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the largest in the county. The first Catholic priest was Father St. Paule, who came in 1840, now Bishop of Vincennes, Indiana. The officiating priest is Father Egan.
In 1841-2, these Catholic Irish evinced their interest in education by building a log school house on the spot now occupied by the residence of S. McGhee, Section 36, and opened a school.
The township being well-timbered, a saw-mill seemed necessary, and the want was supplied by Wesley Diggins, on Section 20, the power being furnished by the Kishwaukee Creek, which crosses this township in a direction nearly north and south, entering on Section 3 and passing out on Section 32. The mill was at the forks of the road, and, a store being opened there in 1845, the place received the name of Brookdale, but the mill has rotted down, the store was discontinued in 1848 ; in fact, the name alone remains of what once gave promise of a city. Somewhere here, between 1842 and 1844, one Cosgrove opened a store at “ Oliver's Corners,” but it was closed after about a year and a half. At present, the town contains no store or saloon, its nearest trading points being Woodstock and Harvard.
The township is traversed in a northwesterly and southeasterly direction by the Chicago & North-Western Railway. No depot was built in Hartland till this season, near Deep Cut, the depot being named Kishwaukee, and it is probable that the merchant and mechanic will not long overlook so fine an opportunity of building a village in Hartland.
As in some other townships of the county, a few of the first settlers made their claims before the land was surveyed. These claims gave rise to many disputes, to settle which, meetings were held, attended by men with arms in their hands, ready, if necessary, to maintain rights by force. All disagreements were finally adjusted without spilling blood or creating feud.
Hartland is about equally adapted to grain or stock.
MARENGO, TOWNSHIP 44, RANGE 5.
Calvin Spencer first came into this township in 1835, but was not long alone; A. B. Coon, C. Sponable, R. Simpkins, John Belden, Mr. Dunham and Dr. W. B. Mason following soon after, the last named being probably the first physician in the county. The first store was put up in 1838 by Charles Hibbard, the next in 1842 by Frank Safford and G. T. Kasson, the latter selling out to his partner at the end of the year. .
Mr. Southwood, a Baptist minister, came in 1836 and preached the first sermon in the vicinity, and the first death was that of the mother of Calvin Spencer, who died about two weeks after their settlement. Dr. Mason lived till 1847.
This is one of the wealthiest township in the county, containing, as it does, one of the largest villages, which is situated on Sections 35 and 36, and for taste in private residences it is ahead of anything else in the county. Its leading lawyer, A. B. Coon, one of its earliest settlers, is also one of the most prominent men in the county and is counted the best technical lawyer at the bar of our Circuit Court.
This town, too, depends upon the Kishwaukee for its water and its tax for bridge money, the river running eastwardly across Sections 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30, on the east of which it is joined by Rush Creek from the northeast after flowing through Sections 4, 9, 17, 20 and 19; so the town may be said to be well watered.
As to transportation, the Galena Division of the C. & N. W. furnishes all that is necessary, entering the town on the east side and a little south of the middle of the line of Section 36, and running northwesterly till a little below the line between Sections 26 and 35, whence it crosses the township in a direct west course, making about 64 miles of road.
The farmers of Marengo do not appear to have been afflicted with the “milk fever” to an alarming extent, and the town contains no factory for butter or cheese, but contains something that no other township does, and that is a stone quarry on Section 31, which has furnished the stone for the school houses at Marengo and Union, besides one or two smaller buildings of the same class. The nursery business appears to lead all others right about the village, there being two large nurseries beside several smaller ones.
The village of Marengo nearly divides the honors of first settlement with Crystal Lake and Algonquin. It is situated in the southeast corner of the township, hence is about equally accessible as a market for Riley, Coral, Seneca and Marengo. It contains a wind-mill factory, an excellent steam flouring mill, a commodious stone school building, containing seven school rooms and an enrollment of about 350 pupils ; not only these, but her people take much more than ordinary interest in the progress of their school. They have one newspaper, the Republican, six churches, three hotels, one planing mill, two livery stables, three dry goods stores, ten groceries, two banks (one of them National), two boot and shoe stores, two drug stores and six doctors to prescribe the drugs, two jewelry stores, two lumber yards, two lawyers, which certainly speaks well for the town, and four ministers. Marengo once had a carriage factory that was carried on quite extensively by one Skinner, and some carriages are still made there.
McHENRY, TOWNSHIP 45, RANGE 8.
George and John Boone made claims in this township in April, 1836, William McCollum in July, and J. and H. L. McLean later in the same year. In 1837 came Wesley Ladd, Solomon Morey in 1839. Ira Colby in 1840, and John W. Smith in 1843.
Of all the townships in the county, this is the best watered, having, in the northeast, about one-half of Pestaqua Lake, in the southeast a little more than one-half of Lily Lake, with McCollum's Lake near the center. The Fox River, the two branches of Boone Creek, a branch of the Nippersink in the northwest, and the main stream crossing the northeast corner of Section 5, Range 9, beside several smaller creeks, give an abundance of sport to the angler and no little labor for the bridge builder.
This water power is made available at McHenry village by compelling Boone Creek to turn the wheels of two flouring-mills, and drive the machinery of a planing mill, while the river itself, by the means of the steamers it bears upon its bosom, is made to contribute to the amusement of seekers after pleasure during the heat of summer.
The people of this township have seven places of Worship, which would seem to be ample for all who choose to attend church. The M. E. Church at Ringwood is the oldest, having been built in 1855; but the most expensive one is that at Johnsburg, it having cost nearly $40,000, nor is it yet completed. This is for the German Catholies, McHenry having a very large percentage of German in her population. The congregation numbers about 1,200, and the officiating priest is the Rev. H. M. Fugers. The Irish Catholics also have a church, but not so large, and located at McHenry village, where are also a Baptist, Methodist and a Universalist church.
The Universalists do not pretend to hold regular meetings, while the membership of the other two is not large, but the Catholic Church is well attended.
Although apparently so well adapted to the milk business, there is but little done in that line beyond shipping milk to Chicago. Considerable attention is given to sheep raising.
Like Algonquin and Nunda, McHenry has one-third of Range 9, making 48 sections, and giving the township the greatest variety of soil to be found in the county. Although she can boast of no large prairie, she has plenty of timber.
The village of McHenry, from 1837 to 1844, had the honor of being the shire town of McHenry County, and when Lake was set off it was the influence of this little burg that procured the line to be run so as to retain the west half of Range 9, in order that she might still be the “ Hub” of the county, but
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Gang aft agleg.” So, although having the advantage of a possible water power that might make her a second Lowell, the voters consulted their own convenience only in making their selection.
Boone Creek divides the village into two parts, called Old McHenry and Gagetown, the latter of which, having the depot and the railroad, has outgrown the town by the river, as seems to have been the case elsewhere.
Two years ago, Gagetown built a pickle factory, which is the only one in the county that pulled through 1875, without closing according to law.
The Old Town has a fine brick school house.
Being convenient to the Fox River lakes by steamer and to Chicago by rail, it has become a great resort for pleasure and fishing parties during the summer, spring and autumn. A drive of four miles lands you at Pistaqua Lake, or a steamer takes you there by water, and the fisherman or hunter who, in the proper season, cannot enjoy himself there must be hard to suit.
Its citizens are American, Germans and Irish or their descendants. It has five dry goods stores, three groceries, one machine shop, three hardware and two drug stores, one lumber yard, three hotels, one jeweler, three doctors, six saloons, two implement warehouses, one brick yard, where bricks of the best quality are made by machinery, one furniture store, two livery stables, three harness shops, and will soon have the third flouring mill in operation. Here also was located for several years the wagon factory of Hon. Richard Bishop, which, from a small beginning, grew till the Bishop wagon was known all over the West, but, in the height of his prosperity, the fire closed him out in 1874. The wagon shop has not been rebuilt, but the building erected on the ruins is used by Mr. Bishop's son as a depot of agricultural implements.
NUNDA, TOWNSHIP 44, RANGE 8 AND OF 9. The first settler in Nunda was Benjamin McOmber, who, in 1836, built his house on Section 6, where he lived until his death. Cameron Goff came in 1837, and still resides upon the land first taken up by him. George Stickney, Samuel Terwilliger, George T. Beckley and others settled in the northwest part of the township, and in the southeast Abram Vincent, Dewitt Brady and others.
Near the center of Section 18, a little west of C. Goff's, in 1838, the first log school house was built, and Amanda McOmber first opened school within its walls, having five pupils in charge.
This township was without a place of worship till 1867, when the Methodist Church at Crystal Lake was taken down and moved to Nunda, where it was occupied till 1874, when a new one was built at an estimated cost of $3,000. The name of the first pastor was Tilton. In 1863, Elder Lovelace organized a society of Disciples at the village.
In 1844, James and Samuel McMillan, seeing a demand for a saw-mill, and having the necessary water power, erected one on Section 22, and sawed logs till 1863, when it was turned into a grist-mill at an expense of $6,000 to $7,000, and is still running.
A carding-mill was built, in 1846, in the north part of the town, by Mr. Truesdell, on Boone Creek, but not paying, was discontinued after two years.
The first flouring-mill was put up by T. J. Ferguson, in 1856, costing, probably, $6,000.
The only manufactory in the town is the Crystal Lake Pickling and Canning Works, started in 1872, by William Archdeacon. This establishment carried on a large business and, under the stimulus thus given it, the popnlation of Nunda village doubled in two years. In 1874, it was turned into a stock company, with a capital of $300,000, and owing, probably, to the general depression in business in 1875, it went into the hands of a receiver, but, having done a small business the present season, it is probable that the enterprise which promised so much for that region will not be abandoned.
Nunda has two railroads, both of them having been built through the town in the same year. The Chicago & North-Western Railway enters the township near the southwest corner of Section 33, running in a northwesterly direction, and passing out near the middle of the west side of Section 30. The Elgin & State Line crosses the township line a few rods west of the former, traverses Sections 33, 28, 21, 16, 9, a corner of 10, and in its exit cuts the north line of Section 3 about 100 rods west of its east line, this and the Chicago & NorthWestern together having about nine miles of main track in the township, and one depot common to both at Crystal Lake Crossing.
The first depot was shipped from Chicago, ready-made, on a flat car, in 1856, and set carefully down near where the two roads crossed. At that time, Nunda village was not thought of. This depot was for the accommodation of the railroads and, not being very well ballasted, it was feared that the prairie winds might blow it away, to prevent which, it was stayed with guy-ropes fastened to stakes driven into the ground. The Fox River Valley Railroad built a substantial depot near the center of Section 16, but finally removed it.
Nunda has two cheese and butter factories and one for cheese alone, altogether using the milk of six to seven hundred cows. The village of Nunda is the only one in the township, and one Reed opened a store there in 1855. The log building first erected for a school house, however, had the honor of being the first store in the township, which was owned by E. M. Sever.
This township is the best watered of any in the county except McHenry, being traversed from north to south, in its eastern half, by Fox River, containing two lakes—Griswold's and Lake Defiance—and half of Lily Lake, besides numerous small creeks, of which the largest is Stickney's Run, which furnishes water-power for two grist-mills. It is well adapted to grain or stock, and, containing all of Township 44, Range 8 and one-third of Range 9; has forty-eight squaremiles. Hanley Creek crosses the northwest corner of the township in a northeasterly course.