Category Archives: Prominent figures

William Ide, William Todd and California’s Bear Flag rebellion

Two former Sangamon County residents played key roles in the rebellion that overturned Mexican rule in California in  1846. William B. Ide (1796-1852), was the rebellion’s leader and military commander. William L. Todd (1818-1876), one of Ide’s soldiers, helped create … Continue reading

Posted in Military, Politics, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Fred R. Coats Co.

This entry has been updated and expanded. Fred R. Coats deserves to be ranked with Robert Lanphier, John W. Hobbs and the Weaver brothers among Springfield’s top industrialists and innovators. Coats (1865-1951), born in Bennington, N.Y., came to Springfield with … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Industry, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Ruth Ellis, lesbian activist

Ruth Ellis was an openly lesbian woman at a time when that was almost unheard of, the first 40 years of her life in her hometown of Springfield and for 60 more years in Detroit. She became celebrated in 1999, … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Ethnic groups, Prominent figures, Women | Leave a comment

Charles Wood/Carlo Modini, operatic tenor

A torrential rainstorm beat down on Springfield the evening of Sept. 16, 1886. But the weather didn’t stop local opera aficionados from packing the Chatterton Opera House at Sixth and Jefferson streets to hear tenor virtuoso Carlo Modini. “Nearly every … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Arts and letters, Prominent figures, Social life | Leave a comment

Dr. Sheppard A. Ware, physician

Dr. Sheppard Anderson Ware (1872-1948) was a physician in Springfield for 40 years. He was also was a member of the Sangamon County Medical Society and additionally worked for the Illinois State Department of Health. Born in Brownsville, Tenn., Ware … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Ethnic groups, Politics, Prominent figures, Public health | Leave a comment

First woman dentist

Jennie F. Spurrier (1847-1912) was a dentist in Springfield beginning in 1877, making her the city’s first woman dentist and one of the earliest female dentists in the U.S. From what we know of her, she also seems to have … Continue reading

Posted in Medicine, Prominent figures, Women | Leave a comment

Bee hunting, 1820s

Some of the earliest residents of Sangamon County were drawn here by people’s sweet tooth. Robert Pulliam, generally considered the first person of European descent to move permanently to the county, first visited the Sangamo County in search of maple … Continue reading

Posted in Early residents, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

Catharine Frazee Lindsay, community visionary

Catharine Frazee Lindsay is remembered mainly as the mother of Springfield’s famous poet, Vachel Lindsay. But many of her son’s ideals and, perhaps, some of his literary talent were inherited from his indefatigable mother. Despite a variety of personal trials, … Continue reading

Posted in Churches, Historic Sites, Lindsay, Vachel, Local government, Prominent figures, Women | 3 Comments

Joseph Dickson, mountain man

In his 20s, Joseph Harrison Dickson (1775-1844) was one of the first “mountain men” whose fur-hunting journeys led the way for exploration of the American West. He met Daniel Boone, introduced John Colter (first European to explore the Yellowstone National … Continue reading

Posted in Churches, Early residents, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

The Cottage Garden

Springfield banker Nicholas Ridgely (1800-88) turned his love of plants and gardens into a business in 1849 when he started the Cottage Garden and Nursery in the area roughly bounded by 13th, 15th, Washington and Reynolds streets. Ridgely, who owned … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Buildings, Business, Early residents, Farming, Lincoln, Abraham, Prominent figures | Leave a comment