Roger Capps' Visit
S. 28 - O. 2

great-great grandson of Jabez Capps - tri-founder of Mount Pulaski - 1836

History of Mount Pulaski
Abraham Lincoln in Logan County

Mount Pulaski Cemetery Listings:
 Cemetery Sections
Capps grave sites . . . Sections: I, K, L
Beidler grave sites . . . Sections: H, K, L, N
Robinson grave sites . . . Sections:  J, K, L, P
Turley grave sites . . . Sections: E, J, L

Note:  Jabez Capps, George Washington Turley and Dr. Barton Robinson Founded & Recorded Mount Pulaski

Roger at courthouse registration desk.  This courthouse served as the venue for the Logan County seat of the Illinois 8th Judicial Circuit [1848 - 1854].  Mr. Lincoln re-joined the circuit in 1849, since he was finishing up his 2-year term in the Federal House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.  Thus, Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President of the United States, attended the Mt. Pulaski court when it passed through, usually twice a year - in the spring and in the fall.  On one or two occasions, the court by-passed Mt. Pulaski and other small county-seat venues when there were no cases listed on the local docket.  It has been reported by a local farmer that his grandfather told him - Emmett Shellhammer, now 90 years of age - that Mr. Lincoln stopped on one occasion at their farm NE of town to hear a case in their barn or under a tree next to their barn.  Lincoln's initials were carved on that tree - unfortunately, both the tree and the barn no longer remain.  The circuit court's judge was David Davis, a graduated of Yale University, who moved westward to Central Illinois, settling in Bloomington, Illinois.  Judge Davis was instrumental in both getting his friend, Abraham Lincoln, accepted as the Republican nominee as well serving as his campaign manager in the 1859 election.  Mr. Lincoln, to return the favor, asked Judge Davis to join his cabinet.  Davis turned down the offer, but accepted in 1862 President Lincoln's request to join the United States Supreme Court.  One notable Mt. Pulaski court case was the Cast-Iron Tombstone Trial of 1854 in which Mr. Lincoln represented the defendant, Mr. Reuben Miller, who was being sued by William Young for misrepresentation of the patent that he (Young) purchased from the defendant.  Mr. Lincoln & his law partner, William Herndon, lost this case and they sent it up for appeal to the Illinois State Supreme Court.  In 1862, the court handed down its verdict - President Lincoln was informed that he lost the appeal.

Roger touching the floor that Abe Lincoln and his great-great grandfather (Jabez Capps) walked on.  This courthouse was build in 1847, just 11 years after the founding of Mt. Pulaski by Jabez and his two friends:  George Washington Turley and Dr. Barton Robinson.  Jabez became Mt. Pulaski's first merchant and first post-master. He had 10 children and lived the rest of his 99 yrs - 7 mo. in Mt. Pulaski.  He is buried along with his 2nd wife and 27 other Capps in the Mt. Pulaski Cemetery.  Many other descendants & relatives - Beidler's, Manes', Swain's, etc. - are also buried in the Mt. Pulaski Cemetery.

Mayor Bill Glaze presenting Roger with a key to the City of Mt. Pulaski.
 Bill also presented a plaque to Roger.

Roger talking before an evening group at the VFW Hall - sponsored by the Mt. Pulaski Township Historical Society.  Roger revealed that Jabez was from a large family in London - that Jabez's father was a "clothier" or tailor for England government members and Royalty officials - handing over this business to son, Thomas (brother of Jabez), who retired a multi-millionaire.  The London Thomas house is now a hotel, with TC etched in stone above a doorway. This tailor business was in Westminster on a street named "Threadneedle".  Two of Roger's brothers have been to London and reported back on this family history.  Roger reported that over a million dollars was left to various members of the Capps family in America - in the late 1890's after Jabez had passed away.  The New York Times reported this American inheritance in one of its 1997 issues.  All of the early American Capps settled in Central Illinois.

Roger speaking in the VFW Hall

Roger with Barbara Theobald and Sharon Stone-Cook who are descendants of George Washington Turley, tri-founder of Mt. Pulaski with Jabez Capps & Dr. Barton Robinson.  As professional genealogist Sharon Stone-Cook reports: Dr. Robinson had knowledge of the hill ("mount") and Turley was already settled nearby - had much of the land to the west of the hill.  Capps had the merchandising ability, postmaster and teaching backgrounds.  They all shared the vision of a new town on the prairie on top a nice hill - with plenty of rich farmland and without so much of the mud problems offered by the town and surrounding area of Springfield.

Roger as guest speaker at Mt. Pulaski Rotary Club, which was founded in 1936 - 100 years after the founding of Mt. Pulaski.  Roger was informed that his Rotary speaking engagement took place on the site of the former Mt. Pulaski House Hotel, which was built in 1843 by Alexander Morgan and later purchased & operated by Jabez Capps.  This hotel was frequented by Abraham Lincoln, Judge David Davis, Stephen A. Douglas, William Herndon and other notable lawyers on the 1840-1850's Illinois 8th Judicial Circuit, when Mt. Pulaski was the Logan County Seat (1848 - 1854).  In 1900, this hotel was visited by President William McKinley, Vice President Teddy Roosevelt, former President Grover Cleveland and campaign financier John D. Rockefeller for a Republican Rally attended by several thousand people.  These famous American leaders arrived and departed on the Illinois Central Railroad, which was extended from Chicago to and through Mt. Pulaski and onto Springfield and St. Louis in the early 1870's.   Mt. Pulaski had over 2000 residents during the late 1800's and early 1900's.  The Mt. Pulaski House Hotel was removed and replaced by the current buildings in 1902.

Rotary Club photo with guest speaker - Roger Capps

Roger next to a cast-iron tombstone

Roger Capps checking off his ancestor's grave sites in the Mt. Pulaski Cemetery, where he found most of the
29 Capps' grave markers, along with many other relatives to the Capps' family
-Beidler's, Manes', and Swain's.

Roger posing in front of Samuel Linn Beider's house, built for his bride - "Prudy" [Prudence Ann Capps Beidler].  Prudy was the first girl born in Mt. Pulaski and is thought to have been the first white girl born in Logan County. She was the daughter of Jabez Capps and his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Baker Capps.  Jabez had four children with his first wife, Prudence, and ten more children with his second wife.  Roger is a descendant of Ebenezer Capps, one of the four sons born to Jabez and Prudence.  This house is of early Federal Style, build in 1860, utilizing brick made from a Mt. Pulaski tile yard.  The house was set at an angle to better utilize the sun.  Several additions and improvements have been added over the years. This historical home and property was recognized in 1986 by the Logan County Tourism Committee and the Mt. Pulaski Chamber of Commerce.