History of McHenry County, Illinois
One of the conspicuous evidences of modern progress is manifested in the increased interest in local and personal history. In a general sense, real history is the record of past events, while biography is the history of individual life. The close relationship of these two branches of history is recognized by the brilliant essayist and historian, Carlyle, in the statement that "History is the essence of innumerable biographies" and that, "in a certain sense, all men are historians," in the fact that they furnish the material facts which constitute true history.
In the formative period of each new community the attention of its members is largely absorbed by the present - the necessity of securing means for personal and family support - the study of natural resources and planning for future development. But as time advances and conditions change, there comes a change in the popular mind and an increased interest in the past. That such has been the condition within the last century in McHenry county, as well as in the Middle West generally, is apparent to the general observer.
These evidences of change and development are taken note of, and in the preparation of the forty chapters, it has been the object to present, in compact form and under appropriate topical headings, the main facts of county history from the earlier settlements and political organization to the present time. Various topics and localities have been treated with reasonable fulness under their appropriate chapter headings by contributors especially selected for that purpose. Of the large number of contributors to these and other departments, it is not necessary here to make special mention, a> their names are attached in their respective contributions in the body of the work. For the value of the aid thus rendered thanks are hereby cordially expressed.
With the feeling that the work, as a whole, has been prepared with special care, and with full appreciation of the interest already manifested and patronage pledged by the citizens of McHenry county in its success, it is submitted to its many patrons and the general public in the hope that it will prove of permanent and personal value to a large class of readers.
Table of Contents
TOPOGRAPHY, GEOLOGY AND NATURAL FEATURES... 17-22
INDIAN OCCUPATION... 23-26
EARLY SETTLERS AND SETTLEMENTS... 27-36
LAND TITLES... 37-43
ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT... 44-74
POLITICAL REPRESENTATION... 75-80
COURTS, BENCH AND BAR... 129-144
MEDICAL PROFESSION... 145-154
BANKS AND BANKING... 167-196
AGRICULTURE AND COUNTY FAIRS... 197-216
DAIRY AND DIVE STOCK INTERESTS... 217-222
RAILROADS AND INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES... 223 238
DAYS OF MOURNING... 270-275
PERSONAL REMINISCENCES... 276-289
FRATERNAL SOCIETIES AND ORGANIZATIONS... 290-307
PUBLIC LIBRARIES... 308-312
WOMAN'S CLUBS... 313-332
ALDEN TOWNSHIP... 354-357
ALGONQUIN TOWNSHIP... 358-367
BURTON TOWNSHIP... 368-371
CHEMUNG TOWNSHIP... 372-378
CORAL TOWNSHIP... 379-383
DORB TOWNSHIP... 384-393
DUNHAM TOWNSHIP... 394-396
GRAFTON TOWNSHIP... 397-401
GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP... 402-406
HARTLAND TOWNSHIP... 407-410
HEBRON TOWNSHIP... 411-420
MARENGO TOWNSHIP... 421-432
MCHENRY TOWNSHIP... 433-441
NUNDA TOWNSHIP... 442-445
RICHMOND TOWNSHIP... 446-450
RILEY TOWNSHIP... 451-453
SENECA TOWNSHIP... 454-457
THE PART OF BIOGRAPHY IN GENERAL HISTORY — CITIZENS OF MCHENRY COUNTY AND OUTLINES OF PERSONAL HISTORY — PERSONAL SKETCHES ARRANGED IN ENCYCLOPEDIC ORDER... 459-959
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The verdict of mankind has awarded to the Muse of History the highest place among the Classic Nine. The extent of her office, however, appears to be, by many minds, but imperfectly understood. The task of the historian is comprehensive and exacting. True history reaches beyond the doings of court or camp, beyond the issue of battles or the effects of treaties, and records the trials and the triumphs, the failures and the successes of the men who make history. It is but an imperfect conception of the philosophy of events that fails to accord to portraiture and biography its rightful position as a part — and no unimportant part — of historic narrative. Behind and beneath the activities of outward life the motive power lies out of sight, just as the furnace fires that work the piston and keep the ponderous screw revolving down in the darkness of the hold. So, the impulsive power which shapes the course of communities may be found in the moulding influences which form its citizens.
It is no mere idle curiosity that prompts men to wish to learn the private, as well as the public, lives of their fellows. Rather is it true that such desire tends to prove universal brotherhood; and the interest in personality and biography is not confined to men of any particular caste or vocation.
The list of those to whose lot it falls to play a conspicuous part in the great drama of life, is comparatively short; yet communities are made up of individuals, and the aggregate of achievement — no less than the sum total of human happiness — is made up of the deeds of those men and women whose primary aim, through life, is faithfully to perform the duty that comes nearest to hand. Individual influences upon human affairs will he considered potent or insignificant, according to the standpoint from which it is viewed. To him who, standing upon the seashore, notes the ebb and flow of the tides and listens to the sullen roar of the waves, as they break upon the beach in seething foam, seemingly chafing at their limitations, the ocean appears so vast as to need no tributaries. Yet, without the smallest rill thai helps to swell the "Father of Waters," the mighty torrent of the Mississippi would be lessened, and the beneficent influence of the Gulf Stream diminished. Countless streams, currents and counter currents — sometimes mingling, sometimes counteracting each other — collectively combine to give motion to the accumulated mass of waters. So it is — and so must it ever be — in the ocean of human action, which is formed by the blending and repulsion of currents of thought, of influence and of life, yet more numerous and more tortuous than those which form the "fountains of the deep." The acts and characters of men, like the several faces that compose a composite picture, are wrought together into a compact or heterogeneous whole. History is condensed biography; "Biography is History teaching by example."
It is both interesting and instructive to rise above the generalization of history and trace, in the personality and careers of the men from whom it sprang, the principles and influences, the impulses and ambitions, the labors, struggles and triumphs that engross their lives.
Here are recorded the careers and achievements of pioneers who, "when the fullness of time had come," came from widely separated sources, some from beyond the sea, impelled by divers motives, little conscious of the import of their acts, and but dimly anticipating the harvest which would spring from the sowing. They built their primitive homes, toiling for a present subsistence while laying the foundations of private fortunes and future advancement.
Most of these have passed away, but not before they beheld a development of business and population surpassing the wildest dreams of fancy or expectation. A few yet remain whose years have passed the allotted three-score and ten, and who love to recount, among the cherished memories of their lives, their reminiscences of early days.
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The history of each county of every state has its own distinguishing features, hut there are certain facts common to all of them. Before any permanent settlements could he made, explorations had to he set on foot by those fitted by nature and training for such arduous work, and from the reports brought back by them, those seeking new homes made their decisions. The hardy frontiersmen who traveled at different periods over the fertile prairies now included in McHenry County, brought hack glowing accounts of the advantages to be had in this section of Illinois territory, but owing to Indian disturbances, no permanent settlements were made here until 1834 As soon as it was found that settlers could come here with impunity, others Hocked to get a title to some of the land the more foresighted saw soon would be very valuable, and the results prove that they knew their business thoroughly.