CRONK, Joel E.
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 1299-1300
Joel E. CRONK, a retired farmer of Belvidere [Boone County, IL], is a native of Dutchess County, NY. He was born 17 Sep 1830, and is a son of Enoch CRONK, who was born in NY on 11 Mar 1804. The father was reared in Dutchess County [NY], and wedded Mary DENNEY, who was born in Dutchess County, NY, 28 Jun 1806. They removed to Tioga County in 1837, and Mr. CRONK purchased a tract of land in company with John THORNE. He made his home in that locality until 1845, when he sold out, and came by way of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to Boone County, IL, being one of its early settlers. Here he lived for a year, and then purchased a tract of wild land in Bonus Township, at $2.25 an acre, and also bought some of the government land at the same time, at $1.25 an acre. On the latter, he built a frame house, 12x20 feet, and made it his home until 1868, when he sold, and purchased a farm on Squaw Prairie [Boone County, IL]. He afterward bought a home in Belvidere, where he resided until his death, 01 Nov 1884. His wife died in Nov 1887. They reared a family of three children: Abbie J., Richard, and Joel E.
As soon as old enough, our subject began to aid his father in the farm labors, and on coming to IL, assisted in the arduous task of developing the wild land. In 1852, however, he left home and made an overland journey to CA. He stated on 10 Apr, and on 21 Sep reached his destination. For a time he engaged in mining, and then went to Scott Valley, where he carried on a ranch, in connection with his brother Richard, until Jan 1853. He then went to Etna Mills [Siskiyou County, CA], where he was employed in a saw mill until autumn, when he returned home by way of the Isthmus of Panama and NY. Here he at once began to buy stock for a return trip across the plains, and started on 11 Apr 1854. For five years he engaged in farming and stock raising in Siskiyou County [CA], after which he made a visit of a few months to his old home. In Jan 1860 he once more went to CA by way of the Isthmus route, and continued to engage in agricultural pursuits and in stock raising for six years, when he returned to IL and settled on the homestead in Boone Township. Upon that farm he resided until 1881, when he purchased his present farm, a portion of which is within the city limits of Belvidere.
On 19 May 1866 Mr. CRONK was married to Miss Lottie BOOMER, who was born in Ellisburgh, Jefferson County, NY, and is a daughter of Allen BOOMER, also a native of Ellisburgh. The latter became a sailor when quite young, and afterwards was Captain of a lake vessel, which he sailed for seven years. During that time he visited Chicago, then know as Ft. Donelson, a small hamlet containing only a few log houses. He was offered 80 acres of land, which is now in the heart of the city, at a nominal price, but, thinking it too swampy to become valuable, would not purchase it. In 1841 he became one of the first settlers of Stephenson County [IL], where he resided for two years, when he purchased a claim on Garden Prairie [p 1300], Boone County.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.