The Old Settlers' Picnic 9-25-1879
The Old Settlers' Meeting.
A Very Large Attendance and Happy Time.
President Minkler the Happiest Man in Nine Counties.
They Came From Every Township.
Originally Published in the Kendall County Record, September 25, 1879
Edited and Compiled by Elmer Dickson.
Contrary to expectation, even of the most sanguine, the attendance at the Old Settlers' on the Fair Grounds last Thursday was very large; about double the number anticipated. The array of horses, vehicles and people seemed as great as it did the last day of the Fair. The day was a pleasant one, though it threatened to rain in the early morning.
The President, John Litsey, was on hand, and exerted himself to make the thing a success. James S. Cornell also assisted in arranging matters, and Squire Minkler took great interest in everything pertaining to the early days. He opened the meeting with a speech on the old times in Kendall County and was followed by Nathan C. Mighell, of Little Rock. Dinner time was then announced, and families and neighbors, and long separated friends gathered in groups and spread most abundant supplies of provisions, which eager appetites desired and a really social time was had by the diners.
Hard times! It was sacrilege to think of hard times on this occasion. All around were standing handsome carriages, buggies and wagons; while well-fed and stylish horses stood at the tie-posts and fences. The people were all well dressed, intelligent, happy, and were the embodiment of all that indicates success in life. Hard times! Look at the table cloths here and there covered with such as Solomon in all his glory never saw so grand, and which Queen Bess, of England, would have considered the rarest banquet her kingdom could afford.
After the dinner there was informal visiting all around. Introductions were not waited for. You shook hands with everybody and inwardly thanked God that your lot had been cast among the people of Kendall County.
The Oswego band was present and livened the air with music. Honorable John S. Armstrong, of La Salle County, was introduced and made a nice speech. He was followed by others of our pioneers. Randall Cassem delivered an oration in flowery words. Reverend Andrew W. Chapman, of Seward, made the speech of the day. He got the attention of his audience at once, and made one of the happiest off-hand addresses we have heard. He lauded the pioneers and the 'good old times,' but he held that the present times were good too; that this was the age of progress, and that we were all growing better and more intelligent. His humor was pleasant, and he created much merriment by his droll remarks. His closing was fine, when he held up the Christian church as the element of reform, and urged the people to cling to Christ, to temperance and everything good pertaining to the welfare of the nation.
A pleasant feature of the occasion was the remarks made by Mrs. Dr. Calvin Wheeler, Mrs. Heman Colton and Mrs. Daniel J. Platt of Plattville. These ladies told what it was like to be pioneers and spoke of the trials of the housewife in the early days.
There was much fun in an inning of baseball played by the 'fat men' and the little boys of Bristol and Yorkville. The little fellows played with a will, and vanquished the fathers by a score of eight to three. It was a jolly game all around. There was also ball playing by Lisbon boys and a picked nine. The meeting closed about four o'clock with everyone in a happy state of mind.
The following officers were elected for the ensuing year;
Honorable Oliver C. Johnson, President.
James S. Cornell, Vice President.
Smith G. Minkler, Secretary and Treasurer.
We cannot begin to enumerate the people present who were among the first settlers, but Ansel Reed, who came here in 1827 (sic 1831) was there accompanied by an older brother from Marseilles, and his sister, Mrs. March, from Bristol Station. Clark B. Hollenback, of Fox Township, who came her in 1829 (sic 1831) was also there, but he must have come here at a youthful age, for he didn't look to be over forty. He came with his parents, George and Sophia (Sidel) Hollenback who were among the best known of the first comers, and the Hollenback name will always live in the history of Kendall County. We could name others, but space forbids.
As Mr. Newton C. Wheeler was driving from the grounds to the village, the cross-bar of the buggy struck his horse, and the animal kicked, caught one hind foot in the front spring and the other went over the thill and slipped between the spokes of a wheel, leaving the kicker in a disagreeable position. But Newt was equal to the occasion; he jumped out and by main force pulled one the thills clear off, and released the horse. Damage, broken thill and harness, and horse with its legs skinned a little.
Mrs. Charles Moore was driving out from the grounds, when Charley Wood drove past her; the horse started up, shied, and ran against a stump; the buggy was upset and Mrs. Moore thrown out hurting her forehead slightly and shocking her nervous system considerably. The buggy has been sent to the shop for repairs. It was an unfortunate accident, and we are glad no worse than it was.
Squire Shonts of Plano also ran against a stump, the buggy stopped, but the horse went on to the fence, taking the cross-bar with him. The Squire soon repaired the breaks and drove home.