The town of Cortland is located in DeKalb County, Illinois and is only 15 minutes away from Vital Wellness Center in the village of Elburn, Illinois. Cortland is situated immediately east of the city of DeKalb and just south of the city of Sycamore. As of the 2010 census, Cortland had a recorded population of 4,270 people with a total area of just over three and a half square miles. Since its incorporation of becoming a town in 1866, Cortland has adopted the motto of being “The Third Largest Town in Illinois.” In terms of population size, only Normal and Cicero are bigger.
The first settlers of Cortland arrived in October of 1835 and included George W. and Isaac Gandy, John and Perry Ellet, David Wood, and Henry Smith, along with their families. Moving quickly northward from Ottawa, the group was traveling after nightfall on the route of an Indian trail when they suddenly found themselves in the middle of an Indian village, in what is now Section Three, in the town of Cortland. The settlers and Indians lived peacefully within close range of each other for the winter. When spring arrived, they were joined by a large number of new settlers.
The first name given to the town was Richland, which was later changed to Pampas due to the prairies similarity to the pampas or plains of South America. In 1864, the legislature changed the name to Cortland. The first school in the town was a log hut, constructed in Ohio Grove in 1838. The first teacher was Reverend Castle Churchill, who was succeeded by Miss Mary Ann Hamlin. In 1866, a large, beautiful edifice was constructed by the village of Cortland and is a recognizable ornament to the town, honoring the enterprise and liberality of its people. Cortland generously gave of her township’s best blood to the country in defense of the flag when traitors assaulted it. Sixteen of the 134 men who enlisted in the Union Army lost their lives. Their names have been preserved in honor of their sacrifice.
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