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Covell Family


Amanda Covell Eddie Covell Elizabeth, daughter of Marion and Barbara
Ellen Covell Frances Covell Henry Covell
Katherine Covell Samuel Harrison Giles Maria Covell, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth
Marion Francis Covell Marcelus Covell Melissa Covell, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth
Melissa Covell, daughter of Marion and Barbara Mary E, daughter of Marion and Barbara Covell Morris Covell, son of Thomas and Elizabeth
Sarah Covell Monery Covell Thomas Reed Covell
Elizabeth Brown, wife of Thomas Thomas G Covell, son of Marion and Barbara Barbara Covell nee Knuszmann, wife of Marion Covell
Elizabeth Holland, grand-daughter of Marion and Barbara George and Anna Knuszmann, parents of Barbara Covell Mary "Polly" Reed
Harriet Phinetta Covell nee Giles    

Photo from Images of America -- La Grange and La Grange Park, page 90

Henry Covell (1747-1832) came to this country from England in the seventeenth century, and fought in the Revolutionary War.  After peace was declared Henry (a widower) married Mary "Polly" Reed, also of English descent. Henry Covell and his wife settled on a farm in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  Thomas Reed Covell, their first son, was born on this farm in 1801.

Mary "Polly" Reed as the daughter of Thomas Reed and Sarah Pierce.  The Reed family were residents of Norwalk, Connecticut.

Harriet Covell was born in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Berkshire County, on November 17, 1809 to Henry and Mary "Polly" Covell.  Harriet Covell lived with her parents in Berkshire, then Columbia County, New York in Caanan Town. 

The Henry Covell family moved to Ontario County in western New York and purchased a 50 acre farm (from a Benjamin Joy of Boston Rec. 32-505) on May 7, 1818.   By 1827 it was decided to move farther west following the path of Thomas Covell to Illinois.  At this time Henry Covell was 80.  Before moving to Illinois he briefly returned to New York to secure a pension before moving to Illinois.  Harriet (age 18) and her mother traveled overland through Detroit where they remained for a time in McComb County, Michigan.  It was in McComb where Mary meet Samuel Harrison Giles.  She probably him back in New York as he was in Ontario County when he joined the army in 1813.

Harriet and Samuel Giles were married on April 6, 1831 in Mt. Clemons, McComb County, Michigan.  They lived in Michigan until about 1836.  During this period Harriet and Samuel had three children:

in 1836 they moved to Cook Country, Illinois.  Harriet's brother Thomas Reed Covell's success in Illinois influenced their decision to move to Proviso Township, Cook County, Illinois.  They purchased their farm in the area which became Maywood, Illinois.  Five more children were born between 1836 and 1849:

For a time the family operated a tavern (the "Trink and Walker Stage House") located 13 miles west of Chicago.  Harriet's father died in 1846 (or 1847).  In 1849 her husband, Samuel, was kicked by a horse and fatally injured.  Later that year her two oldest sons sickened and died -- Harrison age 18, Andrew age 14.  Harriet remarried to James Colvin Smith.  Harriet and James had two more children:

James Colvin Smith passed away before Harriet.  Harriet died in Maywood, Illinois, December 10, 1891 at 82 years of age.

Thomas Reed Covell (son of Henry and Mary "Polly" Covell) lived at the home in West Stockbridge until he was 19 years old.  He left his home on horseback and traveled west, eventually bringing him to in Peoria, Illinois where he met Elizabeth Brown (a daughter of another pioneer family).  The two were married on March 2, 1827. They lived in Peoria for a short time and then moved to Ottawa, Illinois.

Thomas Reed Covell had been dealing in furs, trading with the Native Americans.  He was the first and only man of that day who traded successfully with the Native Americans.  While in Ottawa, he built a small log cabin and remained there long enough to assist in the building of a saw and grist mill for a man named James Walker.

By 1831 the Thomas Covell family lived in Plainfield during the Blackhawk War.  At this time roving bands of Native Americans were attacking settlements and the white people were in imminent danger.  However, Thomas Covell had won the confidence and respect of the Native Americans and was a cherished friend of Shabonna, renowned Chief of the Potawatomies.  Legend has it that on more than one occasion, Native Americans warned Covell of dangerous situations.

In 1833 Thomas Covell settled along Salt Creek in Section 28, (now part of  Proviso Township).  Please check the Proviso Land Ownership in 1863 map.  Clicking on Section 28 (second row from the bottom, third section from the left) will show us the original Covell homestead.

Thomas Reed Covell was injured by a falling tree and after a few months of failing health he died in 1846 (or 1847).  He was buried in a cemetery on his land.  He was the first of the settlers to be buried in LaGrange Park.  (It is now the Parkholm Cemetery on Mannheim Road.)   In 1847 Elizabeth Covell gave the south three hundred acres to her son Morris and one hundred sixty acres to the oldest son, Marion Francis Covell.  These acres would later become the site of the stone quarry in Hillside.  Marion Covell, their oldest offspring, was living at his own place at the time of the 1850 census and was listed separately.  In that 1850 census the Elizabeth Covell's family included daughters:

and sons:

Marion Francis Covell, the eldest son of Thomas Reed and Elizabeth Covell, was born January 10, 1831 in Plainfield, Illinois. He was not quite three years old when his parents settled in Proviso Township. His early education was limited due to the character, the short terms, and the scarcity of pioneer schools. While a young lad, he often walked to Chicago, following a deer path for there was no other way to go.

Marion F. Covell's farm of 160 acres, given to him by his mother, was finally improved. He raised a crossbreed of Durham cattle, and after 1854, carried on a stone quarry close to the little cabin he had built on his farm.  (See Covell's Quarry).

In 1855, Marion F. Covell married Barbara Knuszmann, daughter of George and Anna Knuszmann. He then built a home on the site of the little cabin using stone for its construction, taken from his own stone quarry. At this time the surrounding country was wild and Mrs. Covell, watching for her husband to return at night could see the glowing eyes of wolves.

Marion Francis and Barbara Covell had nine children:

Only four (daughters) lived to grow up in the Hillside home.

Marion Covell was a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows. Originally he was a "Whig" (a political party from 1841 to 1853) but after the organization of the Republican Party he became a staunch supporter of its principles. He was broadly American in all his views and also took part in Proviso Township politics.  He was elected Town Clerk in 1853, 1854, and 1856.  He then served as Supervisor in 1873.  He was active in Township politics as either Commissioner of Highways, Justice of the Peace, or Constable from 1854 through 1881.

In 1905, the year the Village of Hillside incorporated, Marion Francis Covell was elected Police Magistrate for the village. The election was held in the public schoolhouse, Wolf Road and Harrison Street, on December 30, 1905.

Marion was the first resident to build a house in Hillside.  He died on January 27, 1917, at the age of 86.  His wife, Barbara, who died in 1911.  Both are buried in the Parkholm Cemetery on Mannheim Road in LaGrange Park. Their granddaughter, Elizabeth Holland, attended the Hillside Public School at Wolf and Harrison, and one evening on March 20, 1929, entertained the Hillside Civic Club in the school auditorium by singing several groups of songs.  A young Edmund J. Thiele at the piano accompanied her.  (Ed Thiele was destined to become the president of the Village of Hillside for a span of twenty-five years.)

Last Modified:  12/03/2003