The Naming of the Village of Sherman
Summarized By Mike Moos, Webmaster
This is a summary from the document “Sherman Village History” as compiled by Donna Arnold Catlin, Village Historian. We invite you to read the full document by “CLICKING HERE”.
Legend has it there was a small village in the middle of Illinois, named Grasshopper. This isn’t a proven fact. Pioneers told of early to mid-1850 sightings of large numbers of grasshoppers living in this area. Some people tried to settle their families in this location, with some folks deciding to move further out West, away from these grasshoppers. These early settlers also shared the land with the Pottawatomie, Kickapoo’s, Tamaroa and Delaware Indian tribes.
Early residents of Sherman often told stories that the village was named for a Civil War General, William T. Sherman. That story was false. According to Susan Flagg Parks, four men bought 80 acres of land from the Wigginton estate. They surveyed the land and platted it. Those four businessmen formed a group, becoming business partners and played a tremendous part in the development of the Chicago & Alton Railroad. This is the same rail-line easement that runs through the middle of the Village, to this day.
Drawing a name from the hat *
It was decide that these four businessmen would put their names in a hat and the winner of the drawing would have his surname as the name of the town. So Cornelius Flagg, Virgil Hickox, Joseph Ledlie and David Sherman dropped their names into a hat. The winning name in the “Luck of the Draw” was DAVID S. SHERMAN, Esquire. The village of Sherman, Illinois was recorded at the Sangamon County court house on November 8, 1858. The true founder of Sherman became DAVID S. SHERMAN, Esq.; hence the village was officially named SHERMAN, ILLINOIS.
David S. Sherman, Esq.
He was born in Andover, Massachusetts around the year 1812. Sherman came to the State of Illinois in 1839 working as the superintendent of the New England Hemp Factories. After changing his affiliation with this establishment, he began working with the Illinois Central Railroad and worked in the Peru, Illinois territory. David Sherman came to the Springfield location in the 1840s. When moving to this section of Illinois he began a business with Hickox, Flagg and Ledlie. David Sherman was married to Elizabeth Bickford Sherman from back East. They had two children, Caroline Sherman and William H. Sherman. Caroline Sherman was married to Jacob R. Bacon and they had a daughter, Mae R. Bacon.
Before his death, David S. Sherman and his son-in-law, Jacob Bacon owned a book store on the downtown square in Springfield, Illinois. This establishment was called, “Sherman & Bacon.” David and Elizabeth Sherman’s only son, William H. died as a young teenager in 1853. Their son-in-law died in 1868. David S. Sherman died at 59 years of age on December 14, 1871. A few years after the death of her husband, his widow, Elizabeth moved to San Diego, California with her daughter now Mrs. J.S. “Caroline” Sherman Bacon Richardson and her family. Granddaughter, Mae R. Bacon died in San Diego, California at the age of 21 with her remains being brought back to Springfield, Illinois for burial. Elizabeth Bickford Sherman died in San Diego, California on August 13, 1896 of old age. Elizabeth’s remains were moved by train to Springfield to be buried next to her husband David Sherman and their family at Oak Ridge Cemetery. The Sherman’s were highly thought of in the communities of Sherman and Springfield.
* To this day we do not know what type of hat was used to collect the names so what better way to symbolize our communities naming than with a Lincoln era Top-Hat!