The History of Kewanee
Source: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County Illinois,", published by The
Biographical Publishing Company of Chicago, 1885
Copies provided by Linda Lang; Transcribed by Susie Martin Rott
What is now Kewanee Township had no white settler in it until the fall of 1836. William, Samuel and James
Carson, brothers, built a cabin in the grove northwest of the town of Kewanee, and wintered there in the winter of
1836-7. The next spring they returned to Fulton County and made a crop there and then returned to their cabin in
the grove and continued to reside here for many years.
John Kilvington, an Englishman, and Robert Coultas, also came in 1836 and built a cabin, but they too returned
and made a crop and came back in 1837, in March. Cornelius Bryan came soon after the last two named.
Samuel Carson now lives in Wethersfield. Next came Luther Sleight and settled on section 33, adjoining the
present town of Kewanee. He eventually sold out his farm and went to Geneseo. He sold to Sam Alexander, who in turn
sold the place again and went to Nebraska. Then came Francis Loomis, who settled and made an improvement close to
Mr. Sleight's. He sold out and went to Nebraska. He is remembered by the old citizens as a most excellent man in
every respect. He died some years ago and we understand he left only a son living.
O.W. Brown came next, and settled on section 34. Afterwards he removed to Wethersfield, where he now resides.
Hazelton Page came in 1837. His son Asa now lives in the town of Kewanee. Capt. Sullivan Howard came in 1837; now
living in Kewanee, hale, hearty and cheery, and probably no man in the county loves better to recount the story of
the pioneer days, their few trials and hardships and their many triumphs, and the boundless happiness of those good
old times and people. So cheerful in his nature is he that in his recollections he can only recall the bright side
of the picture, remembers only the hearty enjoyment of the hours as they flew past 50 years ago, and warm-hearted
hospitality and the genial souls of those men and women of the long ago, the great majority of whom has long since
joined the silent multitude.
Cornelius Bryan had sons, William, Henry H. and Asbury T., who became worthy successors to a worthy sire.
These settlements were made near the south line of the township; and just across the line, in Wethersfiled, were
their neighbors, and, in fact, a portion of the same settlement. After the coming of those enumerated above, there
were but few accessions for a few years, probably none before 1839-40.
Slvanus W. Warner came in 1840. He was from Canada. He first located in Ohio, where he married Emeline Otis.
Will R. Goodrich came to the county in 1837 with his family. He was born in the Sandwich Islands. he married
Harriet M. Slocum, Nov. 22, 1857.
A few of these early settlers, becoming discontented, sold out their claims and returned to the East to their
old homes, and in their places were to be found the very few accretions to the settlement for years.