Illinois was a hotbed of anti-slave ideals and St. Charles was no exception. General Farnsworth started a training camp for troops and cavalry (horse) units in 1861 on property which he owned along the east bank of the Fox River. Camp Kane (now Langum Park) trained over 1000 men.
Two of the units to come out of Camp Kane included the 8th Illinois and 17th Illinois Cavalry Regiments, both instrumental in the Northern victory. Marcellus Jones of the 8th Illinois Cavalry is reputed by some historians to have fired the first shot at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Despite its size, St. Charles gave one of the largest quotas of troops in all of Kane County. St. Charles residents such as General Farnsworth, Captain Elliott, Major Van Patten, Major John Waite, Captain Beach, Captain McGuire, Colonel Gillett, Major (Judge) Barry, Lieutenant Durant, and Dr. Crawford all aided in the war effort. In addition, at least three women from St. Charles also served in the war, including Ophelia Amigh, Lucy Whipple Campbell Kaiser, and Emma Lake. These names are among the most important in the history of our town.
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