Description of Newark in 1903
Newark Is Up-to-Date
Handsome Homes; Neat Lawns; Cement Walks; The Suburb of Puckerville; &The Old Time Stage Driver
Published In The Kendall County Record, August 19, 1903.
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
A Record Reporter having occasion to make a social visit to our neighbors down the river exercised the prerogative of a newspaper man, looked around and listened. Here are some of the notes he made.
The village of Newark is ten miles west of us and two miles from Millington. It is a fair example of happy care-free existence in the country. Their only railroad center is Millington. No railroads have as yet disturbed the restful tone that reigns there, although several "paper roads" have been built through that section. And still, you never hear any of the inhabitants raising a very serious complaint against the life in this village.
Their numerous business men are up to the minute in their selection of stock. Their lawyers have ready access to the bar and quickly and skillfully settle all differences and manage the legal part of the affairs. When any one desired to leave town the family horse is hitched up and a drive of two miles brings them to the railroad depot at Millington.
One of the interesting characters in the town is Benjamin B. Courtright, driver of the stage coach between Millington and Newark. He is the man who carries the mail and one who has grown gray in the service. For nearly twenty-five years he has met the four daily passenger trains that go up and down the Fox River branch. He has carried the mail to and from the town. He has taken its citizens and visitors back and forth to their homes many and many a time. Many stories are told of his independent manner. Here is one. The road was heavy one day (muddy) and he had quite a load on the hack. Among the passengers was a traveling man in a hurry to get there and get back to the next train. As Brother Courtright's horses plodded along at a walk he began to urge greater haste and soon got so that he made the other passengers nervous. Mr. Courtright stopped his team, turned around to the man and said: "See here, friend, if you are in such a tarnation hurry you had better get out and walk!" But the walking was not good just at that place and the traveling man restrained further impatience and rode to the end of the line and had sufficient time to do his business and take the hack back.
The village itself is an interesting, romantic bit of a country town. The cement walks are rapidly finding their way in there, in front of some of the business places and a few residences. Their store buildings and ice cream parlors are kept in nice shape. The large structure with corner entrance and plate glass windows that Major Donovan is having erected will add greatly to the appearance of the business part of the town. Their churches and school are in high standing among the religious and educational institutions in the county. The streets are kept clean and the lawns well mowed and neatly trimmed.
In the southeastern part of the village is the "suburb". And therein is a story well remembered by many of the older inhabitants. The land and building lots in that part of the village, are designated on the map as Higby's addition. Much jocund comment was made about Mr. Higby's manner of speech by those who knew and dealt with him. While in conversation with anyone he would "pucker" his mouth in such a way as to provoke a great deal of laughter among his fellow citizens. That portion of the village soon came to be known as "Puckerville". To this day, inhabitants speak of anyone living in this section as residing in Puckerville. It is said that Mr. George Sleezer is responsible for the queer cognomen of this part of the village which now contains some of Newark's prettiest homes.