Beset by many trials during their trek West in 1845, the Cornelius family was saved from starvation by some Indians they met along the way. One of the family's children, T.R. Cornelius, served in the military in 1847, 1855 and 1861. He was active in the state Legislature, and was elected Senate president in 1866.
The town of Cornelius was first named Free Orchards, but took on the name of Cornelius after T.R. moved from his land claim, near where North Plains is now located, and began to build a home and businesses in Free Orchards. He was involved in a warehouse, general store, creamery, two sawmills, and construction of a school and the Methodist Church.
T.R. Cornelius died June 24, 1899, after devoting 28 years to help build the community which bears his name. He left behind six children, including two twins. Because of one of those twins' later delivery of triplets and a number of other sets of twins, the town of Cornelius earned the reputation of "Family Town".Grovenet gratefully acknowledges the cooperation of the New-Times for supplying content for the Cornelius Web Site.