One of the first settlers in this territory was Andrew WHEELER, the father of Sam, Luke, Tom and Morris who owned a large farm in the community now known as Wheaton His farm house and buildings were located where the Wheaton passenger station now stands. Shortly before the Railroad came through two men located a real estate and loan office in this vicinity, they were Jess and Warren WHEATON. Wheeler borrowed 300.00 from these men and at the expiration of a year and a crop failure he was unable to repay the loan. The result was Mr. WHEELER and his brood of youngsters voluntarily left the premises and erected a log house about half way between Turner and Wheaton, leaving the 300 acres to the two WHEATON business men. He then secured a job on the Galena Jct Railroad when it was completed to Turner. His position was night switchman and baggagemanWELSCH a contractor, was captured in the South during the Civil War and died in Libby Prision. He is, however buried in Calary cemetery, West Chicago

(taken from the West Chicago Press, West Chicago, Illinois 1949)


The recollections of John H. LAKEY, of Wabasha, Minnesota, were written December 7, 1895 and published in the Dupage County Democrat on December 18th, 1895. The paper, a weekly, was published by John C. NELTNOR. While a resident here, LAKEY was identified with village and county politics and moved to Minnesota in 1877, and where he died. His 1854 account of Turner is perhaps the earliest one known

It was in the pleasant month of June, 1854, that I came to the small railroad town that is now known as Turner, Illinois, then only a Junction station of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, with its Dixon Air line and a road running sounth to Aurora and LaSalle

The principal buildings belonged to the railroad company. There was a two-story building 30x75 feet, used as an eating house at the time standing where the North Western depot now stands. About 300 feet west of the public highway ( afterwards called Norht street ) crossed the main track and near this crossing on the south side of the track was the "store" occupied by the McDONALD BROTHERS and across the road was a small building used by W.I. MOWRY as a post office and grocery.

On the west side of the highway there was a brick 3-stall engine house, and adjoining it was a brick blacksmith shop used for repairing T-Rails. These were the principal buildings and not one of them are in existence at the present time, they having either been burned or torn down and removed

The rairoad company owned twenty-two acres of land, lying north of the main track and east of the highway This land was vacant at the time. On the west side of Norht street were lands owned by Dr. Joseph McCONNELL, and south of the main track the lands were the property of the WINSLOW heirs. None of this land was platted, hence none had land to sell.

Here I leave the description of the surroundings and will speak of the inhabitants as I found them. Alfred HARVEY was the propietor of the Eating House. He had been a soldier in the Mixican war, was a man of great nerve and a kind heart, also a remarkable shot with a pistol He would break empty bottles standing on the head of a German boy that worked for him at a distance of five paces. It was also said of him that he never turned the poor or hungry from his door

Charles WINSLOW was station agent. Peter CURLEY was day switchman and attended to the freight. Andrew WHEELER was night switchman and looked after the baggage, and was a man of great strength and could lift a barrel of whiskey from the ground and put it into the side door of a baggage car He was also the father of Turner's noted railroad men, the WHEELER boys. Hamilton HOUSTON was the repairer of pumps and attended to the water supply. These were the principal railroad employes there at that time

I found Doctor McCONNELL, Charles WATSON, James CONNELLY ( CONLEY), Mike HAHN and Lawrence REIHANSPERGER, a shoemaker, liing there at the time. During the summer of 1854 James CONNELLY (CONLEY) built a dwelling house, the only one built that year.

The winter of 1854 and '55 was extremely cold with much snow. For three days in the month of January no trains came from Chicage, the tracks being buried in snow.

Early in the summer of 1855 the railroad company platted their land and one of the earliest purchasers was William BUCKLE, who bought the lot now owned by James CAMPBELL and on which is his hardware store. The town did not grow rapidly

The MCDONALD Brothers built a small building and used it to store grain, and in the early winter of 1855 and '56 a meeting of the citizens was held in this building to agree on a name for the town. Doctor MCCONNELL was the chairman and after much discussion it was resolved to name the place Turner, after Hon. J. B. TURNER, then President of the Railroad Company

I must not forget to state that we had a small school house, that stood where the Congregatinal church now stands, in which religious services were held once in two weeks by the Rev. Mr. CHURCH, an uncle of the late Capt. L. b CHURCH. Here for a time religion seemed to prosper, but, alas, after awhile dissensions among the people in regard to their religious training came among them and it was thought best to discontinue these meetings. Years have rolled away since that far off time and now Turner has five churches from which the people can choose

( From: aA Random Review of West Chicago History by Grank Scoby Published 1976 by The West Chicago Historical Society )

The following articles on the WHEELER family are reprints from the West Chicago Press