HISTORY OF AVON TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT 47
“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 Avon – District 47”
The following has been transcribed by Vernon B. Paddock from the “History of Avon – District 47” handwritten by Walter Parker, Leo Sheldon, Maybelle Sheldon, Della Bacigalupo and Bertha Doolittle; Illustrated by Agnes Myer. The document “1918 School Histories – Avon Township – School District 47” 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 – Fort Hill School”: http://www.idaillinois.org/cdm/ref/collection/lakecoun001/id/617
ITS EARLY HISTORY BRIEFLY TOLD FOR THE PUPILS OF THE SCHOOLS
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 country,” and rightly so, for from its original territory 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 McHenry 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 year, the organization having been completed, the first election was held. The officers chosen proceeded immediately to McHenry 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 McHenry. 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 McHenry, would respectfully represent, that after due consideration and the most anxious and careful investigation of facts and circumstances connected with said County, they have come to the conclusion, that in order to procure the greatest amount of comfort, convenience and prosperity, it is necessary and expedient that the said County be divided, make the center of Fox River the dividing line from north to south; and all that portion of the County lying east of Fox River be and form a new County, to be called Lake County, and 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 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 petitioners will every pray.”
In the session of 1838-1839 the Legislature acted favorably 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 arrange 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 influenced 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 off was 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 the time known as Independence Grove. After a brief inquire into the wishes of the people they located the county seat there and with the consent of the people named it Burlington, although two years previous a postoffice had been established in the same place with the name Libertyville. The act of the 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 inhabitant 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. Steele; treasurer, Matthias Mason; school commissioner, Lewis G. Schenck; 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 house of Michael Dulanty.
Lake Precinct to include the two northern tiers of townships from the lake to the Desplaines River; polling place, New York House.
Middlesex Precinct, to include that portion of the southern tier of townships 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, schoolhouse at Libertyville.
Mill Creek Precinct, to include from northern line of Burlington Precinct to the State Line and from the DesPlaines River to the third row of sections of Range Ten; 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 to section 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, house of George Thompson.
Bristol Precinct, to include the northwest corner of the County beyond Fort Hill and Mill Creek 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 an agreement was entered into with Burleigh Hunt, who built a two-story building, the upper floor of which was arranged for a court room and offices. This building stood in 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 a vote of the people on April 5, 1841. This election, which evidently was attended by much underhand work, resulted in a 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 government land, the County should have the right be 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 any claims upon the southeast quarter of section twenty-one (21), very generously released them in favor of the County.” And Mr. Halsey in his history adds: “But the County had no money in the treasury wherewith 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, 1941, 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 subdivided into lots and blocks by John A. Mills, 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 in the land. In September, 1843, the county commissioners entered into a contract with Benjamin P. Cohoon of Southport to build a court house forty feet by sixty feet, two stories high, taking in payment unsold lots in the quarter section owned by the County. A jail, contracted 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, State’s Attorney; Achimedes B. Wynkoop, Clerk; Henry R. Steele, Sheriff. The list of the Grand and Petit Jurors is herewith 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 D. Hickox, Richard Archer, Rufus Soules, David Wait, Jonathan Rice, Leonard Loomis, John Robinson, Abraham Vandewacker, Walter B. Wattles, David Rich, Oliver Booth, Laomi Pearsons, Samuel Burlingham, Elmsley Sunderlin, George Thompson, Hiram Clark, Alexander Russell, Zabina Ford, John Olmsby, Lathrop Farnham, George A. Drury, Moses Sutton.
Petit Jurors: Elbert Howard, Andrew Luce, Leonard Spaulding, Godfrey Dwelly, John Murray, Job W. Tripp, Milton Shields, Lewis Beecher, Morris Robinson, Daniel Hubbard, Levi Whitney, William Briggs, Charles S. Cary, Joshua Leach, Hiram Butrick, George Gage, William Ladd, Ransom Steele, Caleb Davidson, Malachi T. White, Hezikiah Bryant, Nathaniel King, 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 storehouse under the bluff known as the Kingston Building.
The County business was transacted by three county commissioners until 1849, when 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 their 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 Supervisors was held in Waukegan on Monday, April 22, 1850.
From this point on the children will write the story of their own town, school district and community.
In deciding upon a name for this township, there was a spirited contest. A petition signed by the inhabitants of the township was presented to the commissioners having the matter in charge, asking that the town’s name should be Hainesville. To this a remonstrance was filed by Freeman Bridge, Leonard Gage, George Thompson and Samuel Emery, who proposed the name of Eureka, whereupon the matter was referred to the inhabitants of the township for a further expression of their wishes, when at a meeting held January 21, 1850, at the school house, now Avon Centre, Avon was agreed upon for the name of the town. It was accordingly so named by the commissioners. Avon was proposed and accepted because of the fact that many of the settlers came from a small town by the name of Avon in New York.
The first town meeting in this town was convened at the hotel in the village of Hainesville on the first Tuesday in April 1850. Nahum White was chosen Moderator and Leonard Gage clerk at which the following persons were elected town officers: John Gage, Supervisor; Orville Slusser, Town Clerk; James Kapple, Overseer of the Poor; Caleb Arnold, Leonard Gage and Robert Carrol, Commissioners of the Highways; Levi Marble and W. B. Dodge, Justices of the Peace; John Salisbury and Robert D. Gordon, Constables; Freeman Bridge, Assessor. The number of votes cast at this election were 128.
History of the Town of Avon
The town of Avon originally had the same boundary as Township forty five, North Range ten, east of the third principal meridian. It was organized in 1850. In 1912, the boundary was changed, taking town rows of sections off of the Northern part. This left the town six miles long and four miles wide. It contains about twenty four square miles.
Avon was one of the first towns to be settled. Most of the earliest settlers came through Chicago. A few of the later ones came by boat to Waukegan. The first claim of government land made in this town, was by a man named Taylor, in the Summer of 1835, on the north side of the lake, since known as Taylor’s Lake. He built a log cabin during that year, in the edge of the woods, south of the site of the present school house of Avon Centre, and commenced the work of a more commodious log dwelling. He left in the fall of that year, and never returned, but continued to hold his claims until 1837, when he sold it to Leonard Gage.
Noer Potter and his sons came from New York. They drove part way with an ox team and sled, but before they got to Chicago they traded it off for horses. They settled in the northern part of Avon.
Churchill Edwards walked all the way from New York to Chicago averaging forty-four miles a day. He took up a claim on what is now Lake Street in Chicago. The land was mostly under water so it was of very little value to him. He worked out by the day digging graves for the dead. It was about the time of the Cholera Plague, and he was kept busy. When he had saved fifty dollars, he walked to Round Lake and took up a claim. He built a log cabin near Mr. Ben Cossman’s farm. A depression may still be seen where the log cabin stood. After that when ever he got fifty dollars together he would walk to Chicago, take up a claim and walk back the next day. It cost him a dollar and a quarter a acre. He took forty acres each until he had several hundred acres. He later built a log cabin on the Will Edwards place where he lived until he built a frame house.
The other early settlers of the town were: Delazen E. Haines, Harley H. Hendee, David Hendee, David Rich, Levi Marble, George Thompson, Thomas Renehan, Leonard Gage, Thomas Welsh, A. F. Miltimore, Lawrence Forvor, F. Bridges, Nathaniel King, and William Gray. A great many of these settlers came from New York.
Nearly every farm in this district had a log cabin located on it. There was one on Mr. Doolittle’s place in which Mr. Gage lived. Mr. Burge lived on Mr. Leng’s place; Mr. Gilmore lived on Mr. Wilton’s place; John Gilmore lived on Mr. Hucker’s place; Mr. Peck lived on Mr. Charley Sheldon’s place; Mr. Vandemark lived on Mr. Parker’s place; Mr. Vandemark lived on Mr. Barron’s place; Churchill Edwards lived on Mr. Edwards place. There were log cabins on Adam’s and Exon’s places.
The first school house in this town was a building of hewn logs, built by contributions of the inhabitants in the southwest corner of the town, about the year 1841, on the present McHenry road, at the crossing of the north and south road on the quarter section line, which became known as the Marble School House, from Levi Marble, who lived near by immediately on the west. The first school in the town was taught in the Fort Hill School. It is believed that Mrs. Hawkins was the first teacher.
Most of the roads followed old Indian trails. They went across the prairies and any place. Later they laid out the road that goes through Hainesville and Gage’s Corner.
This was the plank road. Another road went from Grays Lake to Antioch. The Hainesville road was a toll road. There was a toll gate at Gages Corner and Hainesville. It cost twenty five cents to go to Waukegan.
There were two taverns in Avon, Mother Cooper’s Tavern and the Hainesville Hotel. Mother Coopers tavern situated on the plank road between the Harley Darby place and the Merrit Forvor place. This was built by Orville Slusser and run by him. The old Hainesville Hotel in Hainesville was built by Jake DeVoe and Delain. It was run first by William Love Joy (sic) and later Penimen (sic) and Wilcox both of Liberty Ville (sic).
The first Post Office in this town was the Fort Hill Post Office. It was originally established in what is now the town of Fremont. About 1840, it was removed to the South west corner of the town to the house of Levi Marble who was appointed Postmaster.
In February, 1846, a Post Office was established at Hainesville, under that name, and Elijah M. Haines appointed Postmaster. In the spring following, Mr. Haines the original proprietor of the lands, laid out and recorded the town plat of Hainesville.
In the northwestern part of this township is a small village called Monaville. It was originally called Barne’s Corner’s, taking the name of an early settler at that point. There is a Post Office there, called Fox Lake. It was a point of considerable trades (But now there is not any there.
In 1870 there was a Post Office at Rollins, Miss Edwards was mistress. Also there was one at Sand Lake. Both have been done away with.
The following is taken from Haines history book of 1877. “The first minister of the Gospel who settled in this township was Rev. James Kapple, a Congregationalist, who came in the summer of 1842, and settle on what was afterward the McHenry road, on the east of George Thompson’ place. There was no congregation or society of that denomination in the town, but he preached in the school houses in different parts of the town, whenever and wherever an audience would come together. He usually preached at the Marble School House and at Hainesville. He was liberal as to his religious views, and everybody went to hear him preach out of personal respect.
A church of the Disciples of Christs otherwise called Campbellites, was organized in this town, at Marble School House, January 12, 1850; J. L. Correll and A. R. Knox were elected Elders, J. L. Correll being designated as the preacher. There were fifteen persons who united with the church at their organization, as follows: J. L. Correll and Mary J., his wife; A. R. Knox and Augusta J., his wife, Chester Hamilton and wife, Dayton Gilbert and wife, W. Dalzell and wife, Nahum White and wife, Abner Marble and wife, James Wickham and wife, Samuel Waldo and Otis Marble. In December, 1853, the church numbered forty one members, many of whom have since died. In the next three years there were forty-three added to the church and the numbers added continued to increase from year to year thereafter.
In 1866, a church edifice or house of worship was built at the four corners of the roads north of Squaw Creek, near Nahum White’s. It is thirty-two by fifty feet, with gallery, and will seat about four hundred persons; it cost about $3,000. The present preacher is Elder Joseph Owen. The church at this time is said to be in a prosperous condition. They have meetings once in two weeks, and good Congregations. Elder Owen is doing much by example, as well as by preaching.
In 1850, the Methodists met at the school house at Gray’s Lake, under the direction of Rev. Francis Reed, and have held service from year to year at the various school houses in the town until 1876, when a fine house of worship was built on the Antioch road, near Lozell Munger’s.
The following are the names of the first members of the class formed as aforesaid: Rebecca Vandemark, Nancy Whitney, D. C. Lewis, Abigail Lewis, Laura A. Lewis, S. E. Vandemark, Henry Vandemark, Mary Vandemark, Lorenzo Adams, Chloe Adams, Lydia Lindsey, Minerva Dimmick, O. H. Crawford, Lucinda Crawford.”
The churches of the disciples of Christ has not been prosperous the last four years. They have Sunday School, but seldom church service.
The Methodists built themselves a parsonage and church at Grays Lake, where they hold Sunday School.
The Methodists Centenial church which used to be at Angola has been moved to Lake Villa. Three of the old ministers: Rev. Tasker, Mr. Wilson, and Mr. Huedom.
There are five cemeteries in the town of Avon. There are the Fox Lake Cementery (sic), Avon Centre, Fort Hill, Grays Lake and Druces Lake. We found three abandoned cemeteries where only a few tomb stones were left. One is located just East of Goodings house; second is located on the Garwood place; and the third was one of the cemeteries which was located on the Henry Edwards place.
The first town in Avon was Hainesville named in honor of E. M. Haines was named by him. Part of the house which belonged to Mr. Haines Is still to be seen in Hainesville.
In 1870 Hainesville was a flourishing village about two hundred inhabitants. It had two stores and the various kinds of mechanics found in a country village. The inhabitants had manifested their public spirit by the erection of a commodious building, having a publick all fitted up for public assemblies and entertainments.
The village now has but one store in which there is very little trading carried on. It practically is a dead town.
Grays Lake got its name from William Gray who settled at an early day on the south side of the lake. The village of Grays Lake was not started until 1883. It be came (sic) an in corporated (sic) village in 1895. The reason for its growth is that it is near the crossing of two rail roads, the St. Paul and Soo Line. It was platted by Hawley and Whitney. Having a better location than Hainesillve it grew rapidly. The first house to be built in Grays Lake was that of F. D. Battershalls. Grays Lake took the voting place away from Hainesville and many of the people moved to Grays Lake. Now it has a population of ?. (number not indicated)
The chief features are the condensory (sic) and the canning factory. It also has a bank, several dry goods and grocery stores, hard ware (sic) shops, garages and a hotel.
There are three churches: The Congregational and the methodists have their own building and Parsonages; the Episcopal meets in one of the halls. The Graded school contains two years of high school. Being near the Lakes great many people go and spend the summer there.
Round Lake has been built since the St. Paul Railroad was built. It is located near the banks of Round Lake. The Armour’s had built a mammoth ice house on this Lake. In 1917 this building burned. The cause was not exactly known; but was laid to the I.W.W. At the present time it has not been rebuilt.
G. P. Renehan has built a large hotel, and many other people have built summer resorts near the Banks of Round Lake. It has a bank and several stores. It also has a graded school and Catholic Church.
Rollins is a small station on the Soo Line, it was named for Gen. John Rawlins, who was a chief of the stuff (sic) Gen. Grant and Sec. of War. A mistake was made in his name instead of Spelling it Rawlins it was spelled Rollins. At one time there was a cheese factory there but it is gone now. At the Corner, North Lemuel Edwards kept the axe factory but now it is gone.
Allegany street South of Hainesville was so called because many of the settlers came from Allegany County, N. York.
The big Sag which is a large marshy land has about 1000 acres goes through Avon and Fremont. It is mostly a peat bed, in 1901 it caught a fire and burned over a hundred acres.
The Lake in this vicinity received its name from the wild cranberries that grew near by.
An old grist mill stood on Mill Creek in the town of Warren. An old saw mill just acrossed the line from Avon in Warren was fed from Fourth Lake. The farmers of Avon went there to have their lumber made.
About the year 1850, a saw-mill was built on Squaw Creek, in the western part of the town, by Nahum White, which was in successful operation for many years.
A Black smith shop at Monaville was run by William Nelson until his death. A short distance North of Hainesville on the Litwiller (sic) farm on the bank of Taylor’s Lake there was another blacksmith shop which was run by Charles Litwiler. A man by the name of Singer run a black smith shop in the old log school house at Avon for a few years. South East of Rollins on the Henry Edwards farm was a brick yard. The hole where the clay was dug out is still to be seen.
In early times the Indians were commonly seen in Avon. One of the Indian trails nearly follows the road from Grayslake to Lake Villa. However there were many such trails, crossing the prairie, and going from one lake to another. These trails look like cow paths, but they were worn much deeper. The Indians followed behind each other like cows.
There was good hunting and fishing near the lakes. The Indians often camped for some time in this region. One of their chief camping places was on Mr. Charley Sheldon’s place, near Fourth Lake.
When they passed through in the spring, they often planted corn on the small Islands, because it would be safe from the deer and other animals, that might eat it. The squaws cultivated the corn with stone hoes and sticks. Sometimes when they planted corn they would pull up the last years stubbles, and then plant the corn, and then put the stubble on again. It is said that the Indians used to raise good crops.
The squaws often came to the doors of the settlers to buy or trade things. Often times they carried thier (sic) papoeses (sic) with them, on their backs. When they came to a house, they would take them off and set them up against a house or tree, while they were bartering for goods. The pupils who went to the old log school house, remembered where the Indians used to camp, under the shade of the locust tree, just north of the school house. The teacher would let them go down there and watch the Indians cook thier (sic) dinner. Thier (sic) dinner consisted of dried meat and parched corn. They seemed to carry large quantity of dried meat with them. While the squaws cooked the dinner over the fire, the Indians would sit in the shade smoking. The squaws would set thier (sic) papooses up against a tree.
They always had a great many dogs and ponies with them. It is said that one of the settlers killed one of the Indians dogs and they had buried it under thier (sic) barn. The Indians searched the premises, but did not find it. If they had found it, they would have burn thier (sic) buildings. The Indians were friendly, and they did not do much damages. The Indians loved tobacco. They would trade any thing for it and hard cider.
There used to be many mounds in Mr. Doolittle woods. We have looked for them but they seemed to have disappeared. People often talked about to digging them up, but they never did. In a few other places mounds have been found. A great many Indians arrows have been found all through this region, nearly all the old settlers have a few. Most of them have been found on the old camping ground on Mr. Charley Sheldon place. A few Indian’s utensils and knives have been found by different people. Some of the old relics have been bought from the Indians. The people often traded for them.
Fires and Cyclones
1843 was one of the hardest winters put in by the early settlers because of the deep snow and it’s being so cold. The deers and other wild animals and birds could not find food and so they came to the farms and around other buildings to get it. They were a nuisance because they insisted upon eating the hay and other food that the cattle of the settlers needed. Many of the quail and prairie chickens and some other birds died, on account of lack of food. Many of the tame animals that the settlers had also died of starvation. Hay and other food for the animals became so scarce that they had to turn the cattle and other animals out to browse on the dead leaves and trees.
In 1886, Leonard Doolittle’s house burned to the ground. While the house was burning he went back after papers, he was over come by the smoke and was burned to death. He was at that time serving as school treasurer and director. All the school records were burned with the exception for one book. Practically nothing was saved. The house has been rebuilt again.
In 1907 Mr. Lings barn was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
A cyclone past (sic) through this district in 1903. Much damage was done by it. The cyclone carried the school house barn over into Will Edward’s field; it carried the platform at Rollins away; it blew all the window lights out of George Sheldon house; it blew all the shingles of one side of the Hucker’s barn; it blew over a hen house, hog house and a wind mill and also a large number of trees on Mr. Doolittle’s place; it blew down several wind mills in this district. One was blown down on Sacigalpo’s place.
History of District Forty Seven
The exact date of the organization of the district is not known because all records were lost in a fire but it is thought that it was organized about 1840 or a little later.
Mr. Edwards gave us the following description of the school: “The first schoolhouse was a log building, built on what is now W. L. Doolittle’s land just across the road west of the present building. It was about sixteen feet long and fourteen feet wide with a small window at each end, and a door on the side facing the road. The children sat on long benches fourteen inches high, eight inches wide, and sixteen feet long. They had no desk and from eight to ten sat on a bench. The teacher had a chair but no desk. It contained no furniture, no pictures, just the bare wall and a rough oak floor.
Two of the teachers that taught here were Tom Whitmore and Little Miss Cook. Miss Cook was called Little Miss Cook because her feet couldn’t reach the floor when she sat on a chair.
Among the early pupils who went to the log school were: Henry Edwards, August Burge, Leonard Burge, Oscar Drury, George Gilmore, Josie Gage, James Bridge, and Jo and Jim Litwiler.
In 1845, while the log building was still used as a school house, the Rowling family lived in it during the winter vacation until their house could be completed across the road on what was then the Churchill Edwards’ place. About 1850, a new school house was built and the old one was used as a blacksmith shop. The man’s name who kept it was Singer. He lived across the road east from the shop. Later it was sold to Mr. Litwiler and he moved it to what is now the Harry Edward’s place. He then tore it down and rebuilt it on what is now the Ben Cossman place near Round Lake. There it was used as a blacksmith shop until it was torn down.
The next building was built on a three cornered piece of land where the present building stands. It was as story frame structure about twenty by thirty feet. It had three windows on each side. The first teacher who taught here was Little Miss Cook the next one was Francis Simens now Mrs. F. C. Doolittle. Mrs. F. C. Doolittle is still alive and is about eight seven years old. The following is an account of the school when she taught here as near as she can remember. She began teaching in May and taught five months with a short vacation in middle. She taught every other Saturday. For teaching she received three dollars a week and boarded around. This was considered a high salary at that time. The first school she taught she received one dollar and fifty cents a week but as she came here highly recommended she received three dollars. All of the early teachers boarded around, but as her folks lived in the district she stayed at home most of the time.
The directors at that time were Ben Durury, _____ Clark, and ____ Gilmore.
The inside of the school was arranged very differently from what they are now. The back seats went clear around the schoolroom. Then the seats gradually became smaller until the primary seats were in front. There was no furniture except the desks and seats. She had a small globe and map of her own which were the only maps she had to use. There was a small black board in the front of the room; they wrote on this with a lump chalk. The teacher’s desk sat on a high platform with steps leading up to it. She taught all the common branches, also astromony (sic). The special study was penmanship.
About seventy pupils attended at that time. They always marched in order when they were excused. Among the pupils who attended at that time were: Katy Linsay, Mary Clark, Marietta Miltimore, Augustus Burge, James Bridge, Byron Doolittle, Celestia Miltimore, James Taylor, Lyda and Mamie Shove, Charles Edwards, Delia Edwards, John Rowlings, Dwight Gilmore, and Mary Edwards. A lady taught in the summer and a man in the winter.
Some of the teachers who taught in the same school were Viola B. Burge, Mr. Marvin, W. B. Smith, Roy Churchill, Elnor Nelsen, Bange Gilmore, Mrs. Chittenden, Mr. Big, Emma Becker, Mrs. Druce, Hattie Tasker, Mary Earl.
In 1887? The schoolhouse was moved across the road and used as a hall. Later on it was used as a dwelling house. A new structure was put up in its place by George Yocum. This building was about thirty six feel long and twenty five feet wide, having a brick foundation and a wooden porch in the front. It was a white building trimmed with brown and contained eight windows. A wooden flag pole stood in front of it. The wood shed, placed back of the schoolhouse, was of the same color. A little further down were the out buildings. A barn accommodating about five horses was built on the west and of the lot.
A large entry opened into the main room by two doors. The boys and girls’ cloak rooms were built at opposite ends of the entry and were entered through doors in the school room. The teacher’s desk stood between the two doors which opened into the entries. The stove was placed in the center of the room nearer to the front than the back. On each side of the stove were two rows of double desks facing toward the doors. All blackboards were common boards painted black. A few pictures hung on the walls which were just plain plaster. These were two good charts; one was Appleton’s reading chart and the others Physiology chart. There were several maps.
Later on several changes were made. The teacher’s desk was placed in the back of the room. Single seats replaced the double ones and faced the opposite way. A jacketed stove stood in the east corner of the room. The fresh air was let into the room by means of a large square pipe which passed through the outer wall of the building and connected with the jacket of the stove. This foul air passed through a large vertical pipe which went through the roof. The walls were papered and the slate black boards took the place of the old ones. Several pictures three of which were framed hung on the walls. Among these were Aurora, The Shepherdess, The Old Mill, The Dance of the Nymphs, and Christ and the Young Ruler, An organ helped with music. A new set of maps replaced the old ones.
The teachers who taught in this building were Will Emens, Mrs. W. L. Doolittle, Delia Gaggin, Nettie Druce, Elias Sabin, Mrs. Ziegle, Mrs. Randall, Alma Hendee, Maybelle Mullen, Emma Studer, Miss Nelson, Amy Norse, Chas. Wightman.
Some of the pupils were Dave Webb, Frank Webb, Ed Webb, Mrs. L. Yager, Eliva Ray, Leona Look, Jennie Hicks, Charles Thyer, James Darby, Bessie Darby, Grace Litwiler, Laura Litwiler, Robert Litwiler, George Sheldon, Charles Sheldon, Fred Sheldon, Ann Strang, Carl Knolls, Mrs. Bilty, Daisy Doolittle, Mrs. J. Hook, Will Doolittle, May Gilmore, Maggie Webb, Annie Bratzke, Nettie Edwards, Lora Cremin, Charles Edwards, Lottie Barron, Charles Reed, Frank Webb, Fred Hucker, Cora Hucker, Claire Edwards, Charlie Hucker, Oney Battershall, Hub Doolittle, Maud Edwards, Walter Edwards, Coral Moody, Caralise Druce, Ed Druce, Joe Garwood, Squire Sheldon, Frank Hucker, Cash Doolittle, Ed Doolittle, Harry Edwards, Gertude Perry, Frank Cremin, Gertude Brewer, Paul Geier, Mike Geier, Tracy Geier, Lita Geier, Leo Brewer, Claire Doolittle, Avi Doolittle, Mary Hook, Louis Hook, Mina Sheldon, Clara Drury, Addie Doolittle, Lyda Edwards, Jane Edwards, Ella Edwards (Reid) Bertha Edwards (Cresmin) Alonzo Edwards, Ed Rowling, Charlie Rowling, Will Edwards, Mary Edwards (Palmer), Charlie Edwards, Aurthur Rowling, John Rowling, Edna Emery (Gilmore), Marsella Emery (Rowling), Emma Emery (Nelson) Emily Beak, Nettie Beak (Loftus) Rose Beak (Garwood) Russell Edwards, Blanche Doolittle (Edwards), Nora Sheldon (Behning) Edwin Sheldon, Grace Waters, Flossie Sheldon (Pillings) Bert Doolittle, Russell Doolittle.
In 1915 they remodled (sic) the school to make it a standard school. The schoolhouse was raised and a cement block basement put under it. Kaulstine toilets were built on back part of the building and a covered porch built on the front of it. The wooden flag pole was taken down and galvanized pipe took it’s (sic) place.
The basement is divided into two parts: the furnace room and the play room, on each side are three screen windows. The furnace is a large Mueller furnace. Part of the furnace room is used as a coal room. Kindling is stored in one end of the play room. The floor of the basement is a concrete floor with a bell drain in the center. The stairs from the basement lead up to the covered porch. The covered porch has one door on the North side and double doors on the South side. The floor about the doors and the step on the front is made of concrete. The double doors may be held open by bolts that fasten in the concrete. Five wooden steps on each side lead up to the platform, which open into the main entry. The entry and the cloak rooms were left the same as they were before, with the exception of the girls cloak room which was made smaller because of the stairway which leads to the basement.
The changes n the schoolroom were: the windows were taken out and the North side was boarded nearly to the top. They left seven windows about three by three and one half feet in each window there were three panes running the long way. On the South side they left seven large windows which reached nearly from the ceiling to the floor. These were divided in the three divisions the panes of the upper divisions were divided into three large panes while the lower ones was one large pane. In the front of the room is a chimney about eight feet long, ten feet height and one foot wide which contains the registers. This chimney is made of red brick. It is smaller at the top and some what resembles a fireplace. On each side of the chimney is a blackboard and on each side between the black board and the wall is a door which leads into the toilets, on the North the boys, and on the South the girls. The back of the room between the two doors is a bookcase which is built in the wall. The upper part of the library has glass doors and the lower wood doors. This bookcase will hold about two hundred books. Another bookcase will hold about as many books is built out from the wall in the southwest corner of the room. These libraries have about four hundred books in them now. There are six rows of desks, these are fastened to boards four on a board and may be moved wherever they wish to be. The organ stands on one side of the room and on the other the grafonola. Above one of the blackboards in front of the room is the mapcase which contains all the maps. The teachers desk and the two recitation (sic) seats are in front of the room. The blackboards reach across the North side and part of the east, these are made low to accommodate the smaller children. A four burner angle lamp which is lit up and down by a pulley hangs in the center of the room. A eighteen inch globe in the front of the room is also let up and down by means of a pulley.
Different meetings have been held in the schoolhouse from 1850 on to the present time. Church and Sunday school was held at different intervals. Spelling and Writing school was also held. Singing school was taught by Mr. Douglas. Later on social entertainment were held for the benefit of the school; such as basket socials and suppers. At the present time Red Cross meetings are held.
Biography of Judge Edwards
Judge Claire Edwards is one of the most noted persons who attended Avon Centre School.
He was born in the old Hainesville hotel in 1876. When he was a year old his father moved to the Churchill Edwards farm. When six years of age he started school. When he had finished the eight (sic) grade he went to Wheaton college at Wheaton Illinois. He also attended the Valparaiso college at Indiana and later he attended the Evanston law school. He started law business in Grayslake but soon sold it out to R. W. Churchill. He then went to Waukegan where he practised (sic) law with J. Orvis for a few years. He then started out for himself. When Judge Whitney died he was appointed to fill the vacancy. When his term expired he was reelected.
Judge Edwards is now 42 years old and has been Judge for four years. His circuit is composed of Lake, McHenry, Boone, and Winnebago.
One of Avon’s Modern Barns.
W. L. Doolittle’s barn which was built in 1915 by Carl Clausen at a cost of thirty eight hundred dollars, is the most modern barn in this district. It is a yellow frame building one hundred feet long, thirty six feet wide, and forty three feet high, with a ten inch concrete foundation, which is three feet six inches in the ground and three feet above the ground, resting on a eight by eight inch footing. The barn runs from the Northeast to the Southwest. It has a green gambrel roof. There are two square wooden cupolas upon it. Two doors on the Northwest side of the barn are used to throw the cornstalks into the barn. There are three doors on the Southeast side. The one farthest east is used to throw chaff through when cleaning the hay from in front of the horses. The next door is used to go into the barn and out of. The door farthest south opens into the silo house. There are eleven windows on the Southeast side and twelve on the Northwest. They let in the amount of light required by both the government and the city of Chicago. A large double sliding door opens at the front end of the barn. On each side of this is a window about six feet from the ground. Above the doors and two windows which let light into the oat bins. At the back end of the barn another sliding door opens. This also has a window on each side. The building is protected by lightning rods. There are seven lightening rods, one being at each end, and between each end and a cupalo (sic), one each cupalo (sic) and one between the two cupalos (sic).
The lower part of the barn is divided into the cow stables and the horse stables. These can be separated by sliding doors which can be left open or shut. The whole floor is made of concrete.
The horse barn is in the North east end. It is thirty four feet long. The stalls are arranged on each side of a drive way which extends the entire length of the barn. It is wide enough to admit a manure spreader. On the Southeast side are four single stalls and one box stall. The box stall is at the North end. On the Northwest side are three single stalls and one box stall. The harness room is on this side of the barn also. The stalls have boards over the cement floor. They are boarded with planks for three feet six inches then small iron rods run vertically for about two feet. There is a large hook on each post back of the horse stalls. These are to hang the horses collars upon. The box stalls which are twelve foot square are boarded the same as the single stalls. Iron rods are also fixed the same as on the single stalls. All of these stalls have iron oat boxes. The hay mangers which works on hinges are made of iron. As the horse eats the hay these mangers close up and keep the hay in easy reach of the horse.
The harness room is eight feet by eight feet. There are large hooks for the double harnesses and smaller ones for the single harnesses. The watering tank is in front of the harness room. It is two feet deep, three feet long and one foot wide. The water is let in by a faucet and is provided with an over flow. The curry comb box is directly above the tank.
On the opposite end from the horse barn is the cow barn which is sixty six feet long. There are fifteen stanchions on each side of the driveway. The stanchions close by means of a spring and are made of steel on the outer side, and wood next to the cows neck. The stanchions are hung on a steel rod with a chain which allows the cows to turn their heads clear around and lick themselves. The lower end is fastened into a concrete curb with a spring cushion. This takes the jar off of the cows shoulders if she entered the stall to quickly. The cows are separated by an iron rod which extends from a rod in a stanchion to the floor. The feeding alley in front of the cows is four feet wide. The mangers sloope from here to the curb. They were built this way to so that the cows could be both fed and watered in them. The water is piped into the barn and by turning a faucet the mangers fill quickly.
The bull pen is eight feet by ten feet and is placed at the West side.
It is constructed of one and five eighths tubular steel rods. The gate is locked by an automatic safety lock which no animal can open. The stanchion and feed manger face the driveway.
The calf pen placed opposite the bull pen is twelve feet by eight feet. It is made of steel. The gate has an automatic safety lock which no animal can open. There are six stanchions which can be made to hold a very small calf or a large one.
The liquid manure goes through drains and empties into tile. From the tile it is deposited into a cistern in the cow yard.
The stairway leads above to the hay loft and oat bins. It is opposite the harness room. There are three bins seven feet high, one large one and two smaller ones having a capacity of one thousand four hundred seventy nine bushel, three hundred seventy bushel and three hundred forty bushel each. All of the bins are lighted from the rear by windows. The bins are separated by a scaffold through which the hay is drawn up from the barn floor beneath. When has is not being drawn up the folding doors are put over the gap.
The space for hay has a capacity of one hundred and fifty tons of loose hay. The hay can be taken up by two ways. The load can be drawn inside of the barn and taken up by the hay fork or it can be unloaded from the outside by means of the hay fork.
Civil War Veterans from Avon.
Soldiers of the Civil War who are buried at the Avon Centre Cemetery are as follows:
Capt. E. J. Gilmore Co. B. 96th Infantry.
James Litwiler 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
Alonzo Miltimore 39th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
W. Krouse who is unknown.
Alfred Edwards 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
Oscar Douglas 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
Aden Douglas 37th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
Byron Doolittle 153rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
Charles Rowling 37th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
Wm. Wilmington 12th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
John Acker 52nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
Gilbert Fitch Co. A. In Y.L.A.
Others of the Civil War, who are still living, are Captain Blodgett, Charley and Frank Pepperd, Henry Dombski, Charles Litwiler, Aderian Owens, Charles Hall and John Morrill.
Gene Wilmington was one of the soldiers of the Spanish American War. He is still alive.
Miron Chittenden fought in the war of 1812. He is buried at Avon Centre Cemetery.
Boys who have been called to the colors in the present war with Germany.
Anton De Graff
Daniel De Graff
Leonard Lenzen (died in Texas)