and being the
place of the first residence of the village preacher, Rev.
Richard Brandon, and that in its suburbs to the northwest was the
only colored family, George Davenport's, this part of the town
did not loom up much, but remained as an out suburb, cow
pasture, and brick yard till after years.
Merchants, Tradesmen and Physicians.
Let us begin with James Wood, who upon one corner of the Main
block of his town (where now is the Kleinsmith building,) erected
a large, two-story, brick building, the first brick structure of
the settlement, for an inn or tavern, the first in the village,
painted it not red, but white, which like all the taverns of
those days, had its bar room, at which travelers, the 'Squires,
and other politicians could plead without license, but the
inn-keeper had to have license to keep the bar. On the corner to
the south (corner drug store) was his stables and wagon yards for
the accommodation of the travelers' horse, movers, and drovers.
The corner westward was ceded as the Public Square, and on the
corner north-ward (where now is the Masonic building) was the
first dry goods merchant of this part of the town, Daniel Davis,
who primarly lived in the country and was a wheel-right, making
wheels for spinning both flax and wool, and whose daughters,
Amanda and Martha, are well remembered.
Dr. J. C. Williamson.
He came here as a young graduated M. D., seeking a successful practice, during the accomplishment of which, he taught the village school a winter or two and figured none the less as a teacher of vocal music of the "old five note system," and with his tall form, silver voice, and comely features, he was quite a pleasing figure and fast grew in popular favor. 'Tis true he had been proceeded by Dr. Bascombill, but as Dr. Hostetter had the practice on the Stillwater branch, and Drs. Julian and Houston on Swamp creek and Nine Mile, and were of the Botanic school or old "Yearb" doctors, Bascombill, being of the mineral kind or college brand, was little premature in arrival, and did not succeed to a lucrative practice. But as the years went by, Williamson rose to eminence and distinction, and as an M.D. was far up toward the head of the class. A figure, tall and commanding, a form noble, a head somewhat bald and forehead high, broad and brainy, a face that spoke intelligence, suavity, firmness, and a manly tenderness, always bathed in the milk of human kindness as he entered the room of his sick and suffering patient, there was a magnetism about his bearing, address, and professional touch, that was itself a healing balm, and lifted the shadow from the sufferer's brow, and inspired confidence in his professional directions, so that to them strict heed was given,
and in his professional skill, so that his ability was never doubted, and he gave a consecration of skill that was constant, and all attention to his patients that was indefatigable, and a heroic courage in fighting disease unparalleled in a thousand; that made him a hero and almost an idol, in the homes of those he had long been a family physician. Of Scotch-Irish lineage and a fgure of that tall, portly type, as a doctor he will long be remembered by his patrons who were a host, and knew him best, nor is his equal in all that makes up the ideal, village doctor likely to be repeated in half a century. A conversationalist instructive, pleasing, entertaining; a friend that treated his old patrons with a dignity and courtesy that showed the presence of a gentlemen, and their children as his companions or members of his own household, it was not wonder, he was recognized by all as doctor, friend, or in a word--a man. He was a physician of eminence and was eminently popular; a politician of no mean proportion in the party of which he was a member, and of which he was an enthusiatic bland, frank, advocate; a philanthropist and a patriot; a student and thinker, his information was general and of an extensive scope, and he was no small factor in moulding the sentiment of the coumnmity. Quite in the early part of his practice, he was joined by Dr. J. C. Carey, of Sidney, Ohio, and this was the first firm of M. D's. in the village. Dr. Conine was a young student under them who began practice in Celina. But to continue the village landlords, George Kerns, who was primarly Jacksonville's primitive blacksmith, whose smithy for years, was on thc lot just east of the Odd Fellow building, must not be overlooked. He was proprietor of the Burnett House where now is the fine residence of Mr. George Worch. Here the sound of the violinist and the rythmic step of merry dancers in the parlor room was heard, but more oft in the bar room, where West Taylor played upon the violin "The Arkansaw Traveler," "---- on the Wabash," and such lively melodies, and received the congratulations of admiring masculine friends, or joined in partaking of refreshments spread, liquid or solid.
The Early Village Merchants.
Besides Daniel Davis, operating on the Wood's part of town, were Botarph and J. C. Reed, Reed & Brandon, Reed and Adam Baker, Reed, himself, and then Reed and Mr. George Ward, and James McNight on the corner opposite the Simon corner, and William Hoel and Brother on the Simon's corner. Of this last firm Uncle Washington Long was at one time a member, and village Post Master under Franklin Pierce. Mr. J. C. Reed, so many years the village merchant, was for many years the village Post Master also, the office, under the name of Jacksonville, having been established here in an early day. It is now Versailles as is thc name of the town, and the Post Masters are appointed by the President, and is quite a plum, for which the local politicians hustle, according as their party is in power. In the original part of town were one or two primitive merchants, whose names and places of busiaess are submerged in the early mists of the past, but were followed by William Searles, whose successor was George S. Simon where he sold dry goods and groceries for many years, but purchasing the greater part of the school section of Town 10, retired thereto, and operated in lumber and farming. Then followed Steffen, (Schofield, called) then William Hoel and Jacob Miller at the same place, whose successors was a Mr. Couchot.
The Village's Primitive Tradesmen.
Samuel Hoover, whose place of business was on the corner where Mr. John Simon's store is with a residence on the opposite corner westward, was the primitive cabinetmaker, manufacturing the household furniture of the neighborhood,. and was a conspicious man of the town. One Isaac Hollopeter was his cotemporary, located on the corner lot opposite Mrs. J. C. Reed's residence. Zachariah Hoel and Isaiah
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