Sunday, September 9, 2012

July 31, 1838--Receipt from Phineas Stevens to Steven Sherwood--Other DeKalb County History

 Receipt from Phin Stevens (Phineas Stevens) to Stephen Sherwood

Colton Ville July 31st 1838

Received of Stephen Sherwood fifteen Dollars as settlement between him and me in the Partner ship between us in the Black Smith Shop  I also sine over to him my clame In all the accounts made in the shop for this last Seven months

Phin Stevens


This receipt from Phineas Stevens gives us more clues into the life of Stephen Sherwood.  He worked as a blacksmith at least up until July 1838 (and begin by January 1838) in Coltonville, DeKalb, Illinois.  

During this time the community centered around the blacksmith shop.  A blacksmith made horseshoes, nails, hardware such as latches and hinges, as well as tools, wheels, and rims, kitchen utensils, ice skates, riding spurs, musket balls and many other things.  Perhaps if you had walked by the blacksmith shop, you would have seen Stephen playing checkers (a very popular game at that time) or making a horseshoe ring for a child.  This trade would serve Stephen well throughout his life.

"Stephen Sherwood opened a blacksmith shop here in 1838."  (De Kalb County History, 814-815)

Two other events are recorded for the year 1838.  On March 29, 1838, a third child, George W. Sherwood was born.  The Sherwood now had three children, Maria (4), Henry (2), and George

In October 9, 1838, the first session of the De Kalb County court was held at the house of Rufus Colton (for whom the town was named) in Coltonville.  Rufus Colton was the Clerk of the Court and preparer of writs and process of the court so could set the first session of county court to be held at his home. Stephen Sherwood may have been in Coltonville when Rufus Colton had attempted to make Coltonville the county seat.  He had decided to hold a new election.  He made sure Coltonville would win the election by telling only the population of Coltonville about it.  His political tactics were eventually cancelled by an act of the Illinois General Assembly.  When the county court convened, the sheriff served a court order declaring a courthouse be 
built in Sycamore.  Eventually Coltonville disappeared from the map settling this issue forever (Wikipedia)

 This first suit on record decided in the home of Rufus Colton was that of Erasmus D. Walrod vs. Stephen Sherwood. (Past and Present of De Kalb County, Pg. 325) This was a case of appeal from a justice's court, the plaintiff having obtained a judgment for the same of $100  The judgment of the lower court was sustained. (DCH, 776).  

Steven Sherwood's partner, Phineas Stevens, erected a distillery with Rufus Colton, but it proved to be a financial failure.  Rufus Colton worked hard to secure for the place the location of the county seat, but without avail. (DCH, 815).  

There was much suffering in DeKalb County in 1839 from sickness.  Ague and billion fever were the prevailing diseases.  They resulted from close proximity to the groves and streams to which the new comers all built their houses; also by the bad surface water from the sloughs which they used in the want of wells of proper depth to supply pure water.  Medical attention was difficult to secure and the physicians who practiced through the county rarely had a sufficient supply of medicine (History of De Kalb County, 380).  

Maria Hubbell Sherwood, the 27 year old wife, of Stephen Sherwood, passed away on January 19, 1839 leaving three children under six.

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