Category Archives: Agriculture

Price-Prather House, Williamsville (National Register)

Williamsville’s Price-Prather House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places partly for its architectural features, but the building’s early owners, especially J. Frank Prather (1859-1927), played major roles in development of the beef cattle industry in Sangamon County, … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Architecture, Buildings, Farming, Historic Sites, Prominent figures | 6 Comments

Sangamon County Farm Bureau

The Sangamon County Farm Bureau was organized on Oct. 13, 1917, with a membership of 300 farmers, each of whom pledged to donate $10 toward the hiring of a county soil adviser. Sangamon County’s action was part of a wave … Continue reading

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Corn husking competitions

Nearly 4,000 “farmers, farmers’ wives and children” jammed the grounds of the F.I. Taylor farm near New Berlin on Nov. 21, 1924, for the first annual Illinois State Corn Husking contest. The competition, sponsored by Prairie Farmer magazine, continued into … Continue reading

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DICKEY-john Corp.

Auburn-based DICKEY-john Corp. got its start in 1960, when Chatham-area farmer Robert Dickey was in the hospital recuperating from a lawn-mower accident that had cost him his right eye. One of his visitors was a minister. “In talking about farming, … Continue reading

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First radio weather report (Illiopolis, 1915)

What apparently was the first weather report ever transmitted by radio was a test sent from an experimental station based in Illiopolis sometime in April 1915. Although the Illiopolis transmitter, operating on call letters 9ZK, reached most of Illinois, the … Continue reading

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Illinois State Fair butter cow

The Illinois State Fair’s first butter cow, sculpted in 1922, was the image of an actual champion cow, the University of Illinois’ Raleigh’s Sibyl. Raleigh’s Sibyl produced 18,847 pounds of milk in 1920, a record at the time. Nebraska sculptor … Continue reading

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Sangamon Ordnance Plant

Dozens of seemingly out-of-place structures dot farm fields west of Illiopolis, the last reminders of what once was one of the U.S.’s largest producers of World War II artillery ammunition. From 1942 to 1945, the Sangamon Ordnance Plant produced 24 … Continue reading

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Early farming changes (William Herndon description)

On Aug. 31, 1876, William Herndon, Abraham Lincoln’s last law partner and biographer, spoke to the ninth annual meeting of the Old Settlers of Sangamon County. Here is part of his speech that recounted the changes seen in farming techniques … Continue reading

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Soybeans

Soybeans, now the second-leading crop in Sangamon County (as they are in most of the Midwest), became a staple on county farms in the 1920s. The increase in soybean production already had been dramatic, but it had started from a … Continue reading

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Spaulding (village)

The village of Spaulding, off Illinois 54 east of Springfield, got its name from a mammoth nursery and orchard. In central Illinois, the name Spaulding today is synonymous with Lake Springfield and City Water, Light and Power. But before Willis … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Business, Coal mines and mining, Communities, Farming, Prominent figures | 4 Comments