Frontier — Frontier Settlement
John L. Hendryx and John W. Dawson arrived in 1822. They were the first to stake claims for federal land in what is now McLean County. Like those who followed, they were lured to the area by land described as better, cheaper, and with abundant game for hunting.
Dawson and Hendryx purchased fresh land, which unlike eastern land had not been exhausted from constant planting.
Once Dawson and Hendryx had built crude log cabins, their families followed. The Dawsons arrived in a covered wagon pulled by a yoke of oxen.
McLean County was the end of a trip with many stops along the way. The Dawsons left Kentucky for Ohio, before moving on to Illinois. Others stopped in McLean County, but after a few years sold or traded their land and moved on. This may have been because of sickness, financial hardship, or simply a belief that something better lay just beyond.