Ellsworth, Illinois

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Ellsworth is a village in Dawson Township, McLean County, Illinois, United States. The population was 271 at the 2000 United States Census.[2] It is part of the BloomingtonNormal Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The town is named after Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth, a Union officer considered to be the first casualty of the Civil War.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2), all of it land.


Founding and Original Design of Ellsworth

Ellsworth was laid out on 6 December 1871 by Jonathan H. Cheney (1833 -1920) and Almon Brigham Ives (1816 - 1887). [3] Cheney was one of three sons of early McLean County settler Jonathan Cheney active in promoting theLafayette Bloomington and Mississippi Railroad; when his brother, Haines Cheney, was in the Illinois Senate he had helped to arrange the charter of the railroad. Almon B. Ives was a Bloomington lawyer specializing in land law; both Jonathan Cheney and Almon B. Ives were on the board of directors of the new railroad. In 1876 the railroad was leased to the Lake Erie and Western Railroad and 1879 was incorporated into that road. Construction began on the railroad in 1869 .The new townsite occupied forty acres on each side of the tracks. [4] The plan of Ellsworth was almost identical to that of Arrowsmith. A two hundred foot swath of railroad land cut the town into two almost equal parts. Most of the early commercial development was along Main Street south of the tracks. The depot was on the south side of the tracks and the early elevator on the north side. [5]

Selling of Ellsworth at Auction.

In November of 1871 an advertisement appeared in the Bloomington Pantagraph saying that on 8 November an auction of 150 lots would be held at the site of the new town. The advertisement praised the fertility of the surrounding countryside and stressed that the farms were of moderate size. Readers were told that the new town would be the logical point for shipping grain They were also told that by shipping from Ellsworth their grain would go throughToledo , “avoiding the grain scalpers of Chicago.” All interested people were to gather at the Illinois Central Depot in Bloomington at 9:00 in the morning. A free train would take them to the site of the new town. A free lunch would be provided and Bloomington brewers Meyer and Wochner would provide the beer. Some two hundred people consumed two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred and fifty pounds of boiled ham, sixty barrels of cheese and a barrel of crackers. A. J. Wampler bought the first lot. Most lots sold at from forty to sixty-five dollars. [6]

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