Old Settlers’ Gathering.
A Perfect Day. A Large Attendance and Enjoyable Time.
Originally Published in the Kendall County Record, August 5, 1896.
Edited and Compiled by Elmer Dickson.
The good Lord was gracious to Brother Minkler and the old settlers of Kendall County on Wednesday last, the occasion of the annual picnic and hand shaking. There never was a more pleasant day, and a large crowd enjoyed the meeting.
It was a meeting really of the old people, and they came from all parts of the county and many parts of other counties; a grand assemblage of fathers and mothers, the pioneers of the Fox River Valley.
When President Minkler got the people down to business, Elder Minard, of Oswego, one of the real old-timers made the prayer. Then there was some music; a welcome by the President; a response by Judge Scofield; and dinner.
This was a very happy hour, the most pleasing of the occasion. Not only did the multitude enjoy the act of eating, but more so, the friendly chatter and jest passed along from family to family.
After dinner, Mrs. Galt, of Aurora, made an address, of which the Plano Pivot says “she gave some advice as to the treatment of the young this winter, not speaking as long as she usually does.”
A son of Abraham Holderman was present and gave some incidents in the history of his family that came here in 1831.
At the Old Settlers’ Reunion of Kendall County, held on the Fair Grounds at Yorkville, Illinois, September 17, 1885, the following officers were elected for the ensuing year:
President, Smith Gorsline Minkler.
Vice-Presidents (one from each township):
John S. Seely, Oswego.
Reuben W. Willett, Bristol.
Gilbert “Denslow” Henning, Little Rock.
Mrs. Delia Augusta (Southworth) Aldrich, Fox.
John A. Newell, Kendall.
Sheldon Wheeler Johnson, NaAuSay.
Justus W. House, Seward.
Ansel Reed, Lisbon.
Thomas Jefferson Phillips, Big Grove.
We devote most of our space, however, to an historical paper prepared by John A. Newell, the Secretary, and it is worth preservation. Here it is:
As early as the year 1827, or perhaps earlier, Pierce Hawley, with his family settled at what was then called Hawley’s Grove but is now called Holderman’s Grove. The names of the members of Hawley’s family are not remembered.
About the same time Robert Beresford, his wife and two sons, settled on the south side of Hawley’s Grove. The name of Mrs. Beresford is not remembered. The son’s names were James Beresford and John Beresford. James was killed by the Indians in 1832.
About the same time, across the slough from Hawley’s Grove there was a renegade white man named Frederick Countryman, who was living with a squaw at what was then called Title Grove, but subsequently called Kellogg’s Grove. They had three little half-breed girls, Sarah Countryman, Mary Countryman and Betsey Countryman. Countryman was called “Che Chuck” (sand-hill crane), by the Indians, and was supposed to have been a deserter from one of the border forts. The name of the squaw who died of small pox at Milwaukee in 1831 is not remembered.
In 1828 or 1829, Robert Beresford sold out to John Dougherty, and moved to Ottawa. In the fall of 1831, John Dougherty sold out to Abraham Holderman, and with Walter Selvey moved to Aux Sable Grove, where they were when Indian War broke out in 1832. The names and numbers of Mr. Dougherty’s family are not remembered.
In, or about 1831, Walter Selvey settled in Hawley’s Grove near John Dougherty. On the fifteenth of December 1831, he married John’s daughter, Ann Dougherty. In the fall of 1831, Mr. Selvey sold out to Abraham Holderman, and moved to a place near his father-in-law’s place in Aux Sable Grove. In 1832, he built the first house in the town of NaAuSay.
In 1829 or 1830, Edmund Weed and Vetal Vermette settled at Hawley’s Grove near John Dougherty’s place with their families, Edmund Weed and Vetal Vermette were brothers-in-law. The five families, Hawley, Dougherty, Selvey, Weed and Vermette constituted the settlement at Hawley’s Grove.
In 1831, Daniel Kellogg and his wife Eunice Kellogg, and their son, Alford Kellogg, and Alfred Kellogg’s wife, Eunice, and his unmarried sons Luther Kellogg and Ezra Kellogg, came from Ottawa and bought out Frederick Countryman. The grove where Countryman lived has been called Kellogg’s Grove ever since. The Kellogg family was living there when the Indian War broke out in 1832.
In the spring of 1831, Moses Booth and his wife Mary Booth, with two small girls named Marian P. Booth and Mary Sophia Booth, and a boy named Ansel Reed, settled in Big Grove. They cut the first logs for a house ever cut in that grove. Mr. Ansel Reed is now a prominent farmer in Lisbon Township.
In the spring of 1831, Anthony Litsey and his wife Pamona, with two children, a son named Abner Litsey who died many years ago, and a daughter named Mary Ellen Litsey, now Mrs. Edward Lewis, of Sandwich. A man by the name of William Parcel or Parcell accompanied the Litsey family to Kendall County. The Litsey family was accompanied by C. J. “Oliver” Havenhill and Fielding Havenhill who settled where Lott Scofield now lives in Big Grove Township. In the fall of 1831, the Havenhills returned to Tazewell County, and returned in the spring of 1833 with their father, George Havenhill’s family.
Clark Hollenback and his wife Ann (Blizzard) Hollenback came to Illinois in 1828 and to Kendall County in 1831. Their family was as follows: sons George B. Hollenback, Thomas Hollenback, John Hollenback, Wesley Hollenback and Barton Hollenback and a daughter named Mary Ann Hollenback, who married Henry Elerding.
Joseph Cunningham, Patrick Cunningham and his wife Hannah (Hollenback) Cunningham, Clark and Ann Hollenback’s eldest daughter, accompanied the Clark Hollenback family to Kendall County. George B. Hollenback married a young widow, Mrs. Rachel Reynolds, who was the mother of Mrs. Ami D. Newton. A single man named William Brooks also came with the Clark Hollenback family. These three families constituted the settlement at that grove, then called Clark Hollenback’s Grove, latter shortened to Hollenback’s Grove.
George Hollenback and his wife Sophia (Sidel) Hollenback came with their family to Kendall County in 1831, the family members were, John S. Hollenback, Clark Hollenback, Sarah Ann Hollenback (now Mrs. William Price Boyd), David Hollenback, Philip Hollenback, George Mathias Hollenback. He and his twin sister, Amelia Hollenback, now Mrs. Jerome Davis, were born December 1, 1831. These were all of the members of the family before the Indian troubles of 1832. Philip Hollenback died in Ohio in October 1832. John S. Hollenback died in Kendall County in 1840. After the Indian War, their family included William A. Hollenback, Nicholas Hollenback, Jane Hollenback, now Mrs. Oscar R. Moulton, and Hannah Hollenback, now Mrs. Onias LaSure. Peter Bolinger, a single man, also accompanied the George Hollenback family.
Ezra Ackley and his wife Elsie [Elsey] (Combs) Ackley, and their two children, Angeline Ackley and Phebe S. Ackley came with the Hollenbacks in 1831. The Ackleys were driven away by the Indians in May 1832 and did not return until the fall of 1833. Their children born after they returned were Sally Ann Ackley, George Ackley and Chester Ackley.
William Harris and his wife, Rebecca (Combs) Harris, and family came to Kendall County soon after the Hollenbacks, in 1831. At that time, their family consisted of Hiram Harris, Emily Harris, Ann Harris, Nancy Harris, Blexton Harris, Norton Harris, and Mary Margaret Harris. In addition, they were accompanied by Mrs. Harris’ parents Mahlon Combs, Sr. and his wife Sarah Combs. Mahlon Combs, Sr. was the old gentleman left in Mr. Harris’ house when the Indian War broke out. He was sick and unable to be moved, so he expected to be killed by the Indians. Two days later, Peter Bolinger, Keeler Clark, a man named Cooper, and another young man whose name is not remembered, returned from the fort at Plainfield expecting to find that the old gentleman had been murdered by the Indians, but found him unharmed and conveyed him to the fort at Plainfield to the great relief of the family.
William Harris wintered at Naperville in the winter of 1832-1833, where his son Joseph Naper Harris was born. In the spring of 1833, Mr. Harris returned to Long Grove and made another claim, where his last son, George W. Harris, was born, and where he (William) lived until the time of his death August 6, 1864.
In 1831, the Ament brothers, Edward Glenn Ament, Hiram Ament, Anson Ament, and Calvin Ament, settled at what was called Ament Springs. They were accompanied by their mother, Mrs. Eunice Love, and two children by a second marriage, a son named Alfred Love and a daughter named Eunice Love, both were quite young. On May 1, 1832, Edward Glenn Ament married Miss Emily Ann Harris, oldest daughter of William Harris and Rebecca (Combs) Harris. Emily Ann died many years ago, leaving two sons, Chester Ament who died a few years ago, and Preston W. Ament, now of Missouri. This was, without doubt (?) the first marriage in what is now Kendall County.
Mrs. Eunice Love died December 8, 1839. Of the older Aments, only two are living, Edward Glenn Ament and Hiram Ament, so far as known. A single man named George T. Morton, also lived with the Ament family.
On the last day of October 1831, Abraham Holderman, Sr. and his wife Charlotte (O’Neal) Holderman, and their family, arrived in Kendall County from Cass County, Ohio, searching for a new home. There first stop was with the Daniel Kellogg family, and in a few days Abraham bought our John Dougherty, Walter Selvey, Edmund Weed, and Pearce Hawley. Later he bought our Vetal Vermette. Abraham Holderman, Sr. then owned the entire grove, and the grove has ever since been called Holderman’s Grove. The names of the family as far as can be remembered are: sons Henry Holderman, Barton Holderman, Abraham Holderman, Jr. Samuel Holderman and Dyson Holderman; the daughters were, Caroline Holderman, Rue Ann Holderman, Matilda Holderman and Jane Holderman.
Wyatt Cook and his wife Nancy Cook, Patrick Cummings and his wife Hannah (Hollenback) Cummings and Mrs. Paine, wife of the preacher killed by the Indians, lived at Holderman’s Grove when the Indian War of 1832 broke out. Peter Miller, Jr. and his wife Harriet (Holderman) Miller, daughter and son-in-law of Abraham Holderman, Sr. evacuated to Ottawa and found their friends and family in the fort at that place.
In 1830, bachelors, Stephen Sweet and Peter Specie a.k.a. Lamsset, lived at the south end of Specie Grove, so called in honor of Mr. Specie.
The first house in Seward Township was built by Hugh Walker in 1831. It was near Sulphur Springs. When the Indian War broke out in 1832, Hugh shut up his cabin and barred the door with a basswood stick, and went to the fort in Plainfield. He was a single man and did not return to his claim, but sold it to Chester House, father of Justus W. House, now of Seward.
The foregoing named persons were all that were in what is now Kendall County when the Indian War broke out on May 16, 1832.The above named seventy-nine people were all driven out of the county by the Indians. After the Indian trouble was over in the fall of 1832, the Holdermans returned to their grove and commenced life anew. Clark Hollenback and his family spent the winter of 1832-1833 at Holderman’s Grove.
George Hollenback moved his family back to Ohio in the fall of 1832.
Ezra Ackley and his family wintered in Indiana in the winter of 1832-1833.
William Harris and his family spent the winter of 1832-1833 at Naperville, where their son Joseph Naper Harris was born.
Walter Selvey, with his family spent the winter of 1832-1833 at Plainfield, where their daughter Sarah was born.
It is not remembered where the rest of the families wintered after the Indian War, but in the year 1833, they all returned to their claims and commenced life anew, except William Harris, who sold his claim to John Matlock and then settled in Long Grove, as stated above.
George Hollenback’s family moved the second time from Ohio in the fall of 1833, having come to Kendall County the spring before.
In the fall of 1832, after the Indian War, Walter S, Pearce, John Pearce, William Smith Wilson and his wife Rebecca (Pearce) Wilson, with their families, came to Oswego from Ohio, and were they only new comers to the county in 1832.
In the year 1833, the following names were found in what is now Kendall County.
Smith Gorsline Minkler.
M. M. Minkler.
Harmon T. Minkler.
Joseph J. Grooms.
Emma Delilah (Minkler) Grooms (Mrs. Joseph J.)
John H. Wormley.
John Pearce, Jr.
William W. Wormley.
Isaac P. Hallock.
Marshall Everts [Evarts?].
Earl Adams, who built the first house in Yorkville in 1833.
Samuel Devoe, Sr.
Levi Case Gorton.
John West Mason.
James T. Titsworth.
David Evans, who built the first house in Little Rock Township.
John Nicholas Schneider, who built the first sawmill in the county.
C. J. “Oliver” Havenhill.
Garrett L. Collins.
Governor Joel A. Madison.
Justus Ament, and
In 1834 the following names were found in the county:
Esther (Ricketson) Platt (Mrs. Daniel.)
Jeremy Fisher Tolman, Rev.
George VanEmon (Mrs.)
Walter W. VanEmon.
James H. VanEmon.
Robert W. Carnes & family.
John A. Newell.
Samuel Inscho & family.
Gilman Kendall, M.D.
John M. Kennedy.
Royal Bullard, Rev.
John R. Bullard.
James M. Bullard.
James S. Murray.
Chancy Y. Godard.
Charles Royal, Rev.
Frederick Nash Witherspoon.
John R. Wright.
Eben M. Hills.
Stephen B. Craw.
In 1835 the following names appear:
John K. LeBaron.
John L. Clark.
Sheldon Wheeler Johnson.
James Smith Cornell.
Rulief S. Duryea.
C. A. Wheeler.
Calvin Wheeler, M.D.
Levi S. Tomblin.
George W. Edmunds.
Almon Pitcher Ashley.
George W. Kellogg.
Nathaniel I. Robbins.
Lyman S. Knox.
Thomas G. Wright.
James McClellan, Sr.
James McClellan, Jr.
James W. Gillman.
William N. Davis.
Isaac T. Townsend.
David Johnson, Sr.
George W. Johnson.
Nathanial Pease Barnard, Sr.
Samuel S. Lathrop.
Daniel G. Johnson.
Lewis Brimley Judson.
John W. Chapman.
The following were here in 1836.
Cornelius Henning who built the first house in Plano, and the first frame house in Little Rock Township.
William T. Henning.
Gilbert “Denslow” Henning.
Cornelius Jones Henning.
Israel P. VanCleve.
William L. VanCleve.
H. A. Albee.
Ami D. Newton.
Clark W. Wormley
Orville E. Judson.
Frances A. Emmons.
James C. Shepard.
John W. Gallup.
Walter I. Windett.
Daniel Dwyer, Sr.
Benjamin Franklin Alden.
P. R. Wright.
Charles C. Wright.
Elisha B. Wright.
J. T. Moore.
John E. Waterman.
Heman S. Colton, Rev.
Clark W. Wormley.
Daniel “Webster” Gray.
S. A. Ovitt.
George W. Rowley.
Hartley A. Cleveland.
In the year 1837 the following names were found:
Waldo W. Marsh.
George H. Worsley.
William Ferguson [Farguson.]
David “Cheever” Shepard.
George P. Sleezer.
H. A. Clark.
J. N. Austin.
E. H. Austin.
Nathaniel Carr Mighell.
D. C. Cleveland.
Harlow G. Wilcox.
William Price Boyd.
David P. Gillam.
Charles D. Southwick.
A. R. Dodge.
G. M. Hadden.
Andrew J. Hunter.
In 1838 the following names came in:
Lyell Thompson Aldrich.
R. R. Greenfield.
Amer B. Cook.
J. J. Griswold.
Lewis Gilbert Steward.
George H. Steward.
Andrew I. Wormley.
S. D. Humiston.
Gilbert D. Edgerton.
Joseph W. Helme.
J. T. H. Brady.
L. S. Chittenden.
Charles F. Richardson.
In 1839 the following came:
A. B. Smith.
Nelson Sweetland, M.D.
S. L. Bartlett.
D. L. Taylor.
In 1840 the following came:
D. B. Jewell, M.D.
John C. Beane.
Townsend Seely, M.D.
Edmund S. Seely.
Wesley W. Winn.
Lucius W. Page.
John L. Gale.
The following names were here before 1841, but the year they came is not remembered.
Clark B. Alford.
John C. Phillips.
The names of old settlers deceased since the last meeting September 17, 1885:
Miss Margaret Lowry died September 24, 1885. She was the daughter of the late James B. Lowry.
Waldo W. Marsh died January 16, 1886, in the 74th year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1837.
Hartley A. Cleveland died March 18, 1886, in the 75th year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1836.
Little Rock Township.
William Mulkey died January 22, 1886, in the 87th year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1834.
Mrs. Henry Parson died March 11, 1886, in the 75th year of her age. She came to Kendall County in 1843.
Nathaniel I. Robbins died July 5, 1886, in the 83rd year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1835.
Phillip Young died November 25, 1885, in the 86th year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1842.
Mrs. Thomas Greenfield died June 31, 1886 in the 74th year of her age. She came to Kendall County in 1839.
Walter Loucks died March 20, 1886 in the 75th year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1838.
Big Grove Township.
Mrs. Sylvanus Kendall died December 27, 1885, in the 77th year of her age. She came to Kendall County in 1840.
Nelson Messenger died January 25, 1886, in the 75th year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1836.
Elijah Barrows died February 14, 1886, in the 95th year of his age. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. He came to Kendall County in 1837.
Mrs. Nathaniel Pease Barnard, Sr., died July 30, 1886.
Elisha B. Wright died February 19, 1886, in the 84th year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1836.
Mrs. Susannah Darnell died December 28, 1885, in the 74th year of her age. She came to Kendall County in 1834.
Mrs. Deborah Ann (Serrine) LaDieu (Mrs. Peter M.) died December 21, 1885, in the 57th year of her age. She came to Kendall County in 1838.
John Evans died July 31, 1886, in the 75th year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1834.
Julia Ann (Woodworth) Hollenback, (Mrs. George Mathias), died August 23, 1886, in the 53rd year of her age.
Charles S. Ferriss died February 17, 1886, in the 55th year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1836.
Deacon West Matlock died July 17, 1886 in the 73rd year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1833.
Christina (Phillips) Burgess (Mrs. Esaac) died April 12, 1886. She came to Kendall County in 1844.
John I. Widney died August 31, 1886 in the 50th year of his age. He came to Kendall County in 1845.