Winnebago County, Illinois
PUBLISHED BY THE ROCKFORD MORNING STAR; THE CLARK COMPANY PRESS 1903
"And he gave it for his opinion that whoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind." --DEAN SWIFT.
In the making of a volume which would convey accurate biographies and faithful likenesses of those who have contributed their genius and energy toward Rockford's great progress, the publishers acknowledge the co-operation of many citizens, reference to Church's History of Rockford, work of review and compilation by W. W. Austin.
GERMANICUS KENT is entitled to the distinction of being the founder of this, today, beautiful ' Forest City," of the west. Mr. Kent was born in Suffield, Connecticut, May 31, 1790, and inherited those sterling qualities which were characteristic of the early English settlers in the New World." He acquired a practical business education and for some years was engaged in mercantile pursuits at Blacksburg, Virginia, and at Huntsville, Alabama. He was married to Miss Arabella Amiss, at Blacksburg, Virginia, June 7, 1827. The business interests of Mr. Kent being in the south and having married a southern woman, he doubtless acquiesced in the social institutions of that section, as it is known that he owned slaves and brought one with him to his western home. A brother. Rev. Aratus Kent, was located as a missionary at Galena, Illinois, a mining town of considerable note at that time, and Mr. Kent made it his objective point in seeking a new location, where he hoped to better his financial interests.
Upon arriving in Galena, he made the acquaintance of Thatcher Blake, who was also in quest of a desirable location. Mr. Blake was born in Oxford County, Maine, March 16, 1809, where he resided until 1834, when he went as far west as St. Louis. There he learned of the thriving mining town of Galena, and immediately made his way there. As soon as definite plans could be matured, Mr. Kent and Mr. Blake joined interests and started out across the virgin prairies and through the unbroken forests of Illinois in quest of a favorable spot where they might make a home and acquire a fortune. After a thorough inspection of the Pecatonica and Rock River valleys they finally determined to locate upon the banks of Rock River, the present site of the city of Rockford.
It was on a quiet Sunday afternoon in the month of August on the 24th day of the month, that these pioneers arrived at their destination. In the party were Messrs. Kent. Blake, Evans, and another man whose name is unknown, Mr. Kent gave employment and wages to those who came with him and immediately commenced the building of a log cabin, which was located on the west bank of the river, near Kent's creek and on the Kent claim. Another log cabin was built on a claim located by Mr. Blake.
As the season for agricultural work had passed when they arrived, their attention was given to making improvements. During the fall of that year, Mr. Kent built a second and more pretentious home, into which he brought his family from Galena, in May, 1835.
Mr. Kent secured workmen from Galena and with their aid constructed a dam in Kent's creek and a saw mill upon its banks. The timber for the mill was cut near by and the material for the dam was found in the immediate vicinity. He also carried on a merchandising business and supplied his neighbors with goods on credit. The following January the dam was swept away by the ice and high water. In the early spring, work was begun on the digging of a race and the construction of a new dam. The task was completed in July. This dam occasioned the overflow of so much land, that it was removed several years later. Mr. Kent had invested his money in labor, improvements, and merchandise, but, as yet, had been able to get but little in return, so that the financial crash of 1837 left him in distress and without prospects of future success. He surrendered his property for the benefit of his creditors, and in 1844 returned, with his family, to Virginia, where, after engaging in business at various places, he died, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Mary Irby Black, in Blacksburg. in March, 1862. Mr. Blake cultivated his farm until 1851 , when he removed to the city and engaged in the real estate business, and in this connection handled large areas of timber land in Wisconsin. He died October 8, 1880. Mrs. Blake died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Clarence Bean, in this city. Could Germanicus Kent look out today upon the spot where his early struggles returned nothing but bitter disappointment, he would see a picture, the beauty of which would richly repay him for all the sorrow and sadness occasioned by his failure, and his soul would rest in peace.
His name will be honored and his memory perpetuated, by the successive generations that follow, so long as water shall flow in Kent's creek and the masonry endure in the Kent school.
FIRST SETTLER ON THE EAST SIDE.
On April 9, 1835, Daniel Shaw Haight, accompanied by several other men, arrived on the east bank of the river, in quest of a desirable location for settlement This locality is now called East Rockford.
Mr. Haight was from Bolton, Warren County, New York, and had made a claim near Geneva, in Kane County, Illinois. He sold this claim before selecting one on Rock River. His first house stood on the northeast comer of State and Madison streets. He brought his wife and one child, Miss Carey, his wife's sister, and a hired man from Geneva to his new home, in May. Thus Mrs. Mary Haight and her sister, Miss Carey, were the first white women to settle in Winnebago County. Mrs. Kent arriving a few weeks later, on the West Side.
As one drives over the smoothly paved streets, traverses the concrete walks, rides through the principal streets in a car, propelled by an electric current, over ribs of steel, places a little instrument to his ear and talks with friends near or remote as though they were sitting side by side, looks at the fine business blocks and imposing public buildings, the beautiful residences, and public parks, listens to the constant throb and beat of the machinery in hundreds of manufacturing concerns, mingles in the throngs of thousands of happy, prosperous people in the business streets, rides in a horseless carriage, reads the news from all parts of the world, fresh from the daily presses of the city, it is difficult to realize, that, less than three score and ten years ago this part of Illinois was but a trackless wilderness of grass, flowers, and forest trees, where the birds awoke the morning with their sweet melodies and the native wild animals roamed at will. The beautiful homes and luxuries of living enjoyed by the people of Rockford today are only the legitimate sequences of the deprivations and indomitable energies of the pioneers.
GROWTH OF THE FOREST CITY IN 1835.
The first public religious service in Rockford was held at the home of Germanicus Kent, in June, 1835, by the Rev. Aratus Kent, at which the entire community was present, making an audience of ten people. Among the settlers of 1834, not yet referred to, may be mentioned Thatcher Blake, Albert Sanford and Mr. Van Zant. In 1835 several people from the south and east were added to the colony. Among them were John Wood, James B. Martyn and James Boswell. Closely following these were Eliphalet Gregory, who died in 1876, Samuel Gregory, who died in New York in 1886, and Ephriam Wyman, after whom a street is named, and who died in 1893.
Levi Moulthrop, M. D. who has the distinction of being the first physician to locate in Winnebago County, arrived in 1835. He married Miss Margaret George, June 30, 1840 and died September 12, of the same year.
Richard Montague came in 1835 and died in 1878. He has memorials in the name of one of the city schools and streets. Adam Keith, after whom Keith's creek is named, arrived during this year. He died in Nebraska in 1883.
William E. Dunbar was one of the county organizers and served as county recorder from 1839 to 1843. He died in 1847.
P.P. Churchill was a farmer, near town. He died in 1889.
Among the arrivals of 1835 may be mentioned, also, the names John Vance, John Caton, Joseph Jolly, Charles Hall, Lewis Haskins, Milton Kilburn, William Smith, Luke Joslin, Israel Morrill, D. A. Spaulding, Lova Corey, Alonson Corey, Abel Campbell, Ezra Barnum, Anson Barnum, James Taylor, William Hollen- beck, V. Carter, Joseph F. Sanford, Jonathan Corey, Daniel Beers, Mason Tuttle, Mr. Noble, Squire Garner, Gaylor, Perry, Norton, Phineas Carey, Jefferson Garner, Nathan Bond, Charles J. Fox and James Broadie. Thus it will be seen that the population of Rockford was considerably increased during the second year of its history.
ACQUISITIONS OF 1836.
During the year 1836. the colony was enlarged by the arrival of a number of pioneers, who became important factors in the material welfare of the new town. Among them was Thomas Lake, who came from the county of Somerset, England, and landed in New York in 1832, after a voyage of fifty-two days. He arrived in Chicago in October 1835, and came to Rockford the following spring, bringing with him an old acquaintance, Sidney Twogood. Mr. Lake made a claim to a farm and the two men worked at the carpenter trade. Mr. Lake died in Guilford in 1886.
Herman B. Potter, a native of Connecticut, arrived in October and bought a farm, as was the practice of many of the early settlers, on what is now the Kishwaukee road. Later he moved to town and built a house where the First Congregational church now stands. Mr. Potter served as a member of the county commissioners' court, and was one of Rockford's prominent citizens. He died in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1880.
Selden M. Church was born in East Haddam, Connecticut, March 4, 1804, and came to Chicago by team, in 1835, and arrived in Rockford in the fall of 1836. Mr. Church immediately became one of the most prominent and helpful of Rockford's citizens. He contributed largely to the business interests of the town. He served as postmaster, county clerk and county judge, retaining the latter office for a term of eight years. In 1847 he was a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention. He was a member of the legislature in 1862, a member of the State Board of Charities in 1868, and a government commissioner to locate a bridge at Rock Island. After a residence in Rockford of fifty-six years, accomplishing much for the best interests of those who inherit the fruits of his labor, Judge Church passed away in 1892.
Mr. and Mrs. Abiram Morgan were of New England extraction and came from Massachusetts to Rockford in the fall of 1836. They established a home on what is now known as the Horsman block, where they were joined, a little later, by their daughter, who had contracted a romantic marriage with Charles J. Horseman while attending school at the Charleston Seminary. Mr. and Mrs. Horsman retained possession of this property the remainder of their days
Sampson George arrived in Rockford from England in September and acquired a large tract of land, but lived only five weeks to enjoy the country of his adoption. He died in his new home and his remains now rest in the west side cemetery.
Dr. Charles Henry Richings was born in England, February 26, 1815, and received his medical education in Belgium. He was the second physician to locate in Rockford. where he enjoyed a large practice. He died August 13, 1884, but his memory, as a citizen and a physician, is perpetuated in the name and practice of his son, Dr. Henry Richings, who is now a well known resident physician.
Hiram R. Enoch was a native of Ohio, and while a resident of Rockford was elected to office of county treasurer, which he held eight years. He was the editor and proprietor of the Rockford Journal and one of the influential citizens. He died in the government's employ in Washington, D. C.
Isaac Newton Cunningham, who arrived in Rockford during this year was the second sheriff of the county. He died here December 24, 1865. Joseph Posson came from New York and lived on a farm east of town for four years. He removed to Rockford in 1842 where he died of injuries received while building a cooper shop on the corner of Second and Madison streets, the same year. His son, H. A. Posson, is one of the oldest living residents of Rockford township.
David S. Shumway was a native of Vermont. He settled on a farm in New Milford, where he reared a large family. His son, Roland H. Shumway. Sr., is the well known seedsman, who has acquired a fortune in this business.
The names of many of the early settlers are made familiar to the present generation by their being given to our public buildings and streets, which affords a practical lesson in the history of the city.
ORGANIZATION OF THE COUNTY 1836
A history of the City of Rockford would not be complete without reference being made to the organization of the County of Winnebago and the location of the county seat, as much of the importance of the city is due to the fact that it has the honor of containing this location.
Whenever a new settlement was made in the new territory, local government was essential to the permanency and success of the colony. The attention of the state legislature, which was in session at Vandalia, was called to this matter in 1835. At this time, Cook, LaSalle and Jo Daviess counties extended from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi river. Out of this vast territory, eight counties have been formed.
On the 16th of January, 1836, the state legislature approved an act providing for the organization of McHenry, Winnebago, Kane, Ogle and Whiteside counties, and the reorganization of Jo Daviess county. This act determined the specific geographical boundaries of the several counties. Those for Winnebago County embraced a much larger territory than it at present contains, as all of Boone County and the two eastern ranges of townships in Stephenson were included. Thus Winnebago County was carved out of LaSalle and Jo Daviess counties, that portion east of the third principal meridian being taken from LaSalle and that west of this meridian from Jo Daviess. The northern and southern boundaries of Winnebago County remain as at first outlined This act of the legislature also directed that an election should be held at the house of Germanicus Kent on the first Monday in May for the purpose of electing a sheriff, coroner, recorder, surveyor and three county commissioners, who should hold their offices until the next succeeding general election and until their successors were qualified. This election was not held in May as directed, however, as the law provided that no county should be organized until a majority of the voters of the prospective county had addressed a petition for the same to the judge of the sixth judicial circuit, or, in his absence, to another circuit judge, and to give satisfactory proof that the proposed county contained not less than 350 white inhabitants. A census was taken by Dr. Daniel H. Whitney, of Belvidere, which resulted in demonstrating that the required number of white inhabitants had been found. A petition was at once forwarded to Judge Thomas H. Ford, who issued an order, dated July 15, 1836, for an election to be held at the house of .Daniel S Haight on the first Monday in August, for the aforesaid county officers. The legislature designated the time and place for holding this election, but as the organization of the county depended upon a prescribed number of inhabitants, another section of the law, referred the selection of the time and place to the judge of the circuit. Germanicus Kent, Joseph P. Griggs and Robert J. Cross were chosen judges of this election. A deep interest was manifested in this, the first election in the county. A member of congress and two representatives to the state legislature were to be chosen, as well as the local officers, but the selection of candidates for county commissioners overshadowed all other interests at issue.
This election marked the beginning of rivalry between the east and west side of the river which has never been entirely eliminated. No caucus or convention was called, and the factions divided the honors. Simon P. Doty was the candidate for commissioner from the eastern part of the county, Thomas B. Talcott from the northern part and William E Dunbar the compromise choice of the two "sides." The election was held on the first Monday in August as directed. No printed ballots were used, but a viva voce was taken and this made it easy for those interested to know exactly how matters stood at any time during the election. D. A. Spaulding was made clerk of the election. One hundred and twenty votes were cast, and Simon P. Doty, Thomas B. Talcott and William E. Dunbar were elected county commissioners; Daniel S. Haight. sheriff; Daniel H. Whitney, recorder; Eliphalet Gregory, coroner; and D. A. Spaulding. surveyor. At this time there were only three congressional districts in the state and Winnebago was in the third district, which extended from the Wisconsin boundary to a line south of Springfield and entirely across the state from east to west.
The northern half of the state was sparsely settled, the entire tract constituting the congressional district. At this first election William L. May, who resided at Springfield, and was the democratic candidate for congress received seventy-three votes. His opponent. John T. Stewart, received forty-four votes, thus giving Mr. May a majority of twenty-nine votes and he was declared elected. He served two years.
The senatorial district in which Winnebago County was included, previous to 1840, covered the Rock River Valley and extended from Dubuque nearly to St. Louis This vast area was entitled to one senator and two representatives in the legislature At this election there were five candidates for the lower house. James Craig and Elijah Charles were elected.
Monday, August 1st, 1836 marked the beginning of the political history of Winnebago County, the election held on that day completing the organization of a county destined to become one of the foremost in the state.
LOCATION OF THE COUNTY SEAT 1836
The act of the legislature providing for the organization of Winnebago County also made provision for the location of the county seat by designating Robert Stephens and Rezin Zarley of Cook County, and John Phelps as commissioners to act in this capacity, The commissioners were authorized to meet on the first Monday in May, 1836, or as soon thereafter as may be, at the house of Daniel S. Haight for this purpose. John Phelps never made an appearance, but the other two commissioners met at the place designated on the 14th of July, of that year, and after spending two days in the consideration of the matter, agreed upon a location. This selection was embodied in a report made by the special commissioners' to the county commissioners court on August 4. 1836. This report set forth that they had met as directed and had selected a site, on lands owned by Nicholas Boilvin & Co., on condition that the proprietors should execute a warranty deed to the county of thirty acres of land so long as it should remain the seat of justice. On the same day, Charles Reed presented to the county commissioners a deed of twelve blocks, containing two and one-half acres each, situated about two miles above the ferry crossing, conditioned that it should belong to the county so long as it remained the seat of justice.
The report of the special commissioners was rejected by the county commissioners upon good and sufficient grounds, and it was ordered that the circuit and county commissioners courts should be held at the house of Daniel S. Haight, until the matter of location be determined by the people. This contention between Boilvin &. Co., and the county commissioners as to the location of the county seat was continued for a period of several years and led to an enactment by the state legislature, approved March 2, 1839, submitting the question to a popular vote and providing that an election for this purpose should be held on the first Monday in May, 1839.
Charles Reed had been the moving spirit in the interests of Boilvin & Co., in the effort to locate the seat of justice at Winnebago, the point referred to up the river. He was a shrewd business manager, but as the results of the election will show, was doomed to disappointment. The law provided that if a majority of one hundred of the votes cast should be in favor of Winnebago, that town should remain the permanent county seat. At the election six towns were in the race for county seat honors, of which Rockford received three hundred and twenty votes; Winnebago seventy-five; Roscoe, two; Willow Creek, five; Pecatonica, one; and Scipio one, out of a total of four hundred and four. Rockford having received a majority of two hundred and thirty-six votes carried off the victory and secured the plum upon which it has since fattened to rotund proportions.
Winnebago lost its prestige and gradually declined, until in 1847 its plat was vacated by special act of the state legislature, and Charles Reed, its promoter, removed to Rockton, where he died August 26, 1863.
Pursuant to the result of the election in favor of Rockford, the county commissioners, on June 8, 1839, selected the public square on the east side of the river as the site for the location of the court house. Considerable material was donated and placed upon the ground for this building, but the work of construction was delayed for the want of funds. On September 28, 1841, a proposition was made to the county commissioners by a number of West Side residents to furnish suitable quarters for the county offices and a jail in West Rockford. This proposition was accepted by the commissioners, conditioned upon the execution of a bond for $1 ,000 for the faithful performance of these undertakings.
On December 11 the building for the use of the county offices was reported to be ready for occupancy. It was located on the ground now occupied by the Mead block, on South Main street. The donors were given five months in which to complete the jail. This was a log structure and was located on the east side of the present court house square.
It would seem that now the location of the county seat was definitely settled, but that was not the fact. The contention was started by those interested in the Winnebago site, as to the legality of the May, 1839, election. The point at issue was, whether the law authorized an election to select a site for the seat of justice or simply for its removal.
The county commissioners, at their meeting in September, 1841, each expressed a different opinion in relation to the matter, thus creating a dead-lock, so that nothing was definitely settled.
On May 10, 1842, the commissioners asked the written opinion of the county attorneys as to the effect of the popular vote of 1839. The unanimous opinion of the bar was to the effect that the county seat had been changed from Winnebago to Rockford, in accordance with the evident intent of the law.
At the session of the commissioners' court in July, 1842, the judges of the election in the several precincts were authorized to take the sense of the voters at the August election on the question as to whether the county buildings should be located in East or West Rockford. The verdict seemed to be in favor of West Rockford.
In April, 1843, Daniel Haight and others, submitted a proposition to the county commissioners, to build a court house and jail on the East side to cost $4,000. This proposition could not then be accepted. A few days later West side citizens submitted a similar proposition, agreeing to erect such buildings as the commissioners might determine necessary, and for which they were to submit plans and to begin their construction before the first day of the following June, and to complete them before the first day of January, 1844. The donors were to deed to the county two and one-half acres of land upon which the buildings were to be placed. This proposition was accepted with the following conditions, viz.: good and sufficient security in the sum of $20,000 within twenty days, the buildings to be worth not less than $6,000, to make a written contract to erect the buildings proposed, and this contract to be placed in the hands of the clerk within three days after its approval. These conditions were all complied with. The commissioners designated block twenty-five in West Rockford, as the place for the erection of the buildings. After a contention of seven years the county seat had been permanently located in Rockford, on the west side of the river.
The brick jail was completed and occupied January 1, 1844. The wooden court house was completed and accepted by the commissioners in July. The buildings were furnished by the people of West Rockford without expense to the county.
The first term of court was held in August, 1844. The presiding judge was Thomas C. Brown, James Mitchell was the clerk, and G. A. Sanford sheriff.
SETTLERS OF 1837
As in previous years, Rockford enjoyed the acquisition of a class of people to its citizenship during 1837 that constituted a valuable element in the development of its future possibilities. It may be said that Rockford was exceedingly fortunate in its early days in being selected as the place of residence of so large a number of liberal minded and public spirited men, who exerted their energies and expended their means in the permanent up building of their home town. Progress in the development of those features that embellish and adorn a beautiful city kept pace with the increase of population. Shade tress were planted, parks were established and the log cabins were replaced by more comfortable and pretentious buildings. During this year the first lawyer of the town, John C. Kemble, opened an office on South Madison street in connection with Dr. Goodrich. Mr. Kemble was a man of much ability and had been a member of the general assembly of New York. Ex-Governor Marcy and wife of New York, were guests at the Kemble home during the summer. Mr. Kemble lost his reason, and was taken to an eastern asylum, where he died in 1840. He had two sons, one of whom died in Italy and the other established the California Star, the first English newspaper in San Francisco.
John Lake was born March 27, 1821, in Selwonhy Parish, England, and emigrated to America in 1837, arriving in Rockford in December of that year. He acquired the carpenter's trade, became a contractor and builder, and engaged in the lumber business with Phineas Howes from 1852 to 1856. After a visit to Europe, he re-engaged in the lumber business with Mr. Howes, and sold out to Cook &. Brother in 1859. In 1850 he again engaged in the lumber business with Henry Fisher on the West side, which partnership was continued to 1867, when he returned to Europe for an extended visit. Returning in 1 868 he formed a co-partnership with Seely Perry and engaged in the lumber business on the East side during the next six years. He visited Europe in 1874, 1877. 1889 and 1891. Mr. Lake was connected with the Rockford Insurance Company during its business life. He represented the Second ward in the Council for ten consecutive years. He has been a supervisor and chairman of the Board of Education. He was married to Miss Almeda M. Danley, of Harlem, October 11. 1849.
Henry Thurston and his son, John H., arrived in March from Troy, New York. John H. was married and resided in Rockford until the death of his wife in 1890. For more than forty years their home was in the brick house on South Madison street, which was used as an annex for the high school for several years. Mr. Thurston published his Reminiscences of Pioneer Life, in 1891, which have been highly appreciated by all classes of readers. He died September 19, 1896.
Samuel D. Preston came to Rockford from New York, and resided on North Madison street and later where the Rockford Lumber and Fuel Company's office now stands. He was a prominent business man and a public office holder, being county treasurer four years. He died February 11, 1844.
Eleazer Hubble Potter was born in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and upon his arrival in Rockford formed a co-partnership with Samuel D. Preston and engaged in business. He was prominent in church and educational interests, and was one of Rockford's early bankers. He built the house now occupied by the Rev. Mead Holmes, and later the fine residence now occupied by the Hon. Gilbert Woodruff. Mr. Potter died September 1, 1861. Mrs. William Lathrop is a daughter, and Commodore Potter, of Belvidere, is a son. Nathaniel Wilder was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, June 30, 1794, and came to Rockford in March, 1837. He carried on the business of blacksmithing for twenty-five years, and became the owner of considerable property. He died July 11 , 1884, aged ninety years.
Goodyear Asa Sanford was born in Hamden, Connecticut, in 1814, and came to Rockford in 1837. He at once engaged in mercantile business and was prominent in social and political affairs. He served as sheriff of the county and held the office of county school commissioner. He was a member of the banking firm of Dickerman, Wheeler & Co., which was organized January 1, 1855. In 1856 the firm name was changed to Lane, Sanford & Co. A reorganization took place in 1864, when the Second National Bank was established with Mr. Sanford as cashier. He was afterward elected to the presidency of the bank, in which capacity he served until his death in 1894. The failure of this bank occurred in 1896, and H. H. Waldo was appointed to the receivership. The liquidation was completed in 1900, when all claims were practically settled in full.
David D. Ailing was born at Westfield, Connecticut, April 27, 1813 and came to Rockford in October, 1837. He was a carpenter by trade and built the old First Congregational church, on the West side. During a residence of sixty-one years in Rockford, he was a contractor and builder and acquired considerable valuable property. He died August 1, 1898. Frank Ailing and Mrs. P. W. Dankey are his children.
John Beattie was one of the first immigrants from Ireland to this section of Illinois. He was of Scotch ancestry and was born in Ireland June 21, 1811. He was a carpenter by trade and built the old court house. He acquired valuable real estate in the city, which now belongs to the Beattie estate. Two sons, Edward W. and George D., reside in Montana, and two daughters, Mary I, and Anna in this city. Mr. Beattie died December 3, 1889.
Benjamin Kilburn was born in Belchertown, Massachusetts, August 8, 1808. He built a house on the site of the Nelson House where it remained until 1891 . He afterward purchased a quarter section of land, in the northwest part of town, upon which the stone quarry, now operated by his son-in-law, T. W. Carrico, is located. Kilburn avenue is named in his honor. Mr. Kilburn died in 1860.
John Miller, the second resident lawyer, arrived during this year. He was a popular orator and took an active part as a Whig in the campaign of 1840.
There were probably a score of other arrivals during the year, among whom might be mentioned Elisha A. Kirk, Levi Taft, William Twogood, Eli Hall, Lewis Keith, P. S. Doolittle, Joseph Hayes and William Peters.
The late Judge Selden M. Church is authority for the statement that the total population of the county in June, 1837, was 1,086.
BUILDINGS IN 1838
Sixty-seven years ago there were only four buildings north of State street in West Rockford : the ferry house on the site of the public library (not the Carnegie building); Abiram Morgan's log house, on the site of the Horsman residence; a log cabin on the river bank, north of the ferry- house, and a board house near the site of the A. D. Forbes residence.
South of State street there were quite a number of cabins, among which was a log house near the corner of State and Main streets; D. D. Alling's house in block one, south of State street ; a house opposite the present post office ; another on the corner north of the Northwestern depot ; Benjamin Kilburn's home on site of the Nelson House ; Kent's house and mill, near Kent's creek and W. E. Dunbar's house, south of the creek.
On the east side of the river were a greater number of buildings, among them, the Rockford House, the only hotel between Belvidere and Freeport ; Bundy & Goodhue's store on the corner of State and Madison streets ; south of this was the Haight building, which contained the post office; Potter & Preston's store stood on the corner of State and Madison streets ; east of Potter & Preston's store was the foundation of the Washington House, Daniel Haight's house and Worthington & Searle's drug store. East of the alley on State street was Samuel Little's saloon, the first in Rockford ; Samuel Corey's house, William Penfield's blacksmith shop and Dr. David Goodrich's house, in the rear of which was a log schoolhouse. Anson Barnum's double log house, on the site of the car barns, and the houses of John Phelps, John C. Kemble, James Clark, Thomas Lake, Sidney Twogood, John Vance, James Boswell and Jacob Posson.
The Winnebago House was built in 1838 by Dr. Haskell, on the site of Andrew Ashton's store. This was the first brick store built north of Rock Island, on Rock river. The building was first used as a store and later converted into a hotel.
CHRISTENING AND INCORPORATION OF THE VILLAGE
"What's in a name," is as applicable to a town or city as to an individual. Possibly less significance is attached to the names of towns derived from individuals than from any other source. There is no particular significance in the names Smithville, Jonesville or Brownville, further than the fact that Smith, Jones or Brown was the first settler and perpetuated his name in that of the town. The name Rockford is unique and attractive, when compared with that of Kentville or Haightville if a name of a first settler had been perpetuated in the name of the town.
The first suggestion of a name was made by Mrs. Kent, which was Midway, as the town was located about midway between Chicago and Galena, but what significance would there be in the name today? This name was recognized for several years and what little mail found its way to this community was addressed to " Midway, Rock River, Jo Daviess County, Illinois."
Under date of October 17, 1837, Mr. Kent writes a letter from Rockford, Illinois. It is not fully certain as to who proposed this name or when, but doubtless the first semi-official action was taken by Daniel S. Haight, Germanicus Kent, William H. Gilman of Belvidere, John P. Chapin and Ebinezer Peck of Chicago, and Stephen Edgel of St. Louis, who met in the office of Dr. Goodhue, on Lake street, in Chicago, on business connected with their mill privilege located at this place. It is said that Dr. Goodhue proposed the name Rockford, on account of the rock-bottom ford in the river at this point. At least, these gentlemen unanimously adopted this name at this time, which was in the year 1835. The general law of 1831, made provision for the incorporation of towns in the state that had a population of not less than one hundred and fifty white males over twenty-one years of age. In 1839, the people of Rockford felt that it would be to the advantage of the community to take the benefit of this act. Accordingly notices were posted, calling a meeting of citizens at the Rockford House, on April 1, 1839. At this meeting David Goodrich was chosen chairman and James Mitchell clerk. It was resolved that the two villages of Rockford, east and west sides of Rock river, be incorporated into one town. Committees were appointed to ascertain the number of inhabitants, to draft an act of incorporation and to confer with Mr. Brinkerhoff in relation to free ferriage for the people of the county. An adjourned meeting was held April 3rd, but no business was transacted. A second adjourned meeting was held on the evening of the 4th inst., at which the reports of the committees were submitted. The census committee reported the population to be 235. The committee to draft an act of incorporation presented an acceptable document, and the committee to confer with the ferryman made a favorable report, upon which the meeting, by a two-thirds vote, completed the act of incorporation. An election for five trustees was held April 10, at which Dr. Goodhue, Daniel S. Haight, Samuel Little, Ephriam Wyman, and Isaiah Lyon were elected. These trustees organized by electing Daniel S. Haight, President ; Anson Barnum, clerk ; John C. Kemble, attorney ; Isaiah Lyon, collector and treasurer ; Henry Thurston, assessor for first district; Nathaniel Wilder, for the third district; and S. D. Peterson, for the fourth district. Thus Rockford entered upon its municipal career as an incorporated village, which continued until January, 1852
In 1851 the people of the village felt that the town had outgrown its limited municipal environments and that better facilities for the conduct of its corporate affairs should be secured. Prompted by this sentiment, a call was signed by Jason Marsh, G. A. Sanford, Willard Wheeler, Isaiah Lyon, George Wyatt, Newton Crawford, C. I. Horsman, W. .A. Dickerman, W. P. Dennis, Jesse Blinn and William Hulin, for a meeting of citizens to be held at the court house on November 29th, to take action in the matter of incorporating as a city. It was resolved at this meeting to submit the matter to a vote of the people ,and for this purpose the village trustees ordered an election to be held on January 3, 1852. At this election, the votes were cast in favor of organizing under the general law of 1849, and the city government of Springfield was adopted as a basis of organization
The first city election was held April 19, 1852, at which Willard Wheeler was chosen mayor. The alderman elected were : Sumner Damon, First ward; E. H. Potter, Second ward; H. N. Spalding, Third ward; C. N. Andrews, Fourth ward. William Lathrop was appointed clerk.
An ordinance was passed creating the following city officers; clerk of the council, attorney, treasurer, marshal, assessor, collector, engineer and two street commissioners. These officers were to be appointed annually by the city council, at its first regular meeting after the first annual municipal election. At the second session of the council, held May 1 , the following city officers were appointed : William Lathrop, attorney ; Hiram R. Maynard, treasurer ; Duncan Ferguson, assessor; K. H. Milliken, collector; Dun- can Ferguson, city engineer ; Thatcher Blake and William McKenney, street commissioners. A special act of the legislature, of June 18, 1852, authorized the city to issue bonds, not exceeding $10,000 in amount, with which to build a bridge across the river. This sum not being sufficient, a second act was passed February 3, 1853, authorizing the issue of $15,000 in bonds, and the first act was repealed. From the sale of these bonds a covered bridge was built in 1854.
There being some technical irregularity in the incorporation of the city, a special act of the legislature was passed and approved February 8, 1853, legalizing the previous official acts of the mayor and council.
A special charter was granted to the city, by the legislature, March 4, 1854, and the general law of 1849 was declared to be no longer in force, so far as Rockford was concerned, except for the completion of matter already begun under the old law.
This charter was amended February 14, 1853, April 26, 1859 and February 22, 1861.
"An Act of the legislature to reduce' the charter of the City of Rockford, and the several Acts amendatory thereof into one Act and to revise and amend the same," was approved February 15, 1865.
Rockford was governed by this charter until the city was reorganized under the general law. This general law, enacted in 1872, repealed the general law of 1849, and abolished the system of special charters.
Previous to 1887, the mayor was elected annually. A complete roster of the city officials, since its organization in 1852 to 1903, is appended.
1852. Mayor, Willard Wheeler. Aldermen first ward, Sumner Damon; second ward, E. H. Potter; third ward, H. N. Spaulding; fourth ward, C. N. Andrews; City Clerk, William Lathrop; City Attorney, William Lathrop; City Treasurer, H. R. Raymond; Police Marshall, John Platt.
1853. Mayor, Hiram R. Maynard. Aldermen, first ward, A. Hitchcock; second ward, H. D. Searles; third ward, U. M. Warner; fourth ward, C. N. Andrews; City Clerk, J. K. Farwell; City Attorney, L. F. Warner; City Treasurer, E. L. Fuller; Police Marshal, Willard Wheeler.
1854. Mayor, N. M. Warner; Aldermen, first ward, A. Hitchcock; second ward, Jason Marsh: third ward, T. D. Robertson; fourth ward, Newton Crawford; City Clerk, L. F. Warner. City Attorney, L. F. Warner; City Treasurer, B. G. Wheeler; Police Marshal, John Travis.
1855. Mayor, Edward Vaughn; Aldermen, first ward, P. B. Crosby; second ward, Jason Marsh; third ward, Henry Fisher; fourth ward, Newton Crawford; fifth ward, John P. Manny; City Clerk, S. W. Stanley; City Attorney, L. F. Warner; City Treasurer, B. G. Wheeler; Police Marshal, James Dame.
1856. Mayor, James L. Loop; Aldermen, first ward, P. B. Crosby; second ward, P. Hower; third ward, T. D. Robertson; fourth ward, Isaac Andrus; fifth ward, J. G. Manlove; City Clerk, H. H. Hatch; City Attorney, Orrin Miller, Jr.; City Treasurer, G. A. Sanford; Police Marshal, Ira Baker.
1857. Mayor, William Brown; Aldermen, first ward, John Spafford; second ward, P. Howes; third ward, D. D. Ailing; fourth ward, Isaac Andrus; fifth ward, J. G. Manlove; City Clerk, Edward Vaughn; City Attorney, James M. Wight; City Treasurer, G. A. Sanford; Police Marshals, W. P. Dennis and J. E. Langdon.
1858. Mayor, Seeley Perry; Aldermen', first ward, John Spafford; second ward, George Troxell, Jr.; third ward, D. D. Ailing; fourth ward, H. W. Loomis; fifth ward, J. G. Man- love; City Clerk, L. W. Burnham; City Attorney, H. D. Adams; City Treasurer, A C. Spafford; Police Marshal, E. C. Roberts.
1859. Mayor, Charles Williams; Alder- men, first ward, R. A. Bird; second ward, George Troxell, Jr.; third ward, Daniel Dow; fourth ward, H. W. Loomis; fifth ward, J. G. Manlove; City Clerk, Porter Sheldon; City Attorney, Porter Sheldon; City Treasurer, A. C. Spafford; Police Marshals, M. J. Upright and M. H. Regan.
1860. Mayor, Charles Williams; Aldermen, first ward, R. A. Bird; second ward, Benjamin Wingate, third ward, Daniel Dow; fourth ward, J. S. Coleman; fifth ward, J. G. Manlove; City Clerk, R C. Bailey; City Attorney, C. M. Brazee; City Treasurer, A. C. Spafford; Police Marshal, A. J. Pennock.
1861 Mayor, Charles Williams; Aldermen, first ward, C. W. Sheldon; second ward, Benjamin Wingate; third ward, Daniel Dow; fourth ward, J. S. Coleman; fifth ward, John P Manny; City Clerk, R. C. Bailey; City Attorney, C. M. Brazee; City Treasurer, N. C. Thompson; Police Marshal, Ambrose Halstead.
1862. Mayor, Charles Williams; Aldermen, first ward; Henry Strong and James B. Howell; second ward, Benjamin Wingate; third ward, Daniel Dow; fourth ward, J.S. Coleman; fifth ward, John P. Manny; City Clerk, R. C. Bailey; City Attorney, C.M. Brazee; City Treasurer, N. C. Thompson; Police Marshal, Ambrose Halstead.
1863. Mayor, Charles Williams; Aldermen, first ward, Anthony Haines; second ward, Benjamin Wingate; third ward, E. L. Godfrey; fourth ward, G.A. Sanford; fifth ward, John P Manny; City Clerk, R. C. Bailey; City Attorney, R.C. Manny; City Treasurer, N.C. Thompson; Police Marshals, John Fisher, M.J. Upright and Jeremiah Mosher.
1864. Mayor, Albert Fowler; Aldermen, first ward, Anthony Haines; second ward, John Lake; third ward, E. L Godfrey; fourth ward, G. A. Sanford; fifth ward. Freeman Graham; City Clerk, R. C. Bailey; City Attorney, C. M. Brazee; City Treasurer, R.P. Lane; Police Marshals, G.V. Carr and James Dame.
1865. Mayor, Albert Fowler; Aldermen, first ward, John H. Hall; second ward, John Lake; third ward, E. L. Godfrey; fourth ward, G. A. Sanford; fifth ward, Freeman Graham; City Clerk, R. C Bailey; City Attorney, C. M. Brazee; City Treasurer, R. P. Lane; Police Marshal James Dame.
1866. Mayor, E H. Baker; Aldermen first, ward, John H. Hall; second ward, John Lake; third ward, E. L. Godfrey; fourth ward, G. A. Sanford; fifth ward, Freeman Graham; City Clerk, O. A. Pennoyer; City Attorney, C. M. Brazee; City Treasurer. R. P. Lane; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully.
1867. Mayor. Albert Fowler; Aldermen, first ward, L. H. Potter; second ward, John Lake; third ward, James B Agard; fourth ward, G. A. Sanford; fifth ward. Freeman Graham; City Clerk, Jason Marsh; City Attorney, C. M. Brazee; City Treasurer, M. Starr; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully
1868. Mayor, Edward H. Baker; Aldermen, first ward, L. H. Potter; second ward, John Lake; third ward, James B. Agard; fourth ward, G.A. Sanford; fifth ward, Freeman Graham; City Clerk, Jason Marsh; City Attorney, C. M. Brazee; City Treasurer, George E. King; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully.
1869. Mayor, S. G. Bronson; Aldermen, first ward, L. H. Potter; second ward, John Lake; third ward, Henry Fisher; fourth ward, G.A. Sanford; fifth ward, W.D. Trahern; City Clerk, Jason Marsh; City Attorney, C.M. Brazee; City Treasurer, George E. King; Police Marshall, Thomas Sully.
1870. Mayor, S. G. Bronson; Aldermen, first ward, L. H. Potter; second ward, John Lake; third ward, Henry Fisher; fourth ward, G. A. Sanford; fifth ward, W. D. Trahern; City Clerk. Jason Marsh: City Attorney, C. M. Brazee; City Treasurer, George E. King; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully.
1871. Mayor, S. G. Bronson; Aldermen, first ward, John Spafford; second ward, John Lake; third ward, T. P. Buell; fourth ward, G. A. Sanford; fifth ward, N. C. Thompson; sixth ward, T. D. Pitkin; seventh ward, S P. Crawford; City Clerk, Jason Marsh; City Attorney, C. M. Brazee; City Treasurer, M. Starr; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully.
1872. Mayor, S. G. Bronson; Aldermen, first ward, John Spafford; second ward, John Lake; third ward, T. P. Buell; fourth ward, C. O. Upton; fifth ward, N. C. Thompson; sixth ward, Ralph Chaney; seventh ward, S. P. Crawford; City Clerk, Jason Marsh; City Attorney, C. M. Brazee; City Treasurer. D. S. Penfield; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully. 1873. Mayor, Gilbert Woodruff; Aldermen, first ward, John Spafford; second ward, D. S. Penfield; third ward, Daniel Dow; fourth ward, C. O. Upton; fifth ward, N. C. Thompson; sixth ward, Ralph Chaney; seventh ward, S. P. Crawford; City Clerk, Jason Marsh; City Attorney, W, T. Hyde; City Treasurer, Horace Brown; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully.
1873. Mayor, S.G. Bonson; Aldermen, first ward, John Spafford; second ward, D.S. Penfield; third ward, Daniel Dow; fourth ward, C.O. Upton; fifth ward, N.C. Thompson; sixth ward, Ralph Chaney; seventh ward, S.P. Crawford; City Clerk, Jason Marsh; City Attorney, W.T. Hyde; City Treasurer, Horace Brown; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully
1874. Mayor, Gilbert Woodruff; Aldermen, first ward, John Spafford; second ward, Seeley Perry; third ward, Daniel Dow; fourth ward, C. O. Upton; fifth ward, N. C. Thompson; sixth ward, Ralph Chaney; seventh ward, S. P. Crawford; City Clerk, Jason Marsh; City Attorney, C. M. Brazee; City Treasurer, G. A Sanford; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully.
1875. Mayor, Robert H. Tinker; Aldermen, first ward, Anthony Haines; second ward, Seeley Perry; third ward, George E. King; fourth ward, C. O. Upton; fifth ward, Eliphaz Smith; sixth ward, Ralph Chaney; seventh ward, S. P. Crawford; City Clerk, Jason Marsh; City Attorney, E. H. Baker; City Treasurer, G. A. Sanford; Police Marshal. Thomas Sully.
1876. Mayor, Levi Rhoades; Aldermen, first ward, Anthony Haines; second ward, Gilbert Woodruff; third ward, George E. King; fourth ward, E. L. Woodruff; fifth ward, Eliphaz Smith; sixth ward, Harris Barnum; seventh ward, S. P. Crawford; City Clerk, H. W. Rowell; City Attorney, L. F. Warner; City Treasurer, George H. Trufant; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully.
1877. Mayor, Duncan Ferguson; Aldermen, first ward, Anthony Haines; second ward, Gilbert Woodruff; third ward, George E. King; fourth ward, E. L. Woodruff; fifth ward, Byron Graham; sixth ward, Harris Barnum; seventh ward, S. P. Crawford; City Clerk, A. P. Wells; City Attorney, L. F. Warner; City Treasurer, Horace Brown; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully.
1878. Mayor, William Watson; Aldermen, first ward, Anthony Haines; second ward, H. C. Scovill;. third ward, George E. King; fourth ward, George S. Haskell; fifth ward, Byron Graham; sixth ward, Harris Barnum; seventh ward, S. P. Crawford; City Clerk, A. P. Wells; City Attorney, E B. Sumner; City Treasurer, Horace Brown; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully.
1879. Mayor, Sylvester B. Wilkins; Aldermen, first ward, Benjamin H. Witwer; second ward, H. C. Scovill; third ward, George E. King; fourth ward, George S. Haskell; fifth ward, Henry C. Wilson; sixth ward, Harris Barnum; seventh ward, S. P. Crawford; City Clerk, E. K. Conkling; City Attorney, R. F. Crawford; City Treasurer, N. E. Lyman; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully.
1880. Mayor, Sylvester B. Wilkins; Aldermen, first ward, Benjamin H. Witwer; second ward, Horace Scovill; third ward, George E. King; fourth ward, George S. Haskell; fifth ward, Henry C. Wilson; sixth ward, S. A. Johnson; seventh ward, S. P. Crawford; City Clerk, E. K. Conkling; City Attorney, R. F. Crawford; City Treasurer, N E. Lyman; Police Marshal, P. A. Coonradt; Fire Marshal, John T. Lakin.
1881. Mayor, Samuel P. Crawford, Aldermen, first ward, E. M. Holmes, B. R. Waldo; second ward, H. C. Scovill, J. M. Southgate; third ward, T. J. Derwent, John Belford; fourth ward, W. O. Wormwood, George S. Haskell; fifth ward, Henry C. Wilson, Levi B. Fuller; sixth ward, R. A. Shepherd, C. E. Knudson; seventh ward, James Ferguson, Joseph Burnes; City Clerk, E. K. Conkling; City Attorney, N. C. Warner; City Treasurer, Horace Brown; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully; Fire Marshal, John T. Lakin; Police Magistrate, Arthur H. Frost.
1882. Mayor, Samuel P. Crawford; Aldermen, first ward, B. R. Waldo, E. M. Holmes; second ward, J. M. Southgate, H. C. Scovlll; third ward, John Belford, T. J. Derwent; fourth ward, George S. Haskell, W. O. Wormwood; fifth ward, Levi B. Fuller, Lewis Predmore, W. L. Harbison; sixth ward, C. E. Knudson, W. H. Miller; seventh ward, Joseph Burnes, James Ferguson; City Clerk, E. K. Conkling; City Attorney, N. C. Warner; City Treasurer, Warner; City Treasurer, George E. King; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully; Fire Marshal, John T. Lakin; Police Magistrate, Arthur H. Frost.
1883. Mayor, Alfred Taggart; Aldermen, first ward, E. M Holmes, Thomas Ennett; second ward. H. C. Scovill, J. M. Southgate; third ward, T. J. Derwent, B. A. Weber; fourth ward, W. O. Wormwood, D. H. Ferguson; fifth ward, W. L. Harbison, Thomas Tole; sixth ward, W. H. Miller, C. E. Knudson; seventh ward. James Ferguson, Joseph Burnes; City Clerk, E. K. Conkling; City Attorney, N. C. ward, Joseph Burnes, James Ferguson; City Clerk, E. K Conkling; City Attorney, N. C. Warner; City Treasurer, George E. King; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully; Fire Marshal, John T. Lakin; Police Magistrate, Arthur H. Frost.
1884. Mayor, Alfred Taggart; Aldermen, first ward, Thomas Ennett, Thomas F. Palmer; second ward, J M. Southgate, H. C. Scovill; third ward, B. A. Weber. T. J. Derwent; fourth ward, D. H. Ferguson, W. O. Wormwood; fifth ward, Thomas Tole, W. L. Harbison; sixth ward, C. E. Knudson, E. S. Gregory; seventh ward, Joseph Burnes, James Ferguseon; City Clerk, E.K. Conkling; City Attorney, N.C. Warner; City Treasurer, George E. King; Police Marshal, Thomas Sully; Fire Marshal, John T. Lakin; Police Magistrate, Arthur H. Frost.
1885. Mayor, Alfred Taggart; Aldermen, first ward, Thomas F. Palmer, R. J. Randolph; second ward, H. C. Scovill, E. W. Brown; third ward, T. J. Derwent. John M. Kennedy; fourth ward, W. O. Wormwood, D. H. Ferguson; fifth ward, W. L. Harbison, Thomas Tole: sixth ward, E. S. Gregory, Thour Munthe; seventh ward, James Ferguson, T. F. Hopkins; City Clerk, E. K. Conkling; City Attorney, George M. Blake; City Treasurer, W. H. McCutchan; Police Marshal, A. H. Webb; Fire Marshal. John T. Lakin; Police Magistrate, Arthur H. Frost.
1886. Mayor, Alfred Taggart; Aldermen, first ward, C. W. Butterworth, Charles Ritchie; second ward, E.W. Brown, H.C. Scovill; third ward, T.J. Derwest, J.M. Kennedy; fouther ward, D.H. Ferguson, Samual N. Jones; fifth ward, W.L. Harbison, G.C. Robertson; sixth ward, Wesley D. Clark, Thour Munth; seventh ward, T.F Hopkins, Thomas W. Cole; City Clerk, E.K. Conkling; City Attorney, George M. Blake; City Treasurer, W.H. McCutchan; Police Marshall, A.W. Webb; Fire Marshal, John T. Lakin; Police Magistrate, Arthur H. Frost
1887. Mayor, Horace C. Scovill; Aldermen, first ward, Charles Ritchie, C. W. Butter- worth; second ward, E. W. Brown, John L. Clark; third ward, W. B. Reynolds, T. J. Derwent; fourth ward, E. W. Blaisdell. Samuel N. Jones; fifth ward, Alvin E. Crowell, Martin Rhoades; sixth ward, G. A. Salstrom, Wesley D. Clark, seventh ward. S.P. City Clerk, E. K. Conkling; City Attorney, A.E. Holt; City Treasurer, Horace Brown; Police Marshal, A. W. Webb; Fire Marshal, John T. Lakin; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1888. Mayor, Horace C. Scovill; Aldermen, first ward, Jeremiah Davis. Samuel P. Chaney; second ward, Mead Holmes, E. W. Brown; third ward, T. J. Derwent, W. B. Reynolds; fourth ward, Willis M. Kimball. E. W. Blaisdell; fifth ward, W. L. Harbison, Alvin E. Crowell; sixth ward, Wesley D. Clark, G. A. Salstrom; seventh ward, Thomas W. Cole, Samuel P. Crawford; City Clerk, E. K. Conkling; City Attorney, A. E. Holt; City Treasurer, Horace Brown; Police Marshal, A. W. Webb; Fire Marshal, John T. Lakin; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1889. Mayor, John H. Sherratt; Aldermen, first ward, Jeremiah Davis, William G. Bennett; second ward, Mead Holmes, Edward W. Brown; third ward, Thomas J. Derwent, W. B. Reynolds; fourth ward, Willis M. Kimball Henry N. Starr; fifth ward, W. L. Harbison, O. P. Trahern; sixth ward, Wesley D. Clark, G. A. Salstrom; seventh ward. Thomas W. Cole, Benjamin F. Lee; City Clerk. E. K. Conkling; City Attorney, Edward H. Marsh; City Treasurer, C. O. Upton; Police Marshal, A. W. Webb; Fire Marshal, John T. Lakin; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1890. Mayor, John H. Sherratt; Aldermen, first ward, Jeremiah Davis, W. G. Bennett; second ward, Mead Holmes, E. W. Brown; third ward, T. J. Derwent, W. B. Reynolds; fourth ward, Willis M. Kimball. H. N. Starr; fifth ward, W. L. Harbison, O. P. Trahern; sixth ward, W. D. Clark, G. A. Salstrom; seventh ward, T. W. Cole, B. F. Lee; City Clerk, E. K. Conkling; City Attorney, E. H. Marsh; City Treasurer, C. O. Upton; Police Marshal, A. W. Webb; Fire Marshal, John T. Lakin; Police Magistrate. L. L. Morrison.
1891. Mayor, Henry N. Starr; Aldermen, first ward, C. H. Woolsey, R. A. Shepherd; second ward, A. J. Anderson, E. W. Brown; third ward, T. J. Derwent, Z. B. Sturtevant; fourth ward, W. M. Kimball. L. A. Weyburn; fifth ward, W. L. Harbison, O. P. Trahern; sixth ward, W. D. Clark, G. A. Salstrom; seventh ward, T. W. Cole, D. G. Spaulding; City Clerk, F. G Hogland; City Attorney, R. K. Welsh; City Treasurer, John D. Waterman; Police Marshal, E. L. Tisdale; Fire Marshal, Edward Heffran; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1892. Mayor, Henry N. Starr; Aldermen, first ward, R. A. Shepherd, C. H. Woolsey; second ward, E. D. Chandler, A. J. Anderson; third ward, Z. B. Sturtevant, T. J. Derwent; fourth ward, L A. Weyburn, W. M. Kimball; fifth ward, O. P. Trahern, Julius Graham; sixth ward. G. A. Salstrom, C. A. Newburg; seventh ward, D. G. Spaulding, H. H. Stone; City Clerk, F. G. Hogland; City Attorney, R. K. Welsh; City Treasurer, John D. Waterman; Police Marshal, E. L. Tisdale; Fire Marshal, Edward Heffran; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1893. Mayor, Amasa Hutchins; Aldermen, first ward, C. H. Woolsey, R. A. Shepherd; second ward, A. J. Anderson, E. D. Chandler; third ward, T. J. Derwent, Z. B. Sturtevant; fourth ward, W. M. Kimball, Wm. Dyson; fifth ward, J. Graham, A. E. Crowell; sixth ward, G. A. Salstrom, C. A. Newburg; seventh ward, H. H. Stone, H. W. Dobson; City Clerk, F. G. Hogland; City Attorney, R. K Welsh; City Treasurer, W. F. Woodruff; Police Marshal, E. L. Tisdale; Fire Marshal, Edward Heffran; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1894. Mayor, Amasa Hutchins; Aldermen, first ward, R. A. Shepherd, William Knapp; second ward, E. D. Chandler, A. J. Anderson; third ward, Z. B. Sturtevant, T. J. Derwent; fourth ward, William Dyson, W. M. Kimball; fifth ward, A. E. Crowell, J. Graham; sixth ward, G. A. Salstrom. A. Hollem; seventh ward, H. W. Dobson, E. C. Dunn; City Clerk, F. G. Hogland; City Attorney, R. K. Welsh; City Treasurer, W. F. Woodruff; Police Marshal, A. E. Bargren; Fire Marshal, Edward Heffran; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1895. Mayor, E. W. Brown; Aldermen, first ward, Wm. Knapp, R. A. Shepherd; second ward, A. J. Anderson, G. V. Lindblade; third ward, T. J. Derwent, Z.B. Sturtevant; fourth ward. W. M. Kimball, F. S. Regan; fifth ward, Julius Graham, A. E. Crowell; sixth ward, Albert Hollem, Gust Holm; seventh ward, E. C. Dunn, John Beatson; City Clerk, F. G. Hogland; City Attorney, R. K. Welsh; City Treasurer, C. O. Upton; Police Marshal, A. E. Bargren; Fire Marshal, Edward Heffran; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1896. Mayor, E. W. Brown; Aldermen, first ward, R. A. Shepherd. J. T. Joslin; second ward, G. V. Lindblade, F. G. Stibb; third ward, F. E. Sterling, T. J. Derwent; fourth ward, F. S. Regan, W. M. Kimball; fifth ward, A. E. Crowell, John Lindsay; sixth ward, Gust Holm, J. M. Turner; seventh ward, John Beatson, E. C. Dunn; City Clerk, F. G. Hogland; City Attorney, R. K. Welsh; City Treasurer, C. O. Upton; Police Marshal, A E. Bargren; Fire Marshal, Edward Heffran; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1897. Mayor, E. W. Brown; Aldermen, first ward, J. T. Joslin, R. A. Shepherd; second ward, F. G. Stibb, Hannes Lawson; third ward, T. J. Derwent, F. E. Sterling; fourth ward, M. A. Love, S.A. Hyer; fifth ward, John Lindsay, W. L. Harbison; sixth ward, J. M. Turner, J. A. Bowman; seventh ward, E. C. Dunn R. G. McEvoy; City Clerk, H. C. Scovill; City Attorney, M. M. Corbett; City Treasurer, P. F. Schuster; Police Marshal, A. E. Bargren; Fire Marshal, Edward Heffran; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1898. Mayor, E. W. Brown; Aldermen, first ward, R. A. Shepherd, J. A. Nash; second ward, Hannes Lawson, F. E. Pearson; third ward, F. E. Sterling, H. J. Gallagher; fourth ward, S. A Hyer, M. A. Love; fifth ward, W. L. Harbison, J. F. Ogilby; sixth ward, J. A. Bowman, A. G. Larson; seventh ward, R. G. McEvoy, E. C. Dunn; City Clerk, H. C. Scovill; City Attorney, M. M. Corbett; City Treasurer, P. F. Schuster; Police Marshal A. E. Bargren; Fire Marshal, Edward Heffran; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1899. Mayor, E. W. Brown; Aldermen, first ward, J. A. Nash, R. A. Shepherd; second ward, F. E. Pearson, Wm. Johnson; third ward, H. J. Gallagher, F. E. Sterling; fourth ward, M. A. Love, W. C. Butterworth; fifth ward, J. F. Ogilby, W. L. Harbison; sixth ward. A. G. Larson, Nels Olson; seventh ward, E. C. Dunn. J. M. Clarke; City Clerk. H. C. Scovill; City Attorney, M. M. Corbett; City Treasurer, F. F. Wormwood; Corporation Counsel, R. G. McEvoy; Police Marshal, A. E Bargren; Fire Marshal, Edward Heffran; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1900. Mayor, E. W. Brown; Aldermen, first ward, R. A. Shepherd, J. A. Nash; second ward, Wm. Johnson, F. E. Pearson; third ward, F. E. Sterling, E. F. Pendergast; fourth ward. W. C. Butterworth, M. A. Love; fifth ward, W. L. Harbison, J. F. Ogilby; sixth ward, Nels Olson, A. G. Johnson; seventh ward, J. M. Clarke, E. C. Dunn; City Clerk, H. C. Scovill; City Attorney, M. M. Corbett; City Treasurer, F. F. Wormwood; Corporation Counsel, R. G. McEvoy; Police Marshal, A. E. Bargren; Fire Marshal, Edward Heffran; Police Magistrate. L. L. Morrison.
1901. Mayor, Amasa Hutchins; Aldermen, first ward, John A. Nash, Charles E. Jackson; second ward, F. E. Pearson, Wm. Johnson; third ward, E. F. Pendergast, F. E. Sterling; fourth ward, M. A. Love, W. C. Butterworth; fifth ward, J. F. Ogilby, A. E. Crowell; sixth ward, A. G. Johnson, Nels Olson; seventh ward, E. C. Dunn, J. M. Clarke; City Clerk, H. C. Scovill; City Attorney, C. O. Carbaugh; City Treasurer, Norman F. Thompson; Corporation Counsel, George M. Blake; Police Marshal, A. E. Bargren; Fire Marshal, F. E. Thomas; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1902. Mayor, Amasa Hutchins; Aldermen, first ward, Charles E. Jackson, F. B. McKenney; second ward, Wm. Johnson, F. E. Pearson; third ward, F. E. Sterling, J. H. O'Garr; fourth ward, W. C. Butterworth, W. M. Kimball; fifth ward, A. E. Crowell, J. F. Ogilby; sixth ward, Nels Olson, G. A. Johnson; seventh ward, J. M. Clarke, Robert Lathrop; City Clerk, H. C. Scovill; City Attorney, C. O. Carbaugh; City Treasurer, Norman F. Thompson; Corporation Counsel, R. K. Welsh; Police Marshal, A. E. Bargren; Fire Marshal, F. E. Thomas; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
1903. Mayor, Charles E. Jackson; Aldermen first ward, C. H. Woolsey, Gust Holm, Charles J. Lundberg; second ward, F. E. Pearson, A. J. Anderson, Nels Olson; third ward, Wm. Johnson, F. J. Leonard, W. C. Butterworth; fourth ward, John M. Clarke, Robert Lathrop, W. M. Kimball; fifth ward, Edward F. Carty, H. D. Ticknor, J. F. Ogilby; City Clerk, H. C. Scovill; City Attorney, L. M. Reckhow; City Treasurer, W. F. Woodruff; Corporation Counsel, C. W. Ferguson; Police Marshal, A. E. Bargren; Fire Marshal, F. E. Thomas; Police Magistrate, L. L. Morrison.
GROWTH OF THE CITY
The early history of a community must of necessity treat largely of its individual citizenship and the origin of its private and public institutions, but as the number of inhabitants becomes larger, the individual is lost in the masses, and the trend of history relates more especially to public events and concrete development. Public leaders and promoters of municipal up building may be mentioned in connection with current events, but otherwise individualism ceases.
This is true in the history of Rockford. Its pioneers struggled to maintain an existence and to establish a nucleus from which there might develop a beautiful city. Much of the beauty and substantial progress of Rockford is due to the wise and determined efforts of its founders. The seven years war that was successfully fought out in the location of the county seat, doubtless brought beneficent results that have constituted an important factor in the city's destiny. It may be true that Germanicus Kent, Thatcher Blake and Daniel S. Haight, together with their co-laborers, "builded wiser than they knew," but, however this may be, it is evident that the foundation work was well done and the superstructure is a thing of beauty.
In the remaining pages of the general history of Rockford, only those individuals whose lives were closely identified with the growth and development of the city, will receive special mention.
James Madison Wight was born in Norwich, Massachusetts, in 1810, and was admitted to the bar of Queens county, New York, in 1837. He then came west and located in Rockton, but soon removed to Rockford where he remained. He enjoyed a large law practice and was an able and conscientious advocate. He represented his district in the state legislature and served on the judiciary committee. He was a member of the constitutional convention of 1870, called to draft a new constitution. He was city attorney in 1857.
Mr. Wight died in 1877, after living a long life of kindly helpfulness to his fellow men. His name is perpetuated in the Wight school. Mrs. Harriot Wight Sherratt is a daughter, and resides in the city.
Jason Marsh was born in Woodstock, Windsor county, Vermont, in 1807, and was admitted to the bar in 1831. In 1832 he married Harriet M. Spafford. a sister of John and Catlin Spafford. He came to Rockford in 1839, where he practiced his profession. He represented the second ward as an alderman in 1854 and 1855. Mr. Marsh entered the military service as colonel of the seventy-fourth Illinois infantry in 1862. He was severely wounded in the battle of Missionary Ridge and returned home in 1863, but two months later he rejoined his regiment at the front. In the campaign from Chattanooga to Atlanta his wounds gave him so much trouble that he resigned and returned to his home. In 1867 he was elected city clerk and served for nine consecutive years. Colonel Marsh died at the home of his daughter in Chicago, March 13, 1881.
Francis Burnap was born in Merrimac, New Hampshire, January 4. 1796, and came to Rockford in 1839. He was a lawyer by profession and practiced with brilliant success in the state and federal courts. His ancestors were noted in history. His mother was a sister of Major-General Brooks of Revolutionary fame and who was afterward governor of Massachusetts for seven terms. His father Rev. Jacob Burnap, was pastor of the First Congregational church of Merrimac for fifty years. Mr. Burnap was never married. He died in Rockford December 2, 1866.
Duncan Ferguson was a native of Scotland and was born in 1810. He was a student at the University of Glasgow two years; was employed several years in land surveys, and then engaged in the trigonometrical surveys of Great Britain, which he continued for ten years. In 1837 he came to the United States and settled in Pennsylvania where he remained two years, when he removed with his family to Rockford in 1839. In 1840 he was elected surveyor and justice of the peace. He held the office of surveyor until 1856. In 1862 he was appointed internal revenue assessor, which office he held eight years. For ten years he was supervisor from the seventh ward. On March 3, 1873, he was elected chairman of the board of supervisors and held this honored position until 1881. In 1877 he was elected mayor of Rockford and served one year. He held the offices of city engineer, assessor, county treasurer, and commissioner of the county under an act of the legislature for the improvement of Rock river. His life work was an integral part of the growth of the city. He died May 13, 1882.
Thomas D. Robertson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, March 4, 1818. His parents removed to London when he was but a young child. He lived with a brother for a time, the Isle of Shippey at the mouth of the Thames, where he attended school. He subsequently joined his brother in the publication of the Mechanics Magazine. He came to the United States in 1838, and after a brief stay in Chicago, came to Rockford the same year. He studied law in Rockford and in Madison, Wisconsin, and was admitted to the bar and practiced his profession successfully for several years. In 1848 Mr. Robertson and John A. Holland established the first banking house in Rockford. After the death of Mr. Holland, Mr. Coleman joined Mr. Robertson in the banking business. Mr. Coleman was succeeded by Mr. Starr, Robertson & Starr were succeeded by The Winnebago National Bank, which is now one of the leading banking institutions of the city.
Hon. Edward H. Baker was born in Ferrisburg, Vermont, April 5, 1828, and came to Rockford with his father, Ira W. Baker, in 1838. He was educated at Knox college and Illinois college at Jacksonville. He practiced law with his father-in-law, Jason Marsh. He was made secretary of the Rockford & Kenosha Railway Company and was elected mayor of the city in 1866 and served one year. Mr. Baker was an authority on Masonic matters, and highly esteemed. He died January 26. 1899.
David S. Penfield was born in Pittsfield, Vermont, in 1812, and came to Rockford in 1838. He engaged in the mercantile business with Shepherd Leach, and also carried on a real estate business with his brother, John G., and later became a member of the banking firm of Briggs, Spafford & Penfield, which was merged into the Third National Bank. He died May 20, 1873. Mrs. Penfield donated the site to the Young Men's Christian Association where its beautiful building now stands.
Shepherd Leach came to Rockford in 1838, and acquired a large amount of landed property. He was highly respected, and was a successful business man. He died July 9, 1885. Mrs. Edgar E. Bartlett and Mrs. J. B. Whitehead are daughters.
Willard Wheeler came from Upper Canada in 1839, and was the second tinner in the town. He had the honor of being Rockford's first mayor, in which capacity he served one year. He died April 24, 1876.
Samuel, William, Benjamin Franklin and Isaac Newton Cunningham are four brothers who came to Rockford in 1838 and 1839, and are entitled to notice in this work for their sterling integrity and helpfulness in the up building of the city.
Joel B. Potter was born in Fairfield county, Connecticut, in 1810, and came to Rockford in 1839. He was one of Rockford's early druggists. He died November 30, 1880. Mrs. Caroline A. Brazee and Mrs. E. S. Gregory of Rockford, and Miss Frances D. Potter of Chicago, are daughters.
E. L. Herrick was born in Andover, Massachusetts, September 30. 1820, and came to Rockford with his father, Elijah L. Herrick, in 1838. His wife was a former teacher in Rockford college. A daughter, Elizabeth L., is professor of French language and literature at Rockford college. A son, Charles E., is in Chicago, and another son, Frank J., is a member of the firm of Bedwell & Herrick of this city.
Charles H., Amos Catlin and John Spafford are three brothers whose history is identical with that of Rockford in its development into a city of renown. Charles H. held the offices of postmaster, circuit clerk and recorder, was president of the Rockford & Kenosha Railway Company. In company with his brother John and John Hall, he built the Metropolitan Hall block. He also, with others, built what is now known as the Chick House block. He was a member of the banking house of Spafford, Clark & Ellis, and when the bank went into liquidation, paid off the liabilities, amounting to $45,000. He aided largely in the founding of Rockford college. He married Miss Abby Warren in 1842, and had three children, Mrs. Carrie S. Brett, Mrs. Charles H. Godfrey and Charles H. Spafford, Jr. He died in September, 1892.
Amos Catlin Spafford was interested in a sawmill on the water-power. In 1854 he be- came a member of the banking firm of Briggs, Spafford & Penfield. Upon the organization of the Third National Bank he became its president which position he held thirty-three years, until his death. Mr. Spafford was one of the commissioners at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. He died August 22, 1897. A daughter, Jessie I., is professor of mathematics and physics at Rockford college, and a son, George H., is cashier of the Third National Bank.
John Spafford was engaged in farming, and in the grocery, grain and lumber trade. In 1856 he was made the general agent of the Rockford & Kenosha Railway Company. He was president of the Rockford Wire Work Company, and the Rockford Suspender Company, and was interested in other industrial enterprises. He died December 5, 1897. William Worthington was born in Enfield, Connecticut, July 5, 1813, and came to Rockford in 1838. He built a brick blacksmith shop and was the second blacksmith in the city. He afterward built a wagon shop which was the first institution of the kind on the East Side. In 1842, in company with Hosea D. Searles, he opened a drug store, which is now known as the Worthington & Slade store. His children are William, Frank, Charles and Julia. He died April 11,1886.
Laomi Peake, Sr., was a native of Herkimer county, New York, and came to Rockford in 1839. Mr. Peake brought about five thousand dollars in cash with him, which was a large sum of money in those early days. He was the first harness maker in Rockford. He built a two- story brick building on the corner of First and State streets, for $1,500. This lot is now occupied by the Manufacturers Bank. In 1852 he built a second block on the same site, which contained the first public hall in Rockford. This block was burned in 1857. Mr. Peake had twelve children, one of these being L. Peake who now "has a fine wholesale harness 4o business on West State street. Mr. Peake died November 8, 1891 , aged eighty four years.
William Hulin was a native of Salem. Massachusetts, and settled in Rockton in 1838. A spring on the land he owned is still known as the Hulin spring. He came to Rockford in the early forties, and was elected a justice of the peace. He served as clerk of the county court for a number of years and resigned from this office only a few days before his death, which occurred December 10. 1869. R. H. Dr. Henry Richings now occupies his old home on North Main street. He was a thorough scholar, and edited a work on school law.
Harris Barnum, a son of Daniel Barnum, was born in Danbury, Connecticut, September 1819, and came to Rockford in 1838. In 1866 he engaged in the shoe business in company with the late Daniel Hill, but sold out. He then engaged in the real estate and loan business with Duncan Ferguson. In 1874 he was one of the organizers of the Forest City Insurance Company and served as its treasurer several years. He was an alderman from the sixth ward for four years, and also served as a supervisor. He died February 26, 1899.
Hon. Horace Miller was born in 1798, in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, and came to Rockford in 1839. He acquired a great deal of land near the city, upon which he resided until 1861, when he removed to Rockford. He was a member of the legislature in 1850 and 1852. William M. Miller is a son, and Mrs. Brown, widow of the late Judge Brown, is a daughter. He died August 5, 1864.
There were many others who were among the pioneers and lent their energy and aid in the up building of the Forest City.
Rockford Water Works
In 1875 and 1876, under the administration of Robert H. Tinker and Levi Rhoades, it became apparent that the best interests of the city demanded efficient fire protection and an adequate supply of water for the use of its inhabitants. After a thorough canvass of the matter by the council and the community in general, it was determined to establish a pumping station and to lay pipe mains through the principal streets. The present site of the water-works plant was selected on account of the fact that a spring of delicious water made its appearance there.
A power house was erected, engines and pumps put in, and connections made with a well, where the spring was located, and the river. The supply of water from this spring-well proved to be inadequate, and in 1881 and 1882, under Mayor Crawford's administration, an effort was made to increase this supply. It was proposed to sink a huge well in the vicinity of the works and near the river, from which it was thought an adequate supply of potable water could be obtained. Accordingly a well, fifty feet in diameter and thirty feet in depth, was put down at a cost of about thirty thousand dollars. This was certainly a large well, but its huge proportions were nothing when compared to the degree of disappointment its results brought with it. Epidemics of diseases followed in its wake, the cause of which was traced to the use of the water from this well which proved to be a veritable cesspool.
In 1883 Alfred Taggart was elected mayor, and to him is due much of the credit for the development of the present superior water system of Rockford. He planned for future needs as well as for present necessity, and results demonstrate the wisdom and good judgment exercised for the welfare of the city. The possibility of obtaining an unfailing supply of pure artesian water, was to him a reality, He consulted Professor Chamberlain, an eminent geologist and reliable authority on geological matters, in regard to the feasibility of his project and was assured that there was no doubt as to the success of such an undertaking. The matter was presented to the council and favorable action secured.
A contract was made with J. F. Gray of Jefferson, Cook county, Illinois, to sink a six-inch well, which when completed, gave a flow of six hundred gallons per minute. The bore of this well was enlarged to eight inches, and it then gave a flow of eight hundred gallons per minute. The water from this well was turned into the pumping pit in December, i885, and it was demonstrated to have a capacity of producing one million, three hundred thousand gallons of water every twenty-four hours.
This well is denoted as number one and is 1,520 feet in depth, and takes water from the Potsdam formation. In its descent it passes through 125 feet of drift, thirty feet of Trenton lime stone, 225 feet of St. Peter's sand stone, 105 feet lower magnesia lime stone, and 1,035 feet of different formations of Potsdam sand stone. An analysis of the water was made by Prof. Erastus G. Smith of Beloit college, which shows it to be a superior potable water His report shows the water to contain a very small per cent of sulphates and chlorides of potassium and sodium, a larger per cent of carbonate of calcium and magnesium, and very small fractions of alumina, ferric oxide and silica. Well num- ber one cost the city $5,401 73. It was then determined to buy the necessary machinery and put two wells down under the direction of the city authorities.
Two more wells were commenced in 1885, the water from one of which was turned into the pumping pit that year. At the end of the fiscal year 1886, four wells had been sunk and the water turned into the pumping pit. At the end of the year 1888 five wells had been completed. Well number one is 1,530 feet deep and cost $5,401.73. Number two is 1,320 feet deep and cost $3362.35. Number three is 2,000 feet deep and cost $4,257.84. Number four is 1,300 feet deep and cost $2,151.49. Number five is 1,379 feet deep and cost $2,638.81. Conduit and suction cost $6,42.438
In 1897 a plan for increasing the water supply was devised by D. W. Mead, which was accepted by the council. The plan was to sink a shaft eighty feet in depth and twelve feet in diameter and to connect the wells thought desirable by the contractor, or to sink new ones, by tunnels from the bottom of this shaft, for which he was to receive $52,000.00. For this the contractor guaranteed a flow of not less than 5,500,000 gallons of water daily. A provision in the contract allowed Mr. Mead a bonus of $2,500 if the supply of water reached a daily capacity of 7,000,000 gallons of water. A later contract provided for a tunnel connection with well number two, for the additional sum of $3,721. After vexatious delays and the sur- mounting of unlocked for difficulties, the work was completed in 1898. Three tests were made as to the capacity of the new system, which were deemed satisfactory, and Mr. Mead was awarded the entire sum stipulated in the several contracts, which aggregated $58,221.
ROCKFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY
Before the establishment of the present splendid library to which the people of Rockford have had free recourse for a number of years, several unsuccessful attempts were made to provide the people with desirable literature, by individual enterprise. As early as 1852 the matter of establishing a public library was taken up and received strong support, especially by a temperance organization known as the Sinnissippi Division Number 134, of the Sons of Temperance, of Rockford. It surrendered its charter as a temperance organization and proposed to re-organize as a library association, but the effort never materialized. The Young Men's Association made an effort in 1855 to secure the books belonging to Temperance organization, and to establish a library and reading room, but this effort was not successful.
In 1857 a well organized effort was made by several public spirited citizens, to establish a public library. A stock company was incorporated under the general laws of the state, and stock at fifty dollars per share was issued. Ten dollars were paid per share upon the formation of the company, and the balance in installments. In the fall of 1858 it appeared that six thousand dollars of this stock had been subscribed for, and on October 14, of that year, the organization was completed. James M. Wight, Seeley Perry, Selden M. Church, Elias Cosper and Thomas D. Robertson were elected trustees. F. M. Bradley was appointed librarian. Library rooms were secured over Robertson, Coleman & Company's bank. About one thousand excellent books were purchased and subscriptions placed for a number of papers and magazines.
During the next two years additions of books were made to the number of several hundred. The library was liberally patronized for several years, but when the Civil war came on, public thought was turned to other and more stirring scenes and the library was largely neglected. This occasioned the suspension of the operation of the library and the final sale of the books at public auction, and the windup of the company's business in 1865. Hon. Robert H. Tinker has several of these books in his private library and others are in the present public library.
No further effort was made to establish a public library until after the enactment of a law by the legislature in 1872, providing for the support of public libraries by taxation.
Early in the spring of 1872 a petition to the city council was circulated and numerously signed by the citizens of Rockford, asking recognition of an act passed by the state legislature and made effective March 7, 1872, granting the right to cities, incorporated towns and townships, to establish and maintain public libraries and reading rooms, by voting a tax for this purpose.
The petition was received and favorably acted upon by an ordinance passed by the council and approved June 17, 1872. The ordnance provided that no indebtedness or liability should be incurred against the city until after March 1, 1873.
To expedite matters Mayor Bronson, upon the adoption of the ordinance authorizing the establishment of a public library and reading room in the city of Rockford, nominated the following persons to constitute the first board of directors; Melancthon Starr, Elias Cosper, S. C. Withrow, D. S. Clark, Rev. Frank P. Woodbury, Rev. Henry C. Mabie, N. C. Thompson, James G. Knapp and Charles L. Williams, which nominations were promptly confirmed by the council.
June 24, 1872, the library board of directors held its first meeting in the council rooms and organized by electing N. C. Thompson, president. Rev. Frank P. Woodbury, vice-president, and Elias Cosper, secretary. A resolution was adopted at this meeting, by which a committee was appointed to prepare an address to the people of the city, calling for voluntary financial aid with which to proceed at once in the work of establishing a public library. The address proposed that from $5,000 to $10,000 be subscribed.
A committee of three was appointed to select quarters for the library, and three rooms in the northwest corner, on the second floor of the Wallach block, were secured at a rental of $350 per year, the lease to take effect the first day of July, 1872.
July 30, 1872, a public reception was held in the library rooms which had been nicely refinished for the reception of the library. Upon the above date Miss Mary E. Rankin was appointed temporary librarian by the board of directors.
September 9, 1872, the first rules and for the management and control of the library were adopted by the board of directors. September 2, 1872, Thomas M. Martin was appointed librarian at a salary of $450 per year, but declined the appointment, and at the next meeting of the board, September 9. 1872, W, L. Rowland was appointed librarian at a salary of forty dollars a month, which was accepted.
June 1, 1873, the soliciting committee for the library fund reported the collection of $3,933.11, which was used for the purchase of books, the payment of rent and current expenses.
The rooms in the Wallach block soon proved to be inadequate for the needs of the library and more suitable quarters were sought after. The committee appointed for this purpose succeeded in securing a ten year lease for the second floor of the old post office block, at the west end of the bridge, of Messrs. Church, Robertson and Emerson, to be in effect July 1, 1876, at a rental of $500 per year. The expenditure of considerable money was necessary for the refit- ting and furnishing of these new quarters. The library was closed June 28, 1876, for the purpose of removal to its new quarters, and was reopened to the public early in July, since which time it has been open every day in the year.
At the end of the fiscal year, 1872, the library contained 2,815 volumes, about one half of which were donated, and had cost $1,773.11
Since 1896 the rental of the library rooms has been $900 per year.
One of the most notable events in the history of the Rockford Public Library, is the munificent gift of $70,000 by Mr. Andrew Carnegie of New York, who has proved himself to be the greatest library builder the world has ever seen.
The library board, through one of its members. Prof. O. F. Barbour, opened correspondence with Mr. Carnegie in October, 1899, soliciting his interest in making provision for a suitable library building in Rockford. This correspondence resulted in the receipt of a letter from Mr. Carnegie, under date of March 6, 1901, proposing to give $60,000 with which to erect a building, provided that the city furnish a suitable site and agree to maintain the library at a cost of not less than $8,000 a year.
March 11, 1901, the city council passed a resolution accepting the gift of Mr. Carnegie and complying with the conditions imposed, far as the maintenance of the library was concerned, and to provide funds for the purchase of a site as soon as they could be made available.
Public spirit and civic pride at once manifested itself and steps were promptly taken to secure a suitable site for the library building. A spirit of strong rivalry between the East and West sides of the river soon developed as to so which side should secure the location. Various sites were proposed, among which were what were designated as the Gas site, the Gill site, the Rood site and the O'Connor site. The Gas site was purchased by subscription for $ 11,000, and offered to the council as a free site.
After much acrimonious and bitter contention between the people on opposite sides of the river, the Gas site, on the West side, was accepted by the council January 13, 1902. Bradley & Carpenter, Rockford architects, provided the plans for the building and the contract for its construction was let to W. H. Cook, a prominent Rockford contractor. Work on the building was vigorously prosecuted during the season of 1902. The structure is an imposing edifice, of classical architecture, and would be recognized as a library building by a passing stranger.
The library proper is on the main floor, the book stacks and fixtures, of which, are made of rolled steel. The stacks are two stories in height, with glass floor between. Two large reading rooms are also on the main floor; beside the librarian's office, study rooms and reference library. In the basement is the children's library, where duplicate books of the school circulating libraries will be kept. On the upper floor is the director's room, art room, lecture room and newspaper room. Besides these designated rooms are others that will be utilized for various purposes.
The grounds join River park on the east and those of Memorial Hall on the west, constituting, with them, one of the most beautiful and artistic landscapes and waterscapes, together with architectural scenery, imaginable.
It became apparent that the original bequest of $60,000.00 would not complete, and beautify the building as desired, and Mayor Hutchins, through private correspondence with Mr. Carnegie, secured a further donation of $10,000.00, March, 1903.
The total cost of the building and grounds is $81,000.00. The library is one of the finest in the state and one of which the people of Rockford are very proud. Its establishment is the outgrowth of years of effort, sacrifice and perseverance. Mr. Carnegie recognized the efforts of Rockford to establish a public library as being meritorious and was willing to supplement them by the donation of a large sum of money. At the beginning of 1903, the library contained 39,000 volumes which found a place in the new library building. The total expenditure of money in books, periodicals, papers and maintenance since the founding of the institution is $156,528.36. The library property as it now stands represents an investment of $237,528.36.
William Leonard Rowland, who was appointed to the office of librarian. September 9, 1872, held the position continuously for twenty-eight years, giving the better part of his life work to the up building and success of the Rockford Public Library. His death occurred September 27, 1900, and his loss to the institution is keenly felt. The death of Mr. Rowland and the munificent gift of Mr. Carnegie are nearly contemporaneous and the names of each will be treasured in the years to come as benefactors to the race.
Miss Jennie P. Hubbell succeeded Mr. Rowland as librarian, which position she now fills with gratifying success.
ROCKFORD FIRE DEPARTMENT
One of the most important municipal departments of the city is that for its fire protection. In its earlier history the city was dependent up- on a volunteer service for this protection, and upon primitive apparatus in the matter of appliances. The department was organized under the direction and control of the city authorities, and the officers were elected by the members of the organization. A constitution and by-laws were also adopted by the organization. Members were initiated upon the payment of a fee and were subject to a fine for the infraction of the rules adopted. A chief and assistant engineers were elected, who held these offices for one year. The volunteer service was organized in 1855, with Edward F. W. Ellis as chief engineer. During the years following the time of the organization of the paid department in 1880, the following persons served as chief engineers: Samuel I. Church, one year; M. A. Bartlett.one year; Howard D. Frost, three years; A. G. Springsteen, two years; Gordon S. Allen, one year; Calvin Ford, one year; Charles S. Jellerson, one year; S. A. Granger, one year; James F. Hough, nine years; James Chalmers, one year; John T. Lakin. two years; and Charles Cavanaugh, one year. During the first few years, the department depended upon four diminutive engines with which to battle with the fire monster. Its water supply was obtained from the creek, river and wells. Later on, these pony engines were disposed of and three hand engines of a larger type were obtained. For an increased water supply, a large cistern was put in at the north-east corner of the court house square, which is still there. Another cistern was put in on the East side on Second street. This has been filled up. These cisterns were filled by pumping water from the river and were used until the installment of the water works in 1875-6. A report of 1880 shows that the fire department's total expense to the city was $1,845.93, and the property owned by the city in this department, was valued at $13,760.00. J. F. Hough was chief engineer, and W. B. Wood and Wm. Holmes were assistant engineers. There were five hose companies and one hook and ladder company with a total of 114 men. The apparatus consisted of one hand engine, three hose carts, one hook and ladder truck, forty-two hundred feet of hose, a little miscellaneous paraphernalia, and five hose carts owned by citizens.
In 1880, under Mayor Wilkins' administration, it was proposed to organize a paid fire department, which proposition was accomplished in 1881, under Mayor Crawford's administration. John T Lakin was appointed fire marshal, and Thomas W. Griffin assistant. In the distribution of the department, hook and ladder company, East side had three men; hose company, West side, had seven men; hose company, South side, had six men; and hose company, East side, had four men; making a total of nineteen paid men. Besides these there were a number of auxiliary or call men, connected with each station. The total expense of the department for the year was $3,982.24.
From the time of the organization of the paid fire department, the city has gradually increased the efficiency of its system of fire protection by the addition of improved appliances. A steam fire engine was purchased in 1890, at a cost of $3,100.00. The second steam fire engine was purchased in 1892, at a cost of $4,350.00. The third-steam fire engine was added to the equipment in 1895, at a cost of $3,780,00. The city has acquired the ownership of four of its five fire stations Station No.1, with its equipment is valued $18,416.39; No. 2, at $13,457.71; No. 3, at $14,481.06; No. 4, at $14,392.73; and the equipment of No. 5, at $2,141.30; making a total value of real estate and equipment of $72,559.69. The force in 1902, numbered twenty-nine men and their salaries amounted to $19,850.93.
The total expense of maintenance of the department was $28,634.14. This sum includes the establishment of station No. 5. Since the beginning of 1903, five men have been added to the force making a total number of thirty-four.
Frank E. Thomas is the present fire marshal and S. T. Julian the assistant. Many of the members of the department have had years of experience and are faithful to duty and painstaking in their work. It is not assuming too much to say that the Rockford fire department is one of the most efficient, well disciplined and reliable organizations for this purpose in the country. It is a credit to the city and its efficiency adds largely to real estate values on account of the protection it affords, The city has expended since 1880, $408.268.98 in the equipment and maintenance of its fire department. If the exact figures could be obtained for the previous years the total sum would reach nearly half a million of dollars that has been expended by the city for its fire protection.
ROCKFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Rockford Police Department is one of the best in the country. It is a model in its discipline and its personnel from chief to patrolmen, its membership is made up of intelligent representative men, who take great pride in maintaining the enviable reputation of the city for its good order, progress and refinement. Rockford is on the list of crooks and law- breakers as being a good place to keep away from. Every man on the force is a good detective and is always alert in the discharge of his duties. The character of the police force is such as to prevent the commission of crime in Rockford in a very large degree.
The establishment of the police force in Rockford is co-existent with its history as a village, when the peace and good order of the municipality was placed in the keeping of one man, designated as police constable and when the town acquired the distinction of being a city, its peace officer was known as the police marshal. John Platt had the honor of first serving in this capacity, being appointed to this office in 1852, and served one year. He was succeeded by Willard Wheeler in 1853, who also served one year. In 1854, John Travis was appointed and served one year. He was succeeded by James Dame, who also served one year. In 1856, Ira Barker was appointed and served one year. He was succeeded by W. P. Dennis and J. E. Langdon, who filled this office in 1857. In 1858, E. C. Roberts filled this office. In 1859 two different marshals again did duty. These were M. J. Upright, who was afterward elected sheriff of the county to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Sheriff John F. Taylor, who was killed by Alfred Countryman, Nov. 11 , 1856, and M. H. Regan. In 1860, A. J. Pen- nock filled this office. Ambrose Halstead was appointed in 1861, and served two years. In 1863, three different persons filled the office, These were John Fisher. M. J. Upright and Jeremiah Mosher. In 1864, the office was filled by G. V. Carr and James Dame; James Dame continued through 1865. In 1866, Thomas Sully was appointed and served continuously fourteen years. In 1880, P. A. Coonradt was appointed by Mayor Wilkins, and served one year. In 1881, Thomas Sully was again appointed by Mayor Crawford and served four years. In 1885, A. W. Webb was appointed by Mayor Taggart and served six years. In 1891, E. L. Tisdale was appointed by Mayor Starr and served three years. In 1894, A. E, Bagren was appointed by Mayor Hutchins, which office he has since continuously held. It will be seen that the city has had in its employ nineteen different men at the head of its police department. Those longest in service have been Marshals Sully and Bargren. There is no doubt but that each one of these chief officers was a capable man and efficient officer. Chief Sully's administration was a notable one, and the peace and well being of the city was carefully looked after. Chief Bagren, the present head of the police department, has achieved remarkable success. He is a fine disciplinarian, is highly respected by his subordinates and the people, is a perfect gentleman, and a terror to evil doers. He is possessed of all the better characteristics and higher qualities that go to make up a leader and efficient officer. The police department has been gradually increased from a force of one man to that of twenty-one, distributed as follows: One marshal, one assistant marshal, two patrol drivers, twelve patrolmen, one jailer, four merchant police and one sanitary police officer. Extra police are put on the force upon special occasions and are under the control of the chief,
The department has two stations and is equipped with all the necessary paraphernalia necessary to make it efficient, and is valued at $1,824.00, Recently the Gamewell Telegraph Alarm system has been installed at a cost of $2,500.00. Eight boxes are now in use and others can be connected as they may be required. Five Rockford banks are connected by this system with police headquarters, and are thus enabled to call assistance at any moment.
The cost of maintenance for the year 1902 was $15,937.00. During the year 1902, 1180 arrests were made. These were for various offenses, among which were 355 for drunkenness, 215 for drunk and disorderly, 24 for abuse of family, 19 for fighting, and 88 for vagrancy. The remaining 701 were for the commission of one or the other of 67 different classified offenses. The list of classified offenses numbers 72.
The police department was placed in the civil service list by popular vote at the municipal election of 1903, and the time of service of each member of the force is now indicated by service stripes. The personnel and time of service of the present force follows: A E. Bargren, marshal, thirteen years; M. B. Little, assistant marshal, fifteen years; M. H. Golden, thirteen years; F. A. Daniels, twelve years; Olof Erickson. twelve years; J. T, McGrahan, eight years; John Cavanaugh, eight years; Philip Quinn, four years; Homer Read, eight years; Charles Cavanaugh, two years; J. A. Ellison, two years; Charles J. Salen, two years; H. Compton, two years; Frank Sully, one year; Fred Glenny, one year; Gus Stewart, one year; D. C. Chandler, twenty-three years; P. J. Sullivan. 16 years; John Grans, sixteen years; Dennis Dwyer, four- teen years; and C. E. Peterson and Frank Bur- bank appointed in 1902.
The office of police magistrate is an adjunct of the police department and was established in 1881, under the administration of Mayor Crawford, when Arthur H. Frost was elected to this office, which he held six years.
Judge Frost executed the duties of his office with signal success and marked ability. He was succeeded by Judge L. L. Morrison in 1887, who has served continuously since. Judge Morrison, during his fifteen years of service, has made an ideal magistrate and his administration of the office has given universal satisfaction. A just and fair administration of the office makes it essential that the presiding judge should be possessed of superior legal talent and a well balanced judicial mind. These Judge Morrison has in a marked degree.
Since Rockford became a city, it has ex- pended more than $300,000.00 for police protection. Doubtless this has been a judicious expenditure as the city has maintained a high reputation abroad as being one where good order prevails and property and life are secure.
WINNEBAGO COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY
The Winnebago County Medical Society was originally organized in 1851, but owing to a lack of interest and attention of its members, it was allowed to lapse. In 1881, the profession felt the need of concerted action, and the matter was taken up and a re-organization was effected. A meeting was held in the council rooms, at which officers were elected and by-laws and constitution adopted, October 18, 1881. The following preamble sets forth the object of organization: "The undersigned physicians of Winnebago County, for the purpose of cultivating those graces and good qualities, which adorn the profession of medicine and for the purpose of mutual improvement in all that pertains to the science of and practice of medicine and surgery, do hereby associate themselves together, and do adopt for the government of this association the following constitution and by- laws."
The constitution and by-laws adopted are similar to those of other organizations, and simply provide for the administration of the business of the association. At this meeting, Dr. E.P. Catlin was elected president, Dr. S.A. Austin vice-president, and Dr. H.W. Tibbetts secretary. The names of the physicians enrolled at this time, follow: Drs. R.P. Lane, C.H. Richings, G.W. Rohr, Henry Richings, S.E. Goodwin, H.M. Sabin, Geo. Williams, L. Tibbets, W.L. Ransom, A.M. Catlin, D.S. Clark, CW. Goddard, Lucius F. Foot, Daniel Lichty, E.M. Patten, M. Alex-ander Makintosh, F.H. Kimball, J.E. Allaben, E.R. Smith, E. N. Huntly, W.H. Fitch, E.E. Oder, L.A. Clark, F.A. Jorden and W B. Rodgers The list of members was revised in 1901, and is now as follows: Drs. George -L. Winn, T.N. Miller, W. R. Fringer, L. Tibbetts, C.V. Starke, T.H. Culhane, A.F. Comings, Henry Richings. J.E. Allaben, F.W. Calkins, W.H. Fitch. F.H. Kimball, W.B. Helm, Daniel Lichty, P.L. Markley, R.E. Coy, F.J Weld, R. Sager, G.W. Rohr, E.P. Catlin, S.R. Catlin, B.C. Anderson, E.E. Ochsner. S.C. Andrus, C.W. Moyer, Albert Green, J.H. Frost, Clinton Helm, Penn. W. Ransom, S.C. Leland, W.E. Park, G.W. Haines, H.A. Stalker, David Penniman, C.L. Sutherland, A.C. Eakin, P.F. Gillett, J.E. Tuite, Jalba Johnson, W.P. Woodard, Roy P. Williams, S.V. Romig, R.G.W. Kinder, G.S. Henderson, Emil Lofgren, Charles R. Scott, R. W. McEnnes, E.J. Clark, W.W. Crockett, Charles S. Winn, G.A. Howard, and J.E. Haughey.
By virtue of membership in the county organization, one becomes a member of the State Medical Society. This is a recent arrangement and is of great benefit to the local society. The present officers of the county organization are Dr. T.N. Miller president; Dr. Charles S Winn, secretary and treasurer. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday evening of each month.
ROCKFORD CITY HOSPITAL
In 1883, steps were taken to establish a city hospital in Rockford. The leading physicians and a number of public spirited citizens of the city took the matter in hand. A committee was appointed by the Winnebago County Medical Society in the fall of 1883, for the purpose of securing a corporate organization under the laws of the state for such hospital. Application was made for a certificate of organization which was duly granted December 15, 1883. The name of the corporation was the Rockford Hospital Association, and the incorporators were Azro E. Goodwin, Silas A. Austin, Frank H. Kimball, F. K. Hill, Lemuel Tibbetts, and Thomas G. Vincent. The trustees were W. A. Talcott, William Lathrop, N. C. Thompson, William Brown, Jeremiah Davis, H. W. Carpenter, John Z. Rydburg, Thour Munthe, R. P. Lane, B. F. Whipple, Thomas Butterworth, Frances I. Price, Mary H. Penfield, Jane G. Wilkins and Adaline E. Emerson.
January 29, 1884, a temporary organization was formed by electing William Brown chair- man, and W.A. Talcott secretary and treasurer of the board of trustees. A constitution and by-laws were adopted April 8, 1884, and the following officers elected: William Brown, president; Mrs. Jane G. Wilkins, vice-president; and W. A. Talcott, secretary and treasurer.
The present hospital site was purchased of Dr. W.H. Fitch, June 21, 1884, for $6,500.00. The site was fully paid for and a deed bearing date of July I, 1885. received.
April 11, 1885, Chester Butterworth was elected a trustee to fill the vacancy caused by the death of his father, who died in Ashville. N. C., Aprils, 1885. The hospital was opened for patients October I, 1885. Dr. S.A. Austin and F.H. Kimball were the first attending physician and surgeon, respectively. Drs. R.P. Lane and D.S. Clark were the first consulting physicians, and Drs. W. H. Fitch and Henry Richings the first consulting surgeons.
Mrs. Martha J. Smith was the first matron of the hospital and served until March 28, 1900, when she resigned. Hospital Sunday was established in the churches October 10, 1885, by resolution of the hospital trustees, which has since been maintained with a very liberal spirit. The first patient was received October 10, 1885.
In 1888, steps were taken to provide a permanent fund for the maintenance of the hospital and the report for 1893, shows that $43,356.17 had been placed in this fund.
A training school for nurses, in connection with the hospital, was established July 6, 1888. In 1901, Mrs. Adaline E. Emerson, in memory of her son, Ralph Emerson, Jr., deceased, contributed the funds for an addition to the hospital for an operating room and office, which cost $1,333.66 this addition was opened March 6, 1888.
William Brown served as president from 1884 to 1886, William Lathrop from 1886 to 1887, Horatio Stone from 1887 to January 29, 1896, when his death occurred. William Lath- rop was elected to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. Stone, which office he has held continuously since.
Lizzie C. Glenn was appointed as general superintendent of nurses and training school, March 28, 1900. She resigned April 6, 1901, and Miss Flora B. Patch was appointed in her stead. Miss Patch resigned November 1, 1902. and Miss Alma M. Barter received the appointment, which position she now holds.
W. A. Talcott served as secretary and treasurer of the hospital from its inception to the time of his death, which occurred in Palestine, December 19, 1901. The success of the institution is in large measure due to his liberality and untiring effort. His son, Wait Talcott, was elected to the position so ably filled by his father, April 6. 1901, which position he now holds.
During the year 1902, 506 patients were received for treatment. The receipts from all sources during 18 years, have been $244,417.26, and the expenditures $224,678.28, leaving a balance of $19,738.98. The largest contribution to the hospital fund was from the estate of Horatio Stone, which was $27,00000; the next largest is from W. A. Talcott and family $ 1 2,000.00; and A. D. Forbes and family $10,500.00. Several others have contributed from $2,400.00 to $5.000.00. A fine new building is being erected, fitted with modern appliances and perfectly fire-proof, which will cost about $50,000.00.
ST. ANTHONY HOSPITAL
The necessity of a public hospital, located on the east side of the river, where the majority of the people of the city now reside, had been keenly felt for several years. After consider- able inquiry as to how such an institution could best be carried on, the Franciscan Sisters, of Peoria, consented to take charge of the hospital.
Through the efforts of the late William Grotty, the present site of St. Anthony's hospital was purchased from the late Leonard Schmauss estate for $12,000,00. The house upon the site being large and conveniently arranged for the purpose, was utilized for a hospital building. The Sisters took charge of the hospital July 1, 1899.
The present fine edifice was built in 1902, at a cost of $40,000.00, and was dedicated by Archbishop Quigley, March 29, 1903. The building contains 60 beds, and is in charge of eleven Sisters with two assistants. The building is equipped with modern hospital appliances, and is fully up-to-date in all respects. Its location upon a beautiful elevation on East State street, gives it a conspicuity not enjoyed by other public buildings in the city. Its surroundings are such as to make its location most desirable for the purpose intended. Among those who were largely instrumental in establishing this beautiful hospital were Dr. A. J. Markley, of Belvidere, Dr. J. E. Allaben, and Dr. Paul L. Markley, of this city. They were not only generous givers in a financial way, but devoted much time in making it a success.
The first school in Rockford was taught by Miss Eunice Brown, in a log house with an earth floor, on the site of 110 South Second street, in July, 1837. In 1838, the same teacher taught in a building that was located on the present court house square. Miss Brown afterward married J. G. Lyon, and resided on a farm in the township of Rockton, where she died December 7, 1889.
Miss Frances Bradford also taught school in a log cabin in 1837.
The early schools were nearly all private. It is probable that there was a district school on each side of the river. The first public school on the east side of the river was taught by L. B. Gregory in 1843. Public school teachers, at this time, and up to the enactment of the free school law by the legislature, in 1855, were paid by a rate bill. After the free school law went into effect, the public schools immediately took on a rapid growth, and have continued to improve until we have the finest school system in the world.
The first school ordinance for the City of Rockford was passed by the Council June 20, 1855, which divided the city into two school districts, No 1 on the East side and No. 2 on the West side.
George Haskell, A.S. Miller and Jason Marsh constituted the first board of school inspectors.
In December, 1855, a lease of the basement of the First Baptist church was purchased of A. W. Freeman for school purposes, on the West side, and Mr. Freeman was engaged as teacher at a salary of $800 per year. The old court house on the East side was leased and Mr. H. Sabin employed as teacher. July 27, 1855, the site where the Adams school (now called the Freeman school) now stands was purchased of Solomon Wheeler, and a contract for the construction of a school building upon the same was let September 10th the same year. April 28, 1856, a contract was let for the erect-ion of a school building on the present site of the Lincoln school. Both of these buildings were completed and dedicated August 14, 1857. These two district schools constituted the educational centers for the children of the city down to 1884, when the city was organized into one school district with one high school.
The principals of District No. 1 were Orlander C. Blackmer and Henry Freeman, the latter retaining his position from 1859 to 1880, when he resigned, He was succeeded by Prof. McPherson, who continued until the district was abolished in 1884. The principals for District No. 2 were George G. Lyon, E. M. Fernald, E. N. Weller, J. H. Blodgett and W. W. Stetson.
The building of the Kent school took place shortly after those on the East and West sides, and Prof. O. F. Barbour has been its principal for most of the time since its inception, receiving his appointment in 1866.
The city schools are under the management of a board of five school inspectors appointed by the mayor, with a city school superintendent.
At the beginning of the year 1903 the city schools number seventeen, all modern buildings, and supplied with the latest and most approved appliances, the total cost of which is $416,- 820 20. This includes the cost of the several sites, the construction and equipment of the buildings, but does not include the cost of the buildings demolished to make room for several of the new ones. When this is included the sum will reach fully $500,000.00.
The cost of maintenance of the schools increases annually with the growth of the city. The appropriation for this purpose for the year 1903 is $105,637.20.
Following is a summary showing the date and cost of construction of the several school buildings in the city.
Making a total of -----$416,280.20 representing the present value of the city school property
The total cost of maintenance of the schools of the city, from their establishment, can be ascertained only by careful estimates and comparisons, which show an investment of $1,606,- 500.00. Including the value of school property the grand total is $2,023,320.20.
SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MEMORIAL HALL
The legislature of the State of Illinois made an appropriation for the building of a Soldiers' Home, in 1885, and appointed a Board of Com- missioners to select a site for its location.
At the July session of the Board of Supervisors of Winnebago county, a committee consisting of Chairman E.J. Veness, Robert Simpson and S. W. Jones for the board, and Col. T.G. Lawler, Geo. S. Haskell and C. C. Jones for the citizens was appointed to present the desirability of locating the home in Winnebago county to the commissioners, but nothing was accomplished.
The following year, 1886, at the March meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor John D. Jackson, of Pecatonica, introduced a resolution for the appropriation of $25,000.00 for the building of a Winnebago county monument.
The resolution made provision for the location of the monument on the court house square. Action on the resolution was laid over one day, and in the interim the question arose as to whether a Memorial building would not be preferable to a monument. Meantime Nevius Post, G. A. R., submitted a request asking the Board to let the people vote as to which the memorial should be a monument or a hall. This request was incorporated in the original resolution. The proposition to appropriate $25,000.00 for a Memorial Hall was carried at the election.
At the May meeting, Supervisor Simpson submitted a resolution providing for the appropriation as determined by the vote of the people.
On account of a difference of opinion having arisen in the Board as to several points at issue, action on the resolution was deferred until the September meeting, at which it was defeated.
The memorial matter was not brought up again until the July session of 1898, when A.D. Early made a plea before the Board for action in this direction. Supervisor Osborne favored the plan, and introduced a resolution providing for the appointment of a committee of five, including the chairman of the Board, to confer with a committee of citizens with a view of devising some plan for securing a monument. The resolution was adopted, and E.H. Keeler, Aug. Peterson, W.L. Osborne and D.W. Barningham, with J.M. Rhodes, chairman, were made the committee. Supervisor Van Alstyne moved that the Rockford City Council be asked to appoint a committee of five to confer with the Board committee, which carried, and the Council appointed F. E. Sterling, John A. Bow- man, M. A. Love, John A. Nash and J. F. Ogilby said committee.
The joint committee met at the court house August 13, 1898, and organized by making F. E. Sterling, chairman, and E. H. Keeler, secretary.
After a thorough discussion of the matter it was deemed advisable to present petitions to the City Council and the Board of Supervisors. Accordingly blanks were sent out over the county for endorsement which were unanimously signed. The committee favored the building of a hall.
An adjournment was taken to September 13, when a joint resolution was adopted favoring the building of a Memorial Hall.
The petitions were presented to the Board of Supervisors at the December meeting of 1898, together with the recommendations of the joint committee, and a set of resolutions from Nevius Post, G.A.R., asking favorable action at the hands of the Board. Supervisor Keeler had the matter in charge, and offered a resolution setting forth the desire of the people for a Memorial building, and the obligations of the county to recognize the merits of the soldiers of the county, together with a provision for the appropriation of $20,000.00 for the purpose of erecting said building, and moved its adoption. Action was delayed to secure an opinion from the state's attorney as to the legality of the matter
The following day State's Attorney A.H. Frost rendered an opinion adverse to the proposition, and the whole matter was laid over to the May meeting in 1899. Steps were immediately taken to secure special legislation in the form of an enabling act, and a bill was drawn by A.D. Early for this purpose. Hon. Henry Andrus took charge of the bill and secured its passage at the 1898 session of the legislature.
A petition to the Board of Supervisors was then presented, asking the submission of the proposition to the voters of the county at the November election of 1900. The members of Nevius Post aided in the matter, and the election resulted in a hearty endorsement of the measure.
At the December meeting of the Board in 1900, the result of the election was announced, and Col. T.G. Lawler, with other G.A.R. men, appeared before the Board and asked that a Memorial Hall instead of a monument be erected.
On motion of A.J. Lovejoy, the matter was referred to a special committee to ascertain the cost of a site and to obtain plans for carrying out the wishes of the voters, and to report at the next meeting of the Board. The next day, Supervisor Osborne moved that the matter be laid over to the next meeting, and that a committee of six be appointed to investigate the cost and location of a suitable memorial, which carried. Supervisors A.J. Lovejoy, C. H. Latham, D.B. Redington, Walter Van Alstyne, D.W. Barningham and Aug. Nylander were made the committee.
The following day Supervisor Nylander moved that the committee be authorized to se- cure plans for both a monument and a hall, and that $500,00 be appropriated for the purpose, which carried.
At the March meeting in 1901, Chairman Lovejoy reported that the committee had made general inquiry in different parts of the state, and had invited four different architects to submit plans for both a building and a monument, and that the committee favored the building of a Memorial Hall, and recommended the plans of Reeves & Bailee of Peoria, provided said building is guaranteed not to cost more than $40,000.00, and also favored placing the building on the southwest corner of the court house square. Action on the report was laid over one day, and when taken up, Supervisor Turner moved that it be the sense of the Board that a Memorial Hall be erected, and the motion prevailed.
The motion to adopt the report of the special committee was lost, and the committee was discharged.
Supervisor Carson then moved that a committee of five members be appointed to present plans and specifications for a Memorial Hall with probable cost of same at the next meeting of the Board, which carried.
The committee were: Supervisors Osborne, Neeley, Redington, Van Alstyne and Carson.
At the June session bids were received for sites, and a vote taken on the location of the building, which resulted in the selection of the court house square.
At the following September meeting an effort was made to rescind the vote locating the building on the court house square, but it failed.
At the December meeting another effort to rescind the vote to locate the building on the court house square was successful, and the motion carried with it instructions to purchase the Butterworth site on North Main street, at a cost not to exceed $11,500.00.
The location of the building having been determined. Supervisor Nylander moved that a building committee of five be appointed, which prevailed, and Supervisors Van Alstyne, Whitehead, Lovejoy, Redington and Nylander were appointed. The Bradley & Carpenter plans were adopted at the June meeting.
The building committee organized December 12, 1901, by electing Walter Van Alstyne, chairman, and J. B. Whitehead, secretary. Bids were advertised for January 11, 1902.
Eleven bids were received, ranging in price from $38,000.00 by W. H. Cook to $52,814.00 by H. Ferge. These bids were considered too high and were all rejected. The architects modified their plans slightly, and bids were called for again. March 25, 1902, the committee had received four bids, which were opened, and the contract was awarded to W. H. Cook for $35,324.00. Work was begun shortly after and pushed rapidly to completion.
The building was dedicated by President Roosevelt, Wednesday, June 3, 1903, the occasion being the most notable event in the history of Rockford. President Roosevelt was the first president to visit the city, and thousands of people from near and from far came to do him and the occasion honor.
The Rockford House, which claims the distinction of being the first hotel built in the city was opened to the public in the autumn of 1837. Previous to that time several of the settlers had opened their homes to strangers, but not as regular hotel-keepers.
The Rockford House was built by Daniel S. Haight and Charles S. Oliver, and stood on the site of the present Young Men's Christian Association building. The first landlord was Henry Thurston, and his son acted in the double capacity of clerk and chambermaid, especially for the rooms in the third story which had to be reached by the ladder route. Mr. Thurston was succeeded as landlord by several of the other old time residents, there being at least eight to follow him.
The next season after the Rockford House was opened the second hotel for the village was commenced, and this was completed and opened to the public in 1839. The building known as the Washington House stood in East State street, and was quite a pretentious building. It had a front of sixty feet, with large additions at the rear. The kitchen was in the basement. Soon after the building was completed the street in front was graded and left the building standing on a high bank. Ten or twelve steps were necessary to lead from the street to the entrance. The name of the hotel was later changed to the Rock River House, and part of the building now stands at 307 East State street, and the other section is on the southeast corner of State and Madison streets. The building was built by Jacob B. and Thomas Miller. Its first landlord was Jacob Miller, and was followed by nearly a dozen landlords.
In 1838 the Log Tavern, then called the Stage House, was opened. This was located on the corner where the Second National Bank stood at Main and State streets.
For some time these three buildings constituted the hotel accommodations of the city, and in 1850 Andrew Brown added to the list by open-ing a new place called Brown's House and G. S. Moore became its proprietor. The American House still stands, and though fifty years old, is a good building yet.
The Waverly and Union houses were started in 1852, and were located in the south part of the city near where the Northwestern passenger station stands. These buildings are still standing as evidences of the hotel facilities of the early days in Rockford. At the time these places were built they were considered excellent hotels, and the trade they did was enormous:
The site now occupied by the Chick House was where the Inn was started in 1840 by Spencer & Fuller. This house was conducted for several seasons. The Inn was the real beginning of the modern hotel, and though not as pretentious as those which followed contained many of the improvements in the way of wash rooms and toilets, and the first bills of fare used in the city were furnished guests of the Inn by Messrs. Spencer & Fuller. Next in line came the Eagle Hotel, which was erected in South Main street, three blocks from State street, and still stands there.
The first brick hotel was the Winnebago House. This building was finished in the fall of 1838, but for five years was used as a store building, and when it was completed there was quite a celebration, for this was the first brick building on Rock River above Rock Island. Dr. Haskell and Isaiah Lyon conducted the business until 1843 when Mr. Lyon became sole owner of the stock and building, closed it out and re-modeled the building into a hotel called the 6o Winnebago House, which was continued until 1854 when it was again rearranged into stores. The building was located on what is known as Andrew Ashton's corner.
The real modern hotel first established in the city was the Holland House, which later became the Huffman House. This was the first of the hotels to be supplied with elevator, etc. It was opened in 1857. The building stood on the corner now occupied by the Masonic Temple. The hotel continued as the leading place of the kind in this vicinity for many years, and up to the opening of the Nelson was at the top of the list of first class places where the weary and hungry were cared for. The hotel burned on Christmas eve, 1896.
After the establishment of the Holland House there were many other hotels opened, and the city has continued to be one of best supplied places in the northwest for hotel accommodations. The Commercial House, on Green street, opposite the Northwestern depot, was one of those to follow and is still running. For a period of several years it was known as White's Hotel, and in its earlier days was classed as one of the leading hotels in Rockford owing to its excellent location near the Chicago & North-western depot, at that time the only railroad depot in the city.
The American House on Madison street which is still conducted by E.E. Everett ; the City Hotel was established on the corner now occupied by the Forest City National Bank, and some years ago was razed.
Those of the other hotels now being conducted are the Chick, The Jarvis Inn. The National, The European, Forest City House, The Victoria and the Nelson. There are several restaurants also, and these, with the hotels, can furnish accommodations for hundreds of guests daily.
The Nelson and the Chick are the leading hotels, and the former is one of the finest places in the northwest. It is six stories high and has accommodations for over two hundred guests. Its location is in one of the pleasantest parts of the city and guests are close to the business district. Its service and culinary departments are up to the standard of the best hotels in the west.
The Chick House, together with its cottages and annexes, will accommodate two hundred guests, and is the popular headquarters for commercial travelers. It has a large number of regular boarders and many families of the city patronize the house for Sunday dinners. The house is centrally located, and the city and interurban cars pass the door.
Could one of the early day visitors to the city return today he would be much surprised at the wonderful changes wrought in hotel facilities.
The present beautiful Rockford College owes its origin to a conception developed in a convention of churches held in Cleveland, Ohio, in June, 1844, of the necessity of establishing a college for men and a seminary for women in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois respectively. The delegates, upon their return from the convention, called a meeting at Beloit in August, 1844, at which it was deemed advisable to build a college at Beloit and a seminary in Northern Illinois. Three subsequent meetings were held, and at each one the resolution of the first meeting was upheld.
At the fourth meeting, held at Beloit in October, 1845, Beloit was selected as the location for the college and a Board of Trustees elected. The charter for the college was approved by the Governor of the Territory of Wisconsin, February 2, 1846. Then began the discussion as to a site for the location of the seminary, Rockton and Rockford were rivals for the location.
But Beloit having secured the college, Rock- ton was considered too near for the location of the seminary, and thus Rockford secured the plum.
A meeting was held in the Methodist church in Rockford October 29. 1845, to consider the location of the seminary. It was resolved to raise the sum of money prescribed by the trustees of Beloit college, about $3,500.00. A committee was appointed to secure subscriptions and met with success. A charter was granted to the same gentlemen that constituted the Beloit College trustees, February 25, 1847.
June 11, 1849, Miss Anna P. Sill established a preparatory school under the name of the Rockford Female Seminary. This institution had a board of local trustees, who planned to make it the seminary aimed at by the trustees of Beloit College.
In 1850 more than $6,000.00 were pledged to put up the buildings and secure the ground, and by September of that year the seminary was assured.
Miss Sill's school was recognized by the trustees of Beloit College in 1851 as the preparatory department of the Rockford Seminary, under the charter which they held. Courses of study were defined, and upon examination, fifteen were admitted into the first collegiate class in September of that year. Thus the college was formally founded in 1851. Up to 1892, it was known as Rockford Female Seminary, but in this year was changed to its present name Rockford College. The site was purchased from Buell G. Wheeler, and has not changed in its contour except a strip taken from the west end by the Chicago & Iowa railroad.
The first building was erected by John Beattie, and cost $7,927.35. The corner stone for this building was laid July 15, 1852, by Rev. Aratus Kent, president of the board of trustees. In 1850, it was deemed advisable by the trustees of Beloit College that each institution should manage its own affairs, and the seminary interests were turned over to a local board, which was created at this time, and in 1 852 the seminary passed into the hands of a separate board of trustees.
A faculty was appointed in July, 1852, with Miss Sill as principal.
In 1854 work was begun on Linden Hall, the money for the building of which largely came from the east. Up to September, 1854, Miss Sill had secured $3,659.67 for this building. In 1866 a second addition, Chapel Hall, was begun with its connecting corridors, and completed in two years. In 1871, Linden Hall and Middle Hall were connected by corridors.
From the founding of the school in 1849, to the end of the fiscal year 1861, the total number of students receiving tuition in the institution was 1,530, and the money contributed from all sources was $39,228.00.
Miss Sill resigned in 1884. after giving thirty-five years of splendid service to the school, and was honored by being made principal emerita, which position she held at the time of her death, June 18, 1889.
THE STREETS OF ROCKFORD
There is doubtless no other feature in the building of a city, or one that adds so much to its popular reputation as its streets and walks. The condition of the streets and walks of any city is the first thing to attract the attention of a stranger. If these be indifferent or poor, the city is rated as being one lacking in thrift and progress.
Fine business blocks and beautiful residences count for but little if the streets are neglected. Rockford has kept pace in the care and improvement of its streets with its development in other departments. Its citizens and property owners have been ready and willing to submit to heavy assessments that the streets abutting their property might be substantially paved and otherwise improved.
Thousands of dollars have been annually expended by the street department in improving and beautifying the streets of the city.
This department has been under the direction of competent engineers, and the work has been thoroughly and well done. The sanitary conditions of any city depends largely upon its drainage, which in turn is controlled by its streets and sewers. The improvement and construction of these constitute one of the heavy bur- dens that must be met by general or special tax. Notwithstanding this fact the investment is one that brings the largest returns to the city.
The following persons have held the office of city engineer : Duncan Ferguson, 1880-81; T.J.L. Remington, 1882-84; Daniel W. Mead, 1885-89; D.C. Dunlap, 1890-91. In 1892 the superintendency of sewers was added to the engineer's department, and Charles C. Stowell was placed in charge. He served until 1897, when Edwin Main was appointed, who still holds this office.
Mr. Main has so systematized the work of the street and sewer department as to give the best possible results. He has his work thoroughly in hand, is courteous and considerate in the transaction of business connected with the office and his ability is valuable to the city. The City of Rockford has 130 miles of streets, 44 miles of which are paved. Two miles are paved with brick and two with asphalt. The remaining 40 miles are macadamized. The walks are mostly made of concrete or tar, and cover about 160 miles.
The sewerage system is being rapidly extended. At the beginning of 1903 there were twenty seven miles of sewer mains, and six will be added during the year. The sewer system has cost the city in round figures $500,000.00, the street improvements $1 ,000 ,000.00, and the sidewalks $450,000.00.
There are three parks in the city, which has cost to improve and maintain, $60,000.00. Another beautiful park will doubtless soon be acquired by the city, as it is proposed by the Winnebago County Agricultural Society to transfer the well known fair grounds to the city for this purpose.
A plan is also proposed to park the east side river bank from State street, north, for a considerable distance. With these added improvements Rockford will certainly be one of the most beautiful cities in the country.
The first and only Episcopal parish in Rockford was organized May 1, 1849. The articles of incorporation were signed by Chauncy Ray, Jonathan Weldon, Horace Starkey, Duncan J. Stewart, John Conrad, S. R. Weldon and Spencer S. Weldon, with Rev. Dudley Chase as pre- siding officer, and who was the first rector. Duncan J. Stewart is the only incorporator now living. Rev. Charles Reighley was called to the rector ship November 15, 1852, and with the consent of Bishop Henry John Whitehouse, accepted the call. The site, where the present chapel now stands, was purchased for $200, and a building erected at a cost of $1,900.00, which was consecrated by Bishop Whitehouse, August 23, 1853, by the name of " Emanuel Church, Rockford." The present house of worship was built during the service of Rev. D.C. Peabody, who became rector March 1, 1886. The build- ing is known as the " Fairfield Memorial Parish House," and was a gift to the society by Mrs. Eleanor G. Fairfield, as a memorial to her late husband, W. W. Fairfield, and cost $40,000.00. At this time an additional thirty feet of land was added to the site costing $1 ,600.00. and the rectory, No. 82 1 North Church street, was purchased for $6,000.00. Following are the names of the rectors who have ministered to this society: Rev. Dudly Chase, Charles Reighley, Anson Clark, Michael Schofield, William T. Smithett, Thomas Smith, S.B. Duffield, J. E. Walton, S.D. Day, C.S. Percival, F. W. Adams, A, W. Snyder, D.C. Peabody, Wyllys Rede and N.B Clinch, the present rector.
The charter membership was about twenty. The present membership is 260. The total expenditures since the organization of the society for all purposes are nearly $170,000.00.
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
The first permanent church organization in Rockford was instituted May 5, 1837, and was christened the First Congregational church. Its founder was the Rev. John Morrill, who came from New York as a home missionary to this county. He was the first pastor and served one year. The church organization took place at the house of Israel Morrill on the West side, and there were nine charter members, viz; Rev. John Morrill, Herman B. Potter, Israel Morrill, Richard Morrill, Elizabeth P. Morrill, Mary I. Morrill, Sophia N. Morrill, Minerva Potter and Eunice Brown.
Two weeks later the names of Edward Cating, Charles Works, Asa Crosby, Mary Crosby and Mary Danforth were added to the roll. At the end of the first year the membership had been increased to twenty-seven.
Soon after its organization the society held its meetings in the stage barn on the East side, but in the summer of 1838 the trustees began the erection of a frame building on North First street. When this building was nearly completed it was learned that Kent & Brinkerhoff had secured eight hundred dollars from friends in New York with which to build a church. Instead of turning this money over to the society they proceeded to erect a building on the West side of the river. When this was completed it was turned over to the society. This was the first church edifice in Rockford.
The building on the East side was later occupied by the First Methodist society, and still later was known as the old seminary building.
In 1846 the society dedicated a new brick church on the East side. This building was occupied by the society until 1870, when the present church edifice, on the East side, was built.
The organ now in use in the First Congregational church was presented by Rufus Hatch, of New York, a former organist, and cost $4,500.00.
The names of the pastors of this church are appended : Revs. John Morrill, Cyrus L. Watson, William S. Curtis, D.D., Oliver W. Norton, Lansing Porter, Lewis H. Loss, H.M. Goodwin, D.D., Wilder Smith, Theodore Clifton, William W. Leete and Frederick H. Bodman.
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
The First church, in its earlier history, was a very strong and wealthy society, but its membership has been drawn upon heavily in the organization of other churches and its resources thereby curtailed. In the organization of the Second Congregational church in 1849, forty- three members of the First church withdrew and became charter members of the Second church. Again in 1855 fourteen members withdrew to become charter members in the organization of the Westminster Presbyterian church. The cost of the present church edifice and its furnishings was $50,000.00. In 1889 Mrs. John G. Penfield donated a lot to the society upon which the present parsonage was built at a cost of $5,000,00. The bell in the church edifice was donated to the society by George W. Smith of Guilford, and cost $2,00000. The total amount of money expended by this society from the founding of the church in 1837 to 1903, for all purposes, is approximately $400,000.00. The present membership is 430.
The influence of this church for good in the community is beyond calculation. It has not only furnished material as the nuclei for the organization of other churches, but has rendered financial aid to other and weaker churches, thereby aiding materially in the beautifying and Christianizing the city. After sixty-six years of successful work this society can congratulate itself that it is now in a flourishing condition and free from debt. The present pastor is an able and conscientious worker, and the outlook of the society is bright.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
The second church organization in Rockford was that of the First Baptist church, which was organized at the house of Dr. George Haskell, December 22, 1838, and was the second Baptist church organized in Northern Illinois. This society had sixteen charter members, and its first church services were irregularly held until April, 1840, when it was resolved to hold them regularly. The society was legally incorporated in December, 1839, and steps were taken to build a church. This building was located at the corner of Main and Peach streets, and the first preacher was Prof. Seth S. Whitman of Belvidere. His first sermon was delivered May 9, 1841. The first stated pastor was Rev. Solomon Knapp. The notable Elder Jacob Knapp became a member of this church in November, 1848, and supplied its pulpit until June, 1849. As a result of his preaching sixty-two additions were made to the church membership.
Elder Knapp claimed to have preached about 6,000 sermons, baptized 4,000. candidates, and was the means of making 100,000 converts, of whom 200 became ministers.
The present church edifice was completed in 1850 at a cost of $7,500.00. Among the most noted pastors of this society were the Rev. Ichabod Clark, D.D., who served ten years and largely increased the church membership, and Dr. Thomas Kerr who became pastor June 1, 1860. He was given a vacation of three months, at the end of his first year, in which to visit Palestine. In 1864, he was a member of the Christian Commission and visited the army at the front, doing much efficient work.
In 1866, he accepted a pastorate at Hanibal, Missouri, but returned to the pastorate of the First church again in 1869. He resigned this pastorate August 20, 1870.
Following are the names of the pastors who have served this society: Revs. Seth S. Whit- man, Jacob Knapp, Ichabod Clark, D. D.A.B. Stone, Austin Gibb, C.C. Smith, John S. Mabie, E.Anderson, W.A. Stanton. C.H. Moscrip, Theo. G. Scares, Charles W. Barber and W. C. Kiersted. The First Baptist church edifice is now the oldest church building in the city, and is in thorough repair. It was remodeled recently at a cost of $8,000.00.
The present membership is 320.
This society has expended for all purposes since its organization about $151,500.00.
COURT STREET METHODIST CHURCH
Court Street Methodist church was organized January 1, 1852, many of its charter members having come from the First Methodist church on the East side of the river. The first enrollment was but forty, which has been increased to 845. The society purchased a site for a church edifice near the corner of State and Court streets in 1853 for $350.00, and the building was completed and dedicated in November, 1854, at a cost of $7,000.00. Rev. G.L.S. Stuff preached the dedicatory sermon.
In 1883, this society had outgrown its environments, and steps were taken toward building a more commodious edifice. The present site was purchased September 5, 1883, and a building committee consisting of Messrs. Levi Rhoades, S.B. Wilkins, N.E. Lyman, David Keyt and J.G. Chick was appointed. Ground for the building was broken in September, 1884. The corner stone was laid (Bishop Merrill officiating) in August, 1885. The building was completed and dedicated in May, 1887, at which time $29,000.00 was subscribed, thus enabling the society to dedicate its building free from debt.
The site for the present parsonage was purchased from the Horsman estate in 1884. Ground for the parsonage was broken in August, and the house completed in October of that year. The total cost of the present church and parsonage was nearly $82,000.00. Before this society owned a church building, services were held in Boyd's Hall on State street. During its first year's history, 140 members were added to its roll.
In August, 1857, the Rock River Conference held its annual session in the old Court Street church, which is said to have been one of the most interesting and important sessions ever held in this conference.
The meeting is of note on account of its anti-slavery resolutions and the breaking of ground for the Wesleyan Seminary, which was to be located on West State street. A tract of land was purchased for this school, and considerable money raised for the erection of buildings, but the scheme was abandoned, later, and the land was sold in lots.
The old parsonage was purchased in 1866 for $3,500.00.
In 1881, the annual conference was again held in the old church, at which Bishop Hurst presided. Among the notable events of this meeting were the address of welcome by William McKinley (who is still living), the heresy " investigation, and the singing of the doxology by the preachers over the election news from Indiana. In 1880 the membership had increased to 506. Court Street church has been considered by the Rock River Conference as the chief church outside of Chicago, and but few outrank her there. The following pastors have served this church: Revs. M. Chatfield, W.F. Stewart, L.A. San- ford, W.P. Gray (twice), James R Goodrich, W.P. Daniels, A.B. Taylor, J.H. Vincent, F.P. Cleveland, T.C. Clendenning, L. Meredith, W. Aug. Smith, C. E. Mandeville, T.P. Marsh, T.R. Strobridge, P.H. Swift, W.A. Phillips, W.O. Shepherd, Fred H. Sheets, Robert H. Pooley and Frank D. Sheets. The present membership is 825.
The society has expended for church property $92,850.00. The amount raised in 1902 for all purposes was $7,531. The total amount expended for all purposes, since the organization of the society, is about $300,000.00.
The Epworth church, when organized, was known as the Ninth Street church, and was organized as a feeder to the First Methodist church. The society was organized in the spring of 1876 by Rev. G. L. Wiley, who was then pastor of the First church. It had fifteen charter members. The Swedish Methodist church building was purchased for $300.00 and removed to Ninth street, at a cost of $75.00.
At that time there were but nine houses in the vicinity of the church.
The auspices of the society were at first not very bright, but it has had a steady growth and is now in a prosperous condition.
The society was under the care of the First church during the first year, but at the beginning of the second year a pastor was appointed by the conference, since which time it has been independent.
In 1891 the old church was sold for $75.00 and removed from the site and a new church edifice erected at a cost of $3,000.00. The new church was removed to its present location at the corner of Parmele street and Fourteenth avenue, and the name changed to Epworth church.
This society has one of the finest orchestras in the city, and the music at the regular services is of the highest order.
The present membership is 74.
The total expenditures for all purposes is $24,375.00.
Following are the names of its pastors: Revs. G. L. Wiley, Joseph Odgers, W.A. Spencer, W.H Barrett, A.J. Brill, E.J. Rose, Joseph Wardell, H.L. Martin, F.R. Hall, J.L. Gardner, J.W. Irish, J.L. Case, Frank Milne, Charles Wentworth, and C.F. Kleihaur the present pastor.
The Sunday school has a membership of 155.
ROCKFORD STATE STREET BAPTIST CHURCH
The State Street Baptist church was formally organized August 17, 1858, with thirty-four members. These had taken letters from the First Baptist church, for the purpose of establishing a church on the east side of the river.
Rev. Edward C Mitchell accepted the pastorate of the church September 14, 1858, at a salary of $300 in cash, $300 in board, and $200 additional if circumstances permitted. Prof. D.N. Hood was secured to conduct the music.
A small church was erected at the corner of State and North Fifth streets, which is still standing. This church was dedicated February 2, 1860, and cost $800. This society first took the name Second Baptist church, which was changed to its present name October 26, 1858. The house now occupied was dedicated November 18, 1868, and cost $35,000.
The several pastors of this society have been Dr. Edward C. Mitchell, Revs. Spencer F. Holt, Henry C Mabie, E.K. Chandler, A.R. Medbury, C. R. Lathrop, J.T. Burhoe, R.F.Y. Pierce, Langley B. Sears, and J.T. Burhoe who now occupies this position for the second time.
The present membership is 437. The total membership is 1,400. The total amount of money expended by the society for all purposes is about $200,000. The parsonage was pur- chased in 1883, and cost $3,500. The society is free from debt and in a flourishing condition. The church edifice is being thoroughly refinished and decorated this year, at a cost of over $5,000.
SWEDISH METHODIST CHURCH
The Swedish Methodist church was organized at the home of P. A. Peterson, on Charles street, January 30, 1861, with a membership of twelve people.
The society purchased the old Westminster church for $600, and removed it to First avenue where it was nicely repaired in 1868. The present handsome brick edifice was completed in 1877, at a cost of $8,000. and was dedicated by Dr. C. E. Mandeville. The present parson- age was built in 1888 and cost $4,500.
The first Swedish Methodist paper ever published in the world is the Sandebudt (Messenger), under the auspices of this society and made its appearance July 18, 1862.
P.A Peterson is the only charter member of this society now living. He resides in the same house, and is about eighty years old. The following pastors have served this society: Revs. V. Whitting, Albert Ericson, Peter Newberg, August Westergren, Oscar Shorgren, Olof Gunderson, John Lind, A.Y. Westergren, S.B. Newman, John Weagren, S.D. Sorleine, Herman Lindskog. N.G. Nelson, J. M. Objerholm, A. Kahlin, A. Dahlberg, M. Hess, O.F. Lindstrom, Richard Cederberg, N.M. Liljegren, N. A. Sorlin, J.H. Johnson, and P.M. Alfoin.
This society has expended for all purposes nearly $50,000. The present church membership is 200, and the Sunday school has 250 members. The society is out of debt and in a prosperous condition.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The First Presbyterian church of Rockford was formally organized in the Court House July 8, 1854, with thirty-eight members. H.C. Meslor and William Shepherd were installed as ruling elders in October. 1855.
The society held its services in various places until it secured a house of worship for itself. The first place of worship was in ihe abandoned Congregational church on the east side of the river, and then in Peak's Hall. In December, 1853, services were held in Hors- man's Hall, and later in Warner's Hall. February 1, 1854, services were again held in the Court House where -the society was formally organized as stated.
February 10, 1857, Richard Jackson, was elected to serve as elder and was installed February 22.
The choir, by vote of the session, was allowed the use of an instrument in leading the services of song in public worship, November 25, 1855.
Rev. H.A. Brown was chosen pastor of the church February 10, 1857, but declined the position, and Rev. John M. Faris was chosen in his stead January 1, 1858. Rev. Brown supplied the pulpit until his successor was appointed.
September 4, I860, the present church site was bought of Michael Burns for $14,000. March 17, 1862, measures were set on foot to raise a building fund and N.C. Thompson was made depository of the fund. July 7, 1862, Mr. Thompson had received $206.49.
The society was occupying at this time what was called the "Little Brown Church", on the corner of State and Winnebago streets, purchased of the Unitarians for $400. It was removed from the corner of Court and Elm streets to its present location and occupied by the society for the first time in 1856. This building has since been torn down.
Rev. Paris resigned the pastorate August 25, 1862, and Rev. Fauntleroy Senour of Indianapolis, was installed in his stead as pastor, April 15, 1863, at a salary of $900. September 21, 1863, resolutions were adopted, setting forth the necessity of building a new church, and on May 25, 1864, a building committee was appointed. The plan was to build a church, costing not to exceed $15,000. October 30, 1864, a report shows that $9,904 had been subscribed.
March 31, 1866. Reverend Senour, after a successful pastorate of three and a half years, resigned and was succeeded by Rev. J S. Grimes. The membership of the society was now 187.
WESTMINSTER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The Westminster Presbyterian church was organized as an offshoot from the First Congregational church, January 3, 1856, many of its charter members having come from the latter society. The meeting for organization was held in the old First Congregational church at the corner of First and Walnut streets, where an engine house now stands. Twenty-two members were enrolled at this meeting.
Meetings were first held In the old court house on North First street. A chapel was erected that year on the present church site at a cost of $600.00, which was occupied in the fall. This soon proved to be too small and Metropolitan Hall was utilized for church purposes until the present structure was ready for occupancy, which was completed in December, 1858, and cost $12.000.00.
Of the charter members three are now living, and are Joel B. Potter, at the age of ninety, Mrs. Frances E. Wheat, at the age of eighty-seven, and Mrs. E.T. Cleveland, aged seventy.
The names of 950 members have been placed upon the rolls of this society since its organization.
The present membership is 285. The enrollment of the Sunday school is 86.
The following pastors have served this society: Revs. Morrison Muggins, L.H. Johnson, Charles Mattoon, Charles A. Williams, W.S. Curtis, D.D.,J. H Ritchie. T.S. Scott, S.L. Conde, W M. Campbell, W.L. Wilcox and John Henry Boose.
The membership of this society is not large, but it has never asked nor accepted outside aid. It has been a liberal giver, and can be relied upon to do its share of benevolent work. The foundation for the new church edifice was laid in 1868 and the building was dedicated by the Reverend Grimes December 20, 1868. The present lecture room was built in 1872 at a cost of $ 1,000, under the pastorate of Rev. A.J. Leyenberger who commenced his labors for the society March 6, 1870, and continued until the spring of 1874. Rev. James Cruickshanks be- came the pastor of the church December 23, 1874. The report shows that at this time the new church front had been completed at a cost of $10,000.
Rev. J.K. Fowler began his pastorate the first Sunday in January, 1878. In 1881 the church was remodeled and improved, at a cost of $5,145. At this time $50,000 had been expended in building operations.
Rev. John R. Sutherland, D.D., became the pastor in 1887, and he was succeeded by Rev. John Harkness, and he in turn by the present pastor, Rev. B.E.S. Ely, who will celebrate his first decade in the service in 1904. The society has expended for all purposes about $150,000.
It is the purpose of this society to build a new church edifice during the year of its first semi-centennial, which occurs in 1904. The sum subscribed for this purpose is now about $27,000.
The present membership is now 559, and the society is in a prosperous condition.
FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The First Methodist Episcopal church of Rockford was incorporated September 20, 1842, with five members, as follows: Horace Miller, James B. Martin, Samuel Gregory, Daniel Beers, and Willard Wheeler.
Preaching services had been held by various Methodist clergymen in private houses at various times, several years previously.
A parsonage was built in the summer of 1838, on the east side of the river, the lower floor of which was used as a chapel, during the ministry of Rev John Crummer.
The first Methodist service held in the county was at the home of Henry Enoch, in Guilford, Reverend Pillsbury preaching the sermon.
December 6, 1845, subscription papers were started for the purpose of raising funds with which to build a church, and $2,312 were subscribed. February 25, 1846, the ground for the location of the church was purchased for $325. This site is now occupied by the Centennial church and parsonage and which was occupied by the First church and parsonage. The First church was completed and dedicated in 1848, under the pastorate of Rev. James E. Wilson. March 13, 1848, a second subscription for $2,069 was secured, making a total of $4,381. The total cost of the church was about $7,000.
A unique bit of history reveals the fact that the present beautiful pulpit in the Centennial church was made from the lumber designed for the coffin of the first Methodist class leader in Rockford, Lyford Gregory.
In 1858 the conference changed the name of the church to that of First church. May 19, 1876, the First and Third Street churches were united under the name Centennial church, hence both of these churches are now but matters of history.
The Third Street church was organized January 9, 1858, as an offshoot from the First church, with eighty members. A site was purchased on North Third street for $1,200, and a church was erected by John Early in 1858 at a cost of $4,000. This church was dedicated October 9, 1858, by Rev. Hooper Crews. A parsonage was built on the same site in 1859, at a cost of $600. In 1866 the church building was enlarged at a cost of $1,800. In 1871 a parsonage was bought on East State street for $3.000, and the parsonage on Third street was sold for $ 1,300. After a successful career of eighteen years, as has been stated, this society reunited with the parent church under the name of the Centennial church, in 1876.
What is now the Centennial church has enjoyed marked success during its history of sixty-one years. It has had the ministrations of thirty-eight pastors. Its present membership is 500. The total cost of the church building is $36,799.38, and the cost of maintenance and other expenses during the sixty-one years, or life of the church, would reach fully $1 85,000, making a grand total of $221,799.38.
Following are the names of the pastors who have served this church: Dr. Arnold, Wm. Caddis, L.S. Walker, Nathan Jewett. S.H. Stocking, John Crummer, Silas Boiler, Richard Blanchard, Nathaniel P .Heath, C.D. Cahoon, John Lucock, N.P. Heath, J.C. Park, Wm. P. Jones, Francis A. Reed, Wm. Tasker, James Baume, Hooper Crews, Lewis Anderson, F.A. Reed, Joseph Hartwell, A.P. Mead, David Teed, Joseph Odgers, Wm. H. Gloss, Giles L. Wiley, Hooper Crews, Wm. A. Spencer, Dr. G.R. Vanhorne, Wm. A. Smith, Martin E. Cady, Fred Porter, J.S. Bell, J.R. Hamilton, John Hall, W.W. Painter, John Thompson and Harlow V. Holt, the present pastor. The Rev. Charles Cahoon preached only one sermon after coming to this charge, when he died.
Francis A. Reed died in 1902. Wm. A. Smith died and was succeeded by Rev Martin E. Cady. James Hartwell died and was succeeded by Rev. A. P. Mead.
This society is free from debt and is gaining renewed strength daily. Large additions have been made to the membership under the pastorate of Reverend Holt, and the church edifice is being modernized and thoroughly repaired. The present improvements will cost about $3,000.
The society is free from debt and is in a very prosperous condition.
WINNEBAGO STREET CHURCH
The Winnebago Street church had its origin in a Sunday school, organized May 20, 1856, which held its sessions first in a grove near the river bank, and later in the Kent school by invitation of the trustees. It is a matter of note that during the time the sessions were held in the grove, they were not interrupted by rain or storm.
The school was under the supervision of Court Street church, and as Winnebago Street church is an outgrowth of the Sunday school, this church is a daughter of Court Street church and a grand daughter of the First church, now the Centennial.
The church was organized March 4, 1864, at the home of Israel Sovereign, with twenty- three members. The cornerstone of the present church edifice was laid August 24, 1864, and the building was dedicated February 12, 1865, by Rev. Thomas M. Eddy, and cost $8,000. The parsonage was built in 1 867 and cost $ 1,250.
Following are the names of the pastors who have served this society: Revs. Robert Bentley, William D. Skelton, Henry L. Martin, John M. Caldwell. F.A. Reed, R.S. Cantine, Win. S. Harrington, W. H. Smith, J. M. Clendenning, Wm. H. Haight, Henry Lea, J.W. Richards, F.F. Farmiloe, M.L. Norris, and F.E. Harding, the present pastor. The present membership is about 300.
The expenditures of the society for all purposes have been about $60,000.
The church observed its thirty-ninth anniversary on June 14, 1903, which was by far the most notable day in its history. It was not only a day of jubilee, but one of ingathering of souls.
Rev. Joseph W. Powell of Buffalo, N. Y., had charge of the meetings and secured subscriptions to the amount of more than $12,000 for the purpose of building a new church edifice which will stand on the present church site. Work on the new structure will begin this year and when completed will cost about $20,000. South Rockford will then have one of the most beautiful church edifices in the city.
SECOND CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
The Second Congregational church of Rock- ford was organized in 1849, with forty seven members, nearly all of whom had taken letters from the First Congregational .church, on the east side.
A meeting for preliminary organization was held in the school house, on the west side October 30, 1849, at which it was determined to hold a meeting November 14,1849, for permanent organization. At this meeting articles of faith and rules of government were adopted, and Rev. Dexter Clary of Beloit, declared the Second Congregational church of Rockford duly organized.
The society purchased and occupied the vacant building formerly occupied by the First Congregational church. In 1851 this building was found to be too small and its capacity was increased by the addition of forty feet to its length.
The rapid growth of the church as early as 1855, made the necessity for more room imperative and the building of a new church was determined upon. A committee was appointed to carry out this determination. A site at the corner of South Church and Chestnut streets was purchased of L.H. Rood for $3,000. Several plans for the building were submitted to the committee, among which was that of David and James Keyt of Piqua, Ohio. After careful consideration of the plans and the reliability of the architects, the contract for the construction of the church was awarded to the Ohio parties for $23,478.78. The church was completed and dedicated December 1. 1858. A pipe organ was placed in the church in 1863, at a cost of $2,500.
The society purchased a parsonage in 1888, at a cost of $9,000.
The growth of this society kept pace with that of the city and in 1889 the matter of building a new and larger church edifice was taken up. For this purpose a subscription list was started with the intention of raising $80,000. The list was headed with a $10,000 subscription by Ralph Emerson, and in a short time the amount was practically provided for. A site was purchased at the corner of North Church and North streets. The corner stone was laid in 1891 , and the building was completed and dedicated May 8, 1892. This was one of the most noted church events in the history of Rockford. The building was one of the finest church edifices in the west, but it met a fateful day on Tuesday, February 20, 1894, when it was destroyed by fire. The destruction of this beautiful church was felt to be a public calamity, but the society did not despair. Immediate steps were taken to rebuild. The work was pushed vigorously forward and on the second day of the following December the church was rededicated.
The pipe organ destroyed with the church, cost $8,000, and the present organ was priced at $9.000, but was placed in the church for $8.500. It is a matter of note that Mrs. Chandler Starr has given twenty-seven years of service as organist, to this society.
The present membership of this society is 815. The total membership is 1,681. The society has expended for real estate, buildings, current expenses and benevolence more than $500,000. Its net membership is 805.
The following pastors have served the church: Revs. Lansing Porter, Joseph Emerson, J.E. Walton, M.P. Kinney, Frank P. Woodbury, W.M. Barrows, W.C. Haskell, and Peter M. Snyder, an average service of nearly seven years.
Sixteen different persons have served as deacons, one of which, W. A. Dickerman, served forty-three years, and Benjamin Blakeman forty years
Seven different persons have served as clerk and treasurer, and eight as clerk. Five have served as treasurer. Thomas D. Robertson was treasurer for thirty-three years.
Thirty-three different persons have served as trustees, of which G. A. Sanford served thirty years.
AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
This is the first church for colored people established in Rockford. It was instituted in 1891, with seven members and has steadily increased in numbers to fifty-two.
At the time of the establishment of this church many of the colored people were allied to other churches, but have gradually withdrawn from these and united with their own people.
The society purchased a site of 55 feet front on Elm street and 1 55 feet on South Winnebago street, upon which is a building used for church purposes. The building has a seating capacity of 135 and is usually well attended at the regular services. The property cost the society $2,000 upon which a debt remains of $1,085. This the society hopes to pay in the near future.
The Sunday school has an average attendance of thirty-five pupils.
The following pastors have served this society. Revs. F.B. Jones, J.C. Anderson, Richmond Taylor, Lewis Dixon, Sandy McDowell, P.P. Taylor and S.B. Moore, the present pastor, who came in October, 1900.
The total amount of money expended for all purposes is about $5,000.
ST. JAMES CATHOLIC CHURCH
St. James congregation was organized in 1850, and in the following year Rev. John Hampston was appointed pastor by Bishop Van de Velde. In 1852 Father Hampston erected a small wooden church and frame dwelling at the corner of North Second and Prairie streets. It was not until 1866, under the pastorate of Rev. J.S. O'Neill, that a structure adequate to the needs of the growing congregation, was built on the adjoining lot.
This parish originally included the eastern half of Winnebago county and a part of Ogle county, but now contains four churches, the most important of which is St. Mary's, in West Rockford, which was built in 1885 by the Rev. E. H. Murphy, now of Chicago.
St. James church has had the services of the following pastors: Revs. John Hampston, George Hamilton, William Lambert, J. Bulger, John P. Donelan, J.S. O'Neill, Joseph Mc- Mahon, J. T. Butler and James J. Flaherty, the present pastor.
The parochial residence was built by the Rev. Dr. Butler in 1873, and the school, a fine brick structure, by the present pastor, in 1891. The Dominican Sisters have charge of the school.
The present church was built in 1866, and cost $20,000. Improvements are being made, which when completed will bring the total cost up to $35,000. The parochial school cost $17,000, and the residence cost $8,000, making a total of $60,000 for real estate and improvements.
For maintenance and various church purposes the society has expended $252,837, making a grand total of $312,837 expenditure.
Father James J. Flaherty has faithfully served this society during the last eighteen years and has earned the kind regards of not only his parishioners but of the people of the entire community. Rev. Frank P. Murphy is serving as assistant to Father Flaherty.
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH
The Central Christian church is one of the more recently organized societies, and has made rapid progress. With twenty-three members and an inauspicious beginning November 20, 1898, it has had a most wonderful and successful career.
The noted evangelist, E.C. Prather, organized the society after holding a series of meetings in 1898. In 1899 Dr. D.R. Lucas, national chaplain of the G.A.R., was called to the pastorate, and during his pastorate meetings were held in the Y.M.C.A. hall In September, 1900, Rev. O. F. Jordon was called to the pastorate in which capacity he is still serving.
April 14, 1901, the society dedicated its first house of worship, at the corner of South Church and Chestnut streets. On May 1 , 1903, the membership had increased to 145. Its total membership represents 179 individuals. The society has expended for all purposes $8,510.
FIRST SWEDISH LUTHERAN CHURCH
The First Swedish Lutheran church was organized January 15, 1854, with a membership of seventy-seven. The first church building was a wooden structure and cost $ 1 ,600. The church was dedicated November 23, 1856, by Dr. Hasselquist preaching the dedicatory sermon.
Rev. A. Andren was called to the first pastorate, and began his service in August, 1856. Reverend Andren built a parsonage on the church lot, which he sold to the society upon the termination of his pastorate, in 1860. The seating capacity of the first church was about 300. The growth of the society increased so rapidly that more room became a necessity and the construction of a brick church on the present church site, was begun in 1868 and completed in 1869, at a cost of $23,000.
This edifice also proved to be inadequate for the needs of the society as early as 1883, when the present church was built. The old structure was removed and its place occupied by the present beautiful building which cost $76,000, and has a seating capacity of about 2,000.
This society has had a remarkable growth from its organization to the present time. The original membership of seventy seven has been increased to 2,200 during the forty-nine years of its history. The original membership of Zion Lutheran church came from this church, but this did not seem to retard its growth. The society is free from debt and is contemplating the building of a fine parsonage, which will doubtless be accomplished in 1904.
This society will celebrate its semi-centennial anniversary in February, 1904, which occasion will be one of the most important in its history.
The following pastors have served this church: Revs. A. Andren, A. W. Dahlsten, G. Peters, L. Johnston. Jarl Haff, and J. F. Seedoff. The Reverend Peters served continuously for twenty-two and a half years, and the Reverend Johnston eight years. Reverend Haff died in 1896, after serving about one year. The present pastor. Reverend Seedoff, succeeded the Reverend Haff, and has served continuously since.
In 1902 the society expended for all purposes $ 1 1 ,000, and the total expenditures during its work of nearly fifty years will reach the large sum of $360,000.
The organ in this church cost $3,500. The society is one of the strongest and most flourishing in the state. The attendance from Sunday to Sunday has a large representation of men, and the average attendance is about 1 ,800.
TRINITY ENGLISH LUTHERAN CHURCH
The Trinity English Lutheran church, located on North First street, is one of the later additions to the large number of beautiful church edifices of the city. It is a brick structure and cost $18,500.
This church society was organized March 10, 1895, with only forty members Services were first held in the Y.M.C.A. building and later in the old Christian church. In 1898 the society purchased the old church property for $3,400. The old church edifice was torn down and the erection of the present church building was commenced in 1900. The building was completed and dedicated December 16, 1900.
Rev. W.H. Maans was the organizer of this society and was its pastor until he was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. H.M. Bannen, who took up the work April 1,1896. The society has expended about $22,000 in its church property and the total amount of money raised for all purposes during its history will reach $42.000.
The society is free from debt and in a prosperous condition. The total membership is 490. The Sunday school is one of the important features in the work of this society and has an enrollment of 650.
ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH
St. Mary's Catholic church was organized in 1885 by the Rev. E. H. Murphy, now of Chicago. This church was formed by an over- flow membership from St. James church on the east side of the river, but is now one of the most important churches in the diocese. The present membership is about 3,000 and is constantly growing.
Since the pastorate of the Rev. E.A. Murphy, there have been the following pastors: Revs. M. McLaughlin, M. McMann, S.P. Byrne, R. Solan, John Harrington, Paul Burke, and John Darsey, A. Carr and Stephen Woulf, assistant priests.
The site for St. Mary's church cost $8,500. The church building cost $50,000, and the parochial residence cost $3,500, making a total value of $62,000 for society property. For maintenance and other objects about $150,000 has been expended. Adding this to church property and $212,000 represents the total expenditures of money by this society, for all purposes.
Rev. M. McLaughlin died while serving as pastor.
GRACE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Grace Methodist church is one of the later church societies which was organized in West Rockford in the fall of 1891. This thriving addition to the city had reached a point when many of its citizens felt the need of more convenient church privileges, and the organization of the Grace church was the outcome of this condition.
A meeting was called and the desire for the organization of a Methodist society prevailed. The charter membership numbered thirty-nine. Some of these were from other churches, but this society cannot be considered as an offshoot from any other.
The site for the church edifice cost $1,800. The building cost originally $5,500, but additions were recently made at a cost of $2,000. The parsonage property cost $2,500. The church was organized under the administration of Presiding Elder Haight, and the first pastor was Rev. Frank D. Sheets who served five years. He was followed by Rev. Frank McNamer, who served two years. He was succeeded by Rev. J. B. Robinson and he in turn by Rev. Thomas E. Ream. The present pastor, Rev. E.K.D. Hester, took up the work in 1902.
The society is in a prosperous condition and is constantly growing. The present membership is 280.
The total value of church property is $11,800, The society has expended for all purposes about $42,000.
DR. BROUGHTON'S SANITARIUM
Dr. Broughton's Sanitarium for the treatment and care of those suffering from alcohol, other drug habits and special nervous troubles, has maintained its hold on first place in its field and is widening its beneficent work every day.
About three years ago, Dr. Broughton, who had for many years previous been employed by Dr. Keeley at his Dwight Institute, leased Dr. Ransom's Sanitarium property located on Rock river, opposite Harlem Park, and began the work he had so well fitted himself for.
A physician of the most ethical kind himself, and having earned a high reputation as a specialist in the treatment of nervous diseases and those attributable to drug and alcoholic addictions, he was most cordially assisted by his fellow physicians having patients requiring such treatment. During his long service at Dwight he formed an acquaintance which encircled the globe. He found that he had friends in every civilized country who were glad to direct afflicted ones to him.
This recognition resulted in a greater number of patients coming to him than he could accommodate in the up-river home, so he purchased the Keyt mansion on the Rock river, just south of the city, opening the new place in June, 1902.
The Keyt residence has long been famed for its elegance in architecture, its spacious rooms and costly construction. For many years it stood as a model of fine residence building. It originally cost $30,000.00, and this amount has been increased by later improvements, before Dr. Broughton purchased it. He immediately began a series of expenditures which were to provide every convenience. No expense was spared in refitting the home for Sanitarium purposes. The great ballroom on the third floor was partitioned for sleeping rooms. Each room was finished differently and furnished in home like fashion. The first and second floors were also redecorated throughout, and the basement was entirely made over for the opening of a large dining room, club room, kitchen and other rooms. The beautifully carved wood work was refinished all over the house and restored to the beauty which it mirrored when the house was first opened. A complete system of plumbing, hot water, heating and electric lighting appliances was installed.
The grounds which cover twelve acres and support the most varied and well cultured forest in this section were carefully groomed. The doctor never paused in his work until he had placed the whole in the state of perfection he had always hoped to attain.
While the premises are less than two miles from the center of the city, they are so nestled among the trees and shrubbery that the utmost seclusion is insured, and one is as totally apart from city life as in a dense, remote woodland. The charm and quiet of the place is especially desirable in the treatment of nervous diseases.
The management of the Sanitarium is perfect. Dr. and Mrs. Broughton seem fitted by nature for the care of such an institution. The strictest discipline is maintained in so kindly a way, that the place has none of the air of restraint, though the clock work of the controlling power moves incessantly.
Patients from every state in the union come to the Sanitarium. It is not uncommon to hear one say that he has traveled a thousand miles to reach Rockford.
Dr. Broughton's methods for treating his special class of diseases are confined to purely medical lines. He is not exploiting any proprietary remedy of any nature, kind or description. His is but a hospital for the treatment of habitual diseases along the lines any other specialist would act.
Unfortunately the recruits to this institution do not seem to grow less. The number he has cured does not seem to diminish the supply, for the rooms are continuously occupied.
The present large building, which at one time appeared so roomy, is now too small for his needs. If he decides to extend his care to all who apply for relief, another building will be required.
The Broughton Sanitarium is one of the institutions of which Rockford people are justly proud. Its high professional character, coupled with the personal worth of its proprietor, has won the respect of all.
Leonard and Joseph Schmauss successors to Leonard Schmauss, their father, in the meat business, have established a large wholesale and retail trade. They buy and slaughter only the best stock the market affords. By this means, together with upright and honorable dealing, they have built up a large business. Their market at 313 East State street, is shown in the cut, and is the finest and most conveniently and thoroughly equipped place of business of the kind in the city, or in this section of the country.
Besides this central place of business, they operate fine markets on West State, South Main, and Seventh streets, in this city.
They give employment to fifty people in the different departments of their business and are making additions and improvements to their facilities each year. The volume of business is constantly increasing and their customers are found in towns many miles from Rockford.
There is scarcely a town in northern Illinois or southern Wisconsin that does not get considerable of its meat supply from Schmauss Company.
Schmauss Brothers own a large amount of city and landed property, and are foremost in making permanent improvements and in beautifying the city.
SKANDIA HARDWARE COMPANY
This institution was established October 10, 1892, and is one of the youngest, and still one of the most prominent industries in the city. It is located at 327-329 Seventh street. The store itself is a beautiful and attractive business place.
The company has built up a very successful business by strict integrity, close attention to business, and by handling nothing but desirable goods.
They keep a complete line of shelf and heavy hardware, tinware, builders' hardware, machinists tools and everything found in a first class up to-date hardware store.
The present managers have had charge of the business since its inception. The officers are Sanford Olson, manager ; J.T. Peters, secretary; Enoch Nicholson, head salesman; Charles Carlson, head of stove department, and Frank Turnos in charge of the tinners' department. A cut of the Skandia Hardware Co.'s building accompanies this sketch.
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