Fire destroyed business of Willem Van Landschoot in 1854

part of the articles were hard to read.

Disastrous Fire at Camden.  (now Milan, Illinois)
Almost the entire business part of the Town destroyed
We regret to announce that a disastrous fire at the town of Camden about four miles south of the City ….
Saturday morning.
Camden is built on the south bank of the Rock river on the line of the Coal Valley Railroad., It has been a most thriving business place, containing some dozens or more stores of various kinds, Fryfinger distillery and the large flower Mills of Beatty & Blair and D L Cunkie, the latter now run by Mr. Mc. Donald.
About 1.30 o'clock in the morning smoke was seen coming from a ware store attached to Honen's & Brothers hardware store and thin establishment near the middle of the west side of the business block. This room had in it some heavy hardware, agricultural implements etcc. It was being fitted up at the time with new helving and the carpenters having done their work in it, the floor was covered with savings. There has been no fire in this room for a month past, and it is not known that any one had been in the building during the morning of the fire, consequently it is not known how the fire originally, but it is supposed to have been the work of an incendiary.
Many of the citizens were at that time still in bed. Mr. H. P. Beatty and Mr. John Cleland were the first to notice the smoke. They barst in the door of the store room but the smoke was already evidence it was impossible to enter. These gentlemen promptly gave the alarm. The citizens soon collected and worked bravely with buckets……………….the devouring elements…….The wind was very high, however, and they could accomplish nothing and the buildings with their valuable contents, moved away rapidly before their eyes .
About half past eight o'clock a messenger from the area arrived in Rock Island and reported the fire. The bells of this city and Davenport were promptly ring “ Rescue “ and Western engines on this side run out and in ……brought the fine steam machine “Fire King” from the other side. The Cable of the ….. of the Coal Valley Rail Road Comp.
………. general country furnishing establishment of Beatty & Cleland . These gentlemen had been in business but a short time, having bought out H. P. Beatty.They succeeded in saving a large portion of their dry goods, but the drugstore implement a total loss. Adjoning the store was a 2 store dwelling owned by Mr. Beatty and occupied by Mr. Cleland, which was likewise burned, as well as a large stable on the same lot. Next in order came new building; waiting to receive the last coat of paint, owned by Willem H. Van Landschoot, who intented opening a grocery store here in a short time. Following in order was the hardware store and agricultural implement of Russ & Lambert, Herman Schultz business…….and L. H. Templetons carpenter's shop and joiner establishment.
East of Beatty & Cleland's corner on Water Street was the grocery and liquor store of Georges Keeler, with dwelling and large barn; all of which were consumed, most of his stock was saved. Among it were some 10 barrels of Whiskey, much of which was lost by careless handling. Mr Keeler's barn was a very good one, 46 x 50 feet. This was the extent of the territory spread over by the fire, with the exception of a few dwellings damaged, but not consumed, among which is Mr. Blakely's barn. Nothing but a heap of….ruins is left to mark the spot which, on Saturday last, was covered with stores and doing flourishing business. But one store is left which belongs to Kerr & Brothers. Dealers in hardware, stoves, tin ware, housekeeping goods etc: Hellin & Mc Clean family grocers, James Young's drugstore and WillemYoung's extensive dry goods, grocery and general supply store. Going southward from the origin of the fire on the south side of the street, it took John McGovern's dry goods, grocery and shoe store. Mr Betrgstrom's silversmith shop, the meat market, by Hill & Baughram private building of N. D. Bradley, John Bushart's shoe shop and Willem P … restaurant and grocery. Honen's & Bro. suffered the highest los of this side of the street as the fire originated in their establishment. Those stores further of the sources of the flames, having more time, had a better opportunity for removing the goods. Mr. Willem Young on the corner saved a large portion of his stock.
On the east side of the street, It was hoped that the fire could be confined to the west side of the street and quantities of goods carried out of the burning stores had been placed along the side opposite. The street has a fair width, but the intense heat and high wind in that direction, soon set the flames on the wooden buildings opposite the street. Starting on the corner nearest the river, the first store was the large dry goods, grocery drug and general country furnishing establishment of Beatty & Cleland. The gentlemen have been in business, but a short time, having bought out  H. P. Beatty. They succeeded in saving a large portion of their dry goods, but the drugstore is almost a total lost. Adjoining the store was a …store dwelling owned by Mr. Beatty and occupied by Mr. Cleland; which was likely burned as well as a large stable on the south lot. Next in order came a new building waiting to receive the last coat of painting owned by Willem H. Van Landschoot who attended opening a grocery store in a short time. Following in order was the bank and agriculture implement store of R. Lambert, Herman Stultz bareness and jewellery shop and L. H. Templeton's carpenter and joiner establishment.
 East of Beatty & Cleland's corner on… street was the grocery and liquor shop of George Keeler, with dwelling and large barn all of which were consumed. Most of the stock was saved. Among it were some 10 barrels of Whiskey, much of which was lost by careless handling. Mr Keeler's barn was a very good one, 46 x 50 feet.
This was the extent of the territory spread over by the fire, with the exception of few…….

The loss of yesterday would have kept up an efficient department for years. It should be especially be a warning to Rock island to provide herself with a first class steam fire engine, before her eyes are opened over a ruin such as Camden presents this morning. The “fire king” of Davenport worked splendly yesterday, and cost the city only 4500 dollar. Can it be that public and private donation combined can't rise that sum when so large an amount of property is at stake.


List with people (12 names), including Willem H. VanLandschoot with loss on a building valued at 1000 dollars.
The total loss of all business and dwellings was about a 100.000 dollar.
The above are the estimates as given as by business men of Camden and maybe modified by subsequent developments.


 In the large store formerly occupied by A. K. PHILLEO, now by KESSEL & VANLANSCHOOT lately one of them returned from Europe with the finest assortment of silks for dresses, latest styles, trimmings, laces, ribbons, collars, ….shawls, Indian scarf's, Cashmere, fine and rough jewellery,  bracelets , breast pins, ear and finger rings; watches. We have also good many places BROAD CLOTHES, tweeds, very fine Velvets large and strong Corduroy, Buck and moleshina, Marseillese, Hollands lines. Ready made clothing. Also a good stock of groceries.
Everything will be sold at lower price than ever offered before in this section for cash.
We will buy all kinds of produce at market prices.
Ladies and gentlemen come, see and judge and we pay the strictest attention to you.
Camden Mills store, July 10 1854.

Mills, Stores, Distillery, General businesses, Churches etcc………
A drive to Camden is not such an undertaking as it used to be, when the new road bed still slumbered in the quarry and in the bed of the river. Then , there was about an even change between floundering in the mud and suffucoating in clouds of sand. Now that the new road is getting well beaten down, I jively  horric spins in a buggy over the smooth track with almost as much pleasure to himself as to the driver. The pleasant sunshine of last Saturday brought out the gardeners along the road and there was a smell of new earth along the way. Several new buildings are in  course of erection, new fences where being put up, and there seemed to be a general setting in order of fields, gardens and houses for the permanent occupancy of the reigning godless. Spring.
At the bridge John Lusk officiates in receiving tolls also supplies passengers with cigars and tobacco and little notions as are of daily want.The Rock river pours a heavy sheet of water over the new dam and seems anxious to take hold of the wheels of Sears Mill and set the machinery in motion. The mill itself is going up rapidly and firmly, and will be one of the best flouring mills in this erection.
Camden, as usual was full of sand and farm wagons. Both the milling establishments have erected new offices close to the street, put up handsome signs, and by means or a lively competition had run up the price of wheat to 2  dollar a bushel. Both are doing a fine business and the reputation of Camden Mills flour seems to be daily on the increase. Those who used to see our fellow citizen, Riggs in his jewelry store with hands as soft as a …..and garments faultless of dust, would hard, recognised him in his powdered suit, rolling barrels and handling sacks of grain.
Hayford & Dickson have accured a good stock of agricultural  implements, and already doing a thriving trade. They will do still better when farmers learn that they can buy all kinds of farm machinery from them as cheap and as good as anywhere else. “Hayford” brags a good deal on their “Keystone corn planter”, it does look like a good machine. Also on the old, standard Mc Cormick rasper. This week they will also have a full stock of DEER plows.

The firm have a snug office were their customers can enjoy the comforts of a three legged chair a smutly pipe and a box of villainous tobacco. Hayford has had his face shaved and we were told it is in contemplation to hold town meeting, and have him declared a nuisance of account of homellness. Tillman Weaver & CO have a first rate blacksmith and wagon making shop, and are prepared to do new work or repairing to order. Ferguson does the wood work, and they are all practical mechanics with long experiences in their business. Frank Young who is the successor of his brother William is a business man and keeps as need and complete a country store as can be found anywhere .In all its arrangements we think it ………

The Camden Festival
It's to be regretted that it is already half past one in the morning of Wednesday june 10th and that time and space both forbid as extended a notice of the Great Camden Festival as it deserves. Inclination and practice have made that town perfect in the management of festivals. Her maidens are as likely and as tasty, and her older women are as thorough going as any to be found, in a matter like this, and even her men are pretty well whipped into the traces on the festival business. And last night every body was in her of his  place. Everybody from captain Hayford down to the boy that shovelled the ashes out of the cook stove, felt the weight of responsibility resting on him. A cook house had been erected for the occasion, with one stove outside for the rough work. The tables were set in the old church, and seated about 120 people every setting .The new church building, which is just ready for the plasterer, was used for the display of fancy goods, for the ice cream and cake tables and as a general promenading room for the audience. The heavy donations, were displayed on the gallery, giving it the appearance of a country supply store. When we reached the scene the cooking was in full blast, with a dozen anxious looking ladies moving brisky among the kettles and pans .The first instalment of hungry humanity was pressing into the dining hall, and the balance were enjoying themselves in the new church. There was a rare scene of youth and beauty, of pretty flowers to tickle the eyes and noses, of superb cakes, strawberries etc…to tickle the palats, and the ladies with their “chances” and their long trails. There was the children's fish pond, and brother Honens with his lemonade, evidently not made in Frysingher's mash tubs, and tables with all sorts of fancy goods, and tables with light refreshments, and tables with flowers.
People had come in from 10 miles around. They all looked as tough, they were just where they wanted to be. Money flowed freely, and every fresh quarter made the church feel better. There was nothing denominational in it. The supper was made of contributions from all the country round and it was first rate. It was liberal. We saw whole chickens dealed out at a time. And the ladies that managed it understood their business.
Mr Cable very generously donated the use of his train for the occasion, and it brought down a good company from Rock island and Davenport. A number of Moline people were also present and distinguished themselves . Near midnight, Squire Ferguson began to sell the donations at auction. Among them were the products of Rock Island and Moline manufactories, contributions from the Rock Island and several Davenport merchants; a big ham and a bottle of Roback's bitters from Willem VanLandschoot; Archers buck “ Honest Abe”  who was taken into the gallery and sold, donations from the flouring mills and  many other things to numerous to mention. We should think fully 600 dollar was realised from the festival. At a late hour the people went home, highly pleased over the money and time they had expended. The festival was a perfect success.  And all who by their labour and contributions sided the work, deserve THANKS.

source: Barbara Kelly, Moline, Illinois -  march 13 2003.

A) Republican, July 24, 1854  photocopied for you
B) Republican, July 28, 1854  did not have it
C) Republican, Aug 24, 1854   photocopied for you
D) Republican, Oct 23, 1854   photocopied for you
E) Union, Sept 27, 1867       did not have it
F) R. I. Union, Sept 19, 1867 photocopied for you
G) Argus, Sept 12, 1867       photocopied for you
H) Daily Union, Aug 28, 1867  did not have it
I) R. I. Union, June 10, 1868 photocopied for you
J) Union, May 6, 1867         photocopied for you
K) Union, April 20, 1868      photocopied for you
L) Sept 19, 1867   Article about Wm Van Landschoot selling his land on the island and starting a general store (page 184) (I did not find it in envelope)
M) Camden Mills history (from Black Hawk Directory - I have not idea what this is as I've never seen it before)  photocopied for you