“History of Grant Township”

“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

The following has been transcribed by Vernon B. Paddock from the “History of Grant Township” by the Big Hollow School District contributed by: Nettie Hewitt, Grace Norton, Evelyn Tonyan, Bernice Willey, and Joseph Kelley. The document “1918 School Histories – Grant Township – Big Hollow 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 – Grant Township – Big Hollow School”:


Grant township, legally described, as township 45, north, range 9, east, is situated in the western part of Lake County, and is surrounded by Antioch, Lake Villa, Avon, and Wauconda townships, and McHenry County.  It contains fifteen thousand three hundred sixty acres, one fourth of which is water, including Fox, Nippersink, Pistakee, Duck, Wooster, Mud, Fish, Sullivan, Long, Deutchler, and Irving Lakes, part of Fox River, and Squaw Creek.

This township was formerly called Goodale township after Deveraux Goodale, one of the early settlers, who promised to build a townhall if the township received his name.  Mr. Goodale went west and never fulfilled his promise.  Directly after the Civil War, in 1867, Goodale was dropped and Grant was substituted.

It is interesting to know that when General Grant was candidate for President, in 1872, this township which was named in his honor, was the only one in Lake County which did not give him the majority of votes.

The first town meeting was held on the first Tuesday in April, 1850, at the Goodale Tavern.  Officers were elected as follows: Chester Hamilton- Supervisor, D. C. Townsend- Town Clerk, Jehiel Campton- Assessor, Orren Marble- Collector, Cornelius Smith- Overseer of the Poor, Calon Clark, Rufus McWay, R. Stanley- Commissioners, C. Hamilton, and A. S. Maltby- Justices of the Peace, L. P. Barnes and Orren Marble- Constables.

The first murder in the town and also in the county, occurred at the Goodale Tavern in September 1847.  Silas Marble, a peddler was the victim.  The inquest was held in the tavern.  The men suspected of the crime were tried by jury in Waukegan and were acquitted.

The early settlers were composed of German, Irish, Scotch, and Yankees.  Many came by way of water on a lake vessel as far as Kenosha, Wisconsin, which had the best landing place at that time.  From Kenosha they came across country on foot or rode in large wagons.  Many walked down the shore of Lake Michigan to Little Fort and then rode out with some farmers who had been at mill there and were just returning to their homes in McHenry County.  Others came from the East in large covered wagons drawn by oxen, or horses.

It is believed that Harley Clark made the first settlement in the township, near Fish Lake, in the summer of 1839.  Others dispute the fact and say E. S. Johonott was the first to settle here, in Section 36.  The third and fourth houses were built by Chester Hamilton and Rufus Willard.  Mr. Hamilton’s house was the first frame house built in the township.  W. C. Howard is believed to have been the first one to settle in our district, about 1844.  Other early settlers were: Robert Stanley, Deveraux and Henry Goodale, T. D. and D. C. Townsend, Timothy B. Titcomb, R. Compton, John McGill, P. Larkin, P. Devlin, T. Drury, Wm. B., John, and Robert Dalziel.

When these early settlers came here the land was covered with trees.  They set to work at once to cut down the trees and build a log cabin.  These cabins were roughly built, consisting of but one room.  At one end was a large fire place, built of stones plastered with mud.  The chimney was of sticks or stones and also plastered with mud, as were the cracks between the logs.  The furniture was rudely constructed and of the simplest kind.

As soon as the log cabin was built, they started to clear the land.  They raised grain, corn, and potatoes.  The men were very industrious and their wives proved to be strong helpers.  Their cattle, sheep, hogs, and wheat, soon made them prosperous.

In these early days there were no roads as we have now.  As there were no fences, they drove thru the fields along the high ground to avoid the sloughs.  One of the early roads was the Nippersink Trail, an old Indian Trail from Chicago to Nippersink Point on Fox Lake.  A great part of this trail is still used as a main road.  Another early road going thru our township was one from McHenry to Antioch.

They had no bridges in early days so they forded the streams at a shallow place.  There was a ford across the Fox river from Sayles Point to Crab Apple Island.  The first ones to ford it were John DeCartar and his partner M. Lifever, who were two great hunters and trappers.

One of the earliest bridges built was one across Squaw Creek, north of what is now Ingleside.

The only stage road running thru our township was the “Plank Road”, which went from McHenry to Little Fort.  It was so called because planks were laid across sloughs and low places.  A stage coach traversed this route three times a week, carrying passengers and mail.

Along this road taverns were located to provide food and lodging for the people and horses.  The Goodale Tavern was located on the “Plank Road”.  It is still standing being used as a shed on Ray Paddock’s farm.  Another stopping place was the Sherman Tavern in Big Hollow.  A great stir was made there at one time, by the digging up of seven skeletons of men which had been buried there.  One was proved to be the skeleton of an Indian, but the rest were that of white men.

The first post-office for this region was at Fort Hill.  Orren Marble was post-master. Later the settlers received their mail from Forksville, Monaville, Nippersink, and Dighton.

The first church in Grant township was a Catholic church.  The first priest’s name was Father Gormany.  The church was built in Big Hollow in 1860.  As it was rudely constructed of logs, it was blown down in 1862, and rebuilt at Gavin’s Corner.  It was then given the name of St. Mary’s of the Lakes Church.  It is still used.  Sunday school and Methodist services were held in the Big Hollow School until the erection of the Congregational Church at Fox Lake in 1904.  The later building was moved to Ingleside in 1916.  The first minister who conducted services at the school house was Mr. Groves.

The only cemetery in our township was the Shepherd Burying Ground, later called Grant Cemetery.  It is located about one mile west of the Brick School.  It is still in use.

In early days the settlers bought their provisions and traded at Little Fort, Antioch, Forksville, and Hainesville.  There was no village or trading post in Grant Township until 1890, when Dighton was built in Big Hollow.  It consisted of a store, creamery, post-office, blacksmith shop, dance hall, and school.  It was named after Dighton Granger, a farmer and prominent citizen of the township.  There was at one time a brickyard located about one mile south of Dighton.  It is said there was a lime kiln on the George Rosing estate at an early day.

Hunting, trapping, and fishing was, and is, good in this party of the country.  A great many people depended on hunting and fishing for part of their food.

The Stanleys were great hunters and trappers in early days.  Monroe Stanley had a muskrat farm at Squaw Creek.  The farm consisted of forty acres, around which was a tight board fence.

Albert Paddock was a great quail hunter.  He caught the quail in traps called “figure four” traps.  One day he caught twenty six in one of these traps, on the John Sayles farm.

Mr. Tahen was out hunting one day when his dogs chased a deer out of the woods onto the ice on Long Lake.  The deer fell down and Mr. Tahen shot him.

Early one morning an Indian chief came down from Grass Lake to the Patrick Devlin farm to buy some hay from a stack Mr. Devlin had in his yard.  Mr. Devlin did not have a hay knife so he used an ax to cut the hay.  While he was cutting the hay he discovered a wild hog which had taken shelter in the stack during the night.

Foxes and small game such as mink, squirrel, and rabbit were plentiful, and the lakes abounded with fine fish making this a favorite hunting and fishing ground for both the Indian and the white man.

One of the first schools in the township was built about 1850.  Mr. William B. Dalziel donated one fourth of an acre in Big Hollow for a school, on the condition that neighbors would help put up the building.  The building was a small, log school rudely furnished.  The desks consisted of a wide board running all around the room, and fastened to the logs by wooden pegs or pins.  The seats were strong wooden benches which were placed in such a manner that the children faced the wall while studying.  While reciting or being dismissed they faced the center of the room.  The teacher’s desk was in the middle of the room.  The room was heated by a wood stove.  There were few books.  The main studies were “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic.”  Mr Waite Lewis is believed to have been the first teacher.  He died while teaching here, and his daughter, Mary Ann, succeeded him.

Nancy McGill, George and Charles Wait, and Katie Hart taught in the log school.

Instead of receiving money for teaching, the teachers were given some commodity, such as meat.  If they wanted money they would take the commodity to some person who would give money in exchange.

In 1873, the old log school was replaced by the present frame building.  The district bought more land and added to the ground they had which made an ample play-ground.

Mr. William B. Dalziel hauled the lumber for the new school from Waukegan.

The school was furnished with strong board desks fastened together by two by fours in such a way to enable them to be moved about the room.  One served for the teacher’s desk, and one for the wooden water pail.

There were no maps, few books and but one blackboard.  There was a large wood stove in the middle of the room.  There was a bench around it where the children sat to get warm.

The first teacher in the new school was Katie McGavie.  Others were: Celestia Dodbell, Mary Glynch, Dr. Roberts, Maggie Kennedy, Nellie Lane, John Lane, Mary Tonies, Evelyn Rochfort, Nellie Brooks, Pearl Cleveland, Alice Renehan, and Mabel Edwards.

Some years later the school was remodeled and new unmovable seats were put in.  Again in 1917, the building was remodeled.  New windows, desks, and up-to-day stove was put in.

The school building was used for all political meetings until the townhall was built in Ingleside.

Sunday School and church services were held here every Sunday until recent years.

As this part of the country was a favorite hunting ground for Indians, they came to camp, at certain times of the year, on the shores of Pistakee, Fox, and Duck Lakes.

It was nothing unusual to have a crowd of Indians drop in about breakfast time after an early hunt and demand their breakfast.

One morning an Indian squaw came to Robert Dalziel’s house begging.  She handed Mrs. Dalziel a paper which read as follows: “I am Black Hawk’s squaw.  I am honest or supposed to be.”

Another morning some squaws came to a house and asked for something to eat.  There were potatoes and pork on the table.  After they had eaten some of the potatoes they asked if they might take some of the pork to their papooses.  They were told they could, so they picked it up from the platter and licked all the fat off and wrapped it in their shawls.

One day a woman had prepared a dinner for the threshers.  It was all on the table ready for the men when a band of Indians came rushing in.  The woman was so frightened that she did not say a word.  The Indians devoured all she had on the table.

One day Mr. Devlin was walking thru a field when an Indian sprang out upon him from behind a tree.  They grappled in deadly conflict until at last Mr. Devlin killed the foe.

Black Hawk and his band marched thru here on their way to Wisconsin.  They were chased over the hills by some white settler.

There is a large hill near Fox Lake called Indian Hill, where many Indian relics have been found.

When excavating for a cellar in Fox Lake, recently, skeletons of Indians were found, some of which were seven feet high, also arrowheads, pipes, utensils, and tomahawks.

Vidvards of Grass Lake have one of the finest collections of Indian relics around here.

The first railroad in Grant township was a branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Saint Paul which was extended from Libertyville to Madison, Wisconsin, in 1900.  With it came the villages of Fox Lake and Ingleside.  Ingleside received its name November 12, 1901.

Mr. Patrick Devlin was the only man from this township who was in the War of 1812. He also served in the Mexican War.

Ed., Chet, and Alverdon Howard, John Horen, Dighton Granger, George Wait, Judge Tweed, Rosman and Robert Stanley, Thomas Campbell, John Garette, James and Tom Drury, Chris Blucher, Tim and Andy McFadden were engaged in the Civil War and survived.  The following were killed or wounded in the Rebellion: C. N. Fox, H. Hoogstraat, C. Boettcher, Wm. Tower, and John Smith.  The following died of disease: J. Clarkson, J. P. Gillis, H. J. Hohenstein, Thomas Kinreid, and George Rix.

Dr. D. A. Willey, veterinarian, was the only one from this township to serve in the Spanish-American War.

The following boys have been recently called to the colors: Serg’t George Tweed, who drives a provision truck, and Lieut. Francis McNeil are “Somewhere in France;” Privates Frank Dowell and William Caspers, Camp Pike, Arkansas, Privates James Gorman, and William Hiller, Serg’t George Deneen, Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois, and Cadet Ernest Roberts, Great Lakes Naval Training Station.

Among the early catastrophes there was a cyclone, August 4, 1862.  Buildings were blown down, roofs blown off houses and barns, and trees were up rooted.

In the spring of 1881, after the “winter of the deep snow,” there was very high water, so high that people could go in row boats over the fences.

In 1901 a fire broke out in Dighton which destroyed most of the village.  It was never rebuilt.

One of the most modern barns in Grant township is the one on Mr. J. L, Nicholson’s farm.  Its dimensions are forty feet by one hundred feet.  It accommodates forty cows and has pens for a number of calves.  It has aeroaters on top which admit fresh air.  It is lighted by sixty-two windows on the east side.  The floors are of cork brick.  The “James” stanchions and litter carriers are used.  Each cow has a separate feeding box and an individual drinking fountain.  The milking is done by a milking machine.

The well-equipped milk-house is under the runway leading to the haymows.

Upstairs there are four feed rooms, and a large mow filled with hay and straw.

They have their own electric light plant and at night the barn is lighted in fifty-two bulbs.

At the south end of the barn are two large silos which are connected with the barn.

The cost of this barn is estimated between nine and ten thousand dollars.  It was built in 1916.

One of the important persons who lives in our township is Thomas Graham, our representative at Springfield.  His home is at Long Lake.

Town of Grant

Town originally called Goodale in honor of early settler who said if named for him he would erect a town house for use of the town at such place as might be selected.

Town house was never built.

Goodale moved to California in 1867.  The name of the town was changed in 1868 to Grant in honor of Gen U.S. Grant.

First town meeting was held in Goodale Tavern on the first Tuesday in April in 1850.

Officers elected are follows:
Supervisor Chester Hamilton
Town Clerk D. C. Townsend
Assessor Jehiel Compton
Overseer of Poor Cornelian Smith
Highway Commissioners Calvin Clerk, Rufus Way, Robert Stanley
Justices Chester Hamilton, A. S. Maleby
Constables E. P. Barnes, Orren Marble

Total valuation of property in 1850, real and personal combined $33,868.  Amounts of taxes for the same year $472.56

For year 1877 valuation of property reached $142,202.

George Wait was the first town clerk in Grant.

Lohra J. Rushmoor, the first-woman town clerk in the state was elected in the town of Grant in 1914.

The early settlers were French, Dutch, Irish, and Yankees coming from New York, Pennsylvania, and New England States, landing at South Port, now Kenosha or Little Fort, now Waukegan, then overland with ox teams.

Some of the early settlers were Harley Clark, Rufus Williard, Robert Stanley, D. Goodale, H. Goodale, Timothy Titcomb, Chester Hamilton, T. D. Townsend, Patrick Devlin, Levi Waite, John Sayles, Stanley Brochers, William C. Howard, Robert Dalziel.

The North McHenry Road leading to Nippersink Point and Lake and McHenry toll road were the first roads in Grant made upon the Indian trails.

Goodale Tavern was the first tavern in Grant.  Fort Hill Post Office for a time was located in this town Southeast of Goodale’s Corners.  Later offices were located at Big Hollow, Long Lake, and Nippersink.

The first church, St. Mary, of Catholic denomination, was erected at Big Hollow in 1860.  It was destroyed by the tornado of 1862, and rebuilt in 1865 on present site, near Gavin School House on the Fox Lake road.

Under the supervision of Oliver Sollett, The Congregational Church was built in 1899 on the Fox Lake Road upon land donated by John Tweed and Dr. Broxby.

In 1916 it was moved to Ingleside, H. Hendrick’s donating a lot.

“Shepherd’s Burying Ground” now known as Grant Cemetery is in the southern part of the town.

One trading post was located at Pistakee Lake.

The first blacksmith shop was built on John Lane’s farm in 1870.  Thomas Stanton was the first blacksmith.

A brickyard was located on Benjamin Tonyan’s farm.  W. Scoville was brickmaker.

The early settlers obtained the greater part of their food by hunting and fishing.

Deer, quails, partridges, pigeons, and prairie chickens were here in abundance.

Two wild hogs were killed in 1846 by Hugh McGavic.

Large fish, muskellunge and pickerel weighing from thirty pound to sixty pounds, have been caught by the Dunnill brothers.

First school house in Grant was a log building of hewn logs at Big Hollow at crossing of North McHenry road and road leading to Nippersink Point.  Built in 1844. Daniel Armstrong was the first teacher.

Gavin and Brick schools were organized later.

In 1907 Fox Lake district was organized from Gavin district.

A two room school house was built the same year.  The building was steam heated, wired, and well lighted and ventilated.

The rooms contain the following furniture: single seats, book cases, teachers’ desks, globes, maps, chairs, clocks, pianos, and black boards.  H. Decker was the first teacher.

General settlement for Pottawattomies Indians was at Pistakee Lake on Lake and McHenry Plank road, during the days of its existence passed through southeast part of township on section 36.

It is said that Black Hawk in passing into Wisconsin was chased by the early settlers.

Patrick Devlin in a skirmish with an Indian was speared in the hip, but a companion came to his rescue and the Indian was slain.  This occurred near Point Comfort.

Indians mounds are located at Pistakee Lake, near Squaw Creek, Bridge and Nippersink shore.

The Indian burying ground was at Indian Point in Antioch.

Indian skeletons, arrows, hatchets, knives, and tomakawks have been found in mounds.

Chief Louiseau’s mound and Chief Batish’s mound are located on Vidvard Point in Antioch town near Grant town line.

The first rail road Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul, connecting Chicago and Madison, was built in 1900.

Patrick Devlin and James Gage served in the Black Hawk and Mexican War.

Civil War Veterans

Alex Tweed 95th Ill Infantry
Levi Wait 96”    “    “
Dighton Granger 96”    “    “
Edward Howard Indiana Reg
Andrew Hettinger    “    “
F. E. Culver New York Reg
Jay Simms Indiana Reg

Spanish American War.

D. A. Willey, Jr. (U.S.)

Boys In Service

William Laflin – Houston, Texas
Alfred Gahler –    “    “
Victor Meisner – Rockford, Ill.,
Emil Neilson – Jefferson, Missouri
Frank Kehor – Ft. Dodgrs, Iowa
   “    J. Dowell, Camp Pike, Little Rock, Ark.
George Deneen Rockford, Ill.
William Casper, Camp Pike, Little Rock, Ark.
Otto Ruehl    “    “    “    “    “
John Brennan, Rockford, Ill.
James Gorman    “    “
E. J. Roberts Great Lakes, Ill.
George Bingham    “    “    “
Richard    “    Houston, Texas
Ira Schultz Columbus, Ohio
Noel White France
George Tweed France
Edward Boulden Rockford, Ill.,
Leo Gross Great Lakes
William Hiller Rockford, Ill.
William Langsier Houston Texas
Joseph Shere    “    “
James Thompson Rockford, Ill.

Disastrous Fire

A big fire occurred in the village of Fox Lake, Dec. 9, 1917.

It was caused by an explosion of a small kerosene store in an attic of the Pasdesloup flat.

On account of the very cold weather some difficulty was experienced in starting the gasoline engine.  With help from surrounding towns and the Fox Lake chemical engine the fire was subdued after destroying the following property:

John J. Brown property, James Halpin building, C. M. Spring Store, John Bailey building, G. P. Landing building and post-office.

The loss was conservatively estimated at $40,000