Published in the Kendall County Record, March 16, 1871
Edited & compiled by Elmer Dickson
One day last week we took the morning train at Yorkville and rode as far as Millford, Mellington, or Millington, which three names it bears. From there we walked across to Newark an entirely new route to us.
About 3 ½ miles this side of Millford the train came to a stop. On looking out the window we saw the good-natured countenance of Mr. Jacob Budd welcoming a solitary passenger who got off at the new station of Millbrook. A few planks laid together was all there is now, but as soon as the ground settles, a side track will be put in, the station house built, and the other necessary appurtenances to a station built. The mail is now left there every day. The farmers in that vicinity expect to make Millbrook a paying station. Again we jogged on, while Conductor Williams informed us how the passenger business was increasing. The evening before he had started out of Ottawa with 134 passengers.
A shrill whistle and we were at Mellington, to see Mr. Joseph Jackson who was willing to show the improvements taking place in his embryo city. Mr. Jackson is a pleasant companion and a good businessman. Opposite the depot we say a large frame building going up, two stories high and 30 by 60 feet on the ground. Mr. Potter owns it and it is for a store. Two or three more buildings are put up beside it. Refusing Mr. Jackson’s kind offer of a horse we took Foot & Walker’s line to Newark, expecting a tedious walk.
Going a few rods, on a sandy ridge, we came to the beautiful cemetery in which reposes the remains of so many of the fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, sons and daughters of the people of this vicinity. The enclosure is a large one, filled with many beautiful tablets. Promising ourselves a closer inspection when we returned we journeyed on.
In a few moments we reached the outskirts of Newark, passing many homelike residences on the road. For the first time we passed near Fowler Institute. We found it a good-looking, good-sized building of three stories. It is too near the road and has too little space around it to make it show to advantage. The school had just closed for the winter, and the spring terms begin on the 27th of this month. It is said to be an excellent school and flourishing.
We halted at the store of Lott & Winchell to leave our burden of school money with Mr. Isaac Lott, township treasurer. Found him full of business and better in health. Mr. Winchell was describing the merits of some dress goods to two ladies, which he did with his usual suave manner. The comfortable JP, Mr. Peter S. Lott leaned over the counter and gave us a cordial welcome, while Mr. Bibbins was busy with another customer in the grocery line.
Looking about the store we saw a look of thrift about every thing. The stock is fresh and clean. The dry goods side contained everything from a shirt button to mohair dress goods and a large supply of trimmings and notions filled the showcase. In the center of the store are carpets, ingrain, Brussels, hemp, etc., and many other articles of merchandise. On the east side are the groceries, crockery and glassware. We priced several articles and found them to be selling as low as at any store in the county. It was Monday and we never like to trespass on ladies on "wash-day," so we went to the hotel and had a good, wholesome dinner, (the mid-day meal) well served. As the school bell rang, a call was made on Mr. Johnson, the teacher upstairs. He has a melodeon in the room and has given his pupils instruction in vocal music all winter. With Miss Havenhill as organist, the school sang several songs in excellent style.
We left this room to call on Miss Julia Wright, the teacher of the primary department. The room was full of children from ten years old and down. It was hard for the little folks to remain quiet on that spring day. There were 69 scholars enrolled, altogether too many for one teacher. Newark should have three departments during the fall and winter terms. Miss Wright is a careful, painstaking teacher and works hard to keep those restless little beings in order. The school lot should have a fence around it.
On the way down we noticed a sign, bigger than the house it was on, bearing the words, "Nichols Winter Garden." Wondering what such a distinguished name could cover, we inquired of a gentleman and was told it was a saloon, ball alley (bowling alley), livery stable, pigeon-hole, and many other articles "too numerous to mention."
On the street we were met by a friend who told us of a pleasant affair that lately occurred at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Simeon Brown, on the 30th anniversary of their wedding day. A large number of friends from Sandwich, Newark and Lisbon were present and had a jovial, happy evening. They left Mrs. Brown the richer by many beautiful presents when they departed. May they live to see the Golden Wedding, and celebrate the Diamond one also.
Called on Mr. Hanchett in his pleasant photography gallery. While he was taking the head off a young man we looked at the pictures. Hanchett has a good room.
Made the acquaintance of Mr. Bingham the shoemaker. He is a good workman and has the confidence of his many patrons. Saw Clark Havenhill ride into town with many expressions of disgust at the mud, having plowed his way from his home six miles away.
The people here are active in railroad matters, and are making strenuous efforts to raise funds for the Joliet, Newark and Mendota Company. The new route for the road will cross the C. B. & Q. Railroad seven miles west of Mendota. The junction with the Fox River Road will be at Sheridan. Of course this road will make an excellent business center of Newark, but will hurt Millford.
Time was passing and we must hasten to Millford. Again arriving at the cemetery we went in to look for there is a certain fascination about that city of our final resting place that draws everyone to muse over the names on the headstones. As we passed along between the stones, noting their familiar names, we suddenly came to an evergreen grove and upon the grave of our old friend and brother R. W. Carns. We never met a better man. As we stood there we thought of his many Christian words and acts, and good advice he had given us when he lived in Yorkville. It took no great stretch of the imagination to see the form of Father Carns in the better world. How far our musings would have gone we know not, when a shrill whistle aroused us and we heard the approaching train. We started, but knew we could not make it, though our pace was rapid. Descending the hill we heard the bell ring and "Chough! Chough!" of the engine.
We were booked for Mellington until the freight came about nine o’clock. Making the best of the situation we resolved to see the sights in Millford. With that intention strolled through the streets till we came to the gristmill where we found Major Biddulph, a new partner in the mill. He is associated with Mrs. Whitfield as Biddulph & Whitfield. This is an excellent mill, working three runs of stones, and is well adapted to the business. They were engaged last week in grinding corn and shipping the meal to Batavia for feed, which they did at the low price of $17 per ton. Here we made the acquaintance of Mr. Andrew M. Shonts, who heartily endorsed the Record.
On crossing the river we noticed that the dam had an insecure look. The south end being on very low ground and ending near a small creek. The woolen mill stands on the right bank of the river. The Cunningham Brothers now run the mill. We went through the various departments alone. We took our own time to watch the mysterious movements of the carding machines, looms, spinning-jack, teasing machines, etc. The factory is run economically and is paying the proprietors. We saw some handsome clothes, looking as well as the best cashmeres in the stores. There were twelve or fifteen hands at work. With the present railroad facilities for shipping the factory will grow in dimensions.
There is but one store in the place and that is a small room. It is well stocked with goods of all kinds. The post office is also located in the store. There is one saloon that furnishes fluid refreshments for those who desire. A large, stone shop attracts attention. In it is carried on a blacksmith shop and wagon factory. The business in this shop will be extended as the town grows.
Returning to the depot we made the acquaintance of Mr. Halsey, station agent and telegraph operator. We spent a pleasant evening as he and friend Jackson told stories to while away the hour. Halsey told several good ones in which Gilchrist, the staid and sturdy fellow, figured as a joker and good fellow. Mr. Halsey is an active businessman and the people all like him as an agent. The freight train was an hour behind schedule and it was ten o’clock when we started for the county seat.
Jogging along at a good pace, when within two miles of Yorkville our
car stopped. The conductor, brakeman and passengers rushed out to see the
cause and behold the train going around a curve minus the two rear cars.
The "draw-head" had pulled out and left us in the dark. We expected to
remain there until the train reached Yorkville and returned, but the engineer
soon discovered his loss and came back to us. The coupling was made with
a chain, and at eleven o’clock we got off at Yorkville, glad to get home
after so hard a day’s work.
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