Letter from William Askew about Avilla people
To Noble Co  Settlers

"I first saw Avilla, or as it was often called, "Hill's Corners", in the latter part of November 1856 when I arrived on the old stage coach from Sturgis, Michigan.  I do not remember where we first struck the plank road north, but the old plank road through Avilla was considered the greatest enterprise of the day.  My brother-in-law, Thomas Southworth, was living one mile north of Avilla, and to his house I went.  There were few people living in Avilla then.

The firm of Baum & Walter - later Baum, Walter & Haines - kept a general store on the corner north of the tavern.  Mr. Baum's dwelling was also here.  The hotel on the opposite corner was called Hill's Tavern, but it was rented to Samuel M. Kline.  The post office was kept in the bar room.  N. I. Hill, a justice of the peace, lived in a small house just south of the hotel.  H. J. Tennant lived a little farther south on the west side of the road.  He owned a farm and I think it was rented to a Mr. Secor.  Joel Isbell ran a blacksmith shop, and there was also a shoe shop in town but I don't remember the shoemaker's name.  Jacob Haines lived on the west side of the street.  A doctor named Shearer was also here but I don't think he ever hung out a shingle.  A man named Horner ran the hotel after Sam Kline.

Those were great times - free whiskey and "wild-cat" money.  Jef Smith, living north of Baum & Walters store, was running an ashery there.  A Mr. Walters, father of the merchant, was a wagon maker.  Then there were David and Moses Walter, who went to the army and I never head of them after.  The elder Mr. Carver lived a little east of the hotel and Evan Jones still further east.  I went to work for Mr. Jones in the summer of 1857 for $12 per month.

Others I remember were a Mr. Harding, a carpenter, Mr. Shadow and Mr. Weimer.  If I were there I could point out the location of all the old log houses along that plank road.  The old Catholic Church, a frame building, stood on the east side of the road.  Beside it a cross was raised.  I was present at this ceremony but could not read the inscription upon the cross.  A little farther north on the hill on the west side of the road was another hotel kept by a man named Abnett.  William Askew, Saunemin, Ill., March 23."

Avilla News March 30, 1893


Noble Notes:  Failure is the path of least persistence.