By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL
Transcribed by Debbie Quinn


"Time," says Longfellow, "has a doomsday book, upon whose pages he is continually recording illustrious names. But as often as a new name is written there, an old one disappears. Only a few stand in illuminated characters, never to be effaced." The list of prominent and distinguished dead of the capital city of Illinois is a long and constantly augmenting one. It embraces men from different walks in life, many of who have left the imprint of their deeds and character upon the history of both the state and nation. The personal sketches we here present are, as a rule, confined to those who, for longer or shorter periods, were classed as permanent residents of the city, and they are given in the order of time when they appeared. In penning these biographical notices we could wish for the wand of a literary magician, by which to evoke from the dead past the shades of these departed worthies and cause them to pass before the eye of the reader as living, moving, real men. But as our space is restricted by the plan of this work, we can give only a brief recital of the principal events in the life of each, with some slight portrayal of the more salient features of his character.

INDEX to Prominent & Illustrious Dead Biographies

Major Elijah Iles

Charles Matheny

Pascal P. Enos

Jonathan H. Pugh

Dr. Gershom Jayne

General James Henry

William H. Herndon

Dr. John Todd

John G. Bergen, D.D.

John T. Stuart

John Calhoun

Stephen Trigg Logan

Milton Hay

Judge Samuel H. Treats

Ninian W. Edwards
(includes bios of two of his sons, Benjamin S. and Ninian Wirt Edwards)

Colonel Edward D. Baker

Abraham Lincoln

Stephen A. Douglas

James C. Conkling
(includes bio of his son, Clinton L. Conkling)

John A. McClernand

John M. Palmer

Jesse K. Dubois
(includes bio of his son Fred Dubois)

James C. Robinson

The Addenda:

It may be of interest to the reader to note the names of the men of state reputation, who, though not residents of Springfield, died and were buried here.

First among these was
William J. Gatewood, an able lawyer and state senator from Gallatin county, who died in January, 1842, and was interred in the northeast part of the old City cemetery.
General William L. D. Ewing
died in office as auditor of state, March 25, 1846, aged fifty-two years and was buried in the Hutchinson cemetery. Milton Carpenter died in office as state treasurer in August, 1848, and was also buried in the Hutchinson cenetery.
Governor William H. Bissell
died in office, March 15, 1860, and his remains now lie interred in Oak Ridge cemetery.
Governor John R. Tanner
died in this city May 23, 1901, soon after the close of his official term, and was laid to rest in Oak Ridge cemetery.
General James Shields
, a man of national reputation as a soldier and senator, was an irregular resident of Springfield from 1841 to 1855. He died at Ottumwa City, Iowa, June 1, 1879.
Governor Joel A. Matteson resided in Springfield from 1852 until about 1862. He died in Chicago, January 31, 1873, in his sixty-fifth year. His palatial mansion of pressed brick, with stone trimmings, steep slate roof and tower, was erected in 1858 at a cost of over $100,000. It occupied the half block at the southest corner of South Fourth and Jackson Streets, and was long one of the show places of this city. It was burned about the winter of 1874 and afterward partially restored, but was never again used as a residence.


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