Chester, Illinois

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Chester is a city located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River Valley in Randolph County, Illinois. The population was 8,400 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Randolph County and is located 63 miles (101 km) south of St. Louis, Missouri. Chester is known as the "Home of Popeye", but there is more to Chester than Popeye.



Samuel Smith built the first home in Chester, established a ferry system, and began the construction of a mill in 1829. He is said to be the towns founder. It was his wife Jane Thomas a native of Chester, England who gave Chester it's name as a tribute to her home town. The first business in Chester was a general store that opened in 1830 along with a castor oil press established by R. B. Servant who furnished farmers with seed and growing methods to later buy the beans they produced for oil extracton. This was a flourishing business until the petrolium industry made it obsolete. The first wedding in the town of Chester was held February 4,1834. Content Walker, the bride and Amzi Andrews, the groom held their wedding in a 16 feet square log cabin and was attended by the entire town. In 1839 the H.C.Cole Milling Company began.[1]

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