Hononegah Forest Preserve

The Hononegah Forest Preserve, 80 Hononegah Road consists of 228.2 acres. The land, purchased in 1924, is located on the north bank of the Rock River and bisected by Dry Run Creek.  Stephen Mack and his wife Hononegah would have camped in the area. Just inside the entrance is the Rainbow Bridge, built in 1925.  Source: Rockford Register Star, June 14, 2019

Macktown Forest Preserve

Macktown Forest Preserve, 2221 Freeport Road, 280.8 acres, was the first non-indigenous  settlement in Winnebago County. Stephen Mack, Jr. married Hononegah, and they settled in what was then called Pekatonic, now Rockton. Both the 1839 Stephan Mack Home and the Whitman Trading post are designated a National Historical District. The Macktown Living History Visitor’s Center and historic village are open for special events.  There is also the 18-hole Macktown golf course, built in the 1930s,  a popular site, as is its historic clubhouse. Source: Rockford Register Star, May 24, 2019


Princess Hononegah  (Potawatamie princess)

Wife of Stephen Mack (emp of The American Fur Company)

Devoted wife and mother

Skillful with nature’s remedies

Helped care for early settlers

Needlework was exceptional

Taken care of by Clarissa Jenks when she was sick (Source: Ella Jenks obituary Chicago Tribune  8/28/1944)

Source:  Nuggets of History,  Autumn 1983 (Pioneers of Winnebago and Boone Counties, Illinois who came before 1841)    929.377331 R883p  (south wall)

Stephen Mack homestead – 1970 article

Stephen Mack

“Stephen Mack’s homestead coming apart at seams”

“Mack, who is believed to be the first white settler in Rockton Township and probably in the Rock River Valley, built the two-story frame house for his Indian whife, Hononegah, and family, around 1839, three years after the county was founded.”

“Located on a knoll overlooking the junction of the Pecatonica and Rock Rivers, the homestead is surrounded by Macktown Forest Preserve and golf course, and flanked by a maintenance building for the forest preserve.”

“Until a year ago, the building was never heated……….Last Summer the county had furnace installed in the basement to prevent the wood from rotting further because of too much humidity……the heat caused the wood to shrink so he floor crackles when walked on and it appears to be separating from its link with the second floor stairway…”

Source: Rockford Morning Star March 8, 1970