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History of Illinois
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- Adams -- Alexander -- Bond -- Boone -- Brown -- Bureau -- Calhoun -- Carroll -- Cass -- Champaign -- Christian -- Clark -- Clay -- Clinton -- Coles -- Cook -- Crawford -- Cumberland -- De Witt -- DeKalb -- Douglas -- DuPage -- Edgar -- Edwards -- Effingham -- Fayette -- Ford -- Franklin -- Fulton -- Gallatin -- Greene -- Grundy -- Hamilton -- Hancock -- Hardin -- Henderson -- Henry -- Iroquois -- Jackson -- Jasper -- Jefferson -- Jersey -- Jo Daviess -- Johnson -- Kane -- Kankakee -- Kendall -- Knox -- La Salle -- Lake -- Lawrence -- Lee -- Livingston -- Logan -- Macon -- Macoupin -- Madison -- Marion -- Marshall -- Mason -- Massac -- McDonough -- McHenry -- McLean -- Menard -- Mercer -- Monroe -- Montgomery -- Morgan -- Moultrie -- Ogle -- Peoria -- Perry -- Piatt -- Pike -- Pope -- Pulaski -- Putnam -- Randolph -- Richland -- Rock Island -- Saint Clair -- Saline -- Sangamon -- Schuyler -- Scott -- Shelby -- Stark -- Stephenson -- Tazewell -- Union -- Vermilion -- Wabash -- Warren -- Washington -- Wayne -- White -- Whiteside -- Will -- Williamson -- Winnebago -- Woodford -
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Local History Notes:
The 1854 Gazetteer of the United States by Thomas Baldwin shows:
ILLINIOS, one of the Western United States, is bounded on the N. by Wisconsin; E. by Lake Michigan and Indiana, from the last of which it is partly separated by the Wabash river; S. by the Ohio river, which separates it from Kentucky; and S. W. and W. by Missouri and Iowa, from which it is separated by the Mississippi river. It lies between 37° and 42° 30' N. lat., and between 87° 30' and 91° 40' W. lon., being about 380 miles in extreme length from N. to S., and about 200 in its greatest, and 140 miles in its average breadth, including 55,405 square miles, or 35,459,200 acres, of which only 5,175,173 acres were improved in 1850, showing an immense capacity for increase of population in this exuberantly fertile state, which has scarcely any soil uncultivable.
Population: There were in Illinois 12,282 inhabitants in 1810; 55,211 in 1820; 157,445 in 1830; 476,183 in 1840, and 851,470 in 1850, of whom 445,644 were white males, 400,460 females; 2756 colored males, and 2610 females. The ratio of increase in Illinois in the last ten years preceding 1850 was nearly 79 per cent., notwithstanding there were in other states about 50,000 citizens born in Illinois. This population was divided among 149,153 families, occupying 146,544 dwellings. Of the entire population, only 343,618 were born in the state; 393,313 in other states of the Union; 18,628 in England; 27,786 in Ireland; 4661 in Scotland; 572 in Wales; 10,699 in British America; 88,160 in Germany; 3396 in France: 6691 in other countries, and 3947 whose places of birth were unknown. In the year ending June 1, 1850, 797 paupers had received support, of whom 411 were foreigners; and 11,619 died, or about 14 in every 1000 persons. According to the census of 1850, there were 475 deaf and dumb, of whom 2 were colored; 257 blind, of whom 4 were colored; 249 insane, of whom 3 were colored, and 371 idiotic, of whom 3 were colored.
Counties: Illinois has 100 counties, viz. Adams, Alexander, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Case, Champaign, Christian, Clarke, Clay, Clinton, Coles, Cook, Crawford, Cumberland, De Kalb, De Witt, Du Page, Edgar, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Gallatin, Greene, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lawrence, Lee, Livingston, Logan, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Massac, Mason, Menard, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Platt, Pike, Pope, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Richland, Rock Island, St. Clair, Saline, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Union, Vermilion, Wabash, Warren, Washington, Wayne, White, Whitesides, Will, Williamson, Winnebago, and Woodford. Capital, Springfield.
Cities and Towns: Illinois has a number of thriving towns, and so rapidly do they increase, that the census of 1850 will be in many cases far below the truth; but for want of other reliable information, we must adhere to it. Chicago is the largest city, population, 29,963, (said to be 50,000 in 1853 ;) Quincy, 6901; Galena, 6004; Peoria, 5562; Springfield, 4533, and Alton, 3875; besides Peru, Rock Island, Bridge Prairie, Waukegan, Belleville, Jacksonville, Joliet, Elgin, St. Charles, and many other flourishing villages.
Fact of the Country: Illinois is generally a table-land, elevated from 350 to 800 feet above the level of the Gulf of Mexico, with a general inclination from N. to S., as indicated by the course of the rivers. This state, generally speaking, may be characterized as level, though there are elevated bluffs on the Illinois river, and still higher ones on the Mississippi. There is a small tract of hilly country in the S., and in the N. W. is a good deal of broken land. Many of the prairies are quite small, but others are very large; among the latter is Grand Prairie, extending from Jackson county, in a N. E. direction, to Iroquois county, and varying in width from 1 to 12 miles, and even more. This is probably the highest land between the Mississippi and the Wabash. The prairie is everywhere skirted with wood, and on its border is a circle of settlements, which have been here located on account of the timber. The prairies are interspersed with groups of trees, but the timber is generally sparse on them, which, however, seems not to arise from any thing unfavorable in the soil, but from the annual burning of the prairie grass; for where this is prevented, a forest of young trees speedily springs up, and farmers are thus enabled to proceed inward with settlements, as it were, tier after tier. The prairies are not generally flat, but gracefully undulating, and profusely decked with the greatest variety of beautiful wild flowers of every hue, which ravish the beholder with delight.
Minerals: Illinois has within her limits a largo portion of the great lead region, which she shares with Iowa and Wisconsin. Galena, in the N. W. part of the state, is almost wholly supported by trade in this mineral. More than 13,000,000 pounds have been smelted (including Wisconsin) in one year. Bituminous coal occurs in almost every county, and may be often obtained without excavation. Vast beds are found in the bluffs adjacent to the American Bottom. A bed of anthracite coal is reported to have been discovered in Jackson county. Copper abounds in the N. part on Plum creek, and on the Peckatonica river. It has also been found in Jackson and Monroe counties. Iron is found in the southern part, and is said to be abundant in the north. Lime, zinc, some silver, (reported in St. Clair county,) marble of a fine quality, freestone, gypsum, and quartz crystals are the other minerals. There are salt springs in Gallatin, Jackson, and Vermilion counties, leased by the state. Medicinal springs, chiefly sulphur and chalybeate, are found in various parts, and one especially, in Jefferson county, is much resorted to. In the southern part of the state is one strongly impregnated with Epsom salts. Others of medicinal properties are found between Ottawa and Peru.
Rivers: The rivers of Illinois have generally cut channels through the table-land or plain which they drain, presenting precipitous bluffs, sometimes close to the river's brink, and at other times leaving an alluvion bottom between the river and the bluffs. The Mississippi coasts the entire western, and the Ohio river the entire southern boundary, giving the state commercial access to the great valleys bearing the names of their respective rivers. The Illinois river is formed by the Kankakee from Indiana, and the Des Plaines from Wisconsin, in the N. E. of the state, and crossing the middle of the state after a course of 500 miles, empties itself into the Mississippi. The Rock river rises in Wisconsin, and the Kaskaskia in the middle of Illinois; both flow S. W. into the Mississippi. The Sangamon empties itself into the Illinois 80 miles above its mouth, after a westerly course of about 200 miles. The Kankakee from Indiana, and the Des Plaines and Fox from Wisconsin, are the sources of the Illinois, which has a number of smaller tributaries. The Wabash, which receives the waters that drain the E, part of the state, forms the E. boundary far more than 100 miles. Lake Michigan bounds the state on the N. E. for 60 miles, and adds greatly to its commercial importance. Lake Peoria, an expansion of the Illinois river, near the middle of the state, and Lake Pishtaka, in the N. E., are the only other lakes of any importance. The Illinois has a sluggish current, and in time of freshets the waters of the Mississippi back up into it for 70 miles. It is navigable for steamboats 260 miles, and at high water boats proceed beyond the rapids above the Vermilion river. The Rock river has obstructions near its mouth, but, notwithstanding, both it and the Kaskaskia, as well as the Sangamon and Spoon, are navigable for a considerable distance at high water by steamboats, and still higher for small boats. The Wabash is navigable for steamboats beyond the point where it first touches the Illinois boundary. The rivers flowing into the Wabash from Illinois are the Vermilion, Embarras, and Little Wabash, having courses of from 100 to 150 miles. The Embarras is navigable for keel-boats.
Objects of Interest to Tourists: Though Illinois presents but few bold or very striking features to the view of the traveller, she is not without her objects of interest to the lover of nature. Her wide-spread prairies, decked with flowers of every hue that can gratify the eye, and covered with waving grass, convey, besides their quiet landscape beauty, a feeling of sublimity from their vastness, similar to that created by viewing the ocean; and perhaps no natural objects in our country would more strike the European than our prairies?especially the Grand Prairie, which has already been referred to. The river bluffs inspire the same sense of rugged grandeur as mountains, though in a less degree. The most remarkable of these are on the Mississippi, and are from 100 to 400 feet high. Fountain Bluff, on the Mississippi river, in Jackson county, is of an oval shape, 6 miles in circuit, and 300 feet high. The top is full of sinkholes. Starved Rock, and Lover's Leap are each eminences on the Illinois river. The former is a perpendicular mass of lime and sandstone, 8 miles below Ottawa, and 150 feet above the river. It received its name from a band of Illinois Indians having taken refuge here, who, being surrounded by the Pottowatomies, all died, not of starvation, but of thirst. Lover's Leap is a ledge of precipitous rocks, some distance above Starved Rock. On the other side of the river, and nearly opposite to the Lover's Leap, is Buffalo Rock, 100 feet high, precipitous next the river, but sloping inland. Hither the Indians formerly drove the buffalo, and frightening them by shouts, caused them to crowd each other over the precipice. The Cave in the Rock, in Hardin county, on the banks of the Ohio, presents, as you approach it, the appearance of a vast mass of rocks, some resembling castellated ruins, and others jutting out irregularly in a variety of forms. The entrance of the cave, which is but little above the bed of the river, is a semicircle, 80 feet wide and 25 feet high. The cave ascends gradually from its entrance to the extreme limit, 180 feet back from the mouth. A small opening leads into a second cave, whose dimensions are not known. This cave was in 1797 the abode of a band of robbers, who sallied out to rob the unfortunate boatmen and emigrants. it has since been the abode of other bands of robbers. The miners, in sinking their shafts in the lead region, often come upon caverns at the depth of 40, 70, and even 100 feet, which present brilliant specimens of stalactites, stalagmites, and other varieties of calcareous spar, and resemblances of leaves, birds, animals, &c. in some caves, sulphate of lime, in different crystallized forms, is found. Near Cahokia is a mound 2000 feet in circumference and 90 feet high. There is great inducement for the sportsman to visit Illinois to shoot the prairie hen, a species of pheasant or grouse, and to fish for trout in the clear streams of Northern Illinois: For Springs, see Minerals.
Climate, Soil, and Productions. ?Illinois, extending through more than 5° of longitude, has considerable variety of climate. Though somewhat milder than the Atlantic States in the same parallels of latitude, there is great irregularity in the seasons. Generally there will not fall six inches of snow at one time, which does not lie more than a few days, but at distant intervals the rivers are frozen for two or three months, and the snow lies for as long a period. The summers are hot, but mitigated by the fresh breezes from the prairies. During 15 years, peach-trees blossomed from March 25th to April 20th, and apple-trees from April lot to May 3d. In the same period the earliest frost was September 17th, but sometimes there is none till near the end of October. The southern part, of course, has a milder climate than the northern. Cattle often are unhoused during the whole winter. The meteorological table kept at Muscatine, Iowa, (which see,) will perhaps he a fair average representation of the temperature of Illinois. In agricultural capabilities Illinois is unsurpassed, if equalled, by any state in the American confederacy. In some of her river bottoms the soil is 25 feet deep, and the upland prairies are but little inferior in fertility. The Great American Botton, lying on the Mississippi, between the mouths of the Kaskaskia and the Missouri rivers, is of exceeding fertility, and has been cultivated for 100 years without apparent deterioration. This bottom is about 80 miles in length, covering an area of 288,000 acres. On the river side is a strip of heavy timber, with dense underwood, which extends for 2 or 3 miles. The rest is mostly prairie to the eastern limit, which is terminated by a chain of sandy or rocky bluffs from 50 to 200 feet high. This fine region is, however, not healthy, though probably capable of being made so by drainage. The Rock river country is another highly fertile district on the Rock river and its branches. Of the same character are the regions about the Sangamon, Kaskaskia, and other rivers. Other regions of Illinois are fertile; but those mentioned pre-eminently so, producing not unfrequently 40 bushels of wheat and 100 of Indian corn to the acre. This is especially true of the narrow river bottoms immediately adjacent to their banks. The prairies of this state are peculiarly favorable to the raising of stock and the productions of the dairy. Illinois stands third in the absolute amount of Indian corn raised in the states of the Union; but, first, if we regard population and the number of acres under cultivation. The other agricultural staples are wheat, oats, Irish potatoes, hay, butter, and cheese. Besides these, large quantities of rye, wool, beans, peas, barley, buckwheat, fruits, garden vegetables, and some tobacco, sweet potatoes, wine, grass-seeds, hops, hemp, flax, silk, maple sugar, and molasses, beeswax and honey, and the castor bean are produced. Or indigenous fruits there are a variety of berries, plums, grapes, crabapples, wild cherries, persimmons, and the papaw (a sweet pulpy fruit, somewhat like the banana.) Of orchard fruits, the apple and peach flourish best, but pears and quinces are cultivated with facility. Of nuts, the shellbark or hickory, walnut, butternut, a white walnut, and pecan, abound. According to the census reports of 1850, there were 76,208 farms in Illinois, containing 5,039,545 acres of improved land, and producing 9,414,575 bushels of wheat; 83,864 of rye; 57,646,984 of Indian corn; 10,037,241 of oats; 82,814 of peas and beans; 2,514,861 of Irish potatoes; 157,433 of sweet potatoes; 110,795 of barley; 184,504 of buckwheat; 841,394 pounds of tobacco; 2,150,113 of wool; 12,526,543 of butter; 1,278,225 of cheese; 601,952 tons of hay; 17,807 bushels of grass-seeds; 160,083 pounds of flax; 248,904 of maple sugar; 869,444 of beeswax and honey; live stock, valued at $24,209,258; slaughtered animals, at $4,972,286; orchard products, at $446,089, and market produce, at $127,494.
Forest Trees: Illinois would not be wanting in timber if it were more equally diffused. The occupation of the country will, however, remedy this deficiency (even in parts where there is now a scarcity) by protecting the young trees from the ravages of the prairie fires. The bottom lands have a rich growth of black and white walnut, ash, hackberry, elm, sugar-maple, honey-locust, buckeye, catalpa, sycamore, (of a size unknown in the Atlantic States,) cottonwood, pecan, hickory. and oak of various species; and of underwood, redbud, papaw, grape-vine, eglantine, dogwood, spicebush, hazel, green-brier, &c. On the uplands are post-oak (very valuable for fencing) and ether species of oak, blackjack, (useless except for fuel,) hickory, black and white walnut, linn or basswood, cherry, &c. The white and yellow poplar are found in the southern part of the state, and the cypress on the Ohio bottoms.
Manufactures: Illinois is not largely engaged in manufacturing, though the facilities for carrying on this branch of industry are not wanting, when circumstances shall drive to make it profitable or necessary. According to the census of 1850, there were in Illinois 3099 manufacturing establishments, each producing $500 and upwards annually, and homemade manufactures, valued at $1,155,902; of these 16 were engaged in the fabrication of woollens, employing $154,500, and 124 male and 54 female hands, consuming raw material worth $115,364, and producing 306,995 yards of stuffs and 137,000 pounds of yarn, worth a total value of $206,572; 31 furnaces, forges, &c., employing $325,400 capital, and 482 male hands, consuming $187,830 worth of raw materials, and producing 2700 tons of pig and 4160 tons of cast iron, worth a total value of $511,385; 96 tanneries, employing $188,373 capital, consuming raw material worth $129,907, and producing leather valued at $244,028.
Internal Improvements: In 1886, when the spirit of speculation was rife throughout our entire nation, Illinois projected an extravagant system of railroads and canals, which shortly resulted (in the monetary revulsions between 1837 and 1840) in a general suspension. Notwithstanding, that spirit of enterprise which seems to grow from our free system, and to be as boundless as our extended territory, has again, with more rational views, stimulated the citizens of this state to enter upon a still more magnificent scheme of railroads than that projected in 1836. Besides these, she has completed her great canal from Chicago to Peru, uniting the waters of Lake Michigan with the Mississippi river. In January, 1853, there were in operation in Illinois, 296 miles of railroad, and 1772 In course of construction. Chicago is at present connected by railroad, either directly or indirectly, with Detroit, Cincinnati, New York city, Philadelphia, and Boston, beyond the limits of the state, and with Rockford, St. Charles, Aurora, and Peru, within the state; besides these, there are railroads uniting Springfield with Jackson, Naples, and Alton; and Quincy with Columbus. When the roads under contract shall have been completed, Chicago will have continuous lines of railroad to almost every important point in the state, and through connection with other railroads, with St. Louis, Terre Haute, Louisville, Nashville, New Orleans, Mobile, Savannah, and Charleston.
Commerce: Illinois is most favorably situated for internal commerce, being able to communicate with the western, southern, and central parts of the Mississippi valley, by means of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers, and with the Northern and Eastern States by way of the great lakes. The total of the imports into this state from the lakes, in 1851, was $7,820,953, and exports $4,435,012. Tonnage of the Chicago district, 15,890 86/95 ; total tonnage of the state, 25,209 30/95; steamers, 993 56/95. Vessels built in 1850, 13, of which only one was a steamer. In 1852, 17 vessels were built, the tonnage of which was only 1217 28/95. The vessels doing the lake and river trade are mostly built in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. The foreign imports and exports are trifling. For 1852 the foreign exports amounted to $51,325, and imports to $4832. Tonnage entered 1155, and cleared 3616. Chicago does an immense business in lumber and general trade, but we have no complete statistics thereof. The domestic exports from Galena in 1851, amounted to $1,800,358, of which seven-ninths was lead. About $80,000 worth of lumber was received during the same year.
Education: In 66 counties, in 1850, there were 2641 school houses, and 2350 volumes in the school libraries. There were also 132,324 children in the common schools. In the same year, $230,712 were paid to teachers, of which $148,871 was public money. The school fund, in 1850, was $939,799, derived from the public lands and the surplus revenue of the United States. On the formation of the state, one section in each township was appropriated for the support of schools, and afterwards an additional income of 3 per cent. on the actual proceeds from the sale of public lands within the limit of the state One-sixth of these proceeds is appropriated to colleges. There were, in 1852, four colleges in the state, with an aggregate of 198 students, and 14,800 volumes in their libraries; one theological (Baptist) and one medical school: See Table of Colleges, APPENDIX.
Religious Denominations: Of the 1167 churches in Illinois in 1850, 265 were owned by different divisions of Baptists; 67 by Christians; 46 by Congregationalists; 27 by Episcopalians; 40 by Lutherans; 389 by Methodists; 198 by Presbyterians; 58 by Roman Catholics; 31 by Unionists; and the rest by Africans, Concordists, Covenanters, Dutch Reformed, Evangelicals, Evangelists, Free Church, Friends, German Reformed, Independents, Moravians, Mormons, Protestants, Swedenborgians, Tunkers, Unitarians, and Universalists, giving one church to each 729 persons. Value of church property $1,476,335.
Public Institutions: Illinois has a state lunatic asylum at Jacksonville, and a state penitentiary at Alton. There were in 1850, 27 public libraries, with an aggregate of 19,916 volumes.
Government: The executive power in Illinois is lodged in a governor and lieutenant-governor, elected by the people for 4 years; the former receiving $1500 per annum, and the latter, who is ex-officio president of the senate, $3 per day during the session of the legislature. The governor is ex-officio fund commissioner, and is only eligible for 4 years out of any 8 years. The senate consists of 25, and the house of representatives of 75 members, both elected by the people, the former for 4, and the latter for 2 years. The judiciary consists of a supreme court, of three divisions, presided over by as many judges, receiving each $1200 per annum, and 15 circuit courts, presided over by as many judges, each receiving $1000 per annum. All white male citizens, of 21 years of age, who have resided in the state six months next preceding an election, are qualified voters. Illinois is entitled to 9 members in the national house of representatives, and to 11 electoral votes for president of the United States. The state debt in 1852 was $16,621,509. The governor of the state, in his message to the legislature, Jan., 1853, states the finances to be in an excellent condition, and that a surplus over expenditures of $100,000 will remain in the treasury, March 1st, 1853. Ordinary expenses of government $125,000; school fund, seminary, and university, $989,798; productive property, $5,000,000; assessed value of property in 1850, $114,782,645. Illinois has a co-banking law, which requires that no company shall go into operation until the company have deposited stocks to the amount of $50,000 with the auditor.
History: Though Illinois did not become a member of the confederacy till 1818, it was colonized about the same period as Philadelphia. Marquette, a French traveller, visited it as early as 1673, and settlements were made at Cahokia and Kaskaskia at the close of the 17th century. These, however, like other French colonies, did not increase rapidly. At the treaty of Paris in 1783, Illinois fell into the hands of the English, and came, with all the territory east of the Mississippi, into the possession of the government of the United States at the Revolution in 1775. Soon after some settlers from Virginia located themselves in the territory, and in 1787 it became a part of the Northwest Territory, then created, and which included all the country N. W. of the Ohio river. In 1800 it formed part of a separate territory, under the name of Indiana, in conjunction with the state now bearing that name. A second division took place in 1809. when the present state was organized as the Territory of Illinois, and was admitted as an independent member of the confederacy in 1818, since which it has gone on with an average decennial increase of more than 200 per cent.
A Biography of William Lee Davidson Ewing
William Lee Davidson Ewing, senator, was born in 1795. He received a high-school education and was admitted to the bar. He settled in Vandalia, Fayette county, Ill., where he practised his profession. He was appointed receiver of public moneys for the district in 1825, served as U.S. surveyor of public lands, 1826-27, and was made major-general in the state militia. In the Black Hawk war of 1832 he was major of the spy battalion. He was a state senator, 1832-34, and as president of the senate was acting governor of the state from Nov. 15 to Dec. 9, 1834. On the death of Senator Elias Kent Kane, Dec. 11, 1835, he was elected to fill the vacancy in the U.S. senate and he continued in office until the expiration of the senatorial term, March 3, 1837. He was a state representative, 1838-40; speaker of the house in 1840 and state auditor, 1843-46. He died in Vandalia, Ill., March 25, 1846.
From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans,
Johnson, Rossiter, editor
Edward Coles Biography
Edward Coles, governor of Illinois, was born in Albemarle county, Va., Dec. 15, 1786; son of Col. John and Rebecca (Tucker) Coles. His father was a Revolutionary officer. He was educated at Hampden-Sidney college and at William and Mary college, finishing the prescribed course at the latter in 1807, but not graduating on account of illness. In 1809 he was appointed private secretary to President Madison and he remained in that position until 1815, when the President sent him to Russia to settle a misunderstanding between the Emperor and the U.S. government, in which undertaking he was successful. In 1819 he removed with his negroes to Edwardsville, Ill., where he freed them and gave to the head of each family 160 acres of land. He was appointed by President Monroe registrar of the land office at Edwardsville, and in 1822 he was elected governor of Illinois and served until 1826. About 1832 he removed to Philadelphia, Pa. Coles county, Ill., was named in his honor. He was married in 1833 to Sally Logan, daughter of Hugh and Sarah (Smith) Roberts, and his son Edward was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1856 and became a lawyer in Philadelphia. See Sketch of Edward Coles, Second Governor of Illinois (1882), by E. B. Washburne. He died in Philadelphia, Pa., July 7, 1868.
From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans,
Johnson, Rossiter, editor
Thomas Jefferson Henderson - A Biography
Thomas Jefferson Henderson, representative, was born in Brownsville, Tenn., Nov. 29, 1824; son of William H. and Sarah M. (Howard), grandson of John and Nancy (Singleton) Henderson, and of Edmund and Edith (Murphy) Howard; and great grandson of William Henderson, who was born in Hanover county, Va. His great grandfather Henderson came from Scotland and settled probably in Hanover county, Va., where his paternal great grandfather and grandfather were born. He attended the Male academy in his native town, and removed to Illinois in 1836, where he afterward attended the common schools. He was a student at the University of Iowa, 1845-46. In 1847 he was elected clerk of the county commissioners' court of Stark county, Ill., and was clerk of the county court, 1849-53. He was a representative in the Illinois legislature in 1855 and 1856, and a state senator, 1856-60. In 1862 he joined the U.S. army as colonel of the 112th Illinois volunteers, and served until the close of the war, much of the tinge commanding a brigade, and whining the brevet rank of brigadier-general of volunteers, "for gallant services in the Georgia and Tennessee campaigns, especially at the battle of Franklin,Tenn., Nov. 30, 1864." He was a Republican presidential elector for the state of Illinois at large in 1868; collector of internal revenue for the fifth district of Illinois, 1871-73, and a Republican representative in the 44th-53d congresses inclusive, 1875-95. On April 22, 1896, he was appointed a member of the board of managers of the National Home for disabled volunteer soldiers for the term of six years, and in 1900 was secretary of the board.
From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans,
Johnson, Rossiter, editor
The Biography of Joseph Wilson Fifer
Joseph Wilson Fifer, governor of Illinois, was born in Staunton, Va., Oct. 28, 1840; son of John and Mary (Daniels) Fifer. His father was a bricklayer and removed with his family to McLean county, Ill., in 1857, where he built a log cabin and opened a farm in the wilderness. Joseph's early educational advantages were limited to the district school. In 1861 with his brother George, he walked fifteen miles to Bloomington, Ill., and there enlisted in the 33d Illinois regiment. He took part in the Vicksburg campaign of 1863. He was severely wounded at Jackson, Miss., July 13, 1863, and was incapacitated from further active service. His term of enlistment expired in 1864 and He returned home and began a course of study, determining to gain a college education and pay his own expenses in the meantime. This he did by serving as tax collector, working at bricklaying and cutting cord-wood. He was graduated at Illinois Wesleyan university B.S. in 1868, and was admitted to the bar in June, 1869, beginning practice at Bloomington. He was corporative counsel for the city in 1871; state's attorney for McLean county, 1872-79; state senator, 1880-84, and governor of Illinois, 1889-92. He was defeated for re-election in 1892 by John B. Altgeld, Democrat. In 1896 he was a prominent candidate for the vice-presidency before the Republican national convention and in November, 1899, was appointed by President McKinley an inter-state commerce commissioner. He was a trustee of Illinois Wesleyan university, 1891-93, and received the degree of LL.D. from that institution in 1892.
From: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans,
Johnson, Rossiter, editor
ADDITIONAL BIOGRAPHIES AVAILABLE:
Biographical Sketch of Isaac Clements
A Biography of Charles Benjamin Farwell
Local History and Genealogy Links:
Tree: white oak
Flower: native violet
Nickname: Prairie State, Land of Lincoln
Motto: State Sovereignty, National Union
Area (sq. mi.): 56,400
Admitted: 3 Dec 1818