Attracted by the bountiful forests and waters, the scenic beauty and fertile fields of the locality, four men in the summer of 1856 platted the Village of Kenyon. These men were A. Hilton, Jay M. Day, James M. LeDuc and Mr. Howe. They chose the name to honor Kenyon College in Ohio.
Kenyon's first hotel was built by Stephen A. Bullis in 1857, and the first school house was conducted by Stephen Hilton in 1859. Martin Gunderson founded one of the county's most prosperous mills, and began providing electricity in 1896..
Kenyon was represented by eight men in the Civil War. Only four of them returned home.