Leyden Township is bounded on the north by Maine and Norwood Park, on the east by Norwood Park and Jefferson, on the south by Proviso, and on the west by Addison Township in Du Page County. Originally this township was for the most part prairie, the exception being a strip of timber averaging about a mile in width extending from north to south along both sides of the Des Plaines River, but mainly on the east side of the river. The largest trees in this timber were white oak, and were about two feet in diameter. The area of the timber at present is about seven eighths what it was originally. As in other portions of the county, the soil of the timbered portion of this town is clay, while on the open prairie the soil is black loam and the subsoil clay.
Leyden is the township of reservations, there being by the treaty of Prairie du Chien, made in July, 1829, two large reservations set apart for two half-breeds, Alexander Robinson and Clande Laframboise. The reservation of Alexander Robinson comprised two sections of land, lying on both sides of the Des Plaines River. Being granted in 1829, before the Government survey of the lands in this township (40) and range (12) was made, it could not have been expected that this reservation, or that of Laframboise, would correspond in outline with section lines as determined by the survey. And as neither of these reservations does correspond in fact with such lines, their location can be given only approximately. The north section of Robinson’s reserve comprised the south half of Section 10, except a narrow strip on the east side of the southeast quarter of the section, but a narrow strip of equal area on the east side of the southeast quarter of Section 9 was included in the reservation; and also the north half of Section 15, except a narrow strip on east side of the northeast quarter section, and a fraction of the northeast quarter of Section 16. The south section of this reserve comprised very nearly the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 15, the southeast quarter of the same section, and the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 14; also the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 23, the northeast quarter of Section 22, and the east half of the northwest quarter of the same section.
The Laframboise reservation may for convenience of description be divided into two parts, the north portion a rectangle and the south portion a triangle. The north portion comprised the southeast quarter of Section 22, and the southwest quarter of Section 23; the south portion was bounded on the southeast by the Indian boundary line, and on the west by the half section line running north and south through Section 27.
It was four years after the treaty by which these reservations were set apart to Robinson and Laframboise, respectively, before any settlement was made on either of them, or in the township of Leyden, by a white man. In 1833 David Everett came here, with his family, from St. Clair County, Ill., and purchased the triangular portion of the Laframboise reserve. He was the first settler in Leyden Township. Mr. Everett was a Methodist, and for some years after his arrival, preaching by Methodist ministers, among them Mr. Everett himself, was carried on at his house, which was a log one, formerly used as a trading post. Settlers from considerable distance were accustomed to meet here to attend upon religious services. Mrs. Everett was a daughter of Rev. Jesse Walker, one of the earliest Methodist ministers in Chicago. John Everett, a son of David and Mrs. Everett, is now a resident of Leyden Township. Few if any other settlers came into the township in 1833; but in 1834, Mr. Brooks (father of F. T Brooks) and Mr. Sherman settled on Section 3, Mr. Higgins settled on Section 4, William Rowley and Aldrich Rowley, his brother, settled in Suction 14. In 1835 Ezra Ellis settled on Section 10, William Ellis on Section 9, and Samuel and Abel Spencer on the Lafromboise reserve, east of the river, buying a portion of David Everett's purchase. In 1836 Mr. Hewitt, father-in-law of William Rowley, settled on Section 12. William Draper settled on Section 22 in 1837, at which time, according to his recollection, there was no house between him and Dunklee's Grove. In 1843 Henry Boesenberg settled on Section 28, J. G. Frye on Section 16, Henry Rounge and Henry Hartman on Section 20. M. L. Dunlap settled in 1844 on Section 18 and from this time on the township received gradual and constant accessions to its population.
The Spencers bought about half of Mr. Everett's land and erected a log house on the east side of the river, which was for some time used as a hotel. They afterward built a tavern on the west side of the Des Plaines. The Spencers came from Cazenovia, N. Y., and in 1844, when the post office was established at their hotel, it was named Cazenovia. When William Emmerson was appointed Postmaster, the post office was moved to his house, and the name changed to Leyden Center. This name it continued to bear in its travels from one frame house to another, until the time of its last removal. After Mr. Emmerson came Joel P. Rowley, one mile to the eastward, then O. C. Willey, then George A. Gutlirie, then Elijah Shaw, one mile east of Mr. Willey's. The next move was to Jefferson Township, and called Dunning.
When the plank road was built, in 1850, the Plank Road Company built a saw mill at the crossing of the Des Plaines, to saw planks for the road. This mill was run about eighteen months, when it was converted into a grist mill. After running as a grist mill about six mouths it ceased to run, as very little wheat was raised in this part of the county.
The organization of the township occurred April 2, 1850, at the house of Richard Fuller. Of the meeting held that day, Ezra Alger was chosen Moderator, and William Emmerson, Clerk. The election held that day resulted in the choice of the following officers: Supervisor, M. L. Dunlap; Clerk, Richard W. Everett; Assessor, William Emmerson; Collector, Samuel Hammel; Overseer of the Poor, Richard W. Everett; Commissioners of Highways, Thomas Croghan, Ezra Alger and John G. Frye; Justices of the Peace, James M. Pennoyer and William Dunlap; Constables, Samuel Hummel and Edward B. Stanley. It was then resolved to hold the next meeting at Cazenovia. The organization of the town was effected under the name of Monroe, but afterward, on account of there being another town of that name, the name Leyden was selected.
This name first appears on the Clerk's records, June 11, 1850. On the 13th of April the Commissioners of Highways met at the house of M. L. Dunlap, and appointed tea Overseers of Highways. They also resolved that each able bodied man should perform two days work as a poll tax.
Subsequent to 1850 the following officers have been elected:
Supervisors.- Richard W. Everett, 1851-52; J. B. Beaubien, 1853 ; N. M. Dunlap, 1854; William Draper, 1855-56; O. H. Alger, 1857; Alexander Beaubien, 1858; George Dunlap, 1859-62; B. L. Hopkins, 1863-65; Stephen Pennoyer, 1866-67; Henry Boesenberg, 1868-77; Henry Kolze, 1878-83. Clerks- William Dunlap, 1851; Henry M. Rodgers, 1852; Thomas Croghan, 1853; James Pennoyer, 1854; F. T. Brooks, 1855; William Emmerson. 1856- 57; William Draper, 1858-59; F. T. Brooks, 1860-67; George Goodier, 1868; Henry Dierking, 1869-75; D. M. Barnes, 1876-77; Hiram Draper, 1878 -79; Henry Dunteman, 1880-82; Hiram Diaper, 1883.
Assessors.- John S. Everett, 1851 ; William Emmerson, 1852; Jacob Kline, 1853; William Dunlap, 1854; Henry Lovett, 1855; C. L. Hall, 1856; Alexander Beaubien, 1857; Allen Hemingway, 1858; Henry O. Lovett, 1859-60; Gustavus Ehrhorn, 1861- 62; George W. Brooks, 1863-65; Henry Boesenberg, 1866-67; B. L. Hopkins, 1868; William Draper, 1869-70; Henry Kolze, 1871-73; Henry Boesenberg, 1874-83.
Collectors.- Samuel Hummel, 1851; William Emmerson, 1852; George Dunlap, 1853 ; F. T. Brooks, 1854; Victor Wayrnan, 1855; Henry Stine, 1856; H. Basings, 1857-58; Lewis Rust, 1859-60; Henry Boesenberg, 1863-65; Henry Kolze 1866-67; Peter Ragor, 1868; Henry Bosenberg, 1869; Henry Kolze, 1870-71; Barney Wiemerslage, 1873-74 Henry Dierking, 1875-76; James Lynn, 1877; Charles Martin, 1878; Adolph Heine, 1879-81; Edward Hachmeister, 1882; Adolph Heine, 1883.
Overseers of the Poor.- Henry Judson 1851-52; Henry Boesenberg, 1855-56; William Draper, 1857; Alexander Beaubien, 1858 ; O. C. Willey, 1859.
Constables- Alexander Beaubien and Samuel Hummel, 1851; F. T. Brooks and Victor Wayman, 1854; Henry Stine and Victor Wayman, 1855; C. L. Hall, 1861; Perry Tanner and Henry Boesenberg, 1866; Henry Boesenberg and Christian Schmidt, 1867; John L. Draper and Fred Bierman, 1870; Barney Wiemerslage, 1875; Rector Judson and William Bell, 1877; Hector Judson and James Lynn, 1881 Fred Jones, 1883, but did not qualify.
Justices of the Peace.- S. M. Ferguson and William Dunlap, 1851; M. L. Dunlap, 1852; M. L Dunlap and Leman Irish, 1853 ; Leman Irish and William Dunlap, 1838; George Dunlap and C. L. Hall, 1862; James Pennoyer and John S. Everett, 1866 ; William Draper and O. C. Willey, 1867; Richard W. Everett and George Korthauer, 1868; William Draper and John B. Foot, 1869: B. L. Hopkins, 1870; Owen Coney, 1874; John Draper and Henry Moore, 1877; John Draper and G. F. Senf, 1881.
Commissioners of Highways.- John Vanatta, J. G. Frye and Albert Carlson, 1851; Henry Boesenberg, David Robinson and J. G. Frye, 1852; Joseph Robinson, Henry Boesenberg and John Sherman, 1853; Harvey Vanatta, James Pennoyer and Fred Ahlvers, 1854; Henry Franzen, William Emmerson and George Voice, 1855; C. L. Hall, Court. Webbe and George Voice, 1856: Lemau Irish, G. H. Franzen and Alexander Beaubien, 1857; Lewis Rust, Henry Boesenberg and Lemon Irish, 1858; Harvey Vanatta, James Pennoyer and Henry Boesenberg, 1859; Henry Boesenberg, John Sherman and John Adam Popp, 1860; Henry Boesenberg, G. H. Franzen and John Adam Popp, 1861; G. H. Franzen, R. W. Gunnison and John Adam Popp, 1864; Albert Corlan. 1863; Henry Boesenberg, 1864; Henry Kolze, 1865; Andrew Pflug, 1866; Frederick Dierking, 1867; Perry Tanner, 1868; Andrew Pflug, 1869; William Kolze, 1870; William Kolze, 1874; Henry Hachmeister, 1875; Henry Kirchhoff, 1876 ; William Kolze, 1877; Henry Hachmeister, 1878; Henry Kirchhoff, 1879 ; William Kolze, 1880; Henry Hachmeister, 1881; Henry Kirchhoff, 1882; William Kolze, 1883,
At the third annual election certain regulations were adopted with regard to cattle, sheep and hogs running at large, and the imposition of fines provided for, for violations of the regulations, the fines as collected to be turned over to the treasurer and form part of the school fund. It was also voted that $100 be raised for the purchase of plank for sluices in various road districts. It was also voted that $150 be raised to pay for the services of the town officers, and other expenses In 1853, 107 votes were east against the division of the county.
ALEXANDER ROBINSON (Che-che-pin-qua, Winking-Eve). In connection with the history of this township it is proper to give a few facts additional to what appears in his biography, on page 108 of this volume. He originally came to Chicago in 1804, but did not then remain. He came to remain, in 1814, as is believed, for in 1815 and 1816 he cultivated the field belonging to the fort. In the latter year, or in 1817, a trading post was established four miles up the South Branch, at the point formerly known as "Lee's Place," by Conant & Mack, wealthy merchants of Detroit. Mr. Robinson entered into the employ of these traders, and afterward into that of Mr. Laughton, on the Des Plaines. After the Indians were removed he went to DuPage County, where lie lived three years, returning to his reservation in 1838. This reservation was granted to him and his children, of whom there were in all fourteen. Mr. Robinson was married in 1820 to Catharine Chevalier, whose father, Francois Chevalier, was a French half breed, and mother an Indian woman. Mrs. Robinson died August 7, 1860, and was buried on the banks of the river near the old home, as were also seven of the children, four of whom died when quite young. The other three of these seven lived to years of maturity, and were named John, David and Margaret. Margaret was, at the time of her death, the wife of John Ross. Four other children that have died were buried in Chicago, and one, Joseph, was buried at Rose Hill. Two daughters still live, Mrs. Mary Ragor, wife of Frank Ragor, living on the reserve, and Mrs. Cyntina Cooney, wife of Owen Cooney, living in Chicago. The reserve was divided in 1847 or 1848, among him and the four of his children who were then living, each receiving 256 acres. his share has been sold, as has the share of each of three of the four children, Mrs. Cooney alone retaining her portion intact
Turner Park lies on the Elgin Short Line of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, eleven and one half miles from Chicago, and on the east branch of the Des Plaines. The original plat of the village consisted of Turner Park. Twenty eight acres and six blocks besides, purchased of Henry Straekmann by the Tamer Park Association, the design being to establish a Park arid build up a village in close proximity thereto. The Park was laid out, fenced and ornamented, and the six blocks laid out in a village. The first house erected in this village was by Henry Nolte, on John Avenue, the second by Mr. Enile. on the corner of John Avenue and School Street, and the third by Mr. Von Longe. The first store kept in this vicinity was about half a mile down the river from the village, and the first store in the place was started in 1874, one year after the station house was built. At the present time this is a general store, besides which there is in the village a wagon, blacksmith, and paint shop, and within the village plat one saloon.
Originally it was the design of the association to make Turner Park a pleasure resort for picnic, concert and other parties, the railway company agreeing to run as many trains as were required, but after some time a certain party of rowdies from Chicago in going out to the Park, caused considerable damage to the ears in which they were being conveyed, and since then it has been very difficult to procure transportation. Consequently the park is now but very little used, except as a pasture.
A very neat school house was erected in 1869, 100x30 feet. There are now in attendance at this school about sixty scholars, and about thirty attend a private school where German is taught as well as the common English branches. In the school district there is a population of about 400, arid in the village of Turner Park about 200.
This village lies on the west bank of the Des Plaines, on the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, twelve and three tenths miles from Chicago. It is located on what was the Laframboise reservation, and in any of the noble trees have been spared by the woodman's ax. So that now the site of the village, although sparsely populated, is very attractive. The original plat of River Park consisted of 300 acres, purchased by Sayles & Walker, in June, 1872, at an average price of $240 per acre. Its altitude above Lake Michigan is fifty feet. About the same time R. S. Rhodes bought 100 acres south of and adjoining the original plat, and it was upon his subdivision that the first improvements were made. Mr. Rhodes erected six houses, in 1872, a part of which he sold on easy payments, renting the rest, ultimately, however, selling all. During this year he also erected the church building for the First Presbyterian Church of River Park, which was organized that year. Originally this Church had fifteen members, and the membership has increased to thirty, the present number. Rev. J. B. McClure was the first and only pastor of this Church, remaining Corn the time of its organization to 1882, when he resigned. since his resignation the Church has been without a pastor, the Sunday school has however been kept up, and has about seventy five scholars. The building is a frame Gothic structure, 26x52 in size, and cost. completely furnished, $6,000. The district school has about eighty scholars. The depot was erected in 1874, the same year in which the post office was established. Miss R. Lundy was the first Postmaster, and continued in office until 1880. She was succeeded by Robert Bell, who held the office a few months, when G. F. Senf took the position in the same year, 1880, and continued in office until about January 1, 1884, when he was succeeded by Charles Streetz, the present incumbent, The population of River Park is now about 200.
This is a station on the Chicago. Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, fourteen miles from Chicago. The depot was erected in 1874, and the post office established about the same time, with Henry Boesenburg for Postmaster. Besides the station and post office, there are here a creamery and a grocery store and a few dwelling houses. The population of the place is about fifty.
Orison is a station on the same railway, ten and seven tenths miles from Chicago.