Last Thursday it was too muddy to ride in a buggy, so we invested twenty-five cents in that giant corporation too soulless to pass an impecunious editor, the C. B. & Q. Railroad Company. We went as far as the amount would take us and the conductor let us off at Millbrook. The first man we saw was Dr. Littlewood, coroner and postmaster, who holds an inquest on the Millbrook mail twice a day. The next person we saw was that happy man, Jacob Budd, who is just as proud of the rapid growth of Millbrook as a country printer with a job of sale bills that he gets the cash for.
Standing upon the platform we see several new buildings built since we called her last summer. On the right there is a block of stores and a hotel. On the left a handsome building used as a drug store.
Our first objective point is the schoolhouse about a quarter of a mile away. We notice in passing, a new fence around the churchyard, and a large shed in which to shelter teams during church service.
Both improvements look well for the energy of our Millbrook brethren. The schoolhouse is a few rods further. The building looked quite well before Millbrook was built up, but now presents a less important appearance.
Entering the school, we were greeted by Mr. J. F. McCloskey, of Aurora, who has charge. He is a man of experience in the profession. He formerly taught at Plattville and in Kane and Lawrence Counties. The seats are filled by twenty-five scholars, of which two-thirds are boys and young men. The enrollment is thirty. The interior of the house is situated to make it very convenient for scholars and teacher. There are three or four students in a seat. When a class is called there is much necessary confusion in getting it arranged. The seats are uncomfortable as well. Mr. McCloskey is a teacher, not merely a hearer of lessons. We were pleased with his geography class and his manner of instructing it. In arithmetic he is equally at home in making things plain.
At noon we accompanied the teacher to dinner. I had the honor of dining in company with a lady ninety-two years of age, the grandmother of Mrs. Edward Budd. As little Cornelia Budd informed us, "My great-grandmother." After dinner, we heard a soul stirring Sabbath school song by Mrs. Budd, accompanied by a magnificent parlor organ.
We walked back to the school and among other classes heard an excellent recitation in philosophy by a class of young men. A lively discussion occurred on the "upward pressure of water," in which Mr. Walter VanOsdal ably defended his position. We like to hear a class recite that takes a deep interest in the lesson, and can appreciate a discussion on a mooted point. This school is doing fine. A new school is promised at an early day.
We walked through the rain and mud to town again. Dropped in to see Dr. Littlewood. Found a handsome little drugstore, clean and neat as a pin. The doctor keeps elixirs to cure all the ills flesh is heir to. As well as life-stuffs, the Doctor keeps dyestuffs.
The post office is here, and a neat case of boxes holds the papers and letters for the good people of the vicinity. The Doctor is please with his quarters, and does a good business.
Across the street we saw a familiar countenance about the lime barrels, and found Paul Dearborn getting ready to put the finishing touches on the new hotel walls. Inside we found Jacob Budd hard at it. It was difficult to tell which predominated the most on his clothing, mud or mortar. We read the gentleman a lesson on economy in these hard times, and went with him to look at as pretty a little hall as you will find in a day's journey. It is over the two storerooms on the west side of the street, and is 28 by 40 feet with a ten-foot ceiling. It is nicely painted, with hard finished, white walls, and a good platform. It is an ornament to the village.
The Hotel is small, but well arranged. Seven bedrooms upstairs; parlor, office, dining room and kitchen downstairs. It is very convenient for the purpose intended. We understand that Mr. Henry Chappell, of Yorkville, will be the host, and his wife the landlady. We don't know just how much "Hank" can keep a hotel, but if his wife does not make her boarders comfortable with good accommodations it will not be because she doesn't try. She is an active lady and a good housekeeper. The house will be opened about the first of January with a grand ball.
We crossed the road to Budd & Washburn's store, where the people of Millbrook do their trading. Mr. Washburn was there, and he made us feel at home. The storeroom is large. Its shelves carry a heavy stock of dry goods. Groceries, crockery, woodenware, etc., fill up all other available space. In a large room just back of the store, the heavier and more bulky articles are kept. A meat market is established which Washburn says has been kept busy furnishing the food for the gaunt and hungry men from Yorkville, Cornell, Chappell, Burton, Dearborn, et al.
After a while Mr. Gale came in with a handsome new desk, which was made for the firm. It soon found its place on the counter. While sitting by the stove, we noticed quite a thriving trade, notwithstanding the dull day. In talking with the owners we found that both Mr. Budd and Mr. Washburn came from near Fishkill, New York. They have been in this vicinity nearly twenty-five years. The firm has done a business of about $20,000 this past year. By judicious and liberal advertising in the Record this might be run up to $40,000 another year. What say you gentlemen, to half a column?
Here comes Major Biddulph, who does the grain buying here. The major pays good prices for grain. He is just as sociable as ever, and the first thing he does is to hand out a two-dollar bill to the Record man for a subscription, and he wanted no change either. The major lives in a beautiful little suburban town situated on the banks of the Fox River below Millbrook called Millington.
Nearly five o'clock and the train to the county seat is due. Investing our last "two-bits" in a railroad ticket, we board the cars and leave the new town in the darkness. We soon alight in the busy metropolis of the Fox River Valley, Yorkville, and thus close a pleasant visit to Millbrook.
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