William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

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Riley — who was a merchant in Vincennes, Ind.,
and once when on his way to Philadelphia for
goods, Riley stopped at Frankfort and asked
Long to refer him to a trusty young man who
would do for a salesman. He recommended
Joel Pace, and Riley employed him, and sent
him with a stock of goods to Vincennes. Here
he remained for a year or two, when Riley had
a stock of goods damaged by the sinking of a
boat, and sent Pace to sell them out as best he '
could at Shawneetown. But Riley soon aban- ;
doned himself to drink, and Joel left him, and
was employed by Peoples & Kirkpatrick.
Judge Brown was then living at Shawneetown,
and he gave Joe! Pace the appointment of Cir-
cuit Clerk for Jefferson County, and procured
for him also the offices of Recorder and Notary

Public. So he had three offices when he came
to the county in the spring of 1819, and was
soon appointed to a fourth. Yet there was so
little business that he found time to attend to
them all, and besides to teaeh a school — the
first ever taught in the count}-. Such was the
man who held one, or rather several, of the most
important offices of the county, and for almost
twenty jears faithfull}' discharged his official
duties. The early officers of the county were
faithful and efficient, but none of them wore
the official harness so long without rest as did
Mr. Pace. This, however, is not intended as a
reflection upon those who have held office under
the elective system ; for truly Jefferson has
been favored in the official integrity of its
public servants in late years, as well as in the
earl}' period of its existence, as that pattern of
old fidelity, Mr. Bogan, so eminently proves,
with its man}' other true and faithful officers.

It was during the memorable campaign of
1840 that the ''Liberty party" was organized
and a ticket for President and Vice President
was nominated. For several years previous to
this, the anti-slavery agitation had been making
slowly, but uumistakingly, its deep impressions
upon the public mind, and more especially the
minds of the religious portion of the people
North and East, but it was not until about this
period that the friends of the cause of emanci-
pation proposed political action. James G.
Birney, a former slave-holder of Kentucky,
but then a resident of Michigan, was placed at
the head of the ticket, and Thomas Morris, of
Ohio, was placed second. This ticket had but
little popularity so far west as Illinois, and was
scarcely heard of in the southern part of the
State. The small vote polled for the ticket
throughout the country was taken principally
from the Whig party. Four years later, the
vote of the party was largely increased. This
organization was believed by many of its
friends, and doul)tless was, premature and mis-
guided, but no party was ever actuated by



loftier or purer motives. The anti-slavery
movement, at that time, was not larger than the
cloud the Hebrew prophet saw, that so rapidl}'
spread over the whole heavens and filled the
earth with refreshing showers. At that time, no
one expected to live to see the institution of ne-
gro slaverj- in America abolished, but in less than
the period allotted bj' Providence to a generation
of men, by an amendment to the Federal Con-
stitution, slavery, and involuntary servitude of
every species, in all the States and Territories
belonging to the American Union, was forever

But notwithstanding the drafts the anti-slav-
er}' part}', the temperance party, and other par-
ties from time to time made upon the Whigs,
they continued to be one of the ruling parties
until the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in
1854, which led to the organization of the
Republican party, and the absorption of the
Whig, as well as the Liberty, or Abolition,
party. For a quarter of a century the Repub-
lican has been the dominant party in Illinois,
but has never attained to a majority in Jeffer-
son County.

That other political organization — the Demo-
cratic party — which sprang into existence
or, assumed distinctive form during the
administration of Gen. Jackson, is still
one of the great political parties of the coun-
trj\ For fifty years it has maintained its or-
ganization without change of name or princi-
ples, and to-daj- the indications lor its success
were never more flattering. It has alwaj's been
the ruling party in this county. Indeed, the
county has been and is still a stronghold of
Democracy. Many of the early settlers fought
under Gen. Jackson in the Indian wars of the
the South, and were with him at New Orleans,
and it is not strange, nor was it inconsistent with
their duty or honor that they should look upon
the old hero in the light of their political pa-
tron saint. And when he had passed away to
his reward, they reverently placed his mantle

upon the worthy shoulders of Stephen A.
Douglas, and accepted him as their leader.
With unbounded faith in the wisdom of their
choice, they transferred their political allegiance
to the " Little Giant," and in all party fights
they rallied around him as solidl}- as the Old
Guard around Napoleon at Waterloo, or the
Stonewall brigade, of Confederate fame, around
its idolized leader. When his sun went down
forever in the dark political storms of 1860,
they, so to speak, " hung their harps upon the
willow," and mourned as those without hope
and without faith. But eventually they aroused
anew for the fight, and now they present to
their political enemies a solid and unbroken

Other political parties have sprung up in the
county, and in the country at large, and under
the name of " Greenbackers," '• Prohibition-
ists," " Independents," " Grangers," etc., have
flourished for a period to a greater or less
extent, and succeeded sometimes in electing
their candidates to office, but only in a very
few instances. It is not probable that any of
them will rise into formidable opponents of the
two great ruling parties. The count}- is and
doubtless will continue largely Democratic for
years to come.

Zadok Casey. — It is eminently appropriate
in the political history of the county to notice
at length some of those active spirits who par-
ticipated in the early politics, and bore a promi-
nent part in the scenes and the times of which
we are writing. Indeed, the political history
would be incomplete without sketches of those
men who contributed so largely in molding
the political life and afl'airs of the county.
Foremost of the list, as well as first in chrono-
logical order, is the Hon. Zadok Casey, who for
a long period of his life devoted his time and
his talents to the service, in one capacity or
another, of his country and his fellow-men.

Zadok Casey was born in the State of Geor-
gia March 17, 1796, and was the youngest



child of Randolph and Mary Jane (Pen-
nington) Casey. He was married, when scareeh"
twenty years of age, to Rachel King, a daugh-
ter of Samuel King. From the pioneer
sketches of Mr. Johnson, and from other
sources at our command, we gather some of
the facts of Mr. Casey's early life, and his
removal to this county. Soon after his mar-
riage, he began to preach, and kept it up
through life, even when most thoroughly en-
gaged in politics. He was very poor, and
after his father's death the care of his mother
devolved on him, as well as that of his own
family. When he came to Jefferson County in
1817, be brought her with him, and the worldly
goods of them all comprised but a very small
number of necessary articles for housekeeping.
In a few days after his arrival here, he had
selected a location, and beside a large log
erected a camp to shelter them until he could
build a house. He soon put up a cabin of
small logs because there were not men enough
in reach to raise a house of large logs. The
floor was rough puncheons, the door of clap-
boards, beds of board scaffolds, a shovel, a
skillet ; this was their early home in Illinois.
But he was young, strong, and a good worker,
and soon there was a sign of improvement and
thrift about his place. He was a man of strong
character and a powerful native intellect.
When he came here he was entirely unedu-
cated ; indeed, it is said that he learned his A
B C's partly with the aid of his wife after he
was married. But his natural thirst for knowl-
edge led him to improve every moment, and he
eventually became an excellent scholar. As
we have said, he was a minister of the Gospel,
and continued to preach at intervals during his
whole life. But it is principally of his political
career we shall speak in tliis connection.

Mr. Casey's active public life commenced
almost with his settlement in the county. He
took a prominent part in securing the forma-
tion of the county, and was one of the Com-

missioners composing the first County Court.
In 1820, he made his first race for the Legisla-
ture against Dr. McLean, of White County,
and was defeated, but at the next election
(1822) he was elected over his former competi-
tor, and was again elected in 1824. In 1826,
he was elected to the State Senate for four
years, and, in 1830, to the office of Lieutenant
Governor, John Reynolds, as already stated,
being elected Governor. So great and so uni-
versal was his popularity that in his race for
the Legislature in 182-1, he received every
vote cast in the county but one. Before his
term as Lieutenant Governor had expired, he
was elected to Congress over Mr. Allen, of
Clark County. He was re-elected in 1834 over
W. H. Davidson, and, in 1836, over Nat Har-
merson ; was elected again in 1838, and elected
in 1840 over Stinson H. Anderson. But at this
session he voted for a national bank, for a
bankrupt law aud against the independent
treasury. This, to a great extent, injured his
popularity in the district, and, in 1842, he was
defeated by John A. McClernand. This left
Gov. Casey for a time to the obscurity of pri-
vate life, and for several years he was engaged
in local and domestic enterprises. He was
elected in 1847, together with Judge Walter B.
Scates and F. S. Casey, to the Constitutional
Convention, and to him and Judge Scales,
more than to any other influence, is Jefferson
County and the city of Mount Vernon indebted
for the location here of the Supreme Court
Hou^e. He was elected to the Legislature in
1852, and was a member of the State Senate at
the time of his death. September 4, 1862. He
was employed by the Ohio & Mississippi Rail-
road to secure the right of way through Illi-
nois but when the company failed lie lost
heavilj- by not being paid for his services.

Gov. Casey was a Democrat in politics, though
not as strongly partisan as many of his asso-
ciates in public life. Tliere are those who knew
him well, that even intimate that his politics were



"shaky," and tint he was disposed to be just a
little hypocritical. His great popularity, how-
ever, with the mass of the people, refutes all
such charges. He was an excellent financier.
Though he commenced life poor and penniless,
he accumulated considerable property, and in
after life, whatever he took in hand seemed sure
to prosper. His children were Mahala, Mary
Jane, Samuel K., Hiram R., Alice, Newton R.,
a physician of Mound City, 111.; Thomas S.,
of Mount Vernon, one of the Judges of this
judicial circuit ; and John R., a practicing phy-
sician at Joliet, 111.

We have now given in detail the record dates
of the birth, removal to Illinois, and the differ-
ent important official positions filled by Gov.
Casey during life, and it only remains now to
fill up the strong outlines of this sketch by a
just delineation of those physical, moral and
mental characteristics of the man that stand
out like the bold promontories that divide the
troubled waters and embrace those harbors of
safet}' for the ships upon life's sea. We have
sketched his life from his birth in 1796, in the
bumble pioneer home of his parents in Geor-
gia, his early marriage and removal to Illinois
in the spring of 1817, where, beholding the
territory in all its natural beauties of woodland
grove, green prairie sward, decked and covered
with rich foliage and lovely flowers, that, becom-
ing enamored with so much natural wealth
and beauty of country, he determined to make
it his permanent home. With his wife and
child, he came to what is now Jeflferson Coun-
ty, and built his rude log cabin upon the spot
made historic b}' his acts, and which will be
known to remote historj' as the old Casey
homestead. He was barely twenty-one 3'ears
of age when he landed in the territory with his
little family. They came here, the wife riding
the only horse he was able to possess, and car-
rying the child and their all of earthly goods,
•particularly the " skillet," being strapped to the
saddle, and in front of this caravan walked the

young husband and father, leading the way with
his rifle upon his shoulder. When, upon the
first night of his arrival, he had built his camp
fire by the side of a large log, and his wife had
set about preparing the first frugal meal, he
wandered oflT a short distance, looking about
him, and finally stopped and leaned in wrapt
contemplation against a large oak tree, and
there, with the silent stars looking down upon
him as witnesses, he knelt in prayer and eai-nest
supplication to the great God of the universe,
and asked that his enterprise might meet the
favor of heaven, that his family might be given
happiness, health and security, and that he
might be only a Christian, sincere man, and an
upright, honorable and good citizen. That
honest petition to heaven was gi-anted as soon
as it was asked, as his great and pure life has
so abundantly testified to all the world. Here
was the humble beginning of a pioneer life,
that was only given for the short space of forty-
five years to his family, to his neighbors, to the
county-, the State and the nation, and j'et its
impress is everywhere, and its good effects will
be known and deeply respected by the millions
who may come after him, and are now and will
continue to reap what he has sown. He came
to Illinois a poor and wholl}' illiterate young
■man, a wife and child and pon}- being his chief
and nearlj' the whole of his possessions, and
looking much like an awkward, overgrown bo}-,
to whom the alphabet was an unexplored m3S-
tery. He onlj* knew how to work, and soon a
floorless cabin had gathered beneath its clap-
board roof his household goods, and his first
years were only marked by hard work and
humble Christian piety. There was nothing
self-asserting in his nature, and he lived and
worked and struggled the true hero, and in
front of his fire of an evening, he would lie
upon his back, while his wife was singing the
song of the spinning-wheel, and aiding him in
the mastery of the alphabet, that he might
more acceptably advance the cause of Chris-



tianity. Before he came to Illinois, he had been
regularly licensed by his church — the Method-
ist p]piscopal — to preach the Word of God, and
this holy work he continued until the day of
his death. He had soon grown into physical
and mental strength and symmetry. He was
nearly six feet and two inches in height, of
perfect proportions, lithe, active and graceful
in his movements, and courtly- of manners, his
presence in any crowd would arrest the atten-
tion and command deference and respect at all
times and in all places. Soon he was drawn
into political life and into public oflBce, and
here he was even a greater man, and wielded a
wider influence upon the stump than he had in
the pulpit, although in his most active political
lile, when a leading politician and office holder
in the State, he never relaxed his ministerial
duties, but mentally expanded, and grew with
all his multifarious work, until, in the very
threshold|of hisjlife, he lived and moved a great,
commanding and central figure. With his own
strong hand, he was first a great farmer and an
eminent financier, calling about him numerous
dependents, to whom he was as a kind father
and indulgent friend, giving good advice, em-
ployment, subsistence, and in the fullness of a
' heart that was big enough to take in all the
world, he attached all to him in bands of steel,
and at the same time his busj' brain thought
out schemes of industry, that built up his
county and his State beyond anj* other man of
his day or age.

When it is remembered that in the times
when Gov. Casey lived his most active young
life, when his destin}' was shaping itself, the
surroundings were such as we know little or
notliing of now except by traditions. The pio-
neer people were rougii, rude, simple, sincere,
honest, warm-hearted and hospitable, and the
men of mark were mostly brilliant, erratic, often
irreverent and dissipated. Their lives were fe-
vered and delirious, and upon the rostrum or
in the forum, where they would gleam and flash

like blazing meteors, thej- would easily descend
to the revel or orgie, and their flashing lights
would be quenched in gloom and darkness. In
the society of the young State were the two ex-
tremes, the rude simplicity and the gifted, brill-
iant children of erratic genius, and amid these
surroundings Gov. Casey trod alone his path-
way of life, the sincere preacher, the pure and
spotless politician and statesman, the great, the
grand man of his time.

It was the inherent force of a great mind
alone that enabled him to enter upon a long
and exciting political campaign, and from the
stump to discuss with wonderful power the ab-
sorbing and often exasperating questions of the
day, and when Sunda\- came he could gather
about him even those who had waged hot po-
litical controversy with him all the week, and
all thoughts and all stirred up passions were
laid aside in a moment, and as the minister of
God he would lead the entire flock to the fold
of the Great Shepherd — to that fountain of life
for all mankind and for the ages. In religion,
he was not a fanatic; as a teacher of the truths
of Holy Writ, there was not a trace of dogma-
tism, and hence in his intercourse with men or
in the pulpit, he was as natural, pure and com-
manding, as the simple and sublime truths that
his life and preaching exemplified.

As a politician, he was equally pre-eminent,
whether in the hustings, the Legislature, the
State Senate, or the Congress of the United
States ; he was respected whether as the hum-
blest new member of these bodies, or as the
presiding otficcr, the master spirit of the im-
portant committee, or the orator and speaker
upon the floor. Here as elsewhere, he was the
born leader among men, and his well-poised
mind was never at fault — never brought in
question the justness of his leadership. His
fellow-members in Congress soon learned that
he made no mistakes, and it was an almost
everj'-day occurrence in the State Legislature
while he was a member, and the Speaker was.



called on to unravel by his rulings some diffi-
cult parliamentary question, to announce to the
House that the chair " desired to talve the opin-
ion of the member from Jefferson County," and
the business or discussion would suspend until
Gov. Casej' could be consulted, and the tangled
questions be made plain and settled to the
complete satisfaction of all.

A grand old man, whose pure and exalted
life is one of the most important chapters in
the history of the Northwest for the study and
contemplation of the youths of our country.
His death, in the meridian of his intellectual
manhood, was a National grief and calamity,
for which a grateful posterity can only now
have the consoling compensation that may
come from the pen of the biographer, whom,
we trust, may gather the hint from this brief
sketch, and make an immortal book, entitled
the " Life and Times of Gov. Casey."

Stinson H. Anderson. — Carlj-le said, "great
men, taken up in an}' wa}-, are profitable com-
pany." This is very true, like all the aphor-
isms that fell from the pen of the great author
and essaj'ist. We cannot look, however imper-
fectly, upon a great man without gain-
ing something liy him. He is the living light,
fountain of native, original insight of manhood
and heroic nobleness, which it is good and pleas-
ant to be near. No great man lives in vain.
And happy is the country, and happy the com-
monwealth, if it produce but one, whether it be
a soldier, the foremost of the age, or a states-
man who administered the affairs of a nation.

It is the uaturallj' great men — men of strong
intellects and force of character — that come to
tile front when important work is to be done.
Such a man was Stinson H, Anderson. He
came here at a time when he was most needed,
and his finger-marks are still to be seen — tell-
ing tiie stoiy of his handiwork, and writing his
epitaph in the hearts not only of his descend-
ants, but of the thousands who are reaping and
who will in the future enjoy the fruits of his

labors. He came here, no doubt, impelled by
the Napoleonic impulse of destiny. A new
county was still in its first decade of " success-
ful experiment," and while be did not, at once,
rush into the vortex of political and official life,
yet he soon became a recognized leader. He
drew men to him as the magnet draws the steel.
Even his opponents and political enemies ac-
knowledged his merits and admitted his power
and great intellectual strength.

Gov. Anderson was born in Sumner Coun-
y, Tenn., in 1800, and while still a young
;man came to Jefferson Countj'. He engaged
/ in agricultural pursuits, and soon became one
of the most successful and enterprising farmers
of the county. He devoted consideral)le atten-
ftion to fine stock, especially to horses, of which
he was extremely fond. He loved the fleet-
footed coursers, and the sports of the turf were
his greatest pleasure and pastime.

In illustration of his love of the turf, the
I following incident is related of him: He
had a little race mare called Polly Ann, that
he cherished next to his wife and children.
He believed that she could outrun any ani-
mal (her distance) that stood on four legs in
the State of Illinois, and was willing to stake
his all on such an issue. Dr. Logan, father
of Gen. John A. Logan, the "swarthy Sena-
tor from Illinois," had a very fine race horse
— a stallion called Walnut Cracker — of which
he entertained much the same opiuion as the
Governor did of Polly Ann. Logan lived
in Jackson County, and after considerable
bantering between the owners of the rival
nags, a race was finally made — distance
1,000 yards. To sach a pitch of excitement
were the principals wrought up, and so con-
fident was each in the speed of his animal,
that they staked, not only all their ready
cash, but all the property they possessed in
the world. The race was run upon Logan's
own track at Murphysboro, and Gen. Ander-



I ^»\."v





.; THE




iSon, of Mount Vernon, a son of the Gover-
|nor, then but a lad, and Gen. John A. Logan,
were the riders. When they appeared upon
the race track, Walnut Cracker, the Logan
horse, came with his head up and nostrils
distended, like the warhorse of old, as
though he scented the battle from afar, while
little Polly Ann stood with her head down
and her ears flopped over her eyes, seemingly
almost without life. Young Anderson was
somewhat awed by the appearance of the
Logan horse, and with a sort of whimper,
told his father he believed Polly Ann would
be beaten. " William," said the Governor,
•'she's got to beat; if you don't make her
win, I'll whip you sir, as a boy was never
whipped before, by — — sir!" Such iiery
eloquence had its effect on William, and in
the race, which followed a few minutes later,
Polly Ann passed under the wire several
lengths ahead of Walnut Cracker, thus car-
rying to the ownership of the Governor all
the cattle, horses, hogs, sheep, etc., of Dr.

But the talents of Gov. Anderson were not
destined to be hidden ander a bushel, nor
his abilities

"To rust imburnished, not to shine in use,"
and duty to his countrj' called him from his
plow, Cincinnatus-like, to take his place in
her councils. He was elected Representa-
tive of Jefferson Coiinty in the legislative
session of 1S3'2, and re-elected in 1834 He
naturally became a leader, as one born to

Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 23 of 76)