|In population, wealth and business importance, this is the chief town in Henry County, Illinois. It is situated |
on the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, twenty six miles east of Rock Island and one hundred and fifty
nine miles west by south from Chicago, in one of the richest agricultural sections of the Prairie State. The
surrounding country is thickly populated and cultivated, presenting in every direction a succession of well
improved farms, farm houses and orchards, which bespeak the enterprise, thrift and wealth of the
In the winter of 1836 the families of Cromwell K Bartlett, Culver Bartlett, Elisha Cone, Rueben Cone and
Roderick R Stewart settled in what is now the town of Genesco, Illinois. The families of Henry Manville and
John C Ward arrived in the spring of 1837 after enduring severe hardships during their ill fated attempt to
travel to Genesco from New York in December of 1836.
Elisha Cone built the first cabin and John C Ward the first frame house and opened the first store. The first
crops were planted in the spring of 1837.
In the winter of 1837-38 James M Allen went to Vandalia, Illinois and secured a separate organization of
Henry County, it having been under the jurisdiction of Knox County. At the first county election in June of
1837, thirty seven votes were polled.
The Chicago Rock Island Railroad was surveyed in 1850 and completed through the county by 1854. Once the
railroad started running, the town of Genesco came to life with over one hundred new buildings erected
including the first brick business house being built by the Perry bothers. The cabin of Roderick Stewart was
converted to the first hotel in town, also in that same year.
In 1855 over seventy new buildings were built and on February 14, 1855, Genesco was incorporated as a town
and remained under that form of government until February 16, 1865, when it was incorporated as a city, by
the Illinois Legislature.
In June of 1856 I. S. Hyatt issued the first paper of the Genesco Republic from the building on Main
Street, occupied by J. S. Hutchins as a furniture store. The paper failed and passed into the hands of J. M.
Allan and O. A. Turner in February of 1858 and was then purchased within a month by Merritt Munson.
In December of 1858 the paper was again purchased by two other investors, George Hobbs and George Lewis
and in November of 1863 Mr. Hobbs acquired the interest of Mr. Lewis. In the summer of 1862 Major James
M. Hosford commenced the publication of the Union Advocate in the rooms of the bank building on Main
Street but due to Major Hosford's commitment to the Great War, the paper suffered and it was then
purchased by Adam Lieberknecht in November of 1863. On November 18, 1863 the Republic and Advocate
were consolidated into one paper and published under the name of The Genesco Republic.