Newark Sketches by Andrew L. Brown 1906
Written by Andrew L. Brown
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
"The Pioneers Whose Lives Are Spared"
Kendall County Record, February 14, 1906
Mrs. Phoebe Stowell Barrows is the only person now residing at Newark who can claim to have trod these streets as far back as seventy-two years ago. She was one of the children of Walter and Susan (Butler) Stowell and was born at Perry, Ashtabula County, Ohio, 84 years ago, on March 22, 1822. In 1831, she came with her parents to DuPage County. At first they occupied a double log house with one Paul Hawley and his family near the present site of Naperville. They soon erected a log house of their own a mile from Hawley's on the Chicago and Ottawa road and there kept a tavern and post office. In June 1832 they fled to Fort Dearborn from the Indians. They were there three months and subsisted on the same rations as the soldiers. In 1834 the family came to Kendall County. For many years Walter Stowell was prominent as tavern keeper, postmaster and farmer at Georgetown and Newark. In February 1839, Phoebe Ann Stowell married George D. Barrows. He was a farmer and all-around mechanic at Georgetown. The wedded life of this couple extended over a period of 65 years. They had five sons and one daughter. Mr. Barrows died at Newark in February 1904. The widow looks a trifle feebler now than twenty years ago, but her conversation is very interesting. She says among other things that General B. F. Butler's father was her mother's brother. She has a good recollection of Fort Dearborn and the Chicago of the early thirties.
John K. Johnson
Next in point of age though not in point of residence here is John K. Johnson. He was born in the parish of Hjelmeland near Stavanger, Norway, September 14, 1820. He married in 1847 and four of his ten children were born in the old country. He came to America in 1857 and lived for four years in the grove north of Newark on the road to Millington. Then he lived a year at the mouth of Indian Creek in LaSalle County. He then moved to Big Grove timber a little east of Newark and settled down on a small place where he remained for more than 30 years. His wife died April 8, 1896 after they lived together half a century. Since that time he has been living quietly with his son-in-law in Newark. The old gentleman talks entertainingly of the past, though with a tinge of sadness. He speaks English pretty well for a man who first took it up at thirty-seven years of age.
Thomas Jefferson Phillips
Next in age comes Thomas J. Phillips. His parents must have been patriotic to name him as they did after the immortal Jefferson. He was born October 28, 1819, at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He came here in 1838 and worked for his brother John C. Phillips at wagon making. In 1841, he acquired a deed of 45 acres of land in payment for his work. He then began for himself and followed wagon-making most of the time until 1857. Then he followed farming in the Newark neighborhood until 1877, when he retired to the village. He is a well-to-do and much respected citizen. It was his brother and George B. Hollenback who laid out the town in the early thirties. It was called Georgetown until 1843 when the town's name was changed to Newark.
Thomas J. Phillips married Louisa P. Courtright, February 15, 1844. This worthy couple has been living together 62 long years, or short years? They retain to a good degree their mental and physical vigor and their recollection of past events is remarkable. They have raised a family of 11 children. Five of his children are still living. They are a great comfort to the parents now in the evening of their days.
Henry Munson --- Hendrik Monsen Kaldestad, is a native of Voss, Norway. Senator Nelson of Minnesota and many other worthy citizens came from this locality. He was born October 12, 1817, and is therefore 89 years of age. In the summer of 1845 he and his wife landed at New York. They came west by way of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to Chicago. From Chicago they came to Big Grove by wagon. They were in Albany, New York, July 4, 1845, waiting for the canal boat and it was there that they got their first idea of firecrackers. Hearing the strange crackling in every direction they wondered whether the devil was not loose in America. They were told he was running loose just once a year. When Mr. Munson came to Big Grove he worked as a farm hand four years for John West Mason. He worked five and a half years for Andrew Kirkland. He must have been a good hand or they would not have kept him so long. Mrs. Munson died in 1859. Her married life reached back about 16 years. On March 19, 1861, Mr. Munson married again. This time he married Miss Mary Lee, whose sister's son is our County Clerk. They have three children, Albert A. Munson of Slater, Iowa, Mrs. Lizzie Reitz of Chicago and Miss Marie B. Munson, cashier in the Newark branch of the Bank of Millington. In those early days when Mr. Munson was tired of working by the month he bought a farm northeast of Lisbon of Mr. Kirkland. That was his home for about 35 years. He has lived at Newark only about 15 years but his age and his worth as a man entitles him to this brief notice.
We must not omit Samuel Bingham, for he has lived right here continuously for 62 years. He is now in his 90th year of age. He was born in Essex County, New York, June 2, 1816. In early life he became a Baptist and has been a pillar of the church at Newark ever since he came here. Having spent most of his youth and early manhood in Tompkins County, New York. He came here in the summer of 1844 to join his father-in-law Henry Gridley. One of the first things he did was to buy a village lot and build a house on it. That same spot has been his home all these years. He was a shoemaker by trade, and a good one. He didn't give up shoemaking until he was 84. Samuel Bingham's mother bore the name Almira Hooker before her marriage. Through her he traces a relationship to General Joseph Hooker of the Civil War. Mr. Bingham married Miss Harriet Gridley back in New York State, March 11, 1837. They were married a little over 48 years. She died here at Newark in June 1885. He has three children living. One of whom, Mrs. Saunders, keeps house for him. From youth up he was handy with a gun. For some years after coming to Newark, nothing suited him better than to stroll off into Big Grove timber with Dr. Vermilye and others and bring home a deer or other wild game. But these days are gone, never to return.
Over One Hundred Years
Five octogenarians residing at Newark have now been briefly sketched. They ranged in age from 84 to nearly 90 years. Several others might be mentioned who are under 84. Newark has just one centenarian. An old lady living at George Quam's. She is Mrs. Quam's mother's sister and has never been married. She came from Norway in 1861 and has been in the Quam family 23 years, the last 16 years at Newark. She used to be a great reader but in the past two years has given it all up. Her dark, sandy hair is not yet gray, but her eyesight and hearing are poor. She is now confined to her bed and is tenderly cared for day and night. A few months ago, her pastor, the Rev. A. O. Mortvedt, wrote to Norway to see if he could ascertain from records there, the old lady's exact age. The date of her birth could not be found, but the date of her baptism was found to be Ascension Day in 1804, which indicates that she was born about the first of May that year. So, in three months from now she will be 102 years old. Her name as found on the records in Norway is Karri Knudsdatter Melhus.
Some Interesting Odds and Ends
Kendall County Record, April 11, 1906
One of our residents, Mrs. Barrows, says that at her native place in Ashtabula County, Ohio, there was a family of the name of Naper, and she remembers them well. It was the Napers who induced the Stowells to move to Illinois. Walter Stowell and his family, one of who was destined to be this Mrs. Barrows, came all the way from that northeast corner of Ohio to Illinois in a covered wagon. They sent most of the worldly goods ahead by way of the lakes on a vessel whose Captain was their friend, Joseph Naper. This was in 1831 and the future Mrs. Barrows was nine years old.
There was no Naperville then where the Stowells came to Illinois. Captain Naper quit sailing about this time and took up his abode near the DuPage (River,) not far from the Stowell family. The town that grew up around him was named Naperville after him. Another bit of history mentioned by Mrs. Barrows is that Joseph N. Harris, now living near Yorkville was born in Captain Naper's house in 1833. He was about a year old when her folks left Naperville and came to Newark.
Which is the oldest building in Newark and who knows? The village began taking shape in 1833-4, but there is not one person here now who can remember our town as far back as that. Many of the earliest buildings were overhauled or remodeled years ago and can hardly be called the same buildings now that they were at first. Mrs. Barrows was in this vicinity as early as 1834 but did not begin to reside in the village until 1837. Nor did T. J. Phillips or his wife live here before 1838. These three are the only citizens of Newark who can tell us about the old Georgetown of the thirties from their own personal knowledge. Even this is limited to a part of the last half of that decade. After much investigation it is concluded that the oldest dwelling house now in Newark and still used in its original shape is the house on Front Street that was for many years the home of Robert LeBeau and now occupied by Peter Osmond. William Haymond built it in 1838. One of the next dwellings in point of age and retaining much of its original shape is the Cooper residence on the Millington Road. James Southworth, "Galva's" father built it, in 1840. He died in this house in 1841. Another house dating back to 1840 is the one where John Boyne lived; now occupied by Oscar Johnson. Ole Olson built it. He was the father of Kendall County's most noted soldier, Colonel Porter C. Olson, who passed his boyhood days at this home. Approaching Newark from the direction of Millington, let us keep on south till we come to the next to last block on the east side of Johnson Street. Here Moses Booth erected a store building in 1837. It stands today within a stone's throw of the spot on which it was built and is now used as a stable by O. H. Osmond. The dwelling house built by Mr. Booth in 1842, and occupied by his widow for many years, is a good house. It was one of the best houses in town in those days. So is the house where Mrs. Barrows lives, built by Hiram Prickett in 1842 of bricks from Hiddleson's brickyard near Plano. The original of our one Newark hotel takes us back to 1836. Walter Stowell erected it where the livery stable now stands. It was there that he commenced his tavern keeping in 1837. Soon he moved the building to the opposite corner where we now find it. This was on the corner of Main and Johnson Streets. He sold the hotel to a man named Gardner and it became known as Murray's store. Over this store the Congregationalists held their meetings until 1849 when they built the "gravel church" which was destroyed by fire in 1857. In time, this old Stowell tavern passed to Alexander R. Niblo and others. It has been used as post office, private residence or hotel down to the present time. In 1855 it was entirely remodeled by Mr. Niblo and took on its present appearance. Another old building is the law office of the Barnards. It was built in 1840 and was first known as Pickerton's store. Nathaniel Pease Barnard, Sr., also kept store in it for nine years from 1855 to 1864. One Giesler erected the original of the Barnard residence in 1838. Giesler in those days carried the mail from Lisbon to Newark, going on foot with the mailbag on his back. So greatly has Mr. Barnard changed, enlarged and modernized this Giesler dwelling that its former self can no longer be recognized. Standing near it till recent years was the old "precinct house." This was used in pioneer days for political, educational and religious purposes. It was built in 1837 and you will now find it with several box stalls in it in Gilbert Torkelson's barnyard. It is about 40 rods north of its first location. It is the same building in which James Hervey used to spank his naughty pupils in 1854. Mrs. Thomas J. Phillips remembers attending school in it as far back as 1839.
From 1833 on, George B. Hollenback erected several different store buildings. They are all gone but the last one built in 1845 on the northeast corner of Main and VanBuren Streets. He occupied this for some years, quite into the fifties, as a store, post office, and residence.
Ever since his day, many different parties have occupied it as a residence only. It now belongs to L. T. Wicks. It is a long, wide, single story building and looks very much as it did 61 years ago. Notice the south gable and just over one of the windows you will discover in large dark capital letters the word STORE hiding under later paint. The old sign is good reminder of bygone days.
There is a greater New York and there is a greater Newark, including, of course "Puckerville. Professor A. J. Anderson returned to Newark from the Pacific coast in 1901 after an absence of 22 years. He was asked if Newark looked as it did in Fowler Institute days. He said the hills and hollows were the same but the buildings looked different. Yet the era of elegant buildings was only just begun. That was the year (1901) in which Soren H. Osman built his fine house and others have followed, Wunder's, Koska's, VanTassel's, Quam's, Fruland's, Mrs. Dierzen's, B. B. Courtright's remodeled, Mrs. Fosse's and others. C. F. Johnston, our candidate for sheriff has a very fine house, the result of his own unaided industry and careful management. It has a furnace, a bathroom with hot and cold-water connections and is in many ways a pleasant home. Aside from residences, Helberg's drug store and the Cassem building occupied by Drs. Johnson and Hauge deserve favorable mention and a glance will show that Thunneman is also well abreast of the times in the way of improvement.
We have a good water well at Flavius J. Sleezers'. A gasoline engine pumps it to a great reservoir, which supplies water to all parts of town. Cement sidewalks are also in evidence on the principal streets and in front of the churches. We have three churches, Methodist, Baptist and Lutheran. The Baptist building takes us back to 1848. The Methodist Church was built in 1854. The Lutheran Church was dedicated as such in 1893. The building belonged to the Congregationalists. They built it soon after their "gravel church" was burned down. Our public school of three departments has a very good building erected in 1896. We have been struggling along for about 40 years without a saloon and it seems to go all right. We have three general stores, two drug stores, three blacksmith shops, a hardware store, an Odd Fellows hall, two billiard parlors, a furniture store, a hotel, a meat market and bakery. To keep us looking well we have one barbershop, one dentist and two physicians. To keep us out of mischief we have two magistrates and three lawyers. If we get into mischief we have also a calboose to get into. In the last 15 years many retired farmers with money in the pockets have come into town to live, and still they come. They know a good thing when they see it and we all know that we have one of the best little towns in the whole country.
Reminiscences from By-Gone Days
Kendall County Record, May 16, 1906
In our town years ago was a man named Patrick Dawson. We had also a Lyman Smith, Sidney Smith, Dr. Griffin Smith and other Smiths whose identity is not necessary to establish. One day one of the Smiths, intending to have a little fun with Dawson, said to him, "Well, Pat, what kind of a name is Patrick in your country anyhow?" And Dawson instantly replied, "Well sor, 'tis loik Smith in this country, 'tis no name at all, sor." And the laugh was on Smith.
Did you know that Moody; the evangelist visited Newark once? It was in the fall of 1866 when he was in this thirtieth year. Who got him to come or entertained him while here it is hard to ascertain at this distant time. He is remembered to have been on the streets with Dr. W. M. Sweetland and the two men boldly stepped into a private room occupied by some Fowler Institute students, thinking it was a barber shop, as formerly. Mutual explanations and apologies followed. In the afternoon Moody commenced a religious exhortation on the platform in front of what is now Prickett's store. After speaking a few minutes and gathering a crowd on the street he said. "Let us adjourn to the church." He and the crowd then walked over to what is now the Lutheran Church and there resumed his address from John 3:14, 15. His style of speaking was much like James A. Garfield's, ready, clear, convincing and full of enthusiasm. This enthusiasm spread to the audience.
Our cemetery had its beginning in 1836 and since that day as many as 3,500 persons have found their final resting-place on that high ground between Newark and Millington. Through all these years people from far and near, even from other states, have brought their dead here for burial. The cemetery association was incorporated in 1875. In 1888 the chapel just inside the main gate was erected for the convenience of people from a distance. That was also the year in which the sexton's old tool house was done away after an existence of 44 years. There are 55 soldiers buried here, one from the Revolution, 11 from the second war with England, and the rest from our Civil War. The cemetery has been enlarged a number of times and now contains in all about 12 acres. A vast amount of money has been expended in this yard in monuments. The most massive and costly monument was placed in the memory of Thomas Finnie. There is another monument of note. There is nothing else like it. This is the monument that looks like the trunk of a tree. It is about two and half feet in diameter and looks as though it were broken off about twelve feet from the ground. It appears to have a couple of pieces of limbs clinging to the upper part the tree trunk in the form of a cross. The cross is the most appropriate emblem of our Christianity as the Stars and Stripes are of our nationality. The visitor strolling about these grounds will find graves of Mr. and Mrs. Horatio Fowler, whose son Charles long since gained a national reputation as one of the greatest Bishops of the Methodist Church. Charlie Fowler passed his boyhood days here at Newark. He was an all-around smart boy. Among other things, an expert swimmer, and is remembered to have been seen floating on his back in the river near Millington years ago. But this is getting too far away from the cemetery. In this city of the dead will be found the graves of Henry Verbeck and Johnson Misner, two men whose names should go down in history coupled with that of Abraham Lincoln. The reason for this will be explained shortly. Other graves might well be mentioned, but the list would be too long. Repairs are needed. Many of the old tombstones are toppling over and the fence and chapel begins to look dingy for want of paint. The trustees have hired George Weisshaar by the month for three months to make the necessary repairs. He is a good all-around mechanic and will do good work. So, if they call on us for financial help let us be liberal in our contributions. It will pay.
In the "Newark Sketches" of April the 11th, mention was made of the house built here by Ole Olson in 1840 and still in use as a dwelling house. Olson died in that house January 17, 1853, his first wife having died on the same place but in the old log house about 13 years before. Olson was one of the first Norwegian settlers in America. He crossed the Atlantic in 1825 in the Restaurationen an old sloop with 53 other emigrants. The Restaurationen was the Norwegian Mayflower.
Ole first lived in western New York, where he married an American woman. A few years later, they settled here near Newark. Ole was the first Norwegian settler in Kendall County. His first wife was of the excellent family of the Chamberlains and was the mother of his three sons, Porter, Soren and James "Webster", and his only daughter, Bertha.
For his second wife he married Mrs. Brown, mother of Robert E. Brown, who used to live west of Newark, just beyond the county line. His son Webster has long resided in California. Bertha became Mrs. William Shafer and moved to Red Wing, Minnesota, where she died in recent years.
Olson was known in Norway as Ole Olson Hetletvedt. Their system of naming being different from ours. There the baptismal name is the only real name, a word being added to indicated whose son or daughter and another to indicate the farm where born. After coming here Olson was a farmer, colporter and lay preacher. (A colporter is a missionary or publicist for some, usually religious, cause.) Ole was an ardent Haugian. He owned land on both sides of the Millington road north of Newark. He was a man of note and influence here for about 15 years. During the last ten years of his life he was a member of the Newark Congregational Church. The old "gravel church" and was much respected by all for his integrity and piety. He and his wife Sarah Chamberlain are buried in the Millington and Newark Cemetery. We of this generation who do not remember to have seen him should honor his memory if for no other reason than he furnished three worthy sons to the army, two of whom were among those who gave their lives that the nation might live.
During the Civil War our Methodist Church was much used for the holding of "war meetings." At one of these meetings in May or June 1861, Porter C. Olson gained his first war victory. Enough men to form a company had submitted their names for enlistment and the question was who should be their Captain. Dr. Julius A. Freeman was thought of. A man named Stonex (George Stonex) was also a candidate and so was Porter Olson. A large majority elected Olson. It seems he was about to exchange the schoolroom for the camp, for was just then finishing a successful year of teaching in the old stone academy at Lisbon. Thenceforth, he was with his company and regiment in all their battles and hardships for nearly three and a half years. On the death of other officers he was promoted to acting Brigadier General and given the temporary command of a brigade. He met his own fate at the Battle of Franklin (Tennessee) in November 1864. "When brave Olson fell, a cold tremor thrilled along the line. At any other time than in the face of the enemy and under a murderous fire the men would have sat down and cried like children over his untimely fate." So says Bennett the historian of Olson's regiment. The colonel's grave in our cemetery remained without a monument for more than 15 years and people were beginning to forget which grave it was. This neglect is accounted for by the fact that he had no family of his own. His nearest relatives were dead or had moved away. So when the old soldiers determined, as they did about 25 years ago, to erect a monument to his memory the question was, where is he buried and who knows? Of two unmarked graves, one or the other was believed to be his. However, there was no way of making sure of the right one except to dig down and find out. One of the graves was selected haphazardly for excavation. Luckily the excavation revealed the mild features, black hair and forked beard of Porter C. Olson. Here the old soldiers placed their fine tribute of respect to the memory of their brave comrade. No visitor to our cemetery can fail to notice the monument with the cannon ball at the top, surmounted by an eagle.
In the spring or summer of 1864 a couple of timid Fowler Institute schoolgirls were at Coy's store when they noticed Colonel Olson approaching from across the street. He had just returned home on furlough. His shoulder straps and bright uniform must have made somewhat of an awe-inspiring impression, for one of the girls whispered, "Now we'll see if Colonel Olson will be too proud to speak to us." When he came up, his refined face beaming with friendliness, he extended his hand and the greeting was most cordial. As has been said of another, "he was a charming personality," and his death at the early age of 33 cut short what might have been a great career.
Quite a number of people are still here and in this vicinity that attended the great debate on the slavery question between Lincoln and Douglas at Ottawa, August 21, 1858. Our townsman, O. H. Osmond, was then a very small boy living with his parents near the Newark and Ottawa Road not far from the village of Norway. He recalls the scores and hundreds of people who passed his home that day on their way to Ottawa to hear the great men speak. "Bleeding Kansas" was much talked of and there was a large company of young men from Newark called the "Kansas Guards" on horseback. There was a company of young ladies dressed in white, representing the different states as their badges showed. Farmers and villagers flocked to Ottawa that day and the writer's parents were in the procession. Democrats wanted to see how Lincoln could justify his "black republican" and "abolition" principles. Republicans wanted to see how Douglas could justify his course in helping to open up the whole country to the spread of slavery. Everybody thought what fools the other fellows were and everybody during the speaking enthusiastically supported his own leader. When the speaking was over and Lincoln was passing down from the platform, two of his rural admirers, Henry Verbeck and Johnson Misner from near Newark made him sit upon their united shoulders, facing forward and balancing himself as best he could. They carried in that way to the house of the Honorable J. O. Glover, his place of entertainment. A cheering crowd followed the trio. One of who accidentally knocked off Lincoln's silk hat, which, however, was quickly put on again from behind. As Lincoln was being carried along he would once in a while take off his hat, reach down into it, draw out a handkerchief and dry his face. It may be well to mention at least two living witnesses of all these incidents, Terris Johnson of Newark and Samuel Richolson of Ottawa. Every time Lincoln reached down into his hat, Richolson, in his boyish fancy thought that was the deepest well of a hat he had ever seen. This debate at Ottawa was the first of those seven debates between the "Little Giant" and Lincoln. Douglas was the readiest off-hand debater then in Congress. By the time these debates were over he probably saw, as other people saw, that he had met his match and more in Lincoln.
Odds And Ends from the Distant Past
Kendall County Record, August 1, 1906
The row of hard maples on Johnson Street in front of the Sweetland residence dates back to 1845. Dr. N. D. Sweetland planted them there in the spring of that year. After withstanding the storms of 61 years one of them at the north end of the row was blown down this summer. Dr. Sweetland did not long enjoy the shade of these fine trees, for he died in 1849, when only 38 years of age. When he practiced medicine here along in the forties, most of what is now Newark southeast of his house was open prairie. Often when he was away at night on his professional visits his wife would hang a light in a conspicuous place to help him find his way home across the trackless waste.
Nathaniel Pease Barnard, Sr., Abel Gleason, Ole Olson, William E. Lewis, and Rev. Heman S. Colton the Congregational minister, were Newark operators on the Underground Railroad in the days of slavery. They helped many a panting fugitive to Canada and freedom. Deep religious convictions and feelings of humanity and mercy animated them. They cared little for the fact that their neighbors counted "nigger-stealers" no better than horse thieves. They had faith that right makes might. In that faith they dared to do their duty as they understood it. They were men of high character, the cream of the community. They were trusted and respected without reserve in ordinary matters. Yet oddly enough branded as no better than criminals in this one matter of helping human beings to the enjoyment of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Some of our older townsmen can remember as far back as the memorable year of 1840. This was the year of the log cabin campaign. On the fourth of July that year a great celebration was held here at Newark for the whole county. James Southworth presided and in the absence of the regular speaker, Rev. Heman S. Colton was called on for a speech. In the course of his address he made an unfriendly allusion to slavery in the land of free and the home of the brave. It aroused such a howl of criticism that he sat down without finishing his remarks. We of today marvel that there could have been anyone in this otherwise enlightened community who saw any just ground for the claim that one human being could own another human being as negotiable property. However, they were here. Northern men with southern principles! Why were they so sensitive to the least breath of opposition? It was because the slavery question was a branch of that great struggle that has been going on in the world since the beginning of time, the struggle between right and wrong. The wrong is always sensitive and often pugnacious when confronted by right.
One day in November 1843, Ansel Ryder, Owen Haymond and others were in the barroom of a tavern in Newark, on the northwest corner of Jackson and Front Streets. Haymond charged Ryder with having a black streak down his neck. Ryder, sitting on a chair and leaning back against the wall, denied the charge. Haymond offered to prove it to the bystanders by stripping Ryder of his clothing. Accordingly he approached him and with a quick movement of the foot tripped the chair from under him. This angered Ryder, who went home for his rifle. On his return to the tavern he shot Haymond in the shoulder, but not fatally. The shooting caused great excitement in town and Ryder barricaded himself in his house half a mile away. The crowd got after him, but he held them at bay most of the night by telling them that he would shoot the first man that dared to break in. Charles McNeil attempted to get in at a window and was fatally shot by Ryder. McNeil died in a few days. Ryder was finally arrested and his trial dragged its slow length along for three years with acquittal as the result. Earl Adams, father of the late Honorable Wright Adams, is remembered as one of the jurors who favored acquittal on the ground that the wounding of Haymond, though unfortunate, was excusable. As far as McNeil goes, he was not a constable or magistrate and had no right to break into Ryder's house. McNeil's gravestone was the first memorial stone of any kind ever erected in our cemetery, although there were about half a dozen earlier burials here.
You remember how slow the promised McKinley prosperity was in making its appearance after the election of 1896. For many months any improvement of the times was hardly perceptible and the expression "McKinley prosperity" was bandied about with a sneer. Prosperity came at last and we have it today. The Whigs contended that if William Henry Harrison were elected it would surely bring prosperity to the whole country. Election news traveled slower in those days than now. It was three months before the news of Harrison's election reached Newark. Charles McNeil, who was Aldrich's brother-in-law and a great democrat, exclaimed, "Now you can see what your Harrison prosperity amounts to. The country is not a bit better off than before the election." When an individual or a nation is seriously ill and a physician is called we should wait for the medicine to take effect before finding fault with the result.
Nelson Messenger, a Newark blacksmith, patented the Messenger Gopher in 1860. It was at once seen as a great improvement over the old double-shovel plow. After a while it lost some of its popularity by reason of the invention of other cultivators. However, when farmers saw that after all it was the best of implements for crossing the corn the crooked way, its popularity returned and will probably continue. The fact that it would "go for" the weeds without hurting the roots of the corn is said to have suggested its name. Messenger made big money out of his invention but appears to have had no great talent for hoarding. Like many other inventors he died poor. He died here at Newark, January 25, 1886, at the age of 78 years.
Nels O. Cassem was a remarkable man. He came here from Norway in 1849 at the age of twenty years. He spent his first winter at Pernett Warner's in Newark, doing chores for his board. He was at Warner's again the second winter doing chores and getting his board and six dollars a month. Like all newcomers except the English, Scotch and Irish, he had to begin the bewildering task of learning a strange language. Seth C. Sleezer, Sr., once hired him to cut down a cluster of trees, telling him in English and by signs and gestures to leave the big walnut tree standing and cut down all the others. A little later Sleezer found the walnut tree down and all the other trees standing. Just the opposite of what he wanted. In spite of such early mistakes Cassem soon gained the reputation of being a good hand at almost any kind of common work. For a time during the fall of 1851 he assisted Thomas Howes in digging wells. The last job they did together was at Pernett Warner's. Before the work was finished a big fat hog of Warner's accidentally fell into the well and the men had a time getting him our again from a depth of 25 or 30 feet. Their next job of well digging was to be at Hornblower's south of town. For some reason Cassem could not be with Howes on that job and he was afterwards glad he could not, for Howes was killed in the Hornblower well. The windlass rope broke and let the loaded bucket fall upon him. Josiah Fosgate used to hire Cassem to cut hay with a scythe in company with other men. Nearly 50 years later Fosgate told the writer that Cassem could mow twice as much in a day as any of the other men. When Fosgate went to California in 1850 to be gone about a year he entrusted his breaking plow and sixteen yoke of oxen to Cassem to care for and use during his absence. Cassem's first job of breaking was a Milton Fowler's. Having no experience in that kind of work it looked as if he would make a failure of it. In the midst of his perplexity he made a hasty trip up east of Newark to consult John McCartney, an expert. McCartney told him what to do and what not to do. He hurried back to Fowler's and did the work all right. When the Rock Island Railroad was under construction he took a contract for grading a mile of the road near Morris. He erected a temporary building to live in, near the work. Being by this time a married man he boarded his gang of men. Along in the fifties he began to be a purchaser of land. Early on he adopted the rule of never parting with any land he once got, no matter how tempting the price offered might be. He was a genuine expansionist from the first and this sketch is intended merely as a rehearsal of some half-forgotten incidents in the formative part of his career between the aged of 20 and 25 years.
"Things Worth Remembering From Way Back"
Kendall County Record, August 22, 1906
In the spring of 1866 Newark went "dry" and has remained "dry" ever since. We have a calaboose (jail), but have no use for it.
At an entertainment here in 1866 a prize was offered to the most popular young lady in the audience. The matter to be decided by ballot. Miss Ella Winchell won the prize. Some years later she won another, Nathan J. Aldrich.
In March 1868, a fire, supposed to have been of incendiary origin, consumed Manchester's drug store, Winchell's hardware store, Bingham's shoe shop and Hanchett's art gallery, all on Front Street. The loss was about $8,000.
In November 1869, Mrs. Asa Manchester, while visiting at Edgerton's fell down a cellarway and died the next day. She was an estimable woman, a sister of Asa's first wife. These two sisters were Julia and Adaline Burnham. Mr. Manchester survived them many years, dying June 6, 1901.
During the sixties, Albert Cook became prominent here as justice, postmaster and local politician. The saloon element was hostile to him, as he showed them no favor. He died in February 1870. His gravestone has it 1871, but that needs correcting.
Going back to 1776, we find that Martin Schliezer was one of the Hessians hired by the British to come over and help fight the Yankees in the Revolution. On arriving here he deserted the British and joined the Yankees. He never dreamed that any of his descendants would be at Newark or in Kendall County 130 years later. Here they are the well-known Sleezer family.
Doctor Julius A. Freeman
Doctor Julius A. Freeman was a native of Otsego County, New York but passed his childhood and youth in Lorain County, Ohio. When he came to Illinois in 1852, as a young physician, he intended to locate at Ottawa, Illinois. He was then 24 years of age and had a young wife and two small children. When he got as far as Newark on the old stage route one of his children became seriously ill and he was detained here. The child died and was laid to rest in our cemetery and the doctor decided to stay at Newark. The ensuing winter, 1852-3, he taught school in a log schoolhouse at the corners a mile and half east of town. He had taught several terms in Ohio, but this was his first and last teaching in Illinois. Newark was his home for the next 23 years. Then he practiced two or three years in Chicago. He returned to Millington in 1878 and was there for the next 26 years until he died in 1904.
Samuel Bingham, now in his ninety-first year, is often seen on our streets. He is an interesting personality, a link between the past and the present. He first occupied the house and lot where he lives 62 years ago. Has he other estate? Yes, he has a good name and is well liked. A kind of estate that is valuable when houses and lots are slipping away. His talks of the past have always been interesting. He tells of his deer hunts in New York and Illinois. He tells of Albert Larned the Newark school teacher killed while digging the Bingham well in 1846 when a loaded bucket fell to the bottom and took the breath of life out of him though is did not touch him. He tells of his two famous cures. For many years he was afflicted with asthma. It entirely disappeared about 25 years ago as a result of inhaling the smoke of burning "jimson" weed sprinkled with a solution of saltpeter and then dried before being ignited. He continued this practice for 13 years before he was cured of his asthma. He says he indulged in the tobacco habit for 27 years. That it is now 46 years since he cured himself of it. He says all you have to do in the matter of tobacco is to just make up your mind to quit and then quit and stay quit. You will notice that persistence is an ingredient in both of these cures. Long live Samuel Bingham!
Fowler Institute Notes
Horatio Fowler was a Canadian. He served on the American side in the War Of 1812 and was wounded at the Battle of Lundy's Lane. He was also involved in the Canadian Rebellion of 1837. As a consequence, he spent two years in prison. Soon after his liberation he came to Newark in search of a new home. This region suited him and besides, his wife's kinsman, Lyman Smith was already here. So he sent for his family, consisting of a wife, two sons and two daughters. They established their home not far from the creek on the east side of the Millington Road. One of the sons is now the distinguished Bishop Fowler. The other son, deceased, was for some years a Newark druggist and later a physician. It was on land belonging to the Fowlers and within a stone's throw of their residence that the Institute building was erected in 1855. The school was appropriately named Fowler Institute. From 1855 down to about 1873 it was one of the best schools in the state anywhere between Mount Morris and Jacksonville. Miss Washburn had a genius for teaching and school management. She was the first and last lady principal, but there were lady assistants down through the years of the school's prosperity that desire mention. Miss Shauber, Miss Mills, Miss Wickwire, Mrs. Rodgers, Miss Markham and Miss Raymond were assistant principals. The most successful men as principals of the school were I. M. Wilmarth, A. J. Anderson, D. J. Poor, and John R. Burns. Anderson was a principal longer than any of the others. He served from 1861 to 1868. After the Institute was burned in 1880, the question of holding an annual reunion of former students began to be agitated. The first of these picnics occurred here in October 1882. It was decided to hold the reunion each year thereafter on the last Wednesday in August. This reminds us that the approaching reunion is near at hand. If you want to hunt up old friends, whether you were a student or not, attend the coming reunion and you will be apt to find them there. This picnic will bring together people you would not find at any other public gathering during the year. The principal speaker this time will be Judge L. S. Nelson of Minnesota, a brother of Supervisor Nelson of this county, and Judge R. M. Wing of Chicago. Both were former students and have since gained distinction in their profession.
A Fowler Institute Incident
From 1861 to 1868, Alexander J. Anderson was principal of Fowler Institute. He was one of the ablest heads the school ever had. In church connection he was Congregationalist. He opened school each day with devotional exercises, consisting of scripture reading, prayer and vocal and instrument music. Being no musician himself he left that part to the school led by the assistants. The whole of these devotional exercises lasted usually not more than half an hour. One morning in the fall of 1866, just at nine, in came Rev. Smith, pastor of the Baptist Church, and Professor Anderson got him to conduct the devotions. The venerable old gentleman read a long chapter, made extensive remarks and offered a long and eloquent prayer. All of this, with the music, extended these opening exercises to more than an hour in length and the students took a lively interest in it all and had a reason of their own for so doing. It compelled the professor to omit some of the morning recitations, notably the mental arithmetic, the hardest thing of the whole day. When the minister was gone the professor showed strong signs of being provoked. As Esop would say, this fable teaches that we should not make our devotions too long when there are other matters to be attended to.
Speaking of Professor Anderson calls to mind the curious fact that he was a native of the Atlantic Ocean, having seen the first light of day on shipboard when his parents were coming over from Scotland. In that respect he was like the noted southern statesman John C. Calhoun, with this difference, that Calhoun's parents were on their way from Ireland when the future statesman was born.
This pioneer was a native of Massachusetts and was born in 1792. He lived there on his father's farm until 1816. He then immigrated to the wilds of western New York. This was in Wyoming County where he married Sarah Gleason and was engaged in farming until 1844. In 1844, he moved to Illinois and became the owner of 80 acres three miles east of Newark. Aside from his farming, he was willing to do any kind of work that afforded a fair compensation. In this new country the digging and walling of wells, though somewhat hazardous, was a profitable business and he engaged in it. From the fall of 1847 to the fall of 1851, he dug and walled up many wells in this vicinity. Two for George Hollenback, one for John Hollenback, one for Burr Bristol, on for Asa Manchester, two for John Boyd, one for Alanson Robinson, where D. F. Dreishmire now lives, and one for Pernett Warner. The Hornblower well was begun about the first of September 1851. This was the well in which Howes lost his life. Nels O. Cassem, then a young man recently from Norway, was with Howes on a number of these jobs, but on the day of the fatal accident he was absent and Howe's son Ezekiel, was in Cassem's place at the windlass. They were now walling up the well. All of the old windlass rope had been condemned except about three feet of it to which was attached the iron hook used for holding the bucket. It was proposed to splice this short piece of the old rope to a new rope that had been procured. Dr. Hornblower's hired man, George Gardner, claimed that he had been a sailor and that he could splice the rope so it would be stronger at the splice than at any other point. He was allowed to try it. The spliced rope held together for a while. At last, just as a bucketful of stone was about to be sent down and the plank underneath the bucket was slipped aside, the rope pulled apart at the splice and down shot the bucket striking the man on the head and back with fatal results.
Off for California, 1850
Harrison W. Sweetland, John Ruble, John L. Phillips Seth C. Sleezer, Sr. Darwin A. Harrington, Albert and Jacob Mott, Garret and Sam Collins, Josiah Fosgate and Maltby Preston went from here in March 1850 to dig gold in California. They went in covered wagons. They crossed the Mississippi at Burlington, Iowa on a steam ferryboat and the Missouri at St. Joseph, Missouri, also in a steam ferry. The smaller streams they crossed in ferryboats that were nothing more than floating bridges. They had to pull themselves across by means of ropes fastened to the shore. On crossing the Platte River this little band of Newark men knew they were about to enter a region where there would be a scarcity of water for some distance. They had a barrel to take water along but it was leaky and some of the men placed it near the riverbank and filled it with water to soak over night. They encamped near by and at midnight that night it was Harrington's turn to stand guard. Soon he saw an Indian crouching and silent in the direction of the river and he banged away at him. He was sure he killed the Indian, for he could hear the blood spurting and oozing out and the poor fellow was still crouching and silent, though our guard did not dare approach him. In the morning the dead Indian was found to be nothing more nor less than the aforesaid barrel of water. That was the only Indian trouble our Newark men had in crossing the plains. In California they all dug some gold, bur none of them dug themselves rich. Within a year or a little more they were all back to Newark except John L. Phillips who died in Pennsylvania on his way here. The men took different homeward routes, each to suit him. Sleezer came by way of Cape Horn and Fosgate and others by way of Panama. Ruble took a steamer at San Francisco and was on the Pacific 16 days to Nicaragua. He crossed that country a distance of 200 miles on the great lake of the same name and in canoes on the rivers. Then it took him 12 days more on the Atlantic to reach New York City. In those early fifties, the writer does not have the exact date; two other men went from Newark to dig gold in California. They were Heman Winchell and Alfred P. Lincoln. C. F. Thuneman used to say that he remembered their covered wagon waiting in front of the drug store just before they started for the far west. A stovepipe for a chimney protruded through the cover of the wagon. Lincoln never returned. He died in the far west. All of the men mentioned in this sketch are dead and gone except John Ruble of Newark, Darwin A. Harrington of Millington and Josiah Fosgate, now living in California.
"Notable Incidents from the Dim Past"
Kendall County Record, December 26, 1906
In 1858, Newark had a village library of 150 or 200 volumes. The books were kept in an upper room in Lutyen's hotel. The Library Association consisted of villagers and people from outside, mostly to the south and west. It appears to have been divided into two unfriendly parties. The party of the first part wanted to donate the books to the Sons of Temperance, whose headquarters were over Fowler's drug store. To this the party of the second part strenuously objected. Thereupon the party of the first part secretly removed the books from the hotel and hid them in a room over Tom Hollenback's store. When this became known the party of the second part and their friends and enemies gathered in large numbers on the street. Hand to hand contests ensued and the books were forcibly removed from their hiding place. They were finally handed over to Alexander R. Niblo, a Justice Of the Peace, for safe keeping and the Sons of Temperance never got them.
The Smith Case, 1859
In 1859, Newark had a harness maker named Smith. He was a big fellow and would tip the scales at 210 pounds. He was one of a clique of drinking men who thought they were entitled to whisky at Thuneman's drug store whenever they wanted it, while the druggist thought just the opposite. One evening late in the summer of 1859 a number of this clique waited at a corner across from Thuneman's while Smith went over to the drug store to see what he could do in the way of getting a drink of whisky. In a few moments he was seen dragging Dr. Thuneman out across the sidewalk and beating him. The affair caused great excitement in town and the arrest of Smith was soon on the program. It was after dark and Smith and some of his friends, the latter armed with sticks, declared that he would never be arrested. This only intensified the determination to bring him to justice. In front of Winchell's hardware store was a barrel filled with new axe helves (handles) and the friends of law and order were told to help themselves. The saloon element, at that time, numerous and bold, took part with Smith and angry disputes occurred. Dr. Sweetland is remembered to have used his axe helve to the extent of a slight blow on Barnett, who was getting off some talk in Smith's favor. At the same time, Smith was dodging from street to street and from building to building in trying to avoid the constable. Henry H. Lewis, the constable, only weighed about a 115 pounds. However, he was wide-awake, fearless and gritty. He had for his deputy Porter C. Olson, the schoolteacher who afterwards gained distinction in the Civil War. Olson's weight was not more than 140 pounds and it was thought by some that neither he nor Lewis could do much with the big Smith. But let us see. Smith was traced to the cellar of his house on Front Street, where the Wunder family afterwards lived for many years. Constable Lewis entered the cellar from the outside. Smith ran up through the house and out on the porch. Here Olson grappled with him and laid him flat on the floor. The police magistrate, Asa Manchester, appeared on the scene at this moment and the three little men, Manchester, Lewis and Olson, lost no time in tying Smith's hands behind his back and marching him away. He was incarcerated that night in a vacant building at the south side of Coy's store. Thomas J. Phillips and H. E. Russell guarded him there until morning. Later in the day he made his escape and was afterwards discovered skulking in the woods north of town. He now proposed to the authorities through Mr. Phillips, who had discovered him, that he would leave town at once and forever if they would agree not to punish him. The matter was adjusted in that way. The part taken by Henry H. Lewis and Porter C. Olson in this memorable affair has often since been mentioned to their credit.
The Jennings Homicide
About Christmas time in 1860, some of the Norwegian young people had a dance and supper at Harris' grocery store and saloon. During the evening two "Yankees" went there and made disturbances. They took possession of the supper table and offered uncomplimentary remarks about the matters connected with the dance. Some days later Lewis Olson, who was one of the dancers, met Stephen Jennings, one of those "Yankees," and there was an unfriendly dispute between them over the disturbance at the dance. The next day, Lewis Olson was sitting on a bench at Harris' whittling a stick with a very small jackknife when in came Stacey Jennings whom Olson mistook for Stephen Jennings. Angry words ensued and Stacey Jennings hurled a scale weight at Olson. The weight made a slight gash on his head. At the same time Jennings advanced toward Olson. Olson now made a low, forward thrust with his knife, and the resulting incision on Jennings groin was found to be so small that you could scarcely more than insert the point of a lead pencil in it. Dr. Freeman was at hand almost immediately and Dr. W. M. Sweetland a few moments later. Nothing could be done. The femoral artery had been punctured and in five minutes the man was dead. The only witness to the knife thrust by Olson was a cracker peddler named Lynch. The proprietor of the saloon and another man had just gone into a back room to get some whiskey. Olson was arrested and taken to Chicago to jail, as we had not jail in Kendall County at that time. Some months later he was acquitted on the ground of self-defense. This deplorable homicide may have had some influence in making Newark "go dry" and stay dry these 40 years.
Newark in the Civil War
Early in April 1861, even before Sumter was fired on, Newark was excitedly talking about the approaching war. Soon Dr. R. F. Dyer was around enlisting a company. This company was later known as Company K, 20th Regiment Illinois Infantry. The only person in town at that time who knew anything about military tactics was George W. Watson who had seen service in the Mexican War. Watson became drillmaster of Dr. Dyer's company and spent several weeks in instructing the men in the art of war. The drilling was done on the open ground known as the Schoolhouse Square. Early in May, the company was ordered to Joliet to be mustered in. Drillmaster Watson had a habit that was not in favor and the boys politely requested him to leave which he did just before the muster-in, joining some other part of the army later. This company K was about the earliest from Kendall County, though there were scattered enlistments from our county in other parts of the army still earlier. Following is a list of Newark men who enlisted during the war in some part or other of the army, including only those lived in the village.
Walter Aitken, Sr. Thomas Hopgood
Walter Aitken, Jr. Horace T. Hoyt
Edward P. Atkins Azariah Hull
David L. Barrows Elias H. Kilmer
James R. Barrows Porter C. Olson
Eliphalet Barber Soren L. Olson
Nathaniel P. Barnard James W. Olson
John Broad Aaron P. Paxton
Thompson Bristol William J. Prentice
Charles D. Chapin James Ryan
Benjamin B. Courtright Henry E. Russell
Horace P. Courtright Perry W. Spellman
James Crellen Fayette C. Scofield
Francis Crowell Albert M. Sweetland
Michael Donahue Nelson L. Sweetland
Reuben F. Dyer Curtis L. Wann
Parley F. Freeland George K. Wann
Julius A. Freeman George W. Watson
William H. Fritts Andrew West
Samuel J. Hannah Martin C. Wilson
William P. Hatch John H. Whitney
Wesley Hollenback George W. Woods
Of these 45 Newark men, five were killed in battle. D. L. Barrows, P. C. Olson, S. L. Olson, J. Crelen and C. L. Wann. Three died of sickness, E. P. Atkins, A. P. Paxton and Thompson Bristol. Most of the remaining 37 have died since the war. Only eight of them are still alive and in Newark, J. P. Barrows, N. P. Barnard, B. B. Courtright, M. Donahue, N. L. Sweetland, A. M. Sweetland and M. C. Wilson. The men, who enlisted from just outside of town, five or six of whom were killed in battle, will be mentioned in the next sketch.
In the Civil War
Here is believed to be a tolerable accurate list of men who served in the Union Army from just outside of Newark. That is to say, Newark was their post office, but they did not live in the village.
Benjamin G. Adams Johnson Misner
Wright Adams John B. McMath
Andrew Brown Henry Mott
John Brown Jacob Mott
Lewis G. Bishop Walter Mott
Sumner M. Cook Benjamin Olin
John K. Cook Luman C. Preston
Cornelius C. Courtright William T. Preston
Charles G. Collins Warren B. Rockwood
Garret L. Collins George F. Stonex
Isaac Gruver, Jr. Flavious J. Sleezer
Benjamin Hackerson George M. Sleezer
Charles Hall Benjamin Stevenson
Edwin Havenhill Paul Stevenson
Henry Havenhill Benjamin Seymour
Marshall Havenhill Charles Seymour
Edwin Howes Edwin Seymour
Philip Howes Henry Seymour
James Jennings John G. Seymour
Stephen Jennings Selim White
Joseph Johnson Josiah Wright
Jeptha H. Misner
The men killed in battle were Benjamin G. Adams, Philip Howes, Flavious J. Sleezer, Paul Stevenson, Edward Seymour and Charles Seymour. Seriously wound: Andrew Brown, Lewis G. Bishop, Charles Hall, James Jennings, Tunis S. Serrine and Josiah Wright. Captured and imprisoned: Andrew Brown, Edwin Howes, and James Jennings. Died in hospital of sickness: Sumner M. Cook, at Vicksburg, July 20, 1863, and George M. Sleezer at Camp Butler, November 1, 1864. Severely wounded in the arm at Briton's Lane, September 1, 1862: Edwin Howes.
In the spring of 1864, two Norwegian boys, brothers, John and Terris Johnson, (Mehus), whose names are not given in the above list, hired out as farm hands to Asa Manchester. A few weeks later they begged Manchester to let them off, as they wanted to enlist. They enlisted in Porter C. Olson's company and did good fighting for their adopted country. John was First Lieutenant of his company and Terris as First Sargent. At Perryville, Terris Johnson had his right leg badly shattered. He was taken in an ambulance to Louisville, a distance of 70 miles, in excruciating pain. There it was proposed to amputate his limb, but he would not allow it. Honorably discharged, he made his way to Chicago and secured the services of Dr. ___ard, President of Rush Medical College who saved his limb for him, though with great difficulty. He is today a much-respected resident of Newark. Who says this Newark community did not do anything for the country in its hour of need?
Dr. Valentine Vermilye
At one time, Dr. Vermilye occupied a house where the Methodist parsonage now stands but the date is not clear. As far back as 1854 he lived in the house on Front Street now the home of the Bibbins family. Later he moved to where John Hegland now lives on Taylor Street. That was his home until he went to Sandwich, Illinois to live during the latter part of the Civil War. His brother-in-law, A. M. Cox, tried farming in the early fifties and for two or three years worked a part of what is now the Seth C. Sleezer farm. The doctor liked to go out there and swing the scythe or the cradle at harvest just for recreation. The hunting of wild game with dog and gun was also one of his pastimes. In 1860 he was elected to the legislature on the Lincoln ticket, and filled the place to the satisfaction of his constituents. He was a man of dignified bearing, always sociable and popular and the soul of honor. Yet he had some notions that may be called Vermilyean. He was averse to going off into the country at night on professional visits. If he thought the case not serious he would call in the morning. About the time of his service in the legislature he attended law lectures at Cleveland, Ohio. His post office address appeared in the catalogue of the school as "Valentine Vermilye, Ottawa, Illinois," although he had never lived there. The doctor spent more than 40 years of his life as a resident of Sandwich, but the people of Newark were interested in him to the last. When he died the newspapers gave his full name as Valentine Mott Vermilye, but while he was at Newark he never used any middle name or initial. The papers were certainly wrong in saying that he moved from Newark to Sandwich in 1861, for he is remembered as a resident of Newark a good part of the time during the war.
History of Kendall County
From 1874 to 1880, Reverend E. W. Hicks was pastor of the Newark Baptist Church. In 1876, he commenced a History of Kendall County, passing it through the Millington Enterprise for many months as a series of newspaper articles and then publishing it in book form. He did well for a man who had lived in our county but a short time. But he does not appear to have been careful enough in verifying his facts before letting them go into the book. Therefore his work is marred by many errors. His faulty account of the Jennings tragedy as found on page 296 is an instance. Another instance is where he give us to understand on page 242, that it was Ezekiel Howes that was killed in the Hornblower well near Newark in 1851, and makes no mention of Ezekiel Howes' father, Thomas Howes, who was the real victim. On page 236 he mentions "Mr. Anderson and Mr. Burns as among the old-time pastors of the Newark Congregational Church. Anderson and Burns were principals of Fowler Institute but were not pastors of any Newark church. The History gives a long list of Kendall County soldiers, but no where mentions W. Aitken, N. P. Barnard, Thompson Bristol, or G. W. Watson, who certainly were among those who went to the war from Newark. Notwithstanding these errors and omissions, Hick's History of Kendall County will remain a good book for reference for some later historian.
Odds and Ends from Away Back
Kendall County Record, April 10, 1907
There are at least 16 Newarks in the United States, and ours is the main one for us.
Of all the people who lived here fifty years ago there are just thirty remaining, 17 men and 13 women.
Barnett's store was headquarters, during the Civil War, for people in sympathy with the South, and the Chicago Timeswas their Bible.
Dr. C. C. Thuneman, who settled here in 1845, was a graduate in medicine before he left Germany. His family is the only permanent German family Newark has ever had.
Our Newark streets had names from away back, but most of us are not familiar enough with them and do not use them in ordinary conversation. The names of our streets are sometimes used in these "Sketches" for the sake of certain locality.
John Boyne, of New York birth and Irish parentage, was a resident of Newark 50 years, from 1852 to 1902. He was a quiet man and a much-respected citizen. He was a wagon maker and a house painter; he did some excellent work in those lines. His wagon shop was destroyed by fire in 1866 and was never rebuilt. In 1902, he moved to Millington and is living there now. When he first came to Newark he began to be called, erroneously, John Bowen. The error took such deep root as to be practically beyond correction. He accounts for the error by saying that there were Bowens in the locality when he arrived and the slight similarity in the sound of the two names led to the error. We read about the Battle of the Boyne, but we never read about the Battle of the "Bowen." Boyne owned and occupied the old Porter C. Olson home from 1854 to 1902.
MacArthur and McGinnis
The "Mac" in surnames is written out in full in Scotland but is always abbreviated to "Mc" in Ireland. It is a curious fact that the Irish abbreviation is used almost universally in this country. It must look a little odd to foreigners. There is really no good reason for dropping out just one letter in the writing of so short a syllable. It is about the same as if we should abbreviate the "Van" of Dutch names into "Vn." But custom is a tyrant and must have her way. The prefix "Mac" in these Scotch and Irish names is said to mean the same as the suffix "son" in other names. We have many "sons" in Newark, but in all our history we have never had a "Mac," either Scotch or Irish. It may be added, we have never had an "o" or a "Fitz."
We all recollect the little deckless Viking ship, 74 feet long and 16 feet wide, at the World's Fair in 1893. It crossed the ocean in 43 days with 12 men on board. One of the men, R. Rasmussen, a lay preacher, is now living east-northeast of Newark on the old Granville place. He says they encountered three storms at sea, which they could not hear their own voices and they had to bail the water out of their little open vessel for dear life. Leif Ericksen on his voyage of discovery had probably a similar experience nearly nine centuries before. What will not men do for the glory of their country?
The Spelling Schools
Early in the spring of 1875, the whole country was having spelling schools. Newark did not escape the "epidemic." There was considerable rivalry between Newark and Millington. The contests at Newark were held in the Baptist Church and those at Millington in the Methodist Church. Someone was appointed to pronounce words from Webster and two others were appointed to choose sides. The opposing spellers arranged themselves on opposite sides of the room. Each person remained standing until "spelled down." Dr. W. M. Sweetland was hard to beat but he once went down on "spawn" and again on "bombycinous" (of or relating to silk worms.) Hale Fowler, the lawyer, went down on "accomplice." At one of the contests the word "much" was given to D. R. Ballou. With his usual deliberation and emphasis, in a loud, clear voice he spelled it "m-u-t-c-h." When he was told to be seated the audience smiled audibly. How do you account for the fact that spelling schools were held all over the country just at that time with more absorbing interest than ever before or since?
A Newark Suburb
At an early day the neighborhood east of Newark, from a mile to three miles east, received the name of Mt. Mallory. The peak of the mount was at the home of the Mallory family on what is now the Hackerson farm. The name was first suggested by Mrs. Preston, who jokingly said that as the Mallorys were such good hands to circulate neighborhood news the proper thing to do would be to have a post office there and call it Mt. Mallory. The post office was never established but the name was fastened on the neighborhood and for many years was familiar to everybody far and near. Of late it is but little used, because, as John Thomas once said in his Welch dialect, "Enither nation has come in here." That is true. The Prestons, the Mallorys and all those early "Yankee" families have long since disappeared from "Mt. Mallory" and the mount itself is now almost a thing of the past.
A Famous Debating Club
Of all the men who belonged to the debating club at the Mt. Mallory schoolhouse in the winter of 1859-60, C. N. Gridley, now of Millington, is about the only one left. Among the members were A. P. Brewster, C. N. Gridley, Henry Gridley, Seth C. and George P. Sleezer, Oliver Havenhill, Ezekiel Howes, John Carleton, an Englishman, and Erickson the teacher. They made it interesting for the whole neighborhood. The Gridleys and Carletons were hard to beat in an argument and the Sleezers could always hold their own. Erickson, was a clear-headed man of good ideas. While speaking he would roll a lead pencil between his two hands. If Howes rose to reply he would try to make fun of Erickson for the used made of the pencil. Among the questions discussed were such as these: Was the execution of John Brown justifiable? Has war been a greater curse to humanity than intemperance? Is the extension of slavery preferable to dissolution of the Union?
One dark night in December 1859, a prominent resident of Kendall County was fatally shot. Some revengeful miscreant probably shot him. A member of the debating club proposed the homicide for discussion at the next meeting. That is, was the homicide justifiable or not. But of course, the proposal was promptly voted down.
Martin C. Wilson
The first white child born in Newark was Martin C. Wilson, son of James Wilson. The event took place in August 1836, in a house that stood on the corner of Front and Jackson Streets, where Pluess & Miller's hardware store now stands. It is an interesting coincidence that Mr. Wilson is in business today on that same corner where he first saw the light nearly 71 years ago. He is general hardware manager for Pluess & Miller, the latter being actively engaged in other lines. From 1853 to 1857 he served in the hardware store of G. W. Winchell in Newark. He then spent several years in this and other states as a journeyman tinner. He was about a year in the army as Second Lieutenant of Company F, 36th Regiment Illinois Infantry. In 1867 he moved from Newark to Marseilles and was there engaged in the hardware business for 39 years. A year ago he moved back to Newark and is now caring for his venerable father-in-law, Samuel Bingham, who will complete his 91st year on the second of June.
Our Norwegian Fellow-Citizens
The first settlers at Newark were mainly from New York and Pennsylvania. Fifty years ago the only Norwegians in Newark were the three Olson brothers, Porter, Soren and Webster, and their sister Bertha. It was not until about 1857 that he Norwegians began to make Newark their place of residence. During that year a Norwegian firm, Peterson & Johnson, kept a general store here. The next Norwegian store owners were Osmond & Williams. By 1886 the Norwegians began to feel the need of a church building of their own. Accordingly, Knud Williams, one of their prominent men, turned over to the congregation a lot at the corner of Taylor and Union Streets. Here was erected at a cost of $850 a small, neat building which was used as a church for the next seven years. It is now known as the Lutheran Schoolhouse. The congregation rapidly increased in numbers and in the spring of 1898 they bought of Mrs. Coy the old Congregational Church, which had fallen into disuse as a place of worship and for some years had been used as a public hall. Mrs. Coy was a pious woman, a Congregationalist, and preferred to see the building revert to its original purpose rather than be used as a mere playhouse. She therefore sold it the Lutherans for $400, a remarkably low price for so good a building, one of the best in town. The members of this church now comprise about half of Newark's present population of six hundred.