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
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
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
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
Portrait and Biographical Record of Clinton,
Washington, Marion and Jefferson Counties, Illinois, 1894,
Submitted by Mary Zinzilieta