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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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 27 of 72)
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and the century. Adam Brown joined a battery in Pennsylvania, Capt. Stev-
ens was at Stone River, Franklin, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain. He
spoke of Grant's marching the 21st Illinois regiment to St. Louis to break them
in. He remembers seeing above a shop door in Greenville, Tennessee, the sign
"A. Johnson, Tailor." This should be in some Historical Society.


The latest member of the post to answer the solemn roll call was Captain
William Parker, who died at his home in Rock Falls, Dec., 1907. Like Lin-
coln, he was born in Kentucky, but spent most of his life in Illinois, as editor
of papers in different towns of the state. At the time of his death he was
postmaster, and shortly before had sold his interest in the Rock Falls News.
He enlisted as second lieutenant of Co. A, 75th Illinois Infantry, was promoted
to captaincy, and served until mustered out. A brave soldier. Public funeral
.services at the Congregational church, conducted by Rev. Edwin Weary of the
Episcopal, and Rev. F. W. Nazarene, of the Methodist. Burial at the Rock
Falls cemetery in charge of the Masonic order, of which he was a member.
He was born in 1835.


From a humble beginning thirty years ago, the school has kept pace with
the development of the city. It was started in the brick building now used for
city purposes, corner of Second street and Third avenue. The present main
edifice, containing eight rooms, was erected in 1888. The other building on
the side was erected in 1895. It contains the high school and the seventh and
eighth grades. In the year 1907-1908 there were 525 pupils enrolled, with
ten subordinate teachers and one musical director. The Board of Education
consists of Ward Lincoln, president, A. A. Thome, J. W. Hatch, P. G. Kelsey,
C. L. Hubbard, A. L. Coe, and Dr. F. G. Scott, secretary. An excellent corps
of teachers. E. 0. Phares, superintendent. Mathematics and biology, and
principal, Etta E. Grunewald. Latin and German, Madge V. Knevels. Eng-
lish and General History, Nellie H. Davison. U. S. History, civics and science,
E. 0. Phares. In the grades are principal, Mrs. Ella Brown, Myra E. Jen-
nings, Margaret Hax, Josephine Dundon, Harriet Scott, Maude E. William-
son, Bessie McNeill, Louise Pfulb, Mrs. Genevieve Pierce, Blanche Emmons,
Urs. Nellie Halsted. Music, Miss Muriel Price, Sterling. Drawing teacher to
be supplied. Janitor, M. J. McAllister.

"High Life," the new publication of the Rock Falls high school, is a
four page folder containing some interesting reading matter for pupils and
patrons of the school, and no advertising. The paper is to be published once
a month during the school year.

Two quartettes have been organized in the Rock Falls high school and
-will be in charge of the musical director, Miss Muriel Price.

In the form of maps, globes, charts, apparatus, the school is gradually
increasing its equipment as means will allow. In 1907 the Turner Art Loan
realized $184, which were invested in pictures for the decoration of the various
rooms. The school steadily increases in numbers and efficiency, and already
ranks among the best in the county.

Prof. Phares, who succeeds Prof. Haney, began his career in a country
school in Indiana, and after graduating from the Greentown high school,
took a four years' course at the Indiana State Normal School at Terre Haute,
graduating in the spring of 1901. He spent the summer at Cornell Uni-
versity. He has taught in all thirteen years, and is in his second year at Rock







There is a calm for those who weep,

A rest for weary pilgrims found,
They softly lie, and sweetly sleep,

Low in the ground. Montgomery.

On the eastern edge of Rock Falls, picturesque with evergreens, ready to
receive the rays of the rising sun, is the burial ground with its rows of granite
monuments. We were struck with the number of aged people. John L. Mor-
rill, 1823-1898. William Ramsay, 1815-1900. George Adair, 1827-1906. <GL
Rosengreen, 1835-1905. Ramsel Brooks, 1838-1905. Helen Nims, 1835-1888,
and John W., 1831-1895. John E. Durstine, 1842-1900. Lyman Baker,
1818-1892. J. B. Mingle, 1834-1896. Allen Hayes, 1825-1905. Henry
Price, 1830-1892.

That familiar name, L. H. Woodworth, pioneer of 1839, has the widest
record from 1806-1902, being ninety-six at his death. Also, P. P. Wood-
worth, 1807-1844, and A. H., 1820-1902. The names appear of various old
families: Worth, Glassburn, McFalls, Payson, James Mason, Paisley, Scot-
land, 1830-1892, and his wife, Lois. William Rae, Scotland, 1818-1894, and
wife, 1898. Several soldiers. J. E. Van Densen, sergeant Co. F, Third Michi-
gan Infantry. George Rae with flag on grave. Also, D. G. Lindsley. Charles
Lahram, London, England, 1830-1871, no regiment given. L. H. Linn,
Swede, Henshaw's Battery. The freshest heroic mound strewn with wreaths
is that of Capt. Wm. Parker, 75th Illinois, 1835-1907.

In its stanch weekly, the young city has always had an ardent supporter.
The Rock Falls News was established by Captain William Parker in 1882,
and was first located in rooms over the postoffice, still in the same place. In
1884, his daughter, Anna F., became his associate. On her marriage two
years later to Charles Lee Mentzer, he purchased a half interest in the busi-
ness. They then bought the building on the corner of Third avenue and
Second street, which was burned with all its contents, Jan. 3, 1896. A new
outfit was at once secured, and business was resumed in the Industrial build-
ing, until the new office was erected on First avenue, the present site. Here
they moved in the summer of 1897, with a new equipment. The business
was carried on by Parker and Mentzer until Oct. 1, 1907, when, on account
of failing health, Capt. Parker sold his interest to Emery L. Bond, Mr. Ment-
zer still retaining his interest. The next change was the formation of the
News Publishing Company, E. L. Bond, president and treasurer, and Anna
F. Mentzer, secretary. The capital stock is $7,000. With new job type, an
improved press, and steam heating plant, the operations will be conducted
on a larger scale than ever before.


In every rank, or great or small,
'Tis industry supports us all.- Gay.

'Tis a bad wind blows nobody good, for when Gait and Tracy lost their


factory by fire near the railroad in Sterling in the summer of 1867, and at
once crossed the river to Rock Falls and laid the foundation of new works,
they put the young town upon its feet, gave it a place on the map, and made
the beginning of that conglomeration of shops, chimneys, and warehouses
that are crowded along the river bank. Gait and Tracy grew into the Key-
stone Company in 1871, whose cornplanters and other farm machinery had
an astonishing popularity for years throughout the west. After the death of
George Tracy, several changes occurred, and now the. commercial title is the
International Harvester Company. Among the machines made are corn
shelters, mowers, harrows, side-delivery rakes. The plant covers seven acres,
and the buildings proper, averaging three stories, occupy five. The yearly
production is between 45,000 and 50,000 machines of various kinds. The
foundry makes yearly 1,500,000 castings, or eight million pounds of iron.

The trollsy hanger, made by Lawrence Brothers, is the best article of
the kind sold in the trade in the United States. It is intended for stable or
"barn doors, by which they roll smoothly to the side, without binding, stick-
ing, or scraping. In the manufacture of door butts they rank second, and
for hinges of another type, third, in the entire country. The Messrs. Law-
rence, John and Edwin, began operations in 1876, and have steadily enlarged
until there is now a floor space of 74,000 square feet in the shops. Both in
the prime of life, and reside in Sterling.

One of the newest works is fast growing into huge proportions. That is
the branch of Russell, Birdsall and Ward Bolt and Nut Company, of Port
Chester, N. Y. In 1896 the business started here on a small scale in the
Industrial building, and four years ago was moved into a new factory built
for the purpose, with 60,000 feet of floor space. The business has increased
ten fold in a decade, a hundred men are employed the year round, and an
enlargement of space will be necessary. The product of this factory is confined
to rivets and bolts of small sizes, as can be made cold.

Besides the agricultural implements made by the Keystone branch of the
International Harvester company, there is the Sterling Manufacturing Com-
pany, who manufacture a large line of corn planters, disc harrows, stalk cutters,
hay rakes and loaders, feed grinders, bob sleds. A. J. Platt company turn out
a superior potato planter, one of the most efficient on the market, and which
has a gratifying sale everywhere. Of the five carriage works in the two cities,
the Eureka company is the most extensive, turning out yearly 5,000 light
vehicles in the form of buggies, surreys and light Concord wagons. Their
trade extends over the United States and to foreign countries.

One of the heaviest concerns is the Illinois Straw Products Company in
the west end. Eleven and a half tons of straw is used daily in making Manila,
rag, and straw wrapping paper, 300 tons a month, 3,600 tons a year. Besides
straw, twenty-one tons of paper stock is daily consumed. A welcome opening
for the waste paper of offices, stores, houses. A market for the collections
gathered by the ladies in various towns, of odds and ends. Although water
power is used some months of the year, the average daily consumption of
coal is fifty tons, or 18,250 tons annually. The yearly output is between 4,200


and 5,000 tons. Seventy-five hands are employed, and the mill runs day and

The Northwestern Barbed Wire Company, of which W. M. Dillon is a
prominent member, manufactures a great variety of ingenious and convenient
goods in the shape of square mesh field fence, diamond mesh fence, diamond
poultry fence, plain and ornamental gates, portable chicken coops, and other
articles handled by the wire trade.

Among the new concerns is the Evan Reed Manufacturing Company,
occupying the stone mill of the old Dillon Milling works. Their list is vari-
ous and desirable, comprising rat and mouse traps, racks, cracker box covers,
automatic pulleys. Thirty men will be employed during the next year, with
an expected output of over $100,000.

The First National Bank has a capital of $25,000, and does a general
banking business. Four per cent is paid in the savings department, as well
as interest on time deposits. Hours from 9 to 4. C. L. Hubbard is prasident,
and 0. E. Maxson, cashier.

The Odd Fellows with the customary forethought and thrift of the order,
purchased a lot two years ago, corner of Second avenue and Third street, and
are considering the erection of a handsome structure, three stories high.

The city of Rock Falls is one of the best equipped towns for sidewalks in
this part of the state. It now does not have a board walk or a wooden cross-
ing within the city limits.

The bridge over Rowland creek east of Rock Falls was completed in 1908.
The floor is of concrete and the remainder is of stone and steel. It is said
that the bridge is one of the best in this section of the state. It was erected
by the Clinton Bridge & Iron works and the work was under the supervision
of John Rosengren.


In Boston, the Old South church is still standing, but the Old Brick
School, east of Rock Falls, on the Dixon road, is only a dream. On its site
is a white frame, 1906, with cupola and bell, vestibule and furnace. Miss Etha
Scanlan, with 23 pupils, is teaching her second year. She is a graduate of
the Rock Falls high school. In the Historical Society is a large photograph
of the early brick, taken at a picnic of the old patrons in 1897. There are
twenty-eight men and women, patrons and pupils of the institution, all stand-
ing or sitting in front. Grove Wright presented the picture, and has indi-
cated by numerals the different people. The faces are life-like, and you can
pick every one at a glance. . Among them are Deacon Arey and James Arey,
L. L. Emmons, Henry Batchellor, Bird Emmons, Robert McNeill, Alf Worth-
ington, Ed Macomber, Nettie Yeoward, Alice Shirley, Mary King, Mary Ninis,
Walter Fox. Some have already fallen into the shadow. The old brick had
three windows with blinds on each side, and a roof projecting in front for
a portico, supported by four square columns. What associations this build-
ing and this spot have for these silver heads. Here they studied, played, and
enjoyed many a spelling match. Whittier must have gone to just such a place.


Within, the master's desk is seen,

Deep scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats,

The jack-knife's carved initial.

On the back of the photograph is a poem of 26 stanzas, written by Grove
Wright, and read by Mrs. Nancy Macomber at this merry picnic. We give
the first and last:

This is the lot, and this is the spot

Assigned to education ;
And here was laid without parade, .

The old brick school foundation.

Whate'er befalls, long may these walls,

With reverence still impress you,
Then will your years have scanty tears,

And children's children bless you.

John Arey says the Old Brick was erected in 1853, and at nineteen he
taught the school that winter.
This tells its own story :

First Annual Statement of the

of Rock Falls, Illinois.

Incorporated February, 1887. Authorized capital, 10,000 shares of $100 each.
Officers: A. C. Stanley, pres. ; Robt. McNeil, vice-pres. ; Isaac I. Bush,

sec. ; James Pettigrew, treas. ; Walter N. Haskell, attorney.
Directors: A. C. Stanley, F. W. Wheeler, H. Sterling, W. B. Price, Jas.

Pettigrew, J. M. Bickford, Robert McNeil, T. Culver, C. M. Worth.

Regular meetings are held the Third Monday of each month for the payment

of installments and loaning of money.

The city officers are A. A. Thome, mayor. Aldermen in first ward. Joseph
Wright and Henry Longfellow; in second, E. L. Adams and Charles Grady;
in third, Samuel Lowry and John Goeffroy. Henry Longfellow claims no rela-
tionship with the popular poet. Joseph Wright is a son of Mother Wright,
the most active octogenarian in Rock Falls. City attorney, Jacob Cantlin;
treasurer, John Kadel; city marshal, Charles Billings; superintendent streets,
Richard Arey; health officer, Dr. F. J. Scott; chief fire department, John L.
Washburn ; electric light, 0. M. Aarvig.

Population about 3,000.


I. 0. 0. F. Hall corner Third avenue and E. Third street.
Ark Encampment No. 143 Meets first and third Friday of each month.
E. J. Pierce, secretary.


Advance Lodge No. 590 Every Wednesday. E. J. Pierce, secretary.

J. H. Montague Lodge No. 202, Daughters of Rebekah Second and
fourth Mondays. Mrs. Lida Woods, secretary.

American Stars of Equity. Rock Falls Lodge No. 16 Meets at call.
Dr. C. M. Frye, secretary.

A. 0. U. W. Industrial lodge No. 5 Meets at call. J. A. Kadel, Jr.,

B. of A. Yoemen Meets at call. Dr. C. M. Frye, secretary.
Fraternal Reserve L. A. Rock Falls Lodge No. 83 Third Wednesdays,

McNeil hall. Dr. F. J. Scott, secretary.

G. A. R. Will Enderton Post No. 729 First and Third Saturdays, Mc-
Neil hall. J. V. McCarty, Adj.

W. R. C. Will Enderton Corps No. 193 Meets first and third Thursday
afternoon in McNeil hall. Mrs. Amelia Brewer, secretary.

Home Fraternal League. Rock Falls Lodge No. 18 Meets at call. J.
G. Limerick, secretary.

Keystone Relief and Aid Meets third Thursday, 201 W. Second street.
E. J. Pierce, secretary.

Knights of the Globe. Union Garrison No. 21 Second and fourth Tues-
day, McNeil hall. R. B. McNeil, Adj.

Eminent Ladies. Betsy Ross Garrison No. 5 Second and fourth Mon-
days. McNeil hall. Fay Rodemyer, Adj.

Juvenile K. of G. Cara McNeil Garrison No. 1 Second Mondays, Mc-
Neil hall. Dorman Emmons, Adj.

Modern Woodmen. Rapids Camp No. 151 Second and fourth Fridays,
McNeil hall. Wm. Hansen, clerk.

Royal Neighbors. Holly Camp No. 100 First and third Fridays, McNeil
hall. Mrs. Susie Hamblock, clerk.

Mystic Workers. Rock Falls Lodge No. 32 Meets first and third Tues-
days McNeil hall. Dr. C. M. Frye, secretary.


Our oath resounds, the river flows,

In golden light our banner glows,

Our hearts will guard thy stream divine,

The Rhine, the Rhine, the German Rhine. Carl Wilhelm.

The Germans and the Dutch form a large element in the population of
Whiteside. They are not the same, but are often confounded. The Ger-
mans are from Germany, the land of Goethe, Schiller, Humboldt, and Unser
Fritz. The Dutch are from Holland, the country of canals, William of Orange,
and Admiral Tromp. Sometimes called Low Dutch, by way of distinction.

The Germans are most numerous in Jordan, Hopkins, and Genesee,
eastern Whiteside. Many have come since the Civil war. Indeed, they were
soldiers, and were anxious to settle down after years of march. Most came
directly from the old country with little means, and worked as day laborers


until they secured enough to make first payment on the land. After twenty
or thirty years they owned their farm, often two or more, and were able to
spend their declining days in comfort. Their children struggled with the
old people, and are cultivating the same soil, or perhaps land they bought for
themselves. No race suicide, but families generally like Jacob's.

The German takes to the soil as a duck to water. He is a natural farmer.
It seems to be in the blood. He is thrifty. Wife goes to the field, and husks
corn in busy times. The children are put to work as soon as they are able.
No waste, everything turned to account. They live well, plenty of plain" food,
no luxuries, work early and late, no rest or visiting except on Sundays.

Plow deep while sluggards sleep,
And you'll have corn to sell and keep.

They believe in large barns, spacious corn cribs, warm shelters for stock. Red
is a favorite color. Both men and women are portly and ruddy because of
outdoor life and generous larders. The smoke house and the cellar stored
with abundance of meat and vegetables.

Next to his comfortable home, the German has a high regard for religion.
As a child he was baptized in the church, received catachetical instruction,
and must have a place of worship on Sunday. Jordan, Genesee, and Hopkins,
all have their churches, where services are regularly held. Part of the time,
English service is given in obedience to the desires of the younger generation.
It is surprising how soon the children become Americanized, speaking our
language as fluently and as correctly as the native^ of the east. To show the
steadiness of the German, the son of a tenant, who cultivated a farm 25 years,
west of Sterling, and left for one of his own, has married, and taken his
father's place on the boyhood farm.

The Hollanders are invading Whiteside from the west. They started in
Fulton, and have advanced to Morrison. Their church, the Dutch Reformed,
is larger than any of the other denominations in Fulton, and the same condi-
tion is true in Morrison. The sermons are preached in Dutch morning and
evening at the request of the people. Like the Germans, they are farmers, and
drive with their families long distances to church. They have brought from
the mother country that excessive neatness which distinguishes Holland above
the rest of the world. They set abundant tables, dress well, and are a very
estimable class of citizens. Like the Germans they are thriving, and manage
to get ahead rapidly in the battle of life.


In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man,

As modest stillness and humility;

But when the blast of -war blows in our ears,

Then imitate the action of the tiger:

Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood. King Henry V.

When the South trained her batteries on Fort Sumter in 1861, she fired
the heart of the nation. An electric current of patriotism seemed to spread


from ocean to ocean, from city to hamlet. The flag was assailed, and millions
of freemen rose in its defense.

Our county as everywhere else, caught the spirit of loyal enthusiasm,
and young men and old men were eager to rally around the banner of the
Union. The Board of Supervisors met promptly in April, 1861, and passed
stirring resolutions to voice the sentiment of the people. After several reso-
lutions endorsing the action of the government to sustain the integrity of
the constitution and maintain the unity of the states, they

Resolved, That the people of Whiteside County do, without regard to
party, unanimously pledge to the ggvernor of the state the entire resources of
our county for the defense of our state and the Union, and that we pledge
the entire credit of our county to furnish men or money as the government
may require.

Resolved, That we hereby appropriate a fund of $20,000 to be placed
in the hands of five commissioners, to be appointed by our chairman, to be
used for the support of needy families of volunteers while said volunteers are
engaged in the service of their country.

As the war progressed, and men were wanted, the secretary of war ordered
an enrollment of the militia, to make a draft if necessary. To secure volun-
teers, the supervisors passed an order offering each man a bounty of sixty
dollars. Private citizens offered premiums, rousing meetings were held, and
our quota of 359 was filled with many additional men offering their services.
This was August, 1862. Proud Illinois! Some states had repeated drafts.

By August, 1862, the county had furnished 1,600 men for the war. To
provide for the bounties of the soldiers and meet the necessary expenses, the
supervisors sent a committee to Chicago to make a loan of $40,000. In Sep-
tember, 1864, a bounty of $200 was offered, and $10,000 appropriated for the
families of volunteers. By Sept. 27, 1864, eighty-seven men were due on the
county's quota, and a draft was appointed for Oct. 5. Much money was raised
by private subscription to add to the public bounty, and avoid a draft. This
was successful in all the townships except Hahnaman, with a small popula-
tion, where three citizens were drafted, the only case during the war.

Whiteside's quota under the last call for 300,000 men, Dec. 19, 1864, was
250 men. At the December term, the supervisors voted a bounty of $500,
and in February, $100 more. The townships voted $100 additional to each
volunteer, and the quota was secured. Several men were recruited for the
old regiments in the field.

Of Whiteside's noble contribution to the armies of her country, the
excellent history of Bent and Wilson furnishes the following summary: In
1860 the population of the county was 18,729. In 1863, the enrollment was
3,328; in 1864, 3,338; in 1865, 3,338. The quota of the county in 1861 was
525 men; in 1862, 359; in March 4, 1864, 726 men; July 18, 1864, 519.
Total quota prior to Dec. 31, 1864, 2,129 men. Total credits prior to Dec.
31, 1864, 2,019 men. Deficit then was 110 men. Dec. 31, 1865, assigned
quota was 520 men. Total quota of county Dec. 31, 1865, 2,539. Total


credit under last call, 516. Entire credit during the war, 2,535 men. Deficit
under all calls, only four men. The total indebtedness of the county caused
by the war was $529,402. Immediate steps were taken to reduce the obliga-
tions, by September, 1867, seventy per cent was paid, and a few years after-
wards not a dollar of indebtedness remained.


The Union forever, hurra, boys, hurra!

Down with the traitor, up with the star!
While we rally round the flag, boys,

Rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom ! George F. Root.

This regiment had its first severe experience in the battle of Shiloh,
April 6-7, 1862, where it lost 170 men, and next at Corinth in May, where
seventy were swept from the ranks. In an expedition to intercept Forrest,
the boys marched one hundred miles in four and a half days. Jan. 9, 1864,
three-fourths of the men re-enlisted, and returned home on furlough. After
Chattanooga, they marched with Sherman through Georgia, fought the rebels
at Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw, Decatur, Atlanta, continued the march to the

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 27 of 72)