Nance, Thomas J.

Born: 1811-09-17 Green County, Kentucky

Died: 1842-07-22 Cass County, Illinois

Nance moved from his native state to Sangamon County, Illinois, in 1832, settling south of New Salem, Illinois. A school teacher by trade, Nance opened the first subscription school in the area in December 1832. In 1833 at Farmers' Point, he organized a literary society, which he named the "Tyro Polemic and Literary Club" after the club to which he had belonged in Kentucky. In 1836, he married Catherine (Katharine) Houghton. Like Abraham Lincoln, he was friends with Mary Owens. In 1838-39, he was involved in efforts to divide Sangamon County into several new counties. In August 1838, he was an unsuccessful pro-division candidate for the Illinois House of Representatives. In November 1839, he won a special election as a Democrat for the House representing Sangamon, Menard, Logan, and Christian counties, finishing the unexpired term of Ninian W. Edwards, who had resigned. In August 1840, he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Illinois House representing Menard County. After that, he moved to Newmansville, Illinois where he farmed until his death in 1842.

Harry E. Pratt, "Lincoln and the Division of Sangamon County," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 47 (Winter 1954): 404-405; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 321, 328, 344; Fern Nance Pond, "Historical Notes: New Salem Community Activities, Documentary," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 48 (Spring 1955): 83-84, 100; Gravestone, Newmansville Cemetery, Newmansville, IL; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Sangamon County, 21 September 1836, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 207.