REMOVING A LANDMARK
Yesterday, men employed in opening First Street through from
Monroe to Adams Street, removed a noble old elm tree standing in the
intersection of First and Monroe. This was one of the old landmarks,
and, from its appearance, may have sheltered the red savages of this
region before the possibilities of the present great commonwealth had
ever been dreamed of, and when the site of this city was a part of the
common, wild waste of prairie. It seemed like sacrilege to disturb so
handsome an old monarch, and a person of an ingenious, not to say
sentimental, turn of mind could readily have devised a way of preserving
it without detriment to the utility or convenience of the streets, and
greatly to the picturesqueness of the neighborhood. But perhaps it is
unreasonable to expect a municipal corporation to have any ideas that
verge on conceptions of the beautiful. At least, up to this year of
grace, they have not been known to give frequent exhibitions of such
weakness. But why should they be expected to? They are usually made up
on the opposite principle, a fact which goes a great way in explaining
the homeliness of that part of most cities for which the corporation is
personally responsible. What beauty these cities have, is general such
part of nature’s work as has been suffered to remain and such additional
touches as tasteful citizens have added to their own possessions. The
least can be said, however, about the removal of the old elm in
question, is that it was an act of vandalism for which no good apology
can be offered.
Illinois State Journal
- May 1, 1883
CODY AND CARVER
Immense Hit of Their Wild West Show
Yesterday’s Performance Attended by a Great Crowd
Picturesque Scenes of the
Plains – Fights, Races, Etc.
Cody and Carver’s novel
show, which is advertised under the somewhat taking title of the “Wild
West,” was given at the fair grounds yesterday, in the presence of a
crowd which must have numbered not less than 8,000 souls, and it may
have reached 10,000. The great amphitheater was densely packed with
men, women and children. Many carriages and buggies, with occupants,
were on the grounds, and the pagoda and surrounding ground were also
thronged. The day was a splendid one, neither too warm nor too cool,
and to say that the people were pleased with the exhibition, in general
and in detail, would be putting it too mildly. They were wild with
delight, and as the various features were presented, the air was rent
with shouts and loud huzzas. The opening parade was the first feature,
and it was picturesque and well gotten up. A band of twenty pieces
marched at the head, and then came “Little Sitting Bull,” riding a pony,
and gorgeous in his war bonnet and paint; then three Pawnees on ponies;
then several grown buffalos and the baby buffalo, a frisky young thing;
then a group of Omaha Indian squaws with papooses riding on ponies and
led by their respective bucks; another group of squaws trailing an
Indian wagon of hickory poles, the aboriginal baby carriage; next, about
forty Sioux and Pawnee braves mounted and in war paint; after them Hon.
W. F. Cody (“Buffalo Bill”) and Dr. Carver, who were cheered
enthusiastically; then a party of cowboys; after them two strings of
elk, who pranced about wildly; then a pair of burros with packs; then
the Monroe and Salisbury stage coach, which was attacked by road agents
on the Black Hills run, some years ago, drawn by six fine mules.
The performance was
announced by “Pop” Whitaker, the noted caller for athletic games, who is
familiar to all patrons of sports in New York, and who stood godfather
to the new show.
The first was a
half-mile dash for Indian ponies, in which there were several starters.
They rode like the wind and created much enthusiasm.
Next was exhibited the
pony express rider’s method of carrying dispatches in which the riding
and changing of saddle covers was done with startling rapidity.
Great interest was
taken in the representation of the attack on the stage coach, and it was
a thrilling scene, never equaled by an act in a hippodrome or a
theater. The coach started out with its passengers, including Tom
Wilson, the only man who survived the attack which the scene was gotten
up to represent, and who killed the first Indian in that fight. He was
seated on the top and the coach, it should be remembered, was the
veritable one that was attacked. The stage agent warned the driver
against his dangers, and the six mules sent the vehicle rolling down the
track. As the coach reached the last quarter a band of fifty Indians
emerged from a hiding place and set out in pursuit, yelling like
demons. The driver whipped up his mules, but the Indians closed around
the coach and the interchange of revolver shots made the scene
exciting. Just as it seemed that the coach was captured “Buffalo Bill”
and Dr. Carver, leading a party of scouts, came to its rescue, driving
the Indians back, shooting and scalping them, and routing the
discomfited savages from the road. The audience went wild with
excitement, stood upon their seats and cheered.
Next came a race
between an Indian runner and a mounted Indian for fifty yards and
repeat, which was applauded.
Feats of shooting were
the next acts. Capt. Bogardus opened with a marvelous exhibition in
breaking glass balls and pigeons after the English and American rules.
“Buffalo Bill” and Dr. Carver followed in feats with the shotgun and the
rifle, concluding with shots while riding at full speed. These
exhibitions are beyond all rivalry, for the three best shots in the
United States and the champion shot of the world were engaged in them.
“The Cowboy’s Frolic,”
with bucking broncos, came next, and then two fine Texas steers were
turned loose and allowed to run wild within a circle of cowboys, after
which they were deftly lassoed and thrown, and one daring cowboy rode a
steer for a few yards until the animal tossed him off.
The final act was the
“Buffalo chase,” in which the buffalo were liberated from the corral and
set galloping over the ground, with Cody, Carver and the cowboys in hot
A dash of the Indians
around the ground excited much enthusiasm, and concluded the
There was no mistaking
that the show was a success. The swiftest and most daring Indians, the
most expert lassoers and riders among the cowboys, and above all Cody,
Carver, Bogardus and the best talent in every line to be had, deserved
and won the favor of the people.
Illinois State Register
- June 1, 1883
police are requested to be present at the corner of Seventh Street and
Capitol Avenue any evening after 7 o’clock. They will be able to
disturb public meetings interesting to the parties concerned, but
disgusting to persons who pass by. The lewd women who seem to make this
a trysting spot should be looked after.
question that is puzzling some of our citizens just now is, why is the
cow ordinance not enforced? We have not, as yet, found anyone that
could answer it. But we do know that the bovines have almost undisputed
range. It is exasperating to make improvements and try to beautify
one’s grounds for the cows to destroy.
Illinois State Journal
- October 22, 1883
A MISSING WOMAN
Possibility That She Has Been Killed and Her Body Devoured By Dogs
Night before last a
woman hired a horse and buggy at McWhirter’s livery stable, and at a
very late hour of the night the horse came home alone, minus the buggy.
Yesterday the buggy was found in a sadly demoralized condition on Third
street, near Capitol avenue, and near by were discovered a cushion, a
lap robe, a whip and a woman’s hat. The woman was unknown to the person
who let her have the buggy, and nothing has since been heard of her.
Late yesterday afternoon something was picked up on the street that was
supposed to be one of her feet, but it proved to be a spoiled ham which
some butcher or grocer had slung away. One theory is that she was
dashed to death from the railroad bridge and that her body was devoured
by dogs. This, however, is mere conjecture, and it is hoped that she
has not met with any such horrible fate. The only thing certain in
regard to this matter is that the wreck occurred, as stated, and that
the female has not turned up.
Illinois State Register
- November 10, 1883
OUR GRANDFATHER’S DAYS
First Wedding Celebrated in Sangamon County
people of our city are discussing and preparing for the entertainment of
the survivors of the constitutional convention of 1847, and the annual
call of the “snowbird” upon the survivors of the “deep snow” is
approaching, the present would seem to be a fitting time to revive old
recollections and recall the pleasing reminiscences of the now
traditional history of our country. Christmas week seems to be a
favorite time for the celebration of marriages among our people, and a
description of the first wedding in Sangamon county would be of interest
to our many readers, showing what a “stylish” wedding was, as it existed
among the snow-birds.
second day of November, sixty-three years ago, the first marriage in
what is now Sangamon county, was solemnized in the beautiful grove about
two miles southwest of Williamsville, and now owned by John M. Poorman,
an old settler of this county. The grove was called by its first owner,
Mrs. Stillman, Fancy Grove.
to the wedding were Mr. Philo Beers and Miss Martha Stillman, of New
York. Mrs. Stillman, the mother of Miss Stillman, came to Illinois the
year before Mr. Beers. Mr. Beers met his wife first in Morganfield,
Ky., and afterwards in this county, where Mr. Stillman with a large
family of sons and daughters had settled.
family came from New York, but soon became prominently identified with
the interests of the state and county which they helped to settle.
marriage of Mr. Beers and Miss Stillman occurred sixty-three years ago,
the country of Central Illinois was a wilderness, there were a few
cabins scattered about the prairies near streams of water and the
forests. There was nothing where Springfield now stands but two or
three log huts. There was but one house between here and Peoria (then
Fort Clark). The woods were filled with wolves and panthers and the
prairie was crowded with herds of deer. This wedding was considered an
event in the settlement, as it was understood that considerable “style”
was to be attached to the celebration. The ceremony was performed in
the log cabin of the Stillmans, which was considered as “elegantly”
furnished, from the fact that it contained a piano, which had been
brought all the way from New York by Miss Stillman’s brothers, by
ox-teams used to transport it and other household goods when the family
moved west. When moved from the east, the legs of the piano were taken
off and only the body shipped, and legs were hewn out of forest timber
obtained in the creek woods. The piano was the pride of the
neighborhood, and was also a marvel and wonder to the Indians for miles
around. The ceremony was performed by Elder Stephen England, who, on
being called to attend the wedding, borrowed a pair of shoes of his
neighbor and kinsman, Evans Brittin, Sr, to wear to the wedding, as his
own moccasins were in too bad a condition to wear upon such an occasion.
illustrating the sterling integrity of the old settlers, and the
scarcity of ready money among them, it is related that Mr. Beers
tendered Elder England ten dollars in gold for his services, which the
good man stoutly refused to take, insisting that it was outrageous to
receive such a large sum of money for such a service.
present at the wedding the family of the bride and neighbors, Henry
Stillman, the business partner of Col. Peter Menard (afterward Gen.
Stillman, of the Blackhawk War and hero of Stillman’s famous retreat in
that conflict), Stephen Stillman, the first master of the first Masonic
lodge in Sangamon county, and postmaster at Springfield – both brothers
of the bride, and Caroline Stillman, sister of the bride, who afterwards
married Col. Peter Menard, son of Gov. Pierre Menard, were present.
The bride –
who appeared as sweet and lovely as any bride – was attired in a white
jaconet dress, a very narrow, gored skirt, short sleeves, low neck and a
very short waist (which was then the fashion).
no mills in the country to grind wheat into flour, and everybody used
corn bread. It happened, however, that James Stewart – who also married
a Stillman, and resided on a farm next to the Stillmans up to the time
of his death, at a ripe old age, a few years ago – received two barrels
of flour from New York, from one of his friends, and kindly divided it
among neighbors and friends. A part of this precious lot of flour,
which was very scarce, formed the wedding cake for the feast. A large
corn cake, iced with some loaf sugar which Mrs. Stillman had brought
with her from the east, was also placed in the middle of the table, for
ornament, and it was understood that it was not to be cut, the smaller
cake made of the flour supplying the company. Of course all varieties
of meat, venison, wild turkeys and wild fruit appeared on the table in
took his bride to Carlyle, which was an older part of the state and
located. Here he was elected justice of the peace and then a member of
the legislature, at Vandalia, in 1824. As a principal index of the
times the following is told. Mr. Beers was elected to secure from the
legislature the locating of the county seat of his county at Carlyle.
His predecessor failed to accomplish it, and was hung in effigy by his
indignant constituents. Mr. Beers, by hard work, in which he rode all
of one night from the capital to his home to get some papers necessary
in the case, obtained the coveted prize and was given a public dinner on
his return home. In 1826 he returned to Sangamon county in Fancy Grove
and from there to Springfield, where he erected the first brick dwelling
house in the city, on the corner of Fifth and Madison streets, where
Ide’s foundry now stands. There were no brickyards, and Mr. Beers
boarded his moulders and burners until the brick were made and burned.
offspring of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Beers was a son, Henry Beers,
and a daughter, Caroline, who is now Mrs. Eld. A. J. Kane, a snow bird
residing on Second street, the mother of the Kane family in this city.
A curious fact in connection with the case is that the grandson of this
union, Chas. P. Kane, about two years ago married the granddaughter of
the gentleman (Mr. Brittin) of whom Rev. England borrowed the shoes in
which to perform the ceremony.
scarcely realize the change in sixty-three years. Towns and villages
have sprung up like magic, and unbroken forests, and vast prairies are
converted into farms. The deer, howling wolves and animals of prey have
followed the red man to his doom. We now, in a metropolitan city,
celebrate our weddings with all the pomp and glory of modern
innovations, yet who would think it, sixty-three years ago there were
but cabins in Sangamon county.
Illinois State Register
- December 23, 1883