Category Archives: Agriculture

Wheeland Haven, Riverton

In the early 1900s, in the midst of coal mines and cornfields east of Riverton, was a 17-acre oasis of beauty — Wheeland Haven, the home of Olive Black Wheeland and her husband Cyrus. Cyrus Wheeland was a farmer, grain … Continue reading

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Sangamon County farm statistics, 1860

The 1860 federal census of agriculture for Sangamon County reported the county had 2,237 farms encompassing a total of 379, 512 acres.  The average farm size was about 170 acres. County residents owned 12,607 horses, 8,121 milk cows, 17,363 beef … Continue reading

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Adams Wildlife Sanctuary

The Adams Wildlife Sanctuary in the 2300 block of Clear Lake Avenue was donated to the Illinois Audubon Society by Margery Adams, whose family had owned the property for more than 100 years. Margery Adams (1897-1983) lived in the home on … Continue reading

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Black farmers at Chinkapin Hill

Chinkapin Hill was the colloquial name for an area northwest of Springfield that was settled starting in the 1830s by a cluster of African-American farmers. Curtis Mann profiled the Chinkapin Hill settlement in the Sangamon County Historical Society’s newsletter, Historico, … Continue reading

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Cornelius Flagg Farmstead, Sherman

                                                  Flagg Farmstead, 2013 (SCHS photo) The Flagg Farmstead , 500 Old Tipton Road in Sherman … Continue reading

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Illinois State Fair

The first two Illinois State Fairs, in 1853 and 1854, were held in Springfield at what originally was the Sangamon County Fairgrounds. (The area is now occupied by DuBois Elementary School and Sacred Heart-Griffin High School.) The fair moved around … Continue reading

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Sangamon County Fair

Corrected entry; see below — ed. What essentially was the first Sangamon County Fair was an exhibition held Oct. 22, 1835, under sponsorship of the Sangamon County Agricultural Society. Winners at the first show were: John Todd and J.M. Shackleford, … Continue reading

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Sangamon County farm memories

The Audio-Video Barn of the Illinois State Museum was created to collect oral histories about Illinois agriculture. The 130 “Stories from the Barn” include 18 by Sangamon County residents. They can be seen and heard as outlined below. Transcripts (.pdf … Continue reading

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Spaulding Orchard

The Spaulding family, starting with J. B. Spaulding, grandfather of Willis and Charles Spaulding and Maydie Spaulding Lee, at various times owned several orchards around Springfield. The village of Spaulding, next to Riverton, “got its railroad station because of the … Continue reading

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Utopian Socialism in Sangamon County

A brief experiment in the 1840s near Loami brought the ideals of “utopian socialism” to Sangamon County. The experiment, called the Sangamon Association and then the Integral Phalanx, was based on the ideas of Charles Fourier. He believed in creating … Continue reading

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