The Case Family of Cherry Valley

Amon Case, born October 8, 1816, in Hoosick, New York, was a Cherry Valley pioneer who purchased his first farm in 1846. He married Mary Jane Lamb in 1846, and they moved to Cherry Valley, Illinois, settling on a 160-acre farm. Amon became a prominent farmer, acquiring over 2500 acres and raising large herds of livestock. The couple were active in the Cherry Valley Baptist Church. They had five children: Amy, Charles, David, Joseph, and Elizabeth. Amon died in 1883, and Mary Jane in 1908. Their descendants continued to play significant roles in Cherry Valley’s development and community life.

Amon Case, one of Cherry Valley’s early pioneers, was born in the town of Hoosick near Troy, New York, on October 8, 1816. He was a cousin of J. I. Case, also a pioneer from New York State, who settled in Racine, Wisconsin, and later became a manufacturer of farm machinery.

Amon Case bought his first farm acreage in May, 1846, from Sherman Eddy. This 160 acre tract of land was in Section 13 in Cherry Valley Township, Winnebago County. It was in the section where the River Road crosses the Illinois Central and Gulf Railroad. After the railroad was built, this crossing and that area of track became known as “death curve” because of the number of accidents that were associated with it.

Amon received a Government Land Grant on an adjacent 40 acres for which he later received a parchment deed signed by Zachary Taylor, February 9, 1850.

Amon married Mary Jane Lamb from Pittstown, New York, June 21, 1846. On their wedding trip they traveled by boat through the Erie Canal and Great Lakes to Chicago. There they purchased a team of oxen and a covered wagon to finish their journey to the property that he had acquired in Cherry Valley. Their first home was in a log cabin on their farm.

Mr. Case was very fond of animals and he raised hundreds of finely bred horses and cattle, and his flocks of sheep numbered in the thousands. During his lifetime he acquired more than 2500 acres of farmland in Winnebago and Boone Counties. He was one of the most extensive farmers in Northern Illinois.

Mr. & Mrs. Amon Case were members of the Cherry Valley Baptist Church. They donated the lot and were instrumental in building the Baptist Church which in later years was occupied by the Masonic Lodge and Order of the Eastern Star. They also purchased the organ which furnished the music for many years.

They had three sons and two daughters:

  1. Amy – died at birth
  2. Charles Center – born December 20, 1848
  3. David Lamb – born July 29, 1850 Joseph – born June 23, 1854
  4. Elizabeth – born April 30, 1857
  5. Amon Case died at his farm November 2, 1883, and his wife died 25 years later in 1908. Both are buried in the Cherry Valley Cemetery on Mill Road.

Charles Center Case, son of Amon and Mary Jane Lamb Case, was born December 20, 1848, on a farm two and one half miles southeast of Cherry Valley on what was then known as the Shirley Mill Road. He married Charlotte Hayden of Henry County, Illinois, on May 19, 1870, at the home of the groom’s parents. Her parents were Jonathan and Huldah Reeves Hayden.

Charlotte Hayden was the youngest child in the family and attended high school in Galva, Illinois, and then went to Hedding College in Abingdon, Illinois. She visited her sister Jennie Farley at Cherry Valley in the summer of 1869. The new red brick school house was completed that year, and the school board hired her to teach school.

During the Christmas holiday season, she and Charles Case met and a few months later were married. Their honeymoon was spent in settling themselves on the farm known as the “Jackson Place” – a quarter section of 160 acres deeded to them by Amon and Mary Jane Case. It was in Flora Township, three miles from the Amon Case homestead.

They had eight children born to them: Alchee Amret, born February, 1873; Charles Center Jr., December, 1878; Amon, December, 1874; Huldah, September 12, 1876; Schuyler Winfred, January, 1881; Charlotte Eunice, September 12, 1882; Mary Jane, May 14, 1884; and Harry Hayden, January, 1888.

Through the diaries of their first born, Alchee Amret, we have a very vivid account of the life of herself and her family. She had a deep love and pride in her family. Excerpts from the diaries will be used throughout this book. Alchee first attended the Bailey and Buck School in Flora Township. In 1885 she entered the Cherry Valley High School. In 1890 she entered Illinois State Normal University. While living at Normal, she met her future husband, Herbert Waddle. On August 16, 1894, they were married at her parent’s farm. Mr. Waddle’s first profession was in the field of education as Superintendent of Schools in Marseilles, Illinois. A few years later, he enrolled as a medical student at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago and then entered that profession. This profession and life style were never agreed upon by Alchee and her husband, resulting several years later in a separation. At that time, Alchee returned to Cherry Valley where she continued to teach school for a number of years. Two daughters were born to Mr. & Mrs. Waddle. On May 21, 1898, Mary Charlotte was born, and as far as the diaries indicate, she never married but held many positions of responsibility in the Los Angeles, California School system. On January 30, 1903, Caroline A. was born. She married Irving Wade in June of 1926. Two daughters were born to them, Beverly Ann in 1929, and Joyce, born in 1933. Alchee Case Waddle died March 3, 1965.

The next two children of Charles and Charlotte Case died in early childhood. Amon died from the measles in 1877, and Huldah died from diphtheria in 1878. Charles Center, Jr. grew to manhood and became a very successful lawyer in Chicago. Schuyler Winfred entered the medical profession and practiced at Seattle, Washington. Charlotte married Arthur H. Anderson in 1913. He ran a grocery store in Cherry Valley.

Charles Center Case Sr. died on July 11, 1921. Charlotte Hayden Case died August 26, 1935.

David Lamb Case was born in the Amon Case farm home on River Road, Cherry Valley, Illinois on July 29, 1850.

He and his older brother Charles attended the Buck School at the intersection of Wheeler Road and Cherry Valley Road. Among the pupils at that time were Clinton, Perry and Jennie Buck for whose father the school was named.

Later they went to the Henry Freeman High School in Rockford. Early Monday morning the two boys mounted their horses and rode as far as the log house, which was later called “Five Points”. Then Charles walked the rest of the way to school while David rode the horse home. Charles roomed in Rockford during the week. On Friday nights David came with the horse, and the boys returned home together.

David lived and worked on the home farm on River Road until 1873. That year he married Alchee Cottrell and they moved onto the 160 acre farm on Wheeler Road, Sections 8 and 16 in Flora Township, Boone County, owned by his father and deeded over to his son. Alchee Cottrell Case lived only two years after their marriage.

On February 22, 1877, David married Emma Wheeler. She was the daughter of Hanson Wheeler from New Hampshire and Esther Grout Wheeler from Winchester, Massachusetts. The Wheelers had moved to Winnebago County in 1854.

David Case was markedly successful as a farmer, dairyman, and stock raiser. His father had been a severe and thorough teacher.

In addition to his farming activities David found time for duties as an elected Assessor of Flora Township, an office he held for 14 years. He also held offices of Constable and Road Commissioner. He was an active member of Cherry Valley Lodge of Free Masonery. David and Emma were members of the Cherry Valley Baptist Church where he was Superintendent of the Sunday school. On many occasions he substituted as minister at the church services.

In later life David rented his farms, although he continued to be actively engaged in much of the work load. He acquired property in Lake Worth, Florida, where he spent one winter before his death on February 13, 1920, in Cherry Valley in the home of his elder daughter Elizabeth. His wife Emma had preceded him in death on January 9, 1920. They are buried in the Cherry Valley Cemetery.

David and Emma Case had two daughters, Elizabeth born December 9, 1877, and Mable Esther born June 18, 1884. Elizabeth married Dr. Charles E. Klontz and settled in Cherry Valley. Mable Esther married Albert Brown Martin.

Mable Esther Case was born in the original portion of the David Case home on Wheeler Road, Flora Township, Boone County on June 18, 1884. She went to the Buck School at Wheeler and Cherry Valley Roads in the lower grades. She attended high school in Galesburg, Illinois, while her sister was going to Knox College. Later she went to Illinois Normal at Bloomington where she received teacher training. Returning to Cherry Valley she taught classes in the Buck School.

While in high school she met Albert Brown Martin from Galesburg whom she later married October 10, 1906. Their wedding was held in the spacious home to which her father had made an addition a few years earlier. Her husband had been branch manager of Kewanee Boiler Corporation in Chicago for 30 years when he retired in 1950. They often visited her parents at the farm as well as her sister Elizabeth Case Klontz in Cherry Valley. They were active in the Cherry Valley Methodist Church in later years.

During her lifetime Esther Case Martin was active in church affairs and in the Order of the Eastern Star. She was Superintendent of the Sunday school in Minneapolis Baptist Church and was a charter member and the first Worthy Matron of the Winnetka, Illinois Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star.

Albert and Esther Case Martin had one son, Robert Case Martin, born August 16, 1909 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Esther died in the hospital in Rockford following a heart attack at the farm on May 5, 1950. Her husband died in Iowa City, June 26, 1958. They are buried in the Cherry Valley Cemetery.

Robert Case Martin attended the University of Illinois. He married Mary Day of Evanston, Illinois, on December 29, 1934. She lived all her life in Evanston and graduated from Northwestern University, class of 1930.

Their children are Mary Esther, born February 21, 1936, and Helen Louise, born January 2, 1943. Mary married Brice J. DeVos of Hinsdale, Illinois. He is a dentist serving as a Captain in the Navy. They live in Orlando, Florida, and have three children, Jack, Kimberly, and Steven. Helen married James Carpenter of Oberlin, Ohio. They have two children, Elizabeth and Jennifer. They live in Boulder, Colorado.

At the time of Robert’s retirement in 1967, he was Merchandise Manager of the People’s Gas, Light, and Coke Company, Chicago. He had been with them for 34 years. Since his retirement, he and his wife have lived on the farm on Wheeler Road where his mother grew up. They live in the small house in a grove of pine trees planted by his grandfather David Case. Before retirement, their home was in Hinsdale, Illinois.

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