S. B. (Simeon Baldwin) Chittenden.

History of Henry county, Illinois : it's taxpayers and voters; containing also, a biographical directory, a condensed history of the state; map of the county; a business directory...etc online

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Online LibraryS. B. (Simeon Baldwin) ChittendenHistory of Henry county, Illinois : it's taxpayers and voters; containing also, a biographical directory, a condensed history of the state; map of the county; a business directory...etc → online text (page 18 of 78)
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J. Giddings was next, remaining two years ; Rev. W. J. Beck, two years ;
Rev. Ben j. Applebee, two years ; Rev. John P. Brooks, one year ; Rev. M.
P. Armstrong, one year ; Rev. G. W. Arnold, two years ; Rev. B. C.
Dennis, two years; and Rev. G. W. Arnold, again two years, when the
preserit pastor, Rev. M. Spurlock, was assigned to the pulpit, and is now
.serving his first year. There are now three hundred and twenty mem-
bers, and a Sunday-school of two hundred and fifty scholars. Dining
the month of January, 1877, over eighty persons united with this church.

The Protestant Episcopal St. John's Church. On Sunday, May
13, 1855, a Protestant Episcopal Sunday-school was organized in the Ke-
waiiee House. This was the first religious organization in Kewanee, and


the school met the following Sunday for the first time at Odd Fellows
Hall. There were twenty scholars, and R. P. Parrish was Superintend-
ent. The first full Episcopal service, with sermon, was in the Summer
following, by Rev. Porter, of Jubilee College. In October, Bishop White-
house made a visitation, and held two services in the unfinished Methodist
Protestant Church. During the Summer and Autumn of 1856, Rev.
Philander Chase officiated occasionally in the same church. On the 13th
of July, 1856, the church was organized, with the name of St. John's.
The officers were R. P. Parrish, Senior Warden ; George A. Morse, Jun-
ior Warden ; James B. Morse, J. H. Howe, H. L. Sloan, Geo. W. Foote,
and E. V. Brouson, Vestrymen ; and L. D. Bishop, Clerk. The first
rector was Rev. George E. Peters, who commenced his labors in 1857,
and remained two years. A church edifice of the early English Gothic
style of architecture was constructed in the Summer of 1857, finished in
the Fall, and consecrated by Bishop, November 15, of the
same year. It is quite a neat church, and cost about $5,000. The first
church-bell of the town was rung from the belfry of St. John's.

The Primitive Methodist. The persons adhering to this faith met
for some time, prior to their organization into a church, in Cutter's Hall
and in the Methodist Episcopal Church. The organization was made in
the Spring of 1865, and two years later, in the Autumn of 1867, the first
board of trustees was chosen. The principal members then were Joseph
Garland, John Bennison, John Bradbury, John Bamford, Moses Jones,
William Bennison, and J. Breckon. The church edifice was erected in
1873, at a cost of $2,000. The pastors of this church and their terms of
service are as follows r Rev. J. Hewitt, May, 1865 to May, 1867; Rev.
Chas. Dawson, 1867 to 1871 ; Rev. Thos. Butterwick, 1871 to 1873 ; Rev.
William Jacks, Jr., 1873 to 1876, when the present pastor, Rev. Chas.
Dawson, again assumed charge. TThere are now eight}- members and a
Sunday-school of eighty-seven scholars.

The United Evangelical St. Paul's German Church. About ten
years since, some of the German people living in this vicinity and pro-
fessing belief in the doctrines of this religious body, organized a church.
For a short time they met in a school-house, but at once commenced the
erection of their present edifice. Nineteen persons united at the organ-
ization the pastor being Rev. Hilmer, who remained about one year.
Their church cost some $2,500. They also own a very comfortable par-
sonage. Rev. Hilmer was succeeded by Rev. Rein, who remained five
years, when the present pastor, Rev. G. W. Reiger, was installed. The
majority of the members now about fifty live in the country. The
Sunday-school numbers some fort}' scholars. About one year ago another
church was organized in the country, three miles northeast of Kewanee.
It is for the accommodation of those living in that locality, has about thir-
ty-five members, fifty Sunday-school scholars, and is under the pastorate
of Rev. Reiger, who preaches there each alternate Sunday.

The Church of the Latter Day Saints. The first meetings of this
church were held at Am boy in 1859. An organization was effected here
of probably one hundred members. From this place they were sent out
to preach, and in 1862 effected the establishment of the church here. In
1868, they erected their present church edifice, locating it nearly one mile
north of town. Regular services are maintained here, the membership




being one hundred and eighteen, with an average attendance of sixty at
the Sunday-school. They are in no way connected with the Mormon
doctrine, and do not believe in or practice its teachings. The presiding
elder of this branch is Thomas Charles.

The Swedish Lutheran Church. Before their organization in 1869,
the members composing this church met in private residences and in the
Methodist Episcopal Church. The organization was made in September
of that year, with about sixteen persons. In the Autumn of the follow-
ing year they erected their present church-edifice, at a cost of nearly
$o,000. There are now fifty-five members. The Sunday-school contains
about twenty-five scholars. The first minister to this church was Rev.
Lendholm, who remained but a short time. He was followed by Rev.
N. Nenrgren, who was pastor two years. The Rev. John Wingstrom, of
Princeton, is the present pastor, having succeeded Rev. Neurgren.

The Swedish Methodist Church was organized at an early day in the
history of Kewanee. It is now, however, quite small, and does not sus-
tain regular preaching.

The Catholic St. Mary's Church was organized at the hou&e of
Matthew Joyce, then occupying the site of the present church-building,
in the early part of 1854. About thirty-five heads of families were ad-
mitted to membership at this time. Some of the more prominent ones
were Lawrence Hunt, Patrick Cavanaugh, Matthew Joyce, James Hunt
(now deceased), James Gallagher, Thomas Caton, and Edward Hunt
(now deceased). The following year a church, eighteen by twenty-four
feet in dimensions, was erected. It has since been remodeled and en-
larged. The pastors of this church have been as follows : Fathers Lynch,
O'Gara, Powers, Dulhunty, Duggan. Hannigan, Kilkernny, J. M. Ryan,
and the present priest, Rev. John Ryan. The membership is now nearly
eight hundred, but the reader will bear in mind that all members of a
family in this church are counted as members of the church from their
earliest infancy.


The first school in Kewanee was taught in a small frame building,
built by George A. Morse, and donated by him for educational purposes.
It stood north of the railroad tracks, on Main Street. School was held
here for a year or two, when this structure was removed farther into
town, and placed on the lot now occupied by the east school-house, and
afterwards removed to that now occupied by Parker & Merritt's store. The
growth of the town demanding more room, the trustees rented a building
of Mr. Austin Sykes, and a room in the upper story of Mr. Schriver's
store. These were occupied till about 1858, when the building known
as the East School-house was erected. This was occupied during the Win-
ter of 1858. It contained two commodious rooms, and was ample for the
demands at that time. The pioneer school-room was sold, and for some
time was used as the office of the Henry County Dial ; afterwards
removed, and occupied as a Christian Church, and is now a dwelling. In
the year 1865, the East School-house having become entirely inadequate,
steps were taken for the enlargement of this building and the erection of
two others. During the vacation of 1866, the east building was enlarged
to double its former capacity, and the two brick structures, known as


the North .and West Schools, were determined upon. They were erected
in 1SG7, and occupied January 1, 1868. Each contains two rooms. The
schools were thoroughly re-graded in 1866 by the superintendent, S. M.
Etter, now State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Mr. Etter was
principal here about three years, and laid the foundations of the grading
of the schools now so successfully carried out by Mr. W. H. Russell, pres-
ent superintendent.

The brick buildings were erected by William C. Loonu's, and cost
the city about $6,000. In addition to these, the High School building,
erected in 1856, and a one-room building, are occupied. This latter is
called the Northville School.

There are now six hundred and eighty pupils enrolled. The average
daily attendance for January, 1877, was six hundred and twenty-one.
They require the services of fourteen teachers, including the superintend-
ent. Their names and positions are as follows :

Mr. W. H. Russell, Superintendent.

High School Mr. E. S. Martin, Principal ; Miss Lillian D. Riley,

Grammar School 1st room, Miss Anna Kellar ; 2d, Miss L. A.

East Building Intermediate, Miss A. A. Johnson, Miss Alice Bar-
ker ; 2d Primary, Miss Esther Loomis ; 1st Primary, Florence Gamble.

West Building 2d Primary, Miss Lizzie Lewis; 1st Primary, Miss
Frank Rockwell.

North Building 2d Primary, Miss S. Folsom ; 1st Primary, Miss
Jennie Halline.

Northville Miss Mary Bradbury.

The Board of Education consists of the following named gentlemen :
S. T. Miles, President; Adolph Maul, Secretary; V. H. Day, W. W.
Stevens, M. H. Hinsdale, Jas. C. Blish.

The annual aggregate expense of the schools amounts to $10,000,
which is abundantly repaid in the elevated tone of' society, and the good
morals attendant upon such an outlay of money. The appended sketch
of the High School is from the pen of one of the pupils now connected
therewith :

" The High School was established in 1856. It grew out of a desire
for a higher grade of education than the village schools afforded at that
day. After some exertion on behalf of each of the villages of Kewanee
and Wethersfield, in the endeavor to secure its location in their midst.
the matter was settled by locating the building on the dividing line
between them. Mr. James Elliott donated two and a half acres for that
purpose, and on this site the present building was erected. Only the
upper story was completed ready for school purposes, the lower being
used for lectures, lyceums, and a public hall. Among the prominent per-
sons who lectured here were John B. Gough and Horace Greeley. School
was opened under the principalship of Rev. Mr. Waldo, who was assisted
by Miss Atwood. At that time the school was furnished with rude pine
desks and benches, reaching half across the room, making but three aisles.
The oldest pupils occupied the rear row. Among the young ladies were :
Lain a Pratt, now Mis. Norllnop; Lillie Bums, now Mis. Rajnimicl ;
Nellie Little, now Mrs. Geoige Perkins; Libbie Cutter, Helen and Lucy


Lyle, Fannie Lay, Ella Way, Addie Cheany, Lottie Talcott the latter
now -Mrs. T. P. Pierce.

" Tliere being no sidewalks in earlier years, it was almost impossible
in the winter to get to the school-house, and a large wagon was the gen-
eral conveyance for the scholars.

" At the close of the second year Mr. Waldo resigned. His succes-
sor was Mr. Blodgett, who was assisted by Miss Stocking. During his
administration an exhibition was held, and from the fund raised the
school-room was properly furnished.

" Mr. Blodgett was succeeded by Mr. McPheran, who was succeeded
by Mr. Bradford. Greek and Latin were among tlie higher studies of
the school at this time, and pupils were fitted for college. Mr. James K.
Blisli. a lawyer of the town, went from this school to Ann Arbor. Mr.
E. B. Wight, the Washington correspondent for a Chicago paper, went
from the academy to Chicago University.

" Mr. Bradford was succeeded by Mr. Tabor, who first graded the
school, and arranged a course of study which he had printed. He was
followed by Mr. Beckington, and he by Mr. Etter, present State Superin-
tendent of Public Instruction. Mr. Etter was succeeded by Mr. Russell,
the present superintendent. During Mr. Etter's administration eighty-
three dollars had been raised 'at a school entertainment, with which to
purchase books for a library. This fund was increased during Mr. Rus-
sell's time in a similar manner. With this fund a library has been pur-
chased. In September, 1870, the town of Kewance purchased the inter-
est of Wethersfield in the academy, and has since had entire control.
Mr. Russell served a year or two as principal of the schools at Moliue.
During this interval Mr. Gray and a Mr. Carver acted as principals.
Upon the latter's resignation Mr. Russell was again called, and is now
superintendent of the Kewanee schools. Mr. E. S. Martin, in 1875, was
appointed principal of the Higli School, which position he still retains.
He is assisted by Miss Lillian D. Riley."


The first paper issued in Kewanee was the Henry County Dial. The
citizens saw the necessity of a paper in their midst, and through the influ-
ence of some of the more prominent ones, among whom were R. A. Ten-
ney, H. G. Little, Nelson La}', Geo. A. Morse and others, a subscription
was raised, and the above mentioned paper purchased.

It was brought to the town Friday, August 15, 1855, its advent being
signaled by the firing of guns and the cheers of the populace. Mr. J. H.
Howe had been secured as editor for one year.

The buildings occupied for some time were the Phillips Block and
the old school-house, the latter now a residence. It was continued until
September 13, when Mr. C. Bassett, present editor of the Kewanee, Inde-
pendent, who had come* hither at the solicitation of some of his friends,
purchased the entire stock and fixtures. He was a practical printer, and
assumed the business control, Mr. Howe remaining editor for the balance
of the year. It was conducted in this way until June 12, 1856, when
Mr. Bassett sold the office to Mr Howe and Mr. H. M. Patrick. These
gentlemen conducted the paper until November 13, when Mr. Howe sold
his interest to his partner, who associated Mr. O. White with himself as


editor, arid under this management the paper was printed till January 8
following, when Mr. White retired. Mr. Patrick carried on the paper
about one year, when he sold the office to L. D. Bishop, who published
the paper two or three years. J. E. Wheeler, one of the original found-
ers of the Chicago Tribune, had charge of the Dial from 1858 or 1859 till
December 8, 1866 the longest term of any one editor. He was a most
estimable man, and one highly respected by the citizens of Kewanee. He
was considered one of the ablest editors connected with the Dial, and
died at his post. He purchased it, and leased the office to Mr. O. White,
who again became editor. He also published a paper at Toulon, Stark
County. He was succeeded in the editorial chair by Hiram Wyatt, who
associated with himself Mr. Shurtleff during the campaign of 1868. Mr.
Shurtleff was succeeded in a few months by Geo. W. Wilson, who pur-
chased the office, thereby becoming editor and proprietor. He almost
immediately sold to N. W. Fuller, who changed the name to the Kewanee
Radical. He continued until May or June, 1870, when he failed, and
the paper was discontinued. On July 1 following, the entire office and
outfits were purchased by Mr. C. Bassett, who again entered the sanctum.
He started a weekly paper, calling it the Kewanee Advertiser. After six
months he changed the latter name to Independent, and as such still issues
an excellent county paper. He is the oldest editor in Kewanee, and has
been a printer forty-four years.

On January 1, 1856, Tenney, Hardy & Co. issued a monthly, called
Tenney, Hardy $ Co.'s Advertiser, published it one year and sold it to
Mr. C. Bassett, who issued it as a monthly until December 18, 1863.
The first copy of this paper is in possession of Mr. R. A. 'Tenney, now a
resident of Chicago.

July 4, previous to his discontinuing the Advertiser, Mr. Bassett
commenced the publication of a weekly paper, called the Union Democrat.
This he continued to publish until November 24, 1864, when he discon-
tinued it. April 26, 1866, he issued the first number of his weekly, called
the Kewanee Advertiser, which he published until November 23, 1867.

The Public School Messenger, a small, sprightly paper, was com-
menced in January, 1870, under the immediate control of the Superin-
tendent of Schools, Mr. ,W. H. Russell, as editor. This was issued about
two years, being published by Mr. Fuller one year, and C. Bassett the
remainder of the time.

The Kewanee Courier was established March 22, 1876, by Mr. C. N.
Whitney, who brought the material for the office from Princeton, Bureau
County, where he had published the Herald for nearly five years preced-
ing. Although established less than a year, the Courier has grown into
a wide circulation, and is filled with advertising patronage. The Courier
office is the only steam printing establishment in the county, and is well
equipped with machinery and material. It is an eight-column quarto,
and takes a leading position in local journalism ii> this part of the State.


The idea of building a town upon this site was first entertained in
the year 185o. While Messrs. J. M. and Wm. L. Wiley were traveling
from Peoria Comity to Rock Island in the Spring of that year, they were
attracted by the beauty of the surrounding country, and halted their


team on the ground that now forms College Park, across which the old
trail led. Standing in their buggy and looking out upon the scene, one
of them remarked to the other : ' Let us buy the land and lay out a
town." At this time there were only two or three buildings to be seen
from that point, and the country around was one vast sea of prairie, over
which the deer were still roaming at will. The land was shortly pur-
chased by them, and, after negotiating with the C. B. & Q. Railroad
Company a full year, they finally secured the location of a depot upon
their purchase by donating the land now owned and occupied by the
company in the center of the town. In the Fall of the year succeeding
its purchase (1854), and about the time that the arrangement with the
railroad company was effected, the town was laid out, in its present shape,
by the gentlemen mentioned. The cars commenced running in December
of the same year.

After the depot was located the Messrs. Wiley purchased about fifty
acres of land, on the south side of the town, from George Farr, and sub-
sequently sold an undivided interest in a certain number of lots to the
Bishop Hill Swedish Colony, then in their most prosperous days, and
afterwards a large number of lots to Jacob Emery. Both of these
parties gave their money and influence to forward the interests of the
new town.

Owing to the large purchases of the Swedish Colony in the new
town, they were granted the privilege of being its sponsors in baptism
and bestowing upon it the name which it was to bear. Olof Johnson,
one of the earliest settlers, accordingly christened it G-efle, the name of
a populous town in Sweden. This name was afterward corrupted or
anglicised to Galva, a name new and unheard of but corresponding as
nearly as possible to the Swedish name in pronunciation.

The first house of the new town was built in the Fall of 1854, and is
a part of the one formerly belonging to John I. Bennett, and which is
now owned by A. J. Rockafellow and occupied by Mr. E. A. Lynd : it
was built by the Bishop Hill Colony and was used as a boarding house
or hotel. The first store was built during the first Fall, and is the one
now occupied by C. F. Bodinson as a grocery, between the two railroads
and just south of and adjoining Smith & Smalley's Agricultural Ware-
house. It was then occupied by George Farr, the Bishop Hill Colony
and the Post-office.

Col. E. Fuller was the first station agent appointed by the railroad
company, and he continued to hold that position up to the time of his
death, or very nearly.

The Winter of 18545, following the completion of the railroad, was
unusually mild and open, allowing out-of-door work to go on without
interruption until 21st of January, when there occurred the severest snow
storm ever known in this region, accompanied by a terrific wind. This
resulted in blocking up .the railroad and preventing the running of any
trains for over two weeks. It was during this time, when the inhabitants
of the new town were shut off from communication with the outside
world, that the first child was born. Mr. and Mrs. David Emery were
the happy parents, and they exclaimed : " Unto us a child is born, a girl
is given, whose name shall be called Galva."

The town having been laid out and a depot established in 1854, the


following season witnessed a rapid growth and quite an influx of popu-
lation, no less than seventy-five men having settled here before the great
fire which occurred in November, 1855. Although the settlement of the
town took place only about a score of years ago, the larger part of this
number are gone not dead, but, moved by the same restless spirit which
impelled them to take up their abode here when the place was new, they
have emigrated to other and newer towns. Only twenty-six of the original
seventy-five still remain here about one-third while thirty-seven, or
nearly one-half of them, are living in other localities. The list of dead
numbers twelve, or about one-sixth of the pioneers of Galva. A part of
these, however, removed before their death, so that but a small fraction
of the original settlers have found their long home in the quiet cemetery
to the south of the town.

When Dr. A. D. Babcock arrived here on the 5th of May, 1855,
there were already sixteen buildings in the place, twelve of which were
dwelling-houses ; when Mr. Seeley arrived, on the 26th of September,
the number of buildings had increased to thirty, and carpenters were in
great demand and all busily employed.

It was during this season that the old brick warehouse, on Exchange
Street, so recently devoted to the purpose of a new manufacturing com-
pany, was built by the Bishop Hill Colony, and used for the storage of
grain, pork, and broom-corn. The first hotel was also built then, by Mr.
J. E. Wolever, occupying a portion of the lot where Mr. A. W. Albro
now resides, on the corner of Main and Locust Streets. It was known
as the " Galva House."

The first surgical operation which Dr. Babcock was called upon to
perform was for Augustus C. Bergman who was injured while working
on the railroad; the first death was that of Mr. O, P. Bigelow, who died
on the 12th of September, 1855. The first male child born in the place
was a son of Absalom Wood. The first fire occurred on or about the 8th
of November, 1855, and originated in Dr. Bubcock's drug store. It was
caused by carrying a lighted lamp too near a barrel from which varnish
had been drawn and which had been spilled upon the floor.

The whole business portion of the new town was laid in ashes by
this disaster, no less than six business firms being burned out. They
were, first : Dr. A. D. Babcock, whose stock consisted of drugs, groceries,
paints, oils, liquors and cigars ; second : A. M. Black, shoe shop and its
contents; third: Hamlin, Beecher & Davis, dealers in hardware ; fourth:
A. J. Curtis, dealer in furniture ; fifth : Babcock & Clark, who do not
appear to have had any stock of goods in the building at the time ; and
sixth: Hurd & Driscoll, whose stock of dry goods were still in the boxes
as received, not yet unpacked, and therefore easily saved by rolling them
into the street. With this exception the building and its contents were
a total loss, as there was no insurance upon either.

At the time that the fire broke out, most of the citizens were in
attendance at a railroad meeting then in progress at the school-house.

Mr. D E. Jacobs was then living in the house now occupied by Mr.
H. L. Dickenson, and which was the third dwelling-house built in Galva.
His mother perceived the fire by the glow of light which shone in at the
window, from the burning building, when her candle was accidentally put
out, and sent hirn to apprise the citzens at the school-house. He rushed



to the door and informed them that the Wiley House was on fire, and in
two minutes' time the speaker was left to talk to empty benches.

On the night of the i!0th of November, 1875, occurred the great fire
which devastated the town, and laid almost all the business places, as well
as many private residences, in ashes, inflicting almost as great a compar-

Online LibraryS. B. (Simeon Baldwin) ChittendenHistory of Henry county, Illinois : it's taxpayers and voters; containing also, a biographical directory, a condensed history of the state; map of the county; a business directory...etc → online text (page 18 of 78)