Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

judge and wore the ermine for over thirty years without a stain."

Pope county was in 1816 named in his honor.

In 1824, six years after the admission of our state, there commenced a struggle between the pro-slavery inhabitants and those who were for keeping the state free from slavery. History says it was a struggle "such as has never been witnessed in this country, except perhaps in regard to Kansas, nearly forty years afterward." Judge Elliott Anthony, in speaking of these times and the men who figured therein, says of the anti-slavery men that they were led by men that knew no fear, and whose convictions were so strong that they would have gone to the scaffold or the stake singing hosannas to God. They belonged to that class of martyrs that have worshipped God and died for the old cause' since the Redeemer was crucified on the cross and since Sydney poured out his soul for the liberty of his fellowmen."

These leaders were Governor Coles, Reverend J. M. Peck, Judge Samuel D. Lockwood, Daniel P. Cook, William H. Brown, Judge Nathaniel Pope, Governor Edwards, Morris Birkbeck, George Flower, David Blackwell, Hooper Warren and others:

“The noise of the conflict has long since died away, and the actors in it all at rest from their labors, but a grateful people should always remember that freedom in Illinois was secured, not by the Ordinance of 1787 alone, but by the persistent energy, the noble faith and heroic enthusiasm of our honored fathers of the present century.

Distinguished as was the career of Nathaniel Pope, so no less distinguished was that of his son General John Pope, a hero of the Mexican and Civil wars.

Nathaniel Pope filled the office of United States judge from the time of his appointment in 1818 until the time of his death, which occurred at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Lucretia Yeatman, in St. Louis, Missouri, January 23, 1850.

INDEPENDENT MILITARY COMPANIES OF

SANGAMON COUNTY IN THE 30'S.

(By Isabel Jamison.) When Illinois was admitted into the Union as a state, she brought with her many of the cumbrous territorial laws borrowed in a lump from her elder sisters, among them being the laws relating to the militia.

All male citizens between the ages of 18 and 45 were required to enroll their names in this “Army of Peace," and, incidentally, to attend so many “musters” and “trainings” that the people generally soon began to feel them a burden. In fact, they were popular with neither the rank nor the file; and when, in 1826, James Barbour, Secretary of War, wrote to Governor Coles, inquiring as to the force and efficiency of the Illinois militia, the Governor replied that, as then organized, the militia was a “mere school of titles where honors were conferred more from a personal impulse of kindness than from a sense of the qualifications of the individual,” and expressed the opinion that frequent musters were injurious to society and productive of little benefit to the militia, bad moral habits being acquired, and time lost.

The State militia was divided into divisions, brigades, regiments, battalions and companies, and the county of Sangamon (after its division) and that of Tazewell, comprised the First Brigade of the Fourth Division. Musters and trainings” were held in the following places in, or adjacent to, Sangamon county: Heredith's Mills on Lick Creek; Foster's Tavern, on Richland; J. E. Brittin's, on Cantrall Creek; Rochester, Mechanicsburg, and Springfield.

Perfunctory attempts were evidently made to conform to the laws in respect to drills and musters, as there is definite mention in the files of the Sangamo Journal of training days in Springfield, while a short paragraph is devoted to Archibald Cass' squad of 78 privates who met for muster and drill at the house of Samuel Danley on the north side of the Sangamon river, in 1834.

As late, however, as 1840, an officer of the First Brigade of the Illinois militia described a sample “muster” of the militia as then existing, in the following words:

Certainly there are few more ridiculous scenes than a military muster under the present (dis)order of things. Several hundred men formed into what is called a line (although it can hardly be called a straight, and as little a curved, or any other known mathematical line) in every variety of posture and position-some sitting, some lying, some standing on one foot, some on both, and well-spread at that; equipped, too, or non-equipped, with every variety of coat and shirt sleeves, and every variety of weapon, among the latter, however, the corn-stalk, the umbrella and riding whip predominating almost to uniformity; every man grumbling and thinking the time wholly thrown away; some impatient for the grog-shop, and some for the horse race, and some to attend to their business-certainly, there is very little of the military in this display!

After the volunteers had straggled home from the Black Hawk War, some of them with a title and a military swagger that was very fascinating, a wave of patriotism, or something that answered the same purpose, swept over Sangamon and Morgan counties, and led to the organization of a number of “independent” military companies.

Section 9 of the State militia laws of 1833, under which the independent military companies were organized, provided that all Light or Independent companies must be armed and equipped in the same manner as similar corps in the United States army, and officered as follows: To every company of cavalry one captain, a first, second and third lieutenant, a cornet, four sergeants, four corporals, a saddler, a farrier, a trumpeter, and not more than 116, nor less than 46, rank and file. To all companies other than cavalry, the same officers, and instead of the saddler, farrier and trumpeter, a drummer and a fifer. They were permitted to select their own style of uniform.

Section 10 of this law provided for the punishment as a deserter of any member of such independent company, who refused to serve when called into service.

Section 22 provided for a fine of 25 cents for each failure to appear without being equipped according to the company regulations.

Section 35 authorized the captain of independent companies to petition the Governor for such arms and field pieces as might be necessary to equip the company, bond being given for the same in a penal sum equal to $14.00 for each musket and equipment furnished, and a sum proportionate, for such other arms as they required. This bond was required to be certified to by the judge of the Circuit Court of the county. A description of the company, the number of privates, officers and the battalion and regiment to which it belonged must accompany the petition.

Springfield at the time the independent company proposition was agitated, was a flourishing village where many young business and professional men had set up their Lares and Penates for the time being, and where the political fever raged among the male inhabitants with a virulence that may have been equalled in later years, but certainly could not well be surpassed.

In the spring of 1835 was organized the First Springfield Artillery, which was considered then, and for some time afterwards, the “crack company” of Sangamon county. The call for a meeting at the court house at Springfield to organize this company was made by J. F. Rague (afterward architect of the old State House, now the Sangamon county court house), in the Sangamo Journal of March 28th, 1835. Dr. E. H. Merryman (in later years Lincoln's second in the Shields duel) was selected captain at the opening meeting, and for some time afterwards the personnel of the officers suffered little change. The company was composed of about 100 members, mainly young men of Springfield and vicinity. The members of the company furnished their own uniforms, and at least a part of their equipment, and as soon as an eligible young man arrived in town he was immediately invited to join the company. If he objected on the score of expense entailed by the purchase of uniform and accoutrements, and if he was otherwise desirable, the members of the company "chipped in” and bought an outfit for him, and triumphantly enrolled him as a member of the Artillery.

The first public appearance of the company was made at the Fourth of July celebration in Springfield, in 1835. They were minus both artillery and uniforms at that time, but small arms were ordered from the arsenal at Alton for the occasion.

On the 8th of August of the same year, A. D. Wright, orderly sergeant, issued an order to the First Springfield Artillery to parade on August 20th, 1835, at 3 P. M. opposite the court house in full uniform, “armed and equipped according to the by-laws." It was a memorable occasion and the wealth and beauty of the village did not fail to turn out en masse to view the pageant. The Sangamo Journal of August 22nd, 1835, although rarely commenting upon any local occurrences less important than a political fight or a mammoth beet or onion fostered by the

« AnteriorContinuar »