THREE years before the battle of Tippecanoe was fought by Gen. Harrison, Robert Y. Benjamin was born. His father,
Daniel Benjamin was a brave old pioneer who had settled on the north side of the Little Scioto River, in Ohio,
opposite where Columbus now is, and here was the place, then amidst Indian alarms and the rough-and-tumble conditions
of border life, where he raised his family, one of whom, Robert Y., is now a citizen of Wayne, the first who came
to the place and settled in mind and body still sound, and seventy-four.
Daniel Benjamin, the father, with his four sons -Andrew, John Joseph and Robert Y.-and about ten other families,
all came to the place together with their own teams, from Ohio, arriving at what is now Wayne on the 12th of May,
1834. All these families, except the Benjamins and Joseph Vale, whose family was one of the party, settled on the
Fox River. But Robert V. was attracted to the place where he still lives by the famous spring that gushes out of
the ground from beneath the shadow of the beautiful grove at the place, and there he set down his stakes; moreover,
he says his wife was tired of traveling and liked the location. This is a point in favor of female counsel, and
poorer ones have been made in favor of female suffrage, for Mr. Benjamin and his wife made a success of their attempt.
The rest of the family settled not far distant, on claims from nature's amplitude of prairie and grove as free
as it was inviting. Besides the Benjamin's Mr. Vale also settled, a little to the west of them. Among the necessities
which he brought to the new country in his wagon was, a barrel of whisky (a questionable one) of which Mr. Benjamin
says he never gave away a drop. He was the only one of the company who laid in a stock of this emollient, and may
be regarded as the first monopolist that ever practiced that modern art in Wayne. Here he had a corner on whisky,
and shortly after the settlement of the place. a band of 300 Pottawatomies came to the grove and encamped. He was
now bull in the whisky market, having it all his own way. At whatever price he sold it, Mr. Banjamin says, a riot
among the Indians was soon manifest, and one of their number was killed.
Next came the interment' of the fallen savage. He was dressed up in his best blanket and leggings, and placed in
a sitting position on the ground, his body erect, his head upright and ornate with feathers. Thus tableaued his
friends cut some saplings from the grove and built a pen around him, cob house fashion, and left him provided with
a bow a and arrow, and an extra pair of leggings for future use in the happy hunting grounds. His frail tomb was
on Mr. Benjamin's land and was frequently visited by him out of curiosity. He did not disturb the corpse
"In the grave where an Indian had laid him," but the prairie wolves had no respect for Indian rites,
and soon pressed between the poles that illy protected his clay, and made many a late supper from it under cover
of night. Subsequently the Vale boys set the skull up for a target to shoot at. The wolves carried away the rest
of the bones to their lair for Christmas toys for their young whelps to play with.
Alas, poor Yorick !"
Mr. Giles Billings and John Laughlin came to the settlement the following autumn, and soon after him John Rinehardt,
Mr. Simpson and Patrick Scott. The next year, 1835, an officer appeared at Mr. Benjamin's house; he was from an
obscure town in the east, named Chicago, the same slab city through which Mr. Benjamin had passed the year before,
and had then failed to attract his favorable notice, but now the place was coming up in the scale. A grand jury
was to be impaneled there, and Mr. Benjamin was wanted to sit as one of its members. The officer served the summons,
mounted his horse and vanished in the tall prairie grass, and Mr. Benjamin set about getting ready to obey the
call. The next morning he started on foot, keeping his course due east by the compass. The soil was spongy, and
noon found him toiling through the trackless flats that border the east margin of Salt Creek. He was hungry, but
relief soon came. It was roast potatoes and a cup of tea, on which he dined at the hospitable home of Maj. Giles,
who lived two miles west of the Desplaines River, with his latch string always hanging on the outside of the door.
This was the only house on his way to Chicago, along what was then known as the St. Charles trail. On Mr. Benjamin's
return he took the precaution to fill his pockets with ginger snaps or some other kinds of bakery delectables,
which Chicago had then begun to make for Indian traffic or hungry footmen, who had long stretches of prairie marsh
Of other settlers whose pioneer experiences represented the times, were the families of Solomon Dunham and Edmund
Both were from the State of New York, and both arrived at Chicago in company with each other, on the 24th of March,
1835, in their own teams all the way. Here they rented a small house on Randolph street, not far from the store
of Mr. Dale, the pioneer store keeper of Chicago. The house was a log cabin, with but one room, over which was
a loft, reached by a ladder through an aperture in its loosely laid floor. Into this cabin, the two families were
crowded as a temporary abode, while the two heads of them, Mr. Dunham and Mr. Bartlett started with the team westward
to hunt up a location on which to settle.
Mrs. Dunham had two children, and Mrs. Bartlett six, making, with themselves, ten in the family after their husbands
had started on their mission. The two men threaded their winding way around the sloughs till they reached the fertile
prairies on the fringe of the timber that skirts the eastern banks of Fox River, just west of the present site
of Wayne Station, and here they each bought claims to lands. Mr. Bartlett still lives on the same now; but Mr.
Dunham died in 1865. Having set their stakes here, the two pioneers returned to their families in Chicago; paid
up the rent of their wretched tenement ($1.25 for the ten days they had occupied it), and all started together
for their new homes. On arriving there, the first thing to be done was to build a house, and, of course, a log
house, for they had neither means nor material to build a frame; and Mrs. Bartlett says the one she and her family
lived in was very small. The bed was in one corner, and the fire-place in one end, with the chimney outside, and
yet she sometimes played the hostess to travelers overnight, who managed to find a spot on the floor not occupied
by trundle beds, on which they could stretch out full length, with perhaps a horse saddle for a pillow, or some
The first year they raised nothing, and Mr. Bartlett was obliged to go to Chicago with his team for provisions,
a trip which required three days' time. While thus left alone, except with the children, one night an Indian came
to her door, entered without knocking, according to their custom, and threw his baggage down in one corner of the
room, "Me stay all night! Me good Indian! Me no hurt you!" said the red intruder, and all her entreaties
could not dissuade him from his purpose. Mrs. Bartlett had to accept the situation, and laid down on her bed, while
her red guest snoozed himself to sleep, not ten feet away from her.
He was a good Indian who wanted a night's rest, and why should he sleep outdoors when there was a house to sleep
in, reasoned the honest child of nature; and let us be charitable enough toward him to believe that had he understood
the improprieties of his demands as civilians do, he would not have insisted on lodging in the house when a woman
was alone in it. On another occasion, when Mrs. Bartlett was also alone, a young red rascal came rushlug into her
cabin, crying out, "Bad Indian coming! Kill!" and immediately fled into the adjacent grove. Sure enough
there were five Indians rapidly approaching her house, on the well frequented Indian trail that passed it, as hard
as they could gallop on their ponies. On arriving, they could easily see that she was terrified at their presence,
and the first thing they did was to allay her fears by pulling off some of their trinkets and giving them to her
children, and otherwise exhibiting tokens of kindness. This done, they inquired for the first Indian who had visited
her, and she told them the course he had taken, and that he had called them bad Indians. At this they laughed heartily,
and informed her that they were following him to get a pony he had stolen. They then left in hot pursuit of the
fugitive. Sometimes large numbers of Indians would encamp near the house and remain a day or two, but never did
any harm, except to sometimes take what salt they wanted to eat wherever they could find it; but to do them justice,
Mrs. Bartlett says that if they ever took any they soon brought its equivalent in value in fish caught from the
Fox River or venison shot from the groves, and many a quarter of this delicious meat did the Indians present her
family. The Indians were very fond of Mrs. Bartlett's bread, and one day, seeing two loaves of it on her table,
took one of them, and gave her a butcher knife in return, saying at the same time, "Me got two knives, you
got two loaves. Me give you one knife and take one loaf." She found the knife very useful, and kept it many
years. Mrs. Bartlett said nothing against the Indians, but felt glad when they were removed. The country was alive
with wolves for the first few years,, and they continually came howling around the house like thieving clogs after
bones, and it was no unusual thing for them to come to her door at night and quarrel together over bacon rinds
or other food thrown out.
The early settlers here took their first corn to mill at Bailey Hobson's grist mill, near Naperville, usually carrying
it in a bag slung across the back of a horse.
It was a lonesome way, and the wolves often followed the horse and rider all the way home, if late in the evening;
and sometimes, if they came too close, the rider took out one of the stirrups of the saddle to defend himself with
in case of an attack, which weapon would be quite effective for close quarters, the iron stirrup with the. straps
attached to it working like a slung-shot. On one occasion, one of the early settlers, late in the afternoon, while
returning from some distant place with his horses and wagon, was followed by a pack of these hungry prowlers, who
actually tried to leap into the hind end of his wagon, and might have done it had he not repelled their charge
with his whip. There are yet a few of these animals sneaking about in the groves adjacent, and six of them were
killed in 1881.
In the spring succeeding the first winter spent at this new settlement, there was a great want of potatoes, and
one of the settlers was sent with a team to the Wabash River in Indiana, to get seed to plant, which was the nearest
place where they could be bought. During their first year at the place, they had been deprived of this healthful
esculent, and when they finally got a supply, no table delicacy could he more delicious. Daniel and Mark Dunham,
both now well known residents of the vicinity, are sons of Solomon Dunham, who came with Mr. Bartlett, but, as
before stated, Mr. Solomon Dunham is not living, and Mr. Bartlett, though living, feels the effect of eightyone
years, and has forgotten much of his long and eventful life, but his wife is in the full vigor of her mental and
physical powers, though the mother of ten children, and a monument of the health giving air of Pu Page County,
and to her is the writer indebted for the foregoing pioneer reminiscences. Ira Albro, a present resident of Wayne,
came to where he now lives in the autumn succeeding the arrival of Mr. Dunham and Mr. Bartlett, and shared the
laudable ambitions with the toils of pioneer life with the peers of his age.
Samuel Brand, Mr. Styles, Mr. Whaples (father of Mrs. F. Hull, of Wheaton), Daniel Roundy (uncle of Capt. Roundy,
of Winfield), Samuel Talmadge, the Whittacres, the Kershaws, Mr. Hemingway, W. Hammond, Ezra Gilbert, J. V. King,
Charles and Wesley Gray, Reuben Walpole, Joseph Davis, W. Farnsworth, Joseph McMillen (who established the first
post office at the place at MeMillen's Grove, Daniel Lyman, John Smith (father of Mrs. Colvin, of Wheaton), Luther
F. Sanderson, Horace Reed, Aaron Wood, James McCabe, Mr. Hilling (who subsequently died of cholera at St. Charles),
Orin Higgins, Thomas Morgan, Luther Pierce, Joel Wiant and James Davis all came to the settlement between the years
1835 and 1837.
In the latter part of 1837, William Kimball, a native of Vermont, came to the place. He was a Methodist class leader
and preacher "to the manner born," and here was a field for his clerical learning. He built a log cabin
for a family domicile; but, in default of any other place for divine worship, it became also a rallying place from
whence to dispense the Gospel, and thither settlers gathered, even from five or six miles distant on foot, on horseback,
and with ox teams, to hear Father Kimball preach. He, with the assistance of his neighbors, built a log schoolhouse
the next year, which served also for a church, thereby giving the family of Elder Kimball, consisting of a wife
and eleven children, more sea-room at home on Sundays. John Kershaw, brother of A. Kershaw, of Wayne, was the first
male teacher in this pioneer temple of science, and Miss Julia Talmadge was the first female teacher. She now lives
in Aurora, the wife of Mr. Weaver.
It was an event of no small magnitude when this school was established, and its reputation might be envied by some
of our modern colleges. It was a subscription school, and was patronized for a radius of four or five miles, some
distant ones taking board near by to avail themselves of its teachings. This settlement then belonged to the Du
Page Circuit, as the Methodists had named it. After the original Fox River Circuit had been divided into two. Elder
Wilcox was the first circuit preacher sent here by the Presiding Elder, and Rev. -. Gadding the second. But before
either of these came, Father Kimball had led the way as already stated.
The first hopes of a village in this region found a rallying point at Wayne Centre. William K. Guild, now a citizen
of Wheaton, settled there in 1839. The incipient town was on the old army trail, and the land around was attractive.
A store was opened at the place by Abner Guild and James A. Niud, in 1844, and, the inevitable blacksmith shop,
by John Sherman, about the same time, who was succeeded in the muscular art by E. Eckhart.
Wayne Centre had by this time outgrown her nickname of Gimletville, and the prospect was reasonable that she might
become a moderate sized village, like her nearest neighbor to the south-Naperville. Under this impression, she
must have a church. Accordingly, one was organized, first as a branch of the St. Charles Church, which was Congregational,
that being the religion that most of the settlers had brought with them to the place. It became an independent
organization soon afterward, and held services in the schoolhouse till 1852. at which time they had completed a
church of their own, its membership numbering thirty. Rev. Ebenezer Raymond was their first settled pastor, who
was succeeded by Rev. L. E. Sykes. Rev. E. W. Kellogg was the next pastor, who was succeeded by his son, L. H.
The influence of the railroad which pierces the central portions of the county was now fully demonstrated. It had
been running three years, and while towns on its line were growing, those reniote from it were decaying. Under
these discouragements, the church in Wayne was sold and removed to a society in Bartlett, just over the line in
Cook County, in 1879, and Wayne Centre preserves nothing of its early hopes but its name.
The township of Wayne is in the extreme northwestern part of the county, and is known by Congressional description
as Township 40, Range 9. Its surface is quite diversified, being rather more uneven than that of any other township
in the county. It has a large number of living springs, several small groves of timber and many transplanted trees
and orchards, giving its whole area the appearance of a timbered country.
The West Pork of the Du Page River has its main source in the northeastern corner of the township, and waters its
eastern portions,, but a small head tributary of this stream flows from Bloomingdale. The little inlets and springs
from which this stream is made up are numerous, and present a pleasing landscape as they creep along beneath a
tangle of vegetation toward the larger channel, which is more constant here, near its fountain head, than it is
farther down in extreme low water. A saw mill was erected on it, on Section 14, by Jonas Blank in 1849, who died
with typhoid fever soon afterward.
The farms are large, and those who own them may generally be called wealthy. Fine blooded cattle, horses and
sheep are a specialty with them, but milk and the 'dairy business is a growing interest.
The Chicago & St. Paul Railroad touches its northeastern corner, and the Chicago & North Western Railroad
passes through its southwestern portions, and from the elevations of their tracks, reported by the engineers of
the two roads, the average elevation of the surface of the township above Lake Michigan is estimated by the writer
to be about one hundred and seventy feet.
By the school report of 1882, it has eight school districts and 351 persons between the ages of six and twenty-one
years, of whom 218 are enrolled in school lists. Its contiguity to Elgin makes villages unnecessary in the township,
and there are none except a small one named Wayne Station, on the Chicago & Northwestern Railway.
It sprang into existence when the railroad passed through in 1849, at which place Solomon Dunham was the first
Postmaster, and Egbert Adams opened the first store, which was in the same building now occupied by H. Campbell.
The following lists show the business men in the place, in 1870 and 1882:
BUSINESS MEN OF WAYNE IN 1870.
Dry goods and groceries, Campbell & Brother, Adam M. Glos.
Carriage factory, John Arndt.
Boots and shoes, Hiram Adams.
Blacksmiths, 'Vincent Smith, Hasbrook Lozier.
Tin and hardware, James Campbell.
Pressed hay, Case & Arndt.
Postmaster and station agent, A. D. Trull.
BUSINESS MEN OF WAYNE IN 1882.
Dry goods and groceries, Adam M. Glos, H. Campbell.
Wagons and carriages, John Arndt.
Boot and shoe maker, Peter Carlson.
Blacksmiths, William Eggleston and Hasbrook Lozier.
Tin shop, James Campbell.
Station agent, H. W. Hubbard.
Postmaster, A. D. Trull.
American Express Agent, Adam M. Glos.
Justice of the Peace, Adam M. Glos.
Cheese factory, three miles east of station, owned by C. W. Gould, of Elgin.
It is due to science to state that Adam M. Glos has been collecting Indian relics for the past thirty years in
Du Page and Kane Counties, a great many from Wayne, Winfield and Naperville Townships, which consists of stone
arrows, all sizes and patterns; also stone axes in great variety, and many other relics of the stone age. Mr. Glos
has explored a great many mounds along the Fox River Valley, none being found in Du Page County.