The Sangamon County Historical Society welcomes you

SangamonLink was created to put the rich history of Sangamon County — home of Abraham Lincoln and the capital of Illinois — at people’s fingertips.bridge

The Sangamon County Historical Society has worked since 1961 to preserve county history through publications, tours, donations and special projects. (Follow the link above to learn more about Society initiatives and membership.)

At bottom, however, history is always a work in progress, and SangamonLink is designed to recognize that evolution. The Society will be able to correct, amplify and add to this encyclopedia as needed, and people who want more information can follow links from individual entries here to additional sources elsewhere.

To find articles on individual topics, see the alphabetical indices (A-J, K-O and P-Z, above), or use the Search button, For a chronological view of Sangamon County’s development, see the Timeline. To see a list of some of the more important local history resources, both online and not, see Research sources.

We are  constantly adding to SangamonLink, and we welcome additional contributors. You do not have to be a professional historian or writer. Please see Writing for SangamonLink for guidelines and additional information.

Whether you’re curious about a specific topic or simply browsing, we hope you’ll find this archive both useful and illuminating. Comments, suggestions and corrections are encouraged. Thanks for visiting.

Follow SangamonLink: We’re on Twitter and Facebook.

SangamonLink is a production of the Sangamon County Historical Society, and all original content is the property of the Society. However, you are free to republish this content as long as credit is given to the Society.

35 Responses to The Sangamon County Historical Society welcomes you

  1. Matt Penning says:

    Congratulations! Great work and interesting stuff here. I look forward to delving more into the existing and future articles.

    I always remember the first day that the local NPR affiliate, then WSSR which became WSSU and is now WUIS, went on the air. All Things Considered featured a story by its newest station, and in the intro to the piece, the announcer said: “And now, from Sangamon State University” using a rather unusual to my ears pronunciation with the emphasis on the “a” in the middle. I still get a chuckle out of that.

  2. Dr Leslie Jack Fyans says:

    You are a blessing to all of us

  3. Nancy Chapin says:


    You’ve really done an incredible job! Congrats, and keep up the good work!!

  4. Chuck Stone says:


  5. editor says:

    Thanks to you all. Please keep reading.

  6. Andrew Trello says:

    Saw your page mentioned in the paper this morning. Congratulations! Keep up the good work!

  7. Debra Thompson says:

    I have really enjoyed the pieces I have read so far and look forward to returning to this site many times. Thank you so much for all of these fascinating glimpses into Springfield and Sangamon County history.

  8. Ray Trello says:

    Great job

  9. Interesting reading. Married to one of Colonel John Williams great,great,great grandsons.

    • editor says:

      Ms. Williams: There are connections to history all over. That’s one of the reasons this project has been so much fun. Thanks for reading.

  10. Fantastic news for the Historical Society. Mike will put Springfield and Sangamon County history on the map.

  11. Jeri Wright says:

    I would very much like it if someone would contact me regarding speaking to the ALL Today’s Topic group at LLCC. Either phone or e-mail is fine. Thank you very much.

  12. You and I have communicated once or twice, but never managed to meet face to face. Your article on Howarth is very informative. I am suprised that no one has ever mentioned him to me, although I do know people who knew Dr. Lee, whom you do quote. Good work.

    • editor says:

      Dr. Holden: Thanks very much for the compliment. Mayor Howarth, the first mayor I remember hearing about as a child, was a complicated, fascinating character. I know I haven’t done him justice. Thanks for reading.

  13. Jerry Jacobson says:

    Congratulations, Mike Kienzler, and all who help & contribute to the online encyclopedia, for winning a Superior Achievement award from the Illinois State Historical Society.

  14. Liz says:

    Are you going to do an entry on the Lauterbach axe murders? I am fascinated by it, but cannot find much information. I live not too far from 15th & So. Grand and pass the building when I’m headed to Dirksen and would love to find out more about what happened.

    • editor says:

      Liz: Yes, it definitely deserves an entry, but I’m not sure when it will get done. I don’t want the encyclopedia to lean too heavily on crime and mayhem, which would be really easy to let happen — especially because I gravitate to those entries too. So I try to blend topics and themes and stay balanced.

      On the other hand, one of the next entries is probably going to be the Paul Powell shoebox scandal; some things you just can’t get away from …

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting. I’ll try to move the Lauterbach killings up higher on the priority list.

  15. Liz says:

    I was an infant when it happened so any information other than the basics would be great. I love Springfield & Sangamon county history and have been surprised to read some entries.

  16. M. Doris {Hysler} McLaughlin says:

    This is a Surprise! Glad I found this site. Will return later.

  17. SFC (Ret) Kevin F. “Doc” Kirk says:

    I have a project that I am beginning. I would like to ask the assistance of your historian for it. Please reach out to me at your convenience. Thank you.


    WOW…this is impressive. Please add more. I hate to see it end with Mayor Davlin’s death. Thank you for doing!!!!
    Its the King’s Daughters Organization 125th Anniversary this year. It was incorporated June 6, 1893 and has been going strong ever since serving senior citizens. one more item you could add.

  19. Andy Wasilewski says:

    Dear Editor:

    I ran across an interesting article while doing amateur research for my story about Cantrall Illinois in the 40’s-60’s. I share this site with you in the event you may find it of interest, whether new info or old hat. In research of the earliest Cantrall settlers, I learned of the Edwards Trace which i find fascinating and yet very commonsense (Route 66 and I-55 basically follow this as best i can tell). But how did Levi Cantrall, the first recorded settler (along with his entourage) arrive at Cantrall about 3-5 miles west of the trace? This brings me to a bit of theory, given the website i discovered:
    June (Powers) Reilly, who i happened to have the pleasure of meeting on a few occasions, wrote about the “Chinkapin” trail. This could quite likely and logically refer to the location of the abandoned Chinquapin Bridge. Letting my mind wonder a bit, it seems there were more than one way out of Springfield and perhaps the Chinkapin trail was alternate route north. This routing could help explain why Levi settled West of Cantrall vs East. The water access is considerably better East than West…so, i dump this all in your lap to see if you find it of interest; and better yet, if you can offer critique or a clue to where my thinking could lead. P.S. i find your website extremely valuable to my work.

    • editor says:

      Andy: Chinkapin Road extended north of Springfield towards Cantrall, but I can’t find any connection to a longer Chinkapin Trail in Illinois, much less central Illinois. There are trails with that name in Missouri, Texas and apparently the Appalachians, but none around here. I think Chinkapin Road was simply a local name, perhaps borrowed by someone who was familiar with a pathway of the same title elsewhere. Thanks for the suggestion, though, and thanks for following SangamonLink.

  20. Sue Leka says:

    Thank you for your presentation on the Poor Farm, as I look out my kitchen
    window I have a view of the wall. I also attended a presentation that was given
    a few years back on the ordinance plant at Illiopolis , my thoughts was that not much info was given. The Illipolois library is full of info on war plant, as I have done some
    research for the family, regarding as to what buildings was on our family farms.

    • editor says:

      Ms. Leka: I’ve seen the material at the Illiopolis library. It indeed was very helpful when I wrote SangamonLink’s entry on the plant. You can read it here. I wasn’t involved with the SCHS presentation on the ordnance plant, but I’ve talked to quite a few people who thought it was useful. Thanks for the comment.

  21. Floyd Roy says:

    Where was Delmonicos restaurant located in early 1900’s Springfield il

    • editor says:

      Mr. Roy: I would have to take a look at city directories at Lincoln Library to give you a better answer, but it looks like the Delmonico operated in the 100 block of North Fifth Street from at least the mid-1890s until the mid-1900s. Newspaper articles and ads give exact addresses of 124, 126 and 128 N. Fifth; my guess is the restaurant took up several storefronts. The operator was William A. Stone.

  22. Gary Kreppert says:

    I am attempting to find an archive photo of the old Capitol City Motel located on Peoria Road and Ridgely Avenue (between Black Avenue and Ridgely) or maybe Ricardos Restaurant located just south of the motel.

  23. Wendy Diekema (Pella, Iowa) says:

    My ancestor, Malinda C. Bunn Cooper, died in Tazewell County on December 25, 1912. I believe she was born 1832 and arrived in Illinois in 1842 (10 years old). She married Jesse Beale Cooper Nov. 11, 1851 in Tazewell County and lived in Pekin, IL. Their daughter, Katherine (Kate) E. Cooper was born in the area and married Carlos (Carl) A. Scriven Nov. 28, 1878.

    I have not been able to find out who Malinda’s father and/or mother was. I would appreciate being pointed in the right direction if available. I plan to make a trip to the area to do some genealogy.

    • editor says:

      Ms. Diekema: As you’ve no doubt found, the Bunn family has been prominent in Springfield. But I’ve learned there are a lot of Bunns around the country, most of them unrelated to those in Springfield. For your research — unless you know of a Springfield/Sangamon County connection for Malinda — I’d suggest you start instead with the Tazewell and Peoria County genealogical societies. They both seem to be very active (the Sangamon County society folded a decade or more ago). I found their websites via Google.

      If you do have evidence that Malinda Bunn had Sangamon County connections, the starting point would be the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library, the municipal library of Springfield (it’s different from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). The phone number is 217-753-4900.

      Good luck.

  24. Mike: your article in the SJR published 11-11-2018 about Springfield’s celebration of the end of World War I was an excellent read. On a unrelated topic: there is a interesting book I have called “Country Schools of Sangamon County” which lists all the one-room or two-room country schools from about 1820 to 1961, and their status at the time the book was written. The Sangamon Valley Collection also has the book. You might want to check it out, might make for a good article for the SangamonLink.

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