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DuPage County Illinois ILGenWeb

History of the Town of Addison From the History of the County of Du Page, Illinois1857



"The settlement of this town began in 1834.  The first inhabitants were Ebenezer Duncklee and Hezekiah Duncklee, from Hillsborough, N.H., and Mason Smith, from Potsdam, N.Y.  They left Potsdam on the 13th of August, 1833, and arrived at Chicago on the 3d of September, traveling by land across Michigan and Northern Indiana.  Leaving Chicago on the 8th of September, they followed the trail of Gen. Scott's army, which had preceded them, to the Des Plaines river, where they camped for the night, near a party of 300 Indians.  On the following day, they proceeded along the trail as far as the south line of Addison.  Here they found a grave, which was supposed to be that of a soldier in Gen. Scott's army.  The grave was on the west bank of Salt creek.  On the opposite bank, near what is now called Grey's grove, were the remains of the army encampment.  Some of the tent posts were still standing.  Upon examination, it was found that the waters of the creek were not salt, as they had supposed.  The stream received its name from this circumstance:  A hoosier team, loaded with salt, became "stalled" while fording it, and the driver was obliged to lighten his load by rolling several barrels into the water.  The party left the creek at 5 o'clock, and pursued the trail.  Soon after dark they discovered a light, which seemed at no great distance.  One of the company set out in advance, hoping to reach it, but after making a circuit through the tall prairie grass, he came upon his comrades near the place from which he started- and the party camped for the night among the prairie grass and flowers.  Their
slumbers were somewhat disturbed by the prairie wolves, which howled most hideously about them during a greater part of the night; but wearied by their long marches, they rested full as well as could be expected under the circumstances.  On the following day they reached Meacham's grave, where they found three settlers by the name of Meacham.  Here they obtained some instruction in the arts of border life.  They learned how to make their claims, how to construct cabins, and how to manufacture their beds.  From this place they proceeded to Elk grove, and thence along the west bank of Salt creek to Duncklee's grove, and camped for the night on the spot where the house of  H.D. Fisher now stands.
    "On the 12th day of September they took a northern direction through the timber, and made their claims near the north end of the grove.  The timber claims were made by marking trees, and the prairie claims by plowing a furrow entirely around each. Immediate preparations were made for the erection of a house.  The ground was leveled with a hoe, and prairie grass, which was cut with an ax, was spread upon it for beds.  A tent was made of
cotton cloth, and here they lived for half a month, until their cabin could be completed.  The sides of the new cabin were formed of logs, drawn together by the pony -- an important member of the company, of whom honorable mention is hereafter made -- the floor was formed of split logs, and the roof of oak shingles.  The family of E. Duncklee arrived in August, 1834.  The 18th day of June, 1835, was the date of the birth of the  first white child in the town.  Three barrels of frozen apples were planted by Mr. Duncklee in the spring of 1836, from which nearly all the region has been supplied with fruit trees.  He sold from his own orchard, in 1855, upward of $600 worth of fruit.  There is a cotton-wood tree standing in his yard which sprang from seed sown in 1837, and measures five feet two inches in circumference, at a height of fourteen inches from the ground.
 The following table gives the names of the early settlers, the date of the
settlement, and the State or country from which they emigrated:
        NAMES                        YEAR            WHERE FROM
Hezekiah Duncklee               1834                     N.H.
Mason Smith                            "                            "
E. Duncklee                           1835                         "
A. Ingals                                 1834                    Mass.
C. Fisher                                   "                       Germany
H. Smith, sen                         1835                         "
Geo. Rouse                               "                       N.Y.
E. Lester                                   "                           "
M. Lester                                 "                           "
F. Lester                                   "                           "
D. Lester                                  "                           "
J.F. Franzen                          1836                     Germany
B. Kaler                                    "                           "
D.S. Dunning                            "                       N.Y.
D. Gray                                 1834                     Germany
F. Gray                                     "                           "
H.D. Fisher                           1836                         "
H. Smith, jun                         1835                         "
F. Smith                                   "                             "
T. Thompson                         1834                         "
Lewis Smith                           1835                         "
H. Rotermund                       1837                         "
F. Kragie                                  "                            "
F. Stainkle                                "                            "
J. Bertman                             1836                         "
S.D. Pierce                               "                          N.Y.
C.W. Martin                             "                            "
W. Boske                               1835                   Germany
B.F. Fillmore                          1836                   Vermont
Edwin Pierce                          1837                      N.Y.
   "This is strictly an agricultural town.  The first attempt at farming, of which the writer has any account, was in the fall of 1834.  Mason Smith and Hezekiah Duncklee cut and stacked a few tons of hay near Salt creek, to keep a small pony, which was their joint possession, and which had brought them all the way from Detroit.  Their stack was completed after several days' hard labor, and they were advised to burn the grass for several rods around it, in order to protect it from the annual fires set by the Indians.  Being unacquainted with the business, they set the fire too near, and not only burned up the grass about it, but the whole stack was consumed, leaving the pony destitute of a winter's allowance.  Winter came on, and having no hay, they turned him into the grove, where he lived and prospered until the opening of spring.
   "The land in this town came into market in 1842, having been surveyed the previous year.  When the first settlers came into the town, the land being unsurveyed, each made what was termed a claim, by staking or surrounding with a furrow as much land as he thought he would be able to pay for, when it should come into market.  The usual quantity claimed was 160 acres; some, however, claimed more, and some less than that amount.  There were some conflicting claims;  but these difficulties were generally settled when the land was sold, by the one having the largest portion of the disputed claim buying the whole, and then re-deeding to each holder his proportion.  In this way all obtained their lands as claimed, without regard to government lines.  There are three groves of thrifty growing timber in this town.  Duncklee's grove lies on the east bank and along the Salt creek.  It is about three miles in length, and half a mile in width.  Grey's grove lies also on the east branch of Salt creek, and contains about 100 acres.  Kaler's grove, though smaller, affords considerable fuel and timber.
   "The balance of the lands of this town is chiefly flat prairie.  The soil is from two to two and one-half feet in depth, with a subsoil of clay.  It produces good spring wheat, oats, corn, potatoes, etc.  Winter wheat generally kills out in the spring, by alternate freezing and thawing.  The greater part of the hay is made from prairie grass, which grows luxuriantly on the creek bottoms, and on the low ground.  Clover, timothy, and herdsgrass do well, but require manure to neutralize the alkalis in the land.  The lands produce an average of about twenty bushels of spring wheat, forty bushels of oats, forty bushels of corn, and one hundred bushels of potatoes to the acre.
   "The price of farms in this town varies according to their improvement.  The minimum value is $25 per acre, and the maximum $50.
   "The school section of this town sold for $800, which has been increased, by addition of interest from time to time, to $1,300.  There are eight school districts in the town, six of which are provided with good school buildings.  There are three German schools taught.  Henry Bartling is the post master in the south part of the town, and S.D. Pierce at Sagone, in the north part.  There are three churches, two establishments for the manufacture of brick, one grist mill, one carriage, one cabinet shop, four stores, two boot and shoes shops, and two blacksmith shops in the town.  The Lutherans have a large society, and worship in a house built for their own accommodation.  The present pastor is Rev. E.A. Brauer.
   "The German Methodist society of this town is also large.  It has a house of worship, and the pulpit is regularly supplied by a settled pastor.  The present pastor of this church is Rev. U. Macklin."
The rest of this history describes two  large hail storms which did substantial damage to the town in June 1847 and July 1854...recent history as this was written in 1857.
Transcribed by Diane Bauer and Pat Sabin. October 1999.

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