1885 History of Village of Lyndon, Whiteside County, IL
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Lyndon Village 1885
Portrait & Biographical Album of Whitside Co. 1885


This village is situated on the western banks of Rock River. Its site is one of exceeding beauty, with superior natural advantages; and had the business affairs of this town gone on as they had been planned, it would now be the foremost town in the county. But men may, with commendable judgment, map out the future of a town, yet, after all, there is a higher power that determines its destinies. The first house put up in the old town of Lyndon was by Dr. Augustus SMITH, in 1836. It was occupied afterwards for a store and dwelling.

In the winter of 1837-8 John ROY opened the store, bringing his goods all the way from Ohio. It was not a very large stock, as might be expected, yet the people felt happy and jubilant over the event.

John ROY must have been an enterprising man, for we find him in 1838 opening a "tavern," speaking after the manner of those days. This was in a frame building, which is still standing.

The old part of Lyndon was platted in 1836, on the fractional 40 acres of the northeast quarter of section 21. It was laid out by Mr. ROOD, a surveyor. William D. DUDLEY, A. R. HAMILTON, C. G. WOODRUFF, Dr. Augustus SMITH and Mr. LUSK were theprojectors. An addition, called Sperry's was laid out on section 16, southeast quarter, in 1848. The next was the railroad addition, laid out when the railroad came through, in 1869. The "mill" addition, which was platted in 1872, was the next. This was followed by Fitch & Wilkins' Addition.

In 1839, the question came up for selecting the county seat of Whiteside county. Chauncy G. WOODRUFF and Adam R. HAMILTON were appointed under the act of the General Assembly, passed in 1839, to superintend an election to determine this question. There were several aspiring towns which desired to be selected. The election was held the first Monday in May, 1839, and Lyndon, Albany, Fulton, Prophetstown, Union Grove and Sterling were voted for, but no choice was made. The act provided that a majority of the votes cast should determine the place for the seat, and that an election should be held every month until such a majority was given. Three other elections were held, with no better result, the minority towns, however, dropping out. By the time the September election came the vote had narrowed down between Lyndon and Sterling. The election was held, and the important issue was decided in favor of Lyndon, and the county seat was accordingly located at this place. The town agreed to give, for county purposes, the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 16, on condition that the county seat be located here; which was done.

The first term of the Circuit Court held in Lyndon and the first in the county in April, 1840, in a partially finished house, which was owned by T. C. GOULD. Hon. Daniel Stone presided. R. L. WILLSON was clerk, and J. W. McLemore  Acting Sheriff.

Three terms of Court were held here, when the county seat, by order of the County Commissioners, was removed to Sterling, and the Circuit Court and Commissioners' Court was ordered to be holden there. A recount of the vote taken for the removal of the county seat, upon application, was granted by the County Commissioners; Court. Upon an examination of the poll-books it was found that the vote of Sterling Precinct had been rejected, and with this vote the election would place the county seat at Sterling; and this was the reason given by the County Commissioners for their action. Further history of this Court and county-seat affairs is givenin the general history of the county.

The Indians were quite numerous around and about Lyndon during the first years ofits settlement. Having large camps across the river toward Prophetstown, they would come over in squads, begging and picking up what they could get. they were not troublesome, however.

In 1869, the track of the Rock Island Branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad was completed and a depot made near the town. This gave new hope to the people, and they looked for a rapid development of the place. The line ran along outside of the limits; and in order that their corporation might be within a railroad, or the railroad be within their corporation, they laid out a new addition, taking in the station.

In April, 1872, the citizens met to organize into a village corporation, under the organization act. The election for selecting village officials was held that month, at the town hall, and the following citizens were chosen Trustees: John W. HAZARD, A. M. McKERY, C. C. SWEENEY, Leander CHURCH and J. L. BATES. The village Board, composed of these gentlemen, met May 2 following, at the residence of Dr. A. P. HOLT, to complete their village organization. J. W. HAZARD was chosen President, E. W. HAZARD, Clerk, and Wm. M. BURKITT, Treasurer.

During this year the Lyndon Hydraulic Manufacturing company was organized, with a capital stock of $60,000. Its object was to furnish water power for manufacturing purposes. They constructed a dam across Rock River, a short distance above the town, with a head of about eight feet, and giving a large water-power. A large flouring-mill was also erected by this company, called the Lyndon Mills. The following year a paper-mill was completed near the dam. It was an extensive establishment, and should have been a success. It had a capacity of manufacturing 2,000 tons of paper per year. Following this, and located near, was another flouring-mill, which was erected by Putman & Willson.

In 1875, the Farmers' Co-operative Manufacturing Company was organized. Their establishment was completed in 1876. They erected a large brick building, and had in it a full set of machinery for manufacturing agricultural implements.

It is sad to write of wrecks, and we pass over these grand prospects ofman's brain. They were like the house that was built on the sand. They differ only in this: they still stand as monuments of failure. Failure of plans badly executed, however well they have been conceived, rise up before you. They stand like ghosts of departed hopes. The dam in the first place was poorly constructed, and inadequate to resist for any length of time the power behind it. In an evil hour a break was made; it was not mended; the dam went down the river, and with it the hopes of Lyndon.

The estimated population of Lyndon now is about 300.

Good fortune does not always fall to the worthy, yet sometimes it visits them, which it did in the case of a very worthy young lady of this town, the daughter of Mr. W. M. PATRICK, publisher of the Advocate. A humorous paper in New York, known as the Tid-Bits, offered a reward of a thousand-dollar upright piano for the best story, selected or original, to be decided by a committee appointed especially for the purpose. Miss Mary L. PATRICK selected a story and sent it on, merely writing her name on the piece. She thoughtno more about it after a few days had passed, until she received a notice from the paper, stating that she had won the prize, and asking how and where to send it.

She received the piano in due time, and it proved to be a very beautiful one, with an excellent tone. The design of the case is very artistic, and ismade of bur-walnut and butternut wood. There were 2,241 pieces sent in. Miss Mary justly feels proud of her success.


C. L. PARKHURST has a general store, deals in hardware and agricultural implements, and runs a tinshop. Parmenter & Bros. are general dealers inmerchandise, grain and coal. M. A. McKERG manufactures and deals inharness and saddlery. Mrs. M. J. STEWARD deals in millinery, fancy goods, and has a dressmaking establishment. Blacksmithing is done by A. S. HAZARD and James ROACH. W. H. ROBINSON has a restaurant and confectionery store. Ira SHERWOOD supplies the boots and shoes for the people and does repairing. The meat market is run by Griswold & Hamilton. G. R. DAY conducts the livery and feed stable. John WHALLON represents the Bar. The physicians and surgeons of the place are O. H. BARTLETT and F. W. CANNON. The Lyndon Hotel is conducted by S. ZIMMERS. He and his lady are always ready to give the weary, or the unweary traveler good entertainment. For good beds and table, and careful attention to the wants of its guests, the Lyndon House ranks among the best hotels in the county. Lyndon is supplied with two mails each way daily. C. W. PARMENTER is the general Postmaster.


The people of Lyndon have a good organ to represent their interests in the Lyndon Advocate, which is published by W. M. PATRICK. The first issue of this paper appeared July 7, 1883. Mr. PATRICK moved his paper from Mendota, where is was published andknown as the Mendota Index. He is an old newspaper man and knows how to conduct a paper in a manner quite satisfactory to his patrons. The Advocate is independent in politics, is published every Saturday, and has a good circulation.


Lyndon has a good graded school, of which W. W. NOYES is the principal, and Miss Dolly SCOTT teacher in the intermediate department, and Miss Agnes McNEIL, of the primary department. This school has enrolled 140 pupils. A full English course is taught, and also vocal music. The Principal's system is to use text books as little as possible. The school buildings of the place are fair.


The CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH - This society was organized June 27, 1836, at the residence of Wm. D. DUDLEY, by Rev. Elisha HAZARD. Adam R. HAMILTON and wife, John M. HAMILTON, Adam R., Jr., Nancy A., Lovica H. and Mary E. HAMILTON, W. D. DUDLEY and wife, Louisa, his daughter, Liberty WALKER, C. G. WOODRUFF and wife and daughter Julia Ann, Ephraim A. HUBBARD and Orem L. TURNER formed the first organization. They held their services in private houses and in the school-house. In 1848 the church building was commenced and the following year finished and dedicated, the Rev. Mr. WILCOX preaching the dedicatory sermon. This was a grout building, and was burned April 8, 1883. Soon after a subscription was started to raise means for a new edifice. The town hall was in the meantime used for holding meetings. The new church structure was completed, and dedicated Dec. 27. 1883. Rev. S. S. MITCHELL, of Iowa, preaching the dedicatory sermon. The first Sunday service was held on Dec. 30 following and in the evening a Sunday-school concert was given. It is a very neat and attractive edifice, and was erected at a cost of $2,600. They have a fine Sunday-school. The Church has about 60 members.

METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH - was organized in 1841, by Revs. W. BUCK and G. L. S. STUFF, in an oldstore building. Leanora HAZARD and Chauncy G. WOODRUFF were the first members. Mr. STUFF is still living and preaching. This society was attached to the Union Grove circuit. Services were held at first inprivate residences. When th town hall was completed, they held their meetings in it. Their first building was a grout structure. It was burned 1882. their present church building was completed in 1884, in spring. Services wereheld in the town hall until their building was finished. their new building is a large, substantial frame structure, 40x60, and cost $2.500. The congregation has a membership of 50. The present pastor is Rev. Edward Brien. A Sabbath-school is connected with the society.

The BAPTIST CHURCH - This society was organized in September, 1839. Meetings were held inprivate residences until the Town Hall was built, wehen it met there. They had quite a following for some years, but never erected a church building. The society disbanded about 20 years ago, there being so few members, nearly all those active in its organization having moved away or died.


MASONIC LODGE NO. 750 - This lodge was instituted July 18, 1876. with 12 charter members. John J. HURLBERT was Master. It was prosperous after its organization, largely increasing its original number. They have a good large hall for holding their sessions, which is well furnished and equipped.

The MODERN WOODMEN of AMERICA have a branch camp in Lyndon, which was organized recently. they have already a large membership. They hold their meetings regularly, in their hall, and are in a flourishing condition.

The young people at one time had a literary society here, and held meetings every two weeks, when original literary articles would be read by its members. J. D. ODELL, now of Morrison, was a prominent member of this society. Time has wrought its changes with this society as well as with manyothers, and it may be recorded now as among the things of the past.

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