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Opinion

Valle: Tracing the history of York Township

John Valle is supervisor of York Township.
John Valle is supervisor of York Township.

From time to time, some of you have asked about the history of York Township and its government.

In some of the histories I have read, there are discrepancies and disagreements of fact. Any historian worth his salt will tell you the more sources of information you have for any historical event, the more opportunity there is for differences of opinion on the facts of the matter. The following is a condensed version of my interpretation of the origins of York Township.

The first surveyors arrived in 1780 to survey the territory, and the first settlers came in 1830, when a group of German/Swedish farmers moved from New York to this area. They moved to two areas called Cottage Hill and Babcock's Grove, which we now refer to as Elmhurst and Lombard, respectively.

In 1839, the town of York was incorporated, using the name of the area from which the first settlers came.

In 1848, the Illinois Constitution gave voters in each county the opportunity to adopt township government. By 1850, the first township governments began to operate.

York Township's first town meeting was held April 2, 1850, in Elmhurst for the purpose of electing town officers, in and for the town of York, for the ensuing year. There were 101 voters present and voting. Elected were Supervisor Edward Eldridge, Town Clerk Allan M. Wright, Assessor George Fuller, Collector Adam Glos, Overseer of the Poor Robert Reed and Highway Commissioner John Thrasher.

York Township is 36 square miles in size and now includes municipalities such as Elmhurst, Lombard, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park and parts of Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn, Westmont and Hinsdale.

Today, more than ever, township government is a vital community link in the Illinois local government systems.

As York Township supervisor, in addition to administration and finance, I also am responsible for general assistance for the indigent. Assistance with food, rent, utilities and medications is available to qualified residents.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications are taken from October through May, and our general assistance office operates a food pantry based solely on private contributions.

Township government provides many other important quality-of-life services, often at little or no cost to taxpayers.

These include programs for seniors, young people, people with disabilities and low-income families. All these programs are designed to fit the needs of specific communities.

Please visit us at Township Hall, 1502 S. Meyers Road, Lombard, or online at yorktwsp.com for more information on programs and services available to York Township residents.

John Valle is supervisor of York Township.

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