Welcome to Illinois Trails - Helping you find Illinois Ancestors!


Some Area History and Some Family History by Mrs. Louis F. Botterbusch
Donated by Regina Breeden Bailey

1800 The United States was a very young country, with territories mostly Frenchmen - a few were Englishmen - who lived mostly in small settlements and forts built along the Mississippi River in the untamed midwest.

In, 1803, the United States acquired a vast territory west of the Mississippi thru the Louisiana Purchase. At the time, remnants of the Kaskaskia, Tamaroa and Cahokia Indian Tribes were still living in the area East of the Mississippi River and St. Louis.

The first white settler in the "Dutch Hill" area of St. Clair County was John Lively, of Swiss decent, who made his way here from South Carolina in 1805. He built the first log cabin where the town of Lenzburg now stands. Soon several other Swiss families arrived, and a block house fort was built a little ways South and was known as Hilltown. (This was close to the area known later as Dutch Hill).

About 1810, John Lively and his brother-in-law David Huggins and their families moved on up the Okaw (Kaskaskia) River and became the first white men to settle in what is now Washington County. Their settlement was close to where the town of Covington now stands.

In 1813, Indian trouble broke out. Before the Lively and Huggins families could get back to Hilltown Fort, they became victims of an Indian massacre. Son David Huggins and the hired man were away from the home rounding up the horses for the family's escape and were missed by this renegade band of Indians. They were able to report what had happened. The U.S. Rangers were called in, and they were able to round up the culprits. That was the last report of Indian trouble.

In 1818, Illinois became a state, and was divided up into several counties. At first, St. Clair County extended as far north as the Wisconsin border. Soon smaller counties were carved from the large one. The first state capitol was at Kaskaskia on the East side of the Mississippi and to the South of St. Louis.

By 1830 settlers were beginning to arrive in a steady stream. Some coming from the Eastern states. Many were coming from Germany, Ireland and England, booking passage to New Orleans. There they were turned over by their ships captain to the U.S. Immigration authorities. From there they had to fimd their way up the river to their chosen destination.

Many of the Germans who arrived were not "the poor, the tired, the huddled masses" as spoken of on the Statue of Liberty, but were professional men, educators, and skilled craftsmen who were at odds with the current German Government. They saw the fertile land, the flowing rivers, and the mild climate of this area as an ideal place to start a free life in a democratic country.

In 1828, three young friends, Jacob Mueller, Jacob Weber, and Peter Spaldt of Hessen Darmstadt, Germany, walked from New Orleans and settled on the West side of the Okaw River, just below the St. Clair County line in Monroe County. This settlement got the name "Tommoroway" as it was at a point where the Tamora Indians crossed the river. Other family members followed, and in 1832 Jacob Mueller married Mary Margaret Weber, sister of his friend Jacob Weber.

In 1816, a man named Issac Hill opened a tavern on the East bank of the Okaw River, about two miles up river from Tommoroway. About 1836, Narcisse Pensoneau laid out a town where Hill had his tavern. He named his town "Athens" as he envisioned it becoming a great and beautiful city like the Greek city by that name. The name was misprounced. By 1868, because a town north of Springfield had the same name and mail and merchandise mix ups were frequent, its village, which had been incorporated in 1866, officially changed its name to "New Athens". Marissa Station, and Lenzburg grew and places like Tommoroway, Hilltown and Dutch Hill disappeared.

During the 1830's and 1840's, German emigrants poured into St. Clair County and St. Louis and the surrounding Missouri countryside. The names Mueller, Miller, Muller and Dietz appear often.

In 1837. A Francis Dietz entered land in section 14 in the Dutch Hill area of Lenzburg Township. There is some connection between the Belleville Dietz and the Dutch Hill Dietz which I can not fully explain. I believe Francis came as a single man with other kinfolk. He is from Rohrback, Hessen Darmstadt and his wife Caroline is from Saxe Co-burg, and their first child was born in 1840 in Illinois...so I have surmissed that they met and married here. I think Francis is a younger brother of Frederick George Dietz, and he came over first to check things out as he had no family responsibility, and could travel freely.

In 1839, Frederick George Dietz entered land in section 14 in the Dutch Hill area. With Frederick George came his wife Catherine (nee Loos), his mother also named Catherine, and his three children, Frederick born in 1832, Catherine born in 1834 and Henry born in 1837. This family was from Rohrback, Hessen Darmstadt.

It was a custom for German families to name the first son for the father and the first daughter for the mother - then following children for grandparents and uncles and aunts. Sometimes a researcher can almost follow a family by the names used over and over. Sometimes it is confusing too. For example: A mother might be named Catherine Marie and her first daughter is given that name. After that, the mother may no longer use the name Catherine, but be known as Marie, and the daughter will be known as Catherine. The same reversal of names was also often true for fathers and sons.

Entering land to Homestead meant a promise to live on the land for a required number of years, make improvements, clear and utilize all the required number of acre that were to be left for a timber stand. This was also a time when women had few rights.

Life was hard and death was common. This fact was brought home to me as I looked thru the early records of Holy Ghost German Evangelical Church at Darmstadt. So very many babies did not survive their first year. Older children died of scarlet fiver and other illnesses that are not a problem today. Young mothers often died from complications of child birth. Men lost their lives to accident or illness. A young mother who lost a husband needed another right away to provide for her and her children.

Such was the case for the newly arrived Catherine Loos Dietz, for Frederick George had died by summers end. He had not lived long enough to fulfill his homestead. A marriage certificate shows that she was joined in Holy Matrimony to John Jacob Reiss (REIS) by the Reverend William Flichinger. With a mother in laaw, three small children, and another on the way, Catherine truly needed a husband and a home. Her daughter, Maria was born on April 25, 1840, and went by the name Dietz.

Catherine and John Reis and her children settled in Twelve Mile Prairie West of the Kaskaskia River and North-west of New Athens. I have found little about John Jacob Reiss. An Adam Reis had purchased land in the ---------this land to have been just West of the crossroad on route 13 known locally as Five Forks. Adam's will grants his wife Margaret Reis (nee Basler) one third of his farm for her lifetime. That was the only thing in the will, nothing about the rest of the farm. John Reis may have been their son, and his wife Catherine and their children eventually owned the farm. It was located just about where I believe the Reis family lived, and Catherine was later noted as having property. John Jacob Reis, he died some time between then and when the census was taken later that summer.

In Twelve Mile Prairie, the family grew. Dora was born in 1841, George in 1844, Bertha in 1847, and Magdaline in 1849. Mother in law old Catherine Dietz was still living with the family and died sometine after 1860 at over 80 years of age.

Deaths and births were seldom recorded during these times. Marriages were recorded in most cases. In Germany it was quite common for a couple to just live together until after the first or second child was born and the woman proved she could bear children. The Catholic French, who were here first, found this practice deplorable and made a big effort to have marriages registered and legal among the German emigrants.

St. Clair County marriages records show that in 1852 Catherine Reiss married Casper Stockert. Also her eldest daughter, Catherine Dietz, now 18 years old, married Conrad Spitz. The Spitz family lived South of New Athens near Baldwin. As yet I have found nothing more about the Spitz family.

In the 1860 census, we have the family listed under the name Casper Stockert, with Catherine as married and his younger brother Henry, was listed as living with him. As mentioned above, daughter Catherine was now a Spitz and living with her husband. Also, daughter, Dora Reis, had just married and was listed with her husband's family the Schwartz.

Sometime after 1860, the Dietz sons decided that Casper Stockert was a no gooder and an opportunist who had married their mother to sponge off her and the land that she and Reis had had. So they ran him off. I have found no divorce records as they were lost at the court house for that time period. They were supposed to have been legally divorced, and Catherine went back to the name Reis.

When the German Evangelical Church was organised in New Athens, 1878, Catherine Loos Dietz Reis and some of her children and grandchildren were among its earlier members, if not charter members. In the church death records, she is listed as widow Catherine Reis, nee Cemetery. I have found her stone which lists her only. I do not know where her husbands were buried or why she was not buried beside one of them. She is buried next to Johann Baehr "families". (Her daughter Maria had married Johann Baehr).

The records of births, confirmation, marriages, and deaths of St. John's United Church of Christ chronicle the children and grandchildren of the Reis family.

Maria Dietz married Johann Baehr and lived for a time near New Memphis in Clinton County, and brought her children to St John's for baptism and confirmation. One son, John, was a partner in the old Geiger Store in New Athens, along with his wife, Julia's brother Louis Darmstatter and others. Maria's youngest daughter, Anna, (Mrs. Edward Bert) died in 1978 at the home of one of her children in Detroit and was brought back here for burial. When that was announced in church one Sunday morning, Louie and I had no idea that she was a first cousin of our Grandpa Fred Dietz, or that we belonged to a church that a great great grandmother had helped start. Maria's other children were: Bertha (28 Aug 1867) married George Traut; Karl August (29 Dec 1872) and Emile (3 Aug 1875).

Bertha Reis married Fred Alheim, a widower with several children, and bore him at least five more before she died in 1888. Her youngest two died as small children, Karl of convulsions and Clara of cerebral apoplexy. The late Armon Reinhardt, well known area farmer and earth mover was a son of Bertha's daughter Emma (11 Apr 1883) and husband George Reinhardt. Her other two children were Frederick (9May 1879) and Philip (13 Oct 1881).

After Bertha's death, Fred Alheim married her sister, the widowed Maria Dietz Baehr.

Dora Reis married Wilhelm Schwartz in 1860, and they lived at Turkey Hill in Freeburg Township. They had at least two children; Martin in 1865 and Annie in 1869. Annie married Edmund Huber of Tommoroway. One of the Huber daughters, Della, married William Hentzel. A son of theirs Marvin Hentzel, lives up the street from us here in New Athens. Another grandson of Annie's is Ed Huber who owns Huber Sheetmetal here in New Athens.

Magdaline Reis married Wilhelm Degen in 1866. Bill was the first embalmer in New Athens, and also played French horn in the town's twelve member band. The Degens had at least five children. One child, Theodore, died of convulsions at age two. This was a common cause of death among small children. Other children were; Bertha 1869, Wilheim 1875, Amelia Mathilda 1878, and Emielie 1884-1884.

George Riess married a widow with two children, Augusta Helms Keller. They raised their family North-west of New Athens in Twelve Mile Prarie, where George was a farmer and a saw mill operator. One daughter, Melissa drowned when she was eighteen years old in a neighbor's cistern. Other children belonging to George were; Frederick 1868, Bertha 1875, Helena 1877, Emma Maria 1882, and Marie Johannette 1884. George died of stomach cancer at age 53.

When Catherine Loos Dietz Reis died in 1888, she had fifty grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren.

Henry, the younger son of Frederick George and Catherine Dietz, married Margaretha Weber. Henry tried his hand at farming near his older brother Frederick. Henry always seemed to have bad luck, a lot of which was his own making, because of poor planing and lack of caring properly for his livestock and equipment. For example, he is said to have lost two horses (at different times) because they wandered out on ice and broke thru causing them to break a leg. The horses then had to be distroyed. Frederick often helped Henry out by loaning him money or by singing a note with him. The end result Frederick left St. Clair county. (See Dietz Muller Story). Because of the loss, Frederick was angry and upset with his brother and never had anything to do with him again.

Henry and his family moved down near DeSoto, Ill. He never did get it together and his family had a very hard time of it. Henry and Margaretha are buried in unmarked graves in Dixon Cemetery near DeSoto. I have not been able to follow up on their family. Most, if not all, left the DeSoto area.

As mentioned before, Catherine, the daughter of Frederick George and Catherine Dietz married Conrad Spitz.

Frederick Dietz married Barbara Arnold in 1856, and that is the start of the Dietz, Arnold family.

Leonald Arnold, his wife and four young daughters and one small son made that trip thru New Orleans customs and then on up the Mississippi River in 1843. Records show that Mr. Arnold entered land to homestead in section 12 of Lenzburg township in 1844. The family came from Ermanshausen Franken, Bavaria and became a part of Dutch Hill Community.

Old Mr. Arnold was buried in the Old Dutch Hill Cemetery that was destroyed. Anyone owning land that has a cemetery on it that hasn't been actively used for fifty years may tear it up. The owners had done this and used the stone pieces for flagstone walk. A portion of Mr. Arnold's stone was found here. His wife may also have been buried there. It was suggested to me that she may have gone to Effingham County to make her home with her son George, or families, and believe they settled in Banner Township. Records show George's widow lived there when she remarried. Also a child was born to George Jr. in Banner Township.

Barbara Arnold married Frederick Dietz. Their descendents are on the charts and their story will follow later.

Mary Catherine Arnold (1833-1897) married Johann Dinges in 1852, and settled in the Dutch Hill Community. They had two daughters, Catherine Pauline married Mathias Kaesberg and her sister Maria Barbara married his brother Adolph Kaesberg. Both sisters had large families.

Johann Dinges died in 1857. Later Mary Catherine married Bavarian emigrant, George Wirth. Their children were Frank (1863) who married widow Lizzie Stein; George (1867) who married Lousia Metzler; and Herman (1869) who married Theressa Junk.

The youngest, Sopfia Arnold, (1842-1920) married Phillip Schuster of Hassloch Rhein, Bavaria and settled north of Lenzburg in Fayetteville Twonship. Their children were sons Fred, John, Phillip Jr, and daughters Mary Petri and Anna Juenger.

Many descendants of Mary Catherine and Sophia live in this part of St. Clair Co. today. Some that we know personallly (even before we knew they were distant kin). Include Virginia Triefenbach Wagner descended from Anna Schuster Juenger; Elvira Heinecke and son Harold and family descended from Pauline Dinges Kaesberg; George Wirth and his cousins Edgar Wirth and sister Patricia Wirth Bartsokas descendants from George Wirth. And last, but not least, Anna Schuster Reinhardt, Sophia's granddaughter, who recognised the name Botterbusch and asked us soon after we came to New Athens if we were related to Lucy Botterbusch. She had remembered meeting Lucy when they were young and the families visited.

Seeing a copy of Sophia's will and noticing that she signed with an "X", reminded me that many of the German settlers never learned English very well. Even as late as 1930, many area children came to the first grade in school speaking only German and had to learn a new language along with the three "R's". It was around 1930 that the sermons in St. John's Church were preached in English every Sunday.

A history of the Belleville school system tells us that for many years after a school system was established, classes were taught in both English and German.

When my readers read of the Lively Huggins massacre on page 1, they may have misunderstood and thought that was the last of the Indians. When the Muellers, Weber and others settled Tommoroway in 1830's, Indians were still crossing the river there and often did trading with the settlers there.

The story is told of the young Weilminster family who settled a short distance from Mud Creek's bank (not far from Marissa is today) in the 1830's. The father and the older children were away picking berries and the mother and the baby were at home in the family hut. The mother notices a shadow pass the window opening and realized an Indian was outside. She quickly hid and only moments before he entered the open doorway, and walked over to the baby's home made crib. As the mother trembled and tried to think what she would do if he harmed the babe, the Indian stood looking down at the sleeping infant for several minutes then walked back out the doorway and away from the hut.

I used the term hut for house because most of the early families lived for a time in rudely built huts and lean-tos until better log homes could be constructed. When a family homesteaded, they moved onto 40 acres of mostly woods, accessible by some wagon tracks. Those coming from the Eastern states had an advantage as they were able to bring horses and wagons and livestock and other needs with them. Those coming from overseas had little besides their personal possessions and the stubs of their one way tickets. Yes the European Emigrants could only buy one way tickets. For them it was "America of Bust".

Many of the professional and skilled craftsman chose to live in towns and established places like Belleville and Millstadt, and fashioned those towns like their German cities. Today in towns like these, homes with the door opening onto the street still exist. The big Victorian mansions were built later in the century.

With only crude shelters from the elements, it is no wonder that death was common among the newly arrived emigramts. A simple cold could turn into pneumonia and often resulted in death. It is hard for us today to envision the hardships our ancestors endured.

Most of the German learned little English, but most were eager to learn all they could otherwise and were eager to get their hands on anything they read that was in German.


Frederick Dietz married Barbara Arnold on the 14th of January 1856. They settled to farming in section 16 of Lenzburg Township. Their farm was located south-west of New Athens, and a short distance East of the Kaskaskia River, about due East of Tommoroway. From all indications, their farming operation went well. Brother Henry and a hired man were listed with the family in the 1860 census.

The 1860 census lists a four year old George. This could have been their first born who was named for his grandfather, and who died as a small child. I have found no other reference to him. Maria Dora was born 17 Oct. 1858. She died of Scarlet fever at age fifteen on 3 Sept. 1873. She was buried in the South Dutch Hill Cemetery only seven months after her mothers death.

Frederick was born 10 Oct. 1861, Philip on 20 Nov. 1863, and William on 9 Oct. 1870. Lastly baby Catherine on 22 Nov. 1872. Records show that Catherine was baptised on the day of her mother's funeral by the minister of the Holy Ghost Evangelical Church of Darmstadt, Ill. Probably the minister had conducted the funeral also.

I do not know the cause of mother Barbara's death. She died 3 Feb.1873, and was laid to rest in the South Dutch Hill Cemetery. I can not read the writing on her tombstone, but I think the words across the top mean something like "At home with God" in German.

Tragedy struck the family on the 5th of August, 1873 when nine month old little Catherine sat in a kettle of boiling water and died from the burns and shock. This must have been a terrible blow to the family that was just getting over the mother's death only six months before. But tragedy was not over, as it was just a month later that Scarlet Fever quickly struck down the older daughter. I wish I could read the verse that Frederick had written on the bottom on Maria's tombstone. I'm sure the words written in German must have expressed something of how her father was feeling at that time.

So the end of that year 1873 found Frederick Dietz a widower with three young sons ages 12, 10, and 3.

John Mueller, son of Jacob and Mary Margaret Weber Mueller returned from the Civil War, purchased a small farm in the Turkey Hill area, and married Dora Widner. Dora was born in Germany and had been brought to America when she was four years old. They soon started a family, John in 1867, Jacob in 1868 and Frederick in 1871.

Then came the tragic year of 1873. John caught his leg in the cylinder of a threshing machine. The leg had to be amputated and soon after John died of blood poisoning. This happened about two months before his youngest son, Henry was born.

Dora now found herself a young widow with four small children and no way to support herself.

I don't know if Dora Mueller knew Frederick Dietz at this time. If not, I'm sure some of their friends and relatives knew both parties and their needs and were able to get them together. On May 11, 1874 Frederick and Dora entered into a "marriage of convience", and Frederick had a homemaker and mother for his boys, and Dora had a father and support for her children.

As the story goes on, this marriage became a solid one, as Fred and Dora not only created a home for his and her children, but added six more of their own. A seventh died as an infant.

Mary Catherine (1875) and Louis (1878) were born to them in Lenzburg Township.

After Frederick lost his farm, he moved his family South-east to near Mulkeytown in Franklin County, Ill. The family hit on hard times during their winter there. They report having little to eat besides potatoes, sorghum and rabbits they were able to snare in their homemade traps. During this rough winter, on January 12, 1880, their doughter Lucy was born.

The family moved again, and lived for a short time at Oraville, Ill. Frederick Dietz may have met 16 year old Louisa Ebersohl during this time, but they were not married until seven years later. The family soon moved again and settled South-east of DeSoto in Jackson County, and here they stayed and prospered.

Three more children were added to the family; twins Anna and Matilda in 1882, and George in 1885. Their last baby, Benny, did not live long and was buried in the DeSoto Cemetery.

Dora was said to have a great sense of humour, and I'm sure there were many times when being able to see the lighter side helped her get thru some trying times.

Frederick was said to be a loving and fair father who treated the Mueller children as his own. The standing joke was said to be "Hey, Ma, your kids and my kids are beating up on our kids".

For the most part harmony reigned and the children grew up and most of them settled near by. The area was often referred to as "The Dietz Settlement", nicknamed "Skin Out".

Ebersohl - Schuchert

I have not been able to find out much about the early Ebersohl and Schuhert families. This is what I have found.

Carl Ebersohl and his wife, Louisa (nee Hubert), came to America in 1841 or 1842 and settled in Stookley Twonship, St. Clair County, Ill. Their farm was on the Bluff above Centerville, Ill and a mile or two Southwest of where the Bluff Grange Hall stands on Ill., Rt. 163. They are said to have had a large farm.

Five of the Ebersohl children were born before they left their home in Saarbruecken on the Rhine in Germany. Six more children were born to them in Illinois. They are said to have had twelve whildren but I can only account for eleven.

Zion Evangelical Church in Millstadt, Ill, was started in 1835 by the Reverand John Jacob Reiss, who came from Wuertemberg, Germany. The Rev. Reiss was sent here by the Basel Missionary Society in Switzerland to convert Indians. Instead, he started a mission church at Millstadt to serve the many German emigrants in the area. He also started a circuit rider mission to hold services in places like Mascoutah, Turkey Hill, and Dutch Hill (Deutsen Huegel).

The Carl Ebersohl family became associated with Zion Chruch soon after their arrival, and Zion Church records show the six American born children were baptised there. At least two of the Ebersohl children were married there.

After Concordia Church north of Millstadt was organised, the Ebersohl family became associated with the new church which was nearer to their home. Several family members were married there, and some are buried in the Concordia Church Cemetery.

Note: I mentioned earlier that names were passed down in German families. In the Ebersohl family, the first son was named Carl Charles or Charles Carl for many generations.

Several brothers and sisters of Carl Ebersohl are said to have come to America at the same time Carl came. I can only account for two definitely. One sister was Magdaline Ebersohl (9 Nov 1826 to 15 Jan 1921). She married Charles Kraessler on May 20, 1847. They are buried in the Concordia Cemetery.

Charles and Magdaline Kraessler's daughter, Magdaline Lousia married her cousin Johann Randolph Ebersohl; (Carl's son). Marriages among cousins were not uncommon nor were they illegal at this time in Illinois.

Another sister of Carl's was Louisa Ebersohl, born 19 Dec 1827, in Germany. She married Louis Franz in Illinois on March 25, 1852.

I have come across other Ebersohl names and some Schuchert names as I have searched thru old records. I'm sure they also are part of the family, but I have not made the definite connection.

The Schuchert family came from Saxony, Germany in 1833 and settled South of Millstadt in an area that has the nick name "Saxtown" yet today. I don't know if George Schuchert and Maria Hellwig were married in Germany or they met and married here. I suspect, since he was 37 and she 29 when their first child was born, that they may have come as singles with other family members, and met and married here. The six Schuchert were born in Illinois and were all baptised at Zion Church. As the parents came to America before Zion was started, they were probably among its first members.

It is very possible that at Zion Church, 26 year old Charley Ebersohl met and fell in love with 17 year old Louisa Schuchert. They were married Sept. 19, 1860.

Charley and Louisa's first four children were baptised at Zion. They were Carl Charles (1861), William (1863), Louisa (1865), and Anna Catherine (1867).

Around 1868, the family moved to Oraville, which is North-west of Murphysboro in Jackson County, Illinois. Others who made the move were Philip and Jacob Ebersohl and sister Elizabeth.

At Oravill, Charley and Louisa beget six more children: John in 1869, George in 1871, twins Mollie and Christian in 1876, and Rudolph in 1878. Note: Christian Ebersohl was the father of Mary Melton Botterbusch. I have discovered that twins were common in the Ebersohl family and one later family has had triplets.

The old Zion Cemetery at the South edge of Millstadt is the location of the first Zion Church. All the stones here are written in German and most are too faded to read. Some of the Schucherts could have been buried here. This site is on the Saxtown road. Farther South on the Saxtown road, is------- Cemetery. At least one Schuchert, Gotlieb, is buried there. Many of the stones here are too faded to read also. Carl Ebersohl and some of the other Ebersohls are buried in Concordia Church Cemetery.

Later in the 1800's, the Zion congregation built a new building in Millstadt which is still in use today.

BIOGRAPHIES (Donated by Kim Torp)

JOHN REYNOLDS, the fourth governor of Illinois, was the best known person in Illinois in the first part of the nineteenth century. He was a native of Pennsylvania but his father and mother had migrated from Ireland in 1785. Young Reynolds with his parents came into Illinois by way of Tennessee, where they tarried a few years, reaching Golconda, Illi nois, in 1800. They were very well-to-do people. The son had received some education in Tennessee and had always had the assistance of his father and mother. From Golconda they made their way to Kaskaskia, expecting to pass beyond the Mississippi and settle on Spanish soil, but the elder Reynolds found that he would have to agree to bring up his children in the Catholic faith before the Spanish Government would allow him to ac quire land and settle in Louisiana. He therefore settled two and a half miles east of Kas kaskia, where six other Americans had already settled. The son was sent back to Tennessee to receive a college education. He studied law and returned in time to enter the "ranger" service in the War of 1812. Between 1815, the close of the War of 1812, and the admission of Illinois into the Union he was getting settled in the practice of law. In 1817 he married a French lady of Cahokia and they lived happily together till 1834, when she died. From her he learned the French language and became a very fine conversationalist in that tongue. He seems to have taken no part in the constitutional convention, but when the government was set in operation he was selected, in 1818, as one of the four judges of the Supreme Court. Governor Reynolds served on the Supreme bench till 1824 and was not reappointed because of his stand in favor of slavery in the fight to make Illinois a slave state. He was a member of Congress and served in the State Legislature. He acted as agent for Illinois in the period of interna tional improvement. He wrote several books which admirably portrayed the life of the times. He died at Belleville in 1865.

LYMAN TRUMBULL was born in Colchester, Connecticut, October 12, 1813, was educated there, at the age of twenty went to Georgia and taught school, studied law at the same time and was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1837. In the same year he came to Illinois, locating at Belleville, St. Clair County.
His public career upon which his reputation largely rests commenced in 1840 by his election to the State Legislature. Before the expiration of his term, he was appointed in 1841 secretary of the state of Illinois, and after two years of service in that office resumed the practice of law, in which he soon ranked among the leaders of the bar in the state. He was tendered the position of secretary of state by Governor Carlin, but before his acceptance the tender was withdrawn by Governor Ford. His next political ventures consisted of two unsuccessful attempts to secure the nomination for Congress. He was shortly thereafter a candidate for United States senator and for the nomination for governor, in both of which ventures he was likewise unsuccessful. In 1846 he secured the nomination for Congress, but was defeated; in 1848 he was nominated and elected one of the justices of the State Supreme Court under the new constitution and was reelected in 1852, but resigned in 1853.
During the comparatively short period of his occupancy of a seat on the bench he distinguished himself by the accuracy of judgment he displayed, acute discrimination and familiarity with organic and statute laws. In 1854 he was elected a member of the Thirty-fourth Congress and before taking his seat the Legislature elected him to the United States Senate for the term beginning March 4, 1855, and ending in 1861. During this period he served as chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, one of the most important senate committees during this period of great agitation.
As senator he was outspoken against the policy and doctrines of the old Democratic party with which for years he had been prominently identified and became active in promoting the policies advocated by the new Republican party. In all questions relating to slavery he acted in direct opposition to his colleague, Stephen A. Douglas, and fought bitterly the popular sovereignty plan of settling the slavery question in territories and future states. His advocacy of the policies of the new party and his able opposition to his able colleague, Douglas, soon gained for him a national reputation as statesman of extraordinary ability.
In 1860 he advocated the election of Lincoln, and subsequent to the election, but before the inauguration, he was one of the few men in the Senate who was outspoken in favor of the adoption of prompt and vigorous methods for the maintenance of the Union. In 1861 he was elected for a second term and reelected for a short term in 1867. During the period from 1861 to the end of his term as senator, and as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he framed and advocated many of the most important acts passed by Congress during the period immediately subsequent to the war, among which was the amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery. In the impeachment trial of President John son he voted for acquittal on the articles of impeachment. He resided in Belleville until 1849, when he removed to Alton and in 1863 to Chicago, where he became a leader of the bar in that city. He did not reenter public life after the expiration of his third term in the United States Senate until 1880, when he was a candidate for governor against Shelby M. Cullom, in which campaign he was defeated. He died in Chicago July 10, 1896.

Return To The Main Page