Sunday, August 12, 2018

Lost Towns of Illinois - The Town of Rand.

Des Plaines, Illinois originally started as a settlement in 1835 an became the ”Town of Rand," the name being given in honor of landowner Socrates Rand.[1]

Pottawattamie, Ottawa, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) Indian tribes inhabited the Des Plaines River Valley prior to Europeans' arrival. When French explorers and missionaries arrived in the 1670s in what was then the Illinois Country of New France (Canada), they named the waterway La Rivière des Plaines ("River of the Plane Tree") as they felt that trees on the river resembled the European plane trees.
The Des Plaines River.
The first white settlers came from the eastern United States after the 1833 Treaty of Chicago, followed by many German immigrants during the 1840s and '50s. In the 1850s, the land in this area was purchased by the Illinois and Wisconsin Land Company along a railroad line planned between Chicago and Janesville, Wisconsin. In 1852, the developers built a steam-powered mill next to the river to cut local trees into railroad ties. Socrates Rand then bought the mill and converted it into a grist mill, which attracted local farmers. The Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad made its first stop in the area in the fall of 1854.
Excerpt from a map of the Counties of Cook and DuPage, the east part of Kane and Kendall, the north part of Will, state of Illinois, published in 1851.
The Town of Rand in Maine Township, Cook County, Illinois was platted in 1857 and contained the subdivision of the south half of the southwest quarter of Section 16, part of the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 17, the northeast quarter of Section 20, and the northwest quarter and part of the northeast quarter of Section 21, and subdivided into streets, alleys and lots, numbered from one to sixty-nine and from seventy-two to one hundred and seventy-nine inclusive. Rand was comprised of four square miles of land.

This plat was acknowledged September 5, 1857, by Henry Smith, trustee of the Illinois & Wisconsin Land Company, proprietors of said lands, also as attorney in fact for said company, and also by John Irel ton and Reuben E. Demmon, trustees of said company. It was recorded September 7, 1857.

The name of the town was changed to Des Plaines by act of the Legislature, approved April 15, 1869.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.


[1] Socrates Rand was a pioneer who arrived from Massachusetts in 1835, was one of the first to settle along the river north of what is now Dempster Street. Quite a string of "firsts" are associated with Rand. As the area's first justice of the peace, he performed the first wedding in 1836. He hosted many early Episcopalian and Methodist services in his home, and his cheese room became the first schoolroom--for 15 pupils--in 1838. Rand helped organize Maine Township and was chairman of the first meeting in 1850.

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