Category Archives: Agriculture

Jerome Leland’s pigeons

In the early 20th century, Springfield hotel menus often included squab – breast of squab, “royal squab sur canape,” etc. But pigeons (the more common name for squab) made their way into the heart, not the stomach, of Jerome A. … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Animals, Buildings, Farming, Hotels & taverns, Parks, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

Strawbridge-Shepherd House

Thomas Strawbridge Jr. (1798-1880) was born in County Donegal, Ireland, one of seven children of Thomas and Jane Mitchell Strawbridge. Thomas’ mother died in May 1809, when Thomas was only 11 years old. The year following her death, the Strawbridge … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Architecture, Buildings, Early residents, Farming, Historic Sites, National Register, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Making bread, 1819

Even the most necessary tasks were a struggle for the first European residents of Sangamon County. Take baking bread, for instance, as described in the History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County (1876) by John Carroll Power (1819-94); the … Continue reading

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Joseph McCoy and the McCoy brothers

Joseph, William and James McCoy, in a sense, created the Wild West. The McCoys, three brothers from Cartwright Township, organized the original cattle drives and turned Abilene, Kansas, into the West’s first great cow town. A giant segment of American … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Business, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

James N. Brown, founder of Illinois State Fair

James N. Brown helped create the Republican Party in Illinois. He bred famous shorthorn cattle on a showplace farm that stretched across Sangamon and Morgan counties. He was the second person (behind Cyrus McCormick, but ahead of Jonathan Baldwin Turner … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Animals, Early residents, Environment, Farming, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

Leland Farm (1880)

The Leland Farm, 600-some acres on what today is Springfield’s near west side, supplied the Leland Hotel with the freshest of food for decades. The hotel operated at Sixth Street and Capitol Avenue from 1867 until 1970 (not counting a … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Business, Hotels & taverns, Restaurants | 2 Comments

Klever’s Model controversy (‘the hog case’)

The world of Poland China swine revolved around Williamsville in the 1890s, thanks to stockman George G. Council and his prize boar, Klever’s Model. When Council (1864-1944) put Klever’s Model up for sale in 1897, a syndicate made up of … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Animals, Farming, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

Sangamon Fair and Springfield Exposition, 1890

The Sangamon Fair and Springfield Exposition of 1890 would be “one of the grandest events in the way of a local fair that has ever been held in the state of Illinois,” the Illinois State Register proclaimed that August. Everybody … Continue reading

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Illinois State Fair settles in Springfield (1894)

An unelected board designated Springfield as the permanent site of the Illinois State Fair in 1894, after lawmakers spent 15 years proving they couldn’t do the job. From 1853, when the first state fair was held in Springfield, the show … Continue reading

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Osage orange (hedge apple)

The heyday of living fences on farms lasted less than 30 years. But Osage orange trees, descendants of fencerows planted as early as the 1840s, still line country roads and fill hedge lines throughout central Illinois. As the name suggests, … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Farming | 5 Comments