1889 Necrologist Report

(Transcribed and copyrighted April 11, 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.)

(1889 Old Settlers’ Association of Will County, Necrology report, compiled by George H. Woodruff and printed in the Joliet Daily Republic and Sun, September 5, 1889, transcribed by Lawrence B. Peet.)

Old Settlers’ Meeting. — Although the Day is Inclement a Few of Will County’s Pioneers Meet to Talk Over Olden Times. —

Wednesday’s rain proved a damper to the pleasant time anticipated upon the annual session of Will county’s pioneers. About two hundred gathered at the Irving Park in the forenoon. About noon, rain began to pour down, so that those on the ground could not get back to the city, and the hundreds in the city who were wanting to go, could not get to the park. However, the meeting was called to order in what was once the pig pen in the balmy age of the Will county fair.

After a short business meeting luncheon was spread and the few hardy ones sat down to dinner. In the meantime a vast number of old citizens were walking about the streets, with umbrellas trying to find out where the gathering was to be held, not thinking the annual re-union was then being enjoyed.

After dinner Elder S. KNAPP invoked the Divine blessing upon those who had braved the elements of the day, as they had braved the dangers half a century ago, when coming to the wild west.

Dr. DAGGETT, president of the association delivered a very feeling address to be followed by necrological report of George WOODRUFF, of Joliet, which report is found below.

Amos SAVAGE gave one of his characteristic speeches that set the company in good humor, notwithstanding the thunder echoed overhead, and the lightning was a trifle lurid, and the rain persisted in finding its way through the warped roof of the shed.

Mr. W. H. ZARLEY, secretary and treasurer, read his report, which was accepted and adopted.

Mr. Zarley also read a letter and a poem from Mr. R. F. ALLEN of California.

Col. FRAZER (possibly, FRAZIER) of Homer, made a few remarks and managed to stay a little ahead of the thunder claps.

A poem by Mr. HUNTER of Frankfort was nicely written and appreciated.

Hon. Perry ARMSTRONG, of Morris, was present, and gave a well-timed address, as Perry always does.

At the last minute, Hon. P. C. HALEY, the orator of the day arrived, but as it was getting late he did not give his address which was regretted by all, as it was well-known that Mr. Haley was equal to the occasion, and would have given a fine speech. Mr. Haley had been informed that there was no meeting at the park, but that it would be held in some hall in the city. About four o’clock he was told that the meeting was under way, and getting into his buggy, hurried through the rain to the park. Upon motion it was ordered that Mr. Haley’s address be printed with the proceedings published in pamphlet form.

An election of officers elected Hon. Royal E. BARBER, president; William H. ZARLEY, secretary and treasurer.

One vice president was selected from each town in the county, and a competent list of executive officials selected, when the meeting adjourned to the satisfaction of those attending, but great disappointment of those who did not.

Necrological Report For The Year 1889.

Mr. President: It is proper that a distinction should be made between “old settlers” and “pioneers.” We often hear persons who have been here but fifteen or twenty years called old settlers, but there can be no propriety in calling them pioneers. Hence, in our report we take notice only of the death of those who came here at least as early as 1850

The list which follows, although no so long as that of a year ago, will be found to contain the names of some of the oldest as well as the most prominent and valuable citizens of the county. I fear that some names have escaped my notice, as my reliance for information has been mainly upon our city papers. I shall deeply regret any omissions. I have not in the following notices indulged in many words of eulogy. To do scant justice to many would make this paper too long either for reading or printing.

When the Roman gladiator was about to engage in the deadly combats of the arena he addressed to the Caesar, calmly looking down, surrounded by his court, while the Roman populace filled the vast amphitheater of the Coliseum, the words “Morituri Salufamis!” “Oh, Caesar, we who are about to die, salute thee!”

Our great American poet, when responding to the call of his surviving classmates to address them on the 50th anniversary of their graduation, being then 68 years old, took these words for his text, and named one of his most beautiful poems “Morituri Salutamis.”

So, Mr. President, your necrologist, having just passed his 75th birthday, feels that he might appropriatly take up the sad duty of the hour with the same words of the Roman gladiator – “Morituri Salufamis.”

Mrs. MORRISON, of Chicago.

The first death we were called upon to record after our last meeting was that of the wife of Ezekial MORRISON, Esq., of Chicago, who died in that city of heart trouble on the 12th day of September 1888. Her maiden name was VAN DUSEN, but she came to Illinois as Mrs. SPENCER, with two little girls who afterwards became the wifes (sic.) of Henry N. (CARPENTER) and Alfred CARPENTER respectively and who survive her. She was born in Madison county, N. Y. in 1810. She came west in 1835 with her brother, Mr. George VAN DEUSEN of Maple street, and she resided for some time in New Lenox. She was married soon after coming to this county to Horace HUFF Esq., a well known and extensive farmer and dairyman at Rock Run, by whom she had two children, Allen HUFF who died in 1865, at the age of 16, and Edwin HUFF, a farmer in this vicinity. Mr Huff died in 1868, and in 1879 his widow was married to Ezekial Morrison, a prominent citizen of Chicago who survives her. She was buried in Oakwood. She was for many years a useful member of the Central church of Joliet, and at the time of her death, of the 6th Presbyterian church of Chicago. She had many friends in Joliet and Will county who mourned her death.

Robert CLOW.

The next death which called for our notice was that of one who has been perhaps the most honorably prominent of any one in the history of Will county, Hon. Robert Clow of Wheatland. He was born in Dumfrieshire, Scotland, in 1819, and came to this country with his father Robert CLOW senior, and con(sisting then) of five sons and one daughter in 1844. The family settled in what is now known as the town of Wheatland, where it has always been one of the most influential. Robert Clow, Jr., was possessed with qualities which soon made him a trusted and active member of the community. At the first election held in the precinct he was made a Justice of the Peace, which office he held for more than twenty years. In 1866 he was elected to the legislature from this county, and again in 1868. In 1876 he was elected circuit clerk and recorder, which office he held for eight years. He was supervisor of the town of Wheatland fourteen years. At the time of his death which occurred September 16 (1888), he was living quietly on his beautiful farm in Wheatland. The death of no citizen of the county could be more deeply and generally lamented.

Mrs. Dorothy WOODRUFF.

On Sunday morning September 23, (1888) occurred the death of Mrs. Dorothy Woodruff, widow of George WOODRUFF, late President of the First National Bank of Joliet.

She was born in Rutland, N. Y. in 1812. Her maiden name was Dorothy SMITH. In 1838 she was married to Geo. Woodruff then a merchant on north Chicago street, since which time she has been a prominent member of Joliet society, and of St. John’s Universalist church.

The tragical death of her husband at the Union elevator in 1882 will be well remembered, which sad event together with her failing health had secluded her from society for some years.

She had three children – Fred W.(WOODRUFF), now President of the First National Bank, Marian C.(WOODRUFF), deceased, the first wife of J. E. BUSH, Esq., and Mary C.(WOODRUFF), wife of J. F. WILCOX, who resides in the beautiful home on Ottawa street built by Geo. Woodruff. (George Woodruff is not the George H. Woodruff, Will County historian and the presenter of this report, although they are buried within 50 feet of each other at Oakwood cemetery in Joliet, this transcriber has found no other relationship. – L. B. Peet)


There came to America in 1819 a young Prussian of the name of Henry Althouse. He landed in Baltimore with the clothes he wore and a thorough knowledge of the trade of a baker, his only capital. He followed that trade in Maryland, Virginia, and Ohio with industry for several years. In 1821 he married the wife with whom he had happily lived all the subsequent years. In 1835 he came to Will county to try farming. At this he was successful owning at one time 1500 acres of the beautiful and fertile lands of Wilmington and Channahon townships. After many laborious years, having acquired an ample competence, he retired to the city of Wilmington and became the owner of the beautiful home built by the ex-banker, J. H. DANIELS, where he died on the 16th day of October (1888) at the ripe age of 91 years.

Mr. Althouse gave two sons to his adopted country, — Wm. K. (ALTHOUSE), Corporal of Co. A, 100th Regiment, who died at Nashville in 1863, and John H. (ALTHOUSE) of Co. A, who was wounded severely at Mission Ridge, but was safely mustered out with the regiment. For many of his last years Mr. Althouse suffered from impaired vision, but he was a frequent attendant upon our reunions. His genial smile and hearty hand shake will be seen and felt no more.

Rames Ritchey.

A pioneer of the pioneers was James RITCHEY, who came to the region anciently known as Yankee Settlement as early as the year 1830, when but one other man had located in all that region now known as Homer.

He was born in Bedford county, Penn., Oct. 30th, 1800, and lived for some years in Ross county, Ohio, where he was married to Miss Eve THATCHER, in 1823. They became the parents of eight children, one of them, Riley RITCHEY, enlisted in Co. F 100th Regiment, and died at Cave City in 1862. Mr. Ritchey, with his wife, endured all the hardships of pioneer life, including those of the Black Hawk scare. For some years previous to his death, which occurred on the 15th day of October (1888), Mr. Ritchey was totally blind, which affliction he bore with great cheerfulness.

Mr. Thos. J. LANG and Mrs. Mary LANG.

The genial face and cherry voice of Thos. J. Lang, which we seldom missed at the meetings of the Will county pioneers, we shall see and hear no more, for, Oct. 21st (1888) last he passed away from this earthly scene, having about ten days previously been stricken by paralysis. He was born in North Groton, N. H., in August 1808. He came to Will county in 1834 with his family, settling first at Plainfield. Afterwards he lived a few years in the town of Frankfort, but returned to Plainfield in 1845 and bought the farm once owned and occupied by the late George WOODRUFF.

Mr. Lang was married in 1832 to Miss Nancy GEORGE, who survived him but a few months, following him to the unknown world the 8th of June (1889) last at the age of 75.

Mr. and Mrs. Lang were the parents of six children, all of whom are still living except George, whose death we told of last year. One son, the present deputy county clerk, John J. (LANG), is well known, and who with his deceased brother, was a member of the 100th regiment. Mr. Lang was a man of sterling integrity and sturdy independence of character. (Mary or Nancy? -L. B. Peet)

George DANCER.

Died at his home about two and a half miles south of Wilton Center, on the 26th of October (1888), George Dancer, at the age of 76 years. Mr. Dancer was born in Saratoga county, N. Y., October 3rd, 1812. He came to Will county in 1839 and lived for about ten tears in the town of Homer, moving thence to the town of Wilton. He was married to a Miss WHITE, who died in a few years, leaving two daughters, who reside on the home farm.George Dancer was a true man in every respect.

Roswell D. BROWN.

At the home of his daughter, Mrs. N. R. RICE, of Chicago, on the 30th day of October(1888) last, died Roswell D. Brown, for many years a carpenter and builder in Joliet. He was born in Rensslaer (sic.) county , N. Y. in 1811, and came to Joliet in 1845. He was the father of R. S. BROWN, formerly of the Signal and of four married daughters. He had many old friends in Joliet, and was buried in Oakwood. (Cemetery in Joliet – L. B. Peet)

Mrs. Lucy FELLOWS.

There are still living a few in Joliet who will remember Captain Amos FELLOWS, at one time a prominent merchant on upper Chicago street, and one of the few Joliet Whigs of the campaign of 1840. He died in 1859. Since his death, his widow has been living in the house he built on the corner of Chicago and Jackson streets, until November 2, 1888, when she “came to her grave in a full age like a shock of corn cometh in his season.” She was born in Watertown, N. Y. in 1801. Her Maiden name was (Lucy) KEYS. She was married to Amos Fellows in 1823, and came to Joliet with him in 1837. A son of theirs was a member of Co. I, 58th Illinois Regiment and died at Memphis during the war. Another son died in Joliet a few years ago.

Mrs. Fellows was a woman of great vitalityand sprightliness, and maintained her activity up to the last few weeks of her life. She was greatly beloved by all who knew her.


In Troutman’s Grove, on the south side of Lake Joliet, there settled as early as 1833 the family of John THORNBURG. One of his sons, Robert Thornburg, an old resident of Elwood, died in Clinton, Iowa, November 11, (1888)last, at the age of 76. His remains were brought to Oakwood (Cemetery, in Joliet) for burial.

Mrs. Russel FRARY.

Russel FRARY was one of the first, if not the first, merchant in Joliet. He sold goods and lived in the house afterwards known as the Hobbs house on upper Chicago street as early as 1834. In his house was held the first Episcopal service in Joliet. His widow, a sister of Mrs. Helen A. HENDERSON, of Joliet, died at Kenosha, Wis. November 15th, 1888, at the age of 75 years. The family lived in Joliet about ten years.

Mrs. Alceste BEAUMONT.

Another resident of the olden time, a daughter of BEEDE, the old agent for Frink & Walker Stage Company at Joliet, and who was once the belle of Joliet, known as Alceste M. BEEDE, died at Freeport, Ill., Nov. 27 (1888). She was born in Rutland, Vt., in 1829, and came here in 1837. She was married to John H. BEAUMONT, then of this place, in 1844, and she and her husband removed to Freeport in 1849. Her husband became a prominent homeopathic physician. He died a year or two since. They were prominent members of the Presbyterian church of which Rev. H. D. JENKINS is pastor. Mrs. Beaumont was a famous singer and both here and in Freeport consecrated her talent to the service of Christ.

Mrs. Wm. Walters.

In the year 1835 there came to west Joliet, Barton SMITH and family, consisting besides his wife, of two stalwart sons and two buxom daughters. The family was originally from Tennessee. The head became afterwards well known as Justice Smith and Hoosier Smith. One son is now well known as Chas. C. SMITH, of Channahon, and the other, William (SMITH), became a Methodist preacher. One of the girls was married to the late T. R. HUNTER, and one to William WALTERS, a grocery keeper on upper Bluff street at that time. It is the death of this last, Mrs. Malinda WALTERS, that is our duty now to record. She was born in Jefferson county, Tennessee, in 1822, and was married at the early age of 15 to Mr. Walters who still survives her, but in feeble health. They were the parents of six sons and three daughters. One son, Barton S. (WALTERS), was a member of Co. A, 39th Illinois, and died at Annapolis in consequence of suffering in rebel prisons. Another son was also in the same company. Mrs. Walters died of dropsy, December 4th (1888), last, after a year’s illness and was buried in Channahon on the 51st anniversary of her marriage.

Joseph FENDER, Sr.

Died on North Hickory street, December 6th, (1888), in the 77th year of his age. He was a native of Germany and came to Joliet in 1846.


On the 7th day of last December (1888), at his pleasant home, the octagon house upon the west side of the historic DuPage (river), in Plainfield, died E. J. Wood, aged 79 years. Mr. Wood was for many years one of the most prominent men of Plainfield in business and social life. He was for some time merchant, postmaster, farmer, etc. He was one of the most active members of the M. E. church., being many years superintendent of the Sabbath school. He was born in Massachusetts, but moved at an early day to Martinsburg, Lewis county, N. Y., and came to Plainfield, Ill., in 1845. July 7th, 1831, he was married to the wife who survives him after fifty-eight years of happy married life. They celebrated their golden wedding at Plainfield the 7th of July 1881. Their union was blessed with four sons and one daughter, all except the oldest son still living. Mr. Wood was thrown from a carriage about a year ago which hastened his death, which was sudden after a long decline.

Mr. and Mrs. Michael ADLER.

On the 15th of last December (1888) died Mrs. Margaret ADLER, and seven months afterwards, July 10, 1889, died her husband, Michael Adler. They had long been well known and respected residents of Joliet, where they have raised a large and respectable family. They were both natives of Prussia. Mr. Adler was 85 years and 8 months old at his death, and Mrs. Adler was 83 at her decease. They came to Will county in 1838. They were the parents of Jacob C. ADLER, Mrs. F. J. RAPPEL, Sister ANGELINE of St. Francis, Peter P. ADLER, and Veronica (ADLER) and Mary ADLER. They were both devout members of St. John’s Catholic church.

Artemus P. KIPP.

In the old days of the Frank & Walker stage line, there was a gentleman who drove the old wide tired coach through Joliet, who held the ribbons for unsurpassable grace and skill. But like the old coach he drove, Artemus P. Kipp has passed away. He died at Channahon, Dec. 31, 1888, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. He was born in Whitestown, N. Y. in 1814, and came to Illinois in 1836. He was buried at Channahon with Masonic honors.

Mrs. Adeline Smith.

At the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Lucius REED, 207 Collins street, on Sunday, Jan. 5, 1889, died Mrs. Adeline Smith, relict of Saxton SMITH. She was 81 years old. Her maiden name was (Adeline) WHALEN and she came to DuPage township in 1843. She was buried in Lockport.

Chauncy HIGGINS.

We have now to record the death of one of the “excellent of the earth,” Chauncy Higgins, of DuPage township, who entered upon his rest on the second day of February last (1889). He was born in Leroy, N. Y., Aug. 17th, 1815, and came to this county in 1835, and has resided in the house he built soon after, ever since. He was married in 1844, and he and his wife, who survives him were the parents of five children, one of whom is our well known citizen, Dan F. HIGGINS, states attorney. Mr. Higgins was a valuable and earnest member of the Baptist church.

Phineas K. ROWLEY.

One of the most prominent families in the region known as Yankee Settlement fifty years ago was that of Jireh ROWLEY. We have now to record the death of the last of the original family – Phineas K. Rowley, who died Feb. 22, 1889, aged 72 years. He left a widow and four children. He came to Will county with his father in 1833, and has since resided in the town of Homer a valued citizen of the township.

Joseph N. FRYER.

Again the “insatiate archer” selects a “shining mark,” for on the 19th day of February, 1889, he cut down Joseph N. Fryer, of Channahon, perhaps the most prominent citizen of that township, and well known throughout the county. He was born in Renssalaer county N. Y., in 1818, and came to Will county with the family of the late Dr. MOREHOUSE in 1834. He married Miss Charlotte BEADSLEY in 1847, by whom he had four children. She died almost four years before him. Mr, Fryer has served the county in many capacities. He was one of the commissioners who divided the county into townships. He was justice of the peace thirty-five years, and collector and supervisor of Channahon township twenty years, and school director of his town fifteen years. He was buried in Channahon by the Masonic fraternity.

Mrs. Catherine BROWN.

Mrs. Brown, relict of Sam’l J. BROWN, a resident of Joliet for many years, died on the 1st day of April last (1889), aged eighty-nine years. She was for seventy years a member of the Baptist church.

Mrs. Prudence A. BURDICK.

At Lockport, March 24, (1889), died Mrs. Prudence A. Burdick, widow of Stanton BURDICK, aged 86 years and two months. We are without further particulars.


When Jireh ROWLEY, of whom we made mention a little while ago, came to Will Co., he brought with him the family of his second wife, consisting of two boys and three daughters of the name of Grey. These two boys are now well known business men in Chicago. One of these daughters, Elizabeth S. GREY, was married to S. S. CHAMBERLIN, now the well known undertaker of Lockport and Joliet, and we have now this painful duty of recording her death, which occurred April 11, 1889, at Lockport, in the seventy-fourth year of her age. She was brought by her many sorrowing friends and neighbors to Oakwood (cemetery in Joliet) for burial.


Francis Goodspeed, late judge of the 9th judicial circuit, died on the 10th day of April. 1889, after a long illness. He was born in Duffield, Penn., in 1821. In 1846 or 7, he came to Joliet. Here he studied law with late Judge HENDERSON, and was admitted to the bar in 1848, and soon became a prominent and successful practitioner. He was elected judge in 1877. On account of failing health he resigned in 1884. He was mayor of Joliet in 1859-60. He was a delegate to the constitutional convention of 1861. He was married three times and was the father of three sons, two of whom and his last wife survive him. Judge Goodspeed enjoyed, both professionally and socially, the entire confidence and respect of the community.

Judge S. W. RANDALL.

Another ex-judge and prominent lawyer of this city died on the 13th day of last May, 1889 – Sylvester W. Randall. Having reached the ripe age of eighty-one and having been for some time in feeble health, the news of his death was not for some time unexpected. Judge Randall was born at Hoosac Falls, N. Y., March 23, 1808. He was educated in Fredonia, N. Y., where he engaged for a time in the conduct of the Fredonia Censor. He studied law with Judge GALLBRAITH, of Franklin, Penn., and was admitted to the bar in 1834. He came to Joliet in 1843. In 1854, he was appointed by Gov. MATTESON, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge HENDERSON, and the following spring was elected by an almost unanimous vote to the same office. In 1857, he resigned to resume the practice of law. He was a member of the legislature of 1850, where he introduced and secured the passage of the provision which gives to the state seven percent of the net earnings of the Illinois Central R. R. He gave one son, Albert S. (RANDALL), of Co. F, 20th Ill., to the service of the country in the late war, who died at Pittsburg Landing in 1862 (battle of Shiloh – L. B. Peet), a young man of great promise. Judge Randall was honorably conspicuous, as a politician. He was thrice married, and leaves besides his widow, six children, who survive him.


Died at his home in Homer, of general debility, on the 30th of April, at the age of eighty-two years and ten months, Martin B. Brinkerhoff. He was a native of Albany, N. Y. He came to Will county in 1838, and has since resided on his farm, where he died.


An old and much respected citizen, living many years about two miles south of the city, John Rigdon died on the 19th of May, at the age of 76. He was a man whose face was familiar on our streets, and who often figured in Republican politics, but we are without the particulars of his history.


At her home on Campbell street, died April 26th, 1889, at the age of seventy-seven years, Mrs. Maria Strickland, wife of Henry STRICKLAND. At the time of her marriage to Mr. Strickland she was the widow of a Mr. BROTHERHOOD and had three daughters. Mr. Strickland left her well off in consequence of the purchase of land at the canal sale which he subdivided into lots. Mrs. Strickland and also her two husbands were from England, coming here at a very early day. Mrs. Strickland had two sons and three daughters by her second husband, all married and living in Joliet. She was much thought of by all who knew her and was a member of the Episcopal church.


In the year 1836, the same in which Will county was organized, there was a valuable addition to its then meager population in the persons of Carey Thornton and wife. They settled on Section 34 in the township of Troy. They had one child when they came and two were born to them in their pleasant home in Troy. Mr. Thornton was born in 1800 in Berks county, Penn., of Quaker ancestry. He was married at Rochester, N. Y., where he followed his trade as a carpenter and joiner, in 1832 to Miss Lucy WARE, a native of Vermont, who was born in 1810, and who with one child, the wife of John KEYES, survives him. On Monday, July 1st, the great reaper added the name of Carey THORTON to his list of victims. He was one of the best of our citizens, noted for his industry, probity, and kindness of heart. (Note: two spellings, Thornton and Thorton. – L. B. Peet.)

Mrs. Mary P. GRANGER.

At the home of her son, Albert L. GRANGER, of Homer, died on the 7th day of July (1889), Mrs. Mary P., the wife of Alanson GRANGER, Esq. She was born in Cortland county, N. Y., in 1807, and came with her family to Will county in 1834, where her husband was for many years a prominent citizen. She had long been waiting calmly for her release from earth.


On the 1st day of June, our honored President, Dr. John F. DAGGETT was called to mourn the death of his beloved wife and the mother of his children. Her maiden name was Cleora M. PARSONS. She was a native of Onondaga county, N. Y., where she was married in 1845, when she came to Lockport, Will county, where she has resided most of the time since. She was the mother of six children, two of whom survive her.

Mrs. Elizabeth W. REYNOLDS.

On the farm residence of J. M. REYNOLDS in Homer township, Monday, July 29th (1889), after a long and painful sickness, died Mrs. Elizabeth W., his wife, aged seventy years. She was the daughter of Abram SNAPP, and was born in Cayuga county, N. Y. She came to Will county with her father in 1833 and was one of the earliest to join the Baptist church in Will county. A large gathering of old settlers at her funeral testified their respect for her memory.

Of the thirty-five persons whose deaths we have noticed, all except six were natives of the United States. Of the thirty-five, one attained the age of ninety-one. Fourteen were over eighty, while there were but three that had not passed the limit of three score and ten, and the average age of the thirty-five was over seventy-seven and one half years. We recently heard Rev. Mr. Walters, ex-chaplain of the penitentiary, say of those buried in the prison cemetery, whose names and ages are recorded upon their headboards is the average age was only twenty-eight years. This statement he gave as an illustration of bible text – “Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.” May we not offer the age attained by Will county pioneers as an illustration of that other statement of the word of God, respecting those who keep His commandments – “Length of days and long life and peace shall they add to thee.”