Drawing Circa 1872

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Historical Information 



Joshua Reed and Priscilla (Chapelle) Read were parents to 12 children.  Their son, Otho, was born in Sackville, Westmoreland County, New Brunswick on October 5, 1825.  At the age of 13, Otho and his family traveled West by way of the Erie Canal and became some of the earliest settlers in Virgil Township, (formerly named Washington or Franklin Township) Section 24, in 1838.  Franklin Township (which was renamed Virgil Township in 1850) had initially attracted few pioneer settlers due to the land being wet and swampy.  However, as the years passed, cultivation and careful drainage of the land yielded soil especially rich and fertile for farming in the area.


Otho’s parents were civic minded people and are remembered for hosting the first dancing party in the area, as well as the first religious services in their own home.  Joshua was responsible for helping found the first church, which was a Baptist congregation in Lodi.  (Lodi was renamed Maple Park in 1879 or 1880.)


The home’s owner, Otho Read, grew up to become a farmer and stock raiser.  He married Rosara Crane late in life and also opened up his own farm in 1850 at a time when Virgil Township’s population was only 634 people.  He owned 350 acres of land, (sections 21, 22 and 28) and built himself a “fine brick house, built of brick made on the place, the clay being cut from the spot where the house now stands.”  (Quoted from The Past and Present of Kane County – 1878.)


Otho had few educational opportunities outside his family home.  However, as an adult, Otho was interested in “the cause of education and especially in the reading of good books.”  Although he never had children of his own, he was concerned with a quality education for all and was regarded as an influential person in Illinois.  Otho was also recognized as a prominent and enterprising agriculturist of Kane County.


Otho served as the first township treasurer and filled that office for over 50 years (appointed at the age of 19).  Otho and his entire family were highly regarded for their years of public service and honorable character.



More History:


The Read Family  -  Otho Read  -  The Read House



Books used in research