Volume Twelve

No. 1


February, 1971



Knowledge of the past and its heritage is of great significance when it enters into the present, but not otherwise. . . .  The past is a great resource for the imagination; it adds a new dimension to life, but on condition that it be seen as the past to the present, and not as another and disconnected world. John Dewey





Some accomplishments achieved in 1970, and definite goals for 1971 - will be ably presented, under the direction of Mary Snow, Program Chairman.Refreshments will be served by Mrs. Herbert Anderson and her committee. This part of the program will be preceded by the election of officers.  The following slate is proposed by the Nominating Committee:



Vice President



Trustee for Two Years

Trustee for Two Years

Mrs. Earl (Mary Ann)

Judd Harold Patterson

Mrs. Norman (Helen) Johnson

Neil J. Conde

Jr. Philip R. Elfstrom

Ed Hampton


Miss Mary Snow substituted for the President Harold Patterson, and also conducted the program at our last meeting, December 13, 1970.  Among the items of business - It was moved by Mrs. Carl Johnson and duly seconded and passed that the annual society dues be raised to $2.00 per member and $3.00 per couple. Miss Snow compared the nicknames; theme topics, etc. in the 1912 High School Annual with the present day names and topics.  She showed an interesting display of old Batavia photos and then a movie of Christmas customs.  


About forty people were in attendance despite the many conflicting meetings.We thank all of the outgoing officers, Harold Patterson as President, Miss Mary Snow as Vice President, Mrs. Walter Wood as Secretary, Herbert Carlson as Treasurer and Jeff Schielke as Trustee, for giving much time and conscientious service to their jobs.  We know that this loyalty to the society will continue. We thank the Furnas Electric Company for typing, printing and addressing the four issues of the Newsletter the past year.  We are most grateful. Since completing our last Newsletter, we have received eight group photos of Batavia people from Donald Hill; also a tax receipt for 1872 from Miss Helen Rodewald.  We are most grateful to them.This is our 45th consecutive issue of the Newsletter, The Society is starting its eleventh year of service to Batavia.Last month we received a letter from William B. VanNortwick of New York City stating that he has finished writing the book about the VanNortwick Family.  It is now in the hands of the printers.We have been able to help two inquirers for information this past month.  


A lady wanted knowledge of three Batavia Civil War veterans who were her ancestors.  The other, a man, is writing a book on Windmills and we have been able to give him a wealth of information on this subject.  We have written him three times in answer to his questions and have sent him ten pages of xeroxed material. The following happened one hundred years ago and certainly couldn't happen today - - we wouldn't want it to if it could . . . A market gunner boasted in the "American Sportsman" in 1870 of killing 6000 ducks in one season near Chicago.Have you visited the Stone Mill Museum owned by the Sandwich Historical Society?  One who did recently said that it was most interesting and instructive.  The Herald gave a description of the museum in the September 16, 1970 issue.  

It is open every Sunday afternoon from 1 to 5.  Guides are always present. The museum is located on East Railroad Street, just one block north of Route 34.  Direction signs are on Route 34.

Our book Batavia: Past and Present makes a very fine gift at any time of the year to any present or former Batavian at $1.00 each.




April 21          

R. W. Thickens was issued a patent for a Farmer’s Boiler.


April 23          

Rev. W. H. Gloss; Pastor of the M E. Church, will preach in the German Church, East Batavia, at 3:00 P M.


May 2 

The Singing Class, under the direction of Prof. S. L. Fish, gave a concert in the West Side School Hall.


November 3   

The Swedish Mission (present Evangelical Covenant) Church was organized in the Anderson Hall (Smith & Crane and presently the Tri-City Warehouse Sales Building).  

The original members were: Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Gronlund Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Redborg Mr. and Mrs. John Redborg Mr. and Mrs. John F. Freedlund Mr. and Mrs. P. A. Russell Mr. and Mrs. John Lind Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wenberg, Sr.



Contracts were let for the construction of a stone building at the Kane County Poor Farm.  This was completed in December at a cost of $18.000.




We had an inquiry the other day about the history of the glass case of stuffed birds that is now in the Alice Gustafson School.  We do not know the actual age of the case.  Arnold Benson told my brother that the case was given to the school by E. G. Hobler but he didn’t know when.  We remember that it was on the stair landing of the present School for Exceptional Children. Miss Sigred Johnson remembers when she was in the third grade, that it was in this school, and so can I, by stretching my memory - that was seventy years ago.  From there it traveled to the Blaine Street School and from there to the Alice Gustafson School.

My sister has a better memory than I have.  She calls to mind two other cases of stuffed birds. One was in Doctor O. W. Hubbard’s office on the second floor of the Anderson Block.  She called Doctor Hubbard’s daughter, Mrs. O. Lester Jones, to see if she knew what happened to this case of birds, Vendela said that it was in their barn until recently when she gave it away. The third case of birds was in the front hall of Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Desrosier’s residence, now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Ander, 434 W. Wilson Street. No one seems to know what happened to this case. Mr. Desrosier, A French-Canadian, was a Civil War veteran. Can you supply us with any more information about any of these three cases? Or, do you know of any other cases of stuffed birds in town?  


We would appreciate hearing from you if you do. We understand that one of the birds in the school case is the long-extinct passenger pigeon.  These, at one time were so plentiful that they darkened the sky for hours when they were in flight.E. G.. Hobler was born near Batavia in 1860, married Miss Harriet Wells of Geneva.  They had one son, Atherton and lived in the limestone house formerly owned by William Van Nortwick, later the Home Ec Building and torn down to make way for the Junior High School Gym and Auditorium.


I thank Miss Erma Jeffery for spotting an error in my “49er” article last month.  Cornelius B. Conde was a cooper, a maker of barrels and not a maker of wagons.


A Special Message From The Officers


To begin the year, 1971, alive and healthy, is an accomplishment and blessing. The retiring officers and directors wish to thank all the members and the general public for their support in 1970.  We know our actions or inactions didn’t please everybody, but we did our best. Our newly appointed membership committee did real well, under the chairmanship of Sadie Lundberg.  We have 270 on our mailing list and the moral support and interest of many others interested in preserving Batavia History, and antique items.  


Our Museum should be a reality, by this summer, (with your support). We have purchased a Directory of Historical Museums, which we will place in our Public Library, as a resource item.  It gives the location, specialty, hours, and charges, if any, of nearly all the Museums in the D, S. and some in foreign countries. As retiring President, it has been a privilege and joy to have done my duty, to the best of my ability for the Batavia Historical Society.


Harold O. Patterson