SPRINGFIELD BEFORE LINCOLN
Richard E. Hart
When one speaks of the arrivals at Springfield during this period, one must keep in mind that there was no place called “Springfield”. Those in the geographic area of what is now Springfield, claimed land under the “old system” of preemption—they settled on the land as squatters and made improvements. This was a source of much agitation in Congress to allow these squatters to enter the land which formally came into the market for a given price, credit for improvements, etc.
Therefore, in describing those who arrived in Springfield at this time, I will include those who settled in what is now Sangamon County before 18__ and those who settled the vicinity of what became Springfield and those who settled outside of the vicinity but within a distance of ___ miles and who later moved to Springfield. William Carpenter is such a settler.
Shadrach Bond, Jr., delegate to Congress…helped craft a monumentally important preemption law, passed in February 1813. For over twenty-five years, settlers had risked losing their improvements because they could not purchase lands they occupied: the preemption law changed this, and more. It allowed each squatter to preempt a quarter section—160 acres—of land they occupied. Upon paying one-twentieth of the purchase price, a squatter initiated the purchase and entered the land. Squatter anxiety dissipated, triggering a land rush. Even during turbul10 to 1815, when casualties and flight thinned ranks, Illinois gained some 3,000 people. Some gain occurred prior to the war, and some reflected high birth rates, but even during 1812-1814 settlers slipped into Illinois. Those deterred by war formed a pent-up backlog, waiting for tranquil times before pushing west.
LANGSTON, JECHONIAH, was born in the year 1769, in South Carolina. His father was a Whig, and Jechoniah was often sent by his father to convey information to Whigs of the whereabouts and doings of the Tories. On one occasion the Tories were about to kill his father, and he informed the Whig soldiers in time to save his life. He was then about ten years old, and soon after, some of the Tory soldiers caught him, and taking a leather strap used for fastening their extra clothing behind them on their saddles, they hung him to a beam outside his father's barn, and watched him until he ceased to manifest any signs of life; and then took him down to save the strap, and left him on the ground dead, as they supposed; but after a long time he came to life. He was married in South Carolina, and after the birth of one child, his wife died. He left the child there, and went to Wayne county, Ky., where he was married to Nancy Dodson. They had three children in Kentucky, and moved to Champaign county, Ohio, where two children were born; and then moved to Sangamon county, Ill., arriving Feb., 1820, in what is now Fancy Creek township, where they had four children. Of their children--
JOSEPH D., born Dec. 25, 1805, in Wayne county, Ky., married July 23, 1829, to Elizabeth Cantrall. She was born Aug. 29, 1808, in Ohio. They had five living children in Sangamon county. WILLIAM C., born April 25, 1830, married Oct. 28, 1851, to Elizabeth J. Fagan, who died Dec. 26, 1853, and he married June 17, 1855, to Eliza J. King. They live in Fancy Creek township, seven miles north of Springfield. EMILY, born in 1832, married Asaph Bates. They had five children, THERESA E., JOHN T., ELIZABETH A., EMILY S., and JOSEPH W., and Mrs. Bates died May 8, 1872. THERESA and JOHN, twins, born May 11, 1834. She died June 22, 1856. JOHN married April 11, 1862, to Martha Price. They had one child, EVA JANE, and he enlisted Aug., 1862, in Co. C, 114th Ill. Inf., for three years. He was killed at the battle of Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 15, 1864. JAMES B. born Nov. 29, 1836, married Eliza Taylor; have five children, SARAH A., MARY A., JOHN O., IDA S., and BEULAH, and live near his father, in Menard county. Joseph D. Langston and wife reside in Menard county, one mile north of Sangamon county line, and one mile west of Peoria road, and fifteen miles north of Springfield.
Joseph D. Langston remembers that during the fourteen months from the time his father moved into his new home until Sangamon county was organized, they were under the jurisdiction of Madison county, and the authorities at Edwardsville claimed that they were entitled to some revenue from the isolated settlers. They were so scattered that it was not thought advisable to send out an assessor, and after him a collector, but the sheriff, Bowling Whitesides, would send out a deputy, with instructions to assess and collect as he went. Mr. Langston remembers that late in 1820 or early in 1821, the deputy came, riding one horse and leading another, with a pack saddle on it. He would engage in a promiscuous conversation, and without making his business known, would fix some value on their property. He would direct the conversation in such a manner as to ascertain how many coon skins they had on hand. He would then make his business known, and proceed to make his assessment and collection. Mr. Langston said it was a remarkable fact that the tax in almost every case amounted to exactly the number of coon skins they had on hand. When the officer had accumulated all his horse could carry, he would go to Edwardsville, make a deposit, and return for another load. And that was the way the first revenue was collected in Sangamon county.
In What Is Now Ball Township
Abraham Pease was born on July 22, 1791, in Martha’s Vineyard, Dukes County, Massachusetts. His ancestors were Welch. As a young man, he went to New York State and married there on August 18, 1811 to Orpha Southwick. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, from Cayuga County, New York. Abraham and Orpha came to Sangamon County with the family of Jesse Southwick arriving in 1818 (SHOULD BE SPRING OF 1820 SEE SOUTHWICK, p. 672) in what is now Ball Township. At least one child, Dexter came with them. They came with Orpha’s father’s family—the family of Jesse Southwick.
GET More on Jesse Southwick Power, p. 672
On May 6, 1820, the frost killed the growing corn of Levi Cantrall.
Arrival of Stephen, Joseph and Abigail Stillman and Edward Voluntine in Sangamon County
In the spring of 1820, Massachusetts natives and brothers, Stephen and Joseph B. Stillman and their mother, Abigail, the widow of Benjamin Stillman, emigrated to Sangamon County, Illinois. They settled one and a half miles west of what is now Williamsville. Joseph, a physician, soon after went to the West Indies, and died there in 1825.
Stephen Stillman was listed in the 1820 United States census, but not in the 1820 Illinois census taken in August. A document found in the records of the Sangamon County Recorder of Deeds is evidence that Edward Voluntine, a 15 year-old African American, was living with Stephen in March of 1820.
State of Illinois, Sangamon County August 3, 1826. I Stephen Stillman do hereby certify that Edward Voluntine, a coulard boy was delivered to me by Doct. Joseph B. Stillman in Shawneetown, Galetin county, with orders to keep ____ boy until he the said Joseph B. Stillman should call for him--Since that time which was (I believe) sometime in March 1820 and is now twenty one years of age and of course free according to the laws of the State. The said Joseph B. Stillman having never called for him--To the best of my knowledge the said boy was twenty one years of age on the sixteenth day of July one thousand Eight hundred and twenty six--
Given under my hand & seal this third day of August 1826
Recorded March 6th 1827
On June 24, 1820, Levi D. and Cynthia Bradford Ellis had a fifth son, Fielding, in Sangamon County, Illinois.
The exact date of some arrivals prior to the August 1820 Illinois census is not known, but because of their inclusion in that census we know that they were in the Springfield area prior to August 1820.
Levi (Levitt) W. Goodan, age __ , a native of Pennsylvania and a carpenter, and his wife, Garner Crouch, settled in Springfield prior to August 1820 at what in 1881 was called Sangamon Station. Levi was a veteran of the War of 1812. They were married in Bath County Kentucky after the War.
Signature of Levi W. Goodan
Arrival Of Elijah and Olive French Slater and Family
Pre-August 1820, Elijah (Jay) Slater, age 45 and a native of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, his wife of 23 years, Olive French Slater, age __ and a native of West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and their three children, 20 year-old Henrietta, 19 year-old Maria, and 13 year-old Olive, arrived in Springfield.
The 1820 Illinois census was taken in August, and the Springfield listings were as follows:
Peter Lanterman 8
John Lanterman 6
Richard Daggett 6
Henry Kelly 4
John Kelly 6
Elijah Kelly 4
William Kelly 10
Andrew Elliot 4
1 white male 21 and over; 3 all other white; total 4. (Federal)
Jacob Ellis 10
Illinois: 1 white male 21 and over; 9 all other white; total-10.
Levi D. Ellis 7
1 white male 21 and over; 6 all other white; total-7.
John D. Lindsey 9
Illinois: 2 white males 21 and over; 7 all other white; total-9.
Samuel Little 9
Jabez Capps 2
Elijah Slater 7 (Elijah, Olive and 3 children-who were the 3 others?)
John Dryer 5
Levi Cantrall built a horse mill in the fall of 1820. It was a band mill, with a wheel forty feet in diameter. It was the first mill ever built north of the Sangamon River, and people came thirty miles or more to mill. Mr. Cantrall built a water mill on Cantrall’s creek, near the present town of Cantrall. It did sawing and grinding.
U. S. Senator Jesse B. Thomas Writes to Pascal P. Enos Concerning the Possibility of a Land Office in Springfield
In October 1820, Pascal Paoli Enos was seeking a position with a United States Land Office located in Illinois. He apparently wrote to Illinois United States Senator Jesse B. Thomas making inquiry about the possibility of an appointment and as to the possibility of a land office being established in the “Sangamon Country”. The Senator’s December 4th reply to Enos is as follows:
Senate Chambers (Washington, D.C.)
December 4, 1820
Dear Sir:--In reply to your letter of the 28 Oct. I have to inform you that it is yet doubtful whether or not there will be a land office established in the Sangamon Country at the present session of Congress, and that there is no vacancy at the other point mentioned in your letter.
The Missouri constitution has not yet been passed upon by Congress, and it is very uncertain what may be its fate.
I have been laboring hard to clear the way preparatory to granting relief to the purchasers of public land under the old system and flatter myself that my efforts have in some measure been crowned with success. The Secretary of the Treasury very much to his own credit, and not a little to the interests of the purchasers to which I refer—presented a report today by which he recommends the propriety of allowing the purchaser to retain so much of any tract as the money already paid amounts to, and to abandon the residue—or to deduct 25 or 37% per centum (as congress may order) upon payment being made by the 30 Sept. next or to pay for any tract in ten annual installments (without interest) provided payment be punctually made—at the option of the debtor—Interest in all cases to be released by the Govt. It remains yet to be determined whether Congress will adopt those recommendations so important to the people of the west.
I am with much esteem dr. sir
Jesse B. Thomas
…the land Act of 1820, the single most important piece of land legislation since the original 1785 ordinance. With the collapse of the credit system during the financial depression of 1819, Congress lowered the minimum price of land to $1.25 an acre and reduced the minimum purchase to eighty acres making it possible for a settler to receive clear title to half of a quarter-section of congress land for one hundred dollars in cash. When the Springfield land office opened for business in the fall of 1823 settlers were able to buy title to their claims under the most liberal provisions in the history of the republic.
Philo and Martha Stillman Beers arrived in Springfield in 1820. Philo was a tailor. GET MORE.
James Hook arrived in Springfield in 1820.
Charles Boyd, born in New York on September 19, 1794, his wife, Eliza Dixon, born in Westchester, New York, and their son, Alex, born on July 3, 1817, arrived in Springfield in 1820. Charles was a tailor and a miner.
Arrival Of William and Peninah Fruit Fagan and Family In Clear Lake Township
William Fagan, born in 1777 in North Carolina, was married there to Peninah Fruit, who was born on January 29, 1774, in North Carolina. In 1819 43 year-old William and 46 year-old Peninah emigrated with four children to Southern Illinois, and then to Sangamon County, arriving in what is now Clear Lake Township in 1820.
Ebenezer Capps, age 22, a native of London, England and a grocery merchant, settled in Springfield in 1820. His store was located on Lot 8, Block 6.
Arrival Of Dr. Gershom JayneSpringfield’s First Physician
Dr. Gershom Jayne, a 29 year-old bachelor, born on October 15, 1791, in Orange County, New York, who received his diploma from the New York medical authorities, settled in Springfield in 1820. He was the Springfield community’s first physician. At the time he located in Springfield, there was not another physician so far north in the State.
Some of the first settlers of Sangamon County brought with them one or more slaves. One of the Kirkpatricks brought with him his colored boy Titus.
Arrival of William and Margaret Pence Carpenter North of Sangamon River
William Carpenter, born on July 3, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the eldest son of Samuel and Catharine Carpenter. On September 23, 1787, William was baptized in the German Lutheran church in Philadelphia. He had two brothers, Charles and Samuel, Jun., and two sisters, Elizabeth and Catharine. His father died when William was quite young, leaving the family dependent entirely on their own efforts for a livelihood.
When he reached manhood, William and his brother Samuel moved to Licking County, Ohio, then the “far west”. In the fall of 1819, at age 22, William married Margaret Pence, who was born on February 5, 1803, in Shenandoah County, Virginia, the daughter of Peter and Catharine Pence. Her mother’s maiden name was Godfrey, whose father fought in the Revolution, under General Wayne, and was killed by the Indians near Wheeling, Virginia, in the summer of 1820.
In 1820, William and Margaret and Samuel Carpenter started a six week journey to Illinois. They passed through what is now Springfield, where they found the “Kelly cabins” which were the only settlement at what is now Springfield. They proceeded north, crossed the Sangamon River, and built a cabin about two miles north of the river.
Arrival Of Eleanor And Joseph Reavis And Sally And ______ GreenwaltAnd Six Slaves
Henry Kelly’s two daughters, Eleanor, who married in North Carolina to Joseph Reavis, and Sally, who married Mr. Greenwalt, arrived in Springfield circa 1820, together with their six slaves. They remained in Springfield for less than thirty days and then moved on to Missouri where slavery was permitted.
The daughters had three slaves, each; and, after tarrying less than thirty days in Sangamon county, moved on to Missouri.
At the same time the sisters halted here on their way to Missouri, where they went because they could not keep their slaves in Illinois.
At this time, Illinois law required that slaves brought into Illinois be registered as indentured servants within thirty days. It was perhaps in order to avoid this requirement that the daughters stayed “less than thirty days”. Why didn’t they register the slaves as “indentured servants”? Did they take Henry Kelly’s Negro Jack with them to Missouri?
Arrival Of James Sims Sangamo Circuit of Methodist Church
In 1820 a new Methodist circuit, the Sangamo, was created as part of the Illinois District (Missouri Conference) of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This Sangamo Circuit included the entire Sangamon River basin. James Simms (Sims), who had just been received into the conference, and had just come to Calhoun (Springfield), was assigned to the circuit and began his ministry in Springfield. The date of the first sermon preached in Springfield is 1820.
See Power, p. 659 GOOD
 Frontier Illinois, Davis, p. 143.
 Power, p. 439.
 Power, p. 562.
 Power, p. 183.
 1881 History, pp. 48, 280, 524, 572 and 621. Power, p. 424.
In 1822, a post office was established there and Mr. Stillman was made postmaster. It was the first post office north of the Sangamon River. He was the first Senator elected from Sangamon County. Mr. Stillman died in Peoria between 1835 and 1840. His brother Isaiah Stillman was in command of a body of troops in the Black Hawk War in 1832, at a point in Ogle county, which has ever since been known as “Stillman’s Run.” Stillman was an anti-convention advocate and an ally of Governor Coles.
 Power, p. 688.
 1820 United States Census. Illinois Historical Collections, Census of 1820.
 Sangamon County, Illinois Recorder of Deeds, Book ____, page ___, Illinois Regional Archive Depository, Brookens Library, University of Illinois at Springfield, Springfield, Illinois. (Hereinafter “IRAD”.)
 Power, p. 287.
 (Gooden) (Gooding)
 Z. Enos: Snow Birds—1821 1820 census: No-Federal. 1820 census: Yes-Illinois.
 Power, p. 333. 1881 History, pp. 197, 47. Journal, deft. attachment suit, O29/41-2:7.
David C. Journal, Spfd “Indian & German root dr,” Ja5/39-2:6; deft. Attachment suit, O29/41-2:7; deft. Chancery suit, F5/46-3:5.
 (1775-July 1836)
 Married: 1797. West Stockbridge, Mass.
 (____-November 1844)
 (1800 Mass.-1820)
 (1801 Mass.-1820)
 (1807 Mass.-1844)
 Power, p. 661-664, 35. Angle, p. 24. Enos, p. 197. 1881 History, pp. 49, 516, 521 and 604. He and his wife were two of original members of 1st Presbyterian Church--organizers Chapin, p. 4.
N.E. Cor. of 2nd & Jefferson. Samuel D. (1798-____) Mass. Journal: appraises estray, My. 3/34-3:5.
 The 1820 Illinois census listed 1,512 “free persons of color” and 668 “servants” or “slaves”. Madison County then encompassed what is now Sangamon County, and the census of that county, listed 45 free persons of color and 96 servants or slaves. No free colored person, servant or slave was listed in the census for the area where Springfield now stands.
 Power, p. 183.
 Four Original Letters, 1820-1830, From Original Letters Written to Mr. Pascal P. Enos, and Presented to the Illinois State Historical Society by Miss Louise I. Enos, the Granddaughter of Mr. Enos, Journal of the Illinois Historical Society, ____, pp. 493-494.
 Sugar Creek, p. 54.
 Power, p. ___. Springfield’s Early Settlers.
 Springfield’s Settlers, Enos, p. 44.
 Power, p. ___.
 Power, p. 293. They moved the next year to Buffalo Hart Grove, and from there to Springfield. In 1831, they settled on a farm three miles northwest of Springfield.
 Z. Enos: Snow Birds. 1881 History, pp. 197 (Stuart), 199 (Stuart: he kept a grocery) and 563 (good). Power, p. 185.
 (10/15/1791-4/19/1867) Age 75 at death.
 Z. Enos: Snow Birds.
 Power, p. 406. Angle, pp. 11, 25, 33 and 37.
1891 History, p. 833 ?
C.W.: v. I, pp. 121; v. II, pp. 13-14, 188, 357n; v. VI, p. 238n.
Journal Junta: anti-Jackson.
 Enos, p. 202. Power, p. 660. Married: Matilda Sims. Z. Enos: Snow Birds 1881 History, p. 165. (Served in Captain Iles’ Company during the Black hawk War, April 21, 1832.
Rear of Lot 5, Block 15, O.T.P.
 (July 3, 1787-August 30, 1859)
 Power, p. 424.
 First Methodist Church, Piersel, p. 2.