1887 Necrologist Report

(Transcribed and copyrighted April 21, 2001, by Lawrence B. Peet, Joliet, Illinois. Permission granted to copy for non-commercial use only. All in Italics and upper case surnames are added to or modified from the original by the transcriber.)

(1887 Old Settlers’ Association of Will County, Necrology report, compiled by George H. Woodruff and printed in the Joliet Daily Republic and Sun, September 8, 1887, transcribed by Lawrence B. Peet.)

The Old Settlers’ — Seventh Annual Reunion — A Good Crowd of Good Looking People — Interesting Exercises, Etc. —

The 7th annual reunion of the pioneer settlers of Will county, at the fair grounds yesterday, was largely attended. The exercises were unusually interesting and impressive, and the talk in good taste, spicy and pat. For respectability, good breeding and intelligence, the gathering was noteworthy, and was one that any right-minded person might well feel proud of being identified with.

There were quite a number of venerable octogenarian pioneers present. And among these were Henry ALTHOUSE, Wilmington, 90 years old; Mrs. Alanson GRANGER, of Homer, and mother of A. L. GRANGER, her age being 84; Joel GEORGE, over 90; “Steve POTTER, of Livingston county, but formerly of this city, 82 and Rev. Solomon KNAPP, 84.

H. M. SINGER, of Lemont, was present, but his venerable mother, for the first time, failed to attend. If any old settler of her acquaintance is curious to know why, her son “Horace” is the only person authorized to tell. Walter B. HAWLEY put in an appearance from California, and did a heap of hand shaking with old acquaintances and friends. Hon. Perry A. ARMSTRONG, of Morris, honored the occasion by his presence.

President Dr. J. F. DAGGETT called the old settlers to order a little after 1 o’clock, and requested a suspension of visiting while exercises of the day were going on at the stand. The venerable Rev. Solomon offered up a fervent and impressive prayer. Then followed George H. WOODRUFF, who read from manuscript the sad record of mortality in the ranks of the old settlers of Will county during the past year, which was listened to with rapt attention and profound interest by all old settlers within the hearing of his voice. No other man in Will county could have executed this onerous and delicate task as fittingly, tenderly and truthfully. We give here, with the full text of this admirably prepared record of the pioneer dead of 1887, with appropriate tributes of respect to their memories:

Deaths of Old Settlers Since Last Meeting. I had flattered myself that I had secured beyond preadventure the position for which I am so well qualified – that of “high private” in the ranks of the Will County Pioneer Association. But by an outrageous conspiracy between your secretary and that member of the executive committee, we call “Mack,” and by a liberal use on their part of those resources in which they abound, to-wit: “Cheek” and “soft sawden” in happy and irresistible combination, I find myself compelled to discharge the melancholy duty of necrologist on the present occasion.

However disappointing the past year may have been to the farmer by reason of diminished crops, there is one reaper, who, whatever may be the season, never fails to garner a rich harvest. Drought and tempest may increase, but they never diminish his returns. To cronicle the inroads which he has made in the ranks of Will county pioneers during the past year is our present task. In most cases we must be content with the brief notices which we find it: the public prints, because this is all we know, and therefore all we could say, even if time would allow a more extended notice. But there are some who, for historic reasons, demand a few additional words at our hands.

Rev. Royal REED.

The first death we are called on to notice is that of Rev. Royal Reed, which occurred upon the day of our last meeting, September 1, 1876, at Minooka. Mr. Reed was born in the State of New York, August 12, 1807, graduated at Williams college in 1834, after which he studied theology and preached some years in New England. He came to Joliet with his wife in 1848, and was engaged as pastor by the Congregational (now Central Presbyterian) church, which engagement lasted three years. He afterwards preached to the Presbyterian church at Na-au-say, for seven years, but continued meanwhile his residence on Hickory street in this city. In 1855 he was president of the school board of this city, which position he filled with great advantage to the cause of of education. His wife also taught music in the public schools and was an accomplished musician. During his residence on Hickory street, Mr. Reed was a victim of the sorghum fever, which, it will be remembered, raged all over this country between the years 1855 and 1865. Owning a little plantation of about 18 acres on the Plainfield road (now the property of the convent), he devoted it to sorghum culture, to which he was an enthusiastic believer. He also set up on his city lot a sorghum mill and evaporator, where, for several seasons he made a villainous substitute for molasses. But he did not succeed in making sugar, nor in making much money, and the project was abandoned. His wife, finding a wider field for her talents as a music teacher, in Chicago, he moved there in 1865, where he engaged in business and the study of medicine for which he had a great prediliction. In 1868 he graduated at the Rush medical college. He had for some years enjoyed considerable reputation in the treatment of cancers, in which he was as successful as any one has been. Losing his wife in 1873, he moved the next year Minooka, where he lived with an adopted son, and where he died at the age of 79 years. During the last years of his life, he was afflicted with the loss of his eyesight, and having become somewhat impoverished, and having no near relatives except a sister who was herself an invalid, and who died during the last year, and having a firm hope of a better life, death was a welcome visitor. Mr. Reed was a man of considerable ability, a vig- (illegible three or four lines) -tle humor . He was the kindest of neighbors, and the staunchest of friends. He was a pronounced patriot. When on that memorable Sunday, April 14, 1861, we got the news of the fall of Sumter, although a strict observer of the Sabbath, he took down his rusty rifle, cleaned it up, molded a lot of bullets, and went down the river a mile or more and practiced his skill to gunnery by firing at a mark. But his age rendered his Patriotism and skill as a marksman unavailable to the ranks of our army.

Thomas J. WADE

On the 6th of last September (1886), at his home in Ottawa, died Thomas J. Wade, well known here in the olden time as the keeper of the Exchange hotel on Chicago street. He came here in 1836, but as he moved away a good many years ago, he was known to but a few of our present citizens, although some few survive who used to eat their hash at that ancient hostelry. He was born in Susquahannah county, Pennsylvania, in 1801, and had therefore roached the ripe age of 85.

Anna Katherine HUPPERICK.

Anna Katherine Hupperick, who was born at Coblentz, Prussia, and came to this township (Joliet) in 1841, died at her home about two miles east, Sept. 15, 1886, at the age of 90 years, leaving two sons, one daughter, sixteen grandchildren and twenty great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Mary Ann HART.

Mrs. Mary Ann Hart, widow of the old canal contractor, Hart, died at her home Oct. 21, (1896) at the age of 85 years. We used, when the healthfulness of Joliet was called in question, to boast that none died here of old age, but surely “all such boasting is vain,” for here comes another octogenarian and there are more to follow.


Jacob Bowers, of Channahon, died at the age of 80 years. This is the “Uncle Jake” who came to Joliet in 1841, and who lived here for fourteen years, but for the last thirty years has resided near the county line, where he was well known as the friend and purveyor and host of the sportsmen who frequented that locality. His pleasant face was often seen on our streets and at our pioneer meetings, but will be seen no more. He will be especially missed by the many Joliet boys of sportive tastes, who made headquarters of his house and barn. But they have the consolation of knowing that many an unrecorded tale can now never be told on them, and that if the future explorer of that locality should ask whence all these empty cans, bottles and jugs, strewn along the banks of feeder and river, there is no one now to rise and explain the mystery. Uncle Jake was a native of Pennsylvania, and left an aged widow, and five sons and four daughters.

John W. DAY

On the N. W. ¼ of the N. W. ¼ of section 15, in the town of Lockport, John W. Day settled at an early day when the prairie between him and Plainfield was atill unbroken. His farm was on the Plainfield road and adjoined that of Patrick FITZ PATRICK. He was a man of sterling character, and boasted his decent from a pilgrim in the Mayflower. The great Reaper gathered him on Nov. 3, 1886, at the age of 76 years. (There seems to be a space between FITZ and PATRICK in the above, leaving the question of Patrick or Fitzpatrick as the surname. – L. B. Peet)


The next death on the list is that of one once well known in Will county, Levi Jenks, who died in Alameda, California, Jan. 17, 1887, at the age of 78 years and 2 months. Mr. Jenks came to Joliet as early as 1835 with his wife and a young child. At the organization of our county, he secured from the county commissioners the appointment of county clerk and school commissioner, and at the first court held here by Judge FORD, that of circuit clerk also. These offices he held from five to seven years. Upon retiring from office he entered the Methodist Itineracy, associated with our reverend chaplain, S. R. BEGGS. About the year 1845, he moved to Aurora, where, in (illegible, possibly: combination) with his only son, Albert JENKS, who has since become somewhat famous as an artist, he followed the book trade, and afterwards that of a broker. Some years later he moved to California, where he has spent the years since with his wife who survives him, and where his son, Albert, follows his profession as an artist. The death of Mr. Jenks leaves the writer the only surviving member of the first lot of county officials.


Mrs. A. F. Patrick died on Sunday morning, Feb. 6, 1887, at her home on section 32 in this (Joliet) township, about two miles south of the city. She came here with her husband from Chittenango, N. Y. as early as 1837, or 8, and has been a resident since, except for a few years in Washington where her husband was clerk in one of the departments during the administration of James K. POLK. She was an active member of the Christ church Episcopal, where her funeral was held on the Tuesday following her death. Mrs. Patrick was always much interested in the meetings of this association, and her face is a prominent one in the photograph taken last year, and one of the three in that group that have disappeared from fleshy vision. She was 87 years of age at her death. Her maiden name was Jane Emily WELLS.

Daniel M’INTOSH.

At Wilmington, February 9, 1887, Daniel McINTOSH, a brother of Alex. McINTOSH, of this city, died suddenly of heart disease at the age of 76 years and four months. He came to this county first in 1837, and settled in Wilmington. He was for some time engaged in the lumber business. He was never married, and of a quiet retiring nature, and much esteemed by those who knew him intimately.

Andrew DOIG.

Feb. 17, 1887, at the home of his son, Alexander, on Maple street, died of old age, Andrew Doig. He was born in Scotland in 1797, and came to America in 1832. He settled in Hadley in 1847. In 1850 he made the overland trip to California, from whence he returned moderately successful. He was well known for his rugged honesty and all the qualities of a useful citizen.


On the 26th of February, at the residence of his son, Bernard, on Scott street, died Thomas Wallace at the age of 87 years. He was the father of (illegible) children. (next line illegible) …and came here from Troy, N. Y., in 1848. About five years ago, while farming in Manhattan, he was struck by a train on the Wabash road, from which injury he never recovered. Less than one month after his death occurred that of his son, at whose house he died on N. Scott street.

Capt. Bernard W.,

Or as he was commonly called, Bryan WALLACE, at the age of 55 years. He was one of the oldest boat captains on our canal, and died suddenly, being sick but two days. Father and son were connected with St. Mary’s Catholic church.


We come now to notice the death of an historic character, John Watkins, the ancient pedagogue of Chicago and of Joliet. John Watkins was the son of Henry WATKINS, who came to the Hickory creek settlement in 1831 from Cayuga Co., (presumably, New York – L. B. Peet) and located on the section of land on which the village of New Lenox and the Methodist camp ground are located. He obtained the title to a part of the section, and built a log cabin on the spot where the little house just west of the camp ground is located. John Watkins followed his father and uncle Peter (WATKINS) in 1832. He engaged in his chosen calling of teacher in Chicago, first teaching in an old log stable on the north side near the residence of R. J. HAMILTON. In this the old pioneer missionary, Jesse WALKER, used to preach Sundays. His school was broken up by the Indian scare and the cholera scare. He found refuge in Indiana with the Hickory creek settlement. Returning after these troubles were over, he resumed his calling, and was the first teacher under the regularly organized school district of Chicago. In 1833 he was one of the witnesses to the final treaty with the Pottawattamies. In those times about half of his scholars were half breeds and one a whole breed, to-wit: the son of old Chief SANGANASKE, or Billy CALDWELL. In 1836, Mr. Watkins opened the first public school in Joliet in the old building which stood on the margin of Comstock’s pond on Hickory street. In this Dominie PRENTISS preached on Sunday(Dominic ?-L. B. Peet)). The McKEE boys, Joel GEORGE’s boys, etc., were among his scholars. Mr. Watkins has been for many years infirmed and blind, but so long as able he was accustomed to visit our city schools, and kept up his interest in the cause of education. He died March 1, 1887, at the home of his son-in-law, Mr. ABRAMS, on Mississippi avenue, at the age of 84 years and eight months, and was buried in New Lenox . No doubt he was ready to answer ad sum when the Great Master called his name.


March 3, (1887) Hiram McALLISTER, of Jackson, who came from Canada in 1850, died suddenly, at the age of 74 years, leaving a wife and seven children. He was a successful farmer and highly respected.


On Friday morning, March 4, 1887, Mrs. H. K. Stevens died at her residence on Cass street, after a long and painful illness, at the age of 72. She was born in Erie, Penn., Sept. 7, 1815; married to Mr. Stevens in Kalamazoo, Mich., 1834, and came to Joliet in 1837. Her maiden name was BISSELL, and it is said that she was a niece of the late Gov. BISSELL of Illinois.


Died at his home, two miles west of Lockport, March 8, 1887, at the age of 66 years. He was born in Rome, N. Y., in 1821, came west with his father in 1833, who settled on the Aux Sable, and after two years moved to Plainfield. In 1850 he married a daughter of Holder SISSON, one of our pioneers. Mr. Wightman was a prominent and useful citizen, and owned a farm valued at $18,000 in the the town of Lockport.

Mrs. (Marion) HASSINGER.

Sunday, March 6, (1887), Marion, widow of the late Joseph HASSINGER, died at the residence of her son-in-law, Joseph STOOS, on north Hickory street, at the advanced age of 78 years. She was a native of Alsace, Germany, and came here in 1846. Her three daughters, Mrs. Joseph Stoos, Mrs. Michael SCHEIDT and Mrs. Peter GANS are well known.


May 21, 1887, one of the best known and oldest Irish residents of our county, departed this life, Patrick Fitzpatrick, of the town of Lockport. He was born in Ireland, March 7, 1802, and came to America in his early manhood, then unmarried. He came to Illinois in 1832. In 1842 he married Miss Mary CASSIN of Lockport, by whom he had four children, all living, one being the wife of ex-Mayor KELLY. Mr. Fitzpatrick settled upon the western bluff, where he owned at his death a very large farm and had built a fine stone residence. He was a very successful businessman, noted for his upright character, gentle manners and kindness of heart. He held the office of Supervisor of Lockport in 1869 and 70. The funeral services were held at his late residence, from whence a long cortege followed his remains to the new Mount Olivet cemetery in Joliet.


June 16, (1887), at his home in Aux Sable, Mr. Wm. H. Perkins, died at the age of 78 years. Mr. Perkins was born in Oneida Co., N. Y., and came to Ill. in 1833, locating on the Aux Sable, where he married Mrs. Elizabeth A. VAN DALSON of Ottawa. In 1850 he became a resident of Joliet and remained here about eleven years, when he moved back to his farm. Mr. Perkins was noted for his outspoken principles and his advanced position on political and moral questions. At the same time he enjoyed the respect and regard of his neighbors and friends. He was of a very social nature and took special delight in the meetings of old settlers in Will and Grundy. He fell a victim to blood poisoning, the result of frozen feet when young. His daughter is the wife of Joseph E. GOUGAR of New Lenox. A son, a fine young man physically and mentally, enlisted in Co. E, 100th regiment, and lost his life at Chickamauga. His widow, one son, and his daughter survive. His stalwart form, seen in the picture of our last reunion is laid low.

Patrick BANNON.

Friday, June 17, (1887), one of our well known Irish citizens, Patrick Bannon, died at his home, 609 north Broadway. He came to Joliet in old canal times, and has always here, except about three years in California, from which place he returned with a moderate pile. He left a widow, two sons and five daughters.


Who died at his home on Washington street, June 3, 1887, was born in Sussex Co., England, came to America at the age of 7, and to Joliet in 1845. He was a highly respected member of the Methodist church.

Mrs. Miles.

Mrs. Lavina Levally MILES was an old resident of Lockport. She was born in Rome, N. Y., in 1805, and died June 19, 1887. She had been a member of the Congregational church 40 years, and was a widow pensioner of the war of 1812.

Mrs. DOTY,

Widow of Ambrose DOTY, and the mother the well known citizen of Frankfort, Levi DOTY, died July 30, 1887, at her home in Frankfort. She was an estimable lady of fine Christian character, and a resident of Will county since 1834. The writer (George H. Woodruff) well remembers stopping at the house of Ambrose Doty when coming into the county on the Sac trail in that year. His was one of the very few log cabins then built along the edge of the Hickory creek timber.

Mrs. Eliza YOUNGY

June 28, 1887, died at her home in Jackson township. Mrs. YOUNG was born in Fayette county, Indiana, Aug. 18, 1822. Her maiden name was Eliza HOUGHAM. Her early life was spent in Polk county, Ind. She came with her father to Will county in April 1839. In 1843 she was married to Sheldon YOUNG. Her husband, five daughters and two sons survive her. She became a member of the First Baptist church in Joliet, during the pastorate of Rev. REMINGTON, and was an earnest, consistent Christian. She was widely known and highly respected among the old settlers, and was the life and light of her house. She was the mother of thirteen children,

Alonzo LEACH.

The present season will be memorable for the disappearance from the public square in Joliet, of the old court house, and at the same time of the person, who, more than any other individual has been identified with its history of forty years. Alonzo Leach was born in Sangersfield, Oneida county, N. Y., Sept. 18, 1816. At the age of eight years he went to Eaton in Madison county, and in 1836 to the state of Michigan. In 1838 he came to Joliet, where he has resided continuously up to the day of his death, June 23rd (1887). During his first year here he had charge of a hotel on Chicago street, and afterwards engaged in the soap and chandlery business. In 1842 he was elected constable and also appointed deputy sheriff by RISLEY, In 1848 he was elected sheriff, which office he filled the constitutional period of two years. He was again elected in 1852 and again in 1858. His election to these offices, while the county was still Democratic, is a strong testimony to the hold he had on the favor of the people. For Mr. Leach was first a strong Whig and then Republican, and never concealed his principles. It was greatly owing to his influence and efforts that J. O. NORTON owed his success in running for congress, for he was an admirable campaigner. At the breaking out of the war, he obtained the appointment of sutler to the 4th Illinois Cavalry, but finding the position required more physical exertion than he could bear, he sold out after the battle of Pittsburg Landing. He met some years before with an accident on his farm, which required the amputation of one leg, and this, accompanied by rheumatism, made locomotion difficult. He engaged in speculation in real estate to some extent, and acquired sufficient property to supply his wants during his decline, and also to reward to some extent those who cared for him during the years he was laid aside. He was postmaster of Joliet in 1865. He was twice married but left no children nor near relatives. There were some things in his life here, upon which Mr. Leach looked back with regret. Believing as I do in the wisdom of the old Latin adage, to speak nothing but good of the dead. (Oh, how happy it would be if we could adopt that diviner philosophy which forbids us to speak and think nothing but good of the living.) I have alluded this only for the sake of saying for the comfort of such as which the best for “Lon” in that new life upon which he has entered, that there is reason to hope that this regret took on before his death the deeper quality of repentance. Aside from this, Mr. Leach bore a character for honesty, kindness and fidelity to friends, which, with his social qualities, secured him the warm attachment of a host of friends. In his later years, while health and weather permitted, he was to be seen daily in his favorite seat in the vestibule of the old court house, where he was ready to greet every one with a cheerful word and smile. He was warmly attached to our Pioneer Association and while able spared no effort to make our meetings a success. He seemed to enjoy them more than almost anything else. At my last visit to him, a little while before his death, he expressed to me his regret that he would not be here to enjoy the present gathering. His familiar face is to be seen in the photo of our last gathering, and also adorns the Will County history. The kindly feelings felt toward him by men of all creeds and parties, was pleasantly shown in the numbers and character of those who followed his remains to Oakwood.


The father of Henry SHREFFLER, the hardware merchant on Chicago street, came to this township in 1849, and has lived the intervening years here and in the township of Plainfield, where he had a farm for several years. While in his prime he was for sixteen years a traveling minister of the German Evangelical church in the states of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Those who have heard him speak in the meetings of the Salvation Army know that he was a man of rich spiritual experience and a fervid exhorter, and never backward in an avowal of his faith. He always expressed a bright hope of a speedy entrance upon a joyful existence after death had released him from the body, a hope which we doubt not has become fruition. He died of old age, having passed his 80th birthday, July 12, 1887, and was buried at Plainfield.

Louisa Frances ERHARD.

Mrs. Louisa Frances Erhard, whose maiden name was PERIOLET, was born in the town of Highfelt in Alsace. She came to Chicago in 1834 with her brothers and sister, Mrs. BELZ. In 1838 she was married to Mr. George ERHARD, who still survives, and who, with Mr. Belz, came to Joliet in 1836, and built the first brewery, which now stands unoccupied on the canal bank above Spring street. These families were the first German settlers in Joliet. Their children are well known and highly respected. The writer (George H. Woodruff) well remembers when Messrs. Belz and Erhard returned from Chicago in 1838 with their beautiful brides. Mrs. Erhard died July 27, 1887, at the age of 73 years.

Mrs. Jane ADAMS.

Mrs. Jane Adams, died Aug. 4, 1887, and rests in Oakwood after a checkered life of 76 years. She came to Joliet in 1836 as the wife of Dr. ADAMS, with one son, Frank (ADAMS), now a resident here. She also bore him two other sons and one daughter, who still survive.

Mrs. (Sarah) ZARLEY.

We close our record with the name of one who was preeminently the pioneer of the township, Mrs. Sarah Zarley. She died Aug. 4, 1887, at the residence of her son-in-law, Gabriel NOEL, in Jackson, in the 94th year of her age. She was born in Pike county, Ohio, Oct. 25, 1794, and was the daughter of Wm. MUSTARD, one of the pioneer Methodist preachers of that State. She joined the Methodist church at the age of 18, and has thus been a member of that communion for more than 75 years. She was married to the late Reason ZARLEY in 1814, and in 1828 with her husband and family emigrated to Illinois, settling first near Danville. In 1831 the family came to this township and settled upon the land a little south of Hickory creek, so well known as the Zarley farm, where her son, James (ZARLEY) now resides and where her husband, Reason Zarley, Died in 18_9. Mrs. Zarley was the mother of eleven children, of whom only four now survive. Two of those now deceased were editors and proprietors of the Joliet Signal, the death of one “Cal” being appropriately noticed last year by our secretary.

It falls to the lot of few to live so long, and to witness so many changes as did Mrs. Zarley. When the family came to this township, Joliet had no name – had not even been dreamed of. The township was only known as T. 35 N. Range 10 E. of the 3rd principle meridian. From the door of the log cabin the prairie stretched in airy undulations far away, the vision being bounded by the horizon. The Indians were frequent visitors at her door, and on the near bottoms of the Hickory and DesPlaines, they, or rather their squaws, planted the beans and corn which formed an important part of their food; and on that same sandy plateau where is now the Zarley cemetery, they buried their dead. Now the din of a city of 25,000 inhabitants can be heard from the spot, and the shrieks and rumbles of four railroads make the echoes of the Zarley woods. But they do not disturb the slumbers either of the native Indian or the old forefathers of the settlement.

Friday afternoon following Mrs. Zarley’s death, her remains were attended from Jackson by a large concourse from town and city, to the cemetery which bears the family name, where they were placed by the side of her late husband, who donated the spot to its present use.

During the last years of her life, Mrs. Zarley was afflicted with total blindness, which she bore with the same christian patience and even cheerfulness that she exhibited through all the trials of frontier life, including the Indian scare of 1832.

Albert G. ROWLEY.

I had hoped that I could close my record here, but a telephone message from Lockport this morning compels a postscript. At about three o’clock this morning, died suddenly, Albert G. Rowley, Esq., of Homer, a well-known and influential citizen and justice of the peace. He was the youngest son of Jireh ROWLEY, one of the first pioneers of “Yankee Settlement,” by his second wife, Mrs. GREY. He was 63 years and 8 months old, and a native of the State of New York. The suddenness of his death will be seen by the fact that yesterday he attended a meeting of the board of auditors.


Simultaneously with the above came the news of the death at Chicago, of Henry G. Gaylord, oldest son of the late George GAYLORD, so long a prominent business man of Lockport, and member of the state legislature in 1868. He was a young man about 38 years of age.

Shubal SWIFT.

Since coming upon the grounds, I have also learned of the death at Waukegan, in July, of Shubal Swift, an old resident of Dupage township, at the age of 94.

In closing this record, I desire to say that I have not been able to prepare it with the care I should have given it, had I known earlier that the duty would fall upon me. It is quite likely that some have been omitted, who would come within the limit of 1850, to which I have confined myself. The record is sufficient to show the truth of the words of the inspired poet, “We all do fade as a leaf,” and of Nature’s great poet: —

We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life
Is rounded by a sleep.