“History of Hainesville”

“Seventh and eighth grade students throughout Lake County compiled the 1918 School History notebooks in celebration of the Illinois Centennial.  The histories feature photographs and accounts from students and teachers at one-room schoolhouses.  In addition, information on the settlement history of the area is often included, along with photos of early families, businesses and residences.” – Bess Bowers Dunn Museum of Lake County


Cover Page of “History of Hainesville”


The following has been transcribed by Vernon B. Paddock from the “History of Hainesville” written by Bernice Tracks, Esther Rawlings, Murl Cossman and Robert Johnson, members of Seventh Grade, Hainesville School, 1918, under the Supervision of Mabel Murrie, Teacher.  The document “1918 School Histories – Avon Township – Hainesville School” is provided by the Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County (formerly the Lake County Discovery Museum) through the “Illinois Digital Archives” website of the Illinois State Library.

Illinois Digital Archives website for “1918 School Histories – Avon Township – Hainesville School”: http://www.idaillinois.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/lakecoun001/id/619/rec/4



History of Hainesville

In the year of 1847, by special permission from the Legislature, through the efforts of Elijah M. Haines, a charter was granted, for the town of Hainesville, receiving its name from the promoter of the movement, E.M. Haines, who lived there at that time.

In 1838, a large tavern had been built here, being the place of the early town meetings.  The “caucas” (sic) was always held at the Avon Centre Schoolhouse, but the voting at the tavern in Hainesville.  Their method of voting was similar to that of ours to-day. (sic)

One of the first Supervisors was Lemuel Edwards, who held his office many years.  Hiram Fox was Assessor, who also held his office for many years.

O.S. Wright, brother-in-law of E.M. Haines, was the first Justice of Peace here.  Some time later Steven Marvin held the office.  Their trials and court sessions were held in the tavern.

Among the first settlers coming to this part of the country were the families of Fox, Freeman, Morse, Briggs, Rich, Hendee, Forvor, King, Lovejoy, Domski, Cleveland, Huson, Arnold, Battershall, Avery, Smith, Whitney, Dudleys, most of them coming from York State and a few from Ohio.  Their trip was a long and tiresome one, some coming by rail, boat, or stage.

Some of the earliest homes were those of Enoch Enoch Morse, directly west of Hainesville on the Plank Road, now owned by Mr. Smith, but occupied by A. P. Wilson.  The Domski farm east of Hainesville, on the Plank Road, occupied by the H. Krummery, part of the old house being still there.

The first road going through Hainesiville was the Plank Road, which extended from Waukegan to Woodstock.  The original plan of the road was to have it run straight west from the west side of Grayslake.  Of the road was laid out in that way it would not pass through the village of Hainesville.  Through the efforts and work E.M. Haines the plan was changed so that the road was angled to the north and passing through the territory which had been plotted for the village of Hainesville.  One of the provisions for organizing the town was that if the road was to be within a mile of the town it would have to pass through the town.  It might be interesting to note the derivation of the name “Plank Road.”  In olden days, the roads were not very good, and in some places almost impossible during the rainy seasons.  A corporation was formed.  Oak planks were purchased, and cut into eight foot lengths, and laid for a road.  It was not built in the most substantial manner, but it was a great improvement over the roads that were.  The road was built with a plan to save, for in places where the ground was higher and the road bed harder, the planks were not used.  The road was not kept up, as it should have been and in time the planks were torn up and sold to people wanting them. Mr. John F. Morrill and old soldier, now living in Grayslake, said that his father purchased enough of the planks to build a barnyard fence.

The Plank Road was the stage road between Waukegan and McHenry.  The stage going in one day and coming out the next.  They usually drove a four horse “team” sometimes three.

Right in the middle of Hainesville, where the road turns north, to the east, was the old tavern built in 1832.



For many years this was kept by Mr. Lovejoy.

At the fork of the Plank Road a short distance west of where the old tavern stood, was a toll gate.  Teams entering at this fork in the road paid a toll of fifty cents to go through.  After the toll gates were discontinued this one was used as a wagon shop by Calvin White.  To-day the north part of Mr. Chas.  Hall’s house, is part of the old tall gate, which stood at the fork of the Road leading to Round Lake.

There was never a church building here, but church services were held at the schoolhouse and the Town Hall.

In the woods of the Wise farm is an abandoned cemetery.  This was never a chartered burying place, and was only used through permission of the owner of the land.  Most of the bodies were removed but to-day there are two or three tombstones there, but the lettering on them is indistinct.

After Hainesville was organized it soon became a prosperous and busy village.  It was a center for trading, people being lead here, a great deal by the post office, and then too being well located along the Plank Road.  The first post office was in charge of Howard Ingalls as early as 1855.  Later years, Mr. Briggs, Mrs. Wheelock, and Mr. King had charge of it.  To-day and for years Mr. George Battershall has been the Postmaster.

There were several blacksmith shops here, one owned and run by Henry Wells.  It was located on the lot where Lawrence Buss now lives.  Pierce and Avery operated one east of where Chas. Hall now lives, and Peter Dumphrey owned one right west of the George Battershall stores.

Where the west fence of E.F. Shanks yard now is, was the law office of E.M. Haines.  E. M. Haines also edited a weekly paper, called the “Hainesville Porcupine”.  It was sent to Chicago for publication.  Copies of the old paper are said to be in possession of some one living at Wauconda.

About one mile north of Hainesville, opposite where Jason Renehan lives, on the north bank of Cranberry Lake was an old distillery.  It has long since been torn down.

The settlers enjoyed the hunting and trapping.  Quail, wild pigeons, etc. were plentiful.

Soon after the organization of Hainesville the school district was formed.

The first schoolhouse was where F.A. Rawlings now lives.  It was a one room building built of logs, with openings sawed in the sides for windows.  The money was raised by taxation practically the same as to-day.  The teacher’s desk was placed at the front of the room.  In the center of the room was a stove in which logs cut into three foot lengths were burned.  The pupil’s desks were around the outside of the room, facing the walls. They were made from boards hewn from logs.  The pupils usually studied what they wished.  The studies from which they could choose were, Arithmetic, Spelling, Reading, History and Geography.  The children furnished their own books.

The school period was divided into two terms.  Summer and Winter.  The Summer Term began in May, and lasted through August.  The winter term began in November, lasting until about the middle of March.  The reason for this plan being that the most of the children were needed at home at these particular seasons to help with the planting and harvesting of the crops.

The teacher’s salary was raised by taxation the same as to day.  The average wages paid then being from twenty-five to forty dollars, a month, depending upon the size of the school, and some too whether the teachers were male or female.  The teachers always “boarded round,” or going from one house to the other.  If one family sent four children to school, this family was expected to board the teacher for four weeks.  Mr. Calvin and Mr. Porter were early teachers.  The following were names of some early scholars who attended schools at Hainesville: Cleveland, Huson, Battershall, Arnold, Lovejoy, Dudley, Briggs, Davis, Fox, Ingalls, Renehan, Marble, Marvin, Avery, Smith, Whitney, Wickham, Haines, Kapple and Trusedall.

The land where the log school stood was not school property.  A new site of land was purchased on the road going north from the Hainesville tavern, on the Fortich farm.  Here a frame building was put up, which was used as the public school for years.

Later land was purchased from a new school site, which is where the present school house is.

The building now in use was remodeled in 1916 so that to day it is one of the most up to date country schools, having a very good lighting and heating system as required by law.

It might be rather interesting to know that in the Spring of 1853 there was an epidemic of smallpox in the community.  The old log school was used as a pest house.  Several people died.  Mrs. Arnold and her daughter who had both had the small pox, volunteered their services as nurses.  Mrs. Arnold and her daughter lived where George Sullivan now does.

After the log school had been discontinued, it was torn down by George Battershall, and the logs were used in building a horse barn on his farm.

The early school house, was a place of meetings, for the community good times.  It was the scene of many a singing school, spelling bee, school and church entertainments, besides being used for all political meetings.

Among those who attended the Hainesville school, to gain renown were Will Marvin, who was our County Superintendent for a good many years, and Chas. Haines, son of E.M. Haines, who was appointed, at one time Governor of the Oregon Territory.

In 1876 the Hainesville Village Hall was built, which was then used for their political and business affairs.  Chas. Hall living in Hainesville was one of the carpenters.  Only a few years ago Catholic services were held there during the summer months also, while the school building was being remodled (sic).  It was fixed up and school was kept for a few weeks.

The settlers of Hainesville do not give us any thrilling accounts of the Indians, other than having seen them pass through, maybe camping for a short time to trap and hunt, but the Indian Camps were all farther north of here.

In 1898-1899 the first railroad was built through Hainesville.  There had been the “Soo Line” through Grayslake some years before that, and it being but two miles distant, gave them accommodation.  With the coming of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, it gave the people direct connection with Chicago and better mail service.

At the present time there are two mail deliverys (sic) per day, one in the morning and one in the evening.

Among the Doctors having practiced here were, Dr. Dickinson, being the first, Dr. Morrill, Dr. Rickey, Dr. Huson, Dr. Taylor, and Dr. Galloway, father of Dr. Galloway of Libertyville.

Following are the names of men living in the community who served in the Civil War.

James Cleveland                  Geo. Hendee
Erastus Cleveland                John Battershall
Chas. Cleveland                    James Litwiler
Major Cleveland                  Chas. Litwiler
Chas Fox                                 John Morrill
Warren Chadwick               Chas. Hall
Dighton Granger                 Isaac Devoe
Chauncey Morse                  Wells Morrill
Henry Briggs                        Henry Domski
Peter Rich                              Esain Rich
Wm Fuller                              James McMillan
Curtis Packard                     Ed Kreig
Horace Ferrin                      Moses Montgomery
Henry Montgomery           Chas. Montgomery
Henry Domski, Erastus Cleveland, Geo. Hendee, John Morrill, and Chas. Hall are still living.

In service now we have Lawrerence (sic) Bouchard who is in a training camp at Houston, Texas, Lester Shanks who is on a submarine chaser at Norfolk Va, and John Bukas who is also at Houston, Texas.

In August, 1862, the country was swept by a hurricane, the most disastrous and destructive storm to have ever been known around here. Houses were blown down.  The brick house which stood where F.A. Rawlings house now is was literally blown to pieces, sides of the walls being carried away.  The roof of Harley Darby’s barn was lifted and carried through the side of their house.  The grain was in the shock in the field, it was blown so far that the farmers never saw it again.

In 1906, the old tavern, one of the oldest landmarks of the country, was destroyed by fire, also the dwelling house, which stood next to it.

The old “Sag”, rather famous throughout the country, was the scene of many fires.  In the Spring and Fall, in some way it was set a fire, and often burned for weeks because of the peat deposit found there.

When a farmer saw a prairie fire coming in the distance, he quickly harnessed his horses, and plowed a few furrows around his buildings, in this way checking the fire and getting protection for his property.



Lake County

Much of the material in this little sketch has been taken from “Haines’ Historical and Statistical Sketches”, published in 1852 by the Hon. Elijah M. Haines, and “A History of Lake County”, by John J. Halsey, LL.D., Professor of Political Science in Lake Forest College, published in 1912.

The first county organized within the present area of Illinois was named St. Clair County in honor of the first Governor of the Northwest Territory.  It has been termed the “mother county”, and rightly so, far from its original territory.  (It has been termed) has been carved not only the majority of the Illinois counties but also the Wisconsin counties as well.

Lake County was at first a part of St. Clair County back in the territorial days.  Since then it has been a part of Madison, Edwards, Crawford, Clark, Pike, Fulton, Peoria, Putnam, Cook, and McHenry Counties.  When McHenry County, including Lake, was organized it was set off from Cook and LaSalle Counties, but the present territory of Lake County came entirely from Cook County.

On January 16, 1836, the State Legislature gave the inhabitants of McHenery (sic) County the right to perfect a separate organization.  Until such organization was completed the county was to be under the jurisdiction of Cook County.  The following years the organization having been completed the first election was held.  The officers chosen provided immediately to McHenery (sic) village, it having been previously selected as the county seat, qualified and began to administer the affairs of the county.  It is worthy of note that all the officers chosen at first came from the eastern or Lake County, side as that part of the county had been settled more rapidly.

The next year a movement was put under way to divide the county, calling the eastern part of Lake County and the western McHenery (sic).  It was thought that the county had become quite thickly settled and that a division would add to the convenience of the inhabitants in transacting business.  It is not improbable that the desire to create more offices was an important consideration, as holding office amounted almost to a mania in those days.  Accordingly the following petition was drawn up signed by a large majority of the legal voters of the entire County and duly presented to the legislature:

“To the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of Illinois.

“Your memorialists, the inhabitants of the County of McHenery (sic), would respectfully represent, that after due consideration and the most anxious and careful investigation of facts and circumstances connected with (with) said County, they have come to the conclusion, that in (and circumstan) (sic) order to procure the greatest amount of comfort, convenience and prosperity it is necessary and expedient that the said county be divided, making the center of Fox River the dividing line from north to South, and all that portion west of Fox River, containing ranges five, six, seven, and eight East of the Third Principal Meridian, be and continue to form the County of McHenry.

“The greater proportion of the inhabitants of said County as formed and organized by the Acts of 1836 and 1837, is composed within the limits of ranges five (5), six (6), seven (7), ten (10), eleven (11), and twelve (12) East of the Third Principal Meridian, being the extremes of the vast territory of which our county is now formed, which is populated with enterprising and intelligent citizens, who at the present time number at least four thousand souls – with a list, as by the tax roll of the year 1838, of eight hundred and seventy-five tax paying citizens.

“And we would further represent, that the county of McHenry is nearly fifty miles in length and is twenty-four miles from North to South, and the seat of justice of the County, as located, being immediately on the west bank of Fox River. We would (in case your Honorable body (will affix) grant us a division) ask that a review be made to re-locate the seat of justice of McHenry County, and that commissioners be appointed therefore.  Also that your Honorable body will appoint commissioners to locate the seat of justice for the County of Lake: and as in duty bound your petitiones (sic) will ever pray.”

In the session of 1838-1839 the Legislature acted favorable in behalf of the petitioners.  An Act was passed creating the County of Lake with boundaries as follows:

“All that portion of McHenry County east of a range or sectional line not less than three miles nor more than four miles east of the present county seat (McHenry Village) of McHenry County shall constitute a new county to be called the County of Lake.

This boundary was different from the one sought in the petition and many were disappointed that the Legislature was influence to make the change.

About this time there was a move to make another county from a part of that portion of McHenry County lying east of the Fox River and the northern part of Cook County.  This was to be given the name of Michigan County, and the county seat was to be located at Wheeling.  Had this gone through the plans of those who were anxious to have Lake County created would have been thwarted.  As it was the “Michigan County Boys” were greatly chagrined when they found out that they were defeated.

One of the first things to determine after the county had been set of as the location of the county seat.  Three men, Two from Cook County and one from Fayette, were named in the act of division to serve as commissioners for this purpose. About the first of June 1839 two of these commissioners met at a settlement originally called Vardin’s Grove, but at that time known as Independence Grove.  After a brief inquirely (sic) into the wishes of the people they located the county seat there and with the consents of people named it Burlington although two years previous a post office had been established in the same place with the name of Libertyville.  The act of commissioners was very distasteful to many especially to those who lived in the eastern part of the county.  A small settlement had grown up at Little Fort and the inhabitants were ambitious to have the county seat located there.

During the first few years the business of the County was transacted by three commissioners.  On August 17, 1839, the first election to choose commissioners and county officers was held.  The following were elected: Commissioners Charles Bartlett, Nelson Landon and Jared Gage; sheriff, Henry B. Steel; treasurer Matthias Mason; school commissioners, Lewis G. Shenck; surveyor, John A. Mills; probate justice, Arthur Patterson; coroner, Starr Titus; clerk of county commissioners’ court, Lansing B. Nichols.  The votes cast at this election were four hundred eight.

At the regular September meeting of the county commissioners’ court the county was divided into eight election precincts as follows: Oak precinct, to include the two southern tiers of townships from the lake to the DesPlaines River; polling place, the (sic) of Michael Dulanty.

Lake precinct to include the two northern tiers of townships from the lake to the Des plaines River (sic); polling place, New York House.

Middlesex precinct, to include that portion of the southern tier of township from the DesPlaines River westward to the third row of sections in Range Ten; polling place, house of Seth Washburn at Half Day.

Burlington precinct to include Township 44 and the three southern miles of township 45, reaching from the DesPlaines River westward to the third row of sections in Range Ten; polling place, (house of) school house at Libertyville.

Mill Creek precinct, to include from northern line of Burlington precinct to the State Line and from the Des Plaines River to the third row of sections of Range 10; polling place, house of Merril Pearsons.

Zurich precinct, to include that portion of the county west of Middlesex and Burlington from the Cook County line eight miles north; polling place, house of M.T. White.

Fort Hill precinct to include the territory seven miles north of Zurich and west of Burlington; polling place, the house of George Thompson.

Bristol precinct, to include the north west corner of the county beyond Fort Hill and Mill Creak precincts; polling place, house of Thomas Warren.

One of the early questions to concern the commissioners’ was the erection of permanent county buildings.  Mr. Landon, who was in favor of moving the county seat to Little Fort succeeded in postponing the work.  His argument was that the finances of the new county would not warrant the expense and suggested that some person put up a building that could be rented by the county.  Soon after and (sic) agreement was entered into with Burleigh Hunt, who built a two-story building, the upper floors of which was arranged for a court room and offices.  This building stood on Lot 29 of the School Trustees’ Subdivision of Section 16, Township 44-11.  The site is on the south side of Division Street in Libertyville three or four lots west of Milwaukee Avenue.

This plan revealed Mr. Landon’s political sagacity, for had permanent buildings been constructed at first it would have been more difficult to have secured the desired change of the county seat.

As it was, when the Legislature convened in 1840 Captain Robinson was selected by the friends of Little Fort to attend its sessions for the purpose of presenting petitions for the removal of the county seat.  The Legislature passed an act submitting the removal to vote of the people on, April 5, 1841.  This election, which evidently was attended by much underhand work, resulted in majority of one hundred eighty-six in favor of Little Fort.  Accordingly on the 13th of April the county seat was changed and permanently established at Little Fort in the southeast quarter of section 21.

Mr. Haines in his sketches says: “By an Act of Congress, the County would be entitled to 160 acres of land by preemption, at the place where the County seat should be located.  That is to say, the land upon which the county seat of any county should become located it being goverment (sic) land, the county should have the right by preemption to enter 160 acres of the same at any time, at the proper land office, by paying $1.25 per acre.  Accordingly such of the inhabitants of Little Fort as had (no money in the treasury) as had any claims upon the south east quarter of section twenty one (21) very generously released then in favor of the County.”  And Mr. Halsey in his history adds: “But the county had no money in the treasury where with to purchase.  Elmsley Sunderland was heard to remark that he had just two hundred dollars in gold that the County could use.  The county commissioners heard of this remark, went to him and obtained the money.  About April 20, 1841, The County commissioners purchased the land at the land office in Chicago, this being the first transfer of land in fee simple in the county.”

The County commissioners then had the quarter section subdivide into lots and blocks by John A. Mill, County Surveyor, and his assistant George Gage, and in May a general sale of lots was held to meet the expenses which had been incurred in perfecting the title to the land.  In September, 1843, the county commissioners entered into a contract with Benjamin P. Cahoon of Southport to build a court house forty feet by sixty feet, two stories high, taking in payment unsold lots in the quarter sections owned by the county.  A jail, contracted for by Moses P. Hoyt in 1841, had been completed by Burleigh Hunt before this time.

The first term of circuit court in the county was held in the temporary court house in Libertyville, April 1840.  The Honorable John Piersons was presiding judge, Alonzo Huntington, States Attorney; Archmedes Wynkoop, Clerk, Henry B. Steele, Sheriff.  The list of the Grand and Petit Jurors is here with given as it will prove of interest to the boys and girls in the schools today, many of whom are directly descended from these early pioneers.

Grand Jurors: Philip Blanchard, Richard L. Hickox, Richard Archer, Rufus Soules, David Waite, Jonathan Rice, Leonard Loomis, John Robinson, Abraham Vandewacker, Walter B. Wattles, David Rich, Oliver Booth, Laomi Pearsons, Samule Burlingham, Elmsley Sunderlin, George Thompson, Hiram Clark, Alexander Russell, Zabina Ford, John Olmsby, Lathrop Farmham, George A Drury, Moses Sutton.

Petit Jurors: Elbert Howard, Andrew Luce, Leonard Spaulding, Godfrey Dwelby, John Murray, Job W. Tripp, Milton Shields, Lewis Beecher, Morris Robinson, Daniel Hubbard, Levi Whitney, William Briggs, Charles S Cary, Joshua Linch, Hiram Butrick, George Gage, William Ladd, Ransom Steele, Caleb Davidson, Malachi F. White, Hezekiah Bryant, Nathaniel Ling, Solomon Norton, A. S Wells.

The first term of Circuit Court held in Little Fort was opened in October, 1841, in the upper story of the old store house under the bluff known as the Kingston Building.

The County business was transacted by three county commissioners until 1841 inhen (sic) at the November election, by a vote of sixteen hundred ninety-two to three the people decided to organize the county into towns.  Colonel Josiah Moulton, Michael Dulanty and Elijah M. Haines were appointed as commissioners to divide the county and fix thier (sic) names.  Each congressional township was set off as a town except that fractional Township 46, Range 9 was attached to Township 46 Range 10, thus making fifteen towns.

The first meeting of the Board of Supervisor was held in Waukegan on Monday, April 2, 1850.”