Events Of Early Days
The original proprietors of the water power, in 1841-42, laid out some lots on the south side of Main Street, now Second Avenue, opposite the grounds now occupied by the Plow Works, and formerly occupied in part by the old grist mill, which was built in 1841 by David B. Sears, John W. Spencer and Spencer H. White, as was also the dam, and named the place “Rock Island Mills.” The plat, however, was never recorded. In 1843 Charles Atkinson, 1). B. Sears and others purchased of Huntington Wells a portion of his farm lying east of the Rock Island Mills property, and they, together with the owners of the latter, laid out the town of Moline, the same year. There were then but thirteen dwellings on the ground platted, and these were owned by Huntington Wells, D. B. Sears, Charles Atkinson, Benedict Patterson, Haskins Reynolds, Bell, Huntoon, Berham, Weis, White and Kinzie. Subsequently Charles Atkinson laid out his first addition, which was followed by his second addition in 1856; since which various additions have been made from time to time, till the place has reached its present wide corporate dimensions. It extends on the east to the city limits of Rock Island, and west from that point about one and three quarter miles, and is about two miles in width north and south, with plenty of room to grow in either direction. Moline was quite early incorporated as a town, but the records having perished in a fire, we have no authentic information respecting the first municipal organization and officers. It was, however, incorporated as a city under the General Law of the State approved April 10, 1872. On the third of that month a petition was presented to the board of trustees of the town of Moline asking the question of the adoption of a city government, to be submitted to the qualified voters of the town for their decision. The petition was granted, and in pursuance thereof an election was held on Tuesday, August 6, 1872, resulting as follows: For city organization, 261 votes; against city organization, 22 votes; for minority representation in the city council, 21 votes; against minority representation in the city council, 247 votes. On Tuesday, August 29, 1872, the election for city officers was held, and the following named persons were elected: Mayor, Daniel L. Wheelock; city clerk, Orrin K. Ferguson; city attorney, John T. Browning; aldermen, George W. Vinton, Luke E. Hemenway, Jerman S. Keator, Marvil H. White, Henry Klahn, Charles W. Lobdell, Swan Hanson, Daniel W. Dimock, Charles F. Hemenway. These represent the first set of city officers elected in Moline, following the conversion of the town into a city. In 1843 David Sears opened the first store in the house in which he lived, which was in close proximity to the grist mill. The first hotel dates from 1843, and was conducted by Huntington Wells. In 1842 Joseph Huntoon opened a shoe shop, and two years later Grove W. Bell was the town tailor. In 1843 Aynes Kinzie started a blacksmith shop on the ground since occupied by Deere and Company, and in 1847 the nucleus of the world famed shops of Deere and Company was laid. The first school house was built by private subscription in 1843, and of brick, where religious meetings were also held. Joseph Jackman was the first teacher, followed by S. P. Hodges, who was afterwards county clerk. The first bank was the First National Bank, organized in 1863.
Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908