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To the editor:

I was pleased to read the article in the May/June 2004 Illinois Heritage regarding the Altgeld portrait by Ralph Clarkson. However, it is important for the record on this gift to be clear.

The gift of the portrait and other material concerning Governor Altgeld was a joint gift from myself, my sister, Judith Barnard; and my brother, David Barnard. I would appreciate your correcting this for the record in the magazine.

Ronald L. Barnard

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Marker dedications

The Illinois State Historical Society participated in two marker dedications this spring. In May, the Society and Illinois College (Jacksonville) placed a marker commemorating that institution's first permanent dormitory, simply called the "College Building." The text on the marker reads: "On this site stood the College Building, built in 1832. The main four-story brick structure, 104 by 40 feet, served as a dormitory and dining hall to over 100 students. The north wing housed President Edward Beecher and family, the south wing Professor Julian Sturtevant. Fire destroyed the main building and north wing on December 29, 1852. The south wing was demolished in 1954. Between 1839 and 1862, nine editions of Mitchell's Geography contained illustrations of the building, Harvard being the only other college feature.

On June 18, the Society and Bourbonnais Township Park District dedicated the "Durham-Perry Family Legacy" marker at the farmstead of early Will County settler Thomas Durham. The marker text reads: "Thomas Durham bought 160 acres on this site in 1835 from Gurdon S. Hubbard. Known as the Jonveau Reserve, the land lay in an area called Bourbonnais Grove. Durham opened 20 acres for cultivation. In January 1836, parts of Cook and Iroquois counties became Will County and Durham's farm became part of Rock Village Precinct. Durham was elected precinct commissioner. He petitioned to have the Bourbonnais Trace (now Route 102) made a state road. Durham became Groves postmaster in 1849 and remained so until Kankakee County was formed in 1853. He died in 1854, was buried on this site, and left the farm to his sons.

"David Perry came to Bourbonnais Grove in 1840, built a mill, and married Durham's daughter, Martha. He bought the farm from Durham's sons in 1866. When he died in 1887, his son Alvah inherited the farm. A tenant farmer maintained the land while Alvah and his family lived in Wilmette. They spent summers and holidays at the farmhouse. Alvah died in 1899.

"Lomira Alvah Perry a University of Chicago graduate, Kankakee High School's dean of girls, and the last living daughter of Alvah died in 1961. She left the farm in trust to the State of Illinois. She hoped some part of it could be made a park. In 1986, the State award the farm to the Bourbonnais Township Park District."

To find out more about the Society's marker program, visit the website at or call 217-525-2781.


Photo by Tom Teague

4 | Illinois Heritage

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