History of Virden Township, Macoupin County, Il
From: History of Macoupin County Illinois
Hon. Charles A. Walker, Supervising Editor
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Virden township lies in the extreme northeastern corner of the county and is bounded on the north by Sangamon
county, on the east by Montgomery county, on the south by Girard township, and on the west by North Otter township.
The land is mostly prairie. As the years have passed the farms have been well improved and highly cultivated, being
settled by a thrifty and energetic class of farmers. The land is afforded good drainage by Sugar and Brush creeks.
The town of Virden was named in honor of John Virden, who for some years was proprietor of a hotel and kept
a popular stage stand two miles south of the village. The town was laid out in 1852 by Messrs. Heaton, Dubois,
Chesnut, Hickox and Keiting, and the first lots were sold in October of that year. It was surveyed by John L. Morrell.
In 1870 the village voted 30,000 for the building of the Jacksonville & Southeastern railway. It was finished
about the close of 1871 and was thirty one miles long. J. W. Lathrop was appointed the first station agent. The
first freight received was January 25, 1872. It was two rolls of leather from Jacksonville and consigned to Battise
& Gently, of Carlinville. The first freight shipped was a carload of coal from the Virden Coal Company and
consigned to J. I. Cochran, of Jacksonville, on the 10th of January, 1872.
AS THE YEARS HAVE PASSED.
In 1890 the census gave Virden a population of 1,160. Today it has, by the United States census an even 4,000, and is still growing. not only in the number of its citizens, but in a business way. Virden is a first class little city and its mining interests made for it one of the principal coal centers of the county. Its mercantile houses compare very favorably with places of more consequence and the buildings, which surround the public square, are, many of them, new and attractive in appearance. In 1910 Jackson street, considered the main thoroughfare of the city, was paved with brick from Dye street to Madison. Within the past seven years about twenty miles of cement sidewalks have been laid and a project is now on foot by the citizens for the building of waterworks. For some years an electric light plant has been in operation, built by corporate interests, and it is one of the most complete establishments in this section of the state.
NEW CITY HALL.
In 1910, a substantial and attractive city hall was built on the east side of the public square, at a cost of
4,000. Here are the council chambers, city officials' offices and room for the volunteer fire department, the paraphernalia
of which consists of a Watrous fire engine, costing $1,400, and purchased in 1909. Hose carts and sufficient hose
complete the outfit.
About 1866 this bank was organized by Chesnut & Dubois, bankers of Carlinville, and the firm was composed of C. P. Heaton, A. McKim Dubois and John R. Chesnut. The concern then passed into the hands of Frank Heaton, a son of C. P. Heaton, and C. M. Walworth, the latter now connected with the First National Bank of Chicago. Later Benjamin F. Caldwell, Edward Keys and ____ Lewis. of Springfield, and J. P. Henderson and George J. Pattison, of Virden, bought the concern and run it as a private bank for about six years, when the Springfield interests were purchased by Henderson and Pattison and the banking firm took the name of Henderson, Pattison & Company, the company being George H. Hill. This condition obtained until about 1900, when Mr. Mattison died and soon thereafter the State Bank was organized by J. P. Henderson. Henry Kahle, George H. Hill, John Gelder, and others. Capitalization, $50,000. Officials: J. P. Henderson. president; John Gelder and Howard T. Wilson, vice presidents; T. W. Everts. cashier; Harry G. Hill, assistant. The last statement of the bank issued in June, 1911, showed total resources of $352,000; deposits, $300,000.
THE FARMERS AND MERCHANTS STATE BANK.
In 1893 the Farmers & Merchants Bank was established by O. R. Rohrer and others, which eventually, about three years ago, was sold to C. D. Brown & Company. Most, if not all of this time, O. R. Rohrer was the cashier. In the winter of 1910 Mr. Brown died and on December 19, 1910, the bank received its charter as a state bank and assumed the title of the Farmers & Merchants State Bank. It was capitalized at $352,000. B. R. Hieronymus. president; O. R. Rohrer, cashier.