The Old Settlers' Picnic 8-11-1897
Was Just Splendid.
The Day of Days for Kendall County.
The Old Settlers and Their Friends Were Out. One of the Most Pleasant Gatherings Yet Held. Every Town Represented. Fine Staging. Good Speeches. Valuable Historical Paper.
Published in the Kendall County Record, August 11, 1897.
Edited and Compiled by Elmer Dickson.
The Kendall County Old Settlers' picnic Thursday of last week was a surprise to many in its great success. It was thought that the attendance would be light this year, as so many picnics have been taking place. Only the week before the Woodmen had a very large gathering on the Fair Grounds. Then the famers were right in the midst of threshing. In addition, the weather had been hot, up to the boiling point, until Tuesday night, and things did not look very encouraging for the annual gathering of the pioneers of this county.
But the good Lord, who has been ever on the side of the noble men and women who settled in Kendall County when the fertile farms were a wilderness, soon changed the aspect of things and fixed everything up as He alone can do, giving them the best day of all the year to mingle together in the event of all events of the year that they most enjoy. About midnight Tuesday, a most delightful rain came and settled the dust, which had become very thick and disagreeable. It looked threatening all day Wednesday and fears were entertained that Thursday would be a rainy day, but the sun rose bright and clear, and it was really cool for the first part of August.
Among the first arrivals early in the morning was a carriage load from Morris, Messrs. Phineas Davis and Uriah Davis with their wives (Mrs. Phineas was Sarah 'Sally C. (Sweet.) Then there was a delegation of the Nadens, people as fine as anyone who ever trod on Kendall County soil, and other prominent citizens from the southern part of Kendall County and northern Grundy County began to arrive in Yorkville and wend their way across the bridges and to the Fair Grounds, where they found numerous old acquaintances from other localities to visit with. The forenoon passenger trains also brought many from the east and west to spend the day. The crowd on the grounds continued to swell until noon, when perhaps, a thousand people were assembled. Such a time these people had visiting. Talk about your Fourth of July celebrations, with the noisy firecracker, horse racing, bicycle racing, and sports; your Woodmen picnics, with tugs-of-war and other doings. The Record just remarks that for real, genuine enjoyment they are not in it with the times these old settlers have on their day. You can see it in the way they shake hands, the solicitous inquiries about each other's health, and the smiles on their faces. There is really something that touches the heart to watch these friends of many years as they greet one another.
But you want to know about the picnic. Well, of course, when the dinner hour arrived that part of the program was not neglected. The baskets were brought forth, the contents spread out upon snowy linen and all hands fell to with good appetites, sharpened by the long drives, and did justice to the best victuals that could be supplied in this land of plenty. You have all read descriptions of these picnic dinners many times, and there is really nothing new to say about this one. It was simply a repetition of former occasions of the kind and another testimonial of the proficiency of the Kendall County housewife in the art of cookery.
In the Afternoon.
It is doubtful if the officers of the association realized how well they had planned the program for the afternoon. Certainly, with all credit to former efforts, the writer believes that never before have the exercises been of a nature to please more people than the events of last Thursday. It seemed as though just the right person had been selected for each part of the program. At half-past one the amphitheatre was pretty well filled with people, the only thing to cause an obstacle in any way to the full enjoyment of the occasion was a strong east wind, which made it difficult for the speakers to be heard.
When order had been called by John R. Marshall, President of the day, there was a piece of music by the Kendall Cornet Band, followed by the Reverend, Henry Allen of the NaAuSay Presbyterian Church, who thanked God for this glorious county of ours and for Kendall County in particular, the greatest spot in the world; for the character of the pioneers who settled here and have made the county what it is, and asked for God's blessing upon the county and its people in the future as in the past. It was a touching appeal to the throne of grace.
The singing for the occasion was under the leadership of Captain, Franklin Moody Hobbs, who had gathered together a large choir of the best vocalists of Yorkville. Miss Nannie L. Hill presided at the organ. Those who sung were:
Mrs. W. F. Irvine.
Mrs. Dr. Robert Alexander McClelland
Jennie (McMurtrie) Godard, (Mrs. James A. Godard.)
Mrs. William E. Kinnett.
Miss Sophia Hill.
Captain Franklin M. Hobbs.
Paul C. Dearborn.
Mrs. F. L. Sanborn.
Mrs. William Hill.
Mrs. Charles Hobbs.
Miss Mabel Beebe.
Miss Jessie Crum.
Dr. William E. Kinnett.
Fred G. Hill.
Arthur Prince Hill, and
John E. Crum.
'America' was sung most heartily by the choir and audience, and it was a grand volume of melody.
Supervisor Harlan Page Barnes of Bristol had been put on the program for an address of welcome, or 'congratulatory' address as it now appears on the bills. Now, Mr. Barnes is one of the most modest men of the township and it was not known to many that he had unusual talent as a public speaker. There were some, however, who assured the President that he would fill all the requirements, but Mr. Barnes surprised even his most intimate acquaintances. His speech was in a humorous vein and in giving 'taffy' to the old settlers; he by a large majority eclipsed any person who ever attempted such a thing. He pleased the folks and was loudly applauded. He will be in great demand henceforth as a public speaker.
Another song was sung by the choir after Supervisor Barnes' welcome speech, after which the Reverence William Halford Pierce was introduced to the audience. Mr. Pierce has been in Plano for nearly four years as pastor of the Methodist Church, but is comparatively unknown to the people at large. But as he said, he belonged to a class of people who were accustomed to becoming old settlers on short notice, and it was not his fault that he had lived no longer in Kendall County. He was a great admirer of old things, and particularly the old people and the old settlers, and thought too much honor could not be shown the pioneers of Kendall County. They had made the county what it is and the younger generation was no improvement on the old. We were coming back to the ways of our fathers and mothers, which Mr. Pierce proved to the satisfaction of all. The whole address was in a strain to exactly suit the audience. It would be a nice thing to publish it in full, but he spoke extemporaneously and the reporter has not yet mastered the art of short-hand writing. So if you were not there and did not hear it you are hereby notified that you missed a good thing.
The Necrological Report was then read by Secretary James 'Arthur' Gale, showing that the grim reaper is constantly at work. Many who were with us a year ago are now on the other side. The report is as follows.
Abigail (Lathrop) Halbert (Mrs. Levi A. Halbert), Big Grove, died August 2, 1896; age 93 years.
Mrs. Clarissa 'Clara' (Royce) Smith (Mrs. W. Horace Smith), Oswego, died August 6, 1896; age 87 years.
Elizabeth Pim (Mrs. William Pim, Sr.), Kendall, died August 7, 1896; age 93 years.
Lewis Gilbert Steward, Little Rock, died August 27, 1896; 72 years.
Amanda (Bingham) Gear, (Mrs. George W. Gear), Seward, died August 29, 1896; age 58 years.
David Sinclair, Kendall, died September 11, 1896; age 75 years.
Harriet J. (Barrows) Sleezer (Mrs. George Payne Sleezer), Big Grove, died September 14, 1896; age 69 years.
Miss Jennie M. Wing, Big Grove, died September 26, 1896, age 46 years.
Emily Celestia (Durrell) Ovitt, (Mrs. Squires 'Addison' Ovitt), Little Rock, died September 27, 1896; age 75 years.
Seth Covel Sleezer, Big Grove, died September 28, 1896; age 76 years.
Dr. J. T. H. Brady, Little Rock, died October 26, 1896; age 85 years.
Julia (Russell) Cliggitt, (Mrs. Morris Cliggitt, Sr.), Oswego, died November 2, 1896; age 78 years.
Eliza J. (Martin) Suydam, (Mrs. John J. Suydam), Big Grove, died November 23, 1896; age 72 years.
Samuel Herren, Oswego, died December 11, 1896; age72 years.
Andrew Kirkland, Big Grove, died December 12, 1896; age 92 years.
Cassia A. Helme, (Mrs. Joseph W. Helme), Oswego, died January 14, 1897; age 90 years.
Emily A. (Howland) Murdock, (Mrs. Charles L.), Oswego, died February 23, 1897; age 76 years.
Susannah (Barron) Cooney, (Mrs. George W.), Oswego, died February 11, 1897; age 58 years.
Susan A. (Goehring) Ford, (1st Mrs. William L. Ford), Kendall, died March 5, 1897; age 58 years.
Joseph Jackson, Fox, died March 12, 1897; age 72 years.
Mariah (Finch) Southwick, (Mrs. Amos P. Finch), Big Grove, died March 14, 1897; age 84 years.
Nancy (Stewart) Connelly, (Mrs. Robert), Little Rock, died March 19, 1897; age 86 years.
Ann (Scott) Drury, (Mrs. William Drury), Kendall, died March 23, 1897; age 80 years.
Mary Fox, (Mrs. Stephen, Sr.), Oswego, died March 28, 1897; age 83 years.
Royal Orlando Lincoln, Little Rock, died April 17, 1897; age 73 years.
Christian Hemm, Oswego, died April 24, 1897; age 76 years.
Roxanna (VanAntwerp) Lockwood, (Mrs. John Lockwood), Oswego, died April 28, 1897; age 78 years.
Ann Eliza (Townsend) Devoe, (Mrs. Samuel) Oswego, died May 1, 1897, Winona, Minnesota; age 89 years.
Anna (Shanor) Needham, (Mrs. George W.), Kendall, died May 16, 1897; age 96 years.
Nancy (Keck) Stansel, (Mrs. James Stansel), Kendall, died May 17, 1897; age 79 years.
Hannah D. (Quimby) Taylor, (2nd Mrs. William Taylor), Little Rock, died May 23, 1897; age 72 years.
Moses J. Richards, Oswego, died May 27, 1897; age 72 years.
Susan Lucretia (Cone) Barnes, (Mrs. Horace Barnes), Bristol, died May 29, 1897; age 80 years.
Huldah (Ferriss) Ashley), (Mrs. Almon Pitcher Ashley), Kendall, died June 13, 1897; age 72 years.
Jonathan 'Seth' Richmond, Big Grove, died July 11, 1897; age 63 years.
Lewis Sherrill, Lisbon, died July 16, 1897; age 82 years.
George Gargrave, Kendall, died July 37 1897; age 76 years.
Sarah Elizabeth (Bullard) Gale, (Mrs. George C. Gale), Little Rock, died February 27, 1897; age 70 years.
The following additional deaths have been reported from Oswego Township, dates omitted.
Mrs. Hannah Wormley, age 67 years.
Mrs. Martha (Gray) Gray, (Mrs. Daniel 'Webster' Gray), died October 11, 1896; age 67 years.
Joseph D. Kennedy died October 14, 1896; age 68 years; brought back from Manchester, Iowa.
Diana Elizabeth (Stafford) Judson, (2nd Mrs. Lewis Brinsley Judson), died, November 24, 1896; age 70 years; died and buried in Spring Lake Cemetery, in Aurora.
John 'Henry' Gray, Oswego, died December 18, 1896; age 56 years.
Mrs. Dolly 'Marie' (Rhines) Coffin, (Mrs. Frederick Coffin, Sr.), died April 19, 1897; age 75; brought back from Vandalia.
Eliza Jane (Wormley) Davis/Chase, (1st Mrs. Mordecia Davis; 2nd Joseph Brightman (Chase); died May, 1897; age 59 years; brought back from Minnesota.
George C. Inman, Oswego, died May 20, 1897; age 62 years.
The election of officers was next in order. The President stated that last year a 'slate' had been put up by the Association in the election of officers, and this year he wanted it understood that for the office of President it would be necessary to select a man who had lots of time and some money to give the association and its interests. Honorable George Mathias Hollenback put in nomination the following gentlemen and they were unanimously elected:
President, John R. Marshall
Secretary and Treasurer, James 'Arthur' Gale.
Thomas Jefferson Phillips, Newark.
Matthew Budd, Millbrook.
Gilbert 'Denslow' Henning, Plano.
Aaron M. Boomer, Bristol.
Robert G. Leitch, Yorkville.
Morgan Alexander 'Dick' Skinner, Lisbon.
Ralph Heap, Seward.
Edmund S. Seely, NaAuSay.
Myron L. Wormley, Oswego.
Mr. Marshall, who has been President for two years, thanked the folks kindly for the honor conferred upon him in reelecting him to the position, but was not in favor of Presidential third terms and positively declined to serve in that capacity another year. He placed in nomination Supervisor Harlan Page Barnes of Bristol who was elected and will bear a share of the burdens of the Association for the coming year.
Another song was sung by the choir.
Honorable George M. Hollenback whose physical existence was in Aurora but whose heart was in Kendall County, as the President put it, was introduced and he read a most interesting paper on 'Early Days in Kendall County.' Which the Record is permitted to publish in full as follows:
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen.
When your President applied to me to fill a portion of your program this afternoon, he informed me that I would be expected to occupy about forty minutes of your time. If I should fail to interest you before the expiration of that time or should occupy a few minutes more than the allotted time, you are at liberty to call me down at any time when I have failed to interest you.
The theme selected for my portion of the program is entitled 'Claim Protection Societies of the Early Settlers,' and some results growing out of the operation of the same.
It will be necessary at the outset to state the premise why it was necessary to organize societies for the protection of the early comers.
The Indian troubles of 1832 brought to the northern part of our State the prominent notice not only of the whole of the United States, but of some European countries. Before that time settlement was tardy, with but here and there a foothold. Little Rock, Bristol, Oswego and Lisbon did not have perhaps a single white inhabitant, while the families in the remaining towns could have been enumerated on the fingers of both hands. The first settlers were entitled by reason of their enterprise to the choice of the best selections, usually near the timber and on the streams. Very few ventured to locate on the open prairies prior to the Government survey north of the Indian Boundary, which was made during the year 1837. South of that line the survey by the Government had been completed some fifteen years earlier.
The early settlers were subjected to a good deal of inconvenience, locating upon land not surveyed. Because of the lack of boundaries to lands upon which they located, they had to agree as best they could with their neighbors regarding the lines of their respective possessions. As the country became settled, the claims of settlers in some instances became diminished in extent, so that he who claimed 640 acres was constrained to accept 320 or 160 acres to accommodate some friend either by giving or selling some portion of the claim previously located.
Men are naturally selfish. It must be so as a requirement to self preservation: and properly directed, is a blessing: but when so directed that it interferes with the just rights of others it is anything which a blessing is not. Hence the selfishness of a few grasping men in some communities was the cause of dissensions among the early settlers of those neighborhoods, in regard to boundaries and the priority of claims of parties therein. As intimated, troubles of this kind are incident to localities where settlements are made upon un-surveyed Government land, but not always. These difficulties were not confined particularly in a single neighborhood or locality, but were common to nearly all. Such disputes resulted in animosities, in some instances of long standing, and became quite frequent as settlements increased that it was necessary to organize societies in different localities for the protection of the rights of individuals from the rapacity of selfish men who were found more or less in all neighborhoods. These animosities were not confined to bad feelings and angry words, but sometimes attended with blood letting. Bloody noses and broken heads were frequently the rule.
Within the confines of what is now our own county it is not known that loss of life resulted growing out of these claim controversies, but Little Rock, Oswego, Bristol and Big Grove each had claim difficulties when the rights of the several parties were tried vi et armis.
There were organizations in our county or at least that portion of it taken from La Salle County for claim protection. Unfortunately the records of the same have long ago perished, so that all that remains of it now is the recollection of its objectives which covered the following subjects. First, to prevent the sale of Government land to speculators at the public sale. Second, to pay the minimum price of $1.25 per acre for Government lands by actual settlers. Third, those settlers on school lands should pay only $1.25 per acre for their lands, the same as settlers on the Government land. Fourth, to settle difficulties and disputes between adjoining claimants on the public lands. Fifth, to prevent the 'jumping' of claims as it was called. That is, to prevent anyone from claiming land that was already claimed by someone already in possession of the land.
These societies were frequently organized with considerable care, with constitutions declaring the objectives of the organizations, and by-laws for the government of its members. The executive officers consisting of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, and usually an executive committee of from three to five persons, whose members were to hear and determine all questions of difference growing out of disputed claims, from whose determination there was no appeal, as each member bound himself to abide by the findings of the committee, by signing the constitution and by-laws. These decisions were sometimes rigorous, but were always respected and obeyed. Sometimes in emergencies the presence of all the members of the organization was required.
Theses claim organizations were so strong that the general government did not deem it prudent to interfere with their operations. They carried the working of the societies to the government land sales held in different portions of the State. No one was allowed to be present with the government officials when the lands were offered for sale, except the person appointed by the society to make the highest bid for the settlers belonging to their claim organization.
The sales of public lands took place in Chicago. From about November 16, until November 18, 1839, pre-emption claims were proved up. The word pre-emption means before the sale, literally purchased before the public sale. When used in connection with public land sales, the pre-emption right was a provision of the law in favor of the head of the family, whether man or woman, who had to be actually settled on government land, and in some respects resembled the homestead right of the present day in its provisions, except that it required a cash payment at the minimum rate per acre for the land. The pre-emptor had to establish his or her right by the testimony of two reputable witnesses beside his own oath that he had complied with the acts of congress by way of improvement and residence. Then he was allowed to pay for his quarter section of land at the minimum price of $1.25 per acre.
The public sales were kept open for a considerable length of time. The public sale of land occurred from November 19, 1839 through November 23, 1839, with by far the greater volume of sales occurring on the latter date.
It is said speculators were out in force at the time of the public sales in Chicago, but were prevented from entering the building where the lands were offered for sale by the faithful doorkeepers appointed by the claim protecting society.
All lands offered for sale in what is now the Town of Fox were struck off and sold to William Vernon, for the settlers. Mr. Vernon was then a resident, but for years prior to his decease was the auditor of the Illinois Central Railroad in the City of Chicago.
In paying his respects to the settlers on the public lands the great Henry Clay was constrained to say in his place in the United States Senate, that they were 'robbers and land pirates,' an expression that cost him many votes in the western states when he was a candidate for the presidency in 1844.
A few events connected with claim difficulties can be given and will be interesting in this connection. The school sections in the towns of Fox and Big Grove were sold September 10, 1838 by William Staddent, School Commissioner of La Salle County. These lands had been in the quiet and peaceable possession of several claimants and those who claimed possession for four or more years were the Honorable John West Mason and James H. Whitney in Big Grove Township and Francis Evans, Stephen Bates and Isaac Grover, Sr. in Fox Township. There was no little excitement raised in those neighborhoods when it was announced in the publication of the notices of sale that there would be competition at the sale by persons who would be willing to pay more than $1.25 per acre for the Big Grove land, one-half of which was choice timber land and claimed by Whitney and Mason. As the time of the sale approached the excitement increased among the settlers generally, and particularly among the friends of the claimants, so that when the day of the sale arrived most of the adult population of the two neighborhoods repaired to Ottawa, impelled by interest or curiosity. It was developed before the hour of sale that Abraham Holderman, Sr. would be the bidder against the claimants for the timber land occupied by Mason and Whitney, but the claimants were on hand with their friends in full force long before the opening of the sale, and when the announcement was made by the auctioneer that the sale was opened and bids were solicited, Mr. Holderman sprang upon a bench to make himself conspicuous in the crowd while making his offer. But before he could announce his bid he was either knocked down or pulled down. His son, Henry Holderman, rushed to his father's assistance, but it was no use. Father and son were somewhat rudely shoved and pushed aside and kept away. When quiet was restored among the crowd the sale went on and the land in both townships was struck off and sold to the several claimants at the minimum price of $1.25 per acre. Mr. Holderman was a man of great good sense, and while he was a man of strong will and prejudices, in time he accepted the inevitable, and became a good friend to many of those who favored the claim of Mason and Whitney.
The result of the sale at Ottawa had its effect on the sales of public lands in Chicago fifteen months later, when the speculators were kept in awe by the settlers' organizations until the public sales were over, when they were ready to take what suited them of what was left of the public lands at private entry, at the regulation price of $1.25 per acre.
We will now consider the moment the manner in which they served the 'claim jumpers' in the early days. 'Claim jumpers' were held in great detestation by those who had settled in good faith, and as a general thing 'jumpers' received early attention at the hands of the claim protection societies. It is true that some settlers did not join claim protection societies, but there was a determination among all bona fide settlers to protect each other. A single example of a summary proceeding in disposing of a 'claim jumper' will be sufficient. An early settler had made a claim upon government land which all of his immediate neighbors respected. A family of 'claim jumpers' came on and took a portion of his claim and boldly proclaimed that 'they had come to stay.' Of this the settlement had notice. A company of horsemen to the number of half a hundred or more proceeded to the cabin of the 'jumpers,' who 'stood not upon the order of their going, but went at once,' with the exception of an aged lady who was so advance in years that she could not run. The company raised a considerable sum of money to indemnify the family of the old lady for sundry small sums they had been obliged to make on the claim. This she received with promise that the family would leave without delay. And to further the execution of the old lady's part of the agreement the company fell to work and removed all the furniture from the cabin, cleaning it of everything belonging to the aggressive family. This completed, the house was torn down, laid in a heap at a safe distance from the furniture, and fire applied to the logs, and what had been a house a few minutes before was reduced to ashes. It is said that was the end of 'claim jumping' in that neighborhood.
For a real tragedy in those early times we have to go beyond the lines of our county, and it is as follows:
In the life of George W. Green, who was tried and convicted of the murder of his wife in Chicago in 1855, and who committed suicide in jail after he had been sentenced to death, is given some account of his experience in a claim fight, resulting in what is known as the 'Kent tragedy.' In 1834 or 1835 Ebenezer Peck of Chicago and one Dr. Meacham possessed a claim of 160 acres of land in what is now the town of Bloomingdale, Du Page County, then a part of Cook County, who rented it to Milton Kent. Before the expiration of the lease Meacham sold the claim to George W. Green, who came out from Chicago, expecting to occupy the land, but found Kent in possession and he refused to surrender the land and leave. Green brought suit, in which he was successful, the court awarding him the possession of the whole tract. While Kent was in possession he had built a house and barn on the premises suited to hotel keeping, investing about all the property of which he possessed in the improvements. Early in the spring of 1840, Green and his family, accompanied by the sheriff of Du Page County, appeared at Kent's with his writ of possession for land, hotel and all its equipment. Mr. Kent was of course unwilling to go; but the sheriff induced him to yield the possession of the hotel property to Green, who entered with his wife and family. All of the personal property belonging to the Kent family was removed to a shanty not far from the hotel property. As it was Saturday night, Kent begged the privilege of occupying the shanty until Monday morning, when he would peacefully depart, which was agreed to. Mr. Kent was a very resolute, willful man, and had no idea of giving up without a struggle and was determined to still have the property, though the highest authority in the county had decreed against him. So he prepared a quit claim deed for Green's execution of the land to him. The old man conspired with four of his friends, two of whom were his own son and son-in-law to abduct Green and compel him forcibly to execute the deed. They reckoned somewhat 'without their host,' as the old saying has it, for Green was as resolute and willful as Kent, and perhaps perfectly fearless in defense of his life and property.
They proceeded to the house occupied by Green, with one of the party riding up on a horse and calling to Green, asked to be accommodated for the night. Green replied to the request that the house was no longer a hotel, but directed the caller where he could get lodging. As Green did his talking through a window and did not open the door, Kent's party broke in the outside door with a crash, and Green was confronted with four men who rushed into the room. Green was well armed with firearms and a knife, but such was the darkness of the room his aim was uncertain when the gun discharged, so that none of the attacking party was injured. He then tried to fire his pistol, but the party aimed at was so near that his clothing interfered between the lock and the charge so that it was not discharged. On entering the room, two of the assailants sprang upon the bed, seizing Mrs. Green by mistake, which as soon as it was discovered; they left her without harming her and went to the assistance of their friends. This incident was somewhat to Green's advantage, who was vigorously wielding his knife. At this juncture, the son of Mr. Kent succeeded in grabbing Green around the middle of the body in such a manner that he did not have the free use of his arms, but in their struggle young Kent was severely wounded by savage thrusts of the knife in his back. Old Mr. Kent rushed to the assistance of his son and was about to lay violent hands on Green when he received a mortal stab in the region of the heart, turned, ran out of the house and fell dead a few paces from the door, all unknown to his companions. Green was finally overpowered, unmercifully beaten and forcibly taken to the shanty, and there compelled to execute the deed which had been prepared for him. He was then permitted to depart and found his way home the best he could. The search for Mr. Kent after the execution of the deed resulted in finding him dead. Of course, the deed had no binding affect whatever as the signature was obtained under duress. Green surrendered himself and as he had acted wholly in self defense the Grand Jury would not indict. Young Kent skipped the country. His father's family became widely separated. Green sold out his claim and removed to Chicago, where he acquired considerable wealth as a banker. Fifteen years after the date of the Kent homicide, he committed self murder rather than under go the sentence of the law for the murder of his wife.
To conclude, the log cabins and the temporary abode of the early settlers have all passed away, as well as the animosities and contentions incident to early occupations. The heads of the rugged men and women rest beneath the soil they subdued. If some of them were uncouth and unlettered, the majority of them were honorable and loved their fellow men, and were willing that the just rights of each and all were to be respected, and were willing to risk life and limb in the defense of such when occasion required. While no particular individual or individual neighborhood is entitled to more honor than some other individual or neighborhood, it is the story of Paul and Apollos over again: if one planted and the other watered, it is at last God who gave the increase which you all enjoy. May you enjoy it in peace.
'Blest Be the Tie that Binds' was sung and the formal program was over. It had been a success in every way. And then, while the band played the people commence to visit again in earnest and the ball game between Yorkville and Bristol Station was commenced for the enjoyment of those who think a ball contest necessary to properly wind up such a day's doings. It was to be a seven inning game and proved to be one of the closest and best games of the season. The final score was 6 to 5 in favor of Bristol Station.
G. Denslow Henning was a pupil in the first school ever taught in Little Rock, in 1836. A Mr. Swift was the teacher, and Mr. Henning has remained in the same locality ever since.
It was only about 9:30 when Mr. and Mrs. Phineas Davis and their son Uriah and his wife arrived here from Morris, having a pleasant drive over. Phineas Davis rightfully belongs to Plattville, but he got a notion of living in Morris where he went some years ago and is one of the prominent public men of that city.
But of all the surprises of the day was the arrival of William I. Stephen of Omaha, Nebraska, who left this county some fourteen years ago for no better place and he knows it. 'Billy' was the supervisor of Big Grove Township for a number of years, and no more satisfactory officer ever entered out courthouse. It was really a pleasure to see him again, and he found many old friends in the crowd. His brother Charles of Morris accompanied him here and they had a real old-fashioned visit.
The earliest settlers on the ground to enjoy the picnic were Justus W. House of Seward and his sister, who came to Seward in 1833. Fletcher Misner of Millington and Rufus Gray, now of Aurora who all came early in the 1830's. Then there is another man in Seward who must be recorded though not present. He is Mr. John Shurtliff, who settled in what is now that township in 1831, and is now 87 years of age.
About the first arrivals for the picnic were the Naden brothers, Thomas of Plattville, Obadiah of Morris and Isaac of Mitchell County, Iowa. These gentlemen came her fifty-one years ago. Thomas remains in Kendall County; Obadiah has been a resident of Morris for some years, and Isaac went to Iowa a good time ago. They are royal good men, all three. Mrs. Thomas (Mary Jane (Bedford) Naden and Mrs. Obadiah (Jane (Green) Naden) came along to see that these three noble young fellows did not get into trouble.
Among the visitors on the ground were Mr. James M. Kennedy and Miss Elizabeth Kennedy of Chicago, who years ago were residents of Little Rock Township and lived on the farm now occupied by Mr. G. Denslow Henning.