Category Archives: Early residents

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

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

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Newcomer-Bell Mill

The Newcomer-Bell Mill was on Sugar Creek in Woodside Township, on a site that today is covered by Lake Springfield south of Lindsay Bridge. William Southwick (1805-83)purchased the property on Dec. 6, 1830 and formed a partnership with Armon Lathrop … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Early residents, Industry, Mills | 5 Comments

Washington Iles, civic leader

Washington Iles (1800-71) was often overshadowed by his older brother, Elijah, Springfield’s pioneer merchant and civic leader. But Washington also was a respected, active citizen of the city. The brothers were in step with each other in many of their … Continue reading

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‘Huyler’s Ghost,’ a poem by ‘H.’,1832

“Huyler’s Ghost” is by an early Springfield poet whom scholar John Hallwas considers “the finest poet of the frontier, in not only Illinois but the entire Midwest.” The poet signed his works, which were printed in the Sangamo Journal from … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Arts and letters, Early residents, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

Pioneer women’s memories

For the 1879 meeting of the Old Settlers of Sangamon County, president Roland Diller read letters he had solicited from some of the county’s pioneer women. They were reprinted in the History of Sangamon  County, Illinois, published in 1881 by … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Children, Early residents, Family life, Women | 2 Comments

The Irish in early Springfield

There were Irish in Sangamon County before there was Sangamon County. When county commissioners  had to choose a temporary county seat in 1821, the only practical location was a scattering of squatter cabins near what today is First and Jefferson … Continue reading

Posted in Early residents, Irish | 3 Comments

Bee hunting, 1820s

Some of the earliest residents of Sangamon County were drawn here by people’s sweet tooth. Robert Pulliam, generally considered the first person of European descent to move permanently to the county, first visited the Sangamo County in search of maple … Continue reading

Posted in Early residents, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

Joseph Dickson, mountain man

In his 20s, Joseph Harrison Dickson (1775-1844) was one of the first “mountain men” whose fur-hunting journeys led the way for exploration of the American West. He met Daniel Boone, introduced John Colter (first European to explore the Yellowstone National … Continue reading

Posted in Churches, Early residents, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

The Cottage Garden

Springfield banker Nicholas Ridgely (1800-88) turned his love of plants and gardens into a business in 1849 when he started the Cottage Garden and Nursery in the area roughly bounded by 13th, 15th, Washington and Reynolds streets. Ridgely, who owned … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Buildings, Business, Early residents, Farming, Lincoln, Abraham, Prominent figures | Leave a comment