Saturday, April 29, 2017

Barbed wire inspiration started with Henry Rose

Henry M. Rose historical marker in Waterman. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
How did Joseph Glidden, Isaac Ellwood and Jacob Haish have the same idea of attaching barbs to wire? It started with Henry Rose, a farmer from Waterman.

In 1873, all three of the future barbed wire barons were attending a county fair on property that now belongs to Northern Illinois University. 

According to "The Devils Rope: A Cultural History of Barbed Wire," by Alan Krell, "there they came across a most unusual object: a strip of wood about sixteen feet long and one inch square studded with short metal points. Made by Henry M. Rose and patented on 13 May 1873, it was designed to be hung on a plain wire fence as a deterrent to cattle." 

It was on this day that Glidden, Haish and Ellwood spotted the fencing, and they all had the notion to attach the barbs to wire, rather than fence posts. This sole invention spurred three business-minded men to change history.

According to "The Wire that Fenced the West," by Henry D. and Frances T. McCallum, Rose was a farmer from the Waterman area, who just wanted to control a "breachy cow."

"His design was not as good as a few other 'armoured fencing' patterns which had appeared in the lists of United States patents issues five or six years earlier," the book states. "...It was a plain, rough-hewn exhibit and might well have gone unnoticed and unknown, as had most other efforts by other men. But because Henry Rose's work showed up at the right time and place -- the prairie farm belt of Illinois in the early 1870's -- it became famous as the device which triggered action by three men who went ahead to become inventors of practical barbed-wire fencing.

...The men came with no thought of making a discovery. Yet, when by chance they met and stood together examining the crudely spiked strip of wood, each considering how it might fit his personal needs, there was borne in upon the consciousness of each the realization that what he saw gave promise of things to come ... the files of the United States Patent Office record that within six months each of the three men had applied for patent on separate types of fencing, and each type was equipped -- as Henry Rose's had been -- with 'sharp projections' made of wire."

More than 100 years later, a historical marker was dedicated to Rose outside of his former farm on Waterman Road. The marker was dedicated in 1976 by the DeKalb County Board and the DeKalb County Historical Society. The marker can still be found today, outside of the home at 10302 Waterman Road, Waterman, Illinois.

Henry Rose historical marker | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Henry Rose historical marker | Photo by Jessi LaRue

The marker reads:
Originator of barbed fencing

"In the early 1870's when rural life held promise for a nation almost 100 years old, Henry M. Rose farmed this farmstead. He received United States Patent 138-763 for an 'improvement in fence.' Rose used a strip of wood sixteen feet long and an inch square. He cut wire pieces two inches long at a 90 degree angle which were driven into the strips about eight inches apart. The strips were tied to wire fence. When displayed for the public at a fair in 1873 it triggered ideas for all wire barb fencing. His creation was a great step forward in fencing history."

Marker placed by DeKalb County Historical Society and the DeKalb County Board, September 25, 1976.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Haish determines donation to Northern Illinois State Normal School

Click image to enlarge.

Jacob Haish once penned an agreement that stated he would donate $10,000 to the Northern Illinois State Normal School, now known as Northern Illinois University.

He would stay true to his word, and his donation helped fund the school's first library.

Below is the text from the document, dated July 15, 1895. The school was founded that same year.
"For value received, I promise to pay on or before July 15, 1898, to the order of the trustees of the Northern Illinois State Normal School $10,000, without interest, upon the following conditions.

First, that said school be located at DeKalb, Illinois.

Second, that said amount be applied and used by said Trustees for either establishing a library, telescope or gymnasium or any other object that may be deemed advisable for the best interests of said school at my election. Provided that in the event of my death previous to said time of payment, my wife Sophia A. Haish may exercise such election."
Image provided by the Northern Illinois University Archives & Regional History Center

Monday, April 10, 2017

Jacob and Sophia's marriage "license"

I had previously obtained Jacob and Sophia Haish's death certificates from DeKalb County. This time, I reached out to DuPage County to see if they had a copy of Jacob and Sophia's marriage license. The two were wed in the Naperville area.

What the clerk's office sent me was surprising. Jacob and Sophia do not have an official "certificate" on record, instead, their marriage was a listing in a book at the time. (Book 1, page 30, to be exact.)

However, that didn't stop the DuPage County Clerk's office from providing me information. They provided this "placeholder" marriage certificate. The image below is courtesy of the clerk's office, and provides details of Jacob and Sophia's wedding day, including their wedding date of May 24, 1847, and the name of the officiate of the ceremony.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

More About The Old Timers Here

The below article was printed in the June 19, 1915, edition of the Daily Chronicle. It was a follow-up to the article in which Haish claimed he was the oldest living resident in DeKalb.

Jacob Haish Writes The Chronicle Concerning the Early Days
- - -
Still Thinks He Is It One
- - -
Joins With All of the Rest of the Claimants for the Honor in Saying That He Has Enjoyed it Here

The following letter from Jacob Haish is self explanatory. Apparently there seems to be no doubt that Mrs. Mary Huntley King, who was born in 1846 on North First Street, within two blocks of Main Street, is our oldest residenter, but we can all unite with Mr. Haish's statement that he has "had a good time" here and hope that he and all of the rest of our old settlers will be with us many more years.

The Chronicle still thinks that some kind of a social affair each year for our old settlers would be a grand good thing.

Mr. Haish says:

DeKalb, Illinois, June 18, 1915.
Editor DeKalb Chronicle, DeKalb, Illinois.

Dear Sir,
In your paper the other evening I note several of our old residents are taking issue with me as to my being the oldest living resident in point of years spent in DeKalb.

Now, I am positive there is a misunderstanding on their part. I meant to convey the idea that I came here in 1853 and made no reference to others living in the county at that time. I do, however, contend I am the oldest resident from a standpoint of years spent in the corporate limits of DeKalb as well as the oldest resident from the same standpoint that came from outside of the county.

I do not dispute the fact others were born in the vicinity of DeKalb and maybe still living prior to my coming.

After my arrival, others, such as the Bradts, Sweets, Brookings, Garner, Newitt, Ralph, Bristow families. 

I might also state there was no corporation at that time, as it required a certain number of people living here at the time I came to incorporate, and it was sometime afterwards before the necessary number came in order to allow us to do so.

As I look in the matter it does not matter to me who is who but I will say that I have had my residence in DeKalb a " Hallelujah, Rattlety Bang Grand Good Time" and am happy to say I am still on my feet.

Yours very truly,
Jacob Haish

Article provided by the Joiner History Room.