Foresight Led to Affluency Near Rockford, Illinois

Two generations earlier, an Illinois homesteader acquired more than others by taking a chance near Rockford, Illinois.

| Good Old Days

In 1838 my great-grandfather and his brother bought a large tract of land lying between the Rock and Kishwaukee rivers near Rockford, Illinois. In February of the following year, Great-grandfather left his family at the home in Mt. Morris, New York, and with two wagons loaded with tools and provisions, started to the new farm, a trip which would take four weeks. He spent the summer putting in crops and arranging a home. In September he returned to New York for his wife and six children.

The family and three other families, who were moving West, traveled by steamer from Buffalo to Chicago, arriving at Chicago on a Sunday morning.

Rain fell all that day, and since the town of Chicago was laid out on low ground, it was terribly muddy. That evening the family, carrying tallow candle lanterns, walked on narrow plank sidewalks to service in a church at the corner of Clark and Washington streets. They all agreed they wouldn't settle in that swampy town for anything anyone could offer them.

The following day they began the three-day journey to Rockford. Because there were no hotels on the way, the travelers slept on the floor of cabins along the way, using their own bedding.

Great-grandfather had chosen land that had a horseshoe-shaped terrace running thru it. He built his house on this high ground and named his place Terrace Farm. The house, with seven rooms, was exceptionally large for those days. There was a cellar under it, too, and it was kept filled with vegetables.

Itinerant preachers made the place a regular stopping point, and worship services were often held in the house on Sunday afternoon or evening.

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