Reminiscences of Julia Bradley, Kendall Township Pioneer
Pioneer Days in Kendall County
Among the very early pioneers of Kendall County was Mrs. Darwin Bradley, now a resident of Chicago. Mrs. Bradley recently visited her niece, Mrs. A. N. Beebe, on the north side, and in conversation with her she recalls many interesting incidents of pioneer times.
Her father, Mr. Isaac P. Hallock, and family came to Kendall County in the year 1833. They first lived on the old McClelland farm near Specie Grove. About a year afterward, Mr. Hallock bought the Abijah Haymond farm, on which he had just erected a log cabin. This is the farm presently owned by the Jacob P. Black Estate, on which Mr. Frank Seely recently resided. An excellent picture of the farm was recently published in the "Breeder's Gazette," Chicago.
Mrs. Bradley visited the "old cabin home" about one year ago. She noticed the greatly improved condition in this vicinity since the olden times and pioneer days. There was not much then to call Yorkville. No stores or business existed except John Schnieder's sawmill. Ruleif Duryea enjoyed the distinction of being the first merchant here, having built a small store in Yorkville, where he kept only a few staple goods. Some pioneers went to Oswego to get family supplies. Most of the supplies were bought in Chicago in exchange for wheat hauled there by pioneer farmers.
Among the first settlers were the Harris, Heustis, McClelland, Ament families and others. At that time, the Indians were very much in evidence. Though not hostile they were troublesome. Most of them were thievish and irresponsible beggars. They would prowl around and dodge in at the back door. If they could find beef and pork they would help themselves. The housewives were afraid to object.
Now new conditions surround us, the age of improvement has come. The old trails have given place to graveled roads. Boards and barbwire define the farm lines. The fruit trees are bearing. The stately mansions and improved outbuildings take the place of log cabins and the "Illinois barn" covered with slough grass. The fine carriages have superseded the old despised lumber wagon. Unfortunately the evidence is lacking to prove any improvement in hospitality among the people.
Mrs. Bradley was but five years of age when her family came to this country. She is acquainted with many of the old settlers in the northernmost towns and knew Mark Beaubien of Newark. She still retains her home in Aurora, but spends most of her time with her daughter, Mrs. Lespinasse, in Chicago.