From schools to trails, the name Simon Kenton holds a prevalent place in our community and area. As one of our areas first settlers, Simon Kenton is part of our storied past, who has quite a history himself. Born April 3rd, 1755 in Virginia, Simon Kenton left at the age of 16 under some unsavory conditions.
Thinking he had killed a rival, Simon Kenton fled into the wilderness, taking the last name Butler until many years later when he learned the gentleman, in fact, was not dead. Simon Kenton learned to survive in the wilderness, becoming friends with other frontiersmen including Daniel Boone. He is actually credited for saving Danile Boone’s life at one point.
Simon Kenton was captured by American Indians on more than one occasion and was tortured as a result. He survived being tortured by the Shawnee Indians which earned respect and ultimately adoption by the tribe. While he was a prisoner, Simon Kenton first laid eyes on our area. He vowed to return to the area if he survived, which he did.
He served as a scout during the American Revolutionary War and fought in many conflicts. In April 1799, Simon Kenton and William Ward led a group back to the area he fell in love with, settling in an area between Springfield and Urbana. In 1810, Simon Kenton moved to Urbana and became a Brigadier General for the State Militia. Simon Kenton died in 1836 and was eventually buried in Oakdale Cemetary in Urbana. I’m sure those of us who grew up in the area would agree with Simon Kenton, that there is nowhere better to live than here.