History of Dunham, Il.
From: The History of McHenry County, Illinois
Published by: Munsell Publishing Company, 1922
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BOUNDARIES - TOPOGRAPHY - EARLY SETTLERS - ORIGIN OF NAME - PIONEER EVENTS - CEMETERIES - SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES - CYCLONE OF 1883 - POPULATION - TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS.
Dunham Township is bounded on the north by Chemung Township; on the east by Hartland Township; on the south by Marengo Township, and on the west by Boone County. It comprises all of congressional township 45, range 5. This township is about equally divided between timber and prairie land, or at least was when the county was first settled. It is naturally adapted to stock raising and many are the fine herds that have been grazing from its sweet grasses in the decades that have passed since its surface was first used by the white race. It is well watered and reasonably drained by Rush and Piskasàw creeks, with their several small tributaries.
Rush Creek, a branch of the Kishwaukee, crosses the township from northeast to southwest, passing out from section 34, and the Piskasaw courses through the northwest corner.
The first white man to locate in this township, with a view of becoming a permanent settler, was John Diggins, who came here in 1836, locating in section 10 and section 11, a farm later owned and occupied by O. C. Diggins. The latter named came to the township in March, 1837, and his family joined him as soon as he had a cabin prepared for them. While N. K. Jerome made a claim in 1837, he did not take up his residence upon it until 1838. Two unmarried men, Baker and Dunham, were the next two to arrive, and they were followed by Joseph and James Metcalf. Before 1841, the following had taken up residence in Dunham Township: A. Joslyn, B. Latham, Joseph Diggins, J. F. Moore, Dexter Barrows, J. Snowden, R. and D. Linton, and W. B. Heath.
ORIGIN OF NAME
The original name of this township was Byron, but when the post office was established, it was discovered that another "Byron" existed within the state, hence the name was changed to Dunham, in honor of pioneer Solomon J. Dunham, a very prominent resident, then serving as a justice of the peace.
Josephine Diggins was the first white child born in this township. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John
Diggins, and she died when aged seventeen years.
The only church ever erected in this township was that of the Methodist Episcopal denomination known as the
County Line Church. This building cost $2,000. Rev. P. M. Huffman was the first to serve as pastor.
The first cemetery in this township was laid out either in 1841 or 1842, near the old Jerome log schoolhouse.
SCHOOL AND CHURCHES
The first schoolhouse in Dunham Township was built in 1838 on the farm of Mr. Jerome. Here schools were kept
and here the elections were held many years during the pioneer days. Here it was that the first term of school
in the township was taught by Miss Edna Jewett.
CYCLONE OF 1883
On June 11, 1883, Dunham Township had the misfortune to be visited by a cyclone, which first struck the residence
of Richard Downs. The Moore schoolhouse was literally blown into splinters. Benjamin Phelps, Josiah Goodsell, Proctor
Russell, D. R. Wyant, Arthur Thompson, Mr. Jerome, N. A. Clark, John Mohelus and Michael Sullivan, all suffered
from the fury of the storm.
In 1890 Dunham Township had a population of 919; in 1900 it had 859; in 1910 it had 849; and in 1920 it had 857.
The following are the township officials of Dunham Township: Supervisor, H. E. Whipple; assessor, P. A. Barrows; clerk, Herbert Kieskowski; highway commissioner, Thomas Green; justices of the peace, D. A. Barrows and L. O. Higgins; constables, C. M. Downs and David Fitch.