Kane County, Illinois
Homer - Plato Center - Fairfield - Berkshire
North Plato - Udina - Plato Corners
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Plato township was organized in 1848, from the north half of what was FAIRFIELD district. It was originally named "HOMER". However, that there was another place named Homer in Illinois, so the Kane County Homer was changed to PLATO,another Greek philosopher - as well as named for Judge Plato.
Historical Time Line
JOHN GRIGGS and his son, JOHN GRIGGS, arrived from Ohio. Both making separate land claims. The elder JOHN GRIGGS built a log cabin and father and son lived together. Later he opened his home as a tavern to offer a nights rest to new settlers. In 1890 the cabin was still standing. JOHN GRIGGS, Sr. was later elected the first Justice of the Peace, in what was then Washington Precinct.
Mr. JUDKINS arrived, and also built a cabin. He later sold and returned to Indiana.
JOHN S. LEE was nineteen when he came from Putman county, New York. Many LEEs of Elgin and Plato descend from him. He married Miss PERRY of Campton Township. Their child, ABIJAH LEE born September 4, 1939, who lived in Elgin in 1908, may be the first child born in Plato Township.
The LEEs & GRIGGS created the first road by driving back and forth to the mill in Naperville.
Dr. L.S. TYLER, of Orange County, NY made claim to the land that later became the Village of Udina & post office.
Dr. DANIEL PINGREE of New Hampshire arrived, but moved on to California where he practiced medicine. He returned about 1860 and raised Norman Horses.
About this time JOHN RANSTEAD made a claim. His son J.W. RANSTEAD settled in Elgin.
The MERRILL family arrived and later moved on to McQueen Station.
WILLIAM HANSON settled south of Plato Center.
JOHN S. LEE - Elected Justice of the Peace
THOMAS BURNIDGE and his father arrived.
A.M. BURNIDGE who later moved to Elgin and was elected Constable arrived. He held the post for some 20 years.
First school house of the township was built in Plato Corners and taught by CHARLOTTE GRIGGS.
School trustees were STEPHEN ARCHER and FRANKLIN BASCOM, J.S. BURDICK, treasurer.
December 1841 the township was incorporated after an election was held at the home of J.S. BURDICK. School trustees became L.S. TYLER, DAVID BOGUE, RUSSELL THRALL, JOHN S. LEE, J. S. BURDICK. D. McNICHOLS and SARAH ANN BURDICK were named teachers.
167 pupils were enrolled in school.
A general election was held August 5th with 39 votes cast. It was estimated there were some 200 township residents then.
School records show 407 children in 8 school districts
LEVI JACKSON, formerly of Elgin, opened the first township store in Plato Corners.
There were four male and three female teachers. The highest wages paid were $12 a month; the lowest being $1.50 a week. Attendance was 250 pupils with 10 districts and 5 school houses.
Congregational Church of Udina was built. Rev. N.C. CLARK, of Elgin organized the congregation. Rev. TAYLOR was the first minister. Rev. FRENCH was the next minister.
Scotch Presbyterian Church was built about the same time in the northeast part of the township. Rev. STEWART was the first pastor.
FREEMAN TEMPLE opened a store in North Plato; he sold it four years later.
Methodists built a frame church in Plato Center. T.M. EDDY, of Chicago, preached the first sermon. Rev. WOOLSEY and Rev. CALL were in charge the first year.
DUNCAN JOHNSON operated a cheese factory 2 miles south of Plato Center. HAWTHORNE BROTHERS later purchased it.
1865 - 1867
Dissension arose between the younger and older members of the Scotch Presbyterian Church resulting a new church, American Presbyterian Church.
Cheese factory was built in North Plato.
Scotch Presbyterians built their church in North Plato for $3000. Rev. McDOUGALL was the first pastor.
DUNCAN JOHNSON built a second cheese factory in Plato Center.
It was these early cheese factories and creameries that made Kane County one of the greatest dairy areas in the world during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Methodist Episcopal church near Plato Corners was dedicated August 2, 1885. Edler W.A. SPENCER delivered the first sermon. $2000 was raised by subscription.
In the early days the travel from place to place was over the old Indian trails and the road between Chicago and Galena which was then much traveled. The old stage route from St. Charles to Galena ran through Plato township, and the Chicago and Pacific Railway, which was built in 1875, closely followed the old stage route. The Chicago, Madison & Northern, now the Illinois Central railway, was built in 1888 and passes through nearly the center of the township.
The above information was extracted from "Kane County History" by Joslyn & Joslyn 1908.
Frank Lloyd Wright built home: Robert Muirhead House (S.334), Plato Center, Illinois, 1950.
This house is constructed of brock and cypress plywood.
Plato Center Memories - over 1,500 pages by John Russell Ghrist
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Last Updated 5 Mar 2000 KaneCoIL@aol.com