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Barry Schrader
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I currently write a column every other Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.

 

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A relic of Sarah Bacon Wood is missing

By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................Oct 20, 2015

Note to readers: Barry Schrader’s “DeKalb County Life” column will appear every other Tuesday.

The first “real” daughter of the American Revolution to live and die in northern Illinois is still in her grave at Elmwood Cemetery, but the Sycamore Library no longer has her large portrait on its wall.

Back in 1928, the local Gen. John Stark Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution donated a large framed portrait of pioneer Sycamore woman Sarah Bacon Wood, which was unveiled at a special ceremony.

Last week I checked, then had library staff look into their storage area, but no portrait could be found. The Joiner History Room and Sycamore History Museum don’t have it, either. However,

Pointing out the Real Daughter plaque on the tombstone of Sarah (and Zachariah) Wood in Elmwood Cemetery, Sycamore, is Gen. John Stark Chapter chaplain Anne Rubendall of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
(Photo by Barry Schrader)

considering it was hung 87 years ago and hasn’t been seen for years, I don’t want to blame the current staff. But sometime in the past, someone gave it away or took it home for safekeeping. It may still hang in a Sycamore house, so check with your neighbors to see if it might be found.

The first “real” daughter of the American Revolution to live and die in northern Illinois is still in her grave at Elmwood Cemetery, but the Sycamore Library no longer has her large portrait on its wall.

Back in 1928, the local Gen. John Stark Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution donated a large framed portrait of pioneer Sycamore woman Sarah Bacon Wood, which was unveiled at a special ceremony.

Last week I checked, then had library staff look into their storage area, but no portrait could be found. The Joiner History Room and Sycamore History Museum don’t have it, either. However, considering it was hung 87 years ago and hasn’t been seen for years, I don’t want to blame the current staff. But sometime in the past, someone gave it away or took it home for safekeeping. It may still hang in a Sycamore house, so check with your neighbors to see if it might be found.

Wood was important in the history of Sycamore as well as being the daughter of Revolutionary War soldier John Bacon. Bacon was part of the Relief of Boston in the Lexington Alarm in 1775. He also served as a private in Connecticut and fought in four battles with fellow Vermont troops. His daughter Sarah was born in Vermont in 1783, and so may have recalled her father relating his part in winning America’s independence.

I must pause to mention there is another original daughter of the Revolution buried in the Kingston Cemetery, Mrs. Lydia Young Stuart, but that’s a story for later.

The reason I looked into all this is the Elmwood Cemetery Heritage Walk this month included a story about Wood, as told by JoAnn Minter. Also there representing the local DAR chapter was Chaplain Anne Rubendall, who told me about the DAR and its objectives: historical preservation, promotion of education, and patriotic endeavors.

More about Wood I found in the archives of the Sycamore History Museum: She and her husband Zachariah Wood left their native Vermont to relocate on unclaimed land in the Midwest, ending up in what is now Sycamore Township sometime in 1835.

Other white settlers, the first in the region, arriving here the same year were the Lattins, Whites, Darlings, Chartres, Novbos, Kelloggs and Lamois. Each family had to find available land, build a cabin and begin to work the soil.

The Woods had nine children and Sarah was already 52 years old, so it must have been quite an ordeal to leave her home in an established New England community to find herself among the first white settlers in a region with no stores, churches, schools or even roads, most likely. They constructed a cabin of unknown dimensions for their family of 11, then had to find wild game and other staples to survive during the winter before even planting their first crop. But they survived, Zachariah living here 18 years until 1853, and Sara 26 years until 1861. Their last child, Henry, died in 1901.

The DAR unveiled the “Real Daughter” plaques on Sarah’s monument in Elmwood and Lydia Stuart’s gravestone in Kingston the same day. Future judge Ross Millet delivered an address about the two women at both sites August 10, 1928.

These pioneer women deserve to be remembered for their courage and resourcefulness to survive in this untamed wilderness and feed their families. Kids today can’t fathom a time when you couldn’t just use your cellphone to order a pizza or KFC, much less go out hunting for a deer to bring home and cut up to be cooked over a fireplace or wood stove.

By the way, the local DAR was organized in 1907 and has honored many Revolutionary War era citizens, as well as providing educational programs and scholarships for young people. They may be contacted through Regent (president) Louise Llewellyn, Vice Regent Dawn Wexell and Registrar Jan Berning, in addition to the above mentioned Rubendall.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115