SOME EARLY SPRINGFIELD LETTERS
Israel Sanderson , Springfield, Illinois, Letter to John Sanderson, West Townsend, Vermont, dated May 25, 1845Transcribed by Curtis Mann
We received your much welcomed letter of the 14th of April, and had long looked for something in the shape of a letter from you before. We had at times thought you had entirely forgotten us, or, like our Father, was numbered with the dead. Yet we knew not why. It did not seen that either you or your family had ever existed, before we received your letter, as you never had written to us (we your nephews and niece) and if you have, we never have received the first line, only as our deceased father had told us in years long gone by, so that you could not have expected us to have written to you before, when we did not exactly know where to direct our letters to you, as you might have been in some far distant land.
Many a time would we have written to you, but we had not the most remote hope of ver hearing from you, our feelings of friendship as relations were not, only in a very small degree warmed up.
You wrote in those few lines to our mother that if some one of the family would write after the receipt of your letter that “you would esteem it a favor” I shall not in the least, nor do I believe anyone of the family would consider it so, but will think it a duty and a pleasure, after your having conferred the favor we have long hoped to see. Cousin John also said “he deemed it not an intrusion to write to us” – Far from it, we could not think it so and hope he will from time to time continue to do so.
We are all in pretty good health and making our way through the world to the best advantage yet to a great many disadvantages, as we are poor folks. My sister and brothers, John, Roff and David are yet at home. I went to the Printing Business in the commencement of 1839 and served 5 years. Worked Journey work part of the time since but am not able to work at it steady, being too unhealthy a business and I having too weak a constitution to stand it. I expect to go to some other business as soon as I can make it convenient. Traveling I have not doubt but would do me much good as I went 5 or 600 miles last spring and fattened up considerable. I would make you a visit but it is too expensive. I would like to see you very much. Cyrus is learning the chair making and painting and weighs as much if not more than I do, although I am far the oldest.
Mother has again married. She married the 16th of November 1850 to a Mr. Jared B Fox, a millwright by trade and has by him two children, both boys, name Jared and James.
It may perhaps be interesting to you to know something about our country in this vicinity, as it cannot be surpassed as a farming country, I believe in the United States for the richness of its soil; yet we have too much land too level, consequently too wet. On our high rolling land, we never lose a crop no difference what the weather is during the growing season, whether it be wet or dry if the seasons for the last 15 years are any example, for we have had a variety of them. I know of land that has been under cultivation for 15 or 20 years and have never been manured and bring very near as good crops now, if not as good as they did the first year they were cultivated. I have heard men from the New England states say that we can raise near twice the produce to the acre that you New Englanders can, with your labor put on our soil. You will perhaps think our country is not quite so good if you see, or have not already seen the letters of Solon Robinson published in the Albany Agriculturalist (I think) but a little while back, for he has missed it considerably in most everything about our part of the country and I should certainly think he came through in the night and allowed some way to bore him very bad. Our city contains about 4,000 inhabitants and is scattered over a large prairie to a considerable extent and is a pretty smart business place in business times it being I suppose you know the seat of government.
There is 2 Presbyterian Churches, 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Baptist, 1 Episcopalian, 1 Catholic, 1 Campbellite and have service from most every other denomination now and then. There is about 20 dry goods stores, 2 hardware and iron stores, and 1 iron foundry. Groceries in proportion with all kinds of workshops necessary for the country. 3 steam flouring and 1 saw mill. We have what I suppose you would call in looking at our town, a good many good buildings and a great many bad ones, yet for a new county like ours, I think it will do pretty well, provided the weather was not so changeable. We have had a very mild winter indeed so much that one might have ploughed half the time and I do believe it has not been frozen more than 6 inches at any one time and that not mor than two or three times. We have had neither rain or snow more than a half dozen times this winter which I think did not wet the ground more than 2 or 3 inches at the most. Some of our farmers commenced ploughing about the 1st of February. We had had rain the present month 3 or 4 times and frost about the same number, which I am afraid, has killed a great deal of corn yet it may sprout again. I advise no one to come to Illinois but were I to farm for my livelihood. I would as soon take her as any State in the Union. Our market is none the best for farmers yet all seem to dispose of their surplus produce. The best parting of farming is raising hogs and raising wheat, according to my notion, for corn is so easily raised that one man can attend to from 35 to 40 acres. Hoeing is never done here, except in gardens, with one exception, and that is in covering corn when you plant it and that could, and is dispensed with by a great many, it being ploughed in. There is but very little, if any sand, in any of our prairie farms, and to find a stone, would be the next thing to an impossibility. Ours is a great wheat country. I have notices in some of the Eastern papers that our wheat was the best in their markets. We have a great many Yankees out here whole or nearly whole settlements of them. Business is dull and times are pressing; but I think they are rather better than they were some time back. I will trouble you with any more of my scribblings at present, and should you see in these unconnected sentences any thing exceptionable in the least pass them by without reflection as I wrote under a very embarrassed state of mind. I sent those papers you received and have sent others I expect were directed wrong. We all send all our love and hope you or cousin John will write soon, as we would like to hear from you as often as you can make it convenient.
I remain your affectionate nephew,
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
SOME EARLY SPRINGFIELD LETTERSPerry Slater Letter to Doct. Frank Milles, Dated March 2, 1847
C. Perry Slater was one of seventeen children of Elijah and Olive French Slater. The Slaters settled first on Sugar Creek in 1818 where they lived until 1821 when Springfield was laid out.
C. Perry (Slater), born September, 1823, in Springfield, Illinois, studied medicine with Dr. Jayne, spent three years in California, returned and was married in 1854 to Susan Mather Lamb. He was a practicing physician, and died in 1858 in Springfield, Illinois, leaving a widow and one child, Hannah M., who was married in Chicago, Sept. 27, 1876, to Walter Trumbull, eldest son of Hon. Lyman Trumbull. They reside in Chicago. C. P. Slater’s widow married James H. Roberts, a lawyer, and resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Perry was 23 years-old when he wrote this letter.
Doct. Frank Mills
P.S. Wednesday Morning
Penn got home last night & is very well.
Tuesday evening March 2nd/47
“Romeo is himself again.” The illustrious Legislature has ajourned and Springfield sleeps in the quiet moonlight as quietly as though its Legislative halls had not so recently been filled with vice and corruption Night is not now made hideous by the infurnal yells of a free peoples representatives and their midnight caucuses. All is still and quiet and our good city seems itself again. Tis a lovely night and I have just enjoyed a stroll alone thinking of “her” of th__ and building any castles of my future fate. How sweet it is thus to such solitude and think of those you love. I received your letter and can assure you it was doubly welcome and that I have patience sufficient to wade through ______ of such. I regret to hear of Doctor Millers unpopularity and hope never to hear “Yells infernal and haried” eminating from the mouths of students to insult a man so worthy as is the Doctor. I can only think of their conduct with contempt. Frank I have ever thought you a man of great sense and decided good taste. A man quick to discriminate a---- and appreciate too goodness beauty and perfection. The high estimate you have formed of Miss C----- character has stamped upon my opinion truth as eternal as truth itself. And Miss Ranick has taken a dislike to you and instigated her Brother to do you harm. Strange Strange She must be a poor judge of the nobleness of heart the magnaminity of such that makes the true man the sincere friend and the pleasant companion. How prospers Kate Abrams? Has she many admirers? I hope she is kindly treated as I admire her much. Did the___ come off on commencement nights. If so who conquered? I am glad to hear that Miss Conn is well enough to go into company again. I was sadly disappointed to find her so unwell when I was last down. I had hoped to have had the pleasure of bringing her up with me. Mr & Mrs Lamb start east via Beardstown on Wednesday. Your mother goes with them. Col. Prickett died yesterday with Plurisey. Last Thursday he was in the house of Representatives acting as clerk. Old Lady Lamb is yet very ill. “Pestitene” and his beautiful daughter Mary have returned. Doctor Turner has been here for two or three weeks. We had a splendid strangers Ball given by the citizens on the 22nd in the State house. I presume your Jacksonville Ball was but a minature in comparison. There was only between three and five hundred persons present and it only cost between three and five hundred dollars. Doctor Turner I was told had some difficulty in getting an invitation. One of the managers remarking that his room would be a d___d sight more pleasant than his company. He is thought here to be a soft one. A very particular friend of yours remarked to me just after dancing with the Dr. “that she did not think that a man who had the faculty for making himself disagreeable that the Doct has should be countenanced in society. Miss Sophy and Miss Torrey are flourishing. I had the exquisite felicity of spending last evening with them at Mr Stickneys room (the member from Gallatin) Miss Pope & Morrison are yet here. Lt Gov Welles as --nd stuck as _____and “____” _____________ after Miss Pope. It is believed that he will not succeed. P—a has not yet returned. He has been expected every day for the last week. Doctor Sister and Miss Trumball wish a place in your memory. Mr. Trumbull started for Bellville today. Remember me to Miss Eunice (?) & Miss Dunlap. Tell Bill I pay no attention to such contemptible notes as his last. Write soon long and often
Your sincere friend Perry
 Power, pp. 663-664.
 1881 History, p. 91 and 125. Power, p. 581.
David Prickett, born on September 21, 1800, in Franklin County, Georgia, came to Edwardsville, Madison County, Illinois, in 18__. He graduated in the law department of Transylvania University, at Lexington, Kentucky, in his twenty-first year, and was admitted to practice at Edwardsville, November 15, 1821. He was Judge of the probate court of Madison County, and in 1826 was elected to the General Assembly of Illinois, at Vandalia. In 1831, he was aid-de-camp to Gen. John D. Whitesides, in the Black Hawk War. David Prickett was married on January 24, 1834, at Tremont, Tazewell County, Illinois, to Charlotte G. Grifith, who was born on May 9, 1806, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She was a sister to Mrs. Hannah G. Opkycke, and daughter of Dr. Thomas Griffith, of Tremont, who was formerly of Pennsylvania. David and Charlotte Prickett moved to Springfield in 1835. David Prickett was the first reporter to the Supreme Court of Illinois, having been appointed to that office as soon as it was created. In 1842 he was appointed a director of the State Bank of Illinois, on behalf of the State. He was assistant clerk of the House of Representatives of Illinois at the time of his death. He was a man whose integrity was above suspicion, very genial, rich in anecdote, addicted to witticisms, frequently pointing them against himself. Every public man of Illinois knew him to speak kindly of him.
1860 Place Names
Academy of Springfield 1849 B.M., p. 5.
Alms House 1860 census, p. 404
Baptizing Hole northeast corner of Governor’s Mansion.
Bathing House D. King: south side of square.
Chenery House northeast corner of 4th and Washington.
City Grave Yard
City Hotel Joel Johnson
Cottage Hill area along Spring between Adams and Monroe Streets.
The Eagle Block. northwest corner of 6th and Washington.
Enterprise Building north side of Washington, between 4th and 5th.
Farmers’ Hotel 1849 B.M.m p. 7: a few doors west of W.P. Grimsley’s Strore
Forquer Grove George Forquer grove between 2nd and 3rd--1830 Prickett
Franklin Hotel 1849 B.M, p. 9: 6th Street north.
German Republic Boarding House northwest corner of Madison and 5th.
Grove Temple, Capitol, p. 14.
Hoffman's Row extending northward from Washington on the west side of Fifth, and erected in 1835.
Hutchinson Cemetery West end of Adams Street.
Kessler’s Grove West end of Reynolds Street. Probably east of Walnut along Reynolds.
September 18, 1856: Late in the morning the inevitable procession formed and proceeded to the grove of P.P. Enos and A. Kessler northwest of the city. There, after one other speaker, Stephan A. Douglas took the stand. Angle, Here I Have Lived, pp. 218 to 219.
Klein’s Row west side of 5th between Madison and Mason (southwest corner of 5th and Mason)
Johnson Block north side of Washington, between 3rd and 4th.
J. L. Lamb’s Mill 1849 B.M., p. 9.
Market On Capital at 9th Street.
Manning House South Side of Monroe, between 4th and 5th.
Manning, G.S., proprietor.
Manning House, sw cor. Monroe and 5th.
Masonic Hall 5th and Monroe
Miller Building West Side of Square.
Lincoln and Herndon Law Offices on the 2nd floor, rear of this building.
Photo of the building on Lincoln's funeral day.
Newsomeville Now Thomas Lewis’ Third Addition
Old Brick Tavern 1849 B.M., p. 20.
Old Catholic Cemetery
Old Dickey Stand 1849 B.M., p. 5.
Old Indian Camping Ground P. P. Enos 1st Street on Madison St.
Porter’s Grove West Jefferson, near Walnut
Day by Day, p. 95. September 29, 1838: Two thousand Whigs and Conservatives celebrate Stuart’s election to Congress with barbecue at Porter’s Grove. Speeches are made by Lincoln, Stuart, May, Hardin, Servant, Bond, Baker, and Henry. Lincoln’s speech is “pithy in his own peculiar style and showed off some of the prominent features of Mr. Van Buren’s administration.” Alton Telegraph, Oct. 10.
Springfield Gas and Light Company West Washington.
The Cottage Greenleaf-Nurseryman & Florists: Washington, 1/2 mile east of State House.
The Shades above the Catholic Church and near the rail road: 1849 B.M, p. 16.: Monroe and 9th or thereabouts. southwest corner of 9th and Adams: Journal, Ag. 24, 1849.
Sleepy Hallow 1849 B.M., p. 20: 6th Street South.
Todd Square 1st to 2nd: North Side: Present (2007) site of State House Inn
Hotel and State of Illinois offices.
Tyndale Hill Lewis and Monroe Cormack, Rivers: Stuart. Built and lived in a cabin on Monroe, on part of Tyndale hill, but had ceased to occupy it when Stuart arrived in 1828
Union Row south side of Washington between 4th and 5th.
Vinegar Hill area bounded by the city limits on the west, Spriing street on the ease and Monroe and Edwards to the north and south.
Walnut Grove John B. Watson grove settled by him 1829 then Mather then State House.
Mather Property, 1849 B.M, p. 16.
Watson Grove settled by John B. Watson in 1829: then Mather; then State House grounds.
Watson Block Cook Street, between 9th and 10th.
Largest grove--present Gov. Mansion
B.M. = Business Men.