JEFFERSON COUNTY IL 
BIOGRAPHIES
Samuel L. DWIGHT
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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