History of Lisley, Il.
From: History of Du Page County, Illinois
BY Rufus Blanchard
O. L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers
Chicago 1882.

AS early as 1834, as the autumn hunter crept along the fringe of the groves that grew in patches on the east side of the East Branch of the Du Page River, just above the fork, if of a contemplative mind, he could hardly help forgetting his search for game to gaze on and admire the scene. An even surface, graduating upward from the stream, unbroken except in a few places by a spring of living water or the channel of a rivulet, dry, alluvial and fertile. Here were patches of oak, hickory, black walnut and other trees unscarred by the woodm an's axe, and here was a wealth in the soil waiting the touch of the plow to yield "thirty, sixty or an hundred fold."

All this had been abandoned by a people who knew not how to utilize it. and here it lay spread out before the first one who chose to take it for a consideration so small that it might be counted as nothing. He passes on the squirrels are busy at their nut harvest, the wild ducks probe the bottom of the river with their flat bills, the prairie chickens whirl past him through the air, the sand hill cranes are seen in flocks at a long distance, and the deer startle from the thickets of hazel brush before his approach. Far beyond all these he sees a new sight as he pursues his trackless way. There is a log cabin, men and women, children hop skipping around as if a section of New England had been cut out and planted here as an experiment to see if it would grow. He approaches nearer and he hears the convivial shouts of the youngsters as they chase each other around. Surfeited with-with-with-Thanksgiving turkey?. Yes, why not! It's Deacon Pomeroy Goodrich's, and hadn't he a right among other Yankee notions he brought from New Hampshire to bring the institution of Thanksgiving with him? And who could do it with more dignity than a deacon? Besides, it was a kind of a relief to throw oft' the deacon at least once in a while, and have a good jovial time, and anybody who knew Deacon Goodrich knew that he could put it on again at a minute's notice if it was necessary to apply the brakes to those within his moral atmosphere at least by example. He kept up this anniversary as the years rolled along, and kindred neighbors partook in his hospitalities. He planted the institutions of New England here first, and in his labor he was soon reinforced by detachment after detachment from the parent stem, among whom was Henry Goodrich, his brother. But before we proceed farther in this direction, let us first return to the actual settler who drove the first stake into the soil of what is now Lisle, whose name was Bailey Hobson.

This intrepid pioneer, in May, 1830, left his home in Orange County, Ind., on horseback, bound for the prairie country in Illinois, of which he had heard reports. He wended his way through the forest path in an almost westerly course, till Fort Clark was reached, the original French name of which was Opa. It is now Peoria. At the time of Mr. Hobson's arrival at the place, it was a county seat, where courts were held. From thence he bent his course northeastwardly to Halderman's Grove, where a small settlement had been begun. Next, after taking a look at the Fox River country, he turned away from it, and made a claim a few miles from the village of the Pottawatomies, which would be south of the present site of Aurora. He then returned to his home by the way he had come, reaching his destination early in July. He had passed many nights in his blanket on the ground, his faithful horse hobbled and turned out to browse; but this was mere pastime to the trials in store for him. On the 1st of September following, everything was in readiness, and he started with his family for the prairie home that he had laid claim to. His means of travel was an ox team hitched to a lumber wagon, which by day was a vehicle of locomotion, and at night a domicile for his family, consisting of three young children, one of whom was a baby. Besides these was a hired man, Mr. L. Stewart. After twenty one days of toiling through the wilderness path, they reached Halderman's Grove, near where Mr. Hobson had made a claim a few weeks before. Next a cabin was to be built for shelter during the ensuing winter. Hay was to be cut for his cattle, of which Mr. Hobson had thirteen head, besides a horse, the same on whose back Mrs. Hobson had crossed several rivers on the way, with her babe in her arms. Mr. Hobson, with the aid of Mr. Stewart, after accomplishing all this, broke a few acres of prairie and sowed winter wheat in it, to provide food for the ensuing year. But his supplies for the winter were getting low, and something must be done immediately to replenish them. There were sparse settlements to the east, -and Mr. Hobson started for them, and after many wanderings found some pork for sale. This he engaged, and returned to his family to get his ox-team to transport it. He accord inglv again started on this mission, but after a few days' absence the snow fell to such a depth that it was impossible to travel, and after many vain attempts to reach home with his team, he finally, after nineteen days' absence, made the tour on foot, but not without a strain or muscle that would have overtaxed the powers even of the average pioneer, with all his hardihood. At home again, but not to rest, for there was nothing there to winter on but some dry corn, and a scanty supply of that. In this emergency, he again started, through the deep snows, for the pork he had bought, taking Mr. Stewart with him. Before leaving, a good supply of fuel was provided and brought into the house. This done, the two men took their departure. Two days after they had left, another snowstorm came, more terrific than the first. The cattle dared not venture from the grove, except one cow, who naturally sought protection from her friendly mistress, Mrs. Hobson, and coming to her door pressed to come in. This could not be allowed, and the poor brute laid down in the snow, and died in a short time on the spot. Mrs. Hobson covered her deep with snow, lest she should bait the wolves to the place. The spring was a few rods from the house, but to this all egress was cut off, and Mrs. Hobson melted snow for water, boiled her corn, and ate the untempting food, with her little ones, in solitude, day after day, till the return of her husband. After the lapse of fourteen days, he came with relief. He had passed through dangers and trials that had well nigh reached the limits of human endurance, in his desperate but vain attempts to contend against the forces of nature, for the protection of his family.

We have now followed the adventures of this heroic pioneer to where they were begun in a previous chapter, which tells of his coming to Pu Page County, and here we will leave him to note the progress of events.

The arrival of Deacon Goodrich at the place was November 6, 1832. Bailey Hobson was his nearest neighbor, but across the present tine of Will County was the Scott Settlement, the nearest resident of which was Harry Boardman, at whose home Mr. Goodrich and family boarded the ensuing winter after their arrival. Theron Parsons had just come to the place and made claims to land where Mr. Goodrich now lives, which he relinqished gratis to him, as he had seen other lands that suited him better, to which he immediately laid claim after having relinquished his first one.

In June, 1833, Luther and James C. Hatch came to the present site of Lisle Station and made claims. James C. is still living on the same at the present time, where he is enjoying a green old age. They were from Cheshire County, N. H. Sherman King had preceded them a few months, and was then living on his claim near by. Benjamin Tupper and Mr. Madison came the same year. Mr. Stout, from Tennessee, was also here with his family. He belonged to that race of chronic pioneers who live and thrive best on the broad face of nature "untarnished" to them by progressive society with its infinitude of wants and refinements. The limit of the Stouts' ambition was a log cabin to live in, corn bread to eat and homespun clothes to wear. Of his worldly goods, be was generous, and his heart was full of love for mankind, and everybody respected him for his sterling integrity as well as his generosity; but as the means of a better style of living increased among the settlers, and wants kept pace with. these accumulating means, Mr. Stout saw himself a kind of speckled bird of the flock, and took his leave pleasantly and uncomplainingly for a newer country, where conditions were on his plane. Allusion has already been made to him in a chapter of pioneer history, with a feeling more kind even than charity, for the writer does not forget the hospitalities of just such people extended to himself while in his teens on the frontier.

In 1834, A. P. Chatfield and Thomas Gates came to the place. The former still lives at Lisle Station where he first settled.

The Indians frequently visited these early settlers in a friendly spirit, but sometimes made themselves offensive through their total ignorance of the proprieties of civilized life. In the spring of 1834, when the wet ground, as well as the damp winds, made camping uncomfortable, a squad of squaws came to Mr. Goodrich's door just at night. They did not ask permission to stay, but planted themselves on the floor of his house before the comfortable fire and seemed quite contented. Mr. Goodrich could not turn the wretches out in the cold, and he and his wife went to bed, but not to sleep, for, says Mr. Goodrich, "they kept up such a pow-wowing all night as to set sleep at defiance."

In 1834. a log schoolhouse was built, by subscription, near where Lisle Station now is. It, like many others of its kind, was also used for a church, and Rev. N. Catlin Clark, a Congregationalist minister, preached in it. Rev. Jeremiah Porter, that venerable old pioneer preacher who is still living, also preached occasionally at the place. Soon afterward, a church was built one and one-half miles east of the present station, in which services were held by Rev. Orange Lyman. Bat subsequently this church was sold to the Lutherans, about the time the railroad was laid out, who moved it half a mile south of where it first stood. Services were then held in a new schoolhouse, built in 1837, till the Congregationalists built the large church that now stands at the Station.

On March 14, 1835, Daniel M. Green and Venelia, his wife, came to Section 26, with their own team, from Ogden, Monroe Co., N. Y. They arrived at the house oP Mr. Strong, a resident of the place, at midnight. The wolves had followed them along the lonesome prairie for the last three hours of their ride, and kept up a yelping on either side, as if they were hungry for their blood.

Besides those already mentioned, Mr. Green reports the following residents. at the place on the arrival of himself and family: Jeduthan Hatch, John Thompson, from New Hampshire; John Graves, who kept tavern, and now lives in Lisle; Martin and Stephen Pierce; Thomas Gates, from Ohio; George and Charles Parmely, from Vermont; John Dudley, from Ogden, N. Y.; Russell Webster; Isaac Clark; Huchins Crocker a pretty old man, sociable when he had plenty of tobacco, but in the slough of despond without it; Harmon and James Carman, from New York, and Amasa Moore, whose wife was sister to Miss Daphine P. Ball, the first schoolmistress at the place. She taught in a small log cabin built by Deacon Goodrich near his own house, and was paid by subscription from the neighbors who patronized it, which meant everybody near by. She subsequently taught in Naperville. and to her are many men and women, now in their maturity, indebted for their first lessons, not only in scholastic science, but in those courtesies which grace the social circle. She is now the wife of Mr. Skinner, of Napervile.

In 1836, a Sunday school was established at the house of Mr. Green-Deacon Goodrich, Superintendent.

Among others who came to the place that year was Thomas Jellies, from England. The next year, he built a schoolhouse at what is now the village of Lisle, the best one in the country at that time, and the same already alluded to as a place of worship, as well as for a school.

The very first preaching in what is now Lisle was by Rev. Isaac Scarritt, who had settled in the Scott settlement. It was of the Methodist itinerant kind; but Rev. C. Clark, already alluded to, a Congregationalist, soon after began to preach at his own house, on the West Fork of the Du Page, about a mile below Hobson's Mill.

This old mill was far famed, and thither came people to it like pilgrims to Mecca, except that they did not bow down before it on bended knees. There was no mill north of it, not even at Galena, which was then a good sized town, but obtained their meal and flour from St. Louis, and Chicago received such supplies from Detroit; but the whole intervening interior had to pound their corn in mortars, grind it in a coffee mill or bring it to ifobson's Mill. Mr. Daniel Green ran the mill on shares during the years 1836 and 1837, and the cash receipts for meal sold were over $4,000 per annum. Mr. Hobson could neither read nor figure, but was good at mental reckoning. No accounts were kept, not even a scratch to prove the terms of their contract. There were the receipts in cash, which would show for themselves, and it was as easy to divide them as to divide a pint of peas. Mr. Hobson took three parts, Mr. Green one. No expense for clerk hire, paper, pens or ink. Subsequently, when Mr. Green became County Sheriff; Mr. Hobson, his quondam friend, was the first to volunteer to sign his bail bond, and it surprised the court to see how prettily he wrote his name.

The name of Lisle was suggested by A. B. Chatfield. It has nine schoolhouses and 576 persons between the ages of six and twentyone.

The village of Lisle is a station on the C., B. & Q. R. R., in the midst of a region not surpassed in fertility in the county. A combination of circumstances as to land ownership and other causes have thus far stood in the way of its growth up to the present time. There is more milk shipped from this than any other station on the road, and the place is liable at any time to rally and become a thriving village. Robert Dixon keeps a general store here, J. R. McMillen is Station Agent and Postmaster and Hart, Nagle & Long carry on the blacksmith and wagon-making business.

The elevation of the railroad track at the place is 115 feet above Lake Michigan.

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