Category Archives: Early residents

Twelve Mile House

Twelve Mile House was an inn, stagecoach stop and post office in the early 19th century. It later became one of the landmarks used when Illinois officials designed the highway that became Route 66 and then Interstate 55. Where, exactly, … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Early residents, Historic Sites, Hotels & taverns, Maps, Transportation | 3 Comments

Malaria in early Sangamon County

The Sangamo Country of the early 1800s was an agricultural paradise in many ways, but it had one major drawback: the anopheles mosquito, which carried the malaria parasite. Virtually every early resident of central Illinois was exposed to malaria – … Continue reading

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Old Settlers Society of Sangamon County

Thousands of Sangamon Countians once turned out for the annual reunions of the county’s Old Settlers Society. The events featured games, lavish picnics, speechifying and recognition of some of the county’s earliest residents. The organization began with an appeal in … Continue reading

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Stephen T. Logan (Lincoln law partner)

Springfield had more than its share of star lawyers – Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas and others – in the 1830s and ‘40s. But everybody agreed the best trial lawyer on the circuit was a short, cranky Kentucky native named … Continue reading

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The Town Branch

Many of Sangamon County’s first pioneers settled next to the Town Branch, a meandering stream that was early Springfield’s defining topographic feature. Starting in the late 1850s, the creek took on a new role, one it continues to hold today: … Continue reading

Posted in Early residents, John T. Stuart, Local government, Maps, Public health | 1 Comment

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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