November 26, 2007

Shelby Moore Cullom

I mentioned Shelby Moore Cullom in the earlier blog on Lewis Russell and Bidant (Biddy) Moore Coffey. He was their grandson and, a son of Richard Northcraft and Elizabeth (Betsy) Coffey.

He is said to have been a Lincoln lookalike as well as a friend of Lincoln when they both served in the Illinois legislature. The photograph tends to confirm at least one of those claims.

The following is information on Shelby that I found on the web while researching Richard and Elizabeth:

Mr. Cullom was known as "Mr. Republican" of Sangamon County during his long political life. After being to the bar in 1855 & elected city attorney the same year, he was elected State Representative & then reelected the following term in which he served as Speaker of the House. In 1865 he was elected to the National Congress where he served 3 consecutive terms. In 1876 he was elected [17th] Governor of Illinois, a position he served 2 terms, resigning in the middle of the second term to become a candidate for the U.S. Senate. He was elected to the Senate in 1883 & served 5 consecutive terms. Cullom, "the man who looked like Lincoln,"was considered several times for the Presidency.

Shelby Moore Cullom*

CULLOM, Shelby Moore, senator, born in Monticello, Wayne County, Kentucky, 22 November 1829. His father settled in Tazewell County, Illinois, in 1830, where he became prominent among the pioneers of the state, a member of the legislature, and a trusted friend of Abraham Lincoln. The son received a classical education, began the study of law in Springfield, Illinois, in 1853, and as soon as he was admitted to the bar was elected City attorney. He practiced law in Springfield, was a candidate for presidential elector on the Fillmore ticket in 1856, elected to the legislature in 1856 and 1860, chosen speaker in his second term, a member of the war commission that sat at Cairo in 1862, and a member of congress from Illinois from 4 December 1865, till 3 March 1871, representing the Springfield district, which before his election was democratic. During his third term he served as chairman of the committee on territories, conducted an investigation into the question of polygamy in Utah, and secured the passage of a bill for the extirpation of polygamy, which failed to come to a vote in the senate.

In 1872 he returned to the Illinois House of Representatives, was elected speaker in 1873, and in 1874 served another term in the legislature. After his return from Washington he became a banker at Springfield. He was a member of the Republican national convention in 1868, and, as chairman of the Illinois delegation, placed General Grant in nomination at Philadelphia in 1872 and General Logan in 1884. He was elected governor of Illinois in 1876, and reelected in 1880, serving from 8 January 1877, to 5 February 1883, when he resigned, having been chosen U. S. senator as a republican, to succeed David Davis, independent democrat, for the term expiring on 3 March 1889. Mr. Cullom has been prominently connected with the question of railroad regulation. As speaker of the House of Representatives he appointed the committee that drafted the stringent railroad law of Illinois, which was one of the first states to take action on the subject.

During his service of six years as governor it became his duty to appoint the Illinois railroad commissioners, and to see that they secured the enforcement of the law, which was sustained by the courts and practically put in operation during his administration. As senator he has been zealous and active in endeavoring to secure national legislation upon the same subject, and in 1885, as chairman of the senate committee on interstate commerce, conducted an investigation into the question of the regulation of railroad corporations by national legislation. His report upon this subject, submitted to the senate, 18 January 1886, is an elaborate review of the whole subject, and has attracted attention at home and abroad, resulting" in the passage by the senate of the bill that bears his name, which was referred to a conference committee of the two houses.

**CULLOM, Shelby Moore, (nephew of Alvan Cullom and William Cullom), a Representative and a Senator from Illinois; born in Wayne County, Ky., November 22, 1829; moved with his father to Tazewell County, Ill., in 1830; received an academic and university training; moved to Springfield, Ill., in 1853; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1855 and commenced practice in Springfield; elected city attorney in 1855; member, State house of representatives 1856, 1860-1861, and served as speaker of the house during the second year; elected as a Republican to the Thirty-ninth, Fortieth, and Forty-first Congresses (March 4, 1865-March 3, 1871); chairman, Committee on Territories (Forty-first Congress); member, State house of representatives 1873-1874, and served as speaker in 1873; Governor of Illinois 1877-1883, when he resigned; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1882; reelected in 1888, 1894, 1900, and 1906 and served from March 4, 1883, to March 3, 1913; chairman, Committee on Expenditures of Public Money (1885-87), Committee on Interstate Commerce (1887-93; 1895-1901; 1909-11), Committee on Foreign Relations (1901-11), Republican Conference Chairman (1911-13); Regent of the Smithsonian Institution 1885-1913; chairman and resident commissioner of the Lincoln Memorial Commission in 1913 and 1914; member of the commission appointed to prepare a system of laws for the Hawaiian Islands; died in Washington, D.C., January 28, 1914; interment in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Ill.

Few Illinoisans of the 19th and early 20th Century were more famous than Shelby Moore Cullom of Springfield. He served more years in high Illinois public offices than any other person in the history of the state. He was Speaker of the Illinois House for three terms, a member of the U.S. House for three terms, governor for six years, and a U.S. Senator for thirty years. He was born Nov. 22, 1829 in Wayne County, Kentucky. But his family moved when he was less than a year old in 1830 to Tazewell County, Illinois where his father was elected to the Illinois General Assembly. Shelby's father, State Rep. Richard Northcraft Cullom, was a trusted friend and ally of Abraham Lincoln when both served in the Illinois House.

Shelby attended the Rock River Seminary at Mount Morris, Illinois where he also taught lower grades part-time to earn money for his own tuition and expenses. He moved to Springfield in 1853 to read for the law at the firm of Stuart and Edwards and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1855. That same year, the newly-minted attorney was elected City Attorney of Springfield at the age of 26. In 1856, Shelby was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. Shelby was married twice. His first wife was Hannah M. Fisher. They were married from 1855 until her death in 1861. He later married Julia Fisher in May 1863. She was First Lady of Illinois 1877-1883 and died in 1909.

Shelby was re-elected in 1860 and was elected by his peers as Speaker of the House in 1861. In 1862, President Lincoln appointed him as a member of the War Claims Commission at Cairo, Illinois. He was elected to Congress in 1864 and was re-elected in 1866 and 1868. Returning to Illinois, he was again elected to the Illinois House in 1872 and 1874 and again served as Speaker of the House for four years. Mr. Cullom was elected governor of Illinois in 1876 and was re-elected in 1880.

Among the major accomplishments during his administration was the fact that Illinois was debt free and called in the last of its bonds in 1881. Pure food legislation was passed the Board of Dental Examiners and the Board of Pharmacy was created. Pursuant to the census of 1880, the Illinois congressional delegation expanded to twenty U.S. House members and new districts were drawn by the state legislature.

Early in 1883, Gov. Cullom was elected by the legislature to serve as United States Senator from Illinois. He was the principal sponsor of the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 that curbed the power of railroads. He served as a U.S. Senator from Illinois continously for thirty years until his fifth six-year term expired in March 1913. In 1911, he wrote a memoir called Fifty Years in Public Service.

As Chairman of the Illinois delegation to the Republican National Convention of 1872 in Philadelphia, Sen. Cullom placed the name of President Ulyses S. Grant in nomination for president for a second term. In 1884 in the same position, he placed the name of his colleague Sen. John A. Logan in nomination for Vice President of the United States.

During the year after he retired from the Senate, Sen. Cullom served on the Lincoln Memorial Commission but did not live to see its completion eleven years after his death. He also served on the committee to draft laws for the Hawaiian islands.

Sen. Cullom died less than a year after he retired on Jan. 28, 1914 in Washington. He is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.

His obituary:


Former Senator's Last Words of Lincoln Duty

Noted Statesman, 85 Years Old Passes Away at Washington After Making Heroic Fight for Life

Funeral at Springfield, Illinois.

Washington, Jan.29th,--Former United States Sen. Shelby M. Cullom, died at his home here.

His last words were a wish that he might have lived to see the completion of the National Memorial to Abraham Lincoln, who was his personal friend.

The end came as the result of a general breakdown after the aged statesmen had fought against death for six weeks. When forced to take his bed the ex-senator's strength slowly began to ebb. He clung tenaciously to life after he had been given up several times. He was unconscious when death came.

At the bedside when the end came were Miss Victoria Fisher, sister of the two deceased wives of the senator, and William Barret Ridgeley, son-in-law, a former comptroller of the currency.

The former senator is survived by two granddaughters, Mrs. Katherine Ridgeley Brown, wife of Phelps Brown of Springfield, Mass., and Mrs. Eleanor Ridgeley Parker, wife of Dr. Henry P. Parker of this city.

Brief funeral services will be held at the Cullom home this morning and at 11:45 o'clock the body will be taken to Springfield, Ill., for interment on Saturday.

In Public Life For Fifty Years.

Former United States Senator Shelby M. Cullom of Illinois, was a figure of national importance for more than thirty years, and held public office for more than half a century.

He began his political career in 1856, when after being admitted to the Illinois bar he was elected city attorney for Springfield. Almost immediately he was elected a member of the house of of representatives of the Illinois legislature and was re-elected in 1860, serving until 1865, when he was elected to the national House of Representatives. He served in the Thirty-ninth, Fortieth, and Forty-first congresses, from December 4, 1865, to March 3, 1871. He went back to Illinois and again was elected to the state legislative in 1872, serving until 1875. In 1871 and 1873, he was elected speaker of the State House of Representatives. He was elected Governor of the state in 1875 and succeeded himself in 1880. He served until February 5, 1883, when he resigned, having been elected to the United States Senate. He took his seat on December 4, 1883, and served continuously until March 3, 1913.

Ex-Senator Was Born in Kentucky

The Collum family, like the Lincoln family, were Kentuckians who emigrated to Illinois early in the thirties. Shelby Moore Cullom was born in Wayne County, Kentucky on November 22, 1829. When the family moved to Illinois he received his education in a little log schoolhouse and at home.

Was Always a Republican

Senator Cullom was always identified with the Republican party and was a strong factor in the party organization; At the end of his thirty years as a senator he left the office poorer than when he entered it. He had no income outside of his salary. The home he formerly owned in Springfield was sold some years ago to help pay his expenses, and lately when visiting the Illinois capital he resided at a hotel or at the home of his son-in-law.

Funeral Arrangements

Springfield, Ill, Jan 29. Arrangement for the funeral of Senator Shelby M. Cullom in this city on Saturday were rapidly completed. The details were announced by Judge J. Otis Humphrey of the United States district court.
The obsequies will be held in Representatives hall at the state house at an hour not yet determined upon. The religious service will be conducted by Rev. Dr. MacLeod, pastor of the First Presbyterian church, and the music will be furnished by the choir of that church. In addition, there will be brief memorial addresses by Senator L. Y. Sherman, Gov. Edward F. Dunne and Clinton L. Conkling

When the casket arrives, it will be conveyed to the residence of Mrs. Charles Ridgeley and later it will be taken to the state house, where the body will lie in state in the rotunda on the first floor.

This obituary was copied from the collection located at the Robinson Public Library. The obituaries themselves are usually not dated. Whoever made the collection has written down the dates by hand. The source of the obituary (i.e. which newspaper) is also usually not included. The obituary was transcribed by Barbara Dix.

Additions and/or corrections can be sent to me at the above e-mail address.

*Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. They rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis.

**Dictionary of American Biography; Cullom, Shelby. Fifty Years in Public Service: Personal Recollections. 1911. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1967; Neilson, James. Shelby M. Cullom: Prairie State Republican. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1962.

Some other sources used:

Illinois Marriages, 1851-1900
US Federal Census Records, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910
Illinois Hall of Fame: Shelby Moore Cullom By Mark Rhoads

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