Princeville Township History


View of the Stock Farm of Onias Cummins
Section 30, Princeville Township

Atlas Map of Peoria County, Illinois, 1873, page 92


     Daniel Prince came to Princeville in 1822, and settled on section 24, built a log cabin 14x14, being the pioneer of civilization in this part of the county. He was a native of the northern part of Vermont. The first settler who moved his family into the township was Stephen French, a native of Connecticut, who emigrated to Sangamon county, Ill., some time previous to 1828. He came to Peoria county and settled near Peoria that year, and soon afterwards became a resident of Princeville, and was the first justice of the peace and first postmaster in the place. Mr. French has a son, Demmeck French, living in the township, who was the first white child born in the county. The first school was taught in a log house near where Hitchcock & Voores' mill now stands, by Miss Esther Stoddard. The first male teacher was Theodore F. Hurd, now a successful merchant and farmer of Galva, Ill. The first sermon was preached by Rev. Robt. Stewart, a Presbyterian minister. The first death was that of the father-in-law of Isaac Essex (name unknown). The first birth was a child in Mr. S. French's family.


Is situated in the northern portion of the county, on section 13 of Princeville township, on the Peoria and Rock Island railroad, twenty-two miles from Peoria, and is a nourishing town of about 900 inhabitants. It was laid out and named by Wm. C. Stevens, on the 20th day of June, 1837, in the midst of a rich and fertile prairie.
     The first store in Princeville was kept by Elisha Morrow, on block No. 9, (owned by Thos. Morrow,) in a log building, where he remained about two years. Afterwards, Mr. Wm. C. Stevens put in a small stock of goods—as he says—to hold the village together. After the closing out of Morrow, Hitchcock & Rowley embarked in business in the same building. They were afterwards succeeded by J. W. Gue, in 1851, where he remained a short time and then built the brick store now occupied by F. B. Blanchard, it being the first brick store in the town.
     About 1851, a man by the name of Gray commenced the grocery and notion trade, but soon abandoned it. In the Summer of the same year, Eldridge & Parker built a store room where the Eureka House now stands, and put in a stock of goods.
     Among the present business men are F. B. Blanchard, William Simpson and Otto Davidson, dry goods; J. H. Russell, Garrison & Fuller and Emmet Illingsworth, in groceries; Peter Auten & Son, in banking; Solomon Bliss and D. W. Herron, in drugs; C. W. Russell, in hardware; Valentine Weber, in boots and shoes; James B. Ferguson, in jewelry. There are two hotels in the place. The proprietors are J. G. Corbett, who also has a livery, and Mrs. W. G. Selby. There is one meat market, by John D. Hammer; two cabinet shops, one by James Campbell, and the other, Hammer & May; one bakery and restaurant, by John Ayling; one steam flouring mill, by Hitchcock & Voorhess; two harness makers, O. F. Herrick and George Reimhart; one attorney at law, B. P. Duffy; two millinery shops, Misses Bonton & Bohrer, and Misses Edwards & Godfrey ; E. H. Burgass is postmaster.


Is a flourishing little village in Princeville township, situated on the Buda branch of the C., B. & Q. R. R., twenty-five or twenty-six miles northwest of Peoria. It was laid out and platted on the 26th day of June, 1873, by S. S. Cornwell, a native of Duchess county, New York, who emigrated to this county in 1838, and located on section 28, where he still resides. The town was first named Cornwell, which was afterwards changed to Monica. The Hon. Wm. J. Phelps gave it its name, after a Grecian princess. The first store was built by Andrew D. Rogers, for hardware purposes. Then followed H. P. Hanover, who erected a store building and opened out a stock of groceries and boots and shoes. (The History of Peoria County, Illinois, 1880, pages 610-612, submitted by Janine Crandell)

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Updated December 10, 2004