Kane County, Illinois
Johnsons Mound - Nelson Lake Marsh - Blackberry Maples - Blackberry Center - Blackberry Corners
Children of yesterdays farmer were expected to work on the farm, and filled a vital role. I doubt they ever complained "I'm bored!"
The first settlers in Blackberry township were squatters who came in and held the land by occupation until 1842, when it was surveyed by the government and sold. The entire township is good soil and early caught the attention of settlers.
In 1834, WILLIAM LANCE, who lived to be one hundred and two years of age, dying in 1873, came in and made his location of land in the township. He personally new GEORGE WASHINGTON. He was a native of Hunterdon county, New Jersey, and walked all the way from Pennsylvania. His sons, JOHN and CHARLES, and daughter MARY, came with him.. The younger son drove the ox team behind which the women road, while the men walked beside, their muskets on their shoulders.
ISAAC WALTHROP met the caravan in DuPage county and came with them, but left soon after.
The LANCES located near Nelson's Grove, which land was afterward owned by CHARLES SOUDERS. They had no covering at first but the wagon they had driven to the West. Their nearest neighbor was CHRISTOPHER PAYNE, near Big Woods, ten miles east. McCARTY was at Aurora, HAIGHT at Geneva and PIERCE at Montgomery, which about comprised the county population at that time.
PETER DODD arrived in 1834, as did DAVID BEELER, a son-in-law of WILLIAM LANCE. He built a cabin on Johnson's Mound. HARRY WHITE came in the spring of 1835; DAVID W. ANNIS came the same year, as did JOHN SOWDERS. He married MARY LANCE in 1835. The wedding occurred at the LANCE cabin, built that year, and was the first marriage in the first house in the settlement. 'SQUIRE MORGAN came up from Yorkville to tie the knot. HIRAM HALL arrived in 1835 and became an influential resident. GEORGE TRIMBLE and L.D. KENDALL located that year.
In the fall of 1835, MARTHA BEELER, daughter of DAVID BEELER and WILLIAM LANCE's daughter, MARGARET, was born, being the first child born in the township. S. KENDALL, J. CALKINS, S. PLATT, and JAMES SMITH arrived in the spring of 1837. N.B. SPALDING, M. SPERRY and LARKIN came about the same time. All these pioneers settled about the grove, the Easterners who came in at that time not knowing the value of prairie land. The "took to the woods" in preference to the open country. JACOB JOHNSON arrived with a family of seven in 1838 from Staten Island, New York. The village of Blackberry was afterward land out on his farm. General NATHAN YOUNG located in 1842. He afterward removed to Kaneville, where he died in 1869. He was a brigadier in the Vermont militia. C.H. SPALDING came from Cazenovia, New York, with his family in 1845. He was a brother of NOAH B. SPALDING, at one time sheriff of the county. E.G. MORSE drove a team from New York, arriving in 1841.
PETER H. JOHNSON bought land here in 1843, coming from New York. JOHNSON's MOUND took its name from him. He built the first frame house in the township, moving into it on July 4th, 1844. WILLIAM WEST arrived early and located near the grove. He was elected the first Justice of the Peace, and was long an influential citizen. He removed later to Geneva and opened a bank there. When the lands were sold at public auction he was chosen agent by the settlers to bid them in at an agreed price - a responsible trust.
F.T. MORRILL came from Orange county, Vermont, in 1844 and settled at Blackberry Corners and was postmaster at Blackberry Center for twenty-eight years.
The first road was laid out by W.A. TANNER, later of Aurora, from Sugar Grove to Chicken Grove, through the township in 1837. A Union church was built in 1853, among the early preachers who served them being Rev. SPRINGER and Rev. VAN DEUSEN. In 1879 a cheese factory was built.
Source: History of Kane County by Joslyn & Joslyn 1908
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