Volume Ninteen

No. 4     

Batavia, Il. P.O. Box 15





Sunday, December 10, 1978, 3:00 P.M.



Social Hall, Holy Cross Church

Program of the Day

3:00 P.M


Social Hour    

Grace Grzanek, Georgene Kauth

3:30 P.M.


Business Meeting

Walter Kauth presiding

3:45 P.M.       


Christmas Dinner

During the meal we can admire our Christmas decorations and toys that decorate the center of each table.  You are invited to lend them to the Museum during the Christmas season for their old-fashioned display . . . they will be kept in an enclosed glass case. 4:30 P.M.       


A Christmas Concert . . . . Mrs. Dorothy Bettcher,
Choir from Louise White and J. B. Nelson Elementary Schools


Sing-Along . . . . . . . . . . . All Merry Souls Yvonne Autenreith, Program Chairman


Concerning the Dinner

We all enjoyed the Christmas dinner two years ago so much that we decided on a repeat performance . . . with some variations.  The Catholic Daughters will arrange the tables and decorations, but more importantly, they will provide meat, coffee and rolls at a cost of $2.00 per person.  To supplement the entree, each of us will bring a dish to pass . . . salad, vegetable or dessert.  Please indicate which you will bring when you make four reservation, which you may do by calling either the Depot Museum (879-1800) during open hours or Mrs. Josephine Jones from 9 - 11 A.M. or 6 - 8 P.M. (879-7994) by December 4 . . . she has most graciously agreed to take reservations. We are looking forward to a joyous occasion • . . . . . . . . . . . Georgene Kauth, co-president


Treasurer's Report as of 11-1-78

Petty Cash ........................ $26.57

Checking account ............ 363.90

Bldg ............................... 3060.15

CD ................................. 4000.00

Total ............................ $7450.62.

Dues are now acceptable . . . time for you to get in on the 1978 tax deductions.  We are really not as wealthy as the figures indicate, as much of the money is committed.  Our biggest bill presently is $350.00 for a portable display stand with ten 30"x40" "leaves."



As for the schools, we stand ready to help in the splendid job that the schools are doing whenever we can do so. We have been giving talks to schools for twenty years. I understand William Wood took the faculty on a house-viewing trip at the first of the school year and that Jeff Schielke talked at the Junior High. I talked at Fox Hill one day and the girls visited the Museum later. Presently we are lending to the schools for their viewing a copy of Noah Webster's Blue Speller (donated by Ida Kline) as well as a McGuffey Reader. It is a rare and valuable book that usually spends its time in our fireproof safe down at the Museum, where it is safe but useless. (By the way, anything valuable is released from the Museum only under the signature of both a member of the Park Board staff and an Historical Society board member).

Student Researchers


Batavia as a community in transition is becoming an object of concern by college Seniors who are researching the local situation to discover, chiefly, what can be done to decelerate the destruction of our unique identity by a suburban sprawl. One young lady studying at Northern Illinois is trying to ascertain the factors that tend to strengthen our identity, our self-awareness as a community, and those that fragmentize us. One of the chief factors binding us together, as she sees it, is our Thursday School and the general ecumenical spirit between the churches and the church peoples. Another student at George Williams College is trying to discover if, with more women working, there is a real need for a child care center and where it should be located.  


She may be collecting data from-a group to which some of you belong. Of course, you all know about the architectural study that Bill James of Lombard made of downtown Batavia.  He fears that our town may become the scattered, incoherent sprawl that his town had become.  His plan calls for greater use of the Fox as a major building area . . . shops and residential, principally. Oh, yes, the latest research student is eight years old and in third grade. He is studying Batavia architecture.  His whole class is researching . . . God bless them!


More Research


Back to study and research. A gentleman called from Elgin the other day to inquire if we had any information about windmills. I replied very modestly that we probably had more information than any place outside of Washington, D.C. He said he was a writer and publisher and was writing a book on that topic. I described a couple of books just finished or nearly finished that he might like to investigate and told him we should be glad to assist him. We received a letter from a gentleman from the historical society in Columbus, Indiana.


 They were trying to write up the histories of county industries but had met a block when they came to Reeves and Company, makers of farm implements. He was frustrated! The Reeves Company became the Emerson-Brantingham Company in Rockford. In 1912 a branch came to Batavia under the leadership of Mr. A. T. Jackson as president. (They made Newton wagons). Well, you know that became the Batavia Body Company, which the Katy Industries took over. (Funeral this last summer). We found five persons who could and would give information on different parts of the story.  And we have much documentary material in the Museum.  Sally Adams just finished typing the letter. I am sure it will be a good cure for frustration. 


Another request for information required research by us. A grand-nephew of Colonel Edgar Dale Swain requested information about him and the date of his wife's death.  We had no luck on the latter in spite of haunting the cemeteries and harrying the secretaries of the Methodist and Calvary churches. But Alice Gustafson and Elaine Cannon both had remembrances of him and Mrs. J. P. Prindle had comments. He was our highest Civil War officer. Became a dentist, helped form the Chicago Dental College. Lived at 232 Elm Street. Married one of the daughters of Benjamin Smith, neighbor Andrus married another (306 S. Batavia Avenue). His father-in-law, Benjamin Smith, had married Rachel VanNortwick, the rich John VanNortwick's sister. Smith made agricultural implements in a shop where the Calvary Church is presently located. Now the story moves nearer. Librarian Sally Bast plans to have a Batavia writers reception in the near future. So I decided to read THOUGH TIME BE FLEET by Louise Andrus. Written in 1937. The latter part of the book is set in a thinly disguised Batavia. Batavia is Pottawatomie; Lockwood Hall is Braidwood Hall; the low temporary bridge used while the stone bridge some of you may remember; and she borrowed Colonel Swain as her story's son's grandfather instead of granduncle. Some of you would enjoy reading it, I am sure.  


I'm quitting before space runs out. I shall not tell you here about some interesting people who have been in town lately: young Hobler (from Peter, Charles, Atherton family, who were chief executives at Appleton); Harry Strain (formerly lived in the Kauth house); Ethel Larson (mother of the present Auditor General of Illinois); the Dyson family (descendants of Judge Wilson, who have moved to Shabbona Trail).  


We trust that you all will have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year! We look forward to greeting many of you at the Historical Society Christmas meeting December 10. Be sure to make reservations by December 4.


The residents of Holmstad are invited as guests. . . . . . . . . . Lucile Gustafson, Historian.

P.S. Mrs. Hauptman just left a collection of about twenty Civil War letters at the door.

P.P.S: Carla Hill extends an urgent invitation for you and your guests to visit the Depot Museum during the holiday season . . . toys, skates, old Christmas cards, decorations, paintings.  

Chance to buy a club exchange gift.