Category Archives: Early residents


“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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Robert Irwin (Lincoln banker & friend)

On May 18, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln wrote to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase about an “old friend who has served me all my life, and who has never before received or asked anything in return.” The friend, Robert Irwin, … Continue reading

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Stuart Elementary School

The Sixth Ward Primary School, located between Sixth and Seventh streets and Vine Street and South Grand Avenue, was the first Springfield public school organized after the original four ward schools. Stuart was built in 1883 and closed after the … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Early residents, Education, John T. Stuart, Prominent figures, Schools and school districts, Women | 12 Comments

Stephen A. Douglas’ missing finger

Before he was Abraham Lincoln’s foil in the 1858 contest for U.S. Senate in Illinois and then for the presidency in 1860, Stephen A. Douglas was a regular presence and sometime resident in Springfield. Douglas also was, briefly, Lincoln’s rival … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Early residents, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Lincoln, Abraham, Politics, Presidential candidates, Prominent figures, State government | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sangamon County/Springfield timeline, 1818-1840

The following timeline is taken from a handout distributed by Melinda Garvert for a talk she presented at the Iles House on Feb. 17, 2015. Reprinted with permission. 1818 —  Illinois becomes the 21st state in the union due to … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Early residents, Illinois capital, Local government, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Springfield, State government | 5 Comments