Town of Old Manlius, Illinois

The following information was compiled by Ona Andersen:

FACTS About OLD MANLIUS, MANLIUS and MANLIUS TOWNSHIP (Ona Andersen appeared before the Bureau County Genealogy Society in August 2001; gave the following presentation). Residents of the Eastern United States were encouraged to emigrate west when the Federal Gov. issued Land Grants to anyone who would settle in what was the Land occupied by Native American Indians. In the early 1800s travel was overland on poor roads or trails, or by boat on or near a major river where many early towns were developed. Several families emigrated from the Eastern States to Manlius Twp. 1853- 1856. VETERANS could have 100 ACRES OF LAND FREE with the LAND GRANTS. Manlius Township was governmentally organized in 1854. By 1870 Manlius had a population of 973.

Earliest settlers to arrive in this area settled on the angling road that ran to New Bedford and this settlement was called TRUXTON; later known as Old Manlius in honor of Allen S. Lathrop, an early settler who came from Manlius, NY in 1845.

Old Manlius is in Section 26. Up until that time, it was a part of Greenville Township. The first settler was Sylvester Barber who came to the area in 1847 and built on section 5. Mr. D. Hill commenced a farm near Mr. Barber and in 1848 Allen Lathrop settled in section 9. This property is on the road that passes by the present town of Manlius and was afterward the home of Harrison Hays.

In 1850, W. N. Hewitt, Dr. Moore, and Townsend Fletcher settled on Sections 14 and 36, the latter being near Hickory Grove. In 1851 Thomas Rinehart, Henry Hooper, Jacob Siebel, Jessie Cain, and Thomas Hopes moved into the township. About that time the town of TRUXTON (East of New Manlius town) was platted, but never was developed as a town; only as an early post office location.

The first postmaster of TRIUXTON was Allen S. Lathrop. Original mail was carried by him on horseback to Wyanet. The first supervisor was M. D. Carpenter. Other settlers in the Old Manlius area were George W. Dabler and his family. He had a store and was postmaster for Old Manlius from September 18, 1885, until 1903. The first postmaster was John H. Fletcher; it opened on May 22, 1871.

“Old Manlius” contained a general store, blacksmith shop, barber shop, and United Brethren Church which was organized in 1855 with a few members. In 1871 they increased to forty and that year erected their church. The minister was Rev. J. W. Lewis. The United Brethren Church was the first church in Manlius Township. Another group of people used the same building. They were a group of Baptist Church members. The United Brethren Church building was sold to Baptist people and they moved it to the current site of Manlius Baptist Church. It was used as a community building until an addition to Baptist Church was built, which is used for Sunday School Classes and social events and has a full kitchen.

In 1901 when the new town of Manlius was established, George Dabler opened a general store on his farm a few miles north and the post office moved to his place and remained until it moved to the present town of Manlius. M.R. Robinson, town clerk, James N. Fletcher, James Batchelor, Justices, W. L. VanOrmer, J. A. Dungan, D Werrick, Commissioners of Highways. In 1877, P.J. Allen and W.C. had feed mills and did corn shelling and threshing. J. H. Garman had dry goods store, groceries, flour, etc. G.F. Stoodley was a physician and surgeon. Supervisors: M.D. Carpenter 1855; Thomas Hope 1856; A. B. Kinsman 1857 and 1859- 1860. 1863-1872; Milo Foote 1858; C.L. Kelsey 1861-1862; G. W. Kolp, 1864; A.J. Stanchfield 1865-1867; L. Major 1868-1870; VanOrmer 1871; 0. Smith 1873; L. Major 1874-1875; Wm. Mercer 1876; Joseph Barrett 1877-1879; J. P. White 1880-1888; J. P. Follett 1889-1893, and 1896-1899; S.P. Burns 1894- 1895; T. H. Dale 1900-1903; J.T Martins 1904- 1906.

A branch of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad running from Nelson to South Pekin, IL passed thru Manlius Township from North to South entering near the west line of section two and bears a little to the west, and leaves Manlius Township near the west corner of section 34. The town of Manlius was then developed (1901) and Manlius at its present site replaced • “Old Manlius” which was southeast of Manlius. “Our Town”, the new Manlius had its beginning when the Chicago Northwestern Railroad Company purchased forty acres of land from David Miller in Section 15 of Manlius Township. The railroad used that land to build its rail line, a grain elevator, a depot, an overhead water tank used to fill the steam engines, a coal chute, and a coal storage bin. The railroad also owned a home in Manlius next to the railroad line which was used by the railroad agents. For a few years, passenger service and freight service were available. Passenger service was discontinued in the early 1930s.

Manlius actually had 2 beginnings; the first was southeast of its present location, Section 25 of Manlius Township residents of the area established a boot repair shop operated by Eugene Flaherty, a blacksmith repair shop, a general store, a church, a post office, and the Old Manlius School (which stood until 2011 when it was sold to Jackie Linder and made into a private home.) Old Manlius as it was called was gradually abandoned when the Chicago Northwestern Railroad Co. purchased 40 acres of land from David Miller in Section 15 of Manlius Township.

OLD MANLIUS SCHOOL: Article from Bureau County Republican Centennial Edition 1937. We have 20 pupils attending. We cannot find the exact date our school was built, but was before the year 1860; Mr. Krager and Mr. Smith, two of our older residents, say they moved here shortly after that and the school had been in operation for some time. The schoolhouse has been rebuilt since then, however. The old school had a high board fence surrounding it, since there were two stores and a blacksmith shop near and children were continually crossing the road to those places of business. John Garmen was the first storekeeper which was south of where school house stands in Old Manlius. He lived where Perry Nelson lived in 1937; to date (2000) is still standing. Daniel Dabler (William Dabler’s father) bought Garmen’s store.

This building later burned down. M. R. Robinson operated a general store; was also postmaster. Mail was delivered at first once a week, later three times a week. When M.R. Robinson left the post office he moved to a house now occupied by Lester Oloffson (house next to the school. Later he moved his store in sections to Spring Valley..G.W. Dabler had a general store and was appointed postmaster and the post office was in his store. Jim Fletcher had a store.

William Hartnady ran a barber shop and a cigar and candy store across from the schoolhouse on the Krager farm. Mr. Krager uses this building as a garage on his farm. Charles and Alexander Smith (Sandy) had a blacksmith shop west of the schoolhouse, on the garden spot where Lloyd Smith lived (Ona Smith Andersen’s father) Eugene Flaherty had a boot and shoe repair shop. Mr. Smith (not Lloyd) was a guard at Lincoln’s burial.

The church stood north of the blacksmith shop. This building was later moved, and used as a community building for Baptist Church in what is known as “Community Center”. Joe Wallace and Jeff Whipple were two early settlers. The Dabler’s, Sanden’s, Oloffson’s, Olson’s, Krager’s, and Smith’s (not Lloyd) are some of the early residents who are still living in the area. (1937 The Smiths are Antoinette Smith Oloffson’s parents.

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