Bourbonnais in Kankakee County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The Durham-Perry Farmstead Home
Durham and his family arrived on this site May 11, 1835. Durham had purchased 160 acres (one quarter section) from Gurdon S. Hubbard in what was then called Bourbonnais Grove. Hubbard, previously an employee of the American Fur Company, had become a Chicago merchant and part time real estate agent dealing with eastern land speculators.
Durham’s 160 acres were part of a section of land ceded to a métis named Jacques Vieau (known as Jonveau) by an 1832 treaty between the Potawatomi of the Prairie and the Kankakee, and the United States Government.
The Danville to Chicago Road cut across the northeast corner of Durham’s land. The 160 acres was divided by a north-south trail called the Bourbonnais Trace. At the spot Durham chose to build his home stood “twin” oak trees. To the east of Durham’s house lay open prairie; to the west was a scattering of hardwood timber.
Local tradition says the resident Potawatomi helped Durham build his first shelter, a wigwam made of boughs. A sturdy log cabin came next, and by the late 1830s, a two story,
An 1850 agricultural census reported Durham owned 320 acres (half of it being improved land) nine horses, four milk cows, two working oxen and 100 cattle. Wheat, Indian corn, oats and Irish potatoes were crops harvested that year. Durham also produced 200 pounds of maple sugar and 1000 pounds of bees wax and honey.
The Durham house served as a stop on the Danville to Chicago stagecoach route. From October 2, 1849, to February 11, 1853, the Bourbonnais Grove Post Office was located in Durham’s home. Thomas held the title of postmaster.
Thomas Durham died March 13, 1854. He was buried in the corner of his orchard. Durham left his estate to his sons.
In 1866, the original Durham house was owned and renovated by one of Durham’s sons-in-law, David Perry. Over the years several rooms were added. In the 1870s, David’s son Alvah made part of the house into living quarters for a tenant farmer.
Location. 41° 8.861′ N, 87° 52.571′ W. Marker is in Bourbonnais, Illinois, in Kankakee County. Marker can be reached from Croswell Avenue north of Perry Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. It is in Perry Farm Park at the the farmhouse, visible from the
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Durham-Perry Farmstead (within shouting distance of this marker); The Durham-Perry Family Legacy (within shouting distance of this marker); Jardin aux Potages (approx. 0.9 miles away); Dedicated to the Memory (approx. 0.9 miles away); Bourbonnais Grove (approx. 0.9 miles away); McHie Ferry (approx. 6.2 miles away); Rockville Illinois (approx. 7 miles away).
Categories. • Horticulture & Forestry • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on July 18, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 18, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 75 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 18, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.