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History of Logan County


The first county seat, Postville, was laid out by Russell Post, from whom it received its name, in the year 1835. He discovered here a beautiful site for a town, and being something of a speculator in Western town sites, at once entered the land and laid out a village. John Sutton soon after erected a small hotel, where the travelers from Springfield would often stop for refreshment when on their way to and from the State capital. The first store, a primitive structure, was built by Ackman & Rankin. They were soon followed by James Primm and S. M. Tinsley, in a similar enterprise. Mr. Primm was the first Postmaster in the town. He was succeeded in the office, about 1848, by Solomon Kahn, who retained the office until the union of Lincoln and Postville, and the removal of the postoffice to the latter place.

Ackman & Rankin's store was the first house built on the town plat. It was erected during the spring and summer of 1836. Hiram Edwards had the contract for its construction, and received $70, in hard money, for the work.

Source - "History of Logan County, Illinois", 1886
Submitted by Tina Easley


John Edwards hewed the logs for its construction. These were hewn to a thickness of six inches, and as wide as the log would make. The whole was roofed with clapboards. After its erection, the proprietors divided it into two rooms, using the rear room as a storeroom. Mr. Sutton's house being too small for the entertainment of travelers, a more commodious structure was built, on the corner of the square, by William McGraw. Another was afterward added by Dr. John Duskins. It fronted the court-house. As Postville was on the direct road from St. Louis to Chicago, it be came a regular stopping place for stages. A large amount of merchandise was taken from St . Louis by this route, to Springfield, Bloomington and Chicago. Chicago was yet a village, with scarce a hope of future greatness.

The organization of the county, and the location of the county- seat at Postville, aided much in its prosperity. The commissioners appointed, in the act of incorporation, to locate the seat of justice for the new county, selected Postville, it being near the center of the county, and donating a square of land, and four or five lots in addition. A court-house and jail were at once ordered erected, and work upon them commenced. The court-house was built in the center of the square, faced the south, and was two stories high. Its entire cost was not likely more than $200. The jail was built mainly by Elisha Parks. It was constructed of hewed or sawed logs, each one foot square, notched at the ends, so that when laid in the wall they fitted closely together. This jail was about twelve feet square, and that many feet in height to the first story. The upper floor was made of logs of the same dimensions as those composing the sides, securely fastened to the upper tier of logs. The lower floor was composed of logs hewed about twelve by sixteen inches in thickness, the greater thickness placed upward. These were laid closely together, and, as well as the walls and upper floor, were covered with heavy oak plank, two inches in thickness, thoroughly nailed on, within and without. In the center of the upper floor a small trap door was made, sufficiently large to admit a man's body. In order to secure light and ventilation, this door was composed of a crosswork of iron bars, firmly fastened together, and secured with a good padlock several inches from the door. Two windows, of similar material, were also made. Over all a good, heavy roof was placed, and in the end of the upper story a door was made of heavy plank, which in turn could be securely bolted. When a prisoner was confined within this citadel, he was, in most cases, safe. He would be taken in at the upper door, the trap-door of the inner cell raised, a ladder let down, and he was compelled to descend into the prison. The ladder would then be withdrawn, the trap-door and outer door bolted, and he was safe It is confidently affirmed that criminals could more easily escape from the jails of today than from this one.

This old jail stood some distance northeast of the court-house square and was used until 1847, when the county seat was removed to Mt. Pulaski. The court-house and square were sold to Mr. Solomon Kahn for $300; the same gentleman purchased five additional lots belonging to the county, in Postville. The jail was also sold, and the logs comprising its strong floor and sides were used for ties on the railroad. For several years after the settlement, a large pond of water near by afforded water for stock, and during the winter a skating place for the youth of the village. It was in this pond that a man named Willis lost his life, and whose death remained so long a time a mystery. About the year 1838 or '39, Willis was employed to look after and feed the stock of a Mr. Wheeler, who desired to make a visit to his old home in Kentucky.

One night Willis went to town carrying with him his ax, a very peculiarly shaped one, the blade being so made that it would with ordinary blows sink deep into the hardest wood. While in town Willis imbibed too much whisky and late in the evening started for home. He was never afterward seen alive. In the course of a day or two, his absence being noticed, search was made for him, but to no avail; persons on horses would ride into this pond, the water coming up on the side of the saddle, but could find no trace of Willis. At last he was given up for lost, various opinions being hazarded as to the probability of his whereabouts. After seven years had passed away, the pond one dry summer dried up, leaving a bare piece of ground near its center. One evening, as a woman from the village was seeking her cows, she chanced to cross this bare spot, when to her great astonishment she discovered the skeleton of a man. Hastening to town, she narrated her discovery to several, who at once went to the spot. The skeleton was there, and in removing it the ax was found. From its construction it was at once recognized by the older ones as Willis's ax. The mystery of his mysterious disappearance was now solved. He had wandered into the pond and perished. For further proof it was recollected that one of Willis's legs had been broken, and an examination of the right thigh corroborated the fact that the remains were those of the unfortunate man. They were at once removed and given a respectful burial.

There were several of these ponds about the old town of Postville, which have long since been filled, and are now cultivated or enclosed as yards. Where the city of Lincoln now stands was a large marshy piece of ground, and at one time when Colby Knapp was passing over the site on some journey, he aroused a herd of nearly forty deer. At that time these were plenty, and one could travel from this latter place to Springfield without encountering a fence, or having to follow the wandering of any road. The road, like the line, was direct. On the removal of the seat of justice to Mt. Pulaski, property in Postville declined considerably in value, and trade and population alike felt the result. The old court-house lost its prestige and became a dwelling, and the town no longer was enlivened at stated intervals by the presence of lawyers and clients on court days.

The old court-house was also used by the religious element of the people for a house of worship, the noted pioneer preacher, Rev. Peter Cartwright, occasionally conducting divine services therein. No house of worship was ever erected in the town, the school-house and court-house being used in its stead. The first schools of this settlement were, like those in all parts of the county, subscription schools. It was not till after 1840 that a house was erected for no other purpose, rented rooms prior to this time supplying the deficiency.

The town of Postville never recovered from the effects of the removal of the seat of justice, and when it was united to Lincoln, in 1865, the town contained scarcely 200 inhabitants.

The removal of the county seat to Mt. Pulaski arose from that speculative fever passing over the State when so many counties were organized, and county seats created on a speculative basis. The inhabitants of the north and eastern portions of Logan County, together with many residents in McLean and DeWitt counties adjoining, desired to create a new county of the portions of these counties mentioned, and to locate a county seat at Waynesville, a small village in Waynesville Township, in DeWitt County. Those about Mt. Pulaski were in favor of the seat of justice being located there, and at an election to decide the matter, owing to these two chief influences, the removal was decided by a strong majority. Those residing about Mt. Pulaski hoped to see a new county created from Logan, Sangamon and Macon counties. These plans were, however, all frustrated by the passage of the new State Constitution, which prohibited the organization of new counties until a certain number of inhabitants were within the prescribed limits, and also defined the area a county must have before being created.

Source - "History of Logan County, Illinois", 1886
Submitted by Tina Easley

Early County Politics

The county was now divided into two election precincts, the voting places being at Mt. Pulaski and the county seat. Three commissioners transacted all the business for the county; laid out roads; regulated licenses; attended to the poor, then generally " farmed out," as it was termed, that is, given to someone who would feed and clothe them for a certain consideration paid out of the county treasury. The commissioners, at their first meeting, drew lots for their respective terms of office, one serving for three years, one for two years, and one for one year. Thereafter one commissioner was elected annually. Soon after the organization of the county, it was found inconvenient for all voters to come to Mt. Pulaski and Postville to vote, and an additional precinct was made with a voting place at Middletown. Another was soon after made on Salt Creek, one on Sugar Creek, one at Elkhart and one at the Kickapoo. On Salt Creek the voting place was Eli Fletcher's barn. Other voting places were formed from time to time as the county settled, until 1865, when the vote on the township organization was made, which resulted in the adoption of that mode of division for the county.

The law creating township organization in Illinois passed the General Assembly in 1861. By its provisions, the people of any county could so organize their county for judicial and civil purposes whenever a majority so desired. The vote on this question was held in November, 1865, but for some cause was declared illegal, and the next year another vote was obtained, which resulted in the adoption of the law in this county. The County Court, at the December term of 1866, appointed Asa C. Barnes, of Atlanta, H. C. St. Clair, of Mt. Pulaski, and L. D. Dana, of Elkhart, commissioners to divide the county into townships, and to give to each a name. This duty was performed in March of the following year, when the commissioners defined the limits of each township, and gave to each the name it yet bears. An election for township officers was held in each township on Tuesday, April 2, and on the 13th of May the new Board of Supervisors, seventeen in number, met for the first time. Since that date this board has performed the functions of the old Board of Commissioners, and the civil division remains the same.

Source - "History of Logan County, Illinois", 1886
Submitted by Tina Easley

Early Elected Officials

State's Attorneys

T. T. Beach, 1872-76; James T. Hoblit , 1876-'80; Randolph B. Forrest, 1880-'84; Robert Humphrey, 1884-.

County Justices

1857-'66. - The Justices enumerated in this list served four years, except in cases of death or resignation.

They are arranged according to the years in which they were elected:

1857 - C. H. Goodrich, Ezekiel Bowman, Isaiah T. McCoy, John Clark, Franklin Fisk, Matthew McElhiney, Sheldon Parks, Isaiah Thomas (resigned July 2,1859), William E. Dicks, Peter J. Hawes, John T. Bryan, James McGraw, Nathaniel M. Whittaker, A. J. Lanterman (resigned Oct. 17, 1859), R. T. Willey (removed), William Barrick, Thomas Nolan, Alfred L. Bryan, Bartholomew Gardner, Abuer Howe, William H. Bennett.

1858 - Ezekiel Bowman, John Morgan (resigned Aug. 14,1858), Martin Buzzard (resigned Aug. 13, 1860).

1859 - J. Henry Ball (resigned April 26, 1860), Joseph F. Benner, William S. Morse.

1860 - Cornelius Lambert and Wilford D. Wyatt.

1861 - Louis D. Norton, David T. Littler, Jacob Yager, James Randolph, Jason Owen, Turner H. Can trail, Elias Ellis, Arthur Quisenberry (resigned Jan. 18, 1862), Bartholomew Gardner, John Shoub, Lafayette Post (resigned Sept. 25, 1863), John Clark, William H. Bennett, William E. Dicks, William R. Sirley, Asa C. Barnes, William Beizley, James M. Howser, F. D. Cass, John T. Bryan.

1862 - Norman Sumner, John J. Hatfield, Isaac May.

1863 - Charles H. Ormsby, James H. Kellar, Colby Knapp.

1864 - William Barrick.

1865 - Jason Owen, John D. Gillett, Peter Rinehart, David Bowles, J. T. Hackney, David W. Clark, Cyrus Dillon, G. M. LaForge, Oliver McGarvey, Ezekiel Bowman, Jacob Baker, John Clark, Jacob Yager, Andy Simpson, James W. Gasaway, John A. Smallwood, William H. Dunham, Charles H. Miller, C. F. Stew art Robert P. Dawes, John B. Tipton, Albert McCollister, Henry W. Sullivan, Hamilton A. Hough, Bartholomew Gardner, William E. Dicks.

County Constables

1857-'66 - The Constables mentioned in this list served four years, except those who resigned or died in office. They are arranged by the years in which they were elected:

1857 - Jeremiah Miller, William W. Higgs, Thomas McFarland, Abel Larison, Ezekiel Inman (resigned Jan. 5, 1859), William Lemaster, Alfred L. Gideon (resigned March 24, 1858), Robert H. Rayborn, Jacob T. Rudolph, James T. Hawes, James H. Russell, E. C. Martin (resigned May 13, 1858), A. J. Lindsay, David Miller (resigned Jan. 13, 1858), Thomas S. Clark, John Tyler, Andrew Huston.

1858 - Henry Reece, Joseph T. Green (resigned March 19,1860), Abraham S. Lindsay (resigned Oct. 20, 1859), Decatur Lewis, Richard P. Chenowith, Gage S. Gritman.

1859 - William W. Higgs.

1860 - Oliver K. High and Culver Staggers.

1861 - Alfred Sams, Jonas Shupe, William W. Higgs, Abner Kendall, John Hull (resigned Nov. 23, 1862), James H. Russell, Thomas J. Montgomery (resigned Aug. 15,1863), Culver Staggers, George W. Webb (resigned July 5, 1864), Charles M. Smith, Jacob T. Rudolph, John W. Grantham, Jacob V. Cunningham, Andrew Huston, Benjamin A. Graham, Decatur Lewis, James Cunningham, Jr. (resigned Nov. 29, 1862).

1862 - Andrew Pinneo, John A. Critchfield, Andrew J. Fanning (resigned June 13, 1863).

1863 - James B. Ransdell, Henry Reed, Randolph Davis.

1865 - Jacob Bordwell (resigned Jan. 22, 1866), Haise Brown (resigned March 5, 1866), O. L. Sumner, E. R. Woland, Andrew Huston, Robert D. Clark, Henry Hendrickson, Nathan Newkirk, Jacob Shoup, M. S. Thomas, Joseph Lucas, Randolph Davis, Robert Laughlin, Alfred Sams, James Poe, William J. Petitt, Hiram L. Pierce, R. C. Ewing, Jacob Eisiminger, David E. Randolph (resigned March 1, 1866)

Source - "History of Logan County, Illinois", 1886
Submitted by Tina Easley


In nearly all the counties of Central and Northern Illinois societies have been formed for perpetuating the memory of pioneer days. Not many of these have done much to preserve in systematic form the early history of the country. This will yet be done. So far, however, these associations have served merely a social purpose, the annual meetings being in the nature of picnics, where informality is the order of the day.

Such is the case in Logan County.

FIRST Reunion.

The first reunion of old settlers was held October 1, 1873, at Mt. Pulaski, and was a most enjoyable occasion. The stand was occupied by such old settlers as Rev. John England, Judge England, Judge Ewing, Christopher Ewing, John Buckles, J. T. Hackney, C. W. Clark, Colonel Allen, Jesse Lucas, Strother Jones (of Sangamon County), John E. Hoblit (of Atlanta), Mrs. Robert Buckles, Mrs. Robert Burns, Mrs. Carter Scroggins, Mrs. McGraw, Mrs. Julia Keys and others.

Short speeches were made by Colonel William Allen, Judge Ewing, James Randolph, Rev. John England and Fred Joynt, of Logan County; Strother Jones, of Sangamon County, and J. McGraw, of DeWitt County. Judge Ewing compared the present with the past, and alluded to the difference between the social life of the early days with our modern social life, and said that when he was a young man there existed more of brotherly feeling and less of selfishness, more of charity and less of personal hates. Said he: " We had more enjoyment in the days of puncheon floors and clapboard doors than we witness among the people of today, who tread upon velvet and recline upon cushioned seats, clothed in purple and fine linen. Life then seemed to be more real, more pure. Human kind possessed more goodness; virtue had a higher value, and manhood was set to a higher key." The judge then proceeded to give some good and fatherly advice to the young men. He warned them of extravagance and reckless living; told them they were living too fast, and if not mindful they would bring ruin upon themselves and the country; and then, addressing the old men, said, "I am convinced of one thing, and that is this, that disaster will come to the State and country if we yield to the prodigality of the present day."

On the stand were two plows, one of the pioneer pattern, made by Rev. John England, and one of modern make. Mr. England, in his speech, compared the two plows and spoke of the progress made during fifty years. He then compared the morals of the pioneer days with those of our day; then dishonesty and rascality were not so common as we find them today; then every movable thing was not placed under lock and key; men had more trust in their fellows than now.


The second meeting was held at Capps's Park, Mt. Pulaski, Oct. 1, 1874. Addresses in commemoration of old settlers were made by Ezra Boren, Strother Jones, Rev. John England, J. W. Randolph, Colonel Allen, L. P. Matthews, A. W. Clark and Dr. A. Shields, of Sangamon County.


The third annual meeting of the old settlers of Logan County took place on Thursday, Sept. 23, 1875, at the Salt Creek bridge, on the Lincoln and Mt. Pulaski road. By 11 o'clock the grove was crowded with buggies and family carriages, and the meeting had assumed its intended character - that of a pleasant open-air sociable in which the staple topics of conversation were the deep snow and the events of the subsequent ante-railroad years. A basket dinner followed, and was discussed with old-fashioned sociability and freedom from restraint. Strangers were looked up and made to feel that hospitality was not yet an extinct virtue.

David W.Clark, President of the association, called the scattered groups together, and Rev. John Everly invoked the divine blessing. S. Linn Beidler was elected Secretary . Rev. John England said they were not present to hear fine speeches, but to talk of old times. He wanted one and all to speak. It was desirable that the rising generation should know in what privations and poverty their fathers had laid the foundation of our present prosperity. The president said it was a social rather than a religious love feast, in which it was desirable that all should take part.

Col. R. B. Latham was called for. The Colonel said he had never attended an old settlers' meeting before, but supposed that reminiscences would be in order. He was a child of one of the first settlers, and came to the county when he was a little over a year old. Fifty-seven years ago not a white person lived in what is now Logan County. Those who were present at this meeting were the children of the pioneers. His father settled at Elkhart Grove in 1819. In February of that year he built a cabin, and his family came on in September. He thought his father's family the first that came to the county, though there were several who came in 1820, and probably James Musick settled on Sugar Creek in the fall of 1819. Mr. Turley and others came soon after. His first recollection of a plow was of one made wholly of wood a bar share. Next was the Gary plow, the share of which was partly of iron. The principal Indian tribes then in the county were the Pottawatomies and the Delawares, but they soon gave way to the settlers. When his father came they went a mile below Edwardsville (a distance of over a hundred miles) to mill. In a few years a little mill was put up on the Sangamon. His father erected a horse mill about the year 1822, and it was looked upon as a very important enterprise. Men would come great distances and camp out for a day or two while their grinding was being done. All were neighbors and friends then, and much sociability existed. He thought this was always the case in the settlement of a country. People enjoyed themselves as well as they do now. The early settlers were vigorous, enterprising men. It did him good to meet the friends of his boyhood, especially upon such an occasion as this; hence he was in favor of these gatherings.

Joshua Day responded to a call by saying that he was not a pioneer, though an old settler. He came forty years ago, lacking a month, and he thanked God for it. He landed at Commerce, near Nauvoo, forty-eight years ago, having left Massachusetts when not quite twenty-one years old. Near Nauvoo he saw Black Hawk and over 500 Indians. He took dinner with the chief several times. The year after he came he helped bury two or three of his neighbors. They had no physician. He had only six "bits" when he came, and he shook with the ague nine months. Would have gone back but couldn't. Like many others, the impossibility of returning gave him the pluck to endure. Afterward he came to Lake Fork, which they said was a healthier country. He came after the arrival of the Buckles, Lucas, Scroggins and Latham families. John Buckles and others in the assembly before him knew how times were then. When scouring plows came in, one old man stuck to his wooden plow for three years because he thought the new plow " would kill the ground " it turned over so sleek. Mr. Day then described an old-fashioned wedding with it fiddling, dancing and racing for the bottle; the old-fashioned cabin with its wide fire-place, etc.

L. K. Scroggin was called out. He said the previous speakers had left nothing for him to say. His father and mother came to Illinois in 1811. and he was born in the southern part of the State in 1819. He came to Logan County in 1827, and had remained ever since. He thought the young should go on improving the country as their fathers had done for those who, in turn, should follow them. We should not destroy, but build up. The country should go on in its career of development. Fifty years hence this would be one of the greatest countries in the world. He thought the young people of the present time, while they might not enjoy the racing for the bottle, and other rough sports of early days, were quite as happy in their different ways.

J. T. Hackney responded to calls by saying that he could not make a speech. He was not a pioneer, but came to the county forty-one years ago. In 1840 he knew almost all the men in Logan County, when it polled less than 500 votes. In December, 1836, he and one or two others went up to Salt Creek and stopped at the farm where he now lives. The earth was wet from recent rains. Suddenly a cold wind came which almost seemed to whiten the earth in its progress. As they went the ice became thicker and thicker, and the cold more intense, and they were obliged to stop for the night at the house of Alfred Sams. All old settlers remember that sudden and wonderful change of temperature. His father began teaching in 1836 in a log cabin within a hundred yards of where he (the speaker) was now standing. The schoolhouse was called "Brush College."


The old settlers were next called to order at the court-house (weather being cool for an out-door meeting) at 11 o'clock of Tuesday, Oct. 10,1876, by President Clark. There being a general impression on the street that the time of meeting was 1 o'clock, it was thought best to adjourn until that time.

A little after 1 o'clock the court-house was crowded. Henry Johnson was first called upon, as being perhaps the oldest man in the house. He came from Northern Indiana to Logan County, Oct. 28, 1826. The men had to gather their own crops and the women do their own spinning. He related a little incident in his early life when his sister took him to be an Indian, and the sport they had out of it. During the winter of 1826-27 the prairies were burned off by the Indians in order to drive the deer to the woods ; the fences were also burned. In the summer of 1827, when harvesting his oats, he stopped to rest about noon, and on looking around saw a "six-footer" standing close behind. He took the Indians, there being several near, to his cabin and gave them their dinner. They were a hunting party from the head of Salt Creek. They had been out two days and killed 200 deer. Their nearest neighbors lived twelve or fourteen miles distant, and here they used to go to corn shuckings, etc. The young folks acted like all young folks; except that they did not "Mister " nor " Miss" any one. He gave the history of his taking Betsey home from the shucking - she lived up the creek. He saw her safely home ; she asked him in and he attempted to take the rickety chair ; was told by the fair damsel to take the new one by her side ; he took this for a good hint and kissed her. John Mustek was engaged to one of his sisters, and when the " time " drew near it was necessary to have a license ; so John and 'Henry started for Springfield to get it. The old Judge asked of John if she was of age ; he replied she was not, "but here is her father," pointing to Henry. The old Judge saw the joke and said, " Boys, I will tell you a little story. A fellow came here one day to get a license and I asked him what the girl's name was; he said he did not like to tell for fear I would plague him. I told him that I would not; so he said her name was Peg, and that was all I could get out of him." John got his license. Holding up a vest which proved to be buckskin, Mr. Johnson said, " This vest is 102 years old. My father wore it at his wedding two years before the Revolutionary war ; my mother gave it to me and I expect to hand it down to my children. The pants were cut up by my mother. At first we did our milling at Elkhart; then there was a mill built on the Kickapoo. They used the section of a hollow sycamore tree for the rim of the burr."

The President asked for some other old pioneer to come forward and tell us of "the long ago." Jacob Judy responded in a very brief speech in which he said that the first license in Tazewell County was bought with 'coon skins. Uncle Joshua flouser asked what they paid the preacher, to which he replied that they did not pay him at all.

The President then asked, " Who next ?" To this call H. I. Warner replied that he had a Dutch Bible 131 years old; a Dutch hymn book between eighty and ninety years old ; a guitar of his father's, 114 years old ; an old staff which he used when General Jackson was inaugurated President; ,a bull's-eye watch fifty nine years old ; a pair of boots he had worn for thirty years, but one of them had a hole in it, owing to a defective piece of leather the shoemaker used. He spoke of the fashions of early times, giving some idea of the costumes worn when he was a boy.

Colonel H. B. Latham was next called, and responded by saying that he had been here longer than any one now living, perhaps, as his father had moved here in 1819. That there was scarcely a forty-acre lot in Elkhart woods but what he had chased a wolf over. The old settlers now are the children and grandchildren of the early pioneers. Then if a man built a house two or three miles out from the woods he was considered foolish, and would freeze to death the first winter ; consequently many of the early settlers cleared farms in the heavy woods. He had seen great changes. Said that his father's family had to go 100 miles to mill. That if a man was going on a journey of 300 or 400 miles he would prepare for it long before hand by getting his team in trim and everything ready for the long ride. Now he can travel 2,000 miles, visiting the great Eastern cities, the Centennial Exposition, the grandest exposition the world has ever seen, and be back here in one week. He spoke in glowing terms of the telegraph, railroads, school-houses and churches. What have we done for the improvement of this great country ? Have we done our duty, or have we been in the way ? We must instill into the minds of our children the principles of improvement so that in fifty years, when they hold old settlers' meetings, they can look back upon the receding past with grateful emotions to those who have gone before.

The President stated that since their last meeting three of the old pioneers had gone - Messrs. Cantrall and Clark and Mrs. Scroggin. Colonel Knapp was next called, but his health was too poor to permit him to respond. Mrs. Judy stated that her father came to Logan the 22d of October, 1818.

Rev. John England was next called, and said that he was like the minister who had his sermon written and stuck into a hole in the wall behind him and could not get it again; turning to the audience he said, " There was as fine a sermon in that wall as ever was preached." He stated that his father left Madison County, Ohio, in October, 1817, coming to St. Louis, where he met General Whiteside, who fought the Indians; and the General told Mr. England that there was some of the finest country up here that he had ever seen. His father and his two brothers-in-law started the next spring for Logan County. The family moved up in July; their table was split from a big tree, with wooden pins put in for legs; their churn was made from a hollow buckeye tree. They went to Edwardsville to mill and had to pay $1 per bushel for corn, haul it 100 miles at night, on account of the flies being so bad, for at daylight they had to build a fire near the horses and keep the flies off until night. He spoke of the customs of the girls, the "gals " going barefooted until within sight of the church and then putting on their shoes and stockings. They made their calculations to have the ague, as they did to have winter. This was caused by hunting their horses in the late wet grass, and drinking surface water. They thought that drinking liquor would keep the ague off, so every one attended to that. The piano that " gals " used then was the. washboard and the spinning-wheel. He said that he had seen three brothers in home-made pants, colored red, go to see three sisters, and that if the like was done now the girls would " sack" them immediately.

The President then asked all who were in the State the winter of the " deep snow " to arise and thirty-one responded.

Judge James Matheny, of Springfield, was next called. He was an old settler, but he wanted it distinctly understood that he was not an old man nor never expected to be. He had gray hairs to keep Colonel Latham company. He had no recollection beyond old Sangamon County. We complain of hard times, but we don't know anything about hard times. It is well for us to be told of the old times; how boys and girls, like Adam and Eve, went out into a strange land with the Bible in one hand and an ax in the other. They have hewn out for you the grandest country the sun shines on. You old pioneers do not need lofty piles of granite; the blossoming fields, the many school-houses and churches are the grand monuments of your achievements. He had clear recollections of John B. Watson, his early teacher; he made impressions on him, but they were on his back. The Yankee teachers would teach two months for $3. They did not care whether the children learned anything or not, they were after the $3; they did not tramp it through as they do now. He used to play sick and get hurt in order to stay at home. There is a great difference now, as his children liked to go to school; there is a great difference between the teachers now and then. He spoke of the ancient wedding, when John and Susan had made it up and knew the circuit rider would be around; had the calico dress and the blue jeans suit ready; the affair was very quiet; after the ceremony, they walked hand in hand out of the gate, through the woods, across the old bridge, up the hill to the little log cabin John had built. He spoke in feeling terms of the ancient pair who had gone arm in arm for fifty years up the steps of life, the bonds uniting their two lives being stronger by far than when first given. They have laid the foundation of the temple of human happiness in which you reside. His father has been a Methodist minister, and he believed he had blacked 1,000 pairs of boots, and he thought the one who gave a picayune was the best preacher. He related a short incident in which a little girl said, on being asked if she lived in such a gloomy place, "I make my own sunshine. " If we would all make our own sunshine and scatter its bright rays, we would be a much happier people. Just so long as you are true to yourselves, true to your country, and true to your God, this country will be safe, and the dear old flag will be to the old world what the pillar of fire was to the Israelites.

The President gave some incidents in his own early life, and stated that it was perhaps time to close. It was decided to hold the next year's meeting in Lincoln in one of the parks or groves. Messrs. Clark, Fisk, Larison and Tuttle were appointed a committee to fix upon the time and place, and give the proper notice. President Clark and Vice-President Latham were re-elected. Frank Fisk was elected Secretary. Mr. Fisk displayed some relics exhibited by R. H. Spader, consisting of petrified wood from Macoupin County; three hoes dug up on the Kickapoo in 1874 at the depth of fourteen feet below the surface in an old Indian burying ground; three tomahawks, one found on Sugar Creek, one on Salt Creek, and the third in McLean County. They reminded one of former days when the dusky hunter pursued the deer and wolf.

The physicians of Logan County have generally been men of more than average ability in their profession. Not a few have been men.of culture and extensive scholarship. The present practitioners are almost without exception reckoned among the most honorable citizens, and in their professional character are possessed of judgment, faithfulness, knowledge and skill such as entitled them to rank among the most useful members of society.

Source - "History of Logan County, Illinois", 1886
Submitted by Tina Easley


The first physician to locate at this point was Dr. H. P. Kelso, who came about the time Lincoln was first projected, and practiced here till his death, which occurred during the war. He was not highly educated, but was a plain, practical man, of good judgment, and was personally popular. Though he enjoyed a good practice, he died poor. A Dr. Blackburn tarried here also a few years, leaving just before the war. He was considered a fair "country doctor," not brilliant but a good, reliable man. He enjoyed a moderately large practice, not equal to that of Dr. Kelso. Dr. J. H. Beidler, afterward of Mt. Pulaski, was another ante-bellum physician of Lincoln. Then there was a Dr. Fuller, not a very reliable man, who left after a few years' residence. Drs. A. and R. S. Miller, brothers, located here about 1860, were considered competent, and enjoyed a fair practice during their stay. The former is now in Macoupin County, and the latter in Montana Territory. Dr. Joseph C. Ross, a surgeon in the army during the late war, came to Lincoln after the expiration of his term of service and practiced here till his death in 1884. He was a partner of Dr. A. M. Miller for five years. He was well educated, being the possessor of the degree of M. A. from Miami University, and had an excellent professional training. He was a popular man, enjoyed a good practice and accumulated some property. The above named are the best remembered of the members of the medical profession who have resided in Lincoln but have closed their labors here; the roll of present practitioners includes Drs. A. M. Miller, Samuel Sargent, L. L. Leeds, H. B. Brown, T. Newkirk, H. K. Ehrlick, R. N. Wilson, W. W. Howser, T. W. Primm, Charles Fusch (Horn.) and Kate Miller.

Source - "History of Logan County, Illinois", 1886
Submitted by Tina Easley


Dr. Barton Robinson, one of the original proprietors of this village was an Englishman, born in London about 1800. He came to Saugamon County, this State, in an early day, and thence here in 1836, where he practiced till 1856 or 1857. He then went to Cairo, but afterward returned for a short stay before going to Paris, Kansas, in which State he is now located. He was a reputable citizen and a good physician for his day. Dr. Granville Fain came in the " forties," and practiced until about 1860. He is still living in Mason County. He was well read, but an eccentric man, and his hobbies made him rather unpopular. A Dr. Dickinson died here in 1854, after about ten-years practice. Dr. John Clark came about 1846 or '47 and followed farming in connection with the practice of medicine until his death. Though he had no diploma, he was a Christian gentleman, popular, cautious and safe. He deserves to be remembered as a prominent and public-spirited citizen. Dr. Samuel Sargent came from Waverly, Ohio, about 1854. Dr. John C. Mershon came in the "forties" from Akron, Ohio, went to Michigan in 1858; thence to Ohio; returned here in 1882, and one year later removed to Peoria. Dr. Wemple came in 1856, and was for a time in partnership with Dr. Sargent in the drug business. The latter is now practicing medicine at Lincoln. Dr. or Major Wemple has not practiced since the war. Dr. J. H. Beidler moved from near Philadelphia to Ohio in 1852, and practiced at Chillicothe for a few years. In 1857 he came to Logan County with S. Linn Beidler, was at Lincoln several years, and then fixed his residence at Mt. Pulaski. He held for two terms the office of superintendent of schools. Dr. J. N. Pumpelly came here from Atlanta in 1859, and practiced until his death, twenty years later. He stood very high in the community. Dr. A. H. Lanphier, now of Kansas City, came in 1859 and remained two or three years. He then removed to Springfield, where he had a large practice, being an excellent physician. He was afterward connected with a chemical establishment, and later went to Kansas City. While at Mt. Pulaski Dr. Lanphier was a partner of Dr. A. N. Fellows, who came also in 1859. Dr. Fellows joined the army as a surgeon, and after his return went to Lincoln whence he went to Parsons, Kansas, having acquired a fair reputation. Dr. T. C. Bryan, from Jacksonville, located here in 1866, and in the winter of 1871-'2 died of confluent small-pox - the only case ever in Mt. Pulaski. Dr. M. P. Phinney came about 1873, and is yet in practice. Dr. W. S. Mendenhall, of Indianapolis, located here in 1877, and two years later left. He is now at Winfield, Kansas. Dr. P. H. Oyler, of Indianapolis, came about 1877 or '78, and in the latter year came Drs. C. F. Poppele and L. C. Nolan. Dr. Geo. W. Ebrite has been here since 1880, and Dr. T. C. Meads since 1881.

Source - "History of Logan County, Illinois", 1886
Submitted by Tina Easley


Before this place was even projected, two physicians lived in this neighborhood, and practiced till their death. The first was Dr. Win, an educated man, and a graduate. The second was Dr. Proctor, who lived at Mt. Hope, and had an extensive practice for many miles in every direction. The first to locate at Atlanta was a Dr. Rankin, who located about 1852, and three or four years later went South. He is now in Northern Illinois. Though a man of good judgment, he was not highly educated, and did but little here. The second arrival in Atlanta was Dr. George M. Angell, who came in the spring of 1853 and has practiced continuously since, except three years. The third was Jerome Tenney, who had resided at Armington for many years. He graduated at Jacksonville, came here in 1854, and remained until 1881, when he went to Florida. He was an A. B. and an M. D., was a good physician and did well here. He served in the late war as a Lieutenant of cavalry. Dr. Kirk, still practicing, came about the same time with Dr. Tenney. A Dr. Johnson was here " off and on" five or six years before the war, and then settled at McLean, where he died. Dr. Stewart came soon after the close of the war, in which he attained the rank of Colonel. He had been in medical practice at Waynesville before the war. He resided here until 1877, when he went to Texas, and is now following his profession there. Though not a graduate, he was a bright man, had a good knowledge of his business, and acquired a fair practice. Dr. White came soon after Stewart, and left in 1875 or '76. He was a very capable man and a graduate from Philadelphia. He kept a drug store here for a time. His practice was not extensive. Dr. Benjamin F. Gardner came about fifteen years ago and is still here. Drs. Serieux and Voke were homeopathic physicians, each remaining at Atlanta several years. The physicians now practicing here are: Drs. W. F. Kirk, B. F. Gardner, G. M. Angell, A. Bartholomew, C. M. Hough, G. W. Dunn and J. L. Lowry.

John R. Barnett, M. D., was born in Williamstown, Kentucky, Feb. 14, 1852, a son of Thomas A. and Amarias (Vance) Barnett, who were also natives of Kentucky. The family removed from Kentucky to Indiana, and in 1867 came to Logan County, Illinois, settling at Latham. John R. was reared to farming pursuits, and for many years worked by the month for farmers. He was educated in the common schools, and also Lincoln University. He subsequently taught school four years, and while engaged in teaching at Middletown, commenced reading medicine with Dr. W. C. Maull as preceptor. In 1878 he entered Rush Medical College, from which he graduated Feb. 21, 1881, and in June of the same year he located at Hartsburg, succeeding Dr. L. Loda, where he has a large and lucrative practice. The Doctor has been twice married. In 1879 he was married to Mary Reed, daughter of Dr. T. M. Reed, of Middletown. She died three months after her marriage. In January, 1884, our subject married Mary Morris, of Columbus Grove, Ohio. To this union has been born one son - Clarence M. In politics Dr. Barnett is a staunch Republican. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, at Lincoln, and superintendent of the Sunday-school at Hartsburg. He is a Master Mason and a member of the Odd-Fellow's order, and Ancient Order of United Workmen, having represented the latter order in the grand lodge of the State for four years. He is also a member of the corps of surgeons of the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Railroad.

Amos Bartholomew, physician of Atlanta, was born Oct. 12, 1808, in Jefferson County, Ohio. His parents, Moses and Elizabeth Bartholomew, were natives of Maryland and Virginia, respectively, coming to Jefferson County in 1805, where Amos was born and brought up to manhood. He received his primary education in the subscription schools of his native county, and at the age of twenty-two he entered what is now known as Capital University at Columbus, Ohio, from which he graduated after an attendance of three years, in the meantime preparing himself for his ministerial duties. Since that time he has labored zealously for the cause of religion for many years, and at various periods has held important offices in the Presbytery. In the fall of 1868 he resigned his pastorate at Belle Center, Ohio, where he was at that time settled pastor. He then came to Mason City, Illinois, and began the practice of medicine, being the first physician to introduce Homeopathy into Mason County. In 1870 he received a call from the church at Williamsville, Sangamon County, where he remained but a short time, and in 1872 he received a call from the presbytery to the Presbyterian church of Atlanta, where, in connection with his pastoral duties, he began the practice of medicine, which he has followed with success. He was first married in Ohio in April, 1835, to Eliza Ann Landes, by whom he has had seven children; three are still living - William A., Mary L. and Almira L. He was again married in Sangamon County, Illinois, in 1871, to Isabel C. Munce. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and has filled many of the important offices of that society, and was a charter member of Cypress Encampment, No. 10, of Zanesville, Ohio. He has spent a life of usefulness worthy of imitation, and the good he has accomplished will undoubtedly have its influence on future generations.

Dr. John Clark, deceased, was a son of David and Sallie (Winans) Clark, and was born in Miami County, Ohio, November 25, 1810. David Clark, born August 28, 1776, in Essex County, New Jersey, removed to Kentucky in 1798, and in 1800 married Rachel Rutter, who died four years later. In 1805 he removed to what is now Cincinnati, and made the brick for the first brick house erected in the embryo city. The following year he was married in Somerset County, New Jersey, to Sallie Winans, born October 25, 1788, and in 1809 settled in Miami County, Ohio, coming thence to Sugar Creek, Sangamon County Illinois. Our subject, John Clark, came with them, and, a year later, returned to Miami County, Ohio, where he married in August, 1830, Eliza Tremain, born May 24, 1810, in New York State. For about twelve years they engaged in farming in Sangamon County, then coming to Mount Pulaski, where Dr. Clark began the practice of his profession, he having studied medicine in his native county and graduated from the Ohio Medical College, at Cincinnati. He became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church in 1828 and was trustee of the Mount Pulaski Methodist Episcopal Church from its organization to his death. He was County Commissioner of Logan County for four years and Justice of the Peace seventeen years, during which time he married eighty-four couples. He died January 28, 1877, and is buried in Mount Pulaski Cemetery. His widow is still living in Mount Pulaski.

George W. Dunn, physician and surgeon of Atlanta, was born in Richmond, Yorkshire, England, June 29, 1841, a son of Richard and Ann Dunn. He received his primary education in the Richmond corporation school, and at the age of thirteen years he was apprenticed as a pupil teacher in the Richmond parish school where he remained five years, and passed every annual Government examination successfully, receiving his Government certificate in 1860. In 1860 he came to America, and after spending a short time in South Adams, Massachusetts, went to New York where he was employed a few months in the office of the American Temperance Union. He was then appointed to take charge of Millburn station, in the Newark, New Jersey, Methodist Episcopal Conference preaching there till the following September. He was then received into the North Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was stationed at Republic, Seneca County, Ohio, one year, after which he was stationed at Melmore for the same time. He was then transferred to Avon, Lorain County, and a year later was sent to Port Clinton, remaining there one year. He then became pastor of the church at Monticello, Lewis County, Missouri, where he preached about sixteen months. The two years following he spent on his farm in Lewis County, and in 1869 he was appointed to Lamar circuit for one year after which he was on Medoc circuit. For several years he had devoted his leisure time to the study of medicine, and in 1872 he graduated from the Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati, Ohio, being the valedictorian of his class. The same year he located at Georgia City, Jasper County, Missouri, where he engaged in the practice of medicine. In 1874 he located near Neosho, Missouri, thence to Lamar, Missouri, removing from the latter place in 1877 to Forest City, Macon County, Illinois. In 1879 he came to Atlanta, Logan County, where he has since followed his profession. He has secured a large practice and is classed among the leading practitioners of Logan County. The Doctor is still actively engaged in advancing the interests of the church, and for two years he served efficiently as president of the Logan County Christian Temperance Union. He is now president of the Logan County Sabbath-school Association. September 10, 1863, he was married to Kate Shaffner, of Seneca County, Ohio. This union has been blessed with six children - Harry W., A. Lincoln, Kingsley G., Anna K., Dora D. and Richard M. Richard is deceased. In politics Dr. Dunn votes the Prohibition ticket.

George W. Ebrite, A. M., M. D., was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1840. His father was a teacher, and owned a farm, where George W. spent his early life. At the age of fifteen he entered the Lebanon Academy, and later the Jonestown Collegiate Institute, where he studied two years. He then attended, for one year, the Lebanon Valley College, afterward entering Dartmouth College, from which historic institution he received the degree of A. B. in 1866. During 1867 he attended a course of lectures in the Long Island College Hospital, then entering the medical department at Dartmouth, from which he received his diploma in 1869, and the following year the degree of A. M. He practiced at Taylorville, Pennsylvania, for four years; at Gordon, Pennsylvania, eighteen months, eight years at Ashland, Pennsylvania, and in September, 1882, moved to Mt. Pulaski, Illinois.

Source - "History of Logan County, Illinois", 1886
Submitted by Tina Easley


The first school taught in Logan County was kept in James Latham's house, by Erastus Wright. This, as were all schools then, was supported by subscription. Mr. Wright afterward became one of the best known men in the State. Colonel Latham well remembers that he would be taken on the teacher's knee, the letters pointed out to him with the teacher's pocket knife, and when he did not pay good attention the teacher would gently prick him in the forehead to retain his attention, and to aid him in remembering the names of the letters. Soon after Robert Buckles settled, a stable on his farm was cleaned and a few rude benches placed therein, and school opened. The teacher was Judge Skinner, afterward one of the most prominent men in the county. William Copeland was also a teacher here. There was no window in this primitive structure, and a small door gave ingress and egress to the inmates. Cracks through the logs gave the necessary light. They were not bothered about the ventilation, as fresh air was abundant. Some of the lads and lasses were John Buckles, Mart. Turley, Amelia Cass, Isom Hirks and Leonard Scroggin. When Mr. Wright came to James Latham's to commence his school, he wheeled his trunk on a wheelbarrow, and took it away in the same manner. The first school-house in the county was built on Lake Fork, near John Turner's. It was a log structure, and to supply light a log from one side was entirely removed and window glass inserted. Pegs were inserted in the wall on one side of the room, on which a long board was placed; on this the pupils learned to write, standing during that exercise. The seats were always of slabs, with legs sufficiently high to keep the feet of the smaller ones from the floor, while the older ones were in an equally awkward position from the seats being too low. Gradation in seats or backs was seldom thought of, and scarcely ever adopted. Webster's Elementary Spelling Book and the Testament were the principal books used. The former was the established authority on orthography, and in after years it was considered an honor attained by few to be able to spell all the words in that book. Many of the old settlers now greatly delight in narrating their experiences in these early spelling contests, commonly known as " spelling schools," and look back with pride and pleasure to the evenings passed in this intellectual amusement. The spelling-school is now seldom conducted, as the profit derived therefrom is nearly always overbalanced by other considerations. Spelling by writing is much better, and more productive of good results, and is rapidly superseding the oral method.We owe our present free-school system, of which we are justly proud, in no small degree to the influence of the teachers' institutes and associations held in the State, the first of which, called the " Illinois Institute of Education," met at Vandalia in 1833. Our school system is, in fact, the product of the meetings of these organizations. Of course, the discussions and exercises of these educational gatherings were at first general in their character; and this is to some extent true of the State Association yet; but county teachers' institutes have a specific purpose - the better fitting of teachers for the school-room.

Mrs. Emma K. Good, Mrs. E. R. Harrington, C. J. Head, Frank Hatton, G. I. Harry, Wm. Hungerford, Levi Hatton, Geo. W. James, Frank Klatt, C. M. Knapp, R. N. Lawrence, J. A. Lutz, Jacob Mundy, T. Newkirk, H. Patterson, John Scully, Mrs. L. M. Switzer, S. Stern, W. M. Dustin, J. M. Starkey, B. H. Brainerd and Daniel P. Bryan (now deceased), the latter having donated his entire estate and founded a professorship. Other devoted friends of the enterprise residing in Logan County and elsewhere have also been liberal in their donations to the University. Donations of $5,000 each, to become available after the death of the respective donors, have been made by Thomas Burnett, Martha Beatty, Wm. Gait, J. R. Newman and J. T. Drennan.

The charter members of the Board of Trustees were: Rev. Elim McCord, R. B. Latham and John Howser, for Indiana Synod; Rev. David Lowry, Geo. W. Edgar and J. F. D. Elliott, for Iowa Synod; Rev. J. B. Logan, A. C. Boyd and James Coddington,for Central Illinois Synod; Rev. J. M. Miller, Rev. J. E. Roach and John Wyatt, for Illinois Synod; and Goo. H. Campbell, J. S. Metcalf and Abram Mayfield for Sangamon Synod.

The Trustees at this time are: Rev. W. T. Ferguson, Rev. Jas. Best and J. S. Randolph, for Indiana Synod; Hon. Wm. B. Jones, Rev. W. C. Bell and Rev. J. A. Chase, for Sangamon Synod; Hon. T. T. Beach, Hon. W. T. Moffitt and T. H. Perren for Central Illinois Synod; Geo. W. Edgar, Thos. Quisenberry and Rev. R. A. Ferguson, for Iowa Synod; and J. A. Hudson, Geo. I. Harry and Rev. T. H. Padgett, for Illinois Synod. Officers: J. A. Hudson, President; J. A. Chase, Vice-President; Wm. B. Jones, Treasurer; and W. C. Bell, Secretary.

The aggregate number of students who have attended the University is about 3,000 and its graduates number 170.

Source - "History of Logan County, Illinois", 1886
Submitted by Tina Easley


Logan County has had more than its share of tragedy, and perhaps of other crime. From first to last there have been in the county not less than thirty murders, and more than that number of suicides. Three or four of these have been of more than local importance, and gave the county for the time an unenviable notoriety. The reason for the numerous crimes that have occurred here can not be found in the character of the people, who are as law-abiding, sensible citizens as the average in Illinois. Certain it is, the citizens and authorities have shown greater diligence and been to greater expense for the suppression and punishment of crime than many localities can claim. Perhaps it is only for this reason that Logan County is as prominent as it is in the history of crime.

We do not propose to offer anything like a complete catalogue, but on the following pages outline a few of the best remembered cases of violence.

Murder At Middletown.

A man who worked in Lincoln at the shoemaker's trade in the autumn of 1859, and who was known as John Renner, shot and instantly killed James Rockford, an Irishman, in a grocery at Middletown, a little before sundown on Monday, February 13,1860. The murderer took to the timber immediately, acknowledging the homicide, but claiming that it was done in self defense. Pursuit was instituted, but in vain. The cause of the affair was liquor, under the influence of which Rockford was always very quarrelsome.


In February, 1870, the orderly people of Logan County were startled with the news that on Friday, the 15th, John L. Phipps, a well-known farmer residing on what was known as the Geer farm, some six miles west of Lincoln, had attempted to murder his wife and then committed suicide. In October previous, Mr. Phipps married Miss Kate Buckles, daughter of John Buckles, of Lake Fork. During their brief married life their matrimonial relations were not of the most pleasant character. His conduct toward her had always been characterized by brutality, and it was proven before the coroner's jury that he had treated her more like a servant than as the wife of his bosom. A temporary parting had taken place between the parties, and only on Tuesday before the tragedy he had gone to the house of her father, sought her to return with him and gave his word and honor to her father that he would treat her in a manner befitting a husband. With these promises she returned with him to his home, accompanied by her mother, there in a short time to almost meet a terrible death.

In the evening on which the tragedy occurred, he had broken his promise of good behavior and had offered her gross insults. Unable to bear it longer, she had reluctantly consented to separate from him again, and only waited for morning, when he promised to return her to her father. Mrs. Buckles, the mother of the unfortunate woman, was the principal witness before the coroner's jury, and although prostrated as she was from sickness and fright, yet she testified intelligently in regard to the horrible affair. She stated that before the crime was committed, a conversation took place between the suicide and his intended victim. He asked her to accompany him to an adjoining sleeping-room, where he wanted to talk to her. The mother, fearing his intentions, asked him to remain in the room and they would review the whole case. He objected to this, however, and insisted on having his wife accompany him to the fatal room. No sooner had the door closed on her retreating form than she heard the report of a pistol, followed immediately by a second shot. Mrs. Buckles ran out of the house, gave the alarm to an employee on the farm, and he went to the neighbors for assistance. At first there was some hesitancy on the part of the neighbors about entering the house, fearing lest the would-be murderer was there, prepared to sell his life dearly.

Under the lead of Samuel Seeley they entered the house and found the body of Mrs. Phipps lying on the floor in the kitchen, to which place she had crawled after receiving the terrible wound. Proceeding to the room where the shooting was done, they found the body of Mr. Phipps lying in a pool of his own blood, and nearly, if not quite, dead. The ball had penetrated his head near the temple and had passed entirely through the brain. A smothered groan from Mrs. Phipps attracted their attention, and on examination it was found that she was still breathing. She was tenderly cared for, and was gradually brought back to health and strength.

The body of the suicide was brought to Lincoln and the funeral held on the Sunday following. Mr. Phipps was a man of morbid temperament, excessively mercenary, and entertained a fixed idea that there existed no such thing as female virtue. After settling down to the business of life, instead of honoring her who had left her home and parents to share with him his sorrows and joys, he let the "green-eyed monster" of jealousy take undisputed control of his reason, and construed every act of hers into some horrid shape, until at last it impelled him to set a watch over his own household. That he had intended to murder her was clearly proven from the fact that several weeks before the end he had pointed a shotgun at her, and only failed of carrying his purpose into execution by a quick movement on her part in escaping from its range. Then he told her he was only jesting. Wednesday before the tragedy he was in Lincoln, and purchased the revolver with which he perpetrated the awful crime. Murder was then in his heart, and he was every whit as guilty as though he had succeeded.


On Sunday, November 13, 1870, the body of a woman was found under a log in Salt Creek, a short distance above the Chicago & Alton bridge. The inquest showed that she had been murdered and afterward put in the creek for concealment. The remains were kept at the office of Undertaker Evans for several days, and great efforts were made to learn who the woman was, but without avail. She was roughly dressed, and it was thought she was one of a party of tramps who had been in the vicinity a few days before. As no person could recognize the remains, and no one was missing from the county, it was clear that the woman was a stranger. The county offered a reward of $800 for the arrest and conviction of the murderer, but there was no clue to work upon and no discoveries were made.


On the evening of Sunday, August 15, 1875, Timothy Murphy, an Irishman renting a farm a mile and a half east of Cornland, in this county, while driving some cattle out of his field, was beaten with a club so terribly that his skull was fractured, and he died an hour or so afterward. Murphy's own statement and the circumstantial evidence elicited at the inquest indicated that while driving the cattle out he met his neighbor, Martin L. Turley, between whom and himself an old grudge existed, and that a quarrel followed, in the course of which Turley knocked him off his horse with a club, and subsequently struck him over the head with the same weapon, inflicting a fatal Wound. Both men had borne a good character, and the murder created intense excitement in that portion of the county. There had been a feud between the parties. Turley was tried in January following and acquitted.


A cold-blooded and atrocious murder occurred on Sunday evening, November 14, 1875, near Doyle's Mill, a locality in Mt. Pulaski Township, about three miles northeast of Cornland. John Daily and Frank Fletcher were farm laborers and single men. Both were formerly from Kentucky, both were drinking men and neither bore a good character. It was rumored that there was a woman in the case, and that the difficulty arose from jealousy, but whether this was true or not, the two men met in the road on Saturday, the 13th, and had a fierce quarrel. Fletcher the same day threatened to kill Daily, and the next day repeated his threats, and, seeing his enemy pass down the road, borrowed a gun and awaited his return. As Daily rode by, Fletcher stepped from behind a tree and shot him at such short range as to set his clothing on fire. Daily survived until midnight, and before his death stated that Fletcher had shot him. Fletcher, on returning from his murderous errand, openly boasted of what he had done. No immediate attempt was made to arrest him, and he fled the country the same evening. Neither of the men had any property, nor, it is believed, any relatives in this county. The coroner's jury decided that the shot was premeditated by Fletcher, and a pursuit was then instituted, but in vain. He was finally discovered in Kentucky, by means of a letter written to an acquaintance here; was brought back, tried in Sangamon County by change of venue, and acquitted, the jury deciding that the shooting was in self-defense.


Tuesday night, April 2, 1878, between the hours of nine and ten, some of the boarders at the house of Mrs. Thompson, near the south park, in Lincoln, heard the report of a pistol, but the shot attracted little attention. Early the next morning the body of Frederick Neuman was discovered by early passers-by in the south park, near the northwest corner. The dead man was seated in an easy position, at the foot of a small elm, and at a little distance a careless observer would have thought him asleep. His head drooped a little to the left, one foot was thrown across the other negligently, and his right arm rested easily across his lap. Still grasped in his right hand was a small silver-plated pistol, while on the right side of his head, above the ear, was an ominous hole from which a little stream of blood had marked its way down his neck. Death must have been instantaneous, for the slight droop of his head was evidently the only change of position that had followed the fatal shot.

Neuman was a German, a bachelor, thirty-eight years of age. He was a native of Bavaria, whence he emigrated to the United States when about twelve years of age. He had lived in Lincoln about eleven years, was a cigar-maker and had worked several years for Messrs. Scheid & Rethaber. For some years he had been in the habit of indulging in strong drink, and he would occasionally go on a spree of several days' duration. When sober, he was a very good man and he could have had work all the time at good wages if he would but have remained so; but being untrustworthy on account of his bad propensities, he had been discharged a number of months before by Scheid & Rethaber, and afterward found it difficult to obtain work. Sometime in February he received $109 from Germany, but the money was soon spent for liquor. He was usually very despondent after indulging in a spree, and had often threatened to kill himself, but no one thought he would carry out his threat. Some letters written from a neighboring village showed that a woman was mixed up in the affair. Among other things, she told him repeatedly in these letters that he must quit drinking or she would have nothing more to do with him. These may have done their part in producing the melancholy state of mind which always followed his harder drinking bouts. A memorandum on the back of an envelope found in his pocket began thus: "If I cannot live like a man, I can at least die like one."


Shepard S. Bell shot J. Harry Talbott a little before noon, Jan. 1, 1879. The latter had rented the farm of the former, near Burton View, in 1878, and owing to some misunderstanding the parties became involved in a lawsuit. This engendered bad feeling, and in attempting to make a settlement in the office of Boyd, Paisley & Co.'s shoe store on the day of the shooting, it seems that a quarrel arose. No one was in that part of the store at the commencement of the trouble, save the shoemaker and the two men themselves; but Mr. Paisley, on stepping in, observed Mr. Talbott standing by the stove and saw that Mr. Bell, still inside the office railing, had a revolver in his hand. Mr. Paisley asked what he was doing with the pistol, and was informed that he (Bell) intended to defend himself. Mr. Paisley and Mr. Boyd, who soon came in, endeavored to prevail upon him to put away the weapon, promising that he should not be harmed, and Mr. Talbott also Slid that he would not trouble him. Bell at last came out from behind the railing, but still refused to put away the revolver. Finally Talbott said, "If yon don't put away your pistol, I will take it from you." Bell dared him to do it, when Talbott sprang forward and caught him around the body. Bell then fired a shot which took effect in the right shoulder, ranging downward, and before Mr. Paisley could prevent him, he fired two more, the last one missing the intended victim and striking the floor, but the other ball entered Talbott's body just under the ribs on the left side, about four inches from the median line of the stomach. Messrs. Boyd and Paisley took the pistol from him. Bell then walked out on the street, where he was arrested by Constable Hukill.

Drs. Sargent and Little were called in and probed Talbott's wounds for the balls, but without finding them. He was then removed to the Lincoln House. The ball in his shoulder was subsequently extracted, but the other could not be found, and he soon began vomiting blood. He died the following morning, after making a will and a sworn statement of the circumstances of the shooting.

Bell had purchased the pistol but a half an hour before the shooting, and just after having some warm words with Talbott on the street. It is evident that murder was in his heart, and that he was guilty of a heinous crime. He set up the plea of self-defense, however. At the May term of court, the case was continued to September. Then a change of venue was taken to McLean County, where he had a long and expensive trial in March, 1880. He was defended by able legal talent from Lincoln, and also Chicago. "When the jury went out, they deliberated three days, and then returned a formal disagreement into court. A part of the jury were in favor of a long term of imprisonment, and a part, influenced by the evidence adduced on the plea of self-defense, voted for one year's imprisonment. Bell's final trial was in Sangamon County, where he was acquitted. He was last heard of in Dakota. While in Lincoln he studied law for about a year with Harts & James. He had taught school for some time in the county. He bore a good general reputation, but was extremely passionate and vindictive. He was about thirty-five years of age. Talbott was well and favorably known, and was highly connected with respectable families in this county.


A German named Joseph Koomer, residing in the southern part of Lincoln, shot himself with a shot gun on the night succeeding Thursday, March 6, 1879. He was a bachelor, about forty years of age, and lived alone. He cultivated a vineyard, being a vinedresser by occupation. Although he was in debt for his property to the amount of about $400, his services were in good demand, and he always received good wages, so that his indebtedness need not have troubled him had it not been for his drinking constantly and sometimes deeply. His friends said there was no doubt that strong drink had unsettled his mind and that it was the direct cause of his self annihilation.


Charles Herbeck, a German in the employ of H. L. Pierce for two years or more at a farm near Rocky Ford, southwest of Lincoln, shot his wife on Tuesday, March 11, 1879, and shortly afterward killed himself. They had not been living amicably together for some time and Herbeck had threatened before to kill his wife. About two weeks before the end, he left her and came to Lincoln, where he remained until the day mentioned. He then hired a team and driver at Klatt's stable, and went out to his home. Here he had the driver, Henry Kirby, put up his team, saying that he would return to Lincoln pretty soon, and meantime they would have dinner. As Kirby was on his way to the house, after putting up his team, he heard a shot fired, and directly afterward Mrs. Herbeck ran out at the door, saying she was shot. A man employed on the farm helped her to the house of a neighbor, Peter Critz. A few moments after she left, Kirby saw Herbeck come to the door, look around as if in search of his wife, and then go back. He came out again, and in reply to a question by Kirby, said he did not want to go back to town. Kirby took his horses from the stable and went for some of the neighbors. Others, including H. L. Pierce, had been aroused by some boys who had heard of the shooting, and were soon looking for Herbeck. They found him in the stable with the door fastened on the inside. While Mr. Pierce was trying the door, a shot was heard inside, and when an entrance was gained Herbeck was found dead in the hay-loft with a pistol ball in his head; he had shot himself in the left eye.

Herbeck was from St. Louis, where he belonged to a German lodge of Odd Fellows. He was strongly under the influence of liquor when he did the shooting. The cause of the tragedy was said to be jealousy. The woman was ironing at a table when shot, and was stooping over her work when her husband fired the pistol The ball struck her in the back about three inches below the shoulder-blade and about an inch and a half to the left of the spine, and passed entirely through her body, coming out at the point of the breast-bone ; it was thought to have passed under and within an inch of the heart. She was for a time not expected to live, but did recover, to the surprise of all.

THE Clare-Connor's MURDER.

Lincoln was the scene of an unprovoked murder on Friday, November 19, 1880. John Clare, a coal miner, well along in years, the father of a family of grown children, and Daniel Connors, a young man, also a coal miner, and an old friend of Clare, entered the house of John Daly, on German street, in the Third Ward, apparently on the best of terms; and after sitting and conversing together for a short time, Clare drew a revolver and shot Connor. No one was in the room up to almost the instant of shooting, and the particulars or causes leading to the crime were never learned. The matter remains one of the unsolved mysteries. Clare's trial was postponed from time to time, and did not take place until September, 1881. He was then found guilty and sentenced to fifteen years in the penitentiary. His defense was that of insanity.


A number of casualties have occurred in the Lincoln coal mines, but one of the saddest occurred December 4, 1880; Marcus Lindsey went down into the mine at half-past four on that morning, and put in a blast which was tired at twenty minutes past six, and which caused his death. In mining coal, rooms are opened at right angles to the entries, or should be, but Lindsey had not noticed, it seems, what direction he was taking and had turned his room until it was running nearly parallel with the entry. When he went down into the mine on Saturday morning, he drilled a hole and put in a charge of powder, stopping only eighteen inches from the face of the entry. Then when he lighted the fuse he went out into the entry to wait for the explosion and sat down but seven feet from the deadly charge toward which the fire in the slow match was rapidly creeping. A miner in a neighboring room, George S. Howser, came out to get his clothes to go home at the time that Lindsey came from his room, having fired the fuse. When the explosion took place, instead of breaking out in the room as intended, it burst through the face of the entry and threw out coal enough to have killed twenty men, had they been in the entry. The concussion put their lights out and Howser called to Lindsey, but receiving no answer lighted his lamp and went to him, finding him mangled and lifeless. The body was fearfully blackened and bruised, and both arms were broken above the elbow, while a piece of coal had passed entirely through the head from left to right, tearing away the back part of the head almost to the ears. Death had been "swift and painless." Lindsey was a married man, of good character, and a painter by trade, working in the mine during the winter season.


On the afternoon of Thursday, December 2, 1880, Ben Frank left his house north of the Boulevard at Lincoln, telling his wife that he was going to town after some stove-pipe, and would soon be back. He did not return, and at 9 o'clock Mrs. Frank being alarmed at his continued absence, had a search instituted. This was continued, without result, through Friday and Saturday and up to Sunday morning, when the body of the unfortunate man was found suspended from a rafter in the barn. It was not found sooner because in a dark corner where it had escaped the first and more casual observation. Mr. Frank was an old and well-known citizen, having been in business in various capacities for many years. He was in good circumstances financially, leaving quite an estate, and temporary insanity was the undoubted cause. He had suffered a sunstroke the previous summer from which he had never fully recovered, and it was said that he had several times threatened to take his own life.


John Blake shot himself on Monday, December 27, 1880, less than a month after the Frank suicide. He was at one time in fair circumstances, and one of the owners of the " Logan Mills," but drink had ruined him. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon, alone in the basement of the mill, he fired three shots into his left side aiming at the heart; but entering too low and too far to the left, and failing to accomplish his purpose, fired a fourth shot against the right side of his head; but this ball struck on the thick parietal bone, and, the revolver being only a 22-caliber, the bullet was flattened and turned aside, plowing a short distance under the scalp. Two or three of the employees were in the mill office above, but did not hear the shots. Mr. Elwood finally heard him call, went down and found him lying stiff and bleeding on the ground. He was carried up to the office, where a hasty examination was made by Drs. Ross and Brown and he was then carried to his residence on Third street, where he expired the next morning. Being asked what caused him to take his own life, Mr. Blake replied that he " could not make his books balance." He was about $200 short in his accounts, and had been warned that he must keep sober and keep his business straight or he would be discharged. He was a member of two benevolent orders, and his family was thus provided for. He had signed the pledge the spring before and kept it for a time, but had remarked he must die of delirium tremens or kill himself, and he preferred the latter.


William J. Engle, a young man twenty-three years of age, had been studying medicine in Lincoln with Dr. W. W. Houser for about six months prior to September 1, 1881, at which time he left to attend medical lectures. While residing at Lincoln he made the acquaintance of Miss Jennie Lanterman, daughter of A. J. Lanterman. An engagement had followed, but this was broken oft on account of Engle's conduct and bad habits. He wont to Colorado instead of Chicago to attend medical lectures, and after a couple of months returned to Lincoln. He hung around for some days, and then shot himself in front of Mr. Lanterman's house. He had made previous attempts on his life, and was certainly of diseased mind.


A crime came to light on Sunday, August 20, 1882, that was characterized by the press and citizens as the most atrocious ever perpetrated in Logan County. The following account is condensed from that given by the Lincoln Herald:

The scene was a farm six miles east of Mt. Pulaski and two miles south of Chestnut. The victims were Charles H. McMahan, Robert Matheny and John Carlock, the last two being men in the employ of the first-named. The house in which McMahan lived stood alone in the fields, fully half a mile from any road, making it a fit scene for such a crime as the one we are narrating. There was no fence about it and no garden, the building standing in an untidy clump of weeds, with here and there a rusty piece of wornout farm machinery, and, at a little distance, a cluster of stacks, a dilapidated shed stable and some uncovered corn-pens, where the crops of two or three seasons were slowly going to decay. The neighbors said McMahan was holding his corn for a better price. To the north was a small, badly kept old orchard. The house itself was a one-story building, 18 x 30 feet in dimensions. It was never painted, and was black with the storms of thirty winters. The interior of this gloomy place was equally forbidding.

The last time the three men were seen alive was on Friday evening, when the neighbors noticed them at work stacking oats near the stable. On Saturday one of the neighbors was annoyed by a stray horse belonging to McMahan, and on Sunday forenoon David Long went to ask him to take it away. Long found no one at the house, but noticed that quilts were hung at the windows, and that some things were out of place. Frank Lyon and Alfred Ayres afterward joined in the search, which lasted, perhaps, two hours, when, led by a sickening odor from a clump of tall weeds near some corn-pens, about 300 yards south of the house, one of them came upon the body of young Carlock. Without making a careful examination, they at once concluded that the body was that of Charles McMahan, and jumped to the conclusion that McMahan had been murdered by his two hired men. It was not till an hour later, when the body of Matheny was found in the weeds within fifteen feet of that of Carlock, that the magnitude of the crime began to dawn upon the horrified spectators. Search was then made for the body of McMahan, and was continued for some time before it was found concealed in tall grass in a slough at a point 120 yards southwest of the other two. All three were found lying upon their backs, with their throats cut from ear to ear, the gash in young Carlock's throat having almost severed his head from his body. All were blindfolded, gagged, their hands tied behind their backs and their feet hobbled so that they could only step about eight inches. Their hands had clutched the weeds beneath them so tightly, in their death agony, that the weeds had to be cut before they could be removed. Matheny and Carlock had each been struck a severe blow over the head, probably with a billy or club a blow which laid bare the skull.

McMahan was a bachelor who lived alone, except that he usually had a hired man employed the year through. They did their own cooking, and lived in a rough, uncomfortable way. There was no evidence of a struggle in the house, and the three must have surrendered quietly to what seemed the inevitable. The accepted theory was that the thieves did not at first intend to murder their victims, but that, finding themselves recognized, they afterward decided to kill them, on the theory that "dead men tell no tales." There was nothing to show that the house was closely searched. After their money and McMahan's watch were secured, the three were marched in a hobbled condition south across a piece of plowed ground to the corn-pens above mentioned, where the two young men were butchered. McMahan was taken to the slough, about 120 yards southwest of the others, and his throat cut.


John Thomas, a well-to-do farmer living near the corporation line of Lincoln, committed suicide on January 19, 1883. He had been in bad health for several years and suffered at times intensely. His disease was catarrh of the head, in a very severe and probably incurable form. Under the influence of his disease, he was gloomy and despondent, and at times he would avoid his friends as though conversation was a burden. He sometimes said he would rather die than suffer as he did. On January 9 he started for Southwest Missouri, in company with A. B. Nicholson and Joseph Ream. He hoped thus to improve his health, but, finding no relief, he returned on Wednesday, the 17th. He went out home the next day, and remained in bed most of the time, requesting to be left alone. At about 7:30 the next morning, while the family were at breakfast, he went to a closet and took out a breach-loading rifle, loaded it with a cartridge and then went into his daughter's room, where his younger daughter, Emma, was asleep. Sitting upon the side of the bed he placed the muzzle of the rifle to his forehead and touched the trigger. The report was so smothered that those in the dining-room did not notice it, but Emma awoke and ran to them, saying, "Something is the matter with pa." Mrs. Thomas ran in and raised him up. Seeing the blood, but not noticing the gun, she thought he had burst a blood vessel, but in a few moments the dreadful truth became apparent. A physician was sent for, but the shot proved fatal within fifteen or twenty minutes. The coroner's jury returned the only verdict possible under the circumstances. Mr. Thomas was sixty years old, and a native of this State. He came to this county in 1853, and settled at first on Sugar Creek. He made many friends, and became one of the county's most prominent and highly esteemed citizens. He was one of the leading men in the county agricultural society, and was one of the most active workers in the building of Zion Church, north of Lincoln. He was materially prosperous, being the owner of a fine farm of 160 acres, adjoining the city limits, and having personal property of considerable value besides. His suicide was undoubtedly due to the cause universally assigned for it continued ill-health, which had, to some extent, affected his mind.

Source - "History of Logan County, Illinois", 1886
Submitted by Tina Easley


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