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 50 of 72)
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Dr. Traviss, D. W. Hamblin.


Capt. Benj. F. Sheldon, 7th New York Artillery.


John W. McLemore, Illinois Mounted Infantry; Lieut. J. C. Oliver,
Mich. Vol.

WAR OF 1812-15.

Captain Luther Bush, John Edison, Levi Walling, John Benner, John
I. Taylor, Edward F. Randolph, Asa Grover, William J. Teller. Paul Hecker.

Over* 150 soldiers of the civil war are buried in Riverside, with suitable
memorials over the graves. Resting here, also, are the following noble boys
of the


Sergt. L. C. Sheldon, E, 6th 111., & N, 4th U. S. ; Cor. James P. Kereven,


Co. C, 22d U. S. Inft. ; Leo Bushnell, Co. E, 6th 111. Inft. ; Frank Aument, Co.
E, 6th 111. Inft.; Roy Eshleman, Co. E, 6th 111. Inft.; Moses Dillon, Jr.,
Co. E, 6th 111. Vol. Inft. ; Frank Pigg, Co. E, 6th 111. Vol. Inft. ; B. J. Buckley,
E, 6th 111. Vol. Inft. ; Edd Bassett, E, 6th 111. Vol. Inft. ; R. P. Church, A,
12th U. S. Inft.

Soldiers in Rock Falls Cemetery:

Capt. Wm. Parker, A, 75th 111. Inft.; Charles Button, Co. K, 75th 111.
Inft.; James Corke, H, 105th 111. Inft,; Wm. Hackett, 111. Inft.; Charles
Barnes, 75th & 140th 111. Inft. ; Win. A. Roland, M, 8th 111. Cav. ; Miller, -
Pa. Inft.; Lieut. J. W. Smith, Louisiana Immunes; J. E. Durstine, Co. K.
84th 111. Inft. ; Fred F. Sheldon, I, 75th 111. Inft. ; Wm. Labram, 111. Inft. ;
Wm. G. Patton, 111. Inft.; J. E. VanDusen, Co. F, 3d Mich. Inft.; Silas How-
land, Co. G, 147th 111. Inft.; Chas. J. Labram, 147th Mich. Inft.; J. C. Dur-
went, Co. G, 153d Mich Inft, ; Lars H. Linn, Henshaw's Battery ; Isaac Orr,
Co. K, 77th 111. Inft., and K, 130th 111.; Sergt, H. P. Price, Co. B, 147th 111.
Inft. ; Herman G. Huster, Co. B, 13th 111. Inft. ; Geo. 0. Deyoe, 12th 111. Cav.

Soldiers sleeping in Fulton City Cemetery :

Gustavus Peterson, Co. F, 52nd 111. Inft.; George L. Lyon, Co. I, 80th
111. Inft. ; Joseph Moody, Co. M, 1st Iowa Cav. ; Elisha B. Ralyea, Co. C, 1st
N. Y. Cav. ; Charles Shumake, Co. I, 75th 111. Inft. ; James Russell, a veteran
of the war of 1812 ; Gorharn B. Plumley, Co. F, 52nd 111. Inft ; Alfred Strotha,
Co. A, 60th U. S. Cav. ; Thomas S. Chandler, Co. E, 33d 111. Inft. ; Lafayette
Decker, 4th N. Y. artillery; Robert B. Myers, Co. F, 93d 111. Inft.; Edwin V.
Burroughs, Co. K, 42nd 111. Inft, ; John L. Knapp, Co. C, 9th Ind. Inft. ; R.
H. Adams, Co. A, 7th 111. Inft.; James H. Stoddard, Co. C, 126th 111. Inft.;
George Eckert, Co. F, 52nd 111. Inft. ; L. F. Puffer, Co. A, 108th 111. Inft. ;
Edward J. Strating, Co. B, 12th Minn. Inft., Spanish-American war; John C.
Martindale, Co. F, 93d 111. Inft. ; Alfred B. Conger, Co. D, 6th U. S. Inft.,
Spanish-American war; Hiran Pulver, Co. D, 47th N. Y. Inft.; Charles Hall,
Co. F, 52nd 111. Inft. ; Daniel E. Galusha, Co. I, 92nd 111. Inft. ; H. T. Heller,
Ohio Inft.; Oscar Summers, 52nd 111. Inft.


Death rides on every passing breeze,
He lurks in every flower. He her.

North of Riverside on the west line of the Freeport road is this seques-
tered place of burial. There are five acres, purchased about 1890 from Clark
Powell for $250 per acre. The ground is level, and wide alleys run north and
south between the tombs. A variety of evergreen*, spruce, pine, arbor vitae,
form a pleasing contrast with the cold marble and granite, and give an air of
cheerfulness and immortal hope to the grassy mounds that hold the dust of
the cherished dead. When the writer visited the spot on a balmy day in later
April the first violets were in bloom, and meadow larks were warbling their
sweet notes in an adjoining pasture. For a new cemetery the number of ele-
gant monuments is surprising. As usual, the names are numerous of the
persons one was used to meeting on the street from town and country. Many


aged people. Bridget Colford, 1900, aged 81. Wm. Mooney, 1816-1892. Pat-
rick Clavin, 76. Thomas Higgins, 1807-1895, and Mary Higgins, 1815-1869.
He was the father of the builder of the street railway. Catherine McCormick,
1898, aged 68. Morris Morlarty, Ireland, 1820-1907. Patrick Healey, 1820-
1904, and wife, Ann, 1824-1905. One of the most elaborate memorials is that
of Martin Mee, with columns at the corner, 1824-1891. Several of the family
. on the lot. Another handsome one, Martin Costello, 1814-1883, and his wife,
Mary, 1821-1879. Gaffey, Grady, Durr, Sullivan, Lawler, Ryan, Drew. On
this tomb:

Dearest mother, thou has left us,

Here thy loss we deeply feel,
But 'tis God that hath bereft us,
He can all our sorrows heal.

This is Hannah O'Neil, 1815-1888, for years the faithful housekeeper in
the mansion of Mrs. Mary Wallace. John Horn, soldier, Co. G, 1st Penn.
Healy, Burke, Connell, Rourke. Crosses are a favorite device, and the sacred
initials, I. H. S. Buckleys have a rough block of gray granite and five small
head stones. B. J. Buckley, Co. E, 6th 111. Inf., Spanish-American war.
Julia Kilroy, a bright girl, 1865-1894, teacher in Second ward school. Con-
lin, Devine, Sheehan, Kelly, Curtin. John Houlihan, soldier, 1847-1863. A
very pretty design is the monument of Bernhard Hodgins, 1839-1838, and
Margaret, 183'3-1903. The red granite of the upper block forms a fine con-
trast with the gray of the base. Kannally family has a huge mass of gray
granite and seven head stones. Here lies a devout churchman: M. Dundon,
1885, aged 69. "Fortified with all the rites of the holy church, on whose
soul sweet Jesus have mercy, Amen."


Still always it is beautiful,

That life-giving water. Judge Arrington.

Although not a city man, Joel Harvey was the first person in Sterling to
appreciate the convenience and healthfulness of a better source of water than
that furnished by the old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, the moss-
covered bucket that hung in the well. He owned a tract of land in the
northern part of town, sufficiently high to send a stream of water into the
second and third stories of most of "the buildings. Here he started an artesian
well in 1873, and continued the bore until it reached a depth of 1,652 feet,
and struck a current that gave a flow abundant for all purposes. Wooden
pipes were laid in the main streets, and for several years Harvey's water was
in extensive use. The pipes gradually rotted, needing constant repair, and
the need was urgent for a more substantial and enlarged system to meet the
demands of the growing city. The Sterling Water Company was organized,
and in 1885 the first well was bored to a depth of 1,435 feet and mains laid
throughout the city. Then followed a second well. 1,626 feet deep, and a
third, 1.816 feet deep. The present flow is one million gallons every 24
hours. There are two pumps with a capacity of five million gallons, and


three boilers of 125 horse power each. Fire is kept constantly under two, and
the third is hanked for instant service. The consumption of coal, a mixture
of nut and slack, is four tons daily. A. W. Wilson, Worcester, Mass., formerly
a railway engineer, has been in charge of the machinery for 21 years. An
analysis of the water made at the University of Illinois shows 18 per cent
mineral matter in a gallon, carbonate of lime and carbonate of magnesia pre-
ponderating. This is an unusually small amount of mineral substance for
wells so deep. Cool, fresh, and delicious for drinking, and not too hard for
ordinary washing. While the stock is owned principally in Portland, Maine,
the parent office is in Sterling, according to the laws of Illinois. Judd Decker,
superintendent and secretary, has shown commendable efficiency in the dis-
charge of his duties.


Bring flowers, fresh flowers, for the bride to wear,

They were born to blush in her shining hair.

Bring flowers, pale flowers, o'er the bier to shed,

A crown for the brow of the early dead. Mrs. Hemans.

Fronting on Eighteenth avenue is the brick office, cheerful with living
color, of the Sterling Floral Company, Robert Lundstrom, proprietor. He is
a Swede, and has really inherited the trade, as his father was a gardener on
a great estate. There are eight greenhouses. Two are devoted exclusively to
carnations, three to carnations and mixed stocks, one to roses, one to palms
and ferns, one to propagating. The heat proceeds from a seventy-horse power
tubular boiler. To furnish requisite heat, 250 tons of coal per year are con-
sumed. The Bride, a white rose, is extensively grown, so much in demand for
funerals. Also of the beautiful red, the Bridesmaid. In fact, strange as it
may seem, it is the sorrow of the home, the casket, and the cemetery with the
decorations of the grave, that supports the floral business. A bad wind that
blows nobody good. Nine-tenths of his products, Mr. Lundstrom says, are
taken in Sterling and vicinity. The temperature necessary for these delicate
creations varies with the season, higher in winter or dull weather, than in
mild days or bright sun. Higher at night than during the day. An average
temperature for carnations is 50 to 55 degrees. No one variety is allowed to
monopolize a long raised wooden bed for the year. For example, pansies are
started in the late winter and as they cease to bloom, succeed geraniums, chrys-
anthemums, and perhaps lettuce, or some quick -growing vegetable. The soil,
of course, is replenished and enriched. Who use the violets? Young men for
their Dulcineas. He showed the writer a circular mass of blossoms just picked,
two hundred, to meet an order from a luxurious mansion where they would
exhale their perfume.

violets dim,

But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes.

To manage the business Mr. Lundstrom requires the aid of two or three
hands and a bookkeeper. All extra product is sent to Chicago or St. Louis.



These grounds are on the corner of East Fifth street and Seventeenth
avenue. The residence, a white frame, on the west, and the four greenhouses,
the largest three hundred feet long, occupying the rear of the lots. The busi-
ness was started in 1901 in a humble way, and has rapidly grown to its present
proportions. The front office of concrete is a cozy reception room with a glass
case of various trimmings and numerous curiosities picked up by Mr. Swartley
in his southern trips : stuffed snakes, minerals, fox skins, and a huge alligator
hide twelve feet long. A seventy-five horse power boiler furnishes heat for
the buildings. Two large houses are necessary to meet the call for carnations.
This seems to be the reigning flower. Much used in churches on Sunday with
asparagus for pulpit decoration. It was McKinley's favorite. No other flower
keeps its freshness so long. To supply transient customers, jars of cut flowers
are kept in the damp cellar. Besides the retail trade at home, shipments are
made east and west. Among the latest species of fern is the delicate Whit-
man with its exquisite leaves. Mr. Swartley is assisted by his wife and son,
Ernest, who both have made a study of the lovely floral world in all its depart-


There are three pleasure grounds for the people, Lincoln Park in the
east, Wallace in the west, and Central in the heart of the city. This is kept
in elegant condition by Phil Kereven, Gettysburg veteran. The lawn is
smooth and luxuriant, trees throw a grateful shade, and flowers and shrubs
make the spot cheerful and attractive. Here are held all affairs of public
interest, Fourth of July celebrations, Memorial Day exercises, religious and
temperance meetings. Iron settees are placed at convenient points for com-
fort. It already has associations of genius. Here General Howard gave a
reception,, and here echoed the eloquent voices of Collyer, Hillis and Gun-

The ornament of Central Park is the Soldiers' Monument of granite,
which rises from a mount of turf to the height of fifty or sixty feet, crowned
by an infantry volunteer in heroic size. On the south side are "Shiloh, Stone
River, Vicksburg, Atlanta." "The patriotic people of Sterling and vicinity
have erected this monument to the memory of the soldiers and sailors who
were willing to die that the Union and Liberty might live" on the east side.
On the north, "Petersburg, Wilderness, Gettysburg, Appomattox." On the
west, "This stone is a reminder of the cost and value of the Union of the
States." The base is thickly engraven with the names of departed heroes, and
as a soldier dies his name is added to the roll of honor. The monument cost
about $5,000, and was unveiled July 4, 1890, with imposing ceremonies.


Not a mile from the east limits of the city is a charming bit of woodland
w r ith its grassy slopes, shade of young forest trees, meandering stream, and
spring of sparkling water. It was purchased from the late Samuel Albertson,
and is controlled by the park association. Much outlay has been made to
make the resort attractive. As the Northwestern Fair holds its annual meet-






ings here, a race track and amphitheater have been constructed. A small
hotel furnishes good accommodations for all who wish to remain a day or a
week. A favorite resort for the Sunday schools of the city in their yearly

A Chautauqua under the management of H. M. Holbrook has been held
here for four successive seasons, the summer of 1908 making the fifth. The
usual program of lecture, music, and mixed entertainment. The star per-
formers have been Bryan, Col. Bain, Mrs. Logan, Billy Mason, Billy Sunday.
A season ticket is two dollars, single admission 25 cents. A three-room tent
is furnished for five dollars. Many of the Sterling people, and others from a
distance, find tent life for ten days an agreeable relief from the routine of
the residence. The street cars run only to Powell's corner, where omnibuses
are ready to meet passengers. A half-mile walk for pedestrians. A spur from
the main car track would be a great convenience. The president of the park
association is J. T. Williams; secretary, J. N. Harpham.


For years cement was found to be valuable for curbs and sidewalks, but
very suddenly it has bounded into general use as a material for houses. First
for basement or cellar walls, now the whole residence is constructed of the
solid blocks. They have all the effect of stone in an old Norman castle, and
are much cheaper than pressed brick, and more durable in not showing the
marks of age. Not only the walls, but the arches, columns, all parts of an
edifice, can be constructed of cement, by means of molds adapted to the de-
sign. The stone quarry will levy no more tax on our builders.

An enormous quantity of cement was consumed in the two cites in 1907.
The records show that 177 cars of the article were shipped in. The total
amount used was about 28,320 barrels, having a retail value of $56,640. This
is equal to 177,000 sacks. The heaviest consumers in 1907 were the United
States in the government dam and the Hydraulic Company in the piers of the
power house, using thirty carloads. Much was required by the Gail Borden
milk plant, and by some of the new factories. A number of carloads were
used by F. L. Johnson, the Rock Falls Cement and Stone Company, the Ster-
ling Concrete Company, the Rock River Concrete Company and George Hall,
all manufacturers of cement blocks. Cement in large amounts was also used
by Dennis O'Hare, Peter O'Hare, Henry McFadden, W. D. Praetz and others,
the last named being cement sidewalk makers and curb builders.

The cement block manufacture has in a short time grown to large pro-
portions. Fred Johnson has the credit of starting the business in 1903, and
who in 1904 erected a stable of the material at his residence on Fourth avenue.
Already in 1907 about 150.000 cement blocks of the 18-inch size were made
in the two cities. Many of the new dwellings in Sterling and Rock Falls are
constructed of these blocks, having a substantial and pleasing appearance.
The crowning exhibition of the fitness of cement in architecture is the Fourth
Street M. E. church, which from ground to pinnacle is constructed of the
blocks, molded in every form to suit the fancy of the builder. Dr. Hill's
home on Locust is the richest private example in the city.



At her old home on Fourth street and Sixth avenue, Mrs. J. C. Rundlett
reached the ninety-second milestone of her long pilgrimage. No celebration.
Her daughters were by her side, flowers from thoughtful friends cheered the
sitting room with their fragrance and beauty, and various tributes of affec-
tion were received from relatives at a distance.

Both by association and descent, Mrs. Rundlett is now the grand old
lady of our city. In early life at Newburyport she often saw Hannah Flagg
Gould, the poet, author of that familiar poem :

Alone I walked the ocean strand,
A pearly shell was in my hand,
I stooped and wrote upon the sand,
My name, the year, the day.

She dwells fondly upon old Newburyport, next to Boston richest of all
New England towns in antiquarian suggestion. This was the home of Wil-
liam Lloyd Garrison, and here is the Old South or First Presbyterian church,
1746-1896, in whose crypt was buried George Whitefield, that naming apostle
of eloquence, 1770. His coffin is still shown, and once the skull could be sesn.

The family have a large book, called the Lowell Genealogy, containing
several hundred names, and tracing the Lowells to their first coming to New
England in 1639 from the old country. There were numerous branches,
James Russell Lowell belonging to one, and Mrs. Rundlett's kindred to an-

Except a bodily weakness which makes a reclining position . most com-
fortable much of the day, Mrs. Rundlett's faculties are in excellent preserva-
tion. A bright eye, face with scarce a wrinkle, voice clear, and memory that
is quick to recall anything she once knew. Always cheerful, glad to meet
her friends, and it is pleasant to see her happy expression as she lies on her
couch surrounded by devoted daughters, who are quick to anticipate the
slightest wish.

On Second avenue between Fifth and Sixth streets, in a neat brick cot-
tage, the home for over fifty years, reside Mrs. Martha Barrett and her daugh-
ter Mattie. Although not old, being only seventy-five, Mrs. Barrett has seen
Sterling expand from a village at her arrival in 1855 to a young metropolis,
and has also sadly witnessed the departure one by one of the early generation
she knew so well.

Mrs. Barrett's early years were spent in Rushville, N. Y. Her mother
and five brothers composed a noble family, one of whom has made the name
immortal. Marcus Whitman, pioneer, missionary, explorer, was her mother's
brother. She was twelve when he left for the west, and remembers Marcus
as a tall, stout man with dark hair and earnest movement. He was ambitious,
took a medical course at Berkshire institute, and in 1834 was appointed a mis-
sionary physician to Oregon.

After a short visit he came back, and with his wife and Rev. II. IT.
Spanieling and his young wife, they crossed the continent in 1836. driving
the first American wagon to the gates of Fort Walla Walla on the Columbia


river. A church was established and a farm ope'ned. Only fifty Americans,
100,000 Indians. But the Hudson Bay Company aimed to secure the land
for England. Whitman -scented the danger, the loss to the United States, and
on Oct. 3, 1842, started to ride to Washington, accompanied by one guide and
one white man.

That ride has no parallel. Paul Revere and Sheridan are trifling. Four
thousand miles through the snows of the Rockies. He reached Washington,
March 3, 1843, and saw Webster, secretary of state, who was unmoved. Pres-
ident Tyler was more impressed. Take a wagon train across the mountains
and prove the truth of your claim. Whitman led a colony back in 1843 of
200 wagons and 1,000 settlers. That decided the policy. In 1846 the north-
western boundary line gave us Oregon.

And what was this Oregon, Washington and Idaho that the winter ride
of Marcus Whitman, Mrs. Barrett's uncle, saved from England's grasp to our
own domain? It is a small continent, equal to all New England, New York,
Pennsylvania, Virginia. It is our western empire with California, In 1842
considered worthless by the wise heads at Washington.

Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,

And the rebel rides on his raids no more.

Then Whitman settled down to his work, but he was not permitted to
long enjoy the fruits of his heroism. Nov. 29, 1847, the Indians surrounded
the mission, slew Whitman, his wife and twelve companions. But his name
endureth. Whitman seminary at Walla Walla and the shaft over his grave
will keep his devotion ever glorious.

The sweet remembrance of the just,
Shall flourish when he sleeps in dust.


Gold begets in brethren, hate ;
Gold in families, debate ;
Gold does friendship separate;
Gold does civil wars create. Cowley.

A tornado swept through Whiteside in 18'60, and forty years later a
species of brain storm in stocks of oil and copper. It was not surprising. Men
have always been eager to make money. Holland, in 1637, had her tulip craze
when worthless bulbs sold for their weight in gold. The South Sea Scheme
in England in 1720 sent many a luckless investor into bankruptcy. Cali-
fornia was a golden Mecca in 1849.

Since that time all sorts of mining schemes have occupied the attention
of the American people. The rich mineral regions of Colorado and the Pa-
cific slope have especially attracted adventure and capital. Then came the
discovery of oil fields in Pennsylvania, and a dozen states. The Standard
Oil Company grew to be a colossal concern affecting every household in the
nation, in the world.

Two of these commercial propositions were finally placed before the


quiet citizens of Sterling, who heretofore had shown no desire to amass wealth
except by gradual accumulation in the course of legitimate business. The
first scheme was in the form of oil. A property had been secured in Texas,
a company formed, officers elected and stocks offered for sale. The following
advertisement appeared in the Sterling papers in 1901:




For a few days longer shares will be sold
at ten cents a share.

Excitement for awhile ran high. A few dollars would purchase numerous
shares, enough to assure a competence in old age. Rockefeller became a Croe-
sus in oil, and he started in a very humble way. What became of the gusher
Texas only knows, and the oil craze passed into a local bubble.

As the oil delusion was slipping off, the copper glitter was held before
eager eyes. Oil was uncertain, wells gave out, but copper was solid, and there
was a mountain of that metal in Idaho, waiting to be blasted, and floated down
Snake river to Lewiston. Assays showed a richer yield than the world-famous
Calumet-Hecla. Clark was king in the copper world, but his supremacy
would not continue. This advertisement appeared in the Sterling dailies in


People of Sterling and vicinity are offered for a short time only, a chance to
buy shares in one of the richest copper propositions ever offered the public.
So rich are the claims, the company could sell its entire holdings at more
than the total capital stock, but declines to consider any such proposition as it
is sure of making vastly more.

There were a president, secretary, treasurer, and a board of nine trus-
tees. This appeal did the business. The stock sold like hot cakes. All ranks
from the retired capitalist to the frugal clerk invested their dollars in a scheme
that meant a palace on Fifth avenue and a regular winter in Europe. But
the enterprise for a hundred reasons moved slowly towards princely returns.
The boiler burst, the boat sank, the machinery failed to arrive, and the pro-
moters after deluding the weeping stockholders with a few yearly reports, are
in criminal obscurity.


Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? Shakespeare.

On the night of July 14, 1907, Mrs. Isadoro Gennetti was murdered in
a frame house near the river in the first ward. Suspicion strongly pointed to
two of her country folk, Luigi and Cristina Randi; they were arrested and

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 50 of 72)