Dedicated to the history, preservation, and continuing story of windmills in Illinois.
James Brand (? - ?)
Brand, Michael. “Biography of James Brand” Ogle County Genealogy.
“Reminiscences of a Pioneer” published in the Tri-County Press “Philadelphia,” Pages 301 – 302 courtesy Michael Brand
Bateman, Newton, et all. Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois. Chicago: Munsell Publishing, 1909.
History of the Mill
A few texts mention the windmill in Polo, Illinois. One is a biography of James Brand, transcribed by one of his descendants: “He [James Brand] sold his farm and moved to Polo, Illinois in 1854 and was elected in 1857 to the town's first Board of Trustees. One of the town's first businessmen, he started a lumberyard and sold farm implements in Polo and built several houses in town for rent and sale. At one time, he was a partner in a wind-powered grist mill in Polo which was later damaged in a tornado and subsequently closed. He was one of the town's first School Trustees and Treasurer of the Board. (He was a justice of the peace when he resided in Brookville township.).”
Michael Brand also has the following information about James Brand's windmill:
"Mr. Brand sold his farm to a Mr. Reesman and bought a smaller one from Mr. Guyer, south of the Brookville mill and built a brick house which he also finished with walnut, where he resided until 1854, selling out to D. Z. Herb, and moved to Polo, buying a tract of land in the north end of town, adjoining the I.C.R.R. and built a home after the railroad was finished started a lumber yard and dealt in farm implements, being associated with D.C. Hetfield of Chicago. He also built houses to rent and sell and became one of the first to engage in business in Polo. He afterwards became interested with Zenas Applington and Elisha Doty to the building of a wind power flouring mill which did very good work for some time but was not a paying investment. It was partly wrecked by a tornado and proved an unfortunate adventure for all concerned. Mr. Brand continued to reside in his first home in Polo until his death in 1873."
The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois explains that James built the windmill at the present location of the town water tower, but was unsuccessful in the business which was abandoned after the tornado.