It was first settled by Nelson Salisbury, Harvey Lower, Scott Robb and David Sam who came to the area in 1835. David secured land and built a log cabin on a plot of land in what is now in Durand Township.
Elton was established four miles south of present day Durand on the Pecatonica River. In 1837 residents began settling to the north of where Durand is located today. Because Otter Creek splits into North and South branches, it provided Durand with two water sources in town. As a result, the area attracted more residents.
In 1840 David Sam traveled back to Vermont, married Erixna Campbell and returned to Illinois with his bride, a prize buffalo hide and other essential items in order to set up proper housekeeping. He became a very prosperous man in the area.
In 1852 land was purchased from the Haughton family by the Chicago & North Western Railroad. The train came through Lysander, Illinois, (the area's common name before Pecatonica, Illinois was incorporated by rail speculators in 1869) from Chicago, resulting in the Elton settlement disappearing.
The old Stage Coach stop called the Elton Inn or the Elton House is one of two structures remaining, and is currently being used as a residence. The other remaining building is the little red brick school house which is set back off the road about a 1/2 mile east of the Elton Inn.
A special thanks to Deborah Hilton High for additional information. Deborah is the Great Great Granddaughter of David & Erixna (Campbell) Sam. She is currently living in the old Elton Inn.Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.
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