In 1855, with not a building in the town, some Monticello carpenters were asked to build some houses in Bement. Monticello, too, was a growing community, and they were too busy to come to Bement (Actually they did not really think Bement would amount to much!) Consequently, Joseph J Bodman returned to Ohio and persuaded seven young men to come to Bement, Illinois and “grow up with the country." They were J. Mallory Camp, James H. Camp, Edgar Camp, T. T. Pettit, Marion Pettit, William H. Ellis, and Charles Smith. These men, along with Joseph Alvord’s family, became Bement’s first settlers.
With J. M. Camp and William. Ellis as contractors, the seven men from Ohio had a part in building Bement’s first house, now known as 217 W. Bodman Street. During construction, the men stayed at the Alvord’s log cabin four miles to the north. Mrs. Alvord reported later, “that it was quite a task to feed and house them all".
The house was completed in late spring and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Nye, who operated a boarding house, and the workmen moved there while they built a second house two lots west at 249 West Bodman Street. Upon its completion, the Alvord family moved there.
Today, both houses still stand, and although some additions and improvements have been made over the years, much of the same , flooring and timbers remain. Mrs. Margaret (Bill) Lilly resides in Bement’s first-built house, and the second house is occupied by Mrs. Frances Dodge.
From Bement Sesquicentennial book - used with permission