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
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,
Submitted by Mary Zinzilieta