Here is some Livingston County History as it related to Chatsworth.



Livingston County

Founded by Edward Livingston




Note: See land purchases here for the Oliver family.

Oliver Family Land Purchases 1836 to 1887 

        Enter "Oliver" in  purchasers name search and click "Livingston" in county drop-down, click "search".


Once there, click "Enter----click "View Plats" on top right hand side of page----click "View Plats" on the left side of the next page, near the compass---
click "Central Illinois"----click "Livingston" on the clickable map----click "Chatsworth" on the next clickable map.
Use the magnifying classes to zoom in and out. By doing this you will see the pond/lake that must have been Oliver's.

Entered at the Surveyor General's Office

Saint Louis, August 27, 1839 

Livingston County was created within what is now it's present boundaries on February 27, 1837.  

At this time the nearest post office was in Bloomington. Pontiac acquired a post office in 1837.

1849 was the great Cholera season and many citizens of Livingston County died. 

On October 11,1859 Oliver's Grove became Chatsworth.  

Before the boundaries that Livingston County is now, it was part of other counties. 

Present area, or parts of  it, formerly included in:

1831–1837 - LaSalle

1831–1837 - McLean

1826–1837 - Vermillion

1827–1831 - Tazwell

1821–1827 - Fayette

1823–1826 - Edgar

1819–1823 - Clark

1816–1819 - Crawford

1815–1816 -
1812–1815 - Madison

1801–1812 - St.Clare
1790–1801 -Knox
, Northwest Territory

Chatsworth was formed from Oliver's Grove on October 11, 1859. However we were not incorporated until March 4, 1867. 
Note: Source Laws of the State of Illinois Enacted by the General Assembly 

The first post office came in 1860. 

The original community school was built in 1870 and razed in 1960. The fire chutes were added in 1928. 



 The first newspaper was the "Palladium" published in 1873 by the Dimmig brothers, former publishers of the Fairbury paper, the "Independent". They sold to George Torrance and he to C.B. Holmes in 1874. The paper later changed to the "Plaindealer" and in 1878 was published by R.M. Spurgen. 
Source: "History of Livingston County 1878"
CHATSWORTH. - In 1873 Dimmig Bros. of Fairbury commenced the publication of the Pal­ladium at Chatsworth, which they sold to George Torrance, he to C. B. Holmes in 1874. The paper was afterwards changed to The Plain­dealer by R. M. Spurgeon, who sold the plant to James A. Smith in 1880, who still continues the publication. The Chatsworth Times was first is­sued in 1902 by the Chatsworth Printing Com­pany, composed of the following named gentle­men: Stephen Herr, A. F. Walter, George J. Wal­ter, J. Q. Puffer, Dr. G. T. Carson and Marion Roberts. The Times is Independent in politics. 
Source: History of Livingston County 1909 
In 1875, the Plaindealer was published by John Colvin and Company, with John Jackson as editor, located in the Hall and Crane building, the first brick store in Chatsworth, erected in 1800. 
Source: Chatsworth Plaindealer- November 6, 1875

The Chatsworth Park was began in 1878. 

Park in 1940 
The Great Chatsworth Train Wreck was August 11, 1887.

The Grand Building was built in 1902. Harbeke Hall was also built in that year and was another opera house. Also our first Hospital was added above the drug store in 1901/02.




The first Corn Festival was held in 1907. 

The new brick High School was built in 1921/22.




The lay out of Route 24 was changed in 1964, greatly affecting the town of Chatsworth, however, the consolidation of our school systems in 1986 was the real demise of life as we knew it.



From "The History of Livingston County, Illinois" published 1878


Chatsworth is in the eastern tier of townships, and is known as Town 26 north, Range 8 east of the Third Principal Meridian. It is fine rolling prairie, with the exception of Oliver's Grove in the southern part, a grove of perhaps, as fine natural timber as Livingston County can furnish. Like all the prairie country, the people have devoted a great deal of attention to the planting and cultivation of trees, until beautiful groves of timber are to be found on every section of land in the township. Originally, Chatsworth embraced Forrest and Germantown, and was known as Oliver's Grove Township. But many of the citizens disliking a compound name, petitioned the Board of Supervisors for a change, at their annual meeting, the second year of township organization.  
William H. Jones, who was the Supervisor at the time, gave it the name of Chatsworth, which it has ever since borne. The name is said to have been taken from an English story he had read, in which "Lord Chatsworth" figures as a principal character.
The first settlement made in what is now Chatsworth Township was by Franklin C. Oliver, who, at the age of 92 years, still occupies his original claim.        " T.D"  
                          a ghostly shade of a, man he seemed :
                          His teeth were white as milk :
                         And the long, white hair on his forehead gleamed
                         Like skeins of tangled silk."
He came from the State of New Jersey in 1832, and settled here among the Indians, with whom he ever remained on the most friendly terms.
When other white people in the surrounding settlements, becoming frightened at the warlike reports of the Black Hawk campaign, retreated toward the Wabash settlements, Oliver remained upon his claim, and "went in and out" among the red men without molestation. His father, he informed us, was a Quartermaster in the "Revolutionary war, and many of the old soldier's official papers were in his possession until some years ago, when his house was burned and they met the fate of much of his household property. Many of these papers, he said, were rather quaint, and would present a marked contrast, doubtless, to the ponderous accounts and vouchers of a Quartermaster in our late war. Mr. Oliver and his family were the only white people in the township for many years. A number of settlements were made in Indian Grove and other timbered localities, but not till away up in the "fifties" were other settlements made in Chatsworth. In 1855, Job H. and George S. Megquier settled in this township. They were from Maine, and the former now lives in the village of Chatsworth ; the latter died in 1871. David Stewart came here from the State of New York in 1856.  He bought land and settled in the town, where he remained for a number of years, when his wife died and he became dissatisfied, sold out and moved away. 

Romanzo Miller was a Vermonter, and settled here in 1855. He finally sold his land and removed to Iowa, where he still remained, at last accounts of him. John Snyder and Truman Brockway were from New York, the Empire State of the Union. Snyder came in 1856 and made a settlement, upon which he died about 1863. Brockway had settled in El Paso in 1855, but came here in 1857. He was a single man when he came to Chatsworth, but after permanently locating, went back to New York, married and brought his wife here to share his Western home. Addison Holmes came from Indiana in 1855. After remaining for several years, he sold out and removed to Champaign County, in this State, where he still resides. John P. Hart was from the blue-grass of Kentucky, and came in 1856. A young man named James Greenwood came with him, and worked on his farm as long as he remained here. Hart owned a large tract of land, but finally sold it and removed to Arkansas. Peter Van Weir came from the "Faderland" on the banks of the Rhine. He settled herein 1858, but had lived for a while in Panola, Woodford County, before coming to this settlement. He finally removed into Charlotte Township.
Wm. H. Jones came here from La Salle County in the Fall of 1857. His family still resides here, but. he, at present, is doing business at Burr Oak Station, in Ford County. The first birth and death are supposed to have occurred in Mr. Oliver's family, as he was here so long before any other white people settled in the town.
The first marriage particularly remembered was Samuel Patton and Miss Nellie Desmond in 1861, and they were married by the Baptist minister, stationed, at that time, in Fairbury. The first birth among the more modern settlers, was a child born to Truman Brockway. The first death also occurred in his family in 1861. A man - a stranger that no one knew - was struck by lightning soon after the death of Brockway's child. He came to the village of Chatsworth, looking for work, and had been down on the prairie, where his efforts had failed, had come back, and while walking near the railroad track
, was killed by lightning, not far from where Felker's store now stands. The first blacksmith shop in the town was opened by Samuel Patton in 1858. It was then the only shop between Fairbury and Gilman. William H. Jones was the first Justice of the Peace in the town, and held the office when Forrest and Germantown were included in Chatsworth. Dr. D. W. Hunt was the first resident physician. He came here, and still resides in the village of Chatsworth, and practices his profession in the township.
From the school records, we find the first meeting was held at the house of John R. Snyder, the 12th of April, 1858, when the town was still called Oliver's Grove. The following Board of Trustees were elected : Franklin Oliver. J. H. Megquier and Franklin Foot. On the 20th of the same month,the Trustees held a meeting and elected Wm. H. Jones, School Treasurer. In the Summer of this year, the first school was taught in the township, by Miss Jennie Adams. At present, there are seven school districts, with good, substantial frame houses in each district. The office of Treasurer was held by Jones until 1872, when J. T. Bullard was elected and still has the office. The following facts are taken from his last report to the Superintendent of Schools : Number of males in township under 21 years of ago, 491 ; females, 444 ; total, 935; number of males attending school, 198 ; females, 208 ; total, 406 ; number of male teachers employed, 5; female teachers, 11, total teachers employed, 16; estimated value of school property, $15,600 ; estimated value of school apparatus, $225 ; principal of township fund, $8,133.01 ; tax levy for the support of schools, $3,365 ; highest monthly wages paid teacher, $110 ; lowest monthly wages paid teacher, $25 ; average monthly wages paid male teachers, $66.88 ; average monthly wages paid female teachers, $37.50 ; whole amount paid teachers, $4,751.25. The present Board of Trustees are J. M. Roberts, President ; L. T. Stoutmeyer and S. T. Compton. The schools of Chatsworth Township are in a flourishing condition, and compare favorably with those of any other
section of the county.
The first township meeting was held at the house of Franklin Oliver on the 6th of April. 1858, and officers elected for the year for the " Town of Oliver's Grove." The first election resulted as follows: James G. Meredith, Supervisor ; W. H. Jones and J. G. Harper, Justices of the Peace ; C. Hart and B. Harbert, Constables ; John Towner, Assessor ; J. B. Snyder, Collector, and Charles Cranford, Town Clerk. At the next election, April 1, 1859, William H. Jones was elected Supervisor ; Charles Cranford, Town Clerk and Assessor also, and R. R. Miller, Collector. At the meeting of April 3, 1860, Jones and Cranford were re-elected Supervisor and Town Clerk ; I. J. Krack. Assessor, and J. G. Meredith. Collector. The officers of the Township at present are as follows : G. W. Cline, Supervisor ; J. H. Megquier and Peter Shroyer, Justices of the Peace ; Charles Weinland, Assessor ; Charles Reiss, Collector, and Thomas Nash, Town Clerk.
As already stated, Chatsworth, at the time of township organization, embraced the town of Forrest and the fractional town of Germantown. At the meeting of the Board of Supervisors in 1861, Forrest, on petition, was set off, and became a separate and distinct township, and at the September meeting of Supervisors for 1867, Germantown petitioned for separation, and was set off at this meeting, since which time it has been a separate town. Since these divisions and separations, Chatsworth remains still a complete Congressional township of thirty-six sections.
When the settling up of the town began, about 1855, deer and prairie wolves were the almost undisputed possessors of the soil. In portions of Oliver's Grove, there are still deer to be occasionally seen, but they are becoming very scarce, and will soon all be gone, while the wolf, the natural foe of the settler, is almost if not wholly exterminated.

The first preacher to proclaim the Word of God in this section was Old Father Walker, as he was called, of Ottawa, who in 1832 established a mission among the Indians, whose lodges were then spread in Oliver's Grove. The following extract is from an address delivered before the Old Settlers' Society by Judge McDowell, of Fairbury, at the annual meeting in 1877 : The early footprints of Methodism began in this part of the country in 1832. Old Father Walker, who established a mission at the Kickapoo town (now Oliver's Grove), where there was, at that time, a village of ninety-seven wigwams, one large council house, several small encampments, and 630 Indians in all, men, women and children. Father Walker came out occasionally and held meetings with them, appointed and ordained a missionary minister of their own tribe, who always held services on the Sabbath, when Father Walker was not there. Their prayer book was a walnut board, on which were characters carved with a knife, and at the top an engraving. They had a great respect for the Sabbath, and no Indian thought of retiring at night without consulting his board." These ministrations of Father Walker were the first we have any account of in this section, and were probably the first in Livingston County. As there are no church buildings in the township, outside of the village of Chatsworth, this part of our history will be again alluded to in connection with the village.
The old Indian trail that marked the dividing line between the Kickapoo and Pottawatomie tribes was plainly visible through this town, long after settlements were made and the pale-faces had become numerous. And there are still settlers living here who can point out the line along which the trail led.
The Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw Railway was completed through the township, and trains commenced running regularly in 1857. This brought immigrants to the neighborhood, and was the means of the rapid settling up of this town and the surrounding country. The amount of grain and stock shipped from Chatsworth Township over this road is truly wonderful. The Kankakee & Southwestern Railroad, projected to run from Kankakee City, through Chatsworth Township, tapping the Gilman, Clinton & Springfield, at Gibson City, will probably be in process of construction in a short time, it is supposed that the Illinois Central is the "power behind the throne" in this new road, and will push it forward to completion, in order to open to them (the Illinois Central) a more direct route between Chicago and St. Louis. The new Company only ask the right of way through Second street, in the village of Chatsworth, which has been unanimously given. Politically, Chatsworth is pretty evenly divided on national questions, probably Republican by a few votes. Its record during the late war was good for so thinly a populated section as this was at that time. N. C. Kenyon, the present Postmaster of Chatsworth village, was Colonel of the Eleventh Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry, one of the brave regiments of Illinois, that it is said, did as much hard fighting during the war as any regiment from the State.
Conrad Heppe, a resident at present of the village, has served nine years in the United States army, mostly in New Mexico. Many other brave fellows shouldered their muskets and went forth from this and from Charlotte Township (which at the commencement of the war was a part of Chatsworth), to the front, where "war's red blast raged the fiercest." 


Chatsworth is situated on the Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw Railway, about forty miles from State line, and seventy miles from the city of Peoria. It was surveyed and laid out by Nelson Buck , County Surveyor, June 8, 1859, for Zeno Secor and Cornelia Oilman of New York, who owned the land on which it is located. In 1853, the land was entered by Solomon Sturges, who, in 1857, conveyed it to Wm. H. Osborn, and Osborn and wife in turn conveyed it to Secor and Gilman. The original town occupied 160 acres of land, embracing the south half of the northwest quarter, and north half of the southwest quarter of Section 3. Since then several additions have been made to the original plat at different times. It has been organized as a village under the Incorporation act, and the first board of officers were Jacob Titus, E. A. Bangs , John S. McElhiny, W. W. Sears and Albert Tuttle. Jacob Titus was elected President of the Board, and George E. Esty, Village Clerk. At present its official board is as follows: John Young, President; W. F. Dennis, A. M. Roberts, C. Spiecher, Samuel Crumpton and C. Guenther; R. M. Spurgin, Clerk ; W. H. Wakelin, Treasurer; J. M. Myers, Superintendent of Police, and T. S. Curran, Police Magistrate.  
The first building was put up in the village in 1859, by Chas. D. Brooks and Truman Brockway, both of whom were from New York. It was a store and residence combined, a frame building one and a half stories high, with rooms over the store. They afterward went into partnership, and after Brockway got married, he lived over the store. A post office was established in 1860, the first, not only in the village, but in the township. Chas. D. Brooks was the first Postmaster, an office he held several years, when Matthew H. Hall received it. He was succeeded by Col. N. C. Kenyon, who is at present Postmaster.
The first hotel was built by C. W. Drake, in 1859. It has been converted into a dwelling house, and is now used as such. The only hotel in the village is the Cottage House, kept by Wm. Cowling. The first blacksmith, as mentioned in the history of the township, was Samuel Patton, who is still in the business, on the same old stand. He came from Ohio in the Fall of 1859, and there was at that time but one house in the village (Brooks & Brockway 's store), a little grain house and an old carpenter shop. There were two others in sight - the section house, and one two miles out on the prairie, owned by Franklin Foot. Mr. Patton is the inventor of a corn husker, which seems to be a good thing. It husks corn as fast as horses will walk, and can be sold at about $225. He has not commenced the manufacture of them, but designs doing so. 

The first school house was built in 1858, on two lots donated by Osborn for school purposes. This was the first school house in both Chatsworth Township and the village. The present elegant school edifice was built in 1870. Two years ago additions were built to it, at a total cost of buildings and additions of 11,000. It is a two-story frame building, with stone basement, and is finished off in fine style. The teachers and Principal of the school for the year just closed were as follows : Prof. J. T. Dickinson, Principal ; Miss M. J. Speer, Grammar Department ; Miss Brown, Miss Aiken and Mrs. Tuckerman ; Mrs. Palmer, Primary Department.  
The Germania Sugar Company built their large factory here in 1865, for the purpose of manufacturing sugar from the beet. The capital stock of the company was $50,000, which was all owned in Springfield, except $1,000 held in Peoria. The enterprise was projected by a man named Jennet, a German, and, after the company was organized, he had the management. It proved unsuccessful from the lack of water. One well bored on the premises, 1,200 feet deep, cost $6,000, and afforded an insufficiency of water to meet the requirements of the business. It is believed that, with plenty of water, it would have proved a valuable business. The beets yielded about eight per cent, of their weight in sugar. The factory was in operation here for about five years, when the machinery was taken out and removed to Freeport, where it is devoted to
the same purpose as here. The property fell into the hands of Jacob Bunn, of Springfield, who furnished the funds for its operation and removal to Freeport. Though the capital stock was originally $50,000, it cost while here, we are told, about $175,000. The " vacuum pan," as it was called, alone cost $6,000 in Germany, and was an extraordinarily fine piece of machinery. But it was a losing speculation as long as it remained in this village.
A coal shaft was sunk near the village of Chatsworth, in 1867, by Capt. Beard, who had some connection at one time with the east shaft at Fairbury.
A stock company was formed among the citizens of Chatsworth, of $10,000, but the stock was never all paid up. Enough, however, was collected to pay Beard for sinking the shaft, which was about 218 feet deep. The works were finally abandoned, upon the report of Beard that there was no prospect of coal. It is thought by some that a good vein of coal was found, but for some reason the fact was concealed, or at least never officially reported. One of the men employed in the work said to some friends one day, that they passed through a vein of coal about five feet thick in sinking the Chatsworth shaft. Whether this is true or false, we are unable to say.  
The first grain elevator was built by Charles D. Brooks, in 1861, and was burned in 1866. He then built another, which he afterward moved to Piper City. Samuel Compton built one next, and then Havercorn (Haberkorn) & Mette built the one now occupied by A. B. Searing. Joseph Rumbold built one, which is now owned by Searing & Crumpton. The next was an old mill, moved up by the railroad, and changed into an elevator by Chas. Weinland, and is now owned by H. L. Turner.
The mill above referred to was originally built by Wright, Williams &. Cripliver, and, after several changes, it was disposed of as already noted. Williams then erected his present steam mill, and commenced operating it in December, 1877. It is a frame building, with two runs of buhrs, and is used mostly for grinding corn meal and stock feed. Another of Chatsworth's manufactures is the Star Wind Mill, which is put up by David E. Shaw, who is also the patentee of the Marvel Feed Mill, which is adapted to wind mills. Also, the wagon factory of L. C. Spiecher is quite an institution. He works seven hands, and make wagons and carriages principally.  
Chatsworth has two banks - C. A. Wilson & Co., successors to the Chatsworth Bank, and E. A. Bangs & Co. Both houses do a general banking and exchange business.
The Chatsworth Plaindealer is a five-column quarterly newspaper, published by R. M. Spurgin, and is one of the flourishing papers of the county. It was established in November, 1873, by C. B. Holmes, and in August, 1876, passed into the hands of its present owner. It is an independent paper, and takes no particular side in politics.
The first religious society organized in the village of Chatsworth was the Methodist Church, in 1859, by Rev. M. Dewey, with about forty members. The charge, at that time, included Forrest, Five Mile Grove, Pleasant Ridge, Oliver's Grove and Bethel, with Rev. J. W. Flowers as Presiding Elder of the District. The society held their meetings in the school house, two blocks north of the railroad depot, until the year 1874, when they erected a good church building at a cost of about $2,500, in which they have worshiped ever since, having now upon the church rolls about 100 members. Adjacent, is a comfortable parsonage, worth about $500, and both it and the church are free of encumbrance. Rev. Samuel Wood is the present Pastor, and Rev. R. G. Pierce, Presiding Elder of the District. The church was dedicated by Rev. T. M. Eddy, D. D., of Chicago, on the 30th day of November, 1864. The Sunday school of this society was organized in March, 1862. W. H. Wakelin is the present Superintendent, and the average attendance is about 100 children.  
The Presbyterian Church was built soon after the village was laid out, and the society first organized in the school house, under the pastoral care of Rev. Mr. Thomas, who preached here and at a school house in Ford County on alternate Sundays. He then lived at Champaign. The first regular minister in charge of the society was Rev. Oscar Park. The present Pastor is 'Rev. Geo. F. McAfee, formerly of Missouri, but a graduate of the Northwestern Theological Seminary, and has in his charge about eighty members. A very flourishing Sunday school belongs to this church. The Rev. Mr. McAfee is Superintendent, and about one hundred and thirty-five children attend.  
The Baptist Church was built in 1871, is a substantial frame building, 32x54 feet, and cost about three thousand six hundred dollars. Rev. A. Kenyon is Pastor, with a membership of over one hundred, and an interesting Sunday school, of which A. H. Hall is Superintendent. There are two German societies, the Evangelical Association and the Lutherans ; but they have no church buildings, and we were unable to learn anything definite of their organizations.  
The Roman Catholic Church was built in 1864, and dedicated, on the 17th of March, to St. Patrick, by Rev. Thomas Roy, President of St. Victor's College. The building cost about four thousand dollars, is a handsome frame, and was built under the pastorate of Rev. John A. Fanning, of Fairbury. Owen Murtagh, Patrick Monahan and William Joyce were the Building Committee. It was made an independent mission on the 22d of July, 1867, when the Very Rev. Learner Moynihan, formerly of New Orleans, and late of Jersey City, N. J., succeeded the Rev. Father Fanning. A flourishing Sunday school is attached, and the attendance, both at it and the church, are good.  
Chatsworth Lodge, No. 539, A., F. & A. M., was chartered October 1, 1867, Jerome B. Gorin, Grand Master of Illinois, signing the charter, and H. G. Reynolds, Grand Secretary. The charter members were George R. Wells, E. L. Nelson, W. H. Jones, D. E. Shaw, E. A. Simmons, A. E. Anway, James Davis, J. H. Dalton, Charles L. Wells, Ira W. Trask, J. S. McElhiny and D. W. Hunt. D. R. Wells was first Master ; D. R. Shaw, Senior Warden, and E. A. Simmons, Junior Warden. The present Master is N. C. Kenyon, and W. H. Wakelin, Secretary, with forty members.  
Chatsworth Lodge, No. 339, I. 0. 0. F., chartered October 9, 1866, J. K. Scroggs, Grand Master, and Samuel Willard, Grand Secretary. Charter members - Arthur Orr, N. A. Wheeler, Peter Shroyer, T. L. Matthews, H. J. Roberts and G. W. Blackwell. Arthur Orr was first Noble Grand, and N. A. Wheeler, Secretary. C. Guenther is at present Noble Grand, and Arthur Orr, Secretary, with thirty-seven members. Livingston Encampment, No. 1'23, I. 0. 0. F., was chartered May 31, 1871; D. W. Jacoby, Grand Patriarch, and N. C. Nason, Grand Scribe; J. B. Renne, first Chief Patriarch; Peter Shroyer, Scribe. L. C. Spiecher is at present Chief Patriarch, and P. J. Garhart, Scribe, with about twenty members on the roll.
Chatsworth has a well organized fire department, with a good volunteer company. Their engine is the old "Prairie Queen," formerly used in Bloomington, and this village bought it for $1,300, which, with hose and other equipment, runs the cost of the department up to about two thousand dollars. The company has been a valuable acquisition, and has saved to the town more than twenty thousand dollars' worth of property since its organization.  
The bar is represented in Chatsworth by Hon. Samuel T. Fosdick and George Torrence, Esq. The former was elected to the State Senate in the Fall of 1876, on the Republican ticket, receiving 5,056 votes over C. C. Strawn, of Pontiac, Democrat, who received 4,313 votes. The Senatorial District is composed of Livingston and Ford Counties.

The medical fraternity here are Drs. Charles True, D. W. Hunt, Wm. 0. Byington and __ Bostock. John Walter, a merchant of the village, has a very ancient relic, and one he highly prized. It is an old Bible, printed in 1536. It is printed in the Swiss dialect of the German language, bound in heavy wood backs, covered with leather, with heavy iron clasps and corners. Mr. Walter claims that it is the oldest Bible, but one, in the United States; and, for a book that is 340 years old, it is in a state of excellent preservation. It is profusely illustrated throughout the Old and New Testaments with colored engravings of Bible scenes and incidents.  
The village of Chatsworth has one of the most beautiful little parks in this section of the country. It embraces just one square, or block, in the village. and is very handsomely shaded with young maples, of which there are over 50 in the enclosure, making it a fine place to pass an hour or two of a warm evening. and a lovely promenade for the boys and girls, who find in their wooing much moonshine yearning, Such as young folks always have when they are learning to be sweet on each other, and yearn for moonlight, solitude and the " mournful cooing of the turtle dove."
Chatsworth Cemetery was laid out January 4, 1864, and an addition made to it March 2, 1865. It is a pretty little burying ground, and the good order in which it is kept shows a high regard of the living for the dead. The first party buried within its silent shades was an old German laborer who lived, at the time, with Patrick Monahan, of Charlotte Township, and was buried on the spot, before the cemetery was laid out, as noticed in the history of the latter township. 

From The Pontiac Daily Leader

June 30, 1987


Livingston County was possessed by the Kickapoo and Pottawatomie Indians, being victors in a war for land.  They divided the county with an Indian trail that ran near Oliver's Grove___8" deep and 15" wide, used until 1835, when the government removed them to west of the Mississippi. 

In 1828 there was a council house at Indian Grove.  In 1830 it moved to  Oliver's Grove (then known as Kickapoo Grove).  This council house had 97 wigwams and several small encampments__a census of 630 souls. 

V.M. DARNELL and FREDERICK ROOK were the first settlers of the county. 

The winter of 1830-31 was known as the "Great Snow" with 4 feet of snow,covered by drizzling rain and then sleet.   

Note: In other readings it has been said they could walk on top of this because it was so hard. 

In 1831, with the Black Hawk War going on and Avoca being only a short march from the headquarters of their chief, WILLIAM POPEJOY, JOHN HANNAMAN and FRANKLIN OLIVER settled there.

Note: Popejoy and Hannaman are the ancestors of this site manager.

In 1832, a Methodist preacher, WILLIAM WALKER of Ottawa, Illinois, established a mission there.  Their prayer books were walnut boards with carved impressions___a wigwam at the top.

In 1832, the Indians removed to west of the city of St. Louis, Illinois.

In 1832, WILLIAM MCDOWELL of Sciota County, Ohio settled in Avoca Township. They built a cabin and for the doors and window casings, got boards from the Kickapoos at Oliver's Grove.  They traded a small amount of ammunition for them.

May 20th, 1832, settlers visited Kickapoo's at Oliver's Grove to see where they stood.  FRANKLIN OLIVER presided at this meeting, and the decision was made to go back to white settlements in Indian.

May 29th, 1832, seven families in six wagons (MCDOWELL, POPEJOY, JOHNSON, BLUE, JORDON, HANNAMAN and DARNALL (had left earlier) left for Indiana.  OLIVER remained and came and went among the Indians as he pleased.

In the fall nearly all returned to their claims.

In 1833, OLIVER relocated at Kickapoo Grove and renamed it Oliver's Grove.

Originally Chatsworth included Forrest, Germantown, and at one time, Charlotte and was known as Oliver's Grove Township.The Board of Supervisors was petitioned for a name change and WILLIAM JONES, supervisor renamed it Chatsworth after the Duke of Devonshire's estate in England.




This gentleman was a resident of Piper City but had a connection to Chatsworth which I find interesting.

Obituary of S.H. Davis, Ford County, Illinois

Contributed for use in the USGenWeb Archives
Copyright 2000  Susan Larson

Dies at Home in Piper City
Was first man to reach scene of big railroad wreck

S. H. Davis, 87, died at his home in Piper City, Illinois, Sunday night
at about ten o'clock, Feb. 13, 1944.  While he had been ill for some
time, his death occurred suddenly as the result of a severe stroke.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday afternoon at the Houk Funeral
Home, conducted by the Rev. H. Welton Rotz, of the First Presbyterian
Church. Music was furnished by Miss Kathryn Switzer pianist, and Mrs.
R.E. Squires who sang, "The Old Rugged Cross," and "Sunrise Tomorrow."

Burial took place in Brenton cemetery with John Gerdes, Ed Rebholz, Lou
Grosenbach, C.E. Miller, John Shaughnessy and Homer Walters as casket
bearers.  F.T. Wilson and J.B. Eacret were in charge of floral

Obituary Samuel Hiawatha, son of Joseph and Rebecca McKinsey Davis, was
born January 4, 1857, in Salem, (Ross) Ohio.  The family came to
Illinois when he was nine months old, making the trip in a covered
wagon, and settled on a farm three and one-half miles west of Piper
City, which from that time until 1933, when he retired and moved to
Piper City, was his home.

He was united in marriage to Miss Jennie Linn, of Piper City, on
January 29, 1896.  She survives him, with one daughter, Mrs. J.J.
(Hazel) Lyons, also of Piper City, and two-grandchildren, Eddie and
Marilyn Lyons.  He also leaves one sister, Miss Myra Davis, 89 years
old, who resides at Edmond, Okalahoma. Three sisters and two brothers
have prededed him in death.

Mr. Davis had probably lived in the Piper City community continuously
longer than any other resident, and his accounts of the pioneer days of
the country were always interesting and in demand.  When the family
located on the farm west of here, which was purchased for nine dollars
per acre, the town of Piper City did not exist; and Ford county had not
been organized.  There were no houses at Chatsworth, nor had the T.P. &
W. Railroad been built east of Fairbury.  The man who built the first
Chatsworth house stayed at the Davis home, and the lumber from it and
many of the Piper City homes was hauled by team from Onarga.

From this stage in the history of the community, Mr. Davis watched and
had a part in its development to the rich corn belt of the present
time.  He was a just and upright citizen and possessed those qualities
which won for him the friendship of those with whom he came in contact.

Mr. Davis is said to have been the first person to reach the scene of
the famous Chatsworth wreck between Chatsworth and Piper City on the
night of August 10, 1887, when so many people were killed and injured
in a wreck of a Niagra Falls bound passenger train.  His farm lies just
a short distance east of the scene and he reached the wreck very soon
afterward and assisted in the work of rescue that followed.

Source:USGenweb Archives

This obituary also appeared in the Chatsworth Plaindealer on February 14, 1944

Read more info here.


This is a list of some of the major fires that took their toll on the town: 

*1866 Brook's Elevator*

Note: The first elevator built here in 1861 and burned five years later. 


*1871 Weilands's 3 Story Feed Mill*

Note: Burnt to the ground. Stood where Livingston's west elevator stood. 


*1879 E.A. Bangs Drugstore*

Note:They used a hook and a rope and 100 men to pull the burning building away and put salt and water on the roofs to save the other buildings. 

*Early 1880's Oliver's Sawmill*


*1881* 5 Business Houses in the center block* 

Note:This included the Chatsworth Library, Dr. Byington's office, a barbershop, a photography studio and several apartments. 


*June 8,1890 Joe E. Brown & Company Bank*

Note: This fire destroyed the bank, 2 grocery stores, 3 saloons, a meat market, a drug store, a barber shop, a restaurant and a clothing store.

3 other businesses suffered smoke and water damage. This would have been the center business block. Only the Plaindealer building and the Walter's building survived this fire because they were made of brick.


Note:L.J. Haberkorn has this to say in his book, "History of Chatsworth"

The night watchman sounded the fire alarm about 3 a.m., when he discovered a fire in the rear of the Brown bank building. I could tell you what the report was at this time as to the origin of this 
fire, but will only say, it seems a kerosene lamp was accidentally upset in the back room and into a pile of cobs and before the parties realized what had happened the fire had started. I, living on 
Main street, was the first to respond to the fire alarm, and as I was then foreman of the fire engine, I made tracks for the engine house. The town board had placed the town hall on a foundation 
so high that the platform in front of it was so steep that unless there were firemen enough around to hold the engine back, it would run down this platform and across the street. There were only three 
of us there. Ed Megquier and I took hold of the tongue, while Lawrence Streun held onto the back, but in spite of us, it nearly ran through the fence on the opposite side of the street. 

There was a large water cistern under this platform, but we could not push the engine back over this cistern, so we continued on to Main street and east to the cistern on the south side of Main street at the center of the 
block. The fire had gained a good start, and we really had two fires to fight, one burning east, and the other one west. We firemen, with the good assistance of our citizens, did all we could to put out the fire 
but in spite of all that we could do the entire block of buildings went up in smoke with the exception of the Walter and Smith buildings which were built of brick. This was an awful night and morning 
for Chatsworth; nearly a whole block gone and the south side of the street piled full of all kinds of goods and furniture taken from the store buildings. Loss was estimated at about $100,000. I will never forget the 
morning of June 8th, 1890.

*1891 Ringler Brothers Saloon in the west business block*

Note:Building badly damaged but went no further. 


*1893 The Town Hall*

Note: The building was completely destroyed with extra hose, hook and ladder truck and ladders. It stood where the town hall is now. 


*1893 The Blakely Resturant*

Note: This was in the east business block and quickly extinguished. 



*March 18, 1898 Meents, Smith and Cloke Elevator*

Note:This elevator was originally built by L.J. Haberkorn's father and uncle. 



*1901 Illinois Central Depot and Elevator*

Note:Originally the depot was on the east side of the tracks. When the new one was built it was placed on the west side. The elevator at the time was owned by Rogers,Bacon and Company.The L.A. Walter elevator on the east side of the tracks was saved


*1910 The Shaughnessy Pop Bottle Factory*

NoteThe building was entirely destoryed as were Wrede's Shoe Store, Rhode's Fair Store and Lemna's Barber Shop



*1921 Sneyder Garage*

Note: This was located on the south side of the east business block.The garage was destroyed as were several other buildings. Buildings on the north side of the street also had windows cracked from the heat of the blaze. 


*1924 Mrs. McMullen's Millinary Shop*

Note:This was in the Shafer Insurance and Library building. Mrs. Swarzwadler,librarian and Mr. Shafer were badly burned getting out. Trunk Oil was also damaged. 


*1936 N.M. LaRochelle's McCormick Deering,International Harvester Garage.*


*March 9, 1946 Baldwin's Federated and Kaiser's Theater *  


The Baldwin Federated Store And Kaiser Theater Fire Articles



*1946 Pliney Dancey's Store and Community Grocery*
Note: These were located in the east business block. 

*January 30,1949 Leather's Produce and Maplethorpe's Shoe Repair * 

Note:Originally this was the Chatsworth Opera House and known as Harbeke Hall, also the East End Hall,  and was one of the oldest buildings in town when it burnt. Basketball was  played here before the high school gym was built. It was the site of many dances.Windows were also blown out on the north side of the block, due to the intensity of the heat. 



*July 25, 1952 Diller Tile Company*

Note:Much of the factory was destroyed.


*1952 The Big Dipper*


Note:The Big Dipper was operated by Mr. and Mrs. Leo Kerrins at the time of the fire. Before that it was Al's Confectionery.



*November 7, 1955 The Chatsworth Feed Mill*

Note: This was owned and operated by Henry Martin and James Sanders.


*1963 Branz Cafe and Gas Station"

Note:This was located on what is now the northwest corner of the intersection of  New Route 24 and the slab road.


*1965 Hangar Motel Fire*


Note: This was owned by F.L. Livingston and was converted into an airplane hangar.


*January, 1980 Moore Construction*

Note:This was located in a large barn that was originally built on the old Lawless farm on the east curve on Walnut Street.


*May 19, 1980 Betty's Bargin Barn*

Note: This building is on the south side of the east business block. It now houses the BBB Gun Shop.


*April 26, 1990 Dohman's Electronics*

Note: Go to this page to read about the fire 


*May 5, 1998 The Grand Ole Bar*


Note: This bar was named after the original building,The Grand.


Webmaster's Note: I recall watching the Baldwin fire from the window of my Grandmother's house, located just one block south of there at the age of 4. All of the school children watched the Big Dipper fire from the school yard fence. We, my family, observed the Leathers chicken house fire, blazing in the night sky, from our home about a quarter mile from town. Having half ownership in the Grand Ole Bar, I was there the day it happened. It was on my 54th birthday, no less, and I was working! Guess those dramatic moments stick in your memory well!

Sources: The Chatsworth Area Centennial Celebration

                  History of Chatsworth, Illinois

                  Sands of Time, 150 Years Around Chatswoth



Chatsworth History Page 2


  C.A. Wilson & Company    AKA Bank of Chatsworth 
Chatsworth Poets                                              


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