Naperville had two bankers listed in Holland’s 1886 Directory, both of which were also merchant tailors first. Last time, we looked at George Reuss
. Across the street from Reuss’s shop was that of Willard Scott who had been around even longer.
In the early 1800s, Stephen Scott decided to move his family from Maryland to stake out a claim in Illinois. He sailed through the Great Lakes, much like Joseph Naper would a few years later. Rather than in the fledgling settlement near Fort Dearborn, Stephen chose land near Grosse Point, now part of Evanston.
A few years after settling there, Stephen learned that their homestead had been awarded to the family of Antoine Ouilmette following the Prairie du Chien treaty. During hunting trips, the Scotts had explored land around the DuPage River and decided to relocate there, a few miles out from the Naper Settlement area. This was in 1830, the summer before Joseph Naper arrived with his community.
Stephen’s son, Willard, was already a young man when the family moved to Illinois. During a journey to Peoria, he stopped at the Hawley homestead. Smitten by the daughter of the house, he asked her to marry him. Caroline refused the one-day’s courtship proposal and he continued his journey. On the way back home, Willard stopped again at the Hawley’s and repeated his proposal. This time, Caroline said “yes” and they were married July 22, 1829.
After a time, the Scott family, including both Caroline and Willard’s parents, moved from their farms and into the Naperville town proper. Willard and Caroline started a family and had three sons who grew into adulthood.
I recently had to do that “elevator speech” thing at a business event. My spiel says that I write and speak about history, but that’s kind of a lie since I haven’t given a talk since before COVID. Now that this new book is coming out soon, (honestly, it is!) I’ve been mapping out a marketing plan. Speaking engagements will probably be part of it and I’m still deciding how I feel about that.