A History of The County of DuPage Illinois

By C. W. Richmond & H. F. Vallette Chicago: Steam Presses of Scripps, Bross & Spears, 45 Clark Street 1857 Excerpts from the book

 



      
 

      

"The first permanent settlement within the limits of Du Page, was made in the fall of 1830, and during the spring of the year following.  Stephen J. Scott removed from Maryland to this State, with his family, in the year 1825, and "made a claim" near the present site of Gros Point.  while on a hunting tour, in the month of August, 1830, in company with his son Willard, he discovered the Du Page river, near Plainfield.  Impressed with the beauty and apparent fertility of the surrounding country, he resolved to explore the river, and ascended it as far as the confluence of its east and west branches, now called 'The Forks.'
       "A comfortable log house was subsequently built upon the farm now owned by Mrs. Sheldon, and the family of Mr. Scott came on to possess the 'new claim,' in the fall of 1830.
Other families soon settled in the vicinity."
       "About the middle of March, 1831, Baley Hobson came and settled, with his family, near the present site of the family residence, being the first actual settler on the soil of DuPage County.  The family of Mr. Paine located near Mr. Hobson, in April following.
In July the family of Capt. Joseph Naper came from Ohio, accompanied by the family of his brother, John Naper.  Capt. Naper had visited the county in February, 1831.  He built a cabin near the site of his flouring mill, in which he lived until a more commodious dwelling could be provided for his family.  He also built a trading house that season, and carried on quite an extensive trade with the settlers and Indians.  The later were quite numerous here at that time, but he always sustained the most friendly relations with them.  The settlement received constant additions to its numbers, and at the end of spring, 1832, it contained on hundred and eighty souls.  Among the families were those of II.T. Wilton, Lyman Butterfield, Ira Carpenter, John Murray, R.M. Sweet, Alanson Sweet, Harry Boardman, Israel Blodgett, Robert Strong, Pierce Hawley, Walter, Stowel, C. Foster, J. Manning, and II. Babbitt.
        "The locality was then known as 'Naper's Settlement.'  The winter of 1832 was one of unusual severity, which, together with a scarcity of provisions, rendered the prospects of the settlers rather gloomy.  John Naper, John Murray, and R.M. Sweet were sent to the 'Wabash' for provisions."
       The winter became spring and the settlement was filled with activity, planning the first planting season.

       "The news of the breaking out of the Black Hawk war caused great excitement in the settlement, and the alarm was heightened by the arrival of Shata, an express from the Pottawattomies, who were friendly to the whites, with the intelligence that a party of Sac Indians were committing depredations among the settlers on Fox river, some ten miles distant, and that the houses of Cunningham and Hollenbeck had been burned to the ground, and their property entirely destroyed.  Aware of their inability to carry on a successful warfare with the Indians, as the colony was in an almost defenseless state, and being liable to an attack from them at any moment, the settlers decided to send their families, with all possible haste, to Chicago, where old Fort Dearborn offered its protection..."


       "After the close of the Black Hawk war, the tide of immigration again turned to Illinois, and this county received its proportion of new settlers."
       "The houses of the first settlers were usually built near the timber.  Scarcely any were to be found upon the prairie prior to 1837.  All the timber land was 'claimed' before 1835, but some of the prairie land in our county, which, at that day, was considered almost worthless, on account of its being inconvenient to timber, was never claimed by the squatters.  Many difficulties arose among the settlers in relation to the boundaries and priority of the claims of parties."

Pioneer Cabin
Typical Pioneer Cabin

"A company was formed somewhere in this county, between 1832 and 1835, which was called- for what reason we know not- 'The Land Pirate Company.'  This company made, or caused to be made, a claim in the Big Woods, embracing three or four sections of the best timbered land."
       "...the settlers at the Big Woods formed a society, in 1836, called 'The Claim Protecting Society.'  It had for its object, beside the protection of the settlers against speculators, the settlement of all disputes as to boundaries."
       "A society was formed for similar objects in 1839, called the 'Du Page County Society for Mutual Protection.'
General View of the County
       "The County of Du Page, is situated in the northern part of the State of Illinois, and consists of a fraction over nine townships.  It belonged originally to Cook county, until its separation and organization into a distinct county by act of Legislature, passed at the session of 1839.  It is bounded on the north and east by Cook county, on the south by Will and Cook, and on the west by Kane.
      " The early settlers were almost wholly of English extraction, but the population of the present day consists of a mixture of English and Germans."
 
Education
       "We now have about seventy school districts, which are provided with good school buildings and good schools.  Much of our advancement in this respect, is due to the indefatigable labors of our late school commissioner, Rev. Hope Brown.  From Mr. Brown's annual report of 1855, we give some extracts showing the state of our schools at that time:'In addition to our district schools, there are in the county three incorporated academies, The Naperville Academy, The Illinois Institute, and the Warrenville Seminary;  the two former of which are in a prosperous condition, but the latter is suspended for the present.  There are also six priovate schools in the county.  In these schools and in the above named academies, there have been the past winter, about five hundred pupils...' "

Organization of the County, Etc.
       "The law organizing the county was approved Frebruary 9th, 1839.  The boundaries of the county, as specified in the first section of the act, embraced not only the present limits, but the north half of two townships of Will county."
       "By the fourth section of the act, Ralph Woodruff of La Salle county, Seth Reed, of Kane county, and H.G. Loomis, of Cook county, were appointed commissioners to locate the county seat, and were to meet at the Preemption House, in Naperville, on the first Monday of June, 1839, or within thirty days thereafter.
       "There was a proviso to the fourth section, as follows:  'The said commissioners shall obtain for the county, from the claimant, a quantity of land, not less than three acres, and three thousand dollars, for the purpose of erecting county buildings; which sum shall be secured to the county commissioners, and paid out, under their directions, for the purposes aforesaid.' "
       "Naperville was selected as the county seat, and on the 17th day of June, 1839, a quit-claim deed was executed to the county commissioners, conveying all the title one claimant had (the undivided half) to the present public square.  The county never had title to the other half as a claim."
        "About $5,000 was subscribed by the citizens of Naperville to erect a court house, which was built in 1839.  The brick offices were subsequently erected.
       "The county buildings, after a lapse of nearly twenty years, remain in statu quo, nothing having been done to beautify the grounds, or to improve their convenience or comfort.  In view of the possibility  of their removal, the citizens of Naperville filed a bond in the clerk's office, in April, 1857, which obligates them to enlarge and improve the appearance of the court house during the present summer.  The citizens of the county are looking for a faithful execution of that bond."  

 State Legislators from DuPage County Prior to 1857
       1836- Capt. Joseph Naper                          1848- Warren L. Wheaton
       1838- Capt. Joseph Naper                          1850- Willard T. Jones
       1842- Jeduthan Hatch                                 1852- Capt. Joseph Naper
       1844- Julius M. Warren                              1854- E. O. Hills
       1846- Capt. E. Kinne                                   1856- Truman W. Smith
 
*Photograph from the Naperville Centennial, first published in 1931, reprinted and used with the permission of the Fort Payne DAR.  Provided by Dyonne Brys.  Go to List of County Officers

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