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Stephenson County Illinois Biographies

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St. Mary's Church Freeport Illinois
St. Mary’s Church Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois

The following 17 biographies represent just a small glimpse into the history of Stephenson County Illinois.

Stephenson County is one of the northern tier of Illinois counties, and is the second county east of the Mississippi. The surface of Stephenson county is made up of gently rolling prairie land, with here and there small groves and belts of timber along the streams. Flowing across the surface of the county are a number of streams which afford abundant natural water and drainage facilities.

The first permanent settlement in Stephenson County was made by William Waddams, in West Point Township, at Waddams Grove, in the summer of 1833. Brewster’s Ferry was established in the spring of 1834 by Lyman Brewster, near Winslow. In the spring of 1835, James Timms and family settled in the cabins at Kellog’s Grove. In 1835, Miller Preston, who had evidently prospected in the county in 1833, brought a drove of cattle through from Galliopolis, Ohio, and settled in what is now Harlem Township, on section 22 near the old Galena stage road. Benjamin Goddard and family settled between Freeport and Cedarville in December, 1835, and December 19, that year, William Baker came to the present site of Freeport and built a cabin before the close of the year on the Pecatonica near the present location of the Illinois Central Railroad station.


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