History of Will County
By Hon. George H. Woodruff.
The interest which attaches itself to all that is connected with the explorations and discoveries of the early French travelers in the Northwest increases as time rolls on. That history read in the blazing sunlight of the present day, has all the fascination of a romance, and, after more than two centuries gone by, the names of many courageous and devoted men rise up in peerless grandeur. Penetrated with enthusiasm, and bearing high the cross, Marquette, La Salle, De Frontenac, Joliet, Hennepin, De Charlevoix, the Chevalier de Trull, and so many others, made their way into unknown lands, and through perils, and in the midst of savages, in the face of sickness and privation, desolation and danger, they planted the flag of civilization in this great section of country, known as the Northwest. In this beautiful valley of the Des Planes, some of these early French explorers wandered a hundred years before the oldest of us were born. But in our attempt to write a full and complete history of Joliet Township, we do not propose to go back to the days of Marquette and La Salle, and of Joliet and Hennepin, but shall commence at a period still green in the memory of some who are yet living, and whose minds run back with much distinctness to the early settlements in the Des Planes Valley. But few more beautiful localities are to be found in the State of Illinois than this valley, and the country generally, as embraced in the township of Joliet. Its hills and bluffs and picturesque grottoes, its fine rolling plains, and its timber-bordered streams, present a variety of scenery of which the great prairies are wholly destitute. The town is watered by the Des Planes River, which enters its borders from the north, and, passing through the city of Joliet, runs in a southwesterly direction to its confluence with the Kankakee. Hickory Creek flows in from the east, and empties into the Des Planes at Joliet City; while several smaller brooks, together with the Illinois and Michigan Canal, pass through the township, so that no section could be better watered or better drained. Underlying the surface of a great portion of the town, perhaps the whole of it, are beds of stone, which for building purposes is almost without equal in this or any other country; and the numerous quarries, more particularly referred to in the chapter devoted to the city of Joliet, give employment to hundreds of men, and are, perhaps, the most extensive business carried on in the city, or even in the township. The railroad facilities of Joliet are excellent. The Chicago Rock Island & Pacific; the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis; the Chicago, Pekin & Southwestern, and the "Joliet Cut-off" of the Michigan Central, center in the city of Joliet, and traverse the township in every direction, affording means of transportation and of travel. The canal, too, is a valuable auxiliary, as well as a competitor, in moving the large quantities of freight from this section. The township is bounded on the north by Lockport, on the east by New Lenox, on the south by Jackson, on the west by Troy, and is known as Town 35 north, Range 10 east of the Third Principal Meridian, with a population, in 1870, aside from the city of Joliet, of 2,940 inhabitants. It is about one-half or, perhaps, two-thirds fine rolling prairie, while the remainder, principally along the Des Planes River and Hickory Creek, is well timbered—or was at the time of the early settlement of the country—and is, in places, rather hilly.
In the early settlement of Joliet Township and City, the Empire State contributed much of the population, both of city and township. So far as we have been able to collect the names of early settlers, and the localities from whence they came, up to and including 1835, together with the date of settlement, we give them in the following tabulated statement, which we have taken considerable care in preparing:
|Major Robert G. Cook||New York||1831|
|John B. Cook (his father)||New York||1831|
|Philip Scott||New York||1831|
|R. E. Barber||Vermont||1832|
|Col. Sayre||New Jersey||1832|
|Seth Scott||New York||1832|
|Charles Clement||New Hampshire||1833|
|Rev. George West||M. E. Minister||1833|
|William Hadsell||New York||1833|
|Dr. A. W. Bowen||New York||1834|
|Elias Haven||New York||1834|
|Philo A. Haven||New York||1834|
|Orlando H. Haven||New York||1834|
|James Haven||New York||1834|
|Dr. David Reed||New York||1834|
|M. H. Demmond||New York||1834|
|Wm. B. Hawley||New York||1834|
|Benj. F. Barker||New York||1834|
|Benjamin Richardson||From the East||1834|
|I. P. King||Indiana||1834|
|Charles Sayre||New Jersey||1834|
|Daniel Clement||New Hampshire||1834|
|N. H. Clarke||1834|
|Thomas H. Blackburn||1834|
|O. D. Putnam||1834|
|Geo. H. Woodruff||New York||1834|
|N. H. Cutter||Massachusetts||1834|
|Chas. W. Brandon||New York||1834|
|James C. Troutman||Ohio||1834|
|Edward Perkins||New York||1834|
|Hervey Lowe||New York||1835|
|Oliver W. Stillman||Massachusetts||1835|
|Charles W. Hopkins||New Jersey||1835|
|S. W. Bowen||New York||1835|
|Dr. Zelotus Haven||New York||1835|
|Hugh Henderson||New York||1835|
|Wm. A. Boardman||New York||1835|
|Russell Frary||New York||1835|
|Michael Shoemaker||New York||1835|
|John L. Wilson||New York||1835|
|Richard L. Wilson||New York||1835|
|Charles L. Wilson||New York||1835|
|Abijah Cagwin||New York||1835|
|H. N. Marsh||New York||1835|
|J. Beaumont||New York||1835|
|Levi Jenks||New York||1835|
|O. F. Rogers||New York||1835|
|Rev. J. H. Prentiss||New York||1835|
|Wm. A. Chatfield||Indiana||1835|
|C. C. Pepper||New York||1835|
|Francis Nicholson||New York||1835|
|W. R. Atwell||New York||1835|
|John M. Wilson||New York||1835|
|Jonathan Barnett||New York||1835|
|E. M. Daggett||Indiana||1835|
|Elias Hyde||New York||1835|
|S. B. Hopkins||New Jersey||1835|
In 1836 we may notice among the arrivals in the new settlement, George Woodruff, Joel A. Matteson, R. Doolittle, Edmund Wilcox, Uri Osgood, Thomas R. Hunter, E. C. Fellows and Francis L. Cagwin, from New York, and Otis Hardy and H. Hartshorn, from Vermont; Orange Chauncey, Albert Shepard, James Stout, Thomas, Edward and Bennett Allen, John Curry, J. J. Garland, W. J. Heath, J. C. Newkirk, William Blair, Rufus Calton, Stephen Hubbard, Dr. Little, Henry Fish, M. Worthingham, David L. Roberts, Isaac H. Palmer, E. E. Bush, Theodore Woodruff, H. K. Stevens, David Richards, G. W. Cassedy, and a great many others, whose native States we have not learned. A number of these, together with others mentioned, will receive additional notice in the history of the city of Joliet, as well as in the general history. But immigrants were coming in so fast that it is impossible, after this long lapse of time, to keep trace of them. A confusion of dates occurs in the attempt, something like that of tongues at the Tower of Babel. We have enumerated, in the foregoing table, the settlers both in the city and township of Joliet, and as already mentioned, a preponderance of them were from New York. Among the first from that State were Major Robert G. Cook and his father, John B. Cook, and Philip Scott, who settled in the township in the latter part of 1831. The elder Cook was a Revolutionary soldier, and was old and feeble when he came to the settlement. A few of the early settlers who still survive remember to have seen him carried in the first Fourth of July procession had in the infant city. He died about 1833—4, and was one of the first deaths to occur in the town. Robert Stevens was born in Kentucky, but mostly reared in Ohio, and emigrated to Indiana, where he remained some years, removing to Illinois and to this township in 1831. He settled just east of the present city of Joliet, where his widow still lives. He arrived in the Spring of that year in time to raise a crop of corn. During the fright that prevailed in the scattered settlement incident to the Black Hawk war, Mr. Stevens took his family to Danville, and sent them under safe escort to Indiana, while he returned and "put in a crop." David and Benjamin Maggard and Jesse Cook were also from the Hoosier State, otherwise Indiana, and made settlements in 1831. Jesse Cook made a settlement in what was called Troutman's Grove, and now lives in the southern part of the State, and is quite an old man, but full of energy for one of his years. David Maggard, who is noted for having built the first house in the present city limits, as elsewhere mentioned, and Stevens, after he returned from seeing his wife safe beyond Indian outrages, worked their farms together, as a matter of safety and protection against surprise from the Indians. As a further means of safety, instead of occupying their cabins at night, would sleep in a cavern on the west side of the river, which they would always leave before daylight, that no lurking savage might discover their place of refuge. Maggard's settlement was on the west side of the river, nearly opposite the Rolling Mills, while Stevens', as already stated, was on the east side. Usually at evening they would retire to the west side, and while Stevens cooked supper Maggard would stand guard, or rather sit guard in a tree-top. One evening he had mounted guard in a tree, and being tired from his day's labor, went to sleep and dropped his gun. The Maggards were related to Stevens' first wife, who survived the hardships of a frontier settlement but a few years. Robert Stevens was the first elected Sheriff of Will County, after it was detached from Cook, and with an utter indifference to the honors pertaining to office unknown at the present day, he declined to qualify and left the office to those more anxious to serve the dear people. William Billsland and Daniel Robb were likewise Hoosiers and came to the neighborhood in 1831.
Reason Zarley, to whom is generally attributed the honor of making the first permanent settlement in Joliet Township, came to Illinois in 1829, from Ohio, and to this neighborhood in the Spring of 1831, where he made a permanent settlement. He was a soldier in the last struggle of the United States with Johnny Bull, and was one of the few survivors of the bloody affair of Brownstown, where 100 American soldiers were attacked by 800 savages and 400 English, but little less savage than their red allies, and from which few of the former escaped to tell the tale of carnage. He was in the army, also, at the time of Hull's disgraceful surrender. Mr. Zarley is mentioned as a prominent and influential man, foremost in every enterprise calculated to promote the interest of the city and country. When he died, a Chillicothe (Ohio) paper noticed his death, as one of the pioneers of that section of the country. So far as can be obtained with any degree of reliability, this comprises all who came to the township during the first year of its settlement. And the next year (1832), but few additions were made to the little community, doubtless owing to the fact that the Black Hawk or Sac war was raging in all its terror, and the mutterings of the storm extended to this locality. Aaron Moore, a brother-in-law of Jesse Cook, came from Ohio; R. E. Barber, from Vermont; Seth Scott, a brother of Philip Scott, from New York. These are all that we have any account of settling here this year. But in 1833, the colony was augmented by the arrival from New York, William Hadsell; from Connecticut, Rodney House; from Indiana, Charles Reed; from New Hampshire, Charles Clement and Rev. Geo. West, a Methodist preacher. Where Rev. Mr. West came from, we have been unable to ascertain. Reed, one of the very first settlers of the city, and Charles Clement, generally acknowledged as the " oldest living inhabitant," will be noticed further in the city's history. William Hadsell is living, but old and infirm, both mentally and physically, and his memory is too feeble to give any information of special interest in this history. The year 1834, witnessed the greatest influx of new-comers of any year since the pale-faces had first "broke ground" in this section. During the year, the Empire State sent out to the new settlement Dr. A. W. Bowen, Geo. H. Woodruff, Elias Haven and three sons, Philo A., Orlando H., and James Haven, Charles W. Brandon, Dr. David Reed, M. H. Demmond, Edward Perkins, William B. Hawley and Benjamin F. Barker. Benjamin Richardson was from the East, probably from New York; from Indiana, Abner Cox. Richard Hobbs, J. P. King, Joseph and Jacob Zumalt; from Connecticut, James Rockwell; from New Jersey, Charles Sayre; from Kentucky, James McKee; from New Hampshire, Daniel Clement, a brother to Charles Clement, who had come out the year before; from Massachusetts, N. H. Cutter; from Ohio, James C. Troutman; and Jay Lyons, N. H. Clarke, Thomas H. Blackburn, O. D. Putnam, Harlow Webster, whose native States cannot now be ascertained. Dr. Bowen was from Herkimer County, N. Y., and is noticed elsewhere as the first physician in the town. He arrived in March and made a claim on what was afterward known as the "Luther Woodruff Place," and during the early part of the Summer, built a cabin near where the Union School House now stands. Soon after his settlement, he opened a store, which he afterward sold to Frary. He lives at present in Wilmington, and receives an extended notice in the general history. Hon. George H. Woodruff, to whose able pen we are indebted for our general county history, is one of the few old landmarks still left in Joliet. The Havens came in the Fall of this year, and Philo and James went to California during the gold excitement, where they still live. The old gentleman died several years ago. Dr. Zelotus Haven was a brother of Elias, but came to the settlement the next year. Dr. David Reed also came in the Fall, and was the next physician after Dr. Bowen, and located on the west side of the river. Benjamin F. Barker came soon after Dr. Bowen, and built the first dwelling on the east side of the river, in the present city of Joliet. Charles Sayre, a nephew of Col. Sayre, was a tailor by trade, and the first in the town. Brandon came during the Summer. He was a stone mason, and built a house one mile below the present city. Martin H. Demmond arrived in June, and was one of the first merchants of the place. Perkins settled in Five-Mile Grove, in the southern part of the township, as the place was then called. Hawley settled during the Summer. Benjamin Richardson settled first in the Plainfield neighborhood, and came here in 1836. He was a chair maker, the first of that craft in the township. Abner Cox, Richard Hobbs, J. P. King and the Zumalts all made settlements during the year. Hobbs was, for many years, a Justice of the Peace, and his courts, in those primitive times, furnished the legal fraternity with numerous anecdotes illustrative of the pioneer days. James McKee is mentioned in the general history of the county in another part of this work, as one of the enterprising men of that early day. He bought a claim from Charles Reed, and upon it erected a mill, the frame of which, is yet standing, but devoted to other purposes. Though not the first mill in Will County, it was built on a far more pretentious scale than had ever been attempted in this part of the State. McKee was the first Justice of the Peace on the west side of the river. Daniel Clement came in May of this year. There were probably other settlers than those mentioned, who came this year, but if so, their names are forgotten by the few who still survive.
During the year 1835, the settlement grew rapidly. Among those who came this year were the following: Hervey Lowe, S. W. Bowen, Hugh Henderson, Wm. A. Boardman, Russell Frary, Michael Shoemaker, John L. Wilson, Richard L. Wilson, Charles L. Wilson, Abijah Cagwin, H. N. Marsh, J. Beaumont, Levi Jenks, O. F. Rogers, Rev. J. H. Prentiss, C. C. Pepper, Francis Nicholson, W. R. Atwell, Jonathan Barnett, John M. Wilson, Elias Hyde, from New York; Oliver W. Stillman and Allen Pratt, from the old Bay State; S. B. Hopkins and Charles W. Hopkins, from New Jersey; E. M. Daggett, Barton Smith, Wm. A. Chatfield, William Walters, F. Collins, from the Hoosier State of Indiana; Thos. Culbertson, from Delaware; Robert Duncan, from Detroit; George Higley, from Ohio; and J. Lyons, Asa Rowe, George Squire, whose native place we could not learn. Hugh Henderson came in the Fall of this year, and was the first lawyer in Joliet Township or City. Boardman came soon after, and was his partner in the law business. Russell Frary bought Dr. Bowen's stock of goods, who had opened a store soon after he settled in the town. Frary remained in the mercantile business several years, but finally sold out and returned to New York. Michael Shoemaker was a brother to Dr. Bowen's wife, and lived in Joliet till 1840. He formed a copartnership with Dr. Bowen, which continued from 1836 to 1838, when Bowen sold to J. A. Matteson, and the firm changed to Matteson & Shoemaker. The latter finally closed up his business and went to Jackson, Mich., and is at present a member of the Senate of that State. Hervey Lowe was a brother-in-law of Gov. Matteson, and now lives in Chicago. John L., Richard L. and Charles L. Wilson were brothers, and the middle initial of each name was the same, and was for the mother's family. They were from Albany, and came in March. Charles died within the present year; Richard died several years ago, and John is in Chicago—one of the proprietors of the Evening Journal. Abijah Cagwin settled on Section 12 of this township, and is still living. H. N. Marsh, whose father first settled in Crete Township, was a cabinet maker, a business he followed until 1847, when he purchased the True Democrat, as noticed in the history of the city of Joliet. Rev. J. H. Prentiss was a Presbyterian preacher, and the first resident minister in the city or township. Chas. Hopkins settled here during the Fall. His wife was a literary lady, and a writer of considerable merit. Robert Duncan was at one time Recorder, and for many years an active merchant. Oliver W. Stillman was the first Justice of the Peace on the East Side, and was elected in 1830, while McKee was the first on the West Side, as already noticed. John M. Wilson is the well-known Judge Wilson, of Chicago. Collins came this Summer, and lived for a while in Robert Stevens' house, whose wife had died just before Collins came to the settlement. Levi Jenks was for some time Clerk of the County Court, and at last accounts of him was in California. Wm. Walters settled on the West Side, and now lives in Grundy County. Chatfield was another West Sider, and one of the early Justices of the Peace. Allen Pratt was an old bachelor or widower, and was a little near-sighted. "The girls used to have a deal of fun with him," as an old lady expressed it to us. One evening, he had been with a party of young ladies, and returning home by moonshine saw what he thought was a black place in the road, and upon stepping on it found it to be a cow lying down. It sprang to its feet, bringing him astride its back, and dashed away at full speed, treating him to a kind of John Gilpin ride. C. C. Pepper was one of the early disciples of Blackstone. L. B. Hopkins was a merchant, on the East Side, and Hyde was a carriage maker on the East Side. Atwell was a blacksmith, and one of the first in the settlement. Of the others mentioned, not much information can now be obtained. Thus we have endeavored to briefly notice the early settlers of Joliet Township. It may be that the names of many of those who settled here in the vears named have been omitted from the list given, but we have taken much pains and trouble to obtain them so far as possible, and in doing so have drawn pretty freely on the memories of the few early settlers still living and within our reach.
When the first white man came to Joliet Township in 1831, there were plenty of Indians in the present limits of Will County, and, though of the friendly Pottawatomies, yet the very fact that they were surrounded by savages, whose ferocity, when aroused, is scarcely equaled by wild beasts, coupled with the fact that low mutterings were now and then borne to them on the gale, of the threatening troubles with the Sacs, then on the verge of taking the war path, all conspired to divest the wilderness of its romance, and render their every-day life, to say the least, unpleasant. The Pottawatomies, though friendly as already stated, were looked upon with much suspicion at times, and required a good deal of watching to prevent their petty thieving, a penchant for which is a native characteristic of the red man. While the Black Hawk war was raging in 1832, the few settlers who remained upon their claims built a fort in the present city limits of Joliet, which they called "Fort Nonsense" but as it is graphically described in the general history, we pass it with this slight allusion. Nearly half a century has passed since Black Hawk led his painted warriors over the prairies of Illinois, and the wilderness where a few hardy pioneers braving danger, planted a feeble settlement, has "flourished and blossomed like the rose." The Indians have long since taken up their line of march toward the "land of the setting sun"; their council fires burn far away in the "untrodden West," and the little settlement on the Des Planes River, which had its birth, as it were, in the midst of an Indian war, has grown into a prosperous community, with a prosperous city in its midst. The half dozen families that settled in Joliet Township in 1831, have increased in numbers, and, including city and township, aggregate several thousand.
In all new communities, one of the first things thought of is a mill. This branch of enterprise engaged the attention of the people of Joliet Township at a very early period of its settlement. When we look around us at the magnificent mills of to-day and the unbounded facilities for procuring our supplies of meal and flour, it seems almost impossible to realize the limited means of obtaining bread by the pioneers of fifty years ago. What would we think at the present day, of having to go to Peoria to mill, with a wagon and team, and a rainy season coming on, of being detained six weeks? And yet there are those living within sound of the church bells of Joliet, who remember such an experience. The first attempt at a mill in Joliet Township was made by one John Norman, in 1833-4. It was built at the head of an island nearly opposite the penitentiary and was rather a primitive affair. He built a dam across one branch of the river, and thus turned the current in the other. In this his wheel was placed, the shaft communicating with the machinery of the mill. It was a small log structure, and its capacity for grinding rather limited, as we have been told that fifteen bushels of grain in twenty-four hours was good work for it. The next mill was McKee's, built on the west side of the river, just above Jefferson street, the frame of which is still standing, a monument to pioneer enterprise. Several saw-mills were built in the town. A. Cagwin built one on Hickory Creek, near where the Reed Mills now stand. Col. Sayre and Mansfield Wheeler had a saw-mill also on Hickory Creek, in which was sawed the lumber for the first frame house in Joliet. Clement & Clark, and the Haven Bros, built mills in the early times, as noticed in the general history of the county. But the day of usefulness of these original mills has long since passed, and the more modern inventions and improvements fill their place.
The first roads through Joliet Township were the old Indian trails and emigrant trails, the latter made by the settlers' wagons passing through the swamps and prairie grass. When a man in those days started to a certain place he took the most direct route and turned aside for no surmountable object. The stage route from Chicago to Ottawa was the first effort at a public highway, and was opened for travel as early as 1834. Coaches were put on this route, which ran along on the west bluff of the Des Planes River, and was considered a grand improvement on the mode of transit, to the "ox-team express" hitherto in use between the settlement and Chicago. But for a number of years, there were no bridges over the water-courses and sloughs, and, as a consequence, travel on this was sometimes prolonged beyond the specified periods laid down in its time tables. The first post office was established through the instrumentality of Dr. Bowen, in February, 1835, who was appointed Postmaster, a position he held until the election of Gen. Taylor as President in 1848. The mail came by a cross line from Plainfield where it connected with the Chicago and Ottawa stage line, that being the nearest station of the line to this settlement, at that time. A man of the name of McDougall succeeded Dr. Bowen as Postmaster. The first store in Joliet Township was in the present limits of the city of Joliet, where it will be noticed. The church history of the township is so closely identified with the city that it also will be noticed in that connection, as well as some other points usually given in the township histories.
The first birth in Joliet Township cannot, at this distant period, be given with any degree of correctness. Mr. Woodruff, in his "Forty Years Ago," in speaking of this matter, says: "My own impressions would be in favor of a McKee, as, according to my recollection, such an event was a yearly one at the McKee mansion." This is as definite as "Forty Years Ago" is on the subject, and our own inquiries have failed to elicit any further information; so, with Mr. Woodruff, we will accord the honor to McKee, in absence of authority to the contrary. The first death in the settlement is likewise involved in some uncertainty. Some are of the opinion that Mr. John B. Cook, mentioned elsewhere as a Revolutionary soldier, was the first to cross over the "Dark River." He was verging on to his fourscore when he came to this township with his son, Major Cook, and, it is said, died in a few years after he came. Others there are who think that the first wife of Robert Stevens was probably the first death. She was a lady of delicate constitution, and survived wilderness life but a few years, at furthest. The first marriage occurring in this township, was Thomas Ellis to Miss Anne Pence, of the Hickory Creek settlement, and the matrimonial knot was tied for them by Benjamin F. Barker, a Justice of the Peace. The marriage took place on the 4th of July, 1835, and was a part of the exercises—not on the programme—of the first Fourth of July celebration ever held in Joliet Towsnhip. This celebration of our National Birthday consisted of music, a procession, reader, orator, dinner, etc., and was held in a little grove of timber near the present round-house of the C. A. & St. L. R. R., and enjoyed by the crowd as such free entertainments usually are. Rev. J. H. Prentiss was Chaplain of the occasion. Jonathan Barnett, Marshal of the procession, Dr. Bowen read the Declaration of Independence, but the name of the orator of the day has been suffered to sink into oblivion. It was doubtless interesting, and did honor to the day they celebrated.
The first practicing physician in the town, as already noted, was Dr. A. W. Bowen, who settled here in 1834, and is at present living in Wilmington, enjoying in his old age the competence obtained through a life of honest toil and square dealing with his fellow-men. Dr. Charles Reed was the next physician after Dr. Bowen, and came in the following Autumn. The first lawyers are more particularly noticed in the history of the city, where legal talent usually congregates, and where it is mostly employed. The first Justices of the Peace of Joliet Township were Oliver W. Stillman, on the east side of the river, and James McKee on the west side, and were elected in 1836, the first year of the formation of the county. The courts of these early Justices afforded many ludicrous and humorous incidents characteristic of the backwoods. One of these dispensers of justice, named Lawler, usually held his courts in a building, the front room of which was occupied as a saloon. A case was tried before him one day in which two well-known attorneys were engaged—Messrs. D. L. Gregg and E. C. Fellows. It seemed rather a plain case, but the Justice decided it adversely to what the majority really expected, which so exasperated Mr. Gregg, whose case had thus been defeated, that he jumped to his feet with the complimentary remark, "You are a old jackass!" Fellows arose, and with much dignity said, "May it please your Honor, the Court has been insulted, and should fine the offender $1,000 and imprison him for life." "Oh," said the Squire, "Mr. Gregg and I understand each other. Boys, lets all go and take something to drink." William R. Atwell was the first blacksmith, and had a shop on the west side of the river as early as 1834. The first school house was built about 1836-7, and was in the present city limits, and is further noticed on another page. A man named John Watkins taught the first school in this primitive temple of learning, and is still living (in New Lenox Township), though old and feeble and nearly blind. This was not, however, the first school in the township, or settlement it was then; but the honor of teaching the first school is awarded to a Miss Cleveland, who, it is said, taught in the "old fort," which has been frequently mentioned in this work. She lived in California, the last known of her. Of the early schools of the township but little can now be learned. The first records are mislaid or destroyed, and hence no information can be obtained through that source. Through the courtesy of Mr. Fay, the School Treasurer, we have examined all the books in his possession, which consist mostly of loan, cash and account books, but no early records beyond these account books. The school facilities have increased somewhat since Miss Cleveland taught in "Fort Nonsense," and Watkins in the little school house, as we find in the report of 1872 that there were eleven school districts, with pupils enrolled to the number of 3,589. Forty-five teachers were employed, and there were in the town seventeen school houses. The special tax of township was $2,140.12, and city school tax $4,410.70. Mr. Fay's last report to the County Superintendent of Schools shows the following:
|Number of males in township under 21 years of age||3,125|
|Number of females in township under 21 years of age||3,101|
|Number of males attending school in township||1,107|
|Number of females attending school in township||1,043|
|Number of male teachers employed||5|
|Number of female teachers employed||45|
|Number of graded schools in township||2|
|Number of ungraded schools in township||10|
|Number of public high schools in township||1|
|Number of private schools in township||6|
|Number of male pupils in private schools||247|
|Number of female pupils in private schools||357|
|Number of teachers employed in private schools||14|
|Estimated value of school property||$66,400 00|
|Estimated value of school libraries||250 00|
|Estimated value of school apparatus||465 00|
|Principal of township fund||6,881 80|
|Amount of district tax levy, etc||22,192 00|
There are in the town eighteen comfortable and commodious school house, five of which are built of stone, and the others are substantial frame buildings. The first bridge in the township of which we have any account was built over the Des Planes River in the latter part of 1837. At that time, two substantial wooden bridges were built about where the lower and middle bridges now are. They were both washed away, however, in the next Spring, which was a season of unprecedented high water, and many a day passed before they were rebuilt, or other accommodations provided for crossing the river than a "dug-out," or ferry boat, when it was too high to ford. But at the present day, the town is well supplied with excellent bridges, wherever those useful and convenient inventions are needed.
In the early settlement of this section of the country, claims were usually made by "squatting" wherever the new-comer found land or a situation that suited him, provided there was no prior claim. Building a cabin and enclosing and cultivating a patch of ground established a pre-emption right to their claim—that is, a right to purchase it, when it should come into market, at the Government price of $1.25 per acre; and at the land sales, though there might be ever so many speculators present, they dare not bid against a settler, unless they chose to risk rousing their vengeance. They (the settlers) had organized a regular court to protect and settle their claims, which was a kind of "Higher Law," and woe unto him who trespassed upon the rights of this court or the settlers. A compromise was finally effected between the settlers and speculators, whereby the latter paid for the land and the settlers gave them half, and thus securing to themselves a reasonable amount of land for nothing. The land sale of 1835 caused a great rush of immigration to this section and a rage for land speculation, and soon all the most valuable and available lands were taken up or secured by the speculators. In 1850, the county adopted township organization, and this further added to the convenience of laying claims and locating lands. Upon the organization of townships, this one received the name of Joliet—a name conspicuous in the early history of Illinois as that of one of the early French explorers, Louis Joliet. The first Supervisor of Joliet Township was Charles Clement, who held the position for three years successively. The present township officers are as follows, viz.: Frederick Rappell, Supervisor, and John Scheidt, John Lyon, William Gleason, Assistant Supervisors; Kelly, Township Clerk; W. D. Fay, School Treasurer; J. T. Millspaugh, Police Magistrate; R. Doolittle, Edmund Wilcox, J. P. Murphy, Patrick Shanahan and William P. Webber, Justices of the Peace.
Joliet Township, including the city, politically is Democratic; and has always, we believe, been of that color in politics wherein party lines were closely drawn. As now, so it was in the days of Whigs and Democrats; and upon all important occasions, the latter usually carried the day with ease, particularly during "canal times," when they used to bring the sons of the "Ould Sod" to the rescue. As to the township's record in the late war, it has been so ably and truly given in the "Patriotism of Will County" that we make no mention of it here other than to refer the reader to that excellent work. Perhaps the history of Joliet Township would not be complete without some notice of Joliet Mound, notwithstanding it is referred to in the general county history. It attracted a good deal of attention in the early explorations of the country, and was believed by many to have been the labor of the Mound Builders, the remains of whose works constitute the most interesting class of antiquities found within the limits of the United States. But more modern theories and investigations have exploded that idea, and it is generally conceded to once have been an "island in the ocean," or in the mighty river which is supposed to have flowed through this valley ages and ages ago, as the southern outlet of Lake Michigan. That it was formed bv the action of water there can be little doubt, since the mound has been dug into a considerable depth and found to be composed of sand and gravel, deposited upon a bed of clay. Being something of a natural curiosity, it seems to be a pity to have it destroyed, as is being done at present by the Mound Tile Factory. It would be an eligible site and a most beautiful place for a park. Should the city buy it for that purpose and convert it into a park, a very fine one could be made of it, and the outlay would be well and judiciously made. Having traced the history of the township through its early settlement and down to its organization, touching upon the main points of interest, we come now to the history of
Joliet, or as sometimes styled, and very appropriately, too, the "Stone City," is situated on both sides of the Des Planes River, in a beautiful valley, with its suburbs extending; back on to the bluffs like the wings of a great army. It is thirty-eight miles from Chicago, and connected with that suburban retreat by two of the greatest railroads in the State of Illinois, and has also water communication with Chicago via the Illinois & Michigan Canal. If Joliet is not a "city set on a hill," it is certainly "founded on a rock," for the entire surface upon which it is situated is stone. It is well laid out, the streets broad, with excellent sidewalks, and bordered with handsome trees. Many fine residences and business houses, built of stone—products of its own enterprise—are to be found here which would adorn any city. Its railroad facilities are excellent; having the advantage of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific to the West; the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis to the South; the Chicago, Pekin & Southwestern to the Southwest; and the Michigan Central to the East. These roads have been of much advantage in building up Joliet; and their machine shops located here give emnloyment to a large number of men. A full sketch of the railroads and of the canal is given in the general history, and so will not be repeated here.
The names of many of the early settlers of the city have already been given in the settlement of the township, but no mention made of them beyond the date of their coming to the county, their works and their deeds being left for this chapter. As common in townships containing county seats, most of the important history of Joliet centers in the city of the same name. Here many of the more stirring events of the times transpired, and here, as just stated, much of the important history has occurred. Charles Reed is generally regarded as the first settler in the city of Joliet, or was, at least, the first to lay claim to any portion of the land in the original city. He had made a claim on the southeast quarter of Section 9, upon which, in 1833, he built a small log house, west of the river, and very near where the National Hotel now stands. Reed was from Indiana, and had settled in Reed's Grove about 1831, but, attracted by the water power, came to this place, as already noted, and commenced preparations for building a mill. In the Fall of 1833, James B. Campbell and James McKee purchased the "floats" granted by the State to Silvia and Rachel Hall, two girls who had been captured by the Indians, as narrated in the general history. Campbell located his float in the early part of 1834, on the east side of the river, embracing a part of the present city of Joliet. On the 13th day of May, the Surveyor's certificate was filed, and on the 10th of June, 1834, the plat was recorded and the town christened to "Juliet," for Campbell's daughter, it is said; a name it bore until 1845, when it was changed by act of the Legislature. President Van Buren and his Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Paulding, while on a tour through the West, stopped at "Juliet" and, noticing the difference in the name of the city and of Joliet Mound, urged the people to have the former changed to correspond with the latter, which was done as above stated, by act of the Legislature, and approved February 26, 1845. The act further provided that all additions subsequently laid out "shall be known as additions to Joliet." In January, 1834, McKee, after purchasing the claim of Reed, located his float on the west side of the river, and laid it out into one-acre lots. In April, 1834, Charles Clement bought one acre from McKee, for which he paid him $l25, and on which he erected a story and a half building, the first frame house in West Joliet. Bailey Brothers had sometime previously built a frame house on the East Side.
As already stated, Charles Reed is regarded as the first permanent settler in the original town of Joliet, or "Juliet." David Maggard, however, settled in what is at present the city of Joliet, some three years before Reed. But at the time Maggard built his house, which was nearly opposite the Rolling Mill, there was no city of Joliet, and it was years after the birth of the city before it extended its limits to include Maggard's original cabin. Charles Reed, the pioneer of Joliet, finally went to Winnebago County, where he died a few years ago. Charles Clement, who is considered the oldest living resident of the city, settled permanently in the Spring of 1834. He commenced merchandising after he had been here some time, a business he continued for many years. In 1839, he with others started the first newspaper in Joliet, which is more particularly referred to in the history of the city press. In late years, he has retired from active business life, and is enjoying his well-earned possessions. Hon. George H. Woodruff, perhaps the next "oldest inhabitant," also came to Joliet in 1834. He is still an active business man of the West Side, and entertains the warmest feelings for the "country beyond the river," and it may be some prejudice for that side of the city. His able pen has furnished some valuable history to the county, in his lectures of "Forty Years Ago" and the "Patriotism of Will County," a book every soldier of the late war should have. His last literary effort, and perhaps one of his best, is the writing of the General County History of this work. Otis Hardy settled here in 1836. His father died when he was but 16 years old, leaving the care of the family to him, a duty he faithfully performed. He began business in Joliet as a carpenter, but finally drifted into the lumber business, which he followed for twenty years. Mr. Hardy has been a member of the M. E. Church since 22 years of age, a member of the Quarterly Conference since 1837, and President of the Will County Bible Society for forty years. He is a man of large benevolence and exalted charity, and built at his own expense the Richards Street Methodist Church and parsonage at a cost of over $5,000, besides liberal contributions to the other Methodist churches of the city. He had little when he came to Joliet except a strong arm and willing hand, and here he has accumulated his wealth. George Woodruff, one of the successful merchants and bankers of the city, came here in 1836. He first commenced in the grocery and commission business, which he continued a number of years. In 1852, he built a grain elevator and engaged in the grain business until 1864, in which year the First National Bank was organized, with him as President—a business he is still engaged in. Edmund Wilcox is another of the old settlers of 1836. He was for a time engaged in merchandising in partnership with Charles Clement. In 1858, sold out and became one of the originators of the Joliet Gaslight Company, was its first President, and superintended the erection of the works of the company. He is at present one of the Justices of the Peace of the city and township. In 1852, he was on the Legislative Committee for laying off the city into wards, and also member of a committee to confer with Eastern capitalists as to the expediency of building a railroad, the final result of which was the building by the Michigan Southern, the Rock Island Railroad, one of the best appointed roads in the State of Illinois. Another of the business men of the city still surviving, is R. Doolittle. He came in 1837, and was elected Justice of the Peace a few years later, an office he held for twelve years; was also Assignee in Bankruptcy during the existence of the old bankrupt act of the United States years ago. In 1852, he resumed business as a merchant, which he had formerly been engaged in, and the firm of Doolittle & Stone erected the three-story brick building on the south side of Jefferson street, which was the second building west of Ottawa street. He sold to his partner in 1864, and engaged in railroad contracting, and, in 1871, was again elected Justice of the Peace, which office he now holds. Uri Osgood came from New York in 1836, and was a leading lawyer and prominent business man and banker of Joliet. It is said that he once bought all the land on Jefferson street from Ottawa street to the river, for two black horses and $50 in money. It would take a national bank or two to buy the same district now. H. N. Marsh settled here in 1835, and engaged in cabinet making. In 1848, he purchased the True Democrat, which, on the organization of the Republican party, was merged into the Joliet Republican. He continued in the newspaper business until the completion of the Rock Island Railroad, in 1852, when he took charge of the offices here, a position he has ever since held, with the exception of three years from 1864 to 1867, when he served as Postmaster of Joliet. Joel A. Matteson is another of the early business men, to whom Joliet, as well as the State of Illinois, owes much of its prosperity. He settled in the city of Joliet in 1836, and the woolen mill was one of the monuments of his enterprise. His public life commenced as a Justice of the Peace, and ended as Governor of the State, and was characterized throughout by wise and able judgment in promoting the interests of the country. His business life, however, did not remain unspotted to the end. His connection with the canal scrip is familiar to most of our readers, and without a wish to revive painful and disagreeable reflections, we leave it to them to draw their own conclusions. The Cagwins, prominent business men of Joliet, came here when the city was not. H. A. Cagwin came in 1834, Abijah in 1835; Francis L. and O. D. came in 1838. Abijah Cagwin first settled one and a half miles from the city, where he remained until 1840, when, having been elected "Judge of Probate" he moved into Joliet, where he has lived ever since. He and Francis L. engaged in merchandising, produce, lumber, etc., which they continued some time. The latter is now in the banking business, and the former is dealing in grain. H. A. Cagwin clerked for Cox, the first merchant of the place, when he first came to Joliet; lives now in California, and O. D. Cagwin lives in Lockport. He made a trip to California during the gold excitement in 1849-50, and was gone three years. Rodney House is another of the early settlers of the city. He came from New York in 1835, and settled on the east side of the river, and was the first carriage maker on this side, while J. Beaumont was the first on the west side, and had come to the new city a short time before House came. Francis Nicholson came from New York, and settled on the west side in 1836. He has been living in the house he now occupies, for thirty-four years. Dr. A. W. Bowen first settled outside of the city, but moved into it in a short time, and was among the first merchants, as well as the first Postmaster and the first practicing physician. We have, so far as possible to obtain them, given the names of early settlers. If any who are entitled to rank as old settlers have been overlooked, it is unintentional, and is owing to their names having escaped the memory of the few still living.
The first merchant in Joliet was a man named Cox, who commenced the mercantile business, in a very limited way, about 1833-4. It was for this man Cox, that H. A. Cagwin clerked when he first came to the place. Further than this, we know little of this first store and first merchant. The next store was opened by M. H. Demmond, who used one room of his residence for a store-house, as soon as it was finished. In the mean time, while waiting for the completion of his house, his goods were stored in Chicago, in the first warehouse ever built in that city. In January, 1835, Demmond bought McKee's claim, except his mill property, and laid it off into town lots—McKee having previously divided it into acre lots only—the plat being recorded in June, 1830. Soon after laying out the West Side, Clement built a saw-mill, and under the firm name of Clement & Clark, a brisk lumber trade was at once inaugurated. This year, Demmond set the example, since so extensively followed in Joliet, by putting up the first stone building. It is the block of business houses on the West Side, opposite the National Hotel, and upon its completion was appropriately celebrated by a ball, at which all the young people for miles around congregated. By way of embellishment, we draw on "Forty Years Ago," for the following anecdote, which occurred while Demmond & Curry kept a store in this stone block. Dr. Adams had a fancy hog, one of the long-nosed kind, that are said to stick the snout through a fence and pick off the third row of corn. In those days, all stock was permitted to run at large in the street. This hog of Adams' seemed to know in a moments when Demmond & Curry's cellar door was open, and no matter in what part of the town he might be wandering, he instantly appeared upon the scene and slipped in. As they did a large barter business, they of course took in a great deal of butter, and thus many a jar was rendered unfit for anything but a Chicago restaurant, by the hog, and the merchants swore vengeance against him. One rainy night, as they were closing up, they heard him enter the cellar, and, instead of driving him out, closed the door and held him prisoner. They caught him, and after saturating him thoroughly with spirits of turpentine, took him to the door, touched the candle to him and bade him go. He went. With an unearthly veil he tore through the streets, lightening up the darkness with the lurid blaze, and terribly frightening the canal people, men and women, who verily believed it was the "divil himself," and they called upon all the saints in the calendar for protection. On, on he went, putting straight for the river, like the swine of old, plunged in the stream and silence and darkness reigned. With this little digression, parenthetically, we will resume our subject. The next stone building was erected by John L. and Richard L. Wilson, in 1836, on the East Side, just south of the City Hall, in which they opened a store. In 1837, the stone block known as "Merchant's Row," was built. These, with a number of wooden buildings that had been put up in the mean time, were filled with stores of different kinds, and Joliet was becoming a place of considerable business. The first blacksmith of whom we have any account, was W. B. Atwell, who opened a shop on the West Side, in 1835. The first tinsmith was William Blair, who settled on the West Side, in 1836, and opened a tin-shop, where he remained several years, then removed to Chicago. Charles Sayre was the first tailor, and as elsewhere noted, settled in Joliet in 1834. J. Beaumont, Rodney House and Elias Hyde were the first carriage makers. Beaumont was on the West Side, while the other two settled on the East Side. Hugh Henderson is credited as the first lawyer in the city of Joliet. William A. Boardman and E. C. Fellows came soon after Henderson; Boardman and Henderson were partners in the law for a time. Fellows was from New York, and settled first in Channahon Township, where he married a daughter of Judge Peck. Benjamin Richardson, who settled in Plainfield Township, in 1834, and in 1836 came to Joliet, was a chairmaker, and followed the business for some time in this city. Many of these men, noted as beginning business here more than forty years ago, are still at their post, and it is a theme of remark that Joliet has a larger number of aged business men than any other city in Northern Illinois. To this fact is attributable, perhaps, the energy and enterprise and solid business qualities which are so strongly characteristic of the "Stone City," for men usually, as they grow older, lose some of the wild speculative recklessness of youth, and weigh all new projects well before taking hold, and younger men will make a fortune—and sometimes lose one—while they look at a proposition and debate the practicability of investing in it. The grain trade, which is one of the most important branches of business in Joliet, was begun in an early day. John M. Wilson and Charles Clement were the first grain merchants of the place, and used an old barn on Block 16 for storage purposes. Their net profits for the first year, and the only one, in which they handled grain, are said to have amounted to the immense sum of nine dollars. They made a corner in the market and retired from the business at the end of the first year. Put without attempting to follow the grain trade through all its stages, from Wilson & Clement's "corner" to the vast proportions it has since assumed, we will endeavor to give something of its present status. There are now five able firms engaged in grain, viz.: Carpenter & Marsh, A. Cagwin & Co., E. R. Knowlton, H. C. Teed, Wheeler & Co. and J. E. Bush. Carpenter & Marsh are the heaviest dealers. As an illustration, we give their shipments for one week, taken from a newspaper publication of 1874:
|Monday||48 car loads|
|Total for the week||218 "|
They handle annually not far short of three and a half million bushels of grain, and all of which is shipped direct to Eastern markets. Their elevator capacity is about thirty thousand bushels, and twelve to fifteen men are employed in loading and unloading grain. Last year, this firm alone handled 3,750,000 bushels of grain, most of which was corn and oats, but a little wheat and barley. A. Cagwin & Co. handle annually about five hundred thousand bushels of corn and oats, most of which is shipped direct to the East. The elevator used by this firm was built by Carpenter & Marsh, and will store from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand bushels of grain. It is owned by M. O. Cagwin. H. C. Teed, Wheeler & Co. handle about five hundred thousand bushels annually, and have storage room for about thirty thousand bushels in Michigan Central Elevator. They also handle pressed hay, mill feed and wool, which, together with grain, they ship East, viz.: to Canada, New England and Pennsylvania. E. R. Knowlton handles about three hundred thousand bushels of corn and oats, which are shipped East. He has two elevators, one of which was built by Cagwin, in an early stage of the grain business, and will store about eighteen thousand bushels of shelled corn, and the other about twelve thousand bushels of oats. His cribbing capacity is about five thousand bushels of ear-corn. J. E. Bush, whose warehouse and elevator stand near the Jefferson street bridge, handles about six hundred thousand bushels of corn and oats annually, and ships both to the East and to Chicago—to the latter place by canal. He has storage room for about forty thousand bushels. As will be seen, most of the grain handled in Joliet is shipped direct to Eastern markets. This is done by the "Cut-off" division of the Michigan Central Railroad, a very important road for the business of Joliet, as it avoids the delay and expense of shipping by Chicago. Much of the grain and stock coins; East over the Chicago & Rock Island and Chicago & Alton Railroads are here transferred to the "Cut-off" Railroad, and do not go to Chicago at all which, added to that bought at this point, makes Joliet quite a center of trade.
Next to the grain interest, and perhaps even surpassing it in importance and as a source of actual wealth to the city, is stone quarrying. Joliet stone is known throughout the State, and to a considerable extent in many other States. From the inexhaustible supply of the finest building and flag stone, the large number of stone buildings and most excellent sidewalks, the city has justly received the pseudonym of the "Stone City." The neighborhood of Joliet is as prolific of stone as some neighboring sections of coal. Indeed, from a ramble among the quarries, we should judge the supply to be sufficient almost to build a "Chinese Wall" around the entire State. So far, it has been impossible to form any accurate idea of the extent or quantity of stone in this vicinity, as the number of quarries now in successful operation required no labor to open them other than the scraping off of the trash from the surface, and no cause exists for going to any great depth for superior qualities of the "raw material." As pertinent to the subject, we quote from the Geological Survey of Illinois: "Only from twelve to fifteen feet of beds furnishing 'dimension stone' are now quarried, as the bottom of this brings the quarryman down to the water-level, and the supply has thus far been so abundant as to make deeper explorations unnecessary. . . . The stone itself is a very compact, fine-grained, clinking, magnesian limestone, but thin seams of greenish clay run irregularly through the whole mass, which, upon long exposure in situations alternately wet and dry, must ultimately cause the most solid layers to split up. The separation in the quarry into 'ledges,' often twenty-four, thirty and forty inches in thickness, simply results from the presence of somewhat thicker partings of this same greenish, shaly clay. These beds were formerly described as composed of light buff stone, while the deeper portions of the quarries now furnish 'blue stone.' The difference results from the difference in amount of oxidation of the small portion of iron disseminated through the whole mass, the change having resulted from atmospheric influence. The same change must ultimately take place in all the 'blue stone' which is brought to the surface."
Who was first to engage in quarrying, as a regular business, we have been unable to ascertain, but are of the opinion that as the city grew and developed, enterprising individuals gradually and mechanically, as it were, drifted into it to supply the increasing demand for building stone. M. H. Demmond, who is mentioned on another page as having built the first stone house in 1835, must have been the first quarryman, though it does not appear that he extended the business beyond his own immediate wants. From that insignificant beginning the stone business has continued to increase until it has reached vast proportions, and the quarries in and around Joliet, in ordinary times, give employment to more than five hundred men. One of the large quarries here in operation is that of W. A. Steel, who employs a large number of men, and ships immense quantities of stone to almost every part of the country, and commands a large trade, throughout this State, having shipped some sixty thousand car loads to the Government works at Rock Island alone. The Custom Houses at Des Moines, Iowa, and Madison, Wisconsin, and the Capitol of Michigan were built principally from his quarries. But our space forbids a more extended notice of Mr. Steel's well-known quarries. Bruce & Co. have one of the oldest quarries in the vicinity and employ a large number of men. From having been long in the business, they command a large trade and ship extensively to other sections of the country. The Joliet Stone Company's quarries are among the largest and best in operation. The Company was organized in 1877, under the State law, with G. H. Munroe, President; G. M. Campbell, Secretary and Treasurer, and D. C. Hays, Superintendent. So recently organized, they have not yet fully developed their quarries, but furnish a superior quality of limestone, and the bottom layers of the quarries are cement stone. They employ from twenty-five to one hundred men, and have the most complete steam machinery for sawing and rubbing stone in use. The Company has recently purchased and opened a quarry in Alabama, which they are now working extensively. The Werners are largely engaged in the stone business. Charles, William and Adam Werner operate separate quarries, of which Charles, perhaps, does the largest business. William Davidson & Bro. opened their quarries in 1845, and ship largely to different parts of the country. Their quarries are on the Rock Island Railroad and the canal, thus affording them excellent facilities for shipping. Bannon and Kronmeyer both own and operate large quarries, the former on the west side of the river and the latter on the canal, just south of the prison, and have a large trade both at home and abroad. There are other quarries around the city, perhaps, some of which, we believe are doing but little business, while others are standing wholly idle. In this brief glance at the stone interests of Joliet, it will be seen that the business is one of immense volume and value. Concluding our brief sketch, we would note the fact that the United States Government has subjected this stone to new and critical tests, as compared with the stone from all the important quarries in the country, and both the War and Treasury Departments for years past have recognized its superiority and drawn on Joliet for immense quantities of it for the erection of public buildings throughout the country.
The history of the press dates back almost to the beginning of Joliet. The first newspaper, a copy of which we have before us, was issued on the 20th day of April, 1839, and was called the Juliet Courier. It presents a very attractive appearance, for a country village of forty years ago. and we extract from its well-filled columns, the following dedicatory poem, by M. N. H., whom many of our readers will doubtless recognize:
FOR THE JULIET COURIER.
Go, Courier, forth! and, heedless of all
The thorny paths thou may'st be called to tread,
Press onward! breaking; from the Lethean thrall
That dark discouragements may round thee spread.
Press onward! and thy baaner undismayed
Spread to the breeze that sweeps the sunny West—
Our Country's banner! while beneath its shade.
The birds of Jove amid her stars at rest,
Protection all may find, and be with freedom blest!
Press onward! and with fearless heart proclaim
Rest to the weary 'neath the tyrant's yoke:
Freedom to all who groan beneath a chain;
Joy to the heart by stern oppression broke!
Then fearless of repulse may'st thou invoke
The sons of freedom to cheer on thy way:
And feudal serfs from their long dream awoke,
Led by thy high report, shall hither stray,
And find beneath our happier skies a more auspicious day.
Yet shall the watchfires on our hills decay,
And factions wrangle round our sacred flame:
The stars of Union from their orbit stray,
Like the "lost pleiad." ne'er to shine again
In our proud standard over earth and main;
Cease not to raise thy voice until its tone
Shall rouse the Patriot to shake off the chain
That fatal luxury has round him thrown;
For his whole country's good to toil, and that alone.
And as thy weekly message thou dost bring,
The cause of virtue ne'er forget or slight:
Nor fear to strip from vice its covering,
Before their gaze who look to thee for light!
Nor in thine intercourse with others slight
Their faith which may to thee like error seem:
But thine untiring zeal for truth unite
With charity for those who strangely deem
' Their cause the cause of truth, and thine an idle dream.
Go forth ! and ever round thine onward course
May flowers of intellect unnumbered spring;
And Genius taught by thee her own resource,
To thee her joyous tribute gladly bring;
And Poesy her bright imagining;
Entwine into a garland for thy brow;
While lofty honor bears with tireless wing
Above all dalliance with the mean and low;
And public favor, all thou dost deserve, bestow.
The paper was started by thirteen of the enterprising citizens of Joliet, or Juliet, of whom were the Allen brothers, Charles Clement, R. Doolittle, Judge Henderson and E. Wilcox. The press had been shipped to Ottawa, but not being wanted there, was offered on favorable terms, and was bought by Joliet. After considerable search they found a man of the name of O. H. Balch who had edited a paper in Michigan, and was also a practical printer, and him they secured as editor and publisher. It was a true-blue Democratic paper, and in his salutatory the editor promulgated this sensible doctrine: * * * "He will only state in general terms that he intends to publish a newspaper in which the principles of Democracy shall be enforced and vindicated, and in which the National Constitution shall be held up to view as the foundation of our Republican institutions and the bond of our Union and as the safeguard of our civil liberties." In its columns we find this item of news, which was probably quite an achievement in its day, but when compared to present improvements, is dwarfed into insignificance: "Rapid Traveling.—It is stated in the Wilmington (N. C.) Journal, that the mail is now carried from New York to Charleston (by way of the Wilmington & Raleigh Railroad) in eighty-four hours." It experienced the usual struggle for a foot-hold in the newspaper field, and, after many changes, passed into the hands of D. L. Gregg, a brilliant young lawyer, and afterward a member of the Legislature, then Secretary of State, and afterward United States Consul to the Sandwich Islands. In 1843 it was purchased by Hon. Wm. E. Little, who changed its name to that of Joliet Signal, which name it still retains. He, in a year or two, sold it to Hon. S. W. Randall, and he sold it to A. 0. Stillman, who in May, 1846, sold it to C. & C. Zarley, sons of Reason Zarley, the first settler of Joliet Township. Calvin Zarley, before his death, disposed of his interest to P. Shuts, the other Zarley still retaining his interest. The firm is Zarley & Co., and their paper has ever remained Democratic, carrying out the principles heralded to the world on the day of its birth.
The Joliet Republican is the next oldest paper to the Signal. It was originally established by A. McIntosh in 1847, as the True Democrat. In 1848 he sold it to H. N. Marsh who owned and edited it until 1852, when Mr. McIntosh bought it back, and, in 1857, sold it to Joseph L. Braden, at one time Postmaster of Joliet, who, in 1864, changed its name to Joliet Republican. In 1866, Bruden died, and the paper being sold, was bought by James Goodspeed, Esq., the present owner, and the present Postmaster of Joliet. The Republican is a semi-weekly paper and quite readable.
The Joliet Record was established in 1870, as a Democratic journal, and is a live, free, outspoken newspaper. It is an able defender of the "true faith," and death on political stealings and unprincipled doings generally. A large quarto paper, it is well filled with chaste reading matter, and a good fireside journal. D. C. Henderson, the proprietor, is a man of considerable journalistic experience, and understands making a readable newspaper.
The Phoenix is a weekly paper. In January, 1877, a consolidation was effected of the Will County Courier, Lockport Phoenix, Lemont Eagle and Plainfield Echo, and two other publications were added, one at Wilmington and the other at Braidwood. An editor was stationed at each of these towns; the type set up by them and shipped to Joliet on publication day. The matter was then assorted in such a manner that the reader obtained the local news of all these points. This plan gives more home news than is usually contained in ordinary country newspapers. Each editor has more time to devote to news-gathering, and therefore a better paper can be published at each point and sold cheaper than by the old plan. The issues at present, together with the editors and proprietors, are as follows: Joliet Phoenix, J. S. McDonald, editor and proprietor; Lockport Phoenix, J. S. McDonald, proprietor, and Leon McDonald, editor; Wilmington Phoenix, J. S. McDonald, proprietor, and C. H. Duck and F. H. Hall, editors; Lemont Phoenix, J. S. McDonald and W. P. Haughey, proprietors, and W. P. Haughey, editor.
The Joliet Sun was established July 12, 1872, by C. B. Hayward, as a Republican newspaper. In October, 1874, the proprietor issued the first copy of the daily Sun, and since then a daily and weekly paper has been issued, the daily being an evening paper, and the largest daily issued in the Seventh Congressional District. The Sun is a live newspaper, and a true exponent of Republican principles.
The Joliet News was established in April, 1877, as a morning paper, three columns, by Charles E. Dutcher, as editor and proprietor, and was Independent in politics. In October, of same year, it was bought by Nelson, Ferris & Co., and a weekly Greenback paper added. It is still owned by these parties, and published daily and weekly in the interests of the Greenback party. It is in a flourishing condition, and rapidly increasing in importance.
The first hotel of which we have any account was the "Juliet Hotel," and was erected in 1834. It was kept by William H. Blackburn in 1836, but whether or not he built it, deponent testifieth not. The "Old American House" was another of the ancient hostelries, and could it have been imbued with the power of speech for a little while, doubtless it could "a tale unfold," and have detailed an interesting history of early times and events. But these landmarks have passed away, with their cramped capacity for accommodating "man and beast," and no city of its size can boast of better or more commodious hotel arrangements than Joliet at the present day. The "Robertson House," the "St. Nicholas," and the "National" (when in operation), are models of comfort and elegance. And a number of others, such as the "Atkinson," "Mansion," "Auburn," "City," etc., though making less pretensions, are comfortable houses of entertainment.
We mentioned in the history of Joliet Township, the erection of the first school house in 1836, which was likewise the first in the city of Joliet, as it was built within the present city limits on Hickory street, and is or was recently occupied as a residence by Wm. Terrell. It was built by Demmond, McKee, Beaumont and some others for school purposes, and was also used for a temple of worship. As previously noticed, John Watkins taught the first school in this house—the pioneer teacher, who had taught one of the very first schools in Chicago. As the demand for school facilities increased, other edifices were erected, and to-day the city is well supplied with substantial school buildings. The High School, or graded school buildings on the East and West Side, are built of stone, though not presenting as attractive outward appearance as some other school buildings in the county. The schools of Joliet are divided into three classes, viz., primary, intermediate and high school, and the city into two school districts by the river. Each district has a high or graded school, under the supervision of six inspectors—three to each school, and all subject to the control of the city government. Then of the ward or primary schools there are six, viz.: The Rolling Mill, Third Ward, Fourth Ward, Fifth Ward, Sixth Ward and Seventh Ward. Pupils are required to attend the primary schools in their respective wards until far enough advanced to enter the high schools. In addition to the common schools, there are a number of private and Catholic schools. Mrs. Sarah C. McIntosh, formerly County Superintendent of Schools, and whose term of office expired in 1877, has since opened a kind of academy, which is rapidly increasing in popularity. She at present occupies the second story of the National Hotel building on the West Side, and has a large and flourishing school. Mrs. Judge Olin also conducts a private school, but more of a primary than the one just mentioned. The Convent of St. Francis, in charge of Mother Francis, Lady Superior, is a kind of boarding-school or academy of a high order. The first building was put up in 1858, and a large three-story addition made to it in 1870, at a total cost of about $13,000. It is built of stone; is beautifully situated on the West Side bluff, overlooking the city, and will accommodate sixty or seventy pupils. There are about ninety Sisters connected with the order here, but most of them travel over the country and teach wherever their services may be needed, and only about fifteen are here permanently. In addition to the Convent of St. Francis, there are three good schools, aside from the common schools and the Monastery of St. Francis, conducted under the charge of the Franciscan Fathers of the German Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist, and are supported exclusively by the members of this Church, without any aid from the public money. These schools are attended by about 300 children. Thus, it will be seen from these observations, that the stranger locating in Joliet is blessed with abundant school privileges, and can have his choice of public, private or Catholic schools.
It is supposed by some that the first sermon preached in "Juliet" was by Rev. George West, a Methodist preacher, whose arrival in the settlement is noticed as being in 1833; while others think that Rev. J. H. Prentiss, a Presbyterian, was the first to proclaim the Word of God. It is pretty generally conceded, however, that the first church was built under the auspices of the Methodists, while the first regular church society was organized by the Episcopalians. This pioneer was, as it is still, known as Christ's Episcopal Church, and was organized by Bishop Chase, the first Episcopal Bishop of Illinois, on the 16th day of May, 1835. (Bishop Chase was the founder of Jubilee College, near Peoria.) The following were the original members: Comstock Hanford, John Griswold, Miles Rice, Orlen Westover, A. W. Bowen and wife, Julia Ann Hanford and Amorette B. Griswold, all of whom, except Dr. Bowen and wife, resided in the adjacent country. Rev. Andrew Cornish was the first settled Rector of this Church. Before his advent, Rev. Mr. Hallam, Rector of St. James' Church, Chicago, used to come down at times and officiate. The church edifice was built in 1857, under the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Locke, now Rector of Grace Church, Chicago. It is a frame building, cost about $6,000, and was dedicated by Bishop Whitehouse, the second Bishop of Illinois. Before the building of this church, the society worshiped in the school house or wherever convenience dictated. The present membership is about 160, and the parish is without a regular Rector. The ministers who have been in charge since its organization to the present time are as follows: Rev. Andrew Cornish, Rev. Wm. Bostwick (who died in 1845), Rev. Mr. Brown (his brother-in-law), Rev. Mr. Todd, Rev. Mr. Pulford, Rev. Wm. Bostwick, Jr., Rev. Mr. Locke, Rev. Mr. Wilkerson, Rev. Mr. Gilbert, Rev. Mr. Green, Rev. Mr. Tays and Rev. Mr. Morrill. A flourishing Sunday school is connected with this Church, under the superintendence of Henry Knowlton, with an average attendance of about seventy-five children. An Episcopal Mission has been organized at the Rolling Mills, which is in a very prosperous condition. It was established by Rev. Mr. Gilbert, and is usually attended by the Rector of Christ Church. It also maintains an interesting Sunday school.
As before stated, the first church edifice in Joliet was built by the Methodists, in 1838, and cost $2,500. The Rock Island Railroad when built, in 1852, struck the house and bought it, allowing the society $800 for it. There are, we believe, several claimants for the honor of preaching the first Methodist sermon in this settlement. Father Beggs and a local preacher named Isaac Scarritt both contend for it, while others accredit a local Methodist preacher, Rev. Mr. West, as having preached the first sermon. Father Scarritt claimed to have also preached the first sermon in Chicago, and to have done so barefooted, having been in a shipwreck the day previous, and lost his shoes. A class was formed in the settlement in 1832, the bounds of the mission extending from Chicago to Peoria and from State line to Fox River, and from 1832 to 1835, was known as DesPlanes Mission; from 1835 to 1837, as Des Planes Circuit, which extended from Blue Island to Ottawa, when it became Joliet Station, and the first church edifice commenced and finished, as above stated, in 1838. In 1852, after disposing of their first church to the Rock Island Railroad Company, who converted it into a blacksmith shop, the society built a brick church, at a cost of §10,000, including a parsonage. This church was burned in 1859, and was without insurance. The same year, their present stone church was built, at a cost of $8,000, and afterward remodeled, with $2,000 additional cost, and was dedicated by Bishop Simpson. It has now a membership of about two hundred and fifty, under the pastoral charge of Rev. Mr. Axtell, and an excellent Sunday school, of which Elijah Hunter is Superintendent. The Richards Street Methodist Church, an offshoot of this, was built in 1877, at a cost, including parsonage, of $5,500, and was dedicated by Rev. Mr. Caldwell. Mr. Otis Hardy bore the entire expense of building this church, except $500. The membership, including the Rolling Mills Mission, is about one hundred and fifty. It has a flourishing Sunday school, with Miss Kate Swarthouse as Superintendent. The Rolling Mill Chapel was built in 1874, and cost about $2,200. Its membership is included in the Richards Street Church. It has a large Sunday school, and Mr. Webb is Superintendent. The three Methodist Sunday schools have a regular average attendance of about four hundred children.
St. John's Universalist Church was organized as a church society in 1836, by Rev. Aaron Kinney. Until they erected a church they used the Court House for a time, and then fitted up a room in "Merchants' Row," on Chicago street, in which they worshiped. The first church edifice was built about 1840, and dedicated by Rev. W. W. Dean. It was a frame building, and cost about $1,800. Their present elegant stone church was built in 1856, at a cost of $20,000, and was dedicated by Rev. Henry Walworth. It has a large and increasing membership, and is under the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Laing. Its Sunday school has an average attendance of about eighty children, is in a flourishing state, and Mrs. C. A. Dean is Superintendent.
First German Evangelical Lutheran, of Joliet and vicinity, is an offshoot, or, rather, a part of the German Evangelical Church on the West Side, of which Rev. Christian Sans became the Pastor in 1860. In 1871, a separation took place, and the more liberal of the members, with Rev. Mr. Sans, organized a church on the East Side, with the above title. They have erected a very elegant church, but have only the basement completed, owing to a failure to receive money subscribed by people in Chicago just before the great fire. They are making efforts, however, to finish it off by next June, in order to have it dedicated under the auspices of the Wartburg Evangelical Synod, of Central and Southern Illinois, to the jurisdiction of which this Church belongs. So far the building has cost about $6,000, and it will require $2,500 more to complete it. Rev. Christian Sans is still Pastor of the flock he has so faithfully served for eighteen years, and the services of his Church are conducted in German. He is also Superintendent of the large Sunday school, which is attended by from seventy-five to eighty children. A Young Men's Christian Association and a Ladies' Sewing Society have been organized in connection with the Church.
The first religious effort of the Presbyterians was inaugurated by the Rev. J. H. Prentiss, in the Winter of 1834-5. Under the auspices of the American Home Mission Society, he visited "Juliet," and "finding that there were even then heathen enough to justify the step," says Mr. Woodruff in his "Forty Years Ago," "came on the next Summer with his family, established preaching, and soon after organized a Presbyterian Church, some time in 1835." He preached in a little stone building that stood on Broadway until the building of the first school house, when services were held in it. This Church had its ups and downs, and finally died out, comparatively speaking, but was revived under the ministerial labors of the Revs. Hiram and Lucius Foote. The remnants of Mr. Prentiss' old church, some old professors and new converts, were organized into a Congregational Church, under the name of the "Union Church," and the Rev. Hiram Foote chosen Pastor. Some years later, when it had again become somewhat lukewarm, there came a Second Adventist, who, as an old member informed us, "turned things topsy-turvy for a few weeks." John M. Wilson (now of Chicago) turned preacher, and proclaimed "the end at hand" to his excited hearers, who were so thoroughly convinced of the fact as to have their "long white robes in readiness." C. E. Fellows, a popular lawyer of the time, was another of their leaders and preachers, and took the ground that whoever provided worldly comforts for the future would certainly be lost, and so would only buy food enough for one meal at a time. But when the appointed time came, and this rolling world continued to revolve upon its axis in the usual way. Fellows became disgusted, and forswore belief in all religious sects, "and," says the old member referred to, "went to the devil as fast as possible." Indirectly, from this old original Presbyterian Church and upon the remains of those that followed, has arisen the Central Presbyterian Church of the present day. As such, it was organized in 1844, by Rev. Benj. W. Dwight, with twenty-two members, and for a time they hired a room on the West Side, but afterward moved across the river and occupied the Court House, and still later, the Lniversalist Church. In 1852, they erected their present building, at a cost of $3,000, and, in 1871, enlarged it at an additional cost of $3,000. It is a frame building with stone basement, and was dedicated by Rev. R. W. Patterson and Rev. A. H. Dean, Pastor at the time. It has now about 250 members. A Sunday school was organized cotemporaneously with the Church, George H. Woodruff, Superintendent. E. L. Spangler is the present Superintendent, with an average attendance of 164 children. The following are the names of the Pastors of this Church since organized as the Central Presbyterian: Rev. M. Strong, called from Rochester, N. Y., preached one Sabbath and was then taken sick and died. The next, Rev. B. W. Dwight, Rev. R. Reed, Rev. Mr. De Loss, who built the church, Rev. J. Kidd, Rev. Mr. Hubbard, Rev. H. D. Jenkins and Rev. A. H. Dean, the present Pastor.
The First Presbyterian Church was organized August 3, 1866, with fourteen original members. The church, which is of stone, was built in 1867, at a cost of $9,000, and what is strangest of all in this age of stupendous church debts, it is free from all pecuniary incumbrances. It was dedicated by Rev. O. A. Kingsbury, and at present has 101 members. The following are the Pastors from its organization to the present time: Rev. O. A. Kingsbury, 1866-1869; Rev. C. R. Burdick, 1869-1873; Rev. James McLeod, 1873-1876; Rev. Mr. Knott, 1876-1877; Rev. Thomas M. Gunn, 1877, and still occupies the position. The Sunday school was organized in 1863, several years previous to the Church, and has an attendance of about 125, under the superintendence of D. W. Pond.
The Baptists organized a society as early, almost, as any other religious denomination. Their first meetings were held and their first church organized in the building on the West Side, on Broadway, at present used as a school house; and one of the first Pastors of this society was Rev. S. Knapp, who is yet living in Joliet. This Church seems to have become for a while extinct, and that the present one on the East Side grew out of it. The latter was fully organized February 16, 1853, a council having been called for that purpose, which was presided over by Rev. R. B. Ashley, of Plainfield. The following are the original members: Prudence Burdick, J. B. Wait, Jesse Kyrk, Michael Tate, Margaret Tate, Thos. Tate, Eliza Henry, F. Crouch, Eliza Crouch, Henry Watkins, J. C. Williams and Sarah Williams. Their meetings were held in the Court House and other places until July, 1858, when it was resolved to build a church, not to cost more than $8,000. This section of the country being poor, and in its infancy, comparatively speaking, it was determined to send a representative East to solicit aid, and accordingly Mrs. S. F. Savage was chosen. She was gone six months, and during that time sent to the Building Society an average of $500 per month. In this manner, together with what was obtained at home, their present elegant church building was erected, and dedicated to God in 1859. The following are the Pastors of this Church since its organization: Rev. J. F. Childs, 1853-1854; Rev. W. J. Clarke, 1854-1856; Rev. A. B. Foskett, 1856-1857; Rev. E. P. Savage, 1859 (supply); Rev. E. Button, 1859-1862; Rev. W. P. Patterson, 1862-1864; Rev. C. H. Remington, 1861-1868; Rev. A. G. Eberhart, 1868-1871; Rev. R. Leslie, 1871-1874; Rev. J. P. Phillips, 1874-1877, and Rev. A. H. Stote, the present Pastor. A large and flourishing Sunday school is carried on in connection with this Church.
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church is one of the oldest Catholic churches in the diocese of Chicago*. The Society of St. Patrick was organized in 1838, under Rev. Father Plunkett, who commenced the building of the church that year, and continued on as money could be obtained until their zeal and perseverance have resulted in the magnificent stone church on Broadway, which has cost altogether over thirty thousand dollars. Between two hundred and three hundred families worship at this sanctuary, and there is also a well-attended Sunday school. The sad death of Father Plunkett is remembered still by many of the old members. He had been out on a collecting mission for his church, and was returning home in the midst of a March snow-storm, riding very fast against the wind, with his head bowed low to protect his face from the storm, when his head struck the limb of a tree extended over the road, killing him almost instantly. After the death of Father Plunkett, Rev. Father Du Poutdavis, a Frenchman, became the Pastor, and remained about four years and was succeeded by Father Ingoldsby. He remained also about four years, when Father Hamilton took charge, remaining about four years, and was followed by two other clergymen, whose names are forgotten, neither of whom remained long. Father Farley then came and remained in charge for fourteen years, when he was succeeded by Father Power, the present Pastor. In 1868, the parish was divided, and another formed on the east side of the river, known as St. Mary's Parish.
*Mr. Keegan informs us that when he came here, in 1840, there was but one little Catholic Church in Chicago.
St. Mary's Catholic Church, of Joliet, was separated from the original parish in 1868, and the new parish formed under the pastorate of Rev. P. W. Riordan, now Pastor of St. James Church, Chicago. He had been preceded by Rev. Father Flanagan, who remained about a year, and built a small wooden church near the Alton depot, which still belongs to the parish. Father Riordan remained about two years and was succeeded by Father Mackin, who remained in charge for five years. Father Murphy was the next Pastor and in about one year was succeeded by Rev. Maurice F. Burke, the present Pastor, who took charge in April, 1878. The corner stone of the present magnificent church, which, when completed will be the finest church edifice in the city, was laid by Father Murphy in August, 1877, and the work pushed forward with so much rapidity as to have the basement ready for occupancy in one year, and on the 11th of August, 1878, it was dedicated by Bishop Foley and Rev. Dr. McMullin, of Chicago. It is built of Joliet limestone; is 70x132 feet, and 112 to the top of the tower. The spire will extend 90 feet above the tower, and the entire structure, when completed, will cost about fifty-five thousand dollars. The supervising architect is P. C. Keeley, of Brooklyn, N. Y., the stone contractors, Charles and William Werner, and wood contractor, Francis Devine. A Sunday school is connected with the Church, taught by the ladies of the parish, and under the superintendence of the Pastor.
The German Catholic Church was organized in 1852, on the West Side, and the building commenced at the time was erected of stone, at a cost of about twelve thousand dollars. In 1866, having become too small for the growing society, it was palled down and a fine stone edifice erected upon the site, costing nearly fifty thousand dollars, with a parsonage in connection, also of stone, and which cost between three and four thousand dollar. The first officiating priest was Father Regel, a Frenchman, but who spoke the German language. Since then, the Church has been supplied as follows: Father Caspar Mueller, Father Rauch, Father Charles Kumin; then the Benedictine Fathers had charge of it about one year, and were succeeded by Father Algeir, and he by Father F. X. Nolte, who remained for nine years. In 1876, the Franciscan Monks, with Father Gerard Becher as Superior, took charge of it, and still continue to administer its affairs. About three hundred families (all German) worship in this sanctuary.
There are two other German churches in the city, viz.: the Evangelical Church and the German Lutheran. The latter is located on the West Side, and is under the jurisdiction of the Missouri Synod, and is the Church to which Rev. Christian Sans was called in 1860, and of which he remained the Pastor until 1871, when a separation took place, as narrated elsewhere. The Evangelical Church is on Herkimer and Cass streets, is quite a handsome frame building and in a flourishing condition.
Having given the first settlement of Joliet, and traced it through its different sources of enterprise to its present commercial importance, we return to its early organization as a village. In March, 1837, a meeting of the legal citizens of the village of "Juliet" was held, pursuant to ten days' notice, under provision of the General Act of Incorporation. Joel A. Matteson was President and George H. Woodruff Clerk of the meeting. The question voted upon was whether the village should be incorporated, and was decided unanimously by seventy-eight votes in the affirmative. An election was held at the old American Hotel on the 31st of March for five Trustees, which resulted in the election of Joel A. Matteson, J. J. Garland, Daniel Reed, Fenner Aldrich and R. C. Duncan. On the 4th day of April, 1837, the Board organized for business and appointed Dr. William Scolfield Clerk, and thus the village of "Juliet" was duly incorporated. In 1841, the Trustees resigned on account of the repeal by the Legislature of the Act of Incorporation, and from that time until 1852 it was without any form of government other than township organization. In these early days, there was a good deal of rivalry between the east and west sides of the river, in illustration of which we make the following extract from "Forty Years Ago". "The town was divided into two wards by the river. The point contested was to get the odd Trustee, as by the charter each ward had two. It was necessary to own real estate in the town to be a voter. The boys on each side counted noses, and it was found that the West Ward had a small majority. There were some then on the East Side who were not willing to be fairly beaten. A plan was accordingly devised to overcome this majority. There happened to be a circus in town, and Charley Sayre executed to thirty-six of the circus employes a deed of a lot, supposed to be somewhere in Bowen's Addition, and they were allowed to swear in their votes! This gave the victory to the East Side. But although the concocters of the scheme were so elated at their success that they had a big drunk over it. I don't think they ever reaped any material advantage from it. One good thing, however, came out of the affair. Of course the circus boys did not stay to look after their lot and pay the taxes, and Charley Sayre wouldn't, so our worthy citizen, N. H. Cutter, bid it off at a tax sale for a poor widow, Margaret McGinnis, who built a little house on it, and so got a home very cheap, which she occupied many years." But these little contests are long past. The masnificent bridges which span the river have united the rival sections, and no cause now exists for jealousy or ill-feeling. In 1839, during the great financial depression which followed the crisis of 1837, work was suspended on the canal, and from that time until 1841 the town experienced hard times, as did all other cities, towns and villages. Eggs sold in Joliet for 3 cents a dozen, venison for 1 1/2 cents a pound, and other things in proportion. But with the resumption of work on the canal, in 1845, the prosperity of the place revived and the people awoke to renewed life. Since then, it has grown and developed into what it is now—a prosperous city.
Joliet was incorporated as a city June 19, 1852, and laid off into five wards by legislative act. The following officers were the first elected under city organization: C. C. Van Horn, Mayor; Aldermen—N. H. Cutter and D. Cassedy, First Ward; Jacob George and M. Shields, Second Ward; E. Wilcox and T. J. Kinney, Third Ward; F. L. Cagwin and S. W. Bowman, Fourth Ward; P. O'Conner and Uri Osgood, Fifth Ward. We give below the names of Mayor and City Clerk, from organization down to the present time:
|C. C. Van Horn||S. W. Stone||1852|
|J. E. Streeter||"||1854|
|W. D. Elwood||"||1855|
|Firman Mack||S. S. Buffum||1857|
|Frank Goodspeed||Samuel D. Smith||1859|
|S. W. Bowen||"||1861|
|W. A. Strong, Jr||W. H. Zarley||1863|
|S. W. Bowen||W. H. Zarley||1866|
|W. A. Steel||"||1869|
|Edwin Porter||W. H. Zarley||1871|
|W. A. Steel||"||1872|
|W. E. Henry||"||1873|
|W. A. Steel||"||1875|
|R E. Barber||"||1876|
|Jas. G. Elwood||"||1877|
The following are the present Board of Aldermen: M. G. Demmond and F. E. Freeman, First Ward; F. W. Woodruff and Wm. Gleason, Second Ward; F. Sehring and M. Moran, Third Ward; T. A. Mason and H. N. Marsh, Fourth Ward; Peter Collins and P. C. Haley, Fifth Ward; H. Fanning and Heary Schoettes, Sixth Ward; Dorrence Dibell and J. P. King, Seventh Ward. Other city officers are: Charles Werner, Collector: John Gorges, Treasurer, and Thomas O'Brien, Chief of Police. The police force consists of one policeman in each ward, and in good discipline under Chief O'Brien. While touching upon the affairs of the city government, we notice in the highest terms, the efficient and well-equipped fire department. It was organized on its present basis in 1877, prior to which time it was a voluntary department. The department consists of two engines, hook and ladder, with twenty-one men—nine men to each engine, and three to the hook and ladder, all under charge of J. D. Paige, Chief Engineer. Recently, the new fire alarm has been introduced, with seven boxes and two 16-inch gongs, one in each engine house. The horses belong to the department, are well trained, and the engines are of the very best in use. In a word, the department, under Chief Paige, is as perfect as in any of the large cities, as a proof of which is the fact that it-captured three of the prizes at the late Firemen's Tournament, in Chicago, viz.: First national prize, for putting out fire, $350, gold, and a silver water service valued at $160; third national prize, from throwing water a distance, $100, gold; and third State prize, for throwing water a distance, $75 in greenbacks.
In the older countries and the larger cities of the world, there is usually some peculiar characteristic to be observed, either in the style of architecture, the grandeur of public works or buildings, of magnificent ruins, manners and customs, etc., but always something to distinguish each city or people from the rest of the world. Hence, Egypt was noted for its colossal pyramids; Pompeii is still famous for its stupendous ruins, and Jerusalem, the mighty city of the plain and the Mecca of the Israelites, is famed wherever civilization has extended, for Solomon's Temple, the glory of which has never been equaled by man. Coming down to modern times, London is characterized by St. Pauls Cathedral, one of the most magnificent churches in the world, and Paris is noted for the Tuileries. In our own great country, New York has her Crystal Palace; Boston, old Faneuil; Philadelphia, Independence Hall, and Joliet has her Court House. This huge pile of cream-colored granite, looming up above the surrounding buildings, as the giant oak of the forest towers above the insignificant willow, with its lofty cupola piercing the clouds, surmounted with an illuminated clock, was built in 1846, at a cost of seven thousand dollars (!), and is a building of which any city might feel proud. But as this magnificent temple of justice is more particularly referred to in the general history, we pass it with this merited compliment. It is an old historical landmark and should be highly appreciated by the citizens of Joliet.
We have alluded to the first mills of Joliet in other parts of this history—of McKee's, the Haven Brothers, and of Cagwin's and Clement & Clark's saw-mills. The operations of these primitive establishments have ceased: the days of their usefulness have long passed, and more pretentious enterprises of like character have taken their place. The City Mills were built by William Adam, on the site of the Havens' Mills, mentioned elsewhere, and originally had five runs of buhrs. They were remodeled in 1867, and two additional runs put in for grinding feed principally. This is the oldest water-power on the river; the dam used was built before the State dams and produces a 200-horse power, which remains about the same during the entire year, and which it is intended to lease out to other manufactories, thus making this a manufacturing district. These mills were burned July 22, 1877—loss about $30,000—and have never been rebuilt; but a wire fence manufactory has been erected on the site, as noticed on another page. Before they were burned, the firm, as William Adam & Co., did a large business in addition to milling, in meal, feed, etc., with lumbermen, and their trade extended up among the pineries. The Joliet Mills were built in 1856, by Houck & Preston, near the upper bridge, cost about $35,000, and have six runs of buhrs. They are now owned by G. W. Hyde, who, in 1866, built a grain elevator in connection, at a cost of $12,000, with a capacity of about 25,000 bushels. The Joliet Woolen-Mills were quite an enterprise in their day, and were one of the works of Hon. J. A. Matteson, who was the prime mover in the affair of their erection. The building was 45x100 feet, and cost about $63,000. After running about two years, it was sold to Woodruff, Aiken, Hyde and others, who operated it two years longer, when it stopped work and remained idle until 1873. It was then sold to W. E. Henry, but for several years has not been running, and is at present a useless enterprise. A paper-mill has been erected near where the City Mills were burned. It was begun in July, 1877, and finished and commenced to work about the last of October of the same year. The mill was built by Young & Riebling, but is owned by F. H. Riebling, operated by Riebling & Kramer and run by the power of the Adam Manufacturing Co. It cost about $12,000, and has a capacity of from two to two and a half tons a day. Rag wrapping and hardware paper are specialties, with sometimes small lots of Manila No. 2. The mill employs usually about sixteen hands, and has its largest trade in Chicago, which is mostly wholesale and shipped in car-load lots.
The Rolling Mills of Joliet are among the largest works of the kind, not only in the United States but in the world. This immense concern, known and entitled the Joliet Iron and Steel Company, is located on the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad, just north of the city limits of Joliet, with a switch connecting with the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad. The corner stone of the Iron Works was laid in March, 1870, and the Steel Works built in 1873, and to their location at this point Joliet owes much of her present prosperity. To give a full and complete history of this gigantic establishment would require more space than we can devote to the subject in these pages. A few points will be given, however, showing their extent and capacity, labor employed, etc., from information received from H. S. Smith, Esq., General Superintendent. The Company's works comprise 100 acres of level ground with solid rock bottom a few inches below the surface, upon which have been erected the following structures: Two blast furnaces, coke and coal washing works, fire-brick works, the Bessemer works, the steel rail mills, the iron rail mills, the puddle mill, the shops and water works. The walls of all the buildings are of Joliet limestone, which, considering its cheapness and the size and shape in which it is quarried, renders it perhaps the best building stone in the world. The engine and train foundations are of dimension stone of great size and thickness, laid with but little trimming, yet nearly with the accuracy of ashlar work, on a flat rock, the upper layer of which is 480 feet thick. The character of the masonry and the size of the stones in the buildings are first-class throughout. To give some idea of these vast works, the "blast furnaces," with the different buildings pertaining to this department, comprise extreme ground dimensions of 420x240 feet: the extreme dimensions of the Bessemer works' buildings are 215x157 feet: the new steel rail mill is 445x105 feet, and 25 feet high: the iron rail mill is 230x80 feet, and 20 feet high; the puddle mill building is 190x75 feet; the buildings of the fire brick works are 400x50 feet. The shops belonging to the works are of themselves no inconsiderable establishment. The machine shop is 120x70 feet, and 20 feet high, with slate roof; the foundry is 100x60 feet, 25 feet high, with slate roof; the smith shop is 70x60 feet, 18 feet high; the boiler shop is a wooden extension of the smith shop 75x60 feet; the pattern and carpenter shop is a 2-story building 70x38 feet, with slate roof; the office and drawing room is a 2-story stone building 45x24 feet. The entire force required in the steel works when running at full capacity is about 800 men, and 400 for a "single turn." The capacity is as follows: Bessemer plant, ingots per week, 1,700 tons; new rail mill, rails per week, 1,400 tons. The iron and puddle mills are not now in operation, nor have they been for some time, but other departments are running regularly. That these improvements are very substantial, may be gathered from the fact that eight or ten years ago, 1,000 tons a month was the maximum capacity of the best Bessemer works in America, and that the average production of the best English works of the same nominal size, five years ago, was 1,500 tons per month. At present the Joliet Works have attained a capacity of from 6,500 to 7,000 tons per month. But it is impossible to transfer to paper in our limited space, the full magnitude of these works, and will pass the subject with this meager notice.
The Solar Stove Works are located but a short distance south of the Rolling Mills. They were established in 1871, by the late Wm. N. Moore, and at his death passed into the hands of the present proprietors, known as the Solar Stove Works—A. Cochran, President; F. S. Moore, Treasurer, and I. D. Stevens, Secretary. Since the first organization of these works, they have enjoyed an uninterrupted prosperity. They employ about forty men, turning out annually some 3,000 cook stoves and 40,000 pieces of hollow-ware, consuming 3,000 tons of the best pig iron in their production. The stoves of which they make a specialty, are the Commonwealth, Interior, Columbia, Fidelity and the George Washington. They also manufacture a Cooper's Barrel Heater, which has been sold and used in nearly every State and Territory in America. The company has a large trade and are shipping quantities of stoves through the States of Illinois. Indiana, Iowa. Wisconsin, Nebraska and Minnesota, and Dakota Territory.
As a manufacturing city, Joliet has considerable prominence among the cities of Illinois, and its location is favorably adapted to this kind of industry. With such a net-work of railroads, together with the canal, it has the very best shipping facilities, and then the water-power is of incalculable value to the manufacturing interests, and should the whole force of the water-power of the Des Planes contiguous to Joliet be utilized, her citizens will be convinced of the fact that "there's millions in it." One of oldest manufacturing establishments now in operation in the city is the Joliet Manufacturing Company. It was originally established in Plainfield, under the firm name of Dillman & Co., in 1849, as a foundry and a machine shop. In 1863, it was removed to Joliet, and was still operated by the old firm until 1867, when it was merged into a stock company with the above title, and A. H. Shreffler, President; L. E. Dillman, Treasurer, and E. C. Dillman, Secretary. From twenty-five to eighty men are employed, and a specialty is made of corn shellers; but reapers, mowers and plows were at one time largely manufactured by these works. Capital stock is about $69,000, and the factory is near the Michigan Central Depot. R. Sandiford, successor to the firm of Sanger & Co., and proprietor of the Joliet Agricultural Works, located near the Jefferson street bridge. These works manufacture land rollers. Champion reapers and mowers, horse-powers, etc., and is an extensive establishment of the kind, employing usually from ten to fifteen hands. It furnishes power to the factory of the Joliet Wire Fence Company.
The Adam Manufacturing Company was organized and commenced business in April, 1877—William Adam, President; F. G. Stanley, Vice President, and W. J. Adam, Secretary and Treasurer, with $10,000 capital stock. The Company manufactures barbed fence wire and staples; from two to two and a half tons of the former per day, and about one ton of staples, is the capacity of the works. From twenty-five to thirty hands are employed, and the items mentioned are specialties, though other work is done to some extent. The water-power of the Company is excellent, the best perhaps on the river, as well as the oldest, and furnishes power to the paper mill, as elsewhere noticed. The Lock Stitch Fence Company, manufacturers of barbed wire for fence purposes, have their office at the Joliet Manufacturing Company, and their factory near Hyde's Mills at the upper bridge. This Company employ about fifteen men, and their capacity is from one and a half to two tons per day.
The Joliet Wire Fence Company has a factory just below the Jefferson street bridge, the power of which is furnished by Sandiford's Agricultural Works; it also has a factory at the prison, with its business office on the west side of the public square. The capacity of the two establishments is sufficient to require the employment of about seventy men, continually. The Company was organized October 1, 1866, with capital stock of $65,000. H. B. Scutt, President; W. S. Brooks, Treasurer, and J. R. Ashley, Secretary. This is the pioneer establishment, and succeeded H. B. Scutt & Co., who were the first parties to manufacture barbed wire in Will County. They have a large and growing trade, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast, and from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico. There are, we believe, some other factories of this branch of industry about to begin operations, but of them we have but little information. From the facts given it will be seen that the manufacture of barbed wire for fences is developing into quite an extensive business.
The tannery of Houck & Brown is quite a large establishment of the kind, and is located near the Rolling Mills. The business was originally begun by Firman Mack & E. Cleghorn, about 1854. Mack had carried on the business since 1850 on a small scale. The business passed into the hands of M. Cleghorn (after the death of Mack, which occurred by drowning), who built the present works about 1863. The works were finally sold, and bought by the present firm, who have conducted the business on a much larger scale than heretofore, and operate a store in addition to their tannery. They employ twenty-one men, and their business amounts to about $80.000 annually.
The Wind-mill Manufactory of L. Leach is one of the largest of the kind in the West. In 1871, he invented "Leach's Wind-mill," and began the manufacture of it, and does a very large business in wind-mills, selling in nearly every State in the Union. He manufactures only his own inventions; and to windmills is added the manufacture of earth augers, well-boring machinery, etc. There are several other wind-mills represented in Joliet, but Leach's is the most extensive.
The breweries of Joliet are quite a large industry. The Eagle Brewery of E. Porter, is one of the largest establishments of the kind in the State. Mr. Porter erected his first brewery in 1858, which was burned down ten years later, when he erected his present massive buildings on the West Side, which are 80x100 feet, and three stories high. An artesian well, forty-five feet deep, affords an unfailing supply of water for carrying on the works. The goods manufactured by the Eagle Brewery are well known and command a large sale throughout the country. The Columbia Brewery, by F. Sehring, is another mammoth establishment, and sells a large amount of goods annually. Mr. Sehring purchased the Columbia in 1868, and has since remodeled it, putting in steam power and all the modern improvements, and it is now one of the best appointed establishments of the kind outside of Chicago. There are one or two other breweries in the city which manufacture considerable goods; these mentioned, however, are much the largest, and have most of the trade.
The manufacture of sewer pipe, drain tile, fire and bath brick and all this class of goods is an extensive business of Joliet. The material produced in this section is superior to that of any part of the State of Illinois. The clay is peculiarly adapted to drain tile and sewer pipe, and wherever the Joliet tiles have been used, their reputation is good and their merits fully appreciated. For more than a quarter of a century, this line of industry has been in course of operation here, and increasing with the lapse of years, until it has become one of the most extensive branches of business. Joliet has the honor of being the only point in the United States where bath brick is manufactured and makes a large quantity of them annually, while the amount of sewer pipe, drain tile, of every size in use, manufactured each year is simply immense. Of other manufactures of Joliet, in addition to those already mentioned, such as brick-making, lime kilns, sash, door and blind factories, planing-mills, etc., etc., the city is well represented in all these lines and branches; and they are rather too numerous to admit of particularization in our limited space. With the brief mention we have made of this particular source of enterprise, our readers cannot fail to observe the importance of Joliet and its advantages as a manufacturing city.
Banking was begun in a small way by private individuals in Joliet more than thirty years ago. The first regular banking institution was the old "Merchants' and Drovers' Bank," of which Joel A. Matteson, R. E. Goodell and William Smith were, we believe, the principal stockholders. It was chartered and organized as a bank under the above title in 1850, and continued as such for a number of years. There were, however, banks prior to this, of a private character, or individuals who did a general banking business in a private way, of whom Uri Osgood was one of the first in this business. But, as stated, the Merchants' and Drovers' Bank was the first organized effort. In those days, the banking system was not so thorough as at the present time, and "wild-cat" banks were as common and as popular (?) as savings banks used to be in Chicago. Joliet was no exception, and so wild-cat banks existed here, as well as several sound institutions, before the era of National banks, among which may be mentioned the Will County Bank, the Joliet City Bank, etc. The period of National banks dates back to 1864, and the first one organized under the National bank law was the First National Bank of Joliet. It was established September 4, 1864, with George Woodruff, President, and a capital stock of $100,000. Mr. Woodruff is still President, and F. W. Woodruff, Cashier.
The Will County National Bank was organized October 10, 1871, with a capital stock of $100,000, and Henry Fish, President; Calvin Knowlton, Vice President, and George P. Jones, Cashier. In January, 1873, Calvin Knowlton was elected President; J. A. Henry, Vice President, and Henry Knowlton, Cashier, all of whom hold these positions at the present time. The Joliet City Bank was originally established in 1857-58, by the Cagwins, Woodruff and others. It is still one of the leading banks of the city, and is ably managed by Francis L. Cagwin, whose credit is beyond question, and who, in a long business life, has always paid 100 cents on the dollar. The Stone City Bank was organized by Henry Fish in 1873, the first President of the Will County National Bank. He is still the proprietor of it, and is doing a large and safe business. Goodspeed's Bank was organized in 1870, by Goodspeed & McGovney. In 1872, he bought out McGovney, and has since been sole proprietor. Westphal & Lagger organized the German Loan and Savings Bank in the Fall of 1875. It is still conducted by them and is the only banking institution on the west side of the river.
Secret societies are probably coeval with man's existence in organized society, and perhaps will continue to exist until the last syllable of recorded time. We know that the causes which actuate them are beneficent and good, because the results achieved are so grand and glorious. Freemasonry bears an early date in Joliet. From records preserved by W. W. Stevens, Esq., and furnished us for perusal, we find that a lodge was organized as early as 1840, under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, before Illinois had a Grand Lodge of her own. The dispensation was signed by Most Worshipful Abner Cunningham, Grand Master of Kentucky, and Bight Worshipful Philip Swigert, Grand Secretary, dated November, 1840, and issued to Juliet Lodge, U. D., Juliet, Illinois. Right Worshipful C. Jackson, proxy of the Grand Master of Kentucky, came all the way from that Grand Jurisdiction to institute this Lodge, and set the brethren to work upon the square. It continued under dispensation until October, 1842, when it was chartered by the same august body, as Juliet Lodge No. 10. The first officers under the charter were Jacob Patrick, Master; Norman Hawley, Senior Warden; Aaron Kinney, Junior Warden; Robert G. Cook, Treasurer; Maurice Murphy, Secretary; Thomas J. Wade, Senior Deacon; Fenner Aldrich, Junior Deacon; Thomas J. Kinney, Tiler, with twenty-seven original members, besides the officers. Among them will be recognized the names of many of the leading citizens of that day, viz.: Jared Runyon, Thomas Williams, David L. Gregg, Joel A. Matteson, James Brodie, Henry G. Brown, Ethan Wetherbee and Benjamin Richardson, all of whom, with three exceptions, joined the first year. This was the first Masonic Lodge in Will County, and from the number, appears to have been the tenth in the State. It continued to work under its charter until 1846, when some dissensions having arisen in the Lodge, and the Grand Lodge of Illinois in the mean time having been organized, the latter Grand Body annulled the charter of Juliet Lodge, No. 10, and afterward issued a dispensation to establish Mt. Joliet Lodge. In due time it was chartered as Mt. Joliet Lodge, No. 42, by Most Worshipful Nelson D. Morse, Grand Master of Illinois, and under which name and number it still exists. The first officers of the new Lodge were Wm. C. Little, Master; Myron K. Bronson, Senior Warden; and Joel George, Junior Warden. For years the first Lodge (Juliet, No. 10) had no regular place of meeting, but kept their paraphernalia in a chest, and met on the "highest hills, or in the lowest vales," metaphorically speaking, but usually in the old stone block on the West Side. The present officers of Mt. Joliet Lodge are John Gray, Master; P. B. Ryan, Senior Warden; J. G. Patterson, Junior Warden; and John S. Millar, Secretary, with 160 members on the roll.
Matteson Lodge was organized under dispensation in 1855, by Most Worshipful James L. Anderson, Grand Master of Illinois. In October, 1856, it was chartered as Matteson Lodge, No. 175, and named for ex-Gov. Matteson, one of the influential Masons and enterprising business men of the town. The first officers were; William Smith, Master; Nelson B. Elwood, Senior Warden; James T. McDougall, Junior Warden; Abijah Cagwin, Treasurer; John McGinnis, Jr., Secretary; Benjamin Richardson, Senior Deacon; W. S. Brooks, Junior Deacon, and C. H. Swayne, Tiler. The following are the present officers: W. G. Wilcox, Master; J. C. Lans, Senior Warden; George C. Raynor, Junior Warden, and J. L. Raynor, Secretary, with about one hundred and fifty names upon the roll of membership.
Joliet Chapter, No. 27. Royal Arch Masons, was chartered in November, 1855, by Most Excellent Ira A. W. Buck, Grand High Priest of Chapter Masonry for the State. The first officers were; William Smith, High Priest; Nelson D. Elwood, Kins; and A. S. Jones, Scribe. It is in a most flourishing state, and its affairs are at present administered by the following worthy companions; David Rosenheim, High Priest; C. C. Olney, King; C. Puffer, Scribe, and John C. Lang, Secretary, with about one hundred and seventy-five members.
Knighthood, the highest order of Freemasonry, was introduced in 1858. A Commandery of Knights Templar was organized in the Spring of this year, under dispensation, and in October following, was chartered as Joliet Commandery, No. 4, Knights Templar, by Right Eminent Sir J. V. Z. Blaney, Grand Commander of Illinois. The first officers under the charter were: Sir Nelson D. Elwood, Eminent Commander; Sir S. S. Brooks, Generalissimo; Sir H. W. Hubbard, Captain General. It is at present officered as follows: Sir John S. Millar, Eminent Commander; Sir E. W. Willard, Generalissimo; Sir William Dougall, Captain General; Sir J. B. Fithian, Recorder, and the roster shows a record of 137 members. Sir J. G. Elwood, a member of this Commandery, is at present Grand Junior Warden of the Grand Commandery of the State. The Masonic Hall, in which all the bodies held their meetings, was burned in February, 1866, with a loss to the fraternity of about $7,500, including jewels, paraphernalia, the private uniforms of members, etc. No one could enter the hall, and hence, nothing was saved. The insurance was about $4,000. In July, 1872, they were again burned out, this time at a loss of $8,000, with an insurance of about $6,000. They have elegant rooms now in Masonic Block, but do not own the building. It was however, built specially for their accommodation, and they rent the upper part of it.
Odd Fellowship is represented by two Lodges and two Encampments. Powhan Lodge, No. 29, was chartered July 13, 1847. Charter members were: J. T. McDougall, Abijah Cagwin, Phineas Wheeler, Mansfield Wheeler, S. W. Bowen, A. McIntosh, Harvey Wheeler and William McDougall. The charter was issued by W. W. N. Parke, Grand Master, and S. A. Corneau, Grand Secretary. The first officers were: J. T. McDougall, N. G.; Phineas Wheeler, V. G.; S. W. Bowen, R. S.; A. Cagwin, Tr., and Wm. McDougall, P. S. The present Noble Grand is William Hingston, and R. Sandiford, Secretary, with sixty-five members. As a matter of interest, we would state here that S. O. Simonds, a prominent merchant of Joliet, was Treasurer of this Lodge for nineteen years, without interruption, besides holding other offices of distinction in the fraternity.
William Tell Lodge, No. 219, was chartered October 13, 1857, by Augustus C. Marsh, Grand Master, and Samuel Willard, Grand Secretary. The charter members were: Leopold Schwabacher, Adam Werner, Sol. Louer, Gabriel Hauch, J. L. Guirard and Martin Wagoner. Joliet Encampment, No. 72, was chartered by Charles Parke, Grand Patriarch, and N. C. Mason, Grand Secretary, October 8, 1867, and the following were charter members: Ed. Cleghorn, A. D. Edgworth, G. H. Lrchlman, Isaac S. Watson, Jacob Whitmore, Gabriel Hauch, Fred Schring and C. C. Braun. Eagle Encampment, No. 139, received its charter from A. H. Lichty, G. P., and N. C. Mason, Grand Secretary, October 8, 1872. The charter members were: A. D. Edgworth, Franklin Haines, James McEvoy, F. J. Richards, John Brown, John F. Tarball and George S. Kinney. The present C. P. is W. L. Green, and C. B. Brainard, Scribe.
Pocahontas Lodge, No. 59, Daughters of Rebecca, was chartered October 14, 1873, by G. Bross, Grand Master, and N. C. Mason, Grand Secretary. This is an order conferred on the female relatives of members of Odd Fellowship.
By far the most important item in the welfare of a city, and that which adds to the health and prosperity of its citizens, is a plentiful supply of pure, fresh water, and on this element, in a measure, its safety depends. The blessed, health-giving water! No poison bubbles on its brink; its foam brings not madness and murder, and no blood stains its liquid glass. Pale widows and starving orphans weep not burning tears in its depth, but health and life sparkle upon its surface. The tomb of Moses is unknown, but the weary traveler still slakes his thirst at the well of Jacob. The lofty columns of Persepolis are moldering into dust, but its cisterns and aqueducts remain to challenge our admiration. The "Golden House" is a mass of ruin, but its Aqua Claudia still pours into Rome its liquid stream. The temple of the sun of Tadnor in the wilderness has fallen, but its fountain sparkles as freshly in his rays, as when thousands of worshipers thronged its gilded colonnades. It may be that Joliet will share the fate of Babylon, and nothing be left to mark its site but piles of crumbling stone. But the numberless wells of pure water will continue to throw their liquid columns toward heaven as they do now. There are few cities in Illinois that can favorably compare with Joliet in its supply of good water, the health-giving element. The artesian wells, of which there are a number in the city, supply an abundance of water, and that of a quality, too, unsurpassed by any city or country. The limestone springs of Kentucky, supposed to afford the best water in the world, scarcely equal that of the artesian wells of Joliet. These wells, with their inexhaustible supply, are an acquisition to the city, of which the people should be justly proud, and one, too, that will last as long as their own granite hills. The first artesian well was put down in 1866-7, and since that time, in addition to three public wells, a dozen or more have been sunk by private individuals. The well at the corner of Chicago and Jefferson streets is 455 feet deep, and at its completion raised water sixty feet, with thirty-one pounds pressure to the square inch, and with a daily flow of about fifteen thousand barrels. Pipes were laid on Chicago and Jefferson streets from this well, but owing to some defect it does not at present supply them. Another of the city wells is at the East Side public school, and was bored about one thousand one hundred feet deep. The other public well is on the West Side. These wells, together with the number of private ones in the city, afford an apparently inexhaustible quantity of water for all practical purposes. Before the era of artesian wells the city was supplied by the ordinary wells, in which water was usually obtained by digging down to the gravel. From the "Geological Survey of Illinois," it appears there are two strata of sand rock reached in boring these artesian wells, one at a depth of about four hundred and fifty feet and the other at about one thousand two hundred feet below the surface, and it is in these the best water is obtained. But without going into a full detail of this feature, the reader is referred to the "Geological Survey," extracts from which are found in another department of this work.
Beyond the products of her own manufactories, Joliet makes little pretensions toward a wholesale trade. Though all lines of merchandise are well represented by first-class, enterprising business men, they do not aspire to anything further than a good retail trade, which compares favorably with that of any other city of its size in this section of the State. The close proximity of Chicago would not admit of successful competition in a wholesale business; there are a few firms, however, that, when occasion offers, wholesale to some extent, but make no special exertions that way. With a population of about twelve thousand inhabitants, and such an admirable location, easy of access, renders Joliet a fine trading point, and we can safely predict for it a prosperous future. Its citizens are intelligent and hospitable; its merchants and business men are enterprising and energetic, and the majority of its business houses are far superior to those usually to be seen in country towns. As noticed elsewhere, its grain trade is not exceeded in volume in the State, except in Chicago, and its stone quarries are unrivaled almost in the world. Its rolling mills and other manufactories are of the very best, and command a large trade throughout the country. All these interests, centering here, conspire to render this city second to no other section of the country for the man of wealth to invest his superfluous capital. We have said that the business houses were better than in a majority of country towns. Indeed, there are blocks of buildings in Joliet that would be an ornament in any city—Munroe's new block, the Centennial Block, Aiken's Block, the Masonic Block, the different bank buildings, the post office, Robesson Hall and the Opera House and many others.
The Opera House was built by the Joliet Opera House Company, and is perhaps, the best appointed building of the kind in the State outside of Chicago. It was built in 1873, is of Joliet limestone from the quarries of William Davidson, and cost $60,000. The upper part is used for an opera house, and the first floors for stores. Of the latter, three are used by G. Munroe & Son and the other by G. L. Vance. This building was erected by a company, of which the following are some of the principal stockholders: G. Munroe & Son, Wm. Davidson, J. A. Henry, James Ducker, James B. Speer, Dr. Williams, Henry Fish, Rodney House, R. E. Barber, W. A. Steel, F. Zirkle, J. D. Paige, Knowlton, Higgenbotham & Co., D. McDonald and William Gleason, with James Ducker, President; George H. Munroe, Treasurer, and C. H. Weeks, Secretary. Robesson Hall was built in 1876; is a handsome stone front; the lower part business houses, and the upper part a public hall. The post office building is an elegant stone front building:, and was erected in 1877 by James G. Elwood, present Mayor of the city, specially for post office purposes, and was so adapted and arranged. The lower part is leased to the Government for ten years, at $600 per annum, while the upper part of the building is the Mayor's office, Surveyor's office, etc.
The Joliet Gaslight Company was organized in 1857, with a capital stock of $60,000 paid up. Hon. E. Wilcox was the first President, and superintended the erection of the Company's works, which were completed and the city lighted for the first time in January, 1859. The works are located on North Bluff street, and have sufficient capacity to supply a larger city than Joliet. They have some eight or ten miles of pipe now laid, and two gasometers—one on each side of the river. W. A. Strong, an enterprising citizen of Joliet, is President of the company.
The Joliet Public Library was organized and opened to the public in November, 1875. It is a free public library, and is kept up by taxation. A well-stocked reading room is in connection with the Library, where all the periodicals and leading publications of the day are kept on file for the benefit of those who feel disposed to pay a visit to the place. The Board of Directors of the Library Association are: G. D. A. Parks, Mrs. H. S. Smith, Dorrance Dibell, Mrs. E. M. Raynor, Benjamin Olin, A. W. Heise, Thomas J. Kelly, Edwin Porter and George Munroe. G. D. A. Parks is President; Mrs. H. S. Smith, Vice President; Dorrance Dibell, Clerk, and Miss Charlotte Aiken, Librarian. This association bought the books owned by the old Joliet Historical Society, and have now about 1,500 volumes, and are adding more as fast as their means will allow them. The Joliet Historical Society was organized in 1807, and assumed the liabilities of the old Library; and it, in its turn, was succeeded by the present Library. Among the private libraries of Joliet is that of Hon. W. A. Steel, which consists of several thousand volumes, and embraces most of the standard works of the day, together with many old and rare books not often found in a private library.
Joliet was supplied with street cars, this modern addition to city travel, in 1873. Their lines encircle the city, affording cheap transportation within its limits to all who desire this mode of transit to "Walker's Express." The enterprise of a street railway was inaugurated by E. T. Chase and Norman Carl. They sold it to a man named Cooper; and he, after operating it for a time, sold it to the present owner and manager, J. A. Henry. While, apparently, not doing a very extensive business, it is yet paying a small dividend above running expenses.
Oakwood Cemetery was laid out in 1851, and organized under act of the Legislature in 1857, receiving its charter from the State. It is beautifully situated on a gentle eminence on the north bank of Hickory Creek, east of the city limits, and reached by a branch of the City Railway. The grounds are handsomely and artistically laid out with serpentine walks and drives, well graded and graveled. Cultivated flowers, ornamental shrubbery and native forest trees add their beauty to the place, while the "green grass grows rank in the vapors of decaying mortality." The beauty and care bestowed on the grounds show a kind regard for the "loved and lost" by surviving friends. St. Patrick's Cemetery (Catholic) is a beautiful burying-ground, and kept in good order by the Catholic citizens of Joliet. St. John's Cemetery (German Catholic) is situated northwest of the city, and is a beautiful and well-kept churchyard.
The professions, both legal and medical, are well and ably represented in Joliet, and combine an array of talent that will compare favorably with any city in the State. As a work of this kind is not devoted to eulogiums or fulsome puffs of any one, we shall not attempt to particularize the professions beyond the bestowal of a well-merited testimonial to tbeir character and worth. Joliet has also produced some eminent men—men who have filled high positions with credit to themselves and honor to their conntry. In the court, the camp, upon the bench, and at the holy altar, they have figured with distinction. And at the head of the State Government, in the halls of the law-makers, and as our representatives abroad, they have acquitted themselves with honor and the dignity due their exalted stations. As the "notables" have been particularly mentioned, however, in the general history, we will leave the subject, and conclude our history of Joliet sans ceremonie.