Big Springs - Herrington's Ford
It was known as Herrington's Ford before it was officially named Geneva.
Nestled on both sides of the Fox River it offered a scenic haven for early settlers, and the Pottawatomie Indians before them.
With rich black soil to farm, water to power the mills and a supply of trees to make lumber for new homes made this the ideal setting. Not many years later the community was thriving. Much of the early architecture remains today. Be certain to visit the Chamber of Commerce Web site and the City of Geneva to see examples of the beautiful old homes.
Geneva is a beautiful community, displaying fine architecture and scenic parks on the banks of the Fox River. The community is filled with history, both as an early settlement and as the Kane County County Seat. The old court house is a must see, be sure to tour the interior.
Many Swedish people settled the area, hence Swedish Days is one of Geneva's leading festivals.
Festivals, antique shops and historic homes abound.
HISTORICAL TIME LINE
The first settler, DANIEL S. HAIGHT and family arrived and built a cabin in the area of Geneva Springs. The claim included nearly all of the area included within the city limits of Geneva as defined about 1908.
JAMES BROWN settled north of HAIGHT.
DANIEL HAIGHT sold his claim to JAMES HERRINGTON 12/1834. HERRINGTON's family arrived in the spring of 1835.
JAMES BROWN sold his claim to FREDERICK BIRD and family.
SAMUEL COREY, an honest but rough and ignorant Hoosier built a cabin. He is remembered for carrying $3,000 for CAPTAIN DODSON in his saddle and hanging both the money and saddle on any hook when he stopped at inns as he traveled.
ANDREW MILES also of Indiana arrived. He was the first adult buried in the old cemetery in 1836. He may have been in the area as early as 1833.
Mrs. C.B. DODSON arrived.
Miss WARREN arrived by lumber wagon.
FREDERICK BIRD arrived but moved on to the Rockford area.
First birth in EDWARD TRIMBLE household.
Saw mill is under construction.
Mr. and Mrs. SAMUEL STERLING arrived and she opened the first school in their log cabin, in the winter of 1835-36. The building had a natural limestone floor and served about 12 students. Most of the students were children of the Herringtons. The property was later owned by Eben DANFORD.
The area was then known as HERRINGTON'S FORD
The first Post Office was established in the home of JAMES HERRINGTON, Post Master. It was named LaFox P.O.
Dr. MILLER, the first physician settled.
June 1836 - The election for the organization of the County of Kane was held in the cabin of JAMES HERRINGTON. Voters also selected the location of the county seat and adopted the name, GENEVA, though Campbell Ford was suggested. It was named after Geneva, New York as suggested by C.B. DODSON.
County Surveyor, MARK W. FLETCHER platted and surveyed the original village of about 300 acres, which became known as Geneva. It was owned primarily by JAMES HERRINGTON and R.J. HAMILTON.
LYMAN GERMAN and SCOTT CLARK arrived.
ROBERT LESTER settled on the east side.
EBEN DANFORD arrived.
MARK W. FLETCHER laid out the scenic road from Geneva to St. Charles on the west side of the river.
GILBERT and STERLING built the first bridge across the Fox River, but it was swept away by floods before completion.
WILLIAM SKYES arrived
Unitarian Society builds the first church. Rev. A.H. CONANT served as pastor until 1857. See photo on City of Geneva site.
HOWARD Brothers built a flour mill on the west side.
Dixon Air Line railroad, later known as the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad was completed between Chicago and Geneva.
Geneva Township is organized.
Public Hangings (Elgin Courier link 01/31/1999 article my Mike Alft)
First actual school building erected.
Geneva incorporated as a city.
Railroad branch connects to St. Charles
Northern terminus of Ottawa, Oswego and Fox River Valley Railroad is underway and is completed in 1871, bringing coal from central Illinois.
City Council members include: C.B.DODSON, President; CHARLES BENNETT, WILLIAM H. HOWELL, EBEN DANFORD, and JEROME N. KENDALL, Board of Trustees; WILLIAM J. BROWN, city clerk.
A stone County POOR HOUSE was built, for $15,000, on the east side on land owned by E. LEE.
See News articles link below.
Source: History of Kane County by Joslyn & Joslyn 1908
This is the place for you to share your memories of "Old" Geneva.
More Geneva Area Info on this Site
1915 News Aurora Beacon articles
Illinois State Industrial School for Girls (Geneva Girl's School) - closed in 1978. The site is now the Fox Run subdivision. A cemetery used by the "Girls Home" is still located on the grounds.
Kane County Court House
Don't Get Lost! Be Sure to Bookmark this Site before Leaving.
The City of Geneva has a wonderful site with many beautiful photos of the Kane County Court House, homes of early settlers and later residents, including some designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Be sure to click on "residential photos"
Kane County Historic Court Houses (including Herrington's Tavern)
Gower Champion - choreographer
Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva -110 South Second St.,Geneva, IL 60134-0107 Church Office: 630-232-2350
E-mail address: UUSG96@interaccess.com
Resources - Kane County & Geneva
The Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, Box 175, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL 61201-2296.
The Swedish Emigrant Institute - Box 201, S-351 04 VAXJO, Sweden; Phone +46 470-210 20; Fax +46 470-394 16
Magazines & Misc. (Genetic Diseases, Other Resources & Anything Else)
Points of Interest
Swedish Genealogy Links