Hiram E. Leonard Diary, May 29 – June 4, 1867

“29th Wednesday  rather cool cloudy damp weather  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 10 tiard & about worn out with sister, Ned Murry spoke at the Junction [in margin] Caroline was taken sick.

30th Thursday  A cold cloudy day  I did my choars was at the office all day & in the evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 10 tiard & worn out with Sister.

31st Friday  rather a fine pleasant day & evening  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 10 sick with a cold & worn out with sister, the Wheaton people had a county seat meeting at the Meth church Col Sweet, Vallett & others spoke.

June 1st Saturday  A cloudy damp day with several showers  I did my choars was at the office all day came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 10 nearly sick & worne out  H H Cody spoke at the Methodist Church this evening & had quite an audiance & spoke well.

2nd Sunday A cloudy windy day & a growing cold  I did my choars was at the office after breckfust came back choared round fixed calf paster etc, went down at 2 with Willa Carpenter to office was at home the most of the day went to bed at 9  Mrs Stone went over the river, George went to Willsons.

3rd Monday  A fine cool day  I did my chaors was at home till after 3, when I went to Garys Mill to an election to remoove the county seat to Wheaton, came back & went to bed about 10 nearly sick with a cold there was a 117 vote to remoove to Wheaton.

4th Tuesday  A fine warm day & evening  I did my chaors was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 10 nearly sick with a cold.”

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Annual Meeting featuring lecture on the history of St. James Farm, Monday, September 8, 2014 at 7PM

On Monday, September 8 at 7PM at the Historical Museum, 3S530 Second Street, the Historical Society will hold its Annual Meeting and invites the public to attend a quick business meeting to hear about the programs of the Society followed by a presentation on the history of St. James Farm by Kevin Davis.

What is known today as St. James farm was an area that played an important role in the early settlement of DuPage County. Please enjoy this except from Leone Schmidt’s The Life and Times of Warrenville about the first settlers in DuPage County and the troubles they faced in their first years in the area.

“Spring 1832 saw the west branch of the DuPage Rive dotted with settlements extending north as far as what we know now as Winfield Township of DuPage County.

“The first settler in present-day DuPage County, Bailey Hobson, came from Indiana on horseback in May 1830..the next settlement on the DuPage was ‘Napiersville.’ After having made an exploratory trip in February, Joseph Napier captained his ship the Telegraph from Ashtabula, Ohio on May 31, 1831, landing in Chicago July 15. With him was his brother John, and Lyman Butterfield, Harry Wilson, John Murray, and their families. They went at once to the site previously selected, on the DuPage River about four miles north of Bailey Hobson…

“The honor of ‘first’ within the boundaries later established for Winfield Township goes to Erastus Gary-grandson of Josiah Gary and son of William Gary, both ex-Revolutionary soldiers. William, a school teacher and farmer, had died at the age of 51 when Erastus, the third of seven children, was only eleven. After a few years of eking out a meager existence from the 13 acres of rocky soil that had been his allotment from the family estate, at the age of 25 he sold his share to his elder brother Charles and left Connecticut in 1831. He traveled by horse or carriage as far as St. Joseph, Michigan and then crossed the lake in a canoe to Chicago and continued 28 miles further west (probably on foot) where he staked out 640 acres-the present location of McCormick’s St. James Farm. Too late in the season for breaking sod, he returned to St. Joseph to teach school during the winter. In the spring he paddled back in a homemade dug-out with three fellow travelers.

early warrenville map copy

“Hardly had Erastus turned over an acre of new rich soil when the Sauk’s war whoop pierced the air. Black Hawk was openly repudiating the treaty that had been signed by Keokuk and other chiefs of the Sacs and Foxes agreeing to vacate their Illinois lands lying between the Rock River and the Mississippi. On April 6 he crossed the Mississippi into Illinois and led a march northeast along the Rock River…”

Many of the settlers fled to Fort Dearborn, in Chicago, for protection from the fighting. Women and children spent the entire summer confined in the Fort, while the men protected their recent claims and attempted to plant and care for their fields.

“The war was short-lived, and after the surrender of Black Hawk at Bad Axe, Wisconsin August 3, Captain Naper’s company was mustered out on August 15 and the settlers went back to their claims to start over again.”

Five years later the Garys established a settlement in present day West Chicago near Route 59 and Roosevelt Road. Erastus Gary became an influential man in DuPage County and worked with the Wheaton brothers to shape the town of Wheaton’s development and growth. Erastus’s son, Elbert Gary, became a leading steel man, creating the town of Gary, Indiana, for the sole purpose of making steel.

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, October 28 – November 3, 1863

28th Wednesday  a fine pleasant day but cool cloudy evening & rained before morning, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ nearly sick, John Duck & M D Williams came from Elgin got here about dusk after Ws goods.

29th Thursday  A cloudy damp morning & began to rain about 8, wet conciderable in forenoon & hard in afternoon & evening & snowed some before morning. I did my choars was at the office till after 9 then went to Germy to get an attachment for M D Williams goods, Germn made the papers out & came down about one & did not like to give them to the constable, So I started for Naperville a little after one with R. Pollard & got my papers & got back before 4, Williams started for Elgin & we went to Fowlers & attached M D W. goods came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 nearly sick.

30th Friday  rather a cloudy disagreeable day & spit snow a little & snowed during the night conciderable. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ nearly sick. M D Williams got back at noon, & was a going to law me & make me smart, he shook his fist in my face & called me a liar & said it should be to my injury he sent P Graves over to talk with me in the evening & he agreed to settle it in the morning which he did.

31st Saturday  the ground was covered with snow, but conciderable of it went off before night. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 nearly sick, P Graves settled Williams notes paid $50, gave a notice of 34.80 & they went home.

November 1st Sunday  rather a cold morning but a fine pleasant day & evening quite warm in the middle of the day, I did my choars & choared round the house till near noon then went to store & got some curtains came back & choared round till ½ past one then started for my timber to show Dutchman where to chop got back about 4 did my choars was at home all evening wrote some & went to bed a little after 8 nearly sick with a cold. B S Harlow Esqr died today after being sick a few weeks.

2nd Monday  rather a cool cloudy damp day & rained some. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed a little after 9 nearly sick with a  cold.

3rd Tuesday  A cool but rather pleasant day. I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home 8 ½ went to bed at 9 ½ nearly sick. B. S Harlow Esqr was burried today in afternoon & election was at Garys Mill today, Grifffeth drew a load apples.”