CRESTON.
The first permanent settler within the limits of Dement Township was John Brodie, who, with his family, settled on section 12 in 1836. In this family there were several sons and daughters. Mr. Brodie was a brother-in-law of one of the notorious Driscoll clan. These characters had evidently left Ohio to avoid the odium of a somewhat tarnished record. They enjoyed the grim pleasure of twitting each other of their Ohio home—the penitentiary. To the Driscoll family, whose connection with this vicinity was at one time much too intimate to be pleasant, a separate chapter will be devoted. They lived across the line, in DeKalb County.

At the time of the early settlements, it was customary for settlers to make claims near groves of timber, for protection from the cold, biting blasts of Win­ter on the prairies. The grove at which Brodie settled still retains the name of Brodie's Grove. He afterwards moved away, being threatened with death for his misdeeds if he remained.

Two years after Mr. Brodie, William Youngs, with his family, settled on Kilbuck Creek, a mile and a half northwest of Brodie. He afterwards moved to Iowa.

Samuel Brock, with his family settled east of, and adjoining, Mr. Young's claim, about two years later. Mr. Brock has since died, and his family now reside in Creston.

The next settler at the grove was Baltz Niehoff, who occupied land for Snively, Sharer & Company, a company who had purchased Brodie's land when he departed. The men of this company, Elias Sniveley, Henry, Sharer, Nathaniel Swingley and Samuel Hitt, had come from Maryland to Mt. Morris, and all became actual settlers of Dement Township afterwards.

Mr. Niehoff moved to Carroll County. Mr. Snively returned to Maryland, Mr. Sharer and Mr. Hitt returned to Mt. Morris, where the former still lives. In 1850, Nathaniel Swingley went to California, but, after three years and a half residence in the land of gold, he returned to Creston, where he still resides, a prominent, influential and democratic citizen.

In 1850, Thomas Smith came from Canada and occupied the farm of Mr. Swingley during his absence. Mr. Smith was made postmaster a few years after, and he, as well as nearly all those living along the public road between Chicago and Oregon, kept open house for the accommodation of passing travelers.

In 1852, Norman Payne and Barzilla Knapp, brothers-in-law, located at Brodie's Grove, section la, then in Flagg Township. After selecting their lands, they returned to their homes in Connecticut, where they remained two years, and then brought their families to Dement Township. Both are now residents of Creston. Robert Benson, who was absent when Messrs. Payne and Knapp first came, although he had been there and selected his land, returned and was living there when they came back.

These constitute most of the early settlers of Dement Township. From that time the prairies began to fill up more rapidly, and, though it would be our pleasure, it is impossible to name the many settlers following. Many amusing stories are told of those pioneer times, and many a tale of hardship and privation is remembered.

The building of the Chicago. & Northwestern Railroad, described in another portion of this work, caused a settlement at a point on its route, which has since developed into the thriving Village of Creston.

The village is located principally upon the northwest quarter of section 23. The north half of this section was entered by Col. John Dement, of Dixon, after whom the township received its name. Gordon Hewett entered section 24 for Thomas Smith. " Uncle Tom," as he is called, built his house—the first one within the town corporation—a short time before the railroad was built.

Here the first preaching was done, by an Episcopalian minister named Todd. Mr. Smith then kept a public house and post-office, and, when the railroad came through, he was made station agent, the station being called " Dement.' A car was soon left there for a depot.

The next building erected was a storeroom, by Anson Barnum, near and northwest of the site of the present McCrea elevator. The following year he built a house near the south end of Main Street. Mr. Barnurm afterwards became county judge, and died in Oregon.

In 1856 James Richards also built a house near and opposite Barnum's, on the west side of Main Street. Soon after, houses were built by Levi Howard, Asa Rice, B. R. Pierce, Deacon Gillett, Joseph Foreman, Isaac Bickford and others.

The second store was opened by H. H. Clark, in 1857, in a building which he erected on Main Street, where now stands the store of Wm. H. Rowe. In the same year, the first hotel was built, at the north end of Main Street. It is not now used for hotel purposes, but is owned by M. D. Hathaway. The only hotel now in Creston is managed by Wm. Koefier, near the depot.
Alexander Parmalee bought out Mr. Clark, who built s. new building, now occupied by Dr. Robbins' drug store. Frank Hanson started the first black­smith shop, north of the corner where the drug store now stands.

VILLAGE OFFICERS (1878)

The present village officers are : Trustees, Albert Lewis, President; Upton Swingley, George W. Allen, C. I. Bewley, C. C. Benjamin ; Village Clerk, Wm. H. Pratt; Justice of the Peace, B. Knapp.

 

 

SCHOOL


Schools.—The first school-house in Creston was a frame building 26 by 33 feet in size, which was built by B. R. Pierce, in 1857. In this house W. W. Wash-burne first taught. School was held in that building until 1869, when the present beautiful and substantial school-house Was erected at a cost of $10,000. P. R. Walker was the first Principal of the school. The present teachers are : Miss Jane Hathaway, Principal; the two Misses Allen, Assistants. The present School Board consists of Messrs. Upton Swingley, L. W. Young, and Asa Dimon.
School was first taught in the township by George Swingley, in Nathaniel Swingley*s house. The first school room in the township was built by Gilbert Campbell and Hiram Barnum, in 1855. Miss Cummins first taught the school, and in the two Winters following the school was instructed by Barzilla Knapp.

LODGES

Reference is made to the Creston Times in the chapter devoted to the Press.
Dement Lodge No. 515, A. F. & A. M.—Was established in Creston October 1, 1867, with the following charter members: V. M. Southgale, H. M. Webb, J. White, C. H. Robbins, E. L. Welis, H. Dunning, J. L. Padgett, Elias Mead, A. Miller, A. Dimon, J. W. Fay, J. V. Dimon, F. Leach, W. A. Washburne, C. W. Fay, Geo. Payne, J. E. Lawson, N. P. Fay, S. Woodard, A. B. McCrew, J. Campbell, C. F. Chapman, T. Y. Frost, I. F. Mettler, C. E. Adams, D. Dimon. The first officers were : A. Dimon, W. M.; C. E. Adams, S. W.; J. Oakley, J. W., who were also charter members. The present officers are : D. Dimon, W. M.; U. Swingley, S. W.; E. Hooper, J. W. ; C. I. Bewley, Secretary; J. Gomon, Treasurer ; F. A. Campbell, S. D.; J. Smith, J. D.; C. B. Horton, Tyler. The present membership is fifty-six.

 

Creston Lodge, No. 572, /. O. O. F.—Was organized April 21, 1875, six charter members as follows : B. Knapp, N. G.; T. Y. Frost, V. G.; C. H. Frost, Secretary; James Hardeman, David Fowler, and J. B. Cobb. There are now about thirty-five members. Its present officers are : W. H. Pratt, N, G.; John Harbison, V. G.; Joseph Cole, Secretary; E. E. Overholtzer, Treasurer. The society has a nicely furnished hall and fine regalia.
The Creston Cornet Sand.—Was organized in April, 1874. In the Fall of the same year the band purchased a new set of fourteen instruments at an expense of about $300. It is the prize band of Ogle County, having received the first premium of $75 at the County Fair in 1877. Instructor, Prof. D. S. McCosh ; leader, M. R. Wolcott.

 

Creston Guards, Co. G, Third Regiment, I. N. G.—Disorganized Feb. 12, 1876 ; reorganized under new law Aug. 27, 1877. Present officers : Capt. John G. Gammon, 1st Lieut. Win. F. Reed, 2d Lieut. Seo. W. Blackmer, 1st Sergt. Wm. Collamore, 2d Sergt. C. W. Gibson, 3d Sergt. John Holland, 4th Sergt. W. B. Bennett, 5th Sergt. J. A. Allen. Number, 52 members.

 

BUSSINESSES

 

The following list embraces the principal business interests of Creston at present writing, April, 1878 : G. W. Allen, carpenter and builder, and man­facturer of Allen's Patent Barb Fence Wire; C. E. Adams, postmaster and news depot; Fred L. Anderson, harness shop; G. A. Aurner, physician; L. Barling, clothing; G. W. Blackmer, coal and hay dealer; Bohlander Brothers, general merchants; Mrs. Davis, dressmaker; Asa Dimon, agricultural imple­ments ; Daniel Dimon, wagon shop; Drake & Cobb, general merchants; Martin Dunn, drug store ; D. E. Edington, general merchant; Charles Emrich, black­smith ; H. Fogleman, Fogleman House; Fogleman & Dimon, livery stable ; D. Fowler, tailor; Wm. Koerfer, Creston House; J. McCartney, boot and shoe­maker; J. A. McCrea & Co., grain elevator, stock, and lumber dealers ; Jacob Mitchell, meat market; J. H. Nelson, blacksmith; E. E. Overhaltzer, restaurant; Jane Rickey, millinery and dressmaking; H. C. Robbins, drug store, jewelry, books and stationery; — Sheer, harness shop; H. T. Thompson, general merchant ; Joseph White, grain elevator, coal dealer and Justice of the Peace; Wm. Waterman, loan and collection agent; C. E. Whitten, physician and surgeon ; B. Knapp, Justice of the Peace, loan and collection agent.

 

DEMENT CHANGED TO CRESTON

The postoffice was at first called Dement, but there being a Bement in Piatt County, much trouble with the mail ensued, so the name was changed to Creston. This was at the suggestion of Mr. E. L. Wells, on account of the site being held to be the highest point on the latitudinal line between Chicago and the Mississippi. Mr, Wells prepared the petition to the General Assembly for the change of name, which occurred in 1869.

 

History of Ogle County-1878

 

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