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Mokena Village


Mokena Village Hall is located at 11004 Carpenter Street, Mokena, IL 60448; phone: 708-479-3900.

Mokena as Described in 1879 [1]

Mokena is situated on the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad, about ten miles east of Joliet. The original village was laid out in 1852, before the Railroad was fully completed, by Allen Denny. An addition was made to it soon after, by John McGovney, which was surveyed by A. J. Matthewson, County Surveyor. Knapp & Smith put up the first building, which was used for the double purpose of store and dwelling, and they were the first merchants in the place. The first hotel was built by Charles Gall, in 1853, and was the next building erected after Knapp & Smith's store, which had been put up in the Winter of 1851-1852, before the village was laid out and before the Railroad was completed. William McCoy built the first blacksmith-shop, in the Winter of 1853-54. Ozias McGovney was the first Justice of the Peace in the village, and was elected in 1850, an office he held for twenty-one years uninterruptedly. He is also a lawyer by profession, but has not practiced for a number of years, and at the present time is engaged in the mercantile business. A post office was established in the village in the Spring of 1853, and Warren Knapp was the first Postmaster, receiving his commission soon after the inauguration of President Pierce. Ozias McGovney is the present Postmaster, and has been for the past three years. McGovney bought out Smith, of the firm of Knapp & Smith, and the firm became Knapp & McGovney, and so continued for a number of years. They were the first grain buyers, and bought from wagons and loaded into the cars without the aid of elevators. Cross & Jones built a steam-mill in 1855, and about 1865, took out the machinery and shipped it to Kansas, when the mill building was changed into the Mokena Elevator, and is owned and operated by Charles Hirsch, the only grain dealer now in the village. Noble Jones speculates in grain and has an office here, but does business mostly on the Board of Trade, in Chicago.

The first schoolhouse was built in 1855, and was a small frame, costing $1,000. James Pierce taught the first school in it, soon after it was completed. The present elegant schoolhouse was built in 1872, is a substantial two-story frame, with stone basement, and cost, together with furniture, about $10,000, just ten times the amount of the first schoolhouse. Mrs. Sarah Baldwin is Principal of the school; Miss Swalm, assistant teacher, and Miss Clara Williams is teacher of the Primary Department. It is a flourishing school, ably-managed and well-attended.

The Mokena Advertiser, a spicy little newspaper, was established by Charles A. Jones, in 1874, and was published until May, 1877, when he died, and the paper was discontinued. His brother, however, carries on a job office in the old Advertiser office.

  1. The History of Will County Illinois. Wm. Le Baron Jr., & Co., Chicago, 1878.
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