History of Tolono, Il.
From: J. S. Lothrop's Champaign County Directory
With History of the same, and Each Township Therein
Published by: Rand, McNally & Co., Printers & Binders, Chicago 1871



Is bounded on the east by Philo, on the north by Champaign, on the west by Colfax, and on the south by Pesotum; being Town 18, Range 8 east.

The first land entered. in this town was by Philo Hall, in April, 1836, the south half of Section 27, Town 18, Range 8 east. With the exception of a small tract along the edge at the south-west corner, there are no forest trees in the town, planted by nature, and the large tract of prairie land within its limits possesses the same characteristics as the other towns of the county. It is, for the most part, best adapted to that class of farming known as mixed husbandry, and to which the attention of farmers is now mainly directed, making, it is true, in many instances, some one branch a leading feature.

The first settlers here, according to the best information we have been able to obtain, were Isaac J. Miller, and Samuel Miller, who came about 1848, and located at the head of Sadorus Grove. These men were of the right mettle for pioneers; shirking no duty, shunning no hardship, they worked through the years of solitude and discomfbrt, up to the genial smiles of a gladdened civilization, which reflects credit and honor. upon their persevering efforts and. endurance. Their farms which they have made are worthy of comparison with any in the land;

The advancement of Tolono in population was slow until 1855, when permanent settlers located there and rapidly filled up. the township, which is now very nearly all improved. The farm of Michael Lochrie is well worth visiting. Its improvements, in orchard, buildings and surroundings, are of that cosy, home-like character, which partakes largely of the Scottish views of its owner, brought with him from that land of original neatness and good taste.

Among the fine farms of the town we will name those of Phoenix Baker, David Fisher, Joseph Nelson, and John Goudy. There are many others, but, our space will not admit of further notices in this line. The first house built in Tolono village, was the Marion, House, now kept by Charles Tewksbury. Dr. Chaffee was among the first to settle here, in 1856, and one Jack Bushy built the first residence, in the spring of that year. William Redhed, the first merchant, located there in 1856, as did also, William Pierce, the first blacksmith. Charles Twyford came there in 1857; he was from Maryland, and was in the State as early as 1843. At Tolono he became theproprietor of the Leonard House, but sold in 1858 to Mr. Holms, who still owns the property, though he may be found at Homer, doing the entertaining at the hotel of that place.

At the time of which we write, and as late as 1865, the improvement in Tolono was very slow. The misfortune of that important point was in' the fact that near the depot, where all who visited here must stop, the ground was a bog, covered with a greenish, filthy water, in which pigs and geese held equal command. The business part of the town, and the dwellings, were back out of sight, and only the unsightly and disgusting spectacle we have described met the eye of the would-be citizen, so with a crash destroying his preconceived notions of the importance of this railroad junction, that he either did not stop, or took the first opportunity to get away. The citizens, however, knowing well the importance of the location, and the advantages to be gained there, have, with untiring industry and zeal, worked steadily at this improvement, with the most gratifying results. The ponds of filthy slime have disappeared, walks have been laid, streets improved, and during the last two years the town has rapidly increased in population, and added greatly to its material wealth. It now stands upon a basis which, if properly managed, as it doubtless will be, must urge it forward upon the high road of prosperity to an enviable position among the prairie villages of the State; a village now, but not long. The grain buying and shipping business there has become immense, as its market is the best in the county.

Of dry goods stores, and all the various branches of industry, the representation here has few superiors in the State, while energy and a restless activity are the leading characteristics of its business men. There are many fine residences which would compare favorably with those of more pretentious places. They have four church buildings., the Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist and Catholic, all fine buildings. The warehouses and mills have no superiors in the county. The village, is located at the junction of the Illinois Central, and Toledo, Wabash & Western Railroads, giving to its citizens superior advantages, and to farmers and shippers the best markets the country affords.

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