In 1854 the citizens of South Grove, which lies directly north of this town, petitioned the Galena Railroad Company, which had built the Dixon branch through the town, to establish a station for their accommodation; and after some months' delay, the company acceded to the request. The station once established, settlers rapidly filled up the township. It had been a part of the town of De Kalb, but in 1855, a sufficient number having moved in to give them a right to a separate town organization, a petition was presented to the Board of Supervisors, asking this privilege, which was granteth and the new town, under the name of Milton, embracing this township and one-half of that one south of it, was admitted into the Union. The village at the station was named Malta, and. a thriving town rapidly grew up at this point.
The name of Etna was, soon after its organization, substituted in place of Milton, and this, a few years later, was changed to Malta, the name of its village and post-office.
The financial storm of 1857, which prostrated the value of every kind of property, and ruined the currency of the country, reduced the vitality of this ambitious little village, and gave it a blow from which it was many years in recovering. Building was stopped; houses were vacant and valueless; merchants and grain dealers failed; every body grew poor, and multitudes left the country.
In 1857 a large steam mill was built, but it was never a profitable property; and four years later it was burned down, under circumstances that led to the suspicion that it was burned by the lessees. Suits growing out of this charge are still pending before the Courts.
In 1867, aided by a liberal subscription of the citizens of the village, Mr. Abraham Peters erected another large and substantial steam grist mill, which is now doing a good business.
Toward the close of the great war, Malta again acquired a fresh increase of growth and prosperity. The high prices of grain attracted settlers, and gave increased value to her new prairie lands. Money became plenty, business increased, new buildings were erected, real estate doubled in value, and sales, which for many years were impossible, now became frequent.
Malta is now on the high tide of prosperity. The village is the natural center for a large extent of very rich country, which, filled up with the substantial farming population which now is rapidly centering there, will support a town of three or four times its present population.
The first census of the town was taken in 1860, when it was found to have 620 inhabitants. This number, in 1865, had increased to 849, and is now probably over 1200.
Malta furnished 94 soldiers for the war of the rebellion.
Its Supervisors have been: For 1856, E. Whitehead; 1857-58, T. C. Wetmore; 1859-60-61, Henry Madden; 1862-63-64-65, M. C. Dedrick; 1866, G. W. Smiley; and 1867, D. F. Pease.
In 18- the Congregational church was organized, with Rev, ____ ____ as pastor. In 1867 the Baptist and Congregational societies each built handsome churches.
Malta is located at (41.929243, -88.861743).
There were 372 households out of which 34.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.6% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 22.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the village the population was spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $45,417, and the median income for a family was $51,667. Males had a median income of $40,260 versus $23,611 for females. The per capita income for the village was $20,839. About 4.3% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.8% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over.