History of DeKalb County, Illinois

This work has been prepared at the solicitation of many of the pioneer settlers and prominent citizens of the County. The materials have not proved abundant. So brief has been the existence of our County; so quiet and uneventful its career; so little of exciting adventure or unusual experience have the annals of its early settlement afforded, that the task of writing its history has been like that of writing the biography of some vigorous but common-place country lad who is yet in his teens. Yet, there is much in the early experience of the first settlers of the County that we, their successors and descendants, should not willingly suffer to pass into oblivion. And, it seemed important that the work of collecting and recording it should be done without delay. For many of the first settlers were fast passing into senility or dropping into the grave, and the interesting story of the toils and trials, the joys and sorrows, the gloomy tragedies and gay comedies that made up their history, lived only in the uncertain memories of the participants, only in the recollection of a class of men who were rapidly passing away.

The military history of the County, the story of the services rendered by its brave boys in blue in defense of the Nation against the Great Rebellion, have been found a mine of historic wealth, so rich, so extensive, that the limits of the work have permitted only a partial exploration. Few knew, or adequately appreciate, the extent of the service that our brave boys rendered in that grand struggle for the preservation of the life of the Nation; and this, it seemed, must soon pass into obscurity, or live only in the uncertain, perhaps contradictory, remembrance of the participants in its stirring scenes.

To rescue these facts from an undeserved oblivion; to gather and fix these ephemeral incidents before they were gone forever; to give our citizens a knowledge of events of interest in its past career and present situation; to give to the world some information, not only of its history, but of its present resources and future prospects; to render a fitting tribute to the valor and devotion of its gallant boys in blue who nobly bore its banners upon the bloody battle-field, or, as martyrs to their love of country, bravely died in its defense; to encourage in our citizens an esprit du corps a pride in the name and fame of the County in which they have made homes, such has been the purpose of this work; such its object and design. If this shall have been so accomplished as to meet the approval of its people, its author will be more than satisfied. For its many defects and omissions, he would beg the indulgence of its readers. Those who would view the work with an unkindly critical eye, could hardly appreciate the difficulties of the task of determining exact facts of occurrences long passed, in the midst of conflicting testimony, or of doing perfect justice to all who have borne; a share in the work of reclaiming the County from its native wildness, and building it up to its present state of prosperity and enlightenment. The author has striven to make a faithful record, nothing extenuating, nor setting down aught in malice. With the hope that its readers may take in its perusal some share of that interest which he has taken in its preparation, it is committed to the candid, and it is hoped, kindly judgment of the people of DeKalb County.

 

Table of Contents

PART FIRST.
SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS.

CHAPTER I... 33

CHAPTER II.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE STATE... 43

CHAPTER III.
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE INDIANS... 53

CHAPTER IV.
LIFE OF BARON DE KALB... 63

CHAPTER V.
THE CLAIM ASSOCIATIONS... 67

CHAPTER VI.
THE BANDITTI... 78

CHAPTER VII.
THE RESURRECTIONISTS... 95

PART SECOND.
DEKALB COUNTY IN THE WAR OF THE REBELLION.

INTRODUCTION.
ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTH INFANTRY VOLUNTEERS... 113

THE EIGHTH ILLINOIS CAVALRY... 205
THE SEVENTEENTH ILLINOIS CAVALRY... 252
THE FIFTY-EIGHTH INFANTRY... 268
THE TENTH CAVALRY... 284
THE THIRTEENTH INFANTRY... 292
THE FOURTEENTH CAVALRY... 208
THE FORTY-SECOND INFANTRY... 318
THE FIFTY-SECOND INFANTRY... 328
THE ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SECOND... 343
THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY SIXTH... 345

PART THIRD.
ANNALS OP DEKALB COUNTY.

PART FOURTH.
TOWN HISTORIES.

 

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The County occupies the high ground between the two well-known streams, the Fox and Rock rivers; streams famous for their purity and beauty, which, rising in Wisconsin, both flow southwestwardly in a course nearly parallel, and empty, the Fox into the Illinois river at Ottawa, and the Rock into the Mississippi at Rock Island. The highest point between these rivers, and indeed, the highest between the lakes at Chicago and the Mississippi river, is said to be in the town of South Grove, in this County.