St. Charles Scoop: Camp Kane

Today's St. Charles Scoop goes back in time today to talk about Camp Kane and the Illinois 8th Cavalry. Camp Kane was a training ground for the Eighth and Seventeenth Illinois Calvary, the Calvary was lead by General John Farnsworth. Camp Kane was home to training grounds for more than a thousand Union soldiers and along Farnsworth was the famous Marcellus Jones, the man who fired the first shot at Gettysburg. Born in Canada, Farnsworth was a surveyor and studied law in Michigan before moving to St. Charles to establish a law office in the 1840s. He served in the United States Congress from 1857-1860, and from 1863-1872. Farnsworth was an abolitionist and a friend of Abraham Lincoln and nominated Lincoln for the office of U.S. President at the Republican Party Convention in 1860. The 8th Illinois Cavalry Regiment saw action in many Civil War battles, most notably the Battles of Manassas, Williamsburg, Mechanicsville, Alexandria, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. The 8th Calvary was also tasked with searching for John Wilks Booth who shot and killed Lincoln, they also guarded Lincolns tomb while it was in Springfield Illinois. In August 2014, the Jones Law Office was moved from Cedar Ave. to its current location in Langum Park.  During the Civil War, the law office served as a military recruiting headquarters.  At one time, the small building was used as a holding cell for deserting soldiers.

Camp Kane is one of the last four surviving Civil War training ground sites in Illinois. The Camp Kane Heritage Foundation, which came together in 2014, put together an ambitious plan to raise about $10 million to construct a Civil War Underground Railroad and Discovery Center at Camp Kane in St. Charles. Even to this day some St. Charles residents are unaware of Camp Kane and its importance to our towns history. The museum boasts a display of the Camp Kane and Illinois Eight Calvary with its display in the museum with such items as a office Kepi, a backpack from the civil war, and Civil War Epaulets