History of Wyoming Twp.
Contributed by Doug Wicks


Recollections of the Pioneers 1893

The Gilmore Family.
Near the close of a cold, rainy day, on the 4th of June, 1835, on the hill about half way between Paw Paw and Melugin’s Grove in this (Lee) county, a team of two horses, facing west, became exhausted and refused to go any further. In the wagon were Mrs. John Gilmore and five children, the eldest being nine years old, and beside the team walked the husband and father, and a friend, Mr. William Guthrie; rain was falling steadily, night was approaching, and the only house between them and Dixon’s Ferry, was that of Zachariah Melugin, three miles away. A consultation was held and Mr. and Mrs. Gilmore and the children started on foot in an endeavor to reach the shelter of Mr. Melugin’s house, which they did, late at night, drenched with the rain and thoroughly exhausted. Mr. Guthrie remained with the team, and help being sent to him they were brought in the next day—thus came the second family in all that empty waste, now so filled with population, wealth, and all that goes to make up the sum of a prosperous and refined scciety. Guthrie had passed over this country as a soldier in the Black Hawk war, and it was owing to his enthusiastic description that this beautiful spot was chosen for their future home.

They were true pioneers, and within a few days a claim was selected, the walls of a log cabin twelve feet square and seven feet high were erected and covered with shakes, held in place by “weight poles,” and the family moved in. No door, window, chimney or floor, but it was the foundation of a happy, prosperous home, still lovingly remembered in all that vicinity. A puncheon floor was soon added, a “stick chimney” and a shake door, and soon the little cabin was made hospitable and comfortable, but when it was finished not a board or nail or a pane of glass had been used in its construction. In this cabin, on the 8th day of November, 1835, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Gilrnore, a son, W. W. Gilmore, still living, a retired merchant in Compton, near the original home. Soon after this event, finding that work (to be paid for in provisions) could be had at Ross’ Grove, twenty miles from home, Mr. Gilmore left his family, and accompanied by his friend Guthrie, went to Ross’ Grove and worked most of the winter. They came home on Saturday night on foot, often carrying a part of their week’s wages on their shoulders, and walked back to their work on Monday. The Indians had not yet been removed, and day and night they swarmed around the little cabin begging, and often impudently demanding food, which, from her scanty store, Mrs. Gilmore was unable to supply. She has often said that she suffered more from fear of the Indians that winter, than from all other causes combined.

Sometime in the fall of that year Mr. A. V. Christeance and wife had erected a cabin about a mile distant and were living in it. About Christ- mas there came on one of those terrible sleet storms, still remembered by all old settlers, and the ground was soon covered with one continued glare of ice. About midnight the family were awakened to find the cabin filled with stifling smoke. The stick chimney had taken fire and the house was in great danger. Mrs. Gilmore being alone with her children, hastily dressed herself and tried to put out the fire. The spring of water was some twenty rods away and everything so covered with ice that she could walk only in her stocking feet, and in this way went several times to the spring and brought water, but did not gain on the fire. In this emergency she started her nine-year old boy (now A. P. Gilmore. of Compton,) after help. Mr. Christeance. the nearest neighbor, was a mile away, through the woods with only a dim path, which was easy enough to follow in daylight, but in a dark and bitterly cold and stormy night it was doubtful if the boy could find the way, or endure the cold if he did. But it was the only chance, and whistling for his faithful dog he started. He has often spoken of that midnight tramp as one of the most perilous experiences of his life. But be succeeded and returned with help, and by their united efforts the house was saved, though greatly damaged.

Game was plenty, but amunition was scare. During the first winter a party of hunters camped near the grove and killed a great many deer, which they hung on the trees until they should get a wagon load. One day Mrs. Guthrie, in passing through the grove, came across a large buck hung up, and after considering the matter a little, she shouldered it and carried it home. She used to say that she always felt a little guilty in appropriating the venison, but it seemed to be a matter of necessity. After they became prosperous and well off she used to say that she would like to see that bunter and pay him for the deer. J. K. Robinson taught the first school in 1837, with eight pupils. Settlers now began to come in and the county filled up quite fast. O. P. Johnson located at the west end or the grove and opened a tavern, which many of the old settlers will still remember. We were boys and girls then—our heads are white now.

The first death remembered, was a Mr. Little, a Scotchman, the first one to be buried in the little cemetery. The first marriage in the eastern part of Lee county (it was Ogle county then) was that of J. K. Robinson and Polly Melugin, which took place in 1836.

William Guthrie located a claim in 1835 at what was afterwards known as Guthrie’s Grove, near his friend Gilmore, and in the fall of 1836 was married to Miss Ross, at Ross’ Grove on Indian Creek, a distance of twenty miles. Transportation in those days was a matter of serious difficulty, but the wedding was an event that must be duly celebrated. So Mr. Gilmore yoked his best pair of oxen to the wagon, took his wife and the younger children, two lady friends and the groom, and by mak- ing an early start accomplished the journey in a day. The wedding was celebrated with real new country hilarity, and the bride and groom returned to the cabin which he had prepared. Mrs. Guthrie used to say that they commenced housekeeping with her wedding outfit— a straw tick, a tea kettle and a frying pan. The struggle for life was sharp, and sometimes the larder was nearly empty, but when spring came and the flowers bloomed the hardships of the winter were soon forgotten. Sometime in the summer of 1836, on a trip to Troy Grove after provisions. Mr. Gilmore come across a Methodist preacher, (it is thought that his name was Lummery) and invited him to come to Melugin’s Grove and hold meetings, and an appointment was made for the next round of the circuit which would be in six weeks. At the appointed time the preacher came and held service in the little Gilmore home, at which every man, woman and child in the settlement was present, and room to spare. A church was organized and a class formed, which has never ceased to exist to this day. Then the seeds were planted which in due time have produced the beauties of culture and religion which we enjoy.

Who was Shaubena—or Shabbona—as I have always been accustomed to write and speak the name? He was an Indian, and a good Indian, too. He was born in the year 1773 at an Indian village on the Kankakee river, now in Will county. His father was of the Ottawa tribe and came from Michigan with Pontiac during the year 1766, being one of the small band of followers who fled from their country after the defeat of that great chIef. He was a war chief also, and from a speech of his that has been preserved by tradition he is judged to have been a person of more than ordinary ability. While Shabbona was an infant or a little pappoose his parents went with him to Canada and stopped at an Indian village twenty miles east of Detroit. They lived there till Shabbona was seven years old, when they returned to their old home on the Kankakee river, and he lived there until he was a man grown, when be married a daughter of a Pottawatomie chief, named Spotka, who had a village on the Illinois a short distance above the mouth of Fox river. At the death of this chief, which occurred a few years afterwards, Shabbona succeeded him as head chief of the band. Soon after this the band left the Illinois river on account of sickness, and they took up their abode in a lovely grove about thirty miles north of their former home. This grove is situated in DeKalb county and the band of Indians was found there by the early white settlers. The grove still bears the name of the kind old chief who did so much for the white people in the early pioneer days. Shabbona and his band lived in this grove—that is situated at the head of Big Indian creek —nearly fifty years. His first wife, Spotka, is buried there and two of his children are buried beside her. A huge stone marks the spot—or did in days gone by—and a fence of poles surrounds the place; I remember visiting the place years ago after the Indians had gone and their land was sold and eagerly sought after by the white men, who wanted the wood for fire and for building purposes. My father bought the old Indian council ground and my uncle, Michael Clapsaddle, who came to the Grove soon after the Black Hawk war, was personally acquainted with Shabbona. The old Indian used to visit at his house quite often and he was never tired of telling of the brave deeds of the great warriors who had lived and fought and gone hence to their happy hunting grounds, but he would never tell these things over before my aunt. He would want to go out and sit down on the ground under the big shade trees, then he would tell all the war stories one would care to listen to.

One day he came while the family were at dinner and sat down on the ground out in the door yard under a large oak tree to wait for my uncle to come out, as he had told him the day before, that he and his family must leave the grove in a very few days. It was not their home now, the white men had cheated him out of his home. They called it lawful and right, but said he, “It is just like steal, me Shabbona tell them when to run from Indian tomahawk.” He told my uncle how the Pottawatomie and Winnebago chiefs denounced him as a traitor to his race for having warned the white people of their danger. They met in council and said in their speeches that he had forfeited his life, and that both tribes demanded his death because he was the white man’s friend. In the spring of 1833, after the council on Green river, near what is now called New Bedford, two warriors volunteered to kill him. One morning, while he was out hunting, passing through the timber just back of my uncle’s house (he pointed out the place to him as he told him this) two shots were fired at him from a cluster of bushes. “The bullets went whiz! whiz! by my head just so,” (motioning with his hands close by his ears) “but they hide in the bushes, me see nobody.” On the same day two mean-looking Indians were seen skulking along the edge of the grove trying to hide themselves from sight. An old Indian who knew they were trying to kill him went to a half-breed who had charge of a trading house a few miles from where the council was held and told Louis Ouilmette, the trader, that the two warriors were on their way to kill him. Ouilmette sent a young Indian who was friendly to the whites and Sbabbona to warn him of his danger. He said, “I loved my white friends; I risked my life to save them from the scalping knife and I expected to die by the hand of my enemies for trying to save the lives of my white friends and their children. I mounted my pony and rode to Bureau settlement and I did not return for many weeks, but went to Rochell’s village south of the Illinois river and hid away from my enemies.”

Shabbona was pleasant in his manners and had many warm friends among the white people and Indians also. He always kept his promise; he was never known to do a mean dishonest act. My uncle said in speaking of him his knowledge of the western country seemed to be extensive. He talked about Galena and Chicago as we now talk about going to Shabbona or Pawpaw, and yet the Indian trail and the fleet-footed pony helped him to cover the distance from Chicago to Galena in those days when the whole state of Illinois was in two counties—St. Clair and Randolph—the northern portion, including Wisconsin, being under the juris- diction of St. Clair. What a free wild life the Indians must have led before the palefaces came to disturb them. Shabbona said, “Black Hawk did not expect to conquer the whites, but thought if the different tribes joined him the government would be willing to treat on favorable terms and return to him his village,” which the government had sold while he and his band were away on a hunt during the winter of 1830. In the spring when they returned to their vil- lage, as they had been in the habit of doing, they found people living in their wigwams and that the white men had possession of their cornfields. Black Hawk called on the Indian agent, Thomas Forsyth, at Rock Island, and also on his friends, for counsel and advice, and they all advised him to abandon his village and go west of the Mississippi river. He always contended to the day of his death that he had never sold his village, and to regain possession of it seemed to be the one great object of his life. Shabbona and Black Hawk had always been on friendly terms, although Shabbona could not be induced to join him in a war against the whites. He told my uncle about the last time they visited together, Black Hawk’s band was camping about twenty-five miles above Dixon’s Ferry in a grove on a stream that has since been called Stillman’s Run. Black Hawk sent a message to Shabbona and to Waubansic, who had a village at Pawpaw Grove, to meet him there. They mounted their ponies and started for his camp. They were met by the whole band of chiefs, warriors, squaws and pappooses. They had a good dinner at Black Hawk’s wigwam, over which waved the British flag, the one presented to Black Hawk two years before by the commanding officer of Fort Walden. A company of young squaws serenaded them with music of drums and rattling gourds, songs and dances while they ate their dinner. After dinner Black Hawk took his company off in the grove where they could be alone for a little confidential talk. The three chiefs seated themselves on a fallen tree and Black Hawk sat, between Shabbona and Waubansic and told them the story of his wrongs. He told them how he was born at Sac village and how he loved the place and that his father and mother and some of his children were buried there and how he expected to live there and die there and be buried by their side, and he said, “But now in my old age I have been driven from my home and dare not look again upon this loved spot.” He hid his face in his blanket and was silent for a long time. After wiping away his tears he said, “Before many moons you too will be compelled to leave your homes, the hunting grounds you have roamed over in your youth; the corn fields and your villages will be in the possession of the whites, and the graves of your fathers and loved ones will be plowed over by them, while your people will be driven toward the setting sun, beyond the ‘Father of Waters’.” Black Hawk stood up before the chiefs and said, “We have always been as brothers, have fought side by side in the British war, have hunted together and slept under the same blanket; we have met in council and at religious feasts, our people are alike and our interests the same.” Then Black Hawk said he was on the warpath and urged his friends to join him. Shabbona said no! he could not raise the tomahawk against the white people who had always been kind to him. Waubansic heard what was said by both and smoked his pipe in silence. After hearing Shabbona say “no” to the urgent pleading of Black Hawk, he too refused to take part in the war that Black Hawk was anxious to stir up against the whites, but he promised to be present at the council of chiefs; but Shahbona refused to be present. He urged Black Hawk to go west of the Mississippi to save his people—and the two chiefs parted to meet no more. Waubansic and his band came to Pawpaw Grove during the summer of 1824 and lived here until the goyernment moved them west of the Mississippi river. Shabbona told my uncle that he sent to Pawpaw for Waubansic’s band to come and stay at Shabbona Grove, so each band would be a protection for the other after the commencement of hostilities. They stayed there for a number of days; afterward they sent their squaws and pappooses and the old and infirm Indians to Ottawa and the warriors joined Atkinson’s army at Dixon’s Ferry. A short time after Waubansic went west he was killed by a party of Sacs and Foxes for having fought against them during the Black Hawk war. His scalp was taken and his body left on the prairie to be eaten up by wolves, while his beautiful pony was ridden away by one of his murderers.

Shabbona said he was acquainted with Tecumseh: and he used to tell how Tecumseh visited his village. He said: “On a warm day in Indian summer, while me and my friends were playing ball, Tecumseh and three chiefs, each riding a fine black pony, arrived at my village. The next day a favorite dog was killed and a feast made for the great Tecumseh and the chiefs that accompanied him, and night was spent with songs and dancing. Shabbona went with his visitors to a number of villages on the Illinois and Fox rivers and listened to the great Tecumseh’s speeches in behalf of his scheme of uniting all the tribes of the west in a war against the whites that they might repel the encroachments of the white men, and retard the march of civilization, which meant the extermination of the Indian. The next summer Shabbona accompanied Tecumseh to Vincennes to meet Gen. Harrison the second time in council, and listened to their angry speeches. Neither Tecumseh nor Harrison were willing to make any concession, and the council ended without reconciliation. Shabbona was Aid to Tecumseh, and stood by his side when he fell at the battle of Thames. The old chief liked to tell about the battle of the Thames, and describe every detail. Shabbona said he was standing by the side of Tecumseh when he was shot by the man on a white horse

(Col Johnson) and with a shrill whoop he fell to the ground. After the death of his first squaw Shabbona married another, named Miamex Zebequa, and by her he had a number of children. In accordance with Indian customs, some years afterward he married another squaw. After this event the first wife and second wife did not agree, and they had frequent quarrels, and after a few years Po-ka-no-ka, the younger wife, who was said to Lbe very handsome, left the family and went to live with her people in Kansas.

Shabbona’s oldest son’s name was Bypegee, but he was known among the white settlers as Bill Shabbona. During the Black Hawk war he rode far and near, at Shabbona’s bidding, to warn the early settlers of the approach of the merciless savages that were coming :to scalp them and burn their dwellings.

While at the grove Shabbona’s family numbered twenty-five or thirty persons, counting his two squaws, his children, grandchildren, neices, [sic] nephews and all. He frequently took the little ones to church on Sunday. A few years before his death he gave all his family christian names and took the name of Benjamin himself. Shabbona died at his home on the Illinois river July 17, 1859, aged eighty-four years, and was buried with much pomp and ceremony in Morris cemetery. His remains were deposited on lot 59, block 7, donated by the cemetery, but neither stone nor stake marked the spot. Shab- bona’s oldest squaw, Miamex Zebequa, and Mary Oquaka, a little granddaughter four years of age, were drowned in Mason creek, in Grundy county November 30, 1864, and are buried by the side of Shabbona. There are eight of Shabbona’s family buried on the same lot in Morris’ cemetery, five of whom were his children or grandchildren. I am indebted to N. Matson’s memories of Shabbona for some of the dates and for some of the information in this sketch, especially that concerning Shabbona’s death and burial. The object of this sketch is merely to do justice to the old Indian chief and to preserve an account of some of his deeds which should form a part of the early history of this country.

Pioneer Experiences.
DR. ISRAEL F. HALLOCK, one of the few survivors of the early settlers of Wyoming township, sends us a short story of some of his and some of his wife’s pioneer experiences. We wish it was longer, and wish, too, that we had many more such to present our readers for the “Recollections” of genuine pioneers are a story of which we never tire; but alas, a story which must soon be “a tale that is told”—for the pioneers are fast passing away.

Seeing your request for family sketches and historical facts concerning the early settlers of this county I thought it might not be amiss to give a few incidents connected with that early day. It was thought by many that only the simple would settle in such a country. Being one of those simple ones I first settled in Stark county in July, 1840. After a journey of seven weeks and five days over hill and dale, on the 10th day of July we (I say we for I had taken captive one of Deacon O. Boardman’s daughters a few months before) together with my father-in-law and family, drove up to the door of L. Dorrance in said county, and then commenced our first housekeeping. The first thing we did was to buy a cow, after which I had just $3 left. To care for the milk wooden troughs dug out of slabs made very good substitute for pans then we bought a rough table of Mr. White, a carpenter. I took it home on my back a mile and a half. This, together with a kettle and a frying pan and a few other things brought in a one horse wagon from the east comprised our household goods. Working here a day, and there a day, for flour and potatoes, I got our food. Pumpkins being plenty they came without work.

In the fall of the same year after the excitement of the Tippecanoe campaign was over we came to Paw Paw, and built our first log cabin. Here, not having any chairs we used stools or benches until a tavern keeper sold out to get money to bail his son, who was under arrest for counterfeiting; of him I bought two chairs, carrying them home on my back. Having exchanged my horse and wagon for a claim I got a yoke of steers and commenced farming in earnest. With this team I used to haul my surplus grain to market, go to church and visiting with as much pride as the young man of today with his fine carriage and 2:40 horse. In the meantime my good wife was supplying our wearing apparel, bed and table linen, spinning and weaving the flax with her own hands, until we were able to own sheep, when the wool was, sent to the factory and carded, then she spun the yarn and wove the cloth to make our clothing, bed blankets, etc., doing all the work with her own hands, unless we wanted something very fine for Sunday wear, when the homemade cloth was sent to the factory, sheared and pressed and then made up.

The experience of my wife was but the experience of nearly all the women of that early day, who not only prepared for the family what was provided by the husband, but who cheerfully manufactured from the wool and the flax material that could not be procured in any other way. And to these pioneer mothers the people of this generation owe much of the luxuries, and comforts which they enjoy.

Wyoming Township
THE first settlers in this township located around the grove, of course. Paw Paw Grove takes its name from the Paw Paw trees that grow there. It is the southeastern township of Lee county, and the grove lies east of the railroad station that is called Paw Paw. David A. Town was the first white settler who took a claim and made a home at Paw Paw Grove. He with his wife and four children came to the grove in 1834. He built his house on the south side of the grove, west of the farm now owned by Pierpont Edwards. It was built of logs, 16x18 feet, with one door and one six lighted window, and had a fire place and chimney. The floor was made of split logs, hewn with a broad axe. O. P. Johnson, of Brooklyn, helped build this house, and he said that he and three other men built it in a day and a half, in November, 1834. In 1835 Isaac Balding came and located on the Chicago road, between the two Paw Paws. He kept the first stage house and tavern, and the stage stopped at his house as long as it ran by Paw Paw. They were put on this route, between Galena and Chicago, in 1834.

In December, 1835, Russell Town came to the grove with his wife and five children. Charles Morgan and wife, and seven children, came from Virginia, and the next year they were keeping tavern half a mile east of David A. Town’s house.

William Rogers came in 1836. He was the first postmaster, having his office near Morgan’s tavern. The next post office was at Shabbona Grove. He had charge of the removal of the Indians from here to Council Bluffs in 1837. He was an officer in the Mexican war, and had been sheriff of Sacramento, California.

The first weddings were in 1836. On July 4th, of that year, Samuel McDowel, who had lived at the southeastern side of the grove for a num- ber of years, was married to Delilah Harris. This was the first marriage in the township. Among the Guests were Shabbona and two other Indians, who were very much pleased at being invited. Hassa Town, who was present at the wedding, used to tell of the way they celebrated it like the Fourth of July. After the wedding ceremony the men went into a grove and cut a liberty pole and brought on their shoulders, then they fastened a flag with the stars and stripes, to the end of the pole, and hoisted the pole so the flag could float in the breeze, and then how they did shout. It seemed like a regular Fourth of July celebration. The next wedding was that of Fidelia Sawyer to George Town, December 13, 1836. December 20th Levi Carter was married to the widow Gillet. Rev. Benoni Harris officiated at each occasion.

Jacob D. Rogers came in 1837 from Pennsylvania. His claim of 320 acres was next west of George Town’s claim and included. the west part of the site of Pawpaw. He was the first to settle out on the prairie west of the grove. His log house, which was built in 1837, stood where Dr. George Ryan afterwards lived, and Ritchies lived there a long time afterward. The place where the log house stood is now occupied by a fine dwelling house owned by George Faber.

James Gable came with Rogers, and he used to tell about helping to build the log house, and he said after they had hauled one load of logs and piled them upon the ground and went and got another load, they had hard work to find the place where they had deposited the first loads the grass was so thick and tall it hid them from their sight, and there was no road to guide them. The Indian trail ran past Pawpaw to Shahbona Grove.

In 1841 during the summer a thousand Indians were encamped in the northwest part of the grove near a big spring, near what is now called Wheeler’s Grove. They came from Indiana and here was where they stopped to get their pay from the government. This same year the Indians that had lived here, Waubansic’s tribe, had been removed to their new hunting ground beyond the Mississippi river.

In 1838 Rev. Caleb Morris came. With him came his daughter, the widow Nancy Robinson, and her children, one daughter and six sons. Deacon Orlando Boardman came in 1849. It was through his efforts and assistance that the first Baptist church was built at South Pawpaw. Deacon Hallock also arrived that year, and White and French, Pete and Mr. Breese’s family, who came in May, 1841. There were then eighteen families around the grove, thirteen of whom were living in Brooklyn township.

Peter May came in 1841. He bought part of the land where Pawpaw now stands. Hon. O. W. Bey came in 1842 and settled at Four Mile Grove. Elder Norman Warriner came in 1843 and for twenty years was pastor of the Baptist church. There were a great many taverns along the old Chicago road, but they could not accommodate many guests. Jacob Wirick kept tavern at East Pawpaw in early days.

The first school was taught in 1836 in a little pole schoolhouse 12x12, built for the purpose on the Mead farm. Emily Giles, from Fox river, taught for one dollar a week and boarded around. In the spring of 1835 Rev. Benoni Harris began to preach occasionally in his son’s house, where he lived in 1839.

Father Morris came and preached in the cabins of the settlers. Circuit preachers came in ‘39 and ‘40; among the first was Elder White, Mr. Lummery, Alonzo Carte, Peter Cartwright and Mr. Bachelder, all of these were Methodists; their appointments were about three months apart. The first Baptist preachers were Elders Carpenter, Charles Harding and Norman Warriner. Dr. George S. Hunt, the first practicing physician at the Grove and in Wyoming township, came here in the spring of 1844. He has been dead many years. His wife also is dead, and their only child, Mrs. John Baker, lives at the old homestead.


Historical encyclopedia of Illinois;
Chicago: Munsell Pub. Co., 1904.

When Lee County was divided into townships in 1850, Towns 37, 38 and 39, Range 2, were given the name of “Paw Paw” by the commissioners appointed to make the division. Their report was dated July 19, 1850. On the 14th of the preceding May, six representatives of the different localities met in Dixon, as a “Board of Supervisors,” convening at their first session, and at this meeting changed the name of the “town formerly called Paw Paw” to Wyoming. (See ante. “Lee County.”) The authority for this action is at least open to question, and but for acquiescence in the change, Paw Paw might still be legally Wyoming. The latter name is said to have been adopted at the suggestion of James Goble, in memory of Wyoming Valley, Pa., from which his family arid others came.

Levi Kelsey and Joel Griggs were the first to locate a claim and build a house at Paw Paw Grove. This was in the winter of 1833-4; but supposing that they were on the Indian reservation, whose boundaries had not yet been defined. Mr. Griggs abandoned his claim and moved to Troy Grove. Tracy Reeves, writing from Princeton, Ill., under date of July 27, 1881, says that he was with a party at Paw Paw Grove in May, 1834, and camped over night in Indian huts, and that “they saw no one there, white or Indian.”

We have the authority of Mrs. Sarah Terry. now of Earlville, Ill., a daughter of David A. Town, for the following statement: “David A. Town and family arrived in 1834, and stopped at the east end of the grove, where he put up an unhewed log house (on land afterward owned by Pierpont Edwards), in which he lived until 1835, when his brother Russell came and occupied the cabin he moved out of. On moving from this cabin, David A. Town built a log house north of the Chicago road, on the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 11, on or near the spot where the residence of H. L. Roberts now stands. He soon erected a hewed log house (the first of its kind) close to this. The two houses were separated by so short a space that they were occupied as one, and the hewed portion was given the dignity of a parlor of the pioneer home. In this log house was held the first wedding in this section. George Town, the son of David A. Town. being the groom, and Fidelia Sawyer, the daughter of George Sawyer of Lee Center Township, being the bride.

“The first store at the east end of the Grove was operated by one Harris and the first store at the west end was built and operated by Wheeler Hedges, until it was purchased by Williard Hastings, whose property it continued to be until consumed by fire, this being the first building to burn in the settlement. It was lo-cated on the triangular piece of ground east of the town plat formed by the crossing of the Chicago road and the railroad. George Town built a hewed log house where the residence of W. I. Guffin now stands, near the southwest corner of Lot 6, Block 5, Harpers Addition.”

O. P. Johnson, who settled in Brooklyn Township and died there at an advanced age, stated that he rived the shingles for Town’s cabin, and, with three others, put it up in a day and a half in November, 1834. Edwin (or Edward) Town, a brother of David, settled at Shabbona Grove, and Hosea Town, a half-brother, located at Melugin’s Grove about the same time.

About two years later than Town came Benoni Harris, then a man approaching eighty years of age, and his equally aged wife, with a large family of children. Mrs. Harris was the first in the settlement to be taken away. They were accompanied by a son-in-law, Edward Butterfield, John Ploss, John Wilcox and William McDowell. In the spring of 1836 Butterfield built a log cabin near the county line and close to the north line of the south-west quarter of Section 19, DeKalb County, on south side of the road now leading to Earlville. It was on the east edge of the tract which became South Paw Paw. He later moved about a mile northeast of this point, and in 1854 went to Black Hawk, Iowa, whence he finally returned and is buried near his old home. Wilcox located on the fractional south-west quarter, Section 18; Stephen Harris on the fractional northwest quarter of Section 19,

LeClaire reservation; Benjamin Harris on the northwest quarter of Section 19, and Joseph Harris on the northeast quarter of the same section—all in DeKalb County. These were Sons of Benoni Harris. John Ploss had a claim which embraced the larger part of South Paw Paw. Here, some rods east of the county line, he built his house on the creek about the time Butterfield put up his cabin. As late as 1840 the only tavern at the Grove was that afterward known as Simms’ Tavern. It was a hewed log house, the second of its kind in the neighborhood. Simms’ son, having been indicted for counterfeiting, the father sold out to raise money to satisfy the bail bond, and the criminal was permitted to escape. Isaac Robinson purchased the tavern of Simms and added a small stock of goods to his business. It was on an elevation on the north side of the road, probably on the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 12, but earlier a hewed log house on the opposite side of the road had been used as a tavern. In 1840 a log house stood on the north side of the Chicago road, on Section 12, nearly opposite the junction with the present road from South Paw Paw. This house was occupied by Charles Morgan, who came with his wife and a number of children in 1836. Here was kept the first postoffice in the town, Morgan being the Postmaster. Afterward, Hiram Wood held the office in the house then standing next west of the Robinson, or Simms’, Tavern. On the south side of the Chicago road and on the east half of Section 12, a small log house stood in 1840. It was never occupied for residence purposes after that year, but was used for a time for a public school, the first in the township. It is supposed that Jacob Alcott, who had married a squaw, built it. A little east of this cabin, and on the same side of the road, a frame house, believed to have been the first in the township, was built in the hollow by one Musselman, and hence was then, and has ever since been, known as the “Hollow House.” It is still standing and is used as a barn. For a number of years Musselman kept a tavern here, and the house became noted for its dance hall and bar.

On the south side of the road and about thirty rods east of David Town’s house, stood a log blacksmith shop in the early ‘40s, where once Alonzo Osborne was the smith. Later, perhaps in 1845, a blacksmith shop stood on ground in the village now occupied as the store of R. A. Hopps, and here this same Osborne held forth for a time. A man by the name of Alger settled at Four Mile Grove in 1835 or ‘36. Alcott, above mentioned, married the Pottawatomie woman, Madaline, the former wife of Joseph Ogee, the half-breed, the one favored in the treaty of Prairie du Chien reserving to “Madaline, a Pottawatomie woman, wife of Joseph Ogee, one section,” etc. David A. Town eventually purchased the west 170 rods of this Reserve Section for $1,000, and William Rogers the remainder. The tract has always been designated in conveyances and on maps as the “Ogee Section.” In 1880 William McMahan, County Surveyor, surveyed and platted the section and recorded the plat. The section granted to Pierre LeClaire by the Prairie du Chien treaty, was surveyed and platted by Wheeler Hedges in 1843, which plat was recorded. The County Atlas of 1900 shows these sections and their relation to each other.

William Rogers, son of Charles, arrived in 1836, and was the first Postmaster. His office was located near Morgan’s tavern, which was presumably the “Hollow House.” Jacob D. Rogers landed in 1837. His claim included the west part of the site of Paw Paw village. He was a conductor, and his house was a station, on the “Underground Road,” over which negro slaves were transported to freedom. His log house was built in 1837 on Section 10, where Mr. Ritchie’s house stood in recent years. In the latter year James Goble, afterward Sheriff, came with Jacob D. Rogers, Rogers’s wife being Goble’s sister. Goble’s father, Ezekiel, and his brother, Timothy, came at the same time. William Jenkins and family were also accessions of 1837, while Henry and Medard Cornstock, both blacksmiths, were a year earlier. Reference is made in other works to a “Butterfield or George Town” cabin, when, in fact, Butterfield never built or owned a cabin in this part of the grove. His holdings were confined to the south side of the grove.

Rev. Caleb Morris joined the settlement in 1848 with his widowed daughter, Nancy Robinson, and children, all of whom settled south of the grove. About this time a man by the name of Dunbar became the second settler at Four Mile Grove. In 1840, Deacons Orlando Boardman and Hallock were added to the settlers on the south side of the grove, at which time there were eighteen families encircling the grove, thirteen being within what is now Wyoming Township. This year, also, came Bally Breese and started a cooper shop and bought of William Rogers nearly all of the land on which East Paw Paw is situated. Peter May and family were added in 1841. He bought all the land now covered by Paw Paw village, but disappeared mysteriously, ten years later, without having received a deed. Elder Norman Warriner came in 1843 and Obed W. Bryant settled at Four Mile Grove in 1842.

In the later ‘40s two sawmills were in operation in the grove, both propelled by horsepower. One was put up by Stanley Ruggles on the southeast corner of the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 19, DeKalb County. The other was in Lee County on the road between the LeClaire and Ogee Sections.

Without being able to make anything like an exact comparison, it would seem that, In 1840, Paw Paw Grove was the focus of the largest settlement in the county—Dixon and, possibly Sugar Grove, in Palmyra, excepted. This is accounted for by two facts: that it was on the stage road from Chicago to Galena, and also was one of the largest, most beautiful and attractive pieces of timber in all the country. All the early settlers sought the shelter and other advantages of groves, and were slow to reach out for the now valuable prairie lands.

John D. Rogers was not the only abolitionist in the colony who, by the “Underground Road,” dealt frequent, but ineffective, blows at slavery. He expressed the sentiments of many when he said: “Whether I am an abolitionist or not, my best mares are.”

The township and range lines were surveyed in 1836, but the section lines were not run until the winter of 1842-3. Prior to this people had held their lands only by right of possession, awaiting the market or pre-emption day. Consequently the “claim-jumper” found the same scope and temptation to operate here as elsewhere, and as in nearly every other section, protective societies were organized to defeat his dishonest efforts. The remedy was always adjusted to the emergency and the outcome was never satisfactory to the rascal. The law was of the home-made kind, but its principles were founded in justice, and hence it was never appealed from.

The horsethief and the counterfeiter plied their vocations all over the country. Conditions favored them and they prospered. Paw Paw and Inlet seem to have been their favorite rendezvous or bases of operation. No other settlements in the county are as notoriously identified with them as these two. As a rule, all newcomers were under suspicion. As a settler of 1837 put it: “Paw Paw was a strange place then. It seemed to me that every other man I met was hunting a horsethief, and you couldn’t tell which was the thief—generally it was both.” One horsethief buried a sack containing $900 in gold and, on being sent to prison, told his wife how he had marked the spot by a notched stake, but she was unable to find it. The secret having leaked out later, Harris Breese noticed such a stake and, together with his neighbor, Hampton, dug for and recovered the treasure. The latter’s share is said to have been to him the nest-egg of future wealth.

In 1834 a thousand Indians were encamped for a week at the Big Spring, at the northwest corner of the grove. They were being moved from Indiana west, and the Government made them a payment here. The local Indians had already been sent to their western reservation the same year, but the old chief Shabbona, who is held in grateful memory for the protection he afforded the settlement in the days of the Black Hawk War, afterwards returned to the scenes of his early life and died on the Illinois River July 17, 1859, aged eighty-four. He was buried in a lot set apart to him in the cemetery at Morris, Grundy County, where a fitting monument was raised to his memory a few years ago. His oldest wife and several children rest beside him. Waubunsie, Chief of the tribe at Paw Paw Grove, and Shabbona were on the most friendly relations. The latter was, however, the leader and the former loyally followed. The Indian trail from Chicago to the Indian village at Rock Island ran along the south side of Paw Paw Grove. Schools.—Tbe first school in Wyoming Township is supposed to have been started as early as 1836, in what was called “The Little Pole School House,” which was not more than twelve feet square, and was erected expressly for school purposes. The probability is that it was the same cabin heretofore mentioned as having been built by Jacob Alcott. The schools were all necessarily small and were started and maintained entirely by individual contributions, the public school system not having then been established. Vacant cabins were sometimes utilized for this purpose, and at other times private houses sheltered the school. The first frame school building in the township was erected about 1844 on or near the northeast corner of Section 24. Hero Charles Dickinson and Orlando Boardman were the first teachers, Dickinson probably preceding Boardman. In two or three years the building was moved half a mile east, and now serves as a roosting place for chickens.

Postmasters.—Before a postoffice was opened at Paw Paw, the nearest one was at Somonauk, fifteen miles eastward. A “star mail-route” was established through Paw Paw in 1837, William Rogers being the first Postmaster there. Isaac Robinson took charge of the office as early as 1838 or 1839. In 1841 a Mr. Brittain, who lived in Princeton, carried the mail from that place to Paw Paw by way of Knox Grove. Willard Hastings was the carrier between Paw Paw and Ottawa. Hiram Wood held the office of Postmaster from 1845 to 1849, when William H. Robinson succeeded him, remaining until 1853, when Wood came in again. He was followed in 1857 by James Simons, and he in 1861 by John Colvllle, who remained at the post many years. Then came C. F. Preston, in Cleveland’s first term, Ezra G. Cass, J.H. Braffet , and Sadie Case, the present incumbent. At the first organization of the township in 1850, 113 votes were cast for town officers. David A. Town was the choice for Supervisor and John Colville for Clerk.

Paw Paw Village.—Paw Paw Village was first incorporated as a village June 7, 1882. George Town’s log house, already mentioned, was the first to be erected on the site of the village. Peter May’s cabin stood close to the location, in recent years, of the Sutter house, west of Siglin & Potter’s brick store, and his blacksmith shop, started in 1842, was on the south side of the road nearly opposite the store. The Hastings house, formerly on the site of the Roberts dwelling, was built in May, 1841, and was the first frame house in the village or in the township. About this time Hastings put up the first brick building in the township, about one-half mile south of the village, on Fonda’s corners, and it was later clap-boarded. In 1844 Rodolphus Hawley built on the south side of the Chicago road, opposite George Town’s, on site of the place now owned and occupied by John E. Edwards.

The next year Amos Sawyer built a cabin where the Detamore house now stands. In 1846 George Town moved out of his log cabin into the house known, many years afterwards, as the “Grummond” house. In those days John Colvllle and Jacob Rogers were partners in the manufacture of shingles by horse power. They also had such a mill over in DeKalb County. Probably this was the same mill moved from one locality to the other.

This was the settlement in 1847. Not a store was then in the place. Enterprising peddlers traveled the roads and undertook to supply the simple wants of the people. In the latter year, however, settlers began coming In and the village entered on a career of healthy development which, though slow, has had no appreciable check up to the present. We should be glad to follow its business growth, building by building, but space will not permit. Plodding, indeed, was its headway up to 1871, when lots and buildings together were assessed at only $3,809. Allowing for the assessor’s discounts, this will still prove to be very small.

Village Schools,.—Prior to 1880 the demands of the village school had led to the erection of a two-story frame building situated on the west side of North Street at the west end of East Avenue. In 1883 a two-story addition was built on the west end of this building, thus making four rooms in all. In December, 1884, the building was destroyed by fire, and, in 1885, a two-story brick structure, with large hall above, was erected on the same spot. Dr. J. H. Braffet was one of the school directors, and was chiefly instrumental in having this building erected. January 27, 1897, this structure was also consumed by fire. A long contest followed over the selection of a new site, which was finally settled in favor of the present location by a majority of twelve votes. In the summer and fall of 1897, the school house now in use was erected on the ground thus chosen, occupying a campus of four acres. The building, furniture and grounds are valued at $15,000. The building furnishes ample accommodations, and is in every respect thoroughly modern. The full course of study embraces twelve years, eight in the graded departments and four in the high school course. The school is on the accredited list of the State University, the Northern State Normal, Oberlin College, as well as others. Six teachers are employed.

Newspapers.—The first number of the “Paw Paw Herald” was issued November 23, 1877, by R. H. Ruggles, editor and proprietor. In January, 1878, E. G. Cass and J. B. Gardner became publishers, Ruggles still owning the plant. On the 22d of the next month they were succeeded by W. M. Geddes, who soon purchased the outfit. The paper was Republican in politics, but ceased publication some years ago. The “Lee County Times,” originally a Democratic paper, appeared March 21, 1878, with E. G. Cass and J. B. Gardner as proprietors. In August following Mr. Gardner retired. It became a strong Republican paper and, as such, is now owned and edited by O. W. Briggs.

Churches.—The Baptist church is the pioneer religious organization of the township. In February, 1841, it was organized with Orlando Boardman and wife, Mrs. Hallock, wife of Israel Hallock, James Goble and wife, Rev. Burton Carpenter, Sr., Hiram Harding and wife, Cyrus Whitford and wife and Mr. Sampson and wife as its first members. The meetings were held in Deacon Boardman’s log cabin. Cyrus Whitford and wife belonged to Johnson’s Grove, twelve miles to the northeast. Harding and wife and Sampson and wife came from Harding (now Freedom), La Salle County, about the same distance southeast. The others were all living at South Paw Paw. Israel Hallock, who is now living and is respected and known as Deacon Hallock, joined the society the next year and became its second deacon, Boardman being the first. Rev. Thomas Powell preached the sermon at this first gathering. Assisting him were Rev. Burton Carpenter, Jr., from Dixon, Rev. Hadley and Mr. Stannard of La Moille. Rev. Mr. Carpenter preached a few sermons, and was succeeded by Rev. Charles Harding in March, 1841, who continued as pastor until his death, February 3, 1843. Feeling the need of an assistant in his work Mr. Harding sent for Elder Norman Warriner, of Indiana, who arrived just in time to help bury Mr. Harding. Mr. Warriner occupied the pulpit for twenty years until he resigned. In 1843 the first meeting house was commenced at South Paw Paw and was finished in 1846. Until then services were held in Boardman’s log cabin, which stood on the spot where now stands the home of Deacon Hallock. The membership reached its highest point in 1859, when it numbered 162. On Mr. Warriner’s resignation, J. D. Pullis became pastor serving from July of that year until December 31, 1865. During his pastorate the present house of worship was built at South Paw Paw at a cost of about $3,000, and a parsonage purchased at the cost of $1,000. In March, 1866, G. W. Scott became pastor and continued until July, 27, 1867. C. H. Perritt served from October 12, 1867, for a little over one year, and was succeeded December 26, 1868, by William Sturgeon, who remained until October 26, 1872. In 1873 the church building was moved from South Paw Paw to its present location in the village, and a basement was constructed under it at a cost of a little over $2,000. The parsonage at South Paw Paw was disposed of and a lot purchased in the village, on which a parsonage was built in the winter of 1873-4. January 24, 1874, H. R. Hicks became pastor, continuing until September, 1881. S. B. Gilbert was pastor from December 10, 1881, until July, 1885. September 26th, following, H. F. Gilbert became pastor and served until May 21, 1887, after which the church was for a while without a regular pastor. R. H. Shaftoe served from June 3, 1888, to April 1, 1891. On May 10th of the latter year, R. S. Sargent was called and continued to May 10, 1896. During his term an addition was made to the rear of the church and other improvements at a cost of $1,000. A. C. Jones became pastor, June 14, 1896, and served until September 1, 1898. He was succeeded January 1, 1899, by William A. Mathews, who continued until October 1, 1892 [sic]. In April, 1901, the parsonage on Flagg Street was sold for $800, and a modern residence as a parsonage was erected on Wheeler Street, at cost of about $2,500. November 16, 1902, H. J. Wheeler, the present pastor, assumed charge. The church celebrated its fiftieth anniversary June 18, 1891.

About 1870 a class of the Methodist Episcopal Church was formed with James Fonda, Jane E. Fonda, Sarah E. Swarthout, Edward Patrick and Harriet Patrick as members, the way being prepared by the preaching of Elder Lazenby at the school house the previous year. In 1875, while Rev. Pomeroy was pastor, their church building was erected. Paw Paw was made a separate charge in Rock River Conference in October, 1879.

In 1864 the Protestant Episcopal Society, organized in 1857, but long in a somnolent state, was revived by Rev. Jacob Fowler and built up to a membership of thirty or forty. A church was built In 1866 on the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 6, at a cost of $2,600. The building was finally sold at

Sheriff’s sale, on a judgment for $500 recovered by the minister, A. C. Wallace, for arrears of salary. Being bid in by him he sold It to the United Brethren in 1874.

The Presbyterian Church of Wyoming, at Cottage Hill, was organized under the labors of John Flemming as missionary pastor from Earlville, in 1857, with the following members: Barton Bisbee, Joseph Blee, William Winter, Sally C. Bisbee, Euphemia Blee, Mrs. William Winter, Mrs. William Sproul and James Sproul. Mr. Flemmlng continued to preach once in two weeks in the school house, but for how long we have been unable to ascertain. In 1858 or ‘59 a building was put up at a cash outlay of $200. Being too small it was sold and became James Blee’s granary. A new church 36 by 60 feet was erected a little north of the first one at a cost of $2,200. It was remodeled in 1861. No pastor was settled until about 1870, when Alexander S. Peck was installed, serving at Paw Paw at the same time. Rev. McFarland succeeded him for a year and, in 1878, Mr. McCullock, the pastor at Paw Paw, became the supply and continued for three years. About 1870 the Presbyterians began holding meetings in the school house at the village, Rev. Alex. S. Peck, of Cottage Hill, preaching every two weeks. The society was regularly organized May 26, 1873, the first members being Miss Sarah A. Wilson, Andrew J. Fuller, Susan C. Fuller, Jane Nettleton, Jane Bulentine, Mr. and Mrs. Simeon Cole, Henry Cole, Anderson G. Radley and Mrs. Jane Howell. Rev. Mr. Peck was the first pastor. In 1875 a church was built at a cost of $1,900. Mr. Peck remained until the close of 1876. Revs. McFarland and E. N. Lord filled the pulpit until April, 1878, when George D. McCullock was installed, continuing until July, 1881. “The Presbyterian church of Paw Paw” was formally incorporated May 8, 1901. On the same date the society voted to sell the old church, parsonage and grounds, and purchase the Siglin property, where the new church and parsonage now stand, the latter having been moved to make a place for the church. The project was inaugurated with an offer from Mr. David Smith to give $1,000 towards the expenses on condition that a church building, costing not less than $5,000, should be erected. Robert Pogue, David Smith, W. S. Yingling, William Moffatt and T. H. Stettler were chosen building committee. The church was completed at a cost of $10,000, and the improvements on the parsonage, with cost of ground on which both buildings stand, came to $3,000. The pastors succeeding Rev. McCullock have been: John H. Carpenter, C. E. Schaible, Edgar D. Keys, Henry A. Furgeson, Charles H. Herald, Samuel Olerenshaw, W. A. Bass and Joseph W. Mann, the present incumbent. The first Board of Trustees of the church were Jacob Headershot, A. C. Radley and A. J. Fuller.

Banks.—A bank was organized in the spring of 1880, under the name of the Union Bank, by M. M. Morse and P. C. Ransom, Mr. Ransom transferring his interest to Mr. Morse in 1882. B. J. Wheeler and Teal Swarthout succeeded Mr. Morse, in June, 1887. In 1901 the bank was reorganized under the State law, as the State Bank of Paw Paw, with a paid up capital of $25,000, B. J. Wheeler being President; David Smith, Vice President; Teal Swarthout, Cashier, and Frank Wheeler, Assistant Cashier. Its first Board of Directors consisted of David Smith, B. J. Wheeler, S. B. Miller, T. H. Stettler and Teal Swarthout. In July, 1902, the capital stock was increased to $40,000, and the Board of Directors from five to eight members, W. I. Guffin, Alonzo La Porte and A. H. Rosenkrans being added to the former list. On November 1, 1902, they bought out the interest of the First National Bank of Paw Paw, which had been organized June 1, 1902, and the capital stock was increased to $50,000. At this time W. I. Guffin, A. H. Rosenkrans and Alonzo La Porte resigned as directors, their places being filled by the election of William Moffatt, B. F. Frantz and A. C. McBride, the latter being elected Assistant Cashier. The Bank has a line of deposits averaging close to $200,000. Loans and discounts amount to $150,000, and the institution is in every way doing a conservative and satisfactory business.

Water System.—Natural Gas.—The village is equipped with an efficient water system for fire protection and general use. While drilling a well for the water supply an obstruction was encountered which required the use of dynamite, the explosion of which opened up a powerful stream of natural gas necessitating the abandonment of the well. B. J. Wheeler purchased it and piped gas from it to several houses, but the gas soon gave out. Another gas supply was struck on the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 1, which still furnishes fuel for the houses and for the power used on the farm. The village standpipe, or water tank, stands over the first mentioned well.

East Paw Paw.—This settlement, as well as that of South Paw Paw, is so near the real Paw Paw in the grove that, to a certain extent, the early history of one runs through all of them. William Rogers’ hotel was evidently within the bounds of what became East Paw Paw. Baily Breese settled in 1841, and a part of East Paw Paw was platted on his land. Jacob Wirick bought out William Rogers about 1842 or 1843, and thus was, for a while, landlord of the hotel in that part of East Paw Paw lying in DeKalb County. A man by the name of Meade landed in 1838 and located in the grove south of East Paw Paw. At that time

Paw Paw grove extended into DeKalb County. Hiram Gates came in 1845 and bought Meade out. Charles Pierce also arrived in the latter year. The first store at “the grove” was opened here by one Harris, and another was started a little west on the Chicago road by Charles Howard, in 1847, and a postoffice was opened in 1850 with Andrew Breese as Postmaster.

About 1855 the Teachers’ Institute and Classical Seminary was erected with funds subscribed for the purpose. The building stands in DeKalb County, and is now used for public-school purposes. Before 1848, S. B. Warren had a general store and Jos. Harris a grocery and saloon in East Paw Paw, and there was also a blacksmith shop in the place.

A Union Church has been standing here since 1868, but is no longer used for services.

South Paw Paw.—Most of the first settlers of South Paw Paw have already been mentioned, including John Ploss in 1835, and Deacons Boardman and Hallock in 1840. Eber St. John seems to have arrived prior to the latter date. Ralph Atherton arrived in 1844, as also did Dr. George S. Hunt, the first physician in the township as well as at the grove. Deacon Daniel Pine settled here in 1845, while Timothy Goble, brother of James, did the same in 1843. Once the place supported a graded school which is reputed to have done excellent work. Prior to 1859 a postofflce was opened here and continued until about two years ago, and was always called LeClaire Postofflce. Daniel Robinson was the first postmaster. About 1855 the Union Academy was started in South Paw Paw and was continued for several years, with H. H. Hoffman as first Principal. A two-story building was erected by subscription—the upper floor being used for the academy and the lower for a district school. It now stands about fifty rods east of the original site, being used as a barn.

Raiload.—September 22, 1869, the town, by a vote of 142 yeas to 62 nay’s, decided to take $50,000 stock in the Chicago & Rock River Railroad, issuing ten per cent. interest-bearing bonds for that purpose. The bonds were issued July 1, 1871. The town resisted payment by instituting suit to enjoin collection of the bonds, but was defeated. In 1881 new bonds were issued to take up the first issue, and were made payable in annual installments, the last or which fell due in 1901, the principal and interest aggregating $102,380. The stock was purchased at this cost to aid in the construction of the road, which went into operation in 1872 and has been of inestimable value to the community.

Elevator.—The only grain elevator in Paw Paw was erected by Capt. D. M. Roberts in 1872, and was operated by him until it was sold in 1873 to J. H. Hurlbut & Company of Chicago, and rented to Warner & Guffin, who bought it the following year. The original building collapsed in 1880, while loaded with wheat, oats, corn and timothy seed. It was rebuilt at once on the old site and is now owned by the estate of A. J. Warner, and operated by the firm of Warner & Guffin. Mr. W. I. Guffin has been a member of the firm from the beginning, and is now actively engaged in the business.

A prosperous tile and brick business is carried on in the village by J. M. Beal & Co. Their drying sheds have 15,600 feet floor space, and with their two kilns, give them a capacity of 30,000 brick per day and about the same proportion of drain tile.

The population of Paw Paw village, according to census of 1900, was 675. The population of the township and village combined, was 1,455 in 1890, and 1,546 in 1900.


”History of Lee County, Illinois” Frank Everett Stevens
Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1914, 1011 pgs. Pages 497-537

Third from Dixon on the old Chicago road came Paw Paw Station, named from the paw paw grove of the early days.

This township probably contained more Indians in the year 1834, when the whites began to penetrate Lee county, than any other township in the county. Of course then there were no townships. I speak of the six mile area, which subsequently constituted the Government township.

When the treaty of Prairie du Chien was negotiated July 29, 1829, by Gen. John McNeil, Col. Pierre Menard and Caleb Atwater, with the Pottawatomie Indians, a considerable portion of the lands granted were located in and near Wyoming township. First of course comes our old friend, Shabbona, called in the treaty, Shah-eh-nay. He was given two sections “at his village near the Paw-paw Grove.” This grant was over the county line into DeKalb county, just a little ways.

Madeline Ogee, wife of Joseph Ogee, was given “one section west of and adjoining the tract herein granted to Pierre Leclerc, at the Paw-paw Grove.” The Leclerc tract granted was, “To Pierre Leclerc, one section at the village of the As-sim-in-eh-Kon, or Paw-paw Grove.” Thus we get therein the Indian name for the grove. By some misconception the grant always has been called the LeClere or LeClair section. The statutes from which I quote, plainly enough spell the name several times “Leclerc.” The Ogee section, its acreage and its fate already have been stated in that portion of this work devoted to Ogee.

By reason of its early association with Indians, particularly Shabbona, Paw Paw, in the eye of the author always has possessed a sort of romantic life. His boyhood associations, just over the line into DeKalb county, in Paw Paw township, too, have tended to make him regard Paw Paw village with that affection which, germinated in childhood, never loses its hold in after years.

At the organization of the county, Wyoming was in Inlet precinct. Paw Paw Grove attracted the settlers. The native forests of giant oaks in this township presented to the eye of the settler a never ending supply of fuel. With the beginning of townships in 1850, it was named Paw Paw, and so it should have remained, but owing to the imaginary confusion, which was feared would result from the adjoining town in DeKalb county, bearing the same name, it was changed to Wyoming. Tradition says lots were drawn to see which town should have it.

Over east, partly in Lee county and partly in DeKalb county, there was erected the village of East Paw Paw, once the most promising and prosperous place between Dixon and Chicago. In Wyoming township, the present village, west of the grove, was called Paw Paw Grove or West Paw Paw, and on Aug. 1, 1871, it was platted as Paw Paw Grove.

One other village, in section 24 on the DeKalb county line, sprang up, designated South Paw Paw or LeClair Postoffice, though it never was platted. Thus it will be seen that a multiplicity of Paw Paws had sprung up. To simplify the matter, James Goble, of that township, subsequently sheriff, suggested that because so many of the early settlers came from the Wyoming valley in Pennsylvania, that Wyoming be adopted as the name. Accordingly, Isaac Harding, Warren Badger and Lorenzo Wood, constituting the county commissioners court, changed the name to Wyoming, and on May 14, 1851, the board of supervisors officially ordered that “the township formerly called Paw Paw, shall hereafter be called Wyoming.”

The paw paw grew luxuriantly here in early years. This tract of timber covered over two thousand acres then. Much like Palmyra township, the grove contained thousands of black walnut trees, hard maple oak, hickory, cottonwood, butternut and sycamore, plums, blackberries and gooseberries grew plentifully. On the east side not far from the county line, was a beautiful spring of rare water. At the northwest corner was another. This latter fed Paw Paw creek which runs from the northwest corner in a southeasterly direction and joins Indian creek, which flows on into the Illinois river.

In the winter of 1833-34, Levi Kelsey with Joel Griggs made a claim and built a house in Paw Paw Grove. But fearing he might be on one of the Indian reservations, Mr. Kelsey in March, 1834, left and went on to Troy.

When later David A. Town came along in the fall of 1834, he went down to see Kelsey about the claim. Mrs. Kelsey came out in September, 1834, and she has related many stories about the Indians.

The Indians induced Griggs to cut many trees with the expectation of finding honey. When after many failures he declined to continue, they tried to induce Mr. Kelsey, but he declined peremptorily. For his decision, he was dubbed “good she-mo-ka man,” while Griggs was called “she-mo-ka man, ishnoba,” no good. Kelsey came before Griggs, but they built the house together. The two were partners and by a subsequent look at Kelsey ‘s diary, it has been found that he located there Jan. 20, 1834.

Tracy Reeve of Princeton, in May, 1834, went to the grove with three other men, to locate claims, but believing it all to be included in the reservations, they slept in Indian huts over night, during which a fearful storm raged. Next day they went to Troy Grove, the nearest settlement. This party did not meet a solitary person, red or white, at Paw Paw Grove.

I suppose some little detail of past history about these two, Kelsey and Reeve, might be interesting especially about Kelsey. His wife wrote that Mr. Kelsey came west in the fall of 1828. He peddled clocks in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and other southern states. During his travels he was taken sick many times. Once at Alexandria, a man in bed beside him died. He went on to St. Louis, where he was quite ill all winter. At Palrnyra, Illinois, he studied with a physician. Gravitating back to St. Louis he found himself in miserable health when the cholera broke out in 1832. When well enough, he took a peddler ‘s pack and started to peddle Yankee notions for a St. Louis firm. He was in that employment when he entered Paw Paw Grove and became its first squatter.

On the return of Reeve, he attempted to cross a creek swollen by the floods. In this effort his wagon tipped over and he turned a somersault over the dashboard. Next morning when desiring to pay his tavern bill he found his money, about eight dollars in silver, had disappeared. Retracing his course, he found it and was about to return to Troy Grove when a band of about thirty Indians overtook him.

Mr. Reeve was not the man to lose his nerve. He said “Good Morning” to them in the Indian language, after which the Indians with a hearty laugh, permitted his departure in peace. They told him in expecting to scare him, they bad anticipated a rare treat. But he did not scare, and that ended his effort at settlement in Lee county.

In characterizing a person as the first settler of a community, actual and continuous settlement should be considered. The man who enters a country first and tarries a brief period and then leaves, might be called more properly, a discoverer or visitor.

To Daniel A. Town belongs the distinction of becoming the first settler of Paw Paw Grove; it was in the autumn of 1834. He built his log house on the southeast side of the grove; a 16x18 affair, with the door in the east end, a six-light window in the west end and a big chimney and fireplace in the north end. The chimney like all the first ones was built on the outside, of split sticks, laid cob fashion, plastered between and lined inside with mud or clay. There was a floor in this cabin, made of boards split from logs and dressed by a broad-axe. The roof was made of shakes, split, about three feet long and four or five inches wide and laid double. Poles laid lengthwise held them up, and poles outside held them down. O. P. Johnson, later of Brooklyn, helped make this house and he says he and three others built it in a day and a half.

That fall, Mr. Town broke about twenty acres of prairie and sowed it to winter wheat. Later he bought part of the Ogee section of Mrs. Alcott in the manner set forth in the chapter devoted to Ogee. On this claim, he built his second house at the north end of the grove. With Mr. Town came his wife, and four children: George, Martha, David A., Jr., and Sarah. It is said of him that when applied to for the sale of seed grain at a high price, he would refuse, saying, “You are able to buy elsewhere; I have needy neighbors to whom I must give this.”

He was a large, powerful man; a leader; wanted to be recognized as such; tippled very moderately; resolute and fearless. Once a stranger came to him to ask the direction to a certain place. Given him, the stranger took the opposite direction. This Mr. Town did not like; so he overtook the stranger, wormed the story out of him that he was a counterfeiter; took away his dies, and got him sent to the penitentiary.

David. A. Town was the terror to horse thieves and the banditti, and for that more than any other reason, early Paw Paw was not much disturbed. Inlet to the west and East Paw Paw to the east were the places most frequented by them. When the township was organized, Mr. Town became its first supervisor.

Very soon the Harris, Butterfield, Ploss and Wilcox people came along, all related or intermarried. They came in one colony from Michigan with Rev. Benoni Harris, then over seventy, as its head. Eight adult children of the latter came too. Mr. Town died in 1861 and he and Mrs. Town are buried in the cemetery half a mile south of town.

The dwelling occupied by those colonists, was a double log cabin, built on their arrival. Later, Mr. Harris built the first frame house at the grove. Mrs. Harris was the first to die in this new settlement. In the spring of 1835, Edward Butterfield, who married one of Mr. Harris’ daughters, came to the west end of the grove and made a claim on the southeast of 10 and thereon he built a cabin, on the south side of the Chicago road. It was the first house on the west side; it was located on the first claim; it was the home of the first married couple; it was the first store and it was the first house to be burned.

John Ploss, another son-in-law of Reverend Harris, made the first settlement on the south side of the grove; but he did not remain long. In the autumn, he returned to Michigan. His settlement was called South Paw Paw.

The first stage house and tavern was built on the Chicago road, about midway between the two Paw Paws, east and west, by Isaac or Asahel Balding. This man sold it to William Rogers; he to Dick Allen; he to John Simms, who mortgaged it for $400 to get out of the Chicago jail, his son John, who was held there for passing bogus money. At this point the Ogee and Leclerc sections may as well be noticed and then passed up. In 1836 Job Alcott located and built his cabin on the south side of the Chicago road not far from East Paw Paw. After his marriage with Madeline Ogee, he sold the west half of the section to David A. Town for $1,000 in silver, and later he sold the east half to William Rogers. After great trouble, William McMahan found the witness trees marked OG and forthwith be platted the land. Before that time Willard Hastings had platted it, but because it had not been recorded, no end of trouble was encountered.

Charles Morgan, from Virginia, settled just west of East Paw Paw. Like so many others, he was a powerful man; more powerful than any of the others. He lived here until about 1850. He opened a tavern in his house which was located next west of Alcott‘s place. Alcott by the way, was from Ohio. After Alcott had remained a few years lie sold his place to a man named Musselman, who built the famous Hollow House on the premises, noted for years, for its dancing house and bar. Alcott then went with his wife Madeline to Missouri where the Pottawatornie Indians were located.

By a letter dated Sept. 19, 1913, signed by the commissioner of Indian Affairs, I am told concerning Alcott’s deeds, “One of the deeds conveying part of this reserve, was signed by Job Alcott, as the husband of Madeline. In the other two deeds, he signs by mark as Job P. Alcott, the husband of Madeline. These three deeds which were all approved April 17, 1844, conveyed 620 acres.” Thus after long research, I have solved the Ogee-Alcott mysteries. Ogee was alive in 1838 at Dixon’s Ferry. He died soon after and was buried, first near the corner of First street and Peoria avenue (southeast corner); then many years afterwards when his bones were discovered, they were interred in Oakwood cemetery. But I must not conclude without giving what the Lee county records show. Job P. Alcott and Madeline his wife, conveyed by warranty deed to William Rogers, “A certain tract or parcel of land known and described as the northeast corner of a certain tract of land given to said Madeline, a Pottawatomie woman, then the wife of Joseph Ogee, under the 4th article of the treaty of Prairie du Chien, of the 29th of July, A. D. 1829, containing eighty acres. This deed was dated Nov. 14, 1842; the consideration was $800; it was acknowledged Nov. 14, 1842, before Noah Leabo, a justice of the peace in and for Holt county, Missouri.

A certificate of magistracy was attached and the deed was recorded in book A of deeds on pages 397-9. A modern description would read, the “East half of the north-east quarter.” On the same date, Alcott and wife conveyed to the same party for $1,250, “the east half of said grant of one section of land, under said treaty exclusive of a lot of eighty acres of said half section of land already in possession of said William Rogers and this day by us conveyed to him, it being the intention of the said Job and Madeline Alcott, to convey to said Rogers 220 acres more or less of said east half of said land.” 80 and 220 made 300 acres. This deed bore the same date and was acknowledged as before noticed and was recorded in the same book A. The Town deed was recorded later. These deeds simply confirmed previous sales.

Town bought the other half. To repeat his conveyance would be tiresome. I simply give these dates to show that in 1842, Alcott had left Lee county and that at best he could not have lived more than six years in Lee county. But I think I have got the dates clown still closer; Mr. David Smith who came to Willow Creek when six years old in the year 1837 says by letter dated Oct. 8, 1913, that in that year of 1837, Alcott was living on his claim near Paw Paw. That he believes Alcott and Morgan lived in the same house, and that Alcott’s wife was an Indian woman. Mr. Smith also has the impression that Alcott and Morgan were related. Further than this, Mr. Smith is positive that Alcott left the next spring of 1838.

Mr. Smith never has made a mistake in his statements of early Lee county history, so that we may put it down that between 1836 and 1838 Alcott was Madeline’s husband, and that in 1838 he left the country with his wife and was living with her so late as 1844, in Holt county, Missouri.

The Leclerc section was surveyed in 1843 by Wheeler Hedges and the plat was recorded at once. Samuel J. Best and August Wiley are said to have purchased the LeClair or Leclerc section, at $2.25 per acre.

On July 4, 1836, Samuel McDowell was married to Miss Delilah Harris. This was the first wedding and Shabbona, the Indian chief, was one of the invited guests. After the wedding the men went into the grove and cut a liberty pole and carrying it back, fastened a flag to it and erected it, the first function of the kind performed in Lee county.

The second wedding was that of George Town and Fidelia Sawyer, Dec. 13, 1836. Some histories claim this was the first wedding celebrated in Wyoming; that the other was over the line. A week later, Dec. 20, a remarkably cold day, Levi Carter was married to Mrs. Gillette, a widow. Rev. Benoni Harris officiated at all of these weddings.

Wareham or Wiram Gates, dubbed “Bogus” Gates, frequented this Morgan tavern. What was called the box game was played there extensively. To quote an authority, “Supposing bogus money could be bought at a liberal discount, and an applicant would come for it. A sample box of the ‘stuff,’ which was good money, in layers of sand, would be shown, with the remark that the negotiation could be arranged and the price paid, but delivery of the base coin would only be made by being placed at the foot of a certain tree at 10 o’clock at night; but when the buyer came to the rendezvous in the darkness, confederates of the other party would cry out, ‘Here he is; now we’ll fix him!’ and discharges of firearms and other alarms would cause the person who came, to flee in terror, without getting what he bargained for.” Bogus Gates protested his innocence always, but some of the bad coin was found dangerously close to his house and too, two horse thieves, with the property in their possession, were caught at his premises.

In this township there are four cemeteries. Willard Hastings donated the ground for the first one. The Presbyterians own another called Cottage Hill. The Baptists at South Paw Paw own another, and near the old Lester Harding place is another. It is a sad commentary to notice the disaster time has wrought with many of the markers over the graves, although latterly, efforts have been made to repair them.

The first schoolhouse, built of poles, in 1836, on what later became the Meade farm, not more than 12x12, was taught by Emily Giles from Fox river. She received $1 per week and boarded round. Tuition was paid for by subscription. Mrs. Andrew Breese also taught there. This schoolhouse was located on the north side of the road. The first school, however, was held in a log house on the north side of the Dixon road. One of the teachers was a traveling Irishman who had been highly educated. He had a remarkable memory and could quote the poets ad libitum. But the poor fellow drank heavily like so many of the first itinerant schoolmasters.

Vacated cabins and private houses were used at one time and another, too, in which to hold schools. Among the early teachers were Robert Walker, Adams, Willard Hastings, Deacon Boardman, Walter Hyde, Basswood, Mary Harding, Mrs. Amasa Harrington, Elisha A. Stanton, and Mrs. Andrew Breese, before her marriage. Walker, who came here with May and Breese in 1841, taught in the Comstock blacksmith shop until about the year 1846.

The first frame school building was built as early as 1846 near the location of the creamery subsequently, in Paw Paw. About 1848 the country was divided into districts and about 1860, district No. 1 was graded.

Benoni Harris preached at different times as early as the winter of 1834-35, in his son’s cabin. In 1839 the venerable Father Morris preached around in some of the different cabins. About the same time, the circuit preachers came along; among the first were Peter Cartwright, Elders White, Lumery, Alonzo Carter, and Batchelder, all Methodists; and Elders Carpenter, Charles Harding, and Norman Warriner, who were Baptists. The appearance of the average circuit rider was about once in three months.

The first postmaster was William Rogers. The mail was carried along this route as early as 1834, but in 1837 a star route was established. Before an office was opened here, Somonauk, fifteen miles to the east, was the common postoffice for the settlers. Isaac Robinson was postmaster along about 1838 or 1839. In 1841, Willard Hastings was postmaster. He kept a store and tavern and carried the mail from Paw Paw to Princeton via the Four Mile grove. By reason of the junction of the roads at Paw Paw, the place enjoyed a considerable boom for many years. J. D. Rogers was another mail carrier. Among some of the other early postmasters were Hiram Wood, William H. Robinson, James Simons and John Colvill.

The first hedge raised in Lee county was grown in Wyoming township on the west line of section 21 and was grown by Ira Baker.

Wyoming was organized in 1850, like so many other townships, under the name of Paw Paw. The first town meeting to elect officers was held at schoolhouse number 5, at which 113 votes were cast. David A. Town was selected supervisor and John Colvill was elected town clerk. As already stated the name soon was changed to Wyoming.

George Town’s house was built of hewn logs and was the second one to be built on the town site of Paw Paw, in 1837. Edward Butterfield’s, built in 1835, was the first. In 1841 the little grocery burned down and for a considerable period thereafter there was no store in Paw Paw. Peddlers during this period did a thriving business. So late as the spring of 1847, the place contained but half a dozen families and its business interests all were comprised in the smithy and a shingle mill. But beginning with this year the settlers came in rapidly and the place showed rapid improvement. The peddlers began to look elsewhere, although the peddler performed a useful mission in those days. One of them, William H. Field, traveled that territory, from 1843. Among the first business men to locate in Paw Paw were John Colvill and Jacob Rogers, “Prairie,” who ran the shingle mill. Dr. J. C. Heath. from Somonauk, was the first physician to locate there, sometime between 1846 and 1849. In the last named year, he was in the drug business. Subsequently he erected two buildings in the village.

Field and Robinson put up a building and began merchandising in the fall of 1848. In a year or so they dissolved and Field erected a building of his own and went into business. As early as 1841, Charles Pelcher burned brick at the east end of the grove and Mr. Hastings was the first to build a brick house from the product.

Charles Pelcher erected four brick houses along about the years 1847-49.

Mechanics moved in. Here as in all other places, the blacksmith was the prosperous man. Among the earlies were the Walton brothers. Sylvester Smith was a shoemaker and Eri Butler was an early wagon maker. In 1849 Isaac Morris began his career as shoemaker. John Allen was an early carpenter. Alonzo Osborn and James Symonds built places and did a flourishing business in the manufacture of wagons and plows. As many as five fires were kept burning all the time. William Cole, Thomas Webster, Bunker, Leonard Bell and Major Morse all worked over the anvil there in early times. But L. H. Flagg was the most distinguished. His voice was a deep bass, very sweet and he was a famous singer. For almost a lifetime he continued as justice of the peace in Paw Paw and between him and John Colvill all the legal papers of the countryside were made by them. After 1850 John Colvill was an active merchant. He built several buildings.

Andrew Breese opened a dry-goods store here in 1852. Of course there were many others coming and going, but those already named were the first ones and about the only ones history has to do with.

Paw Paw always has enjoyed first-class newspapers. Nov. 23, 1877, R. H. Ruggles issued the first number of the Herald. In January, 1878, Ezra G. Cass and J. B. Gardner, took it over, but on February 22, W. M. Geddes took charge of it, and on March 21, 1878, Messrs. Class and Gardner issued the first number of the Lee County Times. At about the same time these gentlemen started the Lee Monitor and the Compton Record. In August Gardner dropped out of the partnership and Mr. Cass continued. In April, 1880, he started the Earlville Leader. Ezra Class was a remarkable man in many ways. When he started the papers in Paw Paw he was but nineteen years old. Not very long after his Earlville venture he died of consumption. Many have said he worked himself to death to win success.

The Baptist Church was organized at the house of Deacon Orlando Boardrnan, at South Paw Paw, in February, 1841. There were present at the meeting, Elder Burton Carpenter, from Dixon; Elder Thomas Powell from Vermilion; and Elder Hadley from LaMoille. Elder Carpenter preached the organization sermon and Elder Powell preached the second sermon. Thirteen members composed that first organization meeting. Elder Carpenter preached about two months and he was succeeded by Elder Charles Harding, who was the first regularly installed preacher. He resided at Indian Creek and supplied the pulpits at Paw Paw, Ottawa, Dayton, Indian Creek and Paw Paw. Rev. Norman Warriner was the second minister, and he continued for twenty years.

In South Paw Paw, a house of worship was erected during the pastorate of Mr. Warriner, 24x36. Deacon Orlando Boardman contributed most of the cost. Towards the close of Mr. Warriner‘s pastorate another church building, 36x60 was built in 1864 and in 1873 it was moved to Paw Paw and remodeled.

About 1870 the Presbyterian worshipers began holding meetings in the schoolhouse and Rev. Alexander S. Peck preached for them regularly every two weeks. In May, 1873, the society was duly organized and in 1875 their new church at a cost of $1,900 was built.

In 1869 the Methodists met at the schoolhouse where Elder Lazenby preached. In the year 1875 under the work of Reverend Pomeroy, their church was built. In 1857 the Cottage Hill or Wyoming Presbyterian Society was organized. In 1858 a building, 20x40 was built. In 1863 to care for the increased numbers, this building was sold and a larger church building 36x60 with a steeple eighty feet high, was built at a cost of $2,000.

The first Sunday school at the grove was instituted by the Rev. Benoni Harris in the little Mead schoolhouse; the second one at the Robert Walker schoolhouse and the third in the frame schoolhouse near the big spring. The first Sunday school picnic was held about the time of the organization of this last one and was attended with much pomp. James Goble was marshal of the day, and Elder O. W. Bryant orator.

The settlers of Wyoming were very much like the settlers of the other settlements and many are the yarns which have been spun about them. To repeat them all would take several volumes. Jacob D. Rogers came from Pennsylvania and settled at Paw Paw in 1837. He was a powerful man. On one of his trips to Chicago, the merchant of whom he had bought a barrel of salt excused himself from assisting to lift it into the wagon. To show his disgust, Rogers lifted the barrel up and tossed it into the wagon. He was a member of the vigilance committee and no member of the banditti ever attempted to become familiar with him or his property. At another time he desired his hired men to throw five three-bushel sacks of oats into the wagon. They suggested that the wagon might be driven to the barn for the purpose. Mr. Rogers threw one sack on one shoulder; another sack on the other shoulder and then had the men add a sack more to each shoulder, and then the fifth was put up as a rider, making a dead weight of 480 pounds. To emphasize his disgust, be remarked, “If either one of you men is too lazy to walk across the road, I will carry him on top, if the other has ambition enough to put him there.” He was a free talker and if he ever had any troubles, they arose from the propensity to criticise whenever it was needed. He maintained an underground station for the escape of slaves. In those days most of the school teachers were drunken fellows. Mr. Rogers disliked them so cordially that he built a log schoolhouse, hired a teacher and joined with others to fill it.

During this early period the Indians were very friendly. Waubansie, a noted chief, and a great friend to Shabbona, was located at the grove when the settlers began to arrive. He was not so susceptible to civilizing influences as Shabbona, neither was he so intelligent. At one time, earlier, he was regarded as a bloodthirsty enemy of the whites and during the Indian Creek massacre of 1832, he undoubtedly knew all about the plan and urged its enactment. But with the conclusion of the war, he was what might be called a good Indian.

At one time when those Indians had been started on their migration to their new reservation, 1,000 of them camped around the big spring. They were quiet and made no effort to disturb the settlers. So soon as they had been paid off they resumed their journey westward.

I have had occasion to mention the frequency of the taverns along the highways, great and small. Being time great artery connecting the two principal towns in Northern Illinois, the Chicago road was dotted along with taverns and it seems at this time as though the Paw Paws had more than their share. Over in East Paw Paw a traveler stopped at the Jacob Wirick tavern. When the woman made the beds next morning, she found there a sack or portmanteau of money. It was not disturbed and when the guest left, of course he took his money with him. He had been shot as I have been told and a woman came and tended him. Later she left, and then the man. In fact my mother, conversant with the facts, has said so. Subsequent to this the guest was arrested for horse stealing. He sent for his wife and told her he had buried the money near a fence and marked the spot with a notched stick. She tried very hard to locate the money but failed. Of course the affair got noised about and many a search was instituted.

By an accident, almost incredible, Harris Breese noticed a notched stick near a fence one day, and he broke it off and started for the village. Meeting Robert Hampton, he told the latter of his find and asked him to join in digging. Incredulously they began, but soon they dug up the sack which contained in Spanish doubloons, the equivalent of $900. This was divided equally and it became the foundation of Mr. Hampton ‘s ample fortune.

Caroline, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Town, was the first child born at the grove, April 21, 1836.

The dates of early Wyoming settlements have been put down in other books so many times that it would seem uninteresting to repeat them here. But so long as the books are not accessible, I must set them down without allusion to subsequent careers. Levi Kelsey, Joel Griggs, David A. Town, Tracy Reeve, the visitor, Oliver P. Johnson, D. A. Town’s family (Mrs. Town was Aunt Roxy), Rev. Benoni Harris and wife, and eight children, six of whom were married, Edward Butterfield, John Ploss and John Wilcox, the last three of whom were sons-in-law; these all came in 1834. Butterfield was another Black Hawk war veteran, who, attracted here by the beauty of the country, was instrumental in bringing out the colony.

Isaac or Asahel Balding, Russell Town and five children, Hosea, Harriet, David, Zerah and Elizabeth: a Mr. Alger. whose grave is said to have been the first made in the grove, all came in 1835. Job Alcott came in 1836. It is the general impression that he married Madeline Ogee before settling there: when or where nobody can tell. I have written every county clerk in the north half of Illinois, but no marriage license was issued from any of the counties. Charles Morgan came in 1836: so did William Rogers, the first postmaster. He was the man who had charge of the removal of the Indians in 1837 to Council Bluffs, and it is more than likely that 1836 or 1837 is the date he bought his half of the Ogee section. He could not have bought it before because he came here in the year 1836. Subsequently he became an officer in the Mexican war and still later sheriff of the county in which Sacramento, California, is situated. Henry and Medad Comstock came in 1836; they were brothers and blacksmiths. Both were drowned in 1839 while hunting ducks in Iowa. Samuel McDowell, 1836; his marriage with Delilah Harris, July 4, 1836, was the first wedding in the grove; Levi Carter came in 1836 and his marriage with Mrs. Gillette was the third. Jacob D. Rogers came in 1837 from Pennsylvania. James Goble, later came in 1837; William Jenkins and family, 1837; John Sims, 1837, opened a tavern west of David A. Town’s.

In 1838 came Rev. Caleb Morris and family, including his daughter, Mrs. Nancy Robinson, a widow, and her seven children, six sons and one daughter. These located south of the grove. Mr. Mead, too, came this year, purchased a claim south of the road of Benjamin Harris, and built on it. Mr. Dunbar, who died soon after, settled at Four Mile Grove in 1838, just over in LaSalle county. Deacon Orlando Boardman came in 1840, from Pennsylvania and settled on a claim bought from Eber St. John. It is said of Charles Morgan that he told Deacon Boardman, “whether I am an abolitionist or not, my best mares are.” Deacon Hallock also came in 1840, and he is authority for the statement that then eighteen families encircled Paw Paw Grove, thirteen of whom were in Wyoming town ship, besides one White and French Pete, who was Pierre (Peter) Leclerc or LeClair. I must be pardoned in my orthography of this word; it appears in every conceivable form.

Bailey Breese came the same season and bought a claim from William Rogers, which included a good portion of the land on which East Paw Paw is situated. This Mr. Breese was a man highly educated; public spirited, and commanded great influence in the community. Peter May came in 1841, May 5th, and bought from George Town nearly all the land on which the town or village of Paw Paw now stands. About the year 1851 he disappeared mysteriously and beyond any question he was murdered. In 1879, when removing an old fence which surrounded his premises, the bones of a human being were found buried beneath it. Undoubtedly they were Peter’s bones. The supposition was that in a drunken brawl he was killed. He was a blacksmith and built a smithy in 1842 on the south side of the road.

O. W. Bryant came in 1842 and settled at Four Mile Grove, past which the old Princeton road ran. In 1843, Rev. Norman Warriner came here. Amasa Harrington came in 1844, with his two sons, A. J. and H. H. In 1846 he bought the May property.


With all the appearances and disappearances of horse thieves, in the early day, Wyoming was free from tragedies. They came later. In 1863, a peculiar tragedy was enacted. The city marshal of Mendota, accompanied by Daniel Mizenbaugh, William Mizenbaugh and another man called up John Britton, during the night with the request for his assistance in overhauling a couple of horse thieves, named Horton and Raymond, who then were driving towards Paw Paw; Britton and his two sons, John and William, joined in the pursuit. Near the then Hosea Town place the thieves were overhauled and the marshal, Mizenbaugh and the older Britton faced the fleeing thieves and demanded a surrender. Horton’s reply was a fusillade of shots at Britton, one ball passing through his hat. At the Four Corners, the robbers’ route was lost. The Paw Paw road was selected and at the bridge near the creamery the team was overtaken; it had run astride a sapling. Horton had been hit and was dying. His companion escaped. Immediately Britton and his son, William, surrendered themselves to Squire Colvill at Paw Paw who discharged them.

The horses later, were claimed by a woman from Wisconsin, calling herself Hames. Mr. Britton, the senior, at the next term of court asked the grand jury to indict him for the act, but that body declined. While at the home of a friend, he was taken ill and died.

The Conant case was one of the most exciting criminal cases of the day 1866. In the fall, a furious rough and tumble fight occurred between William A. Conant, his father, Elihu C. Conant, and William Barber, his wife, and Christopher Srygley and Roderick Kavanaugh. As a matter of fact about all the older Conant did was to hook on and do a little bossing while poor William, his son, single-handed, fought the field, and when nearly over-powered and exhausted, he shot Barber, who died nine days later. It was a fearful fight and regarding the trial from this distance it was nothing short of disgraceful to find him guilty and sentence him to eight years’ imprisonment and the father to six years. True, pardons came, one to William in two years and nine months and one to the father in four years and four months. But pray, what compensation is a pardon after a man has been ruined?

The story is a long one; condensed it was thus: E. C. Conant bought a farm the previous spring and sold the south half to William, and rented him the other on which were located the buildings. Later, notwithstanding the transactions, the old man, against the protestations of the son, rented the premises to a widow named Kavanaugh. At the son’s legitimate objections, the old man flew into a rage. Like a decent sort of a son, he confined his protestations to Mrs. Kavanaugh. Barber asked to rent the eighty on which the buildings were located. Conant Sr., promised to lease it to him if he did not dispose of it. Meanwhile Barber and his wife went to board with Mrs. Kavanaugh. Old man Conant went to O. W. Bryant, a justice, to make the lease to Barber agreeably with his promise, but Barber did not appear and so the deal with the son was consummated.

Without right Barber began fall plowing; he was looking for trouble. William ordered him off, and he in turn put two teams to work and Barber ordered them off. On Nov. 13th, the deeds and papers between the Conants were executed formally at Paw Paw. On the 14th old man Conant served on the widow a notice to vacate. Barber and wife were absent. On the 19th Mrs. Barber was present, and when Conant, Jr., appeared to serve the notice on Barber, she hurled a volley of billingsgate at the young man. While awaiting the appearance of his father the son began picking up odds and ends and piling them up. Mrs. Barber then came at him, ordered him off, tried to push him oft and then tried to remove the pitchfork from his hands. Failing, she started to the woods for her husband. Knowing him to be reckless, Conant crossed to his house, got a revolver and resolved to stand his ground. To see that it was ready, he fired one chamber. The two hired men, Gordon Sanford and Frank Adams, were called from their teams to hear the conversation as witnesses.

Presently Mrs. Barber and Srygley came without Barber and the hired men were sent back to work. Then old Conant arrived, but the son, desiring to remove him from a scene of possible excitement, sent him to haul away the stuff he had piled up. Presently Barber and Roderick Kavanaugh, the widow’s son, appeared, running their horses. Barber attempted to ride over William. William grabbed the bridle and prevented it, at the same time, displaying his pistol. Conant, Sr., Mrs. Barber and Srygley all appeared, the woman with a club with which she struck the elder Conant a blow, at the same time saying she would kill him.

When the old man demanded that she be taken away, as he did not want to fight a woman, Srygley drew her away and Barber sent her into the house. Old Conant, talking excitedly, approached. Barber turned on him, pressed him against a wagon wheel and was about to strike when the son drew and threatened to shoot. Barber paused. In the words following, Mrs. Barber stole up behind and struck William’s pistol hand, at the same instant Barber sprang on his back. Kavanaugh joined him and the next instant Srygley jumped onto William’s head and shoulders. A thousand things happened in an instant. In the midst of it, with three men murderously pounding him, William’s pistol went off and Barber was shot. Besides imprisonment, the widow got a judgment for $5,000. A change of venue was taken to Whiteside county.

On March 12, 1879, William F. Rosette, over at East Paw Paw, insanely jealous, made a murderous assault on his wife with a potato fork. When the poor woman fell, the husband fled and drowned himself.


Wyoming township was generous with its sons during the Civil war. Company K, Seventy-fifth Illinois Volunteers, was recruited almost exclusively from Wyoming, largely through the instrumentality of Col. George Ryon and James H. Thompson. In the list of Lee county soldiers, Company K will be found in full.


On Aug. 19, 1851, rain began to fall and continued without cessation for three days and nights. The frenzied clouds ablaze with lightning led the superstitious to fear that the day of judgement had come. Nobody left his house. Provisions ran out. John Britton‘s invitation to “help yourself to my potato patch,” was accepted later. Crops were destroyed. Stocks were a total loss. Creeks were swollen inordinately and became roaring torrents. Fields were submerged for miles and great suffering followed.


(From Lee County Times, Paw Paw, Friday, June 27, 1890, kindness of Ed. F. Guffin, editor.)

This storm cut a swath through Lee county, Friday, June 20th. “The first account of this frightful visitation is from a point twelve to fifteen miles, a little south of west from the village of Sublette, at what is known as the Blackburn Herd, where a number of cattle were killed; from there it took an easterly direction, a little north in a zig-zag course, from twenty to forty rods wide, mowing everything before it. “Among the buildings destroyed are those of William Shaw, Daniel Haley, William Reeves, William R. Long and John R. Hatch, leading farmers in that section west of the Illinois Central track. No fatalities reported from that section.

“The tempest crossed the Illinois Central at Sublette, tearing down and destroying eight or ten buildings on the outskirts of that village. One old lady, Mrs. Bittner, was killed and fifteen to twenty people were more or less injured. “From here the course pursued was a little north of east. Some buildings four miles south of West Brooklyn were crushed into kindling wood. Frank Schmitz lost everything in the way of buildings; his family took refuge in the cellar; but three of the children were blown out of the cellar and tossed about in the whirl: they were considerably injured, but will recover. The buildings on Valentine Bieser’s place near Schmitz were also totally destroyed. The family went into the cellar and escaped unharmed.

“In Brooklyn township about four miles south of Compton, John Faulk and Daniel Miller lost each a barn. Leonard Blass’ house and barn were both destroyed; Fred Bachman’s orchard was completely demolished, but his house escaped with a few shingles torn off. The course of the storm from Faulk‘s to Bachman’s was northeast, but it then went due east nearly two miles following the road. John Palitsche’s farm was the first reached; here the force seemed concentrated, and utter destruction followed; the large house and barn are gone, with only here and there a splinter to tell the tale. Mr. Palitsche saw the approaching wrath and with his family went into the cellar. He says the house raised up, moved north and was lost to sight; he did not see it go to pieces; for the moment, there was so much debris flying that be did not dare move from the wall. None of the family were injured. East of the Palitsche house on the same road stood a schoolhouse; all that remains of its wreck are a half dozen flooring boards; school had been dismissed a few minutes and the building was empty; on the same road, east of the schoolhouse, stood the buildings of George Palitsche; they were as completely destroyed and scattered as were his brother John’s buildings; but here the inmates of the house did not escape. Miss Rice, the teacher of the school, with several pupils, were near this house when the storm overtook them and entered for shelter; in a moment they were scattered in every direction, and everyone more or less injured, some seriously—one, a child of Mr. Palitsche, died that night, and Mrs. Palitsche is thought to be fatally injured; one of Peter Eich’s children had his jaw broken, and was otherwise badly bruised and cut; it is feared that he will die. Miss Rice was not seriously injured, and went to work at once to find and assist the wounded children. A rider went swiftly to Compton for aid and it was not long till a number of citizens were present, caring for the hurt. They were all taken to the house of Philip Schlessinger, and a count showed fourteen badly wounded. Doctor Chandler was with the Compton people, and put in the night with the injured. Mr. Palitsche was in Compton during the storm and was notified by the messenger that went there for help. East of Palitsche’s, on the south side of the road. Louis Knauer’s house, occupied by Henry Arndt, was destroyed: no serious injury to any of the family—further east Henry Englehart‘s barn and orchard were demolished; next G. W. Keen, east of Englehart’s was visited; his orchard was torn up, but his buildings escaped with but little damage.

“The cyclone now moved in a northeasterly direction, and reached the premises of James Blee. Mr. Blee and Henry Potter saw the funnel coming: Blee started for the house, and Potter dropped to the ground by the side of a large double corn crib. Blee with his family took refuge in the cellar: the large house was removed and smashed into kindling. Mrs. Blee received injuries which are quite serious; his mother who was visiting him, was unhurt. Potter escaped injury; the corn crib was not blown away; his team, hitched to a wagon, was in the driveway of the crib, but became frightened, got out and started to run away; they became entangled in a wire fence which held them, and Potter found the rig in this condition after the storm. The next home invaded was that of Newton Woods, about two and one-quarter miles northeast. Here the house was torn to pieces and swept away, with the exception of one room, a sitting room, occupied by the family; the covering of the room was removed, and nothing but the sides remained; the family escaped without injury. About thirty rods north of Woods stood what was known as the Field’s schoolhouse; this seems to have stood directly in the path of the howling demon of destruction and here occurred the most distressing and appalling calamity, and one that for dire havoc and destruction of life is unparalleled in the history of death-dealing storms. “Miss Maggie McBride, of this place, was teaching here; school had been dismissed—it was about 4:30 P. M. As it was raining but few of the pupils had left the house. Some parents had sent for their children, and one or two had started out in the storm; seven remained with the teacher, awaiting an abatement of the rain; they must have heard the hissing and howling of the tempest as it approached, undoubtedly they saw the whirling, snorting, snaking demon as it bounded over the fields towards them, and huddled about their devoted teacher who attempted to quiet their fears—but one moment of this awful suspense, and eight souls were hurled into eternity. Anxious, agonizing parents, who lived near the line of the storm and in sight of the schoolhouse, whose hearts yearned for the safety of their little ones, hurried towards the scene the moment the tornado had passed; but alas! the schoolhouse was not to be seen, and their dear ones answered not to their distracted cries.

“The grim destroyer did not pause a moment to witness the devastation wrought, but hurried on across the fields; the road running south from Paw Paw was crossed just south of Frank McBride’s, whose barn, east of his house, was shattered; the east and west road to South Paw Paw was crossed between Jack Reams’ and the bridge over the railroad. The Reams house seems to have been on the extreme western edge of the storm’s track; an addition on the east side of the house was wrecked, and the main building moved six to eight feet south; further east stood the George Kelly house, occupied by B. T. Searcy’s family; this was smashed, the family escaping injury save Mr. Searcy ‘s mother, who had a fractured limb and two broken ribs.

“The gyrating terror next entered the grove; its path here was from twenty to forty rods wide, in which trees were twisted off, pulled up and strewn about. Seventy to eighty rods from the J. R. & N. railroad, and about forty rods in the grove, stood the house of Peter Reams; it was no barrier to the progress of the storm, and was left a shapeless wreck. The storm passed on through the grove about one mile and a half, when it apparently became exhausted near James Harper’s place, after tearing down his orchard. Mr. Reams and his wife were in their house; she in the second story. As he observed the storm’s approach, he called to his wife to come down stairs at once, as a terrible storm was upon them; she hastened to get down, but cannot remember that she had taken more than a step or two down when she found herself on the lower floor, amidst the ruins of the house. News of the frightful disaster reached Paw Paw in a few minutes, and numbers of citizens hastened to the scene. Mrs. Peter Reams was found uninjured, groping in a dazed manner about the pile of wreckage; it was thought that her husband was buried in the debris. This was explored enough to ascertain that he was not there. A search was then made in the grove, where he was found about ten rods northeast of the house lying face down, under the boughs of a fallen tree, dead. It is thought that he was not killed by the branches that were over him as they were too small. A cat was found under his head.

“The Searcy ‘s were looked after by others, and the greater number went directly to the site of the schoolhouse. The scene here was horrible beyond description and the excitement intense; parents whose children were in the fatal schoolhouse were frantic with grief. The little brook near the schoolhouse was swollen by the heavy rain into a creek, and the water was two to four feet in depth. Men plunged into the stream and searched for the victims. One by one, their mutilated forms were discovered, until all were found. The spectacle was shocking in the extreme. The bodies were nearly nude. What clothing remained on them was torn into shreds. They were cut and bruised and broken in almost every conceivable manner. The names of the dead are as follows: Miss Maggie McBride, teacher, Edna Hunt, Jennie Radley, Minnie Berry, Ada Rudolph, Lena Prentice, Robbie Oderkirk, Carry White, Jr., children of William Hunt, Arvin Radley, Isaac J. Berry, Jacob Rudolph, Asahel Prentice, Seaman Oderkirk and Carry J. White. The dead were removed to their homes as fast as found and prepared for burial. Five were buried Saturday, and four, including Peter Reams, Sunday. The schoolhouse stood two miles south of this place and the Reams and Searcy places about one mile southeast. The excitement in this neighborhood was intense: all business was suspended Saturday, and nothing was talked of but the storm. Owing to the exaggerated reports in the Saturday morning Chicago papers, people came from miles around to view the scene. All day Saturday, Sunday and Monday the track of the cyclone was thronged with visitors from the surrounding country. An excursion train came from Rochelle, Sunday. “It is impossible to give all the details. Eye witnesses differ in their evidence. No two agree in their accounts, and yet all may be truthful. A liberal allowance must be made for the excitement of the moment, and then it must he remembered that a cyclone cloud with its swift forward movement and rapid rotary motion, charged with trees, boards, timbers, and all manner of debris, churning, grinding and revolving in one gigantic swirl, does not present the same spectacle two consecutive moments.

Again, eye witnesses from the north and south and in front, or at different places along the line, cannot dispute such others’ evidence, for it is impossible for any two of them to see any portion of the flying mixture in the same position. “There are a thousand and one stories in circulation, most of them more or less exaggerated, but all, no doubt, containing more or less truth. The report that the schoolhouse was seen intact three hundred, two hundred or one hundred feet in the air, rolling and tumbling about, is probably a mistake. There is no doubt that as a rule, buildings in the center of such a storm are raised from the foundation and moved off. This view is supported by the fact that in almost every instance where people have taken refuge in cellars, they have escaped death and injury. It is also supported by the declaration of persons who were in cellars, to avoid the storm. Their evidence is, that the building raised up and moved off, though none of them saw any building break in pieces. While this no doubt is true, it seems impossible that any building could retain its form ten seconds in a storm of such power as this one was. The appearance about the schoolhouse grounds, the location of different portions of the wreck, and the positions of the victims, all indicate that the house was crushed near the ground, not far from the foundation. “The report that the persons in George Palitsche‘s house were blown 140 rods into a pond, is untrue. Most of the victims were found in the vicinity of the pond, but the distance from the location of the house does not exceed ten rods. The trail of the storm presents many curious features. Trees were pulled up by the roots; some are twisted in two, leaving the stumps in the ground. Others have the bark pulled off. Osage hedges are torn up. Chickens and, other fowl are found entirely denuded of their feathers. Dead cats, rats, dogs, hogs, horses and cattle, in various places. Articles of clothing, sheets and other things seen hanging in trees; boards, sticks, splinters and timber, sticking into the ground, hurled from the passing cyclone. Where buildings were destroyed everything was lost. Furniture was broken up; hardly a whole piece of furniture could be found anywhere.

“The trail varies from ten to forty rods in width—probably averages twenty rods. Preceding the tornado was an electric storm, with considerable rainfall. Immediately following was a tremendous downpour. On either side of the track a heavy rain with thunder and lightning, prevailed. The rain and mist were so thick that it was impossible to detect the savage character of the storm, one mile away. Some persons that distance off, and some a greater distance, heard what appeared like a muffled roar. “William McMahan, whose house stands within sixty rods of the northwest line of destruction watched its approach and passage. It was of the funnel shape, whirling and bounding along with a hissing or buzzing sound, swooping the earth and bounding from it alternately. He saw no manifestations of electricity in the rolling, boiling, steaming cloud. The portion nearest the earth was very dark; the upper portion lighter. He could see sticks and other articles on the outer side, flying about and dropping to the ground.

“Mr. James Blee, whose house was destroyed, saw the storm at some distance, but could not make out its character. He was satisfied that it was dangerous, and sent his family to the cellar. He remained in the cellar door which faced the coining demon, and anxiously watched its approach. So full of rain and fog was the atmosphere, not till within ten rods of him could he distinguish its outlines and true character. At that distance it enveloped some trees and apparently broke open, giving him a view of the inside. While the outside had the appearance of steam and smoke escaping from the engine, the opening showed great electric disturbance, which was indicated by a constant emission of sparks and flashes. Henry Potter, who remained outside near the corn crib, corroborates Mr. Blee‘s statement. There was a strong sulphurous odor during and some time after the cyclone. It is a curious feature, that nowhere along the track is the grass or grain removed, nor do they at any place have the appearance of having been burned or scorched. Another strange feature is the fact that on neither side of the storm was there perceptible any greater agitation of the atmosphere than in ordinary thunder storms.

“It will be many a long year before the scenes of death and destruction in the wake of this terrifying phenomenon will be effaced from the memory of those who suffered from its frightful devastation, or those who assisted in the work of recovering the dead. But two sentiments seem to prevail in the community: mourning for the dead, and sympathy for the living. James Blee probably took a closer view of the cyclone than any other person on the line. He thinks there was a space four to four and one-half feet in diameter in the center of the funnel, a vacuum, around which the cloud revolved. In and across this pipe as it were, occurred the electric display. After the cloud had passed, he followed its path to ascertain if what appeared to be a fact was really true. He could trace in the center of the damage the distinct mark of the suction pipe, where a hedge was crossed, and in many places on the ground. In some places the ground was torn up and in others the grass and grain were nipped off close to the center where the most energy was displayed, showed a width as above stated. He noticed, or thought he did, while the cloud was approaching, that everything in this center was going up, while around it everything was revolving. From this apparent condition, he concluded that the vacuum as above described acted as a suction pipe, and was the point of greatest energy and destruction. His examination of the ground afterward seemed to verify this theory.”


(From Lee County Times, of Paw Paw, May 20th)

About 6 o’clock Wednesday evening, when a heavy shower had passed to the northward, and the western horizon was free from low clouds, a tornado was seen approaching from the west. The view was unobstructed, and the action of the tornado could be seen in all its peculiar gyrations.

The onlookers saw a heavy, nimbus cloud hovering along the course, torn by turmoil and traveling like a swift bird of prey. When first sighted by our excited citizens, the tornado was a little south of west, and for several minutes seemed to be making but slow progress, though it was afterwards learned that its movements were very swift. Being sighted at such a distance, and coming almost directly eastward, made the appearance of slowness deceptive. The tornado seemed to be transported by the heavy cloud mentioned. The action of the twisting tornado was very peculiar. At one time nothing would be seen but the terrific disturbance in the cloud, and immediately the tornado would drop with screwlike motion and sweep the earth for various distances, stirring up the earth in clouds of dust. The lowering and raising of the tornado looked like the tentacle of an octopus, reaching out for something to destroy. It would dart from the clouds towards the earth with lightning rapidity, sometimes reaching only part way down and at others making the whole distance. At the time these observations were made, not much damage was being done, as the tornado was not touching where buildings were located. Near West Brooklyn the direction was changed to a northeasterly course, and then it became apparent that the forward motion was very swift, and it went on with greater speed than an express train. When it had passed to a vicinity about northwest of town, the best observation was noted. Here the heavy, dark, menacing cloud spiraled to the earth and assumed the form of a cylindrical tube and showed plainly by the appearance of dust and disturbance in its wake that much damage was resulting. It was at its greatest strength at this view. The appearance of the tornado at this place could best be compared to an elephant’s probosis, reaching about the ground for delicacies. The lower end switched about the ground like the cracker of a cattle whip.

At times the commotion was tremendous, the dark mass taking on a look like a fiercely boiling cauldron, scattering itself as if torn by an explosion, and then gathering to pass on for more destruction. When at a point almost directly north of town, the grand finale seemed to have taken place. It was a sight to inspire awe in any beholder. The same form had been maintained to the point mentioned, when, of a sudden, the tornado severed its connection with the overhanging cloud and in a fierce swoop, descended to the earth like a flash, pounding the ground it seemed, in one last supreme effort. The force developed in this striking action must have been equal to thousands of tons of pressure.

It has been asked, “Who can paint a rainhow?’ It might be asked with equal futility, “Who can describe the tornado?” Description fails signally in portraying the awfulness of such a phenomenon. It is quite probable that a better view of a tornado was never witnessed than that seen by the people in this section of Lee county. The conditions for observation were perfect, and the watchers saw its peculiar actions for about thirty minutes. It is calculated that the dissolution took place at a point in Willow Creek, for it was not seen afterwards by Lee County people, though Byron and Stillman Valley were visited and deaths occurred at both places, and points in Wisconsin were damaged. The scientific observances have always found that tornadoes in the Mississippi valley move in a northeasterly trend, and in case the one which passed here did the damage at Byron and Stillman Valley, its course would have been changed directly northwest. Such a trend has not been known before and it is improbable in this instance. The presumption is, that in this great cyclonic storm, local tornadoes originated in different portions of its diameter.

It is generally understood that a death-dealing storm of the nature described, is a cyclone. But this is a mistake. A cyclone is a great storm of from one hundred to five hundred miles diameter, the accompanying winds circulate in one direction in the northern part of the storm and in a reverse direction in the southern part, which causes a disturbance throughout the cyclone and accounts for the shifting of the wind before and after the storm has passed. During the presence of such a cyclone storm, tornadoes are apt to develop. The condition of the weather had not been sultry or of a nature which would lead one to expect the presence of a tornado. A heavy breeze was blowing all day from the south, but the atmosphere was not oppressive.


The evidence of the tornado’s power was traced from a point west of Sublette to the home of the widow Peterson, in Willow Creek, and the direction was generally northeast, though at times, it bore almost directly east. There is some difference in opinions, as to the point where the storm crossed the C. B. and Q. tracks, but it was between Amboy and Shaws. From there it came eastward for several miles until near West Brooklyn, where it veered to the northeast.

The damage reported up to this time will be described, commencing at Sublette, a house belonging to a farmer named Hall, was destroyed. Mrs. Hall is said to be seriously injured. After leaving that vicinity no thing of importance occurred until the tornado struck the Atkinson homestead, one mile west of the Old Berg. Mr. Lauer lives there. The barn and house are said to have been totally demolished, and Mr. Lauer was considerably injured though not fatally. The next damage occurred at Frank Beemer’s, about a mile north of Wesley Miller’s place. His barn was overturned; his windmill and tower were blown down. Beemer’s barn contained a number of horses and cattle, but none were killed. George and Mrs. Farre, were the next persons to experience the terror of being in the path of a destructive tornado. They were eating supper and had not observed the approach of the storm until the roar warned them. It was so close that they had not time to get into the cellar. This they attempted to do, but a suction of wind prevented them from opening the cellar door quickly, and in a flash the storm had passed. The tornado had seemed to have witnessed their efforts to escape to a place of safety, and wishing to give them a fair chance, contented itself with whisking off the kitchen, which was distributed over a large territory. The chicken house, full of poultry and a number of setting hens lost itself in the confusion and has not since been located. George also lost a number of rods of wire fence. His loss amounts to a considerable sum. His dog, which was chained outside, came back a short time afterwards looking like a war veteran. From his appearance George judged he had seen lively times. The worst devastation occurred on the old Jacob Miller farm. Right in this vicinity are four houses, all within a radius of a quarter of a mile; the Dwight Davenport, John Anderson, Arthur Wells and Holden Risetter houses, the three latter belonging to Thomas Wells, Remington Warriner and Jacob Miller.

The tornado twisted about among this quartet without doing much damage except to the Jacob Miller house, which it razed in the twinkling of an eye. Here occurred the only death in the path of the storm. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Chichester were living there and did not notice the storm until it was right at hand. Mrs. Chichester took her two-year-old child and they ran to the outside cellar door. Before they could reach it the blow descended and everything was chaos. The air was full of debris and for a moment Egyptian darkness prevailed. It all happened in a second. Mr. Chichester was buffeted and hurled about and finally dumped into the cellar. He was badly dazed for a time and did not fully understand the extent of the calamity when he was found by the neighbors. Mrs. Chichester and the child were discovered in the field, about twenty rods south of where the house stood. Many people from town started towards the path of the storm early and J. W. Mayor and son and W. A. Pratt and others were there in a short time. Mrs. Chichester was dead, but the child was alive. They were removed to Mr. Harvey Johnson’s house by the sympathetic friends. Mrs. Chichester was not badly bruised, but her jaw bad been fractured. Her sad death illustrates the uncertainty of life. She had visited her mother, Mrs. Frank Hoag, at East Paw Paw that day and had been at home but fifteen or twenty minutes. She had been urged to stop with Mrs. William Barringer on her way home, for a short time, as the sky bore a very threatening aspect when she passed Mrs. Barringer’s. It seemed that her fate had been marked out. Her death has caused great sorrow and Mr. Chichester has the universal sympathy of our people in his unfortunate bereavement. Mr. Chichester’s injuries are not serious, the principal one being a gash on the back part of his head, which causes him much pain. The child, though blown about amongst the flying timbers and objects, had a miraculous escape from death and appears but little harmed. Aside from the loss of his wife. Mr. Chichester lost all of his personal property, which was scattered to the four winds. The scene of the devastation has been visited by hundreds of people, curious as to the freaks of the tornado, but with delicate feelings of commiseration for the unlucky victims. The scene is highly illustrative of the force of the rotating storm. The debris is strewn about for many rods in all directions, twisted and broken. Trees of venerable age and large proportions are now dismantled monarchs, and reduced to kindling wood. Bed clothing and apparel are seen high in the branches of the trees left standing. It can only be described as a scene of desolation. Most of the neighbors retreated to their cellars on the approach of the storm, but Mr. Johnson’s hired man saw the destruction from the road, where he was standing, undecided which way to flee. The wheel on Mr.

Anderson’s windmill was torn off, and Charley Davenport’s sidewalk was lifted out of its place and deposited in another part of the yard. No other damage was done in that vicinity. Mrs. Peterson’s barn, about one and one-half miles north of Chichester’s, was blown to pieces, but no stock was killed. A short distance north of here was where the tornado snuffed itself out. Following the path of the storm it would be found that it traveled between thirty and thirty-five miles in this county. This storm is reported to have killed two women at Ohio, a town a few miles southwest of Sublette.

That the loss of life was not greater, is certainly wonderful. It must be remembered however, that the tornado did not keep close to the ground all the time, in fact but a small part of the distance. The course and action were observed by people all along the route, who rather enjoyed watching the unusual sight, but took good care to be near places of safety, into which they might dodge in case the course diverged, in their direction, but being fearful for those who might be in its zig zag path. It was a sublime spectacle, but not one calculated for the amusement of a human being who would comprehend the probability of the frightful results. Mrs. Chichester‘s funeral was held this afternoon in the church at East Paw Paw, at 2 o‘clock, Reverend Dolliver preaching. The burial service was at South Side cemetery. It has been learned that the barn on the Atkinson farm was not destroyed, though the roof was taken off.

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In 1838 the township and range lines were surveyed, but the section lines were not run until the winter of 1842-43. So soon as the surveys were completed, preemptions were made promptly under the original act of 1841.

Prior to this time, title was held only by right of occupancy and an improvement made was held to be occupancy until the maker of it might return.

Many times a claimant had to go long distances to get work to subsist on, until he could go alone at his farming. In other instances the claimant desired to return to get married. In all such instances the claim was presumed to be respected. Of course once in a while a claim was jumped. David A. Towne‘s second claim north of the grove was jumped but with his well known forcefulness, it needs no great imagination to see the trespasser removed vie et armis, as he was. This led to the various mutual protection societies, and be it said, they protected, invariably.

An instance is given by Charles Pierce of claim jumping in Wyoming. A settler gave employment to a lad until he could earn enough to start for himself. This lad jumped one of his employer’s two forties. The committee came to the premises. The lad defied them in a set speech from the top of a barrel. The captain kicked the barrel from under him; others produced a rope. The youngster then begged for mercy and left the country. Ducking was employed at times. Floggings too, were used. They all were successful.

* * *

The burial ground of the Indians in this vicinity was near the southeast corner of Paw Paw Grove; something less than an acre. The Indian method of burial there is interesting. Some twenty of the dead were thus buried: Each body was placed between two halves of a hollow log, which were supported above the ground upon posts. Other bodies were buried in the ground.

* * *

J. C. Heath was the first physician to come to Paw Paw, but George S. Hunt was the first resident physician. He came in the spring of 1844, and while residing at South Paw Paw, his practice extended to all the settlements. Henry Hudson and James Goble Boardman succeeded him there.

A. S. McIntyre, a name almost forgotten, was another very early physician.

George Ryon, undoubtedly was the leading physician of Wyoming. He located in Paw Paw in 1850. He was a learned physician. There was one thing he could do thoroughly and that was practice medicine. He knew how to cure; he knew how to enter a sick room and his commanding presence almost drove away an illness. He was over six feet tall, but like many another, he thought he could do something else than his chosen profession, better.

Through a deadlock in a republican convention, his brother-in-law, William F. Ives of Amboy, got him the republican nomination to fill a vacancy in the Legislature. He was elected. He grew intimate with Governor Yates and brought home with him the promise of a commission as colonel to raise the Seventy-fifth Regiment. He went to the war, and at the Perryville fight he was charged with sending his troops into the field without ammunition. A court martial was ordered and he was acquitted. He then resigned. In 1858 he was admitted to the bar and rather expected to practice law. After the war, he conceived the idea that he might grow very rich at coal mining. In this venture he lost heavily. He tried banking in Amboy, and after making some atrocious loans, quit. In all he had lost the competency he had amassed and with everything gone, he turned again to medicine, in Amboy. Practice came instantly and he was astonishingly successful. When he died he left a fine estate for that period.

W. T. Sherwood, Thomas Fish and M. H. Everett followed. J. Oliver Stanton, too. Among the later physicians were James H. Braffet, Thomas Steller and Thomas D. Palmer. The last named today has a commanding position in Chicago as a physician. Doctor Avery is now in Paw Paw, and has assumed a strong position there. For a long while he acted as assistant to Dr. A. W. Chandler of Compton.

In 1880, the skeleton of a monster was discovered by L. W. Bidwell, in the employ of George Lindsay, excavating in a slough for an ice pond. Its length was twenty-two and one-half feet and its height about fifteen or sixteen feet. Its eye socket was about the size of a tea cup. The head was about three feet in length; the lower jaw twenty-six inches. In this, two teeth remained; one twenty-one inches in circumference, the other two inches smaller. The upper joint of the bind leg measured four feet four inches long and twenty-one inches in circumference at the knee; from there to the ankle joint the measurement was three feet, two inches. The foot was about twelve inches high. The backbone and ribs were well preserved, some of the ribs measuring six inches in circumference.


East Paw Paw, though partially in DeKalb county, was connected by such inseparable ties that it cannot justly be divided here. Some of the items already related, were indigenous to DeKalb county soil; but interlocked with Lee county, they always have been associated with the latter and always will be.

William Rogers reached there about 1836, the first man. He was a great gambler. After buying part of the Ogee section, he sold it piece meal. Subsequently he went to Dixon; run the Western tavern; then he went to the Mexican war; then to California. He probably was the widest known man who ever lived in Lee county. In 1877, when he came back, John Wentworth of Chicago, and others banqueted him. Charles Morgan settled immediately west in 1836. He lived here until about 1850.

Of course we must not forget Job Alcott, who came in 1836. He joined Morgan on the east. Along the county line, north of the Chicago road from Rogers, Bailey Breese from Morristown, New Jersey, settled in the fall of 1840. He bought from Rogers a quarter section. Part of the village was platted on his land. His house was the second built on the town site.

At one time when Breese had $400 in cash he was offered forty acres of land near the Bulls Head tavern near Chicago; but Rogers persuaded him to buy more land and he bought from Rogers. He was a cousin of Judge Sidney Breese. He died in 1859. Jacob Wirick came along in 1842 or 1843 and bought out William Rogers. A tavern was on the place and he run it awhile. He later moved to the southeast part of the village.

In Ohio he was converted to Mormonism, removed to Nauvoo; thence to Missouri; lost his property and later by leaving the fortunes of that sect, he regained a fortune. Wiram Gates came in 1845, bought out Mead and settled down. He had been a circus proprietor. He was believed to be a copartner of counterfeiters and horse thieves, and while never caught with the goods, the goods were found suspiciously near, more than once, and thieves were caught at his place.

At one time he owned 600 acres of land. He built a fine establishment for the time. His house cost about three thousand dollars. One day it burned down and he never recovered any insurance. He entered mercantile life in Fast Paw Paw. Once he brought $12,000 worth of goods to the place, to be disposed of fraudulently, as has been said. Before the goods reached there, the settlers sent a party to the scene and required him and a son, who had means, to indorse for the son who originally had bought them. Unable to meet the notes at maturity, the goods were seized and Bogus Gates’ career was at an end.

The first store was opened by Charles Howard in 1847. This stock subsequently was moved to East Corners (East Paw Paw), and sold to Sherborn Gates. In 1849, S. B. Warren bought the store and James Little entered as a partner.

The postoffice was established in 1850 and Andrew Breese was made postmaster. Eleazer Darby LeMoyne settled there before 1845.

Old Spartan Lodge, No. 272, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is the parent of five other lodges, Shabbona, of Earlville; Anchor, of Paw Paw; Fidelia, of Steward; Fertile, of Shabbona; and Triumph, of Melugin’s Grove. It was organized March 31, 1859.


South Paw Paw, on the DeKalb county line in section 24, is more a small collection of houses than a village, a Methodist Episcopal church, a cemetery and a few private houses.

John Ploss, who settled there in the spring of 1835, was the first settler. Eber St. John bought his claim when he left to return to Michigan, and when Deacon Orlando Boardman reached there in 1840, he bought the claim. Deacon Israel Hallock came there in 1840. Ralph Atherton, from Massachusetts, came in 1844, a shoemaker. Dr. George S. Hunt, was the first regular physician. He located there in the spring of 1844. Deacon Daniel Pine, who lived to be almost a hundred, came there in 1845. David R. Town, son of Russell Town, came to Wyoming at the age of ten, in 1835. He went in 1848 to California, across the plains, in the Government service. Timothy Goble, from the Wyoming valley in Pennsylvania, came to this Wyoming in 1843.

In the year 1838 Rev. Caleb Morris, Nancy, Caleb and Isacher Robinson, Betsey and Lydia Town, organized a Methodist class here. Caleb Robinson was made leader and steward and acted as such until 1858. In 1843 the South Paw Paw Union Sabbath School was organized in the schoolhouse, with C. M. Dickinson as superintendent.


Like Amboy and Brooklyn, Wyoming bonded herself to help build the Rock River railroad, from Rock Falls eastward.

Thirty-four legal voters and tax payers petitioned to have called a special election to vote on the proposition to issue $50,000 in bonds for the purpose. John Harding, town clerk, issued the call, and on Sept. 22, 1869, the election was held, 142 votes were cast in favor of the bonds and 62 against. The eastern terminal was to be Calumet and on that understanding many voted affirmatively who would have opposed the issue, otherwise. It terminated at Shabbona.

On June 19, 1872, Isaac Edwards, the contractor, finished the line to Paw Paw and Mr. Edwards and his men were banqueted.

At once, after finishing, the line was leased to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy.

Injunctions were issued and the matter was litigated by James K. Edsall, for the town. On his election, as attorney-general, Judge John V. Eustace pushed the suit, but in the end the bonds had to be paid and now that the road is done, who shall say, he would do without the road? Another branch of the Burlington, runs from Paw Paw southeasterly.


A little older, but the Paw Paw of the early day just the same. In point of years many may be classed advanced, but in all the delightful ways of life they are young. A constant sunlight is reflected from Paw Paw. Here are the LaPortes of 1838, just over the line for so many years. The only difference between those who lived over in Paw Paw township and those living in Paw Paw village, Wyoming township is one generation. Monzo LaPorte, the father who died at eighty-one some time ago, was not more than eighteen in spirit. Frank A. LaPorte, James H. LaPorte, Mrs. Lillian Nisbet and Mrs. Lucie Herrick, children of Alonzo, all live here yet and endowed as they are with plenty, it is improbable that they eve” will change their residences.

For many years James H. LaPorte was engaged in the general merchandising business and aside from large ownerships elsewhere, he made money rapidly. A few years ago, desiring to get out into the open air more and enjoy the sights afforded out in the world, he closed out his business and now Frank LaPorte Edwards, grandson of Alonzo LaPorte is installed in business in the same store. But James could not stand idleness. He opened a real estate office and he enjoys a very successful business in that line. Loans upon real estate too are negotiated by him. A large number of valuable farms have been sold by him in Lee and DeKalb counties.

Frank LaPorte oversees his farming interests in DeKalb county and Iowa and that of itself keeps him busy. From James LaPorte I found my information about the values of lands at present in Wyoming. The average price per acre is $175 and the average rental is $7 per acre. But most of the farms in this township are rented on shares.

Charles W. McMillan is a very active and successful real estate man. Within the past year he has sold a large number of farms in this township and Willow Creek. Mr. McMillan does a large insurance business as well. S. A. Wright and Ed. P. Fleming too, are very successful real estate men. Paw Paw is a center for big deals and these firms prosper. Among the professional gentlemen of Wyoming, is Mr. C. F. Preston, the attorney who long has been a resident of the village of Paw Paw. By common consent he is conceded to have the largest and best paying legal business in Lee county. The village is so situated that three counties are tributary to Preston, and from those three counties, Mr. Preston draws. His probate practice is one of the largest in the down state counties. This may seem incredible, but so it is. As a professional man Mr. Preston stands very high. Many attempts have been made to lure him into running for office, but all to no purpose. Beyond a doubt were he to permit the use of his name to his party, the democratic, he might win; but sensibly enough he refuses steadily. The physicians and surgeons of Paw Paw are W. M. Avery, the associate of Doctor Chandler at the Compton hospital, T. H. Stetler and J. R. Crowell. J. B. Daugherty is a D. D. S. and E. L. Von Ohlen, has established himself in a fine business in Paw Paw, as a veterinary surgeon. S. M. Bennett also is a veterinary surgeon. These medical gentlemen enjoy practice far into the two adjoining counties. In fact it may be repeated that Paw Paw always was singularly fortunate with its doctors.

Unusual for the small town, Paw Paw has a fine greenhouse of which J. J. Bennett is the proprietor. His greenhouses have a demand for every bloom it can supply. Mr. C. C. Faber beyond doubt enjoys one of the best trades in meats in Lee county. Not so very long ago, he was requested to ship clear back to Virginia, some of the meats of his preparing. Here, too, is a fine example of doing things down to date. Mr. Faber’s market attracts people from those same three counties. We have seen in so many small villages how difficult it is to maintain a first-class market. Mr. Faber never has been confronted with that feature of the meat trade. He has large interest in lands up in Minnesota. The grain elevator of Frank E. Guffin and J. W. Banks, known to the trade as Warner and Guffin does a very large business, not only in the shipment of grain, but in the sale of coal, and seeds and those kindred commodities which go with them. Last year over 250,000 bushels of grain were shipped from this village and by this company alone. The proprietors own the elevator at Compton, just to the west and between both elevators these gentlemen have one of the best businesses.

Paw Paw is splendidly supplied with hotels and restaurants The Detamore House is one and Mrs. E. M. Ransom is proprietor; the other is the Commercial House and Dallas McLaughlin is the proprietor. These two hotels stand side by side just to show that neither dislikes having rivals in business. Besides the hotels, there are lunch rooms kept by Thomas Harper and Fred Gehlfuss. The latter keeps a full line of fancy groceries besides. C. M. Gibbs sells cigars and confectionery and in connection with his grocery trade, H. R. Town sells confectionery and ice cream. Thus it may be seen that he who hungers can find no legitimate excuse for going hungry. Paw Paw is the center of a large amount of building and to care for it, the village is especially well provided. Arthur S. Wells pays most of his attention to things built of cement and he is without doubt one of the best posted men in Lee county on cement and what may be done with it.

At a recent meeting of the board of supervisors of which he long has been a member, he was made superintendent of highways for Lee county at a salary of $2,000. Harry Prentice, E. J. Valentine, J. O. Morrow, H. G. Beach and C. C. Smith are contractors and builders. The telephone system which serves Paw Paw is the Northern Illinois Telephone Company which has headquarters at Sandwich.

Paw Paw k well cared for so far as lighting is concerned. The Paw Paw Electric Light Plant owned by Beemer Bros., composed of the brothers, J. J. and Harrison Beemer, have but lately established a plant here. Since opening for business the village is as well lighted as any other in the state. I. H. Breese is the hardware man. This store also cares for tin work and plumbing.

The postofflce is managed in a very superior manner. Wilbur Woods, son of A. N. Woods, was assistant for a long while before his recent appointment, the first appointment of postmaster in the county. Mrs. Verna Woods is assistant. The firm of J. M. Beale and Co. has been established here for a long while. They send their output to almost every state in the Union. Brick and drain tile are made by them in large quantities. Over at West Brooklyn they have another branch plant.

There are two very large general stores, one owned by Edwards and Case and the other by Chaffee and Faber. These two stores are large, and the stocks are very large and selected with especial care for the trade of that locality. In fact they are much larger than the average village store. The store that I am most familiar with, the one of Edwards and Case has made four generations wealthy. Pratt & Hartwell carry a full line of jewelry, silverware and china. The drug, paint, oil, medicine, toilet articles and school book trade is very well provided for by Wilbur A. Pratt. Hicks Brothers are the clothing dealers.

L. C. Coss and F. J. Adams are the barbers. W. H. Smith is the undertaker and in connection he handles a full line of furniture, carpets, rugs, curtains and paints and oils. Closely identified as a kindred business is the Williams & Henry establishment. These gentlemen are extensive painters, paper hangers and decorators.

Paw Paw has 800 inhabitants and being in line for all the down to date features which go with 800 people, she has a first class “Lyric Theatre.” Mr. J. H. Hackman is proprietor of that. The movies and occasional vaudeville are put up here in the latest fashion. The Beemer Brothers who run the electric light plant are proprietors also of the Paw Paw garage and it may as well be said at this point that this township of Wyoming owns and operates eighty automobiles and almost every business man in Paw Paw and many of the women own automobiles.

The Lee County Times is the only newspaper in Paw Paw and it enjoys a splendid patronage both in circulation and in job work. Ed F. Guffin, chairman of the republican county committee, is the owner and editor of it. Its history is quite fully noticed in another column. I am indebted to Mr. Guffin to a very large extent for facts obtained which went into this history. He and Mr. J. H. LaPorte approached every business proprietor and obtained the facts needed to make this chapter. Moreover, Mr. Guffin loaned me several copies of his files from which to derive facts I needed very much. I desire to thank him for his kindness, right here. His office turns out some of the best job work in the county and the paper turns out some of the best reading matter to he found. The paper is very ably edited. From these and the geologically added fact, Mr. Guffin’s office is one of the most profitable offices in the county. Paw Paw is singularly fortunate in its tributary country.

But Paw Paw is still more fortunate in possessing the business people who know how to handle it. Fred Henry is proprietor of the boot and shoe store and he also handles the repairing for the community. S. Baker is the proprietor of a flour and feed store. Julius Schamberger is a merchant tailor. R. L. Tarr has a large agricultural implement house. Clemons Bros. operate a very large shoeing and blacksmithing business. Another one is carried on over at Compton. Wayne Pierce operates the North Side Billiard Parlor. Ellen C. Mitchell is proprietor of a millinery store. A. L.

Coakes repairs and tunes pianos and organs. Snow Brothers is another firm. Harper & Stroyan are proprietors of the livery, feed and sale business. J. W. Mayor has the harness and blanket store. Beginning with the hay that the farm animals eat, we find F. Flewellin, the hay dealer. For years Wyoming township produced some of the best pure bred horses and cattle one might find. J. W. Larabee has a large herd of red polled cattle with which he has met great success at the various fairs. J. W. Lambkin has gathered around him a splendid herd of pure bred Herefords. In making his selections, he has secured the best animals both on blood lines and individual merit. This has been the home of Herefords for half a century, but Mr. Lambkin has assembled the best herd, of all that period. J. T. Epla is proprietor of the West Side Stock Farm. He raises and trains and drives fast horses. I should like to stop and talk a little while about the fine horses which have been developed by Paw Paw men, but it cannot be done.

George W Frey & Co. are large buyers of poultry and eggs. Mr. M. D. Warren is the manager. F. R. Mead is proprietor of the Paw Paw dairy. Mr. J. C. Miller long has been a successful horse buyer. He buys and ships for market. D. L. Hartwehl has a jewelry shop at which watches and jewelry are repaired.

There are three churches here at present: the Methodist, Rev. O. T. Canfield, pastor; First Presbyterian, Rev. C. H. Miller, pastor; and the Baptist, Rev. J. B. Martine, pastor. There are three cemeteries in Wyoming township—Wyoming, Harding and Cottage Hill.

The Pogue Brothers Lumber Company, dealers in coal, lumber, lath and building material, have an office here. Besides they are engaged in business at Hinckley, and at Waterman over in DeKalb county. G. C. Schreck has a large blacksmithing and horseshoeing business.

In commenting on the postoffice it was my plan to state the business of this well managed office. The number of outgoing pieces of mail, first class, for one year were 100,000; the number of second class, 6,000; the number of third class, 2,000; the number of parcels post, 4,500. The record of the incoming is as follows: First class pieces, 80,000; second class, 75,000; third, 45,000; parcels post, 7,000. The total receipts for the year were $2,600. This volume indicates plainer than words the amount of business the village does.

Paw Paw has a right to he proud of her schools. It holds one of the best buildings in the county. W. C. Duff is the superintendent; Mrs. W. C. Suft is principal; Miss Elizabeth Turner is assistant principal. A four-year course is taught in the high school. Besides there are four rooms in each of which two grades are taught. In the first or primary grade there are today nineteen pupils, eight boys and eleven girls; in the second grade there are five boys and six girls. Miss Erma Lowrey teaches these two grades. Grade three has nine boys and six girls. Grade four has eleven boys and nine girls. Miss Gertie Smith teaches these two grades. Grade five has six boys and eight girls. Sixth grade has six boys and twelve girls. Miss Avis Adams teaches these two grades. In the high school for the first year there are five boys and nine girls. In the second year there are eight boys and seven girls. In the third year there six boys and six girls. In the last year there are five boys and eight girls. Total enrollment, 175. Paw Paw is a great village for lodge work. Anchor lodge 510, I. O. O. F., is a very large order. Its officers are H. H. Rowland, N. G.; F. A. LaPorte, V. G.; E. J. Kirk, Recording secretary; D. R. McLaughlin, financial secretary; A. C. McBride, treasurer; D. R. McLaughlin. official examiner, instructor and representative to the Grand Lodge.

Officers of Paw Paw Encampment are E. J. Kirk, C. P.; C. C. Tarbell, H. P.; R. L. Tarr, S. W.; G. C. Schrock, J. W.; D. R. McLaughlin, Scribe; Albert N. Woods, Treasurer; L. A. Coss, representative to the Grand Encampment; D. R. McLaughlin, official examiner and instructor. Officers of Paw Paw Rebekah Lodge 264 are Mrs. A. R. Keller. N. G.; Mrs. Fred Lilly, V. G.; Miss Vida Radley, F. S.: Mrs. R. L. Tarr, treasurer; Mrs. M. D. Warren, representative to the Rebekah Assembly.

Officers of Paw Paw Camp 4453, R. N. A., are Lula Rosenkrans, Oracle; Nettie Fightmaster, Vice Oracle; Jessie Barstow, Chancellor; Lettie G. Hyde, Recorder; Grace Baker, Receiver; Grace Rogers, Marshal; Mittie Lilly, I. S.; A. M. Carnahan, Manager 1; Florence Clemons, 2; Rose Hammond, 3; Wilbur M. Avery, physician. Officers of the M. W. A. are A. M. Carnahan, Consul; F. D. Rogers, Adviser; Byron Rosenkrans, Banker; George E. Hyde, Clerk; Willis Hinke, Escort; W. T. Fightmaster, Watchman; Frank Ambler, Sentry; Dr. W. M. Avery, physician; F. D. Rogers, B. F. Ambler and W. T. Fightmaster, board of managers. Officers of Corinthian Lodge 205, A. F. & A. M., are C. F. Preston, W. M.; E. N. Gibbs, S. W.; A. C. McBride, treasurer; H. L. Case, secretary; F. J. Adams, S. D.; G. A. Ramer, J. D.; Charles Gibbs, marshal; J. C. Shamberger, chaplain; Dallas McLaughlin, S. S.; E. P. Fleming, J. S. Officers of Foster Chapter 331, O. E. S., are Bertha Wheeler, W. M.; Ed F. Guffin, W. P.; Alice Ramer, A. M.; Libbie Stetler, treasurer; E. Maude Pogue, secretary; Addie Guffin, Conductor; Josephine Pratt, A. C.; May Pierce, warder; Frank Wheeler, sentry; Lillian Hammond, chaplain; Bertha Mills, Ada; Mary Hartwell, Ruth; Stella Case, Esther; Pearl Crowell, Martha; Helena Clemons, Electa.

The State Bank of Paw Paw is one of the strongest banks in the state. In a little village of 800 this bank on October 30 made a statement which totaled $416,253.31. But more than this: its stockholders are men of such business strength, that were they called to pay the last depositor and to the last cent, they could do it without very much effort. Just a little while ago, Mr. J. B. McBride, the vice president, died. He was one of the biggest of all our big Lee county men. He had led a long and quiet life in Paw Paw. He had been generous and public spirited. When his estate was inventoried a short while ago it footed $180,000, and but a few years ago he divided between his children, so I am told, a large fortune. All made in Paw Paw. The cash reserve held in this bank runs all the way from 35 to 60 per cent. The bank enjoys the comfortable distinction of being able to take any good loan that comes along. If a certain reserve was desired, several stockholders could make the loan out of their own funds. It’s a wonderful bank.

In 1882 this bank was founded by M. M. Morse and P. C. Ransom under the name of “Union Bank.” A couple of years later, Mr. Ransom retired. In 1886, B. J. Wheeler and Teal Swarthout, who were partners know as B. J. Wheeler & Co., bought the bank and continued it under the name of Union bank. This firm organized the present State Bank with a capital of $25,000, which capital was increased to $40,000.

In 1902 the First National Bank was organized, but during the same year the banks consolidated and increased the capital of the present bank to $50,000. The officers and directors who direct its affairs are: President, B. J. Wheeler; A. C. McBride, cashier; Frank Wheeler, assistant cashier; all of whom are directors besides S. B. Miller, W. M. Goble, W. T. Chafee and J. H. LaPorte. The surplus is $15,000.