Mount Pulaski
founded in 1836



History of the "Tri-Founders" of Mt. Pulaski

Early History of Mount Pulaski

Mount Pulaski is a town of 1,700 people, quietly nestled in the southeastern part of Logan County amidst some of the richest farmland in the world.
In 1836, Mount Pulaski was founded by Jabez Capps, George Turley and Dr. Barton Robinson.  It  was named after
American General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish soldier of fortune, who gave his life in our Revolutionary War. Turley's father, James, had fought in the Revolutionary War and knew of General Pulaski and his exploits. Founder George Turley who owned much of the land in and around the proposed town of Mount Pulaski got to name it:  Pulaski (quickly changed to “Mount Pulaski”), in tribute to Gen. Casimir Pulaski who probably saved his father in that Brandywine Battle west of Philadelphia;
**General Casimir Pulaski had a submarine name after him in 1964 (
USS Casimir Pulaski (SSBN-633), and was made an honorary citizen of the United States by President Obama (Enacted — Signed by the President on Nov 6, 2009 ... This resolution was enacted after being signed by the President on November 6, 2009 ... only eight such people have so been designated since 1776).

Mt. Pulaski is home to one of two original courthouses, where Abraham Lincoln practiced law on the 8th Judicial Circuit [1849 - 1854].  The Illinois 8th Judicial Circuit of the mid-1800's covered 14 counties & approximately 450 miles.

In October of 1900, President William McKinley, former President Grover Cleveland, Vice President
Teddy Roosevelt  and John D. Rockefeller were here for a large Republican Rally during the re-election campaign of President McKinley.  They stayed overnight at the Mt. Pulaski House Hotel.  1200-1500 people attended the rally.

Music has played a  large role in our town from the late 1800's onward.  Over the years, there were many adult bands.  The high school bands brought back several state sweepstakes trophies.  The 1st lady of radio: Vaughn DeLeath, was a Mount Pulaski Native.  Born Leonore Vonderlieth in the town of Mount Pulaski, Illinois in 1894, her parents were George and Catherine Vonderlieth. At age 12, Leonore relocated to Los Angeles with her mother and sister, where she finished high school and studied music. While at Mills College, she began writing songs, but dropped out to pursue a singing career. She then adopted the stage name "Vaughn De Leath." Her vocals ranged from soprano to deep contralto. De Leath adapted to the emerging, less restrictive jazz vocal style of the late 1910s and early 1920s.
Some inventors, writers, artists, and publishers born, raised and educated in Mt. Pulaski have made their mark in America - Frank L. Capps (grand nephew of Mt. Pulaski tri-founder,
Jabez Capps) worked with Thomas A. Edison on the Edison "Talking Machine" in 1901. 

Capps patented approximately 50 inventions, mostly related to the manufacture of phonograph players and phonograph recorders.  Over the years, his four principle jobs were with: Bell Telephone Company, Bell Laboratories in Chicago, Thomas A. Edison Company and Columbia Phonograph Company.Donald Cameron Beidler (grandson of Jabez Capps) of Beidler-Viken Studio, Manhasset, Long Island, NY., was an inventor of photography equipment and photography procedures in the first half of the 20th Century. Both Frank L. Capps and Donald C. Beidler, at their request, had their ashes interred in our Mount Pulaski Cemetery.  Herbert Dickens Ryman, Jr., was a personal friend & right-hand artist with Walt Disney, working on Disneyland, Disneyworld, & who did the major screen styling for David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, Anna Karenina, Mutiny on the Bounty, etc. His father, Dr. Herbert Dickens Ryman, Sr., died on the WWI battlefield in France;
The Vonderlieth Living Center is named after one of her uncles, Henry Vonderlieth, who was born and raised here and made his fortune as a publisher of The American Housewife magazine in New York City.
In 1940, John Mier, Mount Pulaski’s oldest citizen and the last surviving Civil War Veteran in all of Logan County died. Funeral services and full military rites were conducted on the courthouse grounds attended by over 2,000 people.

  In 1910, there was the famous Wright Brother's Airplane - Train Race, which started in Chicago & went through Mount Pulaski to Springfield.  The airplane stopped for refueling and water four blocks south of our town's square amidst a gala welcoming. The winner's purse was $10,000, a mighty sum in those days. [Click here for eye-witness account]
. .
In 1936, our courthouse was established as an Illinois State Historical Site.  Now, visitors can see, feel, and wonder how it may have been in the mid-1800's when Abraham Lincoln, David Davis, Stephen A. Douglas, Thomas Herndon and others practiced law here.
In 1936, our basketball team finished
4th in the state finals - when there were no divisions.  What a great way to celebrate our town's 100th year anniversary!

Mahomet Aquifer in Central Illinois


Mount Pulaski & the Lincoln Court
in Mount Pulaski 1836 – 1855 

by phil bertoni (Mount Pulaski, 2010)

History of Mount Pulaski 1911
by Judge William Stringer

History of Logan County 1911
by Judge William Stringer

Mount Pulaski in Logan County, Illinois

Welcome to Mt. Pulaski

Mt. Pulaski, Illinois, is a town of 1,800 people
quietly nestled in the southeastern part of Logan
 County amidst some of the richest farmland in the world.

 Mt. Pulaski is home to one of two remaining original courthouses
where Abraham Lincoln practiced law on the Illinois 8th Judicial
Circuit [1849 - 1854].  Our combination of friendly people, historic
charm and central location makes Mt. Pulaski a great place to visit
and an even better place to live.
  Also known as "Vinegar Hill",
Mt. Pulaski is host to several well-known
local events: 

ABE LINCOLN Courthouse Re-enactments
1854 Abraham Lincoln Cast-Iron Tombstone Case Re-enactment in Circa 8th Circuit Courthouse Courtroom
~ Abe's February Birthday Weekend - Repeated at Fall Festival (Sept.) and Christmas on Vinegar Hill (Nov.) ~

Annual Memorial Day Ceremonies
Invocation - Soldier Address - Laying of Wreaths - HS Band Patriotic Music - VFW & American Legion 21-gun Salute - Benediction

Annual 4th of July Celebration
All-day city-wide garage sales - VFW Fried Chicken Lunch - Evening Band Concert - Fireworks

Annual Fall Festival
 (Thurs - Fri - Sat) following Labor Day - Carnival - Parade - Vendors - Bands - Tent Dinners -  Contests for all age groups

Annual Christmas on Vinegar Hill
 2nd Weekend in November - Multi-venues - Breakfasts - Lunches - Home-made Candies & Baked Goods - Oodles of Gift Items

Annual Santa Comes to Town
2nd Sat. in December - Santa Arrives on the Fire Truck - Santa Story-telling - Photos with Santa - Shops Open