The town of Aledo was laid out in 1855 by John S. Thompson and Levi Willits, soon after the location and survey of the Western Air Line Railroad through the county. The first survey was by Simeon Sheldon, but a resurvey was made in August, 1857, by C. S. Richey. The town was first christened De Soto, but there being another village in the State of the same name, it was changed to Aledo. A public sale of lots, held on the site of the town, March 20, 1856, was attended by a large number of business men and others, and good prices were obtained for the choice lots, those in the proposed business section being especially in demand, the sales on that day aggregating $11,580.
The great event in the history of Aledo came when the question of the removal of the county seat from Keithsburg, was decided in favor of Aledo by a vote of the people on August 3, 1857. The sum of $6,000 was subscribed for the erection of a court house and a brick building was erected for offices. The old brick school house was purchased for a court room and county offices, the first story being used for the court room and the second story for county offices.
The present population of Aledo is about 2,500, not including many who reside just outside the corporation limits. A healthy increase is noticeable every year. The town has three parks—Monument, Central and South Parks— all well shaded and, with their lawns, a source of comfort and enjoyment to the citizens for public meetings; picnics, etc. Strangers entering the town will observe the fine, wide streets, beautifully shaded with maple and elm trees, nearly level, making fine driveways; brick and cement sidewalks, green lawns and terraces at nearly every residence without fences; polite and courteous citizens who will go out of their way to show attentions to visitors. The town is not begrimed with smoke nor greasy with soot; strangers can walk its streets at all hours of the night without fear of being held up; the stranger will not find its streets lined with saloons, nor is it infected with tramps, drunken hobos and boisterous hoodlums. They will find a small, clean city in the best sense of the word and one worth studying by people seeking a home. They will find here a community of educated people, whose churches, schools and social gatherings will prove an attraction to the law-abiding citizen who desires a new location.
First Town Election
The first election of town officers was held at the house of John McKee in 1853, twenty-seven votes being cast. David Braucht was elected supervisor; E. C. Bartlett, town clerk; John S. Moore, assessor; John Ashbaugh, collector; John Artz, overseer of the poor; L. F. Jobusch, Jacob Sprecher and R. H. Winger, commissioners of highways; John McKee and Israel Artz, constables; Ed ward Clifford and George Smith, overseers of highways
In the early settlement of Aledo the town site was covered with ponds and sloughs, the drinking water came from wells supplied by surface water and was far from healthful. For many years typhoid and scarlet fever and diptheria often visited the town in virulent form resulting in many deaths. The cellars in many parts of the town had water in them half of the year. The site of the town Being on a ridge, the facilities for perfect drainage by way of Edwards river and Pike run were at hand. Twenty years ago the first attempt was made to solve the problem; from year to year tiling has been placed in the streets and from the cellars of the residences, and for several years past no surface water has been accumulating, and it is now almost impossible to find water nearer than twenty feet below the surface. The water supply from wells being bad for domestic purposes, in February, 1887, a contract was entered into with A. K. Wallen to bore a deep well to procure a supply for family use and protection against fires. This, well was completed in March, 1888, reaching a depth of 3,113 feet. The purpose was to find a flowing stream, but failing in this, the salt-water found in the last vein was shut off by plugging and the upper vein of pure water secured for the supply of the city. The town has been thoroughly piped and nearly every family being now supplied with this water, typhoid and scarlet fever and diphtheria have disappeared and a healthier town is not found in the State.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illilinois
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