One of my favorite items in the collection of the Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society is a proposal letter from Franklin P. Dymond to Flora Colby. While it wasn’t written on Valentine’s Day, the sentiments conveyed hit all the right notes for the holiday.
Libertyville Ill. Dec 5th 1880.
My Dear Friend Flora,
I presume you will be taken by surprise when you read this message but Flora I have come to the conclusion that I have traveled life’s journey alone about long enough and have decided to ask you to become my “life partner” believing that if you consent you will never regret having formed the “partnership” for Flora you are the only person that I have had the pleasure of meeting that I ever had any desire of joining in marriage.
Anxiously awaiting your reply which I trust will be in the affirmative, I remain,
Most truly yours,
Franklin P. Dymond
Franklin P. Dymond was born in Jefferson, IL in 1852. His family moved to a farm just west of Libertyville in 1864, near today’s Dymond Road, later named after the family. Franklin attended the local schools and completed coursework at the Bryant & Stratton Business College in Chicago. At the age of 24, he was employed at the George H. Schanck hardware store. In 1880 he struck out with E. W. Parkhurst and founded a general merchandise business, Parkhurst & Dymond.
Flora A. Colby was born in 1852 in Waits River, Vermont and came to Libertyville at the age of three with her parents and siblings. They settled on a farm just north of downtown at today’s Milwaukee Avenue and Johnson Avenues. For a time her father was “keeper of the poor house”, the Lake County Poor Farm, just north of the Colby property.
Both Flora and Franklin were 27 years old when Franklin wrote his proposal letter. Flora said yes and the two were married February 24, 1881 at the residence of the bride’s parents. They had three sons. Earl, born in 1882 and Forest, born in 1890, survived through adulthood. The couple’s middle child, Arthur, born in 1886, passed away in 1889. They lived in a nice home at 130 W. Maple Avenue (Division Street at the time).
Flora’s brother, M. B. Colby, succeeded Mr. Parkhurst in the business in 1892, changing the name to M .B. Colby & Co. That same year Franklin became a founding partner of the first bank in Libertyville, Wright, Parkhurst & Co., Wright, Dymond and Co., and then the Lake County Bank.
He was also a member of the “Syndicate”, a group of Libertyville men involved in real estate development and other businesses in the booming Libertyville of the late 1800s. The Syndicate purchased 525 acres of land on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue running back to the Des Plaines River. Some of the land was subdivided for houses while part of it was set aside for a public park – today’s Central Park/Sunrise Rotary Park. The group also had varied commercial interests. The organization built two factory buildings east of downtown. One of the factory buildings would become home to the Earl Ladder Company and later Foulds Macaroni. The Lake County Gravel Company, in operation at what is today’s Lake Liberty, was another of the Syndicate’s concerns in which Franklin had a significant business interest.
Franklin served the community on the school board and as Mayor from 1887-1889. He was also a member of the Libertyville Masonic Lodge No. 492 and a charter member of the Libertyville Eastern Star.
While Franklin was busy with his business and civic duties, Flora took care of the home and the boys. Outside the home she was a “recognized leader” in the community. She was involved in the local Eastern Star chapter, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Cemetery Association, and the Presbyterian Church.
Franklin and Flora’s union came to a premature end when Flora died of apoplexy – a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke – in 1902 just short of her 50th birthday. Franklin was with her when it occurred. According to her obituary, upon placing her hand to her head she exclaimed “Oh, Frank, my head” and collapsed. She died a few days later without regaining consciousness.
Franklin would live another 46 years in the home on Maple Avenue. He remarried in 1905 and outlived his second wife, Minnie Sherman, who died in 1944. Franklin P. Dymond passed way in September 1948 at the age of 96.
- Letter from Franklin P. Dymond to Flora A. Colby. December 5, 1880. Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society.
- “At Rest.” Lake County Independent, 11 Apr 1902, p. 1.
- “Dymond Rites are Held on Monday.” Independent Register, September 16, 1948, p.1.
- Libertyville Illustrated, Kehm, Fietsch & Miller Co. Press, 1897.
- U.S. Census for Libertyville, IL. 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920.
- “Dymond-Colby” Waukegan Gazette, March 3, 1881, p.3.
- Flora A. Colby Dymond. Findagrave.com, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/120142495. Accessed February 14, 2018.
- Arthur Dymond. Findagrave.com, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/120142882/arthur-dymond. Accessed February 14, 2018.