1877 History of La Salle County Illinois
Sketch of the Pioneer Settlers - Ottawa
Ottawa and South Ottawa are so connected in their early settlement, that it is impossible to intelligently separate their history; in fact, the town and business were first established on the south bank of the river, and remained there till 1837-8. The stages which ran from Chicago to Peoria, through Ottawa, crossed the river by the ferry which ran from the point above the Fox to the south side, and very few of those who passed through or visited Ottawa before the summer of 1836, ever set foot on the present site of Ottawa, below the Fox. The commanding geographical position of Ottawa; the surpassing beauty of its location, in one of the most picturesque and romantic valleys of the West, bounded on the north and south by the lofty wooded bluffs, which extend in gentle sloping undulations on either side of the broad open valley, both east and west, till they mingle with the horizon; while the clear and sparkling waters of the Fox, from the cooler northern region of Wisconsin, breaking abruptly through the north bluff, join the broad and placid Illinois in the center of what is now the city, together forming a picture which, viewed from either bluff, makes an impression on the beholder not easily effaced — rendered it natural that the emigrant should be attracted to this locality first, and that many, as was the case, should stop here temporarily, who eventually settled in other parts of the county and other parts of the West.
Ottawa was early, and almost from its first inception, designated as a county seat, and its growth and importance were somewhat dependent on the size of the county of which it was to be the center. The territory embraced in the first organization of the county, which was equal in extent to some of the Eastern States, had to be divided and set off into counties, as the population extended and their wants required. To watch this process, and see that it was judiciously done, and to preserve intact a large and influential county, of which Ottawa was to be, in size, business, and wealth, the fit representative, was for years the self-imposed duty and labor of the principal citizens of the place. Many were the caucuses held and pilgrimages made to confer with other localities within the county limits, to arrange for the common interest, and to cut off just enough to leave a large county, but not enough to be again divided. These efforts were successful, and the result has been the largest, most populous, and wealthy county in the State, except Cook, and that gains precedence only by having the city of Chicago within it. Ottawa has never had a mushroom growth, like some towns; its progress has been slow but steady, and the business has not been overdone. Before the building of the railroads, as a grain market it probably was not surpassed in the State. It handled as high as four million bushels of grain in a year, while it now handles scarcely more than one-fourth of that. The building of the railroads, which commenced about 1850, has divided the grain business among the many little prairie stations which have sprung up along the lines of road. But while the handling of grain as a business has radically decreased, the growth of the city has not been stayed. Its future evidently does not depend on the number of bushels of corn and oats that will pass through it, or on the retail trade, although both will be important items. Its facilities for cheap shipment by canal, both for export of grain, and import of lumber, salt, and other heavy articles, will give a decided advantage over railroad transportation. Its future lies in a higher sphere — manufacturing, the wholesale trade, and the finer and higher priced retail business. Those numerous towns that have crippled the trade of Ottawa will be but customers for the business that Ottawa will finally pursue.
Dr. Davidson, said to have been from Virginia, was doubtless the first American citizen, and the first white man, after the French occupants, that settled in the county; he built a cabin, and occupied it in the early summer of 1823, on the south bank of the Illinois river, nearly opposite the west end of Buffalo Rock, and traded with the Indians. He lived alone, and was found dead in his cabin in 1826. No kind hand smoothed his pillow, or moistened his parched lips; he died alone, leaving no kindred to mourn his departure. Such is the short but sad story of the first pioneer where so numerous and busy a population now live. Dr. Davidson was a well educated physician; he left a large amount of manuscript which was not preserved.
Jesse Walker, a Methodist preacher and missionary, came to Ottawa in the fall of 1825. He was born in Rockingham County, Virginia; his education was very limited, having, it is said, attended school but twenty days in all. In company with Presiding Elder, afterward Bishop, McKendree, he emigrated to Southern Illinois, in 1806. As an itinerant preacher, he labored on the frontier, going north as the population extended in that direction, till he reached Peoria, in 1824, and Ottawa the following year. In the spring of 1826 he established a mission among the Pottawatomie Indians, at what is now called Mission Point, in the town of Mission, the name of both being derived from this circumstance. He labored faithfully here, preaching to the Indians, and keeping a school for some twenty-five or thirty Indian children (but with very indifferent success, so far as christianizing and civilizing the Indians was concerned), till the spring of 1832, when he was appointed to the Chicago station, and abandoned the mission. The Pottawatomies of the prairies never embraced Christianity, nor became in any considerable degree civilized; they remained pagan to the last, resisting effectually both Catholic and Protestant missionaries. Mr. Walker remained two years in Chicago, when he retired to a small farm, twelve miles west of Chicago, where he died, October 5th, 1835. He was buried near Plainfield. The Methodist Conference, held at Plainfield in July, 1850, appointed a committee of their body, who removed his remains to the cemetery at Plainfield, and erected a stone to his memory. The Conference attended the removal in a body, and expressed their high appreciation of the valuable services of their long-departed brother.
The itinerant Methodist preachers of that day, who devoted their lives to their mission, are deserving of more than common fame. Traveling from settlement to settlement without roads or bridges, fording swollen streams, where no friendly hand could render assistance in case of need, for the night's entertainment sharing the already over-tilled cabin of the settler, living upon the coarsest fare, often without food, cold and wet, paid only the small stipend the impoverished settler could spare, after meeting the imperious demands of his own family— these selfdenying efforts mark a hero of no ordinary character. The names of Jesse Walker, Peter Cartwright, Beggs, St. Clair, and their co-laborers, will be remembered and revered by after ages.
Thomas R. Covell came from Alton, in 1824. He settled on Covell creek, giving
his name to that stream. He traded with the Indians, and built a mill near where
the creek emerges from the bluff on to the Illinois bottom. He moved to Salt
Creek, Cook County, about 1833, and died there. The camp-ground of the 4th
Cavalry was Covell's cornfield.
George Brown came in 1824; was here three or four years, and moved to Galena.
Joseph Brown came in 1824; was here four or five years, and then moved to Wisconsin. His son, Ford, said to have been raised by the Indians, came to Ottawa in 1858; he lived by hunting and trapping, and went West.
Wilbur F. Walker, from Virginia, 1825, son of Dr. David Walker, brought up the first keel-boat on the Illinois river; resided in Ottawa, till 1857; then removed to Union County, Illinois. He married Eliza Bradford, of St. Louis.
Edmund Weed, from Virginia, 1826, married Keziah Walker, daughter of David Walker; removed to Holderman's Grove in 1828, then to California in 1849, and died there in 1857. His widow is still living.
Dr. David Walker and wife, Phebe Finley, came from Rockingham County, Virginia, in 1826, a practicing physician; was the first County Clerk of La Salle County. Dr. Walker and his numerous family was a large element in the settlement and business of Ottawa during its early history. He died in 1835. Of his children, Keziah married Edmund Weed, and went to California. Huldah married Vitall Vermit, and lived at Vermit's Point for many years. Elizabeth married Daniel Newton, a hardware merchant, and Methodist preacher. Adeline married Wm. Hickling. Jane N. married Jos. Cloud.
Geo. E. Walker, son of Dr. David Walker, from same place, came to Ottawa in
1827, and married Margaret Thomas from Si. Clair County; she died in 1848. He
traded with the Indians, and was a captain of scouts in the Black Hawk war; was
the first Sheriff of La Salle County, and for many years an active and
successful merchant in Ottawa. He died in 1874, leaving two living children:
Mary Ann, married Edw. Coleman, they are now in Maryland; a son, Augustus Evans,
lives in Chicago; Margaret, wife of Charles Gossage, died in Chicago; Samuel, a
lawyer, died in Ottawa in 1869.
David Walker, youngest son of Dr. David Walker, came with his father in 1826, married Lucy Tozer, of Pennsylvania, and lives in Ottawa. They have one son, George L., who is married and lives, in St. Louis. Mr. Walker has been Mayor of the city of Ottawa, a member and President of the Board of Education, and Alderman, and has filled many other positions of trust.
James Walker, from Virginia, in 1826, a relative of Dr. David Walker, settled on the north side of the Illinois near the mouth of the Fox, went to Plainfield, and died there.
Horace Sprague, from Massachusetts, first came to Bailey's Grove and then to Ottawa in 1825; kept the first school in South Ottawa; married Miss Pembroke, and afterwards Miss Disney. Went to Indian Creek, then to Galena, and finally became a Mormon Elder.
George Sprague, brother to Horace, from the same place, first came to Bailey's Grove, then to Ottawa ' and Indian Creek; married Mary Warren, and went to Galena.
Colonel Sayers, came from Alton in 1826; was here three or four years, and removed to Galena.
Joseph. Cloud came from Kentucky in the fall of 1832; married Jane N., daughter of Dr. David Walker; in 1834 was appointed County Clerk; held the offices of County and Circuit Clerk, Justice of the Peace, Postmaster, and Probate Judge. He died in 1841. An excellent and very popular clerk and magistrate.
William Hickling came from England to Ottawa in 1834; married Adeline,
daughter of Dr. David Walker; for about twenty years was a partner of George E.
Walker, under the firm name of Walker & Hickling, a popular house, which
probably sold more goods to the old settlers than any other firm. Mrs. Hickling
died in 1848; Mr. Hickling now lives in Chicago with his second wife.
James B. Campbell came from West Tennessee to the south part of Illinois in the fall of 1829; was State Agent for sale of canal lands, and one of the first County Commissioners; went to Galena in 1836.
Col. Daniel P. Hitt, from Champaign County, Ohio, in 1830; came as one of the corps of engineers locating the Illinois and Michigan Canal; lived with his brother-in-law, Martin Reynolds, of Deer Park. He served through the Black Hawk war; a surveyor and engineer; he was for several years County Surveyor of La Salle County; was Lieut. -Col. of the 53rd Illinois Reg't Volunteers in the war of the rebellion. He married Phoebe Smith, of Maryland, and has lived mostly in Ottawa; has four children: Andrew Jackson resides in Athens, Ohio; H. Houghton lives in Ottawa; Eleanor at home; Rector Cass in Chillicothe, Ohio — all single.
Henry L. Brush, from Vergennes, Vermont, came to Ottawa in 1830, as surveyor in employ of the U. S. Government. Settled in Ottawa in 1833, removed to Galena in 1842, returned to Ottawa in 1846; still here. Married Caroline E. Gridley; his children are: Charles H., a practicing attorney in Ottawa; William E., died in the army; Catherine E., Caroline E., Edward P., at home; Adele E., died recently, aged 16.
Pyam Jacobs, from Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1837, merchant and partner with H. L. Brush, went to Galena in 1842.
John V. A. Hoes, from Kinderhook, N. Y., in 1836, a lawyer by profession, practiced at the bar for several years, but has devoted his time mostly to financial affairs and real estate; he was Judge of Probate from October, 1837, to August, 1843. He married Fanny Reynolds, of McHenry County. His children are: Ella A., widow of M. B. Peak, of Green Bay, and Edward, now banking in Lake City, Colorado.
Dr. Aaron Bane, from Kinderhook, New York, came with J. V. A. Hoes in 1836, a practicing physician and a young man of much promise; he was drowned by the swamping of the ferry boat crossing the Illinois river in 1840, much regretted.
Seth B. Farwell, from New York to Ohio, and from Ohio here, in 1835. A member of the legal profession, was prosecuting attorney; went to California, and was there elected judge; he died on hi» way from Kansas to California.
Adam Y. Smith, from New York, 1835, was here three or four years, was law partner of S. B. Farwell; went South, and died there. He acted for the State Bank as loan agent. The loans were generally a bad investment from the depreciation of values.
W. T. S. Lavinia, from Pennsylvania, in 1836. Lawyer, preacher, plow inventor
and manufacturer, and pawn broker; died in Chicago about 1870. A man of talent,
but of peculiar temperament; when poor, an excellent preacher, but with money in
his pocket better suited for a lawyer or pawn broker.
Loring Delano, a native of Vermont, and wife, Sarah Hardaway, from Utica, New York, in 1833, kept a hotel, and is well remembered as the host of the old "Fox River House," at that time the crack hotel of Ottawa; he was very fond of hunting, and kept his larder well supplied with game. He died in 1849. His widow married Oranzo Leavens. His children are: Charles, now in Florida; James, in California; Edward, somewhere West.
Lucien Bonaparte Delano, brother of Loring, from Utica, New York, 1836, a stone mason by trade, and an active Democratic politician; witty, and quick at repartee, his burlesque stories and bon mots will be long remembered. He died in 18Y0; his widow, Mary Ives, lives in Ottawa. He left four children: Lucien is in Ottawa; Cornelia at home; Benton is in Marseilles; Elizabeth married George Porter.
Dr. Allen H. Howland, and wife, Katharine Reed, from Saratoga, New York, 1833, a prominent physician in Ottawa for nearly a third of a century; he died in 1866, his wife died in 1864, leaving two children: Henry, who married Miss Clark, and lives near Ottawa, and Elizabeth, who married Dr. Morrison, and lives in Michigan.
Alson Woodruff, from Onondaga County, New York, 1834, was County Commissioner, and for several years. Sheriff of the county; died in 1856. First wife, Maria Goodell; second, Miss Burgett. Children: Maria; Nathan; Rathbun; Elizabeth, in Ohio; Minnie, in Springfield.
Ralph Woodruff, brother of Alson, from Onondaga County, New York, in 1834, was County Commissioner one term, an active Democratic politician. His wife, Delia Gurley, is now in Chicago. He died in 1850; had two daughters, married, and living in Chicago.
Charles Hayward, from Lebanon, Connecticut, to Cleveland, in 1818; from Ohio
here, 1835 or 1836; was School Commissioner of the county. Died July 20, 1849.
His widow married Henry J. Reid. Mr. Hayward left two children: George, married
Nettie Strickland; Estella J., at home.
Henry J. Reid, from Pennsylvania, 1834, carpenter by trade, married Charles Hayward’s widow, is living on the bluff, north of Ottawa.
Nathaniel Perley, from Massachusetts, 1836, with Haskell, built a mill on Indian creek, and lived in Ottawa several years; has now gone West.
William Haskell, from Boston, Massachusetts, 1836, a merchant; died recently in Streator.
Daniel Newton, from Ohio, 1835. Married Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. David Walker, a hardware merchant, and a Methodist preacher. He moved to Ohio.
Oranzo Leavens, from Vermont, last from Canada, in 1836. Was deputy under Sheriff Woodruff, and magistrate for the last eighteen years, since April, 1858. He married the widow of Loring Delano. One daughter.
Downey Buchanan, from Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, to St. Louis, 1827; came to South Ottawa, October, 1834; a tailor, by trade; kept a boardinghouse and shop; removed to North Ottawa, 1836. Mr. Buchanan was fond of hunting, and kept a pack of greyhounds. Many of the early settlers have shared the rare, exhilarating sport of coursing over the wild, unoccupied prairie, with Buchanan on his white horse, following his pack, led by his pet hound. Speed. A good mechanic, and a worthy man, he was as diligent in business as in chasing the wolf or deer. He died in 1850. His widow survives him, and one son, Ralph, a well-known citizen of Ottawa.
Isaac H. Fredenburg, born in Ulster County, New York, came from Owego, Tioga
County, New York, to Ottawa, June 14th, 1834. Married in 1835, to Priscilla
Piatt, of Plattsburg, New York. A tailor, by trade; has followed that business
in Ottawa tm the last three years, during which time he has kept a hotel in
Utica. His son Augustus lives in Syracuse, New York. Henry was killed when
thirty-two years of age, by the blowing down of the sidewalk, east of Pox river
bridge, in Ottawa. Elizabeth is the widow of Napoleon Beaubian Piatt died when
twenty-one years of age. Mary married Charles Moss, and lives in Utica. Charles
is in Kansas, and Ella at home.
George W. Forsyth, from Burlington County, New Jersey, in 1834, was the first lawyer that settled in Ottawa; went South. Lorenzo Leland was the second, Smith & Farwell next, and Edwin S. Leland next.
Edwin S. Leland came from Massachusetts, in the fall of 1835. He was born in the State of Maine, and when quite young, his father. Judge Sherman Leland, removed to Noxbury, Massachusetts. Edwin S. read law in his father's office, and was admitted to the bar in 1834. A year later he located in Ottawa, and in 1839 removed to Oregon, Ogle County. In 1840 he was married to Margaret B. Miles, of Boston. He returned to Ottawa in 1843, and in 1862 he was chosen Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit, composed of six counties, to fill the unexpired term of Judge Dickey, who had resigned. In 1866 he was appointed by the Governor to fill the unexpired term of Judge Hollister, and in 1867 was elected by the people to the same bench, for the full term of six years; in 1873 he was re-elected for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, composed of the counties of Bureau and La Salle, which position he still holds. Judge Leland has been President of the Board of Education of Ottawa, and identified with the educational interests of the place, and has been Mayor of the city. He was one of the principal actors, if not the prime mover, in the formation of the Republican party. A mass meeting was held at Ottawa on the 1st of August, 1854, a large and very distinguished one, which organized a new political party, and christened it Republican. Judge Leland presided at that meeting, and drew up the platform of principles then adopted, as well as the original call for the meeting. The principles enunciated in that platform were soon affirmed throughout the Northern States.
Judge Leland has three children. George M. married Frances C. Cross, is a
lawyer; Sherman E., married Louise Foote; and Georgiana J., married H. F.
Gilbert, all in Ottawa.
Roswell Goodell, from Connecticut, in 1834, settled near Buffalo Rock, and died there in 1837. His daughter, Emma, married Alson Woodruff. Eaton was Deputy Sheriff, under Woodruff, and Sheriff from 1851 to 1853. He married a daughter of Gov. Matteson, removed to Joliet, then to Springfield, and is now in Chicago. Edward, Andrew, Adaline, Henry, and Maria, all died single. Althea married Col. Irwin.
Dr. Harmon Hurlburt and wife, from Vergennes, Vermont, in 1834; was a physician of large practice, in Ottawa, for several years; he died June 8th, 1845. His widow is living at Montpelier, Vermont.
Henry Hurlburt, brother of Dr. Harmon, came from Vermont at the same time; married Olive Tichener; was Sheriff of this county from 1846 to 1850; is now living in Joliet.
Philip R. Bennett, from Fall River, Massachusetts, here, in 1848; partner with Jacobs & Brush; went to Ogle County, 1840, and died in 1873.
Lorenzo Leland, from Grafton, Mass., to Peoria, November, 1834, and to Ottawa, July, 1835; a lawyer by profession. He served as Clerk of La Salle Circuit Court from 1842 to 1849, and as Clerk of the Northern Division of the Illinois Supreme Court from 1848 to 1867, an able and popular officer. Mr. Leland’s present wife is Flora Prescott, the widow Thompson when he married her. The children are Cyrus A., who married Nellie Thomson, and Lorenzo, Jr., who constitute a law firm in Eldorado, Kansas. Marcia is at home.
Milton H. Swift, from New Preston, Connecticut, came to Ottawa in 1838. By profession a lawyer, but has devoted his life mostly to financial pursuits; has for several years been President of the First National Bank of Ottawa; has been Mayor of the city of Ottawa. He married Susan W. Miles; has had three children; two accomplished daughters, Sarah and Helen, died at the opening of life; one son, Edward, survives.
Dr. Peter Schermerhorn, from Schodac Landing, on the Hudson, New York, and
wife, Sarah Ryder, from Sing Sing, New York, came to Illinois in 1832, located
at Chanahan, Will County, in 1834, and brought his family in 1837. Was a
practicing physician and leading man in that thriving settlement; he removed to
Ottawa in 1841, where he practiced his profession successfully till his death in
1848. His widow survives him, living with their daughter Anna, the wife of
Charles Hook. They have one son, Edward.
Christopher Champlin, a native of Connecticut, moved to Ashtabula County, Ohio, in 1820; came to Ottawa in 1835; moved his wife, Betsey Lee, and family, in 1836. He was a deacon of the Baptist Church, a radical abolitionist, and most worthy man. He died in 1862; his widow died in 1875. Their children were: John C, who married Miss Kennedy, practiced law in Ottawa, was County Judge, and was killed by the cars when crossing the track in 1873; Elizabeth, married Isaiah Strawn, and lives in Ottawa; Caroline, married Howard Chester, second, Chester Morton, third, R. W. Griswold; Sarah, married Thomas Bassnett; Cordelia, married Joel W. Armstrong, of Deer Park; Mary C, married Cyrus B. Lewis, of Marseilles; Bertha A., married William Glover; Fanny, married Alvin Ford, of Chicago.
Otis 0. Wakefield, from Jefferson County, New York, September, 1839; first at Marseilles, then on S. E. i S. 20, town of Fall River, now living in Ottawa. First wife, Maria Cummings; second, Jane Cone. One daughter, Adda.
Henry Green and wife, from Cheshire County, New Hampshire, 1833; first to South Ottawa, then to East Ottawa in the spring of 1834. The first settler in East Ottawa, and built the first house on the east side of Fox river. He patented a mowing machine, the first in this locality. He was County Commissioner in 1839-40; died in June, 1860. His children are: Charles Henry, who married Jane Loyd, and settled on S. 3 in Farm Ridge; William, now in Kansas; Mary P.; Martha E. and her mother are in Kansas.
Benjamin Thompson and wife, Margaret Lindley, from Massachusetts, came in 1834; a merchant, and partner of W. H. W. Cushman; he died in Massachusetts in 1846. His widow and two children went to California; she married there, and returned and died in Illinois.
William H. W. Cushman, from Middleborough, Massachusetts, 1834; merchant,
miller, banker, capitalist, and manufacturer. Wielding a large capital he has
filled a prominent place in the business of Ottawa and the county at large. He
was twice elected a member of the Legislature. He raised the Fifty-third
Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, and was commissioned its Colonel. His first wife
was Athalia A. Leonard; she died in 1835. In 1837 he married Harriet Gridley, of
Ottawa, daughter of Rev. Ralph Gridley; she died in 1841. In 1843 he married
Anna C. Rodney, daughter of Caesar A. Rodney, of Delaware. His children are: Wm.
H., who married Miss Douglass (they are now living in Colorado); George is in
California; and several younger children at home.
Rev. Ralph W. Gridley, from Middleborough, Massachusetts, in 1834; died February 2d, 1840; his wife died January 19th, 1841. His children were: Harriet, married W. H. W. Cushman; Samuel B., of Ottawa.
Samuel B. Gridley, son of the Rev. Ralph Gridley, was a merchant for many years, a partner of W. H. W. Cushman, and for the last few years of his life superintendent of the Ottawa Gas Works; he died in 1876. He married Miss Stone, daughter of Dr. Stone, from Vermont, and left one son, Ralph, now in Chicago.
Madison E. Hollister, from Cayuga County, New York, came to Illinois in 1 834, and settled permanently in Ottawa, with his wife, Delia A. Tichener, in 1 836. His youth was spent on a farm. He had a taste for military life, and held a Colonel's commission in the New York Militia. But his life has been mostly devoted to the profession of law. He was Postmaster at Ottawa under Van Buren's administration, resigning after the election of Harrison. He was Justice of the Peace for two terms, and Presidential Elector in 1848, voting for Lewis Cass, but left the Democratic party in 1854, and has since acted with the Republican party. In 1855 he was elected Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit for a term of six years, was re-elected in 1861, and resigned in 1866 to accept the office of Consul at Buenos Ayres. Was recalled in 1869, and returned to the practice of law in Ottawa, with Messrs. Glover and Cook. In 1871 accepted the appointment of Associate Justice of the Territory of Idaho. A short time before the term expired, he received the appointment of Chief Justice of the Territory, which position he still holds. Judge Hollister has only one living child, Edward, who is unmarried, and lives with his parents.
Judge Hollister has furnished some reminiscences of the early times in
Ottawa, from which one or two extracts are inserted, showing the state of
society and public feeling at that time. "The Democracy of the early time, and
particularly during the construction of the canal, were of a peculiar type, and
^ during seasons of political strife, were apt to become somewhat fiery and
fierce. It happened that while I held the office of Justice of the Peace, a
convention of the party was held in the court house, and the struggle became
intensely bitter between the friends of the several candidates, for at that time
a Democratic nomination was equivalent to an election. Charles Hay ward, a bold,
uncompromising, but honest partisan, was the champion on one side, and Simon P.
Shope, a hot headed, passionate man, took sides against him. After exhausting
their arguments they came to blows. I was an earnest sympathizer with Hayward,
while others of the poorer, if not the baser sort, were equally zealous for
Shope, and the partisans of each, as many ft,8 could, were mounted on a table
and vociferously cheering on their champions. When it came to blows, however, I
thought it time to magnify my office, and accordingly ordered the belligerents
to keep the peace. No sooner had I done this, than I was dealt a blow on the
back of the neck by some one behind me, when T found myself on the floor, some
feet from the table, a conquered and meek official, and convinced that a
Democratic convention was not a proper field in which to exercise official
“When I was holding the office of Postmaster, it was considered as rank treason to the party, to harbor or countenance in any way, an abolitionist. As was well known in those days, my house was understood to be a minister's tavern. I always opened my doors to men of the cloth. It happened that the Rev. Mr. Cross, a noted abolition lecturer, put tip at my house one night, ' which fact became known through the town, a crime not to be tolerated in a Democratic official. A meeting was called at the old Mansion House, and I was invited to attend; a series of questions had been prepared which I was required to answer, but the chairman. Ward B. Burnett, finding they very seriously interfered with the rights of hospitality, very adroitly managed to give them the go-by, and the meeting adjourned. The next morning I met Dodge, who had represented us in the Legislature, and who had taken an active part in the proceedings, when I quietly told him that had they attempted, as they had proposed, to eject Mr. Cross from my house by force, they would have had to settle a little preliminary matter with me before they reached my guest. He apologized, and the matter dropped."
Of his personal habits, Judge Hollister says: "I have not used tobacco in any
form, or indulged in strong drink for more than forty years, and was never
addicted to the latter. In 1839, myself and wife became members of the
Congregational Church and still retain our connection with it. I believe there
are but three of the original members remaining, viz., Deacon H. W. Gridley,
myself and wife."
Thomas Basnett, from England, came here in 1835; kept a drug store; his first wife was Matilda Buchanan; his second was Sarah Champlin. He now lives in Florida; has one daughter, Elizabeth, now living in Michigan. Mary, sister of Thomas, married James Lafferty.
Benjamin Thurston, from Boston to Pottsville' Pennsylvania, and from there here, in 1834; settled near Buffalo Rock. He died about 1839. His widow, Sarah Robinson, married Martin Reynolds. They had four children. Mary married a Mr. Howard; Susan married Bradford Eels; William married Miss Young, now of Champaign, Illinois; Priscilla married D. Snediker, of Yankton.
Eri L, Waterman, from Oneida County, New York, came to Ottawa in 1836. He married Jane Burgett; was Sheriff of La Salle County from 1858 to 1860, and from 1860 to 1862, and United States Assessor in 1862. He has ten children. Emily married Lathrop Perkins, of Ottawa; George is in the employ of the Chicago, Pekin & Southwestern Railroad; Fred, is in Streator; Rebecca, James, Mary, Adda, and Ida (twin sisters), Effie and Fanny, are at home.
Isaac Burgett and wife, Lydia Fellows, from New York, settled near Buffalo Rock, in 183.'5; resided here a few years; had three sons; Mandeville went to Missouri; Rodolphus and Orville went to Wisconsin.
Three sisters, Misses Burgett, nieces of Isaac, came about the same time. Rebecca married Lorenzo Leland; Betsey was Alson Woodruff's second wife; Jane married E. L. Waterman.
Joel Strawn, from Perry County to Sandusky, Ohio, and to Illinois on an exploring tour in 1822, and settled on S. 18, T. 33, R. 3, in 1834. His first wife was Sarah Tannihill. Her children were: Isaiah, who married Jane Nice, and for his second wife, Elizabeth Champlin; lie lives in Ottawa; Jemima is in Ohio; she never came to Illinois; James married Hopy Eels, and is in Missouri; Sarah Ann married William E. Armstrong; they are both deceased. Joel Strawn's second wife was Lydia Chalfant; she has two sons; Robert married Elizabeth Ann Rhoades, in Ottawa; Abner married Eliza Hardy, daughter of Nathan Hardy, from Vermont, in 1850. Abner lives on the old homestead — a large farmer, and breeder of improved stock.
Nathan Eels, from Franklin County, Massachusetts, came to Beardstown in 1822. Mr. Eels died soon after. The widow, Hopy Peterson, and family, came to La Salle County in 1834, and made a claim on the Illinois Bottom, below Buffalo Rock, and bought their land at the sale in 1835. Of their children, Nathan died single, in 1849; Hopy married James Strawn, and is living in Ottawa; Bradford V. married Susan Thurston, and died in 1847; Varanus married Elizabeth Dresser, and died in California, in 1874; Hubbard married Harriet Uhler; his second wife was Lucy Bennett; they are living in Colorado; Adoniram J. married Fanny Bridges; Jonathan died single; Lydia married J. Gr. Stone, for many years a resident of Ottawa, now in Chicago; Franklin married Jane Buckley, and was killed at the battle of Perrysville, Kentucky.
John A. Shuler and wife, Eliza Sides, came from Dauphin County, Pennsylvania,
in 1836; tailor by trade, carried on a large business in Ottawa for about thirty
years; now retired. His children are: John N., who married Mary Bener, lives in
Ottawa; Henry A., married Anna Mitchell, in Ottawa; Mary E., married John A.
Snelling, of Nebraska; Rebecca J., married John N. Brady, in Chicago; Josephine
married John V. Snack, of Chicago.
Abner S. Fisher, born in Vermont, came from Rochester, New York, to Ottawa in 1840, with his wife, Lovina Smith. Mr. Fisher has been a prominent citizen and politician, and has been a magistrate for many consecutive years. He has five children: George S., who married Martha Mann, was a banker in Ottawa, and Consul to Japan, now in Washington City; Janet, the wife of G. L. Thomson, of Ottawa; Susan, married Perry H. Smith; Charles, married S. Porter, of Michigan; Helen is the wife of Dr. Hobart, of Ottawa.
Chester B. Hall came from Canada in 1833, settled in Ottawa in 1834. He married Jemima Hess; his second wife was Mary Foster; he was a carpenter by trade; he lived in Ottawa twenty-two years; is now living in the town of Adams.
Joseph O. Glover, from Oswego, New York, in 1835; held the office of Justice of the Peace and was admitted to the bar in 1840, and with B. C. Cook, under the firm name of Glover & Cook, constituted one of the leading law firms of the county for twenty -five years; in 1869 he was appointed U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and removed to Chicago, where he now resides. He married Janette Hart, and has three children: Julia, wife of George C. Campbell; Henry S. and Otis R. at home.
Burton C. Cook, from Monroe County, New York, arrived in Ottawa, July 21, 1835; was absent one year completing his education, and came back in 1837; was admitted to the bar in 1840. There was a class of four admitted at that time: B. C. Cook, Joseph 0. Glover, Joseph True who died soon after, and John M. Carothers, afterward a partner of T. L. Dickey and for many years Clerk of the Circuit Court of Kendall County; he died about
1860. Mr. Cook was elected States' Attorney for the 9th Judicial Circuit in 1846; the circuit embraced the counties of La Salle, Grundy, Kendall, Kane, De Kalb, Ogle, Bureau, Putnam, Stark, Peoria, and Marshall; after two years’ service he was again elected for four years; in 1852, he was elected to the State Senate and re-elected in 1856; he was a member of the peace conference in
1861, and was elected to Congress in 1864-66-68 and 1870, and resigned in 1871, since which time he has been Solicitor for the Chicago & North- Western Railway Company, and has resided in Chicago. Mr. Cook married Elizabeth Hart, daughter of Hon. Onis Hart, of Oswego, N. Y.; he has one daughter, Nellie, who married C. H. Lawrence.
Jerry and Prank Church, brothers, came from New York about 1831 or '32; they made a claim near Ottawa, and after a brief absence finding it floated, they left in disgust. Jerry was an eccentric genius, and published an autobiography.
Jeremiah Strawn came from Perry County, Ohio, in 1828, brought out his family
in 1830, and settled in Putnam County. In 1858 removed to Ottawa, where he still
resides. He served as Quartermaster in the Black Hawk war. On January 7th, 1845,
his house was robbed by the noted Birch and others, a part of the gang called
the "Bandits of the Prairies." His wife, Hannah Beaucher, died 18—. His children
are: Eli (see below); David (see South Ottawa); Isaiah, at home; Eliza, married
Thomas Loyd, she died 1859; Matilda, married Walter Cowen, both are dead; Phebe,
married S. W. Cheever, now deceased; Mary, died single; Henry C, married Mary E.
Powell, and lives in Ottawa; Zilpa, married Moses Osman, and is living in
Ottawa; Susan, married Thomas Dent, and resides in Chicago.
Eli Strawn, son of Jeremiah, came from Ohio with his father’s family in 1830; he married Eleanor Broadus, of Putnam (now Marshall) County, a native of Virginia. He located, July, 1838, on a farm on S. 5, three miles northwest of Ottawa. His wife died January, 1861. In March, 1864, Mr. Strawn married Mrs. Mary H. Dean, of La Salle, whose maiden name was Hartshorn. In 1869 he sold his farm and removed to Buckley, in Iroquois County, where he now resides. Mr. Strawn is noted for his integrity and active business habits. He held the office of Town Supervisor for five consecutive years. Mr. Strawn has seven children. His eldest son, Christopher C, completed his education at the Northwestern University and Albany Law School, was admitted to the bar, served as a volunteer in the war, 9,nd, after several trials, is successfully practicing his profession at Pontiac, Illinois. He married Clarie F. Bouvarier, of Chicago. Franklin resides in Massachusetts; Martha married George D. Cook, and is now the wife of W. A. Barry, of Chicago; Nancy married Samuel H. Thompson, of Lacon; Henry L. married Clara Ball, and lives at Buckley; Douglass is at home.
John Loyd and wife came from Ohio to Putnam County in 1831, and to Ottawa in 1856; they both died several years since. Their children are: Thomas, married Louisa Strawn, and lives in Kansas; Mary Ann, married a Mr. Horham, and died in Colorado; Sarah, is the widow of David Strawn; Jane, is the wife of Charles H. Green, of Farm Ridge; Abram, lives near Morris; Marion, is in Michigan; Washington, married Miss Eichelberger, and lives at Wenona.
T. Lyle Dickey was born in Kentucky October 11th, 1811, graduated at Miami University in 1831, taught school three years, came to Illinois in the fall of 1834 (first to Macomb County), read law with Cyrus Walker, was licensed to practice in 1835, located at Rushville in 1836, and in the fall of 1839 came to Ottawa, and, till 1848, followed a circuit practice, going to each county in the circuit. In 1846 he raised a company of infantry, which was part of Colonel Hardin's regiment in the Mexican war. After six months’ service, he resigned on account of sickness. He was elected Circuit Judge in 1848, the circuit being composed of twelve counties, which office he resigned in 1852. In 1854 he opened a law office in Chicago. Judge Dickey states that in the speculation previous to 1837, and in the revulsion then, he became bankrupt for several thousand dollars, and remained so for twentyone years; that he opened the law office In Chicago to enable him to pay off his old debts, in which he succeeded, paying both principal and interest, some of it at twelve per cent, for the twenty-one years. In 1841 he inherited one-third of an estate of negro slaves worth $15,000, which he refused to use or sell, but gave the slaves their freedom. He opened an office in Ottawa in connection with General Wallace and his son Cyrus E. Dickey, where he practiced till 1861, when he raised and commanded the Fourth Regiment of Cavalry. Was one year Chief of Cavalry on General Grant’s staff. He was in the army two years: from 1861 to 1863. In 1867, with General Hurlbut and the Governor, he was a commissioner to urge upon Congress the building of the Illinois and Michigan Ship Canal. In 1866 was the Democratic candidate for Congressman at large, and ran against John A. Logan, the latter being elected. From 1868 to 1870 he was United States Assistant Adjutant General; practiced law for three years; then moved to Chicago, and was Corporation Counsel till elected Judge of the Supreme Court in December, 1875.
Judge Dickey has been twice married. His first wife was Julia Evans; his
second Mrs. B. C. Hirst, of Maryland. He has four children living, all by his
first wife: Martha, widow of Gen. W. H. L. Wallace, is living in Ottawa; John J.
married Carrie Honey, of Wisconsin: he is telegraph superintendent at Omaha;
Charles H. married Anna Alexander, of the Sandwich Islands, daughter of an early
missionary: lie is a merchant at Maui Island, Huiku, Sandwich Islands; V. Belle
married C. H. Wallace, brother of General Wallace: he is also a merchant in the
island of Huiku. Judge Dickey's oldest son, Cyrus E., was killed at the battle
of Cross Roads, Red river, at the time of Banks' defeat. He was Assistant
Adjutant General, with the rank of Captain.
George H. Norris, from Orange County, New York, arrived in Ottawa May 20th, 1835; first in South Ottawa, then to Ottawa in the fall of the same year. His wife was Lydia M. Hoxie; his children are: Fanny E., wife of Dwight R. Cameron, of Chicago; George F., in Montana; Hart A. and Frederick E., Spring Garden, Florida; Isabella M., with her parents in Chicago and Florida. He engaged first in surveying, and owned the ferry a short time. Was County Surveyor for about ten years; Justice of the Peace; admitted to the bar in 1839; established the Bank of Ottawa, in company with George S. Fisher, and sold to Fisher; while surveyor, laid out 10,000 lots in La Salle County; dealt in real estate; helped to build the starch factory, and lost heavily by it; was attorney for the Rock Island Railroad, getting the right of way; served one term as representative in the Legislature of Colorado; and is now raising oranges at Spring Garden, Florida.
Charles Campbell, from New York, about the year 1835. His children are: C. C. Campbell, of Ottawa; George C, for some time a member of the law firm of Glover, Cook & Campbell, married Julia, daughter of J, O. Glover, and is now a prominent lawyer in Chicago; Elizabeth, is the wife of Dr. H. B. Fellows, of Chicago.
David Sanger, from Massachusetts to Ohio, to near Lockport, Illinois, in 1836, and to Ottawa in 1838-. He was contractor for building the canal aqueduct across the Pox river at Ottawa, under the firm of D. Sanger & Sons. He died in 1851; his widow died in 1854. His children were: Lorenzo P.; Dr. W. A.; J. Y.; Lucien P., who has resided at Ottawa and Joliet, is now in Utah; and two daughters: Louisa; Harriet, married Dr. Henriks, of Indiana, both deceased.
William H. L. Wallace, son of John Wallace, of Deer Park, moved with his
father from Deer Park to Ogle County, in 1838, attended school at the Rock River
Seminary, studied and practiced law in Ottawa, served through the Mexican war,
was Prosecuting Attorney from 1852 to 1856. In 1861, he raised the 11th regiment
of infantry for three months, and also for three years. He was made Brigadier
General, and mortally wounded at the head of his command at the battle of
Shiloh, and died two days after, on the 8th of April, 1862, with the rank of
Major General. His widow, is Martha, oldest daughter of Judge T. L. Dickey, and
lives on the north bluff at Ottawa.
Lyman D. Cavarly, from New York, lived in Ottawa twenty years, and returned to Connecticut. His son William married Julianna, a daughter of Judge A. W. Cavarly. He died several years since. Mrs. Cavarly died in 1874, leaving one daughter, Fanny, now living with the widow of Judge Cavarly.
Alfred W. Cavarly, a native of East Lyme, Connecticut, came to Illinois in 1822, first settled in Edwardsville, and subsequently at Carrollton, Green County; was a member of both branches of the Legislature several terms, and County Judge one term, also one of the Commissioners to revise the statutes in 1845; in 1853 he moved to Ottawa, and practiced law for several years. He died in 1876, aged 83. Only one lawyer in practice when he came to the State survives him.
Judge Cavarly had two sons, Alfred and Henry, beside his daughter, Mrs. Wm. Cavarly. Alfred died young.
His widow, Sarah Ann Whitcraft, of Annapolis, Maryland, is still living in Ottawa.
Stephen Bushnell, and wife, Vincy Tuttle, from Saybrook, Connecticut, to Madison County, New York, and from there to Kendall County, Illinois, in 1837. They raised ten children. He died in 1869, aged 91. His wife died in 1854, aged 78.
Washington Bushnell, son of the foregoing, came to Illinois with his father in 1837, graduated at the State and National Law School in Poughkeepsie, New York, and was admitted to the bar in New York in 1853, and came to Ottawa the same year. Practiced law two years, and was a member of the firm of Bushnell & Gray two years, and has since had a large law practice in addition to his official service.
He was elected to the State Senate in 1860, and re-elected in 1864; was
elected Attorney General of the State in 1868 for four years; was City Attorney
three years, and Prosecuting Attorney four years. Mr. Bushnell married Phebe M.
Charles, and has five children. Yincy, at home; Theron D. Brewster, at the
military school in Chicago; Julietta, Susan, and Sylvia, at home.
Wm. True, from Salisbury, Mass., and wife, Rebecca Mariner, from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, came to Ottawa in 1835; was a merchant, and for many years one of the pillars of the Methodist Church. He died April 6th, 1850. Mrs. True died March 11th, 1864. Their children were: Joseph, who died in 1840; Angeline, died young; Wm. M., who married Mary Matteson, was banker and insurance officer, now dead. Geo. M., married Eliza Stevenson, and moved to the town of Waltham, in 1858; has been School Treasurer since 1868, and Supervisor five years, and is a successful farmer.
G. L. Thompson, came to Peoria in 1837, and to Ottawa in 1840. He married Janet Fisher; kept a drug store for several years. He has seven children: Edward; Abner P.; Lovina, married Chas. Vane; Louise, Mary, Ella, and Matty, are at home.
Wm. Osman, from Dauphin County, Pennsylvania; his wife was Mary Hine, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; has three children, Eaton Goodell, Mary E., Wm. H., all at home. He has been connected with the Ottawa Free Trader since 1840, and its principal editor and manage-r; is now the oldest editor in the county.
John S. Mitchel, born in Penn Yan, New York, came to Indiana in 1814, and to La Salle County in 1832; lie married Inger Kelson, in 1836. Keeps a livery stable. He has five children. Amanda, Warren N., Louisa, Arthur J., and Harly B.
John Hise, from Pennsylvania, to Ottawa, in 1839. He married Lucy S. Cotton; he was connected with the Free Trader as editor and publisher, and followed farming for several years, and is now living in Chicago. He was Supervisor and member of the Legislature from both La Salle and Cook Counties.
John Dean Caton, from Monroe, Orange County, New York, came to Chicago in 1833, and to La Salle County in 1842. His wife was Laura Adelaide Sherrell, of Utica, New York. They have three children: Carrie, now Mrs. Norman Williams, of Chicago; Arthur; and Laura.
Judge Caton was nearly the first lawyer in Chicago. He was Judge of the
Circuit Court for the circuit embracing La Salle County, and subsequently one of
the Supreme Judges and Chief Justice of the State. He has been largely connected
with the telegraph interests, and has accumulated a large fortune.
Wm. E. Bell, from Virginia to Ohio, and from Ohio to Ottawa in 1836, worked for Lovell Kimball at Marseilles. Married Elmira Headly; has three children: Armina, is now the wife of James Hossack; Wm. S., at school; Frank E., at home. Mr. Bell is the author of a standard work on Carpentry.
Wm. E. Armstrong, son of Elsa Armstrong, came from Ohio with his mother in 1831. He married Sarah Ann Strawn, daughter of Joel Strawn. He was for some time captain of a steamboat running from the head of navigation on the Illinois river to St. Louis. He and his wife died several years since.