Emily Post in Rochelle, 1915

On a tour of historic buildings in Rochelle 14 Sept., guide Terry Dickow pointed to the former location of the Collier Inn at the northeast corner of Cherry Avenue and Main Street. The hotel was torn down in 1989, he said, but it had once hosted writer Emily Post on her cross-country car tour in 1915. She wrote about this tour in her book By Motor to the Golden Gate  (the link here happens to contain the chapter on Rochelle) and on page 77, she described the muddy roads between DeKalb and Rochelle. On page 82 of the book is an account of days — May 6 and 7, 1915 — spent in Rochelle, seeing movies at the Majestic Theater (which Dickow said was located just north of the Hub Theater) and staying at the Collier, which stay cost $8 for 3 rooms.

See mural about her visit info here.

Deed for buying land for Lane, 1853

This is a transcript of a deed (document number 8869) recorded in Book K of Deeds, page 653, held at the Ogle County Recorder’s Office, Oregon, Illinois. This deed conveyed the southwest 40 of the 75 acres of land platted in the Town of Lane. Some punctuation and capitalization has modernized. See images of deed here, here, here, and here.

Note: Charlotte A. Powell was the remarried name of Charlotte Bartholomew, whose husband Sheldon Bartholomew had purchased this land from the federal government, and Charlotte and daughter Maria seem to have inherited this land from Sheldon after his death in 1846. In 1845, Sheldon paid $1.25 per acre for this land; the price given below computes to $15 per acre, an increase of 1,200% in 8 years.

Note the particular handwriting of the “ss” of Ross, and also the language in the certification statement pertaining to the separate examination of the wife’s understanding of this legal document.

8869

Filed Aug. 18th 1853

at 10 o’clock AM

Recorded Aug. 22 1853

Ross & Powell

to

Robert P. Lane

This indenture, made this Eighteenth day of July in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and Fifty-Three between Isaac Ross and Maria his wife and Charlotte A. Powell of the County of Ogle State of Illinois of the first part, and Robert P. Lane of the County of Winnebago and State of Illinois of the second part, witnesseth that the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of six hundred dollars, in hand paid by the said party of the second part the receipt [of which] is hereby acknowledged, and the said party of the second part forever released and discharged therefrom, has granted, bargained, sold, remised, released, aliened and confirmed and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell, remise, release, alien and confirm unto the said party of the second part and to his heirs and assigns forever, all the following described lot-piece or parcel of land  situate in the County of Ogle and in the State of Illinois to wit, the South East quarter of the South West quarter of Section No. Twenty Four (24) Town Forty (40) North in Range One (1) East of the third (3) Principal Meridian containing forty (40) acres together with all and singular the hereditaments and appurtenances therewith belonging, or in any wise appertaining; and the reversion and reversions, remainder and remainders, rents, issues, and profits thereof, and all the Estate Right, Title Interest, Claim and Demand whatsoever, of the said party of the first part, either in law or equity of, in and to the above bargained premises, with the hereditaments and appurtenances, to have and to hold the said premises above bargained and described, with the appurtenances unto the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns forever. And the said Isaac Ross and Maria Ross, wife of the said Isaac, and Charlotte A. Powell party of the first part for them and their heirs, executors and administrators, do Covenant, Grant, Bargain, and Agree to and with the said party of the second part, his heirs, and assigns that at the time of the ensealing and delivery of these presents were well seized of the premises above conveyed as of a good, sure, perfect, absolute, and indefeasible estate of inheritance of the law in fee simple and hath good rightful power and lawful authority to grant, bargain, sell, and convey the same in manner and form aforesaid, and that the same are free and clear from all former and other grants, bargains, sales, liens, taxes, assessments, and incumbrances of what kind or nature soever, and the above bargained premises in the quiet and peaceable possession of the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns against all and every person or persons lawfully claiming or to claim the whole or any part thereof, the said party of the first part shall and will warrant and forever defend. In witness thereof, the said part[y] of the first part herewith set their hand and seal the day and year first above written.

Signed, sealed, and delivered in presence of James P. Randall

Isaac Ross  [seal]

Maria Ross [seal]

Charlotte A. Powell [seal]

“This certifies, that on the Eighteenth day of July, Eighteen hundred and Fifty-Three, Before me, a justice of the peace of the county of Ogle in the State of Illinois, appeared Isaac Ross and Maria Ross and Charlotte A. Powell, personally known to be the real persons whose names is [sic] subscribed to the foregoing Deed, as having executed the same, and then acknowledged the execution there of as their free act and deed, And the said Maria Ross, wife of the said Isaac Ross, (who is personally known to me to be the same person who subscribed the said instrument of writing) having had the contents of the said instrument made known and explained to [her] and been by me examined separate and apart from her said husband, did acknowledge said instrument to be her free act and deed, and that she has executed the same and relinquished her dower in the lands and tenements therein mentioned voluntarily and freely and without the compulsion of her said husband, and that she does not wish to retract the same. Given under my hand and seal this Eighteenth day of July A.D. 1853

James P. Randall  [seal]

Notes and observations:

• This deed refers to a complete 40 acres and does not mention that any part of the land has been sold to the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad — which railroad was drawn in the plat of the town of Lane, which was filed 12 days after this deed’s date. This suggests that R.P. Lane purchased this land with the knowledge that he would soon be selling part of the land to the railroad, and perhaps resale monies factored into his willingness to pay a premium price for this land. I have not yet located documents to show when or at what price Lane sold to the railroad.

1876 Rochelle map

From an 1876 “Atlas of the State of Illinois,” Union Atlas Co., Warner & Beers, Propietors, Chicago, part of page 21 is a map of Rochelle. This atlas was located in recent weeks at the Ogle County Recorder’s Office.

Click on image to zoom in.

Map of Rochelle, 1876.

Note the voting districts, as well as the additional streets added to east, west, southwest, and southeast parts of Rochelle as compared to this 1872 map. Note also that cemetery (southwest corner of Bartholomew and Clark streets) was marked on this map and labeled with a cross, though the cemetery closed to new burials in 1874. (Link forthcoming).

Title page of the 1876 atlas source of this map above.

1872 Rochelle map

The following photos of Rochelle are from an 1872 Atlas of Ogle County, seemingly published by Everts, Baskin and Stewart. The Rochelle map is identified as “Drawn & Compiled by Frank Krause, C.E. Anamosa, Ia.” These photos were taken in recent months from two copies of this atlas, both held at Ogle County Recorder’s Office.

Click on each photo to zoom in. In next screen, note the “full size” option.

Note the locations of school (current block of Central School), old cemetery, quarry (Spring Lake), C&I (currently BNSF) railroad, etc.

I like that this map shows the names of the early additions to the original plat of the town (later city) of Lane (by 1865, “Rochelle”), and it shows the early (pre-1907) names of the streets. That section of Main Street south of Jefferson Street that angles to the southeast seems to be the same path as the Rockford-Ottawa road marked on the 1840-41 survey. The Powell responsible for “Powell’s Addition” is Charlotte Powell, who was the original purchaser of that land from the federal government, and who also deeded the cemetery above to the “Trustees of the Burying Grounds of Hickory Grove” in 1856 (link forthcoming). This cemetery would be closed to burials by 1875.

Closer view of the north end of Rochelle.

Closer view of the south end of Rochelle. Note the Southworth addition, much of which is a golf course today.

Closer-in view of Cherry Street and railroads in downtown Rochelle. Note “Rochelle House” and “Simpson House,” two early hotels.

From same atlas, a view of Flagg Township (Township 40 North and Range 1 East of the 3rd Principal Meridian) and property owners therein.

From the same atlas, a “Sectional Map of Illinois”:

Plat of Lane/Rochelle, Illinois, 1853

Here are the first documents defining the town of Lane (later, Rochelle), Illinois. This plat, a sheet of paper roughly the size of an end-table, is held at the Ogle County Recorder’s office, and it was filed with Ogle County government on 30 July 1853 (and re-recorded in 1915). According to the process of town formation described in the source detailed here, it seems that all a landowner — in this case, Rockford businessman Robert P. Lane — had to do to create a town was to hire a surveyor to make a plat, and then to record that plat — it seems there was no requirement to gain permission of a county board or higher authority, as there often is now for new land developments. The filing of the plat was the official act that allowed the landowner/proprietor to start selling lots. As Lane did not incorporate as a governmental entity of its own until February 1861, law enforcement and other government functions were, I presume, provided by the county.

Click on each photo to see it zoomed in.

This plat covers 75 acres . The streets kept the names above until the city renamed them in 1907. For reference, the west side of plat would later be Bartholomew St. (modern-day 7th St.), the north side is Chapin St. (6th Ave.), the east side is 2nd Street, and the south boundary became Jefferson St. (now 1st Ave.).

The streets named on the map above and their modern names:

East-West streets: Holland Street is 5th Avenue, Brice Street is 4th Ave., Palmer Street is Lincoln Ave., and Walnut Street is 2nd Avenue.

North-South streets: Lafayette Street is 6th Street, Washington is now Lincoln Highway (except south of Lincoln Ave., where it’s still Washington), Main remains Main, and Flagg St. is 3rd Street.

Detail of the plat showing Cherry Avenue (unnamed, bisecting blocks 13 & 18) and, above that, Brice Street (now 4th Ave.), running E-W. For N-S streets, there’s Washington (now Lincoln Hwy) on the left, Main in the center, and Flagg (now 3rd St.) to the east. 2nd street would be the east boundary of this plat.

Note the graphic blandishment of the town name, made in an era well before computer graphics were available.

 

“No. 9921 191500009921 [document number in the recorder’s office]
Filed July 30th A.D. 1853. Re-Recorded June 30th 1915.”

This lower-right corner of the plat shows the only landmark reference to locating the plat on the ground: “Stone 14-8-5-inches in demension’s [sic] bearing from the S.E. corner of the S.E. 1/4 of the S.W 1/4, Sec 24 T40-R1E of 3 P.M. n. 46 [degrees] 50′ E 66 3/4 links distant.” [Some of my interpretation of this handwriting may be different from what others might read here.]

Notes and observations:

•  These blocks and lots are still used as legal descriptions of properties today. For example, according to Ogle County GIS, the Rochelle Municipal Utilities building at the southeast corner of Lincoln Highway and 4th Avenue is sited on lots 6, 5, and part of lot 4, block 13. Rochelle City Hall is on lots 1, 2, and 3 of block 6.

• Outside dimensions of the plat are 1,980 feet (north-south) by 1,650 feet (east-west), for a total area of 3,267,000 square feet, which, at 43,560 square feet per acre, would be 75 acres. Most roads are 66 feet wide. Most lots are 66 feet wide by 123.75 feet deep (lot size 8,167.5 sq feet or 0.1875 acre), followed by an alley of 16.5 feet. There’s at least 50 feet between railroad tracks and the nearest plots.

• The Walters article describes some towns being designed with smaller “in-lots” and larger “out-lots,” the in-lots being more valuable as they were closer to the town center, presumably the future business district. The article also states that “by the 1850s the railroad station replaced the square as town center,” and this seems to describe Lane/Rochelle. This could explain why the lots on Cherry Avenue are smaller — they were meant to be the locations of businesses.

•  While most of the streets marked on this plat remain today, 3rd and 6th streets not crossing the railroad tracks, and Dewey Avenue is an east-west alley splitting the lots in the 18th block. Certain other changes to the plat have been marked by later handwriting.

•  The “G & C.U R.R.” marked on this plat is the Galena and Chicago Union Rail Road, also sometimes called The Dixon Air-Line or the Chicago, Fulton & Iowa line, was under construction during 1853, according to Yesterday and Today: A History of the Chicago and North Western Railway System (page 22). The 1878 History of Ogle County states that the “final survey” of the railroad was made in the spring of 1853, and that “several different routes were projected with the evident purpose of inducing competition among the landowners in order to cheapen the right of way” (page 513). I would like to do further research to find out the precise chronology of when Lane proprietor Robert P. Lane first heard of the railroad’s route and when he bought land and ordered the plat survey. Lane filed his plat and, it seems, started selling lots when the railroad was under construction but before it was operational.

•  This rail line first opened from Turner Junction (West Chicago) to Lane on 10 January 1854, connecting Chicago with Ogle County (pages 22 and 27; the 1878 source gives the date of completion as 14 January (page 513).  The Galena & Chicago Union railroad later became the Chicago & North Western RR and exists today as the Union Pacific line. Note also that the second line to come through Rochelle, today’s BNSF line, is present on the 1872 Krause map (link forthcoming) and it cut through blocks 26 through 30 on the plat above.

•  The railroad arriving in southeast Ogle County changed the business conditions for the local farmers, according to the 1878 Ogle County History: “Chicago was the principal grain market for this section until about 1852 when a load was occasionally drawn to Rockford, Peru and St Charles. The greater part was taken to Chicago, however, until the railroads came and gave them a market here at Hickory Grove. There were few horses used until about 1843 or 1844 and it usually consumed six days to get a load of wheat to market.” And while the railroad was being built, “there was a great influx of people, all anxious to reap the advantages and embrace the opportunities for money-making that were sure to be developed here by the new railroad.  The old Lane Hotel … was built that Summer by Horace Coon … and when the railroad was completed arrangements were made for a grand banquet in the hall over the hotel.”

• It’s not clear that Lane proprietor Robert P. Lane ever lived in Rochelle before or after buying the land and constructing the plat survey of this town. The 1878 Ogle County History names several settlers, including Willard Flagg, Sheldon Bartholomew, Horace Coon, Harmon Minkler, and Mills Stewart, who seemed to have been living in this area, as they had applied for land patents, well before 1853. I wonder how these land owners felt about a town being platted near their farms by someone from outside of town. Perhaps they didn’t mind — Sheldon’s widow, Charlotte Bartholomew Powell, did sell land to R.P. Lane that made up part of the town plat (link forthcoming).

What I share when I publish my journal writings

My current journal notebook.

I don’t need to have a particular idea to write about in order to write just what comes to mind as I write. It’s OK, too, if ideas/topics do come to mind — and I’d like to keep these in a journal-context. I’m not sure how much I should say in my posts about how to read these posts of my journal writings — reading my journals just to spend a little time with me as I wrote, generally in a calm, reflective way. I’m thinking here how I read Sam Pepys’s journals sometimes during my lunch just to get out of the newsy/topical realm and get into the calm, life-goes-on, slice-of-life thing.

Sam Pepys didn’t publish his own journals. They would definitely be different, or at least there’d be a discrepancy between what he wrote and what he published, if he had published them while he lived. Why keep a journal, except for the experience of keeping a journal — which IS enough, of course. It can be kinda interesting to read the journal of someone known to you — family member, friend, etc., — like the family friend’s journal of his teen-aged road trip that I was shown a few years ago. Problem is that the main interest in such a document would be familial — because you knew the writer — rather than looking at the text itself, the text needing to justify itself — a task I face, since I have no descendants.

These journals are about the past, and the past is safe because it’s done, like how I drove myself into a new city, into Philadelphia, in 1996, at age 22, and it was scary then because I didn’t know that I would be safe, but now, no scares, because I did it and got home and it’s all done — closed off, secured in the past. It doesn’t have to be distant past – I’m feeling OK now about (my wife) M’s surgery because it went well — I know the outcome now, but I didn’t when I was writing on the 1st or early on 2nd of July. And of course, as I sit here and write today, as I write right now, I don’t know how things will go today, tomorrow, next year.

These journals are on a cusp of the future — I write now in safety about what happened yesterday, and I write now in concern for what may happen in near future, and that could be a kind of tension there. But I suspect that there’s never really much to do about the future, and when I’m writing, I’m usually pretty calm, not all that anxious about future nor grief-bound to the past. Even when I wrote about Papa’s death, it was the morning after, so I was over the immediate shock of it. It’s OK that I’m not writing at the immediate time after his death or writing immediately after whatever I did yesterday.

I read at Vox today an appreciation of L.A. Times food writer Gold, how he wrote about eating, not food, and how he wouldn’t take notes as he ate. He wanted to have the experience — 5 times at each restaurant — before he’d write, and then he’d try to share that experience with readers. That’s not really what I’m trying to do, share the experience from the past. The experience I’m wanting to share is the reflecting, the processing, the remembering, during the next morning — which will have a calmer tone than texts written moments after the heat of the experience.

These texts written at journaling time will have that calm, day-after, reflective aspect — and that’s kinda cool, because I don’t have to adopt some kind of persona. I am reflecting — there’s a transparency to my prose that way. I’m not writing years later to describe a scene thru haze of memory and nostalgia (like To Kill a Mockingbird, among so many other texts). My texts are without the artifice of persona, of trying to project a certain mood or tone or whatever — that’s the simplicity — but they’re also exactly what I want them to be: in time (not written years later but written each day, they’re time-capsules of what I thought on the day each was written) and also they are partial (I don’t try to write in that Voice of Authority that I can fall into, that voice I used as a reporter. When I sit and try to explain a topical (including historical) idea, I tend to adopt that distant, authoritative tone, and I think there’s a more natural tone — even enthusiasm — when I write text in my journaling voice). I like that my ideas are tentative, not final declarations, and I like that I show process, not just product. I like all these aspects of my journals, but I think today’s — what I’ve written above — might be the best way to explain what I’m wanting to do in publishing my journals.

From 24 July 2018 journal.

R.P. Lane, founder of Lane/Rochelle

The town of Lane (later, Rochelle) formally began with the filing of a plat at the Ogle County Recorder’s office on  30 July 1853 by Robert P. Lane. Some background information about Lane:

• Robert P. Lane, M.D., lived Feb. 21, 1818 to March 7, 1891, (aged 73 at death), according to Find a Grave, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Rockford.

•  Holland’s Rockford City Directory for 1874-5 lists Dr. R.P. Lane on page 153 as living at 508 N. Church and as having these titles: president, Second National Bank; cashier, Rockford Savings Bank, and treasurer, Rockford Insurance Co.

•  In a “Historical and Business Review” of Holland’s Directory (pages 9 and 10), Dr. R. P. Lane is named among a list of “prominent gentlemen [who] associated themselves under the style of ‘Rockford Water Power Company’ and determined to build another and stronger dam” after a first dam across the Rock River failed. Also mentioned in Kett’s History of Winnebago County, 1877. (page 403)

•  In a section describing his management of the Second National Bank, Dr. R. P. Lane is described as “one of the foremost and progressive public lights of Rockford” who “settled here in 1836, and has succeeded abundantly in the many and varied enterprises of his own creation.” (page 35) This 1836 date of arrival is contrasted to the 1851 date given in the Past and Present source below.

•  Lane “secured” “a special charter” for Rockford Savings Bank, an institution that may be “highly appreciated” by “the working classes and those of small means.” This bank is “another evidence of [Dr. Lane’s] business capacity and good will toward his cherished home, Rockford.” (page 52).

•  According to the book Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois, (here at Google Books, full-but-uncorrected text here), Robert P. Lane, M. D., was born in Hopewell, Bedford County, in south-central Pennsylvania, in 1818, and came to Rockford in 1851.

Past and Present also says that Lane “was a member of the banking firm of
Lane, Sanford & Company and was “one of the organizers of the Second National Bank, and continuously served as its president from 1864 to 1881, when
he resigned to accept the Presidency of the Rockford Insurance Company. He served as a member of the library board, and was senior warden of the Episcopal church for forty years.” Library board report here, in Annual Reports of the City of Rockford, page 50.

• R. P. Lane was involved in the building of the Kenosha & Rockford Railroad in the later 1850s, and he was involved  — it’s not clear to me exactly how — in some military or political organizing during the Civil War times. (Past and Present, pages 80-81, 88).

•  In addition, Lane was involved in organizing a hospital for Rockford, and he served as one of the first “consulting physicians” for the hospital that opened 1 Oct. 1885. (Past and Present, page 128)

• “January , 1855, the banking firm of Dickerman, Wheeler & Co. began business on West State street. The firm consisted of W. A. Dickerman, Buel G. Wheeler, G. A. Sanford and R. P. Lane. This house became the Second National bank.” (Past and Present, page 132)

•  Lane was involved in building the Chick Hotel at 123 S. Main in Rockford.

•  In March 1855, Lane was president of an effort to build a rail line between Rockford and Mendota, but “operations were never commenced on this line.” (History of Winnebago, 1877, page 284)

Robert P. Lane may have never lived in Rochelle, but his son Jas. B. Lane is listed as a Rochelle resident on page 664 of the 1878 History of Ogle County. Jas. B. Lane is said to work in the manufacture of malleable iron in the firm Barber, Lane & Co. and “he also attends to the sale of lands for his father, Dr. R. P. Lane,  of Rockford.”