This is not a directory of names, a gazetteer of places, a census reportof tables, but a simple narrative of Whiteside county as it was, and as itappears to the observer today.
The work lays no claim to completeness or infallibility; and if thereare errors in names, dates, places, or events, the author asks the charity ofthe critic, who, doubtless, could not do any better.
Be to her virtues very kind;
Be to her faults a little blind.
Whiteside is a wide field to traverse in a short time.To the editors of the Daily Gazette and of the Daily Standard ofSterling upon whose columns he has freely drawn and to the editors of theexcellent weeklies throughout the county who so generously extended thecourtesies of their sanctums, and to the good people in town and countrywho so kindly gave all desired information, the author returns a thousandthanks, acknowledges obligations that can never be forgotten.
The play is done; the curtain drops,
Slow falling to the prompter's bell;
A moment yet the actor stops.
And looks around, to say farewell!
Sterling, Illinois, June 1, 1908.
WILLIAM W. DAVIS, M. A.
INDIAN HISTORY IN AN OIL PORTRAIT.
I, the poor Indian whose untutored mind,
Sees God in clouds or hears him in the wind. - Pope.
In a discourse delivered in Providence, Dr. Swain said when a travelerwould speak of his experience in foreign lands, he must begin with thesea. So in a narrative of our western country, it is customary to begin withthe Mound Builders. Their artificial hillocks are found all over the Mississippi valley, in our own county, at Fulton, Como, Sterling, and theirorigin has given rise to much speculation. A theme for the poet. Bryantin his "Prairies" gives wings to his fancy as he saw them in an earlyvisit to his brothers in Princeton:
A race, that long has passed away,
Built them; a disciplined and populous race
Heaped with long toil, the earth, while yet the Greek
Was hewing the Pentelicus to forms
Of symmetry, and rearing on its rock
The glittering Parthenon.
But we must give up our fantastic theories. Robin Hood and WilliamTell are myths. One pretty childish legend after another disappears. Anarticle in the Handbook of American Indians, issued by the SmithsonianInstitution, 1907, sums up the researches of the ethnological authorities ina few sentences. "The articles found in the mounds, and the character of thevarious monuments indicate a stage of culture much the same as that of themore advanced tribes found inhabiting this region at the advent of thewhites. Moreover, European articles found in the mounds, and the statements by early chroniclers, as those of the De Soto's expedition, prove beyondquestion that some of these structures were erected by the Indians in post-Colunihian times."
AN HISTORIC OCCASION.
Every place has its memorable event: Boston its tea party. Paris thedestruction of the Bestile, Philadelphia the Declaration of Independence,Chicago its great fire, and in our own county, last but not least, the presentation, October 24, 1877, of a portrait of the Indian Prophet, by Hon. E. B.Washburne, to the people of Whiteside. It was painted by Healy fromsketches made by Catlin. Washburne was then in the fullness of his fame.After his long and honorable service in Congress, he was appointed by PresidentGrant as minister to France, and while in Paris during the Franco-PrussianWar, 1871, he sheltered under the Stars and Stripes at the American embassyhundreds of defenseless foreigners from the wrath of the Commune. Neverdid the old flag exercise a nobler humanity. It was a city of refuge. TheGerman emperor and people were profuse in their thanks. Who was GeorgeCatlin? A Pennsylvania artist who went to the far West in 1832, spendingeight years among the Indians, and painting nearly live hundred portraits ofthe chiefs and prominent members of various Tribes. Healy was a Bostonartist who spent most of his time in Paris, with occasional visits to America.In his six hundred portraits is nearly every celebrated man of his day fromLouis Philippe to Gen. Sherman. His Webster's Reply to Hayne hangs inFaneuil Hall, Boston. It seems Washburne found Catlin at Brussels, andsecured the Indian original for Healy'a brush.
The presentation took place at the Morrison fair grounds. After an introduction by Capt. John Whallon, supervisor from Lyndon, Mr. Washburnearose amid generous applause. After acknowledging his pleasure in meetinghis former constituents, he entered upon a careful discussion of the men andevents concerned in the Black Hawk war. Prophetstown was in the centerof hostile operations. The Indian name of the Prophet was Wa-bo-kies-sheik.He was a son of the chief of the Sac and Fox tribes, but two of his wives wereWinnebagoes. A splendid speciman of his race, tall, intelligent, clear-headed,he always exercised great influence over his people. He was the lieutenantand right arm of Black Hawk, and followed him to the bitter end.
THE NAME OF WHITESIDE.
Further in his address, Mr. Washburne alludes to the origin of ourcounty name. There was a Kentucky family of Whiteside, well known asIndian fighters, and the son of John, Samuel Whiteside, was appointed byGov. Reynolds commander of all the. Illinois troops in 1832 in the expeditionagainst Black Hawk. "My judgment is that the county was named afterGen. Samuel Whiteside, as he resided in the Galena country, was known tothe people, identified with their interests, and a leading figure in the BlackHawk war." As he closed his speech, he pulled the flag covering the picture,and as the portrait of The Prophet was displayed to the audience, the air wasrent with cheers.
PROF. C. C. BUELL'S ACCEPTANCE.
In replying to Mr. Washburne's closing remark, "Gentlemen of theBoard of Supervisors, citizens of Whiteside county, and Indies and gentlemen,I now have the pleasure of introducing to you the Prophet, "Prof. Buell, ofMontmorency arose: "Honored sir, it is made my pleasing duty on behalf ofthe county board, and of the people of Whiteside county, to accept this gift."Mr. Buell then complimented Mr. Washburne on the efficiency of his publiclife at home and on his distinction abroad, and concluded: "Accept, sir,the thanks of this people for this significant and valuable gift. As a workof art, as a memento of Catlin, tho painter and traveler, and of the distinguished artist, Healy, as the portrait of the great Winnebago chief, whosetribe once occupied this region, and whose principal village was but a fewmiles from the spot where we stand, it will deserve to be carefully preserved bythe people of this county. Whatever, sir, may be your future home, whatever responsibilities you may be called to bear, we tender to you assurances ofthe continued sympathy and confidence of the people of Whiteside county."At the conclusion of Mr. Buell's address, a banquet in Floral Hall wasfollowed by toasts and responses: Paris in 1870, E. B. Washburne; OurCountry, Wm. H. Allen, of Eric; Prophetstown, the Homo of the Prophet,by P. B. Reynolds of Prophetstown; Our Sister State of Iowa, by Hon. WaldoM. Potter of Clinton Herald; Common Schools, by Prof. M. R. Kelly of Morrison. A private banquet in the evening at the Revere House concluded aday of precious reminiscence for all who were so happy as to participatein the festivities.
BLACK HAWK AND KEOKUK.
Black it stood as Night,
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell.
And shook a dreadful dart.-Paradise Lost.
Among the Indian warriors, there are some names almost as celebratedas Hannibal, Caesar, and Alexander. Osceola of the Seminoles, Red Jacketof the Senecas, Pontine of the Ottawas, Tecumseh of the Shawnees, are familiarto every reader. They figure as prominently in the first half of the lastcentury as Jackson, Scott, or Harrison.
As Black Hawk and Keokuk were conspicuous lenders in the Black HawkWar, they deserve special consideration. They were types of opposite policies. Johnson drew a parallel between Pope and Dryden, and we maycontrast in a general way our two Indian chieftains. Keokuk was conciliatory. Black Hawk was defiant. Keokuk sought the friendship of thewhites. Black Hawk aimed to provoke their hostility. Keokuk knew thatIndian supremacy was hopeless and gracefully accepted the situation. BlackHawk saw the danger, but like an infuriated beast madly rushed to destruction. Keokuk was a considerate prophet. Black Hawk a desperate devotee.Keokuk was a member of the Fox clan, and born on Rock river about1780. His mother was said to have been half French, and this may accountfor his vivacity. He was a natural orator, and he soon arose to a controllinginfluence in his tribe. He was stout, graceful, commanding in appearance,fond of athletic sports, and so fond of display that on occasions of tribalceremony he always appeared on horseback whether his companions weremounted or not. So persuasive in argument that he often carried the voteof the tribe when every member before his speech had determined on thecontrary. But when the war finally burst forth against his protest, he withdrew from the scene of operations.
After the war Keokuk again come to the front. In the city of Washington in debate with the Sioux before the government officials, he established the chain of the Sauk and Foxes to the territory comprised in thepresent state of Iowa. His town during the Black Hawk war was on therapids near the mouth of Des Moines river. Here is the city of Keokuk,named in his honor. The treaty of 1832 gave him a reservation of forty milessquare on Iowa river to which he removed. In 1845 he moved to Kansas,and three years later was poisoned by a member of the Black Hawk band.Keokuk's life-long rival, Black Hawk, was also born on Rock river, at itsmouth, in 1767. A warrior from his youth, at seventeen he attacked anOsage camp, and returned with the scalp of a victim. In 1812 he foughtfor the British. He seemed to cherish a hereditary dislike to the Americans,and to the last resisted their occupation of the country. No wonder. It is acharming valley, like ancient Canaan to the Israelites, flowing with milkand honey. His last speech contained these pathetic words: "Rock river isa beautiful country. I like my towns and my corn fields, and the home ofmy people. I fought for it. It is now yours."
Various complications led to the Black Hawk war. By the treaty of1804 at St. Louis, the Sauk and Foxs' agreed to surrender all their landseast of the Mississippi, for the payment of one thousand dollars a year.This was repudiated by Black Hawk, who affirmed that the chiefs weredrunk when they signed the treaty. Meantime after the war of 1812, settlers began to pour into the old Sauk and Fox territory, and troubles soonarose. In 1823 Keokuk and his followers, bowing to the inevitable, movedinto Iowa, but Black Hawk remained. By the spring of 1831 so muchfriction had occurred that Gov. Reynolds of Illinois called out the militia,and on June 30, Black Hawk signed a treaty to abstain from further hostilitv and leave the country.
This was simply to gain time, for during the following winter he sentemissaries to excite various tribes to a general insurrection against the whites.When Gen. Atkinson, April 1, 1832, received orders to demand from the Saukand Foxes the members who had massacred some Menominee, he found thatBlack Hawk at the head of a band of two thousand, five hundred of them,warriors, had crossed the Mississippi into Illinois. The militia were calledout and the settlers warned. The conflict was on. Black Hawk passed upRock river, undisciplined militia in pursuit, and Stillman's brigade metwith a disastrous defeat. On June 24 he was repulsed in an attack onApple river fort, and the following day he defeated Major Dement's battalion with heavy loss to himself.
But the end was near. On July 21, while trying to cross to the west sideof Wisconsin river, he was overtaken by volunteers under Gen. Henry, anddefeated with a loss of sixty-eight killed and more wounded. Retreatingwith the remainder of his force to the mouth of Bad Ax river, and about tocross the Mississippi, the steamer Warrior shelled his camp. The followingday, August 3, the pursuing troops under Atkinson appeared, and after adesperate struggle, killed or drove into the river one hundred and fifty ofthe band, and captured forty. Thus- who reached the other side were cutoff by the Sioux. Black Hawk escaped, but was followed and captured bysome Winnebago. Thus closed the chapter of the only race tragedy on ourborders.
As Black Hawk's courageous operations had excited general attentionthroughout the United States, he was taken with some of his warriors on atour in the east, visiting the principal cities with the two-fold object ofgratifying popular curiosity, and also impressing the savage mind with thepower of the nation. In 1837 he accompanied Keokuk on a second trip. Hedied in 1838 near Iowaville. His obsequies were spectacular. His body wasdressed in a uniform presented by Jackson, accompanied by a sword fromthe hero, a cane given by Henry Clay, and medals from Jackson. Adams,and Boston. But one night everything was stolen, and the bones made intoa skeleton found their way to the Burlington Historical Society, where theywere destroyed in 1856 with the burning of the building.
In connection with the Black Hawk War, it is interesting to recall thenames of several men who were summoned to our valley, and who afterwards won undying fame. Jefferson Davis was a graduate of West Pointin 1828. and a staff officer in the infantry. Lincoln volunteered in a Sangamon county company, and remained in the service until mustered out byLieut. Robert Anderson of Fort Sumter fame. Zachary Taylor, the heroof the Mexican War subsequently, was colonel of the first infantry, and withAtkinson's army moved up the Rock river valley after Black Hawk. Gen.Winfield Scott with troops from the east had established his headquartersat Rock Island.
ORGANIZATION OF THE STATE AND COUNTY.
By the rivers gently flowing,
O'er thy prairies verdant growing.
Comes an echo on the breeze,
Rustling thro' the leafy trees.
And its mellow tones are these.
Our readers, young and old, who are not familiar with the early history of Illinois will be surprised to learn that its boundaries were not alwaysthe same. As we know, the Mississippi valley was claimed by the Frenchthrough the right of discovery by La Salle and the Jesuit explorers, andthen by the decisive defeat of Montcalm by Wolfe at Quebec in 1759, passedinto possession of the English. This was the condition at the opening ofthe Revolution in 1775. The Indians were induced by the British to takeup the tomahawk against the American settlers, and were continually on thewar-path.
George Rogers Clark, a frontier-man from Virginia, saw the situationand determined to relieve it. He laid his scheme before the governor andcouncil of Virginia, who approved it, and gave him authority to raise troops.He drilled his men at Louisville, and on June 24, 1778, he set sail, passedsafely over the rapids, landed at deserted Fort Massac on the Ohio river,started across the country, and after a six days' march, surprised Kaskaskia.then the center of operations, and look quiet possession. Tho other Frenchvillages surrendered. Thus, as is said, the Illinois country was capturedwithout the firing of a gun or the loss of a man.
Clark was a hero, gave his best years to this frontier warfare againstsavage foes, and his sacrifices should be gratefully remembered. AnotherDaniel Boone. His last days, sad to relate, were spent in poverty in a hutnear Louisville until his sister took him to her home. A little headstone,marked, G. R. C, is all that marks the grave of a soldier who secured forhis country' the rich domain north of the Ohio. When Virginia sent asword to the old man, he exclaimed, "When Virginia needed a sword, I gaveher one. Now she sends me a toy when I want bread." He thrust thesword into the ground, and broke it with his crutch. His brother, William,became world-famous as the military director of Lewis and Clark's expedition appointed by Jefferson in 1804 to explore the Rocky mountain region.As the conquest of the country was made by Clark with Virginia troops,that state felt the responsibility of taking care of the settlers, and a bill forthat purpose was passed by the assembly in December, 1778, and signed byGovernor Patrick Henry. It was a long document, affirming in substancethat as several British posts in the country adjacent to the Mississippi riverhave been reduced by a successful expedition carried on by the Virginiamilitia, Be it enacted by the General Assembly that all citizens of this commonwealth who are already settled or shall hereafter settle on the westernside of Ohio aforesaid, shall be included in a distinct county, which shallbe called Illinois county.
By the way, this governor whose name was affixed to the act was noother than the immortal Patrick Henry, the fiery orator of times precedingthe Revolutionary war and whose speeches were so long the favorite declamations of ambitious schoolboys. We all remember that stirring passage: "Caesarhad his Brutus, Charles I his Cromwell, and George III"- here crics oftreason, treason! from timid loyalists, but the orator kept his bend, "andGeorge III may profit by their example."
Persons who would like to learn more of the proceedings in these timesmay find much valuable information in volume two of Illinois HistoricalCollections, edited by Clarence Walworth Alvord, of University of Illinois,who has examined the Cahokia Records from 1778 to 1790.
In 1779, Capt. John Todd was appointed commandant of the newcounty of Illinois, and organized a government, but it soon went to pieces,and in 1784 Virginia surrendered her claim to the United States. In 1787Congress passed what is known as the
This provided for a territorial form of government for the whole countrynorth and west of the Ohio, but provided, also, that it should ultimately beformed into states on an equal fooling with the original thirteen. Thewestern, southern, and eastern boundaries of Illinois were as they now are,but it was loft optional with Congress either to give the stale a northwardextension lo the Canadian frontier, or to form another state north of a linedrawn through the southerly bend of Lake Michigan.
Under this Northwest Ordinance, government was set up by GovernorSt. Clair at Marietta, Ohio, named by the way after the unfortunate MarieAntionette, but not until 1790 was the Illinois country organized as St.Clair county, modestly named after himself. The county seal was at Cahokia. In 1800 the Northwest Territory was divided into two districts. Inone was Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, with parts of Michigan and Minnesota,all forming the new Indiana territory under Governor William HenryHarrison, Vincennes, Indiana, another old town, was the capital. But onecounty was found to be too much for Illinois, and in 1795. Randolph countywas formed from the southern portion of St. Clair, with Kaskaskia as itscapital.
In 1809 another change. By act of Congress, Feb. 3, Indiana Territorywas divided, and the western portion became the Territory of Illinois. NinianEdwards, who had been chief justice of court of appeals in Kentucky, wasappointed governor by President Madison.
LAWS OF THE EARLY TERRITORY.
Some of the penalties were pretty hard on various offenders. As Prof.Alvord remarks, this early code in operation from 1800 to 1811 has all theearmarks of cruelty characteristic of England and her colonies during theseventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Stocks, the pillory, and the whippingpost were set up in every county.
Thus, for obstructing the authority of a magistrate, the offender shallbe fined not more than $300. and receive not to exceed thirty-nine lashes.For larceny, the convicted party, besides restoring double the value of thething stolen, is required to pay a fine of the same amount, or be whippednot exceeding thirty-nine lashes. Those whippings were dreadful. Dr. Samuel Willard in his Personal Reminiscences witnessed one of these savageperformances on the public square of Carrollton as late as 1832. He describesit in detail. Near the courthouse was set a strong post, ten feet high, witha cross at the top. The man to be punished for the theft of a horse, wasstripped naked to the hips, his hands tied, and the rope carried to the crosspiece, and drawn as tight as could be without taking his feet from theground. Then the sheriff took the rawhide. What was that? A strip ofsoft wet cowskin twisted and dried, hard and rough but flexible, three quartersof a yard long. The sheriff began by laying strokes on the culprit's back nearthe neck, and going down the side. After fifteen strokes were counted aloud,someone gave the poor wretch a tumbler of whisky. Then the other sideof the back received the same treatment. Every stroke drew a blood-redblister. The man's shirt was replaced, and he was led back to jail.Gambling was strictly opposed by the Virginia code. Here is oneclause: Any person, who shall suffer any of the games played at tablescommonly called A. K. C. or E. 0. or faro bank, or any other gaming tableor bank of like kind, to be played in his or her house, shall for every suchoffense forfeit and pay the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars, to berecovered in any court of record by any person who will sue for the same.Dueling was a capital offense. No mercy for the man with a hairtrigger. The murder of Hamilton by Burr in 1804 seems to have set theseal of national condemnation on the barbarous practice. So there was thisact in the Virginia code; That any person who shall hereafter wilfully andmaliciously, light a duel or single combat with any engine, instrument, orweapon, and in so doing shall kill his antagonist, or inflict such injuriesthat the person shall die thereof within three months thereafter, such offender,his aiders, abettor, and counsellors being thereof duly convicted, shall beguilty of murder, and suffer death by being hanged by the neck, any lawor usage of this territory In the contrary notwithstanding.
ILLINOIS A STATE.
After nine years as a distinct territory, the next and last political changecame with the act of Congress, April 15, 1818, "to enable the people ofIllinois territory to form a constitution and state government, and for theadmission of such states into the Union on an equal footing with theoriginal states.
This act provided for the election of thirty-three delegates to a convention to be held at Kaskaskia on the first Monday of the following August.All white male persons over twenty-one, and who had resided in the territory six months prior to election, could vote. There were fifteen countiesin the territory. Two delegates were apportioned to each of the countiesof Bond, Monroe, Randolph, Jackson, Johnson, Pope, White, Edwards. Crawford, Union, Washington, and Franklin, while Madison, St. Clair and Gallatin had each three representatives. In the bill for statehood as passedwas an amendment, apparently trifling, but of critical and lasting value tothe prosperity of Illinois.
By the Ordinance of 1787, there were to be not less than three, normore than five states in the territory northwest of the Ohio river. Congressreserved the power, if deemed expedient, to form one or two slates in thatpart of the territory lying north of an east and west line drawn throughthe southerly bend of Lake Michigan. That line, as Ford says in his history,was generally supposed to be the north boundary of Illinois. NathanielPope, our delegate in Congress, seeing that Chicago was north of that line,and would be excluded by it from the state, and that the contemplatedIllinois and Michigan canal to connect the lake.- with the Mississippi, wouldbe partly without the state, came to the conclusion that it was competent forCongress to extend the boundaries (if the new state as far north as theypleased. This amendment was to extend the northern boundary of thenew state to the parallel of Forty-two degrees thirty minutes north latitude.Few persona realize what we owe to Pope's amendment. It simply securedfor Illinois instead of Wisconsin, fourteen of our splendid northern counties,including the city of Chicago. A small empire. Everlasting honor toNathaniel Pope, whose far-seeing sagacity gave forever to Illinois one of therichest jewels in her crown.
Shadrach Bond was elected first governor, and began his term of fouryears in October, 1818. He was a native of Maryland, a farmer and earlysettler, and what is remarkable, suggests Ford, in his first message made arecommendation in favor of the Illinois and Michigan canal. NinianEdwards and Jesse B. Thorns, were elected the first senators. The first legislature provided for the removal of the seal of government from Kaskaskia,the seat of power for one hundred and fifty years, to Vandalia, a spot selectedby the commissioner. The state archives, a small wagon load, were accordingly removed by Sidney Breese, then clerk to the secretary of stale, fortwenty-five dollars.
But other towns were after the capital, Jacksonville, Peoria, Alton, andthere was a strenuous canvass. The question was settled, however, Feb. 28,1837, when the two houses met in joint session, and on the fourth ballot,Springfield was chosen, receiving seventy-three votes, a majority over allcompetitors. The old capital building at Vandalia was several times remodeled, and is still standing, its small cupola visible through the trees to thetraveler on the Illinois Central. The corner stone of the new building atSpringfield was laid July 4, 1837 and the brilliant E. D. Baker, afterwardssenator from Oregon, who fell in the civil war, was orator of the occasion.
During the early years of statehood, Illinois was the frontier state ofthe Northwest, Iowa not being organized until 1846, and Wisconsin notuntil 1848. In 1818 the northern part of the state was almost wholly unoccupied by white settlers, and even in the southern half the settlements wereseparated by long stretches of wilderness. In 1818 the whole population wasabout forty-five thousand. Some of these were descendants of the old Frenchsettlers, and lived in the style of peasants in old France hundreds of yearsago. We quote a paragraph from Ford to show the simple manners of theseprimitive communities.
The farmer raised his own provisions, tea and coffee being rarely usedexcept on special occasions. The farmer's sheep furnished wool for winterclothing, and he raised cotton and flax for summer attire. His wife anddaughters spun and made it into garments. The fur of the raccoon made acap. The skins of deer or cattle tanned or dressed by himself made shoes ormoccasins. A log cabin without glass, nails or hinges, was considered a comfortable home. Every farmer made his own plows and harness, as well asfurniture for the house in the shape of chairs, tables and bedsteads, dirtswere made without tires, used without tar and creaked with a vengeance.During the thirty years from 1820 to 1850 the progress was remarkable.The building of the Erie canal in New York, the improvement of navigation on the lakes and rivers, the removal of the Indians, gave an impetus toemigration. Instead of the easy plodders from Kentucky and the borderstates, came a stream of resolute men and women from Pennsylvania. New York, and New England From 55.000 in 1820, Illinois increased to apopulation of 850,000 in 1850. Chicago was beginning its marvelous development. From a fort and village in 1833, in 1850 it had a population of30,000, and in 1853 had increased to 60,000.
ORGANIZATION OF WHITESIDE.
For many of the facts given under that head we are indebted to thecareful researches of Charles Bent and Robert L. Wilson. Previous to 1825the whole northern part of the state extending for a considerable distancesouth of Peoria, was included in the county of Tazewell, but on Jan. 13, 1825,an act was passed setting off Peoria county, which extended south of thecity of Peoria, then known as Fort Clark, and north to the northern boundaryof the stale. This territory included a large number of the present countiesof northwestern Illinois, among them Whiteside. On Feb. 17. 1827, JoDaviess county was formed, and included within its boundaries the territoryconstituting the present county of Whiteside, where it remained until Jan.16, 1836, with the exception of that portion of the territory embraced in thepresent townships of Portland and Prophetstown, which had been set off toHenry county by the act organizing that county in 1836. That part of theact of Jan. 16, 1830 fixing the present boundaries of Whiteside is as follows:
Section 6. All that tract of country within the following boundary,commencing at the southeast corner of township numbered nineteen, northof seven, range east of the fourth principal meridian: thence west with thesaid township line to Rock river; thence down along the middle of Rockriver to tho middle of the Meredosia with the line of Rock Island county tothe Mississippi river; thence along the main channel of the Mississippi riverto the point where the north line of township twenty-two intersects the same;thence east with said last mentioned township line to the southeast cornerof township twenty-three; thence south with the line between ranges sevenand eight to the point of beginning, shall constitute a county to be calledWhiteside.
Sec. 16. The county of Whiteside shall continue to form a part ofthe county of Jo Daviess until it shall be organized according to this act, andbe attached to said county in all general elections, until otherwise providedby law, and that after the organization of Ogle county, the county of Whiteside shall be attached to said county of Ogle for all judicial and countypurposes, until it shall be organized.
So much in a general way for the ingenious, geographical and politicalarrangements devised by the early Solons for the welfare of the county. Nestcame the subdivisions.
An election was held in 1840 in the different precincts for the purposeof allowing the electors to vote for or against township organization. Therewas a vote in favor, but on account of some illegality, another election washeld on Nov. 4, 1851, which resulted in a majority for the measure of 232in a total vote of 543. L. D. Crandall, L. H. Woodworth. and William Pollock were appointed commissioners to divide the county into townships, andto fix names and boundaries, under the township organization law adoptedfit the election of Nov. 4, 1851. On Feb. 24, 1852, the commissioners reportedthe following townships: Fulton, Ustick, Clyde, Genesee, Jordan, Sterling,Montmorency, Coloma, Hahnaman, Hume, Como, Hopkins, Tampico. Volney, Prophetstown, Portland, Erie, Fenton, Lyndon, Mt. Pleasant, UnionGrove, Garden Plain, Albany, Newton. These made twenty-four, but asComo was merged in Hopkins, and Volney in Prophetstown, the numberbecame as at present, twenty-two.
The first town meeting under the township organization law was heldon the first Tuesday of April, 1852 in Albany, Coloma, Clyde, Erie, Fenton,Fulton, Garden Plain, Genesee, Hopkins, Jordan, Lyndon, Newton, Mt.Pleasant, Prophetstown. Portland, Sterling, Union Grove, Ustick. Electionswere not held in Montmorency, Hahnaman, Hume, and Tampico. as theywere not fully organized. The first annual meeting of the Board was heldat Sterling, Sept. 13, 1852, and W. S. Barnes was elected chairman.
DIFFICULTIES OF EARLY TRAVEL.
Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
Stand dressed in living green,
So to the Jews old Canaan stood,
While Jordan rolled between.-Watta.
First catch your rabbit, was the standing advice in the cook books beforedirections were given for cooking the quadruped. So the men of the eastconsidering removal to Illinois had before them the serious proposition ofgetting there. Around them were their native hills, n thousand miles tothe west the virgin prairies, but lying between a region of difficult travellike unexplored Ethiopia in the ancient geographies.
Two general routes were open to the eastern emigrant: From New England by the Erie canal and lakes to Chicago; from Pennsylvania by canaland the rivers. The points inland had, of course, to be reached by wagon.A few illustrations may give a good idea of the Jericho road our pioneershad to traverse.
In the spring of 1831, John H. Bryant, brother of the poet, set out forIllinois from Cummington, Mass. At Albany he took a boat on the Eriecanal, and reached Buffalo in seven days, a trip now made in almost as manyhours. The lake at Buffalo being full of ice, he was obliged to hire a teamto Dunkirk. Then by wagon to Warren on the Alleghany river in Pennsylvania. He found quarters with an English family who were makingthe voyage in a craft called an ark down tho stream to Pittsburg. Thisoccupied seven days. From this city by steamboat to St. Louis, and thenceup tho Illinois river to Naples. He was now within twenty-two miles of hisdestination, Jacksonville, and completed the journey on foot. The wholetrip occupied five weeks, and cost $60. Now you can make it in a Pullmancar in thirty-six hours. The next year he and brother Cyrus rode to Princeton, in Bureau county, on horseback.
Samuel Willard in his Reminiscences in Illinois from 1830 to 1850.says his father went from Boston to Carrollton, Greene county, in March andApril, 1831, taking twenty-seven days to reach Bluffdale. He with wife andthree sons, traveled by stage and steamer till they reached Pittsburg, andthen by boat on the Ohio, Mississippi, and Illinois. A canoe up a "sloo"brought them to the end of water travel, with a walk of two miles to thehouse of a friend. Household goods went from Boston to New Orleans, andwere brought north by boat, arriving months afterward.
The father and mother of Henry Holbrook traveled from Steuben county,New York, in 1838, in a buggy drawn by one horse, while the family andgood- were conveyed by two. At Erie, Pa., a large box was shipped on asailing vessel. After a tedious trip of five weeks, suffering severely fromexposure, they arrived at Genesee Grove in December. Edward Richardsonwas in company, traveling the whole distance on foot. The vessel waswrecked, but a part of the goods were received a year later.
Col. Ebenezer Seely, one of Portland's strenuous pioneers, had his eventful experience in early transportation. With his own family, and those ofJohn Reed and Henry Brewer, he floated down the Alleghany and Ohiorivers to Louisville, where he took a steamer for St. Louis, and thence toRock Island, arriving June 4, 1835. After much effort he secured a teamto take his family to Portland, and a ferry boat to bring his goods from.Rock island.
Sometimes the trip from the East was made on horseback by men whowished like Joshua to spy out the land, and make a leisurely survey of theconditions. In this way, it is said, the father of Hugh Wallace rodefrom Pennsylvania, and selected the land for Hugh, Elijah and Hamilton,who afterwards occupied it.
Nathaniel G. Reynolds, Prophetstown, came from Buffalo to Detroit bywater, thence to Chicago by team. From Chicago to Rock river only anIndian trail, and for forty-four miles before reaching Prophetstown, not ahouse in sight. This was in 1835.
As there were no bridges across the smaller streams, it was often necessary to swim the horses. This was especially dangerous in time of highwater, when oven creeks became raging torrents. Peter Cartwright, thecelebrated Methodist preacher, who had half of Illinois for his circuit, wasoften obliged in meeting his appointments, to swim the flood, and dry hisclothes on the other side.
Another tremendous bugbear was the sloughs or in western dialect,"sloos." They were, in some respects, more troublesome than the streams.These could be forded or swam, if the current was not too swift. But theslough was sometimes an impassable barrier. If a team got stuck in themorass, nothing could be done unless more power could be secured. Themire was deep, tough, sticky. So teams traveled in company, and by doubling up, the wagons could be jerked through the swamp. These sloughsoccurred in the hollows of the prairies, and travelers who rattle along todayover our graveled roads have no idea of the profanity that rang from thesetreacherous bottoms.
James Talbot, who settled in Jordan in 1836, in coming to the west,sailed down a small stream in a flat-boat to Pittsburg, where he took a steamerdown tho Ohio and then up the Mississippi and Illinois river to Peoria.He remained there until his removal to Jordan, and made the overlandtrip in an ox-wagon drawn by three yoke of cattle. Ten to fifteen miles aday were the allowance for an ox-team. One mode of conveyance was a yokeof oxen at the wheel, and a horse in the lead driven by a whip. DavidHazard, who came to Lyndon in 1837, brought his family and goods fromPennsylvania, nine hundred miles, in twenty-eight days, all the way by team.Even as late as 1851, travel in Illinois was no luxury. With his father,the writer made the trip from Lancaster. Pa. By rail to Johnstown, andthen one hundred miles by canal to Pittsburg. Down the Ohio, stopping atCincinnati and Louisville, to St. Louis, up the Illinois to Naples, by railto Springfield. On our return to the east, by boat up the Illinois to Peru,thence by stage to Dixon and Sterling, and after a short visit, continuing ourjourney by stage to Aurora, where we again struck rail for Chicago. Thesestages were simply two horse wagons with canvas covers and curtains, andhard seats that made you sore at the end of the ride.
Railroads were scarce in 1851. The Illinois Central was not made, andhere and there only a local line. The T-roil was not in general use and theroad bed was not solid. Engineering was in its infancy. Dr. Willard givesa description of their construction. On the ties were laid long wooden beamsor stringers, and fastened on top of these bars of wrought iron, an inch thickand three inches wide. These strap rails were spiked fast, the heads of thespikes even with the rails to avoid a jar to the wheels. When an end of astrap rail got loose, and stuck up, it was called a "snake-head." If it piercedthe car floor, at it sometimes did, serious accidents resulted. Engineers carried hammers to nail down unruly snake-heads that threatened danger.
Another comfort very much missed by the early settlers was the absenceof religious service. Many had come from the staid communities of the eastwhere churches and Sunday schools were regular features from childhood.But the sound of the church-going bell.
These valleys and rocks never heard.
They did the best in their power to supply the need. Sunday schools andservices were held in homes, and after schoolhouses were erected, ministerswere always welcome to preach. The late Barton Cartwright of Oregon hada long circuit extending from Rockford to Rock Island, which he regularlytraversed, and many of his appointments were in the country schoolhouses.
The ride of Sol Seely, son of old Col. Seely. was long a subject of thrilling narrative. After the election in 1836 when Van Buren became president,although only about twenty votes were cast in Portland township, it wasnecessary to send the returns to Galena, the headquarters, as Whiteside thenformed part of Jo Daviess county. Sol was mounted on an Indian pony,given the precious document to deliver to John Dixon, at Dixon's Ferry, where the stage driver for Galena would take charge. Between Prophetstownand Dixon, only twenty-eight miles, but nothing but an Indian trail. Onreaching a stream west of Dixon, swollen to the banks, although the weatherwas cold and the water icy. Sol dashed into the current, and swam the ponyacross. Arriving at the Dixon house, his frozen clothes were dried, andhimself put in proper trim by good Mother Dixon for his return next morning. Sol spent his later years in Sterling, where his eating house was apopular resort. He was a firm believer in Spiritualism. Meeting him oncesoon after the Buffalo assassination, he remarked with the utmost gravity,"Well, I saw McKinley this morning."
HARDSHIPS IN EARLY DAYS.
Shall we be carried to the skies,
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed thro' bloody seas? - Isaac Watts.
After arriving in the earthly Canaan, the end of the tedious journey,the next question was about a place to live. Sod houses as in Kansas werenever attempted. Generally a neighbor offered room until a shelter couldbe thrown up, but otherwise and sorts of shifts were employed. For instance,Asa Crook, who came to Prophetstown in 1834, lived in his wagon for threeweeks, and then made a lodge, covering it with hickory bark, in which helived all summer.
But the primitive style of house was the genuine log cabin. WilliamDudleys first cabin in Lyndon was only twelve feet square, and yet waslarge enough for his family of four and a boarder. No drawing rooms orfancy apartments in those days. Puncheons hewn with n broad ax furnishedthe floors. The spaces between the logs were plastered if lime was to be had.The roofs were not water tight as the shingles were coarse and not jointed.Many amusing incidents of storms that bent through the flimsy canopy. D.F. Millikan's cabin in Lyndon was covered with bark, basins were set tocatch the water at night, and umbrellas were held to protect the sleepersfrom drenching showers. Mrs. Mary Wallace, in Sterling relates the sameunwilling baptism. Sometimes only an earthen floor in the cabin, and Mrs.Wallace, who was full of these incidents, tells of the baby rolling from thebed one night, and of the search in the darkness to find him. But theseearly cabins were roomy, elastic, and no sudden influx of company provedtoo great for their accommodation. As in the omnibus, always room forone more. Latch string always out.
Log erected by the settlers in the fall of 1885 dedicated September 2 of that year.
It is still standing at the fairgrounds in Morrison.
For two years the writer enjoyed the shelter of a log cabin, and the memory is delightful. It was a novel transition from tho boyhood comfort ofa substantial two-story brick in old Lancaster. This was the fireside of CharlesDiller and his good wife, Ann, in Jordan, near Wilson's mill. In the regularfamily there were father and mother, five children, a girl, two boarders,and myself. A shed for the stove answered for kitchen and dining room.Only one room in the cabin proper, which at night by a curtain swung onwire was turned into two chambers, and a low cot was drawn from beneaththe high bed where it stood during the day.
But the low loft to which we climbed by a narrow stairs was the mainaccommodation for the boys and boarders. Three double beds were squeezedtogether. One window only, and the ventilation was not scientific, but weslept and survived. When it stormed winter or summer, your pillow boretestimony to rain or snow. And the table! If the old settlers had no rugsor lace curtains, they certainly reveled in the good things of the earth.Plenty of their own excellent ham or beef, fresh vegetables, the richest ofcream, pies and puddings, banquets and appetites that Icings could not command. This was in 1856, and the reign of venison was over. The deer haddeparted.
These old cabins have naturally disappeared before the changes of timeand the ravages of the elements. But this Diller cabin remains. The late W.A. Sanborn, who bought the beautiful farm from the heirs, and establishedan extensive range for the rearing of blooded horses, had the little structureremoved to one side, and it is now in fair preservation. In some cases withinour knowledge, after modern dwellings were erected on another side, theold cabins were allowed to stand, and used for cribs, corn-cobs, or otherpurposes. The cabins of Major Wallace and Joel Harvey at Empire inHopkins stood till they tumbled down.
On many county fair grounds the old cabin has become of late yearsa prominent ornament. It is either a real specimen removed from its earlysituation and set up, or an ingenious imitation constructed of modern logs.At any rate, the conception is happy. What a world of suggestion, ofreminiscence, the primitive structure awakens! It is a pleasing landmarkof social progress. We think of Lincoln and Garfield, of Daniel Webster'searly surroundings. All honor to the log homestead!
While substantial food was plentiful in the form of meat, game, andvegetables, the fruit to which our fathers were accustomed in the east, wassorely missed. No peaches or apples until nurseries were started. Wild plumsand crab-apples in the timber, and these were economized to the fullest extentin sauce and pies. Coffee and tea were for company, and wheat or rye didfor common use. When mills were distant, wheat and corn had to be groundin band mills. Buckwheat was prepared in this way for cakes. Tomatoeswere at first considered an ornament, and formed no part of table luxury.One funny thing. Dandelions were missed, and someone sent to the eastfor seed.
One of the sorest wants was the grist mill. The settler had the wheat andcorn, but it had to be ground. In 1835 grists were taken to Morgan county,one hundred and fifty miles south. Wilson's mill in Jordan, built in 1838,was the only mill in the county, and people for forty miles came with theirgrists. It was a log mill, but made good flour. For clothing, too, variousexpedients were employed. Hides of deer dried for emits, buckskin forbreeches, raccoon skin for caps, moccasins for shoes. Wild bees furnishedhoney, and skillful hunters could shoot enough game to lay in a supply ofmeat for winter.
Stoves were few and far between. Chicago was for awhile the nearestpoint for general supplies, and the trip front Whiteside consumed twelvedays. Prices, however, were so low, and groceries so high, that a farmer hadnothing left on his return, but his limited purchases. He could not haulmore than fifty bushels of wheat, which at twenty-five or fifty cents wouldpurchase only the barest household needs. Small stores in time graduallysprang up at Como, Sterling, and other towns to furnish staple articles.Ash hoppers and appliances for soap were soon found to be necessary, andthe late Mrs. Mary Wallace of Sterling, to her old age look much satisfactionin making the family soap, both hard and soft.
It was a fortunate thing that the people were blessed with good health,for doctors were only to be found in the cities. The country was too thinlysettled to afford profitable living to an established physician. Every familywas supposed to have a medicine chest or shelf of common remedies, andin almost every community there was some experienced mother who in casesof ordinary disease could administer the proper remedy. Such a nurse wasMrs. Wallace or Mrs. Kilgour, who were often summoned to the bedside ofsuffering. For ague, quinine was the ready relief, and for various ailments,calomel or blue pill. Drug stores are a modern luxury.
When the cholera appeared in various portions of Illinois in 1851 orlater, the importance of skilled medical treatment was keenly fell. Ofcourse, the epidemic is difficult to overcome even today. Then people werehelpless under the scourge, and soon succumbed to the attack. In Carrollton, central Illinois, according to Dr. Willard. stores were closed, dead buriedin their bed clothes, and all fled who could get away. North of Sterling onthe farm now owned by G. F. Shuler, several fatal cases occurred, and Dr.Hamilton Wallace, brother of Hugh, who was in attendance, was himselfa victim.
FIRST MEETING OF OLD SETTLERS.
Perhaps Sterling never saw a more thoroughly social occasion than Feb. 22, 1858, when the early settlers had their first formal reunion. The affair had been duly announced, and the veterans came from all parts of the county. They came by cars, and they came by wagon. The delegation from Jordan, chiefly of the Coe family, arrived in a large sleigh, with canvas cover, camp kettles, and other paraphernalia of the emigrant, drawn by six large horses, geared with old Pennsylvania harness, with saddle and driver on the nigh wheel horse. The meeting was held in Wallace Hall, Nelson Mason as president, and Col. R. L. Wilson, secretary. There was great enthusiasm, and hilarity ruled the hour. The following old settlers, many with wives and families, reported, giving the date of their location in the county:
Sterling: Hezekiah Brink, 1834; Nathan Hicks, L D. Crandall, 1835; Edward Bush, Van J. Adams, Luther Bush, Nelson Mason, M. R. Adams, PI. Bush, 1836; Hugh Wallace, W. M. Kilgour, Noah Merrill, George W. Woodburn, C. H. Crook, E. L. Worthington, H. Tuttle, Thos. Mathews, E. J. Kilgour, W. H. Whipple, 1837 ; C. C. Judd, Hiram Platt, R. C. Andrews, J. Pettigrew, J. W. Shannon, J. M. Whipple, Andrew Bush, C. M. Worthington, George H. Wells, L. J. Whipple, D. 0. Coe, Wyatt Cantrell, M. M. Warner, L. B. Wetherbee, C. A. Wetherbee, E. C. Wetherbee, 1838 ; A. McMoore, Edwin Judd, M. C. Stull, Jesse Penrose, F. Sampson, J. A. Gilbert, 1839; R. L. Wilson, John Dippell, C. P. Emmons, 1840.
Jordan: 1835, James Talbott, 0. Talbott, J. W. Talbott, S. M. Coe; 1836, M. M. Hubbard, F. W. Coe; 1837, J. W. Thompson, L. G. Schenck, D. F. Coe, H. A. Coe; 1838, M. L. Coe, J. F. Coe; 1839, L. S. Pennington, Jabez Gilbert.
Hopkins: 1837, W. F. Hopkins; 1838, Joel Harvey, S. C. Harvey, O. A. Fanning; 1839, N. A. Sturtevant, E. C. Whitmore, George Sturtevant, A. C. Merrill, W. S. Wilkinson, A. S. Sampson.
Coloma: 1839, Frank Gushing, John Enderton, L. H. Woodworth, Sugar Grove, 1838, M. S. Coe.
Union Grove: 1836, Henry Boyer, W. F. Boyer; 1837, J. C. Young,
D. B. Young, J. P. Garlick; 1838, A. N. Young.
Mt. Pleasant: 1835, William Knox; 1836, H. Heaton; 1837, G. Heaton; 1838, A. C. Jackson; 1839, C. P. Emery.
Lyndon: 1835, 0. Woodruff; 1837, A. Hubbard, R. G. Clendenin; 1838, S. Hubbard; 1839, J. Ware, J. D. Coyne.
Prophesttown : 1834, J. W. Stakes; 1835, N. G. Reynolds, J. C. Southern; 1836, E. S. Gage; 1837, T. J. Walker, A. J. Warner, E. B. Clark, L. Walls; 1838. W. S. Reynolds, R. Crook, W. T. Minchen, A. S. Dickinson, E. H. Nichols, E. B. Warner, J. W. Beeman, H. C. Smith, G. C. Reynolds, S. Johnson; 1839, A. J. Tuller,O. W. Gage, J. W. Gage, W. E. Smith.
Hume: 1839, Charles Wright, H. Cleveland.
Portland: 1835, S. Fuller P. B. Besse; 1836, E. Seely, L. M. Seely, A. J. Seely, M. V. Seely, R. M Besse; 1837, R. Woodside.
Albany: 1838, B. S. Quick; 1839, W. S. Barnes, W. A. Gilbert.
Clyde: 1838, S. Currie.
Erie : 1835, S. D. Carr.
Garden Plain: 1839, Jas. A. Sweet.
BANQUET AND TOASTS
Col. Seely called the meeting to order, and after an hour of handshaking and reminiscence, a procession was formed and marched to the dining room of the Wallace House. The tables seated four hundred. Rev. E. Erskine of the Presbyterian church asked a blessing. After ample justice to a bountiful supper prepared by Mr. and Mrs. McCune, who for years managed that well known hostelry, the festive company repaired to the hall which was brilliantly illuminated for the exercises. We shall condense the responses of the various speakers as they were reported at the time in the Sterling Gazette.
County of Whiteside: Col. E. Seely of Portland. He came in 1835. At the first county election in that year about thirty votes were cast. No roads but the trails of Indians, and here and there a log cabin. Much hardship, but the people were hospitable.
Union Grove: Henry Boyer. He made the claim where he now lives in 1836. The population then comprised two families, now over a thousand people.
Lyndon: R. G. Clendenin. This town was noted for the steady habits of the people and their love of education and good morals.
Garden Plain: James A. Sweet. There were five hundred people, four schools with an average attendance of forty scholars each.
Jordan: L. S. Pennington. In 1835 Simeon M. Coe built the first house. James Talbot was the next settler, who broke the first prairie in the township. Joseph M. Wilson began his flour mill in 1835, and completed it the next year. It was of logs. John Brookie opened the first store in 1837. There were six schools, and the population numbered about one thousand.
Portland: P. B. Besse. The first prairie was broken in August, 1834, and twelve votes were cast at the first election held at the house of Asa Crook. He acted as clerk. The town had more timber land than any other in the county. There were nine schools.
Prophetstown: Mr. Nichols. It was the site of an old Indian village, where the Chief, Prophet, had lived. The town was celebrated for the enterprise of its men and the beauty of the women.
Sterling: Nelson Mason. "I came to the place in 1836 with John Barnett and found John Chapman and Wright Murphy living in a cabin on the farm of Capt. Woodburn. Here I spent my first night on Rock river. At the head of the rapids I found three families, H. Brink, E. Worthington, and S. Gear. Brink was the man who built the first cabin, broke the first prairie and raised the first corn in the town of Sterling. Late that fall J. D. Barnett and myself opened the first store in the town. Dixon was the nearest postoffice. We applied for one in 1837, and it was granted. Barnett was appointed P. M., and I had the contract for carrying the mail. In May, 1837, we formed an association to protect individual claims on government lands. What changes since ! Then a man with a family of five or six had to grind all his grain in a coffee mill, now our mills send 1,400 barrels of flour to market every week. Then we had neither churches, schools or ministers, now we have four churches, as many ministers and six schools. Then we had no newspaper nearer than Chicago or Peoria, now we have two journals, well conducted and supported. What will this town be when all her natural resources are developed?"
Coloma: Frank Cushing. The first settlement was made in 1836 by Isaac Merrill, A. R. Whitney and Atkins. Our sand banks furnish Sterling sand for her brick blocks, our quarries furnish stone, and our prairies supply the surrounding country with hay.
Hume: Charles Wright. After a few pleasing remarks on the excellence of his town, he closed with this sentiment: "As Jacob of old loved Benjamin above all his sons, because he was the youngest, so may the town of Hume, being the youngest of nineteen sisters, stand highest in the estimation of old Father Whiteside."
Erie: S. D. Carr. He located at Erie in 1836. Then only one house, built and occupied by Orville Brooks. Peter Guile, David Hunt, and L. D. Crandall were among the first settlers. The town now has from three to five hundred people. Well timbered with coal beds near at hand.
Clyde: Samuel Currie. He was not the oldest settler, but thought Messrs. Wing and Baker had that honor. Four schools, well attended.
Mt. Pleasant: H. A. Johnson, Esq. He did not claim to be an old resident, but was included in the invitation because his wife, a daughter of Royal Jacobs, was of the number.
The First Settler of Whiteside: John W. Stakes. He wished to correct a wrong impression. A lady present, the wife of P. B. Besse, is the oldest settler now living in Whiteside. Her father settled here in May, 1834. The land was then a waste, inhabitated only by roving Indians. The first provisions for his family he procured at Peoria, and packed the flour and groceries eighty miles on a horse, following an Indian trail. No store nearer than Galena, and Rock Island was an Indian trading post.
The Hardships of Early Settlers: Col. R. L. Wilson. "When we have fully made up our minds to emigrate, the work is almost done. All that remains is to wait for the wagon, and take a ride to our future home in the west. The wagon box serves for a house, being at once the parlor, the kitchen, the pantry. We finally arrive at our claims, and then comes the raising of log cabins, on which occasion every pioneer within twenty miles is in attendance. By and by a schoolhouse and a church are wanted, and if the husband is not able to assist, his wife calls a meeting of the ladies and the thing is done."
Hospitality of the Early Settlers : Marcus L. Coe. Nowhere does the stranger meet a more hearty welcome than with the old pioneer. Always welcome to his corn dodger or roast turkey. The latch string always out.
Teachings of a New Settlement: Col. Hugh Wallace. He came here fitted for the practice of law, equipped with ruffled shirts and law books. But he found the really valuable tools were plows and hoes, and these his old friend Gear was ready to supply his neighbors. His Chitty and Blackstone were not in demand. At the conclusion of his remarks, he presented to the audience, the pioneer baby of Chatham, now part of Sterling Mrs. John A. Bross, of Chicago, eldest daughter of Nelson Mason. There was much applause, and in response to a call, Mr. Bross made a neat speech, closing with the suggestion that all sing - " Should auld acquaintance be forgot"- Nelson Mason led the chorus of several hundred strong voices.
Pioneer Farmers of Whiteside: L. B. Wetherbee. "The pioneers of Whiteside left happy homes and pleasant firesides in other lands to make new farms and new homes, and we may hope to build up the cause of education, virtue, temperance, piety. The calling of the farmer is the basis of society. Here it may not be amiss to glance over the county, and see what the farmers of Whiteside have been doing for the last 18 years. Within that time all the land of the county has been bought, and if we estimate the cost at five dollars per acre, it will amount to $2,910,000; if we estimate the same amount for improvement, it will amount to $5,820,000, which the farmers have paid out within the last 18 years. If then the farmer is the foundation of society, his energies should be directed in the most skilful manner. With such a soil as Whiteside possesses, we may soon expect to see farmers rising to fame and wealth in their department."
Pioneer Mechanics of Whiteside : A. McMoore. Permit me to speak of the improvements mechanics have set in motion. Wyatt Cantrell, an old settler, introduced the denion or slinker in plows. Jonathan Haines invented a harvester. John Ogle did much to make cabins comfortable.
The Boys of Our Pioneer Fathers: W. M. Kilgour, Esq. In March, 1837, I first saw the beautiful prairie where Sterling now stands. As children we have not had the advantages of the east watches, liquors, colleges, cities. We got our education in the old log cabin schoolhouse. Biography shows that more men of sterling worth have sprung from such sources than from many of the colleges.
The Pioneer Pomologist of Whiteside: Dr. Pennington. There is something in the growth of trees and plants so enchanting that it must be admired. What would a country be without fruits? On emigrating to this state in 1836 I was struck with the healthy aspect of the trees, and the luxuriance of the fruits. My first fruit trees were planted on the farm in the fall of 1839. As far as I know, this was the first effort at raising cultivated fruit in Whiteside county. The man who planted the first fruit-bearing tree in this county may never be known, but may many blessings rest upon his head.
Whiteside county when her sons wore buckskin trousers and wolfskin caps: Joseph Ware, Esq. It is useless for me to speak to this audience of this land in its original beauty. You saw these prairies before they were marred by the plow.
"Gardens of the desert unshorn,
Fields boundless and beautiful."
Of these early settlers who wore the wild caps and hunting shirts, your recollections are as good as mine. Some of you may recall John B. Dodge of Mt. Pleasant, the strongest man in northern Illinois, who could kill a wolf with his naked hands. Of the future of our county it is useless to speak, but she has all the elements of prosperity, and must advance.
A We'll plow the pradries, as of old
Our fathers plowed the sea;
We'll make the west,
As they the east,
The homestead of the free."
After the sentiments, a vote of thanks was tendered Col. Wallace for the free use of his hall, and Mr. McCune for the excellence of the entertainment, It was resolved that the next meeting should be held in 'the same hall, on Feb. 22, 1859.
LATEST OLD SETTLERS MEETING
When he is forsaken,
Withered and shaken,
What can an old man do but die? Hood
Sometimes it seems the only thing to do, follow Hood's suggestion, and depart, but our venerable citizens are attached to this climate, and have decided to stay until the good Lord calls them to their reward. So they have met year after year to shake hands over the past and bid one another God-speed for the time to come. From the Sterling Gazette, Aug. 23, 1907, we condense an account of the fifty-third annual picnic of the old settlers of Whiteside county held on Thursday in Holt's grove across the river from Lyndon:
"At 10:30 in the forenoon the old settlers' meeting was held and President L. E. Rice made a short address and told of his first days in the county. Mr. Rice stated he with his parents arrived at Lyndon in the year 1837. At that day big steamers were plowing their way up and down the river from St. Louis to Rockford. He also told of the early history of the Indians who had lived on Indian island a few miles below Lyndon at that time. The speaker stated that the red men had persisted in stealing from the white settlers until the whites had made up their minds to be rid of them and forever. A company of fifty settlers called on the Indian chief and requested them to leave the island at once.
"Oliver Talbott, another one of the old settlers, who arrived in Whiteside county in 1834, gave a short talk on his early recollections of pioneer days, saying that he with his parents had settled near Buffalo Grove and later settled near Sterling, where his father operated a mill. Mr. Talbott denied that wheat was hauled to Chicago at that time to market, stating that there was no wheat raised at that early date here.
"John Fenton, of Erie, who first gazed on the prairies of Whiteside county in 1835, stated that his relatives had driven across the state from Chicago to where they had come by lake boats from the east. From there they came to Fenton with two yoke of oxen and a big prairie schooner. The old pioneer stated that it was not the expectation of the people of early times to become rich and that they did not know how to accumulate riches, neither did they care to do so. Fenton township was named after the father of Mr. John Fenton.
"Robert McNeil of Rock Falls also gave a short talk. Mr. McNeil stated that he had arrived in Whiteside county in 1849, and had partaken of his first dinner on land in America in Lyndon. He was thirteen years old at that time and had come from Glasgow, Scotland, with his parents. He stated that Lyndon was considered the college town of the county at that time. Como was the metropolis, and boasted of a mill, a store and a tavern. The father of the venerable John Scott of Como ran the 'John Scott' steamer up and down the river to St. Louis, carrying supplies for the early settlers. Van J. Adams, who lived near Sterling, was considered the most wealthy man in Sterling at that time. Galena was the money market center outside of Chicago.
"The following are some of the names of old pioneers who occupied seats or honor on the stage during the meeting: John Harpham, H. S. Warner, Hank Kamp of Prophetstown who has not missed a meeting, John Scott of Como, S. A. Maxwell, Smith Hurd, whose mother Polly Ann Sprague was the first school teacher in Whiteside, Mrs. Ann McKnight of Spring Hill, first white child born in the county, George Olmstead, W. W. Kempster, C. C. Johnson, Mrs. Patrick.
"At the afternoon session, S. A. Maxwell read the minutes of the last meeting and the roll call of the dead, which showed that over eighty of the old settlers had crossed the dark river since the picnic a year ago. The only living member of the old original fourteen settlers that first settled in Lyndon is Miss Mary Hamilton, now a resident of California, who is an aunt of Sheriff Charles Hamilton. After the reading of the minutes, the orator of the day, Hon. Frederick Landis, of Logansport, Ind., was introduced by the president, and amid a storm of applause stepped to the platform and delivered a very able and masterly address. "At first there were some regrets on account of the inability of Congressman Fran k 0. Lowden to be present, as much interest had been centered on his coming, but as Mr. Landis proceeded in his speech this wore away. During his address he paid a beautiful tribute to our late Congressman Eobert R. Hitt, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysess S. Grant, William McKinley, and our present congressman, Frank O. Lowden.
"Following the address by Mr. Landis, the directors of the old settlers' organization met and re-elected the old office holders for another year, they being: L. E. Rice, president; F. M. Brewer, vice president; S. A. Maxwell, secretary; C. A. Hamilton, A. M. Pratt and George Potter, executive committee; L. Ewing, A. E. Parmenter and A. M. Pratt, committee on grounds. It was decided to hold the next picnic on the third Thursday in August in 1908.
"The Sixth Regiment band of Sterling rendered several concerts during the day, and received much praise for its fine playing.
"The ladies of the Lyndon Congregational and Methodist churches served bountiful dinners at the noon hour, which were liberally patronized by the visitors, and goodly sums were cleared for the church treasury."
It is sad to know that of the 117 persons whose names are recorded on the roll at Wallace Hall, Sterling, first old settlers' meeting, 1858, only three are left, Oliver Talbott, C. A. Wetherbee, M. M. Warner.
CONTEST FOR THE COUNTY SEAT.
The combat deepens. On, ye brave,
Who rush to glory or the grave!
Wave, Lyndon, all thy banners wave,
And charge with all thy chivalry!
The poet wrote Munich, but no matter. Campbell is dead, and no difference to him. In a new settlement, the first important question is thecounty seat. As there are no manufactures or trade or travel to make atown grow, the courthouse, the seat of the records, will naturally attract thepeople. It is really the center of attraction. Here the lawyers gather,important cases are tried, the politicians meet to prepare for campaigns.As you read the early history of the state or the lives of our pioneerlawyers and judges, you will notice that their wide circuits took them fromtown to town. A vast amount of forgotten eloquence was poured forth inthose old courthouses. How Lincoln and Douglas, Baker and Swett, DavidDavis and Lyman Trumbull, rode on their ponies with their saddle-bagsover the rude roads of the prairies. In 1858 most of the famous debatesbetween Lincoln and Douglas for the senate were held at Freeport, Galesburg,and other county seats.
So the county seat question led to a contest in Whiteside. An act of theGeneral Assembly, Feb. 21, 1839, Thomas Carlin, governor, provided thatthe legal voters of Whiteside should meet at their precincts on the firstMonday in May, 1839, and vote for a permanent point for the seat of justice.Elections were to be held every four weeks following until some place shouldreceive a majority of votes cast. Under the act any individual could offerland whereon to erect the seat of justice, and after a deed was executed, thecounty commissioners were to erect the necessary buildings without delay.
Accordingly in pursuance of this act five elections were held withoutresult, until at the sixth, September 23, 1839, Lyndon received a majority ofthe votes cast, and was declared the permanent seat of justice for Whitesidecounty. The county commissioners had really held their sessions in Lyndonsince May 16, 1839. So Feb. 11, 1840, the people of Lyndon entered intoa contract to erect a suitable building on lot fifty-one, block ten, for holdingcourt and other public purposes, and this edifice as soon as completed wasused until June, 1841, when the county scat was removed to Sterling.
Meantime Sterling was busy. The courthouse bee was buzzing in theirbonnets. The town had offered in 1839 eighty acres of land around Broadway and the river and one thousand dollars, provided the public buildingsfor the county be placed on block fifty-eight, west of Broadway, then thecenter of the young town. In 1840 the town made a decided move towardssecuring the prize, by applying to the county commissioners for a re-canvassof the vote cast at the election of September 23. 1839. This was granted,and as a result of the re-canvass. it was declared that Sterling had 264 votes,Lyndon 253, Windsor 4.
On the strength of this, the county commissioners, April 8. 1841. causedthe following order to be put on record:
Whereas, by virtue of an act of the General Assembly, Feb. 21, 1839,providing for the location of the seat of justice of Whiteside county, we,the county commissioners for said county, from a fair and impartial examination of the poll books, now in the clerk's office, do verily believe that thepeople of said county have placed the county seat at the town of Sterling,and do therefore order the circuit and county commissioners' courts to beholden in the town of Sterling in said county. Theodore, Winn, clerk. April 8, 1841.
At the December term of the county commissioners court, it was orderedthat the county buildings be erected on the center of block fifty-seven, westof Broadway, and the structure was completed so that courts were held in1844. The commissioners also met in Sterling in 1841, but in December,1842, Lyndon having secured a majority of the board, they met at that place.
More complications. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. Sufficient influence was brought to bear upon the General Assembly so that anact was approved Feb. 28, 1843, providing that G. W. Harrison and JohnMcDonald of Jo Daviess county, Joshua Harper of Henry county, LeonardAndrus of Ogle county, and R. H. Spicer of Mercer county, should be commissioners to locate the county seat of Whiteside. They were to locate thecounty seat at a place most conducive to the public good of Whiteside county,at no place where a donation of not less than thirty acres of land could beobtained, and were to cause as soon as convenient a suitable building to beerected. They met at Albany, and after examining different locations.selected Lyndon, and on May 27, 1843, made the following report:
We, the undersigned, commissioners appointed by an act of legislatureto locate the seat of justice for Whiteside county, do hereby certify that wehave performed the duty enjoined upon us by said act, and have located thesaid scat of justice of Whiteside county upon the south half of the southeastquarter of section sixteen, in township twenty, north of the base line of rangefive, east of the fourth principal meridian, believing the location most conducive to the public good of said county. Given under our hands, May 27, 1843.
Lyndon gave forty acres of land, but no county buildings were erected.On April 14, 1846, the county commissioners ordered that the grand andpetit jurors attend the May term of court at Sterling instead of Lyndon, asSterling claimed that under order of the county commissioners buildings hadbeen erected there, accepted by the commissioners, and therefore the seat ofjustice should be in that town. After this, the terms of the circuit court wereheld at Sterling, and the county commissioners held their sessions at Lyndon.Lyndon applied for a mandamus compelling the commissioners to order thecircuit court hack to that place, but the court refused the writ. An act waspassed by the Fifteenth General Assembly, and approved by the governor,Feb. 16, 1847, declaring the town of Sterling the county seat of Whitesidefor a time, under certain conditions, one of which was until the time thecounty paid the donors of land and money a sufficient sum to compensatethem for their outlay.
But Lyndon was irrepressible. The prize was not to slip from her graspwithout a struggle.
Strike for your altars and your fires;
Strike for the green graves of your sires;
God, and your native land.
From the legislature, which, like Barkis in Dickens story, seemed alwayswilling to come to the rescue, an act was secured, Feb. 6, 1849, entitled anact to permanently locate the seat of justice of Whiteside county. The secondsection provided that the legal voters of the county should meet at theirrespective places of holding elections on the first Tuesday of April, 1849,and proceed to vote on the permanent location of the seat of justice, either atLyndon or at Sterling, and the place receiving the majority, should there-after be the seat of justice. The election was duly held April 3, 1849, withthe following result: For Sterling 519 votes; for Lyndon 451; majority forSterling 68. So Lyndon withdrew her claim, and Sterling remained thecounty seat until 1857. But she was not to remain in undisturbed possession. There was a dark horse.
Morrison had some shrewd managers, and they saw their opportunity.An act was passed by the General Assembly, and approved by the governor,Feb. 7, 1857, entitled â€œAn act for the removal of the seat of just ice of Whiteside county." The act provided that the election should be held in the severaltownships of the county at the general election in November. In case amajority of votes were in favor of removal, the seat of justice would then bedeclared located in section eighteen in Morrison, but not until a deed shouldbe made conveying to the county a tract of land three hundred feet square.Morrison was also to pay the county $3,000 towards the erection of countybuildings. The election was held Nov. 3, 1857, with the close result: Forremoval 1,631 votes; against removal 1,572; majority in favor 59. At theNovember term, 1857, of the Board of Supervisors, W. S. Barnes. A. Hurd,H. C. Fellows, P. B. Besse, and D. O. Coe were appointed commissioners toexamine and select the ground at Morrison, upon which to erect the buildings, and receive the $3,000 given by the citizens of the town. On May 3,1858, the county offices were moved to Morrison from Sterling.For twenty years the old courthouse stood silent and deserted in the lotalong Broadway, a mournful memorial of its former importance. It wasforty feet square, lower story nine feet, a hall ten feet wide, upper storytwelve. This was the court room. Here Sackett, Henry, and the earlylawyers made their pleas, and here religious services were held on Sundaybefore some of the churches were built. The brick in the old edifice wereburned in the eastern part of town by Luther Bush, and were laid in thebuilding by that pioneer and his boys. George Brewer helped to fire thekilns. After the courthouse was taken down, the square was divided intolots, and rows of pretty residences now occupy the site, making a greatchange in its appearance.
DISASTERS BY WIND AND WATER.
The wind one morning sprung up from sleep,
Saying, "Now for a frolic! Now for a leap!
Now for a madcap galloping chase!
I'll make a commotion in every place!"-William Howitt
THE TORNADO OF 1860.
Our county has enjoyed a merciful immunity from the horrors of thecyclone on an extensive scale. While this dreadful freak of the elementsyearly sweeps many of the states west and south with the besom of destruction. our happy valley, with the exception of a violent storm here and therein the townships, has escaped the widespread ruin of life and property inthe long path of the calamity. But there was one terrible visitation. Inthe lines of the first edition of the Light Brigade:
Long will the tale be told,
Yea, when our babes are old.
We refer to the memorable tornado of 1860. The present generationknows it only by hearsay.
It occurred on the evening of June 3, striking the county on the westand moving to the southeast. It began near Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The blackmasses of clouds, rolling and surging in their fury, the thunder and lightning,the unearthly din of the advance, conveyed to the beholder the impressionof titanic demons in struggle in mid-air. It was the Satanic onset in Paradise Last.
So frowned the mighty combatants, that hell
Grew darker at their frown, so matched they stood.
Camanche, a village in Iowa, on the Mississippi, received the first blow.Ninety dwellings, hotels churches, and stores were leveled, twenty-nine persons killed and many seriously injured. Twenty-four persons were blownfrom a raft and drowned.
At Albany people were just starting for evening service when the stormburst upon their devoted heads in all its fury. In a moment the pleasanttown was a scene of min and desolation. Five persons were killed, most ofthe houses demolished, many blown from their foundations, few left uninjured. Duty Buck, Ed. Efner, Sweet, Rilev, and a man unknown, were thosekilled. This is considered remarkable in a population of eight hundred. Asusual, various freaks. Some roofs were entirely stripped of shingles, othersin spots of fanciful shapes. One small house carried uninjured for a square.A church bell whirled for rods and landed with only a piece chipped fromthe rim. The total loss to the town was estimated at nearly $100,000.
From Albany the direction of the tornado was southeast. The upperstory of the dwelling of Mrs. Senior, in Garden Plain, was dashed to pieces,the two-story residence of Thomas Smith was carried a rod from its foundation and left a wreck, the house of Draper Richmond torn to atoms, and Mrs.Richmond so badly injured that she died in an hour. In Montmorency thehouse of Alonzo Colder roughly shaken, and much of the furniture destroyed.The schoolhouse was annihilated. The dwellings of Joel Wood, A. J. Goodrich, Mr. Pike, Capt. Doty, and Levi Macomber, were all more or less racked.At Pike's a young girl had her leg broken, and at Doty's, his son his collarbone. The wonder is that amid all the wreckage of the homes so few lives were lost.
In the path of the whirlwind, about eighty rods wide, were exhibitedthe pranks of the destroyer, so often observed elsewhere. Trees were twistedto pieces, cleared of their branches, or town out bodily by their roots. Geese,turkeys, and chickens, not killed, were stripped of their feathers, sad and forlorn, answering to Diogenes' definition of Plato's man . The prairie was scattered with boards, furniture, books, goods, utensils, articles of even name whichthe storm king had wrested from their proper habitat. The remainder ofthe summer, tramps who wished to excite the sympathy of the charitable,in asking for aid plead their misfortune through the ravages of the tornado.
THE ICE GORGE OF NINETEEN HUNDRED AND SIX.
Ye ice falls! ye that from the mountain's brow
Adown enormous ravines slope amain-
Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice,
And stopped at once amid their maddest plunge!-Coleridge.
Our beautiful Rock river, sparkling in the summer sun, is a treacherous stream. It is not always on its good behavior. It has its moods likea person of excitable temperament.
When good, it is very good,
When bad, it is horrid.
In short, old Rock sometimes gets on the rampage. The oldest inhabitant can recall different years in which high water or ice did much damageto stock, farms, fences, buildings, and various kinds of property exposedto its ravages. We cannot mention them all. but shall simply recall theseason of 1887. Snow and sleighing in January were followed by rains inthe first week of February. Feb. 8 the ice moved off the dam at Sterling,with continued rain. A personal diary furnishes the details. On Feb. 9no cars running on account of wash-outs. The bottom lands southwest ofSterling covered with water, and many cattle lost. On February 12, mercury fell to 5 degrees below, and the river rose, owing to the formation ofice and obstruction of the current. Houses near the fair ground in Sterlingsurrounded by water, and families obliged to move out. There was considerable suffering and loss in town and country, the river was frozen againand continued so through February, and not until April did the weatherbecome mild and genial.
But the ice gorge of 1906 broke the record. Nothing so vast or sodestructive since the settlement of the country. Perhaps we cannot do better than give a running account of the catastrophe as the news items appearedfrom day to day in the current issues of the papers. It will bring the occurrence in a more lively and vivid manner to our readers.
Jan. 23. Water in river higher than ever known. Ice at Dixon broke,and beginning to run.
Jan. 24. Continuous gorge between Erie and Lyndon, immense lakeat Lyndon, water far as eye can see. Mr. Greenman and family reportedshut in, also Charles Roslief and family. Ice not only gorged, but frozen solid.
Jan. 25. For twenty miles from Sterling, water in an alarming condition. All factories in Sterling shut down. Charles Lathe on an island nearErie within a foot of inundation by water and ice. Ice reported broken atBeloit and Janesville. The Aylesworth farm. George Andrews, HenryLancaster, Nathan Gage, George Baker, George Richmond, and others nearLyndon, mostly under water. At Riverside schoolhouse. Stella Beeman,teacher, parents came in boats at noon for the children, and before night thebuilding was surrounded by water high as fences.
Jan. 26. Water only three feet below the floor of Avenue G bridge.The condition is worse at Sterling because of the gorge between dam andComo bottom. Water below dam on level with that above.
Feb. 5. Three degrees below zero. Gorged ice frozen solid.
Feb. 22. River high at Como, Lyndon. Prophetstown. Many factoriesin Sterling unable to run, others using steam power.
Friday, Feb. 23. This is the big head in this evening's daily:
One thousand men idle, damage may reach $150,000! New Avenue Gbridge a wreck, First Avenue bridge condemned as unsafe for travel, cityin darkness tonight, gas supply exhausted!
The flood now raging is the greatest in history of Rock river. At ninethis A. M., a new record, water 2 1/2 feet higher than in Feb. 9, 1887. Sixteen families on First street homeless. Basements of 32 homes flooded. Damage to Dillon-Griswold wire mill may reach $15,000. Ice below dam tento fifteen feet thick. Washout on Northwestern R. R. prevents running oftrains. The Burlington R. R. preparing to put trains on bridge to preventit from moving off. Avenue G bridge all gone, center span first, then theother two sank with a crash.
Feb. 24. Washouts on Northwestern greater than in 1887. A territoryten miles long, five wide, covered with water to west and south of Como.Roads leading to Prophetstown below from one to five feet of water.Sunday, Feb. 26. Ice in north channel of Avenue G bridge crushedagainst the tubular piers, and hundreds of tons of steel swept away like chaff.Then the ice struck the massive plate girders, and in a moment the six spansslid from the piers and abutments and were whirled down the river. AtSpring creek slough which comes into Rook river a mile south of Como,the ice was piled up twenty feet higher than the water.
March 2. Ice and water gradually receding, but fields and lowlandscovered with huge cakes, and the soil overlaid with sand and gravel.
Various steps were taken in Sterling to assist the needy. A relief meeting was called by Mayor Lewis, and a considerable amount subscribed. TheBanda Verda announced a concert, and a cantata was given at Grace churchfor their benefit.
Of the whole calamity the greatest single loss was the destruction ofAvenue G bridge, only completed Nov., 1904. The structure proper withits nine steel spans, 900 feet long, cost $52,000. The grade in the centerand the approaches on either side, 600 feet in all, $20,000. In has sincebeen replaced with commendable promptness, and a description will be foundin another place.
AN ILLINOIS MAP OF 1844.
There is in possession of the family of the late James L. Crawford a mapwhich he purchased before his removal to the west. It was published byS. Augustus Mitchell in Philadelphia, 1844. He was the author of thegeographies in use two generations ago. It is a map of Ohio, Indiana,Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. That was the era of steamboats, and ina column on one side are the distances between prominent cities, and thetowns along the route. One table for instance has Pittsburg to New Orleans,Louisville to St. Louis, St. Louis to Peoria, St. Louis to Prairie du Chien.
The states are divided into counties as at present. Only two townsare marked in Whiteside, Fulton and Linden, not spelled as it is now. Elkhorn is called Dogshead creek. The population by census of 1840 was 2,514.Cook county with Chicago had only 10,201. Only one railroad in the state,that from Naples on Illinois river to Springfield. Only two highways crossing Whiteside. One ran from Galena to Peoria, passing through Lyndon,the other from Rock Island through Richmond in Henry county to BuffaloGrove in Ogle.
The river routes presented by this old map confirm the experience of theearly settlers who generally readied Whiteside by water. Whether from NewYork or Pennsylvania, they managed to strike Pittsburg, and then by boatdown the Ohio and up the Mississippi, in due time after a long trip, wereenabled to land either at Fulton or Albany, generally the latter. Those whomade the journey overland by wagon from the east, were very tired whenthey reached the Promised Land, for the early roads were through densewoods, swamps, and over streams that were scarcely fordable. Supplies, too.were not always easy to obtain.
WHITESIDE IN THE LEGISLATURE.
From the time of Aaron C. Jackson who represented Whiteside in theHouse from 1842 to 1844, our county has sent many of her best citizens toSpringfield. Being attached to other districts, the member was often fromsome other county. But our own county has always had excellent men. Allof our early members in house or senate have passed away. Hugh Wallace,Van J. Adams, M. S. Henry, D. Richards, James Dinsmoor, W. S. Wilkinson, Nathan Williams, J. E. McPherran, W. C. Snyder, John G. Manahan.These were all leaders in their communities, and loyal to their constituents.The writer will always cherish a kindly regard for Nathan Williams forsome rare volumes of the state geological survey. Some of our later states-men are still with us to watch the results of recent legislation. Charles Bent,Dr. Griswold, C. C. Johnson, C. A. Wetherbee, V. Ferguson, A. U. Abbott,II. L. Sheldon, Dean Efner. The latter is the Nestor of the group, bornin 1822 and yet remarkably clear-headed as he sits in his chair at his brickcottage in Albany. The next is Dr. C. A. Griswold of Fulton, the readywriter, and general scholar, who seems as competent for legislative businesstoday as twenty years ago. Time has dealt kindly with C. C. Johnson andVirgil Ferguson, who continue in politics and are solicitous for the welfare ofthis glorious country.
By the apportionment of 1901. Whiteside, Lee, and DeKalb form the35th senatorial district. A change from 1893 when Whiteside was withBureau, Putnam and Stark.
BACK -- HOME
© Copyright Genealogy Trails