Author Archives: editor

Lincoln Ordnance Depot (WWII)

Lincoln Ordnance Depot south of Springfield was one of four major military supply facilities in Sangamon County during World War II. See Army Air Force depot, Illinois State Fairgrounds.

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Army Air Force depot, Illinois State Fairgrounds (WWII)

Livestock moved out of the Illinois State Fairgrounds with the start of World War II, and soldiers moved in. The U.S. Army Air Force took over the fairgrounds in March 1942 and operated a supply depot and training facility there … Continue reading

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First African-American juror in Sangamon County

The first black person to serve on a jury in Sangamon County may have been Thomas Flynn, a barber, on March 18, 1873. Flynn wasn’t the first African-American called to jury service in the county, but an earlier attempt – … Continue reading

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Record-setting heat wave, 1936

The worst heat wave ever in Sangamon County – 12 straight days when temperatures reached 100 degrees or more – killed 33 people in July 1936. The stretch of torrid weather began on the Fourth of July and continued through … Continue reading

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Collective bargaining in state government (1973)

Gov. Dan Walker granted bargaining rights to 60,000 state workers in 1973, kicking off an organizing battle between two labor organizations with very different approaches to state employee advancement. In signing his executive order on Sept. 4, 1973, Walker said … Continue reading

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Cotton fields of Sangamon County

Sangamon County was “as good a cotton country as Georgia,” one early resident told John Carroll Power for Power’s 1876 History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois. That changed, however, after the winter of the Deep Snow in … Continue reading

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Peter Cartwright, preacher

Peter Cartwright called himself “God’s Plowman,” referring to his 60 years of building Methodist congregations throughout the Midwest. Cartwright (1785-1872) was already a successful preacher in Kentucky (his native state) and western Tennessee when he and his family moved to … Continue reading

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A.C. Littlejohn fraud and suicide

Angus Littlejohn, once a pillar of Springfield’s business community, spent three years in the 1930s trying to recoup his reputation and keep himself out of prison. He failed. On the morning of July 2, 1938, five minutes before he was … Continue reading

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John Schnepp, mayor & embezzler

John S. Schnepp (1866-1954) was a lawyer, real estate developer and two-time mayor of Springfield. He also was an embezzler and philanderer. With his thefts on the verge of exposure in January 1932, Schnepp disappeared. Discovered three years later selling … Continue reading

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Springfield fire protection, 1850s-’70s

Fires that demolished swaths of the downtown square in the 1850s led – eventually – to Springfield creating a full-time fire department. But city fathers first had to remedy another problem that plagued local firefighting efforts: a water shortage. An “incendiary” – … Continue reading

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