History of Earlville, LaSalle County, Il
From: History of LaSalle County, Illinois
By: Michael Cyprian O'Byron
The Lewis Pullishing Company
Chicago and New York 1924


Earlville (at first known as Earl), southeast of Mendota, and almost in a direct line north of historic Utica, was incorporated on May 16, 1863, by a vote of the citizens of the town, and William R. Haight, Matthias H. Signor, David M. Vosburgh, James H. Breese and Samuel T. Stilson were elected trustees for one year and were sworn into office by Henry A. Chase, a justice of the peace. William R. Haight was elected president of the board and Hubert S. Wattles was appointed clerk. The first settler in the district was Charles H. Sutphen, who came from Boston, Massachusetts, in 1834, in company with John B. Dow. In 1839 Sutphen purchased 1,000 acres, and this tract he maintained as a stock farm for about twenty years. According to Baldwin Mr. Sutphen was for years the leading man in the township, a justice of the peace for fifteen years, "being the oldest justice in La Salle County when he resigned the office."

Not withstanding its name, suggestive of rank, high station and long descent, the makers of Earlville were chiefly from Massachusetts and New York states, and qualified by descent and tradition to build houses and dwell in them, to plant gardens and eat of their fruit?

At a meeting of the trustees held at the office of H. A. Chase December 29, 1876, a petition of seventy five voters (which was more than one eighth of the legal voters of the town) was presented, praying that the question should be submitted to the voters whether the town should become incorporated as a city under the general laws of the state. The prayer was answered and the election ordered to be held in Robinson Hall, February 5, 1877.

Thomas Perdieu was appointed to take a census of the town, and on February 2, 1877, he returned to the board his affidavit that the population was 1,090. The number being sufficient to comply with the law, judges and clerks of election were appointed and the election held February 5, with the result that 116 votes were cast for city organization and one vote against it. After canvassing the result of the election, the board of trustees declared that the town be organized under the general laws of the state as the City of Earlville.

The first city council was as follows: Mayor, Joseph J. Pool; aldermen first ward, Joseph S. Miller and Jacob A. Dupee; aldermen second ward, James S. Bradley and Dwight A. Brown; aldermen third ward, Samuel C. Wiley and Norman H. Powers; city clerk, Henry A. Chase; city attorney, Jacob W. Browne.

The city remained under alderman form until 1917, when it was voted to go under the new city commission form, and continued thus for six years, when a year ago it was voted to again return to the aldermanic form. The present officers are: Mayor, Dr. Ezra T. Goble; aldermen first ward, M. E. Kern and John Harkness; aldermen second ward, W. W. Walker and E. W. Malley; aldermen third ward, Alvin Kaminky and G. A. Haas; city clerk, H. A. Binder; city treasurer, G. H. Wiley.

The city now has a population of about 1,100 and is one of the prettiest little cities of Northern Illinois. It has good business houses, nearly every branch being represented; two of the finest banking rooms in Northern Illinois, housing financial institutions that are solid and well managed; one of the best local newspapers in the state, the Earlville Leader. It has a fine high school building, a sewer system put in three years ago at a cost of approximately $100,000, concrete sidewalks, an auto fire truck recently purchased, it owns the city water plant, which is housed in a brick building, and has a two story city hall, which also houses the fire apparatus.

As early as 1873 the people gave practical demonstration of the city's progress by petitioning the authorities to establish a free public library and reading room. The provisions of the law having been complied with, a tax of one mill on the dollar was voted, and a library board of six members was appointed, which in time became identified with the public library. "From the beginning the men and women who made the establishment and maintenance of our public library possible were broad minded, intelligent people * * * and all were anxious that our library should have a permanent home." On November 4, 1919, the school library became a township library, and the increased rev enue led to greater development in equipment and number of volumes. The librarian, Miss Fannie M. Burlingame, "has given her time and talent for many years, regardless of compensation, only desirous that the best literature be placed in the hands of our young people. We sometimes hear it said that no one is so important that his or her place could not be filled; but it would be hard indeed to find another one to fill her place. "3

In point of propinquity Mendota and Earlville may almost be regarded as sisters but not as twins, the former being incorporated in 1859, the latter four years later. In 1900 the population of the older town was 3,736, in 1910 it was 3,806, by the last census 3,934. Because of the lack of timber, of which the immediate district was bare, it was for years disregarded by the pioneers, but the building of the Illinois Central, and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroads dispelled this disadvantage, and (wrote Mr. Baldwin) soon filled the town with a busy population.

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