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City of Plano, Illinois

Live, Work, & Play - Plano's Rich History

Birthplace of the Harvester The People The Places
Main Street The Plano Stone Church The Depot Fox River Bridge

John Matlock built this log cabin in 1833. It was the first home built within the present city limits.Early Plano

Plano was not founded on a desolate terrain as were many villages. This area had been occupied by a few early Kendall County settlers who had been here for several years. A Mr. Ball had built a saw and grist mill on the Big Rock Creek one mile south of Plano in 1835. He sold this mill to John Schneider two years later. Mr. Schneider had built the first mill at Yorkville in 1832, being an early settler there. Other mills were built nearby along the creeks and Fox River. David and Benjamin Evans were among the first settlers who claimed land where Plano is now located. Plano is the Spanish word for plain. They sold out to Marcus Steward in 1838. Archibald Sears and Cornelius Henning settled in 1836 from New York State.

First Plano Inhabitants

Midway between the city of Plano and the Fox River, the Little Rock and Big Rock Creeks unite into one. In less than a mile, they flow into the Fox. Between these creeks the ancient village of Maramech was located. This village at the time contained many hundreds of Indians. John F. Steward, one of Plano's most outstanding citizens, gave the world a most vivid and authentic account of the tragedy occurring at Maramech Hill. His book, "Lost Maramech and Old Chicago,Ó published in 1903, is without question the most authorative source of information ever complied on this subject. The Fox nation, a hostile tribe that had been driven from their Wisconsin home in to central Illinois. They were working their way back north, hoping to eventually reach the Iroquois tribe in the Eastern states were they might secure some safety. As they reached the Fox River, other tribes and French explorers trapped them and were determined to destroy them. The Fox warriors, numbering approximately 300, with about one thousand women, children and older men, took refuge on Maramech Hill. As time went slowly on, several enemy tribes arrived to close in and slaughter these refugees. After three lone weeks of fighting and starvation, the Foxes managed to find an escape route past the sleeping guards. First frame house built in Little Rock Township by Cornelius Henning. In 1836 Cornelius Henning and his wife Morby and family left their home in Rensselaer County, New York, and settled on the present site of Plano. There he worked his farm and raised his four sons, Edgar, Albert, Charles and Lawrence.The night was quite chilly and rainy, and, during a storm, the entire tribe crept softly past the enemy. The cry of a small child is said to have awakened the guards. Some fighting occurred during the remainder of the stormy night, but at the break of the day a fight to the finish had begun. The Foxes fled, trying to protect their families, but the overwhelming power of the enemies slaughtered the fugitives. Very few were left of that well known tribe which left behind little except a name for our river.

Kendall County

Kendall County came into being on February 19, 1841, being named for Amos Kendall. The bill, at first introduced in the state legislature, provided that the county be called "Orange" County. Many early settlers here came form Orange County, New York, which undoubtedly had its in influence on that name. When the bill was finally read, the name Kendall was substituted and passed as such. Many attempts were made to change it to Orange, but to no avail. The county was formed by taking six townships from LaSalle County and three form Kane. Yorkville was designated as the county seat until 1845, when it moved to Oswego. Yorkville finally became the county seat again in 1864, and no further changes were made. The first settlers in the county were Robert Beresford and his wife and two sons. They settled in what was later known as Holderman's grove in 1826. The Pierce Hawley family from Ottawa followed in 1827. For the next year these were the only cabins in the area that later became Kendall County. When in Oswego, the courthouse was located on the site of the high school building. The courthouse at Yorkville was built in 1864. In 1877 this building burned, but that same year it was rebuilt.

Temperance in Plano

In the early days a temperance wave swept our county. Our villages had not set up adequate law enforcement to have control over the saloons, which operated without much restraint. Plano city fathers had been somewhat successful in keeping the saloons out of town. Some were along the Fox River and on the road near Maramech hill. To make things a bit more convenient for the local boys, a baker, located at the corner of Main and Hugh streets was stocking a fair supply of "spirits" in his back room. A ladies' organization, consisting of many prominent citizens, both wives and daughters, armed themselves with hatchets, clubs, and other such weapons, and marched in a body to the bake shop. The baker, suspecting trouble, barricaded the door. Two dozen women proved too much for his fortification and in a matter of seconds the baker and the bakery received some rough treatment. The liquor barrels, jugs, etc. were completely demolished. These gals were mad. They then paid their respects to another Òthirst parlor" leaving adequate evidence of their first visit. These ladies were quite happy for a while until Sheriff James S. Cornell arrived with a warrant for their arrest. After all, they had destroyed the property of others. Finally the day arrived when they had to appear in court in Oswego, the county seat at this time. Imagine their delightful surprise when they were met at the outskirts of Oswego by a delegation of prominent citizens, headed by a brass band, to escort them to the court house. Imagine their surprise when their case was called in court and no one was there to appear against them and the case was dismissed. Needless to say, their journey home was far more pleasant than had been anticipated.

First Banks of Plano

The first bank in Plano was operated by Lewis Steward. His office became a general deposit for the surplus money of the community. This business soon required too much of Mr. Steward's time so he found it necessary to turn it over to his nephew, Edgar L. Henning. It was then known as the First Bank of Plano, being established in 1876. It was a private bank, and with most others, in the county, failed in the panic of 1893 In 1897 this bank was purchased by John R. Steward and W. Deering Steward and operated as a private bank until 1901 when it was incorporated as the First State Bank of Plano. Albert H. Sears established the Sears Bank of Plano in 1881. This was the only bank in the community to survive the panic of 1893. It operated for many years , never failing to meet any of its financial obligations. When private banks were required to liquidate by the government decree, this bank closed, paying off all its deposits in full. The Plano State Bank was established Sept. 9 1909. This bank and the First State Bank merged in 1928, but the merger did not survive the depression in the 30's. There were no banks in Plano until 1943. The Community Bank of Plano opened its doors October 1, 1943. The Charter was issued on September 24 and a permit issued August 24 to W.K. Henning, W.J. Pope, L.A. Sears, E.T. Telling and C.M. Mall. In 1954 the bank deposits exceeded two million dollars.

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