Lee County Biography

Susan P. (Foster) Detamore
Paw Paw


Susan P. (Foster) Detamore, widow of David Detamore, is well known in Lee County, of which she has been a resident these many years, as the former proprietress of the Detamore House at Paw Paw, which under her able management was regarded by the travelling public as one of the best hotels between Dixon and Aurora. She is now living in retirement in the enjoyment of an ample income, passing a part of each year in her pleasant home in Paw Paw Village.

Mrs. Detamore is descended from fine old New England and revolutionary stock, and her birthplace is in the town of Wilmington, among the hills of Windham County, Vt., March 15, 1815, the date of her birth. Her father was Jedediah Foster, and he was born in Brookfield, Mass., and was a son of Theodore Dwight Foster, who was also a native of New England, and was an early settler of Wilmington, where he was engaged as a farmer, and spent his last years. The maiden name of his wife was Susanna Packard. She died on the home farm in Wilmington.

Jedediah Foster was reared and married in Brookfield, and went from there to Vermont, locating in the town of Wilmington. That was long before the introduction of railways, and the farmers of that region used to go to Boston with teams to market their produce. Mr. Foster resided at Wilmington until 1848, and then became a pioneer of this county, taking up his abode at Paw Paw, and here he and his good wife passed their remaining days, until they entered life eternal through the portals of death. Her maiden name was Tamison Gilbert, and Amherst, Mass., was her native place. Her father was a gallant soldier in the revolution, and was killed in battle while fighting for the cause of freedom. Mrs. Foster had been twice married, and her first husband was named Billings. By her second marriage with the father of our subject she became the mother of these three children: Dwight, who died at Paw Paw; Susan P., and Mary Osmer, who died at Parkman, Ohio.

Mrs. Detamore was reared under good home influences in her New England birthplace, and the careful instruction that she received from her mother in all household duties made her an exceptionally capable housewife, thus she was well prepared for the arduous dnties that devolved upon her in after years. When she was a young lady she went to Ohio, and in the town of Eaton, that State, gave her hand to Davia Detamore in marriage, and their wedded life was productive of mutual benefit and happiness.

Mr. Detamore was born in Rockingham County, Va., May 22, 1822, and was a son of Jacob and Sophia Detamore. He went to Ohio with his parents, who settled in that State in pioneer times. In his youth he learned the trade of a carpenter and stair builder, and pursued his calling in Eaton until 1851. In that year he took an important step in life, whereby his fortunes were materially bettered, as he then came to Lee County and identified himself with its pioneers. He was accompanied hither by his wife, and they came by the way of the lakes to Chicago, thence by rail to Aurora, the nearest railway point to this part of country, and from there they came by a private team to Paw Paw, which was then in its infancy, a hamlet of some half-a-dozen houses and one store.

After his arrival Mr. Detamore invested some money in several acres of land now included in the village, and he and his wife began life here in a small brick house of four rooms that stood on the place. There was no hotel here at the time and perceiving the need of one and the advantages of their location, they at once made arrangements to keep boarders and to accommodate the traveling public. As the village grew, and the fame of their hotel spread, their custom increased and they made additions to the house, which was finally made a stage station on the route from Aurora to Dixon. As their patronage was still further increased Mr. Detamore had to enlarge his house still more, and subsequently built the hotel known as the Detamore House. He managed the house some years with the active co-operation of his wife, and then rented it and lived retired until his death in August, 1859, while yet in the prime of life, as he was then but thirty-seven years of age.

After her bereavement, Mrs. Detamore bravely took up the burden of life alone for the sake of her little daughter, and returning to the hotel she resumed charge of it, and managed it for many years with signal success. Under her watchful care it was rendered homelike and comfortable to its inmates, and a pleasant retreat to the weary traveler who sought temporary shelter beneath its roof, and found refreshment for mind and body in neat rooms and well-served food. Her kind, motherly manner, and cheerful, friendly ways, endeared her to those who made her house their home, gained her the esteem of all with whom she came in contact, and never did landlady enjoy more popularity than she during her reign of more than a quarter of a century,as head of the Detamore House. In 1885 she sold the hotel, and has since then lived retired, spending a part of each year in Paw Paw and the remainder of her time with her daughter, the wife of Dr. T.D. Palmer of Chicago. Mrs. Detamore is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and is an exemplary Christian.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892 Pg 635

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