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and William B. Gilbert, the latter being the only one of them all who is now living. They were a brilliant constellation of legal stars. As a lawyer I believe that John M. Lansden was the peer of any man amongst them.” He was an honored member of the Illinois State Bar Association and of the American Bar Association, of the Illinois State Historical Society, and one of the oldest members of the Alpha Delta Phi college fraternity.
Mr. Lansden was averse to seeking public office. He was city attorney of Cairo for one term in 1870 and Mayor from 1871 to 1873. One office, however, he did hold for many years and that was treasurer of school funds. He might have been elected to the bench, had he been willing to run. He had every fitness for that office-deep knowledge of the law, a fearless sense of fairness, and passion for arriving at the facts of a case. It was this that won for him the honorary title of "Judge Lansden”. One of the many judges before whom he tried cases said "He was the fairest minded lawyer that ever appeared in my court.” The Alexander County Bar in its memorial said “As a lawyer Mr. Lansden ranked among the best.
A clean concise thinker, with excellent judgment, he was an exceptional counselor, and his advice was constantly sought by both lawyers and laymen. As an advocate he presented his case in a logical, clear cut, precise manner, that secured the attention of judge and jury and usually won his suit. In pleading he was strong, resourceful and complete in detail; in demeanor he represented the older type of dignified, courteous, gentlemanly lawyers, not so common in the more practical America of today.”
Such are the bare outlines of this long professional career. To understand what filled in these outlines—what ambitions to serve his fellowmen, what energy of moral conviction, what devotion to legal principles, what lofty ideals for his community, what zeal as a scholar, what enthusiasm of faith and loyalty to religion—to know these we should have had to mingle in the innermost circles of his friends and fireside and to account for them we should have to search the Scotch-Irish fountains of his faith and the Covenanter bedrock of his courage. His heritage was of the preached Gospel, but the deep-rooted purpose of his soul was to enforce the laws of righteousness. Most gentle and quiet-spoken in disposition and shrinking from all notoriety-yet whenever it came to a struggle for a law-abiding community John M. Lansden, like Jeremiah of old, became "an iron pillar and brazen walls". If civic decency was at stake, he gave not a snap of his finger for popularity or unpopularity. In any hour, under any circumstances he could be trusted to lift his voice and his hand in behalf of a bigger, busier, and better Cairo. For he had a community soul—"that tower of strength, which stood four-square to all the winds that blew."
Back of such a life of disinterested service must lie a vital religious faith. He became a member of the Presbyterian Church of Cairo in 1867 and was chosen an elder in 1868. For over fifty years he was an office bearer and faithful attendant. Numbers of times he represented his church in Presbytery and several times his Presbytery in General Assembly. To him religion was no mere conventional garb or form of pious words. In deep reverence he communed and listened and then went forth “to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God”. That was why he was a "salt” that did not lose "its savor.” That was why his righteousness retained its fine edge. That was why Mr. Warder could say "He was the soul of honor in all of his personal and professional dealings with his associates.” That was why his very shadow carried help and healing to many a humble life in Cairo.
So deeply interwoven were his toils and ambitions with the development of Cairo and Alexander County that he felt an urge to write a history of that development as he had lived through it for over forty years. In 1910, therefore, he published a “History of Cairo, Illinois” of some 300 pages. This work evinces laborious sifting of material, breadth of historic perspective, and a literary skill that only years of study could achieve. Spending much time and money to get at the old records in Washington and Springfield, Mr. Lansden traced the early settlements in “the Illinois Country"; showed how the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers was seized upon, even in 1818, as of strategic importance; described the floating of "The Cairo City and Canal Company" in 1836, looking to the building of a great city; narrated the baleful visit of Charles Dickens in 1842; sketched the slow growth of improvements up to 1846, then the coming of the Illinois Central Railroad Company about 1854 and with it the new life, and finally the incorporation of the present city of Cairo in 1857. The story of the conquest of the two mighty rivers and their high waters by the building of ever mightier levees is a romance of indomitable faith and pluck. It suggests Nehemiah building the walls of Jerusalem, menaced day and night by Sanballat and Tobiah It was more like the Dutch burgers casting up dykes and plucking their homes and fields out of the hungry waves of the North Sea, for the heroes of Cairo carried on their battle for over forty years. By faith they builded, by faith they held fast, by faith they invested, by faith they established homes and founded a "city which hath the foundations". It was by faith in God and man. And this faith was finely embodied in John M. Lansden. But he had a partner.
In 1867 Mr. Lansden was united in marriage to Miss Effie W. Smith, daughter of Hon. David A. Smith of Jacksonville. Being a gifted singer and musician she proved a rare acquisition to the church life and the musical circles of Cairo. Her power of imparting her art and her high social gifts contributed splendidly to the culture of her adopted city. But it was her abounding hopefulness and intrepid spirit that sustained her husband in the calm and unwavering faith he had in Cairo and in all holy causes. Passing away in 1907, she left a family of four daughters and two sons, all of whom, except two, have continued to be real factors in the progress of their city. The oldest, David S. Lansden, is prominent not only at the bar but in many enterprises in Cairo. John M., Jr., is in the manufacture of automobiles in New York City. Mrs. Mary Lansden Bates lives in Chicago, where her husband, Robert P. Bates, is head of the Chicago Latin School. Miss Effie A. Lansden is the librarian, in charge of the "Safford Memorial Library,” Cairo. The Misses Emma and Margaret Lansden have been the home keepers and closest companions of their father since the death of their mother.
A beautiful home life had this father, one radiant with affection, sweet with humor, inspired with visions of service, and a center of study and research. The library workshop in his residence on Fifth Street bore evidence of his wide culture and the thoroughness of his work. It may be true, as some affirmed, that "he was the best informed man in Cairo." Yet always unassuming, eager to learn, and relentless in the pursuit of facts he never counted himself to have attained. In manner he was perhaps the gentlest man in Cairo. One could not but think of Chaucer's lines,
“And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.
He was a verray parfit, gentil knyght." Erect and straight as an Indian chieftain he walked the streets of his chosen city for over fifty years—“O good gray head which all men knew!” And this erectness was his attitude of soul! Ancient scripture has once more come true "By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted.” “Full of experience” ('said the Memorial of the Bar) "our friend and brother departed to appear before the Bar of God." Shall that experience be wasted? we ask. Shall it not be put into the service of a greater city? Gathered by fearless adherence to what is right, tho' that often led through perplexing clouds, can the experience of John M. Lansden possibly come to naught or be in vain? Nay, those who have humbly followed Jesus Christ as he did oftentimes through much darkness, know and shall always know the psalmist's words richly to be verified—“Light is sown for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart”. And the Bar of God has no terror for those who "enter in by the narrow gate" for "The upright shall dwell in Thy Presence.”
THE PIONEERS OF MACON COUNTY AND THE CIVIL WAR.
By N. M. BAKER.
In a paper recently read before the Macon County Historical Society, it was shown by the records that as late as 1840, at least, three-fourths of the people in Macon County were emigrants from Virginia, the Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee. If this was true of Macon County, it must have been true that southern blood predominated to as great, if not even to a greater extent, throughout the whole of southern Indiana and southern Illinois. Near the Ohio River there would be more who were native born, for these sections were first occupied; but they were still of southern parentage, and nearness to the border would keep the old ties unbroken, while toward the northern limit of this southern overflow, as in Macon County, the people had left the south so recently that the old home ties had not had time to wither. If we fully realize the character of this population, whence it came, how near it lay to Mason and Dixon's line and how recently it had crossed that line into Indiana and Illinois, we will be able to understand why the abolitionary sentiment of this whole region was weak and never of the New England type; and also why, a little more than twenty years later, when the whole country was in the throes of the Civil War, there was enough active sympathy for the southern cause to prompt the formation of secret orders to discourage enlistments, to hinder the forwarding of supplies to the army, to resist the draft, and even at times to threaten armed insurrection behind the military lines.
It must be remembered that these people were not from the far south. The slavery that they had seen and known was of a very mild, patriarchal character. I can illustrate by my own family. My maternal grandfather was a slave holder in a small way, and yet like many other men so situated he did not believe in slavery nor wish to perpetuate it. He had inherited this human property and could see nothing better to do than to