Morris Herald – August 18, 1876

Excerpts from The Morris Herald for August 18, 1876.



Two of the City Officers to be Investigated – An Attempted “Gouge” on the City Treasury.

Council met in regular session on last Monday evening.  Present: Mayor Scovill, Aldermen Halbert, Schofield, Earnshaw, Fey, Owens and Rolly. Minutes of regular and special meetings read and approved.

The Street Commissioner submitted his report of amount of work done by him on streets during past month and submitted claims upon the city which were allowed, amounting to $168.63.

N. McBride, Police Magistrate, submitted quarterly report of the police business of the city, which showed a balance due to the various officers of the courts, amounting to $63.72.

A petition was presented to Council from Math. A’Hern, setting forth that certain officers of the city had presented affidavits to that body which reflected upon the good name and business of said petitioner, that said affidavits were false in every particular, as he was prepared to show, and prayed that a committee might be appointed to make a thorough investigation of the matter.

Alderman Halbert moved that the communication be laid upon the table. Carried.

Alderman Fey believed that Mr. A’Hern’s petition demanded more respect at the hands of Council. Charges had been made against the petitioner which reflected upon the good name and business of petitioner and he felt himself aggrieved.  He (Fey) thought the communications should at least be received. Alderman Owen moved for a reconsideration of the vote by which the petition was laid upon the table. The yeas and nays were called, resulting as follows: Yeas: Earnshaw, Fey, Owens;  nays: Halbert, Schofield, Rolly; a tie vote, whereupon Mayor Scovill cast his vote in favor of a reconsideration.

The vote was then taken on laying the petition upon the table and defeated by the vote as above.

Alderman Fey then moved that the petition be received and placed on file.

Alderman Rolly made a verbal report as a member of the committee to whom had been referred the matter relating to revoking the liquor license of said A’Hern. Mr. Rolly was satisfied that the committee had no right to act in the premises.  That the only proper course to pursue was for the City Attorney to bring charges against A’Hern before the Police Magistrate for keeping a disorderly house, and if found guilty the license could be revoked without difficulty. Report of committee adopted.

The motion of Alderman Fey was then taken up. Mr. Halbert and Mr. Rolly could not see how any action upon this petition would assist Mr. A’Hern. The mere fact of the petition going upon the minutes would do no good. Mr. Schofield thought the only good to be accomplished would be that of stringing out the minutes and thereby assisting the printer in making a bill.

Mr. Halbert called upon the City Attorney to know what action the Council could take in the matter, and what could be accomplished by the appointment of a committee of investigation.

The City Attorney said that there was no doubt in his mind but that A’Hern had been guilty of getting a man drunk, and that with that man he had gone to the house of a neighbor and created a disturbance; that I view of these facts, fully warranted by testimony, he had sent in the petition to the last meeting of Council, sustained by the sworn affidavits of Marshal Hopkins and Policeman Bogart.  The effect of receiving the petition now under consideration would be to virtually admit that the city officers had lied, and that the Council desired to place the same upon record.  If a committee was appointed by Council to investigate the affair they should be clothed with power to summon witnesses and take testimony.

The motion of Alderman Fey was then voted upon, and as before resulted in a tie vote. Mayor Scovill, candidate for Circuit Clerk, then decided that the city officers had lied about the matter and voted in favor of A’Hern by ordering that the petition be spread upon the minutes of Council.

In accordance with the suggestion of the City Attorney, Alderman Halbert moved that a special committee be appointed and invested with power to summon witnesses, and thoroughly investigate the charge made by the petitioner against the officers of the city. Motion prevailed, and the Mayor appointed Aldermen Rolly, Fey, and Barr as such committee.

Hon. P.A. Armstrong, Secretary of the Board of Education, presented a petition from said Board, asking for the use of the Council Chamber and Firemen’s Hall for school purposes, at the stipulated consideration of twelve dollars and fifty cents per month for each room. The same petition had been presented to the firemen at a special meeting held that evening, and that body had expressed their willingness to allow their room to be used for the purpose set forth in the petition, provided the money received on rent of same be placed in the treasure of the company.

Mr. Owens moved that the prayer of the petitioners be granted, with the understanding that the amount of rent of the Firemen’s room go to that body, and the rent of the Council room go into the city treasury. Carried.

Bills were allowed amounting to $197.29.

Chas. Flynn presented a bill for $50, the contract price for cleaning out the Horrie ditch. Alderman Halbert moved that the bill be allowed.

Mayor Scovill requested the Clerk to read another bill presented by Flynn, by which it was shown that the fifty five days had been consumed in the work, which at $1.50 per day, would amount to $82.50, making $32.50 more than the contract price.

Alderman Halbert said it made no difference how much time was consumed in doing the work or how much it cost the contractor. Flynn had gone over the ground with Council on one or two occasions, and knew what was to be done and had made his bid accordingly. If he had made his bid too low, that was his lookout, and not that of Council. He made a very striking comparison in the case of Alderman Earnshaw contracting for the building of the Chicago Court House, saying that if that gentleman should secure the job at a stipulated price of $300,000 and in the end found that it would cost $400,000, that gentleman would not expect Cook county to make up the loss. Or on the other hand, if Earnshaw found in the end that he had made $200,000 out of the job, more than he had expected to, he would not pay back any part of it to Cook county. He was in favor of holding parties strictly to their contracts. It was the only way that justice could be done to all parties. If Council allowed this man extra, they might expect to give extras to every city contractor. So long as he was a member of council he would demand that Council allow to no man more than the contract price for labor performed. Alderman Fey said he believed with Alderman Halbert, that as a general thing contractors should be held strictly to the contract price, but in this instance, the work was so much more than the contractor expected he would have to do, that something extra should be allowed him.

Mayor Scovill thought something should be done with the bill; that Flynn was not fully paid for his work and he should have something more. The Mayor having expressed his views, Alderman Owens moved that the bill be referred to a special committee (for what purpose was not stated.) On this motion the yeas and nays were called as follows: yeas, Earnshaw, Fey, Owens;  nays, Halbert, Schofield, Rolly;  Mayor Scovill voted in the affirmative, thereby referring the matter to a special committee. The Mayor appointed as such committee Rolly, who positively declined to serve; Schofield, who positively declined to serve; Fey, who declined; Earnshaw, and Raum, who was absent.

Alderman Rolly called attention of Council to the fact that he did not like the appearance of the police report. There seemed to be a gang of hangers on that were always down for a witness fee. He was very emphatic in his denunciation of this matter of business. He was not opposed to having witnesses at Trials, but it did seem as though the same witnesses were present at all cases, and that they were composed of a class of men who did nothing else than feed off the public crib.

The remarks of Alderman Rolly were very “touching” and soon brought to his feet Policeman Nape. The gentleman was a little bewildered, but endeavored to give council to understand that they were welcome to all fees due him from the city; that he was no fifty cent man, and was not hazarding his life for the paltry amount received from witness fees; he was working in the interest of the tax payers of Morris, regardless of person; there was nothing high toned about him as there was some members of the Council who put on a good many airs and did but little work. It was very evident that Policeman Nape was excited when he had finished his remarks. He must have supposed that Alderman Rolly had offered an insult to some near acquaintance of his.

Attention was called to the condition of some of the cellars under houses on Liberty street; that they were filled with stagnant water. Alderman Fey said that his attention had been called to the matter by Policeman Nape, and that they should receive attention. Alderman Rolly’s attention had been called to the same thing, but he understood that arrangements were being made to have them drained, and he did not think it necessary for Council to take any action.

Policeman Nape at this juncture chiming in, notwithstanding that Alderman Rolly had the floor, and wanted to inform Council of the whole matter. Patience ceased longer to be a virtue with Alderman Rolly and he desired to know if the valuable time of that body was to be taken up by remarks by officer Nape and the members of that body directly insulted. For his part he stood independently, without fear of anybody, and discharged the duties of his office to the best of his ability. He did not propose to have members of this Council insulted and interfered with in the discharge of their duties and called upon the Mayor, to see that the gentleman (Nape) who had consumed a great portion of the time that evening be silenced. The Mayor thereupon requested officer Nape to be seated. The matter relating to the cellars was then referred to the committee on Health, and Council adjourned.


Tommy Field has again shook the dust of Morris from off his feet. Tommy became despondent. He brooded over his troubles for several days and came to the conclusion that change of climate was the only thing that could revive his drooping spirits. Accordingly he left his shop on last Saturday and went to Joliet. On Monday Ed McDonald, who has been in the employ of Field for some time, went to Joliet, there met his late employer and of him purchased the shop and fixtures, and will continue the business. Ed is well liked in this city, and as he is exceedingly attentive to business, a good, square fellow, he will no doubt do a good business. He has our best wishes.


On Thursday of last week it was our pleasure to accompany Mr. W. H. Parmelee across the country to the new town of Verona. We were glad to see corn looking so much better than had been reported and to find farmers more hopeful. Many of the fields are looking well. In every field there are more or less bad spots, but we think it safe to say that there will be more than a half crop. Oats are generally in bad condition. They are very light and much rusted. Farmers along the line of travel were just cutting timothy. The crop is very heavy-larger than in years before. Apples are in abundance and very sound. Apple jack and sweet cider will be plenty this winter. A very pleasant drive of a few hours brought us to


The town has had a very rapid growth and if business will continue as in the past there is no such thing as predicting what it will be when as old as Morris. Almost every branch of business is represented. There are three houses of general merchandise, embracing groceries, dry goods, boots and shoes, drugs, et., two elevators, one run by Smith & Barber, the other by Ward & Peirce, and both are doing good business. Mr. N. Small is carrying on quite an extensive wagon and blacksmith shop, and Wm. Locke, of this city, commenced on Wednesday the erection of a new shop wherein he will carry on the same business; a Mr. Reinhardt of this city will be connected with him. Messrs. Scott & Stitt are doing a good business in butchering. There are two doctors in the place – Dorchester and Fouet – both of whom have a good practice. We failed to see the shingle of any lawyer, but no doubt some aspiring limb of the law will soon hang his name upon the outer wall and advocate the claims of litigants.

Avery & Peterson and Goold & Martin are running quite extensive establishments, and we should judge that competition was strong. We never before met either Avery or Peterson, but should judge from first impression that they were very clever gentlemen. It is easy to decide that they are both enterprising men and have snap. Their store is well filled with goods of every description. They report a good trade.  However, they are capable of doing more business and have taken the proper course to secure it, to wit: advertising in the columns of the Herald.

Messrs. Goold & Martin we have known for some time. Mr. Goold particularly, and, our word for it, a truer, nobler man does not live in Grundy county. He is a man that will have friends in any community. He reports business good, and we are glad to know of his prosperity. He is deserving of it. This firm was the first to open in business in the new “city.” They have a very good double store-house, one half of which is devoted to the drug and grocery trade, and the other to dry goods and queensware. There is a hall over the building, and when furnished it will be used for public meetings. Some of the boys talk of dedicating the hall by the formation of a Hayes and Wheeler club therein, and an effort is being made to open the campaign in that vicinity by a speech from “Bob” Ingersoll of Peoria. Mr. John Cody is doing a good business in the boot and shoe trade. Mr. C. Crosier is putting up a building with the intention of filling it with a stock of hardware. The buildings are all of a better class than are usually found in a new town and speak well for its future prosperity. They are all well built-look like permanency-and are neatly painted. What is most needed now is work on streets. This should be attended to at once, and good plank walks laid down so as to be ready for winter.

Verona now has a daily mail. Mr. A.K. Avery is post master. If there is sufficient country to sustain the business houses now established in Verona, we see no reason why the town should not flourish, but we do believe that it would be bad policy to add to the number. After a substantial dinner at the house of friend Goold, we again took up our course and a five mile drive brought us to


Since our last visit to this place the changes have been numerous. One year ago we stopped here on our way to Gardner and with the exception of the blacksmith shop, the store and one or two dwellings the place was vacant.  Now houses and workshops are dotted around.  The old town (Mazon proper) has been partially moved over and other houses built, the most important of which is the house of K.L. Crandall.  We venture to say that there is not a better, more complete store anywhere in the country.  Everything about the building is arranged for the business, and above all cleanliness abounds.  Seats are provided for customers while doing their trading, the shelves arranged so as to display goods to advantage, and gentlemanly clerks in attendance.  Lee surely knows how to run a store.

We found our old friend, Pomeroy, at the bench, pegging away at the soles of men, doing his best to give them a good footing in the world and a solid understanding.  He reports business fair and abounds in hope for the prosperity of the new village.  He says they never expect to become the metropolis of the county, they are satisfied to leave that with Verona, but they do expect to become a flourishing village.

The Ishams continue to do a steady business in general merchandise.

J.C. Keltner is buying and shipping cattle and hogs. He has shipped two car loads from this station and as soon as arrangements can be made with the railroads for special rates, he will enter more extensively into the business.

There are two elevators at this place, one built by Al. Viner is quite large and will compare favorably with any elevator in this city. It is not at present in use. Some parties from Joliet are negotiating for the building, and, if they are successful in making rates with the railroad the house will be opened up. It will be apt to hold a good deal of grain which might come to this market.


Late in the afternoon of last Monday, a son of John Bolis, colored, aged fourteen years, while playing on the swing at the head of Washington street, fell and broke his arm.


On last Sunday afternoon, Loyton Beach, little son of L. F. Beach, aged about four years, attempted to drive some cows out of the yard. By some means he stumbled and fell, and no sooner was he down than a young heifer turned upon him, and had it not been that several men were close by at the time, the little fellow would have been gored to death. The animal made one plunge at him, her short horns just grazing his forehead. She was just preparing for the second attack when Mr. E. Hastings made for the animal and rescued the child.


J. W. Massey’s estate house and lots on West side, and six lots across the R. R. West of Cunnea’s.


Typed and submitted by Kathleen Berner Groll.

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