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Springfield, Illinois

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  • James Clarence "Jim" Griffin (1931 - 2015)
    Jmes (Jim) C. Griffin, 84, of Havana, Illinois passed away on Sunday, October 25, 2015 at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois. He was born on March 30, 1931 in Havana, Illinois to Clarence...
  • Carla L. Griffin (1935 - 2012)
    Carla L. McClenning Griffin was born June 26, 1935, in Wilmington, daughter of Alta McClenning. She married James C. Griffin January 24, 1954, Havana. Suriving are her husband; sons, Greg and Gary Grif...
  • Seymore O'Neal (1868 - 1933)
  • Burnett Crudden (1869 - d.)
    Listed in the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Sangamon County, Volume II - Biographical
  • Patrick Crudden (1827 - 1907)
    Patrick Crudden, now deceased, was a coal miner in Springfield. He was born in County Monaghan, Ireland, in 1827 and was a genial, warm hearted, hard-working man who had friends wherever he went. He wa...

Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Springfield, Illinois.

Official Website

Springfield is the capital of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County.



Springfield was originally named "Calhoun", after Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. The land that Springfield now occupies was settled first by trappers and fur traders who came to the Sangamon River in 1818. In 1821, Calhoun was designated as the county seat of Sangamon County.

By 1832, Senator Calhoun had fallen out of the favor with the public and the town renamed itself as Springfield after Springfield, Massachusetts. At that time, the New England city was known for industrial innovation, concentrated prosperity, and the Springfield Armory.

Kaskaskia was the first capital of the Illinois Territory from its organization in 1809, continuing through statehood in 1818, and through the first year as a state in 1819. Vandalia was the second state capital of Illinois from 1819 to 1839. Springfield became the third and current capital of Illinois in 1839. The designation was largely due to the efforts of Abraham Lincoln and his associates.

The Potawatomi Trail of Death passed through in 1838, as the Native Americans were forced west to Indian Territory by the government's Indian Removal policy.

Abraham Lincoln arrived in the Springfield area when he was a young man in 1831, though he did not live in the city until 1837. He spent the ensuing six years in New Salem, where he began his legal studies, joined the state militia and was elected to the Illinois General Assembly. In 1837 Lincoln moved to Springfield and spent the next 24 years as a lawyer and politician. Lincoln delivered his Lyceum address in Springfield. His farewell speech when he left for Washington is a classic in American oratory.

Springfield became a major center of activity during the American Civil War. Illinois regiments trained there, the first ones under Ulysses S. Grant. The city was a political and financial center of Union support. New industries, businesses, and railroads were constructed to help support the war effort. The war's first official death was a Springfield resident, Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth.

Camp Butler, located seven miles northeast of Springfield, Illinois, opened in August 1861 as a training camp for Illinois soldiers. It also served as a camp for Confederate prisoners of war through 1865.

After the war ended in 1865, Springfield became a major hub in the Illinois railroad system. It was a center of government and farming, and by 1900 was invested in coal mining and processing.

The Dana-Thomas House is a Frank Lloyd Wright design built in 1902–03. It is the only historic site later acquired by the state exclusively because of its architectural merit. The structure was opened to the public as a museum house in September 1990.

Sparked by the alleged rape of a white woman by a black man and the murder of a white engineer, supposedly also by a black man, in Springfield, and reportedly angered by the high degree of corruption in the city, rioting broke out on August 14, 1908 and continued for three days in a period of violence known as the Springfield race riot. Gangs of white youth and blue-collar workers attacked the predominantly black areas of the city known as the Levee district, where most black businesses were located, and the Badlands, where many black residences stood. Two blacks were lynched and four whites were killed by gunfire when black property-owners sought to defend their homes and businesses. The riot ended when the governor sent in more than 3,700 militiamen to patrol the city, but isolated incidents of white violence against blacks continued in Springfield into September.

On March 12, 2006, two F2 tornadoes hit the city, injuring 24 people, damaging hundreds of buildings, and causing $150 million in damages.

On February 10, 2007, then-senator Barack Obama announced his presidential candidacy in Springfield, standing on the grounds of the Old State Capitol.


Lincoln Home National Historic Site

The Lincoln Tomb

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

Illinois State Museum

Potawatomi Trail of Death

Cozy Dog Drive In