Saunemin, Illinois (2020 population 399) is a village located in upper-eastern Illinois in east-central Livingston County, named after a Kickapoo chief.
Illinois Route 116 runs directly through town, and Illinois Route 47 runs through the west side of town. The Norfolk & Western Railroad cuts through the middle of Saunemin. A branch of the Five Mile Creek flows just to the west of town. Saunemin is located about 12 miles due east of Pontiac.
It is said (local legend) an Indian tribe sent an advance guide out to scout the area that the town would later inhabit. When the guide returned and was asked what he observed, he responded, "saw no men." The tribe was then able to proceed with their travels. In reality, the town was named after a Kickapoo Indian Chief. The following information was taken from an article titled "The History of Livingston County 1878:"
"At the time of the formation of Livingston County, Saunemin, Sullivan, Pleasant Ridge and Charlotte Townships were comprised in one election precinct, and it so stood until the second year after township organization, when Pleasant Ridge and Charlotte were struck off. When all four of these towns were embraced in one, it was called Saunemin, after the old sachem of the Kickapoo Indians. The name was given to the precinct by Mr. Oliver, of the present township of Chatsworth, who settled there when Indians were plenty in the country, and knew the old chief well."
Notable people: Albert Cashier, a transgender man who enlisted in the army during the Civil War, lived and was buried in Saunemin, Illinois.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.