Dawson, John

Born: 1791-11-24 Fairfax County, Virginia

Died: 1850-11-12 Sangamon County, Illinois

Flourished: Sangamon County, Illinois

In 1805, Dawson moved with his parents to Kentucky, where Dawson served as a sergeant in the War of 1812. In January 1813, he was wounded and captured by Native Americans, who held him in Canada until friends ransomed him and he could return home. He married Cary Jones in Nicholas County, Kentucky, on October 9, 1817, and they had ten children. Dawson moved his family to Sangamon County, Illinois, in 1827. Like Abraham Lincoln, Dawson was the captain of a company of mounted volunteers from Sangamon County during the Black Hawk War. Dawson's company was part of the Spy Battalion.

Dawson represented Sangamon County in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1834 to 1840. He was a member of the "Long Nine," the group of seven representatives and two senators from Sangamon County, all over six feet tall, who secured the relocation of the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield. Dawson also represented Sangamon County in the Illinois Constitutional Convention in 1847, and he served as a justice of the peace for more than twenty years. He was a member of the Mormon church. The town of Dawson, Illinois, was named for him.

G. Glenn Clift, Remember the Raisin!: Kentucky and Kentuckians in the Battles and Massacre at Frenchtown, Michigan Territory, in the War of 1812 (Frankfort: Kentucky Historical Society, 1961), 187; John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 244; Ellen M. Whitney, comp., The Black Hawk War, 1831-1832: Illinois Volunteers, vol. 35 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1970), 1:126, 204-6; Gravestone, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 3 December 1850, 2:3.