Union County Genealogical Society

New Hope Township

More than a century and a half ago, a band of Mormons in their westward flight, were attracted by the rich soil of the prairie that was to become Union County.  At a place they named Pisgah, the Mormons established the first settlement.  A portion of that settlement was in section 31 of New Hope Township with the remainder in Jones Township.  In 1854, J. S. Lorimor thought he would make a trip to Pisgah, which he heard was quite a settlement.  On his journey, he came to the Nunn Blacksmith shop, asked if he was headed in the right direction, to be told that he had passed through Pisgah one-half mile back.  Some of the first settlers in the township was J. S. Lorimor, William, Henry, and Daniel Groesbeck, A. J. McCullock, Peter Dose, W. D. Comer and Henry Jeter.  
In 1856, the township was organized and named by William and Henry Groesbeck, J. S. Lorimor and Henry Jeter.  At that time the township included Dodge township which was separated and organized into its own township in 1858. 
In 1886 and 87, surveyors for the Chicago Great Western Railroad were making surveys through the country.  Many surveys were made through the township but because of the two large waterways through the township finding a route was difficult.  After a route was settled on, work on securing the right-of-way from the land owners began.  When the agent approached J. S. Lorimor, they needed twenty-four acres of his land that would divide three of his best fields.  He told them if he could have a station within a mile of his home, he would ask very little for the land and no more that the land was worth and ask nothing for the damage to his farms that would be cut up in three cornered pieces.  He also informed the agent that if the town should be located on his land, the right-of-way would cost them nothing.  The agent took out the plat of the road which showed the location of the town on Lorimor’s land.  Lorimor made out the proper papers and donated the land to the Great Northern and on 15 May 1887, the original town of Lorimor was platted and the sale of lots began.  The first plat was 20 acres and was mostly all sold in three years.
Business houses were built and within five years there was forty businesses and the town had a population of about four hundred.  Unfortunately twenty-three of the businesses burned down in one night.  The city council passed an ordinance that prohibited future businesses of being built of anything but brick, stone, or other indestructible material.  The first addition to Lorimor was platted on 22 April 1891 and consisted of ninety-six residence lots. The second addition was platted on 23 May 1893 with the same number of lots.  On 17 May 1899 the third addition of forty-eight lots was added.  By 1908 all but thirty-one lots were sold.  The town had a population of about eight hundred people, three churches, a five room high school, kindergarten, about forty businesses including two large brick hotels.
New Hope Township had three early villages with post offices, Monette from 1889-1893, New Hope from 1854-1880 and Zalia from 1879 to 1888 located about a mile and a half northeast of Lorimor.  After the building of the railroad in 1887, the post office was ordered moved to Lorimor.  The change was made on 15 March 1888.   Information from 1908 Union County History by George A Ide.
The township has three cemeteries; Groesbeck Cemetery also known as Ashland Cemetery, Lorimor Cemetery and Monette Cemetery.