History of Cuba GOP

Did you Know?

Cuba Township was originally named Troy Township, after its first settlers who migrated from Troy, New York in the 1830’s. The name was changed to Cuba Township in the 1850’s to show support for an insurrection at that time on the island nation of Cuba.

Early Settlers

When settlers first came to Cuba Township, it was prairie and marsh with a grove of oaks.

Amos Flint was the first permanent European-American settler in Cuba Township. He built a cabin in 1834 near the present corner of Kelsey and River Roads, and for whom Flint Creek is named. The area was part of Cook County from 1831 to 1836, then McHenry County from 1836 to 1839. In 1839 McHenry was divided in half and Lake County was formed. US surveys were completed in 1840 and land sales to settlers began. Records of the Bureau of Land Management show that settlers bought land in the area during the 1840’s for $1.25 an acre from the U.S. Land Office.

Hugh Davlin was one of the first pioneer settlers in Cuba Township. He and his family arrived from Troy, New York around 1836. Although there were no roads then, he chose land at the intersection of two main Indian trails. Like the other settlers, he had to wait until after 1840 to formally process his purchase. He bought the 80 acres surrounding his log cabin from the U.S. government in 1845 for $100 and soon added an additional adjacent 240 acres. His son Charles expanded it further, to what was described as the largest farm in Cuba Township by the time of his death in 1915. The second Davlin farmhouse, believed built in 1865-9, still stands today at 108 East Tower Dr. A one-room school, the Davlin School, was built around 1857 just north of the farmhouse. The trails became roads, and the intersection by the school and the Davlin farm (now Barrington Rd & Indian Trail Rd) became known as Davlin’s Corners.

For more information on the early history of Cuba Township visit the Lake County Discovery Museum Archives

Abraham Lincoln

It is not known if Abraham Lincoln stayed in Cuba Township. He did have reason to come to northern Illinois; after the federal court relocated from Springfield to Chicago in 1855, Lincoln occasionally traveled to Chicago for court purposes. However, an occasional court appearance in the City would not make it feasible to hang his shingle in Half Day where he would have to rent or buy a building and duplicate his law library. Travel was slow and wearisome and a “commute” from Half Day would not be practical for timely attendance at federal court.

Lincoln’s only documented visit to Lake County occurred in April 1860. While in Chicago, Lincoln took the train to Waukegan to give a speech and to visit his attorney friends, Elisha Ferry and Henry Blodgett. He had dinner at the Ferry home on Julian Street, followed by a speech at Dickinson Hall. A fire broke out at a nearby warehouse, ending the speech, and Lincoln is reported to have given a hand in putting out the blaze. Afterward, Lincoln returned to the Ferry home and spent the night, giving the home the legitimate claim of “Lincoln slept here.” The bed in which he slept is displayed at the Waukegan Historical Society.

President Theodore Roosevelt

Local historian Barbara Benson explores the possibility that President Theodore Roosevelt might have visited his cousin Margaret (Mrs. Augustus Van Horne Kimberly) at the Kimberly House on Honey Lake, in the heart of Cuba Township in the 1880’s.

In 1830, Dr. Edmund Kimberly, and his wife, Marie Therese (nee Ellis) came to Chicago from Troy, New York. Dr. Kimberly’s career included being one of the founders of Rush Medical Center.  But he and his family enjoyed traveling out to areas beyond the City, and in 1857, they found themselves on the shores of Honey Lake in the Biltmore neighborhood in North Barrington.  This, they evidently concluded, was a beautiful place to build a home, and they eventually purchased close to 200 acres along the eastern and southern shores of the lake.

The residence they built, which, late 19th century photographs show to have been of Carpenter Gothic design, was originally sited with the front door facing the lake, and the narrow road, then nothing but a dirt track, which became known as Kimberly Road, then passed between the house and the lake. This was changed in a later remodeling. The Kimberly’s eldest son, Augustus Van Horne Kimberly, married Margaret Barnhill Roosevelt, the daughter of Robert Barnwell Roosevelt, an uncle to Theodore Roosevelt. One romantic story of the house, is that the flower urns at the front door were a wedding gift from Teddy Roosevelt to the young couple. That is documented down through various owners of the house after the Kimberlys.

Roosevelt is known to have visited Chicago in 1880, and according to David McCullough’s biography Mornings on Horseback when the future President was in Chicago in 1884 for the Republican convention, he made numerous excursions into the surrounding countryside.

Another story, but unproven through extensive research, is that Roosevelt was brought to the Honey Lake house after he was shot in 1912, while campaigning in Milwaukee for his Bull Moose Party. But all newspaper accounts of the time and various biographies of him, say that he was brought from Milwaukee to a hospital in Chicago, and that his wife Edith subsequently came from New York by a train that then took him back to their home, Sagamore Hill, on Long Island. That Teddy may have visited his cousin here is possible, as he was frequently in Chicago for political conventions and often traveled on from Chicago to the Western states.


Lake County Discovery Museum
Barbara Benson – Cuba Heritage series
Arnett C. Lines – History of Barrington