Volume Eight

No. 4      



September, 1967


Prepared by John A. Gustafson


"In the next few days ... I thought of souvenir stands, of highway billboards, of the thing in us that tears down attractive old buildings to replace them, more often than not, with unattractive new ones that muddies the clear springs from which flow our best intentions.

- ”The Last of the Middle West" - J. R. Humphreys



SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1967 at 3 PM





Leaders - Messrs. Bert Hyde, Wm. B. Benson and Austin Runde.



The above four men have spent many years researching and collecting facts and artifacts dealing with the Indians who first lived in this area centered around what is now known as Batavia, Illinois. The stories of their findings are truly exciting and the Society wishes to share them with you. The program will be concluded by the Sioux Indian Dancers directed by Mr. Melvin Few. Each of the speakers will display a limited number of their most important articles with detailed explanations. We encourage you to bring your family and friends - they will all enjoy it. Mrs. James Wertz is chairman of the Refreshment Committee.


On invitation of the Congregational Church, many members of the Batavia Historical Society attended the church service there on Sunday, August 6th, especially to hear Msgr. Wm. J. Donovan's message "The Church of Yesteryear." Msgr. Donovan is held in high regard by all who know him (and that includes nearly everyone in Batavia), for his long pastorage in the Holy Cross Catholic Church. It is impossible to quote any part of his message, it was all quotable, and we are sorry that it wasn't taped.


After the service, displays of church artifacts, going back to its origin on August 8, 1835, had been arranged in the Pine Room. These were enjoyed by all.  Punch was served by the ladies of the church.  Fortunately the Congregational Church service started at 9:30 so that members from other churches could still attend their own services.


One of the problems of the Atomic Energy Commission in the Weston area is what to do with the Pioneer Cemetery located on the Batavia-Warrenville Road.  There is only a small part of the original cemetery remaining containing 18 graves with tombstones dating back to 1839. The property originally was part of a federal land grant made to Gen. Thompson Mead for his service in the War of 1812.  He and his wife are buried here.


"We do not know exactly how it will be handled,” said Kenneth Reeling, Wheaton administrator for the State Department. “There are legal complications.”


We trust that the remains here buried, if they have to be moved, will be properly taken care of in a new cemetery and not ruthlessly destroyed. Cemeteries should always be respected and this cemetery is important historically as well.


Plans, only tentative as yet, are being made to celebrate the Illinois Sesquicentennial in the Tri-Cities by sponsoring a play to be given by the Playmakers in June of next year.


Mr. and Mrs. Robert N. Johnson, 471 Chestnut Street, were here Wednesday evening, August 9th, to show us three bottles and a jug dug up in the yard at the corner of S. Prairie and E. Wilson Streets. This was the home of Mary Kearns and is the oldest house in Batavia we understand.  Isaac Wilson lived here and it was the first post office in Batavia. The jug, about three gallons capacity, was salt glazed and had tapered sides.  The bottles included a beautiful stone 12-sided one about ten inches high, a glass Hood's Sarsaparilla and a Kee & Chapell Dairy milk bottle. This evidently was a dump or a "kitchen Midden."


Do any of you have a photograph of the old Barker quarry taken just after it was being operated as a stone quarry? Mr. Lloyd Reynolds of Oak Lawn would like to borrow it so that he can make a reproduction of it.  Mr. Reynolds grew up in Batavia and played in that quarry so he has fond memories of it. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. James H. Reynolds and his grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. Monroe Gillett and they lived at 140 S. Batavia Avenue. We had a most enjoyable visit with Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds.


We understand that the exhibits in the Geneva Museum have been changed recently. Everything is beautifully arranged and now would be a good time to visit it. The Museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from 2:00 to 4:30 PM.


Another museum nearby that can be visited is the Ellwood House on N. First Street Road in DeKalb. This is open Wednesdays and Sundays from 2:00 to 4:30 PM.


There were many things happening in Batavia fifty years ago (1917).  We can only mention a few:


July 7 to 12, the Lincoln Chautauqua was held on the West Side school grounds.


August 22. The Household Journal moved its staff from Chicago to offices in the former George Council home on S. Batavia Avenue.


December 12. Batavia has now 225 men serving in the various military branches.


Sometimes we wonder if the newsletter is worthwhile. It is a chore to get out, print, clip and mail to you. Furnas Electric does the printing and Miss Shumway with her helpers do the final work.  Should we continue it?  It is now in its eighth year and this is the 31st issue.