Village of Scarboro

Lee County Illinois

Also known as Twin Grove

The land upon which Scarboro is located was purchased from the U.S. Government in 1851 by Gilbert E. Durin, one of three brothers who came to Lee County from Vermont in 1840. The land was had for $1.25 an acre. In 1865 it was purchased by William Grove, great grandfather of the wife of the present owner and in 1877 it was sold to Lewis G. Durin, grandfather of the present owner of the land surrounding the town.

Scarboro came into existence in 1904 when the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railroad built a new railroad through this farm from Rockford to Ladd for the purpose of hauling coal from the mines to the northern parts of the state, and it was decided that this would be a good location for a town. At first a box car was used for a depot, but as soon as possible a depot was built. Until the present time only four men have held the position as station agent, with Frank Wiley, of Paw Paw, having the honor of holding the position for 31 years.

Scarboro is a village with a population of 60 and is located in the township of Willow Creek, in the east end of Lee County. It is two and one half miles east of Highway 51, and one mile north of highway 30. From 1904 until 1929 it was served with passenger, mail and express service by the railroad, but due to changing conditions this was discontinued and mail is now delivered by rural mail service from Steward, which is five miles to the north.

The first residence in the new town was built by Lewis G. Durin, who wanted to get back to the farm after having lived in Rockford with his wife and daughter, Miss Ida M. Durin, since 1892. He lived in this house until his death in 1908. This is now the home of his grandson, Lewis W. Durin.

Scarboro, being located in the center of a rich grain section, grain elevators were the first large buildings erected. In 1904, Shearer Brothers of Steward built a 30,000 bushel elevator which was managed until 1910 by Robert Hough, who now lives in Mt. Morris. A part interest in this elevator was then purchased by J.O. Helgen, who now lives in Ashton. This firm then sold out in 1926 to the Scarboro Elevator Co. The second elevator was also built in 1940, by the Neola Elevator Co., who owned a chain of elevators. This was sold in 1908 to a group of farmers who were incorporated under the name of the The Scarboro Elevator Company. This elevator last year handled about 900,000 bushels of grain and also stored over 50,000 bushels of corn for the Commodity Credit corporation, besides having a large merchandise business.

The first general store was erected early in 1905 and was owned and operated by Ray Anderson, Rochelle, who is now owner of the Rochelle Aspaagus Farms. In 1908 he sold the store to P.J. Schoenholtz, who operated the business until his retirement when he turned it over to his son, P.G. Schoenholtz, who still owns and conducts the busienss. In 1908, P.J. Schoenholtz was appointed postmaster for the first post office in Scarboro, which was located in his store, where it remained until 1918, when Mrs. John Grove was appointed postmaster. The post office was then moved to the John Grove store, where it remained until it was discontinued in 1929. This store was built by Cass Byrd in 1910, and was used as a general store by John Grove until 1948, when it was sold and remodeled into a home. Grove then moved his business into the Rees building, which was formerly a garage. In 1907, Harry D. Riley started a blacksmith shop, which he operated until he moved to a farm near Lee Center.

Some of the early settlers of this territory, whose descendants still reside near here, are listed, with the year in which they came to Twin Grove; James Thompson, 1844; Cummings Noe, 1844; Jacob Hochstrasser, 1849; Lars L. Risetter, 1847; Lewis G. Durin , Ira S. Durin and Gilbert E. Durin (Brothers), 1849; Ethan Durin (father), 1853; Joseph Barnhard, 1851; William Burd, 1852; Henry Cobb, 1852; Jacob Fisher, 1853; John L. Lutz, 1859; William Ambler, 1859; and John Yetter, 1859.

The first dwelling in Twin Grove was a log cabin, which James Thompson built of split logs, with a wild grass roof. Fort Dearborn was their post office and trading point. They hauled their grain with horses or oxen and drove their cattle and hogs to market on foot.

The first concern of these early settlers, after they moved into their homes, was of their churches and schools. We have no record of early churches, but know that churches services wereheld in the early schoolhouses.

Among the facts known was that Maria Holton was the first teacher. She taught in a private house until the school was built. She later married Edward Ellsworth. They at one time had charge of the Twin Grove postoffice in their home. The mail was carried by state coach over the trail from Lane, now Rochelle, to Earlville.

The first records of a school near what is now Scarboro, then called District No. 3, and known as the Twin Grove School, show that in July, 1852, the voters of the district met at the home of Isaac Gardner for the purpose of electing three school directors. James Thompson, Isaac Gardner and L.G. Durin were elected the first directors. From the records still remaining, it seems that school was held in an old house until 1857, when this house was sold at auction and the $125 realized was used to help build a new schoolhouse. The records for the next few years show mostly only the names of the directors elected, and that the coal, lumber and other supplies where hauled both from Signors' store at Earlville and from Lane, which is now Rochelle. In 1866, an entry shows that the text books to be adopted were to be McGuffey's series of spelling books and readers and Rays arithmetics and algebras. In March, 1869, this school building with all books and apparatus belonging to the district burned.

During the week after the fire, a meeting of the directors was called to make plans for a new school building, and on March 22, a contract was signed for a building 18 x 24 and 11 1/2 feet high, on a stone wall two feet high. Sills to be of good pine, 6 x 8 " studding 2 x 6 ", joists 2 x 8', lath and 3 coats of plaster. To be seated with 20 seats with patent iron standards, 6 windows, 1 door, chimney, 2 coats of paint, venetian blinds painted green and all to be done in a workmanlike manner and to be completed by June 1. Cost to be $625 and bonds payable in 1,2 and 3 years were issued to the amount of $600. This new building for some unknown reason was built across the road from the old one stood and in a grove, and was used here as a school until 1908 when it was moved to Scarboro and served as a school for 3 years, until a new one was built, in 1911.

One of the best known teachers of this school was L.W. Miller, now of Dixon, who began his career as an instructor in November 1888, at the age of 18. His salary was 430 a month and as his home was 4 miles from the school, he rode a bronco pony back and forth. He later was elected Lee County superintendent of schools and held this office for 28 years.

In 1911 a fine new one room school was built on the south end of the town. Miss Ida Durin contributed one half of the cost of this new building. School is still being held in this building which is in District No. 271.

In 1874 a meeting was called at the home of John Yetter to consider the building of a church. John Yetter, William Dunkelberger, John Hockstrasser, J.L. Lutz and Gotlieb Hochstrasser were elected to serve as a building committee. J.J. Meyer was given the contract to build the building. In November 1875 this church was completed and dedicated as the Twin Grove German Evangelical church with Bishop J.J. Esher officiating, assited by the Rev. J. Schaefle, presiding elder.

This church was located about one mile east of Scarboro, and in 1907, George Noe, George Yetter and T.C. Kelly weer appointed to have charge of the moving of this church to Scarboro. Others who helped with the moving were student pastor, Rev. I.L. Sweitzer, now district superintendent, and G.W. Durin, who gave the land for the new site adjoining the school grounds. In 1918 the David Wilman home, located across the street was purchased for a parsonage.

During the past year, under the leadership o the Rev. Melvin Shafer, a new modern parsonage was built on the church property, just north of the church. It is occupied by the Rev. and MRs. Shafer and son Teddy. Floyd McCaslin, Rochelle, purchased, and is now living in the old parsonage.

The ladies Aid society of the church was organized in 1907, at the home of Mrs. George Yetter. The first officers elected were Mrs. George Yetter, president, MRs. George Noe, vice president, Mrs. Florence Smith, treasurer. Meetins were to be held twice a month, on Thursdays in their homes. They ruled that not more than six kinds of food could be served at each meeting and each member was to pay 10 cents. This society has been in continuous activity to the present time and recently purchased a new Hammond electric organ for the church.

Thus we have given a short history of Scarboro and community, which was formerly known as Twin Grove, from the earliest records to the present time.

From the Dixon Telegraph May 1, 1951

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