Published in the Kendall County Record, Jun 22, 1932
Edited & compiled by Elmer Dickson
In the year 1630 the good ship "Ann and Mary" landed on the shore at Plymouth Rock and a young man of the name of Thomas Tolman. The name meant originally "toll gather." He became a citizen of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, and for about 200 years the family home was at or near Needham, in that state.
One of the descendants of the family, John Tolman, was a captain in the Revolutionary Army. After the close of the war he married and became the father of a son, Jeremy Fisher Tolman, born in 1784. The son was married to Betsy Leland in 1814, and became a Baptist minister. There was pioneer blood in his veins. In 1834, with his wife and at least eight children, he moved to Illinois to the part that is now Kendall County. He squatted on a farm in the south edge of Long Grove, now owned by Miss Mary Crimmin.
Of course the first thing to do was to find a school for those children. The most convenient seemed to be across the Fox River in Bristol, and we think was held in the old church building, situated on the southeast corner of the lot now owned by C. E. Jessup. The frame of the old building is still in existence. The frame was cut in two and now forms the frames of barns of A. C. Almy and C. W. Hemm.
The children walked to the river at Yorkville, crossed on a footbridge made of hewn logs. The bridge extended from the end of Main Street at the Bieritz saw mill, across the river to the foot of King Street below the residence of the late Brown Smith. A few years later Mr. Tolman erected a frame house on his claim. He donated the log house in which they first lived for school purposes.
In 1844, in response to the popular demand for better educational advantages, he drove through the country south of the river, and solicited the funds, five and ten dollars in a place. The Pavilion Academy, a one-story brick building was erected. It had two rooms, but the partition was movable, so the building could be thrown into one room for religious services on Sunday.
Mr. Tolman had preached for the Pavilion church since its organization in 1834. In the last history of Kendall County, (1914) in an article by the late Professor Albert Cook, of Plano, he is also credited with organizing the Bristol Baptist Church in 1834. E. L. Bartlett was the first principal of the new school. Quite a little advanced work was done by some of the pupils.
One of the stories handed down from those old school days was of the six Matlock brothers, each over six feet tall, coming to school on foot, of course, the one ahead, carrying a pillow case of corn dodgers. The corn dodgers were thrown on the floor in back of the schoolhouse door, there to lie until the noon recess, when it was served as lunch for the tribe.
Elder Tolman left Kendall County about 1847. His only public appearances in the county afterward were at the Old Settler's Picnics. The writer saw him and heard him address such a gathering at the old Bristol fairgrounds about the year 1870. He was seated in a wheeled chair, to which he had been confined for a number of years. He was wheeled to the front of the platform and made the main address of the day. He died at Sandwich in 1872, aged 88 years.
Pavilion at that time was quite a village. It was almost entirely on one street or road which, was the direct road from Chicago to Ottawa. Today it would answer to the description of Goldsmith's "Deserted Village."
Two years ago, Mr. Conover R. Cook made a map of Pavilion showing the buildings (houses, barns, shops and stores) and their location along this road. The church and schoolhouse were on the roads that ran east from the main road, but on different roads. We will add his list to this article of the buildings, but the map was misplaced and has disappeared.
Mr. Cook died in December 1930, just after following his wife's remains to the cemetery. He was in his eighty-ninth years, and they had lived together sixty-five years. His article was addressed to the editor of the Record, evidently for publication, but on reading it over he was afraid it was not good enough for publication and did not hand it in. The article follows, with very little change.
Reading the article by Mrs. Courtright giving the early history of old Georgetown (Newark), inspired me to take a walk up the main street of old "Hard Scrabble" since known as Pavilion, as it was in 1830-40-50 and 1860. Walking north from the life-long residence of William Ford, on our right hand is a log house. On the left a log house, Elisha Morgan's house a large frame house, and Lewis Morgan's wheelwright shop. On the right was Lewis Morgan's house and barn. On the left a brick blacksmith shop (a corner of which is still standing) and the old Union store. On the right U. L. Barber's store, Dr. Ives' residence and post office. On the left, Cole's store, the new Union store, Dr. Blexton Harris' drug store and Linus Smith's shoe and harness shop, and the farm residence of Squire Ives, later owned by Squire Kellett. On the right is a house just south of Miss Jennie Ives' store, and John Ball's tavern and stagecoach exchange barn. On the left is John Luce's wood working shop where he made a revolving dump hay rake, a three-row corn planter and other articles. Still on the left, Colwell's blacksmith shop and residence which was situated a little south of the present residences of E. L. and Gerald Matlock. On the right there was a house built by Andrew Dixon.
We will call this the main street of Pavilion, about half a mile long. We will now go back to the road leading east and call that Church Street. Here stands the dear old Baptist Church, with a house on either side of it.
Now there are no stores, no shops, and no post office. The old church, built eighty years ago, is closed. Our pioneer fathers and many of their children have fallen asleep. The mortal remains of many are laid in the beautiful Pavilion Cemetery. From there, on a clear day, one can see Aurora and Jericho, in Kane County, Sandwich in DeKalb County, and the northeast portion of LaSalle County. I do not know who was the founder of this village, but I have described it, as I have known it from 1845 to the present, 1930.
I was very glad to get this list as written by Mr. Cook, as he had lived in the vicinity of Pavilion for upward of eighty-five years, and had seen the changes taking place in the old village.
It was through the kindness of Reverend Wilfred Wakefield that I was enabled to call at the Cook home. Upon leaving there we drove straight to the old church and peered through the windows, and looked around for some time. It has been closed for a number of years, and we could but wonder why it had not been turned into a community center. Our first visit to it must have been in the early sixties.
From there we drove around to see what was left of the old Academy. The original building was torn down in about 1859. The bricks were used to build a one-room district school at Pavilion. The building continued to be used as a school until about 1907, when the school was merged with the one at Yorkville. The owner of the land is tearing down the brick schoolhouse, and soon another old landmark will be gone forever. Signed A. P. Hill.
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