|Scales Mound History
Historical Photos(click to enlarge)
Photos courtesy of
Cyrus Lichtenberger came to this county in
1827 and settled in East Forks (now part of Scales Mound township) where
he built a house and cultivated 10 acres of land. This was the largest
single acreage under cultivation in the county at that time. In 1835 he
discovered the Blackleg Diggings at Veta Grande which was one of the
best paying mines of the time.
Another early settler was Elijah Charles
who built a house at the base of the mound that bears his name. This is
the highest point in Illinois. The Charles’ family lived there for
several years but never owned the land. They later moved to Galena where
he became a Justice of the Peace and ran for public office. He died in
1843 at the home of his daughter in Potosi, Wi. Charles Mound is now
In 1830 Samuel Scales purchased the claim
and cabin of John L. Sole by the Jesus Saves rock. He started a tavern
and the mound became known as Scales Mound. Scales owned the Blackleg
Diggings for awhile, also shares in a river boat and part of a store in
Galena. When the town was moved to its present location the name moved
with it as Scales was a well known businessman.
Scales Mound township had one of the
first schools in the area in 1831. The teacher was George Cubbage who
taught in a log house with a mud and stick chimney, earthen hearth and
fireplace big enough for a 4 foot log. He was captured by Indians during
the Blackhawk War and later ransomed for 5 plugs of tobacco. Being bald
has some benefits! Mr. Cubbage later sued the government for $102 in
damages incurred during the Indian raid and won.
One of the earliest settlers recalls
there being the remains of an old fort on Charles Mound when he moved
here in 1836. He said there was nothing between here and Waddam’s
Grove but wilderness. Not one house. The 1840 surveyors map shows fields
as land marks because there were so few.
The present town of Scales Mound was
started in 1853 when the railroad went through. At one time there were 3
hotels, 3 stores, a butcher shop, several blacksmith shops and taverns.
Most of the houses in town were built by retired miners and farmers many
of whom had come here from England and Germany.
The stamp of the railroad still marks the
town even though its importance has dwindled. Mr. Germaine and
B.B.Provost surveyed the land for the railroad. . Mr. Brayman was the
attorney for ICRR. Col Mason was the chief engineer of the project. Mr.
Schuyler was president of ICRR. Provost, Brayman, Mason, Germaine and
Schuyler are names of 5 streets in the village.
Scales Mound celebrated its
150th birthday in 2003. Many of the building that were here when the
town started are still being used today. 90% of the town in on the
National Register of Historic Places. Scales Mound is a great place to
live and raise a family. Come on by and see for yourself.