History of Catlin Township, Vermilion County, Il
From: History of Vermilion County, Illinois
By: Lottie E. Jones
Pioneer Publishing Company
Chicago 1911


Catlin township contains historic ground. It was near within the limits of this township that the first settlement was made at the salt springs in 1819, and but a short distance from there and within the township Butler's Point was settled. This township is bounded on the north by Oakwood and Danville townships, on the east by Danville and Georgetown townships, west by Vance, by Georgetown and Carroll townships. This township was named Catlin because of that name having been given to the village on the Wabash railroad. Until the time of the coming of the railroad the village which lay to the west, a short distance was called Butler's Point. but when a station was made, where the town is now located. trade and residences drifted to the better facilities, and Butler's Point was lost in Catlin. This village was named Catlin on account of that being the name of one of officers of the Wabash railroad. Catlin township contains teritory, all told, which is more than a full Congressional township and a quarter. The Salt Fork of the Vermilion river runs along the northern border of this township, and originally had a belt of fine timber along its bank of a mile to a mile and a half in width. The points made by these elbows of timber extending out in the prairie, were great attraction to the early settlers who were afraid to venture out on the open plain. The chief of these points was the one upon which James Butler settled and was known as Butler's Point All evidence of a settlement at Butler's Point has disappeared and so also has the timber which skirted the banks of the old Salt Fork.

Catlin township was laid off from Carroll, Vance, Danville and Georgetown townships in 1858. This was after the Wabash railroad had been built for some time and the station of Catlin located and built. Along the southern line of Catlin township there is a ridge which separates the drainage of the Salt Fork and the little Vermilion rivers. This elevation makes the water shed of the township toward the Salt Fork, all excepting a small portion in the extreme southern part. The Wabash railroad, going through the township, turned the attention of eastern capitalists in this direction, and settlers were forced to go further south to get cheap land. As early as 1850 all the land north of the railroad had been brought into cultivation and by 1858, all the land southwest of the station was taken and made into farms.

The location of Butler's Point was directly west of Catlin. Asa Elliott was the first justice of the peace in Catlin township and in Vermilion county as well. He came to Butler's Point in 1822. Mr. Woodin was a cooper and the nearest to a hotel was the boarding house he kept where the price per week for board was $1.50. Hiram Ticknor is supposed to have been the first school teacher. Rev. Kingsbury came to this region to preach to the Indians and sometimes would hold meetings at the salt works. The first Sunday school in the county was established at the home of Mr. Asa Elliott, probably about 1836. The deposit of coal throughout this county has developed the industry of coal mining. The first shaft sunk was by Mr. Hinds, in 1862. John Faulds put down a shaft in 1863 and one hundred and forty seven feet below the surface he reached a six foot vein, which was at that time considered a great event and was celebrated by a grand banquet. This was in June. 1864. Capt. W. R. Timmons was called upon to preside and G. W. Tilton sang a song the verse of which he composed. This mine, which was worked for a while, and was a pride to Catlin, would seem crude enough at this time in comparison with the modern coal mines of Vermilion County.

It was in 1856 that Mr. Guy Merrill and Josiah Hunt laid out the village of Catlin. The plat was twelve blocks north and south of the station. At the same time Harvey Sandusky laid out and platted an addition lying south of and running from the railroad and west of the original towns as far east as that plat did. On the 18th of June, Josiah Sandusky platted an addition between this last and the railroad. April, 1858, Josiah Sandusky platted and laid out his second addition west of the original town. In 1863, J. H. Oakwood laid out an addition of two blocks north of the original town and in October, 1867, Mr. McNair & Co. laid out and platted the coal shaft addition along the railroad and west of Sandusky's second addition. An election was held in March, 1863, to consider the proposition whether or not to incorporate the village of Catlin. Twelve votes were cast for and none against incorporation. On April, 1863, the election for first board of trustees was held.

Catlin has always been a conservative village, more a place where people were making homes than were striving to advance business and manufacturing interests. It is a pretty village of comfortable homes. The past generation knew Catlin best as the place of the holding of the annual fair. After the Vermilion County Agricultural and Mechanical Association was organized in 1850, one or more fairs were attempted in Danville with little success, when it was found that Butlers Point was a more practical place to hold this annual affair. This part of the county was the home of the most of the fine stock. Forty acres were rented and fenced and a good track laid out, buildings were erected and the fair at Catlin was an institution of importance as long as the association remained in existence.

The Wabash railroad runs across this township. It enters it in the northeast corner and runs in a southwesterly direction to the village of Catlin, thence directly west to the limit. The Sidell branch of the C. & E. I. R. R. makes the western border of the township almost the entire length. Beside these means of transportation, the line of the Interurban trolley, a part of the Illinois Traction system, keeps Catlin in touch with Danville by cars going every twenty minutes during the day. With the exception of the strip of timber which skirted the stream in the northern part, Catlin township is a fertile plain where fine farms have been developed.

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