Category Archives: Histories

Boyhood during the Deep Snow

Zimri Enos was nine years old when the Deep Snow hit Sangamon County on Dec. 30, 1830. Snowstorms continued almost constantly for eight weeks. At its height, average snow depth was four to five feet, and the snow was accompanied … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Disasters, Early residents, Family life, Histories, Prominent figures, Social life, Uncategorized, Weather | 1 Comment

Springfield in 1939, according to the Federal Writers Project

Editor: This entry, originally published in 2014, has been revised and expanded. Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide was part of the American Guide series, which profiled each of the then-existing 48 states during the 1930s. The American Guides were … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Communities, Depression, Historic Sites, Histories, Illinois capital, Lincoln, Abraham, Maps, Markers, Springfield, Transportation | Leave a comment

Paul M. Angle, historian

Of the 35 eminent Illinois writers whose last names are engraved on the frieze that decorates the  Illinois State Library, only three had significant connections to Sangamon County. Two are predictable – Abraham Lincoln and Vachel Lindsay. The third is … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Arts and letters, Buildings, Histories, Lincoln, Abraham, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

‘Husband, dear husband’: poem by a legislative wife (pre-1881)

The nameless, uncredited poem below was printed in the 1881 History of Sangamon County, Illinois, printed by the Interstate Publishing Co. of Chicago. Here is all the History tells us about it: As is well known, the session of the … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Histories, Illinois capital, State government, Women | 1 Comment

Ridgely Elementary School, 1914-1926 (Marguerite Soma memories)

In 1997, students at Ridgely Elementary School, 2040 N. Eighth St., interviewed former Ridgely teacher Marguerite Beechler Soma (1894-1997). Her reminiscences were compiled and published on the school’s Alumni Day web site (in fact, the site was dedicated to her). … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Education, Histories, Schools and school districts, Women | 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

Lincoln Tomb custodians, 1874-1975

Five men served as custodians of the Lincoln Tomb in the century from 1874, when the still-incomplete tomb was dedicated, and 1975, when tomb management was reorganized. They were: *John Carroll Power (1819-94), a Kentucky native and failed farmer, was … Continue reading

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‘Mary Todd Lincoln’ misnomer

In a Jan. 29, 2015, talk introducing her new book, Mary Lincoln: Southern Girl, Northern Woman, Stacy Pratt McDermott, assistant director/associate editor of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, listed 10 things she wanted her audience to know about Mary. No. … Continue reading

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Early farming changes (William Herndon description)

On Aug. 31, 1876, William Herndon, Abraham Lincoln’s last law partner and biographer, spoke to the ninth annual meeting of the Old Settlers of Sangamon County. Here is part of his speech that recounted the changes seen in farming techniques … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Early residents, Farming, Histories, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Sangamon County in 1837

The following description of Sangamon County is taken from Illinois in 1837: A Sketch by H.L. Ellsworth (Philadelphia, 1837); spelling and punctuation from the original. Note that, two years after this was written, the Illinois General Assembly reduced Sangamon County … Continue reading

Posted in Communities, Histories, Maps, Resources, Sangamon County, Sangamon River, Soil, Transportation | Leave a comment