Jesse W. Fell, who played a critical role at several junctures of Mr. Speaking to Mr. Lincoln just before Senator Stephen A. Douglas spoke in Bloomington, Mr.
They agreed to go and as polio improvement could be slow, they rented their farm, sold their equipment and livestock and left for Georgia in a small travel trailer arriving in Warm Springs September 8, The family kept a diary in Warm Springs and referred to it when writing to Dr. He removed from Kentucky to what is now EJsse County, Indiana, in my eighth year. Oliver R. Baldwin: Pioneer American Aeronaut. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikisource. Douglas L. In Lincoln began Jesse fell receive some national repute as a result of his debates that year with Stephen A. Town of Normal founder Jesse Carmen miranda flashing photo built Jesse fell house innearly a decade before the establishment of the town itself.
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Abraham Lincoln counted several Adams County residents among his most influential friends.
- Jesse W.
- Jesse W.
- This, in some neighborhoods, has already been done.
- Jesse Fell, the initiator of what is now the Fell Arboretum, is noted for extensive tree planting not only on our campus, but also in the towns of Normal, Towanda, Lexington, Pontiac and Clinton.
Abraham Lincoln counted several Adams County residents among his most influential friends. They were teachers, lawyers, newspapermen, bankers, farmers, land speculators, temperance advocates, town founders, and civic leaders. There was another Adams County resident who did all of those things and was as important as any in Lincoln's career.
He was the first to recommend Lincoln for president. The man was Jesse W. Fell of Payson, whose idea in is credited with gaining Lincoln the Republican nomination for president that year.
Like several of his Adams County neighbors, Fell, had made and lost fortunes. It was during one of his boom-and-bust cycles that the year-old and his wife Hester, 27, arrived in rural Adams County in They planned to develop a new enterprise, a nursery and fruit farm, just north of Payson, which Fell named "Fruit Hill.
Born in into a Pennsylvania Quaker farm family, Fell had attended a boarding school to study botany, the source of his lifelong interest in flowers and trees. To pay for his education, he taught in subscription schools, clerked, and sold books.
In his spare time he read law. He passed the bar exams in in Ohio. He also developed an interest in politics, making stump speeches against President Andrew Jackson. Although the law firm at which he had clerked offered Fell a position, he declined.
He wanted to move west. Fell was admitted to the Illinois bar in November and at the suggestion of Springfield lawyer John Todd Stuart moved to Bloomington in to become the first lawyer in the town of residents. Fell's interest in law waned and in and he was appointed McLean County's school commissioner. In the position he learned land speculation, which he found more interesting than education or law.
At about that time, several surrounding counties sought to annex parts of McLean County, which took Fell to the state capital at Vandalia to fight the efforts. During the winter of , he shared a home in the capital with Stuart and Lincoln, both Whig legislators from Sangamon County. They proved helpful to Fell, who was named an agent for the new State Bank of Illinois. His education in the mortgage business gave Fell additional tools that would make him highly successful in acquiring land.
Fell left the law, selling his practice to recent Bloomington arrival David Davis, and prospered in the land business. He held large tracts of land in Illinois and Wisconsin, including Chicago and Milwaukee. Prosperity seemed endless. He founded and developed additions to a dozen central and eastern Illinois towns, the first Clinton in In the next decades he and others would found Pontiac, Lexington, Towanda, and more, and would be known for beautifying them with trees along the streets he platted.
Fell also was responsible for additions to Decatur with his partner, Lincoln clan member William Hanks and Bloomington and dealt in lots in Joliet and Dwight. His most important development was his founding of Normal and winning Normal Teachers College for it.
Fell's role in politics became more active. Douglas, for Congress. Although his political acuity was growing, Fell declined entreaties that he run for political office. The nation's financial Panic of reversed Fell's successes in land speculation. By , the western economy was devastated and Fell, now bankrupt, returned to the practice of law for income. By , however, his interest in law waned once again. And once again, he sold his key assets-- his acre farm and home -- to David Davis to settle debts.
That's when Fell secured his acre tract one-half mile north of Payson, the southern Adams County village incorporated in Fell planned to develop his "Fruit Hill" nursery and farm to supply varieties of sapling trees and fruits to neighboring towns. He had his eye mainly on the business opportunities he saw in the growing river town of Quincy. A Henry Clay Whig, Fell was a believer in Clay's "American System," which advocated banks, protective tariffs, and public works projects. With the founding of so many communities, Fell considered transportation systems like roads and rails essential to their prosperity and growth.
His name was among those on a petition in to build the Illinois Central Railroad. When construction began he worked to get track through towns in which he had invested and sold timber from his lands in Southern Illinois for railroad ties. To get his products from Fruit Hill to his largest market, Fell secured a straight, mile road from Payson into Quincy.
His experience in surveying and in land negotiations facilitated routes and land sales and easements. Friends from throughout Adams County in asked Fell to represent them in the General Assembly, noting particularly his opposition to the spread of slavery. Fell then and again in declined. His single executive role in public office was as the first moderator of Payson Township when it was organized on April 2, By , Fell was harvesting 10, bushels of fruit from the 2, apple, peach, pear, plum, and cherry trees on his Payson farm.
He believed it had the largest variety of gooseberry and currant bushes in the country. Although Fruit Hill was profitable, it was not as profitable as Fell had expected. He sold the farm, its house, barn, cribs, and two good wells to his brother Robert at the end of harvest in Fell returned to Bloomington, where he resumed investments in land and behind-the-scenes activity in politics. In , he became corresponding secretary of the Republican State Central Committee, by which he was able to take the pulse of the party.
It was all he needed to know. In the McLean County Convention on June 5, , delegates passed his resolution "that Lincoln is our first, last, and only choice for the vacancy soon to occur in the United States Senate. Lincoln lost the race to Sen. Stephen A. But the texts of the seven Great Debates -- the sixth was in Quincy on Oct. Fell returned from an eastern trip where the response convinced him Lincoln could be elected president in Lincoln thought the idea was foolish but in his party role, Fell continued to promote it.
And Lincoln, after visits to Kansas and Ohio in , consented to Fell's request for his autobiography. Commenting on its brevity, Lincoln told Fell, "There is not much of it, for the reason, I suppose, that there is not much of me. When Republicans met at the Wigwam in Chicago in May to choose their presidential candidate, Fell performed his greatest service for his friend Lincoln.
Illinois leaders discovered that easterners who favored New York Senator William Seward as the Republican presidential nominee had monopolized the tickets into the Wigwam on the day the party's candidate was to be nominated. Aware of the importance of enthusiasm of the crowd to influence delegate voting, Fell had counterfeit tickets printed and distributed to Chicago's Lincoln supporters.
On Friday, May 18, while Seward supporters marched outside, westerners favorable to Lincoln took their seats inside the convention hall. Seward's crowd was out-witted--his delegates had been seated away from undecided delegates--and out-shouted. On the third ballot, Lincoln became the Republican Party's nominee. Fell sought no reward for his work, recommending instead that Lincoln appoint David Davis, leader of Lincoln's campaign committee, to his cabinet.
Morehead, "Jesse W. Fell has perhaps the distinction of being the most nearly forgotten, save in the places where he left the living monument of trees to speak of him to the generations other than his own.
Reg Ankrom is executive director of the Historical Society. He is a member of several history-related organizations, the author of a history of Stephen A. Douglas and a frequent speaker on pre-Civil War history. Morehouse, Frances M. Springfield: Illinois State Journal Company, Edites by the Rev. Landry Genosky, OFM. Quincy: Jost and Kiefer Printing Company, Sage, Harold K.
Fell and the Lincoln Autobiography. Stevens, Walter B. Edited by Michael Burlingame. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, Sarah Atwater Denman left an indelible social, educational and financial legacy to the Quincy community. She was committed to further education for women, sought social justice for those in need, and believed everyone should have free public access to books and medical care. Their first meeting was in November of when she invited 11 ladies to her home at Broadway to prepare a study plan that would allow each member to develop a philosophical point of view for herself.
Sarah was the guiding force for the study of classic works primarily in history and philosophy. The group intensely studied Plato for two years before moving onto other areas of interest and enlarging its membership.
Formerly the land office of Mr. Denman the small house was moved to the grounds of the John Wood Mansion in Seeking further Platonic studies Sarah along with Samuel H. Emery, Jr. The Plato Club maintained long-term connections with a similar club in Jacksonville, Illinois and a Hegelian philosophy group in St.
Bronson Alcott in , led her to close friendships with Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist and lecturer, and philosopher A. Bronson Alcott, writer and father of Louisa May Alcott. Both visited Quincy on several occasions, conversed with the study club, corresponded warmly and held Sarah in high regard.
Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. He met Mr. Holder was a partner in many of Fell's projects After the presidential election, Fell was modest in his ambitions for himself and his friends — even David Davis. The Normal Town Council declared that through his "untiring and disinterested efforts" he had secured the crossing of the two railroads and they passed a resolution stating that, "Normal without Jesse Fell is comparatively like a family without a father. The Lehrman Institute Web Sites.
Jesse fell. The Founding
Illinois State University is just one of many places where Jesse Fell introduced the importance and value of planting trees. Once he accomplished lining the streets with trees in the surrounding communities, Fell set his sights to our college. He wished to plant every type of tree that would flourish in central Illinois on campus to promote the studies of Botany and Forestry.
While Illinois State University was founded in , the entire campus was barren of trees for the following ten years as the university was becoming more established. As one of the cofounders of the university, Jesse Fell obtained expert advice from a professional landscape gardener named William Saunders.
Although this discipline was not appreciated during these years, Fell understood its importance. The same year, Fell had the land plowed under to prepare it for tree planting. This article relies largely or entirely on a single source.
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Jesse W. Fell () - Mr. Lincoln and Friends
The pair roomed together in the s in Vandalia—then Illinois' capital. Both lawyers, they shared a mutual interest in education and connections to the booming railroad industry. Fell, considered founder of the Town of Normal and the University, asked Lincoln to represent the board proposing the school.
Lincoln agreed, eventually drawing up the bond and bill of sale documents for property that became the campus. Fell is credited with convincing Lincoln to participate in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates in Fell also persuaded Lincoln to write the short autobiography that earned him enough name recognition to earn the Republican Party's nomination for president in Lincoln obliged, placing Hovey over the 33rd Illinois Infantry, the group of University student and faculty volunteers that would become know as the "teacher's regiment".
Supreme Court, where he presided until Skip to main content. Home Giving About Contact Us. Make a Gift. Jesse Fell founded both the Town of Normal and Illinois State University Abraham Lincoln drafted the bond and bill of sale documents for the property that would become the University. Remembering a presidential friendship. OU Login.