Did You Know . . .
Fulton County . . .
. . . was named for Robert Fulton who invented the first successful steamboat in 1807.
. . . was part of the lands set aside to be used as payment to veterans of the War of 1812.
. . . was established five years after Illinois became a state in 1823.
. . . extended all of the way to the northern boundary of the state including present day Chicago between 1823 and 1825.
. . . now has a population of 37,069.
The village was founded in 1863, and named for either an O’Bryant who ran a nearby sawmill or a Bryant from Lewistown who was soon to become manager of an area mining company. In either case, by the late 1860s, Bryant, with its dry goods, furniture, and other stores, was thriving amid the nearby saw mills and coal mines.
The Antioch Christian Church, built in 1861 on a site a mile and a half to the south, was moved with a team of oxen and wooden rollers to become part of the bustling village. It now stands on South State Street between Main and Hasson streets. A few blocks away on East Main, sits a Methodist Church of roughly the same vintage.
As recently as the late 1960s, Bryant still had a grocery store and greenhouse. These days, travelers through Bryant may be headed for the fishing and camping opportunities at the nearby Fulton County Camping and Recreation Area, just east of the village, or going to see local musical and dramatic talent at the Fulton County Playhouse, just over a mile and a half southwest of town.