Located in the Sycamore Public Library
103 E. State Street
Sycamore, IL 60178

Tuesday and Thursday

James H. Beverage and the Sycamore Bank Failure of 1866

James H. Beverage was raised in DeKalb County, the son of George and Ann (Hoy) Beverage. James was drawn to politics and was a founding member of the Republican party in DeKalb County.  He was regarded as upstanding and trustworthy.  Possibly because of his reputation, the citizens of Sycamore felt secure in depositing their money in the Sycamore Bank.  Beverage was its President; a William J. Hunt was Vice-President; and an E. T. Hunt was its Cashier. 

Beverage was also state treasurer and spent most of his time in Springfield.  The bank’s day-to-day operations were left to the cashier who is described in the 1868 Boies book, History of DeKalb County, Illinois, as a man who had expensive habits and reckless management techniques.  This led to the bank’s failure on November 2, 1866.

One of the accounts in the bank at the time of its failure was the account money collected for the Civil War monument that was to be built on the courthouse grounds.  When the bank failed $60,000 in deposits was lost including the memorial money.  Shortly thereafter, the senior Hunt died and E. T. Hunt left town for Chicago.

Beverage felt responsible to the customers who trusted him.  A plan was devised whereby he would personally repay a portion of the monies lost.  On October 1, 1867, Beverage and his wife filed mortgage papers on the farming property they owned in Somonauk Township.  The mortgage listed Orlando M. Bryan, Chauncey Ellwood and Charles Boynton as trustees for the creditors of the Sycamore Bank. If Beverage defaulted on the plan, the trustees were given the authority to sell the property.

The Joiner History Room has copies of the mortgage and a portion of the repayment notes, shown above.  The amount of the notes range from $4.37 owed to a Henry Moore to $1,078.15 owed to a George P. Wild.

In 1871, the Sycamore True Republican issued a challenge to revisit the memorial idea. County citizens slowly donated money once again.  The monument was dedicated on June 24, 1897.  It was refurbished in 2015.  The monument proudly stands in honor of those men from DeKalb County who fought in the Civil War.

Historical Photos Available on Flickr

Over 700 photos from the Floyd Ritzman Collection which are part of the Northern Illinois University Digital Library are now available on Flickr at https://flic.kr/s/aHskqwXroS.  This collection of photos, taken in and around DeKalb County, was formerly part of the Taming the Wild Prairie website. Thanks to Matthew Short at NIU for making these historical photos available.

Illinois Adoption Law Passed By Illinois Legislature

Under this law, original birth certificates cannot be issued in person by state or county vital statistics offices.    This law allows adult adopted persons born in Illinois to request non-certified copies of their original birth certificates through the Illinois Department of Public Health.  In most cases, the original birth certificate will list the first and last names of one or both birth parents.    Birth parents of adopted persons born after January 1, 1946, may request that their names be deleted from this non-certified copy. All birth parents may indicate their preferences regarding contact with their adult birth child. The options available under this new law are different for adopted persons, birth parents and their family members. The options available also change depending on the date of birth of the adult adopted person.  For more information see www.newillinoisadoptionlaw.com.

Birth, Marriage, Death and Naturalization Records

The DeKalb County Clerk's office has birth, marriage, death and naturalization indexes online.These records meet genealogical guidelines.  Their website is www.dekalbgenealogy.com.

Malta Obituary Collection

“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 Malta Historical Society. This collection is also for sale in printed ($80) and CD ($20) formats.  All proceeds go to the Malta Historical Society.


Copying/Scanning/Mailing Pricing

$ .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


DeKalb Daily Chronicle Available Online

Due to the generosity of the Douglas C. and Lynn M. Roberts Foundation, a large selection of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle is available free online.  The issues are searchable.  Issues available cover the period January 2, 1918 through December 31, 1930.  Issues dated between June 1, 1930 and November 30, 1930 are missing. You can access this database at http://idnc.library.illinois.edu/cgi-bin/illinois?a=q&l=en.

Newspapers.com has made available past issues of the DeKalb Chronicle (1879-1895) and the Daily Chronicle (1895-1963).  These issues are searchable. Newspapers.com requires a paid subscription.


Obituary Database Reaches Milestone

We now have over 35,000 obituaries in our online, searchable database.  The link to the database is above.  Joiner History Room volunteers have worked for two years inputing obituaries. Because this is an ongoing project, we have many more obituaries to input and you may not find what you are looking for. Please contact us via email if this is the case.  

Burial Permit and Removal Permit List Available

A Burial Permit was initiated by the funeral home to report to the Department of Public Health where a deceased person was buried.  The information includes name, identifying information, date and place of death, cause of death and where buried.  A Removal Permit had to be completed if a buried body was to be moved to a different cemetery.  The Joiner History Room has a limited list of names, dates of death, and cemetery where buried.  This is not a complete listAccess list here.

Looking Back 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.
Access Index

Burkhart Funeral Home Records

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.
View list here.

Our New Look

The Joiner History Room’s new website look was made possible by the Douglas C. and Lynn M. Roberts Family Foundation.  We are deeply grateful for their support.  The website was designed by Trittenhaus Design of Sycamore.  Many pages had to be transferred to the new look and we think they did a spectacular job.  Thank you to both organizations.

Joiner Room Honored To Be Part Of The DeKalb County Community Foundation

The 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 here or send a check directly to The Joiner Room at the address above.