[Source: History of Bureau County Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor, Chicago Publishing Company 1885, Page 425-426]
John L. Ament was the first settler in the township, in 1829, on Section 13, afterward occupied by G. C. Weibel. Then Sylvester Brigham made his claim, J. Hensel afterward occupying his place. In 1831 James Foristoll came; his place was occupied by James Coddington. George Hinsdale the same year made an improvement on Sectin 13 where J. Taylor afterward lived. James Gavin came here in 1833. Greenbury Hall and D. Ellis in the same year settled on Section 27. Abram Music started the first blacksmith shop. He lived on the J. T. Thomson farm. This was the second shop started in the county. John Elliott, Marshall Mason and James Wilson were the early settlers on the west Bureau timber and Obadiah Britt, Thornton Wilson and Abner Boyle on the east side.
George Hinsdale reports that in the early days he and Foristoll traveled by land and water, the round trip 162 miles, to get a plow sharpened.
Dover Township has two towns, with a post office in each, namely Dover and Limerick. Dover is one of the oldest villages in the county, being laid out in 1837 by Eli Lapsley. It was a first called Livingston, but changed when made a post office. Isaac Delnow and Theodore Nichols put up a small building and opened the first store. O. Madison started a blacksmith shop. People and new enterprises were rapidly increasing, and soon it grew to be an important business point, commanding a wide trade. It was a point on the old Princeton and Chicago road, and the railroad when built passed south of it. But when the road was built north of it, it cut off one of its most profitable sources of trade, and the town ceased to be so great as it once was.
A meeting to incorporate the town of Dover was called May 2, 1870. The call was signed by J. R. Zearing, William Mercer, Robert Braden, A. C. Kellogg, and a vote thereon was had May 14. Twenty-one votes cast; nineteen for and two against. The voters were Phillip Terry, T. W. Nichols, Asahel Wood, S. R. Haggard, A. C. Kellogg, A. L. Steele, S. M. Pratt, M. R. Nichols, George Tery, R. L. Abor, J. R. Zearing, E. J. Major, James Ball, Robert Braden, C. C. Hubbard, William Mercer, John Zearing, Levi Sifferd, Anthony Stovin, William Robinson and John Taylor. May 21, 1870, six Trustees were elected as follows: William Mercer, A. C. Kellogg, W. H. Wood, J. R. Zearing, Robert Braden and A. L. Steele.
They entered upon the duties of office and proceeded to organize and start the village machinery. William Mercer was made President, William H. Wood, Clerk, and J. R. Zearing, Treasurer.
First meeting, boundaries of Dove declared as follows: Include southeast quarter of Section 24 and the northeast quarter of Section 25, Township 17, Range 9 south and the south half of the north half of the southwest quarter of Section 19 and the northwest quarter of Section 30, Township 17, Range. 10.
W. H. Wood elected corporation Collector, and A. Stovin, Street Commissioner. Present officers of the town of Dover: President, John Taylor; C. R. Norton, S. M. Webb, R. Braden, A. H. Nichols, R. S. Dean; Treasurer, R. Braden; Clerk, J. Hoyt; Street Commissioner, H. E. Hensel. There was cast at the last election, 1883, 19 votes, the year before 21; year before that 31. Largest vote ever had, 1878. 64 votes.
February 7, 1857, a meeting of the citizens was called to consider the question of building the academy, which has so long been a conspicuous mark of the town. It was located on land donated by Charles C. Ingalls, Block 4, Ingalls' Addition. There were forty-one stockholders in the institution at first. It was then called the Dover Institute. The first Trustees were Samuel Mohler, Joseph H. Brigham, John Bellangee, M. W. Able and William C. Stacy. Abel, President; Brigham, Vice-President; Ballangee, Treasurer; Stacy, Secretary. Bulding cost $5,099.57. The report of the Board on its completion was made April 5, 1858. At the second election of Trustees, Rev. F. Bascom and A. Kellogg were chosen in place of Samuel Mohler and J. H. Brigham; D. F. Edwards, first Principal, commencing May 10, 1858. In the session of the Legislature of 1858-59 it was incorporated and called Dover Academy.
Mr. Edwards from ill-health, resigned in 1859 and started overland to California. He died on the way. Albert Ethridge was in charge from 1859 to 1861, when Rev. A. Ethridge, by contract, took charge of the school for five years. This contract was annulled in 1863 by mutual consent. From April 1, 1864 to 1867, D. E. Hurd had control. Mr. W. F. Yocum was then engaged one year; then George H. Wells a short time.
The surrounding county has so improved the schools in other localities that the academy was nearly abandoned until 1876 when at an expense of $2,500 a public hall, three stories, was added to the building. Prof. J. W. Cook was then put in charge of a school in the basement of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which was moved into the academy upon the completion of the new improvement. He and his assistant O. W. Carter, ran the institution two years. Rev. F. Reible kept two terms. In 1882 it was leased by the United Brethren Chruch and W. H. Mason opened a school and taught till 1884 when F. L. Kenoyer was put in charge.
Limerick was laid out in 1857, by George Limerick. A small place, generally one store and a post office. Mr. Limerick put up the first store and soon Levi Hansel and William Townsend blacksmith shops.
The first settler of Dover township was John L. Ament. He made a claim on section 13 in 1829. This farm was afterward owned by C. C. Weibel. Sylvester Brigham followed the same year and made a claim, then returned east, and did not permanently located in this township till 1830. In 1831 James Foristall came. George Hinsdale settled the same year on section 13, where J. Taylor afterward lived. James Garvin, Greenbury Hall, and D. Ellis came in 1833. The first blacksmith's shop was built by Abram Music on the J. T. Thomas farm. This was said to be the second shop built in the county. John Elliott, Marshall Mason, and James Wilson were early settlers on the west side of Bureau creek.
East Bureau creek runs angling through the township, entering on section 12, and passes out on section 31. Along this creek there is still much valuable timber, and the land on both sides of the stream is in a high state of cultivation and the farms are well improved, having good buildings and good fences. The inhabitants are alive to the present issues of the day.
Dover village is beautifully located on the east side of the township. As early as 1837 it was laid out by Eli Lapsley, and was called Livingston, but was afterwards changed to Dover. Isaac Delnow and Theodore Nichols built and started the first store. Before the Burlington Road was opened Dover had a large trade from the surrounding country, and even after that she held quite a trade. Mr. A. L. Steele for many years did a large profitable business but in 1870 the branch road from Mendota to Clinton was built, which cut off most of its northern trade, so that at the present time there is but a small trade left.
In February 1857, the citizens of Dover called a meeting to consider the feasibility of starting an academy, and after discussing the question thoroughly it was decided that the enterprise was a worthy one and that a building should be erected for that purpose. It was located on land donated by Charles C. Ingalls, on block 4, Ingalls; addition. This addition is just over the line in Berlin township. There were forty-one stockholders in the institution and it was first called Dover Institute. The first trustees wew Samuel Mohler, Joseph Brigham, John Bellanger, H. M. Abel and William Stacey. H. M. Able was made president, Joseph Brigham vice president, John Bellanger treasurer and William Stacey secretary. The building cost $5, 099.57.
The first principal was D. F. Edwards. He commenced his labors May 10, 1858. On account of ill health Mr. Edwards resigned in 1859 and died soon after on a trip to California. Rev. Albert Ethridge had charge of the institution from 1859 to 1861, when he contracted for the use of the building for five years. It then was entirely under the management of Mr. Ethridge. The institution was incorporated in 1859 and after that was called Dover Academy. Mr. Ethridge by agreement was released from his contract in 1863.
From April, 1864 to 1867 D. F. Herd was in charge of the school. He was followed by W. F. Yocum and George Wells for a few years. After this for nearly ten years there was no school, but in 1876 the building was repaired nd another story added at the cost of $2,500. This upper story was in one room and used for a public hall. Prof. J. W. Cook and his assistant opened the doors of the old academy for a new race in educational life. The school continued two years under their instruction and was noted as being a thorough and well managed institution, but Messrs Cook and Carter left, and the school struggled along for a short time, but finally the patronage was not sufficient to maintain it and it was closed.
The building now is under the auspices of the Congregational church, and is used as a deaconess' home. Dover Academy fullfilled its mission and all over Bureau county will be found men and women past middle life that will tell you of the profitable days spent in the old academy at Dover. Rev. Ethridge is one of the men of this county who has left his impress for the good upon all of whom he came in contact. Bureau county was bettered for having this school, and this school was particularly fortunate in having Rev. Ethridge for its principle.
Dover village was incorporated in 1873. The population of the township in 1900 was, including the village, 1076; the corporation containing 210. The history of the Congregational church will be found in the sketch of Rev. William Anderson. The following named men have served as supervisors:
Enoch Lumry, 1851-54
-- Taken From the Past and Present of Bureau County, Illinois. Chicago: Pioneer Publishing, 1906, Page 117-118 - Dover Township