Trivoli Township

Is situated in the south part of the county, and is among the best townships in the county, taking into consideration the quality of the land, the improvements, its citizens, and the material advantages it possesses as to proportion of timber, prairie, water, etc.. Its farmers are generally old settlers who have by years of toil, not only improved its lands, but have erected fine dwellings. The first settler in the township was Isaac Harkness, who came in 1830 and located in the north part of the township. In 1831 came Levi Harkness, Gardner Gilbert and wife.

About the same time Samuel Emery, Sr., Robert McConnell, Methiah Bourne came.

In 1832 Samuel Clark and wife, and Benjamin W. Crane and wife came.

In 1834 came John Hiatt, Eli Wilson, son and wife, settled in the township.

In 1835 several other families followed, among them we find Curtis Cady and wife, Page Hiatt and wife, David R. Gregory and wife, and Samuel M. Mack.

The first physician was Lewis A. Hunneford, who followed his profession for a number of years.

The first preacher was Peter Bourne. The first school-house was built on section 4, near the residence of Isaac Harkness. The first teacher was Miss Sarah Waters, and was paid by subscription.

The first church organization was at the Harkness school-house, and the first preacher there was Rev. Samuel Emery, a Methodist. The first post­master was Robert McConnell, and the first store building was erected by David A. Gove, and run by Milo Smith. Blacksmith shop was built in 1834 in the southwest part of town by Henry A. Green. The first hotel was kept by M. Bourne.

The Village of Trivoli

Situated in the township of Trivoli, eighteen miles due west of the city of Peoria, and has about two hundred inhabitants. The town was laid out about 1840 or '41.

The business men at the present writing are as follows:

Blacksmiths: J. F. Bourne, John Fletcher and John Greenhalgh

Boot and Shoemaker: Sharron Schilling; carpenter, James Callahan

Harness and Collars: Jacob Linck

Justices of the Peace: James Johnson and James Tyler

Grist Mill: Geo. Briber

Physicians: A. J. Graham and W. C. Bonvard

One Newspaper: Trivoli S., James Johnson, editor

Two General Stores, One M. E. Church and One school building.

It does a considerable local trade, and to make it a place of prominence it only needs railroad facilities, which are now contemplated and undoubtedly a year or two will bring.  


Brunswick Presbyterian Church, of Trivoli Township -

About the year 1833, there came from Virginia a few families of Presbyterian parentage and training by the name of Ramsay, and located in the southwest part of Trivoli township, in the timber skirting the beautiful but then neglected and despised prairie land. These were after a short time followed by other friends from their native State.

These people had plain homes, plain food, plain clothing and plain preaching. By 1840 other families having moved into the community, a missionary, then in the employ of the Old School Presbyterian Church, came into the community duly pursuing his calling, and was encouraged to gather these people into one organization, which was effected on September 19, 1840, by the missionary, Rev. Geo. G. Sill and Rev. Abraham D. Wilson, of the Protestant Dutch Church, and the church was known as the Protestant Dutch Church of Copperas.

The place of organization was the house of Robert Ramsey, and ten persons composed the church as organized. Thomas Ramsey and George Walls were chosen to the eldership and duly installed. In the two following years several more members were added. The services were mostly held in a school-house on the farm now owned by John Yerion. The erection of the present and only church building was begun by laying the corner stone on November 23, 1844, by Rev. George G. Sill, and it appears that it was ready for occupancy the same year, the basement being stone, the second story frame, and valued at $2,000 with grounds.

In 1844 a post office was established and named Brunswick and the name of the church was changed accordingly. This church has for many years joined with the Salem Presbyterian Church in the support of the same minister. The present membership is eighty. A Sabbath school has been sustained here since 1842.

A prayer meeting and Woman's Foreign Mission Society are in existence. Their present pastor is Wm. King, who has labored with them for some years.

Evangelical Lutheran St. John's Church -

The constitution was adopted and signed October 27, 1849, with seventeen original members. Jacob Scherer, pastor. On the 27th day of May, 1855, the name of the church was changed to Zion Evangelical Church of Trivoli. The first officers of the church were as follows: Henry Frank, elder, and Patrick Gilbrath, as deacon, who were inaugurated October 28, 1849. On the 26th of June, 1850, the following brothers were elected: Henry Erford, as elder, and Christian Shirk, as deacon, and was inaugurated June 30, 1850.

They have a comfortable frame building, 30x44 feet, and cost about $ 1,500.

Source: The History of Peoria County, Illinois, Johnson & Company, Chicago, 1880.