Township Histories

The following "minute reviews" are from Historical and Statistical Sketches of Lake County, State of Illinois, by Elijah M. Haines, pub. in 1852 by E. G. Howe, Gage's Print, Waukegan.

ANTIOCH Township

Town of Antioch

This town is composed of Township 46, north, Range 10 east, and that part of Township 46, north, Range 9, lying on the west, belonging to Lake County, being four miles in width, making the whole length of the Town 10 miles by 6 in width. It is bounded on the north by Wisconsin, on the east by Newport, on the south by Avon and on the west by McHenry County.

This Town has within its borders, 18 Lakes, as follows: Dunn Lake, Stevens Lake, Grass Lake, Lake Maria, Channel Lake, Lake Catharine, Silver Lake, Loon Lake, Deer Lake, Crapo Lake, Crooked Lake, Deep Lake, Sun Lake, Cedar Lake, Petite Lake, Handkerchief Lake, Bluff Lake, and Hastings Lake.

There are also 4 other Lakes, which lie partly in other Towns, as follows: Overton Lake, Cross, Fox Lake, and Hurlburt Lake; most of the Lakes in this Town are equally beautiful with those of the other Towns in the County, and their average size is about the same.

In addition to the foregoing Lakes, this Town is watered by Fox River, Otter creek, Sequoit creek, North branch of Mill creek, Hastings creek, and Petite creek. Upon Sequoit creek, there is an excellent saw mill, situated in the Village of Antioch, which was built by Mr. Hiram Butrick in 1839.

The first permanent claims of Government Lands made in this Town, were made in the month of December, 1836, by D. B. Gage, Thomas Gage, and Thomas Warner. The first house built within the limits of the Town, was built in April 1837, by D. B. and Thomas Q. Gage, near Sequoit creek, on the present site of the Village of Antioch. The second was built by Thomas Warner, near Loon Lake, in the month of June of the same year. These gentlemen had located themselves temporarily at Walker's bridge, on the Des Plaines river, in Cook County. In December 1837 they followed up the river upon an Indian trail, to Mill creek, from whence they proceeded westward to Loon Lake, where they made them a claim and put up a log cabin, from whence, after a few days they proceeded on their return, by way of the Maquonago trail, which was a trail divirging (sic) from the great Milwaukee trail at a point near the mouth of Indian creel, where formerly had been an Indian Village, and running from thence north-westerly to an Indian Village in Wisconsin, called Maquonago.

Being late in December, the weather had become severely cold and boisterous. They found the trail much obstructed by fallen trees, and being unacquainted with the route, their progress was slow, in consequence of which they came near freezing to death, but finally succeeded in reaching the house of Willard Jones, at Jones' point, which was about 13 miles from Loon Lake.

The Village of Antioch -- a thriving place -- is situated in the northern part of this Town, on Sequoit creek. It was commenced in 1840, and contains at the present time 300 inhabitants. It affords two good stores, a tavern and such mechanics as as are needed in an agricultural country. It also has two lawyers, E. S. Ingalls and Wm. L. Stevens, as well as two excellent physicians, Doctors L. D. Gage and Daniel Lewis.

In 1840 the writer was present and participated at the first fourth of July celebration held at this place, and it was such an occasion as he will ever delight to hold in pleasing remembrance, and no less can probably be said by all who participated. A good band of martial music was in attendance to give life and spirit to the occasion. Freeman Bridge acted as Martial of the day and acquitted himself nobly. The Declaration of Independence was read by Hiram Butrick, and an excellent oration was delivered by Harrison P. Nelson, Esq.

The original proprietors of this place were D. B. Gage, F. F. & P. Munson, and E. S. Ingalls.

The first stock of goods opened at this place, we believe, was by F. F. Munson. The first tavern or house of entertainment was by D. B. Gage, and the first blacksmith shop was by E. F. Ingalls.

The early settlers of this Town were D. B. Gage, Thomas Warner, Thomas Q. Gage, Henry Rector, William Fagher, Robert Stalker, E. F. Ingalls, Loami Piersons, E. S. Ingalls, H. P. Nelson, H. Nichols, Charles O. McClellen, F. F. Munson, Parnell Munson, Leland Cook and Hiram Butrick.

The Gages, Warner and Rector, were from the State of New York; Fagher and Stalker, we believe, were natives from the Isle of Man; the Ingalls, Pearsons, Nelson and McClellen were from New Hampshire.

The first election held within the present limits of this Town, was in October, 1839, under the old Precinct arrangement, which was for the purpose of electing officers for Bristol Precinct. This election was held at the house of Thomas Warner at Loon Lake, at which there were 16 votes cast -- all told.-- The following is a list of the voters. Thos. Q. Gage, D. B. Gage, E. F. Ingalls, Henry Rector; H. P. Nelson, Miles Shepard, Laomi Pearson, Chas. O. McClellen, Thos. McClellen, Oren Parker, George Rae, Thos. Warner, Hiram Butrick, J. B. Rice, F. F. Munson and Horace Butrick. -- Laomi Pearsons and Oren Parker were elected Justices of the Peace, and John B. Rice and George Rae were elected Constables.

The first Town meeting, in this Town, under the present Township organization was held at the tavern of D. B. Gage, in the Village of Antioch. Dr. L. D. Gage was chosen moderator, and Eli S. Derby, clerk. The following is a list of the Town officers elected at this meeting: Harrison P. Nelson, Supervisor; Eli Gage, Townclerk; Thomas Webb, Assessor; John H. Elliott, Collector; Chas. Webb and Robert K. Colts, Justices of the Peace; Ira Webb, A. B. Paddock and E. C. Stephens, Commissioners of Highways; Robert Pollock, Overseer of the Poor; John H. Elliott and Albert Webb, Constables. The number of votes cast at this Town meeting was 145.

The present Town Officers of the Town, are as follows: Supervisors, Charles Webb; Assessor, Geo. Hale; Townclerk, Delos S. Cook; Collector, S. S. Drum; Commissioners of Highways, Myron Emmons, H. Lincoln and Chester Ames; Overseer of the Poor, John R. Arnold; Justices of the Peace, Chas. Webb, L. D. Gage, and E. S. Ingalls, (Associate Justice of the County Court); Constables, John H. Elliott and S. S. Drum. The present County Surveyor, George Hale, resides in this Town. The number of votes cast at the last Town Meeting were 169.

This Town is divided into 11 school districts. The amount of township school fund for Town 46, Range 10, is $1,400.

The post offices in this Town are Antioch, Hickory and Millburn. the office at Antioch was established in 1846, and Dr. L. D. Gage, was appointed Postmaster. The office at Hickory was established, February 3d, 1848, and Chester Ames appointed Postmaster, who still continues in office. The office at Millburn was established, February 10th, 1848, and Robert Strong appointed Postmaster, who still continues in Office.

The inhabitants of this Town are mostly from the states of New York and New Hampshire and are characterized for their industrious and temperate habits.

This Town, for the rearing of stock probably possesses advantages over any other Township in the County -- being so remarkably well watered, and at the same time possessing an unsurpassed quality of soil. The size of farms ranges from 40 to 320 acres.

The assessment value of property in this Town for 1850, including both real and person was $88,904.00. The amount of tax (obscured) the same was $1,744.51.

Town of Avon

This, as a Congressional Township is known as Township 45, north, Range 10, east of the 3rd P. M. It has within its limits 9 Lakes, as follows: Gray's Lake, Cranberry Lake, Taylor's Lake, Round Lake, Sand Lake, Slough Lake, the 3d and 4th of Gage's Lakes, and part of the 2d and a small portion of Long Lake.
Gray's Lake takes its name from WIlliam Gray, who lived for several years upon its borders, and was one of the early settlers of this Township. This Lake is about one half mile in length and one fourth of a mile in width, and lies in section 27 and 34.
Cranberry Lake is but a small pond upon the north-east quarter of section 28, which is nearly surrounded by a marsh, affording yearly an abundance of cranberries.
While this marsh was in possession of Mr. Samuel Gunwood, it is said that he usually gathered from it, annually about 200 bushels of cranberries.
Taylor's Lake takes its name from an individual of this name, who was the first settler in its vicinity, and we believe, the first in the Township. In 1835 he made a claim of land upon the north side of this Lake, where he built a log house, and continued in possession till 1837, when the premises passed into the hands of Leonard Gage, where he continues to reside at the present time. This Lake is about half a mile long and about one hundred rods in width, in section 21 and 22.
Round Lake, the third of this chain, is so named from its round and regular form. This Lake is about three-fourths of a mile across it, and is one of the most beautiful Lakes in the County.
Sand Lake lies near the north __ine of the Township, mostly in section two. it is nearly one half mile in length, and about one-fourth of a mile in width. It is so named from its sandy shores.
Slough Lake is but a small pond, lying in the south-east quarter of section three, and is so named from its being mostly surrounded by a marsh or slough.

Grant Township
Town of Goodale

"This is likewise one of those fractional Townships upon the western boundary of the County, being only 4 miles in width. It is bounded on the north by Antioch, on the east by Avon, on the south by Wauconda, and on the west by McHenry Co. As we have before remarked, it takes its name from Deveraux Goodale, Esq., one of the early settlers. It is watered by Fish Lake, Wooster lake, Sullivan's lake, Mud lake, Duck lake, Long lake; part of the Pistakee Lakes, and some 2 or 3 smaller ponds not named; also by Squaw Creek which passes through the northern portion. It contains an area of about 15360 acres of which about one fourth part is covered with water. It has therefore the smallest population, and least wealth of any of the towns of the County.
Among the early settlers, were Harley Clark, Rufus Willard, Robert Stanley, Chester Hamilton, Deveraux and Henry Goodale, T. D. and D. C. Townsend and Timothy B. Titcomb.
The first house was erected by Harley Clark, near Fish Lake in the summer of 1839.
The land was originally mostly timbered land, or woodland, with the exception of a small skirt of prairie, extending up into the south east corner of the Township. It is however well adapted to farming purposes, especially to the raising of stock; and affords many thriving and industrious farmers.
The Lake and McHenry Plank Road passes through the south east part of the Town, on Section 36.
The only Post Office in this Town is Fort Hill. Orren Marble Postmaster, which office as we have before remarked, was originally established in the Townships now known as Freemont.
The first Town meeting was held at Goodale's Tavern, at which the following persons were elected Town officers: Chester Hamilton Supervisor, D. C. Townsend, Town Clerk; Jehiel Campton, Assessor; Orren Marble, Collector; Cornelius Smith, Overseer of the poor; Calvin Clark, Rufus McWay and Robert Stanley, Commissioners of Highways; Chester Hamilton and A. S. Maltby, Justices of the Peace; L. P. Barnes and Orren Marble, Constables.
The valuation of property for 1850, including both rent and personal, was $33868. The amount of tax computed on the same, for collection was $472.56."

Town of Libertyville

"Libertyville is bounded upon the north by Warren, on the east by Warren, on the east by Shields, on the south by Vernon, and on the west by Freemont. It is one of the oldest settled Townships in the County, and much of its early history has been already given under the head of General Observations.
Among its early settlers were Henry B. Steele, Tobias Wynkoop, A. B. Wynkoop, William, Robert and Christopher Irwin, Ransom Steele, William Crane, D. C. Steele, Hon. Horace Butler, Doct. J. H. Foster, Charles H. Bartlett, William and James Loyd, and E. Tingley.
The County seat of Lake County, as we have already remarked, was originally located at the village of Libertyville, and subsequently removed to its present site -- which removal as might well be expected, somewhat retarded the progress of this beautiful village. Its enterprising inhabitants have, however, nevertheless, made it one of the most delightful villages in the County. --It contains at the present time some three or four hundred inhabitants -- two or three stores a large and commodious Hotel, a steam flouring mill and saw mill, and above all, two fine churches, with which ornaments, by the way, our western villages are not frequently adorned, which fact alone will suffice for the character and reputation of the inhabitants, and the state of society without further comment. The village has also a Division of Sons of Temperance of about 25 members.
The first stock of Goods ever opened in Lake County was opened at this place by Hiram Kennicott in June 1836, in a building which stood near the present site of the District School house.
The prairie lands of this Township, which comprises about on half of its extent, from their long occupation, and the character of the occupants, are under an excellent state of cultivation. --Improved farms meet with ready sales and probably command better prices than in any other part of the county.
The Township is watered by the Des Plains river. Rush lake and Wynkoop's creek The Des Plains, flowing southward, through near the center of the Town. The land upon the west is beautiful and undulating prairie, whilst that upon the east is mostly of the first quality of woodland.
The first Town meeting was held at Libertyville village, and the following persons were elected Town officers:--
William Crane, Supervisor; H. C. Hutchinson, Town clerk; John Locke, Assessor; E. H. Hall, E. H. Mason, and R. Drew, Commissioners of Highways; S. P. Statton, Overseers of the Poor; S. C. Brown, Constable and Collector; and D. C. Steele and C. F. Apply Justices of the Peace. The number of votes cast was 125.
The only Post office in the Township is Libertyville, which was established in the winter of 1836 and '37, and Henry B. Steele, Esq., appointed Post master.
The Township is divided into seven School Districts, and has a school fund of $1500.
The assessment valuation of property for the year 1850, including both real and personal was $88899,00, and the amount of tax computed upon the same was $1178,13.

NEWPORT Township
SHIELDS Township
Town of Shields

This Township, as we have remarked under the head of General Observations is so named in honor of General James Shields, now of the United States Senate. It is bounded upon the north by Waukegan, on the east by Lake Michigan, on the south by Deerfield, and on the west by Libertyville. Its settlement was commenced in the year 1836. Among the early settlers were Doct. Richard Murphy, William Dwyer, John Dwyer, Lawrence Carroll, Benjamin P. Swain, Isaac Hickox, Godfrey Dwelley, Michael Dulanty, Michael C. McGuire, Thomas Maguire, late Probate Justice of the Peace and John Mullery
The Chicago and Green Bay road, which was established by the United States in early days, and commonly known as the "Military road," passes through about the centre of the Township, upon which the first habitations were mostly erected.
The land upon the west side of this road is principally prairie, whilst that upon the east side is a body of dense woodland.
The inhabitants are mostly natives of Ireland, and as a community are characterized for their perseverance and industry, as well as their integrity and promptness in all their dealings.
The Chicago and Milwaukee Lake Shore rail road will probably pass through this township near the route of the Military road, the completion of which will add greatly to the value of its woodlands.
The Post offices are Oak Hill and Emmet. Michael C. McGuire was the first post master of the former and Andrew Steele of the latter.
The first Town meeting was convened at the Tavern house of Mrs. Dwyer, at which Michael C. McGuire presided as Moderator, who was elected the first Supervisor of the Town.
The assessment value of property for the year 1850, including both real and personal, was $44300. The amount of tax computed on the same for collection was $641,71.

VERNON Township
Town of Vernon

The Township of Vernon is bounded upon the north by Libertyville, on the east by Deerfield, on the south by Cook County, and on the west by Ela. Its settlement was commenced simultaneously with that of Libertyville, sometime in the year 1834.
Among the early settlers were Captain [Daniel -mw.] Wright, A. Talcott, Clark Knights, William Easton, Seth Washburn, Esq., John Herrick, John and Robert Easton, Theron Parsons, Hiram Kennicott, Matthias Mason, Andrew S. Wells, Elisha Gridley, John A. Mills, Rufus Soules and Moses Putney.
This Township is watered by the Des Plains River and Indian Creek, which latter stream empties into the former upon section 23, near which point was once an Indian Village, which gave rise to the name of the creek upon which it was situated, (Indian Creek,) which village we believe was called by the Indians Mettawa; and was the home of the Indian Chief Hafda, a Chief of the Potawatamie tribe, from whom the present delightful village of Half-Day derives its name. In the winter of 1836 and '37, the Half-Day Post Office was established by the Post Office Department. The prayer of the petitioners for this office, was, that it should be named Haf-da in honor of the Indian Chief before named; but it seems to have been the idea of the Department, not understanding the facts in the case that the petitioners desired the name of Half-Day, but that they had misspelled the name and therefore established the office under the name of Half-Day; which has always been a source of regret to such of the inhabitants as were acquainted with the circumstances, yet they have never applied for a correction of the error, which seems to us that they certainly ought long since, to have done.
The first saw mill erected in the County of Lake was erected in this Township by Hiram Kennicott, Esq., upon the Des Plains River at the point now known as Vincent's mills.
The first school, for the instruction of youth ever taught in the County, was also taught in this Township at Half-Day, by John Easton in 1837.
The first stock of good opened in this Township, was opened by John Easton in 1837, a man of excellent business habits and qualifications, and who has, by close and continued application, and strict economy, accumulated a very comfortable fortune, and has set for the young men of Lake County, an example of enterprize well worthy of their imitation.
The Village of Half-Day, at the present time contains some 200 inhabitants, the progress of which has been materially aided, through the enterprize of Messrs. John Easton, Seth Washburn, Esq., and Theron Parsons. It supports two good stores, affords one of the best public houses in the western country, and all such mechanics as are needed in a country village, and like Libertyville, has been favorably remembered by the Church going community, who have erected there a very fine Church.
The post offices of the Township are Half-Day and Long Grove. The latter office was established on the first of April, 1847, under the name of Mutterschultz, and Michael Sigwald appointed postmaster, being in the midst of a german settlement, a german name for the post office, was very naturally selected. In December 1849 the name was changed to Long Grove, that being the name of the grove of timber, where it had been located. Fred'k A. Ormsby is the present postmaster.
Like Libertyville, the lands upon the west side of the Des Plains, which comprises about two thirds of the extent of the Township, are principally prairie with the exception of some two or three scattering groves of timber; whilst those upon the east are heavily timbered.
Full on-third of the population of this Township is german, who are characterized as peaceable, quiet, and industrious citizens.
The first Town meeting was held at Half-Day Village; Matthias Mason presided as moderator; and Robert M. Hamilton acted as clerk. The following persons were elected as the first Town Officers: Captain James Moore, Supervisor; Orange Brace, Town Clerk; Philander Stewart, Justice of the Peace; Elisha Gridley, Assessor; H. H. Hawkes, Job W. Tripp and Irvin Ruth, Commissioners of Highways; J. W. Ayres, Constable and Collector; Robert Hamilton, Overseer of the Poor.
The assessment value of property in this Township for the year 1850, was 110,418.00; the amount of tax computed on the same was $1,368.68.*

WARREN Township
Town of Wauconda

Wauconda is one of those fractional Townships upon the west line of the County. It is bounded upon the north by Goodale, on the east by Fremont, on the south by Cuba, and on the west by McHenry County.
Among the early settlers were Justice Bangs, Esq., Elisha Hubbard, Mark Bangs, Peter Mills, A. J. Seeber, D. H. Sherman, John Co. Wooster, Daniel Martin, W. H. Hawkins, Thomas F. Slocum, Stephen Rice.
The Township is watered by Bangs' Lake, Slocums Lake, and two or three small ponds not named. Bangs' Lake takes its name from Justice Bangs, Esq., who was the first settler in its vicinity, and Slocum's Lake from Thomas F. Slocum, who was likewise an early settler in that vicinity. The lands were originally mostly woodlands and oak openings. It has, however, a small prairie, formerly known to some extent as Rice's Prairie, lying immediately south of the Village of Forksville, containing an area of about 600 acres.
From the abundant supply of timber in this Township, it has become quite thickly settled. The population being made up of an intelligent and industrious class of farmers. It has two very flourishing Villages -- Wauconda and Forksville [now Volo -- mw.]. -- The former is beautifully located, in the south part of the Township, upon the western border of Bangs' Lake, on the Chicago and Janesville stage road. The latter is located in the north part of the Town, upon the route of the Lake and McHenry Plank Road. It is a Village of recent growth and contains about 150 inhabitants. It affords two Stores, a commodious Hotel, and such mechanics as are usually found in like country Villages.
Limestone are found in abundance in the vicinity, and the burning of lime at this place, has been a source of considerable profit to several individuals who have engaged in the business.
Wauconda is a Village of about 200 inhabitants, or upwards, and affords three good Stores, two Public Houses, and various Mechanics. Its location is delightful and as the country advances, will become one of the most delightful and pleasant Villages in the County.
It is indebted for its rapid progress to J. Bangs, Esq., its original proprietor.
A Division of Sons of Temperance has recently been organized here which speaks well for the sobriety and morality of its citizens.
The amount of school fund of this Township is $2224.10
The first Town Meeting was convened at the Village of Wauconda. Jonathan Wood was chosen Moderator, and La Fayette Mills acted as Clerk. The following persons were elected as Town Officers: Peter Mills, Supervisor; La Fayette Mills, Town Clerk; James S. Davis, Assessor; E. L. Huson, Collector; A. J. Seeber, Andrew Cook, and J. T. McKinney, Commissioners of Highways; Hazard Green and J. H. Wesscher, Justice of the Peace; E. L. Huson and Seth Hill, Constables.
The Assessment value of property for the year 1850, including both real and personal, was $61,907.00. The amount of tax computed on the same was $827.18.

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