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Village of Dressor is now a ghost town

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By Linda Hanabarger

Named for the man who owned the land, Nathaniel Dressor of Bond County, this Ramsey township village is a Fayette County ghost town.


N.D. Baumberger of Bond County wrote a memory booklet in 1974 in which he told that he “was born on a 1,000-acre pasture farm east of Ramsey.  It cornered with a station of the Clover Leaf railroad. The station was named ‘Dressor’ after my grandfather.”
Nathaniel Dressor had purchased the tract of land with the intention of raising Texas cattle on it. He also erected a sheep barn that would hold 700-800 sheep. He later sold the land for $25 an acre.
Businesses opened around the station,  which had become a major rail shipping point for livestock and produce. The railroad cut is still visible today.
The Dressor Post Office was established on March 21, 1888, and continued with one interruption until 1931.
Jess Sarver, in his book, “As It Comes To Mind,” published in 1976, had this to say about the Dressor of the 1910s. 
“It had two stores. John Sperry, whose wife was a sister of Dr. E.P. Staff of Ramsey, ran one. The other was run by Frank Didway.  This store stocked everything for which there was a demand in those days. You could buy salt fish or pork, a barrel of salt, a ton of coal or a new suit of men’s clothes. You name it – this store had it.”
If you wanted your mail, you came to Frank Didway, the postmaster. He sold you a train ticket, too, because he was also the station master. He had this position for many years, and is mentioned as the Dressor agent in an August 1925 Ramsey newspaper ad.
A large creamery operated here, buying whole milk that was hauled in daily with team and wagon. The driver just stood up in the wagon, taking the weather – hot, dry, wet or 20 degrees below zero. Charles Wright was the storekeeper in 1900.
G.M. Beck was another store owner in Dressor. Robbers broke into his safe and stole $100. All but $14 in Post Office money belonged to the lodges who had put it there for safekeeping.
Jess Sarver said his aunt, Annie Beck, lived in a shack of a house in Dressor. A fire in the village in May 1925 destroyed several homes, including that of V. Langdon, in whose home it began.
A September 1925 notice in the “Ramsey News-Journal” announced that 12 cars of cattle had been shipped from Dressor that week. The shippers were the Hunt Brothers, Fred Berner and Henry Hennon. 
Dressor also became known as the shipping point of hunting dogs from the various kennels in the area. Kaskaskia Kennels at Herrick was among several kennels who raised foxhounds. Joab Hicks and Bert Halbrook also had kennels.
Although the village no longer exists,  Dressor remains a place named on old Fayette County plat maps, and it represents another Fayette County village that flamed up and burned brightly for a good 50 years.