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History of the Town of Kinderhook, Illinois
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History of the Town of Kinderhook, Illinois
Contributed by edmad709008
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Newspaper Date:

September 24 1936
Newspaper Article:

Kinderhook was surveyed and recorded by Chester Churchill and Bridge Whitten, April 9, 1836. They named the town for Kinderhook, N. Y., and the place from where they came. This is a Dutch name, meaning "children's corner". These men had come here some years previously, about 1821 and acquired land. We are told that Mr. Churchill gave the land upon which the town is located. Most of the town lies on the hill but the business section has always been at the foot of the hill along Quincy Street. The plot of the town is rather irregular as this street follows the contour of the hills and does not run directly east and west.

Peter Harper is said to be the first settler in the town. He was a hermit who continued to live here until his death.

Wm. Montgomery Blair, a New Light preacher came to the vicinity in 1828 from Indiana. When he arrived here he found that other families had preceded him. Blair is supposed to have built the first log cabin in at Kinderhook and the next year the first mill in this part of the county. He also started a distillery but soon abandoned it, as grain was too scarce to make it profitable.

People at this time became more desirous of living in-groups so that they might have the advantage of schools and churches.

The first store was kept by Mr. Churchill. In November of this year, Cornelius Dilley Sr. came here from Marietta, Ohio, and said when he came there was a store, a blacksmith shop and a saloon.

There were several log schools in the town at different times. One where Mrs. Ada Fowler now lives, one at David Millhizer place, and one stood between the residence of J. P. Larimore and Hardy Bell. A three-room brick building was constructed on the present school grounds in 1867 by Alec Leggett and John Aren. This was torn down and the present building erected in 1889. It has since been re-modeled and enlarged.

Many changes have been made in the business department of the village. Among the early merchants were Alexander Anderson, John Clutch, J. C. Colvin, Frank Estergreen, J. A. Allen, James Bond, Ligget and Coleman, D. Devol, Hull and Colvin. These were succeeded by C. B. Gose, and C. V. Aylesworth.

George Colgrove, D. S. Griffeth, Lincoln Chasteen, D. F. Liggett and R. T. Piper. R. T. Piper is the only one of these still carrying on in business. Other merchants at present are J. E. Butters and Son, and W. I. Mcaffrey. Jack Clatterbuck, a blind man, had a confectionery and tobacco store for a number of years.

Kinderhook has had two disastrous fires.

Kinderhook has had an excellent hotel service in years past. Thomas Fitzpatrick operated a hotel for many years in a frame building near the railroad. This changed hands several times, but at one time was by Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Hull. The traveling public found them to be capable and efficient hosts. They sold this to William Churchill and wife, who in turn sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Farmer, who successfully managed it for a number of years.

Later, Mrs. Lydia Newman and daughter operated a hotel in a two-story building west of the present garage occupied by John Carder. This was destroyed by fire. Dr. Dechow then bought the old Odd Fellows Hall and remodeled it for a hotel. Mrs. Newman took charge of this and it became a popular place with transients. At present, we have no hotel, but a good rooming house and two superior restaurants.

The old blacksmith shops of Asa Hill, John Hoskins and Chas. Jackson has been replaced by garages. However, we have a good blacksmith shop still doing a thriving business owned by C. W. Brooks and Son.

The Kinderhook Exchange Mills were erected by Blain and Steers in 1871, they operated this for four years. Elizabeth McAtee and Dr. Penick were the next owners. In 1877 they sold out to E. B. Hyde and C. C. Colvin. They sold to J.C. Colvin who later took Wm. Fantz as a partner. Still later H. S. Churchill owned and operated the mill and elevator.

The present owners, David Jones and son have been there for forty years and have an extensive trade and produce an excellent grade of flour and mill stuffs.

Kinderhook has two churches, a Methodist, dedicated in 1857, and the Baptist in 1865. More will be given about these in a special article.

Among the doctors who looked after the health of the early settlers, were Dr. Andrews, Dr. Sprague, Dr. Leaney and Dr. Penick. In the late nineties, Dr. C. W. Trautwein and Dr. E. R. Motley were both located in the town. Dr. Kuntz and Dr. Henry were here a short time. After the death of Dr. Trautwein in 1903, Dr. Gaston was here for several years. Dr. P. H. Dechow took over his practice in 1907 and has built up a large practice in Kinderhook and vicinity.

Mr. E. E. Hull and brother, Louis conducted a livery business here for many years. One livery barn stood on the present site of the Odd Fellows Hall. This Mr. Hull bought from a Mr. Wright. He built another large barn where the home of Roy Likes now stands. He sold this business to Wm. Churchill who sold to Joshua Farmer. These barns were torn down several years ago. After this, J. C. Toner conducted a livery barn, also an implement hardware and store where the filling station operated by Geo. Burgesser now stands. He also had charge of the post office in his hardware store.

The cemetery has been enlarged several times and is well cared for. Reflecting credit on the community for their interest in keeping the "City of the Dead" in a condition which shows respect for those who have passed on.

We are small town folks but proud of the efforts and accomplishments of our ancestors and hope that our prosterity may look back upon us with as much pride.

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