Monthly Archives: December 2020

New Year’s 1921

What was on the minds of Sangamon County residents for New Year’s 1921? Potholes. For its special New Year’s coverage on Sunday, Jan. 2, 1921, the Illinois State Journal asked 47 “prominent citizens” (not surprisingly for the time, all were … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Celebrations, Journalism, Law enforcement, Local government, Prominent figures, Social life, Transportation | Leave a comment

‘Horner Highway’ and highway beautification, 1934

The Horner Highway north of Springfield was one of the first examples of natural highway beautification in the nation. Horner Highway, named after Gov. Henry Horner, ran along today’s Illinois 29 from Springfield to the junction with today’s Illinois 123 … Continue reading

Posted in Lincoln, Abraham, Markers, State government, Transportation, Uncategorized, Women | 3 Comments

Fairview, home of William H. Herndon

The property where William Herndon compiled much of his biography of Abraham Lincoln never became a state park, but part of the house where Herndon worked still overlooks the Sangamon River north of Springfield. Herndon (1818-91) was Lincoln’s third and … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Buildings, Lincoln, Abraham, Oak Ridge signs, Prominent figures, State government | 5 Comments

Carl Vandagrift, baseball player/manager

Carl Vandagrift, the only Cantrall native to play major-league baseball, played for or managed at least 10 minor-league teams before he died at age 37. Vandagrift’s big-league career amounted to only 43 games in the short-lived Federal League, which challenged … Continue reading

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Cornfield shootout, 1914

The robbery of a general store near Chatham on Christmas Eve 1914 climaxed in a cornfield shootout that killed one of the bandits and wounded two of his pursuers. Newspaper accounts of the incident read like a movie script, complete … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Law enforcement | 2 Comments

Polio vaccinations, 1955 and 1964

First- and second-graders topped the priority list when local public health officials prepared to deliver the first polio vaccinations in 1955. The program was a success, despite an unplanned delay in scheduled “booster” shots. Children were among those most susceptible … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Medicine, Public health, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First European buried in Sangamon County

The first European to die in Sangamon County apparently was a U.S. Ranger enlisted to help protect early European settlers from Native Americans during the War of 1812. The man, probably named William Hewitt, was shot in an unprovoked scuffle … Continue reading

Posted in Historic Sites, Histories, Markers, Military, Native Americans, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Courting and marriage in early Illinois

Speaking to the 1873 meeting of the Old Settlers of Sangamon County, former Gov. John Palmer remembered the process of courting and marriage when he arrived in Illinois in the 1830s. From the 1881 History of Sangamon County; together with … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Celebrations, Early residents, Family life, Prominent figures, Social life | Leave a comment

Child charged with ‘depraved’ crime (1894)

When two itinerant horse traders were charged in 1894 with “a nameless crime” – apparently sodomy and child sexual abuse – their presumed victim, a seven-year-old boy, went to jail as well. “The details of the story are too indecent … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Crime and vice | Leave a comment