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The Adolphs

             The Adolph family that came to Bloomington was composed of Simon Adolph and his sister, Elizabeth. They were from Pennsylvania. Elizabeth was the elder and came to Bloomington already married to William Wallace. Simon married in 1838 and chose Elizabeth Hatfield, a Kentuckian, for his bride. The Hatfields were another of the founding families noted on the 1838 map. Simon was a merchant tailor and he was in business with Gillespie in the 1850’s on Front Street. On the 1838 map he is noted as having property at Main Street between the dry goods shop and a watch shop.


             Simon and Elizabeth had six children. None of those children lived out their lives in Bloomington. Simon and Elizabeth moved around a bit, living in Farmer City for a while and even trying out Kansas for a time. Although he was over 45, Simon enlisted in the Civil War. Simon died in 1896 in California, on a visit to his son George. His other son, Charles, worked for the Chicago and Alton railroad and had been a ticket agent in Bloomington before moving to Chicago. His daughter Elizabeth married Oliver B. Harris, a real estate broker and moved to Minnesota.


             William Wallace came to Bloomington to make a place for himself and his wife in 1836 due to his poor health. Upon his arrival in Chicago, where he intended to settle, he met Asahel Gridley and ended up in Bloomington. He was trained as a cooper and had been in the wholesale grocery business with his brother in Philadelphia. He purchased 380 acres of land west of where the Alton railroad was eventually built and farmed this land, raising wheat and sheep. Through the following years he would take his wheat and wool to Chicago in the company of Isaac Funk. Elizabeth joined him six months after his arrival and lived with him in the log cabin he had built for two years before they built a frame house.


             Wallace was opposed to the Fugitive Slave Law and sheltered slaves often, according to his granddaughter, Maria Lewis. He was present when the abolitionist Owen Lovejoy came to Bloomington to speak on slavery and scuffled with those who prevented Lovejoy from speaking in the public hall. John Billings, another of the early settlers, often told the story of how the Wallaces nursed him through a bilious fever in 1839, possibly saving his life.


              Elizabeth and William had five children. Only two left records that could be traced. Julia married Thomas Hardin Fell and moved to Michigan. Elizabeth married Charles Lander and lived out her life in Bloomington. The last of the Adolphs to die in Bloomington was Elizabeth’s son Frank Lander (1854 - 1934), who was well known for the livery stable he operated in downtown Bloomington on West Front Street. When he died in 1934, his skill for judging horseflesh was remembered. He did not have any children with his wife, Alice Dunn Murphy.

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