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Historical Information

Otho Read



  Photo taken in Aurora in the studio of D. C. Pratt in 1885

(born 10/5/1825, died sometime before or around November 21, 1905)


"No township in the county possesses more accurate records than Virgil.  Through the good sense of Mr. Otho Read, the proceedings of all the school meetings, from 1841 to present day, have been carefully preserved."


" In his chosen walk of life, the improvement of his farm, the elevating cause of the education of the people, and the diffusion of knowledge, this gentleman has reached the position of eminent success.  This is saying much, but he has earned it all by his own intelligent efforts."


"Otho was 13 years of age when they arrived in the wild Illinois territory, and consequently, he was at that particular time of life when a boy is supposed to be in the most need of experienced teachers and all the appliances of the higher schoolrooms of the best civilization.  Thus, the chief opportunities that came to him at that time were to learn the ways of the Illinois pioneers and to develop his sense of yielding to the necessities of his constant surroundings, and to have self-reliance in any emergency.  It was truly the school that produces what we have come to call “self-made men”.  The young man had but few opportunities, outside of his family home, of acquiring literary or scholastic attainments.  But his parents were above the average of that time in these respects. And truly bestowed care upon the improvement of their children, and the result of their lessons and precepts to the young were of that solid and practical kind that served them well in after life."


"When Otho had reached his majority, he commenced life for himself.  It was one of hard and constant labor on his farm, but he ever found time to interest himself in the cause of education, and especially in the reading of good books, and storing his mind with useful thoughts.  In time he came to devote some of the best efforts to the cause of general education."


"Having no children of his own whose school training he should care for, he made the cause of the education of all children a leading and controlling purpose in his life work, and in this line has contributed to its success by speech and pen: and today he is regarded as one of the foremost friends of education in this portion of the State.  In this respect he is more widely known than in any other way, although otherwise he is recognized as one of the prominent and enterprising agriculturists of Kane County."


"His stock and dairy farm comprises 360 acres in Sections 21, 22 and 28 of Virgil Township.  His residence is among the finest in the township, and is keeping with the general improvements of the place.  He has not had political ambition, but has served the people for several terms as supervisor.  At the present time (1887) he is township treasurer (and was so for over 50 years, beginning at age 19).  He was reared in the faith of the Baptist Church.  In politics, he has voted, as a rule, with the Republican party.  Mr. Read’s life has been an industrious and useful one, and he has surrounded himself with the comforts of this world, and, at the same time, has the unalloyed esteem and respect of a large number of friends and acquaintances."




More History:


The Read Family  -  Otho Read  -  The Read House




Note: Unfortunately, we were not meticulous with citing resources while collecting this information over a year ago.  We visited the St. Charles Library's Genealogical section, the Kane County Historical Society, Garfield Farm, and every cemetery in the area.  Virtually no information was found on the internet.  The quotes most likely come from "The History of Kane County".