History of Melvin

On September 15, 1868 a petition was presented to the Board of Supervisors asking their aid in creating a new township, composed and described as the north half of township 24 north and the south half of township 25 north, range 8 east. It was further ordered the territory set off should be known as the township of Peach Orchard.

In 1855 Joshua Nicholson planted a thousand peach trees on the southwest quarter of section 21, range 8 east. He had brought these trees from southern Illinois on a hayrack. This large peach orchard was cultivated for twelve years, when the trees died and were never replaced. This was how the township came to be named Peach Orchard Twp.

William Holmes, who plowed the first furrow, Joshua Nicholson, Elick Nicholson and Alexander Nicholson, were among the first settlers. Then in 1867 came John Iehl, John S. Hunt, James Dixon, George Dixon, W.J. Hunt, Enoch S. Hunt, George Foster, William Underwood, George and Ties Arends, Isaac Day, and Gerhard DeFries. The Holmes and John Hunt homes were the only two to be seen on the wild stretch of prairie from Oliver's Grove to Loda, Illinois. The township had a railroad running diagonally across it, which was the Chicago to St. Louis division. D.K. Pearson, Chicago, owned the east tier of sections in the township and in November, 1866 came and sold the entire tier of sections for $8.50 an acre. The town of Melvin was surveyed and laid out at the request of Enoch S. Hunt and included 65 acres. The railroad was completed in 1871. The town was named after the president of the railroad.

The first supervisor of the township was James Dixon elected in 1868; he was presented with two free tickets to ride on the first train to pass through Melvin. Mr. and Mrs. James Dixon and baby James rode to Chicago to view the ruins of the great Chicago fire. This was in October, 1871. T.D. Thompson was the first station agent and his son Clyde was the first child born in the town.

Later Mr. T.D. Thompson had the first grocery store, was the first postmaster and took great interest in building the churches and school in Melvin. Charles Rodenhour was the first person to die in the township and was buried on section 3 in the year 1858. Fannie Holmes was the first child to be born in the township, being born 5-29-1857, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Holmes.

Sources of information: (Abbreviated)
Melvin Centennial Booklet

History of Melvin Cemetery 

Favorite Son