was born October 14, 1808, in Boston Massachusetts,
and in 1821 accompanied his father to the Mohawk
Valley, in New York.
his studies at the Canajoharie Academy, he studied
law at Fort Plain, both in Montgomery County.
In 1830 he came to Springfield, Illinois, and
resumed the study of law, sustaining himself by
teaching a select school.
He took part in
the Black Hawk war of 1831 - 1832, and after its
close, was appointed by the Governor of the State,
Surveyor of Sangamon County. He induced
Abraham Lincoln to study surveying, in order to
become his deputy. From that time the chain of
friendship between them continued bright to the end
of their lives, although they were ardent partisans
of different schools in politics.
was married December 29,1831, in Sangamon County, to
Sarah Cutter. They had nine children in
He entered the
political field in 1835, being the Democratic
candidate that year for the State Senate of
Illinois, but there being a large Whig majority in
the county, he was defeated by Archer G. Herndon.
In 1838 he was
elected to represent Sangamon County in the State
Legislature. In 1841 he, with John Duff,
completed the railroad fro Jacksonville to
Springfield, being the first to reach the State
In 1842 he was
appointed Clerk of the Circuit Court in Sangamon
County by Judge Treat.
In 1844 he was
one of the Presidential Electors of Illinois for
In 1849, 1850
and 1851 was successively elected Mayor of
In 1852 he was
one of the Presidential Electors for President
Pierce, and was selected by his colleagues to carry
the vote to Washington City. In 1854 he was
appointed by President Pierce, Surveyor-General for
Kansas and Nebraska, and he moved his family to
In Kansas he
entered a political field with new and exciting
sectional elements. He was elected a delegate
to the convention that framed what has passed into
history as the
He became the President of
that body, which was composed of unscrupulous
pro-slavery adventurers. With a small number of
conservative members, among whom was the President.
That odious instrument would have been adopted by
the convention without submitting it to a vote of
the people, had it not been for the determined
opposition of President Calhoun, who threatened to
resign and opposed it by every method in his power,
unless it was submitted;
and when it came to the polls he voted against
adopting the pro-slavery clause.
History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County A
Centennial Record by John Carroll Power Published