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Articles & Local History > History Before J.W. GLASSBURN


Submitted by Les Niemi

December 21, 2001 - Les_N

February 12, 1898
We publish below a letter received from our old friend Jacob BALDWIN of Plano, who for many years was a resident of Fairfield, Bureau County, and who has many friends in this section. The letter refers to the early days of this county and proves that Mr. BALDWIN though four score years and ten has a retentive memory.
Mr. Editor,: - I notice that Mr. J.W. GLASSBURN gave you some of his experience of ye olden times, or the early days of this county. As I was there before his advent I thought I would try and recall an incident that occurred shortly after my arrival - in that part of Illinois in the fall of 1854. I left the State of Vermont with my family which consisted of myself, wife and two daughters, and came to Illinois and landed in Bureau county, in Township 18, Range 6, what was called Sodtown and now goes by the name of Thomas. There were few families there then, among the number being a Mr. CARTWRIGHT, Thos. SHERE and N.J. [Noah John] HOGEBOOM. The houses were all log houses and there was one empty. I confiscated that empty house, fixed it up and lived there quite comfortably, considering the house was a small one and had only one room. The walls of the house were made of logs and the roof of "shakes" or large shingles made of hardwood and unshaved. They were laid on ribs three feet apart and poles were placed upon top of the "shakes" to hold them down. There was a small cottonwood tree which stood near the east and an open well near the south-east corner of it, but the well had no water in it. On Saturday, the 20th of January, 1855, I secured the services of N.J. [Noah] HOGEBOOM and together we cleaned out the well and sank a barrel in it and secured plenty of water. It was a pleasant sunshiny day, no snow on the ground then; but that night a strong north wind visited our locality and Sunday morning I found the snow seven feet deep on the south side of my house. I shoveled a tunnel through it to the door and I could walk in the tunnel without stooping and not touching the roof of my tunnel. In the groves the snow lasted about two weeks and during that time our neighbors and ourselves stayed pretty closely at home as we all had plenty to do in looking out for our families and our stock. When the snow went out it went rapidly and the fields were dotted here and there with small lakes and running streams.
You will please excuse my bad writing and any errors I may have made, for remember I am ninety years, seven months and three days old to-day.
Jacob BALDWIN. Plano, Ill.

Les N

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