Category Archives: Early residents

Fisher ‘murder’ hysteria, 1841

The case of a “murdered” man who later turned up alive is one of 19th-century Springfield’s best-known legal controversies. That’s mainly because Abraham Lincoln wrote about it, but also because of the roles played by circumstantial evidence, a false confession … Continue reading

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The whipping post, 1828-37

A whipping post stood permanently on the northeast corner of Springfield’s public square from 1828 to 1837. It apparently was used infrequently, but often enough that whippings stuck in the minds of those who saw them. The post – which … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Early residents, Illinois capital, Law enforcement, Local government, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

John S. Condell memoir, 1840s

John S. Condell Sr. (1818-1907), born in Ireland, arrived in Springfield by way of Philadelphia and Carrollton in 1841. Condell was one of Springfield’s pioneer merchants, operating stores on the downtown square for more than 40 years. One of his … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Early residents, Historic Sites, Histories, Prominent figures, Social life | 2 Comments

Springfield park names

Parks in the Springfield Park District have taken their names from U.S. presidents, local pioneers, subdivisions, donors and others. Here is a list of parks and their name derivations as of summer 2017. Bergen. 2900 Clear Lake Ave. The Springfield … Continue reading

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Pensacola

“Pensacola” was the name given to a tiny, unincorporated community in Cotton Hill Township, southeast of Springfield, in the 1800s. The area is designated for inundation if and when Hunter Lake is ever created as a backup water source for … Continue reading

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Wolf Creek Mill

Wolf Creek Mill, also known as Constant’s Mill, was on Wolf Creek in Williams Township, about three and a half miles southeast of Williamsville. The 1881 History of Sangamon County, Illinois states the mill was built in 1825 by Thomas … Continue reading

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‘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

Posted in Communities, Early residents, Native Americans, Prehistory | 4 Comments

Chesapeake Seafood House

NOTE: This entry has been edited. See below. The home that makes up the core of the Chesapeake Seafood House, 3045 Clear Lake Ave., was built sometime after 1857 by John McGredy, a 19th-century Scottish immigrant turned nurseryman. McGredy apparently … Continue reading

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Oldest home in Sangamon County

A log cabin built in 1823 by James Walters – now part of a larger farmhouse, but still standing – was identified in 2016 as the oldest home in Sangamon County. See Riddle Hill.

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Gehrmann Park

The development of Gehrmann Park in 1946 caused the destruction of what then probably was Springfield’s oldest building – a log cabin built by one of the Kellys, the city’s first European settlers. The three-acre park between Third and Fourth … Continue reading

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