Illinois Genealogy Trails
History of Mr. John A. Logan
Franklin County, Illinois,
and How I Came To Know and Love Its People

By Mrs. John A. Logan
Submitted by Sheila Cadwalader

John A. Logan of Jackson County, Illinois, was elected Prosecuting Attorney of the Third Judicial District of Illinois in 1853. Honorable William K Parish was, at that time, Judge of the Circuit Court of that District and resided in Benton, Franklin county. Soon after Mr. Logan's election, he removed to Benton to be near the Judge. They were devoted friends, and traveled the circuit every spring and fall in a buggy drawn by Mr. Logan's golden sorrel "Charlie." Shawneetown, Gallatin county, was one of the places for holding terms of Court, hence Judge Parish and Prosecuting Attorney John A. Logan journeyed twice annually to Shawneetown to spend a week or ten days, and sometimes two weeks, in trying the cases on the "docket" at Shawneetown.

My father, Captain J M Cunningham, was then Register of the United States Land Office at Shawneetown. He had commanded Company B, First Illinois Infantry Volunteers in the Mexican War. Attorney Logan was a First Lieutenant in Company H of the same Regiment, and an intimate friendship was soon formed between Captain Cunningham and Lieutenant Logan which continued throughout their service, notwithstanding the disparagement between the ages of the two men. The rugged rocky mountains and arid alkali plains had no terrors for either; the daring of each made them kindred spirits. So when Court convened in Shawneetown, they were delighted to meet again, father insisting Lieutenant Logan must be his guest during the spring term of the Court.

I was then in school at St. Vincent's Academy, (a branch of the celebrated Convent at Nazareth), located near Morganfield, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from our home at Shawneetown, from which I graduated June, 1855. In September, the Court was again in session and Judge Parish and Prosecuting Attorney Logan appeared for the bi-annual term of Court. Naturally Lieutenant Logan came to call on my father and mother and we met for the first time.

November 27th, 1855, we were married by Honorable W K Parish, who came with Mr. Logan to Shawneetown to perform the ceremony. The late Judge Monroe C Crawford, then a promising attorney, also of Benton, accompanied them. We were married at high noon in the home of my parents, and after a sumptuous breakfast, we set out for Benton. In those days there were few overland conveyances available. Two-seated buggies, drawn by one or two horses were the favorite vehicles which one could travel from one town to another. Therefore Judge Parish and Mr. Crawford were in one buggy, Mr. Logan and myself in another driving his well-known horse, "Charlie." The animal seemed to realize the importance of the occasion to his master, holding his head high and stepping proudly. We stopped en route for the night at Equality. At noon the 28th of November, we reached Benton to be domiciled in Judge Parish's unusually pretentious and delightful home until we could secure one for ourselves.

From the moment of our arrival, my husband's numerous friends came to extend congratulations and a sincere and hearty welcome to Franklin county. We were soon ensconced in our home; Mr. Levi Browning having lost his wife was glad to have us occupy his cozy cottage situated on West Main street, opposite the residence of his brother, Judge William Browning. It was not long before we were among the burden bearers of the community. Mr. Logan knew everyone and was expected to continue to take part in the activities of the people which was to make Franklin county one of the most progressive in Southern Illinois.

Notwithstanding her population at that time was small compared to counties north of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, among the prominent citizens of Benton were Honorable Samuel K Casey, Honorable W. K. Parish, Colonel T. B. Cantrell, Major Wm. Mooneyham (one of the few survivors of that noble galaxy) the Ward Brothers, Honorable Walter S. Aikin, William H. Fountain, the Elstuns, the Jackson Brothers, Dr. Reynolds, Captain Dillon, Colonel Dollins, the Moores of which Captain Carroll Moore is a worthy descendant, Aunt Betsy Rogers, Mrs. Penny, Mrs. Dudley, and many, many others. In the country were such men as Reverend Moses Neal and his sons; Father McCreery and his estimable family; Mr. Marvel, the Crawfords and a host of other splendid citizens who followed their various vocations with intelligence, untiring energy and unwavering loyalty to their country.

The majority of the people were religiously inclined. There were churches in different parts of the county which were all well supported, the camp meetings being a notable feature of worship. Their politics were partisan and next to their religion in sacredness, founded as they were upon their construction of the principles which underlie the Republican form of government and the constitution of the United States. A majority of the inhabitants were descendants of the Colonial states, proslavery in sentiment and naturally members of the Democratic party until 1860; when it became evident that the Democratic party was fostering a severance of the Union and secession of the Southern States.

Almost without exception the people of Franklin County arrayed themselves solidly for the Union, and her sons were among the very first to enlist for the defense of the Union. Albeit, their ancestors were south of the Mason and Dixon line and enthusiastic secessionists. The Honor Roll of Officers, Soldiers and Sailors of the Army and the Navy of Franklin county is second to none in the State of like population. Very few inhabitants of Franklin county were descendants of New England families or Puritan stock; it was therefore, greater evidence of their inborn patriotism that they were ready to respond to the first call of Mr. Lincoln for the defense of the Union.

Events transpired rapidly after the inauguration of Lincoln, and my husband who had been re-elected to Congress in 1860, was in Washington for the first session of Congress and voted for the men and measures to carry out Lincoln's fist call for 75,000 men to put down the rebellion. He did not get home on that account until weeks after the 4th of March. When he came he was interested in raising a Regiment of Infantry for the Union Army. As soon as Mr. Logan reached home, a great crowd greeted him, impatient to know what he was going to do. Standing in a wagon drawn to the center of public square of Marion, he told them of his intentions, telling them the action of the secessionists was treason against the government. He pictured the consequences of secession to this great Republic. Without scarcely a dissenting voice, they cheered him to the echo and volunteered to follow where he would lead. The days immediately succeeding Mr. Logan's speech were memorable ones to me - not the least painful.

Among them was a nasty trip of Mr. Logan and myself in a buggy behind old "Charlie" to Benton to order the dismantling of our treasured home and a tearful farewell to our beloved friends in Benton and the hundreds from the surrounding country who came to say good-bye to us and to bid us God speed in the troublesome times upon which we were all embarking. Brave men and women with tears streaming down their cheeks forgetting their own forebodings of great sorrows clasped our hands saying "God bless and keep you both till we meet again." The occasion was doubly sad for us as Judge W.K. Parish had died suddenly not long before, and we felt his death was on only a loss to us but to his country. Many of the men promised to join Mr. Logan very soon, and go with him wherever he went. We had lived across the street from Colonel and Mrs. Cantrell and they insisted we should stay with them while in Benton. The day we left Benton, Mrs. Cantrell had provided a splendid repast for a noon dinner as was the custom in those day - a number of friends were asked to remain for dinner - the emotions of the forenoon and a realization of the gathering storm through which the nation must pass robbed everyone of an appetite even for the delicious viands set before the. After going through the mockery of dining, we prepared to return to Marion. We had spent five happy years of our lives with the truest and best of unselfish people and if there were any among them who were not our friends, we were in ignorance of their existence. Our first-born children came to us in a rose covered cottage which was our home there. "Aunty" Fountain and her family; Aunty Rogers, Mrs. Cantrell, Mrs. Parish, Mrs. Browning and her daughters; Mrs. Reynolds and many other neighbors performed for us the arduous service now discharged by trained nurses in cases of illness. Were they not people of true nobility of mind and heart, and can I ever forget them or cease to revere their memories? It is to be hoped that their descendants have emulated their matchless characters.

We were privileged but once subsequently to visit Benton together. During the campaign of Lincoln and McClellan in 1864 - after the fall of Atlanta, General Logan canvassed the state for Mr. Lincoln. In response to an urgent invitation he made a memorable speech in Benton receiving such an ovation from our old friends as few men have had given to them. Many of them had brothers, husbands and sons who had followed the flag from Cairo to the capitulation of Atlanta under General Logan's command.

The message he brought of the dauntless heroism of the sons of Franklin county thrilled the vast crowd with such pride that they shouted themselves hoarse applauding the leader of the men who dared to go where he led them.

Space forbids what I should like to write of the good times we had at the "County Fairs, "Court Week", and other social occasions. Like all generations we had our diversions and times when we laid aside dull care and were made better by reasonable indulgence in amusements.

The Logan Homestead

Capt. John M. CUNNINGHAM, the father-in-law of John A. LOGAN, was a politician of good ability; one of the most affable and polished men of his day. He held several county offices, and, like CORDER, was a Democrat, and during the war, very bitter. In 1869, he received the appointment of Provost MARSHAL in Utah Territory, where he died in 1874, and was brought to Marion by Mrs Mary LOGAN.
[Source: "History of Williamson County, IL" by Milo Erwin]


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