Canada Settlement in Ogle Co., IL
This is copied from a book “Canada Settlement – Ogle Co., IL” published in 1939 to observe the 100th Anniversary of 5 families (Lawrence, Poole, Sanborn, Slater, and Johnson) who came to Ogle Co. from Canada in 1838 and 1839. This has been copied with permission of Tri-County Press, Polo, IL and scanned by a descendent, Rob Lawrence, who lives in Bristol, U.K. Pages through 63 of the 73 page book appear below. Pages with text only have been scanned and minor errors are possible in the scanning process.
OGLE COUNTY, ILLINOIS
“Go, little booklet, go, and bear an honored name, ’til everywhere that you have went theyr’e glad that you have came.”
Published by the
1838-39 :: 1939
BOSS’ HISTORY OF OGLE COUNTY published in 1859.
NEW COMBINATION ATLAS OF OGLE COUNTY published in 1872.
KETTS’ HISTORY OF OGLE COUNTY published in 1878.
PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM published in 1886.
BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY OF OGLE COUNTY published in 1899.
HISTORICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ILLINOIS AND HISTORY OF OGLE COUNTY
published in 1909.
JOHN POOLE’S MEMOIRS
The Johnson centenary was celebrated under the cottonwoods on the John Poole farm in Canada Settlement Sunday, August the seventh, 1938. The centenary celebrated the coming of the Lawrence, Poole, Sanborn and Slater families to Canada Settlement one hundred years ago. One hundred and two descendants of the Johnson sisters attended the reunion. Plans were made to publish a history of these four families who came to Illinois in 1838 and 1839. It was decided to hold a reunion of these families on Sunday, August the sixth, 1939. The following officers were elected: President, Judge Leon A. Zick; vice-president, Mrs. Amy Mcllnay; secretary-treasurer, Ina Poole.
EXPLANATION OF LINE OF DESCENT
The children of Lydia Johnson Lawrence, Nancy Johnson Poole, Susan Johnson Sanborn and Maria Johnson Slater are indicated by Roman numerals and called the first generation.
The second generation is indicated by a Capital Letter; the third generation by a small letter; the fourth generation by two small letters; the fifth generation by three small letters; the sixth generation by tour small letters.
When Copies of “Canada Settlement” now in the hands of the Secretary are exhausted additional copies may be had from the Tri-County Press, Polo, Illinois, by enclosing $1 for each book desired.
TABLE of CONTENTS
OUR ANCESTORS ———————————————————————————-Page 7
Written by John Poole in 1912
THE REBELLION OF UPPER CANADA ————————————–Page 9
By Lillian Poole
THE LAWRENCE FAMILY —————————————————-Page 11
By Ina Poole
GENEALOGY OF THE LAWRENCE FAMILY ——————————-Page 14
FROM CANADA TO BUFFALO GROVE ————————————-Page 22
Compiled from John Poole’s Memoirs by his daughter, Edith Poole Moore
BUFFALO GROVE ————————————————————-Page 23
By Ina Poole
THE POOLE FAMILY ———————————————————-Page 25
Compiled from John Poole’s Memoirs by his daughter, Edith Poole Moore
GENEALOGY OF THE POOLE FAMILY ————————————-Page 29
THE SANBORN FAMILY ——————————————————Page 33
By Attorney Robert M. Brand
THE SLATER FAMILY ———————————————————Page 47
By G. A. Slater
GENEALOGY OF THE SLATER FAMILY ————————————-Page 50
THE GARRETT FAMILY ——————————————————–Page 60
By Lillian Poole
OUR CANADIAN RELATIVES ————————————————-Page 61
By Lillian Poole
FARMING IN PIONEER DAYS ————————————————-Page 61
Compiled from John Poole’s Memoirs by his daughter, Edith Poole Moore
CANADA SETTLEMENT ——————————————————–Page 62
By Ina Poole
John and Lydia Johnson Lawrence, William and Nancy Johnson Poole, John and Susan Johnson Sanborn came to Illinois from their homes near Toronto, Canada, with their young families in 1838 and 1839. Maria John-son Slater, their oldest sister, had died in 1834. She and her husband, Benjamin Slater, never came to Illinois, but eight of their ten children did at various times, beginning with Isaac and Louisa in 1839. Only Jane, who died in infancy, and Lydia, who married Henry Wagner, did not come to Illinois.
This little book is written about the Lawrences, Sanborns, Pooles, and Slaters who one hundred years ago made homes for themselves northwest of Buffalo Grove in the community which is still known as Canada Settlement. Much of the material in this book is taken from John Poole’s Memoirs written while his mother, Nancy Johnson Poole, was still living.
John Poole, son of William and Nancy Johnson Poole, was born in Canada Settlement Sept. 22, 1844 and died at his home in Polo, June 26, 1937. He loved Canada Settlement throughout his long life and he wrote about it accurately and vividly in his Memoirs. He was the last child of the Canadian pioneers to pass to the Great Beyond.
Written by John Poole in 1912
The head of the Johnson family in America, from whom the Lawrence, Sanborn, Poole, and Slater families are descended, begins with Lawrence Johnson who came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a young family from England some years before the Revolutionary War. He was engaged in business as a teamster during the Revolution, for in those early days of no railroads all shipments by land had to be done by teams of horses.
During the occupancy of Philadelphia by the British Army his teams were pressed into the service. He being a Quaker by religious faith refused to do military service, for which offense he was put in confinement; but shortly was placed on the limits, that is, was allowed his liberty in a certain area around his home. His son, Abram, when but a lad, entered the British service in the Revolutionary War as a wagon boy.
Whether Lawrence Johnson lost his teams and wagons is not known at this writing. At the close of the war and before the treaty of peace, he with his family of five sons, emigrated to Nova Scotia where from 1783 until 1795 they resided. They then emigrated to Canada, coming first to Port Hope, Ontario, and not liking the land went to Toronto, then Little York. Here he and his five sons took up land in that vicinity under the U. E Loyalist Grant which gave to every British subject in America, who had been loyal to his mother country during the Revolutionary War, 200 acres of land, the same to each of his sons, and the same to the daughters if they were married. There is a tradition in the family that this grant was to extend from the head of the family to the children and his children’s children and their children. Lawrence Johnson made his selection probably on the east side on Yonge street, now Willowdale; and his son Abram on the west side of Yonge street, now Willowdale; Thomas at York Mills; Nicholas at Richmond Hill; Joseph and William at Holland’s Landing; all taking 200 acres.
The population of Little York was only 456 in 1813. The name of Little York was changed to Toronto in 1834. Its population was then 10,000. Yonge Street is a chief artery which was constructed northward from Little York in 1796 and extends under the same name over thirty miles to Lake Simco. It constitutes the dividing line of Toronto, the cross streets being called East and West according to which side they are on. Long narrow farms have their farm buildings on Yonge Street.
Lawrence Johnson is said to be the first burled in the little cemetery at Willowdale, half of which land was given by the Johnsons and the other half by the Aummers. There seems to be no headstone marking the place. He must have died as early as 1812 or earlier, was survived some years by his wife who lived with a son who had no children, probably Nicholas She must have been living as late as 1817 or 1818. My Mother, Nancy Johnson Poole, who was born in 1814 told of going with her parents, Abram and Catherine Johnson, to see her when she was a very small child.
Whether she was buried beside her husband is not known. Abram Johnson, the oldest of the five brothers, was unmarried when he came to Canada in 1795 or 1797, as was probably the case with the other four brothers. He was the head of the Johnson family from which we are descended. He was born in 1767 and died May 28, 1840, aged 73 years and was about 28 years old when he came to Canada. The Johnsons were originally from England, at what time we have no record, and whether all five brothers were born before their father emigrated to Nova Scotia we have no record. After being in Canada seven years Abram Johnson married Catherine Hommen (or Hommon) Fisher, a widow with three daughters and one son.
Her history as known follows: Her name was Hommen. She was born in Pennsylvania or Maryland in a region tributary to Hagerstown, Mary-land. Her father was shot by an Indian as he was riding into Old Fort Frederick, Md., during or previous to the Revolutionry War, where the settlers had taken refuge in these troublesome times. He with a number of others had gone out of the fort to their farms for supplies, probably, and as they were nearing the fort on their return he was shot off his horse but not scalped. It seems that both of her parents died while she was young and she was brought up by some friends, whether she had brothers or sisters is not known. I have heard my mother say there were some of her relatives in Canada, think they were of her maiden name. She came into a small in-heritance in a small wooden box, brass trimmed, filled with silver dollars. The box is now in the possession of Mrs. Catherine Fish, of Winnipeg, Canada (no relation of the Fishers), a granddaughter of Catherine and Abram Johnson.
Catherine Hommen was married to Jacob Fisher in Pennsylvania by whom she had three daughters and one son before spoken of, all born in Pennsylvania. They with Jacob Fisher’s parents, brothers and sisters, a somewhat large family, emigrated to Toronto, Canada, about 1796 and probably were entitled to land under the U. S. Loyalist Grant. Not long after their arrival In Canada, Jacob Fisher died leaving a widow with these four children. The tradition is that by the then laws of descent, the widow was left without means of support from her husband’s property, which seems to have consisted of a large tract of land which went to the oldest child, but I think was divided among the children by common consent.
It hardly seems possible that all this could be the case, but it seems to be the fact. After the death of the husband, the children who were then of some age, were brought up by his relatives and the widow supported herself. After her marriage to Abram Johnson her children never lived with her. She was of German descent and probably at one time could not speak English, but spoke English entirely in her second family as none of these children could speak a word of German, whilst the children of her first family spoke it fluently all their lives. These children were Eva, afterward Mrs. Holley, Katie afterward Mrs. Horner, Elizabeth afterward Mrs. Daniel Strong. The son was pressed into military service in 1812 and died of camp fever before he was in active service.
These were the children of Abram Johnson I and Catherine Hommen Fisher Johnson:
Maria Johnson Slater born May 24, 1801, died in Canada Nov. 19, 1834.
Joseph Johnson, born Sept. 24, 1802, died in Canada Dec. 4, 1812.
Susan Johnson Sanborn, born June 12, 1804, died in Polo, Illinois, in 1866.
Sarah (or Sallie) Johnson Forbes, born Feb. 7, 1806, died in Canada.
Abram Johnson II, born May 18, 1807, died in Canada June 16, 1892.
Lydia Johnson Lawrence, born April 7, 1809, died in Canada Settlement in November 1888.
Nancy Johnson Poole, born June 20, 1814, died in Polo, Illinois, Aug. 10, 1905.
Susan Johnson Sanborn, Lydia Johnson Lawrence and Nancy Johnson Poole came to Illinois with their families in 1838 and 1839. Maria Johnson Slater never came to Illinois; she had died in 1834. But eight of her ten children did at various times, beginning with Isaac and Louisa in 1839.
THE REBELLION of UPPER CANADA
By Lillian Poole
The ill-advised and grossly mismanaged uprising in Upper Canada during the first week of December 1837 was created and led by William Lyon Mackenzie. It was an attempt to broaden the narrow and tyrannical institutions of the time by an appeal to force. Mackenzie led the radical wing of the reform party into rebellion. His lieutenants were Samuel Lount and Peter Mathews who ended their lives on the gallows for treason.
John Montgomery, the owner of a tavern on the west side of Yonge Street four miles north of Toronto, was a leader of the Reform Party, and his tavern was a gathering place of all who traveled along the Great North Road. He furnished funds to send Mackenzie to England in 1832 with a petition of grievances to the “Home Government” during the reign of George IV before the reforms under Victoria.
Montgomery was not in sympathy with the more radical measures of his party and so was shut out from their secret plotting. He says he knew nothing of the time or place of the uprising.
Mackenzie had gathered the farmers of the north into a small army which were to meet at Montgomery’s Tavern; there given supplies from the tavern, the rebels were to march into Toronto, seize the City Hall, and with the help of arms stored there take the city and overthrow the government of Sir Francis Head, so setting up a reform administration.
Montgomery refused to furnish supplies. Mackenzie flew into a rage. He said, “You will neither fish nor cut bait.” Nevertheless the insurgents were arriving. Bands of twenty guards were placed along Yonge Street to prevent news reaching Toronto. Colonel Moodie, a loyalist, was shot down in an attempt to pass the rebel guard. Later in the night, the rebel guard Anderson was killed while attempting to arrest the loyalist Powell who escaped on a horse in the darkness. Reaching Toronto he aroused Sir Francis Head. Bells were soon ringing a warning. Had the attack been made at once the rebels would have found a defenseless city. The next day, Tuesday, the force marched to the city where they were met by two men, Baldwin and Dr. Rolph, carrying a flag of truce. These men urged the insurgent army to disperse. By this ruse the army was delayed until Thursday when they were met by one thousand men of the militia sent from Hamilton. In a twenty minute battle against three hundred farmers, the rebels broke and fled. Eleven of their men were wounded and one killed. Five were wounded on the loyalist side.
In five minutes the tavern was entered. The carpet bag of Mackenzie was captured. It contained the names and addresses of all insurgents one of whom, Dr. Rolph, had carried the flag of truce. Historian Dent says that Mackenzie was only a little less culpable than It he had wilfully betrayed his adherents and the act is still held in that light by the descendants of his victims.
The result of this twenty minute skirmish of December 7, 1837, was a reform of the tyrannical laws by Premier Baldwin who before his election had carried the flag of truce.
All the insurgents prominently connected with the rebellion who did not escape gave themselves up under a proclamation of the government and were held for trial. The Home Government stopped all executions. A new governor succeeded Sir Francis Head in Ontario. John Montgomery was sentenced to transportation but escaped to New York. In 1843 he was pardoned. He returned and rebuilt his tavern on Yonge Street on the exact spot of the one burned December 7, 1837.
Queen Victoria sent Lord Durham to Canada to investigate the cause of the revolt He reported, “Conditions in Canada justified the people in resoling to extreme measures to secure British liberty.” Thus exonerated the prisoners were released and the fugitives came home. William Lyon Mackenzie was one of those who escaped from the country and allowed his loyal constituents to face a hostile government. He later returned to Toronto and his grandson, Mackenzie-King, is now Premier of Canada.
John Lawrence and John Sanborn, together with others who later came to Canada Settlement were sympathizers with the Rebellion of Upper Canada. William Poole participated actively in it. He was somewhat Intimate with William Lyon Mackenzie. Mackenzie had a small printing press concealed at William Poole’s house, where some inflammatory printing was done to arouse the rebel party which was working for government reform. Willam Poole was one of’ the troop which marched to Toronto to capture the city and which was disastrously defeated. He was one of those who gave themselves up to the authorities and was confined in the Toronto jail nine months, then released. “Major” Rowand also took active part in the Rebellion and was confined in the Toronto jail.
Nancy Jonnson Poole often told of the soldiers coming to search their house for evidence and thrusting their swords through the feather beds and furniture. One time Nancy and Mrs. Mackenzie hid the printing press down the well before a party of soldiers arrived. One of the number, annoyed by the striking of a large clock, smashed the face and works with his sword.
While in prison. William Poole, with his jack knife which Nancy had smuggled in to him, made three small boxes, carved from solid walnut and inlaid with maple. Two of these are now the treasured possessions of his descendants, the third having been destroyed by fire when the home of his son Abram was burned.
The box which William Poole made for his little son George, who was then three years old, is only 2¾ by 1¼ by 1¼ inches. But on the small maple insets on the four sides of the box are these inscriptions:
A present to George Poole from his father in prison, Toronto, June 20, 1838.
In memory of Lount and Mathews who were executed for asserting their political rights
April 11, 1838.
“When Liberty with all her charms
Shall comfort the distressed;
Then I’ll return with open arms
And clasp thee to my breast.”
Some of the people of Canada Settlement sent provisions, including hams and apple butter, to William Lyon Mackenzie while he was in exile in the United States.
But not all of them felt so kindly toward the leader of the Rebellion. Once when Nancy Johnson Poole was visiting in Canada she met William Lyon Mackenzie at a public gathering. He came toward her with hand extended.
“Indeed, I will not shake hands with you,” she exclaimed. “You fled the country and let my husband go to jail.”
LAWRENCE FAMILY By Ina Poole
John Lawrence was born in Kent County, England, March 11, 1801. He came to America in 1818 when he was seventeen years old. He spent one year in Philadelphia and Niagara. He worked on the Erie Canal for a short time. He went to Ontario, Canada about 1821, locating north of Toronto where he engaged in farming.
John Lawrence’s parents and some other members of his family started to America in 1836. They were shipwrecked and driven back upon the coast of Ireland, but before they reached America his mother died and was buried at sea. John Lawrence, Sr., went to Illinois with his son and family in 1838. He died there in 1859, aged 79 years.
John Lawrence married Lydia Johnson in 1828. He was then twenty-seven years old and his bride nineteen. Lydia was the daughter of Abram and Catherine Hommen Fisher Johnson. She was the next to the youngest of their family of seven children. Only Nancy, who afterwards married William Poole, was younger. John and Lydia Lawrence lived in Canada for ten years where five of their seven children were born, then they moved with their young family to Illinois.
The people around Toronto had been hearing wonderful stories about Illinois. John Lawrence often talked to his relatives and friends about it. He became more interested in Illinois after the Rebellion, in which he had been associated, had failed so disastrously.
John Lawrence and family and Schuyler Lunt and family started out from Toronto, Canada, in the summer of 1838 to find and make their homes in Fox River Valley in this new country. The Lawrence family then consisted of one son and four daughters; the Lunt family of one son and two daughters. They drove with their teams and household goods to Buffalo, New York, then came by boat via the Great Lakes to Chicago, then a small village.
While on the lakes, the Lawrences and the Lunts made the acquaintance of a man named Kitchen, who was returning from New York to the Rock River Valley in Illinois where he had made extensive claim to land and had made some little improvements upon the land. This squatter’s claim was near the village of Buffalo Grove. Kitchen was a very fluent talker. He soon persuaded the Lawrences and Lunts to go to the Rock River Valley instead of the Fox River Valley.
While in Chicago, the Lawrences and Lunts met Samuel Reed who had settled in Buffalo Grove as early as 1831 and who was compelled to move his family to Peoria during the Black Hawk War. Through the inducements of Kitchen and Samuel Reed, the Lawrences and Lunts decided to come to Buffalo Grove.
The Lawrence and Lunt families arrived in Buffalo Grove with their wagons and household goods in August 1838. After living a short time in Buffalo Grove near Rock Spring, they purchased the squatter’s right from this man Kitchen for $1800.
This tract of land in which there were eight hundred acres was north-west of the village of Buffalo Grove. Kitchen had made some improvements upon it: a couple of log cabins, some breaking, a little nursery of apple trees, and perhaps a few acres of winter wheat sowed in the tall of 1838. The Lunts and Lawrences moved onto this claim and into these cabins that fall.
There have come from different sources the story that John Lawrence made two trips to the Rock River country. It has been told that he made a first trip along in 1837, returned to Canada, and took his family back with him on the second trip in 1838. But such must not have been the case. John Poole in his Memoirs states clearly that the Lawrences and Lunts did not know to what part of northern Illinois they were going when they set out in the summer of 1838.
Then John Poole adds: “Grandfather Lawrence returned to Canada in the fall of 1838 and came back in the spring, bringing with him his brother-in-law, Alfred Cheesman. He brought with him apple seeds and some young trees which in a few years supplied the community with seedling orchards, some of which are still living in 1900. Alfred Cheesman’s wife was Susan Lawrence, a sister of John Lawrence.”
So, Lydia Lawrence and her five young children must have lived alone in the cabin that first winter in Illinois. But their good friends, the Lunts, lived nearby.
While John Lawrence was in Canada that winter he told his two brothers-in-law about this wonderful new country to which he had taken his family. They, too, planned to move there. It was at this time that Isaac, son of Maria Slater, the fourth Johnson sister, decided to go to Illinois with John Lawrence.
The Lawrences and Lunts must have been very happy when friends arrived from Canada in the spring. John Poole writes: “In May 1839, a few weeks previous to the arrival of the Pooles and Sanborns and others in their company, William Donaldson arrived at John Lawrence’s on a Sunday morning with a large family of four sturdy sons and five comely daughters.”
William Donaldson did not settle in the community which soon became known as Canada Settlement He made his home on the north side of Buffalo Grove. His son Walter, however, lived and died on his Canada Settlement farm.
June twenty-sixth, 1839 was a red letter day for the Lawrence and Lunt families. Twenty-four men, women and children arrived in Buffalo Grove on that day from Canada. Among them were Lydia Lawrence’s two sisters, Susan Sanborn and Nancy Poole and their families. What a happy reunion that must have been!
John Sanborn and William Poole wanted farms. Susan Sanborn and Nancy Poole were anxious to live near their sister, Lydia Lawrence. So business transactions were made. Schuyler Lunt sold out his right in the claim to John Sanborn. He moved to a tract of land which later was known as the Jordan Lawrence farm, south of Polo. John Lawrence sold out a part of his share of the claim to William Poole. John Lawrence chose as his homestead the farm south of the Canada
Settlement schoolhouse now owned by Mrs. William Cross. John Sanborn chose the farm now tenanted by the George D. Brown family west of the school. William Poole chose the farm west and north of the school. This farm with its home at the end of the cottonwood lane is still owned by the John Poole family.
There was a large spring on each farm. The Lawrence and Poole houses were built back from the road to be near the springs
The little log cabin in which the Lawrence family first made their home was about thirty rods back from the brick house upon which they soon began work. John Lawrence added to this house from time to time as his family increased and grew older. This house still stands.
These five children were born to John and Lydia Lawrence in Canada and came to Illinois with their parents: Nancy, Susanna, Mary, Jordan, and Catherine. Nancy was then nine years old and baby Catherine was only a year old. Two children were born later in Illinois. Maria Louise in 1841 and Johnson in 1844.
The seven children lived in their pleasant home in Canada Settlement until they grew up and were married. They must have had good times in this community in which most of the young people were their own sisters and brothers and cousins. There were fifteen children in the Lawrence, Sanborn and Poole families when they came to Illinois. Nine were born later, making twenty-four all together.
John Lawrence, the pioneer, was a tall, strong man. This story about him was contributed by J. H. Poole, of La Verne, California.
The early pioneers killed and froze their hogs to take them to market. Uncle John Lawrence stopped to watch a butchering about where the Reed cemetery is now. Two men would catch a hog and a third would stick it. Lawrence told them he would show them how to do it. He took a knife in his mouth, caught a hog, turned it over and stuck It.”
John Lawrence was not only a strong man, but a man of deep religious convictions. He lived on the farm which he had taken up from the government until he died on the last day of October 1886. His obituary says this of him:
“Mr Lawrence was one of those who made old age attractive, for he had learned the art of growing old gracefully. About 1834 he was converted and united with the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Canada. When he came to Illinois he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church of Buffalo Grove of which he was a member for forty-eight years, one year longer than the organization of the Rock River conference; most, if not all of that time he held official position in the Church. He was one of the first and a very liberal patron of Rock River Seminary at Mt. Morris.”
Lydia Johnson Lawrence, pioneer woman, lived two years longer than her husband. She passed away in her old home in November 1888.
John and Susan Sanborn, John and Lydia Lawrence, and William Poole were dead. Only Nancy Poole, the youngest Johnson sister from Canada lived to see the twentieth century.
FROM CANADA to BUFFALO GROVE
Compiled from John Poole’s Memoirs
By his daughter Edith Poole Moore
The Rebellion of Upper Canada was unsuccessful. Unpleasant feelings naturally resulted between the defeated Rebel party and the Loyalists so William Poole, who was active in the Rebellion, and some of his friends decided to seek new homes under another government They had heard many favorable reports of the fertile Rock River country in Illinois. Since they were looking for farming land, they determined to move to that place.
John Lawrence, who was married to Lydia Johnson, a sister of Nancy Johnson Poole, and Schuyler Lunt had left Canada and settled in this country the previous year, 1838.
On May the third, 1839, William Poole with his wife Nancy, their two boys, George and Abram, and a large company of relatives and friends, left Toronto Ontario, Canada with their household goods on wagons and started on the long journey to Illinois. Among those seeking new homes were John Sanborn and family (Mrs. Sanborn being a sister of Lydia Lawrence and Nancy Poole); David Huie and wife Catherine (Katie) Sanborn Huie who was a daughter of the Sanborns; Louisa Slater, a niece of the Johnson sisters; Frank Jones, who afterward married Louisa Slater; James Mosher and family; William Spear, a shoe maker in the Sanborn family; and Andrew Rowand, who happened to get in company with the above people on the route.
They loaded their teams, wagons and baggage on a steam boat at Buffalo N Y and came to Detroit; where, because the horses had gotten sick on the boat, William Poole with team and family, Mosher with team and family and David Huie and wife with Sanborn’s team disembarked and drove cross country to Chicago. There they met John Sanborn and the rest of the emigrants, who had come around by way of the lakes to this place.
From Chicago, then a little village, they all came to Buffalo Grove, arriving on June 26, 1839.
They never considered taking up land around Chicago because it was so low and swampy. Their heavy wagons became mired and the women had to walk, removing their shoes. They must have been very discouraged and homesick, but Andrew Rowand, finding humor in the situation, did much for the morale of the party by cheering them on.
Since they were Canadians they brought their boxes of tea with them, and the settlers along the way were glad to trade dried apples and other commodities for this luxury.
The families of Sanborn and Poole took refuge in a double log cabin on Buffalo Creek, west of the Galena road. This cabin was near a large spring and was about where the lime kiln is. In the loft of this cabin Wm. Spear first plied his trade of shoemaker, passing up and down on a ladder, through a window or opening in the gable.
All these Canadians, with many more who came afterwards, soon settled in the vicinity of the claim which John Lawrence and Schuyler Lunt had bought the year before from the squatter Kitchen. This community became known as Canada Settlement.
By Ina Poole
What was the country like around Buffalo Grove when the Lawrences, Sanborns, Pooles, and Slaters first saw it in 1838 and 1839?
“When we came from Dixon In 1837,” says an early writer in Boss’ History of Ogle County published in 1850, “and came up on rising ground three miles north of that place, there was not a single foot of ground to be seen which the hand of man had touched. Men were located in the country, but their abodes were in the hollows and groves where they could not be seen. When the first settlers arrived here, there was no underbrush in the groves as the spring fires kept it down, and one could see almost as tar as on the prairies. Some one told me that the Indians set fires every spring to afford better opportunity for sighting deer, etc.”
John Poole wrote in his Memoirs that there was not a single house between Canada Settlement, when his people first settled there, and Freeport. The earliest settlers had taken up their claims along the wooded streams so that they would have timber and water close at hand.
Not infrequently when the snow was on the ground, the deer traveled in droves from three to twenty, going from one grove to the other. Prairie chickens hid in the tall prairie grass in the summer and roosted in the trees in the winter. Raccoons, rabbits and squirrels were plentiful. These animals together with geese and ducks in their season furnished the early settlers with meat.
“Wolves and wild cats preyed upon the sheep owned by the early settlers. There were lots of snakes in the grass. The blue racers, five and six feet long, did no more harm than give man and team a scare, but the little rattle snake was a source of terror,” wrote Henry Elsey in Ketts’ Ogle County History published in 1878.
The woods along Buffalo Creek was very beautiful with tall oaks, walnuts, elms, and maples in predominance. The busy honey bees flew from the flower covered prairie to the bee trees in the woods with their precious loads of money. The early settler was very happy when he found a bee tree. Sugar was scarce and his children liked honey.
Isaac Chambers was without doubt the first settler in Buffalo Grove and for that matter in Ogle County. In 1830 he took up a claim on the south side of Buffalo Creek, just off the Galena road. He intended to keep a tavern for travelers on the way to the lead mines at Galena.
Chambers was followed by John Ankney who some time before had marked out for himself the same claim. After bitter dispute, Ankney finally chose a claim on the north side of the creek, about a half mile northwest of Chambers’ claim, where he put up a rival tavern.
The third settler in Buffalo Grove was John Allinger whose claim covered Rock Spring, but in 1831 he sold out his claim to Samuel Reed who probably was the fourth arrival. An hour after his arrival came W O. Kellogg.
The Samuel Reed family was the first which settled in Ogle County for the express purpose of agriculture. He raised corn and garden truck on his farm in 1831. He sowed the first wheat in the county in the tall of 1832, and harvested it the following summer. The Reed farm adjoining the Reed Cemetery remained in the possession of their family for years. It is now owned and occupied by the Sam Gilbert family.
Due to the enmity of Ankney, Chambers sold his claim and tavern to W.O. Kellogg. Chambers built another tavern a short distance northwest of Brookville, later selling it to Charles Franks and building a mill in Brookville. Proof that Ankney was unfriendly toward Kellogg, too, is
found in the fact he invited all the families in the community to his daughter’s wedding in 1832 except the Kelloggs. But the Ankney family moved away from Buffalo Grove not long after that. Kellogg remained in the village, a tavern keeper much of the time, and always an influential man in the community.
The first cabins and taverns in Buffalo Grove were built along Buffalo Creek But in 1835 W. O. Kellogg and Henry Stevenson hired a surveyor to survey a site for a village They laid it out south of Buffalo Creek and at the time of the survey there was not a single house on the town site. This village was first called St. Marian but the name was afterwards changed to Buffalo Grove because the post office was still in that name.
The Lawrences, Sanborns, Pooles and Slaters found saw mills along Buffalo Creek when they came here one hundred years ago. They found stores, a tavern in which the post office was located, homes a blacksmith shop, and a schoolhouse which had been built two years before. This first schoolhouse was a frame structure and had been built by subscription. It served double duty of schoolhouse and church. Wilson’s mill down on Elk-horn Creek had begun to grind wheat in 1836.
The early settlers no longer feared the red men. Black Hawk and his tribe had been driven away forever from the Illinois prairie in 1832. The people living in Buffalo Grove and its vicinity were not isolated from the world. The road leading to the lead mines at Galena passed right by their door!
Buffalo Grove prospered until the Illinois Central Railroad was built. Nearly 1000 people lived there in 1850 according to Portrait and Biographical Album published in 1885. Then the site for the new town of Polo was surveyed near the new railroad in 1853. Many of the people in Buffalo Grove moved their homes and business into the new town. What was left of this once prosperous pioneer village soon became known as Old Town. The people who lived in Buffalo Grove when the Lawrences, Sanborns, Pooles and Slaters went there to trade are now but a memory shadowed by the passing of time.
The Poole Family
Compiled from John Poole’s Memoirs
By his daughter Edith Poole Moore.
The earliest ancestor of the Poole family of whom any thing is known, lived in Gorey, Wexford County, Ireland, at the time of the Rebellion of 1798. It is not known for certain what his name was, but John Poole once said he thought it was George. This George Poole, the first, as we will call him, and all his descendants were Protestants.
During the times when neighbor was suspicious of neighbor, according to religious faith, he was captured by a party of Catholics from the mountains, who made preparation to bind him on a cart loaded with straw, and burn him. One of his Catholic neighbors interceded for his life by telling what a good man he was and how he, though a Protestant, had helped build the Catholic church by furnishing the straw to thatch it. This interference of a Catholic neighbor is said to have saved his life.
George Poole I had several children: George II (1774-1860), who married Susan Gour and from whom the present Poole family is descended; John who settled in the north of Ireland, another son who died in Wexford County; Mrs. Brene, who was disowned by the rest of the family because she married a Catholic; also, Mrs. Thomas Kidd, whose children came to America and settled in or near Cincinnati in 1831. Her grandson, Richard Smith, was editor of the Cincinnati Gazette, and some of the Kidds were also connected with the paper. Ann, another daughter of George Poole I, married Joseph Kidd, brother of Thomas Kidd, and came to Canada with a large family in the year 1824. George Poole II, mentioned above, was born in Wexford County, Ireland. He came to America after the death of his wife, Susan Gour Poole, in 1820. He settled in Cincinnati in 1832 where he followed the hatter’s trade. He had five children: John, Susan, Ann, George III and William, all born in Ireland. John enlisted in the English army and was sent to Australia and
disbanded there. He died September 6, 1849, having married and left a family.
The two daughters, Susan and Ann, came to Cincinnati when girls in 1831, with the family of a sister of Thomas and Joseph Kidd. Susan married Edward Conery, who died about 1850, leaving two daughters and one son: Edward who died about 1880, unmarried; Lottie who married James Timberman about 1860, had two daughters, Mattie and Addie; Maggie Conery, who married Amos Bercau in 1869, had no children.
Ann Poole married Stephen Carlisle. They had one son, George, who went to Traer, Iowa, where he married and had two children. George Poole III, son of George II, came to America by way of Canada to Cincinnati in 1832, when just a small boy. He married in southern Ohio and died leaving one son, William, who married and lived near Felicity, Ohio; and one daughter Georgie, unmarried, who spent some years at Polo, living with her cousins.
William Poole, brother of the above mentioned John, Susan, Ann and George III, was born in Wexford County, Ireland in May, 1803. He came to America in 1824 with his aunt and her husband, Joseph Kidd. Joseph Kidd paid William’s passage to America. They took passage in the sailing vessel Maria in April 1824 and were twice shipwrecked. They finally arrived at Quebec on August the first of that year and got to Toronto in May 1825. William Poole settled on Yonge Street, near Toronto, Canada, then known as Little York. He learned the carpenter trade by working with a man by the name of Gilbert, who was located at a town, now known as Willowdale. On the fifth of March, 1834, he was married to Nancy Johnson, youngest daughter of Abram and Catherine Hommen Fisher Johnson of Yonge Street. William Poole built a house for his bride across the street from the Johnson home, nine miles north of Toronto. They lived there until 1839. Both this house and the old Johnson home still stand.
William Poole was active in the Rebellion of Upper Canada. His part in the Rebellion is told in the chapter “The Rebellion of Upper Canada.” After his release from the Toronto jail in 1838, William, went to Cincinnati to see his sisters, Ann Carlisle and Susan Conery, his brother George, and friends who had left Ireland some years after his departure from his native country. This journey he made by water as far as possible and traveled the rest of the way on foot. After his return to Canada from his trip to Cincinnati, William Poole, together with other Canadians who had sympathized with the Rebellion, decided to seek new homes in the United States. His long journey via the lakes and by covered wagon to the Rock River country in Illinois is told in the chapter “From Canada to Buffalo Grove.”
William and Nancy Johnson Poole and their family, together with the others in the company arrived in Buffalo Grove on June 26, 1839. The year before, John Lawrence and Schuyler Lunt had purchased the squatter’s rights to eight hundred acres of land which lay in the adjoining corners of what is now Buffalo, Eagle Point, Lincoln, and Brookville townships. Lunt sold out his right to Sanborn and moved away. This tract of land was divided among Lawrence, Sanborn and Poole, who later bought it from the government for $1.25 per acre.
The Poole and Sanborn families spent their first winter in Illinois, that of 1839-40, in a log cabin on this tract of land about thirty rods west of the brick house later built by John Lawrence, on the farm which he chose and now owned by Mrs. William Cross. William Poole located in what is now Brookville township on 160 acres. He afterward entered 40 acres north of this and 100 acres to the south. The deed of the first 160 acres to him from the U. S. government is dated 1845 and it is a remarkable tact that from the time of settlement until the actual purchase of the land, about five years, no one attempted to
jump the claim of another. A settler usually defined his claim by plowing a single furrow entirely around it. John Sanborn bought the claim of Lunt adjoining Lawrence’s and Poole’s.
Each homestead contained a freely flowing spring and creek, and the houses were built near these, even though they might be some distance from the road. In many cases wells were not dug for many years, the springs furnishing all water for household use and for the farm stock. Many of these springs are in use at the present day.
William Poole immediately began to make a home upon his land. During the winter of 1840, he got together material for a house and other building. Rock was quarried a mile north of the farm and wood was hauled from the native timber and sawed into lumber at the mills along Buffalo Creek, then a large stream. Oak, baswood and walnut were generally used and shingles of oak, split and shaved by hand, were all they had at that time.
The first house was of stone over a cellar kitchen and a story and a half high above the foundation.
Andrew Rowand, assisted by John Donaldson, was the mason, and late in the fall of 1840, the family was able to move into the basement. During the winter the story above was finished and some years later the attic story was completed.
In 1844 the basement barn was built, the pine lumber for siding having been hauled from Savanna by wagon.
In 1847 William built a log shop in which there was Bold a school during the winter of 1848, taught by Agnes Huie, a sister of David Huie
An orchard was planted west of the house from seedlings procured from those planted by the squatter, Kitchen, pine trees for the door yard were brought from Pine Creek and cedars from Grand Detour. Over three hundred cottonwood trees were planted around the place and along a lane extending from the house to the road.
In the summer of 1858, the old stone house was torn down and the present brick structure erected.
The Illinois Central Railroad was completed through this section about this time and material of all kinds was much easier to obtain. Farm produce now found an easy and ready market.
William and Nancy Poole had five sons and one daughter: George and Abram born in Canada; Joseph who died in 1859, at the age of nineteen of typhoid fever; John, so lived on the home farm; Catherine E. who married Henry Dodge of Nashua, Iowa, and went there to live; and Henry who died in infancy in 1851 and is burled in the Buffalo Grove (Old Town) cemetery.
William and Nancy Johnson Poole gave their children all the education that was possible at this early time, sending them to the country schools, to Frisbee’s academy at Buffalo Grove, and to the Methodist College at Mt Morris. Their daughter Catherine attended Frances Shimer School for girls at Mt. Carroll.
The Pooles had united with the Episcopal church in Canada, but in this new country there was no church of that denomination, so they attended the Methodist church at Buffalo Grove and later, the Methodist Church at Polo.
William Poole’s father, George Poole, accompanied by his son George, came to Canada Settlement from Cincinnati in 1843. They traveled on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Savanna, where William met them with team and wagon and brought them to Canada Settlement. George returned to his home in Cincinnati but his father made his home with William’s family until his death in 1860. Ann Carlisle also made her home there until her death in 1893.
John Poole who had taken over the home farm, lived with his wife and family in one wing of the brick house which had been enlarged for them. William and Nancy, with William’s sister Ann, occupied another wing.
On September fourth, 1886, William was taken seriously ill, when returning from Polo with his wife. A doctor was summoned and the family soon realized that his condition was hopeless. He passed away September 18, at the age of eighty-three.
His wife lived for some time on the home farm. In 1899, when her son John moved with his family to Polo, she went to live with them. She remained active until August 1905, when she suffered a fractured hip. She passed away August 10 at the age of ninety-one, having outlived her husband nineteen years.
Nancy Johnson Poole was the last of that generation of early pioneers who had come so far and suffered so much hardship to make a home in a new country, and who had seen the many and varied improvements that came within their lifetime.
John P. Sanborn was born in New Hampshire, Sept. 25, 1797, of Welch and English descent, and died at Polo, Ill., May 21, 1870. He was a farmer and a Republican. He went to Yonge street near Toronto, Canada, in 1815, where he married Susan Johnson, Oct. 5, 1819. She was born at Yonge street, near Toronto, Canada, June 12, 1804 and died at Polo, Ill., Nov. 21, 1866. She was a daughter of Abram Johnson and Catherine Hommen Fisher (Johnson) and a sister of Lydia Lawrence, Nancy Poole, and Maria Slater. John P. Sanborn and Susan, his wife, with their 8 children that were born in Canada: (Catharine, Lovina F., Abram J., Mary, Ambrose, Lenora, Nancy A., and Martha M.,) came from Canada to Chicago, 111., by way of the Great Lakes, and from Chicago to Canada Settlement, Ogle County, Illinois, in May 1839, with ox and horse teams in covered wagons. Four more children: (Mathew M., James P., Joseph N., and Samantha,) were born to them in Canada Settlement.
John P. Sanborn entered a tract of land in Section I of Eagle Point Township, Ogle County, Ill., lying west of the Canada Settlement School House, June 18, 1844, and received a patent for this land from the U. S. Government. Here he built a log house and later a house of clay and straw brick.
Chicago was their principal market, and generally a number of the neighbors would join in the marketing expedition with their teams, wagons, and produce and in that way would help each other out of any difficulties that might arise. There were many hardships connected with these trips.
The education of the Sanborn children was very limited since school was not held more than about three months during the winters. They attended school at Old Town, about four miles from their home and had to walk to and from school. In 1856 John P. and Susan Johnson Sanborn moved to a small farm in Buffalo Grove, near Polo where they lived until her death in 1866. He then lived with his children until his death in 1870. Some of the furniture and personal belongings they brought from Canada are in possession of some of their descendants.
The SLATER FAMILY
The following sketch, telling of the early history of the Slater family is submitted by my sister, Sara Slater Jordan:
I have traced back our line of descent for eight generations beginning with John Slafter, (note the spelling of the name) who arrived from Great Britain about 1680. He settled near Lynn, Mass. It was John Slafter’s great grandson, Joseph, who was our Revolutionary ancestor. It will be of interest to both his male and female descendants that they are entitled to membership in S. A. R. and D. A. R. respectively. Joseph Slafter was born in Foster, R. I., on Oct. 10, 1745 and died on Mar. 21, 1828. Most of the proof of descent and information submitted in making my application for membership in D. A. R. was found in E. F. Slafter’s Memorial of John Slafter published in 1869, in which were traced eight generations of Slaters (formerly Slafters). In this genealogy appears the following paragraph:
p. 54. “Joseph, ‘4’ (Joseph ‘3’, Joseph ‘2’, John ‘1’) born October 10, 1745; married Lois King of R. I. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He is said to have been in the service most of the time during the war. He declined to receive a pension, saying that his services were freely given, and he was not in need of aid. He was held in great respect and esteem. Resided in Foster, R.I., until about 1778, when he removed to Guilford, Vt., and again removed to Preston, N. Y., about 1814. The first eight of his children were born in Foster, R. I., the rest in Guiltord, Vt., where he resided many years. Late in life he removed to Preston, N. Y.”
This Joseph Slafter of Revolutionary fame was the father of Isaac Slater who was born January 28, 1765 and died Aug. 4, 1847. His wife was
Mary Harrington. They lived at Preston, Chenauga, Co., New York. Their son, Bejamin Slater, was born March 26, 1789.
Benjamin Slater went to Canada when he was quite young and he was there when the war of 1812 broke out. He was not allowed to return to New York. He served in the third regiment of the York (Canadian) militia and was in the battle of Little York (now Toronto) April 17, 1813.
By the time the war was over Benjamin Slater had become interested in the eldest daughter of Abram Johnson and he lost all desire to leave Canada. He was married to Maria Johnson on Jan. 21, 1816. She was born May 4, 1801. He was twenty-seven years old but she was only fifteen.
Benjamin and Maria Slater were the parents of six sons and four daughters. Maria Johnson Slater died Nov. 19, 1834 a month after the birth of her last child, Jane.
Benjamin Slater was left alone with ten motherless children, ranging from Isaac who was eighteen years old to Baby Jane. Baby Jane died the following spring on April 29th.
Benjamin Slater was an exceptionally skilled mechanic and craftsman. His descendants down to this generation have inherited his ability. He was a strict, stern man and he insisted that each of his sons learn a trade. His children by his first wife, Maria Johnson Slater, started going to Illinois one by one to join their three aunts, Lydia Lawrence, Susan Sanborn and Nancy Poole in Canada Settlement. Only two of the ten did not go, baby Jane who died shortly after her mother’s death and Lydia who married Henry Wagner at Uxbridge, Ontario.
Isaac Slater, the oldest son went first, early in 1839. He walked from Chicago, carrying an axe and a small bundle of clothes. John Poole says that he accompanied John Lawrence who had gone back to Canada in the winter of 1838-39. Louisa, eldest daughter, also went to Illinois in 1839. She went with William and Nancy Poole and their family. Louisa later married Frank Jones who accompanied the same party to Illinois.
Samuel came in 1843. Belford came in 1847. He came to Chicago by boat. He and a companion arranged with a farmer from Freeport who had taken a load of wheat to Chicago and was hauling merchandise back to Freeport, to bring them and their trunks with the understanding that they were to walk up all the hills but could ride down the hills.
Mary, the youngest daughter of Maria Johnson Slater, was the last to come to Illinois. She came in 1855 and later married Daniel Appleford, a Methodist minister.
After the death of Maria Johnson Slater, Benjamin Slater married Mary McLean of Killian, Argyleshire, Scotland. They were the parents of four sons and three daughters. One son died in infancy and the others all settled near the home in Canada, visiting in Illinois at various times. Joseph, the youngest son, was Superintendent of the Toronto schools for a number of years. Lois, the youngest daughter, taught in Toronto for many years. She died in Toronto about three years ago, the last of the family. Jonathan, who owned the home farm in Canada at the time of his death. never married. He was much interested in education and gave the land for the first schoolhouse in the neighborhood where he lived near Buttonville, in Markham Township, Canada. Fred L. Green of Greenwood, Ontario, a descendant of Benjamin Slater by his second wife, is a well-known horticulturist. His beautiful private gardens are always open to the public.
These two stories about Benjamin Slater were submitted by Katie Green of Toronto, Canada:
The township of Markham was just being settled and the roads were in a terrible condition, people having to travel either by horseback or in lumber wagon. Mr. and Mrs. Boyd, the minister, occupied a little cottage on
the edge of the woods, and as much of Mr. Boyd’s time was spent amongst his people, his wife was left often alone. Their nearest neighbor, a Mr. Benjamin Slater, would go over every morning when he knew that Mr Boyd was absent from home to see if everything was all right or anything needed. One morning when he called to see Mrs. Boyd she told him that during the night she had heard quite a commotion in the chicken house and she had gone out with Bridget, a servant, to see what the trouble was. She said they had found a fox in the chicken house and had driven it out and fastened the door. After visiting the scene and examining the foot-prints Mr. Slater said to Mrs. Boyd, “It you ever hear a noise among the chickens again, stay inside the house. I saw the tracks in the snow and followed them over to the woods. It was a young bear, not a fox, and it might have turned on you.”
Mr. Slater played the part of a good neighbor by permitting the minister to pasture his horse in the same field with his own. It happened that the horses were a good deal alike. One day Mr. and Mrs. Boyd were going on a trip to Toronto. When he hitched up the horse he thought that it acted frisky and while driving to the city he said to his wife that he thought that his life was in jeopardy with that horse. All the way going and coming it seemed to act in a very strange manner and as Mr Boyd was not accustomed to driving anything but a quiet horse, he was in great fear. When he reached home Mr. Slater inquired how he had got along that day with his horse and Mr. Boyd told him of his experience. “I am not surprised” was the answer. “It was not your horse you had, but mine”
The GARRETT FAMILY
By Lillian Poole
The descendants of one half-sister of the Johnson sisters had a part in the development of Canada Settlement. The Garrett family dates back to the children of Catherine Hommen by her first husband, Jacob Fisher, who lived in Pennsylvania and there married Catherine Hommen. They moved to Ontario, Canada in 1796 taking with them their three daughters and one son before mentioned in the history written by John Poole. The third daughter, Elizabeth or Lizzie, married Daniel Stong. John Poole said he had heard Aunt Lizzie Stong tell of the overland journey from Pennsylvania to Canada. Daniel Stong and Elizabeth Fisher Stong had a daughter, Mary Ann, who married Edward Garrett.
Edward Garrett and his wife Mary Ann came to Illinois in 1853 and bought a farm in Eagle Point township, Ogle county. This land was later owned in succession by George Shafer, Marcus Miller, and Harvey Good.
Mary Ann Stong Garrett died of typhoid in 1854 which also caused the death of her two sons, Daniel age nine, and Samuel age eight. Edward Garrett then married Lydia Ann Freer, a widow, whose daughter, Ruth Freer, married Jacob Cashman. One daughter, Matilda, was born to Ed-ward Garrett’s second marriage. Matilda Garrett was born Apr. 16, 1856. She was married to Henry Lower, and died in Freeport, Illinois June 16, 1907.
Edward Garrett died Oct. 28, 1867.
These eight children were born to Edward and Mary Ann Stong Garrett: Mary Ann, John, Joseph, Daniel, Samuel, Jacob, Elizabeth, who were all born in Canada; and William Edward who was born near Canada Settlement, Illinois. All are now dead except William Edward.
Mary Ann Garrett died at the age of tour in Canada. John had three children; his daughter Mrs. Gertrude Garrett Thomas lives in Taft, California. Joseph, who never married, died in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, at the age of fifty-three. Daniel and Samuel, aged nine and eight, both died of typhoid fever in Canada Settlement. Hannah married Dr. Leffingwell of Sterling. She died in California Feb. 17, 1936. Jacob married Susan San-born. They had no children. Elizabeth, who lived in the Lawrence home after her mother’s death, died in Chicago July 1, 1934. She married John A.Rae. Her daughter Mary Jennette (Nettle) Rae Libby lives in Rock Falls, Illinois.
William Edward Garrett, the only living child of Mary Ann Stong and Edward Garrett, was born near Canada Settlement Jan. 15, 1854. William Edward, after the death of his father, lived in the home of his guardian, George Poole. His present address is Eagle Grove, Iowa.
OUR CANADIAN RELATIVES
By Lillian Poole
Sarah or Sallie Johnson, the fifth of the Johnson sisters, married Archibald Forbes. She did not come to Illinois. We have no record of her descendants.
There was one brother, Abram Johnson II who inherited and continued to live on the original U. E. Loyalist land grant. His son Abram the III now ninety-one years of age (1939) is still living in Toronto, Ontario. Having no male heirs, he is the last of Johnson name.
This little sketch of Abram Johnson III was written by his daughter, Mrs. Edna Milne, 92 Quebec Avenue, Toronto, Canada, with whom be makes his home: “Abram Smith Johnson was born at Willowdale, Ontario, Canada, in the Johnson homestead, April 10, 1848. In 1875 he married Saida Elizabeth Shepard. Except for two periods of seven years each, when the farm was rented, they continued to live in the old home till 1910, when he sold the property for subdivision, and shortly after moved to his present home at 92 Quebec Avenue, Toronto.
“From the time of his retirement, he and his wife, until her death in 1923, enjoyed many interesting trips to California and Florida. After her death he continued to spend his winters in the south.
“Last year Abram Smith Johnson and Mrs. Edna Milne, his daughter, spent the winter in Daytona Beach, Florida, travelling there and back by motor.”
FARMING in PIONEER DAYS
Compiled from John Poole’s Memoirs
By his daughter Edith Poole Moore
The prairie land of the farms in Canada Settlement was gradually broken and fenced. The sod was very tough and a heavy plow with several oxen was used or tour horses with a boy riding the lead horse to keep them in the furrow. The plowing was done in May, June, and July, and the turned over sod left to rot. Sometimes corn for fodder, melons or pumpkins were planted by hand in this newly plowed land and a fair crop was harvested although there could be no cultivation. The next year the land was sown to wheat, then the principal crop of this section.
The entire agricultural equipment of those early farmers, who opened up the way for us of today, could have been loaded upon one wagon with some room left for household goods. The entire outfit of the most prosperous and progressive first settlers consisted of a wagon with a team of horses, or more commonly, a yoke or two of oxen, a plow, a hand cradle, scythe, hoe, hand rake, a fork or two, and one or two shovel plows for cultivating the corn.
The method of sowing was as primitive as agriculture itself. The farmer with a sack of wheat, with one edge of the mouth of the sack tied to one corner of the bottom, and this thrown over his shoulder, would start across the field. He was guided by stakes which he placed over the proper distance every time through as he came to them. He put the seed wheat in sacks at each end of the field and in the middle so that he would not have to carry too heavy a load before replenishing his sack. It was remarkable how evenly these farmers could scatter the seed and gauge the amount per acre. The ground was then dragged by means of a harrow with wooden teeth.
Wheat was the staple crop. Corn was planted later, but it required a vast amount of labor to mark the rows and hills with a shovel plow and one horse. The rows were made each way across the field and four feet apart and the corn was dropped at the intersections, by the boys and girls and covered by means of hoes in the hands of the men and larger boys.
The early fences were rail or sod. A few furrows of the native sod was plowed each side of the line of the desired fence; these were cut into suit-able lengths and built into walls three or tour feet apart at the base. The space between these walls was filled with dirt, dug from a ditch each side of the fence. This was built up four or more feet high and gradually narrowed at the top. If the season was not too dry the sods would all grow solidly together and make a quite picturesque, if not a very serviceable fence, for the cattle soon learned to climb them and sheep enjoyed the sport of scaling them.
The marketing of farm produce was an expensive and laborious under-taking when the Lawrences, Sanborns, Pooles, and Slaters first came to Illinois and for many years afterwards. Wheat and dressed pork were hauled to Chicago in wagons over mud roads, through swamps and over streams. Prices were low, not over fifty cents a bushel for wheat and two dollars and fifty cents a hundred weight for dressed pork. It required a week to make the trip. Economy of living on the journey had to be practiced to save something from the proceeds of the load.
The truth of the old adage that “Woman’s work is never done” must have been especially true in those early days. The women not only had all the sewing to do for the entire family, but they had to make a great deal of the material from which the family garments were fashioned. Most of the farmers of those days kept a few sheep and every household had its spinning wheel. Some even raised a little flax from which to make the family linen.
Canada Settlement grew rapidly. Alfred Cheesman, a brother-in-law of John Lawrence, came to Illinois with John Lawrence when he returned there in the spring of 1839 after a trip back to Canada in the winter. Other Canadians soon joined the Lawrences, Sanborns, Pooles, Slaters, Moshers and “Major” Rowand in Canada Settlement.
James Brand and four sons, John Lawson with one son and two daughters came in 1840. John Rae and John Donaldson, the cabinet maker, came about 1842 and 1843. James Basset came with his family in 1843; James Lyle and Joseph Allison with their families in 1844; and William Rae in 1849.
William Spear, the shoemaker, came with the Sanborns. He lived all his life with that family. He kept young and old in Canada Settlement shod the year round.
The first school in the Settlement was held in a bedroom of John Lawrence and taught by Ann Bradwell, in the summer of 1842. In the fall of 1843 the first schoolhouse was built nearly on the present site, in the southeast corner of Brookville township. It was 18 by 24 feet. It was built of clay mixed with straw and dried, not burned. The blocks were a foot square, laid up and plastered on the inside and out.
There was a door at one end of this pioneer schoolhouse and the teacher’s desk at the other. There was a long desk at each side facing the wall with slab benches without backs for the older children. The smaller children sat on slab benches, too, but they had no desks. The stove was in
the center of the rooms. Laura Wilber was the first teacher. This school-house was used until 1857 when it was replaced. The present schoolhouse was built in 1896 at a cost of $1200.
Some other schools in Canada Settlement were taught in private residences. In the winter of 1848, Agnes Huie taught school in a log building on the farm of William Poole. James Brand taught some pupils in addition to his own children a short time in the early forties.
The people of Canada Settlement wanted books to read so they organized the Washington Library Association. Each member paid a dollar a year and was entitled to draw books from the library. The association bought books and a bookcase and the library was kept in different homes. Interest waned so the association was dissolved in 1858 and books of which there were about one hundred, were divided among the members.
A century has passed since John and Lydia Lawrence, John and Susan Sanborn, and William and Nancy Poole, together with their families and the Slater nephews and nieces, first made their homes on the prairie northwest of the village of Buffalo Grove. All of these pioneers are gone forever from Canada Settlement.
John Lawrence, William Poole and John Sanborn each took up a homestead from the government. Only one of these three farms remains in the possession of the descendants. The William Poole homestead is owned by the John Poole family. The Abram Sanborn farm is owned and occupied by his granddaughter, Ruth Sanborn Keefer and her husband and children. The farm which Abram Poole bought at an early date is owned by his granddaughter, Norma Poole. The only descendants of the tour Johnson sisters who now live in Canada Settlement are Ruth Sanborn Keefer and her three children and Lois Slater Craig and her two children.
John Lawrence, John Sanborn, William Poole and four of the Slater nephews came to Illinois for the express purpose of farming. But Louis Jones, who lives on the old Jones home farm north of Polo, and Russell Poole, who lives on the George Poole homestead west of Polo, are the only male descendants actively engaged in farming in this community. There are no Lawrence and Sanborn families living in or near Polo. All bearing those names have moved elsewhere. But there are Poole and Slater families in the vicinity of Polo.
The history of Canada Settlement like the history of Buffalo Grove has been almost forgotten. It is our hope that this little book will bring back happy memories 10 the descendants of the Johnson sisters who once lived there, and be of interest to the younger generation who, before this, have not known its story.