The history of Will County, Illinois

In presenting our History of Will County, we deem a few prefatory words necessary. We have spared neither pains nor expense to fulfill our engagement with our patrons and make the work as complete as possible. We have acted upon the principle that justice to those who have subscribed, be they few or many, requires that the work should be as well done as if it was patronized by every citizen in the county. We do not claim that our work is entirely free from errors; such a result could not be attained by the utmost care and foresight of ordinary mortals. The General History of the County was compiled by Hon. Geo. H. Woodruff', of Joliet, and the Township Histories by our historians, W.H. Perrin and H.H. Hill. Some of the Township Histories are indeed longer than others, as the townships are older, containing larger cities and towns, and have been the scenes of more important and interesting events. While fully recognizing this important difference, the historians have sought to write up each township with equal fidelity to the facts and information within their reach. We take this occasion to present our thanks to all our numerous subscribers for their patronage and encouragement in the publication of the work. In this confident belief, we submit it to the enlightened judgment of those for whose benefit it has been prepared, believing that it will be received as a most valuable and complete work.


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The village of Crete was laid out in 1849, by Willard Wood, who lived here, occupying the site since 1837. Mr. Wood built at the place now occupied by the Hewes House, at the last-named date, and kept the house as a hotel. As mentioned in the history of Washington Township, places for the accommodation of the traveling public sprang up all along this great highway, and among the number was the Wood Tavern. Of course it was not the commodious hotel that now occupies the corner, but a small log structure; though the use of that corner, with numerous changes and additions, has always been devoted to that purpose. Until about the time of the laying-out of the town, the same log cabin was the hotel; but, at the date named, it gave place to a more pretentious affair. Wood then erected a building 26x36 feet, which he occupied until 1865. In 1873, the Hewes brothers, Daniel and B.F., came into possession, and built the main part of the house, and have occupied it ever since.