Category Archives: Journalism

Jesse L. McCoy, WWII “daggerman”

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Jesse L. McCoy of Springfield converted a ceremonial sword once used by a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows into a couple of daggers. By the time he and World War II were finished, … Continue reading

Posted in Journalism, Media, Military, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Springfield postal service/postmasters

Receiving mail was a hit-or-miss proposition before Springfield got its first post office, and it wasn’t a picnic afterwards, either. The Springfield post office will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2023. The first postmaster was pioneer storekeeper Elijah Iles. The … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Communications, Journalism, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Springfield looks ahead: 1869

As 1869 began, the Illinois State Journal saw Springfield as a growing, prosperous and busy community. And the future looked even brighter: Two coal mines had just opened, plans had been drawn up for a new state Capitol, and the … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Industry, Journalism, Media, Resources | Leave a comment

German newspapers

German-language newspapers came and went for more than 60 years in Springfield. Abe Lincoln even had a hand in one. But the Staats Wochenblatt had staying power. German immigration to the U.S. took off after the failure of the German … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Communications, Ethnic groups, Germans, Journalism, Lincoln, Abraham, Media, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Stray dog eradication, 1935

Hoping to stop a rabies epidemic, authorities declared open season on stray dogs in Sangamon County in 1935. Police and dog catchers killed hundreds of dogs that year in what one Illinois State Journal headline called a “brutal” eradication campaign. … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Journalism, Local government, Media, Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health | Leave a comment

Tapeworms and medical fraud, 1884

Dr. George Kreider “hates quacks as the devil hates holy water,” the Illinois State Register said in 1884, but he almost met his match in an 87-foot tapeworm. George N. Kreider (1856-1922) was a leader among Springfield physicians in the … Continue reading

Posted in First Citizens, Journalism, Law enforcement, Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Edward L. Baker (editor, diplomat)

As a newsman, Edward L. Baker delivered two of the biggest stories of the 19th century to Springfield. As a diplomat, Baker was too good to remove, no matter which party controlled the federal government. “Ned” Baker (1829-97) was only … Continue reading

Posted in Communications, Journalism, Lincoln, Abraham, Media, Oak Ridge signs, Politics, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

Rees Memorial Carillon

Before the Springfield Park Board could build a carillon in Washington Park, it had to answer two questions: how many bells would it hold, and what kind would they be? When newspaper publisher Thomas Rees died in 1933, he left … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Communications, Journalism, Local government, Parks, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Mumblety-peg slaying, 1889

Theophilus “Moonlight” Waldron was a 15-year-old orphan, living on the streets and by his wits, when he stabbed to death a man over a game of mumblety-peg. Waldron (1874-?) was sentenced to life in prison for murder, a judgement many … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Crime and vice, Journalism, Law enforcement, Media | 1 Comment

Harry Lane, ‘boss gambler’

Chester M. “Harry” Lane was Springfield’s gambling kingpin at the turn of the 20th century, apparently with the connivance of police, city officials, and the courts. He stepped down in the mid-1900s, after a fatal shooting, the election of a … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Journalism, Law enforcement, Media, Politics, Prominent figures | 1 Comment