Legends – What I’m Thankful For

Posted: December 20, 2021

As I finish my fifth year of writing the Legends column, I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my love of DeKalb County history. I was born and raised in DeKalb County. My family immigrated here in 1855. I’m thankful to be able to share the stories of my family history and the wonderful history I’ve discovered over the years.

Looking back at the stories I’ve written, I’d like to re-share my favorites.

There have been so many innovations that have come from DeKalb County. Who would have thought that the name DEKALB would be known world-wide because of hybrid corn or barbed wire? There are great stories of the early rivalry between DeKalb and Sycamore and the struggle to declare a county seat. Also in the mix was Sandwich who thought they should be the “southern” county seat.

There are so many people and places that make this a great place to grow up in!

Who are some of those people? We have James H. Beveridge, banker, who mortgaged his family farm to repay his clients who had lost their money when the bank failed.

These original bank notes were signed by James H. Beveridge to repay his clients after the bank failed.

Charles Nash, who was born in Cortland went on to manufacture the Nash automobile. Let’s not forget Helena Dolder, the first woman sheriff of DeKalb County. There have been so many interesting people from this county.

A 1955 advertisement for Nash automobiles shows the many features of the car.

As I drive down Leland Road, I go through the area called Pritchard’s Grove. This was an area where people gathered for picnics. At one old settler’s picnic there were approximately 5,000 people attending! This is still a beautiful area.

Pritchard’s Grove, as located in an 1871 map of Clinton Township, was where many old settler’s picnics were held.

I think my very favorite story is the one about Harry Felder of Genoa who would draw a Christmas scene every year featuring a rabbit hidden in the picture on a Christmas card. My siblings and I always looked forward to finding the bunny each year.

The Harry Felder Christmas drawing of 1961 was our first exposure to the hunt for the hidden bunny on Christmas cards.

So after five years, it’s time to take a break from writing this column. I hope you have enjoyed reading the history. I am thankful that I could share these stories with you.

Information provided by Sue Breese