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Champaign County, Illinois

"A Few of the Historical Facts about Champaign County"

from The Champion

Volume I

Published in the Year of 1925

by the

Senior Class

of Sadorus High School

Sadorus, Ill.


On April ninth, 1824 Henry Sadorus came to this county. He had intended to go farther west, but the Kaskaskie river was overflowed and he could not cross it. It was already June when the Kaskaskie river went down and by this time Mr. Sadorus had decided to stay. At first he lived in a log house but in 1832 he started to clear the timberland and built a frame house, which is still standing today. Lincoln who often came through this county while he was practising law, sometimes stayed overnight in the house.

William Sadorus was only twelve years old when he came to this county with his father. Not far from the place where they built their home was a huge rock. Here he often played games with the Indian boys, his only companions. This rock still attracts much attention.

In 1855 a railroad was built through Sadorus. Mr. W. Sadorus who wished to start a town here donated land for the building of the depot, both the Methodist and Baptist churches and for the school building. This was the real beginning of a town. In appreciation for the donations given by Mr. W. Sadorus, the town was named after him.

Born April 1, 1840 in a little log hut, one-quarter of a mile south of Sasorus, H. W. Sadorus, 85 years old, lives today to claim the honor of being the oldest county-born resident of Champaign County.

Although there are others in the county older than he, there are none that can take away the honor of being born here.

Several times in the earlier periods of his life, he would sit before the fireplace, his chin resting in his hands and his elbows on his knees, listening attentively, with an open mouth, to the conversation his father was having with a tall, lank, homely guest. And also at the supper table, often this welcome guest would give an approving nod in his direction. At that time he little thought that in the unpredicted future, that this guest who had visited their home so often in his travels would become the renowned president of this nation.

All the while he kept growing as boys will, and being a red blooded American boy, he was fond of hunting, fishing and all sorts of sports.

The vast timberland of Champaign county were still swaying in the breeze and he could go for miles on his coon hunts without ever coming to the end.

Often at night while still a young boy, he would take his coon-hound and travel on the quiet, pathless woodland floor after coons. But coons were not the only thing that he hunted. He also made war upon deer, wolves and birds. He and his Indian friends would often go out and make large kills.

He drove the first cattle to Champaign, that is, the first livestock shipped by rail to market from that place. As it is customary to return a good deed for another, likewise Lincoln returned the hospitality of Mr. Sadorus and his father, that he received when he stopped overnight at the Sadorus homestead by extending to them an invitation to spend the day with him at the court house.

Mr. Sadorus and his father arrived in time to hear one of Lincoln's humorous cases. A woman entered the court house and was starting a suit for breach of promise. As the man was present without an attorney, Lincoln's services were asked. Lincoln and the man went out and in a few moments they came back in. They asked for the county clerk. A marriage license was made out and the judge was asked to marry them. After the couple was married the man said, "We're married now, you can do as you please but you've seen the last of me," and he disappeared.

Not long after this Lincoln was elected president. Then came the war. Enlisting in Co. G 25th Ill. infantry in Champaign, Mr. Sadorus took active part in the battles of Pea Ridge, Corinth, Stone River, Pinetop Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain, Chattahoochie, Peach Tree Creek, Chickamauga, Noonday Creek, Atlanta and Missionary Ridge.

The battle of Missionary Ridge seems to be the greatest memory to him as he speaks considerably more about it than the others. In camp before that battle, General Grant's headquarters were located just behind his tent and he and his messmates overheard the orders given for the different charges to be made that afternoon.

Mr. Sadorus was known in his company as the best shot. He has a gold regimental medal in which the gold alone is worth seventy-five dollars besides its value as an honor and a keepsake. He had several narrow escapes from bullets. His uniform was torn to tatters by bullets and hard usage.

But one enemy deadlier than bullets came near marking the death toll one higher. That was a camp disease. One night after he had been sick for a long time his comrades saddened by the thought of his being dead, wrapped his corpse up in a blanket till morning. In the morning he stuck his head out of the blanket and called for water, much to the surprise and joy of his comrades, who had believed him dead.

His being born on April 1 made his father often remark "that he would have a fool's luck," and Mr. Sadorus laughingly says maybe that's what it's been.

When the war was over, he returned to Sadorus where he has made his home ever since.

He still works hard every day despite his age. He can still handle a rifle with fair accuracy and his failing sight proves a hindrance to perfection. His memory is extraordinarily good. On November 19 of this year, he and his wife intend to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

By Roland Holl

Submitted by Jeanne Varnell


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