Category Archives: Politics

Whig Party rally, 1840 (letter)

The Whig Party of Illinois held a giant rally in Springfield from June 2 to June 4, 1840, in support of their presidential candidate, William Henry Harrison. (Harrison and vice-president candidate John Tyler were known by their slogan “Tippecanoe and … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Politics, Prominent figures, Spectacles | Leave a comment

Harry Taylor, first black firefighter, police detective

Harry Taylor (1861-1928) was Springfield’s first African-American firefighter, but became better known as a Springfield police officer and detective. Positions on both the police and fire departments were patronage appointments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Taylor was … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Women | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Early residents, Historic Sites, Lincoln, Abraham, Politics, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

First African-American to hold public office

Springfield’s Hicklin family provided two of Sangamon County’s earliest successful black politicians, as well as leadership in the local civil rights and African-American history movements. Hezkiah Hicklin (1835-1904) was the first black person in the county to hold public office, … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Local government, Politics, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Women’s vote history, Sangamon County

Following the Civil War, Illinoisans decided their state constitution needed updating. Delegates met in Springfield from December 1869 until May 1870, and one of the issues they debated was whether to allow universal suffrage. The 15th amendment to the U.S. … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Schools and school districts, Springfield, Women | Leave a comment

Annie Rheem Hannon (first woman elected to public office)

The first woman to hold an elective office in Sangamon County was Annie Rheem Hannon (1857-1945), who served from 1892 to 1894 as county superintendent of schools – a position for which neither she, nor any other woman, could cast … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Women | Leave a comment

Poisoning and racial controversy, 1860

The sentencing of three African-American teenagers in 1860 on charges they tried to poison the employers of two of them highlighted differences in how courts and the newspapers treated blacks and whites at the time. Perhaps inevitably, the case also … Continue reading

Posted in Abolitionism, African Americans, Crime and vice, Journalism, Law enforcement, Media, Politics, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Communities, Early residents, Historic Sites, Hotels & taverns, Mills, Politics, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Lincoln Library’s grandfather clock

The nine-foot-tall grandfather clock that sits on the first floor of Lincoln Library was given to the library in 1936 by the widow of former Springfield School Superintendent J.H. Collins. Collins, according to a bookmark available at the library that … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Schools and school districts | 4 Comments

Ben F. Caldwell: politician, farmer, banker

Ben Franklin Caldwell (1848-1924) was a member of Congress and the Illinois legislature in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He also was a farmer, banker and civic leader whose donations helped build schools in both Chatham and Thayer. … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Business, Fires, Historic Sites, Politics, Prominent figures, Schools and school districts | 3 Comments