If you were to walk around Beecher City (and by the way
it wouldn't take to long) you would find that most of the people here are quite happy with
our little town and would never consider leaving. We may not have the big sky scrapers or
even the fanciest of stores but what we do have is some good old' fashioned history. Many
families around here are direct descendants of pioneers, which came in ox drawn wagons and
using only basic hand tools and firearms cleared the land, built log cabins, ate squirrel,
rabbit, prairie chickens, carp and wild berries. They survived hard winters and diseases,
produced children, and loved this place.
The Pre-emption Act of 1841 gave the head of any family or single person over 21, who was
a citizen or had declared intention of becoming one, permission to purchase 160 acres of
public land if he lived on it and improved it for six whole months. The cost of the land
then was $1.25 per acre.
In 1867 the Springfield and Southeastern Railroad was chartered. The new line would go
from Shawneetown to Springfield. Tom Ridgeway and Charlie Beecher went to Effingham, Il to
see just how much they would give to see the railroad come through there town. The town of
Effingham waited to long. The western towns of Mason and Liberty quickly secured the rail.
Liberty Town Ship gave five thousand dollars to the cause, thus making the railroad go
twelve miles west of Effingham through the towns of Edgewood, Gilmore, Altamont, Moccasin,
and Beecher City.
The Railroad Sprouts a New Town...
The actual platting of the town was done by the railroad engineers. The town was named
after Charles A. Beecher the vice president of the railroad company. When the new post
office was applied for they soon found another town with the name of Beecher in Illinois
so the added the "City" to the end of "Beecher" and that is how we got
Charlie Beecher then appointed his nephew Henry to be the agent for the new line. Henry
built the first home here in Beecher City and soon Florence Beecher became the first baby
to be born in Beecher City. She was born June 18, 1872.
Beecher City soon became a prosperous town due to the railroad. Several small industries
resided in Beecher City before 1900. Win Hancock walked all the way from Ohio to visit his
sister Emma Beecher (whom was married to Henry Beecher). Once here he tried a few things,
such as selling fruit trees, farming. He operated huckster wagons, was an undertaker, a
grocer, and finally by the late 1800's ran a brick kiln on "Hancock's Pond"
which is located near what is now community park.
The Many Business Ventures of Beecher City...
Dr. John Cook built a two story building on Charles Street with brick from Hancock's kiln.
The Doctor practiced in the building and lived on the second floor. Later the Building was
sold to the "Odd Fellows Lodge" and by 1915 the weekly newspaper "The
Beecher City Journal" was being published on the ground floor.
The business around town was at an all time high in Beecher City around the first quarter
of the twentieth century. There were 3 grocery and general stores, two doctors, a couple
of furniture stores, an undertaker, four churches, a creamery, cream stations, hardware
store, millinery shop, two restaurants, a barber shop, post office, newspaper, a
blacksmith shop, a livery stable, bank, two hotels, a drayman, and later a filling
Over the years many things have come and gone... this is but a small amount of the vast
history of this wonderful town. If you would like to learn more please feel free to
contact "The Beecher City Journal".