History of Winslow Township, Stephenson County, Il
From: History of Stephenson County, Illinois
A record of its settlement, oragnization
and three quarters of a century of progress
By: Addison L. Fulwider, A. M.
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago, 1910


William Brewster was the first settler in Winslow Township. It is likely that he came in 1834, although it has been claimed that he came in 1833. He was a native of Vermont who had lived a while in Tennessee and later at Peru, Illinois. He was a man of means and erected a comfortable house at Brewster's Ferry, cleared eighty acres of ground and established a ferry. He rented the ferry to William Robey the next year and returned to Peru.

This township is the northwestern corner of the county and contains twenty seven sections and nine fractions of sections along the Wisconsin line. In all it contains about eighteen thousand five hundred acres. The township is crossed by the Pecatonica, east of which are many groves of hard wood. Most of the township is made up of rolling prairie. Joe Abenos assisted William Brewster in the running of the ferry. A. C. Ransom came into the township in 1834 and returned with his family in 1835, settling one and one half miles southeast of the present village of Winslow. Here he laid out the town of Ransomberg which prospered a few years but was soon abandoned. George Payne settled at Brewster's Ferry in 1834 and George W. Lott built a cabin in what is now Winslow in the same year. Other settlers that year were Harvey and Jerry Webster.

In 1835 many settlers came in from the east. Lemuel W. Streator bought the Brewster holdings for $4,000. He married Miss Mary Stewart and became a prominent man in the county.

James and W. H. Eels established claims that year and the family has been prominent and influential in affairs of Stephenson County. In 1835 George W. Lott and the Websters began the erection of a sawmill. Lott was to build the mill and the Websters were to build the darn. Hector P. Kneeland aided in the work and the four owners completed the mill in the fall. In 1836 Stewart and McDowell opened a store in Ransomberg. In the same year Dr. W. G. Bankson settled on Section 35 and set up his shingle as the first physician in the section. He was married to Phoebe McCumber in the fall of 1836. In 1837 the following settlers arrived: Rev. Philo Judson, Cornelius Judson, Charles McCumber, Ephram Labaugh, Alfred Gaylord, Rev. Asa Ballinger and S. F. M. Fretville. The Judsons settled below Brewster's Ferry, Rev. Philo soon moving on west. His daughter became known as Mrs. Governor Beveridge. The first child born in the township was Sara Maria Denton, born in the fall of 1836. I. V. Gage, son of Silas Gage, was born January 10, 1838. Newcomb McKinney, Hiram Gaylord, Cornelius and Johnathan Cowen opened farms and built cabins. May 28, that year, there came from Plymouth County, Massachusetts, John Bradford, Thomas Loring, Columbus and Ichabod Thompson and the Moulton brothers. They came out to build up the land of the Boston Western Land Company on which company's land the village of Winslow was later built. In the summer of 1838 they built a shingle factory and a hotel, the American House. Elias and Edward Hunt came the same year and in 1839 Joseph R. Berry, W. P. Cox, Gilson Adams and A. A. Mallory settled in the township.

In 1844 the Boston Land Company sent out as agent Cyrus Woodman, and under his energetic direction the township was rapidly settled up.

The Massachusetts influence gave the township its name, for in 1838 it was called Winslow in honor of Governor Winslow, one of the provincial governors of that state. The name was given by W. S. Russell, the agent of the Boston Land Company in 1838.

The Boston Land Company at one time owned seventy two thouasnd acres in Wisconsin, Missouri, and Illinois. Seven hundred acres were in Winslow township on the site of the present town.


In 1844 Cyrus Woodman, the new agent of the land company, surveyed, platted and laid off the village of Winslow. Lots on the main street were held at ten dollars and twenty five dollars each. The real estate company was not lacking in hope and laid off a city with square, streets, avenues, and a wharf. Later the company decided to sell farms instead of town lots, and thus disposed of its holdings.

The village was organized in 1850. In 1880 it contained three hundred and seventy five inhabitants, five stores, one church and a hotel.

In 1837 Rev. Asa Ballinger came to Winslow. He was a pioneer Methodist circuit rider, and preached each Sunday in cabins or groves. In 1849, Elisha Hazzard, a congregationalist minister, arrived and had good success as a minister. From 1840 to 1855 the spiritual welfare of the people cared for by transients, in addition to Hazzard and Ballinger. In 1855 the Presbyterian organized with nineteen members. The first meeting of the Presbyterians was at the village hotel April 9th. A later meeting, April 19th, was well attended and April 21st the organization was effected. The Presbyterians held services in the schoolhouse till fall, when a brick church, 35x55, was built at a cost of $2,000. Up to 1880, the following pastors had served, though part of the time the organization had services by transient preachers: Rev. John N. Powell, John Johnson, A. T. Wood, a Mr. Schofield and A. S. Gardner. After 1880 the church declined and the organization was broken up. The building was sold to the German Evangelical church, which now uses it.

Mr. A. T. Loomis, a Congregationalist preacher, held a revival in Winslow in 1877. He met with great success, securing one hundred converts. At the close of the revival, the "Winslow Christian Association" was organized. On the nth of May, 1878, this organization became the Congregational church with sixty members. Services were held for a time in Wright's Hall. In 1880 Rev. Frances Lawson was pastor. The organization never became strong and was later discontinued.

The German Evangelical church of Winslow was established as a mission and bought the Presbyterian church building in i899. At present there is a small but earnest membership of about thirty. The Sunday school is in good condition and has a membership of about the same.

The church has had the following pastors: 1883, William Caton; 1885, John Fahger; 1887, F. S. Entorf; 1889, Otto Brose; 1890, Geo. Harris; 1890, Peter C. Koch; 1893, W. P. Rifling; 1894, C. A. Heisler; 1898, J. A. Holtzman; 1901, J. H. Spear; 1902, B. H. Reutepohler; 1902, W. C. Hallwacs; 1903, Henry Schaffner; 1905, John Widner; 1907, to the present time, William Gross.

The Methodist church, of which Rev. Charles Briggs is pastor, is an active organization and has a beautiful frame church building erected in 1891. H. H. Morse is superintendent of the Sunday school.

Rev. Metzker is pastor of the U. B. church, which has a good church building and an active membership.

The first school in Winslow was held in Edward Hunt's wagon shop in 1840. After a short time a schoolhouse was built on a hill southwest of town which was used till 1872, when a larger school building was erected at a cost of $3,000. It is a frame structure, 40x40 and two stories high. The average daily attendance in 1880 was sixty five students.

Winslow Lodge, No. 564, A. F. & A. M. The Masonic lodge was established in 1867. The following were charter members: Benjamin Pym, John Bradford, Jacob Sweeley, P. Sweeley, D. D. Tyler, R. E. Mack, T. Rodebaugh, C. M. McComber, M. J. Cooper and J. W. Saucerman.

The Winslow Register is in its fifteenth year. Mr. F. A. Deam is editor and proprietor. The Register is an eight page weekly, newsy, and showing a liberal advertising patronage.

Fuller's private bank was organized May 20, 1894, by Mr. J. M. Fuller, who died in 1898. The bank is now in charge of Mr. J. B. Fuller and does an extensive business.

One of the leading industries of Winslow is Karlen's cheese factory, one of the best in the country. The product is the Blue Label Cheese.

Mr. J. M. Gordon is president of the village board, F A Deam secretary, and Charlie Brand, marshal.

The school directors are: Adam Rect, president; Dr. Willis, clerk, and 1910, P. P. Fisher; 1910, elect. Professor Moorhead.

The officials of the Modern Woodmen of America, No. 762, are: Venerable counsel, J. M. Gordon; clerk, C. C. Tyler; adviser, L. H. Fuller; escort, F. P. Hymes; sentry, A. H. Collyer.

March 4, 1902, Winslow suffered a disastrous fire which destroyed several business houses.

The appropriations of the village board of Winslow for the fiscal year 1910, were as follows:





Streets and alleys....








Mr. J. B. Fuller is treasurer of the Winslow school township.

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