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 Stephenson County, Illinois


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What's New

August 8, 2006 - New Surnames Added

July 16, 2006 - New Biography Added

July 16, 2006 - Surname Page Updated

June 21, 2006 - 1 New Obituary Added

June 2, 2006 - 1 New Obituary Added

May 25, 2006 - 2 New Obituaries Added

May 25, 2006 - 1 New Photo Added

March 31, 2006 - 3 New Obituaries Added

March 31 2006 - 2 New Surnames Added

March 5, 2006 - New Link Added

January 24, 2006-Link to McLean County Genealogical Society Added

January 13, 2006-Website Design and Organization Updates

Past Updates

Fun Facts

What is the highest point in Stephenson Co.? When was Stephenson Co. formed? What counties are neighbors with Stephenson Co.?
Who was the first settler in Stephenson Co.? What famous debate took place in Stephenson Co.? When? According to the 1840 census, what was the population of Freeport?
What 3 Native American tribes where indigenous to Stephenson Co.? What was the name of the first newspaper in Freeport? When? What monument is located in Kent?
Where and when was the first white settlement in Stephenson Co.? When was the first marriage in Stephenson Co.? What were the 3 routes of immigration travel?

Charles Mound. Elevation 1,235 ft., located in Jo Daviess County.
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March 4, 1837 from Jo Daviess County. It was named for Col. Benjamin Stephenson.
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The Tully Monster was designated as the State Fossil in 1989.

About the Symbol

The Tully Monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium) was a soft bodied animal. It preserves as outlines and flattened forms in nodules of ironstone from several areas in Illinois. It lived in the ocean that covered much of Illinois during the Pennsylvanian Period (about 300 million years ago). It was probably an active, swimming carnivore.

The flexible body was probably round or oval in cross section. It may have been segmented, but some recent work suggests that it was not. The tail had horizonal fins and a dorsal fin; all three of these fins were triangular.

The Tully Monster had a long proboscis. At the end was a "jaw" that contained eight small, sharp teeth. There is no evidence that the throat went down the proboscis. It seems more likely that the proboscis was a muscular organ used to pass food to the mouth.

Near the middle of the body was a transverse bar the passed through the body. This bar had swellings on the end. These may have been the animal's sensory organ.

Scientists do not know to what other animals the Tully Monster is related. Some scientists have speculated that it is related to snails and other molluscs.

The Tully Monster was first found by Mr. Francis Tully in 1958. He took the specimen to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The specimen defied identification and became known as the "Tully Monster." The name stuck. When Dr. Eugene Richardson formally described the new animal, he gave it the name Tullimonstrum gregarium.

The species name gregarium means common. This refers to the fact that Tully Monsters are fairly common fossils in the Mazon Creek deposits. More recently they have also been found in open-pit coal mines in central Illinois.

The Mazon Creek deposits are located in Will and Grundy Counties. They are some of the most important fossil deposits in North America because the soft parts of many organisms are preserved. The deposits contain the remains of both plants and animals. Some of the organisms lived in the ocean; others were washed in from the nearby shore. The material is preserved in concretions of ironstone.

Illinois Blue Book 1993-1994

Jo Daviess; Carroll; Ogle; Winnebago, in Illinois, and Lafayette; Green and a tiny corner of Rock in Wisconsin.
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The Square Dance was designated as the official state dance in 1990.

William Waddams was the first permanent white settler in the county.


The state fish of Illinois is the Bluegill (1986)

The second joint debate in the senatorial contest between ABRAHAM LINCOLN and STEPHEN DOUGLAS on August 27, 1858.

The state animal of Illinois is the White-Tailed Deer (1980)

The census in 1840 showed 40 people. In 1850 Freeport had boomed to 1,486!


The state of bird of Illinois is the Cardinal (1928)

The Sac and Fox used the area for hunting. The valley of the Pecatonica River was allotted to the Winnebago Indians. Chief Winneshiek had his village at the mouth of Spring Creek within the present limits of Freeport.
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The state flower of Illinois is the Violet (1907)

The first newspaper published in Freeport was the "Praire Democrat" in 1850.

The state tree of Illinois is the White Oak. (1973)

The stone monument, which stands on a hill near Kent, is in memory of the men that died during a minor battle in the Blackhawk War. The battle took place near Kellogg's Grove on June 25, 1832.


The state insect of Illinois is the Monarch Butterfly. (1974)

The first white settlement was located in Kellogg's Grove in 1827. It was located on the Galena-Dixon Trail.

The state prairie grass of Illinois is the Big Bluestem. (1989)

In the fall of 1836, Dr. W.G. Bankson and Phoebe Newcomer were united in marriage by Squire Waddams.

The state mineral of Illinois is Fluorite. (1965)

1) Mississippi Valley via St. Louis and Galena by steamer and by wagon.
2) The lake route from upper New York state and New England, via the Erie Canal and Chicago.
3) Overland from Pennsylvania by wagon and railroad. After 1853 by railroad west from Chicago.


Website Last Updated August 8, 2006

Stephenson County Coordinator: Available for Adoption

 Former County Coordinators: 2003-2005, Deb Haines; 2001-2003, Katherine K. Hebenstreit; 1996-2000, Julie Wirgau.

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