Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The History of Chauncey Part 2

This is the second part of the history of Chauncey written by Gertrude Phillips in 1954. If anyone has photos about Chauncey to add to our archives please scan them and send them to the Historical Society.  The only way to preserve the history of our county is to share what we have and what we know. 

Part 2

The first church organized in Chauncey was the Chauncey Methodist Protestant. This organization included a circuit of various churches as far east as Pinkstaff. The church meetings were held in the Munn school house for several years. Records of the Methodist Protestant church list births, marriages and deaths of its members as far back as 1849. By 1853 the membership was large enough to consider building a church. A site was chosen near the Wagner cemetery. The first lumber was hauled to this location before the members could settle a bitter disagreement as to whether or not the settlement would be a better place. The Wagner family also owned land in Chauncey and very generously offered another lot. The lumber was moved, and in 1860 the Methodist Protestant church was completed on the site where it still stands.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at about the same time and their first building was erected in 1858. A little later the Christian church was organized and this congregation bought the first Methodist Episcopal building.

Chauncey's first school was a one-room log structure, but as the population grew, plans were made for a larger better school. Bricks were hauled from Vincennes and a school erected in 1872, on the plot which is still the school yard. This building and the teachers who taught in it gave Chauncey’s school the reputation of being the best in the County at that time.

Just before the Civil War, Peter Smith secured the services of surveyor Benefield from Lawrenceville, who was to survey and lay out lots. Several of the men most concerned proposed names which would honor themselves. Munnville, which all agreed would soon be nicknamed Mudville, Brownstown, Wattsville and others were suggested. At last Peter Smith turned to Brown and asked, “What did you say you named that new baby at your house?”

Brown replied, “Edward Chauncey.” Illinois had one town named Edwardsville so the baby's middle name Chauncey was agreed upon, and the name was so recorded on the map.