The Yellowstone National Park, with its many attractions, is well known to our citizens, but few know the fact that the subject of this biography was one of the discoverers of that wonderland. Mr. Bacon was born May 4, 1838, in Amanda Township, Hancock Co., Ohio. His father Harvey Bacon, was a native of Candor Township, Tioga Co., N. Y., born April 9, 1806. He died January 19, 1883, in Tiskilwa. He was a successful farmer, an Abolitionist and a school teacher in early life. He fostered education and filled school offices. The grandfather of our subject, Eli Bacon, was born 1778, in Connecticut. He died 1854 in Bureau County, to which he came in 1847. His father was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and died in the terrible prison ships in Wallabout Bay. The mother of our subject, Betsey A. Robinson, was born in Barton, Orleans Co., Vt. She is a daughter of Joel and Celia (Whitaker) Robinson, who died in New York. Mrs. Betsey Bacon survives her husband, and is now living in Tiskilwa. She is the mother of four children, viz.: George H., Mrs. Mary J. Harsh, Charles H. and Seymore A.
Our subject was educated in Bureau County, and reared on the farm. In the spring of 1803 he went west, passing through Denver and Salt Lake City till he reached Virginia City in Montana Territory, where he mined, and was so engaged in the stock business for a period of nearly nine years. During that time he traveled over a great part of the northwest. In the fall of 1863 he, with a party of thirty men, discovered the geysers, solfataras, etc, in the Yellowstone Park, which remained unknown to the outside world till the fall of 1869, when Mt. Bacon acted as guide to a party of forty-eight men, consisting of the Governor, two Chief Justices, tourist, artists and reporters, who circulated the news of the wonderful discovery.
In 1864 Mr. Bacon participated in one of the most noted events in the history of the Territory, namely, the extermination of Henry Plummer’s noted band of road agents by the vigilantes. While Superintendent of Mines and acting as amalgamator he was also interested in the stock business, and after an absent of nine years, which were full of adventure, he returned to his old home, where he now has a farm of 240 acres.
He was married June 17, 1875, to Elizabeth R. Phelps, who was born September 4, 1838, in Sharon, Medina Co., Ohio. She is the daughter of Cicero and Betsey (Crane) Phelps. To Mr. and Mrs. Bacon four children, now living, were born, viz.: Cicero Phelps, J. Harvey. George Arthur and Grace E.
Politically Mr. Bacon is Independent. He is also an A. F. & A. M., Sharon Lodge, No. 550, and with his esteemed wife is an active member of the Congregational Church.
Source: History of Bureau County, Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor. World Publishing Company Chicago 1885