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214 



LETTER OF E. B. WASHBURNE TO JOHN DIXON 



(Letter from E. B. Washburne 1 to John Dixon. At the 
time the letter was written Mr. Washburne was Minister 
to France and previously had been Secretary of State and 
was from 1853 to 1869 Member of Congress from Illi- 
nois. Contributed by Mr. Henry S. Dixon, grandson of 
John Dixon.) 

Paris, December 15, 1874. 
Mr. John Dixon, 2 

My Dear Friend : — 

A few days ago I received a letter from Mr. Camp from 
whom I was pleased to learn that although you had 
passed your ninetieth year you continued to have excel- 
lent health and that you are in the enjoyment of your 

i Elihu Benjamin Washburne, congressman and diplomatist, was born 
at Livermore, Maine, September 23, 1816; in early life he learned the 
trade of a printer, but graduated from Harvard law school and was ad- 
mitted to the bar in 1840. Coming west he settled at Galena, forming 
a partnership with Charles S. Hempstead for the practice of law in 
1841. He was a stalwart Whig, and as such, was elected to Congress 
in 1852. He continued to represent his district until 1869, taking a 
prominent position, as a Republican, on the organization of that party. 
On account of his long service he was known as the "Father of the 
House." administering the Speaker's oath three times to Schuyler 
Colfax and once to James G. Blaine. He was appointed Secretary of 
State by General Grant in 1869, but surrendered his portfolio to become 
envoy to France, in which capacity he achieved great distinction. He 
was the only official representative of a foreign government who re- 
mained in Paris during the siege of that city by the Germans (1870-71) 
and the reign of the "Commune." For his conduct he was honored by 
the governments of France and Germany alike. On his return to the 
United States he made his home in Chicago, where he devoted his latter 
years chiefly to literary labor, and where he died, October 22, 1887. 
He was strongly favored as a candidate for the presidency in 1880. 

2 John Dixon, pioneer — the first white settler in Lee county, Illinois, 
was born at Rye, Westchester county, N. Y., October 9, 1784; at 21, he 
removed to New York City. In 1820 he set out with his family for the 
west, traveling by land to Pittsburg, and thence by flat-boat to Shawnee- 
town. Having disembarked his horses and goods there, he pushed out 
towards the northwest, passing the vicinity of Springfield, and finally 
locating on Fancy Creek, some nine miles north of the present site of 
that city. Here he remained some five years, in that time serving as 



215 

usual mental vigor. You must be very nearly the age of 
my father. He was ninety years old the 18th of last 
month. Not so fortunate as yourself, his sight and hear- 
ing are both impaired, but happily his faculties of mind 
are not affected and his bodily health is good. He is pass- 
ing a happy old age in Livermore among the hills of 
Maine and in the "spot where I was born" enjoying the 
affection of his children and the respect of the people 
among whom he has lived for nearly three-quarters of a 
century. Like yourself he keeps up his interest in public 
affairs and is thoroughly posted in political matters. 
During his whole life he has always taken the greatest 
interest in politics. He represented my native town of 
Livermore, then in the "district of Maine," in the Great 
and General Court of Massachusetts several years before 
I was born when Timothy Bigelow was Speaker and Ben 
Bussell Editor of the Old Boston Sentinel. You and my 
father are links connecting us with the earliest days of 
the republic. You were both born in the time of the old 
rickety confederation and before the adoption of the con- 
foreman of the first Sangamon county grand jury. The new county of 
Peoria having been established in 1825, he was offered and accepted the 
appointment of circuit clerk, removing to Fort Clark, as Peoria was 
then called. Later he became contractor for carrying the mail on the 
newly established route between Peoria and Galena. Compelled to pro- 
vide means for crossing Rock river, he induced a French and Indian 
half breed, named Ogee, to take charge of a ferry at a point afterwards 
known as Ogee's ferry. The tide of travel to the lead mine region 
caused both the mail route and ferry to prove profitable, and, as the 
half-breed ferryman could not stand prosperity, Mr. Dixon was forced 
to buy him out, removing his family to this point in April, 1830. Here 
he established friendly relations with the Indians, and, during the 
Black Hawk war, two years later, was enabled to render valuable ser- 
vice to the State. His station was for many years one of the most im- 
portant points in northern Illinois, and among the men of national 
reputation who were entertained at different times at his home may be 
named Gen. Zachary Taylor, Albert Sidney Johnston, Gen. Winfield 
Scott, Jefferson Davis, Col. Robert Anderson, Abraham Lincoln, Col. 
B D Baker and many more. He bought the land where Dixon now 
stands in 1835 and laid off the town; in 1838 was elected by the Legis- 
lature a member of the Board of Public Works, and in 1840 secured 
the removal of the land office from Galena to Dixon. Col. Dixon was 
a delegate from Lee county to the Republican State Convention at 
Bloomington in May, 1856, and, although then considerably over 70 
years of age, spoke from the same stand with Abraham Lincoln, his 
presence producing much enthusiasm. His death occurred July 6, 1876. 



216 

stitution. It was in your time that Washington was first 
elected president and the seat of government at Phila- 
delphia and you must both recollect the purchase of 
Louisiana under the administration of Mr. Jefferson. 
My father voted for Mr. Madison for president and has 
voted for every president since. Probably you have done 
the same thing and voted for the very same candidates 
and what changes you have seen in your day and gener- 
ation — more marvelous and wonderful than any ever re- 
corded in all the annals of history, but I must not be 
drawn off into the consideration of such matters for they 
form no part of the purpose of this letter. 

Your name is connected with the very earliest as well 
as my most recent associates in Illinois. When I first 
settled in Galena along in the year of 1840 Dixon was 
only known as "Dixon's Ferry/ ' but from its location it 
had been a prominent point from the time of the Black 
Hawk War, "all of which you saw and part of which you 
was." 

General Eobert Anderson 3 of whom I saw a great deal 
at Tours, France, in the summer of 1870, had a most vivid 
recollection of the rendezvous of the troops there at that 
time. 

He was then a lieutenant in the regular army and in 
that capacity had mustered Abraham Lincoln into the 
United States service as a volunteer. Tou know all the 
prominent men who figured in that famous war. General 
Scott, Governor Eeynolds (known as the old ranger), 

» General Robert Anderson, soldier, born at "Soldiers' Retreat," near 
Louisville, Ky., June 14, 1805, died in Nice, France, October 27, 1871. 
He graduated at West Point in 1825. He served in the Black Hawk 
War of 1832 as colonel of the Illinois Volunteers. Subsequently he 
was attached to the staff of General Scott, as assistant Adjutant- 
General, and was promoted to captain in 1841. He served in the 
Mexican War, and was severely wounded at Moline del Roy. In 1857 
he was appointed major of the 1st Artillery, and on November 20, 1860, 
he assumed command of the troops in Charleston harbor, with head- 
quarters at Fort Moultrie. He was appointed brigadier-general in the 

U. S. army by President Lincoln. Retired from active service October 
27, 1863. He was the hero of Fort Sumter. 



217 

General Henry, 4 Col. Dodge, 6 Col. Strode 6 and so many- 
others. 



* James D. Henry, pioneer and soldier, was born in Pennsylvania, 
came to Illinois in 1822, locating at Edwardsville; removed to Spring- 
field in 1826, and was soon after elected sheriff; served in the Winne- 
bago War (1827) as adjutant, and, in the Black Hawk War (1831-32) 
as lieutenant colonel and colonel, finally being placed in command of 
a brigade at the battle of Wisconsin and the Bad Axe, his success in 
both winning for him great popularity. His exposures brought on 
disease of the lungs, and going south he died at New Orleans March 
4, 1834. 

& Colonel Henry Dodge, soldier, born in Vincennes, Indiana, October 
12, 1782, died in Burlington, Iowa, June 19, 1867. He commanded a 
mounted company of volunteer riflemen in August and September, 1812, 
became a major of Louisiana militia under General Howard on Sep- 
tember 28th, major in McNair's regiment of Missouri militia in April, 
1813, and commanded a battalion of Missouri infantry as lieutenant 
colonel from August till October, 1814. He was colonel of Michigan 
volunteers from April till July, 1832, during the Black Hawk War. 
He was commissioned major of the United States Rangers June 21, 
1832, and became the first colonel of the 1st Dragoons March 4, 1833. 
He was successful in making peace with the frontier Indians in 1834, 
and in 1835 commanded an important expedition to the Rocky 
mountains. 

General Dodge was unsurpassed as an Indian fighter, and a sword 
with the thanks of the nation was voted him by Congress. He resigned 
from the army June 4, 1836, having been appointed by President Jack- 
son governor of Wisconsin Territory and Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs. He held this office until 1841, when he was elected delegate to 
Congress as a Democrat, and served two terms. In 1846 he was again 
made governor of Wisconsin, and after that state's admission into the 
Union was one of its first United States Senators. He was re-elected 
and served altogether from June 23, 1848, till March 3, 1857. 

6 Colonel James M. Strode, a Kentuckian by birth, attorney for the 
fifteen northern counties of the State of Illinois in the time of Judge 
R. M. Young, Benjamin Mills and others, resided for sometime in 
southern Illinois, and then went to Galena. State Senator from 1832 
to 1836, from Cook county as well as a number of the other northern 
counties, with his residence at Galena. Registrar of the land office in 
Chicago from 1836 to 1840. Member of the Chicago bar and prosecut- 
ing attorney from about 1844 to 1S48. He was identified with the bar 
of Jo Daviess, Cook and McHenry counties. 

He was a great patron of the drama, and his name is attached to a 
letter signed by the leading citizens of Chicago addressed to Alexander 
McKinzie dated October 3, 1838, in which they express their high 
appreciation of Mr. McKinzie's efforts to entertain the people by a series 
of theatrical performances. 

He seems to have formed at an early date a very exaggerated idea 
of the prowess of the Indians, and among the earliest things mentioned 
of him was in 1832, when he accompanied Judge Young to Chicago from 
Galena to hold court, that he and Benjamin Mills brought the first 
intelligence of the atrocities of the Indians on Rock river, and most 
of the anecdotes extant of him relate in some way to his connection 
with the aborigines. 



218 

You must have known Mrs. Washburne's father, Col. 
Henry Gratiot, 7 of Gratiot's Grove, who was at that time 
the agent of the Winnebagoes. He was taken prisoner by 
the Prophet's Band of Indians, and imprisoned in his 
village on Bock Eiver, the present site of Prophetstown, 
Whiteside county. 

About the first time I ever heard particularly about 
Dixon's Ferry was in the early summer of 1840. The 
land office had not then been removed there from Galena 
where it had been so long located and which was then kept 
in a little frame building on the east side of Fever River. 
If I mistake not your fellow citizens, Col. John Dement, 8 

He was a commander of the militia of Jo Daviess county in the Black 
Hawk War. Colonel Strode was tall and straight and prided himself 
upon his Kentucky ancestry. He was in many respects a typical 
southern pioneer. Died while residing in McHenry county. 

7 Henry Gratiot, second son of Charles Gratiot, born at St. Louis, 
Mo., April 25, 1789; moved to Fevre River Lead Mines, now Galena, 
Illinois, October, 1825, on account of his aversion to slavery and a 
desire to bring up his family in a free state. Married June 21, 1813, 
Susan, daughter of Stephen Hempstead, a revolutionary soldier and 
one of the earliest (1811) emigrants from Connecticut to St. Louis, 
Upper Louisiana Territory — Father of Hon. Edward Hempstead, first 
delegate in Congress from Missouri Territory, and of Charles S. Hemp- 
stead, one of Galena's early lawyers, as well as of William Hempstead, 
a prominent and influential merchant of early Galena. 

Henry Gratiot, with a younger brother, Jean Pierre Bugnion Gratiot, 
were among the first to develop the Fevre River lead mines, and for a 
long time maintained a large mining and smelting business at Gra- 
tiot's Grove, now in LaFayette county, Wisconsin; enjoying the Indians' 
confidence, he was enabled to exert great influence over them during 
the Black Hawk War, rendering inestimable services to the entire 
white population. Died at Barnum's Hotel, Baltimore, Md., April 27, 
1886. His only surviving daughter, Adele, married the Hon. E. B. 
Washburne. His four sons were Charles H. Gratiot, Lieutenant Colonel 
Edward Hempstead Gratiot, Henry Gratiot and Stephen Hempstead 
Gratiot. 

s John Dement, was born in Sumner county, Tenn., in April, 1804. 
When thirteen years old he accompanied his parents to Illinois, settling 
in Franklin county, of which he was elected sheriff in 1826, and which 
he represented in the General Assemblies of 1828 to '30. He served 
with distinction in the Black Hawk War, having previously had ex- 
perience in two Indian campaigns. In 1831 he was elected State Treas- 
urer by the Legislature, but, in 1836, resigned this office to represent 
Fayette county in the General Assembly and aid in the fight against 
the removal of the capital to Springfield. His efforts failing of success, 
he removed to the northern part of the State, finally locating at Dixon, 
where he became extensively engaged in manufacturing. In 1837 
President VanBuren appointed him Receiver of Public Moneys, but 



219 

was the receiver, and col. Samuel Hackelton, Register 
Hackelton was afterwards a member of the Legislature 
from Fulton county and Speaker of the House in the 
session of 1842-3. 

It was in June, 1840, that there was a big Whig con- 
vention held at Dixon's Ferry to nominate candidates for 
the Legislature to represent a district composed of some 
ten or fifteen counties in the northwestern part of the 
State. Counties which now have population enough to 
send two members to Congress. 

Drummond, 10 now Judge of the United States Circuit 
Court, and Horster "the blacksmith" of Millersburg, 
Mercer county, Illinois, were nominated and elected by a 
large majority. Tom Campbell, 11 of Galena, and Dr. 

he was removed by President Harrison in 1841; was re-appointed by 
Polk in 1845, only to be again removed by Taylor in 1849, and re- 
appointed by Pierce in 1853. He held the office from that date until 
it was abolished. He was a Democratic Presidential Elector in 1844; 
served in three Constitutional Conventions (1847, '62 and 70), being 
temporary president of the two bodies last named. He was the father 
of Hon. Henry D. Dement, Secretary of State of Illinois from 1884 to 
1888. He died at his home at Dixon, January 16, 1883. 

» Samuel Hackelton, of Fulton county, H. R. 8th, 9th and 13th, Senate, 
10th and 11th General Assemblies. Speaker House of Representatives 
1842-44. Presidential Elector 1836. 

io Thomas Drummond was born at Bristol Mills, Lincoln county, 
Maine, October 16, 1809. After graduating from Bowdoin college in 
1830, he studied law at Philadelphia, where he was admitted to the bar 
in 1833. He settled at Galena in 1835, and was a member of the General 
Assembly in 1840-41. In 1850 he was appointed United States District 
Judge for the District of Illinois as successor to Judge Nathaniel Pope, 
and four years later removed to Chicago. Upon the division of the 
State into two judicial districts, in 1855, he was assigned to the 
northern. In 1869 he was elected to the bench of the United States 
Circuit Court, and presided over the Seventh Circuit, which at that 
time included the states of Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. In 1884, 
at the age of 75, he resigned, living in retirement until his death, which 
occurred at Wheaton, Illinois, May 15, 1890. 

ii Thompson Campbell, born at Kennet Square, Chester county, Pa. 
Entered Jefferson college at Canonsburg, Pa. After finishing his 
college course, went to Pittsburg and read law. Admitted to the bar 
and began the practice of law. 

Being attracted to the far west, he removed to Galena, Illinois. Ap- 
pointed Secretary of State by Governor Thomas Ford in 1843, but re- 
signed in 1846, and became a delegate to the Constitutional Convention 
in 3847, in 1850 was elected as a Democrat to Congress from the Galena 
district, but defeated for re-election in 1852 by E. B. Washburne. He 
was then appointed by President Pierce commissioner to look after cer- 



220 

Van Valzeb, 12 of Freeport, were the Democratis nominees 
Drummond and Campbell canvassed the district together 
on horseback and carrying their duds in saddle bags. 

A lively retinue of Whigs went down to that convention 
from Jo Daviess county but I was not of them, only 
having put out my shingle as a lawyer a few weeks before 
at Galena. I well recollect when the Galena delegates 
left in their lumber wagons for the long journey and 
they departed with songs and shoutings and banners. 
When they got home they told of the glorious time they 
had and what a magnificent repast Sample M. Turney 
had provided for them at Elk Horn Grove 13 when on their 
return. When I think of all the good things we had to 
eat in those good old times I feel like showing my Paris 
cook the door. 

My early visits to Dixon's Ferry were going to Dixon 
from Springfield and returning in the winter time. For 
many years I attended the winter sessions of the Su- 
preme Court at Springfield and now after a lapse of more 
than thirty years I shudder when I think of those dread- 
ful stage rides. The distance as we travelled was be- 
tween 300 and 400 miles and such roads. The old saying 
"that the passengers walked and carried fence rails' ' 
was very nearly verified. I recollect one trip when we 

tain land grants by the Mexican government in California, removing 
to that state in 1853, but resigned this position about 1855, to engagt 
in general practice. In 1860 was candidate for Presidential Elector-at- 
large on the Breckenridge ticket; in 1861 returned to California, and on 
the outbreak of the Civil War became a zealous champion of the Union 
cause, by his speeches exerting a powerful influence upon the destiny 
of the state. He also served in the California Legislature during the 
war, and, in 1864, was a member of the Baltimore Convention which 
nominated Mr. Lincoln for the presidency, a second time assisting most 
ably in the subsequent campaign to carry the State for the Republican 
ticket. 

Died in San Francisco, December 6, 1868. 

12 Error should be VanValzah. Dr. Thomas VanValzah settled 
on a claim within the present site of the village of Cedarville, Stephen- 
son county, which he purchased of John Goddard, and at once began 
the erection of a saw and grist mill. These were completed in No- 
vember, 1837, and were the first of the kind in Stephensen county. 
(History of Stephenson County, 111., Tilden, Chicago, 1880, p. 247.) 

i«Elkhorn Grove, now in Carroll county, Illinois. 



221 

left Galena at nine o'clock on a Wednesday evening with 
nine passengers in the coach and only arrived at Spring- 
field on the afternoon of the next Sunday, never getting 
off a walk and only stopping long enough to change 
horses. Ordinarily leaving Galena about four o'clock 
in the morning we could reach Dixon's Ferry between 
1 and 2 o'clock the next morning. There was then but 
a single house on the north side of Eock River, arriving 
there our shivering driver would toot his horn to awaken 
the sleepy ferryman on the other side of the Jordan, 
after long and weary waiting we could at length get over 
the river and finally roll out half asleep and half awake 
at the old stage tavern where we were always welcomed 
by a genial fire and a warm room. Sometimes the weather 
was fearfully cold on those trips. I never came so near 
perishing as I did in the winter of 1843, on a night ride 
from Princeton to Dad Joe's Grove 14 in an open sleigh. 
The piercing wind swept over the long bleak unsettled 
prairies with a tremendous power. When we at length 
reached Dad Joe's log cabin, passengers, driver and 
horses had well nigh perished. It was always a particu- 

i* "Dad Joe" Smith. About eighteen or twenty miles south of Dixon 
and not far from the present Lee county line, in the south part of the 
county, "Dad Joe" Smith, pioneer, located, the date of which can not be 
definitely given, but it was, however, prior to the Black Hawk War, 
and of sufficient length of time for him to become familiar with the 
Indians of the country to secure his safety during the Black Hawk 
campaign. Having secured the safety of his wife and children he re- 
mained at his home at "Dad Joe's Grove," and attended and gathered 
his crops during the entire war unmolested. He had fought in the 
battle of the Thames; came to this country with the first emigrants and 
"settled in the shadow of this grove," and commenced opening a farm. 
At the time of the advance of Atkinson's army he served as a guide. 
He also served as a spy under command of Zachary Taylor. He was 
an early settler, and of such long standing that he was rather looked 
upon as a kind of patriarch in the country, and to distinguish him 
from other Joe Smiths — perhaps a son bearing his father's name — he 
received the venerable appellation of "Dad Joe." He was one of the 
good, jolly men, who had made their homes along the route of the 
early thoroughfare between Peoria and Galena. 

"Dad Joe's" Grove, Jo Daviess county, twenty miles south on the 
Galena road, one of the stations on the great thoroughfare of travel 
from the southern settlements to the Galena mines in the north and 
were as oases in the desert to the pioneer traveler. 



222 

larly hard ride from Galena to Dixon until you got to 
Cherry Grove. 15 It was all up and down hill and the 
roads were simply horrible. The first change was at 
Elizabeth, the second at Mitchell's old place, the third at 
Cherry Grove, and the fourth and last at Buffalo Grove. 16 
It was about 16 miles over the prairie between these two 
last named points and for many years after I began 
travelling over that route there was not a farm or a hu- 
man inhabitant on that prairie. 

I have crossed it in the stage in the night in a drifting 
snow storm and a certain sense of danger crept over us 
that the driver might lose the track. It was an unbroken 
prairie desolate beyond description in the winter, but 
supremely beautiful in the leafy month of June, 
wreathed in and fragrant with the most lovely wild 
flowers. I can recall no more exquisite enjoyment than I 
used to have in riding over the prairie on a delightful 
summer day in a light buggy drawn by two fleet horses. 

You must recollect the sharp competition that was long 
up between different stage companies in the year 1841, 
1842, 1843, as the travel increased between Galena and 
Chicago. 

John D. Winters, of Elizabeth, was the old mail con- 
tractor and the stage proprietor, but the field he had so 
long occupied undisturbed was at length invaded. Frink 
and Walker put on an opposition line. They had Troy 
coaches, good horses and experienced drivers. The time 
was shortened and staging became more tolerable and 
Winters seeing this invasion by the " Yankees' ' he be- 
came furious and a stage war was inaugurated which 
raged with a terrible violence. People all along the route 
took sides but at the Galena end they were mostly on the 
side of Winters who was an old settler and had brought 
their mails to them for so many years. When I first went 
to Galena we only had a tri-weekly mail from Chicago 

i* Cherry Grove, now in Carroll county, Illinois. 

i«Nanusha or Buffalo Grove, now Polo, Ogle county, Illinois. 



223 

which came by way of Dixon's Ferry. We usually took 
from fifteen to twenty days to get papers and letters from 
New York. I was the first subscriber to the New York 
Daily Tribune in Galena, and at a time when I could only 
get it three times a week. Hand bills flew thick and fast 
and posters were seen everywhere. The companies mu- 
tually denounced each other. Frink had a brake to all 
his coaches, which was something never before heard of 
in that far off northwest. Winters denounced it as a 
"Damn Yankee contrivance," saying he wanted nothing 
to hold his horses back in going down the hill, but un- 
fortunately for Winters in one of his hand bills when 
referring to the beauties of travel over his line he spoke 
of the pleasure it would be to the travelers to be taken 
"leisurely over the prairies/ ' Frink saw his advantage, 
caught up the expression and made a great card of it. 
He published a counter hand bill, ridiculed the old broken 
down horses of Winters and proclaimed that the stages 
of his company's line did not go "leisurely over the 
prairies," but drawn by his splendid teams space was 
almost annihilated. The result of all this business was a 
violent personal assault by Winters on Frink in the bar- 
room of the old American House at Galena. 

Frink and Winters were both remarkable men in their 
way and both made a certain impression on their timte 
in Illinois. All of our old settlers remember them well. 
Frink was a Massachusetts man, began life as a stage 
driver and come to the west at an early day. A man of 
limited education and without cultivation, yet he was a 
man of strong mind, wonderful natural intelligence, in- 
domitable will, great sagacity and a remarkable knowl- 
edge of human nature. I never knew a man who could 
so readily and accurately take the measure of another 
man. Winters had many of the traits of Frink. He was 
from either Kentucky or Tennessee and had come up 
from the ranks. An early settler of the lead mines. His 
character was somewhat shaped by the state of society 



224 

then existing. I think he had more education than Frink 
but not so much actual intellect nor was he so long 
headed. He was impetuous, sometimes violent, very 
pronounced in his opinions and always expressing him- 
self in language of great vigor. He was a vehement 
Democrat and never failed to make known the faith which 
was within him. While Frink was a Whig but more care- 
ful in expressing his opinions and subordinating politics 
to staging. Frink has been dead many years and I be- 
lieve Winters is no longer living. He emigrated a long 
time ago to California and became blind. I am some- 
times saddened when I think how the recollections of so 
many marked men among our early settlers are to die out. 
Your own reminiscences would be intensely interesting. 
You have known so many of the public men of our State, 
Governors, Senators, Congressmen, Judges, legislators 
and lawyers and so many of the old pioneers. 

T do not remember when Lee county was organized,* 
but it must have been long after you located on Rock 
River. You knew well all of the prominent lawyers who 
practiced at the Lee county bar in the earliest days. 
Butterfield 17 and Collins 18 of Chicago used to attend your 



♦ Lee county organized February 27, 1839, from Ogle county. 

it Justin Butterfield, bom at Keene, N. H., in 1790, educated at the 
common schools and prepared by the local minister for college, entered 
Williams college in 1807, and in about 1810 began the study of law 
under Judge Egbert Ten Eyck, at Watertown, N. Y. Was admitted to 
the bar in 1812. Began the practice of law in Adams, Jefferson county, 
N. Y. He practiced some years in Sackett's Harbor, where he married 
in 1814. He removed to New Orleans where he quickly obtained a lu- 
crative practice and high rank in his profession. In 1826 he returned 
to Jefferson county, N. Y., settling this time at Watertown, N. Y., 
where he remained several years. 

In 1835 he removed to Chicago, Illinois, forming a law partnership 
with James H. Collins in July 16, 1835. Mr. Butterfield soon became a 
recognized leader not only at the bar but in the broader relations of 
civil life. He was one of the trustees of Rush Medical College at ite 
incorporation March 25, 1837. 

Butterfield and Collins came to be recognized as at the head of the 
bar not alone in Chicago but in the State. In 1841 Mr. Butterfield was 
made prosecuting attorney for the United States Judicial District, 
which he held until the election of President Polk. In 1843 the partner- 
ship between Butterfield and Collins was dissolved, and a new firm 
established, Mr. Butterfield taking into partnership his son, Justin 



225 

court, both men of talent and able lawyers. Butterfleld 
stood at the very head of the bar in the State in his time. 
His sayings and doing, his witticisms and his sarcasms 
will long be remembered. 

You may recollect the incident at Whiteside county 
court when the county seat was at Sterling. Some old 
chap had a suit in court, but he did not want to pay the 
expense of employing a lawyer. He went around there- 
fore to all the lawyers under pretense of employing 

Butterfleld, Jr., and a law student, Erastus S. Williams, better known 
in later years as Judge Williams of the Circuit Court of Cook county. 
June 21, 1849, after the reaccession of the Whigs to power Mr. Butter- 
field was appointed Commissioner of the General Land Office by Presi- 
dent Taylor. A competitor for the position at that time was Abraham 
Lincoln, who was beaten it is said by the superior dispatch of Butter- 
field in reaching Washington by the Northern Route, but more correctly 
by the paramount influence of his friend Daniel Webster. In fact, 
Lincoln was then, or had recently been in Washington as a member of 
the 30th Congress and had the indorsement of the Illinois delegation, 
but the pressure of Mr. Webster was irresistible. While in this office 
he co-operated zealously with Senator Douglas toward securing for 
Illinois the land grant which became the subsidy of the Illinois Central 
Railroad, and indirectly through the seven per cent of its gross earn- 
ings made payable by its charter to the State, an efficient aid in re- 
storing the credit of the commonwealth and finally extinguishing its 
indebtedness. He held the position of Land Commissioner until dis- 
abled by paralysis in 1852. He died in Chicago October 23, 1855. 

is James H. Collins, born in Cambridge, Washington county, N. Y., 
in 1799. When a child his parents removed to Vernon, Oneida county, 
in the same state, where he grew to manhood. His education was 
obtained in the district schools in the neighborhood, with a couple of 
years at an academy, and at the age of eighteen he began the study of 
law with Green C. Bronson, afterward Chief Justice of New York. He 
was admitted to the bar as an attorney in 1824 and as counselor and 
solicitor in 1827. After his admission as an attorney he opened an 
office at Vernon for the practice of his profession, remaining there until 
the fall of 1833, when he started for Illinois, and on his journey was a 
passenger in the first stage coach which made the trip from Detroit 
to Chicago. After reaching Chicago he made quite a tour of observation 
over the adjacent country, but finally returned to Chicago in the spring 
of 1834 selected it as his future home. Soon after this he formed a 
partnership with Mr. Caton under the firm name of Collins & Caton, 
which continued about two years, when the firm was dissolved and 
Mr. Collins formed a partnership with Justin Butterfleld as Butterfleld 
& Collins. 

Mr. Collins' best field was as a chancery lawyer. Probably the bar of 
Chicago has never known a man more thoroughly learned in this 
branch of the law than Mr. Collins. When he died in 1854 it was stated 
that, while he had the largest chancery practice of any man in the 
State he had never lost a chancery case. 



226 

them but in reality to get all the information he could 
out of them with a view to attending to his case himself. 
Among others he attempted to pump Butterfield who at 
once saw his drift and determined to play off on him. 
He called for the papers in the case and apparently 
looked them over with great care. In the meantime the 
suitor behind the bar was looking on very anxiously, 
taking a sheet of paper Butterfield entitled the cause in 
regular form, wrote the words "Absque hoc" and signed 
his name. He then very solemnly returned the papers 
to the clerk. Soon after the anxious suitor himself 
sought the papers to ascertain what the distinguished 
lawyer had been doing. Reading what were to him the 
cabalistic and mysterious words "Absque hoc," he was 
utterly at a loss to comprehend what wily stratagem 
might be hidden beneath them. It was not long before 
he employed Mr. Butterfield to attend to his suit. The 
Galena lawyers of that day also attended the Lee county 
courts. Hempstead, 19 Drummond, Hoge 20 and Campbell, 

i» Charles S. Hempstead, pioneer lawyer and first mayor of Galena, 
was born at Hebron, Toland county, Conn, September 10, 1794, the son 
of Stephen Hempstead, a patriot of the Revolution. In 1809 he came 
west in company with a brother, descending the Ohio river in a canoe 
from Marietta to Shawneetown and making his way across the "Illinois 
Country" on foot to Kaskaskia, and finally to St. Louis, where he joined 
another brother, Edward, with whom he soon began the study of law. 
Having been admitted to the bar in both Missouri Territory and Illinois, 
he removed to St. Genevieve, where he held the office of prosecuting 
attorney by appointment of the Governor, but returned to St. Louis in 
1818-19, and later became a member of the Missouri Legislature. In 
1829 Mr. Hempstead located at Galena. Illinois, which continued to be 
his home for the remainder of his life, and where he was one of the 
earliest and best known lawyers. Mr. B. B. Washburne became a clerk 
in Mr. Hempstead's law office in 1840. and in 1845 a partner. Mr. 
Hempstead was one of the promoters of the Chicago & Galena Union 
Railroad (now a part of the Chicago & Northwestern) serving upon the 
first board of directors; was elected mayor of Galena in 1841, and in 
the early days of the Civil War. was appointed by President Lincoln 
a paymaster in the army. Died in Galena December 10, 1874. 

20 Joseph P. Hoge, born in Ohio early in the century and came to 
Galena, Illinois, in 1836, where he attained prominence as a lawyer 
In 1842 he was elected Representative in Congress, as claimed at the 
time by the aid of the Mormon vote at Nauvoo, serving one term. In 

1853 he went to San Francisco, Cal., and became a judge in that state, 
dying a few years later at the age of over 80 years. He is represented 
to have been a man of much ability and a graceful and eloquent orator. 
Mr. Hoge was a son-in-law of Thomas C. Browne, one of the justices of 
the first Supreme Court of Illinois, who held office until 1848. 



227 

men who would adorn the bar of any country. I never at- 
tended a term of the court at Dixon, but you may re- 
member speeches made at a meeting during the land sale 
in the spring of 1847, and just after the battle of Buena 
Vista, at which we nominated General Taylor for presi- 
dent. It was the first meeting in the whole country to 
make that nomination. 

W. W. Fuller, 21 of Oregon, was known to you, a very 
able lawyer and one of the most accomplished scholars 
ever at the bar in our State. He was a Massachusetts 
man and was past middle age when he came west and 
located at "Oregon City," as it was then called and very 
soon after the county seat of Ogle county had been estab- 
lished there. He was then an unmarried man. He 
seemed to have tired of the artificial state of society in 
New England and sought seclusion in what was then a 
remote part of the country. His family was a celebrated 
one. Several of his brothers were eminent lawyers 
and one, the Honorable Timothy J. Fuller, 22 was a dis- 

21 William W. Fuller, born at Princeton, Mass., Aug. 4, 1792, grad- 
uated from Harvard college in 1S13, and became a member of the legal 
profession in 1817. Located in Oregon, Ogle county, Illinois, where he 
began the practice of law in 1839; his fine mental endowments and 
genial manners soon gained for him fame and friends. Aug. 16, 1840, 
he married Miss Mary Fletcher, who died December 5, 1841. March 3, 
1847, Mr. Fuller was married to Miss Almira M. Robertson, pre- 
ceptress of Rock River Seminary. Mr. Fuller died August 17, 1849. 

22 Timothy Fuller, congressman, born in Chilmark, Martha's Vine- 
yard, Mass., July 11, 1778, died in Groton, Mass., October 1, 1835. His 
father, Timothy, the first settled minister of Princeton, Mass., was third 
in descent from Thomas, who emigrated from England in 1638. The 
younger Timothy was graduated at Harvard in 1801 with the second 
honors. After teaching in Leicester Academy, he studied law with 
Levi Lincoln, and practiced successfully in Boston. He was a state 
senator in 1813-16 and was then elected to Congress as an anti-federalist, 
serving from January 2, 1818, till March 3, 1825. He was speaker of 
the state House of Representatives in 1825, a member of the executive 
council in 1828, and in 1831 was a member of the Legislature from 
Groton. whither he had removed about 1826. While in Congress he 
was chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs, and was distinguished 
as an orator, making effective speeches in behalf of the Seminole In- 
dians, and against the Missouri Compromise. He was an ardent sup- 
porter of John Quincy Adams, and published a pamphlet entitled "The 
Election for the Presidency Considered," which was widely circulated. 
Mr. Fuller was a hard-working lawyer, and an active and public-spirited 
man. He died suddenly of cholera, intestate and insolvent. Besides 



228 

tinguished member of Congress from the old bay state. 
Margaret Fuller, Countess D'Ossoli, the most gifted 
marked authoress of the day was his niece. For many 
years he lived a very quiet and secluded life and little 
was known of him but his ability as a lawyer eventually 
brought him into notice, and at the time of his death he 
had a very large practice. When I visited Oregon for 
the first time in June, 1841, 1 found him occupying a little 
frame building on the side of the bluff near Eock River 
which served him as a law office and a place to sleep. He 
was a man of great reading, of ready wit and with a per- 
sonal appearance and carriage that stamped him as a 
man of no ordinary character. 

Of the younger chief lawyers who attended your early 
courts Lisle Smith, 23 George W. Meeker, 24 Tracey and 

the work mentioned above he published an oration given at Watertown, 
July 4, 1809, and an address before the Massachusetts Peace Society 
(1826). 

23 Samuel Lisle Smith, born in Philadelphia, 1817, studied law at 
Yale and passed the examination entitling him to a diploma or license 
to practice before he was of sufficient age to receive it In 1836 he came 
to Illinois to look after the interests of his father who owned some 
choice tracts of land near Peru. Returned to the east and married 
Miss Potts, of Philadelphia. In 1838 he came west and settled in 
Chicago. He made his headquarters in the office of Butterfield ft 
Collins, where he familiarized himself with the laws of Illinois. In 1839 
was chosen city attorney. He was at this time at the very height of his 
reputation as an orator. Hon. Isaac N. Arnold, one of his hearers at 
the Whig state convention at Springfield in 1840, thus refers to his 
powers: "I heard for the first time stump speeches from Lincoln, 
Hardin, Baker and others, but the palm of eloquence was conceded to 
a young Chicago lawyer, S. Lisle Smith. I have heard Webster and 
Choate and Crittenden and Bates of Missouri, they were all greatly his 
superiors in power and vigor, and in their various departments of ex- 
cellence, but for an after-dinner speech, a short eulogy or commemora- 
tive address, or upon any occasion where the speech was a part of the 
pageant, I never heard the equal of Lisle Smith." 

In 1844 he took an active interest in the presidential campaign, the 
third attempt of the Whigs to elect Henry Clay, of whom he was a 
admirer and supporter. In 1847, at the River and Harbor Convention 
at Chicago, he signally distinguished himself among some of the best 
speakers of the nation. Horace Greeley said he was "the star of the 
vast assembly, and stood without a rival"; and Henry Clay did not 
hesitate to write that Mr. Smith "was the greatest orator he had ever 
heard." Died of cholera July 30, 1854. 

24 George W. Meeker, born in Elizabethtown, N. J., 1817, from infancy 
one of his limbs was paralyzed, so that he always had to use crutches. 
He was well educated and possessed a good knowledge of French 



229 

E. Gr. Ryan, 25 The last named now Chief Justice of Wis- 
consin. They were all men of brilliant talents and of 
the most captivating personal qualities. The three died 
many years ago. Mr. Ryan at that early day gave evi- 
dence of that ability which has since distinguished him as 
a lawyer and a judge. 

My relations with Smith, Meeker and Tracey were of 
the most intimate character. There was another young 
man who was not a lawyer but who was a devoted friend 
of us all whom you must have known for he was a great 
deal in our part of the State in connection with post office 
business. I refer to Richard L. Wilson, 26 one of the early 

and Greek and Latin. He came to Chicago in 1837, studied with 
Spring & Goodrich and was admitted to the bar in 1839, and soon after- 
wards formed a partnership with Mr. Manierre. He was for a time 
clerk of the United States Court and was for many years United States 
Court Commissioner. He was considered a very fine lawyer, was well 
versed in the statute law of the state and especially the statutes of the 
United States, and was an authority on all points of practice arising in 
the Federal courts. He died suddenly in April, 1856. 

25 Edward George Ryan, jurist, was born in County Meath, Ireland, 
November 13, 1810. He began the study of law before coming to the 
United States in 1830, and continued it in New York while teaching 
school, and was admitted to the bar in 1836. He was an editor on the 
Chicago Tribune, 1839-41, and then removed to Wisconsin, settling in 
1842 at Racine, and in 3848 in Milwaukee, where he became one of the 
most powerful advocates of the Wisconsin bar. He was a delegate to 
the State Constitutional Convention in 1846, and to the Democratic 
National Convention in 1848. In 1862, as chairman of a committee of 
the Democratic State Convention, he drew up an address to the people 
of his state, which became known as the "Ryan Address." He was city 
attorney of Milwaukee, 1870-72, and in 1874, succeeded Luther S. Dixon 
as chief justice of the state, holding that office until his death, which 
occurred in Milwaukee October 19, 1880. 

ae Richard Lush Wilson, editor and publisher of the Chicago Evening 
Journal, the oldest paper of consecutive publication in Chicago, was a 
native of New York, coming to Chicago with his brother, John L., in 
1834. they soon after established themselves in business on the Illinois 
and Michigan canal, then in course of construction. In 1844 he took 
charge of the Chicago Daily Journal, for a publishing committee which 
had purchased the material of the Chicago American, but soon after 
became proprietor. In April, 1847, while firing a salute in honor of the 
victory of Buena Vista, he lost an arm and was otherwise injured by 
the explosion of the cannon. Early in 1849 he was appointed by Presi- 
dent Taylor postmaster of Chicago, but, having failed of confirmation, 
was compelled to retire in favor of a successor appointed by Millard 
Fillmore, eleven months later. Mr. Wilson published a little volume 
in 1842 entitled "A Trip to Santa Fe," and a few years later a story of 
travel under the title, "Short Ravellings from a Long Yarn." 

Died December, 1856. 



230 

proprietors of the Chicago Journal and afterwards post- 
master of Chicago, a man whose rare qualities of head 
and heart drew around him a host of friends. Those 
who survive him hold his memory in respect and affec- 
tion. 

But it has been in the field of politics that I have known 
you so well, first as a Whig, like myself, and then as a 
Eepublican. I can never forget what a true, personal and 
political friend you have been to me always. After Lee 
county fell into the third district you scarcely ever failed 
to attend congressional conventions and always an un- 
swerving supporter. I cherish with gratitude the recol- 
lection of all your kindness to me. Neither will the 
recollection of all the kindness and devotion of my old 
constituents, in both congressional districts ever be 
effaced from my memory. No man ever represented a 
more generous or indulgent constituency nor one more 
distinguished for intelligence and patriotism. In all 
the nine canvasses I made running through eighteen 
years there was never a cottage, or a farm house or a 
cabin in either district where I was not welcomed with 
the most cordial and genuine hospitality. 

In looking over the many pages I have written already 
I am admonished that I have extended my letter to an 
inordinate length. But I confess to a weakness for the 
reminiscences of my professional and political life among 
the people with whom my lot was happily cast and among 
whom I have had my home for five and thirty years. I 
have no friendship for the life over here and the time is 
not far distant I hope when I shall be back again among 
the old friends. 

And now my dear friend accept my earnest and heart- 
felt wishes for your continued health and for that happi- 
ness which is the just reward of a long life spent in good 
deeds and which has never been stained by any single act 
of dishonor, but which has been illustrated by those vir- 
tues which most adorn our common humanity. 



231 

Will you be kind enough to remember me to the old 
friends in Lee county and believe that I am as ever most 
faithfully your friend, 

E. B. Washburnb.