The memories of many incidents associated with the arrival of our forefathers in Odin township are rekindled as we visit those who relate true facts and those who pass on legend.
The Territory of Illinois was separated from that of Indiana in 1809. The newly appointed governor for this territory was Ninian Edwards, and the seat of government established at Kaskaskia. By an act of Congress in April, 1818, Illinois was admitted to the Union as the twenty-second state with Shadrach Bond the first governor.
Marion County was organized on January 24, 1823, and named for General Francis Marion, a hero of the Revolutionary War.
Odin township originally had the villages of Odin and Sandoval within its boundaries, however, in 1896 it was divided into Odin and Sandoval townships.
The hundredth anniversary of our village dates from the time the Illinois Central Railroad secured land grants in order to build the railroad from Chicago to Cairo. The land not needed for the railroad bed was later sold to interested farmers for eight to twelve dollars per acre. Payments could be made over a period of several years.
Thomas Deadmond, a Virginian, was Odin township’s first settler. He arrived in the timber in the southern part in 1827. The season was well advanced. He erected a shed-home with the roof slanting toward the north and the south wall left open. A log fire afforded warmth and a cooking area. Mr. Deadmond entered eighty acres in section 28 in January, 1837.
Silas Barr came to the township in 1829. Two years later he entered the first tract of land in section 27. Soon his brother James N. Barr came from Tennessee. This was the father of Oliver Barr and grandfather of Hobart Barr.
During our visit to Hobart’s we enjoyed reading a letter written by his grandfather and dated December 14, 1847. James N. Barr was with the army during the Mexican War. He wrote of the "noise being made by the Indians and Spaniards," and his company was ready to advance. His letter was folded several times and sealed with a drop of sealing wax.
Samuel McClelland settled in 1830 near Silas Barr. Three brothers by the name of Wilburn settled here at an early date. James Adams, Thomas Pigg, and John Hill were early settlers and were respected for their honesty.
All the farms in this locality were for many years confined to the timber but Bluford Deadmond ventured out into the prairie and selected a farm site near the center of the township.
Early settlers in the northern part of the township were G. L. Chitwood, John Davidson, John Puleston, John Vaughn and Silas Hurd.
Mr. Hurd came to Odin in 1856 with his wife Sarah Jane (Robinson) and six weeks old son Henry P. This trek west in a covered wagon was no new experience for Mr. Hurd. He had made the trip to California in 1852 overland with wagon and oxen, being four months on the road. The Hurds bought prairie land and made their home where they lived for fifth-three years.
William Tipton, a stock raiser and horse breeder living here, built the two-story business building on the south side of town. Many pleasant memories are recalled by mere mention of this hall. Mr. Tipton was the uncle of Oscar and Frank Purvis.
The George Farthing Family came here in the early fifties. The oldest son William H. was a business man and banker in Odin; Mrs. Rose F. Martin resides here, and Mrs. Georgia F. Kile is manager of the Illinois Power Company office.
The family of George Denman built the home later known as the W. D. Farthing home. The family moved to the Landon farm during the cholera epidemic, Mrs. Minnie Denman Sloan, the daughter of George, is one of Odin’s older citizens.
After the years of 1862-65 many families came from the south to live. The village was booming. Business places were groceries operated by M. N. Martin, C. L. Miller, Mrs. Polly Watson; drugs and groceries the Phillips Brothers, and R. J. Andrews. One of the largest press barns was erected by A. M. Woodward and N. B. Morrison.
The following account of early history was written by Mr. T. C. Harker who lives north of Odin.
My father brought his family to Odin, Illinois, in the spring of 1885. We arrived at Odin on the seventeenth of April. My brother and I came from Cincinnati, Ohio, in two railroad box cars to care for the horses, cattle, and poultry which we brought to help carry on the new home, situated a few miles north and west of Odin and another farm one mile north and west of town. The others of the family came by passenger train. My father employed "little" George Black and Frank Norton with their teams and wagons to help move the livestock, furniture, and farm implements out to the home. We were in Odin four days with lodgings at the Reid Hotel, a two story building with a portico reaching out form the upper story over the sidewalk and situated where the Odin Super Market is now located. Just west of this hotel was the Odin Drug Store, owned and operated by Sam and Billy Phillips. Their brother-in-law, Dr. J. J. Fyke, also the law office of W. D. Farthing were just west of the drug store. The mine staff was being finished and that summer, Odin held quite a celebration in honor of striking coal. The operators of the mine were N. B. Morrison, A. M. Woodward, and F. D. Secor. The small shareholders were supposed to be frozen out. years before, a grist mill was operated where the Baptist Church now stand. Just a block east stood a brick building, a clothing store, owned and operated by Fred Schulmaker, a Jew who sold clothing tailored by Odin skill. My wedding suit was purchased at this store in 1892 and the wedding ceremony performed by Silas Bar an aged minister in Odin. Others among the older citizens at the time, were David Somerville, "J.P.," Captain Pontius, Ben Charles, the plant man, Mr. Crow who had an exceptionally melodious bass voice, Reverends Hawley and Morgan. We must recall one little fellow, "Bob-Aird" who committed high offenses about town, quite frequently. The town marshal would lock him in the calaboose, the next morning, it was empty. Bob just wouldn’t stay put.
W. E. Smith owned a general merchandise store on the north side of the railroads. John Sugg had started a grocery and drygoods store, on the north side, which developed later into a much larger business. C. L. Miller established the first bank in Odin in the early 1890’s. A brick yard was built up on the east side near the mine shaft and supplied brick for the surrounding territory, quite a number of years.
Woodward and Morrison built large haybarns where they received and baled hay grown in the surrounding meadows. The hay was shipped to other markets. The churches at that time 1880’s were the Methodist Episcopal on the block south of the Wilson Funeral Home. The Presbyterian on the west side and the Protestant Methodist on the north side. The Christian Church was built a little later. As to schools among the more proficient teachers were Sophia Richards and Grace Seib. I attended what I believe, was the first graduation exercise at Odin. The class consisted of three pupils, Lulu Farthing, a young man named Billy and his sister, I cannot recall their last name, however, I do remember that in reading the class book, Miss Farthing referred to him as "Sweet William." At that time Professor Abbot was in charge of Odin schools, followed by Professor Kilbourne. Then came John Aird, later J. E. Whitechurch who marched off with one of Odin’s teachers, Lulu Parker. Then followed a number of other heads of school including B. E. Gum. Odin produced one County School Superintendent, S. S. Hawley under whose jurisdiction, I taught my first term of school in 1887. The oldest pupil was Marion Peddicord who was just two days younger than the teacher. I attended his funeral some weeks ago. He was 92 years old, last September first.
We should not overlook the thought that a goodly number of families surrounding Odin and established through the past century, have been essentially helpful in the upbuilding and maintenance of our town. Among these families on the west and south, the McClellands, Deadmonds, Arrowsmiths, Ross V. Robinson families. East, Dace, Hoskinson, Moore, J. Hill families. North, Ferguson, Hurds, Richards, Suggs, Vaughn, Ramsey, Fultons, William Carrington, Arderys, Revenaughs, Hatch, Briscoe and many other families.
The A. M. Wooward General Store has continued business for many years. After Mr. A. M. Woodward’s retirement, his son Horace N. assumed full responsibility of the store. Later H. V. Toulme, the nephew of Mr. H. N. bought the business. After Mr. Toulme’s death, Ben Purvis an employee in the store bought the building and opened Ben’s Market. In 1959 Ben sold the business to the present owners Wilson and Florence Smith. Wilson is the son of Omar and Letty (Morgan) Smith.
Other business establishments you may recall during the early 1900’s, J. M. Dace Confectionery; S. D. Phillips Drug Store; Hurd and Harroun Implement Shop; E. E. Hudson Paint Store; Eccles Brothers Bakery; E. A. Parks Jewelry Store; C. F. Krodell General Store; Scott Davidson Livery and Grains; C. O. Stanford, Clothier; Wilson Dace, Jeweler; Lewis Print Shop and Odin Newspaper; Barber Shops of Walter Turner and Charles Arrowsmith; Odin Bank with W. H. Farthing cashier; Tot’s Hat Shop; T. H. McClelland Real Estate and Insurance; The Virginia, Moody, and Kellar Hotels. The blacksmith shop operated by Henry Soulon, a Frenchman who came to Odin in 1865.
The Rippy families and those of Robert and John Jackson are well known. The Marion County Atlas lists John Jackson as a retired farmer and engineer. His son Horace also served as mine engineer. H. W. Jackson, son of Robert, held many village, township and county offices. Cleveland Rippy has been elected to several county offices.
William and Mary Lowdermilk who came here in 1899, and later bought the meat and grocery store from T. E. Nichols, had two sons who were professional baseball players. Grover started his career in 1907 and continued until 1922, playing with such teams as St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland, Detroit, and others. He retired from baseball field in 1924. Louis played in 1911 with the Southern League. After several years of baseball he retired and later served Odin as Mayor.
B.C. Holsapple came here in 1909 and opened a blacksmith shop. As the horseless carriage became more popular, the shop was converted to an auto agency and repair shop.
Do you remember E. A . Parks driving the red Brush; Bebb Vaughn and Jimmy Norris on motorcycles; F. D. Secor steaming around in his White and following were W. H. Farthing and C. F. Krodel with their E.M.F. Models?
C. E. Sloan bought lots east of the Morrison home in 1910 and began the construction of the Lumber Lard. John Somerville was the building contractor employed. Mr. Sloan operated the yard until his death in 1948. His nephew, C. A. Sloan, continued the business for a year, then it was sold to C. A. Glore of Centralia, Illinois.
Dr. W. N. Hamilton and his wife came here in 1916. The doctor was a native son, having been born in the house owned by Hazel Lane. Dr. and Mrs. Hamilton were active in civic and social affairs. On May 1, 1948, Dr. Hamilton retired. They later lived in Salem with their daughter, Mrs. F. A. Dietrich. Mrs. Hamilton passed away November 23, 1950, and Dr. Hamilton’s death occurred October eleventh, 1952.
World War I found Odin sending sons into service. The Red Cross making hospital clothing and bandages under the guidance of Sazie Hurd, Emma Pope, Lillie Robinson, Eva Denman and many others. Liberty bonds were a good investment. Groups were singing, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "Keep the Home Fires Burning."
News of the Armistice on November 1, 1918, created great excitement in our town. A Liberty Parade was staged. Soon after that date the ban on food commodities was lifted.
John F. Sugg built the two story building which housed the Walter Turner Barber Shop, Odin Dug Store, R. N. Morgan’s Pool Room and the "Picture Show" operated by Charles and Vada Purvis. The I.O.O.F. building was a new addition to the town’s southside.
Odin is proud to list the professions chosen by its native sons and daughters. Ordained ministers, the Reverends John Crow, Thomas Ruppy, Cyril Jackson and Irvin Smith. Doctors – E. E. Fyke, Charles Farthing, Fred Nichols, Claude Avery, Henry H. Hurd (commander of Naval Hospital on Virgin Islands during World War II), Wilson West, Bernard Murphy (held scholarship to Mayo Clinic n Rochester, Minnesota). Dentists – Ben and Paul Kellar. Nursing – Irma Farthing (Supervisor of nurses at Springfield Memorial Hospital, Springfield, Illinois), Helen Lusch (Supervisor of nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital, East St. Louis – later World War II Army nurse) Mary Vaughn (Marion County T. B. Nurse), Helen Wooters, Helen Purvis (World War II army nurse in the African Campaign), Fredericka Bregger (Cadet nurse, World War II), Ethel Barr, Rose Pizzuto and Velma Smith. The list of school teachers is of great length, however, we will list some of the earlier ones – Cora Hedrick, James Meredith, H. P. Hurd, Alta Hurd, Grace Seib, T. C. Harker, Ella Seib, Rena Meredith, Lulu, Grace, Floy and Nelle Farthing, William West, Lura, Ray, and Helen Somerville, Della Reeves, Grace Woodward, Nellie West, and Vena Farthing. Lawyers – Louis Hurd, who practiced in Dubuque, Iowa; Paul and Chester Farthing who opened offices in East St. Louis. Later Paul was elected Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. During that time Chester continued the law firm and spent much time on the estate settlement of the Garrett case in Philadelphia. The product made by the Garrett firm is "Garrett Snuff."
Each year progressive improvements were made in Odin. In 1937 a contract was completed with the Illinois Power Company to furnish electricity in our town. Around 1947 the town board members contracted to have the installation of water from Centralia competed. The Odin Cemetery Association was organized in 1944. A. H. Sebastian and C. E. Sloan contacted interested families to secure donations. Under the direction of Dan Fisher, the mayor, as president the Association has made progress in beautifying the cemetery. Marie H. Tate serves as secretary and C. A. Sloan is treasurer. Albert Burton is the present custodian; others who have served in this work were Ben Shelton, Jim Bradley and Albert Hawley. The Odin Community Park was a realization in 1958. Robert D. Holsapple and C. M. Yaw were responsible for its foundation. The combined efforts of the Fire Department and others have afforded the residents of the area an annual celebration and fireworks display on the Fourth of July. Greater progression our town is possible with the continued cooperation of all townspeople.
It is "togetherness" that has made this centennial anniversary possible. Your interest and the efforts exerted by you have been extremely helpful in compiling some of the history of Odin township.
---- OUR TOWN -----
A hundred years and more have flown
Since Odin founders, one by one
Came through in prairie schooners, bold
As others, in the past had done.
They searched the prairie, far and wide,
To seek a home where they might dwell
In peace and happiness, the while,
Affirm the slogan, all is well.
It chanced, they stopped where Odin stands
And opportunity seemed to lurk
Where open prairie far expands
With recompense for earnest work.
Then others came and paused the while
With inclination to remain
And live their lives in pleasant dreams
Of happy homes, they might maintain
Now as the years go fleeting by
And joys reflect the Odin way.