Durham-Perry Family Legacy, The
The marker is located in Bourbonnais, on the grounds of the Perry-Durham Farm (part of the Bourbonnais Township Park District), in the 200 block of Kennedy Drive (IL Route 102).
The Bourbonnais Township Park District and The Illinois State Historical Society
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 park of the Rock Village Precinct. Durham was elected precinct commissioner. He petitioned to have the Bourbonnais Trace (now IL Route 102) made a state road. Durham became Bourbonnais Grove's 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 1847, 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 awarded the farm to the Bourbonnais Township Park District.
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