The original agreement for starting the village of Highland, dated Sept. 23, 1836, was just one page. It lists the six men, who were a party to it: James Semple, Joseph Suppiger, Dr. Caspar Koepfli, James Reynolds (my great-great-great grandfather), Richard H. Hartwood (or Harwood) and Richard Bagby.
But while the original agreement is only a single page, an abstract I have that went with the it is 21 pages. The abstract has 57 items, that last of which is a bill of sale that reads: "State & Trust Bank, Highland, Illinois, Trustees, to Lund Maudlin Company." This was Highland’s new shoe factory. Dated March 25, 1916, the sale conveyed lots 1-3 in block 33, now the corner of Broadway and Washington, better known as 1000 Broadway.
The copy of the 1836 agreement sat in the old safe of the Lund Maudlin Co. from 1916 to 1926. Then, from 1927 to 1950, it was at the Moulton Bartley Shoe Co., until the factory went out of business.
My wife Lorna’s father, Arthur Ritt, was the superintendent and Bill Moulten was the owner of the shoe company. They were cleaning out the old safe when Bill said to Art, "I will need the original agreement, but you can have this copy."
A couple weeks later, my father-in-law gave me his copy of the agreement, as I was already starting to collect Highland memorabilia.
Years later, after I retired, I started writing my "A Thought to Remember" columns for the Highland News Leader, again. I removed this agreement copy from its original file drawer, and put it with my James Reynolds file.
I had used it several times, but then I couldn’t find it. After much searching, I gave up.
Then, this past Friday, I was doing some filing — which I hate to do — and saw my Richard Bagby file, which contained many pages. I said to myself, "I don’t have much information on him, I wonder what that is?"
It was the copy of the 1836 agreement and the 21 pages of abstract.
I struck a gold mine. Well, not quite. But it was certainly a great find for me.
I have had numerous people file my used material, and I can see why they put this agreement into the Bagby file. The agreement starts with: “Richard Bagby by James Semple, Attorney in fact.”
The next line on the agreement lists the rest of the aforementioned partners.
It goes on: “The above parties aforesaid, have agreed to lay off a town, to be called Highland."
They agreed to do this on land owned Suppiger and to pay him $100 for his property, less the two lots on which Suppiger’s house and well were situated, which were agreed "shall be donated lots."
Semple was to be paid $150 for his land in equal parts by all six parties, the agreement says.
"All expenses are to be equally divided … and all profits, after deducting expenses, shall be paid in equal parts," the agreement says.
The town was to be laid off immediately south of the Helvetia Township line, according to the plan draw by B. Robinson. It would contain 45 square blocks of 12 lots to each square, "except the Public Square."
Houses or business on said lots would be 16 feet square, "one story high, built of brick or frame, finished off in a workmanlike manner."
Item No. 2 on the abstract, dated June 24, 1837, recites: “The Town of Highland reserves the right to make any alterations in the street and alley … if the passage of the Rail Road thru Highland.”
Item No. 3, dated July 3, 1837, was a deal between Reynolds and Semple. Reynolds conveyed all his rights, title and interest in Highland for $55.66.
The public sale of the town lots of Highland was held on Sept. 15, 1837.
Item No. 4, dated Nov. 27, 1837, was the withdrawal of Harwood by Semple, his attorney, to Dr. Koepfli, who paid Harwood $300 for his 1/6 interest in Highland.
Item No. 5 was Bagby’s withdrawal to Suppiger — on the same date and for same amount, $300.
Item No. 6 said that Semple, on the same Nov. 27 date, giving power of attorney to Suppiger in order to sell lots in Highland.
Item No. 7, dated April 2, 1839, named the 15 people who had purchased lots south of Zschokke Street (now called Broadway), which would be moved south 40 feet to make room for the railroad. (That railroad, by the way, never came.)
Item No. 8 was Semple's sale of lots 1 and 3 in block 33 to Suppiger for $100.
Item No. 9 was a deal between Suppiger and Willis H. Smiley. On Aug. 1, 1841, Smiley purchased lots 1 and 2 in block 33. Smiley would later build the first brick building on this corner lot.
Item No. 10 listed a deal between Smiley and his wife, Miriam, and Charles and William Stahl. It was a warranty deed for $1,600, dated Nov. 23, 1852. (There were addition mortgages, but I will not use those now.)
Item No. 16 was a quit claim deed, dated Jan. 28, 1854, between William Stahl and his wife, Elizabeth, to his brother, Charles Stahl.
Item No. 24 is a warranty deed between Charles Stahl and George Ruegger, dated March 1, 1860.
Item No. 27 is a warranty deed between Ruegger and and his wife, Josephine, to Dr. Robert Halter and Bernard A. Suppiger. It is for $6,000 and dated Sept. 22, 1864.
Item 31 lists the sale of half of lots 1-3 from Bernard A. Suppiger and his wife, Maria Ida, to Charles Feickert, dated June 30, 1866.
Item 32 is for the other half of those lots to Charles Bosshard, May 1, 1867. Item 34 is 1/3 of the same lots to Casper J. Pfenniger, dated Nov. 22, 1871, and then another 1/3.
In Item 42, Bosshard and Pfenniger, in 1873, mortgaged their lots to F. Ryhiner & Co. Bank. On Oct. 8, the bank foreclosed on their building and machinery.
In item 45, the bank assigned these lots and the building during its own bankruptcy on May 4, 1885. This was just after the Helvetia Milk Condensing Co. had incorporated — Feb. 16, 1885 — and rented this building. Item 48 lists the F. Ryhiner & Co. Bank assignees deeding the building for $3,000 to the Helvetia Milk Condensing Co.
Helvetia Milk Condensing built its new buildings just south of the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks on Zschokke Street in 1903, but Helvetia Milk continued to own property until March 11, 1912, when a group of local investors — Louis Koch, J.G. Bardill, Adolph Meyer, Charles Hoefle and C.T. Kurz — formed a trust to purchase the buildings and lots.
Item 56 is the incorporation of Lund-Mauldin Co., and item 57 is the trust’s sale to Lund-Mauldin Co. on Aug. 21, 1915.
Now, you have read something that I don’t believe that I have ever put into print. I hope your enjoyment reading this column matches to joy I had finding these documents, again.