Category Archives: Farming

Farm machinery, 1870s-1950s

Sangamon County farms switched from man- and horsepower to fully mechanized operations in fits and starts over more than 80 years. But the key impetus may have been six disastrous weeks of rain in the fall of 1926. Traction engines … Continue reading

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Johnston-Hatcher fires, 1907 & 1913

The Johnston-Hatcher Co. sold home furnishings of all kinds from 1899 to 1949 in downtown Springfield. The store, however, fell victim to two of the city’s most devastating early 20th-century fires. Johnston-Hatcher was the creation of two sets of brothers … Continue reading

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Price-Prather House, Williamsville (National Register)

Williamsville’s Price-Prather House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places partly for its architectural features, but the building’s early owners, especially J. Frank Prather (1859-1927), played major roles in development of the beef cattle industry in Sangamon County, … Continue reading

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Sangamon County Farm Bureau

The Sangamon County Farm Bureau was organized on Oct. 13, 1917, with a membership of 300 farmers, each of whom pledged to donate $10 toward the hiring of a county soil adviser. Sangamon County’s action was part of a wave … Continue reading

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Corn husking competitions

Nearly 4,000 “farmers, farmers’ wives and children” jammed the grounds of the F.I. Taylor farm near New Berlin on Nov. 21, 1924, for the first annual Illinois State Corn Husking contest. The competition, sponsored by Prairie Farmer magazine, continued into … Continue reading

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DICKEY-john Corp.

Auburn-based DICKEY-john Corp. got its start in 1960, when Chatham-area farmer Robert Dickey was in the hospital recuperating from a lawn-mower accident that had cost him his right eye. One of his visitors was a minister. “In talking about farming, … 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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Soybeans

Soybeans, now the second-leading crop in Sangamon County (as they are in most of the Midwest), became a staple on county farms in the 1920s. The increase in soybean production already had been dramatic, but it had started from a … Continue reading

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Spaulding (village)

The village of Spaulding, off Illinois 54 east of Springfield, got its name from a mammoth nursery and orchard. In central Illinois, the name Spaulding today is synonymous with Lake Springfield and City Water, Light and Power. But before Willis … Continue reading

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Adams Wildlife Sanctuary

The Adams Wildlife Sanctuary in the 2300 block of Clear Lake Avenue was donated to the Illinois Audubon Society by Margery Adams, whose family had owned the property for more than 100 years. Margery Adams (1897-1983) lived in the home on … Continue reading

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