Sneed’s Sarahville History

John T. and Thomas D. Davis settled where the Worthen Trail crossed the Saline River, in the late 1820’s. The Davis brothers opened a general store in 1830. A post office was opened in the store August 2, 1837 with John Davis as postmaster. It was named Sarahville for John Davis’ oldest daughter, Sarah. John Davis served as postmaster until his death September 10, 1855. Then a clerk in the store, Elijah Cross, became postmaster. Cross served less than 3 years and George W. Grant was appointed. He served until the post office was closed May 27, 1875.

John T. Davis served two terms as county treasurer and was elected to the State legislature. While he was serving, he heard Abraham Lincoln lecture on temperance (total abstinence). Davis was deeply convicted. Upon his return to Sarahville, he closed the tavern and took whiskey out of the store.

The tavern was a partnership as was the store. It was opened and a license to sell liquor was granted March 4, 1839. Whiskey was about the only drink. It was sold in the taverns by the glass and in the stores by the gallon, and the customer furnished his own jug. Whiskey was considered a household necessity.   The main purpose of the tavern was to furnish room and meals.

Sarahville grew into a thriving community, with a grist and a feed mill. A blacksmith shop, a brick kiln and a cluster of ten houses made up the village of about fifty people.

Two men quarreled over the fairness of a horse race at the track. One man drew a gun and killed the other. A man accused of horse stealing was hung by a mob in the hamlet. These two violent acts seem to be the only serious disturbances ever to occur in Sarahville.

When the stagecoaches and wagon trains ceased to run because of better transportation on railroads, Sarahville declined rapidly. One old brick house remains beside the road. It is used to store hay. Today few living in the vicinity know where there ever was a Sarahville.

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(Ghost Towns of Southern Illinois, by Glenn J. Sneed, published 1977)