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History of Ohlman Illinois

Union Station - Ohlman Illinois
Union Station - Ohlman Illinois

Ohlman is the only village in the township of Audubon. It is located on the line of the Big Four Railroad, about midway between Nokomis and Rosemond. The railroad was built through the township in 1856, but the town of Ohlman was not laid out till some thirty years later. Capt. Michael Ohlman, a retired steamboat captain, and very energetic business man, becoming the possessor of a large tract of land, planned the town for convenience and business. The town now has a population of about 200, although it has never been incorporated. It may be surprising to know that a town that supports a post office, a bank, a garage, concrete tile factory, butcher shop, barber shop, lumber yard, harness shop, hay barn, stock pens, three good general stores, two of which carry both hardware and dry goods, should not be incorporated. But the inhabitants are exercising good judgment in deferring the matter of incorporating, so long as they can manage the interests of the village without it. There are two churches in the village, the German Evangelical, with Rev. Breusucke as minister-in-charge, and the Methodist Episcopal, supplied by the bishop. The Free Methodists also have an organization though at present they maintain no stated services.

The Modern Woodmen of America have a very good camp with a membership of over fifty. The Mutual Protective League also have a small lodge in the village. The village has a very good school with a house of two rooms, the present teachers are John Sparks and Miss Ella M. Kimbal1. The members of the school board at present are Martin Virden, I. G. Hubbard and August Shoraga. The bank deserves special notice. H. D. Gassman is president, J. H. A. Husman cashier, and it does a profitable business. There is a physician in the village, Doctor Hubbard. The postmaster is George H. Grote. Those engaged in the mercantile line are Henry Zlmmermann, George H. Grote, Charles Zlmmermann, and William Kellogg who is the manager of the Paddock Lumber Co. James M. Impleby runs a grain and stock buying business. Thus the principal needs of the rural township of Audubon are supplied at the little town within its own borders.


No history of Audubon Township is complete without some mention of Captain Ohlman. He belonged to that class of men who “do things.” Forceful in action, invincible in determination, quiet in demeanor, not a visionary, but one who forced things to bend to his powerful energy that knew not defeat. A German by birth, although of French parentage, and an American by adoption, he landed in St. Louis when a young man, and on looking around to turn something to his advantage saw an opportunity to go on board a steamboat as a laborer. When there he was no eight hour man, who saw nothing but his little per day, but one who saw a boat to be moved, and with his natural unconquerable will set himself to accomplish the task. It was not long before promotion led from step to step until he was made a commander of a boat, and not content with that position he pressed on till he owned one of the best boats on the river. Desiring to get back to the soil, which was congenial to one of his rearing, he sold his boat, came to Audubon Township, bought a large tract of fine soil and began a career of high-class farming. When the railroad was built across the northwest corner of Audubon Township he was not slow to improve his opportunity in securing a station on his land, which was naturally named for him. The village of Ohlman is now a monument to his memory for it is a splendid little community with prospects of the best for future greatness. Captain Ohlman was a born commander, too busy for congeniality, and possibly not appreciated except by a few at his true worth, but it is such men as he that help any country breast the wave in its struggle for ascendency.

Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois Volume II - Montgomery County (1918) by A. T. Strange

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