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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Women's Army Corps at Fort Sheridan

Women's Army Corps member at Fort Sheridan, circa 1943. Fort Sheridan Collection, Dunn Museum 92.24.1112

In September 1939, Americans were in the tenth year of the Great Depression when war broke out in Europe with Hitler’s invasion of Poland. As the warfront expanded throughout Europe and Asia, the U.S. needed to increase the strength of its’ military to prepare for the possibility of war. These preparations included discussions on the prospect of a women’s corps.

Along with men, women wanted to do their part to fight the threat of fascism and many lobbied for a role in the U.S. military mobilization. At the forefront was U.S. representative Edith Nourse Rogers (1881-1960) of Massachusetts, who introduced a bill in Congress in early 1941 to establish an auxiliary corps to fill non-combatant positions in the army.

The bill stalled until the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 propelled the United States’ into war. Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, foresaw a manpower shortage and understood the necessity of women in uniform to the nation’s defense. Not only were women needed in factories, but also in the military. 

With the support of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and General Marshall, on May 15, 1942, Rogers’s bill (H.R. 4906) passed into law creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). As an auxiliary unit, the women were limited to serving with the Army rather than in the Army.

The purpose of the WAAC was to make “available to the national defense the knowledge, skill, and special training of the women of the nation."

Women taking the oath as officer candidates in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps at army headquarters, Chicago. Four of the women pictured were African American, including Mildred L. Osby (top left), who would command an African American Women's Army Corps unit at Fort Sheridan. Chicago Tribune, July 12, 1942.

The first WAAC training center was at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. On July 20, 1942, one hundred and twenty-five enlisted women, and four hundred and forty officer candidates arrived for training.

Of the four hundred and forty women selected for officer candidate training only 40 places were allotted for African American women, reportedly based on “the percentage of the population.” Mildred L. Osby (1913-1953) of Chicago was one of the African American women selected for officer training. Her fellow candidate, Charity Adams Earley, described them as “the ambitious, the patriotic, the adventurous.”

Lt. Mildred L. Osby recruiting women for the WAACs in Washington D.C., November 1942. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 

The U.S. Army post at Fort Sheridan received its first 150 auxiliaries on December 30, 1942. The WAAC detachment arrived from Fort Des Moines by train at the Fort Sheridan depot. Commanded by Captain Edith M. Davis, the women were the first company of WAACs assigned to the Army Service Forces’ Sixth Service Command (Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan) headquartered in Chicago.

First WAAC detachment arriving at Fort Sheridan on December 30, 1942. Mary Jane (Lett) Lucas aka "Jane" is right of center holding large duffel. Chicago Sun Staff Photo / Fort Sheridan Collection, Dunn Museum 95.32.23.

Among the first detachment of WAACs at Fort Sheridan was Mary Jane (Lett) Lucas (1921-2014), who recalled that the women auxiliaries were given a warm reception. She noted that the army “didn’t know what to do with us,” and was given a job as an usher at the post’s theater. The army quickly figured out how best to utilize the extra "manpower." Duties for the women’s corps included: clerks, stenographers, commissary, photo analysts, surgical assistants, lab assistants, mechanics, and chauffeurs.

On July 3, 1943, the auxiliaries were officially given “active duty status” with the passing of the bill to create the Women’s Army Corps. All auxiliaries (WAACs) were offered the choice of an honorable discharge and return to civilian life or joining the U.S. Army as a member of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). Seventy-five percent of the women enlisted.

This new designation was important as it gave women full military rank and benefits for service injuries and allowed them to serve overseas. It also gave them protection as soldiers and if captured were eligible for rights given to prisoners of war.

WAC Mary Jane (Lett) Lucas, bottom right, with Sixth Service Command Laboratory soldiers and WACs, circa 1944. Lucas met her husband, Colonel Charles J. Lucas (1923-2011), at Fort Sheridan’s Non-Commissioned Officers’ club. They married in 1947 and settled in Grayslake. Mary Jane Lucas Collection, Dunn Museum, 2012.20.39.

Lucas was assigned to the Army’s Sixth Service Command Medical Laboratory at Fort Sheridan, driving officers from the lab, and checking in thousands of samples. This laboratory received more than 66,000 food and water samples from 1941 to 1945. The laboratory’s principal activity was the chemical and bacteriological examination of foods, including large quantities of canned evaporated milk, dried powdered milk, and cheese procured for the Armed Forces. At the lab, Lucas also worked with German prisoners of war, but was not allowed to speak to them. 

In November 1943, an African American WAC unit was posted to Fort Sheridan under the command of 1st Lt. Mildred L. Osby (promoted to Captain in January 1944). At the time of her enlistment in July 1942, Osby was married, living in Chicago, and employed at the social security board. She had graduated from Officer Candidate Training at Fort Des Moines, served as a WAAC recruiter in Washington, D.C., posted to Fort Custer, Michigan, and WAC Company B commander at Fort Sheridan. 

Capt. Mildred L. Osby, date unknown. Photo from, Arlington National Cemetery.

The seventy-five African American WACs under the command of Capt. Mildred Osby were assigned to duties in the Recruit Reception Center. Soldiers on furlough also passed through the Fort where their service records were checked and instructions given for the length of furlough time they had at home.

Soldiers and WACs worked in the Rotation Section, which had a "graveyard shift" to accommodate the great numbers of soldiers passing through and to "speed overseas veterans through." (The Tower, August 11, 1944).

WACs Pvt. Ruth Mays (right) showing records to Pvt. Florence Brown while working in Fort Sheridan's Rotational Section.  Mary Jane Lucas Collection, Dunn Museum, 2012.20. The Tower, August 11, 1944. 

Twenty-six of the original company of WACs at Fort Sheridan on their two-year roll of honor, December 1944. Mary Jane (Lett) Lucas (top row, red star). Thirty of their WAC comrades had been transferred overseas where they were serving in New Guinea, Egypt, England and France. The Tower, December 29, 1944. 

Details of the celebration at Fort Sheridan marking the 2nd anniversary of the creation of the Women's Army Corps. Chicago Tribune, May 15, 1944.

During World War II, nearly 150,000 American women served as soldiers in the Women’s Army Corps. In 1948, for their superb service during the war, President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act allowing a permanent place for women to serve within the military in regular, peacetime forces. 

The Women's Army Corps disbanded in 1978 and all members were fully integrated into the U.S. Army.

The Dunn Museum is celebrating those who served with a new temporary exhibition Breaking Barriers: Women in the Military through June 13, 2021. To experience this past exhibition, you may view it as a virtual exhibit online. 

- Diana Dretske

Bess Bower Dunn Museum (Fort Sheridan Collection 92.24/95.23; Mary Jane Lucas Collection 2012.20)
"War Training - First Contingent of WAACs Arrives at Fort Sheridan," Chicago Daily Tribune, December 31, 1942.
"Twenty-five WAACs Win Promotion to Second Officer," Chicago Tribune, January 3, 1943.
"American Women at War - Lt. Mildred L. Osby," Chicago Tribune, November 28, 1943. 
"American Women at War - Capt. Mildred L. Osby," Chicago Tribune, January 30, 1944.
"WACs at Fort Sheridan to Observe Anniversary," Chicago Tribune, May 15, 1944.
"'Graveyard Shift' Hastens Rotation Men Home," The Tower, August 11, 1944. 
"WACs Celebrate Second Anniversary Here," The Tower, December 29, 1944. 
"On the Record with Mary Jane Lucas," Lake County Journal, May 27, 2010. 
Earley, Charity Adams. One Woman's Army: A Black Officer Remembers the WACs. Texas A&M University Press, 1995. 
Treadwell, Mattie E. United States Army in World War II, Special Studies: Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1991. "Mildred Lavinia Osby," Arlington National Cemetery. 
"Twenty-One Illinois Women Who Are in the Army Now," Chicago Tribune, June 12, 1942.
George C. Marshall Foundation Blog:
The Women’s Army Corps: A Commemoration of World War II Service, Judith A. Bellafaire    

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Flowers for Hull House

Guest post by Steve Ferrigan, Collections Digitizer for the Dunn Museum

When the Dunn Museum staff were told to shelter in place back in March and work remotely, one of the first things collections staff did was to take digital photos of diaries in the Minto Family Collection in order to transcribe them from home. 

It turns out you can learn a lot more than just about your own family by being cooped up at home for months. Sometimes you can learn about farm life in the early 1910s. 

The diary I was tasked with transcribing was Susie Minto’s from 1912. Every once in a while, very rarely, something happens in a Minto Diary. Between the days listing who is working where and on what; between the small trips to nearby towns for supplies or new equipment; around the brief recounting of church services attended and occasional church events; the greater world and its events and characters reaches through and touches the lives of the Minto family. 

In 1912, the family living at the Minto homestead included Susie and David J. Minto, daughter Una Jean, and son David Harold and his wife Mildred and their two daughters. (See Diana Dretske's Minto post for a history of the family).

Susie Smith Minto and daughter Una Jean Minto photographed about 1898. Minto Family Collection, Dunn Museum, 93.45.89.

One such diary entry occurred on Monday, August 12, 1912: "Una rec’d her mail today a letter from Jane Addams of the ‘Hull House.’”

Throughout her diary, Susie Minto (1839-1914) of Antioch/Loon Lake, then in her early 70's, makes mention of her daughter Una Jean (1876-1963) gathering flowers from the family’s garden to send to Hull House. They sort and tie bunches late into the night and box them up to be sent with the milkman on the earliest Wisconsin Central line train to Chicago.

By 1911, Hull House had grown to a 13-building complex in Chicago. In 1912, Hull House added a summer camp, the Bowen Country Club in Waukegan (today's Bowen Park). V.O. Hammon postcard. 

Jane Addams (1860-1935) was a pioneer in the settlement movement of the late 1800s. Hull-House, opened in 1889 by Addams and Ellen Gates Starr (1859-1940) soon emerged as a vital tool for immigrants, children, and the poor of Chicago. They provided childcare, an art gallery, a library, and classes in English, citizenship, job finding, art, music, and theater.

Jane Addams photographed at her writing desk about October 30, 1912. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 

Susie’s diary entry continues: “[Jane Addams] kindly thanked Una for sending the lovely flowers & said ‘the size of bunches did not really matter although the small bunches such as came yesterday seemed to give particular pleasure to the small children in the Mary Crane Nursery which is housed in one of the Hull House Buildings. The flowers were in splendid condition with much appreciation of your kindly thought of us & the courteous letter, I am sincerely yours.’ The above is a partial copy of letter rec’d by Una [and signed] Jane Addams Aug 12, 1912."

Susie Minto's diary entry for August 12, 1912. Minto Family Collection, Dunn Museum 93.45.289.

After seeing this routine mentioned numerous times, and after seeing the thank you letter Susie describes, I decided to do a little investigating to find out what the flowers were used for.

I quickly found some Chicago Tribune articles covering the Hull House and mentioning flowers for the children. From the Chicago Tribune on November 1, 1891:

“In the dining-room is the ‘advanced’ class, absorbed in the mysteries of cutting and putting together in a logical fashion muslin underclothes. On the sideboard is a great shining tin dish-pan filled to the brim with marigolds, and geraniums, and sweet old-fashioned mignonette—an explanation, perhaps, of the presence of some of these light-hearted, carefree little daughters of Italy, to whom a whole afternoon of serious application to anything but play must be irksome to a degree. But all the children love flowers—none more than these.”

Illustration of Jane Addams distributing flowers at Hull House. Chicago Tribune November 1, 1891. 

The small bouquets in this illustration are similar to the ones Una and Susie Minto had worked so tirelessly to gather and send.

Susie Minto in her flower garden. Minto Family Collection, Dunn Museum

The Tribune article continued: 

“And after the sewing is all folded neatly away, the awkward thimble and troublesome needle safely hidden in the depths of the sewing-bag for another seven days; when all the hats and coats have been given to their rightful owners, then that dish-pan is moved out into the hall and every child receives from Miss Addams’ hands a bunch of flowers for her very own. It is worth traveling a long distance just to see this distribution, the joy in it is so evident. With a funny compromise between a bow and a curtsey, a 'thank you, teacher,' and a face wreathed in smiles, each child receives the bit of bloom and fragrance."

After reading Susie Minto’s diary and day after day of chore lists and weather reports, discovering this small glimpse of the larger world as seen through the Minto lens was a beacon of sunlight on an otherwise gray page. It made me start reading closer and looking for even more details connecting these early 20th century rural farmers to larger world events.

Reading old script can be difficult, but by transcribing these diaries the Dunn Museum can make them more accessible to researchers and the general public to enjoy and to make their own discoveries about the past. 

~ ~ ~ 

The Bess Bower Dunn Museum's Minto Family Collection is available online through the host site Illinois Digital Archives.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Sinking into the Grave: the 19th Century's Tuberculosis Epidemic

A French illustration of a young consumptive from Le Journal IllustrĂ©, No. 34, October 2-9, 1864. Library of Congress.
In the 19th century, waves of epidemics such as cholera, smallpox, and the measles came and went, but tuberculosisthen known as consumptionremained ever-present. 

The infectious disease had plagued human kind for thousands of years. In the 1800s, tuberculosis reached epidemic proportions killing "one out of every seven people in the United States and Europe." (Centers for Disease Control) 

The disease was thought to be hereditary, unavoidable, and possibly caused by "bad air." The slow process with which people suffered and died was often characterized as "sinking into the grave." Its' true cause, a contagious bacteriumMycobacterium tuberculosiswas not discovered until 1882. Advancements in treatment followed with diagnostic skin tests, chest radiographs (x-rays), and in 1921, a vaccine for use in humans. 

One of the earliest known deaths from consumption in Lake County was English immigrant Ann Daggitt, the 13-year old daughter of Moraine Township settler, Robert Daggitt. Ann died of "quick consumption" in February 1845. Her father, a carpenter by trade, made his daughter's coffin and buried her on the family's homestead in today's Highland Park. Ann was the first burial in what became the Daggitt/Grace Cemetery.

That same year Elizabeth Boyd McKay of Waukegan died of consumption. Elizabeth was the wife of Scottish immigrant James McKay (1808-1887). In 1841, the couple and their 1-year old son moved from Chicago to Waukegan (then known as Little Fort). The family gained in prestige as James became influential in the city's growth by building hotels and taverns, and his election to public office. (see my post on James McKay). 

When Elizabeth became ill she returned to Chicago, perhaps to be near family. She took residence at the Sauganash Hotel where the town's finest accommodations were available. It is unknown how long she suffered from consumption, but generally it was a slow death taking many months. 
Elizabeth Boyd McKay's death notice published in the Little Fort Porcupine, August 6, 1845. 
Newspaper Collection, Bess Bower Dunn Museum.
In the spring of 1850, young married couple Olive and William H. Gipson died in Waukegan from the dreaded disease. Both were born in Maine and had recently settled in Waukegan where William worked as a merchant. 

The 1850 mortality census lists William as having been ill with consumption for 150 days before his death. For a time, he may have continued to work at his business, unwittingly infecting customers and neighbors just by speaking to them and releasing droplets of the TB bacteria into the air. 

While caring for her husband, Olive contracted the disease. She died 30 days from the start of her symptoms. William died a month later at age 35.

The U.S. Federal Census of 1850 included a "mortality schedule" with a list of individuals who had died within the previous year. The 1850 mortality schedule for Waukegan included Olive and William H. Gipson (shown here).

The classic appearance of a consumptive included flushed cheeks, pale skin and red lips (due to a constant low grade fever), shiny eyes, a chronic cough, and spitting up of blood. Victims also suffered from chills, fatigue, and loss of appetite. The person wasted away and was virtually "consumed" by the disease. 

Without a cure, people tried a variety of remedies including fresh air, vinegar massages, cod liver oil, and inhaling hemlock or turpentine. (Centers for Disease Control). Others found a way to make money off those who suffered by selling tonics that falsely claimed a "cure" for ailments including consumption. 
An advertisement for one of the many tonic "cures" for consumption, circa 1890.
Advertisement Collection (2013.0.97), Bess Bower Dunn Museum.
From a letter by Edwin P. Messer (1838-1915) of Libertyville dated April 19, 1860, we learn of the death of a young friend. Messer wrote to William Minto of Loon Lake (Antioch Twp.): "I suppose you have heard of the death of Mary Abbott she died about the middle of March."

Though Messer did not mention the cause of death, through genealogical research I found that Mary had died of consumption after being ill for three months. She was 18 years old.

1860 mortality schedule listing "Maria E. Abbott" dying of consumption in March 1860 in Waukegan. 
Mary E. Abbott was born on the family farm near Millburn in September 1841 to William Abbott and Elizabeth F. Barry Abbott. 

Messer's letter indicates that he and William Minto (1837-1919) were acquainted with Mary. Since Messer did not live near Minto and Abbott in the Millburn/Loon Lake area, I wondered how the three became acquainted. From correspondence in the museum's Minto Family Collection I knew that Minto and Messer had attended the Waukegan Academy together. I suspected that Mary Abbott might also be connected to them through the Academy. 

Waukegan Academy on Genesee Street. Printed in the Waukegan Daily Gazette, March 22, 1915.
The Academy operated from 1846 to 1869.
As the first institution of higher learning in Lake County and with abolitionist-leanings, the Waukegan Academy attracted male and female students from throughout Lake County and also Wisconsin, New York and Australia. (see my post on the Waukegan Academy). 

A review of Academy catalogues confirmed that Mary Abbott attended in 1857 along with Edwin P. Messer and his twin brother Erwin B.
Waukegan Academy Catalogue for 1857, listing students Mary E. Abbott (top right) and Edwin P. Messer (bottom right).
School Collection, Bess Bower Dunn Museum. 
Young adults, such as Mary Abbott, were particularly susceptible to consumption, although anyone could contract the disease. In the following decades, another group would suffer from the disease at high ratesUnion veterans of the Civil War.

Historian Brian Matthew Jordan noted that Union soldiers returned to their homes "prematurely broken down." Their bodies were "atrophied by years spent exposed to the elements and disease in unsanitary army camps." This led to veterans succumbing to consumption, and heart and kidney diseases at much higher rates than the general population. 
Union veterans at the dedication of the Civil War monument in Waukegan, August 1899.
Civil War Collection (64.39.2), Bess Bower Dunn Museum.
William Monaghan (1841-1871) of Wauconda mustered-in with Company B, 96th Illinois Infantry on September 5, 1862. He was the son of Irish immigrants, Eliza and James Monaghan, who came to Lake County in 1837 and settled on property within today's Singing Hills Forest Preserve. 

William was considered "an excellent soldier" and served with the 96th Illinois until the end of the war. The regimental history noted him as being 6 foot 4 inches tall and having "a powerful frame," which made it all the more difficult for his family to accept his death from consumption not long after the Civil War. 

By the late 1800s, the best cure for TB was thought to be fresh air and good nutrition. The growing realization that TB was likely an infectious disease led to isolating patients in hospitals and sanitoriums. With improvements in socioeconomic conditions, nutrition and living standards, public health initiatives, and the use of sanitoriums, a path to controlling the disease was on the horizon. 
Lake Breeze Sanitorium was established for TB sufferers in 1909 on a 16-acre parcel
east of Green Bay Road on Grand Avenue in Waukegan. 
Tuberculosis Collection 77.20, Bess Bower Dunn Museum.
Public health initiatives such as this poster educated people on disease prevention. Circa 1925. 
U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Lake County's Tuberculosis Sanitorium was established on Belvidere Road in Waukegan in 1939. In addition to providing the latest in diagnosis and antibiotic treatments, the facility had patient rooms that opened onto private balconies for fresh air. (see my post on the TB Sanitorium).
Nurses's station at TB Sanitorium in Waukegan, circa 1940.  
Tuberculosis Collection 77.20, Bess Bower Dunn Museum. 

For centuries, the origin of tuberculosis was not understood and contracting it was thought to be unavoidable. With the advent of germ theory and the discovery of the bacterium that causes TB, people began to understand how to control the spread of the disease through isolation, and eventually prevent it through antibiotics. 

Tuberculosis remains a public health concern in part to a rise in drug resistance. The disease has re-emerged as a pandemic killing 1.5 million people worldwide each year. However, in the U.S. the number of new cases continues to fall steadily. For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control 

Telling the stories of Lake Countians who died from tuberculosis or worked to treat those with the disease is possible because official records and archival materials have been preserved and made available for research. 

Today, we are experiencing a struggle that is similar to the one our 19th century counterparts endured. To understand this moment in time, museums around the worldincluding the Bess Bower Dunn Museumare collecting stories and photos related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Historians and researchers 10, 20 or even 50 years from now will benefit and find perspective from the stories we archive.

- Diana Dretske, Curator

Sources: - 1850 and 1860 U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, Lake County, Illinois. 

Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County. 
Centers for Disease Control and
Manoli-Skocay, Constance. "A Gentle Death: Tuberculosis in 19th Century Concord." Accessed May 22, 2020.
"Died." Little Fort Porcupine and Democratic Banner, Little Fort, Lake County, Illinois, August 6, 1845. Newspaper Collection. Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County. 
Jordan, Brian Matthew. Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2014.
Partridge, Charles A. History of the Ninety-Sixth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Chicago: Historical Society of the Regiment, 1887.
Murray, John F. "A Century of Tuberculosis." Accessed May 28, 2020.

Friday, March 27, 2020

The Historic Logue Log House

Irish immigrants, William Logue and Bridget Collins Logue, brought their young family to Lake County, Illinois in 1844.

The Logue home was one of the longest inhabited log structures in Lake County, and came to represent a romantic ideal of the county's settlement and the American frontier.

Logue family log house, circa 1844 - 1903, Zion, Illinois. (BBDM 2001.3.15)

Researching these settlers was difficult due to the scarcity of information left behind. But the search was all the more satisfying when bits of their lives were found in government records, the occasional written history, and photographs.

After immigrating from Ireland, William and Bridget Logue lived in the borough of Manhattan in today's New York City. This was a tough environment for poor immigrants, and the prospect of owning land on the newly opened frontier brought hope for independence and a fresh start. 

While still in New York, William acquired 96 acres in today's Zion, Illinois.
Land patent for Logue's purchase in August 1844 while living in New York County, NY. General Land Office Records

Logue purchased 80-acres directly from the Federal government at $1.25 per acre costing him $100 ($3,449 today). Sixteen additional acres were purchased from Jeremiah Eaton at $25.75 per acre costing $412 ($14,210 today). The cost for the 16-acres seems unreasonably high. Or was it?

Historically, a high sale price indicates that the property had been improved. At this early date of settlement that would mean a structure had been built, likely a cabin. William Logue would have purchased the property knowing of the improvement and willing to pay more to have a shelter for his family when they arrived from New York.

Further research indicates that a log house was built by Clark G. Corser, who had purchased the land in March 1844 and sold it at a slight profit to Eaton a few months later. This was Corser's first land purchase in Lake County, and as such he built a small cabin to live in. Eaton, who came to the area in the late 1830s, had built his family homestead elsewhere, and therefore would not have built the structure on this parcel.

In the fall of 1844, William, Bridget, their six-year old daughter Margaret (Maggie), and William's brother Edward arrived in Lake County. This was a world away from Manhattan's population of nearly 500,000. In Lake County's Benton Township where the Logues' settled, there were only a few hundred inhabitants. The entire county had a population of 8,236 in 1845.

Logue property in Benton Township shown on 1861 map of County, Illinois. Note two residences delineated as squares above "Logue." William's brother, Edward, is shown as the property owner.

The 1861 Lake County map shows two residences on the property (above). The square on the left is a house built by William Logue, and the square on the right may be the log house built by Clark G. Corser that the family initially lived in. Perhaps these two buildings were brought together to form the double-wide house seen in historic photographs.

The unusual construction of the Logue house has created much speculation on when and how it was built. 
Some historical data suggests Clark G. Corser built one half in March 1844 and William Logue the other half in autumn 1844. The two structures could have been used as separate residences until brought together (possibly after 1861) to form the double-wide log house. The house was located southwest of Salem Boulevard and Galilee Avenue in today's Zion. Photo circa 1900. Dickertown School History, Dunn Museum 2003.0.9.

An approximate location of the Logue log house (outlined in red) west of the McClory Bike Path along Galilee Avenue. 

T. Arthur Simpson (1869-1954), county superintendent of schools and a neighbor of the Logues, recalled that the double-wide log house was located "west of the North Shore's Skokie line tracks." In 1963, the North Shore Line closed and became a trail which was later named the Robert McClory Bike Path. Based on Simpson's account and historic maps, the double-wide log house was situated west of the bike path and southwest of the intersection of Salem Boulevard and Galilee Avenue. (above)
Detail of the house where the two halves meet. The protruding logs at the corners define the shape of each section of the building, adding to my suspicion that the house was originally two separate residences. Photo circa 1900. Dunn Museum 94.34.639. 

Circumstances interfered in the family's prosperity. Less than five years into life on the frontier, William Logue died (prior to March 1849). This left Bridget with two daughters: 11-year old Maggie and one-year old Mary Ann. (Four other children died in infancy). Edward took up the bulk of the farm labor until his death on October 1, 1860. 

By 1870, William's widowed sister, Rose Ann Kane, came to live with Bridget and her daughters.

The 1870 U.S. Agricultural Census provides a glimpse into the women's lives. Bridget, then fifty-years old, was listed as "Keeping House" for her family. Maggie, Mary Ann, and Rose were listed "At Home," which according to the Census Office could include domestic errands or family chores, but was not considered an occupation. The Logue women relied on their farm for income.

From the census we know that the farm consisted of: 40 acres of improved land (60 acres unimproved), 6 dairy cows, 6 cattle, 4 hogs, and 10 sheep. The farm produced 36 bushels of spring wheat, 200 bushels of Indian corn, 20 bushels of oats, 30 bushels of buckwheat, 40 pounds of wool, 50 bushels of Irish potatoes, and 12 tons of hay.

Not listed in the farm's inventory were horses or oxen. These animals were valuable to a farm's operation, but also expensive. An average workhorse cost $150 ($3,072 today), plus harness and feed. In 1870, the farm's total value of income from livestock and crops was $620 ($12,242 today).

To manage the farm without a hired man, Bridget may have rented a portion to a neighboring farmer. The women also churned milk from their dairy cows into 600 pounds of butter. In 1870, butter cost on average 15 cents per pound.

On February 26, 1876, matriarch Bridget Collins Logue died. She was buried in the newly established St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Waukegan.

Gravemarker for Bridget Collins Logue (1820-1876) at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Waukegan.

Bridget left the farm of 100 acres, 8 cattle, 23 sheep, and household furniture to her daughters. Before the estate could be settled, Mary Ann died in May 1883. She was also buried at St. Mary's Cemetery.
Probate record for Bridget Logue Estate filed with County Court by Margaret Logue in May 1876.

The former Logue property outlined in red on a 2018 aerial. For reference: Lewis Avenue (left), Salem Boulevard (top), 27th Street (bottom), and Shiloh Park Elementary (bottom far right). 

The diagonal property line followed the old New York House Inn and Southport Road, which had been laid out in March 1840. The road ran northeast from the Inn near the intersection of York House and Green Bay Roads and onward to Sheridan Road in today's Winthrop Harbor. Most of this road was vacated by 1860.

About 1900, a photo of Margaret "Maggie" Logue was taken outside the family's log house. She is seated in a doorway wearing a gingham apron and holding a potted flower.

Photo of Maggie Logue taken by John M. Latto (1873-1915), brother-in-law to T. Arthur Simpson. Dunn Museum 94.34.639.

By this time, cousin Thomas Healey had joined Maggie Logue and Rose Kane on the farm. Healey took over the bulk of the farm labor.

The Logue log house with Maggie Logue seated in doorway. Both sections of the house were likely built at the time of settlement in 1844. Photo by John M. Latto, circa 1900. Dunn Museum 94.34.639.

Maggie Logue lived here from 1844 to 1903, making this the longest continuously inhabited log house in Lake County.

This homestead was built at the time of settlement and the only upgrade appears to have been enlarging the house by bringing two structures together. Generally, families upgraded these houses by covering them with stucco or clapboard siding. The log houses were hidden from view until torn down decades later to reveal (to everyone's surprise) the house's true origin.

The fact that the Logues' did not put siding over the hand-hewn logs made it a charming curiosity to locals. Knowing the hardships the family faced, it may also indicate they lacked the means to make cosmetic improvements to the structure.

In April 1903, Maggie Logue sold the family farm (consisting of 83 acres), to John Alexander Dowie, the founder of the City of Zion. She was paid $9,550 ($280,724 today).

The Logue house being razed, and the large oak tree already gone. Date unknown (post-1903). The fence was built after the property was sold to Dowie and was the type used to pasture horses. Dunn Museum 94.34.640

Maggie retired to Waukegan where she lived until her death on May 19, 1920.

Margaret "Maggie" Logue's signature on receipt in probate record, 1899. 

- Diana Dretske, Curator