Lyndon Township 1885
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Lyndon Township 1885
From the Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL  1885

Lyndon Township

A meeting was held for the organization of this township April 2, 1852, at the school-house. Augustus SMITH was chosen Moderator and W. ANDERSON, Clerk. There were 94 votes cast; resulting in the election of R. G. CLENDENNIN for Supervisor; W. ANDERSON, Clerk; Justus REW, Assessor; Amos CADY, Collector; James COBORN, Overseer of the Poor; Henry DUDLEY, W. S. BOARDMAN and Eli UPTON, Commissioners of the Highway; D. P. MOORE, A. SMITH, Justices of the Peace, and Amos CADY, Constable.

Lyndon Township embraces all that part of congessional (sic) township 20 norht, range 5 east, and township 20 north, range 6 east, lying north of Rock River, and contains 16,799 acres of land. The territory of whichit is composed originally belonged to Crow Creek Precinct. Later on it was connected with Little Rock Pricinct, and afterward it formed, with a part of the territory now belonging to Fenton Township, the Lyndon Precinct. The land is rolling, with a good deal ofprairie. Some parts of the township, it is quite broken. Along Rock River, eand extending back some distance, there is a good deal of bottom land which is very fertile and unexcelled for production. With the exception of a few groves, and on the borders of the river, there is but little original timber in the township. The early settlers in this country were rather above the average pioneer.

Adam R. HAMILTON and family, William D. DUDLEY and family, and Chauncy G. WOODRUFF and family, were the first settlers in what is now known as Lyndon Township, which was early in the summer of 1835, locting on section 19. They came together from New York, traveling by land, and were a month on their journey.

Mr. HAMILTON was born in Massachusetts, Oct. 12, 1971. He married Nancy MILLER, of same State, April 13, 1813. Mrs. HAMILTON died, and Mr. HAMILTON married Miss Annie WOODWARD. By his first wife he had eight children, and by his second wife three, all of whom came with him except Mary, who died in 1823. Mr. WOODRUFF, who was born in New York, in 1797, had three children, who came Nov. 23, 1786. He married Miss Tryphena FITCH, Feb. 11, 1817. By this marriage there were five children, three of whom died before they came West, the other two, William C. and Louisa, came with them. Mr. HAMILTON died Aug. 28, 1865. His wife died several years previous. Mr. WOODRUFF died April 25, 1875, living many years after the death of his wife. W. D. DUDLEY died at his old home in Lyndon, Jan. 25, 1857. His wife is still living, at the advanced age of 72, and for her age is quite active. Many of their children and grandchildren live in Lyndon; the rest are scattered all about the western country.

In 1836, quite an addition was made to the settlement from the East. During this year came Rev. Elisha HAZARD, William O. DUDLEY, Dr. Augustus SMITH, John RAY, Theron CROOK, William FARRINGTON, E. FITCH, Augustus RICE, Perry JEFFERS, and W. W. GILBERT.

Dr. SMITH practiced his profession in Lyndon until 1851. He was the first physician in the town, and a great comfort he was, too, tothose early settlers, who had come from an older civilization into a new and strange country.

Mr. GILBERT farmed for several years. In 1839, he was elected Recorder of the county.

John RAY opened the first store in the township, which was in 1837. He brought his goods from Ohio. Mr. Ray also opened the first tavern in Lyndon. The building was put up by Phylarman DAGGETT. It was a frame building, and is still standing. Elisha HAZARD located on a farm near the "bluff." Amongh those coming in 1837, were David HAZARD, John C. PRATT, Harry SMITH, Phylarman DAGGETT, Solomon and Elexis HUBBARD, Ambrose I. MAXWELL, Wesley ANDERSON, Alpheus CLARK, Brainard ORTON, Benjamin COBURN, D. F. MILLIKAN and Thomas C. GOULD. Miss Artimesia HULCE, who afterwards married Mr. MAXWELL, also came this year with the COBURN family. In 1838-9 AND '40, large additions were made to this settlement, and it began to look more neighborly. Most of these early settlers were men of marked character, and became prominent in the affairs of the country, and did much towards its advancement.

The first wedding in the township was between Theron CROOK and Nancy A. HAMILTON, daughter of Adam R. HAMILTON. This marriage occurred March 3, 1836, and, according to the report of the early settlers, it was made quite a lively affair.

The first child born is now the wife of Dr. Augustus SMITH. The second was Elisha H., son of Mr. and Mrs. David HAZARD, born Dec. 8, 1837. He was drowned in a slogh on his way to a sugar camp at Rock Creek, March 27, 1847. Mr. HAZARD died in November, 1881. Mrs. HAZARD is still living in Lyndon. The first death in the township was that of Liberty WALKER, April 29, 1837. He was buried on a mound near the residence of P. A. BROOKS. Mary A., wife of Dr. Augustus SMITH, was the first female to die. Her death occurred July 16, 1837, was the first person intrred in the Lyndon Cemetery.

William O. DUDLEY taught the first singing-school, which was inthe winter of 1836-37. His class met around at the neighbors' houses. The first school taigjt was by Miss Lucia B. HAMILTON, in her father's cabin, in the spring of 1836. The first school taught by a male teacher was in one of the rooms of Mr. HAMILTON'S house, in the winter of 1837-8. Mr. KNOWLTON was the teacher. The first school building put up was a log one, near A. R. HAMILTON'S residence, at the Corners.

The first blacksmith-shop set up was at the "bluff, " by HAMILTON & DUDLEY. They had purchased in Chicago, on their way out, an outfit for this purpose. Mr.HUBBARD did the work.

These early settlers had a good many privations to endure. They had then to go to Chicago for their supplies. For their mail they went Dixon; and thenif they were fortunate enough to find a letter there for them, they were unfortunate enough to have to pay 25 cents before they could take it out of the postoffice.

John C. PRATT was an active and leading man in Lyndon up to the time of his death, which was in December, 1843.

When the HAZARDS (David and Elisha, with their families), came to Lyndon, there was but one house finished, and none other nearer than Union Grove. David HAZARD located on what is now known as the old town of Lyndon, in October, 1837. Elisha HAZARD, who had come the year previous, joined them here with his family. They fitted up their cabin, which contained one room, 14x14 feet, and the two families - 14 in number - lived there through the winter, and also, as Mrs. HAZARD says, took in a boarder, a man who clerked for Mr. Ray and slept in the store. In the spring the main part of their house was finished, which gave them more room.

The first religious services were held in a cabin 12 feet square, covered with bark, and owned by W. D. DUDLEY. It was built by him for a dwelling. A. R. HAMILTON officiated at this meeting, by reading a sermon. The first sermon really preached was also in this cabin, in June, 1836, by Rev. Elisha HAZARD.

C. G. WOODRUFF was the first Justice of the Peace, and W. D. DUDLEY was the first United States officer in the township, holding the position of Postmaster and mail-carrier.

The first County Court was held in the spring of 1839. at the DUDLEY cabin. Elijah WORTHINGTON, John DODGE and N. G. REYNOLDS were the Commissioners, and Guy RAY was Clerk.

James M. GOODHUE was the first attorney to settle in Lyndon Township. He was an able lawyer and a man of fine ability. He emigrated to Minnesota at an early day, and become quite prominent in the political affairs of that State. He has been dead some years.

The first Fouth-of-July celebration was at Lyndon, and it was celebrated by a dance at Samuel WILLSON'S tavern. The dances were held in those good old days in the day-time. Liquor was iincluded in the bill of fare, and it was "set up" at the conclusion of every sett. Mr. WILLSON had supplied himself quite liberally, as he thougth, with liquors and wines, having purchased one barrel of whisky, five gallons of brandy, and two gallons of rum, and the wine, which was intended more for the ladies. He had some doubts, however, as to his ability to manage the affair successfully, and accordingly sent for J. D. ODELL, and asked him to help him through. On looking over the stock of drinkables, and having a good knowledge of the guests, Mr. ODELL at once saw that the brandy would not hold out. He therefore asked the landlord, who reluctantly gave his consent to allow him to increase the quantity of brandy at the expense of the whisky. They thought the brandy was splendid. The dance went on, and the mirth increased. A heavy drain was made on the favorite brandy cask, and Mr. ODELL was brcoming alarmed lest it should give out. He had th daring to again draw on the whisky barrel, and took from it two more gallons, and put it into the brandy cask. The celebrters then thought it was the best brandy they had ever drank in the West. This nhaced the popularity of that particular cask, and increased the draft on it as the dance went on, and made Mr. ODELL very nervous. As a last resort he put in two more gallons of whisky. When they came again to drink, they all declared it was the best brandy they had ever drank, East or West.

This township is pretty well under cultivation, and it is dotted all over with fine farms and good dwellings. At one time it bid fair to become themost populous township in the county. It had the agricultural advantages, the water facilities, and the location. The scenery is very picturesque, particularly that portion which lies adjacent to Rock River, which meanders along its southwestern border. Another stream waters this township, which rises in section 2, and, coursing southward, empties into the river. The people do their trading mostly at the village of Lyndon, which is also their nearest railroad station and postoffice.

This township is rather remarkable for the production of snakes. Mr. G. R. HAMILTON has an old well which was dug at the "bluffs," in 1835. For many years it has been dry, and has been taken possession of by snakes. Early in the spring of 1882 a neighbor asked Mr. HAMILTON if he knew his old well had become a den for snakes; but he thought it was a joke his friend was playing upon him. Upon examination, however,he says he did find a few. He procured a hook and took out 160, from 2 to 7 feet long; in 1884 he took out 111, from 2 to 6 1/2 feet long; and in 1885 he took out 89m frin 2 to 5 1/2 feet in length, making in all 491 snakes, mostly the horned adder, some blue racers, a few water-snakes and one small rattlesnake.

The Rock Island Branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Rairoad completed its track throught he township in January 1869. It enters on section 1, and, passing diagonally throught he township, goes out on section 30. The Clinton Branch of theChicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad passes through the southwest part of the township on section 30, in a northwesterly and southeasterly direction. This track was completed in 1872.

The census reports of 1880 gave the population of Lyndon Township at 1,157, including the village. It is not thought to have increased in population since that time.

The County Superintendent's report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1884, furnishes the following school statistics: There are nine school districts, each one having frame school-houses, and one graded school, which is at Lyndon village. The value of school property was $8,300. Of persons under 21 years of age there were 513, of whom 350 were of scholastic age, 278 being enrolled. The highest wages paid teachers was $70 per month, and the lowest $20. The tax levy was $2,073.57. There has been a school library.

Robert G. CLENDENNIN 1852-55
Justus REW 1856-62
Lucius E. RICE 1863
John WHALLON 1864
Henry DUDLEY 1865-69
John WAHLLON 1870-72
Justus REW 1873
John WHALLON 1874-77
John LATHE 1878
John WHALLON 1879-80
F. M. BREWER 1881
Samuel A. LANGDON 1882-84
John W. HAZARD 1885

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