The Geneva School for Girls in the 1970s.
The buildings of the Kane County Poor Farm are just visible at the upper right. The southeast quadrant of Geneva, much of it depicted in the above photo, was in tragic ways a human dumping ground. In that quadrant, at various times, were located the Girls’ School, The Kane County Poor Farm, and the Kane County Jail. Not surprisingly, this quadrant, its denizens lacking any positive attachment to the land, was nearly devoid of resident champions to protect it from the ravages of society. The result was that the Poor Farm transitioned into Midway Landfill which morphed into Settlers’ Hill Landfill, the gigantic blot on Geneva’s prairie landscape.
Happily, the Girl’s School campus is now Fox Run, a small gem of a residential neighborhood. Sadie Cooksey lies at peace there because of the foresight and generosity of the developer and residents who have carefully preserved and maintained the school’s small cemetery. Sarah Elizabeth Cooksey and her daughter Elizabeth Marie are buried there by the small clearing in Fabyan Woods just on the right edge of the photo. Fabyan Woods marks the northern boundary of Big Woods. Geneva, first known as Herrington’s Ford, was settled in the gap between Big Woods and Little Woods that happened to coincide with a shallow spot with a limestone bed in the Fox River that was man, horse, ox, and wagon friendly.
Sarah Elizabeth Cooksey may have lived in Fabyan Cottage, the building to the left just east of the foreground parking lot.
Photographic artist Maggie Foskett asked, “Who Was Sadie Cooksey?” The essay presented here is an incomplete answer to her metaphorical question.