History of Goose Lake Illinois

One of the newer divisions of Grundy County is Goose Lake Township, which was taken from Felix Township, and its history consequently, is similar to that of the territory from which it was carved, but has interesting features of its own. In pioneer days a large body of water here was the home of countless wild geese, hence Goose Lake was an appropriate name. The lake now is comparatively insignificant, but the wild goose still nests here and the name of the township perpetuates the pioneer name.

In 1897, Goose Lake Township was cut off from Felix, and since then has had its independent history. A petition signed by the legal voters and freeholders of Felix Township, was presented to the honorable Board of Supervisors of Grundy County, Illinois, at their July meeting in 1897, praying for a division of the Township of Felix as follows: All that part of said township outside of a territory measuring four (4) miles from east to west, and three (3) miles from north to south in the southeast corner of said township (which was to remain and constitute the Town of Felix) prayed to be separated from the Town of Felix, and erected into a new town to be known as Jugtown. The said petition was favorably received by the Board of Supervisors and the usual posting of notices and other legal requirements ordered and complied with. The said petition then came up for final action at the September meeting of the Board of Supervisors and was granted.

Goose Lake Name

The name of Jugtown not proving satisfactory, the name of Goose Lake was suggested to, and confirmed by, the auditor of the State of Illinois, and ratified by the supervisors April 11, 1898. Orders were also issued calling the caucus and election provided for by law in such cases, and the election was held in the Jugtown schoolhouse on the 12th day of October, 1897. The judges of said election were: Israel Dudgeon, Walter Phillips and David Henneberry, and clerks of said election were Geo. Brooks and S.C. Miller.

First Settler

Peter Lamsett was probably the earliest settler of this locality, having hunted game through here as early as 1820, and, being attracted by its many possibilities, made it his permanent home, although not the owner of any property. To him belongs the honor of having discovered the first coal in the neighborhood, but he never profited by his pioneer experiences to any considerable extent, for he was a nomad, and was never so happy as when roaming about, carefree. Thus his name alone preserves his memory.

W.A. Halloway was the first to purchase land here, buying on Section 12, in 1835, at the point where afterwards a wooden bridge was built across the Mazon River, but in 1840 he went to Bloomington, Wis. Many of the earliest pioneers followed this course. While they invested in land they were not all willing to settle down permanently until the conditions came up with their expectations, many looking to others to bring these favorable conditions about.

Abram Holderman also bought land in 1835, and turned the property over to his son, Henry Holderman. The latter remained on it a year, and then it came into the hands of his brother, Barton, who also left, and in 1847 or 1848, Samuel Holderman became the owner. To the original farm, he added until he was the owner of 5,000 acres and one of the wealthiest men in this part of the county. In 1839, Abram White, Mr. Kelso and Martin Luther took up claims, and became pioneers of the township. John Beard was another man who was an early settler, and was one who left his impress upon his times. William White came in 1838, and lived well into the `90s. During the War of 1812, he served his country as a gallant soldier, and drew a pension to the day of his death.

The pioneers of this locality experienced but little difficulty with the Indians, finding them when well treated, kindly of nature and helpful in putting up the log cabins, and hunting game. There was plenty of the latter in the early days, deer, squirrels, otter, raccoons, muskrats, quail and prairie chickens being in abundance, the flesh of some furnishing food, and the furs of others clothing. There were also many wolves.

The low land prevailing, made the early and profitable cultivation of the soil difficult, and it was not until modern drainage methods came into general use that Goose Lake Township land was made to yield as it has proved capable of doing.

As yet, Goose Lake Township is entirely agricultural, but much of the soil is a wet clay, suitable for time manufacture of pottery, and it is believed by those who have the future of the township at heart, that the manufacture of earthenware is destined to become a very important interest of this part of the county.

As in the case in every new community, a few houses, a tavern, a blacksmith shop, and perhaps a church, gradually were erected about the cross-roads store, in different places in the township, but no large villages resulted, owing to the proximity of larger communities that furnish all the necessities and many of the luxuries of life.


Israel Dudgeon, 1897-1907; Frank J. Holderman, 1908-1909; Walter Phillips, 1910-1911; Frank Collins, 1912-1913; C.E. Anderson, 1914.


Source: History of Grundy County, Munsell Publishing Company, 1914

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