Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Name Lost to History: John C. Moses

The plaque you see above was donated to the Champaign County Historical Archives a number of years ago. It was commissioned by Judge Joseph Cunningham, and displayed prominently in the courthouse until it came here.

David Davis, Supreme Court justice and associate of Abraham Lincoln, once stated, "Captain Moses ought to be mentioned in any history of Champaign County." So ... who was Captain Moses?

John C. Moses, born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1825, migrated to Brown County, Illinois, with his parents in his youth. He joined the volunteer infantry during the Mexican War in 1847 and rose to the rank of Captain (hence his honorary title).

Mustering out of the service at the end of the war, he returned to Brown County and studied law. He served as a state legislator and Brown County sheriff before removing to east central Illinois to practice law, first in Danville (1856), and then to Urbana (1858).

In Urbana, he associated himself with an up and coming group of talented lawyers, including prominent names such as Abraham Lincoln, David Davis, William Somers, and Thomson Webber.

Stricken with consumption, he died at home on May 16, 1860. Only 35 years old, he left behind his wife Eliza and two small children, John and Abby.

If not for his untimely death, his name may have become as familiar as Busey, Carle, and Cunningham. But, as such, it has faded into history.

Click here for the related index entries for Captain Moses from our own Local History Online.

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