Edward Hyland Family of Cherry Valley

Edward Hyland, an Irish immigrant, established a prosperous farm in Cherry Valley, Illinois, in the mid-19th century. At his death in 1913, he was recognized as one of the wealthiest and most respected men in the area. Edward’s community involvement and religious devotion were significant, contributing to the establishment of St. Rita’s Church. His son, Charles Joseph Hyland, served as mayor for five terms and on the Winnebago County Board for 16 years. The Hyland family, including Charles’ wife Myrtle and their children, continued to contribute to Cherry Valley’s development through various community and business endeavors.

Hyland Bros
Hyland Bros

Edward Hyland transplanted his love for the soil from his native Ireland to Cherry Valley in the mid 19th Century. He established a farm in the Shirley Bridge area and worked it so successfully that, at his death in 1913 (at age 86), he was described in a Rockford newspaper as “one of the wealthiest and most highly respected men of Cherry Valley.”

Accumulating wealth was not an end in itself to Edward Hyland and his family. He was respected in the community because of his interest in the welfare of the area and its residents, a concern which he imparted to his children. One of the six sons and daughters of Edward and Rose Hyland, Charles Joseph, spent a lifetime in Cherry Valley, where he served five terms as mayor and represented the township on the Winnebago County Board for 16 years.

Edward Hyland brought from Ireland a deep religious consciousness. He was among the Roman Catholics in Cherry Valley who were instrumental in building a parish, and two of his daughters, Lucy Garlock and Mary Bennett, both of Rockford, gave the land which became the site of the first St. Rita’s Church. A window in that church, now a private residence, memorializes Edward Hyland.

Early in this century, about 1904, Edward Hyland, now a widower, retired from his farm and moved with two sons and a daughter to the residence at 138 South Van Buren Street which still belongs to his descendents. Charles and his wife, Myrtle Horan, reared their family of four daughters and a son in this house.

One of Edward’s sons, Arthur J., bought a grain, coal and feed business in Cherry Valley late in the 19th Century. About 1904, he moved his interests to Belvidere and sold the Valley business to his brothers, Edward and Charles. Several years later, Edward was killed in a fall at the elevator.

Charles continued to operate the Hyland Brothers Elevator Company until his death in 1937. Only a few years before that, the elevator had burned in a spectacular summertime fire. In 1935, a “grand opening” of the rebuilt building was held. It was characteristic of Myrtle Hyland that she provided the refreshments for the elevator celebration–hundreds of doughnuts made in her own Van Buren Street kitchen.

Through the years, members of the Hyland family have contributed to the development of the community and its residents. During the depression of the ’30s, Myrtle Hyland gathered together a group of her friends and organized a Welfare Club, its objective: to provide baskets of food for needy families.

Following her husband’s death and the growth of her children to adulthood, Mrs. Hyland became Postmistress of Cherry Valley, a position she held for 13 years.

Charles Hyland served as homecoming chairman for Cherry Valley’s 100th birthday celebration in 1935. His daughter, Eileen (Mrs. Malcolm Doig) is a member of the committee for the village’s bicentennial observance. Her husband is a village trustee.

Eileen is the only member of the Charles Hyland family now residing in Cherry Valley. Her brother, Charles Edward, inherited his grandfather’s interest in the land, albeit in another direction. A successful Rockford home builder, he is frequently involved in transactions concerning property in and around the village.

Rose, another daughter of Charles and Myrtle, lives in Rockford. She is married to Roger Sheets, whose family has early Rockford ties. Kay Hyland Byrne, who, like her mother, is a nurse, lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where her husband, Dr. James Byrne, is a dean and professor at The College of St. Thomas. Margaret (Mrs. Jack Byers), who lived in Chicago and San Francisco, is now in Morton, Illinois, where her husband is an electrical engineer.

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