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Tampico Tornado - Feb. 4, 1910
4 Feb 1910


Tampico Tornado, Feb. 4, 1910 Special Boom Edition


Her Educational, Religious, Social and Fraternal Life

Some of Her Successful Business Men and Institutions

 By Dr. W. C. Rose

So accustomed have the people of our present generation become to the many conveniences of life in this the early twentieth century, such as railways, steamships, telegraph, telephone, electric light, paved streets, mecadam roads, street cars, interurban liines, the motor boat, the automobile, even the flying machine and the myriad improvements which now render life so much easier, it is difficult to realize that whithin the memory of men and women now living we were absolutely without all these. That right here in Whiteside county, not so many years ago, we were face to face with the primitive life of the frontier. The ox team furnished transportation, the tallow dip or tallow candle furnished light, log cabins or rude shacks furnished shelter, stage coaches and the pony express were the only means of communication. Roads in the modern sense did not exist, and the fierce indian war cry might at any time furnish one's midnight serenade. He might wake to the glare of the crackling flames as they mounted skyward around the home of his loved ones.

Out of this chaos Whiteside finally emerged, holding her first election in 1836. Only thirty votes were were cast, but this marked the beginning of organized local government, of law, and order. Clarence G. Woodruff was the first Justice of the Peace, his commission to that office being yet in existence. Alfred Fenton, brother of John D. Fenton, one of our pioneers, now living in Erie, was the first white child born in the county, May 13, 1837. The county was then practically a wilderness, with few settlers. Markets were far away. Supplies, which had to be hauled long distances were high in price, and farm products brought small returns. Life was crude, yet in the little communities there was good cheer, and a mutual helpfulness, which we seem to lose in the wider, more complex life of today. There are, however, many signs that we approach the time of the brotherhood of man. That in the years to come human life, and human needs will be paramount, that humanity will stand above dollars.

The earliest settler in this section was Rufus Aldrich, who was born in Bradford, Pa., in 1817. His youngest daughter, Mrs. Steadman, was the first white child born in the township. The country was at that time very sparsely settled, there being but two houses between his house and Sterling.

Religious life early developed, and one of the first ministers was the Rev. John Pinkney, who in the early days preached all over the southern part of the county in private houses, school houses or any place where listeners could be gathered. He was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1841 and died in 1870. His son, William, continued his work in this locality.

We find that Whiteside was a patriotic county, for even with her scattered settlements, and small population, she furnished 2,535 men to the general government during the war of the rebellion, and she paid into the war fund of the same sanguinary struggle $529, 402, contributing also her full share in the later days during the Spanish-American war.

In 1835 there was not a mile of railway in northern Illinois. In 1837 a charter was granted to the Galena and Chicago Union Railway. The survey began in 1847, and the main line, from Chicago to Freeport, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles, was completed in September, 1853. The running of the first train was an event of great importance, and people came from many miles distant to see it. Receptions were held, with bands, and much fervid oratory to commemorate the occasion. While this first railway was crude in the extreme it meant much to the struggling infant communities along it line, and to those others to which it was expected soon to extend. Therefore, it was a time worthy of celebration, oratory and feasting.

In December, 1854, a railway was completed to Dixon in July, 1855 to Sterling, in September of the same year to Morrison, and in December to Fulton, at each place being received with the same enthusiasm, for did not spell progress, growth, a vital link connecting them with the great pulsing heart of the busy world. We had not then heard of mergers, of pooling agreements, of watered stock, of railway centralization, of discrimination of coal blocked railways, while industry stagnated, and the family hearth grew cold and cheerless. The world was young. We saw visions of sugar plums. The plums were there, but alas and alack, who were into gather them? Yet all is for the best, and in time works out for good, if we but maintain our faith. We should be especially thankful, for we probably owe our very existence as a community to the arrival of the railway at this point in the landscape in 1871.

The family name of Glassburn has been a familiar one in this section for many years. John Glassburn was a native of Virginia. He removed to Whiteside county, and purchased a farm; he died in 1864. Then his son, John W. Glassburn, removed to this county, coming by team, in 1856 from the state of Ohio. He settled on a farm near Yorktown, later removing to another farm, on which his present house now stands in the city of Tampico.

When the railway reached this point in 1871, it crossed his land, so on the corner of this farm, he platted a town, calling it TAMPICO, naming it after the township.

Few towns in this part of the country can boast of a father still living, but John W. Glassburn, founder, and father of Tampico, is still living hale and hearty. He is president of The Tampico Bank, While his son, Andrew T Glassburn, is vice president, and his grandson, A.C. Glassburn, is cashier. Three generations of the same family holding the principal offices of a business institution at the same time, all active, and ready for the duties demanded of them every business day, is a record hard to equal. We say long live the father of Tampico, and we feel that this sentiment will be that of every man, woman and child in the community. Mr. Glassburn was in the grain business here for thirty years, and entered the banking business in 1882. As an earnest of his public spiritedness he presented the town with the ground on which the various churches and schools have been built.

Education was a question which demanded early attention, so a district school was opend in 1869. The first school building was built on the prairie about a half mile from the present townsite. This building was moved to the town in 1871. The teacher of this first district school was George Apless.

Tampico now enjoys the best of educational facilities. The oldest building was erected in 1874, and h as been kept in good condition. Another building for primary purposes was erected later. They were both repainted, and extensively remodeled during the past summer. The school course consisted of eleven grades, and high school. The teaching force consists of the principal, Prof. R. E. Black, and four teachers, with a special teacher for music. The schools are governed by a Boad of Education having three members. The personnel of the present board is E. W. Meredith, Fred Brants, and E. C. Boyer. The work of the schools during the past year has been highly satisfactory.

The early mission, and other religious work, resulted in the establishment in Tampico of strong, and progressive religious organizations.

The Methodists were the first organization, erecting their first church building in 1872. The present building was erected in 1875. They have the largest protestant congregation. They are assisted in their auxillary work by a Ladies' Aid society, the Epworth league, the Junior league, a Men's club and the Harmony club. Their pastor is Rev. John Potter.

Next came the Catholics, who organized a parish here in 1873. Father McGuire was the first resident priest. This is the largest congregation here and they have the largest, and finest church, a very handsome brick structure, which will compare favorably with any church in the county. They also have a handsome parsonage or priest's house. Father L. X. DuFour is in charge.

The Baptist church was organized here about 1888. They have a Young Peoples' society, Ladies' Aid society, a Cradle roll, and the Baracas, and Philateas associations. Their pastor is Rev. J. A. Beltz. They have a commodious church which is kept in good repair.

The Christian church was organized in 1900. They have the Young Peoples' union, the Ladies' Aid and other socieites. Their pastor is Rev. H. K. Kellogg.

All the churches have flourishing Sunday schools.

One of the first buildings in Tampico was the old Tampico House, and Eli Cain was one of the early landlords. The first store, and postoffice was occupied by S. B. Winter, and James Cain was one of the early merchants, while the firm of A. Smith, and Brother have been in the hardware and implement business here for over thirty-five years.

Tampico is located in the southeastern part of Whiteside county on the Mendota and Clinton Division of the C.B. & Q. R. R., and is twenty-one miles southeast of Morrison, the county seat. It has a population of about 1,000, and is a handsome, progressive, busy town in the midst of a fine farming country. When alighting from the train one is pleased to note the beautiful plaza or park, which is just opposite the station. Here stands the Soldiers' monument, an imposing shaft of granite, which was erected to the S. G. Steadman Grand Army Post No. 491. The Woman's Relief Corps. and loyal citizens. On its base are inscribed, Pea Ridge, Resaca, Atlanta, and Gettysburg of the war of the rebellion 1861 to 1865, with El Caney, and Guayama, of the Spanish-American war. It is flanked by a cannon, which reminds one of the time when war's loud alarm resounded throughout the land. Beyond the part one gets a glimpse of fine residences and pleasant shaded streets. Proceding to the business center one finds that the buildings are mostly of brick, the main street paved, and that the town has a very bright and active appearance. The citizens, while busy, are cordial, and will always take time to give either the permanent resident or the stranger a courteous welcome.  click here to continue to page 2



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