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Moses, John

Born: 1825-09-18 Canada

Died: 1898-07-03 Chicago, Illinois

Flourished: Scott County, Illinois

John Moses was a lawyer, judge, newspaper editor, state legislator, banker, and historian. He emigrated to Scott County, Illinois, in 1837, settling in Naples. He subsequently moved to Winchester, where he commenced practicing law and won election as county judge. In 1850, he owned real property valued at $300. In the 1850s, Moses was editor of the Winchester Chronicle. Moses hosted Abraham Lincoln at his office in Winchester during the 1858 senatorial campaign. After his term as county judge, Moses took up farming and banking. In 1860, he was employed as a banker and owned real property valued at $6,000 and had a personal estate of $2,000. Upon commencement of the Civil War, Governor Richard Yates appointed Moses as his private secretary. After the war, Moses served a term in the Illinois House of Representatives. In the 1880s and 1890s, he became a student of Illinois and Chicago history. In 1886, he won election as secretary and librarian of the Chicago Historical Society. Moses’ books on Chicago and Illinois included Illinois, Historical and Statistical (1892), The White City (1893), and History of Chicago, Illinois (1895).

John Moses married twice. In April 1849, he wed Sarah L. Keener, with whom he had five children. Sarah died in 1857, and in June 1859, Moses married Sarah M. Woods, with whom he also had five children.

Zebina Moses, Historical Sketches of John Moses, of Plymouth (Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1890), 87-88, 187; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Winchester, Scott County, IL, 1; Arthur Charles Cole, The Era of the Civil War 1848-1870, vol. 3 of The Centennial History of Illinois (Springfield, IL: Illinois Centennial Commission, 1919), 143; Ralph Gray, Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2001), 178; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Scott County, IL, 11; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 235; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Scott County, 17 April 1849; Madison County, 15 June 1859, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Gravestone, Winchester City Cemetery, Winchester, IL.