SOUTH DIXON TOWNSHIP.
At the February session, 1867, of the Board of Supervisors, the town of South Dixon was detached from the Town
of Dixon, embracing all of Town 22, Range 9, except the north tier of sections. The town remained with these boundaries
until the March session, 1877, when the territory lying north of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway was restored
to the Town of Dixon. The earliest permanent settler in the township was Joseph Cartwright, who settled there in
1838 and died the following year. Prior to this, however, in 1836, a young man staked out a claim for himself close
to the three mile branch on the Chicago road, near the northeast corner of Section 15. Abram Brown, who settled
in the town in 1849 on that part of Section 13, where he continued to live until his death a few years ago, relates
that Uncle Peter and Aunt Rhoda McKenney, through some misunderstanding, jumped the young man's claim and built
a small shanty and set up housekeeping, by reason of which the "Claim Society" ousted them. The shanty
was loaded on a wagon, thuch against their will, and moved off the premises.
The second permanent settler was Charles Edson, who located here in 1839. Mr. Edson and his wife did much to foster
everything that was calculated to uplift and advance the interests of the community. The family afterwards occupied
the farm across the road from the brick school house, which circumstance and their relations to the school gave
it the name of the Edson school, by which it was known for many years. As soon as they moved into their first house,
Mrs. Edson gave up her largest room for a school, and this was the first school to be taught in the vicinity. The
teacher was a Miss Robinson, later a preceptress in Mt. Morris Seminary, where she married Judge Fuller of Ogle
County, and after his death became the wife of Bowman Bacon, a nephew of Mrs. Joseph Crawford of Dixon. In the
early '60s the Edson family moved to California.
The next family to locate in the town consisted of James Campbell, his wife and two daughters. Mr. Campbell did
not live long, and on his death his widow married Isaac Boardman, of Dixon. The father of Reuben Trowbridge settled
near Eldena very early, and reared a large family of boys. Hiram and Heman Meade joined the settlement soon after,
and a man of a different stripe by the name of Hamill, who brought his wife from the poorhouse at Buffalo. New
York, came to the township. His abuse of one of his children so excited the kind N. G. H. Morrill, the County Poormaster,
and other large hearted people of Dixon, that they administered to the brute a thorough coat of tar and feathers
in Dixon, in the vicinity of where the Western Hotel then stood.
Other early settlers were Christian Stevens, Henry B. True, Caldwell Bishop, Henry Page, Jacob McKenney, Jacob
Groh, and son E. H., James Rogers, Matthew McKenney, William A. Judd, Nathan Hill, John Fritz, Sr., William J.
Fritz, William Rink, John Anderson, Barnhard Wissman and others.
St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church was early organized and, in 1877, built a church edifice north of the Chicago
road near the southeast corner of the northeast quarter of Section 14. Another church of the same denomination
was built on the southwest corner of Section 20, known as Emanuel Church. In the village of Eldina the Methodist
Episcopal Society built a church in 1870, which has also been used by other denominations.
Further mention should be made of the Edson school house, later known as "The Brick," on the northwest
corner of the southwest guarter of Section 13, which was built at an early day, and was for many years the center
of intellectual activity in that section. Mr. E. B. Edson was the first teacher in this building. At one time the
attendance reached 120. In the days when Abram Brown, Ephraim Groh and others were at the height of their activity,
this school house was the scene of periodical debates, which attracted a large attendance, it being a common thing
for disputants from Dixon to take part. In 1858 the Edsonville Literary and Debating Society was formed, with Mr.
Brown as its first President, and it was under the auspices of this organization that, for many years, the forensic
contests went on during the winter months.
The only poor farm in the county is situated on Section 26, and cantains 100 acres.
July 10, 1863, the "Town of Eldina" was platted on land of the Illinois Central Railroad. The first store
and house in the village was built by Reuben H. Cheney. The first grain house was built by Reuben Trowbridge, Reuben
H. Cheney and Daniel Brown. To this was later added an elevator.
The population of South Dixon, according to tbe government census, was 841 in 1890, and 854 in 1900.