The Sangamon County Historical Society welcomes you

SangamonLink was created to put the rich history of Sangamon County — home of Abraham Lincoln and the capital of Illinois — at people’s fingertips.bridge

The Sangamon County Historical Society has worked since 1961 to preserve county history through publications, tours, donations and special projects. (Follow the link above to learn more about Society initiatives and membership.)

At bottom, however, history is always a work in progress, and SangamonLink is designed to recognize that evolution. The Society will be able to correct, amplify and add to this encyclopedia as needed, and people who want more information can follow links from individual entries here to additional sources elsewhere.

To find articles on individual topics, see the alphabetical indices (A-J, K-O and P-Z, above), or use the Search button, For a chronological view of Sangamon County’s development, see the Timeline. To see a list of some of the more important local history resources, both online and not, see Research sources.

We are  constantly adding to SangamonLink, and we welcome additional contributors. You do not have to be a professional historian or writer. Please see Writing for SangamonLink for guidelines and additional information.

Whether you’re curious about a specific topic or simply browsing, we hope you’ll find this archive both useful and illuminating. Comments, suggestions and corrections are encouraged. Thanks for visiting.

Follow SangamonLink: We’re on Twitter and Facebook.

Original content copyright Sangamon County Historical Society. You are free to republish this content as long as credit is given to the Society. Learn how to support the Society. 

64 Responses to The Sangamon County Historical Society welcomes you

  1. Matt Penning says:

    Congratulations! Great work and interesting stuff here. I look forward to delving more into the existing and future articles.

    I always remember the first day that the local NPR affiliate, then WSSR which became WSSU and is now WUIS, went on the air. All Things Considered featured a story by its newest station, and in the intro to the piece, the announcer said: “And now, from Sangamon State University” using a rather unusual to my ears pronunciation with the emphasis on the “a” in the middle. I still get a chuckle out of that.

  2. Dr Leslie Jack Fyans says:

    You are a blessing to all of us

  3. Nancy Chapin says:


    You’ve really done an incredible job! Congrats, and keep up the good work!!

  4. Chuck Stone says:


  5. editor says:

    Thanks to you all. Please keep reading.

  6. Andrew Trello says:

    Saw your page mentioned in the paper this morning. Congratulations! Keep up the good work!

  7. Debra Thompson says:

    I have really enjoyed the pieces I have read so far and look forward to returning to this site many times. Thank you so much for all of these fascinating glimpses into Springfield and Sangamon County history.

  8. Ray Trello says:

    Great job

  9. Interesting reading. Married to one of Colonel John Williams great,great,great grandsons.

    • editor says:

      Ms. Williams: There are connections to history all over. That’s one of the reasons this project has been so much fun. Thanks for reading.

  10. Fantastic news for the Historical Society. Mike will put Springfield and Sangamon County history on the map.

  11. Jeri Wright says:

    I would very much like it if someone would contact me regarding speaking to the ALL Today’s Topic group at LLCC. Either phone or e-mail is fine. Thank you very much.

  12. You and I have communicated once or twice, but never managed to meet face to face. Your article on Howarth is very informative. I am suprised that no one has ever mentioned him to me, although I do know people who knew Dr. Lee, whom you do quote. Good work.

    • editor says:

      Dr. Holden: Thanks very much for the compliment. Mayor Howarth, the first mayor I remember hearing about as a child, was a complicated, fascinating character. I know I haven’t done him justice. Thanks for reading.

  13. Jerry Jacobson says:

    Congratulations, Mike Kienzler, and all who help & contribute to the online encyclopedia, for winning a Superior Achievement award from the Illinois State Historical Society.

  14. Liz says:

    Are you going to do an entry on the Lauterbach axe murders? I am fascinated by it, but cannot find much information. I live not too far from 15th & So. Grand and pass the building when I’m headed to Dirksen and would love to find out more about what happened.

    • editor says:

      Liz: Yes, it definitely deserves an entry, but I’m not sure when it will get done. I don’t want the encyclopedia to lean too heavily on crime and mayhem, which would be really easy to let happen — especially because I gravitate to those entries too. So I try to blend topics and themes and stay balanced.

      On the other hand, one of the next entries is probably going to be the Paul Powell shoebox scandal; some things you just can’t get away from …

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting. I’ll try to move the Lauterbach killings up higher on the priority list.

  15. Liz says:

    I was an infant when it happened so any information other than the basics would be great. I love Springfield & Sangamon county history and have been surprised to read some entries.

  16. M. Doris {Hysler} McLaughlin says:

    This is a Surprise! Glad I found this site. Will return later.

  17. SFC (Ret) Kevin F. “Doc” Kirk says:

    I have a project that I am beginning. I would like to ask the assistance of your historian for it. Please reach out to me at your convenience. Thank you.


    WOW…this is impressive. Please add more. I hate to see it end with Mayor Davlin’s death. Thank you for doing!!!!
    Its the King’s Daughters Organization 125th Anniversary this year. It was incorporated June 6, 1893 and has been going strong ever since serving senior citizens. one more item you could add.

  19. Andy Wasilewski says:

    Dear Editor:

    I ran across an interesting article while doing amateur research for my story about Cantrall Illinois in the 40’s-60’s. I share this site with you in the event you may find it of interest, whether new info or old hat. In research of the earliest Cantrall settlers, I learned of the Edwards Trace which i find fascinating and yet very commonsense (Route 66 and I-55 basically follow this as best i can tell). But how did Levi Cantrall, the first recorded settler (along with his entourage) arrive at Cantrall about 3-5 miles west of the trace? This brings me to a bit of theory, given the website i discovered:
    June (Powers) Reilly, who i happened to have the pleasure of meeting on a few occasions, wrote about the “Chinkapin” trail. This could quite likely and logically refer to the location of the abandoned Chinquapin Bridge. Letting my mind wonder a bit, it seems there were more than one way out of Springfield and perhaps the Chinkapin trail was alternate route north. This routing could help explain why Levi settled West of Cantrall vs East. The water access is considerably better East than West…so, i dump this all in your lap to see if you find it of interest; and better yet, if you can offer critique or a clue to where my thinking could lead. P.S. i find your website extremely valuable to my work.

    • editor says:

      Andy: Chinkapin Road extended north of Springfield towards Cantrall, but I can’t find any connection to a longer Chinkapin Trail in Illinois, much less central Illinois. There are trails with that name in Missouri, Texas and apparently the Appalachians, but none around here. I think Chinkapin Road was simply a local name, perhaps borrowed by someone who was familiar with a pathway of the same title elsewhere. Thanks for the suggestion, though, and thanks for following SangamonLink.

  20. Sue Leka says:

    Thank you for your presentation on the Poor Farm, as I look out my kitchen
    window I have a view of the wall. I also attended a presentation that was given
    a few years back on the ordinance plant at Illiopolis , my thoughts was that not much info was given. The Illipolois library is full of info on war plant, as I have done some
    research for the family, regarding as to what buildings was on our family farms.

    • editor says:

      Ms. Leka: I’ve seen the material at the Illiopolis library. It indeed was very helpful when I wrote SangamonLink’s entry on the plant. You can read it here. I wasn’t involved with the SCHS presentation on the ordnance plant, but I’ve talked to quite a few people who thought it was useful. Thanks for the comment.

  21. Floyd Roy says:

    Where was Delmonicos restaurant located in early 1900’s Springfield il

    • editor says:

      Mr. Roy: I would have to take a look at city directories at Lincoln Library to give you a better answer, but it looks like the Delmonico operated in the 100 block of North Fifth Street from at least the mid-1890s until the mid-1900s. Newspaper articles and ads give exact addresses of 124, 126 and 128 N. Fifth; my guess is the restaurant took up several storefronts. The operator was William A. Stone.

  22. Gary Kreppert says:

    I am attempting to find an archive photo of the old Capitol City Motel located on Peoria Road and Ridgely Avenue (between Black Avenue and Ridgely) or maybe Ricardos Restaurant located just south of the motel.

  23. Wendy Diekema (Pella, Iowa) says:

    My ancestor, Malinda C. Bunn Cooper, died in Tazewell County on December 25, 1912. I believe she was born 1832 and arrived in Illinois in 1842 (10 years old). She married Jesse Beale Cooper Nov. 11, 1851 in Tazewell County and lived in Pekin, IL. Their daughter, Katherine (Kate) E. Cooper was born in the area and married Carlos (Carl) A. Scriven Nov. 28, 1878.

    I have not been able to find out who Malinda’s father and/or mother was. I would appreciate being pointed in the right direction if available. I plan to make a trip to the area to do some genealogy.

    • editor says:

      Ms. Diekema: As you’ve no doubt found, the Bunn family has been prominent in Springfield. But I’ve learned there are a lot of Bunns around the country, most of them unrelated to those in Springfield. For your research — unless you know of a Springfield/Sangamon County connection for Malinda — I’d suggest you start instead with the Tazewell and Peoria County genealogical societies. They both seem to be very active (the Sangamon County society folded a decade or more ago). I found their websites via Google.

      If you do have evidence that Malinda Bunn had Sangamon County connections, the starting point would be the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library, the municipal library of Springfield (it’s different from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). The phone number is 217-753-4900.

      Good luck.

  24. Mike: your article in the SJR published 11-11-2018 about Springfield’s celebration of the end of World War I was an excellent read. On a unrelated topic: there is a interesting book I have called “Country Schools of Sangamon County” which lists all the one-room or two-room country schools from about 1820 to 1961, and their status at the time the book was written. The Sangamon Valley Collection also has the book. You might want to check it out, might make for a good article for the SangamonLink.

  25. I made a new page: The Michael Kerasotes Family Historical History and I am working on filling it in on what all my grandparents told me and what I saw and what all me and my father and brother did despite the hate from my mother and that adopted girl who’s supposed to be banned from the internet and the whole rest of my supposed cousin dean and tony for writing lies about me and my father and family and our companies and they were all banned from Wikipedia by Wiki London on December 3, 2009 and I never did go back and change the Kerasotes Theatres Page on Here to cut out all their lies. They think they built up the company to the largest privately owned Motion Picture Theatre Organization and then took us down and threw my father out and stole all his theatres and they only owned 25% of a few corporations of ours and were not the people who built the company nor ran it nor improved it. That would be my grandfather and great uncle and my father and me and my dear little dead brother that Marge and Flora Beth disinherited us from and Robbie Blew His Brains out over it when they threw him out of the company GKC and she took over and ruined it all for us and them and my poor dead brother and father are all gone now and so is the wicked witch of a mother but not her adopted Bunn Girl who said she loved them and wouldn’t even bath her mother when she came to visit us in our Glass House at the Springs Country Club and my father banned her from ever coming back there and threw her out for her impertinance and selfishness and I just won’t go on about that anymore for I am writing to Wiki London to tell them about that for they are the ones who banned all the Kerasotes’s but me from Facebook and Wikipedia and the whole rest of the internet.

    With my sad regards I post this today,


    Michael Patrick Kerasotes

    May 19 2019 a Sunday Afternoon about 12:07 P.M. MY TIME HERE IN EVERETT, WASHINGTON, USA.

  26. Dear Mike:

    Here is a story my grandmother, great aunt Alice – her older sister, & my great aunt Golfo, the oldest sister told me long ago:

    from my notes to the Sangamon Historical Society:

    I have been writing and looking for photos for you all for our family.

    Would you like me to send some of the writing and some of the photos that you don’t seem to have on your page about our family – it is the story my grandmother Flora told me and my deceased brother about how the 3 girls had to hide under the back porch or veranda in Sparta when the Germans and the Turks hung the whole family many times … They hid under there to save their lives. All across the back of their hotel were their parents and grandparents and grand relatives because my great great great grandfather was head of the Army of Greece and the Germans and the Turks wanted him and my family wiped out of existence.
    Flora, the youngest, Alice, the middle girl child and my great aunt Golfo each told me this. I was requested to go to Sparta again in 1962, by Golfo, The Eldest. She could only speak Greek and I had 12 years in school studying ancient, classical and modern Greek, so, we could communicate the different types of stories and things that happened because of who they were.
    One was about when the Turks came to find the missing relatives, so, they had a cave in the mountains with an olive tree and other fruits and foods to get from nature and stay alive and hidden for 3 or months at a time – those 3 little girls.
    Let me know,
    Kindest Regards,
    Michael Patrick Kerasotes
    17 May 2019

    PS: I don’t know how to get the photos I took for you that are on my Michael Patrick Kerasotes Facebook Page and I’m trying to get them on the new page I made The Michael Patrick Kerasotes Family Landmark Values Page on my Facebook page but you can go and click on the link. I tried to upload it on your posts today, but it seemed to take forever and unfortunately the other personality left that I am trying to integrate so I can be the only one here – so is there someway to get them to you on here for I’ve lost my emails and their passwords during the war of the last two personalities – one was the body with all the memories and he integrated last December 28th, 2018.

    I would appreciate any help you can give me. Perhaps if I put or took the photos of the pages in black and white that I saved, I could send them to you sir. Let me know if that would work – otherwise you can read and copy paste any of my stuff from my Wiki page because they said I could send it to anyone (Copyrights are all free from my page – so no worries there). m

  27. Calico Jack says:

    Hi. I love history and I am interested in the history of my address in Springfield, but I am the single full time parent of a 5 year old. Are there any online resources by which I might find that history?

    • editor says:

      Jack: It’s harder online, but maybe not impossible. If you have a Lincoln Library card, you can use one of two databases that include the full text of the various Springfield newspapers starting in 1831.

      The first, NewsBank, is free to Lincoln Library cardholders. To get started, go to the library website,, click on eResources and look for “Newspapers and Periodicals.” If you aren’t a library subscriber, you can use GenealogyBank, which has the same database, but charges for use. It’s cheap — $7 or $8 for a month, as I recall.

      Once you’re logged on to either one, you can use your address or the name of your neighborhood as a search term. Likewise, if you know the names of any of the home’s former owners, you can search for them too.

      Hope this gets you started. Good luck.

  28. Elizabeth Rutherford says:


    There is one more resource that I am aware of:

    If you live in Capital Township, you will (most likely) be able to see your home the way it looked from 1967-present. Once you enter your address, under Action, select either Parcel Summary or Current Assessment. From there, go to Parcel Details, then Images. If your residence is not in Capital township, the only image you will have is a Property Record Card in .TIF format, which requires another program to open.

  29. William McCombs says:

    I’m looking for information on Illinois Foundry, Springfield Illinois. I found a manhole cover that reads Illinois Foundry Springfield Illinois. I was wondering about its history.

  30. William Travis Kelley, Jr. says:

    I’m looking to hire someone who does genealogy research to further explore my family tree. Anyone interested? Or can you refer me to someone?

    • Jeanne Neumann says:

      Good luck with that, William Travis Kelley Jr. My name is Jeanne L. Neumann. I am the daughter
      Of Ray Edward Kelley and descendent of Henry Kelley, Revolutionary Soldier, and James
      Kelley (Kelly), Civil War Soldier. I am also related to John and Elisha that built that.
      We’re the early settlers of Sangamon County.

  31. Janet Calisi says:

    How much is it to live at the Franciscan house in Springfield Illinois?

  32. Vicki Fisher says:

    Any source for newspapers and when they began publication? Specifically I am looking for newspapers in this area c1874.

    • editor says:

      Ms. Fisher: I know the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library has a list of Springfield newspapers and when they published. I suspect the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library (that’s the Springfield municipal library — I know the names are confusing) does as well. I would call one or both of those. Good luck.

  33. J. Hemphill says:

    In going through boxes at my parents’ house, I came across a badge from the Sangamon Ordnance Plant. I believe the person is my grandfather, but would like to verify. Is there an online source to check badge numbers?

    Thanks you for your time.

    • editor says:

      Mr./Ms. Hemphill: I don’t know of any such source. You could check with the Illiopolis/Niantic Public Library in Illiopolis (217-486-5561) to see if they have any such material, or any idea if that kind of resource exists anywhere else. Good luck, and thanks for reading.

  34. J. Wood says:


    I have a old photo book from the 1860’s to early 1900’s.
    It has names , dates and locations on a lot of the photos.
    They are all from around Springfield il and there are some
    From MO. How can I find out if they are of historical importance.

    Thanks for your help

    • editor says:

      Mr. Wood: Your best bet is to contact the Sangamon Valley Collection, the local history section of Lincoln Library (Springfield’s municipal library, not the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). The telephone number is (217) 753-4900, ext. 5634.

      Thanks for reading SangamonLink.

  35. Bob Brown says:

    Found your site while searching for information on the call up of the National Guard in 1916. My grandfather was with the 4th Illinois Infantry which mobilized for service on the Mexican border at the fairgrounds. If you have any further details on this episode and can direct me to them I’d greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

    • editor says:

      Mr. Brown: I haven’t done an entry on the border callup, but I’ve seen a lot of coverage in the Springfield papers while researching other stuff. I suggest you start your research there. The sites I use are and its sister, A lot of public libraries subscribe to NewsBank; if yours does, you usually can access NewsBank for free. Check with your library for procedures. If NewsBank isn’t available to you, GenealogyBank has exactly the same material, but there’s a small fee — I think it’s still something like $8 a month. Both the Illinois State Journal and Illinois State Register, Springfield’s daily newspapers in 1916, are readable and searchable on either site.
      You also can call the Sangamon Valley Collection, the local history collection at Lincoln Library, Springfield’s municipal library. They’re always really helpful. Phone 217-753-4900, ext. 5634.
      Thanks for reading, and good luck.

  36. Gary R Kreppert says:

    I have a relative in California who contacted me in her attempt to secure the SJR obit page from August 12, 1985. I attempted to search the newspaper’s own archives but my search was unsuccessful. Is there a simple way to secure this information…it is needed for a legal case.

  37. Dan Cothern says:

    great site

  38. Aakash says:

    That was a good documentary: “Sangamo Country: 200 Years of Sangamon County” – I didn’t realize how much rich history Sangamon County has, aside from Lincoln.

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  40. Bob Lee says:

    We have a large collection of very old Sangamo meters that GE had collected over the years. We are selling the old GE Meters plant and downsizing. Is there a local historic society that would be interested in the meters?

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  44. Frau S says:

    Re: Sacred Heart Church

    I loved the beautiful postcard from the 1920s, but I noticed there was a mistake in the description of it. In the photo, the words are „Gelobt, geliebt und angebetet sei ohne End Jesus Christus im allerheiligsten Sacrament“ which translates somewhat to „Praised, loved and adored be without end Jesus Christ in the all holiest Sacrament“.

    If that could be corrected, that would be wonderful! Thank you for putting together this site!

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