Category Archives: Women

Widow’s letter, 1841

Letters recently acquired by the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library show how one Springfield widow struggled to make a living in the 1840s. The story of Dorothea Grant also illustrates how some employers treated their African-American servants at the … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Business, Early residents, Women | Leave a comment

Temperance movement, 1874

Springfield’s women’s temperance movement lost much of its momentum in 1874, after a (male) Methodist minister went out of his way to blame the local liquor trade on immigrant Germans and Irish. Doubly unfortunate for the crusading women, Rev. William … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Churches, Crime and vice, Ethnic groups, Hotels & taverns, Women | Leave a comment

Washington Hall, 1922-26

In the 1920s, the Washington Street Mission operated a rehabilitation center for young prostitutes in what now (2018) is the Chesapeake Seafood House. The facility closed in 1926, with no publicity and no explanation. Fifty years later, however, the mission’s … Continue reading

Posted in Churches, Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Prominent figures, Social services, Women | Leave a comment

Carrie Post King’s Daughters Home for Women

The Carrie Post King’s Daughters Home for Women opened on Oct. 7, 1895 with five women already in residence, room for four more, and a cow. It also had the support of hundreds of local church women, a unique force … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Prominent figures, Social services, Women | 4 Comments

‘Husband, dear husband’: poem by a legislative wife (pre-1881)

The nameless, uncredited poem below was printed in the 1881 History of Sangamon County, Illinois, printed by the Interstate Publishing Co. of Chicago. Here is all the History tells us about it: As is well known, the session of the … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Histories, Illinois capital, State government, Women | Leave a comment

Ridgely Elementary School, 1914-1926 (Marguerite Soma memories)

In 1997, students at Ridgely Elementary School, 2040 N. Eighth St., interviewed former Ridgely teacher Marguerite Beechler Soma (1894-1997). Her reminiscences were compiled and published on the school’s Alumni Day web site (in fact, the site was dedicated to her). … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Education, Histories, Schools and school districts, Women | 2 Comments

World War I memorial, First Street and North Grand Avenue

Sangamon County’s memorial to those who died in World War I sits, mysteriously, on a tiny lot at the southeast corner of First Street and North Grand Avenue. In a mish-mash of uncoordinated commemorations, however,  the corner as of October … Continue reading

Posted in Lincoln Tomb, Markers, Military, Prominent figures, Women | Leave a comment

‘Napkin social,’ First Methodist Church (1895)

The napkin above, printed in 1895, is a rare relic of a fundraising technique that was popular among women’s church groups in the late 19th century – “napkin socials.” The idea was that members of a group – in this … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Churches, Women | 1 Comment

Harry Taylor, first black firefighter, police detective

Harry Taylor (1861-1928) was Springfield’s first African-American firefighter, but became better known as a Springfield police officer and detective. Positions on both the police and fire departments were patronage appointments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Taylor was … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Crime and vice, Ethnic groups, Law enforcement, Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Women | Leave a comment

Brainerd Hill (West Lawrence Avenue)

Brainerd Hill, now Springfield’s favorite sledding spot, once was the ultimate challenge for the city’s competitive bicycle community. Springfield “wheelmen” organized the Capital City Cycling Club in the fall of 1887 to sponsor a variety of bicycling events, foster competition … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Parks, Prominent figures, Social life, Sports and recreation, Transportation, Women | 3 Comments