My Present Past
A genealogical experience
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Princeton, Illinois
In 1834, after much discussion about town names, notes were placed into a hat and drawn, it was agreed to
name the place Princeton. It is located on Section 16, Town 16, Range 9. The owners of lots at that time were,
mainly, Messrs Nathaniel Chamberlain, Cyrus and John H. Bryant, Rev L. Farnham, John M Gay and Mrs. Flint.
The first building erected within the limits of the original corporation, was a log cabin built by Mr. Silas D.
Cartwright in the fall of 1833, and occupied by him as a blacksmith's shop. It stood on the now vacant lot north
of the Congregational church. The first two framed buildings were erected by John M. Gay, the dimensions
being twelve feet square, and occupied the ground upon which the residence and store of R. T. Templeton now
stands. The third was a log cabin built by Frederick Haskill, was used as a store, the first in the place and was
located on the ground now (1857) occupied by the residence of Mr. Elijah Dee. This store was opened for the
sale of goods June 7th, 1834, and the first article sold was a horse collar to Cornelius Carse. The first hotel
was built by Stephen Triplet on Main street, immediately south of Dr. Chamberlain's office though it has not
been used for this purpose for several years. The first church built in 1835, was a two-story framed building,
located on the public square, immediately south of where the court house now is, by the Hampshire Colony
Congregational Church and is now the property of Justus Stevens.
In March, 1838 an election was held on the question of incorporating the village of Princeton, twenty votes
were cast, all in favor on the proposition. On November 26, 1883, an election on the question of organizing the
town into a city was carried in the affirmative. There were 660 votes cast 491 for, 169 against majority 322.
There were 84 votes for minority representation, and 228 against the same. The vote was canvassed and
declared January 7, 1884. Saloon licenses were granted to run until the third Monday of April, 1884.
N. A. Dyke was appointed to take the census by blocks during February, 1884, for the purpose of dividing the
city into wards. This carefully taken census showed a total population in the city of Princeton of 3,610.
Sketches of Princeton, Illinois
Isaac B. Smith 1857
History of Bureau County
H. C. Bradsby 1885
The first settlement in what is now called the Township of Princeton was made in the spring of 1829, by Elijah
Epperson, from Ohio. Several families were at this time residing in the vicinity, being scattered along the line
of timber bordering on Bureau Creek but few persons, were then residents of the county. In the summer of
1831, a part of the colony composing the Hampshire Colony Congregational Church arrived and settled on Bureau
creek, some two miles north of the original corporation of Princeton. The persons who arrived with the colony at
that time and became settlers, were Nathaniel Chamberlain and his son Oscar, Eli Smith and wife, Elijah Smith
and wife, Christopher G Carse, and E Hinsdale Phelps, who made a claim and built a cabin some one and a quarter
miles south of the present corporation, where the residence of B. Gill now (1857) stands. Messrs. Eli and Elijah
Smith erected a large cabin near the present residence of Anthony Epperson, which was afterward used by
Elijah Smith as a hotel or stage house. These two dwellings were also used on each Sabbath, alternate, for
holding church services, though five miles distant from each other, until houses were built where the town now
is, which rendered it much more convenient for all to meet half way between. The settlement was named
Greenfield and Elijah Smith was appointed first postmaster. The first survey for a town was commenced by
John Blake in December, 1831, and in 1832 partially completed by Dr. Hayes of Hennepin, assisted by John
Musgrove, Dr. Wm. 0. Chamberlain, Roland Mosely, and his two sons Roland and Frederick. The following persons
were appointed trustees of school lands in the county: John P. Blake, John Musgrove and Roland Moseley.
Malcolm Hamilton Peterson was born April 05, 1859 in Princeton, Bureau County,  Illinois to Jonas and Caring  
(Petersdotter) Peterson. Jonas, Cora and son
Peter, born 1850, immigrated to the United States in the summer
of 1853 from Skatelov, Kronobergs Lan, Sweden and settled in Princeton, Illinois where Jonas worked as a
carpenter and furniture builder. A daughter,
Augusta was born on January 31, 1857 also in Princeton.
In 1866 the family moved to
Wyanet where Jonas continued in the furniture business.
After attending high school in Wyanet, Malcolm attended Bryant & Stratton Business College in Chicago. He
returned to Wyanet to help with his
fathers business in 1881.
In 1884 he was nominated by the Democratic County Convention to the office of Circuit Clerk and Recorder of
Bureau County and was elected to that position by the citizens of Bureau County in December of 1884.
In early 1885 he met
Miss Jennie M. Roswall and they were married on April 29, 1885 in Princeton, Illinois.
Jennie was born May 09, 1868 to
John and Regina Roswall in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois. They had two sons,
Roswell Malcolm born February 16, 1886 and Melville Fuller born April 11, 1888, both in Princeton, Illinois.
In 1900, Malcolm was  the proprietor of a hotel in Princeton. Malcolm H. Peterson died on
November 01, 1904 in
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. He is buried in
Oakland Cemetery in Princeton, Illinois.
His widow Jennie remarried on October 27, 1907 to Thomas H. Williams in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Jennie
remained in Chicago until her death on
September 14, 1922. She is buried next to Malcolm in Oakland Cemetery.
1900 Malcolm Peterson                       Princeton, Illinois
1920 Jennie Peterson Williams                           Chicago, Illinois
Mrs. M. H.  (Jennie) Peterson                                                                                                    Princeton, Illinois
Mr. & Mrs. M. H. Peterson                                                                                                         Princeton, Illinois
May 04, 1885
Sketches Of The Early Settlement and
Present Advantages of Princeton, Illinois
Isaac B Smith 1857