History of Rutland Township, Kane County, Il
From: The Past and Present Kane County, Illinois
Wm. Le Baron, Jr. & Company
Chicago 1878


is located in the northern tier of townships of Kane County, and is known as Township 42, North Range 7, East. The surface of the country is uneven and rolling, with occasional high points or bluffs rising rather abruptly. It is well timbered, with oak mostly, and the soil of the higher lands produces all the root crops in abundance, while the more marshy lands are in demand for meadow and pasturage.

The first settlement in Rutland Township was made by E. R. Starks and Elijah Rich, the former of whom is, probably, the oldest living inhabitant in the township. He (Starks) came from Rutland County, Vt., when but 22 years of years, and took up a claim in the Fall of 1835. After making his claim, he went to DuPage County, where he spent the Winter with a former acquaintance - one Samuel Goodrich - then living two miles from the present village of Naperville. He returned to his claim in the Spring of 1836 and commenced preparations for iniproving his newly selected home. Elijah Rich, mentioned above, and an uncle to Starks, came out in the Spring of 1836, and took up an adjoining claim south of Starks, and the preliminary steps taken for the first settlement. Both these men were, originally, from Massachuselts, but had resided in Vermont for years previous to emigrating westward. Rich was a man of family and well advanced in life when he first visited the land and took up the claim destined to be his future home.

The first house, or, rather, hut, was built of logs, unhewed, on land now owned by Starks and where his orchard now stands. This was the "claim hut," and was the very first in the township Soon after, a log stable was put up by Starks and Rich, also on Starks' claim, in which both lived during the Summer and Fall of 1836, Starks playing the housewife and doing the cooking and general housework of their bachelor family Nathaniel Crampton owned a claim in the northern part of the township in 1836; Noble King owned one, also, near him at the same time, and both men boarded, during the Fall, with Rich and Starks in their log stable. The next year Mr. Rich brought his family out from the East and located permanently on his claim, and where he died in November, 1871.

In 1838, Mr. Stark went back to Vermont and married, and brought his young wife out to his new home. A tender and delicate flower, she survived the rigors of the wild West but a few years. Indians were numerous when Starks first located, but were a rather lazy and harmless set, but great beggars, and lived principally by the latter vocation. In the Fall of this year, Andrew McCornack and family came and took up claims in the township. They were from Scotland, and the elder McCornack, who died three years ago, was upward of 90 years of age. Arnold Hill came the same year, and died but recently at the advanced age of 90. William Moore was also in the township in 1838, as was William Lynch, who was a brother in law to Moore, and a man by the name of Seymour was living in the western part of the township. These families came direct from Ireland and took up claims, upon which they made permanent settlement. Andrew and Daniel Pingree, brothers, came, this fall, from New Hampshire and took up claims in the vicinity of what is now known as Pingree Grove. Straw and Francis Pingree, two other brothers, had come out in the previous Spring, but had made few improvements when the others arrived.

The following Spring, Andrew Pingree went back to Belfast, New Hampshire, and taught there and in Maine until 1844, when he again visited his claim in Rutland, and settled there permanently. Wm. C. Pingree, a fifth brother, and a mere boy, came the previous year and remained, and the entire family came out in 1844. Andrew Fingree, Sr., the father and head of the family, who was quite an old man at the time they came out, died in March, 1846, about two years after coming to the town. Doctor Daniel Pingree (who had not taken up the medical profession at that time, and who will receive further notice in the history of Plato Township) traveled extensively after 1838, spending several years in the Southern States, and also in California. still retained his claim here, to which he finally returned and settled, about 1860. Andrew Pingree, a minister of the Universalist denomination, and one of the most noted and eminent men of Kane County, and whose biography appears in another part of this work, is still living on his original claim made in 1838, and at present owns about 1,200 acres of land. Francis settled in Iowa in 1853. Straw died on his original claim a few years ago. William, the youngest scion of this good old stock, after attaining his majority, went to California, where he is now living. In the first settling of the township, and previous to 1838, the settlers did their milling in Du Page County, but afterward a mill was erected in Elgin, which on account of its convenience received almost their exclusive patronage. There were at this period (1838) but three little little log huts between Pingree Grove and Elgin, to relieve the dreary monotony of the lonley wilderness. Dr. McKay was the first physician in the township. and was here as early as 1847. He was born and educated in the North of Ireland, and for many years practiced his profession in Rutland. Owen Burke came from Ireland in 1836, and settled originally in Elgin, but bought land and settled in Rutland Township in 1842, where still lives.


was attained in the following manner: Half of Dundee Township and Rutland were known originally as Deerfield Precinct. In 1848, the State was divided into townships according to Government survey. At a meeting of the citizens. when the subject of a name came up, the Scotch suggested the name of some town in Caledonia, now forgotton; the Irish clamored for Rose Green, a name dear to the exiles of ould Erin," while the "nation born sons of the soil." who were (as were the Scotch and Irish elements) overwhelmingly Democratic, wanted it called Jackson, after the hero of New Orleans, which was finally agreed to. At the first meeting of Supervisors it appeared that there was another Jackson Township in the. State, which had a precedence of this, and that this must be changed. E. R. Starks, one of the Supervisors (the first of Rutland Township), and already mentioned as one of the earliest settlers, still retaining a great regard for the old hills," suggested Rutland, from Rutland County, Vermont, his native place, which was unanimously adopted.


was established in Deerfield Precinct (now Rutland Township) about the year 1838 or 1840, which was called Deerfield Post Office. It was held at the house of one Standish, who lived about two miles west of where Pingree Grove Station is located, and survived but a few years. In September, 1848, the post office of Pingree Grove was established. Andrew Pingree, Postmaster, an office he held without interruption for fourteen years, when he was succeeded by W. S. Eakin, who in turn was succeeded by J. J. Brown, and he again by Pingree. A. W. Kelley now holds the office. A post office was established at Gilbert's Station (Rutlandville), in this township, on the Galena Division of the Chicago k Northwestern Railroad, about the year 1852, and within the past few years another has been established at the Holstein Cheese Factory, in the northwestern part of the township, and bears the same name - Holstein.


in Rutland was Mrs. Hannah Rich, the mother of Elijah Rich, already mentioned as one of the earliest settlers, who died in 1838, and was buried in the old grave yard, on the farm of Mr. Starks. In 1840, Mrs. Starks (wife of E. R. Starks) died, and was the second interred in the Starks burying ground. These were the first two mounds raised in this little "City of the Dead," to which have since been added many of the old pioneers of the early settlement. Adelia Rich, daughter of E. Rich, was born February, 1837, and was the first white child born in the township. The first marriage was that of Lewis Bandal and Miss Brady. They were married in 1839 by Elijah Rich, the first Justice of the Peace of the Township.


from Chicago to Galena, was the the first highway through Rutland Township, and the great thoroughfare of travel between east and west, and was crowded with travelers of every class from "early morn to dewy eve," from the emigrant to the seeker after pleasure. A more complete account of this road is given in another part of this history.


of the township are the Chicago & Pacific and the Galena Division of the Chicago & Northwestern. The last mentioned road was built through the township in 1852, and crosses in an almost northwest direction. The following anecdote is connected with the building of the road through this section: After the road had been graded, there came quite a freeze, on the breaking up of which a large hole "fell in on the present site of Gilbert's Station, and in the graded work. It seemed to be without bottom, and the more they tried to fill it the less progress appeared to be made. Entire trees were dumped into it, and all kinds of rubbish poked into its capacious maw with little avail, until some of the more superstitiously inclined decided that, if it was not the bottomless pit itself, it must be the famed "Symmes' Hole." Finally, after industriously employing the whole corps of workmen for several days upon it, they succeeded in filling it. A large amount of freight is daily shipped from Gilbert's Station, consisting chiefly of milk sent to Chicago. This alone is an important item, and for the year 1877, the amount paid for freight, on milk exclusively, was as follows: January, $862.00; February, $865.00; March, $1,009.00; April, $1,046.00; May, $1,130.00; June, $1,179.00; July, $1,022.00; August, $1,108.00; September, $978.00; October, $985.00; November, $939.00; December, $864.00, making a total of $11,987.00. Other freights are light, as milk is the main staple of this community.

Gilbert's, or Rutlandville, comprises the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 23, and west half of Section 24. It was surveyed in June, 1875, and laid out in village lots by Andrew Pingrees, and is owned, principally, by him and Elijah Wilcox. There is in the place one general store, kept by John Kelley, who is Postmaster and Express Agent, and is doing a very good business; one steam feed mill, owned by Messrs. Eatinger, Mason & O'Brien, and which is crowded to its utmost capacity to supply the demand for this class of feed. It has, also, two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, and the best school house in the township. The post office was established here at an early date, as noticed further back. John Mann was the first Postmaster, and, after holding the office for some years, was succeeded by John McGraw, and he by Nicholas Freeman; John Martin succeeded Freeman, and, after serving for six years, was succeeded by Mr. Kelley, the present Postmaster.


was built in 1874. It had a hard struggle for existence, and every influence was brought to bear in opposition to the project. The company did not even receive the right of way, except at the highest market value, from a single individual, after leaving Elgin, until reaching the lands of Andrew and Doctor Pingree, who, in addition to donating the right of way, contributed some fifteen hundred dollars in cash. Quite a strong contest for the depot came up. Some wanted it east, and some west of its present location. It was finally decided by the Pingrees, who not only donated the ground, but built the depot, which is an elegant one, at their own expense. They have made the station what it is, and justly merit the reward of giving to it their family name. A great deal of freight is shipped from Pingree Grove Station; but, like Gilbert's, the bulk of it is milk, and goes mostly to Chicago. The receipts for freight shipped during the year 1877 are as follows: For milk, $4,085.80; for other freights, $833.35; total, $4,919.15. Freight and travel are rapidly increasing from this point, which is destined, in our opinion, to become one of the main stations on the line.

Pingree Grove has one general store, owned by Mr. Alfred W. Kelley, of the firm of Kelley & Hart, of Elgin, and is doing an extensive business. The post office is kept in this store. Mr. Kelley owns a magnificent hay barn here, with one of the largest and best hay presses in use attached. It is employed during the hay shipping season at its full capacity. The school house, which is owned jointly with Plato Township, and is exactly on the line, is a comfortable and commodious edifice, and cost $700. It is attended, on an average. by about fifty pupils.

Professor Hood, formerly of St. Charles Township, is putting up an elegant school building and residence combined. Hannigan's steam feed mill is doing a large business in grinding stock feed, and is quite an institution in the neighborhood.


located four miles from Pingree Grove Station, and in the northwestern part of the township, was erected in the Spring of 1875, by James H. Gage, who is still the proprietor of it. It is an elegant two story and basement building, the two stories being frame, while the basement is built of brick, and is larger than the average of buildings of this kind. The Holstein Factory is doing a good business, running, upon an average, up to its full capacity, and is under the management of one of the most skillful cheese makers in the country. A part of the milk is bought direct, while a part is worked up for his patrons, as is the usual custom with the factories in the county. A very great portion of the milk of Rutland Township is shipped to other points. Some is shipped from Pingree Grove, some from Gilbert's Station, while a large portion is taken to factories across the lines. The milk and dairy business comprises the principal source of industry, and is increasing in volume every year.


was a log one, built by the inhabitants en masse about the year 1838 or 1840, in the southwest corner of the township. No school was ever kept in it; as the township appears to have been, at that remote period, one of the bachelors, who, however, seemed to anticipate the time when such a building might become useful. There are now ten School Districts entirely in Rutland Township, and three union districts, all having good, substantial frame buildings, with an assessed valuation of $3,500. The first entry in School Records now existing is dated November 2, 1842. It was then ordered "that Francis Pingree be Treasurer." At a meeting held at the house of Robert Eakin, John L. Rowe and John Flynn were elected Trustees of Schools, in the place of Mason Sherburne and Joseph Randall, resigned. At that meeting, it was ordered that the township be divided into five School Districts. There were no schools established in the town previous to 1842. It was voted May 20th, that M. M. Marsh and Daniel Pingree circulate a petition for the sale of School Section (Sec. 16). There seems to have been some trouble, at this time, about the name of the town, for we find an isolated entry in the School Records, as follows: "Number of voters in favor of naming this town, 3; number of voters against naming this town, 7; number for naming it Meriden, 3; number of votes for the name Cumber, 1." At a meeting of the Board of Trustees, held at the house of Thomas Fraser, April 1, 1848, it was ordered "that all papers out of date, and of no use, be committed to the flames."

Mr. Samuel Eakin has held the office of Township Treasurer for twenty two years in succession. The school funds, when he obtained the books, were but $26.00; now they amount to the sum of $4,300. Rutland has a school fund which ranks among the highest in the county, and it seems to have been well managed by the efficient Treasurer. In 1848, S. B. Eakin, Alexander McCormack and Daniel Duff were elected Trustees. July 7, 1849, there were eight districts, which turned out school children as follows:

District No. 1, 36; No. 2, 106; No. 3, 34; No. 4, 67; No. 5, 55; No. 5 East, 15; No. 5 West, 7; No. 6, 64; Total, 384. And in April, 1850, the number of children entitled to school privileges was: District No. 1, 42; No. 2, 84; No. 3, 40; No. 4, 78; No. 5 East, 29; No. 6, 87; No. 7, 13; No. 5 West, 77; Total. 450.

The following teachers had presented schedules: J. Sprague, Betsy Pingree, Jeremiah Boggs, Mary J. McLord, Lavina J. Eakin, Betsy N. Pingree.

In 1855, there were eleven districts, and 619 children within the prescribed ages.


erected in Rutland Township, and the only one existing today, is of the Catholic denomination, and located at Gilbert's Station. The present edifice was built in 1855, on ground donated for the purpose by Andrew Pingree. It is an elegant building, of modern architecture, and cost $2,000. The society was organized several years previous to this, and built a small church about tow miles east of the present one, at what is known as the "old Catholic burying ground." This house was built of lumber sawed on Tyler's mill, one of the first saw mills built in Elgin Township. Father John Guigin (a Frenchman) was the first officiating priest, but was succeeded in a few years by Father Scanlon, formerly of Elgin, but now living in Chicago. After the new church was built at Gilbert's, it was for many years in charge of Father Gallaher, who administered spiritual consolation to the full satisfaction of his flock. A few years ago, the society divided, and a large number went to Huntley, just over the line in McHenry County, to worship. About fifty families still remain in the old mother church, comprising about two hundred members, and are under the pastoral charge of Father Gormley.

Rutland has always been a straight Democratic town, never having given a majority to one of any other political faith for an office of consequence; and socially, her citizens are intelligent, enterprising and honorable.

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