H. F. Kett & Co.

The History of Winnebago County, Illinois : its past and present, containing ... a biographical directory of its citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, general and local statistics ... history of the Northwest, history of Illinois ... etc online

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Online LibraryH. F. Kett & CoThe History of Winnebago County, Illinois : its past and present, containing ... a biographical directory of its citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, general and local statistics ... history of the Northwest, history of Illinois ... etc → online text (page 1 of 89)
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The Histoet


Winnebago Couhty, III.




A History of the County — Its Cities, Towns, Etc., A Biographical

Directory of its Citizens, War Record o^ its Yolunteers in

THE late Rebellion, Portraits of Early Settlers and

Prominent Men, General and Local Statistics,

History of the IS^orthwest, History of Illinois,

Constitution of the United States, Map of

Winnebago County, Miscellaneous

Matters, Etc., Etc.



H. F. KETT & CO., Cor. 5th Ave. and Washington St.



Less than fifty j'cars ago, the Rock River countrj'-, now so replete with all the more
advanced accomplishments of civilization and intelligence, was an unbroken and undis-
turbed Indian wild — the hunting grounds of that tribe of red men from whom the County
of Winnebago derives its name. The only white man known to have had a home here,
previous to the Fall of 1834, was Stephen Mack, a son of Vermont, who, with that spirit
and love of adventure peculiarly characteristic of the pioneers of the Great West, appears
to have drifted into the valley of Rock River, and found a home within the limits of the
County of Winnebago, as early as 1829. Five years later, in the month of August, 1834,
two other sons of the Eastern States, GEUM.\Nicrs Kent and Thatcher Blake, born
and raised in almost adjoining states — Connecticut and Maine — but never knowing each
other until they met at Galena, both en route for the same objective point, anchored tlieir
light canoe at the mouth of a small creek that now bears the name of one of these men,
(Kent,) and stepped ashore to consecrate the grove-besprinkled and flower-bedecked prairies
to the uses of the white man.

The lapse of time in the intervening years since the date of these events, the changes
that have followed, have not been without their history: a history full of important events,
and fraught with interest to the sons and daughters of those who followed in the footsteps
of Stephen. Mack, Germanicus Kent and Thatcher Blake from the old homes in
the New England States to the haunts of the Winnebagoes, and whose energy, enterprise
and industry have made tlie fertile valleys, prairies and grove-covered hillsides of half a
century ago to abound with modern acquirements, intelligence, wealth and prosperity.

To preserve this history to the literature of the county, and thus hand it down to
posterity as a completing lipk in the history of that great country of which AVinnebago
County is an integral part, has been the object of this undertaking. And while the pub-
lishers do not arrogate to themselves a degree of accuracy beyond criticism, they hope to
be found measurably correct in their compilation and arrangement of the almost inuumer
able incidents that have been swallowed up in the Past, and that enter so largely into the
Pkesp:nt of the community i-n whose interest this volume is written.

Without the aid and assistance of the survivors of the pioneers of 1834-5, or of tlieii
immediate descendants, and numerous notes from their carefully written and well preserved
diaries, our task would have been far more arduous and difficult. To the patriarchs of the
Past, who have so favored us, as well as to the representative men of the Present, we
tender our grateful acknowledgements. Among these we take especial pleasure in men-
tioning the names of Thatcher Blake (the only male survivor of the settlers of 1834),
James B. Martyn (of Belvidere), Thomas D. Robertson, Selden M. Church, Goodyear
A. Sanford, II. R. Enoch, Esq., Editor of the Rockford Journal, John H. Thurston and
A. I. Enoch, whose retentive memories have added largely to whatever of interest may be
accredited to this volume.

The undertaking of the publishers completed, it only remains for them to tender to
the people of Winnebago County in general their obligations and acknowledgements for
the uniform kindness and courtesy extended to them, and their representatives and agents,
during the preparation of these annals, as well as for their liberal patronage, without which
this history would have been left buried beneath the debris of time, unwritten and unpre-


II. F. Kett & Co.,

Chicago, November, 1877. Publishers.


W ^ ^ ^'-




History Northwest Territory.. 19

Geo'jr-.phical Ptisiiioii 19

Early Explonitons 20

Discovcrv of the Ohio '6i

Eniilish Exploratious and

SeltUnuMits -... 35

Anieriiau St'ttlenieuts 60

Division of the Morthwest

Territory ()6

Teciuuseh and the War of

1812 ro

Black Hawk and the Black

IlMwk War :.. 74

Other Indian Troubles .... 79
Present Condition of the

Northwest 87

Illinois 99

Indiana. 101

Iowa - 102

Michigan 103

Wisconsin. 104

Minnesota 106

Nebraska 107


History of Illinois 109

Coal - 125

Compact of 1787 117

Chicago 13^

Early Discoveries 109

EarlV Settlements 115

Edncation 129

French Occupation 1)2

Genius of La Salle 113

Material Resources 124

;Ma>sacre-at Ft. Dearborn, 141

Physical Features 121

Pri"iL;regs of Development. 123

Relii.'ion and Morals 128

War Record 130

History of Winneba<ro Co 221

Ptiysical Geography 226

Geological Formations... 227

Economical Geology 231

Indian Antiquities 232

Gen-ral History 234

A'jricultural 285

War Record 310


History of Winnebago Co.

Old Settler's Association 349

River Improvements 354

Educational 3.54

Reli'jrious Interests 359

Court House 362

Official Record 386

Vote of County.. .394 and 395
Property Statement 396

History of Towns : *

Argyle 4.54

Cherry Valley 443

Durand 451

Guilford 453

Harrison 453

Harlem 455

New Milford 455

Pecatonica 439

Rocklord -. 399

Rockton - 445

Roscoe 449

Shirland 454

Winnebago 430


Month of the Mississippi 21

Source of the Mississippi 21

Wild Prairie 23

La Salle Landing on the Shore

of Green Bay 25

Buffalo Hunt 27

Trapping 29

Hunting 32

Iioquois Chief. 34

Poutiac, the Ottawa Chieftain. 43
Indians Attacking Frontiers-
men 56

A Prairie Storm 59

A Pioneer Dwelling 61

BreakiuL: Prairie 63

Tecumseh,the Shawnoe Chief-
tain 69


Indians Attacking a Stockade. 72
Black Hawk, the Sac Chieftain 75

Big Eagle 80

Captain Jack,the Modoc Chief-
tain . 83

Kinzie House 85

Villa-e Residence 86

.A Repieseiitative Pioneer 87

Lincoln Monument, Spring-
field, 111 88

.■\ Pioneer School House 89

Farm View in the Winter 90

Spring Scene 91

Pioneers' First Winter 92

Api)le Harvest 94

Great Iron Bridge of C, R. I.

and P. R. R., Crossing the
Mississippi at Davenport,

Iowa - - 96

A Western Dwelling 100

Hunting Prairie Wolves in an

Early Day 108

Starved Rock, on the Illinois

River. La Salle Co., Ill 110

An Early Settlen.ent 116

Chieawoin 18:33 133

Old F(.rt Dearl)orn,1830 136

Present Site Lake St. Bridge,

ChieaHO. 1833 136

Ruins of Chicago 142

View of the City of Chicago. .144
Shabbona 149


Blake, Thatcher 147

Church. S. M .219

Carpeuler, Juo. H 3'i7

Carpc-ter. Mary L 387

Cross. R.J 317

Coehian, Geo 407

Cam phell. David 609

Duiiwell. C. A 347

Enoch. H. R 183

Ferguson, Duncan .467

French, Irvin 567


George, San-pson 297

Hooker, Harley 287

Herring, J no. 417

Hollislcr, Geo. H... 447

Haskell, Geo 4.57

Hussey. D.J. ...505

Jones, J. P 547

K e i I h , L e w i 8 367

Lake, Jno 397

Lowiy, M. L 577

Manny, Juo. P 165


Patterson, A 337

Perley, Putnam 437

Smith, A. E 201

Talcott, Wm ...2-37

Talcott. II. W 247

Talcott, Wait 257

Talcott, Thos. B 267

Talcott, Sylvester 277

Thompson, N. C 477

Vansickle, Jno 327



Infantry 31,5

8th 315

i;th _ 315

15th 319

44th 320

45th 322

52d 324

55th 325


67th 326

74th 329

'JOth 336

141st 339

146th ■. ::-'39

147th 340

153d 341


Miscellaneous Infantry 342

Cavalry .343

8th 343

11th UA

12th .344

17th 345

Miscellaneous Cavalry 346

Artillery 346





Banitt Township 581

Cberry Valley Township S39

Duiaud " 603

Guilford " 540

JJarrison " 594

Harlem " 028


Laona Township 632

New Milford Township 555

Owen " (V£i

Pecatonica " 562

Rockloid Citv 456

Rockford Township 537


Rockton Township 652

Roscoe " 618

Seward " 573

Shirland '• 663

Winnebago " 635



Adoption of Children 160

Bills of Exchange and Prom-
issory Notes 1.51

County Courts 155

Conveyances 164

Church Organization 189

Descent 151

Deeds and Mortgages 1.57

Drainage 163

Damages from Trespass 169

Definition of Com'rcial Termsl73
Exemptions from Forced Sale, 156

Estrays 1.57

Fences 168

Forms :

Articles of Agreement 175

Bills ot Purchase.. 174

Bills of Sale 176

Forms: Page.
Bonds 176

Chattel iMortgages 177

Codicil 189

Lease of Farm and B"ld'gs,179

Lease of House 18(1

Landlord's Agreement 180

Notes 174

Notice Tenant to Quit 181

Orders ...174

Quit Claim Deed 185

Receipt 174

Real Estate Mortgage to
secure paym't of Money, 181

Release 186

Tenant's Agreement 180

Tenant's Notice to Quit. .181

Warranty Deed 182

Will lfc7


Game 158

Interest 151

Jurisdiction of Courts 154

Limitation' of Action 155

Landlord and Tenant 169

Liens 172

Married Women 155

Millers 159

Marks and Brands 159

Paupers 164

Roads and Bridges 161

Surveyors and Surveys 160

Suggestion toPersons purchas-
ing Books by Subscription .190

Taxes 154

Wills and Estates 152

Weights and Measures 158'

Wolf Scalps 164



Map of Winnebago Co Front.

Constitution ot United Staiesl92

Electors of President and
Vice-President. 1876 206

Practical Rules for every day
use 207

U. S. Government Land Meas-
ure 210


Surveyors Measure 211

How to keep ac'counts .211

Interest Table 212

Miscellaneous Table 212

Names of the States of the
Union and their Significa-
tions 213

Population of the U. S 214


Population of Fifty Principal

Cities of the U. S 214

Population and Area of the

United States 215

Population oi the Principal

Countries in the World 215

Population Illinois. ...216 & 217
Agricultural Productions of

Illinois by Counties 1870 ...218


147 & 149 Fifth Av., Chicago, 111.

The Northwest Territory.


When the Northwestern Territory was ceded to the United States
by Virginia in 1784, it embraced only the territory lying between the
Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers, and north to the northern limits of the
United States. It coincided with the area now embraced in the States
of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and that portion of
Minnesota lying on the east side of the Mississippi River. The United
States itself at that period extended no farther west than the Mississippi
River ; but by the purchase of Louisiana in 1803, the western boundary
of the United States was extended to the Rocky Mountains and the
Northern Pacific Ocean. The new territory thus added to the National
domain, and subsequently opened to settlement, has been called the
" New Northwest," in contradistinction from the old " Northwestern
Territory. "

In comparison with the old Northwest this is a territory of vast
magnitude. It includes an area of 1,887,850 square miles ; being greater
in extent than the united areas of all the Middle and Southern States,
including Texas. Out of this magnificent territory have been erected
eleven sovereign States and eight Territories, with an aggregate popula-
tion, at the present time, of 13,000,000 inhabitants, or nearly one third of
the entire population of the United States.

Its lakes are fresh-water seas, and the larger rivers of the continent
flow for a thousand miles through its rich alluvial valleys and far-
stretching prairies, more acres of which are arable and productive of the
highest percentage of the cereals than of any other area of like extent
on the globe.

For the last twenty years the increase of population in the North-
west has been about as three to one in any other portion of the United




In the year 1541, DeSoto first saw the Great West in the New
World. He, however, penetrated no farther north than the 35th parallel
of latitude. The expedition resulted in his death and that of more than
half his army, the remainder of whom found their way to Cuba, thence
to Spain, in a famished and demoralized condition. DeSoto founded no
settlements, produced no results, and left no traces, unless it were that
he awakened the hostility of the red man against the white man, and
disheartened such as might desire to follow up the career of discovery
for better purposes. The French nation were eager and ready to seize
upon any news from this extensive domain, and were the first to profit by
DeSoto's defeat. Yet it was more than a century before any adventurer
took advantage of these discoveries.

In 1616, four years before the pilgrims " moored their bark on the
wild New England shore," Le Caron, a French Franciscan, had pene-
trated through the Iroquois and Wyandots (Hurons) to the streams which
run into Lake Huron ; and in 1634, two Jesuit missionaries founded the
first mission among the lake tribes. It was just one hundred years from
the discovery of the Mississippi by DeSoto (1541) until the Canadian
envoys met the savage nations of the Northwest at the Falls of St. Mary,
below the outlet of Lake Superior. This visit led to no permanent
result; yet it was not until 1659 that any of the adventurous fur traders
attempted to spend a Winter in the frozen wilds about the great lakes,
nor was it until 1660 that a station Avas established upon their borders by
Mesnard, who perished in the woods a few months after. In 1665, Claude
Allouez built the earliest lasting habitation of the white mau among the
Indians of the Northwest. In 1668, Claude Dablon and James Marquette
founded the mission of Sault Ste. Marie at the Falls of St. Mary, and two
years afterward, Nicholas Perrot, as agent for M. Talon, Governor Gen-
eral of Canada, explored Lake Illinois (Michigan) as far south as the
present City of Chicago, and invited the Indian nations to meet him at a
grand council at Sault Ste. Marie the following Spring, where they were
taken under the protection of the king, and formal possession was taken
of the Northwest. This same year Marquette established a mission at
Point St. Ignatius, where was founded the old town of Michillimackinac.

During M. Talon's explorations and Marquette's residence at St.
Ignatius, they learned of a great river away to the west, and fancied
— as all others did then — that upon its fertile banks whole tribes of God's
children resided, to whom the sound of the Gospel had never come.
Filled with a wish to go and preach to them, and in compliance with a





request of M. Talon, who earnestly desired to extend the domain of his
king, and to ascertain whether the river flowed into the Gulf of Mexico
or the Pacific Ocean, Marquette with Joliet, as commander of the expe-
dition, prepared for the undertaking.

On the 13th of May, 1673, the explorers, accompanied by five assist-
ant French Canadians, set out from Mackinaw on their daring voyage of
discovery. The Indians, who gathered to witness their departure, were
astonished at the boldness of the undertaking, and endeavored to dissuade
them from their purpose by representing the tribes on the Mississippi as
exceedingly savage and cruel, and the river itself as full of all sorts of
frightful monsters ready to swallow them and their canoes together. But,
nothing daunted by these terrific descriptions, Marquette told them he
was willing not only to encounter all the perils of the unknown region
they were about to explore, but to lay down his life in a cause in which
the salvation of souls was involved ; and having prayed together they
separated. Coasting along the northern shore of Lake Michigan, the
adventurers entered Green Bay, and passed thence up the Fox River and
Lake Winnebago to a village of the Miamis and Kickapoos. Here Mar-
quette was delighted to find a beautiful cross planted in the middle of the
town ornamented with white skins, red girdles and bows and arrows,
which these good people had offered to the Great Manitou, or God, to
thank him for the pity he had bestowed on them during the Winter in
giving them an abundant " chase." This was the farthest outpost to
which Dablon and Allouez had extended their missionary labors the
year previous. Here Marquette drank mineral waters and was instructed
in the secret of a root which cures the bite of the venomous rattlesnake.
He assembled the chiefs and old men of the village, and, pointing to
Joliet, said : " My friend is an envoy of France, to discover new coun-
tries, and I am an ambassador from God to enlighten them with the truths
of the Gospel." Two Miami guides were here furnished to conduct
them to the Wisconsin River, and they set out from the Indian village on
the 10th of June, amidst a great crowd of natives who had assembled to
witness their departure into a region where no white man had ever yet
ventured. The guides, having conducted them across the portage,
returned. The explorers launched their canoes upon the Wisconsin,
which they descended to the Mississippi and proceeded down its unknown
waters. What emotions must have swelled their breasts as they struck
out into the broadening current and became conscious that they were
now upon the bosom of ths Father of Waters. The mystery was about
to be lifted from the long-sought river. The scenery in that locality is
beautiful, and on that delightful seventeenth of June must have been
clad in all its primeval loveliness as it had been adorned bv the hand of



Nature. Drifting rapidly, it is said that the bold bluffs on either hand
"• reminded them of the castled shores of their own beautiful rivers of
France." By-and-by, as they drifted along, great herds of buffalo appeared
on the banks. On going to the heads of the valley they could see a
country of the greatest beauty and fertility, apparently destitute of inhab-
itants yet presenting the appearance of extensive manors, under the fas-
tidious cultivation of lordly proprietors.



On June 25, they went ashore and found some fresh traces of men upon
the sand, and a path which led to the prairie. The men remained in the
boat, and Marquette and Joliet followed the path till they discovered a
village on the banks of a river, and two other villages on a hill, within a
half league of the first, inhabited by Indians. They were received most
hospitably by these natives, who had never before seen a white person.
After remaining a few days they re-embarked and descended the river to
about latitude 33°, where they found a village of the Arkansas, and being
satisfied that the river flowed into the Gulf of Mexico, turned their course


up the river, and ascending the stream to the mouth of the Illinois,
rowed up stream to its source, and procured guides from that point
to the lakes. " Nowhere on this journe3%" says Marquette, *' did we see
such grounds, meadows, woods, stags, buffaloes, deer, wildcats, bustards,
swans, ducks, parroquets, and even beavers, as on the Illinois River."
The party, without loss or injury, reached Green Bay in September, and
reported their discovery — one of the most important of the age, but of
which no record was preserved save Marquette's, Joliet losing his by
the upsetting of his canoe on his way to Quebec. Afterward Marquette
returned to the Illinois Indians by their request, and ministered to them
until 1675. On the 18th of May, in that year, as he was passing the
mouth of a stream — going with his boatmen up Lake Michigan — he asked
to land at its mouth and celebrate Mass. Leaving his men with the canoe,
he retired a short distance and began his devotions. As much time
passed and he did not return, his men went in search of him, and found
him upon his knees, dead. He had peacefull}'- passed away while at
prayer. He was buried at this spot. Charlevoix, who visited the place
fifty years after, found the waters had retreated from the grave, leaving
the beloved missionary to repose in peace. The river has since been
called Marquette.

While Marquette and his companions were pursuing their labors in
the West, two men, differing widely from him and each other, were pre-
paring to follow in his footsteps and perfect the discoveries so well begun
by him. These were Robert de La Salle and Louis Hennepin.

After La Salle's return from the discovery of the Ohio River (see
the narrative elsewhere), he established himself again among the French
trading posts in Canada. Here he mused long upon the pet project of
those ages — a short way to China and the East, and was busily planning an
expedition up the great lakes, and so across the continent to the Pacific,
when Marquette returned from the Mississippi. At once the vigorous mind
of LaSalle received from his and his companions' stories the idea that by fol-
lowing the Great River northward, or by turning up some of the numerous
western tributaries, the object could easily be gained. He applied to
Frontenac, Governor General of Canada, and laid before him the plan,
dim but gigantic. Frontenac entered warmly into his plans, and saw that
LaSalle's idea to connect- the great lakes by a chain of forts with the Gulf
of Mexico would bind the country so wonderfully together, give un-
measured power to France, and glory to himself, under whose adminis-
tration he earnestly hoped all would be realized.

LaSalle now repaired to France, laid his plans before the King, who
warmly approved of them, and made him a Chevalier. He also received
from all the noblemen the warmest wishes for his success. The Chev-



alier returned to Canada, and busily entered upon his work. He at
once rebuilt Fort Frontenac and constructed the first ship to sail on
these fresh-water seas. On the 7th of August, 1679, having been joined
by Hennepin, he began his voyage in the Griffin up Lake Erie. He
passed over this lake, through the straits beyond, up Lake St. Clair and
into Huron. In this lake they encountered heavy storms. They were
some time at Michilliraackinac, where LaSalle founded a fort, and passed
on to Green Bay, the " Bale des Puans " of the French, where he found
a large quantity of furs collected for him. He loaded the Griffin with
these, and placing her under the care of a, pilot and fourteen sailors.


Started her on her return voyage. The vessel was never afterward heard
of. He remained about these parts until early in the Winter, when, hear-
ing nothing from the Griffin, he collected all his men — thirty working
men and three monks — and started again upon his great undertaking.
By a short portage they passed to the Illinois or Kankakee, called by
the Indians, " Theakeke," wolf^ because of the tribes of Indians called
by that name, commonly known as the Mahingans, dwelling there. The
French pronounced it Kiakiki, which became corrupted to Kankakee.
" Falling down the said river by easy journeys, the better to observe the
country," about the last of December they reached a village of the
Illinois Indians, containing some five hundred cabins, but at that momen*


no inhabitants. The Seur de LaSalle being in want of some breadstuffs,
took advantage of the absence of the Indians to help himself to a suffi-
ciency of maize, large quantities of which he found concealed in holes
under the wigwams. This village was situated near the present village
of Utica in LaSalle County, Illinois. The corn being securely stored,
the voyagers again betook themselves to the stream, and toward evening,

Online LibraryH. F. Kett & CoThe History of Winnebago County, Illinois : its past and present, containing ... a biographical directory of its citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, general and local statistics ... history of the Northwest, history of Illinois ... etc → online text (page 1 of 89)