History of Tampico Township
From Bent-Wilson History Book, 1877
Posted by Dana Fellows
This township was originally a part of Portland Precinct, then of Rapids Precinct, remaining a part of the latter until 1852, when the Commissioners appointed by the County Commissioners’ Court, defined its boundaries and gave it its name; but until its complete organization in 1860, the east half was attached to Hopkins township, and the west half to Prophetstown, for judicial purposes. It includes all of township 19 north, range 6 east of the fourth principal meridian. A portion of the town is level prairie, interspersed with sloughs, and the balance rolling prairie, with here and there a sand ridge. The “big slough,” about a mile and a half north of the present village of Tampico is probably the best known of any in the south part of the county. Previous to its being ditched by the county, and by side ditches, it was frequently during the winter and spring and sometimes extending even into the summer, covered with water from a mile to two miles in width, and was a favorite resorting place for all kinds of water fowl found in this section of the country. The water would be from one to three feet deep, and often partially frozen, so that those compelled to pass over the slough had not only to contend with mire and water, but with ice. In early times those unacquainted with it would often get lost,. and wander about until they became mired, and then have to rest as best they could until help came. Mr. Glassburn gives an instance, and such were not of unfrequented occurrence at the time, where a man taking a load of goods from Sterling to some point in Bureau county, got mired in about the middle of the slough, and when found was holding his horses’ heads above the mud and water to prevent their sinking. The wagon was sunk so low that the boxes of goods were half submerged. It was with great difficulty that team. and wagon could be extricated in such cases. In 1862 the slough was piked, and with the work put on it since, is now quite passable. The county ditch draining this slough was dug in 1863-’64 from Swan lake to Coon creek.
The great “blow out,” as it is known, is situated on section 22, a little west of the center of this town. This excavation is the work of whirlwinds, undoubtedly an indefinite series of them, and covers an area of over seven acres. Its depth is about sixty feet, the sand being blown away to the water line. No authentic data can be fixed when the sand was blown from this vast basin, everything relating to it being merely conjecture. When first discovered by the early settlers in this part of the State, a large red cedar tree was growing near the center of the basin, but was cut down by some vandal in 1850. The stump was standing until recently, and many of the inhabitants of the town have pieces taken from it. The species of cedar to which this tree belonged is not indigenous to this section, and it is supposed that it was brought by the Indians from some other part and planted there. Near where it stood is a fine spring of water. This “blow out” is one of the curiosities of the town.
The first settlers of the town were: Nicholas Lutyens, John Lutyens, and Hiram Tompkins, from the State of New York; and Jacob Lutyens from Canada, in 1852. In 1853 came Aaron S. Miller, from Groton, Tompkins county, New York, and Geo. W. Curtis, from Fox River Valley, although originally from New York State. Wm. Aldrich, and Rev. William Gray, came in 1854, the former from Bradford county, Pennsylvania, and the latter from New York. Rufus Aldrich, from Bradford county, Pennsylvania, Daniel Foy, from Cattaraugus county, New York; and James Conroy, from New York City, came in 1856; and J. C. Aldrich, from Bradford county, Pennsylvania; John W. Glassburn, and T. A. Glassburn from Gallia county, Ohio, in 1856. A. M. Smith came from Alleghany county, New York, in 1857; J. P. Badgley also came in 1857, and following them that year came a large number of others.
The first house of which we have any information was put up by Nicholas Lutyens in the southeast part of the town, in 1852. The first school house was built in July, 1856, in what is known as the Aldrich district, and Orlando McNickle taught the first school, commencing in the fall of that year. The first minister who held services in the town was Rev. Mr. Pinkney, a Wesleyan Methodist. He preached in the Aldrich school house, Glassburn school house, and also in private dwellings. Rev. Win. H. Gray, a Protestant Methodist, was the next minister.
The first child born in the town was Emma Aldrich, a daughter of Rufus and Mary A. Aldrich, her birth occurring October 23, 1855. The first death was that of Mrs. Baker, a daughter of Jacob Barney, who died in the summer of 1856. The first marriage dates in 1857, the parties being Mr. Ellery 0. Brown and Miss Susan Gray, daughter of Rev. Wm. H. Gray, the ceremony being performed by the father of the bride.
The first traveled road in the town was the one leading from Sterling to Yorktown and Green River. This road branched at J. W. Glassburn’s farm, the branches running respectively to Yorktown and Green River. In 1850 a road was legally laid out, running from the burying ground, south of the present village, to the south line of the township, and in 1853 it was extended northward all the way through the town. The second road was laid out in 1859, and commences at the south line of the town, between sections 31 and 32, running north two miles to the north line of sections 29 and 30, and then east three miles to Tampico village.
When the call was made to subscribe to the capital stock of the Grand Trunk Railway, now the Mendota branch of the C. B. & Q. Railway, the town voted to subscribe $20,000. Bonds were issued for the payment of this stock, dated March 10, 1871, to run ten years, payments to be made as follows: the first installment of $4,000 in five years from the date of the bonds, and the balance in yearly installments. The installments, as far as they have become due, have been regularly met.
The town furnished its full complement of soldiers to the Union army during the late war of the Rebellion. Its quota in the several calls for troops were promptly called the quota under the last call being seventeen. Of those who went out, Ansel Brown was killed, Wm. Glasby died of fever in camp, and Julius Brown was wounded in the arm.
The first town meeting after the complete organization of the town was held on Tuesday, April 2d, 1861. The principal officers of the town have been:
Supervisors - 1861-'63, Daniel Foy; 1864, J. C. Aldrich; 1865, Daniel Foy; 1866-’69, G. A. Stilson; 1870-73, J. C. Aldrich; 1874-75, M. H. Brewer; 1876-77, T. M. Wylie.
Town Clerks- 1861-'63, Eleary C. Brown; 1864, J. M. Vandermark; 1865,0. A. Stilson; 1866-’69, Eleary C. Brown; 1870-’73, M. H. Brewer; 1874- ‘75, T. M. Wylie; 1876-’77, T. S. Beach.
Assessors-1861, Rufus Aldrich; 1862-’64, A. M. Smith; 1865, Charles C. Ring; 1866-’67, A. M. Smith; 1868-’70, A. S. Pratt; 1871-’72, Rufus Aldrich; 1873, Geo. W. Apley; 1874, Isaac West; 1875-’77, Rufus Aldrich.
Collectors; - 1861, John P. Badgley, 1862, Isaac West; 1863, William Pinkney; 1864, G. T. Marfleet; 1865, John P. Badgley; 1866, J. T. Gray; 1867, Charles A. Lane; 1868-’70, H. L. Denison; 1871, Maurice Fitzgerald; 1872-.’77, W. L. Gowen
Justice of the Peace:-1861, Joseph Rainer, Aaron S. Miller; 1864, Daniel Pay, Eleary C. Brown; 1868, John C. Hunt, George T. Marfleet; 1871, T. H. C. Dow; 1873, J. H. Kane; 1876, Maurice Fitzgerald; 1877, J. F. Leonard, James H. King.
The Assessor’s book of Tampico township for 1877 shows 11,068 acres of improved land, and 11,661 of unimproved. The number of improved lots is 109, and of unimproved 91. The total assessed value of all lands is $205,208. Number of horses, 616; cattle, 1,228, mules and asses, 22; sheep, 30; hogs, 1,535; wagons and carriages, 205; sewing and knitting machines, 109; melodeons, and organs, 33. Value of personal property, $60,414; railroad property, $26,814. Total assessed value of all property, $307,071.
The population of Tampico township in 1870 was 634, of which numbered 565 were of native birth, and 69 of foreign. The estimated population of the township in 1877, is 800, and of the village 450, making a total of 1,250.