Oglesby Family Papers, 1845-1938


Oglesby Family Papers, 1845-1938


Oglesby Family


Papers, 1845-1938


32.2 linear feet (68 ½ manuscript boxes + 22 bound volumes + 8 oversize items)


Richard J. Oglesby, elected governor of Illinois in 1864, 1872 and 1884, appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1873 and his son John G. Oglesby, elected Illinois lieutenant governor in 1908 and 1916, were active in Illinois politics for almost a century.  Richard, who was basically self-educated, learned the law and became a lawyer, served in the Mexican War, was a delegate to the Whig Convention in 1852, gave the “railsplitter speech” for Lincoln at the 1860 Republican Convention, and after serving in the Civil War and being severely wounded, he was elected governor of Illinois in 1864.  He was elected to that office again in 1872, but thirteen days into his term, the Illinois Republican legislators chose him for the U.S. Senate to replace Lyman Trumbull.  He was ineffective in that office and was not re-elected.  After serving as governor again from 1885-1889, he retired from politics and stayed at home with his wife in Elkhart,Illinois.


John Gillett was the third child born to Richard and, his second wife, Emma Gillett Keays Oglesby.  He was born in Decatur, Illinois and attended Harvard for two years until war was threatened with Spain.  He left school and joined the military, serving as Captain of Troop K, First Illinois Cavalry and continued in the militia after the war to obtain the rank of colonel.  He served as private secretary to Governor Richard Yates, Jr., 1901-1904, member of the Illinois House of Representatives, 1905-1908 and was elected lieutenant governor in 1908 and again in 1916.  He continued to be active in Republican politics until 1936.


Correspondence, military papers, reports, dispatches, drafts of speeches, petitions, agreements, recommendations, notes, legal documents, tax receipts, business papers and letterpress books.  These papers document the legal, military and political careers of Richard and John Oglesby.


Photographs, broadsides,Lincolnand published material transferred out of the collection.


Access:  Open for research


Acc. No. 70-9; 80-7; 86-74; 87-6; 2001-27; 2006-24


Processed by:  


                                                            Oglesby Family                                                           Page 2                                                          Biographical Sketch


Richard James Oglesby was born in Floydsburg, Oldham County, Kentuckyin 1824, the son of Jacob and Isabella Oglesby.  When he was nine years old, his parents and two of his siblings died in a cholera epidemic.  He was taken in by his uncle Willis Oglesby, who moved to Decatur, Illinois in 1836.  Several years later he was sent to live with his sisters, Mrs. Peddicord and Mrs. Prather.  He farmed for a while and then returned to Kentucky to learn carpentry.  He stayed for a year and then came back to Decatur and studied law with Silas Robbins of Springfield, Illinois.  After admission to the bar in 1845 he settled in Moultrie County to open his practice.  Shortly after that the Mexican War broke out and Oglesby was among the first to enlist and, at age twenty-one, was made a First Lieutenant of Company C, Fourth Illinois.  He was at the battle of Cerro Gordo and Vera Cruz and also at Tampico, Matamoros and Camargo.  After the war Oglesby went into law practice with Sheridan Wait.  Their firm acted as the agent for the Indiana & Illinois Central Railroad.  In 1849 Oglesby went to California to find gold.  He came back with a nest egg of $5,000 and used some of this to return to Kentucky to buy freedom of his father’s slave Uncle Tim.  Oglesby was very opposed to slavery and believed that blacks and whites should be treated the same.  He began to deal in real estate in and around Decatur and became quite wealthy from this.  In 1856 he took a tour of the world, traveling to Europe, Egypt and the Middle East.  Before leaving on his tour, Oglesby visited Peter Dumont Vroom, who had been the governor of New Jersey from 1829-1831.  After the tour he returned to Decatur and in March 1859, he married Anna Elizabeth White, the daughter of Joseph and Mary White.  They were a prominent Decatur family, and Anna was described as “one of the belles of the city”.  In December 1859 Richard Junior was born. 


Oglesby had run for Congress as a Whig in 1858 and, although he lost, he had been making a reputation as a fiery speaker.  He was a supporter and friend of Abraham Lincoln.  At the 1860 convention in Decatur, it was Oglesby who brought rails from a fence that Lincoln had reportedly help split with his uncle, John Hanks.  He introduced him as the “rail candidate”, which brought a fifteen minute demonstration from the delegates and a continuing nickname for Lincoln as the “rail splitter”.  There was a public demand for Lincoln split rails, and Oglesby helped Hanks out financially in order to fill these orders.  Oglesby also ran for the Illinois senate in 1860 and was elected, but when the Civil War broke out he enlisted very early and was chosen colonel of the Eighth Regiment and commander at Cairo until General Grant replaced him with John McClernand.  Oglesby was promoted to brigadier general after he led the attack on Fort Donelson.  At Corinth where he commanded one of the brigades that helped stop the Confederates, he was severely wounded during a charge.  After several months of recovery he returned to service, but the wound caused him much difficulty and he tendered his resignation.  His resignation was not accepted, and instead he was sent to Washington to act as president of a general court martial from December 1863 through May 1864.


He then returned to Decatur and during the 1864 convention he won the nomination for governor on the second ballot.  He was elected and the day before his inauguration was scheduled, his son Richard Junior died.  Just two years earlier his daughter Anna had died and before he would leave the governor’s mansion, his wife Anna would die of consumption in 1868.  Oglesby was left with two small children, Olive and Robert.  In spite of his personal losses, Oglesby’s term was successful. 



                                                            Oglesby Family                                                           Page 3                                                                      Biographical Sketch


Illinois was the first state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment to outlaw slavery.  Oglesby asked the legislature to look at long neglected problems such as education, development of natural resources, needs of the poor and the arts and sciences.  The first appropriation was made to build a new state capitol.  With Oglesby’s support, Urbana was chosen as the site of the new Illinois Industrial University (University of Illinois).  He also appointed its first board of trustees.  A first step was made towards regulation of the railroads. A voter registration bill was enacted.  Oglesby also advocated for prison reform, especially at the overcrowded Joliet prison.  Joliet was leased to a private business that made money using the convicts for labor.  In the post war economy, the business lost money and gave up the lease.  The legislature enacted a bill to put prisons under state control and built another prison in southern Illinois and a reformatory at Pontiac.  The office of attorney general was created, and Oglesby appointed his close friend Robert Ingersoll to that office.


After this term ended, Oglesby returned to Decaturand established ties with Grand Army of the Republic posts.  In 1872 the state Republican Party was divided, with some acting “more like Democrats”.  At the convention, Oglesby gave a speech that focused on former slaves and then on Garret Smith, a prominent abolitionist who was at the convention.  His speech “set the crowd on fire” and he was nominated and won the election.  He had supported many Republican legislators, who in turn chose him for the U.S. Senate to replace Lyman Trumbull.  After thirteen days as governor he resigned to go to the Senate.  His style of oration did not work well in the Senate, and he was not knowledgeable about national affairs.  Although he ran for a second term, he lost to John A. Logan.  While serving in the Senate, Oglesby married Emma Gillett Keays, a widow, and the daughter of a wealthy land owner in Logan County, John D. Gillett.  They had four children: Emma, Richard Junior, John and Jasper.   When he left the Senate, he retired from politics and moved his family to Lincoln, Illinois, where Emma had inherited property when her father died. 


During the next few years he speculated in silver mines in Coloradoand was a member of the board of the Western Mining Bureau.  In 1880 friends had tried to persuade Oglesby to run again for governor of Illinois.  In 1883 he announced that he would run and in 1884 he was again elected.  The most important issues during this term were the lake front matters in Chicago, quelling the quarry strike at Joliet, the Haymarket Riots, and his commutation of condemned anarchists to life in prison and labor troubles in East St. Louis.  In 1891 Oglesby was nominated by the Republican caucus for the U.S. Senate, but the seat went to John Palmer. 


Oglesby was involved with the construction of a memorial hall for the Grand Army of the Republic in Decatur, Illinois, and he was president of the Abraham Lincoln Monument Association from 1865 through 1895.  He and his wife had built a large home in Elkhart which burned to the ground in 1891.  They then built a 32 room mansion called “Oglehurst” where Richard J. Oglesby lived out his last years, dying after falling and hitting his head on a sharp furniture edge on April 24, 1899.  He was found by his son John.


John Gillett, the third child of Richard J. and Emma Gillett Keays Oglesby, was also the first child born in their newly built Decaturhome in 1878.  He attended public schools in Decatur until he was twelve years old; and he was sent for a short time to Adams Academy in Quincy, Massachusetts.  In 1891 he and his brother Jasper were sent to school in Pekin, Illinois due to their being “troublesome boys to handle”.  They were then sent to St. Marks Preparatory School in Southborough, Massachusetts until John matriculated into Harvard. 

                                                            Oglesby Family                                                           Page 4                                                          Biographical Sketch


After two years at Harvard, with the prospect of war with Spain, he left to enter the military.  He helped raise Troop K of the First Illinois Cavalry and served as Captain until the end of the Spanish American War.  He continued to serve in the militia, eventually on the reserve list, until he attained the rank of colonel. 


He went to work in the shipping department of Republic Iron and Steel Company in Chicagoand was promoted several times until he became the iron inspector of the plant.  During the second Governor Yates’ term, Oglesby acted as his private secretary.  In 1904 and 1906 he was elected to the state legislature.  He was chairman of the Primary Election Committee and was the author of the direct primary law.  In 1908 he was elected lieutenant governor, ran for that office again and lost in 1912, but was elected to it in 1916.  During World War I he was a member of the Illinois State Council of Defense and chairman of its Military Committee.  He helped plan and organize the Illinois Volunteer Training Corps and the Illinois Reserve Militia.  He also served as: Director of the Bureau of Agriculture, Eastern and Western Divisions; Republican National Committee for the 1928 campaign; Illinois Republican Central Committee secretary, 1930; member of the State Agriculture Conciliatory Committee, appointed by Governor Henry Horner in 1933; and member of the United States District Recovery Board in Wisconsin and Illinois.  He was considered for the nomination as governor in 1936 but withdrew from the primary campaign in March1936.  He also was a farmer looking after the family land, managing “Oglehurst” for his widowed mother, Emma.  He died in 1938.



























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                                                            Scope and Content


The Oglesby Family Papers, 1840-1938, consist of 32.2 linear feet of correspondence, military papers, reports, dispatches, drafts of speeches, petitions, agreements, recommendations, notes, legal documents, tax receipts, business papers, letterpress books and 22 bound volumes.  The collection documents the military, political, business and family lives of Richard J. Oglesby and his son John G. Oglesby.  The collection is divided into two series.  The Richard J. Oglesby Series, 1840-1924, is divided into nine files: I. Correspondence, 1846-1924; II. Speeches, 1863-1887; III. Miscellaneous Papers, 1840-1896; IV. Military Papers, 1861-1864; V. Legals, 1846-1918; VI. Tax Receipts, 1850-1898; VII. Business Papers, 1869-1896; VIII. Bound Volumes, 1861-1920; IX. Architectural Drawings of Elkhart House.  The John G. Oglesby Series, 1892-1938, is divided into six files: I. Correspondence, 1892-1938; II. State Council of Defense, 1917-1919; III. Subject File, 1898-1936; IV. Published Material; V. Scrapbooks, 1912-1938; VI. Bound Volumes, 1899-1938.


Series I:  Richard J. Oglesby


The Correspondence File, 1846-1924 (Boxes 1-16) is arranged chronologically and includes letters from the Mexican War, his law office in Decatur, Republican Party conventions and elections, service in the Civil War, his terms as governor and in the Senate, his interests in silver mines and Emma Oglesby’s correspondence from 1895-1924.  The Mexican War letters describe military operations, camp life and personal interests.  There are about 40 letters from the Indiana & Illinois Central Railroad with many signed by the president A. L. Roache.  Three letters are from Peter Dumont Vroom in September 1855. A subscription list to the Republican Wigwam in Decatur, Illinois in May 1860 and correspondence and accounts regarding the Lincoln rails are included. 


Civil War correspondence covers his service at Forts Henry and Donelson and at Corinth.  It includes dispatches, telegrams, and reports.  Correspondents include Grenville M. Dodge, John C. Fremont, John Wallace Fuller, Ulysses S. Grant, Reuben Hatch, Stephen A. Hurlbut, Nathan Kimball, John A. McClernand, Joseph B. Plummer, Benjamin Prentiss, Thomas E. G. Ransom, James S. Rearden, Leonard Ross, William T. Sherman, Edwin M. Stanton and William H. L. Wallace.  A few documents relate to his tenure as president of the General Court Martial, but include a printed copy of the charges against General William A. Hammond and a manuscript copy of charges against Abraham C. Hitt. 


The correspondence of his first term as governor reflects the interests that he proposed the legislature attend to and much has an anti-Johnson sentiment.  There is a January 1866 letter from Jonathan Baldwin Turner opposing the school for soldier’s orphans.  Several letters from Oglesby and Stephen Hurlbut to Andrew Johnson regarding the charges brought against Hurlbut in May 1865.  Andrew Sherman, a prison commissioner, wrote frequently about progress on the new prison.  Letters regarding the improvements on the Illinois River and other waterways are included.  A letter from Robert G. Ingersoll dated January 22, 1866, expresses his agnostic views and a March 1868 letter makes a bid for the Illinois governorship.  A twelve page letter from Leonard Swett, April 26, 1867, argues against state taxation of national banks.  Several letters from George Frederick Wright concern his commission to paint portraits of Lincoln for the state capitol.  Other correspondents include Isaac Arnold, Conrad Baker, Ira Batterton, James H. Beveridge, Montgomery Blair, Mason Brayman, Henry Pelham H. Bromwell, John H. Bryant,  

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                                                            Scope and Content


Series I:  Richard J. Oglesby


The Correspondence File, 1846-1924-cont. - Ambrose E. Burnside, Salmon P. Chase, Schuyler Colfax, Shelby M. Cullom, David Davis, Adele Douglas, T. M. Eddy, Allen C. Fuller, Ulysses S. Grant, B.J.F. Hanna, Isham N. Haynie, Ebon C. Ingersoll, Edward S. Joynes, Gustavus Koerner, Herman Lieb, John A. Logan, Mary S. Logan, Joseph Medill, Oliver P. Morton, John Palmer, Charles H. Ray, John C. Rutherford, Jonathan Young Scammon, Carl Schurz, William T. Sherman, George H. Thomas, Lyman Trumbull, Elihu B. Washburne, John Wentworth and James Harrison Wilson.


The senatorial election of 1871 and the gubernatorial election of 1872 receive a lot of coverage in addition to U. S. Grant’s cabinet and administration, John Palmer’s political aspirations, Robert G. Ingersoll’s political demise, reconstruction, banking and national currency, Mexican and Cuban affairs, improved railroad legislation, Illinois Industrial University, National Lincoln Monument Association and removal of Lincoln to the new tomb, and interstate commerce legislation.  There are also letters from Sanford Loring and W. B. Jenney regarding Oglesby’s new home.  Correspondents for the years 1869-1872 include William K. Ackerman, John H. Addams, Martin Beem, John Lourie Beveridge, Lorenzo Brentano, James B. Brown, George M. Burns, Allan A. Burton, Joseph G. Cannon, William P. Chandler, Robert Clow, Shelby M. Cullom, David Davis (7 items), James Dinsmoor, Jesse K. Dubois, Jesse W. Fell, Thomas C. Fletcher, Greenbury L. Fort, Franklin Corwin, Calvin H. Frew, Addison Goodell, John M. Gregory, Ira Harris, Ozias M. Hatch, Jesse S. Hildrup, Thomas J. Henderson, William D. Henderson, Stephen A. Hurlbut, Robert G. Ingersoll (9 items), Charles W. Jenks, Joseph J. Kelly, Lucien H. Kerr, Herman Lieb, John A. Logan, John McNulta, Sylvester S. Mann, Carlile Mason, Joseph Medill, Noyes W. Miner, Jesse Hale Moore (9 items), Thomas H. Nelson, John M. Palmer (5 items), James Rea, James Shaw, Jarius C. Sheldon, George R. Stowe, E. Talbott, William Thomas, Lyman Trumbull, Elihu Washburne, Lawrence Weldon, Lorenzo D. Whiting, John Williams, and Bluford Wilson.


His senatorial correspondence, 1873-1879, consists mainly of requests for jobs and appointments.  Some topics are the need for revised railroad legislation in Illinois, repeal of the war tax on banking, President Grant’s veto on currency bill, Indian affairs, and the appointment of the chief justice of Utah.  There are a number of letters regarding the 1879 senatorial election.  Correspondents include William K. Ackerman, John Addams, Jehu Baker, Moses M. Bane, Carl Bergstein, John L. Beveridge, William Black, Newton Booth, Jacob Bunn, George W. Burns, Richard Butler, A. C. Cameron, Joseph G. Cannon, Matthew H. Carpenter, M. H. Chamberlin, Zachariah Chandler, James Dustin Connolly, James L. Crane, Shelby Moore Cullom (9 items), David Davis (4 items), William O. Davis, Charles Devens, Grenville M. Dodge, John M. Douglas, Jesse K. Dubois, James K. Edsall, Jesse Fell, Augustus Hill Garland, John Dean Gillett, Henry Greenbaum, John Milton Gregory, Harriet Haskell, Milton Hay, Jesse S. Hildrup, James E. Hill, Timothy Howe, Stephen Hurlbut, Collis Potter Huntington, Robert Ingersoll (6 items), William Jayne, Marshall Jewell, Alba M. Jones, William Pitt Kellogg, Nathan Kimball, John W. King, W. G. Langford, John A. Logan (4 items), Mary Logan, Owen M. Long, John A. McClernand, John McNulta, James W. Marshall, Joseph Medill, Richard Michaelis, William Moffett, Isaac N. Morris, John Newell, Nathaniel Niles, William Penn Nixon, Robert D. Noleman, John A. Palmer, J. W. Powell, Daniel Pratt, Charles Randolph, John P. Reynolds, Thomas S. Ridgway, John Rinaker, George M. Robeson, James P. Root, George A. Roper, Leonard F. Ross, Edward Rutz, J.

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                                                            Scope and Content


Series I:  Richard J. Oglesby


The Correspondence File, 1846-1924-cont. Young Scammon, M. Schaeffer, John Sherman, William Henry Smith, John Converse Starkweather, Ziba S. Swan, John Tanner, Lyman Trumbull, Jonathan Baldwin Turner, John P. Van Dorston, Sheridan Wait, Lew Wallace, Horace White, Daniel Wilcox, George H. Williams, John Williams, Bluford Wilson (8 items), Frederick Wines and Willard Woodard.


Some correspondence for the years 1879-1884, refers to the national political scene and efforts to nominate Grant for a third term.  Oglesby’s time on the board of the Western Mining Company is documented with a number of letters from Leadville, Colorado and includes the Consolidated Gold and Silver Mining Company, Citizens Mining Investment Company, Silver Cord Combination Mining Company, Leadville Mining Company and the Rocky Mountain Mine Developing Company.  One letter gives a sketch of a mine shaft in “OglesbyMountain”.


At least 500 letters deal with the 1884 election, where once again Oglesby was a candidate.  Correspondents from 1879-1884 include William Boyd Allison, Chester A. Arthur, Smith D. Atkins, Newton Bateman, Wimer Bedford, John Beveridge, Robert Brigham, H. J. Caldwell, William Calhoun, James D. Cameron, Joseph G. Cannon, Eli H. Chandler, Henry T. Chace, Chicago Association of Ex-Union Prisoners of War, Lorin C. Collins, Jr., Shelby Cullom, Phil Dallam, David Davis, Richard T. Davis, Samuel Deneen, Henry Dement, Clinton Fisk, Charles Fuller, Frank Gilbert, John Dean Gillett, James Benton Grant, Benjamin H. Grierson, J. Sterling Harper, David Harts, Milton Hay, Willis Hawkins, Jesse Hildrup, Isaac R. Hitt, Illinois State Association of Union Prisoners of War, William Jayne, Merritt Joslyn, James Langley, Joseph Lawrence, Charles Leffingwell, John A. Logan, Edward C. Lovell, John R. Marshall, William E. Mason, James B. Matlack, Joseph Medill, Hilon A. Parker, Robert Patterson, F. H. Pieper, Max Polachek, Fitz-John Porter, O. T. Reeves, Francis A. Riddle, John J. Rinaker, Henry Ruger, John C. Salter, James Shaw, John Crocker Sherwin, Andrew Shuman, David R. Sparks, Henry H. Spencer, William Stone, Maurice Starne, William Swahlen, John Tanner, James H. Thomas, John Tillson, John H. Tyler, Edgar Wakeman, Joseph Delos Ward, Elihu B. Washburne, Bluford Wilson, Henry Wood, Tingley Wood and Omar H. Wright.


The gubernatorial correspondence of 1885-1889 covers issues such as Chicago Lake Front matters, quelling the quarry strike at Jolietand Oglesby’s commutation of the death sentence for the Haymarket conspirators, Samuel Fielden and Michael Schwab.  This decision received a flood of letters including two from other condemned conspirators, August Spies and Albert Parsons, on November 6 and 8, 1887.  Other correspondents include Samuel P. Bates, Fred Bennett, Newton Booth, William J. Campbell, T. R. Cogswell, William Fessenden, Stuyvesant Fish, Seth Hanchett, Carter Harrison, William Herndon, Henry Hertz, James Hill, William Kerr, H. H. Kohlsaat, A. Lieberknecht, James Magie, Joseph Medill, G. M. Mitchell, Stephen Northrop, P. Bird Price, Hermann Raster, Lorenz Reitz, Leonard Ross, J. Young Scammon, Horace Singer, John C. Smith, William Vocke, Lew Wallace, A. Waterman and Frederick Winston.


The correspondence from 1889-1899, covers Oglesby’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 1891 and the national and state election of 1896.  Other topics covered are the erection of the GAR Memorial Hall in Decatur, the need for repairs on the Lincoln Monument, and the fire at his home in Elkhart. 

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                                                            Scope and Content


Series I:  Richard J. Oglesby


The Correspondence File, 1846-1924-cont. There is a March 31, 1891 letter from Gustavus Koerner regarding his compensation for services rendered for the state of Illinois and one letter from R. W. Surly of the 7th Illinois Cavalry, describing his part in the Benjamin Grierson raid of April-May 1863.  Correspondents include George E. Adams, John P. Altgeld, Samuel Ashton, Joseph M. Bailey, James T. Beach, E. B. M. Browne, Charles P. Bryan, James G. Blaine, Jacob Bunn, Clarke E. Carr, Lorin C. Collins Jr., James Austin Connolly, Shelby M. Cullom, Joseph W. Fifer, Stuyvesant Fish, John Gillett, John Brown Gordon, Charles H. Grosvenor, Lynde Harrison, Alex G. Hawes, Robert Roberts Hitt, John G. Irwin, W. J. Landram, John C. Lanphier, T. H. Leslie, Robert Todd Lincoln, Celsus P. Link, John A. McClernand, James K. Magie, William E. Mason, Thomas E. Milchrist, James W. Nye, John M. Palmer, Isaac N. Phillips, John I. Rinaker, Chester A. Snider, William K. Sullivan, John R. Tanner, Wheelock G. Veazey, Wilbur F. Wakeman, Hempstead Washburne, Augustus E. Willson and Joseph H. Wood.


The Speech File, 1863-1887 (Box 17) is arranged chronologically and contains manuscript drafts of speeches given by Oglesby while campaigning, at conventions, as governor, and at other organizations such as the GAR.


The Miscellaneous File, 1840-1896 (Boxes 18-18 ½) is arranged chronologically and includes memoranda, petitions, agreements, recommendations and notes.  Also included is the journal Oglesby kept on his world tour, with lengthy accounts of his travels.


The Military File, 1861-1864 (Boxes 18-19) is arranged chronologically and includes correspondence, general orders, military dispatches, court martial proceedings, consolidated morning reports, assessment of damages sustained by citizens, list of killed, wounded and missing, list of quartermaster’s stores, roster of commissioned officers, copy books for letters sent and received, telegram record book, order book and endorsement books.  There are over 100 dispatches signed by General Dodge.  Generals Hurlbut, Fuller and Kimball are also well represented.  See also Bound Volume File.


The Legal Documents File, 1846-1918 (Boxes 20-21) is organized chronologically and includes a stock certificate in the Great Western Railroad Company, a contract between Oglesby and the Indiana & Illinois Central Railroad Company, papers regarding the I & ICR, mortgages, deeds and estate papers.


The Tax Receipts File, 1850-1896 (Box 22) is organized chronologically and consists of tax receipts.


The Business Papers File, 1869-1896 (Boxes 23-28) is organized by form of material and includes receipts, checks, proclamations, petitions, published material regarding anarchists and the Haymarket Riot and news clippings pertaining to business and political stories.


The Bound Volume File, 1860-1905 (Volumes 1-18, 23-29) is organized chronologically and includes letterpress books of Oglesby and Wait, military copybook, military papers sent and received, regimental order book, special orders book, telegram record book, endorsements, real estate registry for Woodlawn subdivision, political scrapbooks and check books..  Emma Gillett Oglesby’s scrapbook includes World’s Fair clippings.


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                                                            Scope and Content


Series I:  Richard J. Oglesby


The Architectural Drawings File, ca. 1891 (Oversize Mss. 1-8) is organized by level and includes floor plans for Emma Gillett Oglesby’s home in Elkhart, Illinois.  Architects Bullard and Bullard drew plans for first and second floors, wood ceiling roof, foundation and sketch of house plans.


Series II:  John Gillett Oglesby


The Correspondence File, 1892-1938 (Boxes 29-38) is organized chronologically and includes letters from every aspect of Oglesby’s public career.  Some of the subjects discussed are the passage of the direct primary law, the Cherry Mine Disaster, Senate Bill 233 prohibiting children from acting on stages in Illinois, the Progressive Republican movement, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the East St. Louis Riot of 1917, the State Council of Defense, the Illinois centennial celebration, the Oglesby Monument Commission of 1919, Lowden for president campaign of 1920, Oglesby’s efforts to win the nomination for governor in 1920, the Agriculture Bureau of the Republican National Committee and the campaign of 1928, the Illinois Republican State Central Committee and the state convention of 1930, affairs of the State Agricultural Conciliatory Committee, and the primary campaign of 1936.  Some of the correspondents include Paul Angle, J. Ogden Armour, Edgar Bancroft, Ethyl Barrymore, Florence Fifer Bohrer, Edward J. Brundage, Enrico Caruso, Henry B. Chamberlin, George M. Cohan, Shelby Cullom, V. Y. Dallman, Charles Dawes, Rufus Dawes, Charles Deneen, Edward Dunne, Davis Elkins, Joseph W. Fifer, Milton J. Foreman, Frank Funk, James W. Good, Dwight Green, Logan Hay, J. W. Henninger, Herbert Hoover, Albert Jarvis Hopkins, John P. Hopkins, Henry Horner, Edward J. Hughes, Harold L. Ickes, Samuel Insull, Edward J. Kelly, Otto Kerner, Sam Lederer, James Hamilton Lewis, William Lorimer, Frank O. Lowden, F. Scott McBride, Medill McCormick, Cyrus H. McCormick, Robert McCormick, Ruth Hanna McCormick, William B. McKinley, Walter H. Newton, Miles Poindexter, Henry Rathbone, Thomas Rees, Amelia Sears, Lawrence Y. Sherman, Len Small, Elbert S. Smith, J. Emil Smith, Lewis G. Stevenson, William J. Stratton, William Hale Thompson, Edward Tilden, Hal Trovillion, Charles H. Wacker, Hempstead Washburne, Jessie Palmer Weber, George Webster, Kate Douglas Wiggins, George A. Zeller, and Richard Yates, Jr.


The State Council of Defense File, 1917-1919 (Boxes 38-45) is organized by person and includes correspondence with Adjutant General Frank S. Dickson; Angus F. Hibbard, Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee of Cook County; Samuel Insull, Chairman, State Council of Defense and David E. Shanahan, Illinois State Speaker of the House of Representatives and member of the Military Affairs, State and Local Defense Committee.  Other correspondence is arranged alphabetically.  Other files are organized by subject and include home guards, reserve militia, Volunteer Training Corps, Thirty-third Division, applications, reports and the Insull dinner.  It also includes some documents, booklets and news clippings.


The Subject File, 1898-1936 (Boxes 46-50) is organized alphabetically and includes such subjects as St. Marks School, the Spanish American War, Springfield Marine Bank, education, farm debt adjustment, heating system specifications, National Economic League, National Recovery Administration, petitions, sample ballots, speeches and bills.

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                                                            Scope and Content


Series II:  John Gillett Oglesby


The Published Material File (Boxes 51-54) is organized by form of material and includes broadsides, invitations, passes, news releases, political material, programs, tickets and news clippings.


The Scrapbook File, 1895-1938 (Boxes 55-68) is organized chronologically and includes a scrapbook from St. Mark’s School, family scrapbook and scrapbooks covering campaigns, elections, political news and events from his career and life.


The Bound Volumes File, 1899-1938 (Volumes 19-22) is organized chronologically and includes a docket book (justice of the peace) and register of chattel mortgages, news clippings, Felicity Oglesby Cenci scrapbook and Oglesby clippings scrapbook.    



























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                                                                Container List


Series I:  Richard Oglesby, 1840-1924


Box     Folder


1          1          1846-1849

                        2          1852

                        3          1853-1854

                        4          1855

                        5          1856-1857

                        6          1856-1857. European Trip.

                        7          1858-1859

                        8-9       1860.  Rail Account with John Hanks and Subscriptions to Decatur Wigwam and                                         Related Papers.

                        10        1860.  John Hanks Letters.

                        10a      David Davis Letters, 1860


            2          1          Jan.-July 1861

                        2          Aug.-Dec. 1861

                        3          1862

                        4          Jan.-Apr. 19, 1863

                        5          Apr. 20-30, 1863

                        6          May 1-13, 1863

                        7          May 14-31, 1863

                        8          June 1-6, 1863


         3          1          June 7-10, 1863

                     2          June 11-14, 1863

                     3          June 15-17, 1863

                     4          June 18-23, 1863        

                     5          June 24-30, 1863

                     6          July-Dec. 1863

                     7          Jan.-Mar. 1864

                     8          Apr.-May 1864

                     9          June-Sept. 1864

                     10        Oct.-Dec. 1864


            4          1          Jan. 1865

                        2          Feb. 1865

                        3          Mar.-Apr. 1865

                        4          May-June 1865

                        5          July-Aug. 1865

                        6          Sept.-Dec. 1865

            7          Jan.-Feb. 1866

            8          Mar.-Apr. 1866

            9          May-July 1866

            10        Aug.-Oct. 1866

                                                               Oglesby Family                                                        Page 12

                                                                Container List


Series I:  Richard Oglesby, 1840-1924


Box     Folder


4          11        Nov.-Dec. 1866


            5          1          Jan.-Feb. 1867

                        2          Mar.-Apr. 1867

                        3          May-June 1867

                        4          July-Sept. 1867

                        5          Oct.-Dec. 1867

                        6          Jan.-Feb. 1868

                        7          Mar.-Apr. 1868

                        8          May-June 1868

                        9          July-Oct. 1868


            6          1          Nov.-Dec. 1868

                        2          Jan.-June 1869

                        3          July-Dec. 1869

                        4          Jan.-June 1870

                        5          July-Oct. 1870

                        6          Nov. 1870

                        7          Dec. 1-15, 1870

                        8          Dec. 16-31, 1870

                        9          Jan.-Apr. 1871

                        10        May-July 1871


            7          1          Aug.-Dec. 1871

                        2          Jan.-Mar. 1872

                        3          Apr.-July 1872

                        4          Aug.-Nov. 1872

                        5          Dec. 1872

                        6          Jan.-Aug. 1873

                        7          Sept.-Dec. 1873

                        8          Jan.-Apr. 1874

                        9          May-July 1874

                        10        Aug.-Dec. 1874


            8          1          Jan.-June 1875

                        2          July-Dec. 1875

                        3          Jan.-Feb. 1876

                        4          Mar.-June 1876

                        5          July-Dec. 1876

                        6          Jan. 1877

                        7          Feb. 1-25, 1877

                        8          Feb. 26-28, 1877

                                                            Oglesby Family                                                           Page 13

                                                                Container List


Series I:  Richard Oglesby, 1840-1924


Box     Folder


            8          9          Mar. 1-5, 1877

                        10        Mar. 6-10, 1877


            9          1          Mar. 11-31, 1977

                        2          Apr. 1877

                        3          May 1877

                        4          June-July 1877

                        5          Aug.-Sept. 1877

                        6          Oct. 1877

                        7          Nov. 1877

                        8          Dec. 1877


            10        1          Jan.-Feb. 1878

                        2          Mar-Apr. 1878

                        3          May-June 1878

                        4          July-Oct. 1878

                        5          Nov. 1878

                        6          Dec. 1878

                        7          Jan.-Feb. 1879

                        8          Mar.-July 1879

                        9          Aug.-Dec. 1879


            11        1          Jan.-Mar. 1880

                        2          Apr.-Dec. 1880

                        3          Jan.-Aug. 1881

                        4          Sept.-Dec. 1881

                        5          Jan-June 1882

                        6          July-Dec. 1882

                        7          Jan.-June 1883

                        8          July-Aug. 1883

                        9          Sept.-Dec. 1883


            12        1          Jan. 1884

                        2          Feb. 1-15, 1884

                        3          Feb. 16-29, 1884

                        4          Mar. 1-10, 1884

                        5          Mar. 11-18, 1884

                        6          Mar. 19-31, 1884

                        7          Apr. 1-19, 1884

                        8          Apr. 20-30, 1884


            13        1          May 1884

                                                               Oglesby Family                                                        Page 14

                                                                Container List


Series I:  Richard Oglesby, 1840-1924


Box     Folder


            13        2          June-Aug. 1884

                        3          Sept.-Dec. 1884

                        4          Jan.-Apr. 1885

                        5          May-Sept. 1885

                        6          Oct.-Dec. 1885

                        7          Jan.-Apr. 1886

                        8          May-Dec. 1886

                        9          Jan.-Oct. 1887


            14        1          Nov. 1-10, 1887

                        2          Nov. 11-12, 1887

                        3          Nov. 13-Dec. 1887

                        4          Jan.-June 1888

                        5          July-Dec. 1888

                        6          Nov.-Dec. 1888

                        7          1889

                        8          1890

                        9          Jan. 1891


            15        1          Feb.-Mar. 1891

                        2          Apr.-Dec. 1891

                        3          Jan.-June 1892

                        4          July-Dec. 1892

                        5-6       1893-1884

                        7-8       1895-1896

                        9          1897


            16        1          1898

                        2          Jan.-Apr. 1899

                        3          N.D. Letters

                        4          Apr. 24-30, 1899  Conciliatory Letters.

                        5          May 1899.  Conciliatory Letters.

                        6          June-Aug. 1899.  Conciliatory Letters.

                        7          1895-1919.  Emma Oglesby Correspondence.

                        8          1920-1924.  Emma Oglesby Correspondence.



17        1          1863-1866

            2-3       1875

            4          1879-1885

            5-6       1887

            7          N.D.  Speeches

                                                               Oglesby Family                                                        Page 15

                                                                Container List


Series I:  Richard Oglesby, 1840-1924


Box     Folder


17        8          Agricultural Speech

            9          Inaugural Address

            10        Public Domain


                        Miscellaneous Papers

18        1          1840-1856

            2          1858-1866

            3          1867-1871

            4          1874-1896

            5-6       N.D.


18 ½ 1-4          [Journal of a Trip to Europe and Middle East], April 18, 1856-July 10, 1857] and                              Transcripts of 1856-57 Journal and 1880-81 Diary


                        Military Papers

18        7          Jan.-Apr. 1861

            8          May-June 1861

            9          Aug. 1861


19        1          Sept. 1861

            2          Oct.-Dec. 1861

            3          Jan.-Feb. 1862

            4          Mar.-Apr. 1862

            5          May-Dec. 1862

            6          Jan.-Mar. 1863

            7          Apr.-May 1863

            8          June-Dec. 1863

            9          Ledger Fragments, 1863

            10        1864

            11        General Orders


20        1-3       General Orders



            4          1846-1853

            5          1854-1855

            6          1856-1858

            7          1859-1863

            8          1864-1866

            9          1867-1870


21        1          1871

                                                              Oglesby Family                                                         Page 16

                                                                Container List


Series I:  Richard Oglesby, 1840-1924


Box     Folder


            21        2          1872

                        3          1873-1874

                        4          1877-1878

                        5          1879-1880

                        6          1881-1882

                        7          1883-1890

                        8          1892-1918

                        9          Estate Papers


                        Tax Receipts

            10        1850’s

            11        1860’s


22        1-3       1870’s

            4-5       1880’s

            6          1890’s


                        Business Papers

            7-10     Receipts, etc.

23        1-10     Receipts, etc.


24        1-9       Receipts, etc.


25        1-9       Receipts, etc.


26        1          Checks


27        1          Checks


28        1-6       Illegibles and N.D.

            7          Broadsides

            8          Misc. Material, 1869-1898

            9          Anarchist Material, 1886-1896

            10-11   Clippings


                        Bound Volumes

1 BV               Letterpress. Oglesby & Wait.  July 1860-Apr. 1862.

2 BV               Letterpress.  1866-1869.

3 BV               Military letters.  Copy Book.  Sept. 9, 1861-Apr. 22, 1862.

4 BV               Letter Book, Sept. 1861-Sept. 1862.  Telegrams, Apr.-June 1863

5 BV               Copy Book of Papers Sent and Received June 1862- June 1863.

6 BV               Regimental Order Book, 1861 & Scrapbook of Clippings, 1861-1862.

                                                               Oglesby Family                                                        Page 17

                                                                Container List


Series I:  Richard Oglesby, 1840-1924


                        Bound Volumes

7 BV               Special Orders & Circulars, Sept. 9, 1861-Sept. 15, 1862.

8 BV               Order Book, July 1861-Apr. 1862 & Telegram Record Book, Apr.-June 1863.                                   Reverse, Back of Vol.: Orders, May-Dec. 1861.

9 BV               Order Book, Feb.-Apr. 1862.  Reverse Side, Back, Apr.-Sept. 1862.

10 BV             General Order Book, Apr.-July 1863.  Diary, Apr.-July 1881.

11 BV             Special Order Book, June-Oct. 1862.  Endorsements, Aug.-Oct. 1862.                                               Endorsements, Aug.-Sept. 1862.

12 BV             Endorsements, Apr.-May 1863

13 BV             Endorsements, May-June 1863

14 BV             Real Estate Registry, Wait & Bowen’s Subdivision, Woodlawn, 1880.

15-16 BV        2 Checkbooks, 1890’s

17 BV             Scrapbook, Politics, 1884

18 BV             Scrapbook, Politics & Anarchists, ca. 1890-1920.


Nos. 19-22 Are Listed At End Of Series II


23 BV             Letterpress Book, Mar. 24, [18]86-June [18]89

24 BV             Emma Gillett Oglesby Scrapbook, 1890-1895, 1899; 1912-1916 [1890-1895]                                    Worlds Fair

25 BV             Scrapbook, 1883-1886, 1889, 1892-1893, 1899 [1883-1886] (87-6)

26 BV             Scrapbook, 1886-1887, 1890, 1895, 1901 [1886-1887] (87-6)

27 BV             Scrapbook, 1884, 1892, 1896-1898 [1884] (87-6)

28 BV             Scrapbook, 1886, 1892, 1900-1905 [1886] (87-6)

29 BV             Letterbook, April 10-July 2, 1863 (80-7)


Residence for Mrs. E.G. Oglesby,Elkhart,Illinois-Architectural Drawings, by Bullard & Bullard, Architects (Springfield,Illinois)


Oversize Item 1           First Floor Plan


Oversize Item 2           First Floor Plan


Oversize Item 3           Second Floor Plan


Oversize Item 4           Second Floor Plan


Oversize Item 5           Plan of Wood Ceiling


Oversize Item 6           Roof Plan


Oversize Item 7           Foundation Plan


Oversize Item 8           [Sketch]—House Plans

                                                               Oglesby Family                                                        Page 18

                                                                Container List


Series II:  John G. Oglesby Papers, 1892-1938


Box     Folder


29        1          1892

                        2          1896-1899

                        3          1900

                        4          1901

                        5          1902

                        6          1903

                        7          1904

                        8          1905


            30        1          1906

                        2          Jan.-Mar. 1907

                        3          Apr.-Oct. 1907

                        4          Nov.-Dec. 1907

                        5          Jan.-Apr. 1908

                        6          May-Dec. 1908

                        7          1909

                        8          1910

                        9          1911


            31        1          1912

                        2          1913

                        3          1914

                        4          1915

                        5          1916

                        6          Jan.-July 1917

                        7          Aug.-Dec. 1917

                        8          Jan.-June 1918

                        9          July-Dec. 1918

                        10        Jan.-May 1919


            32        1          June-Dec. 1919

                        2          Jan.-June 1920

                        3          July-Dec. 1920

                        4          1921

                        5          1922

                        6          1923

                        7          Jan.-Apr. 1924

                        8          May-July 1924


            33        1          Aug.-Dec. 1924

                        2          1925

            3          1926                              

                                                               Oglesby Family                                                        Page 19

                                                                Container List


Series II:  John G. Oglesby Papers, 1892-1938


Box     Folder


            33        4          1927

                        5          Jan.-May 1928

                        6          June-Oct. 1928

                        7          Nov.-Dec. 1928


            34        1-2       1928.  Conciliatory Letters, Emma Oglesby’s Death.

                        3          Jan.-June 1929

                        4          July-Dec. 1929

                        5          Jan.-Apr. 1930

                        6          May 1930

                        7          June-July 1930

                        8          Aug. 1930

                        9          Sept.-Dec. 1930


            35        1          Jan.-Aug. 1931

                        2          June-Aug. 1931

                        3          Sept.-Dec. 1931

                        4          Jan.-June 1932

                        5          July-Dec. 1932

                        6          Jan.-June 1933

                        7          July-Dec. 1933


            36        1          Jan.-June 1934

                        2          July-Dec. 1934

                        3          Jan.-May 1935

                        4          June 1935

                        5          July-Aug. 1935

                        6          Sept.-Oct. 1935

                        7          Nov. 1-15, 1935


            37        1          Nov.16-Dec. 1935

                        2          Jan. 1936

                        3          Feb. 1936

                        4          Mar. 1-15, 1936

                        5          Mar. 16-31, 1936

                        6          Apr.-June 1936

                        7          July-Dec. 1936


            38        1          Jan.-Apr. 1937

                        2          May-Sept. 1937

                        3          Oct.-Nov. 1937

                        4          Dec. 1937

                                                               Oglesby Family                                                        Page 20

                                                                Container List


Series II:  John G. Oglesby Papers, 1892-1938


Box     Folder


            38        5          1938

                        6          N.D. Letters


                        State Council of Defense

            7          Dickson, F. S.

            8-9       Hibbard, Angus


39        1-3       Insull, Samuel

            4          Shanahan, David E.

                        5          H

                        6          L

                        7          M

                        8          N

                        9          O

                        10        P

                        11        R

                        12        S


            40        1          T-U

                        2          W

                        3          Y-Z

                        4-5       Miscellaneous Correspondence

                        6          Chicago Volunteer Training Corps

                        7          Home Guards

                        8          Insull Dinner

                        9-10     Miscellaneous Reports, etc.

                        11        Reserve Militia

                        12        Thirty-third Division

                        13        Uniforms


            41        1-8       Volunteer Training Corps


            42        1-7       Volunteer Training Corps


            43        1-8       Volunteer Training Corps


            44        1-6       Volunteer Training Corps


            45        1-3       Volunteer Training Corps                              

                        4-5       Applications

                        6          Reports

                        7          Miscellaneous Published Material

                                                               Oglesby Family                                                        Page 21

                                                                Container List


Series II:  John G. Oglesby Papers, 1892-1938


Box     Folder

                        Subject Files

46        1          Bills (Legislative)

            2          Biographies

            3-10     Bondholders’ Material


47        1          Bridge Specifications

                        2          Certificates & Documents

                        3          Direct Primary Bill

                        4          Education

                        5-6       Farm Debt Adjustment

                        7          Farm Plans

                        8          Heating System Specifications

                        9          Lists, Itineraries, etc.

                        10        Manuscript Notes

                        11        Mercier, Cardinal

                        12        National Economic League


            48        1-4       National Recovery Administration

                        5          Politics—Petitions

                        6          Politics—Sample Ballots

                        7          Politics—Miscellaneous

                        8          St. Mark’s School


            49        1          Smith, Frank L.

                        2          Spanish-American War: 1898-1899 Letters, etc.

                        3          Spanish-American War: General Orders, ca. 1898

                        4          Spanish-American War: Muster and Payrolls

                        5          Spanish-American War: Miscellaneous Invoices, Lists, etc.1890-1892

                        6-8       Speeches, 1900-1918


            50        1-5       Speeches, 1919-1936

                        6          Speeches, Miscellaneous Transcripts

                        7          Speech Materials

                        8          Springfield Marine Bank


                        Published Material

51        1-2       Broadsides

            3-5       Invitations

            6-7       Passes, Cards, etc.


52        1-2       News Releases

            3-4       Miscellaneous Political Material

            5-6       Miscellaneous Programs

                                                               Oglesby Family                                                        Page 22

                                                                Container List


Series II:  John G. Oglesby Papers, 1892-1938


Box     Folder

                        Published Material

52        7          Tickets

            8          Miscellaneous Material


53        1-5       Miscellaneous Published Material

            6-7       Clippings


54        1-7       Clippings

            8          Pictures



55        1-5       Scrapbook #1, ca. 1912


56        1-2       Scrapbook #2, ca. 1907-1912

            3-6       Scrapbook #3, ca. 1909-1911


57        1-4       Scrapbook #4, ca. 1909

            5-7       Scrapbook #5, 1908


58        1          Scrapbook #5, 1908

            2-3       Scrapbook #6, 1907-1908

            4-6       Scrapbook #7, ca. 1901-1906


59        1-2       Scrapbook #7, ca. 1901-1906

            3          Scrapbook, #8, Direct Primary Elections Bill

            4          Scrapbook #9, 1906

            5          Scrapbook #10, 1901-1905

            6-7       Scrapbook #11, 1899-1903

            8-9       Scrapbook #12, 1901-1902


60        1          Scrapbook #13, 1899-1900

            2          Scrapbook #14, 1895 St. Mark’s School

            3-4       Scrapbook #15, 1915

            5          Scrapbook #16, 1913-1915

            6-7       Scrapbook #17, 1921-1928


61        1-6       Scrapbook #17, 1921-1928

            7-8       Scrapbook #18, 1921-1924


62        1          Scrapbook #18, 1921-1924

            2-6       Scrapbook #19, 1920

            7-8       Scrapbook #20, 1919


                                                               Oglesby Family                                                        Page 23

                                                                Container List


Series II:  John G. Oglesby Papers, 1892-1938


Box     Folder


63        1-2       Scrapbook #20, 1919

            3-7       Scrapbook #21, 1917-1919

            8          Scrapbook #22, 1917


64        1-5       Scrapbook #22, 1917

            6-9       Scrapbook #23, 1916


65        1-2       Scrapbook #23, 1916

            3-7       Scrapbook #24, 1928-1931

            8-9       Scrapbook #25, 1933-1938


66        1-3       Scrapbook #26, 1933-1938

            4          Scrapbook, 1920


67        1          Scrapbook #31, ca. 1905-1908

            2          Family Scrapbook, 1917-1918


68        1          Scrapbook, ca. 1917-1920

            2          Campaign Scrapbook, 1920


                        Bound Volumes

19 BV             Docket, Justice of the Peace, Register of Chattel Mortgages, ca. 1904-1938.

20 BV             Clippings Scrapbook, 1919.

21 BV             Felicite Oglesby Cenci Clippings Scrapbook.

22 BV             Oglesby Clipping Scrapbook, ca. 1899-1905.






“Oglesby Family Papers, 1845-1938,” Chronicling Illinois, accessed May 25, 2019, http://alplm-cdi.com/chroniclingillinois/items/show/482.