By Jean Seegers and Margaret Downing


ROCKTON – If it hadn’t been for Laura Hermann’s interest in genealogy, her mother Beverly Perry would never have known that she is a direct descendent of Stephen Mack and his wife Hononegah

When Beverly was in her early teens, she found out that she was adopted. “I grew up in a loving family and always thought I was Irish,” she said. “I was surprised to hear I am part Native American.”

A few years later she met her biological mother Bernice Lonroche. Bernice was 17 and unmarried when she gave birth to her little girl. In those days, as often happened with unwed mothers, she was sterilized, never able to conceive another child.

Beverly said she never bonded with her mother, but did develop a close relationship with her Aunt Winnie who filled her in about her ancestry including her relationship with Stephen Mack and his family.

Beverly never talked to her children about her past. Her children knew little about her early life.

A few years ago, her daughter Laura, the eldest of Beverly’s children, began researching family history on She also contacted the Rockton Township Historical Society and was surprised to learn about Macktown and Rockton’s proud connection to the Mack family.

Through her research Laura discovered Stephen Mack was a fur trader who founded Pecatonica, the first settlement south of the Rock River. It later became Macktown Settlement.

He married Hononegah when she was 15. Hononegah was said to be a member of the Winnebago and Pottawattamie Tribe.

The Macks and their nine children lived in Macktown Settlement. The Mack family home and nearby Trading Post still stand on the property. After the death of Hononegah, Stephen and their nine-year old son Henry Clay, the family scattered across the Midwest.

Hononegah, Stephen and Henry are buried in a small cemetery near the Macktown Golf Course.

Through her research, Laura learned that Beverly is a direct descendant of the Mack’s daughter Mary.

The more information she gathered about her mother’s history, the more she was determined to bring her mother to Rockton to visit the historical museum and Macktown “I told her we just have to go see them,” Laura said.

Mother and daughter both live in Minnesota. Beverly, who is 84, lives in a retirement community in St. Paul. Laura and her husband Joseph are not far away in Linwood, Minn.

Beverly raised six children and cared for her two step daughters when they were part of the household on weekends and at family gatherings (the step children lived mainly with their mother). After they were grown, she and her husband took care of foster adults through the Ramsey Country Foster Program for the next 43 years. “We found it to be a really rewarding experience,” Beverly said. She also spent many years working with abused adolescents.

Laura said her mom has always been a nurturer. These days, Beverly helps and supports the activities at her retirement home. She sometimes helps some of the seniors bring in groceries when on bus trips. She maintains a large flower garden at the retirement home. During their visit to Rockton, Beverly and Laura were united with their cousin Michele Mackenthun who is a descendant of the Mack’s daughter Matilda.

Michele lives in Rockton and has been employed at the Mack Town Lounge for 10 years. “I didn’t know until recently that my ancestors grew up there and were buried right near me.”

Margaret Downing of South Beloit and her sister Dorothy Lara, who lives in Dixon, can claim a distant relationship with the Mack family as well. Downing’s eighth and ninth great grandparents were Stephen Mack’s second and third great grandparents – Mary Coley (1616-1677) and John Clark (1614-1672), and Elizabeth Clark and William Pratt. Downing said her ancestry and Mack’s ancestry could also be traced to Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion.

The father of Stephen Mack, Sr. was Solomon Mack, who served in the French and Indian War and later during the American Revolution. Solomon enlisted in the service of his country in 1755, in Col. Whitings’ regiment at Ft. Edwards, NY. He fought in the French and Indian War. He fought in the battle at Halfway Brook in 1755 and at Lake George in 1758. He was discharged at Crowpoint in 1759.

In 1776 Solomon reenlisted in the land forces in Israel Putnam’s Company. In 1780 he and his sons, Jason (age 20) and Stephen (age 14) joined a privateer commanded by Capt. Havens. Stephen Mack, Sr. served until he was 17, and went on to again serve his country in the War of 1812.

Solomon came from a line of Scotch clergymen,

Rockton Township Historical Society volunteers Marilyn Mohring and Linda Sonneson took their Minnesota guests on a tour of Macktown. They visited the graves of their ancestors and the Mack House. Laura said she was surprised and pleased to see that the Mack House was in such good repair.

The next morning it was time to head back to Minnesota. “The whole trip was awesome,” Laura said. “Everything was so organized. Linda and Marilyn did a wonderful job.

“The two days we had there were fantastic. The people of Rockton can be proud of their Macktown roots – and their kindness and friendliness made all the difference in our journey. We felt like we were part of the community!”

Mack family


Margaret Downing photo

Descendants of Mary and Matilda Mack – daughters of Stephen Mack and Hononegah – are shown at the Rockton Township Historical Society Sept. 25 at a reception held in their honor. On the left is Mack enthusiast and bicyclist Dale Reeves; Laura Hermann and mom Beverly Perry, descended from Mary Mack, and Michele Mackenthun of South Beloit, descendant of Matilda Mack.




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