A Day of social Activity among Its Prosperous, Contented People. One of Kendall County’s Best Communities.
The Business Directory. An Array of Successful Workers
The village of Millington is snuggled down between the hills. At one time in the history of Kendall County it was a bustling place. There were factories of considerable importance.
Now the quietness of the little town is only disturbed by the screech of the passing locomotive. Yet a visitor is surprised to see what a large trade is drawn thither by the enterprising tradesmen.
Last Friday was cooler than it had been for a week. It was a delightful day for an outing, and I took it. The dust, which attended my trip, was something fearful. As I rode along the unusual sight of an editor out on pleasure caused the farmer boys to cease their activities in the harvest field for a short time, and to wonder if anything was wrong.
Nothing was wrong; a remembrance of the good times I had before had at Millington, the always-kind welcome of the good people of the place, and a longing to again meet with them prompted me to make the trip.
The last time I had driven out in the country, the corn was just making its bow. Today it nodded familiarly above the fence top and seemingly said: "I am not only America’s pride, but America’s salvation." The great magician had also touched the beds of emerald green, the rye, the wheat and the oats. The green had been replaced by a golden hue. The promise of the springtime had been fulfilled. Over knoll and plain stood the heavy shocks of ripened grain. In many fields harvesting was in progress, but the majority was gathered, awaiting the coming thresher.
The golden sun hung almost to the center as I rested my horse for a moment upon the hill, at the foot of which lay Millington. The promises of prosperity, which had surrounded my travels, were made more vivid as I reflected how important was this to the masses of our cities. The times have been fearful. The suffering among the poor something so little realized. Here, below me, was a little center of contented souls. Many not rich in lands or money, yet blessed with enough, and satisfied. Years before the little hamlet of Millington had been set in a furor. The few people living there had awakened one morning to find that they were on the eve of importance. The price of realty went to fictitious figures. Were they not to lead all other places in Kendall County to become the busy city? But like the Wing mill bubble, their hopes were but passing.
In 1866 the Valley Waterpower Company obtained a charter. Subsequently, near the site of the old woolen mill, now nothing but scattered masonry, ground was broken for a great canal. The little town was immediately haunted with speculators and keen writers from city papers. Millington and Millington’s prospects were heralded near and far. Men of money and brains congregated here, and were feasted by the citizens. The canal was to be between two and three hundred feet long and eight feet wide. Fox River turned into this channel was to give much valuable waterpower. Even the places were chosen for various kinds of factories, employing large forces of men. The adjacent sand beds had been tested and the largest plate glass factory in the United States formulated on paper. Considerable progress on the canal was made, but finally ceased. Millington’s sun had set.
With the gilding rubbed off came a change. The citizens settled down to a sure and less exciting livelihood. The bestowal of nature was good enough. Rich farm lands and the deposits of valuable sand were cultivated and the people prospered.
The population of Millington is less than five hundred. No pretensions are made. The people are industrious, educated and consequently enjoy high morals. The place is not contaminated with saloons, yet in proportion to its size the village has the largest country patronage of any point in Kendall County. The keystone to its happiness is its schools and its church, the Methodist. The people take pride in both and willingly give toward their maintenance. Both school and church are comfortable commodious frame structures, conveniently situated near the center of the place.
But a few years have passed with Millington enjoying the distinction of a bank. The day of hoarding up dollars in old stockings or in feather beds has passed. Greater security and increased earnings can be secured in a special repository. Finnie & Pleuss, awake to the necessity, have a model little banking house. Books and papers find security in an especially strong vault. A steel safe, inside the vault yet more carefully guards the monies the establishment holds. This safe is one of the latest patterns, and once locked it is practically sure until it time lock privileges the throwing of the tumblers. The bank has an increasing patronage, increased largely by the conservative ways of the principals. Mr. Walter Finnie, the President, is a prosperous farmer, leaving the care of the establishment to his partner, Mr. Charles H. Pleuss. The latter has in connection with the bank a large general store. Both store and bank occupy a modern brick building. Its handsome plate windows giving a truly metropolitan aspect to the corner which it occupy.
Closely identified with the progress of the place has been associated the name of Joseph Jackson. Prominent in the village organization appears the name Jackson. The present, well-known, "Joe" Jackson is a worthy scion of the old stock. Mr. Jackson manufactures brick and tile, and has an established, paying trade, reaching out beyond the confines of Kendall County. He is also largely interested in realty, and holds many choice bits of land. His old fashioned, comfortable residence stands well down toward the edge of the village. Down where the Fox River calls a halt to further building in that direction. Here, in his ripening years, with plenty of means and a good wife, he is enjoying his reward. To Mr. Jackson’s energies are largely due many permanent blessings to his neighbors and successors. He was instrumental in no slight degree in the building of the railroad, the Streator branch of the Burlington. At present he is fathering a telephone system over the county and has donated parks and grounds until it would have been no misnomer had the town been called Jackson. Interested as he has been in engineering schemes, it is no great wonder that his two sons should find their life calling in that direction. Both sons, Lewis B. and Edward W., are prominently identified with the city of Chicago. The former as chief engineer, and the latter as his assistant.
At times people sicken among these people, as elsewhere, and yet it is recognized as an extremely healthy place. Years ago there came two men to Millington, both careful students and skilled practitioners in their respective branches of medicine. Dr. Julius A. Freeman has now popularity and riches. His skill has not been confined to his immediate surroundings. As a counselor of great ability and as a discerning physician he enjoys a statewide reputation. His name and his writings are indeed strong ones among his fellow professional men, as well as those receiving directly his ministrations. The other gentleman is Samuel Foster, the longtime proprietor of the local drug establishment. Years of close application have whitened his hair, but time has not robbed him of either his happy disposition or splendid drug knowledge. Tired of doling out medications he has retired, and the business is now conducted by Mr. C. E. Potter, a popular boy reared nearby. Dr. Freeman and Mr. Fowler each have handsome homes, and both are content in taking life easier.
A couple of years ago when Dr. J. W. Carr hung out his shingle in Millington there was a significant motion of the head on the part of some of the people. They predicted that he could not make a living, and they wondered if his wardrobe was healthy enough to last him while he waited a practice. Dr. Carr’s foresight was better than theirs was. From the beginning he made his way. Each day and each month shows him the wisdom of his selection of a location. Fortified with a splendid medical education, enriched by a hospital practice, he had nothing to fear. A perfect gentleman in his ways, the community took a liking to the young physician, and soon he was receiving calls. Success crowned his efforts, and today those who recognize Dr. Carr as their physician are many and are classed as among the best people. To qualify as a doctor, marriage is essential, that is, for confidence. Since his arrival in Millington the gentleman has married, and both the doctor and his wife have taken a preeminent position in society and church.
The establishment of V. L. Anderson is by no means an insignificant one. His large grain elevator and carriage and machinery warehouses cover much ground space. He is a lively factor in the town and his fair dealing draws him trade from out toward Lisbon and even from under the shadow of Sandwich. Much grain is received at and shipped from Millington. Last spring Mr. Anderson added a full line of buggies and carriages. Knowing that faith could be placed in his recommendation, he has found his business in the new departure something beyond his most sanguine expectations. He expects a lively interest in that direction when the farmers begin hauling their grain. Thus, these businesses as well as the proprietor thereof are valuable acquisitions to the town.
A few years ago, tired of the uncertainty of civil engineering as well as of single life, Fred T. Rolph married and settled down in Millington as one of her businessmen. He found such an opportunity by the purchase of the lumber and coal business. He has been extremely successful at the business. His popularity in the village is best attested by his repeated calls to positions of trust. Mr. Rolph has built up his trade, and with his neighbor, Mr. Anderson, finds the fullest confidence and patronage from the many farmers who recognize Millington as their market.
N. I. Watters and M. B. Hudgens occupy opposite sides of the street. Each has a splendid stock of general merchandise. Both gentlemen have long been classed as among the foremost of Kendall County’s merchants. Keen to embrace an opportunity, they carry complete stocks and have their reward in a paying patronage.
Mr. and Mrs. Delos Barrows are on the corner beyond the post office. Mr. Barrows is a hustler for the grocery wants of the people, while his wife with her cozy millinery parlors, holds out special inducements to the ladies.
The R. Vickery hardware store, with J. Middleton as manager, sells everything from a tack to a full sized range.
Nick Marco has the butcher shop. When the farmers are too busy to go to him he goes to them. Just now his rolling butcher shop may be found all over the country.
Abe Boyd and Charlie Wilson can rent you a team. George Barrian can supply your horse if he casts a shoe. R. L. Culver can grind you a feed for your beast, and both D. A. Harrington and Charlie Wilson give you good care at their well-arranged hotels. R. Fisher will shave you and his nearest neighbors George Weissharr & Co., supply you with either an ice cream or an oyster lunch in season.
Millington may not be a Chicago in size, but can furnish you with a big hearted lot of people and any necessities or luxuries any ordinary man should have.
In the suburbs of Millington are two plants, which supply the world. One, the Millington White Sand Company and the other the Acme Cement works. Here many men find employment, and the products furnished find favor in many places. During the panicky times of the past few years the output has not been so great, but in the season of prosperity each plant works both day and night. The sand, almost pure silicate, finds its way to the many glass factories. The cement is in demand among the builders.
Millington and Millington people are great credits to Kendall County.
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