Category Archives: Sangamon County

Old Capitol restoration, 1960s

Before the Old State Capitol was restored to the way it looked in the 1850s, the building housed Springfield’s public restrooms. You could tell by the odor. Earl “Wally” Henderson (1931-2016), co-founder with Don Ferry of the Ferry & Henderson … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, First Citizens, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Local government, Museums, National Register, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, State government | Leave a comment

Sangamon County Courthouse raised, 1899

It took a crew of 80 men to raise the Sangamon County Courthouse 11 feet in 1899, working at a rate of eight inches a day. County offices and courts had occupied the building – today’s Old Capitol State Historic … Continue reading

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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

Family life at the Sangamon County Poor Farm

My grandparents on my mother’s side, Charles and Amy Reed, were superintendent and matron of the Sangamon County Poor Farm from 1915 to 1927. They had eight children, and my mother was the youngest. They moved into the poor farm … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Family life, Sangamon County | 3 Comments

Hangings in Sangamon County, 1826-1927

  Sangamon County put to death seven men, all convicted of murder, between 1826, five years after the county was established, and 1927, when a new state law required executions to be carried out in state prisons. Those hanged were: … Continue reading

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The whipping post, 1828-37

A whipping post stood permanently on the northeast corner of Springfield’s public square from 1828 to 1837. It apparently was used infrequently, but often enough that whippings stuck in the minds of those who saw them. The post – which … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Early residents, Illinois capital, Law enforcement, Local government, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Women’s vote history, Sangamon County

Following the Civil War, Illinoisans decided their state constitution needed updating. Delegates met in Springfield from December 1869 until May 1870, and one of the issues they debated was whether to allow universal suffrage. The 15th amendment to the U.S. … Continue reading

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Annie Rheem Hannon (first woman elected to public office)

The first woman to hold an elective office in Sangamon County was Annie Rheem Hannon (1857-1945), who served from 1892 to 1894 as county superintendent of schools – a position for which neither she, nor any other woman, could cast … Continue reading

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Last execution in Sangamon County

The last person executed in Sangamon County went to the gallows with a new suit, a plucky attitude and one last request – no women were permitted to witness his hanging. James Hayes (1898?-1927) was put to death shortly after … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Sangamon County | 2 Comments

Sangamon County Jail conditions, 1847 (Dorothea Dix)

Social reformer Dorothea Dix wrote the following letter – Dix characterized similar communications as “memorials” — to the Sangamo Journal and Illinois State Register on Feb. 19, 1847. It was published in the March 4, 1847 edition of the Journal. … Continue reading

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