Queen Anne Guest House in Jo Daviess County: Who is Jo Daviess?
History is an important part of the Queen Anne Guest House and of Galena and the surrounding county. Daryl Watson of the Galena History Museum has written an article entitled, "Who is Jo Daviess?" which succinctly and fully answers that question. The following is a portion of that article.
Who is Jo Daviess?
"Who was Jo Daviess?" many ask, and why was the county named after him?" To find the answers we must go back to 1827, when the flow of population into the northwestern corner of Illinois, especially into the Galena leadmines, encouraged the state legislature to form a new county. The area was loosely part of Peoria County, but following the practice of time, new counties of more manageable size were created as settlement and population increased.
During House debate, a Yankee representative suggested the name "Ludlow," intended to honor and perpetuate the memory of the navel hero, who was a native of New England. But the make-up of the Illinois legislature at the time was of a more southern persuasion, primarily Kentuckian. As a result, the name Daviess was offered, in honor of Col Joseph Hamilton Daviess, a prominent Kentucky lawyer and Indian fighter who died in 1811 while leading a charge against Indians in the Battle of Tippecanoe.
After further discussion, "Jo" was added to the name by the sarcastic Yankee who observed that another member of the House had the name Daviess, and people might think the honor for him. The amended bill passed both houses overwhemingly.
When first established, Jo Daviess County included most of nortwestern Illinois, including all or parts of the following counties: Carroll, Stephenson, Winnebago, Whiteside, Ogle, Lee, Henry, Bureau, and Rock Island.
Today, the county is a more managable size, but it still retains the unique name. Kentucky and Indiana also have Daviess counties, named after the same man, but without the first name added. Many visitors ask about the correct pronunciation: In most parts of the county Daviess is pronounced the same as "Davis" with a short "I". One often hears, however, particularly in and around Galena, the long "e", as in Daves". Interestinly, the original family spelling was "Daveiss", but a clerical error in Kentucky's original act was subsequently picked up by Indiana and Illinois.