Volume Eighteen

No. 2



Batavia, Illinois P. O. Box 15

Regular Open Meeting

Time:   Sunday, April 17, 1977

Place:   First Baptist Church, Fellowship Hall



1. 3:00 P.M. - Business Meeting.


2. 3:30 P.M. – Program: "Batavia in 1870" Speaker: Jean Humphrey (Mr. Murray)


Mrs. Humphrey has analyzed the 1870 census to discover pertinent facts about the people in our town in that year under specific categories, namely ethnic origins, occupations, real estate holdings, numbers in families, etc.  She tots it all up on a computer but is interested in the population not as numbers but as individuals.  She will not present a stylized lecture as such but will discuss the subject with the audience in order to discover anecdotal understandings or corrections, - yes, corrections.  For instance, the record has Nelson Burr (318 N. Van Buren) as Nelson Buss.


Mrs. Humphrey's preparation is excellent: a B.S. from Wisconsin, an M.A. from Northern Illinois University, and work towards a doctorate at the same institution. (Judge Samuel Drake Lockwood is her research topic). She teaches political science and local history at Waubonsee Community College.


 3.   4:30 P.M. - Refreshments served by members of the Baptist Church under the chairmanship of Herbert and Lucille Carlson.


At the last Batavia Historical Society board meeting, it was decided that the refreshment hosts and hostesses should be compensated for their expenses.  It was felt that a few people had taken more than their share of such responsibilities and that more members should be involved.  


The Batavia Historical Society has a copy of the 1850 census. (Jean had promised us a print-out of the 1870 census too).  It is fun to read.  The names are intriguing.  Of course, there are the simple ones like Lee, Mack, Smith and Clapp, and familiar names such as Town, Van Nortwick and McKee, but there's also the name of one of the two resident peddlers, Cephas·Astran.  Seremius Parce was a pearl asher, whatever that is.  And Makepeace, one of the original land developers, a contentious group, just couldn't cope.  And then there's John Acres, a farmer. Of a population of 892, there were 12 blacksmiths, 10 coopers, and 3 "gentlemen".


The ethnic origins or places of birth are interesting. 337 were New Yorkers. Mrs. Donovan recently gave the society a map of Manchester, New York, source of many Batavia settlers.  (The society has an early map where the designation is "Manchester" and in 1839, Will Van Nortwick headed a letter to his son in Fort Edward, New York "Manchester."  Instead of Manchester, however, Judge Isaac Wilson named the town after his own home town -- Batavia.)  222 came from elsewhere in Illinois, and 46 came from Vermont.  (We are corresponding with the president of the Stratford Historical Society.  The Youngs came from there, as did Daniel Hyde and several others apparently.) 67 came from Canada; Jean Humphrey will explain that.  But the amazing and wonderful thing is that there were 54 who had come from Ireland, and how badly they were needed, especially as stone-cutters!  And how much they needed the potatoes which had continued to be produced from the first bushel of seed potatoes which Christopher Payne had brought with him so that none of the new settlers need starve during the first difficult winters. There were no Swedes at that time, although the story was different in 1870.


Mrs. Humphrey has organized her computations and deductions with the aid of a computer, John Gustafson's organizations were along the same categories, but much more time-consuming.  It would be interesting to put the two lists on computer to see how many families were still here after the 20 year lapse in time.  Perhaps we can do that.


An article in the Beacon-News the other evening stated that Winfield was a strong community because there were many families who had been there for several generations, giving continuity. A quick recall, with little research, gives these families who were probably living in Batavia in 1870 or before:



Present Day
1.  C. B. Conde  Neal Conde family
2.  Ebenezer Bradley
 William Buchanan, West Chicago
 Daniel Hyde
 Bert Hyde family
 O. M. Tomle
 Richard Thomle
 Theodore Wood
 Walter Wood
 Amos Burton
 Mary Chapman
 Will Van Nortwick
 Bill and John Van Nortwick
 Martin White (Weisgerber)
 Marion Bohr
 Adin Mann
 Forrest Mann
 George Weaver  Roy Weaver family
 Joseph Burton
 Joseph Burton, Geneva
 General Thompson Mead
 Ora Mead
 J. E. Derby
 Malcolm Derby
 Charles Schimelpfenig
 Schimelpfenig family
 James Mair
 Hugh Mair family
 Lawrence Barker
 Nelson Wolcott
 Oliver Wolcott, Doris Wagner
 Dr. R. J. Patterson
 James Stewart
 Grace Oregon
 Charles Shumway
 Eunice Shumway


We are sure this list is incomplete and inaccurate.  Where are the Irish? There were 46 Swedes here in 1870.  Who are their descendants?  Those whose names are here or whose names should be here, please attend April 17th.  We need your information.  (By the way, cultural roots may be largely the knowledge of others' family roots.)


All this reminds me of a third grade class I visited the other day.  We talked about roots: vegetable, family, and cultural.  Those kids had made family trees going back several generations!  It is thrilling to see how enthusiastic Batavia school children are about their local history. Their teachers do a good job.


Speaking of genealogy, the Batavia Park Board is presenting a course in genealogy four Thursdays at 3:00 P.M. beginning April 6th.  A reservation has been made in the name of the Batavia Historical Society.  If interested in attending, please call Lucile Gustafson, 879-1212. We need more information as to organize the society's materials so that it can be available for researchers.  We have frequent calls for information that we do not have the resources or time to investigate properly.  Can anyone help with this one?

Clara Reiter, born in July, 1903, would like to know the street where she was born.  Any information?  If so, call 879-1212.



Old Structures Again


Bill Van Nortwick says he agonizes at night about the possibility of the old church school and Bellevue being destroyed -- many of us do.  There is a conference in Glen Ellyn April l6th concerning the preservation of old structures and several Historical Society members and interested persons are attending.  Briefly, the program includes three sessions beginning at 9:30 A.M.  Session 1, the new Illinois Preservation Act by Scully, the National Register coordinator, Grants possible; Session 2, Historical Markers, how to set up; and Session 3, Lunch at Stacey’s Tavern (luncheon and tour).  Call Lucile Gustafson at 879-1212 today if interested.  The total cost, including luncheon, is $4.75.


This project is sponsored by the Congress of Historical Societies and Museums.  There will be a group of Batavia Historical Society members attending.  It is important that we be informed. Real estate people, city officials and other concerned persons should be there.


Art Exhibit at the Depot Museum


If you feel a need to burst with pride, visit the present exhibit, and you will.  By the way, acting as docent (a $25.00 word!) at the museum is anything but boring.  Where else can you entertain out of town guests without having to furnish refreshments?  Our guests love the place.  We do need the assistance of our newer and younger members.


Sad News


Mrs. Lucille Young Barkdoll died Sunday.  Her forbears came to this area in the 1850’s.  She would have been included in the list on page 2.  She has a son living in Maryland.  Her father was named Justin Young after their next door neighbor in Stratford, Vermont, Justin Morrell, who established land grant colleges in 1862.




AND PLAN TO PAY YOUR DUES, IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY DONE SO. I'll be seeing you . . . L(ucile) G(ustafson)