in the south part of the town, where he secured a twelve-acre tract of land, covered with heavy timber, in exchange for an old horse, valued at thirty-five dollars. Whiskey had been previously distilled in the county, but this was the first distillery in which steam was used.  Back to top

Instead of the metal pipes now in use the steam was conveyed through hollow logs bored for the purpose. The entire product of the distillery was consumed at the hotel. It was no rare circumstance on public occasions to empty three or four barrels of whiskey in a single day. The whiskey was used in its virgin purity, brought from the still one day and drank the next. A few dried apples roasted brown and put into a barrel of whiskey gave it a very rich color. By substituting peaches for apples, a very fair peach brandy was said to be made, for which a ready sale was had. At that early period there were no temperance societies, grain of all kinds was abundant, and in consequence whiskey was plentiful and cheap, and its use on all occasions was free and universal. Tannehill’s distillery burned down in 1830 or 1831. Tannehill undertook to build a wind-mill for grinding grain on his farm in High prairie. He succeeded in getting the mill to run but was unable to control it, for the want of a regulator, which, it seems, he did not know how to construct. The want of this regulator resulted in the complete failure of the experiment, and the destruction of the whole fabric, shortly after it had been started. The mill was so constructed that the wind acted upon a horizontal shaft, about thirty feet long, into which long arms were framed, having a spiral inclination around the shaft, the end to windward being small in diameter, and increasing as it approached the mill. On these arms were pinned, with wooden pins, half-inch boards, which boards formed the wings or sails of the mill; the whole when finished, representing the twist of an auger more than anything else. Gearing attached to the end of the shaft, gave motion to the burrs. The wind had the greatest power when applied to the outer end of the shaft. When completed, the neighbors were all in ecstacies about the prospect of having such a mill in their vicinity. But sad disappointment soon supervened. A storm came on, which caused the sails to run with such velocity that the runner was projected some sixty or seventy feet, where it was embedded and buried in the soil, and there long afterwards it remained. When this occurred the shaft had gained such momentum that, though thrown out of his bearings, it continued to run with great speed, tearing down everything before it, until it and all the machinery attached was broken to pieces.  Back to top

In 1828 he purchased from the heirs of Etienne Pensoneau for the sum of four hundred and thirty-three dollars the old mill and a tract of fifty acres of land lying west of Race street and adjoining West Belleville. Harrison’s, Breese’s, and Kennedy’s additions to the city are embraced in this tract as well as much other valuable property. Tannehill erected new dams and made other additions and improvements, but the mill and distillery were scarcely more successful in bringing him in money than the hotel had been. In 1832 he sold the mill and a greater part of the land to Thomas Harrison for eight hundred dollars. Shortly afterward he exchanged the hotel and other property in Belleville for a farm in the American Bottom, to which he moved and where he subsequently died. His farm in the High prairie he sold to John and Edward Tate for

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a small sum. Among his other pursuits he filled the positions of justice of the peace and jailor. He possessed great skill in the use of the divining rod, in discovering springs and the general locality of water – so it was said. He acquired a grant reputation in this art, and most folks had unlimited faith in his skill. As commonly used, the divining rod is a forked, slender switch of hazel, or other elastic w ood. One branch of the fork was taken in each hand, the two ends being held pointing downward. In this way the operator passed the rod over the surface of the ground and by the particular inclination of the points of the rod, decided whether or not, and where water might be found, and, oracle-like, gave a vague hint as to the probable depth below the surface, the water would be found. It was a comparatively easy matter with our credulous and somewhat superstitious pioneers to establish and confirm the faith of many of them in the art of using the divining rod. At one time he engaged in the business of mining lead in Missouri, where he employed a brother of Robert Higgins, named Ichabod, to sink a shaft, but, like the windmill, his mining operations did not prove a success and therefore were abandoned. Mr. Tannehill was, in stature, very large. He stood about six feet four inches high, and was stoutly built. His acquired abilities were somewhat limited, but he was a kind-hearted, moral and good-natured man. He was a South Carolinian by birth and a zealous advocate for negro slavery.  Back to top

He was inconstant and fickle in business matters, and accumulated but little of this world’s goods. Though he had owned much valuable property in the neighborhood of Belleville he died poor. After Mr. Tannehill left the hotel Judge Tatham had it kept by Mr. Garrison and wife. Mr. Tannehill afterward regained possession and kept a hotel for several years. It then passed into the hands of William Orr, who died there of the cholera. After him Mr. Maus became proprietor who kept a hotel in the old building till he erected a new and more spacious edifice. Another hotel was built on Main street a short distance east of High street, in the year 1815, by Daniel Wise, which, when erected, was considered quite a large building. At one time Mr Bottsford was the landlord and gave general satisfaction to the public. From Mr. Wise the building passed into the hands of an Englishman named Robison. This gentleman had no family. He was a warm and zealous Roman Catholic, and gave his property to that church. Gov. Reynolds calls attention to the different passions and motives which governed Tatham and Robison. He says: “I knew them well, and can testify that they possessed rather better than ordinary talents. Each was well educated. Mr. Robison was a school teacher and discharged his duties to the satisfaction of his employers. Tatham possessed too much gallantry for his landlady; that would lead any man to ruin and death if persisted in. The pure and holy passions of Mr. Robison chastened his heart, and elevated his existence into elysian fields of bliss in this life, with a well-founded hope of a seat at the right hand of God.”  Back to top

In 1815 Joseph Kerr built a log house at the corner of the public square and Illinois street, on the spot where Jacob Knoeble afterward built a brick hotel. The site is now occupied by the Belleville House. It was one of the conspicuous buildings of the place, and remained standing till 1844.

In the year 1817 Daniel Murray became a citizen of Belleville. He emigrated to this state from Baltimore. He had a large and respectable family, which made quite a valuable addition to the community. He built a house on the lot in the north-east corner of the block in which is Hickley’s mill. He was a man of sound, solid mind and exemplary morals, and made an excellent member of society. With him came his son, John Murray, who for many years was a useful and efficient citizen of the town, and who at different times held various offices of honor and responsibility.

Etienne Pensoneau, who purchased Mr. Blair’s interest in the town, was a Canadian Frenchman, and but little acquainted with the English language. He possessed some wealth, though he contributed only in a small degree to the growth. and advancement of the town. He had a small store of dry goods, some negro slaves, the mill on Richland creek, and much other property, but seemed to have not the least notion that the improvement of the city would increase his wealth. It is related that about the year 1816 an eastern clergyman named Taylor preached in the court-house, and in the course of his sermon observed, referring to a familiar portion of Scripture, that there would be two servants in a mill, one would be taken and the other left. Pensoneau was exceedingly irritable and hasty. This expression falling from the lips of an abolition preacher put him in a flame. As soon as the minister descended from the pulpit Pensoneau rushed at him with the double tree of a wagon to demolish him, believing that it was the intention of the preacher to take one of his slaves at the mill. The incident created much merriment.  Back to top

The early settlers in Belleville were principally from Virginia and other Southern States. Among the families of Southern origin who settled in the town or vicinity at an early period were those of Mitchell, West, Dennis, Gay, Cohen, Greaves, Glasgow and Heath. Most of these had large families and brought with them their negro slaves. Their right to hold these negroes in slavery was hotly contested at every term of court for four or five years, and the question was finally settled by setting the negroes free. On account of this some of the leading citizens removed to St. Louis. James Mitchell was appointed justice of the peace in 1821, and filled that office and that of postmaster for many years. John H. Dennis engaged in teaching, and for a long number of years the “youth of the city received from him their principal education. His first school was on the north-east side of the public square, and he afterward taught where Judge Snyder’s residence now is. About the year 1820 several brick houses were built. Gov. Ninian Edwards and Robert K. McLaughlin erected one fronting on Main street, before the removal of the former to Belleville. In 1820 Samuel Crane built a brick residence on High street; a carpenter named Taft built another on the spot now occupied by the new court-house, and S. Hull on High street, south of Second South street. In 1818-19 mechanics began to make their appearance and prosecute their trades. Messrs. Smith and Small carried on the blacksmith business. With Mr. Small came Conrad Bornman, the first German to settle in Belleville. He was then recently from Germany and could scarcely speak the English language. He abandoned the blacksmith trade and learned the trade of making and laying brick. By prudent industry he accumulated wealth, and his probity and honesty gave him high standing as a citizen. He was a resident of Belleville till his death, in 1878.
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In the year 1819 the town of Belleville was incorporated and Daniel Murray was its first president.

The town of Belleville in 1819 or 1820, according to the recollection of some of the old pioneer citizens still living, was composed of between twenty and twenty-five families residing within the present corporate limits of Belleville and West Belleville. Several of these families have already been mentioned. At that period the old house of George Blair on Illinois street was occupied by a store which was carried on by the firm of Glasgow, Porter and Nevin. The only other store was on the north side of the public square, where now stands the academy of music, the proprietor of which was Robert K. McLaughlin. Mr. McLaughlin was a lawyer by

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profession, and emigrated from Kentucky. From law he turned his attention to the mercantile business. After a residence of four years in Belleville he removed to Vandalia. William Mears and Alphonso C. Stuart were lawyers who settled at Belleville the same year with Mr. McLaughlin, 1816. Stuart lost his life by an unfortunate occurance to which reference is made elsewhere. Thomas Cohen, who was elected burgomaster about 1820 and who afterward removed to St. Louis and was elected mayor of that city, carried on the business of jewelry and silversmith on Illinois street, opposite Glasgow’s store. The house which he occupied as a residence and workshop is still standing on the east side of Illinois street about fifty feet north of Second South street. It was originally a log building; was then covered with clap boards by George Ripley, brother to William Ripley, whose family still lives south of Belleville; the clap boards then gave way to weather-boarding. Cohen was a man of active mind, dressed handsomely, and wore a ruffled shirt after the fashion of those days. Beside the Tannehill tavern and the Robison hotel on Main street, a third hotel was kept by Reuben Anderson, on Illinois street, in the first building north of Glasgow’s store. Beside those already mentioned, the following families lived in Belleville in 1819 and 1820: William Hook, son in law of James Tannehill, who was a millwright and carpenter by trade; Jacob Maurer, who carried on a blacksmith shop; Lewis W. Myers who came to Belleville from Bourbon county, Kentucky, and was a hatter by occupation; and his brother, Jacob Myers, who had married a sister of Robert K. McLaughlin, and who served as justice of the peace. A man named Brigham kept a grocery in the “old blue house” so called because plastered on the outside and painted blue, which stood on the site of the present Belleville House. John H. Gay and Richard Chandler were early residents of Belleville. Edmund P. Wilkinson was one of the first justices of the peace. One of the leading men in the vicinity was Mayor Washington West, who lived a mile and a quarter south of town. He was a native of Maryland, and came to Illinois in 1818 from Bottetourt county, Virginia.  Back to top

Among the celebrated characters connected with the early history of the town, was Zachariah Stephenson, who was renowned as a pugilist, and who enjoyed the reputation of fighting at the drop of a hat. Saturday was observed as a kind of holiday; the settlers gathered in from the surrounding country, and a fight was a frequent and usual Saturday entertainment. On these occasions Stephenson was in his element, and acted as master of ceremonies. He would take the crowd out doors, form a ring, act as umpire, and see that the combatants had fair play. When one of them cried “Enough,” Zach. rushed in and separated the men, and brought the fight to a close. He frequently took part in these conflicts, as principal, and on one of these occasions had a piece bit out of his ear, and he carried the mark to his dying­day. He got even, however, for he bit off the nose of his opponent, Jennings Gaskill. This fight happened at the corner of the public square, where the court-house now stands. The officers of the law never thought in those days of interfering with these proceedings. These fights originated from trivial causes, and after they were over, the participants shook hands and were good friends again, seldom harboring any ill-feeling or resentment.

James Affleck, now a resident of Belleville, has resided continuously in the town since 1820. He came to St. Clair county with his parents in the year 1817. His brother, Robert G. Affleck, was also a resident of Belleville till 1866, when he moved to Missouri. Mrs. James Mitchell, who is now living in Belleville, became a resident of the town in December, 1819. She says, at that time, there were only two houses in Belleville with a shingle roof. Her first husband, David Blackwell, was a lawyer, and represented St. Clair county in the legislature a number of terms. He was a strong anti-slavery man, and for a time published a paper at Vandalia, devoted to the anti-slavery cause. Her second husband, James Mitchell, was for a long time postmaster at Belleville.  Back to top


In February, 1819, occurred one of the most lamentable incidents in the history of Belleville-the killing of Alphonso C. Stuart, in a sham duel with Timothy Bennett. It appears that a horse belonging to Bennett was accustomed to break loose, enter the neighbors’ fields, and make havoc among the growing corn and other crops. A field of Stuart’s was a frequent object of these visits, and from this cause an ill-feeling arose between the two men. On one occasion a man in Stuart’s employment shot the horse with beans, which greatly excited Bennett’s anger. While in a furious passion, Bennett met Jacob Short and Nathan Fike, who concluded it would be sport to have Bennett challenge Stuart, and then have a sham duel fought. The preliminaries were all arranged in the old Tannehill hotel, which stood on the corner where the National Hotel now stands. All the parties to the affair understood that the rifles were to be loaded with powder only. It is said, that just before starting to the ground where the duel was to be fought, Bennett stepped into an alley and rammed a ball down his rifle. This act was witnessed by Miss Tannehill (subsequently Mrs. Rader), whose testimony afterward in the trial was of material aid in securing Bennett’s conviction. The duel was fought just south of where the City Park now is. Nathan Fike and Jacob Short acted as seconds. When all had been prepared, the principals were placed forty yards apart and told to await the signal to fire. Bennett fired before the sign was given; his aim was sure, and Stuart fell, shot through the heart, and died instantly. Stuart had not discharged his rifle. The affair was the cause of great excitement and consternation. Bennett and the two seconds, Fike and Short, were arrested. Bennett was confined in the county jail, which was built of logs. At the spring term of the circuit court all three were indicted for murder. Bennett, by means of an inch auger, bored his way out and escaped before the trial. Two years later he was recaptured; brought to Belleville, tried at a special term of the circuit court, found guilty, and was hanged on the third of September, 1821, in an old field where now stands the town of West Belleville, in the presence of an immense concourse of spectators. Short and Fike, after lying for a time in jail, were brought to trial and acquitted. The trial of Bennett was perhaps the most celebrated and exciting that ever occurred in the history of St. Clair county. John Reynolds, then chief justice, sat upon the bench; Daniel P. Cook was the prosecuting attorney, and the defence [sic] was conducted by Col. Thomas H. Benton. The duel was fought on the 8th of February, 1819.  Back to top

The following entries concerning this celebrated trial appear in the circuit court record:­

Monday, March 8th, 1819.-Members present: Hon. John Reynolds, judge; John Hay, sheriff; William A. Beard, clerk.

Members of Grand Inquest.-Benjamin Watts, foreman; Solomon Teeter, Robert Abernathy, Jacob Ogle, Jr., James Marney, William Padfield, Francis Swan[,] Robert Lemen, Henry Hutton, Joshua Oglesby, Marshal Duncan, Curtis Moore, George Prickett, Jos. Penn, William Bridges, John Leach, David Everet, Theophilus M. Nichols, John Hendricks, James Walker, Adam Castleberry, William T. Kincade, Jeremiah Hand–23 who all appeared and received their charge, and retired to consult of presentments.

Persons sworn to go before the Grand Jury.–Reuben Anderson, James Park, James Kincade, James Read, Daniel Million, Benjamin Million, Peter Sprinkle, Rachel Tannehill.

Nicholas Horner excused from serving on the traverse jury.

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The grand jurors returned from their retirement, and presented a bill of indictment against Timothy Bennett, Jacob Short, and Nathan Fike, for murder.

And thereupon, by order of the court, the clerk issued his process directed to the sheriff of the county, to bring forth the body of the said Timothy Bennett; and thereupon the sheriff returns: “The within named Timothy Ben “nett has made his escape by breaking the jail of St. Clair county, therefore” I cannot bring his body in the court as I am commanded.

“WM. A. BEARD, Sheriff of &. Clair county.” Ordered that the court adjourn sine die.


The case was called again at the next term, Tuesday, June 15, 1819, and the recognizances of James and Rachel Tannehill, witnesses, taken in the sum of $100 each for their appearance on the following day to testify.

Wednesday, June 16.–The case against Jacob Short and Nathan Fike called.

And thereupon comes as well the said defendants, to wit: Jacob Short and Nathan Fike. As the attorney-general and the said defendants say, they are not guilty in manner and form as in the indictment against them is alleged, and of this they put themselves upon the country, and the attorney-general doth the like. Therefore it is commanded that a jury of twelve good and lawful men who neither is, etc., because, etc., and the jurors of the jury of which mention is within made, being called, to wit: Isaac Clark, Eli Hart, Isaac Bairey, Daniel Phillips, Henry Stout, Patrick Johnson, David Coons, Andrew Maurer, Peter Hill, William McNeal, Brice Virgin and John Cotton, who being duly elected, tried and swore the truth of and upon the premises to speak.

Ordered that the court adjourn to tomorrow morning , 8 o’clock.

Thursday, June 17, 1819.-Trial had and the following order entered up:

Upon their oaths do say that the said defendants are not guilty in manner and form as in the said indictment against them is alleged: therefore it is considered by the court that the said defendants be acquitted and discharged of the charge aforesaid, and go thereof without a day, etc.

This acquitted Short and Fike of the charge against them. The next proceedings were had after Bennett was retaken, and are as follows :


At a special circuit court called and held at the court-house in Belleville for and within the county of St. Clair, on Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of July, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and twenty-one, were present :

The Hon. John Reynolds, justice, William A. Beard, Esq.-. sheriff, John Hay, clerk.

Names of Grand Inquest, William Glasgow, foreman; James Cohen, David Sparks, John Rider, Daniel Burkey, William L. Whiteside, James Marney, Hosea Rigg, Jacob Whiteside, Richard W. Chandler, Daniel Phillips, John Thomas, James Pulliam, Archibald Allen, Joseph Wilbanks, Henry Stout. Daniel Million, John Leach, Tilghman West, Thomas Gillham, George Harris, John Scott and John Glass, who all appeared and were sworn.

Thereupon the grand jury having received their charge from the bench, retired to consider of presentments.

The grand jury returned from their retirement and presented the following bill of indictment:


Indictment for Murder.

Thereupon it was ordered that process issue to the sheriff of St., Clair county commanding him that he have the body of Timothy Bennett, a prisoner now in the gaol [sic] of the county aforesaid under safe and secure conduct before the court here immediately to answer an indictment against him for murder. The sheriff of St. Clair county, agreeable to process to him directed commanding him to have the body of Timothy Bennett, a prisoner confined in the gaol [sic] of the county foresaid, brings into court here the said Timothy Bennett accordingly, and being demanded of him whether he is guilty of the felony aforesaid, or not guilty, says he is not guilty thereof, and for his trial puts himself upon God and his country, and the attorney general in behalf of the people of the state of Illinois likewise.

And thereupon it is ordered by the court that a jury come instanter, who neither is, etc., as well, etc, and the jurors of the jury of which mention is within made, being called, to wit: Noah Matheny, John A. Mauzy, James Simmons, Burill Hill, John Cotton–

Ordered that the court adjourn until to morrow morning, 9 o’clock.

Friday the 27th of July, 1820. Court opened according to adjournment. Present as before, James C. Work, George W. Jack, Joel R. Small, Elijah Davis, James Fox and Zachariah Stephenson, and who being duly elected, tried and sworn the truth to speak of and upon the premised, and having heard the evidence.

Ordered that the court adjourn to tomorrow morning, 7 0’clock.

Saturday, 28th July, 1821.-Court opened according to adjournment. Present as before.

The jury here returned their verdict:

Upon their oaths do say that Timothy Bennett is guilty of the felony aforesaid in manner and form as in the indictment against him is alleged, and it being demanded of him if anything for himself he had or knew to say why the court have to judgment and execution against him of and upon the premises should not proceed, he said he had nothing but what he had before said. Thereupon it is considered by the court that he be hanged by the neck until he be dead, and that the sheriff of this county do cause execution of this judgment to be done and performed upon him the said Timothy Bennett, on Monday the third day of September next, between the hours of ten in the forenoon and four in the afternoon, at or near the town of Belleville.  Back to top


For several years subsequent to 1818, Belleville was stationary in its growth. Business suffered, the population of the town received no new accessions, and many of the former residents moved away. This period of hard times affected not only Belleville, but all the settlements in Illinois, and was an incident of the financial crisis which was brought on the country by the war with England. Weeds sprouted in the streets and public square. Corn sold as low as seven cents a bushel, and good cows at five dollars. Blair, discouraged with the prospect, sold his interests in the town to Etienne Pensoneau. Pensoneau was conservative and unprogressive, and contributed little to the advancement of the town. This period of stagnation continued till about the year 1828. Pensoneau sold his property in Belleville to Gov. Ninian Edwards, then resident of Edwardsville, and from this incident more than any other, may be dated the steady and prosperous growth of Belleville. Reynolds says that no individual in Illinois was as well calculated to start a town into existence as Gov. Edwards. “He was then a private citizen, and possessed wealth and talents, and a becoming ambition to increase his fortune. He permitted no honorable occasion to escape where he could make money. He was a man of fine talents, rather on the brilliant and showy order, and was an accomplished orator, and also a classical scholar. He never abandoned his literary studies till the hour of his death. Possessing a fine library, he used his books not for show in a book case, but for the intrinsic merits of the works. He was active and enterprising in politics, and had many bitter enemies, as all great men have. The men opposed to Gov. Edward’s in politics never gave him the credit for talent and merit that he in my opinion deserved.” While still a resident of Edwardsville, he established a store in Belleville, with a fine stock of goods, James Mitchell acting as, his agent. On his removal to Belleville a year or two afterwards, he took personal charge of the store, and Mr. Mitchell opened another on his own account. Gov. Edwards put forth every effort to promote the growth of the town. To mechanics and others he offered liberal inducements by selling them building lots at merely nominal prices, and allowing them to make their own terms as to time of payment. He advertised the town far and near, and as a consequence immigration began to pour in, both from the older states and from Europe. Thomas Harrison bought an old tread-mill on High street,

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and began the manufacture of flour, prosecuting the business with a sound practical judgment, which was a great benefit both to the town and the surrounding country. Then coal was discovered, and attention drawn to the fact that Belleville possessed rare advantages for the manufacturing business. About the year 1829 the Germans began to arrive, and taking advantage of the low price at which almost everything was then held, bought mostly for cash many of the finest locations, both in the town and the surrounding country. In 1828 there were only two German families in the town; those of Jacob Maurer and Conrad Bornmann, both engaged in the blacksmith business. During the years 1832 and 1833, a large German immigration came to St. Clair county, and many enterprising, liberal and educated citizens of that nationality made Belleville their home. The following names of German citizens appear as founders of a library in July, 1836: Edward Gilgard, Fritz Wolf, Fritz Hilgard, Fr. Th. Engelmann, Sr., Theo. Hilgard, Jr., Julius Scheve, Gustavus Koerner, Anton Schott, Hermann Wolf, George Bunsen, Wilhelm Decker, Joseph Ledergerber, Adolph Reuss, Otto Hilgard, Adolph Berchelmann, and J. C. Hildenbrandt.  Back to top

Belleville became an incorporated city in 1850, and adopted the same charter as governed the city of Springfield. Theodore J. Kraft was elected the first Mayor. In 1877 the city adopted a new or ganization under the general state law, and the number of wards was increased from four to seven. The following gentlemen have filled the office of Mayor since 1850:

1850–Theodore J. Kraft.
1851–Edward Abend.
1852–J. W. Pulliam.
1853,–Joseph B. Underwood.
1854–William C. Davis.
1854–James W. Hughes, (To fill out unexpired term of William C. Davis).
1855 and 1856–James W. Hughes.
1857 and 1858–Edward Abend.
1859 and 1860–Peter Wilding.
1860–Frederick K. Pieper, (To fill out unexpired term of Peter Wilding).
1861 and 1862–Henry Goedeking.
1863 and 1864–Charles Palm.
1865–Herman Burckhardt.
1866–Joseph Kirkpatrick.
1867 and 1868–Frederich Ropiequet.
1869 and 1870–Henry Abend.
1871 and 1872–Peter Wiltling.
1873 and 1874–H. G. Webber.
1875 and 1876–Peter Wilding.
1877 and 1878–Henry A. Kircher.
1879 and 1880–Peter Wilding.
1881–Benjamin J. West, Jr.

The following are the present elective officers of the city:
Mayor–Benjamin J. West, Jr.
Clerk–James W. McCullough.
Treasurer–John Winter.
Attorney–William J. Underwood.
Aldermen.–First Ward–August Scheske, Robert Rogers.
Second Ward–F. A. Benedict, William Albrecht.
ThirdWard–F. Kretschmer, G. F. Baumann.
FourthWard–Martin Herr, Peter Stauder.
Fifth Ward–Joseph Leopold, C. Heinfelden.
SixthWard–William Wehmeier, H. R. Willmann.
SeventhWard –Henry Ehret, Samuel Strohmberg.  Back to top


Dr. Estes is said to have been the first physician who settled in Belleville. He built a residence a few hundred yards south of the public square in 1815. Reynolds says of him that he had a strong mind, but that it was not properly balanced. He was the captain of the band of regulators, organized in 1815 to protect the community from horse-thieves and other criminals. It was generally believed that they dealt out justice in a very effective and summary manner. Estes afterward removed to another locality.

Dr. Schogg was a contemporary of Dr. Estes. “He was a noxious vapor, shedding light and darkness so close to each other, that he put the whole town in an uproar. He had two shooting matches, using pistols, and their targets were their own bodies. The combat arose from the same cause wherein Troy was destroyed.”

Dr. Joseph Green, who married the widow of Alphonso C. Stuart, was a man of quiet and peaceable disposition, and for a long time practiced his profession. He was reasonable in his charges, regulating his fees by his judgment of human nature and the wealth of his patients. He was remarkably humane and kind in his treatment of the dumb creation. He would frequently get down off his horse, and lead the animal to rest him. For many years an old sorrel horse was his companion on his visits to his patients. He would ride no other. Sometimes persons would come for him in a buggy, hoping to obtain his presence quickly, but if old sorrel was not at hand he would walk. The Dr. possessed great caution, and would always dismount from his horse before crossing a bridge. A neighbor borrowed the horse one day, and in ignorance of the Dr.’s habits, endeavored to cross a bridge without dismounting. He plied spur and whip without avail. The horse would not budge. At length getting off he secured a hickory withe, and mounting again, at length succeeded in getting the horse across. The next time the worthy Dr. traveled that road he was almost startled out of his wits by the sorrel’s bolting across the bridge at a headlong gait without giving him time to get off. He had passed his early life among the Pennsylvania Germans, and he and Lewis and Jacob Myers were the first persons in Belleville who could speak the German language. He was also acquainted with the French. He was elected to the legislature in 1837. He was a warm Whig, and strong advocate of internal improvements, particularly the building of railroads. He died in 1842. He interested himself in silk culture, procured silk worm, and erected a coconery. His wife made the silk into thread on an ordinary spinning wheel, and then wove the thread into a kind of cloth.  Back to top

Dr. William G. Goforth settled in the town in 1816 or 1817, and died in 1835. He is said to have been a singular man, both in mental characteristics and physical appearance. He looked and acted like no one else. He practiced medicine successfully, though perhaps he relied as much on his natural genius and experience as on his scientific knowledge of the profession. He felt the patien)t’s pulse, examined his tongue, and as quick as thought dopted a course of treatment. Gov. Reynolds always went to him -when sick. He was very tall, with a long and slender neck. He had the reputation of being the homeliest man in all the country round. The story was current that a man of great unattractiveness of appearance once came to Belleville from an eastern state, carrying a jack-knife, which had been presented to him in consideration of being so homely a man. Meeting Dr. Goforth’s brother then temporarily residing at Belleville, and who resembled the doctor as to looks, the stranger stopped him and wanted to hand over the jack­knife, remarking that it had been given him with the direction to carry it till he could find a homelier man, and at last he thought he had succeeded.

“No,” replied Goforth,” I am not the man you wish to see. You must find my brother. “Dr. Goforth carried the knife for a long time, but finally met a man from Madison county, to whom

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it was awarded. He took to drinking: reformed and delivered addresses on the subject of temperance, but again fell a victim to his old habits. He was a reckless rider, and one day when intoxicated, was thrown from his horse just outside of town and killed.

Dr. William Heath, one of the-early physicians, was a Virginian by birth. He was a Methodist minister also, and preached at occasional intervals. He held that a physician must live, and when practice was light he charged high fees, and vice versa. He had the reputation of making long prayers and big bills. He charged the McClintock family one hundred and twenty dollars, a large sum in those day s, for his services during one season’s sickness. He moved to St. Lou is, and died at Alton.

Dr. Francis J. Crabb was one of the early practitioners of medicine. His first wife was a daughter of Edward Mitchell, and his second wife was an Ogle. A physician named Dr. Woodworth settled in Belleville soon after 1820, practiced medicine for a number of years, and then moved away.

Lewis W. Myers opened the first hat store in Belleville, Jefferson Goforth and David Miley also, each kept a hat store subsequently. Myers remained in that business for a long time; Goforth and Miley, only a short space of time. At one time the tanning of leather was carried on here quite extensively; among those engaged in the business were Richard Chandler, who had an extensive yard and the machinery necessary for tanning, on the five lots now in part owned and occupied by Mr. Heckel as a planing mill and sash factory. The tannery was afterwards carried on by different persons, among whom may be mentioned Talbott, John Eckert, Brooks, Beard, and lastly, David Swyer. The saddlery and a harness manufacturing business was also carried on somewhat extensively by John D. Hughes, afterward county judge, who employed a large force of journeymen. He supplied a large territory with saddles, bridles and harness, for everybody rode on horseback then, both male and female (carriages not having come into general use at that time). Among the journeymen who worked at that business for Mr. Hughes, was Samuel B. Chandler, and there are those now living who remember him as a most excellent mechanic. Tailoring was also an important branch of business, and Theodore Gray, a man named Spilliard, John Blackwell, Robert Hughes, a man named Lyons, and others, supplied the demand in that line.  Back to top

Large quantities of light coopers’ work were also made here in early days. Arthur Ellis filled many contracts; but he sold most to Nathan Cole, who was a heavy beef and pork packer at Illinoistown, or East St. Louis as it is now known.

Mr. Fleishbein opened up the first brewery in Belleville. Shortly afterward George Busch erected the old Anderson brewery, and the erection of others followed in rapid succession.

Cooking stoves were first brought into use here about 1834. Before then, the old chimney-corner log furnished the only convenience for cooking known to the western settlers.

In 1830 Joseph Scott erected a carding-mill at Belleville, which he operated during the winter season of each year.

A book of constitution and by-laws of the Belleville Fire Company, published in 1841, gives the roll of the officers and privates of the company. It will be seen that the list embraces the names of several prominent gentlemen, some of whom have since become distinguished citizens of the state:

William McClintock, President; John Ward, Vice-President; D. W. Hopkins, Secretary; Samuel B. Chandler, Captain; Alexander Rainey, 1st Lieutenant; Augustus Hasel, 2d Lieutenant; Joseph Sturgis, 1st Engineer; ,Tames L. Davis, 2d Engineer.

Engine Men.-William McClintock, .John Ward, D. W. Hopkins, N. Pensoneau, J. R, Nolen, T. H. Kimber, John Flanagan, A. Hildenbrandt, Joseph Meyer, Gustav P. Koerner, John A. Summerville, Alex. N. Green, Lyman Trumbull, A. T. Terrill, T; J. Burnett, J. L. D. Morrison and C. Tittmann.

Hose and Water Men.-Alexander Rainey, William C. Kinney, John Mace, Jacob Knoebel, James Affleck, R. P. Hughes, J. B. Lyons, Jos. Smith, N. B. Atherton and E. Tittmann.

Hook and Ladder Men.-Augustus Hasel, Henry Johnson, Nelson Green, C. Westermann, R. G. Affleck, Enoch Luckey, George W. Hook, Christian Kaysing, Christoph Vierheller, Geo. Eckert and Charles Knoebel.

All are now deceased except William McClintock, J. R. Nolen, Gustav P. Koerner, Lyman Trumbull, J. L. D. Morrison, James Affleck, R. G. Affleck and Christoph Vierheller.

The first engine used by the company was bought by Gustavus Koerner in the city of Baltimore, and was called the Depford, and afterward passed into the possession of the South Belleville Fire Company. It cost about one hundred and fifty dollars, and was shipped by water from Baltimore to New Orleans, and thence to St. Louis.  Back to top


In 1832 and 1833, and again in 1849, the cholera was prevalent in Belleville. The first death in Belleville from the disease occurred in 1832. The victim was a man from Washington county who had passed through Belleville on his way to St. Louis, had spent two days and nights in the city, and, returning. camped out three miles west of Belleville. He was taken with the .cholera, and was too unwell to reach town. He came to Belleville the next morning. None of the hotels or boarding houses would receive him, and he died in the court-house the succeeding night. Dr. William Mitchell was the attending physician. The deaths in 1833 exceeded those of the previous year. When anyone was taken with the disease death was considered certain. A man named Samuel Crane, a bricklayer, who had just commenced building a mill for Richard Raper [Rapier] on the present site of Hinckley’s mill, was one of those who died. His coffin was made and taken to the house in which he lay sick, before he was dead, and within one hour after his death he was buried. Another victim was Thomas Kelley. At noon he was working in the harvest field, and at night he was buried. Among others who died were an old man named John Vaughn, Mrs. Berry, and the wife of James Tannehill. The death of Gov. Ninian Edwards occurred from cholera on the twentieth of July, 1833. The town was again visited with the cholera in 1849, and in that year the deaths were numerous. More than fifty cholera victims were interred in the Belleville burying ground. After that year there were no further interments in the old graveyard, which was deeded by the Edwards family to the city of Belleville.


Belleville has nine churches belonging to the Methodist, Episcopal, Baptist, Presbyterian, German Methodist, Lutheran, Evangelical, Roman Catholic, Colored Methodist and Colored Baptist denominations. A Protestant Episcopal church was also organized in 1880, but no church building has yet been erected. The Catholics have parish schools in connection with their church, and also a young ladies’ seminary, known as the

Institute of the Immaculate Conception, which occupies a fine and spacious building. St. Agnes Orphans’ Asylum is a charitable institution under the management and control of the Roman Catholics. It occupies a building, erected in 1880 at a cost exceeding eight thousand dollars.

Six newspapers are published in Belleville, two in the German language. Both German papers issue daily and weekly numbers. The English papers are published weekly.

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The city has been fortunate in escaping serious injury from fire; a fact which may be in part attributed to the solid and substantial character of the buildings. At present there is no regularly-organized fire department. The city owns two first-class steam fire engines, each of which is placed in charge of an engineer, fireman, and three hosemen, who are paid according to actual services rendered in case of fire.  Back to top


After the Napoleonic wars, the German people, having risen to defend the thrones of their native princes, expected to live in the enjoyment of more liberal laws than were accorded to them during the last century. But the thirty-seven princes, unmindful of their sacred promises, oppressed the people more and more, until the tyranny became so great and intolerable, that the well-minded citizens began to feel the salvation of their country was possible only by a general overthrow of the existing dynasties. A conspiracy of the patriots, known under the name of the “Black League,” extended over all parts of Germany, uniting citizens of all classes, old and young. When the cry of ” Liberté, Fraternité et Egalité,” resounded from the banks of the Seine, proclaiming the second republic in France, the patriots on the right bank of the Rhine believed the time had come for them to proceed to action in the “Fatherland.” Mass meetings were held and speedily dissolved by the police, the leaders were incarcerated, and a general despotism prevailed. In the spring of 1833 several revolts broke out in the Palatinate and other parts of Germany, but proved unsuccessful; and many of the participants, to avoid imprisonment and capital punishment, were forced to flee from their native soil. At that time the first direct news of our young republic had reached the old world, and, excited by the hope of leading a more congenial life in the wildernesses of the Hudson, Ohio and Mississippi, the unhappy victims of misrule and despotism turned their backs on Europe and came to the United States. Their first intention was to form colonies in the West, but discord among the members soon led to the abandonment of these schemes. A little band of these Germans settled in St. Clair county. They were mostly men of letters, not used to wield the plow and axe, and their success as farmers was consequently but moderate. Yet they had not in vain received a classical education; their love of study and good books did not die among the daily labors of the farm, and after the first struggles for the necessities of life, they bethought themselves how they might form a collection of the books which were scattered among the several families, and how they might augment the same. Many of the settlers had upon their arrival here made it their business to study the laws and institutions under which they were to live, and the desire to own “Jared Sparks’ Life of Washington,” led to the first step toward founding the German Library of St. Clair county. One Sunday afternoon, July 17th, 1836, sixteen of the German settlers, Edward Hilgard, Fritz Wolf, Fritz Hilgard, Fr. Th. Engelmann, Sr., Theo. Hilgard, Jr., Juli us Scheve, Gustavus Koerner, Anton Schott, Hermann Wolf, George Bunsen, Wilhelm Decker, Joseph Ledergerber, Adoph Reuss, Otto Hilgard, Adolph Berchelmann, and J. C. Hildenbrandt. met at the house of Anton Schott, for the purpose of taking the necessary steps toward collecting the scattered books and founding a library. Anton Schott read a memorial setting forth his views upon the subject. He closed his remarks with the following sentence: “Thus, in the course of time a considerable library may be formed, which may, perhaps, be useful to our posterity in inciting them to scientific research, and aiding them in mental culture.” Each one of the above-named sixteen gentlemen subscribed $3.00 toward the purchase of “Life and Writings of Washington,” and this organized the St. Clair County Library Association. Anton Schott was unanimously chosen librarian, and George Bunsen and Gustavus Koerner directors. At a subsequent meeting, in the summer of the same year, a constitution was adopted, and the association received its charter by the next session of the legislature.  Back to top

At first, the number of books increased but slowly, but when the following years sent more Germans hither, the members, and consequently the means for augmenting the library, increased. The meetings were held semi-annually at the houses of the several members, and united the families of the settlement. These meetings partook more of the nature of picnics, and singing and dancing, and other social amusements, were the order of the day.

Until 1852 the library was kept at the house of Anton Schott, when it was removed to the Odd Fellows’ Hall in Belleville, and Carl Rau succeeded Mr. Schott as librarian. He in turn, was succeeded by Joseph Kircher in 1855, until, in July, 1859, steps were taken to consolidate the association with the Belleville Saengerbund, an organization founded 1855 for the culture of vocal music and sociability. The negotiation between the two associations lasted for over a year; a charter was obtained in 1860, and Anton Schott chosen president, Frederick Reiss treasurer and secretary; Gustave Kellermann librarian, and Jacob Weingaertner and Bernhard Wiek directors. In 1861 Henry Raab was chosen librarian; he still holds the office to-day.

The library, having been founded by Germans. contains the most select productions of German literature, principally works in history, geography, natural sciences and fiction; nor are the standard English works in these branches of literature wanting. The Greek and Roman classics, mostly donations of the founders, give evidence of the predilections of these men. Senators and representatives from Illinois have contributed freely to its treasures. The principal periodicals, both English and German, are kept on file, also a complete set of congressional documents graces its shelves. The library now numbers upwards of 6,000 volumes. The number of members is about 110.  Back to top


Obtained a strong foothold in Belleville in 1843, by the organization of St. Clair Lodge, No. 24, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The lodge was organized on the fourteenth day of December. John C. Theil was the first master. Archimedes Masonic Lodge, No. 377, received its charter on the eighth of October, 1863. Theodore Joerg was the first to fill the chair of worshipful master. On the fourth of October, 1867, Belleville Chapter, No. 186, of Royal Arch Masons, was instituted; the first H. P. was John N. Ryan.

The following secret societies exist in Belleville:

Masonic.-St. Clair Lodge, No. 24; Archimedes Lodge, No. 377; Belleville Chapter, No. 106, R. A. M.; Tancred Commandery, No. 50, K. T.

Independent Order of Odd Fellows.-Belleville Lodge, No. 338; Enterprise Lodge, No. 369; Pride of the West Lodge, No. 650; St. Clair Encampment, No. 92; Belleville Encampment, No. 169; (West Belleville.)

Druids.-IIlinois Grove, No.1; St. Clair Grove, No. 29. Knights of Honor.-Belleville Lodge, No. 429; Arminius Lodge, No. 582; Washngtin Lodge, No. 1180.

Knights of Pythias.-Cavalier Lodge, No. 49; Lessing Lodge, No. 71.

Independent Order of Mutual Aid.-Friendship Lodge, No.2.

Ancient Order United Workmen.-Belleville Lodge, No. 108; Gers taecker Lodge, No 138.

Royal Templars of Ternperance.-St. Clair Council],No. 41.

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Treubund-Teutonia Lodge, No.5; Ruetli Lodge, No. 21; Freundschaft Lodge, No. 35; Columbia Lodge, No. 34.

Harugari.-Hermann Lodge, No. 286; Freiligarths Lodge, No. 415.

Order of Sons of Hermann.-Standhaft Lodge, No. 22.

Belleville Working Men’s Society.

The St. Clair County Agricultural Board holds an annual fair commencing on the second Tuesday in October. The capital stock is $7,500. The grounds, which are located in the northern portion of the city of Belleville, embrace twenty acres, and are well shaded and well improved. The exhibition hall is 150 by 60 feet in dimensions, and cost $8,200. It was built during the years 1864, 1868 and 1872. Two amphitheatres, built at an expense of $3,400, adjoin the ring. This society was first organized in 1853, and was reorganized in August, 1872, under the name of the St. Clair County Agricultural and Mechanical Society. The name of the St. Clair County Agricultural Board was adopted in February, 1881. The recent annual fairs have been well attended and successful, with a particularly good display of agricultural machinery.



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THE GREEN MOUNT CEMETERY ASSOCIATION was organized July, 1873. The managers of this enterprise have succeeded in making this cemetery attractive and beautiful. The cemetery is situated two miles east of Belleville. and is accessible from the Mascoutah plank road by the Freeburg plank road, and also by the Louisville and Nashville railroad. The grounds comprise 160 acres. The officers are:



Southeast of Belleville, is owned in part by the city. The cemetery grounds are large, and nature and art have combined to render this a fit resting place for the dead. Many of the prominent men who have had their homes in Belleville are interred here. The grounds are under the care of a sexton appointed by the city.

in 1876 purchased the interests of the Belleville Street Car Company, which was organized in 1874, and has since been operating a street railway between Belleville and West Belleville. A branch also extends to the fair grounds. The officers are:


The following is a statement of the business done at the Belleville Post Office, H. A. Millitzer, Postmaster, during the year 1850:

Kind of Matter No. Packages. Weight, Lbs.
Regular newspapers mailed, 65,000 33,500
Books and miscellaneous mailed, 1,500 760
Transient newspapers mailed, 8,000 798
Unsealed circulars mailed, 5,600 82
Letters mailed, 267,900 7,300
Postal cards mailed, 65,600 438
Letters, postal cards and circulars delivered, 414,400 10,350
Drop letters delivered 14,200 148
Newspapers delivered;
—Published once a week or oftener, 112,000 14,000
—Published less than once a week 16,000 2,500
—Transient newspapers 45,000 5,425
Money Order Department.
Issued Paid
No.— Value No. — Value
Domestic money orders 2873 – $65,467 2992 – $60,200
International money orders 228 — 2219 168 — 2310

At the West Belleville Post Office, Fr. W. Beineke, Postmaster, for the year ending March 31, 1881, stamps and postal cards were sold to the amount of $651.64. Stamps and postal cards were cancelled to the amount of $577.20

Population of Belleville, United States Census of 1880.
First Ward……………………1,988
Second Ward………………..1,533
Third Ward…………………..1,642
Fourth Ward…………………1,652
Fifth Ward……………………1,551
Sixth Ward……………………1,066
Seventh Ward……………….1,535
West Belleville………………2,720

Total……………………………………………13,680 [18,687]   Back to top


The abundance of coal has been one of the main elements in the prosperity of Belleville. Coal was first discovered in High Prairie, six or seven miles south of the city, and used by Messr:. Smith, Small, and others engaged in the blacksmith business. The first coal mine was opened by William Fowler, in the year 1825. This mine was situated south of Belleville on the bluff where Richland creek strikes the highlands and makes a sharp curve to the left. The coal found a ready sale in Belleville, where it was used as fuel. Since the opening of this mine it has been ascertained that the whole southern part of the state is one vast field of coal. Anywhere in the vicinity of Belleville coal may be found by sinking a shaft. Frequently three different strata are found, one over the other, the lower the best coal, and often eighty or one hundred feet below the surface. The building of a railroad in 1837 from Pittsburg, at the foot of the bluff, to the Mississippi opposite St. Louis, was an advanced step in the development of the coal mines of St. Clair county, and with the prosperity of the coal interest the growth of Belleville has kept pace.

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Among the advantages of Belleville as a manufacturing point are cheap fuel, superior railroad facilities, close proximity to one of the best markets in the country, and a healthy location and cheap living.

The supplies of coal are inexhaustible and easy of access; south­east Missouri affords near and abundant deposits of iron; and in the rapid growth of trade, commerce and manufactures in the centre of the Mississippi valley, Belleville will doubtless secure a full share of the benefits to which she is entitled by her natural advantages.

NOTE.-The following figures in relation to the difference in cost of the manufacture of iron at Belleville and Pittsburg were prepared by Gen. W. H. Powell, and published by the Belleville Board of Trade:

The development of experiments made by the Carbondale Coal and Coke Company during the spring and summer of 1879, demonstrate that the want of coke to complete the list of all important materials for manufacturing purposes is now overcome by the supply of coke from Carbondale, which is now rapidly working its way into use. displacing the Connelsville coke. Below we give the analysis of the Connersville, Sewanee and Carbondale cokes:

Moisture — 0.55 0.90 0.67 per cent.
Volatile matter- 2.2 2.1 2.25 per cent.
Fixed carbon- 82.53 79.65 84.15 per cent.
Ash — 13.72 17.35 12.93 per cent.

Color of ash in each, reddish brown and similar.
Sulfur as separately determined–

1/12 per cent 0.682 per cent 0.8942 per cent

Demonstrating conclusively that we have a coke well adapted to blast furnace purposes, here, where we have our own coal and iron ores for all branches of iron manufacturers. A comparison as to cost of making pig iron at Pittsburgh and St. Louis, may perhaps better illustrate what advantage Belleville has as a manufacturing point than any general statement that can be made. We shall, therefore, make the comparison between Pittsburgh and Belleville, on the basis of present prices:


3,360 Lbs. of Lake Superior ore at $13 per ton, Cleveland, O[hio] – – $19.50
Freight from Cleveland to Pittsburgh per ton. – – 3.75
bushels of Connelsville coke, 7 ½c. per bushel – – 5.60
½ ton limestone – – .75
Labor and management per ton – – 2.00
Ordinary and incidental expenses – – 1.50
Repairs and interest on capital – – .75
Cost per ton $33.85


3,360 Lbs. of iron Mt. ore at Belleville $14 per ton, – – $21.00
80 bushels of Carbondale coke, 8c. per bushel – – 6.40
½ ton limestone – – .75
Labor and management, etc – – 2.00
Ordinary and incidental expenses – – 1.50
Repairs and interest on capital – – .75
Cost per ton $32.40

To the cost of producing a ton of pig iron at Pittsburgh or vicinity, add the cost of $3.00 per ton to deliver in St. Louis, and the actual cost of upper Ohio River Valley pig iron in our market is made $36.85, whilst the cost of manufacturing a ton of pig iron of unsurpassed quality, at Belleville, would be $32.40. The advantage claimed for Belleville results entirely from close proximity to the ore, the coal mines, and the coke ovens, and that of being near the market with the product.

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The Harrison Mills is the lineal descendant of one of the early milling enterprises of Belleville-the ox tread mill of Ringold and Wilkinson, which stood on High street, on ground occupied by the present residence of J. Baker. This mill was built in 1819,and in 1826 was purchased by Thomas Harrison, who adopted steam as a motive power. This steam mill, which was the first in the county, stood at First South and High streets, where the post-office now is. It was afterward removed to the present location of the Harrison mills on West Main street, in order to secure a better supply of water. The mill was burned down in the fall of 1843. It was full of wheat; there was no insurance, and the loss was the heaviest that ever occurred from fire in Belleville. The mill was rebuilt in 1844. B. F. Switzer & Co. now operate the Harrison Mills. The machinery is of the latest and best improved pattern, and the mill has done its share toward sustaining the reputation of Belleville flour. The mill is run by a Corliss engine; it has eight run of burrs, and a capacity of three hundred barrels per day. Thirty-five hands are employed. Flour is manufactured by the new patent process.

Hinckley’s Mill occupies the site of the old Rapier mill, built by Richard Rapier in 1831 and 1833. Rapier disposed of the mill in 1837 to a company composed of James Mitchell, Adam A. Snyder, Charles Sargent, D. B. Reel, and Timothy Hinckley. These gentlemen, after running the mill two or three years, sold to J. Charles Cabbanne, L. D. Cabbanne, and A.G. Ed wards, who retained possession till 1847, when the mill was sold to Russell Hinckley, who has owned and operated it ever since. The site of the mill is said to have been an old Indian camping ground. A spring, from which the water gushed in a stream the size of a man’s arm, made it peculiarly suitable for this purpose. This spring was the inducement which made George Blair choose the place for a residence in 1806. Near the mill was formerly a tan yard, in which John H. Gay, of St. Louis, was once interested. The block on which the mill stands, bounded by Second and Third South streets and Illinois and Spring streets, is the only entire block in Belleville owned by one individual. Hinckley’s mill is one of the largest manufacturing establishments in Belleville. It has nine run of buhrs. Its capacity is four hundred barrels of flour per day. The annual product is seventy-five thousand barrels.  Back to top

The Crown Mill, at the east end of Main street, occupies the place where a small steam mill was originally built by Mr. Meister. The present mill is one of the large manufacturing enterprises of Belleville. It is operated by a Corollas engine of three hundred horse power; has ten run of buhrs, seven sets of rolls, and a capacity of five hundred barrels of flour per day. The mill has a front of 135 feet on Walnut street and 50 feet on Main street, and is four stories in height. The elevator, in which sixty thousand bushels of wheat can be stored, fronts 82 feet on Main street, and is 50 feet in depth. The cooper shop is 130 by 50 feet. The mill has been rebuilt on the latest improved plan, and contains the best modern machinery. Flour is made by the new patent process, combining the buhr and roller systems. The product of the mill finds its way to every market in this country, as well as many in Europe. About fifty hands are employed. The mill is owned and operated by the Crown Mill Co., of which J. H. Imbs, of St. Louis, is president. The gentlemen who compose the company are well known for their enterprise. They were the first to take advantage of the use of the telephone in Belleville. They also own three large grain warehouses at points on the lines of the Louisville and Nashville and Cairo Short Line railroads, where wheat is purchased.

Knoebel’s Mill was erected and put in operation by Hermann Knoebel in 1872. Hermann Burckhardt was associated in the business from 1873 to 1881. The present members of the firm are Hermann and George W. Knoebel. The mill has three run of buhrs; has a regular custom trade, and grinds flour and feed. Four hands are employed, and the capacity is about thirty barrels per day. The new patent process is used in the manufacture of flour.  Back to top

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The building, on First South Street, between Jackson and Church, is 40 by 60 feet.

F. A. Reuss & Co.-The Reuss mill, in south-east Belleville, was started in 1857 by William Maguire, John H. Wilderman, and William Miller. A building was erected, forty-five by sixty feet in dimensions, which now forms the north-east part of the present mill. There were then four run of buhrs. In 1860 the mill was purchased by F. A. Reuss, then of St. Louis. The mill was enlarged in 1863 and 1867. In 1875 George H. Braun, of St. Louis, purchased the mill, and is the present owner. It now has five run of buhrs, two sets of rolls, employs sixteen hands, and can manufacture three hundred and twenty-five barrels of flour every twenty­four hours. Eighteen coopers are also employed in the cooper shop on work exclusively for the mill. The mill fronts 120 feet on South Eighth street and 80 feet on Abend street. There are two warehouses: 150 by 20 feet and 31 by 60; a cooper shop, 28 by 80 feet, and other buildings.

The Belleville Nail Company.-The nail mill occupies a prominent place among the manufacturing establishments of Belleville. In 1869 the works of the Bogy Nail Mill Company, of St. Louis, were purchased by James Waugh, removed to Belleville, and the manufacture of nails was begun by a joint-stock corporation, of which James Waugh was president, James N. Douglas, secretary, and James Waugh, James C. Waugh, W. H. Chick, Conrad Bornmann, Edward Abend, Andrew Stolberg, and Oscar Heinrich, directors. The works were operated with varied success till 1876, when, on account of financial difficulties, business was suspended, and the mill passed into the hands of the bondholder. The company was re-organized the same year, and work resumed. James Waugh is now president, James C. Waugh, secretary, and Robert F. Waugh, treasurer. The board of directors is composed of Robert F. Waugh, James C. Waugh, James Waugh, William W. Waugh, Edward Abend, and James M. Dill. The capital stock of the company when first organized was $161,000. On the re-organization, after wiping out a debt of $90,000, the capital stock was made $100,000, all paid up. The actual cost of the works is estimated at $224,000. James Waugh, the president, to whose energy is largely due the success of the enterprise, was born in Ireland, of Scotch-Irish ancestors, and in 1836 came to St. Louis, where he resided till his removal to Belleville. The works have an advantageous location, in the south-west portion of the city, on the line of the St. Louis, Alton, and Terre Haute railroad, and cover seven acres of ground. A large artificial lake furnishes an abundant supply of water. Coal is procured from mines in the immediate neighborhood. An engine of two hundred and twenty-five horse power is employed in the rolling mill, and one of one hundred and seventy-five horse power in the factory. The nail machines are fifty-seven in number, and turn out about six hundred kegs a day. All kinds of nails and spikes are made, from a nine inch spike down through many different grades to what is known to the trade as a “two penny fine.” The larger sizes are cut hot. The small nails are made from cold metal, but are afterward annealed, and thus given the peculiar blue appearance characteristic of nails cut from hot metal. Thirty or thirty-five tons of iron are used each day, and twenty-five hundred bushels of coal. The working force consists of two hundred men and boys. The nails are mostly sold in the West and South. The warehouse, a spacious brick building, has a capacity of between thirty and forty thousand kegs, and is so arranged that five cars can be loaded from it at the same time. This was the first nail mill erected in the State of Illinois. There are now two others, one at Centralia and one at Chicago.

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In 1848, two mechanics, John Cox and Cyrus Roberts, settled in Belleville and began the manufacture of a machine for threshing grain. They secured a number of patents and called their machine the Cox & Roberts Thresher. The name has since been changed to that of the Belleville Separator. In the year 1855, Theophilus Harrison, who had been in the employment of Cox & Roberts for a number of years, together with F. M. Middlecoff, a farmer and practical mechanic, purchased Mr. Cox’s interest in the business. At that date, about one hundred machines were made annually. In 1857 Mr. Roberts’ interest was purchased by William C. Buchanan. In 1878, Cyrus Thompson and Hugh W. Harrison became associated with the old members of the firm, and a joint stock company was organized under the corporate name of the Harrison Machine Works. In 1873 additional buildings were purchased and fitted up with superior facilities for the construction of steam engines. The threshing machinery, manufactured by this company, has met with a high degree of popular favor. Beside the large field afforded by the central States of the Mississippi valley, large sales have been made in Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Montana, Dakota, Colorado and Mexico. Shipments have been made to South Africa. The works, which are situated on the St. Louis, Alton and Terre Haute Railroad, occupy six acres of ground. The capital invested is $300,000. One hundred and twenty hands are constantly employed, and during busy seasons many more. Fifty thousand dollars are annually expended in wages. Seventy thousand dollars worth of raw material, principally purchased in the east and north from first hand, is worked up each year. The business has grown steadily year by year. The members of the company are all natives of St. Clair county.


Was incorporated in 1872, with a capital of $30,000. The present officers are: President, John J. Thomas; Secretary, Thomas Ibbotson; Directors, John J. Thomas, Thomas Ibbotson and John Bailey. Mr. Thomas has been president for eight years. Mr. Bailey, who superintends the mechanical part of the business, has been connected with the company for the last five years. The buildings comprise a two-story machine shop, fifty by one hundred feet; a blacksmith shop, thirty by fifty feet; and a foundry, sixty by one hundre d and fifty feet. Much of the machinery is new. The establishment has a gigantic hammer worked by steam, the only steam hammer in Belleville. Among the articles manufactured are letter-copying presses, jack screws, steam pumps, steam engines, boilers for steam heating apparatus and the Eureka and Eclipse plow attachments. Jack screws and copying presses are manufactured in large quantities and made a specialty. Iron and Brass castings are made to order. Business was begun with twenty hands, and now from seventy-five to ninety are employed. The investment in real estate and working capital represents $47,000. The yearly sales amount to $75,000, and the yearly pay roll to $25,000. $25,000 in raw material is used each year, and about $1,200 paid for coke.  Back to top

The Rogers Foundry, on Second North street, was established in September, 1878. The business started in a room thirty feet square. The moulding room is now fifty by one hundred and forty feet. Thirty-fi ve hands are employed. Drill castings, stove castings, pulley castings and hollow-ware are the principal articles manufactured, and all kinds of castings for custom work are made.

Gaylord’s Foundry, on First South street, between Richland and Race streets, was started by George Gaylord, in the summer of 1876. All kinds of mouldings and castings are made.

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The Union Machine Shop and Brass Foundry, on First South street, between Jackson and Church, is carried on by Jacob Ehret. Particular attention is paid to repairing steam engines, farming machinery and other work of a similar nature.

The West Main Street Machine Shop and Brass Foundry first began work in March, 1880. Ludwig Liebig and John Koderhandt were then partners. Koderhandt is now the sole proprietor of the establishment. Special attention is paid to the manufacture of brewery and coal mine machinery, stationary and portable engines, and iron railing. Repairs of all kinds are made as required.

Williams’ Carriage Factory.-Volney L. Williams came to Belleville in 1837 and opened a shop for the manufacture of carriages, buggies and spring wagons. This was the first establishment of that kind in Belleville. He carried on the business till 1877. His first shop was on the corner of Race and Main streets. The present factory, now under the management of H. C. Williams, occupies a building on First North street, eighty feet front and one hundred feet deep. Twelve hands are employe d. All kinds of buggies, spring wagons, barouches and phaetons are manufactured.

Heinzelman Bros., Carriage Manufacturers.-John A. Heinzelman, in 1857, purchased the interest of Pensoneau & Miller in a wagon factory, which they had established about 1850. Since the death of Mr. Heinzelman, in 1869, his sons, John and William Heinzelman, have carried on the business. The real estate and working capital of the establishment now represent $45,000. From twenty to twenty-five hands are employed, and the annual sales amount to $30,000. The main building is is brick, three stories in height. 50 by 100 feet, with an addition 40 by 50 feet. Another building is 100 by 40 feet in dimensions. Carriages and buggies of all kinds are manufactured, and a specialty is made of the Timken side bar buggy.

The Novelty Carriage Works, at the corner of Main and Race street , were put in operation in August, 1878, by Gustavus Ludwig, J. S. Beck and Joseph Stegmeyer. All kinds of top and open buggies, doctors’ phaetons and spring wagons are made. Special attention is given to repairing and painting. The members of this firm have endeavored to give public satisfaction, and have numerous patrons. From eight to fourteen men are employed.  Back to top

Schanuel Bros., Carriage Makers, began business in March, 1879, on High street, and in 1880 moved to their present location, at the corner of Richland and First South streets. The members of the firm,. Henry E. and John Schanuel, learned their trade in Belleville with Heinzelman Bros., and bore the reputation of being good workmen. They employ seven men. Top and open buggies, spring and platform wagons are manufactured. Attention is also given to repairing, painting, and all other branches of the business.


Among the well-known instiutions of Belleville is the Oil Works, at the corner of Main and Mascoutah streets, established in the year 1866, by Brosius, Geiss & Co. This was the first oil mill ever started in Belleville, and, indeed, is the only one that has ever existed in the city. Shortly after beginning business the process of manufacture was improved, and in 1867, the establishment was the only one of the kind in the West to manufacture oil by the cold­pressed process.. This process was an invention of the firm, which consequently soon obtained a reputation for making the best oil to be obtained in the western country. The improvements have since been copied by other factories. In 1868 the works were enlarged, and new additions were again made in 1875. The presses used are the invention of Jacob Brosius. The product of the works consists of cold pressed castor oil, linseed oil, hickory nut oil and pecan oil. This is the only place in the United States where pecan oil is manufactured. Since its introduction into the market by the Belleville Oil Works, it has secured a place among the finest oils for table use, and by many, is considered much superior to olive oil. The works employ ten hands. The real estate and working capital foot up to $100,000, and the annual sales reach a similar amount. The firm is now known as Brosius & Co. The establishment ships largely to eastern market , and finds ready sales for its goods. The telephone in the office of the Oil Works was the first in use in Belleville.  Back to top


In the year 1879, Jacob Brosius, whose attention had been directed to the advantages which might result from the distribution of steam for heating and power purposes from some central works, made the necessary preparations, and in Decem ber, 1879, began furnishing steam. The necessary buildings were erected at Kronthal, Mr. Brosius’ residence, in the east of Belleville, and from there pipes conduct the steam to various parts of the city. The establishment began with few customers, the number of which, however, steadily increased. During the winter of 1880-81, steam was furnished to fifty-five places in Belleville, including the court house and some of the larger buildings. The result was in every way satisfactory. During the coldest weather of an extremely cold winter an agreeable and even temperature was maintained, while the patrons of the steam works were relieved from many of the inconveniences which attend the use of coal. Steam power was also furnished to seven engines. Arrangements have been made to greatly extend the service of the works during the winter of 1881-2. Belleville was the first place in the State of Illinois to adopt this arrangement, and parties from other cities, who have inspected the operations of the works at Belleville, assert that the system in use here is the finest in existence. The pipe through the streets, usually six and eight inches in diameter, is laid in insulating boxes, made under a new invention, for which Mr. Brosius holds recent patents. By this arrangement much saving of heat is gained. The works represent an investment of $45,000. Jacob Brosius is the sole owner. Twenty acres of coal land, adjoining the works, will furnish a supply of coal sufficient for thirty years. An ample supply of water is also at hand, so that the works are prepared to furnish unlimited supplies of steam on a cheap and economical basis.  Back to top

Mr. Brosius has otherwise been interested in several enterprises of benefit to Belleville. In 1879 he placed an electric clock in the tower of his residence, with which connection is made with striking apparatus in some of the school buildings and with the bell of the Methodist Episcopal church. By this means the city is furnished with correct time. In 1872 he erected a steam pump near his residence by which a tank at the Oil Works is kept filled with water. This water is used in sprinkling the streets of the city.

The Belleville Gas Light and Coke Company was chartered in 1856, and has since been furnishing gas to the citizens of Belleville and West Belleville. The capital stock of the company is $100,000. The company has between six and seven miles of gas mains, and furnishes gas to two hundred and seventeen street lamps in Belleville and West Belleville, and to about four hundred private consumers. The officers are: President, John Eimer; Secretary and Treasurer, Edward Abend; Superintendent, Henry Maguire; Directors, John Eimer, Edward Abend, Henry Maguire, Adam Karl, Philip Schuck and H. Westermann.


Was built in the year 1848 on Richland Creek, at the corner of Mill and Race Streets, north of the business part of Belleville.

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Louis Krimmel was the originator of this enterprise. A year or two afterwards he was drowned while attempting to cross Richland Creek on horseback in time of high water. In 1850 the factory passed into the hands of John Winter and John Romeis, sen., and a short time afterward Winter purchased Romeis’ interest. Since the death of Mr. Winter in 1862, the factory, which is still owned by his estate, has been operated by various parties; from 1864-70 by Philip Rothangel and John Winter, and from 1870-4 by John Winter, and since 1874 by John and George Winter.


A mile and a half south-west of Belleville on the Centerville road the manufacture of silk goods is carried on by Frederick Murphy. The investment in real estate and working capital is $5,500. About $3,500 of raw material is used. The gross business amounts to $8,500 per annum.  Back to top


In 1853 Fidel Stoelzle started a brewery on Main Street, at the corner of Race, which has been carried on by him ever since. He started out on a small basis, but enlarged his business as necessity required. He employs twelve men and manufactures between six and seven thousand barrels annually, using between fifteen and sixteen thousand bushels of barley and malt. The sales amount to $50,000 a year. The beer finds a sale in Belleville and neighboring towns in St. Clair County. Mr. Stoelzle has been a resident of Belleville since 1850.


A brewery was started in West Belleville in 1856, which with enlargements and improvements became the extensive brewery now operated by the Western Brewery Company. In the old brewery Philip Neu and P. Gintz were interested, and in 1873 the property was purchased by an incorporated company the stock of which was owned by four men, William Brandenburger, Adam Gintz, Valentine Steg, and John Kloess. All the stock is now in the hands of Adam Gintz. Large and capacious buildings have been erected, and every facility secured for carrying on the business on a liberal and extensive scale. The capital invested reaches $100,000. Twenty thousand barrels of beer are made each year and sold in St. Clair and adjoining counties. Twenty five hands are employed. Fifty thousand bushels of malt, and thirty-six thousand pounds of hops are consumed each year.


In North Belleville was built in 1857 by Neuhoff and Bresler. It afterwards passed into the hands of Neuhoff, who associated with him Charles Loeser as partner. Loeser afterwards became sole owner. The firm of Loeser and Euckert carried on the brewery till 1868, when Hubert Hartmann became associated with Loeser. About the time of the latter’s death in 1871 he sold his interest to Bernhard Hartmann, and the Hartmann Bros. have been carrying on the brewery ever since. In 1871, at the time it passed into the hands of the present firm, about six thousand barrels of beer were manufactured annually. The business has steadily increased, and now twenty-five thousand barrels are manufactured every year; in making which 62,500 bushels of malt are used and 37,500 pounds of hops. Their ice house has a capacity of six thousands tons. The brewery is situated outside the city limits. A dam on Richland Creek, constructed at considerable expense, affords an ample supply of excellent water, and to this fact they claim is due the superior quality of their beer. The firm also have a bottling establishment on Main Street. Beside supplying a large market in Belleville and St. Clair County, considerable quantities are shipped to St. Louis and other points. Thirty-one men are employed. The amount invested in real estate and working capital is $100,000, and the annual sales amount to $200,000.  Back to top


Gustavus Heckel, who had previously been engaged in the manufacture of sash, doors, and blinds, in 1865 began the business of manufacturing church and school furniture, which he has carried on ever since. School desks of every variety, church pews, and other articles of school and church furniture, are made by him. This is the only establishment of the kind in Southern Illinois. In 1870 he undertook also the business of manufacturing sewing machine cases, and obtained a contract from the Howe Machine Company. He has since made cases for a number of sewing machine companies, among which are the New Home, Victor, Singer and Domestic. The beauty and abundance of the native woods of the West give this section of the country great ad vantage over the Atlantic border in the production of such goods as Mr. Heckel manufactures. During the next year he proposes to employ about fifty hands. The real estate and working capital of the factory represent from $20,000 to $25,000.

LOUIS VIERHELLER, at the corner of Spring and First North Streets, is engaged in the manufacture of household furniture for the retail trade.


J. B. Reutchler in 1853 began the manufacture of grain drills at Belleville under Pennock’s patent, the first patent granted for a grain drill. This was the first establishment of the kind west of the Allegheny Mountains. The first year he made five hundred drills­ The second year this number was doubled, but only a few were sold on account of the bad season. The third year three hundred were manufactured. All were sold as well as those on hand from previous years When the enterprise was first started people laughed at the idea of “sowing wheat in rows.” In 1856 Mr. Reutchler built a factory at the present location in the eastern part of the city and gave it the name of the Belleville Agricultural Works, under which it has since been known. From 1864 to 1878 the establishment was run by D. & H. Reutchler. J. B. Reutchler then again became interested, and in 1881 became the sole proprietor. The investment in real estate and working capital amounts to $120,000. About forty hands are employed. The article principally manufactured is the I. X. L. Grain Drill. Agricultural implements in general are also repaired. The inven tions and improvements made use of in the drill are covered by Mr. Reutchler’s and his brother’s patents.  Back to top


This establishment had its origin in a machine shop which was started in the latter part of the year 1855 by Geiss and Brosius. The firm first turned its attention to the manufacter of cider mills and double-movement grain drills, and carried on the business successfully till 1867, when the buisiness was sold out to Esler and Ropiequet. In 1875 the Esler and Ropiequet Manufacturing Company was organized as a stock company with a capital of $40,000. The capital now employed in the business amounts to $65,000, and the annual sales to $75,000. From forty to fifty­five men are employed. The company occupies two buildings, each of which is 150 x 35 feet. Special attention is given to the manufacture of the Sucker-State Grain Drill, and the Belleville Sulky

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Hay Rake. Cider and wine mills and presses, circular wood saws, and other miscellaneous articles are also made. The factory is at the corner of Main and Mascoutah Streets. Edward Abend is president of the company and J. J. Esler, secretary.

Philip M. Gundlach started the manufacture of Grain Drills in West Belleville in 1858. He began business on a small scale, but was soon obliged to enlarge his facilities. In 1863, he removed his works from West Belleville. They are now located north of Belleville, just outside of the city limits. He manufactures the Rotary Forced Feed Drill, among the excellent points of which he claims strong construction and light draught. The main building of his factory is built of brick, and is 160 by 80 feet in dimensions. A foundry, 80 by 60 feet, has recently been added, in which are made his castings. Mr. Gundlach has been a resident of St. Clair county since eleven years of age.  Back to top

Sewing Machines. – The Belleville Manufacturing Company was organized in April, 1879, as a stock company with a capital of $10,000, which was subsequently increased to $13,500, and afterward to $25,000, the present capital. The works are now located on Second North street, between Illinois and Spring streets. The Fairbank’s Sewing Machine is manufactured. As soon as the necessary preparations are made it is proposed to vigorously push this enterprize. The gentlemen principally interested are persons of ample business experience, and are prepared to utilize the natural advantages which Belleville has for a factory of this description.

The Keg Shops on the line of the Louisville and Nashville railroad employ between thirty-five and forty hands. About six hundred kegs, of five different sizes, are manufactured each day. Nearly the whole product of the establishment is used by the Belleville Nail Company. George W. Shipman has been superintendent of the shops for four years.

St. Clair Sash Factory.-The Sash factory of Storck & Brother was started in the year 1860 by Friedrich Storck, and is the oldest establishment of the kind in the city. Since 1870, Friedrich and George Storck have carried on the business under the present firm name. Ten hands are employed. The factory turns out doors, blinds, sash, frames, mouldings: and all kinds of wood-turning are also done.  Back to top

Charles Daehnert, carpenter and builder, is engaged in the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds. His factory is at the corner of First South and Church streets. He does a large amount of custom work in the city of Belleville and elsewhere in St. Clair county.

Deeke and Huhn, at the corner of First North and Richland streets, have been engaged in the manufacture of doors, blinds, sash, frames and mouldings, since 1878. The establishment is one of the largest of the kind in Belleville, and employs about twenty-five hands. The members of the firm are George Deeke and Christopher Huhn.

The following persons are engaged in the manufacture of cigars :
John Bur, 167 Spring Street; August Fernau, 37 West Main Street; Daniel Fischer, 142 First North Street; Charles Goerlitz, 49 High Street and 29 Second South Street; Martin Henkemeyer, 19 Public Square; Phillip Kaufmann, 27 Lebanon Road; Frederick Kaemper, 33 West Main Street; Charles Kuefelkamp [Knefelkamp], 231 East Main Street; Frank Lebknecher [Lebkuecher], 1 West Main Street; Henry Meyer, 143 Jackson Street; Henry Nagel, 240 West Main Street; J. W. Mueller, 218 Illinois Street; Charles F. Seib, 178 West Main Street; Jacob Schen, Jr., 212 East Main Street; Henry Viehmann, 120 East Main Street; Henry R. Willmann, 180 Charles Street; Nick Wilhelm, 61 Main Street, West Belleville.

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