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Potosi, Illinois

The only thing left of the village of Potosi is a marker on 1st street south of Fairbury.


Potosi History

The Village of Potosi, Illinois

(August 2004)


The following information comes from Potosi - a Ghost Town and the Fairview Community

By Muriel Martens Hoffman and Dennis J. Hieronymus



          The village of Potosi was started by Dr. Abraham Green. He had first come to the Mackinaw area about 1857. He lived with David S. Crum for a while, before he returned to Clay County, Illinois, where he farmed and taught school for two years. With the events of the Civil War, he enlisted in Company F, as part of the 136th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.


          After the war he attended Rush Medical College in Chicago for two years, 1865 - 1866. He returned to the David Crum home where he lived for three years and practiced medicine in the Fairview community.


          David Crum and Ben Walton had come from Ohio to the area in 1854. Crum owned most of section 17, while Walton settled in section 18 and claimed section 16, the school section, in Belle Prairie Township. Crum gave land for the church and cemetery at the corner of his farm. A school was nearby and the new Fairview church was dedicated in 1865. During the year of 1867 and 1868, there were many land transactions.


          There was a main road from Fairbury to Saybook that went through the middle of section 7, 9, and 16 in Bell Prairie Township. A schoolhouse was built east of the intersection of the two main roads, on the McLean County side of the road. It became the Potosi school. A post office, called Potosi, was located at the home north of the intersection in Livingston County. It was established February 18, 1868, after David S. Crum had petitioned for a post office for the area, which was to be called Potosi. Crum was also named postmaster.


          Dr. Green’s piece of land was located at the northeast corner of the McDowell land, at the southwest corner of the busy intersection of the two main roads. He divided the eastern portion into six lots numbered 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11. He kept the western portion for his own use. There may have been a street between the two portions named Center Street. He then had a house built on lot 2, a general store built on lost 3 and a building on lot 1, on the corner of the new village, perhaps he used this building as his office.


          Diagonally across the intersection William P. Griffith purchased land in 1870, he was a blacksmith. His shop and home were on this corner of Potosi. John Edward and Jane Whitney bought lots 5 and 7 in 1870, he was also a blacksmith.


          Dr. Green’s brother, Milton Green and wife came to Potosi from southern Illinois in 1875. He had been a doctor but gave up the practice because of a health problem. He took over the running of the store. He also was a pharmacist. After his arrival, the post office was transferred from the house to Belle Prairie Township to the store in Potosi, February 3, 1873, Abraham Green, postmaster.


          A map of Belle Prairie Township, drawn about 1877 - 1878, shows four houses near Griffith’s shop. It is not known who lived in those houses. In 1877 Milton Green had a house built on lot 11, the deed was recorded on June 14, 1878.


          John Whitney’s blacksmith business had been prospering and in April 1877 he built an addition on his shop.


          The Fairbury Independent Blade started publishing papers in 1876. After that date Potosi often had some news reported from their community:


          March 3, 1877, Spencer Van Petten opened an agricultural shop in the old Erwin Building.


          April 1877, Al Cooper erected a residence way out on the extreme limits of Potosi on Poplar Street.


          June 2, 1877, Dr. A. W. Green is improving his place with a new-fangled iron fence.


          Potosi boasts a soda fountain. A good drink even if you have to put a straw in it.

          November 24, 1877, Potosi is growing.


          October 4, 1879, Potosi to have a beef shop. Office one door south on Center Street.


          October 18, 1879, Potosi -- Every house is full; every shop at work. The people of Potosi have given up all hope of having a railroad put through here by the Wabash Company.


          October 25, 1879, Business is lively in Potosi, but they missed the railroad.


          During the 1870’s, many meetings had been held at Potosi discussing the possibility of obtaining a railroad from the east, which would reach Potosi, then continue west and eventually reach Bloomington.


          The decline of the village of Potosi was rapid. The following new items from the Independent Blade documented the changes.


          November 22, 1879, J. Whitney is talking of building a new shop at Cropsey on the new railroad.


          January 16, 1880, Whitney and Crum of Potosi are building a blacksmith shop in Cropsey and will soon be ready for business.


          January 31, 1880, E. W. Crum is putting up a blacksmith shop in Cropsey.


          February 14, 1880, Dr. Green expects to build a home soon in Colfax. A. H. Cooper has moved to the same place.

          February 21, 1880, Dr. Green is tearing down his store house and moving it to Colfax.


          March 27, 1880, Fairbury -- Discontinued -- After the 31st of this month, the post office at Potosi will be discontinued. Orders to that effect have been received from the Postmaster General at the Fairbury Post Office. Those who have been getting the Independent Blade at the Potosi should inform us as to what office they will have it sent to in the future, as this is the last issue that will go to Potosi.



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