William W Davis.

History of Whiteside County, Illinois from its earliest settlement to 1908 : illustrated, with biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Volume v.1) online

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from the ashes a young bird arose. This is Tampico. Like a plucky pugilist
coming up smiling after a desperate round. In 1872 the frame hotel of
Maurice Fitzgerald, and part of Cain's store were destroyed. In 1874 High's
grocery and dry goods, Burke's grocery and residence, Case and Davis, Cloth-
iers, and Conroy's dry goods and grocery, were burned out. This was in Jan-
uary, and by the following June the site was built up. Then came the fearful
tornado of June 6, 1874, which fell upon the devoted village on the evening of
Saturday. The worst since 1860. The Whiteside Sentinel gave a full account
of the damage. The warehouse and elevator of Glassburn & Bryant, T. S.
Beach's elevator, stores, shops, dozens of dwellings, the Methodist church, were
wrecked by the tempest, and all the dreadful ruin in a few seconds. No live*
lost, but many persons more or less injured. The storm came from the south-
west. A committee appointed to receive aid for the sufferers met a generous
response. But the cup of calamity was not yet full. In 1876, early on Wednes-
day, May 17, 1876, a fire was discovered between the stores of Burke anc
High, and six buildings were consumed before the flames were under control
The grocery and residence of James Conroy, Nelson Maxson's store, Petei
Burke's grocery, High's store, the Tornado office, Melvin's law office, Paice';
residence and butcher shop, Case & Adams' Billiard hall. Many of these wen
at once rebuilt. The courage of the citizen always rose to the occasion.



Oh, for a lodge in some vast wilderness.

No, Cowper was nighty, he ought to have wished for a pleasant town where
people are neighborly. Tampico is nothing if not sociable. Most of the
orders, and all flourishing. There are 220 Woodmen, and 100 Royal Neigh-
bors, and when they have drills and suppers, no end of solid satisfaction.
Burden's opera house is the favorite resort for these functions. It will seat
500 persons. The Woman's Relief Corps have 52 members, and are active
in every direction. There are 25 ladies in the W. C. T. U. who meet every
two weeks. The president is Mrs. DeWitt West. After the late installation,
225 persons sat at tables groaning with chicken and angel's food. The rooms
of the Masonic lodge are over Glassburn's bank, and are nicely fitted with every
equipment for business and festivity. About eighty in the blue lodge. T. A.
Curnow, of the bank, is master. The Fraternal Reserves have 155 members.
The Mystic Workers are rolling up a good membership. Every installation
of the officers of these orders is followed by a banquet, and no Venetian carni-
val ever called forth so much happy entertainment. The churches, too, have
their bazars. It is a community of good fellowship.


Noah J. Hogeboom died at the home of his son John at Denrock, Jan.
13, 1908, in his 93rd year. Mr. Hogeboom came from Vermont in 1855 and
located on a farm south of Tampico, which was his home for nearly 50 years.
A few years ago he went to Missouri and stayed about three years and on his
return made his home with his son at Denrock. The deceased was born in
Manchester, Vt., Nov. 22, 1815. He married Miss Sara Estabrook Sept. 14,
1842. They were the parents of four children, two of whom survive, John N.,
and Highland. The funeral was held at Tampico Thursday, with burial in
the cemetery.

Mr. Hogeboom was widely known throughout this section and was a con-
scientious citizen, filling a number of official positions.

His early home in Vermont was near Bennington, where General Stark
defeated the Hessians in 1777. The writer saw the old gentleman at Den-
rock a month before his death, and his tottering step showed that the pilgrim
would soon pass to the other shore.

In the cemetery in the northern section of town we find the names of
well known citizens, Glassburns, Allen, Leonard, Wylie, Hewlett, Ferris,
Brown, Craddock, McMillen, Hughes, Morse, Vandemark, Dean, Muray. Isaac
W. Hayes, a soldier, 1861, aged 21, a flag on his tomb. J. F. Leonard, G. A.
R., 1838-1905. This stanza on one brave boy's stone :

He has finished his task,

He is now with the blest,
May this flag ever wave,

O'er a soldier at rest.


On the tomb of Olsson, an inscription in Swedish. Some expensive monu-
ments. Iron fence in front. Numerous evergreens.

Besides Dr. A. P. McMillan, dentist, there are four physicians, Homer,.
Terry, Newton, and E. W. Wahl, here since 1895. He is a graduate of the
medical department of University of Illinois, Chicago, and has his office and
residence On Main street.

One of the earlier doctors was Taggart, succeeded by Dr. A. C. Smith, of
Kentucky, graduate of Long Island Hospital College, 1874. For over twenty
years he was a medical Good Samaritan to Tampico and the whole outlying
district, traversing the \A~innebago swamps when bridges were scarce, and horses
had to swim. His father in Kentucky was a disciple of Henry Clay. A few
years ago Dr. Smith removed to Sterling, and soon acquired a fine practice.


In a cozy cottage sitting in an arm tihair, the writer found the dean of
early settlers, .Tampico's grand old man, Rufus Aldrich. He was born in
Bradford county, Pa., in 1817, emigrated to Whiteside in 1855, and purchased
the farm on which he spent most of his life for five dollars an acre. Of seven
children, four are living. His youngest daughter, Mrs. Steadman, was the
first child born in the township. Sparsely settled then. Only two houses
between his place and Sterling. Mr. Aldrich is the picture of a patriarch, who,
with his bright eye, genial smile, snowy hair and beard, has welcomed the
advancing years gracefully.

Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,

Frosty but kindly.

To George Isherwood, editor of Tampico Tornado, we are indebted for
the subjoined account of the telephone business:

The Tampico Farmers' Mutual Telephone Company, which now has in
active operation about three hundred phones and has miles of wire reaching
out on nearly every country road, was the direct outgrowth of the work of
one man, A. A. Shere, who resides southwest of Tampico in Bureau county.
Tired of riding for doctors and threshing hailds, Mr. Shere thought that he
and a few neighbors could erect a telephone line along their highway and
let it do the work. A dozen farmers responded to his request to buy phones,,
put up poles and have a line. Other farmers then clamored for admission as
they saw the benefits of the service, and the Company repeatedly outgrew its
lines, central stations and reached a magnitude beyond the wildest dreams of
the organizers. At first a president and secretary attended to what little busi-
ness was transacted but as the volume of traffic grew the company was incorpo-
rated with a capital stock of $6,000, all shares subscribed and paid for and at
this date the capital stock will have to be increased. The company maintains
a central office in Tampico and also has a central office in Rock Falls. Its
lines reach Prophetstown and all other neighboring villages either over its
own lines or that of several other mutual lines that are connected with the
Tampico central. E. A. Enimons is one of the pioneer founders of the com-
pany and virtually the ''Father" of the Telephone Co.



His family was shocked by the sudden death of Elbert E. Wheelock in
February, 1908. He was born in Massachusetts in 1847, came to Whiteside
in 1854, and 35 years ago moved to the north of Tampico, where he lived ever
since. Mr. Wheelock served as a private in Co. G, 147th 111., Vol. Inf., and on
his enlistment in Feb. 18, 1865, moved with his regiment right into the thick
of the war around Dalton, Ga., and until mustered out at Savannah in Jan.
1866, was engaged in the perilous work of scouting and fighting the numerous
guerrilla bands that infested northern Georgia, and protecting the Union's
interests among the people. He always took a very great interest in the Grand
Army Post and was the founder of Samuel G. Steadman Post, located here.
He also was instrumental in securing the large cannon that decorates the park
and was active in the formation of the Tampico Relief Corps. He was Com-
mander of tlio post for several terms and w r as also the first consul of the Tam-
pico Woodmen camp, being a member of that order and also the Knights of
the Globe, holding insurance in each order for $2,000.

In all things pertaining to the post his whole soul was wrapped up and he
will be greatly missed by his old comrades and the Post.


His son, Rev. William Pinkney, now residing in Sterling, has given the
writer some account of his father, Rev. John Pinkney, Wesleyan clergyman,
who seemed to be pastor at large for the whole lower section of the county,
from Tampico to Hume, preaching in schoolhouses and homes. He labored
in season and out of season, and his devotion was duly appreciated by the
people who otherwise would have had no gospel privileges. He came from
Yorkshire, England, in 1841, and died in 1870. Pleasant to relate, his son,
William, continues the work in some of the old neighborhoods.

Servant of God, well done,
Rest from thy loved employ !


A good stock market. Farmers buy, feed, and sell. Ralph McGrady this
winter shipped a carload of hogs to Chicago, which averaged 283 pounds.

For the six months ending Jan. 1, 1908, the first class mail weighed 1,192
pounds, second, 2,924, third, 281, fcrurth, 234.

Water is good and abundant. Wells can be sunk anywhere, and at a
depth of a few feet, a never failing flow is secured.

C. F. Gifford, former editor of the Tornado, is one of the retired oracles
of the town, to drop into offices, and regulate the policies of the nation. He
spent some years in California.

The road leading from Sterling to Green River and Yorktown was the
first main highway, with branches at Glassburn's farm, one to Yorktown, the
other to Green River.

A natural curiosity west of town called the '"Blow-Out." Over a space
of seven acres is an immense basin, the sand blown away to the depth of sixty


feet, as if by a succession of enormous whirlwinds. A red cedar once stood
in the center, cut down in 1850.

Before the land was drained by ditching, the sloughs in spring and win-
ter were terrible, and many narrow escapes are related of teamsters from drown-
ing and freezing.

The Tornado is now printed on a large new cylinder press recently in-
stalled. It is so large that it nearly reaches the ceiling, and the press feeder
has to mount four steps to reach his position.

The Baptist church, vacant for a time, has a new pastor in Rev. Mr.
Mayhew. He was born in Wisconsin, and after attendance at various schools,
and attaining the degree of A. B., he studied in the graduate schools of the
University of Chicago from 1902 to 1905, specializing in public speaking.
Later teaching public speaking at Illinois Wesleyan college and serving pastor-
ates at Albany, Wisconsin ; Barrington, Illinois, and later at Silvas, from which
place he came to Tampico.

The following is the ticket elected in 1908, April. Trustees: P. A. Mc-
Millan, 79; A. J. Glassburn, 67; J. M. Jacobs, 73; Clerk, Frank Linder, 67.


AV. II. Allen, Erie; J. 0. Allen, Erie; Frank J. Bowman, Sterling; Wm.
A. Blodgett, Morrison; E. M. Blodgett, Sterling; Jacob Cantlin, Rock Falls;
Jarvis Dinsmoor, Sterling; D. S. Efner, Albany; V. S. Ferguson, Sterling;
Walter N. Haskell, Sterling ; Alfred M. Hanson, Fulton ; C. C. Johnson, Ster-
ling; Edmond Jackson, Fulton; Royce A. Kidder, Sterling; J. J. Lud'ens,
Sterling; Harry Ludens, Morrison; C. G. Macklin, Morrison; C. C. McMahon,
Fulton; Wm. H. Mitchell, Fulton; R. W. E. Mitchell, Sterling; S. M. McCal-
mont, Morrison; Luther R. Ramsay, Morrison; John A. Riordon, Morrison;
Myron C. Rogers, Fulton ; L. T. Stocking, Morrison ; Walter Stager, Sterling ;
John Stager, Sterling; C. L. Sheldon, Sterling ; Carl E. Sheldon, Sterling; N. G.
Van Sant, Sterling; H. C. Ward, Sterling; A. A. Wolfersperger, Sterling; C.
H. Woodburn, Sterling ; D. C. Wait, Fulton ; H. H. Wait, Prophetstown ; I. L.
Weaver, Sterling; John A. Ward, Sterling.

Of these the longest in practice are W. H. Allen, Walter Stager, C. L.
Sheldon, H. C. Ward, C. C. Johnson. Several brilliant young advocates are
coming on who may in time take the place of Judge Marshall on the bench
and Daniel Webster in the Senate. ,


Joy, temperance, and repose,

Slam the door on the doctor's nose. Longfellow.

If our early friend, Reuben Davis, or Doc Davis as he was familiarly
called, had been the first settler, the supposition might be that he named the
township after Hahnemann, the celebrated German physician, who died in
1843. But as he was the founder of homeopathy, and Reuben may not have
believed in that method of treatment, we give up the conundrum. William


Renner and family from Pennsylvania, who settled at Deer Grove in 1841,
were the pioneers in this quarter.


Although much of the land is swampy, the settlers knew that thorough
drainage, as in Holland, would bring rich returns from the deep black soil,
and from the first have spared no labor or expense to improve the situation.
Never say die. Winnebago Swamp on the north and Green river on the
south surround a large area, and form what is known as Paddy's Island, from
the number of Milesian emigrants who were gathered there. These ditches
have done excellent service, but are not yet complete. Heavy rainfalls or
gorges of snow and ice still occasionally inundate fertile fields. A contract
has been made for a new ditch, perhaps the largest yet constructed. The drain-
age district begins on the Lee county line, and continues westward to Proph-
etstown. The ditch when completed will be one of the largest in Whiteside
county and will be a small river. It will be twenty feet wide on the bottom
with a slope of one to one. Even now through what was once a sluggish
marsh, a strong current flows along like a creek. For the new ditch there
were twelve bidders, prices ranging from twelve and one-half cents per cubic
yard to six and four-tenths, the lowest. In February, 1908, the necessity for
better defense against the elements was signally shown. The levee on Green
river broke under pressure of heavy snow following rain, submerging hun-
dreds of acres. Only the summer before Green river was dredged and widened
and a bank built to protect the farm lands in that country. The work on the
river and on Winnebago ditch was done at a cost of $100,000. The only
safety is in enlarging and strengthening these levees.

Deer Grove is the largest cluster of houses in the township. Besides the
railroad station, there is an elevator, two stores, school, a few dwellings, an
inn for the entertainment of travelers, and a blacksmith shop. Occasional
preaching by Methodist ministers from Walnut. The postoffice was estab-
lished in 1873, W. H. Wheeler as postmaster. He had come that year and
built a house. Other settlers were Harvey Durr, M. Patterson, Cady Burgess.
Fred Wahl bought his land in 1868, paying $18 per acre, living there until
his removal to Sterling. Dr. Wahl, the leading physician in Tampico, is his
son. Henry Flock and Henry Pott, Germans, were also settlers about 1872.
Both in the army.

On the hill south of Deer Grove is the residence of William McCormick,
born in Ireland, 1825, who sailed from Cork in 1854, landing in New York.
A fearful trip. A thousand emigrants and at sea for months. He bought his
farm in 1855, but lived awhile in Sterling.

The road from Sterling to Green river was the earliest traveled, an Indian,
trail. The first regularly laid out road was in 1856.

William Renner built the first log cabin in 1841 at Deer Grove, and the
first schoolhouse, sixteen feet square and seven feet high, was erected at the
Brakey settlement in 1857, with Amos Reeves as teacher, afterwards Supervisor
and a prominent citizen.



But screw your courage to the sticking place,
And we'll not fail. Macbeth.

For a small, thinly inhabited town, the men of Hahnaman rallied nobly
around the flag in 1861. Ten enlisted with the Yates Sharpshooters: Mc-
Mckle, Hinman, Harvey, Reeves, William and Mahlon Humphrey, Crosby
and H. D. Ryder, Henry May. The latter was killed at Atlanta in 1864. Mah-
lon Humphrey died at Cairo in 1862. Hinman was wounded at Atlanta.
John Renner was four months in Andersonville. J. C. Reeves joined the 9th
N. Y. Cavalry. James Renner, Walter Johnson, T. B. Davis, John Chambers,
Albert McNickle, H. S. Humphrey, enlisted in various Illinois regiments.


In his cozy cottage in Sterling, the writer had a delightful visit with Mr.
Pott, who, with his family retired from his Deer Grove farm in 1901. His
war experience fresh and thrilling as of yesterday. His regiment, 75th Illinois,
had only thirteen rounds of ammunition until they clamored for sixty to go
into that disastrous battle at Perryville, and when they retreated into the
cornfield the rebel bullets rattled on the shocks and stones like hail. He was
in all the battles to Atlanta. At Lovejoy station a ball destroyed an eye.
After discharge from the hospital, he was sent with others to Mound City
near Cairo, where they received bounty and pay, and came home. He bought
120 acres at Deer Grove in 1872 of improved land for $30 per acre.


The mossy marbles rest,
On the lips he has prest,

In their bloom ;

And the names he loved to hear,
Have been carved for many a year,

On the tomb. Holmes.

In January, 1908, it was the privilege of the writer to stand by the grave
of the oldest man who ever lived in Whiteside. He was laid to rest in the
Catholic cemetery at Tampico. It is a regret never to have met the veteran,
and hear from his own lips the incidents of a career that started with the last
century. Some of his younger neighbors who knew the old gentleman well,
have given the writer various reminiscenes of their intimacy.

Henry Pott and his brother-in-law, Henry Flock, ran a threshing ma-
chine, and frequently did work for Peter, on his farm. It was in the days
when horse power was used. They had a pair of fine horses which they at-
tached to the machine, the farmer furnishing the others. Henry did the
driving with a long whip. Peter was lying barefoot by the stack, watching
operations. The fat horses of the threshers were not pulling, and his own were
doing most of the work, so Peter called out, "Henry, touch up your team wid
your lash, the whiffletrees are dangling against their legs." Peter was a close
observer and saw everything.


On another threshing occasion, the men started before breakfast to set
the machine firmly to be ready to begin work early. But a blind horse
balked, refusing to pull, and while the men rode back to the barn, on the
way they had to pass a pond where a flock of geese were sleeping. The blind
horse stumbled over the birds, bruising an old gander, and the whole troupe
set up a furious screaming. Peter's kitchen door was ajar, and a face peered
in the direction of the clamor. At breakfast, they told Peter of the catastrophe,
claiming that a wolf had killed one of the flock during the night. "Wolf!"
exclaimed Peter, "it was your horse, your blind wolf, that spoiled my fowl."
To make the best of the disaster, Peter got the goose, and the two Henrys had
the fat bird for dinner.

Several years ago Peter had a sore leg with an inflammation that refused
to yield to repeated medical treatment, until a Spiritualist doctor was sum-
moned from Polo, and the limb was restored whole as the other. This is
not an advertisement, but belongs to our narrative.

His house had low ceilings, and on Mr. Pott telling him that he had to be
continually dodging as he passed through the house, Peter said he didn't build
the cottage for anybody taller than he was. Peter was a small man ; of light
frame, and until recent years of active habits, laboring regularly on his farm.

At one time, he had a large plantation of several hundred acres, lying
northeast of Deer Grove, on the borders of Whiteside and Lee counties.
Various misfortunes, however, rendered it necessary to sell parts, and at his
death, he was in moderate circumstances. His son took charge of the farm in
later years, and Peter with his wife retired to a home in Tampico, where he
remained to her death. Since that time, he lived with his daughter, Mrs. Cole-
man, in Deer Grove, where he breathed his last.

His son Dominick lives in Sterling, and tells the writer his father at his
death had a head of snow white hair, the color originally black. He had no
full beard, simply whiskers on the chin.

His death occurred on Friday, May 17, 1907. Mr. Ford was born at Killala
in county Mayo, Ireland, June 22, 1802. He was married to Miss Mary A. Mul-
doon on Jan. 24, 1834, and came to this country in 1840, locating near Utica,
N. Y., where he worked on the Erie canal. Three years later his wife and two
children came over and the family then went to Canada and made their home
near Smith's Falls until 1857. They came to Illinois that year and stayed in
Dixon for a short time. Mr. Ford then purchased a farm in Hahnaman and
engaged in farming. In 1887 he removed to Tampico, where he resided until
his wife's death in 1895, since which time he has lived with his daughter, Mrs.
Coleman, in Deer Grove. Mr. and Mrs. Ford had nine children, seven of whom
are now living.

Mr. Ford retained his faculties well until his death. He was strictly tem-
perate in his habits and never used tobacco nor intoxicating liquors although
at one time he was employed for several years in a distillery. He had a re-
tentive memory and easily recalled the war of 1812 and the Black Hawk and
Mexican wars. He had a distinct memory of the death of every president of
the United States except Washington.


Mr. Ford came of a long lived race. All of his brothers and sisters lived
to be over 80 ; one aunt lived to be 115 years of age and his grandmother also
passed the century mark.

The highway commissioners of Hahnaman township are making arrange-
ments to install two new steel bridges over Green river near Deer Grove. The
structures spanning the river near Deer Grove have been in a dangerous con-
dition for some time and these will be replaced with two good steel structures.
The township of Hahnaman is one of the most costly townships of the county
to be bridged, due to the many ditches and the Green river which crosses it.

His daughter, Mrs. Coleman, says her father had no faith in doctors,
would not take medicine, and when sick, would often fast four days. He lost
his last teeth ten years before his death. Although for the last four years, he
sat much in his chair, he was not helpless. Appetite so good that he regularly
took three meals a day. Took great interest in current affairs, and followed
the operations of the Boer struggle and our Spanish-American war. He never
wore glasses.


In her white frame cottage on Sixth avenue, Sterling, the writer found
Mrs. Elizabeth Davis, quietly enjoying the sunset of life. Her maiden name
was Work, and she was married to Reuben Davis in Ohio in 1849. They came
to Como, where they kept the Rock Island House, at which the stage travelers
took meals. At the same time, her husband practiced his profession, as he
had attended medical lectures in Cincinnati. In 1860 they moved to the farm
in Hahnaman, where .they lived till his death in 1887. Although busy with
his farm, he had constant calls from the sick which he always obeyed. A
ready speaker, and fond of debate. When able to go out, Mrs. Davis is a regu-
lar attendant at the Lutheran church. She is nearly 77. Doc was 68.


Look down, you gods,

And on this couple, drop a blessed crown. Shakespeare.

Ponce de Leon looked for the fountain of perpetual youth in Florida, but
never found it, because it was not there. It is in Hahnaman. People die even
in California, but seldom in this favored township. Just think of two golden
weddings within a week! On Sunday, Feb. 16, 1908, Mr. and Mrs. John
McGuire celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage at their home,
surrounded by their children, grandchildren and a host of relatives. They
were married in Dixon, and after three years in Sterling, removed to Hahna-

Online LibraryWilliam W DavisHistory of Whiteside County, Illinois from its earliest settlement to 1908 : illustrated, with biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Volume v.1) → online text (page 25 of 72)