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Look back: Republican soldiers, women’s ballots and Dutch Elm funding

New poster designed by Neal Ormond IV for 175th anniversary (2012) Aurora. | AurorHistorical Society

New poster designed by Neal Ormond IV for the 175th anniversary (2012) of Aurora. | Aurora Historical Society

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Updated: December 6, 2012 6:01AM

Aurora is celebrating its 175th birthday this year. More information is available at To commemorate the anniversary, The Beacon-News is revisiting stories from 50, 100 and 150 years ago. Here’s what Aurorans were talking about this week ...

…in 1862.

The Beacon reported that there was little excitement in town for the most recent election, which editors blamed on the uncompromising stance by Democrats. Despite a cry of “no political parties in the time of war,” the Democrats had shown uncompromising opposition to the president.

“Every conceivable deception was used and the lowest passions of the human heart were appealed to, to prejudice the minds of those who have heretofore supported the Democratic party,” the paper wrote.

The paper also speculated that Republican voter turnout was down because most of the enlisted soldiers were from the GOP. The paper estimated the ratio for Illinois troops was nine Republicans for every one Democrat soldier.

… in 1912.

Kane County voted nearly three to one in favor of Bull Moose candidate Theodore Roosevelt for president, easily outdistancing both Woodrow Wilson and William Taft locally. Aurora proved to be one of Roosevelt’s best showings in the country.

Aurora precincts reported heavy turnout, with voter totals already surpassing the 1908 election by 2:30 p.m. But, The Beacon reported that few women were voting, despite the fact it was the first year they could participate in state elections. They were allowed to vote for University of Illinois trustees by casting a special women-only white ballot. When Mrs. J.C. Copley, wife of Congressman Ira Copley, arrived at her Lake Street polling place, she was informed that no women’s ballots were available. She promised to wait until some arrived, but the white ballots were later found in a voting booth.

… in 1962.

The Aurora City Council approved a resolution that would once again put a forestry referendum on the ballot. The council was hoping that residents would pass the referendum, which would be used exclusively for the elimination of the Dutch Elm disease. It is the third time the council had put this referendum on the ballot and officials warned that if it did not pass, the city would have a Dutch Elm disease problem unequaled in the state.

“We want the money to fight Dutch Elm disease,” said Mayor Jay Hunter. “It’s not going to be used to repair streets or dig wells. If voters approve the issue as it’s worded, the money cannot be used for any purpose other than Dutch Elm.”

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