WWOC 13: Log House

Clarissa Hobson

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Almeda Naper and Clarissa Hobson were two early pioneers of what would become Naperville. Clarissa one of the first white settlers in DuPage County, arriving in 1831 at age 26 with five children. Almeda came as part of the Naper party led by her husband Captain Joseph Naper. On the Illinois frontier, a woman’s world was her family home and surrounding yard. Women oversaw the farm while their husbands were away hunting or prospecting. One of the most important skills a housewife possessed was to be able to build and sustain a fire in a fireplace like the one in the log house. From here she could provide meals for everyone on the farm and heat for the family. Her life was often isolated and dangerous—disease, wild animals, and threat of attack were constant. Clarissa became the largest landowner in Illinois after her husband died. She lived to be 79 years old. Almeda outlived her husband by 20 years and all but one of her seven children. Their lives were just as much a testament to the sacrifice, resilience, and fortitude that went into settling the Illinois frontier as their husbands.