A Trip to Oswego in 1868
Published in the Kendall County Record, July 16, 1868
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
The road up the river runs along through a very fine section of farming county. The growing crops look fine. The grass is already fast falling before the rapid click click of the mowers. Farmers are evidently living up to the old saying, "Make hay while the sun shines." Corn is looking splendid and promises a bountiful yield. The grain sways back and forth, staggering under its precious load, fast ripening for the golden harvest time. All through the trip we saw the fruitage about to be garnered to gladden the sturdy, honest farmer in the joyous harvest home. But enough of this, The county is full of just such life, just such homely joys, just such sturdy toil, just such abundant rewards.
Oswego is a fine little town, just back from the river on a bluff. It is without a railroad, and quiet. Neither screaming whistle nor rushing iron steed disturbs its serene repose. There is underneath the surface, life. Oswego is not one of those do nothing dead towns. Business is active. Stocks are above par. Life, and with it, trade runs quietly but surely.
There is not yet that enterprise which should mark every western town. There is not that launching out into new channels of business which might be. There is not that go-ahead attentiveness which builds up a town. Thus Oswego remains what it was yesterday and will be tomorrow, unless its people wake up and work more earnestly to build up their own interests. It is not always wise to venture, but to venture nothing is to have nothing. These country villages may do a big trade, may live fast, may see their streets teeming with activity, but they must first take the right steps to secure the desired results.
When our merchants furnish as good quality goods, and as great a variety as can be obtained in Aurora, then the trade will be diverted from Aurora and stop nearer home. It will take capital. It will take business enterprise, but it will guarantee success. Let our merchants determine to keep this county trade at home. Let them sell quality goods. Let them make their wares known to the people and let them grow rich.
Oswego has recently shown a commendable enterprise in erecting a fine large brick block. This block contains six large elegant stores. All of these but one are already in successful operation, their occupants are undoubtedly getting rich fast.
As an evidence of what may be done we mention an instance. Mr. D. M. Haight came to Oswego in April and occupied one of the new stores. The first month he did a small trade. The second month his trade amounted to nearly $2,000. The third month, June, it was increased more than a thousand dollars. Mr. Haight is a gentleman and understands his business. He keeps a splendid assortment of goods and, is well repaid. One gentleman informed us that his trade, amounting to about $500 per year, formerly went to Aurora. Since the recent enterprise facilities have opened it has stopped there. Others will do likewise.
Oswego now offers fine inducements for trade. The Goldsmith Brothers in the clothing line are not to be excelled, and are perfect gentlemen. They have a large stock of goods and keep up with the times.
L. N. Hall has one of the neatest and most commodious drug stores outside of Chicago. Such enterprise as he has managed must meet with abundant success.
Across the way Mr. J. A. Kenney keeps a well-selected stock of dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes. Mr. Kenney knows how to wait upon his customers in a gentlemanly manner.