Madison County History and Genealogy

History and Genealogy

History of Madison County

Jefferson Township Early Industries, Taverns and Stage Routes

From History of Madison County, W. H. Beers & Co, Chicago, 1883

Page 634

Probably the first man to keep a store within the territory to which we are limited was a Mr. Gilmore, who opened up soon after New Hampton was laid out. He was a one-legged man, and it was quite inconvenient for him to get around. He soon concluded to take in a partner, and in accordance a Mr. Dalby became associated, but the latter had two legs and only one arm; but the business was managed quite well, after all. Dalby would get the goods, do the selling, and Gilmore would tie them up, and thus they followed their business. Dalby became the first merchant in Jefferson, hereafter mentioned. It is generally believed that Benjamin Pike kept the post office and tavern in New Hampton as early as 1825, but we think that the first tavern within the limits of the township was kept by a Mr. Atkinson, on the State road, about one hundred rods north of the residence of John E. Roberts. The building was a hewed log, and formed a comfortable inn for that day, but it ceased to do business when the National pike was completed. Atkinson remained there until his death. Just west of this about a quarter of a mile, on the same road, was another tavern, but the proprietor's name is unknown. Another tavern was kept in New Hampton by a widow lady, whose name is given us as Tacy Widener. We next come to a tavern opened by J. W. Simpkins, on the national pike, where the American Hotel stood, in Jefferson, which was followed up in the village, until, at one time (1844 and 1845), there were five hotels kept in Jefferson, by the following parties, viz.: R. S. Nichols, Nathan Patterson, Baltzer Mantle, James Hughs and George Chapman. For a number of years there have been two, but the devouring flames destroyed the American in the spring of 1882, and the Mantle House, kept by E. R. Hill, is the only one open for business in the township.

The old stage company, known as Neil, Morse & Co., was established in an early day, when they traveled the State road. They continued business, and, when the National pike was built, it added new facilites to their enterprise. Thus they enjoyed the great road until the building of the railroad. They usually ran from three to five coaches each way daily through Jefferson, and made business lively.

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