History of Dorr, Il.
From: The History of McHenry County, Illinois
Published by: Munsell Publishing Company, 1922
Dorr Township is bounded on the north by Greenwood Township, a portion of which is included in the City of Woodstoek; on the east by Nunda Township; on the south by Grafton Township, and on the west by Seneca Township. Originally this township contained some very fine timber, but no prairie land, although it is level. It is watered by Hanley Creek, and a branch of the Kishwaukee.
ORIGIN OF NAME
The township was named in honor of Governor Dorr, of Rhode Island, who opposed the English laws governing that state.
The first white man to settle in Dorr Township was Uriah Cattle, who came here from Virginia in the fall of 1834, and made his claim, after which he returned to his old home. The following spring he came back to this region, accompanied by William Hartman, Charles and John McClure, and John Walkup, who composed what was known in the early days as the "Virginia Settlement." These pioneers showed such energy after their arrival on Monday morning, that by the end of the week they had their log shanties up and roofed, although there were no floors for a number of months. Mr. Cattle continued to reside in the township until his death, either late in the seventies, or early in the eighties. Charles McClure died in the township in 1844. These original settlers were later joined by Christopher Walkup, John L. Gibson, James Dufield, and William Hartman.
The first death in this township was that of the three-year-old daughter of Uriah Cattle, in September, 1836.
In the fall of that same year, a little daughter of James Dufield also died.
Ridgefield Cemetery, the oldest burial ground in the township, was laid out in 1835 by Charles McClure as a
private cemetery, but later he permitted the interment of outsiders. It is divided by the eastern line of Dorr
Township, arid the greater part of it lies in Nunda Township. Originally it comprised only two acres, but subsequently
was increased to the present size.
Ridgefield is located on section 25, township 44, range 7, and was platted by William Hartman, January 8, 1855,
and it occupies the lands originally owned by members of the Virginia settlement. It came into being as a result
of a station being located at this point, when the railroad was built through the county. Lots were sold so low
by Mr. Hartman, in order to induce outsiders to come here, that he failed to realize any profit. He erected the
first building, in which a store was established by George K. Bunker. J. G. Hartman opened a wagonmaking shop;
Miles Graff was the first blacksmith; Daniel Root was the first shoemaker, and David Graff opened a hotel, but
soon thereafter sold to a Mr. Holmes. Ridgefield is now the center of one of the large milk plants of the county.
According to the United States census the population of Dorr Township has been as follows: In 1890, 1,113; in 1900, 968; in 1910, 1,004, which was exclusive of Woodstock, which in the latter year had a population of 4,331; and in 1920, 6,408, including a portion of the city of Woodstock, the remainder of the city, with its population of 5,523, lying in Greenwood Township.
The following are the township officials: Supervisor, F. A. Walters; assessor, A. J. Murphy; clerk, J. C. Pierce; highway commissioner, Fred Menges; justices of the peace, T. J. Rushton and C. E. Lockwood; constables, F. G. Behringer, William Conney and P. W. Murphy.
Woodstock, county seat of McHenry County, and one of the most beautiful of the smaller cities of Illinois, was laid out by Alvin Judd, in 1844. After the plat had been executed, Mr. Judd sold his interests to George C. Dean, who, in June, 1844, had the plat recorded. At that time the village was named Centerville because of its geographical position in almost the center of the county, but in February, 1845, through the influence of Joel H. Johnson, the name was changed to Woodstock by Act of Legislature. This name was selected because Woodstock, Vt., was the birthplace of Mr. Johnson and other prominent men of the county, who sought to perpetuate pleasant memories of theFr old home, in their new one.
Woodstock has the highest altitude of any place in the state, the survey, made many years ago, giving it at 373 feet above the waters of Lake Michigan, and 954 feet above the sea level of the Atlantic Ocean. An inscription on the face of the ba.sestones of the courthouse testifies to this interesting fact.
FIRST BUSINESS INTERESTS
Bradford Burbank built the first log house in 1843, and the first frame one was put up by Alvin Judd in 1844.
The latter was opened as a tavern. During the winter of 1844-5, Mr. Judd built another frame house. The first store
was opened in 1845 by Josiah Dwight and Oscar L. Beach. Henry Petrie opened another store that same year. In 1848
A. W. Fuller established his general store, and the fourth mercantile establishment was conducted by William Dunning
and Alfred Dufield.
As above stated, the first tavern, or hotel, at Woodstock was the one put up by Alvin Judd in 1844. Others were the Exchange Hotel, kept for a long period by Mr. Trall; the American House, located on the west side of the Square, kept by Messrs. G. H. Griffing, White and McMasters; the Waverly, built by Roswell Enos; in 1856, on two lots which cost him $7 each; the Woodstock House, built by Alonzo Anderson in 1852-3; and the Richmond House, built by E. H. Richmond, in 1874, which was conducted for some years by Mr. Richmond.
Woodstock is beautifully laid out, many of its business houses being located on the streets surrounding the City Park, at the head of which stands the courthouse. To the right is the city hall. On the hottest of days, the delightful shade afforded by the little park is never lessened, and the drinking fountain furnishes artesian water and a mineral water. In the center of the park is the monument erected in honor of the soldiers of the Civil War, through the efforts of the Woman's Relief Corps, No. 223, of Woodstock. It is about twehty-five feet in height, and bears these inscriptions:
"Auxiliary to Woodstock Post No. 108, Grand Army of the Republic," on the north front; "Erected
to the Soldiers of 1861-65," on the east front; "Erected in 1909 by the Woodstoek Woman's Relief Corps
No. 223," on the south front; while on the west front is "In Honor of Our National Defenders."
The Woodstock post office was established in 1844, and Alvin Judd was the first postmaster. When he resigned
in 1845, he was succeeded by Martin Thrall. Joseph Dwight succeeded him and remained in office until 1853, when
F. D. Austin was made postmaster. Since then the following have served as postmasters of Woodstock: Dr. O. S. Johnson,
1857-61; A. E. Smith, 1861-66; William E. Smith, 1866; Mr. Crandall, 1866-67; Mr. Irwin, 1867-69; William E. Smith,
1869-75; Asa W. Smith, 1875-79; G. S. Southworth, 1879-87; Joel H. Johnson, 1887-91; Simon Brink, 1891-96; John
A. Dufield 1896-1900; C. F. Renich, 1900-1911; W. S. McConnell, 1911-15; G. G. Frame, 1915 to the present time.
On June 22, 1852, Woodstock was incorporated as a village under Act of Legislature, and the governing power
vested in a president and board of trustees. The original charter was amended several times, as needed. From 1852
until 1873 when Woodstock became a city, the following served it as village president: Alvin Judd, 1852-3; Enos
W. Smith, 1854; Neill Donnelly, 1855-6; Melvin W. Baldwin, 1857; M. W. Hunt, 1858; H. B. Burton, 1859; Neill Donnelly,
1860; M. L. Joslyn, 1861; H. S. Hanchett, 1862; William Kerr, 1863-4-5; M. L. Joslyn, 1866; John S. Wheat, 1867;
B. N. Smith, 1868; M. D. Hoy, 1869; E. E. Richards, 1870-71; and L. H. Davis, 1872-3. The original village officials
were: Alvin Judd, president; and Joseph Golder, L. S. Church, C. B. Durfee, J. C. Trowbridge, and George H. Griffin,
trustees: Charles Fitch, clerk; John Brink, surveyor; L. W. McMasters, constable; and Charles Fitch, treasurer.
The following are the present officials of the city of Woodstock: Frank J. Green, mayor; H. G. Fisher, clerk; William Freeman, health commissioner; Walter E. Conway, treasurer; T. H. Brown, magistrate; David Joslyn, Jr., attorney; and Frank Brown, Joseph Peacock, Henry Johanson, Lester Nogle, F. J. Wienke, T. B. Merwin, W. H. Hobbs, and T. B. Owens, aldermen.
The first steps to secure public water works for Woodstock were taken in 1894 when a bond issue of $10,000 was
made to secure funds; and another bond issue was made for $25,000 in 1902 for the improvement of the system already
installed. The high water-tower tank in the western part of the city gives direct pressure and thus affords proper
protection to the city in case of fire. The water is drawn from wells of the purest water, dug by the city for
this purpose. The system of mains and street hydrants is complete throughout the city. A complete sewer system
was not constructed until 1907-8.
CHICAGO INDUSTRIAL HOME FOR CHILDREN
The Chicago Industrial Home for Children is located on Seminary avenue, Woodstock, and is one of the ornaments
of this progressive city. The institution was established here in 1894, when Mrs. Boxy D. Stevens, a widow, without
children, seeing the importance of the work being done by the home, which had been incorporated March 4, 1889,
and was being conducted in the private residence of its founder, Rev. Thomas B. Arnold, of Chicago, under great
difficulties, offered her own pleasant and commodious home for the purpose. This residence was styled by the builder
and original owner, Mr. Galister, an English villa. Mrs. Stevens offered this property to the institution, only
stipulating that she be given a home to dwell in and an annuity until her death. Upon these conditions the property
was transferred to the institution, and has continued to be the home of the undertaking ever since.
OLD PEOPLE'S REST HOME
The Old People's Rest Home occupies a site adjoining the grounds of the Chicago Industrial Home for Children,
at Woodstock, and both are under the care of Rev. J. D. Kelsey. In 1903 Samuel K. J. Chesboro, Burton B. Jones,
James D. Marsh, Thomas B. Arnold, John D. Kelsey, William P. Ferries, John E. Coleman, Esmond E. Hall, William
E. Bardell, Freeborn D. Brooke incorporated the Old People's Rest Home, and opened it for occupancy that same year.
WOODSTOCK COUNTRY CLUB
The Woodstock Country Club was organized in 1915, and its membership has steadily increased. A tract of about fifty-seven acres was purchased by the club. These grounds, formerly the farm of the late Mr. McNulty, lie about two miles east of the courthouse, and a.re beautifully situated. There is considerable timber, and an artesian well over 1,000 feet. deep. This well was sunk and suitable frame buildings have been erected. A golf course has been laid out, and other improvements are projected.
WOODSTOCK COMMERCIAL AND COMMUNITY CLUB
On February 26, 1913, the Woodstock Business Men's Association was founded, and in the spring of 1918, to meet
conditions arising out of the war, a new constitution, by-laws and name were given the club, which has since been
known as the Woodsiock Commercial and Community Club. This was incorporated under the laws of Illinois, October
11, 1918. This organization has two objects, the promotion of business interests, and the furnishing of social
diversions, or to use their own definition: "the furtherance of the social, civic, mercantile and industrial
advancement of the city of Woodstock and the surrounding community."