CADY, Dewitt C.
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 853-854
Among the prominent and successful agriculturalists and stock raisers of Winnebago County is Dewitt C. CADY, one of the pioneers and representative citizens of Manchester Township [Boone County, IL]. Our subject was born in Oneida County, NY, in 1828, the son of Alvah and Catherine (BROOKINS) CADY, his father a native of the Old Bay State [MA]. The grandparents, Chester and Mary A. (NICHOLS) CADY, were originally from MA, but after the birth of all their children, four sons and four daughters, they removed to NY State and there passed the remainder of their days, the grandfather dying at the age of 84 and the grandmother at the age of 78 years.
The marriage of Alvah CADY and Catherine BROOKINS occurred in Oneida County, NY, and when their son Dewitt C. was three years of age, or in 1831, they removed to near Tyrone, Steuben County, NY, and purchased land. Their tract was covered with heavy timber, but Mr. CADY, who was a strong man and a great worker, went resolutely to work to clear the land. About this time many Eastern people were emigrating Westward and Mrs. and Mrs. CADY determined to try their luck with others.
In 1836, with their five children, this ambitious couple pushed into IL and took up a quarter section in the northwest corner of Boone County, all timber and marsh land. They resided there until after the war, and in 1867 soldl out and moved to South Haven [Van Buren County], MI. There Mrs. CADY died in 1880, when 80 years of age. Mr. CADY survived his wife ten years and died at the home of his son in 1890, when 90 years of age. They were the parents of six sons and one daughter: (1) Francis R., at South Haven, MI; (2) Sylvester B., who died at home when 20 years of age; (3) D. C. (our subject); (4) Chester C., a farmer and mason at Waverly [Bremer County], IA; (5) Mary E., Mrs. CORNELL, of Manchester Township; (6) William H., who died at Iowa Falls [Hardin County], IA, in 1891, when 48 years of age; and (7) Jay, a farmer in MI.
Alvah CADY and wife were the first settlers in Manchester Township, having removed there 10 Nov 1836. They came from NY by Erie Canal and Buffalo, starting in September, and from Buffalo to Chicago on the old steamer "Pennsylvania," Captain COTTON, and John SMITH, mate. There was not a public wharf in Chicago then, nor a public landing place, and tehy had topay 25 cents a hundred for all goods landed. They crossed the Chicago River on a rope ferry and all other streams were forded. They paid $20 for a team to take their goods to Downer's Grove, and there the family remained with an uncle, Hiram, while Alvah CADY and his brother started on foot for the Rock River country, with only the Indian trails to follow. They came to General BROWN's place near Roscoe, and later returned for the family and goods with an ox team and wagons belonging to the latter.
Their first stopping place was St. Charles, where Mr. CADY paid $1 for 100 friction matches, the first he had ever seen, and about one-half of which were worthless. They stalled in the muc on Kite River, near the present site of Rochelle, and had to remain in the woods all night, being seranaded dring that time by prairie wolves. They tried to cross the Kishwaukee River at Belvidere on the new bridge not yet finished, and had a narrow escape from going into the stream. The mother was on foot and blocked the wagon wheel, or the team and load would have fallen into the water. The next stop was made at Drakes, near Beaver Creek [Bond County, IL], and the next place was General BROWN's.
After much trouble, Mr. CADY selected a claim, and in one day erected a log cabin, General BROWN furnishing boards from the nearest sawmill for the floor and roof and for beds. The first school in the [p 854] Township of Manchester was during the winter of 1837-38, which Mrs. CADY taught in her own log cabin, the pupils being her own children and General BROWN's. During the first winter, Mr. CADY worked for wages to support his family, and in addition cut and split enough rails to fence ten acres, his wife and three eldest sons setting up the rails. Thus by the hard work and energy of these sturdy pioneers were made possible the pleasant homes of today.
In those pioneer times, it required a month to get a letter from NY, and 25 cents to get it out of the post office. The nearest post office was Belvidere, 25 miles distant. Mr. CADY, learning that there was a letter for him at the office, went nine miles to borrow the necessary 25 cents, then walked to Belividere, and secured the letter. Opening it, he found it was from a party in Galena requesting his vote. Had the writer been present, it is probable that there would have been one less office-seeker, at least so Mr. CADY said. In the winter of 1837-38, he walked to Southport (now Kenosha, WI), a distance of 65 miles, in one day, and two days later returned home, bring with him some leather with which to make the children's shoes for the winter.
When 28 years of age, our subject married Miss Lavina HILL, of Boone County, and they have resided on their presnt farm since 1867. During the late war Mr. CADY enlisted in Company H, 12th IL Cavalry in 1863, and his brother William, and his cousin, Horace D. CADY, enlisted at the same time. Our subject served until the close of the war, and was mustered out at Houston, TX, in 1866. He then returned to his home and bought the farm he now owns the following year.
Mr. and Mrs. CADY have lost two children: Alice M., who died in 1862, when nearly two years of age, and Sylvester B., whose death occurred in 1868, when 11 years of age, the result of being kicked by a horse. They have five sons and one daughter living: (1) Herbert J., a farmer, who resides in Rock County, WI, married Miss Blanch BEBEE, of Manchester Township; (2) Edward, a carriage maker of Kalamazoo [Kalamazoo County], MI, married Miss Alvira HAINES, of MI; (3) Ray, a young man of 23, is a farmer; (4) Minnie, is at home; (5) Wayne is a young man of 18 years; and (6) Ross, a youth of 15, is quite a farmer with his father.
Mr. CADY does general farming and is also somewhat of a stock raiser, having some good horses on his place, and raises all the cereals but wheat. He has ever been a Republican in politics. He is a member of the Ani-Horse Thief Association, and the L. H. D. Crane Post, No. 52, G. A. R., of Beloit.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.