Illinois Genealogy Trails

Rutland Township


©Transcribed by Kimberly Torp

View Plat map from 1920

Rutland, embracing Town 42, Range 7, is of course, the central one of the north tier of townships of the county. It is very difficult to obtain authentic information regarding the detail of the original government surveys of the lands in Kane County; but it appears quite certain, that the south line of the north tier of townships was not established, technically, as a correctional line to bring the variant lines back to their true positions and courses, but rather that, while surveys were in progress northward from the foundation Base line, nearly 250 miles south of here, a new sub-base line was carefully laid from the meridian line eastward; and from this as a base, township lines were surveyed to the north. It is certain that the land in these three townships, as well as in McHenry County, was surveyed before the balance of Kane County. The sections in these townships, thus being laid off at the opening of new surveys, should be even without fractions; while we know that, as the surveys from the far south reached this new line, they had so converged toward the meridian line as to be over a mile out of their true course to the north, causing the "jog" eastward, and the range lines had taken so wide a northward trend that they left heavy fractions in the last tier of section south of this sub-base line.


The surface of this township was far more broken into knolls and short ranges of hills - some of them quite high, and with deep sloughs and water-holes between - than any other portion of the county, which greatly retarded its early occupation. Nearly all the dry land was covered with oak openings, but there was no real timber land in the township. A few choice spots were taken at an early day; yet there was land subject to entry in this township more than ten years after the early date at which it was placed on public sale. Its lands came into market with those of Hampshire, September 2, 1839. The meandering brooks that drain it can scarcely be traced to any distinctive head; but the branches of those which flow to the Kishwaukee in a northwesterly course, can be followed, respectively , to what was a large pond on the southeast quarter of Section 30, near Sunset Station,a and the other to what were sloughs near the center of Section 21, while there was another brook flowing in the same direction from near the center of Section 11. The one arm of Tyler Creek reached to the sloughs in the neighborhood of Pingree Grove, and the other to those about Gilbert Station. There was quite a pretty prairie lake near the center of the line between Sections 1 and 2 and another, called Lake Killarney, amid the hills on the east half of Section 15.


About the winter of 1852. the contractors, grading the road-bed of the old Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, made a fill of six or eight feet across a frozen slough, a mile of so northwest of Gilbert's When the frost came out of the ground the next spring, the embankment sank through the vegetable mold, or crust, that had formed over a hidden lake, and the company had a canal instead of a railroad embankment. Many pickerel, some of them fully eighteen inches long, besides other fish, were caught in this canal. It was very deep, and it proved an expensive job to fill it. While the road was being built, a temporary track was laid around this canal on the northeast, over which the trains passed while the filling was being done. A number of the cars used ran off the dump and were lost in the deep water. The hill skirted by the temporary track was all put into this hole, as was also a large portion of the hill at the northwestern end of the canal. Passengers on the railway can now readily observe the evidences of this heavy work.


The southwest portion of the township was settled generally by native Americans and a few Germans, the central portion from southeast to northwest by Scotch-Irish and Irish, and the northeast part by Scotch and Americans. EVELYN R. STARKS prospected along the army trail (then but three years after the army passed over it as an old Indian trail), from the home of a friend who had settled near Naperville, in the fall of 1835. The Indians were still here, and nobody else. STARKS was then twenty-two years old, and the lonely trip of this young man maybe e imagined, and shows the spirit of the pioneers. Nobody knows how much time he spent in prospecting, but he searched until he found a beautiful body of rich prairie land sheltered by excellent wood land on the west-northwest, and sloping gently toward the south and east, with a fine pool of clear water half encircled by a fine tree-covered bank. Here he made a well marked claim and returned to his friends for the winter. Early the following spring he was back upon his claim making improvements and was soon joined by his uncle, ELIJAH RICH, who entered the lands south of STARKS' claim. When the government surveys were made, their claims were on the south half of Sections 29 and 30 and the north half of 31. No better pioneers than they came to the county; and no finer farms can be found than the ones on which they lived and died. SOLOMON GAGE made his pleasant home near them, and here the school house, cemetery and Sunset (or Stark) Station is located. HEMERICK, DAUM, WIDENER, SMITHING, HAUSLEIN and other Germans settled north of them. In the early days, MASON SHERBURN kept a tavern on the old stage-road, a couple of miles north, near the center of Section 18 and about a mile east of "Henpeck," and this was strongly suspected to be a hiding place for the bold horse-thieves that infested the country about 1850. NATHANIEL CRAMPTON, NOBLE KING and a Mr. SEYMOUR came in 1836, and FRANCIS and STRAW PINGREE in 1837. REV. ANDREW and DR. DANIEL PINGREE - both unusually strong, useful men - joined their brothers here in 1838. The PINGREES took large bodies of land to the east of STARKS, and established the Pingree Grove post office and station. During the same year, ANDREW MCCORNACK came with his fine family, the vanguard of the host of sturdy Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who were to follow. THOMAS and WILLIAM MOORE and WILLIAM LYNCH (the latter, because of his small stature called "Wee" LYNCH), the CHRISTIES, RILEYS, ATCHINSONS, EAKINS, MCQUEENS, SHEDDENS and others joined this vigorous element of the population. The FRAZIERS, STEVENS, TAZEWELLS, THOMAS RICH, OLIVER PLUMMER and WILLIAM BELLOWS were also settlers in the early development of this township. Mr. JOHN HUNTER ("Uncle Johnny") was a noted and useful man, an excellent and successful farmer and an active politician. Northeast of these came CLINTON, CATON, TOBIN, SOLON, MCFARLAN, PATRICK, THOMAS and BRIAN O'BRIEN, LONG, MURPHY, GALLIGAN, HAYS, FREEMAN, OWEN BURK, WELCH DWYRE, HAYDEN, DEVINE, COSTELLO, CLINNIN and others from the Emerald Isle. They settled in what was called "the Barrens" and by industry, thrift and good sense, converted it into a region of productive farms and happy homes. Northwest of them were located the DUFFS, BINNIES and ASHBAUGHS, among the old settlers.

The name "Rutland" was suggested by E.R. STARKS, the first Supervisor of the township. ADELIA, daughter of ELIJAH RICH, was the first white child born in the township and the first death was that of his mother, HANNAH RICH. Her grave was the first in the Stark cemetery. STARKS was the first Justice of the Peace, and in 1839, he performed the first marriage ceremony in the township for LEWIS BANDALL and MISS BRADY. The first church was erected by the Catholics near the cemetery, about a mile and a half southeast of GILBERT's as early as 1846. ELIJAH WILCOX and ANDREW PINGREE bought the GILBERT farm and platted the village in 1855, and ANDREW and HANNAH PINGREE platted the Pingree Grove Village in 1882, upon the line of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad.

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. 699-702

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