Category Archives: Histories

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

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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

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Sangamon County Historical Society

Historic preservation was the impetus for the founding of the Sangamon County Historical Society more than 50 years ago. Specifically, the founders wanted to preserve the Old State Capitol. The impetus came from members of the Springfield Historic Monuments Commission … Continue reading

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William Cullen Bryant’s travels in the Sangamon Country, 1832

In 1832, poet William Cullen Bryant (“Thanatopsis”), traveled from his home in Massachusetts to visit  his brothers in Jacksonville. He took the occasion also to travel briefly through Sangamon and what now is western Logan County into Tazewell County, where … Continue reading

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Wedding customs before the Civil War

Pre-Civil War weddings in Sangamon County had their peculiarities, often including macaroon pyramids and very early starting times, as Caroline Owsley Brown remembered in 1914. Here are Brown’s descriptions of some of those weddings. Barret/Johnson Miss Eliza Barret’s wedding at … Continue reading

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John Carroll Power (historian, Lincoln tomb custodian)

John Carroll Power (1819-94), was a historian as well as first custodian of the Lincoln Tomb. Born in Kentucky in 1819, Power “was brought up a farmer, but in later life, contrary to his early anticipations, became an author,” according … Continue reading

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Orange Judd buildings, Rochester

Buildings pictured in a 1918 collection, the Orange Judd Farmer Pictorial Community Album of Rochester Township and Village, are part of a walking tour created under sponsorship of the Rochester Historical Preservation Society. The Orange Judd Publishing Co. produced a … Continue reading

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1850s Springfield, in four mysterious paintings

The four paintings below show all four sides of the Springfield square in the late 1840s or early 1850s. They are unusual in two ways: their perspective, presumably from the cupola of what now is the Old State Capitol; and … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Historic Sites, Histories, Hotels & taverns, Illustrations, Maps, Photos and photosets, Prominent figures, Springfield, State government | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Research sources

While this list includes some of the more useful local history resources, it is by no means a complete catalog. Additional suggestions are welcome. Offline  Sangamon Valley Collection, third floor, Lincoln Library, Springfield. Vertical files organized topically, past city directories, … Continue reading

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library site (Fever River)

The site of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential  Library and Museum is one of five areas of Springfield that Fever River Research has studied exhaustively.  The resulting reports  are extraordinarily informative historical and archaeological analyses. Fever River Research says it “specializes … Continue reading

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