Lewis University Adele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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Higinbotham Birthplace
Higinbotham Birthplace
TitleHiginbotham Birthplace
CreatorWilliams, Adele Fay
Date of the DrawingMarch 24, 1929
DescriptionDrawing of a stone cottage that was the Higinbotham birthplace. The stone cottage was located on the banks of Hickory creek and was built in 1838 by Judge John I. Davidson. This drawing is a part of the Robert E. Sterling Collection.
Title of ArticleSturdy reminder of past
Transcript of the ArticleWritten in pencil on top: " [?] Higinbotham birthplace [?] battleship [?] From Joliet Herald-News Sunday March 24, 1929 "In the various annals of different spots in Will county, none yields a history more precious and more timeworn than that beautiful region east of town, along old Hickory creek, lying on both sides of the division between the township of Joliet and the township of New Lenox. Here the history of Will county was born, and here the first pioneers lived and struggled against the odds that the untrammeled forces of nature provide. The sketch herewith shows a picturesque little stone cottage which belongs to that early and impressive period. It was built—that is the smaller portion on the north was built—about 1838 by Judge John I. Davidson, the grandfather of H. D. Higinbotham, who lives with his family in a charming mansion at Harlow-arden. Came Here in 1830. It is an interesting fact that this property has never been outside of the family tenure since Judge Davidson secured a patent to the land from the government, which lay in the northwest quarter, a part of section 17. Judge Davidson came to Will county in 1830, and bought a claim from the pioneer promoter friend. He was a native of New Jersey and had lived some time in Indiana. He was living in the stone house, a pretty spot, with many big trees near it that have since been removed—when a pretty maiden, named Priscilla, came from New Hampshire in a covered wagon, a charming girl, only 18, and romance was agog immediately. They were married, but Judge Davidson died in March, 1844, leaving her with two young children. The little school house, Gougars, was already standing on land donated by Judge Davidson somewhat earlier. And it was here that romance again arrived in the person of Dr. B. F. Allen, to teach school. The children went to school, of course. And again there was chronicled a wedding. Her daughter, Rachel D. Davidson, later became the wife of H. N. Higinbotham, while her sister Mary Jane Davidson, married John M. Thompson in 1864. In 1886 Rachel D. Higinbotham bought out Mary Jane Thompson's (her sister's) interest in the already historic place, according to the records of the People's Abstract company. Resided in Cottage. Mrs. Rachel D. Higinbotham died June 25, 1909, leaving her husband, Harlow N., and her son, Harlow D. Higinbotham. Helen D., a daughter died in infancy, and Florence married R. T. Crane, of Chicago. The next daughter, Alice, married Joseph Medill Patterson, of Chicago. In 1918, thru a partition of the interests, this property was transferred entirely to the present owner, Harlow D. Higinbotham. Prior to the time that the fine homestead was built on Cass street, a noble domicile, the earlier family lived in the stone cottage. H. D. Higinbotham, of Harlowarden, can remember when he was taken to visit the historic pioneer dwelling. He can remember also, he says, the general appearance of the old block house that stood on the property not far from the road. It was a pretty road that ran on a bridge over Hickory creek, and led right to the little school house where so many of Joliet's best citizens mastered the intricacies of the three R's. Mr. Higinbotham remembers, also, the thrill of the fires in the big brick fireplace, extending clear across the end of the room, in which great logs sputted and flamed in thrilling fashion. And there was a swinging crane, too, that swung the heavy kettle, often called ‘kittle, ' with its appetizing contents in and out of the fireplace. The hearth stones were big and broad, and the Dutch oven was outside. The old blockhouse, according to Mr. Higinbotham, was built of logs, and was two stories high, with the second floor in order to give place for loopholes from which to shoot the Indians. For in the fierce and dangerous ‘30's there was still fear of another Black Hawk invasion. Buried Gold in Logs. The small boy that later became H. D. Higinbotham was thrilled with the tale told by his mother, when his father had a goodly amount of gold in the house. There were no banks near at that time, so portions of logs of wood had round hoes bored in them with an augur, gold coins were packed down in the hole, sealed, and buried in the cellar. And there they reposed quite safely. It was in 1830 that the great snow came that laid for months, four feet on the level. The old stone cottage, with a good-sized addition, still stands. The monstrous fireplace has its freedom. Somewhat cribbed, cabined and confined, and there are now electric lights, radios, polished floors and telephones that bring its ancient spaces in time with progress."
SubjectWilliams, Adele Fay
Joliet (Ill.) -- History
Physical Description30 cm. x 21.5 cm.
SourceClick this link for more historical information on the Joliet area - http://lewisu.edu/imcanal
Publisher (Digital)Lewis University
RightsAll rights held by Lewis University. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Howard and Lois Adelmann Regional History Collection at Lewis University at 815-836-5665.
CollectionAdele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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