Mt. Vernon was first known as McFaddin's Bluff. The McFaddins had been residents of North Carolina, later moving
to Bowling Green, Ky. Andrew McFadden, on a hunting expedition, crossed over into Posey county at Diamond Island
and, coming down the river, discovered the location of the present town of Mt. Vernon, a spot conspicuous for its
highness and dryness, with settlers above and below on the river. Soon after returning to his home in Kentucky
Mr. McFaddin moved his family here. This was about the year 1805. Soon after, his cousins, William and Andrew,
came and settled near him, and the place soon came to be known as McFaddin's Bluff, and kept that name for some
time after the town of Mt. Vernon was founded in 1816.
For a year after coming to this country the McFaddins lived on what is now known as the Hageman farm, which at
that time was owned by Jesse Oatman. Trading boats landed at the rocks in front of this farm till about the year
1810, when they began to stop at the present wharf.
The McFaddins moved to the present town site in 1806 and built the first dwelling in Mt. Vernon, which was a log
cabin, at the foot of Store street, intending to enter land as soon as convenient, unaware of the fact that Gen.
William Henry Harrison had bought all of fractional section 8, township 7 south, range 13 west, comprising 371.82
acres. This caused them considerable inconvenience and expense before the lands were released from the claims of
General Harrison. Others soon located here and engaged in various pursuits, although at that time the town site
and all the surrounding country was an absolute wilderness, full of game and wild animals. William McFaddin was
a noted and skillful hunter and trapper, and had at the time the town was founded two pet beavers, which he had
captured when young. As late as 1824 deer were killed where Second street crosses Main, and the portion of the
town which is now bounded by Fourth, Fifth, Main and Store streets was a pond. Nimrods of that day came hither
in quest of wild geese and ducks.
The first store in Mt. Vernon was opened by Darius North and William P. Robinson with a stock of general merchandise
amounting to about $500. In a few years North bought out his partner and continued alone.
In 1817 there were about fifteen families living in and near Mt. Vernon. The principal business portion of the
town was built on the wharf. The buildings were constructed of logs, the doors, floors, etc., being whipsawed at
a great cost of time and labor.
Samuel Aldridge entered a tract of land on section 6 (north west of town) in May, 1807; and on the same section
Thomas Givens bought a tract June 4, 1807. William Weir bought a tract in section 7, west of town, in May, 1807;
and Samuel Jones bought a tract in section 5, north of town, June 4, 1807; so there was quite a populous settlement
in the vicinity at the time the town was started up. It is said that Thomas Givens started a tavern at Mt. Vernon
before any town lots were laid out. Nathan Ashworth was the first justice of the peace in Mt. Vernon, elected in
In March, 1816, Aaron Williams laid out the present public square and thirty two lots south and west of it to the
river. The lots still bear their original numbers. About the same time John Wagoner laid out sixty six lots and
a public square of two acres and four poles on the west side of Mill creek. Williams sold a far greater number
of lots than Wagoner. The majority of the buyers, however, bought for speculation. Wagoner's part of the town grew
very slowly from the start, while Williams's part immediately began a rapid growth.
Gen. William Henry Harrison still owned these lands, but some time within the next year he sold 185 acres at the
junction of Mill creek with the Ohio river, east of the creek, to Aaron Williams for $500.
Early in the year 1819 a stock company, consisting of Thomas E. Casselberry, Jesse Y. Welborn, Aaron Baker, William
Crabtree, John Burlison, Matthew Williams, AarOn Burlison and Samuel Gill, bought of Aaron Williams seventy two
and one half acres on the east bank of Mill creek, now in the heart of the town, for $3,500, resurveyed it and
offered the lots for sale.
In November, 1822, Mr. Welborn laid out an addition from Walnut to Mulberry streets and from Sixth street on north
to Water street on the south; he also laid out an addition in June, 1826, extending from Walnut to Main and from
Sixth to Eighth.
When the county seat was moved to Mt. Vernon, in 1825, the town commenced to grow rapidly and, for a time, was
ahead of Evansville in commercial importance.
First merchants of Mt. Vernon were:
Shanklin & Moffit, Dunn & McFaddin, Jesse Y. Welborn, North & Stewart, Richard and James Barter, McFaddin
were engaged in merchandising. Henry G. Luston, tavern.
From 1830 to 1840 the leading firms were, in addition to most of the above: Presley Pritchett, tavern; R. Barter
& Co., Aaron Baker, Bacon & James, H. S. Wilson, McFaddin & Nettleton, T. S. Veatch & Co., H. H.
Richardson, Adam Moffit, Hector Craig, James & Lowery, Barter, Swift & Barter, Dunn & Harrison, Scarborough
Pentecost, Aaron B. Gill, Craig & Pollard, John T. Gill & Co., T. J. Hinch, James F. Reeder and others
were engaged in the mercantile business. The grocers were: John S. Dunn, John McMunn, Baldwin & Hogue, William
Aldridge, J. B. Weir, David Spalding, H. B. Dean, Beniah Moss, John Carson, Daniel Arthur, A. W. Welborn and others.
The tavern keepers were: Presley Pritchett, Asa Bacon, Felix Mills.
At an election held in November, 1832, the citizens of Mt. Vernon voted to incorporate the town. A plan for the
division of the town was presented by Jesse Y. Welborn and formally accepted by vote.
The following were elected trustees: E. R. James, Moses Welborn, Ebon D. Edson, Jesse Y. Welborn and Aaron Baker.
The votes polled were: Henry Holland, Presley Pritchett, T. J. Duncan, William Hall, John Knight, E. R. James,
Asa Bacon, H. G. Luston, Samuel Scott, Jesse Y. Welborn, Adam Moffit, J. N. Hatcher, L. J. Larkin, Moses Welborn,
Zachariah Baker, George S. Baker, John C. Welborn, Francis De Sanchet, John Carson, Jeremiah Spillman, Levi M.
Ricksicker, Mason F. Green, Richard Barter, William Moss, Andrew S. Gamble, James Barton, James B. Finch, H. H.
Richardson, George S. Green and T. S. Veatch.
The municipal wheels were soon rolling, but how long they continued cannot be stated, as all traces of corporate
government are lost at the end of two years.
The Ohio river afforded the only means of transportation. Corn and pork were the most important articles shipped
away. As early as 1820 North & Robinson bought hogs and corn for shipment to the Southern markets of Louisiana,
Mississippi and Tennessee. Dunn & McFaddin and Richard and James Barter were engaged in the same business.
The first steam saw mill in Mt. Vernon was constructed by Darius North, Virgil Soaper and Andrew McFadden in 1831.
They afterward added machinery for grinding corn, and it finally became a grist mill and distillery. In 1838 it
was destroyed by fire but was rebuilt the same year, and again burned down in 1853. It was rebuilt in 1855 by De
Witt C. James and George Mugge, four stories high with a capacity equal to 225 barrels of flour and 1,300 gallons
of whiskey. In 1865 it passed into the hands of Herman Munchoff and George Wolflin, and was again destroyed by
fire, in 1873, for the third and last time. The building was located near the present site of the Chicago &
Eastern Illinois railroad depot. The huge smokestack remained standing until a few months ago.
North & McFaddin, about the year 1834, erected a steam saw mill, and as soon as they could saw the lumber,
built a three story grist mill and a distillery all combined. They also owned a large store and bought pork and
grain and carried on an extensive business. Their saw mill and grist mill both being crowded to their utmost capacity,
as there was a constant demand for all the lumber they could saw for the frame houses going up in all directions,
and for all the flour and meal they could grind for home consumption, and the distillery had all it could do to
supply the demand for whiskey.
In 1837 the mills and the distillery were destroyed by fire, entailing a heavy loss on the proprietors. In 1840-41
Rogers & Moore rebuilt the saw mill and a two story grist mill, but not the distillery. After a few years they
sold out to John Baker and he sold to Mickey & Crowell, and while in their possession the mills again burned
John Wagner's plat, laid out March 11, 1816, and bounded by Mill Watter, Mulberry and Fourth streets. Aaron Williams's
plat, laid out March 23, 1816, and bounded by Water, Store, Walnut and Third. Jesse Y. Welborn's addition, May
10, 1819, bounded by Mill creek, and Fifth, Walnut and Water streets. J. Y. Welborn's addition, November 26, 1822,
bounded by Walnut, Mulberry, Water and Sixth streets. J. Y. Welborn's addition, June 29, 1826, bounded by Walnut.
Mulberry, Sixth and Eighth streets; John Given's re-survey, in 1840, bounded by Water, Chestnut, Pearl and Second.
M. F. Green's addition, July 4, 1841, enlarged May 10, 1851, bounded by Main, Store, Seventh and Ninth. D. T. Kimball's,
1849, addition to Belleville. Robert Dale Owen's addition, November 21, 1836, and also in 1874. James & Hovey's
enlargement, March 9, 1851, between Sixth and Ninth and Mill and Store. W. C. Saunder's enlargement, March 15,
1851. W. J. Lowery's addition, May 25, 1851, from Mill to Store, and from Eighth to Ninth. E. T. Sullivan's addition,
January 3, 1851, from Fourth to Fifth, and from Mulberry to Locust. W. J. Lowery's enlargement, December, 1852,
from Mill to Main, and Eighth to Eleventh. W. W. Welborn's enlargement, June 7, 1853, from Second to Third, and
from Pearl to Munchoff streets. Lowery & Larkin's enlargement, April, 1860, from Third to Sixth and from Munchoff
to Mill streets. Munchoff & Wolfin's enlargement, April 22, 1866, from Water to Second, and from Munchoff to
Pearl. Company's enlargement, February and August, 1866, and February, 1868, east of Walnut street. William Nettleton's
enlargement, 1868, bounded by Wolfin, Nettleton, Second and Fourth streets. J. M. Barter's enlargement, April,
1868, on Walnut, between Eighth and Ninth. J. A. Mann's, May, 1869, First to Second, and from Wolfin to Barter.
N. G. Nettleton's enlargement, August, 1869, Second to Fourth, and Pearl to Nettleton. School enlargement, September,
1869, Fourth to Fifth, and Canal to Locust. Mann & Barter's enlargement, First to Second, Wolfin to Barter.
Mann & Barter's enlargement, February, 1870, Eleventh to Lincoln, and Canal to Locust. W. P. Edson's subdivision,
October, 1871, nine lots in Kimball's part. J. A. Mann's addition to William Nettleton's enlargement, Second to
Third, and east of the line between sections 7 and 8, April 30, 1874. Charles Leunig's enlargement, August, 1871,
four acres north of Eleventh, and west of Main. Benjamin Lowenhupt's enlargement, 1880, one acre between Fourth
and Fifth, and Mulberry and Locust. J. F. Welborn's enlargement, Fifth to Sixth, and Canal to Mulberry.
Parke's enlargement, October 7, 1885, consisting of four lots on west side of Locust street between Fourth and
Fifth streets, and four lots on each side of Fifth street between Locust and Canal streets and fourteen lots on
the east side of Canal street between Fourth and Sixth streets. Highbank addition, October 8, 1885, bounded on
the north by Second street and Water street; east by Barter street and Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railway Company's
grounds, south by the Ohio river, west by Park street. V. M. Cartwright's addition, consisting of eight lots between
Third and Fourth streets, and Owendale addition and William Nettleton's enlargement, August 9, 1886.
Wasem's substituted enlargement, seventeen lots bounded on the north by Acuff's enlargement, on the east by
Wolflin, on south by Fourth street, on the west by Venus avenue and the corporation line. April 29, 1887; Charles
W. Fuhrer's enlargement, bounded on the north by the corporation line, on the east by Venus avenue, on the south
by Owendale addition, on the west by Barter street and the corporation line, April 21, 1888; Gardner's Part, bounded
on the north by Seventh street, on the east by Main street, south by Sixth street, on the west by Store street,
April 23, 1889; William Acuff's enlargement, four lots. March 22, 1890; School Hill enlargement, bounded on the
north by Central school grounds, east by Canal street, south by Sixth street, west by Locust street, March 23,
Cartwright's subdivision, lot No. 7 in Charles Leunig's enlargement, January 27, 1893; Helleman's addition, bounded
on the north by Sixth street and William Mann's addition, east by Mill street, south by some out lots and Mill
creek, west by Mill creek and James street, February 21, 1893; Northwestern enlargement, bounded on the north by
Sixth street and Model enlargement, east by alley between Pearl and Munchoff streets, south by Fourth street, west
by Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railway Company's grounds, February 14, 1893; Raben & Fuelling's enlargement,
bounded on the north by Sixth street, east by Jones's enlargement, south by alley between Fourth and Fifth streets,
west by Parkes enlargement, April 24, 1899; Harper's addition, bounded on the north by the Louisville & Nashville
Railway Company's grounds, east by Walnut street, south by out lots, west by Main street, April 21, 1902; William
Mann's addition, bounded on the north by an alley between Sixth and Seventh streets and James and Hovey's enlargement,
east by James & Hovey's enlargement and Mill street, south by Sixth street, west by out lots, January 23, 1905;
Owendale addition, bounded on the north by Fourth street, east by Cartwright's and William Nettleton's enlargement
and Mann's addition to William Nettleton's enlargement, south by West Second street, west by Parke street; Model
addition, bounded on the north by unplatted land, east by Pearl street, south by Sixth street, west by Chicago
& Eastern Illinois Railway Company's grounds, June 25, 1906; Jones's addition, bounded on the north by an alley
between Fifth and Sixth streets, east by tile factory road, south by Fourth street, west by Raben & Fuelling's
enlargement, July 16, 1906; Sarlls's subdivision, April 16, 1906, bounded on the North by Ninth street, east by
Canal street, south by Eighth street, west by Locust street; Henry Schnuer's enlargement, December, 1907, bounded
on the north by Blackgrove, east by the lower New Harmony road, south by out lots, west by land owned by Grant
Dixon; Lorenz Hempfling's subdivision of lots 7 and 8 of Kimball's additional enlargement, August 7, 1908, bounded
on the north by Fourth street, east by Lorenz alley, south by Third street, west by Hempfling's alley; Pfeffer's
addition, April 14, 1910, bounded on the north by an alley between Fifth and Sixth streets, east by an alley between
Store and Mill streets, south by Fifth street, west by Mill street; Brown's addition, September 1, 1911, bounded
on the north by Grant street, east by Leunig's enlargement, Cartwright's subdivision and Louisville & Nashville
Railway Company's grounds, south by Louisville & Nashville Railway Company's grounds, west by land of William
Ford and others; Rosa Raben's subdivision, November 30, 191 1, bounded on the north by Sixth street, on the east
by Wood street, south by an alley between Fifth and Sixth streets, west by Canal street.
The second incorporation of the town took place in 1846, the election to decide the question being held October
1. The first trustees at this time were Thomas F. Prosser, Noble Graig, F. N. Mills, Walter F. Larkin and Thomas
Newman. Seventy two votes were polled, probably not over three fourths of these in town, indicating a population
of about 500. T. F. Prosser was first clerk; Seth M. Leavenworth, treasurer, and Whipple White, marshal. As the
records from that date up to 1859 are missing, nothing of the acts of the board can be stated. In October, 1859,
the trustees elected were Enoch R. James, T. F. Prosser, Charles Haas, W. D. Covington, and Turner Nelson; Joseph
P. Edson, clerk; E. R. James, treasurer; Harrison Carter, marshal; George W. Thomas, wharf master. The receipts
from October 30, 1858, to October 19, 1859, were $7,385.82, and the expenses S6,978.82, leaving a balance on hand
of $407. About one half of this expense was in payment of principal, the interest of the wharf debt, which had
been contracted in 1851, the total amount of the debt at first being, it is said, $20,000. In October, 1859, the
debt was $5,164.05. At this time, and for the succeeding two or three years, Main, Store and other streets of the
town were macadamized at a large expense, and the greater portion of which was paid at the time from special tax
levies. F. and E. Schenk, A. B. Galliger, Jean Febre and others were contractors. The officers elected in October,
1860, were as follows: Noble Craig, G. W. Thomas, Otto Schaeffer, S. M. Leavenworth and John D. Hinch, trustees;
Leavenworth, treasurer; H inch, clerk, and Harrison Carter, marshal. The receipts for the year ending October 16,
1860, were $11,390.57, and the expenses, $10,652.18. This heavy expense was on the streets and the wharf debt.
The receipts for the year ending October, 1861, were $4,533.41, and the expenses, $3,924.72. The officers elected,
October, 1861, were: John A. Mann, Charles Haas, Charles Leunig, Otto Schaeffer and Leonidas Cralle, trustees;
Otto Schaeffer, clerk; Charles Leunig, treasurer; Isaac P. Lamb, marshal. The receipts for the year ending October,
1862, were, $5,544.66 and the expenses, $5,399.07. At this time the wharf debt was $4,500. The officers of 1862-63
were: B. F. Server, Charles Haas, J. M. Monroe, F. Schenk and W. P. Daniel, trustees; W. P. Daniel, clerk; F. Schenk,
treasurer, J. M. Monroe, marshal. In April, 1863, the board donated $1,000 toward a new school house. The officers
of 1863-64 were: B. F. Server, W. P. Daniel, J. M. Monroe, Charles Haas and F. Schenk, trustees; Schenk, treasurer;
Daniel, clerk, and H. Carter, marshal. In 1864-65 the officers were: Josiah Forth, M. S. Blunt, Aaron Galliger,
John Pfeffer and Charles Haas, trustees; Otto Schaefer, clerk; W. Forth, marshal; Noble Craig, treasurer; James
Ferguson, assessor. In August, 1864, upon petition, corporate bonds to the amount of $4,000 were sold to pay the
wharf debt of $4,500, with what was in the treasury. They were all taken by the First National Bank, then just
founded. The receipts of 1864-65 were, $5,783.85, and the expenses, $5,909.60. The officers of 1865-66 were: Anton
Haas, W. P. Edson, Samuel S. Dryden, John Pfeffer. John B. Gardner and A. B. Galliger, trustees; J. F. Welborn,
clerk; C. F. Leonard, treasurer; Thomas Stevens, marshal; W. H. Larkin, assessor. A pest house was built in 1865.
In 1851, a stock company consisting of John Pitcher, president; Robert D. Owen, secretary and treasurer; with N.
G. Nettleton, John Sweeney, Enoch R. James, Charles F. Leonard, Richard Barter, Pitcher and Owen as directors,
built a plank road from New Harmony to Mt. Vernon. Upon its completion, the event was celebrated by an elaborate
public dinner at Mt. Vernon, and a grand ball at New Harmony in the evening of the same day. Toll gates were established
and business of the two towns increased rapidly. The population of Mt. Vernon soon increased fifty per cent., a
phenomenal growth, largely attributable to the plank road.
But, at that, the travel was not sufficient to warrant the outlay, and in a few years the road was abandoned. Within
the last decade this public thoroughfare has been covered with crushed rock and gravel.
The most dreadful epidemic to which a community was ever subjected was the visitation of the cholera in Posey county
in 1873. This was one of the darkest and most sorrowful periods in the history of the county. For two long months,
the relentless disease spread sorrow and death in all directions. People generally fled from it, but many instances
of heroism and martydom are on record as our oldest citizens can attest. For five long weary weeks coal was publicly
burned in great quantities on many street corners in Mt. Vernon, and lime and other disinfectants were scattered
profusely in the streets and gutters. Everything possible was done to eradicate the disease while it was stubbornly
and relentlessly performing its awful mission.
A list of the deaths with the dates, from cholera, in and around Mt. Vernon, which we believe to be correct, is
given below: Joseph Pickles, June 9; a daughter of George Muncey and Mrs. William Miller, the fifteenth; a child
of Mr. Roberts, the twentieth; Mrs. Joseph Sloat, the twenty second; John Caldwell (colored), the twenty seventh;
Lucy Kirk, a child, a daughter of Mrs. John Snyder and Mrs. Collins, the twenty eighth; a daughter of Mrs. John
Snyder, the thirtieth; Mrs. Grant, July I; Thomas Caldwell (colored), the eighth; unknown negro woman, and an unknown
pauper the ninth; Miss Sheldon, Miss Gordon, Mrs. George Weilbrenner, a daughter of John Reichert, Mrs. Barker,
and James Weeks, the eleventh; Samuel K. Bell, his mother and sister, Mrs. Helen Gordon, Larkin Duncan and Alvin
Hovey, the twelfth; Augustus Gordon and a daughter of Robert Lyon the thirteenth; Mrs. Conrad Shertz, William King
and child of James McClain, the fourteenth; Robert Peters and Mrs. S. Huff, the fifteenth; Taylor Woody, Orrin
Johnson, a child of J. C. Woody, Henry Osborne and wife, the sixteenth; an unknown pauper, Lewis Barton, Mrs. J.
C. Woody and child, the seventeenth; Joseph Harris, Mary Shertz and Mrs. Barton, the eighteenth; a son of Mrs.
Bonenberger, Katie Shertz and Mrs. Grace Craw: the nineteenth; Lettie Watkins (colored), Mrs. Timmons and Dr. A.
Matzdorf, the twentieh; Mrs. Robert Lyon, Mrs. McLaughlin and Miss Eva Hovey, the twenty first; Lizzie Haas and
a son of Mrs. Cook, the twenty second; a son of James C. Dixon, an unknown negro, and Mrs. McDowell, the twenty
third; son of James Davenport, the twenty fourth; Antone Haas, John Quick, wife and child, the twenty fifth; Mrs.
John D. Hinch and Mrs. Musselman, the twenty sixth; an unknown pauper the twenty eighth; Mrs. Latham, the twenty
ninth; Jeff Hopkins, the thirtieth; a child of Isaac Newton the thirty first; John Tier, August 1; Charles Kreie,
the second; Robert Moore, the third; Mattie Stein and Henry Washington (colored), the fourth; Joseph Clemmens and
an unknown pauper, the fifth.
An election was held on the seventh of December, 1865, to decide the question of incorporating Mt. Vernon as a
city. The vote was 219 for, and 130 against the proposition. The city was divided into three wards, as follows:
The first ward embraced all that part of the city lying east of Main and south of Fourth streets; second ward,
all lying north of Fourth street; third ward, all lying west of Main and south of Fourth streets. A city seal was
adopted in February, 1865. The pest house was sold the same year.
William Harrow, at the first meeting of the council, was appointed city attorney, but he refused for private reasons
to serve, and William P. Edson was elected to fill the position.
The city ordinances were revised and new ones adopted.
In May, 1867, the city's debts, including the wharf debt of $4,500, amounted to $14,449.32. In 1868 a high school
building was erected at a cost of $17,000, and the next year the central and western school buildings were erected
at a cost of $5,500 each, and the same year the council issued and sold $10,000 worth of school house bonds, realizing
ninety six cents on the dollar. For the fiscal year 1868-69 the receipts were $24,291.81, and the expenses $15,921.55;
the debt was reduced to $3,543.07. In 1871 bonds to the amount of $3,000 were issued to build a school house west
of Mill creek. They sold for $2,820. and the house cost $4,501.80.
William Nettleton from January, 1866, to May, 1866; Otto Schaeffer, May, 1866, to May, 1867; Jonathan H. Burlison,
May, 1867, to May, 1868 (elected to fill vacancy caused by death of Otto Schaeffer); William P. Edson, from May,
1868, to October, 1869 (resigned); Jonathan Burlison, from October, 1868, to May, 1872; U. G. Damron, from May,
1872, to May, 1874; J. H. Burlison, May, 1874, to May, 1878; Oliver C. Terry, 1886, to May, 1888; E. E. Thomas,
May, 1888, to May, 1892; Fred P. Leonard, May, 1892, to 1894; L. J. Larkin, 1894, to September. 1898; Alfred D.
Owen, September. 1898, to September, 1902; Samuel J. Miller, September, 1902, to September, 1904; Herdis F. Clements,
September, 1904, to September, 1906; Edwin Page, September, 1906, to January 1, 1910; J. H. Moeller, January 1,
1910, present incumbent.
The city of Mt. Vernon is situated on a beautifully elevated spot on the Ohio river, surrounded by a fertile and
picturesque country. Its natural drainage makes its sanitary condition excellent. The elevation, according to the
United States Navigation Engineering Corps, is forty feet above that of Evansville, and several feet above that
of any other place on the Ohio river below Cincinnati.
The city is the shipping point for a rich farming territory of approximately one hundred square miles. Thousands
of barrels of hominy and flour leave this place annually, and many tons of hay and corn find their way to the markets
of the world from Mt. Vernon. The city has a good water system, a splendid electric lightning system, an excellent
sewerage and drainage and several blocks of substantial business houses. Mt. Vernon is pre-eminently a city of
homes and the well kept streets, the handsome residences, surrounded by beautiful lawns, the numerous shade trees
never fail to awaken the admiration of visitors.
The city has ninety five blocks of macadamized and thirty three blocks of asphalt paving. At present there are
fifteen rural mail routes running out of the city.
One of the beautiful and valuable acquisitions, acquired recently by the city, is Sherburne Park, located on the
water front at the foot of Main street. The grounds were donated by the city and the park was laid out and equipped
by Jacob Cronbach, at great expense, and named Sherburne in perpetuation of the memory of his beloved son, Sherburne.
A concrete walk surrounds the park, and on the lower side is a succession of concrete steps descending to the wharf.
The interior is elaborately fitted up with various equipment for the innocent amusement of children, such as teeters,
gymnasium racks, merry-go-rounds, chute-the-chutes and stationary swings; also seats where young and old may sit
and rest on a summer's evening and enjoy the cool breezes of the river. At the center of the park is a fountain
of ice cold water and beautiful and substantial rest room and comfort station, built of vitrified brick, with tile
One of the early buildings of Mt. Vernon, which has disappeared with time, was the public market. It was situated
upon the northeast corner of the court house grounds and was erected in the late '50s. It was a monument to the
generosity of Dan Rice, the most famous clown of his day, and later the owner of a circus which bore his name.
The funds with which this building was built were donated by Dan Rice and his generosity was due to the fact that
he wished to attract to his show all of the people of Mt. Vernon and vicinity, another circus having arranged to
exhibit on the same day as the Rice show. He had many friends and acquaintances in the city, having visited Mt.
Vernon on numerous occasions, and on learning of the billing of the rival show, he went out among the citizens
and offered the entire receipts of his afternoon performance for some public enterprise, suggesting that a public
market building would benefit the town. His offer was accepted and his tent filled, the rival attraction playing
to empty seats. During the performance he remarked to his audience that "the evening performance would occur
as usual," and that the proceeds were needed by himself. That night the citizens responded to his invitation
in such numbers that the side walls of the tents were taken down to permit the crowd a view of the entertainment,
the rival show still playing to empty benches, and Dan Rice was happy. With the funds secured from Rice a building
about 120X50 feet was built. A large sign was placed over the entrance and bore the name of Dan Rice. During the
first months of 1861 the building was used by the newly enlisted volunteers as an armory. The citizens purchased
many of their supplies here, farmers bringing in produce from the country and butcher stalls were run by John Pfeffer,
John Dieteile and John Schisler. When the present court house was under construction the old market was torn down.
THE ALEXANDRIAN FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY.
October 11, 1892, the Alexandrian Literary Society was organized at the residence of Mrs. Matilda Alexander.
The purpose and aim of this society was to found a library for the citizens of Mt. Vernon. On September 28, 1895,
the Alexandrian Library was opened to the public, and was located in one of the rooms of the city hall. Much benefit
was derived from the use of the library and there was a demand for a better and a larger one. Some of the citizens
became enthused to the extent of soliciting Mr. Carnegie for sufficient funds, and a committee, consisting of Jacob
Cronbach, Prof. Edwin S. Monroe and Prof. E. G. Bauman, began a correspondence with him. At first they were unsuccessful,
but after many efforts obtained promise of the desired amount. He gave $12,500 for building, and later an additional
$1,400 to equip the building. The south half of the city lot was chosen for the site of the building, and the erection
of same began in July, 1904.
In May, 1902, Mrs. Matilda Alexander tendered to the city the Alexandrian Library, which consisted of 1,200 volumes.
The new building was completed during the summer of 1905, and October 16, 1905, the Alexandrian Free Public Library
was dedicated. Nine hundred new volumes were added and Mrs. Olive McGregor Smith, the librarian, with the aid of
Miss Dodd, classified and catalogued books ready for the shelves and circulation. The library has steadily grown
and now has more than 5,000 volumes and there are 55 different periodicals on reading tables each month. In the
basement of the building is a club room. Three literary clubs hold their meetings in this room Monday, Tuesday
and Wednesday afternoons of each week, and much work is done for them by the librarian. The Woman's Christian Temperance
Union meets Friday afternoons, twice a month, and the charity organization the first Saturday of each month, use
the room; also Sunday afternoons the Jewish children use the room for religious services. The library is open each
day of the week, including Sunday, except Thursday. Special attention is given both city and township school children.