Description of Newark in 1875
An Old Stage Town, Newark As It Was And Is.
Special correspondent to the Inter-Ocean.
Published in the Kendall County Record, April 29, 1875
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
Newark, being a little off the railroad and having no local print, feels that the reporters have neglected her. She is as old as Chicago is. Newark was settled as early as 1830. One of the pioneer settlers was George Hollenback. For many years the place was called Georgetown. When the Black Hawk war broke out in 1832, Shabbona, the Pottawattomie chief, notified the few families of their danger and they fled to Ottawa. Mark Beaubien, who says he built the first frame house in Chicago, has just come out here to spend the summer with some of his children. They are having a family reunion in this vicinity this week. The children are here from Iowa, Missouri and Texas.
Before the days of railroads, Newark was a noted stage "station," it being on the direct road from Chicago to Ottawa. Horses were always changed here, and men too. Sometimes, that is, from sobriety to something else. Stage drivers and hostlers used to exchange oaths here. The enormous three-story hotel was sometimes overrun with sleepers. The landlady tells me as many as 100 in a single night. The stage driver comes no more. Seldom more than half a dozen strangers ask for lodgings in any one evening. This morning it seemed like a Sabbath day's journey down to the breakfast table. Only one man kept me company there. The two or three acres of second and third flooring are very lonesome.
There is more activity at the four corners. Indeed it is lively there. Though not as much of a business place as it was twenty years ago, Newark commands the trade of a certain section. It is always likely to. Its two general dealing houses, those of John A. Coy and Isaac and Peter S. Lott, have been running for eighteen or twenty years. They have gained an enviable reputation. The hardware merchant, H. P. Courtright, and the druggists, Munger Brothers and C. F. Thuneman, stand well. The farmers in this part of the Fox River Valley are generally independent in a financial sense. The merchants have no bad debts; hence they too are thriving. A little out of town, Mr. A. Z. Brown, is building a house good enough for the Governor to live in. Lott Scofield has a much better house a little farther off. This part of Kendall County has many first-class farmhouses, and every indication of wealth.
Fowler Institute has just closed its winter term. It will not open again under that name, should it ever reopen. It has been in operation for twenty years or more. Many young men and women have left its "classic shades" to take a praiseworthy position in life.
The Joliet and Grand Trunk Railroad is graded to this point. Like Elder Thuneman in regard to the "Second Coming," we may be disappointed in seeing the first coming of the cars this year. Newark is two miles from the Aurora and Streator road. A hack runs four times a day between Newark and the railroad station at Millington. Thus Newark is far from being "out of this world." The people seem perfectly happy, as though they monopolized the whole Valley of Content.
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
The first man we saw on the street was Bert Sweetland, (that's how we knew when we had got to Newark.) Newark is more of a town than most folks suppose. To be sure it has "Epsilon," (the local correspondent to the Record) and a brass band.
It also does some business. The principal merchants in town are Lott Brothers and John A. Coy. Although these are by no means the only places in town. They have a large stock and obliging clerks and their customers stick by them well. While we were in the store we saw J. Murray Bullard, of Millbrook, purchase four boxes of paper collars. The question arose in our mind, what can a granger want with four boxes of collars at once?
On the opposite corner from Lott Brothers, is the store of Mr. Coy, which is the largest store in the County. Mr. Coy has combined his Morris and Newark stocks in this one store, which makes a fine assortment to choose from. He is getting a large amount of trade from the town of Lisbon. He has six clerks, including "Hally," is son. All are kept busily engaged in waiting on customers. He has recently put a large fire and burglar proof safe into the store. The safe will put any burglar to his wit's end to open. Mr. Coy is selling the best of prints at eight cents a yard.
On the opposite side of the town we found John Lawson, Yorkville's old shoemaker. John was busy at work with Chris. Everson as his assistant. John is also a prominent member of the Newark band. He was getting ready to go down to the woods for a practice. Munger Brothers run the drug store and post office. Mr. Gable runs the restaurant. Newark seems in a good way to hold her own for many years to come.