...And Where We've Been
Fatt Cat Café
We welcome you to our unique dining experience at the Fatt Cat Café in historic Rockton! Originally christened Pecatonica, meaning “slow water” or “winding river”, Rockton was renamed in 1847. Native Americans called this home until the conclusion of the Black Hawk War in 1832, and Stephen Mack, the first white settler in Winnebago County arrived around 1835, and later married Hononegah, one of the local natives. William Talcott and his family were the first settlers of the village, drawn by the fertile soils, bountiful waters, and productive woodlands.
James Gray, born in Vermont in 1816, originally owned the stone home at our location, where he kept a lumbar yard from 1856-1859. When one of the outbuildings was dug up years ago, a room was found under the floors with a heating stove from the 1850’s, suggesting this location was part of the underground railway before the civil war. David Hudson, born in Scotland in 1823, came here from Canada in 1856, built this house in 1877, and was a blacksmith. In 1883, the house was sold to Charles Hyatt, who came to Rockton with his family in 1842, for $7000. A Victorian barn was matched to the house, and used as a blacksmith shop. The Hyatt’s established the first hotel and brick yard in Rockton.
In 1918, Rockton’s new doctor, Dr. Zwaska, bought the farm, and was one of the first to have indoor plumbing. In the late 1920’s, the Crocketts moved in, and established a dairy farm, with milk delivery in glass bottles. The next owner, George Barker, raised race horses—one of his world champions, Old Mose, is buried nearby. In 1960, Dr. and Mrs. Clark bought the property.
Purchased in 1985 by Patricia Mannino, the house is filled with splendor and unique décor: a magnificent oak carved staircase, stained glass windows, beveled glass, brass and stained light fixtures, curving, coved, and arched walls, and 3 fireplaces. When listed for sale, the desire was for “someone who will fit the house in with Rockton. When that person is found, the grand house with the great past will become a grand house with a greater future.”
'Twas years ago, when the wild glowing west,
Wore bright-hued blossoms on her emerald vest,
When dusky Indians roamed the forest glades,
Or built their wigwams 'neath its leafy shades;
There came one evening, just at set of sun,
Two travelers, a father and a son.
Here were the level prairie's fertile brim,
Kissed by the waters of your rippling streams,
Fringed its fair banks with tall and stately trees,
That waved their branches to the gentle breeze,
While thickets of the plum and bending willows.
Surged here arid there, their softly swelling billows,
Green plumes and banners mixed with gleams of silver
Revealed the whiling pathway of the river.
Here said the father let us settle down,
Send for the rest and found a TALCOTT town.
They made their claim and built a cabin small,
With logs and clay to form its solid walls,
With a rude window and a ruder door
And roof of hark over its hard clay floor."
Give customers a reason to do business with you.