About This Place
Bourbonnais is a village in Kankakee County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,256 at the 2000 census, but it was estimated to have grown to 19,119 in 2009. It is part of the Kankakee–Bradley Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Chicago–Naperville–Michigan City, IL-IN-WI Combined Statistical Area.
The village is named after Francois Bourbonnais, Sr., a fur trapper, hunter and agent of the American Fur Company, who arrived in the area in 1830. It was known as Bourbonnais Grove until 1876, when it became the Village of Bourbonnais. The town was the site of a major train wreck in 1999, the Bourbonnais train accident.
In 1928 a child from a wealthy family was kidnapped for ransom and held at Sicilian gangster / bootlegger Andrew Cappellano's farm house near Bourbonnais by the Black Hand, later known as the Mafia. During the trial one witness lost his life and a dozen others were threatened by death, including a judge. The Black Hand defendants were found not guilty. Several years later the mother of the child, the one who went to the authorities died as a result of self poisoning. The incident, reported in the newspapers across the country, was known as the Ranieri kidnapping.