|Frank and Annie Hufford before their
marriage in 1874. Photo courtesy of
Richard Hufford, via findagrave.com.
|Above: The Hufford family, year unknown. Front
row left to right: Mary Hufford, Franklin Hufford,
Annie Elizabeth (Derr) Hufford, Charles A. Hufford.
Back row left to right: Louis Henry Hufford, Mabel
Roberta Hufford, Edward Hufford, Cora A. Hufford,
Harry Leroy Hufford, Katherine Elizabeth Hufford,
Robert J. Hufford. Photo courtesy of Richard
Hufford, via findagrave.com.
|Gravesite of Frank and Annie Hufford, Rock City Cemetery
(Photo taken December 2013).
|Above: 1913 plat map showing Frank Hufford as the owner of 74 acres where we now live. Across the road to
the north, and northwest, is land owned by Walter Lapp. His daughter Grace (Lapp) Mullican would later live
in our house.
|Above: According to the August 16, 1892 edition of the Sterling (IL)
Daily Gazette, Frank Hufford may have had a reputation for frugality.
|Above: Two of Frank's sons are pictured in this photo from the 2002
Rock Run Country Historical Society calendar. Harry would later move
to Arcadia, California.
|Above: Frank and Annie Hufford's son
Robert struggled with posttraumatic stress
disorder after his service in World War I.
This article appeared in the June 15, 1942
|Left: The November 24, 1942 edition of the
Freeport Journal-Standard advertised the sale
of the Hufford Farm. Ransom "Tim" Meier was
the winning bidder.
Right: The Hufford family may have been
successful in having Robert admitted to the
Hines veteran's hospital. The 80 acres he
owned about a half-mile west of the Hufford
home was auctioned in April 1947. Robert
died in 1983.
Willard R. Thoren, the conservator, was
married to Robert's sister, Mabel. Two years
later, Thoren would become the president of
Rock City Bank.
|Above: The house Frank Hufford bought in 1907 from James H. Babcock, at 203 N. Henderson Road in Freeport
(northeast corner of Henderson and Crocker). This home was near the Stover Manufacturing plant where Frank was
employed. The Huffords lived here prior to buying our house. In June of 1956, Edward "Red" Hufford wrote a letter to
the Freeport Journal-Standard in which he mentioned living in this house. At the time, Ed was living in Marionville,
Missouri, and recalled playing in "Goose Pasture" in his youth. This grassy field bordered Taylor Park on the west.
Frank Hufford may have owned this home for several years after buying the 74-acre property. Real estate records
through 1913 showed no sale of this house. When he bought the 74 acres, Frank borrowed $2,744.60, or about half of
the purchase price.
|Above: This railroad bridge over Rock Run Creek was finished the same
year Frank Hufford died. The concrete bridge replaced a wooden
trestle bridge which was constructed in 1884. In the June 5, 1884
edition of the Daily Journal and Republican newspaper (Freeport), the
wooden trestle was described as 300 feet long and made of 11 spans
of 30 feet each. A footing for one of those spans can be seen under the
iron span above.
The railroad is now long gone, but the concrete bridge structure is still
very visible from Illinois Route 75. According to local historian Dan
Buck, the iron span was still attached to the concrete until the 1980s.
This railroad was mostly likely the source of the train which spooked
Frank Hufford's horses in 1919.
Left: By the 1920s, automobiles were here to stay, and local
communities advocated for more paved roads. Illinois Route 75 was in
the planning stages when this article appeared in the Freeport
Journal-Standard on December 6, 1927. Several news articles appeared
in advance of the planning meeting in Freeport, which was attended by
Illinois Governor Len Small.
We suspect the general path of the highway was probably already
decided by this time, as Route 75 had been identified as early as 1923
in a proposed $100 million state bond issue for paved road
construction. While the expense of paving would be covered by the
bonds, the cost of purchasing the right-of-way for the highway would
be borne by Stephenson County taxpayers. In September 1928, the
Stephenson County board of supervisors more than doubled the
county highway tax levy to pay for land purchases for the new highway.
To help gather support for higher taxes, the Governor was summoned,
and the local communities were invited to send representatives to
advocate for their preferred routes between Freeport and Rockton.
The Davis contingent offered what is the most interesting option to us,
which was a route over a portion of what is now Farm School Road.
Although this was a secondary choice to the path where the highway
runs today, some Davis residents apparently thought it more fiscally
responsible to run the highway between Rock City and Davis on an
already established road. However, the diagonal path of the railroad
provided a shorter distance between those towns, so that's where the
highway was constructed.
Had the frugal Davis representatives got their way, our house would
now be a stone's throw from a state highway. So we're glad the road
planners kept Route 75 close to the railroad.
On a side note, the Master of Ceremonies for the "Good Roads"
meeting was David F. Graham, president of Freeport's Second National
Bank. David was the eldest son of John Graham, who owned our
property in the late-1800s.
|Right: In 1939, the United States Department
of Agriculture contracted with Iowa Aerial
Surveys, Inc. to photograph Stephenson
County from the air in 1939. Their image of
our property and the 74 acres that it used to
be part of is shown at a time when Robert
Hufford was farming the land.