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events have happened in Freeport and Stephenson County, Illinois,
and remarkable people have lived there. These are stories gathered
about people and events from 1835 through World War II.
by Robert Bike
The Bible mentions about 232 plants by name, or closely enough to figure out what plant is meant. Of these, 24 are aromatic plants; that is, parts of the plants can be pressed or distilled to get an essential oil. Essential oils are the lifeblood of plants and have tremendous healing capabilities.
healing power of plants is the basis for modern medicines.
Originally published in manuscript form in 1999, I completely revised the book and added illustrations.
Biblical Aromatherapy in paperback,
List price $24.99; introductory offer $19.99
To order the pdf version and download to your computer or phone,
The electronic version is only $2.99!
Carlile, columnist for the Freeport (Illinois) Journal Standard,
featured this website in her column on January 19, 2007.
Life Purpose is to inspire my friends
Robert Bike, LMT, LLC
Below is the 1880 History of Stephenson County, scanned, in six parts. There are scanning errors, spelling differences and other problems. This took me a very long time to complete. I removed long sections that had nothing to do with Stephenson County, but have included some of the background history of the region, state and area for showing what some of the thinking was behind the writing.
This era was highly racist. Native Americans were considered savages. The Mormons were despised. White citizens were highly praised, even when it is obvious they were of dubious character. For balance, look at the Autobiography of Black Hawk, a raw, emotional story from the vanquished warrior.
Also, a word about spelling. The English language and spelling has changed tremendously since 1880. The 1880 author apparently didn't care too much about spelling words and names. On many occasions one person's name was spelled two different ways in the same paragraph, and once three different ways. I have no idea what the correct spelling was, in most cases, and have tried to maintain consistency.
Biographical Sketches of Citizens, War Record of its Volunteers in the late Rebellion, General and Local Statistics, Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, History of the Northwest, History of Illinois, Map of Stephenson County, Constitution of the United States, Miscellaneous Matters
WESTERN HISTORICAL COMPANY,
M. H. TILDEN
The following pages, assuming to relate a history of Stephenson County from its earliest settlement to the present day, owe their appearance to the enterprise of an historical company, supplemented by the demand of a generous public. In its preparation, sources of information have been sought and appropriations freely made from presumably authentic data. No claim is made to originality, and numerous mistakes will doubtless be discovered, especially by those disposed to be hypercritical. In a work of such magnitude, these are unavoidable.
The author cannot pretend to have acquitted himself to his own satisfaction, though he has labored diligently to furnish a reliable, if yet an imperfect, compilation of facts and events which are alleged to have occurred in Stephenson County since the days when Kellogg, Kirker, Robey, Timms and others rejoiced to get into the wilderness. Whatever of merit or demerit the book contains remains for the reader to discover, and his judgment may be unprejudiced if he finds no word of promise on the introductory page.
In conclusion, he desires to make his acknowledgments to the Pioneers who still survive, to the Press, the cloth, the public officers, County, State and Federal, and other mediums of communication, not alone for "history," but for many kind acts, and much else that may contribute to whatever of success shall greet the succeeding pages.
A preface is generally regarded as the substitute for an apology. The author indulges the hope that, in equaling reasonable expectations, the substitute will be adopted by his readers.
Chicago, September, 1880.
CULVER, PAGE, HOYNE & CO., PRINTERS
115 and 120 Monroe Street.
CONTENTS OF THE 1880 HISTORY OF STEPHENSON COUNTY - PART FOUR
Rock Grove Village
Rock Run Township
Silver Creek Township
West Point Township
Part Four - Townships
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Stories, Volume 1
events have happened in Freeport and Stephenson County, Illinois,
and remarkable people have lived there. These are stories gathered
about people and events from 1835 through World War II.
ROCK GROVE TOWNSHIP occupies the northeast corner of the county, contains upward of 16,950 acres of improved land, which, with regard to its quality and agricultural resources, is not surpassed by that of any township in the county. An abundant supply of valuable timber is to be found scattered over the township, notably at Rock, Walnut and Linn Groves, suitable for building and other mechanical purposes, and the water facilities are equally desirable. There are no large streams, but a multitude of excellent springs, which form the head-waters of Rock Run and Cedar Creek, and, with their branches, are distributed quite generally throughout the township.
The farms, which are usually large, are under a high state of cultivation, and cultivators harvest generous returns for the care and labor bestowed to develop and enrich them. Corn, wheat, oats, rye, and the fruits peculiar to this section, are grown in abundance, while hogs, sheep and cattle are raised in large numbers. The schools and churches afford means of temporal and spiritual education, and its only village of Rock Grove is inferior to none in the county as a place of retreat from the cares of business, or residence where happiness and comfort must be prime factors in man's daily life.
As near as can be ascertained, no permanent settlement was made in the township earlier than 1835, though prospectors and transients came previous, but tarried only long enough to rest and recuperate, when they, as a rule, pushed on to more distant points.
About the summer of 1835, Albert Albertson, accompanied by Jonathan Corey, made their way into the county from the East, and, having pursued their journey as far as the Grove, pitched their tent and decided to remain. Each entered claims in Section 36, and made some improvements during the summer, which were used by Eli Frankeberger upon the latter's reaching their site. He came with his family from Champaign Co., Ohio, and settled in the present town of Rock Grove during December of the same year. Hardly had he located before his wife was confined of a daughter, who was christened "Louisa Frankeberger, and is remembered as the first birth in the township.
The winter of 1836 was one of hardship and trial to the new-comers, who persevered, however, and have left the result of their labors to keep their memory green forever and ever. Josiah Blackamore is reported to have come in the same year.
In 1836, there were few, if any, who selected Rock Grove as an abiding place, but in 1837 they came more numerously and with beneficial results, as the sequel proved, to the county. Among these were Joseph Musser, settling in Sections 19 and 20, Thomas and Samuel Chambers, William Wallace, etc. Samuel Chambers settled in Sections 19 and 24, while Thomas built his home in Sections 25 and 26, Mr. Wallace in Section 36; a Mr. Moon entered a claim on the east side of the Grove the same year, in Sections 31 and 32, as also did Joseph Osborn; he opened a farm in Section 35 and entered a claim to timber lands, located in Section 30. Samuel and Daniel Guyer squatted in Section 31, where the village of Rock Grove now is; in fact the original plat of the village included Guyer's Addition.
The first marriage is said to have occurred during the winter of 1836-37, though this question is in dispute. Josiah Blackamore is reported as having been one of the noble army of volunteers, who aided in expediting the departure of the Indians when the removal of these residents was decided upon by the Government. While en route to the frontier, so goes the story, Blackamore became smitten with the charms of Miss Wallace. When the cruel war ended, he returned to Rock Grove and, settling, plied his suit so successfully that the young lady, unable to resist his entreaties, accepted the overture made, and they ere accordingly married at the time quoted, which allegation, however, is without foundation in fact. Miss Wallace and Mr. Blackamore were married in Green County, Wis., at the time stated.
Albert Albertson and Lavina Albertson have friends who contend that their claims for the disputed honor are entitled to precedence. They were united along in 1838 by Eli Frankeberger, who in that year was laden with the dignity attaching to the office of County Justice, in addition to the other obligations imposed by citizenship. On April 19, 1839, Elijah Clark and Harriet Hodgson were united at Walnut Grove by Squire Kinney.
In the fall of 1839, Solomon and Jacob Fisher came in from the East and made claim to 600 acres of ground in Sections 25 and 26, which they divided between them. The claim had been previously entered, it is believed, by a miner named Drummond, who had erected a cabin 16x16 and made a well. The claim with the improvements, however, came into the possession of the Fisher boys, by purchase, it is said. During the season of 1839-40, the emigration to Rock Grove had been comparatively generous, including, among others who came, Peter D. George and. John Fisher, Calvin Preston, J. S. Potter, John Kleckner and others, all settling at the Grove, and remaining in that vicinity about a year, when they scattered, some going to the northern tier of sections, others to the western tier, and others to the immediate vicinity of their first halting-place.
In the spring of 1840, John and Reuben Bolender, father and son, established themselves east of the village, and George and Jacob Maurer in the Grove in Sections 29 and 30; a settler named, it is thought, Joseph Barber, also came in about the same time. Opposite the Grove was a vast prairie, with the timber in the western horizon, presenting a picture of rare beauty. Through that year constant additions were made to the population, including Levi, Adam and Michael Bolender; the latter removing to Oneco in 1841, the two former remaining and opening farms east of the village. In 1842, Solomon Fisher erected a cabin at the head of Cedar Creek, which has since been changed for the commodious home now occupied by that gentleman.
During the summer of 1842 or 1843, William Wallace hung himself to a tree on the edge of the Grove in Section 36, a half-mile northeast of Jacob Sullivan's present house. He, too, was the victim of insanity, and the old setlers say his was the first death announced in the township. He was buried in the vicinity where his tragic death occurred.
At the date mentioned, the inhabitants, who previously depended upon Galena and other points for supplies, had them at home; indeed, subsequent to 1839, no difficulty was experienced in obtaining meat, flour or meal. The Grove was alive with hogs, and the Curtis Mills, at Orangeville, Van Valzah Mills, at Cedarville, and mills on Rock Run were easily accessible and equal to every demand.
Some time in 1843, the farm of a settler named Daniel Noble, located near Walnut Grove, was the scene of a mysterious tragedy, wherein a man well known under the name of Boardman, employed in a subordinate capacity by Noble, was shot to death; but the causes which led thereto, as also the assassin, are as much involved in mystery today as they were forty years ago.
In 1844, Government lands in the township were offered at public sale, and sold for $1.25 per acre in gold, the failure of the United States Bank stopping the Government from receiving any medium but gold and silver in exchange. It was apprehended at the time that trouble would arise between "squatters and the purchasers, at the sale, growing out of a refusal of the former to perfect the latter's title by transfer of the property purchased, but claimed by right of preemption. Happily, this was entirely avoided, and, while similar causes elsewhere produced the results anticipated in other localities, Rock Grove was spared the affliction.
In 1846, a school was begun in the township, in Section 36, and thereafter the cause of education and other attendant circumstances of comfort and prosperity were portions allotted the township in the lottery of the future. In 1850, the township was set apart, and becoming, as above written, one of the favored townships in point of fertility, productiveness and natural resources, has in the past twenty-four years fully realized unto the inhabitants gathered within its limits, the fullest fruition of promises held out to them nearly half a century ago, as inducements to remain.
ROCK GROVE VILLAGE is located in Section 31, a place of quiet, unpretentious beauty, one of the lovely villages of the plain, containing upward of a hundred inhabitants and every feature that would contribute in any degree to satisfy modest ambition.
C. W. Cummings originally owned the land upon which the village is located, which he sold to Peter D. Fisher in early days. Fisher also owned the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 31, 9, 29, and Samuel Guyer the west half of the same quarter and section. Guyer laid off the village about 1850, but in July, 1855, Benjamin Dornblazer re-surveyed and replatted what was then known as Guyer's Addition, about the center of the town.
On the 29th of August, 1856, J. D. Schmeltzer set apart nine acres in the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 31, 9, 29, caused it to be surveyed and set apart in lots for village purposes, under the name of Schmeltzer's Addition.
It should be stated that in the winter of 1852, the addition of Peter G. Fisher was sold to Solomon Hoy, and abandoned for village purposes, but on April 22, 1869, Samuel H. Fisher laid off four acres south of Schmeltzer's Addition, for village lots, in use for that purpose.
The village is not thickly settled, each resident having breathing and living room sufficient, without encroaching upon his neighbor's comforts or privileges. It is supplied with a handsome church edifice, schoolhouse, etc., and will always afford a grateful rest to the permanent or transient visitor.
Evangelical Church. Previous to 1878, the members of this society held services in the Lutheran Church, near the village, put up in 1856. In 1878, the increase in membership induced the congregation to build a church of their own, which was completed the same year, under the direction of a building committee, consisting of George Meyers, Jere Swartz, Jacob Sullivan, William Alexander and A. Bolender, at a total cost of $2,300, raised by subscription in the township. The church was formally dedicated on the 27th of November, 1878, and has been constantly occupied since.
At present, services are held in English on alternate Sundays, under the pastorship of the Rev. W. W. Shuler, and in German, alternate Sundays, the Rev. J. Shafle, officiating.
The German Reformed and Lutheran congregations own a church about one mile from the village, in which services are held occasionally, under the auspices of either sect, circuit riders attending to the pastoral duties.
The remaining churches in the township are located in Sections 3, 20 and 22.
Schools. Institutions of learning, of course of the most primitive character, were first rendered available about 1841, when Paul Chandler, or some other equally venturesome pedagogue, wielded the birch and educated the callow idea into a complete familiarity with the rudiments of learning. Today the school system that is in force throughout the county, is regarded as equal to the requirements. In the township, there are schools at every cross-road, and one of more than ordinary importance at Rock grove Village. Here, the attendance averages seventy-five daily, during the winter term, and $600 per annum are expended in its support.
The cause of education, like that of morals, is extended a generous and sincere support throughout the township.
All sales go to help support this website.
Stories, Volume 1
events have happened in Freeport and Stephenson County, Illinois,
and remarkable people have lived there. These are stories gathered
about people and events from 1835 through World War II.
ROCK RUN TOWNSHIP, located in the western tier of townships, is one of the largest and proportionately wealthy sections into which the county is divided. The soil is productive, and comprehends 70 per cent of the territory, the balance being grown up with timber. It contains upward of thirty thousand acres, is watered by Rock Run, furnishing abundant power for mill, and other mechanical under-takings, and is divided in the center from east to west by the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, which has been largely instrumental in developing the township's resources, appreciating the value of property and contributing to her population.
The first settlement of a permanent character made in the township is said to have been effected by a Mrs. Swanson, who came to the country with her family and entered upon the possession of a farm in Section 10 or 11. She was a widow, but was aided in the care of her property by a family of children, who accompanied their parent to Illinois.
Settlers had made their appearance prior to the advent of Widow Swanson, including S. E. M. Carnefix, Alexander McKinn, Arthur Dawson, and one or two others, but these had remained temporarily in transit to the mines, and it was not until the widow became a fixture that they returned to stay. To these pioneers, with Thomas Flynn, E. Mullarkey, Henry Hulse and M. Welsh, William and Leonard Lee, Nathan Blackamore and Aaron Baker, is due the honor of first breaking ground in the township, but they had hardly been located when the precedent they established was emulated, and in the year following arrivals were more numerous. Among these were Nathan Salsbury, who settled in Section 31, and with him Dr. F. S. Payne, D. W. C. Mallory, John Hoag, S. and T. Seeley, who settled near Rock City, Peter Rowe, etc.
The Mullarkeys, with Thomas Foley and one or two others, who came during the previous year, opened farms about two miles south of the present town of Davis, where they established a settlement, that has long been known as Irish Grove, from the large number of Celts who followed in the wake of those who came in 1836. The following year, Pat Giblin, Miles O'Brien, a man named Corcoran, who subsequently removed to Rockford, were included in the roster of inhabitants gathered at Irish Grove. The same year, Thomas J. Turner put up a grist-mill in Section 34, but sold it to Nelson Salsbury, who in turn disposed of it to James Epley. The first birth in the township is alleged to have occurred this year, it being a son to Albert Flower, at the saw-mill on Rock Run.
During 1838, H. G. Davis, with his family, came to the township, and purchased the saw-mill put up in Section 27 by Stackhouse, Carrier & Flower. Mr. Davis paid $4,000 therefor and completed the dam that summer. The only Catholic Church in the township was built this season, by Thomas Flynn, E. Mullarkey, M. Welsh and a priest believed to have been Father Piltitot, who walked from Galena to disseminate the Gospel among the settlers, and assisted in raising the frame hewed out by Calvin Cloton, alias Amos Isbel. This old church had but two pews for many years, and was kept in service until 1862, when the present edifice was completed. Pony Fletcher and Narcisse Swanson were married in the fall of 1838, it is said, and claimed to be the first marriage in the township.
In 1839, numerous accessions were made, and improvements kept pace with the influx of inhabitants. Among those who settled in Rock Run Township during 1839, were Conrad Epley, Edward Pratt, who subsequently removed to Freeport, M. Flower, Edward Smith, settling on Section 13; Uriah Boyden, on Section 30; Thomas Fox, who removed to Wisconsin; Thomas Bree, Martin Mullen, Patrick Flynn, Michael Flynn, Patrick Flynn (second), Thomas Hawley and William Marlowe, who identified themselves with the settlement at Irish Grove, and some others whose names cannot be recalled.
In the early part of that year, Josiah Blackamore and Leonard Lee built the present Epleyana mills, which then had but one run of stone, and were afterward sold to Conrad Epley. A party of Norwegians settled at the mill on Rock Run in October, 1839, being the first settlement made by this nationality in the United States. The delegation included C. Stabeck, Ole Anderson, Canute Canuteson, who opened the first blacksmith-shop in the township; Civert Oleson and Ole Civertson, the latter opening the first wagon-shop in the vicinity. There was much to encourage the settlers this year, and the country began to bear the appearance of being highly cultivated. But times were hard. Those who had removed from comparative plenty to the West and were compelled to toil with indefatigable energy to triumph over the embargoes which constantly intervened between them and comfort. Game was to be had in abundance, but pork and other luxuries were only to be procured from a distance, and at a price ($43 to $50 per barrel) that denied it to the most independent.
Snakes, too, were numerous beyond comparison, and fatal as the plague, and many an old settler recalls the times when he was obliged to pirouette in a lively manner, or drop a sheaf of oats, to avoid being bitten by the venomous massasauga. Yet, in spite of these objections, life in the wilderness was not without its charm, and, whatever complaints found expression, did not deter immigration from the East and across the sea, and though clouds shone over the pathway of these venturesome pioneers, there were glimpses of sunshine to relieve the passing gloom and encourage the coming of that perfect day which long since made its welcome advent.
In 1840, D. A. Baldwin settled in Section 30, and Capt. Knese in Section 13 the year following. Additions were made that year to the Irish and Norwegian settlements, and every nationality represented in the new field of labor and development had their number increased by fresh arrivals. In 1841, the first regular post office in the township was established at the Rock Run Mill, and H. G. Davis appointed Postmaster. It remained here until 1848, when it was removed to Jamestown otherwise known as Grab-all near Rock City, where it was retained for a number of years, but finally abandoned when Rock City and Davis were laid out and dignified with the privileges appertaining to towns and villages. A son of John R. Webb died in the fall of this year, the first, it is claimed, in the township.
From 1840 to 1850, the township developed with gratifying rapidity, con-sequent upon the increase in population and cultivation of the soil.
In 1855, the first Presbyterian Church in the township was built, and services were conducted by the Rev. Joseph Dickey. In 1857, Davis was laid out, and two years later, the Western Union road was completed through the township. During the war, Rock Run contributed her quota to the Union army, and with the dawn of peace her citizens once more took up the burden of life with renewed spirit, have borne the burden imposed, with dignity and character, and the homes of comfort that greet the gaze whithersoever the eye may be turned in tramping the township highways are the results.
The most pretentious and populous village in Rock Run Township, though of comparatively recent birth, has, since that event grown with each succeeding year,and waxed in strength with age, experience and observation. The town is pleasantly located on the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, in the northeastern section of the township, and is as bustling, busy and prosperous a community as can be found in the State. It is already celebrated for the industry and enterprise of its inhabitants, as a shipping-point for the large crops raised in the vicinity; also for the publication of the Davis Review, which has been sustained seven years by the patronage it has commanded from the citizens, and many other features of excellence, reserved for mention in their appropriate places.
During the year 1857, at a time when the completion of the Western Union road was a conclusion irresistible, the necessity for a station on that thoroughfare, at a point in the township convenient and accessible to travelers and shippers, was apparent to even those who had taxed their incredulity with regard to the enterprise in progress. It was at a period when great financial embarrassments were beginning to crowd the commercial and speculating spirits of the country, and men hesitated before entering upon new ventures, as much by reason of their apprehension regarding results, as of a lack of resources. Nevertheless, it was decided to lay out the town, and in the year mentioned, Samuel Davis, John A. Davis, T. J. Turner and Ludwig Stanton donated a total of 160 acres, for the purpose of a new dispensation, and caused the same to be surveyed and platted, a task accomplished by Edward McMahon, and christened the result of their labors, Davis. The first survey was completed with twenty blocks laid off, but in March following (1858) the survey was concluded and the plat promulgated. In 1858, the railroad was finished to Davis, and in September, 1859, the first passenger train was run through the town to Freeport, on the occasion of the State fair, which was holden in that year at the latter city.
When the village was first conceived in the minds of those who were instrumental in its production and subsequent growth and development, its present site was a territory embracing cultivated farms, occupied severally by D. A. Baldwin and others who resided on the premises, and whose respective homes made up the complement of improvements to be observed at that time. Immediately on the completion of arrangements to lay out a village, these farm appurtenances were removed, and the farms themselves divided and subdivided into squares and lots, with streets of generous dimensions, and named for the old settlers throughout the township, such as Stanton, Turner, Carnefix, Blackamore Lee, etc. But lots sold slowly.
The panic of 1857, and effects incident thereto, prevented ready sale of property, and disappointment was substituted for the feelings of encouragement the founding of the village produced. A few were sold, however, as the years progressed, at prices ranging from $40 to $125, and improvements were projected and carried on in spite of the hard times and unpromising outlook. Houses were built, streets rendered passable, sidewalks laid, trees planted, and other efforts made which added to the attractions of the place.
In 1858, Samuel J. Davis erected the first store in the village. It was located at the corner of Stanton and Salsbury streets, and still stands on the spot of its origin. In the summer of 1859, the Evangelical Church was put up and was quickly followed by the erection of other church edifices. The stone schoolhouse was completed in 1858, and the first brick house in the growing town was made ready for occupation in 1866. Ernest Wendt was the enterprising citizen who made the investment. It is now occupied by John Butler.
From 1857 to 1863, there were but comparatively few additions to the population. After that period of comparative inaction had passed, there was a marked improvement in the quota of arrivals, and steady growth was visible. In the latter year, the frame addition to the schoolhouse was finished, and, during the decade ending with 1869, residences, stores and other marks of progress were increased and sustained by the inhabitants.
On Thursday, May 1, 1873, an election was held to determine the question of incorporating the town under the provisions of the general law for the incorporation of villages, adopted April 10, 1872. The polls were located at the Pennsylvania House; S. J. Davis, Peter McHoes and John Gift acted as Judges, and thirty-three votes were deposited in the affirmative, to thirty-one votes against the proposed organization. A meeting was convened on May 5, following, at which the votes were canvassed, with the result cited, and thereafter Davis was published throughout the county with its legal prefix of village.
The following is the roster of officers who have served since that date: 1873 E. A. Benton, President; E. Clark, M. Meinzer, Thomas Cronemiller and M. W. Kurtz, Associates. 1874 John Gift, President; E. A. Benton, T. Cronemiller, M. W. Kurtz, T. Hayes and George Zimmerman, Associates. 1875 John Gift, President; T. Cronemiller, E. Clark, A. Inman, P. Orth and M. W. Kurtz, Associates. 1876 A. B. Cross, President; W. Potter, Joseph Gibbons, B. Moorberg, John F. Fink and Henry Deimer, Associates. 1877 Peter McHoes, President; Joseph Gibbons, John Butler, W. Potter, Jacob Orth and E. Long, Associates. 1878 John Gift, President; J. Bellman, S. J. Haynes, Levi Epley, M. W. Kurtz and John Butler, Associates. 1879 John Gift, President; S. J. Haynes, M. W. Kurtz, W. Z. Tunks, John Butler and John Barloga, Associates. 1880 Elijah Clark, President; John Butler, Jacob Orth, and the President were qualified to serve one year; John Long, M. W. Kurtz and Adam Rhenigans, to serve two years.
are convened monthly in a stone building on Stanton street, erected
in 1879 for a council hall and calaboose.
Village Clerk M. W. Kurtz, 1873; John F. Fink, 1874; Henry Reese, 1875 and 1876; M. W. Kurtz, 1877; J. Potter, 1878 and 1879; E. T. Hinds, 1880.
Village Treasurer No record for 1873; T. Cronemiller, 1874 and 1875; W. Potter, 1876 and 1877; M. W. Kurtz, 1878 and 1879; W. Potter, 1880.
Police Magistrate John B. Smith, elected in 1876, to serve four years.
Schools. Previous to the laying out of the town, pupils residing in the section wherein Davis is located, attended school at Epleyana, two miles northwest of the village. In 1858, a separate district was made in the town site, and a stone schoolhouse erected on the hill in the southwest quarter of the town. The building cost $1,200, and supplied the wants of the residents until 1863. By this time, the number of attendance had increased materially, necessitating the building of an addition to the original edifice, which was finished that year. It is of frame, two stories high, 20x30, costing about $2,000, and furnishes abundant accommodations for the present roster of pupils.
The departments consist of first and second primary, grammar and high schools, employing four teachers and affording the means of education to an average daily attendance of 150 pupils.
The schools are under the supervision of a Board of Directors, composed of M. W. Kurtz, President; Joseph Brinker, Nicholas Heinen and Thomas Cronemiller, and requiring an annual outlay of $1,500 for their maintenance and support.
The Davis Review The only paper in the township, was established in May, 1873, by K. T. & K. C. Stabeck, when it was known as The Budget, a quarto sheet, published in Freeport also. The Messrs. Stabeck continued in charge of the paper until September, 1878, when they removed to Freeport, abandoning the field in Davis to S. W. Tallman, who purchased the latter office for $600, changed the make-up to a seven-column folio, the politics from Independent to Republican, and substituted Review for Budget. Since the purchase, Mr. Tallman has been conduc ting the enterprise single-handed, and his paper now enjoys a weekly circulation of 350 copies in the townships of Rock Run, Rock Grove and Dakota, of Stephenson County, also in Durand, Pecatonica and other townships, of Winnebago County. The paper is issued on Fridays, and the establishment is valued at $800.
Lutheran Church. The Lutheran society was organized in 1870, through the labors of the Rev. William Schock, of Forreston, with eighteen members. Joseph Keller was Elder, Levi Ungst, Deacon, and services were held in the Methodist Church.
In the spring of 1872, the congregation decided to erect an edifice for its own benefit and occupation, and an effort was made to raise the funds necessary for that purpose. Through the untiring energy and industry of Joseph Keller, Aaron Gold and others, a fund was collected the same season, and the church on Turner street completed and dedicated. It is of frame, 34x50, handsomely finished, surmounted by a steeple 75 feet high, and cost, when ready for service, a total of $3,100. The auditorium affords a seating capacity for 300 worshipers.
The following pastors have officiated: The Revs. Charles Young, Richard Lazarus, William Seidel and J. A. Bartler, the present incumbent.
Davis Evangelical Association Was organized in 1857, with the following members: Thomas Bond and family, Jacob Bond and family, Jacob Weaver, Michael Meinzer, William Kramer and T. Jenuine and families, and Mr. Abbersted. At first services were conducted in private residences and the schoolhouse, continuing in these resorts until 1862, when the present church was completed at an expense of $2,500, being of frame, finished with reference to convenience and solidity rather than ornament or elaborateness.
The diocese is included in what is known as Davis Circuit, which includes Rock City and other points, having a total of 236 members, 115 of whom are communicants of the church in Davis Village.
The value of the village church property, which embraces a parsonage, is quoted at $3,500, and the following ministers have served since the circuit was established: The Revs. George Fleisher, John Dengel, Jacob Schafle, Samuel Dickover, W. Strasburger, A. Niebul, H. Rohland, William Huelster, Henry Bucks. L. B. Tobias, S. A. Tobias and J. G. Kleinknecht, the present incumbent. The association also have a church at Rock Run, established about 1850.
Davis Methodist Episcopal Church Was organized in June, 1859, under the auspices of the Rev. James McLane, with twelve charter members. Until 1862, services were held in the schoolhouse, when the use of the Evangelical Chapel was obtained and occupied four years. In 1866, the present edifice, costing $1,800, was erected, and has since been occupied by the congregation.
With the exception of one year, the church formed a part of the Durand charge, and services were had only Sunday afternoons. In the fall of 1878, however, it became an independent charge, with the Rev. F. W. Nazarene as Pastor. Since then, the church has enjoyed a steady growth, and is quite prosperous. Its membership numbers about eighty, embracing a large proportion of the English-speaking element of the community. During the summer of 1880, extensive repairs were made on the church, which is now one of the neatest and most commodious in the district.
Since its foundation the following Pastors have officiated in charge of the congregation: The Revs. James McLane, C. C. Best, L. Holt, H. N. Reynolds, Thomas Cochran, M. G. Sheldon, Mr. Taylor, L. Campbell, T. L. Hallowell, W. H. Orlap, P. C. Stere, T. H. Hazeltine and the present minister.
Davis Manufacturing Company Was incorporated in 1876, with a capital stock of $10,000, and the following official board: Lemuel Goodrich, President, and A. J. Morris, Secretary; Lemuel Goodrich, A. J. Morris, Jacob Orth, E. A. Benton, G. W. Becker, A. Inman and M. W. Kurtz, Board of Directors. The objects of the association were the building and conducting a flouring-mill, and in the summer of 1876, the mill on Blackamore street, opposite the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad track, was completed, supplied with four run of stone, propelled by steam power, and taken possession of by Ball & Green, under a lease executed by the company. The sum of $16,000 was paid for building the mill, being largely in excess of the capital stock, which was secured by a trust deed of the property to the stockholders. This was foreclosed in 1878, and sold to the gentlemen composing the original board of officers and directors, who now own the property. It has been operated at intervals by the company Aaron Stoll and Gift & Eichelberger, until May, 1880, when it was closed up.
The capacity of the mill is stated at 450 bushels of wheat per day, in addition to a large quantity of ground feed. The organization is still in existence but not active.
Evening Star Lodge, No. 414, A., F. & A. M. Was organized under dispensation of the Grand Lodge of Illinois March 11, 1864, and received its charter October 5 of the same year, with the following officers: James Zuver, W. M.; George Osterhaus, S. W.; Edward R. Lord, J. W.; Dr. J. R. Hammill, Secretary; Charles Wright, Treasurer.
The lodge prospered, increasing its roster of membership, the influence exerted by the members and resources of the craft. Recently, the lodge erected a handsome hall on Stanton street, which was completed, furnished and dedicated the same year at an expense of about $3,000.
The lodge now contains forty-two members, with the following officers: John Weber, W. M.; D. G. Lashell, S. W.; C. M. Gift, J. W.; G. W. Becker, Treasurer; T. Ihlert, S. D.; T. Nulks, J. D.; C. A. Carnefix, Secretary; I. J. Haynes, Chaplain, and W. T. Schlamp, Tiler. Meetings are held on the first and third Fridays of the month.
Davis Lodge, No. 376 I. O. O. F. Was organized on the 19th of September with the following members: Martin H. Davis, Isaac Denner, John Nagle, Thomas Hays, Alvin Gestenberger and J. W. Caldwell. Of these, John Nagle was N. G., Martin H. Davis, V. G., and Thomas Hays, Treasurer. The present officers are Jacob Swartz, N. G.; W. S. Caum, V. G.; Henry Warner, Treasurer; J. M. Caldwell, Secretary; J. W. Caldwell, Warden; and J. L. Blackamore, Conductor. The present membership is about twenty-five, and meetings are convened weekly.
The town of Davis now has twelve stores of dealers in dry goods, groceries, drugs, and other commodities; two blacksmith-shops, in one of which a superior quality of plow is made; three churches, one paper, one mill, and other evidences of prosperity, together with a population of about seven hundred, to commend it to the patronage and confidence of the world at large.
On the 10th of January, 1859, George Raymer executed a contract with T. S. Wilcoxon and William Peterson for the transfer of the southwest corner of the northeast quarter of Section 29, containing 50 acres for town purposes, which was the first move made toward founding Rock City. During the same year, the town was surveyed and platted, 180 lots being laid out, fronting on Jackson, Washington, Main, Congress, Clay, Center and Market streets and Jefferson avenue, which commanded prices ranging from $10 to $50 each, when the town began to build up, immediately upon the completion of the railroad. In the fall of 1859, Samuel Hutchison and S. E. M. Carnefix, donated an addition to the south part of the town, which, however, was vacated in 1860, and remained unimproved. David Wilcoxon, John Graham and Perry Duncan were the store-keepers, and the station was located and built during the same year.
The educational facilities, limited to a school on Carnefix farm at an early day, were increased and improved after the town was laid out, and are today inferior to none in the county.
Two churches afford spiritual pabulum to the citizens, and in this respect Rock City is equally fortunate as other township villages already mentioned. To these advantages is added that of accessibility for shipping purposes to farmers and speculators, being in the center of the township, with good roads from all portions of the surrounding country leading to the depot, and the town is rapidly assuming a prominence and value in this respect, that will result in attracting to its population, enterprise and wealth in the near future.
Its roster of material interest is made up of two stores, two churches, and a schoolhouse, and these, together with the fact that the town is but a short distance removed from Freeport, induce the conclusion that at some day, not far distant, it may be made the resident portion of that thriving city.
Schools. As already stated, a school was maintained previous to the laying out of the city on the Carnefix farm; subsequent to that event a stone schoolhouse was put up west of the village and taught by a master of the art named Searles. This edifice answered public expectation and demands until the present quarters were erected in 1878, when they were substituted, and promise to supply the needs for which they were built until Rock City shall become a city in fact as also in name. Two teachers are employed; the average daily attendance is seventy-five pupils, and the annual expenses about $800.
Evangelical Church of Rock City Was organized in 1868, with a limited membership, which has been measurably increased during the past ten years. In 1869, the present church edifice was commenced, completed and dedicated under the pastorship of the Rev. H. Rohland. It cost $2,200, is in a good state of repair and an ornament to the town. Rock City being in the Davis Circuit, the same pastors who officiate at that point do likewise for communicants residing at the former place.
Methodist Church. The organization of this church is due to the efforts of a small body of Christians who connected themselves with the Davis Circuit in the fall of 1878. Services were held in the Evangelical Chapel and the schoolhouse until the summer of 1879, when the church building was completed and taken possession of. Its cost, including the bell and furniture, was $1,500; it has at present about twenty- five members, with the Rev. F. W. Nazarene as Pastor.
The territory comprising the present township of Dakota consists of 11,378 acres, originally contained in Buckeye Township. When the latter was set apart in 1850, the polling place for voters residing in the southeastern portion of Buckeye was located at the Red Schoolhouse, near the present town of Buena Vista. The distance thereto was a source of infinite inconvenience and vexation of spirit to those deeming it an inestimable privilege to exercise the privileges of the elective franchise, and for many years was bridged with complainings and irregularity by the American citizens who subsequently became pioneer settlers in Dakota. These complainings and vexations of spirit, born of the inconvenience cited, finally culminated in efforts to create a new township, which were crowned with success through the labors of Silas Yount, R. Baird, B. Dornblazer and others, during the month of September, 1860.
Settlements had been made in that portion of Buckeye Township as early as 1836, many of which have already been mentioned in this work, and need not be recapitulated. There were some, however, who, during that and subsequent years, their names having been reserved for that purpose, are herein quoted. They include, among others, the family of Benson McElheney, who settled near Hickory Grove; Henry Bordner, Jacob Bordner, John Brown, Robin Mcgee, James McKee, Samuel Templeton, John Price, Peter Fair, Daniel Zimmerman, Robert Pierce et al., a portion of whom settled on Cedar Creek, the remainder distributing themselves through various portions of the original township.
Dakota is deservedly regarded as one of the finest farming sections in the county. Though of limited dimensions, nearly every foot of soil, which in point of quality is unsurpassed, is under cultivation. That the natural facilities for acquiring wealth through the farm are more than generous, is to be found in the fact that the husbandmen residents therein are, as a rule, in independent circumstances. The amount of timber is limited to one grove of measured dimensions, the balance of the township being rolling prairie. Cedar Creek courses the township from north to south, and the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway from east to west, affording water-power and means of communication possessed by few townships in the county, and sources of profit to the inhabitants. Dakota, though one of the smallest of Stephenson County's seventeen townships, is also one of the more prosperous and attractive, commending its resources and producing results to the cultivator and shipper as substantial as they are comparatively unlimited, and certainly remunerative.
In 1857, the Western Union Railroad Company completed surveying the line of its proposed route, and engaged upon its construction. At that time, the site of Dakota was owned by Robinson Baird and Ludwig Stanton. The former sold his claim to Thomas J. Turner, who, in turn, sold to S. J. Davis, and to him, in conjunction with Ludwig Stanton, is due the honor of the surveying and platting of the present prosperous village. Robinson Baird, Chas. Butterfield and a man named Wohlford, owned houses located at different points on the one hundred acres which subsequently became the town, and these are said to have been the only improvements visible at this time. Soon after, an application was made to the Department to locate a post office in the village. This was granted, and the present name adopted by the Postmaster General, at the suggestion of Robinson Baird and Benjamin Dornblazer. The improvements concluded during the earlier years of Dakota's existence were scarcely of a character to astonish the outside world, or enrich the operator, and the first substantial house erected in the town was due to the enterprise and ambition of Benjamin Dornblazer.
In the year 1859, that gentleman and John Brown, appreciating the future importance of the place for shipping purposes, put up a warehouse adjoining the track of the road then laid, and in the fall of the same year a second warehouse was moved into the city, like the Trojan horse, ready complete, and located to the rear of that subsequently raised by Fisher & Schmeltzer.
In 1860, the town contained seven dwellings, occupied severally by Benjamin Dornblazer, Samuel Lapp, D. W. C. Holsople, Abner Hall, Robinson Baird, Daniel Keck and Auntie Dawson. Holsople carried on a blacksmith shop, Robert Neil a cabinet-shop, and Daniel Keck conducted the village store. In that year, S. H. Fisher and S. D. Schmeltzer erected a warehouse, the third to be raised since the town was laid out, but three years previous; the Methodist Church also went up, and improvements began to be generally made.
These included the dwelling now occupied as a residence by John Brown, which was completed in 1860, and used as a hotel. George Muffley built a residence, as also did a Mrs. Ingraham; Charles Muffley completed a carpenter-shop and tap-room, emigrating from some distant point in a house of limited dimensions and comforts, protected from the elements by a car-roof, and was persuaded to cast anchor in the growing village and open for business. This latter failed to materialize with gratifying profit to the Ganymede, who enlisted in the army, and is reported as having been killed in one of the engagements in the Southwest.
The war coming on, improvements were suspended, and nothing of importance was accomplished. This uninteresting condition was prolonged until 1864, in which year a number of dwellings were added to the list of domiciles. In 1866, more of the same kind were erected, and between that year and 1870, the main part of the town was built up. In 1869, the town was incorporated as a village, and business increased in a proportionate ratio.
This gratifying prosperity continued until 1873, when the panic palsied trade, improvements, and other features of advancement which had previously manifested a healthy growth. This calamity affected Dakota visibly and disastrously; there was neither business nor money; the crops, though abundant, could not be profitably marketed, and these adverse circumstances produced their natural results, as already suggested. After five years of embarrassments and financial stringency, times became more easy, money was to be had, crops to be marketed, and the resources of the surrounding country, in process of a more generous development, to enrich the town.
The past two years have been years of prosperity to Dakota; the year 1880, a gratifying improvement over 1879, with a promise for the future correspondingly encouraging. In 1879, $169,315 was paid out in the village for grain, hogs and cattle. Five hundred and ninety-four car loads of grain and 125 car loads of cattle and hogs were shipped therefrom, and improvements of value and beauty added to those previously enumerated. The village has a population of over 200, is an important station on the road, the center of a rich agricultural country, and possessing all the requirements for a successful outcome.
The village was incorporated by a special act of the Legislature, approved during the session of 1869, and the first election under the provisions thereof held on Monday, April 5, of the same year, at which Silas Yount, W. R. Auman, J. D. Bennehoff acted as Judges; F. B. Walker and A. T. Milliken, Clerks.
The act of incorporation was adopted by a vote of twenty-four to twelve, and the following officers have served at intervals since that date: 1869 Peter Yoder, President; John Brown, VV. R. Auman, George Lambert and R. M. Milliken, Associates. 1870 The board remained as in 1869, except that W. Askey and E. H. Dressier were elected in place of George Lambert and R. M. Milliken. 1871 W. R. Auman, President; W. Askey, J. Fury, John Brown and J. D. Schmeltzer. 1872 G. Walker, President; J. D. Schmeltzer, who resigned and was succeeded by D. Lides, E. Yount, A. Oaks and S. Zimmerman who was succeeded by D. Keck, Zimmerman having resigned. 1873 J. Brown, President; E. W. Yount, D. B. Bobb, Ezra Durling and Isaac Aldendorfer. 1874 George Walker, President; D. B. Bobb, John Brown, W. R. Auman and Daniel Seidles, Sr. 1875 Michael ^tack, President; D. B. Bobb, W. R. Auman, Samuel Schmidt and Edwin W. Yount. 1876 Michael Stack, President; R. M. Telfer, N. B. Perry, E. W. Yount and D. M. Ruth. 1877 W. R. Auman, President; S. P. Rote, John Brown, M. Stack and R. M. Telfer. 1878 John Brown, President; W. R. Auman, R. M. Telfer, M. Stack and T. B. Schmeltzer. 1879 D. B. Bobb, President; S. P. Rote, R. M. Telfer, T. B. Schmeltzer and A. M. Artley. 1880 M. Slack, President; D. Keck, W. R. Auman, A. M. Artley and Joseph Unangst. Village Treasurer. George Lambert, 1869; W. Askey, 1870-71; S. Zimmerman, 1872; E. W. Yount, 1873; W. R. Auman, 1874-75; E. W. Yount, 1876; S. P. Rote, 1877; R. M. Telfer, 1878; S. P. Rote, 1879; Joseph Unangst, 1880.
Village Clerk. -R. M. Milliken, 1869; E. H. Dressier, 1870; J. D. Schmeltzer, 1871; A. Oaks, 1872; D. B. Bobb, 1873-75; R. M. Telfer, 1876 -77; T. B. Schmeltzer, 1878-79; W. R. Auman, 1880.
Rock Run Presbyterian Church. The congregation was organized in 1855, and one year later the church edifice in Section 30, Rock Run Township, erected and occupied until the village of Dakota was built up, when the organization was changed to that point where, in 1870, the church now occupied was built, the old edifice in Section 30 being appropriated by the Reformed Presbyterians, of which the Rev. Dr. Harris is the Pastor.
The church at Dakota is of frame, 35x55, with a steeple eighty feet high, supplied with an organ, and was built at an expense of $3,000. It will afford a seating capacity for 300 worshipers. The congregation consists of sixty members, and the following ministers have served: The Revs. John M. Linn, L. H. Mitchell and J. C. Irwin. Services are held every other Sabbath.
Methodist Church Was organized soon after the village was laid out, under the auspices of the Rev. W. D. Atchison. In the summer of 1860, the congregation erected a commodious and handsome house of worship in the village of Dakota, at a cost of $2,000. In 1878, the steeple was completed, and other improvements added. It is of frame, 49x36, with a capacity for 300, and in every respect appropriate to the uses for which it was designed.
The present congregation numbers 100 members, and the value of church property, including a parsonage, represents about $4,000. The following is a list of ministers who have officiated: The Revs. W. D. Atchison, Barton H. Cartwright, John O. Foster, Aaron Cross, James M. Condee, T. H. Haseltine and George H. Wells, the present incumbent.
Evangelical Lutheran Church. Sometime during the year 1857, the Rev. Ephraim Miller began to preach in the schoolhouse at Dakota, and, on the 3d day of September, 1859, the following persons held a meeting and organized the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Dakota: Ephraim and Sarah Stotler, Samuel and Mary Lapp, Jacob and Helena Maurer, John and Catharine Wirth, James Ling and George Frantz. The Rev. Ephraim Miller was elected Pastor, Ephraim Stotler, Elder, and James Ling, Deacon.
In the fall of 1867, steps were taken to build a house of worship, which was completed and dedicated December 5, 1868, at a cost of $2,626.71, the same being paid when the edifice was delivered to the church authorities. At the date of its dedication, money was subscribed for the purchase of a bell, which was accordingly procured, the first bell introduced into the township.
The present congregation is composed of a large number of worshipers, and the value of the church property is quoted at about $2,500.
The ministers who have served are the Revs. Ephraim Miller. A. A. Trimper, Solomon Ritz, Charles Anderson, Samuel Cook, John Slott, Charles Young, R. Lazarus, S. C. Seidel and J. A. Beidler, the present Pastor.
Schools. The system of education in force elsewhere throughout the county is employed at Dakota. The present edifice was begun in 1855, and completed, with an addition costing $500, in 1867. There are two departments, primary and grammar, requiring the services of two teachers, and furnishing the means of education to an average daily attendance of 125 pupils. The school is under the control of a Board of Directors, consisting of E. M. Shullenburger, J. Clingman and D. M. Holsopple, and require an annual appropriation of $1,000 for their support.
Dakota Lodge, No. 566, L. O. O. F. Was instituted by Deputy Grand Master W. J. Fink on the 22d of February, 1875, with eight charter members, and the following officers: E. Durling, N. G.; J. W. Gladfelter, V. G.; E. Yount, Treasurer, and J. D. Schmeltzer, Secretary.
The lodge attained a high degree of prosperity, but, upon the morning of October 27, 1877, the building to which the lodge had removed in 1876 from Keek's building, was totally destroyed by fire, the craft losing everything except its lodge books, and suffering, in addition to the inconvenience occasioned by the fire itself, a pecuniary damage of $380. Rooms were at once fitted up in Artley's building, and possession taken thereof December 22, 1877, since when prosperity has prevailed against the elements. The present membership is forty-eight, with the following officers: W. H. Butterfield, N. G.; E. Yount, V. G.; T. B. & J. J). Schmeltzer, Secretaries; J. R. Young, Treasurer.
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Stories, Volume 1
events have happened in Freeport and Stephenson County, Illinois,
and remarkable people have lived there. These are stories gathered
about people and events from 1835 through World War II.
SILVER CREEK TOWNSHIP, in the southern tier of townships in the county, contains 22,069 acres of land, all of which is improved, being mostly of rolling prairie. The water facilities are generally good, the Pecatonica River and Yellow Creek flowing through the northern portion, with creeks and rivulets of less prominence and value coursing its remaining sections at different points. The Illinois Central passes through the township from north to south, the Western Union cutting across its northwestern corner.
The township is well supplied with schools and church buildings, but has no town within its limits, Freeport being the market for its citizens. An addition to Baileyville, a town in Ogle County abutting on Silver Creek Township, was once made with a view to the establishing of a village, but improvements were neither rapid nor extensive, and the Ogle County portion of the town finally neutralized the Silver Creek undertaking.
The first permanent settlement made in the present township was effected by Thomas Craine, who visited the county in August, 1835, and entered a quarter section of land in the southwest quarter of the township, where he built a cabin and housed his family, consisting of a wife and three children. In the fall of the same year, Augustus Bonner established himself in Section 34, near the mouth of the Yellow Creek, but was not a settler. He remained there until 1836, building a cabin during the winter, when he resigned his claim to its legitimate owner, Thomas Covel, and went West.
In the spring of 1836, Charles Walker, F. D. Bulkley and Hammond were enrolled among the pioneers, and in the fall Sidney Stebbins, Joel Baker, Loran Snow and the Widow Brown. Walker was employed by Mr. Craine to teach his children the limited rudiments of education, in those days accessible to purchase, paying therefor $75 a quarter. The tutor remained there for several months, familiarizing himself in the mean time, as the sequel proved, with the intricate knowledge of horse stealing, which he subsequently practiced until 1838, when he was captured and condemned to the penitentiary at Alton, whither he was taken. Some land was broke up in 1836, and a few improvements in the way of building completed.
The following year, though emigration to the State and county was more liberal than during the years preceding, Silver Creek failed to gain the quota its fertile soil and other attractions deserved. The settlers who had already put in an appearance entered claims in the eastern part of the township, the western portion being, as yet, uninhabited. This continued for many years, and it was not until about 1843, that lands in the latter sections were taken up, the early settlers therein being Dr. Michner, Thomas and Adam Nelson, Christian Bennett and son, John Flynn and others. But, to return to earlier dates: Seth Scott settled in the township in 1837, at a point east of Crane's Grove; Hiram Hill, also, on Yellow Creek; Maj. John Howe on the west side of the Grove, Maj. Howe soon after removing to Freeport; I. Forbes on the State road, on the extreme eastern part of Silver Creek. John Milburn, a man named Reed, employed by Thomas Craine, and some few others were included on the bills of mortality this year, which also furnished the first deaths in the township those of Thomas Milburn and Reed, who were drowned while attempting to cross the Pecatonica River.
In the spring of 1838, John Walsh came in, as also did John and Thomas Warren, the latter settling northeast of the Grove. Isaac Scott, Samuel Liebshitz, Christian Strockey, with his sons Christian, Jr., and Frederick, Chauncey Stebbins and others, all making claims in the eastern side of the township, the new-comers being ignorant of or ignoring the fertile prairies to the west. In 1839, a large number of German emigrants made their advent and began the accretion of that wealth and influence now visible as the result of labor and thriftiness for which this nationality is known.
Among those who became residents of the township in 1839, were Jacob Hoebel, A. Gund, Valentine Stoskopf, Jacob Shoup, Jacob Bartell, D. E. and Jock Pattee, with their families and others, including a man named Judkins with his associates, who were added to the colony. Shortly after the Pattees came, Mrs. Jock Pattee suicided by hanging, the tragedy occurring on Gallows Hill, in the eastern part of the township.
The first birth, an important event in the history of every township, was that of Jacob Thompson, a son of William and Lucinda Thompson, who came to the surface in the summer of 1838. The first marriage is recorded as having been solemnized two years later, February 11, 1811, Frederick Baker and Miss A. Craine being the contracting parties. The ceremony was performed at the residence of Thomas Craine, father of the bride, Squire Fowler officiating. The attendance included a large proportion of settlers in the vicinity, and, after the twain were pronounced one, the guests participated in the festivities of the time, chief of which was dancing, Daniel Wooton, half-brother to Mrs. Baker, furnishing the music and calling the sets. Husband and wife still live, residing in the city of Freeport, in the enjoyment of a hale old age, surrounded by a large family of descendants who cheer the decline of their lives, and realize unto them the Biblical injunction to which all dutiful children give heed.
The township thenceforward began to settle up, and numerous accessions having since been made to the roster of its population. The west side of the township, which had theretofore failed to receive its just complement of inhabitants, has since become thickly settled, and the great resources latent within the territory have been profitably developed. The inhabitants are a prosperous, industrious, and proportionately independent class of people, to whom the Great West is indebted for the cultivated and progressive type of life to be found in that section.
LORAN TOWNSHIP, one of the westerly of the southern tier of townships, contains 18,273 acres of fertile land under cultivation, and a large section of timber, principally on Yellow Creek, which, with Plumb Branch and Lost Creek, waters the township and furnishes a fine power for miles, of great convenience to the farming community. The timber of the township is located on the north side of Yellow Creek, while south of this stream a greater part of the township is open prairie and an excellent quality of land. This township was originally of greater dimensions than at present, but was shorn of its territorial limits by the action of the Board of Supervisors. At the September term of the board, 1859, the township was subdivided, and the western portion organized into the township of Jefferson.
No little difficulty was experienced in procuring facts in connection with the early settlement of the township; those who came prior to 1840, having long since rendered an account of their stewardship and gone hence, while from those who came in 1840, very little information could be obtained.
The first settlement in the township, however, all agree, was made during the year 1836, by William Kirkpatrick, who was subsequently identified with the company organized to lay out Freeport as the county seat. He was the original white settler in the present limits of Loran Township, establishing himself about Mill Grove, in Section 14. Here he erected a saw-mill, but the date of this evidence of enterprise is in dispute. Some contend that it did not go up until 1838, while others assert that it was in active operation a year earlier. This latter assumption is possibly correct, for it is averred in Freeport that during that year houses of frame were erected by the company, of which William Kirkpatrick was an important factor, the material for which was fashioned at the mill of that party, located on Yellow Creek.
While he was building this mill, it should be observed, Mr. K. had no house wherein to live, and was obliged to accept the rather equivocal accommodations to be found in a wagon box inverted and thatched to protect its occupant from the rain. Soon after the grist-mill was completed and operated, competing for patronage with Van Valzah's mill at Cedarville. Settlers began to come into Loran slowly, and, while the majority of those who made their advent into this section continued their explorations further west, a limited number entered claims and began to prepare farms.
Among those who came in about this time, according to the memory of the proverbial oldest inhabitant now living, was Smith Giddings, John Shoemaker, who opened a farm in Section 19; Albert Curry, Sylvester Langdon, who took up a claim on Section 15, and some others, though the number of inhabitants could have been counted, it is said, within a circuit of twenty-five miles without the possession of an unlimited knowledge of mathematics. These new settlers had all the difficulties peculiar to new countries to contend with, in defiance of which, however, they have left their mark upon the history of the times, and created from an almost uninhabited and inaccessible wilderness, a domain of cultivation unsurpassed in Stephenson County.
The precedent established by Kirkpatrick and his succeeding colleagues was emulated by the Babb family and others in 1840. This family consisted of Samuel, Solomon, Reuben and Isaac Babb; Mathias Ditzler came in the same year, but reached his claim in advance of the Babb family, and was followed by his brother Christian Ditzler, who settled here, also, during the year mentioned. George House came in about 1841, John Lamb soon after; Warren and Anson Andrews in 1839 or 1840; they erected a mill in Section 3; Horace Post opened a farm near Andrews' mill; a man named Slocum, Truman Lowell, Moses Grigsby, a man named Pointer, William Barklow and Thomas Foster, both of whom settled in Section 17; Joseph Rush, in the southwest corner of the township; Samuel Shiveley, west of the mill; John Apgar, east of the mill; Henry Layer, etc. There were many others who came in, doubtless, between the date of Kirkpatrick's arrival and that of those who settled in Loran subsequently, but their names and the date of their arrival, not having been preserved, are lost to posterity.
In 1848, settlers began to come more numerously than before that date. The township was generally prairie except Mill Grove and a thicket in Section 21, and the opportunities for cultivation, thereby increased, were availed of quite rapidly. The wheat and corn of the inhabitants were mostly ground at Mount Carroll and Cedarville; the trading, however, was done at Freeport, which was a postal town and contained four stores. The settlers at this time were mostly from New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio sturdy, industrious, thriving men, who laid the foundation for the prosperity to be witnessed today in all sections of the township.
At the time the Illinois Central Railroad was completed to Freeport, Loran Township was behind other townships in the county in its settlement and improvements. But with the completion of this enterprise came a tide of emigration which was generously distributed over Loran, adding to its population and developing new sources of wealth. One cause of this alleged failure on the part of settlers to remain permanently in Loran was the unhealthy surroundings; fever and ague prevailed along the streams, while in the interior the inhabitants suffered with fevers of a pronounced and enervating type. As a consequence, until these maladies were to some extent dissipated, and their causes remedied, settlers were indisposed to venture their health and that of their families in this section. In time, though, they became incidents of days long gone, and today Loran is as entirely free from measures which produced the effects cited as any township in the county.
The first marriage of which any information could be obtained occurred in the fall of 1840, between Thomas French and Polly Kirkpatrick, and the wife of a man named James is reputed as the first death. But the first birth is not of record, as also the first fete, and many other important events, without which a history of every settlement is incomplete. Inquiry in these connections failed to elicit any testimony bearing on the subject, and to this latter fact is due the failure of their mention.
With regard to the first school taught in the township there is a conflict of opinion, one party maintaining it to have been at Kirkpatrick's as early as 1840, while others insist with much emphasis that it was not established until 1841, when Reuben Babb, William Kirkpatrick and Anson Andrews as Trustees, located a school in Section 2, near Babb's Church, where they employed a teacher by the name of Allison to superintend the education of their children.
No village of importance is to be found in Loran. Yellow Creek, in the northern portion of the township, contains a post office, blacksmith-shop, mill and two or three stores, but, as its importance in the future is contingent upon railroad facilities, the improvement contemplated with the advent of such an enterprise is reserved until the coming of the iron horse.
The township is well supplied with schools and churches, the inhabitants are an enterprising class, and Loran compares very favorably with other townships in point of industry, wealth and improvements.
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Stories, Volume 1
JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP. Comprising the southwest corner of, and one of the smallest townships in, the county, is none the less productive and desirable. The country is rolling, with prairie and timber admirably intermingled, well watered, and inhabited by a population who secure for the estates under their control the highest degree of cultivation possible.
Jefferson was originally a part and parcel of Loran Township, and so remained until September, 1859, when, upon the petition of citizens praying for an independent organization, the Board of Supervisors so ordered, since when it has been going it alone, attended with a success commensurate with the efforts employed in that direction.
As a part and parcel of Loran Township, the settlers who first became identified with that portion of the county are also to be included, without again being mentioned in the brief notice of the township under consideration. Yet those who settled in that portion of Loran now known as Jefferson should be mentioned fully and in detail, because to their efforts belong the honor of developing the country in the first instance, as also for procuring for Jefferson the capacity to act as an independent sovereign.
The first settler of record who became a part and parcel of Jefferson Township is said to have been Hector C. Haight, who came into the country with his wife and family in 1837; entered a claim and built a house on the farm at present owned by Samuel Hays, about four miles from the village of Loran, on the road to Freeport.
During Haight's residence in the country, Joe Smith, the founder of Mormonism, established himself at Nauvoo, whence he made pilgrimages about the country seeking to proselyte unbelievers. On these forays, he met many churchgoing people, and so eloquently expressed the doctrines expounded that he not only succeeded in confounding some of the wise men of other sects, but many of the followers of Wesley, Calvin, and the thousand and one orthodox class leaders who flourished in those days on the frontier.
About the same time that Haight settled in Jefferson, a Mr. Pennington came in and opened a claim just east of John R. Housel's present farm. Soon after, though the emigration to Loran was not for reasons mentioned large, quite a number secured claims in that portion which is now Jefferson, and made the improvements usual in such cases, a cabin and corn-patch. George Lashell located a farm in the hollow where the village of Loran now is, Thompson Smith, Henry Aurand, Jacob Gable, now residing in Kent Township, Charles Fleckinger, who resided on the hill near Loran, and a few others whose names are omitted, because of the fact that the survivors of those days were unable to recall them to mind came in also.
Soon after the railroad to Freeport was built, emigration increased and improvements were substituted for those made while the township was in its infancy. New houses were built, farms opened, roads laid out and facilities for communication with the outside world projected. Mechanics who came with this second influx of settlers found constant and remunerative employment; farm hands were in special demand, teachers and ministers of the Gospel were welcomed and aided in the establishment of schools and houses of worship. Among those of the former profession, who came to aid in developing the young idea, was a Mr. Bonneman and George Truckenmiller.
A schoolhouse of logs was built near Loran Village, and here the sons and daughters of farmers for miles around were instructed in the rudiments of education. The Rev. Messrs. Kiefer and Chester came about the same time and expounded the Gospel in the barn of Samuel Hays. today schools and churches are to be seen at all points of the compass, whithersoever the eye may turn, prime factors in the building up and development of all communities which have the cause of right and justice and civilization to contend for.
The first death to occur in the little colony took place about 1844, when the settlers were interested in the welfare of each other, and the sorrows of one affected all. A young man named Louis Kleckner, in the employ of Samuel Hays, was taken down with a type of the malarial fever prevalent in early days, and, notwithstanding the care and attention he received, yielded up the ghost.
He was buried in a cemetery in the barrens west of Loran, the second interment made in the present village churchyard. Some time previous, a resident of Jo Daviess County named Tiffany deceased, and his burial in the cemetery mentioned, preceded that of young Kleckner.
In the fall of 1845, Henry Doherty was married to Catharine Flickinger, and this is said to have been the first marriage concluded in the present township of Jefferson. It is believed that the Rev. Mr. Kiefer officiated at the ceremony, but whether there were any fixins or rejoicings upon the occasion, the settler who furnished the information is in doubt. Most probably not, however, for the days of prosperity were yet unborn, and it required the most constant and diligent attention to cultivating the soil as a means of livelihood, and weddings were regarded as complete without the attendant concomitants deemed indispensable today.
The first birth could not be ascertained, not even from those who usually make merry upon occurrences of this character, hence the historian is denied the pleasure of perpetuating the name of the distinguished offspring who first made his bow before an admiring constituency in Jefferson Township.
Jefferson contains one village, with a population of about eighty souls. In 1854, George Lashell, occupying a farm in the hollow, near Jo Daviess County, conceived the idea of laying out a town and attracting population by the sale of lots at a price within the means of the least ambitious. He accordingly procured the services of the County Surveyor and laid off and platted the village of Loran. The town originally contained five blocks of twelve lots each, but, finding a limited sale for his realty, he subsequently vacated a portion of the property, reserving for village purposes only so much as equaled the limited demand then made.
The town occupies but one street (High), contains one store, a blacksmith shop, two churches and a stone schoolhouse.
The Methodist Church was built in 1875, and cost $1,600. It is 30x40, of frame, with a capacity of seating of about 150 worshipers. The congregation, which numbers about seventy-five communicants from the surrounding country, belongs to the Yellow Creek Conference. Services are held twice a month, at which the Rev. J. B. Smith officiates.
The Evangelical Church is also of frame, 30x44, with an attendance similar in point of numbers, and services on every other Sabbath. The Rev. Mr. Fair, of Shannon, Carroll County, is the minister at present in charge.
The schoolhouse, which, as stated, is of stone, is located on the main street of the village, employs the services of one teacher and enjoys an average daily attendance of about thirty pupils.
Near the village is a Lutheran Church, in which services are held at intervals by transient ministers.
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Stories, Volume 1
ERIN TOWNSHIP. Originally one of the largest townships in the county, Erin is now one of the smallest, owing to a division of its territory by order of the Board of Supervisors, which assigned its west half to Kent Township, at a meeting convened March 17, 1856, reducing its dimensions so as to comprehend but half the usual township limits. The division of the township caused intense feeling on the part of residents within the original survey, as they were not only deprived of the superior wood and water advantages previously enjoyed, but subjected to other inconveniences and hardships.
Notwithstanding this alleged inequity, Erin township is one of the more prosperous in the county, inhabited by a class of people notably efficient, industrious and enterprising and liberal in every undertaking calculated to promote the general welfare.
The surface of the ground is rolling, and a smaller proportion of prairie exists than in other towns. The openings are of an excellent quality of land, and peculiarly adapted to the growth of wheat, large quantities of which are raised during the year. The timber is not heavy, and the labor of clearing very trifling. A large number of springs are to be found in the town, also a limited number of stone quarries, furnishing material for building purposes.
A portion of the town was settled by a colony of Irish farmers at an early day, hence the name; many of the descendants of these pioneers still live in a settlement known as kt Dublin, and furnish abundant evidence of the success that attends industry and attention to the business of life.
The first settlers of Erin Township are those who, also identified with the settlement of that portion of Erin afterward apportioned to Kent, are mentioned in connection with the history of that township. They include O. W. Kellogg, James Timms, Jesse Willet and others. Among those who settled in the section reserved to Erin proper when the division already cited was made, and that among the first, were Bartholomew Boyle and Michael Murphey, the former on the present site of St. Mary's Catholic Church, and the latter one mile distant therefrom.
Valorus Thomas is said to have come in 1837, and settled on the line between Harlem and Erin. James Fowler John Fiddler, John B. Kautfman, Peter Vansickle, George W. Babbitt, Jonas and Palmer Pickard, Lewis Grigsby, F. Rosenstiel and others came between that date and 1840, and settled in the township; Ebenezer Mullinix and Helm in 1837, and located near the line in Harlem; Reuben Tower came in 1840, as also did William Schermerhorn, John Lloyd, Frederick Gossmann and John Hammond, and many others came about that time and began farming in the territory now included in Erin Township; Nathan Ferry, Amos Davis (who settled at Scioto Mills in 1837), E. H. Woodbridge and many more came into the township at a later - date, and have since been identified with its rise and progress.
In earlier times, before the railroad became part of the township as an agency for its success and appreciation in the value of property, both real and personal, the experience of settlers elsewhere was duplicated in Erin. Their flour was ground at Andrews' mill, on Yellow Creek, etc., and their products sold and supplies procured at Chicago, Galena and other points accessible only after long drives and a constant repetition of annoyances; and, as was not unfrequently the case, the load, hauled to market over roads that today would be condemned, and through weather that would place an embargo on the movements of the least cautious, would be sold for a sum insufficient to meet the demands of necessaries for home consumption.
When the sales of land by the Government were begun, settlers came in more rapidly, and of a character that encouraged those already in possession. They were composed of horny handed sons of toil, by whom the forests have been hewn down, the prairies broken up and transformed into fertile fields, and the wealth of the soil developed and increased, until today the West is not only the garden and the granary, but the treasury of the nation. When the railroad was surveyed, an additional impetus was given to immigration hitherward, greatly augmented when this connecting link between the West and East was finally cemented in 1854.
Since that event, the population of Erin Township has only been measured by its capacity to afford accommodation for the number who have annually endeavored to become citizens within its limits. The acres devoted to farming are under the control of husbandmen ripe in knowledge and experience, and pro. duce a yearly return entirely in harmony with the labor that has been employed in, and science directed toward, their cultivation; and statistics establish the fact that in no township in the county have greater profits been derived from the same area of territory appropriated to agricultural purposes.
In all respects, indeed, Erin Township has been blessed. Its schools are conducted by an efficient and intelligent class of instructors, the increase in the country's wealth enabling the people to properly reimburse such valuable services; the opportunities for attending public worship are superior to those of many other sections, and the features of excellence visible in cultivated communities, are reproduced by the inhabitants, who have kept pace in science, morality and religion with the almost unexampled progress made in matters of a pecuniary character.
DUBLIN SETTLEMENT. This settlement embraces about four miles square of territory, partly in Kent and partly in Erin Township, from Willet's Grove to Callan's Corner, and is settled largely by Irish farmers, who came from the immediate vicinity of Dublin, on the Liftey.
The first settlers have already been mentioned, viz., Bartholomew Doyle and Michael Murphey, who made their several claims during the years 1839 and 1840, and became the neighbors of James Timms, Jesse Willet, John Hart, and the pioneers generally who had preceded their arrival in the country.
Doyle, who remained on his claim sufficiently long to enable him to complete a limited improvement and donate three acres thereof for the site of St. Mary's Church, sold out his domain to Robert Franey, and moved west about half a mile, where he again began the opening and improvement of a farm. Soon after these adventurous travelers from the Green Sod had made claims and established the beginning of a life in the West, free from the trammels and discouragements encountered at home, they were followed hither by brothers and kin from the land of their birth, through whose labors and intelligence the little spot of land known as Dublin has been made a veritable Paradise.
They began to come in quite numerously about 1812, and thence to 1850, scarcely a week passed that the arrival of an additional toiler from over the sea was not noted. Among these were Andrew and George Cavanaugh, Andrew Farrell, who settled on land now owned by C. H. Hughes; Dennis Maher, on land in Section 29, now owned by Daniel Brown; the family of a man named Burns, who, with his son, was drowned at Dixon, by the breaking of a bridge across Rock River. His widow and family, unappalled by this calamity, which greeted her arrival to the confines of a new home, pressed on, and was warmly welcomed to the new settlement by her sympathetic country-folk.
Others came also, including John McNamara, Patrick Brown, etc., until the settlement became established, having a church and school of their own, and many other auxiliaries to comfort, happiness and independence. Indulging a spirit of that fellow-feeling which is said to make the whole world kin, that encouragement to the industrious and deserving poor which lightens the burden and illuminates the pathway, the Irish settlers of Dublin today, numbering about fifty families, cultivating an average of not less than 8.000 acres of land, living in harmony, one with the other, faithful to the duties daily imposed, charitable to all, present the picture of a life of felicity, sobriety and prosperity, as unusual as it is undeniable, and as gratifying as it is pronounced.
The first birth in the settlement occurred in 1843, a son to George Cavanagh.
The first marriage solemnized was that of Robert Cavanagh to Bridget Maher, in 1844. A Mr. Gillis, died in December, 1845, the first death. He was taken sick during the autumn of that year, and, in spite of admonitions to care for himself, he continued to labor until about the date mentioned, when he "jumped the life to come, and was buried in the grove on Burns' Branch, when death and winter closed the autumn scene.
Dublin settlement was projected and completed in the days when the groves were God's first temples throughout the wilderness of Illinois. It was built of logs, being 18x20, and claimed as the first Catholic Church erected in the diocese, between Galena and Chicago, though the same claim is made for the Catholic Church in Rock Run Township, erected by the Mullarkey and Doyle families. St. Mary's was put up by the early settlers, eight logs high, but without furniture, i. e., pews or ornamentations, and occupied until 1857, when the present stone edifice, 35x75, was completed and consecrated. The first Pastors in the old church were the Rev. Fathers Schlaugenberg, Petitot, Brady, Keeney, Durvin, Cavanagh and McLaughlin. The present congregation numbers sixty families, under the pastorate of Father Michael Hogan.
The realty of the church includes forty acres, five of which are appropriated to cemetery purposes. These are located opposite the church edifice, and contain quite a number of handsome monuments. The church property is valued, with the parsonage, at $10,000.
A temperance association organized in District Schoolhouse No. 7, St. Patrick's Day, 1871, with twenty-two members. In 1874, the society purchased an acre of ground adjoining the schoolhouse, on which was erected a frame hall one story high, 22x56 in dimensions. The labors of the association have been eminently successful; the society at present enjoys a large membership, with the following officers, and owning property valued at $600: Daniel Brown, President; Bryan Duffey, Vice President; Michael McGurk, Treasurer, and Peter Doyle, Secretary. Meetings are convened once a month.
ELEROY, a pleasant village of 100 inhabitants, is located in the eastern portion of Erin Township, on the Illinois Central road, eight miles west of Freeport, and derives its importance from being the shipping-point for farmers in Erin, and certain portions of Kent and Harlem Townships. The location is beautiful; being built in a grove, it possesses an abundance of shade trees, an ornament ordinarily wanting in prairie villages; several springs of excellent water abound, and the ground upon which the village is built is sufficiently rolling to give the place a very picturesque appearance. The farming country in the vicinity is superior, and the business carried on considerable.
In 1853, after the Illinois Central road had been surveyed, and while work on the road-bed was in progress, it was decided to locate a station in the vicinity of the village, and considerable speculation was indulged as to its exact site. This speculation bred discussions which led to the manifestation of a spirit of rivalry between the owners of property contiguous to the proposed depot, notably among whom were D. S. Jones, A. Bacon, D. S. Pickard and G. D. Babbitt. Finally, the three last named appropriated twenty acres of ground, and, procuring the services of F. D. Bulkley, surveyed the present village, laying out eighty six lots and otherwise, which were readily sold at prices ranging from $25 to $50 each, to George Andrews, James Harwood, James De Nure, Daniel Reese and other purchasers. At this time there were but two houses in the village limits, those of A. Bacon and S. O. Pickard.
Although lots sold without difficulty and at extravagant rates, improvements failed to keep pace with the expectations cultivated by lot-owners and would-be speculators, and it was not until the railroad was completed to Warren and trains began to run, that an impetus was given to building and business. In 1854, James F. Harwood put up the first store in the village. It was located on the present site of Huff's store, and after passing through several hands was burned under the proprietorship of Benjamin Merrill. The next houses were built by Samuel Mathews and E. H. Woodbridge, both being of frame, and other improvements followed in the wake of those mentioned. The following year Benjamin Merrill built another house, which met, in 1858, the fate of his previous enterprise. The schoolhouse, a one-story brick, was built that year also. William Harwood and David Stacks built, on Ridge street, in 1855, and Samuel Michaels on the same thoroughfare during 1857, the house now occupied by Mrs. Ansenberger. The panic of 1857 produced no visible effect upon the progress or decay of the village, which is today a quiet habitation of quiet people, with much in the beauty of its situation and surroundings to recommend it as a place of residence.
The first marriage, as near as can be ascertained, after the village was laid out, was that between Horace Perkins and Susan Lloyd, in June, 1854, Squire A. Bacon tying the knot. The ceremony was performed while an epidemic of cholera was at its height, and the Justice who responded to the couple's solicitations to unite them, left the bedside of a member of his family, almost in the last pangs of dissolution, to discharge a duty imposed upon him by law.
The first death was Mrs. Aseneth, wife of N. J. Churchill, who died August 17, 1858, and, there being no cemetery laid out at Eleroy, her body was interred at Lena. With regard to the first birth, the chronicles are silent.
Today, as already stated, Eleroy is a village of 100 population, according to the enumerations for 1880, and a shipping-point for grain and live stock, appreciating yearly. During 1879, there were 500 car loads of wheat and hogs shipped from this station. Within the village proper there are an elevator attached to the depot and operated by horse-power, two stores, a blacksmith shop, school, church, and a number of private residences, which attract by their modest beauty and appearance of comfort. The madding crowd will scarcely ever run wild in the sunshine of Eleroy's prosperity, but want and distress, the attendant concomitants of riches and pretentiousness, will never be known within her bills of mortality.
The School Was built in 1855, and is still in use. One teacher is employed, who directs the studies of an average daily attendance of sixty-five pupils, under the direction of a Board of Trustees, composed of David Ide, E. R. Prindle and John Winters. The annual expense is stated at
The United Brethren Church A handsome stone church, located at the further end of Bidge street, was erected in 1869, at the cost of $4,400, with a small membership under the pastorship of the Rev. O. B. Phillips. Previous to that date, the congregation worshiped in the schoolhouse, but now the association, which consists of six communicants, hold services in the church on alternate Sundays, the Rev. J. F. Hallowell, officiating.
The following Pastors have served: The Revs. O. B. Phillips, I. K. Stratton, J. Johnson, E. D. Palmer and the present incumbent.
A few Baptists under the charge of Elder F. Bower, of Waddams Grove, and a Methodist class led by Mr. Hazlett, of Freeport, also a limited number of the Evangelical society, presided over by the Rev. Mr. Fair, alternate in their occupation of the church, Sundays, morning and evening.
Eleroy Lodge, No. Vll, I. O. O. F.Was organized on the 18th of December, 1857, with seven charter members, of whom N. J. Churchill was N. G.; A. Bacon, V. G.; G. F. Anderson, Secretary, and A. C. Culver, Treasurer.
Meetings were first convened at the corner of Ridge and Coal streets, where they continued two years, and were attended with a gratifying degree of prosperity. Thence the lodge room was removed to Churchill's house, and after a brief period work was suspended, the lodge surrendering its charter. After remaining quiescent for a number of years, the lodge revived on October 9, 1873, and is still in active operation.
The present membership is stated at seventeen. Meetings are held weekly on Saturday night. The lodge property is valued at $275, and the officers are E. R. Prindle, N. G.; John Hoff, V. G.; John Winters, Treasurer, and H. Stocks, Secretary.
Salem Lutheran Church Located one mile from Eleroy, was established in 1856, and has since grown steadily in wealth and influence. In that year, the congregation erected a small stone church, which answered the demand until 1869, when the present imposing edifice was completed and dedicated to worship. It is of stone, 55x32, located in the center of a six-acre lot, part of which is dedicated to burial purposes, and its steeple can be plainly seen for miles around. The church cost about $4,000, and is one of the most elaborate in the county.
The congregation, which numbers fifty-four members, support a school enjoying an average attendance of seventy pupils, taught by the Rev. William Wall, the Pastor, and an assistant.
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Stories, Volume 1
HARLEM TOWNSHIP, one of the central tier of townships, the fourth settled in point of date in the county, is inferior to none as regards its location and agricultural advantages. The township is plentifully supplied with wood and water, and possesses other features of excellence indigenous to the country.
The first settler to visit the present township of Harlem with a view to locate permanently was Miller Preston, who came in 1835, and settled upon Section 22, near the Galena stage road. It is believed by members of his household who survive Mr. Preston, that he visited Stephenson County first in 1833, coming from Dixon on a prospecting tour, and, after a hasty survey of the country, selected the site whereon he subsequently settled. Having made his claim in that year, he returned to Gallipolis, Ohio, where he concluded the tanning of a batch of hides upon which he was employed when considering the policy of emigrating to the West, and, purchasing a drove of cattle, came once more to Illinois, arriving upon his claim in the spring of 1835, the original settler in the present township of Harlem, which was then Lancaster Township, and so continued until the eastern portion of that territory was set off and appropriated to the organization under which it is now known.
The country is represented as being peculiarly attractive at that date. The prairies were covered with flowers, dotted here and there with burr oak timber, the branches of which served as a shelter not only to the pioneers but to the dusky maiden and painted savage, from the dews of the nights in spring and the heat of the summer's sun. The soil was of surpassing richness, and streams, creeks, rivulets, brooks and springs were distributed about the territory as if with mathematical exactness. But Mr. Preston proceeded to work at once and confirmed his title to the claim entered by erecting a log hut at the point above mentioned. The ax was sent to the heart of the surrounding trees by the muscular arms of the sturdy pioneer; log after log was rolled to, and fixed in, its proper place, and while the deer browsed among the fallen tree foliage, and the howl of the wolf from the surrounding hill-tops was heard above the contest with the forest, the first house in Harlem Township attained its limited proportions.
In the succeeding fall, William Baker, Benjamin Goddard and others had settled in what was subsequently set off as Lancaster Township, where Mr. Preston enjoyed the society of neighbors, participating in the raising of Baker's cabin, and other social amenities calculated to promote the genial in a sparsely settled portion of the country.
During 1836, except Elias McComber, there is no record of any one settling permanently in Harlem, but a year later the population was materially augmented by the arrival of John Edwards, who came in May; Rezin, Levi and Thompson Wilcoxon, Levi Lewis, John Lewis, and some others. The same season, Levi Wilcoxon erected a mill on Richland Creek, on the present site of Scioto Mills. Among those who were employed during its building, John Lewis put in the water-wheel, and the following persons assisted in the various work necessary: John Edwards, George Cockerell, William Goddard, Alpheus Goddard, Peter Smith, Wesley Bradford, Homer Graves and John Anscomb. The mill was completed and operated during the month of August of that year.
In the year 1838, P. L. Wright settled on a claim purchased of William Robey, who had come on a short time previous, as also had E. H. D. Sanborn, the latter owning a claim of half a section on the Lancaster line, which he subsequently sold to George Furst for $2,800; William Preston, who settled on the banks of the Pecatonica, Lewis Preston, Mathew Bridendall, and some others. Lewis Preston settled on Section 10, and, before he had put his house in order, an infant daughter was added to the family number, the first birth in the township. She grew to womanhood, and today, as Mrs. Benjamin Brown, has been enumerated in the census returns of the State of Iowa.
In 1839, Robert Young settled in the township near the mouth of Cedar Creek. Benjamin Bennett came the same year, and bought what is now known as the Putnam farm. In the month of February of this year, the first death in the township took place Mrs. William Preston, who died at the residence of her husband in Section 15, and was buried in the vicinity. Between 1839 and 1845, Thompson Cockerel settled on the east side of the Pecatonica; Charles W. and Robert Barber, and others became residents of the township; a man named Clark married the Widow Lyon, and many other events of great import, doubtless, were included among the number accomplished.
From this date thenceforward to the survey of the Illinois Central route through the township, immigration was scarcely proportioned to that in the direction of other townships in the county. The lands were cheap, and advantages equal to those offered elsewhere, but for some unaccountable reason the incoming settler was an unknown commodity, or one of such rare exception as to create comment. About 1850, a change came over the spirit of those who came West, and many began to settle in Harlem. When the railroad was surveyed, however, and its construction determined beyond doubt, the value of land appreciated, until today property which sold for $12 per acre twenty-five years ago cannot be had at thrice that sum. The water privileges, too, became valuable about this time, though necessity and speculation had made a market there for almost with the first settlement.
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Stories, Volume 1
KENT TOWNSHIP. This township comprises the east half of Township 27, Range 5, and the west half of Township 27, Range 6, with an aggregate of 22,700 acres, upward of 20,000 acres being under cultivation. The township is well watered by Yellow Creek and its numerous branches, and a fine growth of timber is to be found in the northern part.
The first settlement was made in 1827, by O. W. Kellogg, who ventured into the wilderness of Burrows' (now Timms' Grove), and erected a shanty, which remained intact until 1862, when it was torn down and a new one erected on the site; this is still standing, owned by a Mr. Taylor.
The old cabin, however, was first sold to a man named Lafayette, who in turn assigned his title to one by the name of Green, from Galena. The latter remained in possession until 1835, when James Timms became the purchaser, removing thither with his family the same year, the first permanent settler in the township, and the only settler at that date west of Freeport. In the fall of 1835, Jesse Willet came in, and settled at what is now known as Willet's bridge, below Timms', building a house there that is yet standing. Calvin and Jabez Giddings are said to have come about the same time and established themselves on Yellow Creek, four miles north of Timms'. During the winter of that year and the spring of 1836, there is no record of any one having ventured into the vicinity, wherein Timms and his neighbors held undisputed possession, and cultivated patches of corn and other grains. In the fall of 1836. Gilbert Osborn was added to the number of settlers already mentioned, and again was the colony remitted to quiet and relief from further incursions by pioneer plodders in the wilderness. In 1839, J. Reber settled one and a half miles northwest of Timms', and in the following year Frank Maginnis erected a cabin on the present farm of Jacob Gable. Benjamin Illingsworth settled near the Timms house, making that hospitable mansion a home while his cabin was without a roof to protect its owner from the inclemency of the weather.
Previous to this last date, a mill had been erected on Yellow Creek by John and Frederick Reber, and, as it was near the center of the township, it was liberally patronized. Before its completion, the settlers had been obliged to procure the grinding of their cereals at Craig's mill, on Apple River, at Buffalo Creek, in Ogle County, and elsewhere. The inhabitants obtained their supplies of bacon from Galena or Dixon, and when short of hog-meat, indulged an appetite for game, which was to be found in abundance in the winter, on barrens and prairie. In 1837, a school was opened by William Ensign in the house of James Timms, where he taught the young idea, acknowledged by the Timms, Maginnis, Giddings and Willet families, the rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic. By these and kindred means did the early pioneers of Kent Township not only dissipate dull care, but contributed in providing substantial means for future wealth and civilization.
Among others who settled up the township was Thomas Carter, Isaac Rand, etc.; Samuel Bailey settled across Yellow Creek; Jacob Gable came in and purchased the Maginnis place; L. L. L. Pitcher, who is still living near the old Timms place; a man named Lathrop, with some few others, were among the number who became identified with the cultivation and development of the county in that portion subsequently allotted to Kent.
In 1840, the township began to be made the objective point for a large proportion of emigrants coming into Northern Illinois. These, as is well known, were largely made up of natives of Pennsylvania and the more Eastern States. They brought resources with them, and their industry, thrift, economy and perseverance have been the agencies through which not only Stephenson County and Illinois, but the Great West, today in the last degree prosperous, have been brought to that condition of independence it now enjoys. Thence to 1 850 the increase in population, proportioned to the inducements held out to become residents, was large and profitable.
In 1844, the land came into market and was sold at public vendue in Dixon. For a short time after, there was considerable trouble between settlers who had come at an early day and purchasers at the Dixon sales, arising from a conflict of title to lands thereat disposed of. The difficulties growing out of this dispensation were, however, compromised in time, and what promised to prevent, for a season at least, the gratifying success now apparent throughout the township, in no manner materially affected its settlement, growth or improvement.
Since 1850, when the results of nearly twenty years of labor began to bear fruit, the prosperity of the township has been not more pronounced than rapid. Since 1832, when Capt. Adam Snyder was attacked by Indians while encamped in Kellogg's Grove, until today, nature and art would seem to have combined to render Kent Township attractive. That they have proved irresistible to a superior class of settlers, is to be found in the wealth and education of the inhabitants, the cultivated fields, the handsome homes, the schools and churches and other evidences of refinement and morality which greet the eye of the permanent and transient at all points.
The first marriage in the township was in 1837, between James Blair and Kate Marsh, who were united at the house of James Timms.
The first birth was a son to James Timms and wife, who was born on the 26th of May, 1837, christened Harvey M. Timms, and now resides in Loran Township, a prosperous farmer.
Jesse Willet, Jr., is reputed to have been the first death in the township. He was buried at what was afterward known as Willet's burying-ground, where the Dunkard Church now stands.
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Stories, Volume 1
Occupies the southeastern corner of the county and is nine miles in length by six in width, with an area of 34,400 acres, of which about 30,000 acres are under cultivation. It is well watered in the northern part by the Pecatonica and tributary streams, and heavily timbered in that section also, while the southern portion is mostly rolling prairie.
The township formed a portion of Silver Creek Precinct until after the passage of the law providing for township organization, when it was laid off and named, it is said, after a clerk in the Post Office Department at Washington. The first settlement of the town was made in the spring of 1836, by Andrew Jackson and Jefferson Niles, who claim to have come on the 4th of March of that year, and built a shanty on the east bank of the Pecatonica.
During the winter of 1835 or 1836, or early in the spring of the latter year, Harvey P. Waters, accompanied by Lyman Bennett, visited the present territory of Stephenson County, and halted at the mouth of Yellow Creek, now included within the limits of Silver Creek Township. He remained here until spring had become an established fact in this section, when he removed to Ridott, and is still enumerated in the census of that town.
That spring, it is said, quite a number of settlers identified themselves with future Ridott, and, besides increasing the number of voters in that portion of the county, contributed materially to the promulgation of its attractions. Among these were Sawyer Forbes, Daniel Wooten, who settled one mile west of the present village of Ridott; Horace Colburn, where Samuel Moyer now resides; a man named Wickham, who entered the land upon which the village of Ridott is located; John Reed and brother, who squatted on the Farwell farm; Benjamin and Josiah Ostrander, at the mouth of the Creek; David Niles, on land subsequently owned by Garrett Lloyd; Asa Nichols, and some others. They, one and all, indulged the same anticipations, experienced the same vicissitudes, conquered the same hardships, and rejoiced in final victory, as did those who came at an early day, and, in other portions of the county, were tried and triumphed gloriously.
The primary settlements made in Ridott, as elsewhere in portions of the county watered by the Pecatonica, were established along the bank of the river. The land there was more desirable, apparently, for agricultural purposes than the rolling prairies at a distance from the stream, and the water-power sought to be utilized for mechanical and other purposes was deemed as an invaluable adjunct to the building-up of the country. The houses were, of course, primitive beyond description, often being constructed of sod, with thatched roofs and other evidences of the limited resources available in those days. Yet this discouraging outlook attracted rather than dismayed the emigrants, who came in large numbers even after the township had been generally settled, and desirable sites were held at extravagant rates.
In 1837, Caleb Tompkins took up land in the timber on what was afterward known as the Bride Farm. G. A. Seth, Isaac and Eldredge Farwell settled adjoining each other, four miles east of the present village. Garrett Lloyd became a settler this year also, as did Norman, Levi, Isaac and Orsemus Brace, Harvey and Jeremiah Webster, Sybil Ann Price, who entered a claim to land three miles east of the present; village; Stewart .Reynolds, Sanford Niles, etc. These were followed in 1838 by Lewis and David Gitchell, Philo Hammond, Ezekiel and Jacob Forsythe, John Lloyd, a brother of Garrett Lloyds who came the year previously; Pittteam Eerley, who entered a claim to the place now known as Hemmenway's; Ezekiel Brown, who settled near Holmes' Mill; John Brazee, one mile west of the village, probably Christian Clay, and others.
In the fall of 1837, a girl was introduced into the household of Daniel and Julia Wooten, who was christened Margaret, and published as the first birth to occur in the township. In 1839, among those who cast their lines in the pleasant places with which Silver Creek Precinct abounded, were Charles Babcock and George H. Watson, accompanied by 1,000 sheep; William B. Hawkins, Ross and Anson Babcock, John Karcher, Lewis Woodruff, etc., etc. Early this year, i. e., on March 10, Thomas J. Turner, who had been among the first to settle in the township and make permanent improvements, and was then acting in the capacity of a Justice of the Peace, performed the first marriage ceremony that occurred in the town; the celebrants were A. J. Niles and Nancy A., daughter of Gustavus A. Farwell; the ceremony took place at the farmhouse of N. Eldredge Farwell, and the couple began the voyage of life without the "fixins and flourish now deemed indispensable to similar events.
The decade between 1840 and 1850 was noticeable for the number and quality of those who came into Ridott to settle; during that period the improvements that were made, included the railroad then projected, and many other features of enterprise that in these Edisonian days would be regarded as bubbles on the water. On the 28th of August, 1842, a colony of English agriculturists arrived in the township and took up land that had been reserved for their occupation in the timber. The head-centers of the party sent out an agent the year previous who canvassed the situation in America, prospected over the West quite generally, and, after making careful estimates of the advantages offered elsewhere, advised the establishment of an English colony in the township of Ridott.
The report submitted and containing the recommendation cited was adopted, and in harmony therewith, the following persons came into the township: Thomas Hunt, wife and mother; Robert Knight, Charles Foulkes, Robert Lankford and wife, Thomas Clay, Henry Layland Knight and wife, Charlotte Hurst, John Wooton, George Barnes, Joseph Gibson, Joseph Lester and W. R. Fairburn and wife. They settled in the timber and remained together about one year and a half, employing their knowledge, obtained at home, in preparing the earth for the bounteous harvests, which have since been yielded. At the expiration of that period, death, a division of sentiments and other causes combined to dissolve the colony, the members of which were distributed about the then almost undiscovered West. Many, however, remained in Stephenson County, where they have prospered, and are, today, among the most extensive and enterprising farmers in this portion of the State.
About 1850, lands began to increase in value and command ready sale. During that year, the influx of Germans was quite large. They were composed of the better class of that nationality, and, settling south of the old State road, opened up farms and completed improvements, which to the present day, testify in behalf of those who projected and concluded them. The colony originally numbered about fifty members, among whom were Poppa Poppa, Wessel Wessels, Jurin van Buckum, Christian Akerman, Folk Huyanga, Yelle Ruter, Uno Collman, T. Jussen and others, whose descendants have survived them and succeeded to generous inheritances, the fruit of labor employed by their parents, and which has done so much to create a demand for land in the State.
From 1850 to 1860 the settlements made by individuals and parties were more frequent and permanent. In 1852 the Galena & Chicago road, since passed into the possession of the Northwestern corporation, was completed through Ridott and contributed materially to the populating and improvement of the township. In 1860, the lands had been generally taken up and occupied; the war, as a matter of course, diminished the population to an appreciable extent; but since its close, the numbers who enlisted and never returned have been made up by the arrival of those now counted among the inhabitants and identified with the public good. The township, today, is regarded, by those at least who reside within its limits, as one of the most healthful, fertile and desirable in the county, the home of industry, independence and prosperity.
The first deaths are alleged to be the drowning of Milburn and Reed, in Pecatonica River, as related in the history of Silver Creek Township, in which township it is also claimed this accident occurred.
When the Galena & Chicago Railroad was completed through the township, a station was established about one mile west of the present village, and a town surveyed and platted. The place was named Nevada, after Nevada City, Colo., at which point Daniel Wooten, who owned the ground upon which the former place was located, died in 1849, while en route to California. A post office was established here, of which William Wright was the Postmaster. Considerable improvements were made, and for several years appearances seemed to indicate that Nevada would, in a brief time, become a thriving town.
This condition of affairs remained unchanged until the summer of 1860. At that time, J. S. Cochran and brother, of Freeport, purchased 60 acres of land upon part of which the village of Ridott now stands. It seems that prior to the purchase of the town site, the Cochrans had concluded a contract with the railroad company, by the terms of which the former were to grade the side tracks, plat and lay out the town, in consideration of the company's removing the station to the point now occupied. Accordingly, the side tracks, etc., were completed, thirty acres of land were surveyed and platted into lots 30x120, and on the 10th day of July, 1860, the station was removed. Immediately thereafter, G. W. Loveland, Postmaster at Nevada, in obedience to instructions from the Department, removed the post office thither, and completed his present house on Adams street, the first house in the village, which was at that time known as Cochranville.
Improvements were made without delay. The Cochrans built the large frame building on Adams street, now known as the Farmers' Store. A man named Oscar H. Osborn erected a house near the track, and adapted the same to residence and saloon purposes. In 1861, Samuel Irvin built a shoe-shop on Adams street; James Clark, a residence on the same thoroughfare, and W. E. Moorhouse a dwelling on Jefferson street, these constituting the improvements made until the close of the war. The period intervening between 1861 and 1865 was not noticeable for enterprise; some little building was carried on, but nothing of note is remembered to have occurred. Quite a number of soldiers enlisted from Cochranville and vicinity, a limited number of whom returned, the remainder yielded to the fortunes of war and were buried in the trenches, or settled elsewhere.
During the fall of 1861, through the agency of a petition prepared by the residents and addressed to the Department at Washington, the name of the village was changed to Ridott, by which name it has been known to the postal authorities, the commercial world and the general public, ever since.
After the peace at Appomattox Court House, an impetus was given to building up and improving the village. Ross Babcock erected the brick block on Adams street, containing two stores, office rooms and Ridott Hall, a commodious audience-room dedicated to free speech, wherein the Free Methodists hold services, lectures are delivered, soirees are given, and the cheerful minstrel warbles his melodies. Isaac S. Shirey put up a handsome residence on Washington street; J. A. Kerr followed the precedent on the same street, and later, Josiah Deimer, Mrs. Lewis Getchell, Reuben Clark and Hezekiah Poffenberger, on the same thoroughfare; Henry Gibler, one on Adams street; Dr. M. W. Walton moved a building into the village and reconstructed it, making an attractive residence out of its frame, etc.
In 1867, the church edifice of the United Brethren Association on Adams street was commenced, and completed during the year following. In 1869, the old red schoolhouse on the Waters place was vacated, and the base of operations changed to the handsome brick schoolhouse on Jefferson street, completed that year and since occupied.
The past ten years have been years of prosperity, though not fruitful of events or replete with accidents or incidents calculated to inspire ambitious youth or create a fever in the blood of the age. In 1875, the town was incorporated as a village, under the general law, with the following list of officers. It should be observed, however, that the first birth was a son to Oscar and Mary Osborn, named Irwin, and who now resides in Iowa. The first death was Elizabeth Leech, and the marriage of Brock Mullen to Mrs. Mary Hill was the first matrimonial venture concluded in the town.
The village now contains a population of about 350, has three stores, two blacksmith-shops, two saloons, two religious congregations, and one wagon, shoe and harness shop, also one livery stable.
1874 F. D. Coolidge, President; H. P. Waters, Samuel Moyer, O. M. Doty, W. A. Kerr and J. L. Robinson, Associates. 1875 Reuben Clark, President; Samuel Moyer, J. L. Robinson, C. L. Christie, H. Poffenberger and W. A. Kerr. 1876 Isaac S. Shirey, President; C. L. Christie, Reuben Clark, O. M. Doty, H. Poffenberger and Samuel Moyer. 1877 H. Poffenberger, President; Samuel Moyer, Terrence Griffin, H. Gochenour, F. W. Kerr and Robert Shirey. 1878 Henry Gochenour, President; C. W. Warner, C. A. Dibble and G. W. Moyer. At a special election held November 5, 1878, Isaac S. Shirey and O. M. Doty were selected as Trustees. 1879 Isaac S. Shirey, President; Reuben Clark, W. K. McGilligan, Samuel Moyer, O. M. Doty and H. B. Dibble. 1880 H. Poffenberger, President; R. Clark, W. K. McGilligan, H. Gochenour, C. Knickenberg and James Hotchkiss.
Clerks. W. A. Kerr, 1874; I. S. Shirey, 1875; W. K. McGilligan, 1876-78; G. R. Loveland, 1879; George E. Bennett, 1880.
Treasurers. S. Moyer, 1874-76; G. W. Loveland, 1877-80.
Police Magistrates. G. W. Loveland, 1875: resigned and was succeeded by M. W. Walton, who still serves.
The first school taught in this portion of the township, was a select school in a log house on the farm of Horace Colburn, now owned by Samuel Moyer. Here Miss Laura Colburn and her successors in office sowed the seeds of knowledge and administered the birch for about ten years. At that date, or in 1855, a frame schoolhouse was erected on the farm of Harvey P. Waters, and for fourteen years the Old Red Schoolhouse, by which term it was known, did duty as a church, lecture-room and house of entertainment, in addition to the object for which it was erected. In 1869, the brick schoolhouse on Jefferson street was completed, the Old Red vacated, and moved to the Moyer farm, where it supplies a varied want, graphically expressed as long felt, being a wash-house, butcher shop, and what not peculiar to settlements provided with limited resources.
The present school edifice is 40x60, compactly built, two stories high, and cost about $5,000. The premises contain two departments, employ two teachers, and enjoy an average daily attendance of seventy-five pupils. The schools are conducted at an annual expense of $1,200, a portion of which is obtained from the State, and are under the control of a board composed of Wesley Johns, J. A. Kerr and Marvin Hammond.
United Brethren Association. This society, the largest and most influential in Ridott, was established in the township before the village was laid out, with a small membership, under the pastorate of the Rev. James Johnson. The congregation was composed of residents of Nevada principally, as also members of the denomination residing in other portions of Ridott Township, and services were conducted in the schoolhouse, first on the Moyer farm, and, finally, until the church was built, in that on the Waters farm.
In 1867, the frame edifice on Adams street was commenced, its completion and dedication being postponed until the following year, when it was taken possession of and has since been occupied. It is of frame, 28x48, handsomely equipped, capable of seating an audience of two hundred. The congregation at present numbers forty-five members; the church property represents an estimated valuation of $2,500, and the following have officiated as Pastors: Revs. James Johnson, Mr. Frazer, Mr. Dodds, Mr. Davis, L. B. Peck, G. B. Walker, J. H. Phillips, Mr. Thayer, P. Hurles, I. K. Statten, J. H. Grimm, F. Reibel, H. D. Hesley, and W. S. Hayes, the present incumbent.
Free Methodists Numbering about thirty communicants, was organized in 1875, under the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Ferns. The association worships in Babcock's Hall, the Rev. Mr. Frink being the Pastor in charge.
RIDOTT CEMETERY, located on the farm of Samuel Moyer, and laid out about 1868 or 1869, is a handsome inclosure of one acre, devoted to burial purposes, and under the control of Mr. Moyer. The cemetery contains some elaborately carved monuments, commemorating the virtues of those who sleep beneath the sod, and is a spot of beauty, if not a resort for joyous pleasure, that will be regarded with sympathetic interest until the world is rolled up like a scroll.
POST OFFICE. Was removed from Nevada in 1860, to the depot in Cochranville, with G. W. Loveland as Postmaster. In the fall of 1861, it was changed to Ridott. Mr. Loveland remained in charge until 1863, when he was succeeded by Samuel Irvin, who removed the office to his store on Adams street. He was followed by William Carroll, Jr., who continued in possession from 1865 until 1870, when Jacob D. Schmeltzer took charge, and acted until I. S. Shirey was appointed. Mr. S. discharged the trust until the fall of 1879, when he resigned and G. S. Babcock was appointed his successor, and is still serving.
RIDOTT BAND. The village boasts a band, composed of the young men residing in the vicinity, which was organized in 1878, and on all occasions when its services are called into requisition, discourses most excellent music.
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Stories, Volume 1
This township, located on the western boundary of the county, is six miles square, embracing the east half of Township 28, with an aggregate area of 22,800 acres, 19,574 of which are under cultivation. The western portion of the township is as fine prairie as can be seen anywhere, while the part occupied by Waddams Grove, is covered with a superior quality of timber. In the eastern portion of the township, there is more or less scattering timber, or, as they are usually called, openings. A number of excellent limekilns and stone quarries have been opened in the township; there is no lack of excellent water; fruit is cultivated with profit to the producer, and a steady market is afforded the farmers combinations which have aided in building up and rendering prosperous what is claimed by the inhabitants of West Point, as the banner township in the county.
In the early part of the year 1832, William Waddams, accompanied by his sons Hiram and Nelson, arrived in Illinois, and, staking out his claim on the north side of the grove which has inherited his name, became the pioneer settler, not only of West Point Township, but also of Stephenson County. He was, barring the presence of his two children, solitary and alone in the primeval forests of the undeveloped West, with neighbors on the east no nearer than Rock River, Galena on the west, and Grant County, Wis., at the north, where there lived Andrew Clino, a man who is represented at that date to have been a patriarch in years, adventures and experience.
Here he resided for two years and upward, when George S. Payne ventured into the vicinity, and settled himself on the farm subsequently owned by Thomas S. French. During this year, John Garner, with his sons, A. J. and Alphonso Garner, entered a claim within half a mile of the present limits of the village of Lena. This trinity comprehended the number of emigrants who yielded to Western attractions, and established an abiding-place in West Point Township. The precedent thus established was emulated a year later by Rodney and Luman Montague and William Tucker. These gentlemen settled near William Waddams, and for years supplied the absence of neighbors.
In 1836, Jabez Smith, Alfred and Sanford Giddings, looked in upon the settlement established near Waddams Grove, but passed on and became identified with the building up of Kent Township. John B. Kaufman came in 1835, and remained only a year, when he moved to Erin Township, but Washington Parker, who settled in West Point during 1836, remained without indulging his wandering proclivities.
The tide of emigration which followed westwardly in 1837, was not checked, did not ebb, before West Point Township was overrun with new-comers, many of whom remained, while others drifted into the waves of circumstances or inclination and went elsewhere. Among those who added materially to the population of the promising township was the family of Samuel F. Dodds, David T. Perry, Robert and William Lashell, James and Oliver Thompson, Mr. Graham, Benjamin, John and Jesse Tucker, Jacob Burbridge, Martin Howard, John Harmon, Samuel and Marshall Bailey, George Place and others. Jacob Burbridge, at the time of the Black Hawk war, resided on Apple River, and served as a volunteer in the campaigns which were concluded only when the savages, led by their wily chief, evaded extermination by surrender and humiliation.
In 1838, Thomas E. Way, Samuel F. Dodds and J. D. Fowler, and in 1839, M. L. Howard, joined their individual fortunes with the pioneer settlement, and remained to participate in the profits that accrued with time and the advance of civilization, and in 1839 and 1840, the population was measurably increased, until in the latter year an informal census returned an enumeration of sixty residents. Ten years later a similar experiment established the population at 250, all told.
In September, 1853, the Galena & Chicago Union road was completed to Freeport, its success due, in no inconsiderable degree, to the aid extended by the inhabitants of Stephenson County. The result was that, notwithstanding the increase in the value of lands of at least 25 per cent, the township began to fill up with settlers of a sterling character, who lent an additional force to that already employed in the cultivation of West Point, and appreciated the value of all her material interests. Lands were held at a stiff price, which was gradually increased each year, until 1865, when they were quoted as commanding a steady demand, at a rate per acre not differing from that paid during the year last mentioned. This was continued until the panic of 1873, when nominal were substituted for substantial prices, and remained under that head until the paralysis in business was succeeded by a healthy re-action, and that supplemented by complete restoration.
In January, 1854, the road was completed to Warren, and, in the spring of that year, Samuel F. Dodds, in conjunction with the Illinois Central Company, laid out 160 acres of land, in the southeast corner of the township, for a village site, and named it Lena, by which it is still known, a prosperous municipality and the shipping point for farmers residing at points within the radius of twelve or fifteen miles.
From 1850 to 1860, the increase in population, both of the village and township, was rapid, the population of the latter in 1860 being 1,798. This was slightly increased a year later, when the war broke out, which had the effect, not only of diminishing the number then enumerated, but also of preventing any increase during its continuance. Immediately upon the conclusion of hostilities, the number of inhabitants once more attained large dimensions, as the census taken during the current year (1880) indicated.
During the war, the quota under every call made by the Federal Government for troops was promptly filled, and the township was well represented in the Eleventh, Fifteenth, \Forty-fifth, Forty-sixth and Ninety-second Regiments of Volunteer Infantry, and Fourteenth Regiment of Volunteer Cavalry. All of those who went into the service, discharged the trust committed to their care with fidelity; many of them were left the occupants of trenches or unknown graves by the sea, many of them returned to participate in the benefits sought to be attained by victory.
In November, 1835, the Rev. James McKean, a Methodist minister, preached in the cabin of Luman Montague, and, in the following year, a Methodist class-meeting was organized. In about 1840, the Rev. Aratus Kent, who was identified with the cause of religion in Galena and Dubuque years previous, came to Waddams Grove and organized a Presbyterian class; about the same period, a Sabbath school was held in J. D. Fowler's cabin, and a school for the education of the young in a log house erected near the residence of Luman Montague.
From these insignificant beginnings, the causes of morality and education in West Point Township have attained an importance and value that can only be measured by the beneficial influence they have exerted, not alone in the building-up of the township, but in formulating and maintaining of a quality of public opinion which finds expression in the character of the people, and their observance of those obligations which civilization and humanizing influences impose.
In the latter part of 1850, the west half of Township 28 was taken from Waddams, and added to West Point, making the latter six miles square, its present boundaries.
In 1836, Amanda Waddams was born at her father's cabin, which still stands on the Waddams farm, about four miles west of Lena, on the road from Nora to McConnell's Grove, being occupied by Mrs. George Place, who, as Eunice Waddams, was married to George Place, July 4, 1837, by Squire Levi Robey, the first marriage in the township, and the first of record in the county.
About 1839, Minerva Rathburn, residing with Robert Burbridge, near Pin Hook, while engaged in scuffling with Abija Watson in Mr. Burbridge's house, was accidentally thrown against a peg driven into the logs as a shelf support, and received injuries which caused her death soon after. This was the first death in the township, and the first burial in what was known as Waddams' cemetery long since vacated, and now inclosed in the farm owned by J. P.Fair.
In 1853, the survey of the present railroad corporation had located its route and the grading of the right of way was begun. As soon as the building of this highway of commerce had been settled, Samuel F. Dodds, who owned eighty acres of land on the present site of the town, acting on behalf of the railroad company, purchased an additional tract of 80 acres, and laid out the town. The survey was made by B. Dornblazer, the original town being in the form of a parallelogram, comprehending twenty-six blocks and a total of 304 lots. Subsequently, I. C. Allen, S. J. Kimball, Underwood k Albee, C. Roush, N. C. Pickard, A. Weaver and A. C. Allen, made additions to the original town, increasing its dimensions to a large extent.
When the town was laid out, Samuel F. Dodds owned a stone residence then and now occupying Lot No. 1, on Lena street, while Dr. F. Voight held title to a log house standing a short distance east of where the depot was subsequently erected. It remained intact until the advance of improvements compelled its demolition. These two houses embraced the list of buildings at that time there were no others of any description.
During that summer, lots sold rapidly, commanding prices varying from $50 to $150 each, William Allen and S. H. McEathron, being among the first to purchase and make improvements. Allen put up a store at once, but McEathron delayed the erection of a building, devoted to similar purposes, until the fall. Both were of frame, but only one survives the lapse of a quarter of a century.
On New Year's Day, 1854, the track was laid, and cars began to run between Freeport and Warren. This had the effect of increasing the number of arrivals and stimulating enterprise. The additions to the population were largely made up of English and Irish, many of whom became permanent residents, together with representatives from the Eastern States, who engaged in business, and have since been identified with the growth and prosperity of the town.
In this year, there were about a dozen families in Lena, and the following comprise the business directory: Dry goods and groceries S. H. McEathron, William Allen, J. E. Ambrose. Lumber yard J. N. Clifford. Blacksmith William Young. Grain dealer N. Perrin. Postmaster and railroad agent Samuel F. Dodds. Physicians Drs. N. C. Pickard and F. Voight. There were three church organizations in the village, viz.: Presbyterian, Rev. R. Colston, Pastor; Methodist, Rev. A. Wolf, Pastor; Baptist, Rev. J. E. Ambrose, Pastor. There were no church edifices in the village or township at that time, and the several congregations occupied the schoolhouse alternately. The public school was in charge of Miss S. D. Hyde. Dr. J. R. Chambers, the only other physician in the township, was located at Louisa.
From this date until 1860, the increase in population was quite rapid. The panic of 1857 produced no pronounced effect disastrous to the growth of the town, which progressed in business and importance in a manner that was gratifying to those who had first projected its survey. During the summer of 1855, Reber & Cheney and S. F. Dodds began the three-story brick building at the corner of Railroad and Schuyler streets. It was completed about the fall of 1856, at a cost of about $4,000, and is still used for business purposes.
In the same year. 1856, the Baptist denomination, which had been worshiping in the log schoolhouse at the eastern end of the town, built the church edifice, now occupied by that sect, on Galena street. This was the first church built within the town limits. It is of frame, and the only one of that material in Lena. Before 1860, however, the Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist and German Methodist societies had each erected commodious edifices.
In 1860, the population had increased to not less than 600. Lena had become a prominent shipping-point for grain and stock, vast amounts of the latter being consigned to factors in Chicago, St. Louis, and elsewhere, and tho center of trade for farmers residing in West Point, Waddams and Winslow Townships, as also for those residing in the eastern and southeastern portions of Jo Daviess County.
When the war broke out, volunteers responded to the call, and troops from the townships adjoining rendezvoused at Lena. This enlivened business to an appreciable extent, which was continued during the entire struggle. In 1863, the necessities of the case influenced Mr. Weaver to erect an elevator now standing at the corner of South Railroad and Schuyler streets, and, during the continuance of the contest waged between the sections, improvements of a substantial character, consisting of stores and residences, both of brick and frame, were made.
With the close of the war, there was scarcely any perceptible diminution in the amount of business transacted; thence to 1870 improvements maintained a steady increase, and the population appreciated in number. There were no vacant houses to be found, and the demand for residences and storehouses was, if anything, greater than had been previously quoted; in fact, the residents now living say, that, from the time the town was first laid out to the present date, there have not been sufficient houses to accommodate new-comers or supply the demands of business.
In 1869, the Lena Star, a weekly paper, Independent in politics, was established, and has since been conducted successfully, without having missed an issue. In 1868, the opera house was built by F. E. Brine, and is still used for dramatic and social gatherings.
On the 16th of April, 1866, the village of Lena was incorporated as a town under the general law of the State, and on the 23d of the same month the election of Trustees was held, with the following result: A. W. Hall, A. H. Stahl, William Hayes, A. Weaver and S. H. McEathron. On the 27th, the board qualified, and organized by the appointment of A. W. Hall, President, and Samuel J. Dodds, Clerk.
On the 20th day of April, 1869, the town of Lena was organized under a special charter passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor March 30, 1869, defining the corporation boundaries, providing for the election of Trustees, prescribing their qualifications and duties, and generally clothing them as a legislative body, with powers and duties appropriate to municipal officers.
The charter was accepted at an election holden on the day above mentioned, and the following is the roster of town officers who have since served: 1869 A. W. Hall, President; M. Weaver, James McFatrich, D. W. Hayes and C. Roush, Associates. 1870 M. Weaver, President; S. G. Stover, A. H. Stahl, H. G. Fowler and William Young. 1871 M. Weaver, President; H. G. Fowler, A. H. Stahl, William Young and Levi Sherman. Z. Stover and George Steckle failed to qualify, and H. G. Fowler and M. Weaver were appointed to fill the vacancies. 1872 H. G. Fowler, President; W. F. Taylor, P. H. Kaufman, D. W. Hayes and Levi Sherman. 1873 H. G. Fowler, President; Levi Sherman, D. W. Hayes, P. H. Kaufman and I. C. Ralcom. 1874 H. G. Fowler, President; Levi Sherman, D. W. Hayes, P. H. Kaufman and I. C. Balcom. 1875 Same as in 1874. 1876 Same board re-elected. 1877 Elias Stamm, President; H. A. Rife, Luther K. Lee, S. Rising and Charles Ferrell. 1878 H. G. Fowler, President; P. H. Kaufman, John Metz, D. W. Hayes and Levi Sherman. 1879 A. S. Crotzer, President; A. H. Stahl, John Metz, William Corning and E. Kailey. 1880 John Metz, President; William Corning, David Young, Miles White and F. H. Mealiff.
The board meets the first Monday evening of each month, in the town house, on South Railroad, between Washington and Schuyler streets. The building is of frame, used in part as an engine house, and was erected in 1874, at an expense of $500 and upward.
Clerks. W. W. Dawes, 1869-76; O. T. P. Steinmetz, 1877; W. W. Dawes, 1878; Samuel F. Dodds, 1879-80.
Treasurers. James McEathron, 1869; Daniel Hursey, 1870-75; Henry Wingart, 1876; A. S. Crotzer, 1877; Edward F. Fowler, 1878-79; Henry Wingart, 1880.
Police Magistrates. A. W. Hall, 1870; J. S. Blodgett, 1874; Samuel F. Dodds, 1878.
Between 1870 and 1875, a large emigration, composed of young men and their families, to the West, reduced the population to some extent, but their absence has since been supplied by others who came in, and becoming citizens have aided in contributing to the success of the town.
The last census gives Lena a population of over 1,500 The town now contains one weekly paper, one bank, one hotel and another of brick in progress, one opera house, one steam flour-mill, one lumber yard, two elevators, one of the largest and finest school buildings in the State, seven church edifices, one wagon factory, six blacksmith shops, one cooper shop and forty stores devoted to the sale of groceries, drugs, dry goods, hardwares, cigars and the line of commodities commercially regarded as staple.
LENA FIRE COMPANY. The village is protected from the fire-bug by a hand-engine company composed of thirty-five members, supplemented with a chemical engine requiring the services of ten men in addition. These companies were organized in 1874. In that year, a hand-engine, together with 800 feet of hose, was purchased at Canton, Ill., for $800; the chemical, however, became the property of the department two years previous. Since the organization of the company, in 1874, 600 feet of hose have been purchased and other expenditures effected, making the value of the property at present about $1,500.
The company is officered by H. F. Perkins, Foreman. The chemical is officered by H. M. Dodds, Foreman; F. McManigal, Assistant. The whole is under the control of Henry Wingart, Fire Marshal, and Samuel F. Dodds, Assistant.
The peace of the village is maintained by one town Constable, appointed annually by the Board of Trustees.
SCHOOLS. The first school taught within the corporate limits of Lena was in a log house belonging to Samuel F. Dodds, which stood in the orchard on the Dodds homestead. This was about the year 1849, and Miss Maria Pickard was employed as teacher. About twenty scholars responded to the roll-call during her administration, which lasted one year. In 1850, a log schoolhouse was put up on what is now known as Franklin street, which served its purpose until 1854, when the stone building still standing at the corner of Lena and Franklin streets was completed and taken possession of, and, though the number of scholars had increased, the force employed to direct their instruction remained the same until years afterward. In 1859, a portion of the Sixth District, which comprehended Lena, was cut off and added to District No. 8, and a schoolhouse erected. It is of stone, two stories high, and cost in the neighborhood of $1,000. The number of departments and force of teachers were increased from this date.
In November, 1866, the two districts were united, and have since been known as Union District No. 6. In 1868, the present commodious school edifice of brick was completed and occupied. In dimensions, the building is 56x60, four stories high, including the basement, containing six departments finished, with the necessary rooms and closets in addition, and cost $20,000.
The departments embrace first and second primary, first and second intermediate, grammar and high school, requiring the services of seven teachers, and necessitating an expenditure of $4,000 for the year closing June 30, 1880. Of this, $3,500 is obtained by the levy of a tax on the real and personal property listed in the district, and the balance from the State and township, in addition to fines assessed and collected for the commission of offenses against the State.
The schools enjoy an average daily attendance of about 400 pupils, and are under the direction of a Board of Trustees, at present composed of W. P. Naramore, Joseph Sechler and D. W. Hayes.
POST OFFICE. The first post office established in West Point was called Waddams Grove, John Garner, Postmaster, and located near Louisa; this was some time in 1837 or 1838, and a year or two later it was removed five miles into Waddams Township, when Pells Manny was appointed Postmaster. The next post office was established at Howardsville, then on the stage road from Galena to Chicago, with Martin Howard as Postmaster. Somewhere about 1845, a new office was established at Lena, under the name of Alida, and Samuel F. Dodds appointed Postmaster.
In 1852, the name of the office was changed to Terre Haute, and so continued until 1854, when it was changed to Lena. At that date, the office was kept in the residence of Mr. Dodds, and so remained until 1857, when it was moved to South Railroad street, and F. Reber appointed Postmaster. During his administration the office was again removed to Reber & Dodds' Block. In 1861, S. F. Dodds was re-appointed, and served until his death, which occurred in May, 1863. The vacancy thus created was supplied by the appointment of Mary J. Dodds, widow of deceased. In 1869, J. M. Schermerhorn was appointed to the position, and removed the office to Central Block, thence to Roush's Block, thence back to the Central Block, where it now is, Mr. Schermerhorn remaining in charge.
S. RISING & CO., BANKERS. The business prosperity of the town of Lena is further evidenced by the existence of a banking institution, which was established in 1867 at its present site, under the firm name of Rising, Smith & Co. The gentlemen composing the firm remained in charge until June, 1867, when the name was changed, becoming S. Rising & Co., and so continuing until November, 1870, when it became u Foil, Corning & Co. Business, which was large and appreciating, being transacted principally with farmers and drovers, in the counties of Stephenson and Jo Daviess, was disposed of with profit to the gentlemen directing its operation, until February, 1878, when the name of Fall, Corning & Co. was retired, and that of S. Rising & Co. substituted, the substitution remaining the commercial name at present in force. The business is that generally transacted by monetary institutions, and aggregates one million annually.
Presbyterian Church. Early in 1844, the Rev. Elisha Hazzard, came into the neighborhood of where Lena now is and commenced a missionary work, and, in June of the same year, established what was then known as Waddams Grove Presbyterian Church. The society was established at the residence of Pells Manny, about three miles northeast of Lena, and was composed of Samuel F. Dodds, Mary Jane Dodds, Mr. and Mrs. Lyman Strong, Mrs. Sarah Murry, Mr. and Mrs. Hollander, Mr. and Mrs. George Henninger and Benjamin Tucker. Samuel F. Dodds and Lyman Strong were Elders, and services were held in the residence of Pells Manny and the Montague Schoolhouse, a log structure, 18x20, erected in 1839, near the residence of Luman Montague, in Waddams Grove.
Some time in 1847, the first Presbyterian services conducted in Lena were held at the residence of Samuel F. Dodds, the Rev. Aratus Kent preaching, and in 1850, the organization founded in 1844 was permanently located in Lena, though a regular pastor was not obtained until one year subsequently. In 1854, the stone schoolhouse on the north side of Lena street was completed, and used by the Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist societies, alternately. In 1857, the church and congregation commenced the work of erecting their present house of worship, a brick edifice, 35x50 feet, with an audience-room above, and a lecture hall on the first floor, which was completed and dedicated in October, 1859, at a cost of $3,057.25. Since that date, there has been expended on the building for cupola, bell, lecture-room, paper and painting, upward of $1,595, making a total cost of church and furniture over $4,625.
The present value of the church property is upward of $5,000. The congregation numbers not less than seventy-five members, and the following Pastors have officiated since its removal to Lena: The Revs. Robert Colston, E. D. Willis, W. J. Johnson, J. W. Cunningham, L. M. Gates, E. Scofield, H. G. McArthur, J. M. Linn, S. I. McKee, and A. S. Gardiner, the present incumbent.
Amity Evangelical Lutheran Church Was organized in the old stone schoolhouse of the village on the 14th of March, 1857, with a few members, Levi Woodhart and Benjamin Garman, Elders; George Breaux and Daniel Rice, Deacons, and the Rev. E. Fair, Pastor. Previous to this date the Rev. G. J. Donmeyer preached occasionally, the families of Messrs. Grossman and Weaver composing his audience, and forming the nucleus of the present organization.
When fairly under way, arrangements were completed in that behalf, and the present church edifice, the first in the village until subsequent to 1868, was erected at a cost of $7,000. It has since undergone extensive repairs, being refurnished, frescoed, carpeted, etc., and will comfortably seat an audience of 300, though it has, upon special occasions, accommodated 500. The Sabbath school connected with the church is one of the best organized and most efficiently managed in the county, with an average attendance of 125 scholars. The church also owns a commodious parsonage adjoining the church and one of the most beautiful homes in Lena. Located on the corner of Mason and Washington streets, directly opposite the recently completed and very elegant public school edifice, near the center of town, and yet free from the annoyances of business, the Lutheran property is one of the most desirable in the county.
The church enjoys a membership of 150, being a gradual but permanent increase since May 24, 1858, when the communion was first administered to twenty-four communicants; is free from debt, and has been under the charge of the following Pastors, as far as can be ascertained from the records, which are imperfect: The Revs. E. Fair, A. A. Trimper, W. H. Schock, D. L. Tressler, G. B. Black, J. W. Tressler, O. Baird and H. C. Haithcox, the present incumbent.
St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church. This congregation was first organized during the year 1870, when worshipers were few and dependent upon the offices of missionaries resident in adjoining parishes and passing through the county. Services were at first conducted in the old schoolhouse, whence a removal was subsequently made to the stone building previously used as the high school. The congregation remained here until 1872, when the present brick church on Lena street was completed, consecrated and occupied, and is still in the service. The building is 30x45, one story, and cost a total of $2,500.
Services are held every Sabbath, the Irish under the Rev. F. Horgan, of Dublin, occupying the edifice alternately with the Germans, of whom the Rev. E. Freligh is the Pastor. The congregations number eighty-five communicants, and the property of the church is valued at about $5,000.
Free Methodist Church. The Free Methodist society was organized in the fall of 1874 with fifteen members, under the pastorate of the Rev. C. W. Frink. The congregation worshiped in Fowler's Church, on North Railroad street, until 1877, when they removed to the old stone schoolhouse on Lena street, where services are still conducted. Prior to 1879, the church was attached to the Freeport Circuit, but in that year it was assigned to the circuit made up of Lena and Ridott, to which it now belongs, and enjoys a membership of twenty worshipers.
The congregation is gradually increasing in number and influence, and contemplates the erection of a house of worship at an early day. At present services are held weekly, and preaching once in two weeks by the Rev. Orville Frink.
Methodist Church One of the oldest congregations in the township, was organized at first under the direction of Father McKean as early as 1835-36, when the class was made up of less than half a dozen and worship was held in the cabins of settlers. In 1850, a class was organized in Holly Grove, and in 1852 the Lena congregation was established, being connected with the Freeport Circuit. At first, services were held in the schoolhouse on the Dodd's property, whence a removal was made at various times until 1857, when the present church edifice was erected and has since been occupied. The congregation is quite numerous, the church property valuable, and the same ministers serving Freeport have generally been assigned to Lena. The Rev. Joseph Odgers is the Pastor at present occupying the pulpit.
German Lutheran Church. This society originally formed a part of the Amity Evangelical Lutheran Church, which was organized March 14, 1857, and so continued until 1869, when the congregation was divided and the German Lutherans erected the church at present occupied. It is a brick, 35x40, handsomely furnished, with accommodations for about 250 worshipers, and cost $2,500.
The Rev. G. J. Donmeyer officiated as Pastor for several years, and was succeeded by the Rev. W. Fritch, who is at present in service. The present congregation numbers thirty families, and the value of the church property, including a parsonage now building, is estimated at $3,500.
First Baptist Church Was organized early in the forties, at Yellow Creek, under the auspices of the Rev. Mead Bailey, when it was known as the Yellow Creek Baptist Church, with a congregation composed of Martin Howard and family, Samuel, Marshall and Aaron Bailey, with their families, and John Harmon and family. Services were held in private houses until the town of Lena was laid out, when the society removed thither and occupied the log schoolhouse on the Dodds place, jointly with other denominations. Soon after, measures were taken for the erection of a church edifice, which resulted in the building of the Baptist Church on Lena street, at a cost of $1,000, which was completed and dedicated and has since been occupied. In 1864, the church was enlarged and is now one of the neatest religious edifices in Lena.
The congregation numbers 100 members; the church property is valued at $1,500, and the following Pastors have served in its pulpit: The Revs. Mead Bailey, Joshua Ambrose, D. S. Dean, Frederick Bower, I. B. Branch, and F. H. Gilbert, now in the service.
German Methodist Church. In 1850, the Rev. J. J. Young, a minister of the faith, passed through the vicinity of Lena and presented the Gospel to the Germans resident thereabouts in their mother tongue. From this beginning the present society was formed, having been organized in 1852, under the direction of the Rev. John Broear, and worshiping in a log cabin belonging to a Mr. Killman, about three miles southeast of the town. In 1854, the Rev. John Koehler preached in the stone schoolhouse, the first German Methodist minister to officiate in Lena. In 1855, H. Rosenstiel, Charles Altenberndt, C. Rosenstiel, Frederick Koch and Frederick Luedeke were elected Trustees, and in 1856 the Germans built their present church edifice, which was for some years the only church in Lena, the Rev. H. Vosshall being the minister.
The society was poor and owed an indebtedness of $850 on the church, which was prevented from being sold through the personal efforts of the trustees. Notwithstanding which embargoes, the congregation prospered and is today independent. The original members were Mr. and Mrs. Rosenstiel, Sr., Mr. and Mrs. C. Beine, Mr. and Mrs. F. Luedeke, Mr. and Mrs. F. Koch, and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Altenberndt; the congregation today includes sixty members. The value of church property, including a parsonage erected in 1877, is $3,500, and the following ministers have accepted calls to the charge within the past twenty-eight years: The Revs. John Broear, John Koehler, H. Voshall, H. Richter, P. Schaefer, R. Feigenbaum, John Haas, Jacob Schaefer, W. Schreiner, F. Schmidt, H. Sauer, P. Hummel, and C. C. Miller, the Pastor at present in charge.
LENA STAR first set its light upon a hill, in Lena, on the 4th day of January, 1867. At that time, Lena was a thriving town, and recognized as one of the best grain and stock markets in this section of the State. The population was a composition of energetic, go-ahead business men, alive to the importance of building up and sustaining any enterprise having a tendency to enhance values in the vicinity. Hence, J. Gishwiller, a native of Pennsylvania, and S. J. Dodds, an attorney, of Lena, experienced little difficulty in making a beginning and securing 350 subscribers to enable them to accomplish that end. These gentlemen purchased a seven-column Washington hand-press, with sufficient body and display type to set up a patent inside, seven-column folio, and at once entered upon the duties incident to editing and publishing the Lena Star, in the second story of what is now known as Weaver & Siehler's Block.
The Star was neutral in politics, and furnished to subscribers for $2 per annum. The partnership between Gishwiller and Dodd continued until March 1, 1867, when Mr. Dodds retired and Gishwiller conducted the enterprise alone until April 27, when he, too, turned a rule, metaphorically speaking, and sold out to J. M. Shannon, who assumed editorial and managerial control at once, remaining in charge until February 12, 1869.
At that date, a financial cloud dimmed for the time, the shining rays of the Star, and before a dawn of better days the paper was sold under foreclosure proceedings, James S. McCall, editor of the Freeport Journal, becoming the purchaser. The management of the Star was placed in charge of James W. Newcomer, of Freeport, a practical printer and ready writer, who discharged the trust faithfully, and was rewarded by a rapid increase in the circulation and advertising patronage obtained. He remained in charge nearly nine years, when the present editor, W. W. Lowis, formerly editor of the Carroll County Gazette, purchased the material and assumed control. Mr. Lowis changed the paper to a five- column quarto, from a neutral to an independent paper in politics, reduced the price to $1.50 per annum, and otherwise improved its appearance and attractions. The paper is now one of the most complete in its equipment and management in the State of Illinois, having a bona-fide circulation of 700 copies and a large list of advertisers. It is devoted to the building-up of Lena and the surrounding country, and commands the confidence, good will and support of all who are similarly interested.
Lena Lodge, No. 174, A., F. & A. M. Was duly organized October 3, 1855, although a meeting of those subsequently constituting the charter members was convened on the 25th of the previous July. The members and officers then were G. L. Taylor, W. M.; S. F. Dodds, S. W.; J. R. Chambers, J. W.; W. Allen, Secretary; H. Truesdail, Treasurer; R. Patterson, S. D.; W. R. Goddard, Jr., J. D.; F. Voight, Tiler.
Meetings were thereafter held in a building since rented for a term of years and fitted up with the equipments and insignia of the order at a great expense. The lodge prospered from its organization under the dispensation, and now has seventy-four members, officered by S. J. Dodds, W. M.; J. H. Gunsaul, S. W.; F. A. Darling, J. W.; W. W. Stahl, Secretary; John Metz, Treasurer; E. R. Prindle, S. D.; J. A. Clark, J. D.; Wyman Roe, Tiler. Meetings are convened monthly, on the Wednesday evening of the full moon, and the lodge property is valued at $500.
Lena Chapter, No. 105, R. A. M. Was organized under a dispensation granted October 5, 1866, unto ten members, as follows: J. M. Schermerhorn, S. F. Dodds, E. H. Shumway, J. R. Berry, Adam Kemper, D. B. Packer, Albert Bliss, F. W. Byers, R. M. Clark, F. A. Darling, George Heniger, James McFatrich and G. L. Taylor. Of these, J. M. Schermerhorn was elected H. P.; E. H. Shumway, King, and D. B. Packer, Scribe. Meetings are held on the evening of the second Tuesday in each month, at Masonic Hall, and the Chapter now numbers fifty-three members. The present officers are F. A. Darling, H. P.; W. Corning, King, and J. H. Gunsaul, Scribe. The property of the society is valued at $1,000.
Lena Star Lodge, No. 106, I. O. Gr. T. On Wednesday evening, July 2, 1879, a number of the citizens of Lena met in the lecture-room of the Presbyterian Church for the purpose of instituting a regularly chartered Good Templars Lodge. After prayer by the Rev. A. S. Gardiner, Mr. Colgrove, of Freeport, in whose hands the meeting had been placed, administered the obligation to about twenty-five of the forty-one charter members present. The lodge was named, at the suggestion of the Rev. Mr. Gardiner, Lena Star Lodge, and the following officers chosen: S. Rising, W. C. T.; Mrs. Chambers, W. V. T.; Theodore W. Clark, W. R. S.; B. McFatrich, W. F. S.; Miss M. A. Smith, W. T.; F. H. McManigal, W. M.; N. B. Heth, W. C.; Miss Mattie Hall, W. I. G.; M. O. Naramore, W. O. T.; W. W. Hall, Lodge Deputy.
At present the roll of members includes ninety-four names, and meetings are held Friday evenings in Frisby's Hall. The present officers are Theodore W. Clark, P. W. C. T.; J. S. Best, W. C. T.; Miss Mary Knepley, W. V. T.; Miss Mattie Hall, W. R. S.; J. H. Wright, W. F. S.; Miss Linnie Smith, W. T.; Leslie Goddard, W. M.; E. F. Fowler, W. C.; Miss Mary Smith, W. I. G.; George Lemon, W. O. G.; W. W. Hall, Lodge Deputy. The lodge property is valuable.
Lena Lodge, No. 194,, I- O. O. F. Was instituted March 13, 1856, and chartered October 17 following, with S. F. Dodds, J. M. Schermerhorn, J. Simpson, Daniel Thomas, D. De Graff, John Swarts and J. D. Dewey, members. S. F. Dodds was N. G.; Daniel Thomas, V. G.; J. M. Schermerhorn, Secretary, and J. Simpson, Treasurer. At first, meetings were held in Dodds' Hall, from which a removal was made to W. J. Clark's Hall, where the lodge meets weekly on Monday evenings. The present membership includes forty-eight of the craft, officered by F. P. Byrne as N. G.; C. W. Grosscup, V. G.; W. A. Newell, Secretary, and John Metz, Treasurer. The value of lodge property is stated at $1,200.
Centennial Encampment, No. 172, I. O. O. F. Was instituted February 16, 1876, and the charter issued October 10, of the same year, to the following members and officers: W. A. Newell, L. K. Lee, John Reeder, S. S. Pauley, 0. T. P. Steinmetz, Emanuel Kailey and Charles E. Dollenmeyer. O. T. P. Steinmetz, C. P.; S. S. Pauley, H. P.; John Reeder, S. W.; Charles E. Dollenmeyer, J. W.; W. A. Newell, Scribe, and Emanuel Kailey, Treasurer.
The lodge has since increased to twenty members, who convene in the regular session on the evenings of the second and fourth Fridays monthly, at Clark's Hall. The present officers are H. Wingart, C. P.; J. S. Best, H. P.; W. W. Sisson, S. W.; Thomas Foley., J. W.; W. A. Newell, Scribe, and John Metz, Treasurer. The value of encampment property is quoted at $500.
Lena Steam Mills Located at the corner of Schuyler and Lena streets, are the oldest in the village and among the most extensive in this part of the State. The business was established in 1855, by Schermerhorn & Munns, when the present edifice was erected. It is of brick, three stories high, exclusive of the basement, and cost, with the additions and furniture, $11,000. These consist of an engine-house, 16x30, supplied with an engine of thirty-five horse power, and a grist-room 12x40. The mill has three run of buhrs, and, when run to its full capacity, can grind 480 bushels of wheat every twenty-four hours.
time, Messrs. Schermerhorn & Munns disposed of the property to J.
S. Soule, who in turn sold it to J. P. Ring, and, after subsequent transfers,
it came into the possession of A. H. Stahl, the present owner, who paid
$14,000. He employs six hands, and does a business of $8,000 per annum.
Shannon's Carriage Works Located on Schuyler, between Lena and Railroad streets, were established February 4, 1874, by A. Shannon and A. Weaver at their present site. The year following, additions and improvements were made to their establishment, which have been increased each year since, until now, Messrs. S. & W. have one of the most complete repositories in Northern Illinois.
Their line of manufacture embraces all qualities and grades of vehicles, from a track skeleton to a hearse, and from the ordinary democrat to a coach. In the building of these, the firm employ skilled labor only, use the best materials and plans, originating with themselves. They have patented a sliding-seat wagon, and the work turned out is of a well-proportioned and durable character. As a result, their stock is in constant demand, and, as none of it is shipped elsewhere for sale, purchases are made at the shop by dealers and others from a distance.
The firm employ a force of nine hands at a weekly compensation of $141, and do an annual business, estimated at $25,000.
Lena Foundry Established in 1867 by J. McCulloch & Son, on Grant, between Center and Schuyler streets, where for thirteen years they have conducted a successful trade in all parts of the country, and acquired a reputation for responsibility and character. Their line of manufacture comprehends every variety of moldings, in addition to leather-rollers, boot-crimpers, feed-cookers, etc., one hundred of each being turned out annually and shipped to various points in Northern Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. In addition to the branches cited, the firm does a large jobbing and repair work, the business in this and the general class of work completed aggregating $10,000 per annum, and requiring the services of five hands at a weekly compensation of $60. The investment represents a valuation of $6,000.
Central Elevator Owned and conducted by P. H. Kaufman, is located on South Railroad street, opposite the depot of the Illinois Central road, where the buildings were erected, in 1875, at a cost of $4,000. The premises consist of a main building, 40x60, three stories high, with an addition 24x38, one and a half stories high, and containing an engine of twenty-five horse-power by which the machinery is operated. The elevator has capacity for 20,000 bushels of grain, and during the year 1879 a total of 345,738 bushels of oats, wheat, corn, rye and barley, were handled by the management, for which was paid $98,530.91, in addition to $26,000 paid for clover-seed and $25,838 for bags.
Lena Elevator Located on Schuyler street contiguous to the track of the Illinois Central road, was erected in 1868, by Moses Weaver, at a cost of $10, 000, and has a capacity for 25,000 bushels of grain. Mr. Weaver conducted the business for a number of years, but in 1873 John Reeder purchased the enterprise for $5,000, and still controls the establishment. During the year 1879, 238,931 bushels of grain passed the hands of the proprietor, requiring the outlay of $71,290, and adding materially to the prosperity of the town of Lena. The present year it is anticipated the business will be materially greater.
MILITARY. Lena is the headquarters of Company H, Third Regiment Illinois National Guards, organized in 1877. The company is made up of fifty-two muskets, officered by George H. Sherry, Captain, F. M. Halliday and George Houser, Lieutenants, with the usual complement of Sergeants and Corporals. Drill-meetings are held once a month.
OPERA HOUSE, located on South Railroad, between Schuyler and Center streets, was erected by F. E. Beine, in 1878, at a cost of $7,500. The premises are of brick, two stories high, and finished in a handsome style of architecture. The ground floor is devoted to the occupation of stores, while the second story is appropriated to the uses of offices and the opera house auditorium. This latter is about fifty feet square, supplied with a stage, and can comfortably accommodate an audience of five hundred. The building is an ornament to the town, and its uses a convenience to residents, public speakers, lecturers, the strolling player, and all with a stock in trade consisting of genius or wit.
CEMETERY, consisting of four acres, was laid out by S. F. Dodds in 1854, and, though burials took place from that date to the time when it was transferred to the village, July 30, 1866, no cemetery organization was perfected. It is located in the southern part of the village, handsomely laid out and platted, decorated with evergreens and ornamental shrubbery, and contains some decidedly artistic monuments. The cemetery property contains an aggregate of 368 lots, almost wholly taken up, and is under the charge of the Village Trustees.
LENA CATHOLIC CEMETERY, without the limits of, and a short distance from, the northwestern portion of the village, embraces three acres, and was laid out and dedicated in May, 1880. It contains upward of 200 lots, but few interments have as yet been made.
WADDAMS GROVE, a station on the Illinois Central road, four miles west of Lena, was established in 1874. It is a quiet settlement, containing a Methodist Church, school and other buildings peculiar to an inland town of measured resources; also a cheese factory, started by F. S. Farley. As a shipping-point for grain and some other articles of export, it promises, in future years, to attain some degree of importance.
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Stories, Volume 1
Previous to the adoption of the act empowering the incorporation of townships, Buckeye Township was known as Center Precinct, which comprehended the territory that has since been subdivided into Buckeye, Dakota, Harlem and Lancaster Townships. This was the case as late as August, 1838, for, on the 6th of that month, an election was held at the house of Josiah Clingman, in Center Precinct, for State officers, at which John Edwards received twenty-five votes for Governor, and Stephen A. Douglas seven votes for Congress; Ira Jones, Levi Lewis and G. W. Clingman were Judges, and Thompson Wilcoxon and Joseph Green, Clerks.
The earliest settlement made in the present township of which there are any data to deduce conclusions, was during the year 1835. In the spring, John Goddard came to the southern portion of the township, and, in the fall of the same year, David Jones and Levi Lucas came, the former making claim to a large tract of land contiguous to what is now known as Buckeye Center, where he built a cabin and began housekeeping. There was little beyond the hope of what the future might give birth to to encourage the lonely lives of these pioneers, yet they accepted the gauge of life as they found it, and survived to realize many of the promises reserved for after years. In addition to these, George Trotter, Richard Parriott and Henry and William Hollenback came about this time.
In 1836, the roster of inhabitants was increased by the arrival of a few families, including William Robey, who had made a claim there the previous year, Jehu Pile, Andrew St. John, Ira, Job and Daniel Holly and others. Parrott and Pile located near the present town of Cedarville, while the balance entered claims in the northwestern part of the township.
In 1837, the influx of population was somewhat greater. Among those who established themselves in Buckeye that year were Dr. Thomas Van Valzah, J. Tharp, G. W. Clingman, Jackson Richart, Lazarus Snyder, Jacob S. Brown, Joseph Green, and some few more. Dr. Van Valzah purchased the mill claim of John Goddard and Barton Jones, and built what has since been known as the Cedar Creek Mills, also a log cabin for his family. The mill was started in November, 1837, John Fisher turning the bolt, and so continuing until the 1st of January, 1838. In that year, a sudden rise in the creek overflowed and temporarily destroyed the dam, when Fisher's occupation was gone, the power thereafter being furnished by the medium since employed.
In the month of May, 1837, occurred the first death in the township, being that of Richard Parriott, Sr. Robert Jones and A. Richart laid him out after death, and he was buried near Buckeye Center in a coffin fashioned by Robert Jones, the Rev. Mr. Harcott officiating at the grave.
Among those who came in 1838, was James McGhee, Adrian Lucas and others, and it was in this year that the first marriage known to have taken place in Buckeye was recorded. Robert Jones and Mary Herlacher were united in indissoluble bonds at the residence of Dr. Van Valzah, the Rev. Mr. McKean being the clergyman. In those days, pretentious weddings, with the accompaniments of bridal presents, tours, etc., were unknown factors of social life, and not generally indulged. The bridegroom escorted his wife to the cabin he had erected, as above mentioned, and began his dual existence without the accessories thereto now deemed indispensable to prosperity and happiness. On the 23d of June following, David Jones was born to the couple, the first birth of record in the township. John Murdaugh and Benjamin Bennett were also among the arrivals this year.
In 1840, the population began once more to increase. The Pottawatomies and Winnebagoes still flourished in the vicinity, and had their camp at the mouth of Richland Creek; but their presence deterred no one from venturing into the neighborhood and setting up a home. J. B. Clingman came this year, as did also Philip Reitzell and George Reitzell, who settled near where Buena Vista now is; Henry Wohllford, John Fryebarger, Richard Parriott, Jr., Franklin Scott, George Ilgen, who afterward laid out Cedarville, a man named Eddy, etc. Indeed, 1840, was the golden year of Buckeye Township, so far as the increase in population and development of resources were concerned. Farms were opened, homes prepared, and, notwithstanding the hard life that was imposed upon settlers, the county and township began to fill up quite rapidly.
In those primitive times, the inhabitants depended mainly upon their guns, and skill in the use, for meat, which was obtained from the herds of deer and flocks of prairie chickens which were to be found in the timber. Flour was almost an unknown quantity, and until mills were erected on water-courses the settlers were obliged to obtain that commodity either at Galena or Wolf Creek. When this was impossible, they scraped corn on what were known as gritters, by which a coarse-grained meal was obtained, from which dodgers were baked, and the pangs of hunger mitigated.
Soon after 1840, the conveniences of life became more accessible. The rough, unsatisfactory character of the mills gave place to handsome buildings and improved machinery. The population increased annually, and, by the time that Cedarville was laid out, numbered many families, with the names of which the earlier comers were not familiar. The township and its towns are in a prosperous condition, with a population estimated at about 1,800, and with promise of future wealth and usefulness.
CEDARVILLE, the chief town in Buckeye Township, and a point presenting many attractive features for residence and business purposes, is located six miles north of Freeport, and contiguous to the line dividing Buckeye from Harlem and Lancaster Townships. Its situation is singularly beautiful, presenting every variety of landscape to the artistic eye, without the quality of sameness which palls by its very monotony. Cedar Creek courses an uneven and eccentric way to the east, rugged hills rise in prominence to the north, while, on the east and west, orchards, meadows and fields flowing with ripening grain, are sights which greet the eye of the visitor in that perfect of perfect months, laughing June.
When the earlier settlers of what was at first known as Center Precinct made their advent into future Buckeye Township, they, as a rule, tarried about future Cedarville, not only impressed with the beauty of the scenery, but the advantages it then presented for all desirous of establishing a home. Notwithstanding these patent advantages the pioneer pilgrims into this part of Stephenson County, tarried not, but pursued their wanderings in the van of those competing with the Star of Empire and Greeley's young man, for a claim further west, and it was not until 1837 that any movement was inaugurated, which finally culminated, though not until twelve years after, in the surveying and laying-out of the present town. In that year, Dr. Thomas Van Valzah, as has already been stated, established himself in Center Precinct, raised a log cabin for the protection of his growing family, built a saw-mill and laid the foundation for the abundance of thrift today visible to the traveler, as also the resident, in all directions.
The old mill has passed through a varied experience since those days of primitive wants and unpretentious inhabitants, and still, in parts, stands a wreck of its former magnificence, at a distance from the spot whereon its birth was celebrated. The territory allotted to its occupation, long since yielded possession to the Cedarville mills, revised and corrected editions of the saw and grist mills, with which Dr. Van Valzah, nearly half a century, ago, sought patronage in contributing to the necessities as also the luxuries of his neighbors.
In 1849, George Ilgen, an early settler in the township, first conceived the idea of establishing the present town of Cedarville. He had emigrated to the West years before from Pennsylvania, and made claim to a quarter-section of land, on which the town, in part, now stands, but removed to a distant part of the county and engaged in farming. About the year mentioned, he procured a survey of the town site, laid off streets, town lots and other landed appurtenances appropriate to the object, and waited the rush of purchasers of his realty. Marcus Montelius officiated as surveyor, and, beyond the log cabin and mill erected by Dr. Van Valzah, no other edifices were to be seen in the vicinity. For some months the tide of emigration failed to realize his possibly too sanguine expectations, and it was not for two years thereafter that buildings began to add the spice of variety to the scenes of woodland and prairie visible on all sides. Some time in 1850, James Canfield established a brick-kiln two miles west of the prospective village, and from this date improvements proved other than exceptions.
Samuel Sutherland built a brick house on the main street which still stands, being occupied as the store of Richart & Son, also the post office. Francis Knauss put up a frame residence and tin-shop; James Benson, a brick store, and Jacob Latshaw, building a tavern, enacted the role of the village boniface. It should be observed that the first cabin covered for occupation within the precincts of the town site, was that finished and occupied by George Seyler. David Clements erected a brick house along in 1851, as also did Dr. Bucher, (the latter still standing opposite the post office), and lived there for years, his widow now occupying the premises. During the years 1850-52, improvement was rapid, but after these years there was a falling-off, no marked effort being made to render the village either attractive or populous. In 1854, the handsome private residence of John H. Addams was erected, and in 1858, the mill owned by the same gentleman.
There are four churches the Methodist, completed in 1849, of brick; the German Reformed and Lutheran, in 1854, also of brick; the Evangelical, of brick, in 1859, and the Presbyterian, a handsome frame with an attractive and well-proportioned steeple, in 1876.
In 1878, improvements began to appear again and prosperity to once more "boom. J. W. Henney & Co. began the manufacture of carriages in a large frame warehouse occupying a prominent corner in the eastern portion of the town, and Reel & Seyler put up a commodious establishment north of Henney's carriage depot for the manufacture of middings purifiers. Since that date, however, improvements have hardly kept pace with the times; the village remaining a quiet, prosperous, attractive resort, presenting very few, if any, of the features which entice with the glare and dissipation of her more populous neighbors, yet furnishing all the inducements for health and modest ambition to be found in numberless villages which dot the landscape of Northern Illinois.
The school system in force is the same as has obtained throughout the county, affording a complete and ready means for obtaining an education substantial and comprehensive; the religious interests are large and generously supported; the manufacturing establishments afford employment to a number of laborers, and the surrounding country pays a liberal tribute to the maintenance of its commercial and other interests.
Cedarville contains a population estimated at 400, and has not yet been incorporated, being under the form of government appropriated to township organizations.
The cause of education found expression in Buckeye long before the metes and bounds of that township had been legally penned. A school was opened three miles northeast of Cedarville in 1836, but it was not until ten years later that the town itself succeeded in providing the young idea with comfortable accommodations wherein to pursue knowledge, unattended by the difficulties which invariably accompany every initial effort in that behalf.
In 1846, subscriptions were made for the organization of a school, and the erection of a building, the latter to be located near the burying-ground. The efforts primarily undertaken were far from encouraging, but finally these succeeded through the influence and patronage of the Clingmans, John H. Addams and other enterprising residents, and the schoolhouse, a one-story frame, 20x30, was completed and ready for service.
A Mr. Chadwick, now residing in La Salle, and Miss Julia Putnam were the first teachers who sought to elevate the youthful generation of scholars coming from far and near to partake of the mental pabulum furnished in those days. Among these were George, Mary and Caroline Clingman, the Young children, the Treastor children, Wynkoops juniors, and many others whose names have been forgotten by the limited number who were familiar therewith thirty-four years ago. This school was operated with gratifying success until 1853. By that time, the daily attendance became so numerous as to necessitate larger quarters, and the basement of the Lutheran Church, then completed, and awaiting the erection of the superstructure, was obtained, and used for school purposes being so used until 1855.
Soon after taking possession of the last-named quarters, the School Directors decided upon building the present brick edifice, and inaugurated measures looking to that end. Their first effort was directed toward the obtaining of funds, which were secured by the levy of a tax on resources not realized, that is, by anticipating the tax for schools due two years from that time. This was accomplished without opposition, and $2,000 rewarded this extra-legal proceeding. With the amount thus obtained, the brick building since occupied, being 55x30, and two stories high, was completed and turned over for use in 1855, the lower room being reserved for school uses, while the upper part was used as a public hall. In 1857 the hall was reconstructed and fitted up for a private school, taught by Miss Gorham, since married to Col. H. C. Forbes, who remained in charge until 1865, when she gave place to a successor, who continued the guardian of ambitious youth for a brief period, when the private venture was abandoned, and the entire building opened to public patronage. This is now known as District School No. 5, furnishing a good common-school education to an average daily attendance of ninety pupils, and is governed by a Board of Directors, consisting of J. H. Addams, Joseph P. Reel and Jacob Sill. Two teachers are employed at an annual cost of $500, which is obtained by taxation, and the school property represents a valuation of about $2,500.
Methodist Church. The followers of Wesley first manifested their presence in Buckeye Township as early as 1839, and were composed of the families of residents who have since been included among the most substantial and enterprising of those who have materially contributed to the building-up of the county and the State. These comprehended Josiah Clingman and family, G. W. Clingman and family, Barton and Ira Jones and families, William Robey and family, A. K. Richart and others.
Prior to 1849, the communicants were dependent upon the visits of circuit riders, and worshiped in the log schoolhouse near the branch, at private houses, and such other points as convenience or necessity dictated.
In 1849, the Methodist Church at Cedarville was commenced, and completed in 1850, since when the pious residents of the township have rejoiced in a local habitation, as also name. The edifice is of brick, one story high, 35x40, and, though completed in 1850, was not ready for use until a year later, when the dedicatory services were held and the auditorium formally opened.
Its cost is stated to have been nearly $1,400, and services are held on alternate Sundays, the Rev. H. Wells, Pastor, officiating, dividing his labors between the congregations of Cedarville and Dakota. The congregation is stated at about fifty families, and the value of the church property at $1,500.
The Presbyterian Church Of Cedarville, was organized in 1872, with John Coates, Pascal and Mrs. Wright, Simon Yerger, John Thomas, Nancy and Elizabeth Boles, George Thompson and James Wilson as charter members. Immediately upon the organization being perfected, the association procured accommodation in the Methodist Church for worship, remaining there for two years, when a move was made to the Lutheran Church, which was occupied conjointly with the Lutherans for a similar period. In 1876, it was decided to erect a church for the sect, and the congregation labored so effectively that before the year closed the present handsome structure was completed, at a cost of $2,600, and taken possession of. The edifice is commodious, built of frame, and by far the most attractive church, architecturally speaking, to be seen in the village.
The following Pastors have officiated since the society was founded: The Revs. A. March and E. Ross, 1872; C. Elliott, 1873, after which, and until 1875, transient ministers filled the pulpit; L. Mitchell, 1875; John Irwin, the present incumbent, 1879. The communicants number fifteen, and the church property is valued at $2,500.
Evangelical Association. This religious organization was established in Buckeye at an early day, where it has increased in numbers and influence in a remarkable degree. Prior to 1856, the class worshiped in the schoolhouse and at the residences of members, prominent among whom were the families of Benjamin Hess, Christine Auman, David Neidigh, Benjamin Levan, Robert Sedam, William Vore, Henry Mark, Jacob Sills and others. In 1856, the needs of the society for a house of worship influenced the appointment of a committee of arrangements and preparations to be made in that behalf. Lots were purchased in the southeastern part of town, of Sophia Otto and George Ilgen, contracts concluded for labor on the church proper, and the edifice erected of brick, during 1856. It is a handsome building 40x50, appropriately furnished, supplied with an organ, and cost, ready for occupation, $3,000.
The first services, it is believed, were conducted by the Rev. Levi Tobias, who remained in charge some years, and has been succeeded at intervals by the following Pastors: The Revs. Joseph Snell, H. Messner, A. Swartz, C. G. Kleinicht, David Kramer, and W. W. Shuler, the present incumbent. The congregation numbers 150 members, and the church property is valued at $2,000.
Lutheran and Reform Church Was organized by the Lutherans on the 11th of October, 1850, with fifteen members. Services were held by the Lutherans and German Reformed congregations, jointly, in the schoolhouse in Cedarville, until about 1852, when the present church edifice was contracted for. It was completed during the same year and occupied, but its formal dedication was postponed until some years later.
The church is of brick, 40x55, handsomely furnished throughout, supplied with an organ, and cost, when completed ready for occupancy, $3,000.
The following Lutheran Pastors have officiated since the church was first established: The Revs. G. J. Donmeyer, E. Miller, J. Stoll, A. B. Niddleswarth and B. F. Pugh. The congregation at present numbers thirty members.
Services are held alternately in the church by the German Reformed congregation, led by the Rev. Mr. Shimpf, of Orangeville.
Cedarville Cemetery Association Was incorporated July 14, 1855, by M. Montelius, John H. Addams, Josiah Clingman, Peter Woodring and John Wilson, for the purpose of purchasing and caring for lands, etc., for the burial of the dead. The association at once organized by the election of Josiah Clingman, President, with John H. Addams as Secretary and Treasurer. Three acres of ground were procured, which were surveyed, platted and divided into lots, intersected by avenues at regular intervals. The plat was approved and recorded by the Board of Supervisors at the meeting of that body, in March, 1859, and is now under a board of officers, of which Jackson Richart is President, and John H. Addams, Secretary and Treasurer. The grounds are handsomely laid out, ornamented with varieties of forest trees, shrubberies and flowers, and contain a number of elaborately finished monuments.
Purifier Manufactory. The invention of a middlings purifier, of superior excellence, is of recent date, and is due to the genius of Joseph P. Reel, a resident of Cedarville, and head of the firm of Reel & Seyler. In 1877, these gentlemen erected a building on Main street, and, having perfected the patent, began to manufacture the machine, which is rapidly attaining an extensive demand both in America and Europe. The building cost $1,100 to finish, wherein the firm employ six hands, at a weekly compensation of $60; turn out one hundred machines annually, and do a business of $30,000 per year.
McCammon's Carriage Factory. This enterprise is of recent date, and was established by J. B. McCammon, April 1, 1880, in the premises formerly occupied by J. W. Henney & Co., who removed to Freeport, thus affording an opportunity for enterprise and industry to build up a large business. Mr. McCammon employs five hands, at a weekly cost of $35, and will do a business this year (1880) of $10,000. His manufacture includes every variety of buggy, spring and lumber wagons.
Carriage Factory of John Shaffer. Established in 1859, in Cedarville. During the year 1875, Mr. Shaffer purchased the shop of J. W. Henney, and has constantly done a large and annually increasing business. He now employs six hands, at a weekly expense of $53, and turns out a total of sixty vehicles per annum.
Cedarville Flour Mills Among the oldest establishments of the kind in the county, owe their origin to Dr. Thomas Van Valzah, who put up a sawmill near the site of the present building, in 1837. The affair was of the simplest pattern, and during the following year he increased his responsibilities by the addition of a grist-mill, supplied with one run of buhrs and a pair of choppers. Dr. Van Valzah retained control until 1840, when he sold to David Neidigh, who, in turn, disposed of the property to Conrad Epley and John W. Shuey. These gentlemen held the title until 1844, when it became vested in J. H. Addams for a consideration of $4,400.
In 1846, Mr. Addams rebuilt the mill, added two run of stone and otherwise improved the venture at a cost of $4,000. These were operated until 1858, when the present mill supplied the place of its pioneer predecessor, under the direction of Mr. Addams, and still remains. The building is of frame, three stories high, 36x54, supplied with three run of stones, and cost, complete, $10,000. It has capacity of turning out 100 barrels of flour daily, and the investment represents a valuation of $15,000.
Cedarville Library. As already stated, this library was established thirty-four years ago, when the village of Cedarville was known as Cedar Creek Mills, and when its patrons, if less numerous, were more choice in their selections than the reading public of today.
The association was organized early in the spring of 1846, and placed under a Board of Trustees, consisting of the following-named gentlemen: John H. Addams, A. B. Clingman, A. W. Lucas, Josiah Clingman and William Irvin. In May of that year, the purchase of books was commenced and the same placed on shelves in a room in the residence of John H. Addams, accessible to all who desired to avail themselves of the privileges thus afforded, which are still continued on the spot of their origin. The collection is made up of standard works, including those of Gibbon, Macauley, Prescott, Hume, etc., history being the basis, and comparatively little of a character calculated to entertain without improving.
The library, which has been a source of infinite pleasure and instruction to the residents of Cedarville and vicinity, is still in active operation, with a large number of volumes waiting the requisition of patrons to contribute to their edification.
Independent Band of Cedarville A musical association organized on the 8th of July, 1873, with the following members and officers: O. P. Cromley, O. P. Wright, Ashley Barber, John Wright, John W. Henney. J. B. McCammon, Charles Rockey, E. J. Benethum, Samuel Barber, John Oswald and W. M. Clingman; George W. Barber, President; A. W. Templeton, Secretary, and Henry Richart, Treasurer. These members furnish instrumental music on all occasions, when their services are required, and meet for practice on Monday and Thursday evenings. The present officers are Henry Richart, President; George W. Barber, Leader; J. B. McCammon, Secretary, and W. M. Clingman, Treasurer. The value of society property is stated at $406.
Post Office. The first post office established in the village was located at Cedar Creek Mills, about 1841 or 1842, with George Reitzell as Postmaster. He was succeeded, it is thought, by William Irvin, who was followed by Robert Sedam, Jonathan Sills and Jackson Richart. The latter was appointed in 1856, and still serves the people.
BUCKEYE CENTER. Buckeye Center is located three miles north of Cedarville and the seat of the town house, also an Evangelical Church, one of the oldest in the county, having been erected in 1849. The congregation was at one time quite extensive, but is today limited to thirty members. The Rev. J. D. Shuler occupies the pulpit every other Sunday, alternately with the Rev. Mr. Schaffle.
BUENA VISTA. Buena Vista, a town of about 125 inhabitants, is located on Richland Creek, in the extreme western portion of the township, eleven miles from Freeport, and three miles from the line dividing Illinois and Wisconsin. The town was platted September 19, 1852, out of 40 acres of land contributed by Philip Reitzell, Marcus Montelius acting as surveyor. At that time, the county was but imperfectly settled, and lots in Buena Vista were not in general demand. Along in 1856, lots became marketable commodities, and were sold to William H. Hoff, Lewis Coppersmith, Thomas Strahorn and others. From that date, the rush of purchasers has never been booming, and Buena Vista remains today an inland county town without much to attract or discourage the visitor or speculator. The school facilities are ample, but there is no church in the village, the residents attending service at the Bellevue Church, one and a-half miles east of the town.
Whitehall Mills Grist and saw, were erected as early as 1839 or 1840, by Philip Reitzell, though the saw-mill had been built by Ezra Gillett. Mr. R. died in 1852, when Buena Vista was laid out, and his sons succeeded to the management of the mill business. They operated the business until 1869, when the mill property was sold under foreclosure proceedings to the Northwestern Life Insurance Company, for $22,000. In 1870, Jacob Schatczell and Jacob Rumel purchased the investment and sold it in turn to Samuel Wagner, who sold to Jerry Wohlfort, the present owner, for about $18,000.
The mill is of frame, three stories high, 50x66, with three run of buhrs and capacity for 100 barrels of flour per day. When Schatczell & Rumel took possession, they tore down the old saw-mill and rebuilt the same at some distance north of the grist-mill. The mill is furnished with an upright saw, with rip and other saws, enabling the present owners to turn out a large quantity of building material annually.
Both mills are moved by water-power obtained from Richland Creek.
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Stories, Volume 1
WADDAMS TOWNSHIP, one of the northern townships of Stephenson County, was first surveyed, according to information derived from the proverbial oldest inhabitants, by William Hamilton, son of the noted Federalist who met his death at the hands of Aaron Burr. This was early in the thirties. Subsequently, the land surveyed by Hamilton was subdivided into sections, and, after the county was set apart, Levi Robey, Erastus Torrey and Robert Foster laid it off into townships and christened the territory included in Waddams. It was named for William Waddams, one of the earliest settlers in this portion of the State, is six miles square and contains a large area of cultivated acres. The land is prairie and rolling, highly fertile, and watered by the Pecatonica and numerous creeks and rivulets.
On the 21st of November, 1834, William Robey, accompanied by his family, which consisted of a wife, Levi Robey and wife, John Robey, William W. Robey, Thomas L. Robey, Francis A. Robey, Elizabeth and Mary Robey, came into Illinois from Portsmouth, Ohio, and settled at Brewster's Ferry, near the present town of Winslow. On St. Valentine's Day, 1835, Levi Robey and wife removed to the present town of Waddams, locating at a point on the bank of the Pecatonica half a mile northeast of his present residence. The township was then a howling wilderness, inhabited by Indians and wild beasts, with no other white person in the vicinity. Mr. Robey was the first to settle in the township. His neighbors consisted of the balance of the family left at Brewster's Ferry; John Dixon, who kept a ferry thirty-five miles distant, on Rock River; a man named Kent, living near the present city of Rockford; William Waddams, seven miles west, and a man named Mack, who had married a squaw and was keeping house near the mouth of the river.
Mr. Robey entered claim to a quarter-section of land at the point above designated, and built a log hut, wherein he resided for many years after the tide of emigration had set in and contributed additions to the population.
Later in the spring of the same year, Nelson Wait, brother-in-law of Mr. Robey, joined the latter, took up ground and began its clearing; and during 1835 the number of inhabitants was further increased by the arrival of Hubbard Graves and wife, Charles Gappen, Abija Watson, John and Thomas Baker and William Willis, who distributed themselves over the township and made the beginning of what today is one of the most productive and profitably cultivated sections in the county. In those days, the same privations which settlers elsewhere were subjected to were the portion of pioneers in Waddams.
Their mail and supplies were procured at Galena, and to obtain meal, grits or flour, compelled a journey to the mill at Wolf Creek, consuming two, and oftener three, days. But the fertility of the soil and the industry and enterprise of the inhabitants supplied many comforts the absence of these qualities would have rendered it impossible to obtain, and the long winter nights were thereby rendered more enjoyable than frequently falls to the lot of early settlers to experience. With the return of spring, out-door work was resumed, and the endeavor made to increase the acreage of cultivation for future benefits.
In 1836, Lydia Wait removed from Ohio to Waddams with her family, consisting of Asa, Maria and Fidelia, and settled on the northern part of Waddams. This venturesome lady has long since paid the tribute of mortality; but her son, Asa, still lives at the old homestead. Thomas Hawkins, John Boyington, N. Phillips, John Lobdell, Pells Manny, Lewis Grigsby, Barney Stowell, a man named Velie and Nicholas Marcellus came about that time also. In fact, Waddams began to be thickly settled from 1835. New-comers were welcomed; the advantages offered in a productive soil and hospitable climate attracted a generous patronage, composed of men of substantial character, ready to encounter difficulties, and to avail themselves of opportunities. Among those who came during 1836 was John Dennison, who emigrated from Wisconsin. He made claim to 1,000 acres, on which the present town of New Pennsylvania is in part located.
From this date on, Waddams was more rapidly settled than previously, and the country thoroughly cultivated. The first birth was William A. Robey, son of Uncle Levi Robey, the oldest living settler in the county, who was born September 21, 1836.
NEW PENNSYLVANIA. The only town of importance in Waddams, as already stated, owes its origin to John Dennison, a Wisconsin agriculturist, who made claim to one thousand acres on the east bank of the Pecatonica River, for town purposes. He came to the county in the spring of 1836, and erected a saw-mill above the grove, which he operated in conjunction with John Vanzant, and which was until recent years a landmark of early days.
In 1837, Dennison & Vanzant laid off the tract into town lots, the latter acting as surveyor, and made other improvements as a means of attracting purchasers. In the spring of 1838, Robert McConnell purchased the title of D. & V., and named the prospective town McConnell's Grove, since when it has been known under that title, Bobtown, and finally, New Pennsylvania. A storehouse was put up the same year, by McConnell, stocked with goods from Galena, and maintained as a trading depot long after the promise of New Pennsylvania becoming a city had gone glimmering.
The tract was finally sold to the Illinois Central Railroad Company, and, after that corporation had exhausted the supply of timber available for fuel and building purposes, it was disposed of to John Kennedy. He sold lots and tracts to purchasers, including John Ault, Lewis G. Reed, Charles Webster, George Buck and others, who came to the country about the year 1855, when emigration was quite general to the West.
Today, the town of New Pennsylvania has a population of about 150 residents, a comfortable hotel, two wagon and blacksmith shops, two stores, a harness-shop, and mail facilities three times a week with Freeport. It is a thriving town for its size, with all the religious and educational facilities peculiar to a location remote from railroad travel.
The schoolhouse located on the road to Cedarville, and near the Lutheran Church, was first erected in 1849, and through thirty years' exposure to the elements, has held its own, with the promise of usefulness, for decades yet unborn.
The first teachers employed in the vicinity were Fayette Goddard and Adeline Hulburt, who taught an average daily attendance of seventy scholars for many years. Since those times the district has been twice divided, once in 1868 and again in 1871, and at present the daily attendance averages about fifty pupils of both sexes.
One teacher is employed, and the annual expense of operating the school is about $350, raised by taxation.
Lutheran Church. The only church in the village was organized October 19, 1850, with nineteen members, and the Rev. G. J. Donmeyer, Pastor. At first the schoolhouse was used as a place of worship, but in 1869, the present edifice was erected. It is of brick, 30x45, ornamented with a steeple, and cost $2,200. The present congregation numbers fifty members, and the following Pastors have officiated: Revs. G. J. Donmeyer, J. Stoll, J. K. Bloom and G. J. Donmeyer, recalled, and at present the incumbent.
Three miles west of New Pennsylvania is a Lutheran congregation, also organized by Mr. Donmeyer, in 1851, with thirteen members. Twenty years later, the association built the church now in use, for $1,800, and has since occupied it. The Rev. J. W. Fritch is the Pastor now officiating.
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Stories, Volume 1
Full fifty years ago, Lyman Brewster, a wealthy landowner, who had emigrated from Vermont to Tennessee, where he acquired a competency, turned his face North, and halted not until he reached the settlement then making at Peru, on the Illinois River. How long he tarried here, is not of record; but, in the spring of 1833, he continued his prospecting tour, finally reaching the present site of Winslow, in Winslow Township, where he entered a claim, erected a comfortable house, cleared 80 acres of ground, and established Brewster's Ferry, the first ferry in the county, and for many years the only one accessible to emigrants in crossing the Pecatonica River. Mr. Brewster was the first white man who ever made a claim in Winslow Township, and after a brief stay, by which time others had followed in his venturesome footsteps, he rented the ferry and adjoining property to William Robey, and returned to Peru, where he died.
Winslow Township is in the extreme northwest corner of the county, and, though one of the smallest, it will compare favorably with other townships in the amount of improved lands and quality of cultivation.
On the west side of the Pecatonica River, which crosses the eastern portion of the township, the country is gently rolling, being made up of prairies and barrens, with but few wooded tracts. East of that stream, however, beautiful hardwood groves break the monotony of the prairie landscape at intervals, furnishing abundant fuel, fencing and building materials. The prairies are fertile and the soil generally of a rich, black loam, with inexhaustible productive powers for agricultural purposes. The climate is healthful, the grain-growing region furnishes large returns to the farmer, fruits are successfully grown, and the blue grass, which is said to have been imported into Stephenson County by George Trotter, of Buckeye Township, thrives luxuriantly, affording rich grazing fields and supplies of hay for the winter season.
Among those who made their adventurous way into the township the same year that witnessed the advent of Mr. Brewster, were Joe Abenos and A. C. Ransom, the latter going back East for his family, after surveying the outlook, and returning the following spring. Abenos assisted Mr. Brewster in the management of the ferry, while Ransom settled in Section 36, a mile and a half southeast of the village of Winslow, where he entered a claim and laid off the town of Ransomburg. But the town did not prosper as was anticipated, Winslow appropriating the new-comers because of its more favorable site, and Ransomburg in time was utilized for farming purposes, Robert Pilson now residing and farming within its original metes and bounds.
George Payne came to the county and settled at Brewster's Ferry in 1834, as also did George W. Lott, who erected a shanty in the present village of Winslow, and Harvey and Jerry Webster.
The advance thus made by the brave pioneers, and the struggle they encountered in contending for the permanent establishment of the cause of civilization in this uninhabited wilderness, was not without results in paving the way for the rise and progress of this portion of the county through the influence of the immigration that succeeded their coming.
The year 1835 witnessed the arrival of a comparatively large number of settlers, mostly from the Eastern States. James and W. Henry Eells, made claims and established themselves W. H. now resides in Section 35; Alvah Denton came in the fall and opened a farm in Section 25, removing subsequently to Section 26. Lemuel W. Streator reached the county and purchased the Brewster property, which included the ferry and 640 acres of land, paying the heirs of Brewster, who had died in the meantime, $4,000 therefor. Mr. Streator married Miss Mary Stewart, subsequently, and became one of the wealthy men of those primitive days. During the same year, George W. Lott, with the Webster brothers, commenced the building of a saw-mill in the future village across the creek, the former contracting to complete the mill in consideration of the brothers preparing the dam. While thus occupied, Hector P. Kneeland made his appearance and aided in the work. The mill was finished during the fall, and the builders took possession, owning one-quarter each.
The winter passed without the happening of any event which was deemed worthy of preservation for the future generation, the hardships, toils, trials, persecutions and suffering incident to pioneer life experienced elsewhere, being duplicated in Winslow, with the same circumstances, pleasures and triumphs to fend their advance and mitigate the severity of their attacks. Joseph R. Berry settled in the town during 1835, as did others who have left no marks behind to guide investigations as to the date of their coming, or other particulars in that behalf. The spring brought with it a return of previous vicissitudes, labors and vexations of spirit, also the encouragement that tempers similar afflictions. During 1836, Stewart & McDowell (new arrivals) opened a store in Ransomburg, procuring their stock from Galena. They remained there for several years, and then removed to Oneco, establishing themselves on the place where Lewis Gibler subsequently resided, now owned by Judge Hinds.
The year 1836 is further remembered as the annual during which the settlers were provided with medical attention by one of their own number. Previous to that period, the sick were dosed with medicaments procured in Galena, and attended by physicians, to the manor born, of other regions. But W. G. Bankson came on to the scene in 1836, and, settling on Section 25, advertised his services as awaiting the demand of the public. Others came in about this time, including Harmon Coggeshall, James Macomber, etc.
The first marriage to occur in Winslow, within the memory of the oldest living inhabitant, took place in the fall of 1836. The ceremony united Dr. Bankson and Phoebe Macomber, and was witnessed on the heights of Ransomburg in the presence of a large (?) and doubtless interested audience. A circuit rider, or Squire Waddams, did the business.
The first death is also said to have taken place this season, being the death of the son of Lemuel Streator.
During 1837, it is not thought that immigration tended in the direction of Winslow, though Illinois and Stephenson County received large accessions to the number of their inhabitants. But, for some unexplained reason, Winslow was exempted from participation in these benefits accruing elsewhere during that year, Charles Macomber, Cornelius and the Rev. Philo Judson, Ephraim Labaugh, Alfred Gaylord, Rev. Asa Ballinger and S. F. M. Fretville being the only arrivals the record of whose coming has survived the rust of ages.
That many came, is undoubted. That any in transit resisted the fertile acres dotted everywhere with evidences of wealth, or the temptation to remain and dispute possession of these wood prairies with the red man, who sported along the flowery banks of the Pecatonica, it is impossible to conclude. Those who came, saw and were conquered; but the hand of Time has effaced their coming from the memory of those who live today, and further mention of them is precluded. The Judsons settled below Brewster's Ferry, and Philo, who was a minister, subsequently removed to other scenes. His daughter is well known, not alone to the citizens of Stephenson County, but throughout the Northwest, as Mrs. Gov. Beveridge, a lady identified with many objects of charity and the cause of reform.
In 1838, affairs began to brighten and became more encouraging. On the 10th of January, a son was born to Silas and Miranda Gage, though his was not the first birth in the town, Sirah Maria Denton having been born in the fall of 1836. He still lives in Winslow Village, where he is known as I. V. Gage. In the spring following, Newcomb Kinney entered land and broke up a farm on Section 26. Hiram Gaylord joined his son Alfred, who came in 1837. Cornelius and Jonathan Cowan cast their lot with Winslow also.
On the 28th of May, John Bradford, Thomas Loring and Columbus and Ichabod Thompson, together with the Moulton brothers, arrived from Plymouth County, Mass. They came to build up and improve lands held by the Boston Western Land Company, on which the village of Winslow was subsequently built. That summer they built a wagon and blacksmith shop, shingle factory, and the American House, which latter is still standing. Elias and Edward Hunt came in the same year. Joseph R. Berry, who came in 1835-36 and revisited the East for his family, returned to Winslow in 1839, and settled above the village site. W. P. Cox settled the same year in Section 35. Gilson Adams, A. A. Mallory and others came during the same year.
In 1844, Cyrus Woodman came to Winslow as agent of the Boston Land Company, and from that date the progress of the township has not only been rapid but assured. In 1850, it was set apart from the county as Winslow Township and placed under township organization. At the present date it is regarded as one of the most prosperous and attractive townships in the county, with every element to commend it to the successful consideration of all who seek homes among the thrifty, where a promise of happiness and contentment can invariably be realized.
The township was named about 1838, after Gov. Winslow, one of the early provisional Governors of Massachusetts, by W. S. Russell, agent of the Boston Western Land Company.
In earlier times the Boston Western Land Company, a corporation domiciliated in Massachusetts, held title to about 72,000 acres of land, divided between the States of Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin. Of this a tract of 700 acres was located in Winslow Township, on the present site of the town. In 1844, Cyrus Woodman succeeded W. S. Russell as the company's agent, and, by authority vested in him, surveyed, platted and laid off the village of Winslow.
Lots on the east side of the main street were from 60 to 100 feet front by 300 feet in depth, those on the opposite side varying in size and dimensions; they were held at prices ranging from $10 to $25 each. At that time there were but three houses within the corporate limits of the village, one standing where the Presbyterian Church now is, another where James Fuller now resides, and the American Hotel. The idea seemed to impress the founders of this town that the future reserved infinite prosperity for the undertaking, and they described the city limits with this fact constantly in mind. Streets were laid out and named, squares surveyed and staked, a wharf provided for at the foot of Bridge street, and other labors accomplished tending to attract remunerative, if not immediate, returns. But these returns failed to materialize with amazing rapidity, and in time the title of the company was transferred to individuals for farming and resident purposes.
In 1850, when the township was organized, there was a slight ripple of excitement among the more sanguine, and the hope of future prominence revived for a season. But the looked-for golden age in the history of the village was again postponed, and its arrival is looked upon by the residents today as an article too indefinite for grave consideration one of those things no man can find out. Some hope is felt that a narrow-gauge railroad, said to be under consideration by the North- Western Company, may pass in the vicinity of Winslow, which would have the effect of appreciating business and increasing the value of property; in any event, the town will remain what it has always been, an attractive point for trade and residence, with abundant water-power, and accessible to all localities for business or pleasure.
The town is well built, the residences suggesting a New England village, and indicating the comfortable competence of the inmates. The stores and warehouses are of frame, brick and stone, of ample capacity for the business transacted, and of the most substantial character. The village contains an energetic population, five stores, one church edifice, and two hotels, which are both comfortable and homelike, and if the wheels of progress have been stayed in the beautiful valley that incloses Winslow in an embrace of hills rivaling the vale of Cashmere in the loveliness of their verdure, the residents are compensated for its absence in the comfort and independence apparent to the most casual visitor or observer.
The religious interests of the early settlers were considered and cared for, prior to 1840, by the Rev. Asa Ballinger, a Methodist circuit preacher, who came to Winslow in 1837, and each Sabbath thereafter preached the word of God to the pioneers, in the groves, private cabins and elsewhere, as circumstances enabled him. In 1840, the Rev. Elisha H. Hazzard, a Congregational minister, divided the field with Elder Ballinger, and is said to have been quite successful in his efforts at converting sinners or recalling back-sliders. From this date up to about 1855, the worshiping portion of the town was dependent upon transients, in addition to the services of the gentlemen cited, but in that year the Presbyterians, to the number of nineteen, met and organized. The society is still in existence, and with the Congregationalists, totalizes the religious interests of Winslow.
First Presbyterian Church. On the 9th of April, 1855, a meeting was held at the village hotel for the purpose of organizing an ecclesiastical corporation, having for its object the worship of God according to the Calvinistic doctrines. The attendance was small and nothing accomplished. On the 19th of the same month, an adjourned meeting was held, attended with similar results, but two days later, the organization was perfected, and the articles of faith, as has already been stated, signed by nineteen members.
Worship was had in the schoolhouse until fall, when the brick church, now standing, which had been building during the summer, was completed and taken possession of. It is of brick, 35x55, supplied with an organ, and possesses capacity for seating two hundred auditors. Its cost was $2,000. The congregation today is in a prosperous condition, numbers many worshipers, and owns the only house of worship in the village.
The following Pastors have served, though part of the time the society has been obliged to depend upon the visits of circuit preachers: The Revs. John N. Powell, John Johnson, A. T. Wood, Mr. Schofield, John Linn, and A. S. Gardner, the present incumbent.
Congregational Society Numbering at present thirty-eight members, was the outgrowth of a season of revival held in Winslow under the supervision of A. P. Loomis during the spring of 1877. The effort of Mr. Loomis is said to have been attended with a most gratifying success, one hundred converts having been baptized by that gentleman while in Winslow. At the close of his ministration, the converts organized the Winslow Christian Association, graduating into the Congregational Church organization on the 11th of May, 1878, with sixty members. Services are at present held in Wright's Hall, but the congregation anticipate building a church at a day by no means distant. The Rev. Francis Lawson is the Pastor at present in charge.
Schools. The first school taught in the village was begun during the year 1840, in the upper story of Edward Hunt's wagon-shop. It remained here a short time, when a house was built for school purposes by Silas Sears, on the hill southwest of town, which was occupied until 1872, when the present commodious school edifice, on the site of that erected by Silas Sears, was completed, at a cost of $3,000, and has since been occupied.
It is of frame, two stories high, about forty feet square, and supplied with every convenience peculiar to similar undertakings. The course of study includes the leading common-school text-books, and furnishes a means of education to an average daily attendance of sixty-five pupils. Two teachers are employed, and the annual expense of the school is believed to be about $1,000.
Window Lodge, No. 56 A. F. & A. M. Was chartered October 1, 1867, with the following members: Benjamin Pym, John Bradford, Jacob Sweeley, P. Sweeley, D. D. Tyler, R. E. Mack, T. Rodebaugh, C. M. Macomber, M. J. Cooper and J. W. Saucerman. Since that date, the lodge has increased to forty members, acquired property valued at $200, and is otherwise an important factor in the daily life of the village.
Meetings are held monthly on the first Monday, and the following are the officers at present in charge: John Gordon, W. M.; W. Van Matre, S. W., J. M. Rybolt, J. W.; J. Hilliard, Treasurer; J. W. Saucerman, Secretary; Charles Elliott, S. D.; A. Kelley, J. D., and J. N. Fuller, Tiler.
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Stories, Volume 1
ONECO TOWNSHIP, in the north tier of townships of Stephenson County, is one of the most prosperous and highly productive sections of the State. It contains a large acreage, about equally divided between timber and prairie, with Richland Creek coursing the eastern portion from north to south, and other streams and rivulets, furnishing an abundant and permanent water-power for available use.
The early settlement of Oneco Township is somewhat involved in doubt. The effort was made to ascertain to whom was due the distinguished honor of first venturing into the wilderness, at present comprehended within the limits of the township; but, owing to the fact that none of the earlier pioneers of that region survive the march of events, this labor was attended with a success disproportioned to the importance of the subject in hand. Simon Davis, it is believed, was among the first to settle in this portion of Brewster Precinct, he coming about the year 1833. After him, it appears that Andrew Clarno followed. Both of these, it is assumed, had previously made claims in the lead regions, further north and west; but, indifferent success or a desire to engage in agricultural pursuits, influenced them, about the time above designated, to effect a change of base and open farms, the former near the town of Oneco, and the latter in the vicinity of Honey Creek. John M. Curtis also appeared in this vicinity during the same year, and made claim to a tract of land in the vicinity of Oneco.
In 1835, Jefferson and Lewis Van Matre settled one and a half miles west of Oneco, Lewis removing from the lead mines at Galena, and Jefferson coming from Ohio. Morgan Van Matre followed in the footsteps of his brethren a year later, and William Van Matre in 1839, together with Joseph Van Matre.
The year 1836 witnessed a large emigration from the East to all portions of the West, as is well known, and Oneco received considerable additions to her population. Among those who arrived about this time were Alonzo Denio, who settled in the present site of Oneco Village; a Mr. Lott, Duke Chilton, Lorin and Fred Remay, Ralph Hildebrand, Jonas Strohm, and others. Between 1836 and 1838, James, Henry and George Howe were included among the recent arrivals, as also were James Young and Philip and Warner Wells, all of whom opened farms at the head of Long Hollow; Henry Johnson, at the northeast corner of the town; Oliver and John R. Brewster, Ezra Gillett, who erected the mill at Buena Vista; Joab Morton, identified with the eastern portion of the township; Isaac Kleckner, with the eastern vicinity of the village of Oneco, James Turnbull, who removed subsequently to Winslow; "Father Ballinger, whose son Asa was among the earliest circuit preachers of the Illinois Conference, and others.
The tragic death of one of the Lotts caused no inconsiderable excitement among his neighbors at the time, and is believed to have been among the first deaths, if not the first, to occur in the township.
The Indians occupied camps in various portions of Oneco and Buckeye Townships when their present territories were in that primitive condition in which they were found by the pioneers. They were not particularly demonstrative in acts of hostility or annoyance, yet the first comers experienced some trouble with the impecunious and embarrassed red man. He left his mark on the resources of his neighbors at any and every opportunity, and not unfrequently the mournful notes of a porker broke upon the ear of the settler long after midnight's holy hour, indicating the deep damnation of its taking-off by the covetous aborigine. When one of these despoilers of man's happiness and property was discovered in the act, or convicted of crime, he was punished severely; this discipline, together with the gradual settling up of the country, and his departure for other fields, finally relieved the pioneers of these annoyances and his presence.
In 1839, Lewis Gibler removed from Ohio to Oneco Township, settling on Section 18, on the farm at present owned by Judge Alexander Hinds. William Van Matre, as mentioned above, came also, it is believed, in this year, as did Jacob Stroder, Joseph Van Matre, Jr., and others. William established himself in the western portion of the town, whence he removed to Rock Grove, and Mineral Point, Wis. The following year, it is believed, Isaac Miller settled in the township; also Mike Bolander, Lyman, William and Nelson Hulburt, John Clarno, Joseph Norns and Seth Schockley.
The first marriage of which there are any reliable data, occurred during this year. Henry Rybolt and Lizzie McNear were the felicitous candidates, and Squire Gibler performed the ceremony, at the residence of Jefferson Van Matre. William Van Matres' daughter, who died in 1840, is stated to have been the first interment made in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Some advise that hers was the first death, but this can hardly be, when the suicide of Mr. Lott is remembered, if the latter occurred in 1838, as is related.
After 1840, emigration became more rapid and generous. The enterprising descendants of those who had built up Pennsylvania and Ohio half a century before, were equally ambitious as had been the parent, to carve out fortune for themselves in the Far West. The growing East afforded too little encouragement to attract them to remain at home, and, prompted by these influences, as also that spirit of thrift, not to say adventure, which predominates throughout the Yankee nation, their prairie schooners and pack horses were to be seen daily crowding the trails which were finally lost in the unbroken wilderness of that territory in the direction of the setting sun. With each succeeding year their number increased, and the township under consideration received large accessions to its inhabitants, until the last claim was taken up, and the landscape dotted with the homes of these hardy pioneers. Most of them have gone the way of all flesh rest from their labors. But their names are preserved among the archives of the past, as among the distinguished few to whom must be attributed the honor of first settling a wilderness, and opening a way for the present prosperity and advanced refinement to be witnessed on every side.
In time villages sprang up in the new township. One of these has become an incorporated town, the objective point toward which farmers and producers living within a radius of many miles, turn for bargain or sale, with the effect of making Orangeville a lively business center, at which an annual business is transacted that would astonish the more pretentious city rival. Oneco Village is scarcely changed, it is said, from what it was nearly forty years ago, and "hardly ever will. The laying-out and building-up of Orangeville has appropriated the patronage and population at one time tending to Oneco, and the latter remains as it was left when its rival's site was selected a post office center, where the residents of the immediate vicinity congregated to receive their mail, and canvass questions of local or national issue. Throughout the township churches and schools are to be found at nearly every cross-road, and the causes of education and morality are guarded with the same care, and promoted with the same earnestness in Oneco as are the vital interests of life throughout the civilized world.
ORANGEVILLE. An inland village, delightfully located in the southeastern part of Oneco Township, handsomely built, inhabited by an industrious, progressive and enterprising class of citizens, containing a population of from four to five hundred, and the market town of the section, wherein it is situated, the village does an immense business, and presents a fine field for investment or residence.
Orangeville, originally known as Bowersville, owes its immediate origin to John Bowers, though the town site had been partially entered and improved, by John M. Curtis, prior to Mr. Bowers' arrival in 1846. About the year 1845, Mr. B. came West, and settled at Walnut Grove. A year's residence thereabout prompted a removal to more desirable fields for permanent settlement, and, after canvassing the surrounding country, he at last selected the present site of the town, where, by entry and purchase, he secured title to 320 acres of ground, including a log cabin, mills (saw and grist), and water-power obtained from Richland Creek.
After a residence at his new home of about one year, Mr. Bowers, regarding the site as possessing many advantages for the purpose, determined to create a town in the, even at that late day, almost impenetrable wilderness. Thereupon, he appropriated fifteen acres of the land purchased, caused the same to be surveyed and platted by Marcus Montelius, and named his venture, as already stated, Bowersville.
This was in 1849, at which time the brick house on High street, wherein the post office is now kept, is said to have been built. Charles Moore's present residence, a store, presided over by George Hoffman, a blacksmith-shop, built by John Bowers, and occupied by Benjamin Hallroan, together with the old Curtis Mills, composed the improvements. The next year, however, Mr. Bowers commenced the building of the present mill, hauling the shingles and better qualities of lumber from Chicago by team, himself acting as driver. The mill was finished the same year at a total cost of about $8,000.
Immediately upon the completion of the survey and the promulgation of the fact that a village was in progress of building, speculators, agents and bona fide purchasers came into the country. Some invested and remained, others departed, promising to return, while others departed without leaving either promises or collaterals to indicate their intentions. Daniel Duck is said to have been the first purchaser of lots in the future town, obtaining that on which is now located the house of Franklin Scott, paying $10 therefor. William Herbert and others came about the same time, and within that decade large numbers of substantial residents settled in the town. Lands were cheap, the village was near Freeport, possessed of valuable water privileges, and other inducements prevailed to meet the popular demand, which found expression in the number of inhabitants who came during the first ten or fifteen years of its existence.
In 1861, the breaking-out of the war caused a large increase in the volume of business done by the merchants, which was materially diminished for some years thereafter, owing to the unsettled condition of affairs throughout the country, the departure of volunteers, and other causes producing similar effects elsewhere. The last half of the decade beginning with 1860, however, witnessed an improved state of public feeling, producing a better market for commodities and correspondingly prosperous times. Orangeville of course participated in these benefits, and so pronounced was the success which attended her development and building-up, that in 1867 the village was incorporated as a town, with such prerogatives and privileges appertaining thereto as by law are conferred, including town officers, the following being the roster of those who have held during the years succeeding:
Trustees. Charles Moore, President; William Wagenhols, George Erb, W. A. St. John and Jacob Kurtz, Associates, 1867. 1868 Daniel Ream, President; B. H. Bradshaw, William Herbert, Henry Kline and Aaron Boltzer, Associates. William Herbert refusing to serve, W. R. Moore was elected in his stead. 1869 J. K. Bloom, President; D. R. Rubendall, Peter Scheckler, F. Winters and Edward Moore. 1870 William Wagenhals, B. H. Bradshaw, W. B. Moore, W. A. St. John and James Musser. 1871 John K. Bloom, President; Edward Moore, Peter Sheckler, William Trotter and William Potts, Associates. 1872 M. Musser, President; William Sandoe, M. Lanker, John Munich and E. F. Smith, Associates. March 25, 1873 At a special election holden this day, Orangeville was incorporated as a village under the general law. 1873 W. P. Musser, President; Charles Moore, B. Bowers, D. L. Mahoney, F. A. Miller and Moses Zenker, Associates. 1874 W. P. Musser, President; John J. Moore, A. Baltzer, M. Lenkard, D. Beaver and William Potts, Associates. 1875 H. W. Bolender, President; William Wagenhols, D. H. Zettle, Peter Sheckler, Benjamin Bowers and William Trotter, Associates. 1876 A. Baltzer, President; B. H. Bradshaw, William E. Eble, Edward Moore, H. Cadwell and D. L. Mahoney, Associates. 1877 M. P. Musser, President; J. B. Schrack, A. Bowers, H. W. Bolender, D. L. Mahoney and George Erb, Associates. 1878 M. P. Musser, President; S. E. Deal, J. B. Schrack, B. H. Bradshaw, H. W. Bolender and Abraham Bowers, Associates. 1879 J. G. Wise, President; Henry Deal, William Sandoe, E. T. Moore, John H. Denhart and H. Skinner, Associates. 1880 D. A. Schock, President; J. G. Wise, William Sandoe, Hiram Skinner, E. T. Moore and Henry Deal, Associates.
Clerks. W. A. St. John, 1867; B. H. Bradshaw, 1868; D. R. Rubendall, 1869; W. A. St. John. 1870; W. Trotter, 1871; W. Sandoe, 1872; H. W. Bolender, 1873; J. J. Moore, 1874; J. G. Wise, 1876; T. H. Rote, 1876-77; J. H. Miller, 1878; T. H. Rote, 1879-80.
Treasurers. W. Wagenhals, 1867; H. Kline, 1868; P. Scheckler, 1869; W. Wagenhals, 1870; W. Potts, 1871; J. Munich, 1872; C. Moore, 1873; W. Potts, 1874: W. Sandoe, 1875; James Musser, 1876-80.
Police Magistrate. William Sandoe, 1877.
Schools. The first schoolhouse erected in the village occupied a portion of the lot east of the present site of the Lutheran Church. In 1860, the school was graded, and in 1874 the present edifice was completed and occupied at a cost of $6,000. The scholastic curriculum embraces two departments, primary and "grammar, employing two teachers and enjoying a daily average attendance of seventy-six pupils. The annual expense attending the support of the schools is about $800.
Lutheran and Reformed Church. The Lutherans and Reformed Lutherans occupy the same edifice located on the main street north of the schoolhouse.
The Reformed society was organized May 3, 1851, by Henry Habliston, with twenty-four members, of whom Henry Ault was Elder and John Bower and M. Bolander Deacons.
At a meeting held the same year, it was decided to unite with the Lutherans to procure the erection of a church edifice, and Daniel Rean, John Bowers and John Wohlford were appointed a Building Committee. The corner-stone was laid in September, 1852, the Revs. G. J. Donmeyer, Daniel Kroh and George Weber officiating, and completed and dedicated September 23, 1855. The church cost $1,900; it is of brick, plainly furnished, supplied with an organ, and possessing a capacity for seating about 200 auditors. The dedicatory services were held by the Revs. G. J. Donmeyer, Daniel Kroh, F. C. Bowman, Aratus Kent and J. P. Decker, and the following Pastors have since served: The Revs. John Hoyman, Henry Knepper, C. G. A. Hulhorst and F. W. Stump. The congregation numbers about seventy communicants.
The Lutheran branch of the congregation was established about 1847 or 1848, under the auspices of the Rev. G. J. Donmeyer, with a very small congregation. Services were first held in a log schoolhouse on the Ault farm in Buckeye Township. He remained in charge for a number of years, exchanging occasionally with the Rev. Ephraim Miller, of Cedarville, convening for service in the schoolhouse, mill, etc., until the church above mentioned was built, when it was occupied in part with the Lutheran Reformed congregation in accordance with the terms of an agreement concluded between the several associations. The following Pastors have served since the society was established: The Revs. G. J. Donmeyer, Mr. Fahr, Charles Anderson, Mr. Cook, John K. Bloom, J. Stoll, A. B. Niddlesworth, and B. F. Pugh, the present incumbent. The congregation numbers seventy-five worshipers.
The United Brethren Association Has been in existence in Oneco since 1844. The first services were held in schoolhouses and private residences. The Orangeville Circuit was established in 1856, and in 1857 the present church in the village was erected. It is of brick, 36x50, and cost $2,000. Other churches were subsequently erected in the circuit, including Boehm Chapel in 1865, at an expense of $1,700, and St. James' Church in 1870, for which $2,000 was paid.
The association property is valued at $6,500, and the congregation numbers 200 communicants. The following ministers have served in the circuit: the Revs. Heman Scott, Jeremiah Kenoyer, Samuel Kretsinger, Mr. Frazier, William Dollarhide, Moses Clifton, Mr. Collins, Mr. Henninger, George Schneider, J. Hiestand, Mr. Pope, J. H. Grim, S. Rogers, J. H. Young, C. A. Philipps, J. W. Burd, Mr. Roe, J. Johnson, J. Dodson, W. R. Coursey, A. G. Loomis and O. M. Van Swearingen.
Methodist Church Organized under the present arrangement October 15, 1875, though the sect had held services in the township for many years prior to that date. The charter members were Benjamin Bower and wife, Mrs. Susan Bennett, Mrs. Sarah Heckman, Mrs. B. J. Parriott, Mrs. J. H. Cook, William and Phoeby Frederick, and William Holloway and wife. Services were had semi-monthly, under the pastorate of the Rev. F. B. Hardin, in the German Reformed Church. He was succeeded by the Rev. Bertrand Dickens, under whose incumbency possession of Masonic Hall was obtained and is now in use.
At first, the congregation in the circuit and village was quite small, but in 1876 it began to increase, and has so continued with gratifying frequency to the present time. In October, 1877, the Rev. R. A. Harwood accepted charge of the church, and under his dispensation a new edifice was contracted for, same to be erected of frame at Oneco, to cost $1,100, and be completed September 1, 1880. There are now 140 members of the congregation in the charge and twenty-eight in the village of Orangeville. The church property, including the parsonage, is valued at $2,000.
Evangelical Association. Formerly the Cedarville and Orangeville Circuits were several; but increase in numbers necessitated a division at various times, the last one occurring in 1870, when Orangeville was made a separate charge. The Orangeville Circuit now includes Orangeville, Fairfield, St. Peter's Church at Clarno, Wis., two appointments in Wayne County and one at Pleasant Hill.
The present congregation was organized at Orangeville some years ago, but the church edifice was not erected until 1880; it having been completed, and dedicated January 18, of that year, and is one of the finest finished and commodious churches in the county. The edifice is of frame, 86x52, with a steeple eighty-seven feet high and an auditorium capable of comfortably seating 200 worshipers. It is elaborately frescoed, possessing superior acoustic qualities, furnished with an organ, and desirable in every particular. It cost, complete, $2,500.
The following Pastors have served since the Orangeville Circuit became a separate charge: The Rev. J. B. Rife, William Caton, and S. A. Miller, the present incumbent. The circuit congregation numbers 245 communicants, fifty-two of whom worship in Orangeville, and the church property is valued at $5,000.
Orangeville Lodge, No. 687, A., F. & A. M. Was chartered October 1, 1872, to the following-named members, though the lodge had been working under a dispensation for some time prior to that date: B. H. Bradshaw, David Jones, James Musser, Benjamin Musser, Charles Musser, I. G. Ermhold, J. K. Bloom, H. W. Bolender, P. Scheckler, William Potts and D. A. Schock. The officers at this time were B. H. Bradshaw, W. M.; David Jones, S. W., and James Musser, J. W.
The order progressed and prospered in wealth and influence, and, in 1876, erected a handsome hall on High street, a decided ornament to the village, and a source of pride to the fraternity and citizens of Orangeville. The hall is of frame, 26x51, two stories high, handsomely finished, and peculiarly adapted to the uses for which it is appropriated. The basement contains a supper-room, equipped with furniture, cooking and table utensils, and is used upon festive occasions. The first floor is occupied for hall purposes, where entertainments, lectures, social and church gatherings are held. It contains a stage, is thoroughly lighted, heated and ventilated, with a capacity for seating an audience of 300. The upper story is devoted to the lodge-room of the organization, and is superior, in point of finish, to many in cities more pretentious. The cost of the building was $2,500.
The present officers are S. R. Pollock, W. M.; C. Musser, S. W.; W. H. Barnes. J. W.; John F. Fink, Secretary; William E. Eble, Treasurer; P. Rubendall, S. D.; J. S. Hess, J. D., and H. W. Bolander, Tiler. The present membership includes thirty-one of the craft, and the lodge property is valued at $2,500. Meetings are convened on the first and third Thursdays of each month.
J. R. Scroggs Lodge, No. 372, I. O. O. F. Was organized October 13, 1868, under a charter issued to A. A. Krape, Thomas Spriggs, Henry Dinges, J. K. Bloom, J. J. Moore and William Sandoe. The officers then were A. A. Krape, N. G.; J. K. Bloom, V. G., and William Sandoe, Secretary. Since the date of its organization the lodge has prospered deservedly, and now enjoys a membership of sixty-five of the order, with property valued at $2,000. The present officers are A. Rubendall, N. G.; Charles Worrick, V. G.; J. J. Moore and G. F. Ream, Secretaries, and H. W. Bolender, Treasurer. Meetings are held weekly, on Saturday evening, in Masonic Hall.
Orangeville Lodge, No. 133, 1. O. Gr. T. Was first organized in 1867, and, after a few years' combat with the world of intemperance, yielded up the ghost. In the fall of 1877, J. Q. Detwiler, an ardent temperance reformer, labored throughout the county, and effected a re-organization of the society, with a total of twenty- four members, and the following officers: J. Cook, P. W. C. T.; Henry Knepper, W. C. T.; F. W. Stumpf, W. S.; Sarah Scheckler, W. F. S.; Mary Scott, W. T.; Sadie Seidel, W. V. T.; Addie Cook, W. I. G.; C. F. Winchell, W. M.; B. Dickens, Chaplain. Within three years, the lodge has increased its working force to forty members, and is otherwise prosperous. The following are the present officers: B. H. Bradshaw, P. W. C. T.; Sarah Seidel, W. C. T.; Amelia Dorn, W. V. T.; M. E. Bradshaw, W. S.; Milton Stites, W. F. S.; Libbie Bower, W. T.; L. Streyfeller, W. M.; Alory Scott, W. I. G.; Mrs. Kate Bowers, W. O. G. Meetings are held semi-monthly, on Friday evenings, in Masonic Hall.
In addition to the societies which convene in Masonic Hall, its occupation is granted, on the first and third Saturday afternoons, to Excelsior Grange, No. 109, Patrons of Husbandry, which was chartered January 21, 1873, and now has sixty members, with the following officers: Daniel Musser, Master; Franklin Ream, Overseer; Charles Cadwell, Secretary; Reuben Bobb, Treasurer; and Charles Cadwell, Chaplain.
Orangeville Flour Mills. The first mills erected in the immediate vicinity of Orangeville, were put up by John M. Curtis, at a date long before the now flourishing village was conceived in the brain of its founder. In 1838, Mr. Curtis rigged a very primitive dam on the opposite side of Richland Creek, near the foot of what is now known as High street, and built a mill supplied with one run of stones, and machinery for sawing purposes. He worked this industry successfully until his death, which occurred along in the forties, when they remained idle until John Bowers purchased the establishment and prepared to lay out the village.
In 1850, after Orangeville had been surveyed and began to be populated, Mr. Bowers razed the old structure, and from, its ruins erected the present handsome building on the village side of the creek, at a cost of $8,000. The premises are of frame, 40x60, three and a half stories high, provided with three run of stone, and capable of grinding 200 bushels of wheat daily.
The tight times of 1857 caused a suspension of operations about the mills for a temporary period, and, in 1859, they passed into the hands of Messrs. Hefty, Legner & Co., who conducted them for seven years, when they sold to E. T. Moore & Co., the present owners, for $12,000.
In 1868, Moore & Co. reconstructed the saw-mill, located it north of the flour-mill, and refitted it with new machinery, the improvements made costing about $1,500, and today own one of the most complete establishments of the kind, invaluable to an agricultural community in this section of the State.
Orangeville Creamery One of the largest and most complete establishments of the kind in the West, was established January 13, 1879, by D. A. Schock and H. W. Bolender, the present proprietors. The buildings consist of a creamery and refrigerator, which were built at a cost of $5,000, supplied with every convenience and detail necessary to a successful carrying-on of the business.
The former is 38x50, containing the manufactory, cooler and other departments. The butter is manufactured by steam-power, and the process is somewhat interesting. The cream is first put in vats of a capacity of 260 pounds each and raised to a temperature of 60°, when it is thrown into a revolving churn and moved so rapidly that in forty minutes the raw butter is removed therefrom and placed in the cooling-room. It remains here about twenty-four hours, when it is taken out, worked thoroughly, salted, loaded into firkins and deposited in the refrigerator subject to order. The refrigerator is 24x40, with a capacity for storage of 180,000 pounds of butter in addition to 180 tons of ice, thereby maintaining an equable temperature of 40° all the year round.
The firm manufactures 210 tons of butter annually, or 1,400 pounds daily, requiring 6,000 pounds of cream therefor per day, and furnishing employment to ten hands at a weekly compensation of $100. The goods are shipped to Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee and the Eastern markets, and command an almost universal demand among dealers.
The Cemetery Was located within the village limits when the same were described in the first -instance, and so continued until increasing population compelled its removal to some point remote from the habitations of man. It now occupies a handsome site on the hill overlooking town, the territory embraced consisting of an acre of ground donated by John Bowers, which is handsomely laid out and appropriately decorated with emblems commemorative of the virtues of those who sleep beneath its turf.
Post Office. This indispensable adjunct to civilization was first established in 1854. An effort was made the year previous to procure its location at Bowersville, but without results. The year following, however, a change came over the spirit of the Postmaster General's conclusions, who granted the prayer of petitioners in that connection, directed that the name be changed to Orangeville, and appointed William Wagenhals Postmaster. It is now located in one of the first brick houses erected in the village, with facilities for communicating with the outer world unsurpassed by those of any interior town of similar proportions and importance.
The first marriage to take place after the building of the village was formally inaugurated was that of William Wagenhols and Susan Sandoe; this was in 1848.
Emanuel Shafer, a lad residing with his parents in this village, was bitten by a snake about the same year, and his is recorded as the first death; while a daughter to Mary and William Chilton is reputed as the first birth.
ONECO. Along in 1840, Henry Corwith, of Galena, acting on behalf of J. K. Brewster, entered a quarter-section of land on the very spot now occupied in part by Oneco. This village, which is located near the center of the township, was thus laid out and platted with the hope that it in time would become a flourishing depot for prosperity to halt at permanently. Some time after its survey, the land of which the original tract was composed, excepting about fifteen acres, was sold, and is now occupied by the farm of Samuel Stout. Subsequently, two additions were made to the town site by Alonzo Denio, and it now contains a population estimated at one hundred.
School was taught in sight of the village as early as 1843. In 1851, a brick building was erected on Denio's Addition, east of the post office, which was occupied until the completion of the present structure, on the Orangeville road. This was accomplished in 1876, at a cost of $2,000; at present, one teacher is employed, who furnishes education and the attendant concomitants to an average daily attendance of sixty-five pupils. The annual expenses incident to maintaining the school are stated at $500.
The residents of the village and vicinity attend church in Orangeville, but the Methodists are at present erecting an edifice, which will be completed in the fall or winter.
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Stories, Volume 1
This township is on the south line of the county, being bounded on the north by Harlem, on the east by Silver Creek, on the south by Carroll County, and on the west by Loran Township. Florence contains exactly the surveyor's township of six miles square. In the whole area, there is about 1,000 acres of woodland, the balance being prairie of the finest description. The timber lies principally on the north side of Yellow Creek, and the country there is very productive. The township is thickly settled, and as well supplied with churches and schools as any in the county.
The first settler to come into Florence was Conrad Van Brocklin, who removed from Western New York in the fall of 1835, and, after taking some time to explore the country, settled with his family on Section 17, in the month of March, 1836. He erected a cabin but a little distance from the residence he subsequently occupied, and opened a farm. For some months he was without neighbors, other than those residing at Craine's Grove and Freeport, and was obliged to procure his supplies from Galena and elsewhere.
In August, 1836, Mason Dimmick emigrated into the neighborhood from Ohio, and settled east-northeast of Van Brocklin. That fall, Otis Love and family came in; the next summer, Lorenzo Lee followed in the wake of Van Brocklin and the rest, and, in 1837, James Hart settled one mile and a half north of Van Brocklin's. These comprise the men who first settled in Florence and began the building-up of that portion of the county.
During 1838, a number established themselves at Liberty Mills. These were followed by others equally as venturesome and enterprising, including a bachelor named Wickham, William better known under the pseudonym of Saw-Log Smith, etc., etc. A Mr. Strong came in about 1839, as also did Sheldon and Russell Scovill, and C. K. Ellis. Anson Babcock came in 1839, but returned to New York for his family before he improved his claim. There were others, doubtless, who emigrated to Florence during this year, but their names cannot be recalled. Mr. Strong remained there for some years, but eventually disposed of his property and departed for Lebanon, Ohio, where he united with the Shakers, it is said. Other of the early comers moved to Freeport, one or two joined the Mormons, and, prior to 1850, when there were some sixty families in the township, comparatively few of those who came at an early day remained.
From 1840 to 1845, the number of settlers was larger than it had been from 1835 to 1840. Among these were Elli Ellis, P. T. Ellis, the Sheets family. William Boyer, John Turneauere and others. Improvements were frequent and of a permanent character. Mills were built, and, in place of being obliged to visit Chicago, Galena, Mount Carroll and other points for supplies, the same were obtainable nearer home. Kirkpatrick's mills, at Mill Grove, and Van Valzah's, at Cedarville, were sought for the regular grist, while Saw-Log Smith furnished timber for houses, etc. The mail was procured at Freeport, and the luxuries and amusements of life were more readily accessible than they had been ten years before.
After 1850, the population increased rapidly, and the means of education and cultivation were visibly improved. The first school was opened in about 1840, Miss Flavilla Forbes being the teacher, and James Hart's old log house the academy. The year 1850 witnessed a material increase in the number of schools and scholars, also an improvement in the system employed. Within ten years thereafter, the Western Union road was completed through the southeastern portion of the township, a station established, and an impetus given to emigration, improvements, schools, churches and social amenities. During the war, Florence contributed volunteers to the army, and in other respects aided in suppressing the rebellion.
The township today is among the most fertile in the county, thickly settled by an industrious and educated class of inhabitants, possessing every facility for excellence in any department of life, and a monument to the enterprise, intelligence and diligence of« the pioneers who first assisted in rescuing the northern portion of Illinois from the wilderness.
The village of Florence is located on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul road, eight miles southwest of Freeport. It was established when the station was located there, and, though it has been in existence for upward of twenty years, its proximity to Freeport has prevented its becoming more than a village of very moderate pretensions. The most important building to be seen there is the German Evangelical Church, erected during the summer of 1877, under the direction of Presiding Elder Byers. It is a frame, 30x40, with a steeple seventy-five feet high, and cost, ready for occupation, $2,000. The Rev. John Rife is the Pastor in charge, and services are held once in two weeks, the society numbering about fifteen communicants, though the congregation is very much larger, being made up of farmers and residents for miles around.
The village contains a schoolhouse and about twenty-five houses, which, with the railroad buildings, constitute the improvements made thus far.
The township contains upward of 17,000 acres of improved land, and is well supplied with an abundance of wood and water. Of late years, settlements have been made frequently in Lancaster, and real estate has consequently advanced rapidly in value.
Many of the early settlers became identified with the township and city of Freeport, which was set off from the southeast corner of Lancaster; others went into Buckeye, Rock Run and other portions of the county subsequently laid out into townships. To Benjamin Goddard, then, with those who accompanied him, belongs the credit of first becoming permanently located in the territory now comprehended in Lancaster Township. For months the only neighbors in the vicinity were William Baker, Levi Robey, the early settlers in Buckeye and Harlem, but none in what is now Lancaster. In 1836, Levi Lucas, Robert Jones and John Hoag visited Lancaster, but, after remaining a brief period only, removed to Buckeye and Rock Run. Subsequently, David Neidigh came in and removed to Buckeye.
In 1837 George and Robert Hathaway are reported as settlers making claims about that time on Sections 11 and 32. Elias Macomber is said to have settled in the township in 1838, and during the same year a man named Sedam erected a hut on the town line between Buckeye and Lancaster. In 1839, L. O. Crocker left Freeport and settled in Lancaster. Andrew Sproule came in later and settled near Section 12; Joseph F. McKibben and Dr. John Charlton on Section 16; John Stotzer on Section 24; Samuel Smith, second, on Section 23; W. B. Mitchell came in 1840, and was followed by Jacob and Mycene Mitchell two years later. All settled in the northern part of the township.
Lucy Goddard, born March 31, 1836, is reported as the first birth; Reagan Lewis, who died in the winter of 1837, the first death, and Thatcher Blake to Jane Goodhue, in the same year, the first marriage.
From 1845 to 1849, the immigration to Lancaster was, with that of some of the remaining townships, reasonably numerous. Thence to the completion of the railroad to Freeport it fell off considerably, to be revived, however, with the celebration of that event, and soon was completely taken up.
In all respects, Lancaster will compare favorably with other townships in the county. In fertility, in its educational, moral and religious interests, it is unsurpassed, and the culture and wealth of the inhabitants are an evidence of the character of those who built up the vicinity and developed its almost inexhaustible resources. Three railroads course the township in various directions, and, with other public interests, are maintained in keeping with the county's development, while its people are continuing in a career of steady, even prosperity and happiness.
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Stories, Volume 1
Part Four - Townships
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