Roscoe Township

5792 Elevator Road, , Roscoe, IL 61073
815-623-7323 | | 815-623-7343

Founder - Robert J. Cross

Robert J. Cross – 1803 - 1873

First Settler of Roscoe Township

In August, 1835, R.J. Cross ventured into Northern Winnebago County from Coldwater, Mich., stopped at Stephen Mack's trading post, and bought a claim from one of Mack's French-Canadian employees. This claim included what came to be known as Cross Grove in the Southwest Quarter of Section 32 of Roscoe Township in the present area of Edgemere Terrace. The farm was two miles northwest of Roscoe and lay on both sides of what is now Hononegah Road. The claim made by Mr. Cross was the first made in the town for the purpose of permanent settlement and cultivation.

1836 - Mr. Cross assisted at the organization of the County, he was a member of the election board for the first election ever held in Winnebago County. At their first meeting, he was elected by the County Commissioners to County Treasurer.

1841 - Winnebago County Agricultural Society was organized, Robert J. Cross was Vice President. An exhibition was held on the 13th of October and was the first cattle show in Northern Illinois.

1846 - He was elected by the Whigs as a representative to the General Assembly

1847 - A Delegate to the Convention to frame a new Constitution of the State of Illinois In 1847, the General Assembly approved a constitutional convention assembled at Springfield. The delegates from Winnebago county were Selden M. Church and Robert J. Cross. Upon organization of the convention, Mr. Cross was a member of the committee on the bill of rights. On June 26Th. Mr. Cross introduced the following resolution: “Resolved, That the committee on elections and the right of suffrage be instructed to inquire into the expediency of changing the time of holding elections from the first Monday in August to the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, and the manner of voting from voice to ballot.” Mr. Cross also led in an effort to secure in the new constitution a provision for a state superintendent of schools, with a liberal salary.

1849 - He sent a letter to Congressman Abraham Lincoln of Illinois

1869 - He was unanimously nominated by the Republicans for member of the Convention that formed our present Illinois Constitution. Later he was nominated by the Republicans and elected as one of the three members from Winnebago and Boone Counties to the General Assembly.

He was Chairman of the Board of Supervisors several years, occupying that position at the time of his death. He was also Township School Fund Trustee for over thirty consecutive years, during which time the township never suffered loss from the funds being loaned on insufficient securities, as was the case in most townships.

It has been written of Mr. Cross “During his residence of 36 years in this County, Mr. Cross was closely and intimately identified with its development, politically, socially and materially, never being backward in anything that would aid in its moral or religious advancement. A warm friend of education, he always lent a willing hand to aid in building school houses and establishing schools.”

June 14, 2017 – Submitted by Mavis Benkovich, information above is from a variety of sources including; internet, books about the history of Roscoe, Jim Mc Affe (an ancestor of Robert J. Cross). The content is a compilation of the above and not my written material.

IL Digital Archives -

Robert J. Cross Genealogy - (Credit Harold A. Ralston - see site)

Robert J. Cross Writings - (Credit Harold A. Ralston - see site)

Findagrave -