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The Articles started December 2007.
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Updating the county's history book
By Barry Schrader.................................June
needed, and Martin invites those who might be interested
to contact him.
It will soon be 50 years since the book "From Oxen to
Jets, A History of DeKalb County 1835-1963" was published,
and the DeKalb County Historical-Genealogical Society has decided
to do an update.
Compiled by Harriett Wilson Davy
back in the early 1960s, the first edition was a hardcover book
with 270 pages, covering the years from the countys beginnings
in 1835 up to 1963. The book project was funded by the DeKalb
County Board then, but this time the historical society plans
to seek other funding and private donations to complete a new
edition. Full disclosure: I am a member of the society's board.
After two meetings of the book committee, headed
by recently retired Kishwaukee College educator Terry Martin,
several people have come forward to offer help in writing some
of the chapters which will carry the countys story forward
50 years. People such as Joan Hardekopf from Sandwich, Sherrie
Martin from Waterman, and Ron Klein, Sue Breese, Jerry Smith
and Al Golden from DeKalb have indicated a willingness to focus
on their areas of interest. But more volunteer writers and researchers
From Oxen to Jets book cover. (Schrader photo)
A professional editor will be
required to serve as the overall project coordinator and an interview
panel has been assembled to interview those prospects who have
been identified so far. There is also discussion about employing
a business manager. The historical society has voted on a preliminary
budget to begin work once an editor is hired. I would hope that
the book will be ready for sale by late 2012 so people can order
one for Christmas that year.
Chapters will be
similar in most cases to those in the "Oxen to Jets"
edition, such as agriculture, county government, industries,
medicine, law and the courts, education from elementary through
college level, churches, the local news media, townships and
cities, organizations, historical sites and outstanding public
For those who have an interest in local
history, some prior books are also in libraries that have portrayed
DeKalb County and its residents over the years, but most are
out of print, including "Oxen to Jets." You may be
familiar with the "History of DeKalb County" by Henry
Boies, published in 1868, the "Past and Present of DeKalb
County," written by Lewis Gross in 1907 and the more recent
publications produced by Steve Bigolin.
question in my mind is what to name the new book: Just "Oxen
to Jets Volume II," "Beyond Oxen to Jets,"
or the mundane title "DeKalb County History from 1963 to
2013." Martin hopes for some better ideas. You can offer
your suggestions or other help by contacting him at 815-756-4030.
When returning to DeKalb County in 2006, I was so
impressed with the historical societys book that had just
come out: "Rural School Journeys: A Legacy of Learning,"
which covered the history of the one-room country schools and
the early years of education in DeKalb County. It will be hard
to top the quality of that product, but lets hope it can
at least be matched.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115