Lee County Biography


Stephen Norris Fellows remained on the farm (Lee County IL) until he was 18 years if age at which time he entered the seminary at Mt. Morris, IL and later went to De Pauw University in Indiana, where he graduated in 1854. After gradurating he went to Iowa were he became Professor of Mathematics and Natural Science for six years at Cornell College, in Mt. Vernon, and then served seven years in the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He then spent twenty years Professor of Mental and Moral Science and Pedagogy at the State University of Iowa, in Iowa City, then thirteen years again in the ministry and around 1905 was working as agent of the Conference Claimants Fund of the upper Iowa Conference.

Rev. Stephen N. Fellows, of Iowa, a son of one of the earliest pioneers, kindly contributes the following sketch of " the good old times."

" My father came with his family to Sugar Grove ( about four miles from Dixon IL ) in November, 1834, went into a cabin just west of the Myers place, down in the Grove. The cabin was 14 by 14 feet, and fourteen of us moved into it. In the spring of 1835 he built a log house on our old place, ( the Peck farm. ) In 1836 he built an addition to it of two stories, with a room between. The upper story was used for a school room and church purposes. From 1836 or 7 to 1840 this was the only place for meetings, it was a regular preaching place on the circuit. Sometimes quarterly meetings were held there. In 1839 father, Wm. Martin and Ambrose Hubbard united, with such help as they could get, to build the old church at Gap Grove. It was 24 by 36 and stood on the present site of the school house there. It was enclosed in the fall of 1839. Father died Feb. 8, 1840, and was the first to be carried into that church for burial. In the spring of 1840 it was finished and occupied as a church. When we came to Palmyra, the Indians were very plentiful-sometimes a hundred or more would pass our house and camp near by. Mother has told me that I used to play with the Indian children. They were very peaceable, never molested or stole anything from us. Sometimes in the witer they came to beg food and mother always gave to them. We suffered hardship, the first winter in the little cabin. We had no butter or potatoes, our flour gave out, then our corn meal, and for some weeks corn was cut from the cob with a jack-plane. For meat we had some "hog meat," mother would not call it pork. This hog meat and hominy, made from the planed corn, was our food. But we were well and hearty and came through all right. I don't know as these incidents are of any value, but they are given as I remember them. Regarding schools, I think my sister Margaret and brother Samuel were the first to teach in that township. Samuel taught school at Buffalo Grove during the winter of 1834 and 1835, the first winter we were there. I think the next winter, 1836, he tought in our house. The first building for school purposes was built at the Gap. The first Sunday school was held there, and Wm. Martin was superintendent and only teacher. I was one of the first scholars. I remember that one Sunday morning I committed fifty verses of the Bible to memory and walked two miles by 9 a.m. and recited them all."


Lee Co Bios Home