Friday August 23, Naperville city officials unveiled a nine and one-half foot tall statue of the city’s founder, Joe Naper. He was considered a leader and an entrepreneur, and to put it simply, a shaker and a mover; he helped make things happen. He was involved in shipbuilding, he built a lumber mill and a trading post, helped dig a quarry, along with building homes. Also in Naperville, he mapped out the streets and surveyed the land. He was the first village president, and served in other elected positions including the Illinois State Legislature.
He was an advocate of fairness and freedom, and while he was firm man, he also placed a high priority on his family, including his brother John, and John’s family. I don’t think anyone would have wanted to get between Joe and his family’s safety, well-being, and freedom.
What would Joe have done, if on some dark night, members of the Fieseler clan, the Krieger gang, and the Wehrli brothers, came riding on their horses out of the inky shadows, and jumped over Joe Naper’s homestead fence and tried to attach unwanted and dangerous items such as kegs of gun powder and torches (similar to today’s Smart Meters) to Joe’s house against his will, while Joe and his family along with his brother John were inside. One could only imagine, that on that evening at the southeast corner of Jefferson Avenue and Mill Street, where Joe’s statue now stands, those “branches of the Fieseler, Krieger and Wehrli family trees, would have been forever pruned by Joe and John”, and the members of Naperville city council would look quite different than it is today.