Featured Biography:

Pierce Downer

Pierce Downer was the founder and namesake of the Village of Downers Grove and Downers Grove Township. He was the first person chosen as Founder of the Year when the program was launched in 2014. Pierce Downer was born in Vermont Territory in 1872.  He moved to New York where he met and married his wife, Lucy, and settled down to farm and raise a family.  One of his eldest children, Stephen, had already left home (around 1830) to seek his fortune and was living at Fort Dearborn in the new village of Chicago.  At that time, Chicago was a frontier town of about 30-50 stalwart pioneers. Stephen encouraged his father to come west to investigate opportunities to claim rich Illinois farm land under the Pre-emption Law of 1830. In 1832 at the age of 50, Pierce traveled to Fort Dearborn Chicago to see his son, leaving his wife and younger

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