VanBergen, Peter (Van Bergen)

Born: 1800-04-18 Catskill, New York

Died: 1879-01-28 Springfield, Illinois

Alternate name: Van Bergen

As a young man, VanBergen traveled west and spent several years in St. Louis, Missouri, and Edwardsville, Illinois. In partnership with William S. Hamilton, he operated a mercantile and mining business in Galena, Illinois, before settling in Springfield, Illinois, in 1830. In January 1834, he married Clarissa Benjamin. Although VanBergen sued Abraham Lincoln to recover a debt while he was in New Salem, he and Lincoln later became friends. VanBergen was a Whig who later became a member of the Republican Party. Although he did not hold public office, he worked behind the scenes to get the state capital moved from Vandalia to Springfield. VanBergen served as a delegate to the Rivers and Harbors Convention in Chicago in 1847. He served as a deputy U.S. marshal for the District of Illinois from 1845 into the 1850s. He invested heavily in farm lands, dealt in real estate, and in 1850, he owned real estate worth $15,000. In 1860, VanBergen was farming in Sangamon County.

Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Sangamon County, 21 January 1834, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 22 May 1840, 1:5-6, 27 May 1847, 2:4; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 25 June 1849, 3:1; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Sangamon County, IL, 119; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Sangamon County, IL, 116; Joseph Wallace, Past and Present of the City of Springfield and Sangamon County Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke , 1904), 2:1314-17; Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, eds., Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 774; Michael Burlingame, ed., An Oral History of Abraham Lincoln: John G. Nicolay's Interviews and Essays (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996), 33-34; Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 29 January 1879, 4:3; Gravestone, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL; VanBergen v. Lincoln et al., 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), Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.