Category Archives: Histories

Lincoln Tomb custodians, 1874-1975

Five men served as custodians of the Lincoln Tomb in the century from 1874, when the still-incomplete tomb was dedicated, and 1975, when tomb management was reorganized. They were: *John Carroll Power (1819-94), a Kentucky native and failed farmer, was … Continue reading

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‘Mary Todd Lincoln’ misnomer

In a Jan. 29, 2015, talk introducing her new book, Mary Lincoln: Southern Girl, Northern Woman, Stacy Pratt McDermott, assistant director/associate editor of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, listed 10 things she wanted her audience to know about Mary. No. … Continue reading

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Early farming changes (William Herndon description)

On Aug. 31, 1876, William Herndon, Abraham Lincoln’s last law partner and biographer, spoke to the ninth annual meeting of the Old Settlers of Sangamon County. Here is part of his speech that recounted the changes seen in farming techniques … Continue reading

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Sangamon County in 1837

The following description of Sangamon County is taken from Illinois in 1837: A Sketch by H.L. Ellsworth (Philadelphia, 1837); spelling and punctuation from the original. Note that, two years after this was written, the Illinois General Assembly reduced Sangamon County … Continue reading

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Sangamon County Historical Society

Historic preservation was the impetus for the founding of the Sangamon County Historical Society more than 50 years ago. Specifically, the founders wanted to preserve the Old State Capitol. The impetus came from members of the Springfield Historic Monuments Commission … Continue reading

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William Cullen Bryant’s travels in the Sangamon Country, 1832

In 1832, poet William Cullen Bryant (“Thanatopsis”), traveled from his home in Massachusetts to visit  his brothers in Jacksonville. He took the occasion also to travel briefly through Sangamon and what now is western Logan County into Tazewell County, where … Continue reading

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Springfield in 1939 (Federal Writers Project)

Below are the introductory information and first three paragraphs of the entry about Springfield contained in Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide, published in 1939 by the Federal Writers Project, a Depression-era economic stimulus program. Writers were not identified, but the … Continue reading

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Wedding customs before the Civil War

Pre-Civil War weddings in Sangamon County had their peculiarities, often including macaroon pyramids and very early starting times, as Caroline Owsley Brown remembered in 1914. Here are Brown’s descriptions of some of those weddings. Barret/Johnson Miss Eliza Barret’s wedding at … Continue reading

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John Carroll Power (historian, Lincoln tomb custodian)

John Carroll Power (1819-94), was a historian as well as first custodian of the Lincoln Tomb. Born in Kentucky in 1819, Power “was brought up a farmer, but in later life, contrary to his early anticipations, became an author,” according … Continue reading

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Orange Judd buildings, Rochester

Buildings pictured in a 1918 collection, the Orange Judd Farmer Pictorial Community Album of Rochester Township and Village, are part of a walking tour created under sponsorship of the Rochester Historical Preservation Society. The Orange Judd Publishing Co. produced a … Continue reading

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