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




Burton Township has the least area of any township in this county. It contains one third of congressional township 46, range 9 and lies in the extreme northeastern part of the county. It is bounded on the north by the State of Wisconsin; on the east by Lake County, Ill.; on the south by McHenry Township; and on the west by Richmond Township. It is drained by Nippersink Creek, and is well situated and by nature adapted to high-class agriculture and stockraising.


Burton Township was among the first to be settled. It was first settled by Englishmen, and the name English Prairie was given it. The original settler was Jonathan Imeson, who came here from England in 1836 and located in section 18 of this township, and in 1885, when seventy-five years old, was still residing on this land. A year or two later Richard Wray settled on sections 17 and 18; Stephen Lawson on section 18; and Martin Hoffman, William Fowles, Richard Upston, Joseph Rice, John A. Mann, and Joseph Blivin, all located in section 30.

In an account published concerning the settlement in this township, the following appears and is too good to be lost in the annals of the county: "The English settlers, after their arrival staked out their claims and then went on further west thinking to find more eligible lands. But not succeeding in this, they returned to their first choice only to find that a Yankee named John Sanborn had arrived and was occupying their claims. They asked him to quit. He would not. Words multiplied, but with this result: Sanborn stayed and the Englishmen stayed. One day when Sanborn was mowing, a dozen or more of his neighbors came to him and ordered. him to leave; he turned upon them with his scythe and drove the whole crowd away. In the excitement Sanborn lost his hat. One of the visitors found it and kept it. Sanborn went bareheaded for several months until he could find time to go to town and purchase another. There was a long time that an unfriendly feeling obtained against the Englishmen living upon the "English Prairie" and any other class who might come in to settle there. John Sanborn completed his days in the spot he had chosen for his home."


The township was first called Benton by Jackson Wray, but upon it being learned that there was already a post office and township of Benton in Illinois, the name was changed to Burton.

The first religions services within the township were held at the residence of Jonathan Imeson in 1843. The minister came from Kenosha, then called Southport, to conduct them.

Cemeteries were early located at Spring Grove, English Prairie, Stevens, Cole's, Sanborn's and Wray's.

Soon after the settlement was made William Stearns taught a term of school having fifteen pupils. The building in which it was taught was a log one on the Nippersink Creek.

The first death known among white people here was that of Mrs. Frank Richardson, who passed away in the autumn of 1837.

The first marriage was that uniting Jonathan Imeson and Mary Wray, November 30, 1837. The minister who performed the ceremony was Rev. Joel Wheeler. Their first son, Robert T. Imerson, was the first child born within the township.

The first post office was called Blivin's Mills. It was established in 1851, with Joseph Rice as postmaster. Rice held the office during his lifetime. The name was changed to Spring Grove, January 24, 1883. English Prairie post office was established about 1854. Here it is known that the postmasters were: Gideon B. Cooley, Harvey Wilson and Carl C. Mead.


This little village takes its name, evidently, from the spring, and the beautiful grove that once surrounded it, which was viewed by the pioneer band who first located here. It was laid out in 1845 by Mr. Barnum. William Fowles and Richard Robinson built a log house east of the grove, and these constituted the first cabins in the place. John E. Mann opened the first store in 1845.

A grist-mill and cheese factory were among the early industries at this point. Here Joseph Rice built and conducted a hotel in 1848, continuing it until 1868.


This place was legally incorporated October 6, 1902. The following is a list of the various presidents and clerks to the present date: William Seaver, president November, 1902, to May, 1903; William B. Johonnote, village clerk, November, 1902, to May, 1903; Charles U. Andrews, president, May 1, 1903, to May 1, 1904; D. W. Lichty, clerk, May 1, 1903, to May 1, 1904; Anton Schoefer, president, May, 1904, to May, 1905; Nick N. Weber, clerk, May, 1904, to May, 1905; Joseph Meredith, president, May, 1905, to May, 1906; Nick N. Weber, clerk, May, 1905, to May, 1906; John Wagner, president, May, 1906, to May, 1907; Nick N. Weber, clerk, May, 1906, to May, 1907; John Wagner, president from May 1, 1907, to January, 1908; Otto Rasse filled out unexpired term to May, 1909; John Karls, clerk, 1907-08; Herbert R. Peacock appointed to fill term out to May, 1909; Anton Schoefer, president, May, 1909, to 1910; Howard Westlake, clerk, 1909 to 1910; William Rauen, clerk from May, 1910 to 1912; Anton Schoefer, president, 1911 to 1913; William Ranen, clerk, May, 1912, to May, 1913, resigned, Albert Pepping appointed to fill vacancy to May 1, 1914; John Karis, president, May, 1913, to May, 1914; Glen Esh, clerk, from May, 1916, to May, 1918; John Karis, president, May, 1917, to May, 1919; Glen Esh, clerk, May, 1918, to May, 1920; Joseph Wagner, president, May, 1919, to May, 1921.

The following are the present officials of the village of Spring Grove: president, Joseph G. Wagner; clerk, Glen A. Esh; treasurer, Paul F. Siegler; trustees, John Rauen, Anton May, Frank May, Frank Wagner, Nick Freund and Henry Sweet.


The first post office in this township was known as Blivin 's Mills, and was established in 1851, with Joseph Rice as postmaster. He was succeeded by R. J. Osmann, Mrs. Rice, widow of former postmaster, and Robert Tweed, who held the office until at least 1885, since which time the postmasters have been: John Hendricks, Andrew Neish, Robert Esh, Andrew Neish, J. O. MeLeon, Herbert Peacock, Mrs. Sarah Freeman, who was appointed in 1915. It is a fourth class post office, with one rural free delivery route, the length of which is about twenty-eight miles; covers a ten mile square area and accommodates ninety-six families and a population of nearly 300. It was established October 7, 1905.


In 1890 Burton Township had a population of 296; in 1900 it had 400; in 1910 it had 451; and in 1920 it had 441.


The following are the township officials of Burton Township: Supervisor, Frank May; assessor, Henry C. Sweet; clerk, Joseph Brown; highway commissioner, Howard Siedschlag; justice of the peace, Robert Esh; constable, Michael Rauen.

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