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Marengo Township
and City of Marengo

Original Township Name: "Pleasant Grove"


Marengo Township is bounded on the north by Dunham Township;
on the east by Seneca Township; on the south by Riley Township; on
the west by Boone County, and it is described as congressional township 44, range 5.

The Kiswaukee and Rush creeks together with their numerous small tributaries furnish abundant water and drainage. Originally, this township was almost entirely a prairie section, the soil is of a rich,fertile character, and the farms of today are among the highest priced and most valuable of any within this county. This is the only township in McHenry County that has a stone quarry of any considerable importance; and it is located on section 31.

Calvin Spencer came here from Seneca County, Ohio, in the spring of 1835, and made his claim in what later became Marengo Township. He was accompanied by his sister, and she was the first white woman to keep house in the township. Soon after locating here Mr. Spencer was married to Miss Mary Hance, and they became the parents of eight children. He lived until 1875, when he died in Marengo Township. In the autumn of 1835, Moses Spencer, father of Calvin Spencer, joined his son and daughter, and in November that year his wife died, hers being the first death in the township.

During the winter of 1835-36 Ward Burley located in Marengo Township, and he was the third settler. His claim was the present site of the city of Marengo, and it is interesting to note that he traded his now extremely valuable land to Prank Stafford for a stock of dry goods, and dealt in merchandise for a time, and practiced medicine. He was the first doctor to locate within the township, and was actively engaged in medical practice until his death in 1847. John Sponsable located here in 1836, coming in from Garden Prairie, Boone County, III., where he had made a claim, but only remained there a short time, then located in Marengo, and there died in 1846. His brother, "William Sponsable, came in the fall of 1835. His claim had formerly been taken by Richard M. Simpkins, but the latter removed to Coral Township. William Spon-sable, after buying the Simpkins claim, later sold it to another settler, and moved to Seneca Township. In the fall of 1835, I. Baehe came in from Pennsylvania, and purchased a claim upon which he resided until 1840. Amos B. Coon came to Marengo Township October, 1835, from Bradford, Penn., but after a short stay went to some one of the Southern states. In 1837, however, he returned and for very many years was engaged in an active practice as an attorney. Theophilus Renwick was another settler of 1836, and in 1837, M. B. Bailey arrived in Marengo, and opened a small store in the village of Marengo, which he conducted for a short time. He lived here until 1882, when he died. George R. Page, George Bennett, J. A. Davis, William and Charles Barnes, Timothy McNamara, and H. H. Chapman were all pioneers of Marengo Township.

Originally this township was called Pleasant Grove, but when the post office was established it was called Marengo, and when the township was organized by the county board, for convenience sake, the same name was given it as the post office held; hence the civil township, the village and its post office are all known by one and the same name, Marengo.

Dr. Ward Burley and wife had a son born to them soon after coming to the township, and it is believed that he was the first white child born within Marengo Township. This child only lived two years. The first marriage ceremony performed was that by Justice of the Peace M. B. Spencer, January 14, 1838, when he united in wedlock M. B. Bailey and Miss Lydia Hance.

The earliest grist-mill, built in 1846, was located one and one-half miles northwest of Marengo. No traces of this mill have been seen for more than thirty-five years.

A little burial ground lying north of the village of Marengo was platted by the Scotch people living in that vicinity, and used by them. The Catholic cemetery of Marengo lies in the northern part of the place and was laid out late in the seventies. The Marengo Cemetery proper is directly north of the railroad, and was laid out in 1861. It originally comprised ten acres, but later was expanded. There are other small burying grounds in various parts of the township.

The census for 1890, 1900, 1910 and 1920 gave the following as the population of Marengo Township:
In 1890, 2,702; in 1900 2 859- in 1910, 2,250, and in 1920, 2,442.
The corporation of Marengo had in 1900 as high as 2,005 inhabitants.

The following are the township officials of Marengo Township-supervisor, D. M. Wright; assessor, J. G. Kitchen; clerk, J. T. Beldin-highway commissioner, J. P. Wilson; justices of the peace, J. C. Tanner and A. G. Beath; constables, Willis Jobe and M. M. Wilson.

Marengo, a city of McHenry County, settled in 1835, incorporated as a town in 1857, and, as a city, in 1893; lies 68 miles northwest of Chciago, on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. It is in the heart of a dairying and fruit-growing district; has a foundry, stove works, condensed milk plant, canning factory, water-works, electric lights, has six churches, good schools and two weekly newspapers. population in 1880 was 1, 264; 1890 - 1,445; 1900 - 2,005
[Source: :Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois", 1901]

Marengo was platted in 1846 by Damon & Spencer, and at a time when there was a small community settlement. The surveyor was A. B. Coon. It is situated in the extreme southeast corner of the Township of Marengo, in sections 25, 26, 35, 36. It is described as being all within congressional township 43, range 5, east. The first house erected on the townsite of Marengo was that of Joseph Bryton, which was built in 1835. Moody Bailey opened the first store in 1837; A. M. Canon opened the first wagon shop, and Mr. Blakesley was the first blacksmith.

Municipal History
Marengo was incorporated as a village February 24, 1857.
The first officers were as follows: F. Stafford, president; Calvin Spencer, Fletcher Lindsley, A. R. Parkhurst, I. P. Warner, trustees, and J. B. Babcock, clerk. The village history extended down to September, 1893, when it became a city incorporation. The first officers under city incorporation were—E. D. Shurtleff, mayor; C. P. Fillmore, clerk; A. S. Norton, treasurer; J. M. Marks, attorney; aldermen—H. H. Blair, N. L Jackson, H. G. Otis, E. P. Vail, J. H. Patterson, S. C. Wernham.
The present city officers are—C. B. Whittemore, mayor; Clifford Woeben, clerk; A. C. Smith, treasurer; E. D. Shurtleff, attorney; councilmen—Fred Dunker, A. E. Thompson, J. E. Heath, C. W. Wilke, Willis Job, C. J. Coarson.

"Marengo is the important milk shipping center of the Chicago Dairy district"

Among the men and concerns to be engaged in business at Marengo later than 1880 may be recalled with certainty the following: P. G. Vail, Skinner & Treat, Farmers & Drovers Bank, B. S. Parker, First National Bank, G. V. Wells, William Dougherty, P. T. Parkhurst, William Blood, Alexander Walling, John Kelley, John Arlington & Co., Tillman Gallaway, Reuben Miller, N. L. Jackson, Cady, York & Thompson, John Miles, C. H. Hanee, F. W. Alderman, Arthur Wilbur, C. I. Boyington, M. A. Webb, William Stewart, Asa Wood, F. W. Patrick & Co., William F. Abbott, Casely & Fillmore, Vail, Otis & Co., A. S. Norton & Co., Gilbert Metcalf, C. W. Ingersoll, W. H. Sanders, Pacific Hotel, L. G. Buck, Almon & Ryder, C. F. Renwick, W. A. Treat, S. A. Srissey, G. W. Saunders, J. H. Bulard, Almon & Ryder, Henry Under-wood, George Crego, Rodgcrs Brothers, Teeple & Co., E. P. Persons, A. R. Coon, Ira R. Curtiss, George Sampter, J. A. Read, H. E. & F. A. Patrick, P. B. Smith, A. P. Abbott, David Johnson, W. P. Pringle, Metcalf & Brown, A. L. Derry, George Stanford, Bartholomew & Co., W. H. Mesick, S. C. Wernham, L. C. Nutt, J. W. Green, C. N. Clark, O. L. Sherman, Marengo Pickle Manufacturing Company, J. J. Wilson, C. Fraidrich, J. Griffin, H. D. Storms, Frank Gaskell.

The Marengo Fire Corps was organized October 29, 1883, by H. B. Smith, J. Teeple and A. W. Kelley, with a charter membership of fifty-two. The need of such an association of men was felt on many former occasions, but never more than on March 5, 1876, when the Ryder House and adjoining stores were destroyed. There was also a large fire January 4, 1867. When this fire corps was organized A. S. Gormon was made its secretary; E. A. Vandevere, treasurer; and H. D. Otis, Charles Ingersoll and J. Teeple, directors. For a number of years this company was maintained and did fine work, but as the place grew and times changed, it was finally superseded by other organizations. It is now the ordinary volunteer fire company, named above.

The first post office in the vicinity of Marengo was established in 1841, and was kept by Alfred King, at his residence, one mile west of the present city of Marengo. David Hammer succeeded King, although for a time the post office was kept at the home of Joseph Deitz, but was then removed to the corner of State and Main streets. Colonel Cornelius Lansing was the third postmaster, and William F. Combs was the fourth, he keeping the office in a store on the site later occupied by the Free Methodist Church. The office was then moved to the southwest corner of State and Main streets, where the postmaster was L. L. Crandall. As the fifth postmaster, Anson Sperry was appointed in 1853, and held the office until 1861, it being in the meanwhile moved to the site later POST OFFICE
occupied by the Marengo Opera House. From 1861 to 1873 Dr. O. S. Jenks was postmaster and he had his office in a building later used by William C. Stewart as a dry goods store. Mr. Stewart succeeded to the office, was postmaster from 1873 to 1882, and kept the office in the same building as did his predecessor. In 1882 J. Q. Adams was appointed postmaster, and he removed the office to the southwest corner of State and Washington streets. From that date to now it will hardly be of interest to trace the many homes had by this post office. The postmasters since the administration of the above named men have been: J. Q. Adams from 1882 to 1894, F. M. Mead from 1894 to 1898, then he was succeeded by J. Q. Adams, and he in turn in 1902 by Charles Scofield. In 1915 came James Cleary and in 1919 Charles Gilkerson. This newly appointed postmaster wisely kept the old clerks, who had been efficient in their places.
They are as follows: Miss Bertha Rowe, assistant postmaster, and Miss Lucretia Marshall, clerk.
The rural carriers are: L. D. Sheldon, route 1; Mrs. Ina Coonradt, route 2; Lee Grover, route 3; D. E. Echternach, route 4.
The Marengo office sold Thrift Stamps during 1917 to the amount of $31,204.36.
The Marengo office was a second class office up to about 1917 when it was set back to a third class, when the general cry at Washington was " retrenchment."

Source: [except where noted] "History of McHenry County, Illinois", Chicago: Munsell Pub. Co., 1922 - transcribed by K. Torp


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