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Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
([1924?] )

Kent, Frank S., Mrs.
Anne Elizabeth Van Dyke Harris,   pp. 125-128 PDF (849.0 KB)


Page 127


passed into the hands of John H. Adams, father of our
Miss Jane Adams. Aaron Chamberlain purchased, or
made his claim, (the land was not yet in market) about
two miles north of the village, then, of Freeport. He
built what was then considered a fine log cabin, and then
made their return journey to Lewisburgh for the purpose
of getting rid of their property there and bringing their
families west.
    Early in the spring of 1840 they again set their faces
westward, this time joined by several other families, each
family having two well equipped wagons and fine teams.
They reached Freeport, August 17, 1840. Freeport, or
Winneshiek as it was then called, was, at that time, little
more than an Indian village, with perhaps a few dozen
white settlers. In 1843 Lambert Van Dyke, his father,
John, and family, including the subject of this sketch, set
out for the west to join their relatives already settled
there. They arrived at Freeport July 4th, 1843, in time
to hear the oration being delivered by Thomas J. Turner
at this patriotic celebration of the day. As the Galena
Gazette announced, in praise of the celebration, "The im-
mense crowd numbered 300 persons". This was the only
newspaper in the Northwest outside of Chicago. That
Fourth of July was an important day in the history of
Freeport for 74 new citizens were added to its population.
The journey from Lewisburgh, Pennsylvania to Free-
port, Illinois, occupied six weeks of steady driving, cov-
ering by actual count 1,469 miles. Not an unpleasant
event occurred to mar the enjoyment or the harmony of
the trip. Little Anne Elizabeth Van Dyke went with
her Grandfather Aaron Chamberlain to live in the log
cabin in one of the most beautiful spots in northern
Illinois. Here she lived and went to school, walking
three miles through the woods each day until cold weath-
er and snow compelled the school to close as there was
no way of providing heat. The school was built of rough
logs and the room was ten by twelve feet in size, with
a bench around the walls for the scholars and accom-
modated twenty if well crowded. Here also during the
summer the first Sunday School in the County was con-
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