Scales Mound History
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 privately owned.
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.