pub Chas. C. Chapman & Co..

History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws online

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Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 29 of 79)
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building shops and manufactories — in short, the country was alive
with industry and hopes for the future. The people were just recov-
ering from the depression and losses incident to the financial panic
of 1857. The future looked bright and promising, and the indus-
trious and patriotic sons and daughters of the North were buoyant
with hope, looking forward for the perfecting of new plans for the
insurement of comfort and competence in their declining years.
They little heeded the mutterings and threatenings being wafted
from the South. They never dreamed that there was one so base as
to attempt the destruction of the Union their fathers had purchased
for them with their life-blood. While thus surrounded with peace
and tranquility they paid but little attention to the rumored plots
and plans of those who lived and grew rich from the sweat and toil,
blood and flesh, of others.

The war clouds grew darker and still darker, the thunders of
treason grew louder and louder until April 12, 1861, when the fear-


fill storm burst upon the country and convulsed a continent with its
attendant horrors.

On that day, the rebels, who for weeks had been erecting their
batteries upon the shore, after demanding of Major Anderson a
surrender, opened fire upon Fort Sumter. For hours an incessant
cannonading was continued ; the fort was being injured severely ;
provisions were almost gone, and Major Anderson was compelled
to haul down the stars and stripes, — that dear old flag which had
seldom been lowered to a foreign foe : by rebel hands it was now
trailed in the dust. How the blood of patriotic men of the North
boiled when on the following day the news was flashed along
the telegraph wires that Major Anderson had been forced to surren-
der! And nowhere was greater indignation manifested than in
Tazewell county.


Immediately upon the surrender of Fort Sumter, Abraham Lin-
coln, America's martyr President, — who but a few short weeks before
had taken the oath of office as the nation's chief executive, — issued
a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers for three months. The
last word of that proclamation had scarcely been taken from the elec-
tric wires before the call was filled, men and money were counted out
by hundreds and thousands : the people who loved their whole gov-
ernment could not give enough. Patriotism thrilled and vibrated
and pulsated through every heart. The farm, the workshop, the
office, the pulpit, the bar, the bench, the college, the school-house,
— every calling offered its best men, their lives and fortunes, in de-
fense of the Government's honor and unity. Bitter words spoken
in moments of political heat were forgotten and forgiven, and, join-
ing hands in a common cause, they repeated the oath of America's
soldier statesman : " By the Great Eternal, the Union must and shall
be preserved."

Seventy-five thousand men were not enough to subdue the rebel-
lion ; nor were ten times that number. The war went on, and call
followed call, until it began to look as if there would not be men
enough in all the Free States to crush out and subdue the monstrous
war traitors had inaugurated. But to every call for either men or
money there was a willing and ready response. And it is a boast of
the people that, had the supply of men fallen short, there were
women brave enough, daring enough, patriotic enough, to have


offered themselves as sacrifices on their country's altar. Such were
the impulses, motives and actions of the patriotic men of the North,
among whom the sons of Tazewell made a conspicuous and praise-
worthy record.

The readiness with which the first call was filled, together with
the embarassments that surrounded President Lincoln in the absence
of sufficient law to authorize him to meet the unexpected emergency,
together with an under estimate of the magnitude of the rebellion ;
and a general belief that the war would not last more than three
months, checked rather than encouraged the patiotic ardor of the peo-
ple. But very few of the men, comparatively speaking, who volun-
teered in response to President Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers
for three months, were accepted. But the time soon came when there
was a place and a musket for every man. Call followed call in quick
succession, until the number reached the grand total of 3,339,748.
Of this vast number Tazewell county furnished about 3,000.

The tocsin of war was sounded, meetings were held in every town-
ship, village and city, at which stirring and spirited addresses were
made, and resolutions adopted admitting of but one interpretation, —
that of unconditional allegiance and undying devotion to their coun-
try and their country's flag; that, at whatever cost of blood or
treasure, the stars and stripes, wherever floating, must be honored,
and the supremacy of the law of the National Union sustained.


On the 17th, only two days after the proclamation of Gov. Yates,
a large meeting of the citizens of Pekin was held at the court-house
in response to a call of Mayor Leonard. It was a prompt and en-
thusiastic gathering of all parties and animated by one motive — that
of proving their loyalty to the Government and their willingness
to sustain the national authorities in their efibrts to preserve the

Resolutions strong and full of meaning were offered, spirited
addresses delivered interspersed with music by the Pekin brass band
and soul stirring national airs of a martial band. As better show-
ing the state of the feeling of the people in general we give ex-
tracts from resolutions that met with unanimous approbation at this
meeting. J. McDonald, editor of the Tazewell Register, offered a
lengthy resolution which closed as follows :

" Resolved, That patriotism prompts a ready and willing resjjonse


to the President's call for men and means to aid the general Govern-
ment in the present crisis ; and that the people of Tazewell will not
prove laggard in following where duty points the way."

B. S.' Pretty man most eloquently and patriotically addressed the
meeting, and closed by offering the following resolution :

" Resolved, That in view of the present threatening aspect of a por-
tion of our country toward the general Government, it is the duty
of all men who owe allegiance to the nation, to offer themselves, and
their lives and their fortunes to the powers that be in support of the
Union and the laws.

" Resolved, That we, the citizens of Pekin and vicinity hereby
tender to the State and nation our united support, and pledge our-
selves to them in every emergency and at all times, our fortunes and
our sacred honor."

S. T>. Puterbaugh made a few telling remarks and offered a resolu-
tion commending Gov. Yates' proclamation, after which Joshua
Wagenseller offered the following :

"Re-solved, That the citizens of Pekin will protect, cherish and
render the material aid to the families of all volunteers who are not
able to make suitable provisions for their families, for their support
during their absence in the service of their country."

Dr. D. A. Checver offered the following eloquent resolution :

" Resolved, That, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for
the rectitude of our intentions, we accept the issue presented by the
attack upon our flag, and in jjeace or war, in life or death, proclaim
as our motto, God, Justice and Our Country."

At the close of the meeting volunteers were called for when a
large number responded.

At a meeting held at Tremont, Saturday, April 20, 1861, to con-
sult upon the perilous condition of the country, great patriotism
was manifested. Lloyd Shaw presided, and Seth Talbot, jr. acted as
secretary. Short speeches were made by J. K. Kellogg, Dr. Cole,
Stephen Stout, E. G. Smith, J. H. Harris, Isaac Stout, H. Shaw
and W. R. Lackland.

H. R. Brown offered the following resolution which was unani-
mously adopted :

" Resolved, That we keep step to the music of the Union, and
stand by our Government and the stars and stripes, first, last and
all the time.''

The City Council of Pekin held a special session April 20, 1861,


and showed their willingness to furnish material aid to the families
of volunteers. The sum of ^1,000 was appropriated to their bene-
fit, to be disbursed under the direction of a committee who pledged
themselves that the families of the volunteers should not suffer for
the necessaries of life while their protectors were absent. The
council also appropriated $300 to defray the expenses of transporta-
tion of volunteers.

The Union sentiment was strongly expressed by the people of
Mackinaw. Pursuant to notice a large concourse of people assem-
bled at the Christian Church, in Mackinaw, Monday, April 22, 1861.
On motion of W. A. K. Cowdry, William Watson was called to the
chair, and J. B. Mathews appointed secretary. Strong resolutions
were passed; among them were some by Dr. J. P. Terrell, which
plainly and strongly set forth the feelings of the mass as they met
with unanimous passage. AVe give extracts :

" Resolved, That Jeff. Davis & Co. are the " biggest devils " among
ten thousand, and the ones altogether devilish. ^ ^ ^

" That our faith is as fixed and abiding as that we repose in God,
that our cause is just, and that a people battling for life, for liberty,
and for the sanctity of homes and firesides, must and will triumph.

" That if this Government, the noblest fabric ever reared for the
worship of human liberty, must go dowm in a fratricidal conflict, we
of the North, appealing to history may, before the world, cliarge,
without fear of contradiction, that the responsibility rests upon our
Southern brethren. That it is the result of a wanton repudiation
bv them of the covenants of the constitution, and whether or not
we shall be able to preserve it as the great heart and only bond of
union. Mav the God of battles be our shield and strong defense."

April 25, 1861, the people of Cincinnati assembled at the Wood-
row school-house. A band from Pekin was present. Samuel Wood-
row was called to the chair, and W. F. Copes chosen secretary.
Remarks were made by R. Gibson, J. B. Cohrs, C. A. Roberts,
Charley Gary, Benjamin Priddy, William Woodrow, Samuel Larri-
more, John Slack, A. M. Woodrow, William Plawley, S. S. Parlin,
John S. Sinnet, and others. But one sentiment prevailed, that was
that they were all in for the Union at all hazards, and determined
to stand by the administration.

A large and enthusiastic meeting was held at the Christian church
in Hittle, April 25, 1861, at which Ellis Dillon presided, Daniel
Albright, secretary. G. W. Minier delivered a stirring and eloquent


speech and Mr. Cowdry, of Mackinaw, followed. Capt. Ketchum,
with a number of volunteers and citizens of Mackinaw, was present.
A number of volunteers had left for Springfield the previous week.
The sentiments of the people were expressed in the following pointed
language : " There is but one feeling here with regard to the present
perilous condition of our country, and that is, if necessary, that
every dollar be spent and every life sacrificed rather than have the
Government fall into the hands of traitors. Past political differ-
ences are laid aside. Democrats and Republicans stand side by side,
ready to maintain the dignity of our Government and the honor of
the glorious old stars and stripes."

When the boom of the great guns in Charleston harbor went
rolling across the continent, at this time their echo penetrated every
loyal heart in this country. They had scarcely ceased belching
forth their iron missiles, and our national ensign disgraced, ere the
patriotism of the sons of Tazewell county prompted them to go to
their country's defense. The call for troops was no sooner made
than a company was organized at Pekin. Such alacrity in rushing
to arms was never before witnessed in the world's history.


Early on the morning of the 22d of April, 1861, the people began
to assemble at the river landing, at Pekin, to witness the departure
of the first volunteers. This was a company under command of
Capt. F. L. Riioads, with C. C. Glass, first lieutenant ; J. A. Sheets,
second lieutenant; Dietrich Smith, third lieutenant. The company
numbei'ed over 100, and was assigned to the Eighth regiment, of
which Capt. lihoads soon became colonel.

Previous to embarking the company formed a circle, when the
Rev. Mr. Underwood, in a brief and feeling prayer, invoked the
blessings of Heaven upon the brave men who were about to go forth
in defense of the Union. Then, amid cheers and benedictions,
tears and farewells, the company marched on board the steamer,
Cambridge, for Peoria, where they took the cars for Springfield. It
was an impressive scene, and the tear of regret which marked the
cheek of many was no reproach to their manhood.


It is impossible for any historian to do full justice to the spirit
and patriotism of this people in the early days of this gigantic and


bloody struggle waged by the American people against rebellion,
and their liberal and continuous contributions to maintain the integ-
rity of this glorious Union. It is, indeed, a proud record; for from
among them went out brave soldiers and efficient leaders to aid in
the grand struggle for the maintenance and perpetuity of the Union.

"A union of lakes, a union of lands,

A union that none can sever ;
A union of hearts, a union of hands —
The American Union forever."

When the first companies were being raised, measures were inau-
gurated and carried out to raise money by subscription for the sup-
port of the families of volunteers. But there were so many calls for
men, and the number and needs of these families, whose providers
had gone to defend the life of the nation, that it became impossible
for private purses, however willing their holders, to supply all de-
mands, and the county authorities made frequent appropriations, and
the aid societies donated largely. Private liberality still continued.
This money was raised in the midst of the excitement of war, when
the exigencies of the times demanded it, and the generous people
never thought to inquire how much they were giving. Aside from
the sums appropriated by county and city authorities no account was
ever kept. Had there been, the sum would now seem most fabulous.


One of the first acts of the ladies of the county, at the outbreak of
the war, was the making of flags and presenting them to companies
as they were about to march southward. Many such flags were
carried over bloody fields by the brave boys from Tazewell County.
The ladies were fired with patriotic zeal and sent the boys to
the front with cheering words.

The ladies of Pekin prepared a flag for the " Pekin Invincibles,"
which was presented to the company at a public meeting held at the
court-house Saturday, April 27, 1861. Mrs. H. P. Westerman, on
behalf of the ladies, presented the banner with the following most
eloquent and encouraging remarks :

" Captain Montgomery : — You and your company have done well
thus promptly to respond to your country's call. As you are about
to march to her defense, we, your sisters and wives, have thought it
fitting to present to you some kind memento of our love. We


honor you for your patriotism ; we trust in your valor, and though
sad to lose you, yet we freely bid you go. As you go take this flag
of our Union, the work of our hands, which we now entrust to your
care. May it never trail in the dust. Protect it, defend it, and
fight for it as you would for your country, your homes and the
graves of those you hold dear. Liberty and Union, let that be your
motto, and let its sentiments be deeply engraven on your hearts.
The Union, we love it, and the more now that it is in peril.

' Sail on, oh Union strong and great,

Humanity with all its fears, —

With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate.
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea.
Our hearts, our hopes are all with thee ;
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears.
Are all with thee, are all with thee.'

" Love the Union, and see to it that so far as your actions are
concerned, none of its stars shall be stricken out. As freemen do
valiant service in its defense. Be true to yourselves and to us.
Disappoint not our hopes. Accept this banner : with calm unfalter-
ing purpose ever bear it aloft."

James Roberts, on behalf of the company, responded in an appro-
priate manner, when Ca})t. Montgomery placed the flag in charge of
Leonard Martin, the standard-bearer, and the company gave three
hearty cheers for the Union, the flag and the ladies.


The boys went forth to the field of carnage, and what vivid words
can the pen employ that will do justice to their heroic valor, to their
unequaled and unparalleled bravery and endurance. Home and
home comforts, wives and little ones, fathers, mothers, sisters, broth-
ers, were all given up for life and danger on the fields of battle — for
exposure, fatigue, disease and death at the point of the bayonet or
the cannon's mouth. But while they were thus suffering let us
not suppose that the mother, and sister, the wife, the children were
free from the tortures of anxiety, of the loss of dear ones. Yes,
while the brave boys upon the Southern field suffered indescribably,
the wife and little ones at home endured suffering beyond the power
of pen or tongue to describe. Let us picture a home where the


the husband and the wife and little ones are thus separated. The
picture of one will only reflect those of hundreds of others. We
look into the plain but tidy room. A mother is preparing her even-
ing meal. Upon a chair, and leaning her little arm on the window-
sill, a little child is kneeling, looking far into the dusky shadows that
encircle the brow of night. Her dark eyes have a longing, wistful
look, and on her brow lies one of lifers shadows. At last she
speaks :
" Oh ! mamma, papa has been gone so long ; why don't he come ?"
The mother sighs, and her heart repeats, "so long." But the
little one must have an answer, and mamma tries to comfort her —
" Papa has gone to war, dear ; gone to fight for his country, and when
the war is over he will come back to see mamma and little Bessie."
"But it seems so long, mamma; when will the war be over?"
" Mamma cannot tell ,dear ; but we will hope for the best."
Their frugal meal is now ready, and mother and child sit down
with heavy hearts, their eyes wandering to the place where papa used
to sit; but there is no manly form, — only a vacant chair.

In the mother's heart sad questions icill arise : " Will he return to
us? or will some swift-winged bullet, sped by a traitor's hand, de-
stroy the life so dear to us?"

Oh, why could not all men have been true to a government so
mild, — to their country, so vast and grand ? AVhy should they cause
sorrow and death to o'erspread our land, and the voice of wailing to
go forth from every fireside? In silence the meal is ended, and the
little one, whose eyes have grown heavy, is taken upon the mother's
lap, and prepared for rest. Her little prayer is said, and a good-
night kiss for papa, she falls asleep, and the shadow is chased from
her brow. But the shadows hover darkly round the mother's heart,
as she thinks of distant battle-fields ; of wounded and dying men
whose lives, and those they love more than life, have been given up
that their country might be saved. And on this September evening
a terrible battle has closed. For three days they have fought, and
now the evening shadows unite with clouds of smoke, and our army
is victorious ; but the ground is strewn with the dead and dying.
Hark ! here is one who speaks : " Water, water ; won't little Bessie
bring me water?" But Bessie's soft hands cannot reach him ; kind,
but rougher and stranger hands give him the cooling drops, and
with a weary sigh for his home, wife, and little one, his breath is
gone, and the brave heart beats no more.


Rumors of a terrible fight reached that quiet home ; then came
dispatches, making rumors f arts. How long and dark are the hour
of suspense to the anxious wife and little one. Eagerly the papers
are watched for every word concerning the division in which was
the loved one, and now at last comes a list of the killed and wound-
ed in his regiment ; with fast-beating heart the poor wife takes the
list of ywoimded first, that she may still have some hope. His name
is not there. With hushed breath and heart beating faster, she scans
the list of the killed, until she comes to his name, the paper falls
from her nerveless hand and she sinks heavily to the floor. Bessie
bends over her, and the touch of her soft hands and the sound of
her sweet voice bring- the u-idow back to life that is now so dark.
But for Bessie's sake she will still be brave, and struggle on alone,
no, not (done. Bessie is still with her, and their heavenly Father
will lead them through the darkness.

This is only one of the many pictures that are drawn upon the
pages of unwritten history. Have traitors nothing to answer for ?


The continued need of money to obtain comforts and necessaries
for the sick and wounded of our army, suggested to the loyal ladies
of the North many and various devices for the raising of funds.
Every city, town and village had its fair, festival, picnic, excur-
sion, concert which netted more or less for the care of hospital
relief The ladies of Tazewell honored themselves and this county
by their noble, generous work in behalf of the soldiers. Their
devotion to the loyal principles of the national Government was
undying, and its defenders were objects of their deepest sympathy.
During the dark and trying days of the Rebellion they were ever
on the alert raising funds, sending food, clothing, delicacies and
medicines to the soldiers in the hospital and at the front.

In the noble efforts the ladies made to palliate the sufferings
of their brothers upon the Southern fields of carnage, they were
actuated by love of country, devotions to kindred and sympathy
for those in distress. Though physically incapacitated to share with
them the toil and perils of battle, yet before its smoke and the echoes
of its artillery passed away, the offering of their hands would
relieve their pain, and inspire them with holier ardor for the cause
they M^ere defending. The number of weary sufferers on the field
of battle and in the lonely hospital relieved by their bounty, none
but the Recording Angel can tell.


Money was raised for pushing forward this work in many ways,
but underlying all was the willing hearts. Large sums were
received by donations, but the chief reliance was upon entertain-
ments and the one great fair which netted a handsome sum.

The ladies had struggled on doing what they could in a smaller
way, but it became evident greater exertions would be necessary to
raise sufficient means to alleviate the sufferings of the soldiers.
Accordingly, the Soldiers Aid Society of Pekin, issued through their
Secretary, Mrs. H. P. Westerman, on the 3rd day of Aug., 1864,
the following call, looking toward a grand county sanitary fair :

"The continued need of money has suggested to the ladies of the
Soldier's Aid Society the necessity of getting up something on a
grander and larger scale than anything heretofore held in our county.
The winter season will soon be approaching with its inclemency
which will naturally make it more difficult for us ladies to replenish
our soldiers aid fund ; therefore what is to be done must be done
quickly and with might.

"The need of money for this sacred purpose (that of alleviating
the sufferings of our languishing heroes in our hospitals,) still con-
tinue and calls loudly on all noble men and women to assist. Our
brave men are still wrestling with Southern rebellion, which though
often caused to fall back is not yet subdued ; and therefore there is
treble the necessity for redoubling our efforts in their behalf. The
hospitals made vacant by death, recovery or discharge are speedily
refilled with new faces which disease and exposure have rendered

Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 29 of 79)