Annuals of Knox County, Illinois

typed by Ann Maxwell the whole book for publishing here at American History & Genealogy Project

 

ANNALS OF KNOX COUNTY
ANNALS OF GALESBURG

By Martha Farnham Webster
 

 

The annals of Galesburg are cherished in the hearts of her children.  The children of the Founders, their children, and their children’s children, for generations to come, may well look back with emotions of pride and veneration upon the successful fulfillment of a worthy purpose by those men and women of sterling worth and noble achievement—the Founders of Galesburg—the Colonists of 1836 – 1837.

The founding of Galesburg was the fulfillment of a dream which took hold upon the fancy of the Rev. George W. Gale of Whitesboro, New York, and which held him under its potent spell until it became a ruling passion with him.  It came to him not only as a “dream, in a vision of the night when deep sleep falleth upon man,”  but by day and by night, for many days and nights in succession it held in thrall, until no longer able or willing to ignore its influence, he yielded to its spell and gave up a work which he had successfully promoted for seven years and devoted his every talent and energy to the carrying out of a plan which had been maturing in his thought and seeking fulfillment at his hand.

Before entering into a discussion of this plan, biz., a scheme for the founding of an institution of learning somewhere in the far, unknown western country which had begun to stretch forth beckoning hands to the substantial citizens of New York and New England to come out and possess the land, let us learn something of the previous history of that man who was above all others the founder of the town, the college, and the church, and whose name set as a signet in the name of our fair city, shall be held in honored remembrance so long as the city itself remains.

George Washington Gale was born in Stanford, Dutchess County, New York, December 3, 1789.  He was the only son and the youngest child of his parents, and was of frail constitution and delicate health.  At eight years of age he was left an orphan to the care of his older sisters, of whom there were eight, all of them well-married and living in the home neighborhood.  Naturally their oversight of the young, only brother was most tender and loving, but it was also tinged with the austerity which characterized the rigid methods of family government in that period.  They kept him constantly employed, either in study, or in the thousand nameless duties that fall to the lot of a willing and obedient boy on a large farm.

George Gale was ambitious and much devoted to study, and at an early age he entered Union College in Schenectady, New York, successfully completed the course of study and was graduated with honor.  From Union college he went to Princeton Theological Seminary, then, as now, one of the leading theological schools of this country.  But his health did not permit him to complete the course of study in the seminary, and greatly to his regret, he was compelled to leave the school, hoping, however, to return at some future time to finish his course.  This he did in 1819, at thirty years of age.  In the meantime he had been licensed to preach, and during the period of rest from his studies, he labored as a Home Missionary in a comparatively new territory in northern New York.  During this period he was actively engaged in evangelistic work and was the means of organizing s number of churches in that territory.  Returning to Princeton and completing the course there, he immediately thereafter accepted a call to the church at Adams, Jefferson County New York, riding thither on horseback from Princeton, New Jersey.

After a time failing health again compelled Mr. Gale to give up his work, and he resigned from this, his first and last regular pastorate, much to the regret of all.  Seeking health in a milder climate, he went to Virginia and spent some months there.  His experiences in the South and his contact and intercourse with people of a different type broadened his vision and taught him lessons which were of value to him in later years.  Step by step he was led into experiences which would especially fit him for taking up the crowning work of his life.

Improve in health, Mr. Gale returned to New York, but found himself still unable to take up the duties of a pastorate.  He therefore found a temporary home in comfortable old-fashioned house on a small farm in Oneida County, New York.  This old farm house proved to be the source and inspiration of the dream to which we have referred—the dream which led him on the to the establishment of a school for young men with limited means, and later to the development of a plan which resulted in the founding of Knox College and the City of Galesburg.

Briefly, the plan was to provide an opportunity for young men of small means, or of no means at all, to secure an education; preferably for those who had the gospel ministry in view.  He invited young men of the neighborhood to come to him for instruction.  Half a dozen young men responded, and to these he gave instruction and furnished books, while they each agreed to perform three hours’ daily work upon the farm in return.

The plan was a success, and attracted much attention with the result that after a time with the aid of interested friends, he founded a school in the village of Whitesboro, Oneida County, New York, which bore the name of Manual Labor Institute.  This experiment proved to be the germ and the gradual development of the project which resulted in the organization of the Galesburg colony and the founding of Knox College.

Mr. Gale remained with the school at Whitesboro for seven years.  In 1834 he retired from the management and entered into a new scheme looking toward the founding of an institution of learning in the far way western country, then so largely unoccupied or even unexplored.

He carefully prepared a “Circular and Plan” clearly setting forth his enlarged scheme.  (This interesting document is quoted in full, beginning at page 9 in the volume entitled Seventy-five Significant Years—The Story of Knox College, prepared by the writer of these annals at the request of the trustees of Knox College.)

Mr. Gale sent out his circular and set about securing subscriptions to his enterprise, making a personal canvass among his friends in Central and Eastern New York, striving to interest both clergymen and laymen in the plan in which he himself was so deeply and vitally interested.  In the early part of the year 1835, he had secured a sufficient number of subscriptions to justify an organization of the effort, and the action was therefore taken which was to be of such untold influence and importance in the years to come.

An organization was accomplished in the First Presbyterian Church in Rome, New York, on the 6th day of May, 1835.  A Prudential Committee was selected which was composed of six men who were empowered to fill out their number to eleven members. These six men were Walter Webb of Adams, Nehemiah West of Ira, Thomas Gilbert of Rome, John C. Smith of Utica, George W. Gale of Whitesboro, and H.H. Kellogg of Clinton.  Where should the new enterprise be located? Where should be found the ways and means for carrying it to completion?  These were the questions which involved long and earnest discussion on the part of this committee.

An exploring committee must be named.  Who should be selected to undertake this highly important and responsible work:  The choice fell upon Nehemiah West, Thomas Gilbert and T.B. Jervis for the exploring committee, and the Rev. George W. Gale was to enlist families and secure funds for the new colony.

By June, 1835, about one-half of the proposed sum was subscribed; that is, about $20,000.  Only about $6,000 of this was ever paid.  But, having “set their hands to the plow,” the promoters of this enterprise would not turn back; and so on the 6th day of June, 1835, was held in Rome, New York, the first meeting of subscribers.  Of that meeting the Rev. John Waters, afterward a conspicuous figure in the Galesburg colony, was made chairman and T.B. Jervis, secretary.  The following were appointed trustees of the fund:  Messrs. Walter Webb, Nehemiah West, Thomas Gilbert, John c. Smith, G.W. Gale and H.H. Kellogg; and as already stated, Rev. George W. Gale was general agent.

Thirty-three persons had given their approval to the plan and had subscribed $21,000 toward carrying it into execution, but only about half the names on that original subscription list became permanent names on the records of the colony.  The list contained, of course, the names which have been mentioned above in connection with the various committees, and others, making forty-six in all, many of the names never appearing in the annals of the colony.  (A list of the original subscribers may be found on page 12 - 13 in the volume to which reference has been make, Seventy-five Significant Years.  The book may be found in the Galesburg Public Library and the Library of Knox College, the Ste Historical Library at Springfield, Illinois, and the Library of Memorial Continental Hall, Washington, D.C.)

The exploring committee was instructed to explore the prairie state of Indiana and Illinois between the fortieth and forty-second degrees of north latitude, with reference to the best location for the proposed settlement.  The instructions give evidence of shrewd calculation on the part of those who drafted them and are so explicit in every detail that unwise or ill advised action on the part of the committee could scarcely have been possible.  (An interesting outline of these instructions may be found on page 15 of Seventy-five Significant Years.

The committee went out as instructed, explored the regions designated, fixed upon a location in Knox County in the State of Illinois, and returning made their report to the subscribers at their second meeting, August  19, 1835.  The report was accepted and a purchasing committee was appointed consisting of Rev. George W. Gale, Silvanus Ferris and Nehemiah West.  Their instructions were to purchase not less than twenty sections of land and as much more as their funds would allow, one-tenth of which must be timber and the rest prairie, and for which the government price of $1.25 per acre was to be paid.  Three sections should be reserved for college and village purposes and the rest sold to actual settlers at $5.00 per acre.  The surplus thus accruing was to constitute the endowment of the college; while the proceeds from the sale of village lots were to be used toward the endowment of a Female Seminary.

And so the purchasing committee set out upon that final mission in this great enterprise—the purchase of the land on which now stands the fair city of Galesburg as a monument to their wise and far-sighted investment.

The story of the journey of the purchasing committee is most interestingly told in a letter written by Nehemiah West, one of the committee, to a relative, immediately after his return from the trip.  We quote portions of the letter.  After describing the experiences of the journey, some of them perilous and all of them interesting and which occupied three months for the round trip, he referred to the purchase of the site selected by the exploring committee; he says: “We purchase about 20,000 acres nearly in a square form, mostly prairie.  It is a fine tract of land in a very healthy country, well watered and supplied with abundance of stone and coal.  We surveyed it out into lots of eight acres each, agreeable to our plan of distribution among subscribers.”

“In the center we laid off three contiguous sections of 640 acres each, for college and village purposes—two for the college and one for the village—stuck the stakes of our college building and returned home. We have about thirty families, all pious, who are to settle together, so you see we have the prospect of a good society and the facilities for educating our children.  We expect to start with our families as soon as the roads are passable in the spring.  I have a log cabin ready to move into till I can build and 40 acres broken up all ready for any kind of grain.  We expect to break and fence 200 or 300 acres of the college land next season and sow it to wheat.”

Thirty bushels to the acre is the usual product for the first crop.  It is worth six shillings per bushel, eighty bushels to the acre of corn, worth two shillings per bushel, but it is worth more to feed, as pork is worth $4 per hundred.  Now, in 1918, wheat is worth $2.10 per bushel, corn $1.50 per bushel and hogs are selling for $20 per hundred weight, and therefore, now, as then, the farmers find that corn is “worth more to fee” than to sell.

The First Company Sets Out for “The West”

As early in the spring of 1836 as the roads would permit, “the advance guard of the army of occupation” under the leadership of Nehemiah West, left their pleasant homes in New York and started westward.  They journeyed in strong, well-built, canvas covered wagons drawn by patient, plodding horses.  Their rate of progress was that of about as many miles per day as the average railway train covers in an hour.  Four long weeks measured their slow and toilsome length before the new home was reached and they beheld “the city of their dreams.” And what did they look upon?  Not a city of comfortable homes, of schools and churches and business houses, as were their own familiar Utica and Albany, not even the pretty peaceful village nestling at the foot of the green hills from which they turned their faces as they bade good-bye to home and friends; but just a few rude log cabins standing in the outskirts of a “stretch of timber” that bordered an apparently limitless expanse of trackless, treeless prairie.  These cabins were located three and one-half miles northwest of the center of the site of their future city of Galesburg.  The had been built and occupied by settlers coming up from Kentucky and other parts of the south, who had within the five or six years previously fringed the grove with a tier of farms and had then vacated their cabins presumably for more commodious quarters.  There were not enough of these cabins to accommodate even the first party that arrived, but they distributed themselves as best they could until they could build cabins for themselves, and in their turn vacate those they found to be occupied by a succession of later arrivals who came during the summer and fall of 1836 and the spring of 1837.  Some of the young people slept in corn cribs belonging to the cabins, or were housed in tents made of boughs until a sufficient number of cabins could be built for the shelter of all who came; albeit they must be crowded to the extent of two and three families in a single room of these rude buildings.

The cluster of cabins which thus sprang up along the edge of Henderson Grove, and scattered for a mile or more along the woodland trail, came to be known in the history of the colony as “Log City,” a name revered and honored in the hearts of all true and loyal descendants of the Founders.

Prof. George Churchill of Knox College in one of his historical papers says: “It would astonish a modern builder to examine one of these mansions.  Some of them were built without as much as a single nail or pane of glass in the entire structure.  Log walls were chinked with mud, outside chimney constructed of sticks and clay, with upper aperture as large as not only to give egress to the smoke, but ingress to the light when the cabin door was shut.  Doors made of split boards fastened with wooden pins to a wooden hinge; a puncheon floor and roof covered with shakes (narrow strips of wood) held down by heavy log riders

The furniture was at first as rude as the cabins.  Boxes, barrels and short logs were the chairs, a larger box the table, and one-post bed stood in one corner of the room. Shipments of Furniture Long Delayed One reason for the utter crudeness of the furniture thus described, and the lack of household conveniences of all kinds was the fact that their goods were shipped by water and were delayed many weeks after the colonists themselves had arrive on the scene.  The “one-post bed” referred to above was constructed in this way:  a pole was mortise into a log at the end of the room at a proper distance from the corner to measure the width of the bed.  Another pole was mortised into the side wall at the distance of a bed’s length.  The two poles which came together at a right angle were supported by a third upright post which constituted the only outer support.  Ropes were interlaced across and around these poles forming by their network a foundation for a straw bed, the popular mattress of that day.  A straw or husk or hay mattress made a fragrant wholesome resting place, providing the filling of the ticks was replenished often enough to meet sanitary requirements.  A third bed was often made between the two corner beds by placing four “chests” side by side.  These chests were a necessary article in the household furniture of every family.  They contained the wearing apparel of the family, and every time an article stored in them was needed, the bedding had to be removed.  The one room was equipped with a stove for cooking and heating purposes, or sometime with only a fireplace.  One of the stoves in a Log City home has been thus described:  The stove was in the shape of an oblong box with one large opening in the center of the top; directly underneath this was the firebox with a wide, projecting hearth in front where the hoecakes were toasted.

 

In these crowed, crude, and necessarily unsanitary quarters they cooked, and ate, and slept and suffered all kinds of privations and hardships, but remained strong in courage and hope.  The manner of housing and furnishing was only a temporary “make shift” until their furniture arrive and more comfortable houses could be built.  Before the winter drew near they were all comfortably housed in log cabins, sufficient in number and capacity for their immediate needs.  The cold weather of the autumn of 1836 found 175 residents Log City busily preparing for the coming winter.  During the winter the men were busy getting timber ready for the houses to be built on the prairie in the spring.  After the first sawmill was put up, house building began in good earnest First Sawmill in 1837 A steam sawmill was built on colony land in Henderson Grove by John Kendall and was completed in 1837.  Previous to the completion of this mill sawed lumber for building was only obtainable by hauling logs from Henderson Grove to Knoxville, and paying for the mill work with two-thirds of the boards.  Naturally it was greatly to the advantage of the colonists to have their own sawmills located upon colony land.  The next year the Ferris brothers, Western, Olmstead, and William, sons of Silvanus Ferris, built the second mill two northwest of the Kendall mill, and shortly afterward a third sawmill was erected in Galesburg by Nehemiah West, Erastus Swift, and George W. Gale.  This mill was located on the north side of Ferris Street between West and Academy.  Although located four miles from the nearest timber the output of this latter mill was in great demand and found ready use at the point where it was turned out.  And doubtless the combined output of the three mills was needed to meet the demands of the colonists who were building their village and farm houses upon the prairies during these first busy years from 1836 to 1840.  The houses upon the prairie were, with an exception, frame houses, albeit they were plain and modest in their structure.  An early settler in writing of these buildings says, “In the early days of the Galesburg settlement few villages in Illinois could b boast of painted houses and the white dwellings of the embryo city attracted the pleased attention of eastern travelers.  This distinction was rendered possible by the oil mill built and operated by Leonard Chappell on Kellogg Street, between main and Ferris.  There oil might be had in exchange for flax seed raise on the farms.” The first dwelling house built upon the site of the city of Galesburg was that of William Holyoke, and it stood on the lot now occupied by the Mathews block, between Prairie and Kellogg streets, and on the north side of Main Street.  A frame house built at Log City and occupied by Riley Root and his family was placed upon large sleds and in that way removed to the village on the   prairie and located upon the lot at the northwest corner of Main and Cherry streets in the block now occupied by the Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Bank, the Rearick Hardware Store, etc. The First Meeting House The log cabin of Hugh Conger has the distinction of having been the first meeting house of the colonists, it being more commodious than some of the others, as was necessary for his family of seven children.  But before the cold weather of their first winter set in a more commodious and comfortable building was provided which was designed for both church and school purposes. First Building for Both Church and School Purposes This was a two-room building with a wide door between the rooms in which the speaker stood so as to be readily seen and heard from both rooms.  It was constructed of split timbers, roofed with spit shakes, floored with split boards, and when the sawmill began to run, ceiled upon the inside with rough basswood boards and the space between the clapboards and ceiling filled with sawdust.  Professor Churchill sys” “It would not be much out of the way to say that in this very building the first term of Knox College was held with Professor Nehemiah H. Losey as principal and Miss Lucy Gay as assistant.”

First Public School Building It also served the purpose of a public school and was the only building for that purpose until the following year or possibly two years, when the first public school building devoted primarily and especially to that purpose was erected in the new village on the prairie. It stood on the northeast corner of the public square facing the south.  It could boast of one feature of the most approved and up-to-date type; that is, the floor was inclined from the front to the rear of the room so that the teacher standing or seated by his desk at the further end could readily supervise the deportment of the pupils. First Public School teacher Among the many who held sway over this school from 1840 to 1850 were Eli Farnham, who had the distinction of being the first teacher of the first public school in Galesburg; James H. Noteware, afterward superintendent of public schools for the State of Kansas; Marshall DeLong, one of the most popular and successful teachers of the early day, in this vicinity; George Churchill, prince of teachers from the very beginning of his long career in the school and classroom; and Henry McCall, whose wife and daughter, Miss Ida McCall, many years thereafter, were both of them, and for a number of years both at the same time, the honored and beloved teachers of many successive classes in Knox Academy.

Development of Galesburg Public Schools

From that small beginning the Galesburg Public School system has developed and increased until it has reached the following proportions: In the fall of 1918 there are twelve buildings with a total enrollment of 3,721 pupils. The high school is a modern, well-equipped building of forty-four rooms. The grade buildings range in size from four to thirteen rooms.  There are one hundred twenty-eight instructors and supervisors and fifteen secretaries and other helpers, making in all one hundred forty-three upon the payroll. The school buildings with the exception of the high school and the Central Primary are named in honor of the two most distinguished men our state has given to the nation; for Presidents and Professors in our Colleges, and for substantial citizens who have given efficient service upon the board of trustees in the colleges, and the board of education in the public schools. These are the names: Names of Public School Buildings:


Lincoln, Douglas, Weston, Bateman, Churchill, Hitchcock, Cooke, Farnham, Silas Willard and L. T. Stone. An attractive and finely equipped gymnasium was completed during the summer of this centennial year, and to this building is given the name of the W. L. Steele Gymnasium, in memory of the lamented superintendent of our city schools who for thirty-three years devoted himself untiringly and with pronounced success to the improvement and the up building of these schools and died in May, 1918, just previous to his voluntary retirement from the active service which he had so well performed.
But to go back to the autumn of 1837, at this time so many had moved out to their farms or to the village upon the prairie, that the church services were held alternately at the grove and at the village, in the latter place the meetings being held in a store building which was owned by Matthew Chambers and was located at the intersection of Main Street with the Pubic Square, east of the Square and on the south side of Main Street.


Population of the Town at the Close of 1837


By the close of 1837 there was a community numbering 232. Of these 175 came in 1836 and 57 in 1837. Besides these thee were at least two families belonging to the original colony who settled elsewhere. Mr. Thomas Gilbert settled in Knoxville and Mr. Isaac Wetmore in Ontario. But the colonists of 1836 and 1837 were the original “Old Settlers,” and these were they who, building themselves, “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor,” into the structure of the College. The title of “The Founders.” As a matter of historic interest and for purposes of information to further inquirers we give below the names of the colonists of 1836 and 1837, the “Founders of Galesburg.” Names of Colonists—1836 The first company who arrived on the second day of June, 1836, consisted of the following persons: Mr. and Mrs. Nehemiah West and their five children; Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Conger and seven children; Miss Elizabeth Hudson; Mr. Barber Allen and his son, Daniel; and the young men, John G. West and Abram Tyler.


The First Wedding, August 31, 1836


Miss Elizabeth Hudson and Mr. Henry Ferris were the principals in the first wedding of the colony. They were married August 31, 1836, only two months after the arrival of Miss Hudson. Mr. Ferris had spent the previous winter that of 1835-1836, in one of the log cabins in Henderson Grove, and was on the ground to welcome the first company on its arrival. There is a difference of opinion as to whether another man, one of the Goodell family.


Other Companies Arrive


The names of other colonists who arrived with their families during the summer and fall of 1836 are the following: Messrs. George and H. Troop Avery, their mother and sisters; Mathew Chambers; Leonard Chappell; C.S. Colton; Patrick Dunn; Caleb Finch; Lusher Gay; Daniel Griffith; Abel Hitchcock, a widow and her sons, Elam and Samuel; the two Kendall brothers, Adoniram and John; Elisha King; John McMullen; Isaac Colton; Roswell Payne; Riley Root; Thomas Simmons; Erastus and Job Swift; Daniel Wheeler, and Henry Wilcox. The most of them had families of two or more little children. Two of the young men were married during the summer of fall of 1836. This list does not include the members of the canal boat company who arrived about August1, 1836. Rev. George W. Gale with his wife and family of young children arrived quite late in the fall of 1836.


“The Canal Boat Company,” 1836


The historic “canal boat trip: of the summer of 1836 was made up of a series of vicissitudes and disasters seldom paralleled in the annals of pioneer emigration. The company numbered thirty-seven and included men, women and children ranging in age from an infant of six weeks to men and women of forty or fifty years. The persons making up this party were: Captain John C. Smith and wife (Mr. Smith being one of the subscribers to Mr. Gale’s enterprise, and the promoter of this water trip for the party); Miss Catherine Ann Watson, a niece of Mrs. Smith, and two little sons of Dr. Grant, a Nestorian missionary who came under their care; Mr. and Mrs. Mills, two sons and a daughter; Miss Hannah Adams, a sister of Mrs. Mills; a girl named Mariah Fox, and a negro boy named Harry, who was under the charge of Mr. Mills; Mr. Lyman, his wife and two little sons; John Kendall; N.H. Losey, his wife, and one child; Henry Hitchcock, a brother of Mrs. Losey; Mrs. Clarissa Phelps, two daughters and one son, two nieces and a nephew (the children of Riley Root); John Bryan and a negro who steered the boat. The disastrous experiences of this party are related in Chapter VI of the book entitled Seventy-five Significant Years, to which we have previously referred. They are of pathetic and tragic interest.


Arrivals in Spring of 1837


In the spring of 1837 a number of substantial citizens with their families arrived to swell the population of the little community. Among them were the following, the most of them married and with children of various ages: Silvanus Ferris (although one of the chief promoters of the enterprise, he was one of the later arrivals), his sons William and Olmstead, both of them married; Mr. Ferris’ son-in-law, Dr. James Bruce; J.P. Frost, the founder of the Frost Manufacturing Company, and wife; Eli Farnham and wife; H.H. May, the inventor of the first steel plow, and wife; Agrippa Martin and family; Sheldon Allen, wife and infant son; Jonathan Simmons and wife; Harvey Jerauld; Western Ferris; N.O. Ferris; George Ferris and possibly others. One section at least of this group of families was six weeks on the way. Judging from the record of the names of the towns and villages touched along the route, their line of travel was much the same as that followed by the Michigan Central Railroad today.


Methods of Travel Then and Now


The early methods of travel were as we have seen, slow, wearisome and hazardous. They were in almost overwhelming contrast to the luxurious service and the rap id transit afforded by the railroads, the ocean liners, the private motor cars, and most amazing of all, the air craft of the present day. Many have made the mistake of concluding that the Galesburg colonists traveled from the East in wagons drawn by ox teams. This is not true. They came either in wagons covered with canvas to protect them from the weather and drawn by strong horses, or by the water route which included in its devious course the Erie Canal, Lake Erie, the Ohio Canal, the Ohio River, and the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Some of the men who came singly came by water as far as Chicago, which was then a village of a few hundred inhabitants, and then by horseback the remainder of the way.


The Pioneers from the Southern States


The southerners who settled along the outskirts of Henderson Grove five or six years previous to the coming of our colonists made the journey on horseback bringing with them their personal belongings and such small articles of furniture as they could carry upon pack horses. A remarkable example of pioneer enterprise and intrepid adventure may be found in the case of Mrs. Henrietta Brown, the widowed mother of eight sons and daughters who grew up to be prominent and useful citizens in the townships adjacent to Henderson Grove. When the spirit of emigration took hold upon a group of her friends and neighbors, substantial citizens of the “Kentucky Blue Grass Country,” she joined their ranks with her children, ranging in age from an infant to young manhood and womanhood, she journeyed from Kentucky with a train of horses of the fine old Kentucky stock, sufficient in number to transport herself and her children, the family clothing and bedding and a few pieces of furniture. The children who were too small to ride alone, and the younger ones too numerous to ride upon the horse with their mother were suspended in panniers swung across the backs of the pack horses.


The First Fort in Knox County


Upon the tract of government land which Mrs. Brown acquired which was located about seven miles northwest of Galesburg, the first fort or stockade in Knox County was erected. This served the purpose of a dwelling for her family and a place of refuge for the neighbors in case of alarm from the Indian bands who roamed the prairie at that period. Later, when that building became too small to protecting the increasing population, another fort was built upon the premises of her son-in-law, Peter Franz, and located about one-half the distance between the first fort and the present site of Galesburg. Two other forts erected in Knox County in that early period as protection against the Indians were located respectively on Section 10 of Henderson Township and southeast of Knoxville in Orange Township. The forts northwest of the site of Galesburg were called Fort Aggie and Fort Lewis.


The First Store


The first store in the community was conducted by one of the colonists from Maine, Mr. Chauncey S. Colton, who came in the season of 1836. It is said that, with true Yankee thrift and enterprise, he began to sell goods in one end of the log cabin of one of the Kentucky settlers, with whom he and his family were quartered until his store building about a mile farther west, in the Log City neighborhood, could be completed. This building is described as an 8 by 10 foot structure in which Mr. Colton displayed a varied assortment of goods—“a department store” in embryo. But about this nucleus he gathered a fortune as the years passed by, until he became one of the wealthiest men of his day in this section of the state. As the homes upon the prairie were occupied Mr. Colton removed his stock of goods to a building on the northwest corner of the intersection of Main Street and the Public Square in the village which building also served the purpose for his family for a number of years.


Other Stores


During that same season other stores were opened by Mathew Chambers and Levi Sanderson who also carried on a thriving and prosperous business and were reckoned among the moneyed men of the county.
Commercial Development along all Lines
The mercantile business thus started has developed along all lines suited to household needs until Galesburg with its various wholesale and retail business houses has become the commercial center for a large area of one of the richest tracts of country in the state.


First Academy Building


Late in the fall of 1838 the first Academy building was finished and occupied. It stood where the first National Bank building now stands, on the northeast corner of Main and Cherry streets. Years ago it was moved farther north to the middle of the block, facing Cherry Street, and was at first used as a private residence, and afterward as a boarding house. This historic structure was demolished early in the spring of 1918, and is now only a memory. With the Academy building completed and occupied by an academic department of forty students and a corps of teachers, it began to look as if Mr. Gale’s great idea was about to be realized. The college had entered upon its career of usefulness. But since it could not spring into being fully equipped it must first be established upon a strong and durable foundation. That foundation was the preparatory school, the Academy.


First Knox College Faculty


The first faculty of the college was composed of five members. They were the following: Rev. Hiram H. Kellogg, President; Rev. George W. Gale, acting Professor of Languages: Nehemiah H. Losey, A.M. Professor of Mathematics and Natural Science; James H. Smith, A.B, Tutor; Miss Julia Chandler, Preceptress of the “Female Department.” After the required training in the Academy the first freshman class was ready to enter upon the regular college curriculum in the fall of 1841, five years after the arrival of the colonists at “Log City.”


First Knox Commencement


In June, 1846, the first Knox Commencement Day occurred, and a class of nine young men was graduated. Of these, five became ministers, two of whom were foreign missionaries; two became physicians, and one a professor in college, and one a farmer. Dr. Jonathan Blanchard, who became President of the college in 1845, had the distinction of presiding over this first notable occasion and with this event the Idea had fully materialized, the dream came true.


Numbers Then and Now


Some figures by way of comparison will show the development of the college up to the present time. The first college faculty numbered five. The faculty at the beginning of the school year, 1918, numbered 24. The first graduating class numbered 9; the class of 1918 numbered 50. Presumably the first freshman class numbered 9, although we have not the figures at hand. The freshman class in the fall of 1918 numbered 292. Of these 235 were inducted into the Student’s Army Training Corps, according to the new order of things throughout the entire country in consequence of the World War.” There were in all 301 new students of whom 288 were men. A large number of men who would naturally have swelled the ranks of the other classes h ad enlisted for active service in the army and were either in the training camps or had gone “overseas.”


Lombard College


In the year 1851, another college was founded in Galesburg by the Universalists, of which denomination there were a number of influential families among the early settlers. The intention was at first to make it more of a preparatory school than a college, and it was to be known as the Illinois Liberal Institute. Accordingly, on February 15, 1851, a charter was granted to this new enterprise under that name. In 1852 the school opened its doors to pupils in a new building which was erected on the northwest corner of Tompkins and Seminary streets. The first faculty was composed of two teachers, the Rev. Paul Raymond Kendall and a lady assistant who not long afterward became his wife. Between sixty and seventy pupils were at first enrolled. Dr. Kendall was President and his wife, who was a lady of versatile accomplishments, was able to assist him in the various branches taught.


Dr. J. V. N. Standish


In 1854, John Van Ness Standish, a descendant of Captain Myles Standish of “Pilgrim” fame, was added to the faculty. He was a native of Vermont and a graduate of Norwich University. From the time of his arrival in Galesburg to the present time, for a period of seventy-four years, the presence among us of this honored citizen has been a powerful influence and aid in the up-building of our city. Educational, moral, reformatory, philanthropic, beneficent, and all other measures looking toward our city’s growth and well being have been vigorously, untiringly, and generously supported by him. For forty-one years he has been President of the Park Board, and in that office and also as City Forester, his labors for the beautifying of our city have been of inestimable value. Had he accomplished no other work during his long and fruitful life, that which he has done for the improvement and beautifying of Galesburg would have won for him the tribute: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”


Mrs. Harriet Augusta Standish


His wife, who as Miss Harriet Augusta Kendall, a cousin of the President, came also to join the faculty of the new enterprise in 1854, was a woman of very superior mental attainments and culture. After her marriage to Dr. Standish she became his inspirer, his helper, and his counselor in all his undertakings. She joined with him in large first for educational purposes, and beautiful Standish Park, the Knox Campus, Lombard Campus, and many private grounds in our city are a monument to their mutual plans and personal efforts. “Should you seek their monument, look about you.” In 1833 the building of the Liberal Institute was burned to the ground, and a new project for the school came to the front. Its trustees decided that in planning for a new and better building, plans for the school should also be enlarged.


Benjamin Lombard, Sr.
They began to solicit funds with the new building, the higher standards, and the enlarged course of study as their objective. Mr. Benjamin Lombard, Sr. a wealthy Universalist of a neighboring town promised to give $20,000 to the enterprise, providing the trustees would raise $15,000 and give his own name to the school. Arrangements were finally made for carrying out this plan, and a new charter was secured naming the school Lombard University. This is the name which its charter still bears, although some years ago the trustees voted to drop the name University, (as their plans for University courses had not been realized), and call it simply Lombard College.


New Location Chosen


The new building was located upon an eighty acre tract, lying one mile southeast of the original site which gave ample space for such additional buildings as they might need. Mr. Lombard offered to pay for this ground if the trustees would purchase it and locate the building there. The deed was given to the trustees by Lorentus E. and Mary W. Conger and the purchase price was $3,200.
Dr. Standish is authority for the statement that no college in this section of the country and possibly not one through the entire land have been erected under such trying and adverse conditions because of the entire lack of financial resources with which to meet the expense of construction. Mr. Lombard’s gift which was large for that day was not available until near the close of the 1856.
The building was erected by degrees or in sections as it were. After exhausting the slender means at hand at the beginning of the work, the building waited until further funds could be solicited to meet further expenditures. For example, the foundation was laid, the first story put up, the walls temporarily roofed with boards, and the workmen dismissed until President Kendall could make a tour of the surrounding towns and county-side presenting the needs of the institution, and urgently soliciting contributions, however small, so that the work might go on. Then the walls of the second story were laid and the work again stopped until a second canvass could be made. Finally the third story was finished and permanently roofed, and the skeleton of the shapely structure awaited for many months the interior finishing of partitions, plastered walls and permanent floors.


Lombard’s First Commencement—Professor Standish Presides
The Commencement exercises of the year 1857 were held in the building temporarily fitted up for the occasion, and Professor Standish, then acting President while President Kendall was out soliciting funds, conferred the degrees upon a graduating class of five members. Their names were Fielding Bond, Floyd G. brown, James H. Chapin, Edward D. Lunn and David Scott Wick. Two of these young men died in early manhood and the other three became prominent in public and professional life.


Divinity School


A divinity school was for some years connected with the institution, but a number of years ago, it was removed to Chicago University, and Dr. Lewis Beals Fisher, the President, was placed in charge of it while a new President was chosen for the college.
Lombard S.A.T.C.


The present faculty numbers twenty-two and the college is one of the units of the Student’s Army Training Corps, as a result of our country’s participation in the great “World War.”


The First Church


Up to about 1840 the material growth of the Church was noteworthy for so comparatively brief a period. The organization of the church had been effected in February, 1837, when sixty-four united with the church by letter and eighteen profession, making eighty-eight on the first enrollment. At the close of a series of revival meetings which followed the occupancy of the new Academy building as a place of worship, fifty-eight names were added to the membership of the church, and its moral power was greatly strengthen.


A New Church Building


Early in the forties it became evident that a “meeting house” must be built. The Academy building erected in 1836 was found to be entirely too small for the gathering congregations for in those days everybody attended church. The history of the meetings and discussions which were held in planning for the ways and means of providing for a new and a ample building in those days of great privation and rigid economy for.


Plans Adopted


A plan for the new building was finally adopted. It was to be sixty feet wide by eighty feet long, and twenty-four feet high from floor to ceiling. As they sat in their unpretentious Academy building and discussed and compared dimensions it seemed to some of them that the height was overwhelming, for the room in which they were assembled measured eight feet “between joists,” and twenty-four feet would be three times as high s that room, which would be absurd.


Work of Building Commenced


The original dimensions, however, were adopted and the work commenced. After a time, for lack of money and material, the construction was discontinued; and for months lengthening into years the material which had been gathered lay in unsightly heaps completely filling the southwest corner of the square near the unfinished structure. The building was finally completed sufficiently to be used for the Commencement exercises of 1846. It was not wholly enclosed and not seated, but temporary seats of rough planks and a temporary platform were provided. There was to be still further delay before it was finished. In 1848, the building was at last completed and arrangements were made to dedicate it on Baccalaureate Sunday of Commencement week. The date was June 25th.


President Blanchard preached the sermon and Father Waters offered the dedicatory prayer. He, it was, who with the other members of the purchasing committee, thirteen years before, had kneeled with uncovered head upon the unbroken prairie and dedicated the new enterprise to the Lord, imploring His favor and blessing upon it, and upon all who in all time to come should be connected with it. The momentous events of the intervening years and the interesting and impressive exercises of that occasion were in part an answer to that prayer.


At two o’clock of the same day Dr. Gale preached the Baccalaureate sermon and Rev. J.R. Walker gave the address before the Society of Religious Inquiry connected with the College. It was truly a strenuous day for those who attended the entire series of services.


Professor Churchill says of this building subsequent to its completion and dedication: “For many years, as there was no other room in the village so capacious, it was used, not alone for religious meetings, but for musical concerts and scientific lectures, temperance lectures, anti-slavery lectures, and conventions, and mass meetings held in the interests of many of the great reforms of the day. The most eloquent pulpit and platform orators who graced the lecturer’s rostrum in the hey-day of its glory always found the old First Church ready to give them welcome. Among those who have lectured there were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward Everett, Henry Ward Beecher, Wendell Phillips, John B. Gough, and many others of world wide fame. Many a time I have seen the house so crowded on such occasions that it was almost impossible for the speaker to make his way up the aisle to the platform.”


Development of Religious Life in the Community


Since the dedication and occupancy of that First Church of Galesburg, which was a notable achievement for that early period in this section of Illinois, the development of the organized religious life of the community has kept pace with the increase in the population. At the present time there are 16 Protestant churches with a total enrollment of between 6,000 and 7,000 resident members, all of them having upon their rolls non-resident members, who for various reasons, have not severed their connection with the Galesburg Church. These figures represent a church membership equal to about one fourth of the population. There are also two Roman Catholic churches with a combined membership of somewhat more than 2,000. This includes the baptized children as well as the adults.
Hospitals, Etc., At Present Time


Added to these strictly religious organizations are our philanthropic and beneficent institutions which always go hand in hand with the church. There are two hospitals; an active and efficient Free Kindergarten Home; an Association Home for the care and comfort of boys and girls to old to be cared for by the Kindergarten, the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Catherine Club, a delightful home for young women who need the atmosphere and the protection of a home in a strange city. The buildings belonging to all of those above mentioned institutions are fine up-to-date, well equipped buildings. A Day Nursery has also been recently started for the purpose of caring for babies and small children whose mothers are obliged to labor during the day, and have no one with whom to leave their helpless children while they are away from home.


Galesburg Railway Services


In 1854 the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad completed its line from Chicago to Galesburg, and in due course of time this city became an important division station on that great railway system. The first train reached the town on December seventh between seven and eight o’clock in the morning. The impetus which the varied and far-reaching activities of this road have given to the commercial and industrial life of our city has been inestimable value as a factor in its growth and development. Later, in 1886, the great Santa Fe system (which according to Clark E. Carr is one of the greatest railway systems in the world), surveyed its line through Galesburg, and established one of its important stations here, thus contributing in a large degree to our influence and prosperity. Not every inland prairie town can boast of having given the right of way to two of the greatest transcontinental railway lines of the world, over which tourists and traffic must of necessity unceasingly roll in their passage between the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards.


Notable Events in Galesburg


Galesburg has been the scene of many notable events, some of them involving national and even international issues. Conspicuous among these was the great Lincoln-Douglas Debate of October 7, 1858. This was one of a series of debates between those two great men and pronounced political rivals, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. These were held at different points throughout the state during the summer and autumn of 1858. The occasion for these notable political discussions known in history as the Douglas Debates was the candidacy of the two men for election to the United States Senate, and the question at issue was the momentous question of slavery, which had became a national issue.


Col. Clark E. Carr in his book, The Illini, says in reference to these debates: “It may be said of this contest that the Constitution of the United States was the platform and the whole American people the audience, and that upon its issue depended the fate of a continent.”
Galesburg in the Civil War


The outbreak of the Civil War, in 1861, aroused Galesburg to a high pitch of patriotic enthusiasm and devotion. Many of the best and noblest of her sons offered themselves to the service of their country and quite a number of them were called upon to make the “supreme sacrifice,” while others suffered from disease and wounds, and the horrors of confinement and starvation in southern prisons, carrying with them for the remainder of their lives the physical effects of their distressing and disabling experience. Among the soldier volunteers were a large number of students from Knox and Lombard colleges. This greatly depleted the enrollment and interrupted the prescribed courses of study in both these institutions from the depressing effects of which they did not soon rally. Too much cannot be said in appreciation of the loyal and sympathetic support of the men in the field by their kindred and friends who remained at home. Especially is this true of the women of Galesburg who were at once organized as a working unity under the name of “The Soldiers’ aid Society.” working as a systematically, untiringly and effectively as do the women of today under the organization of the Red Cross.


Again and yet again were the homes of Galesburg and vicinity opened to receive their dying and their dead, but still undaunted the women toiled on, making garments, scraping lint, filling comfort bags, packing boxes of supplies of all kinds, and writing letters to the soldiers in hospitals and camp.
The reports which have been preserved of the activities of “The Soldiers’ Aid Society of Galesburg” and its auxiliaries speak eloquently and thrillingly, and with a touching pathos, of the work of the mothers and sisters, even of the little children in their juvenile societies, for the relief and comfort of the brave boys in blue who had gone out from their midst. The story of what was accomplished for their aid and comfort reads like a romance. (A more detailed account of the activities of the women of Galesburg during the Civil War may be found in A.J. Perry’s History of Knox County, in the section entitled, “Woman’s Work in Knox County,” prepared at the requests of Mr. Perry by the write of these annals).
Company C—Illinois National Guards


In the spring of 1898 Galesburg again responded to our country’s call for the defense of the honor of the government in the war which is known in history as the Spanish-American War.
Company C of the 6th Regiment, Illinois National Guards, an organization of Galesburg and Knox County men; a thoroughly organized, well-drilled efficient company of one hundred men, promptly responded to the summons and held themselves in readiness to obey marching orders.
On the evening of the 26th of April they were entrained for Springfield with the expectation that they would soon be called into active service in Cuba and Porto Rico.


At this call to arms the whole city was aroused as it had not been before since the days of the Civil War. A great throng, estimated at 10,000 or more of our citizens, gathered first at the armory, where the men of Company C. were assembled, and again at the Burlington Station where they were to entrain, to give them last messages of farewell and God-speed.


According to an account of the even given in the columns of the Republican-Register of that date, “the scene growing out of their departure was one such as is witnessed but few times in the life of a generation.”


On July 26th following, colored men and boys, more than a score in number, also went forth into their country’s service, and were given an enthusiastic send-off by the citizens of the city.
Company C, because of its past record during times of strikes and riots, and also because of its manly and patriotic attitude in the present crisis, was one of whom our city was justly proud. During their service abroad, which happily proved to be but brief, they made a remarkable record in more than one respect.


After some weeks spent in camp, they were ranked among the best of the Illinois troops, they were sent across to Cuba to have a hand in the campaign against the City of Santiago. With other picked men they were assigned to a very important duty in the final charge. The final charge, however, never was made, because of the surrender of the city.


Then came the order to proceed to Porto Rico and our men were among the first of the American troops to arrive there. It is claimed that the men of Company C were the very first of our soldiers to set foot upon that island.


They took part in the campaign there and although the Company suffered no loss in killed or wounded, they suffered greatly from diseases incident to the climate, from distressing unsanitary conditions, from insufficient and improper food and from lack of suitable camping privileges and equipment.
Many of them were sick, almost unto death, and all of them returned emaciated and worn, bearing the marks of great hardships and suffering.


The company took part in but one battle, that of July 25th, and but one skirmish on the following day.
After four months of service, the 6th Regiment was ordered home, and our men with the others embarked from Ponce, Porto Rico, for the United States.


Naturally there was great rejoicing when the news came that they had set sail for home, and large plans were aid for their reception upon their arrival in their home city.


They arrived on Wednesday, September 21st, amidst the rejoicing and acclamations of thousands of citizens who had gathered at the Burlington Station and line the streets for blocks, to express to them their welcome home.


The plans which had previously been made for their reception were successfully carried through in detail.
They included a banquet given them at the Universalist Church by the Army and Navy League, and public exercises at the First M.E. Church, with addresses of welcome and appreciation by Mayor Cooke, Congressman Prince, President John H. Finley of Knox College, Chaplain Ferris of the 6ht Regiment, the Rev. Dr. Geistweit of the First Baptist Church and others. Captain T. Leslie McGirr, who so successfully led his men through the entire campaign that they returned home without the loss of one, was called upon to speak, and he responded in behalf of his company.


His men enthusiastically gave him three cheers as he arose to speak and again when he had finished, a fine tribute to popularity with them.


In the months immediately following their return home other courtesies in the way of public recognition and appreciation were extended to the men of Company C.


Notable among these was an elaborate reception and dinner given by the Ladies’ Society of the First Presbyterian Church, which was most complete, beautiful and soul-inspiring in every detail. The dining hall and audience room in the church were most elaborately and appropriately decorated with the national colors, artistically arranged in many unique and beautiful designs expressive of the welcome of the church to their brothers who had so bravely represented them in the country’s hour of need.
After a most appetizing dinner during which hospitality and good cheer abounded, the company adjourned to the audience room for the crowning feature of this delightful occasion. This consisted of speech-making, gift –giving and singing by a male quartette.
Miss Belle Beatty presided during the evening’s program and after a few appropriate works of welcome and appreciation for their honored guests, the men of Company C; she introduced Mrs. George A. Lawrence, the President of the Ladies’ Society.


Mrs. Lawrence made an address to the men which was replete with patriotic fervor and with serious and convincing argument and utterance regarding the obligations and the high privileges of American Citizenship; she warmly commended the part which they had so nobly played in fulfilling such obligations and rising to such privileges. After referring to the military maps, charts and tactics which had guided them in their recent campaign, she spoke of the Bible as embodying in the teachings the only sure and safe chart and rule of practice, which if loyally followed would successfully guide one through the great battle of life.


She presented to the Company, a large and beautiful Bible, handsomely bound in flexible covers, for their desk at the Company’s Headquarters.
Needless to say, the address made a deep and serious impression upon the men and the gift was received with great applause.


Mrs. John H. Finley, the wife of President Finley of Knox College, then addressed them. Her remarks very fittingly and skillfully led up to the presentation of a large and beautiful silk flag for the use of the Company, which was enthusiastically received by them. Mrs. Finley also presented to each one of the men a booklet with red covers, tied with blue ribbon in which was printed upon white paper in blue lettering, a poem written by Dr. Finley, descriptive of their trip to Porto Rico and return.
Captain T.L. McGirr fittingly responded to all these courtesies and accepted the gifts in behalf of the men of Company C.


Following this, Dr. W. Hamilton Spence, the pastor of the church, made the address of the evening, which was characteristically eloquent, inspiring and helpful.


And so this most enjoyable and noteworth occasion came to a close as a befitting climax to the series of welcoming events which had been accorded the patriotic men of Company C., Illinois National Guard.
In commemoration of the part which Galesburg took in the Spanish-American War our city takes a just pride in a fine old Spanish cannon, a gift from the U.S. Government to Post 45, G.A.R., through whose efforts, ably supplemented by the personal work of our Congressman George W. Prince, this souvenir was secured from the authorities at Washington.


It was given by the government to Post 45, G.A.R. and erected by the city upon a site on the east side of our Central Park at the head of Main Street.


This cannon is made of the finest metal and was cast in Spain in 1740. It was, among others, sent across to the island just previous to the outbreak of the war to help in the reinforcement of the fort upon San Juan Hill. When Col. Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders charged up the hill and captured the fort, thirteen of these guns fell into the hands of the Americans and were sent to Washington as trophies.
The inscription upon it is in ancient Latin, and at the time of its erection in our park the inscription was translated by the late Professor Albert Hurd of Knox College and by Dr. J. V. N. Standish, an accomplished linguist and for more than forty years the President of the Park Board.
Galesburg “A Convention City”


Many patriotic and political rallies, especially during the period of the Civil War, and many state and national conventions have chosen Galesburg as a rallying point because of its importance and influence both as to its advantageous location and as to those great moral and educational forces which make for the well-being of a nation and which this community, in years gone by, has possessed in full measure.
Galesburg Made the County Seat.


In the year 1873 the County Seat was removed from Knoxville to Galesburg. This action followed a long controversy during which rival claims for the honor of being the executive center of the county were vigorously supported by opposing factions representing Knoxville and Galesburg. Up to that date the county seat had been located in Knoxville, which, because of its beautiful situation and its honorable record as a community, was eminently worth of the distinction. But it suffered the disadvantage of remoteness from the more populous sections of the county and from the superior railroad facilities which Galesburg enjoyed because of being an important division station on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy road. Moreover Galesburg was more accessible as a distributing center for the products of the rich agricultural areas of the county. All things considered it was in every respect better situate to be the seat of government, and the better judgment of the citizens of the county finally prevailed, the majority voting in favor of the transfer. This decision was of course in every way advantageous to Galesburg, while at the same time it is a matter of regret that the civic prosperity of Knoxville suffered in consequence. The change of location necessitated the building of a new court house, and this was accomplished in the years 1884-86.


A stately, handsome and well equipped building was erected in the east half of the city park which was donated by the city for that purpose. The business of the county has already outgrown the capacity of this large structure, and plans are maturing for its enlargement and improvement.
Industrial Development


The manufacturing industries of Galesburg had their beginning in the little machine and repair shop of J.P. Frost, one of the colonists of the spring of 1837. His small venture has increased and developed throughout the years and is known as the Frost Manufacturing company, which ships the output of its great machine and boiler shops to all parts of the United States and to many foreign lands. Around this have sprung up factories and shops of various kinds suited to commercial and household needs till there are now about 50 manufacturing establishments in our city. The number includes machine, boiler and repair shops, planing mills, flour mills, garment factories, automobile factories, welding works, Coulter Disc Works, rug factories, candy and ice cream factories, both wholesale and retail, bottling works, etc., etc.
Galesburg as a Music Center


Galesburg has always been at the forefront as a musical center. At a very early date in its history it commenced its musical career under the instruction and leadership of Samuel Bacon.
This Prince of Music Masters, sweet singer and skillful violinist, came at regular intervals to give instruction to large classes, or “schools” as they were then called and to give concerts and lead choruses to the delight of enthusiastic pupils and an appreciative community. He was the predecessor of men of no man reputation in the field of musical leadership. One by one they have had their day and passed on, using their own methods, winning their own honors, and leaving each his own impress upon a large and enthusiastic following.


Knox Conservatory of Music


Last, but not by no means least among them is our own Prof. William F. Bentley, who for thirty-three years has been the popular director of the Knox Conservatory of Music and the supporter, promoter and director of the musical activities of Galesburg. Under Dr. Bentley’s efficient management the Knox Conservatory of Music has become one of the leading musical institutions of the state and its graduates have become prominent as musical educators and artists all over the Unite States.
Other Schools of Music


There have recently been established two other schools of music in Galesburg, one in connection with the “School of Three Arts” at Lombard College under the direction of Madame Anna Groff Bryant, and the other “The Maude Alma Main School of Fine Arts,” founded and conducted by Miss Main. The success and reputation of all these schools have been greatly enhanced by the able cooperation of efficient corps of teachers in each department of the different schools.
Especially is this true in the Knox Conservatory of Music, where John Winter Thompson, Music Director, head of the Organ and Theory Department and Miss Blanche M. Boult, Professor of Pianoforte, have been for a quarter of a century or more Dr. Bentley’s loyal colleagues.
And so through the medium of these annals we have brought our favored city adown the long, long trail” which has been blazed for us by a succession of historic events from the beginning to the present time. It would have been pleasant sometimes to take the more devious route, to discover the hidden trails, to linger by the way-side gathering souvenirs of the past and to revel among the fascinating romances which “half concealed and half revealed” have beckoned to us here and there as alluring possibilities in the pioneer experiences of our colonists and their descendants. But these are forbidden indulgences. The journey has been a pleasant one although the enjoyment has been tinged with regret that many persons, places, objects and events which were worthy of remembrance have been passed without mention because of lack of space; and have regretfully leave them to the chroniclers of the future.
With congratulations to all who have in any way contributed to that which has already been achieve, and with a challenge to our city to see to it that the future shall witness still better and greater achievements, we leave her to the enjoyment of her many privileges and unusual opportunities, her churches and colleges, her schools and happy homes, her exceptional musical advantages, her literary and social prestige, her commercial and industrial advancement, her superior facilities for travel and transportation; and all things else that have contributed to the development of Galesburg into a city fitted to be the seat of the legislative and executive activities of our rich and prosperous county of Knox of the great state of Illinois in this her centennial anniversary of A.D. 1918.

 

 

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