Thursday, February 16, 2012

Naming Naperville Streets

Recently Roy Brossman, a lifelong resident of Naperville and Wheatland Township farmer, passed away. Knowing someone who lives in the Ashbury subdivision on Brossman Street sparked some speculation into other local street names.

Lyman Butterfield

Lyman Butterfield was one of the settlers who threw in his lot with Joseph Naper and came west on the schooner Telegraph in 1831.

He was known as a “fearless character” who was “brave to foolhardy” and “particularly skillful with a rifle.”

Lyman named one of his sons Andrew Jackson Butterfield after “Old Hickory,” the President very popular with Illinois settlers.

Butterfield didn’t stay in Naperville but moved early on to found Milton Township in the present-day Wheaton/Glen Ellyn area.

Bailey Hobson

Bailey Hobson has lent his name to more than one street. He arrived in the area with his wife and five children in the spring of 1831, a few months before the Naper group arrived.

Hobson settled along the DuPage River, but his homestead has always been just outside of the official city borders. Only recently has that bit of land been included in the town proper, making Hobson the actual “first settler of Naperville.”

Hobson built a grist mill for farmers in the area to use as the next closest mill was in Peoria county.

Mark Beaubien

Mark Beaubien reportedly was a man with a huge personality so it’s no surprise that his legacy is spread over a wide geographical range. Beaubien made his mark in Chicago, Lisle and Naperville, too. The Beaubien family was a big one — Mark himself had sixteen children — and older brother Jean Baptiste helped shape Chicago.

Mark kept an inn called the Eagle (later Sauganash) and may have hosted the Telegraph’s travelers.

A born entertainer, Mark “played the fiddle like ze dibble,” as he says in his own words. He performed a rousing last hornpipe at an Old Chicago Settlers Meeting at the age of eighty. His fiddle is on display at the Chicago History Museum.

Later, he moved out to DuPage County and was one of the investors of the Plank Road. His inn, from which he collected tolls , has been moved out to the Lisle Depot Museum. His family cemetery, can still be seen along Ogden Road near the subdivision that bears his name.

For more tidbits of history, see Kate's new weekly "newspaper" at K8's Brief History.

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