Category Archives: Farming

Corn husking competitions

Nearly 4,000 “farmers, farmers’ wives and children” jammed the grounds of the F.I. Taylor farm near New Berlin on Nov. 21, 1924, for the first annual Illinois State Corn Husking contest. The competition, sponsored by Prairie Farmer magazine, continued into … Continue reading

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DICKEY-john Corp.

Auburn-based DICKEY-john Corp. got its start in 1960, when Chatham-area farmer Robert Dickey was in the hospital recuperating from a lawn-mower accident that had cost him his right eye. One of his visitors was a minister. “In talking about farming, … 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

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Soybeans

Soybeans, now the second-leading crop in Sangamon County (as they are in most of the Midwest), became a staple on county farms in the 1920s. The increase in soybean production already had been dramatic, but it had started from a … Continue reading

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Spaulding (village)

The village of Spaulding, off Illinois 54 east of Springfield, got its name from a mammoth nursery and orchard. In central Illinois, the name Spaulding today is synonymous with Lake Springfield and City Water, Light and Power. But before Willis … Continue reading

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Adams Wildlife Sanctuary

The Adams Wildlife Sanctuary in the 2300 block of Clear Lake Avenue was donated to the Illinois Audubon Society by Margery Adams, whose family had owned the property for more than 100 years. Margery Adams (1897-1983) lived in the home on … Continue reading

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Black farmers at Chinkapin Hill

Chinkapin Hill was the colloquial name for an area northwest of Springfield that was settled starting in the 1830s by a cluster of African-American farmers. Curtis Mann profiled the Chinkapin Hill settlement in the Sangamon County Historical Society’s newsletter, Historico, … Continue reading

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Illinois State Fair

The first two Illinois State Fairs, in 1853 and 1854, were held in Springfield at what originally was the Sangamon County Fairgrounds. (The area is now occupied by DuBois Elementary School and Sacred Heart-Griffin High School.) The fair moved around … Continue reading

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Sangamon County Fair

Corrected entry; see below — ed. What essentially was the first Sangamon County Fair was an exhibition held Oct. 22, 1835, under sponsorship of the Sangamon County Agricultural Society. Winners at the first show were: John Todd and J.M. Shackleford, … Continue reading

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Sangamon County farm memories

The Audio-Video Barn of the Illinois State Museum was created to collect oral histories about Illinois agriculture. The 130 “Stories from the Barn” include 18 by Sangamon County residents. They can be seen and heard as outlined below. Transcripts (.pdf … Continue reading

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