Image of Somers, James W.

Somers, James W.

b. January 18, 1833, in Mt. Airy, North Carolina; d. 1904, in Hollywood, California. Somers came to Urbana, Illinois, as a child with his family. He studied law in the office of his uncle, William D. Somers, with whom he became a law partner after being admitted to the bar in 1856. Originally a Whig, Somers helped to organize the state Republican party and actively campaigned for both Fremont in 1856 and Abraham Lincoln in 1858 and 1860. In 1861, President Lincoln appointed Somers to a position in the Department of the Interior, in which he would work for many years.
Joseph O. Cunningham, ed., Historical Encyclopedia and History of Champaign County (Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company, 1905), 1029-31; Milton W. Matthews and Lewis A. McLean, Early History and Pioneers of Champaign County (Champaign: Champaign County Herald, 1905), 36-37. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.