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




Nunda Township comprises congressional township 44, range 8 and one third of range 9. It is bounded on the north by McHenry Township; on the east by Lake County; on the south by Algonquin Township; on the west by Door Township. This subdivision of McHenry County is among the finest agricultural sections of the northern portion of Illinois. Dairying is now the chief industry of the farms. The Fox River courses through the township. As originally known Lilly and Clear Lakes were in the center of its territory, but these lakes are gradually disappearing. Hanley's Creek crosses the .northern portion, and Stickney's Run, with lesser streams make Nunda one of the best watered in McHenry County.


For a short period after Nunda Township was settled, it was known as Brooklyn, it being so named by William and C. Goff. But when a post office was petitioned for, it was discovered that another Brooklyn was already in existence in Illinois. A public meeting was called, and the name was changed to Nunda in honor of the birthplace of Col. William Huffman, a leading man in the community, who was born in Nunda, N. Y.


The first white man to invade the confines of what is now Nunda Township was George Stickney, who came in December, 1835, locating on section 6, where he erected the first house in the township. This primitive cabin contained no iron of any description, wooden pegs being used instead of nails. Benjamin McOmber, who arrived a short time after Mr. Stickney, lived in his log house. Samuel Terwilliger, came in June, 1836 and was the third settler. Cameron Goff was the fourth, and he arrived in October, 1837.

Prior to 1840 these made Nunda their permanent settlement: George T. Beckley, Abram Vincent, De Witt Brady, Joseph Walkup, Charles Patterson and his four sons, William Huffman and his four sons, Wm. St. Ciair, Fred Bryant, J. Gracy, G. A. Palmer, John Fitzsimmons, J. E. Beckley, A. Colby, D. Ellsworth and W. Musgrave.


The first plowing in this township was executed by Samuel Terwilliger.

John Terwilliger, son of Samuel Terwilliger and wife, was the first white child born in Nunda Township. He lived on the same farm on which he was born, until he passed from earth in 1876.

An infant son of the Terwilligers was the first child to die in the township. His remains were laid away in the Holcornbville burying ground.

In 1845 James and Samuel McMillen erected a saw-mill on section 22, which was the first in the township. After 1863, at considerable. expense it was fltted over into a grist-mill and as such used many years. A carding-mill was constructed there in 1846, by Mr. Truesdell, but two years later it was abandoned as it would not pay. The first real grist-mill was built at Barryville by T. J. Ferguson, at a cost of $6,000; this was used many years. MeHenry County paid the large sum of $15 for every wolf scalp which was taken within the limits of the county. This custom obtained until 1850. It is related that certain hunters of Nunda Township distinguished themselves by capturing cubs and caring for them until they were six months old, at which time they killed and scalped them, and then claimed the bounty.


What is now within the incorporation of the city of Crystal Lake, but was originally known as. the village of Nunda, was platted in August, 1868. It was situated on section 32, township 44, range 8. A man named Reed conducted a general store there as early as 1855. The first depot for the railroad at this point (Chicago & Northwestern system now) was shipped out from Chicago on flat cars. That was in 1856. It was set down carefully, just where the old Fox River Valley crossed the "Northwestern." Then, Nunda the village had not even been thought of. This station house was for the accommodation of the workmen, and being fearful of the high winds, it was staked down to the right-of-way. Finally Nunda sprung up and flourished under that name many years, and was finally incorporated as a village, but with the several Crystal Lake corporations it was decided at an election not long since that Nunda should be merged with the Crystal Lake villages, and so it is today.


This was the name given to a collection of houses or hamlet in this township. Thomas Combs built a store there, and about it grew the small place. A mill was built in 1857 and carried on successfully by its proprietor, Mr. Ferguson, until his death in 1865. Patterson Bros. owned the mill later, and still later it was owned by Messrs. McCord and J. F. Thompson. It was finally owned by Louis Munch, who in 1884 remodeled it and made "patent flour" there.

In the spring of 1881, a butter and cheese factory was built at Barreville by E. F. Matthews at a cost of $3,000.

In 1854 a post office was established on Silver Lake Prairie, and the first postmaster was Russell Stanton. About 1864 the office was moved to Barreville, with Fred Bryant as postmaster.

The early business and professional men of Nunda included the following: Crystal Lake Pickling and Canning Co., G. H. Clayson, Nunda Flour Mills, Gilbert & St. Clair, E. Beckley, J. Goodwin, Philip Roberts, J. A. Sheldon, Piatt & Pinney, C. H. Stone, Smith Bros., Dr. George Horn, G. E. Dickinson, M. M. Hulburt, W. T. Hamilton, Hartman & Barnes, Edgar Beckley & Son, A. M. Clark, D. W. Wattlers, F. W. Stark, O. C. Colby, J. N. Powell, P. A. England, D. Williams, J. F. Wheaton & Son., Dr. E. Ballou, Dr. C. C. Watson, and Robert Rowley. The history of the village corporation is included in that of Crystal Lake and will be found in the township history of Algonquin. Of the post office, it may be stated in this connection that one was established at Nunda Center about three miles north of the village, and James McMilieu was the postmaster. The office was moved to the village in 1855, and called Dearborn, but the name was later changed to Nunda.

Terra Cotta, a station on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, located on section 21 of Nunda Township, is home of the third largest terra cotta plant in the United States. This plant is the principal interest of the settlement, employment here being given to an average of 300 people. An account of this industry and the American Terra Cotta and Ceramic Company, is given in tile chapter on Railroads and Industrial Enterprises.


In 1890 Nunda Township had a population of 1,805; in 1900 it was 1,965, 1910 it was at 2,110, including parts of Crystal Lake and North Crystal Lake corporations, and in 1920 it was 2,321.


The following are tile township officials of Nunda Township: Supervisor, A. H. Hale; assessor, George L. Bryant; clerk, H. A. Rowley; highway commissioner, John Pierson; justice of the peace, P. F. Hunt; constable, George J. Chiert.

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