Fullersburg's Settlers and Financial Concerns
Updated: Dec 13, 2021
Early settlers of Fullersburg faced challenges in providing their families with basic needs such as food and shelter. After the initial investment of purchasing a homesite, a pioneer needed to construct a home, prepare his land for planting crops, and acquire various farm animals.
Letters written in 1836 from Jean Torode (originally from the island of Guernsey) to his father detail his concerns about his financial situation. On 1/18/1836, he writes that he "worked verry hard since we come here, I have but 62 Dollars left in money and 300 lb pork 100 lb of salt 3 bushel of corn in the year 1/2 bushel corn meal plants and a few little articles we could not do without peraps you will think I have spent my money fast I think so my self but I have been as saving as I could... ." (All quotes are as written and courtesy of DuPage County Historical Museum.)
Jean used cash along with a bartering system to conduct his business On 1/30/1836, he writes,"... I sold your wagon yesterday to Mr. Forbes for fifty Dollars, forty paid down in Cash and ten Dollars to paid in lumber on demand at his mill in the same time I drawed on the Due bill twenty five pounds of flour at 5 cents per lb which makes us feel comfortable after eating corn bread so long... ."
There was also a code of honor between the early settlers. Jean's family had a debt that was secured by their word; on 1/30/1836, Jean also writes, "when I went to Chicago I red a part of your letter to him so he knows I can raze the money... ." Faith and trust in one's fellow man established stability in the Fullersburg area during a time of rapid growth.
The settlers also assisted each other and shared supplies. On June 15, 1836, Jean writes, "Neighbor Tamage bought the seed from the office. he allways brings us any thing that is there when he goes." He also writes, "... 1 mile above Mr. Tamage grove Mr. Fuller has planted 14 acer of Corn... ." Jean knew Ben Fuller and his other neighbors, and this bond of kinship allowed Fullersburg to grow and thrive during the settlement era.
Sue Devick, M.A.