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KANE COUNTY HISTORY

Did You Know?
Kane County was formed out of LaSalle County in 1836. The County was named in honor of Elias Kane, United States Senator from Illinois, and the first Secretary of State of Illinois.

The first actual settler in Kane County was Christopher Payne. He traveled from Carolina by ox team. He settled east of Batavia in 1833. The first church and sermon was preached by Rev. N.C. Clark at the Payne residence in 1834.

The remains of a huge mastodon were dug up by a railroad laborer near Aurora in 1850.

Pioneer Cheese Factories and Creameries (1873) laid the foundation for progress that made Kane County one of the greatest dairying districts in the world.

A stage route was opened from Chicago to Elgin in 1837. The Chicago and Galena stage route ran through Rutland township. The feeding and housing of travelers were chief sources of the only cash obtained by settlers.

At one time St. Charles boasted seven hotels and was considered one of the most important towns in northern U.S.A. Mrs. Lincoln often stayed at the “Howard House”. The Wild Rose Inn is said to have been a station of the Underground Railroad.

The first frame house was built at Virgil in 1840 by Luther Merrill. It is said to have contained not one food of sawed lumber, the timber being split and smoothed into boards with ax and broadax. When it was finished, Merrill gave a grand housewarming to the settlers, who danced to tunes by the first fiddler heard in that end of the world.

The Southeast Cemetery in St. Charles was the site of Camp Kane during the Civil War for the 8th Illinois Regiment and 17th Illinois Cavalry. A number of unknown soldiers are buried there, as is Evan Shelby, the first settler in St. Charles. Kane County contributed more men than any in Illinois.

The first settler in Aurora was Joseph McCarty in 1834. In 1835, Aurora was known as “McCarty’s Mill”.

Mooseheart, the world famous City of Childhood, was founded by the Moose Lodge in 1913 near Batavia.

First settler William Lance came to Blackberry Township in 1834. He lived to be 102 years of age. He personally knew George Washington!

Stephan Van Velzer arrived in Burlington in 1835 and laid claim to all land in sight, including nearly all the township.

Joseph Russell and J.H. Newman were the first Settlers in Dundee in 1834. As the name indicates, many of the early settlers in Dundee were Scotch.

In 1844 farmland in Kane County sold at $1.25 to $10 per acre. At one time much of the western part of Kane County was very swampy, but with modern drainage systems became the most fertile land in the state.

Lily Lake really was once a lake, drained by modern equipment methods.

Pottawatomie Indian chiefs Shabbona and Waubonsie sided with the whites during the Blackhawk war.

Aurora had the first electric street lights in the U.S.A.

Some settlements that are either no longer in existence or have been renamed in Kane County: Youngsdale (S. Elgin area), Bowes (S. Elgin area), Bald Mound (Blackberry twp.), Big Woods (St. Charles), Blackberry Station (Elburn), Claybourneville (2 miles south of Batavia), Lodi (Maple Park), Herringtons Ford (Geneva), Nelson's Grove (west of Batavia), Grays Grove (Montgomery), Clintonville (South Elgin), Homer (Plato twp.), Lone Grove (Kaneville), Milo (Campton twp.), Canada Corners (Campton twp.), Swinton (Blackberry twp.), Fairfield (Blackberry twp.), Kings Mill (Campton twp.), Gray Willow (Campton twp.), Greystock (Railway station near Lily lake, 1880's), Acosto (Big Rock twp.), Hen Peck (Hampshire twp.), Charleston (St. Charles), Garlands Tavern (1 mile east of Hampshire, later known as Holstein), Jericho (Sugar Grove twp.), Collamer (1 mile north of Maple Grove, Virgil twp.), Rutland (Gilberts) and McQueen (Pingree Grove area).

 
 

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