Putnam County

1976 Deep Are the Roots

Deep Are the Roots was published in celebration of our nation's bicentennial. This book is wonderfully illustrated with many drawings of the buildings presented. Putnam county extractions are provided here.


[Hennepin Township Page 108]

The original Hopkins house on this site was built by Joel Willis Hopkins, son of William, the first Hopkins to own the farm, in 1854 at a cost of $4,099.00. It is believed the carpenters were from Bloomngton, Illinois and were boarded by the family while building the house. In 1904 from June to the last of September, Malcolm Brothers of Normal, Illinois worked at repairing and remodeling the house at a cost of $14,322.50. Archibald Wilson Hopkins, son of Joel Willis Hopkins, was the owner at that time. In his diary he says, "Our ladies thought it a long time to be mixed up with flies, dust and shavings." At that time the one story north end of the house was moved to Granville, Illinois and became part of a smaller house there. A new kitchen, back pantry, woodhouse and cob house were built on. The porch off the dining room was removed and that room enlarged and a larger porch built off the north side of the dining room and the west side of the kitchen. There was a long narrow porch on the east side with doors off the back hall, kitchen and woodhouse. Three things that especially delighted Mrs. Hopkins were the yard square and deep wood box on casters that could be filled in the woodhouse, and when wood was needed for the kitchen range pulled up to the kitchen door to get the wood without going outside. Clean cobs for a quick fire she considered a luxury, and the fact that the big icebox was built into the pantry between the kitchen and dining room, and it had an opening onto the back porch so the iceman could fill it without tramping through the kitchen was a joy. Another pride and joy was the white wood floor in the kitchen. A corner cupboard for dishes and at the other end of the room bookcases with drawers below were built in the dining room, and the room had a plate rail where they could put special dishes, among them a huge turkey platter and turkey plates.

The house was remodeled again in 1955 by the next owner, Joel Willis Hopkins, son of Archibald. Coat closets and an outside door took one side of the room in the back pantry. The wood and cob rooms, no longer needed, became a storage room with cupboards and a powder room and a door opening into the back pantry. The east porch was incorporated into the house. Part with the pantry and a small kitchen which had been made from an office off the dining room became a large kitchen with area for washer, dryer and mangle, and one for breakfast table and chairs. The rest of the porch and big former kitchen became a big office with fireplace, something the house had never had. Since the death of Joel Willis Hopkins in 1972 the Ronald Bruchs, who help farm the land, have been living in the house.

Items of Interest about the Family

In 1835 William Hopkins bought the claim of Alexander Laughlin, In early September he left Red Oak, Ohio "with his wife, nine children, ten head of cattle, and thirty head of sheep." One big four-horse prairie schooner carried the household effects, and a two-horse spring-wagon, then an object of curiosity in the neighborhood, made a comfortable place for the wife and little ones. At Funk's Grove, near the present site of Bloomington, Illinois, they were delayed for some time by high water. William and part of the family finally moved on leaving the older boys with stock to follow as soon as they could. When grass for the cattle had given out, the boys moved to new pastures but with condemning consciences and a feeling that if their father had been there he would not have allowed it. Reaching their new possessions, they lived in a wagon until a rude cabin could be built. That same fall a better cabin was erected and the first was used for a stable. After a few years a frame house was built. This was moved away in 1845 when William built a much larger and better house where he lived until his death in 1848. These houses were west of the present house built by Joel Willis Hopkins near the intersection of Silverspoon Road and Route 89.

Archibald Wilson Hopkins was much interested in animals and for his own enjoyment and that of anyone who cared to come and see then in April of 1904 began to collect animals - first for a park west of the house, and later for one on the east side across from the home of his sister, Martha, Mrs, Sidney Whitaker, The first were three buffalo purchased for $l,014 from Howard Eaton of Wyoming, the stock coming from the northwest part of Montana. In November he bought three moose; a bull and two cows for $722, of Alex Gorley, Rolling River, Manitoba. The moose did not do well and neither did antelope. In the course of time he added four kinds of deer, elk, zebu and a pair of yak. One of these parks was maintained until the last twenty deer escaped in 1975.

Archibald Hopkins always kept some rail fences in use so that people of the younger generations might see what formerly was in common use. There used to hang on the porch of the house an iron triangle which he said called Abraham Lincoln to dinner at the Cecil Hotel in Hennepin when he came as a lawyer.

This farm land and home are located in Section 35, Granville Township, just east of State Route 89.

[Page 112]

Thomas Ware was one of the first settlers in Granville Township. He and his wife came from Massachusetts in 1833 and settled here, claiming 375 acres of land. He built a home in Granville.

About 1870 he built a new and larger house, using part of the old one for the kitchen.

His son and daughter, William and Mary, were the last of the family to live on the home place. When William died in 1935, Mr. and Mrs. Joel H. Whitaker acquired the house and surrounding land. They still live in the home, and what is now the garage is part of the original home.

Most of the nails used were the old type square ones. The woodwork is a soft type, presumably pine. The original floors are four inch wide boards, and horsehair was used in the plaster. The outside walls have brick linings and the inside doors all have white porcelain knobs.

Mrs. Joel Whitaker

[Page 113]

In 1832, people by the name of Waugh built this home at High Street between Front and Second Streets and ran it as a hotel. For years afterwards it was a hotel also. When Mrs. Simington ran it, they baked their bread in a brick oven in a separate building. There was also a slaughterhouse in place of the porch which was added on in 1905. The construction of the Hotel was solid walnut siding.

"Hennepin's Hotel Cecil Was Once One of the State's Most Elegant Hotels" from the Henry News Republican by Robert Leslie Brandstatter.

Many people of Putnam and Marshall Counties can remember the days of the famous Hotel Cecil in Hennepin which was run by the very capable owner, Mrs. Florence Church.

The building presumably had its humble beginnings in 1832 as a double log cabin. In the basement of the present building the cross beams, which are simply logs with one side hewn flat for the floor to rest on, gives reason to believe that this was the former log cabin building, or a part thereof.

Although the building was most widely known as the Hotel Cecil, it had previously been known under other proprietors as: The Hennepin House; Paxson House; The King Hotel; The Commerical House in 1891 under the proprietorship of Louis C. Rousseau, and was run as the Hennepin House with the owner being Mr. Simington.


In April of 1905, the Hennepin House was offered for sale along with the livery barn and several lots for $1,000 by Mrs. Rebecca Simington. Mrs. Florence Church, the daughter of one of Hennepin's illustrious citizens, Mr. Jasper (Jap) Cecil, bought the entire place. Following the purchase several months of extensive remodeling, costing over $4,500, were carried out.

Part of the rear of the building was torn down, which was formerly a long two-story section of narrow rooms used to bed down carriage drivers. The old slaughterhouse on the main street just to the east of the main building was also razed. It had formerly been a butcher shop and was vacated when a new building was built one block to the west.

The barn was completely remodeled, and stocked with all types of feed. One of its features was a crude type of "air conditioning" which merely consisted of sliding windows on each side, allowing cross ventilation in hot weather. This was quite modern for a barn to have sliding windows, even though they were only about 10 x 14 inches in size.

Water was piped into the hotel from the artesian mains, and a gas plant for "brilliant illumination" was installed. On September 29, 1905, the building was officially opened as the Hotel Cecil. A crowd of some 200 guests from surrounding towns attended the opening despite rainy weather.


The main event of the evening was the oyster supper which was served for 25 cents per plate. Music was provided by the Hennepin band, and a tour of the remodeled hotel brought the conclusion of the evening. Many of the guests from out of town remained all night, returning to their homes the next morning. The account, as reported in the Putnam Record, printed in the neighboring building, related the following description of the building:

"While some trivial things, in the hurry of getting the house ready for this opening, were forgotten and will be added later on, yet everything was sufficiently complete to convince those who were in attendance that the Cecil Hotel is one of the most elegantly furnished hotels in the state outside of Chicago. The office and parlor are in the front part of the house and both are very newly equipped and furnished. Next comes the dining room which is very commodious and finished off in the best of (illegible). Mr. and Mrs. Church's living rooms are over the office, while the remainder of the upper floor is apportioned off into (illegible) rooms, carpeted and supplied with elegant and costly furniture."

T. R. Signs Register

Many illustrious and famous names are to be found in the five registers still preserved. However, perhaps the one of the greatest fame was of a man, whose signature has long since been lost, as the remaining records start in the year 1907, Abraham Lincoln, who was later to become the President of the United States, stayed in the Hotel, before it was known as the Cecil, while conducting a trial in the Putnam County courthouse. The exact date of Lincoln's first stay has not been definitely established, but he was in Hennepin trying cases in 1845, 1850, and 1856. It is presumed that it was on one of these occasions, or in this general period of time.

Perhaps the most famous men other than Abraham Lincoln, who stayed at the Hotel Cecil were: Theodore Roosevelt, Barney Oldfield, and DeLoyd Thompson. Mr. Roosevelt signed the register on October 22, 1907, and it shows that he had dinner, and stayed overnight in room 7. All original room numbers still remain today. Room 7 is a large room at the south end of the hotel directly above what was used as a pantry. It was one of the largest and nicest rooms available, Roosevelt gave his address simply as Washington, D. C. Lastly the entry is marked "Paid."

Mr. Oldfield and Mr. Thompson left a small leaflet with their pictures on it advertising the National Implement and Vehicle show at Peoria, September 28 - October 8, 1915. They had come down the Illinois River on one of the steamers to do some fishing and hunting at Hennepin. Mr. Oldfield was known as the world's speed king and Mr. Thompson was billed as the "World's Aerial Wonder," by flying upside down.

Era Ends

Other registers from the hotel list many prominent men, many Illinois statesmen, boat visitors, and also has numerous entries showing trial juries were kept overnight during court. The Alumni of the Hennepin High School held their banquet at the Hotel Cecil in 1912. Many similar entries too numerous to mention are to be found.

In 1936, after 31 years as proprietress of the Hotel Cecil, Mrs. Church offered the entire grounds and buildings for sale. John Brandstatter, Sr. bought the building and has resided there since. Thus came the end of an era for Hennepin, which has not had a hotel since.

Waugh, Rousseau, Paxson, Simington. Totaling 73 years.
Church (Cecil), 1905; Brandstatter Sr., 1936; Brandstatter Jr., 1958. Totaling 71 years.

John Brandstatter, Jr. is the present owner of the grounds and buildings which he purchased from his father, John Sr. in 1958. Again the old hotel was remodeled and divided into apartments, all of which are occupied.

John Brandstatter, Jr.

[Page 116]

The Putnam County Historical Society Museum, located on High Street in Hennepin, Illinois, is one of the oldest homes in the county and is believed to have been built in the early l830's. Before the Village of Hennepin rented it to the Historical Society, it was known as the Telephone Building since it housed the Hennepin Mutual Telephone Company.

It was built by James W. Willis and wife and later sold to Burton Ayres. Ayres sold it to G. W. Ventioneer, when it was believed to have been used as a hotel. At the courthouse in Hennepin, the second transaction on the house dated July 2, 1836 and May 2, 1837 involving George W. Ventioneer, proves to be an interesting item:

"Oh, Yes — The cheapest bargain ever sold in Hennepin. The subscriber offers his hotel for sale. It is situated on High Street, between Front and Second, in the best part of town for business. For any person who may want to make an investment in town property, here is a chance for a splendid speculation, as I am determined to leave this country and go south."

James Ventioneer, Hennepin, Ill.
May 16, 1837

The Tri-Township Home Extension Unit has begun restoration of the sitting room as it would have been in the Victorian era. Furnishings include a yarn weasel, spinning wheel, settee and high chair. The settee is from the Pulsifer House which was the first home built in the village of Hennepin.

The museum, open a few hours each week during the summer of 1976 and officially dedicated September 28, 1976, is open for visitors.

[Page 117]

The first courthouse for Putnam County was a large wooden building erected in 1833. In 1838 the present building was constructed at the cost of $14,000.

In 1893 a two-story brick, iron-roofed addition to the north side of the courthouse was added. It was "twenty-four feet north and south by thirty-four feet east and west, the first story to be fireproof and divided into two vaults, the second story to be in one room and suitable for a grand jury room, the outside of said addition to be the same style of architecture as the courthouse."

This beautiful old structure is still in use in 1976. It claims the distinction of being the oldest courthouse in use in the state of Illinois.

[Page 118]

The farm now owned by Irene E. Zenor, located in Section 15, Hennepin Township, one mile east of Hennepin, Illinois on Route 26, has been owned by the same family since 1832.

In 1832, Grandfather Housen K. Zenor (grandfather of Irene) entered (homesteaded) the land and built a log cabin on it. In 1837 Housen K. Zenor and his father, William H. Zenor went to Springfield, Illinois and purchased the land from the government for $1.25 per acre. The original sheepskin patent signed by President Van Buren in 1837 is still in possession of the present owner.

The original farm consisted of 160 acres, however, more land was acquired through the years. The first home was a log cabin. During these early years, Indians were often seen near the cabin but caused no trouble.

In 1835, Housen K. married Flora Morrow Patterson, and soon after they built a one-room brick house with a ladder leading to the upper room. It is still a part of the present building. As their family grew, a main addition was added with four large rooms downstairs and five bedrooms upstairs. A kitchen was added later adjoining the brick part of the house.

William H. Zenor used to ship potatoes and a few hams and shoulders to St. Louis, Missouri by steamboat. The prices ranged from 7 cents per bushel in 1855, to 12-1/2 in 1862. The main price during those years was 7 or 8 cents. A logbook that he kept of the things he shipped is still in the family.

About five acres of pasture land, northeast of the house, is virgin soil, and has never been broken by a plow.

Housen K. Zenor and Flora Patterson Zenor had ten children. Their youngest son, Harley B. Zenor, took over the farm after his mother died in 1902. His father had passed away in 1870. Harley B. paid off the other heirs, and became sole owner of the farm. He married Charlotte (Lottie) Greiner in 1896, and to this union three daughters were born; Flora Bernice (Smith) of Morton, Illinois, Helen Lucille (Wacaser) of Pontiac, Illinois (now deceased), and Irene Elizabeth.

Irene is the present owner. She lived there until 1970 when she moved to Pontiac, Illinois to be with her sister. The house has been rented since that time.

The land has been farmed by Geno and Herman Christini for the past nineteen years, and their older brother, John, farmed the land for fourteen years before his death.

In the late 1940 's enclosed porches were built on the north and east side of the house. (The view of the house pictured was made from an old photograph.)

In those days, babies were delivered in the home, and an interesting fact is that Harley and his three daughters were all born in the same room of the house. According to some records, William H. Zenor's wife's mother was the first nurse of George Washington.

Irene E. Zenor

[Page 120]

George Griffith and Sarah came from Cadis, Ohio, to Putnam County, Illinois in the year 1836. The family at that time consisting of the sons; Isaac, George and John, and the daughters; Sarah, Mary Jane and Ruth.

The second marriage added to the family; Hiram, Franklin and Belle. The family at the time of repairing consisted of Lydia, the second wife, and her children; Franklin and Belle.

The brick residence on the old homestead was erected in l843. The bricks for the walls and the lime used were both made on the premises. George Merritt and R. Haley laid the brick. The carpenters were Asa Cunningham Macomber and Smith. The plastering was done by Peter Howe.

Franklin Griffith succeeding to the old homestead had it enlarged by the erection of a second story during the year of 1873.

"The bricks for the enlargement were made by McCaleb and Woolson Croft of Lostant and were hauled by Arthur Swaney during the year 1872. The following mechanics were employed on the work. Brick layers, John Reley and Samuel Parker of Henry, Illinois, J. W. Stubbles acting as 'Brick Clerk' and J. Clemens as 'Mud Clerk' for the occasion. Carpenters E. & J. Spencer of Magnolia, with George Keller Cook and George Spencer as assistants. The lath were laid by George Spencer. The plastering was done by Samuel Parker, assisted by Joseph Lowe, both of Henry. Painting by Barney Swaney.

"Aware of the interest attaching to such trifling events, after the lapse of years, and when those thus actively engaged in skillful labor, shall have passed away, this record is made, and on the l6th day of October, 1873, placed in the walls of the building near the upper story hall window pointing south. Where, should it ever be found in years to come the finder may satisfy a proper curiosity by learning something of the owners and the parties employed in the erection of the building.

Signed: Lydia Griffith."

This interesting account was discovered in the wall when work was done on the old home.

My father, Frank Koehler, bought the farm from Frank Griffith and we moved from LaSalle County to the present home in 1912. My father paid $300 per acre for the 47 acres which seems reasonable now but wasn't at that time.

My father had only had the opportunity to go through the fifth grade in school and was going to be sure my sister and I went all the way. All through the history of the home, school has been important to those living there. Students found here a place to stay when bad weather made it impossible to get home.

In 1952, the farm became mine at the death of my mother.

There are four bedrooms and a half bath upstairs, a living room, dining room, kitchen, den and bath downstairs, A closed porch makes another room.

There is a full basement and attic.

One of the landmarks is the old oak tree near the east entrance.

This home is located about one and one-half miles south of McNabb and one-half mile west of Route 89 (near the John Swaney School) in Section 16, Magnolia Township, Putnam County.

Mrs. Dorothy Ashdown

Johnathan Turner Memorial [Page 122]

This Marker Commemorates The Granville Convention of November 18, 1851. At which Johnathan Baldwin Turner first proposed the plan for establishing higher institutions of scientific industrial learning by federal aid, a plan which laid the foundation of the University of Illinois and all of the land grant colleges of the nation.

Records indicate that as early as 1844 the farmers of Putnam County banded together to form an organization to further their interests in agriculture and cultural pursuits.

On February 23, I846 Buel Institute, the oldest agricultural Society in Illinois, was organized. The discussions at their meetings included a wide range of subjects relative to farming interests. This organization is given the credit for first suggesting to the United States government the establishment of a Department of Agriculture.

In 1851, at one of these meetings, Professor Johnathan B. Turner proposed the idea of federal land grant colleges. The idea took root and led to the establishment of our vast system of land grant universities which have made possible an industrial university education for many young people throughout the world.

In the fall of 1923, the people of Putnam County recognized the contribution of this great believer in industrial training for youth by dedicating a memorial plaque on the grounds of John Swaney School near McNabb, Illinois.

[Page 124]

The Courtland Condit family came from New York State to the Senachwine area of Putnam County, Illinois in the fall of 1836. Shortly after the Condit's arrival, this New York style house was erected. Descendants of the family tell us the house was built circa 1837.

It remained in the Condit family until it was given to Senachwine Township in 1972 by Courtland' s great-granddaughter, Mrs. Elsie Condit Miles. Given with the stipulation it be used "for the local branch Library or some historic purpose" it immediately became home to the local Library and has been named "The Condit Memorial Library."

Much work has been done to restore the structure and much more remains to be done. An Illinois Bicentennial grant of $2,000 has been matched by the local community and these funds made it possible for the new wood shingle roof like the original.

The Condit Memorial Library is located on the south edge of the village of Putnam.

[Page 125]

Giltner Farm

The farm originally known as the Giltner farm has remained in the ownership of the same family for five generations. The farm consisting of 160 acres is located one mile south of the village of Putnam in Putnam County along what is known as the Bluff Road. This road runs parallel to Route 29 and the Rock Island Railroad line from Putnam to Henry.

According to the records in the Putnam County Courthouse, James Giltner bought said farm from Benjamin Lombard in 1856 for $4,000. Mr. Giltner married Henrietta Rommel of Saxony, Germany and being a carpenter by trade he built a large two-story house with a large porch extending across the entire front of the house. This house was erected on a hillside between the tillable acreage and the timberland.

Mr. and Mrs. Giltner were the parents of five children; Sarah E, (Mrs. Samuel Case), Henrietta (Mrs. Henry Downey), Abraham (who died in infancy), Anna Eurena (Mrs. Durbin Downey) and Mary Jane (Mrs. William Drake). Two of the daughters, Henrietta and Mary Jane, lived most of their lives in Senachwine Township.

Mary Jane married William Drake of Putnam, son of Jeremiah Drake. He was one of the early settlers of Senachwine Township and has descendants down to the fifth generation living in the same community. They were the parents of two children; Jerry Giltner, who died during the flu epidemic of 1918, and Ardis Mae who married William C. Greek of Henry, Illinois.

In July, 1900, the Giltner farm was given to Mary Jane Drake by her parents. The same farm became the property of Ardis Drake Greek when her mother passed away July 10, 1958. The son of William and Ardis Greek who is William Drake Greek married Dorothy Kief of Lacon, Illinois. They are the present owners of the farm where they reside with their three children; Cyrena Anne, Tyler Kief, and Nathaniel Drake.

Through the years three homes were erected on the farm. The first home was built by the Giltners, the second by the Drakes and the third by Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Greek.

In 1857 Senachwine Township was divided into seven school districts. As was the custom of the time a farmer or landowner in each district set aside land for the building of a one-room school. Consolidation of the school districts caused the abandoning of the one-room schools in the township.

During the time the Giltner School was used, Henrietta Giltner, who married Henry Downey, was one of the early teachers. She was educated in the Henry Seminary, Her daughter, Henrietta Downey, also taught the same school. This building was located at the top of the hill on the south boundary of the farm and was close to the first home built on the farm. These early schools ran for a six or seven month period. The basic subjects taught were reading, writing and arithmetic.

Mrs. Ardis D. Greek

[Page 126]

Lake Thunderbird Chair Tree

A beloved Indian Trail Tree, commonly called a Chair Tree, was dedicated
and preserved for posterity at Lake Thunderbird Sunday, June 3, 1973. This dedication was made possible by the interest of the Putnam County Historical Society and the generosity of American Central Corporation, the developers of Lake Thunderbird.

The memorial reads;

The Senachwine Tree
This Indial Trail Marker is Dedicated to Potawatomi Chief Senachwine and to the Lake Thunderbird Property Owners Present and Future Who Seek Out the Joys of Nature and Make Them Part of Their Lives.

Putnam County Historical Society
American Central Corporation
Lake Thunderbird
June 3, 1973

Mrs. Barbara Cold, staff representative of the corporation, told of research she had done concerning the tree. From studies she made in the map room of the research library of the Cook County Historical Society's headquarters on Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, she estimated the Oak Trail tree to be over 200 years old.

She said Indians used to bend saplings down and anchor them with leather thongs. After thirty years the leather would rot, but by that time the tree would have rooted and started growth on its way to becoming a trail tree, Indians marked trails in this manner, making a trail tree about every four miles.

The tree at Lake Thunderbird was one of several used in marking the trail from Hennepin on the Illinois River to Nauvoo on the Mississippi River, Mrs. Cold said.

The dedication speaker was Durley Boyle, Hennepin attorney. Lloyd Wheeler, Putnam County Historical Society President, gave a welcome and remarks were made by Mr. Robert Pfeifle, Public Relations Director for American Central Corporation, the developer of Lake Thunderbird.

Mrs. Elizabeth Leigh

[Page 128]

The Louis family has lived in Senachwine Township, Putnam County, Putnam, Illinois from 1860 to 1976.

Mathias Louis was born at Saarbwig in Rheinish, Prussia, January 20, 1822. He landed in New York in the spring of l847, after a sea voyage of 66 days. His first summer was spent in Pennsylvania. That fall he decided to try Wisconsin.

There being no railroads to the west or northwest in those days, river and canals were the most popular means of travel. He traveled by canal and river, going down the Ohio and up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, getting about as far as Peoria, Illinois when the river froze over, suspending travel. He then traveled by foot and stage to Chicago. He was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the summer of 1848 and was troubled with illness while there. In the fall or winter of 1848 or spring of 1849, he returned to Illinois, settling in Henry. He was farm boss for Benjamin Lombard until 1857.

Mr. Louis married Rosalinda Ludwig, who gave birth to five children; Michael, Otto, Emma, Henry and Charles.

In the spring of 1859 he leased what was known as Dry Hollow Farm of the late Robert Davis.

In 1860, he purchased 160 acres in Section 30 and 240 acres in Section 29, Senachwine Township from Benjamin Lombard. He also owned 20.54 acres in Section 16 which later went to the school district. Mathias died April 2, 1895 at the age of sixty-three. Henry Charles Louis bought the farm August 17, 1895.

A most interesting structure on the farm, still standing today, is the four-story barn. It was constructed on a hillside site in 1897. The heavy stone foundation and wooden peg construction have withstood the years of use. Horse drawn hayracks entered the barn via a north ramp, the hay was pitched off, the empty rack left via an east ramp. The "hay pitchers" got a rest when the wooden track and fork pulled hay into the upper level. This wooden rack was later replaced with a metal one.

Henry married Henrietta Seichter and they were the parents of four children; Martha, Otto, Hilda and Clara. Henry died November 6, 1914 at the age of forty-three of tuberculosis. The farm was left to his wife and children.

Otto J. Louis bought the farm March 23, 1944. He married Florence Bogner and they made their home on the homestead until September 15, 1975 when they moved to Henry, Illinois after purchasing the Leo Klein residence at 1115 Second Street. Their children are Cecelia (Hartwig), Norbert and Evelyn (Smoode), Norbert married Marilyn Fulton on June 7, 1958. They purchased a plot of ground from Charles and Chauncey Read, and built a new home in 1963-64 where they resided until December 27, 1975 when they moved to the Louis homestead. They purchased the land (15 acres) where the farm buildings stand.

Norbert and Marilyn are the parents of five children; JoVonna, Julie, Fulton Joseph, John and Jereen. These children are the fifth generation to live on the farm.

Mr. and Mrs. Norbert Louis

[Page 130]

The Putnam Christian Church had its beginning with the early settlers who brought the Restoration movement with them. During the early years worship services were held in schoolhouses and homes.

The first structure to be built was the present building, a wood frame completed in 1866. This building measured fifty-two feet by thirty-two feet by eighteen feet with a vestry of eight feet and a belfry.

Heat was provided by two hard coal heaters. Kerosene lamps provided light for evening services.

In 1899 an addition, twelve feet by twenty-eight feet was added to the back of the building, housing a below the floor baptistery, also kitchen area and Sunday School class space. In 1955 an annex, thirty feet by thirty-two feet was added to the north side. Then in the winter of 1972-73 a new modern kitchen was added to the west of the annex.

The seating over the years changed from hand hewn straight pews to opera type seats to our modern ones. All pulpit furniture is new and all floors have been carpeted in recent years.

The heating system gradually improved to a hot air, coal-burning furnace, then to natural gas which came to Putnam in 1964.

In 1899 a gas machine gas lighting system was installed. This was followed by the Coleman Lantern and then electricity which came to the village around 1930.

By 1955 a pipe organ was installed by Frank Yarrington soon to be replaced by a much bigger one in 1960-61.

The present pastor, Dan Cameron and wife reside in the church parsonage. This is the small green shingle house just south of the church. The present congregation represents about forty-five families.

[Page 132]

Chief Senachwine and Indian Mounds

On the brow of a high knoll, overlooking a portion of Lake Senachwine and the Illinois River valley lies an Indian burial ground known as Indian Mounds.

This is located one-half mile north of Putnam, Illinois on the Wheeler farm.

A row of burial mounds following the contour of the wooded knoll, extending from north to south, for a distance of over 1,300 feet make up the burial ground of the mound builders. The mound builders were Indians who once lived at the foot of this hill.

Through research, it is believed the original mound builders erected the serpentine mounds for burial purposes and in succeeding years, the Potawatomi Indians migrated to this section, recognizing the mounds as a sacred object and appropriated it for their own purposes.

The grave of the famous Indian Chief Senachwine, an apostle of peace, who died in 1831, is a part of this burying ground. He was the last Indian to be buried there, as the white race was moving in and pushing the Indians west.

His grave is the highest mound, located at the head of the chain, at the north side of the row, marked with a large boulder on which is an inserted memorial plaque, placed there by the Sons of the American Revolution in 1937.

James Tallioferro was the first white settler to come to Senachwine Township in March, 1835 and make a claim on the site of the former Indian village. He settled on what is now known as the George Wheeler farm north of Putnam, Illinois.

Mr. Tallioferro had bought the farm from the government in 1835 and kept it until 1888 when he sold it to George Wheeler's father, Vurlina. Before leaving, he asked George to accompany him to the mounds on the hill where Chief Senachwine was buried along with some other members of the Potawatomi tribe.

He pointed out the grave of Senachwine and told him that when he came to the farm in 1835 there was a red cedar pole with strips of leather wrapped around it on the grave, and a stake at each end of the grave as markers. Mr. Tallioferro requested George Wheeler to take care of and permanently mark the grave, so Mr. Wheeler later placed two large boulders on the mound.

Mr. Tallioferro also related to Mr. Wheeler that the Potawatomi Indians continued to visit the Chief's grave for at least twenty years after his death. They brought venison, other foods and a supply of wampum which they placed on the grave. He estimated the village in the valley below the mounds had at some times 400 to 500 wigwams.

Senachwine Township, a lake, a creek, and a school are named in honor or Chief Senachwine.

When George Wheeler bought the farm he acquired many interesting articles left behind by James Tallioferro in a house he formerly occupied. In an old trunk he found a letter from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, dated August 13, 1872, inquiring from Mr. Tallioferro if there were eighty-seven notches on the pole marking Chief Senachwine 's grave, since that was presumed to be his age at death. Also, he asked about the pole set on his grave and if his death was in 1831.

Chief Senachwine

At a council in old Indian Town (Tiskilwa), chiefs of the Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Winnebago, and Chippewa had gathered in 1830. They had been listening to a speech by Adam Paine, a missionary. They had also heard a plea from Black Hawk for the Potawatomis to join him in exterminating the whites. Senachwine, one of the leading chiefs of the Potawatomis listened, then arose and delivered his famous speech urging the other tribes not to join Black Hawk in his plan. The Potawatomis followed their chief's advice and did not join.

Senachwine's Death

About a year after his famous speech to Black Hawk, Chief Senachwine was riding into his home village. As he raised his hand to speak to his people, he died instantly. In deep mourning for their chief, his three wives with their numerous children and grandchildren, painted their faces black, and accompanied by the whole village in deep mourning, carried his body to its final resting place. The burial was in line with Senachwine's request, on a hill overlooking the valley and village of Senachwine.

In the summer of 1931 the Wheeler farm was visited by John G. Prasuhn and C. K. Corwin from the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. Mr. Prasuhn gathered sand and dirt from the Indian mounds to use in constructing an authentic replica of a mound builder's grave in the museum. Mr. Corwin was an artist who painted the Wheeler background scene of the mounds. This replica of the mounds is still on display at the Field Museum.

In 1933, an Indian mound on the hillside was opened by a group of students from the University of Chicago, under the direction of Dr. Faye Cooper Cole, noted anthropologist at the university.

Mr. Wheeler was invited to exhibit Indian relics at the Century of Progress International Exhibition, Chicago, in 1934. Mr. Wheeler's exhibit of Potawatomi Indian relics was on display at the south Block House of Fort Dearborn. The display included arrowheads, spears and ornaments. It was the center of attraction on the anniversary of the Ft. Dearborn Massacre August 16, In appreciation for his loan of the Indian relics, Mr. Wheeler was presented a Citation by the Century of Progress President, Mr. Rufus C. Dawes.

The Sons of the American Revolution, George Rogers Clark Chapter of Peoria, Illinois, dedicated a memorial plaque at the grave of Chief Senachwine on the George Wheeler farm, Sunday, June 13, 1937. The plaque was attached to a large boulder which has marked the Chief's grave for many years. This honor to the Chief was arranged through the efforts of George W. Hunt, a Peoria attorney but formerly a resident of Putnam County where he had served as County Superintendent of Schools and States Attorney. He enlisted the assistance of the Peoria County Historical Society, the Illinois Historical Society and many others in securing data pertaining to the early Indian history of this area.

A very interesting and colorful program was witnessed by some 2,000 people attending the ceremonies. Attorney P. G. Rennick of Peoria gave the principal address, calling attention to the reputation of Chief Senachwine as an honest, charitable, peace-loving individual whose influence was largely responsible for the mutual understanding between his people and the early settlers of this area.

Paul M. Angle, librarian of the Illinois State Historical Library, gave a short address. Fifteen Indians from the Potawatomi Indian Reservation at Mayetta, Kansas, some of them direct descendants of Senachwine, were in attendance. They were dressed in colorful garments and performed tribal rites and Indian dances. The pipe of peace was lighted and passed to Attorney Hunt who received it on behalf of the white race.

Plaque Inscription – Burial Place of Senachwine, Potawatomi Indian Chief
"Resistance to the aggression of the whites is useless; war is wicked and must result in our ruin. Therefore let us submit to our fate; return not evil for evil, as this would offend the Great Spirit and bring ruin upon us." Extract from his speech to Black Hawk June, 1830, at Indian Village.
Erected by S.A.R. George Rogers Clark Chapter, Peoria, Illinois, June 13, 1937.

During June of 1938 and again in June of 1939, the Sons of the American Revolution observed Flag Day by visiting the Wheeler farm in honor of Senachwine. The 1939 observance was a public event with many people enjoying a colorful program put on by eleven Indians from the Potawatomi Reservation, Mayetta, Kansas, during their two day observance.

Senachwine Pioneer Days

From May 30 to June 2, 1968, the citizens of Senachwine Township, with fewer than a hundred families, commemorated the Sesquicentennial of Illinois with a very outstanding four day observance called "Pioneer Days" in the village of Putnam.

On June 2, the concluding event was an Indian program held on the hill near Chief Senachwine's grave on the Wheeler farm. Eleven Indians from the Potawatomi Reservation at Mayetta, Kansas, attended this sesquicentennial event at Putnam. Among them were three direct descendants of Chief Senachwine; Henry Claybear Nahgombe; his sister, Jasetta Wahwassuck; and their 90 year old mother, Mrs. Lisa Claybear Nahgombe.


"Star -Spangled Banner" by Henry-Senachwine Ensemble
Vocal Solo - "Indian Love Call" by Mrs. Phyllis Finfgeld
Remarks by Lester E. Leigh, M. C.
Senachwine's Reply to Black Hawk by Congressman Robert Michel
Introduction of three descendants of Senachwine and eight other members of the same tribe
Exhibition of Dances and Tribal Ceremonies
Concluding Remarks by Congressman Robert Michel
Taps by David Dewey

In 1972 several members of the Wheeler family visited the Potawatomi Indian Reservation at Mayetta, Kansas, to talk to the direct descendants of Chief Senachwine; the Nahgombes, Mrs. Jasetta Wahwassuck, and Mrs. Minnie Harrison, the oldest living descendant of the old chief. Mrs. Harrison showed the Wheelers many family keepsakes, including Chief Senachwine's picture, his peace pipe, etc.

For many years George Wheeler maintained on his farm a small museum exhibiting his lifetime collection of Indian artifacts.

[Page 136]

George Sparling Farm

George Sparling came to the Senachwine area in 1840, at the age of twenty-one, working as a carpenter. Most of the first year was spent working for John Harrison. After helping build the first frame business building (the Bradley store) in Henry, Mr. Harrison found himself unable to pay Mr. Sparling's labor bill, so he settled the debt by deeding a farm to him. Hennepin Court Records state that the W 1/2 of the NW 1/4 of Section 28 was deeded by J. Harrison to George Sparling, February 3, 1842 for the sum of $300. Soon after, Mr. Sparling made this farm his home, and it remained the center of operations in the Senachwine area for many years. The property has remained in the family continuously and is presently owned by a great-grandson, L. Gill and others.

Mr. Sparling spent much of the 1842 season working for other early settlers in the community, and in January of 1843 he married Adeline Morgan from Connecticut. He began farming for himself at this time and found that he could supplement his farming operations by operating a fishery on Lake Senachwine. He soon found that this was one of the best fishing areas in the vicinity and soon learned to make the operation more profitable by initiating the use of a seine. The system of seine fishing had been demonstrated to him by an ex-missionary who had seen it operated in the Sandwich Islands. The fishing business proved more profitable than farming and this enabled him to expand both operations considerably. He eventually acquired some 800 acres of land, part of which was for farming and the rest to expand the fishing business. This worked out well until the Henry Dam was built and the lake water raised enough to make the fisheries unprofitable.

After fishing became unprofitable, the Walnut Grove Resort was established at the Lake's edge on property he had acquired from Putnam County in 1852. Fish chowder which he popularized at his resort became a favorite food at socials and suppers. It was often served at money raising events and church affairs. It was popular because it was unique in the Senachwine area. When he expanded his fishing operations he had purchased from Putnam County 240 acres, N.E. Section 28 and S 1/2 of S.E. Section 21 for the sum of $72. Most of this area is still owned by the family and access to the Walnut Grove Resort is via private road running through the middle of the farming area, east and west from the township road to the lake area. There are no longer any of the old farmstead buildings standing.

George Sparling lived a long life of success and adversities, passing away in Henry, Illinois in 1894 near seventy-five years of age. It is appropriate that we give recognition this Bicentennial year to the family for continuous ownership from 1842 through 1976, as a noteworthy and unusual occurrence.

Lee Gill and others are the present owners of this Centennial farm of 240 acres in Sections 21 and 28 of Senachwine Township. Mr. Gill is the great-grand-son of George Sparling. Another great-grandson, Lloyd Wheeler, has for many years managed this property for the owners. The farmland is presently operated by Robert Wheeler, a great-great-grandson, who is the son of Leslie Wheeler another great-grandson of Mr. Sparling.

Mrs. Lester E. Leigh

[Page 137]

Elsie Wherry Home

This farm home has been owned by the same family since it was purchased by William Wheeler and wife in 1874. The exact date this home was built is not known. It is known that the two-story part with a lean-to kitchen area at the back was here in 1874. Before 1900 the lean-to kitchen was torn away and a long one-story addition was added to the north along with other extensive changes in room arrangement and so forth.

Hand hewn timbers are visible in the basement; the basement walls are brick. The original floors were five inch soft pine and the woodwork is oak. The house has two stairways. This was planned so hired help and family would be separated. In recent years a doorway has been cut so all the second story is available from either stairway.

By 1900 the house had a lighting system, called "Gas Machine Gas." The gas was purchased by the barrel and was stored in a cistern-like dugout at the east side of the house. This gas was forced throughout the house through small pipes coming into the rooms. The outlets used a mantle and had a pretty glass shade, by turning a small spigot near the mantle and holding a lighted match above, the mantle was lighted, producing a lovely pure white light. Pressure to force the gas through the pipes came from a weight arrangement in the basement. This weight arrangement consisted of a round metal tank about five feet in diameter and three feet deep. The tank was filled with large stones and rocks, by a hand turned pulley fastened to one inch thick wire cables the tank was hoisted to the ceiling. It lowered only as the gas was used so did not need raising; too often.

Another first for this house in the community was the furnace, steam and fired with wood. This was long ago changed to hot water. The heating fuel changed to coal, then oil and finally gas as the natural gas line came by the place in 1966. The huge pantry with its flour and sugar bins, dry sinks and so forth have long been gone.

In 1893 a self-flowing artesian well was dug and is still in use. This provides a water system in the house as well as cool fresh water the year around at four stock tanks.

John Wherry and wife (Atha Wheeler) bought the farm in 1926 from the Wheeler Estate. Since their death in the early 1960's the farm is owned by their two daughters; Elsie Wherry who continues to live in the house and Zelda, Mrs. L. R. Daniels who with her husband moved to Henry in 1966 being actively engaged in the farm operations all their married years. The farm operations now are carried on by their oldest son, Ralph Daniels, wife and son, John who reside in the second house on the farm.

This home is located about one mile north of Putnam, Illinois and approximately two blocks east of the Lake Thunderbird sign on Route 29.

Elsie Wherry

[Page 139]

Wherry Centennial Farm

Elijah Perkins and wife, Rachael Wherry, purchased l60 acres, NE 1/4 Section 34, Senachwine Township, Putnam County, from Andrew Chambers and wife, in December, l85l for the sum of $640. After improving it the Perkins sold the farm in 1867 for the sum of $4,600 to her brother, William Wherry and wife, Matilda Perkins, whom he married in 1844. Rachael, William, and John were three of the seven children of William Wherry, Sr. and wife, Mary Niel who emigrated from Pennsylvania to Ohio in 1812, and to Bureau County in 1837. The story is that young John rode a horse from Ohio to the new home in Illinois.

In 1868 William and Matilda sold this land to his brother, John and wife, Malinda Perkins, married in 1845, who had established their home in Senachwine Township, a very short distance away. They reared six children, William, Mary Amy, John Jr., Jesse, Rachael Ann, and James Madison.

In 1888 John Wherry granted the right and privilege to Fred I. Beers to prospect for coal on the NE 1/4 of Section 34. The agreed price was $10.

In 1892 the son, James Madison Wherry and his wife, Janetta Rich, daughter of Washington and Selina Rich, whom he married in 1877, purchased this farm from the heirs of his father's estate. The James Wherrys lived on another of his father's former farms nearby, and eight children were born to them, John E., Carrie, Charles Austin, Earl, Losta, Amy, James, and Eva Janetta.

Charles Austin Wherry married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry W. and Henrietta Giltner Downey on February 8, 1910, and established their home on this farm.

Elizabeth taught the Bracken rural school one-fourth mile from this place prior to her marriage. Three daughters were born to Charles and Elizabeth, Helen, Mrs. Lloyd Sipe, Toluca, Illinois; Henrietta, Mrs. Merrill Holmes, Bradford, Illinois; and Annis, the baby, adopted in 1917 after the death of Elizabeth by Francis and Minnie Downey Quinn, now Mrs. Carl Bassler, West Plains, Missouri. Helen and Henrietta were reared by their grandparents, the Henry Downeys. Charles moved from the farm in 1919.

James M. Wherry deeded the east half of this NE ¼ Section 34 to his son, Charles Austin Wherry in 1937. After his death in 1964, and that of his wife, Mathilda Braun Heilstedt whom he married in 1934, Helen Sipe and Henrietta W. Holmes inherited it. No buildings remain on this farm today.

The west half of this 160 acres was given by James M. Wherry to another son, Earl Willis. The Centennial award was presented to the owners in 1972.

Mrs. Henrietta Holmes

[Page 140]

Wayne Leland Winship of Putnam, Illin6is is the present owner of 320 acres of farmland in Senachwine Township of Putnam County. James M. Winship, great-grandfather of Wayne, purchased the original 240 acre tract from James Giltner on March 17, 1868.

James M. Winship was born in New York State on October 2, 1825 and was brought by his parents to Bureau County in 1832. He married Mary Ann Read in 1850.

In 1852, he traveled west by wagon train to the gold mining regions of California and returned in 1853. During this time, his wife stayed with her parents. Later, in 1876, he traveled east to the Philadelphia Exposition and also visited relatives in several eastern states.

In 1868, James M. Winship moved to Senachwine Township in Putnam County where he purchased the farm upon which he resided continuously until his death.

He passed away on May 9, 1903, leaving an estate of over 300 acres of rich and valuable farmland.

James O. Winship, a son of James M. and Mary Ann Winship, was born on July 21, 1852. James O. was married in 1878 to Mary Frances Downey. One of their sons, Walter W. was bom on April 4, 1879. Wayne L. Winship, born on May 14, 1918, is the son of Walter W. and Minnie Puttcamp who were married March 22, 1906 in Princeton, Illinois. Wayne L. married Berna Mae Jacobs on February 18, 1951 in Sparland, Illinois. One of their sons, Harold Leland, born September 25, 1957, represents the fifth generation of the Winship family who has been or will be engaged in farming on the original tract of land purchased by James M. Winship.

A branch trail of the Galena Road runs along the bluff directly behind the homestead that James M. Winship built over 100 years ago and which now houses the fifth generation of the Winship family.

The Winship farm and home are located in Senachwine Township, one and one-half miles north of Putnam, Illinois on Route 29.

Mr. Michael W. Winship

[Page 141]

Additional Centennial Farms in Marshall and Putnam Counties as reported to the Committee


Mrs. Dorothy Rae - Bell Plain
Elijah E. Perry - Bell Plain
Wilbert and Anabelle Griffin - Bell Plain
Verle Kolb - Bell Plain

William Hattan - Bennington
Mrs. Ray Litchfield - Bennington
Harold and Gallette Beckwith - Bennington
Mrs. Emma (Schmillen) Schook - Bennington

Mrs. Loretta Lutz - Evans

Harold and George Gallup - LaPrairie
Cliff and Ruth Marshall - LaPrairie
Eugene S. Turnbull - LaPrairie
Carl and Mary Webber - LaPrairie
Charles Scoon Heirs - LaPrairie
Elizabeth Scoon - LaPrairie
Mrs. Margaret Green - LaPrairie
George Aitchison Heirs - LaPrairie
Mrs. Hester Allen - LaPrairie
Mrs. Mary Casey - LaPrairie
Mrs. Gertrude Green - LaPrairie

Wayne Ehringer Heirs - Hopewell

Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Buck - Richland

Janet Stateler Heirs - Roberts
Elizabeth B. Jones - Roberts

Mr. Robert Kelly - Saratoga
Mrs. Pearl Swearingen - Saratoga
Mr. Leslie Harrison - Saratoga

Viola Rezab - Whitefield
Roger Rowe - Whitefield

Philip and Julia Edgerley - Granville
August Kunkel - Granville
Mr. and Mrs. Edward Holly - Granville

Mr. Galvin Real - Senachwine
Mrs. Helen Sipe and Mrs. Henrietta Holmes - Senachwine
Mr. Francis Quinn - Senachwine

[Page 142]

Widely known as the Church on the Hill, Boyd's Grove Church is located four miles east of Bradford, Illinois. It came into being in 1851 when six families who had been holding meetings in their homes agreed to organize a church. The name was taken from a settlement to the north called Boyd's Grove.

The first building was erected on the present site at a cost of $800., the lumber coming from the land nearby the stone for the foundation from a quarry near Sparland. Quoting from a paper prepared in 1881 and speaking of the l880's, "Those were the good old days when Methodism was distinctive.

The men and women sat apart. The people came in wagons, sometimes drawn by oxen. No one rode in buggies or carriages for they had none. The fasts on the Friday before quarterly meetings were enjoined. A sentinel was always placed at the Love Feast Door. We had no music or choirs. The preacher first read the hymn which was a very impressive part of the service. ... The shoutings were occasional and the 'amens' frequent. ... A Methodist who did not attend class and kneel down to pray was no Methodist at all. ..."

On August 27, 1919 lightning struck the church and it was totally destroyed by fire. A new building was dedicated June 19, 1921 which with periodic improvements stands today. The 125th anniversary of the congregation was observed June 27, 1976 with a traditional chicken dinner, homemade ice cream served at the social hour and the afternoon program was presided over by Orval Crooks. Pastor of the Church is Rev. Frank J. Rider who lives in Bradford and is also pastor of the Leet Memorial United Methodist Church there.

(Taken from newspaper story by Oral Holler.)

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