Volume Eight

No. 5       



December, 1967



Prepared by John A, Gustafson


Fix your eyes on the greatness of your country as you have it before you day by day, fall in love with her, and when you feel her great, remember that her greatness was won by men with courage, with knowledge of their duty, and with a sense of honour in her action, who, even if they failed in some venture, would not think of depriving the country of their powers but laid them at her feet as their fairest offering. -






SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1967 at 3 PM





By Miss Erma Jeffery and John Gustafson


New England Bell Ringers of Aurora directed by Rev, Drexel V, Mollison.   


Special Christmas music by a Batavia High School group directed by Mr. Elwood Willey. Recordings of all of the Batavia church bells by Bob Larson, Board members will serve refreshments, Miss Caroline Linder will make the Christmas cookies.


Our last meeting on September 17th was devoted to "The Indians: Batavia's Real Old Timers, and was presented by Bert Hyde, William B. Benson and Austin Runde. As the president, Miss Eunice Shumway, was ill and our vice-president, Mrs. Sally Kruger, could not attend, Mrs. Carl Johnson, one of our Trustees was in charge.  


She said, "our program was exceptionally interesting. All of the speakers were informative and entertaining and Melvin Few and the Indian dancers were 'the topping of the cake.’ Mr. Runde presented the Society with a map showing sites of Indian villages as well as the Indian trails in this area.

The following committee will nominate the officers of the Society for the coming year: Mr. Amos Hartman, Chm., Mr. Harold Patterson, Mrs. J. Harrold Blair and Mrs. Dewey Swan.


I received my orders from you regarding the continuation of this newsletter. I received many letters and telephone calls telling me how much you enjoyed it. I thank all of you.


The strawberry industry used to be quite important in Batavia in the early 1900's.  Martin J. Abernethy used to ship 50-16 quart cases a day at one time. There were other growers: L. C Carlow, Thomas Guyder and H. W. Williams. I don't remember much about the industry and need help from you. If you can write it up from your recollections or notes, will you please do so?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We thank the following people who have given the Society mementos recently (they were so thanked by letter):


Mrs. Peggy Lou Reedus for copies of "Vox Alumni," Vol. I, Nos. 4, 5 and 6 for 1894, 1895 and 1896 respectively. These were issued by the East Batavia High School Alumnus.


Joseph R. Burton for a training gun used by the Batavia High School during the first World War.


Mr. and Mrs. Clinton A. Jones for an antique typewriter called "The Caligraph No.2, Manufactured by the American Writing Machine Company, New York.” This is an old single key machine and was designed by George W. Yost in 1885.


One can never know what he will discover in looking through some of the artifacts.  We received recently a few torn, brittle, discolored part-pages of a magazine called "The Farmer's Review," no date, from Mrs. Dahlstrom, formerly Mrs. Mildred Pinner, when she was having an old garage torn down.  I ran across this old illustrated ad on one of the torn sheets:


Common Sense Potato Digger

The only low priced Successful digger known

Manufactured by C.E. Mann & Company                

Geneva, Illinois


Who was C. E. Mann?  


He was superintendent of the West Batavia Public Schools from 1903 to 1907, when he died. That was when some of us were in high school. Early in life he went into the cooperage business in Geneva and was twice burnt out. Then he went to Aurora and was in the same business. He sold out and became a teacher in the Geneva schools, was Kane County Superintendent of Schools for 17 years, Superintendent of the St. Charles schools and lastly had the same office in Batavia.  And to think that some time during his life he made potato diggers!


The Society has furnished a bronze plaque for the following two houses recently:


The Kruger home at 125 Lincoln Street was written up in the Historic American Building Survey. It was built for Thomas J. Cleveland about 1852. Through the years it was owned by Rev. Thomas North, a Methodist minister; John Burnham, an inventor; Albert G. Burke and his daughter, Miss Mary Louise Burke and, lastly, by the C. J. Kruger family.


John Burnham's father manufactured pumps in Vermont and John conceived a plan to use the wind to run these pumps.  He laid his plans before Daniel Halladay who was an inventor and had a machine shop.  They formed a partnership to manufacture windmills in Connecticut. In 1857 he came to Chicago and met John Van Nortwick in his CB&Q RR office.  He interested Mr. Van Nortwick in using windmills for pumping water for locomotives. They formed a company calling it the United States Wind Engine and Pump Company with John Van Nortwick as president and general manager, Daniel Halladay as superintendent and Burnham as general agent.  A windmill tower once stood on these premises and may have been used for his experiments.

The other plaque was furnished for the Dr. and Mrs. Roland T. Ely home at 414 Main Street. This house was erected by Ezra Abbott in 1856 according to information in the Abstract of Title. Much of the following notes was furnished by Michael H. McCormick, a realtor with the A. L. Allen & Sons organization. Hugh Armstrong lived in the house at the time of the 1867 census. It was Mr. Armstrong, with Nelson Burr, who started the Challenge Windmill & Feedmill Co. this year of 1867 to manufacture the Nichol's windmill, also feedmills, cornshellers and pumps. We don't know how long Mr. Armstrong lived there or who the occupants were for a number of years following, until Laurens E. Wolcott came to live here after marrying Miss Ethel Patchin in 1905. The Patchins lived at the corner of Main and Jefferson Streets.


Then about 1912 Rev. Nelson O. Freeman, a retired Methodist minister, bought the house and lived here until his death. Later occupants were The Wilbur Woods, Robert E. Davis and William J. Pross.


Dr. Ely, the present owner, is a teacher in the Department of History at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois. Both Dr. and Mrs. Ely are members of the Society.


There is a sentence in Mr. McCormick's letter that disturbs me. He phoned Mr. Davis, one of the former owners, who obtained the date of erection of the house from the Abstract of Title.  Mr. Davis told Mr. McCormick that he "turned this abstract into the Chicago Title & Trust Co. in exchange for a guaranteed title policy. I learned today that this source of information has been destroyed, according to their policy, by burning it six months after issuing the title policy".


The Society welcomes the new pastor of the Evangelical Covenant Church, Rev. Rodney L. Holmberg and his family.


We mourn the sudden death of Rev. Paul E. Kunkel of the Holy Cross Church. They have our deepest sympathy. The Rev. Joseph J. Reikas from Amboy succeeds him.


The Bethany Lutheran Church has just celebrated their 95th Anniversary. The Society was invited to see the display of pictures of Batavia families of "days gone by" at the Historical Program on October 15th. We thank them for the invitation. We know that some of our members attended and enjoyed the program.


We congratulate the Calvary Episcopal Church on breaking ground for the Educational Building. This building will be a tremendous asset to their church plant.


Some horse-drawn vehicles were not cheap. In May, 1909, liveryman John Peterson purchased a $1,400 brougham and a $900 set of harness at a sale in Chicago. His livery stable, as many of you will recall, was on the site of the new First National Bank building.