My Present Past
A genealogical experience
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Wyanet, Illinois
There are four distinct locations that are very important to me as to the origins of my ancestors.
The first would be where it all began on American soil, Charlemont, Franklin County, Massachusetts, next would
be Wyanet, Bureau County, Illinois, then Argentine, Wyandotte County, Kansas and of course my hometown,
Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. Not to say that the other numerous locations my predecessors inhabited were
not as important but these four stand out to myself as the most significant.

Wyanet, Illinois is meaningful because this is where my great grandmother, Sara Ellyn Nichols was born, raised
and met her future husband, Edward John Engel. Both families had a very active presence in both the Wyanet
and Bureau County area. In the following pages you will meet and learn about the friends and relatives of the
Nichols and Engel families, who were living in or visited Wyanet, Illinois from 1855 to 1935.  Also included in
this section are descriptions of the organizations, schools and businesses in Wyanet.

In the
Railroad section of this site there is an extensive pictorial and documentary covering the careers of
both the Nichols and Engel's family, friends and co-workers.

I hope you enjoy the accounts and experiences of my ancestors.


Background: Sadie Engel's Guest Book 1878-1928
The very first approach of civilization in Bureau County was commenced in Wyanet Township by Bulbona at
Bulbona Grove. After him came John M. Gay, who settled on section 4. Thomas Washburn came in 1831 and
settled a little west of the county farm on section 23. Benjamin Lamb and James Triplett were also settlers
about 1834. John Phillips settled on section 10 and E Chilson on section 35 and George Coleman made the first
improvements on what is now the county farm in 1833. In 1834, Edward and Aquilla Triplett made claims,
Solomon Sapp, Lemuel and Rufus Carey arrived in 1835. Ellis and Edward Mercer, Milton Cain, Thomas Clark,
William Allen, William Frankenberger and James Hamrick were also among the early settlers. In 1837,
Ellis Mercer built a sawmill on Big Bureau, sections 37 and 27 and the first flouring mill was built on section 35
by Amos Leonard. West Bureau passes through this township and along its course quite a good deal of timber is
found. Center Prairie also in this township, is one of the richest tracts of land in the county.  Wyanet for many
years was one of the best grain markets in this part of the state with the first carload of grain being shipped
in 1854 by William Moffatt. The first warehouse was erected in 1855, including the Chicago Burlington & Quincy
was laid out in 1856 by Henry King, John Stubbs erected a blacksmith shop and William Moffatt put up the first
house. The first man to establish a place of business the same year was Franklin Crittenden, which consisted of
a home dwelling and store that is now in 1877, the residence of
Albert Hugo. The Wyanet House was built in
1858, also by Frank Crittenden. The town is so well located that it can choose either the
Chicago Rock Island
railroad, the
Chicago Burlington and Quincy railroad or the Hennepin canal for the transportation of its
products.   The village was first incorporated in 1857 by a special prior to the general law of 1872. Wyanet
re-incorporated under the general law on May 26th, 1891.
The population of Wyanet Township in 1900 was 901; the Village of Wyanet was 902.
Here is a partial list of people and organizations included in this section.
John B. Engel
Jacobine Hauter Engel
Edward John Engel
Katherine Engel Hugo
Albert Gustave Hugo
David Thomas Nichols
Hulda Gertrude Barry Nichols
William Irving Nichols
Minerva Henrietta Nichols
Horace Wesley Nichols
Sarah Ellyn Nichols
Clarissa Eunice Nichols
Clifford Lamotte Nichols
Emerette Alma Nichols
James Crawford
David Thomas Crawford
Henry Lee Crawford
Robert Irving Crawford
John Blaine
Malvina Anna Barry Blaine
Jennie Anna Blaine
Charles Chancellor Blaine
William Barry Blaine
John Blaine Jr.
Samuel F. Crossett
Elizabeth Aldrich
Percy L. Aldrich
Edward M. Armstrong
Paul Bansen
Frank Giles Cross
Constant Brown
Joseph L. Kitchen
Lewis O. Gould
William F. Bennett
Charles E. Michaels
Pauline A. Snyder
Susan B. Anthony
Matilda H. Engel
Lewis Tucker Cobb
Edward Kellogg Cobb
Lucy Ann Yearnshaw
John Yearnshaw
Sarah Elizabeth Green
Rev. J. F. Yates
Bureau County Ag Society
Women's Christian Temperence
Son's of Temperence
 
David Thomas Nichols was born August 03, 1812 to Joshua and Sarah Sally (Cook) Nichols in Broadalbin (Fonda's
Bush) Montgomery County, New York. In 1829 he moved to Livingston County, New York. He married Clarisa
Watkins on November 20, 1834 and they had three children, William Irving, June 08, 1836, Minerva Henrietta,
September 24, 1838 and Horace Wesley, July 27, 1842. In 1839, the family moved to Chicago, Cook County,
Illinois where David worked as a
harness maker, living with his older brother, Dexter Moses Cook Nichols.
Clarisa died on December 01, 1845 and afterwards he moved to Kane County, Illinois in 1846.

David then married
Hulda Gertrude Barry on May 14, 1846 in St Charles, Kane County, Illinois. Their marriage
produced six children,
Clarissa Eunice, August 02, 1847, Dexter Alonzo, January 08, 1849, David Thomas, June
11, 1853,
Sarah Ellyn, December 15, 1854, Clifford Lamotte, November 30, 1856 and Emerette Alma,
December 10, 1858. The family moved from Kane County and purchased a farm in Wyanet Township in 1853.

In 1854
David was approached by Colonel C. G. Hammond who was then the Superintendent of the Chicago
Burlington & Quincy Railroad and was asked to take a ride to
Mendota, which he did and while on the way Col.
Hammond proposed that he should take the position as the agent at Wyanet. His answer was that he knew
nothing of this new fangled mode of transportation nor did he care to but Col. Hammond prevailed and he
accepted the job. He went to
Princeton and studied with the agent there for a half of a day and returned to
Wyanet to start his new job. In the beginning there was no depot and there were only day trains so David drove
into town on his wagon in the morning and in the evening, out again. Afterward he had a boxcar for a depot until a
station was erected in 1856. During his time as the station agent at Wyanet, 1854-1893 he also served as the
same capacity as an agent for the American Express Company. He also had a two year stint at the
Buda station
for the same road during this same time. He was also the Town Supervisor and Trustee for the Village of
Wyanet from 1867-1874. On November 01, 1870 he was accepted as a Deputy Grand Worthy Patriarch,
District #76, Wyanet Division #861 of the
Sons of Temperance. He was also a member of the Wyanet Lodge,
#231, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
During his time in Wyanet, D. T. Nichols was regarded as an upstanding and respected citizen who was always
there to lend a helping hand. David Thomas Nichols died
December 10, 1893 in Wyanet, Illinois.

In the death of Mr. Nichols, Wyanet loses a citizen whom she has always been proud to own. As a man his
judgement, sincerity and uprightness were never questioned by those whom he had any dealings. As a husband,
father and grandfather, the love that existed between him and the members of his family was fully attested
by the number who gathered at his casket's side before he should be placed in his last earthly home. As an
official in the capacity of Station Agent he was always courteous and just. No difficulties ever arose of which
he suggested a settlement by warlike methods. His counsel always was for peace. And as the sun has gone down
on a life that has not fallen short, it is but to rise on a still brighter day.       M.G.W.
David Thomas Nichols                                                                                                    Wyanet, Illinois
December 26, 1877