Capps, John

Born: 1810-12-16 London, United Kingdom

Died: 1898-10-20 Sangamon County, Illinois

Flourished: 1830-1844 Springfield, Illinois

By 1820, Capps' older brothers Jabez and Ebenezer had immigrated to the United States and settled in Springfield, Illinois. In 1830, Capps, his mother, and more siblings followed, all settling in Springfield initially. Soon, John engaged in the mercantile trade, a business he conducted for most of his adult life. In 1833, he married Nancy Clements, with whom he had twelve children. In 1837, Capps was among the prominent Springfield residents who pledged money to secure the move of the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield. Capps moved to Mt. Pulaski in 1844 and to Decatur in 1855. Sometime after 1860, he moved back to Sangamon County and settled in Illiopolis, where he lived the remainder of his life.

As a merchant, Capps had frequent contact with Abraham Lincoln in the circuit courts of central Illinois from 1837 to 1859. Lincoln represented Capps a number of times, including three cases in 1837 wherein Capps was indicted for keeping a gaming house, selling liquor without a license, and selling liquor on Sunday.

John C. Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Chicago: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 185-86; Bond of Thomas Mather and Others for the State of Illinois; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Macon County, IL, 35-36; Gravestone, Riverside Cemetery, Illiopolis, IL; People v. Capps, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=140043; People v. Capps, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Editionhttp://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=140044; People v. Capps, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Editionhttp://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=140045; For more on Capps' contact with Lincoln in the circuit courts, search for "Capps, John," Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Search.aspx.