Glen Ellyn History

Our earliest settlers

Deacon Winslow Churchill

Deacon Winslow Churchill, patriarch of the first family to settle here

Settlers to northern Illinois came mainly from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. There were two main routes from the east — the Great Lakes and overland. When the Erie Canal was finished in 1825, it offered an easier route through the Great Lakes.

The Preemption Act of 1820 provided for a claim process whereby the land was first pre-empted (or claimed) by an individual. The settler would hold the land until it was surveyed, at which time he was to pay a specified cost per acre of land and the deed was recorded.

Mercy Dodge Churchill

Mercy Dodge Churchill, Winslow’s wife

The Babcock brothers, Ralph, Anson, and Morgan, took up claims to a large wooded area in 1833. The following year, Deacon Winslow Churchill and his family of twenty-eight members arrived from New York. They held their claim until it was surveyed in 1840 and then paid $1.25 per acre.

Churchill cabin, 1834

Churchill cabin, 1834

John Ackerman married Lurania Churchill and they staked a claim west of the DuPage River. David Christian married Christiana Churchill, Lurania’s twin sister. They settled on the northeast corner of present-day St. Charles Road and Main Street.

Alonzo Ackerman

Alonzo Ackerman, son of John and Luriana Ackerman

Moses Stacy and family arrived in 1835 from Massachusetts. When William Dodge came with his family, he bought a claim from the Babcock brothers. Others arriving that year included A. S. Janes, Milo Meacham, Horace Barnes, Royal Walker, and the Reverend James McChesney.