A continuation of an article found in the Sumner Press, December 3, 1963 describing the history of Chauncey as presented by Mrs. Gertrude Phillips at a Chauncey PTA meeting.
When Chauncey was laid out in lots, it was quite a problem to find a name. The surveyor was Peter Smith. Mr. Benefiel from Lawrenceville, Illinois, told the story that several of the leading men of the community wanted it named after themselves, such as Munnville, Brownstown, Wattsville. To break the deadlock, Peter Smith suggested they name it after Mr. Brown’s newly born son. His first name was Edward, which suggested Edwardsville. That wouldn’t do because there was already a town by that name in Illinois. So, the baby’s middle name, Chauncey was chosen for the name of the new town. The baby grew up to become the father of Freeman and Raymond Brown who now live northeast of Chauncey.
The little village flourished. The M. E. people organized and had a church by 1858. Later they sold their first building to the Christian Church and built their present building. The Christian Church stood just west of the present Methodist church.
The brick school was built in 1872. Wagons were manufactured in Chauncey. Early blacksmiths were John Bache and Jim Rodrick. A Mr. Hughes made cradles for wheat harvesting and also made coffins. Luther Watts was a merchant in 1860. Daniels & Waggoner Grocery was here in 1866. Dan Patton had a drug store in 1879. In 1873, the Chauncey Post Office was established. The first doctors were Dr. Smith and Dr. Murphy.
Mr. Sam Legg then talked to the group and told many of his early recollections. He came to the Chauncey vicinity in 1872, and although he was very young, he remembers the construction of the brick schoolhouse. He commented at length on the excellent school that Chauncey had in those days. The teacher was the best paid in the county. Children from other districts, especially the older boys, came to Chauncey because of the better training offered.
Legg told that once there was a post office in the Pasturefield neighborhood, and that Concord became Landes because a man by that name helped them get their post office. Also, Chauncey had a rural route at one time.
Legg also recalled the Berkshire store, and told about the public scales in Chauncey where stock was weighed before they were driven to Sumner in enormous droves to be shipped.
The fine expressiveness and the flawless English of Mr. Legg bore excellent testimony to the quality of the school at Chauncey in the 1870s. He concluded his remarks and delighted the children by saying his ABCs backwards as he had learned them in school so long ago.
Mrs. Lotta Doss displayed an embroidered coverlet that had been made at her mother’s suggestion to help defray the expenses of the M. E. Parsonage when it was built. About 450 people made a contribution to get their names embroidered on the coverlet. Mrs. Doss prepared an alphabetical list so these names of relatives could be found easily. She had a fine collection of pictures of the horse and buggy days, early Chauncey buildings, some no longer standing and school pictures. Probably Chauncey has a better pictorial record than most villages because of the Correll’s hobby of taking pictures.
Mrs. Wanda Devonshire displayed a friendship quilt belonging to her husband’s grandmother, Mrs. Stephen Bache. Names of people who were her friends in those long-ago days were embroidered on the blocks.
Henry Goodman’s musket that he carried in Sherman’s March to the Sea was of great interest especially to the small boys.
Dale Waggoner showed a ruffling iron that was a curiosity to all.
The oldest school picture exhibited was one where Frank Mushrush was the teacher and William Berkshire was the little boy who held up the slate with the name of the school.
The people who live in Chauncey now are almost entirely the descendants of the early settlers. When school opened last fall, twenty- four descendants of John Northup Paddick and Eliza Shaw Paddick enrolled in Chauncey school. Some are seventh generation descendants. Others were descendants of the Rodericks, Baches, Berkshires, Stouts, Goodmans, Waggoners, Pattons, and other early settlers.
Ed Note: If any reader has photographs of Chauncey, the Historical Society would love to scan them.