Sangamon County 
 Historical Society





Sangamon County Historical Society

Sangamon County Surveyor Joseph Ledlie & Friends

December 11, 2012 12:48 PM | Deleted user


Compiled by Donna G. Catlin


With the opening of the National Museum of Surveying in Springfield, Illinois in September 2010, all eyes were on our own favorite surveyor, Abraham Lincoln, who had served as a Deputy Surveyor of Sangamon County.  Another famous surveyor connected to Sangamon County was John Calhoun.  On October 14, 1806, John Calhoun was born in Boston, Massachusetts moving to Springfield in 1830.  He became a surveyor and served in the Black Hawk War with Abraham Lincoln. 


Joseph Ledlie was another surveyor for Sangamon County.  He did the surveying for the Chicago and Alton railroad, platted the village of Sherman, Illinois and performed many local surveys.  Ledlie was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 18, 1812.  He was the son of Arthur and Catharine Ledlie who immigrated to this country from Ireland in 1801 and settled in the East.  Ledlie’s family later moved to Ohio with Joseph Ledlie and his brother Arthur coming to Illinois about 1836.  Around 1837 the brothers returned to Gallipolis, Ohio and taught school in an academy.  In 1838, Ledlie returned to Illinois in the Macoupin County area farming and teaching school.  Joseph Ledlie moved to Springfield around 1846. Mr. Ledlie had a very inventive and mathematical mind like his father and that was the reason he was appointed by John B. Watson to deputy county surveyor soon after arriving in Springfield.


In 1854 with the personal influence of Stephen A. Douglas, President Franklin Pierce appointed John Calhoun as Surveyor General for the Territories.  John  Calhoun appointed local men, U.S. Deputy Charles A. Manners and U. S. Deputy Joseph Ledlie in the year of 1855 to survey the First Guide Meridian East in Nebraska and Kansas, respectively.  Manners was also contracted with testing the Baseline between the two future states which was previously surveyed by John P. Johnson.  Both Manners and Ledlie discovered that Johnson had failed to accurately establish the 40th Parallel of Latitude.  Beginning in 1855 Charles A. Manners and Joseph Ledlie went to work doing a complete resurvey in the states of Kansas and Nebraska, looking to correct mistakes from previous surveys.  With their fine work over the next few years, they both became heroes to surveyors in Kansas and Nebraska even in 2010.


Commencing with the title November 8, 1858, the date of record of the plat of said Town.  “Plat Of The Town Of Sherman In Sangamon County, Illinois.”  I hereby certify that on the 21st and 22nd days of September 1858, I surveyed the Town of Sherman for Virgil Hickox, David Sherman, Cornelius Flagg and Joseph Ledlie.  The said “Town” is situated on the St. Louis, Alton and Chicago Railroad in the N. part of the E. ½ of the S.E. ¼ of Section 25, T. 17 N., R. 5 W. 3rd. P.M. as shown by the plat.  The names, lengths, breadths and positions of Streets and Alleys as also the numbers, dimensions and locations of the Blocks and Lots of said Town are marked and shown on the Plat. Signed by Joseph Ledlie--County Surveyor.  Adopted October 7, 1858 and acknowledged October 9, 1858 by Virgil Hickox and Catharine E. Hickox, his wife, David Sherman and Elizabeth Sherman, his wife, Cornelius Flagg and Joseph Ledlie, proprietors, before L.B. Adams, J.P. Sangamon County, Illinois.  Recorded: November 8, 1858.


In 1881 Joseph Ledlie married Miss Emma Snell.  Mrs. Ledlie was born in Massachusetts on July 4, 1817 and came to Illinois around 1865.  Mr. Ledlie died on May 4, 1893 and Emma remained his widow until her passing in March of 1903.  Both Joseph and Emma Ledlie are buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois.  A street in Springfield is named for Ledlie.  


On August 2, 1827, U.S. Deputy Charles A. Manners was born in Somerset County, New Jersey to his parents John S. and Penelope Stout Manners.  On October 2, 1861, Mr. Manners married Miss Elizabeth A. Long, daughter of Major Thomas Long of Taylorville.  On January 31, 1888 surveyor Charles A. Manners died.  Both Charles and Elizabeth Manners are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Taylorville, Illinois.


Later John Calhoun became known as “The villain of Kansas.”  On October 13, 1859 his career in the politics of Kansas came to a sudden end with his unexpected death at St. Joseph, Missouri. Today in 2010 researchers still work on piecing together the amazing historical story of John Calhoun and his co-surveyors.


The new Surveying Museum in Springfield is a jewel for Sangamon County with the location being near the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  President Abraham Lincoln, John Calhoun, Charles A. Manners and Joseph Ledlie are great examples of past history of Sangamon County’s local surveyors.

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