History of Harmon Township, Il.
From: Encyclopedia of Illinois
and the History of Lee County
Edited by: Mr. A. C. Bardwell.
Munsell Publishing Company
Chicago 1904.


HARMON TOWNSHIP.

The Township of Harmon was set off from Marion by resolution of the Board of Supervisors, at its March meeting, 1867. The petition asked to have tbe town named Dayton, but the Board took the responsibility of substituting the present name. The writer has been informed, by one who ought to know, that this name was given the township in honor of Harmon Wasson, the son of Benjamin Wasson of Amboy Township.

In 1853 John D. Rosbrook, with three sons. settled at the lake, a clear body of water covering nearly forty acres on the northwest quarin the village was built by J. M. Ja ter of Section 25. There was no other dwelling nearer than eight miles The following spring the two remaining sons came. In 1854 Mrs. Robert Tuttle, a widowed sister of Mitchell Rosbrook, with her family of five children, settied in the township. During the same year came Thomas Sutton and settled with his large family one mile south of the lake. This family eventually, including nineteen children, became conspicuous in that part of the country, not only for their number but for their rugged and boisterous methods. In 1854 Mitchell Rosbrook, with his wife and five children, joined the settlement. To him is credited the founding of the first Sunday school in Harmon, it being very successfully conducted in John D. Rosbrook’s granary.

The first two elections in the township were held at the house of Mitchell Rosbrook. James McManus was elected Supervisor; Rosbrook, Town Clerk; and George Stillings, Constable. In the winter of 1856-7, Austin Balch came with his wife and two children. About this time the Brills reached the settlement, and also Patrick Grogan. The years 1856 and ‘57 witnessed large accessions. Joseph Julien, a brother of Anton and John; E. A. Balch, C. H. Seifken, Israel Perkins, James Porter, George Stillings and Charles Craby were among the early settlers. In 1855 Lewis Hullinger settled on the southwest quarter of Section 7.

In Harmon in pioneer days wild game abounded. We have it on good authority that one hunter brought down one hundred geese in a single day, and that another shot sixty six mallard ducks at one discharge, a drove of thirteen deer were chased by men on horseback past the Rosbrook place, and five were killed after pursuit of several miles. These statements seem a little incredible now, but are well authenticated. One of the early settlers ventures to say that it was not an uncommon sight to see a thousand acres covered with sandhill cranes a bird which has now almost disappeared.

In 1856 a drove of 5,000 Texas steers were driven through Harmon on their way to Chicago. The summer had been consumed on the drive. In 1857, 2,000 very large, fat hogs were also driven through the town, but headed westward.

Village of Harmon— The village of Harmon was platted, March 15, 1872, for Joel H. Wicker, Charles G. Wicker, Jonas S. Meekling and Alonzo Kinyon. The first elevator ques & Bro., and is now operated by the Neola Elevator Company. The second elevator was built by O. E. McIntyre and is now operated by the Atlas Elevator Company. The third was built, and is now operated by Frank Hettinger.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church was organized, September 20, 1862, Rev. J. Pinkney being the first pastor. The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1871, Rev. Rive being the first pastor, The Catholic church was built about 1874, and has been recently remodeled and repaired. It had no resident priest until it was made an independent parish about four years ago, under the pastorate of Father McGrath. Father Ryan was his successor and is now in charge. Prior to the establishment of the village the Wesleyan Methodists had a church building which is now used, for a town hall. In 1882 the Methodist Episcopal Society erected their present church.

Sam Boyer, now of Dixon, started the first store in the new town, and Hempstead & Van Alstine the second general store. The first school house to be built after the village was platted was located where the present one stands. This was followed by a larger frame building, which was consumed by fire in the early part of the winter of 1899. In its place was erected, in the summer of 1900, the present brick structure, which does credit to the community.

The population of the entire township was 840 in 1890, and 936 in 1900, as shown by the Government census.


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