Sunday, January 20, 2019


Marker Details

Historical Marker:

Rockford, Illinois

1: 6 miles NE of Rockford on US 51, N Illinois 173 NE; 2: 3.5 miles SW of IL 2 & FA-179 junction
No coordinates identified
Dedication Date:
Dedication By:
Division of Highways and The Illinois State Historical Society

Marker Description:
On August 24, 1834, Thatcher Blake, Germanicus Kent, and two others settled on the west side of the Rock River ford and built a sawmill on Kent Creek. The following year Daniel Haight settled on the river's east bank. Kentville and Haightville combined to form Rockford in 1835. Following the Polish Rebellion of 1830-1831, exiles sought refuge in this country and in 1834 Congress granted them their choice of 36 sections of land in Illinois or Michigan. In 1836 Count Louis Chlopicki chose sections in this area, ignoring the occupants. However, these sections were not adjacent as the Act specified they should be, and the 'Polish Claim' was voided, thus ending a serious threat to the claims of the earlier settlers of Rockford and vicinity. Rockford became the home of John H. Manny, a leading manufacturer of agricultural implements, in 1853. His reaper was quite successful, but inventor Cyrus McCormick sued Manny for infringements of patent rights. The defense lawyers, including Abraham Lincoln and Edwin M. Stanton - later in Lincoln's cabinet - won the case in 1856. The Forest City Nine became nationally known in 1867 by defeating practically every important professional and amateur team in the country. Alumni of this famous baseball team included A. G. Spalding, Roscoe Barnes, and Adrian C. Anson. Miss Julia C. Lathrop of Rockford was the first woman to head a U.S. Government agency. President William H. Taft appointed her chief of the Children's Bureau in Washington in 1912. She retained this position under President Woodrow Wilson.

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