Jo Daviess County

Bird’s Eye Primrose (Primula mistassinica)

Image of Primrose in Apple River Canyon.
Herman Silas Pepoon (1860-1941) was a local naturalist with a particular focus on the plants of Illinois and the Midwest. He spent a considerable amount of time exploring Apple River Canyon, where he identified and collected over 500 species of plants. One of his most noteworthy discoveries in the canyon was Bird’s Eye Primrose (Primula mistassinica), a plant previously found only in more northerly locations.

Senate Desk of John C. McKenzie

Image of original Illinois State Senate desk used by Jonh C. McKenzie.

original desk from the floor of the Illinois State Senate
This desk was from the original furniture purchased and used in the current Senate Chamber of the State Capitol Building in Springfield.
circa 1888 - 1900

John C. McKenzie (1860-1941) began his career as a lawyer in the small village of Elizabeth in northwestern Illinois. He served in the Illinois House from 1892 to 1896 and in the Illinois Senate from 1900 until 1911.  He used this desk until the State ordered new ones for both chambers.

Cradle Reaper

Image of cradle Reaper used on the Glenn Droegmiller family farm, near Elizabeth, Illinois.

Cradle Reaper used on the Glenn Droegmiller family farm.
used on their Snipe Hollow farm near Elizabeth in NW IL
late 1800s

A cradle reaper was used to cut crops such as wheat, oats, and hay and then rake the cut crop into a single row. Pitchforks would then be used to throw the harvested crop into a wagon to be hauled to the farmer's barn for storage. This particular cradle reaper was used on the Snipe Hollow Farm near Elizabeth, Illinois, sometime in the late 1800s. 

Telegraph Instruments

Image of telegraph instruments, telegraphy bay at the railway depot in Elizabeth, Illinois.

Installed by the Minnesota & Northwestern Railroad in 1888, which became the Chicago Great Western Railway in 1892, then the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad in 1968, abandoned in 1972

The telegraph, invented by Samuel F.B Morse in 1844, opened nearly instant communication with the wider world, and railroads quickly lined their tracks with telegraph poles, continuing to use this infrastructure long after later inventions such as the telephone were commonplace. Today, a train's diesel horn still sounds the letter 'Q' in Morse code at all grade crossings: dash, dash, dot, dash.

National Cash Register

Image of brass National Cash Register used in "Bishop's Busy Big Store", Elizabeth, Illinois.
From its opening in 1905, O.M. Bishop called his store "The Busy Big Store," advertising five departments (clothing, shoes, groceries, variety, and dishes) under one roof. On the second floor, the biggest theater in the county at its opening, the Lyric Theater, showed movies from 1916-1931. This space also served as a community meeting house where dances, suppers, vaudeville shows, graduations, and even roller skating took place.

Galena Ore

Image of Galena Ore
Well before Illinois became a state, Native American tribes (the Sac and Fox) living in the area mined galena ore (lead sulfide), the source of lead.  Pioneer settlers also exploited the area’s lead resources, eventually displacing the Native Americans who first mined here. In the 1820s, galena ore became the focus of the first major “mineral rush” in the United States. By the end of the 1820s, the city of Galena rivaled Chicago in size. 
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