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Gregory, George

Born: 1808-01-07 England, United Kingdom

Died: 1888-09-17 Sangamon County, Illinois


George Gregory first came to the United States in 1830, landing and settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He spent fourteen months building steam engines for the first railroad built in Pennsylvania before returning to England, only to learn that his wife and children had immigrated to America. He immediately returned to Philadelphia, and in April, 1836, he and his family moved to Sangamon County, Illinois, settling on a farm five miles west of Springfield. Gregory established his own blacksmith shop, and he later took charge of the locomotives on the Northern Cross Railroad. He operated the locomotives for three years, during which time, he supervised the first locomotive to enter Springfield, running from Jacksonville to Springfield on February 15, 1842. He eventually left the railroad and reverted to farming. He became one of the largest landowners in Sangamon County, amassing over 3,000 acres. By 1850, he owned real estate valued at $4,000. A personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, Gregory visited the White House during Lincoln's presidency. He married Sarah Knowles on June 6, 1830, a union that produced thirteen children. He was a Democrat in politics and a Methodist in religion.

History of Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 342-43; Gravestone, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Sangamon County, IL, 230; Portrait & Biographical Album of Sangamon County, Illinois (Chicago: Chapman, 1891), 525.