The Old Settlers' Picnic 8-31-1887 KCN
The Old Settlers' Picnic at Yorkville.
Originally Published in the Kendall County News, August 31, 1887.
Edited and Compiled by Elmer Dickson.
The annual picnic of the Old Settlers of Kendall County occurred August 25, and was largely attended.
The crowds began to drive through town at nine a.m. and continued until three p.m., when the estimate of the number attending was 2,000.
All the settlers, with the exception of a modest minority who attend the Soldier's Reunion at Ottawa, were there. While perceptible gaps in the membership, as shown by the necrological record, were apparent, the old settlers, male and female, were there, some even in their prime and even rivaling the young and middle-aged in agility and strength. But with each turn of the annual course, a few linger by the road side and are gathered by time for his reaping. Soon the old settler will be a curiosity and the old native Illinoisan will be the only one to keep up the tales of by-gone hardships, and now seemingly unheard of privations.
We of the west dislike the new, and have a fondness for the old, and especially old customs and things, not that we like them because they are worn out and useless, but because so few of us have seen anything but building and new works to even enjoy life in an old established country, where everything is done and fully developed. But while this is a grand idea to dream over, of what account will it eventually amount to, when no one can need a thing except just enough to keep from waste what he or his ancestors have thus acquired.
At twelve o'clock, President Minkler announced that dinner was in order.
After dinner, general visiting was the rule until two p.m., when the people were called to order by the President and led in singing by Mrs. Evans and Mrs. Aldrich of Millington, next the Secretary's report was read, which contained an account of the demise of a great many familiar persons. Among the many who have gone to the great majority since the last meeting appeared the following: Samuel Naden, Jr., Elias A. Black, George Hay, Mrs. Charlotte Failing, Mr. and Mrs. Frances A. Emmons, Eleazer H. Austin, Andrew Linn, Sr., John A. Knight, Mrs. Daniel G. Johnson (Mary 'Elizabeth' (Heustis), Lyman Sumner Knox, Jr. and Dwight Curtis.
Perry Armstrong was introduced next. After giving a description of his experience in early Illinois, he exhorted his hearers to emulate the example given by their parents, to be honest, to be just. He had met men in life in early Illinois who would not do a dishonest act and especially in this age he warned the rising generation not to depart from the honor of their fathers.
Honorable Lewis G. Steward was the next orator. He told how he came here 49 years ago, found Chicago with but one wharf, waded the Fox River at St. Charles, Illinois, how he worked a whole day to earn money enough to pay the postage on a letter from home. He thought we ought not to claim too much as the land then was worth just as much as it is now and all the improvements which have been put on it being only what has been gleaned from it. He depreciated the system which eliminates all of our youth from our country through impoverished resources and an abnormal state of living. He attributed this decrease in population to an inventive age which curtailed the need of useful men by means of improved machinery and appliances and lastly gave an account of the hospitality of that time when facilities were so meager and raw prairie and log houses were so abundant.
Mrs. Thomas Galt spoke next of the country life. It was much preferable to one in the city. One in the county receives inspiration from all nature and the view is not shut out by brick walls and smoke from the chimneys of manufacture and commerce. One can truly appreciate the poet and the poet's theme while viewing the clear sky and unmolested nature and lastly speaking of the religious and other advantage accorded to a county girl far excelled those of the city. The work of temperance reform came, in large measure, from the country and this being so the influences for good were far greater, and for one to be reared in the county the out-look for a prosperous and long life was especially gratifying.
After an intermission the following organization was effected: President, John A. Newell; Secretary and Treasurer, Milton E. Cornell.
The baseball game was a feature of the day's entertainment and one notable in the history of the sport in this county. The score which was professional in its minutia was an exceptional one. The contesting clubs were Plano and Yorkville. The visitors were defeated by a score of 8 to 6. The number of errors was few and the playing marked on each side. With the end of the game the old settlers began to go away, some never to meet again where they congregated this year.