When Lisbon Was A Prairie
Early History - When Lisbon Was A Prairie
the Following Is an Interesting History of the Early Days of Lisbon,
A Village in the Southwestern Part of Kendall County
Written by Mrs John L. Shufelt in 1917
Originally published in the Kendall County Record, at Yorkville, Illinois, as a four part series. Publication dates were: January 24; January 31; February 7; and February 14, 1917. Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
The story tells of the early settlement of Kendall County with a touch of personal experiences. It contains letters written to relatives in the east telling of community spirit and discusses the Moore family's role in building up the settlement. At one time, Mrs. Shufelt was a resident of Lisbon but was living in Yorkville, Illinois at the time she wrote the story.
The founders of Lisbon were an unusual class of pioneers. Horace Moore of Oneida County, New York, made the first land entry in Lisbon, August 4, 1835. His son John was in failing health from lung trouble. Physicians advised, other things failing, a change to the prairies of Illinois. The magnitude of such a journey, much of which was accomplished on foot, will be best appreciated when we remember that at this time but one mail a week arrived at Chicago from the east. This was brought from Niles, Michigan, on horseback. The Moore families were well-to-do farmers in Oneida County. A well-to-do farmer of eighty-two years ago cut his grain with a sickle, threshed it with a flail and separated it with a hand fan. The farmer's wife, by the use of the spinning wheel and hand loom, converted the flax and fleece into linen and cloth which her skill fashioned, by hand, into garments for her household. The invalid son is seeking health at Richfield Springs while the home farm is sold and preparations are made for the journey to the Illinois prairie, which was undertaken by the father, mother, two sons and two daughters. A canvas covered wagon and a primitive carriage conveyed the party, the household goods being sent to Chicago by the lakes. The first morning at Big Grove, November 9, 1835, the ground was covered with snow. An empty log cabin was fitted up for the winter home. It was believed by the settlers that no house on the prairie could withstand the fierce winds. All the habitations, thus far, were protected by the grove. One day, when spring came, John Moore took a load of rails three miles out on the prairie and stacked them up. Mr. Havenhill assisted in surveying a wood lot (by blazing the trees) and great was the astonishment that the Moores intended to build on the prairie. This was the first dwelling house in Lisbon. Levi Hills' log stage house, the half-way station between Plattville and Holderman's was second. Both were built in 1836. (These dates were given by John Moore, the invalid of the narrative, who took the first load of rails.)
Failing health compelled Lewis Sherrill to leave college in his senior year and seek a change of climate in Illinois. He came from Oneida County, and September 23, 1836, entered all of section 34, Lisbon (Township.) Other early settlers were Reverend Calvin Bushnell, wife and ten children, Zenas McEwen and sons William and Ezra, William B. Field, George W. Edmunds, Thomas G. Wright, Warren Moore and wife, James Moore and wife and sons, Frank, Sam, Henry, and Levi Hills, Eben Hills, Sylvanus Kendall, Dr. Gilman Kendall, who built the first frame house on the Big Grove side of the village, the Millers, Duckworths, Israel Lum Kelsey, Erastus and Harlow G. Wilcox, James Convis, Eli H. Webster, Galen Barstow, George T. Norton, William Skinner, Charles Page, Julius Tuttle, Alvin Tuttle, Thomas Shaw, whose son, John C. Shaw, has been supervisor of Lisbon Township since 1882, Robert Arundale, Thomas Fletcher, the Burgess family, John Henry, John Litsey, the Naden family, James Codner, J. H. and J. A. Sherrill, George Bushnell, Baker Knox, John Widney, W. J. Jordan, Christian Christianson, Mary Hubbard, Uriah L. Hubbard, Laura A. Caton, Henry Sherrill, who was a member of the constitutional convention of 1870 and probably others.
In giving the list of pioneers from 1836 to 1850, the name Mrs. William Lloyd was omitted. Of those who located at that time between Plattville and Big Grove, Mrs. Lloyd is the sole survivor.
Horace Moore's log house stood not far west of the house occupied by George Cunningham, now on the E. S. Fletcher farms. Levi Hills' residence marks the spot where the first load of rails was taken.
Lisbon has magnificent trees; some with historic interest. The elms on the Bartholomew place, now the property of Norman S. Shufelt, were set there before the slaves were emancipated.
October 14, 1840, Emeline Moore became Mrs. Lewis Sherrill. June 5, 1842, she became the mother of Dana Sherrill and died in November of the same year. April 23, 1849, Lewis Sherrill and Miss Janette Gilfallan, daughter of James and Janette Gilfallan of New Hartford, New York, were married and Mr. Sherrill disposed of his holdings on the Big Grove side of the village and Lisbon Township was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sherrill during their lives. Their children are Charles Sherrill, Mrs. Norman S. Shufelt and Mrs. I. V. Cryder.
Catherine E. Moore was married to Samuel D. Bartholomew in June 1854. Knox College was the Alma Mater of both. Mrs. Bartholomew passed away February 10, 1911, and Mr. Bartholomew lived to be ninety-five years of age. Their family consisted of five girls and three boys, one boy dying in infancy.
The following extracts are from a remarkable diary commenced by Frank Moore in 1837, at the age of thirteen years.
September 18, 1838, I left my native place for one in the far west. After twenty days were past and after enduring many hardships we reached our place of residence, Lisbon, LaSalle County, Illinois.
Feb 7, 1839, received a letter from Reverend Mr. Eddy, my former pastor in Vernon, in which was much instruction.
Feb 11, went and heard Mr. Bushnell preach in the forenoon.
Feb 24, heard Mr. Bushnell preach. During the intermission I attended the Sabbath school and took my seat with the Bible class which was taught by the minister. In the afternoon he preached from the text: "comfort ye me people." Sunday evening the family attended the evening devotions in which my father and mother and myself joined.
March 1, attended the singing school.
July 4, 1839, Independence Day. Mr. Southworth delivered a temperance address at ten o'clock and at one a procession was formed and marched to a bower where a beautiful repast was served.
May 10, 1840, this evening heard Mr. Springer preach at the school house. The best Methodist preacher ever heard in this place.
May 31, went to Milford to a quarterly meeting; quite a large congregation. There were eleven baptized.
July 12, 1849. This day I went in to Milford to meeting and heard Mr. Springer preach, and in the afternoon stopped at Georgetown and heard him again, and at five o'clock he preached in this place and formed a Methodist Society of six members.
Sunday, the 19th, at half past nine our society met at our home, the first of the kind held in this place; although our members were few yet I feel as though we were blest of God.
The post office department changed the name of Milford to Millington, and Georgetown is now called Newark.
In 1836, Elizabeth Bushnell, daughter of Reverend Calvin Bushnell, taught the first school in a log granary owned by Levi Hills. Soon a log school house was built. Later this was moved to the Miller farm, now the property of Fred Kent, and made into a stable. In 1838, a frame school house was laid out and George T. Norton was the first teacher. Other early teachers were Saphronia Wilcox, Lyman Keith, Susan Langdon, William Cody, Washington Bushnell, Catherine Chapin and Electa Lewis. April 16, 1844, the people of Lisbon held a meeting to consult with regard to establishing an academy. A stone building was erected at a cost of a thousand dollars, raised in shares of five dollars each. The Ladies' Sewing Society paid for the bell, which was selected in Chicago by P. W. Coulthurst. The academy was finished in 1845. The Exhibition of March 18, 1846, was doubtless the first entertainment given in the academy. The old-time programs indicated the pious dignity as well as the culture which was a recognized part of Lisbon in the old days.
G. T. Gaston was the first teacher. George T. Norton taught here also. One of the first graduates of Knox College was among the first teachers, also a son of Governor Slade of Massachusetts. Porter C. Olson was another of the early teachers. He was afterwards Colonel of the 36th Illinois Volunteer Infantry and was killed at Franklin (Tennessee), November 30, 1864.
Lisbon Congregational Church was organized March 22, 1838, with twenty-three members. They were Calvin, Sarah and Polly Bushnell, R. Carpenter, Charity Fields, Eben and Stella Hills, Levi and Sarah Hills, William Harrison, Martha, Emeline, John, Elizar and Calista Moore, William Richardson, Allen and Lewis Sherrill, Maria Sears, Janette Wilcox, Eric, John and Lydia Waterman. The house of worship was built in 1853. When Bishop Charles H. Fowler was a young man living in Newark he was a member of this church.
A Methodist Society was formed on July 12, 1840, with six members. They were Jervis, Lydia, and James Franklin Moore, Solomon Wells and wife and Amon Heacox. The Methodist Church was built in 1848.
The Baptist church was built in 1857 or 1858 and had twenty-nine constituent members. The names are omitted as these would not be called pioneers.
Extracts from the Lisbon Herald, June, 1851, Vol. I, No. VI, Israel Mattison proprietor, Terms, fifty cents per annum in advance: Published monthly. The prospectus says in part: "The Herald will be devoted to no sect or party. The Herald will note the most interesting passing events and news of the day. We of course do not promise to please everybody. Vain indeed would be such an effort." It is a four page sheet, 12 X 18 inches.
Died, in Lisbon, June 6th, Emma Adella, daughter of J. F. and Mary A. Moore, aged 1 year and 4 months.
Married. In Grundy County, Illinois, May 22, by I Mattison (minister) of Lisbon, Mr. George Bishop of Bloomington to Miss Emily E. Hoge of Nettle Creek (Township.)
The Wesleyan Methodist Conference of Illinois, at their late meeting at Batavia, adopted the following, among other resolutions: Resolved, "That we deeply sympathize with and will heartily co-operate with the great League of Universal Brotherhood." The object of the League "shall be to employ all legitimate and moral means for the abolition of war and all the spirit and all the manifestations of war, throughout the world." Etc., etc. The pledge is long and very binding as to entering the army or navy or giving voluntary support or sanction to the preparation for, or the prosecution of, any war. Seeking the abolition of all institutions and customs which do not recognize and respect the image of God and a human brotherhood in every man of whatever clime, color, or condition of humanity.
Names to the pledge - - Long Grove, Th. Wait, Elijah Wait, Abraham Wait, Elizabeth and Janette Wait. Lisbon, A. Kellum, O. A. Kellum, E. L. Kellum and Martha Willard.
The Annual Meeting of the Kendall County Bible Society will be held at the Union school house in the town of Na-au-say on Tuesday, the first day of July, at half past ten o'clock A.M. Addresses may be expected on occasion. Alvah Day, Secretary.
Slavery was introduced by the French and as early as 1744 was well established in the French settlement around Kaskaskia. When Illinois was admitted into the Union as a state on December 3, 1818, the first state constitution contained a clause prohibiting slavery. Yet the legislature in 1819 enacted the "Black Law" which was a confirmation of the existing system. Before Illinois became a state the kidnaping of Negroes was begun and by 1822 was carried to such an extent that the press protested. The majority of the people of the northern and central parts of the state sympathized with the Negroes, and many did all they could to assist them to freedom. In 1835, the Underground Railroad was established. The period of greatest activity of the system in this state was between 1840 and 1861. The origin of the term has been traced to the expression of a Kentucky planter who, having pursued a fugitive across the Ohio River, was so surprised by his sudden disappearance as soon as he had reached the opposite shore that he was lead to remark, "the nigger must have gone off on an underground railroad." This system was operated by some of the most prominent men in their localities. Those living in Lisbon were John Moore, George T. Norton, Zenas McEwen, Eben Hills, Edward Wright, Thomas Wright, and Dr. Gilman Kendall. Through the courtesy of Mr. H. L. Hossack of Ottawa (Illinois) the method is described.
Ottawa, Illinois, January 1, 1917
Mrs. J. L. Shufelt,
Dear Madam: I know nothing except hearsay about the pioneer days of Lisbon. As to the Underground Railroad, I know something about that as I was a conductor on that road, having several times driven father's team to Harding or to Newark carrying escaped slaves on their way to Canada and freedom. When fugitive slaves crossed the Ohio River there were various routes travelled through Illinois and Indiana, varying somewhat on account of the slave catchers being more active in one locality than in another. Commencing at the Ohio river the Abolitionists there would send them forth to another Abolitionist farther north. He in turn would secrete them and speed them on to freedom. From here we generally took the slaves to Harding or Newark, Father had a closed carriage and I or one of my brothers drove the slave, secure from observation in the back seat, and we travelled at night and secretly, hence the name "Underground Railroad." Often it was necessary, especially in the southern part of the state, to secrete the slave a few days until the vigilance of the slave catchers should relax, and there were frequently posters and descriptions of escaped slaves or "runaway slaves" scattered around the towns before the poor slave arrived here, then we had to be extremely careful, as the large rewards offered were tempting to the unprincipled men: they did not care particularly to send the slave back to bondage but were after the money. If a slave was captured he was assisted to again escape by the Abolitionists. I do not know of a case where the slave got this far that he was ever taken back to slavery. I recollect one poor slave that was captured near Joliet and was being taken south on the packet on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. We had no railroads then. Father was on the packet returning from Chicago. He rushed into the Free Church, as it was called - - all the other churches were more or less pro slavery. He stopped the preacher and called for volunteers to go to the lock, two miles from town, and rescue the man from bondage. The rescuers overtook the packet in the second lock but the Negro had already gone. The packets were much smaller than the lock: the steersman had run the boat close to the north side when the Negro jumped off an ran. The boat swung to the south side of the lock and the officers could not get off to catch him. They fired several shots at him but missed their mark.
Yours truly, H. L. Hossack
Among the notable trials under the Fugitive Slave Law was that of John Hossack, grandfather of Mrs. John Moore, Jr. (deceased.) The following sketch of the life of John Hossack is from a memorial prepared at the request of numerous friends and in response to many inquiries from persons all over the United States, Canada, and Scotland, who knew the deceased by reputation and his record as one of the original Abolitionists. His name will always be mentioned in the history of those stirring times. John was born of Scotch (sic) parentage at Elgin, among the grand old hills of Scotland, December 6, 1806. At the age of 12 years he crossed the Atlantic Ocean and entered the confectionery store of his uncle in Quebec, Canada, remaining there till near his majority, when he went into business for himself. In 1838, he crossed the lakes to Chicago. In 1849, he went to Ottawa, becoming one of the heaviest dealers in grain and lumber in the West. The old ferry, established during the Black Hawk War, was becoming inadequate for the trade from the south. Mr. Hossack was largely instrumental in insuring the building of a substantial bridge across the Illinois River. Being attracted by the beautiful view from the south bluff, in 1854 he erected thereon a stately residence. He was prominent in every enterprise for the good of the public. But the period of his life to which he referred with the greatest pride was that which marked the connection of the Underground Railway. As many as thirteen fugitives from bondage were quartered in the Hossack mansion at one time. During this period he became the close friend and associate of William Lloyd Garrison, Owen Lovejoy, Gerrit Smith, John Wentworth and other men of prominence. On September 4, 1859, Jim Grey, one of three slaves who had escaped from Richard Phillips, a planter living near New Madrid, Missouri, was captured in Union County (Illinois) and imprisoned under the state law. As this law had been declared unconstitutional by the (state) Supreme Court, a man named Root came to Ottawa and sued out a writ of habeas corpus. The Negro was brought to Ottawa on the night of October 19 (1859.) The next morning he was discharged from the custody of the state officials, but held under a writ issued by a United States Commissioner under the United States Fugitive Slave Law, remanding him to the custody of the United States Marshall. Just as the Judge had entered the order, James Stout arose and moved that the meeting resolve itself into a committee to carry out the law, the Abolitionists understanding it to mean a higher than human law. During this moment of excitement, Hossack said, "you want your liberty, come." The Negro was urged to a waiting carriage, the doorway being blocked to keep the officer and his posse in the courtroom until the fugitive was safely off. For this violation of law, John Hossack, Dr. Stout, James Stout, and five others were indicted by the federal grand jury and all but two placed in jail at Chicago. John Hossack and Dr. Stout were convicted and sentenced to pay $100 fine and to serve ten days imprisonment. When asked what he had to say why sentence should not be pronounced upon him, John Hossack, whose trial took place first, delivered an address to the court, Judge Drummond, which is still remarkable as a great effort and a production of rare power and eloquence. During the ten days spent in jail, Mr. Hossack was taken out driving by Honorable John Wentworth, Mayor of Chicago, and other leading citizens; guarded by Mrs. Foltz, the jailer's wife; and feasted and banqueted by the people of Chicago; who paid the costs in the cases.
Among the first Supervisors of Kendall County were Horace Moore, Lisbon, Harlow G. Wilcox, Big Grove and Allen Jordan, Franklin, as the Town of Seward was called until the latter part of 1850. These townships became part of Kendall County, February 19, 1841. Abraham Lincoln, member of the legislature, voted for the amendment which made the name Kendall instead of Orange.
The first stores in Lisbon were built and operated by John Moore, general merchandise and Frank Moore general merchandise and drugs. The Morrison meat market was established early in the history of the town. John McKirryher of Yorkville was connected with it several years. About 1858, Henry Page and Edwin Cass had a general store afterwards conducted by Ross Brothers, then by Henry Long, then Kelsey and Kemple, then Wilkinson and Leverich.
Lisbon sent two full companies to the Civil War: the first was Company D, of the famous 36th (Illinois Volunteer Infantry) raised and commanded by Dr. Pierce. The second was Company E of the 91st (Illinois Volunteer Infantry) raised and commanded by Dr. Thomas Hanna, whose brother, Dr. William Hanna, was Army Surgeon. After the war, both were practicing physicians in Lisbon. Dr. William Hanna was also a member of the (State) legislature. At present, he is Surgeon General of the Grand Army Of The Republic, and resides in Aurora (Illinois.)
Lisbon has furnished some prominent talent: The clergy, Reverend Dana Sherrill and Reverend Edwin Lewis: legal, Washington Bushnell of Ottawa, Attorney General Of Illinois from 1869 - 1873. Judge Wing of Chicago, and Harvey Gunsul of Aurora; medicine, Dr. Clark Knox of Minneapolis, Dr. Charles Wilcox of Amboy (Illinois) are among the number.
Lisbon was always highly favored with musical ability, laying claim to the first piano brought to Kendall County, property of the Deacon Beebe family. The Civil War broke up the first band and after the war another was organized, also one in recent years. It was said of the orchestra which flourished in the early 90's, "that orchestra would be a credit to a town several hundred times bigger than Lisbon." It was an inspiration to listen to the church choirs. The program of 1862 was under the direction of Miss Liscom, a teacher of much ability and experience.
The marriage of Miss Lucelia E. Norton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George T. Norton, to S. E. Kelsey, son of Mr. and Mrs. Israel Lum Kelsey was the largest ever solemnized in Lisbon. There were six hundred invitations given. The church decorations were designed by Miss Emeline Spencer, now Mrs. Walker, residing on the coast. The beautiful ring service was used and was read by the Reverend J. H. Kent.
Lucelia E. Norton - Silas E. Kelsey Ceremony
At the Congregational Church, Lisbon, Illinois
Wednesday, June 2, 1880, at 12 o'clock
At their future residence, Lisbon, from half past 12
until 3 o'clock. At home, Saturdays.
Orient Lodge, A.F. & A. M., was instituted October 8, 1859. The charter members were George A. Day, John A. Crosby, J. A. Rider, Jonathon Raymond, R. Carpenter, W. F. Holladay, Henry M. Day and Frank Moore. George A. Day was the first Master.
The Order Of The Eastern Star was organized April, 1896, with the following officers elected. Worthy Patron, Mr. John Wilkinson; Secretary, Mrs. Charles Hoge; Treasurer, Mrs. N. J. Cobleigh (a position she held as long as she lived.) The charter was surrendered January, 1913.
A Modern Woodman Camp, Jasimine Camp, No. 419, was organized in 1894. Royal Neighbors of America was organized June 19, 1896. (Officers elected were) Oracle, Miss Maggie Moore; Vice Oracle, Miss Mary E. Leach; Chancellor, Miss Carrie Moore; Recorder, Mrs. Eva Skinner; Receiver, Mrs. Nellie Thompson. They celebrated their 20th anniversary of the order, June 29, 1916, by having a home coming at the home of Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Thompson. It proved to be such an enjoyable event that the Royal Neighbors have decided to celebrate in like manner each year.
Just before the election which first voted the saloon out of Lisbon the following lines, written for the occasion by Fred Kent, appeared in a local paper: BUILD UP THE TOWN.
The hospitality of the pioneer's home was proverbial and lifelong. For years it was a custom of Mrs. Lewis Sherrill to give a turkey dinner to the school children. At the last of these dinners her health permitted, it was my good fortune to be among those bidden to help care for the smallest children. Naturally the subject of conversation was schools. Mrs. Sherrill remarked that if young ladies realized that in a few years their time for reading would be limited they could memorize from their favorite authors. "Who is one of your favorite authors?" was asked. Without mentioning any name Mrs. Sherrill repeated Whittier's Snow Bound, stopping as occasion required to baste the turkeys (her forty guest required two) or to give instructions to her two assistants. It was a charming picture of home life.
Lisbon had ancient and historical families trees and home families had ancestors who used a coat of arms. To give all of these would be impossible. The Sherrill family record dates from 1649. Judge Hedges, in his address delivered at East Hampton, Long Island, New York, upon the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the settlement of the town speaks of the first appearance of the Sherrill family there as follows: "The family of Sherrill, tradition has informed us, commences with the following romantic origin. A vessel was cast away on the shore of East Hampton and a company of girls, among others, visited the wreck. One of the ladies said, on returning, that she had seen the handsomest man that she ever saw. This was intimated to the shipwrecked mariner and resulted in an acquaintance and marriage of the parties." Another of Lewis Sherrill's ancestors, Thomas Dana, was a member of the Boston Tea Party, and an oil portrait of him is one of the family heirlooms.
James Moore came from Ireland, to which place he had previously removed from Scotland in a time of rebellion, to Union, Connecticut, about the year 1700. He had three sons, John, Thomas and William, all of whom settled in Union. To a branch of the family remaining in Scotland belonged Reverend Charles Moore, an Episcopalian clergyman. His son, Dr. John Moore, was a noted physician and author. After extensive travel as medical attendant to the Duke Of Hamilton, he settled in London. His eldest son was the English General, Sir John Moore, to whose memory a monument was erected in St. Paul's Cathedral. By the will of Mrs. Delight H. Moore the families curios became the property of the Ottawa High School. Through Mrs. Moore's lawyer, Mr. Jay Moore made application for a conch shell which belonged to the family for more than two hundred years. It was so highly prized by former generations that when two maiden aunts informed John Moore he had been chosen as custodian of the shell he made a special trip to New York State to receive it. It became the property of Jay E. Moore, August 10, 1916.
Mrs. Clara Bradford Schick of Aurora (Illinois) and Mrs. Margaret Bradford Moore of Yorkville (Illinois) are lineal descendants of Governor Bradford of Colonial fame. It is an interesting fact that the light and dark strata of color shown in the historic Plymouth Rock is not native to the rock of New England. The nearest place that rocks of like coloring and texture have been found is on the Newfoundland coast, and it is believed that the Plymouth Rock on which the Pilgrims first stepped was brought down by ice to the Plymouth shore.
Some of Lisbon's daughters who are members of the Daughters Of the American Revolution or eligible to membership are: Mrs. Mary Sherrill Shufelt, Mrs. Mary Shufelt Naden, Mrs. Ida Sherrill Cryder, Miss Alice Sherrill, Mrs. Rose Henry Burgess and daughter Frances Caroline, Misses Gladys and Maibelle Moore of Morris, Miss Marguerite Moore of Yorkville, Mrs. Genevieve Stratton Shufelt and daughters Dorothy and Clara Margaret, and Mrs. Lois Stratton Shufelt and daughter Gretchen Fay.
Two interesting social events were pioneer teas given by Mrs. Burry and Mrs. Joe Williams. Of the tea given by Mrs. Williams in honor of Mrs. Williams mother, I am unable to give more than the following: Those of the company now living are Mrs. Hutchinson, Mrs. Silas Thompson and Kate Chapin. Those who have entered into their long rest, Mrs. John Moore, Mrs. Kent, Mrs. Maria Lord, Mrs. Jeffreys, Mrs. Lyman Bushnell, Mrs. A. Raymond and Mrs. Henry Williams.
The following account of the tea given by Mrs. Burry appeared in the Kendall County Record for August 31, 1892.
A Pioneer Tea. The mothers of Lisbon are entertained. Lisbon, August 17, 1892.
Dear Mrs. __________ May I have the pleasure of your company for a pioneer tea Friday, August 19th, from 4 until 7 p.m.
Carrie Sherrill Burry
Such were the pretty invitations sent out by Mrs. Burry of Chicago to the few pioneer women, living in and about Lisbon, who were the friends of her mother, the late Mrs. Henry Sherrill.
Mrs. Burry inherited the old home mansion, an old time landmark in Lisbon. She has fitted it up in elegant style for a summer residence where she will spend a few weeks of each year with her family among the friends of her childhood. The spacious parlors are furnished in white and gold; the furniture and elegant draperies correspond in every particular; the floors are covered with matting and pretty rugs. The whole house is furnished to correspond, especially the dining room which is simply elegant, showing the artistic taste of Mrs. Burry. A broad piazza is being built and the grand old trees trimmed, which gives the mansion and grounds a stately appearance, and it cannot be surpassed by any summer residence in the suburbs of Chicago.
The late Honorable and Mrs. Henry Sherrill lived here for more than forty years, and were noted for their hospitality.
Mrs. Burry, before closing the house for the season, has honored the memory of mother by inviting these dear pioneer friends to hold a reunion at the old home. At four o'clock the ladies assembled in the large parlors, alas! One parlor was large enough for the remaining few ones once so intimately related to the former mistress of the house in a social way. They were clad in somber dresses, a contrast to the gay party dresses worn in the long ago, and sat near each other with somber faces, conversing with each other in hushed voices. It was indeed an interesting but sad interim to one who used to meet these ladies when all were young.
Mrs. Burry provided a dainty repast, much of which was ordered from Chicago, and at five o'clock these white-haired old-young ladies were seated at the tea table. It was a home-like tea, everything had been set on the table except the ices and cakes, and the great platters of fried chicken, old fashioned tureens of Saratoga potatoes and other good things prepared by the hostess, made the table groan with its rich load. After an invocation to the Great Father by Mrs. Woodruff, the refreshments were served in true pioneer style by the hostess, assisted by Mrs. Warnock of Normal, and Mrs. C. Moore of Lisbon. A more interesting group never assembled, and as the ladies lingered over their tea and talked of long ago, we almost saw the former hostess as in days of yore. At seven o'clock the guest gathered in little groups for a few parting words with each other; then came the parting with Mrs. Burry; as the guests passed out into the hall some, who came from a distance, looked back with saddened hearts as they remembered the happy hours which had been spent there and felt that this might be the last meeting.
Before tea was served Mrs. Woodruff read the biography of each one present and made a beautiful address.
Some of these good dames came to this county more than forty-five years ago; among them were: Mmes. John Moore, Lewis Sherrill, Israel L. Kelsey, Heman Lord, Lyman Bushnell, Russell Wing, Henry Williams, L. Woodruff, Julius Bushnell, Charles Hutchinson, Mrs. Jeffreys, J. H. Kent, and A. Keith. A few came more than fifty years ago when letters were addressed to "Lisbon, La Salle County," with two shillings postage required.
Sarah A. Bushnell has lived near Lisbon 38 years; Mrs. Jane Denner, 44 years (she and her husband going from Chicago to Peru (Illinois), in their own conveyance, 57 years ago); Mrs. Henry Williams, 40 years; Mrs. Lyman Bushnell, 40 years; Mrs. Lewis Sherrill, 48 years; Mrs. Charles Hutchinson, 33 years; Mrs. I. L. Kelsey, 49 years; Mrs. Jeffreys, 36 years; Mrs. Lord, 48 years; and Mrs. Russell Wing, 48 years.
Honorable Henry Sherrill came west when a young man to visit his sister, Mrs. John D. Caton. In order to take the stage west from Chicago, he had his trunk hauled from the vessels in a wagon drawn by oxen to the very spot where the Grand Pacific hotel now stands on Clark Street: the oxen got stuck in the mud and he had to unload his trunk and assist in getting the wagon out of the hole. James Buchanan, of presidential fame, was a passenger in the same stage with Mr. Sherrill on this eventful trip, and stopped over night at the place now called Lisbon, at a log tavern on the spot where the Sherrill residence now stands. Next morning, as they looked over the beautiful prairie, Mr. Buchanan remarked, "This is God's own county!" And so thought Mr. Sherrill, for in 1844 he bought the large stone stage house, which had been built since his first trip west, and with his youthful wife began that home life which was so happy till, long years after, death invaded the home and took the good couple to their reward.
One of the interesting features at the tea table was the silver used on the occasion, the modern and antique; the latter is historical: Mrs. Sherrill's father was a prominent mason in Washington County, New York and, at the time of the Morgan excitement the Masonic Lodges in eastern New York were broken up, and the silver of various lodge rooms in the county was presented to him, and he had it made into silver spoons and a caster, this was given to Mrs. Sherrill as a wedding gift. Signed A PIONEER.
The remaining member of this company is Mrs. Hutchinson, who has outlived by many years her sister, Mrs. Lewis Sherrill, and their brothers, Charles D. and Judge James Gilfillan of St. Paul.
Pioneers of Lisbon! We honor your memory. Your lives exemplified Father Hennepin's definition of your chosen state. "Illinois comes from the Indian Illini, signifying a complete, finished and perfect man, imbued with the spirit and bravery of the men of every nation that ever lived."
I wish to acknowledge indebtedness to the many who gave information, especially Mr. and Mrs. Norman S. Shufelt, Minooka; Mrs. A. E. Washburn, Lisbon; Mr. and Mrs. Jay E. Moore, Yorkville; and Mr. H. L. Hossack, Ottawa. A spirit of helpfulness was manifested in each answer for information as to pioneer days or important events. In my attempts to verify dates I have spared nothing, and hope the perusal of the article may give the pleasure that the preparation has given. Signed: THE RECORDER.
Yorkville, Illinois, January, 1917.
The following letters were written by Mrs. Horace Moore, Senior, and her daughters Emeline and Catherine, the letter page is 9 X 7 inches of good quality but un-ruled (paper.) The first letter is written on blue paper, the exact shade sometimes in use at the present time. One is written on pink paper, quite faded, the others are on white paper, yellow with age. No envelopes were used in those days. Some of the letters were written on the fourth page, leaving space in the center for the address, after folding in letter form. The size of the folded letter is 4 X 5 inches. They were sealed with red sealing wax. In the upper right hand corner is ".25" indicating the amount of postage which was paid when the letter reached its destination.
February 1st, 1836
I will now take my seat to drop you a few lines, through the politeness of Mr. Bushnell. I intended to have written several letters, but he is going to start sooner than he expected. I must, therefore, express my feelings in a few words. I will say to you that we had a very pleasant journey with the exception of some bad weather and muddy roads. All perfectly contented. I have not seen a homesick day since I left Vernon. We arrived at Uncle Schuyler's the day after we left Vernon; we found them all well. We left Grandfather feeling very bad. I hope you will try to comfort him in his old age; it was harder to part with him than with our younger friends. His being so far advanced in years, we could not have much hopes of ever meeting him again in this world. It will be of no use for me to attempt to describe to you the pleasantness of this country; you can form no idea until you have seen it, and, indeed, if I could, you would hardly credit it. I am happy in stating that Mr. Bushnell has fixed his place of location near us. I think when he returns, the fever will rage with greater violence than ever. Mother's health is better in some respects than when we left. Jane's health is greatly improved, so that she labors considerably and she is still gaining. I must close with my best respects to you and all inquiring friends. Mother sends her love to you and Catherine a kiss. Please write soon and send papers often.
From your affectionate niece, E. MOORE
August 1st, 1836
Most willingly do I obey the call of friendship and the dictates of my own feelings while I seat myself to answer your friendly communication which was perused with great pleasure. Mr. Bushnell with his family arrived here on the 28th of May. We were very much pleased to see them, I will assure you. They live half a mile from us. Elizabeth is teaching school here. They are all pleased with the country, I believe, excepting Sarah and Calvin, and they like it much better than when they came. We are now living on the prairie, three miles from timber. Levi Hills is our nearest neighbor: he lives about as far from us as Mr. Sergeant used to on that beautiful hill, but we have none of those trees for shade on the way; all that I wish for that we left on the hill are those two maple trees and a few apple trees. But these, I suppose, we can have in a few years. We have different kinds of timber growing: the locust and mulberry in particular. You may come on with the worms and you and I will go to raising silk. In your letter you asked me if I did not wish I could fly over and light on that beautiful hill. I will tell you. I should like to take a peep at it occasionally, but should not wish to stay long, and should think the people were all wishing to come here, by all accounts. As for my father, I think he has not been the least homesick since he left Vernon. As you say, he is the last one that would own it, but actions speak louder than words, you know. To be sure, I sometimes find him with his head down scratching his ear, but you know that is natural to the family. If he does want to go back I think he will have to go alone, that is if he goes to stay. It would be harder for me to leave this place now and this society than it was to leave the old home. It would be much more pleasant if some of our old friends were settled around us but we must wait with patience and I think in the course of a few years there will be. The society here is very good. We have meeting every Sabbath at Big Grove in the fore part of the day, on the prairie in the afternoon and singing and Sabbath schools. I have attended two temperance meetings; one address was delivered by Mr. Baldwin and the other by Mr. Turner. He was at the village a few years ago, I presume you remember him. There were twenty that pledged themselves to abstain wholly from all fermented liquors. All joined the Society.
It is a general time of health in these parts. There have been no case of ague that I have heard of in this vicinity. I suppose you hear what a sickly place it is here. But you must not believe all the stories you hear about Illinois; for, depending upon it if you hear anything bad it must be the homesick ones that told it, as we have everything we want to make us comfortable and have not been troubled in the least since we came here to get provisions or anything else we need. We have done our trading principally in Chicago; goods are generally as cheap as in Vernon, some articles a little higher. We have a small framed house, large enough for our family, with a patent chamber floor made of rails. As I was walking on the patent rails, one of them kicked up and the swifts went tumbling down and broke one of the griddles to the rotary; that is the only serious accident that has befallen me since I came to Illinois. We get plenty of pudding timber and the other necessaries of life. Perhaps you would like to know what we have besides pudding timber. I will tell you, we have flour, rice, tea and coffee, of course bacon, pork, dried beef, codfish, mackerel, lard butter and cheese, together with all kinds of garden sauce. We had green peas, beans and new potatoes and carrots the 6th of July. Our folks commenced ploughing the middle of May and these vegetables were planted on the sod. We had green corn within 60 days after it was ploughed under the sod. Now, if you do no believe this, come and see what a county is this of ours, how wide in extent, how rich in production, how various in beauty, which but as yesterday was only trodden by the foot of the savage, but now is the queen of the west. I am not competent to describe the beautified scenery which presents itself to the eye in this great valley of the west.
Mother's health is about as usual, the rest of the family are in good health. Caty sends her love to Aunt Martha. She goes to school, has been about through the geography, and that is not all, she has learned to write quite well. Now, Aunt Martha, do write to me and write all the particulars about everything. I am very much obliged to you for writing to me and for your papers; do not think they are coldly received for they are not. We send every western paper we have to our friends. But I must close with best regards to you and all inquiring friends; please tell them all to write.
I remain, your affectionate niece, E. MOORE
The above letter was addressed to Miss Martha Moore, Vernon, Oneida County, New York, and was mailed at Holderman's Grove, August 9, 1836.
August 20, 1836
Thinking it might perhaps be some consolation to you to peruse a few scribbled lines from an absent child, although I am far from you yet my mind is often with you for I will assure you that I have shed many a tear when I have thought of your lonely situation. I am very sensible you have kind children and dear friends with you but there is a vacant seat than cannot be filled. The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be comforted. But the graves of those we loved, what a place for meditation. The last fond look of the eye turning upon us even from the threshold of existence, the faint accents struggling in death to give one more assurance of affection, there is one obligation of the dead to which we turn even from the charms of the living; our dear friends that are laid in the grave can never return to us; we must soon, at the longest, be as they now are, laid in the grave. Father, do let us strive to make our calling and election sure with God that our spirits may ascend to the happy mansion and join our dear friends in singing praises to our Heavenly Father. I have news to write. I suppose you are already tired of having our beautiful country described, but you may depend the half has not been told you. Father, suppose the meadow we used to own on the patten contained hundreds of acres all as handsome as that and the grass tall enough to mow and spangled with a great variety of flowers, and growing on a deep rich soil and plenty of good water, all in the state of nature, would you call it good or not? That is the situation of this country. Our folks have worked hard and steady, for there has been very little stormy weather to hinder them from work. There were not more than two or three days last winter that they were obliged to stop work on account of the weather. Instead of snow we had a white frost but as soon as the sun was up a little it would vanish away. The weather this summer has been cold and backward. We moved to the prairie the 27th day of April and commenced ploughing the middle of May. Our oats, spring wheat, corn, potatoes, beans and peas were all dropped on the sod and the turf turned over them. Horace is now cradling oats. The wheat was harvested ten days ago. We have corn, peas and beans that are quite ripe. We have plenty of garden sauce of all kinds and vines in abundance. The boys have not done haying yet for there is no stopping place. We have six cows, four calves, seventeen heifers, one yoke of oxen, Molly and Violet and the bay horses. I suppose you think I have bragged too much. We should like to have you come and see for yourself. We live forty rods from Mr. Hills and half a mile from Mr. Bushnell. Our society is good. We have meetings every Sabbath also Sabbath School, singing and district school. There has been no sickness to speak of in this region of country since we came her. John, Horace and Jane are able to work steady and hard. Emeline and Catherine are well. My health is very much as it was last summer. Now, Martha, if you please, I wish you to sit down by the window and read this scribbled mess to father. I have long intended to write to each one of my dear sisters, but my health will not admit of it at present. Oh, how I wish you were all here a little while to enjoy the pure air of the western gales and view the rich and magnificent robe with which this great valley is etched. There is nothing artificial about it. Who can behold so splendid a sight without adoring and praising the Author and Maker of it? I would say a few words to the children. My dear little nephews and nieces. It is important that you should habituate yourselves to the daily perusal of the Word of God. The truths which it contains if obeyed and practiced are able to make you wise unto salvation. Dear little friends, I would have you think of this subject, for I desire to see you walking in the footsteps of piety and to hear you lisping the praises of our Redeemer. But I must leave you for this time and wish to be remembered to all inquiring friends. I remain, your affectionate child, MARTHA MOORE
The above letter was written by Mrs. Horace Moore to her father-in-law, and was addressed, Mr. James Moore, Vernon, Oneida County, New York.
The Village of Lisbon was laid out in the summer of 1838 by Lancelot Rood. The first name suggested was Mooreville, but the honor was declined and the name Lisbon chosen.
Jan 30, 1839
Being almost entirely alone I don't know that I can spend my time more pleasantly than writing to an absent aunt. You may have indulged in many severe reflections upon my punctuality, my memory, and perhaps my friendship too, because I have so long delayed answering your kind letter. I should have written to you before, had not Uncle Jervis and Aunt Lydia written to you soon after they arrived in Illinois. Aunt Martha, how do you think I felt when I saw my uncle and aunt and cousins, and most of all my aged and infirm grandfather? (Grandfather was James Moore, Sr.) He stood the journey remarkably well and has been very well ever since he has been here. He goes to call on Mr. Bushnell who often comes and converses with him in the subject of religion. He answers freely and appears deeply affected. Our old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Peterson, came very unexpectedly, or she at least. They staid here one night on their way to Springfield. When they returned, they came here Friday evening. They started out Saturday morning, and got but a few rods from the house when they broke their carriage and were obliged to return. She said she was not glad it was broken but was glad of the opportunity to spend the Sabbath and hear Mr. Bushnell preach. We had a first rate visit I can tell you. We had a good visit also from Mr. and Mrs. Willard last summer. Liked their appearance much. Mr. Bushnell often speaks of Mr. Willard and Martha as his spiritual children. He said he would like very much to have them move to Illinois. Mr. Bushnell looks very much as he used to. Is quite smart, goes three miles to the grove with two yoke of oxen after timber, day after day. His boys drive the horses.
February 7. It has been a week since I commenced writing this letter. I have made several efforts to finish it and hope I shall this time succeed. You have no doubt heard that John has been down to Vernon. He said he as much thought he should see Aunt Martha as he should Vernon. We were much disappointed when we found he had not, but no more so than he was. It was very late in the season when he started for home and was bad weather. He was four weeks coming from Vernon; the most part of three weeks tossing on the lakes, was not sick at all. His threshing machine and barrel of goods are in Detroit. His wagon was driven ashore at Coneaught. He saw but few of the Vernon folks. I do return my sincere thanks to Aunt Martha for her good, long, kind letter, and I hope you will not fail of writing as soon as you receive this if you do not write more than half a page. Catherine wishes to write a few lines and I must leave room for her. Your niece, EMELINE.
Dear Aunt, You wished me to write to you in Emeline's letter, but I have only room to say a few words and I intend to write you a letter before long. I attend school this winter. Mr. Stone is our teacher, a gentleman from New Haven. He came here last fall and married Mrs. Hills' youngest sister. They board with Uncle Warren. Lucinda attends school and Lurinda does not. We have 25 scholars most of the time. Emeline has not said a word about our sweet little Henry. I wish, Aunt Martha, you could see him and hear him talk. We think he is about the prettiest boy that ever was. Don't, Aunt, put yourself to too much trouble about that silk bag though I shall thank you heartily for it. I have kept my needle book as nice as when you last saw it. My parasol I think much of and am going to have some new silk and have Mrs. Stone cover it over for me. We all join in sending our best regards to Aunt Martha and family. CATHERINE E. MOORE
Yesterday at our church, Mr. George Norton read a letter from his sister Electa stating that there had been a revival of religion in Vernon and Uncle James was one of the happy number that had given up their hearts to God. It was a good letter and the whole congregation was deeply affected. Mr. Norton, so much so that he was obliged to stop a number of times. There appears to be considerable interest in our church and I hope there will be more. We have a very interesting Sabbath School and Bible class. Our church consists of 23 members. E. M. (Emeline Moore)
This letter was addressed to Mrs. Martha Willard, Elmira, Chemung County, New York. In the upper left-hand corner is written, in a good business hand, Lisbon, Ill., Feb. 13. In the right-hand corner the figures 25.
Levi Hills was the first postmaster.
Lisbon, October 11, 1839
What shall I say to you, how shall I write the scenes that I have this day witnessed! Aunt Martha, I have followed my aged grandfather (James Moore, Sr.) to the grave. Mr. Bushnell preached a good sermon from 1st Corinthians, 15th chapter, 26th verse. It was indeed solemn to follow the first dead body that has been carried across the prairie. Yes, this prairie has been settled four years and this is the first funeral procession that has crossed it. Who will be the next, we cannot tell. Grandpa, four weeks ago, to all appearances was as likely to live months and perhaps I may say years, as any of us. Uncle Jervis got home from Ottawa about noon; he had been down after Uncle Warren but found Orville very low; he has the ague and shook so hard Tuesday that he shook the bed. This morning was the time for him to have another shake; if he escapes the doctor thinks perhaps he may get along. Uncle Warren and Aunt Jane have been sick but are better; they have had the bilious fever. I want to hear from them before I finish this letter.
October 16. Heard from Ottawa today. Uncle Jervis and Aunt Lydia have been down. Orville is a little better; has nothing of the ague but is very weak and has considerable fever. Aunt Lydia, has probably answered the letter she received from you not long ago. Ma's health is very poor but I feel in hopes she will be better when it comes cold weather. It is a general time of health in this place, and, indeed, there have been no cases of sickness excepting Charlotte Bushnell; she came home from Ottawa about six or eight weeks ago and has been sick ever since. She taught school there last summer. She is now gaining; the rest of the family are all well. I presume you have heard that Ann is married to William McEwen; she lives about two miles from her father's. Mrs. Stone is dead; she was Mrs. Hills' youngest sister. She died in St. Louis where they were living. I must now close my letter and get supper for a large family. From your affectionate niece, EMELINE MOORE.
Emeline has not quite time to fill this sheet so I thought I would write a few lines to let Aunt know that I have not forgotten her. We are very lonely here; we miss Grandpa very much for he has been with us for a year past, but he is gone and will be our company no more. Little Henry is very well; he has got so he can walk down to Dampa's as he calls it to see Dama Emmy and Casine. Horace and Jane are very well. Ma sends her love to Aunt Martha and wishes her to write as soon as she can. I remain, your affectionate niece, CATHERINE MOORE.
This letter was addressed to Mrs. Martha Willard, Elmira, Chemung County, New York. The written postmark is Lisbon, Illinois, November 2.
Hossack Family of Ottawa