Category Archives: Prehistory

‘Wigwam tree’ and sulfur spring, Loami

The “wigwam tree” was a hollow sycamore near Loami that, according to John Carroll Power in History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County (1876), was once measured at 18 feet in diameter. Power wrote that the tree stood “a … Continue reading

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Birds of Sangamon County

A 40-year study by Illinois State Museum ornithologist H. David Bohlen found 359 different species of birds in Sangamon County. However, Bohlen warns in his report, published online by the museum in 2013, that increasing human population has badly reduced … Continue reading

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The Payne Stone Age Collection

Edward W. Payne (1857-1932), a Springfield banker and property investor, amassed a huge collection of stone relics — most, though not all, from pre-Columbian America — with the intention of building a museum to house them. At his death, however, … Continue reading

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William and Margaret Carpenter

Carpenter Park and Carpenter Street are among legacies of the family of William (1787-1859) and Margaret Carpenter (1803-33), who moved to Sangamon County from Virginia in 1820. The family first built a cabin north of the Sangamon River and eventually … Continue reading

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Groves

Groves of mature hardwood trees figured frequently in the history of Sangamon County. Robert Pulliam, considered the first European inhabitant of  the county, set up his first encampment in a grove of sugar maples on what became known as Sugar … Continue reading

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The Kickapoo

When Europeans began moving into Central Illinois in the early 1800s, the Kickapoo were the dominant Native American tribe, holding sway from north of present-day Peoria to near St. Louis and east to west across Illinois. “I am a Kickapoo,” … Continue reading

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Lincoln Memorial Garden and Nature Center

Envisioned by Harriet Knudson in 1936, Lincoln Memorial Garden was created as a living memorial to Abraham Lincoln, representing “the landscape … Lincoln would have known growing up and living in the Midwest.” The 100-acre garden on the banks of … Continue reading

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Sangamo Township

Before Sangamon County was created in January 1821, its territory was divided between Madison and Bond counties (mostly in Madison). Between the arrival of the first settler in 1817 and the ultimate formation of the county in 1821, a significant … Continue reading

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Sangamon Stage

The Sangamon Stage is a geological term used to designate one of the intervals between the successive advances of glacial ice across the landscape of North America. Also known as the Sangamon Interglacial, the period is so named because the … Continue reading

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