Born: 1806-04-05 Scotland, United Kingdom
Died: 1889-08-26 Minnesota
Flourished: Iroquois County, Illinois
Peter Spink was a blacksmith, land speculator, and farmer. Spink emigrated from his native Scotland to Canada, and he later emigrated from Canada to Illinois. In 1846, he purchased eighty acres of public land in what would become Ganeer Township in Kankakee County, Illinois. Spink soon moved west, and in 1850, he was working as a blacksmith in Sacramento, California, and owned real property valued at $3,000. Returning to Kankakee County, Spink became a parishioner of Father Charles Chiniquy’s St. Anne parish church. In 1852, Spink began purchasing huge tracts of land in Iroquois County, which he hoped to sell to Canadians emigrating to the area. This brought Spink into conflict with Chiniquy, who allegedly told the St. Anne congregation that Spink perjured himself in a court proceeding. Spink sued Chiniquy for slander, and Chiniquy retained Abraham Lincoln to defend him. In 1860, Spink was farming in Iroquois County and owned real property valued at $47,000 and had a personal estate of $12,000.
Caroline B. Brettell, Following Father Chiniquy: Immigration, Religious Schism, and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Illinois (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2015), 42; Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 (Lehi, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, 2014); U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Sacramento, Sacramento County, CA, 192; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Iroquois County, IL, 170; Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales, Kankakee County, 818:83, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; For an exhaustive list of Spink’s land purchases in Iroquois County, search “Spink Peter,” https://www.ilsos.gov/isa/landsrch.jsp; Spink v. Chiniquy, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136641; Gravestone, Calvary Cemetery, St. Paul, MN.