Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
KANE, CHARLES P. - It is difficult to recall mentally a time when the busy and populous city of Springfield, was a scattered village of wooden houses, but when Philo Beers, the maternal grandfather of Hon. Charles P. Kane, decided to erect a brick house on the corner of Fifth and Madison Streets, he knew that he enjoyed the distinction of having the only one of that material. That was not so long ago, and there are those still living who can remember the innovation. The Beers family were distinguished, not only as pioneers, but also as military people, and they, together with the Kanes, were closely identified with early affairs in Sangamon County.
Charles P. Kane was born at Springfield, Ill., December 15, 1850, and his parents were Rev. Andrew J. and Caroline M. (Beers) Kane. Andrew J. Kane was born in Guilford County, N. C., February 11, 1817, and was ordained a minister in the Christian Church, in 1842. He assisted in building the first bridge over the Sangamon River, at Carpenter's Mill, in 1839, and his death occurred in 1896, when he lacked but three months of being eighty years of age. He married Caroline M. Beers, a native of Sangamon County, who is the only surviving child of Phil and Martha (Stillman) Beers. Mrs. Kane is prominent in religious and social affairs, and is active in the order of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her grandfather, Zachariah Beers, was a solider in the Revolutionary War and served as an Orderly Sergeant in the Connecticut Militia, entering at the age of sixteen years. He also became a poet of considerable repute and was the author of many patriotic songs where were popular during the administration of President Jefferson. Mrs. Kane is nearly related by marriage, to Pierre Menard, first Lieutenant Governor of Illinois.
Philo Beers, son of Zachariah and father of Mrs. Kane, was a native of Woodbury, Conn. He served in the New York Militia in the War of 1812, and then came to Illinois, where he later served as a member of the General Assembly which met in 1824, at Vandalia, then the State Capital, at which session of the legislature Elias K. Kane was elected United States Senator. He married Martha Stillman, who was born at East Bloomfield, N. Y. There were some interesting features about the marriage of the first white couple whose union was celebrated within the present limits of Sangamon County, the wedding taking place November 2, 1820, and Rev. Stephen England officiating as minister. It happened that he had no suitable shoes to wear in his official capacity and was forced to borrow a pair of Indian moccasins from his brother-in-law, Evan Brittin. Just sixty-one years to a day, after this first wedding was celebrated, Charles P. Kane, was grandson of Philo Beers, and a granddaughter of Evan Brittin were married in the same county. An interesting item connect with that first wedding forcibly shows the resourcefulness of the dames and maids of long ago. The opportunities for providing a desirable wedding feast were few, and although he family of the bride borrowed all the white flour in the neighborhood there still was not enough to make the cake dear to New York housewives, so a toothsome cake of corn meal was baked, and when it was covered with icing, it presented a sufficiently festal appearance.
Charles P. Kane attended the school at Springfield and completed the high school course, then entered the office of Hay, Green & Littler, as a law student, and was admitted to the Bar at the age of twenty years. He at once entered into practice, served three years as City Attorney and in 1884 was elected Judge of the County Court. Upon retiring from the Bench he resumed private practice. In political views Mr. Kane is a Republican casting his first Presidential vote for Gen. U. S. Grant, and in 1892, was the candidate of his party for Congress. He has served as a member of the Board of Supervisors of Sangamon County two years and for five years was a member of the Board of Education of Springfield. At one time he was connected with the Illinois National Bank, having aided in its organization. He is a member of the State Historical Society, has contributed a number of historical papers to its records, and is the author of the article in this work entitled "Early Settlement of Sangamon County". He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, of the Illini Country Club, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Masonic Order. In the latter he has taken forty-two degrees, including thirty-two of the Scottish Rite and is Past Grand Commander of the Knights Templar of Illinois. Mr. Kane was married November 2, 1881, to Miss Flora Brittin, of Springfield, and they are the parents of three children: Caroline M., Flora E. and Philo E.