History of Algonquin, Il.
From: The History of McHenry County, Illinois
Published by: Munsell Publishing Company, 1922


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In the southeastern part of MeHenry County is found Algonquin Township; it is bounded on the north by Nunda Township; on the east by Lake County; on the south by Kane County, and on the west by Grafton Township.


Before the adoption of the township organization, this section of the county was known as Fox Township. When a name was required for this new township, Samuel Edwards, formerly of Philadelphia, suggested the name Algonquin. In his youth he had been a sailor on a boat by that name, and he desired to thus commemorate a happy period of his life. The name met with the approval of all who had charge of such naming, and it was adopted.


Algonquin Township is more broken than any other township within the county, there being many bluffs and hills in the region of Algoiiquin village and in fact all along the Fox River. The land is about equally divided between prairie and timber. It is adapted to both small grain and pasture lands and is used for such purposes. Crystal Lake lies in section 6 of this township, and runs over into a portion of Grafton Township. From it flows the outlet of the lake that joins the Fox River at the village of Algonquin. Big Spring Creek is another water course found within the township.


The first settler to locate in this county chose Algonquin Township for his new home. He was Samuel Gillian, and he located in section 23, on the west bank of Fox River, November 18, 1834. John Gillian came soon thereafter, and he settled on the east bank of Fox River. Levi Seebert arrived in 1837; Hosea Throop was a settler of 1839; and Newman Crabtree, Simon Chandler, Thomas Chunn, Beman Crandall, William King, Isaac Denney, Edwin Powell, Major Beardsley, John Kern, Isaac King, Wesley Hickox, Dr. Plumleigh, Dr. Cornish and John Brink with possibly others made up the first settlements.


The first white child to be born in this township was William Beardsicy, son of Abner Beardsley and wife, who came into the world in 1837. Franklin Wallace and Hannah S. Beardsley were married by Benjamin Crandall, a justice of the peace, in 1839, and theirs was the first marriage in Algonquin township. The first person to die in the township was Delia, daughter of Samuel Gillian and wife, when she was about fifteen years old, August 26, 1835.

The first saw-mill was built on Crystal Lake outlet by Benjamin 1)ouglas and Colonel Hoffman in 1839; and the second One was built in 1842, by A. Dawson, who located at Algonquin in 1848. This last was completed in 1849 by Henry Petrie. A brick-mill was built in the village in 1850 by Dr. Plumleigh.

The schools and churches are all treated in special chapters on these topics in this volume.


In 1890 the population of this township was 3,675; in 1900 it was 3,043; in 1910 it was 2,512; and in 1920 it was 3,528.


This is the oldest village in this county, ha.ving been first laid out in 1836 by Dawson & Powell, the platting being accepted and recorded in 1844. Prior to the laying out of the place Mr. Powell had erected a residence on the present site of the village. The first store was conducted in 1837 by Dr. Cornish. Henry Tubbs was the first wagonmaker; Henry Benthusean, was the first blacksmith; and 0. Leach the first shoemaker, while William Clark was the first tailor. At one time William Powell owned all of the original site of Algonquin and he built the first hotel in 1840. It was a log structure, to which he added a frame building, in 1850. In 1858, the whole building was torn down and a new one erected by James Dixon and John Gillian, and later it became the property of Charles Pingree.


A post office was established at this point in 1836, and it was the first in the township. Dr. Cornish was the first to serve as postmaster. He was succeeded by the following: Isaac Denney, John Peter (deputy), John Sears, Charles Chunu, Eli Henderson, Peter Potter, Samuel Finch, Col. William Henry, C. C. Chunn, John Adamak, C. C. Chunn, John T. Kalahan, Nettie Threadgold (many years) with present postmaster John T. Kalahan.

This is a third-class post office and has one rural free delivery route extending to the surrounding country. To show that this is an early post office it only need be stated that the office was established under President Andrew Jackson.


The following are the present officials of Algonquin: president, Willis T. Peter; clerk, George Dewitt Keyes; treasurer, Louis J. Lehky; magistrate, Harvey J. Weir; marshal, John Dvorak, Jr.; attorney, Charles T. Allen; trustees, Clarence Franke, Frank Dvorak, Ernest Reimer, Fred Duensing, Albert Wilbrandt and Herman Mertens.

The enterprising little city in 1907 erected a fine two-story brick city building at a cost of $10,000. This provides a home and protection for all the city property, fire department, city offices and jail. In the western portion of the village is found a nice public park. Nature has made the spot charming and a gushing spring of pure water offers an appreciated refreshment.


In 1896 the city installed its first and really its present system of water works which consists of piping from the business part of the town to a distance of seventy-three feet above the river-bed, to a point on the hillside where was discovered a strong spring of the best drinking water to be had anywhere in Illinois. For fire purposes other lines of piping extend further on up the hill to a distance of 147 feet, where was erected a basin in which sufficient water is forced to meet any demand in case of fire. This whole system is "natural direct pressure" and affords a splendid water system, such as is seldom found in prairie sections. The common pressure is about eighty pounds per square inch.

The fire company is the ordinary volunteer company of fifteen men, with Peter Serrs as present chief. The city has two hose carts, each having 800 feet of good hose; a chemical engine holding forty-five gallons; hook and ladders, and other appliances.


What was first known as the village of Crystal Lake is now a city and governed by a board of aldermen and a mayor. This place was platted by Benjamin Douglas and others in August, 1837, but not recorded until 1840. From an old county directory it is learned that in 1877 the village then had three general stores. Hill, Fitch & Marlow and Buekholtz & Dydeman were early business firms. T. G. Ashton conducted a hotel. It will be understood that a part of present Crystal Lake city was once within the incorporation of Nunda village and its early history will be treated in the history of Nunda Township.

Aside from the above named business interests it should be stated in this connection that for many years the ice taken from the lake near Crystal Lake has been cut and shipped to Chicago, where the name sells the product, while it is said, however, that much sold under this catchy name came from some dirty pond much nearer Chicago. The land containing this beautiful lake has been the subject of much recent litigation, and the question of ownership is still in the courts.

Three miles distant from the city of Crystal Lake is located the celebrated Terra Cotta plant, where sometimes 300 men are employed, although during the World War the number was cut down materially. Where this plant stands is known on railroad maps as Terra Cotta.

The great bottling plant of the Bowman Dairy Company is located right in the town and handles all the vast amount of milk produced in the surrounding country, instead of it being shipped direct to the city. At this plant are bottled and shipped to Chicago four carloads of bottled milk daily.


An exact list of postmasters at this office cannot be now obtained with any degree of certainty, but it is known to be an old post office and Mrs. De Grushe was in charge of the office many years ago. It was probably about 1840 when the office was established. Among the postmasters recalled by present settlers were: Mrs. De Grushe, E. 0-. MeCollum, A. S. Con, John McWhorter and present postmaster, Henry Shales. The office is now of the third class. At one time it had three rural free deliveries but of late only two routes are provided by the department.


From the revised ordinance book of the City of Crystal Lake, published in 1915 the following historic facts have been gleaned. The history of certain incorporations, under the name of Nunda, North Crystal Lake and Crystal Lake, make the understanding to present-day people quite difficult, but the following will serve to make all clear. The names and dates can be relied upon, coming from authority of mayor and councilmen.

North Crystal Lake was originally incorporated as the village of Nunda, January 24, 1874, under a legislative act dated April 10, 1872. The petition for incorporation was filed in the County Court of McHenry County by Josiah Walkup and others December 30, 1873, and January 5, 1874. County Judge B. N. Smith ordered an election to be held January 24, that year, and appointed as judges of such election O. M. Peck, Edgar Beckley and Amos Pettibone, and as clerks, Najah Beardsley and W. F. Hale. The records show that sixty-two votes were cast thereat, all of said voters being in favor of such incorporation. On February 17, the same year, C. E. Warner, N. Beardsley, W. S. DeWolf, R. Rowley, O. Mansfield and A. A. Pettibone were elected trustees of the incorporation. The name of the village of Nunda was changed to North Crystal Lake in 1908.

The village of Crystal Lake was organized under the general provision passed April 10, 1872. James Crow, T. H. Ashton and J. B. Robinson having been appointed by the court of McHenry County as judges of an election to decide by ballot the question whether or not they would incorporate as a village under said law; an election was held January 10, 1874. The returns showed that there had been east forty-nine votes for such incorporation and six against the measure. The court then ordered an election of officers which resulted in the election of trustees as follows: William Miller, John Brink, Thomas Leonard, B. Carpenter, H. H. Ford, and L. D. Lowell. Hence it will be seen that two incorporated villages existed side by side for a considerable number of years. It was not until 1914 that the villages of North Crystal Lake and Crystal Lake were consolidated under the name of Crystal Lake. It was on April 21, 1914, that this was legally brought about, and in September, the same year, the place adopted a city form of government. The first officers were elected December 14, 1914, to hold office until April, 1915. The first set of officers were as follows: William Pinnow, mayor; John C. Flotow, city clerk; James B. Ford, city treasurer; Herman P. Ilasse, city attorney and William M. Freeman, Henry Meyer, A. NI. Shelton, W. J. Buchholz, Andrew Pierson and Henry Breudigam, aldermen.

The officers elected in the spring of 1915 were: William Pinnow, mayor; John C. Floto, city clerk; Jennie H. Ford, city treasurer; Herman P. Hasse, city attorney; and Andrew Pierson, Henry Meir, A. M. Shelton, W. J. Bruedigam, Martin Naslund, Addison M. Shelton. William M. Freeman, Henry Meier, aldermen.

February 2, 1915, the city census returns was taken showing a population of the city of Crystal Lake to be 2,364 and the city was thereupon divided into three wards, two aldermen to be elected annually for each ward. May 4, 1915, the aldermen by lot decided to hold office the following terms: First ward, Henry Bruedigam, one year; Andrew Pierson, two years; second ward, A. M. Shelton, one year; Martin Naslund, two years: third ward, Henry Meier, one year; William M. Freeman, two years.


1887-J. H. Sheldon, president; I. M. Mallory, clerk.
1888-W. T. Hamilton, president; I. M. Mallory, clerk.
1889-O. C. Colby, president; C. E. Warner, clerk.
1890-91--W. T. Hamilton, president; T. Huffman, clerk.
1892-O. C. Colby, president; T. Huffman, clerk.
1893-D. L. Borney, president; A. S. Cool, clerk.
1894-D. L. Borney, president; B. W. Colby, clerk.
1895-C. C. Watson, president; I. M. Mallory, clerk.
1896-C. C. Watson, president; D. L. Borney, clerk.
1897-P. A. England, president; D. L. Borney, clerk.
1898-P. A. England, president; W. T. Huffinan, clerk.
1899-C. C. Watson, president; W. T. Huffman, clerk.
1900-C. C. Watson, president; A. J. Thompson, clerk.
1901-P. A. England, president; A. J. Thompson, clerk.
1902-Robt. Philips, president; A. J. Thompson, clerk.
1903-Robt. Philips, president; A. J. Thompson, clerk.
1904-Robt. Philips, president; A. J. Thompson, clerk.
1905-Robt. Philips, president; A. J. Thompson, clerk.
1906-Robt. Philips, president; A. J. Thompson, clerk.
1907-Robt. Philips, president; A. J. Thompson, clerk.
1908-Robt. Philips, president; A. J. Thompson, clerk.


1909-10-H. D. Hull, president; H. H. MeCollum, clerk.
1911-F. W. Covalt, president; H. H. MeCollum, clerk.
1912-F. W. Covalt, president; A. E. Kiest, clerk.
1913-H. D. Hull, president; John C. Flotow, clerk.

The village of North Crystal Lake was annexed to Crystal Lake in the spring of 1914. The subjoined is a list of officers serving in Crystal Lake from its organization to the time it was united with North Crystal Lake, as well as present consolidated incorporation officials:

1882-J. W. Marlow, president; Thomas Ford, clerk.
1883-William Hill, president; Thomas Ford, clerk
1884-E. Pease, president; L. L. Smith, clerk.
1885-E. Pease, president; J. B. Robinson, clerk.
1886-Geo. W. Davis, president; J. P. Smith, clerk.
1887-C. M. Pendleton, president; J. P. Smith, clerk.
1888-W. A. Rollins, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1889-F. E. Cox, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1890-Thomas Whittaker, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1891-Thomas Whittaker, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1892-H. H. Ford, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1893-H. T. Jones, president; A. H. Hale, clerk.
1894-Thomas Whittaker, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1895-J. B. Robinson, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1896-C. F. Dike, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1897-H. T. Jones, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1898-S. NI. Grimes, president; G. Peterson, clerk.
1899-J. B. Moore, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1900-J. B. Robinson, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1901-C. F. Dike, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1902-C. F. Dike, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1903-A. M. Hale, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1904-O. M. Hale, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1905-7-C. F. Dike, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1907-8-R. G. Smith, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1909-13-C. F. Dike, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.
1914-P. W. Rauhut, president; J. B. Ford, clerk.

September, 1914, the city form of government was adopted through an election and officers held over until December, 1914, when the first city officers were elected and took office. The same held only until the ensuing spring election.

1914-William Pinnow, mayor; John C. Flotow, clerk.
1915-16-Wm. Pinnow, mayor; John C. Flotow, clerk.
1917-18--W. A. Goodwin, mayor; John C. Flotow, clerk.


The following are the present officials of the city of Crystal Lake: mayor, W. A. Goodwin; clerk, John C. Flotow; health commissioner, H. D. Hull; treasurer, Carl Ortman; magistrate, C. H. Schlottman; attorney, L. D. Lowell; aldermen, Fred Peterson, Henry Bruedigam, Henry Meier, G. D. Crabtree, Mort Ritt and J. B. Kitchen.


In 1906-07 a city building was constructed of brick. It cost $8,000. The second floor is leased out to various lodges, while the ground floor is used by the councilmen and for other municipal purposes.

A public park comprising a full city block has been improved, trees have been planted, seats furnished, and a band-stand erected, so that it is an attractive resort for the people of this region.

The water supply was furnished in both the old village of Nunda in 1903 and in the other part of the city in 1912. Deep wells are used and water is forced from the same by electric pumps, giving a direct pressure. There are now two stand-pipes.

The city has a volunteer fire company of a dozen men and in 1913 purchased at a cost of $4,800 a fine auto-fire truck.

Light is furnished by the Public Service Company, which supplies so many small towns in this portion of Northern Illinois.


Cary in the northeast quarter of section 13 of Algonquin Township is a station point on the Chicago & Northwestern railroad and the first southeast of Crystal Lake. It was laid out June 7, 1856, by William D. Cary and became a post office in 1856, with James Nish as first postmaster. He was succeeded, when he entered the Civil War, by his brother John Nish, who served until relieved by H. M. Burton, who was postmaster for two years and was followed by Robert Burk, and he by James Nish, who had returned from war with the rank of captain, and he served until his death, when his daughter, Miss Ann J. Nish, was appointed and served until in the Democratic administration of President Wilson, Mary H. llrdlioka was appointed, the date of her appointment being December 8, 1913. This is a fourth class post office and from it runs one rural delivery route.

Cary became an incorporated village, January 9, 1893, and the following have been among its presidents: L. E. Mentch, G. A. Ellingson, Theodore H. Wulif, J. F. Pichen, F. M. Abbott, and in 1909 L. E. Mentch was elected again, and he was followed by Ralph B. Powers. From an ordinance book kept by the trustees the following is found: At the first election for incorporation, ordered by Judge C. H. Donnelly, February 27, 1893, to be held March 4, 1893, the following were elected: L. E. Mentch, president; Ed. Kerns, Joe Dunn, Z. L. Blaisdell, E. J. King, J. C. Lemkee and S. B. McNett, trustees; H. P. Hoagland, clerk.

The village has a deep well water-works system; water is forced by electricity to a large reservoir and a stand-pipe is maintained so that plenty of water is had at all times. This plant was placed in operation about 1910, and for it the village was bonded for the sum of $20,000. The electric lighting of the place is done by a private corporation. In 1915 the village built a fine, solid village hail of brick and cement. It is two-story high and has a basement. Ample room is afforded for council room, fire department, etc.


The following are the village officials of Cary Station: president, R. B. Powers; clerk, C. W. Meyer; treasurer, P. J. Bloner; marshal, J. A. Parsley; attorney, Charles T. Allen; trustees, R. H. Grantham, A. E. Baheman, A. O. Hack, F. D. Smith, F. Krenz and O. J. Synek.


The following are the township officials of Algonquin Township: supervisor, R. E. Haeger; assessor, Henry Breudigam; clerk, V. N. Ford; highway commissioner, Ed Wallace; justices of the peace, L. E. Mentch, John Buehler and Henry Keyes; constable, John Purvey.

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