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History of Decatur, City of, and Township
The capital of Macon county was named in honor of Stephen Decatur, so famous in the naval annals of our country, a native of Maryland, born in 1779. On the 22d of March, 1820, this gallant, noble-hearted gentleman fell mortally wounded in a duel with Commodore Barron, at Blandensburg.
The land on which the original town of Decatur was laid out, was entered by Parmeans Smallwood, Easton Whitten and Charles Prentice, for which, at the time, they had not yet received a patent from the government. The commissioners appointed to select a site for the seat of justice were John Fleming, Jesse Rhodes and Easton Whitten. Mr. Whitten received ten dollars for his services, and the other members seven dollars and fifty cents each.
Benjamin R. Austin, the county surveyor, laid off the town in accordance with instructions, "after the form of Shelbyville," and for his services was allowed the sum of twenty-four dollars.
On the 20th day of June, 1829, Messrs. Smallwood, Whitten and Prentice entered into bond with the county commissioners, stipulating that, after they received their patent, they would convey to the commissioner a gift deed for the twenty acres of land on which the town had been located.
The survey was acknowledged on July 7th, 1829, and at the same term of court following order was made by the commissioners:
"Ordered, That a sale of lots take place in the town of Decatur, in this county, on the 10th day of July next, on the following terms, to-wit: a credit of twelve months will be given, and note with approved security will be required, and that the clerk of this court is required to advertise the sale in the paper printed in Vandalia until the day of sale."
At the sale on the 10th day of July, the first lot sold was No. 2, in block 3, where Priest's Hotel now stands, which being a corner lot, was bid in by John Manly for $53.50. The second lot was lot 6, in block 1, which was bid in for $12.00.
At the time Decatur was laid off, one cabin stood on the twenty acres composing the town site; but several more had been erected as early as 1824 and '25, on land included within the present limits of the city. The first store in Decatur stood on the site of the Priest House, and was kept by James Renshaw, who came from Shelbyville, and who has descendants in the county. The second merchant was Isaac C. Pugh, prominent in the history of the county and state, who came from Vandalia. These stores were established in 1829, and the goods were carted from St. Louis.
Decatur grew but slowly in the first years of its history, and in fact was little more than a hamlet, until 1836, when the state inaugurated the famous system of "Internal Improvements." Decatur was to be the crossing of the "Northern Cross" and Central railroads, and work was actually begun on both of these. Its growth from this year until 1842 was more rapid, and the population reached at least five hundred souls. In 1836 and '37 the spirit of speculation was rife. Town lots sold at fancy prices and additions were laid out. In 1842 all hopes of getting a railroad died out; and the burning of the steam-mill was a great blow to the properity of the place. From 1842 to 1852, when work was beginning on the Illinois Central R.R., it was at a stand-still. But from that time forward its growth has been continous and substantial.
*Painting of Stephen Decatur is in the public domain.
Partial List of Patrons
NAME RES. OCCUPATION NATIVITY SETT. ARBUCKLE, A.R. Decatur Editor of Tomahawk OH 1874 ARNOLD, John A. Decatur Hatter VA 1875 ALLEN, D.L. Sec 23 Retired Loudon Co, VA 1828 REED, Julia E. Sec 23 Wife of D.L. Allen Charlo. NC 1830 ANDREWS, Thomas Decatur Saloon & Billiard Parlor ? ? ALLEN, Samuel C. Sec 12 Farmer Loudon Co, VA 1832 GORE, Jane E. Dec'd 25 June 1880 Loudon Co, VA 1838 ALDRIDGE, H.A. Decatur Butcher Scott Co 1866 BUCKINGHAM, I.A. Decatur Attorney OH 1863 BARNES, W.A. Decatur Retired Physician NH 1853 BARNES, Albert Decatur Abstract'r Conveyancer IN 1853 BRENNEMAN, D.W. Decatur Wholesale Liquor Dealer IN 1865 BRANDOM, M. Decatur Oculist and Aurist IN 1870 BLENZ, Jacob Decatur Butcher Germany 1876 BRADLEY, A. Decatur Lightning Rod Agent OH 1862 BAKER, J.N. Decatur Deals in Boots & Shoes Macon Co 1844 BAKER, H.S. Decatur Contractor & Builder IN 1855 BLENZ, John Jr. Decatur Butcher Germany 1871 BARTHOLOMEW, E.D. Decatur Glassware, Toys & Notions CT 1869 BUNN, D.P. Decatur Universalist Minister OH 1854 BACHRACH, Henry Decatur Clothier MD 1877 BLUME, George P. Decatur Agent Gen. Singer Machine OH 1872 BRADEN, Boyd Decatur Prop. General Novelty Works PA 1879 BUTMAN, J.W. Decatur Supt. Gas Works MA 1871 BIRD, John Decatur Calciminer ALA 1856 BROWN, John A. Decatur Lawyer MA 1865 WEBBER, Albert G. Decatur Attorney Germany 1863 BLESSING, John Sec 23 Tile Manufacturer PA 1876 BRAMBLE, Onies N. Decatur Eng. City Water Works IN 1858 BARRACHMAN, C.J. Sec 5 Farmer & Stock Raiser MD 1861 TOPPING, Hannah Sec 5 Wife of C.J. Barrachman OH 1861 BUMSTEAD, Samuel J. Decatur Physician, Surgeon Phil., PA 1877 BROWN, Josiah Decatur Physician & Surgeon Canada 1858 BERING, Edward J. Decatur Mfg. Ag. Implements Berks Co, PA 1876 CLOKEY, Josiah M. Decatur Attorney OH 1873 CHAMBERS, Wm. E. Decatur Manufacturing NY 1862 BERING, Jas. E. Decatur Manufacturing PA 1876 QUINLAN, Wm. J. Decatur Manufacturing PA 1857 CURTIS, Ira B. Decatur Oculist, Aurist & J.P. OH 1840 CHENOWETH, W.J. Decatur Physician & Surgeon KY 1854 CHENOWETH, C. Decatur Physician & Surgeon KY 1854 CARRIGAN, John R. Decatur Painter KY 1864 CONKLIN, A.W. Decatur Cotton Bagging Mfgs. IN 1861 CALDWELL, C.M. Decatur Prop. Eclipse Stables OH 1871 CURTIS, O.E. Decatur Jeweler Christ'n Co 1855 CAMPBELL, John S. Decatur Saloon OH 1858 COLLADAY, Walter F. Decatur Prop. Billiar Parlor PA 1858 CORMAN, O.F. Decatur Dentist PA 1864 CAMPBELL, James C. Decatur Tobacconist Marion Co 1873 CAIN, Lew R. Decatur Prop. of Saloon NY 1856 CARDER, John Sec 8 Farmer & Stock Raiser Frank. Co OH 1863 PARK, Nancy J. Sec 8 Wife of John Carder Morgan Co 1867 DURFEE, B.K. Decatur Insur. & Real Estate Agent MI 1857 DURFEE, George S. Decatur Dealer in Farm Imp. & Seeds MI 1857 DAWKINS, R.C. Decatur Dentist KY 1865 DANIEL, John H. Sec 13 Farmer & Stock Raiser Belmont OH 1864 DODSON, Fannie Sec 13 Wife of John H. Daniel Green Co 1864 DODSON, Ben F. Decatur Prop. of Saloon IN 1861 DINNEEN, John Decatur Grocer & Co Coroner Ireland 1856 DANZEISEN, Jacob Decatur Butcher, Whole. & Retail Baden, Ger. 1871 DERINIT, James Decatur Contractor & Builder IN 1858 DUNSTON, A.J. Decatur Balcksmith OH 1855 DENNIS, W.A. Decatur Hardware Merchant OH 1859 DODSON, William Decatur B.M.U.D. for past 23 yrs. England 1852 ELDRIDGE, E.R. Decatur Attorney IN 1870 ELWOOD, C. Decatur Clothing & Dry Goods NY 1857 EHRMAN, I.W. Decatur Clothing Manufacturer Germany 1853 EWING, E.F. Decatur Jeweler McLean Co 1866 ECKART, Mathias Sec 9 Farmer, Grain Baden, Ger 1854 REFLEN, Mary Barbara Sec 9 Wife of Mathias Eckart Baden, Ger. 1854 EICHOLTZ, E.B. Sec 10 Fruit & Veg. Grower York Co PA 1864 STARE, Lory A. Sec 10 Wife of E.B. Eicholtz York Co PA 1864 FOSTER, W.W. Decatur Collector OH 1866 FREEMAN, James Decatur Boot & She Merchant MA 1878 FROSTMEYER, Martin Decatur Sheriff of Macon Co. Bavar. Ger. 1854 GEDDES, James Sec 12 Farmer & Stock Raiser Leban. Co PA 1835 BURNETT, Mary J. Sec 12 Wife of James Geddes KY 1833 GALLAGHER, Arthur J/ Dec'd Judge - Died 23 Jun 1879 Ire. 1854 GALLAGHER, Rachel R. Decatur Wid. Judge Gallagher Macon Co. 1843 GASTMAN, E.F. Decatur Teach. & Supt City Schools NY 1860 GREER, Samuel F. Decatur County Judge OH 1854 GAY, Edward C. Decatur Insur. & Loan Agent Piatt Co. 1879 GRINDOL, W.H. Decatur Marble Dealer OH 1864 GOODMAN, Charles Decatur Builder Macon Co. 1847 GEHRMANN, Theod. A. Decatur Dry Goods Dealer Prussia 1868 GRING, I.B. Sec 17 Farmer & Stock Raiser PA 1850 HAMSHER, B.K. Decatur Ed. & Pub. Republican PA 1856 MOSSER, J.R. Decatur Ed. & Pub. Republican PA 1856 HAYWORTH, L.L. Decatur Check Rower Mfg. OH 1857 HAYNES, N.S. Decatur Disciple Preacher KY 1873 HAMMER, Wm. L. Decatur Retired KY 1854 HARDY, A.W. Decatur Livery & Feed Stable PA 1850 HARDY, George P. Decatur City Register PA 1852 HEWES, J.S. Decatur Eng. F.C. Buildings OH 1864 HARPSTRITE, E. Decatur Steam Brewery Ger. 1855 SLAUDEMANN, Henry Decatur Steam Brewery Ger. 1856 HARWOOD, Kilburn Decatur R.R. Agent Mass. 1865 HAND, J.T. Decatur Books & Music Dealer NY 1879 HEILMAN, D.H. Decatur Grocer PA 1865 HAYS, F.L. Decatur Dry Good Merchant OH 1855 HOUSTON, Edward Decatur Furniture Dealer Ire. 1876 HAMSHER, John Decatur Harness & Saddle Maker PA 1853 HARRIS, Henry Decatur Shirt Mfg. NY 1879 HAWS, J.H. Decatur Photographer KY 1870 HAWORTH, George D. Decatur Man. of Check Rower OH 1857 HATFIELD, John Decatur Prop. Oil Mills OH 1860 TAYLOR, B.Z. Decatur Prop. Oil Mills Macon Co 1848 HATFIELD, James Decatur Prop. Oil Mills OH 1860 HAWORTH, Mahlon Decatur Man. Check Rower OH 1858 HAWORTH, James W. Decatur Man. Check Rower OH 1858 IRWIN, S.M. Decatur Druggist Mont. Co IL 1877 IMBODEN, C.M. Decatur Butcher PA 1855 IMBODEN, J.G. Decatur Butcher Macon Co 1856 JONES, E.A. Sec 3 Farmer & Real Est. Dealer OH 1854 JOHNS, W.C. Decatur Attorney OH 1854 JACK, S.S. Decatur Editor Review PA 1869 JONES, Daniel W. Decatur Prop. Dan's Bank WV 1870 JOHNSON, Frank S. Sec 16 Farmer & Stock Raiser Macon Co 1856 JOHNSON, Willis Sec 16 Farmer & Stock Raiser Madison KY 1837 ST. CLAIR, Demaras Sec 16 Wife of Willis Johnson Botet. VA . KEPLER, Jr., E. Decatur Man. Cigars & Tobacco Ger. 1854 KUNY, Fred Decatur Bottling Works Ger. 1866 KRAMER, Abram Decatur Carriage Mfg. OH 1854 KING, J. Stebbins Decatur Physician & Surgeon IN 1874 LYTLE, R.P. Decatur Postmaster PA 1866 LAUX, Charles Decatur Prop. St. Nicholas Hotel Ger. 1854 LAUX, N. Decatur Prop. Livery & Undertaker Ger. 1854 LEFORGEE, Jesse Decatur Real Est. & Insurance KY 1856 LEFORGEE, F.A. Decatur Real Est. & Insurance KY 1858 LYON, George S. Decatur Plaining Mill NJ 1865 GIPSON, Wm. H. Decatur Plaining Mill IN 1865 AMRSTRONG, John Decatur Plaining Mill OH 1867 LUNN, Henry Decatur Brick Mason & Builder Eng. 1872 LOWER, George Decatur Real Estate Agent OH 1876 LITTERER, Frank Decatur Grocer Baden, Ger. 1859 LINTNER, H.C. Decatur Farmer & Stock Raiser Macon Co. 1859 LINN, Wm. H Decatur Dry Goods Merchant VA 1869 SCRUGGS, Wm. R. Decatur Dry Goods Merchant VA 1869 LUTRELL, Edward Decatur Grocer & Painter Ire. 1867 LEISLE, David H. Decatur Tile Draining OH 1878 McCLELLAN, Edmiston Sec 16 Circuit Clerk PA 1835 McDONALD, E.S. Decatur Attorney VA 1854 MOORE, E.W. Decatur Physician & Surgeon Monroe Co 1856 MILIKIN, J. Decatur Bank President PA 1852 MONTGOMERY, Robert R. Decatur Real Est. & Insurance Macon Co 1844 MICHL, Joseph Decatur Man. Cigars & Tobacco Ger. 1858 McEVOY, John Decatur Prop. Hotel & Farmer Ire. 1856 MYER, M.A. Decatur Sign & Fresco Painter Bavaria 1857 MAFFIT, D.A. Decatur Highway Com. & Ice Dealer Macon Co 1848 MARTIN, David Decatur Lime & Cement Dealer KY 1858 MUELLER, Hierouymus Decatur Plumber & Mach. Ger. 1858 MINCKLEY, Charles A. Decatur Auction & Com. House NY 1874 MILAM, Buford B. Decatur Baker & Confectioner Macon Co 1853 MORITZ, Solomon Decatur Fancy Goods Ger. 1879 McGINTY, Michael S. Decatur Prop. of Saloon Ire. 1875 MILLS, H.H. Decatur Book-Keeper NY 1873 MOORE, E. Decatur Fish & Veg. Dealer Fayette Co. 1864 MEISENHELDER, Aaron Dec'd Died Oct 1, 1876 York Co, PA 1854 MEISENHELDER, Angeline Decatur Wid. of A. Meisenhelder York Co, PA 1854 MILLS, Joseph Decatur Lumber Dealer NJ 1853 MOSER, Frank Decatur Dairyman Baden Ger. 1868 DUNNER, Julia Decatur Wife of F. Moser Prussia Ger. 1868 McDANIEL, E. Decatur Blacksmith Macon Co 1850 McNABB, E. Decatur Architect & Builder PA 1854 MAY, H.F. Decatur May Bro. Grocers Macon Co 1855 MAY, S.D. Decatur May Bro. Grocers Macon Co 1855 NEIDERMEYER, William Decatur Grocer MO 1858 NICHOLS, A.C. Decatur Blacksmith IN 1856 NEBINGER, A. Decatur Dealer in Leather & Shoes PA 1855 NEWELL, R.A. Decatur Ret. Wh. Groc., Twp. Sup. OH 1856 NIEDERMEYER, T.W. Decatur Grocer Ger. 1858 OGLESBY, R.J. Decatur Retired KY 1836 OUTTEN, W.C. Decatur Attorney Cass Co 1853 OVERMIRE, S. Decatur Insurance & Real Est. Agent OH 1875 KAUFMAN, J.S. Decatur Insurance & Real Est. Agent Macon Co 1844 O'NEILL, James H. Decatur Plumb. Steam & Gas Fitter NY 1875 OAKES, Wm. L. Decatur Prop. Novelty Works IN 1865 PRIEST, Franklin Decatur Prop. Hotel & St. Railway NY 1854 PEDDEFORD, Jasper J. Decatur Banker & Mfg. MD 1838 PEAKE, James L. Decatur Watchmaker & J.P. D.C. 1853 PERRY, R.L. Decatur Wabash RR Road Master NY 1868 PRIEST, George R. Decatur Man. St. Car Lines Sangam. Co 1852 PAHMEYER, Fred. Decatur Tobacconist Prussia 1870 POST, H. Decatur Jeweler WI 1872 POST, J.S. Decatur Attorney NY 1839 PHILLIPS, J.W. Decatur GT Agt. Haworth Ch. Row OH 1865 PENNIWELL, Wm. B. Decatur Prop. Marble Works Warren Co IN 1865 POWERS, Samuel Decatur Farmer & Stock Raiser NY 1837 ROWELL, H.W. Decatur Editor & Prop. Herald VT 1880 ROBY, K.H. Decatur Attorney NH 1860 RACE, J.W. Decatur Clothing & Dry Goods VA 1857 RISLEY, A.F. Decatur Surveyor NY 1856 RACE, J.R. Decatur Clothier VA 1853 ROACH, J.T. Decatur Dry Goods Merchant KY 1864 McREYNOLDS, B.O. Decatur Dry Goods Merchant KY 1865 RAGAN, W.A. Decatur US & Pac. Exp. Agt NY 1870 RUE, Henry Sec 4 Farmer & Brick Maker Mercer Co NJ 1867 THOMPSON, Mary Ann Sec 4 Wife of Henry Rue NJ 1867 STONER, A.J. Decatur Druggist & Physician OH 1867 SMICK, Aaron Decatur Insurance Agency Macon Co 1840 SHELLABARGER, D.S. Decatur Merchant Miller TN 1856 SILBEY, B.F. Decatur Physician & Surgeon CT 1856 SMITH, Fred J. Decatur Grocer NY 1860 STEPHENS, E.A. Decatur Grocer, Wood & Coal VA 1867 STEPHENS, C.H. Decatur Grocer, Wood & Coal VA 1867 STEINBACH, W. Decatur Prop. of Saloon Austria 1870 DEICKHOFF, C.D. Decatur Prop. of Saloon Ger. 1865 SKELLEY, Francis Decatur Grocer & Queensware VT 1861 STINE, B. Decatur Clothier Baden, Ger. 1866 STEWARD, Dalton Decatur Tonsorial Artist NC 1853 SWEARINGEN, J.A. Decatur Druggist OH 1866 STERRETT, B.I. Decatur Attorney PA 1867 STARR, J.G. Decatur Saddlery, Harn. & Leather . . STARR, W.H. Decatur Saddlery, Harn. & Leather PA 1873 SHLANDEMAN, Henry Decatur Prop. Decatur St. Brewery Ger. 1858 SEITZ, Simon Sec 7 Farmer & Stock Raiser PA 1854 KOZER, Eliza J. Sec 7 Wife of Simon Seitz PA 1854 STRAUSBAUGH, E. Decatur Man. Niagra Force Pu'ps PA 1856 SMITH, G.A. Decatur US Internal Rev. Col. Phila. PA 1837 TRAINER, John Decatur Supt. Co. Schools OH 1869 THORNTON, Anthony Decatur Attorney KY 1879 TURNER, F.B. Decatur Farmer & Stock Dealer St Clair Co 1865 TUCKER, Howard Decatur Tinsmith MD 1865 TOWLEING, William Decatur Book Binder NY 1859 TUTTLE, B.B. Decatur Prop. Saw Mill CT 1856 ULLRICH, John Decatur Wholesale Grocer Bavaria 1856 USREY, W.J. Decatur Journalist Miss 1842 VENNIGERHOLZ, J.H. Decatur Coal Dealer Miss 1874 WAGGONER, H.W. Decatur Mayor of Decatur & Co Clk PA 1855 WOOD, G.M. Decatur Co. Treasurer KY 1854 WARREN, John K. Decatur Insurance & Real Est. Agent PA 1855 WAYNE Brothers Decatur Carriage Mfg. PA 1872 WEEMS, E.W. Decatur Physician & Surgeon IA 1879 WHITMER, H.M. Decatur Brick & Tile Mfg. PA 1860 WALSTON, R.L. Decatur Physician & Surgeon Vermill. Co 1873 WINGATE, Thomas H. Decatur Dealer in Lamps NH 1850 WILLIAMS, P.E. Decatur Mill-Wright Christ. Co 1879 WOOD, E.W. Decatur Conf., Rest., & Ice Cream Sangamon Co 1855 WILHELMY, Jacob Decatur Tonsorial Artist Ger. 1878 WHITE, Charles . Mining Engineer GA 1880 WIDICK, Ephraim Sec 18 Farmer & Stock Raiser Macon Co 1844 TROUTMAN, Phoebe Sec 18 Wife of Ephraim Widick IN 1858 WALLACE, John M. Sec 7 Farmer & Stock Raiser Ark 1870 DAILEY, George Dec'd Died Jan 7, 1841 Ire. 1840 HARDY, Jane Sec 7 Widow of Geo. Dailey PA 1840 WILSON, John M. Decatur Mfg. of Boilers NY 1866 WELLS, T.M. Decatur Photographer Adams Co 1879 WILKINSON, Chancey Dec'd Died Jan. 15, 1844 NY 1844 WILKINSON, Mrs. L. Decatur Widow of Chancey Wilkinson NY 1844 YOUNG, William Sec 16-2 Farmer PA 1856 YOUNG, Sr., J.J.H. Decatur Attorney VA 1856 ZELLER, John Decatur Butcher & Packer NY 1862 ZIMMERMAN, W.N. Decatur Prop. Zimmerman House PA 1856
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