Category Archives: Women

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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Abortion murder trials, 1894

Was a Springfield doctor guilty of killing two women via botched abortions in 1893? Juries said no, but newspaper editorial writers disagreed. And despite the acquittals of Dr. John H. Lawrence, the boyfriend of one of the women was convicted … Continue reading

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Good Will Girls (1920s)

The Good Will Girls were the brainchild of a convicted con man, but they became the stars of a Springfield Chamber of Commerce bid to attract out-of-town shoppers in the 1920s. The chamber periodically sponsored car caravans to outlying communities … Continue reading

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The jelly-cake controversy of 1891

When Springfield shoe merchants J.F. Miller and P.P. Powell offered a grand piano as top prize in the jelly-cake bakeoff at the Sangamon Fair and Springfield Exposition in 1891, they expected a bushel of free publicity. They got more than … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Celebrations, Social life, Spectacles, Women | 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

First woman principals in Springfield public schools

Women served as principals in the Springfield public schools for the first time in the 1874-75 school year, but only following a debate in which some board members declared they opposed “so hazardous an experiment as the employment of lady … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Local government, Schools and school districts, Women | Leave a comment

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

Ruth Ellis, lesbian activist

Ruth Ellis was an openly lesbian woman at a time when that was almost unheard of, the first 40 years of her life in her hometown of Springfield and for 60 more years in Detroit. She became celebrated in 1999, … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Ethnic groups, Prominent figures, Women | Leave a comment

First woman dentist

Jennie F. Spurrier (1847-1912) was a dentist in Springfield beginning in 1877, making her the city’s first woman dentist and one of the earliest female dentists in the U.S. From what we know of her, she also seems to have … Continue reading

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‘Segregated district,’ 1909-15

In the early 20th century, the city of Springfield set aside a few square blocks where prostitutes were allowed to ply their trade without interference from police. The theory behind the quasi-legal “segregated district” was to keep the rest of … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Local government, Public health, Springfield Survey, Women | 1 Comment