Dora Township History

Extracted from "History of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois, 1881"

In the extreme north-west corner of Moultrie county, is bounded on the west and north by Macon county; on the east by Lovington township, and on the south by Marrowbone. The greater part of the township is situated in T. 15 R. 4, from which nine sections, or a tract of land three miles square, in the north-east corner, has been taken, and belongs to Macon county; one tier of sections from the north of T. 14, R. 4, belongs to Dora, making in all thirty-three sections. This is stricctly a prairie township, the soil of which is fertile and productive. Marrowbone creek, which rises in section 28, and flows south-easterly out of the township, is the only stream. There are two railroads, the Illinois Midland, passing across the northern portion, from west to east, and the Peoria, Decatur and Evansville, in the south-western part.

The first settlements in Dora were made in the southern part. Two brothers, Harvey and Madison Walker, settled on Section 4, and erected hewed log cabins. Madison Walker died soon after locating here, and a few years later his brother sold out and moved to Tazewell county, in this state. John Bushart was the next settler, and located near the Walker brothers soon after their arrival, on the place where he still continues to reside. Hiram Rice settled the William I. Collier farm, on Section 29, T. 15-4, as early as 1854. At that date there were no settlements between this and the Walker and Bushart places.

Edward Bresnan settled in 1858, on Section 2. He is a native of Ireland, and is yet residing in the township. Soon after his arrival quite an Irish settlement gathered around him; among the earlier of whom may be mentioned, Timothy Sammons, Daniel Tueth, John Kinney, Michael Cronon, James Nolan, John Hickey, and William Forgarty. Other early settlers were: John D, John and James Peniwell, Calvin Frantz, G.C. Livesay, Wesley Jones, John Burg, William S. Smith, the McReynolds, Esquire Joseph Bankson, William L. Collier, J.M. Faulkner, John McLenshan, and Esquire William R. King. All the above named settled in the southern or central part of the township. John Green, the Foleys, F.S. Kennerly, James Burton, Jesse Wright, and Joseph Davis settled north of the Springfield road before the spring of 1855. William and John Winings, William Brooks, Frederick Eichinger, J.J. Nicholson, John Nicholson, John Odor, David Stapp and Elijah Logan settled in the northern part of Dora before 1860. The census of 1880 gives Dora a population of 1,345. The first marriage of parties residing in this township was, W.S. Smith to Ellen Bushart. The earliest land entered in Dora was by Barnabas Shisler, June 24th, 1850, in the S.E. 1/4 of the N.E. 1/4, and the N.E. 1/4 of the S.E. 1/4 of Section 24, 80 acres. August 27th, 1852, Edwin B. Hale entered the N.W. 1/4, 160 acres, of N. 1/2 of the S.W. 1/4, 80 acres, and the S.E. 1/4, 160 acres, all in Section 33. Sept. 1st, 1852, James Bennett entered the S.E. 1/4 of the N.E. 1/4 of Section 25, 40 acres. There are at present 21,904 acres of improved land, valued at $220, 859. The first school-house was erected on Section 29. It is a frame structure, and is known as the King school-house. Joseph Bankson was the first teacher. Thomas Garrison was the earliest teacher in the northern part of the township, in a school-house erected on section 11, in 1860. Revs. Daniel Traughber, John Sconce, Joseph Perryman, and A. Vogt were among the early preachers. The Catholic church, erected about 1864, is the only house of worship, excepting in the villages. Sumter post office, established in 1870, was the first in the township. Elijah Logan was the first post master, and kept the office at his residence. In 1871 the office passed into the hands of Thomas Peniwell, who kept it in his store, at the cross-roads two miles south-west from the present Lake City.

The soil in this township is particularly adapted for the growing of corn, which is the principal product. It is not among the old settled portions of the county, though within its borders may be found some of the best improved farms. The inhabitants are an energetic, thrifty class, who are using their united efforts to make this township one of the first in the county.

The following have represented Dora in the county board of supervisors: -- William Weakly, elected in 1867, and re-elected 1868; Jesse Wright, in 1869, and served until 1872, when Rial Ward was elected; Reuben Adkins, in 1873, and served two years; E.J. Dunscomb, in 1875, and re-elected in 1876; William l. Collier, in 1877, and served until 1880, and George Stocks is the present incumbent.


A village situated on the western boundary line of this township, was laid out by Thomas Dalton and James Roney, and surveyed and platted by W.G. Patterson, in the fall of 1871. The original plat contained twenty acres in sections 30 and 31, and was filed in the office of the county recorder, April 17th, 1872. The village was named in honor of Thomas Dalton. Joseph Miller's residence was on the village site when laid out, and the nest building after this was a one story frame house, moved here from Freeland's Point, in Marrowbone township, by W.E. Roney, in February, 1872. This was used as a store-house, in which Mr. Roney kept a general stock of goods. The building is still standing, and is occupied by E.C. Frazier. In the spring of 1872, W.D.C. McClure erected the first dwelling-house, and Thomas Dalton had commenced the building of his residence befor McClure had completed his. About the same time J.W. Crum, W.T. Cole, J.D. Cloud, Milton Faulkner, Harman Meitz, and others, were erecting residences. The first stores were erected by William T. Cole, W.D. Patterson, Wm. E. Roney, C. McCarthy, and the Monroe Brothers, all about the same time in the spring of 1872. Dr. McCombs was the first resident physician. The post-ofice was established in 1872, and James Eldridge was the first post-master. Wm. A. Webb and George Ferre have also had the office. A. Wilson erected a hotel in 1872, and W.D.C. McClure built the first blacksmith shop and did the first smithing. The school-house was erected in the spring of 1872, by directors Thomas Dalton, Wm. E. Roney and W.D.C. McClure, at a cost of $1200, including furniture. It is a neat frame structure about 20 X 40 feet, and one and a half stories high. Miss Alice Craig was the first teacher. There are two churches--Presbyterian and Christian, both erected about the same time in 1873. They are both frame buildings, surmounted with spires. The Presbyterian cost $3,200, and the Christian about $3,000. Rev. Clark Louden, who organized the Presbyterian church, was the earliest preacher.

The place was incorporated under the general state village law, September 15th, 1877, and the first trustees were--T.J. Freeland, President; A.S. Clark, Clerk; George Ferre, C. Long, E.C. Frazier, James Roney, W.L. Riber. J.A. Roney was made Treasurer; Joseph Bankson, P. Magistrate, and W.D.C. McClure, village constable. The board are--David Hamilton, President; Dr. James Abrams, James Ledbetter, T.E. Mayes, W.L. Ribner, J.W. Crum; George Ferre, Treasurer; A.S. Clark, Clerk; Joseph Bankson, P. Magistrate, and W.D.C. McClure, constable.

The secret society known as the Unexpected Knights of Honor, No. 1212, was chartered September 27th, 1878, with twenty-four members. The first officers were--W.A. Webb, P/D.' W.L. Riber, D.; W.L. Collier, V.D.; W.R. Rouse, A.D.; W.P. Jeffries, Rept.; J.H. Abrams, F.R.; Harmon Meitz, Treasurer; Present officers--J.H. Abrams, P.D.; T.E. Mayes, D.; I.C. Stocks, V.D.; W.F. Parker, A.D.; E.C. Frazier, Rept.' George Ferre, F. Reporter; Harmon Meitz, Treasurer. The present membership numbers nineteen, and the lodge is in good financial standing.

The village is well supplied with plank walks on all the principal streets, along which are planted numerous shade trees, that in time will add much to the beauty of the place. The business men are vigorous, active gentlemen, who will soon make Dalton city a place of no mean pretensions. The present business is represented in the following:


Lake City sprang into existence on the building of the Paris and Decatur Railroad through this township, and was laid out by Robert G. Harvey, then president of the road, and re-surveyed by Abraham Jones, county surveyor, January 6, 1873, and filed in the office of county recorder September 6, of the same year. James C. Lake, after whom the town was named, donated twenty acres on section 12, W.C. Foley ten acres on section 13, and W.L. Foley ten acres on section 14, to the railroad company, and they were laid out in lots and blocks in the spring of 1873. The first building was a small grain office erected by a grain firm at Arcola, Ill. This is still used for the same purpose, and is owned by William Winings. The next building was a store-house built by Odor and Brooks in the fall of 1873, into which they a general stock of goods. The third building was also a store-house erected in the same fall, by James Wright, which was burned a few years later. The first dwelling was built by Charles Roberts in the fall of 1873, and F.W. Maddaux put up another a little later. The first school was taught by Miss Mary Wise in 1876, in the second story of the store now occupied by J.R. Scott. The school-house was erected in the autumn of 1876, by directors J.J. Nicholson, W.G. Odor, and W.C. Foley at a cost of $800. It is a one-story frame, and contains one room 36 X 24 feet. The first church in the village is now in course of erection, and is to be completed in the spring of 1881, at a cost of about $1500. The post-office was the old Sumter office, brought here in the fall of 1873, and its name changed to Lake City; W.G. Odor, was the first post-master, and has held the position ever since.

    General Store--T. Peniwell & Co.
    Hardware and Groceries--J.R. Scott
    Groceries and Drugs--A.J. Blain
    Harness and Shoe Shop--Jasper Dulin
    Blacksmith Shop--Perry Shreve

The Silver Spring Lodge No. 13, I.O.G.T., is the only secret order in the village. It was chartered Oct. 21, 1880, with forty-five charter members. The officers are: Frank J. Blain, W.C.T., C.H. Hoagland, P.W.C.T.; Mrs. A.J. Blain, W.V.T.; Mrs. L. Smith, W.C.; George Selders, W.S.; Miss Esther McMullin, W.A.S.; Joseph Peniwell, W.F.S.; R.T. Paine, W.T.; Foster McMullin, W.M.; Miss Ada Steward, W.D.M.; Laura Myres, W.I.; G.O.P. Shreeves, W.S.; T.H. Hoagland, L.D.; Miss Flora Woodworth, R.H.S.; Miss Mary Foley, L.H.S.

It is a flourishing little village; the stores have a good trade, and large quantities of corn and smaller grain are annually shipped from this point.