Volume Eight

No. 2



May, 1967

Published by the Batavia Historical Society


Never before in our history have the American People been so concerned, articulated and moved to take action about the plight of our cities. And never before have we been so conscious of the need for discovering and preserving tangible reminders of our past.

- Robert C. Weaver, Sec. Department of Housing and Urban Development



SUNDAY, MAY 21, 1967 at 3:00 P.M.

in the Bartholomew Civic Center



Mr. K. A. Williams of Aurora

Will Show Colored Slides of Wild Flowers


Your surplus wild flowers (with soil and in "baggies) can be brought for exchange to the meeting. These plants should have been grown in one's own garden as it is illegal to dig up many kinds of plants in the wild.  Also many of these wild plants are difficult to transplant.


Our twice postponed winter meeting was finally held Sunday, February 12th. Deep snow prevented having the meeting on January 29th or on February 5th. Officers were elected and then followed the "best meeting for a long time" according to many attenders. Eight members participated, two as readers, each one handling a different phase of the subject "Winter Pastimes in Times Past." This was preceded by a historical skit of some of our pioneers in Batavia given by Cub Scout Pack Den 139 under the direction of Mrs. David Olson. Mrs. Tillie Anderson, Miss Florence and Mrs. Esther Johnson were presented with corsages for their long-time service as cooks and caterers in Batavia, making possible some of the winter pastimes mentioned.  Refreshments were served by Mrs. J. A. B Burnham and her committee.


Mrs. Pauline Campbell has left Batavia to take the position of superintendent of the Queen Louise Lutheran Home for Girls in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands.  She has taken many, many of our beautiful photographs of Batavia scenes, was secretary of our society for three years and has served in many other ways.  We wish her the best of success but we are sure going to miss her.


The Society has received mementos from the following people: Batavia Public Library; Mrs. Ellis (Agnes Hamilton) Hefty, Sarasota, Fla.; J. W. Bradshaw, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Herbert N. Woodward, President of the D. K. Mfg. Co. (Appleton Mfg. Co. material); Mrs. Carl Hendrickson; Paul Seelye; John A. Rubo; J. Edward Anderson.  We are most grateful to these friends for their thoughtfulness.


Letters have been sent to Mrs. Albert N. Schmidt, Warrenville, about the Clybournes of Clybournville (Mill Creek).  Also to Alfred Bergeson who will celebrate his 90th birthday next fall.  Four letters were sent out for information about bells.



Seventy-five years is a long time in our city's life, that takes us back to 1892.  In 1890 Batavia had a population of 3,543 having gained 904 souls in the previous decade, it was to gain only 328 in this decade.  These were the years of heavy Swedish and German immigration and much industry.


Now what was "progress" in l892? Let's see:


In April a company had been incorporated, with a capital of $400,000, to build an electric railroad from Elgin to Aurora.  That streetcar line has come and gone.  Buses have been used since 1935.


In April women cast their first vote in the school election.  Some men were bitterly opposed to women voting and showed their resentment. (I wonder how. My notes don't say.)  Mrs. Benjamin Branford and Mrs. Clark A. Lewis received the greatest number of votes for members of the East Batavia Board of Education.  Thomas Snow was elected President. J. O. McClellan was elected President and Rev. A. Challman and C. H. Brown were elected members of the West Batavia Board of Education.


In June the Kane County Exhibition Club was formed in the home of Mrs. Wm. M. Van Nortwick, Mrs. E. H. Gammon was elected President.  When she died on December 22, Mrs. Van Nortwick was chosen President.  Later the name of the organization was changed to the Woman's Columbian Club of Batavia.  Now this is the Batavia Woman's Club,


In this year of 1892 the Anderson Block was built by Oscar Anderson and his brother-in-law John A Anderson.  Two years previously they had purchased a small frame building on this same site and had conducted their merchandise business from there.  This building was moved to the corner of Houston and Harrison Streets and is the present home of the Charles F. MaCurdy family.  The late Mrs. G. P. (Stella Anderson) Williams, daughter of Oscar Anderson, gave me a written account of the interesting history of the Anderson Brothers business when I talked about the "Early Swedish Settlers in Batavia" at the Society meeting September 17, 1961.


For August I have this note: W. D. Turner·and H. N. Wade have purchased a controlling interest in the U. S. Wind Engine and Pump Co., and will assume management September 1st.  W. H. Burnham and W. S. Derby will retire from active management but will retain an interest.  Mr. Wade will retire from his Chicago business.  Mr. Turner will move from California back to Geneva.  Mr. Wade has been with the U. S. Co. more than twenty years, Mr. Turner about fifteen.


The 400th Anniversary of the Discovery of America was held in the Music Hall in October.  This celebration was given by the west side schools assisted by the GAR.  Pupils in costumes represented the army, navy, continentals, Indians, several nationalities, also a Goddess of Liberty.  The exercises were repeated in the evening to a large audience.  The east side held exercises in their school building.


In November the Batavia Herald was started when its editor, F. E. Marley, came to town from Kendall County.  However it was February 23, 1893 when Vol. I, No.1 was issued, although it wasn't so marked.  The 50th Anniversary of the paper was celebrated in the issue of February 27, 1942, Vol. 50, No.1.  The front page of the first issue was reproduced in this Herald.  I am quoting from an article on the history of the paper which was in Section 3 of this anniversary issue:

"The Batavia Herald Company was founded in 1892 by F. E. Marley, an experienced newspaper and print shop manager, but it was not until February of 1893 that the Batavia Herald made its debut. . . .


”For fifteen years, from 1892 to 1908, Batavia had two weekly papers.  The Batavia Weekly News, edited by Clark A. Lewis, started May 8, 1869 (the Society has a copy of this Vol. 1, No. 1) and expired in December of 1908.


Following is a summary of our Building Fund Account as reported by Miss Eunice Shumway on Jan. 10, 1967.




Historic Batavia account

Boulder Hill Benefit and Lecture Series





Loaned to the Batavia Past & Present Account



Returned from the Batavia Past & Present Acct.




Balance as of January 10, 1967  

$ 565.00


$ 600.00

$ 488.00


$ 49.50


$ 1702.40  

$ 1150.00


$ 552.40  

$ 575.00






We are saddened by the passing of the Misses Madge and Hazel Geiss, Mrs. Alma Hendrickson, Mr. Sidney Diephouse, the father of Mrs. Ruth Johnsen, Mrs. Maud Baily, Miss Lillian B. Sweet and Mr. Henry Wenberg.  Our sympathy is extended to their families.


This fall and next year, we are going to hear a lot about the Illinois Sesquicentennial Celebration.  

Illinois became a state December 3, 1818, the 21st state to enter the Union.  Batavia, in fact all of Northern Illinois, wasn't even thought of at that time. It was an Indian reservation, wild and woolly, and it wasn't until Black Hawk and his tribe was forced across the Mississippi in 1832 that his land was open for settlement.  The Batavia area received its first settler, Christopher Fayne, the following year.  Now, 134 years later, we are very much alive.


Membership dues payable to Ralph C. Benson, 207 N. Washington Avenue, phone TR 9-3525.