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




Greenwood Township is bounded on the north by Hebron Township; on the east by MeHenry Township; on the south by Dorr Township; and on the west by Hartland Township. It comprises all of congressional township 45, range 7. It was named by C. M. Goodsall, and this name was confirmed by township trustee, J. N. Barber.


This township is gently rolling land, the soil is extremely fertile and well cultivated, and the farms are exceedingly valuable. At at early day, the valley of Nippersink Creek was heavily timbered but this growth has long since largely disappeared at the hands of the settlers who have cut it down for fuel and fencing. The main stream of the township is the Nippersink Creek which has several branches.


Probably Henry Weston was the first white man to settle permanently in what is now Greenwood Township. He came in 1833, Queen Ann Prairie was named in honor of his wife, who was the first white woman in the township, and she was the first person to die in this township. Soon after her death, Mr. Weston was married (second) to a Miss Watson, and this was the first marriage in the township, although the first recorded marriage is that between Charles Frame and Mary Dufield on February 1, 1838, the ceremony being performed by Rev. Joel Wheeler.

Following Mr. Weston the settlers were: Alden, Almon and William Stone, Lewis Boone, Henry Westerman, Elijah Slafion and James Watson, all of whom made claim to their land in 1837.

Lewis Boone took up many acres of both timber and prairie land, and a Mr. McCollum laid claim to a portion of this land and built a cabin on it. This action was resented by Mr. Boone, who tore down the cabin and cut the logs in two, accusing MeCollum of jumping his claim. Finally, the two men resorted to a personal encounter, in which Mr. Boone was the conqueror. MeCollum and his friends then attacked the Boones and drove them from the land. A lawsuit resulted, the same being the first filed on the McHenry County docket. Lewis Boone remained in the township until his death, and was buried in Greenwood cemetery. His son, Eldridge Boone, was the first white child born in the township, and when he died in 1838, he was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, his being the first body to be interred there.

George Weller, Amos Scofield, Daniel Cattle, Nathan Dufleld, Jacob Eckert, Michael J. and Peter J. Herdklotz and their father Eldod Taylor, Squire Baldwin, and O. J. and A. P. Murphy, all of whom came prior to 1839. These settlers all located in the eastern portion of Greenwood Township. Another very early settler was Neill Donnelly who came in 1838.


About one-half mile south of the village of Greenwood lies Greenwood cemetery. It is the oldest burying place in Greenwood Township. Here repose many of the pioneers of the township.

Another cemetery was early laid out near the Methodist Church in southern part of the township.

What is known as the Soldiers' Monument Cemetery in this township, originally contained one acre of land, but was subsequently enlarged. In its midst stands the monument erected in memory of the soldiers and sailors who lost their lives during the Civil War. This was dedicated July 4, 1880.

Near the center of the township there was platted a small cemetery by the German settlers, and surrounding the Norwegian Church the people of that faith laid their dead to rest.


In 1841, Lake & Scofield built a saw-mill on section 11, it being run by the waters of the Nippersink Creek. For more than a quarter of a century this mill was active, or until late in the seventies, when it was torn down and today no trace of a milisite can be seen.

The second mill of this kind was built by Totes & Brown, a mile below the first one just named. It was also a water-mill. In 1845 they also erected a grist-mill at an expense of $5,000, but this mill was destroyed by a fire in 1862. Job Toles built a grist-mill in time village of Greenwood at a little later date. The flour-milling industry has long since been left to the great milling centers, near to the supply of northern wheat and the farmers all buy their flour.


It is of no little interest in these days of high-priced butter and cheese, almost prohibitive on account of prices, to read of the many early creamery and butter and cheese stations and factories in this county, including the plant of Abbott & Thompson, who built the first cheese factory in the township in 1848, and its capacity was more than 100,000 pounds of cheese annually. The second cheese factory in the township was built in 1870, by Job Toles, in the village of Greenwood. These are all obsolete industries, for today all of the surplus milk is bottled and shipped to Chicago and other great cities for direct consumption, while other sections of the United States manufacture the butter and cheese which McHenry County farmers used to make in such quantities.


Greenwood is an inland village which was surveyed in 1842, and platted into lots by Job Toles. He made an addition to the place in 1845. It is finely situated on the south branch of Nippersink Creek on section 11. The first residences here were erected by Lake & Scofleld. The first store was started by C. M. Goodsell, who carried a very large stock for so early a time. Burr & Co. started a wagon shop about as soon as the place was established.

Greenwood contended for the county seat when it was removed from McHenry to Woodstock in 1843. Not succeeding in that the village has not grown commercially as have the railroad towns of the county, but is a beautiful place of residence.


In 1854-55, Weller & Hamilton planted several acres of apple trees, and Greenwood had a nursery which was continued for a number of years, but Hamilton finally sold and moved to Ridgefield, while Weller closed out the business at Greenwood. Later Garrison Bros. conducted a business in furnishing fruit amid ornamental trees, garden seeds and flowers. The first orchard in the township was set by Andrew Murphy, on Queen Ann Prairie, in 1842, the trees coming from Will County, this state.

The first store was opened in Greenwood Township, at Boone's Mill, in 1847, by a Mr. Lockwood who soon nioved away, being succeeded by C. M. Goodsell, at the village of Greenwood.

Since the days of rural mail delivery, and near-by railroad stations, time trade of Greenwood has not even held its own, there now being but a small country store trade there.

Near Greenwood and in section 10 there are several Indian Mounds in which early excavations revealed the presence of numerous human skulls and other remains and instruments of domestic use, supposed to be the work of Mound Builders.

The first post office in either township or village of Greenwood was established in 1850, and was kept in the store of C. M. Goodsell, the first postmaster. Other postmasters were: Messrs. Robbins, Martin, John M. Barber, J. H. Garrison and D. W. Soper. Postal matters have all been changed of later years, for nearly every farmer has his mail dropped at his door every week-day morning, hence has little use for post offices.


During the summer of 1877 the people of Queen Ann Prairie and the surrounding neighborhood inaugurated an annual outing which became for many years very interesting and attractive. It was known as the "Harvest Picnic." The first one occurred August 23, 1877, in the fine grove owned by Michael Senger. A big dinner and excellent literary program was enjoyed by a large gathering. It seems too bad that this custom was not kept up perpetually.


The census reports show that this township had in 1890 a population of 899; in 1910, 908; and in 1920, 858.


The following are the present officials of the village of Greenwood: president, L. W. Thompson; clerk, M. C. Doolittle; treasurer, L. W. Thompson; magistrate, J. N. Barber.


The following are the township officials of Greenwood Township: supervisor, L. W. Thompson; assessor, M. Dassow; clerk, N. C. Doolittle; highway commissioner, O. H. Aavang; justice of the peace, John N. Barber; constable, Oscar Anderson.

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