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Fell, Kersey H.

Born: 1815-05-01 West Chester, Pennsylvania

Died: 1893-05-01 Bloomington, Illinois

Flourished: Bloomington, Illinois

Kersey H. Fell relocated to Bloomington, Illinois, in 1836 with his family, including two of his brothers, Thomas and Jesse W. He found work as a clerk in a mercantile establishment. Fell took the advice of acquaintance Abraham Lincoln and read law. In 1838, he received appointment as circuit clerk with authority to organize Dewitt County. In 1840, he became deputy circuit clerk for McLean County. Fell earned admittance to the bar in 1841, forming a partnership with Albert Dodd. Fell and Dodd remained in partnership until Dodd's death in 1844. Fell practiced alone until 1856, when he retired due to poor health. In 1856, Fell moved back to West Chester for approximately two years. He served as Lincoln's substitute for the 1856 Republican National Convention, and stumped for Lincoln's nomination as vice-president. In 1860, he toured Europe, returning to cast his ballot for Lincoln in the presidential election.

In 1845, Fell married Jane Price, with whom he had eight children. He was actively involved in the planning and development of Bloomington. He served twelve years as a member of the Bloomington Board of Education. He helped found Illinois Wesleyan University. A Unitarian/Quaker, Fell helped to establish the Congregational Society of Bloomington.

The Biographical Encyclopaedia of Illinois of the Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia: Galaxy, 1875), 253-55; Gravestone, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Bloomington, IL.