|Birth: ||Jan. 18, 1859|
|Death: ||Dec. 15, 1927|
Quoted from: Kobweb Korners Sesquicentennial Edition 1818-1968 by F. Lea Dodd - A Network of History and Tradition Related to Southern Illinois Cradle of Illinois Statehood
Texas City - The Tile Factory
The complexity of a community increases as the population grows. One thing calls for another. The railroad was directly responsible for the creation of two villages. The clearing and cultivation of fertile bottom soil of the area were responsible for the creation of Texas City's most important industry, the tile factory.
One thing calls for another in the search for material for the column, too. Since beginning to write about the area I have learned, for the first time, about a pioneer method of under-surface drainage. I am indebted to Attorney Harry J. Flanders for the information. Mr. Flanders now owns a farm in the black land of North Fork Bottoms.
After the drainage ditches were dug, smaller ditches were dug across the fields, short distances apart, leading into the larger ditches. The latter were about 18 inches wide and 18 inces deep. In the bottom of these ditches, two strings of poles, from 8 inches to 12 inches in diameter, were placed. Then a third string of similar poles was placed on top of the first two and all were then covered with earth. Mr. Flanders told me that some of those timbers have been unearthed since he has owned the farm.
At a later date a tile factory was constructed at the north edge of Texas City, by the late George Camp and others. At that place a deposit of suitable clay was found. Several kilns were constructed, each larger than a large room, perhaps 20 feet in diameter, and dome-shaped.
The clay was excavated, pulverized, mixed with water to the proper consistency, and pressed through molds to shape the tile. The soft clay came from the molds as hollow cylindrical tubes, and were conveyed to racks for drying, and later to kilns for being fired.
The fuel for heating the kilns was first wood and later coal. It required several days to raise and control the heat to which the tile were exposed and some more time for a cooling-off period, before the finished product was ready for delivery.
The plant was highly mechanized for that day. Narrow-gauge tracks made a network from excavation to mill, to racks, to kilns, and to the storage areas. Over the narrow tracks a small locomotive powered the transportation. At times as many as 100 men were employed at the factory. Tile was sold locally for the most part but shipments were made as far away as Tennessee. A small amount of tile was used for walling shallow wells. From these wells the water was raised by means of a long cylindrical bucket with a valve in the bottom, and later y the familiar pitcher pump.
Mr. Camp and his partners sold the factory to the late C. Skelton and others, who carried on the operation for a few years. Mr. Camp devised a clever financing plan by which the farmers paid for the tile. By contract, Mr. Camp received the corn produced from three rows of corn, one directly over the string of tile, and one on each side of the string. It is not clear how many years were required to apy. I suppose it depended upon the yield which depended upon many factors, such as weather, floods, proper cultivation, and success in getting the corn out of the field.
Many families lived in and around Texas City, Their income was derived from the jobs which have already been mentioned. As a result of the growth, there were stores, a barber shop, a blacksmith shop, a school,and two churches. The churches were Congregational and Primitive Baptist. Both churches are inactive now. In 1877 a license was paid for by one David Harris for a dram shop. In recent years there were two efforts made to operate package stores. But they didn't last very long.
Texas City has now settled down to a small residential community, surrounded by fertile farms. The people are perhaps little mindful of the dramatic history of their community.
Two photographs of the tile factory were provided to this writer by Gene Camp and his assistance is gratefully acknowledged.
George Washington Camp was a Justice of the Peace in Texas City, IL and as such performed several marriages in the area during his tenure.
Martin Funeral Home Records:
Camp, George W., b. 18 Jan 1859, IN living in Texas City, IL. d. 15 Dec 1927, cau. coronary thrombosis. bur. Poplar Cemetery, Occupation Farmer
John Neely Camp (1839 - 1863)
Elizabeth Ann Carnahan Cox (1835 - 1903)
Nancy Medora Adeline "Addie" Bright Camp (1860 - 1949)
Orlea Raymond Camp (1886 - 1965)*
Stanley Camp (1892 - 1952)*
Poplar Church Cemetery
Created by: Linda Roberts
Record added: Oct 13, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 43041199