Hiram E. Leonard Diary, August 26 – September 1, 1863

26th Wednesday  rather a cold morning & frost on railroad a fine day. I arrived at Springfield between 5 & 6 in morning & stayed till 4 ½ in afternoon, went I left for Jacksonville and arrived there at 6 & arrived at the hospital 6 ½. Saw Sister & came back to the villiage between 7 & 8, put up at the mansion house for the night & rested verry well, but slep on a matras.

27th Thursday  rather a fine cool day & some cloudy, I got up about 6 eat breckfust at Mansion House at Jacksonville went to the Hospital about 8 & got sister & started on the cars a little before 9 & got to the Illinois & St Louis Junction 10 ½ stayed till 11-3/4 & started for Joliet, got there a little after 6, eat supper, went to bed about 9 at the Aubern House kep by Austin rested verry well, rained during night [in margin] Caroline moved to Willsons. J Pollard got home from East. Caroline mooved to Wilsons in part of Gary house].

28th Friday  A cloudy damp morning but a cool windy day & cold evening, I eat breckfust about 7 & started about 7 ½ for home with Sister & Netty Fowler & got home a little after 12, took the horse & carriage home eat dinner & went to office about 2 ½ stayed in evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ nearly sick.

29th Saturday  A cold morning with some frost a cold day & night I did my choars was at the office all day came home at 8 ½ went to bed about 9 tiard & nearly sick. Caroline called & went home for stove.

30th Sunday  A cold pleasant morning with a pretty heavy frost which cut potatoes & vines pretty bad & corn some. I did my choars went to office & Hoyts came home was at home the most of the day a choaring round etc went to bed about 9 tiard & nearly sick.

31st Monday  rather a fine day & evening. I did my choars was at the office all day & in evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ tiard & nearly sick with a cold.

September 1st Tuesday  A fine cool day & evening. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ nearly sick [in margin] Alvaro Drulard died near Murfreesboro.”

Rediscovering Camp McDowell at the Historical Society’s Annual Meeting

Join the Warrenville Historical Society on Monday, September 9, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. for our Annual Members Meeting at the Historical Museum & Art Gallery located at 3S530 Second Street, Warrenville, Illinois. Chris Gingrich, Education Outreach Specialist for the DuPage County Forest Preserve, will present “Rediscovering Camp McDowell” after a short business meeting. McDowell Grove was the original homestead of Daniel and Nancy Warren when they arrived in the area after moving west from the State of New York; their son, Julius Warren, chose a location just up the DuPage River, making a home in our wonderful town which was named after him. Since the time of the Warrens, McDowell Grove has seen much history.

 
Nearly 80 years ago a cluster of wooden barracks were erected along the West Branch of the DuPage River, in the heart of McDowell Grove Forest Preserve.  These buildings were home for hundreds of men who were enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps and from the barracks of Camp McDowell these men worked to construct improvements in several of DuPage County’s forest preserves.  Many of those recreational amenities are still enjoyed by thousands of DuPage County residents each year.

Following the end of the Great Depression and the start of World War II, Camp McDowell found a new purpose as part of a training program to prepare military recruits in radar technology.  Local history includes reports of a top secret facility that was the largest radar facility in the world at the time.  The reality is a little less dramatic but still demonstrates the importance the military placed on education as warfare evolved to include greater levels of technology.

The closure of the radar school, however, did not mark the end of Camp McDowell’s history.  Recent research has revealed that the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA, also utilized the camp as a communications training facility for its agents.

Chris Gingrich, education outreach specialist for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, has been researching the history of Camp McDowell.  His presentation will include photographs, maps, documents,  and stories compiled from many sources, including:  local newspapers, unpublished memoirs, CCC camp newspapers, the National Archives, Forest Preserve records and others.  Chris has worked for nearly 20 years in the field of local history as an educator at several museums in DuPage County communities.

We hope you will join us to learn more about this historic preserve as well as how the Historical Society’s has been achieving its mission of preserving Warrenville history over the past year. The Museum will be open starting at 6:00 p.m. that night, so please feel free to stop in early to see our updated exhibits and explore our collection. This event is open to our membership and the general public, and free to all. Please contact us at info@warrenvillehistorical.org or 630.393.4215 with any questions.

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, August 19 – 25, 1863

19th Wednesday  rather fine hot weather & a getting dry. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ nearly sick with a cold.

20th Thursday  rather a fine warm day & evening. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ tiard & sick.

21st Friday  rather a fine day & evening some showerey at night.  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ tiard & nearly sick.

22nd Saturday  rather a fine day & evening some cloudy and damp in the morning but cold in afternoon & evening. I did my choars was at the office all day & in the evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ nearly sick, Gary got the bed & put it up Sarah Russequie stayed with Caroline [in margin] Layed out Winfield Road part.

23rd Sunday  rather a fine cool morning & cloudy more warm during day but some cloudy. I did my choars was at the store & Hoyts in morning came home about 10 was at home achoaring round, writing etc most of the day went to bed about 9 nearly sick with a soar in my ear.

24th Monday  rather fine weather & cloudy, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 ½ nearly sick with a sore ear etc.

25th Tuesday  rather a fine day & cool a cold night. I did my choars was at the office the most of the forenoon got ready to go to Jacksonville, started about one oclock with H Fowlers horse & J Pollards carriage for Joliet Netta Fowler went to Joliet with me, I got there at 6 & left on cars at 10 ½ J______.”

August Artifact of the Month

One of the many photographs in the Warrenville Historical Society’s collection, this historic image is of the Warrenville Grist Mill’s horses and driver, Ira Millet, taken around 1895.

August artifactAs Leone Schmidt noted in In and Around Historic Warrenville, in the early days of Warrenville “one’s livelihood depended on the turning of the gristmill’s wheel,” as early farmers relied on the power of the river to grind corn and grain.  Ira Millet, once employed by the mill, was later hired by another important company, the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago Railway, which brought train service through the town, providing residents a new form of transportation for the first half of the 20th century.

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, August 12 – 18, 1863

12th Wednesday  rather fine weather for the season. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ nearly sick.

13th Thursday  a fine day & evening. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ tiard & nearly sick.

14th Friday  fine hot weather thurmometer at 92, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 ½ tiard & nearly sick. Mrs Potter went to Aurora with Burgers.

15th Saturday  A fine hot day, thurmometer at 94, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening, came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ tiard & about sick.

16th Sunday  A fine hot day thurmometer at 92, some cloudy, I did my choars was at the office after breckfust with I Kenyon came home choared round went to office 3 times at Hoyts came home & went to bed about 9 nearly sick, John McNelly came over & brought Caroline got here about 1 PM, Mrs Potter went to Pelhams evening.

17th Monday  rather a fine day & evening, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ tiard & nearly sick.

18th Tuesday  rather a fine day & evening. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ tiard & nearly sick with a cold.”

Happy Friday from the Historical Society

TGIF! As we send you into a beautiful weekend, we hope you start it off in style like these well dressed women of Warrenville from Mildred Baldwin’s popular Warrenville Digest column.  Have a great weekend and don’t forget to stop by and visit the Museum & Art Gallery on Sunday, during our open hours of 1:00-4:00p.m. Happy Friday!w1w2w3

Published in: on August 9, 2013 at 10:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hiram E. Leonard Diary, August 5 – 11, 1863

5th Wednesday  A fine day & evening. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½.

6th Thursday  A fine day some cloudy evening & a shower. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 ½. Hat came & Caroline went home with him. Amanda Straus came stayed all night.

7th Friday  A cloudy damp morning & day, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home between 8 & 9 & soon went to bed, Frank Wellman & his father arrived from Michigan they were here at dinner & supper & stayed all night. Frank did not come in till near 12.

8th Saturday  A cloudy damp morning & hot day more pleasant. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & soon went to bed, Frank & his father went to Aurora & back did not find what they went after got back at dusk disappointed, A heavey thunder shower all night almost & lightning.

9th Sunday  A cloudy damp muggy morning more pleasant in afternoon but cloudy. I did my choars was at home most of the day, went to store about 9 with Frank came back fixed some fence wrote some choared round some etc called at Hoyts at night & went to bed about 9, Frank & Father stayed here, Frank & J M Warren went to Winfield about noon & got home about 8 ½, a heavey shower near night.

10th Monday  rather a cloudy morning but more pleasant during the day I did my choars was at the office all day & in evening came home about 8 ½ & soon went to bed tiard & nearly sick. Frank & his father left here this morning for Chicago & was a going home to York State.

11th Tuesday  rather fine weather but some cloudy, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ nearly sick.”

Warrenville and the American Civil War: August 1863

As Henry Ford was just starting his life, having been born the previous month, Winfield Road was just being laid out in the growing village of Warrenville.  Warrenville residents in 1863 would have seen this as a new path to travel by foot, horseback or perhaps stagecoach, north and south on the east edge of the community; they never could have imagined it would develop into a major corporate destination off of a busy toll way as it is today. The 1863 citizens could have also never imagined that Henry Ford’s intuition and creative business mind would have allowed for the mass production of the automobile that would make Winfield Road much busier and noisier than in those early days of the road.

The month of August also brought the Warrenville boys in the 105th Illinois Infantry into a larger metropolitan as they arrived in Nashville, Tennessee.  Our volunteers were joining the other Union forces stationed at the first state capital to fall to the Union troops.  As part of the Union occupying force, Warrenville soldiers were under the command of future President Andrew Johnson who was the acting Military Governor of Tennessee.  The men were tasked with holding the city and protecting it from Confederate raids.

Taken from the Warrenville Historical Society’s program “1863 in 48 Minutes” that was held on January 27, 2013.