Dunham Township

107 Airport Rd, , Harvard, Illinois 60033
815-943-4444 | | 815-943-4600


History of Dunham Township

The first person to locate in the township was John Diggins. He arrived in 1836. O. C. Diggins later owned and occupied the farmstead in 1837,his family joined after the cabin was erected.  N. K Jerome  did not take residency until 1838.  Mr. Baker and Mr. Dunham were the next two to arrive then followed James and Joseph Metcalf. By the year 1841 there were another nine residents.

The founding name of the township was Byron.  When a post office was established, it was discovered that there  was another Byron in the state.  The name was changed to Dunham to honor Solomon J Dunham, he was the Justice of the Peace.

Pioneer events were as follows:

Josephine Diggins  was the first child born to Mr. and Mrs. John Diggins.  The first death occurred in 1839, Walter Walton passed away. The earliest marriage occurred  between Jacob Davis and Helen Diggins on 1/1/1839. Then in 1840 the first school house was erected, made of log.  The first and only church was built known as County Line Church, a  Methodist Episcopal faith. Rev, P. M. Huffman was the pastor.  In 1874, a cheese factory was erected  and operated until 1885.

As far back as 1870, sheep raising was the largest industry for the township. It was believed at that time the land was better for sheep raising than grain. The 1870's were harsh for sheep farmers with all the dog attacks to their herds.

The first cemetery existed between 1841 - 1842, near the Jerome log school house. Mount Auburn  was in existence in 1870's.

A cyclone struck the township on June 11, 1883.

In 1890 the population was at 919 and by 1920 it was at 857.

 If anyone has more knowledge  of the history of Dunham Township, please contact us. Thank you in advance.