Image of Gridley, Asahel

Gridley, Asahel

b. April 21, 1810, in Cazenovia, New York; d. January 25, 1881, in Bloomington, Illinois. In October of 1831, Gridley came to Bloomington, Illinois, where he opened a general store. During the Black Hawk War, he served as a first lieutenant. The Economic Panic of 1837 devastated Gridley's business, so he pursued law as a means to recover his fortune. Gridley served in the state legislature in the 1840s, and, in 1850, he was elected to the state senate where he served a total of four years. Gridley organized Bloomington's first bank, the McLean County Bank, and soon became the bank's sole proprietor. In 1857, Gridley became the sole proprietor of the Bloomington Gaslight Company. Gridley turned over much of his legal practice to Abraham Lincoln so he could pursue banking, real estate, and railroad construction matters.
The Biographical Encyclopedia of Illinois of the Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia: Galaxy Publishing Co., 1875), 13-14; A History of McLean County, Illinois (Chicago: William LeBaron Jr., 1879), 785-86; Alice McCarty Schlenker, “The Resurrection of Asahel Gridley,” Illinois Magazine (July-August, 1972), 8-12, 39-44; United States Biographical Dictionary: Illinois Dictionary (Chicago: American Biographical Dictionary, 1876), 772-73; Albert A. Woldman, Lawyer Lincoln (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1936), 103. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.