Fox Valley Chapter Patriot Profile


Israel Warner 1768 - 1862

This page has information on Israel Warner, one of the soldiers who fought in the American Revolution and who are buried in the counties served by the Fox Valley Chapter. This page contains his biography, photographs of his grave, and will later contain photos of the memorial ceremony commemorating the 240th anniversary of his birth. 300 people attended this ceremony held in perfect weather on May 31, 2008. Five new supplementary headstones and a bronze historical marker were dedicated. See SAR Magazine article documenting the ceremony.


Biography of Patriot Israel Warner

Israel Warner was born on May 27, 1768 in Bennington, Vermont. Israel was the eldest child of Seth and Esther Hurd Warner. He was named after Israel Putnam, an officer who was a noted figure in the French and Indian War. Later Israel Putnam was a General who fought with distinction at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Israel Warner's father, Seth Warner, was a co-founder of the famous Green Mountain Boys with Ethan Allen and Remember Baker. Seth was 6'3" and a very experienced woodsman and leader. He was elected commander of the Green Mountain Boys over Ethan Allen. Col. Seth Warner commanded a regiment in the Revolution, fought in a number of battles, and was famous for his role in winning the Battle of Bennington.

Israel Warner joined the army (Continental Line) in 1777 at age 9 and served for the entire duration of the War. He rose to the rank of Private and was honorably discharged in 1783 at age 15. Israel was a messenger boy and scout. In the Battle of Bennington, Israel, age 9, carried a critical message from Seth Warner to Gen. Stafford on a galloping horse to bring re-enforcements. The Battle of Bennington is commemorated each year on August 16th, a legal holiday in Vermont. The monument to the battle is 306 feet tall. Seth Warner's statue is next to it.

Here are some of the details reported on the State of Connecticut SAR website: It may be well to quote a few passages from a letter written some years later by Israel Warner, eldest son of Seth, to Henry Stephen, Vermont Historian. "Gen. Stark and my father consulted to send a letter to Gen. Stafford on Stafford Hill and father said, "Put Israel on a horse, and told me not to spare horse flesh, and not to speak to anyone but tell them that the enemy is just into Bennington". (Israel at this time was a boy of nine years of age and Gen. Stafford was commanding under Col. Warner). "When I got to Gen. Stafford, he came out and I gave him my father's letter. He wanted me to stay till the next morning but I told him I must go back to give information. I rode the best part of the night but the volunteers did not arrive until the next day at evening...

Seth Warner is a towering figure in the history of the State of Vermont. He was wounded many times during the Revolution. These wounds led to his early death on December 26, 1784 at age 41. He left a widow and three children: Israel, age 16, Abigail, age 10, and Seth, age 7. Seth Warner was buried in his native Roxbury, Connecticut. His grave is a monument on the village green.

Harper's Monthly magazine published an anecdote in December 1864, and it was re-published many times during the Civil War, of a visit to the Warner family farm in Connecticut. Later a letter published in 1872 by a noted historian cast serious doubts on the authenticity of this story. When Seth Warner died just after the Revolution, his farm was heavily mortgaged. Seth had spent all his energies supporting the Revolution, and the family finances had suffered. Seth's untimely death left his family facing a certain loss of their farm. George Washington, who held Seth Warner in high regard as a Patriot, personally rode to the Warner farm in 1789 and counted out the silver coins to the exact sum required to retire the mortgage and save the farm. Washington wanted his act of generosity kept secret. Click to read this touching, but apocryphal, anecdote.

After his father's early death, Israel supported his mother and family as a land surveyor in Whitehall, New York. This may account for his untypically late marriage when he was 33.

Israel Warner married Esther Bartholomew in 1801. Her father, Jepthai Bartholomew was also a soldier in the American Revolution and crossed the Delaware with George Washington in the famous battle of Trenton on Christmas day 1776. Esther was born in Whitehall, New York. Israel and Esther Warner had three children, one son and two daughters: William, Asenath, and Esther. Esther Bartholomew Warner died about 1821.

Israel came west in 1853 when Illinois was opening up with, Samuel McFarren (Israel's daughter Asenath married his son) and Daniel Kenyon, who married his daughter, Esther. Israel's sister listed his address as Warrenville in a letter written in 1857.

In his old age, Israel Warner lived with his daughter Esther Kenyon (born May 28, 1804) and her husband, Daniel (born March 30, 1804). Esther and Daniel Kenyon had 3 children, one girl and two boys: Sophronia (meaning foresighted), Israel and William.

Sophronia Kenyon was born January 12, 1830 in Washington County, New York and married Joseph Sanford Ferry on November 25, 1855. She died in 1900 and was buried in the Spring Lake Cemetery in Aurora.

Israel Warner Kenyon was born in 1835. He married Louisa Pelham on January 1, 1858. They had two boys. William Danial Kenyon was born on March 13, 1861, and he died on October 27, 1927. Jeptha Alroy Kenyon was born on January 16, 1863, and died on November 3, 1941. Israel Kenyon enlisted in Company K, 13th Illinois Infantry and was commissioned as a corporal on June 25, 1861. He received a disability discharge on February 20, 1862, filed as an invalid on January 23, 1863 (Application # 26995), and died on April 9, 1864 leaving a widow and two small children. His wife remarried Thomas J. Boyd 3 years later on June 26, 1867.

William Jeptha Kenyon was born in 1840 and died in the Civil War in 1863. He fought in the same unit as his brother. Both he and his brother are listed as Civil War veterans on the Veterans Memorial in the Court House in DuPage County. William was killed at age 23 before he was married.

During the Civil War, Congress asked the Pension department in February 1864 how many surviving Revolutionary War soldiers were receiving a pension. The answer was 12. Since Israel Warner died just 2 years earlier, he might be among the last 100 surviving soldiers of the Revolution.

On January 22, 1862, Israel Warner died. He was 93 about 4 months from his 94th birthday. He was the first of the family to be buried in the Big Woods Cemetery. On April 20, 1863, William Jeptha Kenyon, aged 23, was killed in the Civil War near Vicksburg, and his buried next to Israel. The following year. Esther Warner Kenyon died before her 60th birthday on March 7, 1864, and was buried next to her son. On April 10, 1864, Israel Warner Kenyon, age 29, died at home of a medical condition or wounds he had received in the Civil War just a month after his mother. Their father Daniel Kenyon, who was a successful farmer, died on April 25, 1878.

Their five graves are in a row in the Big Woods Cemetery. Esther Warner Kenyon's grave is in the center. She named her sons after her father Israel, who fought in the America Revolution and after her mother's father Jepthai, who also fought in the American Revolution. Both of her sons died during the Civil War defending the country their grandfather helped create. These five graves are a place of special remembrance and reflection.


Photos from Big Woods Cemetery, Winfield Township, DuPage County, Illinois

Click on thumbnails and enlarged photos will autoclose in 15 seconds.


Photos from Eola Road South of Butterfield Road Arranged from North to South

The Big Woods Church and the Big Woods Cemetery are in Winfield Township in DuPage County on Eola Road just south of Butterfield Road. However, they have been annexed by the City of Aurora in Kane county, and the Big Wood Cemetery is maintained by Winfield Township in DuPage county. To add to the confusion, the nearest town is Warrenville, and historically this area has been referred to as Naperville.

Big Woods Cemetery Cemetery - Church Big Woods Cemetery Sign Church Sign Big Woods Church
Big Woods Cemetery Cemetery & Church Cemetery Sign Church Sign Big Woods Church

Photos of the Five Graves and a Close-up of Israel Warner's Stone

The five graves are arranged in a row in this order north to south: Israel Putnam Warner, the Patriot, his grandson William Jeptha Kenyon, killed in the Civil War at age 23, his daughter, Ether Warner Kenyon, his son-in-law, Daniel Kenyon, his grandson and namesake, Israel Warner Kenyon, killed in the Civil War at age 29. The metal stars are for the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and mark the graves of both grandsons.

Five Graves

Israel Warner's name is heavily weathered after 146 years, but can still be read with difficulty. Both headstones laying flat have been restored.

Five Graves Five Graves Five Graves Looking West Israel Warner Text
Looking South Looking North East Looking South East Looking West Toward Church Israel Warner Stone

Close ups of the Five Grave Stones Arranged North to South

These are archival close-ups of the grave stones. Most of the information can be read from the photos. With chalking and some Google research on the two stone with 4 lines of tiny poetry, all of the text was recovered. Both headstones shown laying flat have been restored. Enlargements will autoclose in 25 seconds.

Israel Warner Stone William Kenyon Stone Esther Kenyon Stone Daniel Kenyon Stone Israel Kenyon Stone
Israel Warner William J. Kenyon Esther Kenyon Daniel Kenyon Israel W. Kenyon