FROM MT. CARROLL, ILLINOIS.
The Weather, and Mercantile Business in Mt. Carroll—Other Industries—Educational Matters—Blooded Stock.
[Correspondence of the Inter-Ocean.]
Mt. Carroll, Ill, Dec. 14, 1874. The weather in Northwestern Illinois is the perfection of loveliness; and the people are out like bees in July. Mount Carroll looks as though it was swarming time. Day after day the streets are full of teams, and stores fairly hum with the chit-chat of traffickers. Last Saturday afternoon I think there were 125 teams in town simultaneously, and probably 200 in the course of the afternoon. The merchants carry a heavy and splendid stock of goods, and tempt farmers from a wide area. Several men have been trading here for fifteen or twenty years, with no affection, figuratively speaking, of the spine. They never stood more erect than to-day.
There are no extensive manufactories in Mt. Carroll, yet something is done in that line. The stone flouring mill of Shirk, Miles & Co. has been running since 1842, and never did better work than in 1874. The machine shop of A. McClure, the tannery of J. P. Myers, the limekiln of Strong & Wildy, and half a dozen wagon and carriage shops, are performing their allotted tasks from year to year, with an occasional “let up” for repairs. Whether the several proprietors ever halt for personal repairs, I am not able to say. Among the carriage makers the most extensive operators are J. W. Miller & Co. and P. B. Cole, who do considerable light and nice work. Two or three solid brick business houses have recently risen on the main street, above and below the Postoffice. Mr. Tomkins, the venerable postmaster, is being fairly overshadowed by tall piles of brick. Mr. T., by the way, bids fair to become a life member of the Postoffice. Ever since I knew the town, he has been burrowed there, and he has grown gray in Uncle Sam’s service.
In one of the new brick buildings is the office of the Carroll County Mirror, now’ conducted by J. F. Allison, who, with one hand in the “Confederate States” and the other in Mt. Carroll, is able to wield readily the editorial pen.
The public school of Mount Carroll, with its ten or eleven rooms, is full, and the seminary has no room for another pupil. I dined there a day or two since, with eighty young ladies and seven or eight teachers, also young; and four and twenty blackbirds, all in one pie, would not have gone half way round. I was the only member of the “sterner sex” at the table, and I could not look stern. This seminary is a grand success. It was started as a private enterprise by two young ladies twenty-one years ago last May, and one of the originators, Miss Woods that was, Mrs. Shimer that is, still holds the reins. She runs two farms, is a heavy dealer in pianos and other musical instruments, and has the oversight of, perhaps, 130 wild—no, tame girls. She employs the best of teachers to be found between Penobscot Bay and the Missouri River; hence, in part, her success.
Carroll County is on the Mississippi, and in the second tier of counties from the Wisconsin line, about as far north as apples are sure to do well. There are several good orchards and nurseries in this vicinity. Among the persons engaged in fruit-raising are M. Z. Landon, Samuel Preston, Mrs. Shimer, Sumner Downing, John O'Neal, H. C. Reim, and Benjamin Strickler. Most of the hardy and best varieties of apples do admirably. There are also several fine vineyards in and near this city. Nearly every kind of fruit does well in this country. Mr. Strickler has last year’s apples sounder than the Democracy.
One and a half miles east of this city, at "Wilderberg place," is the famous herd of short-horns, owned by A. Hostetters sons. This herd was established by the father of the present owners ten years ago, and has been constantly growing. It now consists of thirty-four females, mostly descendants of noted short-horn families, some of which are celebrated for their milking qualities, and seven bulls, mostly young, promising calves of their own breeding, sired by Grand Master, 12,096, who stands at the head of their herd, is a 3-year-old Bates & Gwynne; was bred by Colonel King, of Minnesota; sired by the celebrated Sixth Duke of Geneva, 7,933, out of Manoli; is of a beautiful red color, with a little white, of massive proportions, with all the beauty and fine points of the most perfect short-horn- Airdrie Ladd, Jr., 11,273, a handsome roan, 3 years old, of their own breeding, has been a successful prize-winner at State and county fairs, and is of remarkably fine quality and substance. On a separate farm, owned by W. R. Hostetter, is a herd of those celebrated butter-makers the Jerseys, consisting of sixteen head, all descendants of imported stock, and showing all the points of color and form so much coveted by fanciers of this stock.