Volume Thirteen

No. 1

Consecutive 49


February, 1972



I cannot help but feel that the instinctual nostalgia we are now seeing in the young clearly bespeaks their realization that we older Americans once had something they never had - roots and ties, time to contemplate before having to cope, far less preoccupation with material luxuries and far more intimate involvement with all things living.

- U. S, Senator Thomas J. McIntyre (N. H.)




SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27th, 1972 - 3:00 P. M.

In The Bartholomew Civic Center







Mr. Hauser is working on his Ph. D. at the NIU, dissertation, "History of the Illinois Indian Tribes.” He has been President, later Executive Secretary of the Waubonsee Society of Indian Studies. Refreshments will be served by Miss Ora Mead. Mrs. James Kane and Miss Joanne Kane.


The above program will be preceded by an election of officers. The Civic Center was filled to the doors at our December meeting when the Junior High School Band gave a Christmas concert. Mr. Charles Christiansen talked on the subject, “The Value of Preserving Our Heritage.”  “Our needs,” he said, “are to keep a journal of events, to preserve the landmarks and to actively collect memorabilia. Tomorrow will be too late.


This is a continuing task in a wide-awake community.”

The following slate of officers is proposed by the Nominating Committee:



Vice President



Trustee for two years

Trustee for two years

Trustee to fill vacancy  

Mrs. Earl (Mary Ann) Judd

Harold O. Patterson

Mrs. Norman (Helen) Johnson

Neal J. Conde, Jr.

Mrs. Axel Burkwist

Jeff Schielke

Philip Talbot  


We thank all of our officers who have gone the “second mile" - who have consented to be candidates for officers for this coming year.  The meetings have been "super" this past year.

With the Civic Center so crowded at our December Meeting, we just didn’t have room to spread out the eight group photos of Challenge Company men for you to identify. We will try again at this meeting. Since completing our last Newsletter, we have received artifacts from the following people: Mrs. Charles MaCurdy, Duane Treest (a second lot), Mrs. Laura Liedberg, Miss Jennie E. Larson. Mrs. MaCurdy's artifacts were from the Woman’s Relief Corps which disbanded November 2, 1971. This organization was the auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic. Lately there have been only nine members left and it has been increasingly difficult for them to perform their duties as members. When they received their charter, October 18, 1920, there were 37 members.  


So "Relief Corps No. 325, Town of Batavia, Department of Illinois” is no more. Our gavel, which we start using at this meeting, is a memorial from the Woman’s Relief Corps. In our December Newsletter we stated that a man had called from Denver, Colorado wanting a history of the Newton Wagon Co. This we sent him but later he wrote wanting more information and enclosing a check for $10.00 to the Batavia Historical Society. I quote a paragraph from his letter giving the reason for his interest: "On October 1st, I acquired an old Newton wagon. It had been exposed to the elements for the past sixteen years but still is in remarkable condition; the original paint and striping being intact, but rather badly checked, I plan to completely restore the wagon and use it as a chuck wagon on the ranch." He is also a western artist and a history buff. I sent him nine sheets of Xeroxed material.  


Hurrah for the Newton wagon!


We commend the members of the Plain Dirt Gardeners for the outstanding flower beds in the Center Park.  It was more than a spot of color all summer; it was a harmony of several colors and was noticed by most people in town and by those going through town.  Maybe some day we will become famous and people will say, “Batavia!, Oh that's where the beautiful flower beds are” Wm. B. VanNortwick of New York City tells us that his book about the VanNortwick family will be in our hands by next February.  


It has been a big project. We are growing! We welcome the following new members into our august assemblage:

Mrs. Jean Conde            431 N. Prairie St.                   Batavia

Miss Dorothy McKenna    347 Elm St.                           Batavia

Miss Loretta McKenna     347 Elm St.                           Batavia

Mrs. Lois Robertson        21 S. Mallory Ave.                 Batavia

Rodney Ross                 5335 S. Dorchester                Chicago


We will sell you one or more of our books - Batavia, Illinois Past and Present for $1.00 ea. 

See Miss Eunice Shumway. We extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Ansgar Carlson.  Ansgar died December 19, 1971.  We will miss him.



March 10.

 The Challenge Mill Co. and the Batavia Mills north of it burned down this Sunday afternoon.  The Challenge loss was $45,000, with $20,000 insurance, but because of the tremendous loss to the insurance companies by the Chicago fire in 1871, the Challenge only got $150. in insurance. The Batavia Mills was owned by McKee and Moss.  It contained three run of stone with a capacity of 500 barrels of flour per week.  It was not rebuilt.


April 24.  

The Challenge Co. was rebuilt and in operation again.



The Swedish Bethany Lutheran Church was organized with 52 members dismissed from the Geneva Swedish Lutheran Church.  They purchased the old school house on S. Washington Street (now Lincoln Street) and converted it into a church which was dedicated September 1, 1872.


March 13.  

Charles W. Shumway who has been in business at the same place longer than any other person in Batavia, has sold his hardware store on Batavia Avenue to H. O. Snow and Mathew Burton.  They intend to move the goods to the store occupied by Harvey & Coo in Hall’s Block. Barker & Co., quarrymen, are putting up two new horsepower derricks, and a current wheel for pumping that, with other improvements, will double their present facilities for shipping stone.



A Board of Trade was organized at Elgin for the benefit of the dairy men.  Quotations from the Elgin market controlled the price of butter and cheese throughout the U. S.Officers of the Batavia Paper Manufacturing Co. are – J. VanNortwick, Pres.; Wm. M. Van Nortwick, Sec. and Manager.  They were making a hundred tons of paper a month.


November 8.  

Weston McCullough has torn down his old ice house and is building a much larger one, 32 ft x 50 ft.


November 8.  Horses in Batavia have been stricken with a contagious disease.  Some of those affected are - - horses of the U. S. W. E. & P. Co., three belonging to J. B. Howe and nine belonging to C. E. Smith.


November 6  

A. E. Carrier is President and C. H. Starkey is Corresponding Secretary of the Batavia YMCA, meeting in the Anderson Block, E. Wilson Street.


November 15.  

Sixth annual firemen’s dance in Firemen’s Hall, Sheets’ building.  Held by the Batavia Fire Co, No. 1. Merrill & Shumway Foundry was organized primarily to make iron castings to reconstruct the buildings and machinery destroyed the previous year in the Chicago fire.

December 23  

200 feet of the rear of the Newton Co. buildings burned down.  This was rebuilt. Batavia Presidential vote: Grant (R) 358. Greeley (D) 118.  Miss Eunice Shumway's report for December 14, 1971 on the sale of the book, Batavia. Illinois Past and Present shows the following totals:


Total Receipts,    

1302 books sold to date

Total Disbursements

Balance - Profit.




$  168.57


There are about 1200 copies yet to be sold. We received a letter on December 21st from Mrs. Robert T. Clifton, of Texas, enclosing a clipping stating that Mr. Clifton had died on December 11th.  

He was the man who was writing a book on windmills. We had corresponded with him several times giving him information about Batavia windmills and factories.  Last summer he told me he traveled all through the West taking pictures of windmills for his book. Previous to this he had authored a book on barbed wire. We do hope that the book was nearly enough to completion so that it can be published. Items of interest are everlastingly bobbing up about early Batavia history. As an example, Ralph Larson brought out a copy of a page from “Chicago-Growth of a Metropolis,” which is a monthly collection of photographs from the Mayer and Wade book. This page shows a photo of the eastern terminal of the Chicago, Harlem & Batavia Ry., about 1885.  


This steam railway line connected here in Chicago at 40th Avenue (later Crawford Avenue, finally Pulaski Road) and Randolph Street, with the western end of Chicago's West Side street railways.  


By 1888 the Oak Park Reporter could declare that “facilities for reaching the city from the western suburbs could not be surpassed. The accommodation to the traveling public is incalculable." There is a sign in the picture of the station reading, “Station of the Chicago, Harlem and Batavia Railway.” There is also the letters “C, H, &B. Ry," on the old fashioned locomotive which stands in front of the station. Has anyone heard of this railway before? I haven't. If it wasn't for that date of 1885, I would think it might be another name for part of the Galena & Chicago Union Railway. On September 2, 1850 that railway was extended from Turner Junction (West Chicago) to Batavia. From then until October 21, 1850, when it reached Aurora, Batavia was the terminal.


This was called the Aurora branch after that date.

According to our records, you are in arrears for the years ___________________________________ . Total                                         


Dues are $2.00 per individual, $3 00 per couple per yr.  


Please pay dues to Neal Conde, Jr., Treasurer.