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H.W. Colwill Collection (Creston)


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Personal Records

General Business Files

Account and Ledger Books

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H.W. Colwill Collection (Creston), 1926-1977 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: H.W. Colwill Collection (Creston), 1926-1977

ID: RHC/RC/047

Extent: 21.25 Linear Feet


Documents are arranged in several series: personal records (including some business items ), general business files, and account and ledger books.  Several arrangements were used throughout the collection to organize the records.

Series I is arranged chronological and within that, alphabetical. Arrangement in series three is chronological and within that alphabetical.

Date Acquired: 11/10/1978

Subjects: Coal trade, Colwill, H. W., Creston (Ill.), Creston Grain Elevator, Grain, Hendrickson, Grant, Leader Oil Company, Lewis, Ralph, Lumber trade., Ogle County (Ill), Oil industries

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The H.W. Colwill Collection documents the business activity of the Creston Grain Elevator (1932-1977) and Leader Oil Company (l944-l967) in Creston, Illinois.

Series 1 consists of materials related to the personal activities of H.W. Colwill during the years 1930-1977.  Included are correspondences, tax records, estate settlement records and grain speculation records (e.g., files under Rice, Lamson, Schulenburg).  Also included are catalogs and advertisements.

Included in series two are the majority of general business files of the grain elevator, coal, lumber and supply businesses from 1946-1961.  Included with this series are correspondences, receipts, lists, and a small amount of printed material.  Arrangement is chronological and within that, alphabetical.  The first files for each year consist of letters, miscellaneous receipts and general files.  These are followed by supplier files.

Series three commences houses accounts and ledger books. Materials in this series consist of business inventories, 1962, 1967; account/account receivable books, 1952, 1959, 1966; debit/credit accounts, 1932-1951; grain purchase and receipt books, 1962-1967; and three items (accounts, inventory) from the Leader Oil Company, 1959-1962.

The series continues with ledger sheets of the Colwill’s grain and feed operation, 1940-1969 and the Leader Oil Company, 1944-1967.  Arrangement in series three is chronological and within that alphabetical. Also housed in this series are two oversized business ledgers, 1932-1933, 1932-1940.

Collection Historical Note

H.W. (Hap) Colwill was born in Dement Township, Illinois, on December 10, 1896, son of John Colwill and Jane (Tamlyn) Colwill.  He was educated in rural schools of DeKalb County, and in 1911-1912 finished his schooling by taking a three month bookkeeping course.  Until 1920 Colwill worked for the grain elevator and on local farms.  In 1922 he became bookkeeper of the elevator as well as its operator and manager.

On October 16, 1922, Colwill, in partnership with Ralph Lewis, purchased the grain elevator and coal business, and one year later added a lumber yard as well.  In 1924 Colwill bought out his partner, Lewis, to become sole owner of the elevator operation.  On February 1, 1936, Colwill and Grant Hendrickson started the Leader Oil Company to sell gasoline and fuel oil and one year later (March 1, 1937) Hendrickson sold out his share of the oil company.  Colwill continued to operate both the elevator and the oil company as sole owner until 1977.

Colwill married Agnes Dorothy Anderson on October 10, 1925.  They had three children: Herbert William, Sally Ann (Chabucos), and John Arthur.

Active in numerous civic affairs, Colwill served on the board of the Creston Methodist Episcopal Church for thirty years and spent eight years on the Ogle County School Board including a term as president (1960).  Colwill was also appointed administrator of three estates.

Among his fraternal memberships were Masonic Lodge 320, Royal Arch Mason Chapter 158, Rochelle, Knights Templar, Tebala Temple Shrine and B.P.O. Elks.  Colwill also belonged to two professional groups, the Royal Order of Woodmen and the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo.

Subject/Index Terms

Coal trade
Colwill, H. W.
Creston (Ill.)
Creston Grain Elevator
Hendrickson, Grant
Leader Oil Company
Lewis, Ralph
Lumber trade.
Ogle County (Ill)
Oil industries

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to materials in the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Mr. H.W. Colwill

Acquisition Method: Mr. H.W. Colwill, Creston, Illinois, donated this collection to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on November 10, 1978.

Related Materials: For a related collection, please see Lindenwood Grain Elevator Collection, RC 11.

Other Note: The researcher should note portions of Colwill’s business records were discarded before the Center was able to obtain the the materials making up this collection.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Personal Records],
[Series II: General Business Files],
[Series III: Account and Ledger Books],

Series II: General Business Files
Box 2
Folder 14-15: Letters, 1946-1950
Folder 16: Miscellaneous Receipts, 1946-1948
Folder 17: Family Doctor Receipts, 1946-1947
Folder 18: Elevator Operations, 1946-1947
Folder 19: Lumber Records, 1946-1947
Folder 20: Milk Receipts, 1946-1947
Folder 21: Truck Repair, 1946-1947
Folder 22: Illinois Department of Agriculture, 1946-1947
Folder 23: Withholding tax, 1946-1948
Folder 24-26: Suppliers, A-Conco, 1946-1948
Box 3
Folder 1-8: Suppliers, Conour-Z, 1946-1948
Folder 9: C.I. Schulenburg-Lamson Brothers: Correspondence, 1946-1948
Folder 10: C.I. Schulenburg-Lamson Brothers: Receipts, 1946-1948.
Folder 11: Personal Receipts, 1948-1950
Folder 12: Miscellaneous Receipts, 1948-1950
Box 4
Folder 1: State of Illinois, 1948-1950
Folder 2-9: Suppliers, 1948-1950
Folder 10: Correspondence, Price Lists, Order, 1952-1953
Folder 11: Chicago and North Western (CNW)  Rail Shipment Records, 1952-1954
Folder 12: Feed Taxes, 1952-1953
Folder 13: Tax records, Personal, 1952-1953
Folder 17: Transportation Tax, 1952-1953
Folder 15-17: Suppliers, A-Hines, 1952-1953
Box 5
Folder 1-9: Suppliers, Hines-Z, 1952-1953
Folder 10-11: Correspondence, Price Lists, Orders, 1955-1957
Folder 12: Community Lean Corporation, 1946-1948
Folder 13: Employees Withholding and Social Security Tax, 1956-1959
Folder 14-15: Suppliers, A-Darling, 1955-1957
Box 6
Folder 1-11: Suppliers, Deehan-Z, 1955-1957
Folder 12: Correspondence, Advertisements, Reports, 1959-1960
Box 7
Folder 1: Ogle County School Board, 1954-1959
Folder 2: Receipts and Orders, 1959-1960
Folder 3: Price Lists, Room Plans, 1959-1960
Folder 4: Martin Heirs Oil Lease, 1949-1959
Folder 5-15: Suppliers, 1959-1960
Folder 16: Correspondence, 1960-1961
Box 8
Folder 1-2: Receipts, Orders, Advertisements, 1960-1961
Folder 3-12: Suppliers, A-Teweles, 1960-1961
Box 9
Folder 1: Suppliers, Thiede-Z, 1960-1961
Folder 2: Hayden, Stone, and Company, 1960-1961

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Personal Records],
[Series II: General Business Files],
[Series III: Account and Ledger Books],

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