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Monday, September 20, 2021

Kate's Brief History


From the 1874 DuPage Atlas – Philip Beckman

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In 1853, the Peter and Eleanore Beckman family emigrated from Bavaria with three daughters and four sons. One of the teenaged sons was Philip, who had already been apprenticed in harness-making. Starting on the east coast, Philip worked his way to Chicago and by 1859, he was settled in Naperville with his new bride, Elizabeth Pfeiffer.

Philip was employed at Martin Ward’s harness shop on the corner of Washington Street and what used to be known as Water Street, now an extension of Chicago Avenue. Philip eventually bought out Ward and ran the harness and saddlery for many years, tanning hides and furs, making his own horse collars, and selling manufactured goods such as buggy whips. By 1893, it became obvious that buggy whips were going the way of, well, buggy whips and Philip sold the business. 

Philip tore down Ward’s original frame building and built a two-story brick structure in its place. That building was then taken down during the 1920s and Jimmy’s Grill now operates on the point where his shop once stood. 

During his Naperville years, Philip served as a volunteer fireman, school director, and city road commissioner. He and Elizabeth also owned farmland that they rented out and grew their family to nine children, all of whom were musical. The Beckmans owned both a grand piano as well as a pump organ and everyone enjoyed singing. 

The Beckmans are also credited with installing one of the first telephones in the city, which meant there weren’t many locations to call. The Beckman phone in the harness shop connected to the family home on Loomis Street, with vibrating screens on each side as alerts. The family story is that Philip could yank on the wire at the shop which vibrated at the house so his wife knew he was on his way home for lunch. 

On the Riverwalk where Chicago Avenue dead-ends at Main Street, there is an iron trough-turned-fountain. While the facts are still being debated, it is likely that the horse trough was originally erected by the Beckman family. An advertisement in the 1886 Hollands Business Directory points out that the Beckman harness shop is “Near the Fountain” and the Naperville Area Farm Families History recalls that Philip established a horse trough in the street near his shop for customers and others to water their horses. 

From the 1874 DuPage Atlas – Joseph S. Ferry

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Joseph Sanford Ferry arrived in DuPage County in 1838 as a nine-year-old when his parents, Sylvanus and Rhoda, moved from New York via Terra Haute. The family lived in Warrenville at first until his father bought his own land. Sylvanus, unfortunately, died not long after. 

When Joseph was sixteen, his uncles helped the family purchase fifty-three acres of farmland. Within a few years, Joseph had sold that farm and bought another more than twice the size. During that time, Joseph married and started a family. Joseph didn’t have access to much education in his youth, but his wife, Sophronia, was a school teacher. In order for the children to attend school, they moved into the city of Aurora a few years later and Joseph sold the farm. 

While the Civil War certainly was an unfortunate influence, Aurora grew rapidly in the mid-1800s, aided by the many factories that were powered by the Fox River. Joseph became a builder and developer while living in the city and “purchased residence property and vacant lots on which he erected several neat dwelling houses.” 

The expansive “farm scene” depicted in the atlas engraving is probably the farm he moved to in 1873 since the atlas was published in 1874. According to a map in the same atlas, Joseph’s acreage was southwest of the town of Naperville. Northwest of Naperville is another plot labeled “M Ferry,” which belonged most likely to Melancthon, Joseph’s brother. Melancthon was married three times and sired a number of children. His family farmed the homestead until the 1970s and inspired the name of Ferry Road. There was also a sister, Louisa, who never married. 

Joseph Ferry only remained on the farm in the engraving until 1890 when he and his wife, Sophronia, moved back into Aurora. Sophronia taught school in DuPage County as well as in Vermont and New York, where she lived before her marriage. Both her great-grandfather, Col. Seth Warner, and her grandfather, Israel Putnam Warner, were Revolutionary War veterans, although Israel was only a nine-year-old messenger and scout during the war. 

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From the 1874 DuPage Atlas – Dr. John A. Bell

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Over his long life, (90 years!) Dr. Bell made it his mission to serve.  Born in Ohio in 1838, Bell’s family moved to Abingdon, Illinois when he was about fifteen years old. 

At eighteen, Bell started studying medicine with Dr. Andrew McFarland, Superintendent of the Insane Asylum of Jacksonville, Illinois. During the end of his training, the Civil War broke out and Bell served the 10th Illinois Infantry as Assistant Surgeon during the years 1861 and 1862. 

Also in 1861, Bell married a girl he was courting in Jacksonville, Elizabeth Eagle. Once Bell was released from war duties, the young couple lived in Jacksonville and then in Cambridge before resettling in Naperville in 1868. 

While already practicing medicine, it was during this time that Bell received a medical degree from the Hahnemann Homœopathic Medical College of Chicago. Soon after, he went into partnership with Dr. Charles Nauman, another Hahnemann student, which continued for about ten years, until 1884.

In 1881, Bell and a partner took over a drug store on Jefferson Avenue which had previously been operated by Frank Morse, a druggist, and Dr. Hamilton Daniels. Dr. Daniels house is now one of the featured buildings at Naper Settlement, moved from its former location on Washington Street. Morse has many connections to Naperville’s earliest settlers, including being brother-in-law to Robert Naper, Joseph and Almeda’s son, through his sister, Amelia.

Bell’s partner at the drug store was William Wallace Wickel and the shop was known as Wickel and Bell. Apparently Wickel became the sole owner within a year or two and continued operating the drug store until 1915 when he turned it over to his son-in-law, Louis Oswald, who changed the name of the store. Louis eventually ceded ownership to his own son-in-law, but they kept the name Oswald’s, which is what the pharmacy is still known as today, although it is no longer on Jefferson Avenue. 

In addition to practicing medicine and owning a drug store, Bell also served as a village trustee and alderman. He was president of the Nichols Library board, presiding over its grand opening, and was elected Master of the local Masonic lodge, Euclid, more than once. 

His wife Elizabeth passed away in 1908 after 47 years of marriage and a few years later, at age 73, Bell married a local wido


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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Don and Kate Gingold


Kate and husband Don have been building websites since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

As the Internet has evolved, producing books and marketing them has become much more complicated. Whether traditionally-published or self-published, authors today need to know their way around websites, blogging, social media and other online marketing tools.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs, small- to medium-business owners and not-for-profit directors. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Frequently Kate also writes about tips specific to authors, some of which are available here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.


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