Category Archives: Military

Black Civil War veterans buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery

At least 28 African-American Civil War veterans are buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, according to Kathleen Heyworth’s Private Lewis Martin and African-American Civil War Soldiers in Springfield, Illinois (2015). The following list, taken from Heyworth’s research, lists each … Continue reading

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Black Civil War soldier’s POW experience

Isaac Gaskin (ca. 1847-1900), born a slave in Mississippi, served with the 29th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War and was captured by Confederates in the botched Battle of the Crater outside Petersburg, Va., on July 30, … Continue reading

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Sangamon Ordnance Plant

Dozens of seemingly out-of-place structures dot farm fields west of Illiopolis, the last reminders of what once was one of the U.S.’s largest producers of World War II artillery ammunition. From 1942 to 1945, the Sangamon Ordnance Plant produced 24 … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Agriculture, Buildings, Communities, Disasters, Industry, Military, Transportation, Women | 31 Comments

Lewis Martin, 29th U.S. Colored Troops

This entry has been updated — ed. Lewis Martin (1840-92) was a free black man who served in the 29th regiment. U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War. He was severely wounded in the Battle of the Crater before Petersburg, … Continue reading

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Hall-Hagler chapter, Disabled American Veterans

Springfield’s Hall-Hagler chapter of the Disabled American Veterans is named in honor of two World War I casualties who hailed from the city. Sgt. Joe Hall (1891-1918) died during the waning hours of the war – at 8:45 a.m. on … Continue reading

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Victory Loan Flying Circus, 1919

The Victory Loan Flying Circus, a barnstorming group of World War I pilots using WWI combat aircraft, put on a show for thousands of central Illinoisans in front of the Illinois State Fairgrounds Grandstand on April 15, 1919. An unbilled … Continue reading

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Sangamon County Lithuanians in World War I

More than 50,000 Lithuanian-Americans fought for the United States in World War I. This remarkable number was later leveraged to lobby U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to recognize the newly independent Lithuanian state that emerged from the War’s aftermath. The vast … Continue reading

Posted in Coal mines and mining, Ethnic groups, Lithuanians, Military | 3 Comments

Lincoln Tomb: Statuary and symbolism

This entry is a lightly edited version of a presentation given by Mark Johnson, historian for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, to the 2014 volunteer dinner hosted by the Lincoln Monument Association, a non-profit support group for the Lincoln Tomb.  … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Arts and letters, Historic Sites, Lincoln Tomb, Lincoln, Abraham, Military, National Register | 3 Comments

Ted Curtis (African-American history interviews)

Ted Curtis, a Springfield native and U.S. Air Force veteran, became a real estate agent and later assistant real estate commissioner for the state of Illinois.  He served on the Springfield School Board for 10 years and was active in … Continue reading

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Adelaide O’Brien Rentschler (aviator)

Adelaide O’Brien (1915-99) of Springfield was the first licensed woman pilot in downstate Illinois. During World War II, O’Brien was a local ground instructor for U.S. Army Air Corps flight cadets. O’Brien also was widely known in central Illinois for … Continue reading

Posted in Air travel, Airport, Arts and letters, Military, Women | Tagged , | 4 Comments