Illinois Genealogy Trails

Elgin Township

View Plat map from 1920

Aerial View of Elgin - 1880

©Transcribed by Kimberly Torp

This is Township 41 North, Range 8 East of the Third Principal Meridan, lying between Dundee and St. Charles. Tyler Creek takes its name from the TYLER family who, in 1835, settled on Section 2 near the township line, and about 1837 or '38, built a saw-mill on this stream some forty rods below the crossing of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. This creek enters the township on Section 5, runs southeasterly into Section 15 within about a mile of the center of the township, where it is joined on the COX farm by a branch which rises north of Udina and flows about midway between the Burlington and Hampshire highways. At this point it swerves easterly a half mile, and, turning an even semicircle, flows sharply to the north past Illinois Park Addition to Elgin through Wing Park; and, in a northeasterly course, returns again almost to the north line of the township, where it describes another irregular half circle, flowing southeasterly to the river. Otter Creek - or the north branch of Ferson's Creek - heads in what was once quite a body of permanent water lying on the HENRY SHERMAN and CYRUS LARKIN farms, almost exactly in the center of the township, and within a mile of the long southerly bend of Tyler Creek. The low land intervening almost permits the water of the stream passing to the pond, and following this outlet to the river. About a mile south of the Sherman Lake there used to be another pond on the DOUGLAS farm. These were both prairie ponds, and the south two-thirds of this township, from the river west as far as, and in places beyond, Ferson's Creek, was prairie land and well supplied with water. Nearly all the township east of the river was covered with woodland, as also were the western and northern portions.

Soon after the arrival of OLDS, the GIFFORDS and the KIMBALLS at what became the village of Elgin, and of Drs. JOSEPH TEFFT and NATHAN COLLINS at Clintonville, as heretofore stated, farm settlers began to appear. ISAAC STONE and E.K. MANN - young men from New Hampshire who had entered into a bachelor marriage - were perhaps the first to locate west from the river. They staked their claim and built a log house - near the center, now of Section 17 - a little over three miles west of the river, beside the Indian trail that passed near the two peculiar isolated rocks, which were a noted land mark. JONATHAN TEFFT, SR., with his family of energetic sons and daughters, and JOSEPH P. CORRON also made claims in 1835, and became permanent settlers. From this early date settlers were constantly arriving and locating claims until, at the date of the opening of the land sale, January 30, 1843, nearby, if not quite, every acre in this township had been claimed or pre-empted. Among the excellent pioneer farmers in the south and southwesterly sections were: P.C. GILBERT, THOMAS MITCHELL, TRUMAN GILBERT (who platted the village of Clintonville), H.E. PERKINS, CALEB KIPP, SETH STOWELL, JOHN PRUDEN, MARTIN SWITZER, GEORGE STRINGER, GEORGE FRENCH and NATHAN E. DAGGETT. Along the Udina road had settled ASA MERRILL, SR., and GILMAN H., ASA, JR., RICHARD and BAZILLA MERRILL; AARON MANN and his sons, WILLIAM R., ADIN and LEONARD, half-brothers of E.K. MANN; FRANCIS and HARRIET (MANN) WELD,, and their sons, O.P., DR. N.A., NEWTON F. and SALEM E.; EZEKIEL BALLARD and family and NATHAN G. PHILLIP, his son-in-law; HENRY SHERMAN and CYRUS LARKIN; WILLIAM PLUMMER and his sons; JOSEPH KIMBALL and his sons and son-in-law, HIRAM WILSON; CALVIN PRATT, ALMON FULLER, GEN. ELIJAH WILCOX and his sons. SOLOMON and SOLOMON HARVEY HAMILTON and JAMES TODD had located on the more northerly roads; COTTON KNOX, SIDNEY HEATH, the ABBOTTS and others were near the river. ASA MERRILL'S tavern at Udina, and JOSEPH KIMBALL'S tavern on the north road, were doing a big business, while "UNCLE BILLY PLUMMER" also offered excellent entertainment for man and beast. Within the village, beside those mentioned in the general history of the county, we find among the active men at this date, JASON HOUSE, the first permanent blacksmith; BERNARD HEALY, the first harness maker; PHILO SYLLA, GEORGE W. RENWICK, SAMUEL HUNTING, AUGUSTUS ADAMS and ALFRED HADLOCK, with machinery and repair shops; GEORGE HASSAN, the first dairyman, ABEL WALKER, the first undertaker; JOHN SMITH, the first gunsmith; VINCENT and JOHN LOVELL, GEORGE W. KIMBALL, the first cabinet-maker; P.J. KIMBALL, JR., the first tailor; HORACE BENHAM, mill-wright. PHILO S. PATTERSON had a little yellow grocery where the Home Bank now stands. In 1838 B.W. RAYMOND and S. NEWTON DEXTER bought the northerly portion of JAMES T. GIFFORD'S claim and thereafter contributed greatly to the prosperity of the place. DR. ANSON ROOT came about 1839 and purchased heavily of GIFFORD's village and water rights, and became at once an important factor in the community's development. He was a man of remarkable persistence and energy. WILLIAM S. SHAW, LEWIS S. EATON, LUTHER C. STILES and DANIEL S. WILCOX were pioneer carpenters, DAVID LONGLEY, the first wagon-maker, and I.P. SCOTT, the early-day liveryman. GEORGE P. and E.E. HARVEY, S.P. BURDICK, DAVID HUNTER, B. HALL, BURGESS TRUESDELL, CALVIN CARR, HARVEY RAYMOND, PHILO HATCH, AARON HARWOOD, HALSEY and ASA ROSENKRANZ, JOHN S. CALVERT, W.W. MERRILL, WHITMAN UNDERWOOD, WILLIAM BELLOWS and a few others were making homes in the village. Many times more oxen than horses were in use upon the streets, and an event of far greater general interest than any ordinarily transpiring now, was the daily arrival and departure each way of the stages plying between Chicago and Galena. HEZEKIAH GIFFORD opened the first tavern in the fall of 1836 in a log house which he put up at the southwest corner of Villa and Chicago Street, fronting on Villa Street, and astonished the public by keeping no whisky. CHARLES TIBBALLS and WILLIAM S. SHAW built a frame tavern just south of it, called the "Eagle Hotel". The small frame building, now standing close to Du Page and Villa Street, was put up on the north side of Du Page just south of the tavern and used as a store. HUNTING and RENWICK built and operated a brick blacksmith shop where the Universalist church now stands. North of them, and opposite the Eagle tavern, another little store was opened and next at the southeast corner of Villa and Chicago Streets, DR. ROOT built his two-story brick residence, in whose upper rooms his daughter MARY, who became MRS. INCREASE C. BOSWORTH, taught school. SHAW and TIBBALLS later built a much larger frame tavern called the "Elgin House" where the Congregational church stands, and which was excellently kept for ten or twelve years by TIBBALLS. The stages stopped at the newest of these taverns, as they were successively erected. WILLIAM HUMPHREY kept the "Eagle" after TIBBALLS left it and later it was run by JOHN S. CALVERT. DR. JOSEPH TEFFT lived where the City Hall stands, his barn fronting Spring street, and his office was on Chicago Street, with a little building beside it used as the post office. LONGLEY'S wagon-shop was nearly opposite, and HOUSE'S blacksmith shop was east of it, nearer the corner of Villa Street. JAMES T. GIFFORD established a brick yard east of Spring Street between Du Page and Fulton Streets (the latter street named after his son Fulton), and built a lime-kiln in the bank east of the brick yard. Dr. ROOT's house, the DAVID HUNTER house (now Y.W.C.A.), B.W. RAYMOND'S store (now LEITNER's market), and probably AUGUSTIN RAYMOND'S house (now W.F. SYLLA'S house) were built with brick and lime from this kiln and yard.

This was nearly all there was of Elgin in 1840 except hopeful prospects. It was though that the broad part of Villa Street would accommodate the future business needs of the community. WILLIAM C. and SAMUEL J. KIMBALL, who were brothers, were leading in the improvements on the west side of the river. There were at least three distinct families of this name in the community, and not only were the first birth, first death and first marriage in the village all in these families, but JONATHAN KIMBALL was the first Justice of the Peace, and SAMUEL J. KIMBALL the first constable elected. The gratifying growth and development of this prosperous city and township, during the early days, is briefly, but more generally, stated in the history of the county.

Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois (Edited by Newton Bateman, LL.D. and Paul Selby, A.M.) and History of Kane County Edited by Gen. John S. Wilcox. Chicago; Munsell Publishing Company, 1904, pp. 710-712

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