Residents of Grandview Township created this memorial in 2005 for area veterans who served in the military during the 20th century. (Roger Stanley/The Prairie Press)

Grandview was thriving

Jacob Augustus, born in Virginia in 1793, moved to Kentucky for a while and then moved to Edgar County in 1831. He was well respected and served as a member of the board of commissioners for the county. He was a strong supporter of the Christian Church in Grandview Township.

In the 1840s, twins George and Henry Brinkerhoff came to Grandview where Henry Brinkerhoff started a plow shop that eventually had 16 operating furnaces at one point in time. The business also manufactured wagons and buggies and Henry Brinkerhoff raised a family of 12 children. Down through the years, the Brinkerhoff family has had a set of twins in almost every generation.

Joseph McCracken and others started schools in the Grandview area, but a new arrival in 1836 had tremendous effect on the school scene. Dr. M. Steele was a practicing physician in the area, who married Margaret Tate and together they had four children. He was wealthy and instrumental in improving the education systems in Grandview. His son, James, attended Wabash College in Indiana and came back to Grandview to help with the teaching.

About that time the School Funding Act of 1855 helped build many free schools in Grandview Township. One of the first schoolhouses was built on the turn of the Kansas Road and was taught by Harvey Steele.

Samuel Jackson came in 1861 and taught at the school until 1868. Jackson, after teaching, bought the store of Don Shear. A building was added next door that became Fannie Burton’s Millinery Shop. The space also served as the post office.

James Steele Jr. served at a most unique school, known as a seminary, just west of Grandview after the Civil War. It was more of an academy than a regular country school because it included the studies of the classics. It was thought if Steele’s health had remained good it might have developed as a most distinguished learning institution. After his death, there was no one with the necessary skills to replace him.

The second daughter of William Woods Humphrey – Marcia King – was known throughout the country as a journalist. She received a classical education taught by the Rev. John Steele. Besides being a minister he taught school in the Grandview area for 24 years. In 1902, King became the “Country Contributor for Ladies Home Journal.”

By the 1920s, a fairly large school was in operation near the center of Grandview. Starting in 1925 there was a two-year high school in the same building housing the first through eighth grade students. Sam Arbuckle was the principal for 1938-1939 and also taught sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Helen Burnside was the high school teacher and Kathryn Sexton taught the primary grades. The high school operation ceased by 1942 but the elementary school continued until 1949 when school consolidation moved the students to Kansas.

The last post office was in a corner store owned by John Allen, and it was closed before 1942. The Tate house on the hill was then a well-known landmark and is believed a location where Lincoln stayed. Ann Berry Robinson owns the building now.

During the 1940s, there were two grocery stores close by the school in Grandview that kids could visit for treats. There was Daniel Ryan’s grocery and A. L. Smith general merchandise store. There were two gas stations in downtown Grandview in the 1940s and 50s just across the street from each other. They were very competitive and always tried to steal the customers from each other. Duncan Penman, a longtime resident, tried to handle this by alternating which station he used.

The Rev. John A. Steele helped create a Presbyterian Church in 1838 and in 1841 a church building was erected in Grandview. There was at one time a Baptist Church that stood where the town hall is now.

In 1848, a Methodist Church was built and in 1889 a new one was dedicated. That church burned after several years of use and the congregation met at the Oddfellows Hall in Grandview. Several well-known families helped with the funding and building of that church. The minister was Pastor L. E. Kettlekamp. The participants were: Louis Schneider, Mrs. Charles Schneider, Henry Schneider, Martin Schneider, Mr. and Mrs. Glen Nicholson, Fred Richey, Forrest Morris, Mrs. Horatio Webright and Mrs. Thomas Hanna. Grandview was the home for many churches down through the years, but only the Methodist Church built in 1948 remains.

Driving through the remnants of the town of Grandview one notices the streets are not named as they were on the original plat. When Grandview was laid out the plans called for Main, Augusta, North and Water Streets. Currently, the streets have a modern numbering system corresponding with the county’s emergency 911 design.

There are just a few historic buildings left, but several nice homes and most of all, there are memories for the people who grew up there or in the neighborhood. A nice large cemetery on the south end of town includes many of the pioneers of the area and still has room for new arrivals of those extended families. On the road to Grandview from Paris is the old Augustus Cemetery founded in 1828 where some of the characters of this story are buried.

Thanks to Larry Penman, Chuck Hand and to the Paris Public Library for helping with the information.

The Prairie Press

101 Central Avenue Paris, IL 61944