History and heritage of Soldwedel’s dairy

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

One of the items in the Pekin Public Library’s Local History Room collection is a small book, just 82 pages in length, titled, “Illinois Dairy Creamers,” compiled and published in 1993 by Ben Oertle. The book records specifications and drawings of the glass or ceramic dairy creamers of dairy farms operating or that have operated in Illinois. Such a book is useful for collectors, but also can serve as an extensive index of the dairy farms of Illinois during the 20th century.

Most readers of this column will naturally find pages 16 and 65 of Oertle’s book to be of the greatest interest, since that is where one will find drawings and descriptions of creamers formerly sold by F. H. Soldwedel & Sons in Pekin, a dairy operation remembered by many current and former residents of Pekin. The Soldwedel name is still well known in town, and one scion of their extended dairy dynasty, Perry Soldwedel, was for several years the superintendent of Pekin Public School District 108.

Those were the days when families had their milk delivered to their door early every morning by a milkman (or, early on in the Soldwedel’s dairy business, by Miss Dora Soldwedel’s milk wagon). Instead of plastic jugs that are crushed and placed in a recyclables bin or tossed in the trash, families would set their empty glass bottles and jugs out on the front step for the milkman to refill.

The Soldwedel family’s dairy is perhaps most commonly remembered simply as “the Soldwedel dairy,” but their dairy products were sold under the local brand of “Del’s” beginning in 1935. (Oertle’s book shows examples of creamers embossed with the Del’s logo as well as the Soldwedel’s logo.) Earlier in the 20th century their plant was located at No. 9 Fifth St., but as their operations expanded Soldwedel moved their plant to 301 Elizabeth St. and their farm to the north end of town.

A handy and concise outline of the history of the old Soldwedel dairy was published in a tribute advertisement for the 1949 Pekin Centenary, pages 124-125. Here are some excerpts from the Centenary’s history of F. H. Soldwedel & Sons:

“Over eighty years ago Timm Soldwedel moved with his wife and four daughters from Germany to a farm near Manito. With hogs selling at 2 cents a pound and corn at 18 cents a bushel, farming was unprofitable, so, with the offer of some financial backing and the cooperation and help of his family, in 1880 he bought the herd and dairy business from the Zimmerman estate of Pekin and moved to the farm on east Broadway road.

“Four sons, all born in America, were too young to help much, so the chores fell to the girls, with Dora taking the milk route, making the daily deliveries for eight years, rain or shine, sleet or snow. In the winter the milk froze in the cans and in the summer two deliveries a day were necessary to deliver the milk sweet. It was hauled in large cans and the customers, on hearing the milkman’s bell, brought pitchers, pans or pails to be filled at the wagon for 7 cents a quart. . . .

“After the death of the father, Timm, it was Fred (now [1949] president of the firm) who carried on. He moved the business to a farm on the north edge of Pekin at the end of Capitol street. There with the help of his wife and family – five were boys, Paul, Carl, Fred Jr., and twins Tim and Henry – the business was developed and expanded from the early type of dairy to a modern dairy business. . . .

Soldwedel Milkman

This old photograph from an advertisement in the 1949 Pekin Centenary shows a Soldwedel’s milkman making a delivery to a Pekin home that had been on the Soldwedel dairy route since the 1880s.

“As constant growth demanded more and more working space, more buildings and ground were purchased and improved to handle the increased manufacturing and as garages for the many Del’s trucks that may be seen on the streets of Pekin, on the highways and in surrounding towns.”

The 1974 Pekin Sesquicentennial, page 68, explains that the original Soldwedel dairy operation ended in 1955 when the company merged with Borden, but 10 years later Carl Soldwedel reacquired the family’s former plant on South Second Street and resumed dairy operations under the Soldwedel name. Carl Soldwedel died in 1981 and his dairy has long since passed into history. The family name has been commemorated recently at Camp Soldwedel, a program of the Pekin Park District at McNaughton Park, at the site of the old Soldwedel dairy farm.

#illinois-dairy-creamers, #pekin-history, #soldwedel-dairy

More about Shipman and Mose

Here’s a chance to read again one of our old Local History Room columns, first published in January 2014 before the launch of this blog . . .

More about Shipman and Mose

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

About three months ago, we recalled a harrowing and heroic tale from the days of the early pioneers of Tazewell County – the story of how a group of Tazewell pioneers rescued a family of free blacks from a band of human traffickers who planned to sell them into slavery.

The story involved an early settler whom the early county histories know only as “Mr. Shipman.” It was the family of Shipman’s beloved African-American employee, known in the early histories only as “Mose,” who were kidnapped and rescued. We saw, however, that census records reveal that “Mr. Shipman” had the given name of “David,” while Mose – that is, Moses – had taken the surname of Shipman.

This latter detail indicates that Moses Shipman and his family had formerly been David Shipman’s slaves, as it was rather common for families of slaves to assume, or to be given, the surname of their masters or former masters. This is confirmed by a written recollection of J. O. Jones of Tremont, secretary of the Tazewell County Agricultural Board in Delavan. Jones, who was born around 1838, wrote in Aug. 1906, “Shipman brought Two families of Negroes about 1824 or 25 and set them free Giving Bonds for them.”

Jones’ recollections were transcribed and reprinted in the Feb. 2012 newsletter of the Tazewell County Genealogical & Historical Society, page 337. Additional details about David Shipman and Moses Shipman can be found in the Oct. 2009 TCGHS newsletter, pages 2070-71, in David Perkins’ article, “Selected Items from David Shipman’s Probate Records,” which are preserved by the Tazewell County Circuit Clerk’s Office.

The article says, “David Shipman (circa 1760-1845) was a Revolutionary War Soldier buried in Tazewell County. This editor was looking through his probate records to find proof of place of burial. No mortuary records were found because at this time the family and neighbors usually bathed and dressed the body, as well as building the coffin and digging the grave. His probate papers were in a folder 8 ½ x 4 inches. It was about an inch thick. The will and many various sized papers were found.”

David Shipman probate document

Shown is a part of a document from David Shipman’s Probate file. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE TAZEWELL COUNTY GENEALOGICAL & HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The article highlights four of the documents from David Shipman’s probate file. The first document tallies up payments made from David Shipman’s estate to Moses Shipman – these payments, totaling $2,407, were reimbursement for Moses Shipman’s having taken care of David and his wife from 1831 to 1845, and to repay Moses for the cost of David Shipman’s coffin. The second document from the file is a statement that “David Shipman died August 11, 1845 after making his last will and testament filed herewith.” The third document is a receipt from the undertaker Willerson Richmond for David Shipman’s coffin. The fourth document is an inventory and appraisal of David Shipman’s property with a list of those who bought those items when they were auctioned off – Moses Shipman bought most of them at the auction.

Just from the story of the great lengths to which David Shipman and his pioneer friends went to rescue the family of Moses Shipman from the human traffickers, it’s evident that David Shipman and his former slaves must have maintained a close friendship. Their friendship again appears in these documents from David Shipman’s probate file, which tell us that Moses cared for David Shipman and his wife for several years, even handling funeral arrangements for David and buying much of David’s possessions at the estate auction.

The probate file does not, however, provide any evidence about where David Shipman was buried. For that information, we can turn to a 1917 book in our library’s Local History Room collection entitled, “Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Illinois,” page 152, where we read that David Shipman was buried in Antioch Cemetery near Tremont. The Find-A-Grave website also lists Shipman as buried in Antioch Cemetery, listing his birth as Aug. 15, 1765 in Augusta County, Virginia.

It was in Virginia where David Shipman had served in 1780 in Capt. Robert Craven’s Rifle Company during the Revolutionary War. A summary of David Shipman’s war service is included in “Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Illinois,” while a much more detailed account may be read in Shipman’s 1833 Revolutionary War pension file, available at Ancestry.com. The pension file’s account of his service confirms the 1917 summary, and indicates that he was born around 1766 in Rockingham County, Virginia. Swearing affidavits in support of Shipman’s petition for a pension were Peter Cartwright, James Harvey and William Brown. Moses Shipman does not appear in David’s war pension file.

#david-shipman, #human-trafficking, #moses-shipman, #preblog-columns, #slavery, #tazewell-county-history

When Tazewell wasn’t a county and Illinois wasn’t a state

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

The year 1827 was a pretty important one in Tazewell County history for the simple reason that prior to that year, there was no such thing as “Tazewell County.” As we’ve related here previously, the Illinois General Assembly created Tazewell County on Jan. 31, 1827, prior to which the land that would become Tazewell County was included in Peoria County, and prior to that was a part of Sangamon County.

When Tazewell County was founded, the state of Illinois itself was only about eight years old. It was on Dec. 3, 1818, that Congress admitted Illinois to the union. Before that date, Illinois had “territorial” status under the administration of the federal government.  The territory of Illinois was formally established by Congress on March 1, 1809, and it included not only to the future state of Illinois but also included the entirety of Wisconsin, the western half of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and the northeast third of Minnesota.

These facts are important to keep in mind when studying the earliest periods of Tazewell County’s history, because until 1827 those periods are Tazewell County’s “prehistory.” Thus, while Charles C. Chapman’s 1879 “History of Tazewell County” identifies William Blanchard and Nathan Dillon as the first white American settlers of Tazewell County, in fact Blanchard and Dillon settled in what was then Sangamon County.

The changing jurisdictional boundaries in those early years mean that a historian or genealogist researching lands or families in the future Tazewell County during the years from 1809 to 1827, or even after 1827, might find some of the relevant documents in Tazewell County, but many others will be found in Springfield – whether because the documents always have been stored there or (as is sometimes the case) were subsequently moved to the state archives for safekeeping. A knowledge of the changes in Illinois’ territorial and county boundaries is essential for interpreting early records – for example, an 1810 document mentioning a location in “Illinois” might really be talking about Wisconsin, or a family living in eastern Tazewell County in 1828 will have been living in what is now McLean County.

The Pekin Public Library’s Local History Room collection contains several publications that can help researchers and students of history obtain a better understanding of the wider historical trends that shaped the early history and development of Illinois and Tazewell County. One item in particular is an extensive compilation of official government documents and papers of the territorial government of Illinois from the years 1814-1818, just prior to Illinois’ statehood. This book, compiled and edited by Clarence E. Carter, is volume XVII in a series titled “The Territorial Papers of the United States.”


Ninian Edwards served as Illinois’ only territorial governor from 1809 to 1818, a period during which the groundwork was laid for expanded white settlement in the state, including the future Tazewell County.

These papers cover the last four years of the administration of Territorial Governor Ninian Edwards, who was the only territorial governor of Illinois and who would later be elected the third state governor of Illinois in 1826. The documents present Edwards’ policies as territorial governor following the War of 1812, when the territorial and federal government laid the final groundwork making possible the opening of Illinois to extensive and systematic settlement and development by white Americans.

Gov. Edwards also figures in Tazewell County’s “prehistory,” as we’ve noted here before, due to his leading a raid on a Pottawatomi village in what is today East Peoria during the War of 1812.

#illinois-territory, #ninian-edwards, #tazewell-county-history

A thwarted kidnapping: Shipman and Mose

Here’s a chance to read again one of our old Local History Room columns, first published in September 2013 before the launch of this blog . . .

A thwarted kidnapping: Shipman and Mose

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Among the many memories and anecdotes about the pioneer settlers of Tazewell County that were included in Charles C. Chapman’s 1879 “History of Tazewell County,” one of them tells of a harrowing incident during the 1820s involving a white settler and his black employee.

The white settler was a man by the name of Shipman. Curiously, neither Chapman’s history nor Ben C. Allensworth’s 1905 updated county history mentions Shipman’s given name. Another source, the 1873 Atlas Map of Tazewell County, page 72, also mentions “Mr. Shipman” but is equally ignorant of his first name. The 1830 U.S. Census returns for Tazewell County, however, show him as “David Shipman.”

The Atlas Map says Shipman settled in Sand Prairie Township (then Jefferson Township) in 1822, but that date is incorrect, and Chapman provides the correct year of 1826. In Chapman’s account of the early settlers of Sand Prairie Township, page 617, he says, “Mr. Shipman came from Kentucky in 1826, but did not live in this township a great while. He moved from this into Elm Grove township, where he spent the remainder of his life.”

Chapman also mentions Shipman in his account of Elm Grove Township’s early history, on page 476, as follows: “There was another mill in Elm Grove, driven by tread-wheel power, using horses or oxen. Bolting was also done by hand here. Both mills did good work. The latter, Mr. Shipman’s mill, was running in 1830, how long previous, not known. A negro by the name of Mose was the miller.”

By that time Mose was a freed black, not a slave, and he was both employee and friend of Shipman. Just as the old histories do not record David Shipman’s first name, they also do not tell us Mose’s surname. The 1845 Illinois State Census records him as “Moses Shipman” (he’d taken the surname of his former master), and showed him as the head of a family of 10 “Negroes or Mulattoes.” On page 617-18 of his county history, Chapman relates an episode that occurred while Shipman and Mose were living in the former Jefferson Township, when the two had a run-in with a group of men who would kidnap free blacks and sell them into slavery:

“[Shipman] brought with him to this township a negro man, his wife and children. He treated them kindly, and they in turned loved him. They all lived here in peace and freedom, carving new homes in the wilderness, and preparing for future prosperity and pleasure.

“The quietude of the little settlement was disturbed one dark night, by the appearance of some slave hunters. There were some men from Kentucky came up the river, left their boats at the mouth of the Mackinaw, quietly came over and carried off the negro family. They were all tied and hastily run to the river.

“It appears that Mose, the name of the negro man, was a singularly constructed negro, and it would almost seem, as an old settler said, that ‘he was part aligator.’ (sic) He had a double row of large sharp teeth. His hands were tied, and with a rope he was led along. He pulled back considerably, and lagged behind as much as he dare do, all the while chawing on the rope by which he was led. Finally he succeeded in severing it, when with all his might he ran back to the settlement, and informed his neighbors of the theft of his family.

“This aroused the ire of those sturdy pioneers, and, being equal to any emergency, three of them saddled up their horses, that gloomy night and set out for St. Louis, anticipating the destination of the thieves. These resolute men were Johnson Sommers, Wm. Woodrow, and Absalom Dillon.”

Regular readers of this column may remember that Absalom Dillon was a brother of Tazewell County pioneer settler Nathan Dillion.

Chapman’s account continues: “They pushed on toward that city, and fortunately rode off the ferry boat just as the Kentucky would-be slave-traders landed with the family of Mose. This was a singular coincidence, but true, and with determination that plainly showed he ment (sic) what he said, Sommers jumped from his horse, gathered up a stone and swore he would crush the first one who attempted to leave the boat, and the men, who could steal the liberty of their fellow men, were passive before the stalwart pioneers.

“One of the pioneers hurried up to the city, and procured the arrest of the men. We do not know the penalty inflicted, but most likely it was nothing, or, at least, light, for in those days it was regarded as a legitimate business to traffic in human beings. The family was secured, however, and carried back to this county, where most of them lived and died. All honor to the daring humane pioneers.”

#david-shipman, #human-trafficking, #moses-shipman, #preblog-columns, #slavery, #tazewell-county-history

Westerman’s Rose Villa and the Herget Mansion

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Recently we highlighted the somewhat tense and at times colorful relationship that noted Pekin distiller Henry P. Westerman (1836-1922) had with the local press. As we previously recalled, at one point Pekin editor and printer (and the city’s first historian) William H. Bates “was threatened at his very domicile by H. P. Westerman, the old head of the Pekin whiskey ring,” as the Peoria Journal mentioned on Nov. 3, 1881.

Westerman was of course known for much more than evading the federal whiskey tax and threatening the lives of newspaper editors. In fact, he and his wife Mary were prominent and influential members of the community, as one might gather from Westerman’s extensive and laudatory biography which was included in the 1873 “Atlas Map of Tazewell County,” page 38, among that publication’s lives of the “Old Settlers” of the county.

Another unmistakable sign of the Westermans’ exalted status in Pekin’s society was their impressive place of residence, a large Victorian-style mansion known as “Rose Villa.” Their mansion was located on Washington Street at the head of Buena Vista, at the street address today designated 420 Washington St.  A lithograph engraving of Rose Villa as well as an engraved portrait of H. P. Westerman himself may be found in the 1873 “Atlas Map.”

Later in life Westerman moved to California, where he died. The block on which Rose Villa stood was acquired by a member of another of Pekin’s prominent German families, Carl Herget, who replaced the old Westerman frame mansion with his own brick Classical Revival structure, known today as the Herget Mansion, now 103 years old and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. The blueprints and specifications for the new building were drawn up on July 15, 1912, by the architectural firm of Hewitt & Emerson, 321 Main St., Peoria.

It should be noted that Rob Clifton’s “Pekin History: Then and Now” (2004) has an incorrect statement regarding the relationship between Westerman’s Rose Villa and the Carl Herget Mansion. “Then and Now” says, “Around 1912 George Herget bought and then converted the house to its current appearance.” George, founder of Herget National Bank and donor of the land on which the Pekin Public Library was built, was Carl Herget’s uncle. The 1912 construction of the Herget Mansion was the erecting of a new structure from the ground up, not merely a major remodel of a previously existing structure.


This engraving of Rose Villa, mansion of Henry P. Westerman, was published in the 1873 “Atlas Map of Tazewell County.” The Carl Herget Mansion on Washington Street stands on the site today.

#carl-herget, #carl-herget-mansion, #george-herget, #h-p-westerman, #old-settlers, #pekin-history, #rose-villa, #w-h-bates, #william-h-bates

Tazewell County Old Settler Daniel Rankin

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Following on last week’s portrait of the life of Pekin Mayor Daniel Sapp, we turn this week to the life of another early settler of this area who also had the name of Daniel – Daniel M. Rankin (1803-1877), whose family surname is today borne by Rankin School on South Fifth Street, a few miles south of Pekin. The residence and farm building of Rankin’s farmstead were situated on the east side of the road that is today South 14th Street, but the Rankin family farm stretched west to Fifth Street.

A native of Lancaster County, Pa., Rankin arrived in Tazewell County in the autumn of 1828. Consequently, he was one of the survivors of the extremely harsh winter of 1830 which the county’s pioneers remembered as “the Deep Snow.” As one of Tazewell County’s “Old Settlers,” his biography was included in the 1873 “Atlas Map of Tazewell County,” page 58. A lithograph of Rankin’s farm, called the “Odley Farm,” is found on page 117 of the same atlas.


This engraving of Tazewell County Old Settler Daniel M. Rankin (1803-1877) was published in Charles C. Chapman’s “History of Tazewell County.”

Excerpts of Rankin’s biography from the “Atlas Map” here follow:

“Daniel M. Rankin, the subject of our sketch, was born in Lancaster county, Pa., on the 31st day of October, 1803, where he received his early education, and where he remained until seventeen years of age engaged in working upon the farm, and at which time he concluded to learn a trade. Choosing the blacksmithing, he engaged with one of his brothers, John Rankin, with whom he remained three years, at the expiration of which he began journey work, and worked two years at Hawksville, Pa.

“On the 7th of July, 1825, he was married to Miss Esther Lefevre, a native of Lancaster county, Pa., and in the spring of 1826 he began housekeeping. In 1827 he sold out, and in the month of September, 1828, he bid farewell to the hills and valleys of his native state and emigrated to the Great West, making Tazewell county, Ill., his point of destination, coming all the way by wagon, which required about six weeks’ time. He says he had splendid weather for traveling. When he first saw Pekin, it was but a small village composed of a few log houses.

“He settled on section 27, Sand Prairie township, Tazewell county, where he moved into a log cabin, and he immediately began opening up a farm. He remained there until 1864, when he sold out his farm and moved into the city of Pekin, where he remained some two years, and in 1866 he purchased the farm where he now resides, three miles southeast of Pekin, consisting of four hundred acres of good land – in fact, some of the most valuable in the county. . .

“He had the misfortune to lose the companion of his early life. She died on the 6th of August, 1855. They had fourteen children, seven of whom are now living and are comfortably situated. His son, George W., has charge of the farm, and is one of the most active young men in the county. He possesses all the qualifications necessary to success in life. He is thoroughly posted in every department of agriculture, and his farm is stocked with fine herds of cattle, hogs, and horses. . .”

At the time his biography was written, Rankin was living with his son George and two of his daughters on the Odley Farm. The biography concluded with the hope that he would “long live to be a blessing in the future, as he has been in the past, to his family and the society which he has been identified with for so many years.”

However, by the time Charles C. Chapman had published his 1879 “History of Tazewell County,” Rankin had passed away, as Chapman noted on page 422 of his history. Rankin died July 30, 1877. He is buried just at the northeast corner of his old farm, in Rankin Cemetery, also known as Haines (or Haynes) Cemetery, located on the north side of Veterans Drive.

#daniel-rankin, #haines-cemetery, #odley-farm, #old-settlers, #pekin-history, #rankin-cemetery, #rankin-school, #tazewell-county-history

Daniel Sapp’s life and times

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

In a previous column, we told of the popular horse race track and fair grounds that used to exist in the area where the Pekin Housing Authority residences are now located. For much of its existence, the race track was owned and operated by a prominent local farmer, land owner and public official named Daniel Sapp, popularly known in the area as “Uncle Dan Sapp.” This week we’ll turn a spotlight on Sapp’s life and times.

Though he was probably best known for his race track, Sapp also enjoyed success in agriculture and as a breeder of horses. He also held several public offices in Tazewell County. His biography was included in the 1894 “Portrait and Biographical Record of Tazewell and Mason Counties, Illinois,” pages 335-36, which enumerated his record of public service up to that point as follows:

“A Democrat in politics, Mr. Sapp served for twelve years as Supervisor of Spring Lake Township, and was the Chairman of the County Board for some time. In 1886 he was nominated for County Treasurer, and was elected by a majority of two hundred, he and one other candidate being the only Democrats who secured election that fall. Entering upon the duties of the office in December, 1886, he served with efficiency until December, 1890.”

Three years after the publication of his biography, Sapp went on to run successfully for mayor of Pekin, serving a two-year term. He later ran again for mayor in 1905 and served a second two-year term. In memory of his service and achievements, Sapp Street in Pekin was named for him.

No doubt one of the things that helped him achieve the success and prominence he enjoyed were her personal connections – he was related by marriage to the important Prettyman family of Pekin. Sapp was married twice, both times to members of the Prettyman family. His first wife was Elizabeth (Prettyman) Offutt, who passed away in 1887. He remarried in March 1893 to Nellie (Prettyman) Smith, who was his first wife’s niece – Nellie was one of the daughters of Pekin pioneer and attorney Benjamin S. Prettyman, who had held several public offices and had himself served a term as Pekin mayor.

Here are excerpts from Sapp’s published biography from the “Portrait and Biographical Record”:

“Daniel Sapp, proprietor of the Spring Lake Stock Farm, and one of the successful stockmen of the Illinois Valley, was born in Fleming County, Ky., May 18, 1842. When a mere child he was left an orphan and thus thrown upon his own resources. At the age of fourteen years, in 1856, he accompanied a stock trader to Bloomington, Ill., where he worked on a stock farm at Randolph Grove for two years. As may be imagined, his school advantages were necessarily very meagre, and all the knowledge he now possesses has been practically acquired by self-culture.

“The year 1858 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Sapp in Spring Lake Township, Tazewell County, where he assisted in breaking prairie and doing farm work, being for three years in the employ of one man, and receiving as compensation for his services forty acres of land in Peoria County. Of this property he was naturally quite proud, as it was the first he had ever owned and had been gained through his unaided exertions. In 1861 he entered the employ of the Memphis Ice Company and went south for them, having charge of the ice barges. He also attended to the unloading and sale of ice, and the securing of the collections. In May, 1861, when travel was especially dangerous on account of the war, he went south as far as the mouth of the Arkansas River with two barges, and on his return to Memphis Dr. Smith, of that place, gave him a letter to Gen. M. Pope, which secured his passage through the lines. He then returned to Spring Lake Township.

“In 1863 Mr. Sapp was united in marriage with Mrs. Elizabeth (Prettyman) Offutt, a native of Delaware. After that event he settled on his present farm and engaged in raising grain and stock. From time to time he has added to his original purchase until his landed possessions now aggregate two thousand acres, for the most of which he paid $40 or $50 per acre. This farm is pleasantly situated on the Mackinaw River seven miles south of Pekin. Here he built a substantial residence, 72×36 feet in dimensions and two stories in height, which was the most elegant rural home in Tazewell County. Unfortunately the dwelling burned to the ground, but it was afterward replaced by another attractive and conveniently arranged house, a trifle smaller than the first. . . .

“After the death of his wife, in 1886 (sic – 1887), Mr. Sapp came to Pekin, and during the following year he purchased two hundred and thirty-two acres within the corporate limits of the city. Here he has a one-mile track, as fine as any in the state. The farm in itself is well improved with a barn, 100×36 feet in dimensions, with two wings 36×36 feet, and two large sheds outside. On the place are usually about one hundred horses. . . .

“In 1887 Mr. Sapp began breeding standard horses, commencing with ‘Billie Wilkes,’ which he still owns. . . . Mr. Sapp is one of the most extensive breeders of standard horses in central Illinois, and his reputation in that line is not limited to Pekin or Tazewell County, but extends throughout the state.

“The second marriage of Mr. Sapp occurred in March, 1893, uniting him with Mrs. Nellie Smith, a daughter of B. S. Prettyman; she is an accomplished lady, and was born and educated in Pekin. . . [Sapp] has traveled extensively throughout this country, and has been in every state except Florida and Washington.”

Just two years after completing his second term as mayor of Pekin, Daniel Sapp died July 13, 1909. He is buried in Lakeside Cemetery, Pekin, where his second wife Nellie is also buried. His first wife, Elizabeth, is buried in the old Prettyman Burying Ground near the former site of Circleville.


This lithograph engraving of Daniel Sapp’s residence on his stock farm south of Pekin was published in the 1873 “Atlas Map of Tazewell County.”

#benjamin-prettyman, #circleville, #county-fairgrounds, #daniel-sapp, #horse-racing, #pekin-history, #uncle-dan-sapp