Oakley, Charles

Born: 1792 Westchester County, New York

Died: 1848-12-31 Tremont, Illinois

Flourished: Tazewell County, Illinois

Oakley fought in the War of 1812 before settling in Illinois in 1834. Between 1835 and 1837, he purchased an enormous amount of land in central and northwestern Illinois. Most of that land was located in Henry County, but he also owned land in La Salle, Marshall, Putnam, Rock Island, and Tazewell counties. Oakley was one of the earliest livestock importers in Illinois, making the first such importation into Tazewell County in 1840. By 1843, he was importing horses, cattle, hogs, and sheep from England, in an effort to improve the domestic stock. In 1839, the state appointed him to the Internal Improvement Board of Fund Commissioners, and Oakley traveled to Europe to negotiate loans for the program. He traveled to Europe several more times, negotiating loans for the financing of the Indiana and Wabash Canal and the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which earned him a lifelong appointment to the Board of Canal Commissioners. In 1840, Oakley served as president of Pekin's first branch of the Bank of Illinois.

History of Tazewell County, Illinois (Chicago: Charles C. Chapman, 1879), 309-10; For an exhaustive list of Oakley's land purchases, search "Oakley Charles," https://www.ilsos.gov/isa/landsrch.jsp; Gravestone, Springdale Cemetery and Mausoleum, Peoria, IL.