Seneca Township History
Transcribed from the 1885 History of McHenry County by Anne Kunzen
Seneca, one of the center townships of the county, is joined on the east by Dorr, on the south by Coral, on the west by Marengo, and on the north by Hartland.It is one of the finest townships in the county; the land is rich, gently rolling and under a high state of cultivation.In early times the west side of the township was heavily timbered, supplying building material and fuel in great abundance.The majority of the first houses in the township were built of oak procured from this belt of timber.
The township was named for a tribe of Indians in New York, from which the State came many of Senecaís early settlers. E. Pettit made the first claim in this township in 1835. It is now known as the Sponsable farm. Mr. Pettit remained here but a short time when he sold to Mr. Sponsable.
In 1835 John Belden made his claim where he now resides. He came here from LaPorte County, Ind., and is one of the public spirited men of this section of the country.
Jedediah Rogers came in 1835 and made his claim where O.S. Tanner now lives. He was a native of Vermont.
Russel Diggins moved from St. Lawrence County, N.Y., to Seneca Township in 1836. His wife died soon after coming here; she was the first person who died in this township.
A Mr. Woodward made a claim east of Mr. Diggins and remained only during the year 1836. His wife died in the fall, and not being able to secure the services of a minister, R.G. White conducted the services by reading a chapter in the Bible and offering a prayer. The funeral sermon was to be preached on the following Sabbath by Rev. Whitman, of Belvidere. On this day the neighbors came from near and far not only to hear a good band, but imagine their surprise when they learned that he was not present to hear the address to the mourners, but had gone with his hired girl to DeKalb County to visit some friends.
Robert G. White came from Bond County, Ill., to Seneca in the spring of 1836. He built the first saw-mill in this corner of the county. He died in 1871, honored and esteemed by all who knew him.
Eli Craig came to Seneca in 1836.In 1838 he was elected Constable, and had the honor of arresting two thieves who broke into the residence of Samuel Smith and procured $600. Mr. Craig remained only a few years in the township, when he moved West.
Amos Damon came from Ohio in 1836. Silas Chatfield, a Captain in the war of 1812, came here from Ohio in 1836; he died April 2, 1866.He had been wounded while serving his country and drew a Captainís pension for years. Joseph Hanna came from Virginia and settled here in 1836 and died in 1850.
Solomon Baldwin came here in 1836, from Washington County, N.Y. He made several claims for himself and sons and afterward sold to different parties. To C.R. Read he traded a tract for a store. He died August 1870.
Christopher Sponsable came from Seneca County, Ohio, in the fall of 1836. He remained in the township till his death, which occurred Nov. 9, 1854. His family consisted of 12 children.
Whitman Cobb, formerly from Cazenovia County, N.Y., settled here in the fall of 1836.A few years afterward he moved to Jo Daviess County, where he remained several years and then returned to Riley Township, this county, where he died Feb. 2, 1866.
Ephraim Rogers came from Rutland County, Vt., and settled here in the fall of 1836 and died Nov. 6, 1867.
M. Dickenson settled in Seneca in 1837, and the same year came John
Ackerson and Peter Deitz, the latter was a lawyer by profession and practiced some here in an early day. Clark
Wix and Spencer Flanders also came in 1837.
Leander Bishop came from New York State and is still a resident of the township.
John White came from North Carolina and died in Marengo in the year 1869.
William Sponsable came from New York State and resided in Seneca till about the year 1864. It is said he died insane. His daughter Caroline was the first white child born in the township.
Salem Stowell came from Vermont and remained only a few years, when he moved to Minnesota, where he died.
The residents of the township at present are chiefly from the Eastern States, a large percent being from Vermont.
Vermont street, running north and south through sections 21 ands 22 was so named by the parties who settled on it, all being from Vermont except a Mr. Mead who owned forty acres.