Evans Corner… and the beginnings of Morton
(at least the Ackermans in Morton)
Author Unknown.. written in 1980s
In 1831 the J. Evans family built a home on a site which was located where North Main Street now passes under Interstate Route No. 74, and shortly after a trading post was established there by Mr. Evans. This was known as Evans Corner. This was a good location for it was along the trail between Tremont and Metamora. At that time Tremont was the County seat of Tazewell County and Metamora was the County seat of Woodford County. A store, a post office and a library constituted the post.
Mail was delivered by horse and wagon once a week to the post office.
On Sunday the library was used for church purposes -- one week by the Methodists and the next week by the Congregationalists. It was also used for political meetings and it has been said that Abraham Lincoln made campaign speeches there.
In 1866 the post burned down from a fire of unknown origin and the Village of Morton was started in a new area approximately 3/4 mile south of Evans Corner. This was an area laid out by Mr. W. W. Campbell and was known as Campbell’s first addition.
In 1902 Wm. Moschel and J. C. Ackerman bought 40 acres from Joseph Belsley, Sr. Mr. Moshel donated 5 acres far Morton Township’s first High School site and athletic field. (Morton Junior High School now occupies this site) The rest of the acreage was laid out in subdivision lots. Trees were planted and to get house building started Mr. Moshel and Mr. Ackerman each constructed a house to be sold on a monthly payment plan, similar to that of today ‘s Saving and Loan Associations.
In 1911 the house located on the John C, Ackerman farm was moved to Morton and still stands on the corner of Second and Harrison Streets. A new concrete block house was built on the farm.
Beyer Bros. who then owned the Electric Plant which serviced Morton, built the first rural electric line that serviced the Ackerman, Belsley, Merchanthaler and Staker farm homes.
In 1910 while Holt Manufacturing Co. (Now Caterpillar Tractor Co.) were in process of moving from California to East Peoria, they brought a Holt tractor to Morton to test on belt power, and it replaced a steam engine pulling a threshing separator that was threshing grain on the land where the Caterpillar Parts Plant is now located. They also did some plowing on this farm and on the Ackerman farm. Eight plow bottoms were pulled.
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