Page 28 - PAST AND PRESENT OF SANGAMON COUNTY - 1904OLD SETTLERS SOCIETY
The first Old Settlers Society of Sangamon county was organized at the court house in Springfield on the 15th of June, 1859, when a constitution was adopted and the following officers were chosen: Thomas Moffett, president; Elijah Iles and A. G. Herndon, vice-presidents; Pascal P. Enos. recording secretary, N. W. Matheny, corresponding secretary; E. B. Hawley, treasurer.
The first general meeting of the society was held October 20, 1859. The locality selected for this celebration was on Sugar creek, about twelve miles south of Springfield, it being on the site of the first cabin erected in the limits of the county by Robert Pulliam in October, 1816. The meeting was well attended and the orator of the day was the late James H. Matheny, who delivered an appropriate and eloquent address. At the conclusion of his address, Erastus Wright was called for, and he gave his version of the origin of the name "Suckers," as applied to the people of Illinois.
Owing to the political excitement in 1860, allowed by four years of civil war, the annual meetings of the Old Settlers' Society were suspended until 1868. In August of that year the society was informally reorganized, and a successful meeting was held in the park on the east side of Clear lake, about six miles east of Springfield. At this meeting Strother G. Jones was the presiding officer. The next annual gathering was also held at Clear lake, August 20, 1869, at which the Rev. J. G. Bergen and C. B. Stafford were the principal speakers. At this meeting the following named officers were chosen: Preston Breckenridge, president; Samuel Houston and S. G. Jones, vice presidents John F. King, secretary.
Since that time regular meetings of the Old Settlers' Society have been annually held in different parts of the county and always largely attended at these meetings, on different occasions, able addresses were made by such men as John A. McClernand, John A. Palmer, John T. Stuart, William H. Herndon, Milton Hay, Shelby M. Cullom, William M. Springer and others. For a number of years past R. W. Diller has officiated, either as secretary or president of the society and has taken great interest in its proceedings. Apart from the agreeable social features connected with these reunions of the pioneers and old settlers, the society during its lengthened existence has accomplished much in the way of collecting, correcting and preserving information concerning the early history of Sangamon county.