Chapter 27 - Noted Visitors and Residents
While Macomb is but a small interior city, it has been honored with visits from many men of national reputation. It would be difficult to give dates, but the circumstances, which are of more importance, are reproduced.
Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, Presidents of the United States, have all made short addresses at Macomb. On two occasions Abraham Lincoln addressed large audiences here.
Colonel E. D. Baker, member of congress from this district and one of the most brilliant men connected with the history of the country, visited Macomb on more than one occasion. He was afterward United States Senator from Oregon, and in 1861 resigned to enter the army, being killed in action at Ball's Bluff.
Stephen A. Douglas, as a member of the Supreme Court, presided over the Circuit Court of this county, his name frequently appearing in its records. He was afterward elected to Congress and to the United States Senate, and was Lincoln's opponent in the great joint discussion of 1858, as well as the democratic candidate for the Presidency in 1860.
Senator Trumbull was in the city on several occasions, when a candidate for the United States Senate and the Governorship. Previous to the Civil War he was a Democrat, was subsequently elected to the United States Senate as an opponent of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and as a Republican, and continued to support that party until 1872, when he again became associated with the Democratic party.
Vice-President Schuyler Colfax twice visited the city, one of the lectures which he delivered being his celebrated address on Abraham Lincoln.
Hon. Tom Corwin, the "wagon boy", of Ohio and one of the most eloquent and humorous members of congress, was here during a general election campaign, and made one of his characteristic speeches to an immense audience.
Gen. Phil Sheridan and Gen. William T. Sherman were in the city and each addressed large audiences.
"Uncle Dick", Richard J. Oglesby, spoke in this city on several occasions. With its people he was always the most popular candidate for Governor, or any other office he desired. "Dick" was three times elected Governor, once United States Senator, and was a General in the Civil War, being wounded at the battle of Corinth. In every way he was a stanch, loyal American, and thoroughly beloved by the citizens of Illinois.
Richard Yates, Sr., the War Governor, was a visitor to Macomb. He was elected to the gubernatorial chair in 1860, served one term and at its close was elected United States Senator. He was also called by his friends, "Dick", and proved one of the most loyal and energetic Governors in the United States. He provided well for the Illinois Volunteers, and often visited the soldiers in their camps and fields of battle.
Senator Shelby M. Cullom has many times addressed McDonough County audiences, and is much beloved by its people, who believe him to be a man of great personal integrity and a statesman of the first class. Governors Fifer, Tanner, Yates (the younger) and Deneen have often addressed the citizens of Macomb and McDonough County, and have always received the hearty support of its citizens.
Orville H. Browning, late of Quincy, and a member of President Johnson's Cabinet as head of the Interior Department, practiced before the courts of McDonough County. He was an elegant gentleman, always friendly and polite, and at the same time a profound lawyer.
Robert G. Ingersoll, the noted lecturer and lawyer, attended the Circuit Court, and was much admired for his professional ability.
William J. Bryan, Democratic candidate for the Presidency in 1900 addressed the people of this city during the campaign, and Senators Hopkins and Mason have both delivered speeches on political issues.
McDonough County has had many prominent citizens within its borders who have held high rank in the State Legislature and National Congress, and made brilliant and substantial records as lawyers and jurists. Among the first in law was T. Lyle Dickey, Judge of the State Supreme Court, who studied law under Cyrus Walker and opened his first office in Macomb. In the days of the early settlement of the county and state Cyrus Walker was the leading member of the Illinois bar, and for several years maintained that position. He was learned in the law, and had a thorough knowledge of men and measures.
Pinckney H. Walker, who for over a quarter of a century was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois, began his legal career in Macomb, and was afterward Judge of the Circuit court of the county. He was accounted one of the leading Judges in the west.
Damon G. Tunnicliff, for many years one of the leading attorneys of the county bar, was elevated to the bench of the Illinois Supreme Court in which position he acquitted himself with honor to the State and county.
Hon. William H. Neece, one of the oldest members of the bar, has served in both Houses of the State Legislature, in the last State Constitutional convention and two terms in Congress. Like most of the early settlers he enjoyed but few educational opportunities, but by his perseverance and indomitable will, he became one of the leading members of the bar, and still occupies that position.
Hon. J. Ross Mickey was Judge of the County Court for a number of years, and, while on the bench, was elected to the National House of Representatives, serving one term in Congress to the entire satisfaction of his constituents. He is still a member of the McDonough county bar.
Hon. I. N. Pearson was for years Circuit Clerk, and served one session in each branch of the General Assembly, this service being followed by his election for one term as Secretary of State. In every position which he has filled he has acquitted himself honorably and ably, and is now living in the esteemed retirement to which his long and faithfully performed services entitle him.
Hon. Lawrence Y. Sherman, a prominent and learned attorney, began his legal practice in Macomb, and soon forged to the front ranks. He served for years as County Judge and four consecutive terms as Representative in the State Legislature, being Speaker of the House for two terms. In 1904 he was elected Lieutenant-Governor on the ticket with Governor Deneen. Throughout his life, Mr. Sherman has demonstrated what can be accomplished by a persevering, ambitious man, under adverse circumstances.
Alexander McLean, for the past thirty years, one of the Trustees of the University of Illinois, and for some years President of the Board, was chosen Presidential Elector on the Republican ticket in 1876 and selected as the messenger to carry to Washington the electoral vote of Illinois in favor of Rutherford B. Hayes for President. For four years he served as Mayor of the city of Macomb.
Hon. C. V. Chandler, a native of the city, is President of the Bank of Macomb, and for many years was one of the Republican leaders in Illinois. He served one term in the Legislature, and proved to be an efficient business member.
Hon. L. H. R. Bartleson, a prominent Democrat of the county, served one term in the State Legislature, and with his usual industry and ability, took an active part in its business.
These are some of the more prominent citizens of the county, whose records and personalities are worthy of remembrance.
Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, pages 785-787. Transcribed by Joanne Scobee Morgan