Drawing Circa 1872
Click for full image
Reed and Priscilla (Chapelle) Read were parents to 12
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.
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.)
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.)
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.