William H. Young

By Patrick W. Schramm

             William H. Young was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 15th,  1818, into the arms of his parents.1  When William H. Young was a young man he moved west to the City of Monmouth in 1837 not long after that he established himself as a farmer, avid house carpenter, mayor and town developer in numerous senses.  He was one of the men who helped build the old Court house and he had a hand in putting up nearly all of the older residences and business houses of the city.2 After Young was established as a hardworking carpenter and handyman, he met a young woman in Monmouth named Miss Charlotte Bunker and joined in the sacred act of marriage on February 18th, 1841.  William and Charlotte resided at 516 Center street until January 5th, 1891 when the street name was changed to North 6th street.3  The Young’s resided there the rest of their lives. 

            Charlotte Bunker’s was originally born in  Groveland Livingston county , New York, before moving to Akron, Ohio and eventually Monmouth in 1839.4  Over the years the Young’s went onto have an impressive nine healthy children.  Being a new City that had started to grow early on in William H. Young’s life, he had developed a hands on attitude in certain critical areas of the cities expansion. 

            “On April 12, 1856  the plot book was opened by Robert Grant the current Mayor and the poll book of charter was opened and William H. Young was elected mayor of the said city for one year“.5  Previous to this election there was no legible documentation that suggested William H. Young had a political career except for a brief term as a elected trustee in 1852.  “On October 4th, the board decided to originate the office of mayor.  The town was divided into two wards and two aldermen were to be elected from each of the wards. Four aldermen and one major were to take the place of the 5 trustees.”6  His numerous jobs as a carpenter and family man more than likely led him to make serious connections with political figures in the town.

            William H. Young was classified as a simple Democrat.7  The same day that William H. Young was appointed Mayor of Monmouth William Billings, James Hill, Amon Gilbert and Hamilton Smith were elected to be Aldermen of the city council.8  William H. Young was only the Mayor for one term, but he was involved in numerous tasks that ranged from labor on the land all the way to school and town repair.  On the first day in office William H. Young began his mayoral career and issued 408: “On the motion of this council it was ordered that there be established four free schools in the city of Monmouth of three months duration to be commenced on April 21st.”9  With nine children all together, he was definitely a man who was concerned with the future generations to walk the town of Monmouth.  On May 10th, 1856 “On motion it was ordered that a license be granted to Thomas L. McCoy and Ivory Quinby (future mayor) for one year commencing on June 1st 1856 and ending on June 1st 1857 establishing a Banking House and Exchange office in the city of Monmouth for ten dollars.”10  Next he began work on beautifying the city by issuing 413 which stated: “That the green yard belonging to the city be fenced with pine boards six inches in width to be five boards high.”  On the same issue 413 stated: “On motion the mayor was directed by this council to contract with J. Nis and others to put extra windows in the basement of the school house according to the said mayors judgment.”11

            On June 7th 1856 the previous year’s tax numbers were discussed as follows : “James McCoy collector came in for settlement and reported as follows amount of tax collected for the year 1855 $4503.32 and allowed collector $158.62 amount paid over to the City Treasurer $$4102.95 leaving amount in collector’s hand of $241.75 which amount was ordered to be paid over to city Treasurer.”12 This method of putting money into the Public school would become quite familiar in his term as mayor.

            On June 10th, 1856 the council of the city of Monmouth met at the Public School House for the first time of the year, where Seth Smith resigned as the Supervisor of the city of Monmouth, and shortly after, James Hill a current Aldermen took over the position.  There issue 414 was issued sating: “That E. A Paine be contracted to put a wind mill pump on the public square.”13 On July 5th,1856 the City council declared the tax collection as 424 was issued stating: “On the motion of this council the sum of eighty-five cents tax was levied on each one hundred dollars worth of taxable property in the city of Monmouth for proper furnishing of the Public School house  in the year of 1856.”14  On July 12, 1856 the City council also declared “On motion it was ordered that lots in block belonging to Monmouth School district No.8 should be allowed to public sale on Saturday, August 2nd, 1856 at one o’clock P.M of said day. Terms of sale as follows, one third cash in hand balance in one and two equal amount, payments with six percent interest, notice, to be given in both public newspapers.”15  These sales made space for the increased population of a town that had started growing fairly quickly and gave consumers a chance to buy homes close to a growing educational sentiment.

             On September 20th of 1856 the Monmouth City council met in the Public School house where: “A petition presented by James Thomas and others asking the city council to appropriate money to aid in digging a well near the depot which, which petition was postponed indefinitely.”16 On October 12th, 1856, Issue 440 stated: “Ordered that the treasurer pay G. W Savage ten dollars for services as attorney in the case City of Monmouth vs. Joseph Weaver.”17  This was the first case William H. Young witnessed as Mayor.

            On November 1st, 1856 the first reference to the Mayor’s most crucial work are illustrated by Issue 448 stating: Ordered that the treasurer pay W. B. Jenks twenty three dollars for services as clerk of the city council and work done upon the cemetery.18 On December 20th of 1856 the City Council of Monmouth illustrated an interest in schools, from reading Issue 462 : “Ordered that the treasurer pay (A&B) two dollars and forty three cents for nails furnished for the Public school house.”19

            When the  Monmouth City Council met on January 3rd 1857 at the First and (only) United Presbyterian church of Monmouth the council made it’s biggest contribution to the town indicated by Issue 467 stating: “Ordered that the treasurer pay R.N. Allen eight-hundred and eighty one dollars and sixty eight cents for the land sold by him for the Monmouth cemetery.”20 This purchase had major implication to the extension of the Monmouth cemetery which is located south of US Route 34 on North Sixth Street in Monmouth, IL.  “It is the largest cemetery in Monmouth Township and in Warren County, IL.  It dates back from January 1, 1857 when the city of Monmouth, IL purchased land from Rodliff N. Allen for cemetery purposes.  The original purchase was for ten acres located in the Northwest corner of the northeast quarter of Section 29 in Monmouth Township east of North Sixth Street limits.”21  This purchase of land was so crucial to the town because this “Monmouth cemetery succeeded the ‘Pioneer Cemetery’ laid out on land donated by Daniel McNeil in the 1830’s which was on the west side of North Sixth Street and north of East Archer Avenue in Monmouth, IL.  The ‘Pioneer Cemetery’ was not sufficient to accommodate the needs of the rapidly growing city.  The Sexton‘s records for the Monmouth Cemetery only date from 1881 and there is no known list of earlier burials.  It is thought that the first burial was in 1856 before the city actually purchased the land”22 Later in the meeting on the 3rd of January the Issue 471: “Ordered that the treasurer pay E. E. Wallace forty-five dollars for surveying and plotting the cemetery lately purchased by the City of Monmouth.23

            The City council met at Langdon’s Block for the first time on January, 17th, 1857 where in an unexplained departure : “Alfred White City Marshall came before the city council and turned in his resignation as City Marshall and Sexton of the city of Monmouth which resignation was accepted by the council.”24 Soon after followed by Issue 481 stated: “On motion of the council James McCoy was elected Marshall to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Alfred White.”25  This was the second resignation that William H. Young and his council witness was an odd occurrence.

            On February 21st, 1857 the Monmouth City Council made a big improvement to the city when:

On the motion of this council it is ordered that West Avenue and West Street in the City of Monmouth and also Water Street shall be paved sidewalks on both sides with good sound timber and of pine is used to be of two inches in thickness and if Oak one and half inches in thickness as far as old town plat it being the Southwest quarter of Section twenty nine tower, 11 North 2 West said sidewalks to six feet in width also the above order to include Warren, Illinois Garden and South streets as to be completed the 1st of April 1857, it was also ordered that the side walks be made on Cedar Street up to Broadway facing South to the Old Town line to West street.26

 The implementation of sidewalks Monmouth was absolutely essential in the process of establishing symptoms of a new City.  The sidewalks were also a major convenience and upgrade opposed to the dirt paths that preceded them. Here was another example of how William H. Young and his council made the town a building block for future generations. 

            On March 4th, 1857 when the Monmouth City Council met at Langston Block: “Allen Bunker was appointed Sexton of the City of Monmouth to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Alfred White.”  Later on during the meeting another large improvement was made to the City when 491 was issued stating that it was

Ordered that a public highway or road be laid out from the Northwest corner of the Northeast quarter of section twenty, 11 North 2 West Southwardly along and upon the said line between said lot of land and the Southeast quarter of Section thirty 11 North 2 West across Broadway and run South between Section 30 Town 11 North 2 West to the Public road near the house of Samuel Douglas passing along the line between lands of Samuel Wood, A.G Harding and William Grant, also South  be opened to intersect said road.27

The Mayor and his council really helped open up the transportation capabilities of the town and displayed an advanced method through their construction projects, which took broad planning and organization.  It was clear that the City Council felt the need to define boundaries.  These seemingly small implementation for the public were of enormous proportions for William H. Young’s plans.

            On April, 4th 1857 the Monmouth Coty Council met and : “James McCoy Monmouth City Collector came before the board and made the following report:  Amount that he is unable to collect: $338.41, Amount for said Collector: $230.03, Amount paid into Treasury: $6009.36 which upon was accepted and ordered to be filed with papers of the office. Thereafter “John Frymire Treasurer of the City of Monmouth came before the board and made the following report: Whole amount from all sums $9549.70, Amount of City orders to date: $9113.60, Balance in the treasury cash to notes $243.97 and the amount in notes $40.89.”28  Judging by the money that went in the Treasury, the council put a considerable amount of money into the Town’s construction projects.

            Overall it appeared  as if William H. Young was paid about $93.00 total during his time as Mayor for his services.29  In 1860 William H. Young was listed in the Federal Census at the age of 40 as a farmer with the value of his real estate at $3,000 and his personal estate worth $1125.  At this time his oldest son Stephen was listed as a farmer assumed to have worked with his father.30  By 1870 William Young’s value of real estate had dropped to $600 and the value of his personal estate was down to $150 which can be explained by the money that he spent on catering to his large family.31 As his family grew up, William Young still remained a Carpenter at the ripe age of 62.  And in 1880 his daughter Mabell was listed as a dressmaker, while his youngest son Archibald was labeled as a printer. 32  All of William and Charlotte Young’s children grew up into men and woman.  Mable stayed at home with her parents.  The other children whose homes who were in the City of Monmouth were: A.C Young, Mrs. Chas Eilenberger and Mrs. Thomas Wilson.  Those who lived abroad were Mrs. Letitia Kirkpatrick, Muskegon, Michigan, Mrs. Cecelia White, Waitburg, Washington, Hugh Young, Walla Walla Washington, William B in Oregon and Stephen B Young moved to Perry, Iowa.33

            “Death broke the circle of the family for the first time when after being an invalid due to a stroke of paralysis since about ten years before February 12th, 1896 William H. Young passed away at his home 516 North 6th street.  Present at their home on North 6th Street were his Wife Charlotte, daughter Mabell and his son Stephen B., who had been helping take care of him for some time.”34   Charlotte Young spent the last ten years along with two of her children looking after Young as he spent his last days in the house that he had spent his life in. William H. Young suffered the last years of his life, in the sense that he wasn’t able to continue his stressful trade as a carpenter due to his paralysis.  Almost two decades later his wife Charlotte Young passed away on October 16th of 1912.  Rev. D.E Hughes pastor of the Christian church conducted the services and internment was made in the Monmouth cemetery that her husband had helped build.35  Mr. an Mrs. Young lived a blessed existence characterized by hard work in a new City, raising and supporting nine lovely children, that were a testament to Mr. and Mrs. Young.  While incorporating his work into his families lives in a time that was not geared for convenience, William H. Young helped his town, family and fellow Monmouth citizens grow as a city, population and as human beings.  The progress that William H. Young instilled was highlighted by spreading the attitudes of town of interaction and perseverance paved the way for the future Mayor’s of the City of Monmouth.  

1 Warren County Illinois Genealogical society. Obits from early Monmouth Newspapers 2 Jan 1894- 30 June 1897. Volume 3. Page 86. 

2 Ibid.  At the Monmouth Courthouse, the stone on the side of the building does not have William Young’s name on it, even though he helped to build it.

3 Mofit Volume C. Book. As of January 5th, 1891, Center street was changed to 6th street where the Young’s lived.

4 Warren County Genealogical Society. Obits for Monmouth 2 Jan 1912 to 31 Dec 1912. Volume 14. Page 119.

5 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 87.

6 The City Code of Monmouth Illinois of 1935. A Code of General Ordinances of the City of Monmouth, Illinois. Published in Book from the authority of the City Council of Monmouth Illinois. May 24th A.D 1935.

7 The Past and the Present of Warren County Illinois. 1817. Page 225.

8 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 87.

9 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 89.

10 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 92.

11 Ibid.

12 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 93.

13 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 94.

14 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 97.

15 Ibid.

16 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 100.

17 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 101.  His was the Mayor’s first case, but there was no other information about the Case of Monmouth v. Joseph Weaver. 

18 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 103.  This is more evidence of the interest that was taken in the Monmouth cemetery.

19 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 105.  I was unable to decipher the Names given to the party paid as written in parentheses as A and B.

20 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov. 3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 106.

21 Warren County Genealogical Society.  Monmouth Township Volume 1. Monmouth Cemetery 1886.  This source explains the spawn of the new cemetery that replaced the ‘Pioneer Cemetery’ that was essentially out of space for anymore citizens.

22 Ibid.

23 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov.3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 107.

24  Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov.3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page 108.  There was no further explanation for the resignation of  Alfred White.

25 Ibid.

26 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov.3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page  109.

27 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov.3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page  111 and 112.

28 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov.3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page  113.

29 Journal of the City of Monmouth from Nov.3rd 1952- July 3rd 1865. Page  87 through 115.  The total payments of W.H Young were added up to get his yearly pay.  He was paid on June 7th,1856, November 1st, 1856, January 3rd 1857, and April 4th, 1857.

30 Warren County Illinois 1860 Federal Census for Monmouth Illinois.  Also listed Charlotte at 36 years old.  Latecia A. at 16 years old.  William E. at 13 yrs. Old.  Cecelia at 11 yrs. Old.  Hugh S. at 7 yrs old. Mable or also spelled as Mabell in this case 5 yrs. Old.  Archibald 1 yrs. Old.

31 Warren County Illinois 1870 Federal Township: Township of Kelly, Lenox, Monmouth book 2.  Also listed is Charlotte 45 yrs. old.  Mable 14 yrs. Old.  Archie spelled in this census 12 yrs. Old. Lizzie 8 yrs. Old. Flora at 3 yrs. Old.

32 Federal Census of Warren County  for Monmouth IL. Volume 3.  Also listed in census was mother Charlotte 56 yrs. Old with an occupation of keeping house.  Mable 25 yrs. Old working as a dress maker.  Lizzie 18 yrs. Old at home.  Lora 13 yrs. Old living at home.  Archy listed as a printer.

33 Warren County Illinois Genealogical society. Obits from early Monmouth Newspapers 2 Jan 1894- 30 June 1897. Volume 3. Page 86.

34 Ibid.

35 Warren County Illinois Genealogical Society. Obits- Monmouth. 2 Jan 1912 to 31 Dec 1912 Volume 14. Page 119.  Stated in obituary, Charlottes family settled on a farm west of town in 1839 when they first arrived in Monmouth.