The Old Settler’s Picnic
Originally Published in the Kendall County Record, September 6, 1877
Edited and Compiled by Elmer Dickson
The annual reunion of the old settlers of Kendall County was held on the Fair Grounds Thursday, August 30, 1877. A more fitting day could not have been produced. The day was bright, clear, and the temperature was comfortable. The people began to gather at ten o’clock in the morning, and by noon the attendance was very large. The first hour or two was spent in social visits and neighborly greetings. At twelve o’clock the pioneers and their friends dined in the Floral Hall, or on shady grass plats on the Fair Grounds. There was plenty of food to eat, and all joined in with enthusiasm.
Squire Litsey, the President of the society, was detained at home by sickness, which was regretted by all. The energetic and positive man, Smith Minkler, was called upon to take his place, and he presided most acceptably. In fact he infused life into everyone. After dinner he called the pioneers to order at the bandstand, and some thirty or more of the fathers were seated there. The formal exercises began by ascertaining who were present and when they came to the county. We are indebted to Secretary, James S. Cornell, for the following roster.
Peter Atherton Misner
West Walker Matlock
William H. Pearce
Daniel Jesse Platt
Esther (Ricketson) Platt (Mrs. Daniel J.).
John H. Wormley
Edward B. Wright
Lydia H. (Ashley) Morgan (Mrs. Ebenezer H., Sr.).
John A. Newell
Alonzo G. Tolman, Sr.
James Smith Cornell
John Kittredge LeBaron
Levi S. Tomblin
Christopher A. Wheeler
John W. Wheeler
Harrison Adams Albee
Frances “Asbury” Emmons, Sr.
Gilbert “Denslow” Henning
Cornelius “Jones” Henning
William Thurber Henning
Mary E. (Lewis) Jackson (Mrs. Joseph).
Orville Edwin Judson
Ami D. Newton
Mary Ann (Reynolds) Newton (Mrs. Ami D.).
Henry G. Newton
Roxanna (Ashley) Parkhurst (Mrs. Nahum A.).
William Lee VanCleve
Clark W. Wormley
David P. Gillam
George Pew Hay
Isaac Morris Hay
Andrew J. Hunter
Edward N. Lewis
Waldo Warren Marsh
J. G. Stolp?
David “Cheever” Shepard, Sr.
Of course the above is not a complete list, as many were at other parts of the ground when the names were taken, and did not respond. We would suggest to the executive committee that it procure a book for the next meeting, and have the pioneers register their names and date of arrival and at future meetings, formally call the roll of members.
After the above list was compiled, Mr. Minkler called upon the early settlers to discuss their experiences. Frances A. Emmons, now of Aurora, who built the first residences in Bristol, was the first speaker, and he gave some happy incidents in his pioneer experience.
David H. Shonts, of Plano, followed; although he did not consider himself an Old Settler, as he came here in 1842.
Joseph Weeks, of Sandwich followed. And then Lewis G. Steward, who made a very nice little speech, in which he said that he remembered the time when is old friend Lorenzo D. Brady took, at his store in Little Rock, six pounds of butter for a yard of calico, and many laughed at Mr. Brady.
Mr. Peter A. Misner of Sandwich, and Peter Innis of Aurora, also spoke a few words.
Randall Cassem made a very fine address of a few minutes length, and acquitted himself handsomely.
The old folks enjoyed the meeting and the allusions to the olden times.
The formal exercises closed after electing the following officers.
President, Smith G. Minkler.
Vice President, John Litsey.
Secretary, James S. Cornell.
Treasurer, William T. Henning.
The Executive Committee was empowered to appoint the time and place of the next meeting. The afternoon attendance was estimated to be about one thousand.
Among others present was Peter Minkler, now of Rochelle, a hale looking man of 87 years, who has lived to an honored old age, loved and respected by all who knew him. Also the Honorable Alanson K. Wheeler, whose health has kept him away from public places, but he is now quite strong and looks well.
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