The early history of the Des Plaines Valley has been given in chapters one, two, and three; the aborignes have
been accounted for at some length; the Red Man has had attention; these accounts are, to some extent, the history
of Joliet. However, we are interested in the early history of the white settlers. The following table is interesting
because it gives dates pertaining to so many families which are represented in Joliet now (1928). It was prepared
with much care in 1877 and recorded in LeBaron's History of Will County. It is reproduced here from that work:
Major Robert G. Cook, New York, 1831; John B. Cook (his father), New York, 1831; Philip Scott, New York, 1831;
Reason Zarley, Ohio, 1831; Robert Stevens, Indiana, 1831; David Maggard, Indiana, 1831; Benjamin Maggard, Indiana,
1831; Jesse Cook, Indiana, 1831; Daniel Robb, 1831; William Billsland, Indiana, 1831; Aaron Moore, Ohio, 1832;
R. E. Barber, Vermont, 1832; Col. Sayre, New Jersey, 1832; Seth Scott, New York, 1832; Charles Clement, New Hampshire,
1833; Rev. George West, M. E. minister, 1833; Rodney House, Connecticut, 1833; Charles Reed, Indiana, 1833; William
Hadsell, New York, 1833; Dr. A. W. Bowen, New York, 1834; Elias Haven, New York, 1834; Philo A. Haven, New York,
1834; Orlando H. Haven, New York, 1834; James Haven, New York, 1834; Dr. David Reed, New York, 1834; M. H. Demmond,
New York, 1834; Wm. B. Hawley, New York, 1834; Benj. F. Barker, New York, 1834; Benjamin Richardson, from the East,
1834; James Rockwell, Connecticut, 1834; Abner Cox, Indiana, 1834; I. P. King, Indiana, 1834; Joseph Zumalt, Indiana,
1834; Jacob Zumalt, Indiana, 1834; Charles Sayre, New Jersey, 1834; James McKee, Kentucky, 1834; Daniel Clement,
New Hampshire, 1834; Richard Hobbs, Indiana, 1834; N. H. Clarke, 1834; Thomas H. Blackburn, 1834; O. D. Putnam,
1834; Harlow Webster, 1834; Geo. H. Woodruff, New York, 1834; N. H. Cutter, Massachusetts, 1834; Jay Lyons, 1834;
Chas. W. Brandon, New York, 1834; James C. Troutman, Ohio, 1834; Edward Perkins, New York, 1834; Fenner Aldrich,
1835; Hervey Lowe, New York, 1835; F. Collins, Hoosier, 1835; Oliver W. Stillman, Massachusetts, 1835; Robert Duncan,
Detroit, 1835; Thomas Culbertson, Delaware, 1835; Charles W. Hopkins, New Jersey, 1835; S. W. Bowen, New York,
1835; Dr. Zelotus Haven, New York, 1835; Hugh Henderson, New York, 1835; Wm. A. Boardman, New York, 1835; Russell
Frary, New York, 1835; Michael Shoemaker, New York, 1835; John L. Wilson, New Yorke, 1835; Richard L. Wilson, New
York, 1835; Charles L. Wilson, New York, 1835; Abijah Cagwin, New York, 1835; H. N. Marsh, New York, 1835; J. Beaumont,
New York, 1835; George Higley, Ohio, 1835; Levi Jenks, New York, 1835; William Walters, Indiana, 1835; O. F. Rogers,
New York, 1835; Rev. J. H. Prentiss, New York, 1835; George Squire, 1835; Wm. A. Chatfield, Indiana, 1835; C. C.
Pepper, New York, 1835; Francis Nicholson, New York, 1835; W. R. Atwell, New York, 1835; John M. Wilson, New York,
1835; Allen Pratt, Massachusetts, 1835; Barton Smith, Indiana, 1835; Jonathan Barnett, New York, 1835; E. M. Daggett,
Indiana, 1835; George Howlitson, Scotland, 1835; Asa Rowe, 1835; Elias Hyde, New York, 1835; S. B. Hopkins, New
In 1836 we may notice among the arrivals in the new settlement, George Woodruff, Joel A. Matteson, R. Doolittle,
Edmund Wilcox, Uri Osgood, Thomas R. Hunter, E. C. Fellows, and Francis L. Cagwin, from New York, and Otis Hardy
and H. Hartshorn, from Vermont; Orange Chauncey, Albert Shepard, James Stout, Thomas, Edward and Bennett Allen,
John Curry, J. J. Garland, W. J. Heath, J. C. Newkirk, William Blair, Rufus Calton, Stephen H. Palmer, E. E. Bush,
Theodore Woodruff, H. Stevens, David Richards, G. W Cassedy, and a great many others, whose native states we have
When the first white man came to Joliet Township in 1831, there were plenty of Indians in the present limits of
Will County, and though of the friendly Pottawatomies, yet the very fact that they were surrounded by savages,
whose ferocity, when aroused, is scarcely equaled by wild beasts, coupled with the fact that low mutterings were
now and then borne to them on the gale, of the threatening troubles with the Sacs, then on the verge of taking
the warpath, all conspired to divest the wilderness of its romance, and render their every day life, to say the
least, unpleasant. The Pottawatomies, though friendly as already stated, were looked upon with much suspicion at
times, and required a good deal of watching to prevent their petty thieving, a penchant for which is a native characteristic
of the red man. While the Black Hawk war was raging in 1832, the few settlers who remained upon their claims built
a fort in the present city limits of Joliet, which they called "Fort Nonsense," but as it is graphically
described in the general history, we pass it with this slight allusion. Nearly half a century has passed since
Black Hawk led his painted warriors over the prairies of Illinois, and the wilderness where a few hardy pioneers
braving danger, planted a feeble settlement, has "flourished and blossomed like the rose." The Indians
have long since taken up their line of march toward the "land of the setting sun"; their council fires
burn away in the "untrodden West," and the little settlement on the Des Planes River, which had its birth,
as it were, in the midst of an Indian war, has grown into a prosperous community, with a prosperous city in its
midst. The half dozen families that settled in Joliet Township in 1831, have increased in numbers, and, including
city and township, aggregate several thousand.
In all new communities, one of the first things thought of is a mill. This branch of enterprise engaged the attention
of the people of Joliet Township at a very early period of its settlement. When we look around us at the magnificent
mills of today and the unbounded facilities for procuring our supplies of meal and flour, it seems almost impossible
to realize the limited means of obtaining bread by the pioneers of fifty years ago. What would we think at the
present day, of having to go to Peoria to mill, with a wagon and team, and a rainy season coming on, of being detained
six weeks? And yet there are those living within sound of the church bells of Joliet, who remember such an experience.
The first attempt at a mill in Joliet Township was made by one John Norman, in 1833-34. It was built at the head
of an island nearly opposite the penitentiary and was rather a primitive affair. He built a dam across one branch
of the river, and thus turned the current in the other. In this his wheel was placed, the shaft communicating with
the machinery of the mill. It was a small log structure, and its capacity for grinding rather limited, as we have
been told that fifteen bushels of grain in twenty four hours was good work for it. The next mill was McKee's, built
on the west side of the river, just above Jefferson Street, the frame of which was still standing in 1878 a monument
to pioneer enterprise. Several sawmills were built in the town. A. Chagrin built one on Hickory Creek in which
was sawed the lumber for the first frame house in Joliet. Clement & Clark, and the Haven Bros. built mills
in the early times, as noticed in the general history of the county. But the day of usefulness of these original
mills has long since passed, and the more modern inventions and improvements fill their place.
There are (1878) in the town eighteen comfortable and commodious school houses, five of which are built of stone,
and the others are substantial frame buildings. The first bridge in the township of which we have any account was
built over the Des Planes River in the latter part of 1837. At that time, two substantial wooden bridges were built
about where the lower and middle bridges now are. They were both washed away, however, in the next spring, which
was a season of unprecedented high water, and many a day passed before they were rebuilt, or other accommodations
provided for crossing the river than a "dug-out" or ferry boat, when it was too high to ford. But at
the present day, the town is well supplied with excellent bridges, wherever those useful and convenient inventions
In the early settlement of this section of the country, claims were usually made by "squatting" wherever
the newcomer found land or a situation that suited him, provided there was no prior claim. Building a cabin and
enclosing and cultivating a patch of ground established a preemption right to their claim that is, a right to purchase
it, when it should come into market, at the Government price of $1.25 per acre; and at the land sales, though there
might be ever so many speculators present, they dare not bid against a settler, unless they chose to risk rousing
their vengeance. They (the settlers) had organized a regular court to protect and settle their claims, which was
a kind of "higher law," and woe unto him who trespassed upon the rights of this court or the settlers.
A compromise was finally effected between the settlers and speculators whereby, the latter paid for the land and
the settlers gave them half, and thus securing to themselves a reasonable amount of land for nothing. The land
sale of 1835 caused a great rush of immigration to this section and a rage for land speculation, and soon all the
most valuable and available lands were taken up or secured by the speculators. In 1850, the county adopted township
organization, and this further added to the convenience of laying claims and locating lands. Upon the organization
of townships, this one received the name of Joliet a name conspicuous in the history of Illinois as that of one
of the early French explorers, Louis Joliet. The first supervisor of Joliet Township was Charles Clement, who held
the position for three years successively. The present township (1878) officers are as follows, viz.: Frederick
Rappell, supervisor, and John Scheidt, John Lyon, William Gleason, assistant supervisors; ____ Kelly, township
clerk; W. D. Fay, school treasurer; J. T. Millspaugh, police magistrate; R. Doolittle, Edmund Wilcox, J. P. Murphy,
Patrick Shanahan and William P. Webber, justices of the peace.
As already stated, Charles Reed is regarded as the first permanent settler in the original town of Joliet, or "Juliet."
David Maggard, however, settled in what is at present the city of Joliet, some three years before Reed. But at
the time Maggard built his house, which was nearly opposite the rolling mill, there was no City of Joliet, and
it was years after the birth of the city before it extended its limits to include Maggard's original cabin. Charles
Reed, the pioneer of Joliet, finally went to Winnebago County, where he died in 1875. Charles Clement settled permanently
in the spring of 1834. He commenced merchandizing after he had been here some time, a business he continued for
many years. In 1839, he with others started the first newspaper in Joliet, which is more particularly referred
to in the history of the city press.
The first merchant in Joliet was a man named Cox, who commenced the mercantile business, in a very limited way,
about 1833-34. It was for this man Cox that H. A. Cagwin clerked when he first came to the place. Further than
this, we know little of this first store and first merchant. The next store was opened by M. H. Demmond, who used
one room of his residence for a storehouse, as soon as it was finished. In the meantime, while waiting for the
completion of his house, his goods were stored in Chicago, in the first warehouse ever built in that city. In January,
1835, Demimonde bought McKee's claim, except his mill property, and laid it off into town lots, McKee having previously
divided it into acre lots only the plat being recorded in June, 1830. Soon after laying out the West Side, Clement
built a saw mill, and under the firm name of Clement & Clark, a brisk lumber trade was at once inaugurated.
This year, Demimonde set the example, since so extensively followed in Joliet, by putting up the first stone building.
It is the block of business houses on the West Side, opposite the National Hotel, and upon its completion was appropriately
celebrated by a ball, at which all the young people for miles around congregated.
The grain trade, which is one of the most important branches of business in Joliet, was begun in an early day.
John M. Wilson and Charles Clement were the first grain merchants of the place, and used an old barn on Block 16
for storage purposes. Their net profits for the first year, and the only one, in which they handled grain, are
said to have amounted to the immense sum of nine dollars. They made a corner in the market and retired from the
business at the end of the first year. But without attempting to follow the grain trade through all its stages,
from Wilson & Clement's "corner" to the vast proportions it has since assumed, we will endeavor to
give something of its present status (1878.) There are now five able firms engaged in grain, viz.: Carpenter &
Marsh, A. Cagwiri & Co., E. R. Knowlton, H. C. Teed, Wheeler & Co. and J. E. Bush. Carpenter & Marsh
are the heaviest dealers. As an illustration, we give their shipments for one week, taken from a newspaper publication
Total for the week
They handle annually not far short of three and a half million bushels of grain, and all of which is shipped direct
to Eastern markets. Their elevator capacity is about thirty thousand bushels, and twelve to fifteen men are employed
in loading and unloading grain. Last year, this firm alone handled 3,750,000 bushels of grain, most of which was
corn and oats, but a little wheat and barley. A. Cagwin & Co. handle annually about five hundred thousand bushels
of corn and oats, most of which is shipped direct to the East. The elevator used by this firm was built by Carpenter
& Marsh, and will store from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand bushels of grain. It is owned by M. O. Cagwin.
H. C. Teed, Wheeler & Co., handle about five hundred thousand bushels annually, and have storage room for about
thirty thousand bushels in Michigan Central Elevator. They also handle pressed hay, mill feed and wool, which,
together with grain, they ship East, viz.: to Canada, New England and Pennsylvania. E. R. Knowlton handles about
three hundred thousand bushels of corn and oats, which are shipped East. He has two elevators, one of which was
built by Cagwin, in an early stage of the grain business, and will store about eighteen thousand bushels of shelled
corn, and the other about twelve thousand bushels of oats. His cribbing capacity is about five thousand bushels
of ear corn. J. E. Bush, whose warehouse and elevator stand near the Jefferson Street bridge, handles about six
hundred thousand bushels of con and oats annually, and ships both to the East and to Chicago - to the latter place
by canal. He has storage room for about forty thousand bushels. As will be seen, most of the grain handled in Joliet
is shipped direct to Eastern markets. This is done by the "Cut-off" division of the Michigan Central
Railroad, a very important road for the business of Joliet, as it avoids the delay and expense of shipping by Chicago.
Much of the grain and stock going east over the Chicago & Rock Island and Chicago & Alton Railroads are
here transferred to the "Cut-off" Railroad, and do not go to Chicago at all, which, added to that bought
at this point, makes Joliet quite a center of trade.
Next to the grain interest, and perhaps even surpassing it in importance and as a source of actual wealth to
the city, was stone quarrying. Joliet stone is known throughout the state, and to a considerable extent in many
other states. From the inexhaustible supply of the finest building and flag stone, the large number of stone buildings
and most excellent sidewalks, the city has justly received the pseudonym of the "Stone City." The neighborhood
of Joliet is as prolific of stone as some neighboring sections of coal. Indeed, from a ramble among the quarries,
we should judge the supply to be sufficient almost to build a "Chinese Wall" around the entire state.
So far, it has been impossible to form any accurate idea of the extent or quantity of stone in this vicinity, as
the number of quarries in successful operation required no labor to open them other than the scraping off of the
trash from the surface, and no cause exists for going to any depth for superior qualities of the "raw material."
As pertinent to the subject, we quote from the Geological Survey of Illinois: "Only from twelve to fifteen
feet of beds furnishing 'dimension stone' are now quarried, as the bottom of this brings the quarryman down to
the water level, and the supply has thus far been so abundant as to make deeper explorations unnecessary. * * *
The stone itself is a very compact, fine grained, clinking, magnesian limestone, but thin seams of greenish clay
run irregularly through the whole mass, which, upon long exposure in situations alternately wet and dry, must ultimately
cause the most solid layers to split up. The separation in the quarry into 'ledges,' often twenty four, thirty
and forty inches in thickness, simply results from the presence of somewhat thicker partings of this same greenish,
shaly clay. These beds were formerly described as composed of light buff stone, while them deeper portions of the
quarries now furnish 'blue stone'. The difference results from the difference in amount of oxidation of the small
portion of iron disseminated through the whole mass, the change having resulted from atmospheric influence. The
same change must ultimately take place in all the 'blue stone' which is brought to the surface."
Who was first to engage in quarrying, as a regular business, we have been unable to ascertain, but are of the opinion
that as the city grew, and developed, enterprising individuals gradually and mechanically, as it were, drifted
into it to supply the increasing demand for building stone. M. H. Demmond, who is mentioned on another page as
having built the first stone house in 1835, must have been the first quarryman, though it does not appear that
he extended the business beyond his own immediate wants. From that insignificant beginning the stone business has
continued to increase until it had reached vast proportions, and the quarries in and around Joliet, in ordinary
times, gave employment to more than five hundred men. One of the large quarries here in operation was that of W.
A. Steel, who employed a large number of men, and shipped immense quantities of stone to every part of the country,
and commanded a large trade throughout this state, having shipped some sixty thousand carloads to the Government
works at Rock Island alone. The custom houses at Des Moines, Iowa, and Madison, Wisconsin, and the capitol of Michigan
were built principally from his quarries. But our space forbids a more extended notice of Mr. Steel's well known
quarries. Bruce & Co. had one of the oldest quarries in the vicinity and employed a large number of men. From
having been long in the business, they commanded a large trade and shipped extensively to other sections of the
country. The Joliet Stone Company's quarries were among the largest and best in operation. The company was organized
in 1877, under the state law, with G. H. Munroe, president; G. M. Campbell, secretary and treasurer, and D. C.
Hays, superintendent. They employed from twenty five to one hundred men and had the most complete steam machinery
for sawing and rubbing stone in use. The company purchased and opened a quarry in Alabama, which they worked extensively.
The Werners were largely engaged in the stone business. Charles, William and Adam Werner operated separate quarries,
of which Charles, perhaps, did the largest business. William Davidson & Bro. opened their quarries in 1845,
and shipped largely to different parts of the country. Their quarries were on the Rock Island Railroad and the
canal, thus affording them excellent facilities for shipping. Bannon and Kronrneyer both owned and operated large
quarries, the former on the west side of the river and the latter on the canal, just south of the prison, and had
a large trade both at home and abroad. There were other quarries around the city, perhaps, some of which we believe
were doing but little business while others were standing wholly idle. In this brief glance at the stone interests
of Joliet, it will be seen that the business was one of immense volume and value. Concluding our brief sketch,
we would note the fact that the United States Government had subjected this stone to new and critical tests, as
compared with the stone from all the important quarries in the country, and both the War and Treasury Departments
for years recognized its superiority and drawn on Joliet for immense quantities of it for the erection of public
buildings throughout the country.
But all this stone business passed, and 1928 finds but little rubble stone quarried. The coming of concrete for
buildings and bridges, and roads, created a demand for crushed stone. Today one finds mountains of crushed stone
of several sizes. Trainloads leave Joliet each day for Chicago and other cities.
The following "Joliet City Directory" published in 1858, is interesting. It shows many changes and shows
how some families and some institutions and perpetuated:
Banks: Merchants and Drovers', Will County, Osgood's Exchange Office, Hatton & Co.'s Exchange Office.
Lawyers: Bowen, S. W., Fellows, E. C., Goodspeed & Bartleson, Hilderbrant, T. Q., Osgood, Uri, Parks &
Elwood, Randal & Snapp, Roberts, J. McStreet, J. E. R. E. Barber will furnish abstracts of titles from Will
Physicians: Bailey, F. K., Bnownson, M. K., Danforth, W., Harwood, E., McArthur, A. L., McCann, J., Meade, A. B.,
Reece, J. H., Simonton, W. B.
Druggists: Brown, J. H., Bray, E. M., Gankhoffer, Jos., McCann, J., Simonton, W. B., Woodruff, G. H.
Ironmongers: Mills, J., Strong & Co.
Land Agents: Bowen, S. W., Parks & Elwood, Reese, J. R., White & Lowe.
Lumber Merchants: Elliott & Co., Fish & Adams, Hardy, Otis, Hollister & Co., Wheeler & Co.
Joliet Stone Works: Anderson, Spencer & Co., Hart, P., Hauser, S., Kelly, J., Walworth & Co., Wilson &
Cunningham, Schwalm, F., Taylor & Co.
Marble Works: Munger, C. E., Ward, G. H.
Iron Founders and Plow Factors: Jones & Cagwin.
Newspapers: True Democrat, Joliet Signal.
Sash and Door Factors and Steam Plaining Mills: Hunt & Ward.
Shingle Factor: King, M. J.
Dry Goods Merchants: Curry, J., Duncan, R. C., Dutton, O. B., Reichert, J., Swain & Hebbard, Worrell Brothers.
Merchant Grocers: Belz, J., Godard, H. B., McEvoy, M., Nicholson, F., Potter & Co., Simonds & Scarrett,
Stone, S. W., Sleeper, D. C., Whittemore, A. F.
Booksellers: Bray, E. M., Fox, O., Savage, E.
Hotels: Bissell's, Central, Exchange, National, Joliet. Cabinet Makers: Blackwell & Kimball, Daley, E., Hecht,
C., Walker, J. H.
Warehousemen: Cagwin & Higginbottom, Dow, A., Wheeler & Co.
Flour Merchants: Howke, Hyde & Co., Grinton, W. Watchmakers and Jewelers: Kinney, T., Verley, J. D., Putney,
Boot and Shoe Merchants: Fuller, N., Mack, F., Shaw Brothers.
Merchant Tailors: Quinn, J. H., Stephens, S., Williams, J. C., Webber, J.
Clothiers: Loner, C., Einstein, M., Mack, Brothers & Co., Kaufman, F., Metzgar, Is.
Milliners: Bray, Miss, Kavanagh, Mrs., Stevens, Mrs., Simonds, Miss.
Dentists: Carpenter, E. R. E., Thompson & Allen. Painters: Adle & White, Beaumont, J., Dorr & Schott,
Wright & Cook.
Carriage and Wagon Makers: House, R., Hyde, E., Lampthg.
Hatter: Keeler, R. R.
Harness Makers: Mendsen, Jas. Rugger & Kaffer, Schrader, H.
Wholesale Liquor Dealers: Devanny & Kelly, Droesler, V. Daguerreian: Balch, H., Compton, Mrs.
Fort Nonsense was built upon the hill now occupied by St. Peter's Lutheran Church. The hill was a round knob
difficult of ascent in those days. The bluff at the right was broken and abrupt, and a silvery cascade during some
seasons of the year, with a cedar lined dell, formed a picturesque background. The fort was of the stockade order,
with a blockhouse at the northeast corner, projecting beyond the stockade, with portholes for downward, as well
as "straight out" shooting. This was built by a part of the regiment which was sent to the relief of
the settlers of Danville, through the efforts of Gurdon S. Hubbard, who was there at the time. In this old fort
the Zarley family, including "our Cal," found a refuge for some weeks. The stockade and blockhouse were
still standing when the writer came to Juliet in 1834, but was torn down soon after, and we presume its logs were
appropriated to the profane use of boiling somebody's dinner. The old blockhouse, however, served during one summer
(1834) for the first school taught here by Miss Persis Cleveland, of which more will be said when we come to schools.
The Historical Joliet Mound. - Mrs. John Frazer, 624 Hamilton Street, Lockport, formerly of Hawley's Hill, now
known as Mount Hawley in Homer Township, contributed the following account of Joliet Mound. This account was published
in the Joliet News in 1913.
"One of the time honored landmarks in this vicinity is the Joliet Mound. The pioneers knew it as one of the
most beautiful and picturesque bits of scenery in this section of the country. Even as far back as 1877, it had
not yet been robbed of its beauty in forest and native shrubs and flowers. One of the News fraternity was superintendent
of a little Sunday school at the east of this Mound. At that time Jacob Stryker was the moving spirit in the original
Mound corporation that manufactured tile of various kinds. A very well written article is herewith published regarding
the business history of the plant. Next Monday, what there is left of the machinery and utilities will be sold
at public auction by Fred R. Stryker. There will be many regrets in losing the Stryker family in this vicinity,
as they have been active in every good word and work. Here is the article above referred to:
The site known for these many years as the "Mound," was, in its original state, a very beautiful spot,
it being an elevation averaging about 80 feet in height, and about twenty four acres in extent. Large trees bordered
its sides, and its grassy expanse with trees at picturesque intervals, made a natural park commanding a charming
view of the surrounding country.
But being a "thing of beauty" did not insure its being a "joy forever," unless one counts as
joy the financial gain reaped from its destruction.
The uppermost stratum of this glacial deposit was about 60 feet in depth, and consisted of coarse gravel. A great
part of this gravel was removed and shipped in boats on the I. & M. canal to Chicago, where it was used to
This first stratum was underlaid with potter's clay to a depth averaging 12 feet. Underneath this were large boulders,
hard pan and sand deposit.
In the year 1858 the ground was broken by the three circuit judges of Cook county, J. M. Wilson, Grant Goodrich
and W. W. Farewell. These men were the organizers and first officers of the Joliet Mound Co. It was not incorporated
until 1862. It was the first factory of its kind west of Ohio, and one of the first in the country.
For over 20 years, from the time of its organization, the products manufactured were fire brick, bath brick and
sewer, pipe. The material for the same was shipped on the I. & M. canal in boats from La Salle county. The
shipping facilities were excellent at that time, due to the proximity of the canal and the private slip and wharf
constructed by the company. In later years the shipping facilities were made still better by the C. R. I. &
P. railroad running through the property for about three fourths of a mile. At a still later date a street railway
was constructed north of the property, and an electric railway on the south.
Later a change took place in the officers of the corporation. Due to the panic of 1873, the organizers were financially
embarrassed, and the property went through a long litigation and was re-organized in 1880 by the present stockholders
who were their creditors.
The factory was rebuilt and transformed into an exclusive drain tile factory. This change necessitated the remodeling
and rebuilding of the works. This was done under the supervision of F. R. Stryker, who, since that date, has been
general manager of the works, and is now closing out the business. The company was compelled to stop manufacturing
tile for want of material.
During the 32 years there was produced over one hundred million feet of drain tile ranging in size from 3 to 18
inches in diameter. It may be of interest to know that the patterns for the first power tile machine manufactured
were built and patented in the shop of the Joliet Mound Co.
During a period of 35 years there were a number of the workmen who labored continuously in the works from 10 to
30 years, and during this time all the horses which became disabled or aged were kept on the premises while able
to enjoy life, and at the end of that time were shot. The manager never allowed an animal that did good service
to go into the market.
The Mound elevation is now all gone and the ground leveled and prepared for sub divisions. The old landmark will
soon be a thing of the past.
The following tradition is from Historical Edition of Joliet News published in 1884:
There is an interesting tradition of this period which relates to Mound Joliet. The great Indian Chief Pontiac,
of Michigan, could not be reconciled to this transfer to the English whom he cordially hated. He continued to contest
their claims to possession, and beseiged Detroit for six months, but was finally worsted. After a treaty had been
concluded between the English and the Western tribes in 1764, disgusted with the outcome he left the region where
he had been for so many years a great leader and warrior, and with the remnant of his Ottawa warriors (about 200)
with their families, retired farther West. According to a tradition, which we are disposed to accept as true, he
settled on the banks of the beautiful Kankakee near the present city of Wilmington. The same tradition gives us
an account of his death, altogether different from the one found in most early histories of the time. He had merged
the remnant of his tribe into that of the Pottawattamies, who disputed with the Illinois the possession of Northern
Illinois. In 1769 a council of the two nations was called at Mound Joliet to settle these claims. During a speech
which Pontiac was making in behalf of the tribe with which he had identified his fortunes, he was assassinated
in the most cowardly manner by Kineboo, head Chief of the Illinois. This act of treachery not only broke up the
council, but led to a long and bloody war which resulted in the destruction of the great Illinois village "La
Vantam," which occupied the ground where the town of Utica was laid off in 1835, and to the tragedy of Starved
Rock, and to the almost complete destruction of the once great nation of the Illinois.
Building. - The building record for July, 1928, sets a new high mark in construction in Joliet. It means that Joliet
has a good future. The following account is from the Herald News:
"The greatest month in the history of Joliet construction has just passed with the issuance of nearly a million
and a half dollars in permits by the city building inspector.
Two factories, a large office building, a distributing plant for the Standard Oil Company, a garage, a clinic,
a church and a store are included in permits totaling $1,386,635 issued during July.
The figure is more than five times the total for June. Permits for $261,300 building were issued during that month.
The nearest approach this year was made in April when about one third as much building was allowed. The total then
These figures for July would be considerably augmented with the addition of building outside of the city, according
to John F. Neiswender, city building inspector.
The Kaiser-Ducett company has three contracts outside the city which amount to $450,000. There is about $350,000
in residential building going on outside of the city. These prospects have been included in the amount listed for
July by the building inspector.
This leaves $564,068 which consists of building in the downtown and residential districts alone, and $22,567 in
repairs and remodeling.
The largest permit for the month was $350,000 issued to the Public Service Company for the building in process
of construction at Ottawa and Cass streets. The building will eventually comprise ten stories to be used as quarters
for the company's offices and displays, quarters for the Western United Gas and Electric Company and general office
Hansen and Petersen are in charge of construction to be finished shortly after the first of the year.
The Kaiser-Ducett Company is constructing a $200,000 distributing plant for the Standard Oil Company on its property
on Cass street, near the Farrell Manufacturing plant.
Three large buildings and several smaller structures are included in the plant to be used for the distribution
of petroleum products of the oil company in the northern Illinois territory outside of Cook County.
This company also has a contract for a new felt mill for the Ruberoid Company which will represent an investment
of approximately $200,000 when completed. The building is being put up to house machinery for a complete process
in the manufacture of the company's products.
The Watson garage is under construction on West Jefferson Street. The building when completed will have cost $30,000.
A building to cost $37,500 will house the Woodruff Clinic at Ottawa and Webster streets.
A new church is being erected by the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church listed with the building inspector at $30,000.
The remainder of the construction is made up of smaller shops and residential buildings together with repair and
remodeling jobs going on about the city.
More than $1,335,000 is represented in twelve large building projects now in process in and about the city.
Some of these are represented in the total figure of $1,386,635 in building permits for July, the largest in the
history of Joliet. Others were started months ago. Five of these buildings will be finished early in the fall.
Concrete pouring for the foundation of the Public Service building the largest of these, is now finished and the
erection of steel about to begin. The building represents an investment of $350,000.
Work on buildings to be used as a distributing plant for the Standard Oil Company, on its property on Cass Street
near the Farrell Manufacturing plant is well under way. The work is being done by Kaiser-Ducett Company and will
Steel work is completed on the $140,000 building to house Dinet and Company at Ottawa and Cass streets Efforts
are being made to have the building ready for occupancy some time in October.
One of the features will be an open court in the center of the building from the first to the third stories. The
court, 36 feet long by 25 feet wide, will be so arranged that every portion of the store will obtain an ample amount
Steel is beginning to go up for the Sears-Roebuck building on Ottawa Street. The building is to cost $85,000.
Excavation has been finished for the new Woodruff Clinic being erected on the northeast corner of Ottawa and Webster
streets, and work on masonry is being started.
The building will be two stories high, approximately 65 by 75 feet, fronting on Ottawa Street.
It will be built of steel and tile with a stucco exterior finish. The architectural design will be similar to the
Chamber of Commerce.
On the first floor of the building there will be a central reception room similar to the patio in the Chamber
of Commerce. There will be a mezzanine balcony on the second floor, around which the offices of doctors, will be
located. Another reception room will be provided on the second floor. The building is to cost $50,000.
Excavations for a new $30,000 building for the Watson garage are being finished on Jefferson Street.
Schools. - The following year's report of the Joliet City Schools is interesting, especially when presented along
with earlier history. The report covers the school year ending on July 1, 1928.
When the city school board closed its fiscal year July 1, its books show that it had a balance of $3,242.31 according
to the annual report that is being compiled by Miss Hazel Cowell, assistant county superintendent of schools.
The balance this year is approximately a thousand dollars less than that of last year.
The report shows that the receipts of the city schools for the past year were $642,686.53 and the expenditures
The biggest item in the list of expenditures is that of salaries which amount to $375,473.63.
It cost $555,444.22 to operate the city schools last year. This figure included salaries, repairs to buildings
and grounds, replacement of equipment and all maintenance costs. Added to this total is $40,000 applied on the
principal of the bonded indebtedness and $44,000 interest on bonds. The bonded indebtedness of the city school
at this time is $870,000.
It cost the high school $529,676.26 to operate that school and the junior college. In addition to these expenses
the high school board paid out $60,000 on the principal of the bonded indebtedness and $46,498.22 on interest.
Total receipts for the high school board were $708,200.34 so that it had a balance on July 1, of $72,025.86, the
Penitentiary. - In 1857, the Legislature authorized the building of a new penitentiary, to be located at Joliet.
Commissioners were appointed to superintend the work. They purchased a tract of land on Section 3 of this township,
of 72.19 acres, with a front on the Canal of 55 rods. No better selection could probably have been made. The ground
is underlaid by our limestone strata to such a depth as to render all tunneling out an impossibility. There was
a fine natural spring on the property, and considerable stone, valuable for its construction, and large quarries
in the vicinity. The Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad passes between it and the Canal
Boyington & Wheelock, of Chicago, were selected as the architects, and a most extensive and beautiful plan
was projected. John B. Preston was appointed superintendent of construction and engineer, but served only a short
time, as his duties as superintendent of the Canal required his time. On his resignation, George R. McGregor was
appointed to fill the place. Work was commenced in August, 1857, and by January 1, 1858, $125,000 of work was under
contract with Sanger & Casey. Sixteen acres were inclosed by a wall six feet thick and twenty five feet high.
A beautiful warden's house occupying the center of the south front, with wings which contain the cells, was commenced
on the plan drawn by the architects we have named, furnishing 900 congregate cells and 100 solitary and 100 female.
In May, 1859, prisoners began to be removed from Alton, and by June, 1860, all were removed.
At the start, the prison was leased, but in June, 1867, the state assumed control, and three commissioners were
temporarily appointed. They were subsequently elected by the people. A warden, deputy warden, chaplain, matron
and physician were chosen, and the work has been completed on the original plan. Within the walls, also, many buildings,
sheds, etc., necessary for the mechanical operations carried on, have been from time to time erected, and for many
years the walls inclosed an immense amount of mechanical and manufacturing establishments, and it was a vast hive
of industries, where those who have forfeited their right to freedom are required to serve the state.
The original estimate of the cost was $550,000. The sum of $300,000 was originally appropriated to operate it.
In 1869, $350,000 more were appropriated, and in 1871, $175,000. In 1871, the law was revised for its government,
and the appointment of commissioners vested in the governor and subject to his removal. The commissioners were
also authorized to lease the labor of the convicts, and this was the plan now pursued as far as possible. During
the last year of Gov. Palmer's administration the institution became self sustaining. The leasing ceased in 1906.
Very little manufacturing is done now (1928).
The outstanding features which characterize and differentiate the New Illinois State Penitentiary from others may
be enumerated as follows:
1. System of housing wherein are combined complete and efficient supervision, ample security, and healthful, sanitary
"rooms" rather than "cages."
2. A system of classification and segregation accomplished by dividing the "yard" into sections corresponding
to the different "grades" whereby it is possible to house, feed, work and allow recreation to each class
by itself and permitting the application of different kinds of treatment best suited to meet the needs of individual
3. A system of co-operation and co-ordination between the divisions of Criminology, Prisons, and Pardons and Paroles,
whereby each has the benefits of the experience of the others.
The work of constructing the new Illinois State Penitentiary is in charge of "The Penitentiary Commission,"
created by an act of the Illinois Legislature in 1907. The original commission consisted of Mr. John Lambert, of
Joliet; Mr. James A. Patten, of Evanston; and Mr. Ira C. Copley, of Aurora. Upon the death of Mr. Lambert, Mr Leslie
C. Small, of Kankakee, was appointed, and became the secretary of the commission. The commissioners served without
pay. They have devoted much time and study over a number of years. They selected Mr. W. Carbys Zimmerman (of the
firm of Zimmerman, Saxe & Zimmerman), of Chicago, as the architect. Months of special study and research throughout
this and many European countries were devoted to the project before even tentative plans were drawn. Nearly every
important penal institution in the United States, England, Holland, France, Germany, Italy, and even the new prisons
of Egypt and Greece, were visited by the architect, and those in charge were interviewed at length not alone upon
planning and construction matters, but also upon administrative systems. The new Illinois Penitentiary of today
is the result of intensive and continuous study as the work has progressed from year to year and, to quote, "It
contains the most advanced and forward looking constructive ideas developed in prison work in the United States
or any European country."
The prison proper is located about in the center of the "State Farm" of 2,193 acres, one and one half
miles west of Lockport and about six and one half miles northwest of the Old Joliet Prison. The "yard"
contains 64 acres (being the largest known), and is surrounded by a smooth concrete wall 114 miles long and 33
feet high, 14 inches thick at the top and 24 inches at the bottom, and in its building new principles of engineering
were applied which have been adopted by other states. All the buildings are of fireproof construction, - concrete,
brick, steel, and "wire" glass, and have been constructed very largely by inmate labor, under competent
supervision. Mr. Henry W. Tomlinson has been the superintendent of constuction from the beginning of the first
building, which was started August 25, 1916.
The radical difference between the new Illinois prison and all other modern institutions is in the design of the
housing arrangements. In the circular cell house it has been possible to combine complete and efficient supervision,
ample security and healthful, sanitary "rooms" rather than "cages," - while the cell houses
have the same appearance from the outside they will vary in the arrangement of the rooms. The typical cell house
has 248 single cells - others will have the rooms larger and grouped to afford dormitory accommodations for from
three to six men.
All of the buildings are of concrete construction faced with light colored pressed brick with terra cotta cornice
and trimmings. The outside walls are insulated against temperature changes.
In the completed new prison there will be eight cell houses, thus permitting classification by means of small units
which is a prerequisite to a successful carrying out of a graded system. Each house has 248 cells.
In the center of each cell house is the officer's observation and control tower which he enters from underground.
From this tower he has a clear view of the interior of each cell at all times, as the cell fronts are made of steel
sash and polished plate "wire" glass. This places the responsibility for thorough and constant supervision
on the officer in charge, where it should be, as he cannot avail himself of the customary excuse that he was about
his duties elsewhere when wrong acts are being committed. From this tower he also controls the entire lighting
and locking systems. The operation of the locking system is by hydraulic pressure.
Tuberculosis has always been a great menace to the health of men in prison. One of the greatest preventives of
this disease is sunlight. In these new cell houses the direct rays of the sun shine into each cell for at least
two hours each day the sun shines. The cells on the south side receive sunlight through their outside windows those
on the north side receive rays directly through the specially designed skylight and the glass fronts of the cells.
In the new institution a typical room or cell is intended for but one inmate. The dimensions are 6' 8" wide,
10' 6" long and 8' 0" high, giving approximately 550 cubic feet of air or five and one half times as
much as is provided in many of the cells in the old Joliet prison. Each of the new cells is provided with a lavatory,
a toilet, steam heat, electric light, a bed, table and chair. At one end is an outside window and at the other
end an overhead transom sash both of which the inmate can control to secure natural cross ventilation and pure
fresh air. The walls and ceilings are painted with an impervious enamel so they can be washed with soap and water
or with an antiseptic if necessary. The ceilings are buff, the walls a soft light green with darker green trimmings,
the colors having been selected in accord with the psychology of color. The effect is cheerful, wholesome and not
coldly "institutional." Every corner is rounded so that there is no place for lodgment of vermin, dirt
or disease germs. Thus the prisoner has such privacy and accommodations as to be protected against the physical
and moral foulness of an adjoining criminal, his every necessity for a healthful life, has been provided and he
is safely housed in a room which although sanitary, is far from luxurious, and in which he can retain his self
The dining room is located in the center of the group of eight cell houses. It is 200 feet in diameter and seats
the entire population of approximately 2,000 at one time. It is encircled by a corridor from which radiate enclosed
passages to each of the eight cell houses and to the chapel, laundry and bath building, work shops, etc. The prisoners
from each dormitory are seated in a section by themselves and, as they enter by eight doors the time required to
serve and seat the entire number or to vacate the building is no more than is required for a single section.
To facilitate the economical serving and secure a more healthful diet by providing the food hot and appetizingly
the cafeteria system is used, service being provided by eight steam tables - located at the points of ingress.
To these stations the dishes are returned to be washed. In the center of the dining hall is a stand for the prison
band of 32 pieces.
Illinois is the first state in the Union to make a successful attempt to get away from the old traditional ideas
of what a prison plan and design should be. The new Illinois State Penitentiary demonstrates the possibility of
introducing new features in prison construction that lend themselves to the program of rehabilitation rather than
to mere punitive handling or treatment of those committed to it as criminals. It is believed by those who have
made an exhaustive study of the treatment of prisoners that the time spent in prison should so be used as a period
of training and development of character as to make it possible for the prisoner, when his time is up, to live
less a menace to society than before. The time was when no thought was given to this, and the result of punitive
methods alone has been that men have often left prison in a bitter and vindictive frame of mind against society
- a potential liability rather than an asset. Even now the popular thought, largely entertained by the public in
general, is that "prison" is a place where transgressors are sent only to be confined, with the idea
of punishment and safe keeping uppermost. This latter is necessary, of course, but, under the laws of a very large
percentage of those committed to prison, - hence, the importance of having a prison so designed that it will lend
itself to such a system of prison management as will insure a practical course of training and development of stable
character during the period of incarceration. The segregation from society while "doing time" is the
punishment - the confinement within barriers is a necessity, but the rehabilitation of the man and his return to
society as an asset is the final objective.
Such a plan has been worked out by the penitentiary commission for the benefit of Illinois, and building operations
have progressed to such a point as to demonstrate the soundness and value of the underlying principles. These are:
Healthful living conditions and security of confinement, combined with segregation and classification, permitting
of different kinds of treatment in preparation for the several stages of advancement in the development of character
under the Progressive Merit System. The basic principle of separation and classification is carried throughout,
so that it is possible to house, feed, work, and allow recreation to each class by itself as completely as though
each were confined in a separate institution, and more completely than has heretofore been possible in any similar
On this date (July 21, 1928) the population of the Illinois State Penitentiary reached 3,239. The new penitentiary
at Stateville leads with 1,601 inmates. The following account is from the Joliet Herald News for July 21, 1928:
"All records for inmates at the state prison here have been shattered as the county in three penal institutions
is above the 3,200 mark.
"Figures obtained from the prison yesterday show 1,469 inmates at the old prison, 1,601 at the new prison
at Stateville, 84 at the honor farm and 85 women inmates, making a total of 3,239.
"There are two factors attributed by Warden Elmer J. Green for the large number of inmates. Warden Green pointed
out that the courts are dealing out longer sentences in an effort to stem crime, while the parole board is requiring
prisoners to serve a longer length of time than was formerly the custom.
"Warden Green is confronted with a hard task of finding employment for this vast army of men. A large number
are used in construction work at the new prison, others in the shops and quarry.
"There are 84 men stationed at the honor farm, but every morning a detail from 60 to 100 men is taken from
the new prison at Stateville to do farm work. Great care must be taken in selecting men for this work because of
the certain amount of liberty allowed the farm workers.
"Men who have proven by their conduct that they merit trust are selected for the farm detail.
"There is very little possibility that the state will be able to abandon the old prison during the next five
years, unless a large sum is appropriated for new cell houses at the Stateville prison."