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Kendall County Illinois

The Kendall County Courthouse is located at 111 West Fox Street, Yorkville IL 60560; phone: 630-553-4143.

Named for Amos Kendall, politician and journalist; one-time partner of Samuel F. B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph.

Beginnings [†]

European settlement in present day Kendall County was slow and sporadic prior to the end of the Blackhawk War. In 1833 after the war's end, the pace of population growth picked up momentum. It is believed that tales of vast expanses of flat prairie, and beautiful groves blessed with fertile soil told by soldiers returning to the East is the reason for the rapid growth in settlement.[1]

The area's population growth posed problems for LaSalle County. When LaSalle County was formed in 1831, it originally included parts of present day Grundy, DeKalb, Kane, McHenry, and Boone Counties, making it one of the largest counties in the state.[2] The original residents of present day Kendall County found the journey to Ottawa, the county seat, a long and difficult trip through what was predominately swamp lands. As a result the residents rarely voted and frequently dispensed their own justice.[3] By 1840 LaSalle County was eager to divest itself of its eastern townships. When Kane County was formed in 1836 it originally included the northernmost portion of Kendall County including the townships of Oswego, Bristol and Little Rock.[4] Kane County was less eager to part with these townships, but like LaSalle County, Kane also struggled with its citizens located far from the county seat in Geneva.[5]

Kendall County was created on February 19, 1841 in the Twelfth General Assembly of the Illinois State Legislature.[6] Abram R. Dodge a representative from LaSalle County introduced a bill to form the new county on January 4, 1841 from six of LaSalle County's townships, and three townships from Kane County.[7] Originally the new county was to be named Orange County since the majority of its citizens came from Orange County, New York. However, on the second reading of the bill Ebenezer Peck, a representative of Will County proposed that the new county be named after Amos Kendall, the Post Master General under Andrew Jackson.[8] On February 1, 1841 the Illinois House of Representatives passed the bill, the Senate passed the bill on February 12. The most memorable member of the Twelfth General Assembly to cast a Yea vote was Abraham Lincoln.[9]


  1. Kathy Farren, ed., A Bicentennial History of Kendall County Illinois (Naperville, IL.: Naperville Sun Printing, 1976), pp.67.
  2. Reverend E. W. Hicks, History of Kendall County, Illinois from the Earliest Discoveries to the Present Time (Aurora, IL.: Knickerbocker and Hodden, 1877), pp. 52.
  3. Ibid., pp.52
  4. Farren., pp.77.
  5. Matile, Roger. "The Great County Seat War." Fox Valley Living June/July 1990: S- 14.
  6. Roger Matile and Sue Matile, A Student's History of Kendall County: Kendall County Bicentennial Commission Monograph Series No.3 (Yorkville, IL.: Kendall County Record, 1975), p.28.
  7. Hicks., pp. 222.
  8. Hicks., pp. 222.
  9. Hicks., pp. 222.

Byram, Johanna; Old Kendall County Courthouse Committee, Kendall County Courthouse, Yorkville IL,, nomination document, 1998, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, DC

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