Celebration for Plano's 150th Anniversary

The Henning Family
By Kristy Lawrie Gravlin

This is the first in a series of articles celebrating Plano's history in anticipation of the Sesquicentennial celebration this summer.

When Plano was platted in 1854, it was decided to use an unusual plan to name the streets: the first names of the men who were early settlers in the area were used.

An example is Hugh Street. It appears that Hugh was named for the Henning family.

Cornelius and Marbry (Thurber) Henning arrived in the area in 1836. Although he used Cornelius as his name in most places, it is often seen as Cornelius Hugh in historical notes although not all researchers agree that was his middle name. His father was Hugh, and he named his second son Hugh Barber Henning. Both Cornelius and Hugh were active in the early years of the community.

When the Henning family arrived in 1836, there were only six homes in the area. Marbry had lived in a frame home in New York, and wanted one here also. There were five children (with two more arriving shortly after they reached Illinois) and she wanted enough space for her family. They chose the southeast area of what would one day become Plano. Cornelius was pleased with the beautiful woods and the availability of water in Big Rock Creek and purchased 320 acres there. Marbry's home was built at what became 405 S. Hale Street.

Hugh Barber Henning was 12 when his parents brought the family west from Rensselaer County, New York. In 1848, he married Jane Ursula Steward who was the third child, and oldest daughter, of Marcus and Ursula (Hollister) Steward, one of the founders of Plano.

Hugh held township offices, farmed, and was a merchant, opening the second store in Plano in the summer of 1853. Unfortunately he died young, in 1864 at the age of 41.

He was survived by his wife, Jane, who lived until 1899 when she died of a stroke at age 71. She never remarried but spent her energies raising four sons and participating in community life.

The sons of Hugh and Jane were Albert E., Edgar Leland, Charles Sumner, and Lawrence S. Henning. The youngest, Lawrence, died at the age of two in 1861.

The other three sons all married Plano girls and grew to maturity, contributing to the communities where they were living. Edgar Leland was the most involved with Plano. He and his wife, Mary Emeline Sears, were the parents of Arthur Sears Henning, a journalist of national prominence.

Published by permission from The Plano Record, Plano, Illinois

Originally published Thursday, April 29, 2004.

Last Modified on 2012-12-20 03:14:39-0600 CST by Elmer Dickson