History of the Town of Bloomingdale
from the History of the County of Du Page, Illinois, 1857
Silas Meacham, Lyman Meacham, and Harvey Meacham, were the first settlers of this town. They came here together, and clearing away the snow from a spot selected for the purpose, pitched their tents, on the eleventh day of March, 1833. The Indians, who were numerous at that time, were their only neighbors during the first year. There were no settlers nearer than King's grove, ont he east branch of the Du Page, none on the Chicago and Galena road, and none on Fox river above Green's mill. Their Indian neighbors were generally peaceable and quiet, but filled with all manner of superstitious and savage peculiarities. Soon after the settlement commenced, a dog was discovered in the grove hanging from a limb to which it was fastened, with a piece of tobacco tied to each foot. The settlers afterward learned from Lawton, an Indian trader, that the Indians had had some bad luck, and the dog was offered as a sacrifice.
The grove was known among the Indians as Penneack grove, and received its name from a root found in it, resembling the potato. It grew in such abundance, that the Indians came for it, and carried it away to their camps, in sacks, on their ponies.
The Indians were generally trusty, and on the whole proved themselves good neighbors. The settlers placed great confidence in them. They frequently came to the settlement to borrow, and were always prompt in returning, thereby offering an example which many "white folks" think it too much trouble to follow in all cases. Harvey Meacham once loaned his valuable rifle to one of them for several days, on the promise that he would return it at a certain time; the Indian, faithful to his word, brought it back on the appointed day.
The wife of Lyman Meacham died in the fall of 1833. Her coffin was made of boards taken from a wagon box which was brought from the east. The next death in the settlement was that of a young mechanic, who came into the town with Major Skinner, in 1834. He was buried in a coffin made of plank, split from a log in the grove.
A small addition to the settlement was made in 1834. Among the settlers of that year were H. Woodworth, N. Stevens, D. Bangs, Elias Maynard, and Major Skinner. the Meacham brothers, during the first year, built a log house for each of their families, broke and planted forty acres of prairie, and fenced it in, to secure it from their stock which grazed upon the open fields. At the end of the year 1834, the settlement had increased to twelve or fifteen families. Many trials, incident to the settlers of a new country, were experienced by these first pioneers. We are informed by one of them, that it was no uncommon thing for a man to take his plow share and mould board, weighing some sixty pounds, upon his back and trudge away to chicago, a distance of twenty-four miles, to get it sharpened.
The precinct of Cook county, in which this settlement was included, extended over a large part, if not all of Cook county, west of the O'Plain river.
The first election in this precinct was held at Elk grove, eight miles north east of Bloomingdale. Lyman Meacham was elected justice of the peace. The first path master went as far south as Warrenville, ten miles distant, to warn out the settlers on the highway to perform their road labor. The claim difficulty to which allusion has been made, occurred in this town. It is thought that no correct history of the horrid transaction has ever appeared. The statement of this affair, given in the life of George W. Green, the banker, who committed suicide in the Chicago jail, is very erroneous. The compilers have been at considerable pains to obtain a brief, and as the believe, an impartial account of the transaction, which is commonly known as The Kent Tragedy.
Bloomingdale is not excelled by any of its sister towns in healthfulness of climate, fertility of soil, beauty of scenery, variety of products, nor in attention to agriculture. Meacham's grove is in this town, and embraces about 1,200 acres of fine timber. the trail made by Gen. Scott's army, in passing from Fort Dearborn to the Mississippi, is about a mile and a half south of the grove. The trail was visible when the first settlers came, and has always been known as the army trail road. The source of the east branch of the Du Page river is from low land about half a mile south of the grove. the west branch rises in a slough, a few rods in width, situated near the north east corner of the town of Wayne. The town is well watered by springs and small streams, it having but one stream of any size. A branch of Salt creek runs in an easterly direction through the town, uniting with the main branch at Duncklee's grove, in the town of Addison. This stream furnishes water power at some seasons, and a saw mill has been erected upon it.
The Village of Bloomingdale contains about thirty dwelling houses, one hotel, 5 factories, 2 stores, and three churches. The Baptist society was organized in March, 1841, through the instrumentality of Rev. Joel Wheeler and Rev. A.W. Button. there were at first seventeen members, among whom were Noah Stevens, Ephraim Kettle, Asa Dudley, F.R. Stevens, Orange Kent, J. D. Kinne, Philo Nobles, Silas Farr, and William Farr.
For several years the society was without a settled minister, during which time preaching was sustained by Rev. Joel Wheeler, Rev. A. W. Button, Rev. Mr. Smith, Rev. Mr. Edwards, and Rev. Mr. Dickens. The first settled minister was Rev. P. Taylor, who became pastor of the church in 1848, and continued until 1855. He was succeeded by Rev. J. H. Worrell, the present pastor, in 1855.
There have been 204 members of this church since its organization. Seventy-eight have been dismissed, and only four have died during their membership. the Society now numbers 126 resident members. there is a Sabbath school of 40 scholars connected with this church, having a library of 450 volumes. The present house of worship was built in 1848.
The Congregational church was organized in August, 1840, by Rev. D. Rockwell, assisted by Rev. F. Bascomb. W. dodge, A. Buck, Elijah Hough, A. Hills, E. Thayer, C.H. Meacham, and J. P. Yalding, were among the first members. Rev. D. rockwell was ordained in 1840, and continued as pastor until 1842. the following are the names of pastors since that time:
1842-Rev. L. Parker 1850- Rev. N. Shapley
1843- " H. Colton 1851- " L. Parker
1844- " B. W. Reynolds 1854- " D. Chapman
1846- " L. Parker 1855- " H. Judd, present pastor
There have been 203 members in all, of whom eleven have died during their membership. There are now 93 resident members. The Sabbath school has about 50 scholars, and a library of 300 volumes. The church of this Society was built in 1851, and dedicated June 13th, 1852.
The Methodist Society of this town is in a prosperous condition, being at present supplied with preachers from the Naperville circuit.
There are nine school districts in this town, eight of which have school houses. The school fund derived from sale of land was $1,028. It is now $1,425. There were 325 scholars in attendance during the past year. Trustees, Captain E. Kinne, H. Barnes, H. S. Hills. Treasurer, S.P. Sedgwick.
The first town meeting in Bloomingdale was held at the school house, in the village, on Tuesday, the 2d day of April, 1850.