Sattley Co. Roots Run Deep

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Sattely Manufacturing Roots run deep here in farm country. Their story begins in Rochester, Illinois at a blacksmith shop. Here they developed a plow. Later they expanded into agricultural implements. This growth eventually led to a huge company headquartered in Springfield, Illinois. In Springfield the Sattley Manufacturing Co. manufactured plows, cultivators, harrows, farm wagons and much more!

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Sattley plow seat
These trade cards are from the Springfield plant

Sattley Co. in Rochester Illinois

Marshall Sattley along with his brother Archibald opened a blacksmith shop in 1851. Historian and author Ray Bruzan said 3 miles east of Rochester, there is still a Sattley farm. The farm was originally owned by a Sattley cousin.

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This sign in Rochester Illinois shows the Sattley street.

My husband Keith and I headed to Rochester to see what history we could find. We discovered Sattley Road and photographed the sign. The street and farm appear to be the only known Sattley places in Rochester. No one seems to know where the original blacksmith shop was located. The street though shows that Rochester residents remember the importance of the invention that happened here. They recall that in Rochester Marshall Sattley invented his first plow!

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The inside of Keith’s canvas booklet shows the cool “Hummer Plow”.

The plow was called the Hummer and in 1892 was exhibited at the Colombian Exposition in Chicago.  Keith has a canvas notebook with a photo of the “The Hummer” plow.

Decatur

In 1857 Marshall and Archibald Sattley went to Decatur, Illinois. Their stay in Decatur was short-lived. Like in Rochester, there is a Sattley Street in Decatur. There also appears to be several people with the last name Sattley. Perhaps some family settled there.

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Keith’s memorandum book shows some of what Sattley had to offer.

Onto Taylorville

The Sattleys formally established their business in Taylorville in 1858. Sattley Manufacturing stayed in Taylorville from 1858 until 1888. 

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This check was used during the Taylorville years!

Wilda Cooper wrote an article in the Breeze Courier titled History of Taylorville: The First 150 Years. She wrote a bit that mentions farming and Sattley. ” The first steam flouring mill was built by Wm. T. Sprouse and Co. in 1853 in the west part of town. This mill was in operation many years and at one time was converted into a woolen factory, carding and spinning. The rapid growth into the county created a need for more mills and also for the manufacture of farming implements. The Sattley Bro. manufactured from 550 to 600 sulky plows annually after the start of their operation in 1869.”

From this writing it is easy to see that this was a big operation! Again no one seems to know exactly where the plant was located although there is a depiction of it at Find a Grave under Archibald Sattley’s name.

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The Sattley gravestone is at Oak Hill, the brothers Archibald and Marshall are buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.

The Sattley Plow Company stayed in Decatur until 1888 before moving to Springfield. One of the Sattley brothers Albert worked at the plant and stayed in Taylorville. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery where there is a big Sattley plot. That was one of our finds on a search in Taylorville. It has been fun unraveling what we can find about this agricultural company!

Sattley Co. in Springfield

Mike Kienzler of the Sangamon County Historical Society wrote in the Sangamon Link, “The new Sattley plant covered a four-square-block, seven-acre site on the southeast corner of Ninth Street and South Grand Avenue.”

In 1903 the Sattley Manufacturing Co. merged with the Racine Wagon & Carriage Co. of Racine Wisconsin.  This merger brought a name change. They now called the company Racine-Sattley Manufacturing. Although the companies merged, the company was still headquartered in Springfield. The wagon company brought a new line of farm wagons into the product arena.

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Factory at Springfield

Then 13 years later Montgomery Ward & Co. purchased Racine –Sattley.  They took a new name hearkening to the famous plow calling it the Hummer Plow Works. Production continued for many years until tillage production ceased around 1931. The plant finally closed in 1958 what a long run!

In 2006, Conner Co.a wholesale plumbing company was built in the area. Over the years, the Stienberg-Baum Co, a Chicago-based discount retailer had been there, but the memory of the Sattley Co. and its contributions remains strong.

Memories remain

For those like Robert Smith a farmer from rural Raymond, the Sattley Co. is more than just a former agricultural manufacturing plant. For Robert it is a family connection. Robert’s grandmother Hattie Crellea Sattley married Harry E. Smith his grandfather on August 20, 1894.

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Hattie Sattley Smith

Hattie passed away in 1932 and together she and Harry had five daughters.

From stories that Robert has heard Hattie was adventurous moving 500 chickens in a flatbed wagon at one time. About his dad he said, “They lived in Kincaid when the mines were going good and ran a dairy. They delivered milk before school.”

The pioneering spirit that the Sattley brothers had seems to have found its way down through the family. Robert has a Sattley plow seat he has it on display in his farm office. Robert also is the keeper of family history and has a beautiful picture of Hattie as a young woman.

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Robert Smith poses with his Sattley seat.

The Sattley Company and the family is still woven into the fabric of central Illinois today. Enjoy reading about other agricultural connections as well!

2 Comments


  1. //

    As Americans start to face food shortages unheard of for generations, I’m more grateful than ever for the folks who work hard to fill our food supply chain! <3


    1. //

      Although no longer in business, this company surely helped forge the agricultural businesses that help us fill the supply chain today. Thanks for recognizing the American farmer and those that work so hard in the agricultural industry!

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