Image of Somers, William D.

Somers, William D.

b. January 21, 1812, in Rockford, North Carolina. In November of 1840, Somers came to Urbana, Illinois, where he practiced medicine. Somers began to study law while in Champaign, Illinois, under Judge David Davis and was eventually admitted to the bar by Judge Samuel Treat in Springfield, Illinois, in 1846. Somers became Urbana's first licensed lawyer. Active in the Whig party but never an office seeker, Somers introduced Lincoln to the audience at Lincoln's first Champaign County political address. When the Whig party disbanded in 1854, Somers became affiliated with the Democrats. In 1855, Somers was appointed the local county lawyer for the Illinois Central Railroad, and he served in that capacity for many years.
Biographical Record of Champaign County, Illinois (Chicago: St. Clarke Publishing Co., 1900), 13-14; The Biographical Encyclopaedia of Illinois of the Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia: Galaxy Publishing Co., 1875), 115; Milton W. Matthews, ed., Early History and Pioneers of Champaign County, Illinois (Urbana, Illinois: Champaign County Herald, 1886), 41-42; Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 977-78. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.