Category Archives: First Citizens

Charles E. Becker (First Citizen)

Charles E. Becker (1896-1968) was president of the Franklin Life Insurance Company in Springfield during the company’s years of greatest growth from 1939 to 1961. When Becker took over ownership, the homegrown firm had $178 million of insurance in force; … Continue reading

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Franklin Life Insurance Co.

Founded in 1884, the Franklin Life Insurance Co. remained an important force in Springfield’s economy into the 21st century. Franklin Life was founded  by a half-dozen central Illinois residents in 1884. They pledged to offer up to $3,000 in insurance … Continue reading

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Elizabeth Graham (First Citizen)

Elizabeth Graham (1892-1982), though a Springfield High School English teacher and department head for nearly 40 years, is best known for her unswerving dedication to the poetry and memory of Vachel Lindsay. Graham. born in Galena, attended a Lindsay recitation … Continue reading

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Carrol Hall (First Citizen)

Carrol Hall (1905-95) was a co-founder and first president of Springfield-based Horace Mann Insurance Co. In 1945, Hall joined with fellow teacher Les Nimmo to create Horace Mann (originally named the IEA Mutual Insurance Co.). The firm at first offered … Continue reading

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Harriet Knudson (First Citizen)

Harriett Knudson (1883-1969) is best known as the driving force behind creation of the Lincoln Memorial Garden and Nature Center at Lake Springfield. She also organized the Springfield Civic Garden Club (Knudson was the first person elected to honorary life … Continue reading

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Lincoln Memorial Garden and Nature Center

Envisioned by Harriet Knudson in 1936, Lincoln Memorial Garden was created as a living memorial to Abraham Lincoln, representing “the landscape … Lincoln would have known growing up and living in the Midwest.” The 100-acre garden on the banks of … Continue reading

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Albert Myers Jr. (First Citizen)

Albert Myers Jr. (1917-2005), part of the second-generation family management of the Myers Brothers Department Store, was named Springfield’s First Citizen in 1973. His award citation noted Myers’ leadership in both business and charitable activity. Myers served as president of … Continue reading

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