Aralzeman Stanley, who resides on section 3, Grant Township, is one of the honored pioneer settlers of the county, dating his residence from the fall of 1836. Very few are left to relate the story of frontier life in Lake County, Illinois, in that early day for many have moved to other States, while others have departed this life. The sketch of Mr. Stanley will therefore be all the more acceptable, for hardly another citizen of the county can relate incidents of so early a period.
The family of which he is a member, was founded in America during Colonial days, and his great-grandfather served in the Revolutionary War. His father, Robert Stanley, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, having attained to mature years, married Huldah King, a native of that city.
They removed to Erie County, N.Y., very soon afterward, and Mr. Stanley worked Indian land on the Oneida Reservation. He also owned a large maple orchard and engaged in the manufacture of maple syrup. Their home seemed to be almost on the very borders of civilization. Panthers had their lairs in the adjoining swamps, and wild and unsettled was the neighborhood.
In the fall of 1836, the family emigrated Westward by way of the Lakes to Michigan, which State they crossed, and then took a boat to Chicago, which at that time consisted of only a few log cabins on a wet prairie.
They first located in what is now Avon Township, where Mr. Stanley broke land for Mr. Edwards. He then build a log house 16x24 feet with a puncheon floor, on the peninsula southeast of Fox Lake. The land was purchased from the Government. He had to pay twenty-five percent interest on his money, and afterward lost the entire amount, one hundred and sixty acres.
Hardships and privations were their lot during those earlier years. During the first winter, wolves made it dangerous to venture unarmed away from home. The eldest son was once compelled to make a trip, and for protection, he placed upon his sled a hogshead in which he climbed. He was accompanied by a dog which kept the wolves away from the cattle, and he called to the oxen from out the bunghole and thus he escaped uninjured.
The death of the mother occurred in 1851, after which Mr. Stanley was twice married. He lived to be seventy-eight years of age, and died in Nebraska. He had four children: Monroe, who lives on Nippersink Point with his brother Robert, Aralzeman, Frances Harriet, deceased wife of James Norton; and, Robert, who served in Company D, Ninety-sixth Illinois Infantry, and is now living at Nippersink Point.
Our subject, Aralzeman, was only four years old when the family came to this county. He shared in the hardships and privations of pioneer life in the days when the deep snow would become crusted over so that men and animals could walk upon it. Deer and wild game furnished the meat for the table, and almost their only visitors were the Indians. The red men taught our subject, when a boy, the way to fish through the ice, and to this occupation the family looked in a great measure for their support. The children caught the fish and the father hauled loads to Chicago when it would require three days for the journey. They were in extremely limited circumstances, and in winter time would lay straw upon the ice to keep their bare feet from freezing. Such are some of the hardships which Mr. Stanley underwent during his boyhood.
When twenty-eight years of age, he responded to his country's call for troops, enlisting in 1862 in Company D, Ninety-sixth Illinois Infantry, which was organized in Waukegan. He participated in the battles of Chicamauga and Lookout Mountain, those of the Atlanta campaign, Dalton, Kennesaw Mountain and Resaca, Georgia.
At Chattanooga, the troops were nearly starved, eating the corn which was given to the mules. At Reseca, Mr. Stanley was wounded, one bullet made a hole through his hat, another tore his blanket off his back, and his right leg was shot through. He was carried to the hospital where gangrene set in, and he suffered all the agonies possible. He was never able to rejoin his regiment and was discharged in Indianapolis in 1865. He later received a pension of eight ($8.00) dollars a month for the wound to his right thigh.
On his return to Lake County, Mr. Stanley, in 1867, was married to Miss Elizabeth S. Rix, a native of McHenry County, (Click to view Marriage Certificate) and a daughter of Samuel and Marian (Smith) Rix. Her father was of English birth and her mother was born in New York. Five children grace the union of Mr. Stanley and his wife - Ora A.; Orville L.; Dottie G., wife of Oscar Norton; Homer V.; and Fred R.
Mr. Stanley has made his home in Fox Lake since 1868. He increases his income by serving as pilot upon the lakes and by hunting. He also receives a small pension. In politics he is a Republican. He and his wife are members of the Baptist Church, and by all who knew them are held in the highest esteem. Their excellencies of character entitle them to this universal regard.
Mr. Stanley was born on July 8, 1833, in Buffalo, New York. He died on December 4, 1908 in Lake Villa, Illinois, and is buried in Angolian Cemetery, in Lake Villa, Illinois.
- Go to "Hartford" Stanley Families of America.
- Go to the John Stanley Genealogy Page.
- Aralzeman Stanley's G.A.R. Personal War Sketch.
- 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, History.
- Read About My Great-Uncle Robert E. Stanley.
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