1894 Review - Vienna

This is a pleasant little town of some 1500 inhabitants located a little to the south of the geographical center of Johnson County of which it is the judicial seat, on a small fork of the Cache River, 428 ft. above sea level. The highest altitude in the county is 818 ft. (Goreville) and the lowest the Cache River lake 133 ft. above the sea.
The town is on the Big Four Railroad 45 miles north of Cairo.
The county, organized 1812, was named after one of its first settlers. It contains 338 sq. miles in which it has a population of 16,000. Its climate in the year ranges from 38 mean lowest to 80 highest average temperature. The average annual rainfall is 45 ins.
The soil of the county is, in the bottoms a rich black land yielding heavy and abundant crops of corn, hay and vegetables. The uplands are a light loose soil, producing wheat, oats and fruit.
Fruit growing as in the rest of Southern Illinois is the great and coming industry; apples, peaches, plums, pears, grapes and berries. This county is the natural home of clover and timothy. Tobacco is raised to some extent and yields 1000 lbs. to the acre. There is a great deal of timber cut and sold each year.
The farmers of Johnson County own much blooded stock in Hereford, Shorthorn, Jersey and Holstein breeds.
Lands for farming are held at from five to fifty dollars an acre, near town one hundred dollars would be asked.
Johnson County Agricultural Association, organized eight years ago, holds an annual fair lasting four days in its beautiful grounds east of town. It has a fine show of horses and cattle, orchard and garden products. This year 365 varieties of farm plants grown in the county, were exhibited. There are trotting, pacing and running races all four days.
Vienna is almost entirely an agricultural town. It has a flour mill, wool carding mill, planing mill, creamery and brickyard, three weekly papers, three hotels, two banks, building association. Its new electric light and street railway plant will go into operation in January '95.
The new school on the bluff overlooking the valley was opened in 1893 and cost $15,000.
The city is built on high ground beginning about a quarter of a mile from the depot. Court House square is the center of business and presents every day a busy aspect.
There is more building going on in Vienna at present than in any other Southern Illinois town and a general feeling of prosperity prevails among her citizens.
The place was incorporated as a city within the last two years, the present mayor being the first incumbent of this office.
The taxation is $4 per thousand for all purposes. The town has no debt and will shortly put in an electric light plant.
This year they got a large stone crusher and have since been at work grading and improving all the roads leading into the town.
The new railroad from Altamount to Metropolis, spoken of under the latter town goes through Vienna.
The societies are represented in Vienna as follows: Masons, with an Eastern Star Lodge, G. A. R., K. of P., K. of H. and I. O. O. F., the last mentioned have a strong following; 160 members and a hall of their own.
THE VIENNA ROLLER MILLS, J. B. Kuykendall & Co., Proprietors. — These mills were built by Mr. J. B. Kuykendall twenty-seven years ago and carried on by him alone until 1890, when the present firm was formed by the admission of Mr. F. R. Woelfle to partnership. Within late years the plant has been overhauled, the old burr system discarded and the mill is now equipped with the full roller process. The mill has a capacity of 100 barrels during twenty-four hours and is run to its limit during the busy season; the engine is sixty horse-power and ten hands are employed. The leading brands are 'White Rose," "Magnolia" and 'Extra Fancy" which, while they enjoy a heavy local demand are shipped chiefly to the Memphis and New Orleans markets, some portion of the out-put going north, to Chicago. Mr. Kuykendall belongs by birth to this section of the country; he is thoroughly conversant with milling and from long experience is enabled to buy with unerring judgement and grade his grain with a material influence on the quality of the product. Mr. Woelfle is of German descent and came to Vienna from Centralia, Ill., where he had previously been connected with similar interests. With the amount of money this concern puts into local circulation, the large volume of its annual business, the wide distribution of its product and in every way adding to the good name of Vienna as a trade centre and source of supply, these mills are closely identified with the growth and advancement of this community. The principals enjoy a reputation for integrity and financial solidity and are amongst the most esteemed of our citizens.
J. A. PARKER, Hardware. — This establishment, one of the leading concerns in Vienna dates its existence some ten years back, when it was inaugurated by Mr. J. A. Parker, subsequently and for a period of three years the business was conducted under the firm name of Parker & Oliver, Mr. Oliver withdrawing In February 1894, since which Mr. Parker has been the sole proprietor. The store is conveniently located on the west side of the public square and being large and commodious offers every facility for the conduct of a thriving trade; the stock consists of shelf and builders hardware, cutlery, guns, ammunition, pumps, harness, farming tools and Implements and a reliable make of hay-carriers. Mr. Parker was born in the State of Mississippi and came to Vienna at the age of fifteen. Previous to engaging in this present line he conducted a furniture and undertaking business under the firm name of Parker & Bridges, but has had no reason to regret making the change. He stands well in the community as a progressive merchant and reliable citizen, and renders efficient public service as a member of the City Council.
T. B. POWELL, Postmaster. — The position of Postmaster in Vienna is ably filled by Mr. T. B. Powell, he has been incumbent of the office since 1893, during which time he has so carefully discharged its onerous duties, as to have drawn forth favorable comments from the townspeople. He has recently moved into the Bridges Building on the West side of the square, where he has had the premises fitted up, with every needful convenience. Mr. Powell carries a stock of stationery, blank books, general and fancy notions and cigars. A native of Johnson County and twenty-three years resident in Vienna, Mr. Powell naturally enjoys a wide acquaintance and is regarded throughout the community as an enterprising man of business ability and one who, as a public official, is well worthy of the people's confidence. He is a Director of the Johnson County Building & Loan Association. He is also a registered pharmacist and has followed that profession since 1876.
GEORGE BRATTON, M. D. — In presenting to our readers this account of the business growth and general progress of Vienna, we would give but an incomplete list were we to omit mention of those who, not directly connected with business interests, have as representative citizens exercised an influence for the promotion of the material and social welfare of the community. One who comes under this category, is Dr. George Bratton. A native of Ohio, he studied at the Jefferson College of Medicine in Philadelphia, from which he received the degree of M. D. He established his office in Vienna, nearly forty-two years ago and very soon found himself engaged in a successful practice. During this long career, Dr. Bratton has gathered round him a circle of friends and patients. Going in and out among the homes of Johnson County so many years he is perhaps the most widely known man in the community as he is certainly one of the most esteemed. Dr. Bratton was Examining Surgeon to the Board of Pensions for twenty-five years; he is at present President of the Board of Education and a member of the Southern Illinois Medical Association. He is a Mason, Knight Templar of Gethsamene Commandery of Metropolis, also a member of the local lodge of I. O. O. F. The Doctor and his wife have three children living, namely, Suda, William Harvey and Bertie.
W. Y. SMITH, Attorney-at-Law. — Among those who may be entitled the younger representative men of this section of country we note the above, one of the rising lawyers at the Southern Illinois Bar. Born in Johnson County he was raised and educated in this city and was for several years engaged in teaching; for three years he was Principal of the Vienna Schools. He is now engaged in general practice as an attorney, giving much of his attention to commercial law and matters relating to real estate, in addition to which he also discharges the somewhat intricate duties of Master-in-Chancery. Mr. Smith is Secretary of the Johnson County Building & Loan Association. He is of a genial, courteous disposition, a man of no mean abilities and we may at no distant date see him called upon to fill still higher trusts of greater eminence.
PARKER, MAHL & CO. Harness & Saddle-makers and I. A. J. Parker & Son, Dealers in Farm implements. Etc. — Among the various lines of trade carried on in this community the firm of Parker, Mahl & Co. well represents the harness and saddle-making business. They have but recently taken hold of the store, which for many years was carried on by Mr. J. B. Miller. The store displays a fine stock of saddles, light and heavy harness, bridles, collars, buggy whips and so on. Messrs. I. A. J. Parker, H. Mahl and C. Knapp are the members of the firm and the business is carried on under the direct supervision of the latter two, both of whom are practical and expert harness-makers. The business enjoys a large proportion of the custom in this section, drawing trade from all parts of the county, which it retains by reason of the high reputation held for first-class material and workmanship. Mr. Parker founded his business four years ago and by judicious management, continues to prosper. His stock is large and exceedingly comprehensive, embracing farm implements of all kinds, threshing machinery, wire, pumps, belting, hose, wagons, buggies, carriages, sawmill machinery, engineer's supplies and also pianos and organs. Mr. Parker employs five people in the sales department and general repair shop and himself exercises a vigorous superintendence over every feature of the business. He is ably assisted by his son, who was admitted to partnership, January 1st, 1895.
THE VARIETY STORE, L. C. Oliver, Prop. — Among the wide-awake men of this enterprising city we note the above, who is well and favorably known to the residents of Johnson County. The establishment which he conducts, well located in the business centre of the city, occupies extensive premises; It’s well named the variety store, as the stock, besides being very complete, is most varied. It includes a full assortment of fancy and general notions, books of all kinds, church, educational and general literature, blank books, stationery, school books and school supplies. The goods are nicely displayed in cases, shelves and counters, giving every opportunity for selection and the whole is arranged so as to give the store a pleasant and attractive appearance. Mr. L. C. Oliver, the sole proprietor, is a native of this locality and has been prominent in Vienna business circles; he has been engaged in the present line only since summer, previous to which he was proprietor of a large hardware store. He has always been regarded as a fair dealing man of business and a reliable citizen.
JOHN S. BRIDGES, Furniture Dealer & Undertaker. — This business which was founded twelve years ago, is certainly the leading house in its line and as a business Institution reflects credit upon the city's advanced mercantile development. It is located in convenient premises on the west side of the court house square, occupying two floors of considerable area. Everything is arranged with a full view quick to handling of goods and Mr. Bridges enjoys all facilities for enabling him to fill orders with punctuality and dispatch. The stock embraces all descriptions of household, office and other furniture, perhaps the most comprehensive assortment ever brought under one roof in Southern Illinois. He makes a special feature of the Undertaking department and has a fine hearse, with a very full assortment of burial cases and caskets in wood and metal, in a wide range of quality and prices. He is a practical embalmer and has a splendid equipment of the most improved instruments and devices. As a native of Johnson County and fourteen years resident in Vienna, Mr. Bridges naturally enjoys a wide acquaintance; he draws his custom from all parts of the country and of course has the patronage of the best class of city trade. He is one of Vienna's influential citizens and conducts an enterprise of which he may be duly proud.
A. J. HENRY, D. D. S. — The dental profession in Johnson County has a good representative in Dr. A.J. Henry. He served a thorough apprenticeship in laboratory and chair work before proceeding to a Dental College, from which he acquired the degree of D. D. S. He has been established since 1877 in Vienna, during which time he has built up a lucrative practice. He has nicely furnished rooms in the Veach & Bridges Building, fitted up with every convenience conducing to the comfort of his visitors and facilitating operations; the equipment is fully in accord with recent developments in dentistry and includes such appliances as are used by the leaders of the profession to lessen all discomfort and minimize pain. The Doctor from long experience and natural ability is familiar and perfectly at home with every department of dental work and deservedly holds the public confidence. He is an active member of the I. O. O. F.
THE NEW PERKINS HOUSE, A. J. Perkins, Proprietor. — The New Perkins House stands in Vienna in the position of the survival of the fittest. The old house was opened to the public in 1867 by Wm. Perkins, father of the present owner, who succeeded him at his death in 1891. The original hotel, on the corner of Vine and 6th streets, was built for a private residence and remodeled for hotel purposes. This however was not enough and the present owner has replaced it by the now splendid building seen in the accompanying cut. It has a front of 42 feet on Vine and 87 feet on 6th, the lot being 99x196. The house contains 23 square rooms. Wide hails and stairways, the whole newly furnished and carpeted. The old building was removed and is now used as a private boarding house. The new house, lit by electricity, has a fine office, reading room and lavatory, all in hardwood finish, handsome parlor, two large sample rooms, a spacious dining room with every day an appetizing and attractive menu. Mrs. Perkins presides over the dining room and kitchen. Mr. Perkins is partner in the meat and grocery house of Thomas & Co. He is to the manor born and believes in the future of his town and county, which he does so much to help to build up and make attractive.
FULLER & CARTER, Brick Manufacturers and Builders. — In giving an authentic history of the business interests of Vienna, we must not omit mention of the important enterprise carried on by Messrs. Fuller and Carter. The business was only established here during the current year, having been previously carried on at Galatia, Ill., under the style of Miller & Carter. The new firm have secured a nice little property of five acres about half a mile west of the Courthouse, where there are extensive beds of clay of good color and possessing all the requisite qualities for the manufacture of first-class brick. The soft-mud process is used with a Quaker press capable of turning out twelve hundred bricks hourly; from twelve to fifteen men are employed and the output of the kiln during the season — from eight to ten months — is in the neighborhood of 650,000 bricks. As yet the product of this yard has been used chiefly by the local trade; the new hotel was built of this brick and the several new business blocks and buildings under construction are using it exclusively. Mr. C. E. Carter, who is a native of Corinth, learned his trade in Attlia from which town his partner, Mr. S. R. Fuller, hails originally. They are energetic progressive men, useful citizens and generally important to the welfare and advancement of the community with which they have so recently cast their lot.
THE JOHNSON COUNTY BUILDING & LOAN ASSOCIATION, W. Y. Smith, Secretary. — Many, not only of the dwellings, but of the stores and business blocks of Vienna directly trace their being to the Johnson County B. & L. Association. It was organized in July, 1887, since which time five series of stock have been Issued and the sixth is now open; of the five series there were at the close of the fiscal year in June 694 shares in force of an aggregate value of $37,633, while the loans in force amounted to $36,475. This latter sum represents at least forty or fifty homes secured to persons who could not have attained them otherwise, and just so much added to the wealth of the town; during the last five years Vienna has prospered as never before and we firmly believe that the Association, more or less directly, is largely responsible for this era of good times. Careful, honest and efficient management is what tells and on this account we must congratulate the stockholders that the administration of affairs is in the hands of such men as her present officers. Mr. J. B. Kuykendail is President; the Vice-President is J. K. Elklns; Jno. B. Jackson is Treasurer and W. Y. Smith, Master-in-Chancery, is Secretary and ably bears the active burden of the management.
W. H. JOBE, Boot and Shoe-maker. — Should you wish to secure a comfortable pair of shoes that will stand the test of time and wear, the most sensible plan is to call upon Mr. W. H. Jobe, who devotes himself to custom work. With factories producing millions of shoes at the present day it is utterly impossible for anyone to continue successfully in this line unless an expert at his work. This is exactly the case with Mr. Jobe and explains the large patronage with which he is favored. He does the finest as well as the most substantial work; he also keeps a good stock of shop-made boots and shoes, also shoe findings for those who wish to do their own repairing. Mr. Jobe's headquarters are in the block known as Jobe's Brick directly opposite the New Perkins House. He is of a genial disposition and has won a host of friends some of whom have been steady customers since he commenced business in 1882.
THE VIENNA TIMES, W. H. Gilliam, Editor. — This paper though not so old as some of its contemporaries has achieved a standing which gives prestige to its management. It was founded by A. K. Vickers in Sept. 1878, and exactly eight years later passed into the hands of its present publisher, W. H. Gilliam. It has now a bona fide circulation of 950 and is considered the best medium for business purposes of any newspaper published in the county. The paper is a six column quarto, appearing every Thursday afternoon. Their job office keeps three people busy. Mr. Gilliam was born in Weakly County, Tenn., in 1856, came to this county in 1862, was for some years engaged in public school work and later was Deputy Clerk to the Circuit Court. Mr. Gilliam Is an active supporter of Republican principles and exercising an honest and independent opinion of party actions, hews to the line, let the chips fall where they may. Mr. W. B. Jennings, assistant editor of the "Times," four years ago commenced the publication of the "Vienna Daily Times,” which he issues for the few days immediately preceding and during the annual fair of the Johnson County Agricultural Association. It is the size of the parent sheet devoted to fair happenings. Mr. Jennings is a native of Marion, Williamson County, where for some time he was connected with the "Leader." He is a thorough, practical printer and an able newspaper man.
J. K. ELKINS, Groceries and Provisions. — One of the flourishing retail business interests of this active trading point is that now carried on by Mr. J. K. Elkins. The business was established in 1889, the style of the firm being Elkins & Graves, but in July last, Mr. ElKins purchased his partner's interest. The premises occupied by the business consist of a large two story brick building, arranged to facilitate the conduct of an active trade and are filled with a well assorted stock of groceries, provisions, glass, queensware, cutlery, crockery, tinware, fruit, vegetables and country produce. Mr. Elkins prides himself upon the courteous treatment afforded all customers and under his careful management the house has acquired a wide spread name for honesty and fair dealing. Mr. Elkins is a Director of the Johnson County Building and Loan Association, a stock -holder in the First National Bank and a member of Vienna City Council.
L. A. WILLIAMS, Photo-Artist. East Main Street. — The leading photographer of Johnson Co. All the latest styles of photographs promptly and, neatly executed. Views of residences and outdoor groups, made on short notice. Beautiful life size portraits. In crayon, pastel, water or oil color a specialty. Pictures left with me to be copied will be carefully protected and returned in good condition. My gallery is well equipped with first class instruments, back-grounds and accessories and none but high class work allowed to leave the studio. The patronage of the public is respectfully solicited.
"THE VIENNA WEEKLY DEMOCRAT." This paper is a new and promising venture recently started by Lucas Parker. Mr. P. formerly ran the "Egyptian Democrat" for several years and is no novice in the business, having been recognized by the Democracy by the appointment as deputy postmaster of Vienna, under T. B. Powell. He fancied he was getting too many Irons in the fire and suspended the publication of the latter paper in February, 1894, leasing his plant. The lease being forfeited in November 1894, he started the present paper in December, 1894. The "Democrat" is a five column quarto. It shines best as a local and society paper. Mr. Parker is a native Johnsonian and has “grown up with the country." He believes in progress and never fails to advocate anything that in his judgment will result in the advantage and the aggrandizement of Vienna and of Johnson County.

Source: Historical & Descriptive Review of Illinois, Volume 1, The Southern Section, Her Principal Towns and Their Progressive Men, 1894, 230 pages. Vienna – pages 161-164, transcribed and contributed 21 Aug 2016 by Norma Hass

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