Kirkpatrick, William

Died: 1849-05-XX Mississippi River

Kirkpatrick was one of the first settlers in the Salisbury area of Sangamon County, arriving between 1819 and 1820. In 1823, he purchased 160 acres of land in the area, and purchased an additional 480 acres over the next eight years. He married Nancy Fowler, a union that produced five children. Kirkpatrick owned a sawmill and hired Abraham Lincoln to haul logs for him but apparently never paid Lincoln. When the Black Hawk War began, Kirkpatrick enlisted and expected to be elected captain of the company of volunteers from the Richland area, but the soldiers elected Lincoln instead. Kirkpatrick served in Lincoln's company of the 4th Regiment of Mounted Volunteers from April 21 to April 30, 1832, when he was promoted to quartermaster sergeant on Colonel Samuel M. Thompson’s regimental staff. He reenlisted with Lincoln in Elijah Iles's company on May 28 but was again promoted to regimental quartermaster in Jacob Fry's regiment on May 31, and served until mustered out on June 15. After the war, Kirkpatrick built a sawmill on Yellow Creek, near what became Freeport in Stephenson County, Illinois. In the spring of 1835, Kirkpatrick made a claim and built a cabin in what would become Whiteside County. The following year, he laid out a town at the rapids of Rock River, and named the city Chatham. He built the first frame house, hauling lumber the forty miles from his mill at Yellow Creek. Chatham later became Sterling, Illinois. In 1837-1838, Kirkpatrick served as the sheriff of Stephenson County. He died of cholera aboard the steamer War Eagle on a trip from St. Louis to Galena.

Joseph Wallace, Past and Present of the City of Springfield and Sangamon County, Illinois, 2 vols. (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1904), 1:35; Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales, Sangamon County, 68:6, 8, 114, 116; 816:8-9; Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 312; U.S. Census Office, Fifth Census of the United States (1830), Sangamon County, IL, 154; U.S. Census Office, Sixth Census of the United States (1840), Stephenson County, IL, 231; Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, eds., Herndon’s Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 368; Frank E. Stevens, The Black Hawk War (Chicago, IL: Frank E. Stevens, 1903), 278-79; Muster Roll of Abraham Lincoln’s Company of Mounted Volunteers; Ellen M. Whitney, comp., The Black Hawk War, 1831-1832: Illinois Volunteers, 2 vols., vol. 35 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1970), 1:171, 225, 228-29; Charles Bent, ed., History of Whiteside County, Illinois (Morrison, IL: Charles Bent, 1877), 391, 416; The History of Stephenson County, Illinois (Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880), 217, 238, 501; Freeport Journal (IL), 23 May 1849, 3:1; Weekly North-Western Gazette (Galena, IL), 23 May 1849, 2:3.