History of Farmersville Illinois

The most Important town in Bois D’Arc Township is Farmersville. Names often indicate some local event or are given in honor of some prominent individual, but not so with Farmersville. The name reminds one of the fact that the town was in a community of farmers. It is peculiarly appropriate because the people were not only farmers but owing to their exceedingly fertile soil and their native energy, they were exceptionally successful. When the Illinois Central Railroad was being built by Dwight L. Wing, in 1893, the town was laid out and surveyed, and the town organized during the same year, with W. T. Thurman as president, W. L. Curry as clerk, and G. C. Browning, Charles McAnarny, John Newport and A. E. Huddleston as aldermen. The town began to grow at once, the leading attraction being the market for grain which the railroad afforded. Its chief incentive to growth during its earlier days was the corn raised and marketed and the hogs which always accompany corn raising. This growth has continued, not with mushroom instability, but with steady permanency that indicates the presence of a happy and successful people. The population is now about 700, and the activity of the place is shown in its schools, its churches and its mercantile business interests. The present village board consists of A. E. Hendricks, president; Ed. C. McAnarny, clerk; Henry Niehaus, treasurer, and Charles Fox, A. W. Charney, H. A. Bierbaum, Owen Stuart, S. A. Witt and Fred Welch, aldermen.

Farmersville has a four-room schoolhouse; there are four teachers, and the present principal is C. D. Freeman. The present board of education is composed of Henry Rorney, Henry Witt, and Lee Fox.

The business of the town is conducted under the various interests as follows: Four dry goods stores, two hardware stores, four general stores, two barber shops, two garages, two livery barns, one grain elevator, two blacksmith shops, one wood shop, two banks, one hotel, one grain buyer, three stock buyers, one coal mine, one tile factory. There is a well-kept city park. An electric system is supplied from Kinkaid. There are two telephone companies operating and other smaller- enterprises are sustained here. The town also has four churches, namely: Catholic, Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, and Lutheran. In lodge representation, Farmersville has the Woodmen, the Royal Neighbors, the Masons, the Odd Fellows, and the Knights of Columbus. There is also the T. W. O. Club for young ladies.

Farmersville has had the following police magistrates: L. J. Overby, 1894; Jasper N. Witt, 1898 and 1902; F. Horace Brown, 1910; J. D. Lyons, 1912; W. J. O’Brian, 1913; and Nathan Walsh, 1916.


What was and is now known as the Irish Colony of Bois D’Arc Township that had so much to do with its early history, met some years ago and organized an association known as Irish Day Association, the object of which was to hold an annual Irish homecoming of a reminiscent character, similar to the Old Settlers' meetings. It is held on the first Wednesday in August, and is very largely attended. The management renders a program of speaking, music, parades, athletics, ball games, and various shows and other attractions. Martin Gorman is the present efficient president. In speaking of the Irish Colony, John McCarren, private secretary of United States Senator Lewis, says:

A careful census of the settlers of Irish extraction who settled upon the prairies of the panhandle of Montgomery County, Ill., fifty or sixty years ago will show that only a few survive of that brave band of stout hearts. And yet it seems but yesterday since most of them were active participants in the life of the community they loved so well.

The history of Montgomery County can never be accurately written without a correct appreciation of the work of the Irish settlers of the panhandle. They have contributed a large share in the development of that county and a knowledge of their lives, characters, and the work performed by them must be carefully reviewed by the historian for a full comprehension of their worth to the state and nation.

It must be first said of them that they loved and cherished the home of their adoption. As believers in and upholders of the constitution and laws of the land they were surpassed by none and equaled by few. No heart beat with more patriotic pride than that of the Irish settler at the sight of Old Glory and in his children he instilled the love of country and respect and devotion to her institutions. No one loves liberty, true liberty, more than the Irishman, and no one respects lawful constituted authority more than he.

The Irish settlers of the panhandle were scoffed at because of their rough appearance and lack of education, but those who scoffed were ignorant of the character of those people. Little did they know about the Irish, and they took no trouble to find out anything about their past. But character will always tell, and those who scoffed soon found out how foolish they were, for the Irish people from the beginning adapted themselves to their new condition. Those men and women had suffered for liberty and justice as their fathers before them. They had come to America to enjoy those natural rights which God ordained that all men should enjoy and which are so clearly enunciated in the Declaration of Independence. They found in the panhandle that haven where under the Stars and Stripes they could practice and enjoy true liberty and contribute their share in the upbuilding of the state and nation.

Taken from: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Montgomery County - by A. T. Strange 1918

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Jeff Dunn

Vice President

Historical Society of

Montgomery County

Advisory Board

Illinois State

Historical Society