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JEFFERSON COUNTY ILLINOIS
BIOGRAPHIES

Samuel L. DWIGHT



Samuel L. DWIGHT.  The record of the eminent men of Illinois, 
perpetuated for generations yet to come, will contain among its 
galaxy of legal luminaries the name of S. L. DWIGHT, of Centralia, 
who both at the Bar and in the legislative hails has won a prominence 
and success justly merited. In his life he has furnished an 
illustration of what persistent industry and studious application 
will do for a man in securing his success, for the exercise of these 
qualities has been the potent factor in raising him from poverty to 
prosperity, and from a position of obscurity to one of prominence.

In every duty, whether of public or private life, Mr. DWIGHT has 
been faithful. When the dark clouds of the Rebellion overshadowed 
the nation, he was one of the boys in blue who volunteered in the 
defense of the Union. Such was his ability that he arose through 
successive promotions from private to Captain and aid-de-camp, 
and when, the war ended, he resigned official command to resume 
the duties of civic life, he carried with him the esteem of his 
soldiers and the regard of every patriotic citizen to whom his 
valor was known.

The subject of this sketch is of distinguished lineage and is 
the grandson on his mother's side of the illustrious Zadok CASEY, 
at one time State Senator, also Lieutenant-Governor of Illinois, 
and for about 12 years a Member of Congress. Born in Georgia of 
Irish descent, Governor CASEY was in early life a minister in 
the Methodist Church, but after coming west he engaged in farming 
and became the owner of large and valuable tracts of land. Late he 
was interested in mining at Caseyville, St. Clair, County. With the 
public life of the state his name is indissolubly connected, and 
for years he was Jefferson County's most prominent citizen.

Governor CASEY and his wife, who bore the maiden name of Rachel 
KING and was born in Tennessee, became the parents of 7 children, 
all of who attained mature years, while three of them are now 
living. Samuel K., who was a successful lawyer and a member of the 
State Senate, had the contract for the building of the Joliet State 
Prison, and was in other ways prominently connected with public 
affairs until his death at Mt. Vernon. Hiram died in Texas when a 
young man. Mahala P., our subject's mother, died in 1841. Dr. N. R. 
is engaged in the practice of medicine at Mound City, Ill. Judge 
Thomas S., an influential attorney, served as State's Attorney 
of Jefferson County, also a member of the State Legislature, and 
afterward on the Circuit and Appellate Benches of Illinois; his death 
occurred in Springfield. Dr. John R., the youngest member of the 
family is now a physician and surgeon of Joliet, Ill. 

The father of our subject was born and reared in Massachusetts, 
and as a child displayed the possession of a high order of ability.  
When only 8 years of age he could read Latin, and in his other 
studies was equally in advance of others of his age. Entering Yale 
College, he conducted his studies in that institution until graduating 
there-from. In an early day he came to Illinois, accepting the 
position of Principal of the Mt. Vernon schools, and while there he 
married Miss Mahala P. CASEY. They settled in Mt. Vernon, where on 
the 15th of March 1841, the subject of this sketch was born, and 
where soon afterward his mother died.

After the death of his mother, Mr. DWIGHT was reared in the home 
of Governor CASEY and acquired his early education in the public 
schools of Mt. Vernon. The information there gained was supplemented 
by attendance in McKendree College, at Lebanon, and in a private 
school at Mt. Vernon. In 1860 he commenced to read law in the office 
of TANNER & CASEY, and while pursuing his studies the war broke out. 
Prompted by patriotic impulse, he entered the service of his country, 
enlisting in 1863 as a private in Company 1, 60th Illinois Infantry. 
From the ranks he was promoted to be 1st Lieutenant and Captain, 
and later became aide-de-camp on the staff of General VANDERVER, 
in which position he continued until he took command of his old 
company. He was mustered out in July, 1865,and after participating 
in the Grand Review at Washington was sent to Louisville, KY., 
thence to Springfield, Ill., where the regiment was disbanded in 
August. He took part in the battles of Rocky Face and Kenesaw 
Mountains, the Atlanta Campaign, the march to the sea, the Carolina 
campaign and the engagement at Goldsboro.

When his country no longer needed his services, Captain DWIGHT 
returned to Mt. Vernon, and in July, 1866, came to Centralia, 
where he completed his legal studies. For a time he was a student 
in the law school at Benton, Ill., and in 1869 was admitted to the 
Bar. He then formed a partnership with Louis F. CASEY, which 
continued until the death of the latter, in May, 1892. Mr. CASEY 
was an able lawyer and served as a member of the Legislature of 
Illinois. Subsequently removing to Texas, he was there State's 
Attorney for several years and a member of the Texas State Senate.  
At the close of the war he returned to Illinois, and May, 1866, 
settled in Centralia, where he continued the practice of law until 
his demise.

On the 4th of September, 1872, Mr. DWIGHT was united in marriage 
with Miss M. Irene, daughter of Capt. R. D. NOLEMAN. The lady was 
born in Jefferson County, Ill., and received an excellent education 
in Jacksonville.  Socially, Mr. DWIGHT is connected with the Grand 
Army of the Republic, and served as Commander of the post for two 
years. He is also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, 
and is identified with the Knights of Pythias. He and his wife are 
members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and are prominent people 
of the community, occupying a leading position in social circles.

In politics a Democrat, Mr. DWIGHT has been an active worker in 
the interests of that party for many years. Frequently he as been 
a delegate to the state conventions, and has also been a member 
of the State Democratic Central Committee. He represented his 
district in the 27th General Assembly, and has held various other 
positions of honor and trust. As an influential member of the 
Democracy his is known throughout the state. He is an able advocate, 
a logical reasoner, possessing keen perceptive powers and acute 
discrimination, and among Centralia's attorneys none is more 
successful than he.

 
Portrait and Biographical Record of Clinton, 
Washington, Marion and Jefferson Counties, Illinois, 1894, 
page 203-204.

Submitted by Mary Zinzilieta

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