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Springfield City


Springfield City Hall is located at 300 South 7th Street, Springfield IL 62701; phone: 217-789-2200.

Lincoln Home (South 18th Street and East Jackson Avenue) Springfield
Photo: Lincoln Home (South 18th Street and East Jackson Avenue) Springfield, Daniel Schwen, photographer, 2009, en.wikipedia.org, accessed August, 2012.

Beginnings [1]

About the year 1818 an old bachelor emigrated from North Carolina to Illinois, remaining for a time in Macoupin county, and from there he came on to what is now Sangamon county. He was so charmed with the country in the neighborhood, he determined to make it his future home. Returning to North Carolina, be induced his father, Henry Kelly, and four brothers to join him in forming a new settlement. John Kelly, one of the brothers, built a cabin, near which is now the northwest corner of Jefferson and Second streets. In this cabin the first court of Sangamon county was held.

Several other families were persuaded by the Kellys to settle in the neighborhood, and in the spring of 1821 quite a flourishing settlement existed — in fact, there were a greater number in the vicinity of what now constitute the city of Springfield than any other settlement in the county. To this fact was due the selection of Springfield as the temporary county seat of Sangamon county, when organized.

Springfield is situated upon a beautiful prairie stretching from the Sangamon river on the north, to the timber lands which line its tributaries on the south. It is one hundred and eighty-five miles southwest of Chicago, and ninety-seven, miles distant from St. Louis, by the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad.

As already stated, the Kelly family were the first to settle in the neighborhood. Another family of emigrants, named Doggett, arrived in the year 1820. They settled a little south and east of the old Hutchinson's cemetery. No other settlements were made in the immediate locality until the spring of 1821, when several families were added to the infant colony, which was then known as Newsonville.

Prominent among the emigrants of 1821, were Charles R. Matheny and Elijah Iles. Mr. Iles was a Kentuckian by birth, but had emigrated to Missouri some years previous, but becoming dissatisfied with that country, he concluded to locate in the "country of the Sangamo." Ascending the Illinois river on a flat boat, he disembarked at Beardstown, which then consisted of a single log cabin, and that unoccupied. Striking boldly across the country, be made hie way to the new settlement, and found a welcome in the family of the elder Kelly. "Better living," said he, "I never enjoyed. Kelly's cabin was a home indeed. Johnny cake, venison and wild honey every day, with roast pig on Sundays. Ah!" sighed the old man, as he concluded, "those happy days are over."

The population of Springfield gradually increased, it being the most important town in the county by Pascal P. Enos and Elijah Iles and the first plat of the town was made in 1823, under the name of "Calhoun," the proprietors of the town not being favorable to the name given it by the commissioners, selected to locate the county seat. But the name of Calhoun was not more favorably received by the people who had located here than Springfield was by the owners of the plat, and as the post office had been established under the name of Springfield, it never really became known by the name under which it was platted.

  1. Inter-State Publishing, History of Sangamon County Illinois, 1881, Chicago.
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