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In giving this work to the public, it were but just to my. self to state some little of its history, not for the purpose of avoiding just criticism, but that the public may be able to judge fairly and justly in the premises.
My attention was first called to a work of this character by Mr. Geo. N. Richards, then a compositor in the Gazette office, in Champaign, in May, 1870. Upon reflection, and weighing the matter with all its pros and cons, I determined to make an effort
About this time, I learned that Messrs. Flynn & Scroggs designed publishing a Directory of some kind, either the cities of Urbana and Champaign, or the county, and with them I made an arrangement, and together we were to carry on the work. Subsequently, they enlarged their office, and found so much busi
ness on their hands, that they were forced to abandon the enterprise. This was a disappointment I had not looked for but I did not wholly abandon the project.
I went through the work of taking the census in the southern half of the county, collecting items with a view to still consummating the design of compiling a Directory and History of the County. The census work required a much longer time than was anticipated, to complete and close up, and other delays, unforeseen and unavoidable, interposed, so that it was late in 1870 before the work could be commenced. Meanwhile, upon my representation, Mr. John W. Hill was induced to take a part in the work. At the very outset, we were met with the most chilling discouragements; some of our friends comprehended and applauded, but by far the larger number either did not understand what we were doing, or, understanding, bad no faith in the success of the enterprise, and declined to encourage a project which they believed must end in disaster to those who were attempting to carry it; with, however, the kindest regards to Mr. Hill and myself. Under these truly oppressive circumstances, Mr. Hill felt that it would not be wise in him to risk financial ruin, and he withdrew from the work, kindly tendering me, at the same time, all the assistance that lay in his power, should I decide to go on with it; and I am happy to say he has constantly given me encouragement and material aid.
Being without money (the magic wand by which one is able to conjure up friends), I felt for a time that some one else must carry out the plans that I, in part, had matured. Still, feeling that I could not stop before the obstacles became insurmountable, I worked on, and soon had the satisfaction of knowing that the public had become interested. Being encouraged now
where before I met none, I hesitated not to 'plunge into the work to the extent, and in such a manner, that failure must bring disaster. Having reached that point where failure was out of the question, and being in need of one more heavy lift, without which nothing could be accomplished, I received it, promptly and kindly tendered, by Messrs. Chalmers Sherffy, H. C. Stewart, Geo. W. Kennard, C. B. Whitmore, C. G. Larned, H. Swannell, F. M. Sherffy, C. W. Angle, J. C. Sabin, J. W. Hill, J. T. Pearman, J. S. Wolfe, B. F. Fillmore, J. N. Hibbard, M. C. Cuppernell, Geo. F. Beardsley, F. A. Edwards, and Hon. M. L. Dunlap, whose kindness in this behalf I shall never forget.
Meanwhile, time has been passing, and the work immense. The original intention was to compile the statistics from the census returns, as far as those papers show what was wanted ; this has been carried out, every effort having been made to have all correct; and it is believed that in the main this has been successful. Great care has been taken to avoid mistakes. In the history of the county, I have called to my aid the recol. lection of old settlers, and am especially indebted to that veteran pioneer, Mr. Henry Sadorus; also, to Hon. T. R. Webber, of Urbana ; M. Coffeen, of Homer; J. S. Wright, of Champaign, and many others. The county records, also, have yielded up their treasures; and here I take pleasure in thanking our county officers for the kindness with which they have aided and facili. tated
work. In gathering items of history of the townships, I have been aided by prominent men of each, whose names I will give when I reach that part of the work. I have ransacked the records of the Illinois Central R. R. offices, of land and freight, to assist me, and am greatly indebted to the officers of that company for much valuable and needed information.
In the prosecution of the work, I have endeavored to do equal and impartial justice to all parts of our county, as far as I have been able with my poor ability; any failure in this, must be attributed to the fact that I am not able to do justice to Champaign county in a work of this character, whereof I plead guilty.
It may be objected to, on the part of some, that there are many advertisements in the book; but when it is remembered that the price of this work is but one dollar and seventy-five cents, it will be seen that without these advertisements, this work could not be sold for less than nearly twice that sum. By this means I am enabled to place the book within the reach of all. The map, which has been prepared with great care and expense, is believed to be correct, and will undoubtedly be of great value.
The articles on the different branches of farming, horticulture, stock raising, etc., will be read with interest by farmers, as they have been prepared by parties who have made the whereof they write a specialty.
J. S. LOTHROP, ATTORNEY & COUNSELLOR AT LAW,
Marble's Block, Cor: Main and Walnut Streets,
Seth Thomas Clocks.