Elijah and Amy Hemenway
Henry B. and Eunice Hemenway, Charles Hemenway
The Guilds, The Kelloggs
Edwin, Dwight, George, Lyman and William


When he come home, his politickin' done,
Why the westward march had just begun,
So he packed his gear and his trusty gun
And lit out a grinnin' to follow the sun.
Davey, Davey Crockett, a leadin' a pioneer,
Davey, Davey Crockett, king of the wild frontier!

Play: The Ballad of Davey Crockett

[In 1831, Captain John Naper] built a trading house…and carried on quite an extensive trade with the settlers and Indians. The latter were quite numerous here at that time, but he always sustained the most friendly relations with them.


The news of the breaking out of the Black Hawk War caused great excitement in the settlement (Naper's Settlement) and the alarm was heightened by the arrival of Shata, an express from the Pottawattomies, who were friendly to the whites, with the intelligence that a party of Sac Indians were committing depredations among the settlers on Fox River, some ten miles distant, and that the houses of Cunningham and Hollenbeck had been burned to the ground, and their property entirely destroyed. Aware of their inability to carry on a successful warfare with the Indians, as the colony was in an almost defenseless state, and being liable to an attack from them at any moment, the settlers decided to send their families, with all possible haste, to Chicago, where old Fort Dearborn offered protection….After the close of the Black Hawk War, the tide of immigration again turned to Illinois, and this county received its proportion of new settlers.

- from A History of the County of Du Page Illinois by CW Richmond & HF Vallette

First settlers came in eighteen-thirty-four

To shake their claims and build their homes in Wayne:

They came from Eastern States and ocean shore

In covered wagons, 'midst their stock and grain.

They built their homes, then schools and churches too

With square blunt nails and hand hewn logs.

They cleared the land of stumps for furrows through,

For roads, then railroad beds o'er hills and bogs.

These thrifty settlers worked with all their might--

In peace they struggled to improve their lot.

And when their country had a war to fight,

They gave the best of men, of food, and shot.

A different type of people live there now

With gadgets new, too many e'er to slate:

But deep at heart--as everybody knows--

They are the folk that make this nation great.

Francis T. Peterson

In September, 1836, the Hemenways, father and son (Elijah and Henry B.), with their families, set out for Illinois. Public conveyances of travel were the exception rather than the rule, and the journey from Massachusetts to Albany, N.Y., was made by private conveyance, whence the party came to Buffalo by way of the Erie Canal. From there they traveled by steamer to Chicago, whence they went by team to what is now DuPage County, then included in Cook County for municipal purposes. The land had not been surveyed, and the elder Hemenway made a claim in what is now Wayne Township; and when the land came into market he entered the claim. This was his home until his death in 1862. His wife (Amy) died in 1860.

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of DeKalb County Illinois 1885

Although the two pioneer post office locations in Wayne Township might easily have become the nucleus of the first community, a log Inn located on one of the first roads leading from Chicago served as the impetus around which Orangeville--later Wayne Center-- was built. Stimulated by the commerce traveling over the Army Trail and by the growing local population, Wayne Center flourished; then, by-passed by all the township's railroads, it slowly passed into history.

In 1836 or 1837, Henry B. Hemenway, his wife Eunice, and her brother Elijah Lyman Guild, settled alongside the DuPage River. A year later, Hemenway's parents, Elijah and Amy Hemenway, came to settle in the vicinity, and before long they established an Inn in a log building on their farm.
[Eunice's parents, Israel Guild and Rachel Kellogg, came with them bringing four sons and another daughter. Rachel's brother, Elias Kellogg and his wife, arrived soon after.] In the mid-1840's, Albert Guild and James Nind opened a general store and contributed directly to the founding of Orangeville. After a few years, the community also contained a blacksmith shop, owned by Henry Sherman; a sawmill, an essential institution in the pioneering country, established by Jonas Bland,Sr., and a broom factory, located on the W.K. Guild farm.


The gravestone of Israel Guild and Rachel Kellogg parents of Eunice Hemenway,
located in the Wayne Center Cemetery.

Elijah's tombstone. Elijah is listed as a merchant who owned land in Wayne Township

Photos courtesy of Janet Pearson

The village's original name, Orangeville, was taken from the old precinct which encompassed Wayne Township prior to 1850. With removal of the McMillens Grove post office to the village in 1851, Orangeville became Wayne Center. For some years the settlement also was known as "Gimletville". Money in those days was scarce, and a large number of gimlets came into the possession of the Inn. Eventually they had to be given as change; hence, according to tradition, teamsters coined the nickname for the little settlement.

A schoolhouse, a log structure, was built west of the village about 1844. The district erected a new school building in 1853. On visiting this school in that year, Hope Brown, County School Commissioner, gave it a highly favorable report. He said, in part: "The school in the village of Orangeville...contains fifty-seven pupils, and is under the charge of Mrs. L.S. Sikes, a graduate of Oberlin College with an A.B. Degree and assisted by Miss J.A. Guild. This school contains not only the children of the district in which it s localed, but it has pupils from other districts and several belonging to other towns. I was highly gratified with the appearance of this school. The room is spacious, convenient and pleasant, the teachers well qualified and efficient, the pupils are interested in and attentive to their studies, and the friends of education in this place are desirous of making this school the High School of the Northern part of our county.

Oberlin College of Ohio, founded in 1833 to educate ministers and teachers for America's West, was the first coeducational collegiate institution in America, as well as a pioneer in allowing the admission of black students on an equal basis with white students. Charles G. Finney, later the president of that school, offered this perspective on Oberlin's policy of racial equality:

On commenting on the terms that must be met for Mr. Finney to come to teach at Oberlin, one such term was "that we should be allowed to receive colored people on the same conditions that we did white people; that there should be no discrimination made on account of color"

- from Charles G. Finney's "Autobiography

       EC Guild's Underground Railroad station                   Elias Cornelius Guild 

In the pre-Civil War days, feelings were very strong on the slavery issue. Wayne Center, settled by New Englanders, was an Abolitionist stronghold. Elias Guild (Mrs. Hemenway's brother) kept a station of the legendary Underground Railroad in his home. His son Rufus recalled hearing of one group of five slaves whom his father received one time at night, kept hidden the next day, and took to Bloomingdale the next night to the next station.

As Rufus Guild wrote: "The Post Office at Wayne Center was a community affair located in the general store for the convenience of neighbors; mail addressed to them was received at Wayne village and brought to the Center by volunteers about twice each week.

(The store was sold to Edwin Hemenway in 1871, who ran it until 1877.) Located on the northwest corner of present-day Gerber and Army Trail Roads, the store's merchandise was enumerated in an advertisement of 1876:

E. Hemenway--Dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries, Boots & Shoes, Hats and Caps, Crockery, Glass Ware, Wooden Ware, &c. All in want of goods will find it to their interest to call and examine my stock and prices.

Wayne Center…was for many years an old landmark, and for many years its people entertained the hope of some day becoming one of the inland cities of Illinois…many of the finest farms in the county are located in this town. The first church bell ever rang in this township hangs in the belfry of the..Congregational Church at Wayne Station.

-- from the 1874 Atlas and History of Du Page County, Illinois

In the late 1840's western Wayne Township was awakened by the prospect of a coming railroad. Its erection long a rumor on the prairie, the railroad promised a convenient market, a supply of imported goods, and a vital link with Chicago...The first train, drawn by the "Pioneer", passed over the strap rails in January, 1850.

The decade of the 1860's provided much excitement for the village. Preluded by the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the election of 1860 touched off the Civil War. A number of soldiers from Wayne enlisted and some of them never returned. During the same period, the village was thrown into a frenzy when Amelia, daughter of John Glos, was lost in the woods for several days. The whole community heaved a sigh of relief when she was found, for the timber was infested with wolves, and many feared she had perished.
from Wayne Community and Township History by Hattie and Frederick Glos


Judge Blanchard wrote: "Until within a few years, this part of the country was infested with wolves, which were a source of great annoyance to the whole community. The farmers, however, were the principal sufferers by their depredations; for sometimes whole flocks were destroyed and scattered by them in a single night. To rid the country of these mischievous animals, it was the custom for all who were able to 'bear arms', to rally once every year for a wolf hunt, which was usually a scene of much amusement, and oftentimes of the most intense excitement.

...Whenever a wolf dared to show his head above the prairie grass, the boys were instantly in pursuit of him. The pursuers usually went on horseback, carrying in the hand a short club, and the captain of the company was the one who had the swiftest horse. The plan of action was to spread out in every direction and scour the prairie until the game was started, when by a peculiar yell, the whole company was called together and the chase commenced. Every horse was now put to his utmost speed, and, with his rider, would go flying over the prairie like the wind. It is utterly impossible to describe the wild excitement that attended the wolf chase. Generally a race of from three to five miles would bring Mr. Wolf down; then, the day's sport would be ended, and the party would return home in a sort of triumphal procession, bearing the fallen hero. Such reckless, headlong riding was attended with much hazard, and although no serious accident ever happened to the riders, yet it is surmised that the horses might have suffered from ring-bones and spavins induced by undue speed."

There were but few settlers in the town at the time when the first building was put up, and the owners of it anticipated some trouble in procuring help at the raising. They however, obviated all difficulty on that score by sending for a barrel of whiskey, which, with the subordinate services of only three men, performed the work in an expeditious and satisfactory manner.

No incidents occurred in the early settlement of this town but such as are common to the settlement of all new countries. But little more grain was raised during the first two years than enough to satisfy the demand at home. Prices were extremely low for all kinds of produce, and market was a great way off. The proceeds of a load of corn taken to Chicago were hardly sufficient to defray the expenses of the trip. One of the first settlers informs us, however, that he did realize three dollars and twelve and a half cents from the sale of one load of forty bushels, which he took to Chicago in 1836, after using twenty-five cents for necessary expenses. There were no difficulties respecting claims in this town, and every claimant received his full quantity of land at the time of the land sale.

The surface of the town is generally uneven, consisting of rolling prairie. Wheat, oats, and corn are the chief agricultural staples. Probably no town in the county is better adapted to the culture of grain.

Fruit is cultivated to a considerable extent in this town, especially the more hardy kinds. Apple trees grow well; but the fruit is rendered an uncertain crop on account of the severity of our winters. Frequent attempts have been made to raise pears, peaches, plums and cherries, without much success. The red English cherry, being the most hardy, does better than any of its class. Mr. Luther Bartlett, of this town, has been more persevering in his efforts to introduce choice kinds of fruit than any other person in this part of the county. Some four years since he procured, at great expense, from eastern nurseries and by importation from Europe, about five hundred dwarf pear trees, and set them out on his farm. The first two years the trees did well, and gave promise of coming fruitfulness; but during the summer of 1856, which followed an unusually hard winter was also unfavorable, and gave an impetus to the work of destruction commenced by the former season, which almost desolated this field. There are now scarcely a dozen trees living of the five hundred planted four years ago. We think the experiment of Mr. Bartlett fully determines that this region is not adapted to the raising of choice kinds of fruit.

The attention of the farmers has been of late directed to the introduction of "blooded stock". Wool is becoming an important article among agriculturalists. The farms throughout the town present unmistakable evidence of thrift and industry; the dwellings display neatness and taste; and the barns are constructed on a scale commensurate with the great and growing demands of the harvest fields.

The Congregational Church is the only organized religious body in this town. This society was formed in 1842, or thereabouts, and worshiped in the school house at the Centre, until 1849, when it united with the school district in erecting a building suitable for a church and school-house.

The first settlement at the Centre, alias, "Gimletville", alias, Orangeville, was made in 1836, by Mr. Guild. Mr. A. Guild is the postmaster at this place. It is a small settlement, containing one church, one store, and a few dwelling houses. There is a small settlement at the railroad station, consisting of two stores, one hotel, a post office, station house, and several dwellings. The station is thirty-three miles west of Chicago.

There are no manufacturing establishments in the town, if we exclude the manufacture of brooms, which has been carried on pretty extensively at Wayne Centre. The present population is about 1,100. The town is peaceable and healthful, being cursed by neither lawyers nor doctors.

As a whole, in the elements of material prosperity, this county is not behind any other territory of equal extent in this part of Illinois. The chief staples are corn, wheat, rye, oats and potatoes; but barley, buckwheat, peas and beans are cultivated to some extent. Considerable attention is given to fruit raising. Some varieties of the grape are grown, and the produce is abundant.

- from the History of DuPage County

       The Guild House                                 Wayne,  Illinois

Photos courtesy of Karen Armbrust - Wayne Historic Preservation Society


On the front porch of his little country store in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln and Berry, his partner, stood. Business was all gone, and Berry asked, “How much longer can we keep this going?” Lincoln answered, “It looks as if our business has just about winked out.” Then he continued, “You know, I wouldn’t mind so much if I could just do what I want to do. I want to study law. I wouldn’t mind so much if we could sell everything we’ve got and pay all our bills and have just enough left over to buy one book—Blackstone’s Commentary on English Law, but I guess I can’t.”

A strange-looking wagon was coming up the road. The driver angled it up close to the store porch, then looked at Lincoln and said, “I’m trying to move my family out west, and I’m out of money. I’ve got a good barrel here that I could sell for fifty cents.” Abraham Lincoln’s eyes went along the wagon and came to the wife looking at him pleadingly, face thin and emaciated. Lincoln ran his hand into his pocket and took out, according to him, “the last fifty cents I had” and said, “I reckon I could use a good barrel.” All day long the barrel sat on the porch of that store. Berry kept chiding Lincoln about it. Late in the evening Lincoln walked out and looked down into the barrel. He saw something in the bottom of it, papers that he hadn’t noticed before. His long arms went down into the barrel and, as he fumbled around, he hit something solid. He pulled out a book and stood petrified: it was Blackstone’s Commentary on English Law.

Lincoln later wrote, “I stood there holding the book and looking up toward the heavens. There came a deep impression on me that God had something for me to do and He was showing me now that I had to get ready for it. Why this miracle otherwise?” - Bible.org


If I had a hammer,

I'd hammer in the morning

I'd hammer in the evening

All over this land.

I'd hammer out danger,

I'd hammer out warning,

I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters,

All over this land.

Well I got a hammer,

And I got a bell,

And I got a song to sing, all over this land.

It's the hammer of Justice,

It's the bell of Freedom,

It's the song about Love between my brothers and my sisters,

All over this land.

by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger

Young Abe