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the days of ancient Rome Janus was the guardian deity of
gates. As every gate turned either way, so Janus was represented with two heads. One was of a youth, to indicate beginning; the other was of an old man, suggestive of the end. The first looked toward the future; the second, toward the past. The student, like Janus of old, surveys the past; and only from this point of view can he intelligently interpret the present, and in some measure forecast the future.
As a community becomes older, and the habits of its people become fixed, the study of local history receives attention. A movement was recently begun in this state for the purpose of creating popular interest in state and local history; and these subjects will doubtless receive more attention than formerly. This volume does not claim infallibility; but it does purport to be a thorough and conscientious effort to present in miniature the life of this community during a period of twenty-seven years from its first settlement. It is primarily a history of Rockford; but no history of the city would be complete unless considerable attention were given to the county, as a background. Nearly all the early settlers have passed away. This fact makes the fund of reminiscences smaller than might be desired. It is believed, however, this volume contains a larger number of local facts than were ever before presented in a single work. This is due to the fact that the author has been fortunate in obtaining access to sources of information that were not available to any of his predecessors. It is hoped that the treatment of all available material has been such that no future historian of Rockford will be obliged to go over the ground in order to substantiate the facts herein set forth. The Roman poet, Ovid, made Janus say: "Everything depends on the beginning." The author hopes that upon this foundation a later historian will rear the superstructure of a complete history of the Forest City to the close of the century.
Clio, the muse of history, is represented as wearing a wreath of laurel, and holding a half-open parchment roll, upon which she has inscribed the deeds of heroes and the songs of love.
Clio and her sister-muses were nymphs of the springs that bickered down the sides of Helicon and Parnassus, the waters of which were supposed to possess the property of inspiration. Thus the historian of the old school painted ideal heroes and their exploits, with the grouping made very largely according to the taste of the artist.
This age demands a sterner realism. The modern historian is a patient plodder and a delver after facts. He must clear and arrange the buried fragments of the past, and so far as he may reconstruct the shifting tableaux of human life, "so that king and subject, wise and simple, high and low, rich and poor, capital and labor, virtue and vice, crown and spade, crook and plow, sword and pen, and all that makes the thought and act of life, may be to the present what they were to the past." The inventive genius of Rockford has produced a machine that will paint a portrait of high artistic excellence, with comparative ease. The next wonder may be a device to grind out history, with neither sweat of brow nor weariness of brain.
The author has received the cordial co-operation of the officers and executive and historical committees of the New Eng. land society. He is indebted to many friends for valuable aid in personal reminiscences. He has received the utmost courtesy from early settlers and others interested in the work; and to them is due, in large measure, whatever success may attend its publication. He is especially indebted to collections of manuscripts gathered some years ago by the late Hon. E. H. Baker and the late H. H. Silsby. Lewis F. Lake, M. A. Norton and H. C. Scovill have placed the records of their respective offices at his disposal. The clerks of the several churches have loaned their records; and the early records of Rockford seminary have been frequently consulted. The author is also indebted to Mrs. Harriott Wight Sherratt, Mrs. Katherine Keeler, Mrs. E. P. Catlin, Chas. H. Spafford, Hon. Wm. Lathrop, S. J. Caswell, and H. N. Starr, for the loan of family manuscripts and valuable information personally given. The splendid resources of the public library have been utilized, and without them this volume could not have been prepared upon it present scale.
CHARLES A. CHURCH. Rockford, Ill., May 22, 1900,
THE territory now comprised within the state of Illinois first
nominally formed a part of Virginia. The primal rights of the native Indians were never recognized by the explorers from the old world. The English crown, by virtue of discov. eries made by the Cabots and the colonies planted by Sir Walter Raleigh, took formal possession of that portion of the new world known as Virginia. This name was given the new possession by the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth, in honor of herself. In 1606, early in the reign of King James I., two companies were formed for the colonization of America. Virginia was divided into two parts. To the London Company the king granted South Virginia, which extended from Cape Fear, in North Carolina, to the Potomac. To the Plymouth Company he gave North Virginia, which stretched from Nova Scotia to Long Island. The region between 'the Potomac and the Hudson was left as a broad belt of neutral territory. Under the revised charter of 1609 these grants were to run in straight zones across the continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They included "all the islands lying within one hundred miles along the coast of both seas" aforesaid. So little was then known of the geography of North America, that it was believed the continent at this latitude was no wider than in Mexico. Hence England made extensive grants of land on this continent in utter ignorance of its extent and configuration. This charter was subsequently annulled by quo warranto, and special commissions issued, in which the king declared that the charter was abrogated for the benefit of the settlers; but that it should not affect their private or civil rights, but only the political rights of the company at home.
The English colonists in Virginia, however, did not penetrate far into the interior. Thus the royal claim to the land throughout from sea to sea west and northwest" did not secure the title of the English crown to this vast domain. The French were the first actual settlers in the great Mississippi valley. During the latter part of the seventeenth century Father Marquette, Joliet, La Salle, Tonti and others explored the shores of