Volume Forty-Two

No. 1


January 2001



Who Left This Picture On the Mayor's Desk?


One day last month, Mayor Schielke returned from lunch and found the picture on his desk. No name -- no indication who

had left it. The secretaries had been away from their desks for a few minutes and saw no one enter or leave.

Isn't it a great picture? It was probably taken in the 1920s and shows the Chicago & Northwestern station, built in 1913 at Wilson and Water Streets where the Old Kent Bank now stands. Passenger trains like the one pictured connected with the C & NW main line in Geneva; in about 1897 according to John Gustafson's Gistoric Batavia, railraoad records showed that an average of twenty trains a day stopped at the Water Street station. Note the crossing guard tower at the right and the gates at the left.


Service on this line was abandoned in 1934; and in 1964, then owned by the city and scheduled for demolition, the

station was destroyed by a fire that had started in the old livery stable next door.

We certainly would like to know where the picture came from.

Society Receives Major Gift From Hansen-Furnas Foundation


The Hansen-Furnas Foundation has recently given the society a gift of $25,000. This money is to be used for setting

up an exhibit featuring the history of the Furnas Electric Company and for establishing a computer system in the

museum. In addition, Richard Hansen, former president of Furnas and a grandson of the company's founder, is making

photographs and artifacts available for use in the exhibit.

The exhibit will initially be housed in the Depot Museum. John Pitz and Richard Eckblade, developers of the Quarry

Pond condominiums to be built on North Water Street, have offered the society an approximately 2,000 square foot

rotunda at the south end of their project that would be used for additional museum space. Discussions are underway

with the Batavia Park District, the society's partner in operating the Depot Museum, regarding the cost and other issues

in the operation of the rotunda. If these discussions are satisfactorily resolved, the rotunda would be used as a museum

for Batavia's industrial history, and the Furnas exhibit would be transferred to that location and probably enlarged.

Other industries that have played a major part in Batavia's past would also be featured in that museum.

The society's long-range planning committee, which includes park district representatives, has already identified a

number of areas in which a computer could be used to enhance the museum's operations, and the Hansen gift will

permit work to begin promptly in these areas. As discussed in another article in this issue, the society has recently

created a web site.

The society is most appreciative of this generous and timely gift.


The Annual Christmas Party -- A Great Time Was Had by All




Thanks to Sammi and Gary King and the society's program committee,

on December 3 members enjoyed what many consider to have been the

best Annual Christmas Party ever. It started with an

open-house and  tea from 3:00 to 5:00 at the Kings' restored home at 1117 Main Street. This house was built by John VanNortwick circa 1849 and was long the home of the Gustafsons, recognized for their

seminal role in preserving Batavia history.

Gary's continuing work in restoration -- right up to the day of the open

house -- was evident both from pictures showing the house before the Kings commenced their work and

from areas where the work was not quite complete, giving visitors some sense of the difficulties involved. The magnificent Christmas decorations were Sammi's specialty. And we must not forget the efforts of Girl Scout Troop 354 under the direction of Cyndi Blunk and Carolyn Preuss for providing and serving the delicious cookies, tea and cider. After visiting the Kings' home, members could go to Bethany Lutheran Church for chamber music by the Batavia High School chamber orchestra. From 3:30 to 4:30, the Kings' sons, Gregor and Kevin, entertained with a puppet show.


The dinner at 5:30, attended by almost 140 people, featured the usual outstanding potluck offerings of some of Batavia' finest cooks. (See request in this issue for recipes.) Then came the brief business session at which the following officers and directors were elected: Bert Johnson, president; Chris Winter, secretary; Alma Karas, treasurer; and Bob Peterson and Marilyn Robinson, directors. Following that, Gary and Sammi entertained the audience with a story of their restoration efforts, told with humor and original songs. We owe thanks for all this to the program committee: chairman Dick Benson and members Carole Dunn, Patty Rosenberg, Rosalie Jones, Ruth Burnham, and Don Prindle -- and Dick Benson wants to be sure we acknowledge the help of others who pitched in at dinner.



The Batavia Historian, recipient of the IIlinois State Historical Society's 1997 Award for Superior Achievement, is pub·

lished quarterly by the Batavia Historical Society.


The editor, Bill Hall, will welcome any suggestions or material n 630·879·2033. The Depot Museum, a cooperative effort

of the Society and the Batavia Park District, is open from 2 to 4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sun·

day from March through November. The director, Carla Hill, can be reached at 630·406·5274.



Ninety-two Years in Batavia Reminiscences of Elenor Johnson


The following story is based on an interview that Elliott Lundberg and your editor had with Eleanor Johnson, a lifetime

Batavian, on March 17, 2000. Her friend Helen Owens was present.


Eleanor Johnson was born on October 5, 1908, the youngest child of James and Anna Ahlquist Carlson. Her father had been born Johannes Johansson in Veddige in the province of Halland, Sweden; however, when he immigrated and joined a sister and two brothers in Batavia in 1891, he found that his brothers had changed their name to Carlson, and h changed his name to James Johannes Carlson. Her mother, also from Veddige, came to America in 1893 and married Eleanor's father that same year. Although Eleanor does not know when her father bought the house at 508 Houston Street from his brother, a tax bill showed that he owned it in 1899.


Eleanor was born in that house and has lived in it her entire life. On her mother's death when Elanor was six years old, her father was left to bring up the youngest three children. Her oldest two brothers went into service during World War I. Eleanor started school in what is now the Buttrey Wulff Mamminga insurance agency building at First Street and Lincoln Avenue but moved in the middle of first grade to the Center School, later called the Grace McWayne School, where she finished her grade school education. Grace McWayne was her teacher in first grade and Edith Abernathy in second. Her father worked at the Newton Wagon Works plant on First Street, where he was a foreman for years. Eleanor recalls, "I used to bring my father's lunch down to him. vol_42_3.jpg


One time I remember carrying a bottle of coffee and dropping it on the street car tracks -- he didn't get any coffee that day.We liked to visit there n he would let us sit in his little office and write on pads of paper they had there. He'd show us all the big machines where they cut out all the wheels for the wagons. Later they sold that building and moved over to the north side of Wilson Street where the Batavia Body Company was later on. My father's boss, Frederick Beach, owned the building and was on the Library Board. When they tore down the old library on the Avenue at the top of the Wilson Street hill to make room for the extension of Wilson Street and bought the Don Carlos Newton house to the north for the new library, my father made about ten big solid oak tables for the library. He was very proud of those tables. "I used to walk down the street with Edna Anderson," Eleanor went on.


"Her grandfather worked for the Alexander Lumber Company at the bottom of Houston Street. She would take his lunch to him, and I would go with her. Her grandfather would sit on the limestone wall that used to be there, and we would sit with him. He would share his lunch with us. "When I was a child, we didn't have any recreation programs or supervised play.We had to make up our own games. The boys played ball and marbles and mumbly peg. The girls, of course,played with their dolls and balls and jacks. We used to playa game called Stoner, where we would sit on the first step of a porch and one of the girls would be the Stoner. She would take a small stone, hide it in one hand and put it behind her back, then stop in front of each girl on the first step. If you guessed which hand the stone was in, you could move up a step. The first one to get to the top step would be the Stoner the next time around.


We passed a lot of time playing that. And up on the southwest corner of Houston and Jackson Street was the old Mission Church -- it had about ten steps so we would go up there and play Stoner because there were so many steps to go up. "Another thing I remember from when I was little," Eleanor continued, " was that several times during the summer Fred Davey, who had cows over on the the east side, would come with his herd up Houston Street, right on the sidewalks, and take them out to pasture west of town. I don't even know if there was a Mallory Avenue at that time, but there was pasture land out there, He'd leave them out there for a couple of days and then he would bring them back on Houston Street to the east side. We used to worry about going out in the pasture land to play -- they always said there was quicksand out there. "Mr. Hollister lived just south of the old library, and it was all pasture west of there to the rear of the houses on Houston. He had a few cows and sold milk. A neighbor of mine bought milk from him, and when she couldn't go down to pick up the milk, she would give me a couples of pennies to do it.


I'd have to carry the little old tin can with a lid on it, full of milk. "The streets weren't paved back then, which reminds me about the Mission Church up on the corner. I can still see the Dahlquists from the east side come up Houston Street every Sunday morning in a horse drawn buggy with a fringe on it. Mr. and Mrs. Dahlquist would be in the front seat, and Elsie and her brother and sister would be in the back seat. That was a Sunday ritual. I used to talk to Elsie about it in later years when I went into Jules Morris' store where she worked.


The Mission people were very good singers, and in the summer time when they had the doors to the church open, you could hear them singing. We'd sit out on our front porch and listen to them. "In the winter, we would go coasting down Houston Street -- I still call it Smith's hill. The Smiths lived in the Finley house on the southeast corner of Houston and Batavia Avenue, which was later moved to north Jackson Street when what became the Avenue Motors garage was built there. One time my brother went right through the window of Alexander Lumber Company when he coasted down the hill.

Of course, the Depot Museum wasn't there at that time. To go ice skating, we used to go right down to the river, and when we got cold we would go up to the Northwestern depot and get warm. Mr. Sweigert was the station master there at that time; later on his son Jim took it over. "Yes, I did housework," Eleanor responded to a question. "Because we didn't have a mother, my father always laid down the law as to what we had to do. Every Saturday it was a ritual that we cleaned the whole house. My father worked until noon on Saturdays, and if all the work wasn't done when he came home we would hear about it. During World War I, he would have to work until ten o'clock at night."


When Eleanor was in high school, she was a cheerleader in 1926 and 1927. "I was wearing a skirt and sweater," she recounted, "and some of the senior girls went to Superintendent H.C. Storm and Principal J.B. Nelson to ask if I could wear slacks. They said absolutely not, so I continued to wear a skirt and sweater. "I was a senior when I started going with" Albert Joh"nson, who was to become my husband. AI lived in the country and had gone to the country grade school. Until he came to high school, I had only known him from Sunday School and church. Right after he graduated from high school, he went to work for the Burlington railroad. I was offered a job after I graduated from high school, but my sisters and brothers thought I should stay home and take care of the home for my father. When AI and I were going to get married, they worried about who was going to take care of my father so they asked if we wouldn't stay on and make a home there. That was how I ended up living in the same house all these years."


In 1947, AI decided he would like to try something on his own. Eleanor had heard that Alfred Nelson's grocery and meat market on Lincoln Avenue at Houston Street was for sale, and they bought it. It was the store at which Eleanor's family had bought all of its groceries. The Burlington, however, kept asking AI to go back to work, so in 1954 he decided that was what he wanted to do, and they sold the store. "When the Burlington transferred him to St. Paul in 1969," Eleanor continued, "he had been secretary of the Zoning Board for some time, and the Board wanted him to stay here and go to work in the Zoning Office. He felt, though, that he owed it to the Burlington to continue with them, which he did for about three more years. He had an apartment in St. Paul -- we didn't move up there. When the Burlington offered him early retirement when he was 62 years old, he took advantage of the offer and came back to work at the Zoning Office in Geneva. He worked there until he was 72. He retired in November and passed away of a heart attack in January."


Albert and Eleanor had two children, Donald and Thomas. Don, the oldest, went to DePaul University in Greencastle, Indiana, and then to Northwestern University medical school for four years. After he got married, he moved to St. Paul where he had three years at the University of Minnesota and became an obstetrician/ gynecologist. He retired last summer after practicing for 40 years and now lives in Arizona. Tom went to Purdue, graduating as an electrical engineer. The day he graduated, he went to California and worked 33 years for Hughes Aircraft. He took early retirement at 55 and moved to Sun City, Nevada, where he'--'" now lives. Eleanor said, "I have three granddaughters, one in Minnesota, one in Wisconsin, and one in Massachusetts, and I have three great-grandchildren, two 7 and one 13. I don't get to see them often, but I do enjoy them when I get to see them." Asked about changes she has seen over the years in Batavia, Eleanor replied, "The neighborhood has changed a lot.


When I was growing up, you knew all your neighbors by name, and of course there were a lot of Swedish people at that time. Everyone goes by car now, but years ago everyone walked so you became acquainted with the neighbors. Today I scarcely know any of the neighbors. So many new young people have moved in, and most of the young women work, too, so you don't get a chance to get acquainted with them. "None of the streets were paved when I was young. The first street paved was Batavia Avenue, and that was paved w~h bricks. Houston Street was pretty rough before it was pavedJ around 1929 and 1930. I was dating my husband at that time, and he had to park on McKee Street to come to my house. I can't remember just when they paved Wilson Street, but I remember before it was paved and the old library was still on the Avenue at the head of Wilson Street.


"The changes on McKee Street out west -- I just can't believe it. My husband grew up on McKee Street, where his parents had a farm. When we used to go out there in the late twenties and early thirties, there was just open land. Today it's all built up with houses. The farm my husband grew up on has been sold and the outbuildings razed -- the only thing left standing is the house. There are 40 new homes there. And then there's Randall Road, but everyone knows the changes there." Eleanor is a life-long member of the Bethany Lutheran Church, where she as baptized, confirmed and married and remains active in the women's organizations. She is also an active member of the Batavia Historical Society; at age 92, she faithfully attends its meetings, heritage roundtables and other events, and is a regular volunteer at the Depot Museum.

Recipes, Please


Many of you who attended the Annual Christmas Party on December 3 praised

the food brought to the potluck. This gave Carole Dunn, a member of the program

committee, the idea of our publishing a Batavia Historical Society cookbook. Would

those of you who were there please send Carole a copy of the recipe you used at

2 S 479 Partridge Road, Batavia, Illinois 60510. Do it now while you're thinking about it.

P.S. Carole expressed particular personal interest in the red cabbage recipe.


Edward Ross,M.D.

Bellevue Place -- 1946-1964


Those who attended the June 11, 2000, dedication of the Gustafson Research Center will recall the eloquent address of Dr. Rodney A. Ross, a 1961 graduate of Batavia High School who is presently archivist at the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Particularly moving was Rod's reading of a letter by the late Monsignor William Donovan concerning Rod's father, Edward

Ross, M.D. From 1946 until his death in 1964 at the age of 56, Dr. Ross operated Bellevue Place, and we believe that our readers will be interested inf learning about his life during that period. The following story has been abridged, with the author'spermission, from a biography of his father that Rod prepared for his family in 1986.



Edward Ross graduated from medical school in 1931. After his internship and a period in general practice, he began his specialization in psychiatry and joined the staff of the State of Illinois' mental hospital at Alton, Illinois. In 1942, he and his wife, Anne, and daughter, Marla Sue, moved from Alton to Manteno, approximately fortyfive miles to the south of Chicago's center. There he assumed control, as superintendent, of the state's largest mental hospital. While at Manteno Dr. Ross and his wife gained another family member with the birth of their son Rodney Anson on June 14, 1943. Although young Rodney was given the Hebrew name of Raphael, the choice of his English-language first name was dictated by the great respect his parents had for Rodney Brandon, Dr. Ross' boss as Illinois state director of the Department of Public Welfare. Rodney Brandon's home was in Batavia. One of the more notable establishments in Batavia was Bellevue

Place, a mid-19th century limestone building which had been in continuous operation as a mental hospital, or sanitarium, for women since the 1860s. The institution's most famous patient had been Mary Todd (Mrs. Abraham) Lincoln, who had been an unwilling occupant for several months in 1875 immediately following her first sanity trial.


In 1945 Dr. Ross had to relinquish his position as superintendent at Manteno when his predecessor returned from war service. Perhaps it was from Rodney Brandon that he learned that Bellevue was for sale. Early in 1946 Dr. Ross made a down payment on Bellevue Place and moved his family to Batavia. Years earlier, under previous owners, the Bellevue property, which took up sixteen acres in the southwest section of Batavia (bounded by Elm, Jefferson, Walnut and Harrison streets) had been quite a conglomerate. Besides the sanitarium proper there had been a barn, a chicken house, a greenhouse in which flowers were raised for the Chicago market, a gazebo known as "the summer house," a three-car garage with an additional storage area, and a tool room,workshop, plus an extensive vegetable garden with raspberry and currant bushes. Dr. Ross made no attempt to revive the farming or flowerraising aspects of the place, but he did reestablish the sanitarium as a respected medical facility. Most likely Dr. Ross had had mixed feelings upon leaving Manteno. At Manteno he had been responsible for several thousand patients and a commensurate support staff. At Batavia the sanitarium never had more than seventy-nine female patients, one less than its capacity. Still, in Batavia Dr. Ross had the chance to be his own boss and to provide a setting of his own making for the treatment of mental disorders. Control of Bellevue was a responsibility that Dr. Ross and his wife divided between themselves.


He served as medical director and general manager; she acted as resident manager (admitting patients, ordering supplies, planning menus, etc.). At peak operation it took close to three dozen people to run the place, including part-time nurses' aides, cleaning women and yard men. daughter, Judith Helene, on November 7, 1952. All four of his children received their education in the public schools of Batavia, from kindergarten through high school (except for the oldest child, Marla, who entered Blaine Street School in the second grade). During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Dr. Ross expanded his business concerns in adding two other medical facilities to those he owned and operated: a sanitarium for men at Round Lake, Illinois, and a nursing home for both men and women in Waterman, Illinois. He also served as psychiatric consultant both to the Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminology, State of Illinois and to the Illinois Youth Commission. He spent weekdays as visiting psychiatrist to a number of state-run penal and reform institutions in northern and central 11linois. Perhaps the best known Statesville penitentiary inmate he helped was Nathan Leopold (of the 1920s sensational Chicago Leopold and Loeb murder trial). Also, Dr. Ross served as consultant psychiatrist to the Mooseheart Laboratory for Child Research at nearby Mooseheart, Illinois, and as consultant psychiatrist to the University of Illinois' Psychological Clinic in Urbana, Illinois.


Beginning in 1948 and continuing into the 1950s, he would fly regularly from Aurora to Champaign-Urbana to teach as a professor in the University of Illinois' Department of Psychology. In 1963 Dr. Ross fell and broke his ankle, which never mended properly. In October 1964 he was rushed to Billings Hospital suffering from septisemic shock as his foot swelled with liquid. He died early in the morning of October 24, 1964, less than a day after he entered the hospital. He is buried in the Kovner Verein cemetery in the Jewish Waldheim in Forest Park, Illinois, there joining his parents and sister. Dr. Ross' wife, Anne, remained in Batavia for thirteen years after his death, putting in an average of fifteen hours a week as a volunteer at the library. In 1977 she moved to an apartment in Glen Ellyn. She, like her son, is a member of the Batavia Historical Society.


Sports in Batavia

Another Heritage Roundtable



Bartholomew Room

2 P.M. - January 16, 2001



Probably no one today has

first-hand memories of the

1912 Batavia Hig h School

state championship basketball team. And only a few will remember the outstanding basketball

teams of the 1920s with

such players as Johnny Mauer later a star at the Uni- ..

of Illinois and then coach at Kentucky and West Point, and Pinoke Johnson. Many, howerver, will recall the great team of 1965-66 with stars Dan Issel and Ken Anderson, later of Denver Nuggets and Cincinnati Bengals fame. And Batavia sports memories are not limited to basketball. With teams sponsored by Anderson Hardware, Miller's Tap, Lindgren Foundry and the Knights of Pythias, among others, baseball was a big draw here. A step up the ladder were the Batavia Blues, which in 1916 won games against the Kane Streets, the Chicago Lawndales, the South Ends, and the Oak Parks of Aurora. And we must not forget the women, who were also active in sports. Join us on January 16 to reminisce about these and other Batavia sports teams and individuals. It's too bad that we won't have Ken Peddy, Les Hodge and Bussy Nelson to calion their memories, but we have others like Cliff Anderson to tell us about teams, games and the people who participated.



Mark Your Calendar! March 18 for Spring Meeting


The program committee has planned an unusually interesting meeting for March 18 -- "The Lincoln

Highway -- Illinois' Newest Scenic Highway." Did you know that this historic highway, which helped open the "Automobile Age," ran through Batavia? Ruth Frantz of Sugar Grove, known to many of our members, will familiarize us with this fascinating part of American history. She and her husband have long been active in the lincoln Highway Association and have traveled the highway many times. Don't miss this.


Dues for 2001


Dues for 2001 are due. Although many of you paid for the year 2001 at the Christmas party, most of the dues

remain to be collected. If you have not yet paid, please use the form on the back of the Historian (or any paper with the necessary information) and the enclosed envelope and respond promptly. That will save us the cost and effort of follow-ups.


What's New At The Museum

Carla Hill, Director


This past year has been marked by a number of valuable gifts for the Depot Museum. Kally Klose donated a beautiful hand-painted Norwegian trunk, a family heirloom dated 1851 used by one of her ancestors in the trip to America. It is currently part of the immigration display in the Little Town in a Big Woods exhibit on the lower level and will be used in various other displays. At the society's Annual Christmas Party, Jon Habegger presented us with a rare 1855 Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad timetable and a beautiful, colored Chicago, Aurora and Elgin brochure entitled "Outings for All Summer Long." These will be included in the railroad display that Chris Winter and I are preparing this winter. We have also received many other donations of artifacts and photographs, too numerous to mention here but all important as part of the museums's growing collection. Our thanks to all these donors. In October we offered our first education class in the Gustafson Research Center.


This initial course, "Researching and Preserving Your Family's History," was taught by Marilyn Robinson and took place, with fourteen participants, on three consecutive Thursday nights. The course was well received, and we will be offering it again at the end of January and first two weeks in February. Inquire at the Park District Office if you are interested in attending. As we head into 2001, we have many exciting events to look forward to -- new exhibits when the museum reopens in March, new classes and special events .. ~ As always, Chris and I have enjoyed working with our many wonderful volun- ( teers and the Long-range Planning Committee and expect this to be another ,outstanding year.



Don't Miss Helen Anderson's

Memories of a Childhood


The society has added another book to our growing list of publications

on Batavia history.


This one, Memories of a Childhood, is a delightful collection of remembrances by Helen Bartelt Anderson. Many of these have been previously published in The Batavia Historian to great acclaim. There are two pieces in the book that have not been published before. One was written just this year about Helen and Clifford's courtship and wedding as a last chapter to Helen's childhood. In her stories, Helen tells of her life as a young child growing up in rural Batavia. She tells of playing, helping her mother, and watching the men and women on the farms hard at work. She tells of attending Buelter School and of the hard time her brother and mother had keeping the farm after the accidental death of her father. To obtain a copy of this book, visit the Park District Office, the Depot Museum (ring the bell), the Book Nook, or order it from our gift shop on our web site. The price if $5.00 plus $2 postage and handling if the book is sent through the mail. Helen Bartelt Anderson, 8th Grade Graduation

The Gustafson Center Is Off and Running!

by Marilyn Robinson


Since the Gustafson Research Center has officially opened, we have had visitors from several states. We were able to help each of them, and some of them helpedus. Our first visitors on October 1, opening day, were two bothers from Aurora who were related to the VanDeventer family. Dodson VanDeventer was the first baby born in what became Batavia Township.


How fitting that descendants of that family were our first official visitors.The following day, Janice Lyon Borden from Graylord, Washington, came seeking information on Col. Joseph Lyon, another very early settler. She gave us far more information about Lyon than we could give her. The most interesting fact she could confirm was that

Joseph had not been commissioned a colonel in the War of 1812 as history books say. Official war records show that he served only a couple of weeks during the war as a drummer boy. We helped a lady from Kansas (by phone) who was looking for information on the Peck family, a man from the Elgin Trolley Museum with railroad information, a man from Indiana with windmill

information, several Batavia visitors interested in church and residential histories, two third-grade boys interested in Civil War history, and Shirley Hoover's daughters, Linda and Joyce, who provided us with a large family history of the Isaac Wilsons, the Grimes, the Lindgrens, the Hoovers, and other related families. We have had several requests for help through our new web site. There is a feature on the site that allows researchers to direct their questions to us by E-mail. So far we have been able to answers these requests or direct the searcher to other places to look.


A committee including Alma Karas, Jerry Harris, Bill Hall and myself as chairman was set up to design the web site. The committee, with board approval, contracted with Michael Hill, who operates a web site development company. Within about six weeks he put together a long, easy-to-navigate web site for us. Alma took a myriad of pictures for the site, and I did much of the writing. Chris Winter and Bob Popeck contributed data as well. Check us out at



Memorials and Other Gifts


We recently received additional contributions for furnishing the Gustafson Research Center from Shirley Peterson in memory of Harold F. Peterson and from E. Louise (Rundle) Tregellas as a tribute to her mother, Marge Rundle.

Gifts in memory of Sadie L. Lundberg were received from Joan C. Clausen, Lois Hauman, Dick and Sue Heidelberg, Bert and Ruth Johnson, Dean S. and Joanne C. Johnson, Darlene and Dick Larson, Mr. and Mrs. Elliott Lundberg, James McConnaughay family, Priscilla Miller, Gladys H. Noren, Dorothy Patzer, Betty Reckinger, Jane and Mal Seagren, Phyllis Soderquist, Mr. and Mrs. John Swanna and family, George and Mary Tincknell, and John and Mary Lou White; in memory of Thomas Maher from Walter and Georgene Kauth; in honor of Henry and Mayme Theis from Ray and Anita Theis; in honor of William Wood from Dr. and Mrs. Robert Barnes; in memory of Neal Hendrickson from Jim and Dot Hanson; in honor of Marilyn and Bob Phelps' 50th anniversary from Walter and Georgene Kauth; in memory of Mrs. Ralph (Marty) Soderhom from Kenneth and Jacqueline Upham; in memory of Alice Nelson from Robert and Lillian Brown;

and in honor of her husband, John L. Coleman, from Dorothy B. Coleman. Other gifts came from Ray and Anita Theis (in addition to the above memorial gift), Alfred and Natalie Wulff, and George and Erdene Peck. Many thanks to these generous contributors.



More about Volunteering At the Depot Museum


We continue to urge readers to volunteer at the Depot Museum. The museum needs you -- and it's fun and doesn't take much time. Here is what one of our regular volunteers, 92 yearold Eleanor Johnson (see story in this issue), recently told us. "A couple of years ago, this elderly, good looking couple came in, and after they had viewed everything, we

asked them to sign the guest book. When I saw the name, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Drew, I asked him if his father

used to have a Cadillac agency in Aurora. He said yes. I asked if his mother's name was Abby, and he said yes -- then he looked at me as if to ask, 'How do you know these things?' "I told him his mother was a neighbor of mine and a very good friend of my sister, who was seventeen years older than I was. And I said that his grandparents were named Otterstrom, and he said yes. He said that they had just driven by the house where his grandparents used to live, so I told him that I still live about three doors away. I said that I remembered his grandparents well -- that his grandfather was a short, stocky man, and that he always wore a brown suit with a brown derby.


I'll never forget him. Our visitor was so surprised, and it is things like that that make volunteering so interesting." Probably you won't have connections that go back as far as Eleanor Johnson's, but you would be surprised to learn about the interesting experiences our volunteers often have. Give it a try by calling Kathy Fairbairn at 406-9041 or Carla Hill at 406-5274.


Membership Matters


Since the last issue, James R. Anderson, Randy Anderson (Chicago), Sandra Chalupa (St. Charles, IL), Cliff and Royce Clifford (Encinitas, CA), Mrs. Dorothy Coleman (Mendota, IL), Robert Eudeikis (Spring Hill, FL), Jon and Marsha

Habegger, Mike and Carla Hill, Lenore Hoving (Warrenville, IL), Gary and Sammi King, Martha Nelson (San Marcos, TX), Jane M. Peterson (St. Charles, IL), Mary A. Peterson (St. Charles, IL), and Tony and Chris Winter, some of whom were previously annual members, have become life members. Other new members (from Batavia unless otherwise noted) include Phyllis Davey Averill (Hopkinton, NH), Leslie Baltzar, Helen A. Bowron (Aurora), Sharon Breedlove (Ritchey,

MO), Andrea Fairbank, Karen Gill, Nancy Gill (North Aurora), George and Bette Hansford, Barbara J. Harris (Gurnee, IL), Mr. and Mrs. Michael Hendon, Karen Jeter (Elburn), Mary L. Johnson, John R. Killian, Harold Maves, Mr. and Mrs. Kurt Maves, Wilma Miller, Stanley Moulding (Sandwich, IL), Donna Neely (Elburn, IL), Phyllis Olson (Wheaton IL), Wendell and Ann Pitz, Harvey and Elaine Sampson, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald G. Smith (North Aurora, IL), John Stepp, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Witschonke, and Barbara Young (Elgin). We welcome these new members and look forward to their participation in the activities of the society. With deep regret, we report the death of charter member and long-time volunteer Sadie Lundberg.




Dr. Robert L. Barnes


The following was submitted by Dr. Robert Barnes, author of Batavia Historical Society's publication Christopher Payne. 1786-1871. Payne was the first settler of Batavia and Kane county. He lived at the edge of America's expanding civilization for many years. The 64 page Payne booklet, describing his life and times, is available, for $5.00 per copy, at the Batavia Depot Museum and the Batavia Park District. All sales benefit the Society.


From Colonial times until 1818 our town of Batavia (at least the area which later became our town) existed under a series of different governmental bodies.


It was over the years: BATAVIA, VIRGINIA. From 1778 to 1780 our Batavia town site was part of the state of Virginia. After George Rogers Clark drove the British from the area the state of Virginia claimed a wide expanse of land which included present day Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as part of their state. In a state of exuberance, they had claimed a wide band of western lands bounded only by the Pacific Ocean. In 1784 Virginia surrendered the western portion of their claim to Congress.



Today the Northwest Territory creates a vision of the Royal Mounted Police, the Yukon, Gold Rush, and mountains. Our hometown area was once part of the Northwest Territory. But this one was not in Canada, but instead was the area created and named by the Continental Congress in 1784. Back then the Northwest Territory included the present day lands of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Populated by Indians, Frenchmen, and a few hearty pioneers, it was the geopolitical area created until such time as population growth would allow for the establishment of smaller territories and then later individual states.


BATAVIA, INDIANA: As populations grew smaller, territories were subdivided from the large Northwest Territory. Indiana Territory was carved out in 1800 and our hometown site was considered part of Indiana. Then in 1809 further subdivision created the Illinois Territory.


BATAVIA, ILLINOIS: Finally, on December 3,1818, Illinois was admitted as a state. Its boundaries remain today as created at that time. Yet had the politicians of the time not changed their minds, all of us living in northern Illinois includinr Chicago, would be living now in Wisconsin and Illinois would have no shorelinl.,J on Lake Michigan. The original border between Wisconsin and Illinois was moved northward from the earlier plan and its boundaries remain today as finally drawn.

Reminiscences of Batavia

Sadie Lundberg - July 25, 1982


Sadie Lundberg, a charter member of the Batavia Historical Society and an active volunteer at the Depot Museum for many years, recently died at age 85. Marilyn Robinson came across these reminiscences in the

Gustafson Center, and we are sure that members will welcome a chance to read them.


In the early 20s when I was a child, we lived on South Water Street in a three-apartment building, on the corner of Elm and Water. My world only extended as far west as 15 South Jefferson Street, where grandmother Lundberg lived, and as far east as Kinne & Jeffery store, which we visited once a year at Christmas to view the toys upstairs. Our next door neighbors to the west were the Bergesons, parents to Elaine, Mary, Walter, and Paul. Mary Bergeson baby-sat once when my brother, Carl Winston, died. She made windmills out of paper that I thought fascinating. Next door to the south lived my friend John Sanders, on the corner, and next to him the Will Wolcotts. John invited me to dinner a couple times; that was my first experience with the English practice where the father dished out the food for each member. My sister Martha May worked for the Will Wolcotts for $1.00 a week. Across the street lived Theodore "Coffee" Larson, who always wore a

black glove as he'd lost his hand somehow. Across the street and two houses north lived Abraham Johnson who was superintendent of our Lutheran Sunday School. Also a few houses further north lived Olas Finna whom we called "Cookie Ninny" because she always had a cookie for us. She was a real old Swedish lady who had a loom up on the porch in the summer for weaving rugs. The Erwins lived in the last house on the east side of South Water. Alice Erwin was my age and she wasn't even allowed to read a funny paper on Sunday! Our family usually walked to the quarry and along the tracks by the river each Sunday. The quarry wasn't really used for a pool but it was a beautiful place with natural springs coming from the rocks--it was a cool place. In front of our house to the east we had a cinder walk. To the north we had a cement walk. We always could afford roller skates, and I had scabs on my knees all summer from going down the hill into the cinders. We rented our apartment from Nels Benson who had a meat market on Batavia Avenue. I remember Miss Alexander also had a hat shop on the east side of Batavia Avenue. About 1924-25 we moved to North Jackson Street. On a summer evening, there were more children our age, and we were older, too. We played "Run, My Good Sheep, Run," "Prisoner's Base," and skated. The skates weren't the noiseless kind so we were yelled at quite often for making too much noise!

Scouting Information Needed


The society is seeking information on the history of boy scouting in Batavia. For the east side, we are looking for names of members, reminiscences and pictures of activities of Troop 12, Harry Pierce, scoutmaster, including trips to places such

as Starved Rock. Specifically, does anyone have a recollection of whether this troop had a cabin like the one on the west side? If so, any information and especially pictures would be welcome.

For west side Troop 6, Fritz Carlson, scout master, we know about a cabin. Otherwise, we need the same kind of information and photographs as for the east side.

Please send any information to Carla Hill at the Depot Museum or call her at 630406-5274. We will be glad to make copies of any photographs the owners wish to retain and will return the originals promptly.


Batavia Trivia from Marilyn Robinson


A new depot for the Northwestern Company was being built in February 1873. J. Coger had control of the work and

contractor Barker had received orders to commence filling and grading the grounds which were located on the site of

the Newton's Livery Stables, on the northeast corner of Wilson and Water Streets. L. P. Barker was cutting a large

number of piles for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, sawing from 6 to 8,000 feet of lumber per day. He had sixty

men chopping wood and cutting timber.

At the same time, Daniel Halliday of the U. S. W. E. & Pump Co. invented and was testing a new windmill-one that

would better meet the wants of farmers as it was cheaper than any windmill being built in Batavia at the time.

The local election of May 11, 1866, may not have been tame, according to this account of the results.

"The election on Tuesday for a corporation board was hotly contested, and a large vote polled. Although there was hot

blood from morn till night, no black eyes or broken heads came before the police court.

"A license board triumphed by a majority of forty-four. It consists of John VanNortwick, Thomas C. Moore, A. W. Bull,

L. P. Barker, and C. C. Stephens. They won on the platform that was posted around the streets, as follows: 'Rigid license,

restricted to a small number of proper persons and places; organization of hook and ladder companies; repair of sidewalks, and suppression of all nuisances.'The radical temperance reformers hang their heads, but we trust the new administration will inaugurate a brilliant career of law and order for our circumspect community."


Six terms as Mayor:

Six Generations in Batavia


Reminiscences on Family by Mayor Jeffery D. Schielke


vol42Num_6.jpgThe April 3 election of Jeffery D. Schielke to a sixth consecutive term as mayor marks a unique moment in Batavia's history. With six terms to his credit, Jeff doubles the record of mayoral longevity, a three-term run (1949-1961) by the late J. Edward Anderson. It gives us a chance to reflect on Mayor Shielke's deep roots in Batavia and the effect that thatmust have on his approach to_his job. This isn't just a genealogy story, although the family tree provides the framework for it and is interesting in itself.


Our purpose is to show how a family, over generations, merges into a town, becomes a part of the fabric that makes the town truly a community. One recognizes such a community when, upon hearing a name mentioned, someone is sure to speak up and say, "Yes, don't you remember -- his father worked with your grandfather down at the Challenge." And then someone else chimes in, "Sure, I remember him -- his cousin Anna married my uncle." That is how Batavia was through the 1950s -- and to a great extent, still is. Initially settled primarily by people from upstate New York, our town became home to a number

of immigrants, primarily Swedish, beginning in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The make-up of the town remained virtually unchanged through the first half of the twentieth century. The explosive growth of the last fifty years, during which Batavia's population has quadrupled, together with the mobility of today's society,

may have stretched that fabric, but it still exists at the heart of our community.


That is why our mayor, Jeff Schielke, loves Batavia, having an innate sense of its quirks and undercurrents. We hope that Batavia, whoever its mayor may be in the years to come, retains the same "connectedness," the vital ties with its past.

It starts with my great-great-greatgrandfather, Cornelius Bogardus (C. B.) Conde, born In Glenville, New York, on December 27, 1814 -- the height of the War of 1812. The other great-great-great-grandfather in that branch of my ancestry was a twin, born in Cortland, New York, while his father was fighting with the militia on Lake Ontario during the same war. C.B. married Hannah M. Quant in Rotterdam, New York, on March 17, 1837. Sometime after the birth of Margaret, their first child, they came (0 Batavia, Illinois, when the town was only about five years old. Their second child was Sarah Truex Conde, my great-great-grandmother, who was followed in short order by a boy and four more girls.


The six girls appear in the accompanying picture; unfortunately, I don't know which one is Sarah. C.B. set up the first blacksmith shop in Batavia on North River Street. Their farm was just south of the East Side Cemetery, and the house they built at what is now 210 North Washington Avenue is still in the Conde family. According to family lore, C.B. heard about the California Gold Rush and decided to head out there. On the way, he got involved in a skirmish with Indians. He didn't have much luck finding gold, so he came back to Batavia and had more kids. Sarah married Francis Forbes Loveland on October 10, 1860. and they had six children -- five girls and one boy. The oldest, Ida May Loveland, my great-grandmother, was born August 29, 1861. Sarah died March 8, 1917, in the house at 203 North Washington that her daughter, Ida May, and son-in-law had built. One of Sarah's sisters, Katherine Elizabeth, married Winfield Scott White. They had a daughter named Louise Conde White, the well known teacher after whom one of Batavia's schools is named.



C.B. Conde






Vera Jeffery Schielke

42_vera Jeffery Schilke.jpg 


 Don Schielke




 Ida Mae Loveland Jeffery

42_Ida mae Loveland Jeffery.jpg

Six daughters of C. B Conde


Sarah's daughter, Ida May, married John Jeffery of Syracuse, New York. In 1893, they built the house on North Washington that remained in the family until after the death of my father, Don Schielke, in 1998. I have a picture of John Jeffery with his nine brothers and sisters, so I must have a lot of cousins out there. A lot of them were in the Syracuse, New York, area. My great-grandfather had a brother who moved over near Niles, Michigan. The wood that was used to build the house on North Washington came from the lumber yard owned by John Jeffery's brother in Michigan. Itwas shipped by boat to Chicago and then by train to Batavia -- to the old depot that is where Amsted's is today.2 John and Ida May had three daughters. Vera Jeffery, my grandmother, was born April 12, 1886. The other daughters were Erma Hazel Jeffery and Norma Jeffery Burke. I have to credit a lot bf-mypuolic-i hvc5l'ile=ment interest to my great-aunt Erma. She was highly sought after for after-dinner speeches from Rockford to the Quad Cities, to Kankakee and Chicago.


When I was growing up, she used to practice her speeches on me; as a result, I picked up a lot of public speaking tips from a professional. Because she was hindered by bad eyesight, Erma always gave her speeches from memory --never reading or writing them down. Her motto used to be: "If you don't know what it is that you are going to say, you should not be standingup there before a group to begin with." On several occasions, Erma used to team up with Sammi Maier King when Sammi was a youngster, and the two of them would perform at the same event. I remember once when Sammi and her mother, Laverne, came over to pick up Erma to go out for one of those speeches; as they pulled away from the house, my father remarked, "There goes a powerful combination of woman power." Vera married Herman Schielke; they were the parents of my father, Donald Schielke. Herman's father and Don Schielke my great-grandfather, John Schielke, came from the Lemont and Lockport area. My great-grandmother Schielke was born in Germany. They had a whole bunch of kids. One was Hannah, who was Harold Holbrook's mother. Another daughter named Elizabeth was married several times,( ~ the first time to a Zuehl and then to a Miller; from that marriage came Donna. Dallesasse's mother. Yet anotherdaughter, Alma, had four kids; she was Bob Becker's grandmother. And there were Carrie, who married a Schwager,and John II, whose son and his kids are carrying on the Schielke name in Aurora.


My father, Donald Schielke, was born January 10, 1919. One of the great honors of the family was my father's service as an army medic in the European Theater during World War II. He had first-hand memories of the Normandy invasion and spent 278 straight days in front-line combat across Europe for which he was awarded the Bronze Star.

After the war, my father married my mother, Catherine Odee. She had been married once before, right before the war, to Henry Magnuson. I think it was kind of an adversarial thing because my grandparents didn't like the situation. They got married in Tennessee and came back to town for a while; then they went off to a military base in California. It didn't work

out so she came back. Although there was a law at that time that a wife couldn't divorce a serviceman, she did get a divorce, probably with the help of Ernest Oswalt and Emil Benson. My mother was half Norwegian and half Swedish. Her father, Ole Odee, was the caretaker of the Oswalt estate on North Batavia Avenue (now the Holy Heart of Mary Novitiate); he did all the landscaping and the planting, as well as a lot of the work in the house. When Ernest Oswalt built the Campana building, my grandfather was put in charge of doing all the landscaping and a lot of the internal work. My grandmother worked thirty years for the Oswalts. Gunnar Anderson, who was the Assistant Fire Chief and worked at Lindgren's Foundry for many years, and my grandfather went into the same naturalization class. They had to go up to the courthouse and swear off of their native ties and swear allegiance to the United States. Ernest Oswalt had probably gotten Attorney Emil Benson to go with them to the courthouse.


Emil could work magic in the county; he could get things done. So they came in together and the judge was told they had these two guys, one a Swede and the other Norwegian. The judge got a little huffed because he would have to send the bailiff out to get another flag. Emil stepped forward and whispered something in the judge's ear; then the the judge said OK. So they got the Swedish and Norwegian flags together, and the judge said that this was not common practice but they could each swear off their native country. Then they got together in front of the American flag and swore their allegiance to the United States. My mother's mother, Tioliva Bloomquist, came from a large Swedish family. So, my mother had a bunch of cousins who came into Chicago to the Andersonville area. The daughter of my grandmother Odee's brother, Karin Cory, now lives on Pine Street with her husband Fred; so does their son Tom and his family. My mother had another bunch of relatives up in Rockford. One of that family has just moved down here and is working for the Kane County Cougars. I was born December 16, 1948, and married my wife, Linda Anderson, on July 12, 1986.


My mother died in 1984 and my father in 1998, leaving me as the end of a long line of Batavians that began with C.B. and Hannah Quant Conde about 1840. There must be a number of Batavians with ties to the early days here and to many interrelated families. We would welcome their stories. Based on a recent interview with Bill Wood, Elliott Lundberg and Bill Hall. Susan Stark and Vince Gatto, who bought the house, are doing a phenomenal job restoring it. In the walls, Vince found a rolledup paper -- the original plans for the house, in mint condition. The plans were drawn up by a Jeffery in Syracuse, New York, so one of the Jefferys must have been an architect.

Readers' Corner


We are opening this Readers' Corner to include comments sent in by readers that we think would be of interest to

others. Sometimes these comments will address mistakes in our stories; other times they will be reactions to stories that appeared in a recent issue. We will assume that persons who write us are willing to have their comments referred to or quoted in the Historian unless they indicate otherwise in their letters. Scouting information. In the last issue, we asked for information generally about the history of boy scouting in Batavia and specifically about the location of a cabin for the east side Troop 12. Several persons have told us that the cabin, surprisingly, was on the west side of the river, south of the old City Hall and across from the Shumway foundry. As a result of the letter, Sandy Chalupa, whose father, Harry Pierce, was scoutmaster of Troop 12 for many years, gave the museum a collection of photographs and films of scouting activities. Chris Winter has asked us to repeat the request for scouting material. She writes, "Maybe we could include any scouting group (boys or girls) because the museum has very little about scouting in our collection."

Location of Johnson grocery store.


In "Reminiscences of Eleanor Johnson" in the January 2001 issue, we stated that the store she and her

husband, Albert Johnson, bought was located on Lincoln Street at Houston Avenue. Bob Peterson has written that

"the store, owned by Charles ("Charlie") Nelson was at the address which is now 521 Houston Street, almost across the street from where Eleanor and Albert lived -- and where she still lives. After the store closed, the building housed the Rubo Sheet Metal Shop and is presently a tri-plex or 4-plex apartment."


Old Northwestern station. Under the picture of the old Chicago and Northwestern station that appeared on the cover of the last issue, we said that the station was destroyed in 1964 by a fire that started in the old livery stable next door. Mayor Schielke has pointed out that the fire damaged but did not destroy the station. By the way, no one has come forth to claim credit for leaving the picture that appeared in the last issue on the mayor's desk.


Girls' basketball picture. Ardene Pinner has written that the picture was of her mother's basketball team in the last issue. Her mother, Marian (Miller) Larson Powers gave Ardene the picture; along with several others; it was restored by Ardene's son, Dave Pinner, and copies were given to the museum. 



Fun at the Old Swimming Hole


The following reminiscences of Florence Liedberg will kindle memories of many readers. In addition, they will remind us of how blatantethnicand racial discrimination was and how far we have come in eliminating it.


I started swimming when I was five years old at the Frederick Beach Park. That was back in 1925. My brother, Arnold Peterson, was a lifeguard at the quarry and would bring my sister and me along with him when he went to work. We stayed until he went home for supper, so we had a long afternoon to splash around. It was no wonder that we learned to swim at an early age. A season ticket cost 50 cents back then; by the time I was in high school, the price had doubled. There was a wooden check-in building where swimmers got baskets to put their clothes-in-while they swam.


To begin with there was a tag on a stretch band to wear around the neck. Later it was changed to an ankle band, which was easier to wear. On the tag was the basket number for reclaiming one's clothes. It also gave the lifeguards a way to check for swimmers who hadn't paid to swim. I remember a sign on the checkroom that said, "Gentiles only." I asked my mother if I was a gentile because I didn't want to be told I couldn't go in the pool. There was a wood refreshment stand at the southeast end of the pool. At the south end was a steep hill with stone steps going up to picnic tables on the top. There were no fences around the pool. The entrance for driving into the park was the same as now, but the exit went south from the parking area, wound around up by the cemetery and came north to Water Street. For walkers there were steps down from Water Street coming in at the north end of the pool. Originally, the steps were wood, starting with boards with tracks. Swimmers had to be aware of the danger of getting hit by these toboggans. On the same side was a regular slide on which I wore out the seat of many swimsuits. The diving tower was a wooden structure-much the same height and

shape as the one there now. In the water were two rafts. They were boards with two metal barrels at each end. Unlike the stationary rafts of today, these rafts could be tipped overa sport enjoyed by the bigger boys to tease the girls. The north end of the beach was wild compared to the sandy area today. The fish would spawn among the green water grasses; and if you walked there, they would nip at your ankles. We avoided the far north end because of the water snakes. They weren't poisonous, but scary when you found one swimming in front of you.


The Green Pheasants started a local swimming meet in 1928. I swam0 for the first time in 1931. After 1933, the pool sponsored the meet, which consisted of girls' and boys' dashes (25 and 50 yards), starting from a platform built at the north end of the pool. Joe Morton and my sister Helen were two of the better swimmers. The girls diving was won by Janet Anderson Knauer and Jim Ryan won the men's division. Jim was known for his daredevil stunts and was one of the few people to dive from the top tower at the North Aurora Fairground pool. Joe Morton, Jim Ryan, Jack O'Connor, and Harold Swanson were the lifeguards I remember from my high school days. I swam mostly with Joan Mason, Helen Martin and Mary Lou Larson. Janet Anderson, Mary Nystrom and Midge Coleman were friends who worked in the checkroom. There were many different managers over the years. I'm sure there are people with a better memory for names than I have who can recall who they were.


After I married, I brought my two kids to the pool to swim and for lessons. I later taught adult swimming in the mornings. Many of these women had never learned to swim before and were excited about being able to join their children in the water on summer vacations. The Batavia Park District started what they called the "Country Club Swim." Cliff Avis was one of the regular men swimmers, and Edna Hailey would put us all to shame by plunging quickly into the cold water. She was 80 years old at that time. We ended the season with a picnic for the lifeguards who did extra duty so we could


One additional thing I'd like to mention happened during the time I was Day Camp Director for the Batavia girl scouts. The girls wanted to swim, so I arranged through the city park system for time in the mornings to use the pool. Problems started when I learned could not go in the pool. I talked toMayor Anderson who wasn't awarethat this problem existed. He quicklychanged the rules and it was the beginningfor all Batavia youngsters touse the pool. He was a very kind, understandingman-one of Batavia's great mayors. I know there are many people who shared my love of the old quarry pool I hope they'll add a postscript to what I remember.

Batavians WeHave Known: Emma Hazelwood Brigham


Emma Hazelwood Brigham has lived in Batavia for less than 50 years (sometimes regarded as the cutoff period for history), but she is part of an extended family, members of which have lived in the Fox River Valley for many years.



Perhaps the one best known to Batavians is Emma's brother, Truman Hazelwood, long-time pastor of the Logan Street Baptist church, now retired. The-DICiest of nine children, Emma was born to William Wheeler Hazelwood and Bessie Emma Catherine Williams Hazelwood in 1914 on a tobacco and dairy farm near Campbellsville, Kentucky. The

Hazelwoods owned two farms, one of 95 acres on which they lived and another of 75 acres several miles distant.


They were the only black farmers in their neighborhood. The home farm is still in the family, owned by  Emma's nephew, Ed Hazelwood, Jr. Emma's father died at age 45, and she has vivid memories of the days when she worked on the farm "like a man."The children went to segregated schools. Emma remembers having to walk four miles to school rather than going to the school in the nearest town just a half mile away. Some of the family moved to Batavia; others including Emma went to New York City. She lived in Harlem and commuted to the 7th Avenue garment district where she worked as a packer at the Ai Dress Company for fourteen years. It was while she lived in New York that Emma met Gilbert Brigham. He had been an MP in the army during World War II and subsequently got a job with the U.S. Postal Service, driving a semi in Chicago.


Emma and Gilbert were married in 1956 and moved to Batavia in 1959. They built their home on Lathem Street in 1964. Over the years, she did housework for several families in Batavia and Geneva including the Donald Clarks, the Sol Simons, the Shodeens and the LeRoy Linvilles. Gilbert died on March 5, 1992, and Emma retired the following December.


She continues to live in the home they built, decorated with paintings by local artists including Sylvia Simon and Ruth Ford. She is an active member of the Logan Street Baptist Church.


The Lincoln Highway: An Informative and Interesting General Meeting


The many members and visitors

who attended the March 18 general

meeting were privileged to enjoy an

outstanding program, "The Lincoln

Highway -- Illinois' Newest Scenic

Highway." Studying the history of the

Lincoln Highway is a passion of many

today. There are state and national

Lincoln Highway Associations. Ruth

Frantz of Sugar Grove, Director of the

Illinois Association, and Sue Jacobson

of Aurora, Secretary for the National

Association, presented an informative

and entertaining program on the highway,

complete with slides and many

artifacts on display before and after

the meeting.

Carole Dunn was ready with refreshments

at the conclusion of the

meeting. As is usually the case, many

members enjoyed a chance to stay

and visit with the speakers and their

friends after the meeting -- even until

they had to be moved so that the

chairs could be put away. It was a

great day.Thanks to Dick Benson, vice

president and program chairman, and

his committee.

We hope to tell more about the lincoln

Highway, which came right down

Batavia Avenue, in a future issue.