Category Archives: Military

Fourth of July, 1921

Springfield residents celebrated the Fourth of July 100 years ago with picnics, sports and reenactment of the World War I battle of Chateau Thierry. There was no single community fireworks show, but a showy sunset, caused by a dust and … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Celebrations, Military, Social life, Spectacles | Leave a comment

Leroy Key, Andersonville hero

Leroy Key made his mark in history as a prisoner of war. Key died in Springfield in 1880, possibly because of aftereffects of the time he spent in the horrific Confederate prisoner-of-war camp at Andersonville, Ga., during the Civil War. … Continue reading

Posted in Military, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

First Civil War combat death

Updated: See “The case for Elmer Ellsworth,” below. The first Sangamon County resident to die as a result of combat in the Civil War was a carpenter from Springfield. Heaton Hill, about 28, was shot during the siege of Lexington, … Continue reading

Posted in Military | 2 Comments

First European buried in Sangamon County

The first European to die in Sangamon County apparently was a U.S. Ranger enlisted to help protect early European settlers from Native Americans during the War of 1812. The man, probably named William Hewitt, was shot in an unprovoked scuffle … Continue reading

Posted in Historic Sites, Histories, Markers, Military, Native Americans, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Luann McDaniel, Valley Forge nurse

Of more than 50 Revolutionary War veterans thought to be buried in Sangamon County, Luann McDaniel is the only woman. According to family tradition, McDaniel (1759-1850) acted as a nurse at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78. Her husband, … Continue reading

Posted in Early residents, Markers, Military, Women | Leave a comment

Earle Baker Perce, Antarctic explorer

Perce Point, a headland on an island on the west edge of Antarctica, commemorates a Williamsville man’s role in exploring some of the last unknown places on earth. Earle Baker Perce (1910-68) was a U.S. Navy radioman and pilot when … Continue reading

Posted in Air travel, Military, Prominent figures, Science | Leave a comment

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

World War I memorial (new)

An obelisk bearing the names of 113 Sangamon Countians who died of wounds or disease in World War I was created in the early 2000s by John Kerasotes, a member of Springfield’s pioneering movie theater family. Kerasotes, however, remained anonymous, … Continue reading

Posted in Historic Sites, Local government, Markers, Military, Sangamon County, Women | Leave a comment

Lincoln Library and World War I

World War I doughboys wanted reading material – “good red-blooded fiction” and more – and they got it with the help of Springfield’s Lincoln Library. But a small box stored for almost a century in the Sangamon Valley Collection, the … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Military | Leave a comment

Maj. George W. Ford (Camp Butler superintendent)

Maj. George W. Ford was a rarity – an African-American who held a supervisory position in early 20th-century Sangamon County. Ford (1847-1939) also was an outspoken opponent of the Ku Klux Klan and racism, a friend of both W.E.B. DuBois … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Ethnic groups, Military, Prominent figures | 2 Comments