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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Who is Ellsworth School and Ellsworth Street named after?


Lewis Ellsworth was born in Walpole, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, July 22, 1805, the son of Nathan Ellsworth and Betsey B. Palmer.

He moved to Rutland County, Vermont in 1823, where he learned the tailor’s trade. In 1827, the young man moved to Troy, New York, and became engaged in the merchant tailoring business.

In December 1828, he married Chloe Marie Skinner, of Lebanon, New York. From this union were born Eva Frances, Milton Skinner and Lewis Carpenter, and two children who died in infancy.

In 1836, the Ellsworths moved west and purchased 500 acres of land, opening a general store in Naperville in 1837. Lewis served as a member of the DuPage County Society for Mutual Protection in 1839, which was formed to deal with land disputes.

He sold his general store in 1848 and the following year he established the first nursery in Naperville, DuPage County Nurseries.

His nursery was located on the land where the North Central College football stadium sits, and his home was located on the site of Fort Payne, built to protect the early settlers during the Black Hawk War.

In August 1839, Lewis became the second Probate Judge of DuPage County and served four years. Lewis was the first President of the DuPage Mechanical and Agricultural Society which held the first DuPage County Fair in Naperville in 1854. He was one of the incorporators of the Union Agricultural Society and subsequently became its Vice President and President. Lewis was also a member of the State Agricultural Society, serving as its President in 1859-60 and he served as a member of the State Board of Agriculture.

Lewis was a member of the Baptist Church and later became one of the individuals who aided in successfully having Northwestern College (now North Central College) move from Plainfield to Naperville in 1870.

Lewis served as Lisle Township Supervisor in 1853 and 1857 and as Naperville Village President in 1876. President Abraham Lincoln appointed him as Collector of Internal Revenue and counted him among his intimate friends.

From 1839 to 1842, he served on the Naperville School Committee as well as the first DuPage County School Commissioner during the same period.

Lewis died January 15, 1885, and was buried in the Naperville Cemetery. Funeral services were held at St. John’s Episcopal Church with Canon Knowles of Chicago and Reverend Martin Van Buren Averill of Naperville officiating.

The beautiful little church was crowded with individuals who sought to pay a last tribute to the man who had dwelt among them for so long, and who had inspired them with a desire to lead a better and nobler life.

Lewis was a Charter member of Euclid Lodge No. 65, A.F. & A.M., and Euclid Chapter No. 13, R.A.M.

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Tim Ory
Tim Ory
Tim Ory is a fifth-generation Naperville native, descended from Francois Sebastien Ory, who immigrated to America from Alsace Lorraine, France, in 1844. Signing off as "Tim Ory, Historian, Euclid Lodge No. 65 Ancient Free & Accepted Masons," Tim adds that he continues to research the History of the Masonic Lodge and Naperville every day. Contact him at tjory@sbcglobal.net.

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