Hickox, Virgil

Born: 1806-07-12 Jefferson County, New York

Died: 1880-02-02 Springfield, Illinois


Virgil Hickox was a carpenter, merchant, bank director, businessman, and railroad promoter. He moved west from his native New York in 1828 and settled in St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked as a carpenter for five years. After spending a year mining lead in Galena, Illinois, Hickox came to Springfield in May 1834, where he opened a store and worked as a merchant for nineteen years. He married Eliza C. Cabanis in October 1839, and together they had ten children. From 1839 to 1841, Hickox was a director of the State Bank of Illinois. In 1850, he was working as a merchant and owned real property valued at $6,500. In 1851, Hickox united with other businessmen in organizing a company to build a railroad from Alton, Illinois, to Springfield. He was actively associated with the Alton & Sangamon Railroad until May of 1874. Hickox developed the law regarding the assessment and taxation of railroad property, which was in force from 1855 to 1872. By 1860, Hickox owned real estate worth $25,000 and personal property worth $10,000, and his household included two servants. He was chairman of the Democratic State Committee for nearly twenty years, and was a longtime personal friend and political ally of Stephen A. Douglas.

John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 376-77; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Sangamon County, 3 October 1839, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Springfield, Sangamon County, IL, 109; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Springfield, Sangamon County, IL, 141; Joseph Wallace, Past and Present of the City of Springfield and Sangamon County Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1904), 1:122-23; Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 3 February 1880, 3:4-5. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.