Henry Carpenter


Born: 1810
Died: 1891


Family


Martha Blanchard Carpenter



AUDIO BIOGRAPHY



Biography

Henry and Martha Blanchard Carpenter were from New York where they married in 1832. Henry worked as a saddler and harness maker but after letters from Walter Blanchard, brother of Martha, who had moved to Illinois in 1836, he decided to come west and farm. Walter sold him a piece of his land and the family moved here in 1839 when there were only 6 families in the settlement. Henry did not like farming so he decided to open a general store as there was none here. After obtaining a load of goods for $600.00 from Chicago brought in by Elisha Root the store opened in 1845. Located on the trail a little west of the Blodgetts the store soon became a meeting place for those who lived here. No one had much money so Henry gave credit and joked "That anyone who could tie his own shoes could have credit in his store." Henry shared the same dislike for slavery as the Blodgetts. Martha and Henry had 3 children, 2 boys and one girl. One son died a the age of 5 in 1848 and an accident in 1857 took the life of their son Walter. Not having a real cemetery in the village when someone died they were just buried on family land. So, Henry talked his friend Samuel Curtiss into selling part of his cow pasture near the Carpenter home to be used for a cemetery. In 1856 the Main Street Cemetery was established as the burial place for the village and Henry became the President of the Burying Ground Association. The death of Walter, son of Henry, was a hard blow for the family so Henry decided to sell the store and he worked as a shoemaker. He also sold part of his land to the Methodist Church for a site for their building. Keeping up with local affairs he signed the Incorporation Papers in 1873, supported the coming of the railroad through town and served as postmaster and village trustee. Henry and Martha saw their daughter marry Eugene Farrar in 1864. He was the grandson of the Stanleys and first pioneer child born in Downers Grove. Martha lived to see her 6 grandchildren before she died in 1882 at the age of 69 and Henry died nine years later when he was 81 years old.


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