A Pencil Sketch of the Past and Present

Our Business, Business Houses and Business Men

Originally published in the Decatur Republican, on 20 Jan 1870


WARNING! Due to poor microfim, this page was difficult to transcribe, and therefore contains missing text.


scarcely need any word of commendation from us. The are so well known to the people throughout the city and county that what we can say can add but little to the general estimation by which they are held by the people of the whole community. Still, we venture to assert that a word of merited praise will not hurt them at all. They keep one of the best assorted stocks of hardware, stoves, iron, nails, glass, wagon material, etc., to be found in the city. They believe in small profits and quick sales. This policy certainly commends itself to the purchasing public, and is one of the many reasons to be assigned for their large and increasing trade. The are at No. 30 East Main street.


are two among our most respected business men and have one of the neatest and best stocked drug stores in the city. They are two pharmacits of no small ability, and compound medicines without danger of _ mistakes. Our readers may place implicit confidence in them in this respect, as they are careful, thorough going druggists. Their stock consists of all the leading patent medicines of the day, the various bit(ter?), pure drugs and medicines, chemicals, (?) , perfumeries, toilet articles, brushes, combs, etc., and are abundantly (equip)ped to fill any and all orders they may receive. Their business is one essential to (?), and we are glad to know it is in (?) condition. They offer very (?) to all parties desiring them at home and we feel a pleasure (?) noticing them and their place in this sketch. Their store is No. 10 Water Street.


is one of the best stocked grocery (stores?) in the city and give universal (?) the numerous custom is who (?) upon them for any and every (?) in the grocery and provision and (?) at both young men and have (?) and prompt business (?) and sell goods remarkably low. Yet (?) find them to be as gentlemen (?) and courteous as the most fastidious (?) with treating every one, rich or poor with the same consideration. Be (?) goods are fresh and desire (?), teas, coffees, spices, (?), woolen and willow ware and (?) usually kept in a (?).


are gentlemen doing business on East Main street with whom we are all familiar. In (?) have been familiar with (?) us for that on years, and not all (?) time to no purpose. They were both (?) with Stamper, Condell & Co., - W.J. Quinlan as partner in said firm - (?) there were respected by all as worthy gentlemen and pleasant salesmen. When they opened their carpet store, their (?) found them out and the many (?) during their successful (?) career at their present location, (?) them to number their customers by (?). They deal in carpets, wall paper, window shades, mattresses, door mats and (?) and in fact everything found in a first class carpet store. They buy their stock direct from the manufacturers and are thus enabled to compete with the heaviest dealers in the land. Like thousands of others, these gentlemen have ascertained that the cash system is the only one dom(?) alike to merchant and purchaser; also they have made the cash system an inviolable(?) one. It requires no little taste to select a stock which shall meet the requirements of so large a trade as these gentlemen possess, but their store room gives abundant evident that they do possess the (?) skill and taste necessary. Calculated to make and retain friends, we cannot (?) at their success. However such (?) the natural logic uner such circumstances.

High prices have made farming profitable and science and skill have subdued the (?) places while the war and the extension on western railroads have made the farm laborers scarce. Ingenuity is better than (?). Brain is more powerful than muscle. The Yankee is a world wonder. We live in an age of progress. A country surrounding a city like Decatur, where all the arts and sciences flourish, must needs (?) at a high state of agrcultural development. Rich and intelligent with examples of thrift on every side, and store houses of labor saving implements at hand, only the leaven of old fogyism can prevent success in the cultivation of our unequaled soil. Thoughts like these struck us forcibly while being shown through the agricultural (?) and ware rooms of


who are agents at this point for the Decatur Agricultural Works. They have been in business in our city only one year, yet in that time have built up a trade in their (?) store not equaled by any firm in Central Illinois. Their success has not been ob(?) more from the superiority of their wares than from the popularity of the different members of the firm. They have become known to our famers as upright and worthy dealers whose every word can be depended on. Among their machinery we noticed the celebrated "Case Thresher" as well as the "Sweepstakes" and "Mass(?)", the "Buckeye" and "Russell" combined reapers and mowers. The Johnson 'self raking reaper' and the "Hains Harvester." It would take too much space to tell the good qualities of the 'Durte(?) Clipper Plow.' It is acknowledged to be the finest thing in that line in existence, and farmers will only need to examine it (?) Chambers & Edmundson's ware rooms, to appreciate it, while there they may also see the Mishawauka and Grand Detour (?). They have nails for the million, and everything a farmer needs in the way of tools or machinery. This firm is doing a good turn for Decatur inasmuch as they (?) as far as possilbe, the manufactures of (?) town. We can offer no better advice to our farmer friends than to call on this (firm) before purchashing their implements.


(?) no small amount of snap in his compo(sition?) and competes with his competitors (?) patronage of the public. That he is successful in his competition no one can (argue?). His stock gives evidence of large demands and demonstrates that he knows how to select such goods as will meet the (?) of the people. His extensive stock embraces glasseare, crockery, china, toys, (?) furnishing and kitchn articles, at wholesale and retail. In addition Mr. R. has an assortment of cooking and parlor stoves that is the general admiration of housewares. He also has cutlery and plated ware, and will sell them at reduced rates. Mr. Liddle buys his goods in such large quantities that he is enabled to defy competition in quality of goos or prices. His establishment will be found on the south west corner of the new square.


at No. 17 New Square, are in the drygoods trade, and we were much pleased by a cursory examination of their stock. They have become known, far and near, for their fairness of dealing and evident desire to please. Such men are appreciated in our city and consequently this firm has been very successful, not more so perhaps for the superiority of their wares than from their personal popularity as dealers.


are in the general grocery trade, and as man being mortal and possessed of an appetite must eat, we can offer no better advice than to call at their store at No. 21 Water Street, and secure the bargains there offered before investing all your dimes. They have won a lasting remembrance from our citizens by keeping good and fresh goods, and as our only index of the future must be evidence from the past we can safely say that they have a prosperous future in store.

J.S. CLARK & Co.

are also one of our leading business firms, and are doing a very extensive business. Their room is large and commodious and is filled with a stock of goods that cannot be excelled in this part of the State. Their stock comprises China, Glassware, Plated ware, Table cutlery, Lamps, Stoneware, etc., and indeed everything one would expect to find in a first class establishment of this kind. This firm have a reputation surpassed by no other dealer in their line of goods in this city. They take evident pride in keeping up a stock which commands attention and (?ments) to all in want of goods. The very large patronage of which Messrs. Clark & Co. enjoy is only an evidence of the general estimation in which they and their wares are held in each passing day aids to their popularity as dealers. We know of no firm in the city that better deserves the people's patronage. Location, north east corner of East Main and Water streets.


are energetic, prompt and upright men and constitute one of our leading business firms. From their experience in the hardware trade they know just what this community needs in the way of hardware. Their large assortment of stoves, from the parlor to the cooking, is the general admiration of housewives. All classes of goods ever found in a hardware store are kept by them and represent a large capital and a large trade. Every farmer in the county knows them, and knows, too, that their facilities and disposition to please is surpassed nowhere in the county. They also do an extensive wholesale business. They do have a tin shop in connection with their store, which is presided over by a competent foreman who personally superintends all work done to order, as well as all repairing.

We were shown by Mr. Wells a new patent invention that will be hailed with satisfaction by those who are brought much in contact with steam boilers. This machine is called the Automatic Water Indicator and Supply Valve. It is just what its name would imply, and when used on a steam boiler never allows the water to get low - as is the case with a (?) fireman, risking an explosion. By the use of a hollow copper float, when the water lowers at is shown by the indicator. A supply valve is connected with the indicator by an iron rod, and as the float lowers in the boiler, the supply valve is opened and water is kept just where it is desired. An explosion is impossible when this Indicator and Supply Valve is used, and each individual connected with establishments using steam boilers will place a guard on human life by using it.


are also among our energetic and (?) business men, and merit a place in this sketch. They are the publishers of the Real Estate Advertiser, are real estate brokers, and are men whom we are proud to call fellow citizens. They are awake to all the business interests of the present day whereby they can see honorable means by which to advance their business, as well as the interests of the community, and who have won golden opinions by the urbanity and courtesy of manner. Thoroughly posted in the details of the real estate business, none can buy or sell to better advantage then they. They have the only reliable abstracts in the county. We spent a very pleasant half hour in their office, and were impressed that they are the right men in the right place, and that they will be successful as long as they do business in Decatur.

The good people of Decatur could not well do without a first class furniture store. They now have one in the ownership of


Degenerate sons of noble sires that we are, fashion and luxuries have so enchanted us that none are free from the desire to be surrounded with beautiful furniture, in the peaceful enjoyment of which we can enjoy the refining influences of home. The Messrs. Drake Brothers have on hand both plain and elegant furniture that would grace the parlor of an Empress, or transform a hut into a cheerful home, and like shred business men sell at such low rates that scarce a visitor can refrain from purchasing, tempted by the excellence of their goods and the remarkably reasonable prices. The principal feature of their stock comprise parlor and chamber sets, kitchen, dining room and office furniture, bedding, mattresses, etc. Their stock of mirrors is complete and attractive as well as their line of brackets of plain and unique designs. This is the oldest established furniture house in Decatur; in fact they have been the leading firm in that (?) always having an umimpeachable reputation for fair dealing and uprightness (?). Buying none but first class goods and always selling them at reasonable rates, they have always had a very large portion of the trade. Their large store room which, by the way, covers more floor room than any other business house in the city, is filled to the utmost.

This firm started (?) for 1870 with a new proposition to sell only for cash, and accordingly make another great reduction in prices, so that cash purchaser may not be required to pay the losses sustained from those who do not pay. They have the largest stock in their line in the city, and sell at the lowest prices. They are on the corner of East Main and Water street.


have one of the best grocery stores in Decatur, and in addtion sell flour and feed and any one in want of goods of this class will do well to call here and examine their extensive stock before giving your exclusive to another house. Mr. S. Newell and Wm. Hatch comprise the firm - both of them young men who are respected by all, and who are fast coming into the rank of our leading business men. Success to them say we! No. 16 Merchant street is their location - old R.R. Bank Building.


are in the lead. They are not necessarily "time servers" if they do sell clocks and watches. On the contrary their reputation is that of honorable men, and their immense business has been built up in part from the personal popularity of the different members of the firm. In addition to this, however, they keep a splendid stock of goods which of themselves make this a desirable palce at which to trade. They keep a full line of gold and silver watches especially the American and Elgin, jewelry of every form and finish of modern and antique designs, embracing bracelets, studs, brooches, pins, finger rings, seal rings, and jet jewelty, precious stones, etc. They are agents for Hirst's Celebrated Gold Fountain Pen, and Fairchild's Gold Medal pen. These pens are from the best American factories and are known to be the best in use. They also keep clocks of every description. Being thorough and practical workmen they undertake the repairing of clocks and watches with the full assurance of doing it right. You need fear no blunders at their hands, no need you send work of this description to Chicago or St. Louis in order to have it (?) and neatly done. These gentlemen are the exclusive dealers in the American Institute Spectacles. We cannot speak too highly of these spectacles. They are easy to the eye and last the sight much longer than others and (remainder of paragraph was unreadable). They are located at No. 9 Main Street.


take the lead in the boot and shoe trade as any one can see by looking into their store, which is chock full of goods. The cases of boots and shoes there exhibited would lead one to think they had a contract to supply an army corps. The secret of their success in trade is first - they would not sell an interior or worthless article and secondly, the people have accepted their word can be relied upon and that their representations will always be found correct. They believe in advertising, knowing that if the attention of the public be attracted they can supply the wants of the community in their line. They at all times keep an excellent stock of (?) from which customers can always get something which shall please them. An example of their stock displayed (as?) suitable for men, women and children in their prices are very reasonable. In (?) their stock of boots and shoes they keep leather and (?) findings in (?) in that line. Their location No. 18 East Main street.


next claims our attention for a few moments and we know of no man in town whom we call into notice with more pleasure among our busniess men his name is a synomym for success. He does not fall asleep selling goods - not a bit of it. A more energetic or wide awake business man cannot be found in this or any other town. He believes in using (?) and righfully attributes much of his success to it. His stock embraces general hardward, glass punts, oils, house furnishing goods, builder stock and in fact everything in the hardware line. He also makes and repairs tin sheet iron and copper work. Mr. Taylor has been in business in our city twelve years, and has seen Decatur in all its later stages of growth. His interests have and will continue to be identified with those of the town, and our people will always find his stock complete and attractive, and purchasers will find his prices as low as elsewhere. No. 9 Water Street, is his location.


of J.E. Sulzberger & Bro. can lay claim to being one of the fixtures of Decatur inasmuch as they have been in business here for several years. It would be difficult to attribute their success to any one thing, but if to one more than another it is their gentlemanly and courteous deportment. A cursory survey of their establishment showed us an endless profusion of men's and boys clothing, hats, caps, trunks, valises and the finest line of gents furnishing goods in the city and numberless articles in the way of notions, etc., which merchants possessing good judgment will always select for the trade of such a town. This firm have a long experience as dealers in this line, keep none but the best of goods - will guarantee everything they sell as represented and can successfully compete with any of their neighbors. We most cordially recommend them to the citizens of town and country as No. 1 merchants. Location, corner of East Main and Water streets.


are new merchants in our city and carry one of the best and largest stocks of goods in Decatur, and we do not wonder at its being a favorite place for so many of our people to trade. The proprietors are gentlemanly and curteous to all and are pursuing a policy which must of necessity always make them favorites. Their stock embraces all the standard novelties in the dry goods line as well as a complete stock of notions, white goods, hosiery, flannels, dress goods, and many other articles that contribute to the making up of first class establishments. A comparatively short time spent in their pleasant, well stocked store convinced us that they are promoting the best interests of all by selling goods very low on the one price cash plan. They are up with the times in every respect too, and the almost daily consignments of new and seasonable goods reaching them from the eastern markets attest how well they are liked. Gentlemanly clerks are always ready with winning smiles to wait upon their many customers. Here we met our friend Mr. Bartholomew, who is a prince among good fellows, a No. 1 salesman and, sub rosa, he is quite a lady's man.


carries on an extensive harness and saddle shop on the south side of new square and decidedly takes the lead in his line of trade. He has been in our city for a long time and expects to be for a long time to come. From the outset his patronage has been large, showing that the people appreciate his efforts to please and it affords us pleasure to chronicle his successful career. He keeps a large assortment of harness, saddles, whips, trunks and valises and last though not least, he has the celebrated Scotch Horse Collar, which is taking the place of everything else in that line. If anything in the way of repairing is required, bring your harness to Mr. Hamsher. It is his business to know how to repair, and with the facilities he possesses he can always do it as it should be. Call and see for yourself.

"Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast," and if any in Decatur have savage breasts they fain would have soothed, we would advise them to go straightway to


who have the only extensive music store in our city. Their stock comprises everything in the music line - pianos, organs and melodeons of the very best manufacturers, sheet music, music books, and everything in the line of musical merchandise. In addition they also keep a complete assortment of sewing and knitting machines. "The Singer", everyone acknowledges to be the best in use. It has been lately improved, which makes it almost noiseless, and the most desirable machine for all purposes. - here the Lamb Knitting Machine is found at the reduced price of $60; also, the American Knitting Machine, which is a perfect gem, and sells at only $25. This is a desirable place at which to trade, as all will find by giving these gentlemen a call. These gentlemen are old citizens of Decatur and are known far and near. Persons dealing with them may always rely on getting the worth of their money.


is not behind his friends in the grocery trade. As all are human and must eat we know of no better place to get such things as he keeps. He has everything in the grocery and (provides?) them and sells them too at the very lowest rates. He has built up an immense trade by this thorough knowledge of his business and by his urbanity and fairness of (?). His store which is a general rendezvous for grocery buyers is at No. 28 Merchant street.


comprise the leading drug firm of the city. it is a firm well known at home and abroad and deserves especial mention among the business interests of Decatur. Let anyone - even a stranger - spend but a few moments in their handsome, well arranged store and if he or she is not satisfied that these gentlemen understand their business, we'll conclude they are not shrewd observers. One thing is certain, druggists do to a certain extent, hold the lives of the community in their hands. A little carelessness of ignorance and presto, we "shuffle off this mortal coil" in a most ignominious manner. Behind the dispensing desk stands a pharmacist of tried ability - one who never makes mistakes. In addition to their drugs and liquors they keep a complete assortment of oils, pomades, perfume, patent medicines, toilet articles - in fact, just what you would expect to find is a first class drugstore. Their location is one door east of the court house on East Main street.


is one of the fixtures of Decatur, and we do not know how we could spare her. She caters to the tastes of the ladies, and does it successfully too. It is her establishment that produces these gloves or bonnets and elegantly fitting dressing and cloaks that we see at church, in parlors and on the streets. It is at her establishment that they (rest of sentence was unreadable). Mrs. Van Doren has supplied a want long felt by the ladies of Decatur; the need of a first class ladies furnishing establishment. She receives the (?) and styles every month and she with her assistant (?) and fully competent to put those styles into use. Butterick's patterns for every garment worn by ladies or children are found here as well as everything else that is ever kept at first class establishments. Mrs. V. will remove her stock to the new Opera House Block, about the first of March. Meanwhile she will be happy to receive her friends at her store on Water Street.

I.M. GILL & Co.

are at No. 10 New Square, and are among our leading grocery dealers. We stopped a few moments to talk with the firm and found them not only prompt business men, but gentlemen whose success is guaranteed by their thousand and one friends who have traded there. Their store room is lare and commodious and is church full of goods at prices that defy hard times. Here we met Mr. John Washburn, salesman, who is no novice in the grocery trade, as he has made it a life business and always meet his old friends with smiling and genial countenance and never fails to please all who go there to trade.


is a leading firm in their line of trade. They opened an exclusive carpet, wall paper and house furnishing store in 186_ near the Revere House. An increasing business made it necessary to remove to the large and commodious building formerly occupied by the Express office on East Main Street where they are now doing an extensive business and people will do well to call on them before trading elsewhere. This firm have won gold opinions by their upright course and will continue successful as long as they continue in business.


is one of our leading business men and we take pleasure in this thus bringing no ice in this sketch. He is known by every man, woman and child in the county and is emphatically a life man who takes an active part in all public enterprises that have the good of the town in view. He is the heaviest wholesale dealer in foreign and domestic liquors this side of Chicago. His stock embraces wines, brandies, old Kentucky and wheat whiskies; also the fiest line of cigars and tobacco in the city. Mr. Dodson is doing a good work here as he keeps nothing but the purest licquors and wines for sacramental and family uses, thereby driving from the markets those villanous compounds manufactured by irresponsible persons. Mr. Dodson is agent for the State of Illinois for the celebrated Dew Drop Cordial. Location No. 14 Merchant Street.


are one door south of the Revere House, where all may be supplied with groceries. From the large stock we saw there, and by the crowds who go there to trade we should say that this is one of our successful firms. They have, by being upright and pleasing to every customer attracted to themselves a desirable trade that will cling to them as long as they continue in business in Decatur.


of E.A. Barnwell is attracting many who leave there well satisfied with their counterfeit presentments that appear to give comoplete satisfaction. No little knowledge is required to make a good picture, to enable one to know the proper effects of light, shade, drapery, etc. Not one artist in ten can place a person sitting for a portrait, in an easy position. Mr. Barnwell is the fortunate professor of these attributes and makes pictures true to life.

J.R. RACE & Co.

are among our heaviest dealers, and do a wholesale and retail business in clothing and merchant tailoring stock. Everything in that department of trade is found here, and prices are made to suit the times. Their location is No. 17 Water street.


The artist of Decatur, has grown up with the city and is known far and near. He has been a photographer here for many years and has established for himself a reputation that reflects great credit upon him as an artist. We occupied a half hour in glancing over the fine specimens of his skill so numerously displayed at his gallery, and there were none but would do credit to any gallery in the country. "An old writer pithily says, art is long but time is fleeting." True, indeed! Loved ones may die; time in its revolutions turns and overruns, but art restores to us what time robs us of. We cannot always retain the living, but we may retain their second self by means of a good photograph, ambrotype, or some other form of picture. Mr. Lapham has a correct appreciation of the various effects of pisition, light and shade, and all of those minute matters which are absolutely necessary to be observed in order to secure a correct protrait, and this knowledge is reduced to practical application every day. Indeed, we doubt if a really poor picture ever eminated from his gallery. We bespeak for him a large patronage from the citizens of town and country and are satisfied that he will do justice in every instance. Partially faded pictures are restored by him and all varieties of pictures, including photographs and ambrotypes as well as all the printed pictures in water and oil colors. Call at his gallery,No. 15 East Main street.


at No. 15 East Main street, is a dealer in boots and shoes, and a cursory examination of his stock pleased us in the extreme. He is doing a good trade, making hosts of friends by his urbanity and fair dealing, and demonstrating by his sales that he believes in quick sales and small profits, that a "nimble sixpence is better than a slow shilling." Success to him, say we.


is proprietor of one of the best stocked and best regulated drug stores in the city. His store room is large and commodious, and his goods are arranged in beautiful order, showing that Dr. P. knows how to beautify as well as utilize. His store is stocked with every variety of goods kept in first class establishments, and his stock comprises drugs, medicines, paints, oils, glass and all the latest and most fashinable perfumes and fancy notions so essential to human control. Also, foreign and domestic wines and liquors for medical uses. Mr. P. is a pharmacist of no ordinary ability, and prescriptions are compounded at his dispensing desk correctly. His goods are the choicest and best, and he is gentlemanly in his deportment to all. All have come to know that when they go to Mr. Parker's drug store they will receive courteous treatment and get good and pure goods.

We are aware that there are other matters which we could have touched upon, but as you are aware, we could not write a complete history of the town in the space allotted. We desire to express our thanks to the many friends who have kindly assisted in furnishing information, and also for the many kindnesses and courtesies extended during our pleasant stay in Decatur.

We cannot say anything for the Decatur REPUBLICAN that would increase its popularity or stimulate its Editors to greater efforts in the cause of the right. We can say this, however: It is the largest, ablest edited, best printed and best patronized country paper in central Illinois, and it should be in every household in the county.

We desire especially to express our heartfelt thanks to the Editors of the REPUBLICAN for assistance promptly rendered in preparing this work; may their work of doing good continue, their circulation increase, and may they always be crowded with job-work.

Before you, reader, you have a hasty sketch of the city as it was and is. We ask you to overlook inaccuracies, if they have inadvertantly crept in, and join with us in wishing that prosperity may continue to be the lot of all herein mentioned or referred to. WANNEMAWKER

PAGE 1 - PAGE 2 - PAGE 3

HOME Township
Macon County

This Page Was Last Updated  Sunday, 21-Jan-2018 11:33:49 EST

Copyright 2011 by Cheryl Rothwell for ILGenWeb

All materials contained on these pages are furnished for the free use of individuals engaged in researching their personal genealogy. Any commercial use or any use for which money is asked or paid for any reason is strictly prohibited.