Marshall County
ILGenWeb

1976 Deep Are the Roots

Evans Township

Windwood [Page 11]

“Windwood," the home of Mr. and Mrs. George C. Ball, of Wenona, acquired its name from the constant sound of the wind in the many trees surrounding the stately old home at 310 West Elm. Standing on a gentle rise, far back from the street, and enclosed by formal hedge and many varieties of trees it is easy to comprehend how the slightest breeze is intensified, setting branches in perpetual motion.

Built in 1863 by Nathanial Moore, a State Representative from this district, the house is a tribute to the days when handsome walnut and oak mill work, hand cut parquet floors and soaring ceilings were within the grasp of a local landowner and merchant, who had recently been elected to the state House of Representatives.

The homestead was purchased in the late l880's by Charles A. Burgess (Mr. Ball's maternal grandfather), the younger of two English brothers who were engaged in the business of importing and breeding draft horses. The estate and barns then in existence were used as a breeding farm by Burgess Brothers. Inc. for many years.

To this home Charles brought his bride, Kate, daughter of the local physician and surgeon, Dr. Kendall E. Rich. Here their daughters, Lucy and Amy, were born and grew to young womanhood.

At the demise of Kate in 1939, Lucy, with her husband, Roscoe L. Ball and their children came to live at "Windwood." Their second son, George Charles, had resided with his grandmother, Kate, since the death of his grandfather Burgess in 1931.

Today, George and Rita Ball and son, Kevin, are the third and fourth generations of the family to call "Windwood" home.

Basically the house has changed very little through the years. The major structural changes being the enclosing of the front porch and the moving of an open stairway from the center of the house to the west end, to make possible more efficient heating when a furnace was installed at the turn of the century.

The stained glass windows are unusually beautiful as the colors are the seldom seen shades of rose, apple green, peacock and rich amber. The ceilings are ornate, yet graceful in effect with delicate relief festoons and garlands.

In the basement a brick "cooking fireplace" with crane and cast iron utensils was uncovered by Roscoe Ball in the early 1940's while making repairs to a scaling wall.

The dining room boasts a fireplace and suspended over a massive English oak table is a heavy brass light fixture with Quezal art glass shades. Much of the furniture is of the early Victorian era and of great sentimental value, having been passed from one generation to the next. The bedrooms are a veritable treasure-trove of family history since many of the appointments came from the Ball family homestead in Toluca which pre-dated "Windwood." The upstairs bath, reputed to be the first in Wenona, still has the clawfoot tub and large pedestaled lavatory.

Lest you acquire the impression that the house is a musty museum, let us hasten to say, that quite the reverse is true. The Ball's do indeed have a healthy respect for their home and the many treasures therein, but, the spacious rooms are, alive with color and sunlight.

Mrs. Rita Ball

[Page 13]

This home is located in Wenona, Illinois at 218 North Hickory Street.

On December 28, 1865, William Stephenson purchased the lot from the railroad. It was sold to Jonathan Page in 1866 at which time the present structure was built.

Mr, George Dickey purchased the property from Adelia Ludhem in October of 1917. Payments were $2.50 per month with $2.62 interest charges . . . a far cry from the amounts we deal in 1976 !

The Alvin Kerns Dickey family are the present occupants and owners.

*****

Ft. Darnell [Page 14]

1832 Black Hawk War, 600 ft. S.E. Stood Log Stockade for protection of pioneers, erected by Darnell and Judd Descendants 1951

On June 21, 1951, this Wisconsin mahogany granite marker was dedicated by the people in Evans Township, The location chosen was the Cumberland Cemetery.

In a sealed box at the base of the marker is a History of the Fort, a copy of the June 21, 1951 issue of the Wenona Index, names of donors, a 1903 Indian head penny (70 years after the Fort was vacated), an Indian arrowhead found on Sandy Creek in 1933 and several commemorative stamps.

The actual Fort into which the pioneers brought their families and livestock for protection from a possible Indian attack was located on the Wilbur Mann farm. The Cumberland Cemetery was chosen for the commemorative marker because of its convenient location.

The well and one small brick building of the original Fort are still standing on the late Mr. Mann's farm. As you drive by the farm this small red brick structure is a sturdy, silent reminder of the steadfastness of our sturdy ancestors who bravely overcame the dangers they faced in establishing their homes in a new country.

William Hunt Memorial Tree [Page 15]

Illinois was admitted to the Union as the twenty-first state on December 3, 1818, however, the settlement of the new state was rather slow. Until most of the Indians were pushed further west the pioneers hesitated in moving to the prairie.

Among the early settlers who came to Illinois was the William Hunt family. They chose to settle in the Wenona area along Sandy Creek. In the fall of 1863 their infant son, William, died and was buried in what is now known as the Cumberland Cemetery (about five miles northwest of Wenona) .

A hundred years ago it was rather common practice for robbers to remove bodies from graves and sell them to scientists who did medical research. Not wanting this fate to befall their infant son, the Hunt family planted a Norway spruce tree to mark the grave site. The twin-spired tree grew tall and stately. When the fear of grave robbers no longer was a threat the family placed a marker on the grave. As the years passed, the tree grew and its massive trunk, like protective arms, has almost completely encased the small marker.

In September of 1963, the Marshall County Historical Society dedicated this tree in memory of the courage and compassion of the early settlers of our county.

[Page 16]

Our home was the site of an old established business in Wenona started by James Hodge who was the contractor and builder. Our heme was a planing mill which started on October 12, 1866. James Hodge, originally from Ohio, came to Wenona from Magnolia, Illinois in 1855. He established a lumber business and planing mill and went into the contracting business. Hodge had three associates, namely, R. Snodgrass, J. H. Taggart, and R. B. Work. They were not only contractors; they also manufactured window sashes, doors, blinds, molding, and dressed lumber to order.

The old planing mill, whose walls are 15 to 18 inches thick and made of brick, was owned and lived in for over 40 years by the Gus Beckman family of Wenona. It is presently owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Kupec who live there with their two children, Amy and David. It is a two-story structure with ten rooms, a full attic and a half basement. There is a ten-inch thick brick wall which runs through the center of the home from east to west. There are also five iron beams for support which are between the first and second stories. Three beams run north and south and two beams run east and west and are marked by five-pointed stars (eight in all) which can be seen on the exterior of the home. When the Beckman family excavated for a basement, they found buried an old boiler. The east room of the building was used as a boiler room by the planers.

The home is so solidly built that when it is windy and storming, its brick walls soundproof any noise, providing the doors and windows are closed. The occupants are sometimes totally unaware of the weather outside.

Mrs. Judy Kupec
309 North Pine
Wenona, Illinois


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