History of Oneco Township, Stephenson County, Il
From: History of Stephenson County, Illinois
A record of its settlement, oragnization
and three quarters of a century of progress
By: Addison L. Fulwider, A. M.
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago, 1910


Oneco township, in the north central portion of Stephenson county, next to the Wisconsin state line, comprises an oblong section of land containing about twenty seven square miles. The land is fertile and contains not only a large area of farm lands, but a very considerable acreage of timbered lands. Richland Creek, coursing through the central portion of the township from north to south, affords water power for a mill at Orangeville, and Honey Creek, which flows through the village of Oneco, in the north central part of the township, formerly turned the wheels of a mill at that settlement.

Oneco township was settled very early - at least two years before most of the townships of Stephenson county. The first settler, according to tradition, was one Simon Davis, who arrived in 1833, and settled in this portion of the section known as "Brewster Precinct." He took up his claim very near to the site of the future village of Oneco, and was soon followed by Andrew Clarno, who established himself on the banks of Honey Creek. John M. Curtis was another corner of the same year, and he, too, settled in the vicinity of Oneco. Both Davis and Clarno had passed through the region sometime before, and had gone on their respective routes north and west to the lead mines in Galena and Southern Wisconsin. Then, for some unknown reason, whether it was because they were unsuccessful in their ventures, or tired of the mining life and desired to follow the pursuit of agriculture, both of them returned and staked out their claims in Stephenson county.

No settlers came after them for two years as far as can be ascertained at the present time. In 1835, the first representatives of the Van Matre family, who subsequently settled in the vicinity of Winslow, arrived in the persons of Lewis and Jefferson Van Matre. Lewis Van Matre had also passed through the county some time previous on his way to the lead mines, and he too had developed a distaste for mining, and returned to take up farming. His brother, Jefferson Van Matre, came from Ohio the same year. Three other brothers followed them within the next four years: Morgan Van Matre, in 1836, and William and Joseph Van Matre, in 1839.

In 1836, the population of Oneco township was considerably augmented. A large migration to different parts of the county occurred in that year, and Oneco did not fail to receive her full quota of new settlers. Nearly all of them settled round about Oneco village: Duke Chilton, Lorin Remay, Fred Remay, Ralph Hildebrand, M. Lott, Jonas Strohm, and a number of others whose names are now forgotten.

The years 1837-1838 witnessed an even larger immigration. A great number of new settlers, whose children are, in many cases, still identified with the township, arrived. There were James Young, Philip Wells, Warner Wells, all of whom established their farms at the head of the region known as Long Hollow; James Howe, Henry Howe, George Howe, Henry Johnson, who settled in the northeast corner of the township, near the state line, Oliver Brewster, John R. Brewster, Ezra Gillett, who afterward erected the Buena Vista Whitehall Mills, Joab Mortion, who settled in the eastern part of the township, Isaac Klecker, whose claim was just east of the village of Oneco, James Turnbull, who later moved to Winslow Township, "Father" Ballinger, whose son Asa was famous as one of the earliest circuit preachers of the Illinois conference, and others.

In 1838, a tragedy occurred, one of the few recorded in the annals of Oneco Township. Mr. Lott, who had come to the region with his family in 1836, committed suicide. This was the first death known to have taken place in the township, but he was not buried near the place where the deed was committed. As his final resting place is unknown and forgotten, there are some old settlers who discredit the story. As none of them were contemporaries of the traditional Mr. Lott, it is quite impossible to render any decision as to the merits of the tale. Certain it is that the oldest grave in the township is that of William Van Matre's daughter, in Mount Pleasant cemetery, which bears the date 1840.

In 1839 the roll of newcomers included Lewis Gibler, who came from Ohio to Oneco Township, and settled in section 18, the two Van Mature brothers before mentioned, Jacob Stroder, and others. William Van Matre settled in the western portion of the township, near Winslow. Later he moved to Rock Grove, and from there to Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

In 1840 a number of old settlers who have left numerous descendents came to Oneco, among them Michael Bolender, Isaacs Miller, Lyman Hulburt, William Hulburt, Nelson Hulburt, John Clarno, Joseph Norns and Seth Shockley. The first marriage is said to have taken place in Oneco in this year. The contracting parties were Henry Rybolt and Lizzie McNear, and the ceremony was performed at the residence of Joseph Van Matre, by Squire Gibler. In the same year occurred the death of William Van Matre's daughter, who, as before mentioned, was the first to die and he burned within the confines of Oneco Township. Of the births in the township, there is no record, nor is there any way of finding out who was the first white child to be born in this section.

There were many drawbacks to the joys of living for the early settlers of Oneco Township. Indians were numerous, and snakes were even more so. We, of the present day and generation, who hardly ever think of either of these pests, can scarcely realize how great and manifest was the danger from both to the pioneer settlers in Stephenson county. The Indians did not make their presence known by war whoops or demoniacal yells at this stage of history. They were past that, but they made themselves quite as obnoxious to the settlers in a more subtle manner. For instance, they did not "appreciate the difference between thine and mine," and, what was worse, they did their stealing in the small hours of the night, when there was no opportunity of redress for the white man. But whenever a stray Indian was discovered in the act of helping himself to what was not his own, his punishment was swift and terrible. The occasional sights of their unfortunate comrades dangling from the burdened limbs of trees along the road served to dampen the ardor of the poor Winnebagoes and Pottawattomies, and the struggle with them was short lived. With the snakes it was a different matter. Even more subtle than the Indians, they were doubly venomous, and a dozen or more deaths are on record which were caused by the bite of the rattlesnake, or "racer," the massasauga, or the deadly moccasin. They lurked in the tall grass by the side of the roads and rivers, and in among the grain, and more than one unfortunate stepped upon their shining scales and straightway felt their sharp fangs buried in his flesh.

A story is told of a lad who was fishing with his father, on the banks of one of the small creeks. The country was totally virgin thereabout, and the tall weeds and underbrush round about the river banks furnished most excellent hiding places for the rattlers. As the boy, who had been sitting on the bank with his pole, got up to go to his father, who sat a short distance away he suddenly, as he supposed, stubbed his toe on a stone and uttered a sharp cry of pain. His father hurried to his assistance and immediately discovered that he had been bitten by a "racer." The poor man, frantic and cold with fear, had not the slightest idea what remedies to apply, and carried the boy home for the application of restoratives. But he was too late. The poison had all the while been coursing through his system and he died at sunset.

In spite of the dangers from Indians, snakes, and horse thieves, Oneco Township enjoyed a rapid growth and prosperity after the year 1840. After the filling up of the land, Oneco village was settled, and later Orangeville, first known as Bowersville. In 1888 the railroad came through, and since that time the township has been quite accessible to Freeport and the outside world.

Orangeville, the third settlement in size in Stephenson County, is located in the southern part of Oneco Township, on the banks of Richland Creek, whose current turns its one and only mill. It is situated on the Madison branch of the Illinois Central Railroad, about fifteen miles north of Freeport by railroad and fourteen by road.

The first settler on the site of Orangeville was John M. Curtis, who took up a claim on the spot where Orangeville now stands, and there located his farm. In 1845 John Bowers, to whom is due the credit of founding the village of Orangeville, came to Stephenson County. He first settled at Walnut Grove, in Rock Grove Township, where he remained for about a year. Then, seeking a more desirable place of habitation, he came a few miles west, and possessed himself of three hundred and twenty acres of land in Oneco Township, on the banks of Richland Creek. On this three hundred and twenty acres of ground a log cabin, and saw and grist mills had already been built and Mr. Bowers began to operate the mills soon after his arrival. A year's residence on his new farm firmly convinced Mr. Bowers that the site was suitable for the founding of a village. Although it was as late as 1845, the land about Orangeville had not been improved in the least, and the section was almost as wild as the region about Oneco had been, before its fastnesses resounded to the blows of the pioneer's axe. But, with the help of Marcus Monteius, who surveyed and platted fifteen acres of the village site, Mr. Bowers pushed boldly forth upon his venture.

In 1845 the first brick house, a structure on High street, long occupied by the postoffice, was built. In the same year Charles Moore built a residence, George Hoffman a store, John Bowers a blacksmith shop, which was afterward occupied by Benjamin Hallman, and a number of farmers their residences. The old mills which had been built by John M. Curtis were still standing, but John Bowers began to improve the mill buildings in that year. The work of improvement and reconstruction was most arduous, and the greater part of the Manual labor was done by Mr. Bowers himself. It was impossible to get suitable shingles and lumber in the regions about Orangeville, and Mr. Bowers, acting as driver, hauled the material from Chicago in his own wagon. By the next year, 1850, the mill was completed at a total cost of $8,000.

The appearance of Orangeville, or Bowersville, as it was then known, wads very promising, and speculators and purchasers thronged to the place where they bought up large quantities of land. The first lot in the village is said to have been sold to Daniel Duck, who paid ten dollars for it. Another early settler was William Herbert. The village offered numerous advantages to settlers. It was about the right distance from Freeport, the lots were exceedingly cheap, the water facilities were good, and the village seemed to be on the point of a flourishing growth. A large number of settlers came within the first ten or fifteen years, and business has never since been at a complete standstill.

The war in 1861, instead of disastrously affecting the growth of the little community, only served to increase the business done by the merchants. It was truly surprising how little effect the great national conflict seemed to have on Orangeville business, when the other villages of the county, such as Davis and Dakota, were nearly prostrated, and never fully recovered from the effects.

During the progress of the war, no surprising developments took place, and business suffered somewhat of a setback. Scarcely had the peace of Appomattox Courthouse been concluded, when the development of Orangeville began again with renewed vigor. In 1867, the settlement was incorporated as a village. That year the first village elections were held with the following results:

President of board, Charles Moore; associates, William Wagenhals, George Erb, W. A. St. John, Jacob Kurtz; village clerk, W. A. St. John; village treasurer, W. Wagenhals.

In the year 1888 the Madison branch of the Illinois Central Railroad built its tracks through Orangeville and the village at once became a place of great importance. Numerous brick stores and office buildings were built on the main street, known as High street, and the community became a prosperous, thrifty little town. And so it remains. There will never be any great additional development in Orangeville, for the time for that is past. If Orangeville was ever to be a city, it must have become one long ago, and it never reached that status. However, its existence as a thriving village is quite assured. Orangeville has always contained a decided preponderance of the German element among its citizens, and the thrift and financial prowess of a German community is well known throughout the United States.

Orangeville contains two banks, four churches, a large number of lodges and fraternal organizations, one newspaper, and a number of commercial enterprises, including the Orangeville mills.

The People's State Bank. This is the oldest bank in the village. It is housed in the finest and newest building on High street, a brick structure, two stories in height, with provisions for office suits on the second story, and the offices of the bank on the first floor.

The institution is capitalized at $25,000, and the following are officers: President, D. A. Schoch; vice president, C. A. Bolender; cashier, George S. Wagner; directors, D. A. Schoch, C. A. Bolender, George S. Wagner.

Orangeville State Bank. The offices of the new state bank are located on High street at the lower end of the thoroughfare near the railway station. The building in which the bank is housed is a new one and the offices are most elegantly appointed in every respect.

The Orangeville State Bank was founded February 1, 1909, by a stock company of farmers living in Orangeville and the surrounding country. It is capitalized at $25,000, and has deposits amounting to over $60,000. The officers are: President, B. D. Yarger; vice president, Christ Wohiford; cashier, E. M. Reeser; directors, B. D. Yarger, Christ Wohiford, C. L. Seidel, Ivan E. Rote, A. H. Hale, Samuel Boals, William F. Neuschwander, M. G. Wirsing, and W. M. Hartman.

Churches. There are five churches in Orangeville, two of which, namely the Lutheran and Reformed churches, occupy the same church edifice.

Reformed Church. The Reformed church of Orangeville is very old in point of time, having been organized May 3, 1851, by Henry Halliston, with twenty four members, of whom Henry Ault was elder, and John Bowers and Michael Bolender deacons. For a short time meetings were held about in the private residence of the members. Then, at a meeting held the same year, it was decided to join forces with the Lutherans in the erection of a church edifice. Daniel Rean, John Bowers, and John Wohiford were appointed to serve on the building committee. Plans were immediately formulated for the church building, and in September, 1852, the cornerstone was laid by the Revs. G. J. Donmeyer, Daniel Kroh, and George Weber. On September 23, 1855, as much as three years later, the church was finished and dedicated. The church cost $1,900, is a brick structure, with a wooden spire, and has a seating capacity of two hundred. A year ago it was redecorated at a considerable cost and now presents a highly creditable appearance. A number of ministers were present at the dedication services, including the Revs. G. J. Donmeyer, Daniel Kroh, F. C. Bowman, Arastus Kent, J. P. Decker, and the Rev. John Hoyman, the first pastor of the church.

The present membership is eighty five, with a Sunday school of seventy five. The value of the church building is about $2,000, and that of the parsonage, which was bought some time ago, $1,800. The Rev. W. D. Marburger is in charge, having come to Orangeville from Dakota about a year ago. The Orangeville church numbers among its communicants Mrs. A. J. Beam, a member of the Ebel family, who has been the first missionary from these districts to China. She departed for the east about seven years ago, and has only recently returned to Orangeville.

Lutheran Church. The Lutheran congregation was organized in 1847 under the auspices of the Rev. G. J. Domneyer, with a very small membership. Services were at first held in a log schoolhouse in the Ault farm in Buckeye Township. Rev G J Donmeyer took charge for a number of years, working in company with the Rev. Ephraim Miller, of Cedarville. The services were occasionally held in the schoolhouse, sometimes in the mill, but more often in private residences.

In 1851 the Lutheran congregation combined with the Reformed church in an effort to build a church, a brick structure, costing $1,900, the same which is mentioned above in connection with the Reformed church. Since the pastorship of Rev. G. J. Donmeyer, a large number of ministers have occupied the pulpit of the church, which has since come to be known as "Salem Congregation of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church."

The present incumbent is the Rev. M. Colber, who has been here four years. He came to Stephenson County from Middletown, Indiana, in November, 1906, and is a Pennsylvanian by birth. The Orangeville church is on a circuit with the Bellevue church near Buckeye Center. The membership is sixty, with a Sunday school of seventy five, while the Bellevue church has a membership of forty five, and a Sunday school of seventy. The Lutheran congregation of Orangeville possesses a parsonage which was built fifteen years ago, and is valued at $2,000.

United Brethren Association. The United Brethren church is the oldest in Oneco. It was established as early as 1844. At first services were held in schoolhouses, private residences, etc. In 1856 the present Orangeville circuit was organized, and in 1857 the Orangeville church was built. It is a brick structure which cost $2,000. Other churches have since been built in the circuit which is very large, and includes McConnell, Winslow, Oneco, St. James and Orangeville.

Rev. W. G. Metzker is the minister in charge. He has been in Orangeville about a year, having come from Good Hope, Illinois (MacDonough County) in October, 1909. The Orangeville congregation numbers fifty five members, with a Sunday school approximating fifty. The church is valued at $2,590 and the parsonage, which is a handsome residence, is valued at $3,000.

Methodist Church. Three churches are included in the Orangeville charge of the M. E. church, vix., the Orangeville church, the Red Oak church, and the Pleasant Hill church.

The Methodists have held services in Oneco Township for over half a century, but it was not until October 15, 1875, that the sect first saw fit to organize into a congregation and hold worship at stated times. On that memorable date, Benjamin and Mrs. Bowers, Mrs. Susan Bennett, Mrs. Sarah Heckman, Mrs. B. J. Parriott, Mrs. J. H. Cook, Mr. and Mrs. William Frederick, and Mr. and Mrs. William Holloway decided to form the congregation and thus became the charter members of the church. Rev. F. B. Hardin became the first pastor, and services were held in the Reformed church. After a while the Masonic hall was secured as a place of worship and services were held there for a long time. The church building now in use was built about twenty five years ago. It is valued at $2,000, and the parsonage, a rather old structure, at $1,200. The church contemplates building a new church edifice, and it is probable that this step will be taken some time soon. Recently the church was refitted inside and out at a cost of $700, but there is great need for an entirely new building.

The Rev. W. M. Kaufmann is in charge of the Orangeville church. He came to Orangeville a year ago in November, 1909, and preaches also in the Red Oak and Pleasant Hill churches. The membership at Orangeville is sixty, with a Sunday school of about equals proportions, while that at Pleasant Hill is forty, with a Sunday school of sixty.

United Evangelical Church. Hope church, of the United Evangelical Society, is a part of the charge which includes Orangeville, Stayers, and Fairfield. It was formerly a church of the Evangelical Association, and was built about thirty years ago, to be purchased from that society when the break in the Illinois Conference occurred.

Services of the Evangelical faith were long held in Orangeville, but not until 1870 was Orangeville circuit made a separate charge. In 1880 the present church edifice was built and dedicated on January 18, of that year. It is a very commodious and well appointed frame church, thirty six by fifty two, with a steeple eighty seven feet high, and an auditorium which will hold two hundred persons. The interior decorations and particularly have been frequently renewed and improved. Among the appurtenances is an organ, one of the finest in the rural sections of the county. The church originally cost the congregation $2,500 and was repurchased from the Evangelical Association in 1894 for $2,000.

The parsonage was put up a number of years ago and is valued at $3,000. Two years ago a fine new barn was added to the parsonage, and the house itself was remodelled and redecorated.

Rev. A. W. Smith occupies the pulpit of the three churches at the present time. He came from Manhattan, Illinois, April, 1909, and has been in Orangeville nearly two years. The Orangeville congregation numbers seventy five, while the Stayers' membership is about one hundred and fifty and the Fairfield again about seventy five. The Sunday schools of the three churches are large in proportion to the membership.

Lodges. There are a number of lodges in Orangeville, few of which deserve special mention. The most important are the Masons, the Odd Fellows, the Mystic Workers, the American Stars of Equity, the Yeomen of America. and the two Ladies' Auxiliaries of the Mason and Odd Fellow organizations; viz., the Easter Star and Rebekah.

Orangeville Lodge, No. 687, A. F. & A. M. The Orangeville lodge of the Masons was chartered October 1, 1872, although the lodge had been working under a dispensation for a long time previous to that date. The pioneer Masons whose names appeared on the charter of the Orangeville lodge were: B. H. Bradshaw, David Jones, James Musser, Benjamin Musser, Charles Musser, I. G. Ermhold, J. K. Bloom, H. W. Bolender, P. Sheckler, William Potts, and D. A. Schoch. The original; officers at the time of the securing of the charter were. B. H. Bradshaw, W. M., David Jones, S. W., and James Musser, J. W.

In 1876 the Masonic lodge erected a handsome hall on High street for the lodge home. It is a two story structure, with a basement also in use. The latter contains a banquet room, with kitchen and stoves. The first floor is a hall for entertainments, dectures, and social gatherings. The second story contains the lodge room of the various societies which meet in the hall. Nearly all of the Orangeville secret organizations use this hall, and it is in great demand by church societies, etc., on festive occasions.

The present condition of the lodge is most satisfactory. The membership is large, with every prospect for increase. The officers in charge are: W. M., M. W. Gouse, secretary, J. I. Cadwell.

J. R. Scroggs Lodge No. 133, I. O. O. F. The Odd Fellows lodge is the the oldest organization of the kind in Orangeville. It was organized October 13, 1868, a charter issued to A. A. Krape, Thomas Spriggs, Henry Dinges, J. K. Bloom, J. J. Moore, and William Sandoe. The officers were: Noble Grand, A. A. Krape; vice grand, J. K. Bloom, and secretary, William Sandoe.

The lodge has always been most prosperous. Meetings are held weekly in the Masonic hall, on High street, where the lodge has always met. The society has a present membership of eighty persons, with the following officers now in charge: Noble Grand, J. C. Schadle; secretary, Cyrus Snyder.

American Stars of Equity. The Stars of Equity were organized in Orangeville five or six years ago. The membership is large, and the officers are: George S. Wagner, president; H. U. Hartzell, secretary.

The Yeomen of America. The Yeomen were organized at the same time. The officers are: James Chilton, president; George S. Wagner, secretary. Meetings are held in the Masonic hall.

Eastern Star. The Eastern Star was founded six years ago. The officers are: W. M., Mrs. W. G. Snyder; secretary, Miss Carrie Cadwell.

Rebekah:. The Rebekahs also have had a lodge in Orangeville for about ten years. The membership is somewhat fluctuating, with a present roll of about fifty. Mrs. Harry Snyder is noble grand.

Schools. Orangeville has always had very excellent schools, but it has recently placed itself in the front rank of the villages of the county outside of Freeport by the founding of its new high school. The first village schoolhouse was built before 1850, and stood on the site now occupied by the Lutheran and Reformed church. In 1860, the school was first graded. In 1874 the new building was completed at a cost of $6,000. It has since continued to be in commission, but the prospects just at present are extremely bright for the building of a new school. The quarters are very cramped for the high school, and more room is imperatively required.

The Orangeville High school was founded in 1909 by the Rev. W. D. Marburger, of the Reformed church. It offered a one year's course last year, will offer a two years' course next year, etc., until the full four years' course is filled out. The enrollment of the Orangeville school for the past year, including grades and high school, was one hundred and fifteen. Rev. W. D. Marburger, is principal, and he, together with Miss Rutter, of Freeport conduct the high school department.

Orangeville Mills. The first mills ever built in Orangeville were put up by John M. Curtis the pioneer settler at Orangeville. He built a very primitive dam on Richland Creek in the year 1838, and erected a mill which remained in commission until his death between 1840 and 1850. At that time John Bowers purchased the property and conducted the mills for a while. In 1850, when Orangeville had been platted and had begun to be a village of some consequence, Mr. Bowers tore down the Curtis Mills, and built a new building, at a cost of $8,000. The present building is a frame structure, 40x60, three and a half stories high, with a capacity of two hundred bushels of wheat daily.

In 1857 operation at the Mills was suspended for two years. In 1859 they came into the hands of Hefty, Legner, & Company, who ran them for seven years. In 1865, they were sold to E. T. Moore & Company. The Moore family transacted the business of the mill for many years, and finally shut down some time in the eighties. For intervals thereafter the mill was idle, and continues to be so for short periods. It is at present conducted by C. W. Bennett. The grist mill alone is utilized, and corn, barley, and rye flour are ground.

Recently a. new mill has been erected in the east end of town by E. Timm. It is run by steam power, and is used as a grist mill, saw mill, and planing mill.

Orangeville Creamery. The Creamery is very old, but has of late diminished in importance, owing to the monopoly of the creamery business by the trusts. The building, which was, in its day, one of the largest and most complete establishments in the west, was put up in January 13, 1879 by D. A. Schoch and H. W. Bolender. The capacity of the plant was about one thousand four hundred pounds of butter daily, thus using six thousand pounds of cream every twenty four hours.

The original proprietors have long since given up the business and it is carried on by a Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association. Improvements and changes have been made in the buildings, increasing the daily output of the factory.

Orangeville Band. The Orangeville Band, a very creditable institution for a village of the size of Orangeville, was organized in March, 1909, by Stuart Bolender. It is a brass band, of eighteen instruments. The band has played about at various county fairs in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, and in Freeport. They expect to play this fall at the County Fair of Green County, at Monroe.

Orangeville Orchestra. Stuart Bolender is also responsible for the organization and existence of the Orangeville Orchestra, which consists of five musicians, all of them relatives of the founder, and bearing his name. It discourses sweet strains at dances in Orangeville, and upon all occasions where the services of such a musical organization are desirable.

The Orangeville Courier. The Orangeville Courier was established in 1882 by William H. McCall, who later removed to Freeport. where he is now connected with the Journal Printing Company. Mr. McCall conducted the business for a number of years, and succeeded in working up a large and growing subscription. But he felt that the business of running a country newspaper was not altogether a path of roses, and left the village to accept a more lucrative position in the city.

On leaving Orangeville, he disposed of his business to L. I. Hutchins, a brother of Dr. I. N. Hutchins, who is at present practising medicine in Orangeville. Mr. Hutchins ran the "Courier" for two years and. then sold it to Joseph Upp. Mr. Hutchins is now engaged in the printing business in Monmouth, Illinois.

Joseph Upp remained proprietor for only six months and then disposed of the business to H. U. Hartzell, who was employed at the office at that time. This was in 1890, and on August 16 of that year, the transfer of the business was made, Mr. Hartzell becoming sole owner. He has conducted the business ever since with unbroken success.

While the career of a country newspaper in a village of the size of Orangeville is apt to be beset with all sorts of trials and tribulations, the lot of the Orangeville Courier has been more successful than the majority. While Editor Hartzell has not made a mint of money, he has conducted a paying business as is very evident from the fact that he has remained in it for these twenty years. The Courier has a large subscription, something less than a thousand, among the farmers of the country surrounding Orangeville in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. The paper is a six column quarto published every Saturday.

S. D. Confer Medical Company. The Confer Medical Company was organized in 1893 by S. D. Confer. It is doing a good business, and handles liniments, cough syrups, patent medicines, tablets, extracts, spices, toilet articles, stock remedies, etc. The officers are: President, W. S. Confer; secretary, W. D. Confer.

The business section of Orangeville presents a trim and lively appearance these days. A number of new buildings have lately gone up, and the street is now lined with a row of substantial and well appointed brick edifices. There are a large number of stores doing all sorts of businesses, and catering to various trades. The condition of the village is most gratifying. It is about third in size in the county, and has a steady population of about one thousand inhabitants.


The oldest village in Oneco Township, and one of the oldest in the county, is Oneco, settled as early as 1840. It is situated in the north central portion of the township, northwest of the village of Orangeville, and consists of a church, a school, and a store, surrounded by a handful of houses.

Oneco was located on the old stage road to Galena and the lead mines of southern Wisconsin, and when it was laid out and platted, there were lively hopes on the part of its promulgators that it might become the most important city of the county. Henry Corwith, acting on behalf of J. K. Brewster, took a claim of a quarter section of land, surveyed it and platted it for a town. Later all but fifteen acres of the town site was bought and occupied as a farm. These fifteen acres were twice added to by Alonzo Denio, and the original fifteen acre plat with the two additions of Denio constitute the present village of Onec

In 1843, the first school house was built near Oneco village. In 1851 the first schoolhouse within the village was built a brick structure on Denio's addition, just east of the postoffice. In 1876 the structure which is still in use was built on the Orangeville Road at a cost of $2,000.

U. B. Church. The church of the United Brethren Association, which is the only church building within the village of Oneco, was established ten years ago. The structure itself was erected in the summer of 1880 by the Methodist congregation of Oneco. It was occupied by them for twenty years, until the small size of the congregation and the shortness of the distance to Orangeville, which was only two miles away, made them decide to join forces with the larger church.

At the time above mentioned the transfer of property was made and the United Brethren Association took possession of the church. The Oneco church is on a circuit with Orangeville, McConnell, St. James, and Winslow, pastoral duties being performed by the Rev. W. G. Metsker, of Orangeville. The church property is valued at $1,200, and the membership numbers forty three communicants, with a Sunday school of fifty.

The men who planned the village of Oneco entertained a vain hope that the settlement might some time attain prominence. Four things have thwarted the growth of the village. The first was the lack of the water power which the settlers had hoped to obtain. Honey Creek flows close to the village, and while, at stated seasons of the year, it is swollen with floods, and afford some water power, nevertheless it is of no value for the greater part of the year. Thus the mill venture was a failure. The second relapse which Oneco suffered was in the platting of Orangeville which was established on a more favorable site. Two villages of equal prominence could hardly exist in those days within two miles of each other, and when one of them offered greater inducements for habitation than the other the battle was sure to be to the strong.

When the railroad came through in 1888, and decided to locate its station at Orangeville and pass by Oneco, the third misfortune befell the ill fated village. All the traffic was turned aside to Orangeville, and Oneco was no longer a commercial center. But with the coming of the Rural Free Delivery, the fourth and final blow was administered and the village passed out of existence. Oneco lost its postoffice, like so many other small villages, and the population, which had once been in the neighborhood of one hundred, dwindled to less than half that number. The more aspiring inhabitants of the village transferred their place of habitation to Orangeville, Rock Grove, or elsewhere, and Oneco became a tradition.

The site of the village is pleasant, though not surpassingly, beautiful. The town presents an appearance of thrift, if not liveliness, and, in spite of the lack of commercial advantages, the village of Oneco still remains a very pleasant place for residence.

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