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Before the Railroad

Before the arrival of the railroad, McLean County residents used credit and a bartering system, and trade depended on the Illinois River port in Pekin for both selling and acquiring goods and supplies. Area merchants (mostly grocery, dry goods, lumber, and implement dealers) needed cash for purchasing their goods, but often had to barter and trade goods or services with their customers who typically had little to no money.

Pioneering Merchants

Area merchants (mostly grocery, dry goods, lumber, and implement dealers) needed cash for purchasing their goods, but often had to barter and trade goods or services with their customers who typically had little to no money.

Featuring:

  • Amasa J. "AJ" Merriman, (1818 – 1894), dry goods store owner

Craftsmen

Blacksmiths, tinsmiths, and brick-makers possessed skills helpful for survival when Euro-American began to settle this area. If the materials they needed to practice their crafts were not available locally, it was expensive but necessary to transport them by boat to Pekin, and then by wagon to Blooming Grove.

Featuring:

  • William Richard Goodheart, (1770 – 1842), brickmaker
  • Lewis Bunn, (1806 – 1886), Blacksmith
  • George Dietrich, (1816 – 1900), Tinsmith

Practicing Medicine

Frontier healthcare providers were stretched thin and had few resources for healing patients.

Featuring:

  • Dr. Wanton H. Parker, (1802 – 1849), doctor