Illinois Genealogy Trails

Hampshire Township

©Transcribed by Kimberly Torp

View Plat map from 1920

Township 42, Range 6 East, is the northwest township of Kane County. It all lies west of the Fox River watershed, and its streams flow to the Rock River. It was a beautiful region in the early day, in the fact that almost its entire surface was open woodland. It contained very little prairie and no body of heavy timber. It is not level, yet in the whole township there is not a single incline long or steep enough to fairly be called a hill. The soil is fertile and deep, and every part of the township is well supplied with water. From the east and south, four or five spring brooks flow westerly and northwesterly to the Coon Creek. For some inexplicable reason the public lands in this and Rutland Township were opened to entry and sale on September 2, 1839, three years and four months before the lands at the south and southeast of it came into market. ZENAS ALLEN, of Vermont, father of ETHAN J. ALLEN, once Sheriff of the county and Adjutant of the Fifty-second Illinois Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, with a numerous family of children and grandchildren, marked out a claim to a large body of land in what became Sections 36 and 35, and built the first cabin in the township near where the school house now stands. A little later in the same year, THOMAS E. WHITTEMORE of New Hampshire, and SAMUEL HAWLEY of Connecticut, arrived and made claims a few miles father toward the north and northwest. HAWLEY's claim became, in the government surveys, a part of Section 28 and his patent issued on pre-emption certificate number 5,061, dated May 20, 1841, signed by John Tyler, President, for the northeast quarter of said section, is certified by the Department of the Interior at Washington, to be the first patent issued conveying land situated in Kane County. The northeast corner of this land adjoins the present village of Hampshire. A few years later ALLEN made another claim, a mile or two further north of his first, on Section 23, where he lived with his son JOHN A. until his death. In 1837 and '38 DANIEL HALL, WILLIAM H. SEYMOUR and S.A. MCAPES took up claims still further north in Sections 13 and 12, and gradually quite a settlement gathered around them, which came to be spoken of as Hampshire, the name of the township - but more definitely as "Henpeck." This was on the old stage road, and WILLIAM N. HUMPHREY, who bought the Eagle Tavern at Elgin, of TIBALLS and SHAW, sold it very early in the 'forties to JOHN S. CALVERT and opened a tavern here. E.A. GARLAND, a New Hampshire man, also a tavern-keeper, transferred his location from West Elgin to a stage-road house about one mile northwest of "henpeck," where the remainder of his life was spent. Each was considered a good landlord. ISAAC PADDOCK and WILLIAM TRUMBULL, of New York; STEPHEN HAVILAND, HILDA COON and JOHN AURAND, from Germany, were early settlers in and near this community. LUCIEN BALDWIN and SAMUEL C. ROWELL, both from Vermont, took up claims in an early day. The number of New England people among these pioneers readily explains the preference for the name of the township. The REV. ROBERT WILLIAMS, a New Hampshire man, was the first resident preacher. There was immense teaming done over the stage roads in the decade preceding the first railway. So old Hampshire became a noted camping place, not only for teamsters but for settlers seeking locations, and it became the temporary stopping place, where pioneers camped while prospecting the country. From one to three score wagons in camp was no unusual sight at this place.

JOHN AURAND was the forerunner of a large number of excellent German families, who did much to improve and enrich this fine township. Among them were the REINS, LEITNERS, KLICKS, GARLICKS, WERTWEINS, GETZELMANS, WIDMIERS, HAUSLEINS, WAIDMAN, PETER JOHNNIN, JOHN BLAZER and others. One of the most quaint and conspicuous was JOHN WALES, a brother of MRS. AURAND, who was one of the first storekeepers, and earliest Justices of the Peace in the township. Everybody knew him and was his friend. When an old man he spent some years among the Blackfoot Indians near the Canada border, and although they were then accounted the most cruel of the tribes, he declared them to be his kind and faithful friends. Among the early and useful families we find in the township the DOTYS, ISBELL, PATCHENS, REED, TERRWILLIGERS, BELL, LYON, HOGEBOOM, WEED, BEAN, WILLIAMS, DEWITT and the BALDWINS.

Hampshire has furnished three County Sheriffs, viz.: Adjt. ETHAN J. ALLEN, CAPT. JAMES C. BROWN and N.S. CARLISLE. The present Representative in the State Legislature, Hon. CHARLES H. BACKUS, is the banker at Hampshire, the only village in the township. The village was platted October 22, 1874 by ANDREW J. WILLING and CEYLON A . FASSETT, and incorporated in 1876. Its first trustees, elected November 9, 1876, were S.C. ROWELL, President: J.S. WYCKOFF, Secretary; PHILIP DOTY, E.W. WHELPLEY, HERVEY RUIN and A.R. FREEMAN. It is a fine dairy township and in the village there is a brick and tile yard, grinding mill, pickle factory and other minor industries.

The first white child born in the township was JANE A. SEYMOUR, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. WILLIAM H. SEYMOUR, born in 1840. The first school house was built a little later on the west half of Section 10, about where the "Bean" school house now stands. ZENAS ALLEN, T.C. WHITTEMORE and SAMUEL HAWLEY were the first School Trustees in 1842.

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. 712-713

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