Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room South
Interested members are invited to attend


Note: This program will be held in the auditorium of the SIU School of Medicine, (across the hall from the Pearson Museum), 801 N. Rutledge.
Parking is available both West and North of the Medical School building.

Stu Fliege will present his new book, published by the University of Illinois Press and due out in January 2003. “Based on a collection of fifty-two vignettes of Illinois history originally published as weekly columns in newspapers and revised for publication in book form, Tales and Trails of Illinois presents little-known episodes and adds perspective to tales of the state's varied past.” Many of us recall the articles carried in the State Journal Register in 1999.

Stu Fliege highlights historical events, such as the Herrin Massacre and Chicago's Iroquois Theatre fire, and covers the diverse terrain of Illinois's natural and constructed wonders, from Lusk Creek Canyon to Robert Allerton Park.

Mr. Fliege is a retired science and math teacher who has nurtured a lifelong interest in Illinois history. He lives in Springfield, Illinois. The author will have copies of his book for sale at the meeting and will be available to sign them following the presentation.


December’s program on Medicine and Surgery in the Civil War was very well attended with over 70 people in the audience. Barbara Mason, Curator of The Pearson Museum and Society board member, painted a picture of the state of medical and surgery practice during the Civil War.

At the beginning of the war, the army was caught completely unprepared...they had few books, instruments, and supplies. The commanders of the US Medical Department were elderly. The medical staff amounted to only 1% of an army of 16,000 soldiers. They were expected to work in the middle of battle, treating every wound and disease.

By today’s standards, treatments were primitive. Malaria was treated with whisky, typhoid with opiates, and headaches with leeches. Bread was used as a poultice. In extreme cases amputations were done with after giving the patient only whisky and a bullet to bite. Ether and chloroform were used whenever possible but often in only sufficient dose to prevent pain, not enough to render the patient unconscious and incapable of writhing or crying out. This led to the exaggeration that amputations were done without anesthesia.

More men died from disease than injury during the Civil War. Typhoid was rampant. Diarrhea, dysentery, measles, mumps, bronchitis, pulmonary disease, and malaria were diseases the doctors tried to treat as well as wounds. Army food was hard on recruits..."beans killed more than bullets" ..so digestive disorders were common.

Sanitation became difficult. The camps were deep in filth. Cairo, Il was described as a hell-hole, “the most desolate of towns in America”. Dead dogs lay on the ground in view of the houses; garbage and liquid waste befouled the streets.

One courageous and humane doctor from Illinois stood out from all the rest...Dr. David Prince, founder of the Prince Sanitarium in Jacksonville. He was appointed Brigadier General of the Union Army by President Lincoln. After one battle, when the Union Army retreated leaving a hospital with 100 enlisted men without care, as most of his aides were taken off as p.o.w.s, he remained behind with just a few men and enlisted others to help him care for the wounded.

The nurses that were needed to help in the care of the wounded had to meet certain conditions to be accepted....over 30 years of age, plain in dress (no colored dresses allowed) devoid of personal attractiveness, and able to cook. Nuns were most desirable, because they did not make any trouble by writing to the Press.

Prostitution was common, and there was no cure for venereal disease. When the men went home, wives were likely to be infected, and children then born blind from the disease. Thus grief and grieving went on for generations.

While war has tragic long-term effects and even permanent repercussions on a country and its culture, the desperate need lead to staggering advances in science and technology in general. Surgery and medicine made gigantic strides during the Civil War, as overall, against enormous odds, the medical staff, at great cost to themselves, did extremely well.

Thanks to Sue Wall for reporting on this program


Immediately after November’s Historico went to press, it was announced that Norm Hellmers was retiring from the National Park Service after a career there of over 30 years, 13 of which were at the Lincoln Home Historic site. He has been a good friend of the historical community, and we wish him well.


The Sangamon County Historical Society was organized in June 1961. By October of 1962, the fledgling organization, already boasting of 250 members, put out its first newsletter. The following February saw the publication of the first Historico, Volume 1, Issue 1. The next issue followed in April and bi-monthly, except for July and August after that. Those bi-monthly, and later monthly, newsletters were full of fascinating tales and research articles and have been bound and preserved in the Sangamon Valley room of Lincoln Library. An index was completed in 1976 for the copies through 1973, but nothing has been indexed since that time, though the issues have continued to be bound from time to time.

The Board is instigating an indexing of all of the issues to be placed on a database for future reference. Sue Wall has agreed to head up the project, and your help is needed. Volunteers are needed to go through the forty years of Historicos and pick out the names, subjects and places for indexing. Curtis Mann, of the Sangamon Valley room staff, will be assisting with the project and available to answer questions as they arise.

This should be a fascinating project for most anyone who loves research or who wants to learn more about Sangamon County, as almost all aspects of its past have been covered over the years. This is a very big project, and we need all the help we can get.

If you are willing to volunteer your time and talents, please call Sue Wall at 529-4093.
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In an effort to inspire you to become interested in the indexing project, we will be including vignettes from articles from the Historicos of forty years ago:

The February 1963 issue had an anonymous article about Ball Township, which pointed out that it was the seat of the beginnings of white settlement of Sangamon County, and therefore had many ‘firsts’, such as Robert Pulliam’s log cabin.

Another ‘first’: “David Liles fabricated the first mill in the county on a farm near Horse Creek at the east end of the township in 1819”. The article went on to report that the mill was so successful that there were often long lines of wagons lined up waiting their turn. “One lad was sent to the mill with the family’s corn and enough food for he and his horse for one day. The boy’s mother told him to eat some the corn cargo if he ran out of food. When his turn came at the mill the next day, there was nothing left to grind – he and the horse had eaten all the corn.”

Editor’s note: The boy and the horse – and probably several other boys and several other horses – must have been very hungry!


Last fall the D.A.R. offered to share with SCHS the time of Rob Coles, a fifth generation descendent of Thomas Jefferson, while he was in the community to give his “Meet Thomas Jefferson” presentation to the D.A.R. State Conference. The Board decided to sponsor a presentation by Mr. Coles for District #186 Middle schools on March 21. It is hoped that as many Middle school aged students as possible will be able to take advantage of this opportunity.

Rob Coles is also related to a former Illinoisan, Governor Edward Coles, who served from1822 to 1826. Governor Coles was an anti-slavery advocate during the period of pro-slavery sentiment in the State, and Rob Coles may share some insights into that difficult period if there is time.

SCHS WEB PAGE - sancohis.org
If you haven’t checked the Society’s web page recently, you might find it interesting to do so. If you need a quick reference to the Society’s calendar, membership information or history; if you have lost an old Historico (one printed in the last two years), you can find it there. If you want to read about the Edwards Trace, or about early history of the county, you will find Robert Howard’s The New Eden printed in full there; or if you want links to other historical sites, you will find them listed there.

Curtis Mann reports that he knows people check it out because, “I have received twenty e-mail requests for information from people seeing my e-mail address on the web page. Most of the requests have been genealogical in nature: requests for obituaries, marriage certificates and family histories. Other requests are for information about Springfield businesses, such as railroads, coal mines and hotels. Of course I have received a request or two about Abraham Lincoln as well.”

Our Webmaster is Karen Everingham, and she does a wonderful job of keeping the site up to date. Many thanks, Karen.


Since 1999 the Illinois Humanities Council has been awarding individuals in communities across Illinois who “volunteer their time and energy to carry the torch of the humanities”. Recipients are nominated by the mayors of their respective communities, and this year two members of SCHS were so honored. Cullom Davis, long time member and past president of the Society was honored for his “work in the humanities as an historian and scholar of Illinois history” He was nominated by Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara. Divernon Mayor, Eugene Brenning, nominated David Brady for his work as village historian. He was Chairman of the village’s Centennial Committee; spearheaded fundraising for the Divernon Centennial Celebration in July of 2000; gives generously of his time to give talks about the village’s history; and was ‘instrumental in providing the history of the Village for a book that was published about Divernon in honor of their Centennial celebration”. Our congratulations to both Professor Davis and Mr. Brady!


Editor’s note: The following is from a series of articles about lesser-known facts of early history in Sangamon County that Curtis Mann is developing.

Indian Queen Hotel
By Curtis Mann

A few Springfield and Sangamon County histories mention a once-famed hostelry, now generally forgotten -- the Indian Queen Hotel. Owned and operated by Archer Herndon, the Indian Queen was one of the city’s best accommodations in the early 1830s. In most cases the Indian Queen is referred to as a tavern, then the common name for an establishment selling food and drink, providing beds and stabling horses.

The Indian Queen’s beginnings date back to the founding of Springfield. Elijah Slator was given a license by the county to keep a tavern in the town of Springfield in 1822. Slator’s tavern was located at the northeast corner of present-day Second and Jefferson streets. The intersection of these two streets was the business center of town at the time. Gershom Jayne, Slator’s son-in-law, sold the tavern property to Archer G. Herndon on October 1, 1828 for $600. In his reminiscence of early Springfield in 1828, John T. Stuart described the northeast corner of Second and Jefferson as being occupied by a small log house, occupied as a store and dwelling by Archer Herndon.

Herndon received his license to keep a tavern in September 1829 after paying a tax of six dollars. The county established rates for the sale of alcohol, food, rooms and stabling. Brandy and whiskey could be purchased for 12 ½ cents a half pint while “good quality” wine was 25 cents. Meals cost 25 cents as well while lodgers paid 12 ½ cents per night to bed down. Little is known of Herndon’s operation. But one account, left by a traveling Englishman, does shed, some light on the hotel.

In his book Three Years in North America, James Stewart describes his brief stopover in Springfield. “Springfield is a struggling village, somewhat larger than Jacksonville, but the situation is not at all equal to it in point of beauty or interest. The hotel was nearly as bad as that at Jacksonville. (Herndon) was the name of the landlord. It was difficult to say whether he, his wife, or his daughter was the sauciest. They certainly were as rude and untutored as I have seen.” Not exactly a four-star rating from this traveling critic.

Herndon nearly lost the Indian Queen in September 1832 when the Sangamon County Circuit Court ordered the hotel sold to pay for debts owed by Herndon. He did manage to redeem the property but a year later, sold the Indian Queen, along with some other city property, to land speculator Nathaniel Ware for $7,500. It is not known if the property was ever used as a tavern again.


After reviewing the Sangamon County ‘firsts’ mentioned in the Historico of 40 years ago, you may be interested in some firsts from James Krohe’s “Honest Abe’s Honest Almanac” of 1974


1817 First settler arrives in Sangamon County
181 8 First cabin built, near intersection of First and Jefferson Streets
1819 First merchant arrives to set up shop
1820 First physician arrives
1821 First school is built; Sangamon County organized with Springfield as county seat
1822 First tavern opens its doors
1823 First post office in area opens
1826 The Sangamon Spectator, the county’s first newspaper, begins publication
1830 First church is constructed, near Third and Washington Streets
1836 Abraham Lincoln pays his first visit to Springfield
1838 First locomotive arrives in Springfield. The vehicle was transported to Springfield by steamboat
1840 Springfield’s first mayor, Benjamin Clements, is elected
1853 The first Illinois State Fair is held in Springfield
1854 First gaslights in Springfield are lighted; the city’s first paved street is laid
1855 First high school opens
1857 First fire-fighting force is organized; coal is discovered in the county for the first time
1865 The first bathtubs with running water are installed
1866 Horse-drawn trolley cars begin service
1878 First electric lights burn in Springfield; first open-faced watch in the U.S. is made at Springfield’s Illinois Watch Factory
1879 First telephone service introduced
1890 City’s first electric streetcars begin operation
1894 First game of golf played in the city completed on a four-hole course on the Fairgrounds
1901 Washington Park, city’s first, opened to the public; first automobiles make their appearance
1907 City’s first nickelodeon, the Orpheum, opens across the street from the Leland Hotel
1910 First airplane to land in Springfield arrives, piloted by Walter Brookings, who won a race from Chicago against an Illinois Central train for a prize of $10,000
1922 First commercial radio station (WCVS) begins transmitting
1924 First bus service begins
1953 City’s first television station, WICS, begins broadcasting


Curt Fritzeen
William J. Hosking
Timothy and Theresa Johnson
Timothy P. and Melody Ann Sheehan
Gerald and Mary Irene Timm


February 18, ‘03 Harriet Tubman Kathryn Harris, Director, State Historical Library
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

March 18, ‘03 The Sangamo Archaeological Center Robert Mazrim, Archaeologist
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

April 15, ‘03 “More Stories From The Round Barn” Jackie Jackson, Author
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

May 20, ‘03 “The Sangamon River” Charles Schweighauser, Professor, UIS
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

June 17, ‘03 Annual Meeting Jan Wass, SCHS President, 1992-1993, Speaker
Springfield Motorboat Club
Don’t forget to call Sue Wall at 529-4093 if you can help with the Historico indexing project.


February, 2003


FEBRUARY 18, Tuesday
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room South
Note change of date and time for Board meeting

Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

Kathryn Harris
Harriet Tubman

The inimitable Kathryn Harris will present her portrayal of the black abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. When asked how she happened to get into portraying Tubman, Kathryn Harris had the following response:

“Carol Andrews requested it: In 1997, the staff at Old State Capitol began asking volunteers to participate in their Outreach Program which was developed for 5th grade students at Iles Elementary School (now Iles Gifted Magnet School). It is in the 5th grade that the students study the era of the Civil War, slavery, Lincoln etc. The students wanted to learn more about the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman. Since Carol had seen me "bring Phoebe Florville to life" for our first SCHS (Oak Ridge Cememtery walk) in October, 1996, she asked if I would "make Harriet Tubman come to life" for the children at Iles. I studied about Harriet Tubman, and the rest, as they say, is history. I was pleased to do this and I continue to enjoy introducing "Harriet" to a variety of audiences, still including the children at Iles(I go there 2/14/03) and groups from elementary schools to local DAR and church groups. I remember reading a biography of Harriet when I was about in the 5th grade and I have always admired her courage, strength, and commitment to what she believed in (the abolition of slavery and the cause of freedom.) She put her life on the line for her beliefs and worked for her beliefs. She took an active role; she did not sit on the sidelines and "let John do it". She did it herself. She was a remarkable and amazing woman.”

Kathryn Harris, Director of the Illinois State Historical Library, received the Illinois Humanities Council’s Stud’s Terkel Service Award in 1999 for her historic portrayals, and was listed as one of the most important artists in the community by Illinois Times this year.


“Based on a collection of fifty-two vignettes of Illinois history originally published as weekly columns in newspapers and revised for publication in book form, Tales and Trails of Illinois, presents little-known episodes and adds perspective to tales of the state’s varied past. Pairing readable commentary with striking description and detail, the book is a useful compendium of Illinois heritage in an accessible and entertaining format.”
Dust jacket of Tales and Trails of Illinois

Stu Fliege told of having become fascinated with the stories that grew around events and places while working on his Master’s degree in History. For years he and his wife, Judy, visited many places around Illinois gathering the tales that were told. He then spent time in the various libraries of this community researching the stories and trying to verify his information – trying to separate the facts from fiction.

By 1998 he had 52 tales put together covering a range of places and events throughout the State. As he recommends to others, who are not trained as writers, he took his work to an English professor to get help polishing it up. The series of tales then ran in 19 papers across the State, including the State Journal Register. At about the same time the University of Illinois Press agreed to publish it, but, as Fliege was to learn, that decision did not end the process. It took over four more years, many trips to Champaign and many conferences with his editor before the book actually came out in print in December.

Mr. Fliege’s talk was as much a mini-course in what it takes to research, write and get a book published as it was about the book itself, but he did tell us quite a bit about the book and the tales therein. He told us that he was careful to include a variety of types of stories: such as upbeat tales about children in balloons in 1858; stories about the various places offering elixirs to ‘improve your looks’, etc.; monster tales that had grown up around landmarks; tragedies; historical tales, including some about Native Americans; and ecological tales highlighting some of nature’s work in Illinois.

A delightful read, and while it may be available everywhere by now, Prairie Archives has paperbacks and Barnes & Noble has hardcover copies for sale.


9:00 George Painter Lecture Series
Lincoln Home Visitors Center
10:30 American Legion Pilgrimage
The Lincoln Tomb
1:00 Lincoln Symposium
Old State Capitol
7:00 Banquet - Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., Speaker
Renaissance Springfield Hotel



The National Park Service announced in January that Richard A. Lusardi had been appointed the new Superintendent of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, and will assume his duties on April 6.

Mr. Lusardi is a 38-year veteran of Federal service; has served as Superintendent of three other parks in the Midwest; and is familiar with the Lincoln Home, having served as Chief of Maintenance there in the ‘80s.

We welcome both Mr. Lusardi and his wife, Diane, back to Springfield!


We have been a bit disappointed with the response to our request for volunteers to help with the indexing of 40 years of Historicos. We need your help! We have had one wonderful development though, as it seems that Robinson’s Advertising, which has done all the printing (and a lot of other things) of the Historicos since 1970, has kept copies and is now providing us with a set of them to use for those of you volunteers who would be willing to work on the indexing, if you could just do it at home, instead of in the library. So, if you would be willing to help, but just can’t face spending days in the library, please volunteer, and after teaching you about what we want you to do, we will provide you with back issues to take home and index. All you have to do is to call Sue Wall at 529-4093 and volunteer to help!

In the meantime we will keep up our efforts to entice you by telling you about some of the things you might discover as you read through the old issues to index them:

February, 1962

The Society’s first big endeavor was a 125th celebration of The Long Nine Anniversary Award dinner on February 28, 1963. Held at the St. Nicholas Hotel, almost 500 people attended. A ‘Resolution of Appreciation’ was presented to Governor Kerner and also to the legislature for their support, and dollars, for the Old State Capitol reconstruction; Paul Angle gave an address on the “Long Nine”; and scenes from the public dinner of 1837, celebrating Springfield’s becoming the State capitol, were recreated. (Tickets were $4.00 per person)

A successful “1st” for the Society! They followed it up with a Walking Tour of Historical Sites that same spring. The fledgling organization certainly hit the deck running!

(I tried for the even, 30 years, but that was a pretty slim issue)
February, 1974

“Buck’s Building stand on a lot originally sold by the town proprietor, Elijah Iles, to James Latham on November 15, 1823. This lot remained in the Latham family until 1852, when a court ordered settlement of the estate and it was sold to Samuel B. Fisher. A small structure then on the site was removed.

Fisher had a store where the Illinois National Bank (now National City) is located, and was planning a new store at the time he purchased the lot. In 1854, he sold 12 feet off the west side of the property to James Fegan. A year later, in 1855, he made an agreement with Fegan to build the west wall of the building as a common one between their two properties.

He started construction of the new building, the presentone, in July, 1855. It was built by Fisher’s brother, Charles, a carpenter who built the First Presbyterian Church and was superintendent of the woodwork of the old Federal Courthouse and post office. This was one of the first three-story buildings erected on the north side of the square, which up until this time had been known as ‘Chicken Row’. With the erection of Fisher’s new building and others, the name very soon was replaced by the more dignified ‘Commercial Row’.”

This explanation was included as a prologue to Dr. G.K. Greening’s article on his restoration of the building also included in the issue.



Last month we reported that the Board had offered the services of Rob Coles, fifth generation descendent of Thomas Jefferson, to the school district for a program, and had believed, at the time, that the program would be for Middle schoolers. We have now learned from Mike Scott, Coordinator of Social Studies for District #186, that Mr. Coles is to appear at Southeast High School on March 21. Efforts are also underway to make arrangements for him to appear at Springfield High School.


The Illinois State Historical Society again invites proposals for programs for its next Symposium on December 4 – 5, 2003. The 2003 theme is “The Challenges of Education and perils of Justice”. The Symposium welcomes papers on any aspect of Illinois history related to that theme from non-professionals, professionals and students. Contact ISHS at 525-2781 for details.

February 22 1:00 PM
Graven Images
March 8 1:00 PM
2nd Annual Museum Poetry Reading
April 4 1:00 PM
Native American Burial Practices
May 17 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Civil War Undertaker

This lecture series also supported by the Illinois Humanities Council and the Springfield Area Arts Council. For details call 544-3480.

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Editor’s note: This month Curtis Mann is off on a new topic, biographical sketches of early settlers who eventually left to travel to the Galena lead mines.

Ebenezer Brigham in the Sangamo Country
By Curtis Mann

Historians of the frontier period in the state of Wisconsin will readily recognize the name of Ebenezer Brigham as one of its early pioneers. Brigham was drawn to the area in the late 1820s during the lead rush that centered on Galena, Illinois and southern Wisconsin. He established a “diggings” in present day Dane County and became the first permanent settler in that area. Brigham built a house and smelting furnace near Blue Mounds, Wisconsin and his house became a trading post, inn, stagecoach stop and the county’s first post office. He later served in the Blackhawk War in 1832 and was a member of the territorial legislature.

A search of the Internet revealed much of this information. However little mention is made of Brigham’s sojourn of several years in Sangamon County before leaving for Wisconsin. Ebenezer Brigham was born on April 28, 1789 in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Nothing else is known about his early life. In 1818 he traveled west and reached the state of Illinois by 1820 where he was residing in Belleville, Illinois. A biographical sketch of Brigham in a history of Dane County, Wisconsin states that Brigham went to Galena, Illinois in 1822. He assisted in building a cabin and then returned south to Sangamon County. The earliest record of his residence in the county is February 12, 1823 when he submitted a voucher in the probate record of Eliphalet Hawley. Just a few days after the land office opened in Springfield on November 6, 1823, Ebenezer purchased two eighty-acre tracts near the village of Springfield.

Brigham next appears in the community of Sangamo Town where he was appointed its first postmaster in June 1824. Sangamo Town was located on the Sangamon River northwest of Springfield. It was founded by Moses Broadwell who illegally squatted on the land in the early 1820s before it was made available for purchase from the federal land office in Springfield. Broadwell had every intention of making his town the permanent county seat as well as a manufacturing center for the county. His advertisement in the Edwardsville Spectator announced his plans to operate a “Merchant Mill, Saw-Mill, and two Carding Machines. Ebenezer Brigham tied his fortunes to the town by serving as its first merchant. The town was a contender for becoming the permanent county seat of Sangamon County but Springfield won out and was made the county seat on March 18, 1825. Brigham continued to operate a store at Sangamo Town through this period. A biographical sketch of Jacob C. Roll indicates that soon after Roll’s arrival in Sangamo Town on October 10, 1825, he became a partner with Brigham.

On August 28, 1826 Moses Broadwell sold the land on which Sangamo Town stood to his son-in-law William Carson for $1,000. Broadwell reserved some lots in the town including what he termed the “Mechanics Block containing 12 lots from number 1 to 12, two lots on Mill Street number 13 &14 and the block on which Ebenezer Brigham and Charles Broadwell have erected a building and carding machine.” Charles Broadwell was a son of Moses Broadwell. The two men apparently partnered up and were in the wool carding business in Sangamo Town. No deed actually appears for this “Carding Mill Block” until January 15, 1827 when Moses Broadwell sold it to Charles Broadwell and Ebenezer Brigham for $50. Moses also sold lots 1, 2, and 3 to Ebenezer Brigham on the same day for $100. These lots were apparently where Brigham lived and kept his store building. Brigham caught the lead rush fever and announced his intention of leaving in February 1827. He took an advertisement out in the Sangamo Spectator, the first newspaper in Springfield that read “For the Lead Mines” “The Keel Boat Good Luck will leave Sangamo Town for the Lead Mines as soon as the river opens.” A month later Brigham took another advertisement out stating “The subscriber having sold out and closed business in Sangamo intends having all that is due him…by May first next”. Brigham sold lots 1, 2, and 3 to Nathan Cromwell on May 24, 1827 for $250. Coincidentally; Cromwell in turn sold these lots to Jacob C. Roll on November 3, 1828 for $145. An anecdote printed in the History of Dane County reveals some light on Brigham’s character. An Ebenezer Childs told the anecdote. “I left Carrollton about the middle of May 1827, passed through Jacksonville where there were a few houses; the next place was Springfield which had a population of about two hundred. “Thence I went to Sangamon, where I met Ebenezer Brigham, from Worcester County, Mass. He was the first live Yankee that I had seen from my native county since I had left there in 1816, and I was the first that he had seen from that county. I had a yoke of blind oxen that gave my men a great deal of trouble to drive. As Brigham had a treadmill, I thought my blind oxen would do as well for that purpose as though they could see, so I proposed to the gentleman from Worcester County to exchange my oxen for a horse. He said that, as we were both from Worcester County, he would try and accommodate me. I told him my oxen were a little blind, but I thought they could do him good service. After it became a little dark, I took him to see my oxen. He liked them very well. He then took me to see his horse. It was by this time quite dark. I did not examine him much but he appeared to be a fine-looking animal. We exchanged honorably, as we were both from Worcester County. We did not wish to take any advantage of each other, as were from the same native region; in a word we felt and acted like brothers. But the next morning, when I joined the drove, I found that my new horse was blind as a bat, and I do believe he had not seen for ten years; and he appeared older than the ancient hills around us. But it was all right, as friend Brigham and I were both from Worcester County. We have many a time laughed heartily over our early trade.” Brigham himself soon left to go north to the lead mines. One of his last connections came in 1830 when he sold his half of the carding mill to Benjamin McElwain for $12. Ebenezer Brigham died in 1861.


Marla M. Pringle


“SANGAMO(N)” What does it stand for?

Stu Fliege challenges us to find the real ‘roots’ of the word. There have been many definitions used over the years, but, as an organization using the word in our name, we should certainly know what it really means. Send us your ‘proofs’, and we will try to get to the bottom of it.
• Governor Reynolds said it stood for “the land of milk and honey”;
• Bruce Campbell, in The Sangamon Saga, agrees with Reynolds, says it was mostly the Kickapoos word for ‘where there is plenty to eat’ – sain-quee-mon.
• Edgar Lee Masters said it derived from the name Charlevoix called the Indians he passed on the Illinois River – saquimont;
• Powers states the County was Sangamo for the first 6 months, then the ‘n’ was added;
• Robert C. Lanphier, in 40 Years of Sangamo, attributes it to having been the name of a chief of the Illini Indians.
. . .and so the explanations go.

Let us know what you think, then prove it to us!

UPCOMING PROGRAM SCHEDULE FOR SPRING, 2003 All programs begin at 7:00 PM

February 18 Harriet Tubman Kathryn Harris, Director, State Historical Library
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

March 18 The Sangamo Archaeological Center Robert Mazrim, Archaeologist
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

April 15 “More Stories From The Round Barn” Jackie Jackson, Author
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

May 20 “The Sangamon River” Charles Schweighauser, Professor, UIS
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

June 17 ANNUAL MEETING Jan Wass, SCHS President, 1992-1993, Speaker
Springfield Motorboat Club

Cemetery Walk at Oak Ridge Cemetery
Don’t forget to call Sue Wall at 529-4093 if you can help with the Historico indexing project .


March, 2003

MARCH 2003

MARCH 12, Tuesday
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room South

MARCH 18, Wednesday
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

The Sangamo Archaeological Center
Robert Mazrim, Curator

"The purpose of the Sangamo Archaeological Center is to provide an interpretive center and curatorial facility for archaeological artifacts that fall outside of state or federal protection or salvage excavation. The focus of the center's research and collections is on the American frontier period of the Midwest. The museum makes many of these artifacts accessible to the visiting public, and supports educational programs, scholarly research, and report and publication series."

The owner/curator of the museum, Robert Mazrim, also works for the Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program, a research arm of the University of Illinois' Anthropology Department, and has conducted extensive excavations throughout central Illinois. He recently excavated French colonial sites in Peoria and a frontier-era minister's home in Menard County.


Harriet Tubman, as not only portrayed, but brought to life, by Kathryn Harris, provides a powerful insight into the desperate situation of blacks in the pre-Civil War era. The imagination, courage and fortitude of those remarkable individuals who strove to rescue and change the miserable lives of slaves is powerfully conveyed by Ms. Harris’ interpretation. ‘Harriet’ was ‘on’ for almost a solid hour,

as following her performance, she answered questions, in character, for another thirty minutes! A real ‘tour de force’! Ms. Harris also brought several books about the underground railroad and abolitionism for perusal and reference (after all, she is a librarian in her day job). She is, without question, a community treasure. Our thanks to Job Conger for the photo.


Kim Efird, Tour chairman/director

Mark you calendars for Sunday, May 18, noon to 6 p. m. We will travel old historic highway 36 through Buffalo and ride by the old interurban depot and generation station. Next we go to Illiopolis along the same route. This was the site of the U. S. Armed Forces Ordinance Plant during World War II and is in the vicinity of a once proposed location for the state capitol. Next we go to Mount Pulaski. First, we shall have a thirty-minute break. Then we shall visit the courthouse. Last, we shall go to Elkhart to visit the historic archaeological museum.

The fee shall be $18 for members and $23 for non members. The fee includes admission to the archaeological museum. It does not include any food and drink that one may purchase on one's own. This bus is handicapped accessible. We can accommodate two wheelchairs.

More details and a registration form will be included in the April Historico. Seating will be more limited this time. We are recommending not to delay signing up for this tour.

April 25-26, Nauvoo, IllinoisTours of Mormon and Icarian settlements. Friday banquet, Saturday Annual Awards luncheon. Contact 217-525-2781 for details and reservations.

High school students are invited to submit creative writing about your family or community history: historically accurate fictional narrative, family history, personal narrative, interview, poems or songs, expository essay-- 3,000 word limit. Open to all high school students in Central Illinois. Deadline: March 28, 2003
First Prize $300
Second Prize $200
Third Prize $100
Winning entries will also be published in the Humanities Connection newspaper, distributed throughout Sangamon, Morgan, Menard, and Macon counties.

For complete submission guidelines and more information, click the Generations link at www.historyillinois.org,or email rgrindy@richland.edu,or call (217) 875-7211 ext. 367.

Co-sponsored by the Illinois Humanities Council/Central Illinois Regional Planning Committee and the Illinois State Historical Society
As part of the build up for the Lincoln Presidential Library, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has put up some date line items from the Sangamo Journal.
MARCH 8, 1832
Citizens of Springfield were requested to meet at the Court House to “consider propriety of incorporating the town of Springfield”


In February we asked for a definitive explanation of the meaning of the word, Sangamo(n). Jim Patton sent us a copy of an article that his uncle, Chris Patton, had written explaining the meaning of the word. Jim thought that it just might have appeared in some former Historico, but was not sure. Thanks to Robinson’s, and their wonderful supply of past issues of the newsletter (that saved us from having to go to the Sangamon Valley Collection to review the ‘official’ ones stored there), we were able to ascertain that the article had appeared in 1980. We reprint it here, and believe it does put forth a pretty solid case for Virgil Vogel’s explanation.

Whence the Name Sangamon ?
By Chris Patton
HISTORICO, May, 1982

Today we hear the name in two forms: “Sangamon” as in Sangamon County, and “Sangamo” as in Sangamo Club. It’s a popular name because it identifies with this area and with Lincoln. But the derivation and the meaning of the name through the years have had some fanciful explanations and the spelling, some unusual variations.

At about the turn of the twentieth century, the popular notion held that “Sangamo” was the root word and “Sangamon” a variant. In 1898, when the Sangamo Electric Co. was formed, Jacob Bunn chose the name “Sangamo”, stating that “Sangamon” was the incorrect form and that he had it “on the most reliable information” that “Sangamo” was the name of the chief of the Illini tribe of Indians living in this area when the first whites came in 1815. Well, of course, the first white settlers didn’t come until several years later and the Indians in the area at that time were Kickapoos, also known as the Thieving Kickapoos. The Illini (the true name is Illiniwek; which literally means “the men”) were of the Algonquin nation and were, a loose confederation consisting of the Kaskaskias, the Cahokias, the Michigamies, the Tamaroas and the Peorias. They were all congregated in southern Illinois near Kaskaskia and across the river in Missouri, having been driven out of the northern part of the State by the Iroquois in 1681. The battle at Starved Rock was part of that Iroquois incursion.

As late as 1920 this notion persisted. The Sangamon Coal Co. of Springfield displayed on its letterhead the classic figure of an Indian in loincloth and with two feathers in the back of the headband, shooting an arrow skyward. The figure was titled “Sangamo”.

The first pioneers knew this area as the “Sangamo Country” but many of them corrupted both the spelling and the pronunciation. Parrish reported them spelling it “St. Gamo”. Powers’ 1881 History of Sangamon County gave an account by George Brunk who spelled it “St. Gamee Country”. Surveyor’s records in Macon County delineate the “St. Gamoin” River. These forms undoubtedly result from the belief that “san” can be written “St.” as if it were Spanish. Pioneer M. G. Wadsworth attempted to convey the pronunciation by spelling it “San-gan’-ma.”

Governor Reynolds, in his History of Illinois, repeats the favorite theme that “Sangamon” in the Pottawatomie tongue means “The Country Where There is Plenty to Eat”, an idea which, no doubt, was nurtured by the reputation that the Sangamo Country had for being fertile, full of game, and the garden spot of the West. But this is romantic nonsense. Furthermore, the Pottawatomies did not live in this area. They inhabited the land around the south end of Lake Michigan and mostly toward Indiana. They were the ones that massacred the soldiers from Ft. Dearborn in 1812. That same year, John Hay, a Frenchman versed in the geography of the Illinois country, listed all of the tributaries of the Illinois River for Governor Ninian Edwards, naming as one the “Sain-quee-mon”. Later that year Governor Edwards in a letter to the Secretary of War, William Eustice, spoke of the “Sainquemon”.

There is a collection of old maps of the Illinois country published by the Illinois State Museum and edited by Sara Tucker. In it there is a map made by John Melish in 1819 showing the “Sanquemon”; another by Stephen Long in 1816 showing the “Sangamo”; one by Thos. Forsyth in 1812 showing the “Sagamon”, and one in 1811 showing the “Sagamin”. But the oldest map that names the Sangamon River was made in 1755 by one Jacques Bellin. It delineated the “R. de Sanguimont”. The same spelling used by Charlevoix when he wrote in 1721: “We passed by the Sanguimont, a large river which comes from the south.” This French spelling with a French pronunciation would have a silent “t” at the end and possibly a nasal “n” in the first syllable making it sound much as the present name.

Virgil Vogel, in his Study of Indian Place Names suggested that in the Indian language “Sangamon” was most likely a cognate of “Saginaw” (Michigan), derived from Ojibway “saginawa”, which has been spelled sagina, saguinau, saguina, saguinam, sau-ge-nong, etc. and in every instance meant “place of outlet” or literally, “river mouth”.

Now, in-as-much-as the earliest record so far found which names the Sangamon River was made by old Pierre Francois Charlevois, I like to credit him with the naming of it. I can picture the doughty old Jesuit priest paddling down the Illinois River with his Indian guides on his way to New Orleans in the year 1721. As the party comes abreast of the mouth of the Sangamon, he points to it and inquires through his interpreter, “What is that?” The Indian guide to himself says, “Stupid white man, that’s the mouth of a river!”, but aloud he speaks the Indian word for river mouth, “san-ge-nong”. Charlevoix, assuming he has been given the Indian name for the river, dutifully records in French orthography: “Saguimont”. And thus, today, our beautiful stream bears the undignified name of “River-mouth River”.

Stu Fliege, who brought up the question of the origin of the word, Sangamon, during the program in January, also wrote in, and his comments validate Chris Patton’s conclusion. In part, his letter concluded:

“There is little doubt, in my thoughts on the matter, that Prof. Virgil Vogel's account in Indian Place Names in Illinois is far and away the most authoritative and reliable account. A leading and widely known authority in all areas dealing with Native-Americans, he was especially knowledgeable in Indian medicinal practices and also in Indian linguistics. . . .

What impresses me more that anything is Vogel's use of extensive footnotes (thirteen for Sangamon alone). Further, he seems to have read every page of every county history in the state. . . .

It is clear the Charlevoix was an educated observer of the scene and, most importantly, his extensive reports were widely read, not only in France but also in New France (Canada). Like many other Midwestern Indian place names, the word Sangamon underwent the transformation from an Algonquin dialect to a French phonetic interpretation and was finally anglicized to its present form. This is also true, of course for words like Peoria, Illinois, Michigan, etc. I read somewhere that there are sixteen different variations of the word Illinois as it went from the Algonquin to the French to the English. To me, the Charlevoix connection "feels" right. It certainly seems to fit in the early history of our state. And, as I expressed earlier, Vogel's explanation is solid indeed.”

Stu sent several pages of good biographical material about Pierre Francois-Xavier de Charlevoix, S.J., along with the portrait reproduced here. He included pages from Virgil Vogel’s Indian Place Names in Illinois, explaining some of the difficulties that frequently are found with names having an American Indian origin. The greatest being that there was no ‘Indian language’, indeed, Indians of various tribes used a “bewildering array of languages and dialects”. Add to that the phonetic translation into first, French, then English, and it seems almost startling that anyone could trace the root.

And, if a change in the Constitution to change our name to River-mouth County Historical Society is suggested at the Annual Meeting in June, you will know why (vote against it, please).

This whole question could have been answered very quickly if our indexing of the Historicos had been completed. We still need more volunteers to help, so please call Sue Wall at 529-4093 to join the indexing contingent, and discover what has already been discovered.

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We hope you noticed that for the last two months it has been very easy to open your Historico without tearing it up trying to remove the ‘industrial strength’ staple with which it was sealed for mailing. Thanks for this go to Mary Marata and Theresa Powers at Robinson’s, who took on the time consuming task of applying ‘seals’ instead of quickly stapling each copy. For 33 years the Society has relied on Robinson’s as its ‘office’ to receive and keep track of memberships; receive and keep track of program/Annual meeting reservations; assembling, printing and mailing of the Historico ten times each year; and a myriad of other tasks, both large and small, that we just assume they will take on because they always have. We don’t want them to realize it, but we underpay them terribly for absolutely wonderful service, but we certainly do appreciate their devoted attention.

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Editor’s note: This is the second of three articles Curtis Mann is writing about Sangamon residents who left the county for the lead mines around Galena.

By Curtis Mann

Like fellow Wisconsin pioneer Ebenzer Brigham, Daniel Parkinson traveled to the present day state of Wisconsin to make his fortune in the lead mines. He, also like Brigham, lived in Sangamon County for a few years before making his journey.

A reminiscence written by Parkinson for the State Historical Society of Wisconsin about his life on the frontier provides a little more information about the pioneer days in Sangamon County. Parkinson was born August 1, 1790 in Carter County, Tennessee. As a young man he migrated to Madison County, Illinois in 1817 and is shown living there in the 1818 census of Illinois. Madison County at this time was sparsely settled and most of its inhabitants devoted their labors to hunting and farming small patches of land to provide food for their tables.

Parkinson moved to present-day Sangamon County in 1819, which he describes as a wilderness, “there being then but six families, including my own, within eighty miles.” Most of these immigrants were chiefly from the southern United States. They possessed what Parkinson called “enlarged views of generosity, hospitality, and confidence in their fellow men.” New neighbors were visited soon after their arrival and all resources were put to use by the “old” settlers to help build a cabin, put up a fence and break ground for planting.

Daniel Parkinson apparently settled in what is today Rochester Township but never bought land from the federal government and perhaps squatted on unsold land after the opening of the land office in the fall of 1823. The 1820 census shows the Parkinson family likely located north of the village of Rochester along the Sangamon River. He did eventually purchase an eighty-acre farm in Rochester Township on March 1, 1825 but soon sold it to Joseph Ferguson on April 26, 1825 for $300.00. Parkinson claims to have heard the first sermon preached in Sangamon County in 1819 by Rivers Cormack, a Methodist minister and the later one of the first county commissioners. The first funeral sermon was apparently preached in the Parkinson home after the deaths of his daughter and son.

Parkinson was very active in the local government of Sangamon County. He was one of the first Justices of the Peace and an early election judge. Parkinson found much amusement in “dispensing justice among the honest and illiterate members of the community and in solemnizing the rites of matrimony between the loving swains and impatient damsels of the country; and occasionally between those who were quite stricken in years, for this feeling was by no means confined to the young.” Parkinson was selected to serve as foreman of the first Sangamon County grand jury in 1821 and was elected to serve as a colonel in the local militia the same year. In 1822 he ran unsuccessfully for state senator, losing to Stephen Stillman. Another bid for public office in 1826, this time for county commissioner, failed as well.

“In 1826, the excitement and interest relative to the Lead Mine country became considerably increased,” noted Parkinson. By 1827 “it became intense, equaling almost anything pertaining to the California gold fever. People from almost all portions of the Union inconsiderately rushed to the Mining Region.” Parkinson caught lead fever and left Sangamon County, arriving in Galena on the Fourth of July, 1827. He tried mining for a short time but soon removed to a town to keep a tavern. Parkinson later served in the Black Hawk War.


March 18 The Sangamo Archaeological Center Robert Mazrim, Archaeologist
7:00 PM Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

April 15 “More Stories From The Round Barn” Jackie Jackson, Author
7:00 PM Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

May 18 Spring Bus Tour (Noon to 6:00 PM)

May 20 “The Sangamon River” Charles Schweighauser, Professor, UIS
7:00 PM Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North

June 17 ANNUAL MEETING Jan Wass, SCHS President, 1992-1993, Speaker
Springfield Motorboat Club

Cemetery Walk at Oak Ridge Cemetery
Don’t forget to call Sue Wall at 529-4093 if you can help with the Historico indexing project. We have started the project, but would appreciate more help.


April, 2003


Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room South

APRIL 15, Tuesday 7:00 PM SCHS PROGRAM
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North


with Jacqueline Jackson

"In this companion volume to Stories From The Round Barn, Jacqueline Jackson continues her loving tribute to life on her family's Wisconsin dairy farm with the unusual round barn."

Jackie Jackson has recently retired after having been a Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Springfield since 1970. She received her B.A. degree from Beloit College in 1950 and her M.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1951.

She received an honorary doctorate from MacMurray College in 1976 and one from Beloit College in 1977. She has written numerous children's books and countless magazine articles. She regularly gives talks and workshops on creative writing and children's literature in various cities across the country. She is listed in Who's Who In America, Contemporary Authors, and the Directory Of American Scholars. She won Lincoln Library's "Writer of the Year" award in 1995. She was named "Teacher of the Year" at Sangamon State University in 1991.


Robert Mazrim gave a most interesting talk and slide show explaining some of his archaeological work in central Illinois. He explained that Federal laws require archaeological exploration be carried out on public property before any construction when there exists knowledge that historical information might be found, but that private property is not covered under the Federal restriction - unless human remains are found.

He showed excavations done in Peoria in 2001 when a street was to be moved near, or on, the site of 17th century French village. The excavation did turn up the traces of foundation walls. Indentations in undisturbed soil at the bottom of the trenches indicated the French practice of placing timbers vertically to form cellar spaces, rather than horizontally as is the English/American custom. It was fascinating to see the clear indentations from those pilings placed over 200 years ago. The findings dated the site to the 1760s as the village was abandoned in 1815. From pictures it was determined that the building over the cellar area was probably a secondary building on the lot, housing servants or other workers. They also found remnants of a French wine bottle in the area.

Having been invited to explore an old barn in Menard County, Mazrim and his crew found it encased the cabin of John Berry, father of Lincoln’s partner at the store in New Salem, and had a cellar both plastered and whitewashed below. Then he explained a little detective work on the dirt area around Clayville tavern which they explored to find if the story that the original structure had burned and been replaced was true. His excavations turned up definite burn areas in the soil, allowing them to date the present tavern structure in the 1830s instead of the 1820s.

Mazrim explained that the primary destructive forces hindering archaeological findings are erosion and lack of site protection. He then showed pictures of a location on a Wisconsin farm that had turned up interesting artifacts that archaeologists thought they could return to later, but that the land was sold to Wal-Mart and the site destroyed before they had the chance.

He went on to remind us that though cloth, paper and wood deteriorate, the durable pieces that can be found provide much information as to the technology, economy and human behavior of a culture. And explained that where we find artifacts is as important as what we find in helping to complete the understanding we have of a way of life.

He included just a few slides of the interior of the Sangamo Archaeological Center showing groupings of food preparation relics; eating utensils; trade items; etc. to illustrate how segments found here and there can be put together to complete a cultural image.

His presentation was a wonderful introduction for all we will see and learn on our Spring Bus trip in May when we stop at the Sangamo Archaeological Center.


The Isringhausen family, who are enlarging and putting in a parking lot gave Bob Mazrim permission to explore the site of Springfield’s original store, owned by Elijah Iles at 2nd and Jefferson on the week-end of March 15. Mazrim and his crew were thrilled to find not only part of the foundation of the cellar under the store, from which they were able to identify the outline of the original building, but an area behind the store yielded several remnants of dishes, window glass, trading items, and even the base of an old olive oil bottle.

Bob explained that while most settlers would not have had cellars, it was a necessary security measure for a merchant for safely storing his supplies.

This store opened in July, 1821. “The Indians were about as numerous as the whites, and his sales were about equal. Everyone seemed honest, and he often left his store open.” Powers History of Sangamon County.


Have you been wondering about the Iles House lately? The Elijah Iles House Foundation would like to update its members and the public with an informational meeting. On Wednesday, April 9, 2003 at Lincoln Library’s Carnegie Room North at 7 p.m. board members will make presentations reviewing the history of the house, restoration progress, future plans and answer questions. For more information, contact Linda Garvert at 753-4900, ext. 234.


‘Call for Papers on Illinois History’ for Conference on Illinois History, Sponsored by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency on October 9-10, 2003. Proposal deadline April 25. Contact 800-545-7300 for details.

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Our thanks go to Edyth Anderson for these stories from the Illinois Presbyterian Home’s newsletter, Chit Chat.


In 1913 Dr. George T. Palmer established Springfield’s first tuberculosis sanatorium. It was located in a remodeled farmhouse on ten acres of land at the west end of Lawrence Avenue. In 1923 more land was acquired and new buildings were constructed. Since fresh air and bed rest were the treatment for tuberculosis, the sanatorium was originally called Springfield Open-Air Colony. The name was later changed to Palmer Sanatorium.

In 1925, The Presbyterian Synod of Illinois created a charitable corporation known as the Illinois Presbyterian Home, Inc. to receive gifts and bequests to support the establishment of a retirement home. In thirty years, the fund amounted to only $5,000.

In 1953, an Elder of the First Presbyterian Church was appointed to look into the matter. In that same year, Palmer Sanatorium was closed and its buildings and twenty-six acres of land were offered for sale.

One Sunday morning Dr. Richard Paul Graebel, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, announced that he had a key to the old Palmer Sanatorium and that anyone interested should meet there after church. Only a Springfield lawyer plus my mother and father and I joined Dr. Graebel to tour the buildings The atmosphere was almost ghostly with dusty stacks of bed linen — even a dental office.

However, Dr. Graebel recognized that the property had possibilities for use as a retirement home. He envisioned a home in which he would be pleased to have his mother live. Fund drives began and in June 1954, the buildings and twenty-six acres were purchased for the sum of $140,000. On March 5, 1956, after extensive renovation, the first residents moved in.

One of these early residents was a friend of my family. My mother and I filled out her application. No rules had yet been established. Bathrooms were all shared. I proceeded to give our friend a permanent using what facilities were available. I didn’t hear any complaints. There was nobody there to complain. There was no beauty parlor, of course. There wasn’t even a full-time cook.

From the old Palmer Sanatorium’s crude beginning in 1913, the Illinois Presbyterian Home has evolved. I know that Dr. Graebel would have been proud to have his mother live here.


“Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” are exciting, but recently I came across a real life story that is more interesting. It has to do with Abraham Lincoln and our own Esther Carson.

Back in the 1940s John and Esther Carson were living a quiet life in Petersburg, IL. At around 3 PM each day, John drove into Springfield. He parked his car at the taxi lot, climbed into his cab, and drove around scouting for business. At around 9 PM he returned to his own car and drove home. Well, that’s not quite right. He didn’t drive back to Petersburg. Instead he drove to Lincoln’s Home to spend the night. He was there to guard the Home. No doubt he found time to catch ‘forty winks’ during the night.

If there was laundry to be done, he loaded that into his car. Laundry might consist of bedspreads, curtains, tablecloths, dresser scarves, etc. At 8 AM he headed for Petersburg and sleep.

Then Esther took charge because laundry was her department. She washed and starched and stretched the curtains. She carefully ironed the scarves. This was a delicate job since she was working with hundred-year old fabrics.

Once again the next day John prepared to return to Springfield. If there was laundry, he loaded that into the car. Again he parked at the taxi office and spent the evening driving his customers to their destinations. At 9 PM he got back in his own car and drove to Lincoln’s Home. He unloaded the laundry, if any, and prepared to spend the night.

There are probably people who bragged that Lincoln spent the night in their homes. John worked in reverse. He spent his nights in Lincoln’s home. No harm ever came to Lincoln’s Home under John’s watch, and Esther made sure that the curtains were always crisp and clean. John and Esther contributed for seven years to the maintenance of Springfield’s most famous landmark.

We would love to see more stories from older citizens in the community. If you see a retirement home newsletter, please check it out for us.


The indexing of past issues of the HISTORICO is now underway. It’s really a fascinating project as there are some wonderful stories in the old issues. Our thanks go to:

Karen Graff
Diane Pokorski
Sue Wall
Curtis Mann
Nancy Chapin
Vic Lary
(and more volunteers are always welcomed!)

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We welcome new members and offer a ‘bonus’ to all new members for the rest of this year of automatic renewal for next year.

William S. Klein
Taylor Pensoneau
Alan R. Post
Barbara Roseberry
Jeane Turner
Per and Lynn Freitag
Duane and Vicky Von Lanken

Editor’s note: This is the third (and Curtis says last) of the articles about the men who left Sangamon County for the Galena lead mines

By Curtis Mann

From all accounts, William S. Hamilton was a man of many talents and always on the move.

Early histories of Sangamon County provide some information about William Stephen Hamilton and his role in the development of the county. In his book about the early settlers of the county, John Carroll Power describes him as such “born in New York, the son of Alexander Hamilton, he came to Springfield when it was regarded as the temporary county seat. He was elected one of the representatives of the county in the State Legislature of 1823-4. He was an advocate of the movement to make Sangamo (Town) the county seat. After that he went to Galena and engaged in lead mining. On the discovery of gold in California, he went there, and died.” Hamilton is best known for his unsuccessful attempt to remove the county seat from Springfield and place it in Sangamo Town in 1824. However there is a little more to the story of his life in central Illinois than presented by historians.

William Hamilton apparently came west to Illinois to work as a surveyor. He was responsible for making the first survey of the city of Peoria. He was hired to survey the portion of land given to Sangamon County by the proprietors of Springfield when it became the permanent county seat but refused to do it, with good reason.

Hamilton’s work as a surveyor gave him the opportunity to spot choice pieces of land to buy for town development. When the federal land office opened in November 1823, he tried his hand in land speculation by purchasing several tracts of land in what is today Scott and Morgan counties. In less than two weeks of the opening of the land office he bought 350 acres of land. Of all this land , one tract was immediately developed by Hamilton and two other men, Enoch C. March and Thomas Constant. Lots in the newly-created city of Naples, Illinois on the Illinois River were advertised for sale in December 1823 by its proprietors. One other tract of land in Scott County became the town of Exeter but apparently after Hamilton sold his interest in the land to March. Hamilton also invested in real estate in Springfield. In some sales he made a nice profit but in others he sold the property at cost.

Other activities pursued by Hamilton during his stay in Springfield included a brief term as Sangamon County treasurer in 1824, a stint as a storeowner and a legal career. The 1881 history of Sangamon County notes “he first argued in the courts of this county in 1825, though he was probably here the previous year. He was a man of great intellectual powers, but was unsteady in his habits.”

As with so many other unsatisfied settlers, Hamilton moved on to greener pastures. As noted by Power he left Springfield for Galena and the lead mines. He eventually settled in southern Wisconsin and became well known for his participation in the Black Hawk War. He founded the town of Wiota, Wisconsin. He left for the gold fields of California in 1849 where he died.

Sangamon County Historical Society
North Country Bus Tour

The tour will begin at 12:00 p.m with no grace period. People should be in State parking lot near the State Museum at 11:45 a. m. Our bus will be handicapped accessible . It will be the Springfield Mass Transit Bus, our best affordable option for the disabled. There shall be only be accommodation for two wheelchairs.

We shall first go to Elkhart to see the Under the Prairie Frontier Archeological Museum or Sangamo Archeological Museum. Also, we will have a chance to eat at the bakery. Cynthia will have sandwiches, pies, and other goodies for us. We shall be at the museum for an hour and fifteen minutes.

Next we go to Chestnut where they have a monument to the geographical center of the state. This spot was designated as such in 1993.

Afterwards, we travel to the Mount Pulaski court house for thirty minutes. This is one of our state historic sites. Abraham Lincoln practiced law here while on his circuit.

Then we go to the Illiopolis for an hour. We shall see the remains of the World War II ordinance plant. Also, there are many interesting churches and other buildings in the town. Illiopolis was known as the geographical center of the state for more than one hundred and fifty years before 1993. People tried to make the geographical center our state capital, our answer to Indianapolis. After the tour of Illiopolis we shall have free snacks at their First Christian Church. There we can view a model of downtown Illiopolis in 1918.

Then we shall go through Buffalo to see the interurban building. This was once our best system of local intercity public transportation

Finally, we shall arrive back in Springfield no later than 6 p. m. There should be no problem if we all keep to the schedule.

The fee for the tour shall be $18 for members and $23 for non-members. The fee shall include $3 for admission to the archeological museum and the gratuity for the driver. It will not include lunch at the bakery next to the museum.

Kim Efird,
Tour Chairman

New Trail of Death marker to be dedicated in Springfield, Ill.
April 5, 2003 - 2:00 PM

A new historical marker on the Trail of Death Regional Historic Trail will be dedicated in Springfield, Illinois, on Saturday April 5 at 2 p.m. The new marker is a metal plaque attached to the kiosk in the remodeled plaza beside the Old State Capitol building. It was sponsored by the Tribal Council of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan and Indiana, headquartered at Dowagiac, Michigan. The public is invited to the dedication ceremony.

The plaque reads:

Potawatomi Trail of Death

On Sept. 29, 1838, 800 Potawatomi Indians marched through Springfield on the forced removal from Indiana to Kansas. Although many had died and they faced severe hardship, they were encouraged by Judge Polke and Chief I-o-weh to exhibit pride, so they put on their best clothes, arranged themselves into line, and with an unusual display of finery, marched through the streets of Springfield. The wayfares were crowded with anxious spectators, so much so as to threaten to impede the emigration. Jawed P. Irwin, a stone mason working on the construction of the State Capitol building, recorded in his journal that he saw the Indians marching by. Dr. Jerolaman was sick and requested leave to stay in Springfield a few days. Erected 2000 by Pokagon Potawatomi Tribal Council.

The Trail of Death was declared a Regional Historic Trail by the Indiana, Illinois and Kansas state legislatures in 1994. Missouri legislature passed a resolution declaring the same in 1996.


May, 2003

MAY 2003

MAY 14, Wednesday 5:00 PM SCHS BOARD MEETING
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room South

MAY 20, Tuesday 7:00 PM SCHS PROGRAM
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North


Charles Schweighauser

Professor Charles Schweighauser will discuss and show highlights of his documentary video. He will tell us why he wanted to do this video, how he want about gathering video footage, how he found appropriate people to video, and how he located appropriate spots on the river, from its source near Ellsworth to its mouth at Beardstown. The thrust of the documentary is a celebration of the river and of the people who live along it.

Charles Schweighauser was a professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield from 1973 until his retirement in 2002. He taught courses in the Environmental Studies Program, the Astronomy-Physics Program, and the English Program. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts degree from Williams College with majors in English literature. He is the Director of the Henry Barber Observatory at UIS. He has written numerous journal articles and four books on astronomy. He was named Employee of the Year at Sangamon State University in 1985.


Springfield High School social studies teacher, John Taylor, will discuss how members of the Springfield High School Geographic Information class are learning more about local history and are also using their GIS skills by participating in a project proposed to them by William Furry of the Historical Society. This project involves gathering waypoints, or global coordinates of the historical markers in Sangamon County, taking digital images of the markers and using this information to create a web site. The students are now encouraging students in other counties to help them gather the information for the rest of the state. This project has proven to be exciting, educational and challenging as the GIS students explore local history and encourage their peers around the state to do the same.


Jacqueline Jackson, began her report on her latest book, More Stories from the Round Barn, by admonishing both writers and historians not to put off, but to seek out interviews immediately with the sources of their information. She rues the loss of availability of sources for her material that she confidently expected to be there when she found the time to get their stories. While her stories were based on her experiences and the stories she had heard throughout her life, she diligently researched their authenticity, and found in all too many cases she waited too long to contact critical sources.

During a fun evening packed with lots of stories and a showing of a great many of the materials with which she worked, Jackie Jackson also shared some of the technical problems she had to overcome in putting together her ‘Round Barn’ books, and the ‘Big Book still in the making. Since her subject involved her own home and childhood, she had an abundance of material. In fact, she brought 8 notebooks full of material to demonstrate this very fact. She pointed out that one of her first tasks was to decide how to organize all of the material. She finally decided to organize the stories geographically in groups by their subject distance away from the round barn, the focal point of the farm.

She went on to tantalize the audience with snippets of stories included in her books; such as some of the inevitable changes and ‘happenings’ over the years in the dairy business, pranks played by young boys in the country, and other family tales.

She also brought a great number of the old school books that she had rescued from a one room abandoned schoolhouse her father had purchased and moved to the farm. They provided a fascinating glimpse into education in an earlier day.


The tour has sold out. We will have a waiting list, in case anyone should cancel out, so call Robinson’s, 522-2500, if you wish to have your name on it.

If you’ve already reserved your place, don't forget to be at the southeast corner of the Stratton Building parking lot across from the Illinois State Museum at 11:45 when our bus will come. We will leave at 12:00 noon exactly with no exceptions.

Don't forget that at the Under the Prairie Archaeological Museum you will have a chance to have lunch or a snack at the Bluestem Bake Shop. Cynthia will have sandwiches, soups, quiches, tarts, pies, cakes, muffins, candy, brownies, cakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and other dessert.

Mr. Vetter shall be pointing out the location of the Sangamon County Poor House in Buffalo.

Kim Efird, Tour Chairman


The meeting will be held at the Springfield Motorboat Club with Jan Wass being the speaker. Mark your calendars now. Details and a reservation form will be provided in the June newsletter.


109 S. Front St.
Virginia, IL
Visit their new library and museum. Outside the building, in the courthouse yard, will be early craftsman displaying their craft, such as, broom making, soap making, pottery, cooking, quilting, music, etc. Food vendors - Prizes

Jacksonville, Illinois
The theme for the event this year is “American Women”, with five historical figures featured in portrayals by professional actresses. Catered suppers and musical programs will also be featured.
For further information, contact Wolf Fuhrig at 243-2423 or wdfuhrig@aol.com.

Editor’s note: The following was found among the papers of C. Christopher Patton by Jim Patton and transcribed. Editorial comment was strong in those days.


In Section 6 of Cotton Hill Township, far back in the field and hidden from sight, stands an old abandoned brick house. Though empty and with the windows broken out, it is in remarkably good condition.

From the abstract generously loaned us by the present owner, John Kuznick, we find the land was entered at the government land office in 1827 by Anthony Deardorff, early settler of Cotton Hill Township, who died in 1834. On January 13, 1834 this 13 ½ acres was purchased by David Beam. This David Beam was born in1803 and came to Sangamon County in 1828 where he raised 11 children. He was a soldier in the Black Hawk War and bought this property where he built this house sometime between 1834 and his death in 1853. He was a justice of the peace, farmer and miller.

The abstract shows a small map of “Beam’s Mill Lot” showing the mill, bridge over Horse Creek and the house. The road from Springfield to Edinburg crossed the bridge over Horse Creek and curved by the house. The area was known as Pensacola, though no actual village was ever platted. The house was said to have served as a hotel, which would suggest that this was actually a stagecoach inn.

Like its counterpart, Clayville Inn, northwest of Springfield, which served as the rallying place for the Whigs, Pensacola, southeast of Springfield served as a rallying place for the Democrats.

In the Illinois State Journal, the Republican paper, of September 12, 1860 we found the following account:
Cotton Hill, September 10, 1860
“Editors Journal:--On Saturday last, the “Rump” Democracy of this vicinity had a grand jubilee and pole raising in Pensacola, a village famous for its supporters of “my great principle”. In regard to the location, allow me to say that a more appropriate place for a Democratic pole could not have been selected. Pensacola is truly suggestive and admirably adapted to Democratic taste. All who are acquainted with this portion of our county are, we presume, aware that this is a place where “my great principle” has been retailed and imbibed—where vice and immoral conduct of almost every species has been extensively carried on—hence we have called it an appropriate rallying point for the “rumps”. This pole raising event has been in contemplation for more than a month, but never until last Saturday, have they been able to realize their design, owing, perhaps, to not having a sufficient supply of the “critter” on hand.

Speeches were made by the Rt. Rev. Daniel Fetters and his Excellency, the Hon. William H. Veatch. The speaking, of course, coming as it did from such able and worthy sources, was full of pathetic appeals in favor of the “big” jug. Clay, Webster, Patrick Henry, Demosthenes, and Cicero were thrown entirely in the shade. Such were the brilliant sallies of their superior with that even Mac’s eagle was left far behind. Next in order came whiskey, swearing, bartering on card playing, horse racing and last but not least, came fighting. Brother Democrat versus Democrat stood in battle array. We are sorry we did not have a reporter to take down those master speeches.

In conclusion, we would say to the orators we think they will do to accompany Stephen in the next search for his mother.” H.

Sad to say, there seems no way that this most interesting old house could be moved, and in its present location there is little that can be done to preserve it as in the case of Clayville Inn. If the plans for a second Lake Springfield are carried out, the present site will be inundated and the house lost. In its present quiet solitude, it is a nostalgic reminder of a past day.


David Scott was elected President of the State Society at their Annual Meeting in Nauvoo, IL. He will preside in that capacity for two years. At the Awards Luncheon the following day, Stu Fliege received a publications award for his book, Tales of Illinois, published by the University of Illinois Press and released in January of this year.

Jason Meyers, of the Museum of Funeral Customs, received the Dan Malkovich Award for Young Museum Professionals. David Scott is shown here presenting the awards to Stu and Jason. We congratulate the awards winners.

In addition, the ISHS presented the Olive Foster award to Iles teacher Paula Shotwell who is a 5th grade teacher at Iles Elementary School. She organized a partnership program with the Old State Capitol Historic Site and her school. The program has become an annual event, which has been recognized by the Illinois Association of Museums (Superior Achievement for Educational Programs, 1898) and by the American Association of State and Local History (Certificate of Commendation). Her nominator said: "I cannot imagine a more resourceful or dedicated advocate for history, education, and children than Ms. Shotwell. She has guided this program through many obstacles with resolute determination and inspired motivation. Without Ms. Shotwell there would be no program and countless children would never have had the opportunity to truly experience the rich heritage of our glorious State of Illinois." The Olive Foster award comes with a monetary stipend.


Remember, the “bonus” program is in effect. New members who join now will have their membership extend through the 2003-2004 year, so encourage your non-member friends to join now to gain the extra benefit.

Jennie Battles Mr. & Mrs. Robert Mazrim
Elaine Birtch John S. Melin
Patricia Boyce Gerald Owens
Daniel Buck Lorraine Taylor
Bill and Julie Kellner Matthew C. Vernau
Frank and Ruthann Mazri
Life Member - Robert C. Lanphier III

We offer our condolences to the family of Mary Jane Bell, who was recently deceased. A long time member, she joined the Society in 1964, and became a Life member in 1998.

Last month we included some stories found in the Illinois Presbyterian Home’s newsletter, Chit Chat. That prompted the following report from a former nurse that was first printed in Chit Chat some time in the past.

Early History of Our Home

One delightful spring day as I was passing the Presbyterian Home with a former high school classmate, I made the remark that I had worked there when it was the Palmer Tuberculosis Sanatorium. I discovered I had opened my mouth at the wrong time, as this high school classmate happened to be the editor of your paper. She immediately asked me to write of some of my experiences there when it was a sanatorium.

In August 1939, after graduating from the Springfield Hospital Training School — later known as the Memorial Hospital School of Nursing — I went away to college. As money was scarce, it was necessary that I work during my summer vacations. Since the hospital had told me they would hire me during the summer, I went there to apply for work during my first college summer. Miss Kitty McKelvey, the superintendent of the hospital, said she had just received a call from the Palmer Sanatorium stating they needed an R.N. to help during the summers. She knew, too, that I needed to earn as much money as I could. Salaries at a TB sanatorium were higher than at a regular hospital because TB was and is a communicable disease. Miss McKelvey said that if I were interested she would submit my name to them.

This was the beginning of a new and exciting experience for me. I worked there during July and August of 1940 and 1941. Since there was no public transportation to the sanatorium, I had to live on the premises in a house, which was occupied by the sanatorium staff. As I recall I shared a room with another nurse and left the premises only at times when someone could come after me.

Most of the staff was Practical Nurses who had been trained on the job. Each nurse was assigned to a group of seven or eight patients. Although I was a registered nurse who was employed just during the summer, I was more or less a floater and took care of the patients of the nurses while on their days off or on vacation. All of the employees and patients were very helpful to me, as their routine was certainly different from that of a hospital.

Most of their patients were in double rooms. All patients were kept in bed at all times. When mattresses had to be turned, the patient’s bed would be rolled next to her roommate’s and the patient would then roll into bed with her roommate until the mattress was turned. (This was certainly unheard of in a hospital.) Each patient had a paper bag pinned onto the side of her bed for sputum papers. The patient was taught to turn the top of the bag down when it was removed so the nurse would not have to touch the interior of the sack.

Of course, air conditioning was non-existent so ice water was always welcome. Big chunks of ice (25 or 50 lbs.) were kept in the icebox for the nurses to chip ice for their patients’ water glasses. I still have scars on my hands caused by chipping this ice.

Since all patients were inactive, good elimination was quite a concern. As most of you, no doubt know, mineral oil is quite effective, but if taken over a long period of time it will finally just seep through. Most of these patients were in bed for months or years. For elimination, instead of mineral oil, they were given a tablespoon of Vaseline. This I certainly had never heard of before.

There were several cottages in back of the sanatorium, which housed those patients who were about ready to go home and more or less were able to take care of themselves. As I recall, most of the cottages were for men patients. We did have to take their temperature every afternoon. It was nice getting out in the fresh air to go to the cottages, but since I was a young nurse, they would always tease me as I was quite naïve and always blushed conspicuously. I believe this was the time of the “Knock, Knock, Who’s there?” sayings. I’m sure many of you remember them.

Dr. Palmer was the administrator of the sanatorium and Dr. Vernon was his assistant. Miss Swaze was director in charge of nursing care.

So much for the story of the Palmer Sanatorium and now for a bit of history of someone most of you knew. Isabel Bailey Henderson and I worked together at Memorial Hospital for quite a while. There was an earlier time when Isabel did private duty nursing. During the time that Henry Homer was governor, Isabel was hired as his private duty nurse one time when he was quite ill.

Since the Governor’s Office did not want the public to know that Governor Homer was so ill, they asked Isabel to never approach the mansion wearing her uniform, but to change when she arrived there.

These are just a few of the fond memories I have of my early nursing days. I know many of you have equally interesting memories of years gone by.

Helen McCoy Shull

THE 7th ANNUAL CEMETERY WALK is scheduled for Sunday, October 5 this year, and researchers are already working on learning about the lives of the chosen subjects. We are planning on adding a few things this year, including a concession stand and will need more volunteers. If you are willing to help with this popular event, please call or email Barbara Mason 787-7510(eve) or bmason@warpnet.net.

If you are interested in helping with the research, act promptly by calling Claire Martin 525-6235, as the research is already underway.


As our April bloom show continues, with red buds, magnolias, apples and all the rest showing their best, you might be interested to know that “the community flower of Springfield is the Flowering Crab Tree, chosen in a public vote held by the local Kiwanis Club in 1931”.
Honest Abe’s Honest Almanac


You may have noted that the Historico now sports page numbers and date identification on each page. The need for this became apparent during the indexing project. It was confusing to keep track of just where a story or subject was located in issues that were not paged and only had their date on the first page. The addition of this information is hoped to make researching a subject easier in the future.

Thanks to our hard working volunteers, the initial stage of the researching, noting the subjects on cards, is just about completed. The next task is to compile all of the information into an index.

JUNE, 2003


Springfield Motorboat Club
Reservation required by June10th


Speaker: Jan Wass, President SCHS 1992-1993
Curator of Decorative Arts at the Illinois State

The cost is $20.00 per member and $25.00 per non-member. A cash bar will open at 6:00 PM, with dinner at 6:30 PM. Prior to the program, the annual meeting will be held to elect Directors and Officers for the coming year. The program will be followed by a raffle drawing. Members are urged to bring donations for the traditional raffle to the meeting.


The slate of Directors and Officers to be approved by the Society as presented by the Nominating Committee, composed of Curtis Mann, Chairman, Jim Coble, Janice Petterchak, Dan Bannister and Sally Cadagin are:

President - Doug Pokorski - a history reporter for The State Journal-Register, Doug wrote the year-long daily local history series "A Springfield Century" in 1999 and currently writes the weekly local history column "Springfield Stories." He has served a three-year term as a director and served this past year as vice-president. He is the author of the book Dress Rehearsal: A Practical Guide for Dealing With the Inevitable.

Vice-president - Kathryn Harris - has served as the Director of the IL State Historical Library (ISHL) since 1996, having joined the staff of the ISHL in 1990. Prior to coming to the ISHL, she was the Supervisor of Reference Services at the Illinois State Library. She has worked in public, academic, and special libraries since earning her MLS at UIUC in 1971. She has been involved with the Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk since its inception as a co-chairperson, actor, researcher and scriptwriter.

Treasurer - Patricia Boyce - Mrs. Boyce has been employed as an accountant in several not-for-profit agencies and has served on the board of directors of various non-profit organizations. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Her family has been involved with agribusiness in and around Sangamon County for the last 60 years.

Secretary - Curtis Mann - a librarian with the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library for ten years, Mann has previously held the offices of secretary, vice-president and president. He has co-authored eight books about Springfield history. Other activities with the Society include the Oak Ridge Cemetery Walk and programs.


Dan Bannister - is the former president of the Horace Mann Educators Corporation. A civic leader, Bannister has been an officer with a number of community agencies. He was selected as the Copley First Citizen in 1971. He is the author of Lincoln and the Common Law and Lincoln and the Illinois Supreme Court.

Jennie Battles - is the site administrator of the Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site. A former school teacher, she has participated in several community organizations and currently sits on the board of the Vachel Lindsay Association.

Nancy Chapin - is a fifth generation resident of Sangamon County. She has served on not-for-profit boards both locally and nationally. In 1990 she authored the pamphlet The Stained Glass Story for the First Presbyterian Church. Currently she serves as editor of the Historico.

Gene Finke - Mr. Finke was born and raised in Nebraska. Gene spent 26 years as a teacher and administrator in Nebraska and Missouri. He first began working for the National Park Service in 1997 and has been an employee of the Lincoln Home since 1998. He has been a member of the Sangamon County Historical Society since 2000.

Jim Patton - is recently retired from Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site after 21 years as the Lead Historic Site Interpreter and Resident Blacksmith. He is a past President and Board Member of the Sangamon County Historical Society.

Taylor Pensoneau - is the president of the Illinois Coal Association. He was the Illinois political correspondent of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for twelve years. Mr. Pensoneau is the author of Brothers Notorious: The Sheltons and Governor Richard Ogilivie: In the Interest of the State. He also co-authored Dan Walker: The Glory and the Tragedy.

Dorthy Ross – has just completed a one-year term on the Historical Society Board. Dorthy has been a past President of the Rochester Historical Preservation Society. Mrs. Ross is retired from the State of Illinois where she was Executive Secretary in the offices of Governor Ogilvie and Secretary of State Carpentier. A Past Regent for the Sgt. Caleb Hopkins Chapter, NSDAR and a life member of the Sangamon County Genealogical Society, she is the publisher of 3 family genealogy newsletters.


Tom Gossett, a student at SHS, and his history instructor, John Taylor explained the origins of the project that SHS’ Geographic Information Systems (GIS) class has been doing for the Illinois State Historical Society. Two years ago the technology department at SHS received a grant to purchase sophisticated mapping tools and software to interpret data geographically, meeting National Geography standards. Since that time GIS classes have worked on several projects, and this year took on the mapping of all of the ISHS markers in Sangamon County. Students went to each site and took a GPS reading and digital picture. From that they could locate the site on a map and link it to a site picture on their web site at <http://www.shs.springfield.k12.il.us/academics/departments/gis/markers/illionois.html>, or go to the SHS homepage and then to ‘featured sites’ and ‘gis project’. The students have put out the word across the state and so far have received the identification for 20-25 sites in other counties that will be added to their web site. They’ve developed a technological skill and learned a lot of history in the process.

Charles Schweighauser then gave us a first showing of the ‘raw’ video footage he has been accumulating for his current project, a video documentary entitled, “The Sangamon River: A Sense of Place”. He has been working on the project since 1997, and hopes to have it completed within the next 18 months. Upon its completion, he will have put together a one hour television program with an additional 4 half hour videos to provide to schools for educational purposes.

The project was inspired by an intensive, multi-disciplinary course he developed for teachers during the ‘80s, which covered the natural history, the natural resources and the culture of the river basin and its people. He views the Sangamon River and its surroundings as “the most energy rich resource on the entire planet”. Schweighauser’s enthusiasm for the river, its people, and its surroundings is infectious. His video snippets included aerial and ground views of the river, its flora and fauna, and delicious interviews with some of the river people, whom he affectionately called, “river rats”, both talking about and demonstrating ways the river was important to them. He ended the program with questions to them about what the river meant to them. One said ‘escape’, and another said she loved it because it was a ‘gentle entity’, like the Midwest’; and a “standard kind of gal, but you wouldn’t want to do without her”. It was a delightful and provocative program leaving us feeling privileged to have been given a sneak preview, and looking forward to the finished product.


On May 18th a chartered bus left the parking adjacent to the Illinois State Museum and traveled to Elkhart to visit the Under the Prairie Museum Frontier Archaeological Museum. This museum “features one of the largest single collections of pre-Civil War archaeological artifacts in the Midwest. The Sangamo Archaeological Center operates the museum. The purpose of the Center is to study, preserve and display artifacts from the pioneer period of the Midwest. Archaeologist Robert Mazrim owns and operates the Center. Members of the tour visited the museum and had an excellent lunch at the Bluestem Bakery, which is located in the Center. Robert Mazrim’s wife, Cynthia, operates the Bluestem.

The bus then traveled to the village of Chestnut, which has been determined to be the new geographical center of Illinois. The tour was welcomed by one of the “Geo Center” board members, Dennis Stoll. Mr. Stoll provided the group a short presentation on the history and background of Chestnut

The Mt. Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site was the next stop on the tour. The courthouse, maintained by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, was constructed in 1848 when the county seat of Logan County was relocated to Mt. Pulaski from Postville. Abraham Lincoln practiced law here as he traveled the Eighth Judicial Circuit of which the courthouse was a part. Mt. Pulaski lost the county seat to the new railroad town of Lincoln in 1853. After the departure of county government, the courthouse building was used as a public school, post office, library and civic center. The state of Illinois became the owner of the building in 1936 and made an extensive renovation to bring back the 1850s courthouse.

The final stop of the tour was the village of Illiopolis in eastern Sangamon County. A guide led the tour through the village pointing out interesting sites including churches, the downtown area, and the site of the former geographical center of Illinois. The tour stopped at the Illiopolis Christian Church for a snack. Job Conger entertained the group with several renditions of Vachel Lindsay poems.

A special thanks needs to be extended to Kim Efird, chairman of the tours committee and its members for all their efforts in planning the tour.
Thanks to Curt Mann for the report

Editor’s note: Once again the ‘geographic center of Illinois has moved. The question as to just where it should be is an old one, as evidenced by the following comment taken from the “Annals of Sangamon County”.

The Sangamo Journal, June 1, 1833

An attempt to locate the state capitol in the geographical center of Illinois brought a strong protest from the Sangamo Journal. It declared that seven-tenths of Illinois' citizens regarded it "as the result of trickery, designed to accomplish certain ends." Referring to the many places which had been calculated as the geographical center, the editorial denounced the Legislature's proposal because "no principles were fixed by which to ascertain" the exact center.


Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 AM. to 4:00 PM;
Sunday 1:00 to 4:00 PM
1440 Monument Avenue
"Homegoing: African-American Funeral Traditions."
This exhibit looks at characteristics of the black funeral experience, some unique and some not, while highlighting the professional role of African-Americans in the history of funeral service. Admission fees: $3 adults, $2 seniors (62+), $1.50 children 6-17, and children under 6 admitted free.

The Old State Capitol House Chamber

The California based The Velocity Bell Ensemble are on their summer tour. Advance tickets are $10.00. Call Carol Andrews at 785-7960 or 546-5839. The admission price at the door will be $12.00.($2.00 less for seniors and under 12s.)


Students from Rochester, Blue Mound, and Monticello won prizes in the Third Annual Generations Writing Contest for High School Students, sponsored by the Central Illinois Regional Planning Committee of the Illinois Humanities Council. Students from throughout Central Illinois were invited to submit essays, stories, or poetry about their family or community history.
1st prize of $300 went to Mark Stephens, a 17-year-old senior at Rochester High School, for an essay about his great-grandfather's life in the circus.
2nd prize of $200 went to Deborah Gaskins of Blue Mound, a 15-year-old home schooled freshman, for her short story recounting the Moweaqua coal mine disaster of 1932.
3rd prize of $100 went to Amanda Burress, a 17-year-old senior at Rochester High School, for her essay about her grandfather's gift of a tire swing.

Honorable Mentions were awarded to Rebekah Warner, a 14-year-old freshman at Monticello High School, and Travis Cheatham and Stephanie Kilburn, both 17-year old seniors at Rochester High School.

Prize money for this year's contest was donated by Richland Community College and Lincoln Land Community College.


Jacqueline Jackson

Editor's note: I was most pleased to hear from Jacqueline Wright this month. She pointed out that I had an error in the story from the nurse at Palmer Sanitarium. It wasn’t Governor ‘Homer’ who was ill and wanted the public to not see a uniformed nurse arriving at the Executive Mansion, but Governor Horner. I apologize and am most pleased to find that at least one person actually read the article!


Researchers and script writers are busy preparing for this fall's walk which will include about 8 characters being portrayed. In addition we will have a HISTORAMA area, to which we are inviting other historical organizations to take part. Society members who have written books will be invited to come with books to sell. There will also be a concession stand. We think it will be a wonderful opportunity to see the scope of historical activities available in the community. If you can help it all happen, please call Barbara Mason 545-8017, 787-7510 (eve) to volunteer or to have your name put on the authors list.

September, 2003



A message from SCHS President, Doug Pokorski -

Greetings to all as the Sangamon County Historical Society ends its usual summer hiatus and begins a new season of interesting, enjoyable and educational activities.

I hope you’re all able to find the time to partake of our annual cemetery walk, the Abraham Lincoln Colloquium which we co-sponsor with the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, our monthly programs and the other events which will take place during the coming months.

In addition, we are hoping to reactivate an ongoing publishing program that will provide a much-needed forum for studies of Sangamon County history. If you, or anyone you know, have been researching some aspect of the county’s history, I would encourage you to put your findings into written form and submit them for possible publication.
And if you’ve been thinking about digging into some corner of the county’s history but didn’t know what you would do with your results, this may give you some incentive to get busy.
We’re looking for everything from short monographs to longer, even book-length material, and we hope to establish a program that will be ongoing from year to year, so opportunities are almost unlimited.

Also remember, we’re always looking for new members, so encourage your friends and acquaintances who have an interest in Sangamon County and its history to join the society today.
Once again, welcome to an exciting new year with the Sangamon County Historical Society.


Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room South

Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North
"The Springfield Historic Preservation Association:
Advocates For Preservation-Lincoln Era And Beyond."
Presented by David W. Scott.

Dr. Scott will present slides of existing Lincoln-era structures but will also give a brief history of the Springfield Historic Preservation Association and its future. The Association is now dormant, but perhaps there is a case for its revival. Audience members may be asked to contribute ideas on a role for the Association.

David W. Scott worked at the Illinois State Board of Education from 1974 until his retirement in 1999. He received his B.A. degree in History from Denison University and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science from Northwestern University. He is currently the president of the Illinois State Historical Society and is also a member of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, the Abraham Lincoln Association, the Sangamon County Historical Society, the Evanston Historical Society, and the Ohio Historical Society. He was a former member of the Springfield Historic Sites Commission, the North Washington Park Neighborhood Association, and Settlers' Row Ltd.

OCTOBER 5, Sunday, 12 – 4 PM 7th Annual “Echoes of Yesteryear”

Cemetery Walk and Historama at Oak Ridge Cemetery

This year’s Cemetery Walk will highlight eight different gravesites, including those of Henry Hawkins Owsley (1786-1867), Ann Crammer Forquer Campbell (1805-1891), Joshua Fleury 1832-1873), Martin Baum (1857-1917), Addie Duncan (1875-1934), Reed C. Waddell (1861-1895), Lucinda Parmenter (1807-1870) and Thomas Condell (1863-1929).

In addition there will be a new Historama area. The Historama will be located in the lowlands behind Lincoln’s Tomb and West of the bell tower and will feature many of the historical organizations in the community, with representatives available to tell you about their purposes; Society member authors will be available to sell and autograph their work and we will be featuring some of our Centennial businesses with pictorial and historical displays. There will also be a long requested concession area to quench your thirst and replenish you after the walk. Finally, the Prairieland Dulcimer Strings will be providing background music.

There will be no admission charge, but donations will be gratefully accepted as this is our only fundraising event of the year and monies raised will benefit the programs and activities of the Society. Bring your friends and neighbors for a wonderful encounter with some of those who helped shape our community.

With the persmission of Judge Richard H. Mills, we are reprinting his remarks made to the attorneys admitted to the Federal Bar on May 19, 2003. It is a wonderful historical account of the Court, and we are most grateful to Judge Mills for sharing it with us.


This is a magnificent courtroom. It was here that Mr. Lincoln practiced law for a good portion of his practice before going to Washington in 1860. And the history of this great room is simply captivating.

Actually, it all began on the 3rd of March of 1818, when Illinois became a state of the union. And under federal law the state was organized into one judicial district. There was to be one judge with full federal jurisdiction, with appeals directly to the United States Supreme Court -- there was no intermediate Court of Appeals in those days.

Exactly one year to the day later, on the 3rd of March of 1819, Nathaniel Pope was appointed United States District Judge for the District of Illinois by President James Monroe. And for 31 years he held that position. Judge Pope convened the first session of his court in the state capital, which was then Kaskaskia. Under federal law, the district court had to sit in the capital of the district of the state.

But Kaskaskia was short lived -- only one year -- when the new legislature moved the capital to Vandalia. So from 1820 to 1839, Judge Pope conducted the district court in Vandalia, the second capital of Illinois. It wasn't until 1839, 19 years later, when Abraham Lincoln and his "Long Nine Committee" of the state legislature were successful in persuading their colleagues to move the capital a second time, to Springfield, that the court again relocated. This proved to be the last move. The district court has sat here in Springfield since 1839.

The first session court held here in Springfield when Judge Pope moved the court was held in a local church for two years, from 1839 to 1841. That church later burned and the site has been lost. Then for the next 14 years, federal court was conducted in this very room on the second floor of this building -- both the district and later the circuit judges sat here after riding the circuit. For 14 years, in this very room, was witnessed the most active days of Mr. Lincoln's federal practice.

In 1850, Judge Pope passed away and Judge Thomas Drummond was appointed U.S. District Judge by President Zachary Taylor. He served 19 years as a district judge and then went on for 15 more years to serve as a circuit judge, for a total of 34 years on the federal bench.

Five years into Judge Drummond's tenure here in Springfield, in 1855, Illinois was divided into two districts, the Northern at Chicago and the Southern at Springfield. Judge Drummond, being senior, chose to go to the Northern District, since he originally came from Galena in the far northwest corner of the state.

Parenthetically, in 1855, when Judge Drummond chose to go to Chicago in the newly created Northern District, he took with him the records of the federal courts that had convened in this building. Tragically those records were all destroyed in the great Chicago fire in 1871. This meant that the vast majority of the legal heritage of Mr. Lincoln in the federal court during those high-powered days when he practiced probably more law in more courts than any other lawyer before or since were lost to posterity. (We know that in over 300 cases he appeared before the Supreme Court of Illinois -- a record that no other attorney has ever achieved!)

President Franklin Pierce then appointed the second district judge for the Southern District, and appointed a former Illinois Supreme Court Justice by the name of Samuel Treat to be the U.S. District Judge. Judge Treat proceeded on to serve a total of 31 years as district judge here in Springfield.

Combining the 32 years of Judge Treat to the 34 of Judge Drummond and the 31 of Judge Pope, we achieve a total of 97 years. For only three men, this is a tremendous amount of service to the federal judiciary of this country.

And the new lawyers that are going to be admitted to our bar are going to be joining some very distinguished ranks. The very first attorney admitted to practice in the District of Illinois was admitted on May 4, 1819. That was Samuel D. Lockwood who signed the roll. He later became Attorney General of Illinois, Secretary of State, and served 23 years on the Supreme Court of Illinois.

One year later, Sidney Breeze signed the roll. He went on to become one of the most distinguished members of the Illinois Supreme Court for 31 years. The following year, Daniel Pope Cook, the first Attorney General of Illinois, and for whom Cook County was named, was admitted. On the same day, William L.D. Ewing, the fifth Governor of Illinois, signed the roll.

It wasn't until 1839 -- three years after he was admitted to the bar of Illinois -- that our most distinguished member stepped forward. In fact, it was an historic Tuesday. It was Tuesday, the 3rd of December of 1839. And on that dreary December morning, six members of the Illinois bar stepped forward to sign the roll of attorneys for admission to practice in this court. Among them were three young lawyers whose careers and contributions to Illinois would become legion.

The oldest was 30 years of age and was the first to sign the roll that day. He inscribed simply "A. Lincoln." The next was Samuel H. Treat, age 28, who was later to serve 14 years on the Supreme Court of Illinois before he joined this court as a United States District Judge. And finally up stepped Stephen Arnold Douglas, who at 26 was four years younger than Lincoln. And "Judge Douglas" -- as Lincoln was to later refer to the "Little Giant" during their historic debates -- was to serve with Justice Treat on the State Supreme Court before he resigned to go to Congress, first to the House and then, of course, the Senate.
Three truly distinguished Illinoisans.

Four days later, on the 7th of December 1839, only one attorney was admitted to the federal bar. It was none other than young David Davis, 24 years of age -- the youngest yet and six years Lincoln's junior -- who was later to preside for 14 years as a circuit judge in Lincoln's beloved 8th Circuit of Illinois and with whom Lincoln rode the circuit on so many occasions. On December 8th of 1862, twenty-three years later to the day plus one, President Lincoln appointed Judge Davis to become an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Abraham Lincoln has, in sum, left a legacy of superb and incomparable legal ability. Judge David Davis of the trial court said that Lincoln "had few equals." And Sidney Breeze, Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, regarded Lincoln as "the finest lawyer I ever knew."

So that is the heritage and the backdrop for this delightful ceremony today. There are 18 to be admitted. You all represent 10 different undergraduate institutions, and come from 14 different law schools in six different states. There are two of you who will become law clerks to judges on two different courts, four to the research staff of the Fourth District Appellate Court, one with the Illinois State Bar Association, and there are five of you who have joined private firms in the practice of law.

The roster of these 18 new attorneys reflects the diversity that this country and our federal courts have thrived on. We're in a new century and another millennium and it's wonderfully healthy that we have so many law schools and so many backgrounds that are all brought together here to give cross-pollinization and a different perspective to our bar.

Diversity is healthy. It's wonderful to have new ideas, new thoughts, new contributions, better balance.

So I welcome all of you. The motions for your admission are allowed with great pleasure. I know that you will all make exceptional contributions to our profession and the administration of justice.

Judge Richard Mills
US District Judge


The 42nd Annual Meeting of the Society was held at the Springfield Motorboat Club on June 17.

Officers and Directors were elected for the 2003-2004 year. The Treasurer’s report was approved, and President Perry Hall thanked retiring Treasurer, Susan Krause, and presented a book to her in honor of her long time dedicated service.

We thank Tim Townsend for again putting together a handsome program for the evening. (Tim gets called on time after time to produce programs for the Society’s activities and always does an excellent job, turning out attractive and informative program). An interesting addition this year was the listing of the names of all the past presidents and of the seventy members who have belonged to the Society for at least 25 years.

Jan Wass, Curator of Decorative Arts at the Illinois State Museum and SCHS president in 1992-1993, was the speaker for the evening.

She began by explaining that ‘decorative arts’ was the current term for what most of are accustomed to referring to as ‘artifacts’, and that the Illinois State Museum was the depository for such items in Sangamon County, indeed for all of Illinois. She had slides of furniture and the like illustrating several Sangamon County items currently in the ISM collection and urged members to find and donate more objects of historical and cultural importance to the collection. While these collections have primarily documented domestic life, she would like to have more objects documenting the working and manufacturing history of the area.

Her remarks were a strong reminder of the advantages we enjoy, living here in Sangamon County, by having the Illinois State Museum and other State institutions here in our own community where we can benefit directly from their work.


SEPTEMBER 13, Saturday 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM Decatur Civil War Round Table's
Annual Fall Symposium

Papers on battles of Fredericksburg, Chantilly, as well as on the Wisconsin 24th and "Boy Soldiers and Sailors of the Confederacy"; includes speakers and lunch buffet. Seating limited. $40 per person. For reservations call 217-423-7461. Yoder's Kitchen Banquet Facility, Arthur.

SEPTEMBER, 17, Wednesday 4:00-7:30 PM
Chapter One, 1931 W. Monroe, Fairhills Mall

Janice Petterchak will be available to sign copies of her book, Lone Scout: W.D. Boyce and American Boy Scouting. Further information is available at www.legacypress.homestead.com.

SEPTEMBER 28, Sunday, 2:00 PM
Carnegie Room, Lincoln Library.

"Will Rogers Now."

Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar Lance Brown will give his first-person characterization of 20th century humorist and author, Will Rogers. Sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society.


This event is centered around the area that once served as the Sangamon County Fairgrounds, also the site of the first Illinois State Fair and Camp Yates, the first Civil War camp in Springfield. Planned activities include Civil War enlistment demonstrations, a walking tour, and the history of several local religious denominations.

OCTOBER 19, Sunday 1:00 – 4:00 PM

“Whispers in Time”
Cemetery Walk sponsored by the Rochester Historical Society


Illinois Heritage for Illinois history teachers

The September/October issue of Illinois Heritage, published by the Illinois State Historical Society, includes a feature article on slavery in the state, including the French and early American periods. Single copies are available free to Illinois history teachers who send requests in writing to: ISHS, 210 1/2 South Sixth Street, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62701. E-mail requests to ishs@eosinc.com. For multiple copies, call 217-525-2781.


Many thanks to Tim Krell, Director of SCHS, for volunteering his time and skill in burning down a stockpile of logs and brush at the Brittian Cemetery, East of Cantrall!


Thomas & Gloria Shanahan
Margaret J. Roeder
Katie Spindell
Gene Finke


We thank Dr. Mark and Jackie Hansen for the generous donation in loving memory of Dr. Floyd Barringer.


OCTOBER 21, 7:00 pm Carnegie Room
“The Illinois Watch Factory”
Doug Pokorski

NOVEMBER 18, 7:00 pm 1301 N. MacArthur
“The Illinois State Military Museum”
Mark Whitlock




OCTOBER 5, Sunday Noon to 4:00 PM 7th Annual “Echoes of Yesteryear”

Cemetery Walk and Historama at Oak Ridge Cemetery

The actors and actresses for this year’s walk have been chosen, and we are grateful to them for donating their time and talents to this popular endeavor.

Henry Hawkins Owsley (1786-1867) Don Schneider
Anne Campbell (1805-1891) Elaine Birtch
Martin Baum (1857-1917) Bruce Davidson
Addie Duncan (1875-1934) Debra Martin
Reed C. Waddell (1861-1895) Jason Goodreau
Lucinda Parmenter (1807-1869) Linda Schneider
Thomas Condell (1863-1929) Jonathan Reyman

And Jon Austin, from the Museum of Funeral Customs will again be on hand to show his Victorian hearse and explain funeral customs of the 19th century.

In our Historama area, the Iles House Foundation, the Illinois State Historical Society, The Old State Capitol Foundation and the Vachel Lindsay Association will be represented. There will be ten authors showing their books and ten Centennial businesses will be showcased:

Boardman-Smith Funeral Home
Brown Hay & Stephens
Bunn Capitol
Frye Williamson Press
Henson Robinson & Company
Kirlin-Egan & Butler
Memorial Medical Center
Phillips Bros. Printing

The Prairieland Dulcimer Players will be there to entertain you, and refreshments will be available.

The trolley will take visitors from the parking area to the Cemetery Walk, and then back to parking from the Historama area. There will be a car available to take those unable to ride the trolley.

Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room South


The Illinois Watch Company

Presented by Doug Pokorski

Doug Pokorski will speak about the Illinois Watch Company, once Springfield's largest employer and an internationally recognized manufacturer of fine watches.

Pokorski has been a reporter for The State Journal-Register since 1984, specializing in education reporting. He has won numerous awards, including the national Education Writer of the Year Award. He has also written extensively on matters relating to Springfield and Sangamon County history. A graduate of Michigan State University, he is currently serving as president of the Sangamon County Historical Society. Pokorski is the author of "Death Rehearsal: A Practical Guide for Dealing With the Inevitable."


David Scott gave an overview of the preservation success of Springfield Lincoln era buildings. He began by crediting Dr. Floyd Barringer with raising awareness of our heritage in his Historic Homes of Springfield. He went on to say that the homes Dr. Barringer mentioned were just part of the buildings that dated from the Lincoln era, that many of the homes of that era were small dwellings or businesses, often now camouflaged with various additions made over the years, and he had slides of various homes that proved the point.

Scott went on to explain the role of the Springfield Preservation Association in preserving such structures during the last fifteen years and in raising community awareness of its heritage, but said that the organization was pretty dormant at this time because aspects of their role had been undertaken by other organizations and because they lacked the authority to back up their recommendations. He explained the value of convincing landowners to gain Historical Register status for their historic buildings and noted that was the goal for those buildings not yet under the threat of being destroyed.

Scott pointed out that structures within a neighborhood association had a better chance of being preserved and that structures that were part of a cluster of similar buildings were much more likely to be preserved than those in a stand-alone position.


Lincoln Colloquium Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

Oct. 3, 7:00 PM Lincoln Home NHS Visitor’s Center

Oct 4, 8:00 AM Registration and Exhibit viewing followed by proceedings
Registration $40.00. Contact Lincoln Home NHS for details.

OCTOBER 4, 6:00 PM
Unveiling of Lincoln Surveyor Statue
New Salem, IL
This is the first outside statue to be placed at New Salem since 1968 and will commemorate a relatively unknown segment from the life of America’s 16th President. The unveiling will be followed by a candlelight tour of the village.

OCTOBER 8, 7:00 PM
The Airport Site: Life in the Sangamon River Valley 4,000 Years Ago
Illinois State Museum Research & Collections Center, 1011 E. Ash

Dr. Michael Wiant, ISM Curator of Anthropology, will speak about archaeological finds in the 1970s on the airport site.

October 10
ISHS Centennial Awards
Palmer House, Chicago

The Illinois State Historical Society will be honoring 60 centennial businesses this year at their annual awards banquet. For information, call ISHS 525-2781.

OCTOBER 10 – 11
Conference on Illinois History
Hilton Hotel, Springfield

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency will be sponsoring a two day conference. For information, contact IHPA, 785-7933.


This event is centered around the area that once served as the Sangamon County Fairgrounds, also the site of the first Illinois State Fair and Camp Yates, the first Civil War camp in Springfield. Planned activities include Civil War enlistment demonstrations, a walking tour, and the history of several local religious denominations.

OCTOBER 19, Sunday 1:00 – 4:00 PM

“Whispers in Time”
Cemetery Walk sponsored by the Rochester Historical Preservation Society

This walk will feature three cemeteries: Rochester, Mottarville and Oak Hill. The routes will be flagged. For further information call 529-9537.

Illinois Heritage for Illinois history teachers

The September/October issue of Illinois Heritage, published by the Illinois State Historical Society, includes a feature article on slavery in the state, including the French and early American periods. Single copies are available free to Illinois history teachers who send requests in writing to: ISHS, 210 1/2 South Sixth Street, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62701. E-mail requests to ishs@eosinc.com. For multiple copies, call 217-525-2781.

The Illinois Dept. of Transportation has announced that they have received a grant to enhance security at the Sugar Creed covered bridge. The money will be used to install a street light, recessed lighting and four miniature digital video cameras. The presence of the cameras, which will not be hidden is hoped to provide a deterrent to vandalism, and, while not monitored would be used for prosecution, if needed. The lighting and video installation follows last year’s installation of a fire-suppression pumping station at the bridge.


The students of Jefferson Middle School’s social science department have raised $5,000.00 in the last two years for the Illinois WW II Memorial to be erected at Oak Ridge cemetery. The students, and their teachers, Patty West and Katie Semanick are to be commended for their efforts.


A tourist, making his way through Lincoln’s tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery turned to George Cashman, the tomb’s curator, and asked, “If they hadn’t buried Mr. Lincoln here, would they have buried him somewhere else?” Mr. Cashman looked at the man and said, “It’s customary, yes.”
Honest Abe’s Honest Almanac



Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room South
Interested members are invited to attend


The Illinois State Military Museum
1301 North MacArthur Boulevard

The museum is located on the grounds of Camp Lincoln and the entrance is on North MacArthur Boulevard, two blocks north of North Grand Avenue.

Museum Curator, Mark Whitlock, will host the event and present a program on the history of the museum and the Illinois National Guard. Members will then tour the museum and will be able to view many historical items including the wooden leg of Santa Ana, an 1880s Gatling gun, and an F-16 cockpit flight simulator.

The museum opened in its new quarters last summer and is housed in a structure formerly used for storage at Camp Lincoln. The building, built by Colonel James Culver in 1902, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

DECEMBER 3RD, Wednesday

Illinois will become 185 years old......................

The Old State Capitol will celebrate Illinois becoming the 21st state to enter the Union on December 3, 2003 from 5:00 o'clock PM to 7:00 o'clock PM. Statehood celebration at the Old State Capitol will feature staff and volunteers attired in period costumes, musicians including the Old Capitol Chorale and the Prairie

Chickens. Statehood Trees in the historic rooms decorated by fourteen classes of area school children will be on display and guests may vote for the favorite tree to receive the "People's Choice Award." The celebration will also be a part of the Downtown Springfield Christmas Walk that has become an annual event. Birthday Cake and punch will be served throughout the evening. This event is free and cosponsored by the Old State Capitol Foundation.


History Symposium on Education and Justice
Crown Plaza Hotel, Springfield

For information, contact ISHS: 525-2781


Two area school choral groups will be featured each day. The concerts are at 12 and 12:30 PM in the Hall of Representatives. Guests are welcome to bring their lunch.


Guests coming to the Old State Capitol from November 1st, through December 19th, are requested to bring a nonperishable food item for the "Giving Tree." All food will be donated to the Central Illinois Food Bank.


Historic Bird’s Eye View of the city Makes Perfect Holiday Gift

Are you looking for a unique gift for the holidays? Consider the Iles Foundation’s recently reproduced 1872 Bird’s Eye View of Springfield. The artist, Augustus Koch, was known for his accuracy and detail. The original patina of age -- fading and some water marks -- has been retained, giving the reproduced map an antique appearance. Koch’s lithograph was printed as a 25 ½ by 33 ½ inch map. The reproduction is on 22 by 28 inch durable paper. Accompanying the map is a booklet identifying many of the buildings Elijah Iles would have known as well as some that Abraham Lincoln would have seen. Lincoln would, however, have been surprised at the growth of Springfield after the Civil War.

The map, together with the booklet, may be purchased for $25 at the Sangamon Valley Room, Lincoln Library, 326 S. Seventh St., Springfield, Illinois. Mail orders should be sent to the Elijah Iles House Foundation, P.O. Box 144, Springfield, IL 62705. For mail orders, please add a $5 charge for shipping and handling. Checks or money orders should be made out to the “Elijah Iles House Foundation.”In support of this Iles Foundation project, Prairie House Custom Frames, 2833 S. Sixth St. is offering a 15% discount on the framing of the 1872 Bird’s Eye View of Springfield through November, 2003.


Sustaining member:
Farrell Gay
Regular members:
G. Don Gamble and JoeAnna Sullivan
Anthony J. Leone, Jr.
Myron and Shirley Marty
Wesley McNeese
Mr. & Mrs. Don Miller
Penny & Harry Smith
Joseph H. Sorrentino
Fred and Carol Wiessing

By David Brady & Curtis Mann

Prior to Sangamon County’s establishment in January 1821, its territory was divided between Madison and Bond counties, with most located in the former. Very little has been written about what was going on in the county between the arrival of the first settler in 1817 and the ultimate formation of the county in 1821. During this four-year period, a significant amount of organizing activity occurred which determined the way the county was developed and who would play a role in its governing. At first only a small number of extended families settled in the present day county. However, after the Kickapoo nation ceded its lands in central Illinois in 1819, a great influx of settlers moved into the area. The population grew large enough for county officials to appoint administrative officers and turn their attention to infrastructure, primarily roads.

Sangamo’ Country’s inhabitants were first politically recognized on July 12, 1819 when the Madison County Commissioners voted to establish an election district for all the settlements on the Sangamon River and its tributaries. The new district was called Sangamo Township. Elijah Slator, Daniel Parkinson, and William Drennan were appointed election judges.

September of 1819 proved to be a busy month for the commissioners as they appointed several local people to fill necessary positions in the new township. Daniel G. Moore was appointed constable while William Roberts and John Taylor were assigned the duties of overseers of the poor. Others, including Joseph Dixon, Henry Brown, and Matthew Eads, were given the jobs of fence viewers. William Drennan and Zachariah Peter were recommended to the governor of Illinois as persons fit for the office of justice of the peace to enforce law and order and settle minor squabbles. The justices were also responsible for performing marriages. Peter conducted seven of the sixteen known weddings that took place in Sangamo Township between 1819 and 1821 and ministers James Sims, Rivers Cormack, and Stephen England performed the others.

A trip to conduct business in the county seat at Edwardsville was made using the trail known as the Edwards Trace, a trip of over seventy miles down the narrow, unimproved trail. The trace was the only link to civilization. In order to carry out improvements to the trace the Commissioners Court of Madison County had to be petitioned.

A group of Madison County residents signed a petition for the improvement of the trace and presented it to the commissioners’ court. It was read on December 7, 1819 and asked for the creation of a road from Edwardsville north to the junction of the North Fork and South Fork of the Sangamon River. From there it would continue on to the head of Clear Lake in the direction of Fort Clark (present day Peoria). The commissioners appointed Field Jarvis, John Ferguson, and Robert Stice to lay out the proposed road. Jacob Judy was appointed the road surveyor and ordered to accompany the viewers. That same day the commissioners also ruled that the petition be laid over for a second reading the following day. This decision may have been prompted by a desire to discuss the need of a second group of Sangamo citizens.

The following day the issue was taken up again and the petition read a second time. This time, three additional men, Stephen Dewey, Matthew Eads and John Esterbrook, were appointed to view the road. Jacob Judy was to survey it. The commissioners had ordered surveys for two possible routes to the Sangamo Country. Leaving Edwardsville both followed the Edwards Trace until they reached the area of the South Fork of the Sangamon where the routes split. At the South Fork one route headed west and followed the old trace to where it crossed the river just west of the forks of the Sangamon. The other route forded the South Fork and went up the east side of the river to a point on the North Fork. Both routes then went to the head of Clear Lake.

On March 8th surveyor Jacob Judy and the viewers, Dewey, Eads and Esterbrook returned to Edwardsville. There they presented their report to the court, which found an improved road to be of public utility, and authorized work to begin. This approval allowed for tax dollars to be used to make the improvements to the trace. Jacob Judy was paid $170 for his surveying work. Jarvis, Ferguson and Stice, the viewers of the first road, reported their doubts about the proposed road staying within the Madison county limits. They believed the road might venture into neighboring Bond County. The court then ordered a stay on this route until the next term. The route viewed by Jarvis and others did enter into Bond County and though it was not chosen at this time, a crossing on the South Fork called Jarver or Jarvis Ford does appear later. The Edwardsville to Sangamo Road, as it became known, was marked with a post every mile. Road commissioners were appointed to oversee sections of the road and were made responsible for its maintenance. On March 9th 1820, George Hayworth was appointed supervisor of the road from the south side of Brush Creek north to the 68-mile stake. His work force consisted all the men within four miles of either side of the road. In those days all able-bodied adult males were required to help with maintenance of the road.

By March of 1820 Sangamo Township had grown so populous that it was divided into three smaller townships. The first, which retained the name Sangamo, included all the territory north of the Sangamon River and east of the Illinois River. Matthew Eads, Stephen England, and Joshua Dean were appointed election judges there. The second township, Fork Prairie, consisted all the land lying south of the North Fork of the Sangamon River and running west to include the settlers along Sugar Creek. The election judges appointed there were William Roberts, William Drennan, and Daniel Lisle. Springfield Township was the third election district. It covered all the country west of Fork Prairie and south of the Sangamon River. Jacob Ellis, John Clary Senior, and John Campbell were appointed the judges there. This appears to be the first time the name” Springfield” is used to describe a geographic location in Sangamon County. The jurisdiction of these three judges was extended when Apple Creek Township near by the Illinois River was added to Springfield Township in June 1820.

The other two townships, Fork Prairie and Sangamo, were reestablished in June 1820 with the same boundaries. Sangamo Township retained its same election judges but Fork Prairie received three new judges, George Hayworth, John Bell, and Ebenezer Hill. Coincidentally, another Sangamo Township was created in around the same time in neighboring Bond County as an election district on June 6, 1820, which includes parts of present-day eastern Sangamon County including Cotton Hill and Cooper townships. Joseph Dixon who was a settler of Cotton Hill Township was named one of the judges.

September seemed to be the month when appointments were made because in September 1820, the commissioners again named people to fill new positions. John Taylor and John Black were appointed overseers of the poor in Fork Prairie while William Kirkpatrick and Abraham Carlock filled those positions in Springfield Township. The overseers for Sangamo Township were Stephen England and Matthew Eads. No other official action appears in the Madison County commissioners’ minutes regarding Sangamo Township before the founding of Sangamon County in January 1821. But clearly, these formative years were active and important ones for the future of Sangamon County.


October 5, was a beautiful day! So beautiful that all of the lady bugs decided to put on a flight show, and in the sun, it looked like a snow shower, (but felt somewhat like a hail storm)!

The 584, or so, visitors first gathered at the circa 1914 hearse to hear Jon Austin of the Museum of Funeral Customs explain some of the burial customs of years gone by. They then proceeded to the first gravesite, that of Henry Hawkins Owsley, where Don Schneider, portraying Owsley, told them of his move to Illinois to avoid the practice of slavery in Kentucky.

Then it was on to hear the story of Anne Campbell, as portrayed by Elaine Birtch. Campbell had been the wife of two men who each contributed to the development of the community: George Forquer was a participant in having the capitol moved to Springfield from Vandalia, and Antrim Campbell was active as a banker and civic worker.

The next gravesite featured was that of Martin Baum prosperous owner of Baum’s Stone, Marble & Granite Works. Two of Baum’s grandchildren were in attendance and reported that Bruce Davidson portrayed their grandfather admirably.

The next gravesite featured Debra Martin as Addie Duncan. Duncan, an African American, was a schoolteacher, businesswoman and the core of her family.

Reed Waddell, swindler extradinaire, was a favorite! Our fascination with the ‘bad and naughty’ was piqued by Jason Goodreau’s spirited portrayal of the con man.

Lucinda Parmenter, acted by Linda Schneider, was a farm woman from New England who moved to the area near Chatham. Tragically both she and her husband soon died of consumption, the disease they had hoped to shed when they moved to the Midwest.

The final gravesite featured Thomas Condell, portrayed by Jonathan Reyman. The portrayal of Condell, the first curator of the Springfield Art Ass., was particularly appropriate as the Art Association is featuring the Condell collection to celebrate their 90th anniversary.

The Historama, a new addition this year, featured community historical organizations; recent authors; displays of 10 of our Centennial businesses; the Prairieland Dulcimer strings and thousands of uninvited lady bugs. Those who braved the lady bugs found the area interesting and informative, but we hope to better integrate the Historama into the flow of the day in the future – and definitely cancel the lady bug show!

The addition of the Historama meant that many more volunteers were needed, and we are most grateful for the help and enthusiasm of almost fifty wonderful people!


The Celebrate! Historic West Springfield event was held Saturday, October 11 in the four-block area that once comprised the Sangamon County Fairgrounds established in 1853. This unique neighborhood event marked the 150th anniversary of the first Illinois State Fair held in Springfield on the fairgrounds. Residents and visitors had the opportunity to visit religious congregations in the neighborhood with displays of their history. Civil War-related demonstrations by the 114th Illinois Infantry Regiment and SIU School of Medicine were held at Dubois School. A walking tour provided histories of all the houses and businesses located in the Sangamon County Fairgrounds Subdivision. A period costume ball was held later that night in the commons area at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School. Participants in the event were Douglas Avenue Methodist Church, Dubois School, Lincoln Library West Branch, Sacred Heart Convent, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, and Temple Israel along with many residents of the subdivision.


Almost 100 people turned out to hear Doug Pokorski talk about the Illinois Watch Company; many being relatives or friends of those who had been employed there before it was closed in 1932.

Doug began by pointing out the amazing fact that in 1898 there were 52 trains arriving and departing Springfield, and by so doing emphasized the connection between the railroads and the need for accurate time, for with that many trains traveling a limited number of tracks, it was imperative that those involved know the exact time that other trains might be on any given track. He pointed out that the railroad industry became the driving force in the effort to develop accurate time pieces, and that by 1910, 10 out of 11 watch mechanisms, meeting the required accuracy in “six positions, hot and cold” that were accepted in a the railroad industry competition were made by the Illinois Watch Company. Even the Swiss, whose hand made mechanisms were revered world-wide, came to learn how to manufacture this level of accuracy.

Founded in 1869, the Illinois Watch Company was known as a good employer and a clean place to work. The proximity of Reservoir Park, a 26 piece brass band, and company athletic teams all contributed to a family-like feeling. There was even a women’s dormitory on the grounds. Between 1900 and 1928, 1300 workers were able to turn out over 800 watch mechanisms per day. Mechanisms were then supplied to others to provide the cases for them.

The Company nurtured the beginnings of the Sangamo Electric Company, but the watch business was sold to Hamilton in 1927. Until 1932 watches, then clocks, were manufactured here, sometimes in collaboration with Sangamo, but the depression caused Hamilton to shut down the business in 1932 to the great distress of workers whose families had by then worked there for generations. A member of the audience pointed out that the original sale to Hamilton had a clause guaranteeing that the plant would remain and the workers cared for, but the realities of the depression ended that intention.

December, 2003 - January, 2004





Area high school groups will be featured each day. The concerts are at 12 and 12:30 PM in the Hall of Representatives. Guests are welcome to bring their lunch.

Guests to the Old State Capitol in December are also requested to bring a nonperishable food item for the “Giving Tree”. All food will be donated to the Central Illinois Food Bank.

4:00 P.M. TO 8:00 P.M

Luminaria are placed around the entire perimeter of the home and along the sidewalks in the garden area. Silent, candle-lit tours of the home are offered on a rotating 30-minute schedule.

Also, live music will be provided in the afternoons on December 19, 20, 21, 27 and 28th.


JANUARY 12, Monday 6:00- 8:00 PM


The Sangamon County Historical Society and the Old State Capitol Foundation are collaborating on a reception to honor the achievements of Springfield’s commercial centennial businesses. It became apparent to us last summer, when we were preparing the boards about centennial businesses to be displayed in the Historama area at the Cemetery Walk, that to survive that long, businesses had to successfully adjust to a great many changes over the years, and were due our admiration and recognition. After the walk several people asked where the boards might be displayed again to be examined in a more leisurely fashion. Carol Andrews, Site manager of the Old State Capitol, has generously offered to display the boards during January.

In order to honor not only those centennial businesses for whom we have boards, but all of those existing in the community (of which we are aware), we are having the reception, with a short program to illustrate some of the changes, and all society members will receive an invitation to attend. Guests will be charged a fee. Please mark the date on your calendars and plan to help us

While our enthusiasm for this project runs high, we have to admit to being on a very inadequate budget, and would appreciate donations to this endeavor. If you are willing to help, please send a check, identifying your contribution, to SCHS, 308 E. Adams, Springfield, 62701. If you would like to volunteer your help, please contact Nancy Chapin 483-2376.

Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room South
Interested members are invited to attend

Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North


November’s program, held at the Illinois State Military Museum at Camp Lincoln, opened our eyes to an institution that has been in our midst since 1878, but has been little known. A recent move to the newly remodeled ‘castle’, built by Springfield’s noted stone mason, James Culver, in 1903 on the Camp Lincoln grounds, has given the museum new life and visibility.

The museum, occupied various locations in the Centennial building for a number of years, but has languished in a barracks building on the Camp Lincoln grounds for the last few decades. Now in its new home, the 10,000 artifacts currently held by the museum can be properly organized and displayed. Swords, firearms, uniforms and a vast assortment of other military memorabilia from the Black Hawk War to the Gulf War are displayed on the second floor of the remodeled building.
Museum Curator, Mark Whitlock, gave an account of the remodeling done to the ‘castle’ to make it suitable for the archival material that had been stored in file cabinets and boxes previously. There is a climate controlled room for those artifacts deemed valuable and delicate; a general meeting and display area on the first floor; and then the open expanse of the second floor where both permanent and changing exhibits featuring a variety of military topics can be arranged.

In addition to the items now displayed in the museum, Whitlock explained the process involved in the retrieval, storing and ultimate restoration of the 950 flags now in the museum’s meticulously prepared storage on the grounds. Moving the flags from the centennial building this fall, identifying and cataloging them and storing them has been a major effort.

The museum promises to become a much more prominent part of the community in its new, home. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 - 4:30 PM, or by appointment and is well worth the effort to see.


The Board is currently considering some changes in the By-laws of the society and will be voting on them at their January Board meeting. These changes will simplify the books of the society. You are welcome to attend the Board meeting with your comments.

• Delete Section 2 of Article 1 as all of the Society’s programs are open to the entire community, and the amount accumulated from Sustaining memberships each year does not justify tracking it separately ($278 in 2003).
Article I
Membership and Dues

Section 1. Any person interested in the history of Sangamon County who applies for membership in any classification of membership and who tenders the necessary dues shall thereby become a member.
Section 2. That portion of the contribution from sustaining memberships which exceeds the active membership fee for a single person shall be set aside and used for projects of an educational nature beneficial to the entire county and surrounding area and not for projects directly beneficial to the active members.

• Change Section 3 to 2 as a result of deletion above and change earnings from life membership to be used in support of those memberships in subsequent years. Change Section 4 to 3.

Section 32. Money from life memberships shall be segregated in a special fund and retained as an endowment. Interest or earnings from the life membership endowment fund shall be accumulated and used for projects of an historical nature used to maintain life memberships.

Section 43. Annual dues shall be payable in the month of June, and members in arrears more than four months after payment is due shall be dropped from membership.

• Gives option to store materials at SVC instead of renting a safe deposit box. (Certificate, seal, CDs)
Article III
Duties of the Officers and Directors

Section 6. The secretary will keep the Certificate of Incorporation, and all the amendments thereto, the exemption certificates from the Internal Revenue Service, and such other important records as he/she, or the president direct, in a bank safety deposit box, rented by the society, or in the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library.


OCTOBER 3 has been set as the date for the “8th Annual Walk Through Oak Ridge Cemetery”. Names from gravesites have been chosen and need to be researched. We need researchers and would welcome new volunteers!

We plan to have a Historama area and concession again this year, though they may be moved to a different location in order to attract more visitors (and less bugs!).

Actually we need additional volunteers for a lot of things for the cemetery walk. The cemetery walk is our biggest project and fund raiser of the year. If you would be willing to help in any fashion, please contact Nancy Chapin 483-2376.


The email address of the society has changed. To contact the society, please use schs@eosinc.com in the future.


January 20 The Kelly Family of Springfield Katie Spindell
Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room North
February 17 “Things” of Mr. Lincoln Kim Bauer, Curator
Henry Horner Collection ISHL
March 16 The Parke-Sherman Company, Madeline Gumble
April 20 Early Springfield Photographers and Photography Richard E. Hart

Watch for your invitation to the Centennial Business reception January 12!

No newsletter in January, so remember the date for the January 20th program!



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