Radnor Township History


View on the Farm of Napoleon Dunlap
Section 3, Radnor Township,
one mile and half northwest of Dunlap
Atlas Map of Peoria County, Illinois, 1873, page 112


     In early times the territory included in this township was attached to Kickapoo precinct for election and other purposes. Under the law providing for township organization, the name Radnor was proposed for this municipality by Evan Evans, the first supervisor, after Radnor, Pennsylvania, and Radnorshire, Wales, the home of his ancestors, and the name was adopted.
     To a man named Miller is ascribed the honor of building and occupying the first cabin in this township. The Miller cabin was probably built about the latter part of 1832, or early part of 1833; and until 1835, if he remained here that long, he was "monarch of all he surveyed." In 1835, a number of persons came and founded homes.
     Erastus Peat, Griffith Dickison, and some other members of the Dickison family, were the next settlers after Miller, but the date of their settlement is not easily accessible. They probably came about 1834-5. John L. Wakefield moved over from Kickapoo township about 1835-6, and located on section 18, his present home. George D. Harlan, the Dunlaps, Calvin Blake, Griffith Dickison, Daniel Corbert, Elihu Pratt, Daniel Robinson, Robert Cline, Jedediah Hitchcock, Moses Harlan, William Gifford, and Harvy Stillman, came in 1837.
     The first precinct election was held at the house of Alva Dunlap, on the northwest quarter of section 14. Richard Scholes is reported as the first justice of the peace. The first couple married was George McMillan and Miss Phoebe Hill. The first birth was in the family of Henry Martin, on the southeast quarter of section 35, in 1836. The first death was that of Henry Martin the same year. The first post office was known as Orange Prairie, and was located at the residence of Enoch Huggins, who was the postmaster, on section 36. That post office was discontinued some years since, and was succeeded by the post office at Dunlap, Miss Frances Dunlap, postmistress. This is the only post office in the township.
     The first schools were taught in the Summer of 1837, and were subscription schools. These schools commenced almost simultaneously. One of them was taught by Miss Mary Twitchell, in a log building on the Gifford place. The other school was taught by Miss Phoebe Cline, in a small building on the Wakefield place, on section 18. From the time of these primitive schools to the present, the educational interests have not been allowed to languish. Schools were carefully and steadily maintained in every neighborhood—in every part of the township where there were children enough to make a school. Sometimes they were taught in rooms belonging to private houses, and sometimes in houses that had been vacated for better ones. At last the township was districted, and public school-houses were built, until now there are nine as handsome school-houses in Radnor township as in any other political division in the county. Each district is composed of four sections, and the school-houses are located, as nearly as may be, at the adjoining corners of these sections. They are all supplied with modern furniture, and made as comfortable every way as possible. School is maintained about nine months in each of them.
     The earliest preaching was about 1837, by the Rev. Mr. Cunningham, of the M. E. church. He visited here occasionally, and preached in the houses of the settlers. The first church edifice was erected on the land of Mr. A. Yates, in 1850. There are now four church buildings, and as many congregations. Of these the Methodist people have two, the Presbyterians one, and the Catholics one.
     The Glendale Methodist Church was erected in 1861, and is located on the corners of sections 25, 26, 35, and 36. It is an appointment of the Kickapoo circuit, and is supplied by the "circuit rider." The other Methodist congregation is known as
     Salem Church, and is located on the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 16. It is also an appointment of the Kickapoo circuit. Rev. C. W. Green has preached to these congregations since the Conference appointments of 1878.
     The Presbyterian and Catholic churches are located in the village of Dunlap, and will be further noticed in the sketch of that promising hamlet.
     Industries. — Agriculture and stock-growing are the leading industries of the town-ship. In these respects, and especially the former, it is more than an average with the other townships of the county. The farms are all in good condition, and remuneratively productive.
     Coal Mining. — Although the entire township is underlaid with a rich deposit of coal, only two banks have been opened. Both of these openings are in the southwest part of the township and are the principal sources of fuel supply.
     What is known as Evans' mill, on the east fork of Kickapoo creek, was built about 1842-3 by a man named Pierce. It is located on Sec. 29, and is the only mill in the county driven by water power.


     This village is located on the Peoria and Rock Island Railroad, fifteen miles northwest from Peoria, and is an outgrowth of that railroad enterprise. The situation is a commanding one, and is in the center of an agricultural district that is unsurpassed in any part of the county. The village site embraces forty acres of Alva Dunlap's home place, and was laid off by that gentleman in 1871.
     The honor of building the first house in the village, belongs to Dr. John Gillett. He commenced building in June, 1871, and completed and occupied the building with a stock of drugs and groceries in October of the same year.
     In the Fall of 1871 George W. Blake built a business house at the corner of B and Railroad Streets, and occupied it with a stock of groceries. H. I. Smith built a residence in the Fall of 1871, and commenced the business of a blacksmith. Hugh Yates built a store and residence combined on First Street in 1872. Miss Frances M. Dunlap commenced the dry goods and notions trade in the post-office building at the corner of First and A. Streets in the Spring of 1876, where she still continues. The post office of Dunlap was established in September, 1871, with Miss Dunlap as postmistress, a position she still holds. J. Kreaner commenced the tin and hardware business on First Street in 1877. T. A. Huber, the village shoemaker, added a stock of boots and shoes in the Fall of 1878. Ben. C. Vaughan, blacksmith and wagonmaker, commenced business in 1872. The Mathews' elevator was erected in 1877. David Smith's warehouse was reconstructed and fitted up with elevator appliances the same year.
     Schools and Churches. — The first school, after Dunlap was surveyed, was taught by Miss Susan Rathburn in a small building just over the south line of the village plat, and commenced in September, 1871. The school-house was built in 1877, and cost about $900. The first prayer meeting was held at the residence of George W. Pyle, corner of Third and B Streets, July 2, 1875.
     The Presbyterian Church edifice at Dunlap is a graceful and elegant structure. Previous to the completion of this building, the Presbyterian people worshiped in a building erected on the land of Mr. A. Yates, in 1850. The Catholic house of worship was erected in 1879. (The History of Peoria County, Illinois, 1880, pages 613-614, submitted by Janine Crandell)

Submitted by your Host

Any contributions, corrections, or suggestions would be deeply appreciated!

Copyright Janine Crandell
All rights reserved
Updated December 11, 2004