Harvard is a city located in McHenry County, Illinois, approximately 7 miles south of the Illinois/Wisconsin border. The population was 9,447 at the 2010 census. The city is 63 miles from the Chicago Loop and 30 miles from Rockford, and it is the last stop on the Union Pacific/Northwest Line.
The original owners of the land which came to be Harvard, Illinois, were Abram Carmack and Jacob Davis, who obtained it from the government in 1845 and sold it to Gilbert Brainard shortly afterward. Upon Gilbert Brainard's death, the land was purchased by Amos Page, Otis Eastman, and Elbridge Gerry Ayer. These three men planned the layout of the town and named it "Harvard" in honor of Harvard, Massachusetts. The plat was signed by Judge J. M. Strode in Woodstock, Illinois, on November 25, 1856. Shortly afterward Amos Page and Otis Eastman sold their shares of the property to Elbridge Gerry Ayer. Mr.Ayer's involvement came out of his business interest in the extension of the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company railroad west from Cary, toward Janesville, Wisconsin. The newly platted town of Harvard was located directly on the route of the extension, and in April 1856 the railroad accepted Ayer's offer of land to build a station in the town.
In 1856 Mr.