WAUCONDA TOWNSHIP – WAUCONDA SCHOOL
“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 “Wauconda Township – Wauconda School”. The document “1918 School Histories – Wauconda Township – Wauconda 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 – Fort Hill School”: http://www.idaillinois.org/digital/collection/lakecoun001/id/2965/rec/50
(NOTE: The cover page and the first four pages of the document were not available. It begins with page five)
…and in that way kept the teams on the road. The journey was long and tiresome, and full of dangers from expected encounters with Indians and savages wild animals, which were very numerous in the wooded parts of the country through which they had to pass. At night the men and older boys slept on the ground, wrapped in blankets, always near a camp fire which was kept burning to keep off the wild beasts. The women and young children slept in the wagons.
These early settlers came from New York, Mass., and Vermont, more from Vermont than from any other state.
Justus and Mark Bangs came from Vermont. Daniel Hubbard from New York, Lewis Todd from Mass.
Justus Bangs built a little log house in the vacinity (sic) of the ground where the Town Hall now stands; very soon after Elihu Hubbard built a log house on the land owned now by his son, George Hubbard. Mr. Hubbard’s house was built in the year of 1836 and he “batched” it here until his folks came in 1837.
Andrew Cook built a house on the west shore of Bang’s Lake.
Elihu Hubbard came to Wauconda June 1st 1836.
First Street and Lanes.
There was only one street and that followed the lake shore, until Hampton Colgsove (sic Colgrove), living in the north part of a town, for personal reasons petitioned to have the road changed to the present location of north Main Street. In early days all the streets leading into Main Street were merely lanes.
There were no bridges and persons wishing to enter or leave the town on Main road must ford the inlet on the outlet to the lake.
The first stage route from Wauconda was to Janesville, Wisconsin via of Chicago, and Ambrose Bangs, then a mere lad, son of Justus Bangs, was the stage driver. He says he suffered a good many hardships, but he also had many funny, as well as amusing experiences, yet he had no trouble with the Indians. It took Mr. Bangs one week to make the round trip, consequently in those days Wauconda received mail once a week only. Not many letters, because the postage was twenty-five cents for each letter, and none of the letters were enclosed in envelopes. After the railroad was put through Barrington the mail and stage route was changed to, from Barrington to Wauconda and this route continued until we got train service via Palatine to Chicago. Mr. Hicks, an early settler, was one of the first stage drivers. For several years there was a stage route from Waukegan via of Volo to Wauconda, Theron Oakes was the driver, and it took two days to make the round trip.
The first Post office was at Slocum’s Lake, it was called “Cornelia” and Thomas Slocum was the first Post Master and Mary Slocum, his wife was assistant, or deputy Post mistress. In those early days the pioneers of “Cornelia” settlement hoped to establish a perminent (sic) village there, but, as it failed to prosper the Post Office was moved June 27, 1849 to Wauconda where it has remained until present time. The first Post Master was Hazard Green.
The first church or organized religeous (sic) society was a Baptist, which was organized in the Fall of 1838, by Elder Joel Wheeler of McHenry.
Meetings were held at the home of Mark Bangs at Wauconda, at Zebina Ford’s home also, two and one half miles east of Wauconda.
The first Methodist Episcopal Church of Wauconda was organized on September 3, 1853, under the direction of Rev. Charles French, preacher in charge.
The following persons were chosen trustees viz: Cyrus Bowen, Richard Bonner, Nathan Wells, Lewis H. Todd, and Charles Fletcher.
The first minister was Rev. Robert Beattie.
A house of worship was built in fall of 1855. This church was built by the community disreguardless (sic) of sects, and the pulpit was occupied on each alternate Sunday by Methodist and Baptist ministers, until the fall of 1870, when the Baptist church was dedicated. Feb. 28, 1870 the Baptist society reorganized and elected a board of trustees comprising J. R. Wells, A. P. Werden, Thomas B. Rawson, H. B. Burritt, and A. C. Bangs.
The following summer a building costing $5,500 was erected and on October 20, 1870 it was dedicated free of debt. Rev. J. L. Brooks was pastor for nearly twenty years.
A Roman Catholic church was built in summer of 1877 and dedicated Nov. 18, 1877. The trustees were, James Murray, Charles Davlin, Felix givens (sic), Hugh Davlin, and Owen McMahon. The first pastor was Rev. Father O’Neal who came from McHenry on each alternate Sunday to hold services. Now there is a fine Parsonage and a resident pastor.
Wauconda has one cemetery which is on east side of South Church St. It is a beautiful little burial ground and always cared for by a paid sexton. There are also many handsome monuments and smaller stones. There are veterans of three wards buried in this Cemetery. One of the Revolutionary War, Two of War of 1812 and a number of Civil War veterans.
The parents and other relatives of Author of “Sweet By and By” are also buried here. (NOTE: author of “Sweet By and By” was Dr. Sanford Fillmore Bennett who was born June 21, 1836 in Eden, Erie County, NY and died June 11, 1898 in Richmond, McHenry County, IL)
The first burial ground was the East half of the old Academy grounds.
Early Trading Posts.
The early trading posts were Cornelia, and Bang’s Lake, afterwards Wauconda and Forksville now Volo.
The first store was built and conducted by Justus Bangs. It was a general merchandise store where all necessary articles were sold. This old store building still stands altho (sic) it is quite dilapidated. Since having been abandoned, by merchants, it has been a schoolroom and a tenement building usually housing two families. For many years J. R. Wells, one of the leading merchants of Wauconda did a thriving business, which continued until Mr. Wells decided to retire from business.
The first blacksmith shop was on East side of Main Street going north and near Slocum Lake Road. The blacksmith was James Stewart. This shop was bought by Alfred North and he changed it to an iron foundry.
The next blacksmith shop was owned and operated by Theodore Wells. It stood near the corner of Main and Church Street.
Another shop was on West side Main Street near Slocum Lake road. Daniel Manual was the Smith.
There was a wind mill where wheat and corn were ground. That was the first mill and it was on the bank of the Lake at the foot of Mill Street. Later Dr. Hale built a grist and saw mill on the same ground. There logs and slabs were sawed and used by yearly settlers in the buildings which they made. People came from long distances to get their wheat and corn ground into flour and corn meal. This mill was burned and a steam mill was built by L. Hill and operated by skilled “Millers”, for many years. Finally John Spencer bought the mill and enlarged and improved it, putting in all modern, up-to-date machinery. Mr. Spencer successfully operated this mill until it was destroyed by fire.
There were two brick yards in this vacinity (sic). One on land near the North shore of Bang’s Lake, owned and run by Andrew Cook. From these bricks Mr. Cook built and occupied the first brick house in this part of the township. This house is now owned by Mrs. Clough and is in good condition, being the farm house of the tenant. It is also the early home of Homer Cook, a lawyer who for many years has resided in Waukegan. another (sic) brick yard was on the Bang’s property.
Lime stone was found in abundance in North part of town and there were several lime kiln’s at different localities, and the burning of lime was a profitable business.
There were no Indians here when first settlers came, they had all moved west, but in 1840 a remnant of the Winnebago Tribe camped on the bank of Fox River and came to Bang’s Lake to trade with the settlers bringing furs to barter for merchandise.
The early settlers found a mound near the center of present town, and for a long time it was undisturbed. There were other mounds on the banks of the Lake. There were no known Indian battle fields. There were no skulls found here, but some bones were dug up when the sewerage system was put in. A skull was found in a mound found near Slocum’s Lake, and other bones were found there.
Fishing and Hunting grounds.
Both Slocum and Bang’s Lake furnished excellent camping grounds for Indians. The woods were full of wild game and the lakes abounded in fish. The outlet and inlet of both lakes as well as the many sloughs and swampy grounds furnished excellent trapping grounds.
There has been many arrow heads, some stone implements, such as axes, hammers etc, pipes and other Indian relics found in this vacinity (sic). One Indian pipe was found on the Cook farm. There were no cooking utensils found.
Hunting, trapping and fishing.
There was much hunting, fishing and trapping along the streams, and in swampy places. There were many deers (sic), coons, squirrels, and rabbits. The early settlers had a supply of game to be had for a small amount of work. Venison was the staple, but many liked coon, for its fat was a substitute for lard. An old lady of my acquaintance told me that her mother used this oil for frying doughnuts, and she liked them. The coon skins were made into caps mittens and other articles of clothing. One way for trapping deer was to drive a herd on the ice when the lake was frozen over. Deer cannot run on ice so they were easily killed.
There were deer here as is illustrated by the following stories.
In the winter time when the snow was on the ground, Howard Houghton, would stand motionless near a spot where he knew the deer would pass, and kill with an old flint lock gun these “antlered monarchs” of the forest. During one winter he killed eighteen in this way.
One bright winter’s morning in 1838, Howard and his sister Arvilla, afterwards Mrs. J. Millard, went with a number of school children to the lake to slide on the ice, it was early about eight o’clock, when a number of hunters chased a herd of deer onto the Lake, as deer are unable to stand upon ice, they fell easy victims. Arvilla borrowed a pocket knife from a boy and killed six of the herd, one tried to escape, and with her brother’s help she managed to capture it. She sold the hides for $28 which was large sum for those days.
The game laws are: It is unlawful for any persons to kill, or attempt to kill or destroy, in any manner, any prairie hen or chicken or woodcock between the 15th day of January and the 1st day of September; or any deer, fawn, wild turkey, partridge or pheasant between the 1st day of February and 1st day of October; or any quail between the 1st of February and 1st day of November; or any wild goose, duck, snipe, brant or other water fowl between 1st day of May and 15th day of August in each year. Penalty: Fine not less than $5 nor more than $25 for each bird or animal, and costs of suit, and stand committed to County jail until fine is paid, but not exceeding ten days. It is unlawful to hunt with gun, dog or net within the inclosed (sic) grounds or lands of another without permission. Penalty: Fine not less than $3 nor more than $100, to be paid into school fund. There were wolves and foxes in the woods and they were hunted for their pelts.
There were flocks of quail, partridges, and wild pigeons which were hunted for food, taking the place of chicken and turkey. Great flocks of wild pigeons were common and they were concidered (sic) a pest by the farmers. They would pick up the small gain (sic grain) almost as fast as the farmers could sow it, for grain at that time was sown by hand. Sometimes men and women were obliged to stay in the field to drive these flocks away.
The first school was built in 1839 by R. S. Crosby in the northeast part of the town, on the ground where the East Side Hotel now stands. This school-house was built by the community who volunteered to do the work without pay.
It was built from logs got from the near by woods. The furniture was very crude and scant consisting of benches on two sides of the room facing the center. All these benches were merely rough boards or slabs and the desks mere shelves unpainted. There was a rude fire place at one end of the room, and a door at the opposite end. the (sic) door was made of oak slabs held together by cleats and fastened with a wooden latch, with a leather latch string. So you see “The latch string was always out”. Logs were used for fuel and the amount of heat depended upon the kind and amount of logs provided.
Books were few. Cobb’s Speller, The Bible, and a Primer, with some Arithmetic was all the source of learning.
The first teacher was Miss Euphemia Valentine. Later Three Davis sisters succeeded each other as teachers.
A few years later a little “Red School house” was built where the Methodist Episcopal church now stands.
The teachers of this school were Fayette Mills and his wife.
The early teachers were paid in part by money obtained by enforcing the game laws, and in part by contributions.
Early pupils were; Mrs. Rawson, Mrs. Marie Powers, Howard Houghton, Mrs. A. Millard, Ambrose and Andrew Bangs, Maurice Hill, and his sisters, Sarah (Mrs. Seymour) Jerusha (Mrs. Ford) Mrs. Mary Houghton Rawson is now the oldest living resident. She is ninety-one years old. Her picture is in this book.
Later a block school-house was built on Main Street where Mrs. Duers house now stands. It was called “The Old District School. “The Little Red” school house was moved to make room for Methodist Episcopal church and then all the pupils went to the “block school.
In 1856, an association was organized to build and maintaining an Academy in the village of Wauconda. The association bought a lot and erected a two story building consisting of one school-room only. The second floor of the building was used as a Hall, for Societies, among which was “The Good Templers”
In 1857, the association was incorporated by a special act of Legislature, procured through the efforts of Hon. W. M. Burbank, who at the time was a representive (sic) from Lake County and resided in Wauconda.
The following person were chosen Trustees: Justus Bangs, Andrew Cook, Thomas Slocum, J. R. Wells, and Dr. W. M. Burbank.
Benton Rogers was the first teacher.
The institution continued in successful operation for about ten years, when it was discontinued and the building was rented to the district for a Public School.
H. B. Burritt an enterprising, energetic citizen of Wauconda becoming one of the District Directors, proposed that the building be purchased by the District and that the School became a graded school.
In the spring of 1871 it was purchased by the District and repaired and converted into room school.
In the early Academy days, Alfred Burbank son of Dr. W. M. Burbank was a pupil. Mr. Burbank became the most noted platform reader of his day. Traveling all over the United States giving readings. Prof. E. W. Barker a noted penman, and Author of Masonic Record, as well as a Family Record, which were sold in many States.
Amusements and Society meetings, Church Services, were held in the “Little Red School House” until the Methodist Episcopal Church was built.
Lyceums were held in the Academy and I am told that there were many able and enthusiastic debators (sic) who took a part, and some of those debators (sic) became famous lawyers and doctors.
There was a dramatic club, and some good home “talent plays” were produced in an able manner by the young people of the town.
Spelling Schools were common and a great deal of interest in them was manifested by the willingners (sic) to take an active part in the Spelling down contest. Whole schools would go to any school that advertised a Spelling match, and proud was the school which won.
Husking Bees, “Apple Parings” and quilting and frolics with dancing to follow were hailed with delight by both old and young. The men wore cow hide boots and overalls, while the women considered themselves quite “dressed up” in calico dresses with flaring skirts, usually made so by “hoops” which were considered stylish in those days.
An old lady told me this funny story.
Once a young man invited a young lady to go with him to attend a dancing party. She accepted the invitation and when they arrived the man asked the girl if she had money enough to pay the “fiddler”. She answered, “No” and so he had to pawn his Jack-knife to get the required amount. It seems that this did not interfere with their enjoyment of the party.
There were no railroads in Wauconda until 1913. In 1909, The Waukegan and Elgin Traction Company was organized to build an electric road to connect with the North Western Rail Road at Palatine. This road was to run Northward by way of Wauconda into the Fox River Valley, but it has never extended beyond Wauconda, and instead of an Electric Road, it is a Steam Line. Grading began in 1910 and public meetings were held in Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda, to interest the general public especially capitalists.
The gold spike of Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda (our only railroad) was driven May 10, 1913, and the occasion was one of the greatest Public celebrations that Wauconda ever had. There were a vast crowd of spectators and to witness the gains, parades and other demonstrations in which many leading citizens of the town took an active part.
Fires and Disasters.
In early days there were more disasterous (sic) fires, because there was no apperatus (sic) for fighting fire. Now Wauconda has a Fire Company and a small engine and hose. And cisterns in different parts of the town to furnish water for putting out fire.
The old Saw Mill burned, then later the Spencer Mill. In early days the first brick store burned. It was owned by Luther Kimball and as heavily insured, therfore (sic) it was soon rebuilt by Robert Harrison and he conducted a profitable retail business there for many years. This same store having been enlarged, and repaired, is owned and conducted by Ray Prior an energet (sic) young man.
Not many years after the Roman Catholic Church was built it was struck by lightening (sic) and the steeple was destroyed and the church damaged. The same bolt struct (sic) a house opposite the church owned and occupied by Dr. C. R. Wells and family. The occupants of the house were shocked but no deaths resulted.
In the year of 1851 there was a very violent wind storm with rain. It happened when the grain was ripening and all grain, corn and every growing crop was flattened to the ground, causing heavy losses to the farmers.
A number of person have been drowned in Bangs Lake. About twenty-two years ago, a party of young people went out for a sail. All went well until a sudden gust of wind capsized the boat and four persons were drowned and three were saved. That all were not drowned was due to the coolness and heroism of Elmer Golding (now Dr. Golding of Libertyville) who at that time was a young boy. The drowned were Carrie Hammond of Wauconda, Grace McDonald, Ernest Roome and Sidney Roome of Clyde, Ill. The rescued were, Lulu McDonald, a sister of Grace, and Edith Roome, sister of the young men. This drowning was the saddest causalty (sic) in the history of Wauconda.
Jacob Brewster an early settler was found drowned near the East shore of the Lake. It has never been proved whether or not it was an accident.
On May 14, 1915, a barn on Gilbert farm was struck by lightening (sic) and burned to the ground. Eighteen head of Cattle, five horses, one mule, all hay and grain and most of the farming tools was burned.
Soldiers of Civil War. (not living).
Co. Reg. Infantry.
John Linders II 15th Ill.
Edwin C. Wheelock II 15th Ill.
Lewis Griswold II 15th Ill.
Geo Edgar Lake 20th Ill.
Ellis Priscott A 19th Ill.
Norman O. Pratt B 96th Ill.
Wm. Monahan B 96th Ill.
Soloman Smith B 51th Ill.
Charles Cannon T 153 Ill.
Oscar Sorvels C 37 Ill.
Daniel Flint Engineers.
M. J. Spoor II 167 Ohio, Infan.
James Harris A 8 Ill. cavalry
Wm. Clark B 92 Ill. Infan.
John B. Booner A 8 Ill. cavalry
Merit Lake A 36 Ill. Infan.
Warren Powers B 36 ” “
There was only one soldier of the Revolutionary War, it was Rubin Hill.
War of 1812.
There were two soldiers in the War of 1812, they were:
E. Palmeter and David Harris.
Soldiers of the Civil that are living now are:
Jose Turnbal, Mr. Prouty, George Hicks, Wm. Tidmarsh, E. E. Gilbert, George Darrell, James Hicks, Lewis Broncheon, Henry Hughes.
Soldiers of the Spanish American War.
Darum and Norman Granger
Soldiers in Service Now.
Co. D – 342nd. Infantry
Lieut. H. W. McCoy.
American Expeditionary Forces,
“Somewhere in France.”
Private Arthur Daley.
Co 14, U. S. Marines,
“Somewhere in France”
Cor. Elmer P. Nagel,
131st. U. S. Infantry,
Co. L. Camp Logan.
Houstan (sic), Texas.
Paul Haas, – 3rd Reg.
7th Co., 3rd. Section,
On the battle ship Minnesota.
Private Ralph Alverson,
Co. A – 1,
U. S. Naval Travining Sta.,
Sergeant Charles Meyer,
Co. 3, Ind. Battalion,
107th regiment Engineers,
“Somewhere in France,”
Co. C. 61st. infantry,
Fast green, Charlotte,
16th Recruit Co.,
St Louis – Mo.
15th Ward – Base Hospital,
Camp Custer – Battle Creek, Mich.
Floyd Carr, Co. A, 29th Engineers,
Typ. Div. Intelligent Section.
American Expeditory forces,
“Somewhere in France.”
Private Henry Basely,
Co. D. 242, Infantry,
“Somewhere in France.”
Private Ed. Graher,
Battery F. 124 Field Artillery,
Camp Logan, Houston, Texas.
Private Lyle Broughton.
Co. D. 34, Indiana Infantry,
Camp Handcock, Georgia,
“Somewhere in France.”
Lieut. H. A. Doten.
John H. Meyer.
Co. D. 342 Ind. Infantry,
Cor. Paul Hicks,
Co. D. 342nd Infantry,
Private George Michals,
Co. D. 342 Ind. Infantry,
Priv. Joseph Shade.
Co. D. 34 Ind. Infantry,
Private Edward I. Pfannenstill.
Mechanic Andrew Sondahl,
Battery F. 8th Field Battery,
Camp Wheeler, Macon, Georgia.
Cor. Leslie Paddock,
Machine Gin, Co.
54 Infantry, Chicamango Part,
Barracks, Chattanooga, Ten.
Priv. Gerhardt Hanson.
C. B. S. Washington.
Private Walter groth (sic),
Baking Co. 344,
Private Ray Murphy,
Private Ray Cook.
Private Allan Murphy.
Private Hollis Derry,
Camp grant, Rockford, Ill.
“Wauconda Township High School.”
The Wauconda Township High School was built and completed in 1916. It is located on the Slocum Lake Road. The architects were two men from Chicago. The contractor was Mr. Otis Potter. It was dedicated Dec. 1916.
It is a fine commodious building which cost about $25,000. It is built of red bricks.
It has a large gymnasium in which many Basket Ball games, Socials, and entertainments are held.
It is heated by hot air, and is lighted by electricity. It has many more beautiful rooms. The campus comprises a track of ten acres.
Mr. John Lung is the Principal and his assistants are, Miss Hellen Hatten, and Mr. W. Oberlin.
There are about forty pupils attending this High School, many of whom coming in from the country. A new barn has been built for the horses and buggies.
Wauconda of To-day.
Wauconda is a beautiful little “city” of about 500 inhabitants.
It is one mile long and about three blocks wide. The streets are winding and well shaded by trees. The side-walks are cement, and everywhere the walks are good. The streets are graveled, and oiled in summer to keep down the dust, which would be unbearable as there are at times a continuous stream of automobiles passing and repassing.
There is a pretty park which runs down to the beach, where there are bath houses, and two piers, and a boat house.
There are many cottages on the three sides of the Lake and they are all occupied by summer people.
There are a number of fine hotels among which is Beach Hotel, a fine large building on Kimball’s shore, farther east in Burton’s Villa one of the prettiest places in Lake County.
In town is the Jenk’s House, East Side Hotel, Lake Side Inn, and Rest Cottage.
There is a fine Town Hall built of cement blocks, a two story building, with a large Hall in which, the Masons and Eastern Star hold their meetings.
A new building, “The Palace Theatre” where moving pictures are shown.
A fine large garage and a Bank.
J. A. Patterson Company have recently built the finest plant of the kind in Lake Co. This Company deals in Lumber, coal, cement, tile and all kinds of feed for stock.
Borden Company has a very large splendid Factory, that buys and ships a car of milk to Chicago every day.
The Des Met (sic DeSmet) Co. has built a find large building costing about $16,000, This factory is to manufacture a surperior (sic) kind of tile for interior decoration of large buildings.
There is a grist and Feed Mill which does a good business.
There are several Stores, Three general Stores, Two Hardware Stores and one Clothing Store. All do a thriving business.
Wauconda is a dry town since last May. There has been no occasion to require the service of a Marshal since the day that John Barley corn took his departure.
There are two churches where services are held in, The Federated Church of Wauconda, and the Roman Catholic In which services are held each Sunday.
There are two schools; The Township High School and The grammar School.
There is an average of about 40 pupils in High School, and an average of about 90 pupils in grade School. Trustees of high School are; R. C. Kent, Dr. McCormick, Clayton Werden, Willard Darrell and Frank Bacon. Directors of grammar School are A. S. Powers, Fred Bangs, J. P. Blanck.
Teachers of high School, Principal, John Lung, his assistants Walter Oberline, Hellen Hatten.
Teacher of grades, Principal, Allie A. Poole, Assitants, Mertie Kuebker and Margaret Duers.
Wauconda hs all the modern convenience, Electric lights, sewerage and gas.
It has a beautiful electric sign “Wauconda” which is lighted on all special occasions.
It has a Band and a number of the young boys as well as older persons are taking special training.
Wauconda has many comfortable, well furnished homes, and no very poor people, and only a small number of foreigners.
The Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda railroad has a pretty little Station in Wauconda, and the Road gives us fairly good service, which the citizens thoroughly appreciate.
Wauconda has a Weekly news-paper; “The Leader,” edited and published by John P. Blanck.
Wauconda is an incorporated town.
R. C. Kent. President of Board.
Dr. C. McCormick,
george (sic) Stroher,
In conclusion, Wauconda is a thoroughly patriotic little town and has done its “bit” in Red Cross work and other War activities. grades, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, are 100% Red Cross.