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.”

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, October 31 – November 6, 1866

31st Wednesday  fine weather for the season  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 sick.

November 1st Thursday  rather fine but cool & some cloudy  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 ½ tiard lonely & sick, Schovell & wife Fredenhagen & wife, Sim Billings & wife & Caroline Willson went down to Naperville in the stage to a Ball & Caroline came back home with R Pollard.

2nd Friday  rather a fine day but some cloudy  I did my choars was at the office all day came home 8 ½ to bed 9 ½ tiard & sick.

3rd Saturday  rather a cloudy disagreeable day  I did my choars was at the office all day came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 ½ sick  Henry Rogers was married to Roset Beardsly this afternoon at Turner by Methodist minister.

4th Sunday  A cold cloudy raw day & cleared off in evening  I did my choars & went to Goulds with Bliss horse Wallace went with me got home at sunset went to Salors & got my photograph taken went to store in evening went to bed at 8 ½ sick Roll Cal went to Sher Willsons.

5th Monday  rather fine weather  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 ½ sick & lonely.

6th Tuesday  a fine day & evening  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 ½ nearly sick.”

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, April 18 – 24, 1866

18th Wednesday  A fine warm pleasant day some cloudy towards night  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ¼ tiard lonely & nearly sick, R Willson & Caroline & boy came about 9 ¾ with a load of goods, moved down here  Abe Ketchum & Emma Beardsly were married at Beardsly the Methodist minister at Naperville, Smith & went to the Junction.

19th Thursday  A rainey disagreeable day rained conciderable  I did my choars was at the office all day came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ tiard lonely & sick [in margin] cow calved today.

20th Friday  cleared off in morning & was quite a pleasant day & night  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ went to bed at 9 ½ nearly sick [in margin] windy.

21st Saturday  A fine windy day good putting in grain  I did my choars was at the office all day came home about 9 ½ & went to bed at 10 tiard & nearly sick.

22nd Sunday  Some cloudy but rather a fine day  I did my choars was at the house all day except going up to Garys to get my colt & got back at about noon choared round the house the rest of the day planted some butanuts etc went to bed about 9 nearly sick.

23rd Monday  rather fine cool weather for April  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ nearly sick etc.

24th Tuesday  rather fine weather but cold, I did my choars was at the office the most of the day came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ about sick.”

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, August 31 – September 6, 1865

31st Thursday fine weather for haying but hot I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 ½ tiard lonely & sick [in margin] R here Rollen Wilson & Caroline went to Naperville.

September 1st Friday A fine day & evening but hot, I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ tiard lonely & sick.

2nd Saturday A fine day & evening but hot I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 8 & went to bed about 9 ½ tiard lonely & about sick, Rolen Willson went to Naperville & carried Caroline Wray, in morning & got home about 11.

3rd Sunday A fine hot day with some cloudy, I did my choars was at home the most of the day & evening, went to office after breckfust & back, I choared round the house & went to bed about 9, tiard lonely & about sick Rol Willson & Caroline Wray went a riding, Said they were going to the Junction to a Camp Meeting, they started about 2, & got home about ½ past 9 in evening found no camp meeting but went to Turner & round by Wheaton home.

4th Monday rather fine weather for the season but verry hot I did my choars was at the office all day & in evening came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ nearly sick [in margin] State Fair in Chicago.

5th Tuesday rather a fine day but hot & some cloudy ground very wet I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 8 ½ & went to bed at 9 ½ tiard lonely & sick.

6th Wednesday cloudy damp weather & disagreeable for the State Fair I did my choars was at the office all day. Shut up & went to supper I came home about 8 ½ & went to bed about 9 ½ sick & lonely.”

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.

Warrenville and the American Civil War: May 1863

The Warrenville volunteers who were making trips home during the early part of 1863 had an often long journey back to Warrenville from their various camps in Kentucky and Tennessee.  A walk to the nearest train station, followed by a train ride to Chicago would get them close, but since Warrenville did not have a railroad through the community at the time, they then had to choose either a stagecoach ride, a train ride to Wheaton or Turner, present day West Chicago, on the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad or in 1863 a new option of riding the new commuter train service offered by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad that went from Chicago to Naperville.  On May 8th William Wray arrived back in Warrenville on leave from the 105th Infantry by stagecoach.  He headed back to war after resting at home for 17 days.

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

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, December 21, 1862

21st Sunday  A cool cloudy damp disagreeable day & night & with the ground covered with frozen rain & sleet.  I did my choars Sherman Willson came after his wife as we were a eating breckfust.  I choared round some was at home till after one when David started with Caroline & Hat then I went to Ed Browns with Frank & helped eat a can of oysters went to office & came back between 2 & 3 called at Hoyts & came home wrote & red some eat supper went to Hoyts in evening came about 8 & went to bed about sick & lonesome, Frank went to Junction & Winfield.”

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, December 13, 1862

13th Saturday  A cloudy damp forenoon more pleasant in middle of day.  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home at 9 & went to bed at 10, Frank came from Junction about dark.”

Hiram E. Leonard Diary, December 11, 1862

11th Thursday  rather a fine day & evening some cloudy.  I did my choars was at the office all day & evening came home about 9 & went to bed about 10.  F Wellman went to Junction to stay in the R R office.”

Civil War Diaries, November 22, 1862

Ashley Carpenter Diary Entry:

Nov. 22  We ate our morning rations & waited for the relief pickets. ”

Hiram Leonard Diary Entry:

22nd Saturday  A fine day with cool air, I did my choars went to the Junction to see Dr McConnel got back a few minutes after 12 eat dinner & helped Knox finish husking corn.  Knox husked all day, was at the office in evening came home a little after 9 & went to bed 10.”