In 1834, DeKalb County was a prairie land.
Communities were established beginning in the southern part of the
county; then slowly moving north. One such southern community was
Franks. If you look for Franks on a current map, you won’t find it.
The only map at the Joiner History Room showing Franks is the 1892
DeKalb County plat map which identifies it as “Fraks P. O.”.
The area (roughly 4 miles square) that would come
to be known as Franks “began” in 1834 as a simple trapper’s log cabin
on the northeast corner of what is now the intersection of Governor
Beveridge and Chicago roads. This cabin was later occupied by
families with surnames Robinson, Root, Easterbrooks, and Beveridge.
If you are from the southern part of the county, you will recognize
these names. Bud Burgin, a Joiner History Room volunteer, was born and
raised in the area. He believes it was first called Somonauk Crossing
and has old letters written to his grandmother addressed as such.
In 1842, the cabin was owned by Mr. Beveridge,
and was the location of the first services of the Presbyterian
pioneers. Four years later the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church
(current name) was officially established and by 1849 a school house
was built near the church to serve as a meeting house as well as a day
school. The congregation grew and prospered and in 1852 the
congregation erected the first country church in the county. By 1858,
the membership was 96 parishioners. These people became the heart of
the community that wouldn’t get a name for 27 years.
In 1858, a regulated system of delivering mail
had not yet been established. If you were expecting an important
letter, you just didn’t go to the end of your driveway or outside your
front door to get your mail. The closest mail station was in Freeland
Corners about three miles east of the church. The next closest was
the small town of Somonauk, five miles to the south. Postal service
was dependent on a local resident or store operator being responsible
for the mail and the “post office” moved from area to area as one
store closed and others opened. In 1885, Freeland Corners stopped
Frank Ritchie, who owned a creamery near the
Presbyterian Church, wanted to keep mail delivery in the area. He
applied to the U. S. Postmaster General for a postal office to be
opened. The post office was given the name Franks, in appreciation
for his work. Thus, the Franks community was “officially”
established. Carrie Beelman, who ran a small store, was the post
mistress. The office was discontinued when Rural Free Delivery was
established. Using the name Franks to identify the community slowly
disappeared as modernization closed the creamery, small stores in the
area closed and towns such as Somonauk grew to be a population center
from which the mail was distributed. The Presbyterian Church remains
as the only evidence that at one time Franks existed.
Past Website Articles
Movie Has DeKalb County Connection
Chicago and North Western Depot
Letitia Westgate and the 1902 Smallpox Season
The Lincoln Statue
First Jury of Sycamore Women
Sycamore Electric Company
Sycamore Wagon Works
Obituary of Phyllis I. Horton Kelly
In Grandmother's Attic
The Own Your Own Home
Fairdale Train Accident
Pictures Show A Sad Time In
Images of Sycamore
The Mighty Maroons
The Mighty Maroons boys' baseball team had this
formal portrait taken at the local M. F. Carlson studio, circa 1900.
Mascot Raymond Branen is front and center. Team members, from
left to right, are (second row) Will Sell and Rex Shield; (third row)
Doug Langhorn, George Murray, Captain Charles B. Townsend, Earl Branen,
and George St. Dennis; (back row) Harry Cornwell, Jim Branen, and
Picture and historical information used with permission of Sue Breese and
the Joiner Room Staff.
See More Like This In
Images of America-Sycamore
Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon and at Local Stores
|The DeKalb County Clerk's office has put online
birth, marriage, death and naturalization records that meet
genealogical guidelines. You can print the
document image for $3.00. Their website is
New Malta Obituary
“A Scrapbook of Obituary
Collections, People with a Connection to the Community of Malta, IL”
Compiled by Dorothy W. Stoddard, December 2012. 3,274 obits.
These obits are not part of our online database. If you are
looking for an obit on someone from the Malta area contact the Joiner
This collection is also for sale
in printed ($80) and CD ($20) formats. All proceeds go to the
Malta Historical Society.
On Sale Now
and Order Form
New Book Acquisitions
This is the story of the Kirkpatricks of DeKalb County, Illinois.
They were peaceful farmers who all attended one small country church.
However, when the Civil War began, four Kirkpatricks--one father, two
sons and one nephew--all answered their country's call and volunteered
to fight for their Union. Two of their diaries from the war years
constitutes the focus of the book. Also included are maps and
Sycamore City Council Minutes
mayor Ken Mundy is a history buff. He has compiled a brief
description of each meeting held by the city council during the years
1858-1949. By reading his work, you get a
historical sense of the important issues for this growing city.
It is an ongoing project. The manuscripts are available for
review at the Joiner History Room.
Adoptee Law Passed By Illinois Legislature
Excerpts From the Chicago Tribune 10 June 2011
Since last year when the bill was signed, about 645 adoptees born in
Illinois before 1946 have been issued their birth certificates.
Starting November 15, 2011, those born after 1946 will be able to do
the same thing. The law also allows birth parents to have
their names redacted from any released birth certificate by filling
out a form by Nov. 1. For more information see
JHR Adoption and Juvenile Court Records
Database Updated February 2012
Home Records 1891-1943
Funeral home records are often overlooked as a source of genealogical
information. Joiner History Room volunteer Fran Besserman
diligently compared a hand-written list of Burkhart burials with obits
available from other sources in our collection. This may be the
only record of a death. Click
here to see list.
This database still under construction but is available
now by clicking on the icon above.
We are working on putting
approximately 40,000 obits into an online, searchable data base. When completed, you will be able to search by name, year of death and
cemetery name. Also available will be the ability to view all
the obits in order of name, and in order of death date. Each
obituary is being scanned and you will be able to print a copy of the
obit. If you don't find the obit you are looking for,
contact the Joiner History Room.
We thank the Douglas C. Roberts
Family for making this possible.
Sycamore True Republican Newspaper Is Online and
The Joiner History Room, the DeKalb County
archive, announces the completion of a year long project to digitize the
Sycamore True Republican. The Joiner History Room along with the
University of Illinois and Shaw Media, parent company of the DeKalb
Chronicle, has worked to digitize the
Sycamore True Republican from 1868 through 1968. Funded by a grant from
the Douglas C.
Roberts Family, the newspaper is fully
searchable for those years and available online, free for everyone. The
Sycamore True Republican was one of DeKalb County’s longest published
newspapers, recording our early history. It is the hope of all involved
that this digitization will help preserve the rich history that was
reported in the newspaper and make it accessible for everyone who wishes
to use it for genealogy or historical research purposes. The newspapers
can be accessed from the website at the University of Illinois through
their Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection (IDNC) at
New Index Available
The Midweek, a current DeKalb County area
publication, has a column called "Looking Back" that has small snipits
of local news dating back to the late 1800's. Most items are one
or two lines long, just enough to give you a flavor of what was
happening at the time. This index covers publication dates from
the start of the column, mid-2010, through December 2012. If you
find an item of interest, e-mail the Joiner History Room with date of
publication and page number.
September 2013 Issue of the
Joiner Room Journal is Online
Can You Help?
Joiner History Room is seeking to add to its archives pre 1960 telephone
books and city directories for the cities of Dekalb and Sycamore. We are
also interested in historical documents pertaining to DeKalb County. You
don't have to send the original historical document, copies will be just
as good. If you have such an item to donate, please email the Joiner
History Room. In the subject line enter "Item to Donate." Thank you.
Joiner Room Honored To
Be Part Of The DeKalb County
Joiner History Room Endowment Fund was established in 2008 to honor Ralph
Joiner and the first appointed DeKalb County historian, Phyllis Kelley.
If you wish to donate to our Endowment Fund, click on the DCCF logo or
send a check directly to The Joiner Room at the address above.
$ .25/page......Photocopy by patron at JHR
.50/page......Photocopies by JHR staff
2.00/scan......By JHR researcher
2.00/each......Photo quality prints
Scans will be emailed. To keep your costs down, we will try
to get as much on one scan as possible. Photocopies by JHR
staff and photo quality prints are sent U.S. mail only.
Postage is also charged.
Sycamore True Republican, 1893