THE MYSTERY OF THE JOHNSON BROTHERS IN EARLY SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP (2)

Last week we met Daniel, Morgan and Lyman Johnson who arrived in the area in the mid to late 1840s. Morgan’s tombstone says he was born in Sandgate, Vermont which is in Bennington County. According to the the Palatine Centennial Book, Daniel and Morgan moved to Yates County, New York as boys and left for Illinois in 1844. There is no mention, however, of Lyman in the book.

Having been born in 1799 and 1803, respectively, Daniel and Morgan were already firmly established adults who were quite possibly seeking affordable government land in the far off state of Illinois when they moved here.

We also discovered that Lyman and Daniel made their way to Schaumburg Township and bought land patents here in Sections 12 and 13. While they both were listed as farmers in the 1850 census, Lyman and his wife Emeline also ran Johnson’s Tavern, as seen in the 1851 map above.

Tracking Morgan S. Johnson, we find that he, too, purchased a land patent, except that his was in Palatine Township. According to the Bureau of Land Management’s land record database, he purchased 40 acres on April 10, 1848 in Section 28. This was just a bit north of Algonquin Road and coincides with a segment in the Palatine Centennial Book that states:

“Morgan Johson came from Yates County, New York and purchased the farm owned for several years by Gustavus W. Southworth. [This area was called Highland Grove.] Mr. Southworth kept a tavern called the “Wickliffe House.” When Mr. Johnson moved in he took down the sign and said he would not keep transients. However, so many travelers stopped and asked for lodging that Mr. Johnson was compelled to keep them overnight and at last kept the tavern as his predecessor had done. It was a popular stop and often during the summer as many as ten or fifteen covered wagons would be lined up in a string, loaded with new settlers from the east. People from Rockford and Dundee, on their way to Chicago, always stopped here to rest themselves, their oxen or horses.”

During Gustavus Southworth’s ownership of the “Wickliffe House” he was appointed Postmaster in July 1842. According to the Palatine Centennial Book, “the post office was probably a box with pigeonholes in it at the rear of the establishment.” Mr. Johnson served as deputy postmaster for four years after he purchased the property. This is why many accounts from the early Hoffman Estates portion of Schaumburg Township, state that their first post office was Wickliffe. Their proximity was closer to Highland Grove than central Schaumburg Township.

The time frame of Morgan Johnson purchasing the land patent and owning Wickliffe House ranges loosely from 1844 to 1860. Morgan and his wife, Wealthy Wood (Willey), are listed in the 1860 census with Morgan’s occupation being farmer. When he and his wife moved to Palatine in 1861, he “donated the land for the site of the St. John’s church located on Algonquin road immediately west of Roselle road” per the Palatine Centennial Book.

 

During this same period of 1844 to 1860, Daniel and Rachel (Willey) Johnson lived on their farm in Section 12 of Schaumburg Township with their children Solon, Clarentine, Myron and Coralin–all of whom had been born in New York. (The two Johnson brothers married the two Willey sisters.)

By 1860 though, Daniel and Rachel had sold their farm in Schaumburg Township. Curiously, Daniel is listed in the 1860 census, living with his brother, Morgan and his wife, Wealthy Wood, in Palatine Township. This was on the above mentioned farm in Highland Grove, near the southwest corner of Roselle and Algonquin Roads. Even more curiously, Rachel is not listed at all.

In 1861, according to the Palatine Centennial Book, Morgan, “being a carpenter and builder by trade, built a beautiful home in Palatine and moved there… For two years he served as Palatine supervisor on the county board and subsequently held many other public offices.”

One has to wonder if Daniel and Rachel moved to Palatine when Morgan sold his farm or, if they purchased that farm–or another–for a period of time before 1870. Rachel’s Chicago Tribune obituary from January 12, 1892 goes a ways towards clarifying this when it states “Mrs. Johnson was one of the old settlers of Cook County, having come here forty-eight years ago with her husband, Daniel H. Johnson. They settled in the Town of Schaumburg, but acquiring a farm in the Town of Palatine moved there some years later.”

In the 1870 census, though, Daniel and Rachel are once again listed together in Palatine and, apparently, living in town on a street surrounded by various merchants. Four years after the census, Daniel died at the age of 75 on June 25, 1874 and was buried in Hillside Cemetery in Palatine. Rachel lived another 18 years and died of old age at 86 or 87. As seen below, they were given quite an impressive tombstone by their descendants.


It is possible it was paid for by their son-in-law, Samuel McCrea, who married their daughter, Coraline. Mr. McCrea had entered the grain commission business and served as the president of the Chicago Board of Trade in 1870 and, later, as Cook County Treasurer.

Morgan, meanwhile, lived substantially longer. He was born in 1803 and died in 1890 at the age of 87. His wife, Wealthy, lived even longer and died at the age of 91 in 1899. They are buried adjacent to Daniel and Rachel in Hillside Cemetery under the white obelisk to the left.


We have successfully tracked Daniel and Morgan’s time in our area, but what happened to Lyman? He, after all, is the one who ran the tavern with his wife Emeline that was located in Section 13. Where did they go if they didn’t stay in the area? Why did they leave? Check in next week to catch the conclusion of the story of the Johnson gentlemen of Vermont.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

Sources used:

Palatine Centennial Book; Updated and published by the Palatine Quasquicentennial Committee of 1991.
Hillside Cemetery; by Constance Rawa of the Palatine Historical Society; 1997.

2 Responses to “THE MYSTERY OF THE JOHNSON BROTHERS IN EARLY SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP (2)”

  1. David Olson Says:

    I love this 3 part story!

    • jrozek Says:

      Thank you David! I’m glad it is getting such a nice response. It is my goal to include postings on all facets and time periods of our history.

      I love the research involved in these postings that are focused around our more “ancient” history. Look for an upcoming multi-part series on three Civil War soldiers from Schaumburg Township. It was fascinating to research too.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library
      jrozek@stdl.org

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