A New Home for Hiram: Subscribe to our new blog


The Historical Society is happy to announce that we have a new blog! You will still find Hiram there, as well as all the other historic treasurers and information about our upcoming programming there!

Please be sure to subscribe to the new blog here: https://www.warrenvillehistorical.org/subscribe-to-our-blog. Unfortunately, we are not able to migrate your subscription, so please ensure you sign up to the new blog today!

As always, we are grateful for your support and interest in Warrenville history! Feel free to contact Sara at info@warrenvillehistorical.org.

Published in: on February 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Warrenville Women’s History Wednesday: Louisa Goddard Warren Bird Warren

The Historical Society began 2016 telling the story of Colonel Warren’s seven sisters. Julius Warren, our town’s founder, was the only son in his family and had the important job of helping his parents, Nancy and Daniel Warren, find seven suitable husbands for his seven sisters. The Warren sisters were successfully married to seven well-established men who helped to shape northern Illinois. Please enjoy reading a little bit about one of the seven sisters featured in our January program The Seven Sisters of Colonel Warren. You can also learn more about the sisters in our museum exhibit that will be on display at the Historical Museum & Art Gallery through 2016.

The first Warren sister marriage took place while the family was still living out east, when Louisa Goddard Warren, the second Warren daughter, found a suitable partner in Frederick Bird. Frederick was the son of Captain and Reverend Nathaniel Bird, who was one of Chautauqua County, New York’s most enterprising early settlers. Captain Bird had fought in the Revolutionary War when he was only 16. Frederick’s oldest brother, Captain Amos Bird, served in the War of 1812. The family held important portions of land in Chautauqua County and controlled toll bridges that were important to postal service.

Louisa Warren

Louisa Warren Bird

Louisa and Frederick were wed on December 8, 1824, in Westfield, New York. Louisa was eighteen years old. Within seven years, the couple had welcomed their first three children, Byron, Edwin, and Ellen. When the family headed west to DuPage County in 1833, Frederick traveled with Warren father Daniel as the first family members to arrive in the area and began to build the family’s first home in what is now McDowell Grove.

In 1835, the Bird family relocated from the original Warren land claim to just north of Geneva and started a small family farm. Westward movement however was still in their blood and the family moved again, this time to the edge of the Rock River. The family would eventually have seven children. Sadly, Frederick died on a return visit to New York in 1842. Louisa was left a widow at the age of 36.

3S457 Jackson

3S457 Jackson Street

Louisa returned to Warrenville following Frederick’s death and built a home on a large estate at Fourth and Jackson Streets. After living as a widower for 18 years, Louisa remarried a cousin, Silas Warren, and moved back to her native New York. A portion of the land she left was sold to the Warrenville Baptists who built a parsonage there in 1877 at 3S457 Jackson.

In less than 18 years of living with her husband, Silas, in New York, she was once again widowed and returned to Illinois where she lived with her daughter, Mrs. Julia Talbot, in Chicago until her death on May 10, 1883. Louisa was laid to rest at the Warrenville Cemetery. She was remembered as the great pioneer of all the family.

Published in: on March 23, 2016 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, November 30 – December 6, 1865

30th Thursday A warm damp cloudy morning & rained & spit snow a little in forenoon, the snow went off fast & it partly cleared off near noon with wind & grew cold, a cold night & froze quite hard, I came home at 8 & went to bed at 9 tiard lonely & sick.

December 1st Friday rather a fine day but cool I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 & went to bed at 9 lonely & sick.

2nd Saturday rather a fine warm cloudy or smokey day & looked like rain I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 tiard lonely & nearly sick, Sherman Willson came to the store & got some things & said that Rollen had been sick all the week, & sent a line by him to Caroline [in margin] I sent a line to Caroline by Sher Willson.

3rd Sunday A warm cloudy muckey damp day & rained some in afternoon & evening I did my choars went to office about 8 and came back choared round the house covered up my corn crib & fixed my hen house went to the office about 4 for R B Pollard, came back did my choars & went to bed between 8 & 9 tiard lonely & nearly sick [in margin] Griffith & wife went to Willson in afternoon.

4th Monday rather fine weather for Dec. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 & went to bed about 9 tiard lonely sick.

5th Tuesday rather fine weather for winter I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home 8 ¼ went to bed at 9 tiard lonely & about sick.

6th Wednesday fine weather but cool, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 & went to bed at 9 tiard lonely & sick.”

Warrenville Road Bridge Construction Starts

Construction has officially started on the Warrenville Road Bridge and within a few months this area and our Leone Schmidt Historic Park will be transformed.

Warrenville Road Bridge

Warrenville Road Bridge

The Museum plans to stay open during construction and can be easily accessed off of Winfield Road, as seen in this detour map below. Please do check our website and Facebook page for any updates; if closures are needed, full details will be posted there.

Warrenville Road Bridge Detour Map

Warrenville Road Bridge Detour Map

We hope to see you during our summer hours of Wednesdays – Sundays from 1:00-4:00p.m. June through August. Our business members Al’s Pizza and Towne Tap will also be open throughout the construction, so please support them!

Thank you!!

Thank you!! It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week and the Historical Society would like to thank all of our volunteers who give their valuable time and talents to help us keep Warrenville history alive.  Every minute of volunteer time helps us preserve and present the history of our great community and we could not do it without them! Thank you!!volunteer appreciation 2014

Fashion Friday featuring the Well-Dressed Women of Warrenville

It’s Fashion Friday again at the Historical Society! Enjoy these Well-Dressed Women of Warrenville from local artist Mildred Baldwin’s popular column from the Warrenville Digests.  If you’d like to learn more about Mildred, see our earlier blog post here https://warrenvillehistorical.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/womens-history-month-mildred-baldwin/.

We hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

WDWW Carol Storoe 3.11WDWW Emma Rice 3.25.1971

Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 8:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, March 24 – 30, 1864

24th Thursday  cold backward weather or March. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ went to bed 9 ½ lonely & sick. Geo O Potter went to Chicago to see about getting my eye doctor, got back about 2 oclock tomorrow morning.

25th Friday  cold raw weather for March. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 ½ lonesome homesick & nearly sick.

26th Saturday  Cold weather for the season & the ground frozen yet, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came about 8 ½ & went to bed lonesome & sick.

27th Sunday  cold backward weather for March. I did my choars was at home till about 11 then went to Cals & Sherman Willsons & in to my timber came back & stayed till near 5 came home & went to bed after going to the office & making up the maile, about 9 oclock lonesome & homesick no place seemed like home. I Kenyon came down & carried George & Elizabeth up to his house about 9 ½ came back about 6.

28th Monday  a rainey damp disagreeable day & night. I did my choars was at the office all day & night came home at about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ lonesome & nearly sick.

29th Tuesday  rather a damp muddy disagreeable day. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ tiard lonesome & nearly sick & slep but little—George Potter went to Chicago to get his eyes doctered.

30th Wednesday  rather more fine but cool. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed 9 ½ tiard lonesome & nearly sick.”

The Albright’s American Artists Charcoal Company

Warrenville was home to artist Adam Emory Albright from 1924 until his death in 1957. Our community offered Albright a rural setting, in which he found his inspiration for the country scenes he painted. His twin sons, Ivan and Malvin, who also called Warrenville home for many years, followed in their father’s footsteps taking up art. The three Albright artists used the former Methodist Church, located on Second Street, as an art gallery and studio, known as “The Albright Gallery of Painting and Sculpture.” The Warrenville Historical Society now uses this building as the City’s Museum.

During their time in Warrenville, the Albrights had many side businesses in order to supplement their income to support their art. One such business was the American Artists Charcoal Company. Adam was known as a businessman as well as an artist, and traveled to an island in the Mississippi River near Grafton where there was a charcoal manufacturer. During his trip he learned the trade, and when he returned home, he enlisted his sons in helping him found the company in 1928. They arranged shipments of the special lumber necessary for production and made charcoal right behind the Albright Studio. Their initial sales campaign consisted of longhand written letters to schools and other prospects.

Below are images of items from the Warrenville Historical Society’s collection detailing the charcoal business.

Albright Artists' Charcoal copy

Box cover that charcoal was sold in.

handwritten charcoal costs 1931 1932 enhanced copy

Handwritten note detailing the company expenses for 1931 and 1932.

request for Albright charcoal for print copy

Charcoal order from Philadelphia.

american artists charcoal order from board of education copy

Envelope of an order placed by the City of Chicago’s Board of Education.

Published in: on December 13, 2013 at 9:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, October 21 – 27, 1863

21st 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 at about 9 ½.

22nd Tuesday  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 at about 9 ½.

23rd Wednesday  rather fine cool dry 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. W. G. Smith S. French went to Wheaton & took 2nd degree in Masonry. Dewit Brown went & took the first degree.

24th Thursday  rather fine cool weather, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ nearly sick.

25th Friday  rather fine weather & cool & dry, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home 8 ½ & went to bed 9 ½ nearly sick, a wholesale peddler came along & stayed at Mannings.

26th Saturday  A fine day & more warm but dry, I did my choars was at the store all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 ½ nearly sick, I traded with peddler over $50.

27th Sunday  A fine warm pleasant day & evening. I did my choars was at store & Hoyts after breckfust came home titoned up 2 bedsteds picked peaches fixed apple bins & picked up some winter apples & called at Hoyts in evening came home at 8 went to bed at 9.”

Women’s History Month: Seraph Warren Holmes

As Women’s History Month comes to an end, we celebrate a woman who had a large impact on the early Warrenville community and the education of children, Seraph Warren Holmes.

seraph copy

When private academies were flourishing before Illinois mandated compulsory education, the Warrenville Seminary, with Seraph Warren Holmes as its administrator, stood for education at its finest.

From its opening on September 14, 1851, Mrs. Holmes was the attraction that drew the bulk of its student enrollment (100 to 200) from Chicago and from the west as far as Rockford.  Among the seminary’s alumni were General Frederick Starring and Dr. John Maynard Woodworth of Chicago, the first surgeon general of the United States – a testament to Seraph as an educator.

Her teaching methods for her scholars were, in her own words, “…aimed to develop thought-power, to quicken mental activity, to rouse latent energy, and give the self-reliance necessary for the cumulative responsibilities that lay before them.”

Seraph Warren received her training back in her home state of New York.  After Julius Warren’s boarding house for lodgers was erected in 1835, he arranged for his 23-year-old cousin to take charge of the upstairs schoolroom.

For the next several years, she could be found teaching in Warrenville, either at one of the two academies in operation in the 1840s or in her parents’ home.  She also taught for a period in Chicago; one position was at Clybournville on the North Branch of the Chicago River.

Her marriage to Albert Holmes in January 1849 was supposed to close out her professional career, but widowhood brought her back to Warrenville in only five months.

After the seminary closed following the Civil War, Seraph and her mother moved to Rockford. There she opened “Mrs. Holmes School for Young Ladies,” but she made frequent trips back to Warrenville throughout her lifetime.

Biographical sketch taken from Leone Schmidt’s “Memorable Warrenville Women.”