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Champaign County, Illinois

Sadorus Family Tidbits

Submitted by Jeanne Varnell

"Old Settler's Day. Tuesday, Augst 26, the first day of the fair, has been fixed as Old Settlers' Day. The officers of the society have held a meeting and made the following districts and appointed historians for the same:

District No. 1, Brown, Newcomb, Condit, East Bend and Mahomet—John d. Herriott
No. 2, Ludlow, Harwood and Kerr—John Roughton
No. 3, Rantoul and Compromise—E. J. Udell
No. 4, Stanton, St. Joseph and Ogden—Davyd B. Stayton, Sr.
No. 5, Homer, Sidney, Ayers, and Raymond—Dr. W. A. Conkey
No. 6, Philo, Crittenden and Pesotum—Frank Burr
No. 7, Tolono, Sadorus, Colfax and Scott—Geo. Sadorus
No. 8, Champaign and Hensley—Capt. W. H. Coffman
No. 9, Urbana and Somer—J. O. Cunningham

These historians are requested to prepare and collect all the data regarding their districts and give the same to the old settlers on the day set. C. F. Columbia, Champaign, is president and L. A. McLean, Urbana, secretary of the association. They are preparing badges which will admit all old settlers and their families to the fair grounds, on that day, free. These badges will soon be distributed and will also be furnished by the said officers on that day. A residence of twenty-five years constitutes an old settler. Every old settler should make it a point to attend.

In addition to thr business usually transacted, the following prizes will be awarded by the association.

A gold-head cane, furnished by Zi. Riley, of Champaign, to the oldest male settler present.
A silk umbrealla, by F. K. Robeson & Bro., to the oldest female settler present.
A lux dux lamp, by C. H. Baddeley, to the handsomest young lady present.
$5 in gold, by Hon. S. H. Busey, to the handsomest little girl under five years old.
An oil painting, by N. A. Riley, to the handsomest boy under five years old.
A hat, by M. Lowenstein & Son to the best gentleman horseback rider who has been a resident for over forty years.
A dress, by John Gere, to the best lady horseback rider who has been a resident for over forty years.
A pair of fine shoes, by Hall & Dawson, Champaign, to the oldest daughter of the oldest settler present.

All competitors must be old settlers of the county, or descendants of old settlers.

Several persons have already sent in their names as competitors for the prizes. One lady seventy-five years old will compete for the prize for the best lady horseback rider. Persons wishing to compete for any prize should send their names to the present or secretary as soon as possible. The fair association has arranged one of their best programs to entertain the old settlers and all who may attend. It will, no doubt, be one of the biggst days of the fair.

William Sadorus with the gold-tipped cane he won at the Old Settler's Meeting

William Sadorus home.


Decatur Review, February 24, 1924.

Sadorus House was "Home" to Lincoln — Interesting Details About first Frame Dwelling in County, Grandson of Builder

That old Sadorus house over near Sadorus, one of the early landmarks, will not down. That is, while it already has been trn down, it still is a live issue.

The inadvertent insertion of the little word "l-o-g" in a recent Review story of the old house, which was claimed to be the earliest house built in that section of the country, has provoked considerable interesting discussion. Additional facts concerning the house, which stood for many years near Sadorus, embraces practically what was said of it in the first place, except that they correct the mistaken impression that it was a log house.

The Latest Word

The latest word concerning the house comes in a letter to The Review from H. W. Sadorus, a resident of that community, who writes from California, where he is spending the winter.

The Letter

It is as follows:

"San Pedro, Cal., Feb. 14, 1924.

"To the Editor of The Decatur Review, Greetings:

"As I have been reading the descriptions of the old Sadorus so-called log house, I rather think they are not entirely correct, as I have lived in Champaign county longer than any other man, dead or alive, as I was born within one mile of the old house. I was born on the first day of april, 1840, and have made that my home ever since that time.

"To give a correct statement I will go back to the beginning of the family. I will give it as I got it from my father, William Sadorus. Grandfather came to the United States about 1800, and settled in Pennsylvania. In 1810 he married a girl by the name of Mary Titus, at Titusville in that state, and when the war of 1812 started, Grandfather enlisted in the army and was up on the lakes fighting the English, and while he weas up there my father was born, July 4, 1812.

Met Joseph Smith

"They stayed there until 1822, when they started for the West and got over into the state of Indiana where they stayed two years. There they got acquainted with a family named Smith. They were of the Mormon faith. Mr. Smith was the Joe Smith who later was killed over at Nauvoo, Ill., several years ago.

"They wanted Grandfather to go with them to Bloomington, Ill., where there was a Mormon settlement at that time. So they started for there in april 1824, and got as far as what is now Sadorus Grove, on april 23, 1824.

Took Up Claims

"There was a good spring close to where John Nogle's house now stands. There came up a heavy rain that night and raised the streams so that they could not travel for several days. Then they got to looking over the country and Grandfather said: 'I believe I will stop here.' They looked around a little and decided to take up claims there.

"When it quit raining they found that land had been laid out in sections, so Grandfather and Smith went up to Danville, Ill., where there was a land office and Smith filed a claim on the northeast quarter of section 1 in Sadorus township, while Grandfather filed on the southeast quarter of section 1.

Father got Smith's Claim

"They broke up some ground and planted some corn, but Smith didn't have very good luck with his, so that fall Smith told my father if he would take a team and help him move to Blooming, he (Smith) would sign his claim over to him. So he did.

Built Log House

"That year Grandfather built a log house about 100 yards north of the spring, and set out a big apple orchard north of his house. For many years it was one of the finest orchards in that part of the state. But it is like the old Sadorus family, it is played out.

"Grandfather had six children, three boys and three girls—William, Allen M. and Henry T. were the boys. The oldest girl married a man by the name of John Jordan. They came to California in 1849. One married Samuel Suvers, near Monticello, Ill. The third daughter was the wife of John P. Tenbrook, ex-county judge.

Wanted Frame House

"so that settled the family until 1834 when Grandfather wanted a frame house. So they hewed the sills, upright posts, girts, plates, joists and rafters out of the timber, and hauled some rough lumber from Indiana.

"But all the rest of the house was hauled from Chicago with ox-teams. It was the finest house in the county for many years and headquarters for all travelers for several years.

Lincoln Stopped There

"that house was a stopping place for travelers a good many years, and a stopping place for A. Lincoln when he was practicing law in Urbana.

"My father was called on a jury or had business of his own about every term of court, and I have heard Lincoln plead several cases. My father took him on most of his trips.

"I was in hopes that we could hold a reunion at this house on the 23rd of april this year, as that will be 100 years since they settled on that land.

"I expect to return to Illinois about the first of april if it warms up back there by that time. It is warm and pleasant out in this part of the country; but very little rain, and always clear.

"Yours with best regards,

"H. W. Sadorus."


Formal Tribute to be Paid Sunday to First Permanent White Settler of County — Huge Memorial Rock will be Dedicated in Memory of Henry Sadorus who Came Here by Ox-Team.

Champaign County residents will pay tribute Sunday to the memory of the first permanent white settler in the county!

Henry Sadorus, who wended his way westward with his family in a covered wagon drawn by a yoke of sturdy oxen—in March, 1824—is the pioneer of the pioneers who will be formally honored.

Mrs. ida Sewell, of Sadorus vicinity, conceived the idea of a memorial to this first white settler, and with the Sadorus Garden Club taking up and sponsoring the idea, it began to materialize in the fall of 1930.

A huge boulder, which geologists say was carried to this vicinity by the last continental glacier from Northern Wisconsin or Michigan, or some part of Canada, and which is estimated to weigh between 15 and 20 tons, was chosen as the ideal marker.

This boulder was located on original Sadorus land in what was known as the "Old Sugar Camp," and behind which, it is said, the Sadoruses once hid while a band of Potawatomies passed through this section on the warpath.

Moved Hugh Stone

It was decided it should be moved about a mile to a public place as near the old Sadorus log cabin of 1824 and the homestead that they later built in 1837, as it was possible to secure a spot upon which to place it.

This task seemed hopeless at first because of the expense it would involve, but with the cooperation and donation of labor and time by those interested in the project, and the assistance of two powerful steam engines, the stone was moved in the fall of 1930 from where it had rested for perhaps a thousand years, to where the hard road turns west just south of Sadorus.

It is at this spot where after two years of unavoidable delay, dedicatory services will be held. It is hoped that many from all over the county will attend, and especially school children.

A Real 'Homecoming'

An attempt is being made by the committee in charge to get in touch with all old settlers possible, and make the affair a genuine homecoming.

Since Mr. Sadorus was a member of the Masonic Order, all Masons have been extended a special invitation. The committee also wishes all descendants of Henry Sadorus to be present.

The following dedicatory program has been prepared to be given at 2:30 o'clock Sunday afternoon.

Concert, band; song, "America," by audience (especially school children), led by O. C. Traylor and chorus; invocation, Rev. Towle; selection, by chorus; reminiscences, by Old Settlers present; song, "Illinois," led by O. C. Traylor and chorus; dedicatory address, State Rep. Roger F. Little, of Urbana; unveiling, (by great great granddaughter of Henry Sadorus), Edna May Sadorus; song, "America the Beautiful," led by O. C. Traylor and chorus; benediction, Rev. Schweppe.


Help Native Observe 90th Anniversary [June 16, 1832]

Thirty-four relatives and friends of Mrs. Maggie Mcconney, 1006 West California Street, assisted in celebrating her 90th birth anniversary yesterday. A covered dish luncheon was served at noon to guests from Tolono, Sadorus, and Urbana. The hostess received a number of lovely gifts and many beautifu flowers.

Mrs. McConney's 90 years rest lightly on her shoulders, as in appearance and manners she appears much younger. Her health is good and she takes an active interest in her friends and surroundings.

She is the oldest living native of Champaign county, having been born in a log cabin that her grandfather built as the first building on the site of what is now Sadorus. Her father, William Sadorus, was the founder of the village and township that bears the family name, and he gave the Wabash Railroad company its right of way thru there.

Shortly after Mrs. McConney's birth, her father built the first frame house in that locality and she recalls that the other settlers regarded it as a mansion.

Mrs. Mcconney believes now that nothing is impossible. She states that before the death of her husband 37 years ago there was talk of automobiles and flying machines, but people who dreamed of such things were considered a bit crozy. Mr. Mcconney did not live to see these so-called flying machines and horseless carriages.

After the death of her husband Mrs. McConney moved to Urbana and built the house where she now resides. She has a son Robert and a granddaughter in Los Angeles. Another daughter is deceased.

When Mrs. McConney was about 15 years old, she rode in an open buggy across the prairies to Monticello to hear Lincoln and Douglas debate the Kansas-Nebraska bill. This was the only time she ever saw Lincoln.


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