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Early History of Carpenter

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser

 

Carpenter was laid out by John F. Opel, and the plat was recorded May 9, 1877. Carpenter is located along the Wabash Railroad in Hamel Township, north of Rt. 140, at Quercus Grove Road. Carpenter was originally called Millersville, as the few buildings that were there were located on land originally owned by Fred Mueller (Miller). This land was located on the east side of Quercus Grove Road. On the west side of the road, was the Johan (John) Fredrick Opel farm. In 1877, at the age of 51, Opel helped lay out the town on the west side, and the plat was recorded May 9, 1877. Sometime later, a man passing through was killed on the Wabash Railroad tracks near there. His name was Frank G. Carpenter, and due to this incident, it was ordered by the railroad to rename the town Carpenter.

Carpenter became an important shipping point for farmers. In 1877, twenty thousand bushels of corn were shipped from this point. The grain office of H. Breed & B. Clark was erected in January 1877. The following month, F. H. Clark established a building attached to the grain office and opened a general store. Clark was also the railroad agent. Fred Bachs opened a general store, which changed hands several times, with the last owner being G. H. Neuhaus. Fred Bachs also opened a grain elevator.

The following May, a post office was established, with F. H. Clark as postmaster. In the fall of 1877, Peter Balmer built a house and opened a hotel. Another hotel, called the Spooner Hotel, was opened by John and Katherine Braun. The following winter, John Brown built a residence and blacksmith shop. In the summer of 1877, Breed & Clark erected a grain house east of the office. In 1881, D. S. Shellabarger & Co. of Decatur built a grain house south of the depot, with a capacity of 30,000 bushels. In 1880, the railroad company constructed a tank and pond. T. H. Clark built his business house in 1881.

The original Carpenter School was built in 1800. Another schoolhouse was constructed in 1860 by John Koenig. This building, 22x20, was erected for $373, including all benches, desks, and painting. George S. Pomeroy served as the teacher for six months, for $196. A new schoolhouse was constructed in 1880, on land bought from Johan and Ida Opel for $150. The first directors of the school were: J. W. Abert, John F. Opel, and Theobolt Rinkel. W. C. Daniels was the first teacher.

In the year 1882, the businesses of Carpenter consisted of:
Physician – G. C. Gray.
General Store – Frank H. Clark.
Grain Dealers – D. S. Shellabarger & Co.
Grain Agents – B. Clark & Son.
Hotels – Charles Spruner, and J. H. Bange.
Blacksmith – John Brown.
Wagon Shop – F. Wehling.
Harness and Saddles – Louis Eckardt.
Shoe Maker – H. G. Lehrke.

 

                                                  1906 Map of Carpenter, Illinois

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