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Full text of "History of Lee County"

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ASTOK. LlvNOX AND 
TIWfiiN b^OUNDATIONS 




JOHN DIXON. 



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HISTORY 



OK 



LEE COUNTY, 



TOGETHER WITH 



BIOGRAPHICAL MATTER, STATISTICS, ETC. 



GATHERED FROM INTERVIEWS WITH OLD SETTLERS, COUNTY, 

TOWNSHIP AND OTHER RECORDS, AND EXTRACTS 

FROM FILES OF PAPERS, PAMPHLETS, AND 

SUCH OTHER SOURCES AS HAVE 

BEEN AVAILABLE. 

\ 



CHICAGO: 
H. H. HILL AND COMPANY, PUBLISHERS. 
1881. - 



1 



[ 



THE NEW YORK 
Pl'iJlIC LIBBARY 

379109B 

AOTOH, LK.VOX AND 
TiLUBW FOUNDATIONS 
B 1946 



UNDATI0N8 

^ -J 



PREFACE. 



In presenting the History of Lee County to the public the editors 
aud publishers have had in view the preservation of certain valuable 
historical facts and information which without concentrated eiiort 
would not have been obtained, but with the passing away of the old 
pioneers, the failure of memor}-, and the loss of public records and 
private diaries, would soon have been lost. This locality being com- 
paratively new, we flatter ourselves that, with the zeal and industry 
displayed Iiy our general and local historians, we have succeeded in 
rescuing from the fading years almost every scrap of history worthy 
of preservation. Doubtless the work is, in some respects, imper- 
fect; — we do not present it as a model literary effort, but in that 
which goes to make up a valuable book of reference for the present 
reader and future historian, we assure our patrons that neither money 
nor time has been spared in the accomplishment of the work. Per- 
haps some errors will be found. With treacherous memories, per- 
sonal, political and sectarian prejudices and preferences to contend 
against, it would be almost a miracle if no mistakes were made. 
We hope that even these defects, which may be found to exist, may 
be made available in so far as they may provoke discussion and call 
attention to corrections and additions necessary to perfect history. 

In the writing of the general county history Dr. Cochran has 
had the advice and constant counsel of' many of the early settlers of 
the county, to whom the manuscript was submitted and by them 
approved ; and while there may be some mistakes, it is thought that it 
would hardly be possible, after so many years with nothing to depend 
upon for many of the facts but the memories of the early settlers, 
that it is as nearly correct as it could possibly be made. Certain it is 
that at no time in the future could such a work be undertaken with 
circumstances so favorable for the production of a reliable record 
of the early times of Lee county. 



6 PREFACE. 

The township histories, by E. S. Ricker, Prof. J. H. Atwood, C. 
F. Atwood, and others, will be found full of valuable recollections, 
which but for their patient research must soon have been lost for- 
ever, but which are now happily preserved for all ages to come. 
These gentlemen have placed upon Lee county a mark which will 
not be obliterated, but which will grow brighter and broader as the 
years go by. 

The biographical department contains the names and private 
sketches of nearly every person of importance in the county. A 
few person, whose sketches we should be ple^ised to have jDresented, 
for various reasons refused or delayed furnishing us with the desired 
information, and in this matter only we feel that our work is incom- 
plete. However, in most of such cases We have obtained, in regard 
to the most important persons, some items, and have woven them 
into the county or township sketches, so that, as we believe, we can- 
not be accused of either partiality or prejudice. 



LIST OF PORTRAITS. 



John Dixon {Frontispiece). 




W. E. Ives, . 


. 413 


J. A. Wernick, 


• 43 


Volney Bliss, . 


. 429 


Abijaii Powers, 


61 


Ira .Brewer, 


. 447 


C. C. Hunt, .... 


. 79 


C. B. Thummel, 


463 


Abram Brown, 


97 


John H. Page, 


481 


J. N. Hills, .... 


. 115 


Georoe H. Page, 


497 


Alexander Charters, 


. • 1S3 


E. H. Johnson, 


. 515 


Joseph CRA-^xTi-oiiD, 


. 151 


A. P. Dysart, . 


531 


W. W. Bethea, 


169 


John Yetter, 


. 549 


W. H. Van Epps, . 


187 


Isaac Thompson, 


565 


H. T. Noble, 


205 


G. W. Hewitt 


. 583 


John Dement, 


. 223 


U. C. Roe, 


599 


James A. HA^VLET, . 


241 


S. F. Mills, . 


. 617 


E. B. Stiles, 


. 259 


N. A. Petrte, . 


635 


Riley Paddock, 


277 


Walter Little, 


. 653 


George Ryon, 


. 293 


Dayid Smith, 


671 


Lewis Clapp, 


311 


William McMahan, 


. 689 


Alvah Hale, 


. 327 


J. H. Braffet, . 


707 


James H. Preston, . 


345 


W. M. Strader, 


. 725 


Chester S. Badger, 


. 361 


George M. Berkley, 


743 


Isaac Edwards, 


379 


William J. Fritz, 


. 761 


John B. Wyman, . 


. 395 







HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 



DISCOVERY AND EARLY HISTORY. 

In sketching the history of Lee county we must take the 
reader back to the early days of the northern part of the State of 
Illinois, embraced in the great territory lying northwest of the Ohia 
river. This territory, embracing northern Illinois, was discovered 
by Jacques Marquette, and Louis Joliet in 1673. Marquette was a 
French Jesuit missionary, and Joliet was a Quebec fur-trader. 
These men had penetrated the wilderness of Canada to the upper 
lakes, each engaged in his appropriate occupation. The French, 
missionary, while at La Pointe, received information through the' 
Illinois tribes who had been driven by the Iroquois from their hunt- 
ing grounds on the shores of Lake Michigan to a region thirty- 
days' journey to the west, that there existed a "great river" flow- 
ing through grassy plains on which grazed countless herds of buffa- 
loes. The same information had been received by Dablon and 
AUouez, two missionaries, who were exploring Wisconsin from the 
Miamis and iMaskoutens. This information resulted in the appoint- 
ment, by the governor of Canada, of Joliet to explore the "Great 
River." Pierre Marquette was chosen to accompany him, "for in 
those days religion and commerce went hand in hand." Joliet fitted 
out the expedition, which consisted of "two canoes and five voy- 
ageurs, and a supply of corn and smoked meat; and May 27, 1673, 
the little band left St. Ignace for their perilous voyage through an 
unknown country, preoccupied by wild beasts, reptiles, and hostile 
savages." Coasting to the head of Green Bay, they "ascended the 
Fox river ; crossed Lake Winnebago, and followed up the quiet and! 
tortuous stream beyond the portage ;" launched their canoes in the 
waters of the Wisconsin, and without their Indian guides they 
swept down this stream until they caught sight of the hills which 
bound the valley of the "Great River," and at nightfall landed, to 
eat their evening repast on the banks of the broad Mississippi, for 
which they launched their canoes one month before. They floated 
2 



10 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

down the mighty current to the Arkansas, where they were com- 
pelled to return because of the hostility of the Indians, who on the 
lower Mississippi were furnished with rifles by the Spaniards. 

Having determined to return to the north, on July 17, one 
'month from the discovery of the Mississippi, they launched their 
canoes and started on the returning voyage ; and reaching the 
mouth of the Illinois river they ascended this stream until they came 
to a small village, then known as Kaskaskia, about seven miles 
below Ottawa. Here they procured guides, who conducted them 
up the stream to the head of the Des Plaines, when by an easy port- 
age they entered the Chicago river, and thus reached Lake Illinoise 
(now Lake Michigan), and were the first white men to visit what is 
the present site of the city of Chicago, more than two hundred years 
ago. From that point they passed up the western coast of Lake 
Michigan northward, reaching Green Bay late in the month of Sep- 
tember, after an absence of four months, and having traveled more 
than twentj^-five hundred miles. Here Joliet separated from his 
traveling companion, Pierre Marquette, and ''hastened to Quebec to 
announce to the governor the results of the expedition ; but almost 
in sight of Montreal, in the rapids of La Chine, his canoe uj)set, a 
portion of his crew were drowned, and he himself narrowly escaped, 
with the loss of all his papers." 

Joliet never returned to this territory ; but engaged in the fur 
trade with the Indians of Hudson's Bay. After receiving from his 
government, "in consideration of his services, a grant of the 
islands of Mignan and Anticosti, he engaged in the fisheries," and 
subsequently explored the coasts of Labrador. ' 'He was made royal 
pilot for the St. Lawrence, and also hydrographer at Quebec. He 
died poor, about 1699 or lYOO, and was buried on one of the islands 
of Mignan." 

Marquette, however, through love of humanity and devotion to 
the cross and the work of the Master, returned to the Illinois valley 
late in the following autumn to preach to the benighted people of 
that region. Leaving Green Bay in October of 1674, he with two 
voyageurs started for the Chicago river, up which stream they 
ascended to a point about six miles above the present locality of the 
city of Chicago. Here he built a hut to shelter him from the storms 
of winter, in which he remained until the following spring, when 
he performed his last acts of devotion to his favorite cause— the 
mission of the cross to the children of the forest — and with which 
were associated the romantic sadness and sweet peace of the closing 
scenes of the life of this noble man. Through the exposures of the 
expedition to the Mississippi and Illinois the previous summer,' he 



DISCO VEKY AND EAELY HISTORY. 11 

contracted a disease which proved to be fatal. Having suffered 
much from hemorrhage he was illj prepared for his return to the mis- 
sion field. His frail constitution suffered much from the exposures 
of the voyage to Chicago, being late in autumn. The cold October 
winds swept the lake and tossed them on a rough sea and drenched 
them with cold rains. Their rude tents and camp-fires wei'e insuf- 
cient to give protection in the cold, damp October nights. The 
hemorrhage from which he had previously suffered, returned and the 
good man seemed conscious that he was making his last voyage in 
time, and that the day was not far distant when he would cross that 
river from beyond which there is no return. In their lonely hut he 
and his two voyageurs spent the winter, surrounded by the wild 
beasts that roamed over the prairies and wandered through the for- 
ests from the waters of the Ohio on the south to the snowbound 
regions of the north ; and from their hut could be seen in their 
native wilderness the buffalo, the deer, the bear, and the wild 
turkey. The historian says, "with the return of spring his disease 
relented, when he descended the river to the Indian village below 
Ottawa, where he gathered the people in a grand council, and 
preached to them concerning heaven and hell, and the Virgin, 
whose protection he had specially invoked. A few days after Easter 
he returned to Lake Michigan, when he embarked for Mackinac, 
passing around the head of the lake beneath the great sand-dunes 
which line the shore, and thence along the eastern margin to where 
a small stream discharges itself into the great reservoir south of 
the promontory, known as the 'sleeping bear.' Marquette had for 
some time lain prostrate in the bottom of the canoe. The warm 
breath of spring revived him not, and the expanding buds of the 
forest did not arrest his dimmed gaze. Here he requested them to 
land. Tenderly they bore him to the bank, and built for his shelter 
a bark hut. He was aware that his hour had come. Calmly he 
gave directions as to the mode of his burial, craved the forgiveness 
of his companions if in ought he had offended them, administered 
to them the sacrament, and thanked God that he was permitted to 
die in the wilderness." The darkness of the night settled over the 
scene, and ere the dawn of the morning light the noble spirit of 
Pierre Marquette had crossed the river that flows between this and 
the brighter worlds beyond. Thus closed the life of him who 
accompanied the first exploring expedition which discovered the 
territory of this commonwealth, and he was the first christian mis- 
sionary to raise the standard of the cross to natives of the north- 
west. He died on May 18, 1675, and was buried on the bank of 
the stream that bears his name. His remains were subsequently re- 



12 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

moved to St. Ignace and deposited beneath the floor of the chapel 
in which he had so often administered the sacred rites of his church. 

Tlie xext white man to tread the verdant soil of this territory was 
a Frenchman residing at Fort Frontenac (now Kingston), by the 
name of Rene-Robert Cavelier Sieur De La Salle, commonly 
known as La Salle. He was born at Rouen, France, in 1643, of an 
" old and aiHuent famil}^" He left his native country and arrived 
in Canada in 1666. He learned through the Seneca Iroquois that 
there was a river called the Ohio which flowed to the sea at a dis- 
tance of many mouths' journey. Having resolved to explore this 
stream, he sold his possessions in order to procure the necessary 
funds to carry out his plans. Connecting his enterprise with other 
parties, they left La Chine with a party of seven canoes and twenty- 
four men, attended by two canoes filled with Senecas, who acted as 
guides to the party ; in all, a fleet of nine canoes, which ascended the 
St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, and along the southern shore of that 
water to the mouth of the G-enesee ; then passed Niagara under the 
sound of the great cataract to the village, where, in September, 
1669, he separated from the seminary party, who started with him, 
and alone plunged into the unknown wilderness of the west. Pass- 
ing Onondaga he reached an afliuent of Ohio twenty or twenty-five 
miles from Lake Erie, and followed down thiss tream to its junction 
with the Ohio, which he descended to the falls of Louisville, where 
his voyageurs deserted him, which compelled him to abandon his ex- 
plorations and return to Canada. The following year, 1670, he 
passed the head of Lake Michigan and penetrated to the waters 
of the Hlinois, by which he reached the Mississippi, which he de- 
scended to some miles below the mouth of the Ohio. But little is 
known of the route over which he returned to Canada. This expe- 
dition, however, prepared him for his future enterprise in the local- 
ity of Illinois, which has perpetuated his name in history for 
succeeding generations. 

In contemplation of a return to the Illinois country, La Salle de- 
signed the building of a vessel for a voyage around the lakes ; and 
in the spring of 16S0 the "Griffin" was launched at the mouth of 
Cayuga Creek ; and on the Yth of August her sails were spread and 
she started on her voyage, being the first vessel that ever plowed the 
waters of the notrhern lakes. On reaching the islands at the en- 
trance of Green Bay he disembarked all his stores and sent the 
" Griflin " back ladened with furs with orders to return to him ; but 
he never saw her again, and it still remains a mystery as to what 
her fate was, or what became of her crew. La Salle, however, was 
not to be deterred from his purpose by even the loss of his favorite 



DISCOVEKY AND EAELY HISTORY. 13 

vessel, but having swept down the western shore of Lake Michigan, 
passed the mouth of the Chicago, and rounded the head of the lake to 
the mouth of the St. Joseph, which he called the Miamis, and landed 
on the 1st of November. On the 3d of December he left the w;.ters of 
Michigan, and with fourteen men and four canoes he ascended the 
St. Joseph to the present site of South Bend, Indiana, where he 
crossed a portage of live miles to the waters of the Thealike, or 
Haukiki, now Kankakee, conveying their canoes and cargo, by 
which they descended the Kankakee, down through the swamps, and 
meandered out into the great prairies to the valley of the Illinois, 
and reached Peoria Lake on the 30th of Januarv, 1680. He con- 
structed a fort on the southern bank of the stream below the lake, 
and named it Creve-coeur. " This was the first civilized occupation 
of Illinois." After commencing the building of a vessel for the 
waters of the Mississippi valley, La Salle returned for an outfit 
to Canada, a journey of fifty-five days, and reached Fort Frontenac 
May 6, 1680. Soon after his departure from the new settlement on 
the Illinois, which he left in charge of Lieut. Tonty, it was destroyed 
by a band of Iroquois. He returned in the autumn of the same 
season, and finding all laid waste he returned to St. Joseph, where 
he spent the winter ; and in the following spring returned to Cana- 
da, leaving the St. Joseph in May, 1681, passing Mackinac, where 
he rejoined Tonty, and proceeded to Fort Frontenac, where he 
accumulated the necessary resources, and late in the season re- 
turned to the Illinois with twenty three Frenchmen, eighteen 
Mohegan warriors and their ten women and three children. The 
expedition consisted of fifty-four persons, and their journey, from 
Fort Miamis on the lake to Fort Creve-coeur on the Illinois, was beset 
with hardships and perils. "It was in the dead of winter when 
they set out. La Salle placed the canoes on sledges, and thus they 
were conveyed around the head of the lake to Chicago, thence across 
the portage to the Des Plaines and even to Peoria Lake, where open 
water was reached." Here they launched their canoes, and passing 
the lake they swept down the Illinois to the Mississippi, and on the 
6th of April reached the Gulf of Mexico, whire they erected, on a 
"dry spot," near the mouth of the Mississippi, a column to France 
and decorated it with the French arms. The last of the summer 
they returned to Illinois, and stopping at a point on that stream 
known as the " Starved Rock," La Salle began at once to fortify that 
bluff", which has become famous in the history of Illinois. This 
fort he named St. Louis, which crowned the summit of a natural 
fortress. "At the base of the cliff" he gathered about him the 
Indian inhabitants who were sheltered in log cabins and bark 



14 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

lodges. The resident aboriginal inhabitants in the region amounted 
to about 4.000 warriors or 20,000 souls." We must here turn aside 
from this great man, and refer the reader to "The Discovery of the 
Great West," by Francis Parkman, for the study of his character and 
wonderful career in the wilds of America. 

From the building of Fort St. Louis the French continued to oc- 
cupy Illinois. As early as 1720 they had a chain of forts extending 
from Canada to the mouth of the Mississippi. 

In 1762, by the treaty of Fontainbleau, all the territory east of the 
Mississippi with the reservation of the island of ITew Orleans was ceded 
to the British, and the territory west of the great river, including 
New Orleans, was granted to Spain. In 1765 the British took formal 
possession of the country through the military authority of Capt. 
Sterling, a British officer who was sent to exact allegiance from its in- 
habitants. 

The cession of this region to Great Britain and their occupancy of 
the territory caused dissatisfaction among the natives, who were un- 
willing to abandon their hunting-grounds, to which many of them were 
attached as the inheritance of their fathers. They determined to drive 
the invaders from their soil, and under Pontiac, an Ottawa chief, who 
was an ally of the French, had seen much service and was famous as a 
great warrior. "He organized one of the most formidable combina- 
tions that the English on this continent were ever called upon to en- 
counter. Having embraced in the league all the tribes from the lakes 
to the Carolinas and from the Mississippi to the Alleghanies, he con- 
ceived the idea of attacking simultaneously all the English forts 
throughout the west, stretching from Mackinac to Cumberland, and 
numbering not less than sixteen. He assigned particular tribes to per- 
form a particular work, and on the appointed day the assault was made 
and all but three of the forts succumbed. Pontiac himself led the 
assault on Fort Detroit, but his scheme having been divulged by a 
squaw the night previously, was unsuccessful." 

Pontiac being disappointed in his attempt returned from further 
warfare, and leaving his native haunts in the vicinity of Detroit, he 
lodged on the banks of the Mississippi, near Cahokia, and here he 
was assassinated by an Indian of the Peoria tribe. This assassina- 
tion is laid to the charge of the English, who resorted to this method 
to remove a formidable enemy. It is presumed that his remains rest 
near the place where he met his fate. The treacherous murder of the 
great chief created great hostility against the tribes of Illinois from 
those of the north, and the former were well nigh exterminated by 
the latter. 

"In 1765 Col. George Croghan was sent west as a commissioner 



DISCOVERY AND EAELY HISTORY. 15 

to conciliate the Indians. He descended the Ohio as far as Shawnee- 
town, and thence proceeded to Yincennes, when, after pausing a few 
days, he ascended the Wabash 210 miles to the Ouiatonon, or 
Weastown as it was called by the Americans, and thence crossed over 
to Detroit." 

In 1776 the relations of the colonies with the mother country were 
severed by the Declaration of Independence. This territory was held 
under the state authorities of Virginia. At this time the French were 
still occupying the posts all along the Mississippi, and had manifested 
a want of sympathy with the revolution struggle ; as they had affiliated 
with the natives for nearly a century and had intermarried into the 
various tribes, had done but little to improve the country but were 
satisfied to live in a rude and uncivilized state, and looked with but 
little favor upon any change of government or civilization that would 
tend to disturb their manner of life. That they might be made feel 
and acknowledge the sovereignty of the United States, the governor 
and council of Virginia sent an expedition of two hundred men, who 
enlisted for three months, under the command of George Rogers 
Clark, a Kentucky backwoodsman, to occupy this territory. Clark 
embarked with his force at Pittsburgh, and descended the Ohio river 
to within forty miles of its mouth, where he landed, and after conceal- 
ing his boats " he marched across the country to Kaskaskia, where the 
first surrender was made without resistance ; their example being fol- 
lowed by a general surrender and acknowledgment of the sovereignty 
of the United States by taking the oath of allegiance to the constitu- 
tional authorities of the government." 

In October of that year (1776) the general assembly of the State 
of Virginia constituted the county of Illinois, which embraced all the 
territory north of the Ohio river. In this relation it remained until 
1783, in which year that " state passed an act authorizing the cession 
to the United States of this territory, and during the subsequent year 
the deed was executed." 

At a session of congress held in Kew York an ordinance was 
passed June 11, 1787, titled "An ordinance for the government of 
the territory of the United States Northwest of the Ohio." This act 
forever excluded slavery from this part of the country, which has 
proved to be a very important measure, in having much to do with 
the future of this great nation ; for had this vast territory been open 
to the introduction of American slavery it would have been quite 
different with the progress and freedom which now characterize the 
political and social economy of the nation ; and no people have 
greater cause to be grateful for the wise enactment than those who 
live on the fertile soil of the vast prairies of the northwest. 



16 HISTOEY OF LEE COUNTY. 

There were at this time but few Americans in this territor}". Vir- 
ginia having found it impracticable to maintain an outpost at so great 
a distance in a wilderness, the men were "quartered on the French 
residents, but ultimately were compelled to shift for themselves. And 
a few Americans who had accompanied this expedition found tlieir 
way into the French villages along the Mississippi and remained." 

In 1781 an expedition started from Maryland consisting of five 
men, James Moore, Shadrach Bond, Robert Kidd, Larkin Ruther- 
ford and James Garrison, who, taking their wives and children with 
them, pushed out into the western wilds. They crossed the Allegha- 
nies to the Ohio river, down which they passed to the Mississippi ; 
thence up that stream to Kaskaskia, where they separated and settled 
in different localities of that part of the territory. The first three 
settled on what was known as the "American Bottom," while the 
other two pushed on to Bellefountaine. 

In the year 1781 a small colony from the State of Massachusetts, 
under the direction of Gen. Rufus Putnam, settled on the Ohio at 
the mouth of the Muskingum I'iver, on the present site of Marietta, 
Ohio. It is claimed that this was the first organized English settle- 
ment in this vast northwestern territory, and that Marietta is the 
oldest town of the same origin northwest of the Ohio river. 

"Prior to the year 1788 there were about forty-five improve- 
ments made by Americans, which entitled each to 400 acres of land 
under a subsequent act of congress, which was passed in 1791." 

The General Assembly of Virginia, on the 30tli of December, 
1788, passed an act authorizing the division of the Northwestern 
Territory into republican states. In recognition of this the con- 
gress of the United States, on August 7, 1789, passed enactments 
providing for its government, and in 1791 there were but sixty-five 
Americans who were capable of bearing arms. 

First Civil Government. — In 1788 Arthur St. Clair located at 
Marietta, Ohio, to exercise official functions as governor of the terri- 
tory, to which administrative position he had been appointed. Here 
he organized a territorial government, and in 1790 he proceeded to 
Kaskaskia on the Mississippi and effected a county organization, 
which he named St. Clair. It was under this oflicial act that Illi- 
nois was first placed under civil jurisdiction. The first territorial 
legislature met at Cincinnati in September 1799, at which time Will- 
iam Henry Harrison was elected the first delegate to congress. 

On the 7th of May, 1800, the territory was divided by an act of 
congress, into two separate governments. At this time the popu- 
lation of Illinois, whicli numbered about three thousand souls, were 
of French ancestry, and occupied the southern part of the state. 



DISCO VERY AND EARLY HISTORY. 17 

Under this governmental provision the territory remained but nine 
years, when, in 1809, Illinois was set apart to herself under a terri- 
torial government ; and in 1812 a legislature was convened and a 
delegate to congress chosen. 

The organization of the Illinois state government was authorized 
by an act of congress passed on the 18th of April 1818 ; and on the 
18tli day of December following Illinois was admitted into the Union 
as the twenty-second state. 

Military Posts. — At the organization of the Illinois state gov- 
ernment, the northern region of the state was not opened to settle- 
ments, in which state it remained until after the Black Hawk war, in 
1832 ; being occupied by the Chippewas, Ottawas, and Pottawato- 
mies of the Illinois' and Milwaukee. The government had, as early 
as 1804, established a military post at Fort Dearborn, on the present 
site of the city of Chicago. This fort was garrisoned with a com- 
pany of infantry, who maintained amicable relations with the natives 
until after the declaration of war, in 1812, when the Indians became 
restless and gathered in the vicinity of the fort with evident signs of 
hostility. Under orders from the war department. Captain Heald 
negotiated with the Indians that he might withdraw from the fort, 
leaving for them the "provisions and munitions in the fort." But, 
true to the Indian character they ambuscaded the command when two 
miles from the fort, but two or three escaping to record the fate of 
theii* comrades. Four years following, in 1816, the fort was rebuilt 
and garrisoned by two companies of infantry, who gathered the 
bleaching bones of those who fell in the massacre four years before, 
and carefully interred them with aj^propriate ceremonies. 

Mineral. — The first discovery of coal ever made on the Amer- 
ican continent was by Father Hennepin, a Jesuit priest, at Fort 
Creve-coeur, on the Illinois, in 1879. He not only indicated on his 
map a " coal-mine," but wrote in his journal that " there are mines 
of coal, slate, and iron." The next discovery recorded was ninety 
years later, in 1765, by Col. George Croghan, when as Indian 
commissioner for the government he visited Illinois. He wrote in 
his journal, " On the south side of the Ouabache (Wabash, probably 
below Covington) runs a high bank in which are several fine coal- 
mines." This precedes the discoveries of the Pennsylvania coal 
beds, and strange as it seems the honor of the discovery of this 
fossil product was left to the great prairie state of Illinois. 



18 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 



TOPOGRAPHY OF LEE COUNTY. 



Geographical Position. — Lee county lies between 41 and 42 de- 
grees north latitude, and its longitude is 12 degrees and 30 minutes 
west of Washington. It is in the northern quarter of the State of 
Illinois in the third tier of counties from the northern boundary of 
the state ; the eastern border of the county being near the median 
line north and south between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi 
river, and sixty-two miles west of Chicago. It is divided, north and 
south, by the third principal meridian, leaving Ranges 1 and 2 
east, and Ranges 8, 9, 10 and 11 west of said line. 

Lee county embraces 792 square miles, and is bounded on the 
east by De Kalb ; on the south by La Salle and Bureau ; on the 
west by Whiteside, and on the north by Ogle county. The extreme 
length of the county east and west is thirty six miles, and the ex- 
treme width north and south is twenty-two on the western boundary 
line, and eighteen on the eastern line. A variance arises from an 
angle in the northern boundary line fourteen sections east of the 
noi'thwest cor er of the township where it turns to the south one 
mile, thence east on the section line to the northeast corner of the 
county, throwing the northern tier of sections from the point above 
mentioned into Ogle county, though it geographically belongs to 
Lee county. The northern boundary line also makes a deviation 
to the north and south, following the "grand detoure" of the river, 
throwing all the land north of the detour into Ogle county. 

The southern boundary beginning with Range 8, between 
Townships 18 and 19, runs east to the third principal meridian, 
where it turns three miles north on said line, then east to the south 
east corner of the county. For convenience in civil purposes it is 
divided into twenty-two civil townships. 

In physical geography Lee is unsurpassed by any other county 
in the state. It not only presents the quiet beauty of rounded out- 
lines of the prairie, but the rugged grandeur of river bluffs and 
rocky fastnesses. There are beautiful landscapes clothed with grassy 
plains, interspersed with pleasant groves and forests of useful timber, 
generally of a few hundred acres in extent, breaking the usual 
monotony of the prairie landscape at very frequent intervals, and 
affording a supply of fuel and fencing material. The county, how- 
ever, is principally prairie. 

The surface of the land in the county varies from the low swamps 
of the south to the Rock i-iver bluffs of the north. In the southwest 
corner of the county we meet with the Winnebago swamp which 
extends in a belt two and three miles in width across Hamilton 
township from the southwest to the northeast into the north part of 



TOPOGRAPHY OF LEE COUNTY. 19 

East Grove and the south part of Marion township, and sends a 
branch west through the southern portion of Harmon township. 
This swamp is fed from the drainage of Inlet swamp, which is situ- 
ated east of the center of the county embracing a portion of the west 
of Yiola township, the southeast corner of Bradford and the north- 
east of Lee Center. The drainage of this into the Winnebago is 
through Inlet creek which flows to the southwest, watering the Inlet 
grove in Lee Center, passes to the south of the city of Amboy, and 
spreads its waters into the latter swamp ; it is fringed in its meander- 
ing course by groves of timber. A.s we go to the east from the 
Winnebago swamp the land becomes rolling and of a sandy loam 
soil of beautiful prairie dotted with groves to the eastern boundary 
of the county. The Paw Paw grove, south of the village bearing 
that name in Wyoming township, and Malugin's grove ten or twelve 
miles east of the city of Amboy, are the largest in that part of the 
county, each covering from one to two thousand acres. These fur- 
nish much valuable timber for fuel and fencing purposes. 

South of Amboy city we meet with a tract of timber-land embrac- 
ing eighteen or twenty square miles. Along Rock river in the 
northwest quarter of the county is found the largest timber supply. 
Among the most valuable woods found there may be mentioned : 
oak of different varieties, hickory, sugar maple, ash, poplar, etc., of 
abundant supply for present demands. Lee county, however, can- 
not boast the luxuriant growth of timber found in other sections 
of the country, as on the Ohio and Wabash rivers. Dr. Foster, 
speaking of the northern part of the state, appropriately adds : 
"The absence of a forest growth is no detriment to its development, 
since beneath the surface at accessible depths are stored inexhausti- 
ble supplies of fossil fuel, and the borders of the upper lakes are 
fringed with forests of pine affording the best quality of lumber, 
which can be delivered in the Chicago market at comparatively 
cheap rates. The soil which sustains these pine forests contains only 
three or four per cent of organic matter and is unfit for agriculture ; 
while the prairie soil contains organic matter sufficient for fifty suc- 
cessive crops." It is, therefore, more to the material interests of 
the county to draw her supplies of lumber from other sources than 
to divert her fertile acres from the growing of grain and other 
products of husbandry. 

Origin of the Prairies. — "This is not due," says Foster, "so 
much to the mechanical texture, or chemical composition of the soil, 
but to the unequal distribution of moisture. They are the phase in 
a gradation between the densely wooded belt, where the moisture is 
equally distributed, and the inhospitable desert, where it is almost 



20 HISTOEY OF LEE COUNTY. 

wholly witliheld. The excess of moisture which is precipitated on 
the plains during the spring and summer months, and the consequent 
deficiency which ensues during the fall and winter months, are con- 
ditions not favorable to the growth of trees. Leaving the thickly 
wooded crests of the Alleghanies, and traveling westward to the 
base of the Kocky mountains, the observer will witness the gradual 
disappearance of those noble forms of arborescent vegetation which 
are dependent for their growth on an abundant, equable supply of 
moisture, and their final replacement by other forms, like the cactus 
and artemisia, which flourish where the moisture is almost wholly 
withheld." 

Beginning on the east line of the county, five sections north of 
the southeast corner and in the vicinity of Paw Paw, we find the be- 
ginning of a ridge which extends westward two townships, where it 
bears to the southwest through Sublette township, at which point is 
the greatest altitude between Mendota and Dixon, sloping oft' to the 
AYinnebago flats. There is a depression oh the face of the land, 
entering the county on the east and about midway north and south, 
which runs westward through Willow and Viola townships, then 
bearing to the south it extends to the southwest corner of the county, 
where we find the greatest depression. As we advance northward 
we cross a ridge which passes from the eastern boundary along the 
northern third of the county westward to the median line north and 
south where it meets a like ridge extending down from the north, 
then bearing southwest it becomes less prominent as it reaches the 
western border of the county, between the low lands of the Winne- 
bago swamp on the south and the tributaries to Rock river on the 
north. As we advance to the north in the western third of the 
county we come to the high lands and bluff's of Rock river, covered 
with timber and presenting many attractions in connection with the 
meandering waters of this beautiful and historic stream. 

On the banks of Rock river and in the vicinity of Dixon are 
natural observatories, from which the eye is greeted with such 
grandeur of scenery as inspired the poetic mind of the honored Bryant, 
whose visit to this county is recorded in the following pages. Of those 
most prominent may be mentioned the Clarks bluff's, on the south side 
of the river and about three miles below the city of Dixon ; and the 
"Hazlewood" bluffs, on the farm of "Gov." Axa. Charters, which 
lies west of the river and about two miles north of the city. The 
forests and rocky fastnesses of the region of Rock river have been 
so preserved in their rude native character, as not only to be attract- 
ive to the eyes of men who appreciate the charms of nature, but to 
the fowls and wild beasts of former days. The hunter's rifle occa- 



TOPOGEAPHY OF LEE COUNTY. 21 

sionallj brings down the gray wild-cat, and his hounds bay after the 
retreating wolf which has chanced to wander down from the forests 
of Wisconsin. 

William C. Bryant, the poet, writing a letter after his visit to 
Rock river, in 1841, described his ride through Lee county as fol- 
lows : "As we descended into the prairie we were struck with the 
novelty and beauty of the prospect which lay befoi'e us. The ground 
sank gradually and gently into a low but immense basin, in the 
midst of which lies the marshy tract called the Winnebago swamp. 
To the northeast the sight was intercepted by a forest in the midst 
of the basin but to the northwest the prairies were seen swelling up 
again in the smoothest slopes to their usual height, and stretching 
away to a distance so vast that it seemed boldness in the eye to fol- 
low them. We reached the Winnebago swamps, a tract covered 
with tall and luxuriant water-grass, which we crossed on a causeway 
built by a settler who keeps a toll-gate, and at the end of the cause- 
way we forded a small stream called Winnebago Inlet. Crossing 
another vast prairie we reached the neighborhood of Dixon, the ap- 
proach of which was denoted by groves, farm-houses, herds of cattle^ 
and enclosed corn-fields checkering the broad, green prairie." 

The general slope of this county is, with that of the most of the 
state, to the southwest. The greatest depression in the county is, as 
above given, in the southwest corner, known as the Winnebago 
lands, which are doubtless the bed of an ancient lake, and ere long 
will be valuable lands. The greatest altitude in the county is reached 
on the Rock river heights, in the northwest corner of the county. 

The drainage is generally good through man 3^ tributaries to Rock 
river on the north and Inlet creek on the south. The northern third 
of the county is drained by the smaller streams which flow from the 
dividing ridge, above referred to, which extends from the northeast 
to the southwest, emptying their waters into Rock river. These 
tributaries flow to the northwest, cutting their course through the 
bluffs to mingle with the latter stream. The central and southern 
part of the county are drained by creeks and brooks which pour their 
waters into Inlet swamp and Green river. The largest of these is 
Willow creek, which rises in De Kalb county on the east, and cross- 
ing near the middle of the east line of Lee, continues westward until 
lost amid the grass and rushes of Inlet swamp. A few miles south 
of this creek, about the village of Paw Paw, in Wyoming township, 
is an elevated tract of land which becomes the dividing ridge be- 
tween the headwaters of Green river and Kite creek, which rises in 
the southeast corner of Lee county, and running south through Beau- 
reau it empties into the Illinois within the borders of Putnam 



22 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

county. The central-west of the township is drained by the Three 
Mile branch and the Five Mile creek. The former heads in the 
vicinity of ISTachusa, and meandering westward, passing Dixon three 
miles to the south, as its name indicates, it empties into Rock river 
near the county line. The Five Mile creek rises near Eldena Sta- 
tion, west of the center of the county, and flows westward to the 
county line and pours its waters into the Rock river within the bor- 
ders of Whitesides county. Its waters are shaded much of its way 
by the forest timber that fringe its banks. These streams are of 
much value to the inhabitants through whose fields they flow. 

The township of Palmyra, in the northwestern part of the county, 
is traversed by Sugar creek, which crosses the extreme corner of the 
county, j^assing through the beautiful Sugar grove, which stands 
near the center of the above township, and after emerging from Lee 
county empties into Rock river. 

Rivers and Navigation. — The principal stream in Lee county is 
Rock river, which crosses the northwest corner, separating Palmyra 
and Dixon townships from the other portion of the county. It first 
reaches the county from the north, twelve miles east of the western 
boundary, and flows one mile south, then turning to the west it makes a 
detour back to the north, and passes west of the first point one-half to 
three-quarters of a mile. Then making another grand detour to the 
north and west, returns and enters Lee county nine miles east of the 
northwest corner. From this point of entrance it bears to the east 
on its southern course for two or three miles, then sweeps off to the 
southwest, cutting its way through the rocks and bluffs, making a 
gentle curve here and there on its way, as if to add to its attractive- 
ness and beauty, and emerges from the county, crossing the western 
line nine miles south. 

The beauty and attractions of this river are not equaled by any 
other stream in the state. The Rock River vallev has been the 
theme of the richest prose and the sweetest poetry. It has awakened 
the poetical genius of a William Cullen Bryant, and a Margaret 
Fuller Ossoli. The former, when on a visit to Rock river in 1841, 
feasted his eyes on the grand scenery presented to his view, as he 
stood on Hazlewood looking out on the silvery stream, as it flowed 
majestically through the forest and plains, and murmured at the base 
of the rocks and blufts. On his return home he wrote, on the 21st 
of June, as follows: "I have just returned from an excursion to 
Rock river, one of the most beautiful of our western streams. It 
flows through high prairies and, not like most streams of the west, 
through an alluvial country. The current is rapid, and the pellucid 
waters glide over a bottom of sand and pebbles. Its admirers de- 



•( 



TOPOGRAPHY OF LEE COUN^TY. 23 

clare that its shores unite the beauties of the Hudson and of the 
Connecticut. The banks on either side are high and bold ; some- 
times they are perpendicular precipices, the bases of which stand in 
running water ; sometimes they are steep, grassy, or rocky bluffs, 
with a space of alluvial land between them and the stream ; some- 
times they rise by a gradual and easy ascent to the general level of 
the region, and sometimes this ascent is interrupted by a broad, 
natural terrace. Majestic trees grow solitary or in clumps on the 
grassy acclivities, or scattered in natural parks along the lower lands 
upon the river, or in thick groves along the edge of the high country. 
Back of the bluffs extend a fine agricultural region, rich prairies with 
an undulating surface, interspersed with groves. At the foot of the 
bluffs break forth copious springs of clear water, which hasten in 
the little brooks to the river. In a drive which I took up the left 
bank of the river I saw three of these in the space of as many miles. 
One of these is the spring which supplies the town of Dixon with 
water; this spring is now overflowed by the dam across the river; 
the next is a beautiful fountain rushing out from the rocks in the 
midst of a clump of trees, as merrily and in as great a hurry as a 
boy let out from school ; the third is so remarkable as to have re- 
ceived a name. It is a little rivulet issuing from a cavern six or 
seven feet high, and about twenty from the entrance to the further 
end, at the foot of a perpendicular precipice covered with forest 
trees and fringed with bushes. 

"In the neighborhood of Dixon a class of emigrants have estab- 
lished themselves (in 1841), more opulent and luxurious in their 
tastes than most of the settlers of the western country. Some of 
these have built elegant homes on the left bank of the river, amidst 
the noble trees which seem to have grown up for that very purpose. 
Indeed, when I looked at them I could hardly persuade myself that 
they had not been planted to overshadow older habitations. From 
the door of one of these dwellings I surveyed a prospect of exceed- 
ing beauty. The windings of the river allowed us a sight of its 
waters and its beautifully diversified banks to a great distance each 
way, and in one direction a high j)rairie region was seen above the 
woods that fringed the course of the river of a lighter green than 
they, and touched with the golden light of the setting sun. 

"I am told that the character of Rock river is, throughout its 
course, much as has been described in the neighborhood of Dixon ; 
that its, banks are high and free from marshes, and its water rapid 
and clear, from its source in Wisconsin to where it enters the Mis- 
sissippi amidst rocky islands." 

Many springs empty their pure, cool waters into this stream, 



24 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

which give it a purity which but few waters of its size possess. 
The river being largely fed by inexhaustible fountains, it never falls 
so low as most streams do in the dry summer season, and the waters 
that are ever flowing are cool and refreshing, making it the best 
stock-watering stream in the state. 

Adding much to the charming beauty of the Kock river are her 
numerous islands which divide her waters, and being carpeted with 
green, tender grass, interspersed with beds of wild flowers, are as 
beautiful as a cultivated lawn. Some are shaded with forests, while 
the brows of the precipitous shores are fringed with trees of smaller 
growths, from which the plain stretches across the valley to the 
bluiFs, presenting a scene most picturesque. There are not less than 
twenty -five of these islands in the river's course through Lee county. 
One a short distance above the Dixon bridge is set with forest trees, 
and were it not for the occasional overflows it could be made a spot 
of pleasant I'esort during the hot days of the summer months. At 
this writing, April 20, it is covered with several feet of water, and 
presents the view of a beautiful forest set in a crystal lake. 

But as attractive as Rock river is in her ordinary mood, she is 
not always as serene and gentle as poets have written of her, but at 
times in her fury has challenged the boldness of a Byron rather than 
the gentleness of the classic poetry of a Biyant, who through his 
admiration for the beautiful river eulogized her as not subject to high 
flows as many of her sister streams. She has at times been profligate 
with property and life. 

On March 20, 1847, a rise of water with floating ice carried away 
the north half of the toll bridge, which had been finished some time 
during the winter, causing an outlay of $2,000 to make repairs. And 
in June, 1851, the river overflowed its banks with two feet of water 
on the public road around the Grand Detour, where on the 18th of 
that month a stage crossing the flow was precipitated into ten feet of 
water, drowning all the horses, and with the almost miraculous 
escape of human life thus imperiled. Referring to this freshet the 
city papers congratulated the citizens of Dixon on the fortunate escape 
of the dam from the fate of most of the dams on the river, in the fol- 
lowing strain : "The dam at this place has thus far successfully 
withstood the tremendous rush of the high-water current, and we 
think it will still do so. Other dams of Rock river we learn have 
been compelled to yield." On February 14, 1857, the water rose to 
the tops of the bridge-piers which stood below the railroad bridge, 
and lifting up the solid ice which had formed around the piers car- 
ried the entire bridge structure up with it from its resting places, but 
the ice not breaking up it was let down again, but not without dam- 



TOPOGRAPHY OF LEE COUNTY. 27 

age, as it had to be rebuilt. About ten days later the toll bridge at 
the foot of Ottawa street was carried away by the high water and 
floating ice. And on June 3, the following year (1858), the papers 
of Dixon made the following announcement: " Rock river at this 
time is higher than we have ever known it. Both the wagon bridges, 
at this place have suffered in consequence of the flood. The free- 
bridge, but a small portion of which was carried away, will be re- 
paired immediately. Steps will be taken by our citzens to build a. 
new bridge in place of the one swept away at the foot of Galena 
street." In the following February (1859) the breaking up of the 
ice by a heavy freshet carried away the dam and the new toll bridge. 
The editorials of the 20tli of the same month said : " The dam be- 
came so clogged with floating ice that the weight caused it to give 
way, descending ice and dam together, against the new bridge 
erected only four months since ; it swept away two bents at one crash,, 
and later two more were taken. The bridge will be repaired imme- 
diately in ordtr to have it ready for the next descent, but in the 
meantirne the northsiders, by going three miles and paying 25 cents,, 
can reach town over the free bridge." Two months later, April 23y 
two factories and a saw-mill at the north end of the bridge were un- 
der-washed by the rushing waters from tlie dam, and when the build- 
ings were slowly moving toward the water, which was twenty feet 
deep, the machinery was removed, and fire set to the buildings to 
save the bridge below from the fate of the one that had been swept 
away so recently. 

March 7, 1868, the high waters with floating ice swept away the 
free bridge and battered down one pier of the railroad bridge, pre- 
cipitating two spans into the river. It also washed out 120 feet of 
the south end of the dam. 

At the present writing Rock river is recording another epoch in 
her historic fame. The tide is rushing down like a ttiighty ocean, 
overflowing her banks at a deptli, it is claimed, much greater than 
ever known. The water is fifteen feet above low-water mark, and 
two feet above the highest, with a velocity in the current of six to- 
seven miles per hour. 

The Dixon Telegraph says: " The freshet which now rages down 
the Rock river is one of the most remarkable ever known. At the 
present writing (April 20) the water in the river is nearly two feet 
higher than the highest water mark registered by the oldest inhabit- 
ant, and the flood is still swelling, and ' Where will it stop?' is the anx- 
ious inquiry of every one. Water street, below Galena, is covered; 
and Col. Dement was compelled to move his horses from the stable, 
and has since commenced moving out of his residence. On the 
3 



28 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY.' 

north side about twenty families were compelled to leave their 
houses; the flats below Bridge street are completely inundated, and 
people are working in boats to secure barns, sheds, and other out 
buildings from being carried down the river. The water sweeps 
over the street at the north end of the bridge over two feet deep." 
Green River. — This stream rises in the Inlet swamp east of the 
center of the county, as has been described, and flowing to the 
southwest through a beautiful grove in Lee Center township, mean- 
dering on to the south of Amboy city to the great Winnebago 
swamp, emerging from the county at the southwest corner, from 
which point it continues on through Bureau and Henry counties to 
mingle its waters with those of Rock river a few miles east of the 
city of Rock Island. This stream with its tributaries traverses the 
entire length of the county, through the Winnebago basin, which 
begins in the county eastward and gently recedes to the southwest, 
extending far beyond the boundary of Lee county. 

NATURAL HISTORY. 

Timber. — The emigrants to this county, as in most of northern 
Illinois, had not to contend with a universal primeval forest, as in 
many portions of the west. There were no great forests to hew 
down with the axe, and by patient toil for a generation to clear up 
a farm for their sons to inherit ; but they found, interspersed over a 
fertile prairie, groves of timber of almost every variety common to 
this latitude ; soft and sugar maple ; black walnut and butternut; 
yellow and white poplar; oak, of white, black and other varieties; 
of ash we find the white and black varieties; hickory of the princi- 
ple varieties; lin or basswood, gum, ironwood, cherry, crab-apple, 
wild plum, thorn, hazel, etc. 

Flowers and plants of great variety, embracing the timber and 
prairie flowers of almost every kind and hue found in the latitude, 
decorate the grassy prairie, the rocky bluffs and borders of the 
streams. Among the prairie plants may be mentioned one that has 
proved an annoyance to many an unsuspecting traveler, is what 
is commonly known as the "Wild Parsenip." The great poet 
William C. Bryant says of this plant: "Let me caution all emi- 
grants to Illinois not to handle too familiarly the 'Wild Parsenip,' 
as it is commonly called, an umbelliferous plant growing in the moist 
prairies of this region, I have handled it, and have paid dearly for 
it, having such a swelled face that I could scarcely see for several 
days." 

Wild Animals. — Of the nobler beasts of the unbroken prairie 
and wild forest was the buffalo, more properly called bison, cover- 



STATURAL HISTORY. 29 

ing the prairies in great herds ; while the stately elk, the timid deer, 
and fleet antelope roamed over the plains and through the groves. 
The tender, juicy grass of the plain, the cool shades of the groves, 
and the refreshing waters of the fountains and streams that abound 
in this country, make it a paradise for the wild grazing herds. But 
these have retreated before advancing civilization beyond the great 
waters of the Mississippi, while some of their number have left 
their bones to bleach on the prairies and mingle with the soil of Lee 
county, though their kind are now far removed from the reach of the 
hunter's rifle. Of carniverous beasts were the bear, the prairie and 
timber wolf, the wild-cat, the lynx, and the panther. The bear and 
the panther have disappeared from the habitation of the old pioneers 
of the county. In addition to these may be mentioned a variety of 
smaller animals, such as the beaver, the otter, the mink, and the 
muskrat, of the amphibious animals; the woodchuck, the red and 
gray fox, the raccoon, the opossum, the skunk, and the brown and 
white weasel. These are valuable for their fur. The smaller ani- 
mals are the prairie squirrel, gray and striped, Norway rats, moles, 
and the invincible mouse. 

Fowls. — The native fowls of Lee county embrace almost 
every species from the bald-eagle down to the humming bird. 
Among the game fowl may be mentioned the wild swan, goose, 
brant and duck among the water-fowls that throng the rivers, ponds, 
and lakes ; the plover, snipe, woodcock, prairie chicken, pheasant, 
quail, wild pigeon, turtle dove, and meadow lark. To these may be 
added water-fowls that attract but little attention by the epicurean ; 
such as the sand-hill crane, and his smaller neighbors ; the king 
fisher, etc. Of forest birds are found the bluejay, the robin, the 
bluebird, the pee wee, and many others usually found in this lati- 
tude. The Virginia nightingale, commonly called the "redbird," 
seldom appears in the forests in this vicinity ; and the same may be 
said of many birds of beautiful plumage and sweet song that are 
found in the more southern sections of the state. A variety of ra- 
pacious and vulturous birds are also found ; the bald* eagle, the vul- 
ture, the buzzard, the crow, and a number of different kinds of the 
hawk species. The crow has appeared in the more modern years of 
the county's history. It was formerly unknown in this part of the 
country. The plaintive notes of the whip-poor-will are occasionally 
heard at nightfall coming from the shady grove. 

In an early day the water-fowls visited the waters of Lee county 
in great numbers. It was one of these annual visitors that awakened 
the poetical genius of Bryant when he wrote that excellent and clas- 
sic poem : 



30 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 



TO A WATERFOWL. 



" Whither, midst falling dew, 
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, 
Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue 

Thy solitary way ? 

Vainly the fowler's eye 
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee harm, 
As, darkly limned upon the crimson sky. 

Thy figure tloats along. 

Seek'st thou the plashy brink 
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide. 
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink 

On the chafed ocean side ? 

There is a power whose care 
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast — 
The desert and illimitable air — 

Lone wandering, but not lost. 

All day thy wings have fanned 
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere. 
Yet stoop not weary, to the welcome land, 

Though the dark night is near. 

And soon that toil shall end ; 
Soon shalt thou find a summer home and rest. 
And scream among thy fellows ; reeds shall bend 

Soon o'er thy sheltered nest. 

Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven 
Hath swallowed up thy form ; yet on my heart 
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given. 

And shall not soon depart. 

He who from zone to zone 
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight. 
In the long way that I must tread alone 

Will lead my steps aright." 

Pisciculture. — Nature did much in stocking the streams of Lee 
county with a variety of fish; and some of choice quality. Among 
the native tribes are found the pike, the pickerel, the several vari- 
eties of perch; of bass, both rock and black; the cat and buffalo; 
of suckers are caught the black, the white and red-horse. From 
the great numbers of these latter which, in an early day, passed up' 
the rock river in the spring and returned in the fall, the state has 
received its vulgar name of the Sucker State. The modern im- 
provements on the river, dams, drainage from manufactories, and 
the seine, have reduced their number. 



GEOLOGICAL FORMATIONS. 31 

GEOLOGICAL FORMATIONS. 

The geological formations of Lee county are of more than usual 
interest, both to the mechanic and artist. There is found the finest 
building rock, and the purest for manufacturing quicklime ; and 
fossil rock capable of the highest polish, presenting a face variegated 
and beautiful. The scientist may find almost every formation from 
the lower silurian system up to the alluvium forming the basis of 
the fertile soil of this region of country. 

In the vicinity of Kock river may be found the St. Peter's sand- 
stone which out-crops on the river above Grand Detour. We find 
the Trenton or buff, and blue lime ; Galena limestone, without 
mineral deposits as at Galena ; Cincinnati group ; green and blue 
shales, with surface deposits ; sands, clays, soils, and gravel beds. 

Quarries of the finest building rock are found along the Rock 
river for miles below and above Dixon. Those below are of lime 
and sand, and work easily when just removed from the quarry, but 
harden on exposure to the atmosphere, a quality very desirable in 
building rock. A blue limestone quarry is situated three miles 
north of Dixon, west of the river, on Alex. Charter's farm ; and a 
little below this is Strong's quarry of the same kind of rock. The 
same is quarried on the east side of the river two miles northeast of 
Dixon ; and going twelve miles east of Dixon, along the northern 
border of the county, it crops out at Ashton, where some of the finest 
quality of building stone is quarried. A quarry is also opened on 
the farm of R. M. Peile, Reynold township. Lee Center furnishes 
building stone for the necessary supply of all demands in the central 
part of the. county. 

An extensive lime kiln and quarry, known as Dement & De 
Puy's quarry, are located on the south side of the river above the 
water-power, and under the College hill. 

The geology of Lee county is rich with scientific interest, and 
abounds in some localities with fossil deposits. Two or three miles 
northeast of Dixon, and east of Rock river, are quarried the finest 
specimens of fossil rock, composed of shells of various varieties, and 
so imbedded together as to form a texture as compact as marble, 
and capable of as fine a polish. 

The geological deposit of primary importance is the quarternary 
system, which embraces all the superficial material, including gravel, 
sands, clays, and soils. These are the more recent accumulations, 
which cover the older formations and lay the foundation and give 
origin to the soil from which we derive our agricultural resources. 
"This system may be properly separated into four divisions, to wit: 
post-tertiary, sands, and clays, drift clay and gravel, loess and allu- 



32 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

vium. The post-tertiaiy sands occupy the lowest portion in the 
series, and consist of beds of stratified yellow sand and blue clay of 
variable thickness, overlaid by a black or chocolate-colored loam soil, 
containing leaves, branches, and trunks of trees in a good state of 
preservation. This is an ancient soil which has been covered by the 
drift deposits, consisting of blue, yellow or brown clays, contain- 
ing gravel and boulders of various sizes," water-worn fragments 
of rocks, which have been carried down from the northern shores 
of the great lakes. Above this we sometimes meet with beds of 
gravel. 

The subsoil over the northern part of the state is predicated upon 
the drift deposits, but it differs from them essentially in its character, 
and probably owes its origin to other and more recent causes than 
the drift agencies. It is generally composed of fine brown clay, 
which differs in its appearance from the clays of the drift. Hence 
we may infer that its origin is due to some cause subsequent in its ac- 
tion to the accumulation of these deposits, and uniform in its effects 
over formations essentially different in their constituent materials. 
In the first volume of the report on the Illinois survey Prof. Les- 
quereux has given the following on the formation of the prairies, 
which explains the origin of the brown clay and the subsoil above it. 
He says : " It is evident that the black soil of their surface (the prai- 
ries), as well as the clayey sub-soil, whatever the thickness of these 
strata may be, have been formed in place by the agency and growth 
of a peculiar vegetation. In stagnant water, whenever water is low 
enough to admit the transmission of light and air of sufficient quan- 
tity to sustain vegetable life, the bottom is first invaded by confervas, 
and especially by characese, and a peculiar kind of floating moss {Jiyp- 
num aduncum). These plants contain in their tissue a great pro- 
portion of lime alumina, silica, and even of oxide of iron, the ele- 
ments of clay. "When exposed to atmospheric influence the characeae 
become covered with an efflorescence of scarcely carbonized or pure 
iron. Moreover, this vegetation of the low, stagnant waters feeds a 
prodigious quantity of small mollusks and infusoria, whose shells 
and detritus greatly add to the deposits. The final result of the de- 
composition of the whole matter is that fine clay of the sub-soil of 
the prairies which is mdeed truly impalpable when dried and pul- 
verized and unmixed with sands." 

While it seems entirely satisfactory to recognize the origin of the 
soil of the prairies from the growth and decay of vegetable matter in 
shallow ponds and marshes, with the animal remains that abounded 
in them, there are, however, traces of currents of water and floating 
ice generally from the north, though it is claimed by good authority 



EARLY HISTORY. 33 

that there were counter currents. Boulders are found in different 
parts of the country, distributed over the surface of the ground, which 
have been carried down by the moving ice and deposited as strangers 
on the prairie soil. A good place to study these stones is on the 
bluffs southeast of Rock river, about one mile above Dixon, and on 
the east slope of a ravine that drains into that river opposite the 
island. 

Along the bluffs of Kock river may be found the loess deposit, 
which is described as " a fine mechanical sediment that seems to have 
accumulated in a quiet lake or other body of fresh water. It is com- 
posed of brown, buff or ashen gray marley, sands, and clays, and 
contains numerous land and fresh-water shells of the same species 
with those inhabiting the land and waters of the adjacent region." 

Along the Rock river valley and in the Inlet and "Winnebago 
basin we meet with alluvium, as well as along some of the smaller 
streams. This consists of sand, clay, and loam, irregularly stratified 
with greater or less organic matter from the decomposed animal and 
vegetable substances that are imbedded therein. 

The soil of Lee county is fertile, well drained, and adapted to 
agriculture and stock growing. A number of the citizens of the county 
are engaged in the latter, and have many broad acres set in clover 
and blue-grass, which grow most luxuriantly. 

EARLY HISTORY. 

Prior to the Black Hawk war. — For the early history of the 
territory now embraced in Lee county we are called back to the 
early days of Dixon's Ferry. It was the establishment of this en- 
terprise, as the first improvement of the country, that invited to the 
banks of Rock river the early pioneer settlement, that laid the foun- 
dation for the future development of an intelligent and prosperous 
community, and the building of the city of Dixon. The circum- 
stances leading to the discovery of this locality have been noticed in 
their proper relations to the discovery of Lee county. 

Prior to the establishment of the ferry at this place, the broad, 
fertile prairies and the beautiful groves of Lee county were left to 
the wild beasts and wandering tribes of aborigines. The Galena 
mine:* having been opened, there was a rush of emigration to that 
locality from the southern settlements along the Illinois river, by 
the Rock Island route. But a Mr. O. W. Kellogg taking the more 
direct route from Peoria— then Fort Clark— drove his team across 
the country, in 1827, traversing the wild prairies, fording streams, 
and camping at night without any shelter save the starry expanse 
above, which seemed like a vast crystal canopy resting down upon 



34 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

the boundless prairie sea which surrounded him on every side. 
Reaching Rock river he crossed the stream at a point a few miles 
above the present site of the city of Dixon, probably at the head of 
Truman's Island ; passed between what is now known as Polo and 
Mount Morris ; thence west of West G-rove, from which point he 
turned north to Galena. This prairie path-finder opened the route 
afterward known as " Kellogg' s Trail." This path was soon occu- 
pied by many fortune seekers, who disregarded the fertile soil over 
which they were passing, and in which mines of wealth were stored 
that would be inexhaustible for generations to come. Soon, how- 
ever, it was discovered that this was not the most direct communi- 
cation between the lower settlements and the mines, hence in the 
spring of 1828 John Boles, bearing to the west of Kellogg' s Trail, 
crossed Rock river at the present site of Dixon, not far from the 
location of the Galena street bridge, possibly a few rods below 
this point. This path, known as " Bole's Trail," became the com- 
mon route between the above points. 

The crossing of the river prior to the establishment of the ferry 
was attended with difficulties and perils. The method is described 
by John K. Robinson in the following manner: "The method of 
crossing the river with teams before the establishment of a ferry was 
primitive and simple. On arriving at the place of crossing the 
wagons were unloaded and the loads carried over in canoes by the 
Indians. The wagon was then driven with the side to the stream 
and two wheels lifted into a canoe, then shoved a little out into the 
river ; another canoe received the other two wheels, when the 
double boat was paddled or poled to the other side. The horses 
were taken by the bridle and made to swim by the side of the canoe, 
while the cattle swam loose. Then commenced the lifting out of 
the wagon and reloading, after which the journey was renewed, 
and all hands happy that the task of crossing the river was com- 
pleted." 

"Once James P. Dixon, well acquainted with the hardship of 
crossing, arriving on the banks of the river with the mail wagon 
called to the Indians for their assistance, but received no answer. 
Yexed at their delay, and at their arrogance when they did assist, he 
boldly unchecked his horses so as to give them a chance to swim, 
and crossed the river with the mail and wagon in safety." 

This incident illustrates some of the inconveniences to which the 
early pioneers were subject. The Indians were not reliable as ferry- 
men in the manner as above described, being frequently absent, or 
ill disposed to render immediate assistance ; and it was only when 
the river was low that it could be forded. To relieve the traveling 



EARLY HISTORY. 35 

public of this annoyance, and to open an avenue of pecuniary gain, 
Mr. J. L. Bogardis, of Peoria, attempted the establishment of a 
ferry at this point some time in 1827, or early in 1828. The enter- 
prise, however, was a failure ; for the reason that the Indians, who 
had been accustomed to pilot the strangers across the river in their 
primitive style, were unwilling that the white man should create a 
competition in the business over which they held a monopoly ; and 
therefore they swooped down upon the two workmen, who had the 
boat for the ferry well on the way, and burning the superstructure they 
ordered the men back to the place from which they came. The 
workmen made a hasty retreat, leaving the red-men in possession of 
the situation, including a shanty 8x10 feet, which they had erected 
on the bank of the river. 

In the spring of 1828 Josep Ogee, a French Indian half-breed 
and interpreter, settled here, erected a cabin on the bank of the river, 
and established the first ferry without molestation from the Indians. 
Ogee's wife was a Pottawatomie woman, and his relations and 
customs were allied with their own people, so that he was permitted 
to abide in peace and conduct his ferry until the spring of 1830, 
when he sold to John Dixon, whose name the city of Dixon bears 
to-day. Mr. Dixon had induced Ogee to build the ferry to accom- 
modate the United States mail, which he was carrying from Peoria 
to Galena. On the 11th of April Mr. Dixon arrived at the ferry 
with his family and took charge of the transportation of the travel- 
ing public across the river. He was regarded by the Indians as the 
*' red-man's friend," whom they called "]S^a-chusa ;" which is a con- 
traction of Nadah-churah-sah, and signifies, " head-hair- white ;" 
referring to Mr. Dixon's white, flowing locks, which came prema- 
turely. 

The first tavern opened in this vicinity was in 1829, by Isaac 
Chambers, who built a house for public entertainment in Buft'alo 
Grove, through which he had cut a road for the new trail from the 
ferry to Galena, two miles distant from the Bole's Trail, which it in- 
tersected some distance north of the grove. This was the first white 
family in this part of the country. That the reader may have a just 
idea of the hardships of those days, and the primitive style in a 
pioneer tavern, we give an extract below from the pen of John K. 
Robinson, an eye witness to many of the things of which he writes, 
who came to the county in 1832, and became conversant with the facts 
here related : 

"From 1829 to 1835 the travel crossing Rock river at the pres- 
ent site of Dixon was extensive. In early spring the emigration to 
the lead mines was one perpetual rush — like in character to the gold 



36 HISTORY OF LEE COUJVTT. 

fever of later years. It swept over Rock rivt-r in swarms of from 
five to twenty teams a day through May and June ; then again there 
was a mighty stream southward during September and October. 
Among the many passing through we had of ministers : John Sin- 
clair, John T. Mitchell, and Erastus Kent, all honored as faithful 
men and able ministers ; judges : Thomas Ford, afterward governor 
of Illinois, and Young; lawyers: Mills and Sheldon; and black- 
legs whose name is legion. Accommodations were furnished the 
travelers as far as the beds, bedding, and table room of the 
"tavern" would reach. Between the two houses forming the long, 
one-story portion of the building was a ten or twelve font hall, with 
a doorway at either end, facing the north and south. Entering the 
hall from the south , on the west was the fimily sitting-room, on 
the east was the travelers' and hired help's room, each room 
eighteen feet square. The furniture of the west room consisted of 
two beds, quite a number of chairs, and a table extending clear 
across the room, where the meals were taken in cold weather ; in 
warm weather the meals were taken in the hall. The east room 
contained four beds, one in each corner. When driven to extend 
this bed-room, the "shake-down" was resorted to, which was of 
common occurrence. A buffalo robe or bear skin spread on the soft 
Bide of the floor, with a blanket or quilt for covering, made a bed 
good enough for anybody. The floor was otten covered in both 
rooms, and the hall filled to overflowing, with these hastily and easi- 
ly prepared beds. Floor room was not always of sufficient propor- 
tion to accommodate tin- entire party ; the remainder encamped all 
about the premises, there was room enough out doors for all. 
Owing to the base of supplies being so distant — Peoria ninety 
miles, and Galena sixty-five miles — we were often driven to extremi- 
ties. ]S[o weather or bad roads satisfied hunger or stayed travel. 
Armies, feeling this gnawing, grow restless and insubordinate. Our 
own family and travelers gave vent to human nature without stint. 
Few could take in the difficulties of having the whole of a large 
caravan to feed. The Inlet stream was unbridged and frequently 
swimming, and in that direction our supplies were often crossed un- 
der water before they reached us. Our horses were taught swimming 
and became proficients in that calling. I have been employed a lit- 
tle below the present road crossing Inlet creek, swimming horses 
and wagons across one way and back the other, for more than two 
hours at a time, and once safely swam a four-horse team attached to 
a wagon loaded with lumber across the stream at the imminent ris^k 
of myself and team. Mail stages were three times submerged and 
ruined in Inlet. Northward, Apple river and both Plumb rivers 



EARLY HISTORY. 37 

were alike difficult to cross and much more dangerous, as the cross- 
ings were bad and the current rapid. 

Father Dixon did his trading with the Indians as a matter of 
necessity. He had lived at Peoria and learned the character of the 
average trader and determined to deal more justly with the Indians 
than had been done. He ingratiated himself with them as their ad- 
viser and friend, strongly urging them to a civilized life and habits 
of sobriety, diligence and honesty. The store-room in which he 
traded with the Indians was in the east building (the two-story 
house), where he sold powder, lead, shot, wampum, tobacco, pipes, 
shrouding (a coarse cloth), blankets, guns, beads, needles, awls, 
knives, spears, muskrat and otter traps, calicos, etc., and but one 
thing at a time. Why ? The Indian is a thief always and every- 
where. In return he had their furs, dressed deer skins, moccasins, 
and fancy articles made by the female portion of his traders. These 
found a ready market in Galena, Peoria, and St. Louis. 

Directly after taking up his permanent home at Dixon's Ferry, 
and while coming down the river from the place of ferrying. Father 
Dixon heard his Indian name excitedly called out. Turning around 
he saw a naked savage within 100 feet of him running toward him 
and gesticulating angrily with a muskrat spear which was made of a 
sharpened 5-8 inch round iron rod, from two to three feet in 
length, fastened to a wooden handle from four to six feet in length, 
making a formidable weapon. To defend himself unarmed was 
impossible ; to flee cowardly. He took in the danger, but his man- 
hood refused to carry him out of danger, as his fleetness would have 
enabled him to do. He boldly faced his adversary, but before the 
Indian had an opportunity to throw his spear his arms were secure- 
ly grasped by some of the Indian spectators, who interfered for 
Dixon's safety. After the drunken debauch \\ as over the Indian 
asked an interview with Father Dixon, which he refused him until 
the band to which the Indian belonged interceded for him. Much 
ceremony suits the Indian ; the talk commenced, when the Indian, 
whose name was Dah-shun-egra, acknowledged his murderous inten- 
tion ; " that bad whisky made bad Indian," and asked forgiveness. 
He asked Father Dixon what he would have done if he had thrown 
the spear and missed his aim. In reply Father Dixon said : " Had 
you thrown the spear and missed me, the spear would have passed 
by me. and I should have reached it first, and should have killed 
you on the spot with your own spear." His coolness in the hour of 
danger, and this open avowal of a determined man to defend him- 
self and repel force by force, were qualities that the savages could 



38 IIISTOEY OF LEE COUNTY. 

fully understand and appreciate. It established Father Dixon's 
character among the Indians as a White Brave." 

While Mr. Dixon carried the United States mail the streams were 
unbridged, not even "corduroyed;" swamps undrained ; roads al- 
most impassable ; houses few and far between. Snowstorms were 
more severe and the cold more intense than in later years. In the 
winter of 1830-1 (the winter of the deep snow) the snow averaged 
three feet deep from New Year's Day to the 15th of March. No 
track was kept open from one settlement to another, and it was with 
great difficulty that roads were kept open even in densely settled dis- 
tricts. Fifteen to twenty-seven miles was the usual distance between 
the homes along the route. On one of the longest routes during this 
memorable winter Mr. Dixon and some of the stage passengers were 
so benumbed with the cold as to be unable to get out of the stage 
without assistance. 

In the year 1829 a post-office was established at Ogee's Ferry to 
accommodate the traveling public, and a Mr. Gay was appointed post- 
master. In September, 1830, Mr. Dixon superseded Mr. Gay, by 
government appointment, and in the following year the name of the 
post-office was changed, as the ferry had been, to Dixon's Ferry. The 
few settlers who had located in the vicinity of Rockford came to Dix- 
on's Ferry for their mail matter, and being the only ferry crossing for 
many miles up and down the river, Dixon at this early day was a 
central point of interest for thirty or forty miles north and south, and 
from Chicago, a small frontier post, to the Mississippi ; and in the 
time of the Black Hawk war it became the rendezvous of the United 
States troops. It was the central depot for supplies, and afforded the 
most advantageous point for military manoeuvering. 

At this time," says the " History of Dixon," published in 1880, 
the banks of Rock river at the present site of Dixon were gently 
sloping to the water's edge, covered with grass, not abrupt as at pres- 
ent. Teams were loaded wherever the ferry-boat struck a suitable 
place on the shores. The ferry-boat was propelled by the old-fashioned 
' setting pole,' attended with any amount of fatigue. It was one of 
the schools of patience in its day. A rope ferry, similar to the one 
now at Grand Detour, succeeded the primitive institution in 1835. 
A rope was stretched across the river from the tops of strong posts 
placed on either bank of the river at Galena street, and with the lee 
board as motive power more rapid and far easier transportation was 
secured." 

We may note at this point that Mrs. John Dixon was the first 
white woman who settled in the Rock River valley, in the bounds of 
Lee county. 






THE BLACK HAWK WAR. 89 

About eighteen or twenty miles south, and not far from the pres- 
ent Lee county line, in the south part of the county, another pioneer 
by the well known name of " Dad Joe " Smith had located at a very 
early day, the date of which we cannot give definitely, but it was, 
however, prior to the Black Hawk war, and of suflficient length of time 
for him to become familiar with the Indians of the country to secure 
his safety during the Black Hawk campaign. Having secured the 
safety of his wife and children he remained at his home at "Dad 
Joe's Grove " and attended and gathered his crops during the entire 
war unmolested. He had fought in the battle of the Thames ; came 
to this county with the first emigrants and " settled in the shadow of 
this grove," and commenced opening a farm. At the time of the 
advance of Atkinson's army he served as a guide. He also served as a 
spy under command of Zachary Taylor. He was an early settler, and 
of such long standing that he was rather looked upon as a kind of patri- 
arch in the country, and to distinguish him from other Joe Smiths — 
perhaps a son bearing his father's name — he received the venerable 
appellation of "Dad Joe." Mr. J. K. Robinson said of him: " He 
was one of the good, jolly men, who had made their homes along the 
route of the early thoroughfare between Peoria and Galena. ' Dad 
Joe ' had an uncommonly loud voice. It was often remarked in that 
day ' We knew they were all well at Dad Joe's, this morning, for we 
heard him calling his hogs just twenty miles away.' " 

In the spring of 1832, at the settlement at Buifalo Grove, ten 
miles up the Galena road, were located Isaac Chambers, O. W. Kel- 
logg, Mr. Reed, and a Mr. Bush, and their families. Mr. John K. 
Robinson had joined John Dixon at the ferry where he settled, and 
"Dad Joe" twenty miles south on the road. These were the way 
stations on the great thoroughfare of travel from the southern settle- 
ments to the Galena mines on the north, and were as oases in the 
desert to the pioneer traveler. 

THE BLACK HAWK WAR. 

The Black Hawk war broke out in 1832, when Dixon's Ferry, 
where the city of Dixon is now located, became the rendezvous of 
the United States troops and the raw levies that were raised for the 
defense of the frontier, as it proved to be a central position for the 
speedy and successful manoeuvreing of troops and their supplies. 

"A treaty had been made in 1804 with the Sacs and Fox Indians, 
in which those powerful tribes ceded to the United States all their 
lands lying east of the Mississippi, and agreed to remove to lands 
west of that river. Black Hawk and other chiefs not being present 
when the treaty was made, refused to be bound by it." It is but just 



40 HISTOEY OF LEE COUNTY. 

that the noble warrior, Black Hawk, be heard respecting this treaty, 
and the relation of his people to the origin of the war which fol- 
lowed. In his account given to Antoine Leclair, United States 
interpreter for the Sacs and Foxes, and published in the "Life of 
Black Hawk," by J. B. Patterson, of Rock Island, in 1834, he said : 

" One of our people killed an American and was confined in the 
prison at St. Louis for the offense. We held a council at our village 
to see what could be done for him, which determined that Quiish- 
qua-me, Pa-she-pa-ho, Ou-che-qua-ka, and Ha-she quar-hi-qua should 
go down to St. Louis, see our American father, and do all they could 
to have our friend released by paying for the person killed, thus 
covering the blood and satisfying the relations of the man murdered. 
This was the only means with us of saving a person who had killed 
another, and we then thought it was the same way with the whites. 
The party started with the good wishes of our whole nation, hoping 
they would accomplish the object of their mission. The relatives of 
the prisoner blacked their faces and fasted, hoping the Great Spirit 
would take pity on them and return the husband and father to his 
wife and children. Quash-qua-me and party remained a long time 
absent. They at length returned, * * * and gave to us the 
following account of their mission : 

"On their arrival at St. Louis they met their American father 
and explained to him their business, and urged the release of their 
friend. The American chief told them he wanted land, and they 
had agreed to give him some on the west side of the Mississippi and 
some on the Illinois' side opposite the Jefi*reon. When the business 
was all arranged they expected to have their friend released to come 
home with them, but about the time they were ready to start their 
friend was let out of prison, and he ran a short distance and was 
shot dead. This is all they could recollect of what was said or 
done. They had been drunk the greater part of the time they were 
in St. Louis. 

" This is all myself or nation knew of the treaty of 1804. It has 
been explained to me since. I find, by that treaty, all our country 
east of the Mississippi and south of Jefii'eon was ceded to the 
United States for one thousand dollar's a year. I will leave it to the 
people of the United States to say whether our nation was properly 
represented in this treaty, or whether we received a fair compensa- 
tion for the extent of country ceded by those four individuals. I 
could say much about this treaty but will not at this time. It has 
been the origin of all our difficulties." 

After the treaty of peace between the United States and Great 
Britain, Black Hawk and his chiefs went down to St. Louis to con- 



THE BLACK HAWK WAR. 41 

firm the treaty of peace, and "Here," says Black Hawk, "for the 
first time I touched the goose quill to the treaty, — not knowing, 
however, that by that act I consented to give away my village. Had 
that been explained to me I should have opposed it and never would 
have signed their treaty. What do we know about the laws and 
customs of the white people ? They might buy our bodies for dis- 
section and we would touch the goose quill to confirm it without 
knowing what we were doing. This was the case with myself and 
people in touching the goose quill the first time." Black Hawk 
also claimed that they did not cede their village to the government. 
This village was situated on the north side of Bock river, at its mouth, 
on the point of land between this river and the Mississippi. Their 
corn-fields extended up the Mississippi for two miles, where they 
joined the Foxes on the north. Rock Island was the summer resort 
for their young people, their garden which supplied them with 
berries and fruits, and the rapids of Bock river furnished them 
with the finest fish. "A good spirit had care of it, who lived in a 
cave in the rocks immediately under the place where the fort now 
stands (1834) and has often been seen by our people. He was white, 
with large wings like a swan's, but ten times larger. We were par- 
ticular not to make much noise in that part of the island which he 
inhabited for fear of disturbing him ; but the noise of the fort has 
driven him away and no doubt a had spirit has taken his place." 

It is not to be thought strange that those native tribes would be 
unwilling to leave this beautiful and rich country, the home of their 
fathers for more tlian a hundred years. And besides Black Hawk 
claimed, as did also Quash-qua-me, who conducted the treaty, that 
their Bock Island village had not been sold, as claimed by the gov- 
ernment. On this they predicated their claims and all their troubles. 

The whites, however, occupied their village, and Black Hawk 
says "they brought whisky into our village, and made our people 
drunk, and cheated them out of their horses, guns and traps!" It 
may be noted here that the first temperance crusade in this country 
was headed by Black Hawk, chief of the Sacs. He says : "I visited 
all the whites (in the village) and begged them not to sell whisky to 
my people. One of them continued the practice openly. I took a 
party of my young men, went to his house, and took out his barrel 
and broke in the head and turned out the whisky." He then adds: 
' '- Bad and cruel as our people were treated by the whites, not one of 
them was hurt or molested by any of my band. I hope this will 
prove that we are a peaceable people, having permitted ten men to 
take possession of our corn-fields, prevent us from planting corn, 
burn and destroy our lodges, ill-treat our women, and heat to death 



42 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

our men without offering resistance to their barbarous cruelties. 
The whites were complaining at the same time that we were intrud- 
ing upon their rights ! They made themselves out the injured 
party, and we the intruders ! and called loudly to the great war-chief 
to protect their property ! How smooth must be the language of 
the whites when they can make right look like wrong and wrong 
look like right !" 

This brave and proud warrior would not surrender his village 
until the last hour, when the United States soldiers were on the 
ground for the purpose of forcing him to terms. The night before 
the day appointed by Gen. Gaines to remove them, the chief and 
his people crossed the Mississippi and encamped below the mouth of 
Rock river. Black Hawk went to their agent and requested that a 
house be built for him, and a field plowed in the fall, as he desired 
to live retired. This being promised, he went to the trader and ob- 
tained permission to be buried in the graveyard in their old village. 
"I then returned," said Black Hawk, " to my people satisfied.'" He 
had not remained long in quiet retirement when in 1831 the restless 
chief and his band (known as the British Band of Sac Indians) 
crossed the river to their old homes at the mouth of Rock river, but 
after preparations of war were made for his extermination he nego- 
tiated a treaty and returned to the west side of the Mississippi, re- 
ceiving liberal presents of goods and provisions from the govern- 
ment, and promised never to return without the consent of the pres- 
ident of the United States or the governor of Hlinois. 

Here he remained quietly until the following year, when discon- 
tent was created by the bad counsel of British officers on the upper 
Mississippi ; and on April 6, 1832, he again recrossed the Missis- 
sippi with his entire band and their women and children, and soon 
commenced his march up the river, intending to take possession of 
the Kishwaukee country on the upper Rock river, claimed to have 
been given him by the Pottawatomies. 

Black Hawk's policy was to ascend the Rock river in peace, until 
he had the expected reinforcements from the Ottawas, Chippewas, 
Pottawatomies, and Winnebagoes, from the upper Rock river and 
lake region, as he had been told. Ascending the river to Prophets- 
town, he received an order from Gen. Atkinson (White Beaver) to 
return or he would pursue him and drive him back. The chief re- 
fused, sending word to the general if he wanted to fight to come 
on, and moved on up river. 

Mr. John Dixon, then proprietor of Dixon's Ferry, was advised 
of the approach of the Black Hawk band of Indians, and would have 
abandoned his home, and sought safety elsewhere, but his faith in 




V^<rJ-t>L.f^4>M_ 6/c^t^c^tATt.xA^ hi I yy\.n:^-t^iy\y)<i^^yy^ 



THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTOR, LENOX AND 

TILDEN FOUNDATIONS 

B . L 



THE BLACK HAWK WAR. 45 

humanity was of that kind that " Hopeth all things, of all men" — 
even the Indians. A leading Winnebago chief, Pachinka (Crane in 
English), had told him that the Winnebagoes held possession of the 
lands through which the Sacs would have to move, and that they 
would not dare injure the white friends of his nation. So Father 
Dixon was here when the savage army passed early in May. He so 
arranged his family and hired help as to ascertain the force of the 
hostiles. This he accomplished without exciting their suspicions. 
His estimate gave them 600 men. The band encamped at a spring 
a few hundred yards above the ferry, now submerged by reason of 
the dam. 

The war chief had not forgotten the kindness of Mrs. Dixon 
during the preceding winter, when he, a chief from Rock Island, and 
the prophet from Prophetstown, met in council with the Pottawato- 
mies at Dixon's Ferry, when Black Hawk negotiated for the occu- 
pancy of Spotted Arms' Town near the present site of Pockford. 
During their stay the chiefs at the council fire were regularlj^ invited 
as guests to Mrs. Dixon's table. She served them as waiter, and 
even sat down and ate and drank with them. Black Hawk not only 
reminded her of his appreciation of her kindness, but called the at- 
tention of the other chiefs to her care for them. 

"On May 12 Governor Reynolds was at Dixon's Ferry, with 
about 900 mounted riflemen, under command of Gen. "Whitesides, 
awaiting the arrival of Gen. Atkinson's forces of the regular army, 
coming up the river with army stores, provisions, and the general 
impediments of a moving army. 

"Immediately after the arrival of the forces at Dixon's Ferry Gen. 
Whitesides sent a party of four men, a guide and interpreter, under 
command of Capt. John Dement (then state treasurer), to Shabbona's 
Grove, just within the borders of the present county of De Kalb, to 
warn the friendly Pottawatomie chief, Shabbona, who lived there 
upon a small reservation with his family and a few followers, not to 
allow Black Hawk to come upon his lands to live." 

Having lost their way they were, toward the close of the second 
day out, approaching a grove to the northwest of Shabbona's Grove, 
which they were seeking, when Peter Manard, the interpreter of the 
party, who was familiar with Shabbona and his people, approached 
the grove in advance of the party expecting to meet the friendly Pot- 
tawatomies. Crossing a small stream he entered the grove, where he 
found an unoccupied lodge. Alighting from his pony, he was trying to 
strike a fire preparatory to an encampment for the night, when Capt. 
Dement, who was approaching the grove at another point, descried 
some Indians in the timber trying to conceal themselves in the 
4 



46 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

thicket ; leaving his party to watch the movements of the savages, 
he rode down the grove to see what had become of Manard, whom 
he found in possession of his lodge, happily anticipating a good 
smoke in his efforts to strike a fire ; but at the word from the captain 
he mounted and joined the party. The Indians soon rushed from 
the grove with yells and menaces of war. The scouting party fear- 
ing the presence of superior numbers galloped away over the 
prairie ; but discovering that only two or three Indians were follow- 
ing them they reined up their horses when the Indians came up, 
laughing and pretending friendship. 

From these Indians they learned that Black Hawk and his band 
were encamped on a stream but two miles away, and that they were 
going over to Mud lake to hunt. They invited the captain and his 
party to lodge with them for the night, promising to feast them 
on fresh venison. The captain declined their hospitality, preferring 
a long horseback ride in the night, though weary from the long travel 
of the day. He turned toward Shabbona's grove to mislead the 
red-men should they attempt to follow or intercept them, and when 
beyond their view the party headed toward Dixon's Ferry and rode 
all night, reaching Inlet grove in early morning. After halting a 
short time at this point they continued their march to Dixon's Ferry, 
and reported the result of their expedition to the commanding general. 

"Just before Capt.Dement and his party returned toDixon's Ferry 
from Shabbona's grove Maj. Stillman was permitted to adv^ance up 
the river and spy out the hostile camp. Maj. Stillman was at the 
ferry when Gen. Whitesides arrived ; he had command of a small 
battalion of green volunteers, who, in their inexperience, were eager 
to get a shot at an Indian. On the evening of May 15 or 16 
Stillman encamped on a small stream near Kishwankee creek, in what 
is now Ogle county, about thirty miles from Dixon. He was about 
five miles distant from Black Hawk's camp on Kishwaukee creek, 
but did not know it." 

Black Hawk says that at about this time " the Pottawatomie chiefs 
arrived at my camp. I had a dog killed, and made a feast. When 
it was ready I spread my medicine bags, and the chiefs began to eat. 
When the ceremony was-about ending I received news that three or 
four hundred white men on horseback had been seen about eight 
miles off. I immediately started three young men with a white flag 
to meet them, and conduct them to our camp, that we might hold a 
council with them, and descend Rock river again." These three 
men, according to Black Hawk, were captured by the whites and 
taken to their camp. One of them was shot, and the other two 
escaped to their own camp. 



THE BLACK HAWK WAR. 47 

After Black Hawk had started the three, as above, he sent five 
more joiing men to follow after and see what the result would be. 

These proceeded to a mound about a mile and a half from Still- 
man's camp where they displayed a flag of truce. " They were dis- 
covered by some of the men, who, without reporting to their com- 
mander, and without orders, hastily mounted and rode toward the 
Indians. These, not understanding this sudden movement, and ap- 
parently suspicious, commenced to retreat toward the camp of their 
chief. The whites dashed after them, fired and killed two of their 
number and captured two more, the others escaped, still pursued by 
the reckless volunteers. When Black Hawk and his war chief, Ne-o- 
pope,saw them dashing down upon their camp, their flag of truce disre- 
garded, they raised the terrible war-whoop and prepared for the fray." 

Black Hawk says, " When they came in with the news I was pre- 
paring my flags to meet the war chief. The alarm was given. Nearly 
all my young men were absent, about ten miles off. I started with 
what I had left (about forty;, and had proceeded but a short distance 
before we saw a part of the army approaching. I immediately placed 
my men in front of some bushes, that we might have the first fire. 
They halted some distance from us, when I gave another yell, and 
ordered my braves to charge upon them, expecting that we would all 
be killed. They did charge. Every man rushed and fired, and the 
enemy retreated in the utmost confusion and consternation before 
my little but brave band of warriors. I found it useless to follow 
them, as they rode so fast, and I returned to my encampment with a 
few of my braves, about twenty-five having gone in pursuit of the 
enemy. I lighted my pipe, and sat down to thank the Great Spirit 
for what he had done for my people." 

Our own historian says of the defeat, when Black Hawk met the- 
charging volunteers, "It was now the turn of the volunteei's to re- 
treat, which they did with wonderful celerit3^ Supposing they were 
pursued by a thousand savage warriors, the flying soldiers rushed 
through the camp, spreading terror and consternation among their 
comrades. The wildest confusion ensued, there was ' mounting in 
hot haste'; and the efforts of the officers to rally the troops were 
without avail. The panic was complete; every man seemed bent 
upon saving his scalp, and fled, never stopping until they reached 
Dixon's Ferry, or some other place of safety. It is said that the 
first man to reach Dixon was a Kentucky lawyer, not unknown to 
fame in Jo Daviess county, who reported that every man in Still- 
man's command had been killed except himself. Nearly every man, 
as he came straggling back to the Ferry during the night, had a like 
report to make.'' 



48 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

The narrative continues: " It is a well known fact that Stillman's 
men were well supplied with whiskey, and that many of them were 
drunk, which may account for their rash act in firing upon the white 
flag in utter disregard of all rules of warfare recognized, even 
among the Indians. On the approach of day the order was given 
for a forced march to the fatal field, and about eight hundred of the 
volunteers moved out, leaving two hundred men to guard the ferry; 
but the enemy had gone, the main body moving northward, and the 
rest scattering in small bands to avenge the death of their people 
upon unoffending settlers. Eleven of Stillman's men were killed. 
Their mutilated remains were gathered and buried, and the place is 
known as " Stillman's Run " to this day It is supposed that nearly 
all of those who were killed were not in the first melee, as all but 
two or three of the bodies were found on the side of the creek upon 
which Stillman camped; they were probably unable to get to their 
horses before the savages dashed through their camp. Being out of 
provisions the pursuing army were obliged to return to Dixon's 
Ferry, to await the arrival of the boats. This defeat was the open- 
ing of hostilities, and justice compels the impartial historian to re- 
cord that the whites were tlie aggressors." 

Had tlie counsel of Captain Dement been followed, at this time 
a conflict and loss of valuable lives might have been averted. On 
the captain's return with his scouting party to Dixon's Ferry, he 
informed the commanding general of the situation of Black Hawk, 
and the friendly attitude of those of his army they had met. No 
blood having been shed, he thought that the chief could have been 
induced to return peaceably to his home in Iowa; and the account 
afterward given by Black Hawk indicated that the captain was cor- 
rect in his judgment of the situation. 

Said Black Hawk: " ISTever was I so much surprised in my life 
as I was in this attack. An army of three or four hundred, after 
having learned that we were suing for peace, to attempt to kill the 
flag-bearers that had gone, unarmed, to ask for a meeting of the 
war chiefs of the two contending parties to hold a council, that I 
might return to the west side of the Mississippi, to come forward, 
with a full determination to demolish the few braves I had with me, 
to retreat, when they had ten to one, was unaccountable to me. I 
sent a flag of peace to the American war chief, expecting as a matter 
of right, reason and justice, tliat our flag would be respected." 

The expected provisions having reached Dixon's Ferry, the army 
again moved north, following the Indians to Fox river. 

"The term of enlistment having expired, the volunteers demanded 
to be dismissed. They were mustered out May 26 or 27, and a new 



THE BLACK HAWK WAR. 49 

call issued for volunteers. Whitesides and two or three hundred vol- 
unteers remained in arms for the protection of the settlers until the 
new levies could be organized. These, with several companies of 
regulars, made their headquarters at Dixon's Ferry. Ranging com- 
panies were formed to keep up communication between the lead mine 
region and more southern counties. Maj. Riley, of the United 
States army, converted the former residence of O. W. Kellogg, at 
Kellogg' s Grove, thirty-seven miles northeast of Dixon, into a small, 
well appointed stockade, and other temporary fortifications were 
raised in different localities." 

During this time Black Hawk was making the best possible way 
north to the Four Lakes, to find safety for his women and children. 

"The fatal act of Stillman's men precipitated all the horrors of In- 
dian border warfare upon the white settlements in Jo Daviess coun- 
ty, as it then existed, and in the adjoining portions of Michigan 
Territory. Nor is it certain that all the outrages were perpetrated 
by the "British Band." It is certain that young Pottawatomies 
and Winnebagoes joined Black Hawk, and, after the war suddenly 
closed at Bad Axe, it was ascertained that many of the murders had 
been committed by these Indians. Among the first results of " Still- 
man's defeat " was the descent of about twenty-five Indians upon an 
unprotected settlement at Indian creek, where they massacred fif- 
teen men, women and children, and captured two young women, 
Sylvia and Rachel Hall. These giils, seventeen and fifteen years 
old respectively, were afterward brought in by Winnebagoes to Gra- 
tiot Grove, and were ransomed for $2,000 in horses, wampum and 
trinkets. Part of the compensation agreed upon by Gen. Dodge for 
their ransom was paid to "Whirling Thunder," one of the Winne- 
bago chiefs, at Dixon's Ferry. 

"The atrocities perpetrated by the Indians upon the bodies of 
their victims aroused the vengeance of the settlers and miners, 
many of whom had previously felt that the Indians were not so 
much in fault, and had needlessly been provoked to bloodshed. Un- 
expected and mortifying as the beginning of this war had been, its 
relinquishment was not dreamed of, and every eifort was made to en- 
sure future protection. A fair wagon road was made from Dixon's 
Ferry to Rock Island, which was the base of supplies. Another 
road, but more imperfect, was made from Rock Island to Fort Kosh- 
kanong (near Madison, Wisconsin,) and to other temporary fortifica- 
tions. Conforming to the inevitable, a fort was constructed on the 
north side of the river, consisting of two block houses within an in- 
closure made by a breastwork of sod and earth four and a half feet 
high, and abutting on the river a few rods west of the ferry. The 



50 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

nortlieast block house was two stories liigli, and was so arranged as 
to command the north and east sides of the fort. Here Captain 
Palmer was stationed with one company of United States infantry 
to guard the ferry, thus affording a safe and speedy passage to pass- 
ing troops at all times, e'ndearinghimself to citizens and soldiers alike 
by his gentlemanly bearing and deportftient. 

" On Saturday, May 19, Sergeant Fred Stahl (now a respected citi- 
zen of Galena) and four priv^ates, with John Winters, the mail con- 
tractor, for guide, left Galena to bear dispatches to Gen. Atkinson, 
who had arrived at Dixon's Ferry. On the evening of that day they 
were ambuscaded by Indians just at the edge of Buffalo Grove, now 
in Ogle county. One of the party was instantly killed and the 
others narrowly escaped to Galena. 

"May 23, Felix St. Yrain, agent for the Sacs and Foxes, bearer 
of dispatches, left Gen. Atkinson's headquarters, at Dixon's Ferry, 
accompanied by six men. At Buffalo Grove they found the body of 
the volunteer that had been killed a few days before, and buried it. 
The next day (24th) they were attacked by a party of thirty Indians, 
near "Kellogg's old place.'' St. Yrain and three others were 
killed. The remaining three escaped and arrived at Galena on the 
morning of the 26th. 

"On the 15tli of June the new levies of 3,000 volunteers, in 
camp at Fort Wilburn, near La Salle, were formed into three 
brigades, under command of Gen. Atkinson. The first brigade was 
commanded by Gen. Alexander Posey ; the second by Gen. Milton 
R. Alexander, and the third by Gen. James D. Henry. They moved 
to Dixon's Ferry a few days after. 

" Capt. John Dement was elected major of an independent spy bat- 
talion, consisting of three companies of about 140 men, belonging to 
Gen. Posey's brigade. Maj. Dement was sent in advance of the main 
force to report Indian depredations that had been committed in the 
Bureau woods, to Col. Taylor at Dixon's Ferry. After scouring the 
woods he arrived at the river the evening of the second or third day. 
He arrived just after two companies of regulars had been driven in 
from an attempt to keep open the road between Galena and Dixon. 
Taylor met Dement as he arrived, and informed him that he had 
come just in time — that he had just the place for him, and directed 
him to swim his horses across the river in the morning and receive 
his orders. In Maj. Dement's command were men who had held 
nearly every office in the state from governor down. His men were 
fatigued from their long ride and expected a short rest when they 
arrived at the river. Dement, although ready to do his duty without 
flinching, was desirous of not appearing anxious to get his men prema- 



THE BLACK HAWK WAR. 51 

turely into a figlit, when the regulars could not hold their own, and 
a large force of volunteers were so soon to arrive ; he therefore re- 
quested Col. Taylor, when he should deliver him his orders, to read 
them to his men, that they might know that he (Dement) was not re- 
sponsible for the movement. As they were ready to start, Taylor 
read the orders, and then addressed the men in a very abrupt man- 
ner, alluding to the unfortunate propensity of the Illinois militia for 
running away, and said that if they wished to sacrifice the reputation 
of the militia, already so poor, they had an opportunity to do so. 

" Maj. Dement replied that the discontent Col. Taylor alluded to 
was greatly exaggerated, and its cause by no means understood, 
and allusion to the courage of the soldiers, unjust and entirely 
uncalled for from men who, with the experience of the regular 
army would entrench themselves behind walls and send to the front 
men who had never seen service. Then telling his men that none 
need obey his orders to march thar didn't wish to go, he moved off*, 
and all, save one man, followed, and he came up after they had gone 
a sliort distance. By evening of the second day they arrived at the 
stockade at Kellogg' s Grove, and encamped. In the morning, learn- 
ing that an Indian trail had been seen four or five miles from the grove 
where they were encamped, the major called for twenty-five volun- 
teers to go and investigate. These were immediately forthcoming, 
and among them were the only captains he had in his command. 
These men started just before sunrise, leaving Maj, Dement giving 
instructions to those who remained, and on reaching the edge of the 
grove they discovered seven Indians a few hundred yards on the 
prairie. The cry of "Indians!" was raised, when the men in the 
grove sprang to their horses in confusion, and by the time Maj. 
Dement had brought them to order and tinished his instructions, the 
volunteers were a mile out on the prairie in pursuit. Being splendidly 
mounted Maj. Dement rapidly ov^ertook a number of them, but sev- 
eral were too far in advance ; the Indians making for another grove 
some three miles away, where Dement was convinced a large num- 
ber of Indians lay concealed. Finding it was impossible to overtake 
some five or six who were in advance, on arriving at a ridge some 
400 yards from the grove to which the Indians were running, he 
halted the remainder of his men and formed line. As he feared, on 
nearing the grove those in advance were received with a warm fire, 
which killed two and wounded a third, and with hideous yells a large 
body of Indians poured from the grove, extending to the right and 
left, to outfiank the little band, and rapidly approached. They were 
all mounted, stripped to the skin, and painted for battle. As the 
Indians reached the bodies of the dead soldiers a large number sur- 



52 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

rounded them, clubbing and striking the lifeless remains. A volley 
from the rifles of Maj. Dement' s men killed two or three at this 
point, but by the time two or three men had reached the ridge, the 
Indians were close upon them, and were on both flanks. Then came 
an exciting race for the grove, Indians yelling, bullets flying, and woe 
to the man whose horse stumbled or gave out ! 

"Here occurred an unfortunate circumstance: Three men whose 
horses had strayed during the night had, early in the morning, gone 
out in search of them, and were now caught on one of the flanks. The 
Indians swept over them, killing every one. 

" The men in the grove hearing the firing and yelling, instead of 
remaining in ambush as they had been instructed, mounted in hot 
haste and started to the rescue of their comrades. On discovering 
the superior force of the Indians, they fell back again and reached 
the grove with 970 men, and almost neck and neck with the Indians, 
sprang from their horses and occupied the log house and barn there 
situated. On the least exposed side of the house was a work-bench ; 
over this Dement threw his bridle rein, and most of the horses in- 
stinctively huddled together at this house as if conscious of danger. 
As the Indians swarmed into the grove and covered themselves, an 
ominous stillness for some minutes prevailed, which was soon broken 
b}^ the sharp crack ! crack ! of many rifles. The best marksmen 
and best rifles were placed at the port-holes and a lively fire was 
kept up by the little garrison. The Indians finding they made no 
impression turned their attention to shooting the horses, some twenty- 
five of which they killed. It was unpleasant to the volunteers, 
who rode their own horses, to hear the crack of the rifle and the 
heavy thud of the bullet and see some favorite horse spring as the 
ball struck it. After a sharp contest of an hour or two, the Indians 
withdrew, leaving nine dead and losing probably several others killed 
and wounded. Reinforcements were sent for the relief of Dement 
from Dixon's Ferry, but too late to assist him or follow the retreat- 
ing body of Indians. 

" It is a remarkable fact that this was the first instance during this 
war where the Indians were defeated and the position of the volun- 
teers held until reinforcements came up. Previous to this the de- 
tachments of troops were always driven back to the main army by 
the overwhelming numbers of Indians. After this fight the Indians 
would not come to open battle of their own volition with the whites, 
and the only fights that occurred were when the soldiers overtook 
the Indians in their retreat; which style of warfare continued until 
hostilities ceased with Black Hawk's surrender in August." 

Black Hawk described the battle in which he claimed to have two 



THE BLACK HAWK WAR, 53 

hundred warriors in the following manner : " We started in a direc- 
tion toward sunrise. After marching a considerable time I discovered 
some white men coming toward us. I told my braves that we would 
get into the woods and kill them when they approached. We con- 
cealed ourselves until they came near enough and then commenced 
yelling and firing _^ and made a rush upon them. About this time 
their chief, with a party of men, rushed up to rescue the men we had 
fired upon. In a little while they commenced retreating and left their 
chief and a few braves who seemed willing and anxious to fight. They 
acted like hraves^ but were forced to give way when I rushed upon 
them with my braves. In a short time the chief returned with a 
larger party. He seemed determined to tight and anxious for a 
battle. When he came near enough I raised the yell and firing com- 
menced on both sides. The chief, who seemed to be a small man, 
addressed his warriors in a loud voice, but they soon retreated, leav- 
ing him and a few braves on the battle-field. A great number of my 
warriors pursued the retreating party and killed a number of their 
horses as they ran. The chief and his few braves were unwilling to 
leave the field. I ordered my braves to rush upon them, and had 
the mortification of seeing two of my chiefs killed before the enemy 
retreated. This young chief, Col. Dement, deserves great praise for 
his courage and bravery. During the attack we killed several men and 
about forty horses, and lost two young chiefs and seven warriors." 

Gen. Atkinson commenced his slow and cautious march up the 
river about the 25th of June, and finally reached lake Koshkanong, Wis- 
consin, where he was joined by Gen. Alexander's brigade, and then 
continued his march to White river, or Whitewater, where he was 
joined by Posey's brigade and Maj. Dodge. Gen. Alexander, Gen. 
Henry and Maj. Dodge were sent to Fort Winnebago for supplies. 
Here they heard that Black Hawk was making his way toward the 
Wisconsin river, and, disobeying orders. Henry and Dodge started 
in pursuit (Gen. Alexander and his brigade returned to Gen. Atkin- 
son), struck the broad fresh trail of the Indians, and followed them 
with tireless energy. Black Hawk was overtaken at the Wisconsin 
river, and his braves ofiered battle to enable the women and children 
to cross the river. Tlie battle of Wisconsin Heights was fought on 
July 22, 18^2, at which the Indians were badly whipped. Skirmish- 
ing commenced a little after noon, but the heaviest fighting was 
about sunset. About ten o'clock the men bivouacked for rest on 
their arms. 

The next morning not an Indian remained on the east side of the 
Wisconsin. Gen. Henry pushed back for supplies, and Gen. Atkin- 
son's forces coming up. the pursuit was renewed and the battle of 



54 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Bad Axe was fought August 2, 1832. This terminated the war, and 
Black Hawk's surrender, subsequent visit to Washington, and return 
to his people in Iowa, are events familiar to the reader. Black 
Hawk claimed : "In this skirmish with fifty braves I defended and 
accomplished my passage over the Ouisconsin (Wisconsin) with a 
loss of only six men, though opposed by a host of mounted militia." 

At the close of the war the United States troops that had not 
previously been discharged were mustered out at Dixon's Ferry. 
The pack horses from all the territory between Dixon and the Wis- 
consin river, the mining region and the scene of Black Hawk's de- 
feat were gathered and corraled here, preparatory to being driven 
farther south for sale in more densely settled portions of the state. 
The wounded and sick soldiers were brought here and carefully 
nursed and cared for. 

By the terms of Gen. Scott's treaty at Kock Island the Winne- 
bago Indians were to have 40,000 rations of bacon and flour, as a 
remuneration for the sufferings they had endured during the sum- 
mer by the occupation of their hunting grounds. The rations for 
the Rock river band of that nation were moved here in boats from 
Rock Island, and Father Dixon appointed to distribute it to the 
Indians at his discretion. 

It is an interesting circumstance that at this remote outpost of 
civilization there met a number of men since famous or infamous in 
their country's service : Gen. Scott, Col. Zachary Taylor, subse- 
quently president of the United States ; Gov. Reynolds, and Gen. 
Atkinson ; Lie ^t. Robert Anderson , the defender of Fort Sumter ; 
Maj. John Dement, now of Dixon ; private Abrah am Lincoln, after- 
ward president of the United States during the rebellion ; and 
Juj^ut^ Jeff. Davis, afterward the leader of the rebellion. These 
were all herein~tlieir country's service. 

When Maj. Anderson visited Washington after the evacuation of 
Fort Sumter, during a conversation the president said: "Major, do 
you remember of ever meeting me before?" "No," replied Ander- 
son, "I have no recollection of ever having that pleasure. "My 
memory is better than yours," said Lincoln, "You mustered me 
into the U. S. service as a high private of the Illinois volunteers at 
Dixon's Ferry in the Black Hawk war." 

During this war, and, in fact, for years after. Father Dixon's log 
house was a "house of call" for the traveler and the wandering 
tribes of red-men. There might have been seen the raw-boned 
Hoosier bound for the lead mines, yellow-breeched Sucker with his 
boat-shaped "prairie schooner," with four, five or six yoke of oxen; 
the tramping hunter, the Pottawatomie, the cunning Winnebago, or 



THE BLACK HAWK WAK. 55 

the treacherous Sioux ; all these were welcomed under the hospitable 
roof of the white-haired pioneer, whom the Indians called Na-chusa 
— the white-haired — and were made to keep the peace with one an- 
other about the friendly iireside of him whom both the red and the 
white man loved and respected. 

Early in the spring of 1833 the Winnebago Indians became res- 
tive, and many families again abandoned the homes to which they 
had so recently returned. Father Dixon's old counselor could not 
talk so assuring of liis own tribe as in 1832. He frankly admitted 
the trouble that was likely to follow, and faithfully said that the tem- 
per of his people was too uncertain for assured peace. The peaceful 
family in the old log house was broken up, and mother Dixon, with 
the children, went to Peoria county, and remained there until the 
war-cloud passed over. The last of the Indians left in 1836. 

During tlie Black Hawk war Father Dixon liad the contract for 
supplying the army with beef from the time the Wisconsin river 
was crossed until the final battle of the Bad Axe river. His place on 
the march was in th'e rear of the army, and many times he was left 
so far behind as to be out of supporting distance. It so happened on 
the march, tliat at one time midnight was passed before he came to 
camp. He was hailed by the sentinel with the snap of the lock of 
the gun in the sentinel's hands and the words: "Who comes 
there?" Father Dixon replied: " Major of the Steer Battalion." 
The soldier gave the order: "Major of the Steer Battalion, march 
ill." This sall}^ of wit on both sides was the foundation of Father 
Dixon's military title. Another time he had been oif the trail hunt- 
ing one of his beeves, and on again returning to the trail he suddenly 
found himself face to face with two Indians, who were as much as- 
tonished at the meeting as he was. It was no time for ceremony. 
All were armed ; Father Dixon lowered his gun and, walking about 
five rods, gave his hand to the nearest savage, saluting him in Win- 
nebago. The Indian rej)lied in Winnebago. Father Dixon and both 
the Indians were alike overjoyed at this unexpected good fortune- 
Father Dixon, that he was permitted to save his scalp for another 
day ; the Indians, that they had found some one understanding their 
own language, under whose influence they could safely be introduced 
to Gen. Atkinson, for whom they had important dispatches. Their 
life was endangered to be seen by a soldier, and they felt their peril 
and were in serious embarrassment about how to approach the army. 

The Black Ilawh C'lnoe. — On the surrender of Black Hawk at 
the battle of Bad Axe his canoe was captured and afterward broken 
into pieces and carried oflf as relics. One fragment of black walnut 
timber fell into the hands of Mr. Geo. J. Anderson, of Dixon, who 



56 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

worked it into three walking-sticks, and on the occasion of an old 
settlers' reunion at Dixon, one, which had been mounted with a 
golden head, was publicly presented to Col. John Dement as a 
memento of his conflict in battle with the brave warrior during the 
Black Hawk war. The presentation was made by Dr. Oliver Everett, 
of Dixon. It was a complete surprise to Col. Dement, and awakened 
emotions through vivid recollections of the scenes of early military 
life. Mr. Anderson holds in possession one of the three canes, for 
which he has refused the liberal sum of ten dollars, although it is 
unfinished and unmounted with gold or silver. 

AFTER THE BLACK HAWK WAR. 

Peace and quiet were soon restored at Dixon's Ferry, and there 
were signs of returning travel and consequent prosperity. 

The first notion store was opened in 1833, in the block-house 
which stood on the north side of the river, by a Mr. Martin, 
"where," says a pioneer writer, "the prime necessaries of life were 
sold ; such as pipes, tobacco, tea, coffee and sugar were sold to 
meet the wants of advancing civilization. Life's luxuries, — shoes, 
boots and clothes, — were not yet so imperative." 

In the winter of 1833 and 1834 a school was opened in the house 
partly built by Ogee and finished by Mr. Dixon. This was the first 
house erected at the Ferry, and this the first school opened in the 
bounds of Lee county. The pioneer writer, in the History of Dixon, 
says of this school : " Unpretentiously it was the pioneer of the more 
costly school edifices of our town. Its teacher and only one of its 
scholars survive to live in memory of its feeble infancy. There are 
structures where better facilities can be had for a sound education, 
but none are found where a more genuine good will prevails than 
existed in that old log house." 

Mr. John Dixon having secured under the preemption laws the 
northeast quarter of section 5, township 21, range 9 east, of 4th prin- 
cipal meridian, he laid out the first plat of the present city of Dixon 
as early as 1834 or 1835 ; a Mr. Bennett, from Galena, making the 
survey. The second house built at Dixon's Ferry was on the south 
side of the river, and was built by James Dixon, back of where the 
Exchange building now stands. It was a log cabin about sixteen fe t 
square, with a small "lean-to" built against the east side of the 
house used as the village post-ofiice, where Mr. John Dixon disti-ib- 
uted the mail to his neighbors. It is stated by old citizens that 
this house and the old block-house on the north side of the river 
disappeared about 1855. The foundation of the latter has just been 
exposed by the rushing of high waters in the Rock river at this 



AFTER THE BLACK HAWK WAR. 57 

writing, April 1881. After the close of the war the Indians lingered 
in the vicinity of Lee county until 1836, when the last wandering 
tribes of the red- men disappeared. 

John K. Robinson, who came to Dixon's Ferry in May 1832, 
and made his home with Mr. J. Dixon, and who now resides at Men- 
dota, this state, writes: "In 1833, the last week of December, 
Zachariah Malugin, with myself as his only assistant, built the first 
house in Lee county, outside of Dixon, at the grove that still bears 
his name. There was no other settlement made in Lee county that 
year. A few months later the families of Gilmore and Christance 
came to Malugin's Grove in the spring of 1835. 

In 1833 and 1834 a settlement began in the southern part of the 
county, in what is now known as East Grove township. Of this 
neighborhood were Joseph Smith, H. W. Bogardus, Charles Falvey, 
and F. Anderson, who settled in that early day, built their cabins, 
and commenced opening up farms for their future homes. 

About this time improvements were opened at Sugar Grove, now 
in Palmyra township, in the nortliwest part of the county, where, in 
April 1834, Isaac Morgan and his sons, Harvey and John, com- 
menced the first improvements in that part of the count}^, and they 
were joined by a number of families the autumn of the same year, 
among whom may be mentioned Mr. Wright, Mr. Tomlin, Capt. 
Oliver Hubbard, and John H. Page. In 1834 Stephen Fellows, with 
a family of eight, Michael, Simon, Samuel, William, Alfred, George, 
Albion, and Stephen. Absalom Fender, with a large family, came 
in 1835, and also W. W. Bethea. To these were soon added C. 
B, Anthana, Anson Thummel, Geo. L. Herrick, Jack Keplinger, 
Enoch and Noah Thomas with their father, Nathan Morehouse, two 
brothers, Sandy and Elkanah Bush, and Martin Richardson. These 
families, with others who are worthy of note, but whose names will 
appear .in the chapter on Palmyra, soon attracted attention to the 
fertile lands and beautiful groves of the northwest neighborhood, 
and others followed soon to swell the number of the new settlement. 

In May, 1834, Adolphus Bliss commenced a settlement at Inlet 
Grove, to which was added that summer or autumn Ozra Wright 
and two or three others. About this time Paw Paw Grove at- 
tracted the attention of Charles Morgan, J. Alcott and David A. 
Town, first settlers in Wyoming township. Mr. Harris, the 
father of Benjamin Harris, who came with his father and brother 
and a large train of relatives, settled at this grove. These were 
followed by a Mr. Gillett and Levi Kelso, Esq., who settled at 
the north side of the grove. During this time, when settlements 
were springing up like magic in different parts of the county, the 



58 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

settlement at Dixon's Ferry was by no means neglected, but it 
being the center of attraction of a large scope of country, because 
of the United States mail and store supplies reached at this place, 
there were additions made to the community. In the summer of 
1834 a Mr. Bush, brother-in-law of Judge Logan, lately deceased in 
Chicago, opened a farm below Dixon on the north side of the river, 
now owned by J. T. Lawrence. The same summer John K. Robin- 
son, now of Mendota, opened a farm on the north side of the river 
two miles below Dixon, and was joined afterward by two sons of 
John Dixon. Tliis farm has been since known as the Graham farm. 

Probably the third house erected on the south side of the river 
in Dixon was by Judge Wilkinson, on the corner of Water and Ga- 
lena streets, and was built near the time James P. Dixon erected his 
house, mentioned above. Judge Wilkinson purchased the Kirk- 
patrick place. 

In Dixon, as in all places of central interest, the spirit of compe- 
tition was early manifested. The future of the locality seemed to be 
impressed upon the minds of some of the most enterprising citizens, 
and they began to cast about to best establish themselves for the in- 
coming tide. Mr. Bush, below Dixon, established a ferry across t!ie 
river opposite his farm. A Mr. Kirkpatrick, who settled one and 
a quarter miles below Dixon, attempted to start a town on his prem- 
ises called Burlington, but stakes and a euphonious name will not 
build a city any more than an act of congress, recognizing the Rock 
river as a navigable stream, will send the great steaniersup her chan- 
nel without legislating a greater supply of water to float the craft 
with her cargo ; so the enterprise, laudable as it may have been, 
failed, as did also the ferries above mentioned. 

"In the autumn of 1834," says Mr. J. K. Robinson, "Mr. Holl- 
ingshead made an angements for the erection of a log house south- 
east of Grand Detour, which was built in January 1835." Mr. Holl- 
ingshead, not finding the country congenial to his tastes, returned to 
Kentucky. Cyrus Chamberlin, Esq., who came to this vicinity in 
1835, purchased this farm, on which he lived, occupying the position 
of county commissioner for a number of years until his death, which 
he met in a ripe old age. 

In the winter of 1834 Grand Detour was taken by Leonard Andruss 
and W. A. House, where for many years the former ran a plow factoiy 
in connection with Mr. Deere, now of Moline. 

In 1835 Judge Wikinson built a saw-mill at the foot of Peoria 
street. Mr. Talmage, and other mechanics from Buffalo, New York, 
came to Dixon to perform the work. It seems that this mill, how- 
ever, was run but a short time by Messrs. Huff" & Thompson, and 



AFTEli rilK BLACK HAWK WAR. 59 

converted into a distillery and vinegar factory. This was the first 
saw-mill in the bounds of Lee county, an^l it is to be regretted that 
it so soon met a sad fate. In the same year Smith Gilbraith also 
bought in Dixon, and figured largely in the public affairs of the 
town until his death. 

In the spring of this year, 1835, Mr. Joseph Crawford arrived in 
Dixon, where he still resides, having served as first surveyor in Ogle 
county, which then embraced Lee, and afterward was first surveyor 
in Lee county. Mr. Crawford cultivated a farm near the Grand De- 
tour. The Messrs. Cutshaws arrived in Dixon the same year, and 
were Dixon's first carpenters. Durmg the p revious y^a r. 1834. 
township of Dixon was surveye d by the government, although the 
citizens were not prepared to eilect atT organization for some*years 
later. About this time, as before stated, Dixon's Ferry was surveyed 
and platted for the first time, and will be more particularly noted in 
the chapter on the city of Dixon. In prospect of the growing town, 
and for the accommodation of the traveling public, the first house 
built by Ogee and Mr. Dixon was converted into a tavern in 1835, 
and in the early part of 1836 Messrs. Chapman and Hamilton opened 
a store in the "block" part of this building. Dixon could now 
boast of a post-office, store, and a house of j3ublic entertainment. 
It was about this time that Mr. John Dixon removed to his farm, \\ hich 
was situated a little southeast of where the Northwestern depot now 
stand s. Durin g 1 835 Mr.JIa milton. above mentioned, erected the first 
frame house built in the town. This residence stood opposite the 
house of James P. Dixon. 

" Other improvements in the vicinity of Dixon were made as early 
as 1835. Dr. Forest, from Kentucky, opened the Woodford farm. 
George A. Martin commenced improvements on the Truman farm. 
Mr. E. W. Covell was building up on the north side of the river, anc^^ 
Caleb Talmage was improving a farm about one mile south of Dixon.^^ 
Dr. Forest had erected a log house on the corner of Water and Ottawa C^ 
streets, and John Wilson had erected a blacksmith shop on Main ^2- 

street. On September 3, 1836, Dr. Oliver Everett came to Dixon, '^ "x 

where he still resides as one of the oldest citizens of the city." 

About this t-i nif^ l\rT. Egrlp-gr , then an aged gentleman, located 
with several sons near^the present city of Amboy, and was soon fol- 
lowed by Benjamin Wasson, L. C. Sawyer, Asa Searls, Joseph Doane, 
and John Dexter. The same year Mr.AVily settled in Franklin Grove, 
and became one of the contestants of an early claim trouble, which 
was adjusted by arbitration, Mr. John Dixon and two others serving 
as arbitrators in the case. 

Other families were being added to the little settlements begun in 



>" 



60 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

other parts of the county. John Gilmore settled in Brooklyn town- 
ship, and R. Town, B. Harris, and J. Alcott in Wyoming. 

In the autumn of 1836 the village then consisted of the "old 
mansion," the original home of Mr. John Dixon; James P. Dixon's 
house before described ; a small frame building opposite Mr. James 
Dixon's, built by Mr. Hamilton the previous year; also on the 
opposite side of the street from this, and a little east, stood a 
small building which had been erected and occupied by John Wil- 
son, an old bachelor, who occupied a small addition to the smith 
shop as his residence. In 1837 the latter was finished above, floor 
laid, and walls plastered, after which it was occupied as a court- 
house. The first court of Ogle county, which at that time embraced. 
Lee, was held in this building. It was afterward occupied by the 
engineer corps of internal improvements. 

In the winter of 1836 and 1837 Peter McKinney and H, Thomp- 
son opened a new hotel, called the Western Hotel, which is now 
the northern part of the Huntley House. These gentlemen had 
charge at the same time of the "Tavern" in Dixon's original log 
house. 

In the month of December of this year the original county of 
Ogle was organized, then including the present territory of Lee 
county. Referring to the poll list, there were but two hundred votes 
cast, although it was claimed to be a hotly contested election; and 
all legal voters of six months residence were entitled to a vote. 

Up to 1836 the wandering tribes of Indians still lingered in the 
vicinity of Lee county, but during this year they bid adieu to their 
former hunting grounds and the graves of their fathers, and turning 
westward they sought a retreat from the advancing civilization of 
the white man, beyond the surging waters of the Mississippi. Their 
removal gave assurance of safety to the homes and families of the 
pioneers. This change was the signal for the advance of the pio- 
neer corps from Kentucky and Tennesee, who laid off claims by 
driving stakes, turning a furrow, or beginning a cabin house. By 
the autumn of 1837 the claims covered all the prairie lands skirting 
the timber. The holders of this land secured their title to the same 
from the government under the pret^mption laws. These claims had 
to be respected, as the pioneer settlements were a "law unto them- 
selves," in mutually protecting each others' interests. The writer has 
been told of a stranger coming forward to bid in lands that had been 
covered with a previous claim, when a number of pioneers tied him 
to a tree and leveled their rifles at him, when he recalled his bid, 
and on being released he withdrew, leaving the claimants to secure 
their lands from the government without further competition. 




^.H'tktaH/iim 



Ik 








THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIP.KAHY 



ASTOK, LENOX AND 

TILDEN FOUNDATIONS 

B - L 



AFTER THE BLACK HAWK WAR, 63 

In 1837 a claim association was formed for the protection of 
members in their "reasonable claims made according to the customs 
of tlie country." The following list of names shows the citizens who 
became original members in 1837 and 1838: Samuel C. McClure, 
Hugh Moor, Samuel Anthony, John H. Champlin, James Moor, 

A. Menten, S. N. Anthony, Henry Moon, Cyrus Chamberlin, Will- 
iam G. Elder, Josiah H. Moores, J. D. Pratt, Robert Murry, Ed- 
win Hine, I. S. Boardman, jr., J. B. Dills, Alonso Dickerman, 
John Richards, Caleb Tallmage, Charles Franks, Smith Gilbraith, 
Oliver Everett, Joseph Crawford, Timothy L. Mim-r, Samuel M. 
Bowman, James Kent, Moses Crumby, Major Chamberlin, Daniel 
Koons, Xehemiah Hutton, James M. Santee, William P. Burroughs, 
Thomas S. Bunner, Charles F. Hubbard, John Carr (by C. F. Hub- 
bard), William Graham (by C. F. HubbarJ), Eilward Brandon, G. 
Metzlar, J, Caldwell, J. Young, James P. Dixon, John Dixon, 
J. Murphy, James Evans (by John Dixon his agent), James W. 
Stephenson (by S. Gilbraith), John W. Dixon, Joseph Courtright, 

B. B. Brown, Samuel Johnston, Jessee Bowman, James Hawley, 
Thomas McCabe, W. C. Bostwick (by his agent John Dixon), John 
Wilson, John Brandon, J. W. Hamilton, Ward Rathbone, Daniel 
O'Brien, Stephen Fuller, and Jessee P. Baily. 

As soon as settlements were established along the main thorough- 
fares stage lines were opened and coaches were I'un i-egularly on the 
more important routes. A main line was established between this 
point and Galena. There were other lines centering at Dixon and 
connecting with the main line to the Galena mines, as follows: The 
Naperville and Chicago line ; the Troy Grove and Ottawa, and the 
Windsor, Princeton and Peoria line. Dixon was the great transfer 
station on the stage lines that traversed the country then as the 
railroads do now. In the early settlement of the country "every 
dwelling house," says a writer, "was a place of entertainment, and 
the hospitable dwellers of the then hastily erected houses, most of 
which were of logs, were always ready to furnish the weary traveler 
with the best that the country afforded." But as the travel through 
this country increased it became necessary that Dixon should be 
provided with more extensive accommodations than private dwell- 
ings could give ; and in the latter part of 1836 and the lirst of 1837 
the Western Hotel was built, and during the same year the Rock 
River House was erected by Messrs. Crowell and Wilson. This 
was afterward known as the Phoenix. 

In this year, 1837, S. M. Bowman and Isaac S. Boardman opened 
the first dry-goods store in Dixon, on the corner of River and Galena 
streets. Others had conducted a general notion trade before this, 
5 



64 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

which we have before mentioned in their proper places ; but of a 
general dry- goods stock this firm was the pioneer of Lee connty. 

In 1837 the number of families had increased in the different 
settlemetits of Lee county. There were thirteen additions in Dixon, 
besides others in the vicinity. In Wyoming, Charles Morgan, J. D. 
Rogers, and others ; in Araboy, A. B. Searls and L. D. Wason in- 
creased the number in their several neighborhoods. 

About this time, or in 1836, William Guthrie made claim on sec- 
tion 35 in Yiola township ; and Evens^ Adrian, of Ireland, followed 
in the same township, and now owns a farm of eleven hundred acres 
of land. 

Attention was now being given to education in the older settle- 
ments. Dixon built the first school-house in 183Y, and a school 
opened in the following year. This building was a small one-story 
frame structure, erected at the expense of the friends of the cause, 
detailed in the chapter on educational matters. This was the only 
public building in the town until 1840, and served the purpose of 
court-house, meeting-house, town-hall, and school-house. 

The first death recorded in Dixon was in the autumn of 1836. A 
man by the name of Lafferty died in the building on the corner of 
Water and Galena streets, and was the first interment in the ceme- 
tery. 

The following extract from an old day-book used by Mr. John 
Dixon during his dealings with the Indians may be of interest to the 
reader, showing the manner of traffic with those people : 



Chief Crane,— 


-Pachw^ha. 




G7'ey Head Pottowatamie. 




Two shirts, 




6 


Gan worm, 


1 


Tobacco, 




1 


Steel on axe, 


2 


Two combs, 




2 


Making spear out of file, 


2 


Paint, 




2 


Bushing gun. 


1 


Corn, 




2 


Mending hoe. 


1 


Powder, 




3 


Blanket, 


25 


Salt, 




1 


Squaw axe. 


2 


Spear, 




6 


Shirt, 


4 


New axe for 


old one. 


2 


Looking glass, 


2 


Mending axe 


'i 


1 


Flints, 


1 


One pair red 


leggins. 


6 


Two knives, 


3 



It is interesting to glance over the curious names and descriptions 
of some of the Indians trading; with Father Dixon a half-centurv 
ago. Among his customers were: "Old Blue Coat," "Squirrel 
Cheeks," "Yellow Man," the old "blind man's son," " Sour Head 
Ox," "Doctor's Husband," "Raw Bone Black Face," "Limpy," 



THE ORGANIZATION OF LEE COUNTY. 65 

"Consumption," "Blinky," " Daddy Walker," "Man that has a 
sick wife," "Old Grey Head's fat W," "Canoe Thief," "Old 
White Head Pottawatomie's son." 

THE ORGANIZATION OF LEE COUNTY. 

Previous to 1836 Jo Daviess county embraced all the northwest 
part of the state, including the present territory of Lee, which was 
embraced in what was called the Rock River precinct of Jo Daviess 
county, and in the fall of 1836 the polls were opened for the presi- 
dential election in that precinct in Dixon. 

In December, 1836, Ogle county was organized ; and the first 
court convened in the county was held in Dixon, September 1837. 
Judge Stone was on the bench, and Thomas Ford, who was after- 
ward chosen by the people governor .?f the state, acted as district 
attorney by appointment of the judge. 

On the 27th of February, 1839, the act of the general assembly 
creating Lee county was approved by the official authority of the 
governor of Illinois, and it became a law recognizing Lee as one of 
the counties of the commonwealth. Messrs. D. G. Salisbury, E. H. 
Nichols and L. G. Butler were appointed commissioners to locate the 
county-seat, and in the prosecution of the duties imposed to their 
trust these gentlemen, on the 31st of May 1839, selected Dixon as 
the capital of the new county. 

The following pie.ce of ingenuity, called in an early day " sharp . 
practice," may be of interest : In 1839, when the state legislature 
was in session in Yandalia, then the capital of the state, Mr. F. R. 
Dutcher, now of Amboy, but then residing in Dixon, and Mr. Smith 
Gilbraith visited Vandalia to present a petition to the general assem- 
bly' praying for the creation of the county of Lee, the name being sug- 
gested by Mr. Dutcher in honor of Gen. Lee, who in after years be- 
came notorious as the defender of the Confederate cause and surren- 
dered to Gen. U. S. Grant at the close of the rebellion. On arriving 
at Vandalia Messrs. Dutcher and Gilbraith found a Mr. Boague in 
advance of them with a remonstrance from Buffalo Grove and Grand 
Detour. The latter gentleman, however, had not his complete list 
of names to his remonstrance, and was anxiously looking for other 
papers from home that would give him a large majority of remon- 
strators over the Dixon petitioners. The Dixon gentlemen knew if 
Mr. Boague got in the full list of signatures to his remonstrance that 
their cause would be defeated ; and to forestall this Mr. Gilbraith 
perpetrated a very shrewd piece of business, by presenting himself 
at the post-office on the arrival of the mail from the north and in- 
quiring of the postman, "anything for Boague?" A package was- 



66 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

handed over, which went down into the great-coat pocket, and Mr. 
Boague anxiously looked for the desired document in vain. And 
what made the situation more serious was that there was not sufficient 
time to send back to his constituents for a duplicate list of remon- 
strators before the adjournment of the legislature. Messrs. Dutcber 
and Gilbraith were not satislied with this piece of irregularity to secure 
their purpose, but knowing Mi-. Boague to be an abolitionist orator, 
they encouraged the project of that gentleman to deliver an abolition 
speech on a certain evening, to which the members of the legislature 
were invited. The effect was, as designed, to alienate the sympa- 
thies of the members of the general assembly from the orator and 
his cause. This gave the situation to the petitioners, who obtained 
the object for which they prayed. 

JNlr. Dutcher was not only* one of the prime movers in securing 
the creation of the countj^ of Lee, but suggested the name which it 
bears. He came to Dixon on May 9, 1838, armedj^ith a letter of 
introduction from Judge Massey, of New York, to Stephen A. Doug- 
las, of Illinois, and on reaching Vandalia he inquired for Mr. Doug- 
las. Douglas was pointed out to him, who was in the playful act of 
trying, though a very small man, to climb a very tall Kentuckian 
who was standing in the hall of the state house. Mr. Dutcher was 
appointed postmaster in Dixon in 1839, and in the same year was 
elected magistrate, in which office he served until 1846. In 1840 he 
rode over the entire county of Lee on horseback and took the census 
for that year, which enumeration amounted to 2035. 

The hrst election of county officers was held on the lirst Monday 
in August of the same year, which resulted in the election of the fol- 
lowing persons: county commissioners, Cha rles F. Ingals, J^athan 
E.. Whitney, and James P. Dixon ; Isaac Boardmaii, cTerk of com- 
missioners' court ; Aaron Wakely, sheriff ; Joseph Crawford, county 
surveyor ; H. Morgan, probate justice ; G. W. Chase, recorder. 
The commissioners' court conducted the affairs of the county, in- 
cluding that which is now done by the townships. The county com- 
missioners held their first session in the Dixon school-house on Sep- 
tember 13, 18 39, for the purpose of organizing said county, and were 
dul^quSntieT*15j*§;dniinistering the proper oath of office to each 
other; after which Isaac S. Boardman, jr., gave approved bonds and 
took the oath of office as required by law. The court proceeded to 
determine the terms of their respective offices by lot, which resulted 
in three years' service to Charles F. Ingles and one year's term to 
Nathan Whitney. There being but two members elect present, the 
court adjourned to meet on the following Monday," at which time 
James P. Dixon presented his certificate of election and took the 



THE OKGANIZATION OF LEE COUNTY. 67 

oath of office as a member of the court. His term of office was de- 
termined to be two years. They having provided that the term ot 
commissioners should be for three years, it was determined as above 
that two should vacate the office before the expiration of the legal 
term, that thereafter one might be elected annually. 

At this session the court divided the county into six election pre- 
cincts, and appointed judges of elections for the several divisions : 
Gap Grove precinct, west of the river in the northwest corner of the 
county ; election to be held at the house of William Martin ; judges 
of election were Thomas J. Harris, William Morelin, and William 
J. Johnson. Dixon precinct, embracing the present townships of 
Dixon and Nelson, with a portion of South Dixon, and northeast 
Nachusa. The place of elections was the Dixon school-house ; 
judges of election were James Sairtu, Samuel M. Brown and Thomas 
McCabe. Franklin precinct, which embraced what is now four town- 
ships — Nachusa, China, Ashton, and Bradford — held elections at 
the house of Jeremiah Whipple ; judges of election being Cyrus 
Chambers, Jeremiah Whipple, and Daniel Cooper. The Winnebago 
precinct embraced the territory of six present townships, Hamilton, 
East Grove, May, Harmon, Marion, and the south half of South 
Dixon ; the election to be held at the house of David Welty ; judges 
of election, David Welty, Henry W. Bogardner, and Nathan Brooks. 
Inlet precinct embraced the three townships of Amboy, Lee Centre, 
and Sublette ; elections to be held at the house of Benjamin Whita- 
ker ; judges of election were Daniel M. Dewey, Daniel Frost, and 
Asa B. Searls. Winnebago precinct embraced all of Lee county east 
of the third meridian, including six present townships. Elections 
held at Malugin's school-house; judges of elections were David A. 
Town, Zachariah Malugin and J. K. Robinson. 

The clerk of the commissioners' court was instructed to procure 
a seat for the court as soon as convenient for him to comply with said 
order. The court issued treasury certificates for the first time in 
favor of the several members of the court. 

The commissioners' court met in special session, October 2, 
1839 ; at which time a county election was ordered, to be held in the 
several precincts of the county, for the purpose of electing two jus- 
tices of the peace, and two constables in each precinct respectively. 
At the same session the court ordered that the clerk give public 
notice that sealed proposals would be accepted at the December 
term of the court for the building of a stone court-house on the pub- 
lic square in Dixon. The court subsequently received proposals for 
building the court-house in brick, and also for the building of a county 
jail. The court awarded the building of the court-house, per bid, to 



68 HISTORY OF LKE COUNTY. 

Yf Samuel M. Bowman, and the building of the jail was awarded to 

L ' Zenos Apliugtou and G. G. Holbrook. The court-house was to be 

"^ built for the consideration of $6,S00, in accordance with the bid sub- 

mitted ; the commissioners contracting to pay an additional sum 
for work not before specified. The jail was to be built for $1,495. 

On March 7, 1840, John Morse was appointed first assessor for 
the county, and at the same term of the court the county was di- 
vided into sixteen road districts, and the following gentlemen were 
appointed road supervisors in their respective districts : District 
No. 1, John Morse; No. 2, William W. Bethea; No. 3, S. A. Ma- 
son ; No. 4, Lewis Davis ; No. 5, Solomon Shelhammer ; No. 6, 
William Seward; No. 7, James Hawley ; No. 8, — Scott; No. 9, 
1^ *JOtis Timothy ; No. 10, Charles S. Badger ; No. 11, Charles Stark ; 
wINo. 12, Johnathan Peterson ; No. 13, Curtis T. Bridgman ; No. 14, 
^T^Henry W. Chocland ; No. 15, Abraham V. Christiance ; No. 16, 
V^ John Sims. 



R 



\-\ The following list gives the names of the first county officers : 

"^^Ov county commissioners^ ^. F. Inga ls, Nathan Whitney, and J. P. 

k/^ Dixon, elected in 1839 ; county jii^ge, li. Morgan, elected in same 

X year ; county clerk and recorder, G. W. Chase, in 1839 ; county 

) ' recorder, M. Fellows ; county treasurer, John Morse ; sheriff", A. 

Wakely ; superintendent of schools, E. R. Mason ; county surveyor, 

Joseph Crawford, from 1839 to 1844 ; coroner, Samuel Johnson, 

from 1839 to 1841 ; circuit judge, Daniel Stone, in 1840. 

The first term of the circuit court convened in the Dixon school- 
house on the third Monday in April, 1840. Judge Stone, of Ga- 
lena, presided. The members of the first grand jury had been sum- 
moned on the third of the month to appear at the opening of the 
court, as above, and consisted of the following citizens : William 
Martin, Noah Beede, Reuben Eastwood, John H. Page, Oscar F. 
Ayres, Elijah Bowman, John Brown, Thomas McCabe, Cyrus 
Cliamberlin, Cyrus R. Miner, Erastus De Wolf, David H. Birdsall, 
George E. Haskell, Daniel M. Dewey, David Baird, James *Bain, 
Joseph F. Abbott, Peter T. Scott, Nathan B. Meek, John Will son, 
Zachariah Malugin, John K. Robinson, and Jacob Kiplinger. 

At the same time and for the same session of tlie circuit court a 
petit jury was paneled, consisting of the following persons : Oliver 
Hubbard, Simon Fellows, James M. Johnson, Benjamin H. Steward, 
William F. Bradshaw, Hiram Parks, Jeremiah Murphy, Josiah 
Mooer, Charles Edson, Joseph Crawford, Samuel McClure, John 
Cliamberlain, Edward Morgan, Amos Hussey, Daniel Fi'os t, Johq . 
Done, Richard F. Adams, Sylvenus Peterson, AsaTj. SearU. R. B. 
Alben, William Guthrie, "JoBh Gn'more, jr.,Travirl Wclty, and 



. THE ORGANIZATION OF LEE COUNTY. 69 

James S. Ball. The above lists may have been changed some from 
the above footing by relieving some and substituting others. "We 
may notice in this connection that there has never been a district 
court organized in this county up to the present writing (1881), the 
circuit court holding jurisdiction over the criminal code. 

The legal officers present at the organization given above were 
as follows: The Hon. Dan Stone, judge; Aaron Waklee, sheriff; 
Shelton L. Hall, circuit attorney, and George W. Chase, clerk. 
After considering the bonds and securities of the constable, sheriff, 
and coroner, the court proceeded with regular business. 

The first appeal case tried in the circuit court was at its first 
sitting in 1840, involving rights of property, Smith Gilbraith vs. 
Buckner J. Morris. The first case of appeal from the justice court 
was in a case of fine for an assault and battery. The fine, however, 
being reduced from S2T to !B20, it was paid without further litigation. 

In March, 1840, the boundaries of the road districts were 
changed, and their number increased to forty-two. 

The first collector for Lee county was David Tripp, who received 
his appointment in June, 1840 ; and at that time RichardR_Aji^ja4»''-«»*''*^ 
was appointed to take the first census of the county. 

In the year of 1840 the court-house was built according to the 
contracts noted above, at the cost of $7,610, and 80 acres of land ; 
the former donated by the citizens of Dixon and the latter by the 
founder of the city, John Dixon. The jail was also completed this year. 

On the 16th of June the commissioners appointed Joseph Saw- 
yer the first overseer of the poor, and David Tripp the first collect- 
or for the county of Lee. ~— --- 

Bearing the same date (April 16, 1840) the first license to sell 
intoxicating liquors in Lee county was issued to Eodncy Burnett for 
a term of two years, for which Rodney paid tlie sum ut' 25 cents. ^ - ^ 
And the first indictment by the grand jury for selling spirituous , -«^ ~ 
liquors without license was at the first term of the circuit court in |(^_^ . 
1840. * 

In the autumn of 1840 the land office was removed from Galena 
to Dixon. Mr. John Dixon visited Washington in this year, with 
application for the removal of the land office to this city. Gen. 
Scott being a personal friend of Mr. Dixon, and having been at 
Dixon during the Black Hawk war and learned the topography of 
the country, he rendered valuable aid to him in introducing him to 
the president of the United States, Mr. Yan Buren, who issued the 
order for its removal. Col. John Dement was appointed receiver, 
and Major Hackelton register. These gentlemen were succeeded 
by D. G. Garnsey, receiver, and John Ilogan, register. 



70 HISTOEY OF LEE COUKTY. 

Township Organizations. — The original organization remained, 
with regular change of officers, until 1850, when by virtue of an act 
of the legislature, approved by the chief executive of the common- 
wealth February 12, 1849, providing for the organization of coun- 
ties and townships when a majority of the legal voters of a county 
at any general election should so determine, by vesture of power in 
three commissioners, oi'ganized and established boundary lines by 
which the county of Lee was divided into ten civil townships. 

Paw Paw Township., embracing the three eastern political town- 
ships, Nos. 37, 38, and 39 N., R. 2 E., of third meridian. 

Br'ooMyii Township., embracing the three political townships east 
of the third principal meridian, ]^os. 37, 38, and 39 N., R. 1 E., of 
third principal meridian. 

Hanno Township embraced No. 19 N., R. 11 E., of the fourth 
principal meridian. 

Lee Center Township, embracing No. 20 N., R. 11 E., of the 
fourth meridian. 

Bradford Township, embracing No. 21 N., R. 11 E., and the 
S. ^ of No. 22 N., R. 11 E., of the fourth principal meridian. 

Hamilton Township., embracing No. 19 N., R. 10, 9, 8 E., of the 
fourth principal meridian, and No. 20 N., R. 8 E., and the S. |-of No. 
20 N., R. 9 E., of the fourth principal meridian. 

Amboy Township., embracing No. 20 N., R. 10 E., and the N. ^ 
of No. 20 N., R. 9 E., of the fourth principal meridian. 

Tremont Township., embracing No. 21 N., R. 10 E., and the S. 
part of No. 22 N., R. 10 E., of the fourth principal meridian, in Lee 
county. 

Dixon Township., embracing No. 21 N., R. 9 E., and that part 
of No. 22 N., R. 9 E., of the principal meridian, which is situated 
and lying in Lee county. 

Pahnyra Township., e n bracing that part of No. 22 N.. R. 8 E., 
that is in Lee county ; also that part of No. 21 N., R. 8 E., that is 
S. of Rock river. 

Palmyra Township., embracing that part of No. 22 N., R. 8 E., 
that is in Lee county ; also that part of No. 21 N., R. 8 E., that is N. 
of Rock river. 

Prior to July 2 of the same year the name Wyoming was substi- 
tuted for Paw Paw, and China was substituted for Tremont. 

During 1855 the following townships were organized and added 
to the original list, making in all thirteen townships, namely. May, 
"Willow Creek, and Marion. In 1857 Hanno was discontinued, being 
superseded by Sublette. The same year Harmon was organized, 
which was followed in 1859 by the creation of a new township called 




THE ORGANIZATION OF LEE COUNTY. 71 

Reynolds, after an earlj settler of that township. One township was 
added in 1860, known as Nelson, and in 1861 the board of super- 
visors created three new civil townships, Alto, Ogle, and township 
38, political survey, which received in 1862 the name of Viola. Since 
that date Ogle has been eliminated from the list and two added, Ash- 
ton and South Dixon. 

In February, 1871, the town of China was divided, and a new 
township called Nachusa was created out of the territory composing 
the W. f of T. 21, R. 10 ; and also extending north on the same line 
through T. 22, R. 10 E., of the fourth principal meridian to the 
Ogle county line, being the W. | of the present township of China. 

In February, 1872, the town of Dixon was divided and a portion 
thereof was added to the town of Nachusa, commencing at or near 
the center of Rock river, at or near the center of Sec. 10, T. 22, R. 
9 E., of the fourth principal meridian, at the point where the line 
dividing the E. |- and the W. ^ of said Sec. 10 strikes the center of 
said Rock river ; thence south on the half section line to the center 
of Sec. 34 ; thence east to the center of Sec. 35 in the town and range 
aforesaid ; thence south to the center of Sec. 2, T. 21, R. 9E., of the 
fourth principal meridian ; thence west 80 rods ; thence south to the 
north line of South Dixon. Effort has been made to have a portion 
of Nachusa thrown back to Dixon township, but the committee to 
whom it was referred reported adversely and asked to be released 
from anv further consideration of the matter. This leaves the county 
of Lee, at this writings with twenty-two civil townships, fifteen of 
which are divided according to the political survey, while seven in 
the JST.W. ^ of the county were created irrespective of the political 
townships. 

County Officers. — Below we give a list of all county officers from 
the organization of the county to the present time : 

County Commissioners. At the first election in 1839 three com- 
missioners were elected ; after this one commissioner was elected 
and one went out of office each year. _C, F. Ingals, Nathan "Whit- ^ 



ney and J. P. Dixon were elected in 1839, A. E. Hiskeri in 1840, 
Joseph Crawford in 1841, O. F. Ayres in 1842, J. C. Morgan in 1843, 
D. Baird in 1844, D. H. Birdsall in 1845, James Goble in 1846, N. 
Whitney in 1846 (to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of D. 
Baird), W. Badger in 1847, Stephen Fuller in 1848, John Gilmore 
in 1848 to fill vacancy. 

County Judges. H. Morgan from 1839 to 1843, O. A. Eddy to 
'47, Lorenzo AYood to '54, David AVelty to '62, W. W. DeWolf to '69, 
John D. Crabtree to '76, Jas. B. Charters present judge. 

County Clerks. I. S. Boardman from 1839 to 1843, Chas. T. 



72 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Chase to '49, J. B. Gregory to '53, Thos. W. Eustace to '61, Jas. 
A. Hawlej present clerk. 

Circuit Clerks and Kecorders. C ^Y. Chase from 1839 to 1841, 
C. T. Chase to '51, N. F. Porter in '51, I. S. Boardman to '57, C 
E. Haskell to '59, I. S. Boardman in '59, B. F. Shaw to '6S, J. K 
Hyde to '76, R. Warriner present Clerk. 

Eecorders. M. Fellows from 1839 to 1844, E. W. Hine to '50. 
Since which time the circuit clerk has served as ex-officio recorder. 

Treasurers. John Morse 1840 to 1843, N. Morehouse to '46, S. 
Parker in '46, W. W. Bethea to 50, E. B. Stiles to '57, T. B. Little 
to '59, E. B. Stiles to '63, J. T. Little to '71, Josiah Little to '76, F. 
A. Truman to '79, Josiah Little present treasurer. 

Sheriffs. A. Wakelee from 1839 to 1841, A. L. Porter to '42, 
Jas. Campbell to '48, Jas. Coble to '51, A. L. Porter to '53, O. 
Wheeler in '53, Wm. Butler to '56, O. Wheeler to '58, Lester Hard- 
ing to '60, A. L. Porter to '62, Chas. F. Lynn to '64, R. P. Tread- 
well to '66, T. L. Pratt to '68, G. M. Berkley to '76, J. N. Hills 
to '78, Walter Little present sheriff. 

Superintendents of Schools. E. E. Mason to 1840, J. T. Little 
to '43, D. B. McKemiey to '46, Lorenzo Wood to '50, J. Y. Eus- 
tace to '53, John Stevens to '55, S. Wright to '57, J. A. Hawley to 
'59, John Monroe to '61, W. H. Gardner to '63, B. F. Atherton to 
'65, J. H. Preston to '73, Daniel Carey to '76, J. H. Preston present 
superintendent. 

Surveyors. Joseph Crawford from 1839 to 1844, S. H. Whit- 
mnre to '46, S. Parker in '46, C. Camp to '49, J. Crawford to '55, 
A. W. Tinkham to '57, M. Santee to '61, K. F. Booth to '63, W. B. 
Andrus to '65, C. R. Hall to '67, Wm. McMahan to '80. 

Coroners. Sani'l Johnson from ^839 to 1841, John Lord to '48, 
Sol. Parker to '50, Jas. Goble to '54. D. B. McKenney to '56, H. O. 
Kelsey to '64, J. Hatch, jr., to '6(?, H. Barrell to '70, A. E. Wilcox 
to '78, J. E. Church present coroner. 

State's Attorneys. Wm. E. Ives from 1872 to 1876, A. C. Bard- 
well to '80, Charles B, Morrison present incumbent. 

The Circuit Judges have been Daniel Stone two terms of 1840, 
Thos. C. Browne to '48, B. R. Sheldon to '51, I. O. Wilkinson to '56, 
J. AV. Drurey in '56, J. Y. Eustace to '61, W. W. Heaton to '78^ 
J. Y. Eustace present judge. 

March 7, John Morse was appointed first assessor for the county. 

The present county officers are as follows : 

County Clerk — James A. Hawley. 

Circuit Clerk — Remington Warriner. 

Countv Treasurer — Josiah Little. 



PROGRESS A^^D DEVELOPMENT OF LEE COUNTY. 73 

County Recorder — Remington Warriner. 
County Judge — James B. Charters. 
County Sheriff — Walter Little. 
^ County School Superintendent — Jas. H. Preston. 

County Coroner — John C. Church. 
State's Attorney — Chas. B. Morrison. 

Judges 13th Judicial District — Hon. Wm. Brown, Hon. John V. 
Eustace, Hon. J. M. Bailey. 

PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT OF LEE COUNTY. 

Two or three years after the Black Hawk war the Indians were 
removed from the northern part of the state, leaving the country 
open for the white man to occupy. Settlers began to fill up the 
country, and in a few years all the prairie land adjoining the groves 
of timber was taken up. Dixon advanced from four families in 
18 36 to thirty-live or forty in !f?S^.' Ini836, when Lee county was 
■~ embraced "liV Ogle, at a closely contested election growing out of a 
rivalry between Dixon and Oregon, less than 200 votes were cast al- 
together in the county, and that under the old state constitution, pro- 
viding that all white inhabitants of six months' residence in the state 
should be legal voters. One writer says : "As early as 1838 several 
wealthy families from New York and other parts of the country, at- 
tracted by the beautiful scenery and fertile lands along the Rock 
river, settled in the vicinity of Dixon. Among them were Capt. 
ugh Graham, an old gentleman of fine presence and courtly man- 
A ners, and Mr. Alexander Charters, familiarly called "the governor," 
t ' whose genial, and characteristic hospitality, and whose picturesque 
and finely kept place, two miles above the town, have been to thou- 
, sands the most attractive feature of a visit to Dixon." 

F 

In 1839 the general assembly having created Lee county, which 
was approved JVbruary27, 1839, the citizens of Dixon had the oppor- 
tunity to retrieve tlieir losses in their defeat for the court-house in 
1836, On the location of the county seat at this place, with the or- 
ganization of a new county and the erecting of the necessary public 
buildings gave an impulse to the improvement and development of 
the county. The removal of the United States Land Oflfice from 
Galena to Dixon in the autumn of 1840, and the establishment of 
the office of the engineer of the "Internal Improvement System " 
at Dixon, gave the new county a prominence that but few have been 
favored with. 

It was reported for Lee county, in 1840, a population of 2,035. 
Dixon precinct had a population of725 ; 125 persons were employed 
in agriculture, 17 in commerce, 55 at manufacture and trades, 12 in 



^ riv 



74 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

the learned professions and engineering. There was one school and 
30 scholars. 

For a few years succeeding 1840 the county was of slow develop- 
ment. "The state suffered from the great indebtedness and loss of 
credit occasioned by the visionary and disastrous internal improve- 
ment system of 1837, and mcreasecT lii population very slowly from 
1840 to 1850. The fear of taxation diverted emigration, and agri- 
cultural interests languished for want of inter-communication. There 
was no market for the products of the country nearer than Chicago, 
and the expense of transportation of them was often equal to the 
value of the products when sold. The cash trade of the interior 
y towns was meager, and a credit system, ruinous to the merchant and 

demoralizing to the customer, prevailed." 

Tlie county, however, steadily advanced in population ; lands 
were taken up and farms were being improved, so that by 1^45 the 
county had a population of^3,282, a n increase of 1,247 since the cen- 
sus of 1840 ; the village of DixonTiad, at this time, a population of 
400. There were in the county at this time 2 grist-mills, 5 saw-mills, 1 
carding machine and 1 iron foundry. The assessed value of property 
in the county was $28,000 ; horses, 900 ; cattle, 3,222 ; sheep, 2,197, 
and hogs, 3,905. 

In 1850, as noticed previously, there was a reorganization of the 
county, at which time it was divided into towns, each being repre- 
sented by a supervisor in the transaction of the county business, 
which had been done by the board of commissioners. The board of 
supervisors held their first session on MavJL3^J^0. At this time 
the population of Lee county was 5,'55^7being an increase of 2,007 
since 1845; Dixon township's j^ftpuililEion was 1,073. The value of 
real estate was $215,360, and of personal property $168,341. There 
were twelve corporations or individuals in the county, producing ar- 
ticles to the value of $5,000 annually. One was engaged in the man- 
ufacture of harvesting machines ; one manufacturing plows ; one 
producing lime ; two in lumber, and two in the milling business ; 
the capital invested was $24,300 ; the average number of hands em- 
ployed was twenty-three. The county had one academy, with two 
teachers and forty pupils ; public schools, with forty-six teachers and 
1,518 pupils. The average monthly wages for farm hands was Jj^l2, 
and that paid to day laborers was 63 cents per day with board, and 

75 cents per day without board; carpenters, $1.50 per day; female 
domestics, $1.25 per week. Board for laborers could be obtained at 
$1.60 per week.. 

Within the next decade the county made wonderful progress, 
being less embarrassed by threatening taxation, while the Illinois 



PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT OF LEE COUNTY. 



75 



Central railroad was opened throiigli it in 1855, which contributed 
largely to the development of the country. We find the population, 
as given by the census of 1860, for Lee county to be 18,854, an in- 
crease from 1850 of 13,604, or a little over 1,300 annually. This 
was the great decade of the popular increase of Lee county. Emi- 
gration flowed in like a tide. The material wealth of the county 
greatly increased. The decade of 1860 and 1870 increased 8,012 
over the pi-eceding ; so that the census of 1870 gave a total popula- 
tion for the county of 26,866 ; this period embraced the years of the 
jreat struggle during the rebellion. Emigration was greatly re- 
tarded, and many of the brave sons of Lee county went to the front 
at their country's call and never returned. During the period from 
1870 to 1880 the population of Lee county increased 3,037 over 1870. 
Wliile there has been a great falling off in the increase of population 
within the last census period, it arises from the fact that the lands 
had been generally occupied ; that there was not the inducement to 
land seekers as had formerly been. Some lands, liowever, were to 
be improved, which brought in the faithful yeomanry from the east, 
and manufacturing interests offered inducements to the mechanic, so 
that in 1880 Lee county had a population of 30.186. 



COUNTY AND TOWNSHIP CENSUS FROM 1850 TO 1880. 



TOWNSHIPS. 


1850 


1860 


1870 


1880 


Alto 


504 

158 
354 

687 

1,072 

315 
475 

292 

587 

808 


301 
2,507 

1,252 
1,324 
1,712 

3,408 

355 

148 
763 

1,007 
688 
862 

1,055 
288 

1,123 

729 
1,237 


832 
4,104 
1,007 
1,086 
1,235 
2,351 

757 
4,687 

765 

186 

542 

1,028 

397 

747 

600 

1,109 

742 

905 

1,300 

639 

1,019 

1,280 




Amboy 

Ashtou 


4,699 
1,009 


Bradford 


848 


Brooklyu 


1,296 


Chiua . . . .' 

Franklin 


1,411 
730 


Dixon 


4,241 


East Grove 


797 


Hamilton 


427 


Hanno 




Harmon 


1,254 


Lee Center 


1,229 


Marion 

^ay 


903 

848 


l^elson 


2,313 


Palmyi-a 


1,118 


Reynolds 

South Dixon 


743 
973 


Sublett 


1,384 


Viola 


685 


Willow Creek 

Wyoming 


1,348 
1,931 






County 


5,252 


18,359 


27,138 


30,186 



76 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Internal Improvements. — Yery early in the history of Lee coun- 
ty a system of internal improvements was inaugurated in the state, 
for which tax was laid upon the people that became a burden, em- 
barrassed the settlement and growth of the state, and from which Lee 
county suffered greatly. Railroads were contemplated as well as 
the improvement of Rock river by a system of slack-water naviga- 
tion. These work-s were begun and carried forward as long as the 
state exchequer was flush, but it was afterward abandoned for want 
of means to carryforward the project. This being in 1836 and 1>^37, 
before the count}' was developed, the embarrassment enforced upon 
the new state deferred the building of railroads for near twenty 
years, when the Illinois Central ran her first train across the Rock 
river bridge at Dixon in 1855. This event was of first importance 
to Lee county, causing not only the rapid growth of Dixon but the 
founding of Amboy car works, which gave rise to the growth of that 
young city. This road was followed by the Chicago & Northwestern 
road, the Chicago & Rock River, and the C. D. & M. road. 

The Diocon Air Line Itailroad was built b}' the Galena & Chi- 
cago Union Railroad Company from the junction, thirty miles west 
of Chicago, in 1854 and 1855. The original design seems to have been 
to make this a branch to operate as a feeder to the main line, tapping 
the Rock river valley at this point. The subsequent rapid develop- 
ment of the country and the constant increase of business induced its 
extension westward, striking the "Father of Waters" at a point 
opposite Clinton in Iowa. Soon after the Galena & Chicago Union, 
with its branches, and the Northwestern (Chicago & Green Bay) were 
consolidated under the general name of the Northwestern, a railroad 
bridge crossing the Mississippi at Clinton was completed, and the 
" Dixon Air Line" became one of the leading trunk lines between 
Chicago and the Pacific coast. Mr. Charles Chase was appointed 
agent at Dixon. The first business done in the receipt and shipment 
of freights at this point was about February 10, 1855, five days before 
that branch of business was commenced at the Illinois Central depot. 
Mr. Chase was succeeded as agent by Mr. J. R. Stewart, Mr. Charles 
Murray following, then Mr. George Rogers, who was succeeded by 
the present agent, Mr. H. E. Hand. 

BUSINESS DONK BY THE N. W. R. K. AT DIXON DEPOT FOR PREVIOUS YEAR. 



FREIGHT FORWAKDED.. 


FREIGHT RECEIVED. 


Tonnage. 


Unpaid. 


Tonnage. 


Unpaid. 


18,595 


$48,248.56 


10,313 


$31,409.62 



PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT OF LEE COUNTY. 



V7 



SALE OF TICKETS. 



Local Tickets. 


Coupon Tickets. 


Extra Baggage. 




$1,728.42 


$668.95 


$2.55 


For 1880. 



COAL RECEIVED AND FORWARDED. 



Soft coal via. 111. Central and distributed 
at Dixon for the company. 


Hard coal received and delivered at 
Dixon. 


Weight. 


Ch'g'spaidl.C.R.R. 


Weight. 


Unpaid. 


49,290,700 


$10,464.20 


1,882,717 


$2,076.41 



GRAIN SHIPMENTS TO CHICAGO. 



Wheat. 


Corn. 


Oats. 


Barley. 


Rye. 


8,954 


197,239 


37,481 


8,181 


8,654 



The Illinois Central was also built in 1854 and 1855. Its beauti- 
ful iron bridge at this point was completed January 1, 1855 ; the iast 
rail was laid upon it in the midst of a furious northwest snowstorm 
on that day. Receipts and shipments of freight commenced on Feb- 
ruary 15, under Mr. Addison Chase as agent ; Mr. Chase was suc- 
ceeded by Mr. S. Y. Pierce, then Mr. A. E. Mason, who was fol- 
lowed by Mr. W. C. Wooley. The latter was appointed September 
15, 1858. 

In the summer of 18Y6 a project was formed for building the Rock 
River Valley railroad, connecting the Rock Island & St. Louis with 
the Chicago & Pacific, thus forming another trunk line between 
Chicago and St. Louis and the great west and south. A company 
was formed, with Mr. James A. Hawley, of Dixon, as president, sur- 
veys and location made, grading commenced along the line of Water 
street in this cit}^, when the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy ab- 
sorbed the stock of the southei-n portion of the road, thereby crush- 
ing the Valley road, together with all the fine schemes of the inhab- 
itants, for the present, for the further development of the water 
power and manufacturing interest of the valley. Some consolation, 
however, for the loss of these prospective commercial advantages 
lies in the fact that had the road been completed on the line as lo- 



78 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

• 

cated, the iron horse, with its trains of living freight and commerce, 
would have marred some of the most beautiful natural scenery to be 
found on the continent. 

The Illinois Central enters the county on the south, crossing the 
line twelve miles west of the southeast corner of the county, and 
running due northwest" passes Amboy to Dixon, where it crosses the 
Kock river, following that valley two or three miles north, then bear- 
ing west it passes out of the county five miles east of the northwest 
corner of the county. The track of this road is laid through Dixon 
on a high grade and system of arches over the principal streets, a' d 
across the river by a magnificent iron bridge resting on huge stone 
abutments and piers. 

The Chicago & ^Northwestern enters the county on the north, 
eleven miles west of the northeast corner, passing south of the city 
of Dixon, where it crosses the Illinois Central, and passing down the 
Rock river valley it emerges from the county on the west, one mile 
north of the river. 

The Chicago & Iowa, known as the Chicago, Dubuque & Minne- 
sota road, crosses the northeast corner of the county dividing Alto 
township, diagonally, into two equal parts. 

The Chicago & Rock River road enters the county on the east, 
at Paw Paw, four miles north of the southeast corner of the county, 
and bearing north of west to Amboy, and fi-oni thence to the Rock 
river, passing out of the county on the west two miles south of Rock 
river. 

Navigation. — But little can be said respecting navigation in Lee 
county. Although congress recognized Rock river as a navigable 
stream, they neglected to legislate .-uflicient water in the channel, in 
consequence of which the commercial world failed to utilize what 
water already fiowed between its banks. There are times, however, 
that were it not for the bridges and dams that now obstruct the river 
the heaviest Mississippi boats could safely pass up to Dixon. In an 
early day the Mississippi river steamboats occasionally made trips up 
Rock river. In April, 1838, the steamer Gipsey went up the river 
as far as Oregon ; she had on board a load of bacon bought in St. 
Louis by Mr. Phelps, of Oregon. There was some dissatisfaction 
in regard to the contract and Mr. Phelps would not take the meat ; 
Smith Gilbraith was aboard the boat and told the captain to turn 
around and unload the bacon at Dixon. It was unloaded at the foot 
of Peoria street. In July, 1844, the Lighter ascended the river as 
far as Janesville, Wisconsin. Perhaps this is the time that Col. John- 
son wanted the " boys'' to "fire off the stump " in honor of her arrival, 
which some of the early settlers recall with so much amusement. 




■■■'Sh, 






THE NEW YORK 
?UBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTOK, LENOX AND 

TILUEN FODNDATiONS 

B - h 



COUNTY BUILDINGS. 81 

It had been announced that a boat would be up the river on a 
certain daj, and preparations were made to receive her, and Col. 
Johnson was selected to make the address of welcome to the captain 
and crew. Being in primitive days there was no navy howitzer or 
military field-piece with which to fire the salute. The colonel, how- 
ever, was equal to the emergency, and ordered a stump, which stood 
on the bank of the river, to be bored with a large auger, and loaded 
with powder and tow. to be in readiness to fire off on the approach 
of the expected steamer. An adjacent saloon was chosen as the base 
of observation. Here they would plan the reception, and anon appear 
on the bank looking for the "smoke way down the river," wliich 
was slow to appear. The day was far spent, and the sun was fast 
sinking behind the western hills, and they were weary of waiting 
and watching for the great water-witch, when the cry was raised, 
"the steamboat is coming." Headed by the colonel the anxious 
committee emerged from the saloon to hail the great steamer. It 
was, however, but a small hull, but being blinded by weary watch- 
ing the orator mistook the stranger for the long expected, and lifting 
his hat he delivered his address of " welcome, welcome to our shores," 
and, turning to the artillerymen, the order was given, "Boys, shoot 
ofi^* the stump;" and as the reverberations of the shooting stump 
were dying away beyond the Kock river hills the little cruiser 
rounded into port, and, safely mooring, received the honors which 
were designed for one that did not come. The old citizens believe 
until this day that the address of welcome and the cannonading in- 
junction were appropriate to the occasion. 

A small steamer is now plying between Dixon and Grand De- 
tour, a run of nine miles up the river. In this distance there is a 
fall of nine and a half feet, and tlie fiow of the current of Rock river 
at low- water mark is 7,355 cubic feet of water per minute, which is 
sufficient for good water-power, but requiring slack water for naviga- 
tion. This is met by the dam across the river at Dixon, which is 
seven feet in height. In an early day the commissioners of Lee 
county granted the right to build a dam across the river at Dixon. 
Now the river is spanned by bridges and obstructed by dams, an in- 
dication that the idea of the profitable navigation of Rock river has 

been abandoned. 

COUNTY BUILDINGS. 

Location. — The undersigned commissioners appointed by the act 
creating the county of Lee " Approved February 27, 1839," having 
been duly sworn and after examination, having due regard to the set- 
tlements and convenience of the present and future population of said 
county of Lee, do hereby locate the seat of justice for the aforesaid 
6 



82 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

county of Lee at the town of Dixon ; and have stuck the stake for the 
place or point at which the public buildings shall be erected on the 
quarter section composed of the west half of the northwest quar- 
ter of the section four, township number twentj'-one. range nine 
east, of the 4th principal meridian, and the east half of the 
northeast quarter of section number five, same township and 
range aforesaid. And we further report that the proprietors and 
owners of lots in the aforesaid town of Dixon have executed cer- 
tain bonds guaranteeing the payment of six thousand four hundred and 
sixty dollars, which is exclusive of one thousand and fifty dollars 
signed by Messrs. Gilbraith, "Wilkinson & Dement, which is embraced 
and included in a bond of three thousand dollars, and included above; 
also one bond for a deed of eighty acres of land adjoining said town 
of Dixon : all of which is respectfully submitted to the county com- 
missioners' court of Lee county. Given under our hands and seals this 
21st day of May, A. D. 1839. D. G. Salisbury. [seal]. 

Ethan H. Nichols. [seal]. 
L. G. BoTLER. [seal]. 

On the 27th of December, 1839, thecourt of commissioners received 
plans and specifications which were submitted by the clerk for the 
building of the court-house of stone or brick, and put the same on file. 
At the same time the clerk submitted plans and specifications for build- 
ing a j-iil of stone and timber, which was also accepted and placed on 
file. The clerk was further ordered to advertise for sealed proposals, 
which would be received up to the 6th of January, 1840, for building 
said court-house and jail ; and on the 7th of January the court awarded 
the building of the jail to Messrs. Aplington & Holbrook for the sum 
of fourteen hundred and ninety-five dollars; and the building of the 
court-house was awarded to Samuel M. Bowman, which was to be of 
brick and was to cost the sum of six thousand and eight hundred dol- 
lars, in accordance with his bid. 

The court-house was erected according to the contract during the 
year 1840 ; and as it was accepted of the commissioners from the hands 
of the builders, it is just to presume that it was located on the parcel 
of ground that was pinned by the stake which was driven by the com- 
missioners on the selection of the site for the seat of justice. That was 
a great day for the county of Lee, which saw the stake driven that has 
held the seat of justice on the beautiful eminence for more than forty 
years. 

The commissioners were fortunate in the selection of a location 
" so beautiful for situation." The plat of ground on which it stands 
extends from Second to Third street, north and south, and from Ottawa 
street on the east to Galena street on the west. It is inclosed and the 



COUNTY BUILDINGS. 83 

yard has been cultivated into a beautiful lawn and shady grove in the 
midst of which the court-house stands. From the court-house the 
ground recedes with a gentle slope so that the people emphatically "go 
up to the house of justice," The court-room is on the second floor, 
and over the judge's stand hangs upon the wall a life-size portrait of 
Mr. John Dixon, the founder of the city and the first white settler in 
Lee county. From the observatory may be seen the clear waters of 
Rock river as they flow out from between the hills far away to the 
north and come meandering down the beautiful valley and flow away 
to be lost behind the forest-covered bluifs to the southward. 

The jail was built of hewed logs erected on a stone foundation and 
was located on the south side of Third street opposite the court-house. 
It was erected during 1840; but a brick building for the county 
sheriff''s mansion being erected on the southeast corner of Ottawa and 
Second streets in 1846, the jail was removed to that location and re- 
erected back of said building some time in 1847. This wooden structure 
served the county for the incarceration of her criminals until 1872. 
Although it had been set on'fire at different times it was able to hold 
those committed to its keeping. In 1868 or 1869 a prisoner attempted 
to burn his way out of his confinement with a hot poker, and would 
doubtless have succeeded had not some small boys been playing near 
by and discovered the burning of the jail. In the February term of 
the court, 1872, the supervisors provided for the building of the present 
jail by making an appropriation of eighteen thousand dollars for the 
purpose. There were also plans provided for the sale of the old jail 
property and the purchase of new lots for the jail and sheriff's house. 
This was prosecuted and the buildings erected where they now stand, 
on lots Nos. two and three on the southeast corner of Tiiird and Hen- 
nepin streets. The contract was let to Messrs. Jobst & Price, of Peoria, 
this state. 

The sheriff's house is built of brick ornamented with dressed stone, 
making it a very attractive edifice. The jail which connects it on the 
rear is built of dressed stone, and is very secure. The buildings are 
not only an addition to the good appearance of that part of the city, 
but are a credit to the county. 

The Government Zand Office. — In 1840, when the government 
land office was removed from Galena to Dixon, the mode of convey- 
ance, as well as the means of communication, was in a primitive state. 
The office, with its iron safe, papers and maps, was loaded upon a 
" prairie schooner," under the command of Col. John Dement, receiver, 
and Mayor Hackelton, register. Left in charge of a driver, and pro- 
pelled by half a dozen yokes of oxen, this conveyance was many days 
on the road, traveling a distance of sixty-five miles. It arrived in the 



84 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

fall of that year, in the midst of the presidential campaign which re- 
sulted in the election of Gen, Harrison. It was lirst opened in the 
Yan Arnam building, on Ottawa street. At that time but a small 
portion of the lands in the district had been brought into market, and 
the subsequent heavy sales brought people from all parts of the coun- 
try loaded with specie with which to make their entries. The specie 
was subsequently shipped to the sub-treasury at St. Louis. 

The small stone building occupied by the land office department, 
is still standing on the northwest corner of Ottawa and Second streets. 

RELIGIOUS PROGRESS IN THE COUNTY. 

The first Methodist sermon preached in the region of country be- 
tween Kock Island and Galena, was by the Rev. Mr. Sugg, in the 
house of John Ankany. The Illinois conference recognized this as 
missionary territory in 1835, and appointed Rev. James McKean in 
charge of what was called the Henderson Mission. Rev. Henry Sum- 
mers was presiding elder of tiie district. The headquarters of the 
mission was Elkhorn Grove. Early in 1836 Rev. McKean passed 
Dixon's Ferry ; and after crossing the river he returned and announced 
to the few people who were standing on the bank of the river, " I 
will preach in this place four weeks from to-day," and rode away, leav- 
ing his auditors to conjecture as to who and what manner of man he 
was. On the appointed day the mysterious stranger appeared with 
saddle-bags, hymn-book and Bible, and found the neighbors assembled 
to hear what message he might bring to them. He continued his 
visits to the ferry, preaching in their cabins or in the grove, until some 
time in 1837, when he organized the first Methodist class in Dixon and 
Lee county. The following persons were received as the original 
members of this class : S. M. Bowman, and Mrs. E. A. Bowman ; 
John Richards, and Ann Richards; Caleb Tallmage, and Amanda 
Tallmage, and Maria McClure. The society worshiped in a room over 
Messrs. Bowman & Boardman's store, corner of Galena and Water 
streets. In the following fall (1837) Revs. Robert Delap and Barton 
Cartwright were sent as circuit preachers, by the authority of Bishop 
Roberts; Alfred Brunson being presiding elder. The preaching place 
this year was in a frame school-house, 20x30 feet. This house was 
used as a court-house and all public gatherings as well as a place for 
worship. Rev. Delap's health failing, he retired from the work in 
May, leaving his colleague in full charge until the close of the year. 
He was known as the " Prairie Breaker," which honor he received as an 
expressed appreciation of Christian and earnest work as a missionary 
on the great prairies of Illinois. The circuit being large, the 
society received a visit from their minister once in six weeks. Not un- 



RELIGIOUS PROGRESS IN THE COUNTY. 85 

frequently the pioneer preacher would be absent from his home for a 
nnmber of weeks successively without so much as hearing from home 
and loved ones who were anxiously waiting and longing for his return. 
In the autumn of 1838 Isaac Pool and Riley Hill were appointed to 
this mission by Bishop Soul. Rev. Hill was esteemed as a young man 
of fine talents, but his work was short, having fallen in his Master's 
work early in the next year at the inlet, now called Lee Center. His 
place was filled by Rev. Luke Hichcock, who was reappointed in the 
fall of 1839, by Bishop Roberts. Bartholomew Weed was appointed 
presiding elder of the district. 

There had been received in the society, in addition to the original 
members, up to August 1839, T. D. Boardman, Mr, and Mrs. Perry, 
and Mr. and Mrs. McCabe, and in the following October the society 
was greatly strengthened by the addition of O. F. Ayres and wife. In 
the fall of 1840 Richard A, Blanchard was appointed to the Dixon 
circuit, by Bishop Waugh. During this conference year the Rock 
River conference was organized (in May, 1841), and held its first ses- 
sion at Mount Morris; John Clark being presiding elder of the dis- 
trict, known as the Mount Morris district ; and at this session of the 
conference Philo Judson was appointed to Dixon circuit, and S. S. 
Stocking, presiding elder. 

At a quarterly conference that convened at Daysville, June 8, 1842, 
the first steps were taken toward the building of a house of worship, 
by appointing T. Judson, S. G, Holbrook, L. G. Winkoop, and J. 
Dixon a committee to estimate the probable expense of erecting a 
church edifice in Dixon. They reported at a subsequent meeting, 
which lead to the beginning of the building which was completed the 
following year, and dedicated by the Rev. John T. Mitchel, at that 
time presiding elder of the district. It was a brick structure, and was 
completed at a cost of $4,000. It was located on Second street, near 
Ottawa. The board of trustees consisted of J. P. Dixon, C. Edson, O. F. 
Ayres, W. G. Winkoop,Thomas McCabe, J, Brierton and S. M. Bowman. 

At the session of Rock River conference held in Chicago, August 3, 
1842, Bishop Roberts presiding, the Dixon circuit which then embraced 
"Washington Grove, Lighthouse Point, Jefi^erson Grove, Daysville, 
and Paynes Point, was extended so as to include Palestine Grove, 
Malugin's Grove, and Inlet Grove, now Lee Center, Philo Judson 
and W. H, Cooley were appointed circuit preachers. This work was 
divided, soon after, by the presiding elder Mitchel setting off" all the 
territory north of Franklin Grove to W. H. Cooley, and the southern 
division was left under the pastoral care of P. Judson. This order, 
however, was revoked at the following quarterly conference held 
November 12, 1842, placing it back to its former arrangement. 



86 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Sabbath-schools were now organized, — the first at Dixon soon after 
the dedication of the chapel ; and at the quarterly conference held July 
15, 1843, the following was reported: "There are two schools in the 
lower division of the circuit ; and one at Dixon with eight teachers, 
sixty scholars, and a library of ninety volumes." The superintendent 
was O. F. Ayres; the secretary, T. D. Boardman, and John W. Clute 
was librarian. This was a union school up to 1845, wlien it became a 
Methodist denominational school. O. F. Ayres continued superin- 
tendent for ten years, when the demand upon his time and talents for 
the pulpit was so great that he was compelled to resign his ofiice, to 
the regret of himself and the school. 

Washington Wilcox was appointed to the circuit in 1843, and was 
succeeded by the appointment of David Brooks in the autumn of 1844, 
and Stephen P. Keys in 1845, under whose labors a great temperance 
work was done, closing up all places where strong drink had been sold. 
The number in church membership was increased one third during the 
year. In the fall of 1846 his place was filled by the appointment of 
Milton Henry and R. W. H. Brent to the charge. 

At the session of Rock River Conference in the autumn of 1847 
the Dixon circuit was embraced in the Rock Island district, under the 
presiding eldership of John Sinclair. R. P. Lawton was appointed 
preacher in charge of the circuit, and in the following year under the 
labors of Rev. William Palmer, appointed by Bishop Morris, the church 
enjoyed the visitation of a special revival, under which many were 
converted and added to the church. The Sabbath schools were pros- 
pering. In the Dixon school were eight teachers, fifty scholars, and 
twenty dollars' worth of new library books. During the pastorate of 
Mr. Palmer, the basement of the chapel was finished, and a bell pur- 
chased for the tower. He was succeeded by Thomas North in 1850, 
under whose labors a noted revival occurred. 

Soon after Rev. McKean visited the neighborhood of Dixon's 
Ferry, the Rev. Thomas Powel, of the Baptist church, came to Buftalo 
Grove as the forerunner of that denomination ; and as early as 1838 
organized the first Baptist church of the vicinity at Buffalo Grove, 
which was the parent society of the First Baptist church of Dixon. 
The original society was divided into the Bufialo church and the 
Dixon church. The former, however, was subsequently discontinued. 

Rev. Thomas Powel was an earnest pioneer missionary, and lives 
in the memory of the church revered as the founder of the Baptist 
denomination of the christian church. 

In connection with these pioneer ministers may be mentioned also 
the Rev. L. Hitchcock, Bishop Chase, of the Episcopal church, and 
Rev. James De Pui, who experienced with them the privations of 



RELIGIOUS PROGRESS IN THE COUNTY. 87 

the early clays of Lee county. The life of the itinerant in those days 
was one of sacrifice not only to the faithful minister, bat to his family. 
Exposed to perils in floods and storms, as well as long tedious rides 
across the unbroken prairie, fording streams, sometimes by swimming 
his faithful and orthodox horse ; startled by the scream of the wild-cat 
or howl of the wolf from the evening shades of a neighboring grove ; 
lodging in the pioneer cabin, whose clapboard roof but illy turned the 
failing rain or drifting snow. 

On July 5, 1843, a Congregational society was organized at the resi- 
dence of Moses Crombie, and was called the " Congregational Church 
of Palestine Grove." The congregation worshiped in a school-house 
about a mile from the present site of the city of Amboy. They were 
ministered to by Rev. John Merrill, R ev. In^r soll, father o f the notorio us D 
Robert Ingersoll of the present day. Rev. Joseph Gardner and Rev;(^ 
Mr. Pierson. The last two divided their labors with Grand Detour^ 
and Palestine Grove. This society was formed before there was a^^ 
house erected where Amboy now stands. The organization was afte^^ ^ 
ward removed to Loe Center, in 1849. In 1854 the Amboy Congrega- 
tional church M'as organized. But as these local societies will be noticed 
in connection with the township in which they are located, we will not 
give a detailed account in this connection. 

At an earl}' day a Rev. Mr. Warriner^ of the Baptist faith, com- 
menced preaching at Paw Paw Grove, in the southeast corner of the 
township, and afterward became the pastor of the present Baptist society 
in that place. 

The religions societies have exerted a salutary influence on the 
moral development of the county. 

Sahhath Schools. — -The first Sabbath school was organized as a 
union school, in the new Methodist Episcopal church soon after its 
dedication, and on July 15, 1843, there were reported eight teachers, 
sixty scholars, and a library of ninety volumes. O. F. Ayers was super- 
intendent, T. D. Boardman, secretary, and J. W. Clute, librarian. This 
school afterward became the denominational school of the Methodist 
church. Other schools were organized as the several denominations 
organized societies. Sabbath schools are, at present, connected with all 
the churches in Lee county, and special reference will be made to them 
in connection with the history of each society. The total number of 
members of the several schools in Dixon aggregate about 800, the 
total number of volumes in librarv in the several schools is about 2,025. 

At an early day, and about the time of the organization of the 
union school in Dixon, referred to above, there were schools organized 
in other parts of the county, — Inlet Grove, Malugin's Grove, and prob- 
ably at Palestine Grove. 




88 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

The method of conducting Sabbath schools at this early day was 
quite primitive. There were but few conveniences compared with 
what are regarded as essentials in a well regulated modern Sunday 
school. Tiiere was no literature provided specially for the young, no 
Sabbath-school songs as now. The old hymn or psalm book was in 
constant use. It would seem odd, in these days of advancement and 
improvement, to require the infant class to repeat their A B C, or 
rehearse a spelling lesson, after opening the school by singing " Am I 
a Soldier of the Cross ? " and before singing the closing hymn " How 
Tedious and Tasteless the Hours !" ; and yet such was the custom of the 
gone-by days. But these primitive schools were not failures, but served 
to impart moral sentiments and cultivate religious tendencies that have 
developed some of the best men of the country. At the present time 
the Sabbath schools of Lee county are fully abreast of tiie times. 

Heresy.— Lae county has been visited by religious heresy and 
fanaticism under the banner of Mormonism. After the murder of the 
great Mormon high priest, Joe Smith, his brother, William Smith, with 
a small band of followers, took up their residence in Lee county, about 
twelve miles south of Dixon, where they kept up their organization 
and meetings for some time. 

At the April term of circuit court in 1853, on the trial of the appli- 
cation of William Smith for a divorce, the jury found a verdict for the 
lady. 

The following is part of a letter showing the " mind of the Lord " 
as revealed to his servant William Smith : 

" Behold, verily, this is the mind of the Lord concerning those 
females who have received the priesthood by being sealed to my ser- 
vants William Smith and Joseph Wood [for many years a lawyer at 
Paw Paw, this county], and have been washed, anointed and ordained 
under their hands, having been received into the priestess' lodge — 
having taken the covenant thereof; if they, or either of them, shall 
fall, or turn altogether therefrom, she or they shall be excluded there- 
from and from my church also, and shall not come forth in the resur- 
rection of the just. * * * 

" Therefore, I, Jesus Christ, who am your Father and God, say unto 

you, if your wives be treacherous and sin against you and repent not, 

I will reveal it unto you. Therefore confide in me, and I will be your 

God and you shall be my servants. Amen. 

"Yours truly, 

" William Smith." 

The First School-house. — Dr. O. Everett, in the " History of Dixon 
and Palmyra," published in 1880, says: 

"In looking over some old papers recently, I came across the sub- 



RELIGIOUS PKOGRESS IN THE COUNTY. 



89 



scription paper for building the first school-house in Dixon, and have 
thought that it would not be without interest to many of your readers. 
This paper was got up in January 1837, and contains many names 
familiar to the old settlers. The subscription paper reads as follows : 

" ' We, the subscribers, agree to pay the sums severally attached to 
our names, for the purpose of erecting a school-house in the town of 
Dixon. Said school-house shall be for the teaching of primary schools, 
and shall be open for religious meetings of all denominations when not 
occupied b}^ the schools. 

" ' Said house shall be one story high, and at least forty feet by 
twenty on tlie ground, and shall contain two rooms, which shall be 
connected by a door or doors, as may be thought proper. 

" ' The subscribers shall meet on Monday, the 20th day of February 
next, at six o'clock p.m., and choose three trustees to superintend the 
building of said house. The trustees shall have power to collect the 
money subscribed, contract for and purchase materials for said house, 
and employ workmen to build the same. Thej^ shall see that it is done 
in a plain, workmanlike manner, so far as the funds shall warrant. 



NAMES. 

Jas. P. Dixon, 

Oliver Everett, 

John Wilson, 

Caleb Talmage, 

J. B. Barr, 

Samuel Leonard, 

Jacob Rue, 

B. B. Brown, 

Samuel Gatten, . 

Edwin Hine, . 

Elijah Dixon, 

Hiram P. Parks, 

John Q. Adams (expunge 

Seth D. Brittain, 

(If he settles here.) 
Lemuel Huff, 
Alanson Dickerman, 
John Snider, 
H. Martin, 
W. P. Burroughs, 
John Dixon, . 
1. S. Boardman, 
A friend, 
M. McCabe, 
Allen Wiley, . 
J. W. Hamilton, 

" It will be noticed that many of the subscribers were persons 
living some distance in the country, and of those who came to the 



$25 00 


25 00 


. 25 00 


20 00 


. 10 00 


5 00 


. 5 00 


5 00 


. 5 00 


5 00 


. 15 00 


10 00 


d), 00 10 


. 20 00 


. 15 00 


5 00 


. 5 00 


5 00 


. 15 00 


20 00 


. 10 00 


5 00 


. 10 00 


10 00 


. 5 00 



NAMES. 

Geo. L. Chapman, 
W. H. Rowe, . 
J. W. Dixon, 

E. w. Covin, 

E. A. Statia, 
S. W. Johnson, 
Robert Murray, 
Sam'l C. McClure. 
Mrs. E. N. Hamilton, 
Horace Thompson, 
Mrs. R. Dixon, . 
L. D. Butler, . 
M. L. Dixon, 
Mrs. A. Talmage, . 
Mrs. M. H. Barr, 
J. Marphy, 
N. W. Brown, . 
S. M. Bowman, 
John Richards, . 
C. F. Hubbard, 
W. W. Graham, 
T. L. Hubbard, 
John Carr, . 
George Kip, . 
Wm. Graham, 



$5 00 

10 00 

10 00 

25 00 

5 00 

10 00 

10 00 

15 00 

15 00 

5 00 

30 00 

5 00 

5 00 

5 00 

10 00 

10 00 

5 00 

10 00 

10 00 



00 
00 
00 
00 
00 
00 



90 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

county during the next season. The reason that Father Dixon's name 
was not at or near the head of the list is that he was away that winter 
to Yandalia, then the capital of the state. It may also be noticed that 
the matter dragged somewhat, as such enterprises often do, and the 
ladies took it up, Mrs. Dixon giving the largest subscription on the 
list and Mrs. Hamilton a generous amount. Again it may be noticed 
that one John Q. Adams, not our present John Q, Adams, but an un- 
worthy bearer of a great name, in subscribing put two 00 where the 
dollars ought to have been, making his subscription but 10 cents. 
When his attention was called to it he said it was just as he intended 
to have it. His name was dealt with as was fashionable at that time; 
it was expunged. 

" The old school-house was built during the summer of 1837, of the 
size and form specified in the subscription paper, about twenty rods 
west of the cemetery, on or near lot one, block sixty-nine, now occupied 
by Harry Smith. It was built perfectly plain, without a cornice, and 
inclosed with undressed oak siding and a hardwood shingle roof. The 
inside consisted of two rooms, one six feet by twenty, extending across 
the end of the building, serving as an entrance-way or vestibule to the 
main room, which was twent}' by thirty-four feet, with three windows 
on either side and one at the end of the room opposite the entrance. 
It was plastered on the inside with a single coat of coarse brown mor- 
tar, and was warmed during winter with a wood fire in a large box 
stove. In 1839 it was moved down to the north end of lot five, 
block seventeen, on the east side of Ottawa street, just south of the resi- 
dence of Dr. Nash, now occupied by Daniel McKenney, fronting to 
the north upon the alley. There it remained for several years, and was 
used for school-house, meeting-house and court-house (the first three 
terms of the circuit court of Lee county were held in it). Elections 
and political meetings and conventions were held in it, and it was 
always used for whatever other purpose the people might congregate. 

" The old school-house was verj^ plain, rough and uninviting to look 
upon, but there are many recollections associated with it which are 
always dwelt upon by the early settlers with great interest, and should 
make the memory of it dear to the people of Dixon. It was within 
its rough brown walls that the venerable and revered Bishop Chase, 
then senior bishop of the American Episcopal church, first preached 
to the scattei'ed members of his fold as were hereabout, and broke to 
them the bread of the sacrament, and where Rev. James De Pui, a man 
of rare culture and gentle and genial social qualities, preached foi- more 
than twelve months. It was there that the Methodist and Baptist 
churches of this place were formed and nurtured in their infancy. 

" The Rev. Dr. Hitchcock and the Rev. Philo Judson, who for 



RELIGIOUS PROGRESS IN THE COUNTY. 91 

nearly half a century have been among the foremost laborers in the 
great and beneficent organization to which they belong, then in the 
vigor of early manhood, each preached his two years there. The Rev. 
Thomas Powell, a devoted missionary of the Baptist denomination, 
well known among the early settlers of no inconsiderable portion of the 
state for his indefatigable and faithful service in the religious interest 
of the people, then often living remote from each other, and either des- 
titute or but poorly supplied with competent religious teachers, often 
held services in the old school-house, and officiated at the formation of 
the Baptist church of Dixon. Also the Rev. Burton Carpenter, the 
remembrance of whose labors here is cherished by many of the old set- 
tlers, and who in the high standing he afterward attained in the 
denomination to which he belongs, and in a life of great usefulness in 
another part of the state, he has not disappointed the expectations of his 
early friends, commenced his labors in the ministry and preached about 
three years in this same old school-house. During nearly the whole 
time religious services were held in the old school-house the Methodist 
and Baptist congregations occupied it alternate Sundays, — the Meth- 
odist clergyman preaching at Inlet Grove or Sugar Grove, and Mr. 
Carpenter at Buffalo Grove the intervening Sabbaths. 

" In the spring of 1840 there was a convention of the whig party of 
the Jo Daviess representative district, which embraced the whole north- 
western part of the state, held at the school-house, and Thomas Drum- 
mond, known in this generation as Judge Drummond, of the United 
States court at Chicago, then a young lawyer of Galena, was nom- 
inated as a candidate for member of the house of representatives in 
the state legislature. Here presented an extent of territory now con- 
stituting nearly two congressional districts. Among the teachers in 
the old school-house was the late lamented W. W. Heaton, whom 
the citizens of Dixon have seen rise by his industry and legal acquire- 
ments from the schoolmaster's chair to the bench. 

" In the beginning of the year 1843 the Methodist church was 
finished and dedicated, and the court-house was so far completed that 
the courts were held in it, and was used for religious and political 
meetings, and the old school-house fell into comparative disuse. 

" Some time during the year 1844 it began to be noised about that 
John Van Arnam claimed the old school-house as his property, as he 
had purchased the lot upon which it stood. One day the people were 
notified that upon a tap on their windows the night following they 
might know that they were wanted at the school-house, and the less said 
about it the better. Upon arriving there we found it surrounded by a 
great crowd busy at work. Some were raising the building with crow- 
bars and levers, others adjusting planks and rollers under the sills. 



92 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

There was that prince of movers of old buildings, N. G. H. Morrill, as 
usual, directing operations, not giving authoritative orders to others, 
but by taking hold and showing them how by doing the major part of 
the work himself. The industrious crowd tugged away in silence or 
talking in whispers or suppressed tones, now moving the heavy oak 
building an inch or two, and again making a more fortunate move and 
getting ahead several inches or one or two feet, until it was thought 
the building was entirely over the edge of the lot, but by pacing from 
the street and making observations in the dark it was thought best to 
give it just another little shove to make the thing sure. So all took 
hold with a will, and the old school-house began to move again upon 
the rollers and made a lunge of twelve or lifteen feet, creaking and 
groaning as it went, as if conscious of the ignoble uses of trade to which 
it was destined, for the time came (my pen grows shaky as I write it) 
when it was used for liquor selling. Upon this last move of the old 
school-house every tongue seemed loosened, and all gave vent to their 
satisfaction in a wild shout or cheer, which rang through the darkness, 
and by its heartiness (so I was informed) quieted the fears of some of 
the ladies whose husbands had at th^ tap on the window so mysteriously 
bounced out of bed and left them without saying a word. About this 
time Mr. Morrill, upon a vote of two freeholders at an election held for 
the purpose of voting upon the question of building a new school-house, 
was building the stone structure for that purpose back of the Na- 
chusa house, so the old building was sold and moved down on the 
corner of Main and Hennepin streets, and was used for various pur- 
poses of trade, and finally burned in the great fire on Main street in 

1859." 

CRIME. 

It is by no means a pleasant duty to the historian to chronicle the 
wicked deeds of men, or bring to light the dark phase of humanity to 
cast a shadow upon the fair fame of a civil and cultured community ; 
but there are obligations which the science of history imposes upon 
every hand that wields a historic pen, that cannot be disregarded and 
claim the honor of an impartial historian ; though gladl}'^ w^ould we 
draw the veil of oblivion over the faults of erring humanity were they 
not so intimately associated with the welfare and peace of a community. 

As every page of human histor}^ seems to be stained with blood 
and bedewed with tears, the fair pages of the history of Lee county are 
not unsullied by the dark spots of crime. These rolling prairies and 
beautiful groves have been the theater of bloodshed and crime. The 
following anecdote written by an early citizen of Palmyra, Lee county, 
will be in place here to illustrate the mixed state of society in the early 
days of the history of Lee county. He says : 



CRIME. 93 

"We had a weekly eastern mail, carried from Chicago in the Frink 
& Walker coaches, on Saturda}'. On that day all those who had rea- 
son to expect letters met in Dixon to get their mail and exchange 
drinks at a little building near the ferry, called " The Hole in the 
Wall." Here we also met many of those curious waifs and strays of 
society, of which Dixon, like all frontier towns, had her full share. 
Among them was a man by the name of Trnett, who had shot an ed- 
itor of a paper in cold blood, but had escaped the rope. An old gentle- 
man had been introduced to him ; without hearing his name distinctly, 
after some conversation with him, said to his introducer, " Who is that 
fellow, Billy, you introduced to me?" " Oh, that," said he, "is Truett 
— Truett who murdered Dr. Early." His horror on hearing this was 
most ludicrous. "Shaken hands with a murderer!" he exclaimed. 
" Good God !" shaken hands with a murderer ! Bring me some water." 
And he continued to turn his hands over and over and vociferate for 
water until a basinful was brought and he was enabled to wash out 
the spot." 

Lee county was infested with members of the great " Banditti of 
the Prairies," that was exposed and published by Edward Bonney as 
early as 1844. This author says: "The valley of the Mississippi river 
from its earliest settlement has been more infested with reckless and 
blood-stained men than any other part of the country, being more con- 
genial to their habits and offering the greatest inducements to follow 
their nefarious and dangerous trade. Situated as it is, of great com- 
mercial importance, together with its tributaries stretching four thou- 
sand miles north from the Gulf of Mexico, and draining all the country 
south and ^vest of the great chain of lakes, and between the Alleghany 
and Rocky mountains, it has afforded them an unequaled chance to 
escape detection and pursuit, and thus wooed, as it were, countless vil- 
lains and blood-stained, law-doomed ones to screen themselves in its 
bosom. 

" Organized bands, trampling upon right and defying all law human 
and divine, have so annoyed the peaceful and quiet citizens of this 
great valley, that in the absence of a sufficient judicial power the aid of 
"Judge Lynch" has been but too frequently called in and a neighbor- 
ing tree proved a gallows, and 'a short shrift and strong cord' been 
the doom of those who have ever plead vainly for mercy at its bar." 

The same author adds: "So great, indeed, was the terror that the 
banditti had caused that the good, quiet, and orderly citizens, before 
retiring to rest at night, made all preparations for resistance that were 
in their power, and armed to the teeth, with doors and windows se- 
curely barred and bolted, laid down in fear and trembling to wish for 
the return of morning again." 



94 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

A plan had loni^ been on foot to rob the Dixon land oflSce, by in- 
tercepting the stage conveying the deposits to Chicago. Large sales of 
public lands had been made and the money deposited in the Dixon 
land office. " One of the gang, in order to ascertain the particulars 
and the precise time of its removal, took occasion to ask the receiver 
when he intended to go to Chicago. The receiver, however, being 
upon his guard, and a prudent man, set the time one week later than 
he intended to start, and thereby baffled the preconcerted schemes of 
the robbers." 

At the time designated by the receiver for making the deposit the 
stage-coach belonging to Frink, Walker & Co., which was supposed 
to be carrying the money, w^as stopped near Rockford, and a trunk 
taken out by the robbers, which contained, however, only clothing. 
Every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of the theft was fruitless. 

William Cullen Bryant wrote in June 21, 1841, "When I arrived 
in Dixon I was told that the day before, a man named Bridge, living 
at Washington Grove, Ogle county, came to town and complained that 
he had received notice from a certain association that he must leave 
the county before the 17th day of the month, or that he would be 
looked upon as a popular subject for lynch law. He asked for assist- 
ance to defend himself and dwelling against lawless violence of these 
men. The people of Dixon came together and passed a resolution to 
the effect that they approved fully of what the inhabitants of Ogle 
county had done, and that they allowed Mr. Bridge the term of four 
hours to depart from the town of Dixon. He went away immediately 
and in great trepidation. This Bridge is a notorious confederate and 
harborer of horse thieves and counterfeiters. The thinly settled popu- 
lations of Illinois were much exposed to the depredations of horse 
thieves, who have a kind of center of operations in Ogle county, where 
it is said that they have a justice of the peace and constable among 
their own associates, and where they contrive to secure a friend on the 
jury whenever any one of their number is tried. Trial after trial had 
been held, and it was impossible to obtain conviction on the clearest 
evidence, until April 1841, when two horse thieves being on trial, 
eleven of the jury threatened the twelfth with a taste of the cowskin 
unless he would bring in a verdict of guilty. He did so, and the men 
were condemned. Before they were I'emoved to the state prison the 
court-house burned down and the jail was in flames, but luckily they 
were extinguished without the liberation of the prisoners." The man 
Bridge, who was compelled to flee from Dixon, and to whom reference 
was made above, had his family removed and house demolished on the 
27th of the same month bv the " Rejjulators." 

Horse thieves infested this country at this time, and extended their 



CRIME. 95 

operations from Wisconsin to St. Louis and from the Wabash to the 
Mississippi. Bryant wrote: "In Ogle countj-^ they seemed to have 
been bolder than elsewhere, and more successful, notwithstanding the 
notoriety' of their crimes, in avoiding punishment. The impossibility 
of punishing them, the burning of the court-house at Oregon city last 
April, and the threats of deadly vengeance thrown out by them against 
such as should attempt to bring them to justice, led to the formation 
of a company of citizens — "Regulators" they called themselves — who 
determined to take the law in their own hands and drive the felons 
from the neighborhood. This extended over Ogle, De Kalb and Win- 
nebago. The resistance to these desperadoes resulted in the death of 
some of their number who had been dealt with summarily and some 
good citizens were assassinated by a band of thieves." 

In the early days of the county a great number of horses were bred 
and herded on the prairies. Ever}' "full-grown mare" would have a 
colt running by her side. Most of the thefts were committed in the 
spring or autumn. In the former season the horses were turned to 
feed upon the green grass that grew luxuriantly, and in autumn they 
would be in the finest condition, when they were fed on corn. The 
best of the drove were usually taken and passed from one station to 
another until they were sold in some distant market. 

Tragedy of Inlet Oreek.-=^\t is a trite saying, and not unfrequently 
true, that " truth is stranger than fiction." And it is seldom that we 
are called upon to chronicle a combination of more thrilling events 
and bloody deeds than the following, which we are required to record, 
however painful may be the task. 

There resided on the old stage road at the crossing over Inlet creek, 
a few miles below the present site of the city of Amboy, a family by 
the name of Croft. They owned the toll-gate which stood at the north 
end of the corduroy bridge across the above creek and adjacent swamp. 
In the spring of 1848 a jew peddler passing through the country en- 
gaged to Mr. Croft as a farm laborer for half a month. After the expi- 
ration of the time, which occurred on the 29th of Maj', the stratigerwas 
never seen or heard of by the neighbors. On the 3d of June, five days 
after the disappearance of the peddler, Mr. Croft visited the land office 
and entered a tract of land. These circumstances may have been suf- 
ficient to cause a just suspicion in the neighborhood. There being 
no traces of a possible tragedj^, the matter was soon lost sight of until 
the following summer, when other circumstances awakened unpleasant 
reflections in the minds of the neighbors. A young woman who had 
been living with the Croft family for some time, including the stay of 
the peddler above mentioned, was left by Mrs. Croft in the care of the 
household affairs while the latter was absent on a visit. It was in the 



96 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

time of liay gathering, and Mr. Croft was assisted by four of his neigh- 
bors, among whom was one man commonly known b}'^ the name of 
" Sam Patch," The young woman was cooking for the harvest hands. 
On a certain day she suddenly disappeared. Mr. Croft walked about 
the premises calling for the missing one, feigning great anxiety and 
surprise. After a few days, there being no tidings of the whereabouts 
of the young woman, a search was made by the neighbors, lasting three 
days, when the body was found in a pond in the neighborhood in the ^■ 
presence of hundreds of citizens of the county who had participated in 
the search. Mr. James Goble, then sheriff of Lee county, being present, 
at once arrested Mr. Croft and lodged him in the county jail at Dixon. 
On the approach of the next session of court an officer visited the home 
of the said " Sam Patch " to cause him to appear before the court to 
give testimony in the above case. Seeing the officer approaching his 
house, he fled with gun in hand to the corn-field, where he shot himself 
and soon expired. Mrs. Croft having returned home was a frequent 
visitor to the jail in which her husband was incarcerated, having 
secured most of the money he had about him, with a gold watch and 
chain. Becoming despondent, the culprit cut his throat with his razor, 
which he had in his cell, and paid the terrible penalty of his crime. 
Soon after this one of the neighbors who was assisting Mr. Croft on the 
day of the murder of the young woman, as he was returning home 
from Dixon stopped at the house of Mr. Meeks to quench his thirst 
and was suddenly taken ill and expired. One of the two surviving 
members of that party soon afterward died in La Salle, leaving but 
one qf the six, including the unfortunate girl, who composed that har- 
vesting party. The first fell by the hand of the murderer ; two by 
their own hand, to evade the just retribution of the law; and one died 
probably from poison. The cause of the death of the fifth is not known 
to the writer. 

Tragedy at Franklin Grove. — In 1848 or 1849 a Norwegian living 
at Franldin Grove was visited by a friend of the same nationality who 
purposed spending the night with him. They occupied the same bed, 
and after falling asleep an assassin entered the room and with an ax 
dispatched both men in their bed, where they were afterward found 
horribly mutilated and bathed in their own blood. The murder was 
supposed to have been committed for the purpose of robbery, as the 
man residing there was reputed to have had money in his possession, 
whom the robber doubtless expected to find alone. The perpetrator of 
the bloody deed was never detected, but was believed to be connected 
with the " Banditti of the Prairie," to which reference is made above. 

In the winter of 1844-5 it was " communicated to the gang,-' says 
Bonny, " that a Mr. Mulford, in Ogle county, had in his possession a 



.■r:^^^ 



5^ '^ 




THE NKU lUKK 

PUBLIC LIDilAIlY 



ASTOR, LENOX AND 

TILDEN FOUNDATIONS 

B - L 



CRIME. 99 

large amount of money that he had recently received from the State 
of New York. Tliis was communicated by the friends of the gang at 
Washington Grove. The amount of money in possession of Mr. Mul- 
ford was believed to be $1,400, a prize which the gang made prepara- 
tions to secure. One of their number visited the home of Mr. Mul- 
ford under tiie assumed name of Harris, assuming to be a laborer seek- 
ing employment. After making some observations about the house he 
retired, on promise that he would return again. A few nights follow- 
ing three men entered Mr. Mnlford's house armed with pistols and 
knives. On entering the house, one seized a loaded rifle which stood 
in one corner of the room, and aiming at Mr. Mulford threatened him 
and his wife, who lay at his side, if they should attempt to rise or give 
a!i alarm, and demanded of Mr. Mulford his money. 

After seizing about $400, which Mr. Mulford surrendered to them, 
they demanded more, with threats of death if denied. He having 
repeatedly assured them that he had no more, they placed one at the 
door and one at the bedside as guards, while the third one, whom Mrs. 
Mulford recognized as Harris, made search for the desired treasure. 
Going to a bureau in the room, he commenced shaking out the linen 
which had been carefully folded away. Mrs. Mulford being greatly 
disturbed by the careless manner in which her linen was handled, 
thougli placed in the greatest peril, could not remain quiet, but ad- 
dressed the robber: 'Mr. Harris, you conduct yourself very differently 
from what you did the other day when you wished to obtain employ- 
ment.' " 

"The unveiled robber sprang to his feet with a loud oath, surprised 
at the daring of the defenseless and heroic woman, and with eyes flash- 
ing with rage he sprang for the bedside, and drawing his bowie-knife 
waved it above her head with threats of immediate death if she would 
utter another word while they were in the house. Then turning to 
his comrades he said : 'Boys, I must be missing. I'm known, and this 
is no place for me; a minute more and I am off'!' Hastily closing the 
search, and warning Mr. Mulford not to follow them, the unwelcome 
visitors were off', and nothing could be learned of them since, though 
diligent search was made. In the following year, 1845, one West, of 
Lee county, on being arrested, turned state's evidence, which led to the 
arrest and conviction of Bridge and Oliver as accessory to this rob- 
bery." 

In the fall of 1844 a peddler by the name of Miller was robbed of 
a large amount of goods at Troy Grove, for which the man West, re- 
ferred to above, was a'rrested, which led to an exposure of the gang 
and their operations, implicating parties in Lee and Ogle counties. He 
gave particulars of the robbery of the stage near Rockford, before 
7 

3791 nQli 



100 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

mentioned, and of the intended lobbery of tlie land office at Dixon. 
He accused one Fox, alias Sutton, and John Baker of having commit- 
ted the robbery at Troy Grove, and that the goods had been secreted 
at Inlet Grove, and afterward taken to Iowa. He also claimed that 
-Fox and Birch, alias Blecker alias Harris, committed the robbery at 
Inlet Grove which had caused so much trouble to some of the citizens, 
whom the robbers had imitated so perfectly as to disguise their own 
identity. 

Prior to this. Esquire Hascal, a merchant at Inlet Grove, had been 
robbed of money deposited in a small trunk which he kept under his 
bed at night. This trunk was extracted from its accustomed place one 
dark, stormy night; the robber entering the house on his hands and 
knees, then lying flat upon the floor, he cautiously, and serpent-like, 
made his way to the bedside, where Mr. and Mrs. Hascal lay engaged 
in conversation while the thunderstorm was raging without. He 
would lay quietly until a clap of thunder would come, when he would 
push himself forward unheard until he grasped the trunk and crawfish 
his way out carrying the prize with him. This robbery West also set 
to the credit of Fox. This man was a noted member of the gang, and 
extended his operations from the Alleghanies to the Rocky Moun- 
tains, and was one of the shrewdest of the clan, and one whom Mr. 
Bonney found the most difficult to capture. 

In 1862 the board of supervisors, at the September term, passed 
the following resolution : 

Resolved^ That it is the bounden duty of every good and law- 
abiding citizen in this count}' to aid, all that lies in his power, in the 
suppression of crime and theft ; and any person or persons rendering 
good and valuable service to the county by informing the sheriff, or 
any other officer of the law, of the whereabouts of stolen property, or 
information that will bring to justice criminals in this or adjoining 
counties, should and will be suitably rewarded by this county." 

On the22d of June, 1863, a "Vigilance Society" was organized for 
the purpose of detecting and bringing to justice thieves, and to reclaim 
and restore stolen property. 

In March, 1852, the village of Dixon was thrown into considerable 
excitement over the continued brutality of a fellow named Hamill, 
upon a young girl living at his house near Dixon. Several citizens 
visited his house and took the girl from him and brought her to town 
where the circuit court was in session, and her story listened to. The 
next day the fellow had the " cheek " to come to town, and it produced 
such indignation in the community that he was treated to a liberal 
supply of tar and feathers. 

At the May term, 1877, of the circuit court of Lee county, the 



THE CITY OF DIXON. 101 

grand jury found a bill of indictment against Samuel H. McGhee, of 
said county, for the murder of Samantha H. McGhee, his wife. The 
court oi'dered the arrest of said McGhee under capias, returnable forth- 
with, and that he be held without hail. The bill was found upon the 
testimony of thirty-four witnesses who were supoenaed for the trial. 

When the case was called, May 29, for hearing before the court, 
the ordinary course of pleading was deviated from in favor of the 
defendant, who by his counsel moved the court to quash said indict- 
ment, which motion, after being argued, was overruled by the court. 
The prisoner was remanded to the county jail to await trial, which 
was again called May 31, 1877. The trial lasted twelve days, and on 
June 13 the jury returned a verdict of guilty, and fixed his penalty at 
fourteen years in the State Penitentiary. On the following day a 
motion was made for a new trial, which was refused by the court. 
The defendant, by his counsel, moved the court to arrest judgment 
upon said judgment, which the court refused, to which refusal the 
defendant excepted, and on his motion was given thirty days to file 
his bill of exceptions. He was duly delivered into the custody of the 
warden of the State Penitentiary at Joliet, to serve his time of impris- 
onment. 

In the following July term of the board of supervisors for the 
county of Lee they appropriated five hundred dollars to the payment 
of William Barge, Esq., for prosecuting the above case to a successful' 
issue. 

" THE CITY OF DIXON. 

In sketching a historical picture of the city of Dixon as the county 
seat of Lee county, we must refer the reader to the chapter on the 
early history of the county for the first settlements of what is now 
embraced in Lee county. 

We begin the history of the city at the first survey of the original 
village, in the latter part of 1834 or in the early part of 1835. The 
evidence in this matter is not sufliciently definite at this recent date 
to warrant a positive assertion as to the exact time of the laying out 
of the first plat. This was done by Mr. John Dixon, who secured the 
services of surveyor Bennett, of Galena, to make the survey. At this 
time there were not the rudiments of a town ; but the acute eye of 
Mr. John Dixon caught a glimpse of the possibilities of the future, 
and took the initiatory steps toward the building of homes on his 
ground at the ferry. 

The original plat " included a tract of forty acres of land extend- 
ing from the river to half a block south of Third street, and from a 
half block east of Ottawa to a half block west of Peoria streets." 



102 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

In the spring of 1836 the first store is said to have been opened by 
Messrs. Chapman & Hamilton in the addition Mr, John Dixon built 
to the Ogee house. It is due the writer and just to history to state 
just here that statements are contradictory as to the first store, as tiiere 
ai-e two or throe claimants for the honor; this is one of the many vexa- 
tions that meet the historian. This conflict of statement may arise 
from the class of goods opened to the public, and the statement is 
accepted as given upon the supposition that it was a grocery and 
notion stock. 

In the same year occurred the first death and the preaching of the 
first sermon in the embryo city. The first sermon was preached in 
the spring of this year, by Rev. James McKean, a Methodist preacher ; 
and the death above mentioned was that of a Mr. Lefi'erty, which 
occurred in the autumn of the same season, and was the first interment 
in the cemetery. According to Mr. John K. Robinson's statement, 
the first sermon was preached two years previous by a Methodist mis- 
sionary named Segg. 

On September 3, 1836, Dr. Oliver Everett arrived in Dixon, 
where he still resides, and found a village of five dwellings, a black- 
smith shop, and a post-oflice. The dwellings consisted of four cabins 
and one frame, the latter having been built by a Mr. Hamilton during 
the preceding year (1835). The blacksmith shop was occupied by 
a lone gentleman, whose bachelorship occupied a lean-to at one end of 
his shop as a dwelling. Though originally it was a one-story build- 
ing, after the grading of the streets a basement was put under it, giving 
it the imposing appearance of a two-story superstructure. Father 
Dixon's house stood "two or three rods north of Main street and on 
the west of what is now Peoria street. Dr. Forrest's log cabin was 
on the corner of Water and Ottawa streets; and one block farther west 
was Col. Johnson's boarding house, a log building. " These, with sev- 
eral uncovered frames in different parts of the place, constituted the 
entire town of Dixon in the fall of 1836." The inhabitants of the town 
at that time were James P. Dixon, Peter McKenney, Samuel Johnson, 
Jude W. Hamilton, James B. Barr, and E. W. Hines, and their fami- 
lies. Those without families were Dr. Oliver Everett, Smith Gil- 
braith, John Wilson, and Daniel B. McKenney. At one time in 1836 
there were but four families in Dixon, two of the previous six having 
left. 

There was a log house on the corner of G-alena and Water streets, 
where the first death occurred as before stated. In 1837 James Wil- 
son's smith-shop was converted into a public building for which the 
walls were plastered and a fioor laid. In this building the first Ogle 
county court was held, which count}' then embraced the county of Lee ; 



THE CITY OF DIXON. 103 

and after this tlie engineer of the "internal improvement" corps occu- 
pied it. At this time Dixon was an important station on the stage 
route from Peoria to Galena. Other lines centered here from 
diflfSrent parts of the state connecting with the main line to Ga- 
lena, — the Chicago, the Ottawa, and the Peoria lines. This gave 
Dixon a prominence in connection with the traveling public, and 
to meet the public demand two hotels were erected in 1836 
and 1837. The first was the Western Hotel, which was fol- 
lowed by the Rock River House by Messrs. Crowell & Wilson. 
The travel was so great at that time to and from the mines, old cit- 
izens tell us, that frequently it was almost impossible to find room in the 
hotels, while many would be compelled to take a "shake-down " on the 
floor. Not unfrequently provisions would be at short rations, as it was 
frequently quite difficult to obtain supplies, which had to be conveyed 
from a great distance and they were liable to be destroyed by storm 
and flood. The Winnebago waters were most dreaded, as its bed was 
swampy and treacherous, while it was subject to high freshets. Teams 
had to swim the swollen waters, when the cargo would become soaked 
with the muddy waters and greatly damaged for culinary purposes. 

In 1837 Messrs. Boardman & Buwen opened the first dry-goods 
store in Dixon on the corner of River and Galena streets. In the same 
year a petition was presented asking the commissioners to refuse to 
grant license to keep groceries (saloons) in the town of Dixon. The 
following entry was made : 

Ordered, That the clerk shall not grant to any person or persons 
license to keep grocery in the town of Dixon. 

In the same year the first school building was erected by the fund 
contributed by individuals. This was a small frame structure, and in 
it a school was opened in the following year, 1838. This building was 
the public hall for town, court and school purposes until 1840. 

On May 31, 1839, Messrs. D. G. Salisbury, E. H. Nichols and L. 
G. Butter, who were appointed commissioners to locate the county seat, 
met in Dixon to discharge the duties submitted to their trust. After 
a careful consideration of the location of Dixon, its advantages, and 
the pledges of its citizens to contribute to the building of the county 
court-house and jail, the stakes were driven for the location of the 
county seat where the court-house now stands. 

In 1840 the court-house was built at an expense of $7,000, donated 
by the citizens, "Father" Dixon donating eighty acres of land which 
has since become a part of the town plat. The United States land 
ofiice was transferred from Galena to Dixon this year. Col. John De- 
ment, receiver. On the third Monday in April, 1840, first circuit court 
opened. Judge Stone of Galena, presiding. On October 28, 1840, 



104 HISTORY OF LEE (BOUNTY. 

Joseph Crawford extended the original survey of the plat of the town 
of Dixon. 

In 1841 Mr. J. T. Little erected the building on Water street, now 
occupied by D. W. McKinney & Co., as a livery stable, and occupied 
it as a dry -goods store, under the firm of Messrs. Little & Brooks, for 
a number of years, when they were succeeded by Messrs. Webb, 
Rogers & Woodruff. Water street was then known as River street, 
and was formerly the leading business street of the town. 

In the same year the land-office building was erected on the corner 
of Second and Ottawa streets,. The building is of stone, and is still 
standing. Dixon was spoken of at that time as a village of some im- 
portance, and contained many "neat dwellings." 

In 1843 the village gave 40 votes for incorporation. During the 
same year the first church edifice was erected in the village, and the 
Methodist church on Second street, now known as the " Old High 
School building." At this time, one writer speaking of Dixon said, 
" There was a town here only in name; there were as yet but few at- 
tractions in the place that would of themselves create a town. The 
great drawback was the wild and unsettled condition of the country. 
There was as yet no milling advantages ; the settlers in and around the 
embryo city were compelled to go long distances, for flour, and Chicago 
w^as the nearest market, and many times, a week would be consumed 
in transporting one wagon load of grain, and oftentimes the expense of 
this transportation would consume the entire amount received for the 
products sold. But it was the " county seat," and with a firm belief 
in the future proud destiny of the place, people located here." 

In 1845 the village reached a population of 400, and had four re- 
ligious denominations: Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, and Congrega- 
tional ; a select and one district school, with an attendance of seventy- 
five pupils in the two schools. There were at this time twenty-seven 
establishments doing business in the usual lines represented in a couri- 
try town. 

In the autumn of 1846 the erection of the first brick building was 
commenced. This was on Main street, and is now the first building 
west of the Lee County National Bank. The west half was built bj'- 
Horace and James Benjamin, and the east half by A. F. Murphy. 
The next brick building in Dixon was the one owned by D. B. McKin- 
ney, on the south side of Main street, and was built two or three years 
later. 

"Up to 1850 Dixon improved but slowly, as did also the county, 
or indeed throughout the northern part of the state. The common- 
wealth was embarrassed with indebtedness and had but little credit, 
occasioned by the vast appropriations made for the internal improve- 



THE CITY OF DIXON. 105 

ments of the state. Heavj' taxation, suspension of immigration, and 
the languishing state of commerce and agriculture, arrested the growth 
of the town," 

In the year 1850, however, Dixon received an impetus from the be- 
ginning of the hj'draulic works. The dam was erected across the river, 
and the prospect of a manufacturing town infused new life to all 
classes of business. 

A saw-mill was placed on the north side of the river the same year, 
and in 1851 the erection of a large flouring mill was commenced on 
the south side. These were soon followed by other mills, foundry and 
machine shops. A writer made mention of Dixon at this time in the 
following happy manner : 

" There is, moreover, a dam across the river at this place, furnish- 
ing one of the best water-powers in all the state. A saw-mill is 
already in operation on one bank and a large flouring-mill is about to 
be erected on the other. Measures are also being taken to construct a 
bridge over the river at this point, which is now crossed by a good rope 
ferry-boat, which is in operation night and day. These considerations, 
together with the fact that several stores and dwellings are now in pro- 
gress of erection, that stages meet here from almost every direction, 
and that a branch of the Central road is soon to pass through this town 
to Galena, conspire to render Dixon one of the most desirable places 
of residence in the western country. Capitalists and others, we think, 
would find it to their interests to make us a visit, with a view to in- 
vestment and location." 

"In May, 1851, the population of Dixon was estimated at 700 or 
800. There was then in the thriving village a printing ofiice, eight or 
ten stores, " and several professional men and mechanics in all depart- 
ments of trade;" two church buildings, three hotels, a livery stable and 
a market. From this time until the war Dixon improved with great 
rapidity. The subject of the prospective Central railroad was already 
being agitated by the newspaper, and the town and its prospects be- 
came more widely known. Those who were here at that day will 
remember the great thrill of excitement that electrified the village 
when they beheld the engineers approaching, and the many wonderful 
predictions that were made of the future progress of Dixon. With 
great suspense did the people watch the progress of this road, fearful 
at every delay that it might fall through and ruin the fair prospects of 
the promising town, but, by a degree of patience commendable in the 
extreme, they waited long, until at last they were gladdened by the 
news that track-laying had been commenced, with the assurance that 
it would be pushed forward with all possible diligence." 

During the period extending from 1850 to 1860 or '61, the town 



106 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

of Dixon improved with great rapidity, until the breaking out of the 
war arrested the tide of immigration to the county, and retarded the 
growth of til e town. 

In 1852 the flouring-mill of Messrs. Brooks, Dement & Daley 
commenced grinding corn, and by April 1 they were running four run 
of stone ; two for custom and two for merchant work. This mill cost 
$15,000. In the following year (1853) the Nachnsa House was 
erected, adding greatly to the improvement of the town. 

On July 31, 1852, it was written of Dixon : " Our town is improv- 
ing with great rapidity ; there are over thirty dwellings in course of 
erection ; and would be many more if there were mechanics here to put 
them up. A large stone hotel is being rapidly completed, and a large 
number are employed on the grist-mill being built on the south side 
of the river." 

On the first Tuesday of March, 1853, the first board of trustees 
consisted of John Dixon, A. L. Porter, P. M. Alexander, L, Wood, 
and L. W3nikoop. 

Beginning the following year, 1854, there were many indications 
of decided prosperit}^ During this year the Washington hotel was built 
on the corner of Ottawa and Main streets. 

To give to the reader an idea of the true patriotism of the citizens 
of Dixon, we insert the following description of a Fourth of July cele- 
bration : " July 4, 1854. Never did we see this day pass off with 
more becoming style than did the Fourth of July in 1854 in our town. 
At eleven o'clock a procession was formed and marched to the beauti- 
ful grove in the court-house square, where, after listening to prayer by 
Rev. Mr. Baume, reading of the declaration of independence by J. K. 
Rodgers, they were treated to an oration delivered by Prof. Pinckney, 
of Mount Morris. Much credit is due to the ladies and gentlemen of 
the choir and to the musicians for the part they played. And particu- 
larly the trio of young men who sang Yankee Doodle " without the 
variations." Then came the sumptuous dinner at the Nachusa house. 
After this we supposed the day's performance at an end ; but no, dear 
reader, every moment of that day, the pride of the American people, 
was to be celebrated. For our part we were surprised when we heard 
the soul-cheering rattle of the drums, and the patriotic scream of the 
fife. How those martial strains did swell the already full hearts of all. 
With what pride and joy that column swept down the streets, ever 
and anon their deafening cheers seemed to swell to the very heavens. 

" Night came on, and brought a large concourse of people to the 
public square to witness the fireworks. For an hour the air was filled 
with the fiery missiles, and the shouts of the immense mass of people. 



THE CITY OF DIXON. 107 

" Exchange Hall being lighted up, the j^oung and gay there con- 
gregated, and had as pleasant party as could be got up in any country." 

The month of July had not passed, however, before the rejoicing of 
Independence day was shrouded in the deepest lamentation for those who 
had fallen victims to the cholera scourge of that year of sad memory. 
A writer of July 27, 1854, referring to this epidemic, said, " Death in 
its most frightful form swept through our heretofore healthy town like 
an avalanche, carrying away within twenty-four hours eighteen souls. 
It is a sad dutj' we are called upon to perform, — that of recording the 
death of some of our best citizens, who but a few days ago were among 
us sharing the pleasures and vicissitudes of this world. Ah, how true 
it is that 'in the midst of life we are in death.' But we all have 
reason to thank our Eternal Creator that in the midst of death we have 
life." 

There had been a few deaths from cholera previous to this, among 
them Mrs. Alanson Smith, and two or three railroad hands, but it made 
its appearance as an epidemic July 21. On Saturday the 22d the 
cholera broke out in full force, and dnring Saturday night large num- 
bers of the inhabitants left town to go into the country. The next day 
fourteen persons lay dead in the town. Kot a sound, on that mournful 
Sabbath day, save that made by the undertaker's hammer, disturbed 
the quiet of the death-like village. 

Here is a list of the deaths daring this epidemic, made out by Drs. 
Everett and Abbott : Mrs. Patrick Dnffee and child, Michael Har- 
ris, Mrs. Jacob Graver, "Wm. Lahee, Daniel Brookner and wife and 

Daniel Brookner, jr., John Finley, Joseph Cleaver (postmaster), 

Cleaver (cousin to Joseph), John Keenan, Mrs. Cooley, Marsh, 

Mrs. Owen's child, John Connels, John Barnes, Elijah Dixon, Wm. 
Patrick, Benj. Yann, Mrs. Scheer, Cyrus Kimball and wife, Israel 
Evans, Mrs. Catharine Dailey, Mr. Peck, Edward Hamlin, Roderick 
McKenzie and wife, Mrs. Huif, Mr. Jones, Mrs. C. Jolinson, Owen 
Gallinger, and E. Boswick; making in all thirty-four deaths between 
July 20 and August 7. 

By the coming autumn, however, the Dixon " Telegraph," under 
date of September 7, said : " So rapidly is the march of progress in our 
town that we are hardly able to keep our readers advised of all the im- 
provements that are going on in our midst. There are the three-story 
brick buildings on Water street. Col. Dement's machine shop, the race, 
etc. There are now in course of construction three fine churches, Meth- 
odist (the one occupied now), Roman Catholic, and Lutheran. P. M. 
Alexander and J. B. Brooks are also erecting a couple of fine brick 
buildings on Galena street." 

On October 19, same fall, the Dixon " Transcript" made its appear- 



108 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 



ance, under the editorship of Charles Allen, and continued until Jan- 
uary 1857, and then disappeared. 

On April 9, 1855, Messrs. Jerome Hellenbeck and J. H. Cropsey 
commenced the erection of a sash, door and blind factory on Third 
street between Peoria and Market streets. The main building (now 
occupied by Yann & Means) was four stories high, 32x64 feet, with 
an engine house 25 X 32 feet. 

In August, 1855, a business directory printed in the " Daily Whis- 
per," August 13, contains the following list of business men and 
the departments they were engaged in. Counsellors-at-law — F. R. 
Danna, J. V. Eustace, Heaton & Atherton, J. D. Mackay, S. G. Pat- 
rick, F. A. Soule, Edward Southwick, and John Stevens. Phj'sicians 
and Surgeons — N. W. Abbott, Oliver Everett, G. W. Holdridge, G. 
W. Philips, C. D. Pratt, C. S. Younglove ; C. J. Reynolds, dentist. 
Bankers and Brokers — S. & H. T. Noble, Robertson, Eells & Co., E. B. 
Stiles; real estate, Cyrus Aldrich, Steadman & Williams. Druggists 
-^^J. B. Nash, Townsend & Sheffield. Books and Stationary — J. C. 
Mead. Notaries public — E. W. Hine, F. A, Soule. Daguerrean art- 
ists — Beardsley & Co., J. B. Waxham ; Ferris Finch, portrait painter. 
Sash, door and blind factories — Cliristopher Brookner, Cropsey, Hol- 
lenbeck & Williams. Boots and shoes — Joseph Smalley, William 
Vann. Carpenters and builders, such as kept shops — Henry Brook- 
ner, B. F. Cram, Crawford & Shellhamer, J. M. Graham, Herrick & 
Hanson, A. S. Maxwell, Wynkoop & Warner ; not located, about 
twenty. Cabinet ware — G. W. Baker, Noah & John Brooks. Black- 
smiths — J. M. Cropsey, Isaac Dubois, Albert Martin, Wertman & 
Carter; H.Logan, gunsmith. Wagon and Carriage makers — J, Q. 
Adams, J. H. Richardson, Henry Schutts. Jewelers — B. H. Bacon, 
Josiah Heath. Marble yard — Parker & Porter. Mills — Brooks & 
Bailey (flour), N. G. II. Morrill (lessee of saw-mill). Bakers — Charles 
Hatch, Charles Reynolds. Livery stables — Frederick McKenney, 
Henry McKenney, Aaron L. Porter. Harness and leather — James 
& Andrew Benjamin, H. O. Kelsey, George B. Stiles. Foundry and 
machine shops — Dement & Farrell (erecting). Barbers — Anthony 
Julien, Z. Demory. Tailors — W. J. Carpenter, D. L. Evans, F. De- 
camp, S. T. Hotchkiss. General merchandise — Oscar F. Ayres, B. F. 
Burr, James L. Camp, Geo. R. McKenney, John P. Smith, VanEpps 
& Ashley, Varney & Oilman, Henry & Orlando Wortendyke. Ciuth- 
ing — Ely & Rice, Fuller & Rosenfeld, A. T. Murphy, J. Peizer, E. 
Petersberger. Groceries — Isaac Appier, Nathan & James Barnes, 
Andrew Brison, Bronson & Dresser, Andrew Brubaker, James Davis 
& Bro., Robert Dyke, William Johnson, J. L. Jones & Co., Henry 



THE CITY OF DIXON. 109 

Leavitt, James McKenney, B. H. Stewart, Richard Woodyat. Hard- 
ware — Alexander, Howell & Co., John Farrell, George L. Herrick, 
Jonas Johnson, Hats and Caps — Jason C. Ayres. Millinery — Miss 
M. J. Bartlett, Mrs. Cornish, Mrs. Dickson. Lumber, sash, doors, 
cement, etc. — Flint & Loomis, Gallup & Judd, Haldane & Co., Isaac 
Means, Smith & Chipman, S. K. Upham & Co. Forwarding and (7om- 
mission — Champion Fuller, Murphy & Woodruft", Smith & Chipman. 
Hotels — Mansion, A. Smith ; Nachusa House, Jerome Porter ; 
Warshington, Henry E-emmers. 

In 1855 the eyes of the people of Dixon beheld, in reality, the loco- 
motive and heard its welcome scream upon two roads instead of one, as 
the " Dixon Air Line " had reached Dixon about the same time. With 
the approach of the railroads came many strangers from near and far. 
It stimulated trade, and had a reviving influence everywhere. The 
prosperity of the town was no longer a matter of conjecture, but an 
established fact. In August of this year there were one hundred and 
twenty-eight places of business occupying stores, offices, shops, etc., 
among them two printing offices, four hotels, two planing-mills, a saw- 
mill, foundry and machine shop, and a flouring mill in Dixon. Before 
the close of 1855 the population of the town had increased to 3,000. 
Another feature worthy of note is the relative character of the build- 
ings erected before and after the railways reached here. The ideas of 
the people became enlarged, and with that growth came pride — pride 
in the appearance of their dwellings and places of business. The spirit 
of rivalry between towns and villages, too, was high, and as the result 
of this rivalry stimulated into life by the railways we point with par- 
donable pride to our public buildings, business blocks and elegant resi- 
dences. 

All this growth and improvement was not the work of ill-advised 
speculation, nor the result of unwarranted ambition by our citizens, but 
the needs of the place called for it for the accommodation of the new 
comers that were constantly arriving and for the increased trade that 
naturally found its way to our city. There were one hundred and 
thirty buildings erected in Dixon during the year 1855. 

September 30 of this year the Evangelical Lutheran church was 
dedicated. This building was torn down in 1880 ; it stood near James 
A. Hawley's residence. 

November 5 a school opened in the new union school-house on 
Peoria street. This building cost $6,000, and was a two-story brick, 
33x45 feet. It stood on the ground now occupied by J. C. Ayres' 
residence. The old wooden desks were discarded at this time and the 
flrst patent school furniture introduced into our schools. 

During September of the same autumn a three-story brick build- 



110 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

ing on Galena street was built by H, Webb, and Davis & Bro's 
building on the corner of Hennepin and Main streets; Nash and 
Noble's four-story brick (Union Hall), and Ely & Rice's three-story 
brick on Main street, and nearly a score of other buildings were built. 

On January 16, 1856, a building owned by Mrs. Patrick, on the 
corner of Ottawa and Main streets, burned down at midnight, destroy- 
ing about $3,000 worth of law books and papers for S. G. Patrick. 
Herrick's block, now owned by J. C. Ayres, was erected in the same 
year. The beginning of this year (January 3, 1856) was noted for 
the organization of an Anti-Nebraska Association ; the object of 
which was to promote the settlement of Kansas by assisting bona-fide 
emigrants to that territory ; and at a public meeting and b}' private 
solicitation $1,000 was subscribed by the citizens for this purpose. 

The improvements of Dixon during 1857 were anticipated by the 
appearance of a new satellite in the literary political %vorld called the 
"Dixon Republican," edited and published by Beckwith & Legget ; it 
appeared about January 15, 1857. It was soon absorbed, however, by 
the " Telegraph," and disappeared. In the spring of this year a joint 
stock company was formed with a capital of $20,000, for the erection 
of a starch factory. The building was erected in West Dixon, on the 
bank of the river; but it was never entirely finished. It was a stone 
structure, the main building 100 X 62 feet, and two stories high. In 
July of the same year the corner stone of the Union Eagle Works, 
was laid under the inspiring influence of music and oratorical elo- 
quence. These works were established between the Central and 
Northwestern depots. April 2, 1857, the machine shops of Robinson 
ife Randall opposite the Dixon Mills commenced business. 

1858 was noted for the defeat of the proposed cit\' charter. The 
first ballot was cast by the citizens on the proposed document in Feb- 
ruary, when it was rejected by 96 for with 279 against. Again on 
April 18 it was defeated by a vote of 219 for with 231 against. The 
instrument being offensive to the people, they refused to accept it. 
The " Telegraph," in its comments on the document, said : " It has cre- 
ated a greater sensation among our citizens than did the great magna 
charta among the Britons at the time of John of charter fame. The 
obnoxious provisions will have to be removed before our people will 
consent to its adoption." Th(j question of license to sell ardent spirits 
was agitating the public mind, and it seems that the proposed docu- 
ment was radically changed, as on December 4 it was adopted at a 
special election. 

Dixon had become a central point for the grain and produce market, 
and in the autumn of 1858 the stone warehouse of Joseph Gates, 
which stood near the Central depot burst out one end with the pressure 



THE CITY OF DIXON. Ill 

of grain, causing great loss to the proprietors of both building and 
stock. In the summer of this year (1858) Mr. W. C. VanOsdel 
erected a three-story sash and blind factory in the west end of Dement 
Town. In I860 it was converted into a sorghum mill, which run 
about a year when it was abandoned and the building removed. 

City Organization. — The year 1859 is memorable to the citizens 
of Dixon as the time of her transition from a town to the dignity of 
a city. A writer on Dixon history says: " From 1853 to 1859 Dixon 
luxuriated in the name of 'town.' The ambition of our citizens was 
aroused to such a pitch that the name of town was too insignificant, 
and consequently a charter was obtained from the state legislature, 
and the city was organized by the election of city officers, March 7, 
1859. And now a new order of things was inaugurated. More 
attention was paid to la3nng and repairing sidewalks, and keeping the 
streets in good condition, and initial steps were taken toward a more 
complete system of public schools than the place had before enjoyed. 
" The incorporation of Dixon was certainly a step in the right direc- 
tion. It was a logical conclusion destined to follow a wise forethought 
and careful management. Perhaps none could take more pride in the 
consummation of this wise step than Father Dixon, who had lived to 
see advancement stamped upon each succeeding year, until the seal of 
'success' was placed upon the enterprise commenced thirty-nine years 
before." 

"The shriekins: locomotive thunders over the bluff where once the 
buffalo paused to look down upon the humble home of the pioneer; 
the red deer made his lair under the shade of giant oaks where now 
are busy streets; and where a rude but brave soldiery once pitched 
their tents in the Indian war is now the silent city of the dead, in 
whose narrow habitations rest the voiceless forms of those whose once 
busy hands and willing hearts reared for us the homes and secured for 
us the privileges which we now enjoy. The buffalo, the red man, the 
pioneer, the children of the white-haired, and finally Nachusa him- 
self, have passed away as a dream ; the busy life throbs on, but they are 
among the things of the past." 

March 7, 1859, the city was organized by the election of city offi- 
cers. The aldermen elected were W. H. Van Epps and Joseph Craw- 
ford for tiie first ward ; H. E. Williams and K. H. Robinson for the 
second ward ; William Barge and A. A. Benjamin for the third ward ; 
W. A. Hoisington and William Peacock for the fourth ward. A. P. 
Curry was elected city marshal, and C. Y. Tenney police justice. 
Col. John Dement, the mayor elect, failing to qualify, Joseph Craw- 
ford was appointed acting mayor by the council and an election was 
ordered for April 4, when A. C. Steadman was chosen to the vacancy 



112 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

of that office. The result upon the license question stood 297 against 
and 171 for license. A. C. Steadman was elected mayor in 1860. 
Those followitig were G. L. Herrick in 1861, James B. Charters in 
1862, Oliver Everett in 1863, James K. Edsall in 1864, Person Cheney, 
jr., in 1865 and 1866, Andrew McPherran in 1867 and 1868, John 
Dement from 1869 to 1872 inclusive, Joseph Crawford in 1873, 1874 
and 1875, James A. Hawley in 1876 and 1877, John Dement in 1878 
and 1879, and J. V. Thomas in 1880. 

During this year the city was visited by the first great conflagra- 
tion of its history, in which there were seventeen buildings destroyed 
in the business part of the city, sweeping up both sides of Main street 
for more than half a block, causing a loss of over $30,000. During 
this year Col. John Dement made some change in his plow factory, 
and removed it to the water-power. In the autumn of 1859 the two 
factories and a Mr. Brookner's saw-mill, which stood on the north 
side of the river near the dam, were under-washed by the current 
at the river's brink; and while the buildings were slowly moving 
toward the river, where the water was twenty feet deep, the machinery 
and everything movable were taken out and the buildings set on fire 
to save the two bridges below, which it was thought would be dam- 
aged by the descent of the timbers against them. 

In August of this year Messrs. Cheney & Co. vacated their steam 
flouring-mill on Third street, and started a mill in the new building 
which they purchased of Messrs. Grodfrey, Jerome & Co. for $28,000. 

It was chronicled on January 17, 1861: "Business in town wears 
a better appearance since the completion of the free bridge. The 
mills of William Uhl and Beckers & Underwood are doing a splendid 
business ; the plow factory of Col. Dement is turning out plows rap- 
idly ; the foundry is in successful blast. Merchants and clerks are 
busy and everything wears a cheerful aspect, notwithstanding the 
gloomy forebodings of some who fear fatal consequences to the busi- 
ness of the country from the southern civil commotions." * 

During the period of the war manufacturing interests made but 
little advancement in this city. In 1864 Messrs. Fargo, Pratt & Co. 
commenced the manufacture of platform scales. Other manufactories 
were successfully worked during the dark days of the rebellion ; but 
the absorbing interest of the country, the scarcity of laborers, the small 
demand for certain products of the industr}' of the country, aff"ected 
Dixon as every other inland town in the country. But no sooner had 
the war closed and the country had returned to the employment of peace 
than the spirit of enterprise was again manifest in Dixon. 

On the 9th of August, 1866, the Bucklin File Manufacturing 
Company was incorporated with a capital of $100,000. A large stone 



THE CITY OF DIXO"N". 113 

building 40 X 140 feet was erected, and in May, 1867, the company com- 
menced operations in their new building, but the business tailed in less 
than a year from defects in the Bucklin patent. In the following Jan- 
uary (1868) John Stanley and Joseph Ogle bought some of the tools 
and commenced the manufacture of hand-cut files. In the autumn of 
1867 Messrs. Severance & Cheney commenced the manufacture of 
platform scales, which factory changed hands in July 1869 ; John T. 
Cheney and John P, Hutchinson became the manufacturers of the 
scales which has since been known as the"Yictor." In the same 
year (1867) the Masonic block, Eiley & Weigle's building, S. W. 
Jones' building on the corner of Main and Hennepin streets, and Van- 
Epps' brick block adjoining the Exchange block on the east, were 
erected. 

In October, 1868, Theron Cumins and H. T. Noble commenced the 
repairs of the old factory buildings between the depots, preparatory to 
removing the plow works from Grand Detour to this location. The 
buildings were enlarged and operations commenced the following 
spring. 

In December, 1870, the Northwestern Windmill Works of Thomas 
C. Little & Co., on the north side of the river, began work. 

In this year (1870) the census of Dixon was 4,054, and of Lee connty 
27,252. In this year w^as commenced the city-hall building for the use 
of the tire department, and was completed in January of the next year. 

In September, 1871, the Dixon National Bank was organized by 
the election of officers: H. B. Jenks was elected president, John 
Dement vice-president, and H. S. Lucas cashier. The following year 
(1872) the new jail was built, an account of which may be found in the 
following pages. 

In March, 1873, the Knitting Mills were burned, being an entire 
loss of $25,000. This was a calamity to Dixon and of great loss to 
the proprietors. Damage was also done to Messrs. Becker & Under- 
wood's tlouring-mills by fire in December of the same year. 

During this year the Dixon Opera House was erected by Messrs. H. 
H. Stevens, F. A. Truman, J. D. Crabtree, and W. G. Stevens. It 
was opened on the 30th of November by the Payson English Opera 
Company. 

In the following year (December 22, 1874) the Western Excelsior 
Gas Company began the manufacturing of gas for the lighting of the 
city. The charter of this company was repealed, and on May 10, 
1879, the city council granted J. D. Patton the right to establish gas- 
works in Dixon. 

On the 26th of December of this year is recorded the death of 
Judge W. H. Heaton, who died in Chicago, aged sixty-three years. He 



114 IIIRTOUY OF LEE COUNTY. 

came to Dixon about 1840 and liad been a resident there ever since. 
A few months before his death he was promoted from the office of 
judf^e of the circuit court to the position of cliief justice of the appel- 
late court of Chicago district. 

On April 8, 1880, occurred the most disastrous lire recorded in 
Dixon, sweeping away the mills at the water-power, for a description 
of which we refer the reader to the fire record in this volume. In the 
following year large flouring-mills were erected near the ruins of the 
former. 

JJlMinguifihed Visitors. — Dixon has been favored at various times 
by distiuguished men and women of the country. Beginning with the 
ejiiiicst days of the country now occupied by Dixon, we meet with the 
naiiit'8 of Lincoln, Anderson, Taylor, the notorious Davis, and a score 
of men who visited the present site of Dixon, as described in connec- 
tion with the Black Hawk war in this book. Since the improvenjent 
of the country, and the growth of Dixon to city proportions, she has 
been visited by many of the most distinguished literary characters of 
the country. John B. Gough, the popular temperance lecturer, enter- 
tained the citizens of Dixon on the evening of January f!, 1857 ; Horace 
Greeley, on the K3th of the r)ext month, and John G. Saxe, the poet, 
on Deceml)er 30, gave a popular reading in Dixon. In the next year 
came Mrs. Macready with her literary entertainments ; in February, 
1859, Fred Douglas; in January, 1867, Schuyler Colfax; and iti De- 
cember, 18f)9, Mrs. (Jady Stanton ; all of whom lectured to the people 
of Dixon and vicinity. In January of 1870 Hon, Henry Vincent gave 
" Oliver Cromwell " to the Dixonites. Then followed musical enter- 
tainments by Philip Phillips in 1871; the Philharmonic Society, as- 
sisted by tlie Baker family, rendered the oratorio of '' Queen Esther" 
in 1872; and on August 20, 21 and 22, 1873, a brass band jubilee was 
held in the fair grounds, which closed with a grand instrumental con- 
cert by the Northwestern Ligiit Guard band, of Chicago. Then fol- 
lowed at various i)eriod8 lectures by Prof Swing, of Chicago; Olive 
Logan, Susan B.Anthony, Henry Ward Beecher, Dr. Dio Lewis, Hon. 
Geo. R. Wendling, and Theodore Til ton ; the last in 1878. 

Location of Dixon. — Dixon is situated on the Illinois Central rail- 
road, at its crossing with the Chicago and Northwestern. It is ninety- 
eight miles from (Jhicago by rail. It is on two great trunk lines, one 
running north and south through the state, and the other i-unningoast 
and west, being the principal connecting link between the Fnion Pacific, 
and the many lines that diverge from Chicago. By either of the above 
roads we have rapid communication with the outside world, north, 
south, east and west. It is beautifully situated on the eastern bank of 
Rock river, about seventy-five miles from its mouth. The landscape on 




fc/'- 




THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIDUARY 



ASTOK, LENOX AND 
TlLhLN V<irNI>Ail(»NS, 



DIXON PAPERS. 117 

either side of the river at this point is truly delightful ; consisting of 
gradual slopes and tables, for sixty rods back, covered with a somewhat 
sandy soil, and at this season a carpet of living green, thus furnishing 
sites for residences surpassed by few in any part of the world. 

The town has a great advantage over many inland cities in the 
manner of scenery and picturesque beauty of location, and as it is on 
high and very rolling ground the drainage is excellent. To the north and 
south are broad stretches of fine prairie, smooth and unbroken, and 
adorned all over with the homes of thrifty farmers ; to the east and west, 
and in fact, all around us, in the immediate vicinity, are beautiful hills, 
valleys, and plains. In the summer, when all nature is clothed in her 
most beautiful garments of variegated charms, it is hard to find a more 
pleasant place. Indeed this locality is obtaining quite a notoriety as 
a summer resort, and from the decks of the pleasure steamers that sail 
back and forth upon the waters of Rock river at this point, can be seen 
the white tents of numerous camping parties, peeping out from among 
the green foliage lining the banks and islands. 

DIXON PAPERS. 

The first newspaper published in Dixon was the "Dixon Tele- 
graph," by C. R. Fisk, May 1, 1851. That is the only paper which 
has stood the vicissitudes of time and convulsions of trade for many 
years, in this part of the country. The " Dixon Sun " and the " West- 
ern Farmer," though skillfully managed, and now on a firm founda- 
tion, are of comparatively recent date. The "Dixon Transcript" was 
commenced by Charles Allen, October 19, 1854; this paper struggled 
under financial embarrassments, with several changes of proprietors, 
until about January 1857, when it was discontinued. The "Dixon 
Republican," by Beckwith & Legget, commenced publication January 
15, 1857. Mr. Shaw being the proprietor of the "Telegraph," a con- 
solidation was efi'ected under the name of the "Republican and Tele- 
graph," Shaw & Beckwith, proprietors. Mr. Shaw washing to try his 
skill in the gold mines, sold his interest to I. S. Boardman. Subse- 
quently Mr. Beckwith sold his interest to the same party. 

The " Dixon Monitor," by Charles Meigs, appeared January 25, 
1858. It failed in the following November, when the " Dixon Adver- 
tiser," with an able corps of editors— Messrs. Eustace, Stiles and Ather- 
ton — arose upon its ruins. It did not prove a profitable investment, 
and was sold to Mr. Boardman, of the " Telegraph," in November 1859. 

The " Lee County Democrat," by E. Giles, made its appearance 
June 25, 1868; subsequently the proprietorship passed into the hands 
of S. C. Postlewait. November 1, 1871, it passed into the hands of 
8 



118 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

W. M. Kennedy, who, March 6, 1872, changed its name to that of the 
" Dixon Sun." 

The " Herald" made its appearance February 12, 1868, A. C. Bard- 
well, editor. In the fall of that year the " Telegraph " was passed over 
by Mr. I. S. Boardman to his two sons, Wm. H. and John D. Board- 
man, who, with Mr. Bard well, organized a stock company, merging 
the two papers into one about November 22, 1869. Mr. Bardwell 
assumed the editorship and Wm. H. Boardman the business manage- 
ment. The " Telegraph " is now in the editorial charge of B. F. 
Shaw, Esq. 

The "Rock River Farmer," a monthly, W. M. Kennedy, propri- 
etor, was started in January 1871. This work soon assumed an excel- 
lent position, and its circulation became so extended that its proprietor 
was induced, in June 1875, to change its name to that of the " West- 
ern Farmer." It is the second of two monthlies of its character in 
successful operation in this state. 

Aside from the foregoing, several papers not designed by their 
originators to be regularly issued made their appearance from time to 
time ; among these were the " Daily Whisper," by John D. McKay ; 
" Life in Dixon," illustrated, by J. C. Ayers, Noah Brooks and Mr. 
Curtis, appeared December 25, 1868 ; " Our Enterprise," by Wm. M. 
Kennedy, May 1870 ; and the " Gospel Trumpet," under the auspices 
of the Baptist church of this city. The first two, the "Whisper" and 
" Life in Dixon," displayed great ability, and produced a marked sen- 
sation. 

IVie Lee County National Bank. — This bank was organized April 
1, 1865, witli a capital of $100,000. The following gentlemen were 
elected to the board of directors, to-wit: Joseph Crawford, Joseph 
Utley, S. S. Williams, E. W. Pomeroy, Josiah Little, jr., Abijah 
Powers, and Wm. Uhl. Joseph Crawford was elected president, S. C. 
Eells. cashier, and John Coleman, assistant-cashier. Mr. Crawford and 
Mr. Eells still occupy their relation to the bank as above. 

The Dixon National Bank. — In 1871 Messrs. A. B. Jenks, H. S. 
Lucas, John Dement, Wm. Kennedy, J. B. Pomeroy, I. S. Boardman, 
P. M. Alexander, A. Johnson, J. B. Charters, and others, applied for 
a charter for the Dixon National Bank, with a capital of $100,000. 
The charter having been obtained the following officers were elected: 
Directors — H. B. Jenks, H.S.Lucas, John Dement, Quartus Ely, 
and James B. Charters. The present board of directors are Jas. A. 
Hawley, Theron Cumins, Jason C. Ayres, James B. Pomeroy, and 
A. C. Wayman. Jason C. Ayres, president, and Jas. A. Hawley, 
cashier. 

The Gas Company. — The Western Excelsior Gas Company, by city 



DIXON SCHOOLS. 119 

ordinance of September 18, 1874, commenced the mannfactnre and dis- 
tribution of gas to the streets, business houses and homes of the citi- 
zens. The council ordered, January 8, 1877, the supply to the streets 
discontinued, and that the street lamps and posts be removed and 
stored away. May 10, 1877, the council granted J. D. Patton the 
right to establish gas-works in Dixon, which enterprise has since been 
known as the Dixon Gaslight Company, which has since furnished 
light to streets and private and public buildings. 

DIXON SCHOOLS. 

The scholastic advantages presented by a town are always carefully 
*' weighed in the balance," by heads of families who contemplate a 
change of residence. It is but natural, too, that this matter should be 
closely inquired into, as so much depends upon the facilities afforded 
the children in a community where the public schools are the alma 
maters of so large a proportion. The time has long since gone by when 
this matter could be ignored, and we are glad to be able to chronicle 
the fact that Illinois has taken the second position among the states in 
the educational cause. 

No better evidence of the intelligence and enterprise which charac- 
terize the people of Dixon can be given than the tasteful and commo- 
dious public school buildings of the city, which are alike enduring 
monuments to their projectors and builders as well as ornaments to the 
city. 

In the summer of 1837 the first school-house, a one-story frame 
building, 20x30 feet, was built on the lot east of Mrs. Truman's place; 
it was afterward removed to the lot south of D. W. McKinney's resi- 
dence. This building for several years was used for a variety of pur- 
poses : school-house, court-house, town hall, meeting-house, etc. 

In 1838 the first school was opened in the new building under the 
charge of H. Bicknell ; it was supported by individual tuition fees. 
Previous to this Mr. Dixon had employed a Miss Butler, of Bureau 
county, to teach his own children. The teachers in charge of the school 
after Mr. Bicknell were Mr. Bowen a part of 1840; W. W. Heaton in 
winter of 1841-2. Among the pupils were Jane Ann Herrick (late 
Mrs. H. T. Noble), Geo. Foot, Mrs. D. B. McKinney. Miss Ophelia 
Loveland (Mrs. J. B. Brocks) taught the school during the summer of 
1843. The district then included both sides of the river and up the 
river as far as Mr. Fuller's place, and yet the school numbered only 
about twenty-five pupils ; among these were Miss Helen Williams, 
(now Mrs. Mulkins) and Miss Elizabeth and James Ayres, children of 
Oscar F. Ayres, of this city. Lorenzo Wood was teacher during the 
winter of 1843-4. Among the pupils' were Miss Sybil C. Vanarnam 



120 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

and Mrs. A. R. Wliitney. Mr. Cross and Mr, James Lumm 
taught the school between the years 1846 and 1848. In 1848 J. D. 
McKay had charge of the school and Col. H. T. Noble in 1851 and 
1852 ; among tiie pupils at this time were Mrs. Soule, Mrs Hollenbeck 
(deceased) and Mrs. B. F. Shaw. The old school-house had been 
abandoned and a new stone building erected, the same that is now 
■owned by Mrs. Burke, recently inclosed by a frame house. The school- 
room becoming somewhat too small, a primary department under 
charge of Miss Jane Ann Herrick was started in the court-house in 
1852. C. N. Levanway taught the school in 1852 and 1853, and was 
succeeded by F. A. Soule. In 1854 Wm. Barge assumed control of the 
schools and continued in charge from that date until July 1859. Dur- 
ing his charge the school took the character and efficiency of a graded 
school ; shortly after Mr. Barge took charge the school was transferred 
to the basement of the building known as the " Land Office," now 
used as a residence. 

May 7, 1855, Dixon Collegiate Institute, under the care of Rev. W. 
W. Harsha, commenced its first term ; school-room in the basement of 
the Lutheran church. Early teachers in this institution were Rev. W. 
W. Harsha, Professor E. C. Smith, Mrs. E. A. Smith, Mrs. C. L. 
Harsha, and Miss Jenny L. Backus. 

Jul}'^ 15, 1857, a Female Seminary under charge of the Episcopal 
church, Rev. J. W. Downing, principal, was started in the large white 
bouse west of the Central depot. 

In August, 1858, a high-school department was established in the 
old Methodist Episcopal church on Second street, and A. H. Fitch was 
elected principal. A. M. Gow was employed as superintendent of 
schools, and James Gow as principal of the high school, in 1859. The 
school then consisted of five departments, and had an enrollment of 
about 400. These gentlemen continued in charge of the school until 
1862, when the present principal, E. C. Smith, was elected to act at 
once as superintendent of schools and principal of the high school, in 
which capacity he has labored ever since. 

The city is divided into two school districts, and in the winter of 
1868-9 the people of District No. 5 (north side), at a cost of $20,000, 
erected a line school building of magnificent appearance, standing on an 
elevation near the grove that skirts the northern part of our town, and 
overlooking every portion of the city, the river, its islands, and rough 
romantic scener}'^, and the rolling prairie beyond. The building is con- 
structed of brick to the third story, with a Mansard roof, crowned 
with a neat belfry. The ground plan is 54x63 feet, and, including 
the basement, is four stories high. The first and second stories, each 
thirteen feet high, are divided into two school-rooms, 25 X 38 feet, with 



DIXON SCHOOLS. 121 

a recitation room for each, 10 x 18 feet. The Mansard story is one large 
study-room, 39 X 48 feet, sixteen feet high, having a rostrum in the 
north end, 10 x 12 feet, with an ante-room opening upon it from either 
side. The halls are commodious and give easy access to each room. 

Mr. C. O, Scudder is principal of the schools on the north side, and 
they are prospering under his careful management. There are now en- 
rolled in the different departments about 180 pupils. 

The high-school department is taught by the principal, assisted by 
Miss Welty ; the grammar school is taught by Miss A. Kaymond ; in- 
termediate by Miss M. Yates, and the primary department by Mrs. A. 
C. Hoi brook. 

The building on the south side, in District No. 1, was erected in 
the summer of 1869 at a cost of $32,000. It is a handsome brick struc- 
ture of even more imposing appearance than its predecessor on the 
north side. This building, situated as it is upon a high eminence in 
the southern part of the city near the depots, is the most prominent 
object that meets the gaze of strangers visiting our city. 

The building, which is 91x75 feet, four stories high, including the 
basement, is admirably arranged, each room being large and well 
adapted to the purpose for which it is used, while the furniture con- 
sists of modern and most approved patterns. The seats provided will 
accommodate 516 pupils with comfort and convenience. The building 
contains eight school-rooms, with all the necessary recitation rooms, 
closets, etc., thus arranged : one primary and two intermediate rooms 
on the first floor, two intermediate and one grammar room on the 
second floor, and the first grammar and high school-rooms on the third 
floor. 

There are 459 pupils enrolled in the south side public schools. 

The schools in this district are under the efficient management of 
E. C. Smith, who has served in the capacity of superintendent of the 
south side schools for the past eighteen years. 

The high school is taught by the superintendent, assisted by Miss 
Emma Goodrich, with an attendance of fifty pupils. 

The first grammar school is taught by Miss Adelia Pinckney, with 
an attendance of twenty-seven pupils, and the second by Miss Nellie 
Sonle, with an attendance of thirty-four. 

The first intermediate is taught by Miss Hattie Sterling, with an 
attendance of fifty six pupils; the second, taught by Miss Ida DeLand, 
numbers forty-five pupils; the third, taught by Miss Emma Burnhatn, 
numbers forty-nine pupils, and the fourth, taught by Miss Fannie Mur- 
phy, numbers fifty-seven pupils. 

The primary department is taught by Miss Amelia McCuiiisey, and 
numbers fifty-one pupils. 



122 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

North of the court-house, in the first ward, is another primary 
school where Miss A. G. Curtice instructs forty-five pupils. West of 
the central depot, in the third ward, is another small school building 
in which Mrs. L. L. Woodwarth instructs forty-seven pupils. 

Since the grade system of instruction was adopted in the south 
side schools, beginning with 1364, there has J^een seventy-two gradu- 
ates from the high school : forty-one females and thirty-one males. 
There has been two or three classes arraduated from the hiorh school 
on the north side since the adoption of the grade system in that dis- 
trict in 1869; the number of graduates we, however, were unable to 
learn. 

The Catholic society has a denominational school with an average 
attendance of 150 scholars, under the instruction of four Dominican 
sisters and one novice. The school was started about 1872 in the old 
church building, under the labors of Father McDermott, and has been 
kept up in a prosperous condition ever since. 

In addition to the public schools our city has the Rock River Uni- 
versity. The building is a large brick and stone edifice, five stories 
high, located on a high eminence in the east part of the town, and 
commands a view of the country for many miles in extent all around 
our city, as well as the course of Rock river in its meanderings towai-d 
the father of waters, until it passes from the range of sight. The 
building is constructed on an extensive plan and is admirably adapted 
to the purpose for which it was erected. 

January 30, 1855, a meeting was held at Exchange Hall for the 
purpose of taking into consideration the plan proposed by the Rock 
River Presbytery, through their agents Revs. Harsha and Mason, for 
locating a college at this place. 

As a result, on Julv 4, 1855, the corner stone of the Dixon Colle- 
giate Institute was laid in the presence of a large concourse of people. 
B. F. Taylor, of Chicago, delivered the oration. The institution had 
an endowment of $25,000 ; the citizens of Dixon giving grounds, 
property, apparatus, etc., to the extent of $12,000. In 1857 the insti- 
tution was incorporated by special act of the legislature. In 1858 it 
was abandoned by the presbytery. 

In 1858 the Dixon Collegiate Institute was reorganized under the 
auspices of A. M. Gow. 

September 8, 1863, the Dixon Seminary was opened in the college 
building by S. G. Lathrop and M. M. Tooke. 

January 20, 1874, a conservatory of music was started in the sem- 
inary building, by Profs. S. W. Moses and E. A. Gurney. 

November 1, 1875, school was opened in the college building 



DIXON HOTELS. 123 

under the name of the Rock River University. O. G. May, presi- 
dent, and M. M. Tooke, regent. 

December 2, 1878, A. M. Hansen took charge of the Rock River 
University. 

September :3, 1879, the Rock River University opened under new 
management ; J. R. Hinckley, president. 

The institution settled down to a preparatory and military acad- 
emy, yet competent instruction in the normal, business, musical and 
art departments was provided for those wishing such special work. 

The last board of management and instruction consisted of Jay R. 
Hinckley, president; Maj. H. O. Chase, military instructor; W. H. 
Cliamberlain, business manager; Henry M. Douglass, Mrs. Jay R. 
Hinckley, and Miss Lucy Whiton. 

Normal School. — The citizens of Dixon have pledged an appro- 
priation of $25,000 for the purpose of establishing a normal school, 
which it is expected will be opened September 1 by Miss Dilly and 
Flint, of Valparaiso, Indiana, in the old seminary building until their 
new* building is erected. 

DIXON HOTELS. 

It has been said of the early days of the country that " every house 
is a place of entertainment." Some special attention was given to this 
by a few families in an earl}'^ day, but the first hotel built for the pur- 
pose was the Western, erected in 1836, and opened in that winter by 
Messrs. H. Thompson and P. McKinney. It was what is now used as 
the northern part of the Revere house, on Hennepin street near Second. 
This was followed by the Rock River house, in 1837, by Messrs. Crow- 
ell & Willson. This house was afterward known as the Phoenix, and 
was destroyed by fire in 1846. The Dixon house was the third build- 
ing erected for a hotel in Dixon, and was built about 1840. 

On March 19, 1853, a company was formed with a capital of $10,- 
000 for the erection of a large hotel, the building to be ready for the 
public in July, but was not ready until December 10 of that year. 
This is the Nachusa house, and was built upon a foundation that was 
laid for a hotel in 1838, which enterprise failed at the time through the 
then existing financial stringency felt in the state. TheNachusa house 
is situated on Galena street, opposite the public square. It occupies a 
commanding eminence, and overlooks the whole town, as well as the 
course of Rock river for many miles above and below the city. It is 
built of undressed limestone, and, including the basement, is five stories 
high. The main building is 48x40 feet, with a wing in the rear 
80x36 built to the main building by E. B. Stiles in 1854. The fifth 
story was added to the building in 1867, and is finished with a Man- 



124 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY, 



sard roof. The original and entire cost of the building was over $30,- 
000 ; to erect this house now, with the present cost of materials, would 
probably be near $40,000. The management of the house is now in 
the hands of Mr. Geo. Benjamin, who is a thorough business man. 

The Washington house was erected in 1854 on the corner of Main 
and Ottawa streets. It is a three-story brick structure, 34x60 feet, 
with a large frame addition in the rear. This house is near the business 
part of the city, and close to the Rock river water-power. The present 
proprietor, Henry Remers, erected the building, and has conducted the 
business since that time, with the exception of four years, between 1856 
and 1860. 




NACHUSA HOUSE. 



In August, 1855, Mr. McKenney removed the Dixon house from 
the ground now occupied by Riley's brick buildings on Main street to 
its present location opposite the Opera house. 

On June 14, 1856, Messrs. Cropsey, Dement & JSToble commenced 
the erection of a large hotel, called the Shabbona House, near the 
depots. It was afterward leased to Messrs. Crocket & Dake. In the 
following year (1857) it was opened by Mr, Benjamin, from Vermont, 
and the house changed in name to the Dement House. On December 
2, 1868, it was reopened as the St. James Hotel by H. E, Gedney. This 
was followed by the Waverly House, at the Air Line depot, by Messrs. 
Cheney & Co., on April 19, 1860; at the present writing it is under 
the management of Mr. Tliomas Young. 

The Keystone House was opened in 1866, on Main streijt, near 



BRIDGES. 125 

Galena, and is quite centrally located ; it is nnder the direction of Mrs. 
E. Brautegan at the present writing. 

The hotels of a city form one of the chief attractions to the traveling 
public. From the character of the hotels an opinion either favorable 
or otherwise is generally formed of the enterprise of a place ; for a 
people who are hospitable, and appreciate the presence and comfort of 
strangers who may visit their city, will see to it that good accommoda- 
tions are provided for them ; and the ample provisions made in the city 
of Dixon, and the hospitality extended to strangers, are well attested 
by the traveling public. 

BRIDGES. 

In 1845 Mr. Dixon spent most of the time of a legislative session in 
Springfield in an effort to secure the passage of a " bridge and dam " 
charter for the benefit of the city. It was strongly opposed on the 
ground that the state had no power to authorize any obstruction to a 
stream declared navigable within its limits; that the stream belonged 
to the whole people and could not be diverted from the interests of 
commerce to private or corporate purposes. To this it was replied that 
the river was not in fact navigable without the aid of dams, and that 
the Rock river valley was destined to become a vast manufacturing re- 
gion. Mr. Dixon succeeded toward the close of the session in getting 
the bill through, although the bridge was to supersede his ferry, which 
was then yielding to him $800 per year. Under this charter the first 
bridge was built in 1846 at a cost of $8,000. This bridge was built by 
the Rock River Dam and Bridge Company in the fall and winter of 
1846 and 1847, at the foot of Ottawa street. Travel had hardly com- 
menced when the spring freshet of March 20, 1847, swept away the 
north half. The bridge was rebuilt two feet higher than the original 
bridge during the summer at a cost of $2,000. The contractors were 
Lorenzo Wood and Luther I. Towner. The board of directors consist- 
ed of the following gentlemen : John Dement, Oliver Everett, John 
Dixon, M. Fellows, Ottis A. Eddy, J. B. Brooks, Jas. P. Dixon, and 
Horace Preston. This bridge stood as repaired until the spring of 1849, 
when the south half was taken out. The ferry was brought into requi- 
sition until the summer of 1851, when the south half of the bridge was 
rebuilt, raising it four feet higher than the north half, making this part 
of the bridge six feet higher than the original bridge. The following 
persons constituted the directors of the bridge company, who were 
elected on May 5, 1851 : John Dement, C. Aldridge, John Shellaber, 
J. B. Brooks, John V. Eustace, Carleton Bayley, I. S. Boardman, jr., 
Lorenzo Wood, and E. B. Baker. 

The structure erected in 1851 stood until the spring of 1857, when 
the descent of the ice on the 24th day of February of that year canied 



^ 



126 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

it away. During 1856 a free bridge was built by private parties across 
the river in what was known as Morril Town, below where the railroad 
bridge stands. This was just completed when, on the 14th of 
February, 1857, the ice which had accumulated around the piers was 
lifted up by the rising water, carrying the bridge with it ; but the ice 
not breaking up, the superstructure was not carried away. It was 
damaged, however, so that it had to be rebuilt, which was done in the 
spring, only to be carried away by the June freshet. At this time both 
bridges, the one at the foot of Ottawa street and the free bridge below, 
were destroyed. On the 23d of May, 1857, Mr. Jam es A. "Wat son 
commenced the erection of a foot-bridge at the"lbot of GfaTena street, 
but money was raised in a few days after to erect a wagon and foot 
bridge, which was completed during the summer, and on the 28th day 
of November, 1857, two spans of the north end went down with two 
loaded teams and eight or ten head of cattle. This was repaired only 
to be swept away by the flood of June 3, 1858, which also destroyed 
the free bridge which had been rebuilt. The city paper, of this date, 
said : " Rock river is at this time swollen to overflowing its banks. 
Botii the wagon bridges at this place have sufl'ered in consequence of 
the flood. The free bridge, but a small portion of which was carried 
away, will be repaired immediately ; while steps will be taken by our 
citizens to build a new bridge in the place of the one swept away at the 
foot of Galena street." On the 25th of August, 1859, active operations 
were commenced in the erection of a free bridge at the foot of Galena 
street to cost $12^000; Z. H. Luckey, contractor. Four months after 
it was completed, on the 30th of February 1859, the dam gave way be- 
fore an accumulation of ice, which together descended against the 
bridge and carried away two bents at one crash ; and later, two 
more were taken. In the following August, 1860, a free bridge was 
commenced to take the place of the toll-bridge taken out by the ice in 
the previous winter. The completion of this bridge was embarrassed by 
not having sufiicient funds at command to carry the work forward. " Free 
bridge parties " were given and the proceeds added to the libei'al con- 
tributions of the merchants. Finally, the necessary sura ($13,000) 
was raised and the bridge was thrown open to the public amidst great 
rejoicing, January 1, 1861. This was an event in the history of Dixon. 
On New Year's eve a large " free bridge part}'^ " was held a the 
Nachusa House, which was so successful that the arrearage that had 
delayed the completion of the work was arranged. The object was ac- 
complished so that at four o'clock in the afternoon of the next day, 
January 1, the mayor and council, in sleighs and cutters, headed a 
large procession across the bridge accompanied by the sound of music 
and the thunder of cannon. About this time the lower bridge disap- 
peared. 



BRIDGES. 127 

On May 10, 1866, a middle span of the bridge went down witli a 
drove of about one hundred head of cattle, all of which were thrown 
into the river, and two were drowned. Eepairs were begun on Decem- 
ber 2, 1867, by James Watson ; but in the spring, March 7, 1868, the 
bridge was destroyed by the high water and floating ice. This freshet 
took out about 120 feet of the south end of the dam, and battered 
down one pier of the railroad bridge on the following night. 

Through all these years, until the city erected the Truesdell iron 
bridge in 1868, nine bridges — all of wood resting upon wooden trestles 
or piers — had been, either in part or wholly, swept away by the treacher- 
ous waters of Rock river. This being the case, the people finally came 
to the conclusion that the)' would erect a bridge which no flood could 
wash away. With much labor and expense piers and abutments of 
solid masonry were placed upon substantial foundations made by driving 
piles below the gravel and changing the bed of the river. Upon these 
piers and abutments was placed a handsome superstructure wholly of 
iron, with the exception of the floors. The entire cost of the work to 
the city was $75,000. The opening of the bridge to the public on 
January 21, 1869, was made the occasion for a celebration by our citi- 
zens, and after a severe test of its strength the structure was accepted 
by the city, and all rejoiced that they had at last secured a bridge 
of such great strength. The occasion was celebrated b}' a procession 
a mile long headed by Father Dixon in a carriage; he was followed 
by other old settlers, Dixon cornet band, the city council, and citizens 
in wagons and carriages; and no one present upon this occasion 
thought they would live to see its destruction ; but alas ! how frail are 
human hopes! Scarcely four years had passed when it fell, resulting 
in such a fearful sacrifice of life and property, and causing so much 
suflPering. 

Sunday, May 4, 1873, the Truesdell iron bridge fell, precipitating 
about two hundred men, women and children, who were witnessing a 
baptismal ceremony just below the bridge, into the stream without a 
moment's notice; thirty-seven persons were drowned, or killed by por- 
tions of the structure falling upon them; forty-seven were seriously 
and five mortally injured. The bridge was twisted and broken from 
end to end, aiid hung from the piers, an appalling sight in itself. 
Those killed were Miss Katy Sterling, Miss Melissie Wilhelm, Miss 
Maggie O'Brien, Miss Nettie Hill, Miss Ida Yann, Miss Ida Drew, Miss 
Agnes Nixon, Miss Bessie Rayne, Miss Irene Baker, Miss Emily Dom- 
ing, Miss Lizzie Mackay, Mrs. Doctor Hoff'm an, Mrs^ J^W. Latta, Mrs^ 
Col. H. T. Noble, Mrs. Benjamin Oilman, Mrs. Carpenter, Mrsl' wil 
iam Took, Mrs. James Goble, Mrs. Elias Hope, Mrs. E. Wallace, Mrs. 
E. Petersberger and little daughter, Mrs. Thomas Wade, Mrs. Henry 



128 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Sillnmn, Mrs. William Merriman, Mrs. C. W. Kentner, two children 
of Mrs. Hendrix, two daughters of Mrs. Stackpole, Clara and Rosa, 
Mr. George W. Kent, Mr. Frank Hamilton, Mr. Edward Doyle, Mr. 
Thomas Haley, Mr. Eobert Dyke, Mr. Jay R. Mason. Died from 
wounds: Mrs. P. M. Alexander, Mrs. William Yann, Mrs. Charles 
March, Mrs. W. Wilcox, Mr. Seth H. Whitraore. 

In the fall of 1873 the Howe truss wooden bridge was built by 
the American Bridge Company, at a cost of $18,000 ; it was finished 
November 18. This bridge is still standing; and although the water 
has been two feet higher this spring (1881) than ever known before, 
the bridge remains unharmed. 

THE CITY CHURCHES. 

The intelligence and morals of a city or community will be ex- 
pressed in its schools and churches. The former indicates the educa- 
tional tendencies, and the latter the religious advantages of the com- 
munity. The life of Dixon has been ever associated with both the 
educational and the religious, even when there were no school or church 
buildings the literary and religious education of the young was not 
neglected ; but in the cabin homes and around the homely hearth-stone 
began the first teaching of the intellect and heart. The fruits of this 
early education are now being gathered by the descendants of those 
noble men and women of primitive days. It was written of Dixon in 
1845 that the village had reached a population of 400, and had four 
religious denominations, — Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, and Con- 
gregational — a select and district school. 

A Unitarian church was organized in 1850, but little, however, had 
been done to prosper the society until 1855, when Hon. J. V. Eustace, 
Dr. O. Everett, G. L. Herrick, and others, with the aid of Rev. Mr. 
Kelsey as pastor, selected a beautifully designed frame building on the 
north side, where services were held for a few years, when the organ- 
ization disbanded and the property was sold. 

In 1854 a Congregational church was organized with nine members : 
Revs. S. D. Peet, D. Temple, and H. Hesley successively served as 
ministers; B. D, Gay, S. K. Upham, and B. Gellman as deacons. The 
organization disbanded in 1858, the most of the members connecting 
with the First Presbyterian church. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Dixon. — This society was the 
first religious organization in the bounds of Lee county, bearing date 
1837. The class was organized by Rev. Mr. McKean, who received as 
original members of the class S. M. Bowman and Mrs. E. A. Bowman, 
John Richards and Ann Richards, Caleb Tall mage and Amanda Tall- 
mage, and Maria McClure. The society worshiped in a room over 



THE CITY CHURCHES. 129 

Messrs. Board man & Bowen's store. In 1839 the class had an addi- 
tion to the original members: T. D. Boardman, Mr. and Mrs. Perry, 
and Mr. and Mrs. O. F. Ayres. At this time services were held in the 
school-house. ■ The first house of worship was erected in 1843, and 
dedicated by Rev. John T. Mitchel. This was a brick structure cost- 
ing $4,000, and was located on Second street near Ottawa. The board 
of trustees consisted of Jas. T. Dixon, C. Edson, O. F. Ayres, W. G. 
Winkoop, Thomas McCabe, J. Brierton, and S. M. Bowman. 

The first parsonage was built in 1851, 24x30 feet, at the expense 
of over $800. This house stood on Third street near where the Illinois 
Central depot stands. This property was sold, and a lot procured 
on which the present church and parsonage buildings stand. During 
the conference year of 1854-5 the present church edifice was built on 
Peoria street It was improved in 1870 and 1871, and again in 1876, 
at a cost of $2,700. The original cost of the church was $15,000. It 
was not entirely finished until 1857, when it was dedicated by Bishop 
Bowman. The pastors since the organization of the class are as fol- 
lows: Robert Dulap and Barton Cartwright came here as circuit 
preachers in the fall of 1837 ; they were followed by Isaac Pool and 
Riley Hill ; Luke Hitchcock came in 1839, Richard Blanchard in Au- 
gust 1840, Philo Judson in tall ot 1841. August 3, 1842, Inlet Grove, 
Palestine Grove, and Melugin's Grove were added to Dixon circuit, 
which already embraced Washington Grove, Light House Point, Jef- 
ferson Grove, Daysville, and Paine's Point ; Philo Judson and W. H. 
Cooley were appointed circuit preachers. W.Wilcox was appointed to 
Dixon in August 1843, David Brooks in July 1844, S. P. Keys in Au- 
gust 1845, Milton Haney and R. W. H. Brent came to this charge in 
August 1846,R. P. Lawton came in 1847, Wm. Palmer in fall of 1848, 
Thomas North in July 1850, James Baume came in September 1852, 
J. W. Agard in 1854, Wilbur McKaig in September 1855, N. P. Heath 
in 1857, L. A. Sanford in August 1858, S. G. Lathrop in 1859, O. B. 
Thayer in September 1862, W. H. Smith in March 1864, G. L. S. Stuff 
came in October 1864, T. C. Clendenning in October 1865, George E. 
Strobridge in October 1867, J. H. Brown in October 1869, John Will- 
iamson in 1871, Isaac Linebarger in October 1874, G. R. Van home 
in October 1876, A. W. Patton in October 1879, and Rev. Mr. Cleve- 
land in October 1880. 

The Presbyterian Church. — The First Presbyterian Society in 
Dixon was organized January 29, 1853, George Sharer and James 
Means being chosen deacons. Having no house of worship, they met 
in the stone school-house. The original members were George 
Sharer, Nancy Sharer, James Means, John Beatty, Nancy Beatty, 
Mary Richardson, Robert McBride, Mrs. Jane Smith, and Mrs. Jane 



130 HISTORY OF lep: county. 

Little. In 1855 Rev. W. W. Harsha assumed charge of the church, 
and in the same year (June 1855) the church was organized under the 
general laws of the state for the purpose of building a house of wor- 
ship, and the following persons were chosen trustees: James L. Camp, 
Isaac Means, Samuel Crawford, S. Russell, and S. C. Warden. Their 
house was erected on Third street and dedicated on February 17, 1856, 
by Rev. Mr. Harsha, their pastor. This building stood adjoining the 
place of the present house, and was a small brick building, 28x42 
feet. This house proving in time to be inadequate to the demand of 
the congregation, additional ground was secured and the present struc- 
ture was erected in 1866, at a cost of about $15,000, It was dedicated 
on October 28, 1866. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. 
W. W. Harsha, who was their first pastor, and dedicated the first 
church edifice. The building is constructed of dressed limestone and 
is 41x72 feet. The building is surmounted by a tower 130 feet 
high, which incloses a fine bell weighing over two thousand pounds. 
There are connected with this church about two hundred members. 
Rev. E. C. Sickles has been pastor of the congregation for the past 
eighteen years. 

The present church edifices in the city are handsome, substantial 
buildings, constructed and furnished according to modern tastes, and 
present a pleasing and inviting appearance. All the present church 
structures in use, except one, were built within the past fourteen years. 
These buildings are all conveniently large for the wants of this place, 
and have a total seating capacity of over 3,000, but upon special occa- 
sions can be made to accommodate a much greater number. The church 
property of our city represents a total value of over §^140,000. 

Neio Evangelical Lutheran Church. — This christian denomination 
was first represented in Lee county by " The First Evangelical Luthe- 
ran congregation of Lee county," which was organized under the 
official and ministerial supervision of the Rev. Jacob Burket, on 
August 20, 1848, in the barn of J. IST. Burket, south Dixon. The 
following persons were constituted members of the society : John 
N. Burket and Mary Burket, John Mayer and Elizabeth Mayer, 
Nathan Hetter and Catherine Hetter, Phillip Mower and Mary 
Mower, Jacob Shoop and Catherine Shoop. Catherine Grow, Nancy 
Smice, Lydia Courtright, Catherine Palmer, Magdalene Clinetob, 
and Mary A. M. Burket. 

Jacob Burket sustained the relation of pastor for two years, his 
service closing August 1850. He was succeeded by Ephraim Miller, 
who took charge of the congregaticm in May 1861, and remained with 
them until May 1852. He was followed successively by Charles 
Young and William Uhl. 



thp: city churches. 131 

On November 12, 1853, the congregation changed tlie name of 
thu society to the Apostolic name of " St. Paul's Evangelical Lu- 
theran church." and incorporated b}' filing a certificate of corpora- 
tion in the county recorder's ofiice. After this change the congre- 
gation was served as pastor by D. Harbaugh until the division of 
the congregation as given below. 

In December, 1856, the society was divided by the German por- 
tion of the congregatifjn withdrawing and org.mizing an independent 
congregation. After completing their organization they called to 
the pastorate Rev. Charles Young. During the time of their sepa- 
ration the English church was served by Revs. J. L. Guard, J. R. 
Keiser, and A. A. Trimper. During the pastoral services of the 
latter gentleman the societies were reunited prior to the spring of 
1870, from which time the pastors have been Revs. N. W. Lilly, 
S. S. W^altz, and L. L. Lipe, the present pastor. 

After the reorganization of the church by Rev. William Uhl, John 
N. Biirket aiid John Moyer were chosen elders, and John Beal and 
Henry Burket, deacons. In November of the same year an organ- 
ization was efifected for the purpose of erecting a house of worship, 
J. N. Burket, Henry T. Burket, Jonathan De Puv and John Beal 
were chosen trustees. The house, erected the following year, was 
located in the southeasterly part of the city, but it was found inade- 
quate t<^t the increasing congregation, and the site unsatisfactory, and 
was abandoned for a more commodious one on Second street in 1869. 
On February 14 it was dedicated, the dedicatory sermon being 
preached by Rev. G. A. Bowers. The building is a neat brick struc- 
ture, 42x80 feet, two stories high, costing $15,500. 

The society has a handsome parsonage on the lot adjoining the 
church which was erected during the summer of 1876. 

The church was dedicated on July 28, 1872 ; the morning ser- 
mon was delivered by Rev. Mr. Ravlin, and in the evening by Rev. 
J. A. Smith, D.D. The auditorium will comfortably seat 500 peo- 
ple. The Sabbath-school room occupies nearly the entire basement 
story. On June 23, 1878, the society celebrated their fortieth anni- 
versary, in the church. 

The pastors since the organization are B. B. Carpenter from June 
1840 to October 1844; Burton Carpenter from December 1844 to 
March 1845 ; Wm. Gates occupied the pulpit occasionally and Wm. 
Walker about four months between March 1844 and April 1847, when 
E. T. Manning became pastor for one year ; S. S. Martin became 
pastor in 1849 for one year ; G. W. Benton supplied the pulpit for 
about six months between Martin's pastorate and August 1851, when 



182 HISTOItY OF LEE COUNTY. 

John E. Ball became p istor for about four years ; Anson Tucker took 
charge in May 1855, served eleven months ; W. R. Webb became 
pastor in June 185r>, served over four years ; Wni. G. Pratt became 
pastor in March 1861, for one year ; W. S. Goodno in September 
1862, served two years; J. H. Pratt became pastor in October 1864, 
served over nine years ; D. F. Carnahan became pastor in August 
1874 ; O. P. Bestor, took charge in August 18T7. Rev. L. L. Lipe 
is present pastor. 

The First Bdptlst Church of Dixoi. — This church was organized 
under the auspices of Mrs. John Dixon and her sister, Mrs. Kellogg, 
at BuiFalo Grove, on May 28, 1838, there being present all the mem- 
bers of the denomination in the vicinity of Dixon and Bulfalo Grove. 
Rev. Thomas Powel acted as moderator. The following persons be- 
came the original members of this society : Mr. H. H. Bicknell, Re- 
becca Dix(jn, Elizabeth Bellows, Jerusha Hammond, Sarah Kellogg, 
Martha Parks, and Ann Clarly. At the close of four years there were 
seventy names on the church roll of membership. All tne original 
members but Mrs. Hiram Parks have passed away. An organiza- 
tion was effected under the state laws for the purpose of building a 
house of worship, February 22, 1842, un ler the name of "The Dixon 
congregation." Smith Gilbraith, J. T. Little, J. B. Nash, Stephen 
Fuller and Elijah Dixon were elected tiuistees. Under this organi- 
zation a lot was secured on Ottawa street, and a brick edifice was 
erected in the following year (1843) ; elder Jacob Knopp, of Rockford, 
officiated at the dedicatory services. Subsequently the property was 
disposed of, and in 1869 a more imposing building was erected on 
Second street, the corner-stone being laid on October 1 of the 
same year. It is a comodious brick edifice, 90x45 feet, and was 
built at a cost of $15,000. Rev. Mr. Bestor is present pastor. 

St. Luhii's Episcopal Church. — This church was organized in the 
su.nmer of 1837, under the labors of Rev. James De Piiy, by the 
election of wardens and vestrymen. After this faithful minister was 
removed from the congregation the work of the church was sus- 
pended, and all the church records up to 1855 were lost. On March 
19, 1855, a meeting of the vestry met at the office of Messrs. Robert- 
son, Eastman k, Co., Rev. Mr. Bently being present. At this meet- 
ing Addison Rice, S. 0. Eells, A. McKay and H. Hine were chosen 
vestrymen, and Geo. C. Chapmon and J. K. Edsal were chosen war- 
dens. A building was erected on Peoria street, since changed into 
a dwelling which stands now directly north of the present church. 
In 1871, an enlarged area of ground was purchased on the corner of 
Peoria and Third streets, on which the present beautiful stone edi- 
fice was erected in the same year. 






#1^ 




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THE NPW YORK 
PUBLIC Lir.P.ARY 



ASTOR, li;nox and 

TILUEN b'OI'NDAriONS 
B . L 



THE CITY CHURCHES. 185 

Sept. 7, 1871, the corner-stone of St. Luke's church was laid by 
Kev. John Wilkinson, who was rector of this parish from 1858 to 
1860. The church was opened for services September 15, 1872. 

Kev. Mr. Bentley was the first rector of the parish after tliis 
reorganization, and he was succeeded by C. J. Todd in August of 1856, 
and he by J. G. Downing in May 1857 ; Eev. J. Wilkinson was rec- 
tor from August 1858 to August 1859 ; Rev. A. J. Warner became 
rector in January 1861, and was succeeded by G. C. Street in April 
18«)2, and Jas. W, Coe in May 1863, who continued in charge until 
July 1865 ; Rev. H. H. De Garmon was rector from March to Sep- 
tember 1866 ; D. W. Dresser from November 1866 to uS'ovember 
1867; H. W. Williams from March 1868 to June 1871 ; M. Byllesby 
from November 1871 to April 1873 ; Samuel Edson from May 1873 
to October 1875 ; Joseph Cross from December 1875 to October 1876 ; 
W. Henry Jones from November 1876 until his death, April 26, 1878. 
Rev. W. W. Steel, came in September 1878. Rev. J. Wilkinson, at 
this writing (1881), is serving the church temporarily. 

The Universalist Church. — This society was organized in 1870. 
This was anticipated by a Universalist centenary held in the Methodist 
Episcopal church, when measures were initiated that resulted in the 
above organization, and the establishment of the Universalist church 
in Dixon. The following gentlemen were elected trustees for the so- 
ciety in view of the building of a church edifice : Edward Sterling, 
L. A. Sutton, A. Hubbard, William Parker, and L. Sherman. 

The society held services in Union hall for awhile, and from 
there they went to Tillson's hall on Galena street, which they used 
until their house of worship was erected. To accomplish this a 
building committee was elected, consisting of G. L. Herrick, W. A. 
Judd, S. Merriman and C. F. Emerson. A building was erected, 
40x80 feet, on the corner of Second and Hennepin streets, and was 
dedicated by Rev. J. E. Forrester, D.D., August 7, 1873. Rev. H. 
Y. Chase was the first pastor, and remained with the society five 
years. He was succeeded in December, 1876, by Rev. D. F. Rogers, 
who served as pastor for one year, and about the beginning of 1877 
Mr. Chase was again called to the pastorate of the church. 

The CatholiG Church of Dixon. — This church was established 
under Rev. Father Fitzgerald in 1854, in which year he erected their 
first house of worship and a parsonage, on Fifth street. In 1873 this 
house was abandoned as a house of worship, for a new and very im- 
posing one on the corner of Market and Seventh streets. This was 
done under the general management of Rev. Father McDermott. 
The old building has been appropriated to denominational school 
9 



136 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

purposes, under the control of the Sisters of Charity. The church 
building is the largest in the city, having a seating capacity of 600. 
The church, including altar furniture, etc., cost about $30,000. The 
bell on the church has a weight of 2500 pounds, and was purchased 
at a cost of $900. There are 200 families connected with the con- 
gregation of this church. Rev. Father Hodnett is pastor. 

Oakwood Cemetery^ containing ten acres, is situated immediately 
east of the city. Its site is a very beautiful one, overlooking the 
magnificent valley of Rock river for miles in either direction. It is 
high and rolling ground, interspread with a natural growth of trees 
and shrubs, making its landscape beauty unsurpassed for a "city of 
the dead." A part of this cemetery was dedicated for cemetery pur- 
poses by the Hon. John Dixon, on the original plat of the city, and 
the remainder was purchased and laid out by the city. It is under 
control of the city council. The rapid growth of Dixon will soon 
render it necessary to enlarge it or to seek out an additional site for 
cemetery purposes. 

CIVIC SOCIETIES. 

Of these Dixon has twelve organizations, a fact indicative of the 
social and benevolent nature of her people. With the exception of 
one, these are all secret societies, the aggregate membership of 
which is over 500. Most of them are beneficial in their character, 
and one has a life insurance connected with its organization. Thus 
provision is made for the afflicted during life and their survivors after 
death. 

Below we give the names and dates of organization of the differ- 
ent lodges and societies, together with the principal officers : 

Masonic. — Friendship Lodge, ISTo. 7. Organized under dispensa- 
tion from the Grand Lodge of Kentucky on INTovember 6, 1840 ; ob- 
tained charter from the Grand Lodge of Illinois October 6, 1841. 
Officers: J. V. Thomas, W. M. ; E. W. Smith, S.W.; G. D. Laing, 
J.W., W. A. Sussmillch, Sec; Theodore Moeller, Treas. 

Nachusa Chapter, No. 56. Organized binder dispensation July 
29, 1859 ; received cliarter September 30, 1859. Officers : J. B. 
Pomeroy, H.P.; S. S. Dodge, King; J. W. Latta, Scribe; D. B. 
McKenney, Treas.; C. G. Smith, Sec. 

Dixon Council, No. Y. Organized under dispensation December 
1, 1863. Officers : C. S. Brown, Thrice Illus. G.M.; J. B. Pomeroy, 
Sec. 

Dixon Commandery, No. 21, K.T. Organized under dispensa- 
tion June 16, 1866 ; obtained charter October 23, 1866. Officers : 
J. B. Pomeroy, E.C. ; S. S. Dodge, G. ; John D. Crabtree, C.G. ^ 
James A. Hawley, Treas. ; C. W. Latimer, Rec. 



CRaC SOCIETIES. . 137 

Odd-Fellows. — Dixon Lodge, No. 39. Organized under dispen- 
sation Maj 28, 1848. Officers : Orvill Anderson, N.S. ; Edmund 
Camp, V.G. ; M. C. Weyburn, Sec. ; H. P. Wickes, E.S. ; Francis 
Forsyth, Treas. 

Nachusa Encampment, No. 115. Organized under dispensation 
March 9, 1871 ; obtained charter October 10, 1871. Officers : M. 

C. Weyburn, C.P. ; C. W. Dey, H.P. ; F. Hegert, J.W. ; F. P. 
Beck, Scribe ; C. F. Emerson, Treas. ; K. Kierson, J.AV. 

Kucker Lodge, No. 493 (German). Organized August 7. 1872. 
Officers: A. Reseck, KG.; L. Faulkaber, V.G. ; A. Levi, RS. ; C. 
Gonnerman, Treas. 

Temperance Societies. — Father Mathew's Total Abstinence and 
Benevolent Society. Organized February 4, 1870. Officers: James 
Rice, Pres. ; John Hennessey, V.-Pres. ; Dennis Denny, Rec. Sec; 
Patrick McDonald, Treas. ; C. J. Turney, Marshal. 

Dixon Division, No. 11, S. of T. Organized November 11, 1875. 
Officers: B. F. Stewart, W.P. ; J. W. Clute, Treas.; L. Hess, R.S. 

Forest Home Lodge. No. 137, A.O. U.W. Organized January 
29, 1879. Officers: K P. Wickes, M.W. ; W. J. Daley, P.M.W. ; 
H. Christman, Foreman ; Eugene Pinckney, Overseer ; G. A. Mead, 
Rec. ; L. D. Pitcher, Financier. 

Henderson Encampment, No. 27, O.C.D. O. J. Downing, Com.; 
W. J. Johnson, Lieut. Com.; Henry Barnes, Adj't ; J. N.Hyde, 
Q.-M. 

Dixon Boat Club was organized May 22, 1878. Officers: E. C. 
Parsons, Pres.; F. K. Orvis, Y.-Pres. ; W. M. Kennedy, Sec; Geo. 

D. Laing, Treas.; C. E. Chandler, Capt. 

July 6, 1875, the " Woman's Christian Temperance Union " was 
organized in the basement of the Methodist church, through the ef- 
forts of Miss Frances Willard, of Chicago. The Union consisted of 
thirty members. Officers elected were President, Mrs. S. H. Manny; 
Yice-Presidents, Mrs. D. F. Carnahan, Mrs. Linebarger, Mrs. Ed- 
son, Mrs. Chase, Mrs. E. C. Sickles ; Recording Secretary, Miss 
Lila Fargo ; Corresponding Secretar}^ Miss E. W. Alexander ; 
Treasurer, Miss Nellie Holt. 

July 16, 1853, a division of the Sons of Temperance was insti- 
tuted under the name of Lee county Division, No. 376, and the 
following named gentlemen elected officers: L. Wood, P.W.P. ; W. 
H. Andrews, W.P.; J. Kerr, W.A.; J. W. Clute, F.S.; W. H. H. 
Crow, R.S.; A. T. Murphy, T. ; II. O. Kelsey, C. ; H. Brookner, 
A. C. About a month later the paper, in speaking of this society, 
says that it is "increasing very rapidly, already numbering some 
fifty members." 



188 . HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

March 23, 1866, a Lodge of Good Templars, No. 756, was or- 
ganized in Dixon. The Lodge surrendered its charter in the spring 
of 186S, and the active members united with the Sons of Temper- 
ance. 

October 2T, 1870, Eebecca Lodge, No. 30, was organized, with 
the following charter members : A. Piatt, Gr. L. Herrick, H. K. 
Strong, Frances Forsyth, Constantine Wild, Phebe Pratt, Julia Her- 
rick, Mary A. Strong, Lucy A. Forsyth, and Barbara Wild. 

Dixon Crown Temple, No. .^J, U. O. A. T. — This lodge was 
organized August 30, 1880, by N. P. Barry, in the Universalist 
church. 

The following persons were the charter members, to wit : Ben- 
jamin F. Stewart, Geo. N. Barnes, William Chiverton, John Oconon, 
John Moseley, Austin Morse, B. B. Higgins, Clayton Brown, Jessey 
Hettler, John Hettler, E. H. Groh, John A. Stunipp, L. H. Burd, 
Sherwood Dixon, Dr. Henry Brooks, Miss Malissa Barnes, Miss 
Mary Brown, Miss Blanch Talcott, Mrs. G. G. Stewart, Mrs. Mary 
Hettler, and Miss Mary Lynch. 

Present board of officers : Geo. W. Barnes, Templar ; Austin 
Morse, Past Templar; Mrs. G. G. Stewart, Vice-Templar; Miss 
Malissa Barnes, Lecturer ; Benjamin F. Stewart, Recorder ; J. F. 
Morseley, Financier; Jessey Hettler, Treasurer; E. H. Groh, Mar- 
shall ; Wm Chiverton, Guard ; Blanch Talcott, Watch. 

This organization has avssociated with it a mortuary department, 
which provides a beneficiary fund, to be distributed, in case of the 
death of a member of the department, to such parties as provided 
for in the mortuary certificate. 

This is the only temperance organization in the country with 
which a beneficiary department is associated. The influences and 
advantages of this provision are quite apparent in the prosperity 
of the order in local organizations, as well as the general interest 
felt throughout the country in the welfare of the new order. In 
cases of need, benefits are distributed to sick or disabled members, 
as may be ordered by the Temple, of which such person or persons 
are members. 

THE FIRE DEPARTMENT 

Is entirely volunteer, and consis's of a hose company of sixtv-five 
men, and a hook and ladder company of twenty-six men. These 
companies were both organized in January, 1870 ; up to that time our 
city was without any organized force for fire protection. In 1869 the 
Water Power Company had put in a rotarj- pump of a rated capacity 
of 1200 gallons per minute — about double the capacity of a first-class 
£team fire engine. This pump, together with 600 feet of hose, was 



THE FIRE DEPARTMENT. 139 

originally intended for the use of the manufacturing establishments 
at the water-power, but when the fire companies were organized the 
city assumed charge of the pump and bought 1000 feet of additional 
hose, and one hose reel, hook and ladder truck, and other necessary 
fire apparatus. The fire hall was built in 1871 ; the upper story is 
divided into two meeting rooms, one for each company, and the 
lower story is used for apparatus. In the winter of 1871-2, water 
mains were laid from the pump to the corner of Main and Galena 
streets, and afterward to the corner of Hennepin and Second streets. 
In 1876 the city put in a piston pump with a capacity of 1600 gallons 
per minute, but owing to the small mains cannot be worked to its 
full capacity. The city has expended for apparatus and property for 
the fire department since its organization over $13,500. The de- 
partment had at the beginning of this year three hose carts, twenty- 
one hundred feet of hose, and two hook and ladder trucks, but 
nearly a thousand feet of hose was destroyed at the recent disastrous 
fire. Too much cannot be said in praise of our firemen for the 
prompt manner in which they have ever responded to the alarm of 
fire, and the herculean efforts made to save the property of their 
fellow citizens. Another item that should not be overlooked in this 
connection is the fleetness and efficiency that our firemen have ac- 
quired by earnest practice, wherein the Dixon Hose Company has 
become famous, they having at two state tournaments secured the 
Champion's belt over many competitors. 

Recent experience has made it apparent to all that our city needs 
better and more serviceable means for fire protection. Present indi- 
cations are that this desired object will soon be accomplished, as 
practical movements are now being made to accomplish that desir- 
able end. 

With admirable perseverance the Dixon Hose Company have se- 
cured a fine library of nearly one thousand volumes, many of which 
were kindly donated by friends of the company. Citizens not mem- 
bers of the company become entitled to the privileges of the library 
by donating $1, or a book worth $1.50, subject to the approval 
of the company, and the payment of 50 cents yearly dues. A few 
weeks ago the Monitoi- Hook and Ladder Company commenced a 
library in their meeting-room, which already numbers over 100 
volumes. 

Mr. R. S. Farrand is the present fire marshal ; J. W. Latta, assist- 
ant. OfficLTS of the Hose company are C. C. Atkins, foreman ; F. 
J. Finkler, first assistant ; William Rock, second assistant ; Nathan 
Mclvenney, secretary ; Charles Weisz, treasurer. Officers of the 
hook and ladder company : Chas. Ramsey, foreman ; Corydon 



140 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Cropsey, first assistant ; U. R. Friesenberg, second assistant; J. A. 
Stunipf, secretary ; G. W. Taylor, treasurer. 

DISASTERS. 

It would be a pleasure we have never experienced as yet to be 
able to write the history of a community or city that has had unin- 
terrupted prosperity ; to be favored with the good without an admix- 
ture of evil. Dixon is not an exception to the common experience 
of humanity in adversity as well as in prosperity; and however 
unpleasant thu task may be, we are compelled to turn aside from the 
reflection of Dixon's prosperity and enterprise to chronicle her mis- 
fortunes and losses. The most common destruction to property 
resulted from 

The Fire jReco7'ds.—Th.e first conflagration of especial note was 
on August 2, 1856, when the stable belonging to the Mansion House 
property burned down. It whs believed to be the work of an incen- 
diary, which consumed the building with eleven horses, a peddler's 
wagon, etc.; the loss being about $5,000. On Sunday, April 25, 
1858, the jewelry store of S. A. Bancroft, in A. T. Murphy's build- 
in'i: on Main street, was burned with all goods not in the safe. 

In the folltjwing year, October 14, 1859, the city was visited by a 
fearful holocaust that consumed the property of more than twenty 
business men. Seventetn buildings were burned, extending for 
more tlian half a block on both sides of Main street, extending west 
from the corner of Hennepin street. Among the buildings burned 
was the old original school-house, which had been removed from 
the original lot where D. W. McKenney's residence now stands, 
several years previous, and was then occupied as a store-room. 
The fire resulted from an unknown incendiary, and resulted in over 
$30,000 loss, with an insurance of but little over $10,000. During 
the same year a dwelling house, owned by B. E. Deyo, was burned, 
with a loss of $1,500, with no insurance. 

On January 29, 1860, the machine shop, owned by Col. John 
Dement, was burned out, resulting in a loss of $25,000, and no 
insurance. This damage was repaired in two months' time, the 
building being lowered one story because of damages done by the 
fire. This was followed in the same year by the burning of a car- 
penter shop, with four chests of tools, owned by Messrs. Herrick & 
Gordon ; damage, $350. And on October 3, in the following year, 
the dwelling house of H. Logan was burned by lightning ; loss, 
$600. In lees than fourteen months the inhabitants of the quiet 
town were called from their slumbers at two o'clock in the morning 
to resist the fiery fiend, then leaj^ing from the boot and shoe store 



DISASTERS. 141 

belonging to Mr. Sprauge. From this it swept tliroiigh E. Giles' 
shoe house, a small building, and the stone building on the corner 
of Main and Galena streets, occupied by Mr. Roberts as a hat store. 
Mr. E. W. Hine's dwelling was saved only by the utmost exertions 
of the citizens. The stone building was owned by Champ Fuller, 
on which there was no insurance; the building occupied by Mr. 
Sprauge was owned by J. B. Charters, and was insured for $400. 
The entire loss reached about $5,500. In April of the following 
year the Union Block was lowered one story, the walls being unsafe 
lor large assemblies after the fire of 1860. 

On February 8, 1865, a dwelling house in Dement Town, owned 
by Col. J. Dement, was burned down about three o'clock in the 
morning. The building was occupied by a Mr. Peifer, who, in his 
efforts to save some valuables, lo;t his life by burning with the 
building. On June 2, 1866, the paint shop of W. J. Daley, on 
Hennepin street, was burned, at a loss of $500. 

'Near five years passed without loss, but on March 3, 1871, a fire 
broke out in a building on the north side of Peoria street, occupied 
by Mr. Schuchart and family as dwelling and saloon. The build 
ing, with three other frame buildings on the west, a barn in the 
rear, belonging to Drs. Wyn and Paine, and F. C. McKenny's 
liver}'- stable on the east, were all consumed. The estimated loss 
was $4,000. On N^ovember 30, same year, the St. James Hotel 
burned. Insurance, $22,500. 

In the spring of 1873 (March 12) the knitting-mills were destroyed 
by fire, with the roof of the flax factory, with damage to machinery. 
The loss on the knitting-mills was estimated at $20,000, and on the 
flax-mills $5,000, making a total of $25,000. In the following 
month (April 22, 1873) E. B. Stiles' dwelling on Main street, west 
of the arch, was damaged by fire to the extent of $200. 

On February 19, 1875, a dwelling house belonging to Henry. 
Brener, in the south part of the first ward, was burned down ; 
damage was not stated. On December 4 of this year a fire broke 
out in the upper story of Becker & Underwood's flouring-mills. 
The elevators at the top of the mill and much of tlie machinery were 
destroyed. Most of the machinery was damaged by fire, or water 
thrown by the fire department, which did valuable service in arrest- 
ing the conflagration. The property was insured for $32,700, and 
the amount awarded for damages on property was $13,130. Messrs. 
Bennett, Thompson & Funk had large quantities of grain damaged 
by the water. 

There was one fire, on April 10, 1876, which entirely destroyed 
the residence of Moses Jerome, in Dement Town. Loss not given. 



142 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

In the following year (18YY) John McElroy's house, in the same 
town, was destroyed by fire, at a loss of $500 to the owner. 

On February 6, 1878, a fire destroyed a business house on Main 
street owned by W. H. Yan Epps, and occupied I. T. Yan Ness, 
druggist, and Will. Sussmilch, jeweler. The loss on the building 
was about $500; no insurance. There was $3,500 insurance on the 
stock of drugs. Mr. Sussmilch lost about $500 on fixtures, etc.; 
fully insured. F. Hegert's drug store, next door east, was consid- 
erably damaged by removal of goods, and by water. 

On March 23, 1879, J. C. Mead's book-store caught fire about 
three o'clock a.m. The flames were extinguished after the upper 
story and roof were destroyed; goods were removed without much 
damage. The loss was about $300; fully covered by insurance. 

The year 1880 opened the fire record on January 13, when the 
home of Theodore Moeller was damaged to the amount of $100. 
On the 8th of the following April, of the same year, the most 
disastrous fire that visited the city of Dixon broke out at the water- 
power about half-past one in the morning, and in one hour the large 
stone building owned by Caleb Clapp and Col. John Dement, occu- 
pied by H. D. Dement and S. C. Eell's flax-mill, and Thomas Bald- 
win's grist-mill, W. P. Thompson's and Becker & Underwood's 
flouring-mills, were a mass of ruins. The water-wheels and the 
pump house were also destroyed, thus cutting short the water 
supply ; the foundry of Brown & Edwards on the opposite side 
of the street was badly burned, and the plow works of C. H. 
Curtis caught fire several times. The Amboy fire company was 
telegraphed to for help, and the timel}^ arrival of the company with 
their steamer probably saved the property on the south side of the 
street. 

When the fire reached Becker & Underwood's mill there was a 
terrific explosion; fifteen or twenty firemen were working in and 
around the mill at the time; two of the number were instantly 
killed and ten others badly burned and injured. The killed were 
Ezra Becker and William Schum. Wounded : Cyrus Lint, Wm. 
Rink, jr., Orvil Anderson, Peter Ramsey, William Yann, Patrick 
Duify, Lee Stevens, Frank Gcetzenberger, Joe Hayden, and Joe 
Reuland. 

The losses and insurance on buildings and machinery were as 
follows: Becker & Underwood, $100,000; insurance, $33,900 on 
machinery, and $5,000 on stock. W. P. Thompson, $35,000; insur- 
ance on machinery $17,000, and $5,000 on stock. Antone Julien 
carried $5,500 on one fourth undivided interest in this mill. Col. 
John Dement from $20,000 to $25,000 on water-wheels, buildings 



MATfUFACTURING INTERESTS. 143 

occupied by Dement & Eells, foundry, and Curtis' plow works; no 
insurance. H. D. Dement & S. C. Eells, from $12,000 to $15,000 
on flax-mill machinery, stock, etc. ; no insurance. Caleb Clapp, 
$15,000; insurance $6,000. Thomas Baldwin, $3,500 on grist-mill 
machinery and stock; no insurance. Total loss from $190,000 to 
$198,000; insurance $66,900. 

The record begins August 2, 1856, and closes with the great fire 
of April 8, 1880, a period of twenty-four years ; during which time 
there have occurred twenty-six fires resulting in damages amounting 
to $302,000, and casualties, three deaths and ten wounded. 

MANUFACTURING INTERESTS. 

Dixon Plow Works. — These works were established in October, 
1856, by Col. John Dement on the site now occupied by Yann <fe 
Means, carriage makers. The business was there carried on for 
several years and was then moved to its present location at the 
water power. The whole business was, at that time, done in the 
building afterward used a> a blacksmith shop. From a small 
beginning the establishment grew in capacity and reputation, and 
obtained its highest importance under Col. Dement's management, 
in 1863 and 1864, when his -plows took the first premium at the field 
trial of the State Agricultural Society, over all competitors, and he 
was awarded gold and silver medals ; from which fact, until the re- 
tirement of Col. Dement from the business, the plows were known 
as " The Gold Medal." At this time began the wonderful series of 
improvements which in a few years changed the soft, rough German 
steel plow, then in general use, into the hardened, highly finislied 
patent-steel implement of to-day. Except in modes of manufacture 
and improved material there has been but little change in the Dixon 
plow. The short, deep, round-topped mould-board then in use, now 
remains. At that time it was unique, peculiar to Col. Dement's 
"Shaghai" and the modified "Shanghai," or "Gold Medal." 
The real value of this pattern is strongly attested by the fact that 
its principal features are now used by every prominent manufacturer 
of plows in the northwest. In 1867 the business was transferred 
to W. M. Todd k H. D. Dement, who conducted it for two years, 
selling nearly their entire produce to F. K. Orvis & Co., then a firm 
in the agricultural implement trade in Chicago. In 1869 the whole 
business was sold to Messrs. Orvis & Co., who continued the manu- 
facture of the various lines of goods, and added others from time to 
time, building up a large trade, extending over the entire northwest. 
They were succeeded by the Orvis Manufacturing Company, organ- 
ized under the general laws of the state, May 12, 1877, which com- 



144 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

pany, after two years and a half of largely increased trade, sold out 
to Charles H. Curtis, of Chicago (the president of the company and 
largest stockholder), on November 12, 18T9. Mr. Curtis has been 
identified with large manufacturing interests in this state for nearly 
forty years, and with his usual energy has pushed the business to its 
utmost, adding new articles, such as seeders, drills, sulky plows, 
etc., all of which uphold the standard of excellence so long deserv- 
ingly maintained by the Dixon Plow Works. 

The works in 1880 occupied the greater portion of a magnificent 
factory building, erected by Col. John Dement in 1869. This build- 
ing is solidly built of stone, and is four stories high on the front, 
measuring on the ground plan 86x142 feet It is interesting to the 
older inhabitants of the county, who saw the beginning of this enter- 
prise, to go through the works and notice the wonderful changes 
which a few years have made in the methods of manufacture and 
their products. In the beginning a few small rooms furnished 
ample space to carry on the dijfferent brandies of work, which were 
mainly done by hand. Afterward each department became a com- 
plete establishment by itself, doing all the work by machinery, and 
turning out the parts assigned to it by tlie thousands, each piece 
being an exact duplicate of others of the same class. On the 8th of 
April, 1880, the works were damaged by fire, and business has not 
since been resumed. 

Grand Detour Plow Works. — This well-known establishment was 
founded in 1837 at Grand Detour, by John Deere, now of Moline, 
Illinois, and Major Andrus, now deceased. They started what was 
styled a plow factory in a little blacksmith shop (such as may be seen 
at a country cross-road), and two forges were sufficient to meet their 
wants for some two years, when they became able to run an ordinary 
horse-power, for the purpose of turning the grindstone and fanning 
the furnace fire. The building in which these labor-saving arrange- 
ments were located stood some forty rods from the "factory" 
proper, and every plow ground and casting moulded had to be car- 
ried one way or the other, in the hand or on the shoulder, and the 
sight of the two proprietors lugging their work back and forth is 
called up with interest, in view of the great prosperity which each of 
them, by means of the same hard work and close management, 
ultimately attained. In this manner, and under these disadvantages, 
the business went on for about six years, when such success had 
attended the enterprise that they were enabled to put in steam. 
From this time forward they continued adding machinery and im- 
provements, and their progress was uninterrupted. However, there 
were no means of sending their plows through the country except 



MANUFACTURING INTERESTS. 145 

bj wagons, and few markets except the ftirni in even the best agri- 
cultural sections. Teams were loaded and sent througliout the 
country, and substantial farmers were supplied with plows, which 
they sold through the community, reserving a handsome commission 
for their service-. 

In 1848 Mr. Deere withdrew from the firm, which had experi- 
enced several changes, at one time presenting the array of Andrus, 
Deere, Tate & Gould, and started a plow factory at Moline, which 
grew and prospered from the first, and might with reason be termed 
a child of the Grand Detour Works. The business was run by Mr. 
Andrus alone, who was then joined by Col. Amos Boswortli, who, 
in our late war, was known as lieutenant-colonel of the 34th Illinois, 
and died in the service in March 1862. 

In October, 1857, the factory, which had been steadily growing 
and extending its limits, was burnt down, and upon the same site 
and remnants of the walls a new factory was erected. In August, 
1863, Theron Cumins, Esq., senior member of the present firm, 
became one of the proprietors, which took the name of Andrus & 
Cumins. Under their administration the business was carried on 
until February 1867, when Mr. Andrus died. Few men pass away 
more deeply and sincerely lamented than was Mr. Andrus. Upon 
his death the business passed into Mr. Cumins' hands, and was by 
him conducted until June 1869, when Col. H. T. JSToble, of Dixon, 
became interested therein, the name of the firm being T. Cumins 
& Co. 

In 1869 the works were moved to their present location at Dixon. 
In June, 1874, Mr. Dodge, for several years a merchant here, became 
interested therein, and the business was then conducted under the 
firm name of Cumins, Xoble & Dodge. In June, 1879, the business 
was incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois, the title 
being "Grand Detour Plow Company." Theron Cumins, Henry 
T. Noble, Orris B. Dodge and Charles H. Noble being the incorpo- 
rators. The plow works, which in the first years only turned out 
from seventy-five to a hundred plows per year, are now producing 
many thousands, and scattering them by means of the steam horse 
over the limitless West. The works are located on a spacious trian- 
gular piece of land, between the depots of the Chicago & North- 
western and Illinois Central railroads, with switches from both roads 
running to the shops and warehouses. • The factory has a frojitage 
on the north of 206 feet, and to the west of 164 feet. The forging 
room is 116 X 50 feet ; the grinding room, 44 X 50 feet ; the machine 
room, 30 x 70 feet ; the wood room, 150 X 50 feet ; the foundry, 
60 X 40 feet; and paint room on the second fioor, 150 x 50 feet; 



146 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

with a warehouse for storing purposes, 120 x 50 feet, two stories 
high. The workmen connected with the works are men of large 
experience in the manufacture of agricultural implements, many of 
whom have been identified with this establishment for ten, fifteen 
and twenty years, and some for even a quarter of a century. The 
good name fairly earned by the Grand Detour Plow is more than 
sustained by the very superior quality of goods now being made by 
the Grand Detour Plow Company. 

/Sash, Door and Blind Factory. — In 1868 James Fletcher erected 
the building he now occupies, and commenced the manufacture of 
sash, doors and blinds on quite an extensive scale. The factory 
building is 36 X 60 feet, and four stories high. Everything is done 
by machinery, so that all that is done to a door, sash or blind by 
hand is to put it together and smooth it up and s:indpaper it. Every 
tenon is cut by a machine that is set to fit the mortise, and every 
tenon is just exactly the same size and shape, as is also every uior- 
tise. The machinery used by Mr. Fletcher is all of modern manu- 
facture, with late improvements ; comprising such machines as 
planers, mortising, boring and sticking machines, saw-tables, sharp- 
ers, formers, etc. His trade is mostly confined to this city, his 
present facilities being too small to supply a large foreign trade, yet 
he does sell stock to many of the neighboring towns. It is seldom 
that the busy hum of the saws at Fletcher's mill are not heard upon 
working days, and aniong the most industrious of those working in 
this mill is the proprietor himself. The excellence of the work 
turned out by this factory is deserving of great success. 

The Diwon Water Pouter. — In the year 1844 the agitation of the 
subject of building a dam across Pock river at this point was com- 
menced, and about the year 1845 resulted in a survey being made by 
one Woodworth, who reported a fall in the river from Grand Detour 
of nine and a half feet, and that the erection of a dam at this place 
was not a difiicult undertaking. Subsequently, probably in 1846, a 
charter was obtained to organize the Dixon Dam and Bridge com- 
pany, and in the fall and winter of 1846-7 the bridge was built. We 
have seen how this first bridge fared. Subsequently a new charter 
was obtained and a company organized in 1848, under the name of 
the Rock River Hydraulic Company, for the purpose of construct- 
ing a dam, but for some reason the work was not immediately carried 
forward. In August, 1849, application was made to the county com- 
missioner's court for a writ of ad quod damraim, in accordance with 
the law in regard to proposed mill-dams; a jury of twelve disinter- 
ested men was summoned, who met in September and declared in 
favor of the building of the proposed dam. The company entered 



MANUFACTURING INTERESTS. 147 

into negotiations with Messrs. Hanchet & Dalston, of Beloit, Wiscon- 
sin, wliich resulted in a contract on the part of these gentlemen to build 
the dam for a bonus of $1,500. They immediately commenced work ; 
they were allowed to help themselves, without charge, to such ma- 
terial as the woods and quarries afforded, and were to own the dam 
when comp'eted. Although provision was made for a five-foot dam 
in the preliminary proceedings, it at first was built only two feet and 
a half high, but was found to be inadequate to furnish the power 
needed and was soon raised higher. It was built of brush or young 
trees, stone and gravel, and was soon finished. Although Hanchet 
& Dalston had acquired the ownership of the work, they were unable 
to retain it, by reason of the indebtedness that they had incurred in 
its construction. Mr. J. B. Brooks had furnished their employes 
with goods from his store, and Col. Dement had provided funds, 
until the demands of these two gentlemen were more than the firm 
could liquidate. As a matter of security, therefore, Messrs. Dement 
and Brooks eventually acquired the entire ownership of the dam, and 
Hanchet & Dalston retired. A saw-mill was built at the north end 
of the dam at the same time, by Mr. Christopher Brookuer. The 
building that, previous to the great fire of April 8, 1880, was known 
as the Becker & Underwood mill was commenced by Brooks & De- 
ment as soon as they had become owners of the dam. Col. Dement 
sold his interest in the mill, and acquired Brooks' interest in the 
dam, and the mill was afterward run by Brooks & Daley. Dement 
then built the foundry and the present race, and laid the foundation 
for what, prior to the fire mentioned above, was known as the fiax- 
mills and the fiouring-mills of Thompson & Co., both of which were 
afterward built by Chas. Godfrey, Esq. Col. Dement, since the war, 
also built the plow works and the flax-mills on the south side of the 
race. Mr. Godfrey not only built the flouring-mill mentioned, but 
purchased the Becker ife Underwood mill of Brooks & Daley, and 
a large interest in the water-power. 

The dam withstood the tide for two or three years without re- 
quiring any considerable repair. Breaches were not infrequent, but 
in every instance they were readily mended and the proprietors, after 
years of experience and observation, have gained a knowledge of 
the current and bed which has at last enabled them to construct a 
first-class dam, seven feet in height, against wliich water and ice seem 
to be powerless. 

From Grand Detour to this place, a distance of nine miles, there 
is a fall of nine and a half feet, with a volume of 7,355 cubic feet of 
water per minute, at the lowest stages of the river. This has been 
ascertained to a certainty by J. M. Patrick, Esq., who measured it 



148 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

and made estimates in 1863, when the river was very low. This 
would furnish a power equal to that of 3,000 horse. The fall at 
that time was five feet, and since then it has been raised to seven 
feet and two inches, which will nearly double the power. At 
least 5.000 horse power is attained. Calculating that it will re- 
quire twenty horse power for one run of stone, we find that our 
water power is capable of propelling 250 run of very large stone. 
This calculation is made from the lowest stage of water — when the 
river is up to a medium stag^ the power almost doubles the above 
figures. It is estimated that the water used b}' our factories when 
they were all in operation was not perceptible in the flow of water 
over the dam. The capacity of the power already developed would 
be sufficient to run a line of factories on each side of the river that 
would reach from the dam to the railroad bridge. This places within 
the grasj^ of Dixon the banner of manufacturing towns in Illinois. 
Will she take it ? By placing that portion of this water not needed by 
the present owners in the market at reasonable figures, new capital 
would be invested in it, and by the full emploj^nent of this immense 
power by capitalists, who have, and will feel, an increasing interest 
in the city, equal to the amount of their capital invested in the me- 
chanical appliance of that power, all branches of industry and mer- 
cantile enterprises would be stimulated to such an extent that it 
would not be unreasonable to expect that in ten years Dixon would 
become a city of 15,000 or 20,000 inhabitants. 

The Flax Bagging Mill. — Under the proprietorship of Col. John 
Dement is an establishment that cannot well be ignored in this 
sketch, as its relation to the manufacturing interests of Dixon is one 
of great importance. This mill is the first one of the kind estab- 
lished in the United States. The project was developed in 1865, and 
the mill erected in 1866. In February, 1867, the mill commenced 
operation under the proprietorship of Messrs. Jerome & Downing ; 
a few months latter the firm name was changed to Dement & Jerome ; 
but for some years Col. John Dement has been sole propi-ietor. 
Knowing the demand for the manufactured material, the mill was 
established on a large basis, and as soon as it commenced operation 
turned out 1400 yards of bailing cloth per day. The original build- 
ing was of stone, 45xV5 feet, two stories high. Running three years 
in this building and finding the demand so much greater than their 
facilities could supply. Dement & Jerome increased their capacity in 
1870 by extending the factory building back sixty feet, making the 
whole building 45 x 140 feet, and increasing the capacity of the mill 
to its present immense business of 3,200 yards of bailing cloth per 
day. The factory now gives employment to fifty men. women and 



MANUFACTURING INTERESTS. 149 

girls. To illustrate the importance of this flax establishment and the 
number to whom it gives employment it will' be necessary to go 
outside the mill. The flax bagging mill uses 9,000 pounds of tow 
per day, which Col. Dement manufactures himself from 36,000 
pounds of flax straw, which is the product of twenty-five to thirty 
acres. The mill runs a full capacity for 280 days a year. This would 
make 1,260 tons of flax tow manufactured into baling cloth by this 
factory during the year, produced from 5,040 tons of straw, or the 
product of from 7,000 to 8,140 acres. The mill receives three car 
loads of tow per week, and ships two car loads of bagging. Most ot 
the product of this mill is shipped south to Memphis and Louisville, 
and some to St. Louis, from which places it is distributed through- 
out the cotton-fields, where it is used to inclose the bales of cotton. 

The Becker & Underwood Mills. — These mills stand unrivaled 
and alone as the only mills operated in this country on the complete 
Hungarian system, and are attracting flour manufacturers from the 
far east, west and north to witness the successful working of this 
wonderful machinery'. 

The buikiing is 50 85 feet, six stories high, with basement. 
An elevator and cleaning room constitute the east wing, 22 x 36 
feet, and five stories in height. This building the firm commenced 
on August 12, 1880, by five mechanics, which force was increased 
sufiiciently to carry the entire building up together; the siding was 
worked from the inside, inclosing each story as it was raised. The 
work was managed with such skill by the proprietors that on Feb- 
ruary 10, 1881, a little less than six jnonths from the time the work' 
was commenced, the mill started, with all that wonderful combina- 
tion of machinery extending from the cellar to the garret. 

On the first floor are set thirty-five rolling-mills, through which 
the grain passes until reduced into the finest flour. Each roller is 
complete in itself and runs independent of the others, performing 
its own part of the reduction process, the grist having to pass 
through a number of these rollers before it is reduced to its finest 
state. These rollers are connected by conductors and elevators, 
through which the grist passes from one rolling-mill to another until 
perfected. The grain passes the first roller, where it is cracked and 
falls through to the basement, from which it is carried by elevators 
to the fifth floor, where it is separated from impurities and returns to 
the first floor to pass through the second roller, then to the upper 
floor as before ; and continues in like manner until the full series is 
passed, consisting in all of eighteen operations or reductions. On 
this floor, besides the rolling-mills, are four flour packers. 

On the second floor are sixteen stock hoppers and twenty-two 



150 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

conveyors ; and on the third floor there are nine bolting reels and 
eight purifiers The fourth floor contains, also, eight bolting reels 
and eight purifiers, with three bran dusters and three aspirators by 
which the stock is cleansed from impurities through a suction pro- 
cess. The fifth floor is occupied by thirty-f(mr bolting reels ; and 
ascending to the sixth floor, or attic, we find it occupied by the 
machinery which drives belts and elevators in the mill below. The 
mill is capable of turning out 500 barrels of fiour per day. 

The cleaning room is situated between the mill and elevator, 
and is of the same height of the latter, which is five stories, with a 
cleaning mill on each floor. The elevator has a capacity of eighteen 
thousand bushels, and is driven in connection with the machinery 
in the cleaning room, by an independent wheel; having no connec- 
tion with the power that drives the mill. In the basement of the 
cleaning room is being fitted up a Holly fire extinguisher as a 
means of protection from any accident by fire such as the firm expe- 
rienced in 1880, when their former mill was destroyed in the great 
fire of that year. It is an establishment of which Dixon might well 

be proud. 

THE FOUNDER OF DIXON. 

John Dixon was the first white man to settle within the limits of 
what is now embraced in Lee county. He was a native of New 
York, born in the village of Rye, Westchester county, October 9, 
1Y84. When twenty-one years of age he removed to New York 
city, and opened a clothing and merchant tailoring establishment, in 
'which he continued in a successful trade for fifteen years. He was 
a member and one of the directors of the first Bible society organiza- 
tion in the United States. This was organized February 11, 1809, 
under the name of the "Young Men's Bible Society of the City of 
New York. " While thus engaged, premonitory symptoms of pul- 
monary disease manifested themselves, making a change of climate 
necessary. Under the advice of his physician he disposed of his 
interests in the city, and in 1820, in company with Mrs. Dixon and 
children, and his brother-in law, Chas. S. Boyd and family (now of 
Princeton, Illinois), set out for the then Great West — the western 
prairies. Leaving New York in a covered wagon, drawn by a single 
team, the emigrants passed through the States of New Jersey and 
Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh, and there purchased a flat-boat, on 
which they embarked with their team and efl'ects, and floated down 
the Ohio to Shawneetown, Illinois, then a little landing. Here they 
disemb. irked with their horses and goods, and after disposing of their 
boat proceeded with their wagon northwest, through pathless prai- 
ries and unbridged streams, to the vicinity in which is now Spring- 



M 








THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC nnilARY 



ASTOif. l.j;;,(».X A.NO 

TILIi.;.\' HIIMMTIUNS 

B L 



THE FOUNDER OF DIXOK 153 

field. The prairie, now the present site of the state capital, was 
then an open wild, without a human dwelling, though a few pioneers 
had reared their cabins in the bordering woodlands. On Fancy 
creek, nine miles from the present site of Springfield, Mr. Dixon 
made his home at the close of his journey of over seventy days. 
Sangamon county was not then set off", and nearly all central and 
northern Illinois was embraced in the county of Madison. Early in 
the next year Sangamon county was formed ; and the first court in 
the new county was held at the house of John Kelly, the oldest set- 
tler near the site of Springfield. John Dixon was appointed foreman 
of the grand jury. In 1825 Judge Sawyer, whose circuit nominally 
embraced northwestern Illinois, requested Mr. Dixon to take the 
appointment of circuit clerk and remc>ve to Peoria, then often called 
Fort Clark, which he did, receiving also from Governor Coles the 
appointment of recorder of deeds for Peoria county, then just 
formed. J^orthern Illinois was not then divided into counties, and 
within the territory attached to Peoria county were the voting pre- 
cincts of Gralena and Chicago. This whole region, which now em- 
braces thirty counties, then had but 1,236 inhabitants. While Mr. 
Dixon was at Peoria the government established a mail route from 
Peoria to Galena, crossing Rock river at the present site of Dixon, 
and going by way of Gratiot's Grove, in Wisconsin, to accommodate 
a little settlement there ; mail to be carried once in two weeks on 
horseback. Mr. Dixon threw in a bid for the contract, which was 
accepted. In order to secure a passage for the mails over Rock 
river, he induced a man by the name of Ogee, a French and Indian 
half-breed, to establish a ferry at the point of crossing the river. 
This done, the travel to and from the lead mines so rapidly increased 
that Ogee's coffers became full — too full indeed for his moral 
powers to bear ; the result was constant inebriation. To avoid the 
delays in the transmission of mails, which these irregularities en- 
tailed, Mr. Dixon bought the ferry from Ogee; and April 11, 1830, 
removed his family to this point. From that date the place, as a 
point for crossing the river, became known as "Dixon's Ferry." 
At that time a large portion of the Winnebago Indians occupied this 
part of the Rock river country. Mr. Dixon so managed his business 
relations with them as to secure their entire confidence and friend- 
ship, which, on the return of the Sacs and Foxes, under Black 
Hawk, in 1832, proved to be of inestimable benefit to himself and 
family. He was recognized by them as the "red-man's friend," 
and in accordance with the universal practice of the race, who always 
give names to persons and places, descriptive of some incident or 
attribute pertaining to them, called him " Nadah-churah-sah, " — 
10 



154 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

" Head-hair white," in alhision to his flowing white hair. It is also 
their custom to run compound words or sentences together, as in 
the case of this name, pronounced bj them " Na-chu-sah. " Mr. 
Dixon's influence over the moral habits of the Indians of the Rock 
River valley seriously curtailed the profits of the few Indian traders 
who had established posts there. They found but a poor market for 
the whisky with which they were wont to defraud the Indians out of 
their furs and other pelts. Owanico, or " Jahro," the Winnebago 
chief, who claimed and proved to be the "fast friend " of .Mr. Dixon 
and family, became an active and energetic disciple of temperance. 
The advent of Black Hawk with his six hundred warriors, who were 
marching from the Des Moines river, in Iowa, up this valley, and 
who encamped at a spring a few hundred yards above the ferry mow 
flooded by the back-water of the mill-dam), gave the Winnebago 
chiefs abundant opportunity to manifest their fast friendship for the 
family of Mr. Dixon. During the campaign Mr. Dixon's intimate 
knowledge of his country, and of the character and habits of the 
Indian race, enabled him to ren.der important services to the country. 
This seems to have been appreciated, and to have gained for him the 
personal friendship and esteem of gentlemen of world-wide reputa- 
tion. Among these were Colonel Baker, who was killed in the 
early part of the rebellion, Albert Sidney Johnston, Zachary Taylor, 
Robert Anderson, afterward hero of Sumter, Jefferson Davis, 
Abraham Lincoln, Gen. Winfield Scott, and others. He entered 
the land upon which the most valuable part of the (now) city of 
Dixon stands, and in 1835 laid it off into town lots. In this connec- 
tion it may not be improper to say that all the lands thus subdivided 
were disposed of from time to time, and the avails, instead of being 
hoarded up for individual use, have gone to build up the general 
interests of the city. 

In 1838, when the general system of internal improvements in 
the state were adopted by the legislature, and a vacancy occasioned 
by the death of Col. Stevenson occurred in the state board of com- 
missioners, he was appointed by Governor Duncan to fill the vacancy, 
and" subsequently elected by the legislature a per)nanent member of 
the board; and although subsequent experience showed that the 
state had undertaken too much, resulting in failure, careful investi- 
gation manifested the fact that the business of the state board had 
been honestly and faithfully executed. While serving as commis- 
sioner an incident occurred to Mr. Dixon that will not be out of 
place to notice in this connection. The pay-rolls of the companies 
were made out and signed, and awaited Mr. Dixon to pay them off. 
It was his duty as commissioner to draw the money at Springfield 



THE FOUNDER OF DIXON. 155 

and pay the men. He liad intrusted his draft on Springfield for 
collection to a contractor named Hamlin, who absconded with the 
proceeds, $11,500. James P. Dixon and, Smith Gilbraith started in 
pursuit, traveling by stage coach through many of the eastern 
states, but returned without success. Soon after James and Elijah 
Dixon renewed the search, traveling in Canada and the eastern and 
New England states, striking his trail once in Connecticut, but 
again losing it they returned to Dixon without recovering anything. 
In the meantime Mr. Dixon had raised the money and paid the 
amount to the state. Some time afterward Hamlin drew a prize of 
$25,000 in a lottery. With this and his other ill-gotten gains he re- 
turned boldly to Galena and opened a store. Mr. Dixon at once 
instituted suit and recovered judgment for the $11,500 and interest. 
The sheriff closed out all of Hamlin's goods that he could get 
possession of, which paid the costs and expenses of the search for 
Hamlin, and a few hundred dollars of the stolen money. In 1840 
Mr. Dixon visited Washington with application for the removal of 
the land office from Galena to Dixon, and Gen. Scott, and perhaps 
other army officers, personal friends of Mr. Dixon, who had become 
familiar with the topography of the country during the Black Hawk 
war, promptly interested themselves in his behalf, and introduced 
him to President Yan Buren, who at once signed the order for 
removal. Of his domestic life it is becoming to make but bare men- 
tion. His wife, formerly Rebecca Sherwood, of 'New York, a lady 
of superior mental capacity and energy, shared with her husband 
the toils and privations incident to frontier life, and exerted a moral 
and religious influence which will be felt in this region for all time. 
She, with all her children, ten in number, passed away before the 
husband and father. Mr. Dixon continued to live here in the city 
that he loved, where for nearly fifty years he had walked the Indian 
trail as well as paved streets, until his death, which occurred Thurs- 
day, July 6, 1876. His death was expected, as he had been grad- 
ually failing for several weeks; yet, when the muffled tones of the 
bell on Thursday morning announced the sad news that the beloved 
founder of the town had passed away, it carried sorrow to every heart, 
for old and young alike had learned to love and revere him as a father. 
His city made suitable arrangements for the funeral, which occurred 
on the next Sabbath. The services took place at the north front of the 
court-house, where platforms and seats had been erected for the pur- 
pose. Early in the day delegations composed of civic societies 
from neighboring cities arrived, each headed by a band of music. 
Many of the stores and public buildings were deeply draped in 
mourning. The body was laid in state at the court-house under 



156 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

guard of Sir Knights Templar. The remains retained the pleasant 
features of life, and were looked upon for the last time by 10,000 
people, who "loved with a love that was more than love" the 
good Father Dixon. The honor shown his remains in death was 
truly a worthy remembrance of a long life of purity and goodness. 
It has been the custom and inclination of the human race from the 
earliest historical ages to pay honors at burial ceremonies of mili- 
tary heroes and political leaders, and the men of wealth have often 
been thus honored and followed to their grave by the multitudes, 
but seldom in all these -ages has there been such ovation and general 
marks of respect tendered to a man in the common walks of life as 
was witnessed at the obsequies of Father Dixon. It was emphat- 
ically an ovation of the masses, and especially of the old settlers of 
this and adjoining counties, who came to pay their respects to the 
last on earth of Father Dixon. It would reasonably be supposed 
that a man so universally loved and respected at his death as was 
Father Dixon never had an enemy in the world, but this was not 
so, — at least in his earlier days, — ^for in his long and active life he 
had battled earnestly and unflinchingly against evil in every form, 
and by such firmness for the right he did, as might be expected, 
antagonize men who could not understand, or, if they understood, 
had not the souls to appreciate those noble characteristics which raised 
him far above ordinary men. Yet it can be truly said that "none 
knew him but to love," or "named him but to praise," because 
those with whom he had met in the strife incident to life were at last 
led to acknowledge the nobleness of his character. It was not alone 
that he was unselfish, hospitable, kind and generous, patriotic and 
loving, which gained him the respect of all;J but it was that, when in 
active life, he was always unswervingly for the cause of human pro- 
gress and the right, and stubbornly opposed evil. Though his wife 
had passed away more than twenty-nine years before, and he had 
outlived all his children, and it could long since be truly said that 

"The mossy marbles rest 
On the lips that he had prest 

In their bloom. 
And the names he loved to hear 
Had been engraved for many a year 
On the tomb," 

yet he was surrounded by kind and loving hearts and willing 

hands that administered to his every want. It was well, as a lesson 

to the generation of man coming after him, that such marked respect 

should be paid to the closing life of such a man. It was well that 

such a concourse of people should assemble here as had never 

before congregated in one day in this his own city. It was well that 



THE FOUNDEE OF DIXON. 157 

the court-house and other public buildings should be deeply draped 
in the habiliments of woe, for a truly good man lay dead in its halls. 
At a citizens' meeting held on Friday evening after Father 
Dixon's death, the following memorial was prepared and spread on 
the records of the city : 

IN MEMORY OF JOHN DIXON. 

We, the people of Dixon, called upon to mourn the departure of 

him who gave our city existence and its name, desire to place among 

its records this testimonial of our appreciation of his virtues. His 

neighbors, — many of us have known him for a third of a century, — 

who during all that time have looked up to liim and have loved him as 

a father, with one accord have assembled to pay this tribute to his 

memory. John Dixon, after a life extended far beyond the life 

ordinarily assigned to man, at the ripe age of nearly ninety-two 

years, one-half of which had been passed in this town so loved by 

him, which he had made, has departed from the scene of his earthly 

labors. Having long outlived all that were, by the ties of blood, 

nearest and dearest to him, his weary pilgrimage at last is ended. 

He has gone to the summer land. A man of great strength of 

mind, force of character, and determination of purpose; yet he has 

lived and died without an enemy. Forgetful of himself, he lived 

for others, a pure and unselfish life. He was that noblest work of 

God — an honest man — and he has 

" So lived that when the summons came to join 
The innumerable caravan, that moves 
To that mysterious realm where each shall take 
His chamber in the silent halls at death. 
He went, not as the quarry slave of night, 
Scourged to his dungeon; but sustained and sooth'd 
By an unfaltering trust, approached the grave 
Like one that wraps the drapery of his couch 
Around him and lies down to pleasant dreams.'' 

Born at the close of the revolution and rocked in his cradle when 
the "cradle of liberty" was swinging to and fro with a new-born 
nation. Father Dixon was imbued with all those noble principles of 
patriotism characteristic of that age, and which he retained through 
life. He lived to see his country grow from a vast wilderness, with 
only about the number of inhabitants contained in our state, to a 
great nation of forty millions. When he was born there was hardly 
a white inhabitant in all the great states of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois, and indeed the entire northwest, now the most flourishing 
part of the United States. A dozen years before, the American 
colonies were the most loyal part of the British empire, and on the 
political horizon no speck indicated the struggle that had just closed 



158 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY, 

and established the great republic of the world. There were then 
only about half-a-dozen newspapers in this vast country, while 
railroads, telegraphs and steam-engines had not entered into the 
remotest conceptions of man. It is indeed a very pertinent fact, 
in this connection, that when Fulton took his first steam-boat up the 
Hudson on a trial trip, John Dixon was a passenger, and paid the 
great inventor of steamboats the first money as fare ever received as 
a return for his immense expenses and time. So it was our own 
Father Dixon who paid the first steamboat fare ever paid ; who was 
the first patron of steam, that now earns, every moment, its millions 
of dollars. Fulton at first refused to receive the money, but Father 
Dixon with his innate principles of justice, insisted that he i?hould, 
and it was only by his determination to be just that gave him the 
satisfaction of being honored, as we said. He lived through a 
history m which has been allotted more important events, in their 
bearing upon the happiness of the world, than any other which has 
elapsed since the creation. Kow he has gone down to his grave full 
of honors, such as any hero of any age might envy. 

Mrs. Dixon was one of the few women who could and did adorn 
any position in life in which she was placed. Her person was rather 
under size, exhibiting no marked peculiarity. She was intelligent, 
far above the age and circumstances surrounding her, and had a 
warm heart and ready hand for every good word and work alike. 
Devout and fervent in all the holy exercises of religion and morality, 
ardently attached to the church (Baptist) to which she belonged, she 
gave her hand to all who bore the name and character of that great 
christian body. Her moral worth, talents, virtue, and her whole life, 
was one of devotion to Christianity. She was Solomon's ideal of 
glorious womanhood before he was corrupted by the false glare and 
glitter of a false religion and an impure life. ''As an early reminis- 
cence of Mrs. Dixon's rare tact and knowledge of character, shall I 
venture to write that in the dead of winter, preceding the Black 
Hawk war, the prophet, from Prophetstown, Black Hawk, and a 
chief from E-ock Island, whose name I have forgotten, held a council 
at Dixon's Ferry, and then and there negotiated with the Pottawato- 
mies for the occupancy of the Spotted Arms' town near the present 
site of Rockford. Meal time came three times a dav, to which the 
chiefs at the council fire were invited as guests of Mrs. Dixon. She 
presided as waiter, and. to allay any fears of her guests, sat down 
and ate and drank with them. The perfect lady was reminded by 
Black Hawk, as spokesman, of her goodness, and he called the at- 
tention of the other chiefs to her care and politeness to them." 



LEE COUNTY UNION VOLUNTEERS. 159 

LEE COUNTY UNION VOLUNTEERS. 

THIRTEENTH REGIMENT. 

The Thirteenth Infantry Illinois Yolunteers was organized under 
the Ten-Kegiment bill, at Dixon, Illinois, May 9, 1861, and went into 
camp on the fair grounds at Dixon. On the next day, after going 
into camp, the following regimental officers were elected : John 

B. Wyman, colonel, B. F, Parks, lieutenant-colonel, A. B. Gorgas, 
major. Colonel's staff consisted of A. W. Pitts, commissary, W. 

C. Henderson, quartermaster, J. L. McCleary, assistant quarter- 
master, H. T. Porter, adjutant. Dr. S. C. Plumer, surgeon, Dr. D. 
"W. Young, assistant-surgeon, Kev. J. C. Miller, chaplain. The 
drawing of positions by the companies resulted as follows : 

Dixon . . Cajjtain H. T. Noble . . Company A 

Sterling . . " D. K. Bushnell . " B 

Amboy . . " M. H. Messinger . " C 

Rock "Island . . " Q. McNeil . . " D 

Sandwich . " S. W. Partridge . " E 

Sycamore . . " Z. B. Mayo . . tt y 

Morrison . . " G. W. Cole . . " G 

Aurora . . " — Gardner . . " H 

Chicago . . " S. W. Wadsworth . " I 

Du Page .' . '• W. Blanchard . . " K 

This regiment was organized with 87u men, and was composed 
of companies from Dixon, Sterling, Amboy, Rock Island, Sandwich, 
Sycamore, Morrison, Aurora, Chicago, and Du Page. The regiment 
was organized for the three months service, but the call being made 
soon after for three-years volunteers, the regiment was mustered into 
the United States service under the last call, May 24, 1861, being 
the first regiment mustered into the three-years service. 

Company A was the first company of volunteers raised at Dixon, 
and on April 22, 1861, they met at their armory and elected company 
officers : A. B. Gorgas, captain, Henry T. Noble, first-lieutenant, 
Henry Dement, second-lieutenant, Benjamin Gilman, first-sergeant, 
and O. M. Pugh, second-sergeant, and on the same day hoisted the 
union flag opposite the mayor's office. On April 2.") the ladies of 
Dixon presented the company with a handsome banner, when as- 
sembled in front of the court-house. Miss Mary Williams (Mrs. H. 

D. Dement) delivered the presentation address. 

Two other companies, the Dixon Cadets and the Dixon Blues, 
were organized within a few days, but their services were not needed 
on account of the regiments under the first call being full. Most of 
the members of these companies afterward enlisted and went to the 
war in other companies and regiments. On June 1, ls61, the ladies 
presented Co. A with uniforms made by their own hands. 



160 HISTORY OF LEE COUIVTY. 

Company C was organized at Amboy, electing as company officers 
as follows : Henry M. Messinger, captain, Nathaniel Neif, first 
lieutenant, George B. Sage, second lieutenant. 

The two companies above, A and C, were of Lee county, while 
the other companies were from the dififerent parts of the state as 
above given. 

This regiment remained in camp at Dixon until Sunday, June 
16, when thej were ordered to Caseyville, Illinois ; from thence to 
Rolla, Missouri, by rail, July 6. Here they remained until October 
10, 1861, when they were ordered to Springfield, Missouri ; and in 
thirty days (November 10) they were ordered back to Rolla. Here 
they went into winter quarters, and remained until March 16, 1862, 
when they were ordered to Arkansas ; and leaving Rolla, Missouri, 
on the above date, they marched, via Springfield, to Pea Ridge, 
Arkansas ; thence, via Kietsville, to Balesville, and thence to Helena, 
Arkansas, arriving on July 14, 1862. On December 27, 1862, they 
reached Chickasaw Bayou, being the first regiment to reach that 
battleground and lead in the assault against the enemy, on Decem- 
ber 29, 1862. In this battle fell some of the brave boys of Lee 
county. On the 11th day of the following month (January 1863) 
they participated in the battle of Arkansas Post. Then followed the 
battle at Jackson, Mississippi, May 22, 1863, in which they were 
engaged; and on the 22d of the same month they participated in the 
assault on the rebel works before Yicksburgh. From here they 
returned to Jackson, Mississippi, and participated in the siege of 
that ^city, |July 1863. They were in the battles of Tuscumbia, 
October 26 and 27, 1863. From there to Lookout Mountain, No- 
vember 24 ; thence to Mission Ridge on the following day (Novem- 
ber 25) ; two days later (November 27, 1863) they were in the battle 
of Ringgold, Georgia. In the following spring (May 1864) they 
were in the battle of Madison, Alabama. 

Their term of service having expired, they returned to Spring- 
field, Illinois, and were mustered out of the service of the United 
States on June 18, 1864. 

Veterans were transferred to the 56th Illinois Volunteers, among 
whom were some of the Lee county soldiers, which will be noted in 
the following table. Mark M. Evens, of Dixon, was mustered in as 
captain of Co. I in the 56th regiment, as above, and was mus- 
tered out of the service at the close of the war, under date of August 
12, 1865. 

Oncers Roll at the Close of Service. — Col. John B. "Wyman, 
Amboy, killed in battle of Chickasaw Bayou, December 28, 1862. 

Lieut.-Col. Benjamine F. Parks, Dixon, resigned June 24, 1861. 



LEE COUNTY UNION VOLUNTEERS. 161 

Major, Adam B. G-orgas, Dixon, promoted June 25, 1861, to lieu- 
tenant-colonel, and to colonel December 29, 1862 ; term expiring 
June 18, 1864. 

Second Assistant Surgeon, David H. Lane, resigned November 
15, 1862, to accept commission as surgeon in 9tli Cav., Mo. Vols. 

Chaplain, Joseph C. Miller, Amboy, v^as honorably discharged 
September 4, 1863. 

Company A. — Captain, Henry T. Noble, Dixon, promoted by the 
President, July 8, 1863. 

Second Lieut., Henry D. Dement, Dixon, was promoted to first 
lieutenancy April 27, 1861, and resigned August 1, 1863. 

First Sergeant, Geo. L. Aiken, Dixon, was promoted second lieu- 
tenant March 1, 1862, and died April 2, 1863. 

Sergeant, Adanaran J. Pinkham ; was promoted second lieutenant 
June 11, 1863, and was promoted captain August 1, 1863. 

Sergeant, Henry Yan Houton, discharged November 30, 1863, to 
ai3cept commission as major of 3d Arkansas Cavalry. 

The following privates in Co. A were promoted : Sherman A. 
Griswold, Lee Center, was discharged to be promoted to second 
lieutenant in 1st Missouri Cavalry ; Jedediah Shaw, Dixon, as cor- 
poral ; Charles W. Snider, Dixon, as sergeant-major ; William 
Irwin, Dixon, as sergeant ; Mark Evens, as first lieutenant ; Jonathan 
H. Crabtree, Dixon, as corporal ; John H. Brubaker, Dixon, as first 
sergeant ; Henry B. Anderson, Dixon, as corporal, and Alx. Pitts as 
sergeant. 

THIRTY-FOURTH INFANTRY REGIMENT. 

On September 2, 1861, five companies left Dixon for the army, 
and were organized in the ^34th Illinois Infantry Volunteers, at 
Camp Butler, a few days after. The companies leaving Dixon at 
this time were Co. A, from Sterling, commanded by E. B. Ward ; 
Co. B, from Morrison, H. W. Bristol, captain; Co. C. fro m. China, ^ 
Lee county, Alx. Dysart, captain ; C o^ D, from Dixon, T. L. 
■Pratt^-eaptaiu ; Ulld' Co. I', ff-bm Urand Detour. 
' Companies "C and D were made up of Lee county boys, while a 
number were received in other companies of this regiment. 

The 34th Illinois Infantry Volunteers was organized at Camp 
Butler, September 7, 1861, by Col. E. N. Kirk. On October 2 moved 
to Lexington, Kentucky, and from thence to Louisville, and then to 
camp Nevin, Kentucky, where it remained until February 14, and 
was afterward hotly engaged in the battle of Shiloh, losing Major 
Levenway and fifteen killed, and one hundred and twelve wounded. 
From here they moved to luka and Florence. They crossed the 
river at that place and moved to Athens, Hunters ville and Steven- 



162 HISTORY OF LEE (^OUNTY. 

son, Alabama ; thence to Battle Creek, wliere they were encamped 
over a month. 

Leaving Battle Creek they marched to Louisville, Kentucky, 
arriving September 27, 1862. October 1, 1862, left Louisville for 
Frankfort. October 4 was engaged in a skirmish at Claysville, 
Kentucky. From Frankfort moved to Nashville. November 2Y 
had a skirmish at Lavergne. Regiment remained in camp five 
miles southeast of Nashville until December 26, 1862. 

On leaving the above camp they moved on to Triune, near which 
place they became engaged with the enemy on December 27. On 
the 29th they moved toward M urfreesboro, and on the 30th took 
position on the extreme right of the Union lines. On the following 
day, December 31, 1862, the enemy attacked the regiment in over- 
whelming force, driving it back on the main line. Many of the 
regiment w^ere captured ; twenty-one killed, twenty-three wounded, 
and sixty-six missing. 

During the three following days the regiment did guard duty. " 

On June 25, 1863, they were engaged in a battle near Liberty 
Gap, losing three killed and twenty-six wounded. 

The regiment was now in the 20th Army Corps. On the 26tli it 
moved to Manchester, entering Tullahoma on the morning of July 1. 
August 10, moved to Bellefonte, Alabama. The 34th was detailed 
as provost guard; 30tli, moved to Caxertain's ferry, on Tennessee 
river. Here the regiment was left to guard the pontoon bridge. 
September 18, moved the boats to Battle Creek. October 20, 1863, 
moved to Anderson's Cross-roads, in Sequatchie valley. November 
8, moved to Harrison's Landing, on Tennessee river. Arrived at 
Chattanooga the 15th, and camped on Moccasin point. November 
25th, ordered to join the brigade on the battle-field of Chattanooga. 
Moved by Cliickamauga Station; met the retreating enemy near 
Graysville, and was engaged about half an hour. 28th, moved back 
to Chattanooga, where those unable to march were put in camp ; the 
remainder of the regiment moving on the expedition into East Ten- 
nessee, as far as Loudon, where the 34th was detailed to run a 
grist-mill, grinding corn and wheat for the division. Returned to 
Chattanooga, arriving December 19, 1863. 

December 22, the 34th was mustered as a veteran organization. 
Received veteran furlough, and rendezvoused at Dixon, Illinois, 
arriving January 21, 1864. February 28, started to CJhattanooga, 
arriving March 17, and moved out to join the second brigade, in 
camp near Roseville, G-eorgia. Mustered out July 12, 1865, at 
Louisville, Kentucky. Arrived at Chicago, July 16, for final pay- 
ment and discharge. 



LEE COUNTY UNION VOLUNTEERS. 163 

Officers' Roll — Company G. — Captains: Alex T. Dysart, China, 
promoted major, then to colonel; Benson Wood, China, resigned Jan- 
nary 29, 1863 ; Peter F. Walker, Bradford, promoted major ; L. W. 
Rosecrans, China, mustered out July 1865. 

First Lieutenants : Benson Wood, China, promoted ; P. F. 
Walker, Bradford, promoted ; J. W. Williams, China, mustered out 
November 5, 1864 ; L. N. Black, China, killed in battle March 1865 ; 
David Wingert, China, mustered out July 12, 1865. 

Second Lieutenants : P. F. Walker, Bradford, promoted ; J. W. 
Williams, China, promoted; B. F. Dysart, China, mustered out 
November 5, 1864 ; L. W. Rosencrans, China, promoted. 

Company D. — Captains: T. L. Pratt, Dixon, resigned August 
18, 1862 ; William S. Wood, Dixon, resigned April 14, 1864 ; S. B. 
Dexter, Amboy, mustered out November 8, 1864 ; Charles Eckles, 
Palmyra, mustered out July 12, 1865. 

First Lieutenants : William Wood, Dixon, promoted; S. B. Dex- 
ter, Amboy, promoted ; Francis Forsyth, Dixon, mustered out ; 
H. A. Jeffs, Franklin, mustered out July 12,1865. 

Second Lieutenants : S. B. Dexter, Amboy, promoted ; Francis 
Forsyth, Dixon, promoted ; Charles Eckles, Palmyra, promoted ; 
Spencer Conn, mustered out July 12,, 1865. 

FOKTY-SIXTH INF-ANTRY KEGIMENT. 

Company D of this regiment was organized with the following 
officers: William F. Wilder, of Sublette, captain; Joel L. Coe, of 
Amboy, lirst he utenant, andiienryii. Woodbury, of Amboy, second 
lieutenant. This company consolidated with Co. I, March 7, 1863. 

Company H was also largely a representative of Lee county, as 
it contained a number of soldiers in its ranks from among her sons. 
Captain John Stevens, of Dixon, commanded, and Thomas A. Pieron- 
nett, first lieutenant, was from Ambo}'. 

In Company I we find the names of Lee county citizens among 
the commissioned officers as well as in the ranks. 

The 46th was organized at Camp Butler, Illinois, December 
28, 1861, bv Col. John N. Davis. It was ordered to Cairo, Illi- 
nois, on February 11, 1862. From thence proceeded via Cumber- 
land river to Fort Donelson, Tennessee, arriving on the 14th, and was 
assigned to command of Gen. Lew Wallace. Kith, moved through 
the works and to Dover. 19th, moved to Henry. On Marcli 16 it 
embarked for Pittsburg Landing, where it arrived on the 18th. The 
regiment was now in the second brigade and fourth division. 

In the battle of Shiloh the 46th took a most conspicuous and 



164 HISTOKY OF LEE COUNTY. 

honorable part, losing over half of its officers and men in killed 
and wounded : it received the thanks of the commanding generals. 

The regiment was engaged during the month of May in the siege 
of Corinth. 

On June 2 the regiment camped six miles west of Corinth. On 
the 10th it marched to the Hatchie river ; on the 15th passed through 
Grand Junction, and camped three miles from town ; on the 24th 
moved to Collarbone Hill, near La Grange, and on the 30th moved 
to the old Lamar church. 

On July 1 it marched to Cold Water, and returned on the 6th ; 
on the 17th moved toward Memphis, and marching via Moscow, 
Lafayette, Germantown and White's Station, camping two miles 
south of Memphis on July 21, and on August 27 engaged in the 
scout to Pigeon Roost. On September 6, the following month, the 
regiment moved from Memphis toward Brownsville, and continuing 
the march via Raleigh, Union Station, the Big Muddy river was 
reached on the 9th. On the 11th the command was again on the 
move via Hampton Station, Danville, Whiteville, Pleasant Creek, 
and Bolivar to Hatchie river, where all the troops on the river were 
reviewed bj' Gen. McPherson on September 27. 

On October 4 the command was again on the move toward Cor- 
inth, and met the enemy at Metamora. The 46th was on the right 
of second brigade, supporting Bolton's battery. After an hour's 
shelling by the batteries the infantry were ordered forward, and at 
a double-quick advanced, driving the enemy across the river. The 
first brigade coming up, "Hurlbut's fighting fourth division" ad- 
vanced and drove the enemy from the field, compelling his flight. 
Col. John A. Davis, of the 46th, and Lieut. M. R. Thompson fell 
mortally wounded, both expiring on the 10th. After the battle the 
regiment returned to Bolivar. 

On November 3 they marched to La Grange, where they remained 
until the 28th, when they moved to Holly Springs ; and two days 
after they moved toward the Tallahatchie river, and camped near 
Waterford, Mississippi, where winter quarters were fitted up with 
mud chimneys and bake-ovens complete. But these were only com- 
pleted in time to move away from them ; for on December 11 they 
crossed Hurricane Creek, and on the following day advanced to Yo- 
cony Station, where they remained until December 22, when they 
marched to Taylor's Station. 

Yan Dorn having captured Holly Springs, the regiment marched 
on the 22d via Oxford to Hurricane-Creek, and on the following day, 
24th, the 46th Illinois, and 33d Wisconsin moved, as train guard, to 



LEE COUNTY UNION VOLUNTEERS. 165 

north side of Tallahatchie river. Here they tarried but two days, and 
on the 26th moved camp four miles nearer Holly Springs, between 
Waterford and Wyatt Station. This closed movements for 1862, but 
on January 6, 1863, they moved to Holly Springs, and on the lOth 
the 46th and the 15th were an escort to ammunition train to La Grange, 
from which they marched on the 13th to Moscow, where they re- 
mained until February 5, when they moved to Lafayette. 

After rejoining the brigade at Lafayette they moved on March 9, 
via Collierville and Germantown, to Memphis. 

On April 21, 1863, they engaged in the expedition to Hernando, 
and returned the 24th, where they remained until May 13, when 
they embarked for Yicksburg, and on the 15th landed at Young's 
Point; on the 18th marched to Bower's Landing; on the 19th 
moved to Sherman's Landing, and on the 20th moved, by steamer, 
up the Yazoo to Chickasaw Bayou, where they disembarked and 
moved across the swamp to the bluff. May 21 they proceeded to 
the left of Gen. Grant's army ; 24th, marched in the direction of 
Yicksburg; 25th, marched to the extreme left of the line. The reg- 
iment was detailed on picket duty, and during the night the out- 
post (five companies) were captured by the enemy. One hundred 
and four men and seven officers were taken, seventy escaping. The 
remainder of the regiment took an active part in the siege of Yicks- 
burg. July 12, in the siege of Jackson, moved into position at ex- 
treme right of line. Engaged in the siege until the 16th, when the 
enemy evacuated Jackson ; after which the regiment returned to 
Yicksburg. August 8, moved to Natchez ; September 1, went on 
expedition into Louisiana ; returned on the 8th, 

January 4, 1864, the 46th was mustered as a veteran regiment. 
12th, started north and on the 23d arrived at Freeport, Illinois, where 
the regiment was furloughed. 

SIXTY-NINTH INFANTRY KEGIMENT. 

Company H, of the 69th Illinois Yolunteers, was organized at 
Dixon for the three-months service. The ofiicers tor this company 
from Lee county were James W. Eeardon, captain, Dixon ; Eli B. Ba- 
ker, first lieutenant, Dixon ; Edwin F. Bennett, second lieutenant, 
Dixon ; John D. Heaton, first sergeant, Dixon ; L. M. Keyms, ser- 
geant, Dixon ; Edward Perkins, sergeant, Dixon; P. C. "Williams, ser- 
geant, Franklin Grove ; George D. Black, sergeant, Franklin Grove ; 
Germanus Knepper, corporal, Dixon ; George Johnson, corporal, 
Franklin Grove ; Hanibal Keen, corporal, Franklin Grove ; John 
Little, corporal, Dixon ; L. H. Moore, corporal, Dixon ; Uriah 



166 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Stroiip, corporal, Dixon ; Jerome A. Martin, corporal, Dixon ; Jo- 
seph Ledger, corporal, Dixon. 

Co7npany K. — Wm. H J'ousley, first lieutenant, Aniboy ; H. T. 
Pratt, sergeant, Amboy ; \ E. W. Patteii^ sergeant, Amboj ; L. W. 
Waterburj, sergeant, Leeuenter^Tasr^r Martin, sergeant, Amboy. 

There were forty-four in the ranks of this regiment from Lee 
county. 

SEVENTY-FIFTH INFANTRY REGIMENT. 

The 75th Illinois Volunteers was organized at Dixon, Illinois, on 
September 2, 1862, by Col. George Ryan. 

Ordered to Louisville, Kentucky, September 27. Was brigaded 
with 30th brigade, Col. Post ; 9th division. Gen. Mitchell, of Buell's 
army. 

October 1, marched in pursuit of Bragg. October 8, engaged in 
the battle of Chaplain Hills, losing 47 killed. 166 wounded, and 12 
prisoners. Marched to Crab Orchard, Col. Wookruff assuming 
command of the division. Returned, via Lebanon and Bowling 
Green, to Nashville, Gen. Jeff. C. Davis taking command of the 
division. Encamped four miles from Nashville, on the Lebanon 
Pike, November 7, 1862 ; since which time no historical memoran- 
dum is given in the adjutant-general's reports. 

Mustered out June 12, 1865, at Camp Harker, Tennessee, and 
arrived at Chicago June 15, 1865, where the regiment received 
final payment and discharge. 

Major — James A. Watson, mustered in February 3, 1863 ; mus- 
tered out June 12, 1865. 

Adjutant — Jerome Hollenbeck, mustered in September 2, 1862 ; 
resigned December 19, 1862. 

Quartermaster — John E. Remington, mustered in September 2, 
1862 ; resigned for promotion, November 24, 1863. 

Surgeon — George Phillips, mustered in September 18, 1862; 
resigned May 10, 1863. 

Company A. — Captain : James A. Watson, mustered in Sep- 
tember 2, 1862 ; promoted major. Mustered out June 12. 1865. 

First Lieutenant — Ezekiel Giles, mustered in September 2, 1862; 
promoted captain. Resigned May 23, 1863. 

Second Lieutenant — William Parker, jr., mustered in September 
2, 1862 ; promoted first lieutenant. Promoted captain, May 23, 
1863. Mustered out June 12, 1865. 

First Sergeant — Frederick A. Headley, mustered in September 
2, 1862 ; promoted second lieutenant. Promoted first lieutenant. 
Honorably discharged May 15, 1865. 



LEE COUNTY UNION VOLUNTEERS. 167 

Sergeants — Alfred K. Bnckaloo, mustered in September 2, 1862; 
promoted second lieutenant ; died March 24, 1864. Horace Judson, 
mustered in September 2, 1862 ; reduced ; mustered out June 12, 
1865. William J. Cogswell, mustered in September "2, 1862 ; dis- 
charged March 8, 1863 ; disability. Joseph A. Hill, mustered in 
September 2. 1862 ; discharged May 28, 1863 ; disability. 

Corporals — John William, mustered in September 2, 1862 ; died 
at Richmond, Virginia, June 3, 1864, while a prisoner of war. 
Louis H. Burket, mustered in September 2, 1862 ; promoted ser- 
geant-major. Edwin J. Jones, mustered in September 18, 1862; 
deserted October 3, 1862. Isaac E. Barr, mustered in September 
18, 1862 ; mustered out June 12, 1865. George M. Putnam, mus- 
tered in September 18, 1862 ; mustered out June 12, 1865, as first 
sergeant. Ezra Cooper, mustered in September 18, 1862; sergeant; 
died January 12, 1865. David H. Wagner, mustered in September 
18, 1862 ; mustered out June 12, 1865, as sergeant. Anthony Zim- 
mer. mustered in September 18, 1862 ; reduced. Absent, sick, at 
muster out of regiment. 

Musicians — James L. Backus, mustered in September 18, 1862; 
mustered out June 12, 1865. David Freeman, mustered in Septem- 
ber 18, 1862; discharged May 28, 1863; disability. 

Comjxiny E. — This company was organized at Amboy with 
volunteers from the central part of the county. 

Captains — \Vm. S. Frost, mustered in September 2, 1862; dis- 
charged January 23, 1865. J. H. Blodget, mustered in February 
16, 1865 ; mustered out. 

First Lieutenants — F. H. Eels, mustered in September 2, 1862; 
killed in battle. J. H. Blodget, mustered in April 23, 1863; pro- 
moted. James Dexter, mustered in February 17, 1865 ; mustered 
out. 

- Second Lieutenants — J. H. Blodget, mustered in September 2, 
1862; promoted. Jas. Dexter, promoted. 

Co7npanij F — Am^^yy.— Captains : A. S. Yorey, mustered in 
September 2, 1862 ; died August 14. 1864. James McCord, mus- 
tered in April 1, 1865 ; mustered out June 12, 1865. 

First Lieutenant — Jas. Tourtillott, mustered in April 1, 1865; 
resigned. Jas. D. Place, promoted. 

Compani/ G—FranM,in 6^ro/'«.— Captains : Joseph Williams, 
mustered in September 2, 1862 ; resigned. R. L. Irwin, mustered 
in May 20. 1864 ; mustered out June 12, 1865. 

First Lieutenant — R. L. Irwin, not mustered ; resigned. 



168 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Second Lieutenant — R. L. Irwin, mustered in September 2, 
1862 ; promoted. Wm. Yance, mustered in May 3, 1863 ; pro- 
moted. 

But few regiments that entered the service met the enemy in 
desperate battle so soon after enlistment as did the T5th. Mustered 
in on September 2 ; on October 1 marched in pursuit of Gen. 
Bragg, and on the 8th engaged with the enemy, in which conflict 
the Lee county boys suffered severely. Lee Center and Sublett 
were largely represented among the dead on the battle-field. Many 
died from wounds received in the battle. 

ONE HUNDRED AND FORTIETH INFANTRY REGIMENT. 

The 140th Infantry Illinois Volunteers was raised for the one- 
hundred-days service, and went into camp at Dixon about May 1, 
1864. June 16 the regiment was ordered to Springfield, where it 
was immediately sworn into the service, and ordered to Paducah, 
Kentucky. The regiment serving the full time of enlistment, it was 
mustered out October 26, 1864. The ofiicers from Lee county were 
as follows : 

Colonel — Lorenzo Whitney, Dixon; mustered out October 29, 
1864. 

Quartermaster. — Geo. W. Bishop, Dixon, mustered out October 
29, 1864. 

Surgeon — Geo. W. Phillips, Dixon ; mustered out October 29, 
1864. 

Company E. — Captain: Ezekial Giles, Dixon; mustered out 
October 29, 1864. 

First Lieutenant — Joseph Ball, Dixon; mustered out October 
29, 1864. 

Second Lieutenant — John L. Skinner, Amboy ; mustered out 
October 29, 1864. 

"gHEENEy's battery," FIRST ILLINOIS ARTILLERY. 

Battery F, First Illinois Light Artillery, was recruited at Dixon, 
Illinois, in January 1862, by Capt. John T. Cheney, and was mus- 
tered in at Springfield, February 25. 

Moved to Boston barracks, Missouri, March 15. with four six- 
pound guns. April 1, was ordered to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, 
and arrived April 9, and was assigned to Maj. Gen. Lew. Wallace's 
third division, army of the Tennessee. 




v, f 






JL,(K^ 



THE NEW YORK 
PUlilJC linUARY 



ASTou. li:n'i)X and 

B L 



LEE COUNTY UNION VOLUNTEERS. 171 

Was engaged in the siege of Corinth, and June 9 marched for 
Memphis, arriving on the 18th. ]^ovember 26, moved from Mem- 
phis and arrived from the Tallahatchie river December 2. On the 
11th, in Denver's division, went on the Yocona expedition, returning 
to Tallahatchie river, and finally to Holly Springs, Mississippi. 

March 7, 1865, battery F was consolidated with other batteries 
of the regiment. 

Officers from Lee county were John T. Cheney, captain, promoted 
major ; J. H. Burton, first lieutenant, promoted captain ; J. T. Wha- 
ley, second lieutenant, promoted first lieutenant ; Theodore W. Raub 
second lieutenant, killed in battle : R(jbert Rich gy. second lieute 
mustered out March 7, 1865 ; J. Q. Yates, second lieutenant 
mustered. 

Besides the regiments here noted as containing Lee county sol- 
diers, there were many volunteers who enlisted in other! regiments 
in different departments of the service. In the infantry ranks, Lee 
comity was represented in seventeen regiments besides those above 
mentioned, ranging from Xo. 10 to No. 152. Ten cavalry regiments 
contained Lee county boys, as well as Burnside's marine artillery 
McClellans dragoons, etc. From the Atlantic to the prairies of Mis- 
souri, and from the Ohio river to the gulf on almost every battle-field 
were found the brave sons of Lee county nobly fighting for their 
country. 

Pat/'iotism at home. — -The patriotism of Lee county was awak- 
ened by jthe news of the firing on Fort Sumter, and on April 17, 
1861, there appeared in the Dixon " Teiegri^ph " the following note : 
"War Feeling in Dixon. — While we are writing, the people, with- 
out distinction of party, are in council. Great enthusiasm prevails. 
A company is forming. The action of the administration is to be 
sustained.'' 

An association was formed called ''the volunteer aid associa- 
tion," for the purpose of rendering aid to the families of absent vol- 
unteers, and on June 20, 1861, they reported a subscription to the 
fund of $2,625. 

In the autumn of 1861 a camp for recruiting and organizing troups 
was established at Dixon, on the banks of the river west of the rail- 
road. Col. W. H. Hayden, commander of post, and Col. John De- 
ment, commander of the encampment. On May 21, 1863, John V. 
Eustace was appointed provost-marshal for this congressional dis- 
trict. 

Relief societies were organized, and appropriations made by the 
county board of supervisors, for the relief of the families of absent 
volunteers. Military scrip was issued for^the payment of bounty 
11 



Wha- 

laub, hj » 



172 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

offered by the board of supervisors for Lee county. At the January 
term of the board it was reported by the committee on said scrip 
that $6,000 had been distributed as designed. 

At the November term. 1863, the board of supervisors of the 
county offered a bounty of 8100 to every accepted volunteer from 
Lee county, ai;d at the November term of the court, 1S63, an appro- 
priation was made for the same purpose, and spread upon the regis- 
ter the following preamble and resohition, to wit : 

Whereas^ Our government has found it necessary to make an- 
other call upon the people of the loyal states for three hundred thou- 
sand more men wherewith to crush out the existing rebellion in our 
land ; and 

^YJteTeali. the State of Illinois has heretofore, by patriotism of 
her noble sons in voluntarily enlisting in the army of the Union, es- 
caped the necessity of drafting (furnishing more men than her quota, 
under all the preceding calls) ; and 

y^hereas^ we, the board of supervisors of Lee county, have assem- 
bled for the special purpose, and being desirous that her proud name, 
which the sons of Illinois now battling for our country have made 
for our state, should still be maintained by voluntary enlistments, 
and especially desirous that our county of Lee, second to none in 
the state for patriotism, should only be represented in our army by 
volunteers ; it is therefore 

Resolved^ That we offer to each and every duly accepted volunteer 
from the county of Lee a county bounty of the sum of $100. 

There being a scarcity of funds in the treasury with which to pay 
these proffered bounties, the board subsequently ordered that bonds 
not to exceed $20,000 be issued to provide for the same. 

It subsequently appears as a matter of record that there was but 
$15,000 issued in bonds for this purpose. 

At the February term of the supervisors' c'ourt it was repoi'ted 
that $4,061.50 had been distributed as a relief fund to families of 
volunteers. 

At a special term of the board held in October, 1864, the follow- 
ing resolution was offered by John J. Higgins, and was adopted by 
fifteen for to four against, to wit : 

" Resolved^ That the board of supervisors of Lee county, for the 
purpose of aiding those men who have enlisted, or may enlist on or 
after the third day of October, a.d. 1864, under the call of the presi- 
dent of the United States, made on the 18th day of July, a.d. 1864, 
for 600,000 men, do hereby appropriate, in addition to the bounty 
of $100 offered at the annual session of the board on the 14th day of 
September, a.d. 1864, the sum of $900 to each and every man so 



1>IX0N TOWNSHIP. 173 

enlisting or volunteering to fill said call ; and the clerk of this board 
is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to issue county orders 
to an amount not to exceed the sum of !5l50,000, including the sum 
of $25,500 appropriated on the 14th day of September, a.d. 1864." 
At the same meeting of the board, on motion of supervisor Gas- 
ton, the clerk of the board was authorized and directed to draw 
orders on the county treasury in sum not to exceed $2,000 for the re- 
lief of the families of volunteers, in sums not to exceed $100 eacli, 
aTid to be placed in the hands of the agents (who had been previously 
appointed by the board) for the distribution of the relief fund. 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 

Dixon township originally embraced South Dixon, Nelson, and 
a part of Nachusa township ; the survey' embracing T. 21 N., R, 9 
E., which is situated and lying in Lee county ; and part of T. 22 N., 
R. 9 E., which is situated and lying in Lee county ; also that part of 
T. 21 N,, R. 8 E., that is south of Rock river. It has since been 
limited to a much smaller area by creating out of its original terri- 
tory, Nelson, South Dixon and the northwest part of Nachusa town- 
ships. The present town of Dixon is located in the northwest quar- 
ter of the count}^ of Lee ; being bounded on the north by Ogle 
county, on the east by Nachusa, on the south by South Dixon, and 
on the west by Palmyra township ; and may be described as follows : 
beginning at the range line between eight and nine east, on the coun- 
ty line between Lee and Ogle counties, and extending east on said 
line to Rock river ; thence up said river to a point half a mile east of 
section-line three east ; thence south to the center of section thirty- 
five ; thence east one mile to the center of section thirty-six ; thence 
south one mile to the center of section two, township twenty-one 
north, range nine east ; thence west half a mile to section line be- 
tween sections two and three ; thence south half a mile to section 
line ; thence west to range line between eight and nine east ; thence 
north on said line to the place of beginning. The northern line is 
irregular, as it follows the river course where it makes a detour 
north and south ; and the eastern boundary is made to deviate from 
a direct line for local accommodations. It is four and a half miles 
at its widest point east and west, and six north and south, embrac- 
ing an area of about nineteen square miles. 

The natural scenery of Dixon township surpasses, in beauty and 
variety, any other township in Lee county, presenting a series of 
rugged bluffs, rounded hills, declining slopes, green lawns, and shady 



174 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

groves, through which meander laughing brooks, with here and there 
Hewing fountains of purest water. And through the midst of this 
park of natural scenery flow majestically and peacefully the waters 
of Rock river. Numerous islands set with green grass and fringed 
with small forest trees adorn the river in its course through the 
township, presenting additional attractions to the eyes of the admir- 
ers of the beautiful in nature. The river enters the township on the 
north near the middle of the boundary line, flowing southeast to 
within a quarter of a mile of the east line ; then bearing to the 
southwest it passes the city of Dixon and emerges from the township 
half a mile north of the southwest corner ; thus traversing the length 
and breadth of the township. 

The town of Dixon is well supplied with the purest of water, fur- 
nished by fountains which burst from the hills and blufts, and send 
their rivulets through the farms to quench the thirst of the herds 
that graze upon the rich pastures. 

The drainage of the township is good, as will be readily seen by 
reference to the geography of the territory which it embraces. The 
land is generally rolling, and bluffy along the river. It is also well 
supplied with timber of valuable varieties and best quality. Most 
of the great trees of the primeval forest, however, have fallen before 
the woodman's axe. The tall oaks, poplars, black walnuts, and 
hickory have given place to timber of smaller growth. Though the 
grand forest of half a century is gone, there are yet groves and 
forests of the finest timber ; oak of different varieties abound, with 
here and there beautiful groves of thrifty young hickory. 

The soil is fertile and adapted to most varieties of products — 
spring and winter wheat, oats, corn, etc. Its pasturage and water 
supply adapts it to stock-growing ; the growth of clover and blue- 
grass not being surpassed in any part of the country. The citizens 
who give attention to this department obtain the most favorable 
results, paying a larger per cent than grain-growing in other parts 
of the state. 

The supply of building stone is unequaled by any other township 
in the county, and unsurpassed in quality. Quarries are opened 
along both sides of the river, furnishing a yellow sand and limestone 
of durable quality, and the blue limestone of the finest building 
material. The. supply seems inexhaustible for generations to come ; 
and the same may be said of the supply of lime-producing rock, 
from which is manufactured the finest quality of lime. Extensive 
quarries are being worked, and large quantities of lime are being 
produced. A superior quality is manufactured at the quarry above 
the water-power, within the city of Dixon. 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 175 

THE EARLY SETTLEMENT OF DIXON'S FERRY. 

The first settlers of Dixon township have received some notice 
in connection with the early settlement of Dixon's Ferry. Outside 
of the city of Dixon we find the first settlements embraced in the 
present township of Dixon began in the fall or winter of 1834. Dr. 
Forest, from Kentucky, settled on what is now known as the Wood- 
ford farm, situated on the east side of the river above Dixon. Geo. 
A. Martin settled on the place afterward known as the Trueman 
farm. Mr. Bennett settled near Grand Detour, at the place where 
the ferry was subsequently built. Here he built a shanty and cov- 
ered it with bark. The following year he removed east. About the 
same time Geo. A. Brown settled on a farm next below Mr. Bennett. 
These four families were here when Mr. Joseph Crawford came in 
the spring of 1835, and settled south of Grand Detour. These all 
settled on unimproved land, and in the summer of 1835 commenced 
opening up farms. 

These were followed by Mr. McClure, Mr. Rue, on the Baily 
farm ; Mr. Carpenter, on the Hetler farm ; and in the spring of 
1837 .rames M. Santee, Solomon Shellhaitimer, Elijah Bowman, Mr. 
Carlton, and a Mr. Richards. In 183S Nathan Hetler settled on the 
place first occupied by Mr. Carpenter. 

In 1838 ''Gov." Alexander Charters having come from Ireland, 
settled on the " Hazel wood " farm, two miles north of Dixon, and 
improved a fine farm. As early as 1840 his home was far-famed as 
a hospitable and pleasant retreat for visitors to this part of the coun- 
try, and was the place specially mentioned by William C. Bryant, 
the poet, after his visit to Rock River in 1841. In 1843 Alfred Iv. 
and J. C. Buckalu, from Pennsylvania, settled in the same neigh- 
borhood. They are both deceased; Joseph C. died September 11, 
1852, and Alfred died March 24, 1864. 

The first brick manufactured in the county is said to have been 
used in the construction of "Gov." Alx. Charters' residence on the 
Hazelwood farm, referred to above, and the building to be the first 
frame house in Lee county. 

The early travel through the northern part of the state crossed 
Dixon township. The first wagon team that passed from Peoria to 
Galena, through the central Rock river country, by O. W. Kellogg, 
in the early summer of 1827. passed through the township, crossing. 
Rock river at the head of the island opposite "Gov." Charters' 
home ; on which line was established what was known as Kellogg's 
Trail. Many fortune-seekers on their way to the northern mines 
passed over this route. The second route, which was first traveled 
by John Boles, left the pioneer trail of O. W. Kellogg some miles 



176 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 



below the present site of Dixon, and crossed the river a little above 
the present crossing of the Illinois railroad bridge at that city, leav- 
ing the former trail to the right. This became the recognized route 
between the settlements on the Illinois river and mining districts of 
northern Illinois. In 1829 another route was established from Ogee's 
Ferry on the river to Buffalo Grove, and became the regular stage 
route. Traces of this route are yet seen from Dixon, through the 
opening in the forest on the northwestern hills from the city, and 
being covered with green grass, it is in striking contrast with what 
it was fifty years ago when beaten down by constant travel, or cut 
into furrows by the heavy wheels of the prairie schooners and stage 
coaches ; but now, like a beautiful narrow lawn, it stretches away 
through the shade of the heavy forest. But as reference is made to 
the early improvements of the territory of Dixon township in connec- 
tion with the early days of Lee county we refer the reader to that 
part of our work. 

Dixon township was the great theater ground of many of the in- 
cidents of the pioneer days of this locality when it was embraced in 
Ogle county. It was long the home of the red-man, its groves and 
prairies his hunting-grounds, and the Rock river his fishery ; the 
many springs of pure water gave him drink ; here are buried his 
dead, his forefathers who once joined in the chase and whose war- 
whoop mingled with the shouts of the braves, sleep 'neath the shades 
of Rock river forests. And it is not strange that the " last of the 
Winnebagoes in Dixon " was the closing history of the Indian tribes 
in northern Illinois. 

There are many interesting incidents of the early days of Dixon 
township, related by the old citizens, of adventures with the savages 
and wild beasts. The most troublesome of the latter was the large 
gray wolf which came down tlie river forests to commit depredations, 
and on the first suspicion that he was hunted for would retreat back 
to his favorite haunts in the shades of Wisconsin. 

TOWN OFFICERS FOB DIXON TOWNSIIIJ'. 



DATB. 


8UPBRVIB0R. 


CLERK. 


ASSESSOR. 


COLLECTOR. 


1850 


J. T. Little. 


J. B. Gregory. 


E. B. Stlkb. 


E. W. Hine. 


1851 


J. V. Eustace. 


N. F. Porter. 


E. W. nine. 


Jas. Hatch. 


1852 


Same. 


J. B. Gregory. 


Jos. Crawford. 


Ozias Wheeler 


1853 


J. B. Brooks. 


Same. 


A. Brown. 


S. Y. Cleaver. 


1854 


Jos. Crawford. 


T. W. Eustace. 


J. M. Johnson. 


Ozias Wheeler 


1855 


Cyrus Aldridge. 


Same. 


A. Brown. 


Same. 


1856 


•T. B. Nash. 


Same. 


Jos. Crawford. 


J. W. Clute. 


1857 


Same. 


Same. 


A. N. Barnes. 


John Brown. 


1858 


Same. 


Same. 


Same. 


Same. 


1859 


Same. 


Same. 


J. H. Cropsey. 


H. S. Mead. 


1860 


A. U. Hazen. 


J. C. Ayres. 


Geo. L. Her rick. 


Same. 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 



177 



DATE. 


SUPERVISOR. 


CLERK. 


ASSESSOR. 


COLLFOTOR. 


1861 


J. G. Fleck. 


J. C. Ayres. 


J. H. Burton. 


H. S. Mead. 


1862 


Jas. Reardon. 


Same. 


A. N. Barnes. 


A. McPherran. 


1863 


W. H. Van Epps. 


Same. 


V. Santee. 


W. V. Mason. 


1864 


J. B. Crawford. 


Same. 


Samuel Fargo. 


N. S. Davis. 


1865 


L. A. Divine. 


Same. 


V. Santee. 


H. S. Mead. 


1866 


Same. 


Same. 


0. Wheeler. 


J. B. Crawford. 


1867 


David Welty. 


Same. 


Same. 


Same. 


1868 


Same. 


Same. 


J. B. Crawford, 


Jas. H. Crawford. 


1869 


Same. 

J. Crawford. 


Same. 


0. Wheeler. 


Palmer Atkins. 


1870 


Lorenzo Wood. 


Same. 


J. Uhl. 


M. M. Evens. 


(i 


J. Courtright. 








1871 


L. Wood. 


J. H. Downs. 


0. Wheeler. 


F. H. Babbitt. 


(( 


P. Cheney. 








1872 


L. Wood. 


F. H. Babbitt. 


D. B. McKenney. 


W. H. Laing. 


i i 


P. Cheney. 








1873 


L. Wood. 


Same. 


Same. 


C. W. Benjamm. 


(( 


P. Cheney. 








1874 


L. Wood. 


Same. 


Same. 


Jas. Tracy. 


It 


P. Cheney. 








1875 


L. Wood. 


Same. 


Same. 


H. K. Strong. 


t( 


P. Cheney, 








1876 


L. Wood. 


Same. 


Same. 


0. A. Webb. 


ii 


M. Burket. 








1877 


L. Wood. 


Same. 


Same. 


M. Maloney. 


<t 


A. Barlow. 








1878 


L. Wood. 


Same. 


Same. 


T. L. Wood. 


ti 


H. Hetler. 








1879 


L. Wood. 


Palmer Atkins. 


Same. 


M. Rock. 


(t 


H. Hetler. 








1880 


L. Wood. 
H. Hetler. 


Same. 


Same. 


J. Reuland. 


1881 


L. Wood. 


Same. 


Same. 


W. N. Vann. 


1 1 


H. Hetler. 









Jolm Morse was appi^inted first assessor for the ci»uiity March 
7, 1840. 

OLD SETTLERS RECORD OF DIXON AND VICINITY. 

Alexander, P.M., born in New York, 1820; arrived 1838; living in Dixon. 

Ayres, 0. F., born in New York, 1809; arrived 1839; livingin Dixon. 

Ayres, D. B., born in New York, 1834; arrived 1839; living in Dixon. 

Armstrong, Jacob, born in New York, 1815; arrived 1840; now at Fort Collins, Colo. 

Atkinson, Wesley, born in Indiana, 1830; arrived 1838; settled in Palmyra: left about 

1855. 
Brookner, Christopher, born m Germany, 1817; arrived 1837; died October 9, 1879. 
Brookner, Daniel, born m Germany, 1803; arrived 1837; died July 23, 1854. 
Barber, Nathanal, born in New York; arrived 1837. 

Bowman, S. M., born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1837; now in Kansas City, Missouri. 
Bowman, Elijah, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1840; cousin of S. M.; living in Boone 

county. 
Bunner, Thomas S., born in New York; arrived 1837; died in Indiana. 
Bayley, Carlton, born in New York, 1819; arrived 1839; died about 1873. 



178 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Bayley, Richard, born in New York; arrived 1838; died in New York city about 1850, 
Burroughs, Wm. P., born in New York; arrived 1835; moved to Wisconsin. 
Burroughs, Henry, born in New York; arrived 1840; moved to California; dead. 
Barr, James B., arrived 1886; dead. 
Bogardas, Wells, born in New York; arrived 1836; dead. 

Benjamin, Horace, born in New York, 1813; arrived 1838; died October 28, 1850. 
Benjamin, James, born in New York, 1817; arrived 1838; living in Dixon. 
Beardsley, Daniel, bom in New York; arrived 1835; died in Palmyra, 1839. 
Bethea, William W., born in Tennessee, 1812; arrived 1835; living in Dixon. 
Brown, Abram, born in Canada, 1816; arrived 1837; living in south Dixon. 
Brown, David, born in Connecticut, 1806; arrived 1836; died in 1849. 
Brown, John, born in Vermont, 1808; arrived 1836; died August 1878. 
Brown, Nathan, born in Vermont; arrived 1836; living in Connecticut. 
Brown, Thomas W., born in Connecticut; arrived 1840; living in Franklin Grove. 
Brown, B. B., arrived 1835. 

Bush, William T., born in Kentucky; arrived 1835; started a ferry at the J. T. Law- 
rence place; died in 1838. 
Bush, E. B., born in Kentucky; arrived 1835; went to Iowa in 1843. 
Bennett, Orwin, born in New England; arrived 1834. 
Blair, Martin, born in Kentucky, 1829; arrived 1889; living in Palmyra. 
Boardman, I. S., born in New York, 1816; arrived 1887; living in Palmyra. 
Boardman, T. D., born in New York, 1812; arrived 1839; living in Palmyra. 
Birdsall, David H., born in New York; arrived 1887; died December 1868. 
Brower, Martin W., born in Germany, 1816; arrived 1889; living in Palmyra. 
Brower, Lewis, born in Germany; arrived 1839; died in Nelson, 1872. 
Baggs, John, born in Ohio, 1823; arrived 1886; living injowa. 
Becker, Charles A., born in Prussia, 1810;;arrived 1889; died February 7, 1859. 
Beach, William W., born in New York, 1805; arrived 1840; died in Geneseo. 
Butler, Timothy A., born in New York, 1817; arrived 1838; living in Palmyra. 
Brierton, Joseph, born in Pennsylvania, 1797; arrived 1837; living east of Dixon. 
Brandon, Edward, born in Pennsylvania, 1795; arrived 1837; died October, 1889. 
Brandon, Benjamin, born in Pennsylvania, 1815; arrived 1837; living near Nachusa. 
Brandon, John, born in Pennsylvania, 1801; arrived 1837; died about 1839. 
Beede, Noah, born in New Hampshire, 1802; arrived 1836; died in Palmyra, 1854. 
Beede, Allen A., born in New Hampshire, 1835; arrived 1836; living in Palmyra. 
Bishop, Caldwell, born in New York, 1818; arrived 1887; living in Dixon. 
Bradshaw, W. T., born in New York; arrived 1838. 

Baker, Tutt, born in Kentucky; arrived 1835; started a ferry at Dr. Everett's farm. 
Brookie, John, born in Kentucky; arrived 1836; living in St. Louis. 
Carr, John, born in Scotland; arrived 1837; went to Hong Kong, China. 
Cutshaw, John, born in Ohio; arrived 1835. 
Cutshaw, Joshua, born in Ohio; arrived 1885. 

Crawford, Joseph, born in Pennsylvania, 1811; arrived 1835; living in Dixon. 
Crowell, Moses T., born in New Hampshire, 1811; arrived 1838; went to California. 
Crowell, Solon, born in New Hampshire; arrived 1838; living in Ogle county. 
Colwell, J. C, born in Ireland; arrived 1840; dead. 
Crosby, Edward, born in New York; arrived 1840; died at Fulton. 
Crosby, Elisha, born in New York; arrived 1840. 
Coe, Frederick W., born in New York; arrived 1836; dead. 
Coe, Henry, born in New York, 1814; arrived 1837; died July 5, 1858. 
Chamberlin, Cyrus, born in New York, 1814; arrived 1835; living in Grand Detour. 
Chapman, Charles, born in New York; arrived 1836; dead. 
Chapman, George, born in New York: arrived 1836. 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 179 

Chase, George W., born in Maine; arrived 1837; dead. 

Chase, Charles T., born in Maine; arrived 1839; died August 28, 1851. 

Charters, Alexander, born in Ireland, 1817; arrived 1838; died at Hazel wood farm 

September 18, 1878. 
Charters, Samuel, born in Ireland, 1800; arrived 1837; nephew of Alexander. 
Carley, James, born in New York; arrived 1839; died in Geneseo. 
Campbell, Alexander, born in England, 1830; arrived 1839; living in California. 
Cantrall, Samuel, born in 1792; arrived 1836; moved to Sangamon county. 
Cantrall, David; arrived 1836; living in Iowa; moved in 1853. 
Crafton, George, born in Ireland; arrived 1837; dead. 

Courtright. Joseph, boro in Pennsylvania; arrived 1837; died September 1840. 
Courtright, Elisha, born in Pennsylvania, 1795; arrived 1840; died November 1, 1871, 
Courtright, Abraham, born in Pennsylvania. 1818; arrived 1840; living ^in Nebraska. 
Courtright, John, born in Pennsylvania, 1820; arrived 1840; living two miles east of 

Dixon. 
Courtright, Christopher, born in Pennsylvania, 1822; arrived 1840; living in Nebraska. 
Courtright, Jacob B., born in Pennsylvania, 1826; arrived 1840; living in Nebraska. 
Courtright, G. W., born in Pennsylvania, 1880; arrived 1840; died in the spring of 1872. 
Courtright, Erastus G., born in Pennsylvania, 1832; arrived 1840; living in Dixon. 
Cropsey, J. M., born in New York, 1818; arrived 1839; living in Dixon. 
Cambell, James, born in Pennsylvania, 1814; arrived 1838; dead. 
Covell, E. W., arrived 1836. 

Cogswell, Abner, born in New York, 1812; arrived 1840; living in Nelson township. 
Cleaver, .Toseph, born in Pennsylvania, 1821; arrived 1838; died July 23, 1854. 
Clute, JohnW., born in New York, 1820; arrived 1840; living in Dixon. 
Crary, Mason, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1839; living in Iowa. 
Crary, Beach, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1839; living at Elkhorn Grove. 
Caldwell, John, born in Ireland; arrived 1839; died about 1844. 
Dixon, John, born in New York, 1784; arrived 1830; died July 6, 1876. 
Dixon, James P., born in New York, 1811; arrived 1830; died April 5, 1853. 
Dixon, JohnW., born in New York, 1817; arrived 1830; died March 20, 1847. 
Dixon, Elijah, born in New York, 1819; arrived 1830; died March 15, 1843. 
Davy, James, born in England, 1840; died in Ogle county. 

Dutcher, Frederick R., born in Connecticut, 1805; arrived 1838; living in Amboy. 
Dutcher, Wells, born in Connecticut; arrived 1838. 
Dills, George, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1838; dead. 
Dornan, Mark, born in Ireland, 1815; arrived 1839; living in Dixon. 
Dornan, James, born in Ireland, 1820; arrived 1839; died about 1874. 
Depuy, Harmon, born in Pennsylvania, 1797; arrived 1839; died September 15, 1856. 
Depuy, Jacob, born in Pennsylvania, 1829; arrived 1839; living in Dixon. 
Depuy, William, born in Pennsylvania, 1834; arrived 1839; living in Dixon. 
Dingman, John, born in Canada; arrived 1840. 
Dement, John, born in Tennessee, 1805; arrived 1840; moved family here in 1845; 

living in Dixon. 
Dement, Charles, born in Illinois, 1818; arrived 1840; died in December 1875. 
Dickerman, Alanson, arrived 1886. 

Deyo, Garrett F., born in Vermont, 1785; arrived 1836; died in 1848. 
Dudley, Jeremiah, born in New York, 1818; arrived 1840; died in 1848. 
Davis, Joseph, bern in New York, 1787; arrived 1840; died November 26, 1851, 
Davis, J. W., born in Canada, 1821; arrived 1840; died May 4, 1874. 
Davis, George W., born in Canada, 1825; arrived 1840; died December 12, 1855. 
Davis, Cyrus A., born in N^'w Hampshire, 1825; arrived 1839; settled in Amboy; came 

to Dixon in 1858. 



180 HI8T(JRY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Daley, John, arrived 1849; living in Oivgon. 

Everett, Dr. Oliver, born in Massachusetts, 1811; arrived 1836; living in Dixon. 

Fuller, Stephen, born 1797; arrived 1836; living three miles east of Dixon. 

Fellows, Stephen, born in New Hampshire, 1786; arrived 1834; died February 8, 1840. 

Fellows, Michael, born in New Hampshire, 1810; arrived 1834; living in Wisconsin. 

Fellows, Simon, born in New Hampshire, 1815; arrived 1834; living in Whiteside 
county. 

Fellows, Samuel, born in New Hampshire, 1818; arrived 1834; died June 1863. ♦ 

Fellows, William, born in New Hampshire, 1820; arrived 1834; living in Wisconsin. 

Fellows, Alfred, born in New Hampshire, 1832; arrived 1834; living in Iowa. 

Fellows, George, born in New Hampshire, 1826; arrived 1834; living in Californi'a. 

Fellows, Albion, born in New Hampshire, 1827; arrived 1834; died in 1865. 

Fellows, Stephen, born in New Hampshire, 1830; arrived 1834; living in Iowa. 

Fry, John, born in Pennsylvania, 1813; arrived 1838; living near Dixon. 

Fender, Absalom, born in North Carolina; arrived 1835; died in 1848. 

Fender, Martin, born in North Carolina; arrived 1835; died about 1860. 

Fender, Solomn, born in North Carolina, 1811; arrived 1835; died in Palmyra, Novem- 
ber 1873. 

Fender, Jesse, born in Indiana, 1821; arrivpd 1835; living in Palmyra. 

Fender, John, born in Indiana, 1825; arrived 1835; living in Missouri. 

Fender, Hiram, born in Indiana, 1827; arrived 1835; died at Elkhorn Grove, August 
21, 1879. 

Fender, James, born in Indiana, 1832; arrived 1835; died in January, 1880. 

Foot, George, born in New York, 1828; arrived 1839; died 1879. 

Forrest, Dr., born in Kentucky; arrived 1834; returned to Kentucky. 

Graham, Capt. Hugh, born in Ireland, 1774; arrived 1838; died in New York city 
about 1853. 

Graham, William W., born in New York, 1817; arrived 1837; died in Montana terri- 
tory, March 1878. 

Gilbraith, Smith, born in New York, 1810; arrived 1835; died February 5, 1843. 

Garrison, Mathias F., born in Pennsylvania, 1820; arrived 1840; living in Nebraska; 
moved in 1878. 

Goble. James, born in Pennsylvania, 1811; arrived 1837; living in Dixon. 

Gray, A. F., born in Vermont, 1819; arrived 1839; died in Missouri, 1876. 

Gaston, Chancy, born in New York, 1782; arrived 1835; died in Palmyra, March 7f 
1876. 

Gaston, Rev. A., born in New York, 1809; arrived 1835; died in Galesburg, Decem- 
ber 21, 1849. 

Gaston, Chancy T., born in New York, 1812; arrived 1835; died at Elgin, June 11, 
1854. 

Gaston, Levi, born in New York, 1814; arrived 1835; living in Palmyra. 

Gaston, Charles E., born in New York, 1817; arrived 1835; died in California, July 
14, 1852. 

Gaston, Henry, born in New York, 1822; arrived 1835; died at Galesburg, September 
23, 1849. 

Gregory, J. B., born in Ohio, 1810; arrived 1838; died 1854. 

Hubbard, Charles F., born in New York, 1817; arrived 1837; living three miles west of 
Dixon. 

Hubbard, Thomas S., born in New York; arrived 1837; brother of Charles; living 
in Kansas. 

Hubbard, Oliver, born in New Hampshire; arrived 1835; father of M. D. M. Hub- 
bard; died September 16, 1840, 

Hine, E. W., born in New York, 1816; arrived 1836; dir.l May 1874 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 181 

Hamilton, J. W., born in New York; arrived 1836. 

Huff, Lemuel, born in Canada; arrived 1835; went to California. 

Hetler, Nathan, born in Pennsylvania, 1819; arrived 1837; died May 21, 1877. 

Hetler, Hiram, born in Pennsylvania, 1837; arrived 1837; living near Dixon. 

Hetler, Jesse, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1837; living near Dixon. 

Hetler, Jeremiah, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1837; living near Dixon. 

Hetler, John, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1837; living near Dixon. 

Hetler, John, born in Germany, 1809; arrived 1840; living in Dixon. 

Heaton, "W. W., born in New York, 1814; arrived 1840; diedjDecember 1877. 

Heaton, James, born in New York; arrived 1840; living near Dixon. 

Herrick, Samuel, born in New York, 1807: arrived 1840; died April 6, 1864. 

Herrick, 0. F., born in Canada, 1836; arrived 1840; living in Bureau county. 

Holly, George, born in New York; arrived 1838; died 1843. 

Holly, Augustus, born in New York; arrived 1888. 

Holly, Jesse, born in Canada; arrived 1835; dead. 

Holly, David A., born in Canada, 1806; arrived 1835; dead. 

Holly, James N., born in Canada, 1808; arrived 1835; living in Palmyra. 

Hamill, Patrick, born in Ireland, 1818; arrived 1838; died 1862. 

Hinton, Pleasant, born in Kentucky; arrived 1840; died July 1844. 

Hankerson, James, born in New York; arrived 1840; died in California. 

Hollbrook, L. G., arrived 1840. 

HoUbrook, Charles, arrived 1840; living in Polo. 

Hatch, Charles, born in New Hampshire, 1814; arrived 1840; living in Dixon. 

Hatch, James, born in New Hampshire, 1816; arrived 1840; living in Dixon. [Here 
as early as 1836.] 

Howard, S, G. P., arrived 1839; moved to Chicago. 

Herrick, George L., born in Vermont, 1815; arrived 1837; came to Grand Detour 
1837, Dixon 1851. 

Hutton, Fletcher, arrived 1838; died in Palmyra, May 27, 1879. 

Hutton, Neamiah, born in Pennsylvania, 1815; arrived 1838; living at State Center 
Illinois. 

Hutton, William, born in Pennsylvania, 1790; arrived 1838; died in Sterling. 

Johnson, Samuel, arrived 1836; died at Fulton, Illinois. 

Johnson, George M., born in Michigan; arrived 1839; died January 19, 1878. 

Johnson, Avery, born in Michigan, arrived 1839; living in Dixon. 

Johnson, Henry, born in Michigan; arrived 1839; dead. 

Johnson, Charles, born in Michigan; arrived 1839; dead. 

Johnson, William Y., born in Massachusetts, 1810; ai-rived 1838; died in Iowa, Au- 
gust 28, 1873. 

Johnson, J. M., born in Massachusetts, 1814; arrived 1838; living in Palmyra. 

Johnson, Ebenezar H., born in New York, 1810; arrived 1838; living in Palmyra. 

Jennis, Albert, born in New Hampshire, 1817; arrived 1836; moved to Iowa. 

Jones, William, born in New York, 1817; arrived 1835; died about 1845. 

Jnyers, John, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1836. 

Kerr, M. P.; arrived 1836; moved to Galena, Illinois. 

Kerr, James N., born in Pennsylvania, 1807; arrived 1838; dead. 

Kennedy, William, born in New York, 1818; arrived 1839; died 1874. 

Kirkpatrick, ; arrived 1835. 

Loveland, Otis, born in New York, 1787; arrived 1837; died September 29, 1839. 

Loveland, Richard B., born in New York, 1819; arrived 1837; died August 29, 1851. 

Loveland, H. G., born in New York; arrived 1839; living in California. 

Lovejoy, James, arrived 1839; dead. 

Little, J. T., born in Maine, 1817; arrived 1839; now in Washington. 



182 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Lummison, Joseph, born in Pennsylvania, 1796; arnved 1838; dead. 

Lummison, John, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1838; son of Joseph. 

Lord, John, born in New Hampshire, 1804; arrived 1838; died January 1873. 

Lord, John L., born in New Hampshire, 1829; arrived 1838; living in Palmyra. 

Lord, Augustus, born in New Hampshire; arrived 1838; dead. 

Law, David, born in New York, 1773; arrived 1839; died October 3, 1845. 

Law, David H., born in New York, 1831; arrived 1839; living in Sterling. 

Law, William, born in New York, 1834; arrived 1839; died December 1842. 

Lawrence, J. Tharp, bom in Island Jamaica; arrived 1839; died in New York city 1847' 

Lawrence, J. Tharp, jr., born in Island Jamaica, 1819; arrived 1839; living in Palmyra. 

Lawrence, Rickets, born in Island Jamaica; arrived 1839; living in New York city. 

Lane, Charles A., arrived 1840; returned to Pennsylvania. 

Linghan, J. G., born in England, 1810; arrived 1839; living in New Orleans. 

McKenney, Mathew, born in Canada; arrived 1836; died in 1847. 

McKenney, Peter, born in New York. 1798; arrived 1836; died March 27, 1870. 

McKenney, Daniel B., born in New York, 1816; arrived 1836; living in Dixon. 

McKenney, V. R., born in Canada 1832; arrived 1846; living in South Dixon. 

McKenney, Frederick, born in New York, 1806; arrived 1837; living in Dixon. 

McKenney, James, born in New York, 1804; arrived 1837; died April 8, 1865. 

McKenney, Henry B., bom in New York, 1810; arrived 1840; died February 1, 1856. 

Morehouse, Nathan, born in New York, 1800; arrived 1835; died June 1878. 

Morehouse, T. C, born in New York, 1828; arrived 1835; living in Dixon. 

Mudd, , arrived 1836. 

Morrill, N. G. H., born in New Hampshire, 1808; arrived 1838; living in Dixon. 

Morrill, Jacob, born in New Hampshire, 1818; arrived 1838; living in New Hamp- 
shire. 

McCleary, A., arrived 1840; dead. 

McCabe, Thomas, born in Ohio; arrived 1837; living in California. 

McCabe, Moses, born in Ohio; arrived 1838. 

Moon, Abner D., arrived 1837; died 1877. 

Murphy, Jeremiah, born in Maine; arrived 1840; living in New York. 

Murphy, A. T., born in Kentucky. 1812; arrived 1840; died June 17, 1861. 

McClure, Samuel, bom in Ireland; arrived 1834; living in Stark county, Illinois. 

McClure, Thomas, born in Ireland, 1798; arrived 1840; died in Iowa. 

Millard, William, bom in Pennsylvania; arrived 1840; living in Boone county. 

March, Thomas, born in New York; arrived 1839; died in Mexico, 1850. 

Mead, Heman, born in New York, 1809; arrived 1839; moved to California, 1874. 

Morse, John; arrived 1837; went to California. 

Murray, Robert; arrived 1840; dead. 

Murray, Joseph; arrived 1840. 

Montieth, John; arrived 1836. 

Morgan, Isaac, born in Ohio, 1798; arrived 1834; dead. 

Morgan, Joshua, born in Ohio; arrived 1839; dead. 

Morgan, John, born in Ohio, 1806; arrived 1834; living in Iowa. 

Morgan Harvey, born in Ohio, 1810; arrived 1834; died August 16, 1880. 

Miller, Henry, born in Germany; arrived 1837; died 1878. 

Miller, John I., born in Germany, 1806; arrived 1842. 

Martin, George A., born in Kentucky; arrived 1834; returned to Kentucky. 

Martin, William, born in New Hampshire; arrived 1836; died 1844. 

Martin, Charles A., born in New Hampshire, 1830; arrived 1836; living in Palmyra. 

Martin, James F., born in New Hampshire, 1804: arrived 1839; settled in Walnu 
Grove, 1834. Living in Palmyra. 

Martin, Jacob, born in New Hampshire, 1808; arrived 1836; living in Palmyra. 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. ' 183 

Martin, Tyler, born in New Hampshire, 1820; arrived 1836; living in Palmyra. 

Mason, William V., born in New York; arrived 1839; moved to Iowa. 

Myers, William, born in Pennsylvania, 1813;^arrived 1836; living in Palmyra. 

McGraw, Edward, born in Ireland, 1813; arrived 1840. 

Moore, John, born in England, 1790; arrived 1847; died in 1854. 

Moore, John H., born in England, 1835; arrived 1847; living in Dixon. 

Moore, Hugh, born in New Hampshire; arrived 1836; dead. 

Moore, Rufus, born in New Hampshire; arrived 1836; dead. 

Moore, James, born in New Hampshire; arrived 1835; dead. 

Moores, Josiab, born in New York; arrived 1840; dead. 

Moores, John, born in New York; arrived 1840; living in Iowa. 

Moores, James, born in New York; arrived 1840; living in Iowa. 

Moores, Timothy, born in New York; arrived 1840; living in Dakota. 

Moores, Josiah, born in New York; arrived 1840; living in California. 

McComsey, I. D., born in 1813; arrived 1839; died March 16, 1848. 

Messer, Gilbert, born in New Hampshire, 1813; arrived 1844; living in South Dixon. 

McNeal, Thomas, born in Ireland, 1805; arrived 1840; dead. 

Moyer, John, born in Pennsylvania, 1797; arrived 1838; living in Dixon township. 

Mowrey, Philip, born in Pennsylvania, 1810; arrived 1840; died in Iowa, August 1878. 

Nehemiah, John, born in Germany, 1806; arrived 1840; moved to Stephenson county, 

Illinois; dead. 
Noble, Silas, born in Massachusetts, 1808; arrived 1841; dead. 
Newman, John, born in Kentucky; arrived 1839; dead. 
Newman, Manly, born in Kentucky; arrived 1839; dead. 
Newman, Richard, born in Kentucky; arrived 1839; living in Dixon. 
Newman, Jesse, bom in Kentucky; arrived 1839; dead. 

Nash, J. B., born in New York; arrived 1838; died near Pike's Peak, Colorado, 1864. 
O'Neal, John, born in Ireland, 1800; arrived 1837; died 1873. 
O'Brien, Daniel, born in Ireland, 1819: arrived 1838. 
Obrist, Abram, arrived 1837; died in Palmyra 1850. 
Obrist, Daniel, arrived 1836; drowned in Elkhorn creek. 
O'Kane, John, arrived 1837; dead. 

Oliver, J. C, born in Pennsylvania, 1804; arrived 1837; living in Sterling. 
Page, John H., born in New Hampshire, 1807; arrived 1834; died in Iowa. 
Page, Thomas, born in England; arrived 1836; dead. 
Page, Henry, born in Germany. 1820; arrived 1839; dead. 
Parks, Hiram, bom in New York, 1809; arrived 1836; living in Palmyra. 
Parker, Solomon, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1840; dead. 
Patterson, David, born in New York; arrived 1838; dead. 
Peacock, Joseph, born in Ohio, 1796; arrived 1837; died January 12, 1871. 
Peacock, William, born in Ohio, 1817; arrived 1887; living near Dixon. 
Peacock, Charles, born in Ohio, 1823; arrived in 1837; living in Polo. 
Plummer, Thomas, born in Ohio; arrived in 1837; moved to Iowa. 
Plummer, John, born in Ohio; arrived 1837. 

Plummer, Caleb, born in Ohio, 1806; arrived 1837; moved to Iowa. 
Porter, Aaron L., born in New York, 1808; arrived 1828; dead. 
Porter, James, born in New Y^'ork, 1814; arrived 1840; died at Harmon, July 15, 1880. 
Porter, Jerome, bom in New York; arrived 1840; living in California. 
Porter, N. F., born in New York, 1820; arrived 1840. 
Powers, Joseph, bom in Massachusetts, 1786; arrived 1838; dead. 
Powers, Abijah, bom in Massachusetts, 1814; arrived in 1838; living in Palmyra. 
Power, James, born in Kentucky, 1791; arrived 1835; died in Missouri. 
Power, Thomas, born in Kentucky, 1819; arrived 1835; living in Missouri. 



184 ' HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Pratt, Julius, born in Pennsylvania; arriv.-d 1835; died in Sterling. 

Pratt, Marshall, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1838. 

Preston, Horace, born in New Hampshire, 1819; arrived 1838; living in Dixon. 

Purington, George, born in Maine; arrived 1839; living in Freeport. 

Robinson, John K., born in Ohio, 1809; arrived May 1832; living in Menduta. 

Rathbone, Ward, born in England; arrived 1838. 

Richards, John, born in England, 1793; arrived 1836; died June 1, 1854. 

Richards, James, bom in Canada, 1825; arrived 1836; living in. Dixon. 

Richards, William, arrived 1836; living in Moline. 

Richardson, Martin, born in Massachusetts, 1800; arrived 1835; living in Sterling. 

Richardson, Orrin, born in Kentucky; arrived 1835. 

Rue, Jacob, arrived 1836. 

Rosebrook Lyman, born in New Hampshire, 1817; arrived 1836; went to Colorado. 

Rogers, Walter, born in 1820; arrived 1839; living in Palmyra. 

Steevens, Dewit C, arrived 1838; went to California. 

Shelhamer Solomon, born in Pennsylvania, 1798; arrived 1837; died April 1879. 

Scheel, Orrin, arrived 1888; dead. 

Seward, William, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1838; dead. 

Southwick, Edward, born in New York, 1812; arrived 1840; died in Amboy. 

Sargent, Robert, arrived 1839. 

Santee, James M., born in Pennsylvania, 1802; arrived 1838; died December 1873. 

Santee, Samuel, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1838; died in Pennsylvania. 

Smith, Barclay, born in Pennsylvania, 1808; arrived 1837; died April 20, 1845. 

Smith, Alanson, born in New York, 1817; arrived 1839; living in Mendota. 

Stiles, Elias B., born in Pennsylvania, 1820; arrived 1840; living in Dixon. 

Stiles, Samuel, born in Pennsylvania; arrived 1844; living in Dallas, Oregon. 

Stewart, Benjamin H., born in New York, 1809; arrived 1834; died in Missouri. 

Sterling, James, born in Pennsylvania, 1805; arrived 1838; brought family here in 

1847. Died November 1860. 
Seavey, Joshua, born in New Hampshire, 1777; arrived 1887. 
Seavey, Jesse, born in New Hampshire, 1811; arrived 1837; dead. 
Seavey, Winthrop, born in New Hampshire, 1802; arrived 1887; died about 1865. 
Sartorius, Henry G., born in Germany, 1815; arrived 1838; dead. 
Sartorius, Gustavus, born in Germany, 1822; arrived 1838; living in Palmyra. 
Scallion, Thomas, born in Ireland; arrived 1839; dead. 
Scallion, Moses, born in Ireland, 1821; arrived 1839. 
Sweeney, Truxton, arrived 1840. 
Simonson, A. H., arrived 1837; dead. 

Thompson, Horace, born in New York; afrived 1836; died about 1845. 
Thompson, John, born in New York; arrived 1837; living at Elkhorn Grove. 
Thompson, James, born in New York; arrived 1837; dead. 
Thompson, William, born in New York; arrived 1887; dead. 

Tallmadge, Caleb, born in Massachusetts, 1798 ; arrived 1887 ; died February 19, 1858. 
Truett, Henry B., arrived 1837. 

Thummel, Anthony, born in Germany, 1795; arrived 1836; died June 1876. 
Thomas, Enoch, born in Ohio; arrived 1835. 
Thomas, Noah, born in Ohio, 1818; arrived 1885; dead. 
Van Arnam, John, born in Canada; arrived 1839; dead. 

Van Arnam, James, bom in Canada, 1827 ; arrived 1839 ; living in Marion township. 
Wetzlar, Gustavus, born in Germany; arrived 1838; went to California. 
Welty, David, born in New York, 1811 ; arrived 1838; living in Dixon. 
Wakalee, Aaron, arrived 1888; dead. 
Williams, Cyrus, born in Massachusetts, 1797; arrived 1837; died August 2. 1866. 



UIXON TOWNSHIP. 185 

Webb, Henry, born in New York, 1880; arrived 1838; dead. 

Wilkinson, William, born in New York; arrived 1835; dead; son of Judge Wilk- 
inson, one of the proprietors of the town. 

Woodyat, Richard, born in England, 1815; arrived 1840; father of W. H. Woodyat; 
died April 1, 1859. 

Wheeler, Ozias, born in Vermont, 1812; arrived 1840; dead. 

White, David, born in Scotland, 1798; arrived 1840; dead. 

Warner, Moses, born in Massachusetts; arrived 1838. 

Warner, Henry, born in Massachusetts; arrived 1838; living in Sterling. 

Whitmore, S. H., born in New York, 1813; arrived 1836; died May 5, 1873, from 
injuries received at bridge accident. 

Young, John, born in New York; arrived 1839; living in New York city. 

DIXON VOLUNTEERS. 

The town of Dixon is credited with about 550 volunteers. Many 
of these, however, came from adjacent towns, but are placed on tlie 
roll of honor for Dixon. This is especially true of Palmyra volun- 
teers. 

Of the number of soldiers reported from Dixon, there were nine- 
teen commissioned officers, and forty-two non-commissioned. There 
were fifty-two promotions, a large number of which were of privates 
to commissioned and non-commissioned offices because of merito- 
rious service. About twenty-one are reported as having been killed 
in battle, or having died from wounds received in battle. Thirty- 
five to forty died from sickness in hospitals or at home on sick fur- 
lough. Others were discharged because of disease contracted while 
in the service, and have since died, and whose deaths do not appear 
on the roll of deceased soldiers. Many, at the expiration of their 
term of service, reenlisted and joined other regiments than those 
to which they originally belonged. Others were appointed on 
special dut}^ and have made honorable records in their several 
departments. 

Col. H. T. Noble, who was mustered into the United States 
service as captain of Co. A, 13th reg. 111. Yols., was appointed 
assistant quartermaster, after which he was successively promoted 
to the rank of major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel, chief quarter- 
master on the staff of Gen. J. J. Revnolds. In reference to his 
service we find the following items of record: 

Quartermaster General's Office, 

Washington, D.C, August 9, 1864. 

Capt. H. T. Noble, A.Q.M., Helena, Arkansas. 

Captain: An examination of the Inspection Report of the 
Quartermaster's Department of the Department of the Arkansas, 
made by Col. D. B. Sackett, inspector-general, dated June 8, 1864, 
reveals the fact that you have conducted the quartermaster's busi- 



186 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

ness, over which you have had control, in a most creditable manner; 
that your "books and papers are in most beautiful order, cash ac- 
count balanced every night," and that you have the confidence and 
esteem of all who know you, because of your integrity, energy and 
efficiency. 

The quartermaster-general cannot let the opportunity pass with- 
out adding his approbation, and commending you for the manifesta- 
tion of this best evidence of your genuine patriotism and devoted 
loyalty. 

ThCjindividual who so contributes by his honesty, industry and 
zeal tOjthe maintenance of his country's honor in the hour of her 
trials shall not be forgotten in the record of the many meritorious 
whose high motives have steeled them against taking advantage 
of the evil opportunities on almost every hand, which the weak and 
selfish grasp to weaken our cause by the practice of every species of 
vileuess, losing sight of everything else but self and temporary 
selfish gratification. 

Such spirits find their ignominious level here and hereafter. But 
tlie true and noble mindeti live beyond the present; their memories 
shall come] back laden with joyous messages to gladden the hearth- 
stone circle, and the hearts of generations yet to come. 

These considerations should encourage us all to the continued 
faithful performance of every trust imposed upon us. 

I am. Captain, very respectfully. 

Your obedient servant. 
By order of the quartermaster-general U.S.A. 

,Brevet major-general 
^[sd] Geo. Y. Rutherford, 
A true copy. Capt. and A.Q.M. 

H. A. Kryer, 

Brevet major and A.Q.M. 

Qu ARTERMA STER-GeNERAl's OfFICE, 

January 13. 1865. 
General L. Thomas, 

Adjutant-general U.S.A., Washington, D.C. 
General: I have the honor to return herewith the letter ot 
Maj. Gen. J. J. Reynolds, comd'g department of Arkansas, recom- 
mending Capt. H. T. Noble for appointment as colonel and chief 
quartermaster of that department, referred to this office by the adju- 
tant-general, on the 9th inst., with the following extract from an 
inspection report of Col. J. D. Cruttenden, inspector Q.M.D., made 
on the 19th of Dec. 1864 : 




.'M 

: -''St. 



^JiE 2^EW YORK 



ASTOU 
TU.tr,: 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 189 

"I found everjthin^i^ under the charge of captain Noble in most 
"excellent order, — mules in line condition, wagons in line repair, 
"forage well stored, steamers unloaded immediately on their arrival, 
"be it night or day." 

"All books, papers and accounts in the most beautiful order; 

"cash account balanced every night. Have not seen papers bet- 

" ter kept anywhere. He stands high with all who know him, as a 

"man of intelligence and integrity. I doubt if the quartermaster's 

"department can boast of many more efficient and energetic officers 

"than Capt. Noble. He is certainly capable of filling with credit 

"any and all positions in the Q.M. Dept." 

****** 

I am, very respectfully. 

Your obedient servant, 

[sd] CuAS. Thomas, 

True copy. Act'g Q.M.GenM Br't Brig. (len. 

H. A. Kkyek, 

Br't-Ma]. and A. Q.M. 

John D. Crabtree, Esq., who went out with the 13th reg., was 
transferred as second lieutenant to Bowen's Batt. Mo. Cav., Sep- 
tember 5, 1861. On November 25, 1862, he was promoted to the 
captaincy in command of Co. M, 3d Mo. Cav. He commanded 
the escort of G-en. Curtis during the latter's command of the 
department of Missouri. He afterward served as judge advocate of 
the court-martial division of Arkansas, in 1864. Returning home 
in that year, he was appointed in service of the government, as 
mustering, officer at Springfield, this state. The judge, at differ- 
ent times during the service, received honorable mention for deport- 
ment as an officer during engagements ; one which may be 
especially mentioned was the battle of Pea Ridge, under (ien. 
Curtis ; and at the close of his service he was commissioned brevet- 
major, under the signatures of the President of the United States 
and Gen. Stanton, secretary of war, as a token of appreciation of 
''faithful and meritorious services.'' 

BIOGRAPHICAL. 

Nathan Mooehouse (deceased) was born Marcii 14, 1801, at New 
Fairfield, Connecticut. When he was but two years old his father died, 
and at the age of about six years he was bound out to a farmer. Not 
liking his guardian he ran away from him when he had reached the 
age of thirteen years. He went on board a ship that was about sailing, 
and was gone on a seven years' voyage, most of which was on the 
Mediterranean sea. When he returned to New York lie was engaged 
12 



190 ■ HISTORY OF LEE COUKTY. 



a year or more at navigation on the Hudson river, and after that was 
married to Miss Sarah Airs, of New Paltz, New York, where tliey 
lived until 1827. Thev then removed to Ohio, and later to Indiana, 
and in 1835 to Lee county, Illinois. They located in Palmyra town- 
ship, where his property and home was, principally, during his life. 
He was a very useful and active man in developing the resources of the 
county, having opened seven farms in Lee count\', and was foremost in 
the promotion of law and order in society, at the earlier settlement. He 
held several public offices worthy of consideration, but aside froin those 
of county treasurer, and probably deputy sheriff, we are not reliably 
informed. He was the father of nine children, but three of whom are 
now living, one of wiioin, Thomas C. Moorehouse, is living at Dixon. 
He died Jutie 18, 1878, in Dixon, and his wife four days later. 

William W. Bethea, farmei-, Dixon, son of Philipand Mary (Mill- 
sap) Bethea, was born in Marion district. South Carolina, May 15, 1812, 
and was of Welsh descent on the paternal side. His father, who served 
in. the war of 1812, and also in the Creek Indian war which occurred 
soon after, migrated from South Carolina to Overton county, Tennes- 
see, in fall of 1812, and again removed to Lawrence county, Indiana, 
in 1828, where he died in 1834, at the age of fifty-four years, leaving a 
family of five sons and two daughters. In the spring of 1835 W. W. 
Bethea started westward to seek a home, and being attracted by tiie 
beauty and fertility of the then almost uninhabited Rock River country, 
he soon after located a farm in what is now known as Palmyra town- 
ship, which he still occupies. Mr. Bethea was one of the earliest set- 
tlers of this section and has seen its development from the almost 
primeval wilderness of 1835 to the flourishing and populous commu- 
nity of to-day. He was elected county treasurer in 1845 and served 
two terms. At the oro-anization of Lee countv, in 1839, he was elected 
justice of the peace, and held that office uninterruptedly until 1877. 
Mr. Bethea was married in Lawrence county, Indiana, in 1833, to Miss 
Irena Feiider, who died in 1838. He was again married, in 1850, to 
Mrs. Emily (Green) Ferguson, who is still living. 

James Goble, ex-sheriff of Lee county, Dixon, was born July 22, 
1811, in Kingston, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania. He spent his ear- 
lier youth at Exeter, Pennsylvania, laboring on his father's farm, and 
attending the public schools. At the age of sixteen years he entered 
a dry -goods store as clerk, at Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania. At the end 
of three years his health failing, he was obliged to give up confinement 
for the farm. In 1837 he came west and settled in Lee county, which 
has ever since been his home. In 1838 having purchased a claim and 
built a log-house upon it he was married to Christiana Harding, a 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 191 

daughter of a family who came tu this county from his former home in 
Pennsylvania. Mr. Goble states that for some years they lived in this 
primitive dwelling as happy as could be. In 1846 he was elected 
county commissioner, and in J 848 he resigned that office and was 
elected sheriff. He then left his farm and removed to Dixon, where he 
has since lived. He has held the office of coroner, and others of minor 
importance. Politically he is a democrat, and cast his first vote in 
1832 for President Jackson. By the year 1816 all his family had fol- 
lowed him to Lee county, and that Fourth of July they held a family 
re-union, at which were gathered forty-four raembei's, including grand- 
children. He is the father of five children, only one of whom is now 
living, Mrs. Wadsworth, of Dixon. He lost his wife in the great 
bridge disaster at Dixon, May 4, 1873. She stood on the span at the 
north pier, holding a little grandchild in her arms, witnessing a bap- 
tismal ceremony. The bridge breaking, she threw the child so near to 
shore that it was picked up and brought to life, but she was drowned. 
She was a pious lady and died a member of the Baptist church. 

Mahlon P. BuRKET, farmer, Dixon, was born October 31, 1843, in 
Blair county, Pennsylvania. In June, 1847, his parents removed to 
Lee county, Illinois, where he has ever since lived. His whole work 
has been farming, and during his youth he received a good common 
education at the public schools. He has traveled more, probably, 
than a majority of farmers, and is well ])osted on the general topics of 
the day. He succeeded his father in the proprietorship of the old 
homestead, a beautiful farm-home two miles from Dixon, on the 
Franklin road. Mr. John N. Burket, the father of the above, pur- 
chased this home immediately on coming to Lee county, and has made 
it what it now is. He was a quiet but most useful man to his com- 
munity, and has lived a good example. It has been remarked that 
his distinguishing characteristic, aside from industrj^, was his ex- 
tremely temperate habits and pure life. He was a member of the 
Lutheran church, and the present organization of that denomination 
at the city of Dixon was made at a meeting held in his barn at an 
early day, Kev. Mr. Stoh officiating. He died January 3, 1865, in 
the house which his own hands had built. 

John Courtwright, farmer and carpenter, Dixon, was born De- 
cember 25, 1820, in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, He spent the 
earlier part of his life there, laboring on his father's farm, and received 
a common school education. In July, 1840, he emigrated to Lee 
county, Illinois, where he has since lived. In 1842 he began working 
at the carpenter trade, and has pursued it more or less ever since. In 
July, 1846, he was married to Lydia, daughter of Joel Whitney, 
of Ogle county, Illinois, and they began life together on their present 



192 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

farm home, about two miles from Dixon, on the Franklin road. They 
have witnessed the turning of a wild country, inhabited chiefly by 
Indians, into a land of bounty and civilization, braving many dangers 
and hardships with which pioneer life in this region was fraught. 
Mr. Courtwright owned the first reaping machine brought to Rock 
river, and the first threshing machine in Lee county. He helped in 
building the first county jail, and also the first church (Methodist 
Episcopal) built at Dixon. He is the father of several children, only 
one of whom, a daughter, is now living. He has been an indulgent 
father and kind husband, and is recognized and respected among his 
neighbors. He is a republican in politics, and a Methodist in church 
preference. 

Isaac Means, dealer in farmers' supplies, Dixon, was born in 
Tyrone county, Ireland, November 15, 1815, where he attained a lib- 
eral education and was employed at farming. In April, ISiO, he 
emigrated to the United States, landing at JSTew York, and in June 
following located at Dixon, where he has since lived. For some years 
he was engaged at contracting in mason work and house building; 
commencing the business on $45, which was all he had. In 1851 
he opened a lumber-yard in Dixon, which he continued about ten 
years, and then began his present line of farmers' exchange. He has 
been very successful in business, notwithstanding he has sustained 
some heavy losses by reposing too much confidence in his fellow men. 
He has extensive real estate interests in Lee count}'^ and vicinity, 
which, taken with his exchange, makes his business one of much 
importance. He has been twice married, and has no children. He is 
a liberal minded, public-spirited gentleman, and has been a most useful 
man to the citj'- and community, socially as well as financially. He 
was one of the few who were faithful during the earlier banditti out- 
rages through this section, and relates some very hazardous experi- 
ences of those times. He is an independent in his religious views, and 
accords to all the world liberty of thought upon this subject. For 
thirty-eight years he has been a Freemason. Prior to the organization 
of the republican party he was a whig, but since then has been a 
staunch republican. 

Walter Little, sheriff", Dixon, was born September 7, 1841, at Malu- 
gin's Grove, Lee county, Illinois. Until sixteen years old he was em- 
ployed on his father's farm, and in attending school. At that age he 
lost both of his parents, and after that he attended school, mostly at 
Paw Paw, until nineteen years old, gaining a liberal education. At 
the age of twenty years he enlisted for a term of three years in Co. F, 
1st 111. Light Art., of the U. S. Vols., and passed unharmed, in 
the rank and file, through some of the severest battles of the war. 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 193 

He took part in nearly all the battles of the Georgia campaign. For 
some time he was the bearer of a set of colors that were presented to 
his company by the citizens of Dixon. At the close of the war, in 
1865, he was married to Miss Cornelia F. Nichols, of Malugin's Grove, 
and engaged at farming. In the tall of 1880 he was elected sherifl' 
of Lee county, and is the present very efficient incumbent. He has held 
various town offices. He is and has always been a republican in poli- 
tics. He subscribes to no church rituals, but favors a decided morality. 
He is a member of the order of Freemasons, and has filled various 
offices in his lodge. He is also a member of the Knights of the Red 
Cross. 

It is a rare thing for the writer to be called upon to record the life, 
or even a small portion thereof, of a gentleman who has so long 
been engaged in an active public life as the subject of this sketch, 
Hon. Lorenzo Wood. So varied and numerous has been the ran^e of 
his efforts, that to do justice to all would be impossible in the space 
which we can allot to it. Judge Wood was born in November 1818, 
in Middlebury, Vermont. Until about the age of sixteen years he 
worked at the carpentering trade, attending, when he could do so, 
the public schools of his native town ; and later he entered the Middle- 
burj' College, where he obtained a very liberal education. On leaving 
college he began the study of law in a law office at Middlebury, 
but soon after (in 1839) concluded to come west. He stopped at 
Detroit, Michigan, where he took a three years' course at professional 
reading in the office and under the direction of Gov. Woodbridge, of 
that city. He left Detroit in 1842 for the west, coming direct to Lee 
county, Illinois, which has ever since been his home. In February, 
1843, he was admitted and enrolled as an attorney-at-law in Illinois. 
The judge states, in connection with this, that he was too poor to af- 
ford the expense of a journey to Springfield (as was the custom in 
those days), and that he sent a certificate of reading, and made such 
other compliance as by the court were held requisite. In return he 
received his certificate of admission, which is written on a sheet of 
"Congress letter" paper, with a steel pen, and signed by S. A. Doug- 
las and S. H. Treat. He immediately opened a law office in the city 
of Dixon, and his first four cases were in bankruptcy. He was success- 
ful in all of them, and he received fees of $100 each. This gave him 
quite a " boost," and was the beginning of many years' successful 
practice. A few j^ears after being admitted to the bar he was elected 
county judge, which office he held until in 1852, when he resigned and 
moved on a farm which he owned in Lee county. In 1860 the house 
and improvements on his farm were almost totally destroyed by the 
"Comanche tornado" that passed over this section of Illinois, which 



194 HISTORY OF LEE nOTJNTY. 

very seriously crippled his fortune. In the fall of 1860 he removed to 
Dixon, where he has since resided, and has been almost constantly in 
public life, filling the oflices of master in chancery and internal revenue 
assessor ; he has been longer chairman of the board of supervisors than 
any other man in Lee county ; and has filled various other minor offices. 
In 1865 he purchased an interest in the " Hydraulic Power Company " 
at Dixon, which he brought through some legal embarrasstnent, and 
afterward started some manufacturing concerns, which proved losing 
undertakings to him, again reducing his property. He has been a 
prominent Freemason for many years. His church preferences are for 
the Presbyterian. He has been twice married, and is the father of 
four children, three of whom are now living. The judge was present 
at the organization of the republican party, at Bloomington, and heard 
the speeches there ; prior to that he had been a whig, but since tlien 
has been a radical republican. Speaking of the leaders of the two 
great parties, the judge says that in his boyhood days he played some 
pranks upon Stephen A. Douglas, who was then working at carpenter- 
ing; that Douglas was tlie most determined fellow he ever saw, — he 
ran after liim, finally caught him, and spanked him with a jack-plane ; 
he adds that the punishment was just. 

James C. Mead, books, stationery, etc., Dixon, was born February 
11, 1831, in Monroe county, 'New York, and obtained his earlier edu- 
cation there. In 1843 he came with his parents to Dixon, Illinois, 
he attended the public schools a short time, and later was taken as 
clerk in the post-ofiice, under David Birdsall. In the spring of 1849 
he concluded to learn a trade, and started to go to Chicago for that 
purpose. He had $5 in his pocket, and, with a pack of clothing on his 
back, he commenced the journey on foot. He had not gone far, how- 
ever, when he caught a ride with a farmer, on a load of wheat. It will 
be remembered that this was before the days of railroads in this vicin- 
ity, and farmers were obliged to haul their produce to Chicago to find 
a market, and to bring back dry-goods and lumber for the trade of the 
town. Stopping at Kaperville for dinner, young Mead met a friend 
who was a harness-maker, and who prevailed upon him to stop and 
learn that trade with him. In about six months after this the cholera 
broke out and his employer died, and after settling the accounts of 
the business he returned to Dixon. In the following spring he again 
started out on foot, stopping at Aurora and Xaperville, intending to 
engage at harness-making; but not being able to obtain employment 
at that, he entered a printing-office at Naperville. He learned that 
business rapidly, and was employed in that office about a year, at 
which time Mr. C. R. Fisk sent for him to come to Dixon and assist 
him in opening and establishing a printing-otfice ; which was the first 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 195 

one in Dixon. After a short engagement with this enterprise he went 
to Oregon, Illinois, where he became publisher of the " Ogle County 
Reporter," in which business he continued for two j^ears. At this 
time he returned to Dixon, and engaged as clerk in the private bank 
and land office of E. B. Stiles, where he was employed until March 1, 
1854. He then opened a bookstore at his present site, on Galena 
street, in a room 12x20 feet, which was the first establishment of 
that kind in Dixon. Prosperity attended him, and in a few years he 
had amassed considerable property, and his store had grown to its 
present magnitude. He subsequently met with severe reverses, which 
materially injured and retarded him; but being a live business man, 
and enjoying the full vigor of his powers, he is again on the forward 
march. At the age of twenty-two lie became a Freemason, and for 
many years was secretary of the lodge at Dixon. He has been a promi- 
nent worker in the Sunday schools and a member of the Methodist 
Episcopal church. He has been twice married, and is the father of 
five children, four of whom are now living. In politics Mr. Mead is 
a republican. In social life he is pleasant and affable. 

Thekon Cimins, manufacturer, Dixon, was born in Vermont in 
1825. He was the son of Joseph and Hannah (Converse) Cumins, 
both of whom are now dead. His parents left Vermont and moved 
to Ohio when he was fifteen years of age, and settled in Geauga county. 
After remaining there for two 3'ears he came around by way of the 
lakes to Chicago, from thence by stage to Dixon, having but $S in his 
pocket on his arrival. From Dixon he went to Grand Detour, where 
he obtained a position of clerk in the store of W. A. House & Co., at 
a small salary, remaining there for two years and a half. He then 
returned to Newai-k, Ohio, and for four years clerked in the store of 
J. O. and H. Smith. He tlien returned to Grand Detour and went 
into business with the firm for which he had formerly been a clerk, 
under the firm name of T. Cumins & Co. This firm was dissolved 
within less than three years, and he returned to Bucyrus, Oliio, and 
having formed a business connection with A. Haynes, under the firm 
name of A. Haynes & Co., they obtained a large grading contract on 
the Ohio & Indiana railroad, afterward a part of the Pittsburg & Fort 
Wayne railroad. On the extension of the latter road the firm obtained 
large conti'acts for grading and bridging, which, a few months after, 
they sold to other parties, realizing a handsome profit for themselves. 
Mr, Cumins again returned to Grand Detour, where he became general 
manager for Leonard Andrus, former proprietor of the G. T. Plow 
Works, continuing in that capacity for about two years, "when lie 
became an equal partner with Mr. Andrus. At the death of Mr. 
Andrus, which occurred six years afterward, Mr. Cumins purchased 



196 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

his interest and became sole proprietor, and so continued for about two 
years and a half, when the works were removed to Dixon, and an 
interest in the business was purchased by Col. H. T. Noble, the firm 
becoming: Cumins & Noble. Mr. Cumins was married at Grand Detour 
in 1854, to Miss Josephine Harris, and has two daughters living. Mr. 
Cumins is a truly self-made man and adds another name to the list of 
those whose integrity, energy, and perseverance have brought them from 
humble circumstances to wealth and prominence. 

Sherwood Dixon, attorney, Dixon, was born November 15, 1847, 
at Dixon, and was the son of James P. and Fannie (Reed) Dixon, and 
the grandson of John (Father) Dixon. James P. Dixon was born in 
the city of New York, March 6, 1811, and came with his parents to 
Illinois in 1827, and to Dixon in 1829. Upon arriving at manhood he 
engaged in active business, and was for a long time agent for Flint & 
Walker's stage line, and in the latter years of his life was in the livery 
business. He also held several positions of honor and trust, being a 
county commissioner at the organization of Lee county and likewise 
at the time the court-house was erected. He also held the position of 
postmaster for several years. He was married December 7, 1834, to 
Miss Fannie Reed, daughter of Samuel Reed, the first settler of Buffalo 
Grove, in Ogle county, where he located in 1831. The following 
children were born to Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Dixon, all but the last of whoiri 
are still living: Henrietta, born in 1836, married in 1860 to William 
H.Richards; Elizabeth, born in 1838, married in 1856 to William 
Barge; Sarah, born in 1845, married in 1870 to George W. Goodwin ; 
John R,, born in 1842, married in 1872, and now resides in Michigan ; 
Sherwood, who still resides in Dixon ; and Susan F., born in 1839, 
married in 1861 to Amos Goodwin, and died at Dixon, Septetnber 15, 
1878. James P. Dixon died April 5, 1873, at Dixon, but his widow, 
now in her sixty-sixth year, is still living and at present residing with 
her son, Sherwood Dixon. The subject of our sketch was educated in 
the public schools of his native place, and in February', 1866, com- 
menced the study of law with Wm. Barge, Esq. He was admitted in 
January 1869, and commenced practice as junior member of the iirm 
of Eustace, Barge & Dixon, in August 1869. In October, 1874, Messrs. 
Barge <fe Dixon removed to Chicago, and forming a partnership with 
W. W. O'Brien, of that city, practiced their profession there until 
November 1877, when they returned to Dixon. In March, 1878. Mr. 
Dixon dissolved his connection with the firm of Barge & Dixon and 
formed a partnership with Mr. S. H. Bethea, the new firm succeeding 
to the firm and business of Eustace & Bethea. Mr. Dixon was appointed 
master in chancery in June 1880, and is serving his second term as a 
member of the board of education. He was married November 16, 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 197 

1869, to Miss Melissa G. Mead, daughter of the late H. P. Mead, and 
has two sons, Henry S,, aged eleven, and Louis N., aged eight years. 
Mr. Dixon's political views are democratic, and he is chairman of the 
county committee of that party. He is a member of the Methodist 
Episcopal church, and has been for two years superintendent of the 
•Sunday-school of that denomination. 

Jonathan N. Hills, ex-sheriff of Lee county, Dixon, was born 
July 24, 1829, in Oneida county. New York. He spent his early life 
at farming, and received a common school education. In 1849, with 
.his father's family, he came to Lee county, Illinois, and they settled in 
Malngin's Grove, where his father died, June 5, 1864. In 1868 he 
engaged in mercantile pursuits, the firm name being Hills & Carnahan, 
at Malugin's Grove, which business they continued five years. In 
1876 he was elected sheriff of Lee county, and in November of that 
year removed to Dixon, where he has since continued to reside. In 
1878 he was reelected. He has since filled various town offices, but 
has l)een justice of the peace longer than any other. He has always 
been a line republican. Mr. Hills aspired to a military record, but 
because of ill health was rejected from the service. He was married 
December 17, 1851, to Miss Nancy Merwin, of Paw Paw Grove, Lee 
county, and they have six children, one of whom, a daughter, is married 
and living in Kansas; the others are at home. Mr. Hills is an active 
member and officer in the Methodist Episcopal church at Dixon, and is 
also a warm friend of Sunday-schools. He is a member of the blue 
lodge (of which he is master), the royal arch chapter, and the Dixon 
commandery of Knights Templar. He is also a member of the I.O.O.F. 
Mr. Hills is a firm temperance man, and believes in moderation in all 
things, excess in none. 

Hon. Jaisees B. Charters, county judge, Dixon, was born July 11, 
1831, in the citj' of Belfast, Ireland. He is the onl}^ son of Alexander 
Charters, popularly known as "Governor" Charters. Until seventeen 
years of age the judge attended school at Carafurgus Island, after 
which he was placed in the Trinity College at Dublin, Ireland. He 
graduated from that institution in 1852, and afterward kept his law 
terms at the Inner Temple, in London, England. Immediately after 
graduating in law he came to Dixon, Illinois, where liis father had 
lived since the spring of 1838. His father's home was a beautil'ul 
country site, two miles from the city of Dixon, on the Rock river, the 
lands of which he purchased from the United States government, and 
christened the manor Hazelwood. Here, in 1853, the judge was mar- 
ried to Miss Fannie Charters, a lady of his own country and house. 
In 1856 he commenced the practice of law at Dixon, where he has ever 
since been engaged in professional pursuits. In 1877 he was elected 



198 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

judge of tlio county court of Lee county, and since that time has been 
the incumbent of tliat office. Prior to his election as county judge lie 
served one term as mayor of the city of Dixon. He has been largely 
interested in several manufacturing establishments at Dixon, among 
which we may mention the Dixon File Works, of which he was secre- 
tary and treasurer. In 1868 the concern was converted into the "West- 
ern Knitting Mills, which were burned in 1873, with a loss of about 
$60,000, a heavy share of the loss falling upon the judge. The mills 
were Tiever rebuilt. Politically the judge supports the democratic 
principles, as they were discussed in the debates upon the constitution. 
He is a pi-ominent member of the blue lodge, royal-arch chapter, 
and commandery of Knights Templar, He is a member and vestryman 
of the Episcopal church at Dixon. Personally Mr. Charters is a gen- 
tleman of pleasing address and cordial manner. 

Hon. John D. Ckabtbee, attorney-at-law, Dixon, was born Novem- 
ber 19, 1837, in Nottingham, England, and with his parents came to 
America in 1848. They came direct to Winnebago county, Illinois, 
where they settled and remained some time. In 1853 they removed to 
Dixon, which has since then been his home. The judge's opportuni- 
ties for obtaining an education were few, yet by hard work and close 
application he managed to obtain quite a liberal one. . He had ])rivately 
read law some, ])rior to June 1, 1861, at which date he entered the 
office of Mr. Edsall (now attorney-general ot Illinois); but taking an 
active interest in the result of the rebellion he enlisted as a private 
soldier, April 17 of the same year. Here he made a brilliant record, 
rising by promotion and appointment to the office of captain of Co. 
F, 3d Mo. Cav., and before the close of the war had been breveted 
majoi". He was mustered out of the service November 5, 1865, and on 
returning home he reentered the office of Mr. Edsall, and resumed his 
professional reading. In July, 1866, he was admitted to the bar, and 
in October following formed a partnership with Mr. Edsall, which con- 
tinued three yeai-s. He was then elected county judge of Lee county, 
which office he held eight years. At the expiration of that time he re- 
sumed the practice of law at Dixon, 'and that has been his business 
since. He is a tiuent speaker, a deep and active reasoncr, and wields a 
strong influence in the public sentiments and politics of Lee count3\ 
He cast his first vote for president Lincoln, and has voted fur every 
president since then, living up to the republican principals as he taught 
them. He has held prominent offices in the various masonic orders, 
and has been a member of the I.O.O.F. He is a member of the veter- 
an soldiers organization called O.C.D. His church preferences are 
for the Baptist, though he subscribes to no church ritual. His fine so- 
cial qualities, combined with excellent abilities, make him a general 
favorite among his friends, both in and out of the profession. 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 199 

Samuel C. Eklls banker, Dixon, was born in Delaware county, 
New York, March 1!>, 1822, where he spent his youth on a farm, and 
hiter as a clerk in a drv-^oods store. As soon as sufficiently advanced 
lie entered the Delaware Academy, where he received a very .liberal ed- 
ucation. In' 1854 he was married to Miss Annie More, a lady of his 
own nativity, and they now have three children, all living. The same 
year he came to Dixon, Illinois, as bookkeeper for the firm of Robert- 
son, Eastmati & Co. In the spring of 1855 Mr. Eastman retired from 
the firm, and it then became Robertson, Eellstfe Co. In 185!) the firm 
was changed to Eells & Coleman, and in the spring of 1865 was suc- 
ceeded by the organization of the Lee county national bank. In this 
institution Mr. Eells became cashier, and Mr. Coleman assistant cash- 
ier; the latter has since retired from the business. The life of our sub- 
ject has been one of even tenor and his just pride is in his fiiumcial 
career. Politically he is a staunch republican and exerts a telling but 
(juiet influence for his party. lie is a memi)er of the Episcopal church 
at Dixou, and is a warm friend and supporter of all churches. He is 
the pronounced friend of educational institutions. Personally he is a 
man of a kind heart and courteous address. 

WiijjAM H. Yan Ei'i's, farmer, Dixon, was born in Genesee county, 
New York, in December 1842. His parents were William II. and 
Charlotte R. (Churchill) Van Epps. The father of the subject of our 
sketch, the Hon. W. II. Van Epps, deceased, for many years a promi- 
nent resident and merchant of Dixon, was boi-n in 1812, at Schenectady, 
New York, and was the son of John A. and Deborah (Ilousman) Van 
Epj)s, whose gre^t-grandparents emigrated from Plolland early in the 
last century. His parents removed to Genesee county, New York, in 
1813, where his father (who served in the war of 1812) died in 1816. 
In 1829 his mother removed to Monroe county, New York, where he 
attended the best schools. In 1837 he determined to go west, and hav- 
ing located in Fulton county, Illinois, engaged in various successful en- 
terj)rises until 1848, when he returned to Genesee county. In 1854 he 
again came west and settled at Dixon, where he opened an extensive 
dry-goods and general store, which he carried on for more than twenty 
years. In 1856 he became a member of the Illinois State Board of Ag- 
riculture, and in 1860 was made its president, serving in that capacity 
for four years. In 1868 he was the candidate of the democratic party 
of which he was a member) for lieutenant-governor. He was twice 
married, his fii-st wife being Miss Charlotte R. Churchill, of Genesee 
count}', who died in 1848. He was again married in 1850 to Miss 
Mary A. Peck, also of Genesee county, New York. His death occurred 
October 8, 1877. at the age of sixty-five years. Up to the time of the 
family's arrival in Dixon the history of the present W. H. Van Epps 



200 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

is comprised in that of his father. He received excellent educational 
advantages, and after leaving school was in the employ of James R. 
Ashley, of Morrison, until he enlisted in the marine artillery in August, 
1862, serving with them a few months only. On leaving the service 
he returned to Dixon, and with the exception of some three or four 
years, during which time he twice went to California, remaining about 
a year each time, he has been steadily engaged in farming. He was 
married to Miss Leah Emerj^, on December 6, 1877. 

William Barge, attorney, Dixon, was born February 26, 1832. 
His parents were John and Jane (Elliott) Barge, and he is of French 
descent on his father's, and Scotch on his mother's side. In 1833 the 
famil}' removed to Richland county, (3hio, where the eai'lier years of 
Mr. Barge were passed. The family removed from Richland county 
to Wayne county, Ohio, in 1839, his father dying there in 1850. Dur- 
ing this time Mr. Barge attended the Wooster Academy, where the 
greater part of his education was acquired. In 1851, with his mother 
and two sisters, he removed to Rock Island, Illinois, where he entered 
the law office of Pleasants & Henderson as a student. Removing to 
Dixon in 1854 he started the first graded school (outside of Chicago, at 
least) in the state, and continued in charge of it until 1859. He com- 
menced to practice law in 1860, and after being for some time a partner 
of H. B. Fogg, Esq., became in 1869 a member of the firm of Eustace, 
Barge & Dixon. In the fall of 1874 Messrs. Barge & Dixon removed 
to Chicago, becoming associated there with W. W. O'Brien, Esq.. but 
being appointed in 1877 attorney of the Illinois Central railroad, he 
again returned to Dixon. He has had also, for many years, charge of 
the legal interests of the Chicago & JSTorthwestern railroad in his sec- 
tion, and still continues to hold the important trust confided to him by 
both corporations. Mr. Barge was married August 19, 1856, to Miss 
Elizabeth Dixon, granddaughter of the old pioneer John Dixon, and 
is the father of five children : Mrs. Rathbun, wife of W. W. Rathbun. 
Esq., of Mercer county, Illinois ; W. D. Barge, who has just been ad- 
mitted to the bar and has become a partner of his father; John J., aged 
twenty, Lizzie M., aged fourteen, and Charles R., aged nine years. Mr. 
Barge,though never active in political matters, is a democrat from con- 
viction, and has long been one of the most prominent members of the 
legal profession in northern Illinois. 

Hon. Jason C. Ayres, Dixon, was born August 22, 1835, in St. 
Lawrence county, New York, and in 1836 his parents moved to the west, 
and settled in the vicinity of Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father 
died when the subject of our sketch was nearl}' four years of age, and 
in the following year his people returned to Buffalo, New York, where 
his youth was spent and where he received a very liberal education, 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 201 

with special direction to the profession of surveying and civil-engineer- 
ing. At the age of eighteen he located in Chicago, and in the spring 
of 1854 settled in Dixon, Illinois, where he has since resided. Here 
he was for a short time engaged in a small mercantile business, which 
proving unprofitable he abandoned it. He then went into business as 
land agent and surveyor, in connection with the Hon. Jos. Crawford, 
forming a partnersiiip that continued until 1863. During the latter 
year they prepared and published, from actual surveys, the first correct 
and authentic map of Lee county. Mr. Ayres afterward continued 
the real-estate business, devoting the greater portion of his time to 
reading law. In 1870 he was admitted to the bar, but has never en- 
gaged exclusively in the general practice of his profession. Being a 
surveyor as well as an attorney, he has made a specialty of convej^anc- 
ing, and has pushed his business to successful growth and substantial 
results, and for nva.ny years has been engaged in making and negotiat- 
ing loans on real-estate securities. He is also a prominent stockholder 
in, and president of the Dixon national bank. While his financial ad- 
vancement has been verj' signal, his social record is an enviable one. 
He was elected city clerk March 6, 1861, and has held that ofiice ever 
since, a duration of over twenty consecutive years, and March 16, 1864, 
he was elected city treasurer, which post he has ever since had. Polit- 
ically he is a staunch republican. He is a member of the Masonic order, 
a Royal Arch Mason and Knight Templar ; in lodge, chapter, council 
and commandery he has held prominent otifices. He was married May 
7, 1861, to Miss Lovina, daughter of Dr. Jno. S. Crawford, of Williams- 
port, Pennsylvania. They have two children, a daughter now grown, 
and a son. 

Hon. John Y. Thomas, mayor of the city of Dixon, was born at 
Princeton, New Jersey, October 30, 1835. He spent his youth there, 
and took a full classical course in the Princeton College. In 1857 he 
came west, and being pleased with it concluded to abide in Dixon ; 
soon after he began the study of medicine, under the tutorship of Dr. 
Oliver Everett, at Dixon, and afterward, during the winter of 1859-60, 
attended lectures at the Keokuk (Iowa) Medical College ; but before he 
had completed his course there he was called into the hospital service 
of the government, where his duties, tiiough of short duration, had 
the efiPect to turn him from the further pursuit of that profession. On 
returning home he took a course in didactics, under Prof. A. M. Gow, 
and afterward began the business of teaching; first at N^elson, Illinois, 
and subsequently at Dixon, as principal of the north side public 
schools. Here he remained until 1874, when, on account of impaired 
health, he was obliged to abandon it. He then engaged in the real- 
estate and insurance business, which has been attended with successful 



202 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

results and substantial growth. When he gave up teaching the eitizefls 
chose him city councilman, and afterward mayor of the city, the second 
term of which office he is now tilling. In various ways they have 
demonstrated their appreciation and respect for his high moral worth 
and superior abilities. For many years he has been a prominent mem- 
ber of the A.F. and A.M., and master of Friendship Lodge. He 
has been high priest in the Royal Arch Chapter, and is now prelate of 
the Dixon Comraandery of Knights Templar, which post he has had 
for three years. He is also a member of the I.O.O.F. His prefer- 
ences are for the Episcopalian church. In 1861 he was married to 
Miss Ellen J., daughter of Dr. Dewitt C. Warner, then of Dixon ; they 
have three children, the oldest of whom is a son, now a law student 
at Dixon. 

Eugene Pinckney, attorney-at-law and loan agent, Dixon, was born 
in 1839, in liew York city, where he obtained his earlier education. 
Later he was sent to the Wesle^^an Institute, located at Newark, New 
Jersey, and afterward to the New Jersej' Institute, at Pennington, 
New Jersey, from which he graduated in 1852. He then entered 
Princeton Colhjge, where he took a full course in the classics, and in 
March, 1856, he came west. In May of that year he came to Dixon, 
Illinois, which has ever since been his home. Here he began a course 
of professional reading, in the office and under the direction of Messrs. 
Heaton & Atherton, and in 1860 was admitted to the bar by the 
supreme court of Illinois. He immediately entered the practice of 
law, and subsequently added to his legal pursuits the business of loan- 
ing money upon real estate. He was prominently interested in the 
Dixon file works, an institution of considerable magnitude, but which is 
now extinct. He was the first editor of the Dixon " Sun," one of the 
leading papers in Lee county. His habits have always been those of a 
student, and his favorite fields of research have been in the natural 
sciences and profane and biblical literature. He is a member of the 
State Geological Society, and has recently organized the Dixon Biologi- 
cal Society, which has a promising future. He is master in the Forest 
Home Lodge of the A.O.U.W., located at Dixon. He is a prominent 
member of the Methodist Episcopal church at Dixon, and is an active 
Sunday-school worker, sometimes extending his work in this to other 
counties. He has been twice married, but has no children. He is a 
Jeffersonian democrat, and has never voted an}' other ticket. 

Henry P. Becker, miller, Dixon, was born in Schoharie county, 
New York, in 1819. His parents were Peter I. and Lena (Woolford) 
Becker. He received a common school education, and at the age of 
seventeen went into his grandfather's mills to learn the business. He 
remained there about ten years, going from thence to Albany in 1847. 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 203 

He resided there until the spring of 1850, when he migrated to Wis- 
consin, and after working for various parties until 1857 he in that 
year entered into partnership with Mr. Bean, under the style of Bean 
& Becker. In the fall of 1859 he closed his connection with this firm, 
and coming to Dixon he purchased an interest in the Dixon mill, then 
conducted by C. Godfrey & Son. His brother, John W. Becker, was 
also interested. In the following spring Mr. Godfrey's remaining 
interest was purchased by Nathan Underwood, and the linn became 
Beckers & Underwood, which on the retirement of J. W. Becker, in 
1872, was changed to Becker & Underwood, as it still remains. Mr. 
Becker was married in 1840 to Miss Lucretia Tygert, of Albany county, 
New York, and had one son, Ezra S. Becker, born in Scholiarie, New 
York, in 1841. He was a young man of great promise, and under- 
stood the milling business thoroughh' in all its branches. He lost his 
life in the fire that destroyed the mill in 1880, a full account of which 
will be found elsewhere. It was a sad blow to his father, whose aged 
mother had died in 1878, followed by the death of his wife in 1879, 
and now the tragic fate of his only child, left Mr. Becker stripped of 
his whole family in the short space of twenty months. Mr. Becker is a 
republican, and is now serving his fourth term as alderman of the 
second ward of Dixon. 

Abalino C. Bardwell, attorn ey-at-law, Dixon, was born October 
23, 1844, at Conneautville, Pennsylvania, and was the son of George 
A. and Julia A. (Cutler) Bardwell. His parents removed to White- 
sides county, Illinois, in 1853, where Mr. A. C. Bardwell received the 
most of his education at the neighboring schools. Coming to Dixon 
Februai-y 10, 1864, Mr. Bardwell commenced to study law in the office 
of Geo. P. Goodwin, Esq., and at the same time held a clerkship in the 
office of Hon. J. Y. Eustace, then provost-marshal of the district. On 
February 10, 1865, he enlisted as a private in the 147th 111. Inf., and 
upon the organization of the regiment was elected captain of Co. G. 
Having served for about three months as company commander, he 
was detached and appointed provost-marshal at Resaca, Georgia, and 
afterward served in the same capacity at Americns and Savannah until 
mustered out of service February 10, 1866. Returning home he re- 
sumed his law studies, attending Chicago law school during the winter 
of 1866-7, and being admitted to the bar soon after, he commenced 
the practice of his profession at Rochelle, Ogle county, Illinois, late in 
the following tall. Shortly after, his health becoming impaired, he re- 
moved to Dixon, and in the spring of 1868 established the Dixon 
"Herald," which was, in November 1869, merged into the Dixon " Tel- 
egraph," owned' by a joint stock company with Mr. Bardwell as editor, 
in which position he coniinued until May 1871. In the ensuing Au- 



204 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

^ust he formed a partnership with Hon. J. K. Edsall, and resumed the 
practice of law. The firm was dissolved in 1872, Mr. Edsall having 
been elected attorney-o;eneral of the state, and Mr. Bardwell has since 
continued to practice alone. He was married in 1871, to Miss Clara C. 
Utley, daughter of Joseph Utlej, Esq., of Dixon, and has one son, Henry 
W. Bardwell, nine years of age. Though a comparatively ^'oungman, 
Mr. Bardwell occupies an enviable position among his professional 
brethren, and citizens generallj', both as a lawyer and a man. 

A. Clinton Waener, deputy county treasui-er, Dixon, was born in 
New Preston, Connecticut, April 8, 1850. He is the son of L. A. and 
Sarah D. Warner, of Freeport, Illinois, with whom he came west in 
1855. He spent his youth at Freeport, obtaining a very liberal educa- 
tion in the schools of that city. In 1867 he entered the office of the 
county clerk, as deputy, of Stephenson county, of which Freeport is 
the county seat. He remained there until 1871, when he came to 
Dixon, where he was immediately employed as deputy in the county 
clerk's office. A little later he was given charge of the office of county 
treasurer, as deputy, under treasurer Josiah Little, and in connection 
with this he is now engaged. In May, 1878, he was licensed by the 
supreme court an attorney-at-law, but has not sought to engage in a 
general practice. He is a prominent stockholder, and a director in the 
Dixon national bank, at Dixon, and during the past few years has 
handled more real estate than any other man in Lee county. In De- 
cember, 1875, he was married to Miss Myra O. Brookner, a lad}' of one 
of the oldest and most respected families in Dixon. They have three 
children, all boys. Mr. Warner is a member of the Methodist Episco- 
pal church, and a warm friend of Sunday-schools. He is a man of re- 
lined tastes and correct habits, an energetic student, combined with 
active and growing business qualities. He is an independent republican. 

George Steel, capitalist, Dixon, was born at Lockport, Illinois, 
May 10, 1842, and was the son of George and Annie (Morrison) Steel. 
The elder Mr. Steel and his wife were both natives of Scotland. He 
was a contractor, and in that capacity was connected with many of the 
great enterprises of the northwest, such as the Welland canal, the Illi- 
nois and Michigan canal, the di-edging of the Chicago river, etc. In a 
buildinoj owned bv him the first informal meeting of the Board of Trade 
of Chicago was held. He was one of the original directors of the Ga- 
lena division of the Chicago & Xortiiwestern railroad. He built the 
first elevator at Chicago, and was one of the first to engage in the pack- 
ing business, and in the lake trade. At the organization of the St. 
Andrew's Society of Chicago he was elected its president. He was a 
large real-estate owner, and erected many buildings. Death brought 
his active and prosperous career to a close on March 22, 1865, at the 










>it^^<sf 




J THE NEW YORK 

FUDLIC nnilARY 



ASToi{, l::iu)x and 

». LJ 



DIXOlSr TOWNSHIP. 207 

age of sixty-seven. His son, George Steel, removed with his parents to 
Chicago in 1844, where he was brought up. He was educated at Mount 
Pleasant Academy,Sing Sing, New York, and Racine College, Racine, 
Wisconsin, and also attended the Chicago law college. He studied law 
for a time in the office of Hoj^ne, Miller & Lewis, of Chicago, but about 
1861, becoming interested in railroad matters, he turned his attention to 
that line of business for about five years. He then became engaged in 
contracts for street pavements in Chicago and Cleveland, and also in 
the building of the lake tunnel in the former city, and at the same time 
was considerably interested in mining developments. Mr. Steel came 
to Dixon first in 1873, and has since been engaged in various enter- 
prises in this vicinity. He was married July 11, 1871, to Miss Louise 
P. Yan Epps, and has three children : Willie, aged ten, Annie, aged 
six, and an infant daughter. Mr. Steel is independent in political 
affairs, and is a member of the Presbyterian chnrch. 

IssAC S. BoARDMAN, real estate dealer, Dixon, was born in Tioga 
county. New York, January 3, 1816, and is the son of Isaac S. and 
Abigail (Saltmarsh) Boardman. His father kept a public-house in 
Tioga county for over a quarter of a century, and was post-master of 
his town for more than twenty-seven years. Mr. Boardmail*left home 
at the age of sixteen, going to Bath, New York, where he clerked in a 
dry-goods store for six years. He then made arrangements to go into 
business in connection with his brother-in-law Mr. S. M. Bowman, 
and they resolved to locate at Dixon. Purchasing a stock of goods at 
New York and Philadelphia, which at that early day were shipped by 
way of Pittsburgh and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, they arrived 
at Dixon in May 1837, and commenced business. At the organization 
of Lee county in 1838 Mr. Boardman was elected county clerk and 
served four years. Just before the expiration of his term of service 
he resigned and purchased a flouring-mill in Ogle county, which he 
operated until 1849, when he sold out and returned to Dixon, and was 
soon after elected to the office of clerk of the circuit court, which posi- 
tion he held for seven years. During this time he had purchased the 
"Republican and Telegraph," published at Dixon, and conducted that 
paper for about ten years, under the name of the " Dixon Telegraph." 
About 1868 Mr. Boardman retired from the active management of his 
paper, and placed it in the hands of his sons John D. and William, 
who had just graduated from the University of Michigan, and since 
that time Mr. Boardman's only connection with active business has 
been in looking after bis large real-estate interests. He was married 
in 1840 to Miss Mary L. Dixon, a daughter of Father Dixon. She 
died in 1850, leaving three children. The eldest, Mary E., married 
Charles C. Pinckney, Esq., and is now residing at Denver, Colorado. 
13 



208 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

John D., the eldest son, was a graduate of the law department of the 
University of Michigan, and having become interested in mining in 
Arizona was killed there by a desperado in a dispute over a contested 
claim. William, the second son, after severing his connection with 
the "Dixon Telegraph," removed to Chicago to take charge of the 
business management of the "Rail Road Gazette." After the great 
fire the place of publication was transferred to ISTew York city, and it 
is now very prosperous. Mr. Boardmau was married a second time in 
1854, to Miss Anna C. Campbell, of Mount Morris, Illinois. She died 
in 1863, leaving one daughter, now eighteen years of age. Mr. 
Boardman cast his first vote for Gen. Harrison, and for more than 
forty years has been an active whig and republican. 

Joseph Utley, merchant, Dixon, was born in Western, Oneida 
county, ISTew York, on July 27, 181.5, and is the son of Henry and 
Sarah (Morse) Utley, and obtained his education at the schools in the 
neio-hborhood. After completing an academical course he entered his 
father's establishment, where he learned the trade of a tanner. He suc- 
ceeded to his father's business in 1838 and carried on the same until 
1859, in which year he removed to Dixon and opened a saddlery and 
hardware store, which he continued until 1867, when he turned over 
the business to his eldest son and has not since been actively engaged 
in business. He has for many years been much interested in the 
matter of cheap transportation, and has been prominently connected 
with the canals of this state, and in 1869 was appointed by Gov. Pal- 
mer a canal commissioner, holding that position until 1877, and most 
of the time was president of the board of canal commissioners. Mr. 
Utley was married in 1838 to Miss Frances Church, daughter of Seth 
Church, Esq., of Western, Oneida county, New York. They have three 
children : E. B. Utley, aged forty years, who is engaged in the sad- 
dlery-hardware and leather business at Dixon; Clara, aged thirty-seven 
years, and wife of A. C. Bardwell, a prominent attorney of Dixon, 
and Dr. J. H. Utley, aged thirty-four years, and now practicing his 
profession in Dixon. Politically Mr. Utley is a stalwart republican, 
and is a member of the Presbyterian church. 

Hox. JoHX Y. Eustace, judge of the circuit court of the thirteenth 
judicial district, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 
9, 1821, and is the son of Thomas and Fannie (Olmsted) Eustace. 
His father and grandfather were both clergymen belonging to the 
Presbyterian denomination, the former being born in Dublin in 1797, 
migrating to America and first locating in Philadelphia, where he 
remained until 1839, when he removed to St. Louis, where be died 
from cholera in 18-17. On the maternal side Judge E. is a descendant 
of Rev. Jonathan Ingersoll, who for thirty-seven years before the revo- 



DIXOX TOWNSHIP. 209 

liition was the Presbyterian minister of Ridgefield, Conn. She married 
Ebenezer Ohnstead, who was a colonel in the Connecticut line durino- 
that war. Her brother was the first lieutenant-governor of that state. 
Judge Eustace was educated at Philadelphia, graduating from the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania in the summer of 1839. Soon after the family 
removed to St. Louis, where he entered the office of Hon, Charles D. 
Drake (now chief justice of the court of claims, Washington), as a law 
student, and was admitted to practice before reaching his twentieth 
year. He became a partner of Mr. Drake for a short time, but in 1843 
removed to Dixon, where he practiced with much success until 1857, 
when he was elected judge of the circuit court upon its first establish- 
ment, but resigned before serving his full term, and resumed the prac- 
tice of his profession. In 1861 he was appointed provost-marshal of the 
district, which position he held until the close of the war. He then 
became a member of the firm of Eustace, Barge & Dixon, which con- 
tinued for several years, and in 1877 was again elected judge of the cir- 
cuit court, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge W. W. Hca- 
ton, and in 1879 was reelected for a full term of six years. He has also 
served in the state legislature and as a presidential elector, and in 1876 
was the democratic candidate for attorn}- -general of Illinois, but was 
defeated alon^; with the balance of the ticket. Judije Eustace was 
married at St. Louis in 1843, to Miss Anna M. Smith, and has four 
children : Fannie, born in Dixon, who is married to Henry W. Gree- 
tham and residing in Dixon ; Thomas H., born in Dixon and now in 
the employ of a manufacturing firm at Freeport, Illinois; Elizabeth, 
born in Dixon, and married to Mr. John L. Orvis, of Dixon, and 
John V. jr., born in Dixon and now practicing law at Rockford, Illinois. 
In his political affiliations the judge is a democrat, but enjoj-s the 
esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens, without regard to party 
lines, as an able and upright expounder of the law. 

Lester D. Pitcher, dealer in agricultural implements, Dixon, was 
born in Lewis county, i^ew York, July 28, 1839, and is the son of 
Philander and Mary (Agen) Pitcher. After leaving school he worked 
upon his father's farm until the spring of 1864, when he came to Illi- 
nois and located in Jo Daviess county. After farming for some two 
years he built a store and entered into the general merchandise busi- 
ness at Pitcherville, where he had succeeded in getting a postoffice 
established, and was made post-master, which office he held until 1871, 
when he removed to Dixon and engaged in the manufacture of the 
Excelsior Barley Forks, and of the Buck Patent Spring Bolster for 
lumber wagons. In 1877 he went into the agricultural implement 
business, which he still carries on. Mr. Pitcher was married January 
20, 1871, to Miss Abigail Cramer, of Marshalltown, Iowa, and has two 



210 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

children, Bessie, aged eight years, and Louis, an infant son. In 1862 
Mr. Pitcher enlisted in the 5th IST. Y. Heavy Artillery, but after serv- 
ing about three months was discharged for disability. He is a repub- 
lican in politics, and at the present time is alderman of the third ward 
of the city of Dixon. 

Daniel B. McKenney, magistrate, Dixon, was born March 31, 
1816, in Montgomery county, New York, and is the son of Peter 
and Rhoda (Tickner) McKenney.- He removed with his parents in 
1820 to Canada, where he resided during his childhood, and came to 
Dixon in the spring of 1836, when twenty years of age. His father 
■came in that fall, when they together opened hotel in a log-house on 
Peoria street, Dixon. In the winter of 1836-7 he drove twenty miles 
west of Princeton, this state, and purchased one ton of fresh pork, for 
which he paid $200. The same quantity could be bought the follow- 
ing winter for $25. In the winter of 1836-7 flour was $20 per barrel 
in Chicago, the nearest port of supply. Soon after this time oats were 
purchased at eight cents per bushel, and at one time he and his uncle 
bought up and stored a large quantity, which afterward became a total 
loss and were thrown away. In 1841 Mr. McKenney purchased seventy 
feet front on Main street, on which stood the first brick building 
erected in Dixon. Other buildings have been since built, until the 
ground was occupied. Soon after the purchase of this lot he engaged 
in merchandising, in which he continued for a number of years. After 
a life of twenty-six years, young Daniel was persuaded that it was not 
" good for man to live alone," and was united in marriage to Miss 
Eliza Ann Whitney, of Franklin Grove, in 1842. Mrs. McKenney 
is a daughter of Nathan and Sarah (Gray) Whitney, of Lee county, 
noticed in connection with Franklin Grove. In the spring of 1870 
the subject of our sketch was elected magistrate in Dixon, in which 
office he has continued until present, his official acts being held in high 
esteem by all lovers of justice. In politics the Esquire is democratic 
in his affiliations, but voted for Abraham Lincoln through personal ap- 
preciation. 

Capt. John Dysart, grain dealer and flour merchant, Dixon, was 
born in Huntington count}^, Pennsylvania, October 4, 1834, and is the 
son of Joseph and Mary Ann (Davis) Dysart. He spent the days 
of his childhood on a farm near Birmingham, Pennsylvania, in which 
place he received his early education. In 1857 he came to Illinois, and 
settled in Nachusa, Lee county, where he engaged in the grain and lum- 
ber trade, in which he continued for twenty years. On August 25, 1861, 
Mr. Dysart enlisted in Co. D, Bowen's Cavalry Battalion of Vol- 
unteers, entering the ranks as a private, from which he rose to the 
command of his company. The captain was in the Army of the Mis- 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 211 

sissippi, was in the battle of Pea Ridge as one of the many interesting 
experiences of army life. The captain was private only fifteen days, 
duty sergeant three months, orderly sergeant one year, quartermaster's 
department three months, lieutenant of the company from which he 
was promoted to captaincy, and was mustered out in October 1865. In 
the spring of 1877 he moved to Dixon, and engaged in the purchase 
-and shipment of grain, occupying the stone elevator built by Col. Johrt 
Dement, west of the Illinois Central depot, where he is still in an ex- 
tensive business. The elevator has a capacity of 30,000, and is driven 
by steam-power, through which he handles about half a million of 
grain per annum. In the spring of 1880 he extended his business, 
through the elevator at the Illinois Central railroad, North Dixon, un- 
der the firm name of Messrs. Dysart & Brubaker. This firm has a 
flour house on Hennepin street, between Main and Water streets, 
where they ship for the trade from 300 to 400 barrels of flour per week, 
having exclusive control of the Becker & Underwood flour. Mr. 
Dysart also "owns elevators at Nelson, five miles west on the Korth- 
western railroad, at Kachusa, five miles east, and at Franklin and Ash- 
ton, east, all on the Northwestern railroad. From these several points 
in Lee county is shipped to the Chicago house of Messrs. Dysart & 
Geoghegan. On March 9, 1865, Mr. Dysart was united in marriage 
to Miss E. L. Crawford, of Pennsylvania. As the result of this union 
are two interesting daughters. The family home is a beautiful resi- 
dence, conveniently located on Crawford street in the city of Dixon. 

Frank "W". Little, deputy county clerk, Dixon, was born August 
26, 1859, in the city of Dixon, Lee county, Illinois, and is the son of 
Joseph T. and Elliner W. (Cobb) Little. His parents came to Dixon 
in the fall of 1838, being among the early settlers of Lee county. His 
father was among the first merchants in Dixon, and in after years be- 
came associated with the manufactnring interests of the county, until 
he removed to the city of Washington, District of Columbia, in 1880. 

Elias Bovey, lumber merchant, Dixon, was born in Washington 
county, Maryland, June 19, 1838; and is the son of Jacob and Delila 
(Kretsinger) Bovey, of that state. He moved with his parents to 
Illinois and settled on a farm near Mount Morris, Ogle county, in 1843. 
He received his education in the common schools and Rock River sem- 
inary at Mount Morris, Ogle county. When twenty-one years of age 
he purchased a farm three miles south of Polo, and commenced busi- 
ness for himself, as a farmer. In the spring of 1867 he came to Lee 
county and located in Dixon, where he has since made his home. In 
1872 he established a lumber yard on Water street, where he is still 
conducting a successful business. On the 26th of September, 1865, 
Mr. Bovey was united in marriage to Miss Jennie Buckalu, of Dixon, 



212 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

who deceased February 6, 1877, and was conveyed to her final resting 
place in the Dixon cemetery. On the 17th of March, 1880, he was 
united in marriage to Miss Addie Clute, of Dixon. Mr. Bovey is a 
prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he 
holds different official relations, and is an efficient Sabbath-school su- 
perintendent. Politically the subject of our sketch is a republican, 
and cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln. 

Major Obadiah Downing, agricultural merchant, Dixon, was born 
in Queen's county, Long Island, New York, April 12, 1836, and is the 
son of George and Mary (Jackson) Downing. The family, though of 
an English ancestry, have for several generations resided on Long 
Island, the Major's father and grandfather having been born in the 
same house. Having spent his childhood on the home farm, the 
Major, when a boy of sixteen, came to Chicago and made his home 
witli his uncle, whom he assisted in the mercantile trade for six years, 
and in 1856 returned to Long Island, where he resided until the break- 
ing out of the war of the rebellion. He responded to his countrj^'s 
call by enlisting in the United States service, and in August, 1861, 
entered Co. H, 2J reg. N, Y. Cav., as second lieutenant, and re- 
mained in the service until the close of the war, and was mustered 
out as lieutenant-colonel. He was under Gen. Sheridan in the depart- 
ment of the Potomac; and took part in all the principal battles of the 
Army of the Potomac, and during the great battle of the Wilderness, 
when Gen. Sheridan was menacing Richmond, on the 12th day of May, 
1864, he fell into the hands of the enemy and was conveyed as pris- 
oner of war to Libb}^ Prison, and thence to Macon, Georgia. The 
Major was one of the five hundred Union officers who were sent as 
Union prisoners to Charleston, South Carolina, and placed by the 
confederate authorities under the fire of the federal guns to force the 
government to an exchange of prisoners. After remaining here a few 
weeks the}^ were removed to Columbia, South Carolina. In the fol- 
lowing August the Major effected an escape from prison, and was cared 
for by the colored people for two weeks while trying to reach the 
Union lines. He was, however, tracked down and recaptured by the 
aid of bloodhounds near Abbeville, South Carolina, and taken back to 
Columbia. Here he remained quiet for one month when about the 1st 
of October he and Col. Cook, afterward minister to Chili, run the 
guards on a dark, rainy night when the camp-fires were burning low 
and escaped to the mountains of Tennessee, where they kept them- 
selves concealed for about three months. Finding it impossible to pass 
the rebel pickets, they reported at the rebel lieadquarters and rep- 
resented themselves as confederate soldiers and obtained passes through 
their lines; but in crossing the mountains in the Cherokee country 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 213 

tliey were taken by a patrol of Indians who were guarding the moun- 
tain passes to prevent the escape of deserters, and were carried back to 
the rebel headquarters, where they were confined and starved into a 
confession and returned to Libby prison ; and on February 22, 1865, 
were exchanged and returned to the federal array. 

A special order being issued in the war department that all sol- 
diers having captured rebel flags should have a furlough to visit Wash- 
ington and deposit the captured ensign, Col. Downing, being one of the 
honored number, visited the capital for the above purpose, and was 
present at the theater at the time of the assassination of President 
Lincoln, and witnessed that dreadful tragedy on April 13, 1865. After 
the close of the war he returned home on Long Island, and was chosen 
by the people of Queen's county to represent them in the state legis- 
lature in 1865, and was ret'lected in 1866. In 1867 the colonel came 
to Illinois and settled in Dixon, He assisted in establishing the first 
factory in the country for manufacturing cotton bagging out of flax' 
tow, and in the fall of 1868 sold his interest to Col. John Dement. 
In the same fall he purchased a farm of 600 acres in Kane county, this 
state, where he made his home until 1876. In 1872 Col. Downing 
was united in marriage to Miss Mary Yates, of Kane county, and 
daughter of Bartholomew C. and Nancy (Tabias) Yates, formerly of 
western ]^ew York. In 1876 our subject sold half of his farm and 
returned to Dixon, where in 1879 he engaged in the agricultural trade 
in that city. The colonel has a beautiful home in north Dixon, and a 
family of three children: Miss Mary Olive, born March 27, 1874; 
Master George, born September 6, 1875, and Benjamin Franklin, born 
November 22, 1880. 

CoL. Henry T. Noble, manufacturer, Dixon, is a native of Massa- 
chusetts, born in Otis, Berkshire county, that state, May 3, 1830. He 
is the son of Henry and Mary Ann (Hubbard) Noble. The geneal- 
ogy of the family is traced back for seven generations to Thomas Noble, 
of England, who was born in 1632, and came to Boston some time prior 
to 1653, thence to Springfield, Massachusetts, and died in Westfield 
in 1704, aged seventy-two. The colonel, our present subject, spent 
his early life on a farm, during which time he was securing a liberal 
education preparatory to entering college, and became a member of the 
first class organized in the state normal school at Westfield, Massachu- 
setts. Subsequently he devoted two years to school teaching. In 
1850 he came to Illinois, and located in Dixon. The two succeeding 
years he devoted to school teaching, writing in the land oflSce at such 
times as not engaged in his profession. In 1852 the colonel engaged 
in the purchase and collection of land warrants held by soldiers who 
served in the Mexican war; traveling through Missouri, Tennessee, 



214 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Kentucky and Alabama. On his return he ocated lands in Illinois, 
and engaged with his uncle, Silas Noble, in banking and real-estate 
business, until 1857. He was subsequently engaged in settling up the 
affairs of the bank until the beginning of the war in 1861. He was 
the iirst to enlist in the Union service in Lee county, enrolling his 
name five days after the firing on Fort Sumter, and proposed to be 
one of fifty to go to the front at once in his countrj^'s service. On 
April 20 he was chosen first lieutenant of Co. A, 13th reg. 111. Vols., 
and was mustered into the United States service under the three- 
years call, May 24, as captain of said company. On July 8, 1863, he 
was promoted to the staff of the quartermaster's department ; and in 
November of the same year he was promoted major, and in thirty days 
later commissioned lieutenant-colonel. About March 1, 1864, he was 
promoted colonel by the secretary of war on the staflTof Major-General 
J. J. Reynolds, and appointed chief quartermaster, department of 
Arkansas; which position he held until October 15, 1866, when he 
was mustered out of the service at his own request, and under the ex- 
pressed regrets of the commanding general of the department. After 
the acceptance of his resignation he returned home to Dixon, and in 
the following winter visited Washington and closed up his business 
with the government with gratifying results. The colonel was in con- 
stant [service from April, 1861, to November, 1866, during which time 
he never lost a day, with the exception of a furlough of thirty days, 
which was afterward extended ten days, while he was in Washington, 
by Gen. E. D. Townsend, by order of the secretary of war. In 1866 
he bought an interest in the Grand Detour plow works, now estab" 
lished at Dixon, under the firm of Commins, Noble & Dodge. 

On February 27, 1853, Col. Noble was united in marriage to Miss 
Jane Ann Herrick, born in Chautauqua county, New York, and was 
the daughter of Samuel and Sally (Nash) Herrick. She was killed in 
the great bridge disaster at Dixon, Illinois, May 4, 1873. In 1875 he 
was married to Miss Mary Augusta Hampton, who was born in Boston, 
Erie county, New York, and was the daughter of Slater and Manerva 
(Ellis) Hampton. Genealogy : Col. Henry T. Noble, born 1830, in 
Otis, New York, son of Henry Noble and Mary A. (Hubbard) Noble; 
Henry Noble, born 1804, in G. Barrington, Mass., son of David Noble 
and Patience (Noble) Noble ; David Noble, born 1771, G. Barrington, 
Mass., son of Preserved Noble and Elizabeth (Hughstand) Noble > 
Preserved Noble, born 1723, Westport, Mass., son of Joseph Noble 
and Abigal (Dewey) Noble ; Joseph Noble, born 1691, Westfield, Mass., 
son of Matthew Noble and Hannah (Dewey) Noble; Matthew Noble, 
born 1666, Westfield, Mass., son of Thomas Noble and Hannah (War- 



Dixoisr TOWNSHIP. 215 

ren) Noble ; Thomas ISToble, born 1632, in England, came to Boston, 
Mass., thence to Springfield, thence to Westfield, where he died. 

JosiAH PoMEROY Dana, merchant, Dixon, was born in Albany, New 
York, January 11, 1819, and is the son of John Wood and Sophia 
(Pomeroy) Dana. His father was born in Warwick, Massachusetts, in 
1788, and was the son of Daniel Dana who was born near Boston in 
1754, son of Daniel Dana, sr., of Boston, Mass. The two latter par- 
ticipated in the revolutionary war, and were engaged in the battle of 
Bunker Hill ; and in after years figured in the public affairs of the 
commonwealth. The Dana family was formerly represented in this 
country by three brothers: John, Joseph, Daniel, who came to this 
country at a very early date, two settling in Massachusetts, and one in 
Vermont. The family has many relics and curiosities of ancestral 
honor, which are carefully preserved for future generations. The sub- 
ject of this sketch was left fatherless at the age of nine years, and was 
soon after placed under the care of Daniel Dana, his uncle, who was a 
successful merchant, and under this influence he acquired a knowledge 
of the business and never departed from the business customs of his 
fathers, but at the age of twenty-two roamed westward and landed in 
Chicago in August 1842 ; thence to Southport, Wisconsin, where for 
fifteen years he was engaged in the mercantile and lumber interests of 
the city. In 1865 he removed to Dixon, Illinois, and engaged in mer- 
cantile pursuits, in which he has continued until the present time. In 
1860 Mr. Dana was married to Miss Winfred Nixon, who was residing 
near Portage city, Wisconsin. Resulting from this union were three 
children, one son and daughter living, and one daughter of seven years 
was lost at the great bridge disaster on May 4, 1873, an account of 
which is given in another place in this book. Miss Agnis Nixon, sister 
to Mrs. Dana, also perished at the same time. Mr. Dana's mother 
died in the city of New York in May of the present year, at the ad- 
vanced age of ninety-one years. 

Benjamin F. Shaw, editor and publisher, Dixon, was born March 
31, 1831, in Tioga county. New York, and is the son of Alanson B. 
and Philomela (Flower) Shaw, natives of Bradford county, Pennsyl- 
vania. His grandparents were born in New England, whose ancestors 
were from England. His father, Alanson B. Shaw, was the son of 
Jedediah and Martha (Gore) Shaw. His mother was the daughter of 
Zephon and Mary (Patrick) Flower. His father died when he was a 
small boy, and in 1845 he came west and settled in Rock Island in 
1847. He came to Dixon in 1851, and assumed the publication of 
the Dixon " Telegraph," of which he became proprietor. In 1859 he 
sold the "Telegraph " and bought an interest in the Amboy paper. In 
1860 he was elected clerk of the circuit court, and recorder, in which 



216 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

capacity he served eight years, daring which time he continued his 
connection with the Lee county "Times." In 1870 he took editorial 
charge of the Dixon "Telegraph," which he has continued up to this 
time, having been editor of a paper from 1851 to the present writing, 
excepting four months, during which time he crossed the plains to 
Pike's Peak. He spent the winter of 1868 in Washington, and during 
the session of congress reported for the Chicago " Evening Journal " ; 
was connected with the internal revenue service in 1869, and was one 
of the commissioners appointed by the governor to locate the Elgin 
state insane asylum. In 1877 he was appointed canal commissioner, 
in which office he has continued until the present time. In Novem- 
ber, 1856, Mr. Shaw was united in marriage to Miss Anna Eustace, 
daughter of Rev. Thomas Eustace and Fannie (Olmstead) Eustace, of 
Dixon, from which union resulted the birth of three children : Frede- 
ric L., Eustace E. and Lloyd Shaw. Mr. Shaw has always taken an 
active part in politics as a staunch republican. He had three brothers 
and four sisters : Alonzo, Ellen E., Phrebe, Yalney, Philomela, Jude- 
diah and Martha. 

Hon. Joseph Ceawford, surveyor and banker, Dixon, was born in 
Columbia county, Pennsylvania, May 19, 1811, and is the son of 
John and Catharine (Cassedy) Crawford. In 1830 he removed with 
his parents to Huntington, Pennsylvania, and at the age of twenty he 
engaged in school teaching, in which profession he continued for four 
years. On April 4, 1835, he started for Illinois. Passing Chicago 
and Dixon's Ferry, he stopped at Galena, where he remained but a 
short time, returning to Dixon's Ferry, and located on a farm south of 
Grand Detour, in May of the same spring. He also engaged in busi- 
ness as surveyor, which he followed extensively until recent years, and 
made the original survey of most of the villages on Pock river from 
Rockford to Rock Island. In 1836 he was appointed deputy county 
surveyor for northwest Illinois, and was elected countj' surveyor of 
Ogle county, which then included Whitesides and Lee, and was elected 
surveyor of Lee county at the time of its organization in 1840, in 
which office he served for eighteen years. He served in 1841 as mem- 
ber of the first board of supervisors for the county of Lee, and was 
elected to represent Lee and Whitesides in the Illinois state legislature 
in 1849, and reelected to the same in 1853. In 1852 he settled in 
Dixon, where he still resides. He has dealt extensivel}' in farming 
lands, and owns about twelve hundred acres of fine farming land in 
Lee county; one farm of 1,000 acres in one body three miles east of 
the city of Dixon, and one tour miles southwest of the city, embracing 
200 acres. Both farms are devoted to grain and stock-growing. He 
was one of the chartered members of Lee county national bank, which 



Dixo:^^ TowisrsHip. 217 

was organized in 1865, since which time he has sustained the relation 
of president. He was elected mayor of the city cf Dixon in 1873, and 
reelected the two following terms. On September 16, 18 — , Mr. 
Crawford was united in marriage to Mrs. Huld (Bowman) Culver. 
Resulting from this union is a son, Joseph Willber Crawford, born 
August 20, 1859, and still making his father's house his home. Mr. 
Crawford had two brothers and three sisters. His brother, Dr. John 
S. Crawford, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was killed by a train of 
cars while crossing the track in his buggv. His brother, Samuel 
Crawford, resides at Sterling, this state ; his two surviving sisters are 
Sarah and Catharine ; the former, Mrs. L. W. Hale, resides in Ohio, 
and tlie latter married Mr. John Litle, of Pennsylvania. His parents 
were born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and his forefathers were of 
Scotch blood. Mrs. Joseph Crawford was the daughter of John and 
Mary (Bretten) Bowman ; the father was born on the banks of the 
Delaware river in Pennsylvania, and the mother on Staten Island. 
Her gi-andfather, Christopher Bowman, was of Germany. 

Hon. Col. John Dement, manufacturer, Dixon, was born April 26, 
1801, in Gallatin, the county seat of Sumner county, Tennessee, and 
is the son of David and Dorcus (Willis) Dement. When thirteen 
years of age he removed with his parents to Franklin county, Illinois, 
and located upon a farm, where he made his home until twenty-two 
years of age, when he was elected to the office of sheriff, which im- 
posed upon him also the duties of collector ard treasurer of public 
funds. He was elected in 1828 to represent Franklin county in the 
Illinois state legislature, and in 1830 was reelected for a second term, 
serving four years consecutivel}^ as member of that body. Subse- 
quently he was elected by the general assembly as treasurer of the 
state for three successive terms. During his service in this responsible 
position he successfully closed up the affairs of the old state bank, 
and rendered efficient service as an officer in the Black Hawk war, being 
out in three campaigns. In 1831 he was with Gen. Duncan and Gov. 
Reynolds as aid, and was one of the witnesses to a treaty with Black 
Hawk when that chief relinquished all claims to the land lying east 
of the Mississippi, In the following spring (1832), when Black Hawk 
in violation of his treaty was marching up E-ock river. Col. Dement, 
then residing at Yandalia, responded to a call from tiie governor for 
volunteers to march to the relief of the invaded settlements, and was 
chosen captain of a volunteer company of the spy battalion and moved 
immediately to the front. Reaching Dixon, Gen. Whiteside sent Col. 
Dement with a few men to visit Shabbona, the Pottawatomie chief, who 
was living twenty-five or thirty miles north of Dixon. He moved out 
with his men, in all about six, some twelve miles toward Shabbona 



218 HISTOKY OF LEE COUNTY. 

grove and encamped for the night. Having no rations only what their 
guide had provided for himself, they consumed tlie last of their supplies 
for their breakfast and renewed the march toward the Indian settle- 
ment. Meeting a band of Black Hawk's party they learned the location 
of that chief and his people, and late in the evening they turned 
toward camp, riding all night after a fatiguing day. They returned to 
Dixon on the following day and reported to the commanding general. 
After Stillman's defeat and Gen. Whiteside's expedition the volunteers 
were disbanded because of expiration of time, and a new levy of troops 
were called out by the governor. Col. Dement returned home, and 
arranging his official matters returned to the volunteer headquarters, 
where he was elected commander of a battalion of spies, and assuming 
command he marched in advance of the main army toward Rock river, 
searching the groves and Bureau woods for Indians who had been 
committing depredations on the settlers, and reported to Gen. Taylor 
at Dixon. From this point he soon advanced in search of Black Hawk, 
leading to the brilliant engagement with that warrior referred to in the 
chapter on the "Black Hawk war." Black Hawk admitted the loss 
of seven warriors and two favorite chiefs ; says this is the only battle 
of the year in which he personally took part, and paid a high compli- 
ment to the courage and fighting qualities of Col. Dement. In 1836 
he was elected representative. To accept this he resigned the state 
treasurership, turning over his books and accounts, which were audited 
and approved by the finance committee of the general assembly. In 
1837 he was appointed by President Jackson receiver of the land 
office at Galena, which was removed to Dixon in 1840. He held this 
position until removed by President Harrison ; reinstated by President 
Polk; was again removed by President Taylor; again reinstated by 
President Pierce, continuing in position until the land office was re- 
moved to Springfield, under the administration of President Buchanan. 
In 1844 he was chosen presidential elector for James K; Polk. He 
was a member of three state constitutional conventions of 1847-48, 1862, 
and 1870, and has been a member of all the conventions called to re- 
vise the Illinois constitution since the formation of the state govern- 
ment in 1818. In the first two conventions he served as chairman of 
the committee of the legislative department, and in the last convention, 
1868, he was chairman of the committee on suflfrage. The colonel has 
been elected to the office of mayor of Dixon for four terms, while his 
name, means and energy have been associated with most of the leading 
enterprises and public improvements of the city of Dixon. In 1835 he 
was united in marriage to Miss Maria Louisa Dodge, daughter of Gov. 
Dodge, of Wisconsin. His eldest son, Henry Dodge Dement, is the 
present secretary of State for Illinois. 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 219 

William W. Heaton, deceased, late chief justice of the appellate 
court of the lirst district and for many years a resident of Dixon, was 
one of the foremost members of the legal profession in the State of 
Illinois, He was born in Western, Oneida county, New York, April 
15, 1814, and was the son of John and Sarah (Weed) Heaton. ■ He 
received an academical education, and was for a short time engaged in 
teaching, but soon relinquished that pursuit for the more congenial 
profession of the law. He entered upon his studies in 1835 and in 
1838 was admitted to the bar at Terre Haute, Indiana, and soon 
attained a good practice. In 1840 he removed to Dixon and practiced 
law until 1861, when he was elected judge of the circuit court and 
occupied that position until 1877, having been twice reelected. The 
appellate court having been established by act of legislature in 1877, 
Judge Heaton was elected one of its justices, and on the assembling 
of the court in October he was chosen chief justice. He died very 
suddenly in Chicago, on the 26th of December, 1877, being but a few 
moments before his sudden taking off in apparently his usual good 
healtli. Meetings of the bar in the several counties comprised in his 
district were held, at which resolutions were adopted eulogizing his 
public and private career and lamenting his untimely demise, which 
was all the more sad as it occurred only the day before the one appoint- 
ed for the nuptials of his youngest daughter. Judge Heaton was 
married three times, his first marriage taking place in Oneida county, 
New York, the second at Terre Haute, Indiana, and on the I7th of 
March, 1851, he was united to Mrs. LucindaMcCumsey, of Dixon, who 
survives him. Four children are still living: Dwight, a lawyer resid- 
ing in Dixon ; Edward, who is living in Nebraska and engaged in 
farming ; Mary, married to Prof. J. F. O. Smith, now of Fort Lara- 
mie, Wyoming territory, and Yirginia, wife of Chas. H. Gardner, at 
present a resident of Dakota. 

Luke Hj^tchcock, D.D., presiding elder of the Dixon district of 
the Methodist Episcopal church, was born in Lebanon, Madison county, 
New York, on April 13, 1813, and is the son of Julius and Myra 
(Ingersoll) Hitchcock. He was brought up and educated in his native 
town, attending the neighboring schools. In the fall of 1834 he united 
with the Oneida conference of the Methodist Episcopal church. His 
fields of labor for the next five years were principallj' in the counties 
of Onondaga and Tioga, in the State of New York. In August, 1839, 
he removed to Illinois, and settled at Inlet Grove, Lee county, and 
during the winter of 1839-40 was in charge of the church at Dixon, 
being the first regular pastor after its organization. He soon after 
went to Chicago, and became pastor of the only Methodist Episcopal 
church then in existence in that city. In the fall of 1842 the society 



220 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

divided and built the Second churcli on Canal street. This was the 
ori,:^inal foundation of what is now known as the Methodist Episcopal 
Centenary chnrcii. Soon after, on account of his health being poor, he 
returned to Lee county, and being disqualified for preaching he engaged 
in business pursuits for the next two or three years. He was one of 
the founders of Lee Center, and held for a time the office of postmaster 
He was also one of the original projectors and stockholders of the Lee 
Center Academy and a member of the first board of trustees. On the 
passage of the state school law the. grounds and building were turned 
over to the town without compensation, to be used as a free school, 
provided the system of education should be kept at a certain standard, 
which trust was accepted by the school directors of the district. Dr. 
Hitchcock reentered the ministry in 1847, and for thirteen years was 
presiding elder of the district, which then contained all the territory 
now embraced in the Rock River conference and a large portion of the 
present Central Illinois conference. In 1860 he was elected by the 
general conference of the Methodist Episcopal church an agent of the 
Western Book Concern. His services in this position were extremely 
valuable, and gave him a high reputation as a business manager. He 
filled this position until 1880, having been at five' succeeding quadren- 
nial conferences. He has also been elected a member of every general 
conference since the year 1852, In the, fall of 1880 he again be- 
came presiding elder of the Dixon district, which position- he still fills. 
He has been honored by the Wesleyan University of Middletown, 
Connecticut, with the degree of A.M., and with that of D.D. by the 
Cornell College, of Mount Yernon, Iowa, both being conferred without 
the knowledge of tlie recipient. Dr. Hitchcock was married in 1837, 
to Miss Jane E. Birdsall, of Fabius, New York, who is still living. 
They have seven children: Birdsall I., residing in Colorado; Eliza- 
beth, who is married to J. E. Wilson, Esq., of Chicago, a member of 
the well-known firm of Wilson Brothers; Myra, married to Dr. C. H. 
Fowler, of New York ; Marj^, married to Charles E. Smith, Esq., of 
Cincinnati ; Ella, married to E. C. Wilson, Esq., of Wilson Brothers. 
Chicago ; Adelaide, married to Archer Brown, Esq., of Cincinnati, 
and Charles A., engaged in business in Chicago. Dr. Hitchcock has 
an unblemished record, during nearly half a century of service, as a 
spotless man, intelligent patriot, and devout ciiristian. 

William Uhl, dealer in agricultural implements, Dixon, was born 
in Alleghany county, Maryland, 1819, and is the son of Daniel and 
Mary (Lind) Uhl, He was educated in Gettysburg College, Pennsyl- 
vania, graduating about 181:5. He entered the ministry of the Evan- 
gelical Lutheran church, and in 1851 removed to Peru, Illinois, re- 
maining in that pastorate until 1853, when he removed to Dixon, 



DIXOI^ TOWNSHIP. 221 

where he organized a church of the denomination to which he belonsfed. 
of which he was the pastor for about two years, being at the same time 
engaged in farming. In 1860 he resigned his pastoral charge on ac- 
count of ill health, and having purchased the " Farmers' Mill " was 
engaged in the milling business until 1867, when he returned to farm- 
ing. In Februar}', 1851, he purchased the agricultural implement 
business from the Farmers' Association, placing his son, E. C. Uhl, in 
chariije as manager. He was a charter member of both the banks 
located at Dixon, and has been an officer and director of each at various 
times since their organization. Mr. Uhl was married in 1840, at 
Wellersburg, Pennsylvania, to Miss Lucinda Cook, and has four chil- 
dren. The eldest is Jonathan, born in 1841, and now residing in Page 
county, Iowa, engaged in stock farming ; E. C, who was born in 1844, 
and is a resident of Dixon ; Ellen, born in 1842, and married to J. H. 
W. Bennett, and Josie E., born in 1847, and married to Z. D. Mathuss. 
Both daughters now reside at Shenandoah, Page county, Iowa, where 
their husbands are engaged in business. E. C. Uhl, who manages the 
business at Dixon, was born at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and accom- 
panied his father during the various removals before mentioned. He 
was married in 1874 to Miss Virginia Roe, daughter of Col. E. R. 
Roe, of Springfield, Illinois. Mr. William Uhl has been a life-long 
democrat, while his son is a firm supporter of the principles and policy 
of the republican party. 

David Welty, Dixon, was born in Williamsville, Erie county, 
'New York, September 30, 1811. His parents were Jacob and Betsy 
(Horshey) Welty. His parents removed to Buffalo when he was 
twelve years of age, and he acquired the greater part of his education 
at that place. Wiien he became of age he engaged in the dry-goods 
business, which he followed for several vears. At the time of the 
patriot war in Canada Mr. Welty served as aid on the staff of Gen. 
Burt. His health being in a very precarious condition he removed to 
Dixon, in 1838, and has since resided in Lee county, part of the time 
in the city, and the remainder has been spent on his farm lying near 
Dixon. He was elected probate judge in 1854, and served two terms 
of four years each, and also held the office of drainage commissioner 
for several years. Judge Welty was married .at Bufflilo, New York, 
on October 23, 1834, to Miss Seraphina Scott, daughter of John and 
Brilliant (Holmes) Scott, and a native of Mayville, Chautauqua county. 
New York, who is still living, and they have nine surviving chil- 
dren : Emily, who married Leander Devine, December 26, 1866, and 
is residing at Dixon; Ellen, married to E. K. Sibley, December 7, 
1870, and living in St. Louis; John, employed in pension office at 
Washington, D. C. ; Maxwell A., who resides in St. Louis ; Adeline, 



222 HISTORY OF LEE nOTJJSTTY. 

Anna, Charles, William and George, all of whom are at present living 
in Dixon. 

Charles W. Latimer, marble dealer, Dixon, was born in Sodus, 
"Wayne county, New York, September 5, 1845, and is the son of 
Henry M. and Ann E. (Williams) Latimer. His parents removed to 
Lyons, New York, during his infancy, and he acquired his education 
at the Lyons union school. After leaving school he worked for two 
years at tlie trade of marble cutting. He enlisted, December 1863, in 
the 9th New York heavy artillery, and serving through the remainder 
of the war was mustered out September 29, 1865. On returning home 
he worked at his trade at Albion, New York, and Erie, Pennsylvania, 
and in June, 1867, entered the marble works of Day & Ashcraft, at 
Norwich, New York, with whom he remained until 1874, when he 
removed to Dixon, and in company' with M. L. Young purchased the 
marble works of J. Y. Westervelt, carrying on the business under the 
firm name of Latimer & Young. June 1, 1876, he purchased the inter- 
est of Mr. Young, and with the exception of a few months has since 
conducted the business solely on his own behalf. Mr. Latimer was 
married January 8, 1873, to Miss Ella Backus, of Palmyra, New York, 
who died September 7, 1876. They had only two children, the eldest 
of whom died in November 1875, and the second soon after birth. Mr. 
Latimer ranks high in the Masonic fraternity, being at present recorder 
of the Dixon Commandery, K.T. He is also superintendent of Oak- 
wood cemetery, and the neat and beautiful appearance of this " city of 
the dead " speaks well for his watchful management. A visit to the 
works of Mr. Latimer will prove that in the quality of his work, its du- 
rabilit}^, and in all other respects, he i-anks head and shoulders over the 
establishments of a similar character in far larger cities, and his integ- 
rity and urbanity is daily extending the already large circle of his 
friends. 

Thomas P. Hodnett, pastor of the Catholic church, Dixon, was 
born in Glin, county Limerick, Ireland, February 2, 1845, and is the 
son of Thomas P. and Elizabeth (Hanlon) Hodnett. At the age of 
seventeen he left his native town and entered the Jesuit college at 
Limerick, w^iere he remained for four years, and was for one year at 
the Catholic university of Ennis, county Clare. He then passed his ex- 
amination at Dublin, after which he entered the Irish college at Paris, 
France. He remained there for three years, and then came to America, 
and after passing eight months at St. Marj^'s of the Lake seminary, 
he entered St. Francis seminary, and was ordained September 30, 1866, 
and was appointed assistant to Right Rev. John Henry Morris at Water- 
town, Wisconsin, where he remained a year, when he was transferred 
to the pastoral charge of Potosi, Wisconsin, and afterward to Lancaster, 





''W^^, 




{yt/^ Cjej^ 




THE NEW YORK 



ASTOK, LIC-NOX AND 

TILDEN trOUNUATlONS 

B - I' 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 225 

"Wisconsin, and several other pastorates. In 1871 was appointed by 
Bisliop Foley, pastor at Dixon, and assumed charge in January 1875. 
He has a school in connection with his church under the charge of 
four sisters belonging to the order of St. Dominic, with an average at- 
tendance of 150 pupils. The grades are arranged similarly to those of 
the city schools, and a public examination is held each year, conducted 
by prominent and influential citizens of Dixon. The cost of the pres- 
ent church and the ground was about $30,000, and the value of the 
property belonging to the church in the city is estimated at $40,000. 
The congregation consists of about 175 families, and the church has a 
seating capacity of 650 persons. There are also affiliated missions at 
Harmon and Ashton, in Lee count}'. The value of the property be- 
longing to the former is estimated at $7,500, and to the latter at $5,000. 
Father Hodnett has an able assistant in the Rev. James F. Clancy, who 
was appointed associate pastor at Dixon early in 1879. 

George W. J. Bkown, physician, Dixon, was born in Greensboro, 
Pennsylvania, in 1846, and is the son of John C. and Elizabeth (Hop- 
ton) Brown, His father was a glass manufacturer and farmer. Both 
parents are still living on a farm near Greensboro. He was brought 
up and received his early education at the public and select schools of 
the vicinity, and afterward pursued a course of study at the Greene 
academy. He then taught school for several terms, the first one when 
only fifteen years of age. In 1865 begun the study of medicine with 
Dr. G. W. John, of Stewartstown, Yirginia, reading with him until 
the fall of 1867, when he went to Philadelphia and began a regular 
course of medical study at the Pennsylvania and Blockney hospitals 
and university, graduating in the spring of 1869. He then took charge 
of his preceptor's practice at Stewartstown, Yirginia, and remained a 
year. In 1870 he removed to Meycrsdale, Pennsylvania, and continued 
the practice of medicine and surgery there until 1877, when he sold out 
his good will to Dr. J. Ernest Meiers, of Washington, D.C., and re- 
moved to Illinois. He matriculated at the Hahnemann Medical College, 
in Chicago, taking a course and graduating from tlie above named col- 
lege in the spring of 1878. In the same year he succeeded to the prac- 
tice of Dr. J. A. Steele, of Dixon, of the firm of Steele & Blackman, and 
remained a partner of Dr. Blackman for two j^ears. In 1880 he opened 
an office alone in front rooms over Petersberger's clothing store on 
Main street, where he continues to practice his profession. Dr. Brown 
was married in 1872, to Miss Maggie M. Miller, of Meyersdale, Penn- 
sylvania, and has two children, Charles L., aged seven years, and Edna 
Florence, aged four years. Dr. Brown is a republican and a member 
of the Methodist Episcopal church. 

W1LLIA.M H. Godfrey, Dixon, was born in western New York in 
14 



226 HISTOKY OF LEE COUJN-TY. 

1826, and is the son of Charles and Harriet (Horton) Godfrey. He 
received his education at Geneva, New York, where he resided until 
he was twenty-four years of age. His health failing he removed to 
Gloucester, Virginia, where he purchased a plantation and engaged in 
farming for the space of five years, after which he came to Dixon and 
purchased the flouring-mill then owned and operated by Brooks & 
Daly. In the following year he purchased a half interest in the water- 
power, which he still retains. He soon after built a second mill, which 
was subsequently burned and never rebuilt. In 1860 he sold a half 
interest in the mill to John Becker, and shortly afterward sold the 
remaining interest to Nathan Underwood. Since that time Mr. God- 
frey has been principally engaged in looking after his real-estate inter- 
ests in Dixon and vicinity, he being a large land owner. Mr. Godfrey 
was married at Geneva, New York, in 1849, to Miss Catharine J. Du- 
gan, a native of New York city, but at that time a resident of Geneva. 
They have four children. Politically Mr. Godfrey's affiliations are 
democratic, and he is a member of the Presbyterian church. 

Oliver Everett, physician, Dixon, was born September 12, 1811, 
at Worthington, Massachusetts. His parents were James and Phebe 
(Clark) Everett. When he was eight years of age his father's family 
removed to Cummington, Massachusetts, where he attended school 
for some years, after which he entered Berkshire medical school, con- 
nected with Williams College, at Williamstown, Massachusetts, gradu- 
ating in 1836. Having determined to make his home in the then dis- 
tant State of Illinois, in September, 1836, he arrived at Dixon, where 
he decided to locate. He at once engaged in the practice of his profes- 
sion, which he has since continued uninterruptedly and with eminent 
success. At the time of his arrival there was no medical practitioner 
at Dixon, though a Dr. Forrest, a native of Kentucky, had made that 
point his headquarters for about a year, but had gone away a short 
time prior to Di-. Everett's arrival, and the latter is not only the first 
physician who permanently located in Dixon, but has also resided 
there for a longer continuous period than any person now living. Dr. 
Everett was elected mayor of Dixon in 1863, and served his fellow- 
citizens in that capacity to the satisfaction of all. He took consider- 
able interest in the establishment of tiie northern insane asylum 
located at Elgin, and was a member of the first board of trustees of 
that institution, serving from 1869 to 1873. The doctor takes a great 
interest in scientific matters generally, and has a remarkably fine col- 
lection of specimens in various departments of natural historj'. Polit- 
ically he has been a firm supporter of the principles of the republican 
party from its organization. Dr. Everett was first married in 1838, 
to Miss Emily Everett, at Princeton, Illinois. Her death occurred a 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 227 

few years later. He was again married in 1846, to Miss Bessie Law, 
of Dixon, who died May 4, 1881. Three children resulted from this 
union : Dr. Wm. L. Everett, who died in October 1873, aged twent}'- 
four years; Dr. J. M. Everett, who is now a partner with his father 
in the practice of medicine, and a daughter, who is the wife of W. N. 
Johnson, Esq., a well known citizen of Dixon. 

Walter McL. Wad^^worth, undertaker, Dixon, was born in Hart- 
ford, Connecticut, in 1811, and is the son of Richard and Ann 
(McLean) Wadsworth. His parents removed to Canandaigua, New 
York, in 1812, where they resided about ten 3'ears, when they went to 
Buffalo, New York, and here the subject of our sketch received his 
education. After leaving school he learned the cabinet-making trade, 
which he followed for several years. When about thirtj^-five years of 
age Mr. Wadsworth removed to Three Rivers, Michigan, and carried 
on the furniture business for two years after which he returned to 
Livonia, New York. He resided there about four years, when he re- 
moved to Rochester, New York, and after a two years' residence in 
that city came west and located at Dixon in 1854, when he engaged 
in furniture business, which he followed until 1861, when he sold out 
and was appointed United States internal revenue collector for the 
district, which position he occupied for eiglit years. His health being 
impaired by being so closely confined to office work, he resigned the 
position of collector and for three 3'ears acted as agent for Fairbanks' 
scales. He then became engaged in the undertaking business, which 
he still conducts. Mr. Wadsworth was married in 1834, to Miss Emily 
Benjamin, at Brantford, Canada. Mr. and Mrs. Wadsworth, after 
nearly half a century of wedded life, vie in energy and activity with 
their neighbors of a later generation. They liave one child, Mrs. 
Anna Wadsworth Worthington, who was born at Livonia, New York, 
and she also has one child, Walter E. Worthington, who was born 
November 13, 1866. Mr. Wadsworth has always been a republican, 
and he and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. 

James B. Pomeroy, merchant, Dixon, was born in Cuyahoga 
county, Ohio, in 1840. His parents were Ebenezer and Mary A. 
(Bronson) Pomeroy. Soon after his birth his parents removed to 
Kenosha, Wisconsin, where they resided until the death of his father 
in 1876, his mother having died in 1867. He was educated at Keno- 
sha, and when twenty years of age removed to Dixon and engaged in 
the fruit business, which he continued until 1876, and then went into 
the grocery trade. At the organization of the Dixon national bank in 
1871 Mr. Pomeroy was elected a director by the stockholders and was 
subsequently elected vice-president by the board of directors, which 
position he still holds. He is also one of the most prominent members 



228 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

of the Masonic fraternity, being at present high priest of the chapter 
of Royal Arch Masons, and eminent commander of Knights Templar. 
Mr. Pomeroy is an active republican, a member of the Episcopal 
church, and as yet has not assumed the duties and responsibilities of 
the married state. 

Oscar F. Ayres, insurance agent, Dixon, was born in 1809, in 
Orange county, New York, and is the son of Benjamin F. and 
Christiana (Minthorn) Ayres, and is of Scotch and German ancestry. 
His father was a farmer and his son assisted him on the farm and at- 
tended the schools in the vicinity until he reached his twenty-first 
year, when he removed to Albany, New York, and followed the busi- 
ness of a merchant tailor. In 1831 he went to Fabius, Onondaga 
county. New York, conducting the same business. In 1839 removed 
to Dixon, and in 1844 engaged in the dry-goods trade and continued 
in it for thirty years. Before coming to Dixon he was a licensed min- 
ister of the Methodist Episcopal church. He received his first ordination 
about 1845, and his ordination as elder two or three years after. Dur- 
ing all the years since that time he has filled the pnlpit at various 
places near to Dixon, officiated at funerals and marriages, and for many 
years was called upon to fill any vacancy occuriing in neighboring 
localities. For the past seven years Mr. Ayres has been engaged in 
the fire insurance business, and in 1871 made a ti-ip to the Pacific coast 
for the purpose of placing stock for the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph 
Company, which he succeeded in doing. Mr. Ayres was married in 
1831, to Miss Hannah M. Birdsall, who is still living. They have two 
sons and four daughters, and on the 1st of March, 1881, Mr. and Mrs. 
Ayres celebrated their golden wedding, surrounded by their children 
and grandchildren. 

Mark Dornan, farmer, Dixon, was born in Ireland, in 1816, His 
parents were Mark and Alice (Carey) Dornan, In 1836 Mr. Dornan 
came to America, and after a short stay in the east came to Lee county 
in 1837, and located upon land in Dixon township, which still forms a 
portion of his present farm. He has now 240 acres of productive and 
valuable land, which he leaves to the general care and management of 
his son James. Mr. Dornan was married in 1843, to Miss Alice Cray- 
craft, who died in July 1880, and there are five children living : 
James, John and Susanna, who reside with their father, and Francis 
and Mark, who reside upon their father's farm, but have homes of 
their own, both being married. 

John 'G. Fleck, farmer, Dixon, was born in Huntington county, 
Pennsylvania, in 1816, and is the son of Henry and Catherine 
(Raney) Fleck. His father was a farmer, and after leaving school 
Mr. Fleck followed the same occupation in Huntington county, until 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 229 

he arrived at the age of forty years, when he came west and located 
upon his present farm in Dixon township, Lee connty, Illinois. He 
has 80 acres of fine land under a high state of cultivation. Mr. Fleck 
was married in February 1839, to Miss ISTancy Buck, in Pennsylvania. 
She was a daughter of Abram Buck, Esq., who came west and settled 
in Ogle county in 1848. A family of six children was the result of 
this union, four of whom are still living: Sarah, born in 1846, mar- 
ried Ira S. Fleck, and is now living at Bunker Hill, Kansas; Horace, 
born in 1853, is now a member of the firm of Fleck & Robinson, at 
Dixon; Mary and Ella M., both of whom reside with their parents; 
Alice, born in 1844 and died in 1865; Alma J., born in 1864 and died 
June 13, 1881. The recent death of their youngest daughter, just 
budding into womanhood, has inflicted a wound upon the hearts of 
the bereaved parents which only those who have suffered a similar loss 
can estimate. Mr. Fleck is independent in politics, though he generally 
acts with the republicans, and is a member of the Evangelical Luth- 
eran church. 

William W. Wateks, pump manufacturer, Dixon, was born in 
1851, at Gloversville, New York, and is the son of George and Eliza 
(Winter) Waters. His father followed the business of a tanner and 
glover, and in 1855 removed to Illinois and settled at Ashton, Lee 
county, since which time he has principally been engaged in farming. 
W. W. Waters was brought up and educated at Ashton, and left home 
in l^ovember, 1871, going to Amboy to learn the cabinet-making 
trade. He remained there for three years and a half, after which he 
removed to Rock Falls, Whitesides county, wliere he was employed by 
the Keystone Burial Case Company for a year and a half. He then 
came to Dixon and engaged in his present business in connection with 
two partners under the title of the Dixon Pump Company. The bus- 
iness is now carried on by Mr. Waters and Mr. George W. Knox, wlio 
lately purchased the interest of Mr. Louis Merriman. Mr. Waters was 
married on September 9, 1879, to Miss Ida M. Mills, daughter of Clin- 
ton D. and Mary (Stanley) Mills, of Ashton. Mr. Waters is a repub- 
lican, and a member of the Presbyterian church. 

Okville B. Blackman, physician, Dixon, was born in Hillsboro, 
Illinois, on August 30, 1851, and is the son of Geoi'ge and Hannah J. 
(Paisley) Blackman. His fatlier was a carriage manufacturer, and died 
at Hillsboro in 1858. His mother is still living and resides at Hills- 
boro. During his earlier years Dr. Blackman attended the academy in 
his native place, but when eleven years of age went to work in a 
woolen factory, where he continued for six years. He then reentered 
school, where he continued for three years, and at the same time com- 
menced the study of medicine, reading with Dr. Fields, of Hillsboro. 



230 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

He next taught school for about a year at Irving, Illinois, after which 
he went to Chicago and attended a course of lectures at Hahnemann 
Medical College, graduating March 3, 1873. Removed to Dixon in 
May 1873, and entered upon the practice of his profession. After a 
year he formed a partnership with Dr. J. A. Steele, which continued 
for four years and a half, until the removal of Dr. Steele, after which 
he formed a partnership with Dr. G. W. I. Brown, which lasted for 
two years, and was then dissolved, since which time he has practiced 
alone. Dr. Blackraan was united in marriage to Miss Lucretia S. 
Cress, of Hillsboro, on March 3, 1874, and has three children: Gertie, 
aged six ; George, aged four ; Cress, aged three. Dr. Blackburn is a 
thorough republicaTi, and has been a member of the Evangelical Luth- 
eran church for over thirteen years. 

James Andrew Hawlet, county clerk and banker, Dixon, is a na- 
tive of New York, being born in Monroe county, that state, on August 
20, 1830, and is the son of James and Sarah (Stratton) Hawley. His 
father w^as born in Connecticut, in 1791, and was the son of Stephen 
Hawley, of English ancestors. During the acquirement of his education, 
when a youth, he attended the Monroe Academy, and the Genesee 
Wet^leyan Seminary. From 1818 to 1851 he devoted his time to school 
teaching, after which he accepted a clerkship in the publishing house 
of Wanzear, Beardsley & Co., remaining with that firm until 1855, 
when he became general agent for Messrs. A. S. Barnes & Co., and 
also Ivison, Phinney & Co., book publishers of New York city. Dur- 
ing this time he became familiar with the west, and traveled through 
Illinois looking after the interests of the above firms. In 1858 he set- 
tled in Dixon and opened a book store, which he disposed of in 1861. 
He officiated for two years as commissioner of public schools. He has 
filled the office of county clerk for Lee county for the last twenty years, 
being successively reelected from his first election in 1861. He served 
as school director for a period of ten years, being first elected in 1863 ; 
and was for a number of years the president of that board. For several 
years he was a member of the board of directors of the Lee county na- 
tional bank of Dixon, prior to 1878, when he became connected with 
the Dixon national bank, acting as president until April 24, when he 
was elected cashifir, which responsible relation he still holds. He is 
well known as a prominent Mason, and has not only ascended through 
its sublime mysteries, but has occupied the highest official positions in 
the state departments of this ancient order. In 1871 he was elected 
Grand High Priest of the Royal Arch Chapter of the state; in 1873 
and 1874 he was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Illi- 
nois, and in 1874 was Grand Commander of Knights Templar for said 
state. On June 20, 1855, Mr. Hawley was united in marriage to Miss 



DixoN^ TowisrsHip. 231 

Mary A. Gardner, daughter of Dr. Cliarles and Mary Gardner, then of 
Dixon, Illinois. A family of five children resulted from the above 
marriage union, two daughters and three sons : Mary Augusta, Charles 
Gardner, Lloyd Robinson, George William and Laura S. Charles G. 
has been deputy county clerk of Lee county since January 1878. He 
was born May 1, 1858, in the city of Dixon. In the fall of 1874 he 
entered college at Racine, Wisconsin, and in the winter of 1876 he en- 
tered Ann Arbor state university, Michigan. On returning home from 
the last-mentioned school he entered the county clerk's office and was 
subsequently appointed deputy as above stated. 

Webster W, Wynn, M.D., physician, Dixon, was born in Monroe 
county, New York, August 22, 1818. His parents were John and 
Amanda (Grunendike) Wynn. He spent his early life on a farm, 
and commenced teaching school at the early age of sixteen, wliich pro- 
fession he followed for several years, devoting his spare time to the 
study of scientific branches preparatory to a medical course. Upon the 
organization of Genesee College, New York, he entered the first 
literary class formed, and remained in this school two years, when he 
entered the Buffalo Medical College, at Buffalo, New York, graduat- 
ing, after a three years' course, in the winter of 1855-6. After prac- 
ticing in the above city for a short time he removed to Dixon, Illinois, 
where he ibrmed a partnership with Dr. N. W. Abbott, who in the 
following year removed to Chicago. Following the dissolution of 
this partnership Dr. Wynn continued the practice alone until January 
1865, when he formed a partnersliip witli Henry E. Pain, M.D., who 
had recently removed from the east and settled in Dixon, which 
genial association has continued until the present time. He was 
appointed surgeon at the military post at Dixon during the war of the 
rebellion. On July 21, 1859, the doctor was united in marriage to 
Miss Frances E. Latham, daughter of George and Amanda E. Latham, 
formerly of Chenango county. New York, from which union resulted 
two children, George Wesley and Frankie, who died respectively 
October 23 and 31, 1862, and were followed by the mother to her 
final resting-place on December 29 of the same year. On September 
25, 1866, the doctor was united in marriage to Miss Georgiana 
Mc'Kcnney, of Dixon. This union was blessed with the birth of a 
son, Hubart W., September 26, 1867, (deceased); Mary Frances, 
October 17, 1869, and Harriet, March 6, 1871. 

Charles F. Emerson, merchant, Dixon, was born in Castine, Maine, 
in 1828, and is the son of Henry and Nancy (Hutchings) Emerson. 
His father was a farmer and blacksmith, and resided in Castine up to 
the time of his death. Mr. Emerson was brought up and educated in 
his native town, and at the age of twenty went to sea in a vessel en- 



232 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

gaged in the coasting and West India trade. He followed this occu- 
pation until his twenty-seventh year, wlien he came west and located 
on a farm in South Dixon township. After farming nearly seven years, 
removed to Dixon, but did not engage in business until after the be- 
ginning of the late war, when he went south and served the govern- 
ment in diiferent capacities for several years. He returned to Dixon 
in 1865, and a year later bought an interest in the lumber business of 
S. K. Upham, where he continued until 1875. Since then he has not 
been engaged in active business until recenth^, having again gone into 
the lumber trade in company with Mr. George D. Laing. Mr. Emer- 
son was married at Boston, Massachusetts, in December 1855, to Miss 
Hannah E. Avery, daughter of John A. and Eliza Avery. Mr. Emer- 
son is a member of the republican party, and served as alderman of his 
ward from 1872 to 1874 inclusive. 

Cyrds a. Davis, dealer in lumber, Dixon, was born in Xew Ipswich, 
New Hampshire, June 11, 1824, and is the son of Cyrus and Mary 
(Appleton) Davis, both of whom were born in the year 1800, and were 
of English ancestry. His parents removed to the west when he was 
about fifteen years of age, and located near Ambo}', where his father 
engaged in farming. Mr. Davis followed farming for about fourteen 
years, when he returned to Massachusetts. He was soon after elected 
a member of the Massachusetts legislature, and among his. colleagues 
at this time were John A. Andrew, afterward known as the great 
war governor Caleb Cushing, and many others who have since fig- 
ured prominently in state and national politics. In September, 1858, 
he returned west to look after his interests in Lee county, and 
soon after engaged in the furniture business at Dixon, which he 
carried on for nearly two years, and then conducted the book and sta- 
tionery business for about the same length of time. For the past eleven 
years he has been dealing in coal and lumber, which business he still 
carries on. Mr. Davis was married in 1852, to Miss Sarah J. Holt, of 
Ashby, Massachusetts, and they have but one child, a daughter, born 
August 23, 1853, and married July 1, 1873, to S. S. Dodge, of Dixon. 
Mrs. Dodge was the first child born in the town of Amboy after its 
being laid out by the Illinois Central Railroad Company. Politically 
Mr. Davis is an ardent republican and his family are members of the 
Methodist Episcopal church. 

Horace Preston, farmer, Dixon, was born in 1819, at !N"ew Ips- 
wich, New Hampshire, and is the sou of Jeremiah and Anna (Proc- 
tor) Preston. His father being a farmer, Horace spent his earlier life 
in working upon the farm and attending the neighboring schools. In 
1839 he came west and located in Dixon, where he opened a blacksmith 
shop, he being the second person to open a shop of this kind in Dixon. 



DIXON TOM^lSrSHIR 238 

John Wilson was the first to engage in that business, bnt before the 
arrival of Mr. Preston he had given up his shop and was then building 
a hotel. Mr. Preston carried on blacksmithing for fourteen years, 
when he sold his shop and bought a farm near Dixon. After remain- 
ing on this place five years, he sold a portion and purchased another 
farm near Lee Center, to which he removed. About nine o'clock in the 
evening, June 3, 1859, Mr, Preston and his family having just retired, 
they were startled by a peculiar roaring sound similar to that caused 
by a conflagration. Thinking the house in flames, Mr. Preston hur- 
ried to an adjoining room occupied by his two little daughters, and 
seizing one under each arm was just turning to escape when the whole 
roof of the house was torn oflf and Mr. Preston and his children were 
carried through the air a distance of eighty or ninety yards, where they 
landed unhurt, with the exception of a few bruises. Mrs. Preston, who 
had started downstairs carrying her infant, also escaped with her life, 
but the child was killed. The next morning dawned upon a scene of 
utter destruction. Everything in the track of the tornado had been 
completely demolished. Houses, barns and fences were swept away, 
crops were ruined, and trees were blown down. The same spot which 
the previous evening had been a prosperous and comfortable home was 
now a scene of desolation and ruin. A day or two after the passage of 
the cyclone Mr. Preston hauled seventy-five loads of debris from a 
small portion of his farm, consisting of not more than ten or fifteen 
acres. In the following year Mr. Preston sold this farm and again 
engaged in farming near Dixon, which he continued until the spring of 
1880, when he removed into the city. Mr. Preston was married at 
Dixon in 1849, to Miss Jane Wood, and the result of this union has 
been three children, the eldest of whom is Ella, who is married and 
resides in Massachusetts; Jennie who is married to William Packard, 
and residing in Dixon, and Clara who resides with her parents. 

Jacob Brubaker, jr., merchant, Dixon, is a native of Pennsyl- 
vania, and was born in March 1844. His parents were Jacob and 
Lydia (Whitmen) Brubaker, who removed to Ogle county, Illinois, in 
1848, where his father engaged in farming. In 1852 the family re- 
moved to Dixon, but in 1855 they returned to Ogle county. Mr. 
Brubaker left home in 1859, and went to Polo, Illinois, where he 
became a clerk in a dry-goods store, remaining there until September 
1864, when he enlisted in the 92d 111. Mounted Vols. He accompa- 
nied Sherman's army on their march to the sea, and after the sur- 
render of Johnston was mustered out of service in June 1865. He 
then returned to Polo, but in 1867 removed to Dixon, where he fol- 
lowed his former occupation until 1873, when he was employed by 
Becker & Underwood, with whom he remained until the spring of 



234 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

1880. He soon after associated himself with Capt. Djsart in the flour 
jobbing and grain business, which he still carries on. In December, 
1865, Mr. Brubaker was married to Miss Sarah A., daughter of Isaiah 
and Clarissa Wilcox, of Buffalo Grove, who were among the first set- 
tlers in that locality. Mr. Brubaker has three children living: Nellie, 
aged fifteen ; George, aged eleven, and Sadie, aged three. Mr. Bru- 
baker is a republican and a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. 

Sylvanus K. Upham, retired merchant, Dixon, is a native of Cas- 
tine, Maine, where he was born in 1811. His parents were Sylvanus 
and Mary (Avery) Upham. He is a descendant of old Puritan stock, 
the first Upham having come to America in 1635, and settled in Massa- 
cliusetts, w^here the family remained until about the beginning of the 
present century, when Mr. Upham's father removed to Maine, where 
he died in 1832. Mr. Upham attended school until his fifteenth year, 
when he went to sea, which vocation he followed for two years, when 
lie settled at Salem, Massachusetts, and learned the tanning trade. 
After remaining there about four years he returned to Castine, where 
for ten years he carried on a tannery. In 1844 he removed to Boston 
and engaged in the grocery business, but, catching the gold-fever in 
1849, he went to California, remaining there for two years, when he 
returned to Massachusetts. In November, 1852, he removed to Dixon 
and engaged at once in the lumber business, which he carried on until 
1875, since which time he has not been engaged in active business. 
Mr. Upham was married in January 1839, to Miss Marj^ A. Brooks, of 
Castine, who died at Dixon, December 30, 1870. They had four 
children, three of whom survive, the eldest being Margaret B., born 
in November 1839, now the widow of Charles Wright, Esq. Mrs. 
Wright is at present living in Paris, and is an authoress of consid- 
erable distinction. Lieut. Frank Upham, born in 1841, is an oflicer in 
the 1st U. S. Cav., at present stationed at Fort Walla Walla, Washing- 
ton Territory ; Charles C, born in 1852, is residing in Mexico, as resi- 
dent engineer of the Mexican Central railroad. Annie G., born in 
1845, was married in 1866, to Edward B. Utley, Dixon, and died 
June 12, 1867. Mr. Upham was married a second time in 1872, 
to Mrs. Angelina Sewell, relict of the Rev. Daniel Sewell, of Win- 
throp, Maine, who died in 1866. Way back two centuries and a half 
ago we find the ancient records speaking in high terms of the services 
of Lieut. Phineas Upham, who served with distinction in the long and 
bloody contest waged between the sturdy settlers of Massachusetts and 
the savage hordes of King Phillip, and who finally perished from 
wounds sustained at the hands of the treacherous foe. 

Nicholas Plein, brewer, Dixon, was born in Frier, Germany, 
November 8, 1848, and is the son of John and Margaret (Plein) Plein. 



DIXOX TOWNSHIP. 235 

He received his education at tlie schools of his native town, and when 
eighteen years of age came to America and settled in Dixon, where he 
worked several months for Valentine Thoman. He then removed to 
Chicago, where he remained a short time and then returned to Dixon, 
where he again entered into the employ of Mr. Thoman. After the 
death of the latter, which occurred in June 1873, he purchased the 
propert}' and business which he still carries on. Mr. Plein was mar- 
ried in 1873, to Mrs. Christina (Sold) Thoman, a daughter of Louis 
and Christina (Keller) Sold. She was born in France in 1846, and has 
resided in Dixon since 1854. There are six children : Charles, aged 
seventeen ; Constant, aged thirteen ; Joseph, aged eleven ; Amelia, 
aged nine; Kitty, aged five, and Louis, aged one. 

Samuel Shaw, farmer, Dixon, was born in Scotland, October 1803, 
and is the son of James and Sj'dney (Forsythe) Shaw. His father 
was the owner of a large stock farm near Glasgow, but removed 
to the north of Ireland when Samuel was about seven years of age, 
where the latter was brought up and educated. When eighteen years 
of age he came to America, and settled at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. 
After remaining there three vears he returned to Ireland, where he 
engaged in farming for several years. He again came to America, and 
in 1833 located in Cass county, Illinois, where he resided until 1854, 
when he removed to Palmyra township, where he remained until 1875. 
Since that time he has been a resident of the city of Dixon, engaged in 
no active business, but owning about 600 acres of good farming land in 
the vicinity of the city. Mr. Shaw was married in 1827, to Miss Mary 
Campbell, a native of Scotland, and who, after the lapse of more than 
half a century, still remains the sharer of his joys and sorrows. They 
have four sons and three daughters surviving, the eldest of whom is 
James, born in 1833, and now a leading attorney of Mount Carroll, Illi- 
nois. William, born 1835, has a large stock farm in Missouri. Arch- 
ibald, born in 1837, is farming in Kansas. Samuel, born in 1844, is 
practicing law at Kansas city, Missouri. Three daughters, Elizabeth, 
Mary and Cathrine, reside in Dixon with their parents. One son, 
Timothy, born in 1839, was a student at Illinois College at the out- 
break ot the war, and enlisted at the first call for troops in April 1861, 
and died at St. Louis in August 1861, from disease contracted in the 
service. Mr. Shaw is a firm believer in the republican party and its 
principles, and attends the Presbyterian church. 

Hon. Hexry D. DemenTj Secretary of State for Illinois, was born 
at Galena, Illinois, in 1840, and is the son of Col. John and Mary 
L. (Dodge) Dement, and is the grandson on his mother's side of 
General Dodge, the first governor of Wisconsin. At the age of five 
years he removed with his parents from Galena to Dixon, where he 



236 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

attended school for several years, and finishing the coarse at Mount 
Morris Seminary, at Mount Morris, Ogle county, Illinois. At the age 
of twenty years he enlisted in the service of his countrj^, going into the 
13th 111, Inf. in October 1861. On the organization of the companies 
he was elected a second lieutenant, and within a short period was pro- 
moted to first lieutenant, and captain, receiving a complimentary com- 
mission for the latter position from Gov. Yates, for gallantry at Arkan- 
sas Post and Chickasaw Bayou. He served with Gen. Curtis in all his 
campaigns west of the Mississippi, and was in the 15th Army Corps 
during the siege of Yicksburg. Soon after the fall of the latter place 
he resigned his command and returned home. Soon afterward he 
engaged in the manufacture of plows etc. at Dixon, in connection with 
W. M. Todd, but sold out to F. K. Orvis & Co. in 18T0. Shortly 
afterward he engaged in the manufacture of flax bagging for covering 
cotton bales, which he carried on until 1880, when he was burned out 
in the large fire that occurred in the spring of that year/T Capt. De- 
ment was elected to the lower house of the Illinois legislature in 
November 1872, and reelected in 1874, and at the expiration of that 
term was elected to the senate from the counties of Lee and Ogle, and 
served four years. In the spring of 1880 he was nominated by the 
republican state convention as their candidate for the position of secre- 
tary of state, and elected in the following November by upward of 
40,000 majority. He was married October 20, 1864, to Miss Mary F. 
Williams, daughter of Hon. Hezekiah Williams, of Castine, Maine, and 
the result of this union has been three daughters : Gertrude M., aged 
fifteen years, Lucia W., aged thirteen years, and Nonie E., aged five 
years. Capt. Dement and his wife are members of the Presbyterian 
church. 

Thomas McCune, farmer, Dixon, was born in Yenango county, 
Pennsylvania, in 1831, and is the son of William and Keziah (Pax- 
ton) McCune. His father was a farmer, and is still living in Pennsyl- 
vania. Mr. McCune was brought up and educated in Venango county, 
and after his arrival at manhood engaged in farming. In 1872 he came 
west and located on his present farm in Dixon township, which consists 
of 183 acres of valuable land with large and commodious buildings in 
first-class order. He was married June 3, 1858, to Miss Lydia J. 
Williams, a resident of Yenango county, Pennsylvania. They have 
five children as follows : Miles, aged twenty-three ; Irvin, aged twenty- 
one ; Sarah J., aged eighteen; Ellen, aged thirteen; and Maud, aged 
nine years ; all of whom reside at home. Mr. McCune is a democrat 
in his political afiiliations. 

Joseph B. Brooks, deceased, for ten years a prominent citizen of 
Dixon, was born at Castine, Maine, on August 15, 1820, and is the 



DIXON TowisrsHip. 237 

son of Barker and Margaret (Perkins) Brooks. He left home and 
went to Boston about 1843, where he engaged in the shipchandlery 
business in connection with Mr. S. K. Upham. In 1845 he returned 
to Dixon and opened a general merchandise store, and for the next ten 
years did the largest business of any merchant in this section. He 
was one of the original projectors as well as one of the largest owners 
in the water-power at Dixon, and put up the first machinery after the 
construction of the dam for the purpose of running the saw-mill. 
During his entire career he was one of the most active and energetic 
leaders in any enterprise that promised to promote the interests of 
Dixon, but died on December 20, 1855, in the very prime of life. 
He was married in Dixon, January 6, 1847, to Miss Ophelia A. 
Loveland, of New York, by whom he had two children, Henry J. 
and Margaret A., both of whom still reside in Dixon. His son. Dr. 
H. J. Brooks, was born in Dixon, October 9, 1850, where he received 
his earlier education. After leaving school he commenced reading 
medicine with Dr. J. A. Steele, and then entered the medical depart- 
ment of the Northwestern University of Chicago, graduating in 1874. 
He then took a course of lectures and a diploma at the Long Island 
College Hospital at Brooklyn, New York, and also at Bellevue Med- 
ical College, New York. He then returned to Illinois, and was ap- 
pointed assistant physician at the Northern Insane Asylum, where he 
remained some three years, serving with great credit to himself as 
shown by the report of the superintendent. Dr. Kilbourn. Resigning 
this position in January, 1876, he went to Enrope with a view of re- 
maining there a couple of years, but was recalled in a few months by 
a dangerous accident happening to his mother. Early in 1879 he 
entered upon the active practice of his profession at Dixon, which he 
still carries on. Dr. Brooks was married June 18, 1879, to Miss Clara 
Y. Daggett, a resident of Elgin. Politically the doctor acts with the 
republican party, and is a member of the Pi-esbyterian church. 

Ezra Emmert, inventor, Dixon, was born in Washington county, 
Maryland, July 6, 1826, and is the son of Joseph and Catharine 
(Evey) Emmert. His father was a farmer, and Ezra was brought up 
on the farm and attended school in the vicinity. When nineteen 
years of age he came west and located in China township in Lee county, 
where he carried on a farm for about eight years. During this time 
he commenced experimenting on various improvements in farm ma- 
chinery. Among his more important inventions was a combined 
seeder and cultivator, now manufactured at Dixon by the Orvis 
Plow Company, and from which he realized a considerable amount 
of money. He was also the original inventor of what is known as the 
Marsh harvester, his patent dating from 1857. He has now under 



238 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

process of completion several iinportaDt improvements in this machine. 
He also patented a corn-planter, rotarv seed-drill, etc. Mr. Emmert 
moved into Dixon in I^ovember 18S0, where he has since resided. 
He was married at Franklin Grove in 1850, to Miss Sarah A. New- 
comer, who died November 18, 1880. There are two children living: 
Mary C, married to T. J. Miller, of Dixon, and Eleanor A., aged 
twenty-one years, and residing in Dixon. In politics Mr. Emmert is 
an adherent of the republican party. 

D. B. Ayres, harness-maker, Dixon, was born in Albany, New 
York, April 29, 1833, and is the son of Oscar F. and Hannah M. 
(Birdsall) Ayres. His parents removed to Lee connty in 1839, where 
he was brought up and educated, and after leaving school, when six- 
teen 3'ears of age, he entered the shop of H. O. Kelsey for the purpose 
of learning the harness-making trade, which he followed for several 
vears. He then became a clerk for the dry-cjoods firm of Wood & 
Boardman, and afterward engaged in the same capacity for his father 
for about two 3'ears, when he became a partner in the dry-goods busi- 
ness with his fathei', but in a couple of years the lirm was burned out. 
He then engaged in farming for some three years, after which he 
returned to Dixon and went into his present business, which he has 
followed for nearly twenty years. Mr. Ayres was married on August 
11, 1858, to Miss Sarah J. Perry, of Dixon, and they have two chil- 
dren: Minnie, aged twenty, and Oscar P., aged seventeen, both of 
whom reside with their parents. 

Eli C. Smith, principal of the south side public school, Dixon, was 
born in 1829, in Essex county, New York, and is the son of Almerin 
and Lois (Larrabee) Smitii. His father was a farmer, and in 1833 was 
a member of the New York legislature. He died in Savannah, Illi- 
nois, in 1854. E. C. Smith was brought up and educated in the State 
of New York, and came to Illinois in 1850, locating first at Geneva, 
and after remaining there a year removed to Rock Island, where he 
resided for three years as principal of the Rock Island Seminary. In 
1855 he came to Dixon and commenced his school-work in what was 
then known as the Dixon Collegiate Institute, — now known as Rock 
River University, — where he continued until the fall of 1857. He 
then engaged in the mercantile business, which he carried on until the 
fall of 1861, at which time he became principal of the south side Dixon 
school, which position he still fills. Mr. Smith is also manager and 
part proprietor of the Nachusa nursery, which was established in 1854 
by J. T. Little, and purchased by Mr. Smith, in connection with his 
brother, the Rev. Dr. Smith, of Chicago, in 1871. Dr. Smith is also 
editor of the " Standard," a religious journal of the Baptist denomina- 
tion. Mr. Smith was first married at Granville, Washington county, 



DIXON TOWNSHIP. 239 

New York, on December 2, 1853, to Miss Eliza A. Mason, who died 
in October 1870, and left surviving two sons: Herbert O., born in 
September 1859, at Dixon, and who is now practicing medicine in 
Minnesota, and Edward T., born in Morrison, Illinois, July 26, 1861, 
and residing at Dixon. His second marriage occurred September 26, 
1872, to Miss Seraphina F. Gardner, of Dixon, by whom he has three 
children: Kenneth G., aged seven years; Percy A., aged five, and 
Anna M., aged two years. In politics he is a member of the repub- 
lican party, and belongs to the Baptist church. 

Charles A.Todd, merchant, Dixon, is a native of Broome county, 
New York, having been born there September 4, 1857. His parents 
were George W. and Frances M. (Yarrington) Todd. His father is a 
farmer and both parents are still living. Mr. Todd received his educa- 
tion at the schools in the vicinity of his birthplace, and alter leaving 
school came to Dixon in 1869 and entered the store of his uncle, J. H. 
Todd, as a clerk, where he remained until January 1, 1879, when he 
purchased the hat and cap business of J. C. Keir, and on Januai-y 1, 
1880, bought a half interest in the clothing and furnishing goods business 
conducted for many years by his uncle above mentioned, and since that 
time both stores have been carried on under the fii-m name of J. H. & 
C. A. Todd. Mr. Todd was married to Miss Sarah J. Austin, of Dixon, 
December 26, 1877. He is one of the most enterprising 3'oung mer- 
chants of Lee county, and b}' his fair dealing and energy has established 
an enviable reputation. His political affiliations are republican and he 
is a member of the Baptist church. 

JosiAH Fry, ice-dealer, Dixon, is a native of Lee county, having 
been born in Dixon township in 1843, and is the son of John and Mary 
(Klinetop) Fry. His father came to Lee county at an early day and 
engaged in farming. He is still living on his farm near Dixon. Mr.. 
Fry was educated at the schools near his home and in Dixon, and after 
leaving school followed farming for about ten years. In 1872 he moved 
into Dixon and engaged in the coal and lumber business, which he 
carried on until about a year ago, at which time he bought out the ice 
business formerly conducted by Louis Faulthaber, and has since been 
engaged in that enterprise. Mr. Fry was married September 13, 1866, 
to Miss Mary C. Stettler, of Pennsylvania, and his family consists of six 
children: John E., aged fourteen; Mary E., aged twelve; Bert, aged 
nine ; Annie E., aged seven; OIlie, aged five, and Ernest J., aged two 
years. In politics Mr. Fry is a thorough-going and active republican. 

Charles Dement, deceased, Dixon, was born in Franklin county, 
Illinois, on December 25, 1822, and was the son of David and Elizabeth 
(Kirkpatrick) Dement, and was a half-brother of Col. John Dement. 
After the death of his father the family removed to Shelby county, 



240 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Illinois, where his earlier years were spent, but in 1845 his mother came 
to Dixon and he was sent as a student to Mount Morris Seminary. On 
his return he became associated with -his brother. Col. Dement, in deal- 
ing in land, and while thus engaged he purchased a large interest in 
w^hat was then called Fulton City, but which is now known as Fulton, 
Illinois. He soon after removed there, and erected at great expense 
one of the largest and finest hotels in the west, which was called 
the Dement House. He carried on this establishment for several 
years, but it having caused him considerable financial embarrassment, 
he finally sold the property, which is now used as an educational insti- 
tution. He returned to Dixon and became engaged in land operations, 
and also in farming to some extent, up to the time of his death, which 
took place December 18, 1875. He was first married in 1851, to Miss 
Amanda Sterling, of Dixon, of which marriage there is one child sur- 
viving, Charles A, Dement, whose sketch will be found below. Mr. 
Dement was married a second time, to Miss Myra Huntle3% of Dixon, 
December 25, 1861, and at his death left four children surviving : David 
Louis, aged nineteen ; Marian A., aged seventeen ; George W., aged 
twelve, and Amelia E., aged nine years. 

Charles A. Di:ment, son of Charles and Amanda (Sterling) 
Dement, was born in Dixon, November 20, 1852, and received his 
education principally at the public schools of that city, though for three 
years he was a student at the Western Union Colleo:e, Chicacro. After 
completing h*s education he began his business career as a dealer in 
fancy fruits and groceries, which he carried on for about two years, but 
in 1876 engaged in the livery business at Dixon, which he still carries 
on. He was married September 30, 1880, to Miss Jennie Hunt, of 
Stanwood, Iowa. Mr. Dement is a young man of business habits and 
ability, and has the characteristic push and enterprise which were 
exhibited in the business careers of his father and uncle. 

John Coffey, butcher, Dixon, was born in Oneida county, New 
York, on March 9, 1841, and is the son of Timothy and 
Ellen (Chanley) Coffey. His father was a farmer and died in the 
State of Now York in 1848. Mr. Coffey came west when onh^ four- 
teen years of age, and located at Peru, Illinois, where he learned the 
trade of a butcher, and after following that occupation for a year or 
two he also learned the tinsmith's trade. Soon after he removed to 
Dixon and worked at various employments until 1865, when he en- 
gaged in his present business. He was married at Dixon, in 1867, to 
Miss Margaret E. Haley, and has three children : Mary E., aged eleven ; 
Agnes A., aged seven ; and John H., aged three years. Politically 
Mr. Coffey belongs to the republican party. 

William Plein, restaurant, Dixon, was born at Trier, Germany, 



..^ 











T\]K NRW YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTOK. Lv:y.ns. and 

TILDL'N t''s»i Sh.S f 1«KHS 
B - L 



SUBLE'nE TOWNSHIP. 243 

January 11, 1854, and is the son of John and Margaret (Plein) Plein. 
He was brought up and educated in his native town, and when nine- 
teen years of age came to America and located at Dixon. He was 
soon after employed at the brewery of J. B. Clears, where he remained 
several years, when he opened a restaurant and is now engaged in 
that business. Mr. Plein was married February 18, 1881, to Miss 
Rosa Buckmann, of Dixon, but after the short space of four months 
lost his wife, Mrs. Plein dying June 15, 1881. 

George G. Rosbrook, liveryman, Dixon, was born in Monroe 
connty, New York, November 5, 1835, and was the son of John B. 
and Lucretia (Green) Rosbrook. His father was a farmer, and the 
family removed to Niagara county, New York, soon after the birth of 
George, and he was educated at Lockport, in that county. In 1854 
his father came west and settled in Harmon township, Lee county, 
where he engaged in farming and stock-raising, which he carried on 
until the time of his death, in the Spring of 1872. After the death of 
his father the farm was managed by the subject of this sketch until 
1874, when he came to Dixon and purchased the interest of J. T. 
Cheney in the livery business, conducted by Cheney & Perry, the 
new firm being Perry & Rosbrook. About a year later the partner- 
ship was dissolved, and Mr. Rosbrook has since carried on the business 
alone. He was married on January 16, 1858, to Miss Mary Tuttle, of 
Harmon, and has six children surviving: Fannie, aged twenty-two, 
was married to John Jenkins, of Harmon, in 1879; Tryon, aged 
twenty-one, resides in Dakota, where he is engaged in farming; Nettie, 
aged nineteen ; Bartow, aged seventeen ; Louis, aged fifteen, and 
Emma, aged thirteen, are all residing at the home of their parents. 
Politically Mr. Rosbrook is a member of the republican party. 



SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 

This is No. 19 N., in R. 11 E. of the 4th P.M. Bureau county 
bounds it on the south, and La Salle count}'^ forms half of the eastern 
boundary. It has a very fertile soil and is but slightly undulating. 
In places it is a little low, but is all capable of easy drainage. The 
soil is black, excepting a little in the northwestern part, which is sandy. 
Here a part of Palestine Grove covers Sec. 6 and portions of 5 and 7. 
Nearly all of Knox Grove is in this township, on Sees. 24 and 25, 
along Bureau creek, mostly on the south side. This stream enters the 
township near the middle of the eastern boundary of Sec. 24, and 
flows across the southeast corner, through Sees. 24, 26, 34 and 33, leav- 
ing near the southeast corner of the latter. Below Knox Grove it is 
15 



244 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

slightly skirted with timber, and is the only stream of any importance 
in the town. About half a mile south of it, and running nearly par- 
allel with it, is a part of the old " Chicago road," which in an early 
day led from that city to Princeton, Many of these diagonal roads 
once intersected this region, but most of them have been abandoned. 
A few remnants, however, still remain. A part of the original La Salle 
and Grand Detour road is still in use through Sec. 17 and a part of 18. 
In the eastern part of the town there are two pieces of road of the 
same nature. Tiiere is a road runnins^ north and south throuo-h the 
center of the town, and another east and west to within half a mile of 
the east and west boundaries. The Illinois Central railroad crosses the 
eastern line of Sec. 36, and runs nearly due northwest through Sees. 
36, 25, 23, 15, 9, 8, 5 and 6, dividing the town nearly in the center. 
The old Black Hawk " Army Trail " crossed the town in nearly the 
same direction, entering near the southeast corner and leaving on the 
west line of Sec. 18. The old telegraph line and stage route from 
Dixon to Peru entered the town at the northwest corner of Sec. 30 
and left near the center of the south line of the same section. 

EARLY SETTLEMENTS. 

The settlement of Sublette township dates from 1837. Jonathan 
Peterson came to Ottawa, Illinois, in October 1836 ; he had come from 
New Hampshire by Lake Erie to Detroit, and thence afoot to Ottawa. 
Here he spent the winter of 1836-7, and in February started for Lee 
county. The same summer he made a claim in the northwestern part 
of Sec. 4, Sublette, and after building a log cabin just over the line in 
Lee Center, he went back to his native state and was married, return- 
ing with his wife the following year. In June, 1837, Sherman 
Hatch arrived in Dixon and came across tTTe~coiintfy' to Lee Center 
township to Chas. F. Ingals, who had settled there the previous year. 
TIie*^nie'"sTffffffi^gf*?fP'1?l the southwest part of Sec. 7, 

taking possession of and completing a log house that had been partly 
built by four young men from Chicago, who had abandoned their 
claim. In the fall of 1837 Mr. Hatch returned to Vermont. He came 
back the next year with his wife, whose marriage he had recently cel- 
ebrated. He claimed a half section of prairie and nearly as much tim- 
ber in the vicinity of his first settlement, but did not enter much of it, 
having loaned most of his money to parties who were unable to pay 
him when the land was offered for sale. The same fall Thomas and 
William Fessenden, with their families, came on from New Hampshire, 
Thomas Fessenden having been west as early as 1834 and returned the 
same year to New Hampshire. They claimed land on Sees. 6 and 7, 
and built a log house on the southeast corner of the N.W. ^ of Sec. 7, 



SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 245 

and moved into it in December, having lived in the meantime on the 
" Blunt place," Amboy township. This was the first real settlement 
in Sublette, and the nearest neighbor of the Fessendens at that time 
was Joseph Doane, who was living about half a mile from the "Blunt 
place." The following year William Fessenden built half a mile north, 
on the southeast corner of the S.W. ^ of Sec. 6, where John H. Long 
now lives. In 1838 Joseph Knox and his family settled at the south 
end of the grove which bears their name. The same year Sylvanus 
Peterson settled on the S.E. ^ of Sec. 5. Before 1840 John Morton 
and E.. E. Goodall settled north of him on land now owned by William 
Long, jr., and Russell Phillips on the southwestern part of Sec. 6, 
claiming forty there and forty opposite in Sec. 8. In 1839 Daniel 
Baird settled where Elijah Austin lives, on the La Salle and Grand 
Detour road, on Sec. 17. Mr. Baird settled in La Salle in the fall of 
1836. The same year (1839) Phineas Rust built the first frame house 
in Sublette, on Sec. 30, half a mile south of where Ambrose Angier is 
now living. Mr. Rust never lived here, but sold his claim, the N.E. -^ 
of Sec, 30, to Philo Stanard and Thomas Angier late in 1840. The 
same year Thomas Tourtillott built a frame house 16x20 on Sec. 31, 
and O. Bryant settled on the " Old Chicago road " on Sec. 35. In 
1842 Thomas Angier built a frame house where his present buildings 
are located. Gilbert Thompson also built on the site now occupied by 
Mrs. Fauble, on the S. i of S.E. I Sec. 31. 

In 1843 Ephriam Reniff settled with his famih^ on the S. ^ N.E. J- 
Sec. 19, and afterward entered the same. It was in this year that Hi- 
ram Anderson settled on the N.E. ^ of S.E. i Sec. 33. The jumping 
of his claim subsequently caused quite an excitement among the rulers 
of the prairie. Bull, the offending part}'', lived at Dixon, and when it 
was known that Anderson's claim had been "jumped," the "Claim 
Society," consisting of all the settlers within several miles, turned out 
en masse, and going to Dixon well armed demanded the person of Mr. 
Bull. There were about sixty-five in the party, and the "jumper" 
was easily taken. While on their way back to the claim Sheriff Camp- 
bell interviewed the party, and concluded an agreement with them by 
•which Bull was turned over to him. This was on the condition that 
the contestants should meet on a certain fixed day, and that the 
deed of the " forty " in dispute should be returned to Anderson, who 
was to pay the first cost of the land. The summary treatment em- 
ployed in this case had the desired effect, and settlers in this region 
were not troubled again in a similar way. In 1844 Alpheus Crawford 
came to the Knox Grove settlement, and bought from widow Pratt a 
claim of eighty acres on the S. ^ of Sec. 13 for $75. At this time sev- 
eral families had settled at the grove. Daniel Pratt, Levi Camp and 



246 HISTORY OF LEE OOrjNTY. 

J, B. Barton were early settlers here. The same year Prescott Bartlett 
claimed the S. i of N.W. i and the N. ^ of S.W. i Sec. 20, 
and built a log house on the same. Silas Reniff' settled where he now 
lives, on Sec. 20, and claimed about half a section. He entered only 
160 acres, the K i of N.E. ^ Sec. 20, and the S. i of S.E. ^ Sec. 17. 
In this year (1844) John Betz settled on the S.E. ^ Sec. 33, and in 
1845 Hoffman settled on the S.W. ^ of the same. In 1846 Bartholo- 
mew Theiss made a claim of 120 acres on Sees. 29 and 30, where 
Godfred Theiss lives. In 1844 R. P. Hubbard settled and claimed the 
N.W. i of N.E. i and N.E. i of N.W. i Sec. 17. H. N. Erskine set- 
tled the " Kapser place," on Sec. 35, at an early day. 

In the year 1844 was the land sale at Dixon. That year is known 
to this day by old settlers as the wettest season on record, from May 
until August. But few of the settlers were prepared to pay for their 
land, and consequently they formed themselves into societies for the 
protection of their homes, until they could raise the money necessary 
to pay for the land they had claimed. The circumstance mentioned 
above had the effect of deterring speculators from abroad. Many farms 
were secured through Mexican land warrants on the market here soon 
after the close of the Mexican war. Many good farms were bought 
with these by men who could not have raised the cash to buy from the 
government at $1.25 per acre. But little land had been bought from 
the government before these warrants appeared, but within live years 
after nearly all was sold except that held by the Illinois Central Rail- 
road Company, and this was sold very soon. 

In an early day wolves were plentiful, and are not yet extinct. In 
1848 Alpheus Crawford and others killed a bear north of Knox Grove 
which weighed 400 pounds. 

For many years after the settlement of this region prairie fires 
were the scourge of the settlements. Many are the thrilling incidents 
related of their ravages. Mrs. Baird relates her experience in fighting 
one when Mr. Baird was away from home. She whipped it until she 
was completely exhausted and had suffered greatly from the heat of 
the fire; and all the time expecting it would sweep their house and 
entire personal effects. Early in October, 1845, the settlers were 
visited by one of these fires. It is described by one of the early set- 
tlers in nearly the following words : " After dark my family noticed 
in the southwest the light of a fire so far off that it seemed it would 
not reach them before morning. That night a family of emigrants 
from Tennessee were camped in their wagon on a small piece of 
breaking near my liouse. About midnight my wife was aroused by 
loud knocking and other noise. Upon getting up she found a girl 
about twelve years old nearly frightened to death. (This girl was the 



SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 247 

only one of the emigrants not sick.) Going out of doors she saw the 
whole country southwest and west in a blaze of fire, some of which 
was thirty feet high. She started for the nearest house, which was 
half a mile distant, and aroused the inmates, and then a quarter of a 
mile further to another dwelling, where all were sleeping. These parties 
all had property that would have been destroyed had they not been 
warned. Upon returning home she found the worst danger over, the 
main tire having passed a little northwest of the building and break- 
ing. Her husband, who was in Chicago at the time, found on his 
return the entire prairie burnt over," 

Nearly all of the early settlers teamed to Chicago more or less till 
the Illinois Central road came through. Produce was cheap, but this 
was the only way known to raise a little money. Often would they 
return home with a few trifles, the gross profits of an eight or ten days' 
trip. Little or nothing was takeil for expenses, and often would a man 
be gone a week or two without entering a house. They would often 
go in companies of ten or more ox-teams, generally entering the city 
in the morning and coming out at night, thereby avoiding hotel bills. 
For a good load of wheat or dressed-pork but a few dollars would be 
realized. Often the driver had to unhitch his team and carry his load 
out of a slough on his back, and not unlikely this interesting process 
would have to be several times repeated during one trip. The farmers 
also went a long distance to get their milling done. For several years 
they went to Greene's mill, at Dayton, and to other points on the Fox 
river. 

But little was seen of the Indians by the settlers of Sublette. Old 
Shabona, however, with his followers, was an annual visitor for several 
years, passing, as he did, across the town on his way from his reser- 
vation, in DeKalb county, to the swamp near Walnut grove, in Bureau 
county. Shabona was a noble red-man, and on account of his friend- 
ship shown the settlers in the Black Hawk war, became very much 
endeared to them. 

The lQ.rst post-office was that of Brookfield, at Daniel Baird's house, 
started about 1840. — ,..«--^' 

In 1841 O. Bryant burned a kiln of brick on the northwest corner 
of Sec. 35. In 1850 a certain Beck built a blacksmith shop on or near 
the site now occupied by Dorsey Scott's shop. Richardson, Daniel 
Baird, Thomas Tourtillott, and Morrison, just over the line in May 
town, kept tavei'ns in an early day. 

Township Organization. — Soon after the organization of Lee 
county the west half of Sublette, and what is now May, were known as 
Bureau precinct ; the polls were held at the house of Daniel Baird, 
The east part of the township was incorporated with a part of Brooklyn, 









248 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

with their voting place at Knox Grove. In 1849 the county was di- 
vided into townships. This town was first called Hanio. The railroad 
company having named their depot Sublette, it was desired to have the 
name of the township correspond, and consequently a petition was sent 
in the winter of 1856-7 to John V. Eustace, representative in the 
Illinois legislature. The name was accordingly changed to Sublette. 
This name was first employed, it is said, because of the frequent sub- 
letting of the grading of the road in this vicinity. The first town 
meeting was held on the second Tuesday in April 1850, "for the pur- 
pose of electing town oflicers, dividing the town into road districts, and 
for the transaction of other business." Alpheus Crawford was chosen 
moderator and Daniel Baird clerk for said meeting. A tax of 12-^ 
cents on every $100 of taxable property was voted to be assessed and 
collected. Stock was prohibited from running at large from Novem- 
ber 15 to April 1 of each year. The first election resulted in the 
choice of^Daniel Baird for supervisor, Henry Porter clerk, Whitlock 
T. Porter assc^sui', Silas D. Eenifi" collector, Daniel Pratt overseer of 
the poor, ^iSIP Andeis(^n and W. H. Hamblin highway commission- 
ers, Samuel Averill and Thos. S. Angier constables, Alpheus Craw- 
ford and Andrew Bertholf justices of the peace. The town was di- 
vided into nine road districts two miles square. April 17, 1851, the 
highway commissioners ordered that district number " 10 " be formed 
out of the east half of Sees. 20 and 17, and the west half of sections 
16 and 21. At an election held in the school-house in district "3" 
April 6, 1852, forty-six votes were cast for supervisor, forty-seven for 
assessor, forty-five for collector, and forty-seven for town clerk. It was 
voted that the next annual town meeting be held at the house of Dan- 
iel Pratt, at Knox Grove. In 1854 the annual meeting was held at 
the house of Daniel "Wilcox on Sec. 15, and in 1855 at the house of 
Daniel Maxwell. At this meeting $1,000 was voted for the erection 
of a town-house in the village of Sublette. Thomas Angier, H. Benton 
and Prescott Bartlett were appointed a committee to report a site for 
the same. At a special meeting held in December, Thomas Angier, 
"John Tourtillott, S. Reniff*, Thomas Fessenden and Horatio Benton 
were appointed a committee to build a house one story high, and of a 
size to correspond with funds voted for that purpose. At a meeting 
held in 1858, $150 was appropriated to bridge Bureau creek at the old 
army trail. At the annual meeting in 1860 a fence law was passed de- 
claring what should be considered a legal fence, whether of wire, rails 
or boards. In 1860, 150 votes were cast for the supervisor, and the 
same number for town clerk, 152 for assessor, 147 for collector. In 
1866, 177 was the highest vote cast for any oflice ; Silas Renifi" was 
unanimously chosen assessor. For justice of the peace T. Angier re- 



SUBLETrE TOWNSHIP. 249 

ceived all but one (176), and A. L, Wilder the same number for town 
clerk. In 1881 about 220 votes were cast. The supervisors of Sub- 
lette have been : Daniel Baird three years, S. Peterson one year, T. 
Angier eighteen years, Albert Linn one year, Jonathan Peterson three 
years, John Theiss, five years, G. M. Crawford one year. The justices 
of the peace have been T. Angier thirty-one years, Alpheus Crawford 
six years, A. Bertholf one year, James Brewer one year, W. F. Wilder 
one year, A. B. Linn eight years, Daniel Barton three years, Isaac 
Clink one year, JST. W. Smith twelve years. Silas D. Reniff was 
elected assessor of Sublette in 1854, and except three years has assessed 
the town ever since. A. L. Wilder with one exception has held the 
office of town clerk since 1864. 

The village of Sublette occupies parts of Sees. 9, 10, 15 and 16. 
The Illinois Central railroad buildings, a depot and a warehouse on the 
northwest corner of Sec. 15, were built in the summer of 1854. 
Daniel Cook built the first dwelling house the same winter. In the 
following summer A. L . Wildgr built a small store, in the back part of 
which he live^l >lesse Kale h ep-an his store about the same tim 
George A. Richmond put up a house, and did. a flourishing business 
in the sale ol hots."' Mr. Swartwout built the same fall a part of the 
house which he finished the next year, and lived in the winter of 
1855-6. Frank Bartlett built what is now the Catholic parsonage in 
the fall of 1855 and moved" into it the same winter. Paul Lindstraum 
built a shanty the same fall and began his tavern, which he completed 
the next year. Doctor Smith built a part of his present residence and 
fi^ot into it in December. Hugh Carr came in the dead of winter and 
rigged up an old barn in which he lived a short time. " Uncle A ba " 
Hale came in 1856, also the families of Ja mes Colvin and Koberi: 
'^'"^ii. Barton came the same year and opened a drug store. There are 
now fifty-seven llamilies in the village, doing a good business. The 
Methodist, Baptist, Congregational and Catholic churches are located 
here. 

S'uUette Lodge, No. 3Ji.9, A.F. and A.M. — The dispensation was 
issued to Thomas S. Angier, W. D. Tourtillott, Jacob D. Tourtillott, 
James Tourtillott, Daniel Barton, B. F. Berkley, and Prescott Bartlett, 
and the first meeting was held January 31, 1860. The charter of the 
lodge was issued October, 1860, to Thomas Angier, W.M.; W. D. 
Tourtillott, S.W.; Jacob D. Tourtillott, J.W.; James Tourtillott, secre- 
tary ; Daniel Barton, S.D.; B. F. Berkley, J.D.; Daniel Baird, treas- 
urer; H. C. Chapman, and N. J. Swartwout. At first meetings were 
held in the rear of Jesse Hale's store, and subsequently on the second 
flour of the school building. In 1870 the members of the lodge put 
up a building at a cost of $2,500. The first meeting in the new hall 



U 




250 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

•was held August 16, 1870. The lower part of their building is rented 
for store purposes, and is now occupied by Frank Thompson. The 
present membership of the lodge is thirty, five of whom are non-resi- 
dent. The present officers are Joseph H. Ayres, W.M.; Joel S. 
Cook, S.W. ; Henry Paris, J.W. ; E. W. Patten, treasurer ; T. S. 
Angier, secretary ; Oliver A. Wood, S.D. ; William Obernaur, J.D. ; 
Lafayette Long, tyler. 

Cemeteries. — There are several burial places in the township. The 
most important of these are the one at the Catholic church in Sec. 32, 
and that in Sec. 4 on the land of N. and J. Peterson. In the first 
nearly a hundred have been buried, all Catholics, and some from a 
considerable distance. In both, many of the old settlers are buried, 
one of whom, in the latter, is Jonathan Peterson, sr. Near here on 
the N.W.^ of Sec. 3, are several graves. Near Knox Grove is a small 
cemetery in which Daniel Pratt and others of the early settlers of 
this vicinity are reposing. Several interments have been made near 
the Catholic church in the village of Sublette. Daniel Baird was 
buried on the farm which he last owned. This is the "eighty" en- 
tered by E. RenifF. Besides these there are a few other small burial 
places within the town. 

CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS. 

Many of the first settlers here were church members, and conse- 
quently religious meetings date from the beginning of society here. 
They were of a very humble and unpretentious style, and in keeping 
with the spirit of the time. Few went, we apprehend, to display 
finery — if any there were to display ; nor did they have churches of any 
kind for many years in which to worship. Primitive dwellings or rude 
school-houses were their only temples, and in these did they often 
meet to sing their songs of praise and offer their devout prayers to a 
Father M'^hose guidance they sought. The first church organization in 
Sublette was that of the Baptists. This was eff'ected April 1843, in 
Jonathan Peterson's log house. There w^ere at first thirteen members: 
Jonathan Peterson, sr., and his wife, Jonathan Peterson, jr., Sylva- 
nus Peterson and his wife, Nathaniel, Mary and Hope Peterson, Jon- 
athan Eells, Hubbard Eells and his wife, Joshua Rogers and his wife. 
Meetings were held in the log school in this vicinity as soon as it was 
built ; previously from house to house. This was the central or motlier 
organization for quite a large adjoining region, and was known as the 
first Baptist church of Palestine Grove. Meetings were held alter- 
nately on opposite sides of this grove for the mutual accommodation of 
those who lived widely apart. Some of the members of this society 
became by letter members of the Baptist church of Amboy at its or- 




SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 251 

ganization. In 1854: meetings were first held in Benton's Hall, on See. 
16, about half a mile west of the site of the church in which they now 
assemble, and here they continued till 1858, when, in November, they 
dedicated a church edifice in the village~of Sublette, on Main street, 
erected at a cost of $5,000. The first pastor was Rev. Henry Headley, of 
La Moille. Jt)nathan Peterson, sr., was the first deacon, and Warren 
Hills, the second. Sylvanus Peterson was the first clerk. Pastors have 
been : Charles Cross, E. O. Whittaker, J. H. Morrison, A. S. Denison, 
O. D. Taylor, Albert Guy, A. S. Merrifield, H. C. Yates, K. R. Coon. 
Jonathan Peterson and A. L. Swartwout are the present deacons, and 
A. J. Rogers is clerk. The society has a membership of about 120, is out 
of debt, and owns a parsonage worth $2,000. The Sunday-school of 
the church is in a flourishing condition, and is superintended by Abram 
Swartwout. 

Methodist Episcopal Chitrch. — The first Methodist organization 
within the limits of the township was at the house of Levi Camp, at 
Knox Grove, about thirty-five years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Pratt, 
Mr. and Mrs. John Skinner, Mr. and Mrs. Vertrees, Joseph, Miriam 
and Sarah Yertrees, Mrs. Levi Ellsworth, Mrs. Dr. Heath, Mrs. John 
Clink, Joseph Knox and his family, were early members ; also Mr. and 
Mrs. John Barnes, Albert Linn and his wife, Skinner Pratt and his 
wife, Mr. and Mrs. Wood. These parties were then living around or 
near Knox Grove, Nearly all of them were first members. For quite 
a number of years the society was supplied by circuit preachers. Elder 
Jnlian was a very early preacher in this vicinity. Milton Hana and U. 
P. Golliday were others. For several years meetings were held in the 
town hall at the village of Sublette. W. H. Smith was one of the 
first pastors at the "Hall." In 1870 a church was built and was dedi- 
cated in 1871. The ministers of the church since have been : F. F. 
Farmiloe, Wm. A. Cross, Philo Gorton, T. C. Youngs, E. Brown, W. 
H. Records, and M. C. Smith (supplied). The officers of the church 
at present are W. W. Ireland, W. R. Long, C. Brow^n, John H. Gen- 
try, trustees; W. R. Long, Mrs. W. W. Ireland, C. Brown, E. Lewis, 
Mi-s. Joel Cook, Statira Crawford, stewards, and Ida Ireland, recording 
steward. But very few of the early members are left, they either 
having died or moved away. 

Congregational Church. — The organization of this society was ef- 
fected April 20, 1871. Rev. E. Baker was the first pastor. Meetings 
were at first held in the town hall. The officers were : John Meth- 
ven and Elias Purdy, deacons ; Levi Mead, clerk ; Russell M. Brown, 
treasurer. There were about thirty original members, among whom 
were John Methven and wife, Mrs. Walter Morse, Mrs. Jane Ells, 
E. Purdy and wife, Russell Brown and his family, Wm. Brown and 



252 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

wife, H. C. Chapman and wife, Levi Mead and wife. A few weeks 
after the organization of the society a church was begun, which cost 
about $5,000. The officers of the church are E. Purdj^ jr., and Chas. 
Hatch, deacons ; Edward Fessenden, John Tonrtillott and E. Purdy, 
jr., trust ^s ; ^ Giiag. ILIng;al s, treas^irer E. Purdy, clerk. The first 
Sabbath-school was superintended by Russell Brown, under whom it 
flourished. Mr. Edward Fessenden is the present superintendent. 

Church of the Evangelical Association of North America. — This 
society built their church in 1864, on the N.W. \ of Sec. 35, at a cost 
of $2,000. This is a branch from the church of the same denomina- 
tion at Perkins' Grove, Bureau county. The services are all in Ger- 
man. The preachers who officiate at this writing are the Revs. Woehr 
and Fry, this being in the Perkins Grove circuit and Mendota district. 
The Sabbath-school in connection with the church has an average 
membership of about 55. J. C. Speilman is the superintendent. The 
trustees are Messrs. Barth, Richert and Speilman. The membership 
at present consists of a dozen or more families. 

Roman Catholic Church. — The organization of this church was 
eftected in the fall of 1848. Meetings were first held at the house of 
Bartholomew Theiss. Among the first families of the church were 
the Steins, Katzenbargers, Theisses, Beckers, Smiths, Lauer, Krebs, 
and others. Rev. N. Steele was the first priest. In 1853 a church 
was built on Sec. 32, on land owned by A. Stein. A parsonage was also 
built. This burned in 1869, since which the church has not had a 
regular priest. The Catholic church built in the village of Sublette in 
1868 is a branch of this, also the German Catholic church built a few 
years ago in May township. Only seven of the original members are 
left, and meetings are held in the old church only a few times a year. 

Schools. — The school land was sold about 1850, and the town was 
soon divided into ten districts. On each of these is a good school- 
house. There is also a school in connection with the Catholic church 
at the village. As early as 1841 there was a Sunday-school started in 
the Tourtillott neighborhood. This was not in connection with any 
church. The prime movers in this work were Father Tourtillott and 
Mrs. Angier. It was not continued more than a 3'ear or two. The 
first school was in a log house on Tom Fessenden's farm ; the next 
was in a slab building on the farm of Thomas Tourtillott. This was a 
structure used at first for preemption purposes, and was never intended 
for a school-house. It was afterward known as the " sheep pen." 
Maria Codman, of New York, was the first teacher here. The next 
school in this vicinity was taught in the winter by Joseph Carey in 
Mrs. Tourtillott's house; and the next of any importance in Mrs. Rich- 
ardson's house by John Bacon, about 1850. The third school in the 



SUBLETl^E TOWNSHIP. 253 

town of Sublette was in the log school-house on Sec. 5. Mrs. Clute, 
sister of Jonathan Peterson, taught the first summer school here about 
1844. The winter school held here was for several years quite impor- 
tant, being well attended by an advanced class of students. 

WAR RECORD. 

Sublette has a war record of which her people are justly proud. 
According to the population and area, it seems almost incredible that 
so many men should have been furnished within the short space of 
four and a half years. From the beginning to the close of the great 
civil war Sublette sent fathers and sons into the service, till her ener- 
gies seemed all but exhausted. When the great struggle was nearly 
ended, and the town shorn of its strength, a number of men were 
hired ; nearly all of them from outside of the township. The quota 
of troops for Sublette was 2'i4, fourteen of whom were veterans. Of 
the veterans who first enlisted from within the township but two 
were afterward hired, the others having volunteered their services. 

The Lee County Guards. — Designated as Co. F, 12tli Inf, was 
mustered into the military service September 20, 1878, by Maj. W. G. 
Coulter, with a membership of sixtj^-one men, which augmented till, 
at its annual inspection and muster, March 31, 1879, it numbered 
ninety-eight, and 103 at the annual inspection and muster, March 31, 
1880 ; thirty-four more than any other infantry company in the State 
of Illinois. 

The Guards have been the recipients of many invitations to par- 
ticipate in public demonstrations and ceremonies, among which were 
decoration of soldiers' graves by the citizens of Mendota, May 30, 
1879 ; the Guards being escort for procession, and were handsomely 
entertained by the city. 

They encamped with the 3d reg. I.N.G., at Freeport, July 3, 4 and 
5, 1879, being entertained by the public. They encamped four days 
with the 1st brig. I.JST.G., in September 1879, at South Park, Chicago, 
at which time eighty-one men reported for duty. On ]^ovember 5, at 
a reception tendered Gen. Grant by the citizens of Mendota, the 
Guards had the honor of being the first military company to receive 
and escort the general in Illinois after his tour around the world. On 
July 4, 1880, at a celebration in Amboy, they escorted the procession 
and were guests of the city. Having accepted an invitation to attend 
the twenty-fitth annual fair of the northwest, held at Sterling, Sep- 
tember 14, 15, 16, and 17, the company was entertained with princely 
hospitality by the management of the association. At this time it 
escorted Gen. Grant and other gentlemen of national reputation, 
among whom were Gov. Cullom and Gen. Logan. On account of 



254 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

their discipline and military precision strangers mistook the Guards 
for soldiers from the regular army. The commissioned officers are 
Chas. H. Ingals,, captain; William Deter, first lieutenant ; Phillip H. 
Schwab, second lieutenant. A large proportion of non-commissioned 
officers and a number of privates were soldiers in the late war. The 
rank and file, by their persistent and determined effort to excel, have 
succeeded in attaining proficiency and excellence in military discipline 
and tactics for which they have, without an exception, received com- 
mendation and profuse compliments from the assistant superintendent 
general whenever paraded for inspection, and are now rated as one of 
the best companies of the Illinois National Guard. 

Its property is valued at $4,000, secured without outside assistance 
(except about $100). It consists of an iron-roofed armory, which 
contains drill-room, gun-room, officers' quarters, dining-room and 
kitchen, and is one of the best in Illinois. 

The organization is a grand success, and an honor to itself, the 
locality in which it exists, and the county it represents. 

The armory is 40x96 feet, one and two stories high. Musical 
instruments, colors, munitions, etc. 

BIOGRAPHICAL. 

Jonathan Peterson, farmer, Sublette, is one of a family of three 
boys and eight girls. He was born in Truxton, Coiirtland county. New 
York, in 1812. His parents, Jonathan and Doretha (Smith) Peterson, 
were born in Franklin county, Massachusetts. His mother was of 
Irish descent. He was reared a farmer, and enjoyed the benefits of a 
common school education. He came west in 1836 via the Erie canal, 
Lake Erie, and across Michigan afoot to Chicago, where he stopped one 
week ; thence to Ottawa, La Salle county. Here he spent the winter 
of 1836-7, whence he come directly to Lee county in the following 
spring, and settled in Lee Center township, near its southern boundary, 
nearly opposite his present home in Sec.4, Sublette,having moved across 
the line about twenty-five years ago. In the fall of 1837 Mr. Peterson 
went back east and was married to Percis Avery, of Connecticut. 
With his bride our subject came to his western home in the spring of 
1838. In these early days Mr. Peterson hauled much produce to Chi- 
cago ; in 1840 he took up a load of wheat, and brought back his parents 
and their family (except one sister), who had come on from the east. He 
has had five children : Francis Augusta, born April 1839, was a gradu- 
ate of the first class of the state normal school. Normal, Illinois ; was 
married July 1862 to E. A. Gastman, her classmate, and now a prom- 
inent educator and principal of schools, Decatur, Illinois. She died in 
the winter of 1863. Before her marriage she taught in Normal and 



SUBLETTE TOWJSTSHIP. 255 

Decatur. Alice M., born in the fall of 1840 ; in March, 1863, married to 
W. F. Hoyt ; died of consumption in the latter part of 1863. Mr. 
Hoyt is now residing in Clinton, Iowa. Emeline W, was born in May 
1842, second wife of A. J. Biddle, her second husband, a native of In- 
diana, and a veteran of the Union arm}' in the late rebellion. Myron 
J. was born in April 1844. In September, 1862, he enlisted at Dixon in 
the 75th 111. Yols.; was wounded at Perryville, and was sent back to 
the hospital at New Albany, Indiana, reentered his regiment June 
1863; was in the 75th 111. Yols. until the close of the war. Myron 
was in the following engagements : Chickamauga, Chattanooga, with 
Sherman to Atlanta, and back with Thomas to Tennessee. In 1873 he 
took up a soldier's claim in IS^ebraska, where with his v^ifeheisnow liv- 
ing. Walter A. was born in April 1852, is married and living in Wis- 
consin, having gone to that state in March 1881. The subject of this 
sketch has twice been supervisor of Sublette,having held that office three 
years. In an early day he was elected justice, of the peace for Lee 
Center township, but did not qualify for the office. He is a repub- 
lican and a deacon of the Baptist church, of which he and his wife are 
prominent members. Mrs. Peterson, daughter of Elisha and Percis 
(Pease) Avery, was born 1811. Her father was born in Massachusetts, 
her mother in Connecticut. Her ancestors on both sides are a long-lived 
race. Her mother's grandfather was born in Ireland, her father's peo- 
ple were from England. Her uncle, Walter Pease, aged ninety-eight, 
is living on the Connecticut river, near Hartford, where seven genera- 
tions of the Pease family have lived. He is active yet and walks all 
over his farm. Her grandfather and grandmother on both sides lived 
to be over eighty years old. At one time her father had four widowed 
sisters, all more than eighty years old, living in Hartford, Connecticut. 
Mr. Biddle, the son-in-law of Mr. Peterson, is an industrious, self-made 
man. He left his home when he was eleven years old, and began for 
himself. He was a lumberman twelve years in Indiana. He has 
farmed in Lee Center township ; is a republican and a member of the 
Baptist church. He was born in 1835. 

Charlotte (Field) Baird was born in Worcester county, Massa- 
chusetts, in 1811. Her mother, Martha Hitchcock, was born in 1868, 
and her mother's mother and father were born in 1742 and 1740 respect- 
ively. The name of the latter was David. Mrs. Baird has a brother 
and a sister: Seth, born in 1802, living in Massachusetts, and Adeline 
O. (Mrs. Baldwin), born in 1807, is living in La Salle county, Illinois, 
with Elmer Baldwin, her husband, and author of a history of La Salle 
county. Charlotte Field was married in December 1832, to Daniel 
Baird, born in Tioga county, New York, in 1806. Mr. Baird was rear- 
ed a merchant and had a common school education. He came to La- 



256 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Salle county in 1836, via Buffalo, Detroit and Chicago. Mrs. Baird 
and her sister came in the fall of the same year, via the Ohio and St. 
Louis. In 1839 Daniel Baird and his family came to Lee county, 
Sublette, and settled within a few rods of where Elijah Austin now 
lives, on the old mail route from Peru to Grand Detour; he took up a 
claim for a large tract of land. Tlien there was no house between his 
place and Troy Grove, thirteen miles southeast, in La Salle, and only 
one between there and La Moille. Here was the first post-ofiice in Sub- 
lette, called Brookfield, and afterward Hanno. Mr. Baird was widely 
and favorably known ; he was the first supervisor of Sublette, and held 
the same office in 1858 ; he was county commissioner from 1844: to 1846 
inclusive. In his house the first town meeting for Sublette was held. 
Baird's first house contained two twelve-pane windows and a stairway 
to the second -floor, and compared with the greased-paper-window and 
peg-ladder-log-honse, was considered by some rather stylish. He died 
in March 1866, and was buried in the family burial-ground. His fam- 
ily are: Marianne, born in 1838 (Mrs. Henry Chapman), living in 
Sublette township; Caroline (Mrs. Newton Pumphrey), 1843; Seth 
F., 1846. The latter is married and living on the homestead in Sec. 
19, and with him Mrs. Baird is living. Newton Pumphrey is a tin- 
smith in the village of Sublette. 

William Dexter, farmer, Sublette, was born in Canada, December 
1831 ; he is the son of Elisha and Mary (Kane) Dexter, and the second 
in a family of eight. His mother, born in Ireland, came to Canada 
when she was about three years old. His father was born in New 
York state, and several of his people were in the revolution. Elisha 
Dexter was a radical in McKinzie's rebellion in Canada in 1837, and 
was in Michigan during the latter part of 1837. In 1838 he left 
Canada, after selling his farm near Toronto at a great sacrifice, and 
came to Illinois with his family. On their way they were all sick in 
Michigan, where his wife died. They arrived in Lee county in No- 
vember 1839, and settled about a mile east of Binghamton, where they 
staid a short time ; from here they moved to May township, where, 
after a little, Mr. Dexter bought a claim from John Dexter, his nncle, 
who came to Lee county in 1835. In 1846 he left this place, moved 
to the central part of the township, and bought a claim of 200 acres 
now owned by Jake Baker. Mr. Dexter, sr., died about 1858. In 
1852 William Dexter married Martha Coleman, of Pennsylvania, 
whose people had come to Lee county about 1848. William had 
obtained a common school training, often going several miles to school. 
In 1858 he bought the W. i of S.W. ^ Sec. 4, Sublette, from Lewis 
Clapp for $2,400, having previously owned land and farmed in May 
and Lee Center townships. He has since bought land in Sees. 8 and 9^ 



SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 257 

and now owns over 200 acres. In August 1862 Mr. Dexter enlisted 
in the 75th 111. Yols., Co. E, Captain Frost, of Lee Center. During 
his entire service of nearly three years he was off duty only five days 
(in regimental hospital). Mr. Dexter drove a team about three months ; 
drove an ambulance at Stone River, Liberty Gap, Chickamauga, Dalton, 
Kesaca and Rome ; here he was commissioned commissary sergeant of 
an army train, of which he had entire charge at Atlanta, and back 
with Thomas to Tennessee. He was discharged June 29, 1865. Mr. 
Dexter has nine children: Eliza, born 1853; Etta M., 1855; Emma, 
1857; Otta, 18G1 ; William, 1866; Ira, 1868; John, 1870; Margaret, 
1872 ; Fred, 1874 (Martha, born 1859, died 1864). Etta is a graduate 
of the Northwest College, at Xaperville ; here Olta attended two years. 
Mr. Dexter has been nine years road commissioner, was chairman of 
the Garfield club of Sublette, is first lieutenant of the Lee countv 
guards, and with his wife and four eldest daughters is a member of the 
Baptist church. 

Alpheus H. Clink, farmer, Sublette, was born in Bradford county, 
Pennsylvania, in 1829, and was brought up to farming. His parents 
were "William and Rebecca (Hulburt) Clink. His father wa&born in 
New York, and was descended from German ancestors. His mother 
was born in Pennsylvania, and her grandfather was German, while her 
grandmother was Scotch. Of a family of six Alpheus was the third. 
He was educated at the common schools, and with the whole family 
came to Lee county in August 1843. His father bought a claim in 
Lee Cen-ter township from William Church ; lived here a few years, 
and was engaged much of the time in teaming to Chicago, chiefly for 
Geo. E. Haskell, store-keeper at Inlet. In 1848 the family came to the 
N.W. ^ Sec. 12, Sublette, and entered the same. About this time the 
eldest daughter, Mrs. Lucretia Sawyer, died. The youngest boy died in 
1854 of typhoid fever. In 1856 William Clink, the father, died of con- 
sumption, and was buried in Bradford cemetery, where the son and 
daughter had been laid. Margaret (Mrs. Canfieldj died in Marshall- 
town, Iowa, in 1857. Isaac M. Clink is farming in Iowa. He is well 
known in this and Bureau county, having been a justice of the peace 
in both. In 1852 Alpheus Clink built an 18x20 frame house on the 
south " eighty " of the homestead. He has since bought sixty acres 
south of that. In 1879 he erected a fine dwelling, cost about $1,800. 
He was first married in 1850, to Julia A, Canfield, by whom he had 
one son, now living in Greene county, Iowa. His wife died in Decem- 
ber 1854. His second wife, Melissa M. Robinson, born in Ohio in 
1837, has given birth to five children : Nina (Mrs. John Ellsworth), 
born September 1856, William H., 1857, Frank E., 1859, Harry, Janu- 
ary 1869, and Sarah, December 1870. Mr. Clink is a republican. 



258 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Alpheus Crawford, tlie father of Geo. M. Crawford, the subject 
of this sketch, was born December 28, 1798, in Lucerne (now Brad- 
ford) county, Pennsylvania. His grandparents on iiis father's side 
were born and married in Scotland. His father and mother were born 
in Connecticut, and the parents of the latter were English. During 
the revolution his father belonijed to a gruard of minute men at New 
Haven, Connecticut, and he witnessed Burgojne's surrender. In 1844 
Alpheus Crawford with a family of six children came west with a team 
and wagon via Buffalo, Lake Erie by boat, and across Michigan directly 
to Knox Grove, where seven or eight families were then living. He 
bought of widow Pratt, for $75, a claim of theN.E, ^ of S.W.^ Sec. 13, 
and a "forty" just east of tlie same. There was a log house on the 
place, and about seven acres were broken. He is still living here. 
Geo. M. Crawford, born December 19, 1825, was the second in a family 
of seven. His mother was Marsha Skinner, born June 1803. George 
received a common school education and in the spring of 1845 took a 
claim of the E. ^ of N.W. ^ Sec. 13, and an " eighty " east of the same. 
In the spring of 1849 he built a frame house, partly with lumber hauled 
from Chicago with a team. He was married the same year to Mrs. 
Lydia A. Dewey, daughter of Levi Camp, an old settler at Knox Grove. 
This lady died in 1852, and in December, 1859, Mr. Crawford married 
Maria J., daughter of Stephen Clink, an early settler in Bradford town- 
ship. Three children are the offspring of this union : Milo H., born 
October, 1861 ; Norval M., born October 1863, Clara M., May 1870. 
In 1862 Mr. Crawford bought of Daniel Pratt theN.W. J oV S.W. 
^ Sec. 13, at $30 per acre. He has also purchased the W. ^ of N.W. 
J Sec. 13, at $58 per acre. In 1868 he built a house at a cost of $2,000, 
and a barn in 1877 at a cost of $1,200. Mr. Crawford is a republican, 
and his wife is a member of the Congregational church. 

Edward M. Lewis, wagon-maker and blacksmith, Sublette, was 
born in Broom county, Massachusetts, December 1844. He is the son 
of Joseph W. and Elsie (Shutts) Lewis, the latter of German descent. 
His father was from Vermont, and was a carpenter by trade. Edward 
was the eldest of four children, of whom two are now living. He 
worked on a farm until he was nineteen years old. In the meantime 
he obtained a common school education. He came with his parents to 
Lee county in 1845, first to Nachusa, thence in 1853 to Amboy, where 
they have since had a residence. He learned carriage wood-work of 
H. Sweet, of Amboy. Was married in 1868 to Sarah Tate, born of 
English parentage in 1851. Two boys have been born to them: How- 
ard, in 1871, and Henry, 1876. Mr. Lewis began in Sublette in 1869. 
He owns property to the value of about $1,000 and is doing a good 
business, chiefly wagon and carriage repairing. He is a republican, a 




I 







THE NEW YORK 



ASTOK, Li;:.i)x \NI> 



SUBLEITE TOWNSHIP. 261 

member and officer of the Methodist Episcopal church, and belongs 
to the Lee count}^ guards. His wife is a Baptist. 

Nelson F. Swartwout, farmer, Sublette, brother of Abram Swart- 
wout, was born in .Rock Island county, Illinois, in 1844. He attended 
the Lee Center Academ}'^ as well as a commercial school ; enlisted at 
Dixon, October 1864, in the 34th IH. Inf.; went into Tennessee, was 
first engaged at Nashville, and was there wounded. After being in the 
hospital a month and spending another at home on furlough, he was 
sent via New York to his regiment at Goldsboro, North Carolina, 
skirmished a little in this vicinity, and was mustered out July 12, 1865, 
at Louisville, Kentucky, having previously witnessed the grand review 
of Grant's and Sherman's armies at Washington. Mr. Swartwout has, 
at difiPerent times, been engaged in teaching school. He was married, 
October, 1869, to Amelia Nettleton, of Massachusetts. They have three 
children : Walter R., Mina L. and Nellie A. His farm of 170 acres in 
S.W. J of Sec. 3 is well tilled and valuable. Mr. Swartwout votes the 
republican ticket, belongs to the Sublette Baptist church, and is a frank, 
outspoken man. 

Abkam L. Swartwout, farmer, Sublette, was born October 20, 1841, 
in Rock Island county, Illinois. He is one of four children of Nelson 
J. and Abagail Ricker Swartwout : Abram L., Nelson F., Frank E. (de- 
ceased), and Hattie (Mrs. Wright). His father came to Illinois from 
Otsego county, New York, about 1836. His mother was born in San- 
gamon county, Illinois. After living in Lee Center township about 
ten years the family moved to Sublette in 1855. The senior Swart- 
wout built here, and was the first lumber dealer and grain buyer in 
Sublette. He had built the first blacksmith shop in Lee Center town- 
ship. This was on the old Chicago road from Dixon. Mr. Swartwout 
hauled lumber from Chicago, to build his house in Lee Center. Frank, 
nine years old at his death, was killed by a horse in Sublette in 1856. 
Abram L. Swartwout received an academic education. He enlisted 
September 21, 1861, in Co. D, 34th 111. Inf , at Springfield, Illinois. 
He went into Kentucky, came up with Buell's command at Shiloh the 
second day of the fight, afterward went to near Chattanooga, then fell 
back to Louisville when Bragg threatened Cincinnati. He was cap- 
tured about the time of the engagement at Perryville, but was soon 
paroled. Early in 1863 was again in service. At Liberty Gap, June 
1863, he was brigade inspector's clerk ; was captured at Chikamauga, 
and was a prisoner seven months in Richmond and Danville, Virginia. 
June 10, 1864, Mr. Swartwout joined his regiment on the Atlanta cam- 
paign. He was mustered out September 1864, reenlisted March 1865, 
in the 4th U, S. Veterans, Hancock's corps. During most of his latter 
service he was a detailed clerk in the war department. Finally mustered 
16 



262 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

out April 1866. Mi\ Swartwout was married to Carrie E. Thayer, of 
Massachusetts, September 1866. He settled on the homestead, where 
he now resides, having previously been one year in business with A. 
L. Wilder, in Sublette, and two years in the grocery business in Men- 
dota, Illinois. He now has a farm of 240 acres. Sec, 4, S.E. ^ and S, ^ 
of N.E. ^. His family are Frank A., Edith L. and Hattie May. He 
is a prominent republican, a deacon of the Sublette Baptist church, 
quartermaster sergeant of the 12th I.N.G.and withal an intelligent, un 
assuming gentleman. 



Cx 



Chas. H. Ingals, farmer, Sublette, son of Charles F. and Sarah 
(Hawkins) Ingals, was born March 11, 1846, in Lee county, Illinois, 
and was brought up to farming. Besides going to the common schools 
he took a partial course in the normal school at Normal, Illinois. He 
enlisted at Dixon in 1862, but was rejected because he was too young 
and too small. In the fall of 1863 he entered Co. A., 75th 111. Inf., 
went with his regiment to Tennessee, from Chattanooga to Atlanta, 
was with Sherman at the capture of Atlanta, came back with Thomas 
to Tennessee, was in the engagements at Franklin and Spring Hill, 
November 30, and at Nashville in December 1864. Mr. Ingals was 
then detailed by the medical directory to the 1st division of the 4th 
Army Corps, was transferred to the 21st 111. reg. in June 1865 ; went 
to New Orleans the next month, and thence, in August 1865, to San 
Antonio, Texas, where he remained until he received orders to be mus- 
tered out. From January till June 10, 1865 he was in the office of 
the medical directory. He was afterward in the provost guards, 4th 
corps army headquarters, and the provost marshal general's office at St. 
Antonio, which position he held until the expiration of his service, De- 
cember 25, 1865. In May, 1865, Mr. Ingals received a sergeant's com- 
mission. He was in the engagements at Kenesaw Mountain, Peach Tree 
Creek, Atlanta, Nashville, Franklin, and others. He is now captain of 
Co. F., 12th Inf. Illinois national guards (see Lee county guards), also 
cpinmaiider of Lee county post No. 65 of G\A.Iv., headquarters at Am- 
boy. Mr. Ingals is a republican, and belongs to the order of Masons. 
His farm of 200 acres is in Sec. 10. His residence is about half a mile 
from the village of Sublette, and was built in 1870 at a cost of $3,400. 
Previous to his settlement here he was engaged in mercantile business 
at Rocky Falls, Whitesides county. Was married in March 1871, to 
Mary^I. Morse, who came with her parents from ^Massachusetts to Illi- 
nois in 1869. J§|ie was jjorn in Natic k, Massachusetts, December_10, 
1 854. The offspring of this marriage are five children : Herbert F., 
Grace*M., Neva May., Walter F, and Fred. M. Mr. Ingals is a thrifty 
farmer and an enterprising citizen. He has an attractive home with 
beautiful environments, and seems to enjoy life. 



SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 263 

Sherman L. Hatch, father of Charles L. Hatch, the subject of this 
sketch, was born in Cavendish, Windsor county, Vermont, in 1807. 
He was the son of Sherman and Caroline (Lovell) Hatch, of the same 
place. His grandfather on the father's side lived in Hartford, Con- 
necticut, and his mother's father was one of the earliest settlers in Cav- 
endish, Vermont. His father owned a small farm and was a hatter. 
Sherman was the oldest of twelve children, of which only he and four 
sisters are living. He received what was then called a common school 
education, and in the spring of 1837 came west to Chicago, thence to 
Milwaukee, and from there to Janesville, Wisconsin. From there, 
with seven others, he went down the Rock river in a boat, stopping at 
Rockford, Dixon and Prophetstown. Mr. Hatch remained over night 
in Iowa, opposite the mouth of the Rock, and then next day started 
up the river to Dixon, and arrived there in June. From there he 
went to Charles F. Ingals', who had settled in Lee Center in 1836. 
On his way he stopped at the house of Mr. Whittaker, Lee Center, 
the only home seen since he left Dixon. Mr. Hatch came to Sublette, 
Sec. 7, in the southwest part of which was an abandoned claim and 
an unfinished log house, which he occupied and completed. He re- 
turned in the fall of 1837 to Vermont, and married Lucy Brown in 
the spring of 1838. Returning to his claim he found it occupied. He 
appealed to the squatter tribunal ; the decision was that he (Hatch) 
should pay $150 to the occupant in consideration of tillage and other 
improvements made during his absence ; or if Hatch chose, the occu- 
pant might pay him $125 and retain possession. Our subject paid the 
$150, and reentered his humble dwelling. During the summer of 
1838 mother earth was the first floor of his cabin ; the second, consist- 
ing of split rails covered with corn stalks, was for company. Mr. 
Hatch claimed a half-section of prairie and 240 acres of timber in May 
and Sublette townships ; but when the land was sold he bought only 
an eighty (in May town), having loaned considerable sums of money 
which he could not collect. He has since bought the W. -J of N.W. f 
Sec. 18, Sublette, and soon after the E. ^ of the same, where, in 1846, 
he built a 16x20 frame house, and in 1852 he built a brick house and 
a large barn ; the lumber for the latter was all hauled from Chicago. 
Mr. Hatch lost his wife in November 1876 ; all of their four children 
are married : JEarriet L. (Mrs. Gardner) was born December 1839 ; 
Caroline L. (Mrs. James Garrett), December 1840 ; Julia A. (Mrs. J. 
W. Latta, Dixon), December 1845 ; Charles L., 1848. The latter was 
married in 1874, to Catharine Barse, of Detroit, Michigan. Their 
family are Lucy M., born April 1875, and Harry L., May 1877. Mr. 
C. L. Hatch has recently bought land in Sees. 17 and 18, adding 
to the large tract only partially described in this sketch. He taught 



264 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

school two winters; he is now living on the homestead. He is a dea- 
con of the Sublette Congregational church ; his wife is a Unitarian. 
His father is a republican, and in an early day was a captain in the 
Yermont militia. 

Joel Cook, farmer, Sublette, was born in Otsego county, New 
York, in 1828, and was raised a farmer. He came west with his peo- 
in 1845, learned the carpenter and shoemaker trades in Lee county, 
though he had worked at the latter a little in the east. He went over- 
land to the Far AVest in 1850, was in California and Oregon nearly 
four years, came back, and married Emily Strickland, of Pennsylvania, 
in the fall of 1855, her parents having come to Lee county in 1849. Mr. 
Cook bought eighty acres of land from his brother John for $1,700, and 
went to farming, the next spring, in the S.E. J Sec. 8. He built a 
16x24 house. He has since purchased 110 acres in Sees. 5 and 9, 
at a cost of $4,000. In 1875 Mr. Cook put up a house at a cost of 
$1,800. His family are Lacon, born in 1863, and Katie, born 1871. 
His wife belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church. He is a repub- 
lican and a Mason, but was formerly an Odd-Fellow. In an early day 
he used to go to Chicago much with an ox team ; once he was gone 
forty days. In the meantime, however, he took some emigrants out to 
Iowa. Daniel Cook, father of the above, was born in New York, on 
Van Rensselaer's grant, in 1802. He was the second in a family of 
seven. He had five uncles killed in the revolution. His parents, 
Simeon and Polly (Baldwin) Cook, moved to Pennsylvania when he 
was three years old. He went to school only about two weeks, but 
was taught at home. He married, in 1823, Phoebe Rouse, and lived in 
Pennsylvania until he came west. Their family consists of four chil- 
dren living : Samuel, born 1824 ; Joel, born 1826 ; John J., born 1830 ; 
Lydia, born 1836. On his arrival in Lee county with his family in 1845, 
Mr. Cook, during the first winter, lived with Daniel Trip at Inlet creek ; 
the next year on Thomas Fessen den's farm, after which he settled on 
the S.E. ^ Sec. 8. For this John J. Cook had a warrant, having 
been a soldier in the Mexican war. John is now living in Council 
Bluffs, Iowa. Samuel was in the late rebellion, and received injuries 
at Perryville, from which he has never recovered, though he was not 
in the engagement. He is now living with his family in Cherokee 
county, Kansas, and is engaged in farming. Mr. Cook and his wife are 
members of the Methodist Episcopal church. The former is an Odd- 
Fellow, and the latter belongs to the Rebeccas. Mr. Cook was an old- 
time democrat, but voted for Abe Lincoln, and has since voted the re- 
publican ticket. He can remember seeing the soldiers of the war of 
1812, in which was one of his cousins. He and his wife are now liv- 
ing with their daughter, Mrs. Scofield, in Sublette. 



SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 265 

Wm. W. Ireland, farmer, Sublette, was born in Harrison county, 
western Virginia, in 1826. He is the son of Jonathan and Eliza 
(Boring) Ireland, both of Maryland. He was brought up to farming, 
his father's occupation, and received a common-school education. His 
people moved to Clinton county, Ohio, when he was a year old ; here 
they lived a few years ; thence to Bureau county, Illinois, where his 
father bought a claim. William Ireland came to Sublette in 1850, and 
bought of Stiles and Eustace for $130, a warrant for the S.W. ^ Sec. 
23. The same year he bought twenty acres of timber. He now owns 
215 acres of land, having bought the last in 1876. For several years 
Mr. Ireland lived with his brother on the N.W. ^ Sec. 23. He built 
on his own land in 1857, was married in the fall of 1856 to Sarah Yer- 
trees, who was born in Indiana in 1833. They have had seven chil- 
dren, five of whom are living: Theodore F., born September 1857; 
Ida E., born December 1858; Delia J., born August 1860; Miriam 
A., born March 1862 ; Fay, born September 1865 (died April 1880) ; 
Willie, born March 1864 (deceased) ; Chas. A., born 1868. In poli- 
tics Mr. Ireland is a liberal republican. Mrs. Ireland is a member and 
officer of the Sublette Methodist Episcopal church. She taught school 
in an early day in the vicinity of Knox Grove, named after her mother's 
people, who were early settlers there. Her great-grandfather Knox 
came from Scotland, and settled in North Carolina. Her father's father 
was in the war of 1812. Her mother's grandfather (Brooks) was all 
through the revolution. John Knox, her uncle, when above fifty years 
old went with three sons and a son-in-law from Lee county, Missouri, 
into the federal army of the rebellion. He died in the hospital at 
Nashville. One of the boys, wounded at Allatoona. Georgia, went 
home, and was replaced by his youngest brother. None of the other 
four ever returned from the battle-fields. 

Emerson W. Patten, railroad agent, Sublette, was born September 
25, 1826, in Greenwich, Hampshire county, Massachusetts. He is the 
youngest of four children of Calvin and Laura (Warrener) Patten, 
Mrs. R. H. Millen, of Amboy, being the eldest. His father was from 
Connecticut ; his mother was born in Massachusetts. There is a tra- 
dition that three Patten brothers came from Scotland very early in 
the history of our country, one landing near Boston, one near New 
York, and the other in Rhode Island. " Great Uncle Billy " Patten 
was a revolutionary hero, and until he was almost a hundred walked 
annually to Taunton, Massachusetts, a distance of eight miles, to draw 
his pension. Emerson Patten was raised a farmer, and lived in his 
native town till 1853 when he came west to Amboy. Here he dealt 
in books and jewelry, but chiefly in real estate, losing heavily in the 
latter business in 1858. He lived in Amboy till 1873: was one year 



266 X HISTORY OF LEE COUKTY. 

in Freeport, Illinois, and in 1874 came to Snblette, where he has 
since been employed by the Illinois Central Railroad Company. He 
was married in the fall of 1859 to Lucy E. Morse, born in New York. 
Three children are the fruit of their marriage : Alfred E., born Decem- 
ber 1864; Calvin E., November 1866; Lena, September 1860. Mr. 
Patten is a Mason and a republican, and since he was nineteen years 
old he has belonged to the Congregational church. 

Alfred L. Wilder, merchant, Sublette, was born in Conway, Frank- 
lin county, Massachusetts, in 1825. He is the son of Joshua and La- 
vina (Long) Wilder, of the same count}', and his mother's mother was 
a revolutionary pensioner. He was raised a farmer, staying with his 
father till he was twenty years old ; and was educated at the Shel- 
burne Falls Academy, Shelburne, Franklin county, in which town both 
his parents were born, and he lived from his earl}^ 3'outh. In 1854 
Mr. Wilder came to Chicago ; he clerked one year in Putnam county, 
where he was married to Mrs Elvira Hewitt, of Franklin county, 
Massachusetts, born in 1826. In 1854 he bought land in Iowa. In 
1855 he settled in Sublette, and built a store. Mr. Wilder is now do- 
ing a large business, carrying a stock of about $10,000. He occupies 
the store began in 1855, to which he has added from time to time, 
the last improvement in 1877, and which is now worth about $3,000. 
His house was built in 1865 or 1866 at a cost of $2,500. His children 
are : Wm. A., born 1856 ; Nellie M., 1858, married T. F. Ireland, son 
of W. W. Ireland, and is now living in Mills county, Iowa ; Paymond 
A., 1862. Both sons are working with their father in his business, a 
general dry-goods, grocery, boot and shoe trade. William is married. 
Mr. and Mrs. Wilder, the parents, are members of the Baptist church. 
Mrs. A. L. Wilder's father, Horace Benton, a native of Massachusetts, 
who has lived in Sublette since 1855, is in his eighty-sixth year, and 
possesses remarkable mental and physical vigor for one so old. 

Mrs. Harriet L. Gardner, daughter of Sherman L. Hatch, and 
widow of Dr. Francis B. Gardner, was born on the homestead in De- 
cember 1839. She went to the common school but three months; 
was sent to Lee Center and Janesville, Wisconsin, to school, and com- 
pleted her education at a private school in West Chester county, New 
York. She taught school a few terms, and was married to Mr. Gard- 
ner in 1861. He had received his education at the Bridgewater, Mass- 
achusetts Normal school, and was a graduate from the Cincinnati Ec- 
lectic Medical School. He afterward graduated from a homoeopathic 
school in Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Gardner was born in February 1822, 
in Swansea, Massachusetts. His father was a sea-captain, and Francis 
was the youngest but one in a family of ten. He settled in Sublette 
in 1861. He had been in California most of the time since 1849, 



SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 267 

working mines or practicing medicine, iiaving returned three times 
from that country. In 1863 he bought from Elder Morrison the 
house where his family are living in the village of Sublette, a little 
west of the Baptist church. At that time he purchased two lots, 
since increased to five acres of farm land. His heirs now own in May 
and Sublette townships to the amount of 160 acres. Two boys and a 
girl are the fruit of his marriage : Seraphine, born July 1862 ; Frank, 
March 1864; Charles, November 1865. In November, 1880, the doc- 
tor met a cruel and unexpected death ; he was tossed by a bull and fell 
on the back of his head, from the effect of which he died the third day 
after the accident. He was a hearty, rather stout man, and had never 
experienced any sickness worth mention. He and his wife were Epis- 
copalians, though the latter recently united with the Congregational 
church, there being no Episcopal church in Sublette. He joined the 
Masons about a year before he died ; he was a brother of Dr. Charles 
Gardner, an early settler in Nachusa township. 

Frank Thompson, hardware merchant, Sublette, was born in 
La Salle county, Illinois, in 1853. His father, John B., was born in 
Ohio in 1825 ; his mother, Clementine Eastman, in Maine in 1822. 
They came west in 1844, lived about a year in Bureau county, then 
settled in La Salle county, Ophir township, where Mr. Thompson took 
lip a claim. In 1853 he took a contract to grade a part of the Illinois 
Central railroad between Amboy and Sublette; he came to Sublette 
in 1867. Frank Thompson is one of a family of three boys and two 
girls. He was raised a farmer, and was graduated from the Valparaiso 
(Indiana) Commercial School. For a time he was a clerk in Amboy; 
went with his eldest brother, in the spring of 1875, to California, where 
they worked a mine. Frank came back in the winter of 1876-7, and 
began in the hardware business in Sublette in 1878, under the firm 
name of F. A. Thompson & Co. He now has a stock of $2,500. 
Mr. Thompson was made postmaster at Sublette, February 1881. He 
is a Baptist, and a member of the Lee county guards. He was mar- 
ried October 28, 1880, to Stella S., daughter of James Dexter, and 
sister of Mrs. William Wilder. 

Peescott Bartlett, farmer, Sublette, was born in Conway, Franklin 
county, Massachusetts, August 19, 182L His father, born in 1789, 
was a tanner by trade, and raised a company during the war of 
1812. His mother, Narcissa Robinson, was born 1787. Mr. Bartlett 
came west in 1844, to Du Page county, Illinois, and soon after to 
Sublette, taking a claim of a quarter-section on Sec. 20, a part of 
which is now owned by H. C. Chapman. After living here about five 
years he went to Bureau county and bought a farm. He now owns and 
lives upon the E.-| Sec. 17, Sublette, having bought it in 1850 from 



268 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

William Erskine for $500. In 1868 he built a fine residence of 
Batavia stone at a cost of $12,000. Having passed through Texas and 
Arkansas in 1855, he became convinced that war was imminent; he 
studied cavalry tactics in the winter of 1860, and in the following 
spring began to raise a cavalry company. He took several horses from 
his own farm, giving one to a hired man as an inducement for him 
to enlist. Mr. Bartlett enlisted in June 1861 ; was sworn into service 
August 7, and received a captain's commission in Co. C, 7th 111. Cav. 
The company, when mustered, numbered about ninety-eight, about 
twenty-five or thirty of whom were from Sublette; the rest chiefly 
from Mendota, Amboy, and Lee Cenjter. They went first into Mis- 
souri, thence through Kentucky and Tennessee, early in 1862. In 
September 1862 the 7th cavalry was encamped at Tuscumbia, Ala- 
bama, at which time Co. C was detached as special escort to Gen. 
John M. Palmer, in which service they continued until January 1864. 
They were in all the hard fighting of the Rosecrans' campaign, the 
battle of Stone River being their first general engagement. They did 
gallant service at Missionary Ridge, and were in much skirmishing, 
especially at and near Nashville. Capt. Bartlett was six weeks presi- 
dent of a military commission at Memphis. That he was not pro- 
moted during his service was from no lack of merit. He escaped 
promotion more than once through accidental circumstances, over 
which he had no control. To his worth as a true soldier many freely 
testify. He was married January 4, 1849, to Caroline AVhitney, born 
in Warren county, Ohio (her father was from Maine, her mother, 
Ohio). Of their eight children four are living, the others having died 
young : Silas Wilton, born March 1853 ; Eugene P., born March 1858 ; 
Howard, born November 1865 ; Cora May, born March 1869. Wil- 
ton, was admitted to the bar in May 1881. Eugene is a master pen- 
man. Both have attended school at Normal, Illinois, a considerable 
time. Mr. Bartlett has been a stirring, industrious man and has seen 
much of the world. He has traveled widely in the purchase and sale of 
horses, having gone to Boston and Providence several times, for the 
latter purpose. In an early day he was elected constable, and was a 
deputy under sherifl!' Campbell at the time of the famous "banditti" 
prosecutions. He is a Mason and a staunch republican. Mr. Bartlett 
has always been a generous, public spirited man, identifying himself 
with every progressive movement. But for lack of space many an 
interesting anecdote might be related illustrative of his enterprise in 
civil life and his willingness to assume responsibility during his mili- 
tary career. 

Edwakd Fessenden, farmer, Sublette, was born April 4, 1839, in 
Lee county. The Fessendens were among the very early settlers of 



SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 269 

the Massachusetts colony. His father, Thomas Fessenden, was born in 
Fitzburg, ]^ew Hampshire, February 1, 1805, and was raised a farmer, 
being the son of William and Rebecca Fessenden, whose family con- 
sisted of three sons and four daughters. One of the latter, Mrs. Joel 
Jewett, settled with her husband on Sec. 18, a few years after Thomas 
and his family settled in Sublette. Mr. and Mrs. Jewett are both dead. 
In 1830 or 1831 Thomas Fessenden married Sarah Pearsons,born June 
13, 1804. With his brother-in-law, Addison G. Bragg, he came west in 
1834, passing through Chicago, Peru, Illinois, and down the Illinois 
river to St. Louis, returning in the fall of the same year. In 1837 with 
his wife, three children, and his brother William, he came west again, 
directly to Lee county. They lived three months on the Blunt place, 
in Araboy township; thence to Sublette, where they settled, William 
on Sec. 7, where John H. Long lives, and lived there till about 1852, 
when he sold to J. B. Wyman. Thomas settled on Sec. 8, and lived 
there till 1869. Selling out to his sons, he went to Missouri for his 
health, and thence after three years to Santa Barbara, California, where 
he now resides. Of the family of Thomas Fessenden but four of eleven 
are now living. Three died in infancy. The names of the others are 
Frederick A., born December 20, 1830 (died at the homestead Decem- 
ber 7, 1862); George F., January 24, 1833; Frances J., December 1, 
1835 (deceased November 16, 1867) ; Edward, April 4, 1839 ; Austin, 
October 7, 1842 (died June 22, 1862); Emeline and Caroline,twin sisters, 
May 24, 1844 (Emeline died February 5, 1866) ; Warren G., Decem- 
ber 14, 1846. George is living with his wife and two daughters in 
Kansas, whence he went from Lee county in 1878. Caroline (Mrs. 
Benj. Dexter) is living in Santa Barbara, California. All of the boys, 
except the youngest, served their country in the late rebellion. War- 
ren entered the 104th 111. Vols., in the one-hundred-days service. 
Edward and George enlisted in Co. E,75th 111., Septemlaer 1862. George 
was with this company until he was mustered out, June 12, 1865. He was 
in the fighting at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, with Sher- 
man through Georgia to the sea, and around to Richmond. Edward 
was transfered to the Veteran Reserve Corps, July 1863. Was at El- 
mira and Buffalo, New York, and afterward, except two months, was 
at Camp Douglas, Chicago, until he was mustered out, July 1865. The 
subject of this article was married February, 1862, to Harriet E. Dex- 
ter, youngest daughter of John Dexter, the first settler in Amboy 
township. Their family consists of three children living : Thomas E., 
born September 1862 (deceased January 1863); Francis D., born 
August 1867; James H., born January 1871; Stella, born July 1873. 
Mr. and Mrs. Fessenden are members of the Congregational church. 
Mr. Fessenden sold his farm, the old homestead, in the spring of 1881, 




270 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

and is going to California to reside. He is the last of the family in 
Sublette, and like all the rest is a republican. He will be greatly 
missed by his neighbors and friends, who have long known him as an 
upright and conscientious man. 

AEREx Clarke, carpenter, Sublette, was born in Medfield, Nor- 
'olk county, Massachusetts, February 22, 182.5. His father, Jacob Clarke, 
was born in 1792 and died in 1865 ; he was of Scotch ancestry. His 
mother, Cyntha Ann Morse, born in 1795, is still living. His father was 
a fifer in the war of 1812 ; he was a first cousin of the celebrated Lowell 
Mason, of Boston, to whose singing-school Warren went when a youth. 
Warren Clarke learned the carpenter's trade when eighteen years of 
age, having previously worked at shoemaking, his father's trade. He 
came west in 1854 to Mendota, Illinois; worked five years in a foun- 
dry there, and, except two years in the insurance business, he has since 
followed carpentering in Mendota and Sublette, having moved to the 
village of Sublette in 1877. While in Mendota he did many first- 
class jobs, building the west side school-house, besides many of the 
finest stores and dwellings. He has been a Mason since 1863, and be- 
longs to the order of I.O.O-F. He has always been a republican. 
Mr. Clarke has been twice married : first, 1849, in Vermont, to Julia- 
etta L. Aldrich, by whom he had two children : a son, born February 
1852 (deceased 1854), and a daughter, January 1857 (now Mrs. Allen, 
Mendota, Illinois). In 1876 he married his second wife, Melphia 
Stearns, of Sublette, his first having died in 1873. The fruits of this 
second marriage are two daughters : Mary, born June 15, 1877, and 
Lina Stearns, December 1878. 

John D. Tourtillott, farmer, Sublette, was born June 26, 1827, 
in the town of Howland, Penobscot county, Maine. His father, 
Thomas Tourtillott, born in Orino, Maine, April 1786, was of French 
descent. His m(3ther, Hannah Douglass, was born in Hancock coun- 
ty, Maine, April 1797, and was of Scotch ancestry. His grandfather 
was a " Revolutioner." His parents were married in Howland, Maine, 
September 20, 1826. This was the second marriage of Thomas Tour- 
tillott, Charlotte Inman, by whom he had eight children, being his 
first wife. By his second wife he had seven children, of whom John 
is the eldest. In 1839 the Tourtillotts came west in two wagons 
drawn by three horses. There were fourteen in the company, and the 
journey occupied sevent}^ days. They stopped at La Moille, Bureau 
county, and in the following year, 1840, came to Sublette and settled 
on See. 31. Here the senior Tourtillotts lived till 1868, when they 
ceased housekeeping and went to live among their children. Hannah 
Tourtillott died March 19, 1878, at the residence of her son-in-law, 
Joseph Hodges, two miles north of Sublette. She had reached the 



SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 271 

ripe age of nearly eighty-one years; she had seen her family grow up 
and settle, some near her and others in Kansas, Iowa, California and 
elsewhere. Siie survived only one of her children, a son who died 
October, 1876. She was a devoted christian mother, having experi- 
enced religion at the age of seventeen. " She possessed an extraor- 
dinary self-sacrificing and sympathetic spirit for her family." In the 
following year, December 8, 1879, she was followed by her aged 
companion, who, in the ninety-fourth year of his life, went to meet her 
in the " better land." When twenty-three years of age he united with 
the Methodist Episcopal church, and " lived for many years an active 
and zealous member, enforcing both by word and example the holy re- 
ligion he professed." John Tourtillott, the only one of his family left 
in Lee county, received a common school education, and was married 
October 5, 1856, to Mary Jane Dexter (deceased October 1878). Four 
children are the fruits of their wedded life : John Fremont, born 
July 1857 (deceased October 1858) ; Thomas A., September 1858 ; 
Ella Mary, July 1862; and a deceased infant, born October 1864. He 
went with his familv to California in 1869, with some view of remain- 
ing there, but returned in 1871. He is now living on the homestead 
on Sec. 31. In politics he was an old-time whig, but he has been a 
republican since the organization of that party. He and his family 
are members of the Congregational church. 

Newton Stanaed, farmer, Sublette, was born in Madison county, 
IS^ew York, J^ovember 1819. His father, Libeous Stanard, born in 
Yermont, was a farmer. His mother, Luceba Fay, was born in Con- 
necticut. Thej^ had a family of twelve, ten of whom are living. The 
father was in the war of 1812, and was at Sacket's Harbor some time 
in the fall of 1840. Libeous Stanard came west with his famil}^ in two 
covered wagons to Perkins' Grove, Bureau county, to which Newton 
and his brother had come the year before. The family were six weeks 
on their way. They bought 160 acres of land, timber and prairie, 
from the widow of J. Kendall, some of which they afterward entered. 
In 1842 the mother and one son died with typhoid fever. The father 
survived till October 1859. Newton Stanard was married in Novera- -^ 
ber 1844, to Emil)^ Reniff, who was born in New York state in 1823.^^ 
Her parents, when she was an infant, moved back to Massachusetts, 
whence they came west. In the spring of 1847 Mr. Stanard bought 
from John Dement the S.E. \ of Sec. 19, Sublette, and settled there. 
He hauled lumber from Chicago and built a house 24x30, with an 
addition 16x16. This was then one of the best in that vicinity, and 
is still in good condition. His family are : (PharleSj born February 
1846 ; Ora, December 1852 ; Irvin, February 1857 ; Laura E., Sep- 
tember 1859; Adella, May 1861. Tiiey have all enjoyed good edu- 




272 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

cational advantages, Ora being a graduate from the college at Naper- 
ville, Illinois. Charles enlisted, October 1864, in the 75th 111., Co. E, 
and was mustered out October 15, 1865. He was in the Hood campaign 
in Tennessee, and saw his first fighting at I^ashville. During the lat- 
ter part of his service he was in Texas. He is married and living in 
Sublette; has two children. All but one of the family of Newton 
Stanard belong to the Baptist church. Of the first family mentioned, 
three own property in Bureau county, two of whom are living there. 
The rest are widely scattered. 

Seth F. Baikd, farmer, Sublette, was born September 1846 ; son of 
Daniel and Charlotte (Field) Baird, early settlers in Sublette town- 
ship. He received a common schooling and took a commercial course at 
Aurora, Illinois; was married June 12, 1870, to Amanda S. Thompson, 
of Lee county, who had come from West Virginia with her people the 
previous year. She died July 27, 1873, leaving two children : Carrie 
A. and Robert Daniel (deceased infant). Mr. Baird was again mar- 
ried, February 4, 1875, to Martha A. Rees, of Indiana. She has given 
birth to one child : William M., born May 1876. The family are now 
living on the old homestead on Sec. 19. They are Methodists. 

Chas. D. Hubbard, painter, Sublette, was born in Lee county. May 
4, 1846, and is the youngest son of Royal Prescott Hubbard, who was 
born in Sunderland, Mass., September 1805. The mother of the lat- 
ter, Lavinia Prescott, was one of a family of Prescotts noted in Ameri- 
can history, and who trace their lineage to a certain James Prescott, 
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, of England. Moses Hubbard was 
the father of Royal P. Hubbard, who is the eldest of a family of thir- 
teen, only four of whom are living. In 1827 he sailed from New 
York in company with forty-one young men from Connecticut and 
Massachusetts, and settled in Macon, Georgia, where he engaged in 
mercantile business till 1835, when he had to flee for his life, having too 
freely expressed his sentiments in regard to the atrocities of slavery. 
This was the first abolition excitement there, and the mob surrounded 
the home of our subject a few minutes after he left it and fled to 
Charleston and out of the South, of course losing all his property 
there. In 1838 he came to Princeton, Illinois, and in 1844 to Sublette, 
settling on Sec. 17. In 1842 he married Mary (Boring) Berkeley, a 
widow with four children, by whom he had four more, all of whom 
are living. Their mother died May 13, 1881. When the rebellion 
broke out Mr. Hubbard, having seen all the horrors of slavery, told 
his sons to " pitch in and clean them out." All of them, four in num- 
ber, went into the service, and the father also offered his life, but was 
rejected because of physical disability. Chas. Hubbard enlisted in the 
75th 111., Co. E, Captain Frost; was in the battle of Perry ville. In 



SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 273 

this engagement Co. E lost eleven killed, twenty-six wounded and two 
prisoners. He was in the fighting at Stone river, and under Hooker 
at Lookout Mountain ; was at Crawfish Springs as a flank in the battle 
of Chickamauga ; was at Missionary Ridge, and with Sherman to a 
little below Atlanta. Came back with Thomas to Tennessee, and was 
in the fighting at Nashville and Franklin. He was mustered out June 
12, 1865, without a wound, and having won the reputation of being a 
splendid soldier, being especially noted for his intrepidity and love for 
foraging. He was married August 26, 1871, to Lida K. Anderson, of 
Dixon. Their issue are: Louis P., March 1873; Mary G., August 
1875 ; John, June 1878. Mr. Hubbard is living near the village of 
Sublette. 

James Black, farmer, Sublette, was born January 1823, in the 
province of Leinster, Ireland. His parents, John and Charlotte (Pilk- 
ington) Black, had a family of seven children, and James Black was 
educated for the ministry of the English Episcopal church at Trinity 
College, Dublin, leaving that institution when he was about to take the 
degree of A.B. About 1843 his father sold his property in Ireland to 
go to Australia, but in consequence of a wreck off Cape Good Hope he 
returned to his native land with his family and three or four thousand 
pounds, the remnant of his property. Remaining a few j^ears in Ireland, 
he came to America with all his family except the eldest son, and 
settled in New Jersey, where he and his wife both died, and where 
their youngest daughter is now living. James Black was married, 
1850, in New Jersey, to Sarah Wynne, by whom he has had ten children, 
eight of w^hom are living : William, born January 1853, Lottie (now 
Mrs. Levi Mead, Astoria county, Iowa), Susan, John, Jane (deceased, 
aged eleven years), Sarah, James, Hattie, George (deceased, infant), 
Edith. Mr. Black came to Lee Center township about 1853, and in 
1860 to Sec. 1, Sublette, he and his brother buying 182 acres in the 
N.W. ^ of same. Here he has since lived. The family are members 
of the Congregational church. 

C. M. Miller, butter and cheese maker, Sublette, was born in the 
Rhine province, Prussia, November 28, 1854. He was the eldest child 
of K. and Anne (Michels) Miller, who with their family came to Win- 
field, Du Puge count}^, Illinois, in 1864. The subject of this notice 
received a common education in the English and German schools. Mr. 
Miller has been thoroughly schooled in the cheese and butter business, 
having been employed by several of the best manufacturers in the 
famous Fox river region. In 1873 he began in La Fox, Kane county, 
under Potter & Baker, and afterward in the same vicinity for H, L. 
Ford. He was subsequently employed by Martin Switzer at St. 
Charles, same county, making the first cheese in his factory there, and 



>< 



On 



274 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

also in Batavia by H. A. Bogardus, wholesale dealer in butter and 
cheese, Chicago, Illinois. Mr, Miller began to manufacture for himself 
in Cook count}^ Palatine Grove, thence to Sublette in the spring of 
of 1881, buying the factory built by George Pulling. This establish- 
ment when completed will have cost about $3,500. A boiler and 
engine have been put in and a milk pool is contemplated. Mr. Miller 
is making both butter and cheese, shipping chiefly to Chicago. He is 
governed in his sales by Elgin prices, and his business is steadily 
increasing and promises soon to be a leading industry. 

Oliver A. Wood, farmer, Sublette, was born in Bolton, Massachu- 
setts, June 1833, son of Amariah and Pachel (Atherton) Wood, born 
>^^^^ A May, 1807, and February, 1811, respectively. Both of his parents are 
I r*^ of English descent, his mother having descended from one of four 
^*^^ brothers named Atherton who came to Massachusetts at an early period. 
Oliver Wood is the oldest and the onl}'- survivor in a family of four 
sons and three daughters. The latter all died young in the east ; one 
f son died an infant. The rest of the family, Oliver, George and Frank, 
hs.. received a good education for the times. In 1851 the family came to 
l^'v^ublette and settled on Sec. 30, where Oliver and his family are 
f^ living with his parents. George was killed at Chickasaw Bayou, near 
Yicksburg, December 1863. Frank died in the hospital at Nashville, 
January 1864. Oliver Wood enlisted in the 75th 111., Co. E, in 
August 1862. He was seriously wounded in the battle of Penwville, 
and was mustered out January 8, 1863, having been confined in hospital 
from October, 1862, till January, 1863, at Perryville and Louisville, 
Kentucky, and New Albany, Indiana. His wound was a serious one, 
the ball passing entirely through his abdomen, and from its effects he 
has suffered more or less ever since. Mr. Wood married, August 1863, 
Cliniena Hubbard, daughter of Royal Prescott Hubbard. Their sons, 
George Frank, born October 1865, and Leon A., October 1869, con- 
stitute their family, having lost their two daughters in infanc3^ Mr. 
Wood is a Mason and an Odd-Fellow, and with his family belongs to 
the Congregational church. He owns the homestead of 120 acres. 

John C. Spielmann, farmer, Mendota, was born in Hesse Darm- 
stadt, Germany, March 9, 1830. His parents are John and Mary 
(Sinner) Spielmann, and he is the only survivor of their four children. 
In 1847 he came via New York directly to Lee county with his father 
and mother, who are now living with him. They settled on See. 34, 
buying a claim of 30 acres from a Mr, Kenney. They now own a 
valuable farm in Sees. 34 and 35, and in Bureau county opposite. In 
1871 they built a fine residence on Sec. 35, on the Chicago road. In 
1858 Mr. Spielmann married Julia Naumann ; they have no children, 
but they have reared two adopted ones: Julia Kinnenberger, who was 



SUBLETTE tow:n^ship. 275 

married in 1879, to Julius Alber, now living in Iowa; and George 
Higgins, aged fifteen 3'ears. John Spielmann, jr., is a self-made man, 
having received the most of his education in the German tongue. 
From 1854 until 1869 he was a circuit preacher in the church of the 
E.A.U.A., but quit these duties on account of bodily infirmities. He 
has preached in Cook, La Salle, Tazewell, Peoria, Kankakee and other 
counties in this vicinity. He is a man of unimpeachable character, 
and is better known in Bureau than in Lee county. 

Jacob Richeet, farmer, Mendota, was born in Alsace, Germany, 
ITovember 1835 ; son of John and Anna C. (Staub) Richert, and is 
the fifth in a family of four boys and three girls. In 1854 he came to 
New Orleans with Peter Richert, his eldest brother, thence to Lee 
county in the fall of 1854, stopping in Indiana during the summer. 
Jacob worked around for several years, and in the spring of 1861 
bought 80 acres in Sec. 36 from John Fry, jr., at $21 per acre. In 
the same year he enlisted in Co. B, 52d 111. Inf. This regiment was 
mustered at Geneva, Illinois, and departed late in the fall of 1861 for 
St. Louis, thence to St. Joseph, where they staid about two months. 
From here they were sent to Tennessee, by the way of Quincy and 
Cairo, Illinois, crossing the Mississippi at Quincy on the ice. The 
regiment came up at Fort Donelson just as the rebels surrendered, 
and were under Grant at Shiloh, losing there 260 of their number 
in killed and wounded. Previously Mr. Richert had been detailed as 
a guard with prisoners to Springfield, Illinois. He was in the battle of 
Corinth, where his regiment staid till they were sent to Pulaski, Ten- 
nessee, in the early winter of 1863. From here Mr. Richert was sent 
home to recruit, remaining home five months and returning with as 
many recruits. He reentered the 52d in the Atlanta campaign in 
June 1864, and was engaged in twenty days, hard fighting and skir- 
mishing. He was mustered out at Rome, Georgia, October 1864, not 
having received a scratch during his faithful service. In December, 
1864, he married Mary Biitz, of May township, and seven children 
now gladden their home : Frederick, born December 1865 ; Mary, 
born February 1868; George B., born April 1870; Sarah, born Aug- 
ust 1873 ; Clara, born September 1875 ; Emma, born January 1878 ; 
Simon, born September 1880. Mr. Richert now owns the S.E. ^ Sec. 
36, having bought the west half of the same from Michael Bitner at 
$45 per acre. There are good buildings on the place, and its owner is 
now enabled to enjoy the fruit of his toil. He and his family are mem- 
bers of the Evangelical church. Mr. Richert is a republican. His 
father has been to Illinois three times, once remaining four years, and 
returned to his native land for the last time in 1876, and died in 



K 



276 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Baden while on the way. For many years he had lived among his 
children, and had a strong attachment for the sea. 

Cheistian Biester, farmer, Sublette, was born in Germany, Han- 
over county, December 1831. His parents, Fred and Caroline (Weber) 
Blester, had a family of three boys and one girl. His father was seven 
years in the German army. Our subject came to America in 1855, 
via Baltimore to Chicago, where lie stopped two years ; thence to Lee 
county, Illinois. Here he worked out for several years as a farm- 
hand. In 1867 he bought eighty acres in Sec. 8. He has been in- 
dustrious and careful, and now has the deeds for 236 acres of valuable 
land, upon which he erected a fine dwelling in 1873. He went back 
to Germany in the fall of 1861, and was there married, March 1862, to 
Dora Miller, whom he had known in childhood. They arrived in 
Chicago in March 1862. Their family are : Louis, born January 1863; 
Henry, November 1865; Ernest, November 1867 ; Dora, December 
1869; Mary, June 1871; Anna, May 1873; August, December 1874. 
The family belonged to the Lutheran church. Mr. Blester is the only 
one of his family that came to America. Mrs. Biester's mother came to 
America in 1868, The latter has a son in Dakota, a daughter in Min- 
nesota, and three daughters, all married, living in Lee county. 

John H. Schwoub, farmer, Sublette, was born in Hesse Darmstadt, 
Germany, May 1, 1813. He was six years in the German army. In 
1847 he came to America with his family of a wife and five children. 
He settled on Sec. 34 in the town of Sublette, and now owns a farm of 
170 acres there. He first bought thirty acres on which was a log 
house, on the north side of the " Chicago road," on land now owned 
b}' Conrad Speilman. When twenty-five years of age he married 
Margaret Kiihl. Their children are : George, Conrad (enlisted in 
Co. B, 52d 111. Yols., and was killed at Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia) ; 
Philip, Mary, Henry, Katherine, Eva and Margaret. George, Henry, 
Mary (Mrs. Reichart) and Margaret (Mrs. Boeler) are living in Clay 
county, Kansas, and Katherine (Mrs. Thomas Boettcher) in Mendota. 
Eva (Mrs. Baoer) is now living with her husband on the homestead. 
Schwoub belongs to the Evangelical church, and his life shows that he 
is a true disciple of Christ. In politics he was an old-time democrat; 
but voted for Fremont and Lincoln, and has since been a republican. 

Fkedeeick Obeehelman, grain-buyer, Sublette, was born in War- 
en county, Missouri, in 1844. His father, Frederick, and his mother, 
Christine (Knoepker), came to Missouri, the former in 1833, the latter 
in 1838. Frederick was the eldest in a family of eleven children. 
His father was a farmer and he was reared to the same business. His 
grandfather was a German soldier, and was in the battles of Leipsic, 
Waterloo, and others. Mr. Oberhelman was sent to school but little. 



THE NEW YOBK 
FUBLJC LIBRARY 



ASTOR, LEN'OX AND 

TILUEiN FOUiNUATIONS 

B . L 




SUBLETTE TOWNSHIP. 277 

in all not more than twelve months, and never to an English school. 
Daring the war of the rebellion he was five years in the Missouri 
State Militia and Home Guards. In 1866 he married Mary E. Betz, 
daughter of John Betz, an early settler in Sublette. None of their 
children have lived ; they have one adopted daughter. Mr. Oberhel- 
man began farming in 1867 on Sec. 22, and continued in the same till 
1871, when he went into the business of buying and shipping grain in 
the village of Sublette. In 1874 he built an elevator, which with his 
engine cost him $5,000. He also deals in coal and lumber, and till re- 
cently dealt in live-stock. His business is prosperous, he having paid 
out; as much as $100,000 in one year. He and his wi£e belong to the 
Evangelical Lutheran church. In politics he is non-partisan. 

Elijah Austin, farmer, Sublette, was born in upper Canada, 
January 1820. His father, ISTorman Austin, and his mother, Sarah 
Landers, were natives of Connecticut. His ancestors were " Revolu- 
tioners," and his father served in the war of 1812. In the fall of 1837 
Elijah Austin went to Sandusky, Ohio, thence with wagon to the 
present site of Galesburg, Illinois, passing through Aurora and Mon- 
mouth, then only the germs of towns ; lived in Knox county till 1840, 
when he went back east. Returning to Knox county, he lived there 
till 1846, thence to Princeton. In 1849 he made a claim on Sees. 
17 and 18, of 152 acres. In 1859 he bought from Henry Hannon 80 
acres formerly owned by Daniel Baird, who lived on the old La Salle 
and Grand De Tour road, where Mr. Austin now resides. The latter 
owns a large farm in Sees. 17, 18, 19, and a few acres in Sec. 20, 
besides a hundred acres in Sec. 30. In 1843 Mr. Austin married 
Sarah Burton, of Hancock county, Illinois. They have a family of 
seven children living. Abagail, born December 1843 (wife of Nelson 
Yan Fleet, Kansas, son of an old settler in Aurora) ; Mary, born 1845 
(Mrs. Joseph Doane, died in 1868) ; Burton, February 1848 (married 
October 1876, has two children and is farming in Sublette); Elizabeth, 
May 1850 ; Melissa, September 1852 ; Jane, March 1855 ; Frances A., 
September 1866; Minnie R., April 1871. The last two are by his 
second wife, Catherine Austin, to whom he was married September 
1863. Elizabeth (Mrs. Blair) is living in Brooklyn township. In 
politics Mr. Austin is an ex-republican greenbacker, formerly a free- 
soiler. He is a Mason, a genial neighbor and a kind father. 

Silas D. Reniff, farmer, Sublette, born 1816, in Tioga county, New 
York, is the son of Ephraim and Betsey (Wesson) RenifF, both born in 
Massachusetts. His grandfather on the father's side was a Scotchman. 
Ephraim Reniff was a farmer and had a family of eight children. In 
1843 he came west, and settled on section 19, where Seth Baird lives. 
The following year Silas Reniflt came out and claimed a half-section of 
17 



^ 



278 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

land, one half of which he afterward entered. This was a 160 in 
See. 20, where he now lives. He owns 240 acres of well improved 
land, upon which there are good buildings. In 1849 Mr. Reniff was 
married to Laura Angier, only sister of Thomas Angier. Their issue 
is a son, Ernest, born September 1855 ; he married Mary Chamberlain, 
May 1876, by whom he has two boys, Ernest and Laurie, born No- 
vember, 1877, and June, 1880, respectively. Mr. Reniff has been a 
very energetic business man, and is now active for one of his age. 
For many years he has been a general stock dealer and he is now 
shipping to Chicago. For twenty-seven years he has assessed the town 
of Sublette, and has been twenty years school trustee. Before coming 
west he was eight years a teamster to Boston, driving an eight-horse 
team about a hundred miles to and from that city. Then and for many 
years after he was an athletic and daring man, and one with whom it 
was not safe to trifle. He is a staunch republican and a perfectly 
reliable man. His father died about 1855 and his mother a few years 
later. 

Thomas S. Angier, farmer and magistrate, Sublette, was born 
1822, in Fitzwilliam, Cheshire county, New Hampshire ; he is the son 
of Abel and Laura (Holmes) Angier, born 1797 and 1801 respectively. 
His grandparents were born in New England, and his great-grand- 
father Amidon was in the revolution. His mother died when he was 
eight years old, and his father seven years later. Thomas, the only 
son in a family of two children, received a common school education ; 
was married in 1838, to Fannie, daughter of Benjamin B. and Grata 
(Whitney) Morse, who was born in New Hampshire in 1821. Her 
ancestors, Whitney and Morse were " Revolutioners," and the latter 
was in the war of 1812. Mr. Angier, with his wife and one child, 
came west to LaMoille, Bureau county, Illinois, in 1840; thence to 
Sublette, Lee county, the following spring, settling on the N.E. ^ of 
Sec. 31, having bought it the year before. Of a family of ten children 
only three survive. In the summer of 1861 his eldest son s, Abel, 
born in 1838, and Leander in 1841, enlisted in Co. D, 46th IFT Yols . 
In the winter of 1861-li, before their regiment went south, both were 
taken sick with diphtheria. Though two others of the family died at 
this time, they recovered, and were with Co. D till the fall of 1862, 
when both were in the hospital at Memphis; there Leander died in 
September. Abel did not again enter the service, and died of con- 
sumption in 1873. Ambrose, third in the family, is married and living 
on the homestead. In 1874 Mr. Angier moved to the village of Sub- 
lette, where he has since lived. He is a man in whom the people have 
entire confidence, having held some office ever since the organization 
of the township. In 1851 he was elected justice of the peace, in 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 279 

which capacity he has acted ever since. He has been eighteen years 
supervisor of Sublette township, and much of that time was chairman 
of the board of supervisors. Besides these he has held other offices ; 
he is consequently well acquainted with the development of this town- 
ship, and to him the writer is indebted for much valuable information. 
Mr. Angier is a republican and a Mason, and may be very appropri- 
ately styled " the oraele of Sublette." 

,^Pi ^Lip FAUBLEy farmer, Suble ti£a_ was born in Lee county in April 

1851. His father, John Fauble, was an early settler in Sublette and 
acquired a large property. His mother is one of the largest tax-payers 
in the county. In October, 1877, Philip Fauble married Barbara 
Pope, of Bureau county. Their family : George L., born June 1879, 
and Katie, December 1880. He has a farm of 200 acres in Sec. 32. 
This is known as the William Tourtillott farm. In 1880 Mr. Fauble 
built a fine barn at a cost of about $1,400. He has a good house and 
a large orchard. His wife owns a quarter-section in Brooklyn town- 
ship. They are members of the Evangelical church. Our subject 
received a common school education ; he is a strong republican and 
a man of pleasing address. 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 

SETTLEMENT. 
A Frenchman named Filamalee is said to have been the first white 
settler in Palestine Grove and in the present limits of Amboy town- 
ship. Some of the earlier settlers remember his shanty about a mile 
south of Pocky Ford, and have not forgotten the mortar made in a 
burr-oak stump in which he pounded his corn for bread, and which re- 
mained for a long time as a relic to mark the first pioneer settlement. 
He belonged to that unsettled class who were never content to live in 
any region except where savage dominion was weakening to dissolu- 
tion, and civilized footsteps chased hard upon the departing race. He 
could not bear the sight of regular occupation and improvement, and 
as soon as the tide of immigration set in he moved farther away into 
the mediate solitude between the red and the white man. In his 
eulogy upon Daniel Boone the poet Byron spoke not less truly of all 
his congeners when he said, 

" ' Tis true, he shrank from men even of his nation, 
When they built up unto his darling trees; 
He mov'd some hundred miles oflT, for a station, 
Where there were fewer houses and more ease. 
U'ftf, The inconvenience of civilization 

?Bif. Ib, that you neither can be pleased, nor please. 

^^ . '*.■ But where he met the individual man, 

towns P^ He showed himself as kind as mortal can." 

uthwest 01 bui. 

ht. He had bee- 
ith. Tho funer- 



280 . HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

The first permanent settler was John Dexter, who emigrated from 
Canada in the spring of 1835, and made a claim on the north side of 
Palestine Grove, and on the N.W. ^ Sec. 13. Here he built a cabin 
about twelve feet square, and then went on as fast as he could to add 
other improvements to his home; in the meantime looking anxiously 
but waiting patiently for others to come into the neighborhood. It 
must not be thought that he was a solitary inhabitant ; on the contrary, 
he had near neighbors east of him at Inlet Grove. But the spring of 
1836 brought the second settler, and Dexter, it may be supposed, 
began to feel that this could not much longer be regarded as the 
frontier. The new arrival was James Doan and his young wife, now 
Mrs. O, J. Fish, of China township. He made his claim south of the 
Inlet, on the place now better known as the Joseph Lewis farm, from 
having been owned by the latter from 1845 till a recent date. He 
was from Berrien county, Michigan, but had been raised in Indiana. 
His father, John Doan, was a Xorth Carolinian. The latter and his 
daughter Jemima came with his son, the trip being made by the 
family in a Pennsylvania wagon drawn by three yoke of oxen. James 
Doan had visited this place in October 1835, and selected his own as 
well as a claim for his father and another for his brother Joseph. 
After a patch of sod corn had been planted John Doan and his 
daughter returned to Michigan, and in the following autumn the 
whole family came to their new home. Until their arrival the days 
passed wearily, and the season was one crowded with painful discon- 
tent to Mrs. Doan, and for long weeks at a time she saw no other 
white person than her own husband. The Indian-trail from Council 
Blufts to Chicago lay only a little way off to the south of their cabin, 
and the camping ground of these roving bands was on the Blunt 
farm. Large bodies of them often stopped there; and the Shabbona 
Indians came nearly as often into the neighborhood to hunt. 

Andrew Bainter, brother-in-law to James Doan, arrived in the 
spring of 1837, and took the claim where Seneca Strickland lives, on 
the Sublette road. His second house, a frame dwelling, was the one 
which has been improved and is now occupied by Benjamin Tread- 
well. The next and most important addition to the infant community 
was Asa B. Searles, who arrived in October 1837, with a horse-team, 
from New York, and was accompanied from Peoria by Benjamin 
Wasson, another New Yorker, who had been here the year before and 
taken a claim on Sees. 14 and 15. Mr. Searles located the S. ^ Sec. 14, 
on which, several years later, he laid out the village of Binghamton. 
Nathan Meek was living in the vicinity of Rocky Ford as early as 
1837. His name will recall to the old settlers many suspicious cir- 
cumstances and an unsavory reputation, all suggesting the operations 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 281 

of the banditti. His " corn-cracker," situated three miles down the 
stream, was the first mill for grinding in Lee county. He sometimes 
attempted to make flour, but it was always of execrable quality. 

On Mr. Searle's first arrival he found a saw-mill in operation at 
Rocky Ford, owned by Timothy Perkins and Horace Bowen, and 
when he finally came with his family, on Christmas eve in the same 
year, it had become the property of a man named Lee. He kept it 
awhile and sold out to Mason ; the latter died, and it passed into 
the hands of John Van Norman, from whom it was purchased in 1848 
by F. R. Dutcher. A log-dam spanned the stream, and the mill was 
run by a "flutter" wheel. One Mitchell was millwright. 

James Blair and his sons William, Winthrop, and Edwin were 
pioneers of 1837. The latter has the old homestead on Sec. 29. The 
same year John S. Sawyer and four sons erected a cabin south of the 
Illinois Central shops. Sawyer sold a part of his claim to Joseph 
Farwell in 1841, and the rest to Joseph Appleton. 

Alexander Janes also became a resident, but the next year sold his 
claim to Chester S. Badger and moved to Bureau county, where he 
acquired wealth and an honorable reputation. Mr. Badger was from 
Broome county, New York, and came to Illinois and worked at mill- 
wrighting during the season of 1837, and returned home in the fall ; 
the following year he and his son Simon settled in this township, and 
in 1839 Warren, another son, arrived, bringing the mother and her 
two daughters Sarah and Roena. In the autumn Warren returned to 
his native home, remaining there until 1842, when he came west again 
and resided in Amboy township until his death in 1861. Chester 
Badger, a younger son, drove through from New York alone with a 
two-horse team in 1840, and has been a resident here since. The 
Badgers located their homesteads about a mile and a half east of 
Amboy. Henry Badger came in 1849, and has always lived in Bing- 
hamton. The senior Badger brought hardwood lumber from Frank- 
lin Grove and built the first frame house in the settlement. A party 
consisting of John C. Church, Curtis Bridgman and his sons Curtis 
and Urial, and Wm. Hunt, the three last unmarried men, arrived in 
midsummer of 1838. The senior Bridgman returned to Steuben 
county. New York, in the following autumn and brought the remainder 
of the family. Mr. Church selected a claim one mile south of Amboy, 
but in 1841 sold to Jacob Doan, who immigrated from Ohio that year, 
and secured another where he is now living, adjoining the northern 
limits of the city. Wni. Church settled here a little later the same 
season that his brother did ; he lived in this vicinity until twenty years 
ago, when he removed to Iowa. The year 1838 must be credited with 
another valuable citizen in the person of Martin Wright, from the 



282 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Bay State, who lived in the remote northeast corner of the township. 
He was a large-hearted, liberal-minded, just man, and enjoyed in the 
highest degree the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens. He 
served them as assessor, and many years as road commissioner, and 
died about a year ago. His widow survives. Harvey Axtell settled 
in the southwest corner of the township; Frederick Baldwin on Sec. 
10, where James Luce lives; and Ransom Barnes opened the Isaac 
Gage farm. The two latter were from the Empire State, and the 
three belong to 1838. 

Frederick Bainter came into the Doan neighborhood in the same 
season. John Fosdick settled at Lee Center a year earlier, and worked 
at his trade of blacksmithing, assisted by James Doan, another crafts- 
man, until the next spring, when the shop was moved to Doan's. This 
was the first smithy in Amboy township. After a residence here of 
three years, Fosdick went back to Lee Center. Doan and Frederick 
Bainter afterward carried on blacksmithing sometime together ; the 
former invented and the two manufactured the first scouring plow ever 
used in these parts, but for some reason Doan's eiforts failed to secure 
a patent. He visited Washington for that purpose as early as 1841 or 
1842 ; six or seven years later he sold his interest to his partner, and 
in 1849 went to California, where in 1853 he was murdered. To the 
pioneers the mention of this scouring plow will bring back the recol- 
lection of the hardships and inferiority of farming in those days, when 
the wooden moldboard plow and the wooden tooth harrow were the 
standard implements for preparing the ground for seed. The harvest 
was gathered with the hand sickle, a diminutive instrument which very 
few of to-day could recognize, and the cradle, a great improvement on 
the back-breaking sickle, which is now hardly more to be seen. Then 
the grain was spread upon the ground in a circle and tramped out 
with horses or oxen ; the winnowing was done in the wind, which, 
thanks to the open prairie, was seldom too low to be available at any 
moment ; and next followed the really romantic part of the season's 
work — hauling to Chicago, a hundred miles, the grain which brought 
but thirty or forty cents per bushel. Pork commanded from $1.25 to 
$2 per hundred. It will not escape attention that the virgin soil when 
once subdued, a task to accomplish which was no light labor with the 
tools then in use, produced good crops with little care. It has been 
said that to " tickle it with a plow it would laugh with a crop," and 
" Chet" Badger affirms that " tickling" was about all it received. It 
must have been so if he could plow five acres a day with an ox team. 
In less reverent sections of the country such treatment of the soil 
would be called " deviling." 

The trip to Chicago consumed eight or ten days, the net results of 



AilBOY TOWNSHIP. 283 

which were a lew sparing comforts, — perhaps a pail, a pound of tea, a 
little coffee and some " factory," a few nails, a barrel of salt, and occa- 
sionally a jag of lumber ; but rarely did one journey suffice to purchase 
so many needful articles. Will the reader suppose that these early 
settlers were chained to a hard lot ? Far from that was their condition. 
Although they were mostly poor and toiled hard, yet their surroundings 
were such as to take the sting from poverty ; for there was no " society " 
with its absurd conventionalities, and they found that labor stimulated 
an appetite devoid of fault, and inclined them always to health and 
refreshing slumber. 

" tall, and strong, and swift of foot were tbey. 



Beyond the dwarfing city's pale abortions ; 
Because their thoughts had never been the prey 
Of selfish care or gain ; the wilds were their portions. 
No sinking spirits told them they grew gray, 
No fashion made them apes of her distortions. 
***** 

Motion was in their days, rest in their slumbers; 
And cheerfulness the handmaid of their toil; 
Nor yet too many, nor too few their numbers ; 
Corruption could not make their hearts her soil. 
The lust which stings, the splendor which encumbers, 
With the free pioneers divide no spoil." 

All within a radius of many miles were neighbors; friendship and 
equality prevailed, and selfishness was as rare in those times as the 
noble qualities we have named are in these. Mutual dependence fos- 
tered a spirit of true sympathy, and every hand was ready and never 
forgot to assist, either in the smaller or the greater offices of kindness. 
No man or woman could excuse himself or herself from neighborly 
acts, nor would they have done so if they could. Such meanness 
would have been equivalent to banishment from the community. 
Neither was hospitality limited to friends, for it would not then have 
been hospitality, but it was extended even to the stranger, whom they 
greeted with thrilling welcome, smiles of joy, goodly cheer, and for 
whom they made a ready place of comfort at their glowing hearth- 
stones and plain, but tidy boards. In the broadest humanity they 
asked, "Who is my neighbor?" Not like "a certain lawyer," "will- 
ing to justify himself;" but to answer only as the unhampered soul in 
its natural vigor can, just as the Great Master taught. The desire to 
secure emigrants was very great, and every inducement in the form of 
entertainment, and assistance to find claims, was tendered to those who 
proposed to become actual settlers ; and some went so far as to divide 
their own claims to secure near neighbors. It should be recorded of 
Mr. Searles that he was conspicuous for his efforts in this direction. In 
a few years population became comparatively numerous. Work on 



284 HISTOEY OF LEE COUNTY. 

the old Central railroad was an instrument which added not a little to 
the increase. The failure of that mammoth enterprise left some 
laborers too poor to get away, while others were too much pleased 
with the country to depart. 

It would be impossible to give a complete list of the early settlers, 
but some not yet spoken of may be mentioned. 

In 1839 Cyrus Davis and his son Cyrus A., Massachusetts men, 
improved a home on the S.E. J Sec. 15 ; this land is now Wyman's 
addition to Amboy. In 1840 John Hook and his brother William 
and their parents, all from Maine, located their home at Rocky Ford 
in the month of February. Aaron Hook, another son, had emigrated 
to Bureau county two years before. Reuben TBridgman began an im- 
provement on Sec. 10 in 1840. Joseph Farwell came in 1841 and 
settled on the N.E. J Sec. 22. On this tract the original plat of Am- 
boy was located. Jesse Hale arrived in 1841 ; and Samuel Bixby, a 
" Green Mountain Boy," emigrated from Steuben county, New York, 
in 1844, and bought the claim of Joseph Gardner. Lyman Bixby 
migrated to these parts the same year. 

Joseph Appleton came to the country as early as 1841 or 1842; sub- 
sequently he returned to his native state of JSTew Hampshire, married, 
and in 1844 brought his family and settled on the E. ^ of N.W. ^ Sec. 
22. This is now Gilson's addition to Amboy. Josiah Davis, brother 
to Cyrus, improved the W. ^ of E.W. ^ Sec. 22 about the same year 
of Appleton's final settlement. 

Frances H. Korthway removed to this township in 1844 and entered 
the S.E. J Sec. 3. Orres Adams came with his family the same year, 
also David Searles and Alvan H. Thompson. Hiel Lewis reached this 
place from Pennsylvania in 1842, and Miles and Joseph in 1845. 

In 1846 Seth W. Holmes entered the E. i of S.W. i Sec. 9, where 
he has since resided. Elijah and Warren Hill joined the settlement 
in the same year ; and Henry C. Shaw came to Binghamton and en- 
gaged in the manufacture of the Doan plow. 

The Hills established themselves on the school section, which, by 
the way, was all sold for sixty cents per acre. 

In 1849 John M. Blocher settled north of Amboy, where the Shaw 
heirs now live. The Blunt farm was opened very early by a man 
named Hawley, who stayed a short time and then removed to another 

neighborhood. 

SQUATTERS' ASSOCIATION. 

Until the fall of 1844, when the first land sales were held at Dixon, 
the inhabitants of Amboy township (the reader will understand that 
for convenience we use names by anticipation) were squatters. The 
country had been surveyed into townships but not into sections; and 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 285 

when the last survey took place a general rectifying of lines occurred; 
not unfreqiiently the partition divided a claim in twain, and then 
would follow a trade with a neighboring squatter, one or the other 
perhaps taking up a new location. 

It does not require much penetration to discover that anterior to 
this time, in the absence of all regulations for maintaining themselves in 
their homes, there would not have been wanting vexatious sources of 
disagreement, which would have ended in confusion, if not in some- 
thing worse. As the individual disposition is to infringe private as well 
as public rights, so the spontaneous movement of a community is toward 
the general security by opposing and restraining the smaller with the 
collective force. Nine years elapsed from the first permanent settle- 
ment of the township till the land came into market; during the first 
two 3'ears, and until immigration began to assume some importance, 
the danger from trespass or claiin-jumping was too small to excite 
notice, but in 1837 the people in this vicinity banded together with 
those having a common center at Inlet Grove, for mutual protection, 
and the settlement of disputes respecting claims. Somewhat later the 
Palestine Grove Association was organized, and held its meetings at 
Sherman Hatch's and Wm. Dolan's. All necessity for it having 
ceased, in 1847 it was discontinued. The people were everywhere 
til us organized into associations, with meeting-places convenient to 
their locality. These were every one independent of the other, but as 
their objects were kindred, each was at all times ready to help enforce 
the authority of a neighboring organization on call. They were known 
as "Grove Associations," and the assemblies were called "grove meet- 
ings." From a few fragmentary papers, relics of the Inlet Society, for 
whose use we are indebted to the courtesy of Ira Brewer, Esq., of 
Bradford township, we are able to present a partial yet tolerably clear 
view of the powers assumed, the business transacted, and the manner 
of procedure adopted. The earliest document, the constitution, the 
original draft of which is in the handwriting of Joseph Sawyer, bears 
date at "Inlet, Ogle county, Illinois, July 10, 1837," and the sub- 
scribers, sixty-six in number, set forth their purposes in the following 
preamble : " The encouragement that congress gave to the pioneers of 
this country stimulated the present inhabitants to sacrifice property 
and ease, and commence a long and fatiguing journey in order to better 
themselves and their offspring, — not only to encounter the fatigue of 
a long and expensive journey, but also the privations to which they 
were exposed in consequence of the scarcity of the comforts of life, as 
well as the inclemency of the w^eather in open log cabins. Everything 
considered, we think it no more than right, just, and honorable that 
each man should hold a reasonable claim, and at the land sales obtain 



286 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

his lands at congress price." They express their willingness to be 
governed by rules and regulations based upon equity, and adopt a code, 
a summary of the chief features being that they " voluntarily agree to 
join together in defense of their honest claims as far as prudency and 
honorable principles dictate," and declaring that those which "have 
been established in the Grove shall be considered honest claims and 
defended as such." Provision was made for a committee of five to be 
chosen by the inhabitants to decide " in regard to the honest right and 
title to claims" ; for the rejection of one or more of the committee by 
either contestant, and for the removal of the entire committee for 
cause at the pleasure of the citizens. A clerk kept the " proceedings 
of the Grove," which were to be free for the inspection of all concerned. 
Every rightful claimant was to be respected and defended as though 
he had a warranty deed for his land. The seventh and last article is 
in these words : 

"Any person holding a claim must do $25 worth of work on said 
claim within six months from the 10th of instant month or his claim 
shall be forfeited, unless sickness or something reasonable prevents." 
On March 16, 1839, a committee to which had been assigned the duty 
of reporting amendments, addressing the "grove," sa.j they "believe 
it to be important that you not only live up to the spirit of the consti- 
tution formed in 1837, but that you amend it, and adapt it to a denser 
population." Already contemplating a dense population, and not yet 
2,000 inhabitants in the whole county ! But then ideas are only com- 
parative. As amended, the constitution further provided for an annual 
meeting on the third Saturday of March each year, at which the presi- 
dent and clerk were to be elected ; it enjoined upon the latter officer 
the dutj' of giving members seven days' notice of special and annual 
meetings, and the calling together of the committee to hear evidence 
in contested cases, wherein two or more individuals pretended to rights 
in the same claim, and granting to either party the right of appeal from 
the decision of the committee to the society whose determination was to 
be final. The boundaries of the association were defined as extending 
" south halfway from this [Inlet] grove to Knox, halfway to Dixon, half 
way to Malugan, half way to Palestine and halfway to Franklin Grove." 
Claimants actually occupying and improving land were entitled to pro- 
tection in a claim of one half-section. Nothing was to be construed 
contrary to the laws of the state or of the United States. All lands 
within the bounds of the association not recognized by the records of 
the same as " claimed" were to be considered as unclaimed. Privilege 
was given to any person residing within the jurisdiction of the association 
to become a member and have his claims recorded. At a called meeting 
on the 2d a general registry of claims had been made. At the annual 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 287 

meeting on the 16tli George E. Haskell was chosen president for that year, 
and Martin Wright clerk. The committee elected consisted of Ran- 
som Barnes, D. H. Birdsall, Ozro C. Wright, Daniel M. Dewey and 
Benjamin Whiteaker. At the regular election, March 20, 1841, Messrs. 
Haskell and Wright were again elected president and clerk respectively, 
and D. H. Birdsall, David Tripp, Daniel M. Dewey, Charles Starks 
and Sherman Shaw committee. The president and clerk were reelected 
in 1842, and once more in 1843. For the former year Daniel M. 
Dewey, Joseph Sawyer, Benjamin Whiteaker, Charles Starks, and D. 
H. Birdsall constituted "the committee for the grove"; and for the 
latter, Daniel M. Dewey, Charles Starks, Joseph Sawyer, Benjamin 
Whiteaker, and Lewis Clapp. 

A few extracts taken at random from their proceedings will convey 
a better idea of their administration of justice than any description can. 

March 2, 1839. " On motion a vote was called relative to E-oswell 
Streeter's holding the lot north of the township line (being north of 
the one claimed by Sherman Shaw), and decided in the negative; as 
also was the one east of this." 

"A vote was taken on the question whether Sherman Shaw should 
be allowed to claim one lot north of his present one, and decided in 
the affirmative." 

"A vote was taken whether Martin Wright should hold one 
quarter-section, being the two second lots lying north of the township 
line, and north of the two claimed by Whiteaker and Clapp, and 
decided in the affirmative." 

"A motion was made by George E. Haskell, and carried, that all 
claims now made which can be satisfactorily proved by marks and 
evidence be entitled to the protection of the Grove as if they were en- 
tered, until a plat is provided embracing the tract within the Grove's 
jurisdiction." 

A reconsideration of the vote in the case of Roswell Streeter was 
taken, and it was decided that he should not extend his claim one lot 
farther north. 

"Another vote was called to ascertain whether Sherman Shaw should 
have the lot contended for by Boswell Streeter, and decided in the 
affirmative." 

" Yoted that Lewis Clapp should hold one hundred rods in width 
north of the township line (being north of his present claim), extending 
the length of one lot ; and that Ozro C. Wright should have sixty rods 
in width and be permitted to hold the second lot north of the town- 
ship line (being north of his present claim)." 

" Yoted that Nelson De Wolf should be permitted to hold the claim 
of prairie that formerly belonged to Mr. Doge, but now forfeited." 



288 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

March 19, 1842. — "Yoted that the claim of Samuel Wressell be 
forfeited ; also, that Samuel Cobel be permitted to take the same." 

July 7. " The chairman stated the object of the meeting to be 
to take into consideration the difficulty which had arisen between 
Benoni Hannum and Martin Eastwood in regard to a certain claim 
lying west of Benoni Hannum's on the south side of the road." 

On motion the constitution was read by the clerk. 

" It was requested that Mr. Hannum make a statement in relation 
to the subject. 

" A motion was made and carried that Mr. Hannum become a mem- 
ber of the association, and his claim be recognized by the constitution. 

'•'A motion was made and carried that no member should withdraw 
from the society without leave of the association." 

January 21, 1843. — "The chairman stated the object of the meet- 
ing, namely, to take into consideration the adoption of such measures 
whereby we all may be protected more effectually in our claim rights. 

" Yoted that a committee go to Dixon and get a bond drawn for 
this purpose." Benjamin Whiteaker and D. H. Birdsall appointed. 

January 28. — "Article" read and unanimously adopted. Com-, 
mittee of five, consisting of Daniel M. Dewey, Joseph Sawyer, Charles 
Starks, Daniel Frost, and Adolphus Bliss, appointed to circulate it for 
signatures. 

" Voted that those members who have signed the article may have 
the privilege of erasing their names at the next meeting, provided all 
the members of the association do not sign the same." 

February 2. — Committee to circulate bond reported and was dis- 
charged. New committee appointed, composed of Charles West, 
Thomas Dexter, Martin Wright, Joseph Sawyer, and William Church. 

February 17. — " On motion it was carried that Joseph Sawyer, 
Lewis Clapp, Charles Starks, Daniel Frost and Sherman Shaw be a 
committee to go and see those members of this association that have 
not signed the bond, and obtain their signatures if possible. 

The purport of this bond is to us as much a matter of conjecture 
as to the reader; but to throw some light upon it, as well as upon 
cognate points of interest, we copy the entire report, which was evi- 
dently made to the association about this time, or a little before. The 
chirography is that of Mr. George E. Haskell — a beautiful, lady-like 
hand. If any evidence were wanting to show the character of these 
early settlers in intelligence and scholarsliip, this report is all that 
would be required. 

"The committee appointed to inquire into and investigate the 
necessity and propriety of adopting some more effectual means of se- 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 289 

curing claims embraced within the limits of this association, would 
respectfully submit the following report : 

"In the examination of the subject submitted to their investigation 
your committee cannot but revert to the principles that have given rise 
to this association, and operated thus far to continue it in existence to 
the security and happiness of the community which it embraces. 
Thrown together as its members have been from various states of our 
Union, and possessing all the traits of character peculiar to those who 
have been reared under different circumstances, it affords a happy 
illustration of the tendency of our republican institutions, in implant- 
ing, nourishing and keeping alive a spirit of equality and just regard 
for the rights of all, together with that predisposition to establish and 
maintain inviolate the social compact wherever the citizen of our 
country may be found. Actuated by this spirit, the inhabitants of 
this community early embraced the opportunity of bringing into prac- 
tical operation the principle of self-government, upon a point which 
legislative enactment could not reach, and which they have pledged 
their honor to support; and it is a source of mutual congratulation 
that thus far its tendency has been to produce the most beneficial 
results. The claims of all have been respected, and a just regard 
had to the growth and prosperity of the neighborhood, in the accom- 
modations afforded to all that wished to unite themselves to this com- 
munity in nearness of settlement. The plighted honor of the asso- 
ciation has been kept good, and from the indications around it would 
seem that all which was contemplated in the original organization of 
this compact is to be fully realized. Such is undoubtedly the case. 
But a change in our circumstances is about to take place. The rightful 
owner of the soil upon which we are located is to call upon us for his due, 
and that, too, at a period not far distant. Some, and it is to be hoped all, 
the members of this association will be able to answer the call and 
obtain a title to the land which they now claim. Under circumstances 
even of this character it would appear, perhaps, that the constitution 
adopted by this association might afford a sufficient guarantee for the 
rights and privileges of all, but a mature consideration of the subject 
has convinced your committee that such is not the case. In paying 
for land, whether at the general land sales or under the preemption 
law, the individual so paying receives his title to the same, which no 
right of the claimant can ever reach. This, of course, is a settled and 
incontrovertible point. Now it is well known and understood that 
there are individuals settled upon these lands embraced within the 
limits of this association, who by entering under the preemption law, 
in consequence of being located on one eighty of a quarter-section can 
carry the other with it, and thus deprive their neighbor of what, 



290 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

under the articles of our association, is considered justly his right 
to purchase of government. Again, many of the claims of the 
settlers are made according to imaginary lines, which, it is supposed, 
may be the lines established by the general surve}^, and will thus em- 
brace their claim in a certain section, quarter-section, etc., as the claim- 
ants themselves have marked them out. But respecting this there is 
great uncertainty. The survey may accord with the claim lines, and it 
may not. Instances have been mentioned, in the late subdivisions 
that have taken place, where townships in some cases have overrun 
and in others have fallen short. Thus a particular number of a sec- 
tion, or its quarter-section, may embrace one man's claim and part of 
another's, and the certificate, instead of giving him what was his, gives 
him what belonged to another, and deprives that other of his right. 
These two diflaculties, it would seem, are the most important that pre- 
sent themselves to the consideration of this body at present, and to 
your committee they appear matters of consequence, and to call for 
some remedial action. If it be the case that anything interfere to pre- 
vent the settlers from obtaining a title to their just claims, which it is 
competent for this association to remove, it is but justice that its 
powers be exerted to that point. By its constitution all its members 
are entitled to call for such action ; for who can resist the conviction 
that every member who has subscribed to it is pledged in his honor to 
assist in affording his neighbor all the assistance consistent with hon- 
orable principles in securing his claim against the encroachments of his 
neighbor? And if that security may necessarily extend to a legal 
obligation, to take eflfect after the land sale, does not his honor here 
plighted require that he should cheerfullj' accede to it? It may, how- 
ever, be presumed on the part of some that if such be the case the 
honor here pledged may be a sufficient guarantee from the purchaser of 
another man's claim to render him a title when the certificate from 
government is procured. But your committee cannot come to that 
conclusion. The association, as it now stands, presents a body of indi- 
viduals mutually dependent on each other; consequently what may be 
the interest of one must be the interest of all to a greater or less 
extent ; and as the life of this association is co-existent with the life of 
claims, it is only during that period that its members are privileged 
with an appeal to its principles or jurisdiction. The purchaser, then, 
with his title in his hands, acknowledges no respect but to the law 
which secures the soil, and may forever stand aloof from him who has 
trusted in vain to his honor. Again, experience plainl}'^ proves that 
power, when once obtained, is likely to be abused. The individual 
to-day surrounded by circumstances that constrain him to act with pro- 
priety, and to deal out justice to all with whom he may stand con- 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 291 

nected, to-morrow, b}' a change of circumstances, may be ready to hold 
at bay all whom he had before respected. This principle in human 
nature, so generally applicable that any deviation from it is accounted 
an exception to a general rule, behooves men, as they regard their own 
peace and that of those around them, to guard well against it, and 
where or when can they be called upon more imperiously than in this 
association and at this time? It is a call not only to secure eft'ectually 
a right, but to perform a duty which respects the well being, future 
prosperity, peace and harmony of the social compact, of which each 
settler forms a part. To your committee it would seem that no reas- 
onable objection could arise in the mind of anyone to secure his 
neighbor by a legal obligation to take effect conditionally after the 
land sales may have taken place. This undoubtedly would prevent 
any disturbance whatever, and is so clearly predicated upon the golden 
rule that any man who might dissent [_from it, would seem not to be 
actuated bj' those principles; and if he could not now show himself 
willing to comply with them it cannot be considered safe to predict 
that he would at any time hereafter. It is therefore recommended to 
this association that they adopt the following resolution : 

^''Resolved, That the members of this association who may now 
have their claim limits marked and defined, be each separately and in- 
dividually required, as soon as it may be required of them by an ad- 
joining claimant, to enter into a bond with such adjoining claimant, 
conditioned that if he, the person so required, shall purchase or cause 
to be purchased of government any of the lands embraced within the 
adjoining claimant's claim lines, acknowledged and defined according 
to the customs of the grove association, he will convey by deed to such 
adjoining claimant (upon said claimant's furnishing the money to pay 
for the same to the government) all the land which he may have so 
purchased within his (the requiring claimant's) claim lines as above 
specified, within thirtj^ days after such purchase. And further, that 
all those whose claim limits are not specifically defined shall immedi- 
ately proceed to have their lines clearly marked out according to the 
custom of this association, and enter into the bond as herein named 
and required of those whose boundaries are defined; and upon failure 
of any member to comply herewith he shall cease to be a member of 
this association, and shall no longer be entitled to its protection. All 
of which is respectfully submitted. 

" Signed, " Geokge E. Haskell, 

" Benjamin Whiteaker, 
"Joseph Sawyek, 
" Lewis Clapp, 
"Martin Wright. 

''''Committee.''^ 



292 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

This report and these proceedings give a very fair idea of the 
methods adopted by the inhabitants to protect each man in his right of 
possession to land, and the spirit which animated and governed them 
in the exercise of their powers. Technically they were there without 
right — trespassers upon the public domain — yet doing in advance only 
that which was a gratification to the law and fulfillment of it, when in 
its tardy progress westward it should overtake "the star of empire." 
They had left bustling communities and cultivated homes behind, with 
the ambitious design of making other homes; and while, perhaps, in 
the long run they would increase their possessions, it was still as much 
a matter of complacent regard and calculation to the whole country as 
to them, inasmuch as could be seen in it a laudable growth of empire 
in wealth, settlement, and population. Civilized usage defends the 
natural right of ownership to the person first in possession, and the 
moral aspect of the situation which the early settlers assumed is a com- 
plete justification of the course they adopted and pursued. The 
government, indeed, owned the land, and was willing that it should be 
occupied ; but made no choice as to occupants, and would give title, 
when put in market, to whomsoever should first present himself as a 
purchaser. As regarded land and law the pioneers were in the con- 
dition of our first parents ; to the former they held on by suflerance, 
and of the latter experienced a distressing nakedness; but their pro- 
gramme contemj)lated not their own driving out, but that of the interlo- 
pers and speculators. Respecting the question of land — a very precious 
item of account since it meant home and all — they promptly and wisely 
constituted themselves law-makers, judges, and executors of the law. 
From what has gone before we have learned how they discharged the 
two former functions; and after we have gleaned a little light on the 
latter we may dismiss this topic. 

The making and expounding of law is not the most complex and 
difficult part of the governmental economy. "The proof of the pud- 
ding is in the eating;" and of the law in the administering. In mak- 
ing a claim to land the claimant was required to establish visible limits 
in some manner, as by staking out the tract, or plowing a furrow 
around it ; and to make some improvement, though this was often 
very slight, as evidence of good faith on his part to become an actual 
settler. This "law of the place" completely barred out speculators; 
for while a man was limited, as we have seen, to a claim of half a 
section, he was obliged to be a resident, though it was not essential 
that his land should be taken in a bod}', for he might have separate 
claims aggregating his allowance. 

New-comers were often inclined to despise and defy the authority 
of the Grove association, and to jump bona-fide claims. A display of 



1'^ 





^ 




THE NRW YORK 
?UBL1C LIBRARY 



ASTOU, LENOX AND 

TILUliN HK'NllAI'IONS 

B . L 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 295 

public sentiment was usually all that was required to convince an 
offender how hopeless was a single-handed contest with a thoroughly 
organized and determined community. A committee of citizens would 
wait on him and remonstrate in a firm but friendly manner, pointing 
out the rights of the prior claimant and showing him his own wrong. 
Yery rarely would such treatment fail of the desired result, and then 
only when the subject was so obdurate as not to be susceptible to the 
kindlier influences, in which case nothing remained but to persuade 
him with literal water baptism for temporal purposes. The people 
were concerned in the preservation of peace and good order, and the 
practice of justice ; but human nature being the same in all classes, 
climes, and ages, they could not escape the necessity of sustaining 
their home-made laws against the usual license and infraction ; and 
there is no reason to doubt that a great variety of devices, ingenious 
and sometimes violent, were brought into requisition first by one side 
in the commission of wrong, and then by the other in undoing and 
correcting it. 

A grotesque occurrence, exhibiting the spirit of the people, took 
place soon alter the land came into market. A poor man named 
Anderson lived on a " forty " at Perkins' Grove. Perkins having a 
spite against him, as subsequently appeared, interested a stage agent 
at Dixon by the name of Bull to enter Anderson's homestead. At 
once all except the moving cause became known ; and with calm, de- 
cided purpose the citizens collected one night about sundown at Pocky 
Ford, to the number of seventy-five, and turning their backs upon the 
illumination of a big bonfire as the shades of evening began to thicken, 
they marched all night with resolute tread for Dixon. Sheriff" Camp- 
bell lived a mile or two out of the town, and they took the trouble to 
call at his house and inform him of the object of the expedition, and 
to assure him that there was no intention to raise a riot or inflict per- 
sonal injury. The design was to enter Dixon before the people should 
be up and stirring about much, to take Bull prisoner, depart to a con- 
venient place, and demand of him a conveyance of the land to Ander- 
son. The affair was well planned and executed. Just as day was 
breaking the motley cavalcade filed into the sleepy town and sur- 
rounded the hotel. One of the strongest in the crowd had been de- 
tailed to wait in the bar-room until he should make his appearance. 
Presently Bull entered and stepped behind the bar; no sooner had he 
done this than he was vigorously seized, but being also a strong man, 
and having the advantage of the counter, he was able to maintain a 
successful resistance until two more men were sent to the assistance of 
the first, when he was brought out promptly, thrown into the wagon, 
and driven off. The colored waiter, alarmed at the proceeding, leaped 
18 



296 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

into the street and rushed through the town, brandishing a big butcher 
knife and shouting " murder ! " The commotion brought the people 
out in sudden amazement and in all states of dress, and tarrying only 
long enough to grasp their weapons they started in hot pursuit on 
foot, mounted and in wagons. The party with the prisoner were 
soon overtaken, and the pursuers, in ignorance of their real design, 
made so excited and hostile a demonstration as to threaten imminent 
danger of bloodshed. At first Bull himself was not a little terrified, 
and implored an explanation ; being told his offense he was speedily 
relieved, and able to convince the people that it was not through any 
improper motive that he had entered Anderson's land, and that he 
would at once cheerfully make it over to him. On reaching Sheriff 
Campbell's a circle was formed to keep back the Dixonites, Bull 
placed in the ring, and the preliminaries concluded by which Campbell 
became surety for the performance of Bull's agreement to convey the 
land to Anderson on terms of no small advantage to the latter. This 
was in the spring of 1845, and was one of the most notable exploits 
under the old regime. 

BANDITTI. 

^ The boldest creations of romance are little more than feeble imita- 

K - i tions of the actual. As an illustration of this the system of organized 
/ ^'^ crime which inclosed this region from 1843 to 1850 is an example 
y^-, without a parallel. The history of the western country in the early 

f\ ^ / stages of settlement is checkered with graceless characters who Iiave 
^_) y prosecuted their desperate designs against the peace and safety 
of society, singly and in gangs ; but no other band, we think, 
was so successful in inveigling into its toils an equal number 
of confederates, distributed over the land, scattered through every 
neighborhood, whose operations were so adroit and connections so 
skillfully concealed, and who secreted stolen property, counterfeited 
money, and harbored red-handed criminals with such clandestine suc- 
cess as to make the keenest vigilance for a while appear like a drowsy 
god. The Green River bottoms in places w^ere gloomy, tangled, un- 
known swamps, which even the most curious and adventuresome hunters 
had not explored. The immense Inlet swamp, and the larger Green 
River swamp in the southwest corner of the county and the north part 
of Bureau, were trj'sting-places for the outlaws. Deep forests and 
rank vegetation covered them. The latter, a sink and den of horrors, 
was skirted by low and rambling hills, whose winding ravines were 
passes in all directions. The sparseness of population was also favora- 
ble to the commission of crime and the escape of criminals. Hiding- 
places were convenient and numerous. A man found no difficulty in 
secreting himself in the tall grass in low places. The rider who pene- 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 297 

trated the groves and marshes could elude pursuit; besides, friends un- 
known as accomplices, except to the robbers themselves, kept watch 
for their companions, communicated information to them, hid and pro- 
tected, fed and warmed them and shared their plunder ; and through a 
period of long-standing danger and excitement were able to defy 
detection by the people, who were paralyzed with wonder and alarm 
at the boldness and frequency of the crimes committed. Mysterious 
sights and discoveries went unexplained. Strangers on foot, sometimes 
mounted, of singular or suspicious appearance, now with bushy whis- 
kers and long hair, wearing slouch hats, suggesting dark and dangerous 
freebooters, again clad in spruce outfit, with tall beaver hats, and canes 
in hand, would be seen passing through the settlement. Children 
oUen came home with stories of such men seen when driving up the 
cows at night. Faint trails were discovered, and secluded spots where 
animals had been fed and men had lounged while waitino^; and at un- 
usual hours of night and in uncommon places the neighing of horses 
made women shudder, as they thought of the bandits at their work. 

Horse-stealing was but a recreation. Counterfeiting served well the 
purpose to absorb idle hours. Atrocious murder, blood-curdling and 
cruel, was committed and expiated on the scaffold without a sign of re- 
gret by these hardened men. People locked their stables, barricaded 
their doors, and placed their weapons within reach for instant use, not 
knowing what dreadful tragedy they might be actors in before morn- 
ing. Public helplessness to ferret out and bring to punishment the 
ruffians who set at naught every form and semblance of law destroyed 
all sense of securit}-. Suspicions were directed against some, and 
whispered about; others were so vague that no man dared more than 
entertain them. Men stood in doubt, if not in dread, of neighbors, 
and no one could deny that a strange thrill pervaded his consciousness 
as if everv man's hand was ao^ainst him. 

This gigantic crime against the state is adequately treated of else- 
where, and we are confined, perforce, to a relation of the local eflforts 
made for its suppression. The operations of the gang embraced the 
whole Mississippi valley, but its depredations in this region were suf- 
ficiently startling to awaken among the people and keep in constant 
activity the liveliest apprehensions. 

Among the most daring of these were the robbery of Mulford in 
Ogle county ; McKinney, at Rockford ; Miller, at Troy Grove ; George J^ 

E. Haskell, at Inlet ; the plot against the Dixon land office and the ■■ 

robbery of Frink, Walker & Go's stage ; the murderi^ Qampbcll. ^*^ 
"captain of the vigilance committee " in Ugle county, by three of the ^jsj 
desperadoes, two of whom, the Driscolls, were p r pinp tly lynched ; snd«?>^ 
the shocking murder of Col. Davenport at Rock Islan^Tuly 4, 18i5. 



Ar\^r 



298 



HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 




The active vigilance and cooperation of the whole community be- 
came immediately necessary. An attempted robbery near Inlet Grove 
implicated two of the principal citizens of the place, one of whom was 
the magistrate. These were arrested, and at the spring term of the 
"Lee county circuit court convicted and sentenced to three years' im- 
prisonment in the penitentiary. Both died before the expiration of 
their term. Soon after the arrest of these men, in the autumn of 
'""^^84:4:, Charles West, another citizen of Inlet Grove (who was also the 
constable^ was suspecte3~ofTlie robbery of the peddler Miller, at Troy 
Grove, and search being made some of the goods were found in his 
house. He was examined and committed for trial, but turned state's 
evidence and made what purported to be a full disclosure. His con- 
fession led to a number of searches and arrests, and considerable stolen 
property was recovered. Goods having been found in the house of an- 
other leading man at Inlet Grove, he was arrested (June 1845) and 
sent to the penitentiary for two years, but was pardoned and set at 
liberty after a few months. He had had a horse stolen, and while de- 
nj'ing any active participation in the robberies, or having profited by 
them, he accounted for his guilt}^ knowledge bj^ confessing that the 
brigands had proposed to return his horse as an equivalent for his 
friendship, and that in his anxiety to obtain his property he had al- 
lowed himself to become criminally associated with them. He denied all 
knowledge of the goods found in his house ; and it was and still is the 
belief that his wife and step-son were far more deeply involved than 
he. There were strong presumptions in his favor regarding the degree 
of his complicity, which led to his pardon. One of the methods by 
which the ringleaders extended their organization was to rob a man, 
then work on his sensibilities in this manner, and after he had once 
yielded in the least measure it was an easy matter to terrif}^ the victim 
into their ranks by threats of exposure. 

Close upon these surprising developments at Inlet Grove the peo- 
ple organized themselves into a body, styled "An Association for 
Furthering the Cause of Justice," and adopted a constitution, the pre- 
amble to which explains their motives and the necessity for their 
action. We acknowledge again our obligations to Mr. Ira Brewer for 
the original document, together with some resolutions and other pro- 
ceedings relating to the subject. 

" Whereas, Sundry depredations have been committed upon the 
property of the citizens of this vicinity from time to time, and ap- 
pearances have plainly shown that Inlet Grove has been a resting-place 
and depot for the numerous rogues that infest the country; and where- 
as it has now become a settled point in our belief that there are those 
about us who are not only willing to aid and succor the thief that 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 299 

passes through in the hour of darkness with his ill-gotten booty, but 
also to receive it at his hands and to share the spoils; and whereas, 
from the peculiar character of our country, and the numbers associated 
in the shape of banditti, it has been heretofore and is still diflScult for 
the officers of justice, with the individual assistance of the person 
robbed or suffering at their hands, to bring the offenders to justice ; 
therefore we, the undersigned, have agreed to form ourselves into an 
association for the purpose of aiding any man that unites with us in 
attempting to regain his property unlawfully taken, to protect our- 
selves from all incursions of a villainous character, to assist the officers 
of justice in taking rogues of all descriptions, and as much as may be 
to assist each other in maintaining good order in society, by keeping a 
constant look-out for all persons of a suspicious character, and we ac- 
cordingly pledge ourselves to each other to mutually exert ourselves as 
far as we are able to counteract the evils enumerated, as well as to 
bring about the good proposed." 

After providing for the customary offices of president, secretary and 
treasurer, and prescribing their duties, this instrument declares that a 
vigilance committee shall be appointed by the presiding officer, and 
defines it to be their duty " to receive from any member of the associ- 
ation any information relating to unlawful depredations made at any 
time upon the person or property of our members, and to report it 
forthwith to a person selected as chairman of said committee, whose 
duty it shall be to act in behalf of the society by communicating the 
information immediately to the officers of justice, and to obey any in- 
struction which may hereafter be given him by the association. The 
said committee shall elect said chairman, to be known to no one but 
themselves and the officers of justice; and he shall make his commu- 
nications to the said officers of justice as secretly as possible, in order 
to avoid the escape of a criminal or of persons suspected. Any mem- 
ber of the vigilance committee may report immediately to the officers 
of justice if he deem it advisable. 

"Article Fifth : A set of runners shall be appointed by the vigilance 

r_^,_i—— Till ^111 r — rr — ^ '■ '' '-' ^ 

committee whose duty ft shall be to start immediately in all directions 
that it may be supposed a rogue has gone, whenever anything shall 
appear to have been feloniously taken, or any mischief done to the 
property of our associated members, and to make all necessary 
search." Funds were to be raised by the subscription of members, and 
it is declared that they " shall consider themselves bound, by their sub- 
scribing to this constitution, to pay * * * as much as if they had 
given their note for value received," and they pledge themselves to pay 
to the treasurer on his demand as the vigilance committee require from 
time to time. 



300 HISTOEY OF LEE COUNTY. 

"Article Seventh. — We do hereby pledge ourselves mutually to do 
all in our power for the detection of all rogues; that we will be vigi- 
lant, and whenever any suspicious person shall be around will forth- 
with report him ; whenever any property shall appear under suspicious 
circumstances, will give information respecting the same, either to a 
member of our vigilance committee or directly to the officers of 
justice; and will do all in our power consistently with our circum- 
stances in life to make any sufferer hereafter from their attacks as good 
as before. 

" Article Eighth. — Any person who is not of a suspicious character 
may become a member of this association by signing the constitution ; 
but if objections are made to him at the time of joining by any 
member, he shall be admitted only by a vote of the association, the 
majority at all times ruling." 

In spite of their precautions it is said they did not succeed in keep- 
ing their ranks free from emissaries of the band, who thus got due 
apprisal of much that was going on. The expulsion of any member 
who should aid or countenance the outlaws was declared among the 
powers of the association, with the supplemental provision that he 
should " share his fate with them." The chairman of the vigilance 
committee was to be selected by that committee from the members of 
the association, and was to be " known to no one but themselves and 
the officers of justice." Meetings were to be held yearly for the election 
of officers, and extra meetings were to be called by the vigilance com- 
mittee, each of whom w^as to " take his share of notifying members of 
the association." 

"Article Twelfth. — We do hereby agree that our premises and 
buildings shall at all times be open and ready for search for missing 
property, and that any member of our vigilance committee shall at 
any time have liberty to search us our possessions without any legal 
process; and whenever we find any person unwilling to admit such 
search, the person so refusing it shall be considered suspicious, and legal 
measures shall be taken forthwith to search him and his premises, and 
he shall forfeit his membership in the association." 

This constitution was adopted November 4, 184 4, and sev enty-two 
w^ell known citizens attached~TTielr signatures', JMoses (Jrombie was 
elected president, Ira Brewer clerk, and George E. Haskell treasurer. 
The president appointed the following vigilance committee : Corydon 
R. Dewey, Sherman Shaw, George R. Linn, C. I. Hitchcock, Syl vanu8_ 
_JPetei'son, G. A. Ingalls, Harmon Wasson, and John C. ChurcTh Some 
resolutions were passed referring to the disclosures made by the detec- 
tion of the first two offenders arrested at Inlet, pronouncing judgment 
upon the guilty ; and also declaring the future course of the associa- 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 301 

tion toward all who should be found in criminal attitude. It is possi- 
ble now to remark only in general terms that the association rendered 
valuable service in the enforcement of the laws, and the final suppression 
of the band. The reader is by this time acquainted with the end pro- 
posed, and the means and methods adopted to accomplish it, and in the 
absence of detailed information it is enough to say that the sanguine 
aims of the organization were completely and speedily realized. The 
straggling records before us show that about the first of June, 1845, 
the community was thrown into fresh commotion, for on the 7th a 
meeting was held and George E. Haskell, C. I. Hitchcock and C. R. 
Dewey were appointed to report resolutions, which were accepted and 
laid over for consideration to an adjourned meeting of the 10th. 
These show that on the 6th one of the leading bandits was in the set- 
tlement, and it is charged that "it is confidently believed that 

had a conference yesterda}^ with the thief that passed through 



the grove," and warning him to beware of the wrath of the people. 
This was probably when they surrounded and beat up the grove for 
Fox (or Birch) and the audacious outlaw in gentlemanly garb and 
with walking-stick in hand coolly passed two citizens 0|ji the highway 
M'ho were stationed to intercept him and prevent his escape. They 
did not recognize him, and were so thoughtless as not to detain him. 
On another occasion one of the gang, riding a stolen horse, was 
chased into the grove; but he escaped and left the people balancing 
between excitement and disappointment. 

The last person arrested in the neighborhood a!id convicted was the 
one referred to in the resolution, and it was only a few days afterward 
tliat he was taken in custody. West's confession, we find, has brought 
him into danger from another quarter, for the association declare that 
" it is well known that the life of Charles West has been threatened," 
but " we are determined to protect the said Charles West at all events, 
and that if his life is taken we will take measures to avenge his death," 
and much more on the same point. They dedicate themselves to more 
efficient work by proposing to improve their communication with the 
people of Dixon and the settlements at the groves, and thus increase 
the facilities for arousing the country quickly; to appoint a special mes- 
senger to assist ^in giving immediate notice to the members in an 
emergency, and by instructing the vigilance committee to meet forth- 
with to prepare "for the summer campaign," and to continue their 
meetings frequently and regularly. 

Here, as in all assemblies, men advocated moderate or extreme 
measures, according as they were of radical or conservative temper. 
The resolutions in question bear marks of a threatening impatience, and 
we should not have been surprised if after having been so much harried 



302 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

with dangers and apprehensions the people had put their denunciations 
in more impetuous words. Dr. Adam s^ a prominent member, and, by the 
way, a democrat, whose ihffammable nature needed not such fuel as the 
situation furnished, advocated the resolutions in a strong speech, and 
proclaimed himself in favor of hunting the brigands like wolves. The 
Rev. John Cross, than whom no milder mannered man broke the bread 



'of -life, opposed these views in a neat and softening speech, deprecating 
violence, and expressing hope that the people would preserve their 
reputation for obeying the laws. Dr. Adams arose to reply, with fiery 
indignation stamped on every featurer^'Tn^a bitter retort he reminded 
the reverend gentleman that he might be a consistent stickler for the 
law if he would give absolutely none of his time to running off negroes 
on the underground railroad. The range was close, the shot deadly, 
and the preacher could not recover. The resolutions passed. 

This organization was a necessity of the time, and the only feasible 
adjunct to the arm of the law, which, without its aid, was utterly 
powerless. It numbered in its ranks all the better citizens, who ad- 
dressed themselves with energy and resolution to the business of pro- 
tecting the community from theft and murder. The execution of the 
Hodges, the Longs, and Young, crushed the head of the anaconda. 
Alarms ceased, and peace reigned once more. 

ORGANIZATION. 

Lee county adopted township organization in 1849, and the first 
election under this new form of local government was in the following 
spring. Anterior to this date Amboy was divided between the flank- 
ing precincts on the east and the west. When the township was 
christened a number of names were proposed, but none gave satisfac- 
tion until Miles Lewis suggested the name of Amboy, which was re- 
ceived with unanimous favor, and adopted. The first annual town 
meeting was held on Tuesdaj^, April 2 ; Joseph Farwell presided as 
moderator, and Joseph B. Appleton was elected clerk. Polling places 
were at school-houses and private residences until Amboy was built, 
when the town meetings were for several years held in Farwell Hall. 
John Dexter was an early magistrate. His way of doing business was 
not uncommon in his day on the border, but appeai-s novel to his suc- 
cessors of this period. Complaint had been made against a man for 
assault and battery, and he fined him three dollars; the constable whis- 
pered in the justice's ear, when he said he would change the fine, and 
imposed that amount on each the complainant and the defendant, and 
divided the costs between them. 

The subjoined list of township officers does not include the whole 
number, but the principal ones that can be made out from the records 
and other sources with certainty : 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 



303 





SUPERVrSOK. 


TOWN CLERK. 


ASSESSOR. 


COLLECTOR. 


1850. 


David Searles. 


J. B. Appleton. 


Martin Wright. 


A. H.Thompson. 


1851. 


David Searles. 


J. B. Appleton. 


Cyrus Bridgman. 


A. H. Thompson. 


1853. 


Moses Lathe. 


J. B. Appleton. 


Lot Chad wick. 


A. H.Thompson, 


1853. 


F. R. Dutcher. 


James Andruss. 


E. M. Blair. 


A. H.Thompson. 


1854. 


Simon Badger. 


J. B. Appleton. 


A. H. Thompson. 


Zanthe Reed. 


1855. 


J. B. Appleton. 


J. M. Davis. 


Stephen Stone. 


Julius Hale. 


1856. 


H. Wasson. 
H. E. Badger. 








1857. 


Josiah Little. 


Cyrus Bridgman. 


W. B. Andruss. 


1858. 


H. E. Badger. 


CD. Vaughan. 


Cyrus Bridgman. 


W. B. Andruss. 


1859. 


H. E. Badger. 


C. D. Vaughan. 


J. M. Davis. 


W. B. Andruss. 


1860. 


H. E. Badger. 


C. D. Vaughan. 


J. M. Davis. 


W. B. Andruss. 


1861. 


J. M. Davis. 


C. D. Vaughan. 


Simon Badger. 


C. D. Sears. 


1862. 


Josiah Little. 


C D. Vaughan. 


D. H. Crocker. 


Isaac Edwards. 


1863. 


Josiah Little. 


W. B. Andruss. 


C. D. Sears. 


J. E. Whiting. 


1864. 


H. E. Badger. 


W. B. Andruss. 


C. D. Sears. 


J. C. Church. 


1865. 


H. E. Badger. 


W. B. Andruss. 


C. D. Sears. 


Isaac Edwards. 


1866. 


H. E. Badger. 


W. B. Andruss. 


J. C. Church. 


J. S. Baker. 


1867. 


H. E. Badger. 


W. B. Andruss. 


David Crocker. 


E. P. Walker. 


1868. 


Isaac Edwards. 


Chas. P. Ives. 


Lee Cronkrite. 


Chas. W. Bell. 


1869. 


Isaac Edwards. 


Chas. P. Ives. 


Lee Cronkrite. 


E. E. Chase. 


1870. 


F. R. Dutcher. 


Chas. P. Ives. 


D. H. Crocker. 


Michael Carroll. 


1871. 


Chester Badger. 


J. T. Tait. 


D. H. Crocker. 


J. R. Patterson. 


1873. 


F. R. Dutcher. 


J. T. Tait. 


D. H. Crocker. 


0. F. Warriner. 


1873. 


Chester Badger. 


C. E. Ives. 


D. H. Crocker. 


M. Carroll. 


1874. 


Chester Badger. 


C. E. Ives. 


D. H. Crocker. 


M. Carroll. 


1875. 


Chester Badger. 


C. E. Ives. 


D. H. Crocker. 


Ira Smith. 


1876. 


Chester Badger. 


C. E. Ives. 


Lee Cronkrite. 


E. E. Chase. 


1877. 


Chester Badger. 


W. P. Barnes. 


Lee Cronkrite. 


Isaac Edwards. 


1878. 


Isaac Edwards. 


D. F. Strickland. 


Lee Cronkrite. 


Oscar Spangler. 


1879. 


Isaac Edwards. 


L. L. Staup. 


Lee Cronkrite. 


Ira Smith. 


1880. 


Isaac Edwards. 


James Mead. 


Lee Cronkrite. 


N. B. Koontz. 


1881. 


Isaac Edwards. 


Geo. Kiefer. 


Lee Cronkrite. 


W. J. Edwards. 



Badger and Ives resigned in December 1874, and Channcy D. 
Sears and James T. Tait were appointed to the respective vacancies. 
Again in April follovv^ing they resigned their offices. In both cases 
these resignations were owing to complications of the township arising 
from certain outstanding railroad bonds. 



PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS. 

The first road laid through the township connected Grand de Tour 
and Peru; the second one ran from Inlet Grove to Prophetstown, 
Binghamton and Rocky Ford lying on the route. Main street in 
Am boy is identical with it, and the large cotton wood trees which flank 
it to the right and left of the Congregational church were planted by 
the hand of Joseph Farwell to mark its course. 

The old Central railroad, on which the state in a crazy freak squan- 
dered over a million dollars, was surveyed and partly built through this 
township. The charter was first granted to Darius B. Holbrook, but be- 
fore he had organized a company the legislature repealed it, and included 



304 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

this work in the system of public improvements undertaken by the state 
in 1836-7. After the public credit failed he obtained a renewal of his 
charter, with a grant of all the work that had been done. Dr. Harri- 
son, of Peru, took a contract to build part of the line, and sent a force 
of laborers here in the fall of 1841 to renew the grading which had 
been begun four or iivo years before and worked upon at intervals after- 
ward. He started a bank in Peru and issued circulation ; but one day 
somebody went down and demanded specie for his paper, and was re- 
fused. When news of this reached the gang of men up here they 
dropped their tools, and the sun never rose on a resumption of the 
work. Harrison's paper was in the hands of people in this section, 
where it has remained so long that its "staying qualities" are fully and 
forever established. It was known as "Bangs' railroad money," and 
is a reminiscence of "wildcat" banking, and of the old Central 
"wildcat" improvement. Remains of the old work are yet visible. 

The only resemblance ever borne by the present Central railroad to 
the former was in the name. Stephen A. Douglas procured the re- 
lease of Holbrook's charter, and was the author of the measure which 
brought this grand enterprise into successful existence. Congress 
passed the bill in 1850, and the next winter the Illinois legislature in- 
corporated the company. The survey was completed in 1851, and the 
succeeding year construction began. The division from Mendota to 
Freeport was formally opened for trajQEic February 1, 1855. The first 
train reached Amboy earl}'^ in November 1854. 

The construction of the Chicago, Amboy & Upper Mississippi 
railroad was loudly agitated at one time; a charter was procured and 
the survey direct from Amboy to Chicago made in 1856, under the 
direction of Col. P. B. Mason. No stock was taken and the under- 
taking failed. But direct communication with Chicago was an object 
having many attractions, and was sure some time to furnish the 
triumphant argument for a road. The situation was improved when, 
at the session of 1868-9, Alonzo Kinyon, a member of the legislature 
from Lee county, obtained from that body a charter for the Chicago 
& Rock River railroad, which was to extend east from Rock Falls 
and intersect the Central at Calumet. On the organization of the 
company in May 1869, Mr. Kinyon was elected president. Amboy 
township was asked to take stock in the road to the amount of $100,000, 
and on July 26, 1869, voted to do so, polling 517 votes in favor of the 
proposition, to 92 against it. On March 30, 1870, the contract for 
building the road was awarded to a New York compan3\ It was to 
be finished by the 1st of January following ; but on July 28, the work 
having made little headway, the contractor was relieved at his own 
request, and the construction relet to Hinckley & Co. Still little was 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 305 

done, and in September it was announced that Messrs. Wicker, Mick- 
lin & Co., of Chicago, had contracted to complete the road within a 
year, from Calumet to Rock Falls, and within two 3'ears from Amboy 
to Bureau Junction. The last rail was laid between Amboy and Rock 
Falls January 4, 1872 ; and on Wednesday, June 19, the road was 
finished to Paw Paw. Some of the towns between Amboy and Rock 
Falls that had voted to take stock failed, when that division of the 
road was built, to transfer their bonds ; and on the election of the new 
board in January, the contractors, holding the larger amount of stock, 
were able to reorganize the board of directors to suit their purposes. 
This board, in June, sold the first mortgage bonds to the Chicago, 
Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company. In July it was decided 
to extend the time for the completion of the road one year, and in the 
meantime to make temporary connection with the Chicago & Iowa 
railroad at Shabbona. To the people of Amboy this was the certain 
knell of all their hopes, for it told in action, which is said to speak 
plainer than words, that the road was a failure, that it would not be 
completed as originally proposed. But Amboy had shouldered the 
elephant by delivering the bonds. She enjoyed a season of great ex- 
pectations, thinking that the headquarters of the company would be 
established here, and dreaming of machine shops, and how Amboy 
was to become a city of furnaces and forges; for all this had been 
guaranteed in the language of the most eloquent promises. The pic- 
ture was dazzling. 

The first regular passenger train went over the road Wednesday, 
October 16, 18T2. The road now connects with the trunk line at 

Sandwich. 

SCHOOLS. 

The first school-house in Amboy township was built of logs in the 
year 1839, and situated on the Sublette road, just south of the railroad 
crossing. Lucy Ann Church was the first teacher. Men were employed 
in winter and women in summer. Leonard Pratt, John Carey, Ira Hale, 
David Hale and Charlotte Doan taught in this house. After the Wasson 
school-house, the second in the township, and a frame building, was 
erected in 1845, the former was moved farther south and put up near 
the Lewis homestead. Here Roena Badger and Roxy Wasson taught for 
many years, and they seemed, in fact, to be the principal dependence of 
the community for summer teachers. John Scott, an able pedagogue, 
who died afterward in California, taught first in the Wasson district. 
The Misses Badger and Wasson, H. E. Badger and Lyman C. Wheat 
were also early teachers in the same place. John C. Church, who was a 
director, tells an anecdote on himself with considerable relish. He had 
hired Wheat to teach, and the latter, as a matter of course, invited 



306 HISTORY OF LEE DOTJNTY. 

him to visit the school. Church replied in his positive way: "I hired 
you to keep the school, and now I want you to do it." But, passing one 
afternoon on his way home from Binghampton, he thought he would 
drop in to see how teacher and pupils were getting on. The grammar 
class was called, and a book was politely handed him. Now, Mr. 
Church never studied grammar but half a day in his whole life ; but he 
made immense progress in that short time. It used to be the case that 
the less one had studied grammar the more positive he was that it was 
of no utility, and in order to respect his positiveness he had to convince 
himself that he knew a good deal on the subject. But not so with a 
ready learner like Mr. Church. That half-day's ramble with Lindley 
Murray among nouns and pronouns and their fellows of speecii had 
disclosed imponderable mysteries to his view ; but he still has a lurk- 
ing recollection that the subject was "dry." The teacher and the 
class got into a protracted dispute involving some question on the 
lesson, and to settle it the former appealed to Mr. Church, whose 
diplomatic answer was, "You are correct; that is the way it should be 
parsed." This response killed the controversy " as dead as a door nail." 
That night he told Wheat of his shrewd escape, and was complimented 
no less for his foresight in avoiding the part of principal in the argu- 
ment than for his ability to use all that he had learned in half a day's 
study of grammar. 

In an early day an irregular select school was kept at Rocky Ford. 
Amboy township now comprises ten districts, and in 18T9 the total 
school expenditures were $8,284. 

RELIGIOUS. 

The frontier itinerant was a truly divine laborer. Courage and 
industry were the preeminent virtues of his activity. His circuit 
embraced what would now seem an incredible extent of country, and 
he did well if he served all his appointments once every month. To 
defy distance and weather was a regular habit. He usually traveled 
on hoi-seback, carrying, in capacious saddle-bags, a small bible, a hymn 
book, and a homely luncheon. Often he would ride thirty miles to 
preach a funeral sermon, and forty or fifty to marry a couple for three 
dollars. But he did not scorn privations and overcome obstacles for 
money ; it was a pleasure to be about his Master's work. He grew 
strong in view of the great field and the waiting harvest, and his soul 
was animated by the simple joy and hearty salutations which the warm 
hearts of the people always expressed at his coming. But before cir- 
cuits were formed the zealous messengers of the truth rode through 
the wilderness visiting the scattered settlements and carrying the heal- 
ing news of the Good Shepherd. His arrival was the signal for word 



AM BOY TOWNSHIP. 307 

to £;o forth like a swift joy in every direction to summon together the 
hungry souls. Meetings were held in the cabins, and in God's first 
temples, the groves. On these occasions full hearts rendered thanks 
to God for the preservation of life and health of the minister of peace, 
and the hardy settlers from the abounding dangers of the exposed 
frontier, and appealed in earnest invocations for his continued grace 
and precious mercy, and deliverance from the distemper of the soul — 
sin. Then, with the service over, he departed on his rugged journey, 
refreshed with the hospitality of his full-souled entertainers, and laden 
with the provisions which the thoughtful housewife had prepared for 
his comfort, bearing on his head their blessings, and followed by silent 
prayers for his safety and return. 

Tlie first minister around whom the early settlers gathered for 
gospel instruction was Father Gorbus, a Methodist preacher well ad- 
vanced in years, who came from Indian creek. At this early period 
denominations exerted no influence; congregations were composed of 
ever}' sect and those who represented no sect, all feeling and acknowl- 
edging a common necessity for worship. Father Gorbus received his 
pay in provisions, such as potatoes, and meat, and flour. 

Money was not plentiful. It was a commodity little seen,, and for 
man}' years commanded an annual rate not less than twenty-five per cent. 

As an instance of the dearness of money and the cheapness of 
stock, produce, and labor, F. H. Northway says he tried to redeem his 
note for $3.75, in the hands of a neighbor, by offering a yearling steer, 
two shoats weighing 125 pounds each, and two days' work. This was 
declined, and he v/as sued, 

A German Baptist, Father Hetchler, came very early, perhaps was 
next to Father Gorbus. It is thought that Rev. Curtis Lathrop, a 
Methodist, was the third, and that Father White, another Methodist, was 
the fourth ; but regarding order we do not profess any certainty. 
Elder DeWolf was an educated Episcopalian, who settled on the Chi- 
cago road, between Dixon and Inlet Grove, but after a few years re- 
turned to the east. In 1843 the Rev, Donaldson, from Dover, who 
preached here at times, assisted in organizing the first Congregational 
church in Lee county, at the house of Deacon Moses Crombie, This 
was called the " Congregational Church of Palestine Grove," and the 
members worshiped several years at the Wasson school-house. The 
Rev. John Morrell, the first pastor, was followed by the Rev. Inger- 
soll (father of Col. Robert G. Ingersoll), and he was succeeded by the 
Rev. Joseph Gardiner and the Rev. Mr. Pierson. About 1849 this 
congregation removed its place of worship to Lee Center, and changed 
the name of the society to that of the new locality. From this the 
present Amboy society has descended. What is known of the first 



308 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Methodist society is recorded in the sketch of Binghainton. Another 
very early organization was the Palestine Grove Baptist church, but 
we are not able to state what year it took regular form. The Rev. 
Charles Cross, now living in Amboy township, became the regular pastor 
in 1847, and filled the pulpit some time. The membership was located 
on both sides of the grove, and when Amboy and Sublette were built the 
society naturally broke in two, and the parts gravitated to these towns. 
The records were retained by the Sublette division. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints obtained a foot- 
hold and a large membership at an early date. The first preacher to 
come was William Anderson, who got permission to preach in John 
Hook's house. Traveling preachers came along at intervals, and some- 
thing of a band was formed, which grew to considerable proportions in 
a short while. Any reference to this sect will lead us to tell the story of 
the prophet's arrest in this township. His wife, before marriage, was 
Emma Hale, sister to Alva Hale, of Sublette, and David Hale and 
Mrs. Benjamin Wasson, of Amboy. In the community were acquaint- 
ances of Smith's boyhood, and one at least. Uncle Asa Searles, had 
been a school-fellow. Occasionally Smith visited his friends in the 
vicinity of Palestine Grove, and the presence of his followers, who 
numbered some of the most respectable families, made his journeys here 
doubly pleasurable. At such times he always pi'eached, and the people 
came to the log school-house situated on the Sublette road, a few rods 
south of where the railroad is, to listen to his vehement oratory. 
It is more than probable that his visits were prompted by other motives 
than pleasure and duty, for when the saints were driven in vengeance 
from Missouri, the leaders, including the prophet, were tried before a 
drum-head court-martial and sentenced to be shot for treason, but were 
saved from this mobbish proceeding by the humane intervention of 
Gen. Doniphan, who afterward became justly celebrated for his brilliant 
achievements during the Mexican war. These men were held in 
custody for trial, on charges of theft, arson, treason and murder, but 
escaped and came to Nauvoo. In the autumn of 1841 the governor of 
Missouri made a requisition on Gov. Carlin, of this state, for the deliv- 
ery of the fugitives. A writ was issued, but being soon after returned 
unexecuted. Gov. Carlin again placed it in the hands of an oflacer, and 
Smith was this time arrested. He was taken before Judge Douglas, 
who was then sitting on the supreme bench, and discharged upon a writ 
of habeas corpus, " upon the ground that the writ upon which he had 
been arrested had been once returned before it was executed, and was 
functus officio." The next year the governor issued a new writ, and 
" Smith was arrested again, and was either rescued by his followers or 
discharged by the municipal court [a Mormon tribunal] on a writ of 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 309 

habeas corpus." In his " History of Illinois," Gov. Ford has given a 
circnmstantial relation of these arrests, and we follow his account, in- 
jecting such further particulars as we have reason to believe are authen- 
tic. In June, 1843, the governor of Missouri renewed his demand for 
the arrest and surrender of Smith, and accordingly " a new warrant, 
in pursuance of the constitution of the United States, was issued, and 
placed in the hands of a constable in Hancock. This constable and 
the Missouri agent hastened to Nauvoo to make the arrest, where 
they ascertained that Joe Smith was on a visit to Rock river. 
They pursued him thither, and succeeded in arresting him in 
Palestine Grove, in the count}' of Lee." Mrs. Smith was here visiting 
her relations, and the prophet, as was natural for him to do, had joined 
her, and had spoken once at the log school-house, in a Sunday discussion 
with a Methodist preacher named Headly, regarding the authenticity 
of the " Book of Mormon." The next day he was called upon by 
these two men, and on being told that they had a warrant for him, he 
forcibly undertook to contest their ability to make him prisoner. " He 
was lull six feet high, strongly built, and uncommonly well muscled," 
and with the two united against him the struggle that followed was a 
desperate one. He was at length overpowered, but not till all had re- 
ceived bruises enough to show that each had been in the ' thickest of 
the fight.'" 

This episode occasioned the wildest excitement ; the people sus- 
pected the legality of the arrest, and were not sure that it was not a 
ruse to get him away where he could be made the victim of insult and 
violence. A crowd followed to Dixon to insure fair play, and finally 
consented for the captors to depart with their prisoner without oppo- 
sition. "The constable immediately delivered his prisoner to the 
Missouri agent, and returned his warrant as having been executed. 
The agent started with his prisoner in the direction of Missouri, but 
on the road was met by a number of armed Mormons, who captured 
the whole party, and conducted them in the direction of Nauvoo. 
Further on they were met by hundreds of the Mormons, coming to 
the rescue of their prophet, who conducted him in grand triumph to 
his own cit3^" A writ of habeas corpus was sued out of the municipal 
court " composed of Joe Smith's tools and particular friends," and by 
this court he was discharged. A year later he and his brother Hiram 
were basely murdered by an infuriated and cowardly mob ; and as soon 
as the twelve apostles who were absent on missionarj^ work, could 
return, they, with Brigham Young at their head, usurped the govern- 
ment of the church. Numbers of Smith's followers had become dis- 
affected before his death ; the ranks of these were now augmented by 
considerable accessions, and a sciiism of no little importance was the 



310 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

result. Many of those who withdrew had to make their escape secret- 
ly to save their property, and they formed the nucleus of the reorgan- 
ized church, which abjures polygamy. By these the claim is made 
that the prophet was not a patron of spiritual wifeism, but this is not 
to be at once admitted. 

Aaron Hook, who had lived at Nauvoo and been ordained an elder, 
returned to Rocky Ford to take up his residence ; he sometimes 
preached, and was an influential man among those of his faith. About 
the time of the hegira to Salt Lake, William Smith, a brother to the 
prophet, came among the saints at the Ford and organized a branch. 
He claimed to be a representative of the younger Joseph, son of the 
prophet and a mere lad, and that it was his duty to rule and direct the 
people until the latter should assume the first place, or prophetship, in 
the church. Smith remained here awhile preaching and extending his 
congregation until it numbered no fewer than sixty souls. The com- 
pany was swelled by arrivals from Ohio and other places. Aaron 
Hook fitted up his house with a hall which was used for their services. 
They laid out a town on the ridge north of Rocky Ford, and at one 
time there was talk of building a temple, but the conception was never 
carried out. In course of time Smith got into bad odor with outsiders, 
and was once arrested for bigamy, but was not convicted, and in a 
little while he removed to other parts. The branch he had established 
lost its energy after his departure. Besides the Hooks, Edwin Cadwell 
who came to the township in 1848, and is still living here, has been a 
leading and respected Mormon. Wentworth Blair, Stephen Stone 
and his father, and David L. Doan belong to the same category. 

The further history of the sect in this place is uneventful until the 
year 1860, when, on April 6, the anniversary of the founding of the 
church, the annual conference assembled in Amboy, with representa- 
tives from the diff'erent branches in Iowa, Michigan, and this state; 
and Joseph Smith, jr., of Piano, was solemnly installed prophet and 
high priest in the old Mechanics' hall. Two conferences are held 
annually; for several years the spring gathering met at Amboy and 
the autumnal meeting in Iowa. Conversions and additions to the 
church have been made at difierent times, and the society has a mem- 
bership of about forty. Joseph Smith, jr., who is a highly respected 
man, resides at Piano, where the headquarters of the church are 
established and the publications issued. Removal to Iowa is decided 
upon for this year. 

BINGHAMTON. 

This town was laid out in the S.E. J of Sec. 14, T. 21 K, R. 10 E. of 
the 4th P.M., in April 1848, by the proprietor, Asa B. Searles, and 
named in honor of the city of that name, county seat of Broome county, 





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■ ■iiW'4 



Lewis Clapp 



T 

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THE NEW \ORK 
PUBLIC LinilARY 



ASTOli. LKNOX AND 
TILUKN FOlliNDATJONS 



B 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 311 

'New York, from which county a large number of the tirst settlers in 
this vicinity emigrated. Some lots were at the same time laid oif on 
the S.W. ^ of Sec. 13 for Warren Badger as part of the town. Mr. 
Searles built and kept the Binghamton House, and also erected a store 
and took Edward Waters into partnership. Henry Porter bought them 
out, and he in turn sold to the Union Company, a cooperative concern 
run on the stock principle and conducted by James H. Preston. 
While Mr. Searles was keeping public house, Robert G. Ingersoll, the 
now celebrated orator and infidel, then about sixteen 3'ears of age, was 
his man-of-all-work on the premises a full 3'ear. The Ingersoll family 
lived in the neighborhood three years from about 1846 ; the father was 
Congregational minister, and he and the boys, John, Ebon and Bob, 
farmed some on rented land. The latter, we are told, was a live boy, 
full of fun and stories. In 18M a flouring-mill, the first built in Lee 
county, was raised here by John Dexter and the Badger brothers, 
Warren and Palmer. The latter was crushed and killed by a bank of 
earth falling upon him, and his place in the partnership was taken by 
Chester Badger. In 1858 he (Chester) and his brother Henry pur- 
chased the property, and in the following winter introduced steam 
power. On Thursday night, July 18, 1872, it was burned to the 
ground, and the proprietors sustained a loss of $6,000, the sum of 
$8,000 being covered by insurance. It was at once rebuilt, and Chester 
Badger sold his interest to H. E. Badger & Son, who operated it until 
its late destruction. It was struck and set on fire by lightning in the 
evening of July 21, 1881 ; the value of mill and stock was $16,000, 
with an insurance of $6,000. This mill was furnished with all the 
modern improvements, was run both by water and steam, and its de- 
struction was not only a heavy loss to the owners, but a serious one 
also to the community. 

James Doan set up a plow factory, but after a year sold to Freder- 
ick Bainter; and in 1846 another was started by the Shaws and 
Churches. In 1851 H. E. Badger entered into partnership with 
Bainter, but they soon dissolved, and the next year the manufacture 
was continued by Henry and Chester Badger, while Bainter carried on 
another shop. In 1854 James Dexter built a saw-mill. David Crocker 
and David Searles, partners, and Warren Badger were storekeepers not 
before mentioned. Besides the " Binghamton," there was another 
place of public entertainment known as the "Reed House." The 
town had two custom blacksmiths, a shoemaker, one wagon shop and 
a carding machine. After the mail and stage route was changed and 
the postoffice removed from Shelburn to Binghamton in 1850 this 
became a brisk place of trade and manufacture, whose crowded hotels 
were an index of the great travel by this route. 
19 



312 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

About 1840 a Methodist class was organized in this settlement, and 
among the original members were Joseph Doan, Curtis Bridgraan, 
Andrew Bainter, and their wives, and Aunt Betsy Doan. Frederick 
Bainter, Joseph Lewis, Henry E. Badger and their wives were leading 
members. This society was in the Lee Center circuit, and in 1851 
they erected a house of worship in this town. When Amboy sprang 
into existence H. E. Badger purchased the building, and another was 
reared in the rising city. That was used a few years and then sold to 
the district for a school-house. 

Bingharaton is situated a mile east of Am boy, and certainly it 
was not expected that she would never languish like all old-time towns 
which the modern system of travel has failed to rescue from decay, but 
nevertheless she has carried herself proudly in her desolation. The 
only business interest of which she is not now bereft is the plow fac- 
tory of W. I. Fish, if we except the Amboy Drain Tile and Brick 
Works erected the present season by Wightwick & Stone less than half 
a mile north of the place. These works represent a growing and im- 
portant industry, which is destined to exercise an influence in the de- 
velopment of wealth beyond all calculation. The main building is 
50x100 feet, two stories high, and the facilities for burning include 
four of Tiffany's patent square, down-draft kilns, all under one roof, so 
arranged as to utilize the waste heat of the kiln while cooling in firing 
the next. Tiffany's Centennial Tiffany Brick and Tile Machine is the 
one used for moulding, and this is propelled by a Siamese Twins Du- 
plex engine of twenty-horse power. The fixtures are all of the latest 
pattern, and comprise some very recent novel and valuable improve- 
ments. Messrs. Wightwick & Stone intend to operate the year round 
by means of steam drying in winter, which will give their factory a 
capacity of 2,000,000 tiles annually. Additions to their works are to 
be made in the near future. 

The first interment in the cemetery at this town was Patience, wife 
of A. B. Searles, who died December 19, 1846. The place was used 
as a common burial lot until March 1856, when the Binghamton 
Cemetery Association was formed, and a piece of land bought from 
Mr. Searles and put under fence. Three soldiers of the late war are 
buried here: Otis Bridgman, who enlisted at Amboy, May 1861, in 
Co. C, 13th 111. Vols., served three years, and died of disease contracted 
in the service; John Bainter, whose enlistment was the same in all 
respects, was mustered out January 15, 1864, and died from the same 
cause March 24; and John Lewis, who enlisted in Co. G, 39th 111. Vols. 
(Yates' phalanx), at Amboy, in August 1861, served on the Peninsula 
campaign, was discharged, and died November 22, 1864, of disease 
contracted in the army. 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 313 

ROCKY FORD AND SHELBURN. 

This place was one of the earliest settled in the township, and for 
many years was the central point of interest. The ford has made it a, 
crossing-place from time immemorial. The Indian trail from Council 
Bluffs to Chicago crossed here ; and in the time of the Black Hawk war 
the command under Maj. Stillman forded the stream at this point on 
their way to gather laurels at Stillman's Run. Timothy Perkins is 
generally credited with having been the iirst permanent settler. In 
company with Horace Bowen he erected a saw-mill which passed suc- 
cessively into the hands of Lee, Mason, Yan Norman, and Dutcher. 
Van Norman was a relic of the Patriot war in Canada (1836-8), where 
he suffered imprisonment, but escaping in the summer of 1837 reached 
Dixon. He took a contract of grading on the old Central railroad at 
this point, which brought him here as a resident. The Peru and 
Galena road, which passed this place, was a stage route some years, 
and after the completion of the canal was a highway of heavy traffic 
and travel. In 1848 Frederick Dutcher bought the property from 
Daniel Mason and Horace Stump, and the next year platted the village 
of Shelburn, making the creek divide it through the center. Imme- 
diately on laying out the place he erected a small distillery on the 
south bank, and in 1853 added a store. He was followed a year after- 
ward by Jacob Doan, who put up another store. A few houses were 
built, and eventually the town came to be one where a very large busi- 
ness was transacted. The large flouring-mill and distillery combined, 
whose erection was begun in 1856 by the Shelburn Manufacturing 
Company, of which Mr. Dutcher was president, was the main feature 
which kept the place alive. The structure was built of stone, the 
mill proper being 60x60 feet, four s.tories high, and the distillery 
40x140, two and one-half stories. The dam was of masonry, and the 
cost of the whole property $65,000. The late Col. Wyman was a 
prominent member of this company. In 1859 an explosion threw 
down part of the south wall of the building, and projected the boiler- 
thirty rods, landing it south of the creek. John Bentley, the engineery 
was seriously injured, and the loss was $4,000. About ten years after- 
ward the building was destroyed by fire. 

Postal facilities were obtained after a few years, but at first the 
nearest post-office was at Dixon. Asa B. Searles was the first postmas- 
ter in this township, and was appointed by Amos Kendall about 1840. 
The office was kept at his house. His second incumbency was under 
Polk at the time he was keeping store at Binghamton. He resigned,, 
and was succeeded by Warren Badger. The first north-and-south 
route of travel through this section was from Galena to Peoria, viof 
Dixon, but it was at 'length changed to Peru. In 1842 it became a 



314 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

mail-route, and the carrier, a Dutchman, made the trip on horseback 
every week without failure during the year, stopping at John Hook's 
Monday nights as he went north, and Friday nights as he went south. 
The next year Frink & Walker put on a line of stages and carried the 
mail, and about two years after that Andruss & Dixon started an oppo- 
sition line. The Shelburn post-office was established, with Mr. Dutcher 
as postmaster, but in the rivalry between this place and Binghamton 
the latter procured the removal of the office, and the diversion of the 
stage-route to that point. This was too mortifying to be endured, and 
about as soon as it could be done the office was renewed under the 
name of Equator. By the removal of buildings and loss by fire and 
fiood Shelburn has nearly disappeared. 

CITY OF AMBOY. 

This embowered little city, second in size in Lee county, contain- 
ing nearly 2,500 inhabitants, is situated in the Green River valley at 
the intersection of the Illinois Central and the Rock River branch of 
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad, and is overlooked from 
north and south by beautiful stretches of country which gradually 
rise to elevations of almost seventy feet. The first beginnings on the 
site of this place were made in 1838 by John Sawyer, who built a 
cabin on the bank of the creek ; and Cj^rus Davis, who erected another 
just in front of where the Baptist church stands on Mason street. 
Davis built the first frame house, which was begun in the fall of 1845, 
and finished the next spring. This stood in the street when the town 
was platted, but was moved to the east side where it is still used as a 
dwelling. Sawj'er sold his claim to Joseph Farwell and Joseph B. 
Appleton. Farwell came in 1841 and built where Lucius Clark's resi- 
dence stands on the corner of Main street and Adams avenue, and his 
farm was the IST.E. ^ Sec. 22. Appleton settled here permanently in 
1844, but first came as an unmarried man two or three 3^ears prior to 
that date. The homestead is situated in the west part of the town. He 
built the second frame house. Josiah M. Davis and his father Joel, 
who settled here about 1848, lived close to the western limits. 

This city is the offspring of the Central railroad. In the early 
summer of 1851 the surveying parties under the chief engineer, Ros- 
well B. Mason, took their several stations on the line and immediately 
began preliminary operations. T. B. Blackstone, whose name has been 
given to one of the streets in the original town, had charge of the 
squad emploj^ed between Dixon and Bloomington. In December 
1852 K. F. Booth, for several years afterward a resident of Amboy, 
came to this place at the head of a small party whose business was to 
direct the work on this part of the route. A company, distinct from 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 315 

the Illinois Central Railroad Company, but composed in part, if not 
wholly, of stockholders in the latter, purchased and owned the land for 
the village plats along the road. They bought the Lay farm for a 
depot and station two miles above here in the direction of Dixon, 
which was subsequently sold to a conductor named Cole. They gave 
out word that the company would erect machine shops at that point ; 
a few loads of stone were hauled there, and the place named Kepatau. 
If there was ever any real intention of making a station and building 
shops there it was of very brief duration. H. B. Judkins came down 
one day, and securing the company of a certain influential citizen, went 
to Farwell, and pretending to be a returned Californian, said he want- 
ed to buy a stock-farm, and a bargain was forthwith made for the 
" Farwell slough farm," as old. settlers had named it, for $13 per acre. 
John B. Wyman, assistant superintendent of the road, hastened to buy 
out Cyrus Davis, and then Farwell was given to understand that if he 
had any wish to secure himself he should lose no time in doing it, 
and he accordingly purchased the farm from his son-in-law, Curtis 
Bridgman. The land company made a deed of trust to Messrs. 
Ketchum and Gray ; and Col. Mason, who was superintendent as well 
as chief engineer of road, acted as their attornev. 

In June, 1853, Michael Egan was sent to this place to commence the 
mason work on the station buildings, and in the autumn of the same 
year D. S. Clark was put in charge of the carpenter work. Some time 
during the season Mr. Booth prepared the plans for the machine shops, 
and Mr. Egan laid the foundations and pushed the construction with 
his characteristic energy throughout the following winter. In the 
spring the walls of the passenger house were up and the building 
inclosed ; in course of the summer both that and the freight house 
were completed, and before winter the machine shops were in a 
forward state of progress. Most of the other shops which the company 
now have were built in the following year, 1855. 

The year 1854 was the natal year of Amboy. In January or Feb- 
ruary a Frenchman by the name of Meyer, under the directions of Col. 
Mason, came and laid out the town, completing his survey March 24. 
On July 26 the first bonds for deeds were executed. John L. Skinner 
was the first purchaser of lots. He paid $600 for the northeast corner lot 
on Main street and East avenue, now occupied by the Badger building. 
On this he began the erection of the Orient House in the fall of 1854 ; 
in September, 1855, it was completed, and opened to the public by 
the Lee brothers, who were proprietors one j^ear under lease. Charles 
W. Bell, who had been grading on the road nearly a year, in August, 
1853, came here with his family and opened a boarding-house for rail- 
road men in a mammoth, barn-like shanty belonging to the companj', 



316 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

and which had been erected near the spot where the Baptist church 
stands. On Januarj^ 21 this caught fire and burned down, but was 
immediately rebuilt by the companj^ When Mr. Bell settled in the 
place Cyrus Davis had moved away ; Appleton was on the homestead ; 
Farwell was about to move, or had just moved to his new purchase; 
Alvan H. Thompson was living at his old home where Superintendent 
Jacobs resides; and a transient family occupied the Davis dwelling. 
These comprised the population of Amboy, which, by the way, was 
not yet surveyed and christened, except some railroad employes who 
could not at that time be regarded as settlers. Isaac Edwards, who 
graded seven miles of the railroad, settled temporarily south of the 
Inlet this year. 

By the following spring K. F. Booth, D. S. Clark, and Michael 
Egan were occupying residences with their families; and from this 
time the place made rapid growth after the nervous fashion of western 
towns. The " live Yankees " began to pour in, and their partiality 
for the location at once decided the complexion of society. All availa- 
ble room was speedily secured; every shingle covered a boarder, and 
the demand for lodgings was as unfortunate as Oliver Twist's cry for 
'' more." The science of storing away was grasped and learned, and 
every house was crammed to its utmost capacity from ground to garret. 
Boxes and trunks were piled one above another against the walls to 
make room to spread the tables for meals, and for the beds upon the 
floors at night. This was nearing first principles, still these people 
found more pleasures than hardships, for virtuous freedom may always 
be enjoyed, and never so much as when those who voluntarily come 
together with a common purpose have more wants than privileges to 
divide. " Roughing it," never unmixed with a certain excitement, had 
its fascinations, and was encountered with a relish. Busy thoughts and 
hands and light hearts brought health and zest to every individual, 
and when people came together, as they often sought and had occasion 
to do, joy and mirth were spontaneous and unconfined. Amusements 
were not wanting; and though rude and simple, they served the 
goodly end of recreation, and kept men from base employments. 
Dancing, the favorite, was indulged with the fondaess of early days. 
After supper was over and dusk had come, the room was cleared of 
chairs and tables by piling them up out of doors, and from that time 
till morning was nigh the cheerful voices of the violin and flute were 
blended in the pleasing strains of the Fisher's Hornpipe, the Arkansaw 
Traveler, and other familiar pieces; and Virginia reels and other 
figures were executed by never wearying feet. The already quickened 
energies of the people took a new impulse in the whirl of labor and 
business into which everybody plunged with an absorbing ambition 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 317 

for the fruits of industrj^ and improved opportunities. Men came 
with their families, and failing to find lodgings, hastily put up rough 
shanties to guard them from the weather, until more durable buildings 
could be erected ; and as a matter of fact the earliest structures, though 
designed to be permanent, were raised in the briefest possible time, 
and were not of the most substantial character. 

The original plat of the town was on the IST.E. J SlCC. 22, the Far- 
well farm. Wyman's addition was next laid out on the S.W. J Sec. 15, 
the Cyrus Davis farm, J. B. Wyman, H. C. Purple, and others, being 
the proprietors. Farwell surveyed a part of his land into lots, and 
Gilson & Ransom, of La Salle, bought an undivided half of Apple- 
ton's land and laid off Gilson's addition. A lively strife at once ensued 
among these rival interests. Wyman was selling residence property, 
and having a brisk trade. The land company was disposing of busi- 
ness lots on Main street and East avenue, and it seemed almost fated that 
the center of trade would be in that locality. The interest of the other 
parties lay in drawing the town, or an equal share of it, to the west 
side. To compass this end, in the spring of 1855 Gilson & Ransom 
erected the Exchange block, a large wooden structure divided into six 
or seven business compartments below, and a number of ofiices and 
dwelling-rooms above. This occupied lots Nos. 2, 3, and 4 in block 
14, Gilson's addition. At the same time Farwell built the hall which 
bore his name, on lot 8, block 7, north side of Division street. No 
building associated with the early history of the town will call up such 
a variety of recollections as Farwell hall ; for it was at once public hall, 
polling place, school-house, and everybody's meeting-house. For a 
while the prospects and advantages were somewhat equalized, though 
therfe was no time when there was not an unequal rivalry. 

Let us drop the growth of the business quarter long enough to 
notice the erection of the earliest private houses. The two first were 
built simultaneously in the summer of 1854, on the north side of Main 
street, east of Mason, by L. W. Borden and E. S. Reynolds. The 
latter moved into his in August. Dr. David Bainter built the third, 
but claims to have been the first to move into the town after it was 
platted. Mr. Reynolds makes the same claim also for himself. This 
was situated on the southeast corner of Jones and Division streets, and 
here Bainter & Co., oculists, aurists and Indian doctors, had their 
ofiice on the lower floor, and their art gallery on the upper one. Fol- 
lowing these initial buildings others went up rapidly, the music of 
saws and planes and the clangor of hammers resounding on every 
street. The business prospects of the place were flattering. The rail- 
road works in progress contributed generously to this progress ; and 
people crowded into the town to the overflowing of accommodations. 



318 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

and as a consequence rents advanced exorbitantly, and persons seek- 
ing board were knocking at every door. By the next spring the 
inhabitants of the town were estimated at 1,000. 

H. D. Peironett and Samuel Goldman were the first to start in 
what had the semblance of mercantile business. Peironett opened a 
little rough-board shop in the spring of 1854, in which he kept a small 
stock of common articles; and Goldman, who had been peddling cloth- 
ing through the country since 1851, set up in trade on East avenue, 
somewhat later, in a shanty which a dozen men could pick up and 
carry away. He became a leading citizen, and acquired a lai'ge compe- 
tence ; and in 1870 retired from active business and settled in Chicago, 
where he died a year ago. In the spring of the same year Josiah 
Little, in searching for a location, reached this place, and deciding to 
make it his home, proceeded to erect a store, the first which could be 
dignified with the name, on lot 8, block 3, original plat. The stone 
was brought from Lee Center and the lumber from Mendota. In 
October it was completed and filled with drugs, hardware and grocer- 
ies. Messrs. Wilcox & Wooster built a store the same fall on the ground 
now owned and occupied by L. Bourne, on East avenue. The lumber 
for this was hauled from Mendota. They traded in dry -goods and grocer- 
ies a year, when A. H. Wooster bought Wilcox's interest, and the new 
firm continued the business at the old stand another year. Meantime 
they had purchased the lot on the east corner of Main and Jones streets, 
at present covered by the Merrifield building, and erected a store. The 
autumn of 1854 found E, & J. Little, and the Union store which had been 
moved from Binghamton, and was conducted by J. H. Preston, and 
Cornelius Allen, harness-maker, on the north side of Main street, with 
Warriner & Beresford, lumber merchants, on the south side. Wilcox 
& Woostei', Samuel Goldman, and Paul Cullen, the latter keeping 
groceries and liquors, were in trade on East avenue. Between this * 
time and the spring of 1856 the following firms and persons were iden- 
tified with the development of business : Guybort & Hynes, Cyrus 
Bridgman & Bro., Walton & Kizer, Rosenbaum & Walton, and Car- 
son & Pirie, who began with groceries in the store built by Wilcox & 
Wooster, and afterward extended their business to drj'-goods in an 
adjoining house, and carried on a large and successful cash business 
till 1865, when they removed to Chicago and engaged in the wholesale 
trade. G. H. McFatrich built a business house in the spring of 1855 
on Main street, on the present site of Wheat & Gridley's store. A. & 
C. D. Vaughan, furniture dealers and undertakers, set up on Mason 
street, nearly opposite the present Methodist church. J. D. Waddell, 
furniture and undertaking, built two storerooms on the south side of 
Main street. On August 25, 1860, while hunting, he was accidentally 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 319 

shot and killed. R. H. Mellen went to manufacturing lumber in the 
spring of 1855. James Boyd started in lumber and grain, and after 
figuring largely for a short time, moved away. C. D. Sears & Co. 
opened a lumber yard and built a planing-mill and sash and door fac- 
tory. G. H. Ambrose and Francis Little, grain dealers at first, after- 
ward started a private bank. Henry Keeling, from New Orleans, 
opened a hardware store in company with John Scolly. He has been 
a prominent business man and citizen, and in 1865 built Keeling's 
block on East avenue. Isaac Edwards began, and has since carried on, 
the livery business. Briggs & Ciishing sold drugs and groceries. C. M. 
Butler and Robert Merrigold formed a copartnership in lumber and 
grain. T. J. King, grocer; Badger Bros., N. S. Chase, first in cloth- 
ing, afterward hardware: Philip Flach, barber; Jacob Kline, baker; 
Abram Jackson, baker and confectioner ; Ashford & Cook and George 
Keefer, butchers; and Mrs. W. B. Andruss, artist, who occupied rooms 
in the Exchange block. No. 33, Vol. I, of the "Lee County Times," 
published February 7, 1856, the earliest paper on file in the " Amboy 
Journal " office, contains advertisements of business men and others not 
already mentioned, as follows: Clark & Watson, clothing; Wm. B. 
Stuart, attorney -at-law, city auctioneer and land agent ; W. E. Ives, 
attorney ; H. M. Snow, Doane & Quinn, meat market ; W. E. Ives, 
assignee of Peironett & Reed ; "VV. H. Allen, music store ; E. W. Mc- 
Lean, general store; Mead & Hall; dissolution notice of J. W. D. 
Blake & Co. ,' Alexander Martin ; G. R. McKinney, general merchan- 
dise; Drs. T. P. Sleeper and J. A. Jackson ; James Boyd, land agent ; 
Illinois Central railroad time table, James C. Clark, superintendent ; 
Mrs. Gosden, milliner ; A. S. Pierce, boots and shoes ; H. F. & E. D. 
"Walker, hardware; James C. Wheat, carpenter and joiner; Gilson & 
Ransom, land agents; J. Carroll, tailor; Thomas Adamson, jeweler; 
♦Illinois Central house, J. B. Wyman, proprietor; Egan & Booth, 
grocers ; Alex. Zubrod, grocer ; A. E. Wilcox, grain ; J. H. Wisner, 
livery ; W. H. Brackett & Co., blacksmiths ; P. Vogt, shoemaker ; 
Reed & Pond, hides and grain ; and Amboy Lodge, No. 179, 1.O.O.F. 
Among a large number of mechanics, many of whom were in the em- 
ploy' of the Central railroad company, we may mention in addition the 
following: Lucius Clarke, Nicholas Koontz, and Harvey and Levi 
Ives, carpenters; George W. Mingle, shoemaker; and a man named 
Hines, blacksmith. Henry Chapin erected, in the fall of 1855, the 
first blacksmith shop east of the railroad, and the second one in the 
town. Considerable of the business was on the west side, and Ex- 
change block was for some time all occupied. Bat Gilson died early, 
before realizing a fruition of his plans; the efll^orts on behalf of that 
part of the town grew feebler; and seeing the drift of trade setting 



320 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

steadily and more strongly in the other direction, the dealers one by 
one deserted that quarter, like rats abandoning a sinking craft. A 
part of the now solitary building was torn down, and the remainder 
was leveled by fire. Amboy grew rapidly through 1856, and main- 
tained a steady increase until the breaking out of the war. In speak- 
ing of the progress of the town, the " Times," in its issue of July 31, 
1856, sums up its development thus: "We have now between 2,000 
and 3,000 inhabitants, two churches and another in process of con- 
struction, about thirty stores and groceries, a steam planing-mill and 
sash factory, three hotels, two livery stables, and in fact establishments 
of almost every variety." The estimate of population is too indeter- 
minate to be of much value now, though it served well enough the 
purposes of local pride at that time; and "groceries" includes several 
drinking shops, whose combined effect has been an ample harvest of 
crime and woe in accidents, disasters and tragedies. 

David Bainter was the first doctor to locate in the new town. Dr. 
Harmon Wasson lived just beyond the limits. J. A. Jackson came in 
the autumn of 1854. T. P. Sleeper, who was mostly employed in 
dentistry, arrived in 1855. Yaughan, a young physician, and brother 
to C. D. Yaughan, aud A. P. Chase the next year; and McFatrich 
still later. The healing art is at present represented by Drs. Ryon, 
Felker, Travers, Wilcox, Manning and Saguin. Dr. George Doming 
practices dentistry. 

The Amboy bar has been composed of men of respectable legal 
talent. William E. Ives, the oldest practicing attorney in the county, 
settled here in December 1854, and was the first to hang out a sign in 
the place. Alfred Tooker and James H. Felch, partners, came next; 
and in 1855 Alonzo Kinyon, one of the most marked men that Lee 
county has had, settled here, read law, and began practice in this place. 
Although lacking in the advantages of education, he possessed large ' 
intellectuality and great energy of character, and added to these natu- 
ral endowments habits of ceaseless and rugged industry. By force of 
will and activity his success was solid and conspicuous. In politics he 
was a republican, and an active man in his party; and in 1868 was 
elected representative to the general assembly. The principal measures 
passed by that body, as the result of liis labors, were a charter for the 
Chicago & Pock River railroad ; and another act creating " The Court 
of Common Pleas of the City of Amboy," to liave concurrent jurisdic- 
tion in the city of Amboy with the circuit court of Lee county in all 
cases, civil and criminal, except murder and treason. In April, 1869, 
Mr. Kinyon was elected judge of this court for a term of four years, 
with an annual salary of $3,500 ; and C. D. Yaughan was elected clerk. 
In February, 1874, the act establishing the court was repealed. In the 



AlVIBOY TOWNSHIP. 321 

early history of the town Mr. Kinyon was largely engaged in building, 
and in no small degree increased its growth and accommodations. 

Enos J, Ives and William B. Stuart were attorneys in practice here 
when the town was first started. The latter was a pioneer of the 
county, and is still a resident of Amboy. In 1858 B. H. Trusdell, a 
young lawyer from New Jersey, settled here in practice and still 
resides in the place. He was elected to the legislature b}^ the demo- 
crats for one term, and served the county with credit. E. Southwick, 
a lawyer of ability, and some note, lived here, and died just before Mr. 
Trusdell came. N. H. Ryan was another early lawyer. He also went 
from this county to the legislature. An attorney by the name of 
Ryon formed a partnership with Mr, Kinj^on when the latter com- 
menced to practice. Ryon's stay did not exceed two years. J. E. 
Lewis, C. E. Ives, C. H. "Wooster and T. P. Duffy have all been ad- 
mitted here, and represent the later generation. 

INCORPORATION. 

In the winter of 1854-5 Amboy became a town under the general 
incorporation law, and Deacon Allen E. Wilcox was president of the 
first board of trustees. H. B. Judkins was president and Dr. J. A. 
Jackson clerk of the second and last board. In the autumn of 1856 
agitation for a city organization was begun, and on the 23d of Decem- 
ber a meeting of citizens was held at Mechanics' Hall to consider the 
subject. A. E. Wilcox was called to the chair and W. M. Taylor chosen 
secretary. J. B. Wyman, W. E. Ives, A. Kinyon, E. Southwick and 
John L. Skinner were appointed a committee to present a form of char- 
ter at an adjourned meeting on the 30th. This was held at the Orient 
House, and the charter reported was adopted by sections, and then as a 
whole. A committee consisting of J. B. Wyman, W. E. Ives and J. Y. 
H. Judd was selected to lay it before the legislature and urge its passage. 
It was enacted and approved February 16, 1857, and adopted at an 
election held for the purpose on the 2d of March. The city limits 
were defined as "the south half of section fifteen and the north half of 
section twenty-two, in township twenty north, of range ten east of the 
fourth principal meridian ; also that part of section twenty-three which 
embraces Arnold's addition." Taylor and Davis' addition has since 
been annexed. Two amendments have been made to the charter, the 
first in 1867, and the last in 1869. The city government comprises a 
mavor and a council consisting of eio:ht aldermen, elected from four 
wards, a marshal, a treasurer, an attorney and a clerk. 

The first charter election was held on the 8th, and the following 
persons were chosen to fill the several offices: John B. Wyman, 
mayor; Orange D. Reed, marshal ; S. S. Stedman and E. S. Reynolds, 



322 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

aldermen of the first ward ; J. E,. Stevens and F. B. Little, aldermen of 
the second ward ; and J. M. Davis and J. A. Jackson, aldermen of the 
third ward. 234 votes were cast. The officers were installed on the 
16th, and the council elected Daniel T. Wood, clerk ; W. E. Ives, 
attorney; A. E. Wilcox, assessor; W. B. Andrews, collector; Edward 
Little, treasurer ; and Arthur Pond, surveyor. 

The council passed an ordinance September 8, 1857, creating a tire 
department, but this was never of any service to the city ; and by 
beguiling it into fancied security paralyzed all attempts to make it 
efficient. Not until the fire demon had several times lapped up the 
business quarter of the city were earnest efforts made to render prop- 
erty reasonably secure against destruction. After the disastrous fire of 
August 25, 1871, prompt measures were taken to provide the city with 
suitable and efficient tire apparatus. A third-class Silsby steam tire 
engine, and a hose carriage with 500 feet of hose were contracted for 
at a cost of $5,050. This apparatus was delivered to and accepted by 
the city authorities in November 1871. The Vigilant Fire Company 
was organized November 18, with the following officers: A. B. 
Huston, foreman; J. H. Stott, assistant foreman of engine ; H. E. 
Donnell, foreman of hose; C. H. Bunker, assistant foreman of hose; 
E. H. Thresher, secretary ; and George Stimpson, treasurer. The 
officers of the tire department were as follows : B. B. Howard, chief 
engineer ; W. W. Powell, assistant engineer ; M. A. Brewer, engineer 
of steamer; and Daniel Maloney, tire warden. The Vigilant Fire 
Company, than which none could be more effective, was in active 
service until August 5, 1873, when it withdrew from the tire depart- 
ment of Amboy. Immediately "Amboy Fire Company No. 1 " was 
organized, and the following day reported to the council. It has 
twenty-six members, and the following are the officers : Chas. Walker, 
captain ; James Morris, assistant captain ; Edward Smith, foreman of 
hose; Wm. Wells, assistant foreman; Frank Almj^, secretary; and 
David Shafer, treasurer. 

In the autumn of 1864 the city erected a two-story building in the 
business row on the south side of Main street for a council room, and 
a hall for an engine compau}', when snch an organization as the latter 
should be formed. In October, 1870, a cell built of solid masonry was 
put into the building, and in the great fire the following year a prisoner 
confined over night for a trifling offense was literally roasted alive, 
a cruel because unnecessary tragedy, occurring by reason of the crim- 
inal thoughtlessness of the officer. This hall was immediately rebuilt. 
On the first floor is the engine room and calaboose, and on the second 
the council meets. This body first occupied the new building Friday 
evening, February 2, 1872. 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 



323 



The following is a list of the mayors and clerks of the city 





MAYORS. 


CLERKS. 


1857 


J. B. Wyman. 


D. T. Wood. 


1858 


John R. Stevens. 


W. B. Andruss. 


1859 


James Rosebrugh. 


W. B. Andruss. 


18G0 


J. B. Wyman. 


R. H. Mellen. 


1861 


W. E. Ives. 


R. H. Mellen. 


1862 


W. E. Ives. 


W. C. Sears. 


1863 


W. E. Ives. 


W. C. Sears. 


1864 


C. M. Butler. 


H. G. Pratt. 


1865 


C. M. Butler. 


N. H. Ryan. 


1866 


C. D. Yanglian. 


N. H. Ryan. 


1867 


C. D. Yaughan. 


N. H. Ryan. 


1868 


Michael Eo^an. 


Lee Cronkrite. 


1869 


Michael Egan. 


Lee Cronkrite. 


1870 


Michael Egan. 


Everett E. Chase. 


1871 


Isaac Edwards. 


Everett E. Chase. 


1872 


Isaac Edwards. 


Everett E. Chase. 


1873 


Isaac Edwards. 


Everett E. Chase. 


1874 


Robert Richards. 


Everett E. Chase. 


1875 


Isaac Edwards. 


Everett E. Chase. 


1876 


Isaac Edwards. 


Everett E. Chase. 


1877 


Isaac Edwards. 


Everett E. Chase. 


1878 


J. B. Felker. 


Everett E. Chase. 


1879 


J. B. Felker. 


Everett E. Chase. 


1880 


J. B. Felker. 


Everett E. Chase. 


1881 


J. B. Felker. 


Everett E. Chase. 



In the winter of 1854-5 the post-offices were discontinued at Shel- 
burn and Binghamton, and one was established at Amboy, with 
Orange D. Reed as postmaster. He held the office until the spring of 
1861, when R. II. Mellen was appointed under the administration of 
President Lincoln, and has been in possession since. 

Medora Bell, daughter of Charles Bell, was born August 27, 1854; 
this birth was the first in the village of Amboy. The first birth in the 
township was that of Simon, son of John Dexter, in 1836, and the 
second was that of Wm. C. Doan, son of James Doan, October 16, 
1837. The first marriage in the village of Amboy was that of Wm. 
C. Bartlett and the widow of Danford Bartlett, formerly Caroline 
Yinton, October 18, 1854. Almira Melissa, infant daughter of Wm. 
B. Stuart, died January 5, 1855; this was the first death in the village. 

In 1874 east and west Main street was partl^'^ ballasted, and the 
macadamizing has since been extended through the city. Before this 
was done this thoroughfare at some seasons was next to impassable. 



324 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Not only has the grade of this street been raised, but in the business 
quarter the surface, by filling in, has been made sotne four feet higher 
than it was when the town was laid out. In the early settlement of 
the country this was almost a quagmire, which was described as "Far- 
well's slough farm," 

The two principal tragedies have been the murder of Dennis Allen, 
saloon keeper, by Owen O'Connor, October 11, 1872; and Edward 
Egan, by John McGrath, April 18, 1873. The first was shot, and died 
within an hour; the last was stabbed in the bowels, and survived until 
the fourth day, No serious cause of trouble existed in either case, and 
both acts were incited by strong drink. Both murderers escaped ade- 
quate punishment. Two negroes had an altercation in the passenger 
house, and one dealt the other a blow which ended his life in a few 
days. The number of drunken men who have been crushed and 
mangled to death on the railroad track in the city forms a list sickening 
to any brain not made impassive by alcohol. 

The removal of the count\^ seat to Amboy at one time formed an 
engrossing theme of controversy. It passed from the domain of words 
to that of acts in 1866, when the nomination by the republican union 
convention for representative fell upon Col. George Ryon, of Paw Paw, 
who represented the claims of Amboy. The people of this city at 
once held a meeting and selected W. E, Ives, B. H, Trusdell and N. 
H, Ryan to attend to the advertising required by the law relating to 
removals. The eflbrt did not succeed. 

In June, 1880, the city purchased from the Leake estate a tract of 
ground comprising nearly twenty-five acres, situated east of and ad- 
joining the corporate limits, on the south side of Main street, and 
inclosed in the angle of Inlet creek, for $2,250. This was formerly 
the property of A. B. Searles. It is covered with a thrifty growth of 
young timber, and is to be fitted up for a park. In 1878 a soldiers' 
reunion, the first in this part of the state, noted for the large attend- 
ance and its complete success, at which Gen. Logan and prominent 
men besides were present, was held in this grove. 

ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD BUILDINGS. 

As recorded on a former page, in the summer of 1853 ground was 
first broken for the erection of the passenger and freight houses, and 
they were completed and put to use the next year. Both were con- 
structed of brick, and the first was 40x100 feet on the plan, two and 
one-half stories high, and built in a very substantial manner. It was 
a railroad hotel, went by the name of "Passenger House," and was 
kept by the following proprietors: James Aiken, John B. "Wyman, 
Gushing and Hubbard, Cushing, J. Swift, Thomas Burns, A. H. Yar- 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 



325 



ney, N. P. Almy, J. A. Kamsdell, Davison, C. C. Fulton, Gaylord, 
Dr. A. P. Chase, Oscar Hughes, and Frederick Hepburn. At three 
o'clock Monday morning, November 15, 1875, this house was discov- 
ered to be on fire, and in two hours it was totally consumed. This 
was the last regular hotel in the city. Next year a new building of 
brick, with light-colored stone trimmings, was erected on the site of 
the old, but its character was wholly changed. The first floor is 
divided into a ticket oflice and waiting and baggage rooms, while in 
the upper story are situated the various offices for operating the line. 




ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD BRIDGE AT DIXON, ILL. 

The original freight house, 40x80 feet, remains well preserved, and is 
good for a hundred years' entire use. The first freight and station agent 
was C. R. Fields, who held the position three months and was suc- 
ceeded by Lemuel Bourne, who retained it eight years. 

Work was commenced on the shops in 185-1, and they were finished 
the next year. The company's temporary shops were located between 
the Dutcher building and the track, and were torn down when the 
permanent buildings were occupied in the spring of 1856. The me- 
chanical department comprises eight divisions, which are distributed 
among the several shops ; these divisions are machine, car repair, 
blacksmith, paint, boiler, locomotive, wood repair, tin, and storehouse. 
The machine shop is two stories high, 85x130 feet on the ground, 
built of brick and covered with slate roof A stationary engine of 
eighty horse power, almost as noiseless as a clock, drives all the 



326 HISTORY OF LEE DOTJNTY. 

machinery in this and the blacksmith shop by means of shafting 
through both buildings. Steam is supplied from two large tubular 
boilers. In the first shop the machinery is all on the ground floor, 
while in the second story are the locomotive, wood repair and the tin 
shops. Tracks extend into this building and connect with a turntable 
for convenience in the repair of locomotives. The blacksmith shop 
adjoining on the northwest corner is one story, with walls about 
twenty feet high and slated roof. Its dimensions are 70x125 feet on 
the plan. A dozen or more forges are ranged round, with a large one 
in the center supplied with all necessary apparatus, including a trip 
hammer, for handling and doing heavy work. A powerful blower 
supplies the blast; and above the forges extends a large pipe from 
Mdiieh smaller ones lead down with valves to regulate its use. The 
car repair shop is a frame building 50x150 feet and one story in 
height. Two tracks extend nearly the full length, and on either side is 
a continuous row of work-benches. Repairing only is done in these 
shops, though the time was when some new work was sent out, and 
one or two locomotives, we believe, have been constructed here. The 
engine house is a circular brick building 216 feet in diameter, inclosing 
an open, spacious court in which there is a turntable with tracks 
radiating therefrom into twenty-seven engine compartments. These 
may be tightl}^ closed at pleasure by the large doors hung at the en- 
trances in the inner wall. "Here can always be seen a noble stud of 
iron horses with their grooms fitting them up for the course." The 
oil room and sand house is 30x50 feet, and the stationary room 40 
feet square. The storehouse, erected during the war, is a one-story 
building 30 feet wide and 120 feet long. The tank house is 25x65, 
and situated southeast of the engine house. The lower story is used 
for storage, and the upper is occupied by two huge tanks which are 
kept filled with water from Inlet creek, a quarter of a mile distant. 
A stationary engine at the latter point forces the water through a pipe 
into the tanks, and from these, engines and hydrants in the shops are 
supplied. The coal shed, a rough structure 17X320 feet, stands in 
this vicinity. The mason work of these buildings was superintended 
by Michael Egan, one of the most thorough mechanics, who is still in 
the employ of the company ; and the carpenter work was in cliarge of 
Daniel S. Clark. John C. Jacobs is the superintendent of the north 
division of the road, and has filled the office with unquestionable faith- 
fulness since about 1858. We should have given a list of them " that 
exercise authority," and some description of the positions the}' occupy, 
but the information has not come to hand, and we can only ask to be 
pardoned, as we forgive him who has " held the word of promise to the 
ear and broken it to the hope." Subjoined are the names of many of 



^ii^sTp^e 






n jjj 



1f 



<7g 



7-nHi 







>-^ ce_ 



(deceased^ 



^ BilEDAMS DEAD 

. /j./B. Edams, a resident of Amboy 
for half a century, and for many years 
master mechanic for the Illinois Cen- 

,tral railroad compan y, ^ died a t his 
h m-ne in Freeport Th ursday morning, 
j ^^Te, and will be brought to Amboy 
focTay on the hison train for burial. 

Mr. Edams was foreman of the 
Illinois Central repair shops here in 
the earlier years of their history and 
was afterward promoted to the 
position of master mechanic. He 
continued to reside in Amboy after 
his retirement from the Company's 
service until about four years ago 
when he moved with his son George 
to Freepo rt. 0^4^ ]rir-U n €wS 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 329 

the best known who have been in the employ of the company about 
twenty to twenty-five years : Lncius Clark, G. H. McFatrich, A. E. 
Slanter, Jared Slanter, John Gunning, A. J. Poland, Joseph Drum- 
mond, Robert Richards, B. B. Howard, Dennis Maloy, A. W. Spafard, 
J. B. Edams. L. G. Rice, G. "W. Freeman, John Keho, Thomas Bran- 
agan. Levi Ives, Timothy Crowley, Joseph Tait, Charles Tait, William 
Tait, C. M. Thayer, Henry McGraw, William Trude, Charles Wescott, 
Homer Graves, Snow, Battles and Stay. 

FIRES. 

It would be hard to find a place which has passed through greater 
trials by fire than the city of Amboy ; and with perhaps a single ex- 
ception the larger ones are regarded as incendiary. The first on the 
site was before the town was surveyed, and was the boarding-house 
kept for the railroad company by Charles W. Bell, already noted else- 
where. The second was the dwelling-house of D. A. Thomas, de- 
stroyed Saturday, August 22, 185T. We shall omit the few barns 
and private houses burned subsequent to this date, and record only 
those conflagrations in which public or business property has suffered. 
The first Catholic church, so nearly completed that the plastering had 
been done, was accidentally burned December 2, 1857. 

The historic Baker House was erected most probably in 1855, by 
Alonzo Kinyon, and stood on Jones street, where Carroll's tailor shop 
and the meat market just north of it are now situated. It was built of 
wood in the cheapest possible style, covered with tarred cloth, and the 
rooms divided with paper partitions ; and by the public was dubbed 
" The Ark." Kinyon sold it to Baker, by whose name it has always 
been best known. It was afterward called the Burnett House, from a 
later owner, and was consumed ISTovember 13, 1859. It was occupied 
by two families at the time, one of which escaped with difiiculty and 
injury, the mother falling down stairs, and the father leaping from the 
second story with a child in his arms. Dr. Bainter's office, adjoining 
on the north, was destroyed by the same fire. 

The Orient House, kept at that date by John L. Skinner, was 
burned Friday evening, September 28, 1860. 

The city hall was the first brick structure, except the railroad build- 
ings, erected in Amboy, and was situated on East avenue. It was a 
fine edifice, with brick and iron front, three stories and a basement ; 
built by Wm. B. Stuart and Paul Cullen in 1858. The first general 
conflagration originated in the basement of this building, occupied as 
a saloon by Peter Birkenbeuel, on the morning of December 10, 1863. 
The fire spread in both directions, and in its progress north was ar- 
rested by tearing down a building adjoining a vacant lot; on the south 
20 



330 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

it was stayed by Carson & Pirie's brick store, whicli was kept drenched 
with M^ater. The aggregate loss was $35,000, of which $14,000 was 
covered by insurance. Among the losers were Carson & Pirie, who 
were fully protected by insurance; O. F. Warriner, Henry Brady, 
Wra. Murtha, M. Carroll, J. L. Skinner, Adam Shugart, Francis 
Cullen, Peter Birkenbeuel, A.F. and A.M., J. Kline, Owen O'Connor, 
John Morris, Philip Flach, Louis Brendell, James McCiie, Abram 
Jackson, Theodore Goldman, Samuel Goldman, Andrew Walters and 
John Burns, besides several smaller losers. 

A second fire devasted this locality again in 1864. On the morn- 
ing of November 10 it broke out in the building occupied by Abram 
Jackson as a dry-goods and grocery store. Five business houses were 
consumed, and the new brick building just erected by the Badgers on 
the site of the Orient House w^as considerabl}' damaged. Tlie total loss 
of $45,000 was reduced by $38,000 of insurance. The sufferers were 
Carson & Pirie, E. Arnold, A. Jackson, Philip Goldman, Samuel 
Goldman, Perley & Blackstone, H. Keeling and Badger Brothers. 

The third great fire visited the south side of Main street about one 
o'clock Friday morning, March 10, 1865, and swept away all of the 
business block west from the city building to the alley, including seven 
houses. The loss fell on W. E. Ives, McLean, George Keifer, Leake 
& Co., John Morris, Mingle Brothers, Benjamin Cope, Wcddell estate, 
Wm. Keeling, A. E. Wilcox, E. S. Burington, J. P. Newell, V. 
Weintz, Hunt, Howe and others. 

Immediately following this the council passed an ordinance forbid- 
ding the construction of wooden buildings, except temporarily for a 
year, on Main street between Mason and the Central railroad, and on 
East avenue between Main and Division streets, and designated these 
limits as Fire District No. 1. 

The fourth and most disastrous general fire up to this time occurred 
on the north side of Main street on August 24, 1867, and was dis- 
covered in the upper story of Josiah Little's drug store at half-past 
one in the morning. The row, in the middle of which the tire broke 
out, was composed of sixteen wooden buildings, which in two hours' 
time were completely lapped up by the flames. The dealers and 
others afiected by this disaster were Hawkes & Bourne, Thomas Cos- 
tain, Deming & Wilcox, W. Fasoldt, L. Barlow, J. Little, Lynn & 
Walker, Goldstone & Jackson, C. D. Yaughn, C. Allen, A. H. Merri- 
field & Co., A.F. & A.M., Mrs. Hudder, Fillis & Carroll, C. P. Miller, 
O. M. Miner, K Woolsey, Dr. J. P. Foltz, dentist. Dr. J. R. Corbus, 
Dr. E. R. Travers, and L. Asire. The estimated loss was $75,000; 
the insurance amounted to half that sum. 

The next noted landmark of early Amboy to jie\d to the greedy 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 331 

element was the old Exchange block on the west side of the railroad. 
It was burned down before daybreak on September 21, 1867. 

Between two and three o'clock on the morning of April 2, 1868, a 
fire made its appearance in a building on East avenue occupied by 
William Murtha as a grocery and liquor store below and a saloon and 
billiard hall above kept by George Raymond. Four buildings, flanked 
on the south by Hawks & Bourne's store and on the north by Kline's 
bakery, were burned down. These were a barber shop, saloons and 
billiard rooms, kept by C. Praesent, Henry Brady, William Murtha, P. 
Fogart}', and John Dutcher. 

On the night of April, 25, 1871, the Amboy House, kept by Hugh 
McGee, was totally destroyed. Estimated loss $5,000 ; insurance 
$3,500. 

The sixth and last general fire, from which the city recovered with 
admirable grace and dignity after many woes, was more destructive 
than all the previous ones together. The aggregate loss reached 
$175,000, and a tabulated statement of risks held by insurance com- 
panies shows their losses to have been $103,000. The fire originated 
in the bakery of D. S. Corbin, underneath Yaughan's furniture store, 
and was discovered about fo.ur o'clock in the mornino; of Aue^nst 25, 
1871. It destroyed the buildings owned by C. D. Yaughan, William 
Murtha, C. F. Lynn, and Wilcox & Brigham, on the north side of 
Main street, and those on the south side owned by W. B. Andrus, 
Martin Maus, Y. Weintz, C. Badger, John Kline, P. McMahan, 
Thomas Cunningham, and the city building. Those who lost in per- 
sonal property were Gale & Gardner, Masonic Lodge, C. D. Yaughan, 
Misses Mickler & Yaughan, Arnold & Sindlinger, Josiah Little, B. H. 
Trusdcll, C. F. Lynn, Mrs. Pierson, ofiice of J. H. Preston, county 
superintendent, I. Zwisler, Wheat & Gridley Brothers, French, G. A. 
Deming, Mrs. McGraw & Wilcox, Miss Murphy, Mrs. Hudder, M. 
Maus, Graves & Hines, City Hall store. Weintz & Barth, Judge Kin- 
yon, Sanger & Badger, Chase & Gale, engineers and firemen, John 
Kline, Terry Lynch, W. B. Stuart, and Merrifield & Co. 

The most deplorable feature of this calamity was the burning to 
death of John Shannon, who had been arrested the night before on the 
charge of selling mortgaged property, and was confined in the cala- 
boose. Shefi" Dyer was the officer in charge of the lock-up; he put 
the man in his cell and the key in his pocket; he was early at the fire, 
and engaged himself in the exciting work of saving property, where 
so little indeed was saved ; he saw the raging fiames gradually approach 
and finally envelop the city building in which the helpless, unfortu- 
nate man was locked up, and still he never once thought of his pris- 
oner. In its account of the affair, the " Journal " remarked, with a 



332 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

mildness that would be exasperating were it not Christian, that " it 
was a clear case of forgetfnlness." 

On January 3, 1872, the jewelry store of J. A, Lagercrantz in 
Fasoldt's building caught fire, but the prompt action of the fire 
department in the use of the new steamer averted another disastrous 
conflagration. The loss was not extensive. 

Farwell Hall, which had outlived its usefulness as a public build- 
ing, and having been remodeled was used as a dwelling, took fire on 
August 2, 1872, and was partially consumed, its total destruction being 
prevented by the promptness of the Vigilant fire company. It was 
repaired and is now residence property. The old Potter House was 
destroyed in the same manner June 17, 1873. 

Another fire on East avenue occurred Sunday morning, October 
11, 1874, making its appearance in Keeling's block. It was extin- 
guished by the fire department. The loss was borne by C. G. Braun- 
ing, August Barth, Arnold & Son, and the Masonic and Odd-Fellows 
lodges. 

Between two and three o'clock on the morning of April 12, 1875, 
Masonic hall was set on fire, which was put out and the building 
saved. Daylight revealed the diabolical work of the incendiary in the 
use of infiammable materials which had been applied to several build- 
ings. Hardly had the people reached their homes before fiames burst 
out of Patterson's hay-press, which was soon in ashes. 

The Passenger House, as previously noticed, was burned Novem- 
ber 15, 1875. 

The Farmer's mills which had been removed in 1873 and re- 
erected in Amboy by Judge Kinyon near the Chicago, Burlington & 
Quincy depot, and in 1875 sold to W. H. Lunt, of Evanston Female 
College, were consumed early on the morning of February 9, 1876. 
The property was insured for $8,000. 

EDUCATION. 

The first school in the village of Amboj^ was a select one for young 
scholars, taught by Miss Celia Winters, in the old Baptist church west 
of the railroad. Miss Yaughan was another who taught in the same 
place. The vestry of the present Baptist church was afterward occu- 
pied, and Miss Yaughan and Miss Merilla Warriner were the teachers. 
School was kept in Farwell Hall until need of that was superseded by 
the erection of the first school-house. In the summer of 1856 eflTorts 
were begun looking toward the construction of a school building in 
Amboy, and $2,600 were raised by taxation the following winter. The 
district had, besides, a fund of $800, derived from the sale of the swamp 
lands. On March 12, 1857, a public meeting of the voters of district 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 333 

No. 4 was held at Farvvell Hall to authorize an appropriation to build. 
A committee to select grounds was appointed, and the 21st was named 
for an adjourned meeting to hear their report. The location adopted 
was between Jones and Mason streets, fronting Hawley. This seems 
to have been unsatisfactory, for on the 20th of April the district had a 
meeting to reconsider the vote fixing the site, and the one on Provost 
street, where the house was built, became the choice. Ground was 
broken for the foundation on the 6th of July. The house is a plain 
brick, two stories, 36x60, and stands in the center of a spacious play- 
ground on the corner of Provost street and Commercial avenue. In 
the fall of 1864 a one-story wooden school-building was constructed in 
Gilson's addition, block 9, facing Davis avenue, and the next year the 
old frame Methodist meeting-house on the east side was purchased by 
the district for a sciiool-house in season for the fall term. The price paid 
was $1,000, one half payable in two years and the remainder in three. 
In 1868 a two-story brick, 30x54, was erected on the west side, in the 
southeast corner of the old fair ground, and the campus contains about 
one-fourth of the original area. These four, none of them imposing in 
appearance, but all supplying fair accommodations, if we except over- 
crowding, constitute the public school buildings in present use. 

We are able to give a partial list of the superintendents, and begin 
with J. K. B. Clayton, whose name once crops out above the debris of 
time in the autumn of 1859. He is followed the next year by J. H. 
Blodgett. Links are missing from this time until the school year 1865- 
6, when we gather up the chain in the person of John Puss, assisted 
by his wife. About this period the languishing state of the schools 
excited no little public comment. C. W. Moore succeeded in 1866, and 
was in charge tiiree years. We have discovered no incumbent for 1869, 
but Mr. Moore filled the position in 1870, giving place in the fall of 
that year to P. A. Childs. The latter was retained three years, and fol- 
lowed by H. A. Smith two years. Mr. Peagan, now in 1875, took the 
principalship, and discharged its duties until 1878, and since that time 
P. M. James has occupied the position. We believe a man by the 
name of Cook should have a place somewhere in the category. 

The schools are divided into four departments, and regularly graded. 
In each of the frame buildings is a primary and an intermediate ; on 
the west side Miss Lizzie Burke has taught a number of years in the 
former, and on the east side Miss L. N^owlin, who has been steadily em- 
ployed about a dozen years and in different positions, is teaching at 
present in the same department. In the intermediate on the west side 
is James E. Shea, and on the east side Miss Lizzie Morris. The new 
or west-side brick has a primary and a grammar department, with Miss 
Lizzie Sears to preside over the former and Daniel Griffin over the lat- 



334 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

ter. All the departments are represented in the old school-building. 
Miss Lizzie Richards teaches in the primary, Miss Jennie Reed in the 
intermediate, Miss Lizzie Gardner, and Miss Eva Shurtleif assistant, in 
the grammar, and Prof. James, and Mr. Kehoe assistant, in the high 
school. The latter was graduated here in the class of 1878. During 
the past year L. B. Searles has taught penmanship in the several de- 
partments. The studies in the high school embrace higher English, 
higher mathematics, and the sciences. Eleven years are required to 
complete the full course, distributed as follows': primary three, inter- 
mediate three, grammar two, and high school three. Fifty-eight stu- 
dents have been graduated since 1876, the first year in which diplomas 
were granted. In that year there were two graduates, in 1877 eight, 
in 1878 eleven, in 1879 fifteen, in 1880 twelve, and in 1881 ten. 

For the year ended June 10, 1881, the whole number of pupils en- 
rolled was 673, and the average dailj- attendance 476. Children under 
twenty-one 1,199, and between six and twentj'-one 889. The board of 
education is composed of Dr. George Ryon, president ; J. B. Graves, 
clerk; Patrick Corcoran, J. G. Staiford, Rev. J. H. Hazen and Joseph 
Pennenbacker. C. D. Yaughan is the township treasurer. 

CHURCHES. 

The Baptist society was constituted May 1855, and the same year 
built a small temporary church on West Main street, on lot 1, block 14, 
Gilson's addition. The leading constituent members were Deacons 
Cyrus Bryant, Warren Hill and Allen E. Wilcox and their wives, 
Almon Ives and wife, Samuel Bixby and wife, and William E. Ives 
and wife. Deacons Jacob Luce and Harvey Barrell and their wives 
joined soon after. The Rev. Whittaker was the first pastor w4io min- 
istered to the congregation in this house. Preparations were early 
begun to erect an enduring edifice, and in 1856 it was commenced, 
and before the close of the year finished outside. Deacons Hill, Wil- 
cox and Luce and William E. Ives were the building committee, and 
E. S. Reynolds the contractor and builder. Its situation is on Mason 
street, lot 9, block 24, Wyman's addition, and the dimensions are 
36 X 60 feet on the plan. The interior arrangement is an elevated 
audience room over a stone basement, and the cost was $4,500. The 
building was inclosed daring the memorable presidential canvass of 
1856, and in season to be occupied for a political meeting, which was 
addressed by the famous and fiery orator Owen Lovejoy. On March 
2 of the next year, when the citizens were voting on the adoption of 
the city charter, the bell, which had just been lifted to its place, pealed 
out its first grateful sounds on the prairie air, — never before stirred in 
this vicinity by such a herald of " peace on earth, good will to men " — 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 335 

which vibrated and throbbed to the delight of the people with the music 
of its rich, glad tones. The house was formally dedicated on September 
13, by Rev. Silas Tucker, of Galesburg, who preached the sermon for the 
occasion. The Rev. T. H. Ball was the pastor at this time, and his 
predecessor was the Rev. P. Taylor, the earliest to preach in this new 
church. The first funeral service was that of Mrs. Jacob Luce in Feb- 
ruary, before it was completed, and was held in the vestry. The second 
was that of Mrs. Mary Beresford, who died just a month after the dedica- 
tion. The Rev. Ball's ministrj' was succeeded in 1858 by the Rev. J. 
C. Miller, a noted laborer here in his denomination. In eight months 
of 1858-9 he added over 130 members by baptism. This was a 
period of very successful revival work by all of the churches, and will 
be remembered as that of the great awakening of religious fervor 
througliout America and Europe. Among those who took an active 
part in the aifairs of tlie church just prior to this interesting improve- 
ment in its condition we would name R. M. Brigham, E. Arnold, C. 
A. Wall, M. L. Arnold, S. Carson, O. Arnold, W. S. Cottrell, E. S. 
Hill, J. M. Davis and their wives. The fourth pastor, counting from 
the Rev. Taylor, was the Rev. William R. Webb, D.D., one of the 
ablest the church ever had, whose pastorate began in the autumn of 
1861. He was succeeded in his labors by the Rev. J. H. Hazen, who 
came in June 1865, fresh from an exhausting three years' service in 
the army, which induced paralysis and drove him from the pulpit 
which he had so much adorned throughout his useful life. His connec- 
tion as pastor ceased in the fall of 1869, and his place was taken by 
James Buchanan, who was followed in the summer of 1870 by M. T. 
Lamb. The Revs. George Wesselius, W. D. Clarke and Dr. N. A- 
Reed complete the list. Mr. Reed's pastorate terminated the present 
3^ear. In 1865 the society bought a parsonage, and the next year 
repaired their house of worship at an expense of about $400. They 
have been out of debt since the spring of 1876. The membership is 
about 150, and the Sabbath school, under the superintendence of Prof. 
P. M. James, has 145 enrolled and an average attendance of 85. 

The people of Amboy first worshiped for a short time in the dining- 
hall of the Passenger House. The Baptists built a small meeting- 
house and withdrew from the mixed congregations. Farwell Hall was 
soon erected, and to this all others then had resort. The second 
church in the town M*as built by the Methodists in 1857, and dedicated 
Sunday, June 21 ; Prof. Munsell, of Mount Morris, conducted the 
dedicatorial service, and the Rev. O. B. Thayer was assigned to this 
charge in August by the conference. This house is a low-post frame, 
stands on the northeast corner of block 15 — ^at the intersection of Main 
and Center streets — and is now one of the four public school buildings 



336 HISTORY OF LEE COUJSTTY. 

of the city. Its erection was chiefly due to the zealous exertions of 
George H. Pierson, who took the lead in the matter, procured the lum- 
ber on his own account, invested labor of his own hands, and accepted 
payments from the society. On May 16, 1865, the corner-stone of the 
present massive church was laid with suitable ceremonies, and ad- 
dresses were delivered by the Rev. Jewett, the Rev. W. T. Harlow, 
presiding elder, and the Rev. Dr. Robt. Hatfield, of New York. On 
behalf of the society and the undertaking Dr. Hatfield lectured in the 
evening in the Baptist church on "The Sacrifices and Compensations of 
the War." The dedication took place April 1, 1866. The Rev. Dr. 
Eddy, of Chicago, was present, and preached an able discourse from 
Matthew xxviii, 8, 9. The cost of the church was nearly $14,000, but 
a debt of $6,000 remained, which was promptly canceled by liberal 
donations in cash and pledges. In forwarding this useful object H. E. 
Badger bore a leading part, and was one of the heaviest contributors. 
This is a substantial stone edifice, plain, without beauty, yet having an 
air of Gothic style. Its size on the ground is 40x60 feet. A lecture- 
room and two class rooms occupy the basement, and above is a spacious 
and attractive audience-hall. Tlie front corners are surmounted by 
towers, the taller of which, containing the belfry, has replaced the spire 
whicli rose to the height of 127 feet, but which was blown down in a 
gale Sunday evening, July 17, 1870, depositing the bell uninjured in 
the street ; the damage was $500. The location is on Mason street 
just above Main. Joseph Lewis, Henry E. Badger, Ephraim Wheaton, 
I. N. Bear, George Mingle and Edward Miller were organizers of this 
church, and are still here, though the latter has transferred his mem- 
bership to the Congregational church. They have been foremost 
members, and their long and faithful communion and usefulness re- 
flect on them a halo of patriarchal dignity and venerableness, Mr. 
Badger has always served the church either as trustee, steward, or Sab- 
bath-school superintendent, and has sometimes filled concurrently all 
these positions. H. F. Walker, an early business man here, now in 
Chicago, was very eflBcient on the building committee, and also as 
trustee and superintendent. Joseph Lewis has always been a reliable 
assistant as trustee, steward and leader. The offices of secretary and 
treasurer of both the society and the Sunday-school have been care- 
fully filled most of the time by C. P. Miller. Since the new church 
was occupied the superintendents have been H. F. Walker, H. E, 
Badger, C. W. Deming, W. H. Badger, G. W. Mingle and A. Burn- 
ham. H. E. Badger and C, W. Deming have been most of the time 
district stewards and delegates to the laymen's conference. The pres- 
ent membership, probably, will not fall below 120. Turning now for 
information to the records of the church, we find that the first quarterly 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 337 

conference for Ambo}' Station was held December 19, 1857. Luke 
Hitchcock was presiding elder, O. B. Thayer preacher in charge, I. K. 
Eberly local preacher, J. P. Hawks exhorter, K. Cleaveland local elder 
and H. F. Walker, H. E. Badger, G. W. Mingle and A. Bainter official 
members. The presiding elders and preachers in charge since that 
time have been as follows: 1858-9, S. P. Keyes, P.E., O. B. Thayer, 
P.C; 1859-60, S. A.W. Jewett, P.E., H. L. Martin, P.C.; 1860-1, Josiah 
Gibson, P.E., H. L. Martin, P.C. ; 1861-2, Josiah Gibson, P.E., J. W. 
Davidson, P.C. ; 1862-3, Josiah Gibson, P.E., W. Cone, P.C. ; 1863- 
4-5, W. T. Harlow, P.E., W. Cone, P.C. ; 1865-6, W. T. Harlow, 
P.E., D. J. Holmes, P.C. ; 1866-7, E. Q. Fuller, P.E., J. G. Bliss, 
P.C. ; 1867-8, J. H. Moore, P.E., J. Fassett, P.C. ; 1868-9-70, J. H. 
Moore, P.E., J. T. Hanna, P.C; 1870-1, J. H. Moore, P.E., J. T. 
Hanna, P.C, till April 1, remainder of conference year supplied by 
A. P. Platch; 1871-2, W. S. Harrington, P.E., J. Wardel, P.C; 
1872-3-4-5, W. S. Harrington, P.E., C. K. Ford, P.C. ; 1875-6, W. S. 
Harrington, P.E., E. M. Battis, P.C ; 1876-7-8, J. Linebarger, P.E., 
E. M. Battis, P.C ; 1878-9-80, J. Linebarger, P.E., A. Campbell ; 
1880-1, Luke Hitchcock, P.E., Isaac A. Springer. 

The floating debt of the church, which had accumulated to $2,500, 
was entirely liquidated during the pastoral charge of the Rev, Ford. 

" The Congregational church of Palestine Grove " was organized 
at the residence of Moses Crombie, July 5, 1843, and worshiped for 
several years at the Wasson school-house, near Binghamton. The 
society was ministered to at this place by the Pevs. John Morrell, 
Ingersoll, Joseph Gardner, and Pierson. About 1849 the place of 
worship was removed to Lee Center, and the name of this locality was 
substituted for Palestine Grove in the name of the church. Out of 
this sprang the subject of this paragraph — the Congregational church 
of Amboy. On June 27, 1854, Joseph Farwell and his wife Cyrene, 
John C Church and his wife Cyrene, Michael Blocher of Lee Center 
church, and Constant Abbott, Pnby his wife, and Caroline their 
daughter, of the First Presbyterian church of Galesburg, assembled at 
the house of Joseph Farwell and organized themselves into a " Church 
of Jesus Christ," which was recognized on the following day as the 
First Church of Amboy by an ecclesiastical council at Lee Center, 
convened under a call to ordain and install the Rev. S. W. Phelps. 
This was the earliest'religious society formed in Amboy, and its organ- 
ization antedates the first conveyance of town lots. Another body 
declaring its belief that "the cause of religion would be promoted by 
the forming of a society to unite with and sustain the action of the 
Congregational church," was organized upon this basis by some of the 
citizens June 17, 1856. Until Farwell Hall was built they held services 



338 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

in the Passenger House, and these were first conducted by the Rev. S. 
W. Phelps, who ministered to them occasionally; but on February 14, 
1855, the Rev. David Wert was invited to become their pastor at $500 
yearly salary and no expense for rent. The call was accepted and he 
officiated for them until April 1856. In December the Rev. C. P. 
Felch engaged to supply the pulpit, and April 30 following he was 
ordained and installed pastor. During his ministerial charge the first 
house of worship was erected on Jones street, near Provost, at a cost 
of about $1,500, and dedicated April 1, 1858, by the Rev. F. Bascom, 
of Galesburg, who preached the dedicatory sermon. The Rev. Felch 
was I'etained on a salary of $800 a year until October 12, 1859, after 
which time the Rev. S. W. Phelps preached once every Sabbath for 
about one year. The Rev. Samuel Day was next secured at $600 per 
year and a donation, and served the church from the autumn of 1860 
till January 1862. The Rev. J. L. White took the vacant place shortly 
after, and in July accepted the formal call of the church at an annual 
salary of $600, which was increased in 1864 to $900. In July, 1866, 
he retired and was succeeded by the Rev. G. H. Wells, who declined 
the call of the church made in January 1867, but accepted it when 
renewed in March, though his ministry did not begin until September. 
He received $1,200 a year for his services, which ended December 25, 
1870. His successor, the Rev. C. Caverno, employed at a salary of 
$1,500 per year, began his pastoral labors September 3, 1871, and 
terminated them March 1, 1874. The congregation had no stated 
supply after this date until November, when the Rev. J, M. Lau Bach 
accepted a call to this charge and labored herein till April 1878. He 
was speedily followed the next month by the Rev. M. S. Crosswell, 
who was soon thereafter unanimously called to the pastorate, which he 
accepted, and from which he withdrew October 1, 1880. The church 
has had no pastor since. Their present house of worship, standing on 
the corner of Main and Plant streets, is a sightly frame edifice sur- 
mounting a stone basement, and is 40x72 feet in dimensions. The 
basement contains a lecture-room and parlors. This house was begun 
in the autumn of 1865, completed the next spring, and dedicated June 
10, by the Rev. G. F. Magoon, of Iowa College. The cost was $14,000. 
During the present summer it has been repaired, repainted, and the 
interior frescoed, and supplied with a pipe organ, at an expense of 
$2,000. This church united with the Rock River association in Octo- 
ber 1854, at its meeting at Grand de Tour; and in 1857, when the 
Bureau association was formed, it joined that body. Since its organ- 
ization with eight members in 1854 about 400 have been added, and 
the present membership, including many non-residents, is 164. 

The Sabbath-school, which was organized in Farwell Hall in April 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 339 

1855, with R. H. Melleii as superintendent, is maintained the year 
round, and the average attendance, which was then about iifty, has in- 
creased to nearly three times that number. The first church was sold 
to the Free Methodists in the spring of 1866 for $1,200. Of the 
original members three are still living and in communion, — Michael 
Blocher and John 0. Church and his wife. The venerable Father 
Farwell, so often mentioned in these pages, whose name stood first on 
the list, was a native of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, having been born of 
Puritan stock. May 14, 1790. In 1815 he became a communicant in 
the Congregational church ; in 1819 he married ; in 1826 he settled in 
Lowell, and there assisted in forming the first Congregational church 
in that place, as he afterward also assisted in establishing the second 
and the third ; in 1836 he emigrated with his family to Amboy, Mich- 
igan, in which place he likewise aided in founding the first church of 
the same denomination ; and in 1811 he removed to this place, at that 
time called Palestine Grove. His death, which occurred March 5, 
1875, found him ripe in years and good works. Mrs. Farwell survived 
him but is not now living. 

The Hon. B. H. Trusdell furnishes the following in regard to the 
Episcopal church : 

The Episcopal church was established in Amboy in the spring 
of 1859 by the organization of St. Thomas' parish. The proceedings 
took place in Mechanics' Hall, and the rector. Rev. W. M. A. Brodnax, 
Mrs. Brodnax, Mr. and Mrs. N. S. Chase, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Meri- 
gold, Mr. and Mrs. Lemuel Bourne, Mr. and Mrs. D. P. Stone, J. F. 
Somes, F. I. Foot, Mr. King, and Mr. and Mrs. B, H. Trusdell, were 
among the number who participated. The records of the parish have 
been burned, and the names of the original wardens and vestrymen 
cannot be given. Mr. Brodnax continued rector of the parish about 
three years. He was a talented, courteous, agreeable, christian gentle- 
man. The society worshiped in the hall where the parish was organ- 
ized, and for a time prospered. In 1862 Mr. Brodnax resigned, and 
for several years there were occasional ministrations by clergymen sent 
here by the bishop ; but finally all hope of firmly establishing the 
church was abandoned. IST. S. Chase, a gentleman of rare intelligence 
and pleasing manners, a thorough churchman, and a born leader, had 
died. He had done more for the parish than any other man, and 
there was no one to take his place. At a later date the parish sus- 
tained a serious loss in the death of Mrs. Robert Merigold. She was 
born in the church ; and although an invalid for many years, her sin- 
cere piety and active zeal brought her great respect and influence. 
When thoroughly disorganized and without hope, in the autumn of 
1877, Rev. N. W. Heermans, then in deacon's orders, came to this his 



340 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

first parish and entered upon the work of resuscitatinojit. The results 
are marvelous. On the lots donated to the parish at its organization 
by John B. Calhoun, Esq., and located on the northwest corner of 
Mason and Provost streets, has been erected a beautifnl church edifice, 
which is completely and neatly furnished. The lots have been graded, 
grassed and fenced, and shade-trees planted, and all is fully paid for. 
During this period Mr. Heermans held occasional services at Tonica, 
Illinois, and there made the acquaintance of Mr. and Mrs. William 
Watron. Mr. Watron died very suddenly, and Mrs. Watron, knowing 
her husband's attachment to Mr. Heermans, and his desire to promote 
the welfare of the church, gave to Mr. Heermans $1,000 for the acqui- 
sition of a rectory for St. Thomas' parish. At one Sunday morning 
service, to the great surprise of his congregation, he placed a check for 
that sura among the offerings. March 30, 1881, he purchased from 
Mr. James B. Arnold, for $1,500, his residence adjoining the church 
lots, and moved into it in May. The society is now hopeful, and Mr. 
Heermans may well feel proud of and be thankful for the results of his 
coming to this parish. 

The German Evangelical church in Amboy was formed by the 
Rev. Wm. Angelberger, of Franklin Grove, on the 30th of January 
1870,with fifty-four members, among whom Jacob Ashenbrenner, Jacob 
Klein, Valentine Weintz, Fred Nickels and Charles Molloy were 
perhaps the most prominent. Tliis organization took place in the 
basement of the Congregational church, where their first meetings 
were held, and was then styled the First Evangelical Lutheran church. 
On the 3d of July the old Congregational church was purchased from 
the Free Methodists for $1,500. The members named above and 
three other persons contributed one half of the purchase-money. The 
Rev. Angelberger preached to this congregation till May 26, 1872, 
and was followed by the Rev. Anthest until September 5, 1875. 
Somewhat irregular services were now held by diiferent ministers for 
a year. On the 20th of May, 1876, the church voted an application 
for union with the Evangelical Synod of North America, a difi'erent 
denomination, and being accepted the name was accordingly changed 
to German Evangelical. The Rev. Wm. Fromm, of New York, was 
sent by the synod, and on January 14, 1877, was installed pastor 
by the Rev, Biesemeier, of Forreston. He departed in the autumn of 
1878, and from that time till July, 1879, several persons officiated. On 
July 27 the Rev. Hagemann was installed by the Rev. W. Stark, of 
Mendota. Owing to deaths and removals their membership has 
diminished to about twenty-five. In their Sabbath school of about 
fifty members the children are taught in German, so that they may 
read the scriptures and listen to preaching in the tongue of the father- 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 341 

land. The first trustees were V. Weintz, Fred Nickels, and John 
Klein, and the first deacons were Jacob Ashenbrenner, Charles 
Molloy, and Charles Hegert. 

In 1854 the Catholics, thirty or forty in number, began holding 
service at the residence of Michael Egan. Father Anthony was the 
first to celebrate mass, but Fathers O'Hara and Fitzgerald also came 
temporarily. In 1857, while Father Edwards was here, some lots 
were purchased in the north part of the town, and material to be used 
in the erection of a church was hauled to the ground. But this priest 
remained only a brief time, and being followed by Father Bray, the 
first who settled here, and who disapproved of the location, the lots were 
sold to Patrick Murphy, and others bought where the Catholic church 
now stands, on the corner o( Adams and Center streets. The house 
was built in 1857, but when the plastering was being done it acci- 
dentally caught fire and burned down. This misfortune occurred on 
the 2d of December. Father Bray remained until the following spring, 
and then Father Vahey came to the place. In the autumn of this 
year, 185S, rebuilding was begun, and the church finished in the spring 
of 1859. Father Clark was the next priest, and was here as early as 
1862 ; Father Murphy was his successor in 1868, and during his 
charge, probably in 1871, the church was enlarged by an addition to its 
length. In 1869 a house and three lots in Wyman's addition were 
bought for the priest's occupancy, and the sum of $3,000 was paid for 
the property. The next and last change in priests was when Father 
Keenan came in 1873. The church is in a flourishing condition ; it is 
out of debt, and its membership embraces over 230 heads of families. 
The building in which they worship is 32x94 feet; it begins to bear 
marks of age, and it is proposed to build another in the near future, 
and with this object in view a fund is being accumulated. It has 
reached $2,000. 

The Catholic cemetery is located between Amboy and Rocky Ford. 
The ground was obtained by two purchases, both of which were made 
when Father Clark was over the church. The first piece of two and 
three-fourths acres was bought from Isadore Zwislerfor $200, sometime 
during the war. It was back from the road, and a few years after a 
tract of four acres in front was obtained from F. R. Dutcher for $400. 
Michael Egan, Patrick Corcoran and Lawrence McGrath are the ceme- 
tery trustees. Before this burial lot was procured the Catholics gave 
their dead sepulture at Sandy Hill. 

A Free Methodist Society was formed in Amboy about 1864 by 
the Rev. Mead. The first meetings were held in Fasoldt's Hall, and 
the original body did not consist of more than half-a-dozen members, 
but it eventually reached as high as forty or more. The first regular 



342 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

preacher was the Rev, Miller, who was followed in 1865 by the Kev, 
Levi Kelly, and he in turn was succeeded by the Rev, Charles Har- 
roun, sr. The Revs, Cain and Cooley preached subsequently, and the 
closing labors of the latter were coincident with the dissolution of the 
society. In 1866 the old Congregational church was bought, but four 
years after was sold to the German Lutherans. Dissensions having 
arisen among the Free Methodists in 1868, Stephen G, Yirgil and H. 
S. Sweet joined the United Brethren church at LaMoille, and then got 
Elder Dodson to come to Ambo}^ and organize a society. This was 
done at Sweet's house, formerly the old Farwell Hall. The original 
members were Yirgil, Sweet, P. A. Main, Rev, Miles Lewis, Rev, J. 
W. Lewis, Mrs. Sophia Lewis, and Ephraim Wheaton and his wife, 
John Sheffield and his wife, Mrs, S. G, Virgil, Alpheus Skinner and 
his wife, and Margaret Sheffield came into the society soon after. This 
church grew out of, and ultimately replaced, the Free Methodist, The 
Revs, John Dodson and J. W, Lewis were the first pastors, and in 1870 
they gave place to the Rev, O. A, Phillips, During his charge the 
next year a meeting-house was built on the west side, on Division street, 
and dedicated December 31 by Bishop Edwards. The sum of $1,728 
was pledged, clearing the church from debt. This house is 34x50 
feet, and cost $4,500. Elders Snyder and Crowder came next in order 
as preachers after Phillips. The Lewises have been leading members, 
and Joseph Lewis was ordained in this church. The society is in a 
prosperous condition. 

In 1859 the Adventists oi'ganized at Binghamton with thirteen 
members: D. S. Clark, S. E. Maybee, P. J. Main, Emerson Royce, 
Miss Maria Steadman and others, with Wm. McCulloch and wife, Lo- 
renzo Whitney and wife, and Lysander Whitney from abroad, constitut- 
ing the society. One says that Rev. Calkins was the first minister, 
another gives that distinction to S. E. Maybee. Tiie earlier preachers 
were A. S. Calkins, P. B. Morgan, Moses Chandler and Maybee, and 
of the later ones D. S. Clark, Wm. McCulloch, Harry McCulloch, O. 
D. Gibson, C. C. Marston, Frank Burr, Eldridge Burrington and S. B. 
Maybee have been the most prominent. The latter officiates at the 
present time. They have never built a church, but have worshiped 
in town halls in Amboy. At one time they had the use of the German 
Lutheran house, but their membership having fallen off from about 
forty to fifteen, they now hold services at the residences of Wm. Main 
and Rufus Hulbert. This denomination has held three largely at- 
tended camp-meetings at Amboy. It is known by the name of Advent 
Christian church. 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 843 

ORGANIZATIONS. 

Illinois C^tral Lodge, No. 178, A.F. and A.M., was organized in 
July 1855, and worked under a dispensation until a charter was issued 
by the grand lodge, October 3 of the same year. The following were 
the charter members, and those designated the first officers : J. A. 
Jackson, W.M.; H. B. Judkins, S.W.^ Warren Badger, J.W.; E. S. 
Reynolds, Treas,; Lemuel Bourne, Sec; L. W. Borden, S.D.; P. G. 
Lyon, J.D.; John K. Brown, Tyler; David Bainter, John Stevens, 
Arthur Robbins and Henry Porter. This lodge has suffered from four 
fires; once or twice its property has been wholly destroyed, and in 
each of the other cases it received partial damage. For an account 
of these burnings the reader is referred to that subject on a previous 
page. Most, if not all, the masters have been Dr. J. A. Jackson, Dr. 
Harmon Wasson, E. P. Koyes, L. W. Borden, Francis Hudson, O. F. 
Warriner, A. H. Wooster, Robt. Richards, and Prof. P. M. James. 
Twenty-eight members have been removed by death. The lodge is in 
a flourishing condition, with a membership of about ninety. Present 
officers: P^ M. James, W.M.; L. A. Hulbert, S.W.; Y. B. Andrus, 
J.W.; W. B. Andrus, Treas.; C. P. Miller, Sec; R. D. Badger, S.D.; 
P. E. Haines, J.D.; George Binns, T.; Charles Tait, S.S.; and I. S. 
Smith, J.S. Regular communications are on the first and third Mon- 
days of each month, in Masonic, formerly called Keeling's Hall, on 
East avenue. 

Araboy Lodge, No. 179, LO.O.F., was originally instituted by Dep- 
uty Grand Master Eustice, under dispensation, July 2, 1855; and Oc- 
tober 12 of the same year a charter was issued to AVilliam E. Ives, 
Charles B. Farwell, J. J. Conderman, Orange D. Reed, Harmon Was- 
son, James H. Preston, Simon Badger, Adam Roundenbush, Henry 
Roof, and Joel B. Strickland ; signed by J. E. Starr, grand master, and 
S. A. Carman, grand secretary. At the first meeting the officers 
elected for the term ending with the year were H. Wasson, N.G.; 
O. D. Reed, Y.G.; Alexander Martin, Sec; and C. D. Yaughan, 
Treas. In addition to these J. J. Conderman, A. Roundenbush, 
C. B. Farwell, J. N. Davis, S. 8. Reed, H. Roof and William E. Ives 
were present, and all except the latter received appointive offices. 
Applications for membership came from S. S. Reed, J. M. Davis, W. 
P. Roif, Tyler Hale, and Julius Hale, and these persons were elected. 
At the next meeting, on the 7th, A. Martin, H. Wasson, J. J. Conder- 
man, W. E. Ives and J. H. Preston were elected trustees. The lodge 
flourished until the war, when nearly half the members went into the 
army, and of the remaining ones many were train men, who could 
not attend the meetings with any certainty or regularity, and from 
these causes, the attendance having become deplorably reduced, in Jan- 



344 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

uarv, 1864, the lodge suspended for a twelvemonth, and before the close 
of the year surrendered its charter and all its effects Jo the grand 
lodge. On August 23, 1873, the lodge was rechartered with the fol- 
lowing members : Robert Richards, P.G.; C. D. Yaughan, P.G.; Henry 
Reals, Joseph Sackett, Jacob J. Conderman, J. H. Preston, P.G.; 
Robert Geddes, P.G.; James Rosebrugh, P.G.; Julius Hale, P.G.; 
Jacob Klein, Amiza Shoemaker, P.G.; Aaron Goldstone, P.G.; Peter 
Stein, Fritz Krehl, Benedict Fessler, Frank Weise, and Herman Zolf. 
An informal meeting was held on the 25th, and the result of the bal- 
loting for elective officers was as follows : Aaron Goldstone, N.G.; 
Robert Richards, Y.G.; C. D. Vaughan, Sec, and James Rose- 
brugh, Treas. On September 11 the lodge was instituted and 
these officers installed. The present elective officers are Charles Weis, 
KG.; Dr. E. R. Travers, Y.G.; G. W. Deming, Rec. Sec; Aaron Gold- 
stone, Treas.; Jacob Ashenbrenner, Per. Sec. The lodge meets every 
Tuesday night in the spacious and beautiful hall over J. B. Graves' 
hardware store, where the walls are decorated with portraits of many 
of their members. During the past j^ear $85 have been paid in funeral 
benefits, and $88 in sick benefits. The membership is about ninety. 

Warren Encampment, No. 122, was instituted under dispensation 
at Franklin Grove, May 17, 1871, by James E. Ketchem, D.D.G.P. of 
Earl Encampment, with the aid of a number of assistants. For the 
term ending with the year the following were elected officers: D. H. 
Spickler, C.P.; H. A. Black, H.P.; S. W. Riegles, S.W.; John Blocher, 
J.W,; Josiah Graff, S.; Kincaid Runj^on, Treas. At the first 
meeting nine received patriarchal and golden-rule degrees, and six of 
this number took the royal-purple degree. A charter was granted 
October 10, to D. H. Spickler, John Blocher, William H. Bassler, H. 
P. Black, S. W. Riegles, Kincaid Runyon, and Joseph Graff. The 
last meeting held by this encampment at Franklin Grove was on Aug- 
ust 5, 1879. A proposition to move it to Amboy was adopted, which 
measure was immediately carried into effect, and on the 7th the first 
meeting was held in the new location. Grand Patriarch Crocker was 
in the chair, and the other officers were filled by patriarchs from Paw 
Paw. Petitions were received from Daniel Bull, C. E. Arnold, 
Charles Randall, G. A. Deming, W. Bi-onson, Fay Strickland, and 
L. Hegert, and these persons were elected and initiated. There is now 
a membership of twenty-three. The place of meeting is in Odd- 
Fellows' Hall, on the first and third Fridays of each month. Present 
officers: G. A. Deming, C.P.; W. J. Moseley, H.P.; A. Shoemaker, 
S.W.; J. H. Preston, J.W.; Fay Strickland, S.; and B. Fassler, T. 

Palestine Lodge, No. 122, A.O.U.W., was organized July 24, 1878, 
with thirty-four charter members, among whom were P. M. James, J. 



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AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 345 

E. Lewis, E. K. Travers, Y. B. Andruss, C. E. Arnold, J. B. Graves, 
W. H. Badger, and A. E. Merwine. First officers : J. E. Lewis, P.M. 
W.; P. M. James, M.W.; L. A. Hulbert, F.; Y. B. Andruss, O.; A. 

E. Merwine, P.; J. M. Arnold, P.; C. P. Miller, F.; P. E. Haines, G.; 
A. Barth, I.W.; W. C. Smith, O.W. The first trustees were C. E. 
Arnold, C. Hegert, and J. B. Graves. Present officers : C. E.Arnold, 
M.W.; J. E. Lewis, F.; A. E. Merwine, O.; A. Hulbert, P.; D. W. 
Slanter, P.; C. P. Miller, F.; H..Masterman, G.; Charles Tait, I.W.; 
Jerome Hiissej, O.W. Since the organization one member has been 
lost b}' death. Meetings are held every Wednesday evening in 
Masonic Hall. Membership sixty-three, condition very prosperous. 
One of the first objects of this order is mutual insurance, but sick 
benefits and the social features are also of prime importance. 

Friendship Council, No. 5C7, A.L. of H., was instituted May 6, 1881, 
by P. P. Harding, of Pockford, with fifty members. The first and 
present officers are Robert Pichards, P.C.; L. A. Hulbert, C; C. A. 
Church, Y.C.; A. E. Slanter, O.; W. H. Dean, Sec; C. P. Miller, C; 

F. P. Doty, T.; Pev. N. W. Heermans, C; W. P. Barnes, G.; G. 
Binns, W.; A. H. Yirgil, S. Dr. C. A. Wilcox is medical examiner, 
and Dr. E. Manning, alternate. Meetings are held in Odd-Fellows' 
Hall on the second and fourth Fridays of each month. This is prima- 
rily a life-insurance organization, and the aggregate amount for which 
the charter members are insured is $168,000. This order was 
instituted in Boston, Massachusetts, three years ago ; its objects being 
social and fraternal union for the purpose of extending material aid to 
its members, to cultivate their minds, morals and tastes, and to estab- 
lish a fund for beneficiary objects. 

Lee Count}^ Post, No. 65, G.A.P., was organized September 8, 
1879, by Gen. Chamberlain. First officers: Col. George Pyon, C; C. 
K. Dixon, S.Y.C.; Capt. Wm. Frost, J.Y.C.; A. H. Merrifield, Q.M.; 
Dr. E. Manning, S.; J. H. Hazen, C; J. H. Gray, O.D.; John S. 
Bitzer, O.G.; C. E. Arnold, Q.M.S.; C. Gordonier, S.M.; E. E. 
Chase, A. Present officers: C. H. Ingals, C; G. E. Young, S.Y.C.; 
P. Warriner, J.Y.C.; C. K. Dixon, C; E. Manning, S.; C. E. Arnold, 
Q.M.; J. Bitzer, O.D.; J. Carr, O.G.; L. A. Hulbert, A. Stated 
meetings are on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, in 
Masonic Hall. This post was organized with thirty-five ex-soldiers, 
and the present number is seventy-two. Interest in the meetings has 
greatly declined. The first post instituted in Amboy went down 
several years ago. 

On the 14th February, 1879, an independent organization was 
formed in Amboy bearing the name of United States Pensioners' Aid 
Protective Association, composed of about ten veteran pensioners, with 
21 



346 HISTORY OF LEE OOrjNTY. 

the following oflBcers : C. K. Northrnp, C; P. Dunsmore, Y.C; C. A. 
Getty, Sec; H. S. Merrow, Treas.; J. H. Hazen, C; E. Tonrtlott, S. 
at A.; Joseph Carr, S. The objects of this association were expressed 
in its name ; but after a short trial it was found that the pensioners 
were too few and the objects too limited to give it stability, and 
accordingly on the 17th of October a radical change was made in the 
organization, enlarging its scope and making its features more attract- 
ive and valuable. The names of the offices, but not the officers, were 
changed. Mr. Hazen and Mr, Getty, assisted somewhat by others, 
originated the secret work of the new order, which was called Our 
Country's Defenders, and also prepared the charter and the constitu- 
tion. The headquarters were removed to Chicago in ISTovember 1880. 
The order has extended into Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, 
Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, l^ew York, and New Hampshire ; and in 
some of these states there are state encampments. Generals Grant, 
Logan, Governor Beveridge, and others of repute, have given this 
organization their hearty indorsement. The subordinate camp at 
Amboy, designated as Wyman Encampment No. 1, has been in exist- 
ence since the creation of the order. Its regular meetings are on the 
second and fourth Fridays, and the gatherings were formerly in the 
reading room. There are about twenty-five members, and the condi- 
tion of the camp is not altogether flattering. The present officers are 
M. T. Spencer, C; E. J. Post, L.; L. A. Hulbert, A.; Col. George 
Ryon, S.; J. H. Hazen, C: R. Rose, O.D.; Thos. Meacham, O.G.; 
E. Dunsmore, C. of O. 

In 1863 the Brotherhood of the Footboard, an association of 
locomotive engineers to elevate their standing as such and their char- 
acter as men, and for mutual insurance and assistance in sickness and 
distress, was instituted at Detroit. Its prosperity very soon waned 
throughout the country ; and then it was reorganized at Indianapolis, 
August 17, 1861, the anniversary of its establishment, under the style 
of the Grand International Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. 
A division was formed in Amboy subordinate to the Brotherhood of 
the Footboard, but it was short-lived. A charter was issued to I. R. 
Patterson, December 25, 1865, with power to organize Amboy division 
No. 1, and on January 8 following a meeting was convened, at which 
B. C. Howard, chief engineer of Centralia division, presided. S. L. 
Peters and others from Aurora division assisted. The initiates were 
J. W. Howe, S. Hoisted, W. B. Trude, F. Westcott, S. C. HuflF, C. 
Putnam, C. H. Marston, Pat Allen, and D. Reynolds. The following 
were also the first officers: C. H. Marston, C.E. ; F. Westcott, F.E. ; 
J. W. Howe, S.E.; I. R. Patterson, F.A.E. ; C. Putnam, S.A.E. ; and 
W. B. Trude, T.A.E. At the second meeting, on the 15th, J. Hath- 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 347 

away, A. McCall, C. Randall, and H. McGraw, old members, joined 
the division, and P. Battles was initiated. The present officers are 
J. Shaw, C.E. ; (vacant) F.E. ; F. Weise, S.E. ; O. Comstock, F.A.E. ; 
A. Armstrong, S.A.E. ; Wm. Stine, T.A.E. ; G. Bustick, G. ; and C. 
H. Rosier, C. R. Rosier, chief engineer, a highly esteemed man, died 
February 17, 1881, and Mr. Shaw was elected to his place, leaving the 
otRce of first engineer vacant. The members number thirty-six, and 
the division is in a flourishing condition. Meetings are held on the 
second and fourth Sunday afternoons. 

The charter of Amboy Lodge, No. 35, of the Brotherhood of Loco- 
motive Firemen, was granted January 19, 1879, to Titus Hinchclifli', 
Henry Williams, Wm. H. Dean, Thomas Hinchcliff, Harry Luscombe, 
W. M. Palmer, Henry Schermerhorn, I. M. Farris, Garrett H. King, 
Abe Schermerhorn, C. R. Rosier, and Wm. Linsea. This lodge was 
organized by John Walsh, of Capital Lodge, of Springfield, with eight 
members. The first elective officers were Titus Hinchcliff', M. ; Henry 
Williams, V.M. ; W. H. Dean, R.S. ; Wm. Palmer, F.S. ; Thomas 
Hinchcliff", T, Present officers: W. H. Dean, M. ; C. R. Rosier, 
Y.M.; F. H. Schermerhorn, R. S. ; C. R. Rosier, F. S. ; Thomas 
Hinchcliff", T. The lodge embraces twenty-six members, and is enjoy- 
ing a period of much prosperity. Stated meetings are on the first and 
third Snndavs, in Engineers' Hall. The order is designed for social 
improvement, and provides a system of insurance, and organized 
mutnal assistance to members and their families. 

In 1867 the conductors formed a union, and in 1868 it was changed 
to division No. 1 of the Conductors' Brotherhood, a charter being 
granted August 4. In its last state it was a benevolent association, 
but its existence was of brief duration. 

Division No. 1, A.O.H., was organized September 26, 1875, by 
John D. Neill, of La Salle, with a membership of thirty. It holds 
regular meetings and is in fair condition. 

One of the most thoughtful sources of public intelligence is a good 
circulating library. The Illinois Central Railroad Company, with 
that interest in the welfare and improvement of its employes for 
which it is noted, early conceived the design of providing books for 
the use of such as would avail themselves of the privilege, and accord- 
ingly established in Chicago a library of nearly 2,000 volumes. In the 
winter of 1864-5 the books were divided and removed from that city, 
one-half being sent to Centralia and the other to Ambov. Here was 
formed the Illinois Central Library Association, composed at first 
exclusively of employes of the company, but to which others were 
afterward admitted ; not on equal terms, however, but by paying an 
annual fee double that of the railroad men, and being deprived, besides, 



348 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

of all voice in its management and in the choice of officers. As was 
sure to be the case, this discrimination, though not unsupported by 
very plausible reasons, bred, or rather at once made, two parties, a con- 
dition not calculated to deepen interest or increase harmony. Notwith- 
standing, the association flourished and the books were much used, 
while the company for a number of years paid the rents and the 
librarian. At length, funds and more books being wanted, an excur- 
sion to Dunleith and Dubuque, under the auspices of the Woman's 
Christian Temperance Union, was planned, and was liberally en- 
couraged by the general superintendent, E. D. Jeffrey, who had been 
more instrumental, perhaps, than any other man in originating the 
library. The excursion took place in August 1869, and the net returns 
amounted to $613.45. Thus improved in condition, the association 
bouglit more books, which inspired fresh interest. But this did not 
last long, and when the apparent concern of the members, or a large 
majority of them, had disappeared, late in 1872 the company discon- 
tinued the allowance for rent. It languished until the early part of 
1875, when Mr. J. C. Jacobs, division superintendent, who had not 
only taken from the start a leading personal interest in the success of 
the library, but because of his position was clothed with a certain 
responsibility for its care and use, proposed a reorganization under the 
laws of the state. This meeting with favor, it was incorporated, April 
2, 1875, with the name of the Amboy Library Association, Mr. Jacobs 
being named in the charter as president, E. Hull as librarian and 
secretary, and Josiah Little as treasurer. Messrs. Jacobs, Little, Hull, 
L. T. Moore and Lemuel Bourne, upon the advice of the railroad em- 
ployes who were members of the old organization, were selected as 
trustees. On March 18, 1876, the trustees adopted a constitution and 
by-laws, which put all members on an equality. On October 3, 
1877, the association ran an excursion to Dubuque and cleared $963. 
Altogether there have been two hundred dollars' worth of books 
purchased and added to the original stock, besides the donation of a 
lot from New York; and now there are 755 volumes of standard 
works on history, biography, science and fiction. The library is kept 
in the reading room over W. B. Andruss & Son's store, and is open at 
stated times throughout the week. The membership numbers 93. The 
librarian, Mrs. M. L. Knowles, has been in charge about a year, and 
the present prosperity is due very largely to her exertions and her devo- 
tion to the interests of the association. Mr. L. T. Moore, too, has 
labored with especial zeal for its success. The board of trustees remains 
the same as at first, except that Mr. W. E. Ives has succeeded Mr. 
Hull. Mr. Jacobs is still president. 

The Old Settlers' Association of Lee county organized and held 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 349 

its first gathering in 1873. W. H. Haskell, of " The Amboj Journal," 
in the issue of November 16, 1872, commenced agitating the subject, 
and continued it until a meeting was had on the 22d of February in 
the city council room at^Amboy ; J. B. Tuttle presided, and Mr. Has- 
kell acted as secretary. "Wednesday, June -i, 1873, was designated as 
the da}' for the old settlers' meeting to be held at this city, and a com- 
mittee of arrangements was appointed. At the time fixed about 200 
gathered to greet old friends, renew acquaintance and exchange remi- 
niscences. Speeches were made, and otherwise the features were those 
of an ordinary picnic. A committee was appointed, composed of one 
member from each township, making a total of twenty-two, with C. 
F. Ingals as chairman and W. H. Haskell as secretary. The second an- 
nual reunion, held also at Amboy, on June 18, 1874, was a decided suc- 
cess, over 2,000 people being present. The venerable Father Dixon 
occupied a seat on the stand, where he received the congratulations of 
friends and the respects of the multitude. Col. John Dement delivered 
an address on this occasion, and was elected president for the ensuing 
year. Mr. Haskell was continued secretary of the executive commit- 
tee. The third annual meeting was held again at Amboy, June 19 of 
the following year, and Dr. Charles Gardner was chosen president. In 
1876 the association met at Dixon, and Col. Dement was again chosen 
president and Mr. Haskell secretary. June 22 was the day of the 
gathering. At this time a cane made from Black Hawk's pirogue was 
presented to Col. Dement as an appropriate surprise. Removal of the 
files of "The Journal" from the office to be bound prevents a further 
connected account of this organization. The reunion this year (1881) 
was at Amboy, on the 1st of September. The grove belonging to the 
city is the meeting-place, and Dr. C. E. Loomis is present secretar3^ 

At a meeting of the citizens of Amboy and vicinity, held Novem- 
ber 5, 1856, Prairie Repose Cemetery Association was organized, and 
the following persons were elected officers : Joseph Farwell, president; 
M. L. Arnold, secretary and treasurer, and J. F. Powers, C. A. Wall 
and Jacob Luce directors. This board was instructed to purchase from 
Harvey Barrel four acres in a square, in the northwest corner N.W. -^ 
of N.W. ^ Sec. 15 in this township, for $600. This was done, and the 
ground laid out in lots, with three driveways from east to west, and 
alleys of four feet width from north to south between the lots. There 
are 442 of these lots 10x20 feet, besides 60 on the north end 10x26 
feet, used for a Potter's field. The following soldiers, some of whom 
died on the battle-field and others after their return home, are buried 
in this cemetery: Wm. H. Arnold, Co. A, 111th JST. Y. Vols. ; Frank 
D. Brown, Co. F, 75th 111. Vols. ; Edward W. Bull, Co. I, 89th 111. 
Yols. ; C. E. Blanchard (regiment unknown), John Burrington, Co. D, 



350 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

46th 111. Vols.; Albion Comstock, Co. I, 89th 111. Yols.; Wm. H. 
Curly, Co. C, 13th 111. Yols.; J. M. Crampton, Co. I, 31st Mass. Yols.; 
C. H. Daw (regiment unknown), C. A. Harper (regiment unknown), 
Harrison Hale (regiment unknown), Cyrus D. Lyman, Co. E, 7th 111. 
Cav.; H. H.Morey, Co. C, 89th 111. Yols.; John Madden, Co. D, 46th 
111. Yols.; James A. McGary (regiment unknown), Frank H. Mellen, 
Co. A, 89th 111. Yols.; Albert W. Preston, Co. E, 140th 111. Yols., and 
Henry Sanger, 2d Me. Yols., honorably discharged therefrom, and in 
1863 reenlisted in the 52d or 57th 111. Yols. The present officers of 
this association are John C. Church, president; Wm. B. Andruss, sec- 
retary and treasurer; Wm. T. French, Henry T. Ford and Wm. E. 
Ives, directors. 

Although the Lee County Agricultural Society is now extinct, it 
was once so prominent an institution that it i-equires some mention. 
It was organized in 1854, and incorporated in July 1857. The third 
annual fair was in Amboy, in 1856, and from that time this was the 
regular place for holding the exhibitions. In 1858 grounds were 
leased in Farwell's addition for a term of five years, and buildings 
erected thereon. The society ceased to be of any public usefulness 
after the expiration of this lease. In 1863 a fair was held, or attempted 
to be held, but it was a failure. There was a rival society in Dixon, 
and overtures were made by each looking to consolidation, but whether 
it was ever eifected we are not informed. At all events it did not have 
the support of Amboy, and so far as this place is concerned the active 
history of the society ends during the time of the war. J. B. Wyman, 
C. F. Ingals and R. N. Woods were presidents, and Josiah Little, IST. 
S. Chase and H. G. Pratt were secretaries. 

TEMPERANCE WORK AND THE DEMAND FOR IT. 

At the beginning of the year 1867 there were nine licensed saloons, 
seven sold intoxicating liquors and two retailed beer. This was not an 
unusual number, but about the average for many years. These dens 
made men shameless, brutal, vagrant, and dangerous. Drunkenness 
and its concomitant routs, frays, thefts, insults, deadly accidents and 
blood-shedding became almost too familiar for comment. Ladies upon 
the street were obliged to push their way through maudlin, ribald 
crowds, and unoffending citizens were never safe from being set upon 
and beaten by cowardl}'' gangs of drunken roughs, for such offenses 
were not uncommon. 

During the year succeeding the war no less than five attempts were 
made to burn the business part of the city. Add to these public an- 
noyances and dangers all the disgrace, orphanage, unseen woe and 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 351 

social wretchedness, and it will be seen that there was strong moving 
cause for temperance work. 

To overcome as much as possible these licensed, alarming evils, 
many cooperative temperance and total-abstinence efforts have been 
started and maintained, until periodical apathy would strangle them to 
death or neutralize their influence. We can only briefly refer to the 
principal ones. The first organized movement to " suppress the un- 
lawful sale of ardent spirits and gambling " was the " Cai'son League." 
A meeting of the inhabitants, attended by many of the leading men 
of the place, was held on Februarj^ 4:, 1856, in the Baptist church, and 
a constitution and bj'-laws common to this form of organization were 
adopted. Alonzo Kinyon filled the chair and J. F. Pirie acted as sec- 
retary. The business was conducted by twelve directors, whose duties 
were to attend to the enforcement of the law. The first board con- 
sisted of D. S. Clark, K. M. Brigham, J. Clark, E. H. Mellen, J. D. 
Weddell, John Dexter, W. E. Ives, J. F. Powers, A. E. Wilcox, H. 
M. Taylor, A. Kinyon and C. Bridgman. Stock was taken to the 
amount of $600,000, and those subscribing gave what was called stock 
notes, on which the directors were authorized to make assessments " to 
defray the expenses of the league," which included the expenses of 
prosecutions. This league existed about two years. 

We find it stated in " The Times," in 1858, that the Sons of Tem- 
perance and Good Templars were meeting in the same hall with the 
Masons and the Odd-Fellows. The lodge of Good Templars was or- 
ganized in the spring of that year, but its existence was not long con- 
tinued. After this had lapsed, in January 1862, a lodge of this order 
was started at Binghamton. In March a " section of the Cadets of 
Temperance" was instituted in Am boy for the training and instruction 
of the youth. Amboy Lodge, No. 64:6, was organized in November 
1865, and enjoyed a tolerable lease of life. Friendship Lodge, No. 
512, was started in October 1870. Organizations of a transient char- 
acter have been formed at times to arouse the slumbering sense of the 
people when urgent labors were necessary to carry elections, and other- 
wise to checkmate the debauching alcoholic interest. 

Reform division. No. 555, Sons of Temperance, was organized 
February 21, 1862, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Division of Illi- 
nois, E. D. Lamoine, of Paw Paw, being Grand Worthy Patriarch, and 
Geo. L. Moore, of Lebanon, Grand Scribe. Charter members: W. H. 
Tousley, N. T. Pratt, W. B. Andruss, C. P. Miller, F. I. Foot, Wm. 
H. Hayward, John Carter, jr., M. Gilleas, Chas. A. Allen, D. C. Udell, 
J. A. Scollay, W. C. Sears, D. C. Graham, D. B. Wall, Chas. E. Ives 
and Samuel E. Appleton. The division has had its days of prosperity 
—when high tide came and multitudes floated in, — and of adversity — 



352 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

when the tide ebbed away, and those of least principle or will-power 
dropped out ; but a few have always held on to the good craft. The 
period of greatest prosperity was in 1876 and 1877, during and since 
which time over 200 have been initiated. This division, with the 
Woman's Christian Temperance Union, organized in December 1876, 
and the Ked Kibbon Club, organized in 1877, worked in harmony to- 
gether, the reading-room over the store of W. B. Andruss & Son being 
their headquarters. The club has ceased as an organization, leaving 
the other two bodies still doing effective work. Present officers : Mrs. 
Daniel Bull, W.P.; Mrs. C. W. Bell, W.A.; Daniel^Bull, E. S.; Miss 
Emma Sleeper, A.R.S.; Wm. B. Andruss, F.S.; Edgar Miller, Treas.; 
Eev. K A. Reed, D.D., Chaplain ; B. B. Howard, C; Mrs. A. Los- 
sie, A.C.; Mrs. M. J. Mingle, I.S.; C. W. Bell, O.S., and C. W. Dem- 
ing, P.W.P. Representatives to the grand division : C. W. Deming, 
E. Miller, C. P. Miller, W. B. Andruss, J. S. Oleson, C. W. Bell, Rev. 
Dr. N. A. Reed, G. W. Mingle, Mrs. M. J. Mingle, Daniel Bull, Mrs. 
Daniel Bull and B. B. Howard ; of these Messrs. Andruss and Deming 
are representatives of the Grand Division of Illinois to the National 
Division of North America. 

"On November 19, 1876, a few ladies who had attended the state 
annual convention at Dixon, and returned with hearts quickened to 
the need of gospel temperance work in their midst, extended an invi- 
tation by the various pulpits to all interested in temperance to meet 
Tuesday afternoon, November 21, in the Baptist church, to organize a 
Woman's Christian Temperance Union." A committee was named to ob- 
tain a good lecturer, and another to collect funds from the citizens to pay 
the expense of the lecture-course. Prayer-meetings were appointed to 
move the hearts of the people in the new work, and three of those 
were held in the Methodist church. Volunteer laborers having come 
forward, on December 2 a called meeting was held in the Congrega- 
tional parlor to district the city, so that the canvassers could go to 
work soliciting members and mone3% Their success was very encour- 
aging. Mrs. Foster, of Iowa, was engaged, and gave three lectures on 
December 17, 18 and 19, and then it was decided to organize, which 
was done in the Baptist church on the last day mentioned. The officers 
chosen were Mrs. Mingle, president; Mrs. Yaughan, Mrs. Poland and 
Mrs. Badger, vice-presidents; Mrs. Williams, recording secretar}^ ; 
Mrs. Chase, corresponding secretai'y, and Mrs. Reagan, treasurer. The 
standing committees were: on reading-room, Mrs. Andruss, Mrs. Mil- 
ler, Mrs. Poland, Mrs. Williams ; on public work, Mrs. Battis; on lit- 
erature, Mrs. Chase ; on statistics, Mrs. Reagan ; on finance, Mrs. Miller. 
Most untiring and zealous endeavors have been put forth by these 
christian women to secure a ripe harvest of good M'orks in the com- 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP, 353 

mnnity, and their liands have been royally upheld by the citizens. The 
Union occupies the cheerful and tastefully furnished hall over the 
hardware store of W. B. Andruss & Son. on Main street. Gospel 
meetings are held here every Sabbath afternoon under the auspices of 
the Union. These ladies inaugurated a free reading-room, and dedi- 
cated the hall to the high objects of social, religious and intellectual 
culture, with devotional and literary exercises on April 17, 1877. The 
Library Association uses the same hall, holding under the Union. 

The Father Matthew Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society, 
founded by P. A. Boland and named in honor of the great Irish bene- 
factor and apostle of temperance, is an independent body chartered by 
the state, and was organized December 15, 1872. It has sixty mem- 
bers and is in a flourishing condition. This is a valuable auxiliary to 
the reform movement. 

Banner Temple, No. 24, of the United Order of Ancient Templars, 
was organized in August, 1889, with thirty-four members, and was 
chartered October 21. Present officers : Lee Cronkrite, T. ; Mrs. C. A. 
Bartlett, P.T. ; Frank Almy, Y.T. ; Frank Marrow, R. ; l^rs. Ford, 
A.R. ; H. T. Ford, F. ; H. Shurtleff, C. ; Miss Fisher, M. ; (vacant) 
A.M. ; Mrs. Henry T. Ford, T. ; Mrs. Trainer, W. ; Mr. Skinner, G. 
Meetings are held on Monday nights in Odd-Fellows' Hall. This order 
furnishes insurance to its members, and embraces as compj-ehensive 
objects as any of the benevolent associations. 

JOURNALISM IN AMBOY. 

Under this caption the " Amboy Journal" of April 11, 187-1, 
narrates its own history to that date in the subjoined sketch : 

"In May or June, 1855, the 'Amboy Printing Association' was 
formed, which secured the publication of the ' Lee County Times,' with 
Augustus Noel Dickens, a brother of the author Charles Dickens, as 
editor. So far as we can learn the stockholders were A. Kinyon, W. 
E. Ives, John L. Skinner, John B. Wyman, H. B. Judkins, W. B. 
Stuart. August 1, 1855, as appears by a bond in our possession, one 
H. B. Judkins bound himself in the sum of $200 to said association 
in consideration of the transfer of the press, etc., to publish or cause 
to be published the said 'Lee County Times' for the space of one 
year. Yolume 1, number 33, was issued Februarj^ 7, 1856, by H. G. 
Pratt as editor and proprietor, and this is the oldest paper on our files. 
Yolume 1, number 41, was issued as the 'Amboy Times,' by Cottrell & 
Pratt, April 3, 1856 ; and that name was continued for ten years, or 
until volume 11, number 18, published by Goff & Shaw, February 8, 
1866. In the meantime, however, publishers had succeeded each other 
in the following order: Cottrell, Pratt & Miller; Cottrell, Pratt & 



354 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Somes ; Pratt t% Co. (John Lewis, James F. Somes) ; Pratt, Shaw & 
Co. (Joseph Lewis); Gardner, Shaw & Lewis; and Pratt & Shaw. 
When Goff & Shaw issued volume 1, number 1, of the 'Lee County 
Journal,' February 25, 1866, they called it the 'new series,' and 
dropped the record of the eleven years and twenty weeks of a news- 
paper issue from the same office. This course we consider unwise, and 
propose now to remedy by calling the present issue of the 'Journal' 
volume 19, number 1. 

"Burrington & Shaw published the 'Lee County Journal' from 
February, 1867, to December, 1867, when we find a card published 
giving notice that they would suspend the issue of any paper for two 
weeks, because of the want of payments and patronage on the part of 
business men and subscribers. From January 16 to December 24, 
1868, B. F. Shaw was editor and proprietor, 

"Some graceless scamp has stolen the files from the last date to 
January 6, 1870, when we find the paper issued by Stimson & Corbus 
until March 10, when the thief, or the most improvident publishers, 
again leaj-e us no files up to September; when Wm. Parker changed 
the name to the one now used, and continued its publication for just 
two years, to September 6, 1872, when we [W. H. Haskell] bought 
the ' Journal,' paid off' its mortgages, began to improve the paper and 
increase its circulation, having gained 200 subscribers in nineteen 
months without especial eff'ort at solicitation." 

On October 15, 1879, Mr. Haskell sold the office to E. W. Faxon 
& Co., and on February 1, 1881, Dr. C. E. Loomis, of Lee Center, 
purchased it and is the present editor and proprietor. The paper has 
always been republican in politics. 

TORNADO. 

The great tornado of 1860 occurred on Sunday, June 3. It began 
its ravages as far west as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and gathering force as 
it proceeded, left a track of death and desolation behind. In the 
vicinity of Clinton twenty-five persons were killed. The town of 
Comanche, on the Iowa side of the Mississippi, was totally destroyed ; 
and Albany, on the Illinois side, shared nearly the same fate. In the 
two places the killed and wounded reached not fewer than 125 persons. 
The towns of Lyndon and Mount Pleasant, in Whiteside county, suf- 
fered severely, and in the neighborhood of Morrison and Sterling 
about a dozen were killed and a larger number wounded. From the 
point where the hurricane struck this county to Bradford township it 
spared nothing in its course. Trees, crops, stock, fences and buildings 
were swept away with terrific fury, and numbers of persons, not a few 
frightfully mangled, were killed outright, while a still larger number 



A]MBOY T0W2fSHIP. 355 

sustained different degrees of injury. In its progress onward from 
Bradford it alternately I'aised and lowered, leaving evidences of its 
violence at intervals. Its track was about forty rods wide, and the 
ground over which it passed had the appearance of having been swept 
by a mighty torrent. In its twistings and whirlings it described a 
zigzag course, with arms and angles jutting out at short distances. 
The general direction was from west to east through Amboy, about a 
mile south of the north line of the township. The first casualty was 
the serious injury of a man named Emmet, his wife, two children, and 
a hired man, who were living in a house owned by E. B. Stiles. The 
building was demolished. The next place visited east of this was Mr. 
Morse's. His house was destroyed, and Mrs. Morse was hurled five 
rods and disemboweled. She survived in this horrible condition about 
an hour. Mr. Morse was despaired of for some time, but finally 
recovered and is now living. One of the sons was slightly injured, 
another dangerously, and a daughter had both legs broken and died. 
James Rosbrugh's farm, occupied by Edward Sacket, was next in the 
track. The house, barn and blacksmith shop, were carried entirely 
away ; and all the family of five persons seriously and some danger- 
ously injured. F. H. Northway's buildings sufi;ered total wreck. The 
family were taken up with the house into the air, but fortunately all 
escaped with the exception of cuts, bruises and broken ribs. A boulder 
weighing a quarter of a ton was lifted at this place and carried ten 
rods. From here the storm headed more northerly, and John Crombie's 
house shared the general ruin ; one of his little children was killed, 
and another was so hurt that it barely recovered. Lyman Bixliy's 
family took refuge in their cellar half a minute before the tempest 
reached them and were saved, though the house and barn went to 
atoms. Farther north James Moifat's house was unroofed ; and cuts and 
bruises, from which no one was exempted, were the extent of injuries 
here. R. D. Peironnet lost his barn, back kitchen and outbuildings. 
A traveler, who had stopped at a vacant building near, and had the 
calves of his legs nearly torn off, was at once brought to Mr. P.'s for 
care. Onward the destroying force went to Isaac Gage's; but we 
shall let Mr. Gage tell his own fearful story of loss and bereavcnK-nt 
in the picturesque account which he has given of this calamity, and on 
which we mainly rely for adequate description. P. D. La Forge's 
handsome residence was partly unroofed, a back kitchen blown away, 
and his barn rent to pieces. 

From this point we prefer Mr. Gage's striking statement of his 
personal experiences at the supreme instant of disaster, and of his inti- 
mate knowledge of the ravages made in his neighborhood and to the 
eastward. It was published in the Amboy " Journal " February 7, 1874. 



356 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

"This wind storm, called a tornado, struck our house on the eve of 
June 3, 1860, about nine o'clock. It being Sabbath evening we had 
retired rather early, and I soon fell asleep to be awakened by a terrible 
crash as of thunder, seemingly without a cause. For the next instant 
it was so still one could have heard a pin fall in any part of the house, 
but for a moment only ; then, sir, there was a sound which I shall 
ever fail to describe, but I will give the best version my poor 
mind can. It was not thunder, and though it lasted but a moment 
it shook the earth for miles around. Another moment and everj'- 
tliing was as still as death ; then instantly came the grand crash, 
and we were in the elements. ]^ow it is partly by sight and 
partly by feeling that I shall attempt to describe what took place. 
1 jumped out of bed and grasped the door-handle to go for our chil- 
dren, but could not open the door. Suddenly it opened and knocked 
ine down on one knee, and violently dragged or shoved me about five 
feet out of doors to the ground, while the house and my four boys 
went into the air far above my head ; some of the furniture, or some 
portion of the house, struck me in the back and passed on. This con- 
fused state of things lasted perhaps five minutes, I should think not 
longer, and then out came the moon as bright as day ; it seemed as if 
it wanted to show us what desolation and destruction had been done. 
Here and there lay heaps of rubbish, parts of the house and some parts 
of the furniture, all broken small enough for stove wood, and only 
three out of seven of our family were able to see this ruin. Some 
were dead, and some were not conscious of anything that was going 
on, though yet alive. A twin boy of eleven yeai's had his life literally 
whipped out of him; he was dead when found. My eldest, a boy of 
seventeen, was carried through the air and debris the distance of sixty 
rods or over, and was so bruised that his entire person after a few hours 
became perfectly pulp-like, resembling a blood-blister. He lived, how- 
ever, until the seventh day, in the most wonderful agony. Most of 
the time he lay seemingly unconscious. 

" The rest of the boys were not carried so far away. When we found 
my youngest son the little fellow looked most horrible, not a scrap of 
clothing on him save the collar of his shirt ; his head was cut and 
bruised, and his body so bloody and dirty that we could scarcely see 
any human shape to him. We picked him and his little dead brother 
up about twelv^rods from where the house had stood a few moments 
before. 

" When we went to bed that evening a large kettle that would hold 
a barrel or more was standing under the eaves of the house, full of 
water; it was taken up and carried high enough to strike the corner 
of the barn about twelve feet from the ground, and there it sat where 



AMBOT TOWNSHIP. 357 

the barn stood with two or three pailfuls of water in it yet. In the 
debris of the barn lay a young stable horse ; when first seen he was on 
his back with the timbers piled upon and about him six feet high, and 
one large piece lay across his neck and held him down so firmly that 
he could not stir. 

" From this point on in a southeast direction the surface of the earth 
was covered with bits of everything in the shape of fence rails, boards, 
timbers, etc. All seemed to have been carried with so great force that 
they were driven into the ground from three inches to one foot or 
more. One stick, thirteen feet long and about ten inches square, was 
taken over 100 rods from my house and thrust into the earth ten feet, 
at an angle of forty-five degrees. It seems that the air must have been 
full of every conceivable thing, parts of wagons and buggies and 
goods from the house were literally torn to fragments and scattered 
abroad. Before the storm I had two lumber wagons, after it I had 
only two wheels left. 

"After leaving my place it struck Mr. Lorenzo Wood's, there it en- 
tirely demolished the buildings (and they were many), but carried 
away nothing very heavy, except a few sheep that were transported 
something near twenty miles. His papers were found by honest men 
and returned. I think there were none on Mr. Wood's farm seriously 
hurt, unless it was a tenant family [the Felties] who were lifted house 
and all into the air and carried in a southwesterly direction over the 
line fence into my field, and there caught by another current and 
carried in a circle back into the same field that they started from, mak- 
ing a distance of about fifty rods before the house was torn to pieces. 
Its course could be traced for weeks after, for in places the corners of 
the house struck into the earth, and in others the building dragged 
along and made large holes as if several wagon-loads of soil had been 
removed, and then elevated itself, no one knows bow high, before 
coming to the final crash. As I said before, this family were some- 
what hurt, but I think they all survived. One of the men who were 
in this house told me afterward that when it was in motion the stove 
rolled over the room like a ball, and all their furniture, with them- 
selves, was pitched and tumbled about fearfully. At this point it 
seemed to reach out to the north about twenty rods and take in a Mr. 
Preston, wlio owned and lived on the Chadwick farm. It demolished 
all his buildings, and carried him with two of his children out through 
the tree-tops and landed them several rods from where they started 
unharmed, save some fiesh wounds; but his only a son, a little boy, 
was killed outright. From there it passed on, devastating everything 
in its way, until it struck Mr. Martin Wright's. It cleared him out, 
tearing down everything in its course, and threw him and his wife's 



Q 



58 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 



sister up into some trees, broke out a large piece of the lady's jaw- 
bone, taking with it the teeth, and so nearly killed Mr. Wright that 
his lite was despaired of for a long time. Both finally recovered, while 
Mrs. Wright, who was in the house at the same time and not hurt at 
all, died in less than ten days, as it was supposed, from fright. The 
cyclone moved from here to Mr. John Lane's, destroying everything, 
but killing no one. From this point it left Amboy township and 
visited the corner of Lee Center, passing into Bradford, doing serious 
damage to Mr. Darwin Woodruff's farm, lifting up his house and 
dashing it to fragments instantly, so injuring the inmates that they 
were taken up for dead, but they all recovered. Beyond this point for 
some miles it did little harm; but fourteen miles distant it descended, 
leaving articles taken from this neighborhood, and so lowering at 
intervals to deal out destruction; its force did not seem to abate until 
it reached Lnke Michigan." 

The many admirers of the late Col. Wyman will thank the Hon. 
B. H. Trusdell for the following graceful memoir of their lamented 
friend : 
^^ John B. Wvman, oldest of ten children, of Scotch ancestry, was 
born July 12, 1817 ; and was educated at a select school at Bolton, and 
at the public schools of Shrewsburj^ Massachusetts. At the age of 
fourteen he ceased study altogether under the direction of tutors; and 
in view of his liberally practical acquirements in later life, may be 
said in truth to have been a thoroughly self-made man. Having quit 
school, he became employed in a clothing store in Shrewsburj' ; and in 
1838, as a partner in a mercantile firm, opened the first ready-made cloth- 
ing store in Cincinnati, Ohio. He remained in that city two years, and 
then returned to his native state to become a member of a firm en- 
gaged in the drj^-goods business. At that time he was married to 
Miss Maria Bradley. In 1846 he was general clerk in the Springfield 
car and engine shops, and afterward superintended the construction of 
cars. He was a conductor on the New York and New Haven railroad 
in 1850, and subsequently' superintendent of the Connecticut River 
railroad. In 1852 he entered the service of the Illinois Central Rail- 
road Company, and assisted in the survey and construction under 
Col. R. B. Mason, general superintendent and engineer. He was first 
employed on the branch, but in 1853 was transferred to the main line, 
and accepted the superintendency of the north division. At the 
earliest moment he acquired an interest in Amboy and laid out 
Wyman's addition, and we may almost call him the father of the city. 
He settled permanently in the place on the completion of the passen- 
ger house, of which he was proprietor some time. He was twice 
mayor of Amboy, and the first incumbent of the office. His second 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 359 

term was in 1860. Col. Wyman was fond of military life, and when 
a very young man trained in a rifle company in Shrewsbury. He was 
a member of the City Guards of Worcester, and later still in life 
captain of the Chicago Light Guards. On the breaking out of the 
war he was appointed assistant adjutant-general of Illinois, and ren- 
dered valuable aid in mustering into the service the first six regiments. 
He recruited at Amboy, Co. C, 13th reg. 111. Yols., and on the organiza- 
tion of the regiment was elected colonel. He served in the southwest 
and was mortally wounded at Chichasaw Bayou, December 28, 1862, 
while directing the movements of his command. When Lieut-Col. 
Gorgas and others rushed to his assistance he said : " For God's sake, 
colonel, leave me and attend to those men." 

His remains were brought to his home in Amboy, and a vast con- 
course witnessed the imposing funeral ceremonies. He was buried in 
Prairie Repose Cemeter}', Amboy, but was afterward reinterred in 
Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, where the privates and non-commissioned 
officers of his regiment, by whom he was much loved, erected a hand- 
some monument to his memor}^, at a cost of $1,300. 

Col. Wyman was of medium statue, faultless physique, and dashing, 
captivating manners. He was a gallant, chivalrous gentleman in civil 
as well as military life. His looks and bearing elicited admiration, his 
noble qualities insured love and respect. He responded instantly to 
his country's call, and hoped to leave a deathless name inscribed high 
on the roll of its most glorious defenders. He met death in the morn- 
ing of his career, too soon for his own and his country's good, but he 
met it face to face while leading his brave soldiers in a desperate 
assault. 

He planted the seeds of glory, but died ere the full harvest ; but 
while he was not permitted to give his name to the world, yet it will 
ever be cherished by all who knew his worth. It has been said of him 
that "he was as unselfish patriot and gallant soldier as ever drew 
blade or mounted horse." It may also be said that in all the rela- 
tions of civil life, as citizen, husband, father, friend, he leaves without 

spot or blemish. 

" Green be the turf above thee, 
Thou good, and true, and brave, 
None knew thee but to love thee, 
Nor named thee but to praise." 

BIOGRAPHICAL. 

Joseph B. Appleton (deceased). Among the many well-known 
and influential families of New England the Appletons occupy a high 
place. Their genealogical record extends back to John Appleton, of 
Waldingfield, England, who was living in the year 1396 ; and from 



360 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

the same source we learn that "Samuel Appleton, the common 
ancestor, so far as known, of all the name ■ in jSTew England, 
emigrated from Waldingiield, in the county of Sutiolk, England, 
in the 3'ear 1635." From him have sprung many distinguished 
names in the business, professional and literary walks of life. 
The subject of this notice was born in Dublin, New Hampshire, 
March 10, 1819, and was put to the mercantile business, in which his 
father was engaged. His health gave way under confinement, and he 
was advised to turn his attention to farming. The Great West then 
oftered inviting fields, and about 1842 he came to Illinois, stopping on 
his way at Batavia, New York, and teaching school awhile. His 
cousin, Cyrus Davis, was living at Dixon then, as he is at the present 
time. Mr. Appleton bought the E. |- of N.W. ^ of Sec. 22, Amboy 
township, from the Sawyers, who had squatted on it, and this is now a 
part of Gilson's addition to the city of Amboy. He tarried here thir- 
teen months, and then returned east ; in his absence the land in this 
township came into market, and to save it for Mr. Appleton, Cyrus 
Davis bought it from the government and conveyed it to him on his 
arrival in 1844. He afterward became the owner of five other 
"forties." When Amboj^ was started he entered into an arrangement 
with Gilson & Ransom, of La Salle, by which they were to lay out the 
tract above described into lots, and sell them, reserving only block 
eleven, where Mr. Sleeper lives, and which is known as "the Appleton 
place." Mr. Appleton was married on September 17, 1844, to Miss 
Abbie H. Hunt, of New Ipswich, New Hampshire. She was born in 
Dublin, in that state, December 11, 1820. Her father was clothier 
and did business in Dublin, and afterward in Jefirey, where he died in 
1866. Four children were the fruits of this union: Samuel E., Abbie 
H., Maria N., Isaac J. and Julia A. The latter died August 17, 1855, 
and Mr. Appleton on September 28 following. Mr. Appleton was 
one of the foremost citizens of the township, and held office at diff'erent 
times. His widow was married to Dr. True P. Sleeper, February 5, 
1856, and by this marriage twins have been born : Anna A. and Emma 
A. Dr. Sleeper is a native of St. Albans, Maine, where he was born 
March 31, 1821. He prepared for the practice of medicine in Harvard 
University, and followed his profession six years in Maine. He was 
married in 1852, to Miss Emma Mitchell, who died of cholera in 
Bureau county, Illinois, only ten days after his arrival in the state. 
He has practiced medicine and dentistry most of the time since he has 
lived here. 

Samuel E. Appleton, diw-goods salesman, Amboy, was born on the 
site of Amboy September 7, 1845, and was the son of Joseph B. and 
Abbie H. Appleton. In May, 1864, he volunteered for one year in 



^-iSSSStejK, 




I* 






4 




Chester 5. Badger 



THE NEW YORK 

PUBLIC rJP.llARY 



ASTOU, L!:;.\'OX AND 

TiLUliX IciiUNDATIONS 

B . L 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 363 

Co. I, 134th 111. Vols., and served nine months, doing garrison duty in 
Missouri and Kentucky. On July 1, 1865, he began as clerk in the 
store of L. Bourne, and has held that position continuously until the 
present time. He has been twice married : first on June 27, 1867, to 
Miss Mary E. Mikesell, who died December 31, 1870 ; and again April 
12, 1874, to Miss Henrietta M. Christopher. By the first union he 
has one child, Elmer E. ; and by the second two, Isaac E. and Guy 
W. Mrs. Appleton is a member of the Congregational church. He 
is an Odd-Fellow and a republican. 

Elisha MANNmG, homoeopathic physician and surgeon, Amboy, was 
born in Rush county, Indiana, September 7, 1845, His paternal 
grandfather's family removed in an earl}'^ time from Pennsylvania to 
Ohio ; and when his father was a young lad they came to Indiana. 
In 1850 his parents, Hiram and Elizabeth (Moore) Manning, settled in 
Jasper count}^, Illinois, where they have since lived. From there the 
doctor enlisted in Co. F, 46th 111. Yols., in the autumn of 1861. He 
fought at Shiloh, was in the siege of Corinth, the battle of the Hatchie, 
and the siege of Vicksburg; and after the capitulation of the latter 
place campaigned in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana, 
and as was usual saw a good deal of hard service and small fighting. 
Afterward he was at the taking of Fort Blakely and the city of Mobile. 
He "veteraned" January 4, 1864. His regiment held its organization 
four and one-half years, and 1,700 altogether were enrolled in it. He 
•was mustered out at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, January 20, 1866, and 
paid off and disbanded at Camp Butler, Springfield, Illinois, February 
1. From this time till the spring of 1873 he devoted himself to study. 
He attended the Freeport high school, and graduated there in June 
1870. During part of his army service he was general assistant in 
hospital, and this, drew his attention to the medical profession and 
excited a desire to become a physician. He now began reading medi- 
cine with Dr. ^. F. Prentice, of Freeport; and in the years 1871-2-3 
attended lectures at Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, and 
graduated from that institution March 21, 1873. He located in Free- 
port in the oflSce of his old preceptor who had just died, but in June, 
1874, removed to Amboy, where he has secured a good practice. He 
is a member of the Illinois State Homoeopathic Association and of the 
Rock River Valley Medical Association, and belongs to the United 
"Workmen and the Legion of Honor. In politics he is a republican. 
In 1881 he received the appointment of examining surgeon for pensions 
for Lee county. The doctor is a Presbyterian and Mrs. Manning is a 
Congregationalist. He was married October 3, 1878, to Miss Clara E. 
Prentice, of Rockford. They have one son. 

Charles A. Wilcox, homoeopathic physician and surgeon, Amboy, 
22 



364 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

was born in Kendall county, Illinois, September 27, 1846. His parents 
were H. G. and Jemima (Nickerson) Wilcox. The Wilcoxes are a 
numerous family, and their ancestors came to America in the first set- 
tlement of the country. Dr. Wilcox was reared a farmer, and educated 
at Beloit College, Wisconsin. In 1867 and 1868 he was deputy post- 
master at Ottawa, and in the latter year began the study of medicine 
with Dr. Chester Hard, of that city. He attended lectures at Rush Med- 
ical College, Chicago, and was graduated in February 1870, and imme- 
diately located at Utica, La Salle county, Illinois. At the end of six 
years he removed to Wilmington, Delaware, and resided there three 
years; and in 1879 returned west and settled in Amboy, where he has 
established a successful practice. His first marriage was with Mrs. 
Carrie M. (Sewell), widow of H. M. Higby. She died in 1878, leaving 
two children, Blanche E. and Bessie K. In 1879 he married Miss 
Isabella J. Gardner. The doctor is a Mason, and a member of the 
American Legion of Honor. 

Alfred H. Egan, lumber, grain and coal dealer, Amboy, son of 
Michael and Ellen (Morris) Egan, was born in Amboy, January 27, 
1855. He served five years at the machinist's trade and worked one 
year at the same after completing his apprenticeship. Then in 1879 
he began selling lumber in company with his father ; the latter with- 
drew from the partnership October 8, 1880, and Mr. Egan is now car- 
rying on the business by himself. He is a democrat, a member of the 
Catholic church, and served as alderman from 1879 to 1881. His mar- 
riage with Miss Mary E. Madden, daughter of John Madden, founder 
and machinist, of the firm of Donohue & Madden, Mendota, took place 
October 1, 1879. Their child, John M., was born September 1, 1881. 

John B. Felker, physician and surgeon, Amboy, son of Abraham 
and Catherine (Wingert) Felker, was born in Washington county, Mary- 
land, November 19, 1839. He is of German ancestry. His great grand- 
father Felker was a cavalry soldier in the German army, and emigrated 
to America before the independence of the colonies. His grandfather 
John Felker was a soldier of the revolution, and his grandfather Jacob 
Wingert was a United Brethren preacher. In 1855 Dr. Felker's father 
emigrated to Ogle county, Illinois, and settled at Mount Morris. Our 
subject was educated at Rock River Seminary at that place ; and while 
young began the study of medicine under Dr. G. W. Hewitt, of Frank- 
lin Grove. He attended lectures at Rush Medical College, Chicago ; 
graduated in 1860, and located in practice at Ogle Station, now 
Ashton. In the summer of 1862 he received the appointment of assist- 
ant surgeon of the 34th 111. Vols., but a few days after was thrown 
from his buggy, and his right leg was broken at the ankle joint, which 
was the second injury this limb had received. From this cause he did 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 365 

not enter the service. In the spring of 1863 he settled in Amboy 
where he has since resided and practiced his profession with success. 
He belongs to the ITorth Central Medical Association, which meets 
annually at Wenona, and to the Illinois State Medical Association, 
and the American Medical Association. Dr. and Mrs. Felker are mem- 
bers of the [Congregational church, but the latter formerly belonged 
to the German Reformed. He has held the office of trustee a number 
of years, and is now president of the board. He has been a Mason 
twenty years. In 1880 the democrats of Lee and Ogle counties hon- 
ored him with the nomination for state senator. He has served as 
alderman several years, and is filling his fourth consecutive term as 
mayor of tlie city of Amboy. Dr. Felker celebrated his marriage 
with Miss E. Jennie Miller on November 19, 1867. They have had 
four children : Hartley Trusdell (dead), May Gertrude, John Boggs, 
and Abraham Henry. 

Lyman C. Wheat, merchant, Amboy, was born in Putney, 
Yermont, in 1821. In 1828 his parents, Josiah and Mary (Black) 
Wheat, moved to New York and settled in Steuben county, where 
our subject was reared and received an academic education. Until he 
came west in 1843, his time was principally spent in teaching select 
and public schools. In midsummer he arrived with his little family 
in Lee county, and for a short time lived on the Dixon and Chicago 
road, but in the autumn removed to the former place and took up his 
residence for two years in the land ofiice. He continued to teach 
when his health would permit, and in 1845 went to Lee Center to 
live, and for a number of years was a trustee of the academy and 
active in promoting the interests of the institution. About 1854 he 
bought out Charles Hitchcock and went to merchandising; in 1865 he 
transferred his business to Amboy ; and about 1872 brought his family 
here. Both he and his wife are members of the Congregational church, 
and he is a republican. His first marriage was on August 20, 1840, 
to Miss Mary Warnick, who bore him six children, as follows: Jose- 
phine, born December 13, 1841 ; George W., November 8, 1843 ; 
Addie N., June 12, 1849, married E. C. Gridley, and died October 3, 
1874; Alice May, December 2, 1854; Fred Augustus, July 18, 1857 ; 
and Lizzie Jane, December 9, 1858, died March 12, 1861. His wife 
died July 31, 1862; and on August 23, 1863, he married Harriet 
Lucretia (Eaton), widow of Henry C. Nash. By this second marriage 
he has four children : Willie Henry, born October 16, 1864, died Sep- 
tember 12, 1865 ; Charles Lyman, December 8, 1865 ; Nellie L., June 
4, 1868 ; and Edwin Densraore, March 18, 1871. George enlisted in 
Co. E, 75th 111. Yols., in 1862 ; he fought at the battle of Perryville 
and was wounded in the hip, and he was last seen sitting against a 



366 HISTOEY OF LEE COUNTY. 

tree. No further knowledge of him rewarded the eiforts made to 
learn more of his fate. He sleeps for the flag. 

Calvin D. Vaughan, furniture dealer and undertaker, Amboy, eldest 
son of Nathan A. and Sally S. (Baker) Yaughan, was born in Plattsburg, 
New York, July 28, 1828. His uncle, Colonel Yaughan, and his grand- 
father Baker, a captain of militia, both fought at the battle of Platts- 
burg in 1814, each having command according to his rank. Mr. 
Yaughan received an academic education in his native town, and in 
1851 he became an assistant in the office of the county clerk, David H. 
Parsons, at Plattsburg. He reiiiained in that employment three years, 
and in October, 1854, emigrated to this state and located at Amboy. 
He began early in the furniture and undertaking business, and has 
followed it since without interruption, except from the disastrous iires 
which have visited the city, and by which he lias sustained heavy 
losses. He was married on February 22, 1855, to Miss Louise M. 
Balch. They have had six children, all of whom are living : Lottie L., 
Hattie D., Frank C, Fred N., Wallie B., and Louie S. Mr. Yaughan 
is an Odd-Fellow of twelve years' standing, and has borne Masonic 
honors somewhat longer ; in politics he has been a democrat from his 
youth up. He was a trustee of Amboy when it was under villiage 
organization, has been alderman of the city, mayor twice, township 
clerk, and is at present school treasurer. He was also clerk of the 
court of common pleas of Amboy from its organization till it was dis- 
continued. For thirty-five years he has been in communion in the 
Baptist church, and has held oflScial relation as clerk, trustee and 
treasurer. Mrs. Yaughan was formerly a Presbyterian, but during 
many years has been a member of the same denomination. 

Henry E. Badger, miller, farmer and tradesman, Amboy, was born 
in Broome county, New York, in 1816. He was raised a millwright, 
educated at the academy at Elmira, and followed school teaching as a 
vocation five years. In 1841 he removed to Corning, Steuben county, 
and engaged in the manufacture of furniture until 1849, when he came 
west and settled at Binghamton. In 1851 he entered into the manu- 
facture of plows in partnership with Frederick Bainter, but alter two 
years bought his partner's interest, and continued the business alone 
until 1858, when he discontinued it altogether. In company with his 
brother Chester he purchased the mill at Binghamton fi'om his brothers 
Warren and Simon, and they immediately rebuilt it into a steam mill. 
In 1872 it was burnt, and Mr. Badger bought his brother's interest 
and built another the same year on the old site. In 1878 he united his 
son Warren with himself under the style of H. E, Badger & Son, and 
this firm owned and operated the mill until it was struck by lightning 
and consumed, the present year, inflicting a loss of $10,000. They also 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 367 

merchandise in Amboj, and carry on farming. Mr. Badger has been 
twice married ; first in May, 1841, to Miss Catherine Gay, who died a 
little more than a year afterward, leaving a daughter. In 1845 he 
married Miss Catherine Clark, by whom he has had four children. As 
will be seen, the subject of this sketch has been a live business man ; 
he has also been no less energetic and stirring in religions and political 
matters. He has belonged to the Methodist church over fortv-five 
years, and his great usefulness in his church relations is gratefully 
recognized. His official connection in the offices of steward, trustee, 
class leader and Sabbath-school superintendent has been constant and 
faithful, and in the temperance cause also he has done much good ser- 
vice. Mrs. Badger has been an exemplary member of the same church 
thirty-five years. Mr. Badger was at first a democrat, but renounced 
his party when it attempted to make Kansas a slave state, and at once 
gave his influential assistance in organizing the republican party, of 
which he has since been a prominent member in the county, having 
always rendered efficient aid in maintaining its supremacy. He has 
held the township offices of school trustee, road commissioner, and 
supervisor, the latter eight years. 

Chester Badgee, farmer, Amboy, son of Chester S. and Lois 
(Bird) Badger, was born in Colesville, Broome county. New York, in 
1823. His father was a native of Massachusetts, and his mother of 
Pennsylvania. Mr. Badger was reared a hotel bo}^, and as such 
worked for his uncle between the ages of twelve and eighteen. He 
went to school more or less during that time. In 1840 he emigrated 
to Lee county, and engaged in farming with his parents until 1848, 
when he enlisted as a private in the 11th III. Yols., and served eighteen 
months in New Mexico under Gen. Sterling Price. He had four com- 
rades, the only soldiers in the Mexican war from his part of the coun- 
ty : David Whitney and Jeff"rey Cook, from Sublette, and James 
and Beeler, from Amboy. He came home in 1849, and the next year 
went overland to California, where he remained one year. After his 
return he engaged for two years in the manufacture of plows at 
Binghamton, and then went to milling in company with H. E. Badger 
and W. H. Badger, This firm rebuilt the old water-power mill into a 
steam-mill. Mr. Badger retired from the business when tlie property 
was burned in 1872, and since that has been farming. In politics he 
is a democrat. He has been elected to the office of supervisor five 
times, and has been a leading man in Amboy township many years. 
On March 16, 1853, he celebrated his marriage with Miss Mary A. 
Cushman, who was born March 11, 1834. Their three children are 
Cornelia E., Duer Chester, and Robert. Miss Cornelia is a member of 
the Methodist church. 



368 HISTOEY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Frederick R. Dutcher, farmer, Amboj, was born in Canaan, 
Litchfield county, Connecticut, in 1804. His paternal ancestors emi- 
grated from Amsterdam in 1720 and settled in New York. At our 
first call we found Mr, Dutcher sitting in a M^ell-preserved rocking- 
chair which his grandfather, Euluff Dutcher, brought from Holland. 
At thirteen our subject began tending a store, and from that time till 
very recent years he has been closely identified with mercantile pur- 
suits. He was married at Lockport, JS'ew York, in 1830, to Miss 
Harriet Phillips, daughter of John Phillips, the first anti-masonic 
sheriff elected when the Morgan excitement raged. She died in 1839, 
leaving two children. In 1845 he was married to the widow of 
George W. Hawley, formerly Emily Pratt, In 1838 Mr, Dutcher 
came west and located in Dixon, where he sold goods several years. 
In 1839 he was elected justice of the peace and held that oflice until he 
removed to Rocky Ford in 1848. He took an interesting part in the 
division of Ogle county and circulated a petition to advance that end. 
Smith Gilbraith and himself, both Dixon men, were deputed by the 
citizens to attend the legislature and lobby the division. They spent 
the most of the winter of 1838-9 at Yandalia, and secured the appoint- 
ment of a committee favorable to their interests, which embraced also 
the location of the county seat at Dixon. Mr. Dutcher has been a life- 
long democrat, and has always taken a leading part in local politics. 
He has had a considerable acquaintance with prominent men in his 
part}^, and enjoyed their confidence. When he came west he brought 
letters of introduction from AYilliam L, Marcy and Washino^ton Hunt. 
He issued the call for the first democratic meeting ever held in Lee 
county. In the Douglas-Stewart race for congress in 1838, when Mr. 
Douglas contemplated contesting Stewart's election, he entrusted Mr. 
Dutcher with the investigations in this part of the district, and the 
latter rode to Galena on horseback on that business. He has two rel- 
ics in the form of letters from the "Little Giant," written at this time. 
Mr. Dutcher laid out the village of Shelburn at Pocky Ford, but has 
lived to see it dissipated by time and circumstances. He was president 
of the Shelburn Manufacturing Company which built and controlled 
the large mill and distillery at that place, 

John C, Church, farmer, Amboy, second child of Sylvester and 
Lucinda (Miles) Church, was born March 15, 1817, in Chenango county, 
New York. He learned the blacksmith's trade with his father, and 
worked at it till the summer of 1838, when lie came to Palestine 
Grove (now Amboy township), where he has since had liis home, Mr. 
Church was married December 7, 1842, to Cyrene, daughter of Joseph 
Farwell. Their children have been George Henry (dead), Charles 
Augustus, Lucy Maria (dead), Lucy Anna (dead), Ella, Joseph Ere- 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 369 

mont, Eva (dead), Cyrus and Cyrene, twins (dead), and John Albert. 
Mr. and Mrs. Church have been members of the Congregational 
church forty-one years ; and they assisted to organize the Palestine 
Grove church, the first of that denomination in Lee county. His 
official connection as deacon and trustee extends over a period of many 
years of useful christian labor. He has been elected to the offices of 
assessor, collector, supervisor, coroner, and road commissioner ; the 
office of supervisor he filled three successive terms, and he is now 
coroner for the second time. In 1840 he cast his first presidential bal- 
lot for General Harrison, voting at Nauvoo, During his stay in that 
cit}^ he boarded a short time with the prophet Joe Smith. In the 
autumn of 1840 he traveled in the south, working in different places. 
His farm of 109 acres, adjacent to the city of Amboy, is valued at 
$5,500. He is a firm republican. 

The Little famil}^ traces its history down a long line of distinguished 
ancestors. George Little, the founder of the l^ewbury family of that 
name, came from England to Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1640. His 
descendants in New England have been eminent in business and the 
professions, and noted in public life, both civil and military. Mr. 
Josiah Little of Amboy, a lineal descendant, was born in Auburn, 
Maine, September 10, 1832. He obtained his education at the Edward 
Little Institute, at Auburn, and at the age of sixteen went to work in 
a store in his native town. Three years after he went to southwest 
Missouri, '^and remaining there two years, in February, 1854, came to 
Illinois, and in April arrived in Amboy, when preparations were just 
beginning for a town. As soon as it was possible for him to do so he 
made himself the owner of lot 8, block 3, original plat, and erected the 
first permanent store in the place, and from that time sold drugs, medi- 
cines and hardware until he was burnt out in 1868. He then changed 
his business, and in January, 1869, opened a banking house, which he 
has conducted to this date. In the meantime he has besides had a 
considerable interest in farming, and is now the owner of 445 acres of 
well improved land, valued at $13,000. Mr. Little has been town 
clerk and supervisor, and has held various minor offices. In 1861 he 
was elected treasui'er of Lee county, and in 1863 reelected. Again 
in 1879 he was recalled to the same position. In November, 1859, he 
was united in marriage with Miss Marj^ Hussey, of Franklin Grove. 
They are the parents of five children, all living, as follows: Josiah, 
Nancy J., Mary Elizabeth, Edward Hussey, and Maria Warren. Mr. 
and Mrs. Little are members of the Congregational church, and he has 
been a Mason over twenty years. 

Edmund R. Traveks, physician and surgeon, Amboy, seventh child 
in a family of ten children by Richard H. and Harriet (Walsh) Tra- 



370 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

vers, was born in the county of Cork, Ireland, Mai'ch 7, 1832. His 
father was a shipowner, and carried on a business in coal, grain and 
live stock ; besides this he kept a farm of 200 acres, which he had cul- 
tivated. In 1842 he emigrated to London, Canada, where he bought 
200 acres of land and prepared a home for his family, who came the 
next year. His death occurring shortly after, the mother was left with 
the care and education of a large family, and notwithstanding she had 
some property it was not sufficient for the demands which she foresaw 
would accumulate, so she engaged in giving private lessons in English, 
French and music, until all her children that had not previously' done 
so had completed their studies. Two of the older sons were physi- 
cians. John T. was a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of 
London, England, and Eichard W. of the Edinburgh Medical College, 
Scotland, and also a graduate of Rolf's Medical School of Toronto, 
Canada ; both these are now dead. The subject of this sketch began 
the study of medicine under the tutelage of his brothers when but six- 
teen years of age, and attended his first course of lectures at Rolf's 
Medical School. Having become delicate in health, in 1856 he sought 
improvement in a change of climate and travel and went south ; but 
he did not relax his studies, and while in New Orleans attended a 
course of medical lectures by Dr. Stone. In 1858 he matriculated in 
the medical department of the University of Michigan, from which he 
was graduated in 1861. He then attended the General Hospital at 
Toronto, Canada, for one year, after which he immediately began prac- 
tice with his brother John T., who was located at Port Huron, Michi- 
gan, opening an office in Port Sarnia, just opposite, in Canada. About 
this time his brother Charles H., who was a druggist in Port Huron, 
raised a company for the war, but the enrolled men not being accepted, 
he, along with other officers, were sent to Detroit, where they were 
regularly drilled and instructed. Returning again to Port Huron he 
enlisted in Co. E, 5th Mich. Inf., was elected captain, and with his* 
command joined the army of the Potomac. He was mortally wounded 
at the battle of Fair Oaks. Dr. Travers was on the point of entering 
the Union service as a surgeon when a sudden and severe illness pros- 
trated him and defeated his object. His sister, Mrs. Harriet Merrigold, 
a pious and very estimable lady, was living in Amboy, where she had 
resided almost from the beginning of the town ; through her influence 
the doctor was induced to settle here, which he did in September 1863. 
Since that time he has made Amboy his home, and has practiced his 
profession with eminent success. He is surgeon for the north division 
of the Illinois Central railroad, and in a like capacity has charge of the 
Lee county farm and poor-house. He holds membership in both the 
Illinois State Medical Association and the American Medical Associa- 



. AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 371 

tion. On May 17, 1864, he was united in marriage with Miss Esther 
Scott, daughter of Thomas Scott, of Mendota. They have had four 
children : Martha, Edmund, George and Mary. The last only is liv- 
ing. In politics Dr. Travers is a democrat. He is a member of the 
Episcopal church, and holds the office of junior warden. Mrs. Travers, 
who was formerly a Presbyterian, is now a communicant in the Con- 
gregational church. The doctor belongs to the fraternities of Masons, 
Odd-Fellows and United Workmen. 

Warren H. Badger, junior member of the firm of H. E. Badger 
& Son, Amboy, was born in Corning, New York, in 1847, and is the 
oldest child of Henry E. and Catherine (Clark) Badger. He received 
a good English education at Mount Morris and Evanston, and was 
bred to a mercantile life. He has been in partnership with his father 
since 1872, in milling and farming, and also in one of the leading gro- 
cery houses in ''Ambo}'. In 1874 he was married to Miss Emeline 
Green, of Elizabeth, Jo Daviess county, Illinois. She was born in 
1851. Their three children are Henry H., Frances E. and Arthur. 
Mr. Badger is a Mason and a I'epublican. 

Isaac Edwards, liveryman and ice dealer, Amboy, is a native of 
England, having been born there in 1828. In 1850 he arrived in 
America, and at once went to railroad building at Elgin, Illinois. This 
he followed five years. In 1853 he settled at Amboy, and graded seven 
miles of the Central railroad, under three contracts. Since 1855 he 
has been in the livery and ice business. In 1869 he again began taking 
contracts for railroad grading, and has also been engaged at that more 
or less every year till the present. His real estate comprises 580 acres 
of farming land, valued at §14,500 ; and twenty city lots, sixteen build- 
ings, worth $10,000. Mr. Edwards is a republican, and has run three 
times for the office of county treasurer, — first in 1877, and twice in 
1879. In the last year he ran as an independent and was elected over 
W. H. Bryant, the republican nominee. The board of supervisors 
questioned the sufficiency of Mr. Edwards' bond, though his bonds- 
men were several of the most wealthy farmers in Lee county ; an on 
reference of the case to the state's attorney, he held that they could not 
accept a new bond after the first of December ; and as they had assem- 
bled at the latest moment, no time remained for him to make a new one. 
A second election was ordered ; Mr. Edwards and Josiah Little were 
the candidates, and the latter was elected. Mr. Edwards has been 
mayor of the city six years, township collector four terms, and is serving 
his sixth term as supervisor. He was married in 1853, to Miss Elizabeth 
Saul. Their living children are William John, John Henry, Isaac 
Frank, and Arthur. They have buried an infant, Albert, Elizabeth, 
and Sarah Jane. 



372 HISTORY OF LEE COUJSTTY. 

RuFDS H. Mellex, postmaster, Amboy, was born in Massachusetts, 
February 5, 1818. His Scotch ancestors came to New England in the 
early days of the Massachusetts colony, and were a people noted for 
their great physical strength. Mr. Mellen obtained his education at 
the Wilbraham Academy, in his own town of Greenwich. He taught 
music and district schools, and traveled in New Jersey, when a young 
man, in the same emplojauents. In 1842 he was married to Miss 
Laura E. Patten, and four children are the fruits of this union, viz : 
Ella Frances, Walter Clayton, Florence Virginia, and May Georgiana. 
In October, 1854, Mr. Mellen came to Amboy and selected it for his 
future home ; and the next spring brought his family, and went to 
manufacturing lumber. In 1861 he was commissioned postmaster of 
Amboj', and has occupied the office until the present time. He began 
concurrently selling books and papers, and in 1864 took his son "Walter 
into partnership. They have since added to their trade musical instru- 
ments and sewinsr machines. Mr. Mellen has been a member of the 
Cong]-egational church since he was fifteen years old. He has been 
city clerk and alderman, and is a republican. Originallj^ a whig, he 
cast his first vote for Harrison in 1840. 

Among the leading business men of Amboy is Lemuel Bouene, 
who was born in Sandwich, Massachusetts, in 1830, and was the son of 
Benjamin and Lucinda Bourne. His remotest ancestor in this country 
was Richard Bourne, who landed at Sandwich, from England, in 1620, 
and was a prominent man in the early history of the Massachusetts 
colony. Our subject was educated in the academies at Westbrook and 
Norway, Maine, and has been keeping books and merchandising from 
that time to the present. In the spring of 1854 he emigrated to the 
west, and the following winter came to Amboy as freight and station 
agent, and tilled this position eight j'ears; he then embarked in the 
drug and grocery trade in partnership with J. S. Briggs; at the end of 
three years he retired and bought out Mr. Somes, and until 1872 was 
in company with B. R. Hawks in a general store. Since that date he 
has been without a partner. Mr. Bourne keeps a complete assortment 
of goods on East avenue, and is very favorably known throughout the 
country. In 1860 he celebrated his marriage with Miss Anna M. 
Smith, and by her has had five children : Anna L., Frank S., Frederick 
C, Alice A. and Helen A. His family are communicants in the 
Protestant Episcopal church, and he worships there, but is not a 
member. He has held the office of Alderman, and is a republican. 

Everett E. Chase, magistrate, Amboy, was born in Pawtucket 
(then Massachusetts, now Rhode Island), September 27, 1840, and is 
descended in a direct line from the Puritans. It was the intention of 
his parents to breed him to the law, but he objected with such persist- 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 373 

ence that the design was abandoned. He left home at sixteen, and in 
the spring of 1857 came to Amboy, where his brother, Newton S. 
Chase, was in business. He was deputy postmaster a short time under 
Sidney Reed ; then he clerked for his brother, and next about a year 
for Alonzo Kinyon. In the spring of 1861 he was appointed deputy 
postmaster by R. H. Mellen, and filled this place till the spring of 1864, 
when he became a partner with Mr. Mellen in the book and stationery 
business. In the autumn of the same year he sold out to his partner, 
and enlisted in Co. H, 11th 111. Yols,, and joined his regiment at Mem- 
phis. He served his time on detail doing clerical work, but aided in 
the taking of Spanish Fort, Fort Blakely, and Mobile city. He went 
with his command from there to Baton Rouge, and thence no Red 
River, when Gen. Canby received the surrender of Gen. Kirby Smith 
and his forces. Mr. Chase was mustered out at Kew Orleans in No- 
vember 1865. In 1867 he married Miss Mary Jacobs, daughter of John 
C. Jacobs; and next year went to work for the Central Railroad Com- 
pany in the superintendent's office, and remained there till 1875. He 
has been city clerk twelve years, and in 1877 was elected justice of the 
peace, and reelected in 1881. He was a delegate to the state republi- 
can convention at Springfield in 1880. His first wife died in 1868, and 
in 1875 he married Mrs. Grace Wells, widow of Capt. M. "VV. Wells. 

Joseph B. Graves, dealer in agricultural implements, carriages and 
wagons, Amboy, son of William and Sarah M. (Foster) Graves, was born 
in Broome county, New York, in 1838. His father having died two 
years before, in September 1852 his mother moved with her family to 
Illinois, and lived one year in Kendall county ; then they came to Lee 
and settled in China township. Mr. Graves was married in 1862 to 
Miss Mary E. Eastwood, and two children have been born to them, 
William F. and Cora May. In the fall of 1868 he quit farming and 
located in Amboy in his present business, in company with Joseph 
Himes. In 1876 he bought out his partner's interest. His wareroom, 
a pleasant and commodious one, stands on the corner of Main street 
and Adams avenue. He owns a farm of 80 acres in Nachusa township, 
worth $3,000. He is a Mason, an Odd-Fellow, a workman, a democrat, 
an alderman, and a member of the board of education of Amboy. 

DwiGHT W. Slauter, lumber and coal dealer, Amboy, only son of 
Ambrose E. and Louisa (Bristol) Slauter, was born in Berkshire county, 
Massachusetts, October 28, 1841. In the spring of 1855 his father em- 
igrated with his family to Amboy, and here our subject got his school- 
ing, and learned the cabinet trade with J. D. Weddell. After the 
death of the latter he worked for C. D. Yaughan two or three years, 
and then for the railroad company in the wood department of the ma- 
chine shop seven years. In 1870 he quit this employment and united 



374 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

with J. H. Ives, under the firm name of Ives & Slauter, and purchased 
the business of Merigold & Arnold, lumber merchants. They rented 
the old stand from their predecessors five years, and then bought the 
Marston property adjoining, and added grain and coal to their business. 
They have since leased the grain department. Mr. Slauter was married 
in 1864 to Miss Ella F., daughter of K. H. Mellen, who was born May 
6, 1845. Both are members of the Congregational church. Mr. Slau- 
ter is a republican. He has traveled some for pleasure and improve- 
ment, and has applied himself to his business with industry, and his 
start in life is due to his own exertions. 

Curtis M. Butler, lumber merchant, Amboy, was born October 
14, 1817, in Brockville, Canada, while his parents had gone there tem- 
porarily from their home in Jefferson county, New York. He was 
reared a farmer, and 'in 1836 he emigrated to St. Clair county, Michi- 
gan, where he bought a piece of government land in the dense woods 
and cleared and improved a small farm. In 1838 his father, Abijah 
Butler, who was born February 25, 1793, joined him witli his family, 
and on the 2d of April, 1842, was stricken down and died. His mother, 
Clarissa Dowd before marriage, whose birth was on the 8th of Novem- 
ber, 1792, lived until July 5, 1845. In 1843 Mr. Butler removed to 
Oswego, Kendall county, Illinois, and continued to live by farming. 
In 1855 he set up in the lumber trade in that town, and the next year 
changed his place of business and residence to Amboy, coming here 
without mfeans. He has followed this with success ever since, and now 
owns two farms of eighty acres each, valued at $6,000. Mr. Butler 
was married in 1853 to Miss Sarah M. Atwater, daughter of David and 
Mary (McKeuzie) Atwater, who was born July 6, 1825, and reared in 
Broome county, New York. They have had three children ; Frederick 
H., Delia (dead), and Blanche. Mrs. Butler's ancestry were English 
and Scotch ; the latter was on the maternal side. Her grandfather At- 
water went from Hebron, Washington county, New York, as a volun- 
teer, and fought at the battle of Bennington. Her grandfather 
McKenzie was an officer in the French and Indian war. He was sent 
out on a scout and never returned. Mr. Butler is a republican in poli- 
tics, and he and his wife have been members of the First Congrega- 
tional church of Amboy about fifteen years. He has been mayor of 
the city three terms. 

William B. Stuart, attorney, Amboy, was born in Ireland in 
1806, and emigrated with his parents to America in 1812, and settled 
in Canandaigua, Ontario county. New York. His father volunteered 
at once in the 15th New York regiment, served through the war, 
and was engaged in several actions. When Mr. Stuart had grown to 
manhood his father gave him a saw-raill and 200 acres of land in 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 375 

Canada, and in 1833 he went there to live, and was married to Miss 
Mary Johnson. In the patriot war, 1836-8, Mr. Stuart participated 
with all the enthusiasm of his Irish nature. He commanded a com- 
pany of lancers at the battle ot Short Hills, December 19, 1836, had 
his horse killed under him, and was wounded in the ankle. Two weeks 
afterward he was captured at Gravelly Bay and confined with John 
Van Norman, who had been taken prisoner at Checkered Sheds. On 
the 17th of March they managed to escape, but the latter was retaken, 
to undergo the toils and anxieties of a second escape, when he rejoined 
Mr. Stuart at Buffalo. They then came together to Illinois, Yau 
Norman direct to Dixon, while his partner remained in Chicago until 
autumn, when he came to Lee county also, and made a claim at Frank- 
lin Grove. Mr. Stuart lived at this place and at Dixon nine years, 
engaged in all kinds of business, and practicing law somewhat. He 
opened at the county seat the first meat market in Lee county. He 
furnished $1,000 capital, and a man named Gaylord attended to the 
business. He was soon in the condition of the Dutchman who sup- 
plied money in partnership with a Yankee who furnished experience — 
at the end of a year Gaylord had gone with the money, and Stuart 
had the experience. In 1817 he moved to Rocky Ford and improved 
four farms in May township. The next year he built the first frame 
house, and about twenty-five years ago the first brick house, in the 
township. At one time he carried on a large speculation in land. He 
was the first supervisor in May township, and held that ofiice several 
3^ears. He was commissioned justice of the peace first by Governor 
Ford, and has been an incumbent of the position continuously to this 
date. He commenced doing business in real estate and practicing law 
in Amboy as soon as the place was started. In 1854 his family came 
to town to live, but after some time they resided quite as much on the 
farm in May township as here. Mr. Stuart has suftered heavy losses 
six times from fire. His first wife died in 1875, and was the mother of 
fourteen children, as follows : Hamilton W., Francelia A., Marietta, 
Eliza Jane, a young lady of education and rare beauty, who was 
thrown from a horse and received mortal injuries ; William IL, James 
H., John B., Francis M., Charles F., Melissa (dead), Ida E., Emma J., 
and two which died in infancy. William and James were soldiers in 
the 75th 111. reg. and fought at Perryville and Crab Orchard, and else- 
where. In 1879 Mr. Stuart was married to Lydia A., widow of Jesse 
G. Baker, In 1829 his parents, James and Ann (Markey) Stuart, 
emigrated to Almont, Lapeer county, Michigan, where they lived 
many years and died, the former at the age of eighty-four. 

Andrew W. Spafard, book-keeper and cashier for the Illinois Cen- 
tral Railroad Company at Amboy, was born in Livingston county, New 



376 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

York, June 23, 1827. His parents were Thomas L. and Almira 
(Baldwin) Spafard. In 1838 the family removed to "Washtenaw 
county, Michigan, where his father is still living. Until 1855 Mr. 
Spafard was most of the time engaged in farming; at that time he 
moved to Chicago, and in March following to Amboy, where he was 
book-keeper in the master mechanic's office. In May, 1858, he returned 
to Chicago, and was employed in an agricultural warehouse, and in 
February, 1860, he moved back to Amboy and has since resided in this 
place, and occupied his present position in the office of the superin- 
tendent of the north division of the Central railroad. He was mar- 
ried in 1850, to Miss Lucinda Z. Chipman, of Lima, Washtenaw 
county, Michigan. She was born December 28, 1828. They have 
one son, Frank S., ticket agent and operator at Warren, Illinois. Mr. 
and Mrs. Spafard are members of the Congregational church at Am- 
boy. He has been a Mason about a year, and belongs to the American 
Legion of Honor. He is a stalwart republican. 

Ephraim a. Wilcox, deceased, was born in Fredonia, Chautauqua 
county, New York, in 1811. He removed to Lucas county, Ohio, and 
engaged in mercantile pursuits, and during his residence there was 
married, in 1836, to Miss Sabra E. Arnold. In 1838 he settled at the 
place known as Freedom, in La Salle county, this state. Here he be- 
came converted, and was baptized into the fellowship of the Baptist 
church of Harding. In 1854 he removed to Amboy, and formed a 
partnership with A. H. Wooster, and M'as numbered with the earliest 
business men of the place. He at once took rank as an upright, high- 
minded and public-spirited citizen, and when the town was incorporated 
he became president of the first board of trustees. - Mrs. Wilcox, who^ 
had been a communicant in the Baptist church since she was fourteen 
years of age, united with her husband and assisted with much zeal in 
the organization of the Baptist church of Ambo}^, and were enrolled 
among its constituent members. Mr. Wilcox was elected deacon, and 
he adorned this responsible office to the close of his life. He was 
always a liberal contributor to the support of the gospel ; a man of 
quiet manners, meek though social disposition, and his home was the 
abode of peace and hospitality, and a pleasant retreat for his christian 
brethren. He died November 2, 1878, greatly respected, and was 
buried in Prairie Repose cemetery. The Rev. Thomas Powell, of Ot- 
tawa, a close personal friend, preached his funeral discourse from Thes- 
salonians iv, 13, 14, Mrs. Wilcox was an exemplary christian lady, 
honored and beloved by an extended circle of friends. She went to 
rest on March 19, 1878, aged sixty-one years. The Rev. Powell 
preached her sermon from Job xiv, 14. 

John Gunning, painter, Amboy, was born in New Jersey in 1833. 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 377 

His father died before his recollection, and he found his way to Massa- 
chusetts, where he worked in a cotton factory, and when older on shoes. 
In the spring of 1853 he came west, and got employment from the 
Central Railroad Company as a painter, and has been in their service 
all the time since except one year, when he was in the Orient House 
with his father-in-law. In 1860 he began and has since continued to 
work in the Company's shops in Amboy. On May 15, 1854, he was 
married in Chicago to Miss Amanda Skinner, daughter of John L. 
Skinner, who was born September 1, 1835, at I^orth Bridgewater, 
Massachusetts. Mr. Skinner arrived here in the autumn of 1852, be- 
ing employed at the time on the railroad. He was one of the first 
men to make a beginning in the new town, and bought two lots — the 
first sold — on the corner of Main street and East avenue, where he 
erected the Orient House, the only hotel, except the Passenger House, 
ever built in the city. At the outbreak of the war he opened the first 
enrolling office in Amboy. He was one of the foremost men for sev- 
eral years, and died of paralysis May 9, 1875, at the age of sixty-six 
years. Mr. and Mrs. Gunning have been the parents of four children ; 
Louisa A,, Elrena L. (deceased), Carrie E. and George M. Mrs. Gun- 
ning belongs to the Episcopal church, and Mr. Gunning is a vestry- 
man. He has been alderman five years, and is a democrat. 

William Henry McGeaw, locomotive engineer, Amboy, settled in 
this city in the fall of 1856, and has been in the employ of the Central 
Railroad Company continuously since. He began by firing two years, 
then worked in the shop and switched in the yard until July 5, 1859, 
when he took an engine and ran a freight train five years; from that 
time till now he has had a passenger. Mr. McGraw was married to 
Miss Jane Mooney, February 15, 1863. Mrs. McGraw was born in the 
county of "Wexford, Ireland, October 28, 1842, and emigrated to this 
country in 1859. The first year she lived in McLean county, Illinois, 
and then came to Ambov. Mr. McGraw was born in Schoharie 
county, New York, of John "W". and Jane (Chilson) McGraw, April 19, 
1831. He served an apprenticeship to the miller's trade, but did not 
work at it afterward. In 1850 he came west to view the country, and 
the next spring returned to Albany and worked till fall on the Hudson 
river, when he came again to Illinois and commenced as brakeman on 
the Chicago and Galena Union railroad, the first built west from 
Chicago. His run was from that city to Rockford, to which the road 
had only been extended. In June, 1852, he changed to the Illinois 
& Michigan canal and remained until some time the following year 
as captain of a boat. From this time to the autumn of 1856, when he 
came to Ambo}', he was a mate on an Illinois river steamer. 

Ira S. Sj^hth, butcher, Amboy, was the eighth child and third son 



378 HISTOEY OF LEE COUNTY. 

of Clement and Lucy (Farnbam) Smith, and was born in Grafton 
county, New Hampsbire, in 1829. He bad four brothers and six 
sisters, all born, like bimself, at Enfield. His parents were natives of 
tbe same state. Clement Smitb was born at Bridgewater, March 23, 
1794, and Lucy Farnbam at Enfield, April 20, tbe same year. Tbe 
parents of tbe latter were Jonathan Farnbam and Hannah Cboate, who 
were born respectively at ^STewbnryport in 1758, and in East Enfield 
about tbe same time. Tbe celebrated advocate, Rufus Choate, belonged 
to this family. Mr. Smith's grandparents on both sides lived to be over 
ninety years old. His father emigrated from near Portsmouth, when a 
young man, to Enfield. The country in northern Xew Hampsbire 
was at this time very wild. He served on tbe northern frontier in the 
war of 1812. Our subject at tbe age of eighteen left home for 
Boston, where be was clerk in a store four years. In 1851 be made a 
trip to California, remaining only one year, and then returning to 
Boston. In November, 1852, be came to Springfield, Illinois, and on 
April 19, 1853, was married to Miss Lizzie Pearl. She was born 
February 8, 1831, and was tbe youngest child in a family of four sons 
and three daughters, all born at Porter, Oxford county, Maine. Mrs. 
Smith's parents were Benjamin and Susan (Otis) Pearl. The former 
was born at Porter, and served in the war of 1812, and tbe latter was 
born atGilmanton, New Hampshire, March 1, 1T93. When Mr. Smith 
settled in Springfield he began railroading on the Great Western. On 
December 21, 1854, the engine " New England," which be was firing, 
exploded, killing tbe engineer and throwing him 200 feet, breaking 
bis shoulder and several ribs, and scalding and dangerously injuring 
him. He was several months recovering, and it was two years before 
be regained the full use of his body. In 1857 be removed to Lee 
county, Iowa, and bought land and farmed. When the county adopted 
township organization be was tbe first supervisor in his township of 
Lee, which bad formerly, as a precinct, been called Badger. In 1863 
be moved to Bureau county, Illinois, and the next year to Amboy. 
Here be worked ten years for the Central company on engine repairs, 
and in 1874 started in tbe butchering business. He has been collector, 
alderman and school director, and is a Mason and republican. Mr. 
and Mrs. Smith have two sons, Winslow and Edgar O., born respect- 
ively August 31, 1855, and August 31,' 1861. 

Henry T. Fokd, employe, Amboy, son of Lebbeus and Bathsbeba 
(Thorp) Ford, was born in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, June 14, 
1821. His grandfather, John Ford, did veteran service in tbe revolution, 
and died about 1845 at tbe age of ninety-two. Mr. Ford arrived in Am- 
boy April 2, 1866, and tbe next March he began work for the Central 
company as clerk in charge of the oil department, and is still in that 




I SMC EDW'^AFVPS, 



filE NEW YORK 



ACT(!i!, li;nux and 

TILDUN KUONlAVl'IONS 
B - L 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 379 

position. He was married January 12, 1842, to Miss Sylvia M. 
Cranipton, of West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Her birth was on 
the 12th of January 1822. They have had five children, as follows : 
Marian P., born Juno 3, 1843, married to John E. Pettiboue, of Chi- 
cago, January 1, 1863; Mary E., born April 12, 1845, married to John 
Trainer June 4, 1867; Myron H., born March 21, 1847; Charles L., 
born May 28, 1849, died October 29, 1879 ; John Wallace, born De- 
cember 15, 1859, died in infancy. In Massachusetts Mr. Ford was 
selectman six terms; in Amboy he has been a member of the board of 
education two years, and is a trustee of Prairie Repose Cemetery. 
Politically he is a republican. Both he and Mrs. Ford are members of 
the Congregational church, and he is a trustee. 

Chakles Tait, machinist, and foreman of engine house, Amboy, 
wgs born July 7, 1830, in the county of Northumberland, England. 
He was a son of John and Mary (Gibson) Tait. About 1850 he com- 
menced to learn the machinist's trade, and the next year came to 
America and went to work at Paterson, New Jersey. In 1852 he came 
to Cleveland and finished his trade, remaining till 1857. On the 
application of the Central company he came to Amboy in the fall of 
that year. In 1866 he was promoted to foreman of the engine house. 
He was married May 5, 1858, to Mrs. Mary (Hatton), widow of Joseph 
Garner. Tiie following are their six children : Hannah, now Mrs. 
William McKinzie ; Charles W., James H., Alice M., Joseph W. and 
Ida G. Mrs. Tait belongs to the Congregational church, and he is a 
republican, a Mason, and a workman. He owns 120 acres of land at 
Clear Lake, Iowa. 

Charles H. Maeston, locomotive engineer, Amboy, was born in 
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, June 27, 1820. In 1825 his mother, 
Lydia (Staples), died, and his father married again, and in 1830 him- 
self died. Four years later young Marston went to sea: during two 
seasons he was steamboating on the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire 
and Massachusetts, and at other times making voyages to the West 
Indies, to Europe and to the Mediterranean. His seafaring life lasted 
five years, and at the .age of nineteen he set himself to learn the 
machinist's trade. Beginning at Portsmouth he worked two years with 
Jeiferson Mclntyre, who gave up business at the end of that time. In 
1844 he went to Boston and finished with Hinckly & Drury, engine 
builders, for whom he worked a year and a half. Next he was employed 
by Jabez Coney, of south Boston, and helped build two engines. He left 
there in the early summer of 1847 and went to Springfield, remaining 
till the latter part of 1848 as gang-boss in the engine works at that 
place, where he superintended the putting up of seven or eight more loco- 
motives. He now went to Cleveland, Ohio, with an engine and six car- 
23 



380 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

loads of njachinerj for the same parties, from the Springtield Car and 
Engine Works, to start car shops there, and took employment from 
Harback, Stone & Witt. In April, 1854, he changed his location to 
Chicago, and began work for the Central Railroad Company, and con- 
tinned with them until 1857, first on the branch as engineer and then 
on the main line, making Amboy his home after November 1854. He 
subsequently ran on the Racine & Mississippi railroad, the Mississippi 
Central, the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis, and the Great Western. On 
May 17, 1864, he started overland to California, but reaching Salt 
Lake sold his outfit, and after remaining three months departed Jan- 
uary 7, 1865, for Arizona, where he arrived in March after a hard 
journey of fifty -four days on horseback, in the dead of winter, not hav- 
ing taken a meal nor slept but once in a human liabitation. In a few 
months he started home, and at Jacob's well was plundered by the In- 
dians, and lost both his horses. He arrived in the fall, and from then 
until 1869 was again working for the Central company in the machine 
shop. He then went to Bryant, on the Union Pacific, as division mas- 
ter mechanic, and early in 1871 came home and ran the first construction 
train on the Chicago & Rock River road, and after that a passenger. 
He was on this road little more than a year. lx\ 1876 he removed a 
grist-mill which he had bought at Compton and set it up in Amboy, 
and ran it till 1879. In the fall of that year he returned to the Union 
Pacific and worked another year. About 1858 he erected two business 
houses in the city, and at other times two residences. He was married 
February 2, 1852, to Miss Jane Van Noate, of Bricksville, Ohio. They 
have three sons : Lannes, Frank, and Alpha. Mr. Marston is a Royal 
Arch Mason. 

Henry S. Wyman, locomotive engineer, Amboy, third son of Col. 
John B. Wyman, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, June 12, 
1852. Soon after his birth his parents removed to Cliicago, where 
they resided about a year before settling in Amboy, in wiiich place Mr. 
Wyman lived until he was eleven years old. From that time until he 
was sixteen he was at Shewsbury and Worcester, Massacliusetts, attend- 
ing school. He returned to Illinois and was in Bloomington three 
years learning the miller's trade; but as this business did not agree 
with his health, in 1871 he obtained employment from the Central 
Railroad Company, and has been in their service since as brakeman, 
fireman, baggageman, and engineer. He was married February 3, 
1876, to Miss Lilian Daniels. They have one child, Henry Westcott. 
Mrs. Wyman was born at Shippingsport, La Salle county, July 26, 
1854. She is a member of the Episcopal church, and Mr. Wyman is 
a vestryman. He is also a republican and a workman. 

Charles C. Stone, junior proprietor of the drain tile and brick 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 381 

works at Ainboy, was born in Medina county, Ohio, June 19, 1843. 
His parents were Levi H. and Laurana E. (Parsons) Stone. He was 
bereft of his father when he was seven years old, and he suffered 
from feeble health during his early life. In 1854 his widowed mother 
removed with her family to Findlay, Ohio, and here Mr. Stone obtained 
his education in the graded schools. In the winter of 1861-2 he began 
the study of telegraphy, but made no use of it after acquiring it ; the 
next autunju he went to clerking for his uncle in a retail dry-goods store ; 
and in the fall of 1864 he started as commercial traveler for a New York 
wholesale dry-goods house, and was in this business four years. In 
November, 1868, he settled in Clinton, Illinois, in the printing business, 
in company with his brother-in-law, W. L. Glessner. They purchased 
the "Clinton Register" and published it together five years. In 1873 
Mr. Stone sold to his partner and accepted the position of station 
agent at Clinton, on the Indianapolis, Bloomington & "Western railroad. 
He held this till March 1, 1881, and then resigned to give his personal 
attention to the manufacture of tile and brick at Amboy, and the erec- 
tion of the necessary works preparatory to undertaking the business. 
Tiie year before he had formed a partnership with Mr. John Wight- 
wick, of Clinton, who is the senior member of the firm. Mr. Stone 
was married February 8, 1876, to Miss Emily J. Smith, who was born 
in London, England, December 6, 1853. They have two children, 
"Winnie and Nellie. Mrs. Stone belongs to the Methodist church. 

William B. Andkuss, merchant, Amboy, was born in the township 
of Jerusalem, county of Yates and State of New York, February 23, 
1824, and is a son of Henry G. and Pamela (Weed) Andruss. As the 
genealogical history of the family shows, he is the eighth generation 
from John Andrews (termed the settler) who with a brother settled in 
Farmington, Connecticut, in 1640, from England. Mi'. Andruss, the 
subject of this sketch, was raised a farmer, received an academic educa- 
tion at Franklin Academy, Prattsburgh, Steuben county. New York, 
taught school a number of terms while a young man. He married 
Miss Dolly Bell, of Gorham, Ontario county. New York, daughter of 
Thomas and Sophia Bell, October 6, 1846, and resided for one year in 
Pittsford, Monroe county. New York, where their only child, Yirgil B. 
Andruss, was born, July 21, 1847. He then returned to his native 
town, where he remained until 1855, when he came west, finally set- 
tling in Amboy, Illinois, in February 1856, where he has since resided. 
He found a somewhat divided village, considerable strife existing as to 
whether the main town should be on the east or west side of the rail- 
road. His first location was in what was called Exchange block on the 
west side. His health had failed him, and Mrs. Andruss opened 
daguerreotype and photographic rooms. They remained in that locality 



•S82 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

about two years, when they came to the east side, and occupied rooms 
near the corner of Main street and Adams avenue. Mr. Andruss' 
liealth gradually improved, and he was elected township collector for 
four successive years, and town clerk for two years. In 1862 he 
was elected justice of the peace, and with the exception of about two 
years has held the office since to May 1, 1881. He was alderman for 
the second ward eight years. He was county surveyor for the years 
1863-4. He was appointed notary public by Gov. Bissell in 1858 or 
1859, and has been continued such since, his last commission received 
in 1880. In 1866 he engaged in the hardware and farming implement 
trade as partner with C. J. Blackstone. This continued to 1868, when 
lie purchased his partner's interest, and he, in connection with his son 
Yirgil B. Andruss, has continued the busniess to the present time, for 
some years in the firm name of W. B. Andruss & Son. Yirgil B. 
Andruss enlisted in Co. D, 134th 111. Vols., at its organization in Chi- 
cago, and remained with the company until the regiment was mustered 
out of the service. Mr. Andruss has been a member of the Presbyte- 
rian or Congregational church since 1842; he and Mrs. Andruss have 
been members of the Congregational church of Amboy since January 
1857, and he a deacon thereof since February 1857 ; their son, a 
member since May 1863. Mr. Andruss has always advocated the tem- 
perance reform, having been identified with almost all societies organ- 
ized to carry forward the work, but more prominently with the Sons 
of Temperance, having first united with that order in 1845, and now 
being a representative in the jSTational Division of North America. In 
politics he has been a republican since the organization of that party. 
Simon Badger, deceased, brother to H. E. and Chester Badger, was 
born in Broome county, New York, June 11, 1820. In 1838 he came 
west with his father, who was a millwright, and worked with him at 
that trade until 1841. He then turned his attention to farming, and in 
1848, in company with his brother Warren, erected the Badger grist- 
mill at Binghamton, the first of consequence in the county. His in- 
terest in this property continued until 1860. In 1850 he went over- 
land to California, accompanied by his brother Chester, and remained 
there nearly a year. His wife, whose maiden name was Emily McKune, 
and to whom he had been married about two years, died in his absence, 
on July 5, 1850. Tidings of his loss decided him to return at once, 
and he arrived home late in the autumn. By this marriage was one 
child, now Mrs. Joanna Morgan. Mr. Badger married again, taking 
for his second wife Miss Roxy M. Wasson, daughter of Lorenzo Was- 
son, sr., with whom he lived in great happiness until her death. May 
26, 1863. Mr. Badger was a man actively engaged in business during 
his life, and enjoyed a high degree of confidence and respect from a 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 383 

large circle of friends. He filled various township offices, and for six- 
teen years was justice of the peace, and was discharging the functions 
of that office at the date of his death. He was a sufferer several years 
from diabetes, from which disease he died July 28, 1876. In his death 
the community sustained the loss of an upright, public-spirited citizen. 
By his last marriage three children were born : Rush, September 7, 
1855 ; Stella, September 4, 1857; and Claribel, April 25, 1859. Rush 
received a common school education, and supplemented it with a com- 
mercial course at Bryant & Stratton's college at Davenport, Iowa, in 
the winter of 1875-6. In the summer of 1879 he traveled four months 
in England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany and Switzerland. 

Oscar A. Comstock, locomotive engineer, Amboy, eldest son of 
Alfred and Harriet (Westbrook) Comstock, was born August 15, 1837, 
in St. Clair county, Michigan, to which his parents had removed from 
Oneida county. New York, at its first settlement about 1830. Here 
his father farmed on a small scale, but owning a saw-mill and timber, 
he made lumber manufacturing his principal business. In 1849 Mr. 
Comstock went on the lakes as a cook on board a vessel, and after that 
as a common sailor, returning home winters to woi'k in the pineries. 
He kept this up till the fall of 1860, and then located in Amboy in the 
employ of the Central company as locomotive fireman. In August, 
1862, he volunteered in Co. I, 89th 111. Inf. (railroad regiment), Capt. 
Samuel Comstock, a cousin, being his commanding officer. He fought 
at Stone River, Liberty Gap, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Strawberry 
Plains, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, and 
Peach Tree Creek, and followed Hood back to Tennessee and fought at 
Franklin and Nashville. He was promoted to sergeant, and at Mission 
Ridge was wounded by a bullet which broke his arm. In May, 1865, 
he was mustered out at Chicago, and immediately returned to Amboy 
and went to work again for the railroad company. In 1867 he was 
promoted to locomotive engineer. His marriage with Miss Anna Hill 
was on March 31, 1866. Her parents were English, and emigrated to 
New Orleans, where she was born March 17, 1848. The next year 
they came north, her mother dying on the passage, and her father set- 
tled at Galena, and followed lead mining. She is a member of the 
Baptist church, and Mr. Comstock is a republican, and belongs to divi- 
sion No. 72, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. 

Andrew J. Poland, train master Illinois Central railroad, Am- 
boy, son of Benjamin F. and Lucy S. (Sanborn) Poland, was born Au- 
gust 12, 1832, in Standish, Maine, and was reared at Gloucester. His 
father was a captain in the last war with Great Britain. Mr. Poland 
went to Boston in 1850, and to Chicago in 1854. He ran on the Cen- 
tral branch from May till September, and from this date till January, 



384 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

1855, was running between Chicago and Galena, still in the employ of 
the Central company. He then was located at Amboy until 1859, 
when he removed to Chicago and ran between that city and St. Louis 
over the Chicasro & Alton railroad sixteen months. In 1861 he re- 
turned to Amboy and remained here till January 1866, being train 
master at this time, and his family residing at Centralia. He was next 
stationed at Decatur until 1873. when he came back to Amboy, where 
he now resides. He was married in 1857, to Miss Caroline Potter, of 
Chicago, who died February 8, 1879, and by whom he had five children, 
as follows: Edward "W., Lucy (dead), Lizzie J., Carrie S., and Helen. 

Philip Flack, barber, Amboy, is a native of Oberhoechstadt, near 
Frankfort-on-the-Main, German}^, where he was born May 14, 1837. 
He emigrated to America, arriving at Castle Garden, I^ew Tork, Octo- 
ber 1, 1853. After eight months lie went to Virginia, in September, 
1855, he came to Mendota, and in January, 1856, permanently located 
in Amboy, and was the first white barber who followed his vocation in 
the town. He lost his business property', in which his family was liv- 
ing at the time, by fire, on December 10, 1863. This conflagration 
destroyed all of East avenue except Edwards' livery stable, at the 
north end of the row, and Carson & Pirie's brick building, where 
Bourne's now stands. He was married February 15, 1858, to Miss 
Margaret Hauck, by whom he has had the following children : Francis 
Albert, Marion, Philip Andrew (deceased), Josephine Barbara, and 
Clara Amelia. Mr. Flack and his family are Catholics. 

George H. McFatrich, car-builder and assistant foreman of the 
car-shop, Amboy, is a native of Mercer county, Pennsylvania, where 
he was born March 31, 1819. He was the second son and fourth cliild 
of Hugh and Margaret (Bennett) McFatrich. He spent his early boy- 
hood on a farm, received a good English education, and learned the 
cabinet trade. In 1842 he settled at Hazel Green, Grant county, Wis- 
consin, where he lived by his trade, and was married to Miss Fannie 
Lindsay. In 1854 he moved to Rockford, Illinois, and sold drugs with 
his brother James a year, and in April, 1855, came to Amboy and has 
since had his home in this place. He built on the site of Wheat & 
Gridley's store one of the first business houses in Amboy. In the fall 
he began work for the Central Railroad Compau}^, in the car-shop, and 
has continued ever since in their employ, a period of twenty-six years. 
During the last sixteen 3'ears he has been assistant foreman. The only 
ofiice he ever held was that of collector, the last year lie lived in Wis- 
consin. Mr. and Mrs. McFatrich w^ere formerly Presbyterians, l)Ut on 
coming here they found no church of their denomination, and so joined 
the Methodist, of which they had been members until two years ago. 
The latter is now a Congregational ist. Mr. McFatrich was an elder in 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 385 

the Presbyterian cliurch. In politics he was originally a whig, but be- 
came a republican on the formation of that party. They have had five 
children : Sarah Melissa, wife of David I. Finch, of Peoria ; Fannie, 
now Mrs. Louis Santee, of Des Moines, Iowa, but formerly of Brook- 
lyn, N^ew York; Hadessa (deceased), and Ella and Emma, twins 
(deceased). 

Charles W. Bell, constable, Ambo}^ was born in New York in 1826. 
In 1840 he emigrated with his parents. Royal and Amanda (Judd) Bell, 
from Chautauqua county to Kendall county, Illinois. In 1852 he came 
here with his brother-in-law, Levi Chapman, of the firm of Chapman 
& Roberts, contractors, and worked for them at grading on the railroad 
till August 1853. He then brought his family to the present site of 
the city, and engaged in boarding railroad men, and at the same time 
doing a teaming business for the company in hauling stone from Grand 
Detour, and other building material from Mendota. For several years 
after he did contract work about the town. In 1858 or 1859 he was 
elected city marshal, and held the office seventeen or eighteen yeai-s, 
and was also most of the same time constable and deputy sheriff". In 
1850 he was married to Miss Adeline Butler. They have had four 
children, as follows: Clara, now Mrs. John Shear; Medora, died 
February 5, 1869, aged fourteen years, six months and nine days; 
Jessie, died February 15, 1869, aged ten years, ten months and seven 
days; and Lillie, died February 3, 1869, aged seven years, eleven 
months and twenty-four days. These were carried off" by scarlet fever. 
Mr. Bell is an Odd-Fellow. Mrs. Bell is a member of the Baptist 
church, and both belong to the Sons of Temperance. 

George W. Freeman, train master Illinois Central railroad, Amboy, 
son of Chauncey and Harriet (Johnson) Freeman, was born in Clark- 
son, New York, in 1834, and reared on his father's farm and educated 
in his native town. In 1852, when but eighteen years of age, he came 
west and went to work on the Wabash railroad between Decatur and 
Springfield, and in the autumn of 1853 he went to Knox county, Ill- 
inois, where he was employed until the following March. At this 
time he entered the service of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 
Railroad Company as brakeman, and after six months was advanced to 
a regular train, and so continued in the employment of the company 
until April 1861. Immediately on the call of the president for 
troops he volunteered for three months in Co. E, 17th 111. Inf., and 
was appointed sergeant. After serving his time he returned home and 
recruited Co. C, 11th 111. Cav., Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, principally 
about Galesburg. He was commissioned captain of this company and 
went into the service, but was stricken with rheumatism and obliared 
to resign, which he did in March 1862. He recovered sufficientlv to 



386 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

go to work again in the summer following, and engaged with the Illi- 
nois Central company, in whose service he has been until the present 
date. He was freight conductor nine years, and passenger conductor 
the remainder of the time, until he was transferred in the spring of 
1881 to the train master's office in Amboy. Mr. Freeman w^as married 
Januarj^ 13, 1858, to Miss Caroline Dailey, daugliter of Edward Dailey, 
of Galesburg. Edward and Frederick are their two sons. Mrs. Free- 
man is a Congregationalist, and he is a Knight Templar and a repub- 
lican. 

Joseph E. Lew-is, attorney-at-law, Amboy, the youngest child of 
Joseph Lewis, was born in Amboy township, December 21, 1847. His 
father was born in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, in 1807, and his 
mother, whose maiden name was Kachel Cargill, in Cheshire county, 
New Hampshire, in 1806, and both are now living in Binghamton. 
In 1845 thev emigrated from Pennsvlvania to this township with five 
children, all of whom are now dead, as follows : Gaylord J., who left 
here March 29, 1852, at the age of nineteen, for California, and was 
never heard from after he had been there three years; James C, who 
volunteered in Co. I, 89th 111. Yols., was wounded in the knee at Buz- 
zard Roost, Georgia, May 9, 1864, died at Chattanooga July 23 ; John, 
who enlisted in Co. G, 39th 111. Yols. (Yates' Phalanx), August 20, 
1861, served on the Peninsula under McClellan, and in the Shenandoah 
under Shields, discharged in January 1863, came home to Amboy and 
died of disease contracted in the service, November 29, 1864; Andrew 
J., who enlisted in Co. G, (Yates' Phalanx), August 2, 1861, died at 
Foley Island, Charleston harbor, of typhoid fever, July 4, 1863 ; and 
Electa Jane, who died in infancy the first year of their residence here. 
These parents have given much to their countr3^ Both have been 
members of the Methodist church since 1824, and Mr. Lewis has always 
held official connection as steward, trustee, or class leader, and some- 
times has filled all three of these positions at once. The subject of this 
sketch did not walk on pavements of gold, nor -lie upon beds of roses. 
He obtained a good education by putting two years of schooling at 
Mount Morris Seminary, with much hard private study at irregular in- 
tervals, making his way as best he could by teaching school. He used 
to keep up with his classes and go to school but one-third of the time. 
In 1870 he began the study of law in the office of Norman Pyan, but 
it was necessarily desultorj-^, and several years elapsed before he was 
admitted. In 1871 he was married to Miss Melissa Hayes; and from 
1872 to 1875 he had charge of the Rockton public schools of Winne- 
bago county as principal. He is a republican and takes an active part 
in politics. His children have been as follows: Stella (dead), Ada, 
Benjamin B., Paul, and Ethel. 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 387 

Charles W. Deming, grocer, Amboy, is a native of Steuben county, 
New York, where he was born May 1, 1817. His parents were Charles 
S. and Elizabeth (Gorbett) Deming, by whom he was reared a farmer 
until the age of fifteen, when he was put to mercantile employment. 
He was married September 24, 1840, to Miss Sabrina Chamberlain, 
who was born September 1, 1823. Their family of seven children are 
all living: Louisa S., now Mrs. Jacob L. Plolmes; Charles Gaylord ; 
Ann E., wife of Isaac E. Holmes; Jason L.; Helen A., now Mrs. Na- 
thaniel Burnham ; Carrie, and Olin E. Mr. Deming came west in 
April 1855, and settled at Linden, Whiteside county, where he farmed 
until he came to Amboy in 1864. Since that time, except one year, 
he has been in business. He is an influential member of the Methodist 
church, to which he has belonged since 1838. Mrs. Deming has been a 
communicant in the same church since 1840. He has filled the offices 
of steward, trustee, class leader, and Sabbath-school superintendent. 
His connection with the Sons of Temperance dates from 1844, and he 
is now the oldest member in the state, and is invested with the dignity 
of grand worthy associate of the Grand Division of Illinois. Mr. 
Deming is a republican. His brothers, Asaph C. and George A., died 
of disease in the army ; the former at Nashville, Tennessee, and the 
latter at Grand Gulf, Mississippi. 

Jared Slauter, railroad yardmaster, Amboy, son of Sylvanus F. 
and Lurena (French) Slauter, was born in West Stockbridge, Massa- 
chusetts, in 1824. His grandfather' Slauter was a veteran of the revo- 
lution who fought in several battles. Mr. Slauter was bred to farming, 
and followed that occupation until he removed to Amboy, arriving 
here April 15, 1856. He was married March 30, 1847, to Miss Adeline 
Lord, who died in 1849, leaving one child, Maria Adelaide, who also 
died, aged nineteen. His secorfd marriage was on November 28, 1849, to 
Miss Caroline Bradlej^ whose death occurred May 10. 1861. She was 
the mother of two children, Lurena and Frank F. On April 6, 1862, 
he celebrated his third marriage with Catherine (Smith), widow of 
Addison Smith, and by this union has one child, George W. Mr. 
Slauter has worked for the Central Company since his settlement here, 
and during the period of over twenty-five years has not lost more than 
two months' time. He was employed on the track for a few months at 
first, next was switchman three years, and in 1859 became yardmaster, 
and has held this position since. He is a republican in politics, and 
lias been an Odd-Fellow twenty-seven years, and filled the chairs of the 
vice grand ajid noble grand. He was a Baptist when in New England. 
Mrs. Slauter belongs to the Congregational church. 

Frank J. Merrow, marble dealer, Amboy, son of Asa J. and 
Mary C. (Norton) Merrow, was born in Bangor, Maine, in 1852. His 



388 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

ancestors were early settlers in the colonies. His great-grandfather, 
Isaac Norton, was a merchant bj occupation and a native of Yingard, 
Maine. He moved from there to Industry, and at a later period to 
Starks, in the same state, where his life closed after over twenty years 
of painful suffering from cancer in the face. He had one brother, 
Benjamin. Mr. Morrow's grandfathers, William Norton and Stephen 
Merrow, were revolutionary soldiers; the former was a captain, and 
was wounded in action ; the latter a farmer by occupation, and lived 
at Chapliain, New Hampshire, where his son Asa J., father of our 
subject, was born ; after several years he removed to Dover, in the 
same state, and died there. Mr. Merrow began his trade of working 
in marble when seventeen 3'ears old, and served an apprenticeship of 
three years in Oldtown, Maine. Early in 1869 his parents came west, 
settled in Amboy two years, and then moved to Clear Lake, Minnesota, 
where his father died June 26, 1880, aged seventy-one years and nine 
months. In January, 1870, he arrived in Amboy, where he resided a 
short time, and then located at Ashton in the marble business. In 
the fall of 1877 he removed to this city, where he deals in headstones 
and monuments, and executes a fine class of work. 

John H. Long, farmer, Amboy, son of Michael and Margaret 
(Long) Long, was born in Canada in 1829. His maternal grandfather, 
Joseph Long, was a soldier of the revolution. His grandfather on his 
father's side moved to Canada after the war, and there Mr. Long's 
father was born. In 1848 he immigrated with his parents to Sublette 
township, where his father entered land. Mr, Long worked during 
that year for Col. Dement, who was at the time receiver of the 
land office, and in 1850 he began farming on his own account. 
About that time he hauled potatoes to Chicago and peddled them 
out by the peck and half bushel at twenty-five cents per bushel. 
In 1850 he married Miss Sarah Jane Fessenden, daughter of William 
and Sally (Spafford) Fessenden, wiio were early settlers in Sublette 
township, having arrived there from New England in 1837. Mrs. 
Long was born on Mount St. Pisgali or St. Helen, New Hamp- 
shire, in 1830. When the Central railroad was building Mr. Long 
worked with his teams at grading for $1.50 per day at first, and after- 
ward for the reduced sum of $1.37^. He hauled the most of the ma- 
terial for the railroad buildings at Amboy ; the door and window caps 
and sills from Mendota, and the brick from Brady's brick-yard in Pal- 
estine Grove, four miles from the town, where Dutcher & Wyman 
carried on the manufacture. Mr. Long owns 300 acres of .land, 200 of 
which his father-in-law entered, and on whicli the old settler's house, 
built from lumber hauled from Chicago, is still standing. Mr. Long's 
farm is worth $15,000. He is a republican, and belongs to the American 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 389 

Legion of Honor. Both he and his wife are members of the Baptist 
church. They have had nine children : Ellen J., now Mrs. Walter Scott ; 
Sarah M., now Mrs. Geo. W. Scott; Charles F., who married Miss 
Stella Wooster; Amanda E., wife of Frank M. Lamoile ; John H. 
(dead), Samuel A., Dora E., IS^ettie M. and Emerson H. 

Benjamin Smith, freight conductor, Amboy, youngest son of Urial 
and Ruth Harriet (Ring) Smith, was born in New Gloucester, Cum- 
berland count}'^, Maine, December 8, 1834:. He was reared a farmer, 
and in 18i7 went to Boston. After eighteen months he returned and 
liv^ed in his native state until 1856, when he again went to Boston and 
worked a year for an ice company. Two years' residence in Maine 
succeeded, and in 1859 he removed west and settled with his family in 
Amboy. He had been married on June 22, 1855, to Miss Rebecca R. 
Farr, of Poland, in Mr. Smith's native county. She was the daughter 
of William and Anna (Ridlon) Farr, and was born October 6, 1833. 
Fiom December 1859 until 1863 Mr. Smith was a brakeinan on the 
Central, but at the last date he was advanced to conductor. In 1868 
he removed to Livingston county, this state, where he had purchased 
a farm in Sullivan township, and gave his hand for a few years to the 
plow. But he could not subdue the enchantment of railroading, and 
so returned to the old employment, leaving his family to live upon the 
farm. In 1875 they removed to Chatsworth and lived a year, and the 
next spring came to Amboy, where they have since resided. Mrs. 
Smith belongs to the United Brethren church, and Mr. Smith is a re- 
publican, and a member of the American Legion of Honor. They have 
two daughters, Marj^ Ella, born in Maine, June 12, 1859; and Harriet, 
born July 27, 1861. Both graduated at the Amboy High School in 
the class of 1879. 

George F. Morgan, railroad conductor, Amboy, was born in Car- 
bondale, Luzerne count}', Pennsylvania, September 24, 1843, and was 
the youngest child of William J. and Barbara (Lewis) Morgan. His 
parents came from Wales when young. In 1858 Mr. Morgan left his 
home and reached Dubuque, and two years later went to braking on 
the Central. In the fall of 1864 he enlisted for one year as a recruit in 
Co. A, 11th 111. Inf., and joined it at Memphis. When it was mustered 
out he was transferred to Co. H, 46th 111. Inf., and was with this at 
Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans, and was mustered out at 
the latter place in October 1865. During most of the time he was on 
detached service at division headquarters, as clerk. After this he fol- 
lowed railroading on the Central, and selling groceries in Amboy, and 
in 1869 became a conductor. In 1868 he was married to Miss Joanna 
Badger, daughter of Simon Badger, by whom he has three children : 
Mabel R., born March 10, 1869; Simon C, September 11, 1872, and 



390 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Maud E., January 9, 1873. Both parents are members of the Meth- 
odist church. Mr. Morgan is a republican, and belongs to Illinois Cen- 
tral Lodge No. 178, A.F. and A.M. ; Nachusa Chapter No. 52, Dixon ; 
and Dixon Comraanderj No. 21. 

Albert E. Meewine, freight and ticket agent on the Rock Falls 
branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad, Amboy, is the 
son of Harris D. and Thurza (Morris) Merwine, and a native of Paw 
Paw in this county, where he was born in 1853. His parents emigrated 
from Pennsylvania about 1845. Mr. Merwine worked at farming and 
tending store for some years, and in 1872 accepted the position of sta- 
tion agent at Hinsdale, on the main line of the Chicago, Burlington & 
Quincy railroad. In 1873 he was transferred to Amboy. His marriage 
with Miss Irene M. Cole, of this cit}^, was in September 1875. Carrie 
is their only child. Mr. Merwine is a republican, an Odd-Fellow, and 
a workman. His grandfather, Isaac Morris, was a drummer boy of 
1812, and draws a pension. 

Russell W. Rosiee, deceased, youngest son of Sylvester and Electa 
C. (Reppley) Rosier, was born in Bennington, Yermont, December 17, 
1829. His parents settled in Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, about 
1845, and two or three years afterward he went to work as a brake- 
man, and followed railroading the rest of his life. He was brakeman 
two years, fireman two more, and then was given an engine, and re- 
mained at that post until his death. On April 2, 1857, he was united 
in marriage with Miss Louisa Hinchcliff, daughter of Titus and Amelia 
(Davis) Hinchcliff, of De Soto, Jackson county, Illinois. She was born 
January 17, 1840. In October Mr. Rosier settled in Amboy. In 1859 
he went to Tennessee and was engineer on the Nashville & Chatta- 
nooga railroad ; in a few months he was followed by Mrs. Rosier, and 
they established their home at Cowan Station, at the foot of the Cum- 
berland mountains, on the west side. They remained there until the 
cloud of civil war obliged them to take refuge in the north, and then 
returned to this city. Mr. Rosier reentered the service of the Central 
company, and never more tried a change. His death came February 7, 
1881. His affiliations were with the Masons and the Engineers' Broth- 
erhood, and he was chief of division No. 72 of the last organization at 
the date of his death. Himself and his wife were members of the 
Methodist church, and he had filled the offices of steward and trustee. 
In politics he was a republican. Their only child was an adopted 
daughter, Emma May. Mr. Rosier was an industrious, reliable man, 
of few words but decisive action. He had strong domestic habits and 
attachments, and was known and respected for his christian kindness 
and benevolent disposition. His remains were interred in Prairie Re- 
pose cemetery. 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 391 

Michael Egan. builder, Araboy, was born in Kilrush, county of 
Clare, Ireland, September 26, 1821. He received a fair education. 
His father, John Egan, was a mason, and from him he learned the 
same trade, beginning when fifteen years old, and serving an appren- 
ticeship of seven years. He was employed largely on government 
works. In the spring of 1846 he arrived in New York city and went 
to work for Matthias and Freeman Bloodgood, contractors, on a bonded 
warehouse. At the end of twenty months he removed to Springfield, 
Massachusetts, and worked at his trade seven years for Capt. Charles 
McClellan. In the last place he became a naturalized citizen. In the 
winter of 1852-3 he was employed by J. B. Wyman to come west to 
work on the Illinois Central. He arrived in February, and commenced 
on bridges and culverts south of La Salle, and in June following came to 
Ambo}'' and began the erection of the railroad buildings, whose con- 
struction he superintended until the last was finished. From that time 
till the present he has been in the employ of this company, except 
during the four years between 1876 and 1880. He is now their in- 
spector and purchasing and disbursing agent for cord-wood and cross- 
ties. Mr. Egan has been alderman several terms and mayor twice, 
director of the public schools and secretary of the board of education, 
and a foremost actor in the public business of the community. His 
family are Catholics, and the first services of this church, in Amboy, 
were in his house. His first marriage was in 1844, with Miss Ellen 
Morrissy, daughter of John and Bridget Morrissy. Her death was on 
January 27, 1869, when about forty-five years of age. She was the 
mother of eleven children, as follows: Bridget (dead), Susan (dead), 
John, Ellen (dead), Peter, Michael Francis, Alfred, Joseph, Mary, 
Benjamin and Teressa (dead). He was married a second time in 1872, 
to Mrs. Helen (Stewart), widow of James Barrie. Her children were 
Lizzie, Robert, and Jemima. By the last marriage there are two living 
children, Ellen and William A. S. 

Bkyant B. Howard, general foreman of the Illinois Central rail- 
road shops at Amboy, was born in Chicago September 13, 1836, and 
was the third child of Leonard and Caroline Esther (Smith) Howard. 
His father was a contractor, and came to Chicago from Buffalo, New 
York, in 1836, and built the first brick building ever erected in that 
city. In 1853 Mr, Howard went to learn the machinist's tirade, and 
soon after completing it came to Amboy, arriving August 3, 1856. 
He was at once employed in the Central shops, and in 1858 he took 
charge of tlie Roundhouse as foreman ; in 1866 he was promoted to 
general foreman of all the shops, and has since filled that position. 
He was married January 3, 1860, to Miss Mary Kaley, who was born 
in 1838, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to which place her parents had 



392 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

emigrated from Switzerland about 1836. Four children have been 
born to them, viz : George, Josephine, Fannie and Maud. Mr, Howard 
lias been alderman one term; he is a member of Illinois Central Lodge 
No. 178, A.F. and A.M., Friendship Council No. 567, A.L.H., Ee- 
form division No. 555, Sons of Temperance, and is a prohibitionist in 
politics. 

Edward S. Reynolds, carpenter and joiner, Amboj, son of Hat- 
field and Lydia (Salsbery) Reynolds, is a native of Susquehanna county, 
Pennsylvania, and was born there August 18, 1827. He was reared 
on a farm, but learned his trade before he became of age. In Septem- 
ber, 1853, he was married to Miss Mary E. Dean, and the next De- 
cember removed to Illinois and located for the time being at Bing- 
hamton. Mr. Reynolds erected one of the two first houses in Amboy, 
and in August, 1854, occupied it with his family, and claims to have 
been the first to move into the place after it was laid out, though this 
point is disputed by Dr. Bainter, who makes the same claim for him- 
self. He was one of the first board of aldermen after Amboy became 
a city, and was a charter member of Illinois Central Lodge No. 178, 
A.F. and A.M. His first wife died in 1867, and in 1871 he took Miss 
Mar\^ A. Fairman in marriage. He has two sons by his first wife, 
Edgar W. and Charles L., and by the second, William G. Mrs. Rey- 
nolds is a communicant in the Methodist Episcopal church, and Mr. 
Reynolds, who was formerly a whig, is now a republican. 

Henry Chapin, farmer, Amboy, was born in New York in 1824. 
He was the fifth child of Aretus and Anna (Rice) Chapin, who emi- 
grated from Yermont to New York. He was reared a blacksmith, 
went to his trade at fifteen, and worked at it forty years. In the spring 
of 1845 he came by the lakes to Illinois, and settled in Oswego, Ken- 
dall county. Here he was married on the 1st of May 1850, to Miss 
Adelia L. Butler, sister to C. M. Butler and Mrs. C. W. Bell, of Am- 
boy. She came from Michigan to Illinois in 1844. In 1852 he settled 
in Lockport, Will count}', and in the fall of 1855 in Amboy. He 
erected the first blacksmith shop on the east side of the railroad, and 
the second in the town, and in the course of time combined with cus- 
tom work the manufacture of wagons and carriages. After forty j^ears 
of intensely earnest, driving work at the forge, he called forth the fare- 
well echoes of his anvil in September 1879. He owns three farms ag- 
gregating 400 acres, and valued at $13,000. These tell the story of his 
toil. Both Mr. and Mrs. Chapin are members of the Methodist church, 
and the former was one of the building committee who had the erec- 
tion of the new edifice in charge. In politics he is a republican. Their 
children are Frank H., Addie G. and Ella May. 

Elavil F. Northway, farmer and stock raiser, Amboy, is a native 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 393 

of Steuben county, New York, wliere he was born May 4, 1844. His 
parents, Francis H. and Minerva (Stewart) Northway, removed west 
in the antnmn of 1844, and settled on the S.E. ^ Sec. 3, T. 20, R. 
10, two miles north of Amboy. He enlisted in October, 1864, in Co. 
C, Ttli 111. Cav., Col. Graham. He served his time in Tennessee, Mis- 
sissippi and Alabama, scouting and doing guard and garrison duty, 
and was mustered out in October, 1865, at Huntsville, Alabama. He 
was married in 1873, to Miss Olive S. Tracy. Two children have been 
born to them : Daisy M. (dead), and Guy. Mr. Northway owns the 
old homestead on which he was reared, which is valued at $8,000. 
This was swept by the great tornado of 1860. The buildings were 
blown to atoms. The family, seven in number, escaped with their 
lives, but were more or less injured. This storm killed one-seventh of 
all who were in its track. Mr. Northway is a democrat. 

There are two Teude families in this country, one of French and 
the other of English extraction. The former is the one to which we 
refer in the present sketch. John Trude, the founder of the name in 
America, was impressed into the French navy at the age of eleven and 
was held until he had performed eleven years' service. On his return 
home ho could learn nothing of his family, and as the Marquis Lafay- 
ette was preparing to depart for America, he joined him as an adven- 
turer, enlisting in the cause of the colonies. After his arrival upon our 
shores he fought at Brandywine and other places, and at the close of 
the war settled at Horseneck, Rhode Island, where he married an 
American woman named Baker. Here they had a son, William B., born 
June 21, 1790. He married Betsy Eldridge, who was born the same 
year in Washington county, New York, and whose father bore arms 
at Crown Point, Bennington, Stony Point, and Saratoga. This couple 
are buried at St. Charles, Kane county. Mr. Trude was aged seventy- 
seven at his death, and his companion sixty-three. William E. Trude, 
their son, is a locomotive engineer, and resides at Amboy. He was 
born December 29, 1831, in Lisbon, St. Lawrence county, New York, 
and reared on his father's farm. In 1852 he came west, and in March, 
1855, settled in this place in the employ of the Central company. On 
July 6, 1858, he was married to Miss Candace Rolf, of his native town, 
who was born December 25, 1835. Her mother died June 9, 1839, at 
about thirty-five years of age, and her father in 1879, aged eighty-six. 
Two sons have blessed their union : Fred W., born July 19, 1859, who 
graduated at the Amboy High School in the class of 1877, and married 
March 24, 1881, to Miss Josephine McCormack ; and Frank, born 
April 3, 1868. Mrs. Trude is a member of the Methodist church. 
Mr. Trude is a Mason, a workman, and a member of the Engineers' 
Brotherhood. 



394 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

Herbert A. Millard, painter, Amboy, is the son of Ira and Lo- 
rinda (Cargill) Millard, wlio moved to this place from La Salle county, 
Illinois, in January 1856. His father was born September 5, 1817, 
and his mother in "Windham, Greene county, New York, September 
3, 1829. The maternal grandfatlier of the latter was Amos Parker, a 
revolutionary soldier, who served seven years, and had the distin- 
guished honor of saving the life of Gen. Lafayette at Yorktown. The 
latter, in giving orders for an assault, had directed that not a gun should 
be fired, but this soldier discovered a British sharpshooter drawing aim 
on Lafayette, and he hastened to bring him down in spite of orders. 
When the general visited this country in 1824 he sent to Mr. Parker, 
who was living in Augusta, Oneida county, New York, to meet him at 
Utica, in the same county, and he did so. Daring the revolution Mr. 
Parker lived at Wallingford, Connecticut, but in 1793 moved to New 
York, and here Mrs. Millard's mother, Elizabeth Parker, was born on 
August 9 of that year. She was three times married : first to Abram 
Cargill, next to Riverius Wilcox, and last to Calvin Chipman, a vet- 
eran of the war of 1812. In 1838 she removed with her second husband 
to La Salle county. She died in Amboy April 14, 1881, in her eighty- 
eighth year. Mr. and Mrs. Millard were married in 1849. After their 
settlement here the former was some time engaged in trade in a feed 
and flour store. They had the following children : Ida E., born Sep- 
tember 10, 1850, married April 13, 1870, to Wm. C. Miner, of Mus- 
kegon, Michigan ; Noble J. B., born September 17, 1852 ; Herbert A., 
born January 23, 1859, married Miss Jennie Spencer July 25, 1880 ; 
Clarence A., born August 20, 1863 ; Ira Adelbert, born March 18, 
1868, and an infant born and died March 17, 1856. Besides these chil- 
dren of their own they reared Stephen Z. Hartley, a nephew of Mr. 
Millard, from the age of four till he vras eighteen j^ears old. He 
learned the shoemaker's trade, and tlie printer's trade in the Amboy 
"Journal" office, and was a promising young man. In November, 1862, 
he enlisted in the 17th U. S. Inf., and in the following March 
was sent to Fort Preble, Portland, Maine, where he died on the 17th 
of the next April from small-pox. 

Alexander H. Wooster, farmer, Amboy, born in Owego, Tioga 
county. New York, April 6, 1829, was the son of Calvin and Hannah 
(Matson) Wooster. His ancestors were early settlers in Connecticut. 
Mr. Wooster was graduated at the high school at Cleveland, Ohio, 
about 1846, and bred to mercantile life. On December 9, 1851, he was 
united in marriage with Miss Ruth Harding, of Freedom, La Salle 
county, Illinois, and by her has had four children : Charles H., Stella 
A., wife of Charles F. Long; Anna, now Mrs. D. C. Badger, and Wm. 
L. In the spring of 1855 Mr. Wooster came to Amboy, and on his ar- 








K?f(/jo<jU'^ 



ffHE NEW YORK 
?(jBiil' LIRIIARY 



ASTou. l;:nox and 

TILUE.N FOUNU.vriONS 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 397 

rival set np in a general mercliandise business with A. E. Wilcox, and 
continued it subsequently with his brother David G. Wooster and 
others. After a few years he moved to a farm adjacent to the city lim- 
its on the northwest, where he now resides ; this comprises 204 acres. 
Mr. Wooster is a member of Illinois Central Lodge, No 178, A.F. and 
A.M., and has occupied the master's chair in that lodge nine terms. 
He was first installed in December 1869, and served five years in suc- 
cession, and after an interim of two years came to that position again 
four years more. Both himself and wife are members of the Baptist 
church of Amboy. 

Asa B. Searles, farmer, Amboy, born at Cincinnatus(now Pitcher), 
Clienango county, New York, January 27, 1810, was the next to the 
last in a family of six children by Elihu and Ruth Ann (Hawley) 
Searles. The children were named Harry, Abram, Lemuel, Asa, David 
and Pamelia. The mother had three children, Polly, Phebe, and 
Fanny, by a former marriage. Three of Mr. Searles' uncles, Gideon, 
Abrara, and Isaac Hawley, were soldiers of the revolution ; and Lemuel 
Hawley was a sea captain in the service of Stephen Girard, and died of 
yellow fever at Philadelphia. His father was in the military service in 
the last war with Great Britain, and died at Sackett's Harbor ; and 
William Morgan, of anti-Masonic celebrity, brought young Searles the 
first tidings of his father's death. At the age of twelve he was bound 
to Edmund Meigs, of Tinkertown (now Hobart), to learn the cabinet 
trade, but being the youngest apprentice in the shop was made to do 
all the drudgery, and was so ill-treated that after staying a year and a 
half he ran away, and at length found a home with his brother Harry, 
at Marathon, and lived with him until he was sixteen, getting in the 
meantime but half a term's schooling. Going now to South Bain- 
bridge, he lived there four or five jea,rs, and attended school where his 
brother Lemuel taught. Joe Smith, the coming prophet, was a fellow- 
pupil, with whom, uncle Asa says, he had many a wrestle ; but young 
Smith was a large, strong fellow and could handle any of the boys. 
He was lazy, but kind-hearted, had a large brain and a good deal of 
ability. The whole family of Smiths, including the mother, were bony, 
stout-built persons, and in a little while they had all settled in that 
neighborhood. At nineteen Mr. Searles began teaching school and 
piloting on the Susquehanna river. This last business he followed sjx 
years ; he contracted heavy jobs of rafting and floating logs and lum- 
ber ; employed as many as 200 men ; and cleared $3,000 in spite of 
some large losses. On September 19, 1832, he was married to Patience 
Stockwell, of Bainbridge. He left that place August 19, 1837, with a 
two-horse team, accompanied by thirteen persons, and arrived at Pales- 
tine Grove October 11, and entered the land and settled where he 
24 



398 HISTOKY OF LEE COUNTY. 

lives. Altogether Mr. Searles entered sixteen "eighties," and bought, 
besides, 200 acres in May township. At this time the land office was 
at Galena, and Col. Dement the receiver. The land about Palestine 
Grove did not come into market until the fall of 1844, but in the vicin- 
ity of Dixon it was placed on sale a few years earlier, on petition of 
Father Dixon. Mr. Searles took no little personal interest in the set- 
tling up of the country, and entertained land-hunters in large numbers, 
and drove about the wild prairies with them days upon days in the un- 
wearying labor of showing claims. In 1848 he laid out the village of 
Binghamton. He erected a hotel bearing the name of the place; and 
a store in which he traded nearly two j^ears. We have not the space 
to recount the numerous activities with which his name has been asso- 
ciated, but in short he has been a live man, from whose gettings many 
have profited more than he, a result which may be charged with equal 
justice to his generosity and his convivial habits. He was appointed 
postmaster about 1840, by Amos Kendall, and kept the office at his 
bouse ; again he was commissioned under Polk, and the office was kept 
in his store at Binghamton. He resigned, and Warren Badger suc- 
ceeded only a short time before the removal to Amboy. Mrs. Searles 
died December 19, 1846 ; and in 1852 Mr. Searles married Miss Am- 
anda Headlee, by whom he has five sons: Lemuel B., Frederick D., 
John Henry, Frank Leslie, and Levi Headlee. Lemuel went with 
Gen. Custer to Dakota in the 7th United States cavalry, and served 
sixteen months. Mr. Searles has been coroner; and he assessed Amboy 
the first time that service was ever performed. 

Mrs. Caroline A. Bartlett, widow of William C. Bartlett, Am- 
boy, was the daughter of Hosea and Clementine Vinton, of North 
Woodstock, Connecticut, where her English and Scotch ancestors set- 
tled in the earliest days of the colonj^, when the people of the neigh- 
borhood had to work in gangs of twenty or thirty to be prepared to 
resist the Indians, and at night went four miles together to the fort on 
Muddy Brook. In 1847 Mrs. Bartlett was united in marriage with Dan- 
ford Bartlett, who was killed at Hartford, Connecticut, October 6, 1852. 
He was assisting to load a boiler on a car, when it accidentally rolled 
over him, crushing him to death. On October 18, 1854, she celebrated 
her second marriage, with William C. Bartlett, who was a native of 
Edinburgh, New York, where he was born November 23, 1824. His 
father died when he was a lad, and at the age of thirteen his mother 
started with her family for Racine, Wisconsin, but died on the way. 
Orphaned at this early age, he now lived with his brother James and 
with his sister, working on a farm until he was eigliteen, when he 
apprenticed himself to the carpenter's trade, and followed this the rest 
of his life. He came to Amboy in the fall of 1853. Immediately on 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 399 

his marriage, the first in the village of Amboy, he settled in Racine, 
Wisconsin, where he at once became under-sheriff of the county, and 
was in this position three years. Returning to this city in May, 1858, 
he was employed in the car shops from that time until his death, which 
occurred suddenly December 10, 1874:. Mr. Bartlett was received into 
the fellowship of the Adventist church in 1859, became a leading mem- 
ber of the society, and was respected by all the community. He was a 
nephew of Olney, the geographer. Mrs. Bartlett was the mother of 
one child by her first marriage. This died in infanc}'. By the second 
two sons were born to her: William E., died in infancy, and Frank 
Eugene. 

Rkv. Daniel S. Clark, Amboy, was born of Puritan stock in 
Ellington, Connecticut, January 25, 1822, While yet young his parents, 
David and Sarah (Bartlett) Clark, moved to West Woodstock, where 
he learned the carpenter's trade, and in 1846 was married to Miss 
Nancy M. Vinton, of North Woodstock. With his young wife he 
went to Southbridge and lived four years, and then moved to Racine, 
Wisconsin, for three years. While working at his trade in Chicago he 
was employed by the Illinois Central Railroad Company to put up 
buildings on their line of road, and in the autumn of 1853 he reached 
Amboy, where he superintended the wood-work on the railroad build- 
ings at this place. He afterward built a planing-mill and dealt in lum- 
ber here ; but in 1859 he took leave of this business and of his trade 
and began as a regular exhorter in the Second Advent Christian church, 
and in 1860 was ordained at Binghamton to preach. Prior to this 
time Mr. Clark had been a Baptist and a Methodist, and had displayed 
great zeal and activity in labors to suppress the sale and use of intox- 
icating stimulants. He preached for the Adventist society at Amboy 
several years ; he was located at Sparland, Illinois, fifteen months ; at 
Sparta, Wisconsin, two years; at Putnam and Dennisonville, Con- 
necticut, a year and a half; at Scituate, Rhode Island, one year; at 
Boston and Plymouth, Massachusetts, one year; and in July, 1880, he 
returned to his old home in this city, and is now ministering to a 
church at Brodhead, Wisconsin, Mrs. Clark's great-grandfather Leach 
was a veteran of the war of the revolution. She was formerly a com- 
municant in the Baptist church, but has since united with the church 
to which her husband belongs. 

William JST, Fasoldt, deceased, was a native of Germany, where 
he was born April 5, 1825, He was a jeweler, and emigrated to Amer- 
ica about 1850. He lived in Albany, New York, three years, and then 
at South Bend, Indiana, where he married Miss Pauline Bower. In 
1864 he came to Ambo}^, and set up in the jewelry business. He was 
once burnt out, besides havinar a fire in his new brick hall erected in 



400 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

1871. In this last year Mr. Fasoldt retired from the jewelry business, 
and died June 6, 1880, at the age of fifty-five years, two months and 
one day. His remains lie in Prairie Repose cemetery. He had three 
children by his first marriage : Mary, now Mrs. Christ. Yogel, living 
at Storm Lake, Iowa ; Edward, whose whereabouts have been un- 
known for nine years, and Anna M. Mr. Fasoldt's wife died in March, 
1865, and he married Miss Rena Teal January 17, 1868. She was 
born l^ovember 12, 1844, and was the daughter of Charles and Marga- 
ret (Scholbar) Teal. Her parents came to America from Germany in 
1847, arriving at Lee Center in May, having come all the way to Chi- 
cago by water, and the remainder of the journey by country teams 
which had been to market. The family settled a mile north of Lee 
Center. The father died September 22, 1860, aged fifty-four, and the 
mother June 11, 1880, at the age of sixty-seven years. They are 
buried in the Lee Center cemetery. Mrs. Fasoldt is a member of the First 
Congregational church of Amboy. 

Martin Maus emigrated from Germany in 1850, when twenty- 
four years old. He lived in Chicago till 1854, when he came to Am- 
boy, where he married Miss Christina Teal, who has borne him four 
children : Charles, Rena, Sophia, and Henry. He has been in the 
harness business twenty-seven years altogether, and in the trade for 
himself eighteen 3'ears. 

William H. Hale, passenger conductor, Amboy, was born in 
Harmony township, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, March 15, 
1838. In 1845 his parents, Alva and Clara (Root) Hale, removed to 
Lee county, and settled at Temperance Hill, in China township. 
About 1855 they changed their home to Sublette township, where Mrs. 
Hale died, in January 1879, aged seventy-six years, and Mr. Hale in 
May 1881, at the age of eighty-five. The subject of this sketch went 
to railroading on the Central in 1857, and in May, 1861, enlisted in 
Co. C, 13th 111. reg. He was severely wounded in the right knee by 
a fragment of shell at Chickasaw Bayou, December 29, 1862. After 
the fall of Yicksburg he was detailed for service in the quartermaster's 
department, where he passed the remainder of his term, except two 
months at the close, and was mustered out at Springfield, Illinois, 
June 18, 1864. On his return he resumed the position of baggage- 
man, which he vacated at the outbreak of the war, and in two years 
was promoted to conductor. He was married June 5, 1867, to Miss 
Letitia W. Wicks, of Davenport, Iowa. She was born February 22, 
1849. Their son, Henry Y., is ten years of age, and their adopted 
daughter, Louie, nine. Mr. and Mrs. Hale are members of the Episco- 
pal church. He is an Odd-Fellow, a Mason, a Knight of Pythias, 
belongs to the American Legion of Honor, and Bethany Commandery, 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 401 

No. 28, Mendota, of which he has been eminent commander two years. 
This commandery presented Mr. Hale an elegant sword in 1880. Mr. 
Hale's father was remarkable for his good health. He was never so 
sick as to need an attendant, and his last illness was only of a few 
hours' duration. He died of heart disease, greatly respected by a 
numerous acquaintance. 

John M. Blochek, retired, Amboy, was born January 8, 1804, in 
the kingdom of Wurtemburg, Germany. He learned the carpenter's 
trade, and in 1824 went to France and followed that business seven 
years, at 18 cents per day in summer and 10 cents per day in winter. 
Returning to Germany in 1831, he emigrated to America and lived in 
Connecticut nine years, working as a farm laborer most of the time. 
On April 9, 1838, he was married to Miss Hannah S. Schafer, who 
was born October 20, 1813. In 1841 he moved to Bradford county, 
Pennsylvania, and settled in the woods, where he cleared a farm and 
lived until 1849. He then came to Illinois and made a home a mile 
and a half north of Amboy, on the farm now owned by Henry C. 
Shaw's heirs. In 1868 he sold this property and moved to Amboy. 
Mr. Blocher united with the Cono^regational church in Connecticut in 
1837, and Mrs. Bolcher in 1839. Three of their children are now 
members of the same church. Mr. Blocher and his wife assisted to or- 
ganize the Congregational church of Amboy, and they and Mr. and 
Mrs. John C. Church are the only surviving original members of this 
society. Mr. Blocher has given his active support to the temperance 
cause in every practicable way. He belonged to the first division of 
the Sons of Temperance ever in existence here; this was organized at 
Binghamton, but moved to Amboy as soon as Farwell Hall was ready 
for occupancy. He has been a republican since the party was formed, 
and during the war was connected with the Union League. Mr. and 
Mrs. Blocher are the parents of nine children, as follows : John 
G. (dead), Mary E., wife of Newton Campbell, living in Dakota; 
William L. (dead), Hannah S., now Mrs. Thomas Coster, living in 
Dakota; John G., William L. (dead), Henry S., Rebecca B., wife 
of Curtis Bridgman ; and Agnes B., born December 16, 1851, wife 
of Joseph Blackman, to whom she was married December 22, 1873. 
Mr. Blackman is a native of England, where he was born June 21, 
1845 ; his parents, John and Mary Blackman, who reside three miles 
above Dixon, emigrated to this country in 1850, and about 1856 
settled in Lee county. He has been on the railroad sixteen years; 
seven years as fireman, and the remainder as engineer, and all the 
time in the employ of the Central company. Mr. and Mrs. Blackman 
have one son, Henry J., born October 6, 1874. She has belonged 



402 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

to the Baptist church since the age of fourteen. He is a Mason, 
and a member of the Engineers' Brotherhood. 

Oscar Spangler, confectioner, Ambo}', was born in Muskingum 
county, Ohio, in 1842. In 1857 he moved with his parents, Benjamin 
and Lydia (Bell) Spangler, to Lee county, and made a home in Marion 
township, where his father died November 12, 1880. Mr. Spangler 
volunteered in June, 1862, in Co. K, 69th 111. reg., for six months, 
and served his time. In tlie fall of 1863 he began on the Central 
railroad and followed it as fireman two years, and then was given a 
locomotive to run. He continued as engineer until June 29, 1876, 
when he met with a disaster which nearly cost him his life. Two 
cars, one empty, the other loaded, were let out of the switch, in 
some manner, at Baileyville, and ran down the track in the direc- 
tion of Freeport, crossed the Yellow Creek bridge, and ascended 
the grade on the other side as far as their momentum would propel 
them, and had reversed their motion and were coming back toward 
the creek, and were within fifty yards of the bridge, when Mr. Spang- 
ler's train of thirty-two cars struck them. The time was midnight, 
and the weather warm, rainy, and a little foggy. The engine 
and twenty-six cars were totally wrecked. A tramp sleeping in one 
of the wild cars was killed. Mr. Spangler's fireman was seriously 
injured, and he himself still worse ; so that he was two years recovering, 
and was on crutches that length of time ; in fact he has not recovered, 
and never will, entire soundness. In December, 1876, he opened a 
cigar and confectionery store and restaurant in Amboy, and is at present 
engaged in that business. He is an Odd-Fellow and a republican. He 
was first married July 2, 1866, to Miss S. A. Shew, who bore two 
children, Harriet and Joseph, and died January 29, 1878. His second 
marriage was November 27, 1879, with Miss E. M. Foskey. She is a 
Congregationalist. 

James H. Preston, county superintendent of schools, Amboy, was 
born at Rochester, New York, June 3, 1820, and was the son of James 
and Mary (Gorham) Preston. He was reared a farmer, trained to hard 
work, and educated in the common schools, in which he received 
thorough practical English mental training. In the East his principal 
occupation was farming, but he taught fourteen winters in succession 
in district schools. On May 16, 1845, he was married to Miss Nancy 
Ann Maydole, who was born in 1824. Their five children were named 
as follows: Albert W. (dead), Frances (dead), Addie, Charles F., and 
Bertie. On June 22, 1854, Mr. Preston arrived with his family from 
New York, and located in Marion township, on railroad land at $2.50 
per acre. Leaving his family on the farm, the following season he went 
to Binghamton and took control of the Union store, as a^ent, and con- 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 403 

ducted the business until its affairs were wound up in the spring of 
1857. He farmed from that time till 1865. In that year he was 
elected count}' superintendent of schools, and served two terms of four 
years each ; in 1873 he ran as an independent candidate against a re- 
publican and a " granger " nominee, but was distanced in the race by 
the former. But in 1877 he recovered the position, and at the present 
time is discharging its duties. Since 1865 his residence has been in 
Amboy, and he is serving his second year as alderman. In Marion 
township he was justice of the peace and assessor. He is a republican, 
and has taken a lively interest in political and other matters of public 
concern, and since 1858 has attended every political convention of im- 
portance held in the county, Near the close of the war his son Albert 
(now deceased) enlisted in the 140th 111. Vols, for 100 days, and did 
military service for five months in Missouri and Tennessee. Mr. Pres- 
ton's ancestors came to Massachusetts in colonial times (from Ireland, 
it is supposed). His grandfather Preston was a soldier of the revolu- 
tion, and his father was called into service in the last war with Great 
Britain, and was marching on PJattsburg when that battle was fought. 
His maternal ancestors were sea-faring people, engaged in the whale 
fishery, and lived at Nantucket. 

CoL. George Ryon, physician and surgeon, Amboy, was born in 
Pennsylvania, June 5, 1827. His great-grandfather, John Ryon, was 
an Irishman, and emigrated to New England ; his grandfather, who 
bore the same name, was a revolutionary soldier, who fought through 
the whole war. Col. E-yon passed his early life on his father's farm, 
and when he began on his own account entered the medical profession. 
He studied first with Dr. Isaac Ives, and next with Wheeler & Holden, 
of Kendall county ; and after two courses of lectures at Rush Medical 
College, Chicago, graduated in 1851. He located in practice at 
Paw Paw, in this county, in 1850 ; in 1856 he commenced the study 
of law and was admitted to the bar two years after ; but he did not 
quit his medical practice, as he found it impossible to shake ofi' his old 
patrons. In 1860 he was elected by the republican party to the gen- 
eral assembly as representative from Lee and Whitesides counties, and 
was a member when the war broke out. He served one term at that 
time ; and in August, 1862, he raised Co. K, 75th 111. Yols., and on the 
organization of the regiment was elected colonel. Within eight days 
after leaving Dixon his command participated in the battle of Perry- 
ville. Owing to failing health he was obliged to resign, which he did 
about the beginning of 1863. In 1866 he was again elected to the leg- 
islature from this county. In 1869 he removed to Amboy, and started 
a private bank ; in 1873 he discontinued this business and settled in 
Streator, where he incorporated the Streator Coal Company with a 



404 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

capital of $200,000. On bis removal to Chicago in 1876 he resumed 
the practice of medicine, and has since continued it. He returned to 
Amboy in 1879 to reside. In 1852 be took Miss Ruth Ann Ives in 
marriage, and by her has an only daughter, Carrie S., who graduated 
at the Chicago University, at the age of nineteen, in a four-years 
course, and did not lose a day from her classes in the whole time. 

Hard labor is the most productive when united with thoughtful 
calculation, A good example of what a perfect union of thought, in- 
dustry and energy can do when concentrated upon a single object is to 
be seen in the life of Lewis Clapp. He came from ISTorthampton, 
Massachusetts, as a member of the Northampton colony, and located 
at Princeton, Bureau county. They arrived on June 1, 1836, having 
been just a month on their journey. Some time in the summer Mr. 
Clapp was powerfully converted to religioh, and though he never 
chose to become a member of any church, he was during the remainder 
of his life an exact, consistent christian, who never omitted to invoke 
the heavenly blessing at his table, or to bring his daily offering of 
prayer to the family altar. From his settlement here till 1846 he was 
a hard laborer at the plow and in the stock business, but at the same time 
was employing his reflections in a way to make his industry bring the 
most gain. From the last date during a period of twenty years he 
gradually withdrew his hand from rigid toil, until he became ex- 
clusively a money-lender, and this business engaged his whole atten- 
tion for the last ten years of his life. About 1852 he began operating 
in land, which was a lucrative business, and good fortune, made possible 
by good judgment, followed all his transactions. His land speculations 
lasted some fi^ve years. People to whom he, lent money usually pros- 
pered ; not because they paid interest, but because he always calculated 
their ability to pay back the funds borrowed without impairment of the 
securit}', and noted the circumstances favorable or unfavorable to their 
doing so; and if such consideration left him any question concerning 
the applicant he would fail to get money. This speaks not only a good 
deal for his judgment but very much also for his integrity. For twenty- 
five years he was a leading farmer and citizen of Lee county, and took 
a prominent part in all measures for the common welfare. As a matter 
of personal interest he was a member of the Grove Association, but in 
that he was recognized as a man of wise counsel. It was as a member 
of the Vigilance Committee, however, during the troubled times that 
the country was harrassed by the bandits, that he conspicuously dis- 
played his earnestness and enthusiasm in pursuit of evil-doers, and the 
maintenance of public order and securit}^ It is interesting to know 
that he espoused the doctrines of the abolitionists with so much fervor 
that he threw open his house to those apostles of emancipation, Owen 



AMBOY TOWNSHIP. 405 

Lovejoy and Deacon Hannan, for them to preach in, when denomina- 
tional places of worship were closed in their faces. He went so much 
further as to put his principles into effect by operating on the under- 
ground railroad and delivering fugitive slaves in Canada, a place toward 
which they toiled with eager longing while their hearts burned with 
the ardent fires of liberty. His first marriage was in 1836, but his 
wife dying in 1839 he married again in 1840. His only son, Ozro "W., 
was born in 1836. Mr. Clapp bought his first claim, JST.W. ^ Sec. 8, 
in Lee Center township. In 1837 he sold his corn crop for $1,000. 
In 1839 he built the first frame house in the eastern part of the county, 
and hauled his lumber from Chicago with ox-teams. Perfect system 
and aggressive enterprise characterized all he did, and he startled easy- 
going people by building at an early day a frame barn in the new set- 
tlement. He gave largely toward the construction of the Lee Center 
Academy, and had a lively appreciation of the benefits of popular 
education, and at last gave very striking proof of his faith. 

William E. Ives, attorney, Amboy, was born in Chautauqua 
county, New York, May 24, 182L His father was a farmer and sur- 
veyor, and in 1834 emigrated with his family to Kendall county, Illi- 
nois. He was the first recorder of deeds in that county, and subse- 
quently was probate judge two successive terms. In 1854 he removed 
to Amboy, and died here March 18, 1864, aged seventy-five years. The 
subject of this sketch received an academic education, and in 1854 was 
admitted to the bar in Kendall county; he came to Amboy the same 
year, and is now the only lawyer in the county who has practiced here 
since that date. Mr. Ives was mayor of Amboy from 1861 to 1865, 
and prosecuting attorney of Lee county between 1872 and 1876. 
Politically he is a republican, and he has belonged to the Baptist 
church since 1841. Mrs. Ives is a member of long standing in the 
same church. On December 8, 1841, he was married to Miss Susan 
Kyan. They have three living children : Charles E., Esther M. and 
James R. Charles is junior member of the law firm of W. E. Ives & 
Son. He served three months in 1862 in Co. K, 69th 111. Yols., and re- 
enlisted in October 1864, in Co. G, 146th reg., and was mustered out 
the next July. James is a graduate from the Rochester University, of 
New York, and is a practicing attorney in Denver, Colorado. 

Charles K. Dixon, train dispatcher Illinois Central railroad, Am- 
boy, youngest child of John and Matilda (Savage) Dixon, was born in 
1846, in Grandy, Sheflord county, Province of Quebec, Canada. He 
received a good English education in his native town. On May 24, 
1861, he was mustered into the United States service, Co. H, 15th 111. 
Inf., Capt. (afterward Gen.) John Pope. This regiment was brigaded 
with the 21st 111., Col. U. S. Grant, the 6th and the 7th Missouri, one 



406 HISTORY OF LEE COUNTY. 

battalion of Col. Marshall's 1st 111. Cav., and Capt. Mann's Missouri 
batter}', the whole under command of Col. Grant. This was the first 
brigade of the first corps formed in the west. The corps was numbered 
1st and transferred to Fremont's department, and went through his 
whole campaign. Mr. Dixon was at Springfield, Missouri, when Gen. 
Fremont was superseded by Gen. Hunter. He was moved from that 
state to F