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Metcalf Family Records (Riley Township, McHenry County)


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Administrative Information

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Box 4

Addendum 1

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Metcalf Family Records (Riley Township, McHenry County), 1832-1916 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Metcalf Family Records (Riley Township, McHenry County), 1832-1916

ID: RHC/RC/246

Extent: 3.0 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 07/25/2000. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Climate, James, John W., Marengo (Ill.), Metcalf Family, Meteorology, Riley Township, McHenry County

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Metcalf Family records date from 1832 to 1916 and include three cashbooks and forty-three volumes of  weather diaries kept by John W. James.  Two of the cashbooks were kept by Ralph Metcalf.  The weather diaries, while not a complete run, are of interest to researchers doing research in crop cycles, climatological history, and daily life.

Collection Historical Note

McKendree Bishop (M.B.) Metcalf was born June 16, 1829, in Geauga County, Ohio to Joseph and Hannah Stevens Metcalf.  He moved to Riley Township, McHenry County in 1845 with his parents.  His father died in 1846 and his mother moved to Iowa and spent the rest of her life with another son.  In 1852, M.B. went to California for six years where he engaged in mining and ran a cattle ranch.  Metcalf returned to Illinois and in 1867 he bought a 200-acre farm in Section 12 of Riley Township, McHenry County.  Metcalf married Susan West Rockwood on June 8, 1859.  Rockwood was born in New York in 1838 to William Horton and Susan Goldsmith West Rockwood.  M.B. and Susan had eight children, R. Winthrop, George A., Charles E., Walter Bradford, Ralph West, Edith M. and two infant sons deceased.  M.B. died April 15, 1900 and Susan died in 1906.  Both are buried in Marengo Cemetery.

Also living with M.B. and Susan as a farm laborer was her cousin, John W. James from New York.  He never married but worked as a volunteer astronomer keeping weather diaries from 1860 till his death on October 31, 1917.  James was part of the second oldest weather stations in Illinois.  O.P. Rogers started keeping records in 1855.  James continued from 1860 to about 1917.  Other Marengoans responsible for keeping records include N.V. Woleben, Frank Mack, Ernest Woolley, Miss Claire Loofbourrow and Harold Hyde.

R. Winthrop was born in 1860 and died in 1869.  George A. was born in 1861 and died in 1888.  He set up a hardware business in Janesville, WI.  Charles E. was born in 1864 and died in 1881 from typhoid fever.  Walter Bradford was born March 1, 1867.  He discovered the barium cocktail, did other early research with x-rays, and authored a book on the lymphatic system.  Edith M. was born in 1875 and died about six years later of scarlet fever.

M.B. and Susan’s son, Ralph West, took over the family farm.  He was born in 1869 and married Hildegarde Sandström.  Hildegarde was born in 1883.  They had a son named Ralph West Metcalf, Jr.  Ralph, Sr. became acting postmaster of Marengo on December 31, 1933 and permanent postmaster on May 3, 1934.  Ralph died October 8, 1948 and Hildegarde died March 18, 1935.  Both are buried in Marengo Cemetery.

Ralph Jr. married Dorothy Lois on September 10, 1950.  They had two children, Susan Lynn and Marcia Alison.  Susan married Gail Lawrence Bethard on August 12, 1972 and divorced on May 17, 1984.  They had two children, Christine Elizabeth and Karen Lynn.  Christine has a son, Alexander Metcalf Glen.  On July 28, 1990, Susan married Daniel Max Hart and had one son, West Abraham.  Marcia married David Charles Cox on May 21, 1977 and had  two children, Alison Melissa and Amy Elizabeth.

Subject/Index Terms

James, John W.
Marengo (Ill.)
Metcalf Family
Riley Township, McHenry County

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Accruals: Addenda were added to the collection on various dates.

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Suesi Metcalf

Acquisition Method: Suesi Metcalf donated the Metcalf Family Records to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on July 25, 2000.

Related Materials: Researchers interested in other diaries and family histories should consult the Regional Collections Guide.

Box and Folder Listing

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[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Addendum 1],

Addendum 1
Box 5
Folder 1: Sum Book Containing Difficult Sums from Greenleaf's Common School Arithmetic. John W. James. Also Sums from Davies' Elementary Algebra, March 1st 1856
Folder 2: Family and Farm Expense Ledger, 1855-1878
Folder 3: Income Tax, R.W. Metcalf, March 14, 1923
Folder 4: Notice to Pay Poll Tax, Riley, McHenry County, July 1879

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[Box 1],
[Box 2],
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[Box 4],
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