The Booth Family In Cherry Valley

Clayton L. Booth, born on August 4, 1902, lived in Cherry Valley, Illinois, from 1906 to 1918. His family moved from Chicago when he was four. They resided on South Mill Road, while his grandparents lived on East State Street. His father, William Booth, worked as a road commissioner and supplied materials for concrete work. Clayton attended local schools and was part of the first Boy Scout Troop in Cherry Valley. In 1918, the Booths returned to Chicago, where Clayton worked for Commonwealth Edison for over 47 years, retiring in 1967. His mother, Anna, remained active in community service.

Clayton L. Booth of Glenview, Illinois, lived twelve brief years in Cherry Valley, but they were years which built many fond memories. With his help, we have the following account of the Booth family in Cherry Valley.

Clayton L. Booth was born August 4, 1902. He came to Cherry Valley from Chicago with his parents, William H. and Anna Booth, in 1906 at the age of four. A younger sister, Verna, died at age three and is buried in Cherry Valley Cemetery.

William Booth and his family lived on South Mill Road the first house south of the railroad tracks on the left side of the road. Clayton’s grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. L. M. Booth, lived at 610 East State Street where the Frank Horn family now lives. The Traveller families that had moved to Cherry Valley earlier were friends and neighbors of the Booths. The Jr. and Sr. Travellers occupied the two houses east of the L. M. Booths on State Street.

William Booth was born April 21, 1870, in Jackson, Michigan. He was the road commissioner and did some farming for family use. There was a gravel pit down by the river behind the Booth house. William supplied sand and gravel to Mr. Rowley’s concrete block business, for road purposes, and for anyone else requiring material for concrete work.

Usually in February, or when the ice reached a thickness of eighteen inches, William Booth and Mr. Reid harvested ice from the old mill race north of the Grist Mill. They stored it in the ice houses of the grocery stores and with those families who had their own ice houses.

Clayton attended Cherry Valley School from Kindergarten through first year of High School. His teachers were Corrina Noels, Miss Bess Macomber, Mrs. Gannon, Mrs. Auman and Mr. Wiley.

Clayton was a member of the first Boy Scout Troop started by Rev. E. O. Storer of the Cherry Valley M. E. Church. Some of the boys he recalls in the troop are Ralph and Raymond Aten, Jesse Knighton, Ross Clifford, Raymond Homer, and Jay Spencer. George Kezar took over when Rev. Storer was transferred to another church. (See picture in History of the Aten Family) The Booth family attended the Cherry Valley M. E. Church.

On May 30th the Memorial Day Parade marched up to the cemetery. Mr. L. M. Booth was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. These proud men were an important part of the parade.

At the cemetery someone would recite Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. A salute was fired and all the kids would scramble for the empty shells and get burned because they were still hot.

West State Street went up a steep hill west of the Grist Mill towards Rockford. In winter, under good conditions, you could coast down this hill, across the bridge, and almost to the school house.

The “Mounds” on Genoa Road east of River Road was a favorite picnic area for weiner roasts with the Boy Scouts and also with the Epworth League. Another favorite gathering place for Sunday School picnics was at the “Chimney”. It was so named because the chimney was all that remained standing after a log cabin had burned. It was on the west bank of the Kishwaukee River, south of the Newburg Road bridge.

In 1918 the Booth family returned to Chicago where William was employed as a factory worker. Anna Booth was born in Chicago on May 30, 1882. She was active in the Missionary Society of the M. E. Church while living in Cherry Valley. At age 93, she now lives in Chicago.

Clayton worked in a factory for several years, and in 1920 he started to work for Commonwealth Edison. He retired in 1967 after 47-1/2 years with that company. He was assistant supervisor in the plant’s accounting department when he retired.

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