Business Directory of Plattville in 1871
A Trip to Plattville in 1871
Business Description in 1871
Published in Kendall County Record, April 20, and May 4, 1871.
Compiled and edited by Elmer Dickson
The beautiful weather of the past week induced us to take a drive from Minooka to Plattville, and to our thriving county seat, Yorkville. The roads had dried up considerable, but in passing through the country we saw that considerable draining was needed. We are surprised that so little is done. Much of the land was immersed in water, waiting for the sun's action, and the air and the wind to dry the soil. The earth is cold and sad; leaving warmth and vegetation considerably impeded. We consider that excellent drains are the best improvement made on the farm, and the most lasting and profitable too. We traveled on the Plattville, Minooka and Yorkville mail route. This is one of the best-conducted mail routes. For regularity and civil, obliging and accommodating attentions it can not be surpassed. It is a wonder how "the one-legged man" Thomas Naden, gets along through the roads and the long route. We noticed that the farmers had mostly gotten in their oats. Saw some fine fields of rye and patches of early potatoes. Many farmers had commenced plowing for corn. We noticed that the orchards presented an excellent promise. The cherry trees especially were thronged with blossoms. There seems to be an unusually large number of blackbirds this season. We heard complaints about the appearance of the chinch bug and the Colorado potato bugs. We hope that they will depart early and save us from their destructive operations. We were pleased to notice the many excellent farm buildings and residences which speak of the improved conditions of the farmers. It is an indication that they are not behind other parts of the country in agricultural progress and improvement.
We at last arrived at the Plattville store and post office kept by A. B. Platt & Company. The store was pretty well crowded by well to do farmers and their wives and daughters. The numerous wagons and buggies outside the store bespoke the amount of business occurring. This is an old, in fact, one of the oldest country stores. The large pile of goods and immense stock evidenced its success. In the course of the evening we were introduced to the old and respected pioneer tradesman, Daniel Platt, Esquire. We had a pleasant chitchat about old times and folks. Old settlers and Indians, not forgetting the old friendly Chief Shabbona and his noble deeds and kindness shown to the early settlers. We were glad to see the proprietor hale and stout in his green old age, the tried friend and village patriarch and affectionate parent. We hope that his stature will never grow less. That he will long be continued and endeared in the affections and respect of his friends and neighbors. We made a thorough examination of the establishment and must confess that we were more than surprised at the amount and variety of the stock. Enough to fill a store of four times its capacity.
Their new stock of spring goods had arrived and displayed the newest styles, fashions and good. Our city cousins would be surprised to see the latest of Parisian, London, Boston, and New York fashions. A. B. has evinced correct taste in the selection of so rich and beautiful display of the newest and choicest fabrics, which are offered at astonishingly low prices. The boot and shoe department is very choice and extensive. The most fastidious can not but be pleased and satisfied. It is rare to meet with so large an assortment in a country store. The grocery department is well filled and for teas, coffee, spices, sugar, etc., it can not be beat. The firm does a large business in country produce, especially butter and eggs. They have paid the highest prices for them. Indeed, higher than prices paid in neighboring stores. They have made arrangements with a large dealer and Platt's brand of butter stands as "gilt edged" in the markets. We found out that the old firm had bought and packed some 800 dozen eggs in five days. What a cackling noise must there have been and what a splendid choir there must have been at the old hen house. We saw a large amount of golden colored butter, which evinced good dairy practices and was sure to meet with good prices.
Mr. Thomas N. Morley is an excellent clerk. He has earned for himself a high reputation and is a general favorite with the customers.
We understand that the drug store is about to be re-opened with an increased stock, and some of the prettiest French, English and American paper hangings.
We called to see our friend, William S. Weese, the owner of the famous horse "Bay Billy." He is of Morgan stock and is well known at our county fairs. He is no stranger to blue ribbons. He is a fine, noble animal and much admired as a stock raiser. He remains constantly in his own stable. Mr. Weese has some other fine-blooded stock well worthy of seeing. Few men devote more time or money to horse breeding than the owner of the Plattville horse does.
In Weese's wagon shop we noticed two Democratic buggies, very artistically painted, and at very low prices. They seemed good enough for a Republican to ride in. Weese turns out some splendid buggies.
We also noticed Mr. June Platt's new store. He has a neat, well-stocked store, replete with an excellent assortment of dry goods and groceries. He seems to be doing a nice, thriving trade.
We met with the Rev. J. J. Young, and found him in his usual happy, pleasant mood. He informed us that the time of the services at the Center (Lisbon Center) and Plattville churches has been changed. Afternoon services are now held in the Plattville church and the service at Center is in the morning. The Sunday school has recommenced at the latter and Mr. Fletcher has been elected Superintendent. We think he will make an able and successful one.
We know of no place which enjoys as large and constant supply of pure living water as Plattville. Mr. Platt told us that in early times, in prospecting, it was one of the main considerations. The ample supply of water was the cause of his locating there as herding and raising cattle was then of most importance. He noted that he discovered a deep spring on his claim. The spring permitted a pole fifteen feet long to be thrust down into it and has never since been known to fail. Mr. T. Lynn, a little time ago was sinking a well on his farm. He and his man were about completing the stoning up when a rumbling, gurgling noise was heard below giving them alarm. Immediately afterwards a strong impetuous stream of water shot up in the air carrying with it the well walls and commenced overflowing. A strong flow of water has continued day and night with a supply of water sufficient to fill a pipe of four-inch diameter continuously. The water tastes like the Joliet Artesian well water. Mr. Obadiah Naden was equally successful in finding water on his farm, which must be of great convenience and value in watering his fine fatted stock. Other springs have been found in different parts of the village. Many seem to have great faith in Witch Hazel and divining rods and have great confidence in the Water Wizard. Be that as it may, Plattville possesses great and powerful water resources. It offers an abundant and never failing supply for large manufactories, gristmills, or to satisfy the wants of the iron horse.
The show of small fruit blossoms is very encouraging and full of promise. We partook of the hospitalities of Squire Richardson and family. He gave us an excellent meal, and splendid biscuits, light and white as snow. He has a splendid orchard. He is one of the "olden times," and has lost none of the old settler's proverbial generosity. We understand besides being village Justice he is agent for some of the best insurance companies and that he meets with deserved support.
We also called upon our old acquaintance and friend, George E. Edmonds, formerly the mail carrier. George has a stature of considerable importance, a pleasant smile and good-humored joke. He is now engaged in the flour business at the meat market. He is also agent for agricultural machinery.
We were invited to step in and inspect the millinery establishment of Mrs. Evans and Miss Kimble. They have a very choice assortment of straw, leghorn, lace, silk and satin hats, bonnets and trimmings. The have ribbons of all breadths and colors, and fancy artificial flowers, comparable to nature's beautiful and rare varieties. We were informed that they do quite a successful trade, and our lady friends informed us that for style, work and changes, were equal to or superior to neighboring large towns. Plus their expenses were considerably less.
We also accidentally met with Mr. Hy. Day, joiner and builder. We found him full of business. He was engaged in transforming the ancient residence of John Litsey, Esquire, into a modern mansion. He expects to make a pleasing and tasteful transformation. We like to see the worthy Squires getting proud and smartening up in this wonderfully progressive age. Mr. Day has also contracted for building Mr. Joseph Buckley, of Aux Sable, a new family residence. He has several barns waiting to be built. We are glad to see him so well engaged and to know that his work proves so satisfactory.
We must not omit noticing the friendly talk of friend Kimball. Whether he is a relative of the world-renowned tragedian, Fanny Kimble, we did not inquire, but discovered that he was raised near the shade of Oxford University, famous for its architectural splendor, its libraries, and its Gownsmen.
We spent a real pleasant time with our townsman, Dr. Green. We examined his diploma from Rush Medical College, highly creditable to his professional character, abilities and skill. We are pleased to know of his excellent start in his profession. His amiable lady manifested the generous hospitalities of her nature.
We spent a pleasant time on our visit and are under obligations for the many kind favors received. We promise to visit there again.