Winnebago County, Illinois
Township and Village of Cherry Valley
The township was first known on the records of Winnebago County as Butler Precinct. The name was changed to Cherry Valley upon the adoption of township organization. The land now comprising the site of the village was first settled by Joseph P. Griggs in 1835. He built a small cabin on the west side of Kishwaukee River. Mr. Griggs sold the tract to James Works, and he in turn sold it to Edwin Fitch, who laid out the village and filed the plat for record November 17, 1849. Among the early settlers following Mr. Griggs were A.C. Gleason, and two brothers, W. and S.W. Gleason. Densley Kiser came in 1836 or 1837. The first store was opened by John Waterman; the first hotel was conducted by Mr. Ingram, and called the Ingram Tavern. The first postmaster was Joseph Riddelle. The first grain warehouse was erected by Mr. Calkins, in the autumn of 1851. The Galena & Chicago Union Railroad was complete to Cherry Valle in February, 1851. The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by Rev. H.L. Martin in 1854. An edifice was erected the same year. The membership reported to the conference of 1904 was 86. Rev. A.W. Gillian was assigned to the field at the conference last year. The Universalist Church edifice was erected in 1854, under the supervision of Rev. Simon Park. After a few years the church was abandoned and the building was occupied by a Swedish religious society. The Freewill Baptist Church was erected in 1974, at a cost of $3,500. The village has a population of about 500. Mrs. Elizabeth Kittle is postmistress. [from Past and Present of City of Rockford and Winnebago County Illinois, Charles A Church and H.H. Waldo, 1905]
Of all the cities, villages, and townships in Winnebago County, Cherry Valley--the village and the township--are the only ones named in a lottery. It has taken a century for the facts to match the picturesque expectations promised by the name. Joseph P. Griggs arrived in the valley along the Ksihwaukee River southeast of Rockford in 1835, liked what he saw, and built a crude shack of prairie grass and straw on a hill overlooking the valley. Some of the earliest settlers to follow him claimed the nearby woodlands, thinking it would be easier to clear timber than it would to break through the stringy prairie grass and turn over the virgin sod. By the time they were proved wrong, most of the open prairie had been claimed. By the end of 183, five families were living at Grigg's Ford, named for the river crossing near Grigg's homestead. Some time between 1840 and 1850 the name Butler was adopted for the settlement and under this name a post office was opened in 1851. The pioneers danced and celebrated until dawn on Aug. 2, 1852, when the first train of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad reached Butler, its' western-most point to date. Mrs. Joseph Butler, who suggested the winning entry, Cherry Valley, said she had lived in Cherry Valley, N.Y., as a child. The name stuck, but it wasn't until 1946 that efforts were stated to make a cherry valley out of Cherry Valley. Members of the Arthur L. Buck American Legion Post staged the first Cherry Festival, vowing to continue "until Cherry Valley becomes what the name implies". Other organizations have joined the project and the village now has cherry trees. Cherry Valley, like Rockford, once was torn by factionalism, bred by the fact that the river created two distinct communities--the east side and the west side. The east side won the business district, however, and always has been the stronger half of the community. In the early 1870's, after the business block burned down and was rebuilt, Cherry Valley had two grain elevators, a water-powered mill, and two factories turning out brooms made from locally-grown broom corn. Cherry Valley's most famous landmark is the lark clock on the sidewalk near the fire station. It was bought by Mrs. William J. Slater as a memorial to her husband, who was Cherry Valley's village president for many years prior to his death in 1922. His widow, Mrs. Josephine Slater, was one of the first women to serve as mayor or village president in Illinois. In 1964, Cherry Valley's first sewage disposal system went into operation, and for the first time since the village was incorporated in 1896, its boundaries were changed. Fourteen lots were annexed along the west edge of town. After hitting a population high of 800 late in the last century, Cherry Valley went into a decline as its manufacturing interests moved out. Its population had slipped to 420 by 1920, but was back up to 800 when the 1960 census was taken. Cherry Valley's estimated population in 1967 is 1,000, and with the giant Chrysler Corp. assembly plant only a few miles away, the village is bracing for the biggest growth period of its history. Rockford's city planner estimated in 1964 that Cherry Valley's population would hit the 29,000 mark by 1985. [from Sinnissippi Saga, Nelson, C. Hal, 1968]
Cherry Valley. Winnebago County, Illinois, was named by Edward Fletcher, the original owner of the town site, from Cherry Valley, N. Y.; it had several names, viz., Grabtown, Graball and Butler, before the present name was given it. [Source: A history of the origin of the place names connected with the Chicago & North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha railways .. Stennett. William H., Chicago, 1908]
How the Valley Looks at this Time of the Year--Broom-Corn Harvesting--Trotting Horses, &c.
At this time of the year Cherry Valley looks decidedly quiet. There is not much of a crowd on the streets, but for all that a good deal of business is being done each day, and the inhabitants are far from that delightful frame of mind which seems to prompt grumbling. The grain trade is exceedingly brisk in the Valley, and some of the most enterprising men are to found amongst the grain-buyers. In addition to this, we find that in Cherry Valley the broom-corn interest is one of the most important, and, some years, employs a large number of hands at a season when there is not much else doing. This year, according to all accounts, the broom-corn harvest has been a very successful one, and one man has raised over $50,000 worth.
SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT
There are certainly some signs of improvement in Cherry Valley; and that which first strikes the visitor is the fact that the road at the end of the bridge has been graded on a level with the railroad track, and, instead of being compelled to go around by the old down-hill road at the imminent risk of a "smash-up," the driver is enabled to drive on regardless of everything, and in perfect safety. The other improvements are not numerous, nor are they such as a stranger would be apt to notice; but some residents of the Valley informed our reporter that a steady advancement was noticeable, and that so far as morals were concerned, the town was a perfect model. But one thing occurred during our reporter's stay to conflict with this statement, and that was a number of the unsoaped of Cherry Valley, who assemble nightly at the depot and make such semi-earthly noises that the whole vicinity is disturbed and the young man in the depot suffers a kind of mental distraction, while he in vain appeals to the better feelins--if better feelings they have--to forever stop their infernal noise. But those young scamps will not stop, will not go home to their mothers, will not leave the depot, and, in fact, will do nothing they are requested to do. Another feature, but one denoting the superiority of the Cherry Valley community, consists in the fact that there is no rum for sale, and not the least intemperance on the streets, and that religion and uprightness have the upper hand. Nothing of very great importance has of late caused any excitement, and we think that the only matter of news was the fact that C.C. CHAMBERLIN, One of the oldest and most esteemed citizens of Cherry Valley, had just received, as a memento of friendship, from Wm. Hamilton, of San Francisco (Cal.), one of the most magnificient gold-headed canes that could possibly be manufactured. The gold was the finest, and the whole was made after an original design especially for Mr. Chamberlin. Its value must be from $100 to $150; and to say that Mr. C. was wonderfully proud of it would be stating a fact in the mildest possible terms.
has a very fine collection of trotting horses, and some of these the Dr. takes great delight in showing to visitors, pointing out with ease of a practiced horseman the numerous indications of good breeding, good qualities, and other good features peculiar to the horse. "There," the Dr. would say, for example, "stands Dick Consternation, by imported Consternation, bred by J.B. Bennett, Syracuse, N.Y., dam by Warren's Messenger." And then, after pointing out the chief characteristics, the Dr. showed "Moral Consternation" to our reporter, and several other fine bred colts, all of which bid fair to develop into fine horses. Mr. Billmyer is one of those genial sort of men that one falls in with in traveling who is ever ready to give information, advice, and--a good dinner, if necessary. Taking one thing with another, there are very many worse places in the world than Cherry Valley; and, for its size, there are few towns that contain such a good-natured, hospitable, and business set of inhabitants. There is no newspaper in Cherry Valley now, for the last faint flicker of a periodical sheet was dimly seen some three weeks since as it went out, never again to be resuscitated. The GAZETTE has for years been the only Cherry Valley newspaper, is taken almost universally, and the manner in which new subscribers signed and old ones renewed, sufficiently bespoke their appreciation of the best county paper. [Rockford Weekly Gazette, November 6, 1873]
CHERRY VALLEY - Its Institutions and Its Trade
We made a flying visit to this quiet little village, the other day, and many inquiries as to what they are doing there. We were not prepared to learn that so much business had been done there last year. Mr. Wm. Craig, Agent at the freight office, gave us the following figures showing the receipts and shipments for the year:
169 cars oats - 8,728,000 pounds
47 cars corn - 1,034,000
6(?) cars wheat - 120,000
48 cars cattle - 864,000
44 cars hogs - 704,000
80 cars broom corn - 520,000
Other freight forwarded and received - 7,535,350
Total weight - 14,511,350
Total freight charges - $32,757.48
Amount received for local tickets - 2,838.15
79 car loads of lumber and 86 car loads of wheat are included in the receipts; the lumber comes mainly from Wisconsin and Michigan, and the wheat from Minnesota and Iowa.
Thomas Lee is the lumber dealer, and Benjamin Sanborn the grain buyer.
There are a half dozen fine stores in the place, and a commodious and well arranged brick school-house. We visit this, and also the
It has three church edifices; although one, called the Universalist, is disused. The M.E. church has a membership of 80, a congregation of about 225, and 100 Sunday-school scholars. Rev. A. H. Schoonmaker is pastor, and is now sustaining his connection with this church for the third year.
The Free Will Baptist church has for its pastor Rev. H.E. Cross; a membership of 50, a congregation of 175, and 100 scholars in its Sunday-school.
The church buildings are frame structures of moderate size and pretention.
The grade school is one that Cherry Valley may be congratulated upon its possession of. The building is three stories high, and its walls are constructed of brick, and trimmed with Joliet stone. It was built six years ago, and cost $15,000. It has six school-rooms beside ante-rooms, closets, spacious hallways and broad and easy flights of stairs. Two of the school-rooms are not in use, as the building has a capacity beyond the present demand, and will be large enough at the close of this century.
Mr. A. Andrew, principal, formerly our county superintendent of schools, is assisted by Mrs. A.M. Chadwick, grammar; Miss Josephine Hale, Intermediate; and Miss Wheeler, primary. The average attendance is 200. A regular graduating course is being adopted, similar to that in Rockford High schools. The interests of the school are looked after by the district school-board, acting under the common school law of the state. The teachers' salaries aggregate $2,000; the janitor gets $200, and the fuel costs $110. Prof. Andrew has been in charge of the school six months; and gentlemen who feel interested in education tell us that under his supervision and instruction the school has greatly prospered.
MOKEE'S HALL is the only public hall in town. It is 44x56 feet inside, and will seat nearly 400.
The "Union," C.A. Dunwell, Esq., landlord, lawyer, etc., formerly judge, and always genial. The other, the "Cherry Valley House," is kept by L.W. Doty, whom we did not meet. There is one billiard table in the town, no license, and NO SALOONS. At least none observable; though occasionally a face is met the wearer of which doubtless keeps stimulants convenient to his own use. There are just enough of these countenances to make plain to every beholder the folly of drinking. A wide awake Reform club has recently been organized and the temperance cause stands well.
MANUFACTURING can hardly be counted among the industries of our little neighbor in the valley. There is one flouring mill, three broom factories, and two shops where a few wagons and sleighs are made to order. The
CHERRY VALLEY MILL is owned by John Fisher, justice of the peace. It has three run stone, and ground last year 24,000 bushels of wheat; and 10,000 bushels of corn, oats, and buckwheat, for feed. It is mainly a grist-mill, but Mr. Fisher does a quite trade in sacking flour for local use and neighboring demand. For this he uses Minnesota and Iowa wheat.
About 4,000 dozen brooms were made at the valley last year, the makers being Pike & Compton, A.P. Leggett, and Joseph Pearson. Ten or twelve hands are employed.
J.N. McKee & Co., general store. Dry goods, hats, caps, groceries, crockery, glassware, boots, shoes, etc.
Louis Keith--about the same line of goods.
Wm. Slater & Son--the same.
M.M. Howe has a fine store, and deals in groceries, crockery, glassware, boots, shoes, etc.
Oscar King has a handsome, well appointed and well stocked drugstore.
Robert T. Connell has been in the hardware trade 14 years, and enjoys a good patronage.
Louis Stringer, and Burker & Smith, wagons, sleighs, jobbinh and blacksmithing.
J.R. Cross, livery. A. Straw, same.
Daniel Ryther deals in harness and hides; and
S.A. Rivenburg keeps a restaurant, fruits, oysters, confections and cream.
If we have missed any, it is because night and the train came along too soon. We were not able to get figures of last year's sales from all; but six of the leading merchants give us figures that aggregate $75,000.
Mr. S.W. Gleason, the postmaster, seems to give satisfaction to business men generally. He has held the office two years, we believe. It is not a lucrative position; but by selling school-books, stationery, fruits, cigars, etc.,. he makes a living. We had very pleasant chats with business men about business matters; also agreeable conversations with Rev. Schoonmaker, Prof. Andrew, Judge Dunwell, and others. [Rockford Weekly Register-Gazette, February 16, 1877]
CHERRY VALLEY A PRETTY VILLAGE
HISTORICAL AND UP-TO-DATE FACTS REGARDING ROCKFORD'S NEIGHBOR--HAS BEAUTIFUL LOCATION AND WAS SETTLED AS EARLY AS 1835--VILLAGE IS HAVING A NEW BOOM--CHERRY VALLEY BANK ERECTS A HANDSOME BUSINESS BLOCK--LIST OF THE ENTERPRISING MERCHANTS--HISTORY OF THE CHURCHES--VILLAGE IS DRY AND WILL HAVE ANOTHER ELECTION--HIGH SCHOOL IS FINE ONE--ITS FACULTY AND BOARD--MANY SPEEDY AND BLOODED HORSES IN THE VILLAGE--KIMLIN'S STRIING--HERBERT TRAVELLERS CLASSY MARE PROMISES TO BE RECORD-BREAKER--OTHER VILLAGE NOTES
Cherry Valley which is Rockford's nearest neighbor on the Belvidere Interurban line, is one of the prettiest towns in Winnebago County, and just at present is experiencing a deserved boom. In all the state it is doubtful if there is a village which is better located. Lying, as Cherry Valley does, on the banks of the clear and winding Kishwaukee River, it is in summer time a garden spot, indeed, and therefore it is no wonder that hundreds of people from Rockford camp near the village and in the vicinity of the famous Black Hawk spring. Considerable building and business activity has been going on in the village in the past year, and th recent erection of a handsome bank building of vitrified brick has revived Rockford's interest in its neighbor.
History of Cherry Valley
Residents of Cherry Valley are proud in asserting that it was one of the first villages founded in this county. The township was originally known in the county records as Butler precinct. But later the name was changed. Whether the name Cherry Valley was given it after the other Cherry Valley in New York or simply as a euphonious combination is a question which is still unsettled and will probably always remain so. The land now included in the village limits was first settled by Joseph P. Griggs in 1835. This sturdy man erected a tiny cabin on the west-side of the Kishwaukee and later sold his tract to James Works, who in turn sold to Eldwin Fitch, who laid out the village and filed the plat for record on Nov. 17, 1849.
Among the early settlers following Mr. Griggs were A.C. Gleason and two brothers, W. and S.W. Gleasman. Densley Kiser settled there in 1836. John Waterman conducted the first store and the first hotel was opened by Mr. Ingram and called the Ingram Tavern. As the state road passed through the village the old tavern had many distinguished visitors, men from many parts of the world, who stopped off to gaze at the sparkling river or for a jaunt down its pebbly bank. Sometimes the visitors were furnished with fish lines and poles, and many a fat and scrappy bass was pulled forth to furnish the guests at the tavern with a delicious meal. The first postmaster of the village was Joseph Riddelle, and the first grain warehouse was put up by Mr. Calkins in 1851. In February the following year Cherry Valley was officially "put on the map" when the Galena & Chicago Railroad through the town.
The Village Today
Many years have intervened since the railroad first went through Cherry Valley. Residents have a saying that the population is "large enough for comfort," and they are really glad the pretty village has no more than possibly 600 inhabitants, remarking that "it isn't the size but the quality that counts." The quality of citizenship at Cherry Valley is high. Many men who have become leaders in their work began life at Cherry Valley and all their boyhood dreams are of the little town nestling on the Kishwaukee. The residents are a prosperous class, owning fine homes and having every comfort and most of the luxuries of city dwellers. In proportion to its population Cherry Valley has more cement sidewalks than any village in the state and this gives it a clean, tidy appearance.
The Business Section The business section is located in a substantial row of buildings on State Street through which the interurban cars pass on their way to Belvidere. The stores have excellent modern fronts for the display of articles, and a new building is being done of the side where the interurban station is located and it is likely that State Street will be built up on both sides. This seems particularly likely as the new Cherry Valley State Bank is opposite to the row of business houses.
The New State Bank
The newly incorporated Cherry Valley State Bank's building is the pride of the town and is now opened for business. It is thoroughly fire-proof and constructed of vitrified brick, with ornamented stone facings, heavy plate glass windows, and has been erected to house the banking business and none other. Inside the decorative scheme is artistically simple, carrying out the design of the building itself. The fixtures are of mission and the walls are tinted. The whole structure shows the sound solidity that is behind the new institution.
The bank is capitalized at $25,000 and has the financial confidence of the community. A bank was long desired in the town and it will prove a great convenience to the farmers and business men. W.J. Slater, one of the village's leading merchants, is president. R.F. Lee is vice president and F.W. Howe, an expert accountant and experienced business man, is cashier.
Cherry Valley's Stores
The residents of Cherry Valley do not have to leave their own village for things needed in the home or on the farm.
Slater & Son conduct a large grocery and dry goods establishment, carrying a carefully selected stock of goods, and have an attentive staff of clerks.
C.B. Culver, another reliable merchant, operated a grocery business and also carries a big stock of hardware. Mr. Culver is one of the progressive citizens, and his store is strongly patronized.
Alphonso King, a graduate pharmacist and chemist, owns a drug store in which is always found an assorted line of patent drugs and medicines, and everything required to fill prescriptions rapidly and correctly.
R.F. Lee conducts a very successful hardware and lumber business and is another progressive citizen, always with an eye to the welfare of the town.
Jordan Brothers own a meat and grocery store in which much business is done and where many good things to eat may be found at any time. The firm believes in giving every buyer a square deal.
Hyland Brothers operate the coal and grain business and own the elevator which has a large capacity and is well located along the railroad tracks.
C.J. Carlson has a fine confectionery parlor where cigars, candles, soda water and pop can be bought.
George Burke's general blacksmithy completes the village's business places and is a favorite stopping place for farmers.
The High School
Cherry Valley has a $15,000 high school which will rank with any country school. It is a large and handsome building and its faculty includes Prof. Ray Clynight, principal, and the Misses McManners, Sterling and Knowles. The board of school trustees has the following officers:
Cherry Valley's Churches
The church, which has always been an early settler wherever the American made his home, is not absent from Cherry Valley. Dr. A.D. Traveller, district superintendent of the Methodist Church, is a citizen of Cherry Valley, and the village has a live and flourishing Methodist Church. This was started in 1854 by Rev. H.L. Martin. The last conference assigned Rev. C.F. Kuhn to the pastorate.
The Free Will Baptist Church was erected in 1874 and cost $3,500. The Universal Church edifice was erected in 1854, but in a few years the church was abandoned, and the building is now used by a Swedish religious society.
C.C. Case is Cherry Valley's supervisor, L.H. Brown is town clerk and John Fallon is assessor. The tax collector is G.M. Crosby, and the highway commissioners are Moses Cassidy, T.W. Madigan and Barz Kennedy. S.E. Hall and F.E. Pell are justices of the peace. The constables are John Hiltner Jr. and Luke Kehoe.
Village is Dry One
Cherry Valley voted for local option two years ago, and there are no saloons. The anti-saloon faction out-numbers the wets, but the latter have filed a petition and proposed to make a fight for saloons. The drys are confident, however, that the village will remain dry, and a Law and Order League, with Herbert Traveller as president, has been organized to give battle to the brewers' hosts.
A Town of Manly Sports
And when it comes to genuine manly sports the village hasn't an equal in the middle west. It has been the home of many excellent track horses and incidentally the abiding place of many good ball players. Its ball team is always a winner in its class and during last season the village was represented by an unusually fast team.
Several Fine Horses
Right now there are several fine horses at the village. C.B. Kimlin, familiarly known as McGinnis, as veteran horseman is making his permanent home in the village. In his stables he has several fast horses and incidentally it might be said that he was the owner of Belfast when he made the Wisconsin state record a couple of years ago. When the Republic staff correspondent and photographer called at the Kimlin stables they were shown a string of well bred horses, some that have established themself on the track and others that have promise of speed. Bird Crattan, with a record of 17 1/4, was campaigned last season by Mr. Kimlin and was in the money ten times out of eleven starts. Its record was made at LaCrosse after a hotly contested race. This mare is a half sister to Solon Grattan, John R. Thompson's horse that established a new state record at Libertyville about three years ago. Birt Grattan is by Grattan and the dam is by Tom Hal.
Nettie Posie by Baron Posie, dam Nettie Phalmont by Phalmont, is another of Kimlin's. This horse hasn't been tracked yet but she is expected to get down pretty close to the :19(?) class.
Kimlin also has a handsome four-year-old black stallion by Bruce Buckner, dam Camiloi by Dictator. Camiloi has six colts under 2:30. This stallion won second money in Chicago at the horse show and has won a prize every time he has been shown. He will be shipped to Chicago to the sale which opens there February 22d.
Herb Traveller, a prominent citizen of the village, is also a lover of go(o)d horse flesh and for the past several years has been very successful with fast steppers. He trained Dame Twit, Blackbird, Expedite and several other horses well-known in Rockford. At present he has a promising cold in Alica A. by Diamond Jim, dam Pauline by Sphinx.
Gene Keep just at present is jogging his fine stallion, Honest David by Morris M. He is one of the finest pieces of horse flesh in the village. Incidentally it might be mentioned that he was named after David Hunter. [--Rockford Republic, February 11, 1910]
CHERRY VALLEY TO CELEBRATE 100TH BIRTHDAY
Opening Event To Be Staged Night of July 1
Cherry Valley, which appeared on early maps of northern Illinois as Ancient Mounds long before Germanicus Kent and Thatcher Blake arrived from Galena to establish the settlement which later became the city of Rockford, is celebrating its centennial this year. First event on the celebration schedule will be a program to be presented Wednesday night, July 1, when Genoa's centennial caravan arrives in the village. Led by a covered wagon, drawn by a team of oxen, the Genoa caravan will start Wednesday, June 24, from the old customs house at Galena on a trip on the old Galena-St. Charles plank road, the oldest thoroughfare in northern Illinois.
Stops will be made by the caravan to advertise the Genoa centennial celebration at Elizabeth, Stockton, Freeport, Pecatonica, Winnebago, Rockford, Cherry Valley, and Genoa. When it arrives in Cherry Valley, a program, which may include a street dance, will be presented. Mayor C.J. Hyland of Cherry Valley announced last night that a committee he will appoint will be in charge of the affair. Another event in observance of the Cherry Valley centennial wil be a homecoming celebration to be held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11 and 12. Hundreds of former resident of the village and visitors from nearby towns are expected to attend the homecoming.
Settled in 1835
Although the landmark of Ancient Mounds appeared on early maps of this territory, the site of the Village of Cherry Valley was not settled until 1835, when Joseph P. Griggs built a small cabin on the west side of Kishwaukee river. James Works, who later purchased the tract from Griggs, sold it to Edwin Fitch, who laid out the village and filed the plat for record on Nov. 17, 1849. Other early settlers were the three Gleason brothers, A.C., S.W., and W., and Densley Kiser, who arrived about 100 years ago. John Waterman operated Cherry Valley's first store, Joseph Riddelle was the first postmaster, and the first hotel was the Ingram tavern. The Galena and Chicago Union railroad, now the Chicago and North Western, was completed to Cherry Valley in February, 1852. [Rockford Morning Star, June 14, 1936]
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