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Morrisonville, Illinois
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There are so many interesting things to know about the history of Morrisonville, Illinois. Morrisonville is a small, rural town in Central Illinois. It is located 45 miles south of the state's capital, Springfield, Illinois. Morrisonville has a rich history dating back to a time when it was used as a hunting ground for Native American Indians. Ever since then, Morrisonville has been a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Before settlers established a town, four Indian tribes lived on Morrisonville's land, including Sac, Fox, Pottawatomie, and Kickapoo. They competed with each other for buffalo, elk, and deer. Morrisonville was also part of the Black Hawk hunting ground. When Columbus discovered the new world, new settlers invaded the Native Americans' land. Since 1492, six flags have flown over what is now Morrisonville, including Spain, France, Great Britain, Virginia, Indiana, and Illinois. Even though the majority of people who live in Morrisonville are children who have German ancestors, German people have never settled on this land.

In 1872, 134 years ago, Morrisonville became a town. There were a few events that led up to this, such as on June 14, 1851, when Thomas A. Carlin, a former governor of Illinois, paid $1.25 an acre for land that is now Morrisonville, and in the fall of 1869, when Colonel James Morrison, after moving here from Scotland, laid out the plat for the town. Colonel Morrison married Mary Ann Carlin in 1842. Mary Ann Carlin's parents were Thomas A. Carlin and Rebecca Huitt Carlin. Thomas Carlin established the town, Carrolton, Illinois. After Thomas Carlin purchased the land, he left it to his daughter, and she left it to her husband, James Morrison, and then, when the town was established, it was named after him. In fact, on Perrine Street, there is still a house that Colonel Morrison built and lived in with his wife after the town of Morrisonville was established. "Col. Morrison made an agreement with the railroad company that he would help build a new town if the railroad company would make Morrisonville a regular place to stop". Even though the town was named after James Morrison, Joseph Poggenpohl built the first house in Morrisonville in February of 1870. Then, in May of the same year, the railroad was laid diagonally through Morrisonville. Once the railroad was established, Morrisonville became a regular stopping place for all trains and passengers. As soon as this happened, the town grew in population and business. After the first resident in the town proper, Richard McLean, built his house, people came here looking for a better living. Since 1871, many additions have been annexed to this town, such as T.F. Potts, Perrine, Johnson, Pence, Cloyd, and Shull. All of these streets were named after people who loved the land of Morrisonville and wanted to see it grow and prosper. In 134 years, people have found many ways to socialize, learn, live, and make a living in Morrisonville. The first Morrisonville picnic was held on August 27, 1923, and it included a parade beginning on Sarpy Street, and marching to the City Park, speakers, a $1.00 prize for the tallest and shortest man, a fat man race, and free movies shown. Many people attended the event, as they still do today. "The Knights of Columbus was organized in 1882". A craze that hit Morrisonville in the mid 1880's was roller skating. In fact, it was so popular a building was built just for roller skating. It was later used as the Knights of Columbus hall. In 1926, the Knights of Columbus purchased the "Opera House" from the Morrisonville Moose Lodge. Many activities were held there, including dances, card parties, talent shows, church bazaar, and roller-skating. Ever since the 1920's, the lumber company has remained in the same location, and fire has destroyed two office buildings; one in the early 1920's, and one in 1974. "Through the years, Morrisonville has been known as a very religious community". Some churches in Morrisonville are the First Baptist Church, the First United Presbyterian Church, St. Maurice Church, and the United Methodist Church. Colonel Morrison donated the land for St. Maurice. The first church was a large frame building on the corner of Fuller and Third Streets, and cost $4,000. "Schools in and around Morrisonville have made a big part of our history." In 1870, the first school was built. It also served as a Sunday school and a town hall. The present St. Maurice School was built in 1922, and contained a full basement and a large room across the entire front of the school. "Country children would drive a horse and buggy to school." Some of the first businesses to open in Morrisonville that are still open today are Becker's Clothing Store, Morrisonville Lumber Company, and Stewart's Market. "When Morrisonville abandoned the old village hall/firehouse, the Morrisonville Historical Society was organized in an effort to raise funds for preservation of this historic building, and renovate it for a museum." They housed artifacts such as old clothing, dolls and doll furniture, a collection of typewriters, old school and business pictures, sports memorabilia, and Morrisonville's first jail cell. "In the 1880's and 90's, it wasn't unusual for circuses to come to town". Some famous people from Morrisonville are the founder of the Steak & Shake food chain, Augustus Belt, the inventor of the Eversharp pen and pencil, John Wahl, and a famous playwright and poet who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1935, Zoe Atkins. Morrisonville is truly a great place to live, and sometimes we need to be reminded of just how lucky we are to live in a place with such a grand history. Morrisonville's history dates back before any of us were ever heard of. In Morrisonville there is so much to see and do, so one might ask: Anybody ready to take a road trip to visit Morrisonville? - Bradley Davis


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