Board Meeting: Wednesday, January 8, 2002 5:00 p.m. Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room.
JANUARY PROGRAM: CHANGE OF LOCATION - Tuesday, January 15, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. The program will be held at the Museum of Funeral Customs, 1440 Monument Avenue. The museum is almost directly across from the Oak Ridge Cemetery Office Building. Jon Austin will speak on " Development of the Museum of Funeral Customs"
Jon is the Director of the Museum and former Executive Director of the Illinois State Historical Society. He is a native of Peoria and has a degree in American History from New York University. He has a professional certificate in Museum Studies from New York University and is a 1994 graduate of the Seminar for Historical Administration at Colonial Williamsburg.
Please mark your calendars for the rest of the year's programs. These programs will be held at the Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room north at 7:00 p.m.
February 19, 2002 Doug Pokorski, Journalist, The State Journal-Register "Frank Zito: Springfield's Godfather"
March 19, 2002 William Furry, Assistant Director, Illinois State Historical
April 16, 2002
May 21, 2002
We have a couple of openings for SCHS board positions and we would like to have you on our board. Please call me at 546-5840 if you would be willing to serve.
SCHS TOUR COMMITTEE:
The SCHS tour committee is still looking for members to join their planning sessions.
Dave Hicks made a great Bluford Wilson, a Civil War veteran and railroad attorney. He was not very well liked by the Republicans whom he went after as a prosecutor in the Whiskey Ring scandal.
Augusta Kellogg, portrayed by Kate Rossi, was a feisty lady-like owner and operator of a brothel in Springfield's notorious Levy district. She had strict rules about excessive drinking which led to her downfall.
Dr. R. E. W. Adams, a pompous Springfield homeopathic physician, as portrayed by Bill Herndon, liked to debate. His favorite issues were homeopathic medicine, slavery and alcohol. He was in favor of the first and against the second two.
Jane Pellum, a washerwoman who once lived in Abraham Lincoln's neighbor- hood, came to life as portrayed by Kathryn Harris. Washing and ironing made for a hard life but Auntie Jane, as she was called, lived a long time. Her children were successful and took care of her, as she became older. She was the only African-American member of her church.
Mary Huck presented Christiana Prickett, the daughter of lawyer David Prickett. She lived in the family's home, the site of the Supreme Court building, for many years with her brothers and sisters.
We need to thank the researchers, writers, actors and workers for all of the hard work they put into this event. Especially thank Curtis Mann who has done such lovely work chairing this event.
THIS PAST CENTURY
WOMAN'S BUILDING BURNS
Structure at Fair Grounds Reduced to Ashes Last Night, Springfield News September 21, 1901
The Woman's Building at the state fair grounds which was erected three years ago was burned down last night by a fire which started in the grate and the girls escaped after the most exciting experiences. About forty women were in the building when the fire started and nearly all of them had retired for the night. They were engaged in the domestic science work under the direction of Mrs. S.T. Rorer and Mrs. H.M. Dunlap, of Savoy. The girls escaped in their nightdresses but later nearly all of their trunks were saved. The building cost $10,500 and was fully insured. The fire secured such headway that a general alarm was turned in to this city and hundreds of persons gathered on the grounds. The Sangamo club building and the building just erected by the German Fertilizing Company narrowly escaped destruction as both are frame and stood close to the Woman's building.
Submitted by Curtis MannIles Foundation's Fall Corn Festival Come join with the Iles Foundation for their Fall Corn Festival, October 14 from Noon until 4 p.m. A photo exhibit will feature scenes from three of Springfield's former manufacturing companies: Allis-Chalmers, Pillsbury, and Sangamo Electric. Iles School students will exhibit some of their artwork and have some the "corny jokes" they have created placed around the house to be read.
Come out to hear the Southeast High School students perform at 1:00 and the Downtown Sound from the Sweet Adeline's quartet at 2:30. Bill Furry will play his concertina and banjo at intervals in the house. Corncob checkers, a corncob toss, cornhusk dolls and more corn related activities will be available.
Don't forget when you come to have your picture taken with Elijah
Iles (aka Chuck Campton). Pictures purchased are available
immediately due to the advanced technology of the digital camera
and laser printer of which Elijah Iles never dreamed. There will
of course be food - hot dogs, chips, apples with caramel, etc.
Rochester Historical Preservation Society
The Rochester Historical Preservation Society is working towards its goals of restoring two Rochester landmarks on the new three-acre property the Society purchased after selling the Route 29 site.
The sign has been moved to the new site, and markers now indicate where the Old Stone House will be rebuilt. This area is designated the Rochester Historical Park. If anyone is interested in joining the RHPS, dues are only $5.00 per year for individuals and $10.00 for a family. Please call me for more information. 546-5840
You can still purchase a 2002 Historic Illinois Calendar with twelve historic Illinois sites depicted by sending $7.00 for each calendar to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Calendar, 1 Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield IL 62701-1507.
Have you been to the SCHS' website? Ear mark HYPERLINK
http://www.sangcohist.org as one of your favorite sites. The
site changes periodically with information on Sangamon County history
and events. A copy of the Historico also appears there.
FEBRUARY 10 2:00 PM (Free and open to the public)
"Keep Close to the Public, Governor Richard Oglesby and the Lincoln Icon" to be presented by Mark A. Plummer, professor emeritus of history at Illinois State University. Plummer is a past President of the Illinois Historical Society, and author of Lincoln’s Rail-Splitter: Governor Richard J. Oglesby.
Richard J. Oglesby, a Republican, was Governor of Illinois for three terms: 1865 to 1869, for ten days in 1873, and from 1885 to 1889. He served the Union as a general during the Civil War, and took a bullet in his chest during the Battle of Corinth that was never removed. He also served as a U.S. Senator, and was a close friend and political ally of Abraham Lincoln. Oglesby was at the fallen President’s deathbed when Lincoln was assassinated in Washington, D.C.
The lecture is co-sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society, the Sangamon County Historical Society, the Old State Capitol Foundation, and the Illinois Humanities Council’s Central Illinois Regional Planning Committee.
FEBRUARY 12 LINCOLN’S BIRTHDAY OBSERVANCES
FEBRUARY 13, 5:00 PM SCHS BOARD MEETING
FEBRUARY 19, TUESDAY, 7:00 PM SCHS PROGRAM
"Frank Zito: Springfield’s Godfather"
Presented by Doug PokorskiFrank Zito was a leading figure in Springfield crime circles for more than half a century, controlling the local rackets with a combination of well-placed bribes and the judicious application of violence. The speech will examine some of the details of his career, including some of the officially unsolved murders he was allegedly involved in.
Doug Pokorski, a Lincoln native, has been a reporter for The State Journal-Register since 1984. He regularly covers items of historical interest for the paper, and in 1999 produced the paper’s year-long daily series "A Springfield Century." He currently writes the popular weekly column "Springfield Stories".
Report of last month’s meeting:
THE MUSEUM OF FUNERAL CUSTOMS
Jon Austin, Director, gave a fascinating talk about the "Development of the Museum of Funeral Customs" and then proceeded to guide a tour of the Museum at 1440 Monument Avenue for about 40 attendees of the January program. He explained that this was one of only two funeral museums in the country, and seven worldwide, and the only one conceived and developed by trained museum and historical professionals. He explained that the idea was conceived by the Illinois Funeral Directors Association over twenty years ago and brought into fruition with the opening of the museum in April 2001.
Beginning with artifacts gleaned from the storerooms of Funeral Directors around the state, the museum has recreated a 1920s embalming room and a home funeral setting from the 19th century; established displays of caskets and coffins (Jon explained that a casket is the rectangular box with which we are most familiar today and a coffin is the ‘fitted’ box, tapering from shoulder to feet, that we associate with times past); rare books and photographs; original horse-drawn hearses; a scale model of Lincoln’s funeral coach and locomotive, along with a full-size reproduction of his casket; and a special exhibit on grave robbing that will be in place until June.
Jon and his staff have organized the holdings in such a way as to provide a fascinating social history of the development of funeral customs since the commencement of embalming in the 1840s. The museum is a notable addition to the historic sites in Springfield and has already proven to have broad appeal as 4,900 visitors toured the museum between its opening in April and the end of the year. We recommend that you take an opportunity to visit, though you will miss the wine and cheese, soda and ‘biscuits’ provided for the January meeting.
THIS PAST CENTURY –
Milk Scarcity – "This City Suffering From a Shortage In Supply"
Springfield is suffering from a scarcity of milk, for the retail trade. For some time the supply has not been equal to the demand, and in spite of the amount of milk shipped into the city from outside towns, the dealers cannot get enough to supply the trade. Milk is shipped into the city from points as far distant as Bloomington, and a greater part of the milk used in the city is shipped in, instead of being the product of the local dairies. Some of the dealers have raised their prices to the retail trade, but others have maintained the same price all through the winter and fall. The prevailing price is 6 1/3 cents per quart or sixteen quarts for $1. Some time ago the dealers found it necessary to rely on the outside stock for their main supply, and instead of seeing the need of a greater number of milk cows, the farmers in this vicinity have disposed of all their surplus stock, keeping only those needed for their immediate uses. There are at least two dairy companies in this city who rely entirely on the neighboring stations for their supply of milk, and there is one retail company which does not own a single cow, but which buys all of its milk from the outside communities.
There are several reasons for the gradual disappearance of the milk
cow from the farms. One is that since feed has been so high
it is a hard matter to realize any profit from feeding a cow for
the milk she will give. Another is that it is a bother to haul
the milk to the city every day, especially in winter time, when the
roads are next to impassable. It is thought that with the coming
of spring and good pastures, a number of farmers will go into the
business of supplying milk to the dairies. Another reason for
the shortage of milk is the great demand for good country butter,
especially during the present winter season. A large percent
of the milk of the farm is used in making butter for the city markets.
Mechanics’ and Farmers Bank, Springfield, Illinois
By Curtis MannHave you ever heard of the Mechanics’ and Farmers Bank of Springfield, Illinois? I hadn’t until recently when I found for sale on the eBay auction service an 1853 $1 banknote issued by the institution. I was intrigued enough to purchase the note. Wanting to know more, I did some investigating and will share some of what I found.
While mentioned briefly in sources like Paul Angle’s "Here I Have Lived" A History of Lincoln’s Springfield very little is known about the Mechanics’ and Farmers Bank of Springfield. I was not surprised once I found that the bank lasted only a little more than two years. It was created in the late summer of 1852 with subscription of its stock being taken up by the citizens of Sangamon County. A meeting of stockholders was held on August 23, 1852 and the bank organized. Springfield merchant Thomas Lewis was elected president and William F. Keefer was chosen as cashier. A board of 24 directors was elected, most of them Springfield businessmen.
The Mechanics’ and Farmers Bank opened for business on November 1, 1852 in a banking house located on the north side of the public square. The institution was capitalized at $1,000,000 with $50,000 already deposited with the state of Illinois. By January 1, 1853 the amount of capital stock had risen to $71,800. Business was good for the bank, which had loaned out a little over $63,000 by July 1, 1853. The board of directors declared the first dividend of ten percent on their stock in October 1853. Growth of the bank continued through the next year such that on October 2, 1854, the directors declared a dividend of twelve percent. The amount of capital stock had risen to $115,000.
But little more than a month later the doors of the Mechanics’ and Farmers Bank were closed on November 22, 1854. The board of directors placed blame on a circular published by some brokers in St. Louis, Missouri. The circular had appeared a few days before the closing and raised doubts about the value of the bank’s notes by stating the brokers were refusing to accept them. This caused nervous depositors and holders of banknotes to demand specie and currency payments amounting to the sum of over $47,000 before closing for the day. Upon reopening the next day, the board directed the bank to continue until all funds were expended. The bank closed then and never reopened. This sad tale could be called a "rumor ruined a bank." Unfortunately it was a tale repeated many fold during the Great Depression, when many institutions were saved only by a bank holiday.
This is an extremely busy year for the Sangamon County Historical Society as you can see by the articles in this month's Historico. Come join us for our wonderful programs on the third Tuesday of each month at the Lincoln Library. You will enjoy them, I promise.
Now it’s time to mark your calendars for the Cemetery Walk that will be held Sunday, October 6, 2002 in conjunction with the Hawthorne Place 100 Year Anniversary celebration. More to come on this wonderful event. Please call me if you have enjoyed the Cemetery Walks in the past and would like to help in some way this year - 546-5840.
Many thanks to Nancy Chapin for volunteering to take over the job
as editor of the Historico. I’ve seen her first edition
and I know she is going to do a spectacular job.
MARCH 13 , Wednesday SCHS BOARD MEETING
MARCH 19, Tuesday, 7:00 PM SCHS PROGRAM
"Under The Gaslight: The Story Of Daniel Leib Ambrose"
Daniel Leib Ambrose, 1843-1920, is a Springfield shadow. He came to the capital city in 1855 as an eager twelve-year-old boy and left in the early 1880s, not to return for nearly forty years and then only to be buried beside his wife and their infant son. Yet Ambrose made his mark in the community, not only by writing the first regimental history of an Illinois regiment (the 7th Infantry, in which he proudly served for four years) in the Civil War, but also by afterward serving as a Springfield journalist and newspaper columnist. Many of his articles were published in a rare and long-out-of-print book titled "Under The Gaslights."
William Furry is the Assistant Director of the Illinois State Historical
Society and the editor of Illinois Heritage, the bimonthly popular
history magazine of the 103-year-old Society. The former editor
of Illinois Times, Bill recently edited "The Preacher's Tale: The
Civil War Journal of Reverend Francis Springer, U.S. Army of the
Frontier" (Univ. of Arkansas Press, 2001) and is now working on a
new book with his wife, Deborah Brothers, about Rev. Springer and
the "boatload of orphans," who came to Springfield at the end of
the Civil War. Bill is the president of the Vachel Linsday
Association and the president of the Illinois Humanities Council
Regional Planning Committee, for which he edits the quarterly Humanities
UPCOMING PROGRAMS Mark your calendars
APRIL 16 "Tell Us A Story: An African-American Family in the Heartland"
MAY 21 "Early African-Americans in Sangamon County"
REPORT OF LAST MONTH’S PROGRAM:
Doug Pokorski’s talk on Springfield’s Godfather, Frank Zito, brought out a capacity crowd for the Carnegie Room, with many having to be turned away. Doug said he thought there would be quite a crowd as he had received emails and calls after the program was announced in the paper; even a call from someone quite unhappy about the subject matter, who Doug found threatening in both tone and language, and who promised that if he had been able to attend the meeting would have disrupted it. Fortunately that individual was unable to attend.
Zito’s story is really a Horatio Alger one in that he was born to a poor family in Sicily, came to this country and grew to be rich and famous. Of course his fame and fortune came as a hoodlum, but he was certainly successful in his chosen field. While he was never indicted for any serious crime, his control was absolute over alcohol, prostitution and gambling from the ‘20s to the ‘50s. Drew Pearson described him as one of Illinois’ worst hoodlums, and went on to say that outside Chicago he was the "most powerful underworld figure" in Illinois. In the ‘40s the St. Louis Post Dispatch ran a series on crime in Illinois and stated that Zito’s payoff to State, County and City officials totaled some $10,000 per week, which would amount to about $3.5 million a year in today’s money, illustrating that what he was able to take in had to have been quite impressive.
Mr. Pokorski went on to outline some of the underworld connections to various "unsolved" murders of the period. Those murders, which involved members of rival organizations and the like, followed the unsavory pattern of gang murders of lore. Though crossing Mr. Zito’s organization was not wise, his neighbors and acquaintances found him a delightful and thoughtful person.
Mr. Pokorski ended by pointing out that there were benefits to the community from Zito’s control of the criminal element. His control was so strong, that other underworld groups by and large stayed clear of the area, and petty criminals, such as bank robbers and the like, who didn’t fall under Zito’s protection, were wary of invading his territory. Pokorski wryly noted that most of the illegal activities that Zito controlled are legal today – why gambling is controlled by the State itself!
SPRING BUS TOUR PLANNED
A narrated bus tour of Southern Sangamon County is planned for Saturday, May 19th starting at 1:00 pm at the Stratton Building Parking lot. The route will include viewing a remnant of the Edwards Trace, a main route through central Illinois for Native Americans, French and early settlers [note next article for more on the Edwards Trace]; the Strawbridge Shepherd House, one of the first homes built in the County; the Southwest Airport, an important relic of early aviation in the area; the stately old Caldwell Mansion on Route 4; the restored Chatham Depot, where refreshments will be served; the Society’s own Sugar Creek covered bridge; and an extended tour and history of Divernon, a village with a long and colorful history.
The bus will return to the parking lot by 5:30 pm. Space on the bus will be limited, so reserve your place now by signing up on the form enclosed. Fee for members is $15.00 and for Non-members, $20.00. For more details contact tour chairman, Kim Efird, 523-0579 or Job Conger, 544-6122.
EDWARDS TRACE MARKER NOMINATION SUBMITTED TO ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL
The remaining segment of the trail (or trace, as they were referred to in the early days) was discovered and researched by Dave Brady, manager of the Prairie Archives Bookstore. Bill Furry, Assistant Executive Director of the Illinois State Historical Society, wrote a comprehensive article about the Edwards Trace in the October 4, 2001, issue of "Illinois Times".
The actual site of the trail and the proposed marker is on property owned by the city of Springfield next to Lake Springfield and the city has already granted permission for the erection of the marker. The trail is located in Lake Park, which is just north of the Henson-Robinson Zoo. The depressed segment is easily discernible north of the park's picnic shelter.
The sponsors, who will be footing the bill for the marker, are the Sangamon County Historical Society, the City of Springfield and Walgreens. Both Tom Teague, Executive Director of the Illinois State Historical Society, and Marvin Ehlers, Chairman of the Historical Markers Committee, have expressed confidence that the nomination will be acted on favorably. The nomination for historical marker status, along with the necessary paperwork, were prepared by Dave Brady and Stu Fliege.
It is projected that the marker will be in place by late summer or early fall. Appropriate unveiling and dedication ceremonies will take place and it is hoped that our Sangamon County Historical Society will play a large role in these dedication ceremonies. Please keep an eye out for further developments about this exciting project.
This issue includes the membership list for the 2001-2002 Sangamon
County Historical Society year. The new membership year begins with
the Annual Meeting in June, but for your convenience we have included
a renewal form on the backside of the Tour Reservation Form so that
you can renew now with just one check to cover both – something
like killing two birds with one stone.
THIS PAST CENTURY -
Springfield Boiler Works
Springfield News March 25, 1902 page 1
One of the most important business transactions affecting Springfield
that has been closed lately is the letting of a contract to the Springfield
Boiler and Manufacturing company by the Electric Lighting and Power
company of St. Louis for twenty-six boilers of 15,000 horse power
for use at the World’s Fair. The information regarding the
letting of the contract comes from outside sources but representatives
of the Springfield Boiler and Manufacturing company who were seen
did not deny the truth of the report, though reticent concerning
the particulars. The contract calls for the completion of the
work by April 1, 1903. The St. Louis company for which the
work is to be done has the contract for half of the lighting of the
World’s Fair grounds. The contracts include boilers,
breeching, piping and stokers and the total amount is about $350,000. The
extra work at the factory will give employment to at least 150 men,
who will be divided into day and night shifts and as it will take
at least a year to turn out the contract this means the distribution
of a large amount of money in wages. It is understood that
all the papers necessary to complete the contract will be signed
within the next day or two. The boiler and engine makers of
Springfield are enjoying an unusually prosperous season and their
product is becoming world famous. Every contract of this kind
that is secured by a local manufacturer means more work for more
men and more money in circulation among the population.
APRIL 10, 11:00 AM HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE
APRIL 9, Wednesday, 5:00 PM SCHS
APRIL 15, 11:00 AM 46th annual ceremony to commemorate the 137th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln, sponsored by The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, assisted by The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, and the Lincoln Deathday Association, Inc. Hughes Dillard will present the wreath for the SCHS.
APRIL 16, Tuesday, 7:00 SCHS
"Tell Us A Story: An African-American Family in the Heartland"
Supplemented by recollections from the present era, Tell Us a Story is a colorful mosaic of African American autobiography and family history set in Springfield and in rural southern Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas from the 1920s through the 1950s. Initially transcribed accounts of the Motleys' rich oral history, these stories have been passed among family members for nearly fifty years.
A historian, Portwood enhances the Motley family story by investigating
primary data such as census, marriage, school, and land records,
newspaper accounts, city directories, and other sources. The stories,
ranging from humorous to poignant, reveal much about the culture
and history of African Americans, especially those from non-urban
areas. Like many rural African Americans, the Motleys have a rich
and often joyful family history with traditions reaching back to
the slave past. They have known the harsh poverty that made even
the necessities difficult to obtain and the racial prejudice that
divided whites and blacks during the era of Jim Crow segregation
and inequality; yet they have kept a tremendous faith in self-improvement
through hard work and education. Springfield residents, who knew
the Portwoods when they lived here, have been invited to attend and
add their reminisces.
UPCOMING PROGRAM Mark your calendars
MAY 21 "Early African-Americans in Sangamon County"
REPORT ON MARCH PROGRAM:
William Furry introduced us to Daniel Leib Ambrose, author of The Regimental History of the 7th Cavalry and Under the Gaslight. Having served for the duration of the war in the 7th Infantry, he was well qualified to preserve its history, and he did so in an unusually literate manner, as his education was limited, though he had one year of college before the war.
Then, coming to Springfield as a newlywed in 1873, he established himself in the newspaper business, having been appointed printer and city editor of the Sangamon Daily Monitor, an alternative paper in its time.
Though not a Springfield native, Ambrose made his mark on the community through articles he wrote for the Daily Monitor, where he worked for 25 years. In those articles, which he called ‘Rambles’, that ran under the heading of "Under the Gaslight", he sought to both critique, instruct and delight at a time when the differences between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ was becoming ever more apparent. The ‘haves’ had gaslights, and the ‘have-nots’ had not, though they had love and joy in their lives. Furry expounded on the effect the tragic loss of Ambrose’s wife during childbirth and baby son just three months later had on his writings, which beautifully, though anonymously, reflected the anguish he never ceased to feel over her loss after just 6 years of marriage. His writings brought to mind the mystical and philosophic vein that Vachel Lindsay would reflect years later. His publisher, T.W.S. Kidd, published a collection of the articles as a book. A copy of the book is available in the Sangamon Valley Collection.
After moving on to publish papers in several more communities, Ambrose died, at the age of 79, at the home of his daughter in Canton, Illinois and his body was returned to be buried with his wife and son in Oakridge Cemetery.
THIS PAST CENTURY
Want The Fence Removed
Springfield News April 4, 1902 page 8
The residents in the west end of Springfield are making a war on the fence around Krous’ Park. They declare it must come down. The fight which has been made on the reopening of the saloons and liquor joints in that area has been successful, and now they propose to make the victory complete by removing the old fence around the park. They are looking up the law on the matter and believe they will find plenty of authority to compel its removal. If this is unsuccessful they will proceed on a different line. The park as it is at present fenced in is the resort for low classes of both sexes, who turn night into a bacchanalian dissipation. The fence protects them. It is falling into decay and some sections have tumbled to the ground. It is dangerous, they say and therefore should come down.
(Note: Krous Park was a private beer garden located at the corner of Amos and Governor streets. Its owner, John Krous, died in 1894.)
* * SPRING BUS TOUR SUNDAY * * MAY 19TH
Mark your calendar for Sunday, May 19, 2002 and plan to be on hand for our first bus tour in some years. Tour committee chair Kim Efird reports there will be several sites to see and savor.
We will start from the Stratton Bldg. Parking lot shortly after 1:00 PM and go first to the Southwest Airport where aviation expert, Job Conger will not only provide aviation history, but will put on his other hat of Vachel Lindsay afficiado, and recite Lindsay’s Gospel of Beauty poem.
Next, the route will take us to the remnant of the Edwards Trace near Lake Springfield, crossing the Lindsay Bridge, originally completed in 1935, and pass by the Strawbridge Shepherd House, one of the first homes built in Sangamon County.
Then, going on to Route 4, we will come next to the Caldwell Mansion. Few structures in our county so well hearken back to the lifestyle of wealthier prairie farmers than the Caldwell-Thomas Mansion built in 1876. This structure has been lovingly maintained over the years, though its future today remains uncertain. During our brief stop we will learn more.
During our stop at Chatham’s 100-year-old Chicago and Alton Depot and Museum, we will again leave the bus and walk around, learning about the fascinating history of the famous railroad company that built it from historian, James Woodruff.
During our trek over a stretch of the original Route 66, we will "get our kicks" during a brief stop at Sangamon County Historical Society’s own (we have the deed, even) Sugar Creek Covered Bridge.
This to be followed by a walking tour of Divernon.
Divernon Presbyterian Church: The church was organized in December 1869. A new church was built, and in 1887, it was moved a mile north into the village where it now stands, on the west side of the square. It was the first church in the village of Divernon.
Old Town: Across the tracks from the depot is what, at one time, was the Divernon business district. In the early years of the village, businesses established themselves near the depot. Several of the buildings still stand along the street. The buildings of Divernon Grain, Divernon News, Abel Hotel, and Herlan Lumber are some of the ones still standing.
Brush Creek Cemetery: Located one mile south of Divernon along Brush Creek is the cemetery. It is the original location of the Presbyterian Church, and it is the resting place of the village’s founding fathers.
Seats are filling, so make your reservation now on the form below. Members $15.00 and non-members $20.00
"The Eagle Remembered"
At its March Board meeting, the Society elected Dan Bannister to fill an un-expired term on the Board.
The Board also voted to become a sponsor of the Washington Middle School History Fair to be held in May. It is hoped that this will be the prototype of District wide History Fairs in future years. The Society also agreed to provide a judge for the exhibition.
For your convenience there is a membership form on the reverse side of this Tour reservation form so you can join if you are not a member, or be an early bird and renew your membership now, which is due in June anyway.
NOTED IN POWER’S
". . a temporary county seat was chosen for Sangamon county, April 10, 1821, and called Springfield. The first public survey of public land in the county, took place that year."
We invite members to submit comments or articles on subjects you
are researching. You are welcome to email your article to: firstname.lastname@example.org,
The Value of Local Historical Societies
Over the years many communities have organized meetings and get-togethers to listen to performers and speakers. The value of these highlights to earlier citizens is difficult for us to appreciate when most of us are faced with the dilemma of deciding which of so many different events to attend practically every day.
It is likely that these gatherings led to the formation of various societies, many of them historical societies, where people could learn about their localities and share their experiences. As the societies grew, many of them set up museums to house artifacts and mementos which members collected.
Today, many local historical societies also have museums. The Sangamon County Historical Society does not, neither does the State Historical Society. Sometimes I am asked why this is so. The explanation lies in our good fortune in living in Sangamon County, the seat of the State Capital.
Here we have the Sangamon Collection in the Lincoln Library on 7th Street, which is staffed by librarians who are also professional historians, who can produce books, papers and photographs covering the development and history of the whole county. Then in the center of the city we not only have the treasures displayed in the Old State Capitol, but also those housed in the State Historical Library in the same building. We have the State Museum on Edward St., the Lincoln Herndon law offices, the GAR Museum of the Civil War on 7th Street, the WAR MUSEUM on Walnut, the Dana Thomas House, the Vachel Lindsay House, the Railway Depot from which Lincoln departed for Washington, and of course, the Lincoln home, all of which are open to the public. Along with these we have the Pearson Museum, a museum of all aspects of healing at the SIU School of Medicine, and the Museum of Funeral Customs at the entrance to Oakridge Cemetery.
Together with all the museums, we have the benefit of the State Library, the libraries of the Medical School and the University of Illinois, Springfield. And now we can look forward to having the Lincoln Presidential Library in our midst.
Our Society will continue to have monthly presentations on a wide range of historical subjects. These are free and open to the public. Make a note in your calendars for the third Tuesday each month.
What a surprise I had when I arrived for the February program to find there was such a large crowd of people in the Carnegie Room that many others were being turned away at the door. Our programs have always been open to the public but unfortunately this time members were denied access because of the early arrival of non-members. I'm sorry that it happened but there were no empty rooms to move to. The program on Frank Zito was very interesting and one could tell that Doug Pokorski had followed up many leads to gain all of the diverse information he presented.
Since I wrote this paragraph we had another well-attended program in March when Bill Furry presented his program on Daniel Leib Ambrose. Maybe we are seeing a turnaround where both members and non-members will return for these excellent programs. In April Shirley Portwood will present another fine program, Tell Us a Story. Many of you may know Shirley since she is from Springfield and a former graduate of Feitshans High School.
All programs, including the annual banquet, are held on the third Tuesday of each month.
Now is the time to change the date on your calendars for the Cemetery Walk. We have decided to move our walk back to the last Sunday in September, to September 29th. No doubt the weather will cooperate and we will have a lovely day for a stroll through time in Oak Ridge Cemetery.
MAY 15, Wednesday, 5:00 PM SCHS
MAY 19 BUS TOUR OF SOUTHERN SANGAMON COUNTY
MAY 21 SCHS
THE SPIRIT OF SPRINGFIELD’S EARLY AFRICAN-AMERICANS
Mr. Hart will focus on one niche of Springfield’s past—Springfield’s early African Americans and the magnificent spirit they exhibited in pre-civil war Springfield. "That spirit should be noted and bring pride to the descendants of Springfield’s early African America citizens."
The first example of that spirit is the colorful annual celebrations of the emancipation of the slaves in the West Indies. The second is the example of Samuel Ball, a barber, who was sent to Liberia to study and report on it being a possible place of African-American relocation. The third is a declaration of the "Colored people of Springfield", who adopted a resolution opposing colonization and defining who they were in a most spirited manner. The last is of a lady named Nance, who fought for years to assert her independence, and whose legal battles resulted in her being the basis for important Illinois law pertaining to the status of African-Americans.
Richard E. Hart, born in Ottawa, Illinois, December 13, 1942; admitted to bar, 1967, Illinois. Education: University of Illinois (A.B., 1964; J.D., 1967). Mr. Hart has been a practicing attorney in Springfield, Illinois for the last thirty-five years, and is a partner in the firm of Hart, Southworth & Witsman.
Mr. Hart is the president of Springfield Preservation, Ltd., a for profit corporation that has restored and leased Lincoln era houses in Springfield’s German Settlers Row. He is a past president and board member of the Sangamon County Historical Society. He is a Vice-President and member of the Board of Directors of the Abraham Lincoln Assn.; and is President of the Elijah Iles House Foundation. Mr. Hart is presently Chairman of the advisory board of The Lincoln Legal Papers.
ANNUAL MEETING PROGRAM SCHEDULED FOR JUNE
REPORT ON APRIL PROGRAM
Shirley Portwood, author of "Tell Us A Story", recounted some of the stories in her book, written for the benefit of her grandchildren. They illustrated both the triumphs and the sorrows of a family, and the rich oral tradition that had preserved them.
Her book is full of the joys of a childhood, free of the schedules in today’s world; swimming in a farm pond; riding horseback through the pastures; skating on (probably) too thin ice. But it was full, too, of some of the hardships brought on by poverty and racial bigotry. She reported being bussed past the white school, to the segregated school much further away where the textbooks were all hand downs and supplies limited. And she shared the fear she had felt as a child when told a relative’s neighbor had been lynched, and again when a youth almost her own age had been lynched only 50 miles away.
She pointed out that though these were her families’ stories, every family had their stories, and they needed to be preserved. In her teaching at SIU she emphasizes to her students the importance of taking down oral histories, and counsels them on techniques of interviewing multiple family members to both verify and enrich the stories with many viewpoints.
She ended by entreating her audience to do the same so as to preserve an age rapidly being supplanted by change, and promised the rewards would be worth the effort.
PLANS MOVING AHEAD FOR EDWARD'S TRACE MARKER
An Illinois State Historical marker will be placed at Lake Park, next to Lake Springfield, sometime late this summer or early fall. As explained in an earlier Historico, the marker will deal with the so-called Edwards Trace. The SCHS is a cosponsor of the marker.
Dave Brady and Stu Fliege presented the latest developments to the Board of Directors of the SCHS at its April Meeting. The Board expressed its approval of the projected plans and agreed to assist with the dedication ceremony of the marker once a firm date has been set.
Following is the text to be on the marker.
THE EDWARDS TRACE
AN IMPORTANT TRAIL IN THE HISTORY OF ILLINOIS ran atop this ridge. Called the Edwards Trace, an early word for trail, its use reaches back to antiquity when herds of bison and other large mammals migrated along its path. For millennia prehistoric people utilized the trail for seasonal migrations, trading, hunting and waging war. As early as 1711 French priests and trappers began traveling along its path. This overland route offered an alternative to the waterways.
From Kaskaskia in the south, the trace passed up through Cahokia and the Edwardsville area and passed this point on its way to the Illinois River near present day Peoria. During the War of 1812, Territorial Governor Ninian Edwards, who later became the state'sthird governor, led a contingent of 350 rangers to Peoria along its pathway for action against the Kickapoo. As a result, it became known as the Edwards Trace.
For early Illinois inhabitants this was the main overland route between southern Illinois and points north. Along its course came many of the pioneers who settled in the Sangamon Valley. After Illinois achieved statehood in 1818 this road carried heavy traffic including a variety of goods and commodities moving north and south. As a result a depressed path developed, a remnant of which can be seen 25 yards west of this marker.
Sponsored by the City of Springfield, the
Sangamon County Historical Society, the Illinois State Historical
Society and the Walgreen Company.
PIONEER PARK SHELTER
WELCOME NEW SCHS MEMBERS
SCHS BUS TOUR
NARRATED BUS TOUR
I am currently a Sangamon County Historical Society Member
I am joining SCHS herewith
Please reserve ______ place(s) on the bus
2002 ANNUAL MEETING
Reported by Curtis Mann
This ceremony will mark the long awaited dedication of the EDWARDS TRACE MARKER
Dave Brady discovered this remnant of the Trace in 2000, but the process of verifying his discovery and preparing a historical marker to be placed at the site has taken until now. Joining the support of SCHS, this marker is also sponsored by the City of Springfield, the Illinois State Historical Society and the Walgreen Company.
In addition to remarks from the sponsoring entities, the Dedication Program will feature the Trinity Brass Band, and an address by Professor James E. Davis, professor of history and geography at Illinois College in Jacksonville. He holds the William and Charlotte Gardner Professorship and was the recipient of the Harry J. Dunbaugh Distinguished Professor Award for outstanding teacher in both 1981 and 1993. Books authored by Professor Davis include Frontier Illinois, 1800-1840: A Comparative Demographic Analysis of the Settlement Process, Dreams to Dust and Frontier Illinois. He has also written a number of articles, monographs edited works, and reviews. We welcome Professor Davis and look forward to an interesting address.
Chairs will be available and refreshments will follow the dedication. Please join us for this long anticipated event!
SEPTEMBER 11, Wednesday, 5:00 PM SCHS BOARD MEETING
Lincoln Library. Carnegie Room South
Interested members are invited to attend
SEPTEMBER 17, Tuesday, 7:00 PM SCHS PROGRAM
Lincoln Library. Carnegie Room North
LOST HIGHWAY FOUND:
On the Trail of the Edwards Trace in Sangamon County
Presented by Dave Brady
Mr. Brady will give some of the background history of the Trail from its origin as a herd trail to a major artery of transport for early settlers, and just how he happened to discover the remnant near Lake Springfield. He will also discuss its use and importance to the different groups that used it; the Native Americans, Europeans and early Americans.SEPTEMBER 29, Sunday, 12 –4 PM 6th Annual "Echoes of Yesteryear"
Dave Brady is an amateur historian with a special interest in Sangamon County history. He was chairman of the Divernon Centennial Committee for six years, and has written a local history of the village of Divernon, Illinois, titled "Its’ Place In Time". He is employed as manager at Prairie Archives.
Cemetery Walk at Oak Ridge Cemetery.
This popular, annual affair will be featuring several interesting gravesites this year. They include those of: Henry Hawkins Owsley, Rebecca Woods, Anna Maria Cummings, Daniel L. Ambrose and Henrietta Ulrich.
The trolley will take visitors from the Walnut Street parking lot and the main entrance to the staging area that is set just before the first site. LuAnn Johnson will provide rides to the first site for wheelchair bound visitors. Weather permitting, Jon Austin, from the Museum of Funeral Customs, will talk about the Victorian hearse on display at the staging area. The last conducted tour starts at 3.
There is no admission charge, but donations will be gratefully accepted. Bring your friends and neighbors for a wonderful encounter with our past Springfield inhabitants!
If you would like to volunteer to work (and volunteers are needed) or have questions, please call Sally Cadagin, 546-5840.
ANNUAL MEETING REPORT
It is a tradition of the Society that the speaker at the Annual Meeting to have been President of the Society 10 years before. In that tradition Cullom Davis was the speaker, and having addressed the Society 10 times previously over the years, his reputation preceded him, drawing an audience of over 100 people. They were not disappointed.
Dr. Davis reviewed the history of the Society since his arrival in Springfield in 1970. He lauded the leadership in that era and recalled proudly the Society’s role in the creation of the Sangamon Valley Collection of Lincoln Library. He then reviewed the concerns of the period: meshing the work of academic historians from the newly founded Sangamon State University with the work of local amateur historians; balancing the community’s image of Lincoln’s hometown as an idyllic place with the reality of the racial and labor violence, vice, corruption and ethnic diversity that were also part of Springfield’s history.
Collaboration between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ historians over the next several years produced a series of pamphlets published by the Society covering local subjects both conventional and seamy and a 300 page historical anthology, The Springfield Reader.
Inevitably the energy and productivity of that era ebbed, but the fruits of that era continue with an accepted mutual respect between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ historians, and a diversity of programming that reflects many different aspects of the community’s past.
Dr. Davis concluded by exhorting the Society to continue with its current programs and events; to forge closer ties and support for the Sangamon Valley Collection; to launch another publication series; to reach out to all areas and ages in the County; and to reestablish a Project Awards program – an ambitious, but laudable challenge.
COMING EVENTS AROUND TOWN
SEPTEMBER 14, Saturday, 3:00 PM
(Free and open to the public)
Old State Capitol
A. LINCOLN, DIVORCE LAWYER:
Family law in early Sangamon County and its impact on Lincoln’s legal practice
Presented by Stacy Pratt McDermott
Presentation followed by refreshments.
Ms. McDermott is presently a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an assistant editor with the papers of Abraham Lincoln, and is the author of two chapters on women and law in In Tender Consideration: Women, Family, and the Law in Abraham Lincoln’s Illinois.
Sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society, the Old State Capitol Foundation, and the Sangamon County Historical Society
OCTOBER 6, Sunday, Noon until 4:00 PM
Hawthorne Place, "Springfield's first planned subdivision of the 20th century," will celebrate its CENTENNIAL. There will be guided walking tours of the neighborhood featuring architectural, social and cultural history, refreshments, drawing for a beautiful hand-made quilt, old automobiles and a time capsule ceremony.
Hawthorne is located within Lowell, Holmes and Whittier avenues between South Grand and Laurel. Look for entrance signs. Tickets are $5 the day of the event.
For further information contact Ed Russo, 753-4900 x234.
Martin Heinicke, a well known and
ingenious mechanic and inventor of this city, today broke ground for a building
which is to house a new industry. Mr. Heinicke and three brothers have been
employed at the Sattley plow works for a number of years. They have withdrawn
and have disposed of what stock they possessed. At Ninth and Myrtle streets
today Martin Heinicke began the erection of a building in which he will manufacture
a stacker after his own pattern. Mr. Heinicke’s named is attached to
a number of patents used by the Sattley company. Lately he has been working
on a new invention in the way of a stacker. A frame building at one of his
brother’s has been the object of considerable interest for some time.
The windows were high up on the sides and a strong fence surrounded the structure.
Here it is said the new stacker was perfected and in the building commenced
today the machine will be made. In this connection is a rumor that the Sattleys
who are still members of the company bearing that name are soon to withdraw
and begin the manufacturer of agricultural implements in another city. This
is only a rumor and could not be confirmed this afternoon. The probabilities
are that it is without foundation. Submitted by Curtis Mann
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS BROWN,
Presented by Charles A. Chapin
Christopher Columbus Brown had a remarkable career as a lawyer, lay churchman, businessman and citizen of Springfield. He was a principal in the legal, educational, religious and business development of his community.
Charles Chapin has practiced law for over 50 years in Springfield. Since the close of Chapin & Chapin two years ago, he has been Of Counsel with Brown, Hay & Stephens.
EDWARDS TRACE MARKER DEDICATION
The marker for the segment of the Edwards Trace near Lake Springfield was dedicated on Sunday, September 8. About 100 people turned out for the program and dedication. The Trinity Brass Band played introductory music; Boy Scout Troop #27 presented the flag and led the Pledge of Allegiance; and representative from the sponsoring organizations spoke briefly before Dr. James Davis gave a talk on the reasons the trails followed the high ground, avoiding the prairie and water as much as possible. We are grateful to Prairie Archives for sponsoring the handsome program.
On the following Tuesday program, Dave Brady gave background on his efforts to find the trail and a PowerPoint presentation illustrating the prairie as it appeared at the time and showed maps of multiple trails used by the various peoples to traverse Illinois.
To be held at The Pearson Museum, SIU
NOVEMBER 19 "Civil War Casualties from Illinois and How They Fared"
Barbara Mason, Curator, The Pearson Museum
OCTOBER 5 –6 Hawthorne Place
Hawthorne Place, a small, century-old enclave within the borders of Lowell, Holmes and Whittier avenues between South Grand Avenue and Laurel Street, will be the site of a Centennial Celebration October 5th and 6th. Saturday afternoon an ecumenical service will take place between 1:00 and 1:30 p.m. That evening a party for current and former neighbors and the public will be held at Blessed Sacrament Church. For further information on the service and party contact Dave Erdman at 522-4683.
Sunday, October 6th from noon until 4 p.m., guided walking tours of the neighborhood will be held featuring the architectural, social and cultural history of the neighborhood. The Subdivision opened in 1902 at the far southwest edge of Springfield and was touted as Springfield’s first planned subdivision of the 20th century. One report commented, "…splendid improvements have been made, consisting of a sewerage system, pavements, cement walks, curbs and gutters. Gas, water and electric lights are found throughout the entire addition and there is a streetcar line running through Hawthorne and another close to it, so that it is one of the most desirable residence portions of Springfield…fast building up with a number of fine homes."
Visitors will have a chance to see these homes amid the tree-lined streets and actually glance into the entries of three houses as part of the architectural tour. There will also be a Time Capsule Ceremony at 4:00 pm, and a drawing for a beautiful hand-made quilt. Tickets are $5 and available the day of the tour. Refreshments will be available.
OCTOBER 11 ISHS CENTENNIAL AWARDS
Palmer House, Chicago
This year’s Centennial Awards will feature two businesses from Sangamon County:
Harold O’Shea Builders, a fourth generation family-owned and operated general contracting business, was established in Springfield in 1902. Founder John O’Shea ran the business out of his carpenter shop and, during World War II, kept the business alive by building cookie crates for a local bakery. Today the company is one of region’s largest building contactors, and has done major expansion work at both Memorial and St. John’s hospitals.
The Illinois State Museum was created by state statute in 1877 to curate and display the state’s collections from the original Museum of Natural History, founded by explorer John Wesley Powell in Normal. Though it has had many homes in its 125- year history, including the State Capitol Building, the museum has served continuously as home to the state’s extensive collections--fine and decorative arts, natural history, anthropology—as well as its research and educational programs.
DECEMBER 6-7 Crowne Plaza Hotel
The Illinois State Historical Society’s
23rd Annual Illinois History Symposium
To register, visit the Illinois State Historical Society’s web site: www.historyillinois.org
Or call 217-525-2781.
WELCOME NEW SOCIETY MEMBERS
Bernadine Kay Boyer,
Phillip and Martine Paludan
Michael and Debra Thompson
Gregory Lind Winner
Editor’s note: The following is the first of a series of articles about lesser-known facts of early history in Sangamon County that Curtis Mann is developing.
Springfield’s First Water Mill Part I
By Curtis Mann
Many people have heard of Crow’s, Koke and Carpenter’s mills but few are aware that Springfield once had a water mill located on Spring Creek just to the northwest of the city. The mill site was located on Spring Creek where it crosses between sections 19 and 20 in Springfield Township which today would put it south of Veterans Parkway about a mile north from the intersection with Jefferson Street.
In the History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois, Levi D. Ellis is credited with building a mill, with a brush dam, on Spring Creek. Since he left Sangamon County before the sale of land began in 1823 it is almost impossible to state his mill is the same as the one I am writing about. However, the federal survey map of Springfield Township indicates the 80-acre tract of land where the mill was located was marked with a preemption claim. A settler who had occupied the land and made improvements to it prior to it being able for purchase made this claim. The claim would allow the settler to have the opportunity to buy the land when it was offered for sale. Many early settlers like Ellis made improvements and then sold those improvements to others who would actually buy the land. No records exist of who made this claim. The land was sold on November 17, 1823 to Abram Lanterman for $100, eleven days after the federal land office opened in Springfield. It is possible that Lanterman had purchased Ellis’s improvements and then bought the land from the federal government.
At the December 1823 meeting of the Sangamon County Commissioners Court, Lanterman petitioned the county for permission to build at mill on the land. State law required that a jury be appointed to view the proposed site to ascertain what damage will be done to the surrounding land by erection of a dam. The jury reported back favorably and Lanterman’s application was approved in March 1824. Nothing is known of Lanterman’s operation or if he even built a mill. He did not own it for very long. Lanterman sold the 80-acre tract to John Taylor of Springfield on May 17, 1825 for $50.
The low sale price could indicate several possibilities. One is the mill was destroyed and Lanterman needed to sell quickly. Another is that Lanterman owed Taylor money and sold him the mill at a reduced price to pay his debts. Whatever the reason John Taylor became the owner of the mill site and erected a mill of his own.
6th ANNUAL CEMETERY WALK, Sept. 29
Sunday was a perfect day to spend in Oak Ridge Cemetery (as a visitor, that is). The day was both sunny and warm, with just enough wind for comfort (and to blow programs and brochures around).
Visitors were indoctrinated into ‘grave’ thinking by Jon Austin, Director of the Museum of Funereal Customs, and his circa1914 hearse and lady’s coffin before proceeding on to the first gravesite. There they met William London, ably portrayed by Don Schneider, who delightfully told his tale of a strange Civil War experience. He was assisted by Kim Efird.
Then it was on to hear Linda Garvert introduce America Archer, in the person of Becky Otwell, who told of life in the pioneering Archer family. As Springfield spreads to the West, the Archer name becomes ever more familiar to many through the elevator and road identification.
The third gravesite, that of Henrietta Ulrich, was played by Linda Schneider. Schneider was wonderful with her Russian accented English as she wove the tale of riches to rags to security with land, which she pronounced immune to loss from either shipwreck or fire.
Daniel L. Ambrose was played by none other than Bill Furry who has written and spoken of him so often. He brought to life the sorrow of Ambrose on the death of his wife and son, and proudly recalled his ‘Under the Gaslight’ writings. Carl Volkmann was his assistant.
Then on to Lisa Sabo’s spirited characterization of Anna Maria Cummings, the daughter of a marshal (until his wife stopped that) and the wife of a printer, at a time when the new state capitol was an exciting place for that trade. The assistant was Sue Wall.
The final gravesite was that of Becky Woods, longtime servant to the Ridgely family. Kathryn Harris proudly noted that her role as a servant, rather than a slave enabled her to go calling on Sundays to friends, both people of color and whites, and her long time service to the family resulted in her being a part of the family forever with her burial place in the family plot.
The day’s program was chaired by Sally Cadagin and her army of volunteers:
The researchers: Claire Martin, Curtis Mann Bill Furry, Myra Epping, Linda Garvert and John Daly;
The script writers: Claire Martin, Myra Epping and Bill Furry;
The course and car parkers: Perry Hall, Tim Krell, Jim Coble, Job Conger and North Ross;
Publicity: Janice Petterchak
Programs: Tim Townsend.
We are most grateful to all of the actors, actresses and volunteers for making it a wonderful program.
In the first years of the Society’s Cemetery Walk, important people of years gone by were featured, but in more recent years the choice has been to portray more ordinary people from all walks of life. The latter has enabled its audience to gain a real feel for the variety of backgrounds and experiences that were part of the development of this area.
The program quoted a line from Dr. Floyd Barringer’s A Walk Through oak Ridge Cemetery, in which he noted: "As you walk back to your car, we are sure that you will feel a little sad and reluctant at parting with the grand company of souls you have met here". We were.
SCHS BOARD MEETING
NOVEMBER 13, Wednesday, 5:00 PM
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room South
Interested members are invited to attend
NOVEMBER 19, Tuesday, 7:00 PM
Note: This program will be held at The Pearson Museum,
SIU School of Medicine
913 N. Rutledge,
Parking is available in the staff parking lot behind (West) of the Medical School building. It can be reached by taking the lane on the South side of the Medical School building, just North of the walkway overpass between the clinic and hospital to"P" on the map.
REPORT ON OCTOBER PROGRAM
Charles Chapin pointed out that the times in which Christopher Columbus Brown lived and worked meshed perfectly with his interests, and his active involvement in the issues and trends of his day served his community well. For 30 years he practiced law, at a time when frontier law was evolving; he was instrumental in developing a school for young ladies at the time such education was first being recognized; his sensitivity to race relations was far in advance of its time as demonstrated when he and his wife housed black ministers in their home after the city hotels refused to accept them; his one venture into public service had him making the proposal for sewers, leading him to jokingly name himself, 'the father of the City sewer system' at the time the community was endeavoring to create more sanitary living conditions; and his active involvement in the boiler and coal business when central heating was being developed, all attest to his understanding of the need for progress.
In addition he was very active in the First Presbyterian Church and is believed to be primarily responsible for the magnificent Tiffany windows being installed there, as he was connected in some way to five of the six Tiffany memorial windows.
Abraham Lincoln, and his partner, William Herndon, examined C.C. Brown for admission to the Illinois bar in 1857, and Mr. Brown lived and worked through the Civil War and the post war periods that saw many changes, and he was involved in some manner in many of those occurring in Springfield. He died in 1904, having lived to see the benefits of many of them. His granddaughter, Owsley Brown Thunman attended the program. She is perhaps the only person in Springfield whose grandfather knew and worked with Abraham Lincoln.
DECEMBER 6-7, Crowne Plaza Hotel
WELCOME NEW SOCIETY MEMBERS
We regret the loss of longtime member Sister Agnes Claire Graham due to her recent death at the age of 105.
Editor's note: The following is the second of a series of articles about lesser-known facts of early history in Sangamon County that Curtis Mann is developing.
Springfield's First Water Mill
John Taylor built his mill on Spring Creek after purchasing the site from Andrew Lanterman. Taylor was not a miller by occupation but was a merchant and land speculator. Taylor apparently built the mill with the idea of leasing it. His son-in-law, E.D. Taylor, signed a contract to the lease the mill to the Duncan brothers for a term of five years, 1832-1837. In that time frame Taylor sold the mill. No deed has been found so far to document this sale. Natchez land speculator Nathaniel A. Ware apparently purchased the mill as he resold it to the Hickox brothers in 1836.
The Hickox brothers, Horace, Addison and Virgil, arrived in Springfield in the early 1830s. They improved the existing mill and later added a steam mill to make it possible to operate year round without worry of water levels becoming to low. Under the Hickox brothers' ownership, the mill was at its peak. Eventually the brothers went their separate ways and sold their interests in the mill. Virgil became involved in railroads and land development. Addison and Horace purchased steam-powered flourmills in Springfield and continued to work as millers. The mill on Spring Creek was sold to Lewis Wackerle in the mid-1850s. Wackerle appears to be the last operator of the mill. It ran for several years under his control but eventually he also bought a flourmill in Springfield and closed the Spring Creek mill down. Members of the Reisch family owned the land later.
Tim Krell has been spearheading the construction of a shelter in the Society's Pioneer Park, near Glenarm. The structure is complete, except for final grading and seeding around its exterior. By next summer it should provide an excellent addition to the possibilities of picnics and gatherings in the park.
The State is also planning to install a sprinkler system on the covered bridge to further protect it from possible vandalism. A cistern, housed in a small building nearby, will support the sprinkler system when all is completed.
In the 1960s the Society published several pamphlets, which are, by and large, out of print. However, Prairie Archives has 'lightly used' copies of many of them available for purchase. Some of the titles, which may or may not be available, are:Summer of Rage, The Springfield Race Riots, James Krohe, Jr.
1876, The Centennial Year in Springfield, Mark Simmons
Unsung Heroes, A Salute to Springfield Women, Melinda Kwedar
A New Eden, the Pioneer Era in Sangamon County, Robert Howard
Helmle & Helmle, Architect, Edward E. Russo
The Best of All Possible Worlds, Springfield, Illinois 1876-1900, Christine Skocznski
Midnight at Noon, A History of Coal Mining in Sangamon County, James Krohe, Jr.
The Old Chatterton: A Brief History of a Famous Old Opera House, George W. Bunn
Doors that Never Close: A Centennial History of St. John's Hospital, Sister M. Francis Cooke
A Springfield Reader: Historical Views of the Illinois Capitol, James Krohe, Jr.
A Walk Through Oak Ridge Cemetery, Floyd S. Barringer
A few Indians in the area - mostly Kickapoo - called it Sangamon Country, Bruce Campbell
There will be no program in December, but we wish you a Happy Holidays and look forward to seeing you at the programs in the spring.
Program Schedule For Spring, 2003
January 21, 2003: Tales And Trails Of Illinois, Stuart Fliege, Historian
February 18, 2003: Harriet Tubman, Kathryn Harris,Director, Illinois State Historical Library
March 18, 2003: The Sangamo Archaeological Center, Robert Mazrim, Archaeologist
April 15, 2003: "More Stories From The Round Barn," Jackie Jackson, Author
May 20, 2003 "The Sangamon River," Charles Schweighauser, Professor, UIS
June 17, 2003 Annual Meeting