Kirkland, Illinois is a small village located in DeKalb County. Though it may seem like a quiet place, this town has had its fair share of historical events. Here are seven significant moments in Kirkland’s past.
1. Battle of Sycamore Creek
On August 14, 1832, during the Black Hawk War, militia troops clashed with Native American warriors near Sycamore Creek. The Native Americans were led by Black Hawk, a Sauk leader, whereas the militia was commanded by General James Atkinson. The battle resulted in the deaths of several soldiers, including Lieutenant Joseph H. Hedges. The skirmish doesn’t seem to have impacted Kirkland specifically, but it took place relatively close by.
2. Civil War recruitment
During the Civil War, Kirkland was home to the 127th Illinois Infantry Regiment. A recruitment camp was set up in the town, and many local men enlisted in the Union army. The regiment fought in several battles, including the Battle of Chickamauga and the Siege of Atlanta.
3. Chicago and Northwestern Railroad depots
Kirkland was once an important stop on the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad line. The village had two depots, which served as transportation hubs for people and goods in the early 1900s. Today, one of the depots still stands and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
4. Kirkland Cross
The Kirkland Cross is a monument located on the grounds of St. Mary Catholic Church in the village. The memorial commemorates the lives of thirteen Italian immigrants who were killed in a train derailment in 1910. The victims were traveling to work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania when their train collided with an oncoming freight train.
5. Cherry Valley Massacre
The Cherry Valley Massacre, also known as the Wyoming Valley massacre, occurred on November 11, 1778, during the American Revolution. Dozens of settlers, including women and children, were killed by British soldiers and their Native American allies in Pennsylvania. Though the massacre didn’t take place in Kirkland, it is notable because one of the victims was Captain Joseph Durfee, who was born in what is now the village.
6. Tornado of 2015
On April 9, 2015, a powerful tornado struck northern Illinois, causing significant damage in several communities, including Kirkland. The EF4 tornado had winds of up to 200 miles per hour and claimed the lives of two people in the area.
7. Kirkland Crossroads Festival
The Kirkland Crossroads Festival is an annual event held in the village every August. The festival features a parade, live music, carnival rides, and other entertainment. It began in 1973 as a way to celebrate the town’s centennial.
In summary, Kirkland has a rich history that stretches back centuries. From Native American battles to train depots and tornadoes, this town has seen its fair share of significant events.
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